Monday, March 2, 2015

Committing Yourself To Self-Care and Staying Healthy

Wellness is a hot topic right now for a lot of reasons. Obesity is at an all-time high, people are getting burned out by their mid-thirties, work hours are getting increasingly longer, jobs are more demanding than they used to be thanks to the ability to constantly be available, you name it. It's obvious that we as a society need to take better care of ourselves, quit the pill fix, stop over medicating and get back to the basics. Self-Care is needed more than ever and it's needed the most, in my opinion, by women. I am from a family where the women never put themselves first. My Noni would be sick as a dog and not go to a doctor because she has "other things to do" and my aunt is the same way. We seem to have this idea that by taking a few minutes for ourselves, scheduling those doctors appointments just to have a check up or going to the gym is selfish or something we don't have time for. Stop! Make time for it. Moms, you may think you're taking away time from your kids but you'd be taking more time away if you died before their high school graduation because you missed that gyno appointment a few years in a row. Career women, you may think that hitting the gym isn't a valuable use of your time but did you know that by getting regular exercise you increase productivity and stimulate creative thinking? Women everywhere, it's ok to take a few extra minutes to yourself every night to relax and decompress. In fact, we need it for our sanity. It's not selfish to put yourself first and make sure you are taken care of. It's necessary. You will only do whatever it is your doing better by taking that time.

There are so many things you can do to slow down, take a beat and bring it back to you. They are guilt free and good for you. A colleague of mine that I'm so lucky to have is here today to list out just a few for you. Meet Shannon Terschluse of Find Your Prana. Shannon is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and CoreRyder (spinning) Instructor, and the Founder of Find Your Prana, a full-service health and wellness company offering holistic health coaching, seasonal wellness cleanses, customized clean eating meal plans, private yoga, corporate and group wellness workshops, and more. Prana, a Sanskrit word often used in yoga, means the breath, the universal life force sustaining the body, the vital energy. But to Shannon, it has always meant balance, which is what she strives to provide to her clients. Here she provides 10 Tips to improve your well-being and find a better balance.

10. Before you think about that long to-do list, sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer.
Even just a few moments of meditation can set the tone for the rest of your day. Try to empty your mind and take deep breaths before jumping into your day's tasks.

9. Take the scenic route.
Next time you're driving a somewhat long distance - take the scenic route. Driving through open fields, mountains, or viewing a city skyline can be very relaxing.

8. Eat slower.
A lot of us tend to speed through meals - missing the chance to appreciate different textures and flavors. Start to chew foods slower and distinguish new tastes, aromas, and consistencies. This will also help you be more mindful with your food choices. 

7. Prioritize sleep and honor your bedtime routine. 
Whether it's breathing to slow the heart rate or a warm cup of tea to settle you in for the night, a simple routine can be effective for a better night's sleep to help you excel in all areas of life. Try implementing a regular bedtime. Maintaining consistency will help keep your circadian rhythms - the biological changes that happen every 24 hours - steady. Eventually, your body will naturally understand and crave sleep during these hours. 

6. Fuel yourself with nutrient-dense foods.
Stick to whole foods - this means foods that occur in nature and don't go through a lab or other manufacturing unit. Examples include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat, and choose foods that will fuel your energy and not deplete it.

5. Get moving.
A balanced diet is essential for a happy and healthy life, but without regular exercise no amount of kale or kidney beans will make up for a lack of locomotion. Just like certain foods protect us from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, regular physical activity has its own list of health enhancement. Without exercise, it's hard to reach your full physical and mental potential and achieve overall well-being. Shoot for at least 30 minutes of movement every day.

4. Be bad. 
A common myth of proper health is the obligation to always be "good." Being "good" can mean different things to different people, but equally important in finding balance is being "bad." Why? Because no one's perfect. In a way it is inauthentic to live life "perfectly." So, once in a while, indulge a little and treat yourself to something special. Have an extra glass of wine. Eat your favorite sweet. Skip that busy bus line - take a taxi. Don't set an alarm.

3. Remember your goals and aspirations.
Each morning when you wake up, take a few moments to think about your life goals and aspirations. Recall the milestones you've already made in your life, and your drive to achieve new ones. Try doing this for about five minutes before getting out of bed to start your day.

2. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.
If you take care of yourself by feeding yourself beautiful food, you're much more likely to engage in self-care such as exercise, meditation, baths, massages, and other techniques that make your life rich and vibrant. When you feel great, you're able to move through your days with joy and ease, creating and nurturing relationships and a career you love.

1. When you're feeling guilty about the idea of putting yourself first, sit down, close your eyes, and trust this quote from Lucille Ball - "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line."


Spoken like a true pro. What I love about Shannon's tips is that they are so easy. You should feel guilt-free about taking care of yourself because you have one body and one life to live. If you don't nurture yourself, you endanger your life and risk losing the quality of it. That benefits no one.

If you're someone who needs a little extra push to get started (like me), Shannon offers meal plan services that are incredible. You have a choice between Clean Eating and Healthy Eating and each lasts for 4 weeks. These are available no matter where you live. If you're in the Chicago area, Shannon also provides Health Coaching and Yoga services. I can personally attest to the fact that she is incredibly knowledgeable in her line of work. You guys know I wouldn't recommend her if I didn't think highly of what she is capable of. If you like her tips and would like to learn more, visit and check out what she has to offer.

Shannon is offering 25% off the Healthy Eating Kick-Starter Meal Plan for LWASOC readers from now until March 9th at Midnight CST. Enter code SIDEOFCOFFEE at checkout for your discount!! 

Are you someone who always puts everyone first? What actions are you implementing to take better care of yourself and make sure your well-being is being improved?


Southern Beauty Guide Bigs and Littles Link Up

Hello and Happy Monday! Chelsee from Southern Beauty Guide puts together this amazing program every few months called Blogging Bigs and Littles. It's a great opportunity for newbie bloggers and veteran bloggers to meet, get to know each other and pass advice back and forth. I had such a great experience this round of Bigs and Littles. We've been emailing back and forth and it's been a pretty great experience for me. I hope these ladies would say the same.


Epise of Cake
Meet Elizabeth! Elizabeth is a creative and quirky blogger who loves all things food, beauty and DIY. She's super crafty and has lots of posts for fashion, crafts, beauty, and more. She'll also do book reviews and product reviews once in a while and she's got great nail inspiration. I need to get on that because my hands look pretty awful. She's such a sweet person who has tons of talent. The first thing I noticed about her blog was the design. It's so inviting and perfectly organized. A few posts you should check out are "10 Ways I Cheer Up and Relieve Stress" and her "Mani Monday" series.

Our New Northern Life
Meet Beth! Beth is a Chicago girl living in Minnesota. It'd like to say that she's in worse weather since she's much farther north but Chicago seems to take the cake on extreme winter climates. Do you guys know it's warmer in Alaska?! That's insane. Anyway, Beth writes about her life up North, the changes she's been going through and what's interesting her at the times. She just went somewhere on vacations so I'm excited to see what she was up to (hopefully somewhere warm so I can vicariously live through her).

Simply, Always, Forever
Meet Jayme! Jayme is such a great person and she put up with some serious lulls in email from me. Normally I'm really good at responding to emails but there were a few times when she wouldn't hear from me for like a week, at least. Jayme loves books so she's been doing tons of book reviews lately which is awesome. I love to read and wish I had more time for it so I'm living a literary life through her. If nothing else, you should at least check out her Goodreads page. Considering she flies through books, they have to be at least sort of good.

Make sure you link up below with your Bigs and Littles experience!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Life With A Side Of Coffee's Top 5 Posts of February

1. Announcing #BloggersTakeTheOscars - Two blog friends and I decided to host a blogger Oscars party which was also a Twitter party. This post had all of the details and announced it officially even though we'd been hinting on social media. You guys loved this post and I'm guessing the idea because the Twitter party was awesome and this post was popular all month long.

2. Eating Out For A Great Cause - Earlier this month I had the opportunity to interview Chef Tiffany Tooker from Pheasant Run Inn & Resort. She is head chef for both Jambalaya and Harvest which have amazing menus. They were the Restaurant of the Month for the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization which means that a percentage of the proceeds from the dish they designated benefit the organization. It's a great cause and the Mushroom Ravioli was fabulous.

3. A Day At The Auto Show With Chevrolet - A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the press day at the Chicago Auto Show with Chevrolet. We learned about the new 2016 Equinox, 2015 Colorado and Chevy Volt which I am in love with. We got to interview some of the execs from Chevrolet and it was a great learning experience for me.

4. Oscars Ballot and Trivia Questions #BloggersTakeTheOscars - Last week I posted a ballot that I designed for the #BloggersTakeTheOscars viewing party and some trivia questions to use at your own party and it was a hit. I'm glad you guys liked this post because that ballot took me quite a bit of time and I'm proud of it. I'm thinking about starting to design more printables. What do you think about that?

5. Going Back In Time With Coyle & Herr - I was invited to the Coyle & Herr warehouse at the end of January here in Chicago and just about fell in love with the place. It was so fun meeting the women behind the scenes and browsing through all of the neat finds. It's kind of like jumping through time portals in a way.

If you're interested in sponsoring Life With A Side Of Coffee or enlisting any of its services such as social media promotion or shop reviews, visit my sponsor page! Use code 'SNOW' to get 35% off all ad space and services.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Coffee #15

Link Love
On-the-Go Breakfast Muffins - The Girl Who Ate Everything

Chicago: First Wives Club
What: In First Wives Club, based on the smash hit 1996 film and Olivia Goldsmith’s bestselling novel, three former college friends reunite to find that they have more in common than their alma mater! Ditched by their respective husbands for younger women, they band together to settle scores with the men who did them wrong. Featuring a new book by Linda Bloodworth Thomason (Designing Women), known for having created some of popular culture’s most empowered female characters, songs – both original and classic – by Motown legends Holland-Dozier-Holland, and direction by Simon Phillips (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical), First Wives Club is a hilarious and inspiring story about friendship at its strongest… and revenge at its sweetest.
When: February 17 - March 29, 2015
Where: The Oriental Theatre
Cost: Tickets start at $45.51

Chicago: The Book of Mormon
What: The Book of Mormon returns to Chicago after have an incredibly successful first-run. The New York Times calls it “the best musical of this century.” The Washington Post says, “It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.” And Entertainment Weekly says, “Grade A: the funniest musical of all time.” Jon Stewart of The Daily Show calls it “a crowning achievement. So good it makes me angry.” It’s THE BOOK OF MORMON, the nine-time Tony Award® winning Best Musical from the creators of South Park.
When: February 25 - May 17, 2015
Where: Bank of America Theatre, 18 West Monroe
Cost: Tickets start at $56.66

Chicago: The Hot Sardines with Special Guest Mipso
What: See the Hot Sardines perform live at City Winery with special guest Mipso. Let me know if you're going and we can grab a drink. I'll be there!
When: March 2, 2015, 6:00 - 8:00PM
Where: City Winery, 1200 West Randolph Street
Cost: Tickets range from $12-$18

Chicago: For the Record Presents Dear John Hughes
What: The hit Los Angeles For The Record series breathes new life into the movies by adapting the works and movie soundtracks of iconic directors into a theatrical concert setting. “For The Record: Dear John Hughes” includes acclaimed coming of age 1980′s teen films Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of The Breakfast Club, the John Hughes classic which epitomizes one of the most influential pop cultural contributions of our time and changed the way many young people looked at everything from class to friendship, love to sex and fashion to music. These themes are explored throughout “For The Record : Dear John Hughes” by this ‘brat pack’ for the modern age that includes leading talent from stage, the recording world and screen as well as rising stars – all embodying iconic movie characters and giving them new musical voices. The immersive concert mash-up, where iconic music and moments from the John Hughes’ movies spring to life with an epic new wave inspired soundtrack, includes songs such as “Don’t You Forget About Me”, “We Are Not Alone”, “If You Leave”, “Pretty In Pink”, “If You Were Here”, “True” as well as classic moments like “Danke Shoen”, “Twist And Shout”, “Try A Little Tenderness” and many more. 
When: March 5 - 15, 2015
Where: Broadway Playhouse at Watertower Place, 175 East Chestnut Street
Cost: Tickets start at $44.10

Movies Music & TV
Selena Gomez and Zedd released a song this week and it's amazing!! I love her and I thought she was taking a break from music but she's not. I'm so excited for them to do more work together. I'm not an EDM person but I really like Zedd. What do you guys think?

Kelly Clarkson released another single this week titled "Piece By Piece." She never fails to amaze me with her vocal range and talent. I like that she's back to pop but, let's be honest, we all love our "Since You've Been Gone" and "Miss Independent" Kelly. What do you guys think of her new song?

One last music update, Holly Elle released a new song titled "Lose Control." Check it out below!

Celebs & Hollywood
Congratulations to Naya Rivera and her husband Ryan Dorsey on their pregnancy! They announced it this week through an adorable Instagram post.

A photo posted by Naya Rivera Dorsey (@nayarivera) on

If you have an event that you'd like listed in Friday Coffee and the Upcoming Events page or you have information that you think would be appropriate for the rest of the Friday Coffee series, email lifewithasideofcoffee [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cooking with Stanley Week #7

Cooking With Stanley Week 7 Menu
Appetizer: Bruscetta with Tomato
Main Dish: Penne with White Sauce

Welcome back to the food side of Cooking With Stanley! This is a super late post but I was determined to get it up on Wednesday no matter what time it was. These last two days have been amazing but they've been super busy. So please excuse any typos because I'm pooped. I'm currently sitting on the couch in comfy clothes with the pup at my feet and a brownie sundae listening to John Splithoff who I saw open for Leighton Meester last night and fell in love with immediately. His voice is incredible. Anyway, let's get to some food, shall we?

This week and next have very simple menus just because of the situation. My first weekend back at The Tucci Cookbook, it was only me and my aunt so there wasn't really a point to putting together a full on meal. Instead I just whipped up the quick stuff which was totally fine. These have been really long weekends lately and I'm desperate for some downtime. For an appetizer, I made the Bruscetta with Tomato. We are huge bruscetta people in this house. I felt like I had high expectations and was really nervous to be honest. It turned out really well though. It was very simple and easy which I love and I made sure not to be light on the garlic.

For the main course, we had Penne, whole wheat to be exact, with White Sauce. I'm not a huge fan of the rich, white sauce just because it's so heavy. This was good but I could have added a little extra salt. This would have paired nicely with a garlicky chicken. It would have added a little more flavor and depth but I didn't plan very well during this particular week.

That's about it for this week's Cooking With Stanley. Short and sweet is the way to go this week. What have you been up to? Anything exciting?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Junior Council's Snowball For The Kids

Photo Credit: Samantha Rolin
About a month ago, I wrote a post about an upcoming event in Chicago I would be attending earlier this month. It was the 27th Annual Snowball event hosted by The Junior Council here in Chicago at Union Station. This was my first black tie event or "ball" as some people would call it and I was thrilled they invited me to join them for the evening. I raided my closet looking for something to wear and I got to go shoe shopping which was pretty awesome. More importantly, I had a really fun night out with friends all for a good cause. Sadly, I did not get any good pictures from the night. I have one photo from someone else that is a fuzzy mess. But less about me and more about what happened...

Snowball is a black tie event for young professionals to come together, dance, eat and have a good time while raising money for the Pediatric and Adolescent AIDS and HIV Programs at Robert and Ann H Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. This year they raised over $200,000. That's absolutely incredible. I'm just thrilled I was even able to be a part of this event. Through the generosity of guests, supporters, and sponsors, this donation makes it possible for children with HIV/AIDS, regardless of their ability to pay, to have access to high-quality pediatric healthcare. This is something everyone should be proud of. 

Can we talk about the food really quick? Tons of restaurants participated at Snowball making for one heck of a spread. There was everything from sliders to cupcakes to pizza. Everything was fabulous and my only regret was that I didn't eat more! They had a whiskey tasting and sushi bar. It was incredible. Being the foodie that I am, I was impressed. If only I could eat like royalty every day.  I particularly enjoyed pulled pork slider cups from a restaurant I cannot remember. It was literally everything you have on a pulled pork sandwich minus the bread inside a mini cup. I loved the spread from Cafe Ba Ba Reeba but then, I'm a huge fan of the restaurant already. 25 Degrees has the best burgers which was not a surprise at all. I went against my anti-cake tastebuds and had a baby cupcake from Sprinkles. I still took the frosting off though. Hutch also had a really great spread that we actually waited for. We stood by the table as they were setting up. I wasn't going to miss out on that.

Entertainment was provided by Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpressers. This might very well be my new favorite band. They were amazing and such a blast. I loved their set list. It was a mixture of oldies, current hits, remixes, all of it. I had a moment with the guitar guy during "Tiny Dancer," one of my favorite songs of all time. Don't get any ideas, it was just a mutual love for the song. It could have totally been one-sided too. I get really into Elton John. They also played the theme song to Pokemon from the original 90s show, "Stand By Me" and Boyz II Men. There is honestly nothing they can't do. They're supposed to be playing at a bar downtown soon and I really want to see them again. If I ever get married, I might just hire them. I wish I had videos to share but sadly, I do not. 

I will leave the rest of this post to photos because, as they say, a photo is worth a thousand words. Were you at Snowball this year? Have you been to a Black Tie event before?

If you couldn't make it to Snowball because you were busy or don't live in Illinois, you can donate to their cause here. What they're doing is amazing and I encourage you to support them any way you can, even if it's just sharing a link. These kids deserve the best chance we can give them.
Photo Credit: Jose Santana
Photo Credit: Samantha Rolin
Photo Credit: Jose Santana
Photo Credit: Samantha Rolin
TKL Photography LLC, All Rights Reserved
TKL Photography LLC, All Rights Reserved
TKL Photography LLC, All Rights Reserved
TKL Photography LLC, All Rights Reserved

LWASOC & Friends February Giveaway!

Good morning! I hope you are feeling slightly more energetic than me this morning. I get to go and do my taxes this morning with our family accountant. Just thinking about dealing with numbers gives me a headache. I can't even handle this. Anyway, good news for you guys, today the monthly giveaway goes live! Five lovely ladies and I all came together for a $60 Target gift card! I bet any of you could use this. It's good for groceries, makeup, clothes, office supplies, toys, whatever. So good luck!!

Enter to win below! GOOD LUICK!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekly Eats #6

Welcome back to Weekly Eats! We went an extra week without this post because I was super busy and, honestly, not cooking. But I have been on fire the last two weeks and hopefully it will stay like this from now on. I'm happy to report I've gotten mostly good feedback for what I've been making but who cares because I've loved it and I've had leftovers for lunch quite a few times which has been nice. This post is also a day late because I was swamped with the #BloggersTakeTheOscars party yesterday. It went really well and we had a great time but let me tell you, I'm pooped. I could not have slept deeper and I can seriously use a nap right now. With that said, let's get this show on the road.

Mexican Skillet Casserole via The Lean Green Bean: My first week back at cooking, I was determined to make good meals on a budget. I read an article that said making similar meals will cut your grocery bill because you're using a lot of the same ingredients. This is true. My bill was under $40 and these meals were delicious. This casserole was super easy to make and it was a hit in the house. I kept the meat mixture and the rice separate because we have a picky eater that doesn't like to mix food but other than that, this is a super easy one-pot dish.

Black Bean Salsa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes via The Lemon Bowl: I love these sweet potato recipes because they're perfect for nights when I only cook for myself and they're not super messy (I hate clean-up). This was really tasty. It was maybe four ingredients and mixing the salsa was a quick five minute thing towards the end of the sweet potato's cooking time.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup via Lauren's Latest: Everyone was skeptical about this meal. I got lots of faces when I put this on the table but it turned out to be a hit! Everyone liked it and we have a container in the freezer still for a night when we're all too busy to be cooking. 

Ham & Gruyere Apple Panini via Weeknights with Giada by Giada De Laurentiis: This recipe came from my cookbook by Giada but I found the recipe online in case you want to try it. I made a small substitution in this sandwich. I used Havarti instead of Gruyere cheese because I couldn't find some at the store for less than $10 and that seemed a little ridiculous for one sandwich. I wasn't about to do that. This was really good. I love adding fruit in unexpected places because it bumps the flavor profile. This was such an easy dinner too.

Tuna and Red Pepper Patties via Lauren's Latest: I'll be honest, I was a huge skeptic when I was making these patties. First, I was a little concerned about cooking tuna. As I was mixing the tuna, I felt that it was super watery. I was convinced they were going to fall apart or just not turn out well. They were pretty good though! Next time, I think I'd add cheese to give it even more flavor. The original recipes makes a tartar sauce as well but none of us like tartar sauce in this house. I paired this with some simple veggies I got in the freezer section at the store.

Skillet Pasta with Sausage via Taste and Tell: This was bomb. Seriously, the best pasta skillet I've made in a while. It was so creamy and bursting with flavor and I didn't use any bad ingredients. It was a hit with everyone else too minus the carrots. I honestly don't know what the people in this house have against carrots. They're way better than celery...

Crockpot Meatballs via The Lean Green Bean: This recipe has been on my radar for a while. We had the pasta skillet the night before so I was trying to think of what I could do with the meatballs instead of just eating them as, well, meatballs. So I picked up some sub buns and we made sandwiches! Everyone loved these. They were really, really good and so filling. I just paired them with some fresh bell peppers. Sometimes the simple and understated meals are the best ones.

Red Potato, Sausage and Rosemary Fontina Pizza via Foodie Crush: Since the last time I made a different sort of pizza didn't go over well, I made this on a night when it was just my aunt and I. I loved this pizza. I thought it was delicious but she wasn't too thrilled. My friend Katie liked it though so I know it wasn't terrible. I would honestly love to make it again, I just don't want to deal with slicing potatoes.

What have you been eating lately? Did you watch the Oscars last night? Please tell me you agree that they should start the show earlier from now on. They always go over and people gotta work in the morning!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Happy National Margarita Day!!

Happy National Margarita Day! I bet lots of you are celebrating this holiday. It's a bit early right now but I have a pretty darn good recipe for you to use this afternoon, The World's Freshest Margarita. There are literally three ingredients, four if you use salt. You can't mess this up and you can't go wrong with such a simple and fresh recipe. Drink up people!

The World's Freshest Margarita
2 parts Milagro Silver
3/4 parts agave nectar
1 part fresh lime juice

Shake well. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a lime. Add salt, if desired.

*Photo Credit and Recipe Thanks to Milagro Tequila