united states

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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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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“When you stumble, keep faith…”

insta_thesocialI have Muslim family living in the U.S., along with Hispanic, Black and gay friends spread across the country, and have been blessed with amazing people who shower my family with nothing but love and respect.

But last night my heart broke into a million pieces watching the election results as the U.S. elected Trump as President of the United States. Trembling at what my family and friends will be enduring in the next four years, the president-elect is a man who speaks to violence, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, inequality and more importantly of how I was raised, is not the ‘type’ of guy who is supposed to win anything. This election was more about moral decency and ethics than politics, yet no one noticed. And no one who voted Trump actually ever came out boasting about policy. Instead they have a desire to abuse others, hang journalists from trees and this leader stays silent. As it goes, the softest hearts who feel they have so much to lose are the easiest to manipulate from fear.

Last night proved compassion is no longer the basis of morality. It’s easier to be disinterested in others if it means we don’t get hurt. We don’t feel pain. We don’t have to understand what it’s like to be not privileged or in such a case, white. Trump is the person we tell our kids not to be, yet here we are. A few years ago, my best friend and love told me, “Never be afraid to speak up for yourself and your loved ones.” He knew I was this way and always will be. And I am going to make it my mission to always work hard and care deeply for those I truly believe in because the world doesn’t need hate. It’s hard going at it on our own every day, diving into the unknown than to pander to hateful rhetoric and sentiment.

The results have shown us that while we have a divided nation here, no vote for Clinton was cast in vain. Every one who cast a ballot for integrity, morality and the good of loving our neighbors did a great service to each other as a way of showing our support to those who have been degraded by a man who prides himself on how much money he has and how women are easily up for grabs.

But it also shows the silent majority who doesn’t speak up against hateful rhetoric, whether a Trump supporter or someone of the 200 million that didn’t vote (the right to vote is a beautiful thing…), are ones to fear the most. Fork-tongue. Two-face. People who dictate their life based on consternation. These are people I know and have unfortunately come across in the last 24 hours who disbelieve sexual assault, racism, Islamophobia and lately, the KKK. How can you pass such a horrible and inexcusable group of people as a joke and not take them seriously? This is arrogance. This is privilege. Perhaps you are not blessed with people of different faiths, backgrounds and cultures to better understand the world around you. Maybe your heart is not big enough to comprehend the life outside your own.

How can one relate to Trump when his ideals run alongside Hitler’s own disdain for minorities prior to the Holocaust? As a world and a nation that is incredibly divided, we have a moral obligation to be kind to each other and most of all, defend the rights of those who are unfairly treated. I learned friends and acquaintances make up who you are in every facet. Through this knowledge, the circles we create are a direct reflection of who we are at the end of the day. This election was never about policy, it has long been about everything Trump wanted to make it about and of course, millions fell victim to his monstrous rhetoric. Honestly, if you can’t stand up against hate and mask it only as “change” because you want something different, what is left of your integrity? That is an invalid argument on all accounts.

Between the Bible, Quran and Torah, we were taught to love thy neighbor, stand up for others and speak out on injustice. But what is done is done, and every action in life serves a reaction that we may or may not be ready for. Now is the time I pray we practice patience, tolerance and show how big our hearts are to those that repeal such understanding because love overpowers hate. Always.

Happy 4th of July!

“America is too great for small dreams.”

Ronald Reagan was right. Happy 4th of July, friends! As a great nation of kind and creative dreamers, inventors, artists, builders and doers, I hope you have an exciting and fun day ahead of you with family and friends. Have a wonderful Independence Day!

Photo taken by Tania Hussain at the Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis, IN

Touchdown! Indianapolis Welcomes Super Bowl XLVI

Excitement and fun are crawling around Indianapolis this week as the Circle City prepares to host thousands in anticipation for America’s favourite informal holiday, the Super Bowl. Taking place this Sunday February 5th, the championship game this year sees AFC and NFC title holders, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants battling it out again after four years of what some may consider the best finish in Super Bowl history, given the fact that neither team this time around has perfect records on the line. This matchup is bound to be tight and quite thrilling!

I’m not ashamed to say this but I will mention that I am an Indianapolis Colts fan. Yes, I bleed blue and after the crummy season we had, it’s not surprising to see some of us fell off the bandwagon but we did have two wins near the end so that’s alright with me. As a fan not just of the team but of the great state of Indiana, I am especially proud that the city gets to showcase itself and all that it’s about to a new audience that’s willing to take in and adore a city that isn’t just gorgeous architecturally, culturally and for reasons of sport but has a tremendous heart. I guess there’s redemption in there for the Colts and us fans; a renewal of fan-ship in some sense because call it what you will — perhaps it’s Hoosier hospitality, but these fine folks know how to throw a party and the days leading up to the Super Bowl are clearly proving it.

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Everybody Poops: Talking Crap for World Toilet Day

We all poo! Yup. It may sound funny to say out loud and even read back, but we all do it. The gorgeous Victoria’s Secret models are not exempt from this either, nor are any of People magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive – we’re talking to you, George Clooney! This is a reality and though it is one of the most taboo topics of discussion, it is also one of the most important ones to have in order to raise a global awareness.

No invention has saved more lives than the toilet. Since its creation, the toilet has brought great benefits to better sanitation, health and hygiene but every day, 2.6 billion suffer from improper access to clean sanitation. That means, a third of the world’s population do not have somewhere safe, private and hygienic to go to the toilet. Can you imagine going to the toilet in a muddy ditch? Or defecating in rivers, lakes, fields or railway tracks? That is the reality for many around the world and fact is, more people today have a cell phone than a toilet. If that isn’t reason enough to bring massive awareness to such an issue what is?

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Start Your Engines: The Indianapolis 500 Celebrates 100 Years!

What is it about car racing that excites most of us? Some will say it’s the thrill of watching their favourite drivers on the racetrack, playing cat and mouse as they speed past each other or the adrenaline rush you get when you smell the rubber of the tires burning, listening to the roaring engines or that warm Indiana weather that kisses your skin. Whatever the case, it’s the thrill of feeling elated; the speed and heart witnessed on the racetrack that makes one feel the rush of the sport. In the past when anyone was asked to provide the name of the most famous automobile race, almost all would mention the Indy 500; it’s on the lips of every sports fan and racing enthusiast and this weekend is a big one!

The Indianapolis 500 celebrates a century of automobile racing this weekend at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as thousands of fans will be attending the event and watching their favourite racecar drivers speed their way through the fierce competition. The race’s history has seen exciting wins, tragedy and controversy while hosting the best drivers from all the motorsport series.

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Fire Up The Grill: National Hamburger Day is May 28th!

Are you getting hungry by the mere sight of this burger? Well, it happens to some of us. The hamburger is by far, one of the most well-liked and beloved foods in our modern culture. The United States alone eats about 13 billion hamburgers a year and over the years, has become a universal staple amongst many. With its popularity, the sandwich has earned an annual holiday, with many celebrating National Hamburger Month throughout the month of May while some say commercially, May 28th is National Hamburger Day. It might sound like a joke at first but thanks to the status of it, the affordability, the ease of cooking and the fact that it’s fun to eat, the hamburger is worthy of a month in its honour!

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