It’s Been a Hard Days’…Two Months!

Time always escapes me!

Since July came, life has been a flurry of opportunity, strategy and some fun sprinkled where I can fit it in!

I was blessed with TWO new jobs since then, and I started working at both!

My work schedule has been a bit insane (as in COMPLETELY insane), but it’s afforded me the chance to financially re-construct my life, and start working on some major plans I’ve been anxious about!

So, a few updates:

I attended a couple of amazing country concerts this past few weeks, and had an absolute BLAST!

Went to see Rascal Flatts with Sheryl Crow and Gloriana:

Fresh and ready for Rascal Flatts!

Fresh and ready for Rascal Flatts!

Before we got sweaty and straight up covert operations in the Pit!

Pretty Girls!

Pretty Girls!

 

In the Pit with my Bestie, slowly and successfully inching forward until we were RIGHT. THERE!

This was not as close as we got! She touched his shoe!

This was not as close as we got! She touched his shoe!

Then there was Neal McCoy, Dan + Shay, The Band Perry, and Blake Shelton (God Gave Me You is our song):

Great minds think alike... and obviously very stylishly!

Great minds think alike… and obviously very stylishly!

 

Lawn Seats (Never Again..we;ve been too spoiled in the past)!

Lawn Seats (Never Again..we;ve been too spoiled in the past)!

And even though this was part of MY birthday gift to HER, she bought me a Dan +Shay wristband, because the first 90 to purchase mercy got a Meet and Greet with them! And I, by the way, have been obsessed with their CD the past few months, so this was AWESOME! One of them signed my wristband, and put a little heart next to it and said “That’s a heart, by the way.” I could be totally full of myself, but I sure didn’t hear him say that to anyone in line in front of me! Lol!

"Baby, I just wanna show you off!"

“Baby, I just wanna show you off!”

The next day, we woke up and headed to Artesia Spa and Salon at the Hilton Gaslamp Hotel for a much needed Spa Day as part 2 of her birthday gift! What’s the best way to end a day filled with a 50 minute massage and 50 minute facial? A rooftop pool, of course!

It's hard living in San Diego. Sigh.

It’s hard living in San Diego. Sigh.

And then I had a Beyoncé moment.

I woke up (from my massage) like this.

I woke up (from my massage) like this.

Tuesday of the past week took me on an evening hike at Cowle’s Mountain with Ashley, celebrating and conquering #12 of her 29 things list, and checking out the Super Moon! It also happened to be a Harvest Moon, and it looked especially amazing.

So proud of Ashley and her tenacity in making all of these things happen! She is seriously, ridiculously motivational!

So proud of Ashley and her tenacity in making all of these things happen! She is seriously, ridiculously motivational!

And then I was all like, “Take a picture of me with the moon behind me!”:

Note the "I'm So Fancy" tank?

Note the “I’m So Fancy” tank?

 

In other news, my obsession with Pretty Little Liars n Netflix has officially gotten out of hand. I was binge watching it one day last week, and this foolishness ensued after posting how insane it had gotten and how blown my mind had become (and that was just the middle of Season 3. I’m officially beginning Season 4!)

First Emotion: Terror. Second: Pure mirth! I haven't laughed so hard in forever.

First Emotion: Terror. Second: Pure mirth! I haven’t laughed so hard in forever.

It was that prankster I call my best friend, Alexis. Shenanigans. Did you know? There’s an APP that generates a fake phone number for you to text from? The world is gonna end soon.

Also, I finally found 10 seconds to Google how to use emojis on my Galaxy S4. My boyfriend has been using them for months and wouldn’t show me how. Sad story for him.

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OH! AND MOST IMPORTANTLY:

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WE BOOKED  A19 DAY TRIP THROUGH ITALY, FRANCE AND SPAIN NEXT YEAR!! WE LEAVE NEXT YEAR, SEPTEMBER 19TH AND THAT MEANS IT’S ONLY 369 DAYS AND 13 HOURS AWAY!

Not that I’m like, counting down or anything.

That’s all for now, but at least you get a look at what I’m up to!

There’s more to come… seriously!

Until then…. you know what you gotta do!

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Taking Care of #1…YOU!

Hey Everyone,

It’s been awhile, but SO many amazing things have been happening!

I recently got the opportunity to get a new amazing job, and so far, it’s been everything I could have hoped for. With a more accommodating schedule and less stress, I will be able to dedicate more time to SeeSondraSlim and being a bigger advocate for the “fight” against Obesity.

The last 4 weeks and all these transitions, and trainings, and busy days have led me to realize that I have not been taking the best care of myself. Between the regain of some of my weight, the slacking on my blog, and the general poor feeling I’ve had the last few months, I knew something had to change. I didn’t want to be in a position where I could blame the place where I spend 80% of my week for the issues and feelings I had been facing, but the fact of the matter is, since I started my new job, I’ve lost 5 pounds, been sleeping better, and I have already been offered several opportunities and resources to help me take my life, and SeeSondraSlim to a whole new level.

Sometimes, you just have to step back and assess what areas you may be spreading yourself too thinly, and in which you aren’t paying enough attention to.

And so, I’ve made a pact with myself, to dedicate more time with myself, to take better care of myself. Be it a coveted trip to the Farmer’s Market and a day of meal prepping, or the deluxe pedicure instead of the regular one, or splurging on the $5 smoothie I love the most…I’m going to do it!

Also, I’ll be dedicating “Office Hours” to myself for the SeeSondraSlim mission to continue, and hopefully become a bigger vehicle of Obesity Advocacy.

Take some time with YOU today, to see what it is you want to make more time for. Give yourself the opportunity to recharge and reassess. You won’t regret it!

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OAC #YWM2014…I am SO excited!

It’s only 79 days away, and the excitement is killing me!

It's almost here!

It’s almost here!

Last year, I attended the Obesity Action Coalitions 2013 “Your Weight Matters” Convention. Not only did I get to meet and mingle with some amazing advocates and representatives for the fight against obesity (including my idol, Michelle Vicari of the “The World According to Eggface” blog which inspired me to start the SeeSondraSlim blog in the first place!), but I was afforded the opportunity to attend workshops with some motivational, inspirational, and ridiculously educated experts. Check out my post from last years event here!

Chilling on the gorgeous hotel grounds at #YWM2013 in Phoenix, AZ between sessions!

Chilling on the gorgeous hotel grounds at #YWM2013 in Phoenix, AZ between sessions!

I left YWM 2013 with a renewed sense of purpose, and more importantly, with more resources and information to help me not just on my own journey, but with the information I needed to be a better educator advocate myself!

This year, the Your Weight Matters 2014 Convention takes place in Orlando, Florida from September 25-28. I was originally going to have to opt out this year, due to budget issues and switching jobs (as of next week! YAY!), but this year, the OAC even has a scholarship opportunity to attend! Naturally, I applied as soon as I learned about it, and will be anxiously awaiting any word until they announce the recipients in August.

I think that events like this are essential to success for those who want to be a bigger voice and advocate for Obesity. It’s challenging in a world full of Photoshop and celebrity influence to stress the importance of not only body positivity, but overall health and wellness.

OAC’s YWM Convention exposes attendees to so many resources and speakers. Check out the 2014 Event Agenda here!  You can also check out some fun YouTube videos on #YWM2014, too!

The OAC is looking for bloggers/vloggers to help spread the word so we can make #YWM2014 better than ever! If you’re interested, you can email mvicari@obesityaction.org for guidelines and helpful info/links to share with your followers. You can also feel free to share or re-blog my post, if you’re too busy to put one together! You can also post badges, fliers, etc. to your social media outlets to help spread the word! Click here to see what content is available for you, and use it to your hearts content! :)

I really hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about this amazing event, but I hope even more to see you in Orlando in 79 days! ♡

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Clean Eating Challenge: Days 4, 5, & 6!

The Buzz Feed Clean Eating Challenge has been really good to me so far!

I have no complaints, actually. The food isn’t boring. It isn’t super hard to prepare. It’s not outrageously expensive (thank you, Sprouts for having a bulk section).

I especially enjoyed making asparagus under the broiler, and got a little naughty. I used some leftover prosciutto in my fridge (so it wouldn’t go to waste. And because I’m italian…and partially because I lack some self control!)!
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Days 4, 5 and 6 have been delicious, thanks to all the recipes!

Check them out at these links!

Buzz Feed Clean Eating Challenge Day 4

Buzz Feed Clean Eating Challenge Day 5

Buzz Feed Clean Eating Challenge Day 6

I did totally “cheat” on Sunday, and got some frozen yogurt at FroYoLove by my house…I was having cravings for something ice cream-like. The good news is, I had sugar free, dairy free cherry with raspberries and blueberries in one half of my cup, and dairy-free pineapple with strawberries and kiwi in the other half!
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So overall, I didn’t do too badly…and I skipped the after-dinner snack to compensate somewhat.

As of this morning, I am down 3 pounds, which is pretty awesome. My 4 mile jog/walk around my neighborhood on Sunday probably helped with that! :)

I go shopping today with the Week 2 Grocery List, and then tomorrow will be the Day 7  mark!

Pretty excited to continue with this eating plan, and keep feeling and seeing results! I love that it’s not a “diet” so much as it is a better way to fuel your body.
More soon!
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Photo Reveal: Korin at Wonderland Boudoir!

Posing...

I had a blast back in April, modeling for The Boudoir Divas at their 2014 Boudoir Retreat. I met some amazing women on a journey to begin/improve their Boudoir skills, and I am so excited at the fact that photographers … Continue reading

Clean Eating Challenge Day 2 & 3!

It’s been a doozy!

The hard parts? NOT going to Starbucks for my second wind after my 3 hour lunch break, not being able to indulge in bakery fresh cookies (I snuck one yesterday, and told myself the calories don’t count if no one sees me. I am terrible, and my detoxing tummy made me feel it!), and well…. that’s about it. Not really bad at all!

The good things? My water intake is way up, I feel more energized in the morning, and I know where each and every ingredient in my meals comes from… plus, I am cooking more! Cooking is one of my passions, and it’s really therapeutic after a day of insanity! I’m glad this motivates (and um, REQUIRES) me to do so!

Day 2 was awesome. I finally had overnight oats. And I LOVE them! So much so, that I substituted the day 3 yogurt parfait for another batch of overnight oats…. because otherwise, plain Greek yogurt and I are NOT friends.

Day 2 Recipes are here.  Day two was a little bland after breakfast, mainly because I was all excited for the cabbage wraps… but I am allergic to mango and avocado. So…I didn’t take the time to think of worthy substitutes. I bought an avocado anyways, but chickened out when I realized I was out of Benadryl and too lazy to go to the store. :)

Blueberry Overnight Oats with chia seeds

Blueberry Overnight Oats with chia seeds

Day 3 Recipes are here. Day 3 was awesome! The Asian chicken salad with leftover cabbage and almonds and chicken was great… and I really enjoyed the vinaigrette too! I forgot to add the tomatoes to the salad… so when I make it again after the challenge, I’ll remember that part! I skipped the yogurt parfait today in favor of making another batch of overnight oats… because. I love them! My new favorite healthy breakfast… and it would make a great snack, too! It’s really filling (thanks to those oats and chia seeds), full of protein (as a WLS post-op I need 60-80 grams per day), and I eat it slowly to savor it. It took me so long to eat it at work this morning, I skipped the avocado snack.

Softening the shallots and garlic for the lentils...

Softening the shallots and garlic for the lentils…

Bubbling away!

Bubbling away!

Cauliflower "Steaks" that sound weird, but are SO addictive!

Cauliflower “Steaks” that sound weird, but are SO addictive!

 

A quick tip? Lentils are a lengthy process! Prep them ahead of time… or cheat a little bit! I have always bought the Trader Joe’s steamed lentils in the refrigerated section with the other prepped veggies. For the sake of showing you all how easy the challenge can be, I followed the Buzz Feed recipe, but you could easily doctor up the already prepped lentils.

Trader Joe's Steamed Lentils

Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils

Same goes for the quinoa…TJ’s has it in the freezer section, and it’s ready after 2 minutes in the microwave!

Overall, the Buzz Feed Clean Eating Challenge has really been…..FUN! I love that the menu is so structured, without being daunting and skimpy. As a matter of fact, I am eating about 1/2 of the meal serving, which means I am eating about half of the nutritional value… so I am keeping an eye on that in the case I need to double up other supplements.

Have you tried the Clean Eating Challenge? If so, what are your favorite meals so far?! Which ones are you looking forward to? That’s all for now, but I’ll do my best to keep you posted as I go!

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Clean Eating Challenge, Day 1!

Today was a good day!

If you don’t count the 10 minutes I spent in the breakroom at lunch talking about all the food I CAN’T eat, it was at great day overall!

Day 1 recipes were today’s menu, and I found myself completely satisfied. As a matter of fact, I ate about half of every recipe, because I was so full – I didn’t even eat this evenings snack/dessert! Dinner was steamed kale with quinoa, chicken breast, and an orange vinaigrette with things like apple cider vinegar and olive oil. It was really good…I’m not even a big kale fan. The simple Buzz Feed steaming instructions helped a LOT.

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I especially enjoy that each day has the next day prep as needed. After I whipped up my awesome dinner, I prepped my overnight oats and stuck them in the fridge and breakfast will be a cinch in the morning. Plus, today’s dinner was half of what was prepared,  and the other half is for lunch tomorrow!  Saves me time, and makes my tummy happy!

Tomorrow is Day 2, and the Day 2 Recipes look great, also! I am really excited for the dinner menu, sans mango (I’m allergic).

More soon!

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Join me on the Buzzfeed 14 Day Clean Eating Challenge!

Let’s be real: When you hear the words “gluten free” or “low carb” in relation to eating or dieting…it’s an instant turn off! I love the Buzz Feed 14 Day Clean Eating Challenge concept,  mainly because the disclaimer that it’s both of those things didn’t fully register until AFTER I got super excited about it!

When you see the methodical, practical, and easy to follow guidelines for this challenge, it seems so EASY! The photos of food that had me salivating in all of their delicious looking glory didn’t hurt, either!

Buzz Feed has done all of the hard work for us. They’ve split the grocery list into two weeks, broken down each day into menus AND recipes with step by step instructions and photos,  and even gone so far as to provide guidelines for meals that you end up replacing with eating out!

I started my grocery shopping on Sunday, getting most of my dry ingredients, and today I got my meat and produce to start meal prep this evening and officially begin the challenge tomorrow. What I love is how flexible this challenge actually is. While you need to follow the menu day by day (leftovers are used for the next day withe most of the daily menus), you don’t have to start Sat/Sun as it does.  I tailored it to fit my payday schedule and the schedules of those doing the challenge with me!

So, today is “Day 0,”  and I followed instructions accordingly for prep.

I’ll be posting daily with the link to the corresponding day of the challenge,  so you can check out the ingredients and recipes…maybe you want to do the whole challenge, maybe you just want some new healthy ideas for meals.

We will be following some of the #tiu Tone It Up workouts while we go, with 4 scheduled work outs per week, also! Plus, walks and stairs at the beach! That new bikini I ordered from Swimsuitsforall.com better watch out! :)

Wish me luck! I’m hoping not only for a few pounds lost,  but for some new energy and excitement, too!

Check out tomorrow’s lunch and snack!
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What are some of your favorite resources for healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle on a busy schedule?

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The #GoVoxBox Reveal!

Hey Everyone,

I am so excited to share my new goodies with you all. I am a member of a website called Influenster, where you take surveys and review products. By connecting your social media outlets to your Influenster account, you can get “status” for sharing things with others. I recently was qualified for the #GoVoxBox with an over health and fitness theme, and couldn’t wait to share all the goodies that came inside!

First Look!

First Look!

 

Each VoxBox comes with a card detailing the products and gives Social Media handles to use to share via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Typically, these cards go over the retail value of the products, as well!

Each VoxBox comes with a card detailing the products and gives Social Media handles to use to share via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Typically, these cards go over the retail value of the products, as well!

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The Vitamin Shoppe "Next Step" Weight Management Program goodies!

The Vitamin Shoppe “Next Step” Weight Management Program goodies!

I generally have very mixed emotions about The Vitamin Shoppe, simply because on the 3 occasions Sean has taken me there to look at supplements, everyone acts too busy to help us or answer questions about which of the millions may be suitable for us. However, I was very excited to see that they have this new Weight Management line, and I can’t wait to try the shake flavors and see if they are tasty enough to make this a regular part of my life!

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Along with the Next Step shakes, there is a shaker bottle too! I love that the shaker mechanism shape is that of a jack! I can’t wait to put this baby to use! Plus it’s a super fun color!

Aqua Spa Relax Body Crème in Lavender and Chamomile

Aqua Spa Relax Body Crème in Lavender and Chamomile

I am a big lavender fan, and I am excited to try Aqua Spa Relax products. I’ll be using this after my shower tonight…. lavender is supposed to aid sleep!

Blue Diamond Fruit Flavored Almonds in Blueberry

Blue Diamond Fruit Flavored Almonds in Blueberry

I have tried flavored Blue Diamond Almonds before, but they were toffee flavored. I can’t wait to rip these open after my workout tomorrow as a sweet snack!

PROFOOT Triad Orthotics

PROFOOT Triad Orthotics

YAY!!! Athletic orthotics that are affordable, easy to fit in multiple styles, and not completely bulky and weird looking! I am trying these babies out during my workout tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see if they help my stability! They are “3 zone, everyday orthotics clinically proven to relieve knee, leg, and back pain when worn in your favorite shoes.”

PROFOOT Pedi-Rock

PROFOOT Pedi-Rock

I love the pedi-rock concept! This is way less gross than the PED-egg craze, and it’s pretty cool that it can be used wet or dry. This will definitely save me the extra $5 for the callus remover add-on during my salon pedicures. :)

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons

So, the cool thing about these tampons is that they are designed to neutralize odors for ultimate freshness. Girls who run marathons, go hiking, participate in extreme sports…. they are BAD ASS. But they are still girls… they have periods too. Staying fresh when you do high octane activity is a must!

Müller Greek Coupon for one FREE Müller Greek product up to $1.49

Müller Greek Coupon for one FREE Müller Greek product up to $1.49

I love, love LOVE Müller Corner Greek yogurt! There is one with little dark chocolate flecks and cherry compote…. and I’m not generally crazy about black cherries or dark chocolate…. but it’s SO good. I think it’s awesome that this product is getting some more exposure. The low fat yogurt with fun toppings or fruit really making eating healthy more enjoyable!

So, as you can see, this box is full of goodies to help make a healthy lifestyle even more enjoyable! I will gradually share more about these products as I use them, and I can’t wait to find some new favorite items in the process (PROFOOT orthotics are only $10.49 a pair! Can you imagine how much more inclined to be to support your feet at a great price like that?)!

What are your favorite items for a healthy lifestyle? And if you’ve tried any of these, I want to hear YOUR thoughts!

More later!

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Learning to See the Pretty…and Photo Reveal from Agi M Photography!

It may sound a little stupid, but I have gotten pretty used to being “pretty.”

A lot of people think I’m really vain, self-absorbed, or shallow… but the fact of the matter is, I am just catching up. I’m making up for lost time. Making up for all of the years, days, hours and minutes that I told myself I wasn’t good enough.

Freshman Year Homecoming... circa 2002?

Freshman Year Homecoming… circa 2002?

Circa 2009...at karaoke with my Other Mother

Circa 2009…at karaoke with my Other Mother

All the time that I sat there and believed I didn’t deserve to be loved.

That was all, pardon my French BULLSHIT.

Your weight doesn’t determine what how much love you deserve. A bad haircut doesn’t instantaneously disqualify you from being treated with respect. It doesn’t work that way.

When someone says “You are so pretty!”  I smile, and accept the damn compliment with a “Thank you!” and I always try to genuinely return compliments as well.

But there is always that one person trying to rain on my parade and make me think that those compliments are undeserved. And lately, that person has been ME.

I literally cried when I saw that homecoming photo on Instagram. Partly because that point in life is hard to re-visit in general, but also partly because I needed a reminder that no matter how I might think I look or feel at times…I am NOT this girl anymore. I am so much stronger. So much braver. So much more confident in what she deserves.

I was honored and thrilled to be asked to model for The Boudoir Divas recently at their annual Boudoir Photographer Retreat, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I’d been considered in the first place!

I got there, got my makeup done, Candace came and did my hair…I put on my high wasted black panties, black bra, black bustier, and lace robe…and I felt ready!

I felt gorgeous! I felt secure!

As some of the photos made an appearance on Instagram, I started to feel less sure of myself.

As I mentioned awhile back, I ironically LOST weight on vacation in Hawaii. In the midst of my return, I was dealing with things being harder at work, Sean losing his job the day before I departed for Hawaii, and more… and next thing you know, the New Year is here and I’ve gained 20+ pounds.

I was so disappointed. I was so angry. More than anything…I was so ashamed. I pride myself on what I accomplished with weight loss, and here I was, failing. Gaining.

My immediate reaction was fear. Fear of becoming that girl again. So… when I saw these photos from the amazing and talented Agi from Agi M Photography, I was having a hard time seeing the pretty.

I was seeing the cellulite. The HUGE arms. The droopy thighs. The plain face.

(I should disclose that I opened this email Sunday morning at closing ceremonies for Relay for Life, after walking over 30 miles in a weekend, and operating on the one nap I took from 1-6 am. So, I was not the most aware of anything happening!)

You know what? My arms might be huge. But I can change that! My thighs might be droopy… but at least my surgeon said the first revision wasn’t perfect. My face isn’t plain. I’m just a tad dramatic when I see myself NOT smiling. Agi was so much fun to work with; so full of life, so excited, and so passionate about what she does. She is one of those people who you trust instantly, because you feel like you’ve known her forever (she is perfect for this industry, because you’ll recall I felt the same way about the Divas and their MUA Peggy when I very first ventured in. You can read more about that in this post)!

I decided to open the email and re-visit these images this evening, after showing them to Sean last night and sharing how I felt with him last night. If you know my boyfriend, you know he is a huge supporter, and that he loves me for me. And his perspective was not surprising. He said I looked great, and then helped me plan my next steps for fixing what’s really wrong: how I feel inside!

So… here are a few of my favorite shots. Check me out!

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Check out more amazing photos from some amazing women at the retreat in this Boudoir Divas Blog Post! Also, you can connect with Agi M Photography on Facebook! While you’re at it, you need to check out my super talented friend, Candace from Ah La Mode Designs. My phenomenal hair is ALL her doing! Also, the fabulous Peggy with His Blushing Bride who did makeup for all the girls! This was my second makeup run with her, and she is still as fun as the first time I met her!

I’ve rambled on and on… but the moral of the story is… sometimes you have to learn to see past what you hate seeing. See past what you’re struggling with, and know that you are captivating regardless of what a label in a dress or a number on a scale says. You’re not defined by how small your arms are, or how your thighs look. The best thing about boudoir is that it captures your beauty at any size. It’s not about being a Victoria’s Secret Angel… but the fact that you FEEL like one. And that you are captured in a way that puts you right up there with them in rank.

 It’s a gift to learn to see yourself in the eyes of those who capture you the way that Agi captured me. And once I took the time to see that, I found myself re-energized and ready to get back to actually working on those things, instead of avoiding the way they look in photos. I’ll be sharing more from these talented ladies, as I receive them!

That’s all for now… but I won’t be gone for long!

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