best friends

5 Romantic Spring Date Ideas Guaranteed to Blossom Your Relationship

After being curled up on the couch for months with Netflix and cozy blankets, we are happy to announce that spring has almost sprung. And with a new season of color and life comes ample opportunity to crawl out of our place of hibernation and soak in the beauty of a fresh new season.

Aside from shedding our sweaters, boots and scarves, the weather beckons for us to really start living again—and with that renewal of life comes time for couples to revel in warm weather. After all, flowers aren’t the only things that blossom!

Whether you two have weathered through the seasons together or are celebrating April showers and May flowers for the first time, these date ideas will add a much needed spring in your romantic step.

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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…)

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…)

What It Means to Be Vulnerable

No matter whom you talk to, one of our greatest fears in life has always been failure. For years, we’ve heard inspirational words of wisdom about what is and what isn’t considered failure. But throughout the years and from a personal aspect, it has always seemed to be a formative experience. Because truth be told, we will all fail at one point or another in our life and it might be one of the scariest things we’ve ever experienced.

Like the icing on a cake, failing gives success great substance and significance—makings that help us to understand our identity and ability. While many might attribute such a feat to being courageous and having a brave heart, there’s also another aspect that many overlook partially because it can be painful.

Scholar, public speaker, and author of Rising Strong, Brené Brown believes being vulnerable can make our life so much better. In an interview with Forbes, Brown says that vulnerability is an emotional exposure stemmed in uncertainty and risk. Being vulnerable and sharing that deepest part of you with the world or another person can be excruciating. In so many ways, it seems like it can set you up to fail when you open up that part of yourself.

In Brown’s book, the physics of vulnerability are simple. If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall but it is in how we get up that gives us the strength to understand ourselves. Brown goes on to share through essays and nuggets of wisdom that whatever disappointment, failure, or heartbreak we experience, there is a power in each of these elements that sets a clear path to deeper meaning, perception and hope.

Earlier this year, I received a letter from someone I love, but who broke my heart. Over and over. While I wasn’t sure at first of their identity while reading the letter, it was soon after I realized it was him and what this letter really meant.

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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”}

Celebrating Our 4th Anniversary at The Hudsucker!

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Happy birthday to The Hudsucker! I can’t believe it’s been four years already. Kind of lost for words, really—so bear with me. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I’m so proud of our team (and my friends) for believing in this vision. Who would have thought this intrepid venture stemmed from a broken heart, right? That’s always something I can’t believe because it brought such happiness to everyone around me while I was working through the motions of a broken heart. I think that’s the way to channel your pain in the best way possible—by working through something you love doing and turning it into something good for everyone else too. It’s funny because months ago, I was told by a halfwit bungle to stop writing about our mutual love on my own blog here, but the truth of the matter is, as blind and naive as she’s always been, The Hudsucker was because of him. And I will always love him and think of him no matter what.

It feels like just yesterday that one of my best friends, Katherine and I were texting about this “idea” swimming in my head. (Thank you and I will never forget the that moment!) We get to do really cool, fulfilling stuff every day, interview amazing people and it’s because of writers who are so passionate about writing, sharing information and of course, readers like you. If I can borrow my own words from a past post, “With all the success our little digital magazine has met since 2012, I’ve met with some comments by friends and acquaintances that we’re really “lucky.” However, I don’t believe luck alone has helped us in this journey. Luck has merely climbed aboard and shown us more success, but luck alone? Nah. From everything I have seen with this team, hard work is the driving force to every ounce of success we’ve met with. The thing about life is, if you know exactly what you want out of it, you need to be fully determined and relentless in your pursuit. Working hard for what you want is paramount and I promise you, it will drive you to where you need to be and where you should be.”

Thank you to our team! Thank you to our readers! Thank you to everyone who supports us and continues to! Thank you to the agencies we work with! We are all truly blessed. Thank you, thank you!

If you like what you read here at my blog, I promise you will enjoy The Hudsucker, so check us out!

The Hudsucker | Celebrating Our 4th Anniversary

Time really does fly when you’re having fun! As we celebrate another milestone and turn four years old today, have you ever wondered who the faces are behind The Hudsucker? With a diverse team from all over North America, get to know who we are by reading questionnaires filled out by each of our writers. You never know what you might just find out!

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Death and All His Friends

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This past weekend, I was talking briefly to a friend who has been dealing with family matters surrounding death in its most inevitable form, and honestly, it’s always really hard to understand or even fathom. Thinking back to when I lost my own grandma four years ago, whoever said it gets easier with time is so wrong. It really doesn’t.

The gaps in time between you missing them become so much more wider and then when you end up remembering them in a soft, quiet moment after days or weeks, or months, you realize you miss them even more. You realize that you wish you had more time to spend with them. You realize you wish you had more time in general to make things right and just to know more things that you need to know. (more…)