Category Archives: Colorado

Auto Added by WPeMatico

Currently: August 2017

Currently: August 2017

So long, August… you beautiful thing, you.

I had a blast in August.  Loved it.  Can’t wait to see what comes in September as the temps cool off a little.

CURRENT BOOK

I don’t think I read a darn thing last month.  Nope, just headlines, social media posts, and the mail…

In the month ahead, I’ve got my eyes on Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot.  I tried to read this one a few months back and didn’t.

After reading Big Little Lies and loving it, I think it’s worth a second try.

CURRENT ECLIPSE VIEWING EXPERIENCE

Oh, the Eclipse.  I was planning on taking a quick lunch break, peeking at this celestial moment, and then going right back to my desk.  But then… I found an event that I thought would be the perfect way to enjoy the eclipe:  Yoga Under the Eclipse at Urban Sanctuary.

Not only did I have an opportunity to complete moon salutations under the eclipse with an amazing group of yogis, but I also met this incredible space.

The class was a series of grounding poses that took place outdoors, with plenty of breaks so we could peek at what was happening in the sky.  Denver was about 92% eclipsed… and I loved every minute of it.

CURRENT SONG

We’re all listening to Taylor Swift’s new song Look What You Made Me Do, right?  It’s a little angsty for where I’m at right now… but it’s catchy for sure!

Of note, this month is about Taylor… but next month is 150% dedicated to my girl Kelly Clarkson who has a new album coming out!!!

CURRENT WINE LOVE

You know, I love some rosé.  I found a site that does rosé home delivery…. of some of my favorite labels, including the appropriately named Summer Water!

Have you heard of Winc? Use this link to save $20 on your first order!  Easy peazy.  My wine rack is full for a while as I hold onto summer for dear life!

CURRENT DONUT SITUATION

Have you guys ever heard of Doughbar Doughnuts?  After seeing many of you post on Instagram that you were eating healthy donuts, I had to see what this was all about.  And, you guys… I was pleasantly surprised!  And, the donut (plain) has 150 calories and 11g of protein!

I ordered a variety four-pack so that I could try a few flavors, and they were so so good, the Reese’s flavor being my ultimate favorite!  And, who doesn’t enjoy decorating and eating donuts??? So fun!

Tip:  Follow the instructions in the box.  Heat up the donut and the frosting for the best flavor and experience.  I’ll be trying these again!

CURRENT RECIPE ON REPEAT

I shared this new recipe on Saturday, and I’ve made it twice all ready.  I cannot get enough of this beet salad, y’all.  If you’re a fan of beets, you’ve got to try it!

CURRENT DENVER RESTAURANT LOVE

Every once in a while, I have a chance to be hosted by a local restaurant to sample their menu.  This Friday night, Marisa from Uproot Kitchen and I were completely spoiled by Max’s Wine Dive – Denver.  With locations across Texas and in Denver, if you’re within proximity of a location, I’d highly recommend you stop by.

From pulled pork stuffed chile peppers to cracklin chicken to bananas foster bread pudding, it was an amazing night of food with special wine pairings for each.  Thanks, Max’s, for a beautiful evening!

CURRENT BLEISURE EVENT

Have you heard of this word?  Bleisure?  It’s when you combine business and leisure, specifically as it relates to travel.  Earlier in the month I had to make a quick trip to Baltimore to visit a colleague for a planning session, and it just so happens that the lovely Ashley from Balancing Today was still on maternity leave and available for lunch!  So so great to see her and to meet Baby Kinnick!

CURRENT OFFICE UPDATE

I’ve always thought my home office to be “done” from a home improvement perspective.  When my floor lamp started flickering last week, I knew an update was in order.  I went to Target – Nothing.  I went to Homegoods as well.  Here I found a potential lamp, but a tiny voice in my head told me to head to Scandanavian Designs.

With the store closing in ten minutes, I found this gem.  I really like it.  Adds some height to the room, which I like.  It’s a little bright, but smaller watt lightbulbs can fix that.  Ultimately, it’s nice to be able to see in the office in the evenings again.

CURRENT COOKING EXPERIMENT

You guys, I’m a little obsessed with pickling.  I’ve pickled onions, beets, and now I’ve pickled something a little weird.  Weird in a delicious kind of way.  Stay tuned, because these bad boys are coming to the blog soon…

divider2

View my previous “Currently” posts here:

Currently: July 2017

Currently: June 2017

Currently: May 2017

Currently: April 2017

Currently: February 2017

Currently:  January 2017

Related posts:

Currently: August 2017 originally appeared on No Thanks to Cake on 08/30/2017.

The post Currently: August 2017 appeared first on No Thanks to Cake.

So long, August… you beautiful thing, you. I had a blast in August.  Loved it.  Can’t wait to see what comes in September as the temps cool off a little. CURRENT BOOK I don’t think I read a darn thing last month.  Nope, just headlines, social media posts, and the mail… In the month ahead,…

Read More

The post Currently: August 2017 appeared first on No Thanks to Cake.

Powered by WPeMatico

That Time I Grilled Amazing Beef with Sprouts

That Time I Grilled Amazing Beef with Sprouts

It’s official.  As of this week, my HOA announced that we are a grill-free community.  It’s been in the works for a while, and now that it’s confirmed.. I’m a little sad that my grilling days will be limited moving forward.

A treat in my new grill-less state, I had an opportunity recently to hone my outdoor cooking skills with a group of Denver bloggers.  Hosted by the Colorado Beef Council and Sprouts, it was an amazing evening full of grilling tips, insight on how to shop for the best in beef, and a lot of hands-on in the kitchen.

Between us friends, I shop at Sprouts a LOT.  There is not one, but TWO locations within about 5 miles from my house.  Their fresh produce, their beautiful proteins, and their focus on healthy foods keep me coming back for more.  Their hosting local blogger events is such a treat, as I always learn something new about my favorite grocery store.  This event was no exception, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned!

Did you know…

  • There are specialized meat cutters at every Sprouts location?  You can ask them questions about cuts of meat, have them cut your selections/fresh grind meat, and have them make special cuts!
  • Using a food saver is one of the best way to store your beef for freezing!  Removing the air from the container assures it stays as fresh as possible during it’s time in the freezer.
  • Never freeze your beef in the container it comes in, unless you have the butcher wrap your selections specifically for freezing – – you can ask them to do this for you!

There is nothing I love more than having a chance to hear tips from the experts.  The team at the Colorado Beef Council not only taught us a lot about the different cuts of steaks that were available, but they also gave us access to their amazing kitchen as well as a rundown on how to plate dishes to make them appealing and attractive to the diner.  Check out this gorgeous plate the chef put together as a demo.  Beautiful!

You guys… the next part of the meetup was HANDS DOWN my favorite.

They let us loose in the test kitchen to make our own dinner.  (OMG!)  In a less competitive, less stressful version of Cutthroat Kitchen, we had about 35 minutes to make our dinner using beautiful beef and veggies from Sprouts.

The Colorado Beef Council team encouraged us to branch out and try a cut of beef that we don’t typically use, if we were feeling adventurous.  Knowing I usually choose a filet/tenderloin, I chose a New York Strip to prepare as part of my masterpiece.

And then, I saw this spread…

This was the MOST fun.  To the left of all these fresh herbs, you would have seen a beautiful array of cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, and all sorts of other veggies.  I didn’t walk in with a plan of what I’d be cooking… but one formulated quickly as my tray filled with ingredients to make a colorfully beautiful dish.

I quickly claimed a wedge of cauliflower, shallot, grape tomatoes, and asparagus.  I also piled on some microgreens and a little chives for garnish.  And with that, I headed to the prep stations.

The experts gave us access to all sorts of rubs, spices, and sauces… but I went with simple flavors: salt, pepper, and olive oil to season everything I made.  The steak was seasoned and grilled to perfection.  I sauteed the asparagus with seasoned sliced grape tomatoes and some minced shallots.  Lastly, I sliced that beautiful cruciferous cauliflower into a steak… and threw it on the grill with its NY Strip counterpart.

Just look at those grill marks…

When it was time to plate my dish, I chose a rectangular plate and love how it turned out.  And, the flavor was divine.

The event hosts set up a light box to capture all of our beautiful plates, and here’s what mine looked like right before I devoured it.  It’s amazing how good lighting impacts food photography.  Remind me to pick one of those up at some point.

In the end, it was a deliciously beautiful night.  Thank you so much Sprouts and the Colorado Beef Council for sharing all of your wisdom and for hosting our group of Denver bloggers. 

Disclaimer:  I received compensation from Sprouts; however, all of the opinions and comments about the program are exclusively my own and do not necessarily represent that of the brand.

Related posts:

That Time I Grilled Amazing Beef with Sprouts originally appeared on No Thanks to Cake on 08/15/2017.

The post That Time I Grilled Amazing Beef with Sprouts appeared first on No Thanks to Cake.

It’s official.  As of this week, my HOA announced that we are a grill-free community.  It’s been in the works for a while, and now that it’s confirmed.. I’m a little sad that my grilling days will be limited moving forward. A treat in my new grill-less state, I had an opportunity recently to hone…

Read More

The post That Time I Grilled Amazing Beef with Sprouts appeared first on No Thanks to Cake.

Powered by WPeMatico

Currently: July 2017

Currently: July 2017

Whoa… slow down, summer.  I’m not AT ALL ready for Fall.  In the meantime, here’s my July wrap-up.  Sigh…

Current Book

Last night, I finished reading Wonder.  It’s one of those books that reads quickly, and having just about 50 pages left, I powered through to finish it up late in the night.

I originally spotted this book when I heard it was coming out as a movie with Julia Roberts staring as the mom.  True story:  I’d say, wait for the movie.  Unless you just have time available.  Overall, I don’t read a lot of YA books, but this one seemed very YA to me – short chapters, middle school topics, etc.  There were some messages on kindness at the end that I loved, if you do happen to read it.

Current New Colorado Adventure

You guys, I had my adorable 11 year old nephew in town this month, and we had such a blast!  Having him in town gave me an excuse to try a few new things that have been on my list for some time, including…

White Water Rafting at Clear Creek

How have I lived in Colorado for this long and have never tried this??  I totally want to go back and try the intermediate ride where it’s a little more adventurous.  The Beginner ride (because Hayden is only 11) made sense), but next time, I’m totally kicking it up a notch!  Loved it!

Another first was heading to the top of Mount Evans.  What beautiful views from the top!  My currently image above was from the summit, too!

We wrapped up the trip with Indoor Skydiving, a Colorado Rockies game, and a stadium tour of Coors Field.  Incredible weekend, to say the least, and such a great time with the little Guy.

Current Snack Find

You might remember that I tried my first Perfect Bar back in June, during my trip to California.  Ironically and shortly after I got home, I got an email from this amazing brand asking if I’d like to sample their amazing bars.  Oh, yesss!!!  Take a peek at all the flavors that they sent me to try!!!

I quickly became obsessed with these bars.  While loaded with nutritional ingredients, packed with protein, and GMO-free, if I’m honest with you guys… these taste like FUDGE – – nut butter fudge.  And, they’re incredible!

My favorite Perfect Bar?  The minis.  At 100 calories each, they’re the right size for me.  While peanut butter is always a favorite, the almond butter mini bar stole my heart.

I’ve spotted Perfect Bars at my local Sprouts, Target, and Whole Foods so far.  Look for them in the refrigerated section!  Yum!

Current Quick Recipe Cards

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you’re surely to have seen my recipe images I’ve been posting about how to quickly jazz up your Jenny Craig meals.  Not only have I had a lot of fun creating these, but the response has been awesome and they’re FUN to make!

Click here to follow the fun: Instagram, Facebook

Current Step Enhancer

Cleaning up after my big paint job this month, I was looking for a mop on Amazon and I found these AMAZING slippers.  While they’re really not that functional, they sure are fun….

Current App Find

When I was in California last week, I learned about a new app that I think you guys might like.  Have you heard of Forest?  It’s tagline is Stay Focused, Be Present… and it’s all about setting down your cell phone.

Once you click the “plant” button, your phone proceeds to grow the plant pictured.  If you pick up your phone and bypass the app, your plant dies a cold death.  If you let it grow for the time allotted, it grows beautifully!  It’s sort of fun to play with, and as someone who needs to put down her phone… I think it rocks.

Current Outdoor Yoga Venue

This month, we’re practicing yoga at the Denver Botanic Gardens!  During each of the summer months, the gardens host a yoga class under a tent at the gardens, where you’re serenaded by a violinist.  And then, after the class, you can enjoy a picnic amongst friends (including the vino).  Thanks to all these beauties for joining me!!!

Current Fashion Obsession

Are you guys loving kimonos or is that just me??? I’m obsessed with this new black & white floral kimono from Fabrik Denver.  So so pretty…

Current Recipe Obsession

I’ve officially made my 4th batch of my Watermelon Gazpacho this week.  I just can’t get enough of it, and it’s so so refreshing on a hot day.  Click here to see how to make it for yourself.  Seriously, make a batch.

Current Art Project

I found a new piece of art for my repainted bathroom a few weeks back.  And, while I loved it… the colors were slightly off.  Just the same, I had an idea in my head that I could possibly transition the coral color in the flowers to match my decor.

How did I make the update, you ask??  With nail polish… OPI’s Outback Aphrodisiac, to be exact!  Totally worked, and there was no cleanup!  Check out the before and after!

Current Words of Motivation

divider2

View my previous “Currently” posts here:

Currently: June 2017

Currently: May 2017

Currently: April 2017

Currently: February 2017

Currently:  January 2017

Currently:  December 2016

Related posts:

Currently: July 2017 originally appeared on No Thanks to Cake on 07/31/2017.

The post Currently: July 2017 appeared first on No Thanks to Cake.

Whoa… slow down, summer.  I’m not AT ALL ready for Fall.  In the meantime, here’s my July wrap-up.  Sigh… Current Book Last night, I finished reading Wonder.  It’s one of those books that reads quickly, and having just about 50 pages left, I powered through to finish it up late in the night. I originally…

Read More

The post Currently: July 2017 appeared first on No Thanks to Cake.

Powered by WPeMatico

That Time I Got A Lash Lift: A Cautionary Tale

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen postings on the internet and maybe even from your favorite beauty bloggers about the hottest new trend in lashes:  The Lash Lift.

A while back I tried Lash Extensions, but really wasn’t a fan of them, so the idea of having a little extra and semi-permanent curl sounded like a great alternative!  The service ranges from $50-$70 from what I can tell for a treatment that should last anywhere between 6-8 weeks.

I’d read about it on Popsugar and even watched a quick video of the procedure.  My favorite beauty blogger Kate from The Small Things got one recently, and it looks GORGEOUS!  I knew my instincts were right.  I NEEDED to try this!

I went to Google and found several places in my area that did Lash Lifts and settled on a salon on the West side of Denver.  Excited to get the process started, I scheduled the appointment for just a week out.

On the day of my appointment, I elected to not wear my contacts, as I was certain the chemicals being close to my eyes wouldn’t mix well with my contacts and I was right!  The technician advised that she would have had me take them out had I worn them.  I was so excited to get things started as you can see from the pic I took just an hour before!

After exchanging pleasantries, I proceeded to settle into the treatment bed.  Very similar to a wax appointment, you lie down for the procedure.  I asked a few questions before getting started.  Questions that, in retrospect, should have made me walk away from the procedure all together.

  • When I asked what happens if the lashes turn out too curly, to which I received the reply – – You just have to wait until it relaxes.  Turns out, there is a massive list of recommendations you can find on the internet.
  • When I asked if I should be doing a lash lift considering I was using a lash growing product, I was told that she wasn’t sure.  Correct answer: there is no reason to pause.

When you’re laying on the table for any procedure, you can always get up and walk away.  For some reason, I didn’t.  I stayed. I wanted those pretty, pretty lashes I’d read about on the internet… and because I ignored my instincts, my results have been quite the ordeal.  When your provider doesn’t have any answers to basic questions and/or does not position themselves as a specialist, you definitely should walk away.

The procedure itself took about an hour.  She applied the perming solution, using a tiny rod.  The scent was very reminiscent of the late 80’s when I used to rock a spiral perm.  It didn’t hurt, but it was definitely uncomfortable.  Someone manipulating your lashes, combing them repeatedly, and putting pressure on the eye area just feels weird, which is to be expected.  I felt some slight burning, but nothing of concern.  Like my grandmother used to tell me, “It hurts to be beautiful.”  So, I hung in there.

When she was done, I looked in the mirror and I thought my lashes looked INCREDIBLE.  They were long, curled and really opened up my eyes.  As I was leaving, I came back in to ask some aftercare questions (as no recommendations were made) and was told there were no restrictions and that I could proceed as normal.  This also raised a flag for me.  I mean, hellooooo….

Regardless, I left the salon… thanked everyone for their time, and headed home with my curly wet lashes.  Note an important detail:  My lashes were WET.

By the time I arrived home, my lashes had dried…. and dried MUCH curlier than they were previously.  The best way I can describe them is rather than being an upside down J shape,  they were more of a backwards C shape.  I was seeking the J, not the C.  Not the C at all.  Imagine if your lashes are in the shape of a C, they don’t look long.  They don’t look lustrous… and adding mascara is a COMPLETE mess.  Also fun, my bottom lashes are crimped.

The other thing that happened over the next few hours is that my eyelids began to swell and my eyes got really red.  With lids puffing up, I assumed an allergic reaction and proceeded to take some Benadryl (and a nap.)  I also decided to wash the area really well.  The technician actually left some residue on my lids, there was some in my brows, and I decided to fully clean my lashes, hoping for the Legally Blonde style results we all remember being explained from the movie.  I even added mascara to see what they would look like.  HOT.  MESS.

They’re just kind of weird.  Notice the crimping on the bottom lashes.  They literally flip up at the ends.  The lower lashes were completely covered during the procedure, so I’m not sure when/how they got curled.  But they’re definitely crimped.  Without mascara, they look normal-ish, but with mascara… it’s just ugly.  And, note the puffiness of the lids and the redness of the eyes… sigh.

And, if you’re wondering:  These babies haven’t budged a bit since Wednesday despite my extreme attention to them.  I’ve been adding lash enhancer, vitamin E, castor oil, shampoo.  I’ve even carefully scrubbed them with a shampoo my hair dresser gave me that supposedly strips hair.  NOTHING.

So, now I wait for 6-8 weeks.  I hope to hell that I’m more like 6 weeks, and I’m researching thin non-volumizing mascara so that I can add a little something without making a complete mess.  I’m also searching for a heated lash curler that maybe I can use as a mini straightening iron.  Considering the way my eyes reacted to the solution to begin with, I’m not even interested in getting them chemically straightened.  I think it would just be too much at this point.  (Again, sigh)

Know that they don’t look scary and it’s not like I’m embarrassed to leave the house.  The average person looking at me doesn’t even notice.  Yesterday morning, I had brunch with my friend Bev… and she noticed my puffy eyes, but not really the lashes.  They actually look better without mascara, so I may just go sans mascara for a while.  Or, perhaps wear a lash strip so that it’s not as noticeable.  I’m definitely not putting mascara on my lower lashes for at least the next few months and I only plan to wear mascara when I have meetings/social events/etc.

So, that’s my story of trying the latest craze.  Know that I 100% know that some salons can make this magic happen (as in Kate’s case), but I share the other side + a few recommendations:

  • Do NOT get a lash lift without a referral
  • Ask Questions.  Reserve the right to walk away if anything seems off.  I should have.
  • Request a Skin Test – Most of the online resources I found (I’ve read them ALL after this mess) indicate that the technician should do a skin test 24-48 hours in advance to make sure you are not allergic to the product.  This was not a part of the protocol at the salon I visited.
  • Do NOT have this service performed if you have chronic dry eyes – I have this, and it has been amplified significantly as a result of the procedure.
  • When in doubt, just use your eyelash curler.

So, that’s my story:  An alternative to the rosy stories I’ve heard from everyone else.  Make good decisions out there, and by all means, take care of your eyes! 

Related posts:

That Time I Got A Lash Lift: A Cautionary Tale originally appeared on No Thanks to Cake on 05/22/2017.

The post That Time I Got A Lash Lift: A Cautionary Tale appeared first on No Thanks to Cake.

Powered by WPeMatico