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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Counting Crows at LC Pavilion


Last week, Wander & Whine took a field trip to the Lifestyles Communities Pavilion to see the Counting Crows and Toad the Wet Sprocket. This is one of Alicia’s favorite venues, but it was my first visit. I’ve told my husband before that I am too old for concerts now: the jostle, the over-priced beers, and the late-nights make me want to crawl underneath my down comforter. But this concert was exactly what I needed.

With husbands in tow, we met on the hill. We were joined by Megan, a blog favorite, and her husband as well. It was a reunion of sorts, and we were ready to celebrate. Here were are, before all that celebrating.

wander and whine

Yes, we realize we are getting “bombed” by…a guy in the back. We don’t care! But back to the celebration, do you see that beer in Alicia’s hand? THAT THING IS HUGE. I found out later that these things cost $11, yes, but they are close to 3 beers EACH. This means you need to pace yourself. Concerts are long, and you have to stand. TAKE YOUR TIME.

Soon, Toad the Wet Sprocket came on, and they were quite good! I was especially thrilled when they sang “Walk on the Ocean,” and I’m sure our neighbors were equally thrilled when I belted out my rendition. Do you know what Toad the Wet Sprocket looks like? I didn’t either. Here you go!

toad the wet sprocket

i did not take this picture

Here they are. They put on a good show!

The time between the two acts left time for more beer guzzling, catch-up chit chat, future plan making, and general merry-making. Thom and I argued over whether Adam Duritz dated Jennifer Aniston or Courtney Cox (answer: BOTH). And then it was time for the main act. We stood, and sang when possible, and bopped around. The crowd was into it, for sure.

counting crows at the lc pavilion

alicia is so mad about the quality of this picture

I couldn’t WAIT to hear “Long December.” I wouldn’t shut up about it all night. When are they going to play Long December. Is this Long December? They better play Long December. Of course, I had to make a run to the ladies’ (thanks, $11 beer), and I waited till they BEGAN a song I didn’t know. While gone, I heard the song end. I heard the round of applause. I heard another song begin, and then my phone started going insane in my purse. Guess what, people. THEY WERE PLAYING LONG DECEMBER. I bowled over several waiting patrons and sprinted back to the hill to hear the end. THE END. I missed the light attaching to the pearl, and all the best bits. What luck is this?!

In any case, they were quite good. I know my fellow concert-goers were a little bummed they didn’t get to hear Mr. Jones (thanks, Obama), and I don’t blame them. At least I had half of Long December to live off of for the rest of my life.

Hamlet in Schiller Park


I feel like this has been the most beautiful summer already. It must be the hideous winter we just escaped, but I swear, every sunny day makes me happier than the sunny day before. I take walks around my building at lunch, just to remind myself that, yes, Ohio can be lovely. We need to stockpile these days; who knows what we’re in store for come January.

With summer comes one of my favorite traditions: Shakespeare in Schiller Park by the Actors’ Theater. Every year, husband and I unearth the fold up chairs we bought for a performance years ago, chill a bottle of white wine (screw top if you don’t have a traveling bottle opener), and toss together a bag with Tervis tumblers, snacks, and a blanket for the second act. This year, we added a new parcel to the mix, and packed up this little guy.


Yes, you know Indy. He’s a great lover of the bard, and begged us not to leave him at home. Plus, he wanted to show off his new haircut! The thing about Indy, though, is that he’s not very good. Big crowds are tough for him: so many plants to sniff! So many people to growl at!

While husband focused on wrangling the beast, I focused on enjoying the evening. Schiller Park is a relaxing, bucolic setting for the play. It’s so nice to sit back in the grass, the very grass that six months ago was covered in FEET of snow, and take in a show.


Did I mention that this is free? Well, I should have! The Actors’ Theater is a troupe that performs a few shows throughout the summer in various outdoor venues. They do accept donations, and we also try to pitch in. You should, too! This year, they’re doing promotions with the local eateries. If you eat at the designated restaurant on the designated evening and mention that you’re headed to the show, the restaurant will donate a portion of your bill. Thursday, the night we were there, they were partnered with Schmidt’s Restaurant. (Which I have recommended before and will HEARTILY recommend again.)

And so Hamlet began. Though I’d read it in college (I swear!), I have never seen the show performed live (though, you should ask me about that time I saw The Tempest in Stratford-upon-Avon starring Patrick Stewart as Prospero — TRUE STORY). This version did something a little different, and cast a female actress in the titular role. I love it! The best actor for the job should absolutely be the one that’s cast, and, after all, Shakespeare did all his shows with male actors. Why not do a little gender swapping of our own?

Indy wasn’t quite as entranced, however, and seemed more interested with the other theater-goers and their snacks.


Husband had to abandon his seat in the interest of preventing a canine meltdown. Indy has this charming habit of crying often, for no clear reason. Just a pointed whine, here, there, and all over Hamlet’s monologue (though that’s no reflection on the actress!). Eventually, we decided to move our little party to the way, way back, where we wouldn’t disturb anyone else. Lucky for me, it was gorgeous there, too.


As the sun set, we found ourselves in the middle of a constellation of fireflies. Honestly, there must have been twenty of them, popping up all around us. Indy was thoroughly entertained, chasing after the lights before they blinked out. I took the opportunity to admire dusk in the park.

schiller park

Before long, we were both tired of restraining the monster and decided to call it a night (plus the wine was gone). We didn’t get to see the ending, but I know what happens. Even with a bad dog, it was a lovely evening, and I’m grateful for a neighborhood that welcomes such an event, and for the actors and crews that put the show on. We’ll be back for The Barber of Seville! This time, though, we may leave poor Indy at home.

Advance Screening of Obvious Child


Obvious Child

Fellow Cbusers, are you still nailing down your Thursday night plans? Our friends at A24 Films are offering our readers free passes to an advance screening of Obvious Child at the Drexel Theatre!

Description: Starring Jenny Slate (aka Jean Ralphio’s sister on Parks & Rec) as a stand-up comedian who gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for the worst/best St. Valentine’s Day of her life, Obvious Child premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews ahead of its June 27 opening date. The Guardian compares the film to Frances Ha or Lena Dunham’s Girls, “but it has a bounce and vitality that is inimitably its own.”

Tomorrow looks to be another hot and muggy night, so why not stay cool at the Drexel with a cold brew? Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and claiming two tickets is as simple as clicking here and enter the code: GAEDPZ

Tickets are limited, so get yours quick! Make sure to show up early as seats are first come, first serve! 

The Drexel Theatre is located at 2254 E. Main Street, Bexley.

An Afternoon with Cash Explosion


There were a lot of surprises waiting for me when I moved to Ohio: crazy football fans, countless local restaurants, and more fun than I knew how to have. But my favorite discovery has to be Cash Explosion.

We moved to German Village a few years ago in March, in the middle of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. We didn’t have our cable hooked up yet, so husband high-tailed it to a local bar, while I laid flat on my back on our couch with our tv propped up on the coffee table. Winston and I (my late furry nephew that we happened to be dog sitting) curled up and flipped through the three channels we could get without cable. It was a Saturday, and there was nothing. Until Cash Explosion came on. I was enthralled! What magic local game show had I discovered!

Ever since, whenever we’re at home on a Saturday night, we scramble to tune into Cash Explosion, and for many months I had been begging my husband to escort me to a filming. Believe it or not, it is hard to get tickets! Every time we clicked to reserve our free tickets, we found they were already filled up. I feel like no one but me is even AWARE of the audience in Cash Explosion: WHO is reserving these tickets?!

One magical day several weeks ago, we were able to get our tickets reserved, and we met at the studio in Hilliard on a Thursday afternoon to live my dream. As soon as you arrive the excitement begins, and a very enthusiastic host underneath an inflatable tent selects folks to play a mini Cash Explosion game for prizes.

photo(2)As we were ushered in, we were given raffle tickets (pro tip: bring nonperishables to donate for an extra ticket!) and stadium cushions for comfort. The view on the walk inside the studio is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

cash explosion

Once inside you get a lesson on how to be excited on camera! The reader’s digest version is watch the camera guy, follow directions, and yell a lot. Pretty simple. Here’s the hype guy.

cash explosionWe practiced our yelling for a little while, and they got shots of the crowd cheering. I’ve got to tell you, my husband is basically a professional cheer-er (I guess the word here is cheerleader, but I can’t do that to him). The man can YELL. And you should hear his clap — it’s like Zeus himself is applauding from Olympus. Thunder rains down on poor people in front of us. Thanks to his skill, it should be no surprise that he won the “enthusiastic cheering” competition, and took home a cooler, a t-shirt, and a few hats as a result.

Eventually, they bring in the talent. The hosts record a few bits of dialogue while the crowd yells and quiets on cue. Then come the contestants; many of the other audience members are there to cheer on a friend or family member, so this part is fun, too.

cash explosionThey play through the whole show, and record a few more host chit-chatting bits throughout, but the whole thing didn’t take more than an hour and half. We were both hoarse at the end, but it was such fun! They do giveaways at several points in the evening, and we won travel cups and lots and lots of lottery tickets (no big winners, sadly).

If you’ve got an afternoon (and can reserve a ticket!), it’s a fun and different thing to do. Be prepared to yell, and laugh, and have a good time.

And, if you’re a fan of the show, ours airs on June 28. Let me know if you see me!

Blogger Meetup at The Crafty Pint


I know we’ve said this a million times, but one of our favorite things about blogging (autocorrect keeps trying to change that to ‘blowguns’) is meeting so many creative and like-minded people. We’ve been to a few meetups at this point, and it’s always fun to see the faces behind the blogs we read. Many of us local bloggers contribute to Live Cbus, and we recently had the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by meeting at the new gastropub The Crafty Pint.

Alexis and I joined Andrea of Simply Vague, Autumn from Best of the Menu, Maria of Sift and Whisk, Nicole from A Local Choice, Elizabeta from Mrs. Ladylike, and Lauren from A Few of My Favorite Things to talk blogs and there may have been some booze involved.

I was a tad too excited about this meetup, because I got a speeding ticket on the way there. I should mention I live a mile away at the most. Wait, why did I mention that–I’m doing a terrible job at combating female/Asian driver stereotypes right now. For the record, this speeding ticket was more like entrapment. I promise I’m a good driver! I know, between this and my parking ticket in Nashville, that declaration sounds rather like a lie.

Anyway, it was a perfect day to have a brew on the patio, so I listened to my server (rule number one) and had a crisp Brew Kettle Summer Solstice to drown my sorrows.

Brew Kettle Summer Solstice BeerOkay, Crafty Pint. Who told you about my obsession with monocles, top hats, and foxes? HOW I LOVE ALL THE DAPPER THINGS. Plus, adorable mason jars and bandana napkins tied with twine? You’re killing me Smalls.

After literally “eeing” over everything (Alexis is a real champ to willingly be seen in public with me), it was time to order sustenance. I only got photos from my end of the table, but everything was on point. I mean, look at Autumn’s colander of chips and guacamole:

Chips and guacamole

Flatbreads were big with this crowd. Alexis and Maria had the blueberry goat cheese (yes, you heard correctly) while Nicole went with this shrimp number:

shrimp flatbreadSince I am terrible at pacing myself (I had grazed all morning long), I went with a light snack of crab cakes:

photo 5Two hours flew by as we talked, laughed, and got to know each other better. As a parting gift, Andrea gave us bags full of swag from her awesome vendors.

Gift bag

Unpictured is the outrageous cookie from Leonard’s Cookies n’ More.

Leonard! I’m so sorry that I inhaled your cookie before taking a photo. To be fair, it was too delicious to deny. Also missing from that photo is an “Adopt” shirt from Personal Baggage (must love cats) and what I call my mood bracelet from Curious Compositions, but that’s because I’m currently wearing them. A huge thank you to the Simply Vague artisans for their generous gifts (Nora & Jac, Curious CompositionsGoat Hill ProductionsThe Prettiest PapersPersonal Baggage, Bernie Bean Boutique, Adore Jules, and Leonard’s Cookies n’ More). You all helped me forget about my speeding ticket woes.

If you would like to have your own summertime soiree at The Crafty Pint, it is located at 2234 W. Dublin Granville Rd., Columbus. Hours are Monday through Thursday 4p-midnight, Friday 4p-1a, Saturday 11a-1a, and Sunday from 11a-midnight.

Drink Up Columbus Anniversary Party


Last Thursday evening, instead of changing into my summer evening wardrobe of shorts and a t-shirt, I refreshed my makeup, threw on a light dress and headed out to the Drink Up Columbus Anniversary Party at Strongwater Food and Spirits.


I’ve got to tell you, I love Drink Up Columbus. Recently, Alicia introduced me as the drinking half of Wander & Whine, so it’s only natural that I would be a fan of any publication centered on beer and cocktails in the city I love.

We met outside and wandered in together, to the big, open space, that was filled with revelers with sloshing pints of beer. We’ve spent some time in this space before, at the winter farmer’s market at 400 W. Rich Street. It’s a giant, unfinished space, with skylights that span the whole building, keeping the party bright far into the evening.


Once we collected our name tags at the door, we made a beeline over to the bar. I had a hunch there would be good beers there, and we were not disappointed. We stuck with the blonde selection the night through, but sampled the others when we got a chance. The party was casual; every so often founder Cheryl Harrison would say a few words and give away a few fantastic prizes, and other times, DJ Chris Flohr kept the party vibe happening.

It was a great chance to meet some other bloggers in the area, not to mention Cheryl Harrison herself! We ran into another personal favorite, Sofia, the talent behind Caviar and Quarters, who introduced us to our new best friend, Erin, from Planning for Paris. The people are the best part about these events: we love meeting these kindred spirits who share what we love. And they’re always such fun! We also spent some time chatting with the folks behind Smokehouse Brewing Co, and quickly added that to our list of must-trys around town.

Also, there was cake! Did I mention cake?! Not just one cake but THREE whole cakes from Eight Cakes a Week for the sampling! My husband came along, so between the three of us, we were able to taste every variety offered. A new friend recommended the hefeweizen cake with orange buttercream, and he was right; it was definitely the best! We also tried the chocolate stout, and beer and pretzels (!) cake.

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As if a night full of beer, new blogger friends and cake wasn’t enough, I won a prize! When Cheryl called my name, I embarrassed my whole party with a Price is Right “Come on Down” dance all the way to the front of the crowd, but who cares? I HAD WON! In the bag was a neat collection of swag from Buckeye Lake Brewery. I’ve never been, so this means I must go immediately.

A successful night, to say the least. Thanks to Drink Up Columbus and Cheryl for the invite, the cake, the beer, and the good time. I’ll come to another of your parties any day!