26 Things I Learned by Age 26

Today, I am 26 years old.

I feel like I just entered the world yesterday, and yet it’s kinda like…dang! 26 years?! So much has happened in that time.

I felt like commemorating this most auspicious occasion with something I love: a list!

So, here it goes.

26 Things I Learned by Age 26

  1. The term friend is used so very loosely. Those who SAY they are your friends are your associates. Your true friends will SHOW you as much. ‘Nuff said.
  2. Life is too short to not dye your hair. Go red. Go blonde (I just did!). Go green, for crying out loud. It can be fixed if you hate it…and you might just love it, and learn it fixes a little piece of you that was fading away.
  3. Don’t confine yourself to any labels. You can be a girly-girl-hipster-thug-nerd if you really want to. Some people like to tell me how “eclectic” I am. Loving Taylor Swift AND Lil’ Wayne doesn’t make me eclectic. It makes me well-rounded. Cultured even. So, there! If it bothers anyone, kick them to the curb, because you know what?…
  4. Some people are so exhausting. Always complaining. Or always projecting their insecurities onto you. Life is TOO SHORT. Surround yourself with people who make you feel loved, alive and HAPPY. Tolerate those you have to (like family members, co workers, etc), and make sure you take any opportunity to show them how terrible their life IS NOT, should you have the strength.
  5. BE NICE. It’s so easy to be sarcastic, or mean, or petty, or upset. Everyone wasn’t raised like you. Not everyone learned proper grammar, or manners, or common sense. Is it ok? Not usually. But if you don’t have to rip them a new one, don’t do it. Sometimes, you just have to calmly say “Hey, so you know, it’s really offensive when you call me the N-word. I don’t like it, and I’m going to need to you STOP THAT. By the way, Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. day!”
  6. Family is forever. My family is far from perfect. I didn’t talk to my parents for long stretches of time, but the older I get, the more I see in what they did/didn’t do for me. More importantly, I can be grateful that all those trials, tribulations, good times, and bad times melded together to make me, ME! I’m fortunate to have them at all, and more fortunate to grow better relationships with them as I get older.
  7. You can’t do it all alone. You just can’t. I’ve tried. And I didn’t always need someone to save me, but there are plenty of times I went to bed after doing what felt like everything, and crying myself to sleep. Accept help. Accept support. YOU NEED IT FOR YOUR SANITY! People won’t offer to help if they don’t want to. See #1 and #6.
  8. Blood isn’t everything. For all the love I have for my family, there are friends I have that may as well have danced out of the womb with me. My best friend Alex has been in my life a mere 4 years, but I’d give a kidney for her. She works in the kidney and liver transplant ward at the hospital…so this would be super convenient for the both of us!
  9. Sales are everything. I pity the silly fools running around the mall talking about “It’s not as good if it’s on sale. I pay full price for everything!” Um, ok. In an effort to stay true to #5….um, it’s way more impressive to say “HEY! BE CAREFUL! THESE ARE $500 BOOTS!” and smugly think to yourself, “But, they were on sale for $200 and I had a promo code to get $50 off, and I used Ebates to get 4% cash back on the entire purchase, plus free shipping, b#tches!” No? Just me? Well….carry on then.
  10. It’s not that serious. I am a self-proclaimed Drama Queen, largely because I know people think I’m dramatic. So, obviously, if I say it about myself, the appeal wears off to people, and I’m not sitting here with my feelings hurt when someone else says it about me! However, in the midst of my Mariah Carey-esque mental breakdowns, I want you to know that I truly do realize the world is not over, and I can still hit the high notes. Dumb things happen. Bad things happen. Sad things happen. You’re still awesome. Hell, you’re still ALIVE. You win. Cope. Deal. Move on. It ain’t over ’til Mariah leaves…and then, you should be worried about me
  11. Take the vacation. As often as you can. Your boss might not like it. You may not have enough paid time off. Your boyfriend might be jealous. But you know what? You’ve got a LOT to see and experience here on your measly 100 years on earth. I don’t know about you, but I won’t be seeing the world through someone’s Facebook photos. I have things to do, and places to see! Get away for a weekend, for a whole week, or Lord willing, for longer! You will never regret that trip to Hawaii wearing your first bikini ever and not having to use an Instagram filter on a single photo! Trust me. :)
  12. Write it out. I have journaled for as long as I can remember. It helps me deal. There’s a lot of things I don’t want to burden others with, or that I need to just see on paper to figure out and plan to conquer. My journal is my little safe haven where I can put the pen to paper, and sleep just a little more soundly at night without all my random thoughts swirling around my head. It’s cathartic, and in my opinion, ESSENTIAL.
  13. Apologize. I have made so very many mistakes in my life. Mistakes are a given, and no one is perfect. The key is acknowledging that your mistake was not ok, not unrecognized, and that you are sincerely and genuinely apologetic. People can never stay mad if you say “That was my mistake. I am really sorry it happened. Sondra loves you.” If they do, maybe they can teach you the art of never making a mistake that they’ve obviously mastered.
  14. Eat the chocolate. See also: Buy the shoes, say yes to the sea salt scrub from the pedicure lady. Indulgence is absolutely necessary. Everyday, no. But definitely appropriate when you can. You work hard, you should play hard. A single piece of California Brittle from See’s Candies saved someone’s life the other day. I keep some on standby in my desk drawer.
  15. Life is a Runway. Right? I mean, I almost rented an Oscars-worthy gown to wear to my Karaoke Birthday Party tonight! So, if you really want the neon green shoes? Do it. The crazy peacock printed yoga leggings from LuLu Lemon? YUP! You know why? Because rarely do I see anything on a runway I’d actually wear, and people are shelling out the big bucks for it. So when I see neon yellow, highlighter looking Chuck Taylors on clearance and my dad offers to buy them for me? You bet your butt I’m getting them. And I’m gonna wear them with pride and happiness…because that’s what they do..make me happy! And when I wore them to the airport on my way to Vegas, I got zillions of compliments anyways. So do it. Look crazy. You’re making someone’s day on Instagram if it goes badly, so either way, you’re #winning. Just, you know, try not to walk that People of Wal Mart runway. I’ll know if you do, because my mom often forwards me the highlight emails.
  16. Do something new. Like always. I just registered for Italian classes in Little Italy, San Diego. I am actually TERRIFIED because I have a slur when I talk, and seem to sound a bit silly when I speak Spanish, which is similar…so I avoid it. But my big dream is an awesome month in Italy exploring and cooking next year…so  I need to prime myself for the total experience, and I know this is the way to do it. So fuhgeddaboutit. I enrolled, and I’m gonna kick butt!
  17. It’s the little things. I am a truly blessed, fortuitous individual. My birthday was celebrated at work yesterday, and they decked out my office, brought me a huge arrangement of gorgeous flowers, cards, gifts, cake….the works! But you know what warmed my heart, really? That these people cared enough about me to do anything AT all. And my cards and gifts were like they were made for me. It was truly moving and special, and it makes me so happy.
  18.  Gestures, too. Some of the best things I’ve been given can’t be found in stores. My Aunt Elsie will call my work phone to check up on me and say hello, My cousin Karen will call me just to catch up. My friend Jen, who was a bridesmaid at Alex’s wedding with me, sent Sean and I a Christmas card, even though the wedding was the first time we’d met. Alex always makes sure I have awesome accessories for my birthday to let the world know I am HERE, and ALWAYS celebrating. Sean will leave me a long voicemail or send a long text when he knows I am having  a hard day. My friend Jenny at work always brings me Starbucks if she stops by on her way to work, and knows my drink as “the usual” (as do the baristas!).There is nothing in the world like a kind gesture to make you see how valuable human interaction is.
  19. You can start a movement. We forget how influential we can be. By sharing information, insight, kind words, etc…we have the power to change anything, big or small. I once worked in a stressful environment where we were confined to a single office altogether, and you could FEEL tension. I printed out these “take one” positivity fliers and hung them in the bathroom. People would take one, and share it with someone of their choice…if they wanted to. Wouldn’t you know? By the end of the day, all the little tabs were pulled off, and people were smiling because someone left a little slip of happiness on their desk. Awesome
  20. You’re never too broke to be fancy. We are wine club members. Olive oil club members. I subscribe to a couple key Subscription Box services…it keeps me HAPPY. I love getting real mail, that doesn’t ask me to pay for something adult-ish, like my vehicle registration, and finding new awesome products as a result. Our wine club membership encourages us to get out and see the beautiful Temecula Wine Country at least 4 times a year…and we pay the equivalent of 3 whatever-ish bottles of wine 4 times a year as a result. But when I’m at the vineyard with the Wine Club card, in the members only wine section with private tasting bars, discounts, and special appetizer menus? I feel glamorous and luxurious, and like all my hard work is WORTH something.
  21. Never stop adding to your Bucket List. Mine changes probably daily. I see or hear about something and say to myself “Hmm. I am so gonna do that!” and there it is. On the mental Bucket List. And when I write it all out, I don’t remember everything, so it’s never-ending. I wanna do a whole ton of stuff. And I know I can…I’m making the effort and I’ll take the time to do so. You’re never done trying new things.
  22. Food is your friend. You don’t need to be ashamed. You don’t have to hide your goodies. You need to say to yourself, “You know…this birthday cake pop is not the most awesome choice for my weight loss goals…but the extra 15 minutes I spend on the treadmill as a result is an awesome life decision and life extender!” It’s all in how you sell it, people!
  23. You always have been, always will be, and couldn’t be more BEAUTIFUL. If someone doesn’t think so…you can’t help that. I can expose people to my awesome personality, slammin’ karaoke skills, and fun party planning ideas….they might choose to see me as a waste of space regardless. But you know what? I am MY artist. I am MY canvas. I can’t be YOUR eyes. Sometimes, a healthy “F*uck ‘em!” is in order. Embrace your beauty…be it physical, mental, whatever. You have so much to offer. If you don’t think so, take an inventory of the people that you thought of when you read some other parts of this list. People came into your mind and brought a smile to your face, and it’s because they see ALL the beauty in the world in you, and choose to be a part of your magic.
  24. Saying “No” is totally ok. Can you babysit my Devil Child? Can you make 450 cupcakes for my birthday…tomorrow? Can you please just support the super stupid life decisions I am making, even if they affect you? Yeah…NO. Guess what? I just said no, and chances are nobody died. The earth is still spinning. I’m still crazy. Everything is still OK. And it will continue to be, because you are staying true to yourself and making decisions that help you maintain your health and happiness. Go you!
  25. Go ahead. Be “crazy.” I used to be so unbelievably offended when people called me crazy. Then, I realized that they are usually high-fiving me, smiling, or completely in awe at how I handled one of the several million insane situations that seems to find me on a daily basis. You know why? Because secretly, every person has a little piece of them that watches me get all “Sondra”(also often referred to in my close circle as “I pulled a Sondra!” or “I channeled my inner Sondra”), and handle business or have a blast. And why, oh why, on earth would I be as silly as to be offended by that?
  26. You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. I used to start a lot of things, and then give up. I got too busy, or more than likely, I got too worried I couldn’t do it. And I’ve worked really hard the last 5-6 years to have more faith and confidence in myself and my abilities. You know what happened? People saw what I was doing, and encouraged me. And when they did, they sparked even more passion and ideas for me, and made me KEEP GOING. That’s how SeeSondraSlim.com came to be in the first place. And I can’t believe that I get to celebrate my 26th birthday with a whole bunch of amazing people who thought that my journey to being healthier and happier was worth checking out, and keeping up with.

I’m honored, I’m flattered, I’m blessed, and I’m finished rambling.

I love you all. New look launching soon! WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THE NEW GRAPHICS. Ridiculously fab!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Simple Broiled Salmon and a Side Dish to Die For!

Tonight was good eats, for sure!

Simple Broiled Salmon

What You Need:

Salmon fillet(s) (I bought one that was just short of 1 lb. and ended up getting 3 portions from it. You could do it individually, if you prefer)

Fresh chives (chopped)

Cilantro (chopped or dried. I used dried because I had it on hand)

Garlic Salt

Fresh ground pepper

1 lemon (juice of half, and slice the rest)

What You Do:

Season salmon fillet(s) with garlic salt, pepper, chives and cilantro. Squeeze your 1/2 lemon over it, and put in heated skillet (I had mine on medium high for about 3 minutes before hand to get it really hot). You want to get a pretty crust on both sides of the fillet… for the size of mine, it was about two minutes per side, put lemon slices on top of fillet, and then transfer skillet to oven. I preheated the oven to a broil on 375 degrees.

Broil fillet for about 5-7 minutes (time may vary depending on size of fillet. Keep and eye on it to make sure!). Fish is ready when flaky and has a soft pink color (not as bright and salmon-y colored, in other words).

Hungry?!

Hungry?!

This salmon is great with salad, or on it’s own.

If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for delectable side dishes, look no further.

I am trying to get into this quinoa craze. It seems like a no-brainer for people like me, because it’s a protein packed seed, versus a whole grain. It is actually ridiculously versatile, as well, which helps make it not be a boring complement to your favorite dishes!

Tonight, I used some pantry staples and a little produce I picked up to doctor some quinoa into a delectable side dish to make my salmon, and my tummy, happy!

Sondra’s Super Quinoa Salad

What You Need:

8 oz quinoa, cooked (I use the pre-cooked organic kind from Trader Joe’s in the freezer section It’s 3.99 for (2) 8 oz packages and just needs 4 minutes in the microwave. Presto! You’re a magician)!

1/3 cucumber, peeled and diced

2 tbsp. Sundried Tomatoes, chopped coarsely

2 oz roasted bell pepper (I used some from a jar of red/yellow mix I got at TJ’s packed in water for $1.99), chopped

Garlic Salt

Fresh ground pepper

1 tbsp. EVOO

1 tsp. Lime juice

1 tbsp. Mixed garlic

What You Do:

Basically, all you need to do is mix this all up in a bowl.

Boom. You’re done. Thank me later.

Super Simple. Super delish!

Super Simple. Super delish!

Super tasty, really good for you, and this made about two servings for me. I put some in my container for lunch with the salmon, and some in a container in the fridge for dinner later. It’s great warm or cold, and you could easily multiply the recipe for a crowd… it’d be awesome for a get-together, a vegetarian option, or a snack! I am actually in love with it… and I’m not big on quinoa to begin with!

What else did I pack with it? A couple of Cutie mandarin oranges. I am slightly addicted lately, and I don’t mind, because they’re a great alternative to the other sweets I could be inhaling. Besides, all the Vitamin C should keep me from getting sick anytime soon!

That’s all for now, but I have more yummy recipes, fun news, and more coming your way!

If you try these recipes, or even put your own spin on them, share with me!

You can post your photos to the wall on the SeeSondraSlim page on Facebook, or use #SeeSondraSlim on Instagram and Twitter to catch my attention! I would LOVE to see what you come up with!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2014 Bucket List!

Boy oh boy.

2013 was a total blur…and full of happiness, success, surprises, and so much more!

As I go into 2014, I feel like I have set the bar really, super, extremely high…and that makes me more excited than nervous!

So, as always, here goes another Sondra Bucket List full of wishes, dreams, and planning for the New Year:

1. Attend my brother’s college graduation in Connecticut.
2. Put a deposit on a trip to Italy (deadline: travel by Fall 2015)
3. Visit my dad in Florida once he gets stationed there in the Spring.
4. Look into Brachioplasty (excess skin removal of the upper arms)
5. Launch the SeeSondraSlim brand in a bigger way (new logo, cover photo, and signature coming soon! Plus, I am working on my time management and will have SeeSondraSlim “office hours!”)
6. Take Sean on a trip to Las Vegas, NV (we have never been together)
7. Go to Disneyland during Christmas time (our plans have been thwarted by finances the last two years. Sad face).
8. Get more “fit.” As in, I want to tone more than lose at this point…but I have NO idea what I am doing with weights!
9. Regularly attend the classes offered at my gym. All that money I spend, and I’m using the treadmill and rowing machine only?
10. Master Italian with my Rosetta Stone…I was brilliant and got a tablet without a cd-rom reader and cannot use it.
11. Attend the Italian language Meet-Up group in my neighborhood to practice said Rosetta Stone education with real people.
12. Purchase Le Creuset items to complete my fantasy kitchen line-up
13. Register for and complete another 5K race. I’m thinking a Warrior Dash or maybe that Glow Run?
14. Organize my room…that way maybe I’ll be more prepared for the move looming in the near future (maybe start with replacing my closet light that’s been out for 6 months?)
15. Do more community service. There are SO many opportunities…and I act like I don’t have enough time. But I can make time somewhere for doing something GOOD.
16. Make more time for ME. If that means a day alone, finding a retreat no one knows about, and just having tea with myself…I think it’s high time I make it happen.
17. Be a better friend. I lost touch with a lot of closeness and people this year, because I have been so overwhelmed. Time to rekindle those connections and show I care.
18. Invest in my education. Have I made a concrete decision as to what or where I want to study? No. But I am 25…give me a break. I’m trying to pay my bills! :)
19. Maintain my Household Planner I made this year….and then promptly forgot to update.
20. Hit my goal weight! 180 has seemed so impossible for so long….fluctuating between 190 and 210 since surgery (thanks, swelling and exercise restrictions) showed me how possible it is to keep those pesky pounds at bay, and that it’s really not THAT far away…considering I started at 315-320 pounds anyways!

That’s my list of semi-realistic expectations for the year to come, and I plan on sticking to it!

What are YOU adding to your 2014 Bucket Lists this year? I’d love to know!

‘Til Next Time!
XOXO

It’s All About Perspective…

I know, I know.

It’s been a LONG time since I have blogged…and I swore I’d blog more while on Medical Leave for my thigh lift.

The thing about that is, I seem to forget how emotionally taxing surgery can be…even if it’s really exciting, post-weight loss, ridiculously awesome surgery like a thigh lift!

I had a really hard time….being pretty much incapacitated, being doped up on pain meds, and my incisions splitting, I was a bit of  a wreck.

But you know, I made it. I’ve taken the time to ease back into work, get ready for my first ever ACTUAL vacation, and focus on the upcoming holidays. It’s no excuse…but it’s the truth. For awhile now, the very thought of rehashing all of that here on my blog sorta depressed me.

The fact of the matter is, this blog is all about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to my journey. So, it’s high time I address that, and keep my word to those who I told I’d share all the details with! You don’t HAVE to read my blog, but I promised myself I’d write it!

Quick recap:

Thigh surgery was semi-successful. At my last post-op appointment, Dr. Arya, my surgeon, said that we will most likely re-visit the area as a “scar revision” and actually suck out more fat and pull more skin up. I am not kidding when I say it was “more than excessive” to begin with. So, I am not surprised that we need to do more, but definitely a little disappointed.

It’s really important for Bariatric and Plastics post-ops to have realistic expectations, and at the end of the day, I admittedly expected more magic then there actually was. But alternately, I wore my first bikini in Hawaii a mere two weeks ago, and was more self-conscious about my back rolls….not my thighs!

Speaking of which:

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Again, like the post title says: It’s all about perspective. :)

In other news, I am anxiously awaiting the holidays, and thinking of a master plan to get all my shopping budgeted and planned for. Obviously, with a mere 3 weeks to Black Friday, I am putting on my strategist hat and channeling the crazy Target commercial lady so I can get it all done relatively early.

Sean is graduating with his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing this Saturday, and I am preparing some surprises for that. Unfortunately, he was laid off from his job the day before I left for Hawaii, but with the pending graduation and an interview lined up this week, things are looking up!!

I will post more soon, but I wanted to make sure the world knows I am still alive, and still invested in SeeSondraSlim.

Thanks to all of you for the well wishes, kind words, and patience!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

An Awesome Opportunity (and a Fun Video Clip, Too)!

I have been totally slacking on blogging, and for that, I profusely apologize.

This surgery has been a little more mentally/emotionally tough for me, and while there are a bajillion awesome ideas running through my head, it’s been hard to find the motivation to just type them out.

Last week was especially hard! I had my 1 week post op appointment, which I showed up for on the WRONG day. I expressed that I was a little frustrated that my thighs look EXACTLY THE SAME TO ME, and that I could see some areas starting to split on my incisions on the left thigh. Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming my surgeon, nor her excellent team. They totally let me know at my pre-op appointment that splitting was possible. Stressed it, in fact.

I guess I just wanted it to be different for ME.

Fortunately, earlier that day I had seen a post on The Boudoir Divas Facebook Page that they were looking for a past client to be featured in the San Diego Channel 8 News Segment for them being shot on 8/30, the next day.

Imagine my surprise (and DELIGHT) when they emailed and said they’d love to have me!

If you haven’t already read my post about The Boudoir Divas from last year, when I did my first shoot with them as my 75 pound loss goal present to myself, please do. I was so awed when I left…and then, I picked up my images later that week, and I got to experience it all over again…I even shared 1 or 2 with the world here on my blog! Check out that post here.

These women empower other women. They have the best job ever….they make women feel beautiful, take them into a room with a GIANT flat screen, and make sure they leave OWNING that beauty.

That’s a powerful, powerful emotion to evoke, and they make sure you’re having fun the whole time! It’s one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had!

On my way to my doctor’s appointment, after getting the details for the next day, Marissa, one of the owners and founders of The Boudoir Divas, called and asked if I’d be able to come in the same day to do some new shots to share on the news segment. I was more than happy to oblige, but a little worried when I thought about my incisions, bruises, and overall lack of self-esteem for the few days prior. But, like I said, they empowered me so much last year; I would do anything to repay that favor, and help show people just how amazing this company is! So I went in, got my makeup and styling done by Marissa, and we got to business.

When I arrived at the studio, I was greeted by Erin, who shot my first session (LOVE YOU ERIN!), and then got to soak in the flirty, pretty, mellow vibe from the amazing décor they have.

I am happy to say, I experienced all those emotions and that genuine confidence all over again. And it helped me bring a really emotional, really tough week to a positive end! They planned to reveal the photos to me the next morning, ON the news, so I got really excited when I happened to go on Facebook and saw my face staring back at me from a TBD post!

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Photo Credit: The Boudoir Divas/Marissa Boucher

The next morning, I showed up at 5 am, ready to rave about this opportunity and what it meant/did for me! I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, just concerned about making sure I did these women justice!

Alisha, from Channel 8 showed up, and it was really cool to see the behind-the-scenes action of one of these broadcasts!

September is Self-Awareness Month, and they featured The Boudoir Divas as an interest piece and kick-off to that (ahem, BRILLIANT), and it was amazing! Obviously, I had Sean DVR it, and had to post my testimony on my YouTube Channel!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXZLELmO8xk

All in all, it was super fun, and just an amazing opportunity to help people who probably don’t even realize how much they helped me.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. It helped me enjoy what I have, and live in the moment, and still feel gorgeous! I am working on saving up enough money to do a SuperModel Package with them after I am all healed in the next few months…I am obsessed!

Check out The Boudoir Divas, and help them get a SuperBowl commercial! GO VOTE HERE! You can vote once per day, and you don’t even have to provide any personal information. Help them share their talent and empowerment with the world!

That’s all for now! But I hope you are as inspired as me, and I hope you’ll take the leap to book your own shoot with this awesome team! With twenty awesomely gorgeous sets, and a group of women who ROCK what they do? You won’t be disappointed!

Til’ Next Time!

XOXO

Nature Box Review (and 25% off for YOU)!

I am super excited to tell you all about one of my new FAVORITE Subscription Boxes.

I learned about Nature Box recently, and after seeing it all over Twitter and other blogs, I decided I needed to give it a shot! My first Nature Box arrived last week, and it came with the standard five snacks, plus a bonus “Welcome Snack!”

NatureBox

For just $20 a month (don’t you hate when people say “just” and practically spend your money for you? LOL), you will receive 5 Nutritionist- approved, healthy snacks delivered right to your door! From what I gather, there is typically a 6th one snuck in there, as well. :)

For the August Box, it was a “Back to School” theme. In the box, I received the following snacks:

1. Santa Fe Corn Stix: These crunchy little sticks taste like salsa! I am not typically a fan of these types of snacks, but these are just zesty enough to satisfy a salty craving, with flavors of tomato, green pepper, and onion.

Serving size 1/3 cup (about 5 servings per package). 140 calories, 6 g fat, 250 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 2 g protein, 20 g carbs

2. Sweet Blueberry Almonds(Vegan): I initially wasn’t sure how I felt about these, but they are delicately sweet, with all the health benefits of yummy almonds! Nature Box suggests whirring 1 cup of these babies with a pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of honey for a sweet and delicious almond butter! That would be fun to use in a smoothie, or for a twist on a PB and J!

Serving size 1/4 cup (about 4 servings per package). 170 calories, 13 g fat, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein, 6 g sugar, 9 g carbs

Teriyaki Twists(Vegan): These crunchy rice crackers are flavored with soy and paprika. I am honestly not a huge fan, but if you like those trail mixes with peanuts and the little salty soy crackers, you’d enjoy these!

Serving Size 1/2 cup (about 5 servings per package). 110 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 190 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 26 g carbs

4.Cherry Berry Bonanza(Vegan): I did a little happy dance when I saw these!! A delicious mix of dried cranberries, cherries and blueberries make the perfect topping for oatmeal, salads, baked goods, and more!!

Serving Size: 1/2 cup (3 servings per package). 130 calories, .5 g fat, 5 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 30 g sugar, 33 g carbs

5. Cocoa Waffle Wafers: I was also delighted to find these bad boys in my Nature Box, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed in these! They are very subtle on sweetness, but they’d be a perfect complement to a scoop of gelato or ice cream, or even peanut butter (cookie butter, if you’re like me and can’t get enough of it at Trader Joes)!

Serving Size 28 g (about 22 wafers, 2 servings per package). 110 calories, 2.5 g fat, 125 mg sodium, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 19 g carbs

6. Cheddar Pub Pretzels (Welcome Gift): Now these are tasty!! I wasn’t expecting to like them so much, since I am more into sweets these days (I blame anesthesia), but they are really tasty and would be great for a get-together where you set up some savory snacks to pair with your favorite brew or cocktail!

Serving Size: 9 pieces (5 servings per package). 120 calories, 3 g fat, 320 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 21 g carbs

Although all the snacks weren’t 100% winners for me, one thing that really appealed to me with Nature Box is that after your first shipment, you can customize your snacks and pick what you want. As a person with a lot of food allergies (mango, coconut, banana, avocado) it’s nice to be able to choose rather than get something I can’t enjoy!

All in all, I am really impressed with this Subscription Service! I love the convenience, and I am excited to maximize what I am sent. I know they are part of a balanced diet, and I am going to divide the snacks up into small snack baggies. Based on the serving sizes, I will have snacks for the work week for 3-4 weeks! Totally economical…and affordable!

Ready to sign up for YOUR first Nature Box and see what I am raving about? Click here, and use code “REFER25” for 25% off your first order! That is a savings of $5, on the basic $19.95 package, or more if you have more people in the house and opt for a package that has more goodies arriving to you!

What are some of YOUR favorite healthy snacks? Do you think Nature Box is right for your healthy lifestyle? I want to hear all about it!!!

*This post contains affiliate/referral links that may benefit me as a consumer/subscriber/reviewer. Feed the bloggers, and please use my links if you decide to subscribe!*

That’s all for now, but I have Subscription Box fever, and more to share soon!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Manifesto for a Simple Life

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Just a little motivation to take you through your week. I am reminding myself of all these things a lot this past week, and trying to be okay with being limited during this healing process. Still working on BuluBox product reviews, YouTube videos (just don’t feel too “pretty” right now), and other fun stuff!

In the meantime, I went on a subscription box shopping spree over the weekend….all with promo codes! Can’t wait to share my most-anticipated ones with you!

Back soon!

‘Til Next Time!!
XOXO

#YWM2013 Wrap-Up: A Weekend to Remember!

Let’s be honest: Anyone can begin a “weight loss journey.” Anyone can start and maintain a blog.

But, me? I truly feel there needs to be an underlying passion to really advocate and educate an audience when it comes to the importance of these lifestyle changes, milestones, and victories!

I am so grateful that Sean and I were able to make it to the Obesity Action Coalition Your Weight Matters Convention in Phoenix this year.

I met so many amazing people, and learned so much useful information that I am excited to use to keep going through my transformation, and hopefully, utilize to inspire you on YOURS.

There were multiple speakers and educational sessions that really taught me a lot, and also, some that validated the feelings I have had at my heaviest, and as I transition to the newer, healthier, fitter me.

Sadly, we weren’t able to make it to Thursday’s Member Mingle and Advocacy Training, but we arrived just at the beginning of the breakout sessions on Friday morning, and from the moment we walked into the conference hall, I could feel the energy!

Our first session we attended was “Weight Bias: Changing Public Perception Starts with Me.” I felt like this session was the best way for us to start the day, because a lot of people don’t realize that images and stereotypes of Obesity are perpetuated by society without even thinking about it. How many times have you held a bias towards someone who was Obese, or even too thin? We all do it, and more importantly, we can all help BREAK THAT CYCLE! I am pretty well-known in my circle of friends for being very vocal when people try to attack my size or the size of others in general (just attack-y people in general). I feel a need to really put these people in their place, and make them realize that 1) people can HEAR them and 2) it’s NOT ok to treat people that way. What I walked away from this session, is that I can use the information and resources I have from organizations like the OAC, or even my personal experiences, to educate people, and break those biases.

Other sessions we attended?

Everyday Advocacy: Simple Ways to Make a Difference,” “Planning, Shopping, and Dining: Practical Tactics for Good Nutrition,” “Who’s Staring Back at You in the Mirror: Improving Self-Perception,” “Understanding and Managing Food Addiction,” “My Everyday Routine Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Other Factors Impacting Weight,” and “Weighing Success Beyond the Scale: Identifying and Maintaining a Healthy Weight,” and “Expectations of Your Body After Weight Loss: Plastic Surgery and Other Options.”

All in all? So much good stuff! The OAC will be providing attendees with access to the powerpoint presentations within a week or so, and I’ll be sure to get access of all of you, so that you can see all the amazing lectures and statistics we got to learn from!

Friday evening, there was a Welcoming Ceremonies Dinner, and Sean and I sat at an empty table by the door. We were later joined by 4 others, who just so happened to all be representatives from the Platinum Sponsor of the convention, Eisai Pharmaceuticals. This company has just launched a new weight loss drug that uses neuro-science and triggers the signal in your brain that tells you that you are “full.” They were so interested in my opinion of the American Medical Association declaring Obesity a disease, and what my thoughts are on their product.

It felt so AMAZING to be sitting with this group of professionals and talking to them about something that I wish would have been a more prevalent option back when I was talking about Weight Loss Surgery with my Primary Care Physician. I was honored to have my opinion regarded so highly, and it was an awesome networking opportunity, as well. One woman shared her personal weight loss success with me, and said she was going to have her sister check out my blog.

In general, I made some new friends, and they happened to be some of my most favorite WLS/Health/Weight Loss bloggers! It was AWESOME! Twitter shout-outs were happening all weekend!

It was 114 degrees all weekend, and Saturday night after the awards dinner as I was headed to the bar with some new friends, it was actually raining, and there was lightning…but it was STILL 100 degrees! Crazy!

The resort was beautiful. The OAC truly picked an ideal location, and we enjoyed all of the amenities of the resort that we were able to use during our visit.

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One cool thing about the event was that at the Welcoming Ceremonies Dinner, the location and date of the 2014 Convention was announced!

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Will YOU be there? Because if so, you’ll run into me! We are already planning to make sure we can fit this into the budget, and I am hoping we can make it our first real vacation together, as well! No way we are going to Orlando and not going to their Sea World (and maybe even DISNEYWORLD!?!?!)

We shall see what happens :)

This event got me even more excited and inspired for my next convention in October, and it is really cool that some of the new friends I have made will be there, so I won’t be the totally new kid this time around! I cannot wait!

If you’re interested in starting your experience with these amazing, inspiring, educational events, you still have time to register and join me at the Obesity Help Convention in Anaheim October 4-5 and experience the magic for yourself!

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for those amazing presentation powerpoint links coming soon!

Sean and I are off to use our “Planning, Shopping, and Dining: Practical Tactics for Good Nutrition” education this weekend, and prepping all of our meals for the week after we hit up Costco and the Farmer’s Market to do some nutritious damage.

Now? Time to work on the thigh lift post you’ve all been asking for, before this Percocet kicks in again and makes me snooze for the next 6 hours!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO