A Tiny Piece of My Passion {GIVEAWAY}

When I was designing my blog, I hadn’t yet begun practicing yoga, but I wanted something active to show at the top of the page.  I went back and forth between a silhouette of a girl that was running and the image you see now of a girl in Warrior 2.

I like to think that it was my soul that chose the yoga girl, as though it knew the Proud Warrior was exactly the right image for what I wanted to become.

Yoga in the Yard | No Thanks to Cake

Since then, I’ve spent many an hour at the yoga studio.  And, I’ve fallen in love with it.

I’ve practiced Blindfolded Yoga and enjoyed Yoga in the Yard with friends.  I found myself mesmerized by Candlelight Yoga and even practiced Yoga with the Dolphins during a trip to Las Vegas…

WOW Yoga with the Dolphins Mirage | No Thanks to Cake

Most of all, my yoga practice has become this beautiful escape.  For that one hour during the day, I can completely escape my thoughts, my to-do list, and just BREATHE.  It is the most healing 60 minutes I spend in any given day.

Right before Christmas, I was introduced to a new company called Affirmats, and I just loved their mission and their products.  Their beautiful, beautiful mats are emblazoned with amazing mantras to motivate you through your practice.  The type of mantras that can transform your practice… and I knew I had to have one.

Affirmats | No Thanks to Cake

Isn’t this mat amazing?  I practiced on my Affirmat for the first time on January 1, and I really felt like it helped me push through my planks in a way I never expected!  Not only are the mats beautiful, but they are motivating!

Other facts about this gorgeous mat… it’s Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic, and Slip Resistant.  And, AWEsome!  Especially since it even motivated me to practice at home… with Jillian Michaels!  Whoa… it has magical powers, as well!

At-Home Yoga | No Thanks to Cake

So… are you interested in having an AFFIRMAT of your own??? Well, today is your lucky day!!

My new friends over at Affirmats gifted me the mat above and have offered to send one to one of my VERY LUCKY readers here at NTTC!

Affirmats Yoga Mat Giveaway | No Thanks to Cake

Enter to win by filling out the Rafflecopter below!  This giveaway will remain open until Friday, January 24th at 12:00am.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note:  Affirmats provided me with their product that appears above for this review and giveaway; however, the opinions expressed above are my own.  

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Moving Forward

Let me tell you a little bit about Friday for me…

I woke up, and knew I hadn’t yet scheduled a post to publish, but I knew I had written a whammy of a post in my drafts.

I logged on and re-read what I had written… and it seemed right.  I knew it was exactly what I wanted to say.  And then I did the hardest part…

Publish Button | No Thanks to Cake

I hit the “Publish” button…

And then, I sat and waited… and wondered.  Had I said too much?  Were my readers going to be disappointed?  Would anyone even notice this post?

Moments later… the outpouring of responses began.  Immediately after reading Monica‘s comment, I knew that I had done the right thing.  I had written just enough… and no one was disappointed, alarmed, or anything but supportive.

Throughout the day, you guys continued to lift me up and make sure that I knew that it was ok… and that my virtual team would be supporting me all the way.

The other thing that I heard loud and clear was that I wasn’t the only one who this had happened to this year.  And, there’s something tremendously comforting in knowing that you’re not alone.  Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t wish weight gain on ANY of you, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one in this predicament.

Now, after I exhaled and read your comments… I knew what needed to be done.  And, here’s what it looked like…

First stop, YOGA.  Since I had Friday off, I knew I wanted to spend some time on my mat.

Affirmats | No Thanks to Cake

It had been a few weeks since I’d practiced, and it felt amazing.  Shelly’s class was the perfect amount of challenge and peaceful breathing.  It was JUST what the doctor ordered.  It reminded me of why I practice and why I love yoga… my body LOVES it.

Next, I hit up the grocery store.  I had a pretty empty fridge at my place.  Having spent the week in Virginia, I cleaned out all the produce before I left.  I had a blank slate to work with… and knew I needed the rainbow to help get me back on track.

Vegetable Shopping | No Thanks to Cake

I went for what was on sale… and Sprouts thankfully had a lot of options to choose from.  I had also found two recipes that I wanted to make over the weekend, and bought the ingredients I would need to make them happen.

I even went to two other grocery stores to make sure I had everything I needed… that’s dedication!

I logged back into MyFitnessPal.  Wow, there were like cobwebs on my profile… but I began tracking everything I was eating and plan on doing this moving forward.

This Veggie Delite from Subway was the first item to hit my food diary… and I’ve been logging ever since!

Subway Veggie Delite | No Thanks to Cake

By the way… If you use MyFitnessPal, I’d love to link up.  Click here to add me as a friend.  I’m NoThanksToCake, of course.

I jumped on Instagram and started hashtagging to track progress.  I’m a HUGE fan of Instagram.  It’s just so fun to post pictures of things I encounter throughout the day and it’s a GREAT accountability tool!

No Thanks to Cake Instagram | No Thanks to Cake

I tracked all that was going on… and I’m going to continue to do so.  I’d love to have you guys follow me by clicking here.

I’ve also been using #backontrack to tag all my pics associated with getting back on track. Feel free to use it too!  I’d love to see how you’re getting back on track with me!  What a great way for all of us to link up and share ideas!

For the past three days, I’ve worked out, I’ve eaten well (with deliciously healthy beautiful food!) and I’ve tracked all that’s been going in…

I know confidently that these fifteen pounds are TOAST!

I can’t thank you enough for all of your support last week and into the weekend.  I’m incredibly excited to start this next phase of my journey with you guys by my side.  xoxo 

How did you use your weekend to get back on track?

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My Favorite Things

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of my “favorite things”, so I figured this Friday was PERFECT timing to share a few more…

Choosing a Word Every Day

I wrote about this concept on Monday, and it’s amazing how it’s changing my days…

Life Lessons:  Choose Your Word | No Thanks to Cake

I love, love, LOVE choosing a word every day to be my guiding light.  So far, it’s worked amazingly… and I love that so many of you have been adopting it as well!  So fun!

Skinny Pop Popcorn

This summer, I REALLY got into popcorn.  My girl Tiffany talked me into trying a few varieties at our favorite grocery store, and I was quickly picking up popcorn every single week.  And, this brand has become my new favorite…

Skinny Pop | No Thanks to Cake

What I love most about Skinny Pop is that it comes in individual-sized servings.  Portion control is one of the things I struggle with… so when a snack comes ready to go, I’m in!  Also, the flavor is AWESOME!  The mini-bags have 100 calories per serving, and it’s a NICE serving.  Try this popcorn… you won’t be sorry!

Subway Sriracha Chicken Sandwich

Holy Hannah!  I feel like Subway keeps inventing sandwiches just for me… and this one is NO EXCEPTION!

Subway Sriracha Chicken | No Thanks to Cake

Let me warn you briefly… this sauce is SPICY!  If you’re a little nervous about spiciness… get the sauce on the side, or have them go light on the sauce.  When I’ve eaten this, my mouth burned for at least 10 minutes after… in the best possible way.  If you like spicy buffalo, you’re going to like this one BIG TIME!

Kelly’s New Album – Wrapped in Red

When I heard that my girl Kelly had a new Christmas album coming out, I knew that I had to buy it.  I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music, but I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks now… and I love it!

Wrapped in Red | No Thanks to Cake

 

And.. she has a Christmas special coming to TV in December!  You know I’ll be watching!!  What’s crazy is that she taped the show just two days after I left Las Vegas a few weeks ago.

Kelly and Kelly at the Venetian | No Thanks to Cake

At least I got a quick pic before I left… and I’ll be watching from home when it airs!

Favorite song?  Favorite Things (a la Sound of Music)… So great!  Check it out!

Ab Work

Yeah… I don’t even believe that I’m writing this either.  No, my blog hasn’t been hijacked…

I’m loving the core work we’re doing at yoga these days.  It’s like my instructors know it and they’re sneaking in these core moves.

Boat Post | No Thanks to Cake

 

Boat pose, for example… it rips at your core, and it’s just one of many I’ve loved doing.  Actually, I don’t love it during.  What I love is that feeling I have when I get home and I can “feel” my abs.  Feeling them shrinking… is what I hope is happening.

Vinylux Weekly Polish

The lovely Judy who does my pedicures talked me into trying this new polish, advising that it was marketed as a weekly polish.  I decided to give it a shot because my standard manicure usually starts chipping after a few days…

Vinylux Polish | No Thanks to Cake

The Vinylux polish (at my salon) is only $2 more, and for me, it lasts TWO WEEKS!!!!  My nails don’t do well with gel or shellac, but they LOVE this extended wear polish.  Ask for it at your nail shop!  It’s amazing!!!  The color I’ve been wearing is called Rubble.  LOVE this stuff!

What are you loving this week?

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WOW: Yoga with the Dolphins

I don’t think I mentioned it to you guys yet…. but I spent last weekend in LAS VEGAS!  It was my sister-in-law’s birthday, and my brother decided to whisk her away for a weekend in Sin City.

Chandelier Bar Jason and Beth | No Thanks to Cake

Because I’m just a short two hour flight away… they invited me to join them.  I’m always game for a trip to Vegas, and these two are so fun that I thought it would be a great time.

When we were planning where to stay, Jason and Beth chose The Mirage because it had a beautiful pool and it was in the middle of the strip, close to where they wanted to be.

Before this trip, I had never even set foot in the Mirage so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  However, I never would have expected to find what I did on their website….

Yoga with the Dolphins Mirage | No Thanks to Cake

Check out that sign on the bottom right of the wall above… you’re reading it right.    The mirage offers YOGA WITH THE DOLPHINS.  Seriously.

Originally, I had looked to see if there was a gym available for use and found this gem.  I called the hotel the week before and made arrangements to be a part of this very special class.

We met at the spa before the class, and the instructor Willow walked us through the property and to the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

WOW:  Yoga with the Dolphins | No Thanks to Cake

As the group walked back into the habitat area, I was amazed by how beautiful everything was.

WOW Dolphin Yoga Mirage | No Thanks to Cake

It’s strange to see this type of habitat in Vegas.  After all, it’s usually all glitz and glitter and cocktails… and here I was in this serene pool area with the most beautiful of animals.

WOW Dolphin Yoga Mirage | No Thanks to Cake

Willow told us a little about the dolphins during our trek to the habitat.  The animals live quite the pampered lifestyle with personal trainers to work them out every day and staff that just adores them.  They also get to swim around a beautiful yoga practice three times a week… including my class this weekend.

When we arrived in the classroom, there were mats and towels set up for everyone to use as well as a bottle of water placed at each station.  Most of us were paying VERY little attention to the setup, as we were surrounded by these beautiful dolphins.

WOW Dolphin Yoga Mirage | No Thanks to Cake

The room itself had three large windows into the dolphin tanks, and our friends were swimming around us like crazy… saying hello in the windows and being playful with one another.

As the class got started, I had a hard time focusing on the poses as I was fascinated by the dolphins.  Willow warned us at the beginning that she would be offended if we were looking away.

WOW Dolphin Yoga Mirage | No Thanks to Cake

This picture above was actually taken from my mat.  UNBELIEVABLE view… like none other.

The class itself was really good.  It was a little more yoga than what I expected on a Saturday morning in Las Vegas, but it was just the right amount of exertion peppered with sun salutations and asanas, and of course, a few moments spent in “Dolphin” pose.

After class, I felt absolutely refreshed and empowered.

WOW Yoga with the Dolphins Mirage | No Thanks to Cake

I felt empowered because yoga always feeds my soul, and also because I was doing something fantastic for my mind and body while in the most indulgent city in the world.  There’s something empowering about that… it’s all about choice.

WOW Yoga with the Dolphins Mirage | No Thanks to Cake

If you’re in Vegas anytime soon, I HIGHLY recommend this class.  It’s just an amazing experience, one that I don’t know if you’ll have anywhere else.

The class is kept quite small because the room has limited space, and they only hold these sessions Friday-Sunday.  If you’re going to Vegas, call ahead to make sure you reserve your spot. The fee for the class is $50, and it includes an all-day pass to the spa area giving you access to the sauna, steam room, and hot tub area.  Let me assure you… worth every penny!  Such a cool experience.

Have you done any cool workouts while in Vegas?

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