Currently: November

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, y’all!  I hope everyone had a great time with friends and family celebrating good ol’ turkey day.  I’ve wrapped up my holiday celebrations and just settled in to wrap up November with my monthly currently post… here goes nothing!

Currently November  | No Thanks to Cake

Current Netflix Binge:

I’m still watching GILMORE GIRLS.  And, I’m quickly approaching the end of the series on Netflix.

Gilmore Girls | No Thanks to Cake

I feel like there is going to be a feeling of loss when this show ends.  Like I’ll miss them in some way.  That being said, this will be the end of TV watching for me for a while… but through my back injury, this show has been so fun to re-watch!

Current Confession:

I’m writing this after just getting home from Target… on Thanksgiving night.  There’s something about having time off, and having a lazy day… that makes me a little stir crazy, and wanting to get out.

Target Black Friday | No Thanks to Cake(Source)

That’s not a pic from my evening at Target, of course… but that’s what I was expecting.  Instead, there were just a bunch of people buying stacks of DVDs, and this girl carrying a red basket with Brita Water Filters, Teal Tights, and a new Pumpkin candle.  None of which was on sale, all of which was purchased after 11pm on a Thursday night… because I could.

Current Craft:

I sent my friend Jaede a cowl-style scarf last month that I knit, and it turns out her fancy, fabulous daughter Elizabeth loved it… so, I’ve been knitting her a fuzzy, sparkly, fabulous version for her birthday.  I finally finished it on Thanksgiving day, and plan to get it in the mail today.

Scarf | No Thanks to Cake

What sassy six year old wouldn’t love this?  Now, the next question is what I’ll knit next… I think this is the year of the hat.  Last year, I did ear warmers, the year before it was scarves… I think it’s a hat year.  Stay tuned!

Current Book:

A few weeks back, I had an opportunity to attend a Barnes and Noble pre-holiday blogger event here in Denver.  In doing so, I spotted this book… one that so many friends had recommended.

Wild | No Thanks to Cake

While I could have bought the paperback in-store, I instead decided to download it to my Nook so that I could read from my iPads/tablets… I’m just getting started, but excited to read about what this lady’s journey is like.  I’m hoping for an Eat Pray Love feel… we shall see!

Current Victory

I got back on my mat yesterday for the first time since my car accident in September.  Ever since I got rear-ended, things have been a little off.  My back’s still not right (Grrrr), but I’m tired of being afraid I’m going to hurt myself more.

Yoga | No Thanks to Cake

So… today, I went back to my studio, and I did my best.  Did it hurt?  Yes… Was it supposed to be a “gentle” class?  Yes…  but the instructor was no where even close to offering a gentle practice.  I modified a lot, and spent extra time in child’s pose because that served my body well.

I’m not there yet, but dang it, I’m going to be healed.  I’m going to feel normal again… I just have to!  And, this was the first step in my getting there.  Tiny victories!!!

Current Music

Now that the holidays are here, I think this is only appropriate…


Did I mention that I’m going to her concert in December??  I’m beyond excited.  If you’re not listening to her Christmas album Wrapped in Red, you totally should be.  Amazing…

Current  Calendar Conundrum

My December looks so crazy… I have FOUR trips to take between now and the new year.  What this means is that you may see a little less of me here on the ol’ blog, unless I have layovers at the airport (which I don’t really want to have!)

airport | No Thanks to Cake

I’ll be touching base weekly, but for the month of December the best way to keep up with me will be via social media: FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Current Fabulous Gift Idea #1

My friend Jade has the BEST taste and always points out fun items that I just NEEEEED.  Most times when she tells me about an item, I’m almost afraid to look them up… but I caved this week and checked out the No Matchy Matchy earrings.

They were featured on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list for 2014… and if Taylor is wearing them, I might need them too!

taylor-swift_Diamond-Initial_RedCJewels1Current Fabulous Gift Idea #2

And I can’t blame Jade for this one, I found it all on my own when I was peeking at the Kate Spade sale for Black Friday…

Kate Spade Polka Dot iPad Keyboard Case | No Thanks to Cake

 

As someone who has a tablet for work, not a laptop… it’s important that you have a keyboard so that you can stay productive.  How cute would this iPad case with bluetooth keyboard be???  I think it’s adorable, and I’m pretty sure I need it too.  Really, I need all the polka dots.  Especially if they’re black and white.  Every last one.

Note:  The use of the word “need” above could easily be replaced with “want.”

Current Holiday Video Fun

I’d spotted this video late on Thanksgiving night… “All About that Baste” = Priceless

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View my previous “Currently” posts here:

Currently:  October

Currently: September

Currently: August

Currently:  July

Currently:  June

Currently: May

Currently:  April

Currently: March 

Currently: February

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Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

I love mashed potatoes, especially with yummy gravy.  Mashed potatoes were always the dish at the holiday table that I wanted seconds and thirds of… that creamy goodness gets me every time!!!

When I found this recipe in a Weight Watchers cookbook, I knew I had to try it…

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Not only are these taters completely easy to make, but they’re incredibly tasty, cheesy, and beyond creamy!!

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Laughing Cow Cheese

Adapted from Weight Watchers

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

Cheesy Creamy Mashed Potatoes | No Thanks to Cake

1 (20-oz) package country style mashed potatoes

4 wedges Laughing Cow Cheese – Garlic and Herb flavor

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper.

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Heat potatoes per package ingredients.  Once warm, move to a large bowl.

2.  Stir in the Laughing Cow Cheese and the pepper.

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes | No Thanks to Cake

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Serve and enjoy!  Note:  My potatoes are shown below with Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy.  I’ve also made them with my Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Gravy.

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Laughing Cow Cheese | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/2 cup serving:

CAL 93; CARB 14.4g; FAT 2.9g; PROT 2.2g; FIB 1.6g; WW Points Plus: 2

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Why I’m Limiting My Holiday Cheer This Year

It’s not often that I talk about alcohol here on NTTC, but considering my weekend and considering the holidays are just around the corner, I wanted to talk about it.

Confession:  I don’t really like drinking.

To begin, I don’t drink very often.  I just don’t.  On most nights out with friends, I am responsible for driving myself… so, it’s just not a good idea.  Having a glass of wine at home?  That doesn’t really happen either.  While I’m sure many of my NTTC meals would pair well with a lovely glass of wine, I usually don’t feel like it.  I really just crave water on most days…

Wine | No Thanks to Cake

But… there’s something inherently social about consuming alcohol… when I get together with friends and family, that’s when I’ll pour a glass.  And, at Christmas time, my parents and I start opening the wine around 5pm most days… it’s just become a thing we do.

In addition to being a total lightweight when it comes to booze, I also live a mile above sea level.  If you’ve ever spent time at higher elevation, you may have noticed you’re a cheap drunk.  Allegedly, consuming one drink here in Colorado can feel more like you’ve had 2 or 3, which makes it a little dangerous.  Fitbloggin friends who will be here next year, take note!

Cosmopolitans | No Thanks to Cake

And, I kind of hate being drunk… When regular life things need to be done, being drunk and/or having a hangover really get in the way… This weekend, I got together with friends and was poured a magically endless glass of wine.  I doubt I had that much wine (see lightweight comment above,) but I was certainly over-served.  My sleep was impacted… I woke up exhausted, and not as sharp as I like to be on a busy Saturday.  And, completely dehydrated.

Thankfully, I wasn’t painfully hungover the next morning, but through this process, it has me once again thinking about my drinking habits and how they align with my health goals.  

In reality, drinking does not belong in my healthy living plan.  For example, the average 6 oz. glass of wine clocks in at about 150 calories… for something you drink!   A 12 oz. light beer will cost you about the same.  Drinking hard alcohol really varies quite a bit, depending upon what kind of mixer you’re using…

Beer | No Thanks to Cake

Bottom line:  We’re talking 150 calories for a BEVERAGE.  And, once you have one, you’re likely to consider a second, and depending upon the night, a third, a fourth… and for some reason, then you get hungry… and suddenly it’s a calorie explosion.  As I explain this process, I realize that it sounds a lot like a food binge from a calorie perspective, which is something I work to avoid.

All of this has me thinking about the holidays and how I want to handle drinking this year… and, I think it’s time to make a change. Just like that… I’ve decided to become a single beverage lady.

Yes, I’m officially a one wine woman.  A single spirit sister.  A no-refill Nancy.  This is happening…

Why I'm Limiting My Holiday Cheer this Year | No Thanks to Cake

I say this today, fresh from an overindulgent weekend in the booze department, but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while.  I recognize it will get extra tricky over the holidays, but I think it’s important.  And, if I can do this during the holiday season, I am unstoppable.

I fully expect that my decision to limit alcohol this season will be greeted similarly to how my healthy eating plan went.  There will be tons of support by most, and others will think I’m a spoilsport, a grinch, a party pooper, etc… but it’s the right thing to do for my body, for my health, and to assure I can capture all of my goals moving into 2015.

Related posts:

Fabulously on the Move: Conquering 60 Miles for a Cause {Guest Post}

I’ve had the pleasure of watching my friend Alyssa from The Double Chin Diary train for the Komen 3-Day throughout the year… and it’s been incredibly inspiring.  So inspiring, that I asked her to share her story with all of you here at NTTC.

Fabulously on the Move Double Chin Diary | No Thanks to Cake

Alyssa’s story is real, the challenge to complete this race is enormous, and her passion for the cause is deeply rooted in a recent family loss.  Read more below about my inspiring friend and how she’s challenging herself for a cause near and dear to her.

Conquering Sixty Miles for a Cause | No Thanks to Cake

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Hello everyone! I’m Alyssa and I’m so happy to be saying No Thanks to Cake today. I met Kelly at Fitbloggin in 2013 and this past year at Fitbloggin, we were roommates and both winners of an Avocado recipe contest. To say that Kelly is just as amazing in person as she is online is an understatement — she’s a delight in every possible way.

Fitbloggin Avocado Contest Double Chin Diary Alyssa | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve never been an exceptionally athletic person. In elementary school, my doctor had to remind me that while reading was great exercise for the mind, it wasn’t doing my pudgy body any favors. I’ve struggled with my weight since adolescence, and it seems like the past 15 years of my life I’ve been perpetually trying to lose weight. However, in the past few years, my priorities have shifted and it’s now less about the number on the scale and more about how I feel.

On Thanksgiving day in 2014, my wonderful mother-in-law told us she had Stage 3 Liver Cancer. On May 14, 2014, a mere six months after her diagnosis, we held her hand as she peacefully passed away. It was at that moment that I realized the horrible devastation cancer has caused to so many families had now affected mine. Cancer was no longer in my backyard, it was in my living room. A week after she was diagnosed, I accepted a job with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. The 3-Day is a 60 mile walk over the course of three days, and each walker fundraises $2,300 toward groundbreaking breast cancer research and community education. Within weeks of working there, it became clear what my purpose was with this new job.

Not only would I be making a difference in what I did to the millions of women and men affected by breast cancer every day, I would be making a difference to my family.

I signed up for the walk and nervously started fundraising. I asked for donations on my blog, through email, and writing letters, and soon, I had surpassed my goal of $2,300, and have now reached over $2,800. The next big challenge was tackling the physicality of the walk. 20 miles is an awful lot to walk, and for someone who’s not incredibly fit, I wasn’t sure I could do even a quarter of the walk daily, five miles.

Around Thanksgiving last year, I completed a 5k (3.2 miles) where my feet ached the whole last mile. I’ve been a regular exerciser over the years, but always things like bootcamp or swimming, never distance. I started slow. I walked to the post office. I walked to the grocery store. I got bolder and added another mile to a mile. Soon, I was regularly walking 3 miles. I felt my body change. I could walk 3 miles and not feel too sore, so I did 4. Then I did 5. Then, one day, my friend Jason challenged me to do 6. We walked for two hours around a beautiful local lake, and as the sun sank into the horizon, I realized that I had just easily cleared 6.8 miles – more than double the amount I had struggled with just a few months prior.

6.8 turned into 7. 7 turned into 8. 8 turned into 9, and then, finally, 9 turned into 10. This weekend, I tackled my first 10-mile walk. It’s not like strolling through the mall or speed-walking – you need to be conscious of your electrolytes, your dehydration level, using the restroom, wearing the right shoes. On mile 8 of the 10 mile walk, I didn’t think I could keep going. My foot was aching, I was thirsty, and in my mind, I was done. But with the support of my friends and a few well-timed breaks, I kept going. This journey hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worth it.

I’m guilty of sometimes having a fat girl mentality when it comes to exercise. “Oh no,“ I think. “I can’t possibly do that, I’m too big.” Well, try telling yourself you’re too big after you’ve just walked 5 miles. Then try 10. Self-worth, validation, pride – these things come easily when your feet have carried you so far. Size has nothing to do with it.

Alyssa Double Chin Diary | No Thanks to Cake

Training for this walk won’t bring my mother in law back. Completing this walk won’t bring her back. But what it will do is create more chances of survival for a person who’s just had their world turned upside down by cancer.

A few months before my mother-in-law passed, I told her I would be completing the walk in her honor. She pushed down her glasses slightly, a move she always did when she was trying not to cry. She was honored, and I knew in that moment that the blisters, the aching, and the tears will be nothing compared to what she and so many others have endured. In November, I’ll carry her name with me every step of the way. Besides being an amazing role model of love and courage, my mother-in-law gave me a gift. Her struggle with cancer and departure from this Earth reminded me as I trained for this walk that while my size may describe me, it does not define me. There are limits we place on ourselves that can be easily overcome if we give ourselves the grace to believe that we can. 

Alyssa will be walking the Komen 3-Day in San Diego, CA this weekend.  Let’s send her some NTTC love as she takes on this amazing feat!  So proud of you, my dear!

Want to follow Alyssa and her Double Chin Diary adventures?  Heres’s a few ways that you can keep up with Alyssa:  Double Chin Diary Blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest

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