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.
Continue reading at The Hudsucker…

Le déni

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

A Reminder

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Just going to keep this here as a reminder that waiting can be a blessing in hindsight. Whether it’s waiting for a heart to heal, a love to mend, a path to look clearer, a purpose to be understood—waiting often feels like torture and seems impossible to endure because we want things to happen on our own schedule. We have become such self-serving individuals that we don’t realize life doesn’t happen on our terms. God doesn’t operate on our schedules and expecting He will just hinders our faith in Him, ourselves and the circumstances that make up this world we create.

If Psalm 18:30 says God’s ways are “perfect,” then it’s essential to trust whatever happens because His timing is faultless. A lot of bad things happen and a lot of bad people get away with hurting others, but waiting can bring its own set of benefits for the pain caused or for the ones who have inflicted the pain. I know this because I have waited for a lot of things in life. And while God has blessed and showered me with good things, it’s hard some days to wonder about that little organ that is the heart and the engine running that is the brain. Will the heart ever heal itself? Will we ever be OK with it having been broken over and over by someone or something we love (or loved)? Could we ever just stop thinking of all the hurt that we feel deep down inside? I don’t know.

But I do know that time goes by quickly (or at least it did this year) and when we surround ourselves with love, positivity and good people, good work, it’s a sign of better things on the horizon. Our choices are our own and whatever we decide to make in order to aid our own emotional and mental well-being, God is there every step of the way reassuring us through signs and karma that all that waiting will one day mean something we never could have possibly imagined.

{Originally posted on Instagram / photo from Pinterest}

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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Goshen Getaways

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With summer school over, I’ve had more time to explore a lot of the beauty around this great state. One place I’ve been finding myself visiting a lot more thanks to the places my father’s work sends him and a good friend who lives in the Terrace Park area recommends is Goshen’s Fidler Pond.

It’s seriously gorgeous and kind of reminds me of the pond by my parents’ house back home, except bigger and much cleaner. When I visit this quaint little city, I make it my goal to always park my car at this beautiful park that most people would have to drive about 20 miles out to get, and head out on a long, hearty run around its one-and-a-half-mile trail. This 80-acre pond has become my little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of a busy, metropolitan life. Plus, it’s an incredibly quiet area and I love that. While everyone I know is taking a weekend off and heading to Lake Wawasee and indulging in the sandbars, I’ve found in recent months this little gem introduced to me by a good friend is a spot that will forever be my own.

Originally a gravel pit, Fidler Pond with its gorgeous crystal clear waters and sweet swing benches opened just three years ago and has attracted the masses of the north for its alluring features like biking, canoeing and kayaking. But the trail is something I am most enamored by. With its scenic atmosphere and attractive crushed-stone surface that stretches around an amazingly deep pond, there’s nothing more exhilarating and fun than that speedy sprint, hearing the steady thump of my footsteps echoing amid the quiet routine of nature. Running has been my thing this summer, so much so that a friend has asked if I wanted to take part in a city marathon but we will see. I’ve been keeping fit, but not enough for a marathon–at least not just yet.

That said, running has really helped me feel better in terms of heartache, especially in these last few months and this location has been my favorite run path so far. Of course, I have plenty of run paths by my place down south that have been so helpful in sweating off the grief. But when up here and might I add more often now, I feel like I’ve not only had a chance to relax and enjoy nature in this immaculate mileau, but I have been able to process the pain more efficiently.

Might sound odd, but running in a similar way to writing, has helped me to really understand myself better as I get a chance to navigate through pain and hurt, and of course the heartache. To add to it, running at Fidler Pond in all its tranquility gives me a good break away from the sadness and void felt. It’s as if the sweat is another way for my body to cry as silly as that might sound. Running at this remarkable little pond has given me purpose and helped to restore an introspective equilibrium that provides a charge in my own life, while pitting my strengths against my hurt.

In addition to running, I also love eating! I guess you can call it a fine balance. In keeping with my love for this city and these Goshen getaways (see more here!) I have been charmed by in recent weeks, tune in on Monday at The Hudsucker for my restaurant guide to some of my favorite eateries in this sweet city’s downtown.

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…)

Living is easy with eyes closed

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So it’s been fairly cloudy today with temps hitting the high 80s F, but I can finally rest a little easier. With the summer semester over, I can enjoy the remainder of summer and hit up all the fun spots in this gorgeous city! I’m super excited to inject some excitement into the rest of these dog days, but will really miss both of my classes. While they were incredibly challenging, I feel these 10 weeks went by really quickly. One class in particular taught me so much about the shifting landscape of our emerging social technologies through theory, philosophy, human behavior, and the meaningful interactions we construct through these mediums. It was pretty fantastic and made me reflect so much more about what networks we use, our motivations and how we use them.

Through this particular field of study, I have found great value and a newfound appreciation for some of these networks because of the meaningful connections fortunately forged. The internet has fast became a tool in connecting with people of like minds in a participatory kind of culture that embeds a broad set of connections through the scientific progress of a Web 2.0 experience.

One such aspect of social media I love using more than others is instant messenger, also known as IM. Not only does it offer so many advantages over e-mail, SMS or traditional networks like quick and effective communication without delay, but it’s cost effective, discreet and opens up conversation to a more clear and concise dialogue when you really need answers as it reduces the chances of a misunderstanding. I often find you can have a better conversation with the people you need to connect with thanks to instant messenger’s ease.

Don’t get me wrong, I love texting with my friends and conversing in short bits on Twitter and Facebook, but IM has always been my favorite form of online communication. After all, I’ve had some of the best conversations with my best friends on this medium—especially in these last few months, when I needed it most (and of course, them too).

There are some people who don’t use social media—like, at all. And I mean, they are on not a single network. (I’m not talking email either.) Some of these folks go so far to say, “social media sucks,” or “it’s fake,” but that’s just because they don’t understand it or realize its incredible benefit to our social and digital ecosystem. A recent study deemed those without social media as “suspicious,” while an in-class lecture brought up how such a behavior of a “self-imposed exclusion” is indicative of a greater problem and presents an untrustworthy aspect of character. The latter might seem a little extreme, but I do see how cutting yourself off from every network when you were once an active user, whether deleting or deactivating from any form of communication with the outside world as a validation to your own limitations in growing, expanding and gaining a better perspective of life outside your norm. It’s not a defiance of the times at all. I think, if you’re headstrong, confident and self-aware with a strong spine of your motivations of being online, social media can be an incredible accent to strengthening relationships, an effective method in understanding others, gaining perspective on this beautiful world, and the connections we make through conversation.

But alas, as The Beatles sang, “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.”

Do you deem it “suspicious” when someone doesn’t have ANY form of social media to connect with friends? What social networks do you use to connect?

{Title inspired by The Beatles, “Strawberry Fields”}

Look at the stars fall down

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"So while turning in my sheets,
And once again I cannot sleep."

Monday morning started off on an awkward foot. I woke up at around 4:27 a.m. because someone crank called me. This hasn’t been the first time either. I have a funny feeling it’s the same crank caller who called me last year on my birthday, at the end of this past April and a few times this past May. But while I have an inkling of who it might be, I really don’t know who it is. Yet the thing is, I never get phone calls at this particular number, especially after midnight from an unknown caller and oddly enough these calls have been around the same time.

"There is no place I cannot go, 
 My mind is muddy but, 
 My heart is heavy does it show,
 I lose the track that loses me,
So here I go."

Could it be a coincidence? Probably not. I remember telling my best friend once there are no such things as coincidence. And hilariously enough, the same week I said that to him, two people he interviewed for one of his “passion projects” said the same thing. Is there no such thing as coincidence? That’s besides the point. Life and fate love screwing with us for shits and giggles, there’s no denying that.

That said, the part of me that trusts my intuition believes it might be him. But I can’t be too sure anymore. Doesn’t it suck when a (mutual) relationship you invest so much time and love in creates self-doubt? That’s not healthy, but at least I’m better off for knowing that.

"And here I go..."

I sat in my bed early this morning, pondering the possibility of him crank calling me. First a letter in March. Then phone calls? While I know in my heart he read my emails for months and months, and even kept a few of them as part of his hidden trove, it  might sound supernatural but there is a part of me that feels weak in such a lifeline now. I can’t explain it. I use to tell him that all my emails were a bookmark to our friendship and I know he acknowledged it. I put my heart into each message and because he and I were alike, I know he always read them. Sometimes even more than once, weeks later, a month later, sometimes even a year later. But suddenly, one day in early May, probably the first week or so—I felt it. I had another dream of him but this time, much more aberrant as he had carved a piece of my chest out and buried it with a box of letters as I watched on.

It’s no secret that I miss him, every damn aching day. (And I love you to the moon and back.) But let it be known that I never loved him because of who he was or who he wanted to become. I only ever loved him because of who he was determined to be. I got to see a beautiful, magical side to him through every conversation, every moment, every laugh and because he was my best friend first, I always made sure to remind him of his magic when he would forget it. And he forgets it often because he’s insecure despite me praying each night he gains strength to be a better, more emotionally adept individual. A friend once told me, the reason why he was so confused about our relationship (as he said so a few times) was because of my strength. Or as he would say, a love that “towers” over anyone he’s ever known. (more…)

The deeper the wound, I’m inside you

Woman (Francisco Moreno 2)

A few days ago upon meeting a group of friends for lunch in the city, I learned something about a past relationship that I never considered. Frankly, I never really thought about it too much because there never seemed to be enough there to merit a valid reason. While dining at one of the nicest brunch spots downtown, a friend was talking about the best advice her ex ever gave her. It was sweet and proved the two of them moved on most amicably. In that moment, it felt like a very adult conversation among all of us and I felt my age as everyone just went about and talked about their relationships as I sat quietly with a faded smile.

But then someone turned to me and asked, “What about you? What’s the best advice your ex gave you?”

Now, I’ve only ever considered myself to be romantically involved with one person. And that was a relationship that lasted a little more than half a decade, on and off. I’ve been on dates with others and even dated one guy for a few months before realizing it was the unhappiest I had ever been, so we broke up because I never want to settle. Yet, between all the fish in the sea, it always came back to B.

B was my best friend first and truth be told, always will be. The last night we spoke, I shared some silly saying with him about how stars are always around even when you don’t see them, but that doesn’t devalue their worth to gazers. Of course, he sat in his car and said nothing. But no matter where he is, who he is with and cradles, I will always love him for being my best friend and whatever else God fated us to be during that time in our life.

“He told me all men are bastards,” I laughed lightly. “He said to just focus on me, my work, my studies, all that. He said I had my whole career ahead of me, so I think that was nice advice and very sweet, actually. He’s kind of protective, I think that was his way of being a good friend.”

As I shared with them this grand advice that I truly cherished, my friends sat there, wide eyes with a few sporting open jaws. I suddenly grew uncomfortable as one began to laugh and another scoffed, chugging down the rest of his beer.

“That’s not being protective,” he replied sharply. “That’s him hiding his defenses. He’s got feelings for you.”

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The Pros of Vulnerability

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Earlier this winter, I got the book Rising Strong by my absolute favorite public speaker, Brené Brown. If you haven’t picked it up, you really should. It’s been a great help to me in these past few months in understanding my worth and strength. While I haven’t been able to finish the book due to school, work and my writing jobs, I’ve been meaning to get back into it before the summer semester starts in a few short days.

From the bits I’ve read prior to the spring semester, I started thinking more about the wisdom Brown shared at the end of March when I received a letter at my place of work from someone I once knew. (more…)

The Ripples of an Unfound Man

While working on an assignment a few days ago, I came across this quote from an unknown author that read, “Until a man finds himself, he’ll ruin every woman he comes across.” Now, I don’t particularly agree with that quote per se because I think a man can only ruin a woman if she lets him. But with that being said, I do see some truth in it—especially when it comes to the unfound man and the unfound woman, brimming with insecurity.

Although, I’ve been in more than one relationship, I can openly say I’ve only ever loved purely and most innocently once. Frankly, still in love with the guy too. At this point, I’m thinking I’ll end up treading the Jane Austen route. And honestly, how could I not still be in love with him? He is perfect and imperfect in every way and his being fills my soul. He’s also the type of person to inspire the poet in you, make you venture into the deep, dark unknown. Beautifully and perhaps through kismet, he also drove me to follow my dreams. School, writing, all of it. If it wasn’t for him in my life, I never would have really put my dreams into action and been confident to share what The Hudsucker is today with readers.

Unfortunately, he was a liar and dehumanized me to people in his life when I was not around. A big rotten liar, he was. That’s the part that breaks my heart the most. And while that’s another subject (and memoir perhaps), it’s safe to say habitual liars like him never change—no matter who they’re with (or randomly, decide to have a baby with to safeguard the veneers of their world). The thing is, these types of liars are timid and it’s a genetic character of their personality and upbringing that strengthens in any opportunity they can find.

But to the woman in love and still attracted to the man who is in the midst of discovering himself while screwing up over and over, I think there is a big lesson for her to learn about herself. In other words, I’m basically speaking to the half-wit pretentious oddity in his life right now. The gravid who made a goaded decision on a whim and like clockwork, created a miscellany in January only to send it to me a month later as if to childishly spite me (like, wtaf—vous avez besoin de grandir). The one who doesn’t know how to use words effectively and like he states, is overly dramatic like the rest of her pleb “trucker” family. Her.

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The Benefits of Speaking Parentese to Your Baby

{Image Credit: Getty Images}

It might just be considered a natural reflex, but when we see a baby, so many of us naturally find ourselves talking in that high-pitched, sing-songy sort of voice with extended vowels. However, researchers suggest that simple “baby talk,” which elongates unnecessary words into simple sentences isn’t as productive as speaking “parentese,” which as amped up adult speech can actually benefit a baby’s cognitive development.

According to a study from the University of Washington, babies enjoy listening to parentese and pay further attention to it over baby talk. As if that was a major development in amplifying communication with your baby, the study goes on to suggest the prevalence of parentese aids in your baby’s development of language, while boosting brainpower and emotional development.

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Why You Should Take More Selfies

Call it a visual diary or a modern day scrapbook, but selfies are here to stay. If anything, they’re the new social norm. But while there’s been negative talk and studies highlighting a correlation between snapping selfies and a depleting confidence, there are numerous introspective benefits to taking a photo of yourself if done in healthy moderation.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal, behavioral economist, Dan Ariely makes a case for the ubiquitous selfie suggesting they not only enhance moments, but they also become a celebration of shared experiences when we snap a shot with others. This summer, when you hit the theme parks or just lounge at the lake with friends, reclaim that selfie pride because a picture is worth a thousand words and you’re worth a million more.

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Womanista: July 2016

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How is it already August? Well, I hope you had a wonderful July. With the summer drawing to a close, Womanista, the official authority of fabulous presented some amazing content that will definitely have you bookmarking articles to read now and later. From how to build emotional and mental resilience, to what you need to get your groom for your wedding day, to the best state fairs in the U.S., here is a complete list of my contributions to the women’s lifestyle website for the month of July.

July 29, 2016: 5 Foods to Help Melt Those Love Handles | Whether you call it a muffin top or a spare tire, that ring of fat that collects around our lower belly can be one of the more sigh-worthy things we look at on a daily basis. {CONTINUE READING…}

July 27, 2016: How to Own Your Failures and Use Them To Grow | Everyone loves hearing a good success story, but we immediately freak out or cringe the moment failure pops up. What is it about failure that scares so many of us? {CONTINUE READING…}

July 25, 2016: 6 Things Healthy People Do Before Bed | There’s no denying bedtime is one of the most desirable moments of our day. Spreading out like a starfish and just dozing off into a comfortable…  {CONTINUE READING…}

July 24, 2016: 5 Money Lessons to Teach Your Kids Before the Age of 10 | If there’s one thing we realize most about adulthood and as we get older, it’s that understanding money… {CONTINUE READING…}

July 22, 2016: 5 Procedures to Consider for Your Newborn | Between juggling responsibility, relationships and a beautiful new life on its way, pregnancy can be stressful. {CONTINUE READING…}

July 20, 2016: Everything You Need to Know About Dermaplaning | Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon or Carrie Underwood seem to have naturally glowing skin at all times, and now you can too. {CONTINUE READING…}

July 18, 2016: Building Mental and Emotional Resilience 101 | We all try to plan and organize our lives the way we want, but in all its beauty and frustrations life is never what we want it to be. {CONTINUE READING…}

July 17, 2016: What to Get Your Groom on Your Wedding Day | When it comes to the wedding, all eyes are usually on the bride. But truth be told, a wedding isn’t what it is without our loving groom! {CONTINUE READING…}

July 16, 2016: PMS Relief – Cures for Your Most Common Symptoms | We’ve all been there—headaches, cramps, bloating and breakouts that time themselves perfectly before a big event. {CONTINUE READING…}

July 14, 2016: The Biggest U.S. State Fairs | A longstanding expression of summer and a prized symbol of Americana, state fairs across the United States attract millions each year. {CONTINUE READING…}

July 13, 2016: Cool Your Head – 5 of the Most Common Headaches | If you think headaches are just another part of a busy lifestyle between juggling work, family and your sanity, think again. {CONTINUE READING…}

July 5, 2016: 6 Foods that Safely Keep Away Bug Bites | Summertime brings around good friends, good food, starry nights and oh, right — bug bites. Annoying creepy-crawlies might be the last thing… {CONTINUE READING…}

July 2, 2016: 7 Ways to Spruce Up Your Home on a Budget | Whether you’re looking to put your home on the market or want to reinvigorate its value, it pays to make your home the oasis of your dreams. {CONTINUE READING…}