Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

The Best of 2013!


I always love reading end of year lists – best songs, movies, moments etc. I decided to put together my very own Sparkly and Slimming – Best of 2013 list. 🙂

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Best workout song – Oooh so many to choose from! I have to say Lil Jon “Work” – we do this at Studio Poise in Danielle’s class and at the YMCA with Stef and I just LOVE it.

Best workout – this has to be the Sunday/Monday Zumba classes this week – we did all the favorite songs from the year and a ton of friends were in attendance (including my BFF Jewels taking her first Stef Sweeney class! Woo!). Zumba has to be one of the best things to happen to me this year – I’ve shaken my ass off (and lost 47 pounds from this time last year!!). made new friends and truly found cardio I LOVE doing.

Best trip – In May I took a whirlwind trip with my sales manager to Atlanta/Chicago/Detroit. The trip was excellent from a work relationship/meeting perspective but also from a food/fun perspective (we ate at some great places!). Sadly it was also the last time I got to see my aunt before she passed. However, I’m happy for this memory because as always she reminded me of the important things in life (appreciating sunsets, getting lost and found again and spending time with my Mom!).

Sunset from my aunt's hospital room - there was something very powerful about capturing this moment and sharing it with her.

Sunset from my aunt’s hospital room – there was something very powerful about capturing this moment and sharing it with her.

Best song for aimless driving (a favorite pastime of mine!) – Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey is always the right answer – but given that’s not new I’ll have to vote for “Take Care” Drake and Rihanna – I’m not a huge fan of either artist but this song is just my JAM in the car especially. My favorite line is “You hate being alone and you ain’t the only one – you hate the fact that you bought the dream and they sold you one“. Truth.

Best treat – I found a company called Sugarfina on Instagram and their cute candies looked almost too good to eat – I bought some for Christmas for stockings and mine were gone by the 30th. Haha. Highly recommend the Champagne Bubbles or the Peach Bellinis. Mmmm.

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Best epiphany – Sometimes letting go really does make you stronger than holding on. In personal relationships and with organizations you were once devoted to. Patronizing a place that mocks and belittles their clients isn’t good for soul – and finally accepting that I was better than the behavior I encountered was a powerful moment (see: A Lesson Betrayal).

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Best quote – Ooooh so many to choose from! I think I will go with “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” – Buddha. Thanks to my friend Stephanie for posting this on Facebook!

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Best accomplishment – I have two—- conquering my fear of actually going to Zumba and then falling in LOVE with classes (and being able to keep up!!) AND fitting in to a tank top from Lululemon that my friend Stasia bought me in January for my birthday. When I first tried it on I couldn’t get it past my shoulders! Woo!

Best new food obsession – ARUGULA! So delicious and so versatile! It goes with every salad, you can wilt it and it tastes amazing without any dressing. Roasted beets (with goat cheese) might a close second.

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Magic in a bowl!

Best new habitCutting out the salt! Who knew salt made SUCH an impact?! I am less bloated, less sore and overall much happier!

Best book read – “The Good Cop”  by Brad Parks (I love a crime novel!) for pleasure and “The In-Between” Jeff Goins for blog research – this was one of the best books I’ve ever read – so good I’m actually rereading it!

Best new TV show – Oh god I can’t choose! “The Americans” is tied with “House of Cards” – you need to see both!

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Best new accessory – I am shocking myself right now but I am going to say a naked face! I love being comfortable enough with myself to leave the house without makeup. 🙂

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This is me as I write this blog post! No makeup – hair in a messy bun and ya know what? I think I’m pretty!

Of course this wouldn’t be a Best Of post without a few funny ones…..

Best phrase I cannot wait to retire: TOTES. I freaking hate it when people say “Totes” instead of totally! Drives me batty.

Best band I can’t wait to stop hearing: ONE DIRECTION! I hope they fall off the earth in 2014!

Best meme I saw all year: Thanks to my brother for sending this gem along! LOL.

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Thank you all for reading – messaging me – commenting and being my support system. I am a lucky girl to know so many fabulous people!!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

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Elf4Health Challenge Wrap-up!


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While I LOVE Christmas and it’s my favorite time of year I’m super sad to see the Elf 4 Health challenge come to a end! It’s been an interesting 4 weeks for sure and it’s made me want to continue focusing on daily challenges for my mind, body and soul. Here’s a recap of my highlights (and lowlights) of the event! 🙂

Top 5 Highlights:
Unsubscribe! I wrote a whole blog post about the power of this challenge! Also a fellow elf turned me on to unroll.me – it quickly compiled a list of everything I receive currently and helped me seriously slim down my subscription list!

Share your expertise! I wrote a guest blog post about fabulous ways to start 2014 (as an expert in self-improvement):  http://cucinakristina.com/elf-health-share-expertise-challenge/

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I offered free gift wrapping to the guys at work. It was such a success (and so much fun) I’ll do it on Friday’s next year for sure! I am a fabulous wrapper! Pun intended.

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Makeup free – I could never do this at work until last year. I was in L.A. for work during the challenge and had to bite the bullet and go au natural during a day with big client meetings. It was scary but a success ~ and I’ve carried this on once a week ever since! I appreciate my good genes a lot more now than I ever did (thanks Mom!).

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Setting a new fitness goal was fun – especially since it’s end of year and it’s easy to fall pray to laziness. 🙂 Next year I will take a hip hop class, focus on 4 days of Zumba and 2 days of strength training and bust out my DVDs: yoga, Tone It Up, POUND (coming soon!) to continue mixing things up and confusing my body into weightloss.

Wall-sit – this was the most fun challenge! I lasted 3 mins and now I’m inspired to keep these going! I can feel my quads getting stronger already!

Top 3 Lowlights: (I only had 3 fails and they’re worth sharing)

100 burpees – sweet Jesus these kill me! I think I did 10 total. My goal in 2014 is to try conquering these wretched little exercises.

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Go meatless – I spaced and had chicken pot pie soup for lunch! LOL. There are ton of awesome recipes I could have made and I totally effed up.

Meditate – this is my brain when I try to sleep or mediate or be quiet for more than 10 minutes….

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All in all I’m really glad I participated! I’m going to bring back the goal jar in 2014 and fill it with goals like “100 oz. of water” or “ten minutes of stretching” then do those every day for a week. Little changes make big differences right? 🙂

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