Chihuly in Denver

There has been a Chihuly art exhibit at the Denver Botanic Garden in Cherry Creek ALL SUMMER LONG, and I finally made it there last week!

Chihuly at the Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

I’m pretty sure that I’m the LAST PERSON in Denver to see this exhibit, and I’d say… better late than never!!  To all of my Denver friends, you must go see this!  You have until November 30th… you will LOVE it!

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

And, I almost missed it if I’m completely honest.   Pam, Ashleigh, and I had been planning for weeks to get over there, but you know how it goes… the weekends are booked, gross weather strikes, and then… out of nowhere the most gorgeous 75 degree October day appears, and we’re there!  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with this idea.  The place was PACKED!

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

Nothing like seeing an art exhibit with a few hundred of my closet friends, after all… I didn’t mind so much, especially since I was with two good friends and had my trusty Canon Rebel in hand to capture a bunch of shots of the insane beauty of this 24-acre garden.

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

I thought it was awesome that the Chihuly team was able to add the beautiful glasswork in a way that just seemed so non-invasive to the existing landscape… and in a way that just seemed to emphasize the beauty of the garden.

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

In addition to the beautiful flowers throughout the garden, there are also gorgeous reflecting pools,  In a very Monet-like way, these reflecting pools set off the glass pieces beautifully.

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

Like many others, I was first introduced to Chihuly when I glanced up at the Bellagio registration ceiling in Las Vegas… and gasped at how lovely it was.  I had no idea that he did garden exhibits as well… so enamored by his work.  I also fell in love with the beautiful flowers at the gardens.

As someone who doesn’t have much land to grow flowers, I sure lust after them… My next place needs some flower beds, and perhaps a cute lawn boy (whether mine or hired.)  Until then, I’ll just visit the botanic gardens to get my fill…

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

It took about an hour and a half to make our way through the exhibit, seeing most (if not all) of the pieces that they had planted.  I stopped quite a bit for pictures, because there were just so many beautiful shots to be taken.

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

The most beautiful stop on our mini tour (and my favorite!) had to be this boat, filled with these brightly-colored orbs.  So stunning!

Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens | No Thanks to Cake

The exhibit itself runs through November 30th, and tickets are just $15 for adults (non-member), and $9 for children (non-member.)  They also have a lighted evening exhibit called Chihuly Nights that we are going to try to see before the end of the month.  These tickets are the same price, and I’ve heard that it is absolutely exquisite!

As blown away as I was by the exhibit, I also fell in love with the Denver Botanic Gardens during our visit!  I sincerely can’t believe that it was my first visit, and I know that it is far from my last.  Such an incredible place… I may ask Santa to make me a member for Christmas.  It just seems like a lovely place to visit and clear your head, or to visit with friends to see the seasonal flowers… while enjoying a picnic lunch.  I definitely need to spend more time here, member or not.  It’s just lovely!

Denver Peeps, run don’t walk… get there before November 30th!

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Celebrating Tiffany

A few months ago, my friend Tiffany mentioned that she was taking her birthday off and that she had plans to celebrate it at a spa.  Like any good friend, I totally volunteered to accompany her.

Because friends don’t let friends spa alone… especially on their birthday!

On Friday morning, Tiffany, Kristen, and I headed to the mountains to the Tallgrass Aveda Spa in beautiful Evergreen, Colorado.  Evergreen is about 20 minutes from where I live, and further west into the mountains than I often go.  Even on the drive to the spa, I knew we had made a good choice.  Check out this view…

The spa itself was tucked away from civilization, with a perfect view of the Rockies.  The weather was AMAZING on Friday, so we had no trouble getting into the higher elevation – - which was awesome!

When we checked in Tiffany and I had scheduled a pedicure and a massage, and Kristen had opted for a mani/pedi.  The ladies quickly got us checked in and we were whisked away for pedicures.

Since we all three had pedicures at the same time… they lined us up in these super cozy chairs.  LOVED IT!

Tallgrass Spa Pedicures | No Thanks to Cake

Where else do you get propped up in a puffy chair with lots of pillows??  It was awesome!

Shortly after, we went back to the great room to wait for our massages.  Ahhhh….

Tallgrass Spa | No Thanks to Cake

The room itself was decorated so prettily.  There was a fire burning in the fireplace… and there were snacks handy.  Apparently, I was starving!  Even after eating my standard Peanut Butter Overnight Oats for breakfast.  Thank goodness for trail mix!

Tallgrass Spa | No Thanks to Cake

The massage was absolutely FANTASTIC!  I have been on and off experiencing some lower back pain, and Lindsey did a great job to work on the area.  And, strangely, I talked through most of my massage… but I hear that Tangerine Oil can be invigorating.  Next time I’ll choose lavender so I’m not as chatty! :)

After the massages, we had an option to spend some time in the steam shower.  Of course, we took advantage of this too.  It felt amazing and so hydrating for ladies that live in such a dry, dry place…

Tallgrass Spa | No Thanks to Cake

Before we knew it, our morning of pampering had come to an end.  After posing for one last pic, we headed out in search of some delicious lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Tallgrass Spa | No Thanks to Cake

Now, I’ve mentioned Tiffany before here on NTTC, so y’all should know her by now.  She and I have really become great friends this year… and it is so nice to have some of “my people” here close by.  You know… “my people”… those friends that just “get” you, and that you always have a super-fun time with.  She’s definitely amongst my Colorado besties… so, you won’t be surprised to see that the celebrating didn’t end at the spa!

Saturday night, Tiffany’s boyfriend Alex arranged for a surprise party for her at a sushi restaurant in a very cute part of the city.  He had reached out to a lot of her close friends via Facebook to arrange for this super-double secret event.  Of course, I was a ready and willing conspirator!

My job was to help Alex find a cake for the event.  I ended up at the most adorable bakery in town, and ended up with a super-fancy frilly cake for the birthday girl.

Das Meyer Bakery | No Thanks to Cake

It was not only a strawberry cake, but a strawberry champagne cake… Nice job, Das Meyer!

This fancy cake and I arrived at the restaurant early enough to check in and tuck away the cake before the other party goers arrived.  This also gave me a few minutes to order a glass of wine and soak in the atmosphere of Sushi Hai.  I really liked this place!

Sushi Hai | No Thanks to Cake

Once the gang had arrived, we moved into our private room (nice job, Alex!) and visited and laughed a lot!  Who knew this gang was so into 90′s pop culture… but then again Lauren and Greg were part of the festivities as well!

Lauren and Greg | No Thanks to Cake

As someone who doesn’t eat anything that swims… sushi can be tricky.  I don’t really venture out too far from the vegetarian dishes, but I found something new to try that night:  Quinoa Sushi!

Sushi Hai | No Thanks to Cake

Wow… really interesting!  I prefer the rice overall, but am glad I tried it.  They used cream cheese to hold the quinoa in the roll, but it sort of crumbled in the soy sauce.  I’ll stick with brown rice next time, but I like the concept!

Finally, it was time to sing and have some of that crazy cake!  Alex went all out with party hats and party poppers, making it extra fun for Tiffany…  She looked so happy! :)

Sushi Hai | No Thanks to Cake

Such a great night celebrating such a fabulous friend!!!  Happy Birthday, Tiffany!!!

Snack Snark Bark | No Thanks to C

Have you ever had Quinoa Sushi?

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No More Rain

It’s official. This rain has to stop.

It’s been at least seven days of rain.  It could be even more than that… I’ve lost count, to be honest.  During the time I’ve lived in Colorado, this season has been the rainiest I’ve ever seen.

We are notoriously dry, suffer from wildfires, and get the majority of our moisture during the winter season in the form of that pretty powdery white stuff.

I have never seen anything like what’s going on here now.  The newscasters call it flooding of “biblical” proportion… and I can only hope that it’s the 100-year flood that they’re calling it, and not something that we’ll ever see in this lifetime.

Thursday night was the night when it all began to get real.  I live about 20 minutes outside of Boulder, Colorado… so, when Boulder started to see flooding and massive destruction, I started to get nervous.  That’s WAY too close for comfort.

News coverage showed everything in horrific detail.  Waterways taking ownership of homes, canyons, roadways, with utter disregard for the lives in its paths.  And worse, the rain continued on.

At around 11pm on Thursday night, I realized that the large development one street over was evacuated including hundreds of family who live just to the West of me.

Evacuations in my neighborhood?  Worse, it was night time, and there was really no way to gauge what was going on.

What do you do when your town experiences a natural disaster?  How do you stay in touch with the latest news?  I quickly found my local police on Twitter and started following the Colorado Emergency notifications and local news.  Very quickly, I began to get local information and knew where the dangers lied, and what roads had closed.

In the night, I actually packed an evacuation bag.  Just in case I had to flee… that’s an experience I hope I never have to go through again.  Although, it was quite interesting to look at what I needed to take with me, and truth be told:  It wasn’t much.

Had I needed to evacuate that night, I didn’t really know where I was going to go.  Not because I didn’t have places to go… but because of the uncertainty of being able to get to those places.  There were so many road closures, it was just hard to say.

In the end, I woke up on Friday and saw a shiny, bright lightbulb in the sky that we hadn’t seen in days.  It also gave me a chance to go out to see what was going on out there.  And, apparently, I wasn’t the only one who had this idea… the new waterway that formed near my complex was like a tourist site with many people out there.

This wide “creek” didn’t exist a few days ago, but appeared in full force….

In a strange way, I thought it was beautiful.

IMG_0641

For me, I am incredibly thankful to be as safe as I am.  I am happy that the largest “existing” creek that I live next to has kept itself within its boundaries… growing significantly in size, but not impeding upon its neighbors.

No More Rain | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve continued to keep an eye on this new body of water.  Walking out there once a day, eyeballing it as I drive past it… it seems to be staying put and not expanding, which is good.

I’ve also kept my eyes on the sky, like the rest of Colorado… Praying for the rain to stop.

No More Rain | No Thanks to Cake

I watch the clouds, I watch the news, and I keep my eye on social media… learning more and more about what my friends to the north are going through.  I hope we’re nearing the end.

This week’s weather forecast shows a little more rain tonight, and then dryness for as far as the forecast projects.

I think Governor Hickenlooper said it best yesterday, when he was asked if Colorado would recover:  “Yes! We’ve got broken roads & bridges, but we don’t have broken spirits.”

When the sun comes out today, it’s going to be time to rebuild… time to help the people of Colorado.  I am eager to find that way that I can help.  I know I am not an expert at water removal, but I can coordinate donation drives and cook a mean dinner.  There’s got to be a way I can help, and I plan to find it.

For those of you who have means to donate to the people of Colorado, I encourage you to do so… we need it right now.  Here are a few websites where donations can be made, as reported by the Denver Post.

And more than your donations, I ask for your prayers and positive thoughts for the people of this beautiful state.  We need it more than ever…

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Fun Friday Faves

I ran into that pesky blogger’s block again last night.  It’s where I write the beginning of several blog posts, and nothing seems good enough to share.

When this happens, I usually end up sharing just little fun blurbs about what I’m loving right now.  That being said, here you go!

PS.. For those of you who brainstormed with me on Facebook… Whoa!  I have so many ideas for next week!  Thanks, and stay tuned!!!

Instagram

I’ll kick it off by saying I’m quickly becoming obsessed with Instagram.  OMG… it’s so fun!

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a fun, busy few weeks… but I find is such a fun way to communicate.  And, it’s all about pictures…

Anything from the Triple Rainbow that I spotted in traffic on Wednesday…

To my quest to find the perfect pair of specs!

PS… If you’re not following me yet, click here!  It’s such a fun little app!

New Pretty Undergarments

Ok… we’re MOSTLY ladies here, and the men that read have to appreciate that we’re paying attention to this area, too…

After a while, the elastic and whatnot just gets tired, and it’s time.  Well, it was COMPLETELY past time for me.  I went to Victoria’s Secret and found not one, but two new great bras…

Previously, I had been a HUGE fan of the Incredible bra.  Alas, that one’s been discontinued, but I found it’s replacement…

The FABULOUS Bra, of course!  Go try it… it rocks!  Disclaimer:  Vicky’s does NOT guarantee transformation into this supermodel when you put on the bra, even with their fancy-schmancy in-store lighting.  Trust me…

When You Guys Share Your Pics

Last week’s Bruschetta Turkey Burger Stuffed with Babybel Light Cheese was a big hit on Pinterest, and an even bigger hit with many of you… and, even cooler, several of you guys posted pictures of your versions of the tasty burger!

These two pics from Jade and Julia totally made my day!!  I know there’s more of you out there cooking… If you feel so inspired, post away to the NTTC Facebook page!  I’d love to see how it worked out for you!

Exploring Pretty, Pretty Colorado

On Memorial Day, I went on an awesome hike with my friend Deb to kick off the holiday.  She knows a lot of the great spots to go, and we chose Apex Trail this time around.  IT. WAS. GORGEOUS!

Deb and I hiked our little hearts out while trying to maintain a conversation (in between a little huffing and puffing along the way when the incline got steep.)

I seriously live in the most beautiful state and need to get out there and appreciate it more.  I feel like I spend most of my time in the car… but not this weekend!

Presents from Laughing Cow Cheese

I got a package last night from my friends over at LCC, and it made my night.  After a craptastic afternoon, a little LC + carrots really hit the spot.

And, the fact that I have a cute new LCC lunchbox, a branded water bottle, and a few wheels of cheese to play with didn’t hurt either.  Thanks, Laughing Cow!  I heart you!

New Sneaks

I specifically told Deb during our hike that I wasn’t going to buy any more workout shoes until after Fitbloggin.

Fitbloggin is sponsored by Reebok afterall… and they’re so generous with free shoes for attendees.  And, that seems sensible, so I can a bunch of different colored shoes to go with my workout clothes…

However, there’s nothing sensible about my shopping habits, and I certainly didn’t plan on meeting these beauties at Nordstrom Rack.  They looked lonely in the store all alone… I saved them!

Jodi’s Race for Awareness + Team Bev

Tomorrow is the 4th Annual Jodi’s Race for Awareness and the 3rd year that I walk proudly as part of Team Bev.  This cause is incredibly near and dear to me… and I’m excited to celebrate my friend Bev with FIFTY of her friends and family on Saturday.  You can read about the 2012 race here, and about the recent Athleta pre-party here.

When you pause to think you almost lost someone to this horrible disease, it makes you want to do everything to support her and the cause.  Honored to be a part of this walk and to walk side by side with my friend.

Cheers to you, Beverly!  

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