Following Through.

Some of you may remember that to commemorate my 27th birthday last year, I came up with a list of 27 things to do before I turned 28.

Obviously, my 28th birthday has come and one, and I still have a LOT of the list left to complete. In the year since, however, I have re-configured my life, and now have more time off, and therefore less excuses to not get these things completed.

So, I am challenging myself to complete the remaining items on the list, and I’m adding an extra for good measure. Any local friends who are interested in helping me, please let me know!

Here is my amended list (I’m still on probationary status with the Fire Department as a new employee, so I have to be a smidge more practical than before….but I’ll eventually graduate to the ability to do some of the big things again)!:

27 Things for My 27th Year

  1. Sunrise hike at Cowles Mountain with Ashley!*
  2. Go Skydiving (I am TERRIFIED of heights)!
  3. Write cards/letters to 27 people. Near or far, I am bringing back the classic with written sentiments to express love and gratitude 
  4. Go to Stagecoach to see Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert (wear shorts and fringe tops!) OR go see Mariah Carey (aka, The Chanteuse) in Las Vegas!!! (thanks to my amazing friend Michaela, this is happening in JUNE! AHHH)!
  5. Sunset/Sunrise or Beach Yoga Class
  6. Have a date with myself: Massage, Facial, Shopping, and Dinner…just me!
  7. Take a class at The Cheese Store of San Diego
  8. Have brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado
  9. Volunteer with Urban Angels Soup Kitchen*
  10. Take a spin class
  11. Host a dinner party
  12. Gondola ride in Venice, Italy (or in Las Vegas until I actually have a long enough window to bid for vacation..we made it to Italy last year, but not to Venice!)
  13. Ride a bike (I haven’t since I broke my wrist on one in 10th grade)
  14. Visit the Museum of Tolerance (and Kelly H.) in the City of Angels!
  15. Do Stand Up Paddle Boarding again
  16. “Free Hugs” at Balboa Park
  17. Thursday Night Throwdown (Line Dance Lessons) at  Moonshine Flats/Incahoots (I WILL learn to line dance)!
  18. Write a letter to my 35 year old self
  19. Hot Chocolate 15K
  20. Picnic in a pretty park (finally use that dang picnic basket I bought in 2010).*
  21. Get the SeeSondraSlim Facebook page to 500 likes!
  22. Learn to play a song on the guitar
  23. Buy Starbucks for strangers
  24. Surprise 5 people when they least expect it (Document on FB/Blog/Instagram)
  25. Book my next International expedition
  26. Be published in a magazine/publication
  27. Bingo Night at a casino
  28. Re-enroll for my Italian conversation classes at the Italian Cultural Center in Little Italy

 

While I’m pretty disappointed this didn’t all get completed last year, I’m really excited to be able to look forward to all of these adventures again this year! I’ll be posting some events in my #HNS Girl Gang San Diego group page on facebook, and reaching out to others to seek their help in completing some tasks that seem like they’ll be a lot more fun with a little help from my friends!

At the end of the day, I’m more tortoise than hare…and I’m ok with that. The important thing is reaching the finish line…which I WILL do!

What are some things you’d add to your list?

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I Miss 320 Pound Me.

I never really realized how much I loved 320 me.

I don’t think it was until I was about 11 years old that I even realized that I was bigger than most girls. That’s around the age that people started calling me fat, or singing the Jenny Craig jingle to hurt my feelings.

I had size 11 shoes from 6th grade on, and my dad took me shopping in the women’s section at Target starting in 7th grade (before Target was a place to find the cutest stuff).

All of that aside, I never looked at my body with disdain. I never felt like anything was wrong with me, and I never felt like my life would somehow be better if I were skinnier.

Fast forward to high school, where kids are a little more brutal, but at least I dress well and typically get the “You’re pretty for a big girl,” or “You have such a pretty face!” Full disclosure? Pretty is better than skinny to me.

I’d rather be nice, kind, smart, pretty, talented, popular, and loved than skinny. But all of these people pointing this “flaw” out made me start doubting that conviction….maybe I did need to be smaller. Maybe all I needed was 100 pounds lifted off of me to make up for everything I wasn’t.

I wasn’t completely happy. I went home everyday to an alcoholic father who would “borrow” my babysitting money to go to the bar until the early hours of the morning, and wake me up upon his arrival to slap me around because there was lint on the floor, or a dish in the sink.

I was disconnected from my mom, and jealous of all of my friends who had mani/pedi dates and trips to Cancun with their mothers.

I begged my dad to send me to an expensive “Fat Camp” at the beach, hoping I’d be the smallest fat girl there, (and that they’d have karaoke) and my dad always said no. But then he’d criticize my weight, telling me I needed to “do something about my problem.”

I moved to San Bernardino my Sophomore year of high school after running away from home the last time my dad hit me. I was determined to be more than “the fat girl,” and it worked! Then, I fell hard for a guy I couldn’t have, and felt like maybe if I was skinnier, it would be different…but that wasn’t enough for me to break my neck trying.

I loved getting ready every morning. I color coordinated my outfits with my makeup and lived for each compliment or praise.

I loved me. I loved being me. And I figured that with most everything being pretty awesome in my life (for once), I could deal with being bigger than most girls. Didn’t bother me.

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Then I got out of high school. And into college. And then I became responsible for my own life…housing, feeding, clothing, providing for myself.

I was going to school full time, and working four part time jobs simultaneously. I drove more hours than I slept.

At that point, my health became a huge concern: I don’t want to doom myself to a fate of diabetic issues, heart problems, or general decreased quality of life…and my weight could potentially cause ALL of those things.
I tried Phentermine pills, Atkins Diets, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, The Military Diet, and The Best Life diet. I skipped meals in the hopes the loud gurgling noises would mean if finally lose five pounds. FINALLY.

I struggled, because most 18-21 year olds don’t count calories or hide Little Debbie snacks under their beds to make their stomachs be quiet in the middle of the night after a day of eating only pickle spears and sugar free jell-o cups. I didn’t feel carefree. I didn’t feel like I had any control over my eating, even though that’s what all of these programs promoted. And I never lost much weight, especially not long term.

Almost 5 years ago, at 23 years old, I had weight loss surgery.

Before my eyes, I started shrinking. I went from 320 lbs to about 260 in the first 4 months. A year out, and I was 85 lbs down and running my first 5K without an asthma attack.

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I went to Hawaii in 2014 and wore a bikini that I bought at Victoria’s Secret, after having a tummy tuck and thigh lift covered by insurance because of all the excess skin I had after losing the weight. I celebrated the achievement, but not necessarily because I was genuinely happy with my new reality…It was mostly because I could say I did it. I booked an amazing vacation, wore a bikini, and spent six days on a beautiful beach in a different bathing suit everyday. But everyday, I felt self-conscious about the back rolls, or the looks I just knew I was getting from people on the beach, or people on the streets as I walked the streets in a bathing suit and a crochet cover-up, with my thighs occasionally slapping together loudly.

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I had a really hard time with the thigh lift, because I wasn’t able to “bounce back” like I did with my other procedures. My incisions kept splitting open, my drains had to stay in a week longer than planned and I couldn’t drive myself around or walk very far without pain. It took months to get back into my fitness ability, and by that point I could barely find my motivation.

This was the person I became. A person who was no longer concerned with her health, but how skinny she could LOOK now that she lost this weight. I could only see the sagging skin, the back rolls, the cellulite on my thighs…I lost focus of that bigger picture. I was healthier than ever, and couldn’t find that authentic happiness anywhere.

Ironically, the more obsessed I became with my body’s new image, the more weight I regained. I was my own biggest distraction. I slept less, because my mind raced with what I was or wasn’t doing. I skipped meals out of convenience, hoping it’d make a difference. I would think to myself, “Getting sick wouldn’t be the worst thing ever…maybe I’ll drop ten pounds!”

I stopped going to yoga, because I started feeling like I didn’t belong there. I didn’t feel small enough to be on my beautiful mat, in that beautiful room. I avoided exercise that sounded fun, because I felt like I wouldn’t fit in or be able to do it. I began to eat my feelings again, graduating from Oatmeal Creme Pies to gourmet cupcakes and $15/ lb tri-tip.

And here I am now, fighting for my independence from this mindset that cripples so many people everywhere.

I am eating organic food and trying to ignore anxiety-induced sugar cravings when they hit. I’m taking Pilates classes and ignoring the fact that I’m 5″ taller and 100 lbs bigger than everyone else. I’m looking for a therapist to help me check these negative emotions and dangerous behaviors. And all these changes led me to realizing that I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY miss the 320 pound version of myself who did, said, and wore what she wanted before she decided she wasn’t good enough for all the good things happening to her.

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It’s not easy. It’s my reality. And I don’t mind admitting my failures and defeats, as long as I can share them with people, maybe help them see they have someone else with a similar struggle.

320 pound Sondra loved herself so much, despite moments when life didn’t always love her back. I tell everyone they are beautiful. I genuinely believe it. I mean it each time I say it. I exist some days merely in the hope that I can change this mindset in myself, and in others. I plant seeds of love and compliments and affirmations for others, for the peace and love I feel inside myself each time I do it.

I’m working on being that girl again. And while I do, I’m hoping you’ll hear more from me. And I invite you to share what makes YOU cultivate and maintain that oh-so-important self love on a daily basis. I’m in a constant state of self-evolution and always looking for new ways to live happily! But I’m learning more and more every day that it can be a lot of work, and work worth doing!

Until Next Time!

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Oh….2016 is Here Already?!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2015 started and ended I barely noticed.

I am so grateful to go into 2016 with a less stressful schedule, more time to dedicate to the things I love (like this blog), and a clear(er) mind.

With that, I have some goals for 2016. I don’t want to go so far as to call them resolutions…because I’ve always resolved to do them…I simply didn’t have the time or energy. These shall be known as goals, because they’re not impossible, and they’re not on a super stringent timeline. The important thing is that they get done THIS YEAR. And I am trying to make more attainable goals, at that.

  1. Get my Healthy is the New Skinny SD Girl Gang up and running. I am so excited to share time with some of the amazing women in my city and have great adventures with them as we work towards overall wellness!
  2. I want to be my healthiest. My personal health habits really suffered with last years 90 hour work weeks and lack of sleep…and I need to get back to things that made me feel really good…like juicing, eating breakfast, getting 7-9 hours of sleep, and working out 4-5 days a week.
  3.  I am going to be more diligent with my blogging. I am creating a new, spectacular, fancy-looking media kit, and I am going to pimp myself out to the amazing opportunities in the blogging world to take this thing to the next level.
  4.  I am going to focus more on having adventures versus having things. I am promising myself at least one 1 week vacation a year, and I am going to make the most of my time off and money to take trips around the grand ol’ US of A and see the majesty I was always singing about.
  5. I am going to find the perfect apartment. One that has a space for a bookshelf for all of my cookbooks, and sunny windows in my bedroom that make me happy and grateful to wake up each day, and space to do yoga on the floor when I feel like it.
  6. I am going to try at least ten new things this year (more on that in my next post). I want to push myself out into the world with all the time I’ll have on my hands, and find something new to love.
  7.  I am going to journal everyday. I haven’t decided if it’ll be first ting in the morning, or just before bed at night…but throughout my life I was always the girl with a journal. Getting away from that has really had an impact on me…and I not only miss journaling, but I miss how it made me feel. So, I am in search of the perfect journal, and I’ll be back to that, as well!
  8. I am going to seriously evaluate the relationships I’m in at this point in my life. I’ll be 28 in about 6-7 weeks, and I am feeling like it’s time to change how I view certain people and things in my life…especially now that I can’t blame stress or a lack of time on dealing with it anymore. I know the importance of having people who contribute to your success and mentality around you…and it’s high time I put that back into practice.

I’m not sure how everything will work out, but I am grateful for the ability to be excited about these things again. For awhile, everything was starting to seem so impossible to accomplish. I finally feel like I can actually MAKE THINGS HAPPEN again. That feeling fuels me!

What are some of your goals for 2016? Are you making any? Are you just hoping to make it through another year in general? I want to know! Your comments are always welcome!

‘Til Next Time!

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7 Changes I’m Making for a Better Me

First, let me just start by stating the blaringly obvious: Being an adult is exhausting.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

Not only are you responsible for maintaining a source of income, a mode of transportation, any personal relationships you value, and important things like personal hygiene….you have to maintain your overall well-being, too!

The last 15 months have proven to be both impressive and tiring. Working two jobs, between 80-90 hours a week (if you know me personally, you literally hear the words “two jobs….90 hours a week” out of my mouth at least three times in conversation on a regular basis) have really taken a toll on my whole entire life. My sanity, my relationships, my health….it’s all suffered to some extent.

I recently started seeing a therapist, because a huge shift happened in my romantic relationship with my boyfriend’s family, and it pushed me to “Shut Down” mode. I haven’t felt that way in YEARS! I work really hard to be a do-er, and to keep going when nothing seems to go right, and it’s paid off for quite awhile. But you know those monumental moments in life that happen and just make you feel like hiding in a blanket fort with every Sweet Valley High book and Nicholas Sparks movie? I’m having more of those lately than I care to admit!

The purpose of my new therapy was to support and reinforce the promises I’ve made to myself to make this feeling go away. I also am fortunate to work in a holistic environment five days a week, and participate in a “BreakThru” Life Coaching program that helps with this, as well.

Ultimately, everyone just keeps telling me I need to focus on myself. Stop worrying about how what I feel or want conflicts with the feelings or wants of those who I care about. It makes me laugh (sarcastically, and with a not-so-flattering look on my face), because this is advice I’d give to anyone in my situation. But alas, I sit here constantly questioning my desires and dreams because of how it may make other people feel. This, in fact, was the catalyst with my boyfriends family. I made the best decision for ME, and was called selfish…because they didn’t like that.

It’s prompted me to take any free time I do have since then to do things that make me feel happy, fulfilled, and at ease. And in these past months, I’ve thought about what I could do to “bring my happy back.”

  1. Dating Myself: You know how when you start dating someone, you get all crazy when it comes to making them feel awesome? Well, I decided to transfer a little of that philosophy to my own personal self, and it’s been one of my favorite additions to my life. Generally, I love going to movies alone on my Tuesday half days. I only work mornings that day, and so if there is a movie I really want to see, I head over to the $6 show at Ultra Star and see whatever tickles my fancy. I get to see a movie I’ve been excited about, and just kind of zone out and enjoy the show. I get a “kids pack” with a small drink, a decent amount of popcorn, and FRUIT SNACKS!!! And I sit still for awhile without panicking about things that have to be done when I have time, or work. I get to just “be,” and genuinely enjoy something! I also frequently treat myself to a decadent snack or a new book, or other little activities that make me happy. I also splurge more on pretty perfume or new shoes, like I’d buy for Sean regularly.
  2. Volunteer More: Thanks to my friend Ashley, I volunteered with Urban Angels recently, and I’ve decided to do it more. I had the best of intentions to go back, but then got inundated with a lot after the fact. I am going to pledge one Tuesday a month to getting back there and helping out. As someone with her own history of homelessness, helping those who aren’t as fortunate as me keeps me connected to that part of myself that promised we’d be better. Also, I’ve learned the quickest way to turn around my bad moods are to do something nice. I bake cookies or make food for my co-workers, or google awesome/inspiring GoFundMe campaigns and donate to a strangers dream to lift my mood…and do good in the process! It’s become evident to me that focusing on helping others keeps me really centered. And I cherish that experience and its benefit so much!
  3. Make time for Downtime: This shouldn’t be so hard-but it is! ALL of my free moments are allotted to extra naps or fun times with friends/family. I don’t know how to do nothing anymore…it’s terrible! My new promise to myself is that if I have to do SOMETHING, it has to be something enjoyable for myself. Reading a book at the beach/park, taking a walk alone, baking cookies in an empty house, dancing to “Love on Top” in sparkly shoes and a dress at home alone….these are all on the qualifying list(s).
  4. Create/Maintain Rituals:  I can’t pinpoint when exactly all of my organized routines flew out the window…but over the last year…it’s not happening! I’ve been working on waking up 15 minutes earlier and “getting ready” more. I used to wake up, wash my face and brush my teeth, make a smoothie, put my makeup on and do my hair….and my routine has become devastatingly basic since the career transition(s)! When I spend a little more time preparing for my day, it seems to go a little better. So I’m getting back to that, slowly but surely.
  5. Identify My Support System: I’m fortunate (and #BLESSED) with family, extended family, friends that are like family, and some pretty awesome work family, as well. I can depend on multiple people in a time of need, and I enjoy spending time with the people that mean most to me. For all the hard times I’ve faced, I recall those that got me through those times more than the times themselves. It is not lost on me that many people cannot say that. Over time, I’ve also realized some of the people I was closest to, have been outgrown. There’s no love lost, but in an effort to close certain chapters of my life and allow new ones to thrive, I had to let those relationships close with them! I had to stop giving everyone everlasting credit for the moments that mattered, and move on when necessary.
  6. ASK for Support: After just describing how awesome everyone is, it should be easy to do this part. But, it’s not. I have a tendency to shut down inside for at least 5 minutes when stressful/bad/sad things happen. That’s just how I cope, and it works for me. The hardest part is reaching out to someone, even just to reiterate the situation/solutions out loud, when the five minutes are up. I’m getting better. And I see a big difference! Being a “cry-in-bed-and-get-over-it-you-have-shit-to-do-today-Sondra” person was a temporary solution and didn’t contribute to my peace of mind in the long run. As soon as that feeling creeps up, I know that my situation warrants reaching out to someone…and yes, more often than not, that someone is my Mom!
  7. Refocus: With such a chaotic schedule, I find it very easy to let little things I mean or need to do for myself to the side. When I’m really overwhelmed at my 911 Dispatch job, I let my partner know I’m going to get away from my desk for a few minutes to refocus. When I’m stressed at my Chiropractic job, I know that I can always take a minute to walk around if needed. Outside of work, I grab my journal and jot down any thoughts in my head, if I don’t have a long diatribe to record at the time. Some other strategies include doodling mindlessly for 5 minutes (and I keep saying I’m going to buy one of those fancy coloring books), playing Candy Crush (no idea why it calms me down), or sitting in my car and listening to a favorite song. By taking even just a few minutes to separate myself from the chaos and stress, I’m able to re-focus and center myself!

It comes down to this: Maybe I do need to spend more time on myself and what I want to do. I’ve taken that to heart, and adjusted accordingly! These seven things help me accomplish that, but allow me to insert people I care about when necessary, too! We are in a constant battle with the pull of technology, the fear that we aren’t working hard or long enough, and a fear of missing out or falling behind. That’s how I landed two jobs and no sleep in the first place, right?

Taking the time to isolate ourselves with what we love, and giving ourselves time to absorb what those moments actually do for our mental health and overall well-being can be so powerful, and it’s SO NECESSARY!

What are some ways that YOU create a better you?

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#6 Cheese, Please!

To say I love cheese would be an understatement.

I adore cheese. I admire it’s complexities, varieties, and it’s uncanny abilities to bring together people, and how it makes wine taste BETTER.

I learned about The Cheese Store of San Diego late last year, and eagerly anticipated it’s opening earlier this year. Before my italiano classes at the Italian Cultural Center in Little Italy, I’d go enjoy a pretty cheese plate and glass of wine, or a sumptuous grilled cheese, or a decadent mac ‘n’ cheese treat. I learned they’d be offering “Cheese 101” classes at the store, and I was utterly devastated (but, not surprised) when I went to register only to find the class had sold out in a hot minute! So, when I got my CSOSD e-newsletter last week and saw they were hosting another class last night, I registered immediately and let my friend Quane know, as well!

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If you’ve been tuning in to my 27 Things for My 27th Year journey, you know that there is a smattering of local things and simply ridiculous things to accomplish. I was very, very excited for this one particularly, and I got so much more out of it than I ever could have hoped for!

First, I arrive early (because parking in Little Italy is like….no) and get a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Vallevo 2013 to enjoy on the patio while I wait. Do not waste time trying to pronounce it. Just buy, sip, savor!  At 7 pm, we enter the store and sit at a fun communal table with candles, rustic boards with sliced baguette, and little dishes of dried figs and apricots, and wine glasses a-plenty. I have another glass of red (the house red is amazing), and look over the materials at each seat. Little did I know there would be a real-life Cheese Monger there to take us on a trip around the cheese world (or at least the main 7 categories of it)!

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Jenny Eastwood is not only knowledgeable, but she expresses her passion seamlessly when she describes cheese-making processes, origins, varieties, and the like. I learned so much more than I’d imagined about cheese and it’s health benefits, it’s differences that present from the USA to foreign varieties, and what flavors and notes you could find in cheese if you spend a little time with it (rather than alternatively inhaling it’s deliciousness without a second thought).

Had to get a photo with the Cheese Monger herself!

Had to get a photo with the Cheese Monger herself!

Jenny originally frequented a well-known, and historic NYC cheese shop called Murray’s, when one day, she told us a story about walking in and seeing a notice about hiring a “Cave Intern.” Next thing you know, she’s worked down in the cheese caves over a year, aging fantastic cheese and becomes a Cheese Monger upstairs next!

It was a treat to try 7 varieties (and nine samples!) of cheese, and to get to know the people around us and learn the unique characteristics of each piece as we went along!

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Once the class ended, Quane and I got some goodies to enjoy from the cheese case (class attendees get 10% off purchases the night of), and then headed up the street to Monello for dessert-you know, to walk off the wine- and had yet another decadent and sinfully wonderful experience! Monello is the “little brother” restaurant to Bencotto in Little Italy, which I had the pleasure of dining at for lunch yesterday as well!

Quane ordered the Tiramisu and I opted for the Torta di Mele (apple pie/tart). Both desserts were perfectly portioned, adorably presented, and delightfully tasty!

Tiramisu at Monello Little Italy

Tiramisu at Monello Little Italy

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Torta di Mele at Monello Little Italy

I am so, so thrilled with my entire experience, and I cannot wait to attend more of the events at The Cheese Store of San Diego! How amazing is it to have little treasures like this in our very own backyard? I highly recommend that you stop by! And remember, they do cheese trays for your events, are very knowledgeable about the cheese they have, and their menu items are phenomenal!

It feels really great to slowly knock items off of my 27 Things for My 27th Year list, and I love that some of them get to be so dang delicious!

Stay tuned for more adventures! You know they’re coming your way!

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Speedier Shipping and a New Namesake Label at ModCloth.com!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.**

On a quest to pack the perfect suitcase for my Roman/Florentine holiday, I’ve been scouring the ModCLoth site for Sophia Loren-inspired looks to make my trip both stylish and memorable!

I was thrilled to snag this super cute travel wallet: It holds ID, passport, cards, boarding passes, a pen, cash, and more! It’s even got little labeled pockets and sections! Throw it in your purse or carry-on, and all of your documents and essentials are in one convenient place!

Some of the looks that hit my closet lately?


Found a
ModCloth look you’ve just got to have? Get it ASAP with their latest deal! Use code YESEXPRESS to get FREE express shipping on US orders of $150+ . Not sure you’re going to spend $150 bucks? You can also get $20 off orders of $100 or more! Tops, bottoms, fall-ready outerwear, and head-turning dresses — don’t wait to flaunt the looks you love. Get ’em today!

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Summer Clearance Sale at RentTheRunway!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.**

Attention savvy shoppers! I’ve got some exciting news for you! Rent the Runway is holding a rare Clearance Sale! This means that you’ll be able to get designer dresses and accessories at up to 70% off! This special sale runs now through August 31st — and only while supplies last. I strongly encourage you to get your shop on today because quantities and sizes are limited!

So hop on over to Rent the Runway and check out their Clearance Sale page. You’re sure to find a few must-have pieces that need a new home in my-I mean-your closet!

What will YOU snag during this killer sale? There are tons of wedding-worthy dresses for those late summer and early fall receptions you’ll be attending, and some great finds to enhance your existing wardrobe when it comes to killer designer accessories! The options are limitless!

Here are a few sale items that I’m totally obsessed with:

Clover Canyon Flamenco Fire Sheath Sarah Magid Pink Masquerade Cuff Kay Unger See the Light Dress

I’m Still Alive (Updates into August)!

I am constantly prattling on about how busy my life is. I promise I am making every effort to find a way to streamline things so that I may be able to actually take a day or two to catch up on blogging, Facebook, and all the other social media outlets that keep me connected to YOU!

In the meantime, I alternate between running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and sleeping.

And so, I feel the need to at least debrief you all on the latest happenings. There have been some huge things taking place, and it’s kept me busy, to say the least!

I moved.

I hate moving. I moved a lot as a kid with my mom, and my dad. I always felt like a displaced person, especially after leaving home when I was 15. So the longer I live somewhere, the more accomplished I feel! But alas, the last year brought two new jobs that weren’t very close to my old apartment and working 80-90 hour weeks meant that I was unable to even BE home very often. I moved all of my possessions (well, most of them) into a storage space and they’re there for safe keeping until the next move in the fall. So, for the summer I’m at Sean’s house, and have plans to relocate in October before Italy and the holidays! It’s my hope that my next move after that will be into my first home as a home-buyer….but the thought of that makes me break into a cold sweat. Moving on…

I got a scholarship to attend the 2015 Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Your Weight Matters (YWM) Convention!

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PHOTO CREDIT: YWMCONVENTION.COM

Originally, I applied for a scholarship through the OAC and didn’t make the cut. Then, back in June an additional opportunity came up thanks to Eisai, who offered a “Weigh In for Healthy Change”  scholarship for those interested to attend and take part in the amazing OAC Advocacy Training! When I attended in 2013, I was unable to attend this training and I have wanted to so badly! Now, for that reason, I got a scholarship for the entire convention! My flight is booked, my room is paid for, and I am registered and ready! There are officially two weeks until I head to San Antonio, TX for the event…and I still need to figure out what the heck to wear for the Wild West themed welcome dinner/event….

My trip to Europe was CANCELED.

Yes. You read that right. And yes, I had a full on nuclear melt-down. Like, Mariah Carey 2004 mental breakdown status melt-down (no shame!). We had an amazing 19-day adventure in Italy, France, and Spain planned. We originally had to postpone our September 20th trip due to Sean’s new job, and then the new October 30th date was canceled due to lack of registration.

It’s not news to anyone that I’ve wanted to take this trip for years. In fact, I was super excited last January when I registered for Italian classes at the Italian Cultural Center (ICC) in the Little Italy area of San Diego to brush up on my skills and get ready for the trip I knew I was going to take. And so, when all this took place, there was only one thing to do….

I planned a BRAND NEW trip.

The way I see it, there comes a time for everyone where they have to stop being swallowed by sadness and DO SOMETHING. My general rule? I’m allowed to be mad for five minutes. Being a woman, this is sometimes extended to 5 hours, or in the case of this trip madness, it was like, 3 days. I found out Thursday and died a little inside. How do you truly accept that the trip of your dreams will go from being less than 100 days away, to over 400 days away? I just couldn’t deal!

Roman nights! Photo Credit: Google Images

Roman nights! Photo Credit: Google Images

I wallowed Friday and knew I needed a solution but wasn’t ready to come up with one yet. And on Saturday, my friend Zainab (who I’d texted Friday and planned to call, but decided to watch Food Network and sleep instead-because I’m a Mariah) called and asked what my previously mentioned proposal was.

Firenze aka Florence! Photo Credit: Google Images

Firenze aka Florence! Photo Credit: Google Images

Luckily for me, I have ridiculously amazing friends, and Zainab was down to hit just Italy with me for a total of about 10 days with travel time. Just like when we did Hawaii, we agreed that I’d figure out the logistics and handle things-because she’s a busy heart surgery PA. Within 4 days, we had two homes booked in Rome and Florence for a total of 8 days, and a killer deal on flights out of Seattle (which means I get to make a second trip to pretty Seattle in addition to visiting her in September!) with minimal layover times, and I already have leads on some amazing things to do while we are there. Also, I already started shopping and acquired BRAND NEW luggage that my dad gave me. So basically, I’m just counting down the 89 days until take-off.

My second article was published for TheBlot Magazine!

I channeled my sadness/frustration/irritation/triumph about the trip shenanigans into an article about resuscitating a vacation-or even just planning one on a budget! I am really proud of the resources I used, because most articles I find on the topic involve taking out new credit cards and things like that, which isn’t always feasible or desirable for everyone! It’s my goal to make my next article about getting ready for the trip itself (now that it’s still happening)! Stay tuned for it! While you’re waiting, you should totally check out “Tips for Resuscitating a Vacation” on TheBlot.com!

Time is flying, tomorrow is the first day of August, and I still have so much on my to-do list!

My presence is sparse, but you can find me on the daily on my Instagram page, Facebook page, and on Twitter! I always follow back (unless you’re naked and have obscene profile info), and I love seeing the other side of my readers….the one where I’m checking out what YOU are up to!

August 13th is right around the corner, and I’ll be sharing fun from the OAC YWM15 Convention! Make sure you check me out on Periscope for live feed while I’m in San Antonio, too!

Be back soon!

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Join Me and the OAC-Let’s Ban the ‘F Word!’

Good Morning, Loves!

I was so, so excited to check my email and all of my social media channels and learn about the Obesity Action Coalition’s latest campaign: The ‘Ban the F Word” movement has arrived!

Anyone who went to high school with me can tell you that I adamantly refused to use or acknowledge the word “fat.” I thought that it was such a harsh, degrading word….one that can often cause more harm than being “the f word” can in the first place!

I am honored to have been selected to receive a Weigh in for Healthy Change scholarship to attend this years OAC “Your Weight Matters” convention in San Antonio, TX. Thanks to Eisai Pharmaceuticals, I am able to attend Advocacy Training to be a better, more informed and effective proponent in the fight for better treatment and options for those struggling with Obesity. This latest campaign is a huge leap for changing the everyday misconceptions that excess weight defines people moreso than their character and actions.

Check out the press release:

Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Launches “Ban the f word” movement to end fat-shaming

Tampa, Fla. – The OAC has launched a national movement – “Ban the F Word” – aimed at putting an end to fat-shaming. The movement is anchored by an online petition that individuals are encouraged to sign, pledging their support to raise awareness of fat-shaming and put an end to it.

“Weight bias has long been accepted in various areas of life such as healthcare, entertainment and more. With the rise of social media, a new trend has started in the way of fat-shaming. The goal of the OAC’s campaign is to raise awareness of fat-shaming and encourage the public to support our movement to end it,” said Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, OAC Chairman.

With a membership of 50,000 individuals, the OAC is no stranger to addressing weight bias. Developed in 2005, the OAC has taken on high profile weight bias issues such as, fat-shaming apps, a Tennessee insurer’s IQ testing requirement for bariatric surgery, and ESPN’s Britt McHenry’s stigmatizing comments regarding body weight.

“The word ‘fat’ is most appropriately used as a noun. The fact that today we use it as an adjective and shame people dealing with the disease of obesity is highly unacceptable. As Chair of the Weight Bias Committee, I know individuals, especially children, are often targeted and shamed for their weight. Ban the F Word will raise awareness of this alarming trend and hopefully put a stop to its pervasiveness,” said Melinda J. Watman, BSN, MSN, CNM, MBA.

In April 2015, Ms. Watman appeared on CBS’ The Insider where she discussed how obesity is one of the last acceptable forms of public humiliation.

“Fat-shaming doesn’t discriminate based on race, gender or socioeconomic status. We encourage all Americans to stand with us and end fat-shaming,” said Joe Nadglowski, OAC President and CEO.

To learn more about the Ban the F Word movement and sign the petition, visit www.BantheFWord.com.

About the OAC:

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), a nearly 50,000 member-strong National non-profit organization, is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals affected by the disease of obesity through education, advocacy and support.

I urge you to sign the petition and share on your social media outlets! Let’s BE the change, and take a stand to ban the “f” word!

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Join My San Diego #GirlGang!

Hey Beauties!

I am especially excited as I write this post! I was able to attend the Healthy is the New Skinny Re-Model Me Event over the weekend, and I left completely re-motivated and re-inspired!

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Katie H. Willcox is not only a beautiful model, but a genuinely beautiful person. My weekend started out with a photo shoot in adorable HNS gear, and Katie herself was walking me through my poses. She is so easy to be around (we had a thrilling conversation about the merits of fans and how pretty you feel with one in your hair), and really, really good at what she does! After we were done in front of the camera, she gave me a hug and thanked me for being there!

Sunday, I was able to attend the workshop portion of the event, and see her newest presentation about media, and how it manipulates us (especially women), into thinking that we NEED these products to be of value. I like to think of myself as a pretty self-aware individual. I see a lot of the tactics in the media and resist them for the most part. But she shared things that really opened up my eyes. More importantly, she helped confirm that my purpose in life is to be more like her.

I want to not only inspire girls and women around me, but I want to embrace them and help them see their beauty goes so far beyond any product that can be marketed to them!

I was able to talk to Katie after the event, and learned about the opportunity to start my own #GirlGang group here in San Diego. I’d love to be able to attend her events with her group in Los Angeles….but I’m already spread so thin with both jobs and social responsibilities I’m already lacking in.

So instead, I created a Facebook group with some of the most beautiful, intelligent, and driven women I know in my city and invited them to use it as a forum to support and uplift one another. Moreso, it’s a chance for us to all come together and participate in healthy actvities…hiking, walking, yoga, aerobics, dance, healthy cooking classes…the list goes on! And even more than that, it gives us all the opportunity to maybe find someone who wants to be our partner in health (because we all know how hard that can be)! I want to meet up once a month and do a self-love exercise, and a healthy activity. Spend some time with each other, for ourselves, and operate on self love together!

If you’re in the San Diego area, I humbly (and really enthusiastically) invite you to join the Facebook group!

HNS San Diego #GirlGang on Facebook

The group kick-off mixer is in the works. All updates will be through the Facebook group exclusively, and potentially via meetup.com once I see what the actual participation looks like!

You’ll see me on social media using the hashtag #GirlGang. Join the movement, no matter where you live! #GirlGang is about female solidarity in every corner of the world!

If you’re local, go a step further and use the code #GirlGangSD so I can share your healthy posts!

I am really hoping to get together an amazing group of people to share in this experience and enlightening with me. I am also looking for professionals/students willing to contribute their time to share with the group. Donations can be arranged!

I am so excited to start this new venture/journey!

Stay tuned for updates!

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