Sondra’s Summer Essentials….and Salmon for dinner!!

Whew!

What a Tuesday! Got off work and headed to Starbucks to drop off a few thank you’s for the awesome coffee and pastries they donated for my Relay for Life team. Went to the gas station and cried inwardly when I remembered back in 5th grade when my mom would get pissed because gas went up from $1.25 a gallon. Headed home where I threw on sweats, and started doing a few Tuesday things I always do:

1. Organizing my pantry. I buy so much of the bulk goodies from Sprouts, and those freakin’ plastic produce bags really complicate my life when I go to grab raisins, oatmeal, or chocolate covered cherries! And so, I organized everything in cute little plastic containers that I can just refill after all my Sprouts trips! I am very excited! Also, I think I’ll be just a little less likely to run for chocolate covered cherries if they are in a container I have to pull a top off of to access them. Those things are $9 a pound…so I don’t mind going slow with them.

Oatmeal, salt and vinegar almonds, Oatmeal toppings, chocolate covered cherries, and pre-made oatmeals that I can throw and go with!

2. I make a shopping list and a to-do list the Tuesday before every payday. This Saturday, Sean and I are going to go get a Costco membership together, and so it was only appropriate that I make a list of the essentials I plan to purchase….otherwise, those hair-netted devils will rope me into buying something delicious and horrible that I do not need…or truly WANT for that matter. I also need to wash my car. Seeing as California decided to go all weather whacky this year and get rainy, I haven’t had an opportunity to wash it, for fear it would rain. And then it always does! So, my baby is getting washed, vaccumed and detailed by the pros!

3. I update my calendar, planner and phone calendar. I have to sync up all of my appointments to make sure I don’t forget anything. I have become one of  those people. Between work, boyfriend, workouts, and life in general, I literally find myself having to fit in time for things like doctor’s appointments, important phone calls, blogging, and texting people back. It’s shameful. And, with my trip to D.C. coming up in just three weeks or so, I have to fit in a hair appointment, nail appointment, tan appointment….oh! And time to pack. Knowing my luck recently, I’ll probably have to buy new jeans before I go. I keep getting diaper butt in my size 14 jeans, and the size ten pair I just bought is more for working events for the job. Not complaining….just saying!

Also, I am doing an inventory of all my cosmetic and beauty products. Now that I am the proud owner of an adorable vanity, it is imperative that my summer all-star products be on deck at all times for use!

And so, here it is:

Sondra’s Summer Beauty Essentials 2012

1. Nars Orgasm Blush

Let’s face it: Anything with this name is loveable from the get-go. And also, it literally compliments any skin tone. Just the right amount of shimmer, and enough depth to work with a ngiht-time drama look, or to keep it classic and chic at the office. And don’t get me STARTED on how a simple swipe from the temples to the cheekbones can make a face on it’s own for one of those low-maintenance beach days!

2. The Body Shop Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil

Now that it’s about time to break out the shorts (whether they like it or not! Read more here!) and the sundresses, it’s high time to make sure those stems look lavish! It’s not greasy, it smells amazing, and it has just the right amount of shimmer to keep skin glowing healthily…and it looks dead sexy in the evening with that LBD and some killer pumps!

3. Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes Mascara in Very Black

 

This, my friends, is the mascara of goddesses. And you are talking to a girl who previously lusted after Dior Show Mascara. The brush is small enough to grab even the tiniest corner lashes without making a mess, and the formula lasts all day…I go from a ten hour day at work to Comedy Night with the girls…and never have to re-apply! Full, clump-free, flake-free lashes! LOVE!

4. Rx for Brown Skin

Sean recently bought this Rx for Brown Skin starter kit for me, after I complained about the un-even spots on my face. The starter kit came with an exfoliating serum, Advanced Botanical Brightening Moisturizer, and an SPF Age-Block sunscreen. Even after about 2 weeks, I see and feel a HUGE difference in my skins texture and tone. People often compliment my skin, and I try to do my best to preserve and protect it…especially in the summer months. All I want to have to do is swipe on some NARS or bronzer, and be done….which brings me back to The Body Shop for….

5. The Body Shop Brush-On Bronzing Beads

I have been a devoted fan of this product since working for the company in 2007. Swirl your favorite powder brush in the beads, apply in a “3″ pattern from your forehead to your chin, and voila….instant bronzed goddess without any fuss, muss, gel, cream, or Snookie orange coloring. It’s also got a cool sponge applicator that is awesome for stroking some of the stuff onto your legs and decollete to get a fuss-free glow before hitting the streets.

6.  Olay Luscious Embrace Body Lotion

Most people who know me, know that Orchids are my absolute favorite flower (or potted plant, whatever you wanna call it). I was super excited when a recent free shipment of goodies arrived, and this fabulous lotion was included. It’s smooth, silky, and smells out-of-this-world amazing! A little bit goes a long way, and unlike most “beauty brand” lotions, the moisture hold is amazing. I don’t find myself a little ashy a few hours later. In fact, I find myself stroking my own legs while I am laying in my bed watching Hulu+, simply because they just feel like I stepped out of a high priced razor commerical.

7. L’eau D’Issey Florale Eau de Toilette

Sean and I happened to pop into Macy’s a few weekends back during a huge fragrance event, and I fell in L-O-V-E with this scent. I am already a huge fan of L’eau D’Issey Summer 2009 edition, which I still order on Ebay, because it is my absolute favorite scent. I got one whiff of this, took the little paper flower ring doused in it, and dropped it straight in my Louis Vuitton so that I could smell it every time I reached in my bag! As badly as I wanted to buy it, I couldn’t justify the $94 bottle at the time. Lo and behold, the next weekend when we were in Los Angeles, Sean wanted to stop in Macy’s, just to surprise me and buy me the giftset. I reserve it exclusively for when I go out on the town, or when I spend time with him. And may I just say, I smell like AMAZING. I got the 3.4 oz gift set with a rollerball included, to keep in said Louis Vuitton for touch ups. The thing about rocking good fragrance? You don’t need touch ups.

8. Mac Cremesheen Glass in Fashion Scoop

I was introduced to this product by the fabulous Miss Peggy Rogers during my hair and makeup session(check out the video detailing the experience here. You will see me at the end!) when I did my shoot with The Boudoir Divas. She applied it and said “You need this lip gloss. You have to have it!” She was never more correct! I now wear it on a weekly basis. It’s perfect with black eyeliner and a couple of coats of mascara. Simple. Chic. Brilliant. This is another one of those colors that complements virtually every skin tone! It’s good for a day at work, and it looks killer at night with some shimmery cheeks and dramatic lashes. Also, it doesn’t piss my boyfriend off, like my red and fuschia selections.

Above all else, all you really need to look killer no matter the season? CONFIDENCE. You are gorgeous, with or without bronzer, blush, and a killer bathing suit. And if you know and own that information? You’ll be a knockout no matter what!

So, that sums of my summer beauty essentials. I could go on and on with the products I throw in day by day, but it’s a blog, not a book, right??!

Hopefully, you get the opportunity to see what all my raving is about! I will not lead you astray, I promise!

And before I leave, I shall share my dinner recipe with you.

Sondra’s Cajun Salmon

What You Need:

Salmon fillets ( I buy mine at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts frozen. Fresh might be more your style, in which case, I recommend Fresh and Easy for affordable and delectable cuts)

Olive oil

Minced garlic ( I use the squeezable kind, or the adorable little pre-cubed squares they sell at Trader Joe’s in the frozen section! Pop a cube in the pan, and PRESTO!)

Salt and Pepper

Old Bay Seasoning

Cayenne pepper

What You Do:

As with most of the recipes I post this one is pretty basic. You season the fillets to taste ( go easy on the cayenne if you’re not a fan of spicy!), get the pan nice and hot, coat the pan with a drizzle of olive oil, and the slap your salmon in the pan. Add garlic and sautee until done. Typically, it takes no more than 3-4 minutes per side. You will see a nice crust form on both sides of the fish, and the fish will flake easily. Dinner is served!

*If you prefer not to sautee, you can drizzle a little olive oil right over the salmon and make a pouch from some aluminum foil or parchment paper. Just stick a slice of lemon right on top to encourage some zesty steam action, toss it into the stove or on the grill for about 20 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily, and you’re good as gold! Use some fresh veggies in the pouch, and you’ve got an all-in-one meal with virtually NO clean up! You’re welcome. :)

I like to serve this dish alongside some wilted spinach with cherry tomatoes , a lemon wedge, and a little rice. Tonight, I am making basmati rice and green beans with slivered almonds.

Fast, fresh, and tasty! You don’t have to spend a million hours in the kitchen to eat a balanced, home-made meal. I am living proof!

I am trying to post more of my go-to easy and fresh recipes, for those who have requested them. Please just be patient with me!

I think that’s all for now! Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful Tuesday, and hoping you get through the rest of the week fat and drama free! Or you know, heck with it, have a little fat! It’s good for your skin, and glowing skin is definitely one of the summer essentials! :)

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Relay for Life 2012: Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back!

Wednesday before last, I joined a Relay for Life team with The American Cancer Society.Due to a combination of joining late, and past experiences with fundraising….I am ashamed to say I set the bar kinda low and set a goal to raise $150 before the event on Saturday. 10 days, $150. Seemed like something I could certainly pull off.

The following Monday arrived, and lo and behold: I had raised over $200 already! Then, I attend the team meeting, and our team captains informed us of a new challenge: They started us at $0, and were awarding the person who could raise the most before Friday night at 10 pm. Between Monday and Friday of last week, I sent emails, I used ACS fundraising scratchers, and appealed to every person whose child I ever bought wrapping paper from.

Friday night at 10pm, I had raised a grand total of $532. Ten days. $532.

At the event this past weekend, I tried my best to walk the entire 24 hours, as I promised all of my amazing donors that I would. At the conclusion of it, I am proud to say I walked roughly 19-20 hours overall. We took a few brief meal/body icing/sunscreening breaks, and I ended up napping for about 2.5 hours at around 3 am this morning. We figured out that the track was .25 miles around….and that we were completing about 3.5 mph. With that being said, it is safe to assume that I walked a minimum of 66.5 miles over the past 24 hours. That doesn’t, presumably, include the walking to the car up a RIDICULOUS flight of stairs and around a bend to the parking lot. Lol.

Overall, this was a pretty emotional event for me. Although I have lost some family members to cancer, I can’t really say I knew them all too well. I have been blessed to meet survivors along the way, and they have inspired me beyond words. However, one thing about this event really struck a chord with me: the statistics revolving around Cancer, regardless of what type it is, are terrifying. As I become a “grownup,” I am more cognizant of the fact that the people who have raised and shaped me are growing older. I fear that this disease will continue to take my family from me….particularly, my father. My grandfather died of lung cancer in 1998. My father smoked for the better part of his life, just barely quitting in 2002. However, he continues to struggle with Alcoholism.

I have a strange relationship with my father. His disease put our family through more despair and disappointment than I care to remember most of the time. He went from being the man I loved the most, to the man I feared more than anything. His disease caused him to become someone other than the guy who used to rescue me from the neighbor’s treehouse every afternoon, to the man who fell asleep on the couch all day with his sunglasses on. He went from the man who took us to amusement parks, to the man who took us to the bowling alley, because they had a bar there. The man who joined a CD club because we shared a love of music, to a man who only seemed to liked me when we were at karaoke bars together.

When I was in middle school, I’d have to make sure I slept in whatever room our phone was in, because I was used to the police department calling the house to confirm that in fact, the drunk man they were detaining actually had kids to get home to. I left home when I was 15, because I knew that if I woke up to being hit again, I might not make it to see 18. I turned 21, and got a call from the police to pick my intoxicated father up 30 miles away from my home, because he had fallen asleep on a bench at a bus stop.

I will never stop loving this man, nor will I ever stop hoping that he somehow finds it in himself to beat this disease, no matter how functional he may be with it. Some of the statistics I learned with the research I did on the American Cancer Society caused a deeper fear in me. The same bad habits took my grandpa away from my dad. I can’t deal with my dad on a daily basis….in fact, I am almost ashamed to admit that I prefer not to. But my unconditional love for him is unwavering, and I know that God heard the prayers I sent up on the track this morning when I did a few laps alone.

Seeing all of the survivors on that stage did something to me. It happens every time I see or meet someone who has a victory to share. Whether the fight is “over,” in progress, or has just begun…I can see the blessings. I am looking forward to joining a friend again this fall in Balboa Park for a breast cancer event, and I am seriously considering doing the Susan G. Komen 3-Day event as well.

I am fearful….but I am far more inspired than anything. I will continue to support the efforts made to cure this disease. I don’t want to lose anyone else.

Again, I want to extend an ENORMOUS thanks to every single person who contributed to my fundraising goal, and everyone who couldn’t give money, but gave me support and encouragement. I was not only walking for my loved ones, but for yours as well.

And so, in an effort to get some sleep after all of this craziness, I shall leave you with some photos.

Our Team Tent! GOOO Belles in Boots!

Get a party going? all you need is a kazoo! We kept cheering with them allll day long!

Cowgirl Lap!

Pajama Lap!

A little rain couldn't stop us!!!

Sports Team lap!!!

Our team captain on the survivor stage!!

My survivor, Rose! <3

Kicked off the event with a survivor lap! My coworker and friend Rose is in the middle holding the banner! YAY!

First Lap!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you all again, from the very bottom of my heart. and good night!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

30 Day Challenge Part 8, and Some Random Nonsense!

Alas, here we are again.

I’ve said it before: This never gets easier. But it certainly is rewarding! Lately, I have been dealing with myself on some major body-consciousness issues. Being that I was always big before, I was pretty familiar with what parts looked like what, and how to handle it. As the weight drops, I am learning that I have to dress the part (haha, funny pun!), so to speak.

I can wear slouchy tops without looking ten pounds heavier now, but I can’t fill out a dress like I used to. Half the styles I like to wear are now too large on the top if they fit on the bottom, and too small on the bottom if they fit on top.

Can a girl just buy a simple, yet killer empire-waist dress without having a panic attack in the fitting room, pretty please?!

And then, when Sean and I went to Disneyland, I realized something that kinda pissed me off: No matter how much weight you lose, how proud of yourself you become? People are just rude.

I’d like to send a pleasant shout-out to all those at Disneyland who were kind enough to STARE at me wearing my denim shorts all day at the park. From tourists, to Disney Cast Members. 1) My thighs aren’t nearly as large as they used to be. And though they may jiggle, you ought to thank your lucky stars that I wasn’t wearing daisy dukes, or those ridiculous shorts that are so short, you can see the pockets! 2) Although the common public may frown upon larger women wearing shorts…..I’m GROWN!

This is Disneyland, people. Why on earth are you so worried about what I’m wearing? Don’t you need to go get your fastpass for Space Mountain?!?! People would literally look me up and down, stare at my legs, and then say something discreetyl( so they thought) to someone in line with them. And then me, being the hot head I can be (Ask Alex about the lady in the Albertson’s parking lot who cut me off in her Lexus. :)), I would just loudly say, “Wow! If one more person comments on my legs, I might have to look into endorsements!” or “If one more person comments on my legs, I am going to LOSE IT!”

I have no shame. I do what I want, and that includes wearing shorts. And if you don’t like it? Kiss my butt. It doesn’t jiggle nearly as much as my thighs do. Thank you, 24 Hr Fitness! :)

I saw a photo on Tumblr recently that really struck a chord with me, and it was all I could think about with all these sad individuals judging me all day:

Sadly, this is the type of societal attitude that leads to all these young girls with eating disorders. Girls who hide their snacks under their beds, because they know people will just look at them with judgment and criticism when they eat them in public. Girls who can’t get past their small chests, or big butts. Girls who hate their thighs, think they would feel better if their hair was thicker….it all stems from a lack of body acceptance. And I can’t change the world, and the way that the people in it think. But I can certainly change the way I think about my body and myself. I love myself. And I love that I have wide hips, and big thighs. I  can get over going from a DD to a C. I will wear shorts, and I will always dress in a way that makes me happy, and makes me feel good.

If they don’t like it….cool. If I can’t change it…fine. But I’m not letting it run my life, or ruin my day. And who knows? Maybe changing my own outlook will end up changing even just a miniscule percentage of the world.

Anyways, on to the good stuff (aka, me in my underwear. Bow chicka wow wow)!

January 2012

That was in January. And then….there was April!

Today, front shot! BAM!

And the side shot!!

And so, my friends…that is that. As I said…I can only be. I can’t be you. I can’t make you realize how significant these changes are, or understand why I would bother to wear shorts in the first place.

But I can certainly look at where I came from, look at where I plan to go, and pat myself on the back for making it this far.

I'll do just that!

OH! and before I let you go! Remember my fabulous experience at The Boudoir Divas that I was raving about? They just recently posted a YouTube video with testimonials about the Hair and Makeup experience with my lovely new friend Peggy (seriously, I feel like she is my friend after our hour together!), and you can catch yours truly towards the end! Check it out here!

Love you all, and hope you have an AMAZING week! I’ll be posting again later this week, with some of my favorite picks for summer: swimsuits, cosmetics, skincare…I go nuts for this stuff!

If you’ll excuse me, I am off to Sprouts for dinner fixins’ and then the gym for a run and Zumba later this evening.

Please don’t forget to check out Relay for Life. I’ll be walking for TWENTY-FOUR hours this weekend, and I have a new fundraising goal to meet! Go to RelayforLife.org and search “Sondra Holtz” and donate to my team! Help us raise even more for the American Cancer Society! And, a HUGE shout out to all of the amazing people in my life who have already made huge contributions. Love you guys!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Sondra Jo

Relay for Life. Help Me Kick Cancer’s Butt!

I promised myself a long time ago to change myself for the better.

I also decided that I would take whatever small steps I could to make a change in the world.

My latest endeavor is doing Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life is a 24-hour walk at a local college campus, and there are several relay activities on the hour, a luminaria ceremony commemorating loved-ones battling cancer, and those who we have lost to cancer. My grandpa died from cancer in 1998, and I have been blessed to meet a few people during my time on this planet who are still fighting cancer to this day. And not only do they battle cancer on a daily basis, but they do it with a smile on thier faces, and with encouraging words for everyone they come across.

Relay for Life is my small way of helping fight the disease that we haven’t been able to stop yet.

Here’s to more birthdays!

Please join me in this new challenge, and help make YOUR small impact on cancer.

Do it for the ones you’ve lost, and the ones you can’t imagine losing. Do it to make a small, yet significant difference.

I’ll be on that track, walking for 24 hours. I have set a personal goal to raise $150. I wanted to raise more, but  I got involved a little later than I meant to.

I will be walking April 21-22 in Oceanside at Mira Costa College.

If you are interested in making a donation, please go to my Relay for Life page, and you can donate online or print a donation form that you can mail to the American Cancer Society. You can go directly to RelayForLife.org and search Sondra Holtz, or click here.

Also, if you are a fan of SeeSondraSlim on facebook, you can click the link there as well!

If you’re interested in commemorating a loved one lost to cancer with a luminaria, you can use your donation to sponsor a luminaria in their memory as well. :)

Let’s kick cancer’s butt!

’til Next Time,

Sondra Jo