Fashion, Fitness

Becoming a MaZista!

I am proud to be a group fitness junkie.  As a personal trainer and yoga instructor who is lucky enough to have her own home studio, I have zero excuses not to workout on my own.  But why would I workout boring solo style, when I can attend one of the many amazing group classes in Chicago? I first got the fitness fever in college when I discovered the beauty of classes. Should I hit the hideous elliptical machine before facing scary weight machines, or dance and jumping jack it out to Janet Jackson in good company? No brainer. I am a sucker for the class experience. I once was a personal trainer at a private gym, and one of my fellow trainer buddies always said I needed to open a studio…and name it CLASSES! (Hi Cheston!)

I discovered MaZi dance fitness a few months ago, and have been hooked since my first class. MaZi is owned by a gorgeous sister duo, Marisol and Ziba (MaZi) who trained and danced professionally.  These sugary sweet babes opened their doors in 2009 and have since created an amazing community where females unite to support one another through grueling but FUN dance based workouts.  The choreography they create is inspired by the physical and emotional benefits they knew in the ballet world.  My favorite class is Ballerina Bum Body. I am 100% hooked. Since discovering the class, I go every single week.  Even if it’s a day I am extra busy or not feeling great, I can’t miss it. The workout is super challenging, but I also truly enjoy it, which is why I need my weekly fix!

When the sisters first approached me about becoming an instructor, I shyly declined.  I thought to myself nooo…I am a personal trainer and yoga instructor.  I haven’t lead shoulder rolls and booty shakes since college. I can’t pull that off.  When they asked again…I couldn’t say no.  Who am I kidding to pass up such a fabulous opportunity?! I am up and rolling with my first class on the schedule, Ballerina Bum Body, Friday’s at 12:30pm in the Lincoln Park studio (more to come), and I am beyond happy with my decision to go for it.  I feel like my fitness life has come full circle…it feels amazing to be leading a group of energetic babes through high knees and body rolls just like my good old college days when I started teaching “aerobics.”  This is also my first experience teaching set choreography.  I wasn’t sure I would like it, but because the moves are so unique being created by ballerinas, I am enjoying the challenge.  There is still plenty of room for my own creativity, and because I love and believe in their methods so much, it’s an honor to teach them. I also love that the MaZi team is so passionate about their content.  Every two weeks they switch up the routine, and email fresh material to their instructors.  I have been on such a MaZi high lately, I have been blasting the Spanish dance jams they rock all over my house, and even my heavy metal husband is into it.  Cherry on top; the  MaZi sisters share my passion for fashion.  Both beauties are fellow Carbon38 ambassadors, and sister Ziba even has a gorgeous blog called DancingMamaStyle.  Their gym swag involves darling tees with phrases like “Muscles and Mascara” and “Barre Belle.” Yes indeed, these stunning sisters are my fitness soulmates!

Photos by my darling friend Dani Sommerfeld of the Once Upon a Dollhouse blogging sensation.

Outfit deets! Ruffled top and bottoms by Carbon38, one of my favorite outfits ever! I sized up to a medium in the top, small bottoms. The top is almost too cute to sweat in, but it looks so cute with denim. The pants are so comfy and flattering, I love the ruffle bottom.  Drop the code JCHEZ20 for 20% off your first Carbon38 order.  Gucci bag, Nike wedge sneakers, Jenny Bird hoop earrings.

The bottom line of this lengthy MaZi love letter is that it feels great to be fired up for fitness! I am blessed to love what I do after all of these years, but it feels fantastic to be super charged up for a new challenge.  Never stop pushing yourself, and note there is no age limit on shoulder rolls and shimmy shakes. Check out my Instagram stories for sneak peaks of MaZi routines in action!


Julz Chez


The Hammitt handbag Grand Finale

I am back to share my last two Hammitt pieces…yes indeed I walked out of their Chicago pop up event with an extra large shopping bag! But in all seriousness I needed a new wallet.  When I changed my last name 4 years ago after tying the knot, I rewarded myself after the obnoxious DMV experience by heading to Nordstrom’s to purchase my first “adult” wallet.  That bad boy has been through the ringer, so it was time for an upgrade!  I instantly loved this black and gold RFID beauty.  RFID technology helps insulate you from electronic pickpocketing. A film inside the wallet protects information on credit cards and drivers licenses. GENIUS! It’s also super chic looking.

How cute is this gold clutch Nash bag? I just love the color and the design.  Like the others, I love that it is eye catching and interesting without being too trendy or loud.  In true Hammitt handbag form, this baby is petite yet functional, with a dedicated external cell phone pocket, wristlet strap, zippered compartment and adjustable strap.  The perfect size for an evening out, or ditch the strap and toss in your tote bag.  The Nash comes in a variety of fun colors and a larger version.

Photos by Dani Sommerfeld of the dynamic Once Upon a Dollhouse blog duo

Outfit deets: The perfect summer maxi dress for $30 by Forever21Easy fit, true to size. I am in a small for reference.  Stuart Weitzman wedges, Forever21 headband, Chloe shades.  “C” initial necklace by 6thboroughboutique.


Julz Chez


The Perfect Clutch Bag by Hammitt

As promised I am back to share another fabulous Hammitt handbag!  This chic 101 North clutch opens up to lay flat as a fully functioning wallet.  It securely shuts with an easy magnetic closure and velvety suede lining.  Perfect for a night out or tucked into your everyday tote.  Small but mighty she is; in addition to my credit cards and cash, this babe also can hold my iphone plus, a compact, and a lipstick! Magical! The beautiful neutral colors go well with so many different looks.

All photos by Dani Sommerfeld of the great Once Upon a Dollhouse dream team.

Outfit deets: Forever21 top (a great fitting basic for $16! I recommend sizing up. I am in a medium for refernece), Amuse Society jean shorts from the lovely local boutique Alice&Wonder, Jimmy Choo heels, Jenny Bird hoops.


Julz Chez


Designer Spotlight: Hammitt Handbags

As a fashion blogger and a longtime fashion enthusiast, I pride myself on being knowledgable about tons and tons of designers.  When I received an invitation to a Hammitt pop up event in Chicago, I was excited to discover a brand I was not familiar with.  It was love at first sight with their gorgeous collection of handbags.  Amazing quality; soft and supple leathers, lightweight and comfortable to wear, mostly in earth tones that work in every season and wardrobe.  Many Hammitt bags have durable straps that are removable, making them so versatile.  Added bonus; every bag has a LIFETIME warranty!

At the event I had the good fortune of meeting Tony Drockton, CEO of Hammit Los Angeles, who was so warm and passionate about the brand.  He shared the story of the company with me as we walked around and admired the bags.  I loved them all so much I was not capable of picking just one, so stay tuned for two more posts sharing what all I left with that day!  Today I am sharing the bag that first caught my eye, and had to come home with me.  I love the gorgeous structure of this beauty.  Even if there is nothing in it, it still keeps its lovely shape.  I think bags that do so look so polished.  I also adore the two toned detail, interesting while still being classic and not too trendy.  And its practical!  No wallet needed with this babe. Under the first flap is a cleaver built in wallet to conveniently hold your ID and credit cards.  A great size to carry all your essentials without being bulky, and various little pockets to hold important items such as your keys so you know right were to grab them.  Meet my favorite new bag!

All photos by Dani Sommerfeld of the fabulous Once Upon a Dollhouse duo.

Outfit deets: Anthropologie top, Mother denim jeans, Chloe boots and Chloe shades. Hot pink pumps by Sarah Jessica Parker. 

More to come!


Julz Chez


Fashion, Fitness

The Perfect Yoga Mat

Happy Summer darlings! Today I am sharing my love and appreciation for the perfect yoga mat.  Seeing how I have reviewed and shared what feels like hundreds of facial masks and serums (or balms as my hubby likes to call all my products), it’s about time I talk about a very important item that I use regularly and am crazy about.  My yoga mat!  Whether you practice yoga every day or a few times a month, the perfect mat is critical to a great yoga practice.  I have been through an embarrassing amount of mats in my yoga journey.  What seems like a simple piece of fabric is unfortunately not so simple.  I have used Lululemon’s “The Mat” most often for the last couple years, but much like the perfect face mask, I am always on the lookout for the next best thing!

Yellow Willow Yoga is an Australia-based, 100% biodegradable, machine washable, and super chic yoga mat brand.  The yoga mats are developed from a combination of natural eco-tree rubber and soft micro-fiber suede fabric which is made from recycled plastic bottles.  It was love at first sight when my mat arrived in the mail because it is so so cute! In my past mat experiences the cute versions stink to practice on.  Not this gem! The mat has great grip and is super absorbent.  Even my Lulu mat that is designed for hot sweaty yoga gets slippery during a tough practice.  No matter how grossly much I sweat (and I’m proud to be a sweater y’all), this beauty stays dry and crazy comfortable.  And I swear my handstands have been stronger than ever since using it! Shop this epic mat which comes in a variety of fun patterns at Shopbop or the Yellow Willow Yoga site.  Use the code 10YellowWillow for 10% off your mat when shopping on their site.  I can’t recommend this beautifully made mat enough!

The outfit; navy waist ruffle leggings courtasey of Carbon38.  Drop the code JCHEZ20 for 20% off your first purchase over $100.  The best fitness and lifestyle swag out there!

All photos taken by the lovely Dani Sommerfeld of the sparkly Once Upon a Dollhouse duo.

Much love, and yoga on!


Julz Chez




Beauty, Fashion

White Hot with a Pop of Fake Tan

Whether you are beach bound or hitting the town, an all-white ensemble is a fresh look anyone can pull off.  I am personally a huge fan of white everything when it comes to fashion. I love white pants, white t-shirts, white button ups, and don’t even get me going on my love of white accessories. Bags, heels, booties, sneakers, shades…they all look so polished and chic.  White is undeniably versatile and looks fabulous with just about everything.

There is one personal struggle I face when wearing white…my pastey pale skin.  My mom firmly believes that I look best all natural, but I’m gonna need a little somethin’ somethin’ Ma. Luckily I have wised up from my idiotic college days and would never dream of stepping into a tanning bed…or laying out in the real sun without a hat and SPF 70.  Self tanners to the rescue!  I have weeded through the riff raff, and am delighted to share my favorites.  Here’s a brief run down on my MVP’s.

Step one before using any self tanner: shower and exfoliate.  Use a sunless tan applicator mitt  to apply product, and use sparingly around hands, feet, elbows, and knees. Note I said sparingly….not not at all. Bronzed skin with bright white hands and feet is not a cute look (trust me I have made this mistake!) And if your first go is a bust, don’t give up!  Practice makes perfect.

~Tan towels.  Easy to use towelettes for an all-over no streaking application.  Excellent for travel as they are individually wrapped up in cute little packets.  Minimal smell. If the application process of a self tanner freaks you out, these are for you. So easy!

~ST. Moriz Instant Self-Tanning lotion.  Moisture rich formula that leaves your skin bronzed and hydrated.  I recommend mixing the product with regular lotion to even out the color and mask any smell.  You can always apply more later, but removing can be tricky. Great for those with dry skin and those not looking to spend much…$12.99 for a giant bottle!

~St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse.  Lightweight mousse for a long lasting tan in one application.  Easy to apply, great color.  A cult classic in the self tanning world!

~Coola Gradual Tan Dry Body Oil.  My personal winner.  An antioxidant-rich blend of Aragon Oil, Vitamin C, Hibiscus, and Chamomile Extract.  Also my husband’s favorite, he thinks I smell like delicious vacation when I have it on….and he typically hates the smell of all my fake tans!  The dry mist spray is super easy to apply and the color is so nice and natural.

Remember your self tanner is not a sunscreen.  It’s critical to use sunscreen every single day, no matter if the sun is out or not.  I highly recommend the dermatologist approved brand La Roche-Posay daily face serum.  The lightweight antioxidant rich formula feels amazing going on, and improves skin texture and corrects signs of aging in addition to broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.  A holy grail SPF!  Also works great as a makeup primer.

Shop all these goodies and more at Ulta Beauty.

Check out the color of my tummy compared to my legs in this shot…I clearly did not plan on wearing a crop top! A big whoops but also a great example of how a little self tanner goes a long way.  This is after using the Coola Body Oil spray on my arms and legs.  Outfit by Show me Your Mumu. 

And now let’s circle back to those all white vibes I was raving about.

The outfit: Ruffle Culottes from Shop Planet Blue. They almost look like a maxi skirt from the side with the wide legs and high slits. Crazy comfy! They also come in bright red and a floral print, both which are on my wishlist.  Forever21 top, Gucci loafers, Anthropologie shades, Jenny Bird hoops and Chloe bag.  Photos by Catherine Spitzer.

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little.”~Coco Chanel


Julz Chez