Breaking the habit

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I don’t know about you, but for me it’s hard to break a habit once I’ve incorporated it into my daily routine. Some habits are good, like brushing your teeth or working out. But some habits are bad, like eating an entire box of cookies in one sitting. I’m not here to talk about good or bad habits, rather I’m going to focus on comfortable habits.

We are creatures of habit. We are predictable. We enjoy routine, and don’t like disruption. Sometimes, we start doing something because we enjoy it. For example, I started practicing Kung Fu in 2011 because I enjoyed the exercise, the learning experience, and the community. I saw many benefits outpouring from the training, and decided to make it a habit. Even when I was scraping by financially, I still made it a priority and found the means to continue paying for the classes.

This was a good habit that I incorporated into my life to make it better. But sometimes I’ve incorporated a bad habit just because it makes me feel better. Or I add something to my routine because at first it seems great, but over time I start making excuses when it’s really not so great.

I’ve found myself in this sort of cycle when it comes to dating and relationships. I tend to be attracted to the same type of guy: a little arrogant, a little smart, very good looking, self-absorbed, and fake(?) nice. Every time I start having feelings for someone like this, I see past the bad qualities and only see the good stuff, the surface things. But over time, the truth shows it’s ugly head. And my problem is that I start making excuses for them. In my head they aren’t perfect, but they’re also not terrible. In reality, they’re just not the right person for me. But for some reason, I can’t let go.

Is it the fact that by this time I’ve spent time, money and energy on them? Or maybe because it feels comfortable. They’re always around, and I enjoy their company. Or am I just used to their company and can’t remember how it was before? Then I feel trapped. How can I break this habit? This cycle of self-destruction, of dating the wrong guy. The list of wrong guys I’ve dated seems endless, and all at once it feels like I’m staring down into an empty bottle. Where are the good guys? Better yet, where’s the right guy for me? Does he even exist?

So I challenged myself for this year: I’m breaking this cycle I’ve allowed myself to fall into. Moving forward, I will be honest with every guy I meet. If after talking once or twice they don’t meet my standards (deal-breakers), then I will be very clear in regards to my intentions and how I see them. This is something I thought I was capable of doing last year, but I lost my way. I let my guard down, and I let the wrong person in. No regrets, because life is all about learning and growing. And I’m learning and growing everyday.

Open for Business: Mini Target

target-express-oak-parkYay Target!

The cutest Target opened up this past week in Oak Park, IL. It’s one of eight small format stores in the Chicagoland area, and as an Oak Park resident I couldn’t be happier.

No longer are the days I’d have to cross the busy street of Harlem to go to Walgreens to pay for over-priced convenience-store items (i.e. Gwen Stefani Revlon Makeup). Now, it’s as easy as walking comfortably a few blocks from where I live to get any and all of my Target (Trademark) store needs (and those I have aplenty).

While there is even the added bonus of a mini Starbucks (hello, coffee!) there is a part of me that is sad over the opening of this store. First of all, it’s at the bottom of a new high-rise that’s now a part of the Oak Park skyline. Which, since I’m new to the area, I don’t really know Oak Park without it. So that’s fine. But a part of me does worry how this Target will affect the little guys. You know, the small local businesses of Oak Park. Which I personally like to try and support as much as I can.

I’m an avid fan of these local businesses and always out and about looking for more to add to this list.

Local Businesses I love

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What businesses do you frequent in Oak Park? How do you feel about the new Target? I was in there the other night and look forward to utilizing the store when needed. Especially on those days I don’t feel like driving and would rather walk around my beautiful Oak Park neighborhood.

Festa Italiana

On Sunday I attended this Italian Fest in Milwaukee with Paschen. It was my 2nd festival I’ve ever attended in Milwaukee, Bastille Days back in 2009 being the other one. As per usual, I didn’t do much research so I was surprised when we got there that we had to pay for parking and to get into the fest. Were we in Chicago or Milwaukee? I thought Wisconsin was like the country where everything is mostly free or cheap. $10 to park and $13 to get in, then I had to pay even more to attempt to satisfy my raging hunger (which is normal).

 

Despite the cost to get in, I felt I was transported to Italy itself. Nevermind the highway right next to us, or the strange Wisconsonites, we felt like we were in Roma. The pizza was sub-par and the Bosco sticks K.O.’d us. But never fear, we found room for gelato and espresso. We also got to ride the ski lift but unfortunately it was too hot to ski. Wait why is there a ski lift and no mountain? Anyways. Overall, had a good time but pretty sure anything I do with Paschen would be fun, other than maybe watching paint dry. That’s never fun. πŸ™‚

Party in the Park

This past weekend my church threw an amazing party in the park. This is an annual summer party they throw that just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year. It was great to be a part of this event and to be able to hang out with my church community outside of church.

To give you some perspective, Free Church was started in 2012. In five years, it has grown from only a few to about 300 churchgoers. There were well over 100 people at this party yesterday. The growth is amazing to see, and we got our very own building this year (the Hemingway Museum). πŸ™‚

I’ve only been going to Free Church since November of 2016, but I feel myself growing as well. While it’s great to see more and more people at church, it’s even better to feel my faith growing as I learn and dig deeper into this community I call home. I feel safe and cared for in my church community. And I feel strong. There’s about 46 of us training for the Chicago Marathon this year. We’re all running it for Team World Vision which brings clean water to those who need it the most in Africa.

This week is week 6 of training and I already feel myself changing. This past Saturday was the second time I ran with my church group, and it was amazing. We ran 10 miles and we crushed it! Not only do I notice my chub decreasing, I also feel my legs getting stronger. But beyond that, I feel healthier all around. Not just physically, but also mentally. My mind feels more clear and focused. I feel like I can achieve my goals that I have for myself.

If you have the means, please consider helping me bring clean water to the women and children in Africa. This small act will allow them time to do other things, like go to school and study. Thank you!

https://www.teamworldvision.org/participant/jenb

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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