travel

These Are the 7 Best Places to Live in the United States for 2017

For so many of us, relocating to a new city is a daunting experience. From finding new neighborhood favorites to maintaining sociability, moving has the power to leave you mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. But as you know the saying, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and it’s true in more ways than one.

The U.S. is a beautiful nation, full of vibrant cities that stand out on their own influence to attract visitors from around the world. But which of these is actually the best livable location for you and your family?

U.S. News & World Report released its list of the “Best Places to Live in America for 2017” after ranking the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. According to the report, these metro areas are evaluated by looking at five categories: desirability, value, job markets, quality of life and net migration.

Whether you plan on moving this year or are looking to visit a fresh, desirable city this spring, we look at the top seven best places to live in the United States for 2017 with help from U.S. News & World Report.

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8 Awe-Inspiring Instagram Travel Accounts to Follow

Whether you’re heading overseas on a romantic trip for two or hitting the road with friends, what good is traveling if you can’t find a creative and fun way to share the experience with others? Today, social media has created a trusty and inspired haven through Instagram for users all over the world to share memorable moments on their every trip, while sparking an inspired wanderlust that drives our deepest desires to explore.

The travel category of Instagram can be a bit overwhelming for some as you spend hours sifting through thousands of accounts through destinations and users. But it’s an exciting feat to undertake as it encourages you to head out and dive into an unknown world while leaving your comfort zone for a purposeful existence. If you are in the mood for travel this chilly winter, check out eight of our favorite Instagram travel accounts to follow.

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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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Womanista: December 2016

womanista-logo01December was a crazy month, right? Well, actually all of 2016 was. But there were some really great things that came out of it and that’s the part we should focus on going ahead in this new year. We make our own path, so think positive and always be optimistic. I hope everyone had a relaxing Christmas and New Year’s holiday with their families.

If you didn’t notice already, Womanista has been undergoing some changes as we integrate our newest partner, Skinny Mom to the Womanista family and have now expanded with an entire wellness section. Be sure to check it out at Womanista.com. As it might be known too, I’ve been dabbling with content at the news desk, so be sure to check out that content here!

In the meantime, catch up on all the latest with seasonal content to childproofing how-to’s for your home, to how to balance chores with your partner and the biggest money mistakes you didn’t realize you’re making. Moreover, check out effective and smart ways to not only keep your new year’s resolutions, but also improve your (already) healthy (and sans free of infidelity) relationship. As it goes, here is a complete list of my contributions to the women’s lifestyle website for the month of December! Cheers.

Dec. 30, 2016: Childproofing How-To: Concentrate on 6 Areas of Your Home to Create a Safe Haven | While every parent hopes to keep their child safe, the biggest threat they meet with on a daily basis is lurking in their own homes. That totally includes the medicine cabinet, just about… {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 27, 2016: 6 of the Biggest Money Mistakes You Didn’t Realize You’re Making | Establishing a healthy relationship with our money is an essential part of having a happy financial future. What you do today can have a large effect on that future. {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 26, 2016: Use These Simple Steps to Effectively Balance Household Chores with Your Significant Other | Having a neat and tidy home is a dream come true for so many, but it’s a concept much easier said than done. Between taking out the trash, doing the laundry, and dusting every nook and cranny… {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 25, 2016: 10 of the Most Beautiful Christmas Trees in the US | Whether you’re looking for the best holiday town or just some creative inspiration this twinkling season, cities across the United States are lighting up with beautiful displays of Christmas trees to best showcase the yuletide spirit. {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 23, 2016: 8 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions | Brace yourself, Womanistas! New Year’s is fast approaching and with it comes that annual rhythm of resolutions we hope to maintain to ensure our next 12 months are better, healthier and less stressful. Oh, the possibilities! {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 19, 2016: 6 Exciting Jobs to Inspire Your Wanderlust | As far as the eye can see and well beyond the dusk, it’s evident we are true lovers of travel. From meeting people to indulging in the local fare and culture, we are nomads at heart, always seeking new experiences to quench our wanderlust. {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 18, 2016: How to Snap the Perfect Christmas Day Family Photo | The festive season is upon us, abounding with merry traditions and cheer! But between that holiday hustle of shopping and party planning, it can become a frenzied feat keeping up with our favorite traditions. {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 14, 2016:  20 Easy, Mouthwatering No-Bake Treats for Santa | Christmas is right around the corner and it’s pretty clear that our yuletide-inspired spirits are reaching new heights this season. Between all that shopping, festive home décor, and music that just speaks so deep to our soul, we are on a roll for a smooth and peaceful holiday. {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 12, 2016: Clever Ways to Make Potty Training More Fun for the Reluctant Toddler | Toilet training is not just a cause for celebration — it’s a major milestone in your toddler’s life. They’re finally getting out of those saggy diapers and… {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 11, 2016: Glam up the Season With These Beautiful Makeup Tutorials | Between all the decorating, holiday shopping and festive photoshoots, we might find ourselves a little short on time this season for that glamorous makeover at the salon or department store. {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 7, 2016: 7 Things Couples Should Do Together for a Healthy Relationship | Between boredom, cheating, loss of friendship, doubt and just sheer unhappiness, keeping that spark alive can be difficult when a relationship free of foibles goes awry. {CONTINUE READING…}

Dec. 4, 2016: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas With a Playlist of Holiday Songs to Last the Entire Season | Break out the hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies as you cozy up by the fireplace, because it’s the most wonderful time of the year. {CONTINUE READING…}

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.

Continue reading and see the photos here!

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.”

Womanista: November 2016

womanista-logo01What a month November was! I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving with their family and friends. As we approach a new year, Womanista has been undergoing some changes as we integrate our newest partner, Skinny Mom to the Womanista family with a brand new look to our website! Be sure to check it out at Womanista.com.

In the meantime, catch up on all the latest from computer tricks to make you more productive, to styling that baby bump for winter and getting a head start on all that holiday shopping with Oprah. Plus, we explore the cutest and trendiest baby names of 2016! Did your baby’s name make the list? As it goes, here is a complete list of my contributions to the women’s lifestyle website for the month of November.

Nov. 30, 2016: Give the Gift of Memorable Experiences This Holiday Season | Today, an increasing number of people have started to gift experiences or their time as holiday gifts. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 28, 2016: 6 Easy Computer Tricks to Make Your Workday More Productive | There is no denying that a sizeable chunk of our day revolves around computers. Whether we work from home or in an office… {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 27, 2016: 25 Empowering Quotes from Brilliantly Inspiring Women | In a rapidly evolving culture that measures likeability and talent, we often overlook the importance of inspiration in our daily lives. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 23, 2016: The Best of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2016 | Shopping season is in full, festive swing this year and what better way to find the perfect, most inspired gift for that special someone than by turning to Oprah Winfrey for a little help. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 22, 2016: Reduce Travel Stress With 6 Easy Airport Hacks | Air travel can make even the most seasoned travelers tired, treading a weariness we most often associate only with the DMV. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 21, 2016: The Trendiest Baby Names of 2016 | If you’re expecting in the next few months, there’s no doubt you are currently looking for the perfect and most unique name for your little one. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 19, 2016: The Mom-to-Be’s Guide to Styling a Baby Bump for Fall and Winter | From temperature fluctuations to mood swings, looking for good maternity clothes doesn’t have to be stressful. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 15, 2016: The Thanksgiving Party Guide You Need for Easy Planning and Festive Memories | All the prep that goes into planning your Thanksgiving party every year can be a bit scary. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 14, 2016: Warm Fruit Crisps and Crumbles for Every Taste and Occasion | No matter the season, stone fruits are a beloved ingredient in so many delicious baked goods. From pies to pastries, we try our hardest… {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 11, 2016: 10 Impressively Mouthwatering Thanksgiving Appetizers | Thanksgiving is in two weeks and as you scramble to prepare the best menu of recent years, you need to consider the power of an appetizer. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 4, 2016: Easy Recipes for Quick and Tasty Microwave Meals | When you think of a microwave, you might look back to those college days of reheating home cooked meals or those small frozen dinners that helped you to pull an all-nighter. {CONTINUE READING…}

Nov. 2, 2016: The Most Memorable CMA Moments of the Past 50 Years | After months of waiting, it’s finally here and we are so excited! Grab those cocktails, because tonight marks the 50th Annual CMA Awards celebrating half a century… {CONTINUE READING…}