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Behind the Handle: See why @WholeLivingLauren’s 35k followers love her

Kelsey Lawrence

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Welcome to Behind the Handle where we catch up with one of Columbus’ many busy Instagram influencers—be they fitness, fashion, food, or fun—to see just how they balance work, life, and play. And, of course, we get to the bottom of how they have so many followers!

Lauren Blake, RD, LDN, CHWC has been featured on Dr. Oz, Today.com, Fitness Magazine, The Huffington Post, Health.com, and many more for her expertise in dietetics. On Instagram, more than 35k people have smashed the follow button to keep up with @wholelifelauren on her journey through food, health, parenthood, and life!

614NOW: How did you get started with your account? Did it start off as a personal account?

Lauren: “I started using Instagram strictly for personal use. I think when the app first came out, people used it for purely personal reasons. I started posting pictures of food because I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition and that was just something i was really passionate about and something I was doing all the time: cooking and experimenting with different things. So I started posting photos of food and other people were doing that too but it was certainly what it is today in terms of the food community.”

“So, from there I just started connecting with people very organically and the account started  growing and people started to say ‘hey, you should start a blog,’ so I did and that’s when i changed my Instagram handle, around 2014.

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“At that point, it was purely a hobby, it wasn’t my job at that point. It was just, I kind of identified with the brand that I wanted to create, which was really just naming something I was already doing. @wholelivinglauren is my business account, but I post a lot of personal things on there. I post about travel, I post pictures of my family, pictures of my home.”

“I want people to be able to navigate seamlessly between the blog and my social media accounts. I’m definitely more active on social media than my blog, but I make sure to post pretty regularly to my blog as well.”

“It’s not so much a blog as a business website. The blog is just one piece of it that lives on my website. So my website serves a great purpose for me because it’s a landing page for my business. It showcase the different services i offer with individual clients, with business consulting, it highlights different projects I’ve done, different national and international media outlets that i’ve been featured in.”

“I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities because of my online presence. I’ve worked really hard but i will say that having the visibility of that is certainly a benefit of what I do.”

614NOW: When did you feel like you were successful?

Lauren: “I feel like it’s hard to define a moment when you’re success because there’s always new goals (you’re never done), which is great but it’s also hard. The hustle is real, you’ve always gotta keep up with things. There’s always bigger better more etc. it’s easy to get caught up in that, and I try really hard not to. Of course, the number of followers is important, But I really try not to get caught up with that. What I care most about is really engaging with the people I connect with. That’s really important to me.”

“The power of social media is incredible. To be able to meet friends through social media and Instagram is incredible. I had the opportunity to be on the Dr. OZ show in 2015 because one of the producers had been following me for years and she wanted me to come on and be part of a segment. That’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for Instagram.”

614NOW: Do you find yourself getting stressed about having to keep up with your business, website, and social media accounts? How do you unplug?

Lauren: “It’s something that’s incredibly important. I know for me and for everyone too, it’s a weird world that we live in because everything is instant and 24/7 and it can be so easy to get in that scrolling trap and comparison trap. I think that’s how people get down and out: mindlessly scrolling all the time, they’re spending so much time on social media that it’s impossible not to compare and not to feel like you’re not good enough. All those things exist and that’s the hard thing about social media and I am very aware of those things personally.”

“What i try to do is time block. When I’m planning out my day, I time block time for Instagram. From 9-9:30 for example, responding to comments, etc and then I put it down. I have to display a lot of self control with that and sometimes I do a better job than others, but that’s really the goal.”

“When my husband gets home from work, we really try not to be on our phones. It’s a really important time for us to connect, to not be distracted by social media and everything on our phone. Another thing too, is we have an 18-month-old son and I have become acutely aware of the fact that I don’t want him to see me on my phone all the time. I have to set those boundaries for myself.”

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Lifestyle

Treatments to Try: Lash extensions at Deka Lash

Regina Fox

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With the holiday season quickly approaching, stress and anxiety will be on the rise. While getting the stockings hung by the chimney with care is important, taking time for yourself this season to look and feel your best should also be a priority. We hope this series will bring you some self care inspo!

I'm not sure if my eyes are pretty enough to have a song written about them (cough cough Bette Davis), but I'm one step close with these new eyelash extensions!

Scroll down to win a FREE set of eyelash extensions from Deka Lash!

Before my service at Deka Lash in Grandview, lash extensions were but an enigma to me. What even are eyelash extensions? How do they stay put? Are they heavy? Will they make me look like 2012 Snooki?

Well, the jury (me) is back with answers to all these questions (no, I don't look like 2012 Snooki) and more.

Columbus franchise owner Krista Guagenti greeted me upon arrival and began my consultation. After browsing photos of the different offerings—natural, wispy, cat eye, doll eye—I settled on a combination of natural and cat eye to achieve a longer, fuller look with subtle length added to the ends.

I was able to fully customize my extensions right down to the level of curl I desired, and as a first time customer, it really help reassure me that I'd be leaving the studio with my dream lashes.

I also opted for the TrueXpress method, which delivers a fresh, natural look in half the time using Deka Lash's multi-lash fans, rather than placing a single extension on each individual lash. So, instead of a two hour appointment, it only lasted about an hour—perfect for busy holiday schedules.

Speaking of the appointment, it was time to begin.

I kicked back in a strange-looking, yet shockingly-comfortable chair and my lash artist Naomi cleaned and measured my natural lashes. Shortly after, she began placing the TrueXpress fans using a proprietary adhesive.

Naomi shared that most of her clients fall asleep during their appointments (there's a fuzzy blanket you can bundle up with), and I see why! There was no irritation (I was even wearing contacts), no harsh smells, and no discomfort. If it weren't for us chatting, I could've easily dozed off as she gingerly adhered my extensions.

Then, after about an hour or so, Naomi handed me a mirror, and my pretty new eyelashes were staring back at me. They were long, full, and flirty, but felt no different than my normal lashes.

I was then briefed on the do's and don'ts of eyelash extensions:

Do

  • Keep lash line clean
  • Remove eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara at the end of the night with a makeup wipe

Don't

  • Get lash extensions wet for 24 hours
  • Use saunas, steam rooms, or tanning beds for 48 hours
  • Use cleaners, makeup removers, or moisturizers that contain oil or solvents
  • Rub eyes or pull extensions off
  • Manually curl or perm your eyelashes

I followed all the aftercare steps, and have even avoided getting them wet while showering and washing my face. I can't be sure if that's helped the longevity, but I've only lost a few lashes since my appointment six days ago, so it certainly hasn't hurt!

Deka Lash was founded on the idea that all women should feel confident and beautiful, and that's exactly how I left feeling. Not only have they allowed me to go makeup free, I'm loving the little boost of assuredness my curly little extensions are give me from sun up to sun down.

Deka Lash is located at 1017 W 5th Ave, Columbus. To learn more, visit dekalash.com.

Give yourself or someone you love the gift of beautiful, maintenance-free lashes this holiday season with a FREE set of extensions from Deka Lash! Just comment below to be entered. Winner will be chosen on Sunday, December 15.

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Lifestyle

Treatments to Try: HydraFacial at Boss Gal Beauty Bar

Regina Fox

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With the holiday season quickly approaching, stress and anxiety will be on the rise. While getting the stockings hung by the chimney with care is important, taking time for yourself this season to look and feel your best should also be a priority. We hope this series will bring you some self care inspo!

I've been plagued with clogged pores my entire life. I've tried the Biore pore strips, the blackhead comedone extractor tool, and even an as-seen-on-TV pore vacuum, but nothing has ever really done the trick.

And then, I see it: the HydraFacial.

Scroll down for a before/after + a chance to win a FREE HydraFacial from Boss Gal Beauty Bar!

The HydraFacial treatment removes dead skin cells and extracts impurities while simultaneously infusing the new skin with cleansing, hydrating, and moisturizing serums in just a few easy steps. Though results are immediately noticeable, your skin doesn't reach peek glow until a few days after the service, making it the perfect pregame to holiday festivities.

Click here to watch a step-by-step video

My clean pore journey took me to Boss Gal Beauty Bar's sleek, contemporary MedSpa in Clintonville. As an authorized HydraFacial provider, I knew I was in great hands. Kayla was my spirit guide, leading me through each soothing step with great expertise and care.

Step 1: Cleanse + Peel

Boss Gal likes to work off a clean palette, so the HydraFacial begins with a manual cleansing. This step feels a lot like a mini face massage, setting a calming tone right out of the gate. Next, the Vortex Cleansing method removes dead skin cells from the surface through water-based exfoliation, while glycolic salicylic acids soften the skin in preparation for extractions.

Step 2: Extract + Hydrate

This is where the real fun begins. During this step, pore plugs and dirt are removed from the face through the cleaning and suctioning action of the HydraFacial applicator.

I found this part particularly satisfying because you can actually see all the "gunk" that's been drawn out of your skin. You say, "Gross!" I say, "Gratifying!"

All the "gunk" extracted from my skin!

Boss Gal tops it off with a manual extraction session on the most congested areas of the face.

Step 3: Fuse + Protect

After removing all the unwanted oils, toxins, and dirts from the skin, it's time to seal it off. Using Boss Gal's super serums, the skin is infused with peptides, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid for a glowing, hydrated look.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B14LwWoA4hT/

Step 4: Signature Jelly Mask

The HydraFacial concludes with a mini hand massage while Boss Gal's signature jelly mask cools and calms the skin.

Before + After

I left Boss Gal Beauty Bar completely makeup free and felt great—really great. I was happy to have treated my skin to the TLC it desperately needed and getting a solid dose of relaxation I desperately needed. And, just like Kayla said, my skin continued to appreciate in glow for days after.

With holiday parties and photo opportunities galore this time of year, the HydraFacial could be your secret weapon to achieving bright skin and rejuvenation all season long.

Give yourself or someone you love the gift of pampering and relaxation this holiday season with a FREE HydraFacial from Boss Gal Beauty Bar! Just comment below to be entered. Winner will be chosen on Sunday, December 8.

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Home & Garden

Columbus Cribs: This Worthington bungalow is a mid-century modern dream

Regina Fox

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If you're one of the 19.2k Instagram followers, you're likely already obsessed with @bungalow614. If not, we reckon you're about to be.

Taylor Basilio is a home decor enthusiast behind the gorgeous account. She's madly in love with her 1938 bungalow in Worthington that she shares with her husband, two kids, and two dogs. Basilio spends her time culminating the perfect moody environment, tackling as many house projects as she can handle, and eating desserts.

Keep reading to learn more about the local homemaker and her bungalow that gives us heart eyes!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4QDncjHHRc/

614: What would you call your home style?

TB: If I had to use defined design "styles" I lean towards, I would say mid century modern and Scandinavian, but if I had to define my personal style, I would describe it as cozy spaces that feel lived in. I love moody spaces with contrast; mixing old and new elements like furniture, floors, and accents; and spaces that feel like home as soon as you walk in. My goal is that anyone who spends time in our house feels as comfortable here as we do.

614: What are some of your favorite items in your home?

TB: Most of my favorite things are items I scored secondhand off places like Facebook Marketplace. Before we moved back to Ohio last year I bought an antique dresser that's now in our master bedroom. It's not very practical, is super heavy, and the drawers will fall out if you pull too quickly, but I love how unique it is and the detail of the pulls. I love that I've never seen another piece like it. Another favorite piece is the dining room table my mother-in-law passed down to us a few years ago while downsizing. Not only is it beautiful, but we have so many great memories around it and no plans to stop adding new ones.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4ft_qDnmin/

614: Can you tell us some of the places you have found your items, or places you like to shop?

TB: Like I mentioned above, I love Facebook Marketplace. There's something so good about an item someone else has loved before you; I love the history. I also love getting things for a fraction of the cost, regardless if they are name brand or not. If I need something new I always check there before going to a store or ordering online. Some of my favorite places to find really great, high quality items we've loved for years are Article, West Elm, and even Amazon. A brand I really admire and hope to add to my collection is Schoolhouse.

614: What inspires your design style?

TB: This really depends on what area I'm working on at the time. I love gathering inspiration, sometimes even months or years before a project, whether it's from Pinterest or a picture of the Bath & Body Works bathroom that I have saved on my phone (this is actually on my phone right now). Right now I feel really inspired by renovated interiors of old Brownstones and I've been working to include similar elements in our home (even though it's a 1938 bungalow and not remotely related to the spaces I use for my vision). I'm really driven by collecting inspiration from spaces I personally would love to spend my time in, and I love figuring out how I can reflect them in my home. My list of projects is never ending and the amount of posts I have saved on Instagram to look back on later is almost embarrassing.

614: What do you try to avoid while decorating?

TB: I used to have a really bad habit of decorating based on other people's opinions of my home. I could be very easily influenced by specific trends, like when the modern farmhouse style blew up. My whole house was modern farmhouse, but also very confused because it wasn't really my style at all. Eventually I got over keeping up with what I thought other people would like, and as soon as I did, my home felt more "me."

I also personally love when homes coordinate in some way, like carrying a specific paint color throughout each or similar accents. I love the cohesive feeling of walking through a home and it all feels like one piece with different personalities. In our house, we've carried the same paint colors all throughout, like in the window trim or doors. And don't forget that things don't need to be new to be beautiful!

614: Any tips for winter/Christmas decorating?

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5HDE5PnDoZ/

TB: My style tends to be really defined by the seasons, but I don't actually change out much of anything other than moving around stuff I already have or bringing in more outdoor elements. In the the summer, I feel inspired by a clean, white room with fresh flowers and bright lighting. We end up moving many of our plants outdoors when the temperature warms up and focus on our outside spaces, making areas like our backyard patio and fire pit as comfortable as they would indoors and spending a lot of our time out there. In the winter, I love filling my home with plants, garland, twinkle lights, and scented candles. And these tend to be my favorite months; I'm a total cold weather and gloomy day person, and I love when my house feels magical like the season.

Follow@bungalow614

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