“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile.”

I know I am TERRIBLY late with this one! I got my braces off a few weeks ago, and was then immediately hit with the worst cold I’ve had in a few years. I think it was part allergies, part stress, part toxin release from recent chiropractic visits because my hip has been weird since losing so much weight.  Whatever it was, it was bad.

So  here’s the process I went through. First, 4 1/2 years of pain. I got the braces because I have TMJ and this was one of the treatment options that didn’t involve surgery. After all that we went through, my orthodontist, Dr. Klatte, did an AMAZING job getting my teeth to move as much as they did. However, there were some small spaces that he couldn’t close because my canine teeth are smaller than usual. The solution was to have my regular dentist bond those. All in all, I’m psyched at how it looks and I’m even happier that I don’t get migraines from my TMJ as much. So without further ado, here are the pics of the final days!

Last day with braces!

Braces are finally off! (Pre-whitening)

Post-Zoom Whitening and sans makeup 😛

Post-bonding and finally done!


I’m so happy that I will have a great smile in all of my wedding pictures!! 

Thanks for reading – A


October 13, 2011. Tags: , , . 2011. Leave a comment.

“Change is a challenge and an opportunity, not a threat.”

Prince Phillip of England said the title quote, and I doubt he was saying it about some girl in the US. Still, the sentiment really hits the nail on the head when I look back at this past year and what I’ve gone through. I’ve been trying to write this post for two weeks because you, as a reader, deserve to read this. I have lost 107 pounds. 108, by now actually, but the pic shows me 1 pound heavier and 1 day late from my surgical anniversary. On July 15, 2010 I woke up at 4 AM and hustled down to Temple University Hospital in the ‘hood of North Philadelphia to go through a major surgery. You can see the vacancy in my eyes that day as I was a million miles away in my worries. One year and one day later I just came back from a run where I attempted unsuccessfully to clear my mind of all the stress that planning a wedding and managing insane weight loss entails, and I ironically looked equally vacant while lost in my thoughts. I find it interesting that though everything changes, some things never will.

This past year has shown me what I am made of. I am running 5k’s. I am wearing mediums, and even smalls. I am doing pull ups. My motivation and drive are only matched by my fears, which are still there. I am afraid I’ll drop the ball and gain this weight back. I’m afraid that this amazing gift I have received will go out the window when I get pregnant in a few years. But I think that same fear turns into jet fuel in my veins and keeps me powering through. I have been given this amazing opportunity to have the life I always wanted. I feel so incredibly lucky to have this tool that changed my perspective.

Months ago I expected to feel some sort of momentous accomplishment on July 15th this year, like I had climbed Mt. Everest. The day sort of came and went. I had a margarita in celebration, something I’m sure my surgeon would have an issue with, but that was about it. But looking at it a few weeks later I feel grateful that it felt like any other day because it means that this is my life now. Yes, July 15th is the anniversary of my rebirth. But it’s also just one more day that I need to work out. It’s one more day that I need to chew my food to a liquid consistency. It’s just another day in this new life.  

I’m so thankful for everything that’s happened this past year. I lost 100+ pounds and met my goal. The first number of my weight is a 1. I started a new job at a wonderful place. I became engaged to a man who is strapped in to ride this roller coaster with me for the long haul. And I started telling all of you about this. This hasn’t been easy, but I feel like nothing worth having usually is. I’m excited to continue moving forward in life, and I’m so glad that I can invite you to share in my successes and even my stumbles, because I feel that continued challenge to change. And thankfully, I’m up for the challenge.

Thanks for reading. – A

July 26, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . 2011. Leave a comment.

City of Brotherly Love?

It’s no big secret that my wedding is full of Philadelphia-themed goodness. I love this town. Someone once said “I love Philadelphia – they boo Santa Clause here.” Yes, we are sarcastic, loud and busy. But we are also kind-hearted, loyal and time-tested. And there’s something going on here in the City of Brotherly Love that is none of those things.

Currently, there is a bill circulating that would fine homeless people for being on the streets. I agree, homelessness isn’t always something that wasn’t a choice and some people really do live on the street because they don’t want a regular life. But that is by FAR the minority, and most homeless people didn’t choose that lifestyle and would LOVE to have a home. So how would ordering them to pay money, something they obviously don’t have, HELP the situation? The only thing I see happening is that people will be fined for this, then when they can’t pay they will be thrown in jail. That’s a great option – take someone who’s already disadvantaged and make them suffer more in an already overcrowded prison system.

So your thought is “why don’t these people just stay in shelters?” and I agree, it’s a valid point. But in the midst of this bill coming, apparently they are closing a huge men’s shelter which will displace tons more homeless back to the streets.

If you agree that this sucks and that our city deserves more, please send a letter urging Mayor Nutter to look at real solutions instead of passing this bill. You can do so through a form letter started by Project Home, here. Also, feel free to “like” the cause on facebook.

I may not be a native Philadelphian, but now I call this place home. I am getting married here, I will start my family here, and I want to be able to say that here, in this place, we really do love and respect each other no matter how tough we seem. That’s the charm of a place like Philly.

Thanks for reading. – A

May 26, 2011. Tags: . 2011. 1 comment.

Bridal Camouflage

No, not THAT camouflage!

If you have read this blog before, it is no secret that I am dealing with problem areas since embarking on my massive weight loss. One area in particular are my upper arms, or batwings if I may. Though I have considered getting reconstructive surgery to remove extra skin, I recently saw a picture of a good friend from high school who also had gastric bypass, and her arms look GREAT! Now, I’m not sure she always had quite the arm shape situation that I have but I am hopeful.

That being said, I am going to keep my consultation appointments with the plastic surgeons, but maybe I’m just not giving myself enough time to let my skin catch up. Maybe I need to moisturize more and just really target those muscles since I’m having a good amount of weight loss there. I hear Jergens makes a pretty decent and cost-effective skin firming lotion. But what if I don’t get the results I want in the time that I have and then it’s too late for surgery?

Since I mentioned previously that I have been a girl scout, I like to be prepared. I have been looking at wedding dresses and accessories that might camouflage my problem areas. One in particular is an illusion sleeve (read: sort of see-through t-shirt) that goes under the bodice of your gown, or can be attached to it. And hey, if Vera Wang says it’s good, I’m all for it.Vera Wang "Esther" gown

Another is the traditional bolero, but it’s not really my thing. I feel like I’ve worked so hard that I don’t want to pull the typical fat-girl move with this one and just throw on a cover-up. I want it to look like it could be part of the over-all look.

A third, and I think most interesting option, is this fitted wrap thing I saw from Priscilla of Boston. It appears that the wrap is actually some sort of sleeve that goes on each upper arm. How interesting?! Though I can’t paste a pic of it, you can see it, and a little video of it walking the runway, here. Make sure to check her when she turns around – that’s where you can REALLY see it.

Anyway, I thought you’d find these ideas interesting. I’m sure I can find a decent tailor to make me one of these interesting ditties if I can’t find a gown that comes with one. Besides, dresses with sleeves are somehow making their way back in style – probably thanks to Nicole Richie and her Princess Grace-Inspired gown! If it’s good enough for a Hollywood-royalty turned actual royalty (from Philadelphia, I might add) then it’s good enough for me.

Princess Grace of Monaco

Thanks for reading! – A

February 22, 2011. Tags: , , , . 2011. 3 comments.

“Be at war with your vices; at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

Philadelphian Ben Franklin said the quote above. I found it really fitting because this past year has really meant a lot to me and I’m finding myself a better woman.

Yesterday was our one-year anniversary. Because of the wedding, we knew we didn’t want to have a big to-do in order to save money. We planned on a nice little dinner at El Vez and a movie for the evening, so I had a lot of time in the morning to run errands and go to the gym. We agreed that we wouldn’t get each other gifts, but when I got home around noon I opened the refrigerator to find this, a box of chocolate-covered strawberries. What a sweetheart!

After we had dinner, we were walking back to the car and decided to share a gelato (mmmm pistachio and dark chocolate so dark it was black!) at Capagiro. We walked and laughed and ate that gelato all the way to this cute little shop down the block called Open House. The window had lots of super adorable Philly stuff, and since we’re having a very Philadelphia wedding we popped in. This store was SO incredible, packed with tons of cute things. I told Mike we should just get married there to save on decor costs.

Then I wandered into their 50% off section. They had so much cute stuff that was coming out of season, and also damaged things. I didn’t intend to go there, but there was this adorable baby bib. It’s velcro closure had a manufacturer error and was missing one of the two sides needed for the closure (an easy fix), but it was otherwise perfect and had a super cute Philadelphia theme. M mentioned that perhaps it might be bad luck to buy something so soon, but we were too sweet on the idea that on our anniversary we bought the first thing we ever would for our eventual baby (even though we’re like a solid 3 years from needing it) and since  it was half off we couldn’t pass up the bargain. Now I’m the proud owner of a bib for a child that is a mere glimmer in our eyes.

Last year, I thought going on a date with this guy would mean that we would have some drinks and maybe laugh a little bit. And we did that. But then he kissed me, and was then and there qualified for a second date. And then a third. And then a fourth. And now, my life is totally different. I am so thankful for everything that brought me to this man, to this life, to this day. Maybe you can call it a late new year’s resolution, but I think it’s more of a promise: This year, I will remember to enjoy every moment I have with M and will continue to strive to be a better person for him and our future. Besides, it will be good practice being a good example for whoever will wear that bib someday. 🙂 

And if you read this, here’s to you honey. Mosquito. ❤

Thanks for reading. – A

January 30, 2011. Tags: , , , . 2011. Leave a comment.