27 Things for My 27th Year!

Another birthday, and a new kind of list!

Inspired by my good friend, Ashley, I decided that I would do 27 things that I’ve been either too scared, too busy, too lazy, or too forgetful to do before I turn 28! I am very grateful that Ashley will b accompanying me on some of these adventures!

I feel that the effort I put into thinking of things to do is a testament to the fact that I’ve been privileged to do so many amazing, wonderful, and new things these last few years. I’m very “Go big, or Go Home,” so I had fun getting ideas and coming up with my own to make my 27th year on this earth more than memorable!

If you’re local and want to join me, let me know! If you know of a place/person/program I can contact to accomplish some of these, please let me know about that, as well!

So, here we go:

27 Things for My 27th Year

  1. Sunrise hike at Cowles Mountain with Ashley!*
  2. Go Skydiving (I am TERRIFIED of heights)!
  3. Create a modeling portfolio (for Natural Models LA and True Models Management submission)
  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!!!
  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
  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. Take a surfing lesson*
  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 at a National 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

This will surely be a fun journey, and I cannot wait to document it all here on SeeSondraSlim!

Thank you for all the years of support, and for bearing with me as I continue to try and juggle this project along with real life! I adore you all!

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Beautiful is a CHOICE.

The bottom line.

The bottom line.

Ok.

I try to clarify as often as possible that my journey all along has been about being a better, HEALTHIER version of the person I have always considered myself to be.

I have come a long way, and although I’m still hovering just under 200 lbs, most would agree that I look like a completely different person…but I would like to think that they’ll tell you I’m basically the same Sondra. I still do, say, and wear what the heck I want!

It makes me really sad to think of the old me (the REALLY old me) back in middle school, who felt that her smile was her only redeeming quality.

I ALMOST GAVE UP ON MYSELF OVER THE YEARS.

But there is something to be said for people in the world. I was blessed with friends who claim they never really noticed the fact that I was big….they just liked hanging out with me. People ask me if I still sing, or still go shopping and get the best deals!

I wish I could inspire the world to see themselves for all the great things they have to offer, and let them know that the key is to ACCEPT yourself.

I was NOT happy being 315 lbs. I was miserable, and hated the idea that my life could be made shorter in the long run. I was tired of being tired, and not being able to run more than a block without wheezing.

I may not be a size 6 (But I wear a size 8 dress occasionally….HEYYYY!), but I am happy with my new body. There are still some fine-tunes I have in the works…but overall? I am still strong, and healthy…and just a little more svelte!

My newest challenge to myself is to start ignoring that number on the scale, and focus on how I feel.

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Your weight doesn’t define your worth. It doesn’t measure your significance, and it doesn’t determine your destiny.

All those things? Those are up to YOU!

Me, personally? I am just trying to be a more streamlined version of the weight I am right now. More contoured, if you will.

Here are some of MY ideas of my “Dream Body.” You’ll notice that some of them tend to conflict with my dream bathing suits. Lol.

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My challenge to you?

Take the time to appreciate what you have, and you who you are RIGHT NOW.

If you’re not completely contented, that’s normal….but if you just can’t even think of one thing that makes you proud of the way you look, then I want you to bust out the pen and paper, and start writing out what will change that.

WHAT IS GOING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY WITH YOURSELF?

Once you have made that decision, and you have it in front of you? MAKE IT HAPPEN!

A common problem? Knowing what you need to do, and neglecting to do it. Don’t neglect yourself anymore.

After all, how will anyone else know how to treat you, if you don’t treat yourself accordingly?

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Imagine what the world could be, if we all spend more time accepting ourselves, and in turn accepting the “flaws” and differences in others? I would have binged on FAR less Hostess Oatmeal Creme pies as an adolescent of that one kid on the school bus hadn’t sang the Jenny Craig jingle everytime I boarded in the morning. But I have to ask myself: What gave me the right to hurt MYSELF over his hurtful words? And who cares what he thinks? He tried to pick me up in front of his girlfriend at Albertson’s in the produce section last year! LAME!

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If losing the weight is what you really WANT to do, it can happen. YOU CAN DO IT!

Baby steps. Gradually, you’ll come up with a plan, and you’ll see results.

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When all is said and done, this is one of my favorites:

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Don’t give anyone the power anymore. Take it back, and most importantly, PAY IT FORWARD!

I do my best to compliment others, and let them know that I see something appealing in them. I don’t care if it’s their gorgeous blue bag, pretty nail polish….as trivial as it may be, if it caught my attention, I am going to say something! You know, you never know who needed that little boost of confidence that comes from just the slightest recognition.

With that being said, you all have GREAT taste in blogs. 🙂

That’s all for now, but hey…

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From me to you? You are BEAUTIFUL. And the best way to preserve that beauty is to OWN it.

‘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