Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.

I saw floral fashion attire left and right this past weekend, and not going to lie but I am all about it. Bill and I took a day trip up to Holland, Michigan to check out the Tulip Time Festival and had a great time. It’s about 3 hours away from Chicago, and let me just say I have never seen a city so on fire for something as simple as a tulip. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but this town lives for the two weekends the tulips are in full bloom. From its parades, tulip art, to tulips in every storefront window, these two weekends are like our fourth of July. Such excitement!

I knew right away I was going to wear a floral arrangement (so basic, I admit…) BUT when I saw this romper with a skirt overlay at Francesca’s I was so excited to wear it out with a cute bralette underneath and my red Target sandals. I am embracing the warm weather and vibrant colors because we have waited too long for these moments!

If you ever want to take a day trip to Holland, MI, I would recommend grabbing a bite at Butch’s, apple cider donuts from Crane’s, walking around Window on the Waterfront, and stopping by the 205 Coffee bar for a latte and cute photos. I really had a great time ooh-ing and aah-ing over the array of tulip colors, and we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to be outside! Shots from my trip are below. Dare I ask what your favorite flower is? I bet you can guess mine.

RomperFrancesca’s // ShoesTarget // Bralette: Styles for Less // Sunglasses: Quay

XO.

Lex

 

Dreaming of La La Land

“Why did you move from California to Chicago?” is a question I have received 100+ times. My answer has remained consistently the same: The energy in Chicago is different than anywhere else and you never take a beautiful day for granted. Now that I don’t live in California, I never take a pretty day for granted there either.

I was so excited to be in Santa Monica/ Venice Beach for work and I was able to stay the weekend to visit my family. I was able to squeeze in a few things here and there whether it was get a workout in, grab a yummy coffee, walk around the Venice Canals, check out Abbott Kinney Blvd.. it was all so fun. There is so much to do and see in Los Angeles. The next thing I have on my list when I return is to get in more hiking, drive up the coast from San Diego to San Francisco, and see wine country in NorCal. My bucket list just keeps getting longer and longer! What’s on your bucket list and upcoming travel schedule?

Below are a few pictures + outfits linked from my very own La La Land- and I can’t wait to go back ❤

XO.

Lex

 

Shorts: Express (Similar HERE) // Shirt: Styles for Less // Backpack: TUMI // Sandals: Nordstrom

Bathing Suit: Victoria’s Secret (Similar HERE!)

Until we meet again, La La Land ❤

Why I Love Barry’s Bootcamp

I never thought I would see the day when I would write about my fitness regime; let alone that I was excited to share it! At the end of the day, I love sharing topics with my readers that are a huge part of my day-to-day life and fitness is no doubt one of them.

So you might be interested in taking a workout class and don’t know where to start. I have been there too. It’s hard with so many choices these days—especially living in a city where people have a craving for fitness left and right. A workout I have always been curious about is the HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout at Barry’s Bootcamp. I never doubted I wouldn’t like it – but so far, I love it. Wherever you are in your fitness journey, you MUST give Barry’s Bootcamp a try. I understand it might be a little nerve racking imagining a “bootcamp” setup, but I mean it when I say you become so empowered from this workout. It is an experience where you are so pumped up by the music and the trainers, you give 200%. The first time I took a class, the music was blasting and the energy in the room gave me goose bumps. If there is one thing for certain, it is that you CAN do it and you will LOVE yourself after.

Again, what is Barry’s Bootcamp all about you ask?The HIIT workout is designed to burn up to 1,000 calories and is divided up between strength and cardio (25- 30 minutes each). I have been fortunate enough to take a few classes and I am obsessed so far with Barry’s and the results I am seeing.  I sat down with my fierce boss lady friend Kate Lemere who is a Chicago Founding Trainer and Marketing Coordinator of Barry’s Chicago to help tell you more because who better to hear from than the fitness expert herself!? If a Barry’s studio isn’t near you, I hope at the least this encourages you to take chances and push yourself to get to where you want to be in your fitness journey. I love supporting brands that I truly believe in, and I love sharing it with others in hopes that they like it too. If you are in Chicago, come take a class with me!! I would love to sweat with you ;).

XO.

Lex

Kate Lemere is a Barry’s Bootcamp Trainer, Nike Trainer and founder of the blog The Four Percent.

 

What is the biggest difference between Barry’s and other fitness studios?

Barry’s is the pioneer of boutique fitness and since its inception in 1998, it has grown into a global community. The energy in the room and the caliber of trainers is what sets us apart. I mean we didn’t even make our own tagline. Our clients coined our tagline as “the best workout in the world.”

 

Tell me about the workout. You either do floor exercises or you’re running your A$$ off on the treadmill– what is the reason behind switching between Floor to Treadmill?

It’s a HIIT workout or high intensity interval training. You are pairing cardio with strength training. This is the most effective combination that helps stimulate muscle fibers and creates an after burn effect. Also, HIIT workouts are approachable for all fitness levels: different exercises can be modified and progressed to cater to all ability levels both on the floor and on the treads. You know your own body the best and what it is capable of.

The Instructors. What would you say is most important to them when it comes to teaching classes?

The energy of the room and focus. ENERGY is contagious and it’s continually repurposed. As instructors, it’s our job to propel energy forward, but it’s even better when our clients feed off of it and feed into it for each other. Something else that is important is FOCUS. There is a lot going on in the room. To give 100% you need to listen and pace yourself appropriately to get the best of your workout. You have to listen to what you are doing and where you are going next so you’re able to pace yourself appropriately and set yourself up for maximum success.

Your classes offer a variety of focus points (Arms, Legs, Chest, Abs.) Why not full body all the time? What is the benefit of having specific classes?

Barry’s schedule is planned on a macro level across the week to avoid overtraining and overuse.  One day you’re working your arms and abs, the next it’s butt and legs, and the day after chest, back and so on. Traditional splits allow for gains without injury.

 

When you take classes at Barry’s, you want to see results. How long does this take? What other steps need to be taken to see the results you want (tight booty, slim hips/legs, toned muscle, etc.)

Every BODY is different. After your first class, you feel different—emotionally and spiritually. After a couple of weeks you will see results kick in. You have to keep pushing a little more speed and a little more weight each time to see the results. Also, when it comes to your diet, it’s just as important to consider when you eat as it is to consider what you eat. Our Fuel Bar, for example, has a full menu of shakes with protein and carbs to help you recover and help your muscles rebuild and repair.

 

It takes TIME to change your body especially when you are just starting your fitness journey. At Barry’s, you will see results but what is most important is to have fun.

 

[End]

 

I always enjoy learning about experts on a more personal level too: How they got to where they are today, words they live by, and more. See below for a few more questions I asked Kate and how fitness is a part of her everyday lifestyle.

For someone who is just starting to get back on the fitness/workout grind, what advice do you have for them?

Don’t get frustrated with yourself—ask questions and enjoy the process. I have my own blog, The Four Percent that helps explain why I prescribe workouts I execute because knowing why you are doing something as opposed to going through the motions helps you to continuously evaluate what you need to get to where you want to be.

During your class, you say some very encouraging words to get your class through the workout. What saying/ quote to you live by when it comes to fitness?

Meeting the moment. When you are listening to a pump up song or signing up for class—you are looking for that push to better yourself. When the time comes, we back down because we are afraid we don’t think we can do it. That’s a shame. This weight (or) run is what you came here for. Don’t back down, meet it, take it head on and when you leave you’ll feel like you did what you came to do. It helps build confidence to help you achieve other things even outside the room.

How do you define fitness?

I define fitness as a prioritizing moment. Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be crazy or creative. You don’t even need to be crazy active. Just take care of your body. If you don’t take care of your body- your body won’t be conditioned to take care of you. You need quality of life and you have to take care of yourself to do it.

How did you make fitness a part of your daily lifestyle?

I was a competitive swimmer for nearly 15 years, and being active was ingrained into my lifestyle from a very early age. For those who struggle with motivation I would encourage a little tough love. All day every day we do things that we don’t necessarily want to do (think go to work, take out the trash, clean our house, etc) but we do it because we have to. Working out and taking care of your body is no different.

Aside from Barry’s Bootcamp style workouts, what are your top 3 favorite workouts? (Cardio, Yoga, Pilates?)

You need a well-rounded training routine. I recommend mix of HIIT, strength training and mobility/recovery. Barry’s, cycling, pilates, I love it all.

Favorite snack? Guilty pleasure?

I have a raging sweet tooth. I love HALO top ice cream or nut butter based snacks. I must have dessert every night whether it’s fruit, or a protein pancake with almond butter to close out the night. I do it every night and I do it for myself.

What do you think the next trend is in the fitness world? (Food? Style? A specific workout?)

I think there will continue to be a greater emphasis on community and connection. People as humans crave the touch points- a connection to the trainer, instructor, and just connecting socially with the trainers.

The Perfect Brunch in Chicago

Brunch in Chicago is more than just your average pancake house. In Chicago, it’s an activity or a full blown experience. 3 Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware is hands down one of the most classy, delicious, and all around beautiful brunch experiences in the city. You might know Restoration Hardware as an upscale furniture store but here, it is more.

Deeply embedded within the historical streets of Gold Coast, lies a once upon a time all women’s boarding house, with room after room, and a grand atrium in the middle. Now you can walk around this magical space with a glass of rose looking at different interior design decorations while you wait to be seated for brunch. (I recommend getting their early or the wait will be long!) They have a great menu with everything from a delicious scramble (pictured below) or an elevated grilled cheese and burger. So far, I have tried a number of items on the menu and have yet to be disappointed. The service is great and a special thank you to the RH staff for always ensuring a lovely time at 3 Arts Club Cafe.

If you are visiting Chicago, dining here is a must. It has quickly become one of the top things to do in Chicago and even when I live here, this charming experience never gets old. Looking for a cute date spot to get out of the house? Gentleman, you score major brownie points going here.

The Food.
Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago

 

The Outfit.
Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago

Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago
Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe Chicago

Sweater: Club Monaco // Jeans: Topshop at Nordstrom // Boots: Steve Madden // Purse: Steve Madden (similar here and here!)

The Outfit Essentials

Outfit

Shades: Chanel

Questions on a few of my other favorite Chicago go-tos? Comment below and I’d love to share.

 

XO.

Lex

Valentine’s Day Outfit

 

 

Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress Anthropologie Dress

Dress: Anthropologie (Another favorite here and here!) // Jacket: Helmut Lang (similar here and here!)// Purse: DSW // Heels: Vince Camuto

There is no shame in wearing red or pink for Valentine’s Day. I loved pairing this corset style strapless dress from Anthropologie with a black leather jacket and a pointed heel to give it a little edge. After you get ready for your date, what else does a girl need other than flowers? Bill has been sweet enough to surprise me with flowers for Valentine’s Day from my favorite flower company, Flowers for Dreams. Not only are they my favorite because of their artisan appeal, but Flowers For Dreams donates 25% of their proceeds to a local Chicago charity each month. I encourage you to send a lovely bouquet from their Valentine’s Day collection to someone special – mom, grammy, best friends, or your significant other. Flowers For Dreams cares about the greater good, and their customer service is a ten. A special thank you to Flowers For Dreams for making me feel so special!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Let’s be twins and wear a bright color, despite it being a cold winter! A few of my favorite Valentine’s Day outfits are linked below.

The Outfit

The LBD with a black heel.

To feel fancy in red with a strappy black heel.

Comfy Cute in a grey or sand heel.

 

XO and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Lex

 

 

 

 

Fitness as a Lifestyle

Fitness

I was never one where going to the gym was a part of my daily routine. In high school I got my cardio in from musical theatre but when college came around, I think I used the gym about 10 times in the four years I attended DePaul.

I don’t know what hit me but I decided to make a lifestyle change and that was to workout and get in shape. Looking back,  I never thought I would be a runner.. but in the summer I live for running along the lakefront, blasting my favorite tunes, and getting a solid 4 mile run in.

Now I go to the gym 4-5 times a week, but it took me awhile to get to this point and I wanted to start off my first fitness post by giving some tips if you are looking to make exercise a daily part of your routine too.

 

  1. You CAN do it. If you want to get fit, you can do it and please don’t be nervous. Start out slow on the treadmill by walking around a 3.5 mph pace for a minute and a half, bump it up to 5mph and lightly jog for 30 seconds to a minute, and then back to 3.5mph (try this for around ten minutes). Do what is comfortable to start, and every day increase your speed just a little bit! Cardio is a great way to get into exercising.Fitness Side Plank
  2. You can work out at home. If you aren’t one for a gym, I recommend purchasing a yoga mat and 2 three pound weights from the ‘zon and start with some floor exercises. Try for a 1 minute plank, 30 Russian twists, 30 crunches, 30 mountain climbers, 30 bicycle sit ups , 30 arm presses with weights standing up X repeat this 3 times!
  3. Be patient. I worked out for almost a year and I was disappointed I didn’t see much of a difference in the way my body looked…or at least I thought I didn’t see change. I have a medium frame so to loose 5-10 pounds is hard! I try and eat healthy when possible and make healthy swaps when possible but my diet hasn’t changed too drastically. A few tips: try and stay away from carbs- if you can’t live without it, try sprouted or multi-grain bread, have fruits as your source of sugar, and don’t eat too late! More recently I have noticed a lot more muscle and a more toned appearance. I am happy to see changes in my body and it pushes me to keep going!Fitness
  4. Stretch every single day. Before a work out, after a workout, on days you are taking it easy, please do your body a favor and stretch. I have tried to get away with not stretching and I always regret it the next day. Touch your toes, lay flat on your back and keep one leg on the floor and lift your other leg (keeping it straight) and see how high it can go, do the pigeon pose on both sides… your body will thank you for anything you do! Also, roll out after a workout. Foam rollers are great but can sometimes hurt so I recommend to start with a soft one and roll out the knots behind your legs, by your booty, and all over- front and back. You can roll out before or after a workout (I prefer afterwards) and it really helps speed up the recovery process after you workout.Fitness Stretch
  5. Sign up for group fitness classes. There is bound to be a class you love and still pushes you to give 100%! From Soul Cycle to barre, Pilates (a reformer Pilates class is a must), cardio kickboxing, and more! Try something you normally would’t do and switch it up once in awhile! Your muscles will thank you. I have noticed my body takes well to intense cardio classes, and lucky for me my gyms always have a variety of classes to choose from!

If you are new to exercising and rather have structure, I would definitely recommend the Sweat with Kayla app (tried it and I loved it!) or the SworkIt app. Both have great visuals to show you how to do different workouts and they focus on cardio, strength, stretching, and more.

A few of my favorite workouts:

  • Bicycles (30)
  • Mountain Climbers (30)
  • Russian Twists (60)
  • Jump Squats (20)
  • Side Plank, dip and lift (one minute each side)

A few of my favorite stretches:

  • Pigeon
  • Runners Lung (each side)
  • Seated back twist

You know what they say? When the going gets tough, the TOUGH get going. I strongly believe everyone should take care of their body- your body deserves it! If you have any questions, please ask away. I love talking about fitness!

Fitness

Pants: Lorna Jane // Sports Bra: Lorna Jane (similar!) // Jacket: Zella @ Nordstrom Rack (simlar!)// Shoes: Asics

XO.

-Lex

Weekend Trip: Denver

Welcome to Denver

Happy New Year. I was reminiscing this morning about one of my weekend trips to Denver and how fun it was and how I have to start planning another quick weekend getaway. I found a round trip ticket to Denver for $80 flying United and American Airlines. No joke, it was round trip. I didn’t do anything special other than play around with Google Flights – highly recommend starting here first when looking to book a flight!

I had my lovely friend show me around Denver (thanks Taylor!) and we had a wonderful time. From checking out the kitten cafe (so many cuddles),  to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, the cutest little town of Boulder, the champagne bar Corridor 44 and more! Try taking a weekend trip to visit a friend or take a friend with you! Pack light, be open to everything, and have fun! 

 

Denver
Sweater: Free People // Jeans: Citizens of HumanityDenver
Denver
Shoes: Nike // Leggings: Lulu Lemon // Sweater: Lou & Grey // Hat: Nordstrom

Champagne in Denver
Denver
Top: The Loft // Jeans: The Loft // Shoes: Steve Madden // Coat: Burberry
Denver
Denver
Coat: Free People // Scarf: Burberry // Dress: Forever 21 // Shoes: Sam Edelman // Shades: Ray Ban

 

XO.

-Lex