A Birthday Getaway at Montelucia

Ever since we celebrated Beth’s 39th birthday in Vegas last year, we’ve been planning her 40th birthday outing.

A Birthday Weekend at Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

And, it was a pretty easy decision on where we wanted to go.  Beth chose one of my favorite places on the planet… Montelucia.  For the past 5 years, my friend Donna and I have been traveling to Montelucia a few times a year to unwind and relax.  It’s become a very special place to me… and I was so excited to have an opportunity to share it with Beth.

A Birthday Getaway at Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

Together, we were a group of 10…. all the ladies in Beth’s family, myself and my mom.  Such a fun group of ladies.  It was so nice to see everyone after so much time had passed.

We spent our days at the pool, laughing and catching up, and soaking up the beautiful sun that Phoenix offered us that day.  The weather was in the 90s all weekend long!  How does it get any better than that??  Perhaps with this pretty, pretty cocktail.  Yum!

A Birthday Getaway at Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

Birthday Getaway at Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

Beth is an amazing cook and when she and the ladies in her family go on these types of “girls’ trips”, they take advantage of the fine dining in the area.  So, we ate very well during the trip, enjoying some of Scottsdale’s best restaurants.

And, leaving the property at night gave us an opportunity to get prettied up and head out…

A Birthday Getaway at Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

Saturday was my favorite day of the trip, and Beth’s 40th birthday!  We spent the entire day on property, and most of the day at the beautiful Joya Spa.  This place never get old.

Joya Spa | No Thanks to Cake

We spent the day getting beautiful, being pampered, and relaxing.  BEST.  DAY.  EVER.

Joya Spa Crystal | No Thanks to Cake

Joya Spa | No Thanks to Cake

After a lovely day at Joya, we had to celebrate the birthday girl, and the folks at Prado were amazing and made sure the birthday girl was spoiled properly.  Actually, everywhere we went made sure that Beth got the VIP treatment.  There weren’t many meals that didn’t include a special birthday dessert with “Happy Birthday, Beth” written on the plates… super fancy, Scottsdale.

A Birthday Getaway at Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

A Birthday Getaway at Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

The weekend was just perfect, if you ask me.  Lots of laughs, lots of time with people who adore Beth, and a great getaway.

A Birthday Getaway at Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

And, best of all… I got to celebrate my favorite sister-in-law.  I’ve described her in the past as “my rock,” and she’s one of my favorite people on the planet.

Birthday Getaway to Montelucia | No Thanks to Cake

Thanks for including all of us on your fabulous birthday adventure!  Looking forward to celebrating the next landmark birthday in a few years!  xoxo

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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

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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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The Del, A Massage, and Wine

I feel like I have been writing about this trip to California forever, recapping all the fun I’ve had along the way. In its own fabulous way, NTTC is sort of my very own scrapbook.  A great way to recap trips, outings, and recipes for my friends and family!

So, I’ve got one more day to share about this awesome week.  And, then, I will get back to my normal blogging schedule… whatever normal is… :)

The day after the concert, I woke up and had to get my things packed to head out.  Notice, I didn’t say HOME, I said out.  Whenever I get a chance to travel to California, I usually try to extend my trip a little to visit friends that I don’t get to see nearly enough!

Now, when I visited my friend Crystal in early June, we agreed that if I had a chance to travel to Rockstar again… that I should come back to visit her family!  You don’t have to ask me twice… the plan came together so nicely!

Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

Before I met up with her, I decided to spend a little time unwinding on Coronado Island.  And, my favorite way to unwind… I scheduled a massage at a nearby hotel.  Not just any hotel, however… I scheduled it at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

My goodness… what a beautiful place.

Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

The hotel is an institution on the island…. and so incredibly gorgeous.  I can’t even believe I got to spend the day here.  I checked my luggage at the bell stand and headed off to the spa.  To get there, I had the option of walking through the hotel or walking outdoors on the property… I choose the outside path and had a chance to experience the beauty that is the Del.

Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

From the white buildings with red roofs to the lovely outdoor cafes to the exquisite view of the Pacific… the Del is perfection.  The guy at the bell stand told me to walk until I saw the herb garden and the spa would be on the right.  I absolutely love that the property has such a delightful herb garden.  Just made it all that more perfect… 

Herb Garden Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

Inside the Spa at the Del, I quickly got changed into a robe and slippers and waited for my massage.  I had scheduled myself a Hot Shell Massage and was so excited to see how this would work.  I’d had hot STONE massages before, but never hot SHELL!  How perfect for this trip!

Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

When I got called back into the spa for my service, I found that the shells weren’t REAL shells, but instead ceramic shells created specifically for this purpose.

Hot Shell Massage Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

The massage was WONDERFUL.  Relaxing.  Perfect.  After all the excitement of Rockstar, my feet were incredibly sore… so my masseuse spent some extra time on my toes.  HEAVEN!

After the service was completed, I ordered some lunch and found a spot at the spa pool to relax.  I had intended upon reading a book, but it felt better to just relax and soak in the atmosphere.  There was beautiful people watching to be had… families vacationing, couples walking by hand in hand, and that gorgeous ocean in the distance.  I soaked it all in… and a little sun.

Lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado | No Thanks to Cake

The Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

Spa at the Del | No Thanks to Cake

At the end of the day, my friend Crystal picked me up to whisk me away to Temecula.  One of my favorite people, I am so thankful that I had a chance to visit with her again this trip!

We spent our time catching up, cooking, and tasting local wines… you can only imagine how much I loved that!  We also spent some of her favorite wineries.  First stop:  Miramonte… Such a beautiful patio for tasting the most delicious wines!

Miramonte | No Thanks to Cake

I’ve always thought of Napa or Sonoma when I’ve thought of California wine country; however, I have to say… Temecula should be listed right there in that list.  I’ve loved so many of the wines I’ve tasted here… and the tasting rooms are so lovely.  Highly recommend touring this area if you are ever close.

Miramonte Winery | No Thanks to Cake

The next day, after a lovely lazy morning, we headed out to Robert Renzoni for the most amazing round of wine tasting!  His Concerto was my favorite… and I was able to get a signed bottle to take home!

Robert Renzoni | No Thanks to Cake

 

Robert Renzoni | No Thanks to Cake

After our first stop, we set off for some lunch (and more wine!) at Ponte Family Estates.  SUCH a beautiful place!

Ponte | No Thanks to Cake

Ponte Grapes | No Thanks to Cake

The magic happened at lunch…. Crystal and I ordered a Watermelon Tomato Caprese that just knocked our socks off.  Expect to see a version of this on NTTC soon.  It was that good!  Doesn’t it look gorgeous??

Watermelon Tomato Caprese Ponte | No Thanks to Cake

While the massage, the wine, and the food were amazing, the best part of the weekend was getting to spend it with this girl…

Ponte | No Thanks to Cake

We’re in the early stages of planning another adventure early next year… I absolutely can’t wait!  Thanks, Crystal and Adam, for a wonderful end to a wonderful trip!

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How I Spent My Blogcation: California Edition

I hope you all had a great week.  I can’t even tell you how strange it felt to not be checking in much over the past week, but I truthfully had so much going on that there just wasn’t time to blog.  So how was I filling my time??

I Jetsetted to California!

Last Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early and headed to Southern California!  I had my annual work trip to Orange County last week and added a few days of fun and sun onto the trip.  And, I got to spend time with this girl!

Crystal and Kelly | No Thanks to Cake

Crystal and I have known each other for years now.  Former co-workers and great friends, I definitely don’t feel like I get to see this girl nearly enough!

This trip was especially lovely in that I got to meet Crystal’s family (who I’ve heard about for years!) and visit her home… She lives in Temecula, right in the middle of wine country.  The timing for the visit was perfect in that we got to enjoy the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival.

Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival | No Thanks to Cake

Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival | No Thanks to Cake

And, we drank a LOT of wine.  WAY too much wine.  And, don’t be surprised that I couldn’t keep up with the locals.

Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival | No Thanks to Cake

Before heading to Orange County the next day, Crystal and I hit her local gym, where I enjoyed the most amazing yoga class.

Yoga in Temecula | No Thanks to Cake

Before leaving Temecula, we visited one of the beautiful wineries in the area:  Leoness Cellars.  We packed up a little lunch and headed over there to enjoy a glass of white wine on the terrace… delicious!

Leoness Cellars | No Thanks to Cake

Afterward, Crystal was nice enough to drive me up to Orange County where I met up with the lovely Janelle.  Traffic in SoCal was insane, so we ended up meeting up in San Juan Capistrano.  What an adorable little “old town” area!  We had a wonderful dinner visiting and catching up at Guapas Tapas – – Check out the gazpacho cucumber cups below!  Amazing!!

San Juan Capistrano | No Thanks to Cake

I wrapped up the week in Orange County with co-workers.  Long days of learning and networking, I learned a lot and was exhausted by the time I came home late on Wednesday night.

And this is just the beginning of the week!  

Have you been to Temecula Wine Country or beautiful San Juan Capistrano?

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AWP-DO