Virtual Adventures of Nashville, TN

Right now the world feels like it is both in a standstill and out of control. From governments trying to decide what’s best for it’s people, healthcare workers trying to keep their heads above water while caring for the sick, moms and dads juggling work and home schooling their children for the first time and millennial’s loosing their hard-won, multiple part time jobs. Teaming up to stay apart is unnatural at best but it is the secret ingredient to overcoming this chapter.

Something that I have loved from individuals that are choosing to do their part and stay home are those who still give out their talents so freely. From actors reading children’s books to my favorite cello player yo-yo ma playing on Facebook live. Everyone see’s the need to somehow still make this world a better place and in my efforts towards this exact direction, I wanted to keep sharing my adventures with you!

So without any further ado, let’s go on a virtual adventure in Nashville, TN….

Let’s travel!

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I don’t know about you but there is just something about heading down south and wanting some feel good food. I’m not sure if its the southern ties or the cravings that come up during a roadtrip, but we were all about making our first stop in Nashville about a plate of chicken and waffles! To help us achieve this we stopped at a restaurant called Sambuca and tucked in.

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After filling our bellies we opened our Airbnb app and pulled up the address to our new home away from home. The name of our place was called The Nomad Pad and its interior design definitely highlighted that feeling. To my delight, as well, the home even had its own Instagram page @thenomadpad, and they even featured some of my photography of their place. 

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What did I say! ^ stunning place and I highly recommend booking with The Nomad Pad when you go to Nashville! 

And as nice as our new home was, you do not simply come to Nashville to stay inside, you must wander! First we went to one of my favorite coffee shops in the whole city, Crema. I ordered a Spanish latte while Jacob ordered a Mocha and we took a second to sit down at the bar. This coffee shop is a gem from their delicious coffee and merchandise to their lounge areas to work or play. You are guaranteed to see countless creatives and business types hunched over their laptops working away and groups of two or three laughing at someone’s tale.

Thinking about this now, during a time of isolation, warms my heart.

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After sipping on our coffee for a short while, we got up to walk around the city. My favorite thing about Nashville is the amount of beautiful murals painted along its walls and walkways. You can just feel the heartbeat of this creative city with each step you take. I personally wish that more cities would follow in Nashville’s footsteps because street art is more than graffiti or tags- it is a culture all in its own. It’s speaks of the real people living and working in the area.

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My favorite mural ^

While we walked we would take detours and step inside local shops, had goo goo eyes over delicious looking foods in the windows and talked about what all we would like to see and do during our time there. Walking and talking in general has always been our “thing” as a couple. So to be able to travel together and do our thing in new places has my heart the most happy and, just like that, checks off one of the items on my Nashville to do list.

What’s this list you might now be wondering? We’ll here it is:

Nashville To Do:

  • Get coffee from Crema
  • Buy a new plant baby
  • See the murals around Nashville
  • Walk hand in hand with the love of my life
  • Try some “made from scratch” pop-tarts from Milk and Honey
  • Find the Colosseum (aka what I call Nashville’s Parthenon)
  • Eat ramen.

And speaking of ramen, that brings me to where we will have our official first date night in Nashville! Our ramen place of choice is none other than Otaku Ramen. This ramen house is so so good in the ways of giving me both butterflies in my stomach and ruining all other ramen houses for me for the foreseeable future. To put it plainly, Jacob and I got the same amount of food in our bowls and only one of us finished their whole bowl… or should I say, her whole bowl.

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After Jacob rolled me out of our hot date, we had a chilly walk, drove around the city, got stopped in traffic that was leaving the Grand Ol Opry House and found ourselves back to laying on our new bed counting our blessings.

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Saturday, Day 2

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With the dawning of a new day it was now time for my favorite time of day, Brunch! While out and about the day before you might have caught on to me saying that I had a crush on some tasty looking. Well it was now time for me to get my hands on them. 

Taking a short drive over to the gulch area in Nashville, we found our seats at Milk & Honey. Everything we ordered was both delicious and gorgeous from various eggy concoctions, coffee drinks and, finally, two flavors of handmade poptarts! One had a strawberry jam filling and the other had chocolate and hazelnut whip. 

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After brunch we wanted to go find one more mural and that’s the iconic “I believe in Nashville” mural and to stop at one of my favorite florist and gifts shop Bloom Flowers. Little did I know that Jacob was about to become an influencer….

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Please tell me you got a little laugh out of this selfie central!!

Next we were on to Bloom Flowers gift shop! This shop has so many different indoor plants you can buy, they can make you a flower arrangement in house or you can pick up various stationary. While I looked around the shop I found and bought myself a cactus!

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As luck would have it, I married a man who supports my love of plants and he married a woman who supports his love of local BBQ! We got my cactus wrapped up and ready to go, jumped in the jeep and headed over to Mission BBQ. We ordered something smokey and smothered in amber goodness and had ourselves a little picnic in the Centennial Park.

The rad part about being in this park was the gorgeous backdrop of the Parthenon. Such an odd, classic beauty resting on a green lawn near the heart of the city. But I enjoyed it because it drew runners, cute couples and families to its steps and grounds. Or maybe because it was such a gorgeous day, I’ll let you decide.

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Thank you beautiful Nashville for having us! And thank you for coming along with me! I hope I have encouraged you, made you laugh, scratched your travel itch or inspired you to make some delicious food while on your staycation. Please stay happy, healthy and hydrated!

-Kriss

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Scandinavian Saint-Gilles Airbnb

Welcome to our home away from home. Join me as I give a visual tour of our Scandinavian style Airbnb and also my top marriage advice!

Welcome to our Airbnb located in the Saint-Gilles neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium!

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Climbing up four floors, we reach our minimalist, Scandinavian home away from home. With being a lofted penthouse, skylights and windows offered plenty of natural light to highlight the simple beauty within the home and framed views of terracotta roofs against the sky. We decided that we truly couldn’t have picked a better place.

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For anyone who has traveled in Europe, you know just how convenient the transportation system is compared to the US. So during our time away from the loft we found ourselves walking anywhere between 11 and 13 miles per day (hello half marathon)! This fact alone states how tired you could expect our bones to be by the end of the day and sometimes into the next morning.

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Choosing to take rest in a such a minimalist space, I believe, truly allows for rejuvenation. There is just something so perfect about having exactly what you need in just a few basics that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. And it just so happens that both Jacob and I see the Scandi style as pleasing and ideal for a relaxing environment (huge win).

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In this space we made excited trip plans, took in the silence, gorged ourselves on pizza from the shop on the corner, talked about our future, aired out drenched clothing from exploring during rainy days and watched sunrises to sunsets. My advice to every kind of relationship from friendship to romance- is to travel. There is this special kind of magic that occurs whenever you are one on one with your travel companion. It transcends every other kind of encounter.

You can bicker, you can explore, you can share truths and you can feel alone together too. Each opportunity leads you to know more about their pain and their weaknesses but more so their hopes and dreams. It is my goal to never stop dating my husband and especially never stop learning him. It is the greatest freedom and blessing to know that he feels the same way.

And it is this very truth and joy that makes me certain that we will always keep travel in our relationship through the seasons in life to come. So we want to thank you for coming along with us as we explore God’s good Earth and the mysteries of marriage. Cheers to the wrap up of our Belgium travels and now onto some killer US locations….

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Next week on the blog come back for Christmas! YES! Christmas is finally here again and I will be sharing some Holiday Cheer by giving coverage to a warm and cozy Christmas event going on here in Indiana.

-kriss

Brussels, Belgium

Well we are at it again! Traveling hundreds of miles over the Atlantic to Belgium, join us as we visit some of the most popular cities in the country. The first top on the list is the capital city, Brussels….

One day in our Harrison Home (catchy huh? I should make an Instagram page for it) we were talking about how in the world we were going to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. Some people go all out for this moment while some like to spend it at home going through their photographer’s amazing captures of the day. Both are definitely a good idea but for us we felt the need to go a little crazy. By crazy I mean we decided on a foreign location, booked the plane tickets and nine day long stay at an Airbnb all within four days… yeah we did that.

Personally, I have never daydreamed over the idea of spending much time in the country of Belgium. My thoughts always wandered to Greece, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Spain and just about every other country in Europe but Belgium. However, even though it was never an idea in my head I soon realized just how blissful I was about to be while walking the cobblestone streets of the country oozing the fragrant smells of chocolate and waffles.

We are clear for takeoff!

On the afternoon of October 14, we started our journey. From Indianapolis we took a short plane ride to Chicago (shoulda coulda drove) then we boarded our eight hour flight to Brussels, Belgium. Jacob and I’s plans for the plane ride were polar opposite. He had a strict schedule of sleep, snack, sleep, dinner, sleep, arrive in Belgium. While I, on the other hand, was filled with envy over his ability to sleep on the plane. I am a deep lover of travel, of exploring new land, of trying new food but I am not a fan of the journey to the destination. Try as I might I can never sleep on planes so my plan for the eight hours was simple, watch all of the movies and not focus on how much time is left until arrival.

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Good news is that it worked. Sooner than I realized, we were there and it was 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday the 15th of October! We grabbed our checked bags, got our euros, bought transportation passes (this step made me miss how effortless it was to get transit passes in Germany) boarded a train and road into the heart of Brussels ready to explore.

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Whenever you research the city of Brussels you instantly see that one of the hottest locations to visit is the Grand Place. It is the queen of courtyards that gives all of its glory to the surrounding buildings dressed in gleaming, gold in the sunlight. Here you can find restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, gift shops and more. It really is a one stop shop that will stop you in your tracks.

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Because of the nature of our stay in Brussels, we were able to come back to this city center many times to enjoy its splendor, the excited onlookers like us and the feeling of being apart of the heartbeat of this city. I am also glad that we were able to come back here a few times because even though it is still beautiful while rainy, it is even more special with a blue sky backdrop.

Moving past the Grand Center you will find four roads to take. Each of these roads leads to more gorgeous, old style buildings with cafes, vintage finds, chocolate and waffles. But if you want a mini mecca of chocolate, waffles and a little something to tickle your funny bone, find the junction of Rue de l’Etuve and Stoofstraat.

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Here you can get your chocolate and fruit smothered waffle while viewing a local celebrity, little Manneken Pis. This local celebrity has two other comrades that are roughly a 10 minute walk in either direction. They are called the three Pis and they just happen to be sculptures of a boy, a girl and a dog peeing very proud and free. I personally found this to be the weirdest thing but I’m not mad about it.

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But don’t let this area confuse you. Brussels is the capital of Belgium and also the largest city in the country so there is still so much more to see. So with this fact, Jacob and I took off towards another section of the city where we found a gate that gave us a nod towards our honeymoon in Berlin. This gate is called Cinquantenaire and is located in Jubelpark. It is apart of a lush park with plenty of green grass for a picnic to history museums full of war planes and cars of the world. Neither of those things interest you? Well there happens to be a food truck there serving up more waffles and coffee to help bid your time.

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As the day grows darker and into the evening hours finding a delicious restaurant, pub or bar isn’t an issue. Most restaurants offer English menus to their non- French speaking guests. However, if they happen to not have this option my advice is definitely to download the Google Translate app to your phone (not sponsored but that would be a dream). There is a camera option in the app that if you hover your camera over, say a menu, it will translate the words right in front of you. Hence making it easy to eat within your tastes, preferences and dietary needs.

On our evenings in Brussels we ate gorgeous amounts of pizza from a shop right around the corner from our Airbnb. I will share more about our new neighborhood in a later post but for now we are saying goodbye to Brussels with an evening view of the sky while on a ferris wheel ride.

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Next week come back for part two of my Belgium series as we board a train to the city of Gent. Expect those iconic European canals, unique treats, stunning views and more places to save for your future trip to Belgium.

Salut!

-Kriss

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Part two of our Colorado vacation is here! Join us as we go on hikes, get all of the good eats and drinks, visit cool locations and love our time in Colorado Springs….

Picking up right where we left off in my previous post Boulder, Colorado Jacob and I were onto our next adventure together in Colorado Springs! I like to think that we are perfectly matched as travel companions. I first found this out whenever we took a weekend trip to Saint Louis four months into our relationship.

I say we are perfectly matched because he likes to plan the part of the trip that I’m not the craziest about. He finds us the perfect home away from home, our wheels and the flight to get us both there. From there I find all of our entertainment ideas, places to eat and drink and help piece together an itinerary to help the trip flow.

Monday, May 27th, 2019

While we were in Colorado Springs, I personally think that Jacob booked the best Airbnb possible for us. We stayed at the Golden Egg Cottage. It was a modern, tiny house built right next to morning views of a hen house. We loved the location because it was close to everything but we also love the story of the family who own it!img_20190602_173120_8536125767076109263228.jpg

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After resting in our new home we packed back into the subaru for a much needed trip to grab coffee before going down memory lane from when Jacob once lived in Colorado Springs. The coffee shop that we went to was called Switchback Coffee Roastery. It was less than a mile away from our airbnb and so naturally it was tucked into a residential area. I thought that was quirky and perfect at the same time.

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I love my coffee and sometimes need my coffee, but I would never call myself a coffee snob. However, the decor of this shop spoke to me. The interior was painted in all white with accents of yellow and decorated with plants. It felt modern but in a down to earth way. We ordered out personal favorite lattes and took a seat for a mini coffee date together.

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^Forever stealing Jacob’s coffee because he gets the better latte pours. Oh my millennial heart.

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Jacob wanted to take me here because it was apart of the locations he would visit when he lived here before. I have been waiting to seeing all of these places for a long time because they help me to better understand the person that I’m in love with. Could it get any better than that?

After coffee, he drove us to the downtown area of the town where he used to work, bars full of memories from his single days and lastly where he and our boy tyson used to live and play. Of course it didn’t match the imagine I had in my head, but it was better because of the constant view of the mountains that the areas had. Those big, beautiful, sloping mountains!

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Still a bit drained from the previous days we agreed to have a charcuterie board night at the Airbnb with some good ol fashion Netflix! I’m honestly glad we decided to end the day this way because vacation is fun but if you don’t take the time to invest in the person you’re with, I feel like you’ve totally missed the mark. And for us, being on the same schedule with nothing distracting us, was everything.

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Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Something you may not know about me is that I like my sleep, I love my rest! So when on vacation is it a bittersweet moment whenever my travel companions suggest waking up early so that we can have a full day. But the key to this dilemma is promising me breakfast. So after peeling myself out of bed, we made it down to the Garden of the Gods Market and Cafe.

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^^And you thought I wasn’t going to add a picture of the hens.

I ordered a lavender latte along with my eggy, brunchy concoction while we settled in for our planning of the day’s hike. We planned to first drive through the Garden of the God’s so that we would have plenty of time to hike both Mt. Cutler and Mt. Muscoco and then to end up at the Broadmoor Seven Falls park. And they mean seven waterfalls!

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Using your own strength to climb a mountain is one of the best feelings. I remember at times being completely out of breath because of the altitude but knowing that when we reach the top it’s all going to be worth it. What I didn’t expect was that all of a sudden it would start snowing! Snow in late May/early June just blows my midwestern mind but I know that’s part of the mountain culture. I’m just glad that I was able to capture it in some of my pictures.

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After hiking 3 mountains, seeing 8 waterfalls, collecting flowers, seeing wildlife and earning a night free of footwear we tucked into some delicious food to both fill our bellies and to warm our hearts. The hearts bit comes from the fact that our dinner consists of food we ate a lot of while on our honeymoon and its food you must try asap.

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The entree is called Doner Kebab and it is a Turkish dish. It will give you the happiest of smiles because it tastes bomb. From options of meat to amazing falafel (my go to choice) with tons of fresh veg, spiced yogurt sauce and pita on the side- its hands down the best. And where we found it in Colorado Springs, they did a great version of it!

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

On our Wednesday and last full day in Colorado Springs we did some sight seeing of Old Colorado City, I made some purchases at Heartshake Studios, Jacob bought some of his favorite beer at a brewery built inside of an old school house while I selfied and we had a fancy date night at The Rabbit Hole to celebrate the end of a vacation well had.

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^Best, hands down sweet treat that I’ve had for a long time from the French Bakery in town! Crunchy croissant exterior with a flaky interior and a smooth center of cream cheese goodness! Goes oh so naturally with a cup of black coffee.

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Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Waking up before the sun, and the hens, we grabbed our luggage and made our way to the Denver Airport. We very much loved our time in Colorado and can’t wait to come back!img_20190528_000259_5294917246441855438826.jpg

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-KrissCross