Jury Duty

{by alexis} I know a lot of people grumble when they receive their jury summons in the mail. My mother has been on a few juries, and my brother is always going on and on about what a sweet gig it is. So, when I received the missive, I was excited! It’s sort of like getting your admission to Hogwarts! Okay, maybe not, but I was looking forward to it. I served in the jury pool and eventually on a jury the third week of January at the court of Common Pleas, and have only positive things to say about the experience.

First of all, you get out out of work. Don’t get me wrong — I like my job, but who wouldn’t enjoy switching it up a bit! With the summons you’ll receive clear and explicit instructions on how to be excused if you think you’re eligible, in addition to the answers to the questions your mind is already preoccupied with, like parking, payment, whether there will be coffee. So just read your darn summons.

Common Pleas pool service is one week and Municipal Court asks you to hang tight for two. And really, it’s not so bad! They’ve got super comfortable leather chairs, they offer coffee and tea, and even a small kitchen so that you can bring your own food. They play movies during the week while you wait, and there’s a separate quiet room for those who wish to work, or would prefer to stick their nose in a book for four blissful hours on a Tuesday afternoon. Can you guess which group I belong to?

jury duty | wander & whine

I got called for jury selection on Wednesday afternoon. I was finally seated on a jury on Thursday morning, and the case wrapped up by Friday afternoon, including our deliberation.

Once you get up to the courtrooms, you get a lovely view of downtown Columbus.

jury duty | wander & whine

jury duty | wander & whine

jury duty | wander & whine

They’re going to tell you that a real courtroom is not like TV, but I’m here to say they’re wrong! Maybe I got “lucky” on the case, but there was enough drama to keep it interesting. Fortunately, I wasn’t placed on a case that dealt on something like rape or murder, so it wasn’t too disturbing to listen to, even though it was a criminal case. The judge and lawyers were extremely smart, and friendly — even to each other!

Deliberation was an interesting process. It took us about two hours to come to a decision, and everyone took seriously the instructions of the judge. We talked out a million different perspectives on almost every detail of the case. By the time we walked back into the courtroom, I was 100% confident that our verdict was the right one. Before we left, the judge thanked us, and the attorneys allowed us to ask questions about the case. They also asked us a few questions, too.

jury duty | wander & whine

The moral of the story is that your jury summons is not a sentence in itself — take the opportunity to interact with your local government, and learn more about the system we’re all subject to. It’s pretty exciting to see it all in action.

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Helloween at Double Comfort

{by alexis}–I know Halloween is over, but let’s go back a bit. On October 24 and 25, Double Comfort Restaurant hosted Helloween — a five course dinner, each course featuring a dish spicier than the one that came before it. Spicy, they said. Take some pepto bismol, they told me. Well, folks, I’m here to say that MY MOUTH IS STILL ON FIRE.

My husband and a few brave family members crowded around a table in the restaurant Friday night after work. We started with Terrifying Russian Roulette Meatballs. One skewered meatball on the plate was filled with a disturbing amount of pequin chili peppers. I avoided that meatball, fortunately, and lived to see another round.

helloween at double comfortNext came the Double Comfort Hell Cakes, which are really corn cakes with jalepeños and habeñero cole slaw. This was THE BOMB. Not the spicy bomb, just the bomb. So good. I would order these up all the days of my life, if I had a chance.

helloween at double comfortNext came the round I was dreading: the Taunting Wings of Mass Destruction. Wings are hard for me in general (how am I supposed to get all this meat off this bone?).

helloween at double comfortBy the end, I was wearing most of the sauce and the heat had spread from my mouth and lips to my CHEEKS. That is a weird sensation, flaming skin.

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And now we move on to the Scarrrr-y Trinidad Ghost Chili & Habenero Mac & Cheese. This was a sleeper spicy. I got a few mouthfuls into this dish and I was like, no big deal. I could eat this all day, yo. And then my face melted off and my esophagus tried to self-destruct. THIS WAS SORCERY. My beer did little to quell the flames and I BARELY made it through this round, but conquer the mac and cheese I did.

helloween at double comfortThis brings us to the final flaming course: The Fire-Breathing Etouffee. This arrived and I was like, what soup? Queue up another bowl! And I saw the rice and I’m all, it has built-in extinguishing properties! But then I ate a spoonful. And then I ate another, and it was honestly like my gums were trying to flee my mouth. The burn was total and complete, and I was done. That was it. I had to tap out. I sat back in my chair, watched them whisk away the bowl of death, and welcomed a creamsicle. Who knew that creamsicles were instant relief?

helloween at double comfortFinally, we were served a chocolate cayenne ice cream. I was a big fan of the cookie shell it was served in, and, even though I didn’t earn it, Joe let me share his. Because of COURSE he finished. OF COURSE, the man with the steel belly passed with flying colors. Maybe he’ll let me share his tshirt, too!

double comfortDouble Comfort is located at 505 N High Street. T-Th, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-9pm; Fri, 11am-11pm; Sat, 9am-11pm; Sun, 9am-2pm.

A Wander & Whine Wedding

{by alexis}–I can’t believe it’s been two years. It’s been two years since Joe and I took the plunge and said I Do. To celebrate here on the blog, I thought I’d share a little bit of our day, and shine a light on some of the most amazing wedding-related vendors in our big little town of Columbus.

I’m so psyched to see all the October love all over social media! I was an original fan, and have always known it’s the most beautiful month — and that’s why we chose to get married in it!

I know what you’re thinking — doesn’t your husband worship at the altar of Buckeye Football? How did he deal with a fall wedding? At first we aimed for the bye week, but once it was clear that every other bride-to-be in a 100-mile radius had the same idea, we settled on a Friday. October 12.

And it was glorious.

photography by Hunter Harrison

Our wedding was perfect and beautiful and more fun than I’d ever have thought. But I can’t take any credit for it. What I WILL take credit for is hand-picking a team of all-star vendors. Every single person we worked with was off-the-charts professional and exceptionally talented. This is really their story.

Let’s start with the most visible and arguably the most important: the photographer. We got real, REAL lucky, and booked Hunter Harrison, a photographer out of Cleveland. He traveled down for our wedding, and I was smitten with him from day one. At our engagement shoot, he suggested we stop for a drink to “loosen up.” Hunter, did I mention I love you? He was so important on the day of the wedding: I plagiarized his day-of schedule and distributed it to our bridal party and families as my own work. He kept us moving and on schedule. He delivered the photos quickly. Truly, Hunter was the picture of a professional (see what I did there?), and I was pretty impressed with myself for booking him. Please know that all of the photography on this post is his, and yes it’s proof you should run and book him right away.

The next most important piece of the puzzle was the venue. Joe and I hit it out of the park with our selection, for sure.

photo by Hunter Harrison

Right in the middle of downtown is the Athletic Club of Columbus. And inside, they have the best team of chefs, servers, and our unparalleled wedding coordinator Kelly Freeman. Kelly was with us from the very beginning, and all the way through the end. She guided us through everything, and when it was time for the big event, she organized everything for us: from the flower and cake drop-offs, to the set-up for the DJ and the cocktail hour pianist. We just dropped off all of our knick-knacks (you know, place cards, favors, all of the nine million tiny detail items that are impossible to keep straight), and I never thought of them again. It was all just…done. Joe and I showed up married and full of champagne, and everything was as perfect as it could possibly be. A shout out to the server who hovered around and made sure my champagne coupe was full all night.

In short, Kelly and the rest of the team at the Athletic Club are MAGICIANS, okay? And that’s who need on your team.

I have to say my favorite wedding detail was the flowers, done by the best florist in all the land, Flowers on Orchard Lane. Look at these beauties.

photography by Hunter Harrison

Look at all the cool non-flowers in there! My grandparents were florists, so this detail was really important to my mom and me. The flowers are so rich and interesting. I wanted seasonal and different, and good LORD they delivered. But this isn’t the best part. Check out the head table.

photography by hunter harrison photography by Hunter Harrison

Those hydrangeas are the stuff of dreams. During our first consultation, I sheepishly mentioned that my fantasy wedding involved a huge hydrangea runner. And guess what? they didn’t laugh! Jan fit it into the budget and seemed as enthusiastic about it as I was. And then they made it happen. These are some of my favorite pictures. I can’t believe this came true.

You’ll notice my head table is a little different than the traditional table up on risers. I hated the idea of putting my bridal party and ourselves on display, so when Kelly suggested a Tuscan table, where our bridal party and their dates could enjoy the dinner like any party, I was sold.

On those plates, you’ll see our menus. They were customized and part of our wedding invitation package, done by my friend Lynn, a ridiculously talented professional designer. She was able to design a unique suite based on a few other packages that I was drawn too, and we were especially inspired by the font that Lindey’s uses at their restaurant.

photography b Hunter Harrison

Thanks to Dan Woods for being our model here!

photography b Hunter Harrison photography b Hunter Harrison

I still want to keel over with joy looking at all these paper goods. Lynn is SUCH a talent, and I’ve happily used her work on several parties since.

Our awesome DJ was Byron from Buckeye Entertainment. He got all the details and names right, and kept the party moving and right on schedule.

Oh, and our favors! I know you know I’m from Michigan and since this was a pretty Ohio-heavy event, I wanted to bring some Michigan flavor to the proceedings. We ended up ordering a bajillion pounds of fudge from Joann’s Fudge on Mackinac Island.

photography b Hunter Harrison

And they went with the theme! I confess to ordering a smidge more than necessary, and gorging on them once I didn’t have a teeny-tiny dress to fit into. They were so easy to work with, and I think our guests enjoyed it, too!

Speaking of all things chocolate, I know you’re curious about our cake! We ordered from Short North Piece of Cake. One of the perks of wedding planning is samples from all of the best bakeries in the area. Their cake was the bomb, and they were even willing to accommodate my crazy request for gold buttercream.

photography by Hunter Harrison

And there are those beautiful flowers again, too! We had Flowers on Orchard Lane use fresh dahlias as cake toppers. I’ll tell you this cake was even delicious a year later. We spent our first anniversary roaming around Italy, and when we were home and exhausted, we dug into that top tier. Still good!

I should talk a touch more about my dress. Dress shopping was my absolute favorite part of wedding planning — wedding dresses are works of art. They are so thoughtfully and well constructed, they make everyone look beautiful. I had a hard time choosing, but when I did, I ordered a Tara Keely from Girls in White Dresses. I picked up the belt from Etsy.

photography b Hunter Harrison

It was a perfect day. The fact that we were disaster-less had everything to do with the people I worked with. Every one of them delivered something beyond my expectations, and I was free to enjoy the evening with my newly-minted husband.

So, happy anniversary to my darling husband! We’re celebrating this year with a slightly less exotic trip to Kentucky, to toast each other with glasses full of bourbon. The past two years have flown, but I love taking this a moment to remember the day we committed ourselves to one another, and all the people that contributed to making it as picture-perfect as it was. That said, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite photos from Hunter.

photography by Hunter Harrison

A pre-wedding toast at Tip Top!

photography by Hunter Harrison photography by Hunter Harrison photography by Hunter Harrison

Oh, and if your tastes are slightly less domestic, be sure to ask Alicia about her Costa Rican beach wedding!

Nine Innings with the Clippers at Huntington Park

{by alexis}–I can’t believe it’s September already. Sadly, that means summer is almost over. Alarming, but true. But it’s not too late to enjoy the weather, and do those most summer-y of activities! It was in this mindset that husband and I slipped on our sneakers, T-shirts, and ball caps and headed to Huntington Park to see the Columbus Clippers take on their latest opponent.

I love baseball games. There is something so simple and comforting about the dusty, leather gloves, the crack of the bat, and the over-priced plastic cups of beer, so full you can’t leave the counter before taking a healthy sip. Evening games are particularly lovely, thanks to the light from a summer sunset.

And these seats. You really can’t beat these seats.

huntington park

Instagram is a great constant reminder of how beautiful our city is (you can follow me @alexishattie), but this vantage point was like living the dream.

We happened to go on wing night, and though I’d pretty much never order wings off the menu (please don’t revoke my membership card to the dive bar appreciation club!), the batch we had from Rooster’s was salty, the sauce tangy, and they had enough heat to give us an excuse to happily reach for our beers.

I guess it’s tradition that makes baseball games such fun. The seventh-inning stretch, the familiar songs, and the games between innings are all like catching up with an old friend. I find myself cheering way too loud for the relay races and the mascots alike

huntington park

My baseball buddy was into this race as well, and while he was busy hooting and hollering, I took a moment to admire our footwear.

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My shoes are cute, but they don’t hold a candle to his velcro-y Spiderman kicks. (I feel obligated to share with you that these are my favorite walking shoes of all time. This version of Clark’s women’s Wallabees are difficult to find, but they got me through Ireland and Italy last year, and they can’t be beat. In my opinion, they’re not hideous either.)

Meanwhile, the night just kept getting lovelier.

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We watched the rest of the game cheering in all the right places and ducking from foul balls. We shared a giant bucket of popcorn and maybe even a few more beers before heading home into the dark. Yes, summer is sadly ending, but in a few months, it will roll around again. Of course, you’ll enjoy baseball through October, but even when that ends, I promise: it’s not long till opening day.

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