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reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 18: Stylin’
Wear it out | What piece of clothing did you wear again and again all through out the year?  Why?  Is it all worn out?  Are you going to replace it or keep wearing it?

The funny thing about this prompt is that now that I’ve been losing weight so steadily and so quickly, none of my clothes last long enough to really wear out.  I have recently purchased sweaters, hoodies, sweats, and jeans to have something that fits, but many of those are getting a bit loose.  For Christmas I’m looking forward to getting some gift cards so that I can replenish my wardrobe a bit more.

But to answer the prompt more directly, I’d say I wear my workout clothes again and again, especially these new pants that I’ve been wearing to run:

maxcontrol They’re Max Compression crops from Old Navy. I love them because even though they’re very form fitting, they’re also very flattering.  And, better still, they hold me in as I’m running.  Now that I’ve lost over 112 pounds, there’s a lot of jiggling going on in my thighs, and these pants make me feel a lot more comfortable.  I definitely wear them all the time, and am actually looking forward to buying another pair soon.

I’m really looking forward to hitting my goal weight so that I can start to buy a true wardrobe that will last for years to come!

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Summer’s here! Which means that fun in the sun is a daily way of life. Getting outside and getting active is easy, and it’s on my agenda for each and every day this summer. Being on summer vacation means I don’t have any of the workaday responsibilities that can get in the way of my plans. Now that I’ve had the VSG surgery, achieving my weight loss goals is only a matter of time, and this summer is going to be HOT. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. I’m not on a diet, I’m establishing a lifestyle – my new life. My Sunday progress updates will be called Sizzlin’ Summer Weigh-Ins.

Week 10 was busy! I was out and about with friends, working out on my new hybrid elliptical/recumbent bike, spending time with family, participating in the 30-Day Squat Challenge, and just enjoying these last days of summer. I’m trying to pack as much fun into these remaining weeks as I can. Which is not to say that the fun ends once school begins, because I have lots of fun things planned for after school starts back up. Plus, I’ve learned how to balance work and life and enjoy myself as much as possible each day.

bilbl_scale.jpgSo, how’s the scale looking?

I weighed in this morning at 241.2, which is a loss of 2.2 pounds this week, and a loss of 35.8 lbs since surgery!!! I’ve lost a total of 73.8 pounds from my highest weight. My reaction to this week’s loss is mixed. I’m really thrilled that I’ve lost 35 pounds in the 10 weeks since surgery. I cannot remember the last time I lost 35 pounds in 10 weeks, so that’s really impressive, especially for a person who has struggled on the scale like me. But on the other side, I put in so much work this week in exercise, and ate so well (high protein, low carbs, plenty of water), that I expected to see a bigger loss on the scale. But I do have to say, I have never hit a stall since my surgery, which is not something most people can say. I’ve consistently lost weight for 10 weeks, and even though each week’s loss is a bit less than I’d like, I’m still really happy with my overall result.

I think the NSVs are even more exciting right now. I’ve gone through my entire closet twice this summer, the most recent time was on Friday. I’ve collected 5 huge, black garbage bags full of clothes to donate, all of which are too big. Friday I was trying on clothes for school, and I’m such a dork that I’ve already picked out my outfits for each day of the first week of school. 🙂 I’m really liking the way the clothes are looking on me now, and while it’s sad to say goodbye to some of my favorite outfits that are literally falling off my body, I’m looking forward to adding to the wardrobe eventually and filling it with new outfits in a much, much smaller size. (I’m really straining myself not to give into my inner shopaholic and buy some new clothes for school. I have plenty of outfits for now, and I really want to resist buying too many pieces that are just going to get too big very quickly).

These Bermuda shorts/pedal pushers have been tucked away in my closet for over 5 years, because I’ve been too big to fit them. Well, I tried them on yesterday, and they fit! And that top used to be too tight around my hips for me to wear, but it’s swimming on me now (I’m not sure if you can tell how billowy it is in the picture).
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I keep telling myself that it’s OK if I repeat outfits in order to conserve fashion funds for the time when they really count – when I get closer to goal.  In the past I’ve really overstuffed my closet full of clothes, so much so that I could go over a month and a half without repeating an outfit for school.  Which is cool and all, but not as much as a priority for me right now.  Plus, not buying new clothes until it’s absolutely necessary, like when they’re falling off of me, is going to make me get creative with the way I put outfits together, so I’m going to take it on as a challenge.

Summer’s coming to a screeching halt at an alarming pace! The week after this one I have to be back for registration, teacher development days, and the first teacher workday. And then on August 19th the kiddos return and we have the first day of school.  It’s all coming up so quickly.  But I’m excited to get back.  This year is sure to be the best yet, for so many reasons.

But before that school bell rings, I have this last true week.  Minus Monday, where I’ll be at school all day for various meetings.  I have lots of fun planned, including a midday walk with my sister at Shoreline Lake Park, an Italian-heritage SF Giants game with the extended family and some friends, and a tapas party at my parents’ house.  Among a few other fitness-related items that I’ll blog about as I complete them.  I’m bound and determined to make this week one to remember!

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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For today’s Friday 5, I thought I’d include a few things that I’ve bought for myself as a special treat. With budget cutbacks and furlough days, I’ve had to cut back on lots of extras and fun things, but every May I get a bonus check for some of my extra activities. The bulk of the money is bookmarked for more practical purposes, but I do like to use a bit of it to treat myself to a few things I’ve been wanting.

IMG_4503 Last summer Ani told me about Erin Condren, and she opened up a whole new world of organization to me. I’ve coveted the Teacher Lesson Planner for a year, and finally, today, I bought it for myself. The one I ordered looks something like the one in the photo, only my cover design has black lace and hot pink dots. It will also be personalized with my name on the front. So cool! The reason I decided to splurge on it for myself is because I love staying organized, write EVERYTHING down on a calendar to plan the daily lessons for my classes, and because I’m going to be teaching a new class next year that will require even more organization than usual. I’ll definitely post a photo as soon as I receive my planner in a couple of weeks.

images You guys know how much I love makeup, and I’ve been loyal to Bare Minerals for several years, but I wanted to change up my everyday summer makeup a bit and try something new. I’d been hearing great things about the Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, and decided to give it a try. My face routine is to use Garnier BB Cream as a base and then add the Mineralize Skinfinish on top to set it. I tried it out yesterday, and the coverage is light to medium, which is perfect for summer. I also like that it helps me feel “done,” but lets my skin show through. I love that it’s a pressed/baked powder. I use Bare Minerals Ready pressed foundation daily for work and I love it, but it does make me feel more “made up” than I want to be on a regular summer day. I’ll save it for special outings this summer.

pBBW1-14865695v275I love Bath & Body Works products because they help me start the day smelling great. It was time to stock up on shower gel and body cream for summer, and today’s order included a few new (to me) scents. Beautiful Day smells incredible – floral, fresh, and light – perfect for summer. Sweet Pea smells just like the flowers, floral, light, fresh (notice a trend). I also decided to try Capri Seaside Citrus, because Capri is one of my favorite places ever, and I thought the light scent would be nice. Of the three, Beautiful Day is definitely my favorite, and one that I’ll repurchase again and again.

So, those are my fun splurge-y purchases – nothing too over the top, but just enough to set a festive feel to the new season.

20130531-171302.jpgThe weather’s heating up this weekend, and I wish I was cleared to swim. (I’m hoping that at my 2-week post op appt on Monday, the surgeon will remove the surgical bandages and clear me for swimming, because my plan is to make it a daily activity). Instead, I’m planning on getting out and taking some nice walks, reading outside in the backyard, and enjoying plenty of water in Mason jars. There’s something so summery about Mason jars, isn’t there?

images-1 I’m going to see Before Midnight with Ani this afternoon. I’ve seen each of the movies, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and it just seems right to continue the series. It’s gotten great reviews, and there’s something so charming about the characters of Celine and Jesse.

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Today I had some fun with fashion, and I liked the outfit I put together so much that I thought I’d share. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a maxi dress from Target to wear going home from my surgery and for the days directly afterward, when loose clothing would be the most comfortable.  The dress arrived the other day, and since I had a 50th Anniversary Celebration Mass & BBQ to go to at my high school alma mater, I figured I could piece together a pretty cute ensemble.

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Since the dress was hot pink and orange/coral, I knew my Kate Spade necklace would go perfectly. I also wanted to use my Coach bag and jean jacket. I love the little ruffles that the jacket has, and that it helps to show my waist.

It all looked fine on the hanger, but how would it look on me?  Maxi dresses are usually not my thing, because I’m so short (5’3″) and they do nothing to show my hourglass figure.  But with the addition of the jean jacket and some platform flip flops, I think the outfit turned out pretty well.  Plus, I know I wouldn’t have felt half as comfortable wearing it if I hadn’t lost 35 pounds.  Even with the jean jacket off later in the day, I felt great in it, and got a few compliments, which is always nice.

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This is just a prelude to the types of outfits I’m going to be able to piece together as I lose weight.  I can’t wait!!

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cb27a03ec5cfce3faf0b87ac16c36de8Time for another great NSV to share with you guys!

With all of my progress in my weight loss, one of the big benefits is that my clothes are getting a lot looser on me.  Over the weekend I wore a shirt that I’d purchased because I loved the print, but never wore because the 18/20 was always just a bit too snug.  It finally fits, and it looked adorable, if I do say so myself.  A couple of pairs of work pants are getting almost too big to wear (slouchy crotch is not a good look on anyone).  That’s especially exciting, because pants are always the last thing to change on me.

So, last night I got home from work and decided it was time to take a shopping trip in the  closet of my guest bedroom.  If you guys remember, my friend Meghann sent me boxes of clothes that had become too big for her once she was  shedding pounds after VSG surgery.  Up to this point, I’d only been able to wear a few of the items that she sent me.  Not anymore!

I was able to pull out 3 blazers, 2  sweaters, and 3 tops, and a dress.  This is perfect timing because I need to supplement my wardrobe now that quite a few of the items in my own closet are getting a bit too large to wear.  It’s so exciting to actually be able to type that last sentence!

I love using clothes to indicate just how much progress I’m making, because it seems more accessible than just a number on a scale. I can visually see how much smaller I’m getting as clothes skim over my hips or no longer tug across my rear.  My bras are getting so big that it’s becoming almost indecent, so I think a trip to a lingerie store is going to be in my near future.

And I still have lots of jeans, pants, and dresses of Meghann’s waiting for me, all ranging in sizes from 22-16. Tinkerbell also said she’d give me some of her clothes once they no longer fit her, so that will help me get through a few more sizes, too.  Anything I can do to stay fashionable and spend as little money as possible is great.

Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes, and I have no problem spending money (well, except for being able to pay for them on a tight budget), but I’d rather not invest in transitional clothing.  Of course I’ll buy a few key pieces at each size as I’m on my way down the scale.  But in terms of a true fashion frenzy, I want to wait until I’m closer to my goal weight and then really spend money on pieces I’ll have for a long time.

For now, I had the best time putting new outfits together with some of my other clothes and a few items I had bought and never been able to wear.  The best part is that I got to play around with fashion without having to spend a dime!  As I wear each of these new outfits, I’ll take photos and include them in future Friday Fashion posts.

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Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb12: celebrating the successes of 2012, honoring the challenges of 2012, and planting the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013. December is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed and start to manifest dreams for the new year.

Day 4 – How Will You Celebrate You?
How are you going to celebrate yourself this festive season?

To me, the holiday season is about doing for others – buying presents, sending cards, getting together to connect. Which is why I love today’s prompt; it’s so easy to lose ourselves in the rush of the holiday season.

One thing that I do to celebrate myself is decorate my house. I live alone, and I’m sure many people wouldn’t bother going through all the trouble. But to me, making my surroundings festive adds “sparkle” to my life.

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Another thing I do for myself to help celebrate is to buy some new clothes to wear to the holiday festivities.  I love the incorporation of sequins into everyday items like sweaters, because it makes  it so easy to create a special look.

I use makeup to help get myself dolled up for the holidays.  I’m planning on pampering myself with a pedicure, because looking down and seeing red toes makes me smile.  I think I may just buy a special holiday nail polish, as well, so that I can add a bit of glitter to my nails as well.  Of course I love breaking out red lipstick during the holidays – red is a great color on me, but I only wear it this time of year, because it seems like a bit too much during other months.

How will you celebrate YOURself this season?

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Without getting political, although I’m sure you can guess who my November vote is going to, I have to comment for a moment on Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention tonight.

Pure class, grace, and style personified in a stunning Tracy Reese dress and shoes from JCrew.
(Photo from Huffington Post).

Michelle Obama’s speech brought me to tears.  She was eloquent, ingenious, and real.  She made her points while weaving in the personal experiences of herself and the president.  Brilliant.  She spoke from the heart, and showed emotion and energy, but remained powerful and in control.

And that dress?  She was gorgeous!  Her elegance reminds me so much of Jackie O, yet she gives off a much greater sense of confidence than the young Jackie O did when she was First Lady.  Michelle Obama is a woman who inspires me.  From her stance on childhood obesity to her obvious adoration of her husband, Michelle Obama is the type of woman person I aspire to be someday.

Michelle Obama is my hero, and I am proud to call her my First Lady.

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I think I’ve got a new obsession – my nails. Ever since my nails have been in such great condition now that I’m taking Biotin daily, I’ve become more interested in trying to become more of a nail expert.

In the past I’ve had gel nails, and was happy to have my hands look good and leave the “heavy lifting” to the professional. I’ve never been very good at filing, polishing, and caring for my own nails. But things are changing.

First I eased in with the Incoco nails, which I still love and plan to use throughout the fall and winter. But when I saw how well the accent nail that I’d polished looked, I figured I should try my hand (pun intended) at old fashioned polish.

I like the idea of changing my polish as often as the mood strikes. Plus, keeping my hands busy at night, when I tend to get the craving to snack, is an added bonus. And we all know that practice makes perfect. So, I plan on making NOTD a regular feature on the blog whenever I have new polishes that I’m trying out. If you have suggestions for colors I should try, please leave them in the comments.

I’d actually gone to Target to pick up a different polish (which will be featured later) and to pick up Seche Vite, a top coat that most of the beauty bloggers I read say is their holy grail product. And I have to concur – you apply it as soon as you’re finished with the last coat of color; the instructions say not to let them dry at all. Literally as soon as I was finished putting the final top coat on the pinkie nail of my right hand, my left thumb was completely dry. I was worried that doing my nails only a couple of hours before bedtime might risk getting pillow marks on my nail, but I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to shiny, gorgeous nails. I can’t recommend this top coat more highly, but more “evidence” of why later.

Now on to the topic at hand – Purple Yourself Together by Nicole by OPI (Target). I loved the color as soon as I saw it in the bottle. It’s a perfect, subtle purple (if purples can be subtle), with tinges of gold.

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I love the way the color turned out, and that it takes on different shades in differing lights, as you can see.

20120812-223704.jpg The yellow light of my dining room.

The bright light of my bathroom: (these shots show the shimmering properties of the polish)

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Natural daylight through my bedroom window:

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I love this color!  It goes so well with every color in my wardrobe, and I think it looks great with my skin tone.   It will take me from late summer through the fall and winter.

20120812-223512.jpg And to prove the staying power of not only this nail color, but especially of the Seche Vite top coat, these are my nails three days later.  I spent over 3 1/2 hours cleaning my house from top to bottom, in and out of water, with all sorts of cleaners, etc.  I’m not one to wear gloves, so I was amazed that they still look this good.  Sorry for the dark lighting, but I think you get the idea.

So my first foray into the world of polished nails was a success.  Inner health like taking my vitamins regularly have led to outer beauty.  I like taking care of myself this way, and I love that my hands can look so good with me as the manicurist.

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Normally I wouldn’t blog about a simple trip to the eye doctor.  I had the LASIK surgery 12 years ago, and since then, I’ve only gone to the eye doctor sporadically, but when my sister and my dad raved about the optometrist my sis had found, I thought it might be a good time to get a check up.  I really liked the  doctor’s amiable personality, but more importantly, he really did a thorough exam, which I really appreciate.

My eyes are in great shape, but the doctor made  really good point – even though I had the eye surgery to correct my vision, I’m still someone who is nearsighted, subject to all the conditions that are associated with it.  Just like someone who has high blood pressure might take medication to keep it in check, but is still at risk for developing other problems because of the high blood pressure.  So he definitely wants me to come in yearly to see how my eyes are progressing.  Done deal.

The cool thing about today is that because my insurance covers lens and frames, even without a prescription, I was able to buy a new pair of sunglasses.  I chose these great Kade Spade shades called Soleil.

I always buy cat’s eye shaped glasses, because I like the way they look on me.  I love that these have a dark tortoise shell color that looks almost black.  I have a pair of black sunglasses, so these will be a nice compliment to those.  And I love the details on these glasses. They’re fun, but subtle.  Very sophisticated.  I love them!

I’ll be able to go and pick them up in about a week, and I can’t wait.

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I wanted to make a quick post of the outfit I picked out today. It’s notable only because I wore the sleeveless top without a shrug or sweater covering my arms, which is a big step for me.

My arms are big, but today it was warm and covering them doesn’t hide the fact that they’re big, it just hides them. And why? My arms are firm(ish) and tan (thanks to the swimming) and the top is cut too cute to hide it because of self-consciousness.

Granted, this top is not the most flattering, especially because that band at the bottom accentuates my hips and stomach, but in person the colors are really pretty and very flattering.  The top is so much more fitted than I’ve been wearing, and while it will still look good, and probably better, after losing another 10 lbs, I felt pretty in this top.  I wish the photo was clearer – sorry about that.

I bought that bracelet yesterday at the salon and I absolutely adore it!  it will go with so much, and it can actually convert to a necklace, which is so cool (although it’s sort of a choker, which is not usually a style of necklace that I enjoy).  I love the stacked look of the bracelets! I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of it.

I took the photo of  my face to show you the flower in my hair and my makeup, but it actually revealed something else, too.  I’m a master at the “fat girl photo angle:” hold the camera above your head so that the lens is looking down at you, then move your face so that your double/triple chin appears much smaller.  But I really think this picture is going to be great motivation for me, because my face appears SO much thinner than it usually is.  Looking at this shot is sort of like peeking into the future, seeing  myself in 30 pounds or so lighter.  And I do think that losing weight these first three weeks of summer has helped to “de-puff” face.

Losing this 12.6 pounds has invigorated me and helped me see that while I have a LONG way to go, I need to enjoy each moment of this summer. This is the summer that I change my life for good, so why not dress as if each day is a celebration?

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