Photo Reveal: Korin at Wonderland Boudoir!

I had a blast back in April, modeling for The Boudoir Divas at their 2014 Boudoir Retreat. I met some amazing women on a journey to begin/improve their Boudoir skills, and I am so excited at the fact that photographers have been kind enough to share the images (they certainly don’t have to) and it’s so fun for me to share them with you! Check out my Photo Reveal with Agi M Photography, too!

I am inspired every time I enter that studio. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. It doesn’t matter what a scale says.

It doesn’t matter what a tag in a pair of jeans says.

You’re beautiful, and you deserve to see this side of yourself. It’s liberating, empowering, and just so dang FUN!

Here are some of the awesome photos from Korin at Wonderland Boudoir/Urban Jungle Photography:

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You can find Korin online (she is based out of Dallas, TX):

Wonderland Boudoir Facebook Page

Wonderland Boudoir Website

Urban Jungle Photography on Facebook

Urban Jungle on Instagram

Please go check her out, and see all of her beautiful work!

Thank you so much, Korin, for being so fun to work with! I love the photos!

‘Til Next Time!

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Clean Eating Challenge Day 2 & 3!

It’s been a doozy!

The hard parts? NOT going to Starbucks for my second wind after my 3 hour lunch break, not being able to indulge in bakery fresh cookies (I snuck one yesterday, and told myself the calories don’t count if no one sees me. I am terrible, and my detoxing tummy made me feel it!), and well…. that’s about it. Not really bad at all!

The good things? My water intake is way up, I feel more energized in the morning, and I know where each and every ingredient in my meals comes from… plus, I am cooking more! Cooking is one of my passions, and it’s really therapeutic after a day of insanity! I’m glad this motivates (and um, REQUIRES) me to do so!

Day 2 was awesome. I finally had overnight oats. And I LOVE them! So much so, that I substituted the day 3 yogurt parfait for another batch of overnight oats…. because otherwise, plain Greek yogurt and I are NOT friends.

Day 2 Recipes are here.  Day two was a little bland after breakfast, mainly because I was all excited for the cabbage wraps… but I am allergic to mango and avocado. So…I didn’t take the time to think of worthy substitutes. I bought an avocado anyways, but chickened out when I realized I was out of Benadryl and too lazy to go to the store. 🙂

Blueberry Overnight Oats with chia seeds

Blueberry Overnight Oats with chia seeds

Day 3 Recipes are here. Day 3 was awesome! The Asian chicken salad with leftover cabbage and almonds and chicken was great… and I really enjoyed the vinaigrette too! I forgot to add the tomatoes to the salad… so when I make it again after the challenge, I’ll remember that part! I skipped the yogurt parfait today in favor of making another batch of overnight oats… because. I love them! My new favorite healthy breakfast… and it would make a great snack, too! It’s really filling (thanks to those oats and chia seeds), full of protein (as a WLS post-op I need 60-80 grams per day), and I eat it slowly to savor it. It took me so long to eat it at work this morning, I skipped the avocado snack.

Softening the shallots and garlic for the lentils...

Softening the shallots and garlic for the lentils…

Bubbling away!

Bubbling away!

Cauliflower "Steaks" that sound weird, but are SO addictive!

Cauliflower “Steaks” that sound weird, but are SO addictive!

 

A quick tip? Lentils are a lengthy process! Prep them ahead of time… or cheat a little bit! I have always bought the Trader Joe’s steamed lentils in the refrigerated section with the other prepped veggies. For the sake of showing you all how easy the challenge can be, I followed the Buzz Feed recipe, but you could easily doctor up the already prepped lentils.

Trader Joe's Steamed Lentils

Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils

Same goes for the quinoa…TJ’s has it in the freezer section, and it’s ready after 2 minutes in the microwave!

Overall, the Buzz Feed Clean Eating Challenge has really been…..FUN! I love that the menu is so structured, without being daunting and skimpy. As a matter of fact, I am eating about 1/2 of the meal serving, which means I am eating about half of the nutritional value… so I am keeping an eye on that in the case I need to double up other supplements.

Have you tried the Clean Eating Challenge? If so, what are your favorite meals so far?! Which ones are you looking forward to? That’s all for now, but I’ll do my best to keep you posted as I go!

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Learning to See the Pretty…and Photo Reveal from Agi M Photography!

It may sound a little stupid, but I have gotten pretty used to being “pretty.”

A lot of people think I’m really vain, self-absorbed, or shallow… but the fact of the matter is, I am just catching up. I’m making up for lost time. Making up for all of the years, days, hours and minutes that I told myself I wasn’t good enough.

Freshman Year Homecoming... circa 2002?

Freshman Year Homecoming… circa 2002?

Circa 2009...at karaoke with my Other Mother

Circa 2009…at karaoke with my Other Mother

All the time that I sat there and believed I didn’t deserve to be loved.

That was all, pardon my French BULLSHIT.

Your weight doesn’t determine what how much love you deserve. A bad haircut doesn’t instantaneously disqualify you from being treated with respect. It doesn’t work that way.

When someone says “You are so pretty!”  I smile, and accept the damn compliment with a “Thank you!” and I always try to genuinely return compliments as well.

But there is always that one person trying to rain on my parade and make me think that those compliments are undeserved. And lately, that person has been ME.

I literally cried when I saw that homecoming photo on Instagram. Partly because that point in life is hard to re-visit in general, but also partly because I needed a reminder that no matter how I might think I look or feel at times…I am NOT this girl anymore. I am so much stronger. So much braver. So much more confident in what she deserves.

I was honored and thrilled to be asked to model for The Boudoir Divas recently at their annual Boudoir Photographer Retreat, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I’d been considered in the first place!

I got there, got my makeup done, Candace came and did my hair…I put on my high wasted black panties, black bra, black bustier, and lace robe…and I felt ready!

I felt gorgeous! I felt secure!

As some of the photos made an appearance on Instagram, I started to feel less sure of myself.

As I mentioned awhile back, I ironically LOST weight on vacation in Hawaii. In the midst of my return, I was dealing with things being harder at work, Sean losing his job the day before I departed for Hawaii, and more… and next thing you know, the New Year is here and I’ve gained 20+ pounds.

I was so disappointed. I was so angry. More than anything…I was so ashamed. I pride myself on what I accomplished with weight loss, and here I was, failing. Gaining.

My immediate reaction was fear. Fear of becoming that girl again. So… when I saw these photos from the amazing and talented Agi from Agi M Photography, I was having a hard time seeing the pretty.

I was seeing the cellulite. The HUGE arms. The droopy thighs. The plain face.

(I should disclose that I opened this email Sunday morning at closing ceremonies for Relay for Life, after walking over 30 miles in a weekend, and operating on the one nap I took from 1-6 am. So, I was not the most aware of anything happening!)

You know what? My arms might be huge. But I can change that! My thighs might be droopy… but at least my surgeon said the first revision wasn’t perfect. My face isn’t plain. I’m just a tad dramatic when I see myself NOT smiling. Agi was so much fun to work with; so full of life, so excited, and so passionate about what she does. She is one of those people who you trust instantly, because you feel like you’ve known her forever (she is perfect for this industry, because you’ll recall I felt the same way about the Divas and their MUA Peggy when I very first ventured in. You can read more about that in this post)!

I decided to open the email and re-visit these images this evening, after showing them to Sean last night and sharing how I felt with him last night. If you know my boyfriend, you know he is a huge supporter, and that he loves me for me. And his perspective was not surprising. He said I looked great, and then helped me plan my next steps for fixing what’s really wrong: how I feel inside!

So… here are a few of my favorite shots. Check me out!

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Check out more amazing photos from some amazing women at the retreat in this Boudoir Divas Blog Post! Also, you can connect with Agi M Photography on Facebook! While you’re at it, you need to check out my super talented friend, Candace from Ah La Mode Designs. My phenomenal hair is ALL her doing! Also, the fabulous Peggy with His Blushing Bride who did makeup for all the girls! This was my second makeup run with her, and she is still as fun as the first time I met her!

I’ve rambled on and on… but the moral of the story is… sometimes you have to learn to see past what you hate seeing. See past what you’re struggling with, and know that you are captivating regardless of what a label in a dress or a number on a scale says. You’re not defined by how small your arms are, or how your thighs look. The best thing about boudoir is that it captures your beauty at any size. It’s not about being a Victoria’s Secret Angel… but the fact that you FEEL like one. And that you are captured in a way that puts you right up there with them in rank.

 It’s a gift to learn to see yourself in the eyes of those who capture you the way that Agi captured me. And once I took the time to see that, I found myself re-energized and ready to get back to actually working on those things, instead of avoiding the way they look in photos. I’ll be sharing more from these talented ladies, as I receive them!

That’s all for now… but I won’t be gone for long!

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Life is Crazy…

Whew!

Been taking on more responsibility at work, checking out all the fun wedding stuff and trying to live up to the best Maid of Honor EVER status I have set out to achieve, and  also working on planning a baby shower for one of my very dear friends. In the midst of those things, I am also trying to lose a couple pounds before I see the surgeon in just a week, to see if I am a candidate for a Panniculectomy and a thigh lift.

I should clarify that my journey, and the reason I share it, are not because I have the ambitions to be a super skinny Victorus’s Secret bombshell (although I frequently joke about such things…if you knew me before, you know that my narcissistic tendencies haven’t even been increased since losing all this weight. I was always full of myself and had a hard time fitting my head through the door).

I have been so blessed with the opportunities and the motivation that have made this weight loss possible. And now that I have lost a significant amount, and seen the things my body can do…I can’t really see myself settling. Some people think I am crazy for having “cosmetic” procedures, but you know, after weight loss in numbers like this, it actually becomes “Medically Necessary.” So…that means, once again, insurance pays!

And we all know I love my free stuff! Besides…it’s hard to know that I have lost over 120 lbs, but I still can’t wear a two-piece bathing suit (not even slutty!)  because of this ridiculous apron of fat over my pelvic bone. UNACCEPTABLE! Lol.

So, I will at least explore my options, and as always, I will hope for the best!

I came across this on Tumblr, and it made me remember how I used to feel sometimes, so I thought I’d share it.

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I know this to be true! Even at 305 lbs, you’d see me wearing what I wanted (as long as it was tasteful and I could keep my self-respect), and I would be proud of myself and make the best of the body I had.

At the time, this was my absolute fave pik of myself!

At the time, this was my absolute fave pik of myself!

I always have an issue with getting the rudest looks and comments when I wear shorts...but for this birthday, I didn't care!

I always have an issue with getting the rudest looks and comments when I wear shorts…but for this birthday, I didn’t care!

This dress! I never wore it out, because it was always a little big and I never got it taken in...but I made sure we took photos of it!

This dress! I never wore it out, because it was always a little big and I never got it taken in…but I made sure we took photos of it!

And then we fast-forward to now, where I still pretty much wear what I want, when I want, and if you don’t like my lumpy thighs and their excess skin, I’m just kinda like “Bite Me!”

Besides, most times, I choose cuts that are too flattering for all of that. I give you the present (not like you haven’t seen these already, but just for shock factor!)

Yeah...this is definitely my favorite head shot in a looong time!

Yeah…this is definitely my favorite head shot in a looong time!

You'll find I have many more full-body photos these days!

You’ll find I have many more full-body photos these days!

What's that? Shorts, and I let a photo of me sitting down be taken? WOO!

What’s that? Shorts, and I let a photo of me sitting down be taken? WOO!

Moral of the story?

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More than that, make sure that you do what makes YOU happy. When you go to bed at night, make sure that what you think about yourself is that last thing on your mind. Not the words of the ignorant lady at Trader Joe’s who thought you wouldn’t hear her ask her friend “Why would she wear those shorts?” and make you have to get all crazy on her before you can buy your damn edamame and sea salt caramels!

Be happy with you. And if you’re not, do something about it! It’s all up to you…and it’s ok to need help! ASK FOR IT!

That’s my rant and update for now. But I wanted to make sure I posted, and shared that all-over-the-place insight with everyone!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO