6 Ways To (Maybe) Enjoy Your Daily Commute

I was the queen of commute complaining before I started working from home. Living in a city that likes to keep you guessing with its weather doesn’t help. But there were a few things I found to make life a lot easier. Here are my tips on how to make the struggle less real.

  1. Treat it as “me time.” If you’re driving alone, see it as a chance to blast whatever you want on the radio, or to laugh out loud at your favorite morning show. If you’re on the train or bus, plug in some headphones and jam out, listen to a podcast or even meditate. One thing I did every morning on my way in to work was check The Skimm for a quick news update. Most people keep to themselves on public transit, so it’s easy to not be disturbed. Try to think of it as a moment of calm, before you get to the office.
  2. Take advantage of free apps. One of my favorite things to do on my bus ride home, was to pop open Pinterest for meal planning inspo. I would take the time to plan out my dinners and lunches for the week, save my favorite recipes, and list out any needed grocery items. I would also update the My Fitness Pal app with my workouts, meals and water intake for the day. I’d also fill out my Notes section with my to-do’s for the day. pexels-photo-1.jpg
  3. Old school: read a book. Just call me Hermione – I love books. I actually found my train commute to be one of the best times that I had to get through a good chunk of my latest one. Pick up a mystery like Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, and I promise you’ll be so into it you’ll miss your stop…like I did, more than once! If you’re driving, pop in an audiobook for a break from music. I listened to Joel Osteen’s Everyday a Friday on repeat to keep my mood up during long drives.
  4. Prep the night before. The worst commuting days were the ones where I was caught unprepared. Rain without an umbrella, snow without boots. I always took a few minutes the night before to check the weather, set out my clothes and pack my bag. I’d also lay out separate walking shoes and office shoes. That way I wasn’t leaving the house without my weather essentials as I was rushing out the door. I also kept a spare outfit at work in case of a weather emergency, after once getting caught in a sudden downpour during a lunchtime walk. pexels-photo-322207.jpeg
  5. Make it social. If you’re not feeling #1 and like to chat it up during your commute, grab a fun buddy. Car rides are so much better and less stressful when you have someone to distract you from the slow pace and cranky drivers. Plus, it’s a great way to bond and get to know someone, equivalent to a mini daily road trip. Or find a friend that takes a similar bus or train route and see if they’re down to meet up and ride together. Not everyone is friendly at 7a.m., so make sure it’s a good fit before you commit.
  6. Fit in a workout. One way I would break up my bus commute was by finding a workout on my way. When I had the app ClassPass, I’d plan out workouts that were at gyms halfway between home and work. That way my commute would feel shorter than usual, and I’d cross exercise off my to-do list. If you’re feeling up for it, you can bike, walk or run your way to work. Now that’s what I call multi-tasking!pexels-photo.jpg

What do YOU do to make your commute a breeze? Share below! XO

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Top 5 Reasons to Take Barre

I’ve recently discovered a new workout that I am obsessing over…barre! It’s a mix of Pilates, yoga and some ballet-inspired moves, too. These body toning workouts are intense, but really fun and leave you with a slight glow. Here are my top 5 reasons for taking barre:

  1. Full body workout. The classes focus on targeting specific muscle groups throughout your whole body, leaving you worked out head to toe.

  2. All levels welcome and no experience is required. I was so nervous to take my first class – not necessary! The classes are totally customizable to your level of experience.

  3. Endurance. There’s a lot of holding certain positions, similar to a yoga class. Get ready to shake and feel your legs burn!

  4. Flexibility. Each class ends with a great stretch. Some stretches happen in between sets of workouts, helping you get that lean and long.

  5. It’s fun! The music is blasting, the teachers have great energy and you get to workout in a room full of motivating ladies.

My barre gear: Beyond Yoga leggings, Puma socks, Soybu tank.

One of my favorite studios in the city and the burbs is The Barre Code. My favorite classes to take are the original Barre Code class and the yoga-inspired Baryasa. My home studio is The Barre Code in Park Ridge!

This month, they’ve been hosting their annual Spring It On 21-day fitness challenge. They’ve amped it up this year with a number of national partnerships: WTRMLN WTR and Lukka Lux to name a few. Complete 18 classes in 21 days for the chance to win amazing local and national prizes!

They’re also sharing easy at-home workouts you can do anytime on their Facebook page. One example is their “Juice Up Jumps.” Just reach your arms as long as you can overhead and take two tiny hops and then one B I G tuck jump! Work to fatigue and repeat as many times as you’d like for an amazing core burn and cardio blast.

Image courtesy of The Barre Code Park Ridge

Follow along on social media by searching “#SpringItOn2016” for a behind the scenes look at all the in-studio fun, motivating affirmations and Spring It On-inspired fitness moves.

Have you tried barre yet? Are you taking the Challenge? Let me know in the comments below. XO

FTC disclosure: This post is written in partnership with The Barre Code studio in Park Ridge. All opinions are 100% my own.

DIY: 3 Halloween Babes

Because Halloween!

Read on for some easy looks to rock this weekend, straight from your (or a friend’s) closet.

Bohemian Queen

Think gypsy babe meets Coachella. Resurrect all of your summer festival gear for an easy, laid-back style. Bring your maxi skirts, breezy dresses, crop tops, feathers, flower crowns and scarves out of hiding. Keep your makeup natural & light. Top it off with some wavy locks and a dusting of bronzer for a faux glow.

Boho Queen

Queen Bee

No room for basics here. An upgrade to the typical school girl costume: go for Upper East Side princess, Blair Waldorf. Headbands & layering are a must. A nice blouse, necktie, tights & a flare skirt are the beginning. If you’re part of a power couple, build your own Chuck Bass with a Wolf of Wall Street-esque button down & suspenders ensemble. All set to rule the city streets!

Queen Bee

Boss Lady

It’s your world & they’re all just living in it. Keep them at attention with this ringleader outfit. Make it your own with a cherry red blazer, black leather shorts & a cute bow tie. Finish it off with some fierce jewelry and a black top hat. Go get ’em tiger!

Ringleader

Who’s got some fun DIY ideas for us all? Share below! XO.

bellyQ

BellyQ’s brunch caught me by surprise…traditional breakfast food, with an Asian-inspired twist. Trust me, the result is delicious! Bill Kim’s got some magic up his sleeves with these unique dishes. The delicious meal left me with a taste for more!

Fried Chicken chinese biscuits, pork sausage gravy.

Sweet, salty and a little spicy. Best of all worlds. I enjoyed mine with a glass of bubbly.

Big plus – the gravy is made with coconut milk!

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 Steak & Eggs wagyu tri-tip, smashed potatoes, eggs sunny side up.

Highly recommended – paired best with a big appetite! 

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Vietnamese Cinnamon Donuts huckleberry jam and vanilla soft serve.

Perfect portion for two & a must-try! Literally made my mouth water. 

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 With a fun, casual atmosphere – you can rock any spring looks you like at this brunch spot.

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Have you been to bellyQ yet? Share your favorites from the menu, below! XO

Prasino

Favorites from Brunch

Lobster stuffed avocado

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Florentine Crepes 

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Banana Bread French Toast 

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Sundays in Chicago are made for Brunch! Share your favorite brunch spots below. XO