Get a Summer Body with this Spin Session

It’s time. You know it. I know it.

Backless dresses and white pants have replaced snow pants and overworn hoodies.

So with the title to the summer time Chi that helps us get through winter, we need a workout that will help us focus on our goals as well.

I want to introduce you to the spin class, Flywheel Sports.

Yes, they turn off the lights.

Yes, I think you can get a t-shirt.

But no, you  don’t have to straddle your bike and dance, just ride it.

The Details:

I liked Flywheel Sports (Flywheel Old Town, 1653 North Wells Street). The interior looked like a sorority house. You can’t use your phone inside the gym. The instructor won’t let you. And you have to take off your shoes in exchange for fancy and comfortable Flywheel shoes. Flywheel also provides complimentary towels and lockers (no lock needed).

There are two different programs that you can take and they only vary by length, the 40-minute session, and the 60-minute session. Everyone has their own assigned bike.

I talked with a few girls and they liked it because of the number system. Flywheel Sports is exactly like a regular cycling class, except you get two numbers. And, they are on the Torq Board, if you choose to share them with the class or on your individual bike. After each session, your data is stored on your iPhone app or on the website so you can track your progress and set goals.

My First Time Experience at Flywheel Sports:

During my first session, I think the most difficult thing was getting my shoes to snap into the wheels. And then even worse, I couldn’t get out of the bike. I was literally strapped into this workout.

But the instructor was so nice and came over to everyone who was new to show us how to get out of the bicycle.

The best part is that you can try this whole experience for free. Your first class is on them and after that, you can decide if it’s for you.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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Nick’s Socks: Chicago Fashion Entrepreneur

Fashion is in the details. And that’s how fashion stylist and now Chicago entrepreneur felt when he started his own line of men’s luxury socks, Nick’s Socks.

Nick’s Socks started in Chicago in November 2015. But, the socks are made with Egyptian Cotton in Italy right behind the Spanish Steps in Rome. The CEO of Nick’s Socks,Nick Bruce chose Egyptian Cotton because “it is a lot thinner and more breathable,” one of the main differentiates Nick’s Socks brings to dress socks. As a bonus, their machine washable.

The CEO of Nick’s Socks,Nick Bruce chose Egyptian Cotton because “it is a lot thinner and more breathable,” one of the main differentiates Nick’s Socks brings to dress socks. As a bonus, their machine washable.

Nick’s Socks has become a luxury icon for men as mentioned in Modern Luxury Men’s Book 10 Year Anniversary, he presented his collection after a fall fashion preview from Nicholas Joseph, a men’s line of  custom clothing (ladies, you can get custom clothes here).

Buce has made his rounds to several fashion shows including one of the world’s most important platform for men’s clothing and accessory collections and for launching new projects in men’s fashion, Pitti Uomo.

 

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Nick’s Socks are modern luxury socks made from Egyptian Cotton. Photo: Nick’s Socks

I sat down with Bruce, fashion entrepreneur at a Chicago fashion event, Style Chicago’s FashionChicago, at Revel Fulton Market in the West Loop, where Nick’s Socks was one of 40 of Chicago’s top apparel, jewelry, and accessory designers.

We talked about breaking into the fashion industry in Chicago, finding high-quality fabric, and  of course being an entrepreneur.

Windy City Cosmo: What is the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur? 

Nick Bruce: Doing everything myself – all of the designs, all of the networking and at the same time I love it.

Windy City Cosmo: What is the one piece of advice you have for starting a clothing company?

Nick Bruce: Meet a lot of people.

Windy City Cosmo: Describe some of the design inspiration behind your socks.

Nick Bruce: I didn’t like how guys stripes have a bunch of stripes I make them gradual (like these).

Windy City Cosmo: How do you market to men? 

Nick Bruce: It’s interesting and unusual—60 percent of people who buy socks are women, and they buy for opposite sex.

Nick’s Socks luxury men’s socks are available online. 

Nick Bruce from Nick’s Socks and Amanda Elliott from Windy City Cosmo at Style Chicago in the West Loop of Chicago. Photo: Windy City Cosmo

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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There’s a New Fashion Designer in Chicago P.S. It’s You

I swear I don’t intend to wear dresses that are short.

I have grouped them in my closet as NSFW.

 

In fact, my favorite dress is this blue Banana Republic dress. The Banana Republic tends to have more conservative dresses, but I still have the same problem. If my legs aren’t overexposed, I feel that my chest is.

 

It’s not that I want to cover every inch of my body – I would just like to not flash the world every time I sit down on the CTA.

Dresses tend to be too short to function in.

It’s a tall girl problem and it’s a short girl problem. It’s a curvy girl’s moment and a skinny girl’s issue as well.

Dresses aren’t made to fit you off the rack. They’re meant to fit you well enough.

Why Doesn’t My Dress Fit?

A woman shared with me her frustration of finding clothes that fit her. She recalled going to her formals with her sorority.

“I hot glued myself into my dress,” Krista Goral said about the dresses she created in college for special occasions.

Goral went through traditional places like J. Crew to get her clothes and she asked tailors to create a better fit, but there wasn’t a simple answer to find clothes that fit her body.

 

Krista Goral, founder of MeasureMake. Photo: Amanda Elliott

 

So, like most entrepreneurs, she created one.

Goral  took one idea, one problem, and decided to quit her job in November and pursue her mission—to make dress shopping not only an enjoyable experience but also to create the perfect fit dress for your body. Her company is MeasureMake and it’s exclusively in Chicago.

“A lot of women have one thing that they don’t like, and every woman thinks it’s just her,” said Goral.

In a blog post on MeasureMake, Goral explains that one size doesn’t fit all for the very reason that “there are no standard sizes of people.”

She started with making dresses for herself and then she reached out to what she called “real clients, like people I don’t know,” Goral described, from Reddit and internet searches, where she found Windy City Cosmo.

I was at Paris Fashion Week when I received my invitation to be one of MeasureMake’s real clients.

The dressmaking process began and ended with a personal touch. We had a phone conversation after my trip, and she set up an appointment.

Design Your Dress:

Like every first time, I was nervous. My first and only time being measured was having a bra fitting. And this was a whole dress fitting.

How naked did I have to get for this?

And where was this happening?

I originally was going to to go to Goral’s apartment, but then she came to my apartment because it was more convenient for my schedule.

I opened the door for my personal fitting and there she was—Krista Goral—in a tunic green top and jeans holding her motorcycle helmet.

I told her that she was like Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. 

After a brief introduction. We were ready to get down to the main event.

I wore yoga pants and a t-shirt.

Getting Measured For a Custom Dress:

“So how do we do this?” I asked.

She had a notepad and measuring tape. She said I just had to stand up, and she would take my measurements.

I put my arms out, and she draped the measuring tape around me. I resisted the urge to suck in.

It was so fast and harmless that a windy day in Chicago feels more intrusive than getting measured.

After being measured was the fun part. She let me choose between two black fabrics and showed me pictures of how others looked in the dress.

“Can we do a split on the sides?” I asked.

And we took it from there—designing my dress—adding sleeves and discussing the length.

The Fabric to Make a Dress:

Though she had a mission, Goral didn’t have a background in design or fashion. So, she started her business with learning as much as she could. She spent months reading and studying about sewing and fabrics and design.

“The toughest part of designing clothes is finding fabrics,” Goral admitted.

And then, after she purchased the fabric, it was a process of making mistakes.

“You can only fix each seam once—maybe twice or then it ruins the fabric,” Goral said.

She started practicing dress making by designing and sewing dresses for herself.

“I went to a thrift store and bought used silk bed sheets,” Goral said, “They were never to sell, just practice.”

All of her fabric now comes from a mill based in New York. She’s proud that her dresses are 100% made in USA from USA materials.

Since she is making individual dresses, she also didn’t need a lot of fabric, just about 10 yards, which was one of the setbacks in finding a mill.

Currently, she has two fabrics to choose from. They are both black and can be turned into little black dresses—with or without sleeves. One of the fabrics is a stricter material, which is more suitable for a date night little black dress of a suit dress for a business meeting. The other dress fabric is a flowy material and is better suited for a sun dress and as I call them, teacher dresses.

The Fitting:

The turnaround from booking an appointment to receiving the dress was quick. Goral said it takes about half a day to complete one dress.

Usually, her dresses require one alteration.

When Goral came to my apartment again to show me the dress, she sat in my living room as she finished watching an episode of Friends.

I closed my walk-in closet door and slipped into the dress.

I had never worn something so fitted. I was nervous looking at every curve on my body in the mirror. I peaked my head out of my closet and said, “Are you ready?”

It was so exciting to see her reaction as I showed her how the dress looked.

I was conscientious of my hips, and we decided to take in the fabric a bit on the bottom and at the waist for a better fit.

Like everything at MeasureMake, Goral adds a personal touch. She never mailed me my dress. She always delivered it in person, even though I live a good 30-45 minute drive away from her.

When I saw the final dress at dinner with her and a friend, I immediately changed into it. Afterward, we had an impromptu photo session in the restaurant. Goral, my dressmaker, actually took all the photos below.

I wore it again to an after-work cocktail party for Kettle One at C Chicago. I paired the little black dress with a suit jacket and it actually looked like a full suit.

Design Your Own Fitted Little Black Dress:

MeasureMake has completed about 15-20 dresses.  Now that Goral has styled her family, her real clients, and Windy City Cosmo she’s ready for you to design your own fitted little black dress.

In just 20 minutes, you can be the next Chicago designer and most importantly, wear your own designs.

Book your free appointment with MeasureMake here to design your very own fitted little black dress.

Update February 2017: Since this Chicago startup has launched, you can now make your own custom dress in a variety of colors. MeasureMake dresses have been featured on The Steve Harvey Show with Bela Gandhi, Founder of Smart Dating Academy, and on other Chicago blogs, like LakeShoreLady.com. 

 

 

Featured Image Photo cCedit: Silvia Pellegrino via photopin (license)

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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Get a Natural Look for Work with Mineral Fusion Lipstick Butter  

This is a sponsored post.

First impressions matter and so do second and third.

I’m starting a new job, and I thought it was important to put together a few new hairstyles and natural makeup looks for the workplace.

I put together a natural makeup look using Mineral Fusion makeup. Mineral Fusion is an all natural skincare and makeup line.

Since my last makeup lesson, I learned that mascara is an essential part to a beauty regimen. It’s a simple step that changes your face completely.

No More Racoon Eyes:

I have smaller eyes. My mascara and eyeliner usually smudge and smear all over my face giving me the dreaded raccoon eyes look. I found that with Mineral Fusion waterproof mascara, my mascara doesn’t smudge. It stays on my eyelashes.
The waterproof mascara from Mineral Fusions provides a softer, natural look for a subtle change.

As a bonus, Mineral Fusion waterproof mascara enhances your natural beauty, while also nourishing your eyelashes with the Aragon Oil, Aloe, and Panthenon.


Mineral Fusion Waterproof Mascara for a natural long-lasting makeup look. Photo: Amanda Elliott

Natural Look from Natural Products:

Achieving a natural look that was also naturally and consciously handmade in the USA makes you feel good from the inside out.

There are so many chemicals in makeup and I love that Mineral Fusion cosmetics are cruelty-free, gluten-free, and that they use natural ingredients for sensitive skin. And they use energy efficient methods such as wind power and sustainable packaging to leave a smaller environmental impact.

All-Body Creme for Smooth Skin:

I think the first step to achieving a natural look is to protect your skin. And to do that, it starts by drinking water and by moisturizing.

I sampled two products from the skin care line, Trilipiderm a line inspired by Fann Corp in Chicago, where the CEO of Trilipiderm, Frank Fanning, started learning about cosmetics from his father.

It’s not greasy and doesn’t have a scent, which I love. And now after I shave my legs, I put a few drops on each section of my legs and rub it in. I seriously can’t stop touching my legs. This creme makes me want to wear more dresses and skirts.

It’s a little bit thicker when you apply it to the face, so it feels in between a sunscreen and a creme. I find that it works better on my legs and on my feet and hands when I am doing a mani/pedi.


Fragrance free, All-Body Moisture Retention Creme by Trilipiderm for soft skin. Photo: Amanda Elliott

Lipstick Butter and 3-in-1 Color Stick

Coming out of the winter month, it’s nice to add a little color to your skin. I used the 3-in-1 color stick on my eyes and my upper cheek to add a sun-kissed glow. To finish off the look, I add lipstick butter in the vine color. It’s a warm light red with orange undertones. I love lipstick, but the lipstick butter glides on my lips and has a gloss effect.


Mineral Fusion 3-in-1 Color Stick for a sun-kissed look. Photo: Amanda Elliott


Natural look by Mineral Fusion. Photo: Amanda Elliott

Beauty Isn’t Skin Deep:

Another one of my favorite aspects about this company is that Mineral Fusion partners with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. During last year’s Chicago mayoral election, domestic violence was one of the top concerns at the Chicago women’s forum.

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