Living Fort Wayne’s Top Picks for First Date Activities
Oct05

Living Fort Wayne’s Top Picks for First Date Activities

Living Fort Wayne is here for you, and we are planning to show you that with our new series: LFW’s Top Picks. We will be bringing you our top picks of everything in the great city of Fort Wayne from restaurants to sledding spots. And in our first installment, we bring you the best first date activities. We can guarantee you approximately an 85% success rate in garnering a second date if you use any of these ideas on your first date. If you use everything on this list…you might as well propose on the spot. Wendy Englehart – Committee Co-Chair Catch some live music and great coffee at The Friendly Fox. Then head to DeBrand Fine Chocolates for some truly decadent desserts and chocolate. Lynn Altevogt – Editorial Chair Take your date to a Let’s Comedy show. The group is constantly bringing amazing comedians to FW; this is a great test to see if you two have a similar sense of humor. After the show, you can meander up to the bar at CS3 for drinks. Jade Kelsey – Partnership Development Co-Chair Rent kayaks from Fort Wayne Outfitters, and spend a couple of hours exploring the rivers. Use that calorie deficit to indulge in a dessert at Sweets So Geek. Tim Zink – Committee Co-Chair Head to Hyde Brothers Booksellers – two stories of countless books where quieter types can explore shared interests together. Follow this with a stroll down Wells Street. For lunch, head around the corner to Caliente Cuban Cafe – not the biggest place in town, but if you like Cuban sandwiches and small, locally-owned establishments with character, this place rocks! Spend the afternoon at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo – a Fort Wayne favorite since 1965, who knows how many dates have happened here. Even the monkeys have love in the air. Leslie Snare – Director at Large Meet at Fortezza for coffee and then catch an independent flick at the Cinema Center. After the film, head to Summit City Brewerks for beer flights and snacks. Jade Haag – Calendar and Events Chair Check out the production of Anything Goes at IPFW, then head to Old Crown for some delicious food and drinks or freshly brewed coffee, whichever your proclivity. Courtney Bell – Technology Chair Take an afternoon stroll on the Pufferbelly Trail followed by a visit to Two EE’s Winery for a tasting and some wine slushies. Becca Bell – Contributing Writer Browse Fancy & Staple and Antiques on Broadway together. Then get a Bloody Mary at the Brass Rail, which is basically like a meal inside a drink. After that, you can...

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Fancy & Staple brings “uncommon” charm downtown
Oct02

Fancy & Staple brings “uncommon” charm downtown

At Fancy & Staple – a new “uncommon goods” boutique in downtown Fort Wayne – you probably won’t find raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens. You might find bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. But no matter what, you’ll definitely find something destined to become one of “your favorite things.” Fancy & Staple is already stocked with shop owner Taber Olinger’s favorite things – including home accessories, dishware, gift items, paper products, pantry goods, barware, jewelry and clothing. By featuring the wares of independent designers, handmade crafters and local artists, the shop’s inventory also pays tribute to some of Olinger’s favorite people. “To bring this shop to life, I’ve combined my passion for design with all the things I love in life,” she says. And while she’s filled the shelves with items she hopes her customers will love, Olinger calls the store her own “love letter to Fort Wayne.” “I’ve wanted to contribute something special to Fort Wayne ever since I left my parents’ nest,” she says. “It’s funny how once you start supporting yourself, you find out how much you really care about your surroundings. From that point on, I had dreams of making this city a cooler place to live.” That dream became one step closer to reality after Olinger earned a degree in fashion design and merchandising. It took a several years to get momentum as an entrepreneur, but the burgeoning downtown development provided the perfect opportunity to set up shop. “I think the timing is perfect now,” says Olinger. “It’s really important that we all join forces to keep Fort Wayne growing, keep making it a better place for us all. I want Fancy & Staple to be a place people come to hang out,” she says. “Where you can take your time, unwind from the day and let yourself get wrapped up in its charm.” That special charm kicks off with two must-visit opening events. The first is a soft opening on Saturday, Oct. 3rd, with a cash bar, gourmet appetizers from Bird & Cleaver, and pop-up shops from Belyst Boutique and OFabz Swimwear. A week later, the Grand Opening celebration turns the Broadway boutique into party – complete with an art show, skincare demonstrations by Lush, a cash bar from The Golden, food from the Affine and Bravas food trucks, and music from Lost Lakes. The first 25 shoppers who spend $50 or more will receive a free gift. Both celebrations will include photography. The Soft Opening will be photographed by Ruth Yaroslaski and the Grand Opening by Ashley Martin. The next two Saturdays at Fancy & Staple will be a one-stop-shop for food,...

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A Diamond in the Rough: Becky’s Skin Care Plus
Mar18

A Diamond in the Rough: Becky’s Skin Care Plus

Like many of our readers, I live in Fort Wayne but drive outside the county for work. When you are used to the plethora of amenities that Fort Wayne has to offer, sometimes new shops and different tastes are difficult to find in smaller cities like Auburn. Upon one of my recent adventurous lunch breaks, I ventured over to Auburn’s West Edge Mall. This little mall had seen much better times back in the day, but nonetheless is still inhabited by several locally-owned small businesses. Being a huge supporter of local small businesses and entrepreneurships, I thought I would stop by and take a peek at what this place had to offer. The signs gave some life to a few hidden shops inside: a restaurant, tanning salon, hair salon, tattoo parlor, hardware store, and a skin care boutique. As I opened the front doors, I was welcomed by a thick hallway of silence then proceeded to slowly walk through, peering into the windows as I went. About three doors down on the right, I came across Becky’s Skin Care Plus. I decided to walk in and see what this little shop was all about when I was greeted by a smiling little Italian lady – Becky, of course. She showed me around to the private rooms, talked about the Dermologica product line, and I glanced over the brochure. You will NOT believe her prices! Becky takes pride in offering the best service with the best prices around. As I spoke more with Becky about the services and products that she offers, she was beaming with delight about her little shop. ME: So, how long have you been doing Skin Care, and how did you discover that this is what you wanted to do? BW: Honestly, I just kind of fell into it. I was working at a local massage therapy salon and they needed an Esthetician. I thought, “I could do that!” So I did all the necessary training and have been a certified Esthetician since 2008. Then on November 1, 2011, I opened Becky’s Skin Care Plus right here. ME: It’s funny how many of us end up “falling into” our line of work! What is it about this profession that you enjoy the most? BW: I find such satisfaction in helping people! To many of my clients, I am like a friend or even their therapist. Many of my clients had given up on their skin and lived with severe skin problems for years until they found me. I just love watching the changes for the better, inside and out. It really helps people with their self-esteem and...

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Fresh Market: A Sensory Sensation
Dec12

Fresh Market: A Sensory Sensation

Have you been to Fresh Market recently? If not, then it’s time to experience the savory side of life. It’s like gourmet grocery shopping. The first thing you’ll notice is the array of glittering poinsettias that greet you at the entrance. “Blingsettias” and “Snow Frost” poinsettias are in a profusion of color, from peachy-pink to traditional red and white. It’s like looking at a mountain of flowers. There are also ivy wreathes in pots – a neat idea for someone who wants to be festive without having to watch out for flower petals or clinging pine needles. Once inside, you’ll find the gift section filled with snacks, colorful cloth placemats, and other easy-to-give hostess presents that will certainly make a great impression on the recipient. The store’s interior is arranged like a typical grocery store, but more condensed. There are several full aisles; pumpkin pie bars, artisan lavender soap, and Seventh Generation paper towels are just a few of the items to be found here. In the milk and dairy section you’ll find organic milk, a variety of cheeses, and lactose-free milk products (like Silk). Cleaning supplies? They have it – everything from Mrs. Meyer’s laundry soap to Bon Ami and Barkeeper’s Friend scrubbing powder. The bakery section is something to stop and take in. Yes, there are cakes and cookies and breads. But there are also raspberry cakes – whole layered pastries about 7” long and at least 4” high. Petit Fours, glistening fruit tarts and Yule Logs are also a few of the many offerings kept behind clean glass countertops – displayed right at mouthwatering eye level. The deli counter is long as well – choose whatever ready-to-eat concoction you’d like, and the staff will wrap it up for you. Large silver platters display a variety of roasted whole chickens in the middle of the store. You can feel the heat from the enclosed counters as you browse the labeled displays. For someone looking for a quick treat to take to work, there are bags of lavender, blue and white snowflake cookies. Or you might want to try out the soft baguettes. The produce section is populated with towering stacks of shining fruits. Apples, pears, bananas, and other fresh fruits tempt customers to pick up a few for the shopping cart. And there are also kosher treats, like chopped figs with nuts, pre-packaged and nestled among the displays. Want to throw together a quick stew? The veggies are already cut up for you, waiting on ice. When you check out, there are several lanes to choose from. Just head for the trellises and look for a place to nose...

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Old Fort Soap Company: A Necessary Luxury
Dec10

Old Fort Soap Company: A Necessary Luxury

If a “necessary luxury” sounds like an oxymoron to you, you’re right. And apparently that’s why Old Fort Soap Company is making such a name for themselves. Talk to anyone who has used their products and it’s likely you’ll hear them tell you that they just can’t go back to anything else. I can’t even say that I was surprised when two (very manly) men at JK O’Donnell’s hovered over my Old Fort bag filled to the brim with soaps, lotions, and chapsticks searching for their favorites…and then began to barter with me on how they could get me to bring them some. It’s true, Old Fort Soap Company mixes up something special each time they create a fresh batch of their all-natural products. To say I have become a tad obsessed with them would be a bit of an understatement.  My first encounter with Gary Birch and Hagan Amburgey was this summer when I wrote a story about their business for my Barr Street Market Vendor Series.  At the time, I was hooked on a high priced bath and body boutique that made “natural” products. You still won’t hear me complain about the delicious soaps I continuously drained my wallet for each month. But, Gary and Hagan introduced me to something pretty awesome made right here in my own city. Not only are their products half the price of my other brand, they have met every expectation my demanding (and ever-so slightly aging) skin requires. Months later, my bathroom smells like a plethera of scents from lavendar to sandalwood. It’s not just soaps that have me hooked.  As a chapstick hoarder, their beeswax lip balms are in my car and all ten of my purses (clearly, I have more than one addiction here…) I use their giant bath bombs to fill my bathtub on nights when I just need to relax.  They fizz and bubble and the fragrance is literally an explosion of aroma that fills my whole room. Even their natural laundry detergent is to die for.  I love the fresh linen scent and they can be used in all types of washers. To be honest, I was hesitant to use the detergent at first. I mean, these are my clothes we’re talking about here. But at $5 for 64 loads, I was convinced to give it a try. My clothing is fresh, clean and there are no chemicals to break down the fabrics. At the risk of sounding too much like a commercial, I’ll move on.  There is more to Old Fort Soap Company than just their expertly made goods, and this is probably what makes...

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Shop Small on Saturday
Nov26

Shop Small on Saturday

The holidays have finally arrived! Since we’ve already seen our first snow, getting into the spirit will not be difficult. With this time of year comes the great task of buying gifts for loved ones. For me, gift giving has become a sport. I strive to make sure everyone’s favorite gift comes from me. While you’re out shopping for that perfect gift, why not support our local Fort Wayne businesses? This Saturday, November 29th, Fort Wayne, along with cities all across America, will participate in Small Business Saturday. This day, created by American Express in 2010, celebrates the value of small businesses and their positive effect on the local economy. With so many fantastic small local businesses in Fort Wayne, you will not want to miss out on this day. Shopping with small local businesses helps grow the local economy and builds camaraderie in the neighborhoods. Shop alone or with a group, and maybe make some new connections along the way! Don’t forget to stop and eat because included in these small businesses are a vast selection of delicious local restaurants. Maybe try something new. To help you get around to all of your shopping destinations, the Holly Trolley will provide free transportation around Downtown and the Wells Corridor. Rides begin at 11a.m and end at 5p.m. This free mode of transportation provides a fun and convenient way for everyone to participate in Small Business Saturday. To see all participating vendors and maps of the routes click here. Many local businesses plan to give out special gifts or discounts to patrons in celebration of Small Business Saturday. I don’t know about you, but Black Friday shopping gets overwhelming for me. With the Holly Trolley, the great atmosphere and the incredible small businesses of Downtown Fort Wayne, Small Business Saturday will be nothing but fun! Do you enjoy social media? If you do, you can share your love for your favorite Fort Wayne locations with the #ShopSmall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Have a great holiday weekend and remember to shop small to support the wonderful businesses that help make Fort Wayne an amazing place to...

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