Currently: October

It’s that time of the month already!  Time for my monthly wrap up… I changed it up a little this month, sharing some new things I’ve never talked about in “currently.”  Enjoy!

Currently October | No Thanks to Cake
Current Netflix Binge:

I’ve broken down and joined Netflix.  Yes, the girl who barely watches any television has subscribed to Netflix, for one reason, two words:  GILMORE GIRLS.

Gilmore Girls | No Thanks to Cake

I never watched this show when it was on TV.  However, one extra wintry winter a few years back, I watched the entire series.  And, in watching it, I completely fell in love with Rory and Loralei.  My friend Erin said it well… If only we could be as witty as Loralei one day… 

Seriously, if you’ve never watched this series, it’s time… and the entire series is available on Netflix!  Let me know what you think of Stars Hollow, will ya?

Current Confession:

So, I haven’t really talked about it on social media… and I hate to talk about it with my friends because it’s a total downer, but my car accident last month kicked my arse.  I’ve been on the couch for a whole month… watching Gilmore Girls.  Rotating ice packs (aka bags of corn and edamame) with heat compresses… and planning to take over the world when this damn thing heals.

Now, I’m only sharing this with you now because I’m feeling SO MUCH BETTER four weeks later!  Finally!!!

yay | No Thanks to CakeI’m not 100% and I’m still afraid to carry much… but gosh, not being miserable when I wake up is heavenly!!!  For all of you who have chronic back pain, I am SO SORRY!  For all of those who have listened to me whine, THANK YOU!!!!  I owe you REAL wine!

Current Craft:

I’ve had my eye on a little capelet from Ravelry forever… And, during my fabulous couchtime and while watching Rory’s first days at Chilton… I made it!  I totally want to make another!  Maybe in a charcoal or mustard color.  What do you think??  I’m in love!

Capelet | No Thanks to Cake

This makes me excited to knit additional wooly fall/winter things!

Current Book:

This month, I’m not pointing out a work of fiction… instead, the most beautiful cookbook I’ve laid eyes on in YEARS!

SkinnyTaste Cookbook | No Thanks to Cake

The Skinnytaste Cookbook was released in late September, and I was BEYOND excited to receive my copies.  Gina‘s cookbook is LOADED with calories that are “light on calories, big on flavor.”  I recently made her Skinny Chicken Parmesan and it was phenomenal…

Chicken Parmesan Skinnytaste | No Thanks to Cake

I am in LOVE with all of Gina’s recipes… both those on her blog and these new creations that are part of her cookbook.  Order yours here… it’s amazing, I promise!

Current Hairstyle:

I’m still pretty obsessed with how easy it is to curl my hair everyday for work… I mentioned it last month, but wow, it’s so easy!

How to Curl Long Hair | No Thanks to Cake

And, I have yet to burn myself… {Knocking on wood.}

Current Memorable Moment:

At the beginning of the month, I got to participate in my very first engagement!  My friends Alex and Tiffany made it official… and Alex wanted to have Tiff’s closest friends involved in the action.  I was honored to be a part of it, and had trouble keeping a dry eye during the actual proposal.

The Proposal | No Thanks to Cake

And, of course, she said YES!!!  Congrats, Alex and Tiffany!

Current Outfit:

It’s not REALLY an outfit, but wow, it’s the cutest coat on the planet from New York and Company.  Half coat, half cape… yep, I BIG-PUFFY-HEART love it!

Cape New York and Company | No Thanks to Cake

Hooray for coupons!! For more detail, click here.

Current Flavor Inspiration:

As part of Tiffany’s engagement extravaganza, we had brunch at a little Denver restaurant called Jimmy’s Urban Bar & Grill.  I’m not huge on brunch,  but considering the special occasion, I decided to try something new that I had never had… and to just jump in.

Chicken and Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

Hello, Chicken and Waffles.  I can’t wait to come up with a healthier version of this.  There has to be one.  I’ll create it, and I’ll share it… I’m still having dreams about this stuff.  It was that good… must recreate.

Current Crazy Thing I’ve Done:

I been Christmas shopping all year long.  When I was in California at the wineries with Crystal, I picked up a few things.  I pre-ordered one of my favorite bloggers’ new books, and I even picked up a few fun things in Savannah during Fitbloggin!  All these items have been hanging out in my guest room, but it was time to get them on the road.

Christmas Presents | No Thanks to Cake

I’m far from done Christmas shopping… I still need things for my niece and nephew, my brother, and my stepdad, but this first box is progress.  I did feel pretty nuts wrapping packages in October though…

Current Location:

I’m here (in paradise).  And, it’s my sister-in-law Beth’s 40th birthday tomorrow… Have a fabulous weekend, y’all!

Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake


View my previous “Currently” posts here:

Currently: September

Currently: August

Currently:  July

Currently:  June

Currently: May

Currently:  April

Currently: March 

Currently: February

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How to Be a Good Friend to Your Friend on a Diet

I’ve been “on a diet” most of my adult life.  Heck, I remember when my mom put me on what I remember to be my first diet when I was maybe 8 years old, suggesting that “we” were on a diet… and “we” weren’t going to be eating the frozen brownie ice cream treats in the freezer.

As a result of being on so many programs for 30+ years, I’ve had a lot of folks try to give me outside advice on how I could be doing what I’m doing better/smarter/faster/with different ingredients/etc.  I’ve had great suggestions, great support, and well… I’ve had the other as well.

Inspired by this little life of mine and my lovely friends who supported me so well along the way, I’m going to share a few suggestions on how to offer great support to a friend/family member/co-worker who is watching their food intake.

How to Be a Good Friend to Your Friend on a Diet | No Thanks to Cake

Understand that this is a BIG Lifestyle Shift

Your friend/sister/brother/wife is embarking upon one of the most difficult feats!  Consider this:  If weight loss were easy, obesity wouldn’t be the epidemic that it is in America!  Your loved one is in the process of trying to navigate this brand-new lifestyle that they have committed to and they likely have a range of emotions brewing about it.  They may be nervous, afraid, eager, and impatient.

Change Friends | No Thanks to Cake

Change is not always as simple as flipping a switch.  Be patient and compassionate.  Know that they may implement trial-and-error along the way to create the best possible program for themselves, and that they may stumble 150 times along the way.  Be supportive of the change… and mostly of your loved one.  They’ll need it!

Do Not Play Diet Patrol

“Is that on your program?”

“Um… I thought you were eating healthy now?”

Danny Devito Friends | No Thanks to Cake

As someone on a journey to getting healthy, I’ll tell you right now… I don’t always do it right.  There are times that I want to eat everything in sight.  There are times when I just can’t resist driving through Chick-Fil-A (and getting the real-deal fried chicken sandwich.)  I don’t perfectly all the time… and, I even have the nerve to call myself a “healthy living / weight loss blogger.” :)

But… those decisions are mine.  I have to face My Fitness Pal at the end of the day to track my eats.  I have to look in the mirror and face the music… I’ll deal with me.  You deal with you.  Sound good?

Avoid the Urge to Fix Things

How many times in my life have I said this: I don’t want to get off the couch and go to the gym.  Um, many many times… my friends can attest to this.  Often times, I just don’t want to go and sometimes, I need to share that.  I don’t always need a rah-rah-ree, kick ‘em in the knee kind of response… sometimes, I just want a friend to listen.

Rachel Friends | No Thanks to Cake

My friend Natalie is one of the best when it comes to offering support… I really don’t know how she does it, but she always says just the right thing.  Lots of “Get it, girl” text messages… or, “Maybe you need a break.  Go tomorrow!”  Regardless… she walks the line perfectly for me.  She listens to all my shenanigans… and offers support.  This is all I need…a sounding board to my thoughts.  I’m so lucky to have her!  Now, if only she lived closer… 

Consider Hosting Healthy Food Events

Eating out when you’re watching what you are eating can be a HUGE challenges.  Even visiting a friend’s house for dinner can be a challenge!

Thanksgiving Friends | No Thanks to Cake

My friend Deb does an amazing job at making sure that we’re all going to have a blast when we get together while taking into account everyone’s eating preferences.  For example:  Deb likes to make healthy choices too, so when I was in the beginning of my process.  She sensed my nervousness about gatherings, and always called me separately to assure me that she would have healthy options on hand that she wanted to enjoy too!  I never felt like I was putting everyone else by “needing” healthy options… and I always appreciated (and still do!) her kind approach to making sure I could stay on track.

Join in on the Fun

Early on in the process and when things were getting a little bit tough for me, my sister-in-law Beth jumped on board with Jenny Craig and signed up for the program.  This was amazing support for me.  I finally had someone to talk about the food with, to talk about the process, and someone who was participating with me.

Door Friends | No Thanks to Cake

Beth, while miles and miles away, was on board and also had some success with Jenny.  It made the process that much more fun!

Not Everything Has to Be Food-Related

Before I started on my healthy eating journey almost 4 years ago, everything we ever did was food related.  Wine night, dinners out, game night with snacks… with no regard to the calories we would be eating.

In the beginning, I just stopped joining my friends…. but over time, we’ve found other ways to have fun that include healthy activities!  We go on lots of walks… Denver has SO MANY beautiful spots to walk and hike that this has become a common outing.  My friend Tiffany and I do this quite often…

Friends Phoebe Running | No Thanks to Cake

Instead of meeting for lunch, maybe we meet for coffee instead.  My friend Kristin and I have worked this into our regular “catch-up” routine, and I love it!

Please Talk to Me about Other Topics

Just because I’ve committed to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean I want to spend all my time talking about the do’s and don’ts of the latest fad diet on the market, what I had for breakfast, or how I’m spending my time at the gym.

Turkey Friends | No Thanks to Cake

I’m still your friend.  That fun-loving, shoe-shopping, wacky story-telling friend.  Let’s talk about all of those things… I love that you take an interest in my weight loss process… but even I need a break from it from time to time, and I get together with you to take that break.

Celebrate Success with Me

When the celebrations come… I’m going to want you to be there with me.

Cheesecake Friends | No Thanks to Cake

It could be to celebrate that I didn’t eat the free pizza at work… or that I hit my 10K steps for the day… or it could be that I reach my weight loss goal.  Let’s celebrate together, ok?  I love to share my life’s high points with you.

Ultimately, I’m going to win no matter what, I’m going to learn, and I’m going to change… but I’d like you there beside me along the way as my friend.  Thanks in advance for all your support, love, and encouragement.  xoxo

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Wear Teal Day: September 5

I hope you woke up this morning and chose to wear teal, like many Americans will today.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month | No Thanks to Cake

September is National Ovarian Cancer Month, and a month dedicated to a cause that’s near and dear to my heart.

A little over 4 years ago, my friend Bev got diagnosed with Ovarian cancer and cancer made its appearance amongst my peers for the first time.  While I lost my grandparents and many family members to the terrible C, I always saw it as a disease that hit the elderly, those who had lived a rich life already.  When Bev was diagnosed, the reality that cancer is everywhere… and that it truly doesn’t discriminate.

Team Bev Jodi's Race for Awareness | No Thanks to Cake

When a friend is diagnosed with cancer, it sucks.  You don’t know what to do.  You don’t know how to help.  And, well… you just want it to go away.  Thankfully, Bev was strong enough for all of us… and all we had to do was be there to support her.  She plowed through chemo with grace and came out on the other side, free from this terrible disease and with a fantastic outlook on the rest of her life.

A group of friends and I found the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance, and immediately looked for ways to get involved.  We signed up to walk/run in their Jodi’s Race for Awareness in 2010, and we’ve been participating as Team Bev ever since!

Team Bev Jodi's Race | No Thanks to Cake

Here is part of our rowdy bunch, but we’re missing quite a few from this pic.  Our first year, we might have had 20 people.  This year, we were well over 50… all for that great lady in the center wearing the teal tiara.  We walk in support of Bev, still cancer-free 4 years later!!

Team Bev Jodi's Race for Awareness | No Thanks to Cake

Now, walking as a team and inviting my friends to participate raises awareness… wearing teal today draws attention to Ovarian cancer month, and donating money helps fund programs for the diagnosed and support research.

To me, I recognize that I have a audience made up predominantly of women, and as such… I’m going to share some information about the symptoms associated with Ovarian Cancer.  After all, there is no life more important than yours.  There is no one who knows your body like you do.  It’s important that you know the symptoms… so that you too can live a rich, full, healthy life like my friend Bev…

Wear Teal Day | No Thanks to Cake


Ovarian Cancer Symptoms  | No Thanks to Cake

Source: Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance

Statistics show that 95% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer had 1 or more of these 4 common symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Urinary urgency or frequency
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

Often known as the “silent killer”, ovarian cancer often goes undetected due to the subtle nature of its symptoms.  If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please seek medical attention.

Why is ovarian cancer so misunderstood?

  • Annual gynecological exam does NOT check for this cancer
  • It’s NOT rare! 20,000 Americans/330 Coloradans diagnosed annually
  • It does NOT happen only to older women – all women and girls at risk
  • There’s NO specific screening tool for ovarian cancer – undefined symptoms are key
  • Majority of women with ovarian cancer had no family history of it
  • The medical community often misses diagnosing this cancer
  • While nicknamed “the silent killer,” the latest research shows OC is NOT silent, with 4 common symptoms

How can women become aware of ovarian cancer?

  • Know the symptoms – listen to your body – Know the 4 common symptoms!
  • Advocate for yourself in your doctor’s office – Missed diagnosis is common
  • DON’T WAIT!  If you’ve had one or more symptoms for more than a few weeks, see a gynecologist, ask about ovarian cancer and request a CA125 blood test, a pelvic/rectal exam and a transvaginal ultrasound

Disclaimer:  I am not a physician, just a woman who loves her friends… and wants us all to live long, healthy lives.  For full detailed information about Ovarian Cancer, please seek information from a medical professional.

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Saturday Adventure Day

Way back in May, Tiffany and I started looking at calendars to pick a date for our planned “Adventure Day.”  With 2014 being the busiest summer ever, the first weekend where we both had a free day open wasn’t until August 2.  That seemed so incredibly far away, but we wanted to make sure we got it on the calendar.

Within a blink of an eye (because that’s how fast this year has been flying by), August 2nd arrived and we jetted off!

First Stop:  A Quick Brain Damage

You’ve probably seen me post on Instagram about the infamous Brain Damage coffee drink at Dazbog Coffee.  Well, during our Adventure Day, I wanted to make sure I introduced Tiffany to its deliciousness.

Dazbog Brain Damage | No Thanks to Cake

What is this amazing drink??  It is pretty much the best frozen coffee drink on the planet… and you can only find it in Northern Colorado.  They use mocha, shots of espresso, and the BEST part… chocolate-covered espresso beans.  All blended to perfection!  I also love that they make it fresh – no mix! – and you can customize it to make it “your way” – for me, that’s sugar-free, non-fat.  Delish!

The verdict:  My Colorado BFF loved this drink as much as I do!  What a great way to caffeinate for a long car-ride!

Next Stop:  The Shambhala Mountain Center

Our travels took us further north… not to Wyoming, but to Red Feather Lakes, CO to the beautiful Shambhala Mountain Center.  It had been about 10 years since I had travelled to this area, so I was excited to get back.  The Shambhala center hosts spiritual retreats, meditation classes, and getaways.  People travel from all over to see this beautiful place… and soon you’ll know why.

It’s tucked away from the main path, and I always think it’s a sign that I’ve left civilization when the roads are no longer paved.

Shambhala Mountain Center | No Thanks to Cake

About 2 1/2 hours from Denver, we arrived at our destination parked our car and started our trek into the property.  On our way to a very sacred spot in the mountains, the 20 minute walk/hike was totally worth it… even in flip flops!

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The main attraction here is The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing.  And, it is a breathtaking site.  

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

It’s hard to believe this shrine is tucked away in the middle of the mountains.  What stands out most when you see it in person is the brightly colored features and the gold accents.  So unusual to see in this natural backdrop.

As you approach the stupa, you first see an alter of sorts where many have left items behinds.  Offerings, gifts… and the most random of items.  We got close enough to see the items, but you don’t dare touch any of them… they were all placed there with purpose.  Who am I to alter them?

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake


The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

As we approached the stupa, I got really excited.  From my previous trip, I remember the energy inside being amazing and I was excited to get inside – - to spend a little time in silence.  But, a few pics before we walked inside…

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

From the Shambhala Mountain Center Website:  Stupas are said to promote harmony, prosperity, longevity, good health and peace. They bring blessings to the environment in which they are built, to those who build them, and to those who visit and venerate them. In this way, stupas ensure that the living quality of the Buddhist teachings will always be available.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

Taking off our shoes and leaving them outside, we entered the stupa to find two others seated inside and a few others exiting.  It was quiet and perfect inside, and keep in mind… this is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

So majestic, yet so peaceful.

I found a seat and settled in to meditate for a few minutes.  I’m not a master meditator, by any means; however, my yoga practice has taught me how incredibly powerful breath can be… and I love to practice.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

After about 10-15 minutes in silence, my eyes opened up, feeling refreshed and just happy.  There is something about this place, I tell ya… the energy is fantastic.  Before leaving the room, I spent some time looking around… noticing all the ornate details… and just soaking in that beautiful energy.

We left shortly after, stopping to watch a video along the way… and then deciding to simply take a selfie instead of sitting through the video.

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

The walk back was gorgeous… with lots of wildflowers and beauty along the way.

Colorado Wildflowers | No Thanks to Cake

The Great Stupa| No Thanks to Cake

Third Stop:  Refueling in Fort Collins

When we arrived at the car, we were officially STARVING.  We raced back to Ft. Collins to have lunch at Coopersmiths.  Ready to refuel, we each enjoyed the Coopers Pub burger with a side of cucumbers.  I love that you can get a side of veggies and ranch, instead of fatty fries or onion rings.  Genius!

The Great Stupa | No Thanks to Cake

After lunch, we headed over to O’Dells Brewery.  They have a beautiful tasting room, and this was officially my first experience “beer tasting” in Colorado.  I know… I live in a beer state, but I’d never been!

O'Dells | No Thanks to Cake

And… while the tap room was cute and the beer was cold, I think I’ll stick to wine tasting.  Just not a huge fan of beer, but I was glad to have experienced O’Dells just the same!

O'Dells | No Thanks to Cake

After our stop at O’Dells, we made our way back to Denver convinced that we need to schedule another fun adventure day like this again soon!


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