Finding Inspiration in Chicago

This past weekend I went to Chicago for the Tone It Up fitness festival. I am a die hard TIU fan but we'll dive into that later. My plans were to visit my sister, who resides in the windy city, meet some members of the #FitFam and have some fun. Little did I know I would unveil more inspiration and creativity than I could ever imagine. Chicago became my muse, yolk cracked open for me to feast.

Raquel Franco in Chicago

Since having my daughter earlier this year I have turned into a more of a "Netflix and Chill" kind of girl along side a bottle of wine. My sister, being the party girl, had all these plans to get dressed up and venture downtown. Sadly, I had no desire. To appease me she took me around her side of the city in Bucktown and Logan Square.  It. Was. Phenomenal. The food (omg the food), especially the brunch, had my taste buds break dancing. The street art, the hipsters, the diversity of the crowds... I was reminded that, yes, there is a whole 'nother world out there. It has been some time since I have traveled alone and without kids. It was a breath of fresh air and it allowed my mind to wander. My passion for art expanded in my lungs. The city and all it has to offer sprouted my need for more. I even allowed my sister to dress me up. I am the girl that wears pink. Yes, I said pink. It was a blast to be able to rock some braids and be another side of me for a night.

Food in Chicago

The next day my soul was encouraged by all the amazing women I met at the Tone It Up tour. I arrived solo, as none of my friends have any interest in my TIU obsession. Within three seconds I met my first friend. She was the sweetest and my nerves instantly evaporated. We got in line together at Soldier Field and met the next girl we would spend the day with. She was 5'11 and gorgeous. They all were. I've never seen so many toned and gorgeous women. I am not sure why I expected anything less but I guess no one expects to be surrounded by thousands of models. I am 5'0 by the way... on a good day. Needless to say she was also super sweet. Everyone was. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by so much inner and outer beauty. There was not an ounce of cattiness. The only whiff of anger I felt was when Jillian Michaels was screaming at us to get off our fucking ass. I love that woman. She helped me lose over 40 pounds when I first started my fitness journey. I almost cried when she came out screaming. 

Tone It Up

Then, there was Karena and Katrina, the heads of the Tone It Up Empire. I knew they were beautiful but they were real, live Glamazons. I never knew they were so tall! And all that positivity and light they spread on social media is real! Katrina took the stage and exclaimed, "Everyone asks us how we do it and that we should be so tired. We're not fucking tired! You are the reason we get up everyday. You are the reason we are here..." The community they have built is so empowering and it gave me the fire I needed to keep going, to keep inspiring and to keep being the best that I can be. 

This blog and website is a result of my weekend and all the inspiration I soaked in. I am on a mission and I can't wait to forge ahead! Look out for more exciting things to come.

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- XOXO Raquel