The Good Food Festival is showing how eating clean can be tasty and fun!

The way to my heart is food. Not just any type of food, but good food! So when I was offered the opportunity to become a “Good Food Festival” ambassador I jumped on it. It’s a day celebrating Good Food! Discover new artisanal goods from over 150 exhibitors, learn from workshops and chefs demos, and explore our family-friendly programming!


As a mom I want the best possible food for my family and I crave learning new ways to make eating healthy fun and tasty. The Good Food Festival will have Live cooking demos as well as a kid area so the kids can experience new foods and have a little fun time. This is a win win for me! 

Here’s the major detail for the Festival The admission is FREE with registration


Big time Chefs Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp of Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken, whose delicious food much of it locally and sustainably sourcedc will conduct a chef demo on our Chefs at Play stage after a brief awards ceremony. Rick Bayless of the Frontera restaurant group, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year; Rob Levitt, the award-winning head butcher at The Butcher & Larder at Local Foods; Paula Haney of Hoosier Mama Pie Company; and Aaron Lirette of Green River. And there will be an amazing demo by the Artisan Grain Collaborative on growing and milling artisan grain — and then baking the flour into delicious, locally sourced sourdough bread.

There will also be vendors, a food court to eat with your family, and tons of workshops to explore. The Good Food Festival will definitely be full of things to do for the whole family. I was able to sample some of the fun at the Media Preview and I left full and empowered. 

Special thank you to Johanna from MommaCuisine for putting together such a cool collection of Bloggers to be ambassadors. 

A few vendors came to show the media what was in store for the attendees on Saturday and I must say I was impressed! 


I tried the best crepes EVER! Basil Key lime pie that almost made me ask for seconds and pierogies made with braised beef that I’ve dreamed about since.

There is something about eating with family and friends that makes food even tastier. My mother who always helps me at different blogging events attended the Preview and my husband who is the Head Cook at a High End hotel was off work and attended the Preview with me as well. Since he’s a true foodie it was fun to see him try the foods and speak with the other cooks in the place.



My friend Briana came from work to hang out with me and check out some of the vendors.  She’s a working mom and an excellent cook so I’m sure she learned a few new recipes and techniques at the event. As a mom I totally appreciate her arranging a sitter to come out 


My blogger boos always come out to support and we have the best convos! 


Of course my co-ambassador Natasha is my sister from another mother she keeps me laughing and in the loop of the professional blogging world. Her blog has encouraged me in more ways than one. Plus she’s an awesome cook!


My Blogalicious roomie and blogger boo Sharice from This Single Sole who is a foodie and a health enthusiast came out as well. She’s such a supportive soul and I always enjoy hanging with her.


Fashion Blogger Guru Latoya made her fashionable entrance and hung out with us foodies. She keeps me laughing and always sees the potential in my brand and blog so it’s always amazing having her around.


My natural hair blogger boo Michelle checked out the event with her bright smile and warm personality. We just connected last year at a blogger conference, but since then we’ve definitely been working together. 

Joyce who is a Christian mom of 6 (doesn’t look like she’s had one baby) has a blog about food and fitness so the Good Food Festival Media Preview was a perfect fit for her. She came out to support me and since I hadn’t seen her since I was pregnant with Chance it felt really good to just catch up while tasting good food.


Last week’s Media Preview was a success and a really cool snippet to this weekend’s Good Food Festival. I hope to see you there

Easy Cake Mix Christmas Cookies

It’s almost Christmas and the excitement is in the air. As I write this my husband is putting our Christmas lights in the front windows, Christmas music is blaring from Pandora, and Chance is staring at the miniature Santa we have in the dining room. I can’t wait to see Dereon’s face when he comes in from school to see that Christmas is in full effect in the Pyles’ home officially.

Tonight I plan on watching a good Holiday movie while eating some cookies and milk with the family. Last night I made 3 patches of some Cake Mix Christmas Cookies! If you know me then you know I’m not a baker, but my Blogger Boo Natasha from Houseful Of Nicholes had a wonderful idea to do a Cookie Blog hop titled #HousefulOfCookies it’s like 25 days of cookie recipes! This is my second year being a part of the fun. You can check out the cookies I made last year here.


This year I wanted something that wouldn’t break the break and wouldn’t give me a headache either. These cookies are easy, cheap, kid friendly and tasty! I’m all for easy and cheap. Lol. Being a mom of 2 makes you look at your budget a little differently. Who doesn’t want to do a Christmas themed project with the kids for only a few bucks while creating priceless memories. This was the perfect thing to do!


Dereon helped add the ingredients and lick the spoon afterwards to confirm the cookie dough was actually tasty. Dennis helped whip up the batter with the mixer and Chance was sleep thank heavens! Lol. Overall it was fun and once the Cookies came out we decided to make these a staple in our home. 

Make a batch and let me know your thoughts. Also the Cookie Blog Hop has just started so check out the hashtag #HousefulOfCookies to see what other bloggers are baking! 


Cake Mix Christmas Cookies

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Makes 3 batches 

Ingredients:

1 box of Vanilla Cake Mix

1 stick of Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature

3 Eggs

2 tsp of Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp of Confetti Sprinkles

The Instructions 

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a mixing bowl add the cake mix, butter, eggs and vanilla extract, and mix well with a hand mixer. Add your Christmas colored sprinkles and gently fold those in.

3) Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto your cookie sheet which you should spray with a nonstick spray.

4) Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. 

5) Let them cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy with a cup of cold milk!

The best place to go in Chicago for last minute Halloween costumes!

Can you believe how close Halloween is? It’s right around the corner and so many of my friends are complaining that they still don’t have their costumes yet. All I had to say was Fantasy costumes

Chicago’s largest costume megastore, will be open 24 hours/day until Halloween for last minute Halloween shopping! Fantasy Costumes offers customers a city block long store with over 1,000,000 selections including costumes, accessories, makeup and more. Fantasy Costumes carries 2016’s most popular costumes.


The family and I headed over to find some costumes with all the the cute bells and whistles and we lucked up when we stopped at Fantasy Costumes! Wall to wall full of costumes, accessories, and wigs to complete any and every look you could think of. From babies to adults Fantasy Costumes has you covered.


For my plus size girls they have you in mind and to my big and tall men you aren’t forgotten about either. Shopping for costumes can be hard, but I think the hardest part for us was picking from the millions of costumes right in front of us. If you are still searching for the perfect costume check them out! I will say since my husband birthday is on Halloween we celebrate a little more than most, but it’s always pure fun. Can’t wait to show you our costumes! 

Ferrara Candy Company is sharing goodness: Boo! At the Zoo

Kids love candy and if it’s gummy or sour they love it even more! This past weekend my family and I headed out to Brookfield Zoo to explore “Boo! At the Zoo”. We were greeted by super friendly and fun candy booths full of treats for the zoo goers. The kids faces instantly lit up when they received a treat. This was going on at 5 different spots around the zoo. 


We were able to have a VIP animal encounter with a cool Zoo keeper and a pretty cool wild cat. Ferrara Candy Company invited more than 100 kids out to experience this one on one time and boy did they enjoy themselves. When it was time for questions even the adults chimed in. 


Ferrara Candy Company is definitely sharing goodness with the community by sponsoring 400 plus neighbors with complimentary admission and transportation to Boo! at the Zoo. They sent buses to gather kids from their schools to enjoy the fun at the zoo! They are also donating more than 10,000 lbs. of candy and providing more than 300 volunteers to make this Halloween super special and spooktacular for the community. I know for a fact they donated tons of candy because I grabbed a few pieces of candy myself. Lol.

It really warms my heart to see a company five back and really do it where the community can definitely benefit from it. Just seeing the kids in their costumes smiling ear to ear with their candy just made my day.


UniverSoul Circus brings Soul to Chicago

Last week me and the kiddos ventured to Washington Park to check out the UniverSoul Circus and boy let me tell you…we had a blast! This was baby Chance’s first time at the circus and I couldn’t be happier with the show. We danced and laughed as we became a part of the  most interactive circus ever.


I remember being a young adult and taking my little sister to the “Soul Circus” it was always a treat for me too (even though I never told her that lol). The music would always be up to date and she knew all the dance moves they were doing. Well fast forward 10 years later and guess what? We are back atthe circus this time and now she’s a college student home for her Fall break. We also have now added my 2 kids and our little sister Dionne. My mom even tagged along this time. LaToya from The Fat Girl of Fashion who happens to be one of my Blogger boos invited us to check out the show with her.


The show kept us ooohing and aahing the whole night. It was so interesting that it kept the attention of my 1 year old (which is a hard thing to do!)


Dereon and Dionne couldn’t stay seated, they danced on every song!


I don’t believe in spoilers so I won’t tell you everything that happened at the UniverSoul Circus, but be prepared to be amazed. Tricks, illusions, and entertainment for days.


The Circus will be in town until October 30, 2016. You can grab your tickets online or at the box office outside of the Big Top located at Washington Park


The kiddos had a blast as we created priceless memories with the help of the Soul Circus! Definitely check them out when they come to your city and if you are in Chicago grab your tickets today because time is winding down. 

iPhone 7 

I’m an iPhone user and I love Apple, but I’m not a fan of every year finding out my phone is obsolete because Apple has dropped a newer and better version. Sigh. Anyways today Apple released information on its new phone…the iPhone 7. 


The press conference is happening right now so the news is slowly coming in, but a picture has been leaked showcasing a water resistant iPhone which is huge news for Apple lovers. 

This new phone will also boast a new camera. The speakers have been upgraded to stereo speakers. Better battery life is expected and the biggest feature to me is the wireless headphones that will be included since the ear phone jacks have been removed. Pretty interesting stuff.

The new iPhone is available for preorder and drops September 16th 2016. As more information becomes available I’ll definitely share. 

September 2016…Are you kidding me?

It’s September already! I’m just in shock because 2016 is going by way too fast for me. As a kid I couldn’t wait to grow up and now as an adult I can’t wait to win the lotto. Lol. The kids are back in school, the summer heat is definitely gone, and now the holidays play peek a boo with us.


I love FALL, it’s my favorite Season. The weather, the colors, fun Fall themed events, and finally relaxing from a crazy busy summer. It just seems like it snuck up on us. I have a jammed packed Fall too, but it should be all love and fun. My wedding anniversary is in September, my husband’s birthday is in October, and of course Halloween falls in October. So be looking out for some blog post about all of that.

May September (and Fall 2016) be a wonderful time in your life! Eat lots of apples, pumpkins, and other Fall themed treats. Stay encouraged, excited about your future, and focused!
Blessings.

Ice Age: Collision Course coming to theaters soon!

Me and the kids can’t wait to see the new movie, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE! It’s hitting the theaters July 22nd!

Wondering what the movie is about? In the 5th installment of the ICE AGE movies, Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colorful new characters.

To see some previews of the film visit here

Fat Girl of Fashion Brunch!

A few Sundays ago I was invited to a wonderful brunch hosted by TheFatGirlOfFashion to celebrate her 3 year Blog anniversary! When I tell you I had a good time, believe me. We laughed, ate, sipped cocktails, and laughed so much more. The brunch was held at FarmHouse Chicago. which was a great central location and extremely easy to get to. 

When we arrived the table settings were so creative and cute. Our party favors were MAC Lipsticks…yes a full sized MAC Lippie. I was over the moon because your girl here loves a good lipstick. We also received a body butter sample by a local Chicagoland vendor. There also was a professional photographer from Levine – Moore Photography going around catching candid shots of us as well as any requested photo looks you wanted to do. 


Wait, I’m jumping the broom. I’m telling y’all all about this fabulous event, but didn’t give you the info on the wonderful honoree! Some of you may already know Fashion Blogger Latoya Wright of FatGirlOfFashion.com she’s one of my close blogger boos. Latoya is a sweetie pie. Funny, fashionable, reliable, and a true ball of fun. We have such a good time every time we hang together. She’s been to every event I’ve invited her to so I couldn’t miss dining with her to celebrate her 3 successful years blogging.


I ordered The Farmer’s Breakfast which was Scrambled Farm Eggs, Kale, Shallot, Fine Herbs, White Cheddar, Spicy Potatoes
,sausage and Multigrain Toast. My meal was so flavorful and filling. 


We also got a sweet treat. They are called Sticky buns and boy were they tasty!


My Mimosa was well deserved and the perfect mixture of fresh juice and champagne .

After enjoying our eats we all shared who we were, how we knew Latoya, and our overall thoughts on her and her blog. It was a very special moment to share with her. She has inspired, motivated, and encouraged so many women off and online so it was a blessing to know she was able to see that her work isn’t in vain.

The brunch was a lot of fun and I’m super happy to have a blogger boo turn into a good friend! Congrats Latoya, may you have many more years in this blogging world.
 

A Real Urban Mom riding the 2015 Subaru Legacy

Guys I’m super excited to say this… my family and I are test driving the 2015 Subaru Legacy! We will have the car for a whole week and we’ve already been putting that baby to use. We’ve ran errands, did last minute Christmas shopping, dropped off gifts and picked some up from family and friends. Whew!

The funny thing is the car just fits perfectly in our life. It’s not too big and it’s not too small. Our boys fit comfortably in the back and have some room to move around and Dennis has enough leg room when driving and being a passenger (he’s 6ft.) Since I’m short I love the fact the seats can be moved by a push of a button.

The gas mileage on this car has been amazing, we have been all over Chicago and we still have more than a half tank of gas! I’m impressed. I’ll keep you guys posted on what else the Subaru can do later this week!

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Keep an eye out on us on social media because videos and pictures are being uploaded constantly! We are loving this car and super blessed to have it for a whole week!