National scare your dog day

Many of us celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks. But did you think of poor fido? I don’t know if your dog gets scared or not, but I know mine does. In my house, we refer to the 4th of July as National scare your dog day.

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Every year, Barley acts like the world is ending. He doesn’t budge from the bathroom, which is the most central room in our home. There you will find him shaking like a leaf, drooling up a puddle around him. No amount of hugs and kisses will calm him down, but he demands them anyways. I wish I could pluck Barley out of the field of bombs he thinks he’s in and place him in a padded, quiet room of calm.

When we go for walks, he is almost too scared to even go on the grass. It takes him an extra ten minutes to work up the courage to take a poop. In the past, I’ve tried medications and natural calming remedies, to no avail. He’s a Sheltie mix and naturally a nervous Nelly to begin with. The meds just make him loopier than normal, but still shaky and nervous. Perhaps just more drool.

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On a more serious note, many dogs end up in the ER on the 4th of July due to them being so scared. It can get so bad that they could start showing neurological signs. If your dog displays the following symptoms, consider taking them to the veterinarian:

Collapsing, jerking, stiffening, muscle twitching, loss of consciousness, drooling, chomping, tongue chewing, or foaming at the mouth. Your dog may walk in circles and bump into things. He might have a lot of drool on his chin and could be bleeding in his mouth if he bit himself. He may try to hide.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area, there are many great options for animal ER care for days like the 4th when your normal Vet is closed. I.e. MedVet, VSC, and Blue Pearl.

Is your pet scared of the fireworks? Do you have a remedy that works? If you do, please share below.

 

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Eyes to the skies

This past weekend I went to the Eyes to the skies festival in Lisle, IL. It’s an annual hot air balloon festival that I’ve always heard about but had never attended before. I had fun but was unfortunately a bit disappointed and technically it’s my fault.

I was under the impression that the balloon glow included the balloons being released into the sky. This isn’t the case, the balloons are actually released at 6:30pm and the glow is later on at 8:15pm. I thought it was all at the later time, so didn’t arrive until closer to 8pm. While the balloon glow was cool, it was hard to see since the balloons were still on the ground. And the field where the view was clear was very crowded as everyone was making a mad dash to get into it. We decided to sit on the nearby basketball court thinking the balloons would go up. My bad. 🙂

The only other thing that sucked was parking. The parking lot was a few miles away from the festival and they had school buses shuttling people back and forth. At the end of the night, the line for the buses was about two to three blocks long. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Overall, a fun time and now that I know the actual timing may consider going back some other year. But I’d take a motorcycle next time to avoid the parking hassle. 😉

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July! What are your plans? Fireworks? BBQ? Comment below your favorite part of the holiday.

Magnetic Energy

Have you ever met someone and instantly connected with them? Almost like a magnet, they draw you into their world and make you feel welcome. Like your energy melds well with theirs, and you both give off a similar vibe.

I’ve noticed that this tends to happen when I meet other positive and passionate people like me. When I meet someone, I try to read their vibe and adjust my approach to them accordingly. I have a lot of energy, but am exclusive in regards to who I share it with. Usually when I first join a new group of people, I remain pretty quiet as I observe everyone and how they interact with each other. For example, I started running with this fun run group about two months ago and I didn’t really tell anyone much about me until about 3 to 4 weeks into it.

Another good example is a new job. It usually takes me about 2-3 months to warm up enough to be a fraction of myself at a new job. I do this so that I can learn the company culture and environment without tainting it with my craziness. This is also a way for me to be careful that I don’t overstep my bounds at a new company. What tends to happen is that most people think I don’t know English or that I’m from a different country that’s how quiet and shy I seem those first few months. I’ve had many people ask me where I’m from and when I respond with Chicago they ask but where were you born? Chicago. Still Chicago.

As long as you’re positive and passionate, we will likely get along. Just don’t lie to me. And don’t call me Jenny. Do you have a magnetic personality? Do you give out your energy? Or do you reserve it for only certain people? Or maybe no one other than yourself? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

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Full of Pride

This past weekend was Pride Chicago 2017. This was the first local Pride parade I’ve experienced despite wanting to attend for many years beforehand. It was one of the most fun events I’ve ever experienced. The floats were amazing, everyone was colorful and happy, and I felt surrounded by some of the nicest people in Chicago.

Even Big Boo was there!

I went with some of my friends and their awesome friends. I made new friends this weekend and felt welcome by everyone. Love this celebration and I look forward to attending more pride parades in the future.

Love wins. Love conquers all.

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?

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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