Top 3 Outdoor Tourist Attractions in Chicago – What Will K Said

I’ve always subscribed to the belief that summer starts Memorial Day weekend, despite how “unofficially” that might be.  The workweek tends to get lighter, the weekends seem shorter, & you try to cram as much into the summer as much!  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to be outside as much possible, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite outdoor spaces in Chicago over the next few weeks!

This week I want to focus on some of my favorite “tourist” attractions, these are places that you’ll typically find on every “must see Chicago” list, but ones that I’d actually recommend for people.  If you can visit them during the week you’ll find much smaller crowds but they are still worth a visit if you’re only in town for the weekends.

The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of my favorite places to go any time of year, but summer is of course the best time to visit!  The biggest benefit of going to the zoo in the summer is that you’re going to see more of the animals, but the crowds do tend be overwhelming, so if you can squeeze in a weekday visit that’d be my recommendation.  There is some construction going on this summer so if you were dead set on seeing the Polar Bear you might want to reschedule your visit.

If your idea of a Summer afternoon involves more sand than animals you’ll love the Montrose Beach area!  It’s a bit farther north than the beaches near downtown, but that usually means less people & more beach for you!  There is also a ton of grassy area if you want play Frisbee, have a picnic, or bring you dog along for the fun.

The last spot I’d recommend for tourists to visit is lakefront between the Navy Pier & Museum Campus – you’ll note that I didn’t say Navy Pier.. please don’t waste a day out there.  The walk between the Pier & Museum Campus will have tons of photo opps for you to make your friends back home jealous, you’ll see the Buckingham Fountain, & can grab a sno-cone if it’s too warm.  Once you may it to either side you can either catch transit to head to your next destination.

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3 Recommendations for Patio Dining in Chicago – What Will K Said

I’ve always subscribed to the belief that summer starts Memorial Day weekend, despite how “unofficially” that might be.  The workweek tends to get lighter, the weekends seem shorter, & you try to cram as much into the summer as much!  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to be outside as much possible, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite outdoor spaces in Chicago over the next few weeks!

In my opinion the best thing about summer is eating/drinking outside,  we’ll walk up and down Madison Avenue looking for an outdoor table instead of going to one of our favorite places just to sit outside!  It’s actually kind of amazing how many places have outdoor spaces considering that we can use them for such a short amount of time, but I’m not complaining.  A few of my favorites are; Nellcote, Mon Ami Gabi, & Crossroads.

Nellcote tops my list because the food is amazing! I’ll eat here inside, outside, heck in the corner if necessary.  The outdoor space can hold close to 20 tables & is direct sun light for brunch – but has a lot of shade for dinner service.  The thing that makes this space stand out is the fact that they have a flour mill in the building, so their pastas, breads, & pizzas are extra tasty!

I love the patio at Mon Ami Gabi because it feels like you’re dining in a secret garden miles away from Chicago!  The location makes it a great choice for either pre-zoo Brunch or a romantic dinner to close out a day of exploration.  If youv’e ever been to Vegas you’ll know that Mon Ami Gabi is located directly across from the Bellagio fountains & while this location doesn’t quite have that good of a view it’s still one of my favorite spots.

My last recommendation might seem out of line with the others, it’s just a neighborhood sports bar, Crossroads… but that’s why its on the list!  This patio is where I actually spend the most time in the summer because it’s close to my house, has quick service, & Cheese Curds.  Yep, I’m including this place because of the fact that they have fried cheese, I can’t help it.. it’s so good!  If you are going to a show at the United Center is would be a great place to grab dinner & the free shuttle to the show/game/ice-capedes.

The Unofficial start of Summer 2016 & Instagram Feature of the Month

It’s (un)officially summer! Technically speaking summer doesn’t start for about a month, but most of us think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer season & in honor of that date I wanted to share this month’s Instagram feature as a warning of sorts.

#nofilter need to learn how to use sunscreen #stupid

A post shared by Will Kauff (@kauffw) on

The warning being that you should wear sunscreen!  I look back on moments like this and think how dumb I was not to take care of my skin.  I’m all for trying to have a nice summer color, but do it safely not by burning like I did.

In tradition here are 4 facts about this photo.

  1. This was taken the summer I was interning in Chicago at DePaul University.
  2. I spent the day outside at the Corona (I think) Beach Volleyball Tournament
  3. I had a horrible tan line for most of the summer from this day of sun.
  4. This was one of the few days I willingly sat outside in the sun long enough to get a burn, I typically get too hot for summer activities.

How are you celebrating the start of the summer?

Traveling to NYC? Visit these 3 Websites FIRST! – What Will K Said

Are you planning a trip to NYC?  I am actually headed there myself right now & wanted to share the 5 websites I ALWAYS visit before I head to the big apple.  These will help you in planning your trip, saving both time & money, & enjoying all that New York City has to offer!

The first thing I do is checkout shows, I am a HUGE theater fan & usually end up seeing at least two shows (no matter how long the trip).  So I visit Broadway.com or New York City Theater to find both Broadway and Off Broadway shows.  A few of my favorite shows over the years have been; Wicked, Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, & On the Town.

Once I’ve got my shows planned out it’s time to start looking at what else is going on in the city.  I usually go to Time Out for this.  You’ll find lists of recommendations for things like museum’s, events, etc.  One of the features I like best is the “What to do in NYC.. Today, Tomorrow, This Weekend”

Now that we’ve planned a show, figured out some of the things we want to do it’s time to figure out where we are eating.  I go to Eater for this.  You’ll find tons of articles about the food scene in NYC from this, but the best resource is the Eater 38 or the Eater Heatmap.  These list the best/hottest places in the city.  Once you have a few places in mind head over to OpenTable and start making reservations!

Congratulations, you’ve just filled a weekend in New York with only a few clicks.  There are many places you can get information & sure you could just fly into the city and wing it….. but think of all the things you might miss!   Some of the benefits of planning ahead are that you can have reservations at the hottest spots, plan out your commute, & spend more time enjoying your time in NYC instead of searching for ideas while you are there!

I hope you found this helpful!  Do you have any favorites that I should checkout over the weekend?

 

 

 

 

 

Every morning should be a DayBreaker – What Will K Said

Picture it; 6:30am & the dance floor is crowded, the music is great, everyone is smilling, and they just woke up!  This morning I participated in my first DayBreaker & it was such an amazing experience that I feel like this needs to be shared!

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No Beer Goggles needed.. we all looked good!

 

If you’ve never heard of DayBreaker it’s basically an early morning “night” at the club minus the drinks & significantly more fun!  The concept was first launched in NYC (like most great things) & has been in Chicago for about a year now but I just finally talked some friends into waking up early enough for us to go!  I love this concept & the values that drive the collective behind the movement as well!

  • Mindfulness
  • Wellness
  • Mischief
  • Self Expression
  • Camaraderie

If you think to yourself that 6:30 is just too early to be dancing & you’ll be too tired.. I promise you wont!  The energy in the room this morning was about 50x stronger than the best coffee I’ve ever had!

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My early morning crew!

Checkout this link for details on all of the events & how to get tickets!  I hope to see you at a future 6:30am!

High Intensity Workouts in Chicago – What Will K Said

If you are looking for a way to burn maximum calories in a short amount of time you’ve probably found your way to a HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training class. This style of class pairs weight or resistance based workouts with cardio to give you the highest calorie burn in the shortest time frame.

I love these classes because (in most cases) it forces me to use the treadmill, which I don’t do otherwise and the instructors make sure I’m practicing good form while doing the weight portion of the class.  I also like that I can squeeze maximum calorie burn into my workouts, I don’t have ton of time… so this makes it easy to get the most out my hour.

There are lots of options for HIIT classes in Chicago & thanks to Classpass I’ve gotten a chance to try out a lot of them! If you are interested in learning more about or signing up for ClassPass be sure to visit their website to learn more. If you use my link we’ll both get $20 dollars, me off next month & you off the first month.

Studio Three -River North
If you are looking for a fitness studio with lots of options this is a great one, throughout the day you’ll find a mix of HIIT classes that incorporate tread, rower, and free weights. The studio itself is a nice space with all the equipment you’ll need including the Water Rowers & Woodway treadmills. These instructors know how to get your heart rate up and push you to give your best.

Sweat Chicago – Clark and Division
This is my favorite place to go for a HIIT class because the instructors do the best job of motivating and correcting form, I never have to wonder if I’m doing something correctly because they have my back. The classes change their focus each day but my favorite is Tabata Tuesday. You’ll find yourself on a rower, hitting the treadmill, using dumbbells, performing kettlebell swings, & much more over the course of your workout. The space itself is great & the trainers are incredibly welcoming!

Shred 415 – Various Locations
I believe this was one of the gyms that really helped to push the popularity of HIIT style classes to where it is today, & they continue to be a great option. The class splits four 15 minute sections between the tread and floor, while on the tread you’ll be using a mixture of high speed and high incline work. I haven’t spent a ton of time at one specific location so I can’t say too much about the trainers, but overall they seem knowledgeable and outgoing.

Sproing – Old Town
This is the most different of the HIIT style workouts in that they use their own Sproing machine in place of Treads or Rowers for Cardio.  What the heck is a Sproing machine you ask?  Well it’s kind of like a treadmill… but completely different, it allows you to run in a more natural stance thanks to some straps that hold you up & a bouncy base that you run on.  You’ll also be doing weights, squats, jumps, etc in a tabata style workout to keep you heart rate up.

  • How do you add weights to your cardio or cardio to your weight based training?
  • Are you interested in any of these workouts?

Fashion Friday – Essential Antwerp – What Will K Said

Last week I shared a brand that was new to me, and this week we’ve got another one! Essential Antwerp, interesting name, seems to have a great understanding of color combinations, it’s what drew me into the brand.

I like that their SS16 Lookbook was shot on location instead of in a studio, it makes the clothing look more wearable.  The location reminds me of my time in Denver this past fall, the nature out there is amazing!

I picked a few of my favorite looks below, but you can find the full Lookbook for the Spring & Summer 2016 collection over on Fashion Beans, the best resource for men’s fashion in my opinion.

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A green blazer is awesome on its own, but add in shorts with a fun print and I’m sold.
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The color combination of this outfit is absolutely one that I’d wear.
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I really like the color of the top, it provides some visual appeal.

Checkout the full Lookbook at this link – http://www.fashionbeans.com/2016/essentiel-antwerp-ss-2016-mens-lookbook/