A Weekend of Food, Friends, and Fun

My weekend was INCREDIBLY BUSY.  The kind of weekend where you blink, and you missed it.  And, I even took an extra day off…

Because who really wants to work on her birthday?

Not this girl!

Friday morning, I woke up without an alarm (best birthday gift ever!) and had a light agenda planned for how I wanted to spend the day of my birth.

First and foremost, I jumped on the scale to see how my week had gone. I felt pretty good about the week, and the scale confirmed with with a -1.3 lb weight loss – - Happy Birthday to Me!!!

After giving my scale a hug… I got ready for the day’s events!  I scheduled time to get a super-relaxing massage and facial with my very favorite aesthetician Sam.  (Note to my Denver peeps:  If you are looking for a masseuse, she is AMAZING and one of the most lovely people I know.)

Spa | No Thanks to Cake

The massage was JUST what the doctor ordered.  My job changed as of the first of the year, and I’ve been carrying a lot of stress in my back and on my mind.  This 90-minute disconnect is just what the doctor ordered.

After the massage, the only thing on my agenda was to go home and get ready for my birthday dinner.  I always choose Indian food on my birthday because it’s just so amazing!

Indian Food | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve decided it JUST might be my favorite cuisine because each bite has so much amazing flavor.  I’ve you never tried it… you seriously should!  My friend Tiffany was game to join me and ended up being a huge fan of the flavors.

Tiffany and Kelly | No Thanks to Cake

My second birthday celebration was Saturday night at a little Asian restaurant close by.  I always feel great about the food at this place because I can get a steamed chicken and vegetable dish which to me is completely guilt-free.  I pair it with a side of kung pao sauce… and it is amazing!

Steamed Chicken and Broccoli | No Thanks to Cake

The night took an awkward turn when the waiter brought out the dessert, and (yes) serenaded me in a very LOUD voice, insisting on holding my hand during, and then kissing me on the head afterward.

Dessert | No Thanks to Cake

Oh geez… I felt like I had a sombrero on my head at La Siesta in college.  So awkward…  but a nice gesture.

Sunday had another lovely outing, where I got to meet up with some local bloggers!  Tiffany, Jess, Lauren, and I met at True Foods Kitchen to enjoy their healthy cuisine, and it didn’t disappoint (nor did the conversation!)

Denver True Foods Kitchen | No Thanks to Cake

This was actually our first outing with Jess from Operation Skinny Jeans who was so nice to join us girls for a quick lunch.  She is a fabulous lady on an amazing weight loss journey.  It was so nice to meet her after “knowing” her for so long on Instagram.

Johnny Cakes True Foods Kitchen | No Thanks to Cake

During lunch I had my first “Johnny Cakes” made with quinoa, and I LOVED these.  They were made with quinoa and were AWESOME.  Lauren was right when she said I would figure out a way to make these at home… it’s just a matter of time!

Inside Out Quinoa Burger True Foods Kitchen | No Thanks to Cake

My main course was just ok… I ordered the Inside Out Quinoa Burger and it just had a weird flavor to it.  I really didn’t eat much of it, but saved room to order (wait for it)… the Flourless Chocolate Cake. I die for this flourless chocolate cake and thank goodness my light lunch and three lunch buddies supported this dessert decision.

Flourless Chocolate Cake True Foods Kitchen | No Thanks to Cake

It was incredible!!!

And, with that… the weekend was mostly over.  At least the fun part of it.  Back to work, back to the grind, and, my goodness… back to the gym!  I want to make sure all my dining out doesn’t erase that 1.3 lbs I lost this week!

BTW… I haven’t forgotten my promise of a Birthday Giveaway… it’s coming this week!

How was your weekend?  Have you ever been serenaded to at a restaurant?

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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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How I Spent My Thanksgiving + {GIVEAWAY}

This holiday long weekend was ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL.

I didn’t realize how much I needed a few days to just “be,” but I needed it desperately…

The Holiday

I spent the actual Thanksgiving Day with my friend LaDawn and her husband Dana who made the most delicious feast for us to enjoy, and who kindly slaved over the kitchen while LaDawn and I got our yoga on.

Thanksgiving Yoga | No Thanks to Cake

After our practice, we’d worked up quite the appetite!  Dana wanted to keep the meal relatively healthy, which was perfect for when you invite NTTC to dinner.  I brought my favorite broccoli-quinoa casserole and individual salads built to each guests veggie preferences (easier said than done!)

Thanksgiving to Go | No Thanks to Cake

Highlights of the meal were Dana’s roasted veggies which will be featured here on NTTC soon and a crustless pumpkin pie!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie | No Thanks to Cake

I’m not a huge pumpkin pie fan, but the more I eat it… the more I feel ok about it.  This one was tasty!

How was the rest of the weekend?

In a word… PRODUCTIVE!

For the first time in years, I’ve finished my Christmas shopping prior to December 1.  And, I’ve already shipped the first few boxes out! UNHEARD-OF ! I even have a few more that are packed and ready to go that I’ll wait to ship until a little later in the month.

I’ve also finished decorating for the holidays… putting up my tree and even hanging some ornaments above the fireplace…

Christmas Decorations | No Thanks to Cake

I knitted two scarves for holiday gifts…

Infinity Scarf | No Thanks to Cake

And I even put together my Secret Santa gift for the Fitbloggin Secret Santa exchange (love this idea!)

Secret Santa | No Thanks to Cake

And… while I won’t share pics of  it, I organized the heck out of my home this weekend.  I know.  That sounds REALLY wild and crazy, but I REALLY don’t like to live in disorganization.  It drives me crazy… and I finally had the time to get things back as they should be.

When I was cleaning out my hall closet, I found many fun items that some amazing brands have shared with me this year that I couldn’t believe I had stashed away.  I’d saved them for a giveaway, and then just never got around to it. Most are of the “pampering” variety… and I thought they’d make a fantastic gift for one of you lovely readers… especially during the hecticness that is the holiday season!

Everyone deserves a little pampering, after all….

Here’s what you have a chance to win:

Holiday Pampering Giveaway | No Thanks to Cake

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s inside this prize pack:

Sally Hansen Fabulous Fingernails – Perfect Manicure Kit, Willa Naturals Fresh Faces Cucumber Face Mask (2), Lavender-scented tea light, NatureMade VitaMelts – Relax – Green Tea Flavor (2), Petite Sweet – Bath Fizzers, Earth Therapeutics Foot Therapy Kit, Jenny Craig Calorie Walk Pedometer, Baggu Reusable Bag, Bobble Filtered Water Bottle, Sun Valley Mustard Apron, Que Bella Deep Cleansing Aloe Vera Cream Mask, Veggie-themed Shopping List notepad, Earth Therapeutics Soothing Beauty Mask, SafeEggs.com Whisk, Weight Watchers 15-Minute Superfast Recipe Book – Fall 2013

 To enter to win, fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to each and every one of you!  I can’t wait to see who wins!

Question:  How do you plan to unwind this holiday season?

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So…. I alluded to it a little bit on here, and if you follow me on Twitter, you definitely have heard the news.

I’ve been on a WHIRLWIND of a VACATION!

I haven’t traveled in about 5 months, since I flew home for Christmas.  However, in true NTTC fashion, I went ahead and took THREE trips this week.  Go big or go home, right?

First Stop:  Phoenix

It’s that time of year again… time to head to Montelucia for my 1st trip of the year.  Truly, I couldn’t wait for this trip.

Having spent the past few weeks shopping for new bathing suits and picking up odds and ends, I was ready to get there on Friday morning.  When I arrived I was THRILLED to find the weather to be ABSOLUTE PERFECTION.  It was in the 80s and breezy… I couldn’t have ordered better weather.

As usual, my friend Donna met me there and we spent our days lounging by the pool, working on our tans, and catching up.  We also took advantage of the poolside service… enjoying a lot of the Montelucia’s amazing (and healthy!) dishes!

One of many great things about visiting a spa is that the menus are full of healthy choices, and often have calorie counts included.  The challenge with visiting a spa with one of your best friends is that it becomes difficult to count all of the liquid calories that go in.  Especially when they are so tasty…

On Friday night, we went to our absolute favorite italian restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale.  If you’re ever in Phoenix, you HAVE to try Marcellinos… they have the most exquisitely delicious homemade pasta.  We even got to eat on the patio because the weather was so mild.

You might not recognize Donna and I above… we just stepped out of the salon moments before that picture was taken.  As for the pictures of the food, we split the most delicious pear, arugula, parmesan salad.  I’ll be making this at home soon.  It was that good.  The dish to the right is the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life:  Caco di Pepe – - Homemade parmesan cracked pepper linguini in a tomato ragu with pancetta and caramelized onions.  I order it every time I go to Marcellinos, and it never disappoints.

After indulging in extra cocktails and pasta meals, we make sure that we get our sweat on.  The spa has the most gorgeous yoga studio, and I took complete advantage of its offerings.  I love yoga in the desert.   I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have poolside yoga on the schedule for the weekend… maybe next visit!  Next visit, I’ll also need to try that beautiful mountain again as well…
Saturday was another pool day… and we did something fun at the spa, too.  A little peek at the future, we had our cards read.  I love exploring new age and spiritual learnings.  Donna and I have both been at unique crossroads… and really enjoyed our readings as a result.
Wait a second… I know what you’re thinking.  We didn’t have massages??  Oh, fear not… we scheduled those for Sunday morning after yoga.  I always get my massage and body scrub from Angela, and as usual, the service was phenomenal, relaxing, and just what the doctor ordered.  Living in a VERY dry climate, a body scrub at the beginning of summer is always amazing to get my skin in shape for sundresses that the warmer season will bring.  The pictures below are from outside Joya Spa and from its rooftop pool.
The worst part about visiting Montelucia is that it always comes to an end.  Donna and I have our tentative fall plans to return, since that’s the only way I am able to leave the property without tears.
After three and a half days in paradise, I reluctantly headed to the airport for the second leg of this trip.
To Be Continued…

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