Fourth of July Weekend in Chicago and the Suburbs

In just a few days, millions of Americans will be celebrating our nation’s anniversary of independence, the Fourth of July. Independence Day. Even though it’s the same date every year, it really snuck up on me this year.

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As a child, enjoying summertime, it was always a highlight of my summer and my family literally did the same thing every year. My hometown would have a huge festival that lasted anywhere from three to four days and an amazing fireworks display. In the past couple years, funding has changed *cough* decreased, and we no longer have this festival, but just a mere thirty minutes of fireworks. In addition, now that I’m older and my parents are divorced, my plans have been different every year for the past couple years. So, it’s not a surprise that this year, I honestly have no idea what I’m doing.

Being a Chicagoland native, I decided to just compile a list of the best events during this monumental weekend for myself to choose from, and also act as a resource for people who might be in the same situation.

Fireworks at Navy Pier

When: July 4th @ 9:30 PM

Where: Navy Pier, surrounding beaches and rooftops

Glen Ellyn 4th of July

When: July 4th – parade @ noon, fireworks @ dusk

Where: Lake Ellyn Park, Glen Ellyn, IL and other Glen Ellyn locations

Admission is free, food and family activities are extra

http://www.glenellyn4thofjuly.com/

Naperville Rib Fest

When: July 1st – July 4th, noon – 10:00 PM

Where: Knoch Park, Naperville, IL

Admission varies by day

http://www.ribfest.net/

Northwest Fourth Fest

When: June 30th – July 4th, check website for daily schedule

Where: Sears Centre, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL

Admission is free, carnival rides are extra

http://northwestfourthfest.com/

Frontier Days

When: June 30th – July 4th, check website for daily schedule

Where: Recreation Park, Arlington Heights, IL

Admission is free, carnival rides and other family activities cost extra

http://www.frontierdays.org/

These events are some of the most popular in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. It’s the perfect way to celebrate our great nation with your loved ones!

What are some of your favorite local celebrations? What do you and your family do for the Fourth of July?

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5 Ways to Live a Carefree Lifestyle

In a highly competitive and attached culture, it’s easy to get caught up in keeping up with the Jones’ and reveling in the past. We look at life as a journey, which it absolutely is, where we build memories and gain experience. When you get older, the burden gets heavier.

People attach themselves to theories and things, with the idea that life is around us, when we should live as though life is us. When going through life, live in the present. The past is in the past and it can be let go, and when you do let it go, it will make you much freer.

I’m absolutely guilty of thinking far too much – about thing I’ve done in the past and who I was then, who I am now, and who I’m going to be in the future. Where is this life going to take me? It gets so exhausting! I’m trying to make a conscious effort now to live now. I think it will be possible using some of these tactics.

Forget the approval of others

Everyone has an opinion of you, and everyone will always have an opinion of you. Whether you let that rule your life is up to you.

Let go of social media – or at least use it a lot less

I feel social media is the root of all evil, yet here I am building a blog. Seriously though, I’ve found taking a step away from social media has led me to a happier life. I am happy for all those getting engaged and building their families, but it also makes me wonder what I’m doing with my life.

In addition, if you don’t want to see pictures of people you hate, like your ex, or unflattering pictures of you from a night out, stay away from social media. You’re better off without those awful reminders.

Stop being indecisive

Indecisiveness will leave you fear stricken and in the same place your whole life. Make a choice and stand by it. If you make the wrong decision, clean it up and make the right one. After all, life is a learning experience.

Let go of your past

Everything’s in the past for a reason – it’s over. Mistakes have been made and lessons have been learned, but don’t beat yourself up for it. What’s done is done.

Its fine to reminisce, but don’t wish for it back because you’re ultimately denying yourself the present. Things were wonderful when you were a child, but your life is wonderful now, too!

Don’t have self-doubt

You need to have self-confidence because if you don’t believe in yourself, who else is going to and what else is there to believe in? Stand strong with the decisions you make.

Personally, I still struggle with a lot of these things, but I am a work in progress. Living a happy and carefree life is important to me and that is why I intend to keep my head up and live for myself.

 

Getting back into the workout grind after a year off…

While I was in college, I was very active and super healthy. I would workout out for over an hour each day and watch my portions. I wasn’t a body builder or a model, but I was happy.

Fast forward to graduation and a couple jobs later, I found myself tired all the time and eating crap. My first job was one of those weird, almost illegal, marketing pyramid schemes. Basically, I would stand in a Sam’s Club or a Costco and be one of those annoying vendors selling various skin creams, hair straighteners, diet pills, and bamboo pillows (which are actually really cool). I had long days, of about 10 hours, and worked for commission only so I could one day be in charge of a weird scheme like that. It was about a month of Sam’s Club pizza and nachos until I called it quits.

I then got a job at an insurance agency where I had to work long hour and weekends without lunch to sell car insurance. I was always tired and stressed out. I ate healthier because I was sitting all day long, and I worked out sometimes. Once work was done, I was done. I stayed there for about five months.

I now work at a job I love, and actually went to school for, a year later… I go to work happy and I leave work happy. I eat small snacks throughout the day, and a generally healthy lunch. I finally saved up enough money to buy a treadmill for my home – because it’s far too cold for me to walk to my car and drive to the gym, or workout outside.

Lately, I’ve been getting back on my grind, relieving any stress I have the old fashioned way, working it out physically. I found this article on BuzzFeed, 15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Their Best Tips For Getting In Shape, and thought that is so me. They have some really great tips. Here are a few of my favorites!

  1. Portion control
  2. Get enough sleep
  3. Find a workout you love
  4. Do some kind of activity for at least 30 minutes a day
  5. Build a foundation of good habits and add to it

What are some of your favorite tips? How do you stay motivated to stay in shape?