New Obsession: Trader Joe’s

I know that many of you have been enjoying Trader Joe’s for years.  Can you believe that Trader Joe’s just FINALLY showed up in Colorado in February??

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After letting the crowds die down a little and the overall mayhem settle, I finally made my way there!  OMG… so many yummy items to choose from!

Now, I don’t think I could really do all of my groceries here, but it’s perfect for picking up a few (or a LOT!) of specialty items.  I’ve found quite a few over the past week that are SO GOOD that I had to share.

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

Check out this cart full of goodies that I picked up on Friday when I was going there for “soup”… please also note that there is no “soup” in this cart.  Classic!

So… What did I buy and what did I love so far?

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

Arugula & Parmigiano Reggiano Ravioli

These ended up being an impulse buy.  Again, I was looking for soup… and somehow I ended up with fresh pasta.  Trader Joe’s has a wonderful selection of filled pastas to choose from – - everything from lobster to bolognese to arugula.  I went with the Arugula version and cooked it up as an amazing Friday night dinner.  Pairing it with a few other purchases.

Greens

Mini Heirloom Tomatoes and Organic Micro Greens

While the Arugula pasta cooked, I sliced a few mini heirloom tomatoes with a handful of organic micro greens and some basil olive oil.  Adding a little salt and pepper, this dish was fantastic and incredibly beautiful.  This is one to try.  VERY little oil, and mostly veggies…

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

 Mini Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches

And then…. I met these guys.  These 70-calorie for two ice cream treats are AMAZING!

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

They’re very Oreo-like, and filled with minty chocolate chip ice cream.  Try them….

Hold the Cone

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

These tiny chocolate-lined ice cream cones are ridiculous.  They are tiny, but amazingly good.  The chocolate coating is crunchy, revealing the creamiest of ice cream on the inside (even straight from the freezer!)  Also, only 70 calories… yep, get them, too!

Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

I bought the Garlic & Herb flavor upon my friend Tiffany’s recommendation.  OMG… so good!  I made a really decadent pizza out of it.  And, actually split the ball of dough into 4 pizzas.  While this stuff is amazing, be very aware of the serving size and the calories you’re taking in.  It’s more than you’d think, unfortunately. But check out this pizza!  AMAZING!

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

The flavor combination that I came up with was a little crazy… but so delicious.  How about bacon, peppadew peppers, and fresh mozzarella?  Amazing with that salty, sweet combo.  I’m going to work to make it with a little bit of a lighter dough the next time, and I’ll share the recipe.  Good stuff!

Coconut Oil Spray

I’m incredibly late to the coconut oil game, but better late then never…

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve started roasting and cooking veggies with this stuff.  So good!

All The Sauces

I also feel like I bought all of their sauces.  Here’s a little peek at a few that came home with me…

New Obsession: Trader Joe's | No Thanks to Cake

And, truthfully, there are quite a few more in my pantry.  Barbecue sauces and curries, and so much more!

Since I am so new to Trader Joe’s, what other items do I need to try on my next TJ’s run?

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Currently: March

Happy Friday, My Dears…

We’re almost to the end of  March already!!!  That’s so hard to believe… but I figured there’s no time like the present to post this month’s “currently” post… Enjoy!

CURRENTLY: MARCH 2014

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Current Book:

I’ve been so busy lately!  Downtime, schmowntime… Who needs it?? {Um, I totally do!}  I took some time this weekend to just relax and disconnect.  In doing so, I stumbled across this book by Elin Hilderbrand… and I am loving it so far.  I’ve read a TON of her books, and I’m such a fan.

Summer People by Elin Hilderbrand | No Thanks to Cake

Her books also have a lovely way of taking me to Nantucket Island, on the beach and splashing in the ocean.  Needed that, Elin.  Thanks!

Current Music:

I got a new iPod last month, and it has been making me dig through my archives for songs I haven’t listened to in forever.  I may or may not have landed on some Air Supply last week… and I freakin loved belting it out in the car!  No judgment… who doesn’t love Air Supply??

Air Supply | No Thanks to Cake

Current Nail Color:

I’ve been rocking “Power Clutch” by Essie this month… LOVE IT!

Essie Power Clutch | No Thanks to Cake

It’s sort of a greenish-greyish color, and I’m wearing it on my nails and toes!  I do, however, feel summer colors coming on pretty quickly… stay tuned!

Current Drink: 

As always, I’m drinking mostly water… but I’ve gotten hooked on a new drink at Starbucks.  How about a tall skinny latte with 1.5 pumps skinny hazelnut and 1.5 pumps skinny mocha??

So delish!!!  And, I’ve needed the caffeine kick lately… so it’s been my afternoon pick-me-up!  110 calories worth of warm tasty goodness!

Current Food:

I’m eating a LOT of Jenny Craig these days, and I’m LOVING it!  Specifically their amazing cinnamon rolls…. they make my tastebuds sing!

Jenny Craig Cinnamon Rolls | No Thanks to Cake

Current Favorite Show:

Grey’s Anatomy has been amazing lately.  I’ve been watching it for years, and frankly… it was amazing, and then it sucked for a while, but it’s back to incredible again.  I must admit some of the draw to Grey’s Anatomy has everything to do with the Jackson-April storyline…

Jackson Avery | No Thanks to Cake

Move over, McDreamy and McSteamy…

Current Outfit:

I’ve been all about dresses lately.  Whether it be this sparkly number

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

Or these dresses… from JCP, New York and Company, and H&M

Cute Dresses | No Thanks to Cake

 Hurry up, Warm Weather!!!

Current Wish List:

Another black tie event to look forward to…. yeah, I freakin’ love getting dressed up…

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

Current Excitement:

I am heading to Phoenix on Sunday night for a work trip.  I’m excited to get out of Denver for a few days with one of my favorite co-workers.  There’s something delightful and healing about the desert.  I can’t wait to get there…

Desert | No Thanks to Cake

Current Needs:

I need to decide what the heck I’m doing for Fitbloggin this year.  I’ve booked my room and my registration… but I can’t decide if I’m going to spend a few extra days on the east coast.  I need to get with the friends and family and decide!

Current Indulgence:

Mug Cakes… after making this cake on Saturday night, it’s all I want to eat.  So delish!  Click here for the recipe details…

Microwave PB2 Chocolate Mug Cake | No Thanks to Cake

Current Online Obsession:

Sole Society – - I’m not sure how I even found their site, but they have the cutest shoes… including these DEA wedges in BEET that I had to order.  I have a feeling I’m going to be living in them for the next few months.  So cute!

DEA Wedge Sole Society | No Thanks to Cake

Current Inspiration:

This mantra, and saying it often…  It can shift your energy pretty fast, in the best possible way.  Try it…

Happy Healthy Wealthy Healed Whole | No Thanks to Cake

Current Mood:

Determined.

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A Night on the Red Carpet

When Sunday rolled around, it was Oscar day!!!  I was able to secure us a hotel close to the Belcourt Theatre where we got dressed together before the event.  With an early morning flight, staying downtown was beyond a good idea…

How cool was this view from the hotel?  I’m not at all a sports fan… but I can appreciate a beautiful stadium.

Vanderbilt Stadium | No Thanks to Cake

Something you can note by the picture.  It wasn’t the most beautiful day in Nashville.  A wintry ice storm was brewing, but we didn’t let that stop us!

Which dress did I choose to wear?

When I was deciding which dress to wear, I went with the dress that was most comfortable.  The one that I didn’t feel like I’d have to wear spanx, and the one that was just so incredibly beautiful.

Who was I wearing, you ask?  Badgley Mischka 

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

Yes, for the first time since I took dance classes back in grade school, I wore sequins!  And… I even used fake lashes for the first time.  I’ll definitely be using these again!  So fun!  To prep for the night because I knew I would be showing some skin, I also got a spray tan.  Safe sun FTW!

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

With the cold and rain outside, you’ll see my hair deteriorate as the evening goes on, but there were some curls in the hair when we left the hotel.  

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

We were dressed in a flash and met in the lobby for some cocktails before we headed over to the Belcourt.  We had our own special car service of sorts… Donna’s 17 year old son Zach made sure we arrived at the event safely!

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

It was raining HARD when we arrived, and the Belcourt had made sure that they had men with golf umbrellas to escort us in.  And, as soon as we popped into the tent, the step and repeat was ready for us!

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

We had our picture taken and then worked our way into the event.  Because Donna is on the board for the event, we ended up with fabulous VIP tickets, including lovely prime seating, access to a VIP lounge, and amazing goody bags.

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

A Red Carpet Evening Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

We popped into the VIP lounge to grab a few cocktails and some hors d’ouevres.  It was here we also ran into two of my favorite guys, Doug and Ron.

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

As we were checking out the venue, we had a chance to scope out the entire theater.  Behind the screens is where the VIP lounge was located, and each of the theaters had been transformed into an elegant Oscar viewing party.

A Red Carpet Evening Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

We made our way to our seats as Ellen took the stage, and noted the lovely roses that had been set out for the guests.

A Red Carpet Evening Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

The Oscars were fantastic, and getting to see my friend shine at her favorite event of the year was PRICELESS.

A Red Carpet Evening Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

This was the best night I’ve had in a long time.  It is so fun to dress up and look gorgeous.

A Night on the Red Carpet - Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

I feel like most days, I get caught in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life… it’s fun to take a moment to just be fabulous.  It was the perfect getaway, with the perfect dress, and two of my dearest friends.  Thanks, Donna and Jaede, for sharing this special night with me.  xoxo

A Red Carpet Evening Belcourt Theater Nashville | No Thanks to Cake

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Renting the Runway

My fabulous friend Donna has been involved with Belcourt Theater for years.  One of Nashville’s historic and most loved movie venues, they host their annual benefit on Oscar Night.

Belcourt | No Thanks to Cake

The night is one I’ve heard Donna talk about for years, and one of the main reasons that I flew out to Nashville last weekend.

When you have an opportunity to have a night on the red carpet, you want to shine and look gorgeous and Donna introduced me to a new service that did just that.

Rent the Runway | No Thanks to Cake

Rent the Runway offers designer rental attire for special occasions – - including both dresses and the perfect accessories!  Their collection spans from lovely cocktail dresses to full evening gowns.  Designers include Badgely Mischka, David Meister, Escada, and many more.

Rent the Runway | No Thanks to Cake

Choosing a Dress

Shopping online was so fun!  You set up a profile, filter by dress size, occasion, neckline, etc and then you have a chance to see all of the many dresses that are available.  They offer a wide variety of dress sizes and lengths, which makes it easy to find the perfect frock!

Rent the Runway | No Thanks to Cake

For a full length evening gown, prices range from about $70-$270 from what I could see.  And, there were a lot of perks associated with renting from RTR:

-       Because it was my first rental, I saved $25!  This is a promotion they offer for first time users!  Love it!

-       With your first gown selection, they’ll send you the size you choose, as well as a second size of the same gown.  This is a GREAT option.  What if you’re favorite gown didn’t fit??

-       With my order I was able to also order a second design for just $30.

-       RTR stylists also offer accessories for every dress on their site – - One stop shopping!

After digging through the site for a few hours, sharing pics with friends and via Instagram, I settled on these two dresses.

Rent the Runway | No Thanks to CakeRead the Reviews!  They Are So Helpful!

What really helped me make my decision was reading the customer reviews.  You can see pictures of the gowns on woman who have actually rented them and hear what they thought about the dress!

-       “Dress was really tight in the bust.  Order a size up if you’re over a 36B.”

-       “I’m 5’6” and the dress length was perfect with a 3 inch heel.”

-       “Zipper was very hard to close.  Make sure you have help getting dressed.”

-       “I felt stunning and comfortable in this dress”

I was really reading these reviews to understand how true to size they were, to see pictures of other women who were about my size (models aren’t a good comparison to how something will look on my hips) and to understand how long these bad boys were going to be.

How the Rental Works

You can choose a rental period of 4 or 8 days.  I chose 4, since I didn’t really need it much longer than that.  I actually had the dress shipped to Jaede’s house, and it arrived just in time, beautifully packed.

Rent the Runway | No Thanks to Cake

Rent the Runway | No Thanks to Cake

When I got to Jaede’s house, we held a quick fashion show, and I am pleased to report that both dresses fit beautifully!  Note:  The pics below were taken in Jaede’s closet, and I wasn’t the best photog, as you can see…

Rent the Runway Fashion Show | No Thanks to Cake

If you have a fabulous event coming up (or even are planning to be a bride soon!), I definitely recommend this service.  It was simple to order and the dresses were gorgeous.

To return the dresses, I simply tossed them into the pre-paid UPS envelopes RTR provided and shipped them back.  They take care of the cleaning and the shipping costs!  So easy!

I’ll tell you more about the event and which dress I picked on Friday…

Note:  I was not compensated in any way by Rent the Runway.  I just really liked their service and thought it would be something great to share here on NTTC.  The post above does, however, include referral links. 

Have you ever used Rent the Runway?

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