south bend

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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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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Touchdown, History! A Tour of the University of Notre Dame

Touted one of the best college towns in the U.S. by Livability and dedicated to faith no less than scientific knowledge, the University of Notre Dame has a unique spirit and vibrancy that radiates the moment you walk its grounds. Located in Notre Dame, Ind., adjacent to the city of South Bend, the beautiful grounds are home to one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, and a real visual splendor for those looking to indulge in a bit of culture and history.

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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.”

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…)

A Tour of The Studebaker National Museum

With summer finally here and vacation time abound, the road is ours for the taking! But if we delve deeper into the roots of our wanderlust for the wide open road of gravel and concrete, we will see a rich car culture that thrives on the curiosity of travel and innovation. There’s no denying, these very foundations of America were built in the great Midwest. From Michigan to South Dakota, these states are dotted with automotive museums full of classic cars and sprint race cars dedicated to the infrastructure of our American history.

One museum in particular honors and perpetuates its legacy of a rich industrial history through a continuously updated display and interpretation like no other. The Studebaker National Museum nestled in a suburb of South Bend, Indiana conserves its illustrious manufacturing heritage of vehicles and archives for an enriched education for our present and future. As an appropriate memorial honoring the men and women who helped to shape history and lay a basis for vision, creativity and energy, this state-of-the-art museum is one of the best classic car museums in the Midwest. First opening in 2005, this museum showcases the old Studebaker Corporation’s private collection, which originated in the 1890s and takes guests on a trip with numerous exhibits, automobiles and archives of engineering drawings, production records, and newspaper articles. With three levels and features that include fully climate-controlled galleries and storage facilities, this museum also pays homage to the Studebaker’s factory buildings with design elements reminiscent of the past.

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POEM: Mon Beau Gendarme

Poem - Mon Beau Gendarme (Nov 2013)Pour l’amour de ma vie

I’ve always loved writing poetry. Since I was a kid, I would scribble poetic lines in my diary—some of sense, some of nonsense. But it was a good muscle to keep flexing. As I got older and fell in love at the tender (and sensible) age of 24, I started feeling more open to my feelings. I became more vulnerable, more attune with my feelings and heart, and began translating such emotion into poems. Today, I have two notebooks full of poems. Some good, some not so good, which I am okay with admitting. Some very funny, some way too sensual. But, within that blend are a few about him too.

Three years ago in South Bend I wrote this poem called, “Mon Beau Gendarme.” It rhymes, which might look funny to some, but it’s got a lot of meaning to me despite the literary qualms. I know the rhyming format is becoming more and more out of favor with scholars and English majors because the style comes off forced and unnatural, but this poem is always going to be more about him and I—the foundational dynamics between us. And I think that’s what poetry is all about. Look at the greats. Their work holds greater meaning to the sole, specific reader, with each poem paying its own homage to the roots of a relationship. It reveres love, admiration and affection in its own way through shared moments and harmony, and that’s all that matters.

I’ve never been comfortable with sharing my poetry online because, let’s be honest, procrastinators working on last minute English assignments can be a pain if you get my drift. But I wanted to share this one in particular because it meant something to me. It still does. Its meaning is something I live with everyday. And I know it meant something to him too. During the fall of 2014, I sent it to him via email. And in my heart, gut, soul even, I know he read it. I know him better (or worse) than he realizes. I also have a feeling he read it several times over the course of our relationship. I know it. I just feel it and I’m never going to waver on my gut ever again.

Whether he realizes it or not, whether he believes it as the skeptic that he is, we were real. And I love him and always, always will.

Mon cher, B: Ton menton, j’en rêve jour et nuit. Vous serez toujours mon Superman sans la cape. Je t’aime de tout mon coeur stupide. Rien ne change jamais entre nous, vous savez ce droit ?

{Photo Credit: Tania Hussain, Thin Blue Line wristband gifted to me}

Coffee, Cream and Charity: Serving Up Social Change at The Well

Call it an homage to my roots and how I initially started writing back in the day, but I absolutely love talking to those making a difference in their communities. I feel featuring and lifting up others who pay it forward is one of the more important aspects of feature writing. One such company I deeply admire is The Well, a nonprofit coffeehouse nestled in the heart of South Bend’s River Park neighborhood that donates 100% of its profits to helping residents. Introduced to this amazing cafe thanks to my father and his many visits for work to the city, I knew this was a company that others need to model their business strategy on.

In addition to hosting a slew of events, The Well will be hosting a Princess Fundraiser event to support Lauran and local Iraqi war veteran, Brian Cuyler as they fight to treat Brian’s Stage IV brain cancer.

For more information about The Well and the fundraising event, check out my latest for The Hudsucker where I chat with manager, Megan Chandler of The Well about coffee, community and social change.

The Hudsucker | Coffee, Cream and Charity: Serving Up Social Change at The Well

Whether you call it java, brew, or jitter juice, it’s evident through the frantic morning rush to work you need your caffeine fix. Nestled between hundreds of Starbucks and the independent cafés is one glimmering coffeehouse making a difference, one cup at a time.
Situated in the heart of South Bend’s River Park neighborhood, The Well is the only nonprofit coffeehouse where 100% of the profits go back to the community. Utilizing a pay-what-you-want consumer plan with suggested price donations, customers can pay the amount they are capable of paying in exchange for ethical and delicious coffee.
Continue reading at The Hudsucker…