Looking Back on 2014

It’s been quite a year for us! Since meeting you, we’ve learned a lot, grown a lot, and made more than a few changes between the two of us. We’re grateful for all of you, readers, as well as the wonderful people we’ve met in this world of Columbus bloggers. Tonight, we’re going to eat too much, wear a few too many sparkles, and toast with too many glasses of champagne. But, before it’s entirely behind us, here are some highlights from 2014.

{Alicia’s Year at a Glance}

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February: First blog post on Wander & Whine
March: Anniversary trip to New Orleans where I ate and saw all the things
May: Roadtripped to Nashville (Pt. I + II)
July: Spent a day in Savannah | Lounged in Hilton Head | Fell in love with Charleston | Ate everything in sight
August: Started a new job
September: Looked back on an amazing summer
October: Took in the beauty at Hocking Hills
November: Wandered to NYCProceeded to eat everything

*My Most Popular Post: Made LOCAL Market
*My Favorite Post of Alexis’: Helloween at Double Comfort. She was live texting me during the event, and the sheer drama and YELLING made me laugh out loud. Plus, the gif she uses from Clue–“Flames on the side of my face”–was too perfect.
*My Favorite Post to Write: I had a lot of fun compiling my favorite places in Las Vegas #tbt. Rereading it makes me want to plan another visit!


{Alexis’ Year at a Glance}

village lights | wander & whine

February: First blog post on Wander & Whine
March: St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago
May: Had some hits and misses in San Diego | Birthday celebrations left and right
June: Started a new job | Was an audience member at Cash Explosion 36 hours in Vegas
July: Spent a week in the Thumb
September: Cheered on the Columbus Clippers
October: Toured Bourbon Country | Ate well in Louisville | Bachelorette Party in D.C.
November: Further adventures in D.C.

*My Most Popular Post: Fried Chicken Heaven at Double Comfort
*My Favorite Post of Alicia’s: I have to say I love Alicia’s obsession with Tacos Hass. I STILL haven’t made it up there (Dublin, why are you so far!), but when I get there I know exactly what to order!
*My Favorite Post to Write: Has to be my visit to 16-Bit Bar + Arcade and Dirty Frank’s. It’s my favorite bar in Columbus, and, NBA JAM.

Thanks for reading, today, and all the days. We promise to keep it coming in 2015, and we hope you’ll go along for the ride!

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Presents to Self

{by alicia + alexis} It’s the time of year for the gift guide, no? We’ve posted one, and some of our favorite bloggers have posted their own versions, too. But what you don’t often see is what the bloggers are buying themselves. In this post, we’ll both list the treasures we picked up for ourselves while shopping for the other folks in our lives.

{Alexis’ List}

things I bought myself | wander & whine

one. This is the season for warm, over-sized sweaters, and, in my opinion, no one does it better than Vince. I picked this up on Gilt during Black Friday sales and paid next to nothing. Pro tip: do NOT size up. Not a member of Gilt Groupe yet? If you’re curious enough to give it a go, consider using my invite link; then I could buy more sweaters!

two. These are the Dannie pants from J.Crew. You hear a lot about the Minnies, and even the Curators, but these are the true unsung heros. In total, I’ve got four pairs of these pants, including a version with leather details. I like a work pant that’s slim, but not tight around the ankle. They come in three flattering dark colors, and the best part? They’re machine washable!

three. Ask Alicia: I’ve been hunting for a planner for MONTHS. After all the searching, I ended up buying the first one I looked at, which is this spiral bound beauty from Paper Source. It’s got enough room to write, and keeps the monthly calendars together and separate from the weeklies.

four. Anthropologie is my kryptonite. I was NOT disappointed by this beautiful blazer, though it needed a good steaming once it arrived.

five. I’ve been trying to hold off on buying any home goods till we buy a house (STILL LOOKING), but I couldn’t resist this gold constellation tray from C. Wonder. It can catch jewelry, nightstand minutiae, or even mail.

six. This is the Kate Spade cupcake skirt I’ve been lusting after forever, and I can’t wait to wear it on Christmas eve! Don’t worry — I did not pay as much as you see on the link. This was another one of my Gilt finds.

seven. Sephora has been running a good amount of deals this month, and I’m always more than happy to pick out a present for myself. I’ve been into masks lately, and here’s a collection of trial sized goodies that won’t break the bank.

eight. Speaking of breaking the bank…I have been coveting this Tory Burch York Buckle tote, but it has been excluded from literally every sale she’s run on her site. Cue dramatic tantrums and epic frustration. But! Shopbop saved the day with their sitewide discount, and I saved myself a cool $50. (Still expensive, I know but it’s something.) This bag is the workday BOMB.

nine. Another Paper Source purchase! This personalized notebook is perfect for throwing in my bag for on-the-spot notes. I chose the “bombshell” font for a more whimsical look. No, I didn’t order one with the name Jeremiah Potter on the cover.

ten. Anthropologie strikes again. This removable fur collar won me over, and it’s coziness earned it some space in my closet. It will be perfect Christmas morning present-opening and pup-snuggling.

{Alicia’s List}

things i buy | wander & whine

one. Since I’m all about comfort these days, I have been living in this furry hooded parka from ASOS. It’s warm without being bulky, and I got it for an absolute steal during the madness of Black Friday.

two. Francesca’s is my go-to shop for statement necklaces, and it didn’t disappoint when I was looking for some sort of bauble to jazz up my holiday frock. I especially like this one because of the multicolor beads–it complements so many outfits! It’s also great for ramping up your everyday look without being too dressy.

three. My skin is hideously dry in the winter, and this light cleansing oil from The Face Shop gives me an extra surge of moisture while melting every inch of makeup off my face. Don’t be afraid of putting oil on your face. This cleanser doesn’t clog your pores in the slightest, especially when you follow up with a gentle foam wash.

four. I work at a startup, so the dress code is pretty lax. Though I try not to be a total slob, I took my footwear a step further and adapted these moccasins into an office slip on. The furry lining keeps my feet extra warm which is great for those of us with poor circulation, and I’m cozy all day long!

five. Do I even need to explain this one? It combines all of my favorite things into one perfect shoe. Cake! Polka dots! Pink! Conversation starter! I can’t wait until spring when it’s warm enough to bust them out every single day.

six. My mother is Korean, therefore my skin regimen is super Korean (she’s in her fifties and her skin is to die for, so my night routine is like 10+ steps). This also applies to my makeup regimen. There is a total difference between real BB cream imported from Korea, and the stuff I find in the states (which is more like tinted moisturizer). So, I tend to sway towards Korean brands like Skin Food and Tony Moly for my fix. Target is now carrying Laniege (another awesome brand), so I had to try their BB Cushion. This handy compact makes it easy to swipe on in the morning and touch up during the day. PLUS, it has SPF 50! Bonus!

seven. I love how this watch from Rakani is reminiscent of Dali’s melting clocks. Plus, I wanted a cheerful color for these gray winter days and this pink and rose gold combo fits the bill nicely!

eight. Philosophy’s  3-in-1 washes are the best. Not only do they smell delicious (I always want to eat the bottle), but they multitask, and take up less space in the shower. When I saw the Pink Frosted Animal Cracker scent (I almost wrote “flavor”), I had to have it!

nine. Blanket scarves are a game changer. Between these and my sweater cape, I am authorized to go into public swathed in a throw. You guys, blankets are parading as clothing and it’s socially acceptable! What’s crazier is that I get daily compliments on my said blanket outfits. Comfort fashion for the win!

ten. Adult onesies are genius. Don’t we all secretly want to revert back to childhood? Sure we do! I unabashedly rock a plush, cat-print version on the weekend (no shame), and it’s like I’m a cozy bear. I hear you laughing. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Cravings Carryout

{by: alicia} Every weekend, I try to find an excuse to go to Italian Village. I can’t help it. It’s where my favorite coffee shop lives, and it’s the only place in town you can find a bronut.

No, it’s not some douchey pastry. It’s brioche + donut, and the geniuses at Cravings Carryout serve them up the second Saturday of each month.

Cravings Carryout Bronut

A glazed bronut with gingerbread coffee. To live for. Also, that polar bear. I can’t.

Cravings Carryout is about the size of a shoebox, but if you’re lucky, you can snag one of the few seats indoors. Otherwise, do as the name suggests and take your food to go.

Cravings Carryout

Though it’s small inside, it’s big on personality.

Cravings Carryout

Cravings Carryout

Did Ron Swanson build this table? GIVE.

I went to the last Bronut Takeover with a friend, which is always a bonus because that means I can sample multiple flavors. Maria got the blackberry, which was so delicious, that I forced her to trade me. Sorry friend. I didn’t even KNOW I liked blackberry that much until this happened.

Blackberry Bronut from Cravings Carryout Columbus, Ohio

At this point, you’re probably wondering what a bronut tastes like–it’s more about the consistency, really. I’m not a baker, but from what I can tell, the brioche dough lends a rich and tender crumb. I like airier donuts as opposed to dense/cakey, but this was something in between. Just try one.

Since my motto is “eat all the things,” we ordered breakfast to round things out. I am a sucker for burritos, which is fortunate because this was one of the tastiest breakfast burritos to ever hit my palette. It’s so ridiculously simple: scrambled eggs, cheese, peppers, scallions, salsa, potatoes, and avocado, but it’s executed so well.

Breakfast burrito from Cravings Carryout

Maria was beyond happy with her choice of a breakfast roll. I mean, there’s bacon, so it’s already going to be good, and it positively oozed cheddar cheese all over the place. Since I’m a good friend, I allowed her to eat this without my cries of “tradesies!” (It’s okay, she has a child, she’s use to it.)

Breakfast sandwich from Cravings Carryout

STOP TAUNTING ME.

So, you see what I’m dealing with here? Since you’re obviously amped on going, I must insist you plan your first visit around Bronut Takeover. If you’re already an aficionado, let’s have a moment and stare at these photos together. Oh, and I’ll see you in January.

Cravings Carryout is located at 227 East 3rd Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10a-5p, Saturday and Sunday 9a-3p, and closed on Mondays. Bronuts are only available the second Saturday of the month–put it on your calendar.

Village Lights in German Village

{by alexis} I have published many blog posts in which I yell about how wonderful it is to live in German Village. The food, the architecture, the brick-paved roads and — finally! — Village Lights! Every year in early December the city sets out luminaries in the early evening, businesses stay open late, and a Christmas market pops up outside the German Village Meeting Haus. And it is nothing short of holiday magic. This year, the event was sponsored by my beloved Schmidt’s.

village lights | wander & whine village lights | wander & whine

There was no shortage of seasonal cheer. We walked up and down Third Street, following the glowing path. It was a beautifully bright night, with the sky the a blue you find only in early winter.

village lights | wander & whine village lights | wander & whine village lights | wander & whine

Turning down Kossuth, we saw Helen Winnemore’s, which was glittering from corner to corner.

helen winnermore's | wander & whine

The kind folks from Edible Columbus had set up a Christmas cookie table outside, and we chatted while I sipped a cup of hot cider.

helen winnemore's | wander & whine

I can’t tell you how much I love Helen Winnemore’s. It is truly a gem in the local retail scene. They feature gifts, jewelry, home goods, stationary — every beautiful thing you can imagine, from artists who take pride in crafting unique and breathtaking items.

helen winnemore's | wander & whine helen winnemore's | wander & whine helen winnemore's | wander & whine

Those necklaces above are my absolute favorite. They artist has produced drawers full of different collections of jewelry, each featuring a different bloom. They are so different and beyond lovely.

We wandered out of the shop and followed the lights into Schillervillage lights | wander & whinevillage lights | wander & whine

Walking back, we watched a horse drawn carriage pulling along several laughing families. We ducked into the Book Loft (my favorite!) to check out the garden.

village lights | wander & whine

Our last stop was Pistacia Vera, who were hosting a cheery brass band playing holiday tunes. I chimed in (rather loudly) to a sing-a-long version of Rudolph. I know it’s meant for kids, but I can’t help it!

village lights | wander & whine

So, I’ll say it again: German Village is the most wonderful neighborhood, filled with the kindest and most interesting people. I’ll take any opportunity to shout it from the rooftops. Especially when those rooftops glitter like this.

Fox in the Snow Cafe

{by: alicia} The next time you’re in Italian Village, and in the mood for a pick me up, do yourself a favor and check out Fox in the Snow Cafe.

Since opening its doors in October, this cafe has amassed quite a following (myself included) thanks to its amazing atmosphere (so much natural light! so open and modern!) and wondrous drinks and pastries (HOMEMADE POP TARTS–hand pies if we’re being literal). It makes me curse my decision to live up north.

When I first heard about Fox in the Snow in late summer/early fall, my interest was immediate. THE NAME ALONE. I mean, have you SEEN a fox in the snow? It looks something like this.

Courtesy of zastavki.com

Courtesy of zastavki.com

Did you hear that? I apologize for shattering your eardrums. It was me making this loud “eeeeee” sound I do when something too adorable for words. Then I saw the official logo and knew I had found something special.

BEST LOGO.

BEST LOGO.

There is nothing better than a pouncing, hoppy fox. NOTHING. Exhibit A:

Sometimes, I overhype things in my head and end up being disappointed. In this case, my first visit confirmed my suspicions: THIS PLACE IS BOMB.

Pastries from Fox in the Snow Cafe Columbus

Fox in the Snow Cafe

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On my last visit, we made sure to get a variety of pastries and unanimously declared everything amazing. Cinnamon rolls? AMAZING. So soft, perfectly spiced with cinnamon, and the icing wasn’t cloying in the slightest. Also. The lattes (AMAZING) were beautiful and a perfect complement to our baked goods.

Fox in the Snow Cafe drinks

Also amazing were the egg sandwich and hand pie (aka the homemade Pop Tart). There were rave reviews on these, my friends. Look at the flaking crust on that pie. I can hardly contain myself.

Fox in the Snow Cafe Hand pie and egg sandwich

Now let’s take a gander at the doughnut, plump with various fillings and dusted with sugar. I know. By now you are filled with longing and don’t know what to do with yourself. I understand. Scroll on down to get the details to plan your own visit!

Fox in the Snow cafe doughnut
To experience the wonder that is Fox in the Snow, head down to 1031 N. 4th St. Tuesday through Friday from 7a-5p and the weekend from 8a-6p. Parking is available in the lot and on the street.

A Visit to Ivy Bridal Studio

{by alexis} A few weeks ago, I was invited to come and check out Ivy Bridal Studio, a wedding gown salon in Dublin. How could I resist! As I mentioned in my wedding recap, bridal gowns are the absolute best part of planning a wedding. And when would a poor, married lady like me ever get a chance to skip about in the tulle and lace wonderland that is a bridal salon? I jumped at the chance to spend some time gawking at the dresses, and getting to know owner Jackie Trucco.

Calling this place bridal heaven is by no means an exaggeration. You’re welcomed into a big room with tall ceilings, and the walls are lined with rack after rack of diaphanous and silky fabrics, that beg you to touch them. I only wish they had been open when I was shopping for my dress. Instead, they opened their doors in March 2013.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineivy bridal studio | wander & whine The space is carefully and artfully put together, with soothing greys and sophisticated muted pinks and purples. All the better to make the dresses truly pop.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineOnce I stopped running from corner to corner gushing about this dress and that one (seriously, LOOK AT THE SKIRT ON THAT). I let Jackie get a word in on what sets their salon apart from others around town. In case the pictures aren’t hint enough, it’s clear that Ivy Bridal offers a vast variety of types of gown. Yes, you’ll find your lace v-neck…

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineBut also the frothy pink beaded number you thought didn’t exist in real life. It does, and it is GLORIOUS.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineJackie explained that she did an ungodly amount of research before opening, even visiting bridal fashion week in NYC, before picking the designers she wished to work with. She only stocks what she likes. Turns out, I don’t mind it so much either! She did confess to being drawn to this strapless striped number, and you can see why.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineWhere have you seen this before?! Do you not want to crawl in from the bottom and find a fancy party to flounce off to? Can you really ONLY wear this dresses at your own wedding?

And check out this ball gown.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineAre you dead? Have I killed you? If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a sneak peek of my favorite dress in the store.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineThough simple, the details on this dress were so well-done, so sweet I couldn’t stop photographing it. Here’s the front.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whineThe raw-edged lace at the bust! The cummerbund! The teeny-tiny straps! It is all too much for me. Jackie is lucky I didn’t INSIST on putting this bad boy on.

After reminding myself that this wasn’t play time, I asked Jackie what advice she has for brides just beginning their dress shopping, and she suggests staying open to all types of dresses. Convinced you’ll wind up in a sleeved number? Try it on, but don’t forget that dresses like this EXIST:

ivy bridal studio | wander & whine

Jackie also warns against that dress epiphany, the moment that “Say Yes to the Dress” has capitalized on over the years (and YES OF COURSE I WATCH IT). Don’t be discouraged if your heart doesn’t immediately go THAT ONE, THAT ONE. You’ve got a lot to think about: time of day, venue, season — all of these things effect the dress selection.

If you do head into Ivy Bridal Studio, you can expect an intimate experience. They only take one appointment at a time! Just think: You’ve got ALL that hardwood on which to spin! And I absolutely endorse a practicing your dance moves in anything you’re seriously considering. Oh, and they let you take pictures in the dress!

Of course, Jackie does more than just dresses. You can find veils, jewelry, bridesmaid dresses, and the most INSANE (read: amazing) BEJEWELED BOLERO I have ever seen.

ivy bridal studio | wander & whine ivy bridal studio | wander & whine ivy bridal studio | wander & whineI can’t say enough good things about Jackie and the store. The stock is the bomb, and the service is great.

And if you go, can you take me with you? I promise to sit politely on the purple davenport and gush over how lovely you look! I just want to be where the gowns are!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Compensation was provided by Ivy Bridal, but all opinions are my own.

Ivy Bridal Studio is located at 4441 W Dublin Granville Rd in Dublin, Ohio. Hours are by appointment only, but generally Tues-Thurs 11am-7pm; Fri-Sat 10am-5pm; closed Sun-Mon.

For Him and Her Gift Guides

{by alexis} Somehow, Thanksgiving is behind us already, and before us we have the glorious gift-giving holidays, characterized by a frenzied shopping season and long list of those you have to buy for. Here at Wander & Whine, we are great fans of shopping all year round. In fact, I legitimately consider shopping to be one of my most beloved hobbies. So let me help you! What follows is a fool-proof gift guide. First, we have a guide for him.

for him gift guide | wander & whineSee, there’s plenty to choose from!

one. I’m not suggesting you try to buy Schmidt’s the building, but grab a logo tee or a package of sausages and he’ll love you forever.

two. Homage never fails. He wants to go to football games and you want him to not look like he just picked himself up off the floor of the frat house. If he insists that that old shirt with the holes and the mysterious yellow stain is lucky, assure him that this new one will be lucky after a few short games, too. I mean, he trusts his team, right?

three. Booze is always welcome in most places. Try some old scotch, or a new favorite like our own locally distilled Watershed or Oyo. Throw a bow around the neck, and done!

four. Again with the sports. Autographed memorabilia isn’t cheap, but you have so many options. Be sure to find one with a hologram or certificate of authenticity.

five. All of the men in my life love to grill, so you can’t go wrong with a gift set of precisely mixed spice rubs. Check out Etsy if you want something special.

six. Smart watches are perfect for gadget-y guys. This new one from Asus is getting great reviews, and I’ll bet money that the James Bond vibe he gets from this will have him grinning from ear to ear.

seven. Oh, look, we’re drinking again. Buy him fancy cocktail glasses for his new bottle of whiskey, so he can look out the window and pretend he’s Don Draper.

eight. Touch gloves may be unoriginal but I promise he’ll use them. I can’t be the only one who can’t find both gloves after stashing them away for the summer.

nine. Cashmere is another classic gift. He’ll most likely never buy this for himself, but he’ll love wearing it. This is kind of like Mammy’s red petticoat.

ten. Merge his two favorite things, college sports and Star Wars in this t-shirt.

for her gift guide | wander & whineShe’s a tad easier because, well, I’m a she!

one. In my head, I throw a million fancy parties and need to have a million ice buckets for a million bottles of champagne. Help a sister out.

two. Bangles from here to eternity! They go with everything. Buy a few sets for mixing and matching.

three. Why have we only now started putting faux fur on everything? Every year I ask for a giant furry blanket because they are the most wonderful thing to curl up with. Bonus points for a machine washable version.

four. Maybe she’ll want to be more organized if she has pretty things with which to work! Enter this adorable jewelry box.

five. If she’s more of a scatter-everything-everywhere type woman (I can relate), perhaps a tray is the better choice. This will catch jewelry, mail, hand lotion — possibilities are endless!

six. You guys, I’m here to tell you that slippers AREN’T BORING. Cold feet are the WORST side effect of winter, and a nice pair will keep your tootsies toasty.

seven. Though we associate wellies with rain, these warm socks outfit them for snow, too.

eight. Paper Source is the bomb. These wall calendars showcase some of the most original, whimsical patterns and posters I’ve seen. And points for functionality!

nine. If she’s a minimalist, don’t mess up her groove. Grab some geometric post earrings to add a little edge to her look.

ten. Seriously, buy her an infinity scarf. YOU CANNOT HAVE TOO MANY SCARVES. The fur versions are the most attractive to me at the moment, but you can’t go wrong with a cable knit either. The chunkier the better.

eleven. Behold, the blardigan. This magnificent piece combines a blanket and a comfy wrap sweater. I own this in the merlot color and I swear I wear it every day. Clothiers, please continue to make clothing that doubles as bedding. I’ll buy it all.

And there you have it! Hopefully, this will get those gears grinding and you can find something for everyone on your list. Check out some other gift guides from us, too, in case you need more ideas.

I can’t let you go without reminding you to ALWAYS google for a coupon code before you purchase. There’s no reason to pay full price, ever!

What are some of your favorite gifts to give or receive?