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This week I only have two outfits to share. I’ve been having a great time this week at home – organizing, working out, relaxing, and just hanging out. No fancy fashion required.

Tuesday, December 27th – I was going to a movie with a friend, and I wanted something that would look nice, but would be comfortable to sit in a movie theatre seat for 2+ hours. Before I get to the outfit, I wanted to focus on the hair/makeup. I usually use a quick, cat’s eye swoop of black liquid liner. It’s easy, and it’s my signature. But since I had the time on Tuesday, evening, I broke out my Ready Eyeshadows Palette in Playlist from Bare Escentuals and mixed a few browns together. And then I did something I never do – I put eyeliner on the bottom lid. I usually avoid this because the cat’s eye looks better without anything on the bottom and somewhere along the way someone told me that it made my eyes look smaller. But I kind of like the change. Using shadows and pencil liner took WAY more time than I am used to, but it was fun to try.

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I had to show the little afro puff I was rocking that night as well.

And now for the outfit:

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Earrings: Kohls; Necklace: Macy's; Top: Roaman's; Dark Rinse Jeans: Style & Co (Macy's); Shoes: Uggs

Wednesday, December 28th – Right before aqua aerobics class. Normally I would never capture my aqua class clothes on film, but I wanted to show the gloves and shoes off. Mind you, I don’t wear terrycloth capri sweats in the pool but there was simply no way in hell I was going to take a photo of me in the bathing suit. It’s under there, believe you me. You can see the top of the bathing suit, which I covered with a cardigan when I was in public, for modesty’s sake and because it is wintertime, even in the Bay Area.

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Gloves: Speedo (Amazon); Halter bathing suit top: Torrid; Bathing suit bottoms (not pictured): Woman Within; Terrycloth sweats: LB; Aqua Shoes: Speedo (Amazon)

I won’t even ask which outfit is your favorite this week.

From here on out, I think I’m going to scale back the OOTW posts, because I am running out of new looks. I mean, I can go a couple of months without repeating tops, but now it’s getting to the point that I’ll be repeating outfits. And no one wants to see the same old thing, I’m sure. So if I happen to put together a fun, new look, I’ll share it, but other than that I won’t be resuming these posts regularly until I go down in sizes and need to buy new clothes!

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in #WEverb11. Each day gives a new prompt, each of which is a chance to reflect and look forward.

December 29: Gush

Begin to create a plan for “My Friends Day Out 2012” – tell us what you envision.Contributed by Julie Jordan Scott.

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This prompt is a really fun one for me and one that I hope to actually put to use.  Scale Warfare and I have been friends since she left her first comment on my blog, back on March 19, 2009.  That was 384 comments ago.  (Yes, I checked).  In the 2 1/2 years since we first connected, we’ve become amazing sources of support for each other.  As I’ve said many, many times before, SW is one of my best friends.  Yet we’ve never met in person.

Well that’s changing in 2012.  We’ve decided the only city ready for our first meetup is Vegas.  Summer 2012.  Exact date to be decided.

So this Friends’ Day Out plan is for Vegas, Baby:

(We’ll arrive in Vegas at some point on Friday, and we’ll spend that first night talking, drinking, gambling, and who knows?  This plan will be for the next day, our first full day in Vegas).

Morning:

  • An early morning (which in Vegas could mean 11am!) walk along the strip, taking in the scene.
  • Breakfast at one of the many buffets. As long as there are Bloody Mary’s I don’t care which.
  • Pool time.  It’s bound to be HOT in Vegas in the summer, but if we can handle it, getting a few rays earlier in the day would be great.

Midday:

  • Shopping.  Hello Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace.
  • Riding the roller coasters – this is a significant NSV, because before we each lost weight, we wouldn’t have fit into the rides.
  • Checking out the beautiful hotels – Wynn, Bellagio, Venetian, etc.
  • Some spa time.

Evening:

  • Drinks at a hotspot lounge.  It’s been 10 years since I was in Vegas, so I need recommendations. At that time, I loved the rum bar at Mandalay Bay, but I have no idea if that’s even there still.
  • Dinner at a 4-star restaurant.
  • A show – Cirque du Soleil, comedy, music – depending on who’s playing when we’re there.
  • Dancing at another hotspot – one that’s not overrun with wannabe’s.  Just a place were we can have fun and let loose.
  • Gambling.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.

The most important part of the trip is that we’ll be meeting up for the first time, the rest of it is just icing on the cake.  I’m really looking forward to our trip!

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If you’d like to join in on the daily writing prompts, go to WEverb11, sign up for the email notifications, and join us! Or follow along on Twitter using the #WEverb11 hashtag!

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As I published this post, WordPress let me know that it was my 1000th post.  Wow, 1000 posts!  That’s awesome!!!!!

Now that 2011 winds down, it’s time to see how well I did on the goals I made.  For the full post of 2011’s goals, click here.

1.  Write at least one comment per day on one of the blogs in my blogroll. ACCOMPLISHED!
2011 has been a great year for reading lots of blogs and making a lot of new blogging buddies.

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2. Complete the TheDailyChallenge from MeYouHealthACCOMPLISHED! 
I completed the daily challenges most days.  Today was my 1-year anniversary, and I’m at Level 64, which is pretty darn good in my book.

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3. Keep my closets organized and snap a monthly check-in photo to post on this blog for accountability. Semi-Done.
I kept my closets very organized all year long, but I didn’t snap the photos.
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4. Walk in a 5K by the end of summer. NOT Completed.
I changed my mind about this goal and didn’t put any effort at all toward it.
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5. Make my 40th birthday a time to remember! ACCOMPLISHED!
My sister and my friends did a great job of helping me celebrate the day and night of.  My parents took me out the next night for a wonderful dinner.  I spent the remainder of the 4th of July weekend with my nieces and family.  It was a great birthday!

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6. Revisit C25K once I feel strong/light enough. NOT Completed.
Never felt light enough, so I didn’t even begin this one.
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7. Travel more.  Visit at least one friend whom I have to get on a plane to see. NOT Completed.
I didn’t go anywhere.  😦

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8. Be more social.  Have more people over.  Go out more.  Live a little. ACCOMPLISHED!
I was absolutely much more social this year.  I saw lots of friends, got out and did things.  It was a great year for my social calendar.

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9. Curb unnecessary spending without sacrificing my lifestyle.  Life is meant to be enjoyed. ACCOMPLISHED!
This was going to be one of my most difficult tasks, and I’m happy to report that I really did cut back on spending this year, because I had to, but I don’t feel like I really sacrificed my lifestyle to do it.  It meant getting creative at times, no doubt, but overall, I’m really proud of my achievement with this goal.

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10.  See more movies.  I absolutely love movies, yet I never seem to find/make the time to go out and see them.  Even if it means I’m just watching Netflix, I want to make sure I see more movies in 2011. Semi-Done.
I saw movies with friends and with my dad, but there were many that I wanted to see and didn’t get a chance to.  I cancelled Netflix after they changed their rates, but I did fully utilize my OnDemand.  So, while I would’ve liked to see more movies, I did ok on this goal.

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11. Lose the 36 lbs needed to qualify for the next step in the lap band process. Semi-Done.

I’ll address each subtopic separately, but it’s interesting that in the year since I made this list, I’ve completely changed which WLS I’m going to have.  From lap band to VSG.  And I’m so glad that I did.

  • Keep my calories within 1400 per day most days (rare, truly special occasions allowed, because this is real life). ACCOMPLISHED! I’m happy to say that I kept my calories to 1200 for the majority of the year.  
  • Log my calories with LoseIt daily – the good, the bad, and the ugly. ACCOMPLISHED! I changed from LoseIt to MyFitnessPal, but I have kept a food log most days this year. 
  • Email my food journals to daily to ScaleWarfare. ACCOMPLISHED! We emailed for months and then once we both got on MFP, we just viewed each other’s diary’s from there.  
  • Drink more water. Semi-done.  I still struggle with this one, but I have been much better at this in the last 2 months.  I notice that I drink plenty of water on the days that I workout, so win win on that one.
  • Move my body daily. This includes walking the dog, playing the Wii, doing a workout DVD, going to the gym for resistance training, riding my bike, swimming, taking a class (yoga, belly dance, zumba, spin, etc). Semi-done. I went in spurts on this one.  I had weeks were I was loved working out and keeping it up like a pro and weeks were I failed miserably.
  • Weigh myself often (daily) to notice trends, stay on track, and keep motivation high. Record my “official” weight weekly. ACCOMPLISHED! I weighed myself almost every day. About halfway through the year I made the decision to stop weekly weigh-ins and record my weight using MFP each time I weighed in; that way I didn’t have an “after weigh-in day” where I allowed myself to “cheat.”
  • Film bi-weekly YouTube videos about my journey so that I can have a visual record of myself and my progress. NOT Completed. I made a few videos, but those weren’t even monthly, let alone bi-weekly.

All in all, I did ok.  5/10 accomplished, 2/10 semi-done, and 3/10 not completed.  And for #11, the major one, I am exactly where I was a year ago.  I have 35 lbs to go to meet the pre-op goal.  I did better on the sub-goals, though: I totally completed 4/7 sub goals, semi-completed 2/7, and left 1 undone.

I’m glad I made these goals, and I will make new ones for 2012.  Check back on January 1st to read more about those plans.

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in #WEverb11. Each day gives a new prompt, each of which is a chance to reflect and look forward.

December 28: Pay It Forward

Describe a random act of kindness that you benefited from in 2011. How will you pay it forward in 2012? Contributed by Bella (hey, that’s me again!!)

I’m really honored that in the month of December, 3 of my prompts were chosen for #WEverb11. 

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When I first came up with this prompt, I knew exactly how I would answer it.  I received many small acts of kindness throughout the year, but the one that really stands out in my mind is when Scale Warfare and BeautyJunkie824 both gave me their now-too-big clothes within a few days of each other. You see, both of them have had WLS and both of them have lost major weight over 70 and 80 lbs, respectively.

You can read the details of their kindness here, but here’s a shot of the clothes all spilled over my bed as I was trying them on:

Over the past couple of months, I’ve really been able to ameliorate my wardrobe with these clothes, which has been so nice.  I’m not stuck wearing the same old thing – I have all these new pieces that I can mix into my existing wardrobe and come up with fun combinations.  You can see how I’ve been putting it all together in my OOTW (Outfits of the Week) posts.

And I have another two boxes of clothes in my closet just waiting for me, once I can fit into some smaller sizes.  They’re really going to be a lifesaver as I lose weight and I start to shrink pretty quickly.  Because even though I’m going to be tempted, I don’t want to put too much money into clothes as I’m still losing.  I want to wait and “break the bank” on clothes once I reach goal.

These clothes are more than just a beautiful act of friendship from two very generous people.  They represent hard work, determination, and the ability to achieve a goal.  They’re a daily reminder that if I stick to my plan, I can reach the same success.

In 2012, I will pay it forward by donating my current wardrobe (once it’s too big) to someone else.  Whether that’s to my local donation center or to someone I meet through this blog remains to be seen.  Perhaps a bit of both.

Having clothes that make you feel good is really so important.  Some people might consider it superficial, but I don’t.  I think taking time and paying attention to how you present yourself to the world helps you carry yourself with more confidence.  And with that confidence, you can do anything.  At least I know I can.

How will you pay it forward in 2012?

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If you’d like to join in on the daily writing prompts, go to WEverb11, sign up for the email notifications, and join us! Or follow along on Twitter using the #WEverb11 hashtag!

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in #WEverb11. Each day gives a new prompt, each of which is a chance to reflect and look forward.

December 27: Spend

Where did your money go this year? Where do you want it to go in 2012? Contributed by Kimberly Michelle.

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The simple answer to this question is – OUT.  My money went out of my hands in 2011.  I’m such a bad saver, and beyond that, I’ve had a few unexpected financial strains this year (you know, what with the poor economy and budget cuts to education and all).  So I had even less to work with than I’m used to.

2011 has been a good year for me to cut my spending.  I don’t make a ton of money to begin with (no one goes into teaching for the money), but I’ve done a darn good job this year of cutting where I can.  It was a matter of want vs. need.  So I started doing my brows myself, instead of getting them waxed.  And I stopped getting my bi-monthly pedicures.  Heck, I haven’t had a pedicure since July.  But it’s winter and I’m not showing my toes much, and if I really want to, I can polish them myself.  And I do think twice before I buy a new lipstick or other cosmetic item.  But I’m not living like a monk, by any means.  It just goes to show that there is always room to cut back, if you’re forced to/really want to.

When looking at my bank account, I can see that about 1/2 – 2/3 of my money goes to pay bills – rent, car, utilities, cable, phone, and credit cards.  I’m working on cutting down the credit card debt one little payment at a time.  But I do like to use some of the store cards because you get such good discounts that way, and as long as I pay off what I spend, it works to my benefit. And the rest of the bills are unavoidable or things that I’ve decided I don’t want to do without.

The other major purchase this year was food.  Eating well costs more, but it’s an investment in my health, so that’s money well spent.  My mom always taught us not to scrimp on good food, and I agree.  I’d much rather cut something else and enjoy the food I’m eating.  This is where the WLS is going to be really nice – I can’t wait to see my meager food bills once I’m eating so much less.

In 2012, I’m hoping to spend more money on:

  • Travel.  I love seeing new places, and I haven’t gone on a true vacation in far too long.  I’ve mentioned that Scale Warfare and I are planning a Vegas meetup this summer, and I’d also like to be able to take a few more local weekend trips.
  • Clothes.  I already spend plenty of my wardrobe, but I can’t wait to buy clothes in smaller sizes than I’ve worn in 10 years.  I can’t wait to purchase clothes that really fit my style and that I will be able to wear for years to come, knowing they’re flattering because I’m smaller.

No matter what, I want my spending in 2012 to reflect more of my priorities, and less of my frivolity.

Where did your money go in 2011?

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If you’d like to join in on the daily writing prompts, go to WEverb11, sign up for the email notifications, and join us! Or follow along on Twitter using the #WEverb11 hashtag!

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Oh, today has been full of irony…but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

You see, this morning, I was all set to go to a 9am spin class. As I woke up, I started trying to make excuses about why today wasn’t a good day to take the class. But I pushed those fat girl thoughts out of my head and told myself that if I’m really trying to reach my goals, there’s no room for excuses. So I got up, got ready, and even tweeted about it.

Then it was time to figure out what I was going to wear to the class. Because I’d purchased those padded spinning pants, but I knew they didn’t look good on me. But I knew I’d be sorry if I didn’t use that padding. So I decided to try them on and hope against hope that they looked ok on me.

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Nope, they still look bad from the back. I hate that fold at the bottom of the skirt. And the skirt BAREly covers my ass.

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It's not a good look from the front, either.

That darn skirt just didn’t fit me yet.  So I had the thought of avoiding the skirt altogether – at first I thought about cutting it off, but thought that I could just tuck it into the pants.  And since the pants are pretty see-thru because of the coolmax fabric, I decided to add a second pair of leggings on top of them. That way, I’d have the padding, but I’d be a bit more modest with the 2nd pair of leggings.  I’m so uncomfortable  showing that much of my thighs – I love/hate how tight the leggings are.  I love that they feel like I’m not wearing anything and they make working out easier, but I hate how my thighs look in them.  No where to hide, if you know what I mean.

I figured that if I paired the leggings with one of the long yoga tops that I have, that would work to semi-camouflage the thighs. But as you can see from the photos above, it really looked no better than the skirt did.  Plus, the tank top showed quite a bit of “flub” around my back and arms. And really, how was that an improvement?

So I decided to just pair the leggings with the tshirt I’d originally planned on wearing.  I love Animal, don’t you?

Not great, but at least my back flub was covered.

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A bit better from the back?

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When in doubt, cover it all up with a hoodie!

After all of that messing around about the wardrobe, I had wasted at least 30 minutes, so I quickly set Sofi into her puppy area, grabbed some water, and decided to bring some headphones, too, just in case I couldn’t make it through the whole class and needed to finish my workout elsewhere.

I left about 15 minutes before the class started, and by the time I got to the gym and entered in my pin info at the front desk, it was 8:56.  I went straight to the spin room, all the while wondering just how awful I looked in this getup, not to mention the fact that I felt like I was walking strange because of the padded leggings.  Definitely not something that inspires confidence.  Anyway, as I walked into the room, the spin instructor was just asking people if there was anyone new to the class.  I raised my hand, while I weaved through the room, looking for a free bike.  I asked a couple of people if the one next to them was taken, because they had towels or water bottles on them, and sure enough, they were taken.  Dammit!  No free bikes to be had.

See, this is where the irony comes in – if I hadn’t been so worried about what to wear to the class, I might have actually been there in enough time to actually take the class.  Ugh.  Well, lesson learned.  Lots of people still take a spin class offered at 9am on a weekday, especially one that’s in the week between Christmas and NYE when lots of people are off of work. Spinning just wasn’t in the cards today, I guess.

But I still wanted to get a workout in, so I went on the recumbent stationary bike…

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…and I burned some serious calories!  I don’t go by the calorie count on the screen, because I didn’t enter in my weight or any other stats, but I do like the pace I was going at.  MyFitnessPal said that I burned 508 calories, which is great!  I was definitely sweating and my heart rate was pumping as I was on the bike.  I am SO glad that I thought to grab my headphones.  I’m also really glad that I had just uploaded some new mixes from RockMyRun.

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I'm proud of my speed.

After all of that worry, I still haven’t taken a spin class!  But I’m going to the one at 9am on Thursday.  Definitely. And I’m going to get there at 8:30, just to be safe.  Since I already know what I’m wearing, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Speaking of workout wardrobes, have you entered the AdoraOm New Year, New Look, New You Makeover Contest yet?  There are only 5 days left!

When all is said and done, I didn’t get to the class I had hoped for, but I still worked out and got in a good calorie burn.  I feel great about that. Plus, I have so much energy.  I can’t wait to tackle the rest of the day.

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