It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot like 2013!

Ah, and here we are. The New Year came far too quickly, and I had to rush out to Staples today and buy a new wall calendar because sheer panic set in every time that I looked at my old one and didn’t see January 2013 on it! A girl cannot live by planner alone! My planner is for my purse…I cannot function without my wall calendar.

So, yeah! Now that all is right in the world, I thought I’d come and babble to my favorite people: My readers!

The holidays have come and gone, and I can honestly say I am relieved. All that shopping and running around…I am getting way too old for that! Haha!

Christmas brought some awesome surprises!

For example, upon leaving my aunt and uncle’s house the Saturday after Christmas, my uncle told me to make sure I had room in the Jeep…and I was totally confused! Turns out, I needed to make room for this:

My new 32" flat screen TV!!

My new 32″ flat screen TV!!

I was so beyond excited, because I have never owned a television before….let alone one that is brand spanking new!

When I got back to San Diego that day, Sean and I exchanged gifts. He seemed surprised by his Tag Heuer watch, and has been wearing it to his new job at the bank. 🙂 I didn’t expect him to get me anything, but lo and behold, another first!:

My first Steelers Jersey, and a Steelers scarf!

My first Steelers Jersey, and a Steelers scarf!

He gave me the scarf, and then a few minutes later to check in his jacket for a hoodie his dad was missing, and my jersey was hanging up when I opened the closet door! YAY!

I am also really excited about one of the gifts Alex got me!

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I can’t wait to start tracking my progress, and the tips and inspirational quotes are so awesome! I know this will be a great resource! She also got me a hilarious gift, that was on my Pinterest “Must Have” board!

Pineapple-Corer

It seems silly, but I always see whole pineapples on sale, but I don’t buy them because I don’t have ANY idea how to cut them without wasting half the fruit. Also, I am currently obsessed with domestic/houseware type things, and this just seemed too good to be true! But, alas, it is true. Because Alex got it for me! Thank you, Bestie!

I had to buy myself a couple of things for Christmas this year. Top of my list was the Pure Komachi 2 Knife set at costco, for $29.99. They are super colorful, and we were giving them away at work as part of the “12 Days of Christmas” giveaway at work….everyone who saw them and had them, raved about how amazing they are, and with my domestic obsessions lately, I decided I’d like to have them.

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Also, after all the After-Christmas shoppers calmed down, I stopped by Target to catch the Neiman Marcus for Target collection sale, and picked up thge Diane Von Furstenburg yoga mat. It has a carrier strap, and it is the premium thickness that my current one (which is actually one of Alex’s THREE yoga mats) lacks.

FIERCE!

FIERCE!

Last splurge of the season….remember that gold dress from the LC by Lauren Conrad that I was talking about in that last post? Allow me to refresh your memory 🙂

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Well, Kohl’s didn’t let me down! My Auntie Crystal gave me $40 for Christmas, and I managed to scoop up this dress, a $40 cardigan and some $88 Rock and Republic jeans for just over $38! Yup….I said it! One of my best receipts in the last year, if I do say so myself:

Clearance+extra 25% off clearance+20% off purchase coupon= HAPPY SONDRA!

Clearance+extra 25% off clearance+20% off purchase coupon= HAPPY SONDRA!

I mean seriously, how can you not feel like a superhero when your receipt says you saved $156.48?!?!?!

Speaking of dresses, I have QUITE a few hanging in my closet that haven’t been worn, so I’ve been taking every opportunity I possibly can to dress up and use them. Here are some of the recent ones:

December 22nd, for Friend Day with the girls!

December 22nd, for Friend Day with the girls!

I really love this one. It’s from Forever 21, and actually, Sean picked it out. It’s a bandage dress, so it can get a little tricky when it comes to camoflaging lumps and bumps, but I was pretty pleased with this little number! It was the perfect mix of contemporary and classic to me!

My first SIZE EIGHT DRESS!

My first SIZE EIGHT DRESS!

Ok, so I was at TJ Maxx with Alex a few months ago, and came across this dress when I went in the fitting room to try on a Jessica Simpson blouse. I saw it was a size 8, but sometimes, you just look at an item of clothing, and if you know your body (and you used to be a personal shopper, like myself), then you can pretty much tell if something is going to fit or not. I grabbed it, asked the attendant to add it to my items (and sweetly ignored her skeptical look), and went in to try it on….it’s Calvin Klein, and was on clearance for $20….and it’s a SIZE 8!!! Definitely goes in the 2012 Shopping Hall of Fame! Lol. And I just wore it to church this past Sunday, and was definitely pleased with the end result. Plus, Sean came to spend the weekend with my family in San Bernardino, and we went to church, so he got to see the dress too….normally he only sees me in sweats or jeans.

Speaking of Sean….everytime I need a pick-me-up, I find myself going back to a convo of ours that I just had to post on Instagram a few weeks ago:

It's clear why I love him. :)

It’s clear why I love him. 🙂

Sean got me Rosetta Stone Italiano for Christmas in 2011, and while using it the other day, I sent him a corny/mushy text, and this is what I get back. HAHA! Gotta love him!

Also on Instagram (@SeeSondraSlimmer), you can catch me posting the occasional inspirational/motivational image! Some of my faves?

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Of course, you can expect to see my face from time to time as well! My current favorite? My pre-workout shot I caught before yoga….I felt like a fit goddess, and channel that feeling often since!

LOVE THIS PHOTO! And my VS yoga pants!

LOVE THIS PHOTO! And my VS yoga pants!

That top and sports bra were also gifts from a coworker, and they are amazing! Everything at Target is AMAZING, dang it! EVERYTHING! Lol.

I think that is all for now, but stay tuned for the next installment of the 30 Day Challenge, as soon as I get someone to take the photos. It turns out my plastic surgeon’s office called today and asked to push my appointment back, but thankfully it’s only by one day! So I will meet Dr. Ariya on January 30th, and discuss my panniculectomy (a procedure to remove the excess “apron” skin), and thighplasty (a thigh “lift,” so to speak).

I am excited to see what will happen in the futiure, and cannot wait to keep you all posted!

I hope everyone’s new year is off to a great start! Let’s kick 2013 in the butt, and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

 

Sunsets, and Skylines, and Sequins….Oh My!

All that glitters may not be gold, but it sure can be silver!

I am super excited to share the photos from my company Christmas Party last night! I feel like it was one of those defining post-weight loss occasions. Shimmery sheath dress(anyone with some curves knows what a challenge a sheath dress can be, holy cannoli!), heels, an amazing date, and I wasn’t self conscious the entire night. Blissful! We boarded the Hornblower Adventurer dinner cruise ship, and between the mai tais, buffet, and spanish guitar, it was quite a night! The best part? We boarded right as the sun was setting, and the colors were PHENOMENAL!!!! I’m telling you…there is just nothing like California Sunsets in the winter! NOTHING! Plus, as you’re boarding, they are handing out glasses of champagne! It felt simply divine, dahhhhhhhling!

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City Skylines and Sequins. Best night EVER!

City Skylines and Sequins. Best night EVER!

Doesn't show as much leg...but that skyline again! My goodness!

Doesn’t show as much leg…but that skyline again! My goodness!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Overall, it was an amazing evening with some amazing friends/coworkers! So excited that we all got the opportunity to ditch the scrubs, dress up, and have a ball! I think I was totally designed with yacht parties in mind. Lol.

Moving on, I believe this next installment of the Thirty Day (which should now be called the Sixty Day) Challenge are long overdue!

Here we are….almost 18 months post-VSG!

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I am going to see my doctor tomorrow because my knees are really suffering from the running and working out. Part of it has to do with the extra skin on my thighs, and the force it’s exerting during intense exercise, and in order to get excess skin removal surgery and a thigh lift, I need to be 18 months post-op. I am going to see if he will submit my consult referral to plastics now, so that I can get the ball rolling and plan  that adventure for next year! I am so happy with how far I come, but I know that I will see more results and suffer a little less in the pain department if I can get rid of some of this extra stuff weighing me down!

It’s hard to believe that 18 months ago, I was 315 lbs. I couldn’t run a mile if you paid me, and I was afraid of taking a Yoga class because I didn’t want to be embarassed. Now? I have ran a 5K, have plans to do another in February. I will be doing the San Diego Half Marathon in March, and I want to be able to do the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco next fall (hello? Hot men and Tiffany’s necklace at the finish line? SIGN ME UP)!

I have always been my worst enemy. Step by step, I am learning to be my biggest fan…and it makes all the difference in each and every day that I wake up and decide that I am worth the hard work. I decide to be worth the sore muscles, the sweaty face, and the aching knees. I am worth the organic groceries, and the chia seeds! Lol.

I guess I just want everyone to feel that way: Feel like you are worth the hard work, and dedication and extra time that it takes to reach your goals! Whether they are fitness related or now…take the time to pursue what you are passionate about, and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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I’m done ranting (for today), but I shall leave you with my favorite thing of this very moment:

July 2010 to now...NEVER GOING BACK!

July 2010 to now…NEVER GOING BACK!

I will never forget where I came from…it keeps me on the road to where I’m going!

I hope you all have an AMAZING week, and I can’t wait to post again soon!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

 

Think Fit, Be Fit…and a Synopsis of Life as of Late!

You see, the motto used to be “Think Skinny, Be Skinny!”

I’ve reassessed. It doesn’t seem appropriate for that to be my motto, because I didn’t really set out on this journey to be skinny. I just wanted a body I could be proud of…a body that showed people how much I care about myself, my health, and the way I present myself to the world.

As I mentioned in the last post, I went to see Dr. Steres last week, who basically affirmed what I already knew: Sometimes, you have to stop looking at the number on the scale, and appreciate how far you have come. The real work from now on won’t be losing the last 23 lbs….it will be maintaining all the 107 lbs loss that I’ve reached!

Did you know that most WLS patients typically lose 80-100 lbs, then GAIN 20 lbs, and then they pretty much plateau from there? I did NOT. So, you can imagine the slight relief I felt when I realized I lost over 100 and plateaued, without gaining 20 to boot! She made me realize that where I am now is still a really great place to be. Sure, medical charts still categorize me as overweight (btw, has the BMI index been updated since 1901? Because seriously…I don’t know many people who fall into the “normal” category based on their height and weight according to that thing!), but I feel happy. I feel healthy. I can run without dying. I can do hundreds of crunches in the gym. I try to be really careful about what I put in my body….I drink water like a fish! My life has turned around completely, and at the end of the day? I love what I see when I look in the mirror. I recently posted a few new photos, and people don’t even recognize me.

In all my BMI “overweight” glory, the world keeps remarking about how tiny I have become. Who would have thought?!?!?

In other news, I finally got to take Alex away for her Birthday Weekend Surprise, and we headed to…..PALM SPRINGS! We had a gorgeous room at the Hilton, where we lounged poolside reading our new books and magazines, hit the casino and lost money, headed to a cute pub for a fantastic happy hour (where I drank an even more fantastic Tequila Sunrise), hit a place called Toucan’s Tiki Lounge, where we took in the sights (aka, the male stripper) and drank mimosas until we decided to take multiple ridiculous photos that involved cocktail umbrellas, colorful straws, little plastic swords…and some other shenanigans. The next day we hit a great diner for breakfast, hit the Cabazon outlets, and headed home. All in all, it was a GREAT time…and I was happy to spend some girl time with the Bestie. I think she had fun….you be the judge:

Kinda blurry….but it was before mimosa number 4!

And guess who got her first COMPLETE outfit from Charlotte Russe, a store where I could previously only buy accessories (and the chance pair of size 11 shoes, before they started selling those online only….rude!)? BIG THANKS to Alex, the best Bestie a girl could ask for, for spoiling me with this new ensemble. Refuge jeans, and a gorgeous top….paired with some accessories and chunky heels? I think I rocked it! :

All that time as a personal shopper paid off! I call this “Boho Chic.” Lol.

As if that wasn’t enough, I realized how much my face has thinned out, and I’ve officially convinced myself that I could pass for a slightly dark Kardashian:

You can call me Khondra.

Anyways, enough vanity!

Let’s talk about what I’ve been eating lately! I’ve been keeping it relatively healthy, not to mention delicious!

Some recent meals include:

Tonight’s dinner” Portobello caps sstuffed with cream cheese, spinach, and parmesan. 200 calories, and about 9 grams of protein! AND DELICIOUS!

Stirfry! Asparagus, red bell pepper, onion, red cabbage, bok choy, snap peas, yellow squash, sliced boneless chicken breast….sauteed with some sesame giner sauce and served over some white rice….It was quick, easy, and only one pan!!!

Atlantic salmon with garlic herb butter, and an assortment of baby squash…including cute little mini zucchinis! Drizzled with some EVOO, added some garlic salt and pepper…Baked at 350 for about 25 minutes. Flaky fish, and delectable vegetables!

 

Talk about food porn, huh?

Also, since posting photos can be so much fun, I’d like to share some more amazingness that comes from my boyfriend Sean:

 

And my FAVORITE! As football season nears, Sean has gone so far as to switch cable providers in preperation (it seems DirectTV offers NFL season pass, so we can watch every game of the season. OMG!), and he has already begun planning Sunday events to revolve around such.

Part of the plan?

STEELERS SHIRT FOR MY TEAM PRIDE! Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow!

It’s even got bling. He is clearly my soul mate!

Ok. I think that’s all the fun stuff! I am off to bed early tonight. Alex and I start fitness bootcamp tomorrow morning, and we have to be there at 6:45 AM! And then I am off to my lunch time workout at the gym with Ashley!

Seriously….I didn’t think I’d be able to do the rowing machine! But I can do ANYTHING if I want to badly enough!

Wish me luck. A small part of me is terrified that I will not be able to walk after bootcamp…apparently I’ll be flipping tires and crazy stuff like that. Old Sondra would have cancelled.

But new Sondra? SHE CANNOT WAIT!

Night night my loves! Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

‘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! ❤

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