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A New Year's Eve Wish Granted!

Zappos Wishez Program,Zapponians,zappos culture,NOFX,new year's eve wedding,ZLCT,ZCLT team,Zappos wishez,Wishez,Wishez Program,

As part of our Zappos Wishez program, one of the teams in our ZCLT department decided to grant the New Year’s Eve wish of one of their team members, Amber W.

Amber is getting married on NYE day in a simple courthouse ceremony. They wanted to celebrate the special day by watching her and her soon-to-be-hubby’s favorite band NOFX at the House of Blues. So, her team decided to spread some holiday cheer and grant Amber’s wish to make her special day even more memorable!

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New Year Resolutions: Kyle and Sonnet's Weight Loss Journey

Inc., weight loss, weight loss tips, zapponians, zappos culture, Zappos Development, zappos family, Zappos KY, Zappos KY family, ZFC

KYLE:

How did you lose the pounds?

I started with a simple plan. Counting calories and formal weight-loss systems didn’t work for me. I knew that some things needed to and that some things were not happening at all and they needed to occur. This was the basic weight loss outline: 

Write down everything you eat. No exceptions. One bite of a cookie? Write down ‘One bite of a cookie.’ Working towards a complete day of healthy eating was a nice subplot to my weight loss. It is very satisfying to see the patterns start to develop. It gets easier!

Eat slowly. I can’t stress this one enough. Being conscious of what I was eating and how much of it I was eating was absolutely imperative. After every single bite, I would ask myself ‘Am I full? How am I feeling?’ This was a huge step in getting to the point where I could control the amount of food I was eating -- a huge contributor to my bad habits.

No soda (diet or otherwise), sweet tea or sugary fruit drinks. No energy drinks. No sweet coffee drinks (i.e. Starbucks Frappuccinos or Double Shots... I used to INHALE those). I did a lot of label reading to make sure I wasn’t consuming huge amounts of sugar. I still follow this rule. I drank coffee, but I had very small amounts of sugar and creamer. I had lattes, but I either got sugar-free syrup or drank them plain. I actually drank more beer during my diet than any other time in my life and it didn’t seem to impact my progress. Recap: water, coffee, beer, and skim milk.

Snacks! If I snacked, I snacked on vegetables I liked, but I mostly focused on yogurt, granola and smoothies. Occasionally I would substitute a smoothie for a meal. I didn’t starve myself; I ate at regular intervals throughout the day so that the temptation to overeat at a meal wasn’t overwhelming.

Work out. I did exercises that worked the major muscle groups (quads, pectorals and abs), and this all occurred in my living room floor. Manual exercises with gradually increasing reps. Push-ups were my bread and butter, and I tried to do at least 100, every other night. I had to work my way up to that. Running was off and on, mainly because I found that my body responded differently every time I ran and it became too much of a mental battle to go consistently. I love to run, but it wasn’t working for this experiment. That, and it burns less calories.

Healthy calories. Lots of fish, vegetables, fruit and grilled chicken. Different combinations of those things. I actually researched the top 10 healthiest things you can eat and I tried to just eat from that list.

What is your favorite healthy meal?

I really, really love salmon. Salmon, tilapia, most any fish, mainly because it can be prepared so many different ways.

What was the hardest thing for you to give up?

I drank sweet tea with every meal. Penn Station was a favorite of mine, and that had to go. I often get pretty amused, when I think about the things that I routinely ate at coffee shops and restaurants.

Any tips for the rest of us?

I realize that what I did won’t work for everyone, but getting the basics of what goes into your body down is all there is to it, in my opinion. You can’t cheat science and gain weight inexplicably by eating things that are natural. It’s cause and effect. You will get healthier. It’s also simple math -- burn more than you eat and you have to lose weight.

I found that in talking to people about their habits that at least one element from weight loss was always missing. It takes all the elements. No gimmicks, no magical drinks, no bizarrely engineered shoes -- no shortcuts. Don’t cut corners. Do yourself a favor and don’t be wishy-washy about it. Do it. I cannot explain the amount of pride that I feel from accomplishing what I did. I lost fifty-five pounds (in six months), and it’s one of the best achievements of my life!

What's in store for your weight loss journey in 2012?

Maintain, maintain, maintain. This should be easier because I’ve regained control of what I eat and my overall health. I’ve worked too hard to squander my progress, so that weighs on my mind when I feel like I’ve started a trend in an unhealthy direction.

 

SONNET:

What made you want to lose weight? 

Being on camera can make a gal self conscious about her weight.  It doesn't help that I had trolls calling me a whale on my videos.  I was pushing 200 lbs. on my 30th birthday and I remember looking for a dress and having to ride the escalator up to the plus-sized section. I cried the whole way up.   

How did you drop those pounds?

I have a fitness app on my phone that I use all the time.  I've been using it for a year now and I love it!  I programmed in all my favorite meals, so all I have to do is select what I had at mealtime and it counts my calories for me.  It also subtracts my exercise from the equation and gives me a nutrient summary as well as a chart to track my weight.  This app stays on my home screen at all times, because I use it constantly.

I exercise four days a week, but most of those workouts are pretty easy.  Sometimes I play catch for 30 minutes with my boyfriend, I'll read a book on the treadmill, go to water aerobics, or play “Just Dance” on Wii.  I only make myself "tomato faced" once a week and that's usually through Spin, Kickboxing, or Zumba class.  

Variety is the key to fending-off boredom!

What is your favorite healthy meal?

I love apple-cinnamon oatmeal.  For lunch, I can have a big bowl of oatmeal with raisins for only 470 calories.

What was the hardest thing for you to give up?

I didn't give up a lot of foods. I mostly focus on portion control. However, I did have a major cheese addiction and I quit cold turkey.

Any tips for the rest of us?  

1.   Slow and steady wins the race.  Once upon a time I was trying to impress a boy, so I did one of those excruciating diet and exercise plans.  It worked. I lost 30 lbs in no time, but I couldn't keep up that kind of pace.  I don't think anyone can.  What they don't tell you when you buy into these extreme fitness workouts, is that when you lose weight too quickly, your body thinks it is threatened with starvation and goes into survival mode. It fights to conserve your fat stores, and any weight loss comes mostly from water and muscle. Sure enough, as soon as I starting eating like normal, I gained twice the weight that I had lost!

4 years later, I decided that I wanted to be the same weight I was when I started dating my boyfriend (Yes, the one I tried to impress to by losing weight. And no, he didn't seem to care that I had gained 65 lbs. Apparently, he had liked me before I lost the initial weight in the beginning of this story.  What a sweet guy!) 

I also decided that seeing as though it took me 3 years to put it on, I would take 3 years to slowly ease it off.

 2.   Your weight will have peaks and valleys, but don't worry about it.  I love the fact that my fitness app will let me set my graph to a 3 month view, so I can see the bigger picture and not worry about the fact that I gained 3 lbs overnight from eating too many Christmas cookies.

3.  Drinking anything but water is a waste of calories.  A friend of mine used to drink sweet tea ALL the time.  The moment he gave it up, he lost 10 lbs. from that alone.

4.  Eat slow.  When you gobble down your for food, you eat more.  I like to play a game called eat slower than the person across from me.  They don't know that they are playing, so I usually win.

5.  Don't drench your salad in high calorie dressing! Eating a salad is pointless if you're going to add a 300 calories worth of salad dressing on top. I usually pour a spoonful of my favorite lite dressing on the side of my salad. When I eat it, I dip my fork in the dressing before grabbing some lettuce and I get just a taste of dressing, which is all I need.

What's in store for your weight loss journey in 2012?

I'm happy to say that I didn't stick to by 3 year plan.  By my projections I will be hitting my goal in only 2 years and I'm pretty excited about that! 

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2011 Ragnar Relay Recap

A few brave Zapponians participated in the Ragnar Relay here in Vegas this past fall. The 195-mile overnight running event from Lake Mead to Sin City tested the endurance and stamina of our Zappos team, but in the end, team spirit prevailed and everyone had a great time testing their limits and making memories that will last a lifetime. Great job Zappos team!

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All I Want for Christmas...

We asked a few Zapponians what they wanted for Christmas this year. Here are their answers:

Have a safe and happy holiday season from the entire Zappos Family!

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Gingerbread House Contest

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gingerbread houses,christmas,zappos holidays,zappos culture,zapponians,zappos hq,gingerbread contest

We recently had an office-wide gingerbread house contest and these are just some of the amazing creations that were entered. The grand prize winner was our Pipeline Team with their “Nightmare Before Christmas” creation (top left).

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Hack-a-Thon v. 9.0

Zappos API, Zappos IP, Zappos Hack-a-thon, dev_hack-a-thon,Zappos Dev Team,zappos culture,

The Zappos API team held the 9th Hack-a-thon event from December 12-16th. The theme was “Do it Live”, which meant each team was encouraged to try and have their project accessible to the intended users by the end of the week.

dev_hack-a-thon, Zappos API, zappos culture, Zappos Dev Team, Zappos Hack-a-thon, Zappos Ip

In the end, seven teams accomplished this challenge. In addition to the Hack-a-Thon, the Zappos API team hosted a public “Hack-a-thon Hack-a-long” contest open to any non Zappos developer that ran for the duration of the Hackathon.

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Holiday Helpers!

zappos culture, tony hsieh, fred mosler, zclt, zappos customer service, deliver WOW through service, powered by service, zapponians, zappos holiday helpers, holiday helpers, zappos call center, zappos customer loyalty, zappos customer loyalty team, zappos customer service center,holidays,holiday spirit

Like Santa's little helpers, but better!

Our number one core value here in the Zappos Family is “Deliver WOW through service”. Delivering excellent customer service is really at the core of everything we do. That’s why our long-standing tradition of Holiday Helpers is still going strong.

Every holiday season, when our call volumes reach their highest levels of the year, every Zappos employee from every department is asked to jump on the phones for a few hours to help out our ZCLT team.

So, if you call our customer service number during the holiday season, there’s a chance you could get our CEO Tony Hsieh on the line! We all look forward to helping your holiday shopping experience be the best one yet.

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Super Awesome Description Winner-November 2011

The Super Awesome Description award is a way of recognizing a member of the Zappos Development content team once a month. If a product description is particularly witty or creative, anyone in the company can nominate the person who wrote it.  The nominations are then read by other members of the content department and voted upon; the description with the most votes wins. The writer of that description is rewarded with a trophy and a certificate, not to mention recognition from their peers.

quiksilver,content team, super awesome description winner, zapponians, zappos culture, Zappos Development, zappos familyThe winner for November is Jennie W. Jennie is part of the athletic performance team and her clever description for the Quiksilver Daddy Day Bag was a force to be reckoned with. Congratulations Jennie!

We asked Jennie a few fun questions to get to know her better. Check out her answers below!

What inspired you when writing this description?

I used my many, many, many experiences trying to pack a bag when leaving the house with my now two-year-old. You really do pack your hopes and dreams into that bag. Along with the butt cream and binky.

What is your favorite Zappos core value?

Deliver WOW through service! Service is a privilege; the world would be a happier place if more people thought that way.

What's a fact people would be surprised to learn about you?

Most people are usually surprised to find out I married my high school sweetheart. I’m kind of surprised by it myself. Because if you would have told me when I was sixteen that I would marry him one day, I would have told you to lay off the pipe.

Fun facts about Jennie:

My favorite food is pretty much anything I can eat in a bowl with a spoon.

We have a 1:1 DVR-to-person ratio in our house. We take TV that seriously.

Books are my best friends.

I am older than the Internet.