Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mug hug

We take our coffee drinking seriously in the morning and I don't know about you, but what I drink my coffee in is almost as important as the coffee itself.  Even on the rare occasions that my husband brings me a cup of coffee and it's not in the preferred mug, I will secretly do a quick mug switch, hoping he doesn't know notice.  The type of mug I prefer?  Usually, one with curved walls, not straight edges.  It's more comfortable in the hand and perfect for the two handed mug hug.  You know, like this:

But we are giving ourselves an early Christmas present this year and searching for the perfect mugs and travel mugs.  I am thinking a sunny yellow may be nice.  And since we are in the spirit of the holidays, I'm going to start featuring a charitable purchase each day through December....the fishseddy mug is perfect and a percentage goes to the ny food bank.  If you haven't been in FishsEddy in ny or on their site, head on over.  It's one of my favorite stores!

west elm

Where does your coffee land in the morning?

Monday, November 28, 2011

What the %&#* is for dinner?

Red Bean Stew from Cooking Light
More and more, the what are we going to have for dinner question is stressing me out.  And I'm a little bit of a freak about just giving in to the usual take-out options.  Fast food is usually not the best option for all the usual reasons.  My kids don't even like McDonald's fries...I know, ALIENS, right?!  Whenever I went to the dr's office as a young child, my mom would often take me to Mcdees' for a post visit treat.  Totally counterproductive to a doctor's office visit, but hey, it was like 1981 and my mom and I were using our fries as cigarette props - my parents didn't even smoke, but it still wasn't totally frowned upon either.  Anyway, being a product of this time, I have tried to continue this tradition at a certain Rock n Roll McDonald's downtown which happens to be a few blocks from our pediatrician.  This is how it always goes, the kids only want shakes but they'll order fries because I always ask, "hey, you guys want fries with your shakes."  Agreeable children that they are, they cry, "YAY!" We are barely out of the drive-thru and the kids are calling me out on devouring the fries.  They don't even want any, they just can't get over the rate at which I can eat them.   ANYHOW, long story short, or long, I've got to keep the favorite healthy recipes in rotation, otherwise, it's mac cheese n peas, and I can't take the parental guilt of serving that too often.

So, every Monday I am going to start sharing one of our go-to healthy (usually) recipes for dinner.  If anyone wants to join in, I'd be happy to put up a little linky widget, and I'd be even happier to hear what you all make for dinner!  I need new recipes!!

RED BEAN STEW (my five yr old loves this, the three yr old will eat it, but not her fave)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 cups presliced mushrooms 
  • 1 cup diced carrot 
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
  • (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (i always use boxed tomatoes)
  • (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini (about 4 ounces short tube-shaped pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons commercial pesto
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • Sometimes I add garlic, onion and italian spices for more flavor


  • Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and carrot; saut√© 4 minutes. Stir in water and the next 4 ingredients (through broth). Cover; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta; cook, uncovered, for 11 minutes or until pasta is done. Stir in pesto; sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and a WINNER!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogging besties out there!
So much to be thankful for this year, as every year.

 Sharing one of my favorite outdoor thanksgiving table settings found on Pinterest.
Although, we will be celebrating inside, we'll be sure to venture out and give a little thanks to mother nature.

Another bid thanks to all of you who entered the Pillows by Dezign giveaway!
I am thrilled to announce that winner is the lovely TORRIE from A Place to Share.
Congratulations!  I am sure that you will be thrilled with your pillows!

Don't forget that ALL followers will receive 15% off all purchases made on November 26th by using the code goodiesandbesties.  Start making your lists and go shopping!

Look for another great giveaway in December!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pillows by Dezign - A GIVEAWAY!

Slowly but surely, I am putting the finishing touches on the interior design of our new condo, you know, because we just moved in.....seven years ago! My bed, dressed in all white, has been begging for an accessory, so I was delighted when I won a giveaway from Pillows by Dezign. They offer gorgeous pillows in unique prints, subtle shades, and cheery colors. So many fantastic options to choose from and something for every style! The Nate Berkus Show recently ordered a bunch of these beauties for one of their recent segments. Hey, if these goodies are decorating the chairs and couches of Mr. Berkus' set, I definitely want them on mine. The result is that my boring bed is going from this:

to this
(love the sunny yellow)

And now, I am returning the good pillow karma as Brian, from Pillows by Dezign, has graciously offered to giveaway a $65 shopping credit to apply to any of their amazing decorative pillows! They also offer custom designs and outdoor pillows, so head on over a take a look! Here are just a few of some of their gorgeous designs.

love this pop of fuchsia!

So how do you enter to win?
1. Visit and "like" Pillows by Dezign's Facebook page and leave a comment on their page
2. Visit their site and leave a comment on which pillow you will order if you win
3. Be a follower of GoodiesandBesties via Google Friend Connect & Twitter

Up to three entries per reader, leave a comment per each entry!

Giveaway ends November 23rd at 9pm central time. I'll announce the lucky winner on Thanksgiving day! So, be sure to take a break from turkey, wine and holiday list making to stop by and see if you've won.

ALL READERS will then receive 15% off their purchases the entire day of November 26th.
Use coupon code "goodiesandbesties"

Stay connected with Pillows by Dezign via their website, blog and twitter for more up-to-date trends on home decor and the latest pillow designs!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Best cookies ever!

Sometimes you just need a good old fashion chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk.

"These may be the best cookies I've ever had in my life."  - husband (but he did just take a full saturday to play paintball so take it with a grain of salt)

The perfect night cap.

Because I had a craving AND 3/4 bag left of mini chocolate chips.

And that's why I decided to make chocolate chip marshmallow cookies at 9:00 at night (that's late considering my son got up at 5:40AM, wth) But, I was enjoying my cookies by 9:23, so they passed my shorter than 10 min prep time test.

Best cookie recipe EVA found at this lovely lady's blog!

Monday, November 14, 2011

urban treasures

The Weather Gods blessed us with one last warm weekend!  It was in the 60's friends...and last week it snowed, so that's pretty warm.  I didn't mess around and took full advantage.  Dragged the kids to the beach to search for urban sand treasures and we found beach glass, blue crab claws, shells, AND shot gun shells.  Yep, you read that right.  It's the city after all.  We considered them all treasures anyway, along with the day.

the kids love sorting it all 

triple dog dare ya
my husband convinced me they had been sand blasted clean
rebel in my old-er age

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thumbs up!

"Hello!  Nice to meet you (going in to shake hands)  Oh, sorry, my hands are freezing...just came in from outside and I was just holding a cold drink."  Yeah, like a blue freezer pack?  These words come out of my mouth often and I am total lying!  MY HANDS ARE ALWAYS COLD.  And when I shake someone hands, I always feel the need to justify their iciness.  Which is why, I am a huge fan of shirts with thumb holes!  It's like wearing half a glove and I'll take it.  Maybe when I shake your hand, it will only be my pinky and ring finger that startle the north pole out of you.

My favorite designer from renegade, Jo Handmade Clothing, has been incorporating arm warmers and thumb holes in a lot of her winter line.

A little extra dose of coze...found on etsy

Etsy 1, 2, 3

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lavender love

My earlier posts this week were scheduled.  I knew that I wouldn't have the time or focus to post due to my three yr old daughter having surgery on Monday.  It was fairly routine and she is doing great, but one night in the hospital and watching your love being put under anesthesia is enough worry. The surgical waiting room in a children's hospital is intense...a mix between worry, feeling lucky and putting things perspective is an emotional roller coaster.  

A few weeks ago, I received a sample of some Dr. Hauschka products and one just happened to be Lavender Bath.  And, although, I haven't had time for a bath, I stuck my little sample in my emergency makeup bag and pulled it out for a little sniff here and there, to get through our waiting period.  It's a supple oil that I can dab on a wrist or temple for a little instant comfort.  I also mixed it with my hand cream for extra moisture.  A little goes long way with this product.

I promise to catch up on some reading this weekend!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Last Call

Despite some of the already nasty weather we've had here, we've also had glimpses of sun and 60 degree temperatures.  These days have kept my outdoor furniture out and some of my impatiens still blooming.  On Sunday, I enjoyed my coffee on the porch...something that I treasure and truly appreciate!  I refuse to close down my extra 120 sq feet of living space until snow is on the ground.  It is also reminding me how important my flower box planting is since the flowers and plants can last well into November.  That's almost 6 months of green bliss and I'll take it before it's 3 months of white bliZZ.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Clap hands for the pumpkin muffins!

My son and I used to sing the phrase when we'd go to the local bakery together and devour gigantic pumpkin muffins...this was our thing, when he was two and when the the local bakery was still there.  So when I woke on Saturday morning with a strong urge to bake up something with a can of pumpkin I had in the cabinet, I was delighted that I picked the perfect recipe.  I knew that I had seen many pumpkin recipes on some of my favorite blogs, but I couldn't remember when and where so I did what every good (clueless) cook does, I googled it.  When one the fifth search result down was from Pioneer Woman, I knew I had a winner.

Recipe for PUMPKIN SPICE MUFFINS via Pioneer Woman!

A few things:

  • DOUBLE the recipe; doubled it made 15 medium sized muffins
  • Make coffee right before they are completely cooled - duh!
  • Don't feel guilty about the butter!  Julia Child cooked with a lot of butter always and she lived a long, productive life.
  • Do let your children do the sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg combination sprinkling onto the top of the muffin before baking, it gives it a crunchy, delicious top!  And the kids will sprinkle on more than you ever would.

Friday, November 04, 2011



Everyone here is talking about how the weather people (?) have predicted the worst Chicago winter in 20 years. Awesome, we just had what felt like a short two months of summer and here we go again.  How could we even top last winter?  My cynical side is wishing that's it a nasty rumor started by some genius marketing gurus from North Face, Patagonia and other winter gear retailers. Because, yes, it's making me shop and obsess about our winter gear.  Yesterday, I made the kids get into their snow pants, boots, hats, mittens, scarves, the whole works, just so that I could see what's missing, what we need back-ups of, etc.. I've washed my short down jacket, my long down jacket, and I'm matching up gloves and leg warmers.  Winters in the city are a bit tricky because it's not like I can warm up my car in the garage before leaving for the day.  We walk to school.  My car is parked outside.  And the thought of freezing hands scraping layers of ice off the car is making me totally 110% appreciate that I am sitting in my warm kitchen right now with a cup of steaming hot coffee sitting next to me.

Bottom line:  I'm gearing up for winter.  Here are some items I am eyeing.  Bring it Old Man Winter!

Wool blend tweed vest from Old Navy
a whopping $25.00
i tried it on yesterday and it's as great as it looks
i know, i'm obsessed with vests
LL Bean Shearling Lined Boots
Inspired by a post from LifeThroughPreppyGlasses
Going back to the classics

Leg Warmers with Brass Buttons
$15.00 Sock Dreams
LOVE these!

Furry Aviator in Grey Super-Nubby w/ White Fur$75.00
Squast by Les
One of my favorite local designers, especially love her hats!

Eddie Bauer Ice Scraper Mit
REALITY purchase.

With one of my Squast by Les cozy hats
What I'll look like in a month or so..

Linking up with the fabulous Kori for Fashion Fridays!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

I packed my make-up bag for a getaway weekend recently and apparently, these are my must haves.  
I've already gushed about the healing powers of Egyptian Magic here, here and here, so I'll give a quick review of a couple of my other staples featured here.
I've been using this for several years now.  The shade on the right has a subtle sparkle and overall neutral hue; can be mixed with very neutral base on the left.  If I don't want it to look like i am wearing any eyeshadow, but i just want some coverage (c'mon, we all love coverage) I just put a small coat of the left shade.

The Multiple in LUXOR

I'm a sucker for anything marketed for multiple purposes!  This is a subtle highlighting stick that I use under the brow, on the cheeks and mostly importantly to create the "C".  The Nars specialist pointed out this technique of creating a "C" starting on TOP (above) of the brow, moving around the outer eye and finishing at the inner lower eye corner.  This gives your eye cream an extra boost.  Hey, I cannot even put a price on anything that helps me create illusion that I am well rested, together, and am not up with children at odd hours of the night!

My favorite lip balm, cuticle cream, everything salve.
Also mentioned here and here!

I'll finish up my go to reviews next week.
 In the meantime, care to share any products you are currently LOVING?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

All Saints Spitalfields

About a month ago, I was having a leisurely stroll up Michigan Ave.  I was in the middle of my two hour rejuvenation session, when I walked past this huge store called All Saints Spitalfields.  Intrigued that I could be entering an 11,000 foot store that I had never heard of...I entered.  Have you heard of this brand?  Apparently, it was started in 1994 in London and they have recently started a push to open brick and mortar stores in major US cities.  The store design was pure eye candy, the intriguing decor transports you to an old loft factory with lines of vintage singer sewing machines stacked from floor to ceiling...there are huge cast iron looms and other visually interesting artifacts that fill the store.  And the clothes are gorgeous, handbags amazing, and accessories definitely something you won't find anywhere nearby.  Have a look....

their lookbook is projected across the wall