Finishline Finishes First In My Book

So I heard about this free breakfast at a bar in North Pheonix on Facebook: For the cost of a beverage you pick from a list of items to incorporate into your omelette, along with toast, B & G, bacon & sausage links, and his famous cracker barrel casserole. Owner Randy has been here at this location for only a short time before COVID hit and was concerned about losing his investment and business when he decided it was time to serve the community.

His bar offers seating for all ages and free breakfast as listed above for only the price of a drink. It doesn’t even have to be an alcoholic drink!! Serving from 8 am to 1pm. This cost will soon go to $6.00 but still!!!!

The post was Legit, and as we walked into a speakeasy style “UnMarked Door”, we were greeted by Randy and introduced to his cook Sheri, and welcomed by his bartender Megan.

As my mind absorbed this concept of generosity, The Jamming music of Ozzy (War Pigs) As I finished eating,the music fed my soul with a tapping of the war cry to attack the rest of the day: A consciousness of sharing the community love. I met an old die hard supporter and landmark of this fine establishment, known as Dave. What a small world, he is actually from Northwest Indiana as well.

Once football season starts and the business picks back up he will be just fine, but for now he just hopes to survive till then. So if you stop by and take the opportunity to appreciate his generosity, be sure to tip the servers and staff to show your support. 

Finish Line Bar


1724 W Bell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85023
United States

Get directions

Facebook: @3finishlinebar


Phoenix Area


ONE With The Eagle, 1986 by Pat Mathieson

The Arizona sun colors more than your skin, as your body absorbs the heat it reaches into your spirit and ignites the fire of your soul. These pictures are just eye candy compared to the warm welcome from the friendly faces you meet everywhere you go here and the overall experience of being transformed into a Pheonix.


Get your Boba On at Cafe Boba

As you enter this coffee house the immediate sensation I received was one of family, and I was so right! The owner, Serena, was not available but her sister was covering for her. The father actually owns this small strip mall, and the art that embraces you from the crates of paintings for sale to the gallery on the walls all come from the sister’s business next door which is a Paint and Sip run by his other daughter Frances.

Ted And Yili Bonarski are the Heads and Heart of this family. Ted runs a financial business in the building since 2005 and when the real estate crashed, it created a foreclosure situation on the building he was in. He was able to establish ownership by 2011. The cafe that was here prior was poorly managed and quickly closed upon his ownership. His daughter Serena, who used to work at the previous cafe, started running Cafe Boba, and by taking the experience she had, she resurrected it in her own style. By working with the fitness center next door, they are consistently creating healthier smoothies that even kids will drink! For those of you who do not know what a boba is, it is a tranluscent cassova starch ball otherwise known as tapioca, and they are made here and served fresh daily. I was offered the Quest fitness Smoothie, their newest creation, and it was really hard to believe this was healthy!! The powerful banana covers the avocado and spinach well. A great quest to partake in for sure! Their simplified menu has something for everyone: soup, salads, sushi, snacks, coffee, tea and smoothies.

With plenty of places to plug in, and seating from couches to high top tables, you never run short of comfort or power supplies for work, personal, or school projects, and the background music compliments the creative calm atmosphere. Look out gamers, Friday nights they have a large mounted TV gamestation for battles.

I have to say Serena has done her father proud in the space she has established here for the community. If the coffee house cafe style is not what your into, they always have the Paint and Sip next Door, or the fitness center/gym to the right

Cafe Boba


4314 Division Ave S

Kentwood, MI

Sat & Sun 11am-9pm

Mon & Tue 2pm -8pm


The Flow of Coffee, Art, Music and Education at Fluid Coffee

Fluid Coffee Storefront

As a coffee mandated hippie, I am pretty basic. So when I entered Fluid Coffee, I was a little overwhelmed by the sophistication of the connoisseurs menu. I came into 518 Franklin Street with a neighbor friend of mine. She is as illiterate in the coffee terminology as am I, but the barista and coordinator of the Michigan City location, Leanna, showed extreme professionalism, confidence, and patience when describing the differences in almost everything on the menu.

I love the artistic vibe and framed articled biography located by one of the displayed accomplishments. It has a warm relaxing hip atmosphere with welcoming faces from the staff. 

music is endorsed by offering stickers for sale

The Plain Jane that I am, ordered a “drip coffee”,  and my neighbor decided on the Vanilla Latte. The skull shaped spoon to stir the latte with was the perfect touch to integrate the reverent music which  set a mood of accomplished independent defiance: the humanity of it all!! 

 I admired the options for privacy and group meeting areas. With a private cupping room available for reservations and will have coffee educational tastings, “like a wine tasting but for coffee,” according to Leanna. The next one scheduled for Michigan City is March 14, and only cost $10. Samples  I look forward to this as I am coffee terminologically challenged!!!!  

Our barista for the day Nick, was delicate in his artistry of crafting the perfect latte for my neighbor complete with a feather design on the top: 13 years experience has served him well in establishing his craft, and it shows in his passion for appreciation of his customers’ approval. Originally from here, he improved his skill in Bloomington, IN for 10 years and recently moved back two years ago. We are privileged in having his talents here in support of our community.

Leanna comes from the Ukraine and adopted into the US in 2007, successfully went to Chesterton High School, lived in Valparaiso, and recently chose Michigan City as her location to learn about the third wave coffee shop way. She is excited about the upcoming cupping room tasting March 14th, where they share information about the direct relations of this coffee shop and how it’s beneficial for the farmers related to which they serve.

Overall, I think this is going to be a great place for community growth,education, and an artistic establishment. Join them in thier waiting gallery.

See how they roast the beans in their clean production back room.


IG: @FluidCoffeeLove

FB: @FluidCoffeeLoveMC



Bite Cafe is a Mouthful of Goodness

This little unkranian village cafe has the meraki vibe as you enter off the street: laid back with the aroma of passion and epic food. The staff genuinely is there because they enjoy what they do, the company of their co-workers, and it shows in their flow from service to stocking: synchronicity is present. 

As for the food, all I can say is, wow! I ordered a staple of any breakfast joint: Eggs Benedict. The layers of flavor burst on your taste buds like the yolk does to your fork. Arugula, grilled slices of ham, and pimento cheese smothered with a Hollandaise Sauce that brings this classic to a new level of life. My taste buds were dancing to the rhythm of my chew. The goodness dissipated in a swallow, just to be followed by another explosion of what they call mashbrown.

Every meal should be followed by dessert and their meals are no exception. The AM Bread is served warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, like a coffee cake french toast, followed with a sip of their signature Dark Matters Coffee, and the soul is satisfied and ready to take on the challenges of the day. It is a higher price than I would normally spend for breakfast, but worth every penny. This place was a real treat !!


1039 N Western Ave

Chicago, IL 60622



You Can’t Help Go Down The Rabbit Hole

Street art graffiti invites you to travel into the rabbit hole and the service, food, laughter and giant Jenga on every table keeps you there.

Front Row Seating to Sports

Six TV screens internally circle the encompassing bar to keep the sports enthusiast satisfied from every angle, while music spirals from one genre to the next with a flow that just keeps the good times rolling. As you walk in, you are greeted by the invitation to play rabbit pong; calling you to drop the days issues at the door and embrace your “you-time”.

Rabbit Pong Champion… Oh yeah!!!
Camron and his Camron Action Figure

Now, the man with the plan to set you on your travels for your your time here is Camron. He has been at this location for 10 years, and basically is contracted with the building because of his dedication to a good time, good food and good service. He is a bartender, manager and community icon. One has to be to work and/or manage this location thru 4 owners. The Current Owner is Chris Ryan, a Chicago Icon of his own. Several long-standing successful bars including The Original Mother’s can be contributed to his involvement. His new investment: The Rabbit Hole, has the ambiance of a local watering pub where friends and neighbors gather to enjoy a moment in life together. I just fell in love with this family style community environment. The bouncer doubles as a game show host to the masses fora game of Hangman as well as greeting everyone and inviting each guest to enjoy a great time.  Upon witnessing his talents, local Katie Umph guessed this puzzle in an impressive time with only 2 letters…how much fun can you have at a neighborhood hangout?

MIlkman Matt

The music that plays in the background is produced by a DJ named Milkman Matt, who milks the artful tastes from the visiting clientele and feeds the souls of the room with a celebration of style that satisfies everyone. If you are in Chicago and want to embrace the excitement of recaptured youth Chicago style, this is a great place to visit! 

The Rabbit Hole

1208 N Wells

Chicago, IL 60608



Sculptures From Spills

I had the privilege to meet and amazing local man who has found a way to turn wasteful spillage from a blast furnace into significant art sculptures. His name Is Justin Sule and he is a 3rd generation steel mill worker who has a family history of about 100 years in the industry. He has been working on the blast furnace for 8 years and has a unique eye for opportunity. The above original can be seen anchored to the wall at Zorn Brewery here in Michigan City, IN. Hopefully, he will be also participating in the First Friday Art Walk displaying his artwork for sale. I will keep you all posted !

In short, sometimes the blast furnace acts like a woman with a mind of her own, and when she has an emotional outburst, she splashes molten iron out of the trough and makes a mess of things. When this happens impurities can become imbedded into the cooling splatter and renders it useless. But, with special approval, Justin has been able to take these solid iron quagmires and capture his creative talent turning it into amazing sculptures. It is a long process for each piece to remove the slag, coal, and other impurities with hand grinding and polishing the finished piece by buffing the anomaly into imaginary perfection.

He is married and has full support of his wife but pointed out that his pieces are fairly large and she doesn’t feel it contributes to the modern farm decor she has worked to establish in their home, and this is more an industrial abstract art. That’s ok, she thinks they are an ideal asset to any gallery, business, or man cave setting.

Tragically, his garage caught fire and he lost most of his collection recently, and all his dedicated hard work. No worries he is currently working an a new piece despite the setback, and will be rebuilding his collection to share with the world. I will be excited to see the end product from this rough spoilage. I will update this post with the after picture when it is complete: Here is the rough stuff he is starting out with, or you can find him on instagram: @theironcain.

During my interview with him I found out this is not the only talent he possesses. He is also deemed a Wild Mushroom Identification Expert and goes by the name: @Im_a_fungi_mushrooms on instagram and has a great business offering multiple types of mushrooms including shiitake and oyster – to name a few- for local restaurants and personal purchase: He also offers logs that are infused with spores that you can obtain to start growing your own supply. This is a guy worth taking the time to know and I felt privileged to find this diamond in the rough in our community. I am looking forward to following his progress to success and sharing it with my readers!!


Dunes Volleyball Club LaPorte IN

When considering activities to get involved in, volleyball is a great social, healthy activity.  In a time where parents are desperately seeking something other than the electronic babysitters: This club offers a great alternative for both boys and girls from ages 8 to 18. The most common concern come with the costs and time involved. With the Club offering 4 different levels of time commitment and cost options, it is a reasonable opportunity to provide team building, social, and competitive skills that encourage continuation into the college community. They have had over 400+ college scholarships offered to participants, and scouts visit regularly. They offer clinics, camps, one-on-one coaching, and team play. From league play to strength and agility training, levels start at a local level with practice once a week and only partake at in-house tournaments, satellite teams practicing at local schools,Sei Travel teams that practice 2 times weekly and travel within a regional area, to National Level teams that practice 3 times a week and travel all over the country. The costs are minimal compared to other sports clubs, and can be covered by parents, community fundraisers, volunteering and scholarships. Just a little effort reduces the cost concern parents may have, making it even more appealing and payment plans are available too !!

Owned and operated for over 30 years by Rick Ashmore, this family owned operated with the help of his daughter Jamie Ashmore and son-in-law Adam, is an amazing facility expanding 50,000 square feet in LaPorte, IN. He started by offering his services at local school gyms and collaborated his services under one roof when he started the Dunes Volleyball Club in Rolling Prairie, IN., which operated for about 12 years until the re-location to 110 Clear Lake Blvd behind the Pine Lake Shopping Center in 2017. The only down fall was the difficulty in parking. The main parking lot along side the building is now blacktopped and wraps around to the front of the building. A second parking lot as been leveled and gravelled and wraps around the outdoor sand courts, offering plenty of parking, and a third lot across the street help cover overflow.

The little things that he has done show his passion for the sport and his compassion for his players. Covered in SnapSports® Sport Court Flooring Tiles: A modular flooring that encompasses shock absorbing technology designed to provide improved performance as well as joint support for athletes.  This Facility has 10 practice courts and 8 courts for tournaments, as well as 2 lighted outdoor sand courts and 2 indoor basketball courts. The facility has also expanded the restrooms to alleviate lines and a quick return to the courts.  The Pro Shop has you covered if a player forgets anything from shoes, kneepads, ankle braces, t shirts, warm-up suits, spandex shorts, to water bottles.


With the need of support and a location for boys volleyball, The Dunes will be adding boys teams…. It’s not just for Girls!!! Consider how many pro-athletes procure their conditioning by participating in beach volleyball during their off seasons. Volleyball builds an athletes vertical, footwork,endurance and court communication. These are skills that can be carried over to the basketball courts. Thus, the reason The Dunes includes 2 basketball courts that are open to schools and local organizations for practices and games. https://doctoryessis.com/2013/09/02/training-for-basketball-and-volleyball/ is a great article of the cross training success of these two sports.

The other need in our community is a healthy alternative for adult social activity. The Dunes is planning to expand in this area to incorporate recreational opportunities with community support. From corporate team building to social meets: what a great way to get some physical activity in and meet others in the area.

Anyone interested in participation on any and all levels should not hesitate to contact The Dunes or just make the leap and sign up !!!!

Rick Ashmore
rashmore@dunes.org 219-861-7122

As the amazing Coach Mathis exclaims,” Volleyball Forever!!”. A follow up blog will be coming soon about this amazing man and his accomplished inspiration to the multitude of players in the area.


 Normally, I do not write about Jr Volleyball players, but if you meet this girl you would know why. Filled with the smile of endless possibilities and dreams, inspired by her soulful desire to be the best she can at anything she does, her competitiveness that fuels her to be better than she was yesterday, and a positive attitude of living for the moment: I found it hard not to start off my Pheonix page with anyone else.

Fresh from a tournament on Saturday, Tatum hits the courts with a passion for progression, as dad helps by raking the courts in preparation of the ensuing practice.

She is an ambitious 13 year old who started playing beach volleyball about a year and a half ago, but thinks it’s the greatest thing next to the Acai Banana Berry Bowl from Nekter Juice Bar, which I had to try and it was off the net for sure !

  She is quite the well rounded athlete. With a beginning in gymnastics, and moved into dance in which she infiltrated competition with her genuine passion; she was a success, and as most children do ..on to the next adventure: Softball. She enjoyed the team atmosphere but found it wasn’t her direction, and decided to follow a different path into beach volleyball.  She discovered a fierce passion for the game. It provides everything you need, she says, teamwork, participation, athletic skill, AND it’s a whole lot of fun!! Her dream is to become an olympic player, and then go professional.her approach is more than precision and practice, it is full speed ahead.

Diving into it with both feet, she signed up for RPM Sand in Scottsdale AZ, and Boom! She not only found a sport, but an organization that ignited her heart and soul, and serves her zeal to become a leading professional player. According to Mechelle Voepel of ESPN.com, in February of 2021, The U.S. Athletes Unlimited will be launching an Indoor Women’s Professional League, and I am sure that after the Olympics next year, if the multitude of organizations across the states could come together, it would provide a massive opportunity for pros to play. This definitely looks like a promising direction for her future.

She is one dedicated teen: practicing 4 days a week with RPM( her beach volleyball club), 3 days a week of strength training at EXOS, and private lessons 3-4 days a week. (Not to mention school work and chores) With this kind of focus, she has herself set up for success.

            In her down time, as if she has any, she loves to watch any kind of movies: old movies, new movies, any kind of movie, but her favorite are movies based on real life stories. Something about learning from others life’s experiences, helps to appreciate what she has, expand her reach and drives her ambition. It totally bumps up her focus and awareness of everything life has to offer her.

          Academically, she has the same strive to reach her personal best. Holding a GPA 3.8, and of course her favorite subject is history. This high flyer is killin’ it on every level!

This girl is the epidemy of dedication, focus and direction and will be a force to watch out for in the future. She has goals not dream of becoming a Division 1 player, and ultimately of one the pushing forces in Women’s Professional Beach Volleyball.

I truly enjoyed meeting with her and having the opportunity to see her play, as well as practice. Her passion for the fun of the game is pure joy to the soul, so watch for this girl !!! Follow her on her journey on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/tatumhemenway

Singing From the Heart with Kristen Kuiper

Kristin Kuiper is a GR Original, and has been professionally singing for 10 years. She started publicly singing at the young uninhibited age of 3, and has never stopped.

A Star in the Making

Convincing her brothers to play in her living room band, they would humor her and provide the back up stage for her in house performances, never knowing that this would be her destiny in today’s trying times would come back to the internal share of her soul from her home studio. Church was her main stage as a youth, graduating from College in 2008 in Health Information Technology, and decided to follow her own path in 2010: moving to Nashville where she continued writing and performing everywhere and anywhere she could. She started touring out of monetary necessity, as there were more opportunities to play and more importantly getting paid outside of Nashville.

This increased her fan base as she traveled from Key West to New York, Texas to the Carolina’s, she began to tour and played anywhere who would let her play for eight years. 2018 she moved back home to gather her strength and foundation, and has been non stop ever since. This girl has a voice that comes from deep within her soul and reaches to your very heart. As a woman who plays acoustic guitar, sings and writes her own music, she is unmistakably an accomplished artist. She promised herself she would not do something unless her heart and soul were part of it, and it shows.

Song Writing Talents Collide

John Slaughter was her first singer to buy one of her originals for an album, and has grown to Ashley McBryde who also recorded one of her songs. Ashley needed a song for her class reunion and they collaborated on Fat and Famous, which was co-written with Terri Jo Box, Ashley, and our very own Kristen. She loves being home again and feeling the sensation of being grounded and centered in her journey of endless travels. She says “Performing is like a two way mirror, everyone sees you and remembers you, but you don’t really see them. I just love to hear the stories of how my music has made a difference to someone, or the effects it has had sometime in their life.”

Since the COVID-19 Apocalypse has everyone isolating in their homes, she has found her voice and calling to share her inspirations on the internet. Music is the universal language that unites those who hear the heart spoken messages, and you don’t have to play the album backwards to hear hers. She has been showcased on Skype, YouTube Videos, Private shows in Zoom and for Businesses on Facebook Live. She will be performing tonight live for Shady Creek Winery here in Michigan City, and uniting us with Grand Rapids on a whole new level. Please feel free to join in the virtual Facebook show at 6pm Central Time, (that’s 7 pm GR Time).

Please show support and love to those who put a smile and a song in our hearts and share the love !!!






Tip The Band:

Venmo: @KristenKuiper

Paypal: paypal.me/kristenkuiper

CashApp: $KristenKuiper

In These Times…

My heart and soul reach to you with love, light, patience, and kindness. Please step outside for 5 minutes and give yourself a mindful vacation from me. Feel the grass on your feet, close your eyes and feel the embrace of the air as the breeze gently caresses your soul and brings calm. Breathe in thru your nose and sample the flavor of life’s essence from the earth in it’s scent. Exhale out slowly and feel the toxins of stress be released from your body and given back to the earth to be rejuvenated.  Focus your mental eyes on the serenity that is you, and the strength in you will rise. Play your favorite song and give yourself a pat on the back for tackling yet another day and appreciate the grace of knowing you are not alone in this battle. My love, light, strength, and inspiration are there for you in your time of need. You cannot give energy you do not have and the kind of energy needed for this battle is not taken from the souls of others but is given freely from this Earth in abundance. You only have to choose. Find comfort and strength in knowing you are not alone, you are beautiful and amazing!!!

Enchanted Limousine and Transport


Driving by Enchanted Forest two lovers giggled about the word enchanted; the unknown magic this meaningful word represented; not knowing the impact it would make on them one day in their future. When Brett Ritchie decided to start a limousine business, he consulted with his wife, Tara, for the perfect name. Still in love with each other, and wanting to provide the magical love they share with their clients, Tara suggested Enchanted There was no other choice for the name. With a Passenger van hold up to 15 for tours in and about town larger groups, and 2 limos both are stretch with one a super stretch.

Imagine a few couples getting together, or the gal pals congregating for an afternoon or evening of travel, fun, and great company. The wine tours offer just that. Based on time frame, 4-6 hours will give you 3-4 winery’s for a tour. This is one of their specialties and after this quarantine, the local wineries are going to need our support as much as we need the social gatherings and fun!

Airport runs, wine tours , weddings bachelor parties, dinner engagements, concerts, sports events are their normal clients. “I have learned a lot, but there is always more to learn…Bigger companies just don’t offer the personal experiences that we offer,” he says. Every car is detailed to perfection, stocked with personal touches , and customized for the client.

Angelica Bowen is the face of this company and the promoter that everyone sees. She is 1 of 3 drivers, and handles most of the paperwork, but her passion is to embrace the service she provides for wine tour groups.

Every year they raise donations and give kids for rides with Santa in the limo around Washington Park and tour the lighted wonderland. They even surprised a family who fell on difficult times despite working so hard, and turned around their Christmas. This kind of personal involvement and commitment to the community that is truly uplifting.

A pick up from South Bend airport was Grete Eliassen and she was kicking around the idea about making a podcast regarding skiing and Brett’s story of how this company started was the inspiration for her to start it. She reached out to him to invited him to her first release as a thank you for the inspiration. She even signed a red bull can (her sponsor) for his personal wall of Fame.

So, when this quarantine is lifted and we can start social activities and you’re thinking of what to do with your friends, think about the winery tours or even having a night of dinner and drinks, live it up, go in style, and leave the driving to Enchanted Limousine and Transport. I’m sure we will all want to feel a little enchanted!

Local Breakfast Club is Station 801

Coka-Cola Decor Galore

This place displays the essence of community and artistic passion here in Michigan City. Like the Cheers version of a restaurant – where everyone knows your name, a train tours the restaurant from the ceiling, cross table-talking, cell phones down, great food and clean restrooms.

They even have a separate room for business meetings, study groups: privacy. I love meeting people, or just sitting in the back and writing here! Friendly servers, free-flowing coffee, casual greetings – like a shout out from the other end of the room. It has an energetic aura of history and nostalgia that screams community.

This is the Philly Steak Omelette and it is as delicious as it looks. Mouth-watering, seasoned, tender strips of steak, with sauteed green peppers and onions, coagulated with cheese and surrounded by light fluffy eggs, served with toast, or pancake, and american fries or hash browns is a meal that sends a hungry man to work happy and satisfied.

This is the B & G omelette and it is just oozing with flavorful sausage gravy inside and out. The omelette blankets the fresh biscuit and is topped with cheddar cheese, served with hash browns or american fries. A breakfast lovers favorite!

Owners Donna Eaton-Howard and husband, Mike Howard have been the owners for about 15 years and was formerly known as Ceno’s On the Square, which was owned by her sisters. Donna stated, “I am blessed with the people she has met in the community and being a witness to their evolutionary life changes… I have seen some grow and marry and have kids, they go to College, and they always come to share their stories with me”. Mike also chimed in by sharing that even their grand kids now take part in working at the diner. The passing on of family traditions and keeping the culture of community alive here is a definite part of their structure.

They will continue to have 2 soups daily with seasonal specials or requested soups on hand. They also added the Cedar Sub Shop to their business in 2009, and was one of their favorite accomplishments. If you come to Michigan City, make it to the station on time! This place truly is a landmark and offers the heart of our community to all those who visit.

Station 801 & Cedar Sub Shop


801 Franklin Street

Michigan City

Mon – Sat 6am-2pm

Sunday am-2pm

Thompsons Meets Zentress

2525 Ohio Street

As a young child, I had long flowing hair that I could sit on with the hopes of reaching Chrystal Gayle length. However during my first grade year of schooling, the boys were teasing me and tying my up with my hair. I came home, ran to my room and cried. My loving and supportive mother inquired about my distress, and I told her what happened: in haste I cursed long hair and insisted I wanted a short haircut. Again supportive, she took me over to a local beauty school and again in haste I defended a shorter style.

The poor girl who cut my hair might have gave it up after I saw my reflection of what she had done, screamed a blood-curdling scream of disappointment, and ran out to hide in the car.  She had given me a “pixie cut” which is about 2 inches long all around. Now, keep in mind, I was 7, over-dramatic, angry and hysterical. Short hair, to me, would have been to the middle of my back! I never let anyone, even my best friend who went and graduated from cosmotology school, ever, cut my hair again. I was also a real to life tomboy, and wasn’t ever really into the girly thing. Imagine my surprise when my neighbor convinced me to go to this salon and just give it a chance.

The 50’s themed Barber and Salon Shop has that Happy Days vibe brings back a simpler time when smiles were genuine and sincerity was the norm. I embraced my inner woman and embarked on this journey without realizing I was about to accomplish a rite of passage at the age of 51.

Bobbi Piecuch has 23 years experience with 12 years as a Redken Stage Artist – showing new styles on stage, traveling from tradeshow to tradeshow then changed directions and went to work at a barber shop with a friend while earning a business degree.  She is the owner of Thompsons Meets Zentress, which was originally established as just Thompsons Barber Shop and has been in MC since 1967. When the Thompsons (Roy and Jim) passed away, one of their daughters closed the shop. Bobbi seized the moment to revive the location: She would help open the shop and ran the business for a year under the same name. In honor of the former owner, she fused her ambition and the business became Thompsons Meets Zentress and has been thriving there for 5 years now. She has 2 other girls working in the salon with her, all three have experience in barber services for men and fabulous salon talents for women and the three have been friends throughout their careers.

     They offer services for women and men including, coloring, hair cutting, chemical services (perms), facial waxing, eyelash lift and tint, and hair styling , of course. They also includes shaving on the back of neck… sorry guys no facial shaves.

As the day started and their schedules filled with a steady flow of traffic, the conversations were personal, fun and uplifting. 

Bobbi loves to do everything, but her passion for this form of artwork comes from the satisfaction her clients experience as their self-esteem rises and self-worth soars. As she says, ” Good vibes” describe her attitude. Clients travel from Kouts and North Judson just to have her expertise and she even has an actor from Chicago Fire as a regular client for the last 15 years. She has the style!! There was a lull in activity, and I jumped at the chance to have my hair cut. She was so informative, explaining my hair type, how to treat it, how to maintain it, what type of products work best (without being pushy of her own products) , and most importantly how to enjoy it. I really learned quite a bit about hair care, a field in which I honestly knew I lack as a woman. 

Carrie is waiting to boost your style

Carrie has a cheerful joyous disposition and her smile is contagious. She has 34 years of experience between men’s and women’s services. She loves the simplicity of sharing her artistic qualities,  “…of life-long connection with clients…making them look and feel good”. She shared with me the story of how her grandson came in for a haircut and she jokingly informed him that the portrait of Marilyn Monroe was her when she was younger. A few weeks later, he was walking in a store with his mom and avidly insisted that a photograph of Marilyn was his grandma!! Ya gotta love it!!!

     Angie has been here for over 2 years with over 25 years experience. Loves it all because everyday is something different. She enjoys the specialty colorings and the pure artistry of her career. “She makes me look beautiful, and feel beautiful… she’s the best!!”, says Willette Benning, one her clients stated. After receiving a trim and styling. The smile in her heart as she spoke, said it all. 

    I am pretty amazed at how something as simple as a haircut, conversation, and a great stylist can change one’s confidence as a woman. It’s the act of servitude with a great attitude that feeds the soul with pampering appreciation for who you are. I feel like I’m now part of this rite of passage, this educational journey of self-love, part of this womens community. You might be surprised at what your missing out on, if you have never gone to a true neighborhood salon! Are you a Thompson man? Or a Zentress woman?

Thompsons Meets Zentress

2525 Ohio Street

Michigan City, IN


Mon10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Tue10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thu10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Fri10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sat10:00 am – 1:00 pm

2525 Ohio St

Michigan City, IN 46360

Ballyea Jewelry Designs

A person sitting at a table

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Oh the luck of the Irish is upon us! As I have been progressing to support our local merchant on social media I stumbled upon a business with the same message and spirit.

Bernadette Gibson originates to us from an Irish family and supplements her jewelry with a Celtic twist: not only in design but rich in passion and meaning.  As a successful jeweler from Chicago’s Jewelers row at 9 N Wabash, for 30 years, we are privileged to have her talents here in Michigan City for the last 3 years! I didn’t even know! 

She has recently relocated to our community and should be considered the jewel of the town with her shop adorned with beautiful rings, bracelets, and pendants, all custom made and unique. She can customize any kind of design you wish and does so with a joyous disposition.

Scottish Thistle Medallion

This Celtic pendant is a two tone 14 kt two-tone white gold triskele triple spiral Scottish Thistle Medallion. This piece, she said modestly, has a special place in her heart. The design means, “All of the Energy you give out to the world comes back to you…swirling are 3 spirals of constant forward motion,” she says. The three arms of the triskele have various forms of meanings but for her it was the relationship of mind-body-spirit, specifically: courage, strength, and love: All in constant harmony and movement. How could you possibly carve something this and the end accomplishment of perfection not have significant value to your soul?

This ring also has a special meaning as one of her favorite pieces. It is a 14kt White Gold Chatham Emerald Diamond Ring. This ring has hand carved Celtic Trinity Knot on each side with no beginning and no end, it represents unity and the eternal love which binds us together. The unity knots surrounded by bead set diamonds on either side with a Chatham emerald as the center. “I enjoyed carving it, the Celtic knots are endless and flow with eternal love,” she says, and as she spoke, I could see a piece of her soul is infused into each piece she carved. 

She is also very capable of any type of jewelry repair. However, they do not repair watches, or replace batteries.

Her husband, Gary, who also works in the store, and he has filled the rest of the space with Irish clothing for all ages from adult sweaters to baby onsies.

Trinkets and treasures are woven into the room with gift ideas galore.

The walls are crafted with signage that warms your heart and home, as well as handmade Celtic crosses for a religious display and conversational piece of art.

The vibe of pure creativity surrounds you when you walk in and I would be amazed if you don’t find something you can give as a gift or appreciate yourself for years to come.

Ballyea Jewelry Designs

Celtic Jewery Design & Irish Gifts

519 Franklin Street

Michigan City, IN 46360’

Phone: 312-332-9307

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11-5

Additional hours by appointments