Tuesday Testimony (on Wednesday)!!!

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I took this “after” photo yesterday morning,Ā  and it seemed like the perfect thing for a before and after shot. Still swollen post-op, but its looking better every day!!!!

More updates later! šŸ™‚
‘Til next time!
Xoxo

Gym Bag Genius!!

For some reason, I am more inspired to hit the gym during the summer, rather than doing so in preparation for the summer. Sigh.

AsĀ a result, there is this constant pressure (read: my OCD leads me to it) to make sure that my gym bag is an arsenal for all things necessary to effectively give myself NO possible reason to skip my gym sesh at lunch time. Ashley, my gym buddy, will testify to the fact that lack of items such as a towel, flip flops for the showers, or proper workout pants haven’t been enough to stop me before….like that time I used the disabled shower with the low faucet since I forgot my shower cap, and didn’t want to get my hair wet.

Alas, although anecdotes such as these lead me to believe thatĀ I should have my own TV show similar to that of “Dual Survival,” ( I love that show. I never want to be stuck in the Mexican desert in triple digits and want to have to know how fashion a pair of flip flops out of old tire from an abandoned VW Buggy, but still!) I still like to think that my gym bag is a testament to my preparedness…and further proof that Mary Poppins has nothing on me! I can fit more items than you could imagine in a Nike drawstring basketball bag!

So, without further adieu, some of what I consider to be the most imperative Gym Bag Essentials! Whether you are of the high or low maintenance varietal, I think you’ll see there are some handy items for those of us who aren’t entirely crazy about that mid-day, post-cardio shower.

Some may think some of my recommendations are a little “bourgeois,” but I assure you…if there is anything I will preach to you, it’s that a little extra money goes a long way! Your hair, nails, and skin will thank you!

My Favorite Cleanser:

PurityPhilosophy and I have a love-hate relationship. I love Philosophy products. I hate going broke purchasing a skincare regimen consisting of 2-3 products! Fortunately, upon purchasing my Clarisonic Mia two years ago, I stumbled upon the Purity Cleanser. A little 2 oz bottle came with the Clarisonic set I purchased on QVC, and it lasted FOREVER. I then purchased an 8 oz bottle earlier this year and threw that one in the bag, and my giant 36 oz bottle with a pump is used at home, and is also used to refill the 2 oz bottle that has been conveniently transplanted to my travel case I take in my carry-on whenever I travel.Ā  It’s a light, mildly-sudsy formula that literally will remove ALL traces of makeup. Whether you use a wash cloth, a Clarisonic (or comparable device), or your bare hands…you’re getting a fresh, deep, clean feeling that makes that post-workout glow even more satisfying! Bonus points for a little bit going a long way. On the occasions when 24 Hr Fitness runs out of Green Tea Body Wash foam in the showers? Poof! A little purity is totally gentle, and super strong…so you can use it to double as body wash in a pinch, too!

Dry Shampoo

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Whether I am rocking my natural curly hair, or trying to maintain flat ironed locks, I always keep dry shampoo on hand. I’ve tried quite a few brands I liked, but Batiste is by far my fave. No matter what texture my hair is in, this product always keeps its promises, and it’s not a major hassle to find it in a convenient travel size! A little bit, again, goes a long way. No gray/white residue, and hair actually feels significantly cleaner on those occasions where you just don’t have the time or resources to wash/condition/flat iron/blowdry before heading back to work! Bonus points for the brand having fun retro-style packaging, and a variety scents and hues to suit everyone’s style. I like sticking to the basics in these cases…but a cheetah print can boasting floral-scented dry shampoo? Totally brings a smile to my face!

Good Jams

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Notice my use of the word “good.” Not “rapper-worthy” or “Dr. Dre-approved.” I pretty much only use my headphones at the gym or on the rare occasions I go out alone on walks, runs, etc. So….I’m not buying $200, not to mention bulky, headphones for the gym. As soon as Kanye interrupts me on stage to steal my VMA spotlight, I’ll invest in something a little fancier…’til then? These are PERFECT! SkullCandy has fun colors, patterns, and great quality design and sound that is perfect for ipods, various mp3 players, or your personal mobile device. With a price point easily under$20 at most retailers, they’re a great investment. The 2.0 Ink’d line was designed to provide better comfort and acoustics, and it’s a bargain for your beats! Bonus points for comfortable buds that don’t fall out every five seconds, and a plethora of colors to choose from. Now, if onlyĀ I could get a pair that is coated in glitter…..

Smell-Goods

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As if I could choose just one. I love the convenience of travel and sample sized items specifically for instances like these. “Gee….I need to maximize the content of a relatively sized gym bag and make sure that I have something to spritz after my post-workout shower…whatever shall I do?” You use all those sample vials you’ve been collectingĀ at beauty counters, that’s what! I stash those babies inĀ  cute little candle holder on my vanity, and I can just grab one and throw it in my gym bag to use at will. Half way through the day, I’m not really too particular about what I scent I wear (as long as it smells nice!), but obviously I only keep the ones I enjoy. Also, I usually stock up on those little travel body mists that I get with free gifts at Victoria’s Secret or Bath and Body Works and can keep those in there to my hearts content. I have been using VS Sexy Little Things body mist in my gym bag for months…and it’s perfect. A little floral, a little sweet, and not too obnoxious for being in a room with patients all afternoon after I go back to the office. Bonus points for smaller sizes…usually they are less hazardous because the vials/bottles are made with plastic, and small perfume vial samples don’t evaporate easily. Bada Bing!

Lip Balm

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Smith’s is my ULTIMATE fave. I keep it in my purse and gym bag and it never lets me down. It’s great not only for lips, but those random dry spots on hands, elbows, etc. It has a delicate rose scent that makes me feel feminine and flirty, and totally put together! The tin is awesome and accessible, and unlike chapstick, if things get a little melty, it doesn’t affect you as much. You use your fingertip to apply, so you don’t risk your chapstick smearing all over your face when you start to smooth it on your lips! Thank goodness!! This product is usually between $3-5 at my local Sephora, and lasts forever.

Dental Hygiene

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Colgate Wisps are a God-send. Although it seems more economical to simply carry a toothbrush and toothpaste, I personally am totally icked out by the idea of putting a wet toothbrush back in agym bag until my next gym visit. I also know if I tried to take my travel or personal toothbrush with me separately each day, I’d fail miserably. I buy new underwear every time I stay at my boyfriend’s house because I always forget the same things no matter where I travel…undies and PJ’s…which is ironic, because the thought of not wearing chonies makes me uncomfortable
(in the wild, perhaps I could fashion a pair of panties out of VW buggy tires/parts? Eh…I’d rather not find out!). Hence, where the miracle of Wisps come in! They have aĀ little “bead” ofĀ toothpaste that you truly get a clean feeling from,Ā and you canĀ use them with or without water. Bonus points for the floss pick on the end of the handle!

As you can see, I am sharing the absolute essentials…we’d be here all day if I went over everything in my actual, personal gym bag! But these products are guaranteed to do the job…a great job, andĀ make that mid-day/early morning workout a cinch to bounce back from before heading backĀ to class, work, or wherever you have to be…no excuses!

I’ve found the best travel sizes(including everything here, except the Wisps, I get those at Target/CVS) at Ulta. They have these giant, distracting rounders by the checkout counters with all your favorite designer/pricier products in smaller sizes….just enough to give you a taste of what you need, be luxurious with the best of them! Plus, Ulta has a free rewards program, so you’ll earn points you can redeem for free products on every single thing you buy…no matter how small! Lots of regular-sized product purchases always come with free deluxe sample sized products that are absolutely perfect for gym bags or travel totes (airline friendly…woot woot!)!

You can thank me later. šŸ˜‰

That’s all forĀ now…but I hopeĀ somebody finds these thingsĀ useful. I love sharing!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Join Me at the OAC Your Weight Matters Convention!

Hey, Cyberspace!

While I was home recovering from “Phase I” of Excess Skin Removal Surgery, I was able to take care of a lot of things! One of the most exciting?

Image Credit: Obesityaction.org

Image Credit: Obesityaction.org

 

I booked our trip to Phoenix, Arizona this August for the Obesity Action Coalition “Your Weight Matters 2013 Convention!” Not only did I make sure Sean and I were both registered for the event, but I booked our suite at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa, too! As convention attendees, we were able to book rooms for $105/night! And they are luxurious suites, right on site. There is even a waterpark on the property….how convenient for a girl who just had a panniculectomy/tummy tuck, eh? šŸ™‚

On top of the gorgeous location and swanky digs? There is an abundance of knowledge and activities on the agenda! I am really looking forward to topics like “Weight Bias-Changing Public Perception Starts with Me,” and “Who’s Staring Back at You in the Mirror? Improving Self-Perception.” Plus? There’s an awards ceremony, a kick-off party with a beach theme, and the Walk from Obesity to round things out on Sunday! There will even be different exercise options each day….weekend workouts, anyone?! šŸ™‚

I am proud to be a member of this organization. It is SO important to make sure that we make sure people are truly aware of the issues and consequences at hand when we talk about obesity. Too many of us know that obesity doesn’t always hold its roots in eating too much sugar. It puts us, and the people we love at risk, each and every day! I strive to help people see that through my personal journey, but I am so glad the OAC is there to help with resources and education for all of us, even those of us not tied to the cause professionally.

You can get all the details about the YWM 2013 Convention here. It takes place August 15-18 of this year, and if you happen to register, be sure to let them know SeeSondraSlim sent you! Also, be sure to check out the OAC for yourself, and learn about all the benefits becoming a member has to offer. $20/year…for access to information and resources that can help you become an informed advocate! One of my personal goals is to become an involved OAC Advocate, and maybe even make it to Capitol Hill to represent the Coalition!

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back before you know it!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

 

 

Did You Miss Me? :)

IĀ slept in a gazebo for a few nights after running away from home when I was fifteen. I was so determined to escape my alcoholic, abusive father, that I would rather sleep on a bench outside, than crawl back. I was so desperate for an escape, I was willing to “suffer.”

The only reason that random information is important? Well, I’ve noticed I have a big problem in life…I seem to measure my achievements in such a way that they almost lose value if I am not EXACTLY where I want to be at that time.

I have decided I really need to fix that. I always feel so displaced. I feel like I don’t have a TRUE home, or sense of purpose, or use.

But then I look at how far I have come. And sometimes, it makes me cry.

The OLD me

The OLD me

That girl up there? She was afraid to see herself for the person she was. She took her struggles and thought that they defined her. Thought even, that they made her less than everyone else. And then one day, she decided to fight back.

It tookĀ awhile. It took some crying, and some bad decisions, and some hard decisions….but I have to keep remembering the most important thing. It took some STRENGTH.

When all is said and done…I did. I’ve done. I’ll keep on doing. And for that reason, each day, I am getting a little better at accepting my small and large victories to accelerate myself to that “place” I have decided I’d like to be. It might not be easy….but you better believe I will give everything I’ve got to see that it becomes a reality!

Which brings me to the good stuff! šŸ™‚

Right before surgery, as in two days before, I was proud to participate in the Oceanside Relay for Life for the second year in a row. This year my company made up our own team, and I was the captain! My team was AMAZING! I was having a hard time with my bad knee, and couldn’t walk as much as I wanted…and I ended up having a much needed sleep break. But my team? A lot of them walked through the night. Some even ran pretty much the whole thing! It was inspiring. And wouldn’t you know? We took home the award for “Most Spirited Team,” and came in 3rd place for Most Funds Raised! I am SO proud, and had a blast!

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It’s been farrrrr too long since I have posted. I had some issues recovering from excess skin removal surgery, so I fell off my blogging a bit. But I am back, and I come bearing photos!

As most of you may remember, I had surgery 4/22/13. June 24th of this month will be the 2 year anniversary of my WLS, and I must say…I am REALLY proud of how far I have come in that amount of time. And I am not done yet!

Excess skin removal surgery went well. We got started a bit late, but the nurses and everyone were wonderful! Dr. Arya came in and drew on me before the procedure (being the dork I am, I was really excited for that!), and off I went to be put under anesthesia! I have a latex allergy, which always gets everyone on the surgical team riled up. I explained it’s mainly an internal allergy to banana, avocado, and mango (part of the latex family), but I appreciate the fact that they care enough to freak out about it anyways!

I came outĀ  few hours later, and was greeted by my Bestie and Boyfriend, and even my good friend Trina came to see me while I was there! I stayed at Sean’s after I recovered, and on Wednesday, I took my first shower and checked out my incision for the first time. Obviously, this was a collage-worthy moment, which you’ve seen if you follow SeeSondraSlim on Instagram and Facebook!

Before, with Binder and Incision 2 days post-op

Before, with Binder and Incision 2 days post-op

Please excuse the dimples on my thighs. LOL.

About two weeks later, I braved the swimsuit racks at H and M.

Side Rant: Dear Beyonce and H&M, How about we DON’T advertise a super cute bathing suit, with a super cute flowy wrap on the commercials that you don’t ACTUALLY sell in the store. Also, most of your swimwear tops are not accurately sized. I barely have big boobs, and I was struggling to fit in a 34D….and while I appreciate your low pricing and vast selection, I just cannot get over the fact that the swimsuit itself was too itsy bitsy, and the wrap doesn’t exist. Shame on you!

Ahem, anyways!Ā I foundĀ a swimsuit that looked like it may fit, despite the swelling.

Oh HEYYYYYY!!!!

Oh HEYYYYYY!!!!

Am I on love? Naw. But I am THRILLED that it looks decent. And that I felt good enough in it, to share it with all of cyberspace. And that, my friends, is all I have to say about THAT. Better believe when I find THE suit, I’ll be unstoppable! šŸ˜‰

My recovery was pretty anti-climactic. I watched a LOT of one of my favorite shows, What Not to Wear. I also spent a lot of time reading, and going crazy with nothing to do. Lol.

Best part? My little brother Erik came home to visit for a week and half. I hadn’t seen him since November ’09 when he and my mom moved to Connecticut. But alas, he was here and I was so happy to have him.

"Little" Bro and I at Seaport Village

“Little” Bro and I at Seaport Village

While he was home, we went to San FranciscoĀ so he could check out a Grad program at Berkeley. I like San Fran…it’s not for me for a long term or anything, but it’s a beautiful place to visit.

At the Embarcadero

At the Embarcadero

All in all, it has been a mellow, yet eventful time since I last posted. Slowly but surely, I am recovering, adapting to being back to work, and starting to work hard to tone up for the summer. I lasted a whole 15 minutes on the stairmaster today….I planned to be on there for 35, but hey, baby steps!

There is still more to come, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Thank you for your patience…and I missed you!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO