Shop Local: Support Farmer’s Markets

The best part about Saturday mornings in the summer are farmers markets! Central Ohio has so many amazing options for farmers markets. This summer, I have visited two that Columbus has to offer: the Worthington Farmers Market and the Dublin Market. The two markets are unique in their own ways, from the fresh baked goods they offer to the local art on display. They are both held on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will continue to run until October.

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I have been going to the Worthington Farmers Market for a few summers and it has easily become something I look forward to every year. The market is set up on a strip of local shops and restaurants. One of my favorite traditions to do while there is enjoy the market and then stop somewhere for brunch [my go-to spots are  La Chatelaine and The Whitney House]. After brunch, I always make sure to pick up a Native Cold Pressed Juice to sip on while I browse the market’s various vendors. The market features a ton of vendors from all over that supply fresh produce, pastries, cheeses, plants and coffee. All of the produce I have gotten from the market have been of the highest quality. The fresh blackberries sold at Worthington are some of the best I’ve ever had, but my absolute favorite market find is the raspberry jalapeno jam [trust me, it’s life changing]. Before leaving, my family always makes sure to stop at The Fromagerie to pick up mouth-watering cheese puff pastries.  

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Though the Worthington Farmers Market has become a summer staple for me, this year I wanted to be sure to also check out a new market. A few weekends ago, I visited the Dublin Market for the first time and loved it. It’s a newer market and features a lot of different vendors compared to the Worthington Market. They have a few booths with handmade kitchenware like bamboo cutting boards and patterned serving bowls that will add a bit of personality to any kitchen. A few local boutiques also set up booths with one-of-a-kind pieces. One of my favorite booths had handmade jewelry that was nothing like I’d ever seen before. To top it off, I didn’t leave the market empty-handed. While pursuing the vendors, I couldn’t help but buy a bouquet of fresh flowers, a chocolate croissant and of course, a cold brew coffee [LVNG Limitless runs on cold brew, honestly]. It was a perfect Saturday morning spent in Dublin, Ohio enjoying all things local. 

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Farmers Markets are the best way to simultaneously support local businesses and vendors while also filling your home with high-quality produce, food and other home goods. Share your favorite local markets with us on Instagram

Discover: Columbus, Ohio

Growing up in a rural village, I always was driving for at least fifteen minutes to find something to do. My house is situated on a corn field in Johnstown, Ohio, which has a few pizza parlors, too many auto shops and a Kroger. The village is so small that I usually tell people I’m from Columbus, and in reality, that’s where I spend most of my time, anyway. I used to hate being so far away from stores and restaurants, but I realized that many places in Columbus are worth the drive. Ohio’s capital may be intimidating to some, but once you find these hotspots and hidden gems, you’ll never want to leave. 

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse

If you’re planning an adventure through Columbus, the best place to stop for a latte [and arguably the best pastries] is The Roosevelt. This coffeehouse is dedicated to fighting against unclear water, human trafficking and hunger, which makes me feel much less guilty for spending money on coffee, and the employees are dedicated to providing the most uplifting experience possible. This coffee shop was introduced to me by a good friend, and now I’m always looking for an excuse to go back! While The Roosevelt is good for a cup of joe on-the-go, at some point, you have to sit in the aesthetically pleasing environment. [Pro tip: you can’t go wrong with their caramel latte!] 

The North Market 

Once you’ve had your fill of coffee, the next place to go is the North Market. I’m a huge fan of farmers markets and love supporting small businesses, and the North Market is the perfect place to do exactly that. Every time I go, I see something new to try! What I love most about it is that you can grab lunch from one of the local vendors and then shop for groceries, like fresh vegetables, all in the same place knowing that every dollar spent is for a good cause. My boyfriend and I love the Taste of Belgium, which makes waffles that are absolutely to die for. If waffles aren’t your thing, they also have tons of other delicious choices [I’ve confirmed]. On the way out, stop for some bubble tea at Bubbles Tea & Juice Co., which, if you haven’t gotten around to trying yet — you need to. 

Pins Mechanical Co.

My boyfriend and I are both fans of old school games, and if you can say the same, Pins Mechanical is the spot for you. This place has almost any game you can think with a design that fits so perfectly into the Columbus aesthetic while still providing old school entertainment and  classic vibes. Bring out your competitive side over a game of bowling, pinball, foosball and more with good company. Before you know it, you’ll lose track of time — I always do! 

Mikey’s Late Night Slice 

If you’ve worked up an appetite from gaming, or if you’re just craving great pizza, Mikey’s Late Night Slice is sure to satisfy. I love coming here because the staff is always hilarious and the food never disappoints. This is one of the best places to sit outside and people watch, and really see Columbus come to life. Not to mention, a whole pizza is absolutely enormous, perfect for sharing with a large group. While there are tons of quirky and creative menu items, I always go for the classic pepperoni. If you go, don’t forget to try all of the different sauces they offer, especially the unicorn sauce — I could tell you about it, but it’s best to try it for yourself! 
These Columbus staples are literally just a few of the venues that make the city so great. I’ve been going back and forth to Columbus since I was a little girl, and still, there is so much for me to see! It’s a huge place to explore, but definitely a must. The next time you’re out and about, consider making the trip over — I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Discover: German Village, Columbus, OH

This month’s Hometown Hangout was spent falling in love with a small, unique part of Columbus: German Village. My family and I came out for a fun outing after work. We started the day at Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees, browsing their chocolate selection, and picked an assortment to snack on while we drank our coffees. I absolutely loved the dark chocolate pecan wurtles [their take on a turtle], pecan bark and peanut butter delights. The chocolates paired perfectly with their almond milk latte! 

After we finished our coffees we strolled down the street while admiring the beautiful brick roads and unique homes. One home was staged for an open house, so we got a good look on the inside. It was so adorable and perfect for a small family! I would love to live in a small neighborhood like this one day [preferably in Chicago or New York City though]. 

A few blocks over we ended up at The Book Loft, where we browsed the 32 [!] rooms of books. They had every kind of book you could imagine, including a large selection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, that made gourmet cooking look easy. After a while of browsing, I walked away with You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. I’ve been wanting to get this book for a while and this post by Kenzie Keaton was the final push to get myself to get it. I’m super excited to sit down and read it. I plan to come down to Schiller Park, just down the street from The Book Loft, to read it!

After collecting a few other books,including Misery by Stephen King and The Beastie Boys Book, we went out for dinner. We stopped at Wunderbar and Pierogi Mountain, a bar and german style eatery combined [bonus: Monday was dollar pierogi night!]. We loaded up on some pergois, vegan mushroom stroganoff, vegan schnitzel and fries. The food was so good! The mushroom stroganoff was my favorite thing we ate. It was packed with flavor! I loved how the restaurant was very vegan and vegetarian friendly. Almost every menu item was able to be made vegan. We left with full bellies and big smiles! 

German Village is one of my favorite places central Ohio has to offer. It is a perfect area for a date night with a special someone or a day out with the family. Stop by German Village the next time you get a chance because you won’t regret it!

Behind the Bills

In the past three months the United States has seen multiple restrictive anti-abortion bills enacted by as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio. None of the bills have yet to take effect and many are hoping that they’ll be blocked while moving through the courts. Aside from the bills that have passed, like the House Bill 258 in Ohio, we’re seeing new legislation and proposed bills popping up all over the country.

Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Georgia have all passed similar bills surrounding the “heartbeat law”.This means it will be illegal for a woman to receive an abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. For many, this can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy [4 weeks after a missed period]. Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant before six weeks. Alabama notoriously enacted the most restrictive abortion law within in the United States, the Alabama House Bill 314. This bill completely bans abortion in most cases, not even providing an exception to cases of rape or incest and will sentence doctors who perform abortions with up to a life sentence in prison [read more here].

Women, like all humans, deserve the fundamental right to their bodies. Restricting access to abortion takes away this right. It is not the right of governing officials to decide what a woman can and cannot do with her body, it is a decision that only she can make for herself. It is also important to note that the majority of individuals signing these bills are cisgender men. Why are we expected to believe that a man has any idea of what is best for a woman’s body? This is a recurring issue seen within our patriarchal system. Men of power believe they have the right to control a woman’s body, and by extension, this will bring the control over their political freedoms and personhood. This explains why there are bills, such as the one in Alabama, making it a felony to get an abortion. Felons can’t vote.

However, this is not only an issue of sex, but an issue of race. Alongside many of the white men signing these bills has been the support of white women. According to The National Women’s Health Network, the health care of women of color and low-income women is already lacking in the United States and these abortion bans are going to make it much worse. Those who have the privilege and the money will easily figure out another way to acquire an abortion and birth control if needed, but women of color and low-income women do not have this privilege. Instead, this will lead to the less privileged women attempting to end their own pregnancies in unsafe ways, which can result in horrible injuries and many deaths. Abortions were around before Roe v. Wade, and will continue to be around even if it’s overturned. And much like we did during Roe v. Wade, we are only asking to keep access to safe and legal abortions. The personal is political, we recognized it then and we will continue to recognize it now.

The bills enacted under the Heartbeat Law and in Alabama alike are unconstitutional. They infringe upon the decision set in place by the Supreme Court in the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to an abortion. The current peak in pro-life bills is anything but coincidental. Many right winged, pro-life individuals are hoping to take the abortion bills to the Supreme Court as the current members are predicted to be more in favor of their laws than the those who preceded them. The ultimate goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and take away a women’s decision to get an abortion. [Read More Here]

It is time for this country’s citizens to come together against the face of oppression. It is not a debate of who is allowed to get an abortion, what circumstances allow for an abortion, or who can afford one; it is a debate of whether or not we should give women the right to their own bodies. For me, the answer is simple: women will have the fundamental and constitutional right to their bodies just like anyone else. Women will decide when an abortion is right for them, regardless of circumstances. Women will decide if and when they want to become mothers. It is her body and her choice as an individual.

It can take months and even years for the Supreme Court to decide to hear a case. It is also unlikely for the Supreme Court to take on such a large case during the presidential election year. However, that doesn’t mean we are in the clear. There is a long road ahead for the Roe v. Wade ruling and it is crucial for individuals to do what they can to prevent it from being overturned. We will not stand by as people strive to take away everything women have worked for in this country. Now is the time to call your representatives, donate, and most importantly, vote in your next election.

Discover: Harrison, Ohio

A small town surrounded with cornfields, Friday Night Lights traditions, six generations of my family and the home of the Wildcats.

Welcome to Harrison, Ohio, a small suburban town located on the westside of Cincinnati. Harrison is uniquely situated on the Indiana and Ohio State Line. Until I began my college experience in Athens, Ohio, this is the only place I have called home.

Living in a small town isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is difficult to find things to do on a casual summer day, but I always seem to stay busy.

My favorite way to spend mornings is catching up with friends or crossing off items on my to-do list at The Coffee Peddlar. As soon as you walk in the doors, the old wood floors creak and you are greeted with friendly smiles. My go-to drink is a Frozen Coffee Peddlar [I LOVE the rich caramel flavor!]. On warmer days, the secluded courtyard is the perfect place to soak up the golden sun. If the breeze bites a bit more harshly that day, I opt for a Snickers Mocha and cozy up inside the cafe’s homey atmosphere instead.

I love being in downtown Harrison and diving into the local shops. Right next to The Coffee Peddlar is Parlour on the Avenue, a modern spa placed in an antique setting. This is a perfect place to go to indulge on yourself after a long week at work. The Parlour has a rustic, victorian theme, but offers the same, if not more, services at a trendy spa you would find in the city.

Just down the street is a locally owned store, Two Friends Boutique. This is one of my favorite shops because they always have a unique and fashionable variety of merchandise. Today, I purchased a “locally grown and raised” tee! I thought this was very fitting as I reminisce on all of the things I love about this small town I call home.
My favorite spot for dinner is Market Street Grill. One evening when I was about 10 years old the restaurant wasn’t a very busy place. The chef came out to visit me, my Mom and Gramma. Somehow the conversation led to how the sub-basement had been used as a part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. I couldn’t hide my curiosity. At that age, I was very interested in the Civil War and inspirational figures from that era. The chef saw my eyes light up and immediately asked if I would like to see. We went through the kitchen till we got to cold cement stairs and made our way down to the sub-basement. I will never forget tracing my innocent fingers along the tallies engraved into the brick wall that are believed to be placed by former slaves.

After dinner, there’s nothing I love more than being able to catch the last few rays of sunlight. The best place to do this is at Lincoln Lee Sports Complex. The sports complex has always had a special place in my heart as it is named after my late cousin and is owned and operated by my family. In fact, my Dad, Uncle and Grandad have all coached baseball there since before I was born. But, even if the fields don’t have sentimental attachment to you, there’s no better way to spend summer nights in Harrison — surrounded by the contagious energy of a baseball game and watching the sun slowly disappear into the night.

Although I always knew I wanted to experience life outside of Harrison after graduating high school, I couldn’t have anticipated missing the little things that really make this place home. What are your favorite hidden treasures in your small town? Share with us on Instagram!

Discover: Grandview, Ohio

Looking for somewhere to take that special someone to show them just how much you love them? Or maybe you and your #girlgang just need a day of carefree fun. Whatever the occasion, Grandview, Ohio is the perfect small strip of shops and restaurants great for a date with a loved one.  

Start your day with a lovely breakfast and coffee from Stauff’s. The breakfast is absolutely fantastic and the coffee is even better. I ordered my usual almond milk latte and a potato and egg breakfast hash. The hash was very filling and super delicious! I highly recommend getting to Stauff’s before the kitchen closes at 3 p.m. to try out their breakfast!

After coffee, take a stroll down the street and be sure to stop at The Candle Lab! The Candle Lab is such a cute first date idea, especially the one in Grandview. It isn’t super busy all the time compared to some of their other locations and it’s a fun way to get to know the person you are with. It’s also a great place for birthday celebrations or bachelorette parties! You will be given a clipboard and will leisurely sniff your way down a wall of candles, making sure to take note of your favorite scents. I went for an outdoorsy-scent theme so I picked scents like campfire, eucalyptus and pine. After you’ve picked your list of scents, you go to the bar and an employee will help you match what scents would pair best together. For mine, I found that campfire, balsam fir and mahogany would create the smell I was going for. Once you’ve decided, you are given the three scent oils and you slowly combined them until you’ve reached your desired smell. You then mix your oil with the wax and wait 1 to 2 hours for the wax to harden.

During the few hours I waited for my candle, I walked around and enjoyed the small shops along the street like State of Devotion and Tread. After, I just had to stop and grab a couple scoops of  Jeni’s ice cream. My favorite way to get Jeni’s is to get the trio and try out three different flavors. Jeni’s always has new and interesting flavor choices, so it’s hard to pick just one. Some of my favorites are darkest chocolate, gooey butter cake and coffee with cream and sugar.

Grandview is a super cute location with a lot to offer. I have loved growing up with it being just a short drive from my house! I highly encourage anyone who lives in Columbus or is visiting to stop by Grandview!

The Growth of My Mental Health

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my own mental health journey. My journey started before I could even comprehend what exactly it was I was embarking on. As an infant, I was challenged with circumstances beyond my control. Doctors began running tests because I was on the lower end of the growth chart for my height and weight. They tested for Celiac Disease and Cystic Fibrosis. Fortunately, both tests came back negative. When I was nine months old, I was diagnosed with Failure To Thrive, a term used by pediatricians to describe poor physical growth of any cause.

Throughout elementary school, I was small, just like the doctors said I would be. This presented challenges within itself, such as people constantly picking me up, being judicious and mocking me. I felt inarticulate, insecure and unsure of myself. I was always below average on the growth chart, and during fifth and sixth grade, I fell off the chart for both height and weight completely. As a result, my pediatrician sent me to an endocrinologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Once I met my endocrinologist, more tests began. My doctor ruled out chromosome abnormality and anything that could stem from my family history. At this point, I was faced with a difficult decision: to remain short statured, or to start taking human growth hormone. My endocrinologist highly suggested taking human growth hormone because she was worried about how my short stature could affect my future [for example, it would be very difficult to bear a child]. After much thought, deliberation and hesitation, my family and I thought the prudent decision would be to try the treatment.

I finally convinced myself that I would have to give myself a shot each day. During the injection training, I got a text from a family friend reassuring me that I was strong enough to do this, she was hopeful it would work and prayed for me. This was the exact support I needed during mychallenge.

The ominous part was that the injection had to go in a fatty area, which was difficult because I was underweight. I could only rotate the injection in four areas, and I would usually have bruises and scar tissue there, which caused the injection to burn. I was never allowed to go on a vacation without the injection. In fact, I had to train one of my teachers to give the injection to me so that I could go on my eighth grade Washington D.C. Trip. Another side effect I experienced from the injections were migraines. Due to the severity and amount of migraines I began to experience, I started another prescription to take at the onset of every migraine in hopes that it would not last as long or be as severe.

I continued taking the growth hormone until my sophomore year of high school, when my growth plates had closed. I was always worried and nervous about what people thought of me, and my physical struggles were no exception.

Due to my unforeseen circumstances with growth hormones and bullying, during my junior year of high school I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. When I first realized I was struggling mentally, I was ashamed. I didn’t know how to tell my parents or how to even fathom the idea of asking for help. I coped with my depression, alone,  until this year- my sophomore year of college. This year, my anxiety became very obvious, and I finally had an open discussion with my parents about what I was dealing with. Both my mom and my dad were loving and understanding, but they were still hesitant to start me on any medication due to the negative effects my mom has experienced in a similar situation. Eventually, my doctor convinced them that this was what was best for my health at this time.

While reaching out and asking for help was a difficult conversation to be had, it benefited me in the long run. Now, I’m such a strong advocate for mental health awareness and firmly believe someone should never feel ashamed about how they are feeling. It’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes you just need time or to lean on friends. Other times, you need to take time for yourself and remember not to compare yourself to others. Challenges will always arise, but depending on how you face the challenges, the outcome can be more profound than you have ever imagined.

While I have learned lessons from my experiences, I still have a lot of growth to do. My mental health is more positive than it has ever been before, but it is not just because of the medication. It took a lot of work to get where I am today and a huge part of that is the CHAARG [Changing Health Attitudes + Actions to Recreate Girls] and the LVNG Limitless community.

Discover: Old Man’s Cave

I don’t know what you think of when you think of rural Ohio, but two things that immediately come to mind for me are farms and corn. The last thing that I’d think of is a beautiful solace of caves, state parks and waterfalls, but that’s just what’s housed in the small town of Logan, Ohio.

Logan is home to Lake Logan State Park which includes not only Lake Logan itself, but Ruby Falls, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, the famous Old Man’s Cave and so much more. Last weekend, Grace, Hannah and I made the 30-minute venture to Logan to see Old Man’s Cave with our moms for Ohio University’s annual Mom’s Weekend.

Personally, this hike was beyond necessary. My life has been overflowing with hustling and bustling for the past few months and getting the chance to slow down, appreciate nature and hike in one of the most beautiful places Ohio has to offer, with my best friends, was exactly what I needed. Just 30 minutes outside of campus, the Hocking Hills location is perfect for a quick day trip [or, look into renting a cabin for a relaxing weekend getaway!].

Old Man’s Cave never ceases to make me realize how miniscule some of of my worries are.  There’s something about the outdoors and being surrounded by towering trees, rushing water and the daylight bouncing off of the cave walls so brightly that they almost look orange that makes any anxious thoughts, deadlines and responsibilities disappear. Instead, my worries are replaced with taking in the beautiful view laughing and spending ~quality~ time with friends and, of course, trying not to trip and fall in the nearest patch of mud.

Grace, Hannah and I [and occasionally our moms] couldn’t stop gushing about how serene the cave is. Being #CityGorls [or maybe wannabe #CityGorls] from Chicago, Columbus and Cincinnati, the looming tree branches were a welcoming contrast to the urban landscapes we grew up in. The cool breeze, canopy of foliage giving shade from the sun, sound of water flowing in the creeks and being surrounded by nothing but nature and a lack of phone service reminded us that it’s important to stop and take time to breathe amidst our busy schedules.

If you’re an avid wanderer, like myself, Old Man’s Cave is a must for your travel list. You can even make a day of it! Start the day by grabbing a pastry and cup of coffee from Village Bakery in Athens, Ohio. After making the quick commute to the cave entrance, make sure to take time to really appreciate your surroundings — don’t rush it! End your day with a drink and a meal at Eclipse Company Store. We promise, by the time you make it back home you’ll have a deeper appreciation for quality time spent outdoors with loved ones [even if you may be so exhausted that you sleep for 11 hours after].