Community = love

I’ve been in Oak Park for just about 3 months now and I can’t even begin to describe how much I love it here. I came for the church that I fell in love with (Free Church) and I’ve discovered so much more in Oak Park inside and outside of church. The community in Oak Park is amazing and has made me feel like I’m exactly where I belong.

There are many fun and free events in and around Oak Park. Every Thursday is Thursday Night Out where families go to listen to music and enjoy local food and drink. They close down about two blocks of Marion street and set up tables and chairs. It runs from 5pm to 9pm every Thursday night and has caused me to start taking rest days on Thursdays (but wait, no gainz!).

 

Also, about once a month, there’s a movie in the park. This past week was Star Wars: Rogue One which I went and saw a portion of with my friend Nathen Mixon. That was an enjoyable evening at Scoville Park. 🙂

In addition to these staples, there are also many other summer festivals happening over the next few months in Oak Park. So far, I have yet to be disappointed in anything happening in my town. Some notable upcoming events are listed below:

July 9 Church party in the Park (Free Church) (Lindbergh Park: link coming soon)

July 20 Field of Dreams movie in the park

August 19 Microbrew review

There are also free concerts. Looks like I have a busy summer ahead of me. I’m blossoming in Oak Park. What types of events does your town offer? Have you been to Oak Park and any of these awesome community events before?

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Vegan Fest

I experienced my very first Vegan Fest yesterday in Chicago and had lots of fun. While I’m not an official vegan, I spent about two years being a vegan about 5 years ago. And while I eat certain types of meat, I generally try to avoid dairy and red meat for the most part. But when I was invited to the 2nd Annual Vegan Fest a few weeks ago, it was a no-brainer to go!

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The fest officially started at 11am, but we didn’t arrive until around 1pm. It was a beautiful, sunny Chicago day and the fest was very crowded. There were quite a few food vendors, but long lines everywhere. Among the longest wait was Doomie’s, a place known for their Vegan “Big Mac.” Determined to get one of these epic burgers, I waited in line for well over an hour, and ordered two single burgers since they ran out of doubles.

I set out with a goal and triumphed. I even got to share some of this food with my good friend Paschen. She won even more, she got several bites without the hassle of waiting forever for them. And yes, they were amazing.  Worth the wait? Maybe not, it was really hot out there! And to be honest, while I enjoyed my time at the Vegan Fest, I likely wouldn’t go back just because of those lines. There was a line to get a drink ticket then another line to get a drink, like water. And it was too hot to wait for water.  It’d be nice if they figured out a better system, especially since they were charging $20 to enter the thing.

Overall, I had fun, ate vegan big mac, and saw a bunch of vegans being vegan. Do you like vegan food? What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite summer festival?

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Original crush circa 1995

Last weekend, I saw DREAMCAR at the Vic Theater in Chicago. This is a new band consisting of Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, Adrian Young, and Davey Havok. So basically No Doubt, minus Gwen Stefani and plus lead singer from AFI. The cool part is that they have a completely different sound from No Doubt or AFI (check out some of their songs HERE). The concert was amazing and I had an amazing time, but it rekindled my old crush that I’ve had on Tony Kanal since 1995 when Tragic Kingdom debuted.

While it was instant love at first sight, my love for Tony has only grown over the past 22 years. He has truly grown into an amazing man and now is a father and husband (unfortunately for me haha!). He is also vegan which just makes me love him even more.

I’ve seen Tony Kanal perform with No Doubt three times, and now with Dreamcar once. While I greatly enjoyed the Dreamcar concert, I did notice that there was something missing that I greatly enjoyed while seeing No Doubt. The energy of Gwen and Tony is something that can’t quite be replicated. While Davey is amazing, he brings a different energy to the group. Different but not bad. At the end of the day, No Doubt is and always will be my favorite band so I will be biased when I say they are better, but Dreamcar has a special spot in my heart.

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I got my fair portion of Tony this past weekend. Yum. He stared right at me and we had an entire conversation with our eyes. The best part, though? Tony liked my post on Instagram! That made my weekend. We’re pretty much friends now. 🙂

Enjoy the photos! What’s your favorite band? What type of music do you like?

Roller Coasting

Over this past weekend, I went to Cedar Point with my family and fellow roller coaster fan Nathen. It had been a long five years since I had been to Cedar Point and a few new rides were added since I was there last.

We were able to ride all the roller coasters multiple times, and despite the new rides being amazing, the three above remain my favorite rides. Time and time again, these three have delivered much joy and happiness in my life. Millennium Force being my favorite, with Top Thrill Dragster and Raptor up there as well. Don’t get me wrong, the newer coasters were amazing, but I tend to be a creature of habit and I like the classic rides more than the new rides. Sometimes the newer rides try too hard to be unique and stand out that it’s just like meh.

But I was glad to be able to ride the newer coasters since there were two big coasters built since 2012.

Valravn is supposedly the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in the world. That one was pretty cool, I will admit that. It stops at the top of the drop and makes you stare at the ground before you plunge down and into a loop. And GateKeeper was awesome as well.  It is a winged coaster which is fine since it makes you feel like you’re flying while strapped in and screaming for your life. And don’t mind the gloomy picture, the weather held up and kept most of the crowds away for the most part. But I did get some creepy photos…

Overall, it was a great trip and I definitely got my roller coaster fix. For now… until next time. What’s your favorite amusement park? What’s your favorite roller coaster? Would love to collaborate with other roller coaster enthusiasts and maybe put together a review of multiple coasters and parks. I’ve actually been to quite a few different parks through my life and may have to dig up old pictures to share of my past adventures. Where to next? 🙂

 

Labeling life

Do you feel like you’re in control of your life? Do you feel stable in every aspect of your life? I’m talking career, family, friends, and relationships. Are you living a healthy and happy lifestyle? Today I’m going to focus on relationships and how some people feel the need to label every relationship in their life.

As I’ve been reintroduced into the single world, I have been asked the most random questions from my friends and family: Are you dating? Are you in a relationship? Are you just friends? Do you have friends? How did you meet? Do you like him? Does he like you? What about your sex life? Why are you not married yet? Do you even want kids anymore?

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But then I’ve come to realize, why do we over think everything? And why does everything have to have a label? Why can’t we just enjoy life, in the moment, and not think about what this or that means? Why can’t we just grow as people and focus on ourselves rather than defining every relationship we’re a part of. Actually when I did try to jump the gun and label a relationship way too quickly, it ended up making me run away from it as fast as possible. I learned the hard way that you can’t force something that isn’t meant to be.

Friends: But how do you know if it’s meant to be? When do you know when it’s serious? Are you really okay with just being friends with someone for that long? What if he’s dating other people too? Wait, are you dating multiple people? Are you okay being single?

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While being organized in life is important and I enjoy planning and being productive, sometimes there are just things that you can’t label in life. There are typically a few different labels we enjoy giving relationships:

Friend, significant other, spouse, enemy, acquaintance, co-worker, classmate, etc. And sometimes we just find ourselves staring, looking for something we don’t have (any of these labels may be missing in our life). But sometimes the harder we look, the less likely we’ll find what we seek.

So I challenge you to let go of the labels, to stop overthinking every little thing. Just enjoy what you know you can control in life: yourself. People will come and go in life, but at the end of the day the only person who can make you happy is yourself. And stop seeking so hard. Once you stop looking, you will be able to see more clearly the beautiful world around you. And if it’s meant to be, maybe one day someone will stand next to you and see the same beauty you do, just through their own lens. But that isn’t something you should worry about now or ever. Love yourself first. Let go and let God.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

And thank you to my amazing friends for keeping me in check the past 6 plus months! Love all of you!!

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The price to pay

From the start
I was a part
Of a new family
It was a welcoming galaxy

Over time I grew
And became one of the few
Loyalty and respect came first
Into this world I became submersed

As my passion increased
I felt my fear released
But soon I realized there was a revolving door
And was left wondering what for?

Soon the cost went up
With little heads up
There was a price to pay
In order to stay

But not once did I question
The gradual and rewarding progression
Until the lead person back stabbed me
I was left alone to bleed

Forced into this world of fakes
My heart truly aches
You’ve created a world of mistrust
And all I feel is disgust

At the end of the day
All you care about is getting paid
I hope you’re happy
With your new level of trashy

I was an apprentice learning as much as I could. Now I will learn somewhere else.

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Digging in

After the roller coaster ride that I’ve been on for the past year and a half, I’m finally able to plant my seeds this spring. Gradually my life will grow roots in this new place with the right elements: not just water and sunlight, but also through my church, marathon training, my faith and my wonderful family and friends. All of the aspects of my life help me be the best version of me. Iron sharpens iron.

With the proper mindset and environment, I will grow strong and healthy roots and I’ll blossom when the timing is right. I set goals and I achieve them. I don’t make excuses, even when things become difficult I just keep trying. And I don’t give up.

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When I get lost or discouraged, I find my way through the word of God which is alive within me. The bible is my map. Faith activates the word, my revelation activates faith, and meditation activates my revelations. Every day, I make time to be in the word. Just me and my map. With this, I feel like I can face anything in life.

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While I never know what life will throw at me next, I have no fear of what’s next. What does being rooted mean to you?

Running away

My feet hit the pavement
And I’m set free
All day I’ve been craving
The ability to flee

Up up and away
I fly for miles
Slowly losing my way
I can’t help but smile

Lost in my own world
Listening to the birds sing
Everything becomes a whirl
On this beautiful day of Spring

In the sun I glisten
My mind becomes quiet
And my ears begin to listen
My body goes on autopilot

The wind takes my heart
And I begin to take flight
All I see is art
I’m full of delight

Running sets me aglow
Sweat pouring from me
Even when I’m slow
I couldn’t be more carefree

I chuckle as I think
How I used to hate running
It was my missing link
To become truly stunning

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Sense of Humor

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God’s plan isn’t our plan
It’s beyond our lifespan
He has a great sense of humor
And He is life’s greatest tutor

What we think we want
Could actually be just a taunt
But when we trust God
His plan is not flawed

We try to fit our life into our minds
But we just create our own binds
If only we let go
Then we can grow

With God we become capable
And our lives turn satiable
We arise and our dreams turn true
Within Him we are renewed

Isn’t it funny how we feel like our lives unravel
When in reality God is in control