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Going Off Script

Going Off Script

Every once in awhile someone will ask me what I do for a living. These conversations usually occur in the kinds of places where strangers feel compelled to carry on polite chitchat. In line at the grocery store. Doctor's office waiting rooms. Airplanes idling until cleared for take-off. When I tell people I am a writer, they often respond in the same way I imagine I would respond if someone told me they traveled with the circus or roadied for Def Leppard in the 80s. An incredulous mix of shock and awe, with undertones of questioning sanity.

“That must be...interesting,” they say. What they really mean is, “How do you sleep at night knowing you could be one dry spell away from the unemployment line?” My answer is simple: I have no answer. I just know this is what I was meant to do.

I was born with an innate love of language. My childhood scrapbook, a chronicle of tidbits from my early years stealthily pilfered and lovingly preserved by my mother’s hand, can attest to this.

As so often tends to be the case with keepsakes, many of the artifacts are truly terrible. In many instances, what once seemed like staggering works of genius now seem more like the literary equivalent of those coconut monkeys souvenirs people pick on on vacation in Cabo. Given a few decades to marinate (and fester), my early works leave me awash in a sea of simultaneous horror and nostalgic delight, reveling in the absurdity and purity of first love-inspired poems, drama-laden high school notes and even the occasional elementary school valentine.

Among the written wreckage, you will find classic hits such as: a third grade essay I wrote about my teacher’s best quality (her red fingernails), as well as a pillow-side plea asking “Molly” (the tooth fairy) to keep the pocket change and leave me a unicorn. There are cleverly written scripts starring my sister and I. Acted out in the living room, those performances were a relentless negotiation (with an occasional musical number thrown in for good measure) as we tried to persuade our parents to get us puppies, ponies and, sights set slightly lower, pizza on Friday nights. (Rhyming "pepperoni" is hard.) 

Perhaps my favorite relic, however, is the neatly folded copy of a letter I sent to former Ohio Governor George V. Voinovich. In the note, I implore him to help me save the environment (and future of the planet) by becoming a partner in my third grade fight against the formidable Styrofoam lunch trays used in my elementary school cafeteria. Apparently Governor George was busy that week. And while he didn't swing by to chain himself to the cafeteria tables, he did send an autographed head shot and a letter of encouragement to “keep it up." The day I received that piece of mail was one of the most thrilling afternoons of my young life.

Not too long ago, I found myself on delay in an airport taking a seat beside an older gentleman. In a sea of kindles and ipads, he was the last of a dying breed, perusing the newspaper with a quiet sort of page-flipping dignity. We exchanged the usual pleasantries of strangers who are temporarily forced, more by inadequate airport seating than by choice, into each other’s lives. After a a few minutes of small talk, he asked the inevitable. What do you do? I told him I was a writer, expecting the usual response.

Instead, he looked at me, smiled and said: “A writer is who you are. Writing is what you do. Never confuse the two.”

Nearly two decades ago, a college admissions counselor sat across the desk and asked me what I wanted to do. “Write,” I said. She looked at me, laughed and replied, “Write? You might as well go into philosophy. Writing is a useless degree.” I went on to spend the greater part of my early college years fighting what I really wanted instead of fighting for it. 

Sitting here, 17 years later, it's hard to imagine what I would have missed out on had I stayed on script and opted for the more pragmatic path laid out before me by someone else. Only by wandering -- and ultimately going off script -- was I able to discover my innate strength as a woman by embracing the power and authority of my own voice. As a result, I get to wake up each day and use that voice to advocate for passionate, courageous, amazing people doing meaningful, important work in the world. They're abolishing sex slavery, advocating for rescue animals, promoting literacy, redefining healthcare, empowering women, ending domestic violence, protecting the environment.  

In our culture, women are often told to stay small, modest, polite. I challenge you to do the exact opposite. 

Be big. Be bold. Be brazen. 

Tear up the script. Write your own story. 



Sponsored by The Women's Fund of Central Ohio, Keyholder is a night to convene as a community and amplify the voices of women and girls. As a guest, you will unlock the potential and influence gender equality and economic security in central Ohio. You hold the key to be part of lasting social change-- and that’s what Keyholder is all about. It’s a night to give visibility to issues affecting women and girls while also providing inspiration and highlighting solutions.

On Tuesday, May 10th 2016  actress, author, producer, trailblazer and humanitarian Vanessa Williams will take the stage at the Ohio Theatre.

Vanessa's integrity, resiliency, and grace make her an authentic voice as she lives her life with dignity and professionally defines her own path to success. Vanessa’s strength and endurance over the years to become a multi-faceted performer and actor will resonate with many, while encouraging us to script our own lives.  

Enter for a chance to win two free tickets to Keyholder 2016 by leaving a comment on this blog post sharing a time you have "gone off script" and how that has made an impact in your life. 





Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. In exchange, I received two free tickets to the 2016 Keyholder event from The Women's Fund of Central Ohio. 

20 (More) Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

20 (More) Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

20 best columbus instagram instagrammers

20 best columbus instagram instagrammers

A few months ago, I shared a post featuring the 20 Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following. If you know anything about Columbus, it should come as no surprise that what followed was a stream of suggestions about who should have been included on the list. (We've got no shortage of creative talent + local love.) In other words, there's too much goodness for just one list. So this is list #2.

Anyone can take a photo, but not everyone is a visual storyteller. Much like the first group of instagrammers, the 20 people you'll meet below have a passion and a gift for consistently telling the story of Columbus (and Ohio) through the beautiful, thoughtful images they snap and share.



Lauren Blake // @wholelivinglauren There was  time I regarded "whole living" as nibbling on nuts and leafy greens like some sort of giant rabbit. Lauren's endless feed of "whole livinspiration" has proven me wrong. Very, very wrong. 



Columbus Coffee Experience // @cbuscoffeeWho needs to wake up and smell the coffee when you can wake up, tap into Instagram and scroll the coffee?

cheer up press

cheer up press

Cheer Up Letterpress & Design // @cheeruppressFACT: Real mail makes people happy. This feed is a constant street of paper porn (of the SFW variety) that lives up to the promise of its cheer-inducing name.

mission coffee

mission coffee

Mission Coffee Co. // @missioncoffeeco I have an inexplicable aversion to hot liquids, which prevents me from being a coffee drinker. But if I were, this is where I'd be sipping my days away, one beautiful, perfectly-lit, topped-with-a-foamy-work-of-art cup at a time.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.32.38 PM

DeliciOhio // @deliciohio You know that unspoken Thanksgiving rule in which an entire nation agrees to embrace the imminent binge and gorge...because FOOD? DelicOhio puts the "feed" in "instagram feed."  Enjoy a Columbus-inspired visual gorge...with none of the calories and zero need to don your favorite fat pants.

farm fresh therapy

farm fresh therapy

Chelsea Mohrman // @farmfreshtherapyIf I were inviting one Instagrammer to come decorate my home for me, it would be Chelsea of @farmfreshtherapy. One part simple beauty, one part unexpected delight, all parts crazy beautiful. Chelsea creates a world filled with marvels (both manmade and natural) that make you feel like you've just stepped into a magical storybook ...or the coolest store ever. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.40.37 PM

Taylor Riggs // @simplytaylorblogWhen the former @cravebytaylor fell off my Instagram feed, I was sad. When she reappeared as @simplytaylorblog, I was delighted. Taylor's photos will leave you with a serious case of breakfast envy...and a major side of puppy snuggles. I can't imagine a better combination than that. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.41.14 PM

Live Columbus // @livecolumbus Think of @LiveColumbus as a community within the community. Someone new has been taking over this account daily since October 31, 2014, which makes each new day kind of like turning the page in the story of Columbus and what life here means to the people who call this region home. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.47.50 PM

Amy Taylor // @ohiogood OhioGood is a celebration of all things Ohio -- with an emphasis on life in and around Columbus. From farmers markets to rural farms, the Short North to shortcake, if it's good and hails from'll find it here. 



Amanda Heslinga // @rockswithsass I have come to think of Amanda as Columbus' true "rock star." With beautiful work like this, it's not hard to see why. 



Ohio Explored // @ohioexplored Fly over state, eh? Your argument is invalid. And this is the Instagram account that's gonna prove you wrong.

columbus nutrition co

columbus nutrition co

Sarah Crock // @columbusnutritionco Forget what you think you know about boring ol' health food. Sarah's feed is photo proof that healthy eating can be wonderful tasty...and profoundly beautiful. 

1820 house

1820 house

1820 House Candle Co. // @1820house With a scent offering that includes tomato vine, roasted coffee bean and French baguette, these candles should be at the top of every localvores Columbus holiday giving list.  



Por'ketta // @porkettacbus Sorry vegetarians, you're missing out. Not only does this local food truck produce some drool-worthy culinary creations, they're hugely active on Instagram and big supporters of other Columbus instagrammers.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.05.25 PM

Derrick Linn // @marsder Meet Columbus' tiniest residents. They're always up to something (and half teh time, it's a fairly sassy something...) 



Tina // @tizara Tina's photos stop time for a single, precious, awe-inspiring frame, creating a feed that proves there's a world of difference between seeing and savoring our moments.  

400 west rich market

400 west rich market

400 Market // @400market Arguably the hippest farmer's market in the most up-and-coming hood in Columbus, 400 Market has shared a season of sneak peeks behinds the scenes at Franklinton's local gem.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.42.34 PM

Megan Hogan // @_mgnhgn There are creative people...and then there are creative people. You know, the kind of people who seem to leave a trail of color and wonder and glitter and inspiration in their wake wherever they go. Megan is the latter. Bonus? Her spirit and endlessly positive message are just as beautiful as her art. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.57.02 PM

Best of the Menu // @bestofthemenu Not sure what you're in the mood for? Tired of the same old places? Feeling a rising swell of hanger? Never fear. Your taste buds have just met their match. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 12.20.52 AM

Amy Taylor, @amyabtaylor Shameless self promotion! Hi. I'm Amy, the human behind (I'm also the human behind @OhioGood.) You can follow me on Instagram @ohiogood + @amyabtaylor. Have someone you'd like to nominate as a Columbus Instagrammer to follow? Leave their IG handle in a comment below or email me


Who would you add to the list?

17 Great Reasons to Visit The Columbus Zoo

Home to more than 9,000 animals and hundreds of species, the Columbus Zoo welcomes more than 2.3 million visitors each year. [1]  Last weekend I bumped that number to 2,300,001.

It wasn't my first visit to the zoo, but it was my first visit in a long time. It was also my first field day out with the new camera. Saturday morning I trekked across town, popped in my earbuds and took on Saturday through the scope of my lens. No Facebook. No texting. No Instagram, even. Just a girl and a camera traveling continent-to-continent, creature-to-creature on a grand afternoon adventure.

If you're looking for a reason to visit the zoo, they've got thousands. Here are 17 I discovered last weekend...

17 Reasons to Visit The Columbus Zoo

It's the perfect place for family bonding.Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

And nobody cares if you're having a bad hair day. Or a bad beard day. Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

While you're there, you'll probably want to plan a lunch date with this calorie-conscious, salad-loving gorilla. Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

Or schedule a hike with this shy guy. Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Any way you look at them, elephants are incredible. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

And you've got to know what these bears are whispering about. Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

You'll definitely want to welcome this bitty baby to the world. Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

And find out where this guy gets his nails done.  Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Mud runs are a daily thing at the Columbus Zoo. (But sometimes they're less of a "run" and more of a "flop.") Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

As well as demonstrations on the proper posture for "downward dog." Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Really, The Columbus Zoo is the purrrrrfect way to spend an afternoon. (And these guys had a ™ on roar long before Katy Perry.)  Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Photo Mar 14, 4 13 18 PM

While you're there, you can audit a class in confidence from this cocky little fellow. Photo Mar 15, 12 09 24 AM (1) Or learn how to strike a pose courtesy of these judgmental flamingos.  Photo Mar 15, 12 09 21 AM (2) Photo Mar 15, 12 09 22 AM (1) Photo Mar 15, 12 09 22 AM (2) Photo Mar 15, 12 09 22 AM

You'll definitely want to give this guy a hug. Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

And check out the twittering and tweets going on in the aviaryProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhoto Mar 15, 12 09 17 AM (1) Photo Mar 15, 12 09 17 AM After a long day of walking around, you might be ready for a nap. (But that's okay, you'll fit right in.)Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

And you'll leave feeling loved, because when it's time to go home, this pouty bear will miss you big time. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI

Learn more about The Columbus Zoo at Better yet, buy yourself a membership.

20 Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

20 Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

columbus ohio instagram
columbus ohio instagram

If you're new to the Instagram game -- or just looking for a few locals to follow -- I've put together a list of Columbus instagrammers worth a look and a like. Though their followings vary in size, this bunch is the best of the best when it comes to celebrating our community and all the reasons we're proud to call Cbus home. -Amy


Amanda Hamman | @girlaboutcolumbus Amanda's feed is pretty much perfection. A Columbus-focused dash of delicious and a sprinkle of lovely with the occasional pup shot peppered in. If you don't live here already, viewing our community through the GAC lens will make you wish you did.

Nom Life
Nom Life

Ewa and Jeromy | @Nom_LifeI have yet to cross paths with Ewa (or Jeromy for that matter) off Instagram, but I kind of feel like she is my sister from another mister at this point.  From savories to sweets, the NL feed is a visual smorgasbord of the culinary greatness emanating from every nook and cranny in Columbus. The #foodporn alert is high on this one, friends, but never fear. NSFW just stands for "not safe for waistlines."

dan baker
dan baker

Dan Riesenberger | @danthebakerThere are two kinds of people in the world: people who love bread so much and people I have basically nothing in common with. If you love delicious carbs and pretty photos of delicious carbs, you've found your feed. Dan Riesenberger, owner and founder of Dan the Baker and Toast Bar, puts the "art" in artisanal. His images may leave you sniffing your screen in hopes of catching a whiff of that "just-out-of-the-oven" goodness. (And let's be honest, who can resist a man who bakes bunny bread? Not this girl.) 


Kathy & Sophia | @kasuallifeLifestyle bloggers Kathy and Sophia have a special gift for showcasing the softer, gentler side of Columbus. Whenever I scroll their feed, I feel instantly transported to a sunny Saturday with nothing on my agenda but enjoying the ultimate Girl's Day with my closest lady friends.  


Michael Noon | @noonerblast  It's fair to say that you'll find good things around every corner in Columbus, but Michael Noon has taught me that sometimes the corners are the good thing. His feed is a visual feast of form, color and style that highlights architecture and urban pops everywhere from the soaring heights of our landmark skyscrapers to the subtler gems that often go overlooked. 


Alicia | @alicia.wanders A new friend in my feed, Alicia's IG is a continual stream of local food and fun with the occasional cat thrown in for good measure. (You know how the internet loves cats.) Besides inducing some serious stomach growls, her shots are great inspiration to get out and explore Columbus.


Robert W. Tobin | @robertwtobinAs an antique photo collector, I have a soft spot for the beauty and mystery of the unfinished stories of people and places I'll never know. Robert's feed is the closest thing I've found to the living version of an antique photograph. He has a true gift for revealing sometimes-broken, always-beautiful stories one snippet at a time. And he captures the city around us in a way that leaves me constantly wondering, "Wow. Where is this?" 


Amy | @amytellmewhereGreat name aside (I'm admittedly partial), Amy is basically the Columbus food whisperer. No matter where I am, one look at her IG is all it takes to leave me wishing I was where she is. Amy takes "I'll have what she's having" to a whole new level, because what she's having is always delicious.


Experience Columbus | @experiencecolumbusWith a mix of org-generated and fan-generated photos, the Experience Columbus IG feed is kind of like a visual version of the daily news. Spoiler alert: the headline always reads the same: "BREAKING NEWS: WELCOME TO COLUMBUS. AWESOME THINGS ARE HAPPENING HERE." (Tip: tag your IG photos with #expcols and #cbusfoodscene to give EC permission to repost.) 

death to stock
death to stock

Death to the Stock Photo  | @deathtostock With a mission to change the way the world (literally) views stock photography, it should come as no surprise that the Columbus-based DTS Instagram serves up a steady stream of swoon-worthy eye candy. The lovelies you find on IG are just a small sampling of the full DTS archive. Sign up on the website to receive free monthly collections or go premium for access to the whole shebang. (And follow founder @alliepal while you're at it!) 


Candis Jones | @thejonesmarketWhenever my sister and I look back through old family photos, we often find ourselves commenting on the necklaces that have accompanied us throughout our lives. From the plastic classics of childhood to cherished family heirlooms, they've accessorized our story. Candis Jones, founder of The Jones Market, has created what I consider the modern heirloom necklace. Simple and simply beautiful, this fashion-forward, Columbus-based brand offers up beaded lovelies that are both mama- and baby-friendly.


Jonathan + Sandra | @therusticlifeYou'll find @therusticlife sitting squarely at the intersection of rustic-inspired lifestyle blog and home decor shop. This sweet Columbus couple has mastered the art of merging old and new to create modern-meets-vintage magic. Their IG feed regularly leaves me debating ditching my current digs, buying a country cottage and starting over from scratch. Forget the bigger boat. We're gonna need a bigger farm table.


Jolie Ankrom | @brimpaperyArguably the most darling and classy human alive, Jolie Ankrom  is the creative sauce behind Columbus' Brim Papery. Her feed invites you to fall in love with a world of words. I'm not talking pixels on a screen. I'm talking real, paper-to-pen, swoon-at-the-curves-of-your-y words -- one print and sassy coffee mug at a time. (Girl crush alert!)


Fox in the Snow Cafe | @foxinthesnowcafeLots of people claim coffee is an art, but Fox in the Snow Cafe proves it. Scrolling the mishmash of savories, pastries and frothy foam on their IG feed leaves me feeling like I've just cuddled up under a cozy blanket with a favorite book. (A sentiment that is immediately followed by the realization I need to put on real pants and go get me summa that.)


Edible Columbus | @ediblecolumbusIf there were such a thing as a bucket list for food, Edible Columbus would be the equivalent of leaving the firehose of inspiration running. From chocolates to crostatas, tacos to tapas, this spotlight on the Columbus food scene may leave you drooling as you scroll. (No judgment shall be passed.) 


Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams | @jenisicecreams Jeni's tends to make all of my Best-of-Columbus lists. Why? Because they're just so darn good at being good. From the way they do business to the ingredients they source to the instashots that remind me it has been far too long since I last spooned with Goat Cheese and Red Cherries, they're setting the bar high. Their Instagram is a vibrant celebration of the way #TeamJenis does things from start to scoop to smile. 


Pistacia Vera | @pistaciaveraMeet the local masters of the macaron. PV's crave-inducing Instagram feed proves you don't have to go all the way to Paris to indulge in a sweet treat and the perfect of pastry. You'll find it right in the heart of German Village. 

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Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 2.27.22 AM

Curio at Harvest | @curioatharvestI cringe a little when I hear people say that Curio has the best drinks in town. It's true, of course. They do. They really, really do. But it seems almost flippant to refer to the cocktails Curio mixes up as "drinks." They're more like sippable stories told by a clan of artists and historians who pull pages from the past and serve them up in the appropriate glass. Forget the pudding. The proof is in the pour. 

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Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 1.02.13 AM

Kittie's Cakes | @kittiescakesYou know how whenever your mom or grandmother makes a recipe it always tastes so much better than when you do, like they've got some magical ingredient secretly stashed up their sleeve? That's the Kittie's Cakes experience. (And I'm pretty sure the magical ingredient is love.) Some of nicest sweets slingers you'll ever meet, Kittie's feed tempts the tastebuds with snaps of their daily offering (with the occasional cameo from @linus_the_golden_retriever). If you see something you like, don't delay. They sell out regularly, and longingly staring at Instagram shots pales in comparison to chowing down on the real thing.  

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Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 2.46.58 AM

Amy Taylor | @ohiogoodDo you know what time it is? Shameless self plug o'clock! I recently launched @ohiogood as a home for my regular adventures throughout Columbus and occasional journeys throughout Ohio. If you read this post all the way to the bottom, kudos to you! Tag me and say hello! I'd love to connect with you. 

So, who did I miss? We've got way too much local talent for one list. Which Columbus instagrammers would you nominate for Part Two of this Cbus local Instagram series? Name drop in a comment below or tag me on Twitter @NoMeatballs or on Instagram @OhioGood.

ABOUT THE AUTHORAmy Taylor is a Columbus, Ohio-based Marketing Strategist + Copywriter. She likes lunch for breakfast, wine, social media and dogs. (But not necessarily in that order.) Tweet her @NoMeatballs.

8 Badass Columbus Female Founders You Should Know

female founder collage Columbus has been named the seventh best city in the country for female founders, a top 10 city for small business and the best city for working mothers. Whatever you call it, there's no denying that we have some mighty talented, badass, creative female founders in our midst -- and they're not only doing great business, they're doing great things for the Columbus community.

If you haven't met these ladies, you should. If you don't know them by name yet, you will.

Allie Lehman, Death to the Stock Photo Something about Allie Lehman's photography makes me feel like we're all living in an eternal state of autumnal bliss on a never-ending Saturday morning. She has such a gift for capturing the subtle, intimate, meaningful moments of daily living most people miss by rushing through life. Not only is Allie a super-talented photog, she's also an author, an entrepreneur and the founder of Death to the Stock Photo, a movement that is changing the way the world views stock photography.

About-Allie-Lehman3allie lehman

Lisa LaMantia, Willow & Wren Color Free of toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor (aka: the really bad stuff) Willow & Wren is doing nail color in a newer, better way. Alongside classics like Sticks + Stones (a creamy, vampy red) and the perfectly peachy Fizzy Pop (a personal fav), you'll discover an ever-evolving palette of now-inspired shades that rotate and retire with the changing of seasons and trends. From All That Glitters (a gorgeous, glittering rose gold) to Maine Attraction (a vibrant, emerald green that will make you want to get in the car and hit the road), W&W offers a signature color for every style and taste. The passion project of Lisa LaMantia, a local City Planner (and good friend), Willow & Wren has become a permanent fixture on my toe tips and my go-to gift for lady friends. 

10449892_10204098971580716_8812513098337483714_nwillow and wren color

Allison Chapman, Igloo Letterpress If you've never had the opportunity to lay your hands on a letterpress, drop what you're doing and head to Worthington. Look for Igloo Letterpress situated squarely at the intersection of history, wordology and design (39 West New England Avenue). Allison has brought a magical thing to the central Ohio community, and invites visitors to put down their technology and take a step back in time by creating something beautiful and meaningful with their hands. 

1AA CLERK 13igloo letterpress cards

Heather Whaling, Geben Communication Thought leader. Crisis averter. World changer. Do gooder. Of all the things I could call Heather Whaling, I'm most thankful to call her my friend. As Founder and President of Geben Communication, a German Village-based boutique public relations firm, Heather leads a savvy PR team that is kicking ass and taking names on a daily basis. (And moving the needle in a big way for their clients in the process.) With a guiding mantra of "Doing well by doing good," you'll find Heather giving of her time and talent as a tireless philanthropist, mentor to many and friend to the community.

heather whalingScreen Shot 2015-02-03 at 12.50.11 AM

Danielle Evans, Marmalade Bleue As I mentioned in a recent post, when it comes to my list of likes, food and typography rank near the top. So it should come as no surprise I’ve got a serious creative crush on the woman who brings both of these things together to create magical, storybook-worthy works of art. If your brand is a foodie brand, drop what you’re doing and call Danielle. If your brand isn’t a foodie brand, after you see her work…you’re gonna wish it was.

Danielle-2014 thewonderjam_for_site

Mollie + Kelly Fankhauser, Kittie's Cakes There are cakes...and then there are Kittie's Cakes. It's easy to tell the difference. Kittie's Cakes are the kind of thing that compel a person to get out of bed, put on real pants and drive across town on a Saturday morning because you know the rest of the city is going to see today's Instagram and race to German Village to buy up whatever is left. (Not that I would know anything about that.) When it comes to these former-golfers-turned-bakers, it would be easy to love Mollie and Kelly based solely on their product, but the love doesn't stop there. This duo somehow manages to run an awesome business, support several community initiatives and rule the Instagram world on behalf of both Kittie's and their golden child, Linus. Living proof that you really can have your cake and eat it too...and have a meaningful impact on the world in the process.


Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams No list of Columbus female founders would be complete without mention of our Patron Saintess of Creativity, Jeni Britton Bauer. What can be said about Jeni that hasn't been said before? (Probably not a lot, given that her name yields over 91,000 hits on Google.) As she suggests in her book, anyone can make great ice cream. Inspiring an entire city to fall deeply in love with a better way of doing things, however, takes a special person, a tireless spirit and a true passion. For those of us who live in Columbus, we've bought into Jeni's story and better way with each scoop and spoonful. Jeni's isn't just a story about great ice cream; it's the story of the spirit of our community -- innovative, creative, passionate, fun and relentlessly focused on doing, not just being, good.

Jeni jenis




AUTHOR /// Amy Taylor is a Columbus, Ohio-based Marketing Strategist + Copywriter. Learn more about her at or follow her on Twitter @NoMeatballs.

Meet Marmalade Bleue

thewonderjam_for_siteWhen it comes to my list of likes, food and typography rank near the top. So it should come as no surprise I've got a serious creative crush on the woman who brings both of these things together to create magical, storybook-worthy works of art. (Anyone who has ever tried to wrangle sprinkles into submission knows this is no small accomplishment.)

Columbus-based artist, Danielle Evans (aka Marmalade Bleue) creates eye- and awe-inspiring masterpieces by way of "lettering and typography, which she exhibits through brush pen, paper cutting and most notably, dimensional type. She art directs, food styles, and collaborates with personable and quirky clients to achieve authentic, evocative, and approachable work for social media campaigns, editorials, and advertising."

To put it another way, if your brand is a foodie brand, drop what you're doing and call Danielle. If your brand isn't a foodie brand, after you check out her're gonna wish it was.

In conclusion, any woman willing to get her hands dirty (and spend a morning knuckles-deep in raw meat) is my kind of awesome.

Learn more about Danielle and her work at

(All images via

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12 Things of Christmas


Ohio+Witte Tavern Vinegar


agate coasters Gold-rimmed Agate Coasters

knitted hot water bottle Wool Water Bottle Cover


Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 9.41.25 PM The Homesteady

art-of-doing-stuff-karen Art of Doing Stuff

About-Allie-Lehman2 Be Up and Doing


Nick Carbone via Time French 75

IMG_7947 White Sangria

19b5efc24284bcb6930a2bac9265eadd Champagne Punch

grapefruit mimosa Grapefruit Sage Mimosa


Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 11.22.30 PM Brim Papery

carver junk co Carver Junk Company

Desktop12 Crave Studio

knack gvl Knack

poppy soap co Poppy Soap Co.


bakersfield Bakersfield


dirty franks Dirty Franks

jeni's Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

kittie's Kittie's Cakes

1279_1364669610 Pasquales


enhanced-buzz-wide-420-1391173346-10 enhanced-buzz-wide-9378-1391175214-18 enhanced-buzz-wide-25179-1391174809-23 enhanced-buzz-wide-9386-1391174712-9 enhanced-buzz-wide-6153-1391173432-16 enhanced-buzz-wide-25187-1391172907-9 enhanced-buzz-wide-418-1391168110-7 Get them here


board butter Board Butter

lipbalmcontainers DIY Lip Balm

Foot-scrub-feature Peppermint Foot Scrub

hpDSC_0200 Tiny Pots

lemon14.5-768x1024 Lemon Sugar Scrub

Homemade-Christmas-Potpourri-Recipe-Free-Gift-Tag-1024x694 Christmas Potpourri

Bitters-3 DIY Bitters

homemade-headache-pillow-8 Tea Towel Heating Pads


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8W1McZuTdD73uJ Perini's Ranch | Buffalo Gap, TX

midnight-cowboy-modeling Midnight Cowboy | Austin, TX

Nestled amongst the curiosities and crazy of 6th Street in downtown ATX, you'll find this unsuspecting door. Don't be fooled by the shady exterior. Behind that door you'll discover an oasis in the chaos, and what I would consider one of the best speakeasy bars in the country. Be forewarned, house rules are strictly enforced and reservations are a must. There is a two drink per person minimum and a two-hour maximum. All of which, combined with the building's seedy past and stellar cocktails, makes The Midnight Cowboy an absolute must-visit.

BrokenSpoke Broken Spoke | Austin, TX

If you're looking for live honkey tonk, real Texas musicians and a more local crowd than you'll find on 6th Street, head over The Broken Spoke on Lamar The drinks are cheap, the enchiladas are amazing and the people are fun, friendly and anything but shy. Come prepared to practice your two-step. This place can make a country music lover out of just about anyone.

shirley-s-tippy-canoe Shirley's Tippy Canoe | Troutdale, OR

Once in awhile you stumble across a place that feels so perfectly perfect you'd swear you stepped into a movie set. Shirley's Tippy Canoe is one of those places. We stumbled across this gem along the Columbia River Gorge scenic route, and I couldn't have dreamed up a more picturesque mountain town roadside stop. If quaint charm isn't your thing, then let's talk about the food. Because...this club sandwich. Ask for a seat on the patio (it's amazing!) and enjoy.

indian beach Indian Beach | Ecola State Park, OR

69357_10100410460236492_971269184_n Robledo Family Winery | Sonoma, CA

A few years ago, we took a trip to northern California. By chance, we stumbled across the Robledo Winery -- and decided to check out their October harvest festival. I could write for pages about what a rare and wonderfully special experience it was, but instead I will simply say this: go there. Eat, drink and be merry in the company of people you love. Raise a glass with people you are meeting for the first time. Let the wine and the moment reconnect you to history and the land and the story of all of us. Skip the big name wineries. Head down the rural road to Robledo. You'll be glad you did.

timberline Timberline Lodge | Mt. Hood, OR

cfiles33831 Main Street | Greenville, SC

courtyardsliderlarge Chicago Fine Arts Building

travel.nationalgeographic Louisiana Bayou

piazza del campo siena Piazza del Campo | Siena, Italy


Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 6.28.22 PM Lily Oval Skinny Bangle ($12)

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 6.30.12 PM Poe-ka Dot Pouch ($12)

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 6.34.25 PM Forged Iron Sheers (Small $10, Large $14)

il_570xN.502196860_a3v8 Screenprinted Tea Towel

il_570xN.477823207_1l8j 14k Gold Hex Studs 

il_570xN.354729303_7aai Custom state stamp 

il_570xN.427539636_6sez Hammered Copper Earrings

il_570xN.229972175 Books Print

il_570xN.602639196_3m4g Pine Root Hair Stick

pBBW1-19329357v275 Fireside Candle (This closely replicates the scent of my much more expensive Henri Bendel Firewood candle)

little-women-01Little Women

il_570xN.664672992_o7x9 Safari Ring Dish

An Open Letter to Stone Brewing Co.: Come Home to Columbus

columbus post card

Dear Stone Brewing Co.,

Greetings from the Midwest. I feel like I already know you, and we haven’t even met.

I hear you’re considering a new place. Congratulations! The aftermath of your announcement sure has generated a lot of talk about cities. Cities under consideration. Cities cut from the list. Cities still in the running. But I think people have got it all wrong. This isn’t about a new zip code. It’s about finding your place. A place to plant your dream and grow your vision.

Someone once told me that whenever you sell a house, you should leave a letter behind for the family that follows. It makes the difference between moving into an empty shell and beginning a new chapter in a home. If it works for houses, maybe it works for business?

Here goes.

First, a confession. I’m extremely partial to Columbus, but I wasn’t always. I moved here out of necessity after college. In those first months, my world was very small. I avoided certain parts of town. Took the same roads to and fro. Shopped at the same places and went to the same restaurants. I complained about traffic and way too much football.

Over time, I warmed to the city. I ventured out and began to discover what I had been missing all along. Soon, I was in love, yelling O-H at strangers on the sidewalk, reveling in the downtown hum, enamored by the tenacity, ingenuity and spirit of the people who call this place home.

So, here is what I can tell you for certain. We’ve got a rare kind of magic in this town. You'll find it sprinkled everywhere, from our Shoe to our suburbs. We are a city where people turn potato salad into positivity and tell stories by the scoop. We’ve got pride in our place and pride in our people. Whenever and wherever you conjure up the spirit of  Sloopy or Caroline, someone (clad in red) will be there to get your back. Of that, you can rest assured. We’re helpers and dreamers and world-changers. We’re a city that cheers for science nerds, band geeks and artists. We're weird. We're happy. We're scrappy and smart. We like big boats and we cannot lie. We’re too many things for one infographic or a single list.

Columbus isn’t obvious; it’s understated and often underestimated. We’re a place people never see coming, which gives us the chance to constantly surprise the world. When they label us “flyover territory” and “cornfield country,” we laugh. Because, yeah, we’ve got your cornfield right here.

Columbus has a way of winning people over. And when it does, you just get it. From the nuts around our necks to the O-H-I-O above our heads, we’re a team here – and we’re all in. We cheer for the underdog. We champion for the success of strangers. We do whatever we can for whomever we can whenever we can. When one of us wins, we all win. We’re a place for everyone. And everyone has a place here.

I won’t pretend to understand the intricacies involved with brewing. (I'm a wine girl, still searching for her soulmate beer.) I don’t know how you make hops hop or how grain goes from barley to bar, but I do know business.

It’s true that brands aren’t built on passion and passion alone, but I'd venture to say you won’t find a single successful company that got where they are without a tribe of passionate people rallying behind their dream, their vision and their spark. You can make things happen anywhere, but if you want more, go with the optimists and visionaries, creatives and believers. Go where people never hesitate to roll up their sleeves and link arms. Go where people aren't afraid to stand up and stand for something. Go home.

Home isn't a zip code. It's where you find your people. Here we are. We’re saving you a home in our city – and in our hearts.

Come home soon.

6 Brands Killing It On Instagram

A wise person once said, "Don't use two words where one will do." Thanks to Instagram, that age-old grain of wisdom seems to be undergoing a revamp, and now advises: "Don't use words where a picture will do." Brands know that Instagram is where the action is, but many are struggling to figure out how to make it relevant to their brand. Sitting squarely at the intersection of artistic expression, inspiration, information and celebration, it's the place to be. But where to begin? Read on for a few examples of brands that are doing Instagram right. But first, a few statistics:

  • 70% of Instagram users check their feed at least once a day, 35 % several times a day. 
  • 71% of the world's top brands are on Instagram.
  • Instagram photos with faces get 35% more comments than those without.
  • Instagram is more popular than Twitter amongst US smartphone users.
  • 57% of the top brand marketers are averaging at least one post a week.


Let's be honest, it's not easy being a humble cup of yogurt in a scoop-of-ice-cream world. Nonetheless, Chobani does a steller job of using Instagram to only showcasing their product, but also to tell a story about the Chobani lifestyle.


Jeni's Ice Cream Speaking of ice cream... With a penchant for unusual flavor combinations like goat cheese + red cherries, sweet cream biscuits + peach jam, and sweet corn + black raspberries, Jeni's Instagram feed reflects the same sense of creative vision, unexpected delight and passion for food the brand is known (and loved) for . (Warning: may cause sudden cravings.)


Billiam Jeans What's more quintessentially American than a pair of jeans crafted in Greenville, South Carolina? Nothing. As a self-professed "company made up of trial and error manufacturers," once glance at their Instagram and it's not hard to believe that this is a brand "learning from rolling up our sleeves and trying to make sense of the process."


Sharpie Everyone loves a Sharpie. No really, everyone. Arguably one of the most recognizable names in pens, Sharpie takes a decidedly different approach compared to most brands. Rather than celebrating their product, their Instagram stream is an ongoing celebration of the things their product empowers fans and brand loyalists to do.


Kittie's Cakes It doesn't take a lot to sell people on the joys of really delicious cupcakes. Convincing them to engage with your brand on Instagram? A little bit harder. Columbus, Ohio-based bakery Kittie's Cupcakes has made Instagram their primary stream for communication. Much like morning announcements in elementary school, each day Kittie's Instagrams photos of that day's baked offerings (they change daily). By 2 or 3 p.m., it's not unusual to Kittie's post a notice that you've missed the rush ... and they're all sold out.


TSA Cupcakes and ice cream were born to pose for photos. But what about a less obvious brand? While the public seems to have, um, mixed emotions about TSA, the agency has started using Instagram as a way to invite the public into their world. Scroll through their stream and you'll discover that it's not all pat downs and body scans...but you will have to leave your cat-shaped brass knuckles at home.