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A Chicago Man and Woman's Take on Dating Apps
Dating, Life,

A Chicago Man and Woman’s Take on Dating Apps

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Mallory Lepage and Rob Johnson share a Chicago man and woman’s take on dating apps.

Mallory Lepage – A Woman’s Take on Dating Apps

Dating digitally has made it somewhat ‘easier’ to ‘meet’ people. Now, we have the luxury of dating from the comfort of our living rooms without the perfect date outfit, makeup or liquid courage. Certainly, Tinder pave the way however now we have so many options to choose from like Hinge, Bumble and Happn. Now, the question then arises of which app to use and how to use it.

Swiping and matching: Quality vs. Quantity

Swiping left or right based purely on appearance is extremely shallow but is sadly the reality of the majority of these apps. Women by nature take longer analyze a potential suitor which in turn, yields less matches. Both sexes should take this into consideration when building their profile. Choose honest and recent photos that display different sides of your personality. Keep your description concise and interesting enough to be intriguing but write a description as it will give the person on the other side an opportunity to learn something small but exciting about you. Based on how serious you are about meeting someone try to be open. The ultimate goal is to meet people outside of your circle but also remember to be cautious for the match who just wants an immediate hookup.

The First Impression

Traditionally, the men courts the woman. I’m more traditional when it comes to dating so I typically allow the man to reach out first. Sure there are occasions that I reach out the man first but that usually backfires in my face so I’ve stuck to the same behavior as I do when I meet someone organically at a bar – let the man lead the way but once the conversation has started you’re equally responsible for keeping it alive and asking compelling questions. Try to find common interests and be yourself, it’s easy to agree on topics but stay true to who you are or the first date with be a total disaster.

Get Offline Quickly

The duration for which you talk before you meet is a delicate matter. Talking for too long before you meet is a slippery slope but meeting too soon can be legitimately dangerous especially for a woman. There are several contacts in my phone book that come out of the woodwork from time to time whom I’m never met but may have talked to in these apps. Similar to shoes and hand bags, I categorize these men for different needs in my life:

— The guy that introduces himself asks you how you are and immediately asks to get drinks. Stop. While I appreciate your flattery and assertiveness, I need to verify that you aren’t a serial killer or stalker.

– The guy who is in from out of town and wants to get drinks that night. This is a hookup. There’s no exception to this rule, just a hookup.

– The guy that never makes concrete plans but continues to talk to you. He’ll come back around when your college team wins a game or its your birthday. Maybe a late night text but you’ll never actually meet him, and maybe you’re okay with that but cut him loose.

– The guy that actually is a gentlemen. He takes you out for a few dates but then like an urban legend, vanishes.

Dealing with rejection (or not)

Both scenarios will absolutely happen. You will be shocked, at times, with the gorgeous suitor that matches you on the other side. Sometimes you need that confidence booster to remind yourself that you are indeed a catch. Reversely, you will be let down. Matches will be brutal, whether that means removing your matched profile, vicious comments (it happens) or simply no response you have to keep in mind that you are brave for trying this and putting yourself out there. There is a match for every soul and you’re just trying to find yours, these people don’t know how wonderful you truly are so you cannot take offense to rejection but rather try to do the opposite. Find encouragement from all the matches that find you beautiful, intriguing or fun.

Rob Johnson – A Man’s Take on Dating Apps

Dating is hard. On one hand you have put yourself out into the (online) world to meet someone, there are options, but so few quality matches. Dating apps like Hinge, happn, Tinder and the like have brought the dating culture to your phone. If you want to be successful using these dating tools you must change your mindset about dating and how you go about meeting someone.

Lets first look at how dating apps are different for women. It’s not uncommon for a woman to match with every guy she swipes right to and of those men, a majority will say something inappropriate or inadequate (“Whats up”). I have had conversations with women who share their frustration with the endless amount of subpar men sculking in the online dating pool.

Swiping and Matching

Matching is a numbers game, but you want quality matches. Look for traits that you find attractive. For instance, I’m not much of a sports fan so I would not select women whose photo is from Wrigleyville wearing a Blackhawks jersey.

It is okay to be broad in your search at this point because you are just trying to get matches. You should not invest much emotional energy at this point because you likely won’t match most of the women you see.

First Impressions

Once you have matched with a woman, the best way to stand out is to start the conversation by saying something sincere and engaging. I usually start with:

Hello _______, it’s nice to “meet” you.

You then can follow up with a thought provoking question like:

What excites you? or What are you passionate about?

I have found that by asking a question, you are more likely to elicit a response. This shows that you have an interest in getting to know them. You’re not just commenting on her looks or making some generic joke.

By showing a genuine sense of interest, you will put yourself far ahead of anyone else.
This is because, most men try to project themselves onto their match: I think you’re good looking, I’m funny, I just want to hook up.

I also like asking a question because you get a chance to learn something about her. I once asked three women the same question: “what are you passion about”. Here were their responses:
“lol, i don’t know. i cut hair” – Jaine (pseudonyms)

“I’m really passion about women’s rights and addressing issues within the black community. I work with a youth group now that helps young girls.” -Selena

“as seen on tv infomercials and exotic bird watching.” -Brittany

Each response is telling. It is evident that Selena is a passionate and motivated women. Brittany probably is sarcastic AF and Jaine probably isn’t worth my time.

Get Offline Quickly

I try to spend as little time as possible messaging within a dating app. You are trying to meet someone, not have a pen pal. The longer you stay on an app, the more likely one of you will stop talking or loss interest. Usually, you can tell within the first three messages if there is a high enough level of interest to continue the conversation and meet.
Ask her out on a date or for her cell phone number. If you ask her out on a date, and she says yes, set an exact time and place. Setting an exact time and place for the date shows that you are committed to get to know her and want to continue to get to know her.

You will not really get to know a woman until you meet and can continue to develop your relationship without the use of dating apps.

Dealing with Rejection

It is easy to get burned out. There will be times where someone will just drop off the face of the earth for no reason. This is a symptom of our dating culture. Men and women are faced with so many internal and external distractions that often dating or talking to a stranger is not appealing.
It should not be taken personally.

Conclusion

Dating does not have to be as hard as we make it. If you take one thing away from this article it should be that your dating life should not live online. Using dating apps as a tool to find potential matches, but once you have found a women who you like and is interested in you, meet in person, share each other’s company and ultimately have fun.

 

It’s interesting to see what’s different and the same between men and women. What have your experiences been with online dating in Chicago? Sound off in the comments!

2015 RESTAURANT GIFT CARD DEALS
Life, Shopping,

2015 Restaurant Gift Card Deals

Besides being with my family or eating to an excess, one of my favorite parts of the holiday season are the amazing discounts.

One of the best deals besides steep discounts on electronics for Black Friday are restaurant gift card bonuses. Basically, many popular local and national restaurant chains offer a bonus when you buy a certain amount of gift card credits.

Popular denominations include a $5 bonus when you spend $25, or a $25 bonus when you spend $100.

These deals are great for a few reasons:

  • If you buy a gift card for a friend or family member, you can save the bonus for your own dining purposes
  • If you buy a gift card bonus deal for yourself – you can cash in on savings any time during the year

If there’s a restaurant you love offering one of these deals – stock up. Think about how many times you visited that place in the past year and plan accordingly. Just don’t force yourself to spend them right away because they’re burning a hole in your pocket. There’s no reason that smart shopping can’t benefit you year-round.

A word of caution – some restaurants give you the extra money on a gift card, some give you a “bonus” card that has an expiration date. Plan accordingly!

I like buying Lettuce Entertain You gift cards and Einstein Bagels, because I frequent LEYE restaurants and bagel places. Think about the places you go to regularly – they might have a deal like this!

Here are some of the best 2015 Restaurant Gift Card Deals… I’ll be adding more as I become aware, so check back!

2015 Restaurant Gift Card Deals

Applebees offers a bonus card worth between $5-25 when you buy $50 in gift cards.

Einstein Bros. Bagel offers a $5 bonus when you buy $25 in gift cards.

Flemings offers a $20 bonus when you buy $100 in gift cards.

Lettuce Entertain You offers a $25 bonus when you buy $100 in gift cards.

Morton’s the Steakhouse offers a $50 bonus when you buy $250 in gift cards.

Noodles & Company offers a $5 bonus when you buy $25 in gift cards.

Outback Steakhouse offers a $20 bonus when you buy $100 in gift cards.

PF Chang’s offers a $20 bonus when you buy $100 in gift cards.

Red Lobster offers a $10 off coupon (or free appetizer) when you buy $50 in gift cards.

Red Robin offers a $5 bonus when you buy $25 in gift cards.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse offers 10% back in promotional cards for every $250+ you spend in gift cards.

White Castle offers a $5 bonus when you buy $25 in gift cards.

Are there any 2015 restaurant gift card deals that I missed? Share in the comments and I’ll add them to this list!

CHEAP HALLOWEEN COSTUMES DON’T HAVE TO SUCK
Life, Shopping,

Cheap Halloween Costumes Don’t Have to Suck

Every year, about two weeks before Halloween, I start to panic. Although I was practically a Halloween baby (October 29 if you want to make sure to write ‘HBD” on my Facebook wall), the best holiday of the year seems to always slip my mind. I also tend to struggle until the last possible minute to come up with a costume that is both witty and flattering.

Regardless, in the end it always works out. As of this writing, I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to be.

If you’re just like me, here’s a guide to finding cheap halloween costumes that don’t suck.

Cheap Halloween Costumes

  1. Pick a costume that can be easily assembled from thrift store finds
    cheap halloween costumes
    Whether you have a costume in mind or not is practically irrelevant, because you’re sure to find some excellent costume possibilities at a thrift store or Goodwill. For super-specific costume parts, add on to your thrift finds by going to a Halloween store.To give you an example, last year my boyfriend and I did Fight Club Halloween costumes. He was Tyler Durden and I was Marla Singer. His costume basically required a crazy shirt, aviators, and leather jacket – most pieces of which he already had. Mine was a crazy curly black wig and black dress. Pretty simple! And the costumes really came together.
  2. Make a costume out of accessories or makeup
    cheap halloween costumes
    Do you have animal ears? Maybe a tail? Boom, you have a costume.Some costumes can be put together almost entirely from how your face is made up. Or in the case of being a zombie, it’s also about the makeup wounds you create. Either way, you can use clothing you already have and just go heavy on the makeup.
    You may want to buy some clothes that support the costume better than jeans and a tshirt, but you don’t have to go crazy to make this work. Which leads me to my next idea for cheap halloween costumes…
  3. Buy clothing you can re-wear
    cheap halloween costumes
    One year, I decided I wanted to be a devil. So using a combination of the idea of using accessories to make a costume, plus the idea of buying clothing you can re-wear, I created a cheap and resuable halloween costume. To complete the look, I bought a hot red dress from Express that’s gotten plenty of use since and doesn’t look out of place!Whether you’re buying clothes you can re-wear for a costume, or are looking for specific basic pieces, Target and Walmart tend to be best bets for basics like plain colored tshirts and pants. I also like Express and Forever 21 for nicer pieces that you’ll re-wear.
  4. Use Mean Girls as inspiration
    As Caty so rightly stated in Mean Girls, “Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.” I’m all about empowering women, but if you just want to let loose, to hell with the haters.One option for cheap Halloween costumes that will make you look hot on Halloween is Adore Me. Adore Me has sexy Halloween costumes for $20! It’s getting late in the game to order them, but is worth considering for the future!
  5. For next year – Buy your Halloween costume the day after Halloween
    One of my best friends used to work at Party City and I happened to visit her one year right after Halloween. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Costumes that were retailing for $40+ before Halloween were well under $10 as soon as the holiday was over. I picked up my costume for next year, saved it, and didn’t have to give Halloween a further thought afterwards.Besides stores like Party City, check out seasonal Halloween stores that pop up for a few months and need to liquidate their remaining merchandise after the Halloween season is over.

Here are just a few ideas for keeping costs down when it’s time for Halloween.

What are some good tips I missed? Are you doing anything thrifty for Halloween this year? Share in the comments!

SPEND YOUR BIRTHDAY COLLECTING FREE STUFF
Events, Life,

Spend Your Birthday Collecting Free Stuff

Birthday Freebies

Source: Flickr

October is my birth month (10/29 if you want to put it on your calendar). Although it is no longer as fun to get older, it is fun to spend the day collecting freebies from various local businesses. So for my birthday, I’m giving you a gift – a list of free stuff you can get on your birthday!

*Keep in mind that most, if not all, of these freebies require signing up for the company’s email newsletters.

Breakfast

  • Sign up for Starbucks’ rewards program to receive a free drink of your choice on your birthday
  • Denny’s offers a free grand slam breakfast on your birthday
  • IHOP offers a free meal when you sign up, on your birthday and on the anniversary of joining their rewards program
  • Jamba Juice offers a free small smoothie or juice on your birthday
  • Einstein Bagels offers a free breakfast sandwich with purchase of a drink
  • Dunkin Donuts offers a free medium beverage

Lunch

  • Noodles & Company offers a free noodle bowl that you can use ANYTIME during the month of your birth. Save this one for a day that’s not your birthday!
  • Red Robin offers a free burger on your birthday
  • Steak n’ Shake offers a free double cheeseburger with cheese fries on your birthday
  • Buffalo Wild Wings offers a free order of snack size traditional or boneless wings

Dinner

  • Pizzeria Uno offers a free meal on your birthday
  • Devon Seafood offers a free entree (up to $25) on your birthday
  • Maggiano’s offers $10 off on your birthday (which could probably be combined with Lettuce Entertain You’s $15 off)
  • Flat Top Grill offers a free entree on your birthday
  • Hooters offers 10 free wings on your birthday

Dessert

Most restaurants in Chicago will give you a free dessert on your birthday if you just mention that it’s your birthday. But if you want to skip the expense of dining with them, here are some standalone places to get a delicious dessert.

  • Portillos offers a free slice of their magic birthday cake if you sign up for their email updates
  • Join Coldstone Creamery’s rewards program for a coupon for free ice cream on your birthday
  • Baskin Robins offers a free ice cream cone on your birthday
  • Dairy Queen offers a free ice cream treat on your birthday
  • Potbelly offers a free cookie on your birthday
  • The Melting Pot offers free chocolate fondue for two on your birthday

Snacks

  • Au Bon Pain gives you a free bakery treat and coffee on your birthday
  • Corner Bakery offers a free bakery treat on your birthday
  • PF Chang’s offers a free dessert or appetizer on your birthday
  • As does Olive Garden
  • Panera offers a free bakery treat on your birthday

Misc

  • Lettuce Entertain You’s reward program credits your account $15 to use however/whenever on the month of your birth!
  • Victoria’s Secret sends you $10 off to be used during the month of your birth
  • Anthropologie will send you a 15% off coupon
  • Goodwill will send you a 25% off coupon
  • Kiehl’s offers a free tube of lip balm

Enjoy your birthday, and make a day of being spoiled by freebies!

Is there a great birthday freebie that I failed to add to the list? Let me know in the comments so I can add it and make more people’s birthdays awesome!

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Dating, Life,

How to Make Love Last

Through thick and thin.

I always thought this was a great analogy to describe the type of love you feel towards a partner or spouse and what you are willing to do for that person. Love is wholeheartedly giving yourself to someone with the hope that they will do the same.

If you think about why relationships do not work out, they ultimately boil down to four principles: trust, respect, loyalty and freedom. At the core of any happy relationship, these principles are the cornerstones.

Trust
Trust is by no means easy to build, but fundamental to the security and health of any relationship. Think about how many times you have worried about: who your significant other was hangout out with, what he or she was doing or if they were honest about where they were. These sort of thoughts can erode your spirits and question your feelings towards the relationship.

It is not easy to trust someone and should not be given blindly. When your partner has shown that they respect you and can be loyal, you can give trust in return, the love will build on itself.

Respect
I’ve found that the best way to avoid misunderstandings in a relationship is to be respectful towards your partner’s thoughts, feelings and needs. (To clarify, by misunderstandings, I mean fights, resentment and anger towards your partner). If you can make an effort to understand why your partner feels hurt, you will grow closer together.

Communication is key, be open about how you feel and willing to listen.

Loyalty
Loyalty is about us, not you or me. Hold your partner in as high of light (or higher) as yourself. A strong couple is like a team; they work together and are considerate of the other person’s feeling. Understand that your actions affect everyone in the group.

Freedom
Love is about letting the other person be free. While you are loyal to one another, you are also individuals with your personal needs and goals. Be respectful of the time your partner may need to themselves and be comfortable with your own time. When you can build loyalty and trust, it is easier to enjoy each other when you are together or apart.

BARKBOX: A SUBSCRIPTION BOX REVIEW
Pets, Reviews, Subscription Boxes,

Barkbox: A Subscription Box Review

This post is part of a series reviewing different subscription boxes.

I first tried BarkBox over a year ago, when I first got my own dog. I was so excited, because I’d been waiting since I started college to get him – my parents’ graduation present to me. I wanted to welcome my furry child Leo to our home by spoiling him with treats and toys, and BarkBox seemed like a great way to do that.

Fast forward to today – one of my favorite old coworkers from Groupon now works for BarkBox. He’s the perfect fit for the job – he loves dogs and recently got a Shiba Inu that he loves to death (and now gets to bring to work!). He hooked me up with a free box so that I could share with you what a typical BarkBox looks like. If you’re wondering what to expect, this should help to answer your questions.

BarkBox Subscription Box Review

Here’s what was in the BarkBox I got:

Benny’s Bully’s Beef Liver and Banana (Treats) – $8 value

These are good treats to have on hand that pack a nutritious punch. I usually shy away from treats with ingredients like beef liver (I have weird food aversions even if I’m not the one eating it!), but obviously dogs don’t have any problem with those tastes.

Nature’s Bits Salmon with Strawberries and Sweet Potatoes (Treats) – $8 value

If you like supporting local farmers and businesses, then you’ll feel really good about giving your dog these treats (and reordering them if your dog falls in love). The ingredients are 100% sourced locally!

Swag Co. Parrot (Toy) – $9 value

Leo is not as excited by toys as he was when I first got him, but he loves toys with a squeaker. He also loves to get new things about as much as me, so this went over well when I first gave it to him.

Safemade Pet Pineapple (Toy) – $10 value

Same notes as the previous toy, but this one was designed to be more safe for dogs. What I like about it is that it’s flat and easy to store.

BarkBox Subscription Box Review

Aussie Naturals Salmon Half Cigar (Treat) – $5 value

This was a larger treat for a small dog. Before ordering a BarkBox, the system prompts you as to what size dog you’re buying it for (based on weight). Although this treat was physically large compared to Leo, he enjoyed the hell out of it. It was cute to watch him consume it, and it was gone in minutes. Definitely a special treat I’d get for him again. The only downside – it’s crumbly. Hopefully your dog is good at cleaning up scraps!

Total value: $40

Depending on what plan you get, BarkBox subscriptions range from $19 to $29 per month. Obviously, the more months you buy upfront, the better discount you get overall. BarkBox does lot of promotions for first timers (at least one month free or free premium toy upgrade each month), so sign up for their emails to start receiving the offers. Besides promotional, the emails always have fun pictures and stories for dog lovers, which I enjoy.

Overall, I love BarkBox. There hasn’t been one I disliked. Leo usually loves the toys and demolishes the snacks. Sometimes you’ll find handy extras you wouldn’t think to get – one I got awhile back had a medical wound spray that could really come in handy. I guess if I had to critique anything, it would be the number of snacks. Leo is a small dog and I like to give him treats, but I don’t want to overfeed or completely spoil him. There are just so many that by the time you get next month’s box, you’ve maybe given your dog half of them (or less). That’s actually the reason why I originally cancelled my Barkbox subscription – I was overstocked on treats!

My suggestion would be to start with a 1 or 3 month box and see what you think. If your dog powers through snacks and toys, consider a 6 month or one year box. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Barkbox yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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Beauty, Reviews, Subscription Boxes,

Target Beauty Box: A Subscription Box Review

Target Beauty Box Subscription Box

You can find a subscription box for almost anything – pets, alcohol, kids, food… and beauty. Subscription boxes have become my favorite way to discover new products. They also offer an incredible value – at least the reputable ones do. For a low monthly recurring payment, you get products curated by experts for less than they would cost separately. As the nature of this blog is finding deals on a budget, I’m starting a series for reviewing subscription boxes.

The Target Beauty Box is one of my favorite “subscription” boxes. It comes out periodically (once every few months) and can’t be bought on a subscription, but is worth keeping track of.

Target Beauty Box Subscription Box

The Target Beauty Box I’m reviewing contained the following items:

CoverGirl Super Sizer Mascara by Lashblast ($6 Value, thanks to My Subscription Addiction for values)

I love that Target Beauty Boxes almost always include a full-size mascara sample, because mascara gets gross after no more than a few months. The brands they include are always top drugstore mascara brands, and this box is no exception.

Fekkai Pre-Soleil Hair Mist ($6.80)

I actually got this same sample in a previous Target Beauty Box. It’s a nice addition to your hair care regiment for the summer, because it protects your hair for the sun. It’s light and smells fresh.

Hair Food Moisturizing Mask ($12 Value)

I’m a big fan of hair moisturizing and deep conditioning treatments. My hair needs them at least once a week, and the results are more than worth the extra time in the shower. So I was really excited that this full-sized product was included in this Target Beauty Box!

Olay Active Botanicals Moisturizing Toner ($1.80 Value)

I don’t usually use many beauty products, and toner is not something that’s been a part of my routine, to date. I’m excited to try this product and see if it makes a difference!

Olay Active Botanicals Day Lotion ($3.60 Value)

This facial lotion is so light and fresh… I honestly think I may have found my new preferred face lotion!

Crest 3D Whitestrips 1hr Express ($11.25 Value)

I’ve used Crest Whitestrips in the past and they’re annoying to wear, but they really do look. I’ve been drinking a lot more tea lately, so I was glad to get this sample!

Total Value: $41.45 (with an added value of $3 off coupon for Target Beauty purchases)

What I love about Target Beauty Boxes is that they contain so much value that I actually go out and buy the items I like at full price after I’ve used them up. I can think of at least one item from each box I’ve gotten that I really loved, and several more that are fun to test out and have around, even if I don’t use them everyday.

I’m not someone who usually gets excited about beauty products, but the Target Beauty Box has so many fun and useful things at an incredible price. You also get a $3 off $15 coupon to use towards any beauty purchase at Target in every box!

Have you bought a Target Beauty Box? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Fitness, Life,

F*ck a Thigh Gap: Why Women Should Strength Train

That’s right. F*ck a thigh gap. Squat down for what!? SQUAT DOWN FOR BUTTS! That Instagram model you totally have a secret lady crush on? Yeah, that’s right, she lifts weights. Strength training will not make you bulky, so get it out of your head. What will strength training do? Make you look sexy as hell naked, that’s what. Final point before I go over the benefits of strength training… If it was easy to get big and bulky naturally… there would be a lot less Dad Bods… Just saying.

Why Strength Training?

  1. Strength training is an integral part of a well planned health and fitness program. Without strength training, you’re missing part of the magic formula for long term health and fitness.
  2. Women don’t build muscle as quickly as men, simply because they lack the proper levels of testosterone to do so. Women who are muscular are typically lean, whereas men typically get bulkier.
  3. Being stronger helps across all aspects of life. Stubborn jar lid? Don’t worry bro, I lift. I got it. Go overboard on buying groceries? One trip, through two doors and up five flights of stairs… light weight.
  4. Looking athletic with some muscle definition will make you stand out, even in clothes. Toned calf muscles and those Louis Vuitton red bottom heels? Collar bones and toned arms in that strapless dress? What about a flat stomach or some abs with that bikini? And Damn! Those yoga pants on you should be illegal with that ass… Everyone’s drooling now, even that Instagram model lady crush of yours.
  5. Of course, all the usual benefits of strength training: Increased metabolism, increased feel good hormones, better sleep, decreased stress hormones, higher sex drive, toned muscles… the list goes on.
  6. Finally, number four was about clothes… number six, well, I’ll reiterate. Sexy. As. Hell. Naked. For you or your guy. I mean hey, who doesn’t want to be able to look in the mirror and be like “Damn. I. Am. FINE!”

How to Properly Strength Train:

A disclaimer here; If you have no idea what you’re doing, I highly suggest paying for the help from a professional, either from whatever gym you attend or from myself, to prevent injury and wasting time.

  1. Depending on your fitness level and fitness goals, strength training should be done 2 to 5 times a week, sometimes more! The toner you want to be, the more you need to train.
  2. If you’re training on the lower end (2) per week, you need to focus on full body workouts. If you’re training on the higher end (5+), there are better split patterns to follow, such as a push pull split.
  3. Remember, the weight needs to be heavy ENOUGH in order to illicit a change in your musculature. Doing three sets of 20 with those 5 lb dumbbells probably won’t increase your strength much. Challenge yourself.
  4. Cardio is important for your heart, but if done too frequently, can take away from your muscle gains. If you’re going to do cardio in the same day, try to space it apart by a few hours. Again, this is based on fitness goals. I recommend doing HIIT instead of traditional cardio. (To learn more about HIIT, read the HIIT article on this site!).
  5. Always remember to use proper form. The number one thing I hate seeing, is someone get injured due to improper form. Most machines have pictures of proper form and warning of what NOT to do (I’m looking at you, behind the head lat pulldown people). Even if the machine doesn’t have instructions, we live in the age of smartphones… look up the correct form!
  6. Write down everything you do, and make sure you’re progressing. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result… that’s called insanity. If you don’t know how to make a program, contact a professional like myself.

At the end of the day, strength training will only help you. Whether your goal is just to look more fit and be healthy, or to get ready to be the hottest girl on the beach, strength training will help you get there. So get out there, pick up some weights and ask for help if you need it. The weights don’t bite… (Hopefully). And always remember, SQUAT DOWN FOR BUTTS!!

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Life, Personal Finance,

Are You Missing Out on Money?

Did you know the government might have some of your hard-earned money, is dying to return it to you, but just doesn’t know where to find you? It’s true! When people move, or addresses are entered incorrectly, companies often end up with money they owe folks but they can’t track them down to give it to them. So they turn the money over to the state government, who puts it in a big vault where the governor swims in it Scrooge McDuck style—just kidding, that last part doesn’t happen (that I’m aware of). The government then puts the information about the unclaimed property online in a searchable database. This is where you come in!

Simply go to the website containing your state’s database and search for yourself and family. I found a fair bit of money owed me and $7,000+ (!!!) of stock owed to my step-sister. The procedure for claiming the money varies from state to state. Sometimes you just fill out a form online, sometimes you print something out and mail it in, sometimes you even have to have it notarized if it’s a big enough amount of money.

Use this map to find the database of each state you want to search. You should search each state you’ve ever lived in. To make things easier, many of the states have also put their listings on a centralized database at Missing Money. You can visually see which states participate in this centralized database here. Local Chicago Cheapasses will note that Illinois is not part of the Missing Money site. They will instead need to go here to search for their lost booty.

Happy hunting!

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Life, Shopping, Style,

Trunk Club: Not Just for Men

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As we get older and transition into seemingly adults our money is spent wiser. Recently, I experienced the launch of Trunk Club Women in Chicago. Before you snarl at the idea of paying for a personal stylist, I invite you to understand the concept and ease of Trunk Club.

Trunk Club requires no minimum spend, no membership and no stylist fees. If you’re in Chicago you can go to Trunk Club Headquarters in River North on Ohio and Orleans (325 West Ohio St). There is an open bar with liquid libations and witty conversation. Don’t mind the gorgeous men and beautiful women both styling and buying. The men’s floor is below the women’s near the main bar which makes for optimum people watching. Both floors have a distinct look and feel for the genders. Fitting room areas have been thoughtfully curated by the designers featured at Trunk Club with the most stunning interior decor that will entice you to buy the furniture before you even try on a piece of clothing.

Trunk Club

Prior to your first appointment your personal stylist will have you fill out a short questionnaire about your size, style and preferences. There are no wrong answers, it helps your stylist understand what you’re looking for, what you’re comfortable with and reversely what you’re uncomfortable with, too.

If you’re not in Chicago that’s no problem! You will go through the same process and survey which your stylist with carefully review and curate your trunk. Trunks ship at no charge and under no obligation are you required to keep any minimum amount of items.

Trunk Club is fully equipped with separates, dresses, jackets, denim, vests, shoes, etc.

Trunk Club

Book your appoint today or inquire about a trunk by sending an email to: kfitzgerald@trunkclub.com.