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

Kelsey Lawrence



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,, Fitness Magazine, The Huffington Post,, 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.


“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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Home & Garden

Amp up your home style with color and quality from Georgie Home




Move over, Pantone Color of the Year! A new local business offers a coordinated collection of quality home goods designed in rich color palettes, so consumers can easily and affordably elevate their home style.

Georgie Home, launched by Lauren Wagner and Laura Sullivan, offers thoughtfully designed home and lifestyle products. The company is dedicated to producing high- quality, simple, friendly goods to make your home feel fresh.

“We wanted to create something where we felt really good about the quality and offer products we’d want to have in our homes. We didn’t want something that you just run to a big box store and buy,” Wagner said.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Wagner and Sullivan’s journey to launch their company was relatively quick. The pair worked together as graphic designers at a national company headquartered in Columbus in the early 2010s. As they searched for inspiration and created mood boards for work projects, they realized they had a similar vision.

“We’d get excited and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do our own thing some day?’,” Wagner said.

A few short years later, that shared vision was realized when Georgie Home’s first collection launched in November 2019. Phoenix is a line of hand and bath towels in coordinating colors and patterns. The duo started with towels because it’s an easy way to bring a bit of luxury into the home, and high-quality towels will last. While most high-quality towels are plain, Georgie Home offers something unique by combining quality with patterns.

“When you reach a certain age, it’s nice to have a little bit of luxury, and you might as well get something that you will have a while for just a little more money,” Wagner said.


As designers, Wagner and Sullivan are passionate about color. And when they first started working professionally, there weren’t a lot of ways to feed that passion.

“I was having trouble coming up with color palettes and there weren’t a lot of online resources, so I started creating my own,” Wagner said. “I would find images that inspired me and pulled my color palette from that.” She began sharing these online in a blog about a decade ago, a collection that has evolved into an Instagram account.

As one can tell by Georgie Home’s collection, their current favorite colors (because, like all of us, Wagner said it changes over time) are sage and ochre (a warm yellow- brown) for Wagner, and dusty blue for Sullivan.


Carrying color over into home decorating doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Wagner suggests using neutral colors such as whites and greys for walls, flooring, and furniture, and using pops of color throughout your space with items like throws, pillows, and wall hangings. She also likes to add natural elements such as dried flowers, which are trendy now.

“I keep my walls the same and change up everything around it,” she said. “My taste changes over time and this lets me update my décor without painting.”

This approach also makes it easy to decorate for the seasons.

“I will add things for the holidays, and I’ll add color in the summer and greenery in the winter,” Wagner said. “I keep it simple–I won’t change my wall hangings, but I’ll update my dining room table, my mantel, and towels.”

If you’re not sure where to start, Wagner suggests perusing Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

“There are a lot of home bloggers that are inspiring,” she said. “Find something that you love and recreate it.”

Wagner has a long list of local, chain, online, and brick-and-mortar stores where she finds her decorating elements. Locally, she recommends Jewelweed Floral Studio and Stump as great sources for plants, and Trove Warehouse and Elm & Iron for accessories and furniture. The outlet malls and Wayfair are great for budget-friendly options, and antique shops and Etsy are great if you’re looking for something no one else has. The big retailers such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Pottery Barn Kids also have some great pieces.


Wagner and Sullivan hope to move Georgie Home into the brick-and-mortar space. With the first collection launched, they are reaching out to retailers to explore wholesale opportunities locally and nationally.

They’re also planning for their second line, which will launch next spring or summer. The collection is likely to include placemats, table runners, and tablecloths. While they haven’t decided on a color palette, it will be fresh and coordinated, and inspired by the season.

Shop Georgie Home’s inaugural collection at

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14 of the best events happening in Columbus this month

614now Staff



1/10 | JEFF DUNHAM: SERIOUSLY | The Schottenstein Center

Jeff Dunham is coming to Columbus and he’s bringing a whole crew of maniacs with him. The comedian and ventriloquist has created iconic characters on stage such as Walter the angry old man, or Peanut, the purple creature who is a bit of a loud mouth. As an entertainer who has been in the game for many years, Dunham and his cast of puppets should make for a comical night.

1/11 | LOUIE VITO RAIL JAM | Mad River Mountain

Ohio might not be thought of as a snowboard and skiing destination, but don’t tell that to the athletes competing in Louie Vito’s Rail Jam. This competition puts boarders and skiers to the test with difficult rails to perform tricks on. Even if you aren’t interested in participating, the spectacle itself is worth checking out.


Danceville, USA is celebrating six years of grooving and this year’s party is burlesque themed. The night will include cocktail and hors d’oeuvres, plus a performance from headliner Trinity Taylor of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The night promises to be bigger and bolder than years past and we’d expect nothing less!


The Columbus Blue Jackets will be welcoming in the Boston Bruins midway through the month and the Jackets are in for a battle as the Bruins come in as the No. 1 team in their division. We are sure the guys on the ice will bring the pressure, but some extra help from the fans never hurts. Show up and be loud!

1/17 | COLUMBUS WINTER BEERFEST | Greater Columbus Convention Center

Happy New Year! 2020 will be fully underway as the Columbus Winter Beerfest returns to the Convention Center for another year. Similarly to the last stop, visitors can find hundreds upon hundreds of IPAs, stouts, lagers, pilsners, and just about anything else they can dream up. This festival is two nights, meaning you’ll have to prepare yourself for this endurance test, but with a beer in hand and a designated driver by your side, we know you’ll pull through.


The world of Harry Potter will be brought to life through the sights and sounds of CAPA at the Ohio Theater. The music in Harry Potter is sometimes epic, and other times somber. CAPA does their best rendition with a live orchestra of the fourth installment of the Harry Potter saga.


It’s looking like a magical night as all the princesses from favorite films are flooding into NOAH’s for a glorious ball. Everyone from Rapunzel to Tinkerbell will be in attendance and there will be plenty of chances for photos, dance offs, and candy. It’s the perfect princess party for all the princesses in Columbus.

1/18 |2020 FIRST RESPONDERS NIGHT | The Schottenstein Center

There’s a showdown on the ice at the Schott this January, but it doesn’t involve the Blue Jackets or either of the OSU ice hockey squads. Instead, this one features Columbus’ first responders as the Columbus Police Department takes on the Columbus Fire Department. Who will go home with bragging rights and the Buckeye Cup Trophy for another year? There’s only one way to find out!

1/20/20 - 1/25/20 | (614)’S RESTAURANT WEEK | Varies

New year, same great deals on three course meals! (614)’s very own Restaurant Week is back in action! During Restaurant Week, anyone can visit one of the many participating restaurants to enjoy a three course meal ranging in price from $15 to $35. It’s the perfect weeknight date night option, or a way to treat yourself to double the food for half the cost. As always, follow (614) on social media for chances to win gift cards and prizes throughout the week!

1/24 |LEBOOM 9 YEAR ANNIVERSARY | Skully’s Music-Diner

Happy nine years, LeBOOM! Skully’s Music-Diner is hosting its biggest LeBOOM yet, as Ghastly, Aweminus, and Roevy will headline the high-energy night. The doors open at 8 p.m. and the dancing doesn’t stop until 2 a.m. It’s a marathon, not a race!

1/25 | WONDERBALL 2020 | Columbus Museum of Art

Wonderball is back! This year, throw on your best black and white attire for an evening of food, cocktails, and entertainment from local performers. Tickets are on sale now and this event helps benefit the museum as well as the arts community here in Central Ohio.

1/25 | 5TH LINE 5K | Nationwide Arena

It seems like no matter what the weather is, runners will find a way to do a 5K. And in the frigid temperatures of January, it seems the 5th Line 5K is the next challenge for cardio fans in the city. The 3.1-mile course begins in the Arena District and finishes at Nationwide where a post-race party will be held.


Rumba Cafe will be welcoming in two Columbus favorites, The Turbos and Coya Hill, as well as one of Cincinnati’s most popular bands, Go Go Buffalo, near the end of the month. These rock bands are sure to put on a high octane performance and help bring January to a close on a high note.

1/31 | NORM MACDONALD | Hollywood Casino Columbus

Norm MacDonald is no stranger to the comedy game. His list of accolades includes performing on Saturday Night Live for five seasons as well as multiple appearances on The Drew Carey Show. MacDonald and his brand of dry comedy will be taking the stage at the Hollywood Casino to cap off the month.

Cover photo courtesy of Byron Photography

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Health & Fitness

5 unique ways to improve wellness without a treadmill

Jeni Ruisch



big percentage of the resolutions we make every year involve getting in shape and/or improving our overall wellness. But running on a treadmill is only slightly more attractive an activity than, say, waiting in line at the DMV. And unless you can sit still for more than two minutes, meditation is out of the question. If you want to really challenge yourself to step outside your normal bubble, face your fears while finding balance. You’ll conquer your phobias AND the scale.


True REST Float Spa

You can achieve a state of buoyancy akin to floating on a cloud. The key is a pod filled with hyper-salinated water, heated to the temperature of your skin. Reduced Environmental Stimulus Therapy can help your mind find peace.


Life Energy Yoga

Did you ever dream of becoming an acrobat? This exercise consists of poses done with a partner. You can make human pyramids, or even learn to stand on each other’s shoulders, or contort yourselves into knots of fun.


Infinity Aerial

Raise your skills to the roof with aerial silks, the skill made popular by Cirque Du Soleil and performing artist P!nk. A long swath of fabric pours down from ceiling supports, and the performer uses friction and strength to support themselves in poses among the waterfall of silk.


Columbus Scuba

The depths of the ocean hold more mysteries than the surface of the moon. Brave men and women strap Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus to their backs every day the world over, and dive into the unknown.


The Buckeye Bounce Club

If you thank your lucky stars for gravity, and the hard ground under your feet, maybe it’s time to shake yourself free of the terra for a few ticks. The Buckeye Bounce Club is a gym where the workouts are done on wall-to-wall trampolines, or rather, ceiling-to-ceiling, as the walls themselves are bounceable, just like the floors.

Originally appeared in (614) Magazine December 2017

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