Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ella Henderson Chapter One

There are some songs you hear on the radio and think, this person is definitely going to be a one hit wonder. Then you listen to their full album and you eat your words. Ella Henderson is currently that person for me. Like a lot of the singers out there today (ahem, Ariana Grande), I have no idea where Ella came from. All I know is she's British, gorgeous and I can't stop singing "Ghost." I check Spotify's "New Music" section on a regular, if not daily, basis. When I saw that Ella released a full album last week, I figured I'd listen to the whole thing. I mean, I work from home and have the company of a dog so music is practically my life. Let me tell you something. I don't know what I expected from her album but this was not it. I was completely, 100% floored. 
source: Media Hype 101 via Google Images
I'm splitting this review in two categories: songs I love and songs I really love. It's that simple. There's not one song on this album I don't like and that's rare. Britney Spears even has songs I'm not a fan of and I absolutely love her. Let's get started though because you don't have time to read my rambling, on to songs I really love! "Ghost." Yes. Love. This was the song that had me thinking this girl was going to be a one hit wonder. It's catchy it's really great and I never heard of her before. This song will not leave my head. It's starting to drive me crazy but it might help if I stopped listening to it. "Glow"starts off slow and a tad boring but once you get a minute or so in, it blows up. This song gives me goosebumps. Her vocals are amazing. She has such a crystal clear song that can be piercing to the soul. "Mirror Man" is such a fun song. It has a bit of a sixties feel to it, especially in the chorus. This song makes me want to get out of my chair and start dancing. "Pieces" is another really great song. It's an upbeat breakup song. Those can be rare. It sounds so happy even though it's about a relationship falling apart. This is another song that I just want to start dancing to...kind of like what I'm doing as I write this. "Give Your Heart Away" is a heartfelt ballad. This is one of the more emotional songs off the album. It's so beautiful and I just love listening to it. Last but not least, we have "Rockets" which may very well be one of my absolute favorites off the album. It's upbeat and just a happy love song. Listen to this on Friday, it will put an already good mood into a great one.
Ok, now for the songs I love. "Empire" is a really great song. She has super strong vocals on this one an I love this song but I know it's the kind of song I'd tire of quickly. So I'm only playing this once in a while because I really don't want to get sick of it. "Yours" is the first ballad off the album. It's one of the more emotional songs on the album and really heartfelt. I can't tell if Ella recorded this album on a broken heart or in a relationship...maybe both? It has mixed feelings in terms of relationships. "Hard Work" is a great song and somewhere between a ballad and an upbeat song. It has a really good beat and I can't stop singing along! "All Again" is another emotional song that I love. Ella has really raw emotion in her voice when singing this song. You can tell she's using this song to tell a story. The last song on the album is "Missed." This is a very tender song and it feels very sad too. I just love her vocals on this song and the melody is just beautiful.

Clearly I loved Ella Henderson's album. What about you? Have you listened to it yet or do you have any favorites from her?

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LWASOC & Friends January Giveaway

I cannot believe we're almost done with January. Hasn't the month flew by? I feel like I'm still trying to catch up with post-holiday craziness to be honest. With the end of every month comes a giveaway though and this is the first official one for 2015! I decided to switch things up this time so instead of a gift card, me and a few blog friends will be giving away an 8-Cup Chambord Coffee Press by Bodum from Starbucks, a bag of ground coffee and a mug. We're bringing the coffee to you so you don't have to deal with the cold outside. I hear some of you are experiencing Snowmageddon. I definitely don't miss walking around in that.

See details here
And now I'd like to introduce you to this month's giveaway participants! Share some love because the prizes in these giveaways wouldn't be possible without them.



*SIDE OF COFFEE REMINDERS*
PLEASE TAKE MY READER SURVEY!! I want to hear from you guys so please take a second and fill out my reader survey. Visit the original post to enter the secret code from the confirmation page to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.

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Good Luck!!

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop #102

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!
A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,
What a day to celebrate! This is the 102nd week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week!

Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

There are a couple of great giveaways going on right now at Southern Beauty Guide and The Dwelling Tree. Go check them out! :)

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs, comment, and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!
***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop.

Meet your hosts:
The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'
Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'

Meet this week's co-hosts:
PicMonkey Collage
Christine @ So Called Homemaker
***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:
running playlist-bright

Thank you all once again for continually linking up at our blog hop. It is such a fun time and I am so impressed each week with all the amazing posts. Please continue to link up an actual post instead of your blog. We want to keep reading your content and it makes it more fun to pick a winner!
Is there anything we can do differently or better? Please share in the comments!
... onto the winner!

Hello everyone! This is Tiffany this week. The post I picked this week hits close to home for me. A couple of years ago I ran my first half marathon. I trained for six months, and prior to training had never ran more than a couple of miles in my life. It was a difficult experience, but it changed my life forever to run a bit over 13 miles.

Faith just ran a half marathon and posted beautiful pictures to share with us her experience. The pics of her family rooting for her made my heart melt! It is so awesome for me to see other momma's doing adventurous things like this, and always something I want to applaud! It is not easy to run a half marathon! Her post is inspiring and beautiful, and highlights what she holds dear in her life.
She also shares a fantastic running playlist with us. Please go check her out and follow her blog. She is awesome!

Thank all of you for your amazing posts each week. I love reading all that you share!

Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for us to read all your posts! If you can, please link up a specific post. It makes it easier for us to come and visit!
 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pairing Wine & Movies Round 3: Xo, G Pinot Noir


Next up in the third round of Wine and Movie Pairings is Xo, G Pinot Noir. Every time I see Pinot Noir, I'm going to forever think of Sideways. Her website describes this Pinot as "a delicate blend of silky smooth richness and bold berry notes." The taste profile is medium dry and medium bodied and is recommended to be paired with pizza or cheeseburgers. I paired it with steak. That's not too far off, is it? The wine came from the Languedoc Roussillon region of France located between the regions of Gard and Herault near Provence. Here's the full description from the website: "A passionate swirl of dark fruit creates a symphony of flavor in our Pinot Noir. Like cuddling up to that sexy someone, these silky smooth notes are just the right kind of warmth and mystery. The fragrance of cherries and blackberries make it a perfect match for rich foods like pasta with meat sauce, pizza or just a good ol' cheeseburger."

It was movie night at our house and to avoid spending $6 to rent a movie, I convinced everyone to watch Jumanji on Netflix. I haven't seen this movie in years. Somehow the unusual pairing was a match made in heaven. Jumanji is hilarious but it's not a light movie. It's about a board game that tries to kill it's players! It teaches lots of valuable lessons but it's not your typical light and airy comedy. There are giant mosquitoes and spiders which I did not like, there was a Venus fly trap that tries to eat the little boy, quicksand, a monsoon, a stampede, monkeys that I'm convinced were evil and some weird jungle guy that comes out with rifle and the intention of killing Robin Williams' character. There's a lot going on here.
I really do love this movie and it makes me miss Robin Williams a lot. He was perfect for these kinds of rolls and it's sad to think we won't see him in many more. Luckily we have a few of his last movies left to enjoy but after that, there are no more. He was such an amazing person and the amount of laughs he provided for people will not be forgotten. I just wish someone could have done the same for him. The Pinot Noir was good. I'm not a Pinot fan, to be honest, so it wasn't my cup of tea but it did pair well with my steak. It's full-bodied, bursting with flavor and slightly bitter. I love these Xo, G wines because none of it goes to waste. If this was a bottle instead of an individual cup, we'd probably be tossing it by the end of this week.

Have you tried Xo, G wines? What do you think? Do you remember Jumanji? Did you like this movie?

PLEASE TAKE MY READER SURVEY!! I want to hear from you guys so please take a second and fill out my reader survey. Visit the original post to enter the secret code from the confirmation page to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Coffee #10



Real quick before we start, PLEASE TAKE MY READER SURVEY!! I want to hear from you guys so please take a second and fill out my reader survey. Visit the original post to enter the secret code from the confirmation page to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.

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.

Link Love
Budget Friendly Valentine's Day Gifts - Pink Heels Pink Truck

Happenings
Chicago: Fall Out Boy
What: Fall Out Boy is back in Chicago for a concert featuring new music and some of their old stuff too! Tickets are super cheap, the venue is smaller and the band is bigger than ever. I saw them recently at First Midwest Bank Amphitheater back in August and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
When: January 24, 2015
Where: Lincoln Hall, 2424 North Lincoln Avenue
Cost: $45
(Editor's Note: Venue tickets are sold out)

Chicago: Pizza Making Class
What: Learn how to make winter-style hearty pizzas at Mariano's with this pizza making class. You get to eat your work too!
When: January 26, 2015 - 6:30PM
Where: Mariano's West Loop location, 40 South Halsted Street
Cost: $10

Chicago: Charity4Life's "Believe In The Possible"
What: Join Charity4Life at their largest event to date, "Believe In The Possible," that will transform the night into an experience leaving guests touched, moved and inspired. Kelly Rizzo of EatTravelRock.com and Jake Hamilton from FOX Chicago will emcee the event that includes scintillating lighting, live artists rendering images of the children impacted, streaming visual media, passed appetizers and a surprise unveiling by Charity4Life's Founder, Jeannette Cherie Pawula that you don't want to miss.
When: January 27, 2014 - 6:00PM
Where: Fulton Market Kitchen, 311 North Sangamon Street
Cost: $35

Movies Music & TV
Fall Out Boy released their new album this week and I am pumped! There were several other album releases as well including Mikky Ekko and The Decemberists. I'll be reviewing all of these albums on the blog soon. I knew this month was going to be crazy for music dropping.

TLC launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to raise money for their final album. They plan to release the album in the spring before they begin touring in May. I'm pumped! It's bittersweet since it's the last album but I'm glad we're getting one more. What do you guys think?
source: NY Daily News
photo credit: AllMusic

Celebs & Hollywood
Congratulations to former Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried on officially tying the knot! The couple got married this past weekend after a year and a half of being engaged. Now let's see those babies!!
source: ET Online
photo credit: People.com

Congratulations to Ali Larter on her second baby! She announced the birth of her baby girl earlier this week. Her name is Vivienne Margaret MacArthur, born on January 15th at 7.5lbs. What a cutie!
source and photo credit: AliLarter.com

More baby news! Rider Strong welcomed a baby boy with wife Alexandra Barreto. His name is Indigo Baretto Strong. It's so weird to see people you grew up with on TV having babies. Isn't it?
source: Mtv.com
photo credit: Zimbio

And in a continuation of their previous baby news, Zooey Deschanel is engagted to Jacob Pechenik! Congrats to the two soon to be parents. I'm so happy for them!
source and photo credit: E! News


If you're interested in having a future event included in the Happenings section of Friday Coffee and the Upcoming Events page, send an email to lifewithasideofcoffee [at] gmail [dot] com with "Event Listing" in the subject line.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finding Balance & Testing New Waters

There is just over a week left of January. The first month of 2015 will be coming to an end soon and I have no doubt many of us will be looking back at our new year resolutions and goals. The question is, will you be proud of yourself or will you feel defeated? I don't remember officially sharing my new year goals so I will quickly right now. I didn't want to put myself up for failure. 2014 was not my year and I knew that I was going to make 2015 the best year I've had yet. So instead of setting specific or vague resolutions, I set standards for myself that I'd like to uphold for not only the rest of this year but the rest of my life. 

The first is Be Happy. We have such a short time on this planet that spending it in negative moods is a waste of time. There will be plenty of times to be sad or angry so making the most of the time I have in a positive way is something I really want to strive for. The second is Be Well. I've tried the whole diet and exercise thing with one goal: lose weight. Instead, I want to transform my body into something that will increase the quality of my life. I'm eating better, I'm working out regularly and I'm trying to make good, conscious decisions when it comes to my health. 

But being well isn't just physical, it's also mental. That's why I'm really excited to attend the Rooted Center's "Be Your Own Valentine Event" in February. Rooted is a self-expression center that celebrates self-care and provides people with services and education on how to manage it by yourself. This is something I know I need help with and there are quite a few questions I'll be bringing along that I want to ask for the health of some of my close family members. I was lucky enough to interview the four incredible women who will be presenting at the event and providing services. Today you'll meet the Founder of Rooted Center, Shruti Sekhri and Heidi Shimko. These interviews are lengthy but well-worth the read. There is so much to learn from these women and I can't wait to have conversations with them at the event.

Shruti Sekhri, Rooted Center Founder

1. What inspired you to create the Rooted Center? How did it come to be? 
Rooted comes from a personal dig-deep journey. During a particularly difficult time in my life when I was questioning everything, including my marriage, I ventured into acting. I fell in love with it. It made me feel whole and emotionally connected in a way that was woefully missing. Then, I had an awful performance and my perfection demons started roaring! I beat myself up so much that I didn't sleep all night. I was turning a source of sheer joy and release into a form of self-torture because I was trying to live up to expectations instead of following my own truth. Fortunately for me, all of the self-discovery work that I unwittingly did during the time that I had been acting helped me realize that I didn't want to live life that way. So, I immediately signed up for a week long 'Living Centered' program in Nashville.

This program deeply effected me. It was full of experiential activities that helped me see myself. I didn't get lectured at or have to learn any new philosophy (thank goodness because I didn't need another set of expectations and rules to live by!); I just had to trust the process - however it unfolded for me. I was really able to go deep into myself and start to listen like I never had before. I also began connecting to a real desire to help people go deeper in life - honestly, a little selfishly because I want to connect to those people.

After I returned, I began researching and attending as many different avenues for self-care and self-discovery as I could. Every self-help book, every retreat, every workshop, had a double meaning to me: what it held for me and what it could be for other people. Even though I became fully connected to my pursuit, I still had no idea how to put all of this new information into creating something meaningful. Until, one morning when I was very frustrated, I got attached to the idea of blasting techno music. I don't normally listen to techno, but I went with my instinct, blasted it and started to do yoga. Immediately, I felt relief. I didn't learn 'techno yoga' anywhere; I created it from instinct. I expressed my frustration with music and my physicality and I did it without any expectations of what I should be doing or feeling. It set me free. This experience was a trigger that all of the sudden started putting the pieces together for me. I realized that whenever I undertook creative experiences in a judgement and expectation free environment, I became free and more aware of who I was. It immediately made me think of how creative work can do this for others too. The more I thought about it, the more Rooted began to take shape. 

2. What do you think is the most important thing that Rooted Center does for its clients?
I think that the mist important thing that we do for people is provide a creative approach to emotional self-care and wellness in a nurturing environment. We do this by creating a judgement free space where people can feel safe to explore, express and accept how they are feeling through different art forms (visual, movement, drama, writing, music). Rooted essentially serves as a gym for peoples' emotions while the art forms serve as the weights that work these emotions out. 

Rooted focuses on emotional wellness because it is all pervasive and impacts our physical, intellectual capacity and our relationships. When our emotional life is out of balance, it can manifest into physical ailments (we've all heard about stress caused illnesses), it can drive us to make reactive decisions that are driven from hidden emotions rather than clarity, and it can cause us to have unhealthy relationship interactions. By practicing emotional self-care at Rooted, people can reverse these undesired results and instead gain self-confidence, self-worth and improve their quality of life.

3. What was it that made you realize Rooted Center makes a difference and helps people live better, more satisfying lives? Was there a specific moment or was it something that you realized over time?
Intuitively, I knew that Rooted would make a big difference in people's lives as soon as the idea was conceptualized. The proof, however, came when we conducted program testing before launching Rooted. The impact of the process was palpable during sessions and we received rave reviews via the surveys that attendees filled out. the experience made me realize that even though we were testing in unsavory locations with programming that still needed kinks worked out, the need for the service was huge. People needed to work through their emotions on their own terms. I could see how what we were doing was like pouring water on a dried up sponge and watching it bounce back to wholeness.

Since then, we have continued to get accolades from attendees and media alike and my belief in Rooted's mission continues to strengthen.

Heidi Shimko, LAc MSTOM, NCCAOM Board Certified, Acupuncturist, Reiki Master
1. What made you become interested in Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture and Reiki? How did you get involved with these techniques?
I always say I fell into Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. My journey began with Reiki. I was a receptionist at a physical therapy office that specialized in Cranio-sacral work as well as employing massage therapists that practiced Reiki. I signed up to get my first Reiki attunement and when we were working together in groups around the table with this newly acquired skill, some interesting information began to come to the surface. I placed my hand on one of the women's shoulders that we were working on and asked her when she had surgery on her abdomen where they cut her from left to right. She answered about 10 years ago. My response was that's what's causing your shoulder pain. That blew me away! I had no idea how I knew that information or what to do with it but very clearly her shoulder had a story to tell and I trusted what I felt and went with it. 

I proceeded to get my other attunements so I could teach others Reiki but wanted to know more about the energy component of the body. I was not ok with being the weird voodoo lady that can sometimes tell you things about yourself. That brought me to an open house at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. I thought I'd end up being a massage therapist. Instead, as they were talking about how the meridians worked as energetic information highways of the body, it hit me like a ton of bricks that it was my calling and vocation in life. I signed up for a semester thinking I could get my feet wet and see if this was a good fit. That was almost 10 years ago now and I haven't looked back! 

My acupuncture schooling gave me the foundation of understanding how diseases travel through the body from an eastern and western perspective. It gave me a road map of how energy flows through the body deepening my Reiki work. As well as giving me a whole host of tools to use in the treatment of disease with using acupuncture needles, quasha, cupping, herbal formulas as well as food suggestions. There are so many ways for us to approach wellness and I feel acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have given me a strong base in which to pull from to help support my clients on their journey to health.

2. What can people expect from the mini acupuncture treatments you'll be performing at the "Be Your Own Valentine" event?
I will be doing mini ear treatments with a protocol known as NADA. I will place 5 needles in each ear to allow the body to relax and reset itself. The points correspond to the liver, kidney, lung, parasympathetic nervous system and one for our emotional well being. This protocol was invented to help people detox from habit forming substances but with time has proven to be very effective in treating post-traumatic stress as well. Looking at the points, it is easy to see that we are stimulating some of the major organs in the body. In Oriental Medicine, each organ system has an emotion paired to it. The lungs deal with grief, the liver with anger, and the kidney with fear. This protocol while stimulating those organ functions also helps the body to release or embrace the emotional imbalances we may have going on under the surface as well. the protocol can be administered for up to an hour. At the event, 15 minute sessions will be available for people to try acupuncture or revisit its effects if it has been a while.

3. What kind of advice can you give some people, like me, who may be hesitant to give acupuncture a shot because they're afraid of needles?
I would let you know that my needles are very tiny and are designed to push the skin aside as opposed to a doctors needle that is designed to penetrate the body to inject something into it or take soemthing from it. You can fit 5 of my needles into the tip of an ordinary syringe needle. Acupuncture needles are known as cat's whiskers for how fine and bendable they are. I'm a very gentle practitioner as my belief is most people are in pain when they come to see me, why would I put them in more? I have done these treatments on hundreds of people and most times they end up falling asleep in public spaces. I would encourage anyone that has wanted to try acupuncture to get their feet wet my trying a mini ear session or to stop by and ask me any questions they may have about how acupuncture works. All you have to lose is 15 minutes of your time, but what you gain is limitless!

"Be Your Own Valentine" Charity Event
What: Join Shruti Sekhri of Rooted Self Expression, Dr. Katie Ray, DC, Heater Fraelick, LMT and Heidi Shimko, LAc for a Valentine's bash to celebrate self-care. On February 7th, Rooted Self Expression Center will be opening their space on North Avenue to mingle, connect and offer mini wellness services to guests. Services include a mini acupuncture treatment by Heidi Shimko, massage and stretching techniques by Heather Fraelick, group breath work and essential oils classes by Dr. Katie Ray and group visualization and art sessions by Shruti Sekhri. Donations will benefit NoStigmas, a nonprofit organization that aims to make a positive impact on the mental health community.
When: February 7, 2015 -- 4:00PM
Where: Rooted Self Expression Center, 2221 West North Avenue
Cost: $25 suggested donation
Visit the Rooted Center's website to learn more and register for the event HERE


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cooking With Stanley Week 2

I want to start by saying thank you so much for your support of this new series. The first Cooking With Stanley from last week is doing really well and there was so much excitement around it. I love that because I'm really enjoying everything about these posts and I was hoping you guys would too. For the second week of meals, we said goodbye to pasta and brought on the meat and potatoes. I had originally planned to make three recipes for this dinner but ended up only managing two. You'll probably laugh and judge me when you see why but hopefully I'll get some tips out of my amateur cooking skills.

Cooking With Stanley Week 2 Menu
Appetizer: Cremini Mushroom and Bean Soup
Main Dish: Beef Tenderloin with Prosciutto
Attempted Side: Mashed Potato and Artichokes

This was an all-around really great meal. It was a hit with everyone and as far as the main dish and side go, the recipe was definitely used as a guide rather than step-by-step tutorial. We drank red wine with this meal and it paired beautifully. Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a bad mood by the time we sat down for dinner and I forgot to write down the name of the wine. Next time, I'll make sure to note the details so I can share them. My aunt made easy brownies for dessert which were amazing. I love her brownies and I loved that I didn't make them myself. Believe me, when you cook so often, the last thing you want to do is make everyone dessert too. Especially if you don't have an efficiency for baking.
Getting to the food, let's start with the appetizer. I followed the Cremini Mushroom and Bean Soup recipe perfectly and man was it good. I wasn't expecting to love this soup because it has a lot of mushrooms. I was perfectly happy eating this for lunch every day that week. It was so full of flavor. It pairs well with grilled cheese or a simple slice of Italian bread. The instructions leave some room for improvisation which was nice. I used pinto beans that I soaked overnight and added extra veggies so it was a thicker soup but used only half the amount of onion. My Noni isn't a big onion person so I cut back if if I can when I know she's going to be eating with us. 
The Beef Tenderloin with Prosciutto was delicious. I had slim pickings for the tenderloin at my grocery store when I went shopping. The shelves were practically bare from the holidays just being over. It was pretty sad. There were only two tenderloins to choose from and I wasn't going to be that person and take them both. So I took the larger of the two which was still a pound smaller than what I was supposed to use. This just fed my family. We could have used a larger one or maybe I should have just bought the second. My Noni and I carefully orchestrated the wrapping of the tenderloin in prosciutto. Let me tell you, that baby looked really good raw. We placed it on a cooling rack in a roasting pan with vegetables underneath. Now, let me explain why potatoes were included because they were definitely not supposed to be there...
Which leads me to the story of the attempted side, Mashed Potato and Artichokes. In full disclosure, I decided to purchase two whole artichokes because I didn't read Stanley's intro all the way. If I did, I would have seen that I could have bought canned hearts or bottoms. So, here I am at home attempting to peel an artichoke. Needless to say, it didn't go well. In a few weeks, I'll have a bloopers post where I'll go into more detail but for now, I'll just let you know that the Mashed Potato and Artichokes recipes was not made. Instead, we threw the chopped potatoes in the roasting pan with the rest of the veggies, added a little chicken stock so they weren't so dry and called it a day. I have no doubt that when I make the Mashed Potato and Artichokes another day, it will be delicious. I just won't play the expert and buy whole artichokes. I'm going canned all the way.
So what do you think? Do any of these dishes sound tasty to you? The soup was definitely my favorite. The tenderloin was delicious too. Next week, I'll tell you about how I found out I might possibly have a shellfish allergy. I'm still not sure...

**REMINDERS**
PLEASE TAKE MY READER SURVEY!! I want to hear from you guys so please take a second and fill out my reader survey. Visit the original post to enter the secret code from the confirmation page to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.

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.

The Home Entertainer and The Beauty Expert

The great thing about Wednesday is that it marks the middle of the week. The weekend is almost here, the work week is half way over and sleep is within an arm's reach. I don't know about you guys but other than Monday, it's been super gloomy here making me not want to get out of bed. All I can say is Saturday is going to be one lazy day (hopefully). Today I want to introduce you guys to my current sponsors, Katie and Chelsee. These two ladies are amazing. I happen to be good friends with them both, the difference is that Katie and I live 20 minutes away from each other and Chelsee is far away. I swear that one day I will meet that girl. We'll make it happen one way or another. If you do nothing else today, please check out their blogs. They're two of my favorites and not just because I'm friends with them. 

Katie is a Home Entertainment blogger. She's got great tips on everything from cake decorating to setting tables and choosing wines for certain occasions. She's also a member of Windy City Bloggers with me! Check her out:

Follow Katie On:

Chelsee is a Beauty and Lifestyle blogger. She is super talented and I wish she lived closer so I could have her as my makeup artist. She writes on a variety of topics from beauty and fashion to DIY and product reviews. She also hosts two blog hops weekly that are great opportunities to meet other bloggers and get exposure to your favorite posts. Check her out:

Follow Chelsee On:

If you want to see your blog or shop on Life With A Side Of Coffee, visit my sponsor page! There's ad space and services available to fit any need. USE CODE 'SNOW' TO GET 35% OFF ALL ADS AND SERVICES NOW!

The Junior Council's 27th Annual Snowball

In a little less than a month, one of the most exciting events in Chicago is going to be held and for a great cause. The Junior Council of Robert & Ann H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is hosting their 27th Annual Snowball, a black tie event hosting 2,000 young professionals for a night of dancing, drinking, eating and socializing while raise money for the Infectious Disease Clinic at the children's hospital. It's a great opportunity for networking, making new friends and supporting a cause that will give kids a chance at life when they may not have had one before.

If you're a foodie, this is the perfect event for you because there are going to be a ton of restaurants there with bites for you to eat. Restaurant sponsors for Snowball 2015 include: Frontier, Roy's, The Pony, Zed 451, South Branch Tavern & Grille, Summer House, Ra Sushi Bar & Restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi, Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, 25 Degrees, Bombay Wraps, Siena Tavern, Stella Barra, Taco Joint, Home Run Inn, Flo & Santos, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Mercadito Fish Co, Tippling Hall, Hutch, The Radler, Milt's, Prime & Provisions, and Rub's BackCountry Smokehouse. Alcohol sponsors include Tito's Vodka, Buffalo Trace, Anheuser Busch, Goose Island and Stella Artois.

Entertainment will be provided by Rod Tuffcurls & The Benchpress and the night does not have to end early. The Snowball after party will be at Cuvee. The Chicago Trolley Company will be transporting Snowball guests to Cuvee for an exciting continuation the night. All guests will be given express entry and a glass of Champagne upon arrival. How awesome is that?! Besides great music and great food, there is also going to be a silent auction to raise money for the children's hospital. There are a ton of great items up for grabs. Some of my favorites include the Private Gourmet Dinner Party, Napa Valley VIP Weekend for 2, Weekend for 2 in Nashville, Boating on Lake Michigan and Las Vegas Vacation. They have a whole lot of sports memorabilia up for auction as well including signed footballs, signed jerseys, signed hockey pucks and more. Check out the full shop HERE.

I will personally be at Snowball so I hope to see many of you lovely Chicago people there. Tell me if you'll be going in the comments below or on social media. Maybe we can run into each other and grab a drink! Here are all the official details below:

The Junior Council's 27th Annual Snowball
When: Saturday, February 7th at 8:00PM
Where: Chicago's Union Station (500 West Jackson)
Cost: $115 - $160 per person 
Attire: Black Tie Optional

Twitter: @Junior_Council
Instagram: @Junior_Council



*Photo Credit Courtesy Of Pam Yasuko and The Junior Council

ABOUT THE JUNIOR COUNCIL
The Junior Council supports the Pediatric and Adolescent HIV and AIDS programs of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Established in 1987 by Dr. Ram Yogev and Dr. Ellen Chadwick, The Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago HIV and AIDS Program cares for more children and adolescents than any other pediatric HIV service in the region. Our mission is to support the clinic and ensure all children with HIV/AIDS, regardless or their ability to pay, have access to high-quality pediatric healthcare.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop #101

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!
A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,
What a day to celebrate! This is the 101st week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week!

Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!
There are a couple of great giveaways going on right now at Southern Beauty Guide and The Dwelling Tree. Go check them out! :)

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs, comment, and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!
***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop.

Meet your hosts:
The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'

Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'

Meet this week's co-hosts:
Christine @ So Called Homemaker

***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:

Thank you all once again for continually linking up at our blog hop. It is such a fun time and I am so impressed each week with all the amazing posts. Please continue to link up an actual post instead of your blog. We want to keep reading your content and it makes it more fun to pick a winner!
Is there anything we can do differently or better? Please share in the comments!
... onto the winner!

Hello everyone! This is Chelsee this week. I am one that is super pasty white in the winter and was struggling with matching a foundation. I have super oily skin so looking for a drugstore foundation is super hard. When I saw this review I knew I had to try this foundation! Kaelyn provided tons of insight into the workings of this product. I tried it based on her recommendation and love it. 
Kaelyn is a fabulous blogger and YouTuber. Make sure you check out Kaelyn and follow her blog!

Thank all of you for your amazing posts each week. I love reading all that you share!

Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for us to read all your posts! If you can, please link up a specific post. It makes it easier for us to come and visit!