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


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!


4 thoughts on “Sondra’s Summer Essentials….and Salmon for dinner!!

    • sondrajo says:

      Janel, you won’t be sorry! And online, it’s $4 off…usually $22, but right now it’s $18! And they almost always have a BOGO 50% off offer, which means you can walk out the door with the bronzer beads too, all for less than $30! STEAL! Thank you so much! It truly means a lot! I love YOUR blog, as well! XO


  1. Joaly says:

    Excellent. You are an amazing writer with an incredible ability to interest your audience with relevant topics. You have the right balance of humor and substance, and have an uncanny ability to be extremely intimate seem effortless. You are honestly the type of woman that all women should aspire to me. To say you are an inspiration is an understatement. But to call you the REASON, would be more accurate. Bravo!!!

    Now let me go change my life/


    • sondrajo says:

      All it takes is the action! And I KNOW you. Once you start, you’re truly unstoppable. Take a minute to do what’s best for you. I know you to be one who is always making big moves to help others…but don’t forget to take the time to make yourself happy, as well! I love you, and you’ve got me on the brink of tears right now! THANK YOU!! ❤


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