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I’ve been enjoying this week off to the fullest! It’s been a nice combination of getting in workouts, seeing friends, getting just a bit of grading done, and going here and there. Fun stuff!

20130412-093449.jpg1. Yesterday Ani, my sis, and I took our pups to the beach and had the most amazing day. If you’d like to see more gorgeous pics, and read a bit more about it, you can check out the post I wrote on Sofi’s blog.

2. TinkerBell made a good point the other day, when she said that she bought a cotton maxi dress to come home from the hospital in after WLS. Because we’ll be feeling sore and bloated, and the 5 laproscopic incisions will be sensitive, a lightweight and easy-to-wear maxi is ideal. Only I don’t have one. After checking on LaneBryant.com and being appalled that they were charging $59.99-$89.99, I went on Target.com and found these dresses for $21.99 each:

20130412-094409.jpgWhy spend a lot of money on something that won’t fit me for long anyway?

3.Have you seen the great giveaway Kenlie has going on over at AlltheWeigh? I entered, and if you workout at a gym and need a small solution for your essentials, you should, too.

Kenlie's photo

Kenlie’s photo

images4.  I’m excited for a much-need pedi that I have scheduled for later today.  I think I’m going with a fun turquoise, like For Audrey by China Glaze.

5. And finally, I’ll close with a great quote that I saw on FitApproach’s FB page:

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Today’s Fashion Friday is going to be a bit different because I’m going to do a review and then a giveaway, so keep on reading.

A little while ago I got an email announcing a new product line that was being offered through Fullbeauty.com. Their parent company, OneStopPlus, is a website I’ve been shopping on for the past couple of years.  They have fashionable, affordable plus-sized clothes from a variety of different labels, which makes it really convenient.  I’ve almost completely stopped shopping in brick and mortar stores because they have everything I need – tops, pants, skirts, dresses, activewear, swimsuits, pjs, and lingerie. So, when I heard about this latest offering, I knew it was something that I needed to pay attention to.

Which brings me to my point.  Bras.  I like to make sure that I have a good, supportive bra so that the rest of my outfit looks nice.  Having a bra with the proper fit is essential to looking my best.  And I’m always on the lookout for a comfortable bra, which is sometimes like trying to find the Holy Grail.

Back to Fullbeauty.com’s announcement about a new bra line they were carrying:

OneStopPlus Group announced today  that it  will be offering plus size bras from Mia  by Amoena, an  innovative  product line that features groundbreaking  technology and  sophisticated  designs, adding to fullbeauty’s definitive  selection of  bras that serve  as  wardrobe foundations.   Amoena’s line of  beautiful  lingerie offers the perfect combination of  comfort and design  with a cut  specially developed to ensure reliable fit.  Mia by Amoena’s  unique  patent-pending technology is the world’s first  lingerie line  with  temperature-equalizing Comfort+ technology.  Feminine  and flirty  bras are  made from Comfort+ material, an Outlast®  fabric  densely  saturated with  micro capsules that regulate and balance  fluctuations in a  woman’s body temperature.  The Comfort+ technology  transfers heat away  from, and back  to, the body as needed, absorbing  excess heat during a  rise  in  temperature and gently releasing it when  body temperature  decreases.  Fullbeauty.com will offer Amoena bras in  band sizes from 32 to  46 and up  to an I cup in select styles; prices  range from $66.00 to  $77.00.   “Fullbeauty.com offers true innovation in  design and function and  a  no-compromise shopping experience,” said  Michele Crawbuck, Vice  President  and Brand Manager, fullbeauty.com.”

I loved the sound of the Comfort+ technology, so I contacted one of their corporate communications managers to ask if I could review and then giveaway one of their bras.  And they agreed!  (Which just goes to show that sometimes all you need to do is ASK).

The Review
They gave me a variety of choices, and I selected the bra you’ll see in the following photos.  The one thing I was worried about was support, since it was a wireless bra, but I am so happy to report that this bra absolutely supported me through a long workday and into the evening.  I “test drove” the bra 3 times before writing this review, and I loved it each and every time.  In fact, I have it on today.

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Beautiful, deep purple color with a nice amount of lace. The great thing is, the lace doesn't show through shirts, even tshirts.

The bra is full-coverage, which I love, but also really pretty.  I debated whether or not to take a photo of myself in the bra, but erred on the side of modesty, so you’ll just have to imagine from my descriptions.  The bra has slightly padded, comfortable straps that stay where they should but feel light and weightless.  I appreciate the fact that once I have the bra on, it stays put – no pulling or tugging needed.  As I said, it’s wireless, so it’s ultra comfortable, with nothing pointing out or pinching.  And it does an amazing job of supporting me, which is no small feat.  In fact, it gives me a nice lift, and makes the cleavage look appealing at the same time.

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An explanation of the benefits of Comfort+.

I’m not sure about you, but I can tell you that I usually perspire under the cups of a bra, but when I wear this Mia  by Amoena bra, I didn’t at all.  That Comfort+ really works!

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A very fair price for a bra that is this comfortable and easy to wear. It also washes really nicely.

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A view of the inside of the bra with the Comfort+ band.

All in all, I can’t recommend this bra highly enough.  I’m definitely going to buy more, and I wanted to make sure that at least one of you would also have an opportunity to try this bra for yourself.

The Giveaway
The giveaway is open to all of my readers with a U.S. shipping address.  You can enter several times by completing each of the tasks below.  I’ll conduct a random drawing using a randomizer after the Giveaway ends on Monday, March 12th at 8pm, Pacific.  Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Monday evening, so make sure to check back to see if you’ve won.

Each person has 8 ways they can enter to win.  Do any one of these, or all eight.  The more ways you enter, the better your chances of winning:

  1. Leave a comment below, telling me why you’d like to win the bra.  Make sure to include an email address where I can contact you if you win.
  2. Write a blog post on your blog announcing this giveaway, linking back to this post. Then, leave me a comment with the link to your post.
  3. Tweet it, linking to this post as you do.  Then come back here and let me know about the tweet.
  4. Follow my blog.  Then come back here and let me know you did.
  5. Follow @bellablogger on Twitter.  Then come back here and let me know you did.
  6. Mention this post on Facebook.  Then come back here and let me know that you did.
  7. “Like” FullBeauty.com on Facebook. Then come back here and let me know you did.
  8. Follow @Fullbeauty1 on Twitter. Then come back here and let me know you did.

Remember, this is a quick giveaway, so enter before it ends on Monday, March 9th at 8pm, Pacific time.  Good luck!

I was not paid for this review, and the views expressed within this post are mine and mine alone. I did receive the bra free of charge.

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Thank you all for helping me to celebrate my 900th post.  I received 33 comments, twitter follows,  and blog subscriptions.  Each time someone commented, tweeted, or followed, I entered their name in the list, which is why you’ll see some people’s names there multiple times.  I put everyone’s name into the Randomizer and here’s what came up…

Which means that Carina is the winner!!!!!

Congratulations, Carina!!!  Carina has been a long time reader who writes insightful comments that really make me think.  From time to time she calls me out when I’m being lame (using excuses), which I appreciate, too.  Carina has run in lots of marathons and half marathons,  including the Boston Marathon earlier this year.  You should definitely go check out her blog.

Carina, please email me and let me know which prize you’d like – a gift certificate for iTunes or for Amazon.com.  I’ll email it to you at whichever address you use.

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Beach custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more - ImageChef.comThat’s right! This is my 900th post.

I can’t believe I’ve written that many posts in a little under 3 years.  Then again, I am verbose, so it shouldn’t be too surprising.

Over the course of that time, I’ve written about my triumphs, my tribulations, my victories, and my letdowns.  Through it all, you guys have been there: offering support, calling me on my excuses, cheering me on, and giving me tons of inspiration.  If you’re new to the blog, or you just want to reminisce, you might want to check out a few of the most popular blog posts over these last few years:

Home page 67,140 views
Skechers Shape-Ups Review 33,814 views
Gotta share: Jillian Michaels’ Podcast 29,320 views
QVC & Biggest Loser – 2 obessions coming together 28,404 views
Stop the roller coaster 10,421 views
I’m becoming “one of them” 9,722 views
Pasta, and Sushi, and Appetizers – OH MY! 9,032 views
Bella Begins 4,843 views
Bella’s Stats 4,611 views
Zumba! 4,381 views
The wind in my hair, the sun on my face… 2,598 views
My 1-Year Smoke-Freedom!! 2,555 views
Bella Cooks! 2532 views

That’s a lot of views!!  Thank you!!!

To celebrate my 900th post and to reward my lovely readers, I thought I’d do a giveaway.  There are lots of ways to enter to win.  You can use each method once, and each one will count as a separate entry into the giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment on this post.
  2. Leave a comment on any post this week (Posts dated August 21 – August 26th only).
  3. Write a post mentioning this giveaway on your blog.
  4. Follow me on Twitter, and then say tweet me a little hello.
  5. Subscribe to this blog.

I want to make this a fairly quick giveaway, so the deadline to enter is Friday, August 26th at 11pm, Pacific Time.  I’ll use a randomizer to choose the winning entry and write a quick post on Saturday morning.

The prize?  A $20 gift certificate to Amazon.com or Apple iTunes.  Winner’s choice.

Good luck!!!

BTW – I’m making this post “sticky,” so be sure to check out my other blog posts, below.

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I entered the names of the people who entered to win the Beck Diet for Life into a randomizer, and

The Winner Is….

Brittany!!!!!!

I’ve already emailed Brittany, and she’s sent me her contact info, so she’ll have the book by Friday!

Congratulations!!

I hope everyone will join in on the Bloggy Beck Book Club beginning on February 25th.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Has it been as hard for you as it has for me to get “back to reality” after the holidays?  I’ve been back on plan since December 28th, but last week was a tough one for me in terms of time.  January 4th had me back to work after a 2-week break, and it was quite a juggling act to fit everything in.  A couple of weeks away and I sort of forgot how much preparation it takes to stay on track, fit in exercise, and complete all of my other duties/responsibilities.

But I made it! Whew!

Granted, I was really tired last week, but I still fit it all in, somehow.  I realized that I’m too tired when I get home from work to realistically do the C25K training, so doing it on my late-start mornings is a much better solution.  (I still wish I had the room at home to fit a treadmill, because then there would really be no excuses).  I’m actually really happy about all that I did accomplish.  Speaking of which…

Each week, I want to make sure I track non-scale accomplishments:

  • I tracked my food/Points for each and every meal this week
  • I sent Scale Warfare my food journal each evening (except Friday) (I really recommend doing this with a buddy, because it’s a great sense of support and accountability).
  • I got at least 30 minutes of activity 5/7 days this week*
  • I’ve eaten dinner at home 7 days this week
  • I started organizing my recipes and tried out 2 new recipes on Saturday night
  • I made food for this entire week on Saturday, so I’m all set with lunches and dinners!

*My goal is to get some sort of activity every day, so I didn’t quite make this goal.

Another thing I haven’t done yet is get back to personal training.  I wanted to.  I even texted Jimmy and thought we had a plan to workout on Wednesday, but he never texted back with the time, and I hadn’t heard from him since.  Which is so unlike him.  I texted him again Monday night to see what was going on, and we finally connected.  We’ve got two appointments set up or next week – Monday and Friday – a great way to begin and end the workweek.  To be honest, it’s been sort of nice not having the training appointments.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the personal training with Jimmy, it’s just trying to fit the evening appointments into my schedule that’s a bit tough to manage.  Giving myself a few weeks to get used to the C25k training has been nice, and has helped me not feel too overloaded.

If you need some new workout music (and who doesn’t, really?), why not enter my giveaway.  It ends at 11:59pm Pacific this Wednesday, January 13, so there’s still time.  Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.  Good luck!!

I hope everyone has a great week.  I’m looking forward to a good weigh-in tomorrow.  Check back to see how I did.

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I just entered all of the names of those who entered the giveaway into an online “random chooser,”

Linda!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations, Linda.  Please email me your mailing address so I can have Progresso send your Souper You Kit right away.

Disappointed that you didn’t win?  Don’t worry, I’m holding another giveaway – this one is for new workout music.  Just follow the directions and enter for your chance to win.  (U.S. and Canadian residents only).

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I’ve got a fun contest and another giveaway to tell you about.

I was contacted by the people at Progresso Soup and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing some of their 100 calorie soups.  Since I buy these soups all the time, I was thrilled!  I love bringing them for lunch, along with a salad, because they help fill me up and keep me within my WW points for the day.

Yesterday when I got home from work, I was greeted with this:

It was the box of the Souper You Debut Kit!  It was heavy, but then I guess I box containing lots of soups would be, right?

Besides the 15 different varieties of Progresso Light and 100-Calorie soups, I also received an awesome soup mug and a digital jump rope!  Pretty cool, right?

Many of the soups  that came in my kit were ones that I know I love, like chicken noodle, chicken and rice, and classic vegetable.  But there were also some new ones like spicy Italian meatball, Manhattan clam chowder, and reduced-calorie French onion soup.  I really can’t wait to try those!  Look for some reviews in the future.

My cupboard is stocked!!!  I swear, we could have some sort of natural disaster and I’d have enough to eat for several weeks.  LOL.  It’s so fun that I have all of these soups, provided to me by Progresso, that I can use for lunches or light dinners.

Today I decided to go with Progresso Light beef pot roast soup:

This soup was hearty!  Filled with lots of veggies, potatoes, and a few pieces of beef.  It was really delicious. I also liked that the soup mug that Progresso gave me didn’t get warm, even straight out of the microwave.  The entire can of soup was only 2.5 points!  How great is that?  I paired it with some pita chips and an apple and it staved off my hunger for several hours.  I can also see myself bringing this soup, along with a salad, for a really healthy, very low-point lunch.

Now, what’s in it for you?  Well, two things! Read on to find out more.

The Souper You Debut Contest!

We hope you’ll celebrate the New Year and a new you with Progresso Light and 100 Calorie Soups because from January 4 through March 15th, you and your readers can visit www.Progresso.com/SouperYou to enter the Progresso “Souper You Debut” contest for the chance to win a full makeover in New York City.

Three grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two to New York City from May 21st-23rd. The prize includes roundtrip airfare, a two-night stay in a NYC hotel, a full makeover, a $1,000 wardrobe shopping spree and personal consultation at a New York department store.

To enter, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Go to www.Progresso.com/SouperYou to learn more and enter the contest
  • Submit your essay (200 characters or less) telling Progresso why you love Progresso Light or 100 Calorie Soups and why you would like a makeover
  • In addition, please submit a photo of yourself that visually reinforces the theme of your essay

I’m going to sign up as soon as I finish this post!  How fun would it be to win a trip to NYC for a makeover?!   I’ve never been there, and since I love makeup and beauty, it would be a really cool chance to go somewhere new.

The Giveaway:

Progresso is going to let me give away 1 Souper You Gift Pack that will include:

  1. the soup mug
  2. the digital jump rope that keeps track of jumps and calories burned
  3. two cans of Progresso Soup!

To enter, just leave me a comment letting me know why you’d like to win this gift pack.  Entries will close Monday, January 11th at 5pm Pacific time. I will pick a winner using a “randomizer.”  I’ll announce the winner on Monday evening, so be sure to check back then to see if you’ve won.

Note: The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Thank you to Progresso Soup for these great opportunities, and the yummy soup!!!

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I don’t know about you, but I MUST have music in order to workout.  Listening to beats that I love keeps me going, even when the workout is kicking my butt!

I just downloaded some new pre-made workout mixes from iSweat Fitness Music (via iTunes), and I can’t wait to try them out.  I got three different mixes:

  1. Power Pop – songs like “Crazy in Love,” “Manic Monday,” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” all remixed and set to faster bpm’s
  2. Girl Power – songs like “Hips Don’t Lie,” “Ain’t No Other Man,” and “Vogue” all remixed and set to faster bpm’s
  3. Fun ’80s – songs like “She Bop,” “Mickey,” and “Vacation” all remixed and set to faster bpm’s

Since I know that most of you are trying to workout more consistently, and I’d like to help you do that, in some small way.  So, that’s where the giveaway comes in!

I will give away 3 copies of each mix (9 total).  To enter:***

  1. Write a comment to this post, telling me about your workout plan for the coming year/month/week (activity, times per week, duration, etc)
  2. In the comment, mention which mix you’d like best
  3. In the comment, name a song that is bound to get you movin’ (I love getting new music ideas)
  4. Write a blog post of your own about workout music, working out, etc and make sure to link back to this post

Entries due by Wednesday, January 13 at 11:59, West Coast time. I’ll select the winners by using a “randomizer,” so everyone will have an equal chance of winning.  Good luck & keep on groovin’!!!

***Open to blogging buddies in the U.S. and Canada only.

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Last night for dinner I made the most delicious couscous I have ever had!  I like couscous because it cooks so quickly (only 7-10 minutes, total!), but often find it to be very dry in comparison to rice or pasta.  Not the one I had last night!  I used Near East Wild Mushroom & Herb Couscous and it was so flavorful and so moist – delicious.  I did follow their directions and added a TBSP of olive oil to the water before adding the couscous, but I usually do that, so I don’t think that was it.  I think this is just a great brand of couscous.  I wish I would’ve taken a picture of it, but here’s the box, just so you can look out for it at the grocery store:

mushcousA 1-cup serving is only 4 points!  Not to sound like a commercial, but this couscous was so good that I’ve decided it’s the only brand I’m going to use from now on. 

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The deadline for the WW 3-month membership giveaway ($120 value) is tonight at 9pm Pacific time.    (Click on the link above for more details and to enter).  So far I’ve received some interesting entries, but I’d love to have even more to choose from.  If you or someone you know has been meaning to try WW, what better time than now to enter this contest?!

Good Luck!

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