Travel Guide: 24 Hours in South Bend

South Bend is a blossoming Midwestern city that offers just about everything for the thriving millennial. As someone who has had the privilege of visiting this great metropolitan more often than usual, it’s unmistakable that this northern Indiana city has it all.

As a city that changes noticeably with every season and flourishes with a congenial beauty, South Bend is a busy metropolitan featuring places that excel in culture and history, novel spots that serve unique food and drinks, and crowds that are warm and friendly. While it’s recommended you spend a lengthy amount of time in this charming Midwestern municipality, we share some popular ideas to check out when you have got just 24 hours to spare in the Bend.

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Autism 101: Effective Ways to Help Your Child Communicate and Thrive

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One of the most humbling parts about my job is getting to know people through their profession. A little before New Year’s Eve, I had the pleasure of chatting with Christine Guth of the Asperger Autism Group of Goshen for an assignment on autism. As someone who was not very familiar with the developmental disability prior to this interview, I was really blown away by Guth’s knowledge. The community leader with more than 10 years of experience not only lends support to parents and their children on the autism spectrum, but is a remarkable individual whose very insight derives from being a mother to two children diagnosed on the autism spectrum, in addition to being the wife to her husband also on the spectrum.

She is a testament to good character and as someone who gained quite a bit of knowledge on the subject, it is evident how appreciated she is when helping parents and children prosper through this condition. While I have had my fair share of thoroughly researched articles that broaden the dialogue on awareness, this is definitely one of my favorites. I was very pleased to see how this particular piece turned out as Guth shared tips with Womanista readers this past January to help make life a bit easier at home.

Womanista | Autism 101: Effective Ways to Help Your Child Communicate and Thrive

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, you might find yourself wondering how to effectively improve their communication and life skills. While early intervention is the key in treating autism, a condition that affects one in 68 children in the U.S., it’s hard to prepare yourself for what’s to come if you’re unsure on how best to help them.
Described as a “developmental disability” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism causes substantial social, communication, and behavioral challenges, and is 4.5 times more common in boys than girls. But since the condition varies from person to person, it can be hard to get the “right” advice and relief. Thankfully, there are tried and tested tips to help make life easier thanks to support groups across the country.
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Bar Guide: South Bend, Indiana

South Bend is the type of Midwestern city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re all dressed up or aiming for something more casual, this northern Indiana city’s growing nightlife has it all. You might not think it, but it’s definitely one that’s been thriving in recent years.

In addition to being a growing metropolitan city rich in history and a firm foodie scene, one of South Bend’s finest assets is its bar scene, thriving with some of the best pubs and dive bars in and around the city. From places that excel in serving their drinks straight up, to novel spots that throw in dancing or fantastic bar eats, we share some of the best bars in South Bend.

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Bar Guide: Elkhart County, Indiana

There’s a lot to love about Indiana, but there’s even more to love about the heartiness and innovation of its northern regions. From small businesses making big waves with delicious restaurants and decadent dessert spots that capture our undivided attention, there’s no denying that with a fall chill in the air, it’s the perfect time to start warming up and hitting our favorite cocktail and bar spots.

Thanks to the beautiful charm of small towns like Goshen, Elkhart and Middlebury, it’s time to skip the metropolitan jungles of this beautiful state and tap into some of our favorite cities in northern Indiana that serve novel and classic drinks for those looking to indulge in a spot rich in history, arts and a vibrant foodie culture that is burgeoning.

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Reflections in the ‘Bend’

During a very serene and introspective moment last week in snowy old South Bend, I had the opportunity to reflect on my life in a quiet, barren city. As previously mentioned on his birthday, the winter season tends to be a hard one for me. Where do all the memories go when a relationship breaks? Why is it easier for some and not others? More importantly, how did he manage to forget in an instant? I wish he could tell me. Incessant thoughts worth six years are cast into words as nothing, yet become immense distractions that keep you wide awake wondering where it all went wrong.

This month has been interesting and in some ways, emotional. I don’t really know what to say except there are aching moments when I miss him still and it gets hard knowing in this great big place, he sleeps soundly without a single toss and turn. While I had been up north that week to meet up with family, I got a chance to walk the lone chilly sidewalks and really catch a glimpse of my place in this great big world—or in this case, state.

While watching It’s A Wonderful Life tonight (also known as, one of my all-time favorite films), I thought back to that moment in South Bend as I walked beautifully dusted sidewalks. If I never loved who I did and the way I did, I don’t think I could be who I am today, where I am today. In every understanding of my own life, I can proudly say now that I am content with myself and who I am because in every ounce of pain felt from these past six years and more so in these last two, I know who I am and my purpose in this world now. We don’t always get the dream house, but we get pretty close. And if I happen to tread a Kathleen Kelly kind of life sans Joe Fox (“I am a lone reed”), that’s alright because it’s better to be alone than in a relationship that makes you feel alone. Relationships have shown me that you don’t need a significant other to lead a significant life. As long as you are content with yourself and are true to that person you see in a window’s reflection, you are never completely alone.

Call it a holiday miracle or what you will, but those wintry streets opened my eyes and made me realize I have never felt more at home than I am when I am in Indiana. I have always loved this state and continue to, even though sometimes and especially in the past two years, memories sneak up and cast a shadow of doubt on my worth. These thoughts force you into a train of thinking falsified by fear and doubt, and make you think you don’t belong anywhere, especially where your heart feels more at peace. But those thoughts are nothing compared to what you truly feel deep down in your gut and the world you build for yourself. As I’ve lived my hardest in these past two years by working off my gut, living my truth and driving forth from passion, I don’t think I’ve ever belonged more in one place than I do today. Whether in Indy or South Bend, Goshen or Muncie, my soul in some odd way just feels a consistent concord no matter where I am in Indiana.

While work has given me immense strength and has been a helpful toll in fulfilling voids felt by loss, I have learned so much more about my heart and its honesty than I ever imagined. Every moment lived through this beating chest has taught me how important every step I take is to my life and the lives of others. I have been through rough patches along this path, but have learned every good thing you do with your whole heart, every ounce of love you put forth, it all makes a difference no matter how hard it is to see at first. While he might be moving on and is happier than can be, I have come to accept that nothing is ever conceived in vain even if things go awry. I have loved with my whole heart and still do, and I will not regret that even as I walk lonely sidewalks in a hushed city.

Tonight I count my blessings for that which I had, that which I have, that which I will receive and that which God has prepared me for. These past few years have proven to me that living an honest life built off love, passion and self-trust is a great way to understand your worth and reiterate that no heart is ever broken in vain. It might have been hard to understand during those months of crying to sleep and trying so hard to fathom why something so internal, so deep within you, a piece of your identity, could be shattered almost instantly as if there was no barrier to begin with. But over the course of time, if that broken heart was sincere and truthful, it grows stronger and allows you to see right through who you are to help you figure out your purpose and meaning.

I miss him. I love him. Some nights will be hard. Some days in northern Indiana will be harder, but I have come to accept that now because God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle.

“All you take with you is that which you’ve given away.”

#HBD: 6 Wishes

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Winter tends to be a hard season for me. While I have been blessed in this past year to really dive deep into work and solidify my career as a writer—my utmost desired passion—things start to slow down as the new year approaches and memories start to creep in. Most times and in the tune of Talking Heads, these memories can’t wait though. As I skate through this season with my head held up, time gains on me and creates thin ice along the way, revealing memories that have lain dormant for months. Yet, lately they have begun to push at the door of my reality and send me in a tailspin that takes nights of mourning into my pillow to just get over. But letting that grief out doesn’t work, and it’s as if all that progress from months ago and just letting go has been lost all thanks to a season that beams as bright as it twinkles.

It’s a season governed by reclusiveness, where activities are fed to dormancy and our life becomes still, indwelling and most often silent. Like many others though, I think a lot during this season about my life, the people in it and the people who are no longer with us. Since the start of winter, I have stilled my soul, quieted my mind to the important bits that matter to my living, but every time I come up for air from this abyss, I find myself hitting a slope deeper into darkness all because I think about him.

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Roman à Clef: September 2016

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With the heat soaking through the ceramic to her cold fingertips, she held the hot mug of black tea firmly in her hands. In some way, the warmth calmed her nerves as she watched him focus his gaze out the window. Though they had been meeting every month since what he shared with her in April, she was nervous to see him again. Especially after their argument during the peak of summer about his message.

He turned his head and smiled faintly. While she wouldn’t have known the other side of it, his visit that included pounding down her door in July was more for the painful void felt in his bones, than the arduous hunger he had for every part of her in May.

“You’re wearing the scarf,” he said softly.

She looked down at her chest, nervously adjusting the scarf as if to cover her breasts and smiled. “Yeah, it’s one of my favorites — Redneck Riviera,” she said through a scoff.

“Redneck Riviera,” he laughed. “Dangerous, but it was worth it. You look nice.”

She nodded her head as if to hurriedly agree. “Are you alright?”

“Did I ever tell you about that trip?” he asked.

“To the shores last year?” she replied. (more…)

Desserts Guide: Goshen, Indiana

Earlier this April, I made my first trip up to Goshen thanks in part to my dad’s work. Though my initial trip was short, it was incredibly sweet and very memorable. While I’ve had the chance to better explore it this summer, there is so much to see in this beautiful northern city and I absolutely love it! This past month, I had a chance to share some of my favorite restaurants from my visits over the last few months from a kind, warm place aptly called “Maple City” (Canadian connection, eh?) and one that shares my birthday digits—46528—boom, kismet! But today, I want to share some of my favorite dessert spots that I’ve been frequenting since the spring. Check them out at The Hudsucker!

The Hudsucker | Desserts Guide: Goshen, Indiana

Goshen, Indiana may be a vibrant and artsy city with a bustling foodie scene of delightful restaurants, but these Hoosiers are real dessert lovers at heart. Sure, three square meals packed with innovation in gorgeous entertainment hubs are an incredible asset in charming tourists and inhabitants, but dessert and an affinity to the sweet life is where it’s at in this Midwestern community nicknamed “The Maple City.”
With autumn fast approaching and the leaves changing, there’s no better way to celebrate these last dog days of summer than by indulging in our favorite desserts in this bright and beautiful city. Between brownies and homemade ice cream, to chocolate chip cookies and gorgeous sugar cream pies, there’s no denying that we absolutely love dessert because truthfully, it’s the best part of any meal.
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location: elkhart, indiana

“Time takes all and gives all.”
Giordano Bruno

Denying the truth doesn’t change the facts about life and the circumstances we find ourselves in. You can learn a lot from your past and the choices you made when you aren’t so busy denying each and every one of them. But in life we have a horrible thing called “fear” and fear often permeates through every choice we make because of our incessant need to not be alone, to not live out a history, or live an ideal that promises happiness if we compromise ourselves. Yet, that is not how life works. Cowards always avoid difficulty and choose denial to steer through situations that are less than what they perceived for themselves. Such spineless attitudes that stem from a rose-colored perception is a sign of disbelief and broken faith. God help those who cannot help themselves.

Image Credit: Martinsky on Tumblr

Restaurant Guide: Goshen, Indiana

There’s a beautiful charm about small towns that captures the attention of everyone. With Indiana celebrating their bicentennial this year, it’s time to skip the urban jungles of this beautiful state and tap into what is one of the most “sweetest” cities in northern Indiana. Nicknamed “The Maple City” and known for its Amish country, Goshen, Indiana is rich in history, while booming with a vibrant arts and culture scene.

As one of my favorite cities and a spot I’ve been frequenting often, this central stop along the beautiful Heritage Trail is a magnet for creative minds who want a bit of wholesome Americana with a twist. From specialty boutiques to cozy cafés, Goshen is alive with a delicious restaurant scene that is not only one of a kind, but perfect for a night out on the town.

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Roman à Clef: May 2016

South Bend, Indiana

Whipping her hair in his face, she tossed her head back as she felt his warm chest heaving against her back. Removing his slender fingers gently from her inner thigh, he kissed her on the neck as she placed her hand on the back of his head, tangling her fingers in his dark combed hair. The two sat in the driver seat breathing heavily as they stared straight ahead at the empty parking lot.

“I should have opened the windows,” he smirked.

Holding the steering wheel of his dark SUV for support, she slid off his lap and into the passenger seat, grabbing her stuff off the vehicle’s floor.

“It’s not that stuffy in here,” she said with a grin as she buttoned the top of her dress. Turning to look at him, she placed her hand on the side of his face and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “I should get going—it’s a long drive back for me.”

“I’m sorry about earlier,” he said in a soft voice as he zipped up his pants. (more…)

J’adore BITE Beauty: Review of #TheLipPencil VoxBox

From matte liquid lipsticks to sheer washes of color, lip products are perennial favorites for so many fashionistas because they can instantly change your look with minimal effort. While some brands focus on a full range of cosmetics, BITE Beauty is one that really stands on its own for doing one thing really well: lipstick.

Earlier this month, Influenster sent me the #TheLipPencil VoxBox from BITE Beauty and obviously, I was very excited. It’s lipstick for crying out loud! While I never experimented with their collection of lipsticks and pencils prior to receiving this package, it really piqued my interest. I love adding new lipsticks to my collection for a look that is bold, complementary to my mood and definitely one of a kind. (more…)

8 Undeniable Red Flags of Incompatibility in a Relationship

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When we seek out partners, we’re looking for someone who will be our true soul mate, our best friend — the who understands us to the core without us even uttering a word. But love and even marriage is not enough to guarantee that a relationship stands the test of time. Couples can be together for a decade, love each other very much, move to a new town, have a child, yet still not be right for one another.

Sure, relationships aren’t perfect and most will often meet with some challenge or the other, but can you really be happy if you ignore the red flags just to ensure history is left untouched?

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Letter from the Editor: What a Broken Heart Can Teach You

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Something I have heard from many in the last month is how heartbroken they have been feeling since last fall. As a feeling I too have experienced while watching the world change every second, it’s no secret that a broken heart can take a toll on the best of us.

And there is nothing more painful than that. Heartbreak takes each of us on a seemingly endless rollercoaster ride, while pulling at the frayed fringe of our very being that leave us weakened and hurt. Yet, as the late Leonard Cohen sings in his popular song, “Anthem,” there is a crack in everything and “that’s how the light gets in.”

It might sound preposterous, but a broken heart has the power to not only motivate and improve our lives for a healthier well-being, but also unleash a great creativity you have never imagined.

If you watched the Golden Globes this month, you might have seen Meryl Streep sharing wise words from the late Carrie Fisher that urged all those with broken hearts to rise up and “take your broken heart, make it into art.”

The Hudsucker was one such venture. While the idea manifested through faith thanks to our Senior Managing Editor, Katherine, the very foundations and motivations of this online magazine were built upon a broken heart.

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How to Reach Success Using Creative Visualization

If you want to succeed, you have to believe you can. You might think about being successful and reaching your goals all the time, but our life and the circumstances we find ourselves in often have another plan for us every single day. In case you didn’t know, what you usually think up is what you ultimately become. It might sound a little daunting, but with the way the universe is, whatever you choose to concentrate on is what you have the power to attract. Meaning, the more you visualize a goal, the more you can accomplish it.

Regarded as a powerful technique to help you transform your life, creative visualization is a key component in helping you use your imagination and dreams to affect more positive changes in your life. It might sound a lot like Aladdin rubbing a magic lamp and making a wish, but it is a natural process that pushes us to become the architect of our lives as we attract success and prosperity in our lives.

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Here’s to the Ones Who Dream: Essential Life Lessons From ‘La La Land’

Bursting onto the big-screen with a high note of retro glamour, glitz and style, La La Land is one of the most daring original movie musicals in a long time. In addition to vibrantly illustrating stylized trimmings of Hollywood musicals from the ‘40s and ‘50s blended with an ardent Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers flair, it’s no wonder this breathtaking, heartfelt homage to silver screen classics is one of the best films of 2016.

Winner of seven Golden Globes, recipient of 11 BAFTA nominations and soon to be the expected winner at the 89th Annual Academy Awards for Best Picture, La La Land is not just any musical though with beautiful costumes and twirling. It’s a luscious and vivacious look into the world of dreamers who power through reality to accept change.

Following the lives of two dreamers, La La Land is quick to highlight its character-based plot with two artists and their respective dreams. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist hoping to open his own jazz club, while Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress attending audition after audition. Drawn together by their common desire to do what they love, the two begin a love affair complete with song and dance that’s reminiscent of Astaire and Rogers dancing “Cheek to Cheek.” But as they each find success, their decisions begin to fray at the fragile fabric of their relationship and threaten to rip them apart.

In his multicolored and impassioned third feature, director, Damien Chazelle portrays love at its finest. But the 31-year-old filmmaker also asks young, driven millennials who dream beyond the norm, is it possible to have it all?

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6 Telltale Signs You’re Definitely Not Over Your Ex

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We’ve all been there — eating pints of ice cream, belting out Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” while in our Snuggie and looking through old photos of happier times. There is no denying that getting over someone who made your life awesome and full of dancing butterflies proves to be one of life’s greatest challenges. But in the aftermath of a breakup, trying to let go of that significant chunk of your life with someone isn’t easy as we’re stuck constantly thinking of them.

According to researchers at Stony Brook University, your inability to let go can be blamed on our “nucleus accumbens” — the brain area associated with reward, which studies suggest fosters the ex-addiction. This simply means since romantic love is a specific form of addiction, when in love and broken up, those emotions can feel similar to withdrawing from a severe addiction.

You might be convinced you’ve gotten over it, but that’s the thing. Getting over someone who has meant so much to you can take a lot longer than anticipated and without a doubt, be one hell of a bumpy ride. So how can you tell if you’ve really stuck a fork in it or are still stuck in your last relationship? To help you make sense of it all, we explore a few signs you are still not over that ex of yours.

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