I just turned 28, Let’s Celebrate!

Come along with me as I walk through my birthday plans, activities and some unexpected joys all the while in Indianapolis, Indiana!

It’s official I’m 28 years old and there is no going back! But good news is that I don’t want to! I love the process of getting older, wiser, more sure of the life that I am so grateful to live. So this year I decided to stay put and enjoy my life exactly where it’s at and its in our new home in Indianapolis, IN.

Let Her Eat Cake

This year my birthday fell on Saturday aka the day birthdays should always fall on! So here I was in bed waking up to sunshine and the cuddles of my… dog! Haha! He was curled up on my guys side of the bed and ready to love me and give me all of his attention. But where was my guy?

No sooner had I wondered that exact question did I hear a creak of a step on our stairs and the glow of candles. Jacob had prepared a breakfast in bed moment for me complete with egg and avocado toast, fruit, coffee AND my slice of birthday cheesecake from my girls night the night before. The glow of candlelight came from a gifted apple scented candle and two letter candles that spelled out “28.” Good start of the day? Naw, more like a great start of a great day.

This the the Celebration Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.

Fountain Square

Earlier in the week when I had first started to think about my new age, I thought about past birthdays. In past years I had put effort forward to have big birthdays, birthdays filled with high expectations (always a recipe for disaster), birthdays while traveling or just not wanting to acknowledge that years birthday at all. But this year felt wonderfully different, a sense of peace that I’ve never had before about turning a new age made me up for whatever the day had to offer. But I definitely still knew some suggestions.

So we got ready for the day, gave Tyson some more kisses and belly rubs and then got in the Jeep to go to downtown Indy. I knew the minute we stepped out of the house that it was going to be wonderful. This was because of the clear, blue skies and 50 degree weather allowing us to wear a light jacket for the first time in weeks. So once in the area and parked, I knew I wanted to keep outdoors and walk along the city.

Within five minutes onsite, my world got a lot more comical because of this rad biker.

Our walked paused whenever we came to the Upland Brewing Co. We popped in for J to grab a beer and to split some appetizers to keep the hangry away. I always look forward to these moments with him because it never really matters where we are but whenever we have intentional time together, it is always the best and warms my heart. It is also something I wish I could have had in past birthdays without him. So really he is the gift that keeps on giving.

Next on our exploring is stopping into a local Vinyl shop. The one we chose was called Square Cat Vinyl and boy did they have some tempting records for us. Jacob was looking at some Red Hot Chili Pepper albums while I was busy in the jazz section looking at Billie Holiday or in the Soundtracks looking for a Breakfast at Tiffany’s album.

Because no day of exploring with me if ever complete without coffee, we went to a much awaited location. This coffee shop is directly across from the building that states that “You are Beautiful” and is called Bovaconti Coffee. It’s the kind of coffee shop that when you go inside you kinda squeal internally because of its obvious beauty and aesthetic. Jacob ordered his usual mocha and I went with a Spanish latte (it’s made with condensed milk, espresso and cinnamon- a must try if you like those ingredients).

My only complaint was the lack of seating because of the time of day and my unfulfilled desire to sit in a coffee shop for awhile and chat. But there is always another day for that! So we switched up our order and got them to go.

Newfields or No Fields

Phase two of the day was to find ourselves surrounded by plants and flowers. However as the day would have it, it turned out to be another edit to the plans. We were informed that the greenhouse wasn’t going to be opened for another two weeks or so. We accepted the news and as we walked back to the car we stopped in the lobby to explore and to wonder at this kinetic art installation by Studio Drift. Funny thing is that we still ended up around flowers.

Birthday Surprise

At 5 pm all of my plans for the day were completed and mostly accomplished! But the fun part is this is exactly where Jacob’s plans pick up pace. He had been telling me all week that he had plans for us the evening of my birthday sometime after 6 pm. In my mind I was super stoked because I figured that it would be an occasion to dress up and eat some awesome food but… I was wrong.

Right before leaving the house for the surprise I ask Jacob what I should wear and he said something usual and also comfy. Still confused as what to wear I throw out the question “is there a chance that I will get dirty or messing there?” He seemed unsure but responded that he thinks its possible but that they will have stuff there to help keep me clean.

So…. yeah this girls mind was racing at what the heck we were about to do. So with some faith and keeping my eyes shut, he drove us to our mystery location. Surprise! We were going to a wine and canvas night! I was deeply touched by this gesture because that previous week I had said that I really wanted to get back into that love and here we were, about to start it up again but this time- together.

As you can see, 28 is off to such a wonderful start. I was able to see so many of my friends, family, artistic and inspirational places that have left my heart and mind refreshed and reminded of the amazing life that I get to live. Wishing you all only the best and I cannot wait until next time!


Our Day in Antwerp, Belgium

Sitting on the North Sea is out last location on our Belgium tour. Join me as I share our rainy day in the city and all of its charms that it has to offer…

Butting up to the Netherlands on the coast of the North Sea is our last location, Antwerp, Belgium. This is a location we had in the back of our minds to visit while in Europe but we weren’t sure on if we would make it. I say that because on the flight to Belgium we had a certain itinerary in mind compared to the one we actually got to explore. So by the end of day one of our trip, we knew we definitely wanted to visit this city and explore all of its water ways.

Taking a train a little over an hour north of Brussels, we got to Antwerp. The thing I noticed first about this city is it’s amazing and gorgeous train station. With being multiple levels high and adorned with a golden clock, it truly was a sight to be seen. This beauty continued itself further into the station and then out its front doors to the new city awaiting us.


From those very doors, what I saw genuinely made me giggle. Across the walk way I saw painting in red with two proud stone lions, Antwerp’s Chinatown. Did I expect to find myself in China while in Dutch country? Absolutely not! But was I mad about it? Heck no.


Much like the swans I told you about, I saw my target and booked it to China! Looking in shop windows full of ceramics, silk screens, glowing neon and menus and menus of my kind of food- I was in a silly little heaven. I even made Jacob promise me that we would come back before leaving for the day because I knew exactly what I wanted to have for my dinner.

But onward we went in search of more of the cities charms. One of those being in another gorgeous center where an age old turquoise fountain stood with the backdrop of those buildings that I fell hard for! We even got lucky enough to not have lots of crowds around us while we took in the sights. I think this had a lot to do with the fact that it was Monday and also a rainy Monday at that.


It’s usually around here in the day where I try to nail down the feeling that I get from a place. I don’t think I mean to always do this but I truly think that our surroundings have a personality all of their own that help tells a story of the past influencing the present. While in Antwerp, this was a hard feat for me to do but I think by the end of the day I came to see it as a quiet beauty, a place of rest almost.

Some of my favorite moments were empty yet inviting outdoor cafes, more adorable Belgium pups, shops with their windows full of plants, churches offering moments of reflection and bikes with baskets…





But speaking of coffee, we were without a doubt in need of more. So with the need for a pause and a moment to fill our bellies, we sat inside of a restaurant that specializes in English cuisine. Jacob ordered his food with a beer to wash it down while I ordered a cheese toastie (grilled cheese) and a coffee.


Unlike my instant connection to the food found in Chinatown from above, I tend to struggle a bit with food while traveling. In my mind I think about the language barrier when ordering but also on the unknown. It can be hard to decide and pick a place whenever you don’t know what all is around you to try and eat. I have this feeling of “what if I’m missing out on something better.” It is something that I want to continue to get better at while traveling because who doesn’t love reading up on food and different cultural cuisine!

Around the corner from our lunch spot was a statue I was hoping to see. This statue is called “Nello and Patrasche” and is of a boy and his dog snuggling under a blanket. So of course this made me miss our sweet boy, Tyson. And it may have, also, made me wish for a blanket for myself because the day was just not warming up anytime soon.


Around this part of the city I remembered one of the things that Antwerp is known for. Antwerp is known to have the largest collection of diamonds in one area so we knew exactly what our souvenirs would be… just kidding. We tucked into a dime a dozen souvenirs shop for Jacob’s last Belgium city shot glass.

Maybe I need to do a travel around the world via his shot glass collection!

Something that I was missing from our day was water. In all of our other locations we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of water around us (or maybe we are surprised because we are from the midwest in the US). But with Antwerp being just off of the North Sea, we knew we could easily get our fill if we decided to do so.

The first promise of getting close to the water was a large and oh so stunning mural of a whale! Followed quickly by the actual water with cross walks to get to the other side of the water or ships sitting on its surface to travel down it.


So far on the trip we haven’t visited any museums. This is something we go back and forth on for whether it’s something we should spend valuable time on or not. But while in Antwerp, we figured we should visit one for the trip. We chose the Museum aan de Stroom and it is a museum that cover’s the city’s Metropolis, Power, Life and Death, and Antwerp’s history as a port city. The draw to going wasn’t just the history story but also the rooftop which offers panorama views of the whole city.


Whenever we found the museum we noticed two things about it. The first was that the building itself was huge with modern touches and a very colorful exterior. The second thing we noticed was that it was very much closed for the day. Completely bummed at my lack of remembering its weekly hours, we turned it around and decided to take in the scenes surrounding the building.


Just down the way was a docked “pirate” ship as Jacob called it. To which he then decided that he was going to get on it for a picture and a laugh. Seeing the ship made my eyes fall onto another beautiful mural that ironically enough had the word “beYOUtiful” painted at its center. I love it when things don’t work out but you still find joy in the process. I think this about life but more importantly about myself and those around us. You never know how a “no” or a “rejection” will end up steering your life.



Before we took our frozen little bodies back to that gorgeous train station, we stopped in Chinatown for a to go order of my most favorite bao- aka the food version of a hug. Then we found our platform and snuggled in for a sleepy ride home to our Airbnb in Brussels for our last night in Belgium.



Thank you again for coming alongside me on our adventures! You’ve heard me talking an awful lot about our cozy, home away from home. Well for me where we lay our heads at night is just as important as the local or foreign streets we find ourselves on. So next week please come back for a cozy read about our Scandinavian home, how travel impacts our married and future adventures in store for Krisscrossing Life!