Take It Outside

chicago lakefront running path

I’m writing this post as it’s currently -1° (Fahrenheit, without windchill) in Chicago. My weather app says that it currently feels like -17°. 😳 Hopefully today is the last day of the dangerously low temperatures because it’s almost impossible to convince myself to go outside, let alone walk anywhere! Back when it was a balmy 41° a few weeks ago, I ventured out to the path along Lake Michigan for a nice little walk to clear my head. I live just a half mile from the lake, and I’m embarrassed to say that I definitely do not take advantage. I remember seeing this photo that Carly posted a few weeks ago and thinking, “Man, I really wish I lived near the water.” *lightbulb moment* Have I actually lost my mind? I mean, there are only six blocks between my apartment building and the lake. I know it makes me sound like a moron, but I truly forget that I’m so close. I’m not a runner, I don’t have a bike, and since I do all of my workouts indoors, I guess I wrote off the beach back when summer turned to fall.

cold weather workout fitness clothes

I’ve never, ever considered myself an outdoorsy person. I’ve gone camping twice (each time for just one night) and absolutely hated it both times. I don’t particularly enjoy getting dirty and I get cold really easily, so I’ve sort of just labeled myself as someone who doesn’t really like outdoorsy things for the past twenty-something years.

I don’t know if something has changed in the last few years, or maybe I’m just getting a better grasp of the things that I do and don’t enjoy as I get older… Who knows! But I’ve come to realize that I actually really, really like to be outside, especially near water. Sleeping with my balcony door open and waking up to the waves crashing on the beach in Mexico last week was pure bliss. Same thing when I was at Caneel Bay a few months ago, too!

I used to love my weekend trips out to the Hamptons when I lived in New York, and outside of it always being a fun few days, I think it had a lot to do with escaping the city, getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D, and spending time near the water. (#VitaminSea) Even if it wasn’t the Hamptons, there were so many amazing places just a few hours away. A cabin upstate, the beach in Connecticut, Newport, and the list goes on and on. (Side note: I really miss the Northeast!)

Anyway, I’m realizing that my need for nature is kind of an escape thing for me. There’s nothing more refreshing than getting outside… It’s for sure where I do my best thinking, where I clear my head, and where I can really just relax. I think it’s probably why I prefer to walk everywhere, too. I’d so much rather walk the two miles to where I’m going (if I have the time) than hop on a bus, the subway, or even in a cab.

I was in Aspen over the weekend (more on that to come!) and it was such an incredible few days. It flurried at least half of the time I was there and it was just magical. While I’m not a very good skier, I absolutely love being on the mountain and taking in the stunning views. I’ve learned that if I’m prepared for the elements, I couldn’t be happier outside. For example, commuting to work in a blizzard is the absolute worst. However, if you’re bundled for a ski day, the snowy winter wonderland is amazing.

black ray ban aviators fur pom pom beanie

chicago lake michigan foggy skyline

I had to order all new ski gear a few weeks ago (more on that to come, too… I’m an idiot and accidentally threw it all away when I moved) and ended up ordering almost everything I needed from Zappos. Gotta love that FREE next-day shipping! I ordered everything I’m wearing here for my base and mid layers for skiing, but pulled it out to head out to the lakefront path the week before last when the weather was a bit warmer. I wasn’t cold at all (I had gloves in my pocket that I wasn’t wearing in these photos!) and had the most refreshing hour walking by the lake. As soon as the temperature gets back above freezing, I’m going to make it a habit to get out and take advantage of my proximity to the water, even if it’s not an ocean!

nike juvenate sneakers grey

jawbone up3 navy

north avenue beach chicago

Get the Look…

Patagonia Vest
Patagonia Fleece Pullover
Patagonia Long Sleeve Tee
Hot Chillys Leggings
Nike Sneakers (on sale here, more colors here!)
Nike Sports Bra
Nordstrom Beanie
Ray-Ban Aviators
Jawbone UP3
Minnie & Emma iPhone Case

nike juvenate

chicago lake michigan lakefront skyline

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Leave a Comment


  1. 1.18.16
    Rena said:

    Oh, it’s obviously really cold! But I love what you are wearing. And for me it’s the same: the older I get the more I love it to be outside 🙂
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  2. 1.18.16
    Monica said:

    I am seriously convinced that my fuzzy Patagonia is one of my all-time best purchases (though next time, def sizing up for a cozier fit!). Lake Michigan is such a beauty and honestly makes me sort of want to move to Chi-Town…so lucky you’re so close! Hopefully you can enjoy it more when it’s not in the negs 🙂

  3. 1.18.16
    Natali said:

    Fantastic sporty/ workout outfit! I love Nike Free Run for my visits to the gym or long power walks!


  4. 1.18.16
    Alyssa said:

    Hoping it warms up soon! I’m freezing here on the other side of the lake!

    Alyssa | Glitter and Grey

  5. 1.18.16
    Karen said:

    Yay for cozy Patagonia fleeces! I bought one last year and its been in constant use all year round!

  6. 1.18.16
    Aubrey said:

    Love the sneakers but stay warm!

    xx. The Coastal Confidence

  7. 1.18.16
    Megan said:

    stop it! That is way too cold but I love this look, so perfect for winter workouts!

    Happy Monday // http://lifeplusbe.com/

  8. 1.18.16

    Love this look! Especially that hat!

  9. 1.18.16
    Lauren said:

    The fuzzy Patagonia is my absolute favorite! I’ve had the same one for the past two years, but have been thinking about purchasing another one… I love that blue color!


  10. 1.18.16
    Kristin said:

    Great thoughts, Jess! I’ve realized too that if I’m not prepared on the weather front, it’s not as much fun. So dressing for the conditions has become a big priority for me and getting myself out the door when it’s FREEZING outside. Love, love, love your cute fitness look here. Have a great Monday, girl!


    P.S. – I’m an avid skier and LOVE Hot Chilly’s. They are the only thing I will wear on the slopes as my base layer. Great choice!

  11. 1.18.16

    Negative degrees!? I can’t even imagine what that feels like. But I definitely love your sporty outfit!

    The Style Scribe

  12. 1.18.16
    Lucy O'Connor said:

    What a super cute workout look, I love it!


  13. 1.18.16
    Hannah said:

    That hat looks adorable on you! I never feel like I can pull them off!

  14. 1.18.16
    Dana said:

    Love love love those Nikes!

    Pink Champagne Problems

  15. 1.19.16
    Jessica said:

    Loving these sneakers! And adore these photos. So pretty.

    xo Jessica

  16. 1.19.16

    Love your Nikes!
    Cute look!
    Mademoiselle Coconath

  17. 1.19.16

    I love activewear so thanks for sharing! These pictures are amazing.
    xoxo, Julia

  18. 1.21.16

    You are adorable and I’m in LOVE with those Nikes!

  19. 1.23.16

    Great look. Amazing photos.

    Blonde in Cashmere

  20. 1.25.16
    emily said:

    this is such a gorgeous backdrop! xo