2014 Bucket List!

Boy oh boy.

2013 was a total blur…and full of happiness, success, surprises, and so much more!

As I go into 2014, I feel like I have set the bar really, super, extremely high…and that makes me more excited than nervous!

So, as always, here goes another Sondra Bucket List full of wishes, dreams, and planning for the New Year:

1. Attend my brother’s college graduation in Connecticut.
2. Put a deposit on a trip to Italy (deadline: travel by Fall 2015)
3. Visit my dad in Florida once he gets stationed there in the Spring.
4. Look into Brachioplasty (excess skin removal of the upper arms)
5. Launch the SeeSondraSlim brand in a bigger way (new logo, cover photo, and signature coming soon! Plus, I am working on my time management and will have SeeSondraSlim “office hours!”)
6. Take Sean on a trip to Las Vegas, NV (we have never been together)
7. Go to Disneyland during Christmas time (our plans have been thwarted by finances the last two years. Sad face).
8. Get more “fit.” As in, I want to tone more than lose at this point…but I have NO idea what I am doing with weights!
9. Regularly attend the classes offered at my gym. All that money I spend, and I’m using the treadmill and rowing machine only?
10. Master Italian with my Rosetta Stone…I was brilliant and got a tablet without a cd-rom reader and cannot use it.
11. Attend the Italian language Meet-Up group in my neighborhood to practice said Rosetta Stone education with real people.
12. Purchase Le Creuset items to complete my fantasy kitchen line-up
13. Register for and complete another 5K race. I’m thinking a Warrior Dash or maybe that Glow Run?
14. Organize my room…that way maybe I’ll be more prepared for the move looming in the near future (maybe start with replacing my closet light that’s been out for 6 months?)
15. Do more community service. There are SO many opportunities…and I act like I don’t have enough time. But I can make time somewhere for doing something GOOD.
16. Make more time for ME. If that means a day alone, finding a retreat no one knows about, and just having tea with myself…I think it’s high time I make it happen.
17. Be a better friend. I lost touch with a lot of closeness and people this year, because I have been so overwhelmed. Time to rekindle those connections and show I care.
18. Invest in my education. Have I made a concrete decision as to what or where I want to study? No. But I am 25…give me a break. I’m trying to pay my bills! 🙂
19. Maintain my Household Planner I made this year….and then promptly forgot to update.
20. Hit my goal weight! 180 has seemed so impossible for so long….fluctuating between 190 and 210 since surgery (thanks, swelling and exercise restrictions) showed me how possible it is to keep those pesky pounds at bay, and that it’s really not THAT far away…considering I started at 315-320 pounds anyways!

That’s my list of semi-realistic expectations for the year to come, and I plan on sticking to it!

What are YOU adding to your 2014 Bucket Lists this year? I’d love to know!

‘Til Next Time!
XOXO

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

 

What I’ve Been Up To…

Oh, hey! It’s you! The people I adore and haven’t updated in what seems like forever!

Well, here I am. And I am ready to share my recent escapades with you all!

October was a thrilling, although challenging month.

 

I did my first 5K…and chose a Mud Run, because I am out of my mind. Ashley and I had tanks made that read “You wish your girl was this dirty!” and had a blast taking on the 5K and the various obstacles it included. Most important lesson I learned? Rope swings and I? We don’t mesh. Lol. Overall, it was a great day! From getting there early and collecting free swag from all the sponsor booths, to the run itself, to my first Acai bowl after? A PURE BLAST! Shout out to Ashley for being such a great running buddy, and being so patient with me!

Before the race started….

After!!!

Ooooh! One of the best things? When we were going around to all the booths, iTan was there, and we spun the wheel and won FREE sun, spray, and spa services! I won a month, and Ash won a week! I just recently realized that it said it was valid until 10/31….so I need to call about that! But I am suuuuper excited! I have been wanting to try a lot of the spa services there, so I will get to see what works for me, and get my VersaSpa on! Woot woot!

They posted our photo on their Facebook. You can go “Like” iTan here.

I love spinning prize wheels!!!!!

I was also lucky enough to be on an episode of The Doctors, and walk away with a TON of free swag!! I also made a new friend, who I keep up with on Facebook!

What has Sondra ALWAYS wanted?

Photo Credit: Vitamix.com

I almost cried I was so happy! This machine is so versatile and so durable! It is JUST what a girl like me needs to keep on keeping on in the quest for ultimate nutrition and fitness. And I am anxiously awaiting the day it arrives in the mail, at which point I will probably cry again! 🙂

This was just one of the awesome gifts. In addition to my VitaMix blender, I also walked away with:

2 SeaWorld tickets

A free pair of Skechers GoWalk shoes

A free one hour massage or facial at Hand and Stone Spa

Dancing with the Stars Cardio Dance DVD

Mandisa’s (from American Idol season 5) latest cd (and she taught us a fun fitness dance routine she made up)!

A Hoopnotica DVD and hoop

It was AMAZING!

If that wasn’t good enough, Dr. Travis stood in front of me for a very awkward 4-5 mins, at which point I was trying to look anywhere but at his hiney. It was not easy, and the women in the audience were of no help! They were hooting and giggling, and it was hilarious! He apologized a few times, and at one point, you can see me behind him!

Shout out to my friend Jackie for catching me on DVR so I could check myself out! Lol.

I really had a prime seat. I got to watch myself on DVR a few days later, while I was home sick, and I realized I got a LOT of screen time!

This gentleman lost a LOT of weight, and became a trainer. He’s written a book about changing your mindset and acheiving your fitness goals. We also got to take a copy of that home! I highly recommend checking out “Think Thin, Grow Thin” by Charles D’Angelo.

Speaking of motivational people, a friend of mine from high school has an awesome fitness blog, and is putting together a 5/10K event next year. If you haven’t yet, you need to go check out my friend Alicia (we have the same birthday, so I can pretty much guarantee she is AWESOME), and her blog FitGirlLifestyle. Recipes, tips, and more for those of us looking to malke better habits a daily thing! You can like her on Facebook too, where she is always posting fun inspiration!

What else, what else? Oh yes! Karaoke night with the coworkers, and planning a babyshower for a good friend. Getting sick for an entire week….and then of course, there was Halloween at the office!

If you haven’t already figured it out, I should tell you that I will always find a way to add a tutu to something. I would wear a tutu with my scrubs everyday, if they’d let me! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to convince them to let me wear real pants, so I’m thinking it’s best to avoid the tutu proposition altogether. I will wear a tutu around the office the day before Christmas, though. There will be no discussion about it! Lol. Also, Ashley is the best duck-taper I have ever met. Seriously….look at those shirts! And the back of them? Mine said “They work hard for my honey!” and theirs said “We work hard for the honey!” We totally won the department costume contest. Free Subway always tastes better, FYI.

I think that’s all for now. I will get 30 day challenge photos up tomorrow.

For now, I shall leave you with some late night motivation/inspiration!

That’s all loves! Have a fabulous night, and I’ll be back 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