Fort Wayne, Indiana

Where to even begin! This past weekend I went with my darling best friend Emily to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a girls weekend trip. She was the driver/navigator and I was the “things to do” planner, even more proof that we just fit well in each others lives!

The trip started Friday afternoon when I drove to Em’s house then we finished the trip together to Fort Wayne. On our first night of the trip we went to a Rend Collective concert at a local church in the area. I love the opportunity that I get whenever a band tours and I get to experience them, their music and the deep passion they have for what they do. And it becomes amplified whenever that band is a Jesus loving band.

I’ve been a fan of Rend Collective for a few years ever since I heard their song “Lighthouse” on a local radio station. Whenever I heard it at the time I was going through a somewhat dark season of my life. It was dark and felt uncertain at times but the song reminded me of God’s goodness, His provision and just the fact that He does see me, He see’s us all of us in our highs, lows and even when we thought we didn’t exist to Him.

After the concert we went back to our Best Western hotel room to get all geared up to enjoy a soak in the downstairs hot tub. The funny bit was that when we got there we met three, and then eventually four, drunk on wine lady bowlers. We all talked about where we are all from and hearing that they knew about both Em’s and my hometowns made me smile with how everyone truly is connected in one way or another.

After that chill yet social time in the hot tub, and also whenever our “max hot tub time” ran out, we went back upstairs to pass out and fuel up for our busy busy Saturday!

First on our list was, of course, brunch because that’s just what girls do. We had so many options in Fort Wayne for coffee shops that also had a menu fit for a foodie. Our pick ended up being Fortezza Coffee, and I’m so glad.

Whenever I was in Grand Rapids I met and fell hard for caffe miels! Partly because of my love for nutmeg and partly because miel’s just sound like you’re meowing. So when we first got to Fortezza I was kinda bummed because they didn’t have that as an option on their menu. However, the barista looked rad, and how could he not be with his “filter coffee, not people” tee. So I just asked if I could still order one. Of course he said yes and my morning just got even better.

Emily and I ended up picking the same coffee and breakfast sandwich. She had never tried a miel before but loved the idea of the nutmeg. Long story short- she loved it! Our coffee was served and then our food followed.

After brunch we wanted to wander but not at the expense of freezing. Naturally we went to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory that was about a five minute walk away. Ticket prices were great and we both ended up agreeing that it was one of the best Conservatories we had even been to. My most favorite moment was when we reached the very back of the greenhouse. There was a desert room that was filled with cacti and succulents. And the temperature was the cherry on top. It was dry, cool and the glass ceiling let in the most beautiful sun-rays. We ended up lounging on two benches and just talking about life, dreams and our general thought processes as of late.

A little friendship fun fact about Emily and I is that we are both going to school for the same thing, which is Art Therapy. I mean we both are in that season of “is this really what I want because grad school,” but truthfully that shared experience makes my heart so happy even if things seem a little unsure. I think the lovely bonus of that mutual career goal is that we just end up having a lot in common. So whats a potential Art Therapist to do on vaca? But go see some art.

However, like some planning goes the gallery ended up being closed. But the kicker is that the building itself is a work of art. Meaning that the front, sides, back, courtyard and even the roof was covered in street art and murals. I even peaked through some windows and the back fence to prove it!

After an impromptu photoshoot with the outside faux flower installation, we got to serious business and ordered some “snoop” burgers from Bravas. That burger is now in my top 3 favorite burgers. It was just so rich and somehow creamy. And with my decision to pair it was a house coleslaw, I tell you what! The shop also just was overall chill and in a quiet part of town. It just felt cozy as Emily and I enjoyed the pure silence that comes from loving what you’re eating.

With the hustle and bustle of a busy, adventurous day, Emily and I decide to head back to our hotel to wind down. Between comfy clothes and our own separate queen sized beds, we kicked back for a couple of hours before finishing our saturday with another coffee/tea run at Conjure Cofdee, thrifting, getting sushi for dinner and relaxing with the lush products that Em picked up for us.

On our Sunday Funday we decided to keep the spa like feelings from the night before, going. Because of my inability to sleep much past 9 a.m., I woke up around then and just laid in bed thinking about the weekend and wondering if Emily was alive. Ha! Just kidding! I had just forgot that she burrows under her blankets in her sleep. When she got up we went downstairs to load up on the continental breakfast. I got a collection of scrambled eggs, steel-cut oats with some honey glazed granola and raisins plus one of the pears I brought with me for the weekend. We brought it all upstairs and had breakfast in bed while watching a couple of episodes of The Office.

With how all good things come to an end, we packed up our bags, got in the car and headed out. But the kicker is that we weren’t heading home just yet! About fifty minutes southwest of Fort Wayne is Upland, Indiana. And honestly I have been meaning to visit for a really long time. My best friend from high school choose to go to Taylor University and from there she met her man, had two gorgeous babies and settled in.

One of the places that she devotes a lot of her time to is a coffee shop called The Bridge Cafe. She is the head barista, baker of all things yummy, photographer of the coffee shop and has a place on the shelf to show her personal photography (plus probably so much more)! So to say that I was kinda stoked to finally be there, visiting her, trying my first lavender caffe miel- was wonderful!

You can see her work at https://www.birchandolive.com/

& Back home we go!

Thank you for sitting in on my storytelling time! The weekend brought a lot of good conversations, rest, exploring, food and drink and it all makes me wish I had named my blog something like- this freakin blessed life. Because I count myself incredibly lucky.

I hope you all are well!

XOKriss

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