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!

See Sondra Sign-off-horiz

Mirrors Lie….and a Photo Reveal!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

It has been quite a week!

We got back from our adventure to Reno/Virginia City/Lake Tahoe/Mammoth (I used my new camera! Photos coming soon!) late Sunday night, and I dove right back into my normal routine on Monday!

I was really excited for Tuesday to arrive, because I had an appointment to pick up my photos from The Boudoir Divas! I went to grab them, and then headed back home to pick up my mail and get some stuff done around my apartment (that I basically don’t even live in), and then had some errands to run for my impending 3 Year Anniversary on Wednesday before I’d be able to go back to Sean’s, pop in the disc, and marvel at the fact that the woman in those gorgeous photos is….ME!

I have no shame. I use car windows as mirrors on a pretty much daily basis. Obviously, I’m going to stare at professional photos of myself for a upwards of 15 minutes. Speaking of which, I saw this awesome “quote” I posted on the SeeSondraSlim Instagram earlier today, that really resonated with me:

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I headed to Target after leaving my house, and after finding what I was looking for (amidst all the things I was NOT looking for, and ended up purchasing-hello, new embellished sweater!), and I stopped at the Starbucks they have to grab a venti iced green tea. Suddenly, as I’m waiting at the counter, I get a notification that my blog has been linked to another post, and so I go to check it out: lo and behold, Sarah over at The Boudoir Divas, who I worked with for this shoot, did a blog post about….ME. And not only did it feature some really nice, and emotion-evoking words about me, but it held some amazing sentiments about the power of recognizing, admiring, and embracing our beauty overall.

These ideas, sentiments, movements, and campaigns are very near and dear to me, because the blessings and fortunate circumstances in my life are a direct product of being at my lowest low, and taking a good look inside myself, and deciding “I am better than this, and it’s about time I show the world that.”

Life has gotten better and better ever since!

I will forever be grateful to the ladies at The Boudoir Divas for helping me see such a powerful, feminine, and beautiful part of myself. And I am even more grateful that they go into each day with the intention of doing this for ALL women. I really hope that you’ll check out their blog. It’s a great way to get periodic doses of beauty, inspiration, and encouragement. I also suggest you “Like” The Boudoir Divas on Facebook!

If you check out Sarah’s blog post, you’ll see some of her amazing work (and you know, my face)!

I figured I’d share my absolute favorite (well, they’re all my absolute favorite, but you know what I mean) with you here on the blog!

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I have to give another huge thank you and round of applause to my #GlamSquad for their amazing talents: Hair by Candace Givens at Ah La Mode Designs, Makeup by Shelby McElroy of Shelby MUA, and amazing florals by Jen at City Girl Finds! These ladies brought my vision for this “Boho Glam” look to life in the biggest way!

It’s interesting, how we live in a society so obsessed with masking, camoflauging, and “fixing” what naturally occurs. Nothing natural stays perfect forever…not the water, the trees, flowers….none of the things we deem so impossibly, breathtakingly beautiful. Yet, we spend TRILLIONS of dollars on industries that introduced the idea that we can take just a few minutes, hours, weeks, days, or longer recovering from procedures, products, and such to make us “better.” I look at these, and see that with the “pudgy” parts, the dimpled parts, the “regular old me” parts….I still look pretty damn beautiful. And I really, really needed that reminder.

In fact, one of my favorite blogs to follow is Healthy is the New Skinny, celebrating these so-called “flaws,” and challenging the far-fetched beauty discrimination we see on a daily basis. Check out the HNS Facebook and HSN Instagram accounts for even more daily inspiration and love!

Also, yesterday, Wednesday January 21st was our actual anniversary, and I am so grateful to have a man in my life who tells me I’m beautiful and that he loves me everyday. I wish that for everyone in the world…. someone who sees your beauty when you’re blind for a moment. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY (again) Sean! Love you!

On a short stop on the Geiger Pass in Virginia City, Nevada.

On a short stop on the Geiger Pass in Virginia City, Nevada.

I truly hope you’ll take the time to acknowledge, embrace, and cherish your beauty today! You are more than worth it!

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30 Day Challenge Update…and SUPER EXCITING NEWS!!!

Whew! Made it to another Tuesday, and I am happy to report that I survived another birthday weekend! Lol.

Friday, 3/1 was my birthday, and I was blessed to bring in a whole quarter of a century with tons of birthday wishes, and an action-packed weekend! Alex won a two night stay at the Courtyard Marriott down by the harbor at one of the bridal bazaars we went to, and she was kind enough to redeem it for my birthday weekend extravaganza!

Prior to heading out there for the weekend to begin, we started the festivities Thursday night. When I got home, Alex was icing a rainbow chip cake with rainbow chip frosting! My FAVORITE! Then, she finally unveiled the surprise trip she has been planning and keeping a secret for the past month or so….

MONSTER JAM 2013, are you read for this?!?!

MONSTER JAM 2013, are you read for this?!?!

I LOVE monster trucks. It’s weird…I went to my first rally about three years ago, and we were supposed to go again in January when they were in San Diego, but we got delayed in Los Angeles traffic and missed it. I was so sad, and had briefly mentioned maybe going to the finals when they go to Vegas later this year. Wouldn’t you know? Alex looked it up, and has planned the whole weekend out! March 22nd-24th we will be in Vegas in our awesome room (at a hotel complete with an amazing beach club party), and attending the Monster Jam Finals….can’t wait to cheer on my favorite….GRAAAAAAVE DIGGGERRRRRRRRR(that was totally in my monster truck announcer voice, obviously)!

I walked into work Friday, and wouldn’t you know? My coworkers totally surprised me by decorating my office!

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If that wasn’t enough, they had compiled a list of things that brought me to tears, and it was on the door amongst the streamers:

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I had gifts on my desk, and plenty of people yelling birthday wishes as they passed by, and I felt like a million dollars! I decided to take a half day at work, and went off to my nail appointment. I splurged on the ultra deluxe pedicure with sea salt scrub, paraffin wax treatment, a 20 minute massage, and an almod butter rubdown. I was pretty pampered, and I wore my tiara the whole entire time!

Friday night we checked into the hotel, and when Sean arrived he told me he forgot to lock his car, and came back two seconds later with a giant sparkly Victoria’s Secret duffle bag full of awesome!

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That night, we went to Slater’s 50/50,  a burger place that specializes in strange and tasty concoctions. I was ready for a lettuce wrapped turkey burger with roasted red peppers, and garlic aioli….but they took FOREVER to bring our food, and when they finally did 45 mins to an hour later…I cut into my burger and…um, it wasn’t COOKED. It was squishy and pink ground turkey on the inside…and that just kinda killed it for us. Sean’s 1 lb hamburger with all the fixin’s? Yeah, that was cooked well-done as requested. So, needless to say, we sent them back and headed over to Oggi’s Pizza and Brewery and they had late-night happy hour. We got some yummy hummus and also some pizza stix…really good! And totally made up for us being hungry and cranky. 🙂

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Then there was Saturday! Alex and I started the day off with some Einstein Bros bagels and then headed to Fashion Valley mall to look for her outfit for Saturday night. We were successful, and then headed back to the hotel to sunbathe, and we also had the privelege of crashing a wedding at the hotel from our balcony. Good times! We headed to the hotel bar for their happy hour and indulged in a glass of wine before starting the primping for the evening. I got my dress about three weeks ago on a Macy’s run with Alex, and I am happy to report that I was super pleased with the end result:

My feeble attempt at being a Kardashian. Haha!

My feeble attempt at being a Kardashian. Haha!

Not gonna lie…I kept looking at the dress as I had it laid out on the bed, and wondering to myself “How can I possibly fit into something so small??” and it was almost nerve-wracking. But then, I put it on (after putting on Spanx), and I was looking at myself in awe! It was a great night, with great friends, and I shall cherish the memory…and the dress, forever! We headed to Dick’s Last Resort in the Gaslamp for dinner, where the waitress proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday” to me, and call me Yolanda (just to be kinda ignorant), and then she said she’d buy me a birthday drink, and brought me a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20. Strawberry Kiwi flavor, at that. EWW! But, we don’t waste liquor…so Sean, Alex, and I collectively drank it.

From there, we headed over to Wet Willie’s, a frozen daquiri bar. I highly recommend “Chocolate Thunder” flavor, and going with GREAT friends!

My workout buddy Ashley MADE IT! And she had on a super cute outfit!!

My workout buddy Ashley MADE IT! And she had on a super cute outfit!!

Some of the BEST coworkers and FRIENDS ever!

Some of the BEST coworkers and FRIENDS ever!

 

All in all, it was absolutely amazing! I had received a call from my plastic surgeon’s coordinator on my way to my nail appointment Friday, informing me that both surgery authorizations were still pending, so I was appeased.

Wouldn’t you know? As a belated birthday gift (if you ask me, anyways), Claudia called me yesterday and informed me that my excess skin removal surgery for my abdomen has been APPROVED!!! The thighs are still pending, but she says it’s a good sign, because typically they get shot down pretty fast under the pretense of being cosmetic, rather than medically necessary. I am officially scheduled for surgery on April, 26, 2013. And I cannot WAIT! My pre-op appointment is April 3rd, and in the meantime, I have to see my PCP to get some surgical clearance labs done. Not too shabby, if you ask me. Looks I may be bikini ready before October and my Hawaii trip after all!!!!

Speaking of bikinis…it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted any 30 Day Challenge shots…so without further adieu….I give you, me in my undies:

As you can see, my abs are trying to figure this whole six pack thing out. :)

As you can see, my abs are trying to figure this whole six pack thing out. 🙂

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Welp, I think that’s all for now…but that’s plenty, isn’t it?! Haha! I am really excited to keep you all posted on the status of things as surgery news develops, and I look forward to the 30 Day Challenge posts that are soon to come!

I hope everyone has had a great week so far…we only have THREE more days until another weekend! I am spending this one taking photos with Sean, having dinner with Sean’s family, and possibly venturing out to Idyllwild. 🙂 Should make for a good post!

Don’t forget, if you’re interested in attending the Obesity Action Coalition Conference this year, the dates have been released! It is happening August 15-18 in Phoenix, Arizona and rooms are $105 night! You will be able to book rooms, look at the itinerary, and much more starting March 11!! I am SO excited to attend, and so grateful to be a member of such a great organization.

Ok, I’m really done now.

Hope you all have a great night, and thanks for reading!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO