Feeling Grateful: Update on Andrea

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This right here is a photo of my sister-in-law, Andrea, and her husband Tink a couple weeks ago.  They went on a WINTER hike up a mountain that was covered in ice and snow.  Yes, this is the same sister-in-law who I spoke about on my blog back in October.  Then, she was anxiously hoping and waiting to have a life-changing brain surgery to rid her of the terrible Parkinson’s symptoms she was experiencing.  Fast forward to present day and she is hiking MOUNTAINS! In the SNOW!

I want to first start out by thanking everyone who helped support Andrea in receiving this surgery.  We raised more than enough money, and she donated the extra funds to future Parkinson’s research.  She was incredibly excited, and didn’t even bat an eye about having to fully shave her head beforehand.  We received a photo of her smiling with a big thumbs up pre-surgery.  She was so happy and ready to go.

According to her doctor, the surgery went very well.  I spoke to Andrea about how she has been feeling since the surgery, and these were her remarks:

My symptoms from Parkinson’s are gone. I’m able walk normally again, and I don’t have to worry if I will actually make it out of the woods if I go on a walk.  I’m thinking I could walk endlessly. It’s been a incredible mind and body experience that still amazes me everyday I get out of bed and simply set my feet on the floor. And then, I think I couldn’t have had this chance without the help from everyone who donated. Living with gratitude is a wonderful feeling.

I have seen such a change in Andrea’s spirit and happiness since the surgery.  She has been able to complete so many physical challenges, hikes, and all the outdoor activities that she used to love and couldn’t do for years.  I love that despite this crazy cold weather, she is not waiting for the summer to get outside.  She is that excited to get back out there, and the weather is no issue for her.  It’s incredibly inspirational and a true testament to living life to it’s fullest while you can.  Our entire family is extremely grateful for all of your help getting Andrea back to a life she can fully enjoy.

THANK YOU.

XO,

Gina

Take Me to Mexico

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*Photo via Tulum Vacation Condos*

The time has finally come!  Tulum, Mexico!

I have been wanting to travel here for quite some time, and I sort of can’t believe today is the day.  Very excited to flee this winter wind, cold, and snow for a retreat to the warm sunshine and sand.  We are looking forward to checking out the Mayan ruins, relaxing on the beach, and swimming in cenotes.

We are about to board the plane now, so please wish us luck!  It’s quite a challenge flying with a toddler, but we stocked up on new books, stickers, and flashcards (along with some iPad games) to keep our little guy busy, so we are hoping this is enough to do the trick!  Honestly, no matter how horrible the plane ride though, it will be worth it!

I should have wifi down there, so I am going to try and post as often as I can while away, but it’s inevitable, I will probably get caught up in vacation magic.  Regardless, you can follow me on Instagram for more insta-updates!

XO,

Gina

Oscars: Red Carpet Raves

So I know it’s already Tuesday, and maybe you have already moved on, but but it took me a day to pull together my favorite Oscars Red Carpet looks.  Here they are:

Rosamund Pike Givenchy

Rosamund Pike killing the Red Carpet in this Givenchy number.

Sienna_Miller Oscar de la Renta

Sienna Miller in a simple, yet glam black dress by Oscar de la Renta

Julianne Moore Chanel

Julianne Moore looking stunning in Chanel

Anna Kendrick Thakoon

Anna Kendrick donning Thakoon

Gwyneth Paltrow Ralph and Russo Couture

Gwyenth Paltrow looking pretty in pastel in her Ralph & Russo Couture Gown

Dakota Johnson in Saint Laurent

Dakota Johnson sporting red and bling Saint Laurent – anyone else see the uncomfortably awkward mother/daughter moment on the Red Carpet with her and her mother, Melanie Griffith?

Keira Knightly Valentino

Keira Knightly in this non-traditional boho hippie glam gown by Valentino. You may consider this one strange, but I find it oddly romantic.

Lady Gaga

Last, but CERTAINLY not the least…Lady Gaga.  I could have done without the red rubbery looking gloves, however, I am going BANANAS over this Azzedine Alaia gown.  It’s simply stunning.  Gaga surprised me throughout the entire night with her clean, understated, natural looking makeup, and holy moly those PIPES!  She did Julie Andrews proud up there, and I had tears in my eyes watching her sings a medley of songs from the Sound of Music, my most favorite movie growing up.  I was completely blown away.

My other favorite Oscar moment was Graham Moore’s speech after winning “Best Adapted Screenplay” for “Imitation Game.”  He stated, “I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here,” he said. “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”  It was completely moving.

So what were your favorite Red Carpet looks?  And what were your favorite Oscar moments? Would love to hear your thoughts!

XO,

Gina

My WHY

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I have always been an athlete my entire life. Soccer & basketball were two of my main sports throughout childhood, high school, and college, and even beyond. I participated in my first race (an Olympic distance triathlon) at 22, and that opened up the doors for me to run 10Ks, half marathons, Tough Mudder, Ragnar Relay, and more. I love challenging myself, but also the feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment I get after completing something huge.

Since having my son, Nico, it has been hard to get back to that place of doing things for myself, especially fitness. I didn’t have time to go to the gym, and my membership soon became a waste of money. I decided I wanted to try P90X, something that had been on my bucket list for a couple years. Of course, you all know that is now impossible due to a second little one on the way, but I have not given up my goal of staying healthy and fit, so I have started PiYo (pilates/yoga) and plan to continue for as long as I can throughout my pregnancy.

When my company folded in September, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I enjoyed production and animation (what I had been doing for the past 7 years), but I didn’t feel like my position in the industry as an agent was still as valuable as it had once been. I toyed with the idea of going into fashion merchandising as fashion has always been a passion and hobby of mine (as you know from this blog), but the hours were crazy starting from the ground up. I did a lot of research and informational interviews, and it just seemed like I would be spending a LOT more time away from my family. Now, I am not opposed to hard work. Actually, I like working hard at things I love. But I’m not in my early 20’s anymore, where I feel comfortable staying at the office until 9:00 at night. My priorities have changed. I have a family now, and I want to be able to see my kid more than 30 minutes a day and put him to bed at night.

I discovered a fellow fashion blogger who was also an athlete growing up (basically she is my West Coast alter-ego, love you Marion!), who decided to become a Beachbody Coach, get healthy, and help others along in the process. She was able to quit her full time job in just a couple months to pursue this full time. I decided that I had nothing to lose, joined her team, and took the plunge into the world of fitness coaching. So far it has been a wonderful journey. I am learning so much. I have hosted fitness challenges along with Marion, and hosted a clean eating challenge along with my partner, Karen. I love seeing people make positive changes to their lifestyle because I was able to give them a little push in the right direction. I love that I am able to build my own business anyway I like, and I can work on my own time on my own hours when it is convenient for me and my family. It’s still a LOT of work. But it’s work that I actually enjoy getting up in the morning to do and I don’t have to lose quality time with my family commuting back and forth on the subway every day. Not to mention, I don’t have to ask for time off, and if I want to plan a trip to Mexico in the middle of winter, SO BE IT.

My goal is to get to the point in my business where I am contributing financially to my family again, and hoping to surpass what I was making in the production world. I have seen so many success stories not only from my coach, Marion, but from others on my incredible team. I am confident that if I push myself to my full potential, that I will be able to achieve that goal.

I want to set a good example for my son and future baby in terms of a healthy lifestyle and also a happy career. I also plan to help as many people as possible to achieve their goals both in health/fitness and also anyone else that may be looking for a little financial freedom.

This post was a bit more long-winded than I intended, but I thought it was a good time to share my WHY and my current story with life, health, career, etc. We all have our own journey, and right now this is mine.

Make it a great week ya’ll!

XO,

Gina

Comfy Cozy

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On Me: Sweater: Forever 21 / Coat: ASOS / Jeans: Paige Denim / Boots: Sears (believe it or not!) – similar / Bag: Thrifted / Hat: Gifted

On Nico: Coat: OshKosh B’gosh / Jeans: Carter’s (on clearance!) / Boots: Old Navy / Hat: Target

Last weekend we wandered around SoHo popping into art galleries and shops before heading to a playdate with friends at CitiBabes.  This winter I am all about comfy cozy, and this was the perfect casual weekend outfit for me.

This week, I have been partaking in a clean eating challenge, and so far it’s been going really well.  I have been making delicious smoothies, attempted to make overnight oats for the first time, made hard boiled eggs and homemade hummus in advance, and stocked my fridge with healthy snacks like yogurt, fruit, veggies, and even a little cheese.  My husband has been AMAZING with helping to keep up this challenge by cooking a healthy, clean dinner for us every night.  We’ve had a fish taco bowl, pork tenderloin with swiss chard and sweet potatoes, stewed chicken with zucchini, and more.  I am feeling super healthy, and I am hoping I have inspired my group to feel the same this week.

On another note, my friend Shirin sent me a little sample of a microdermabrasion cleanser from Rodan & Fields to try out.  As someone who doesn’t use these often, the texture was a little weird for me at first, but after rinsing it off, I couldn’t help but notice how soft my skin felt afterwards.  I also really enjoyed the lip serum that she included in the package.  Thanks girl!

Happy it’s Friday!  My mother-in-law is coming to town today to hang out with us, and we are very excited to catch up!  The hubs and I are also very excited to have a night out this weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  We are heading to The NoMad for the first time for a fancy date and couldn’t be more excited!  Even better, we are also going to catch a flick beforehand.  No, it’s not going to be your typical 50 Shades of Gray…we talked about it…but the reviews were just too bad.  Instead we are taking the non-traditional route and heading to the IFC Center to see the Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts.  It’s one of my favorite programs that I see every year having worked in the animation industry for so long.  I wasn’t sure we were going to make it this year, but I’m happy to say we will!

Hope you all share lots of love with family and friends this weekend and enjoy the long holiday for the Presidents as well.

XO,

Gina

Clean Eats

After a week of preparation, our 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge officially kicks off today! I am so excited to have a fantastic group of challengers with my partner, Karen.  Everyone looks like they are off and running, fridges are stocked, and here we GOOOOOOO!

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So, what exactly is clean eating?  Basically it’s tossing all the JUNK.  We have decided to cut out the crap for a week and instead choose foods that are whole, natural, and REAL…without all that processed stuff.

Our group is sharing helpful info and tips for healthy eating, a meal plan, shopping list, and recipes.  At the end of the week, I am hoping we all feel healthier, lighter, & more energetic.  I can’t think of a better time to start loving your body than right before Valentine’s Day (call me cheesy if you must.)

The fam and I headed out to the grocery store yesterday to stock up on all our clean eats.  Here is a pic of my fridge below:

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I am truly hoping that this will make me and my fellow challengers more conscious of the food choices we make on a daily basis and instill more of a lifestyle change.  As one of my challengers stated, “I can do anything for 5 days, but my goal is to make a permanent change to clean eating.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself!  What an awesome mindset to have.

Well, as Day 1 kicks off, this was my morning Green Machine Smoothie!  I would love to have you join a future clean eating group with me, but in the meantime, here is a sneak peek of one of our recipes this week:

Green Machine Smoothie

1 Cup Almond Milk

1 Cup Spinach (packed)

1 Mashed Banana

6oz Plain Greek Yogurt

1/2 tsp Peanut Butter (I swapped for almond butter)

(I also added) 1 Small Apple

A Few Ice Cubes

*Many challengers swapped for coconut milk, different fruits and nut butters, etc.  Smoothies are so versatile which is why I love them dearly!

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So excited to start off this week on a happy, healthy note.  Hope everyone had a nice weekend, and hope you are staying warm out there!  NY is lookin’ pretty icy!

XO,

Gina

Our Snow Family is Growing

Baby Notes 2 Announcement

Surprise!  The Notes Family is growing!

We are very excited to announce that we will have a new addition to the family on or around August 31 of this year!  Yes, that is two days after Nico’s 2nd Birthday.  What are the odds?

Now I know I mentioned in a recent post, “I know I’m not pregnant.”  I promise I wasn’t lying!  I just really didn’t know!  Boy did I feel stupid when I found out why I had really gotten sick that day.  At least I know it wasn’t because I was that terribly out of shape haha.

Speaking of getting in shape, it’s probably obvious, but I have had to put P90X on hold for awhile, because it’s pretty much the most intense workout ever, and not exactly made for pregnant ladies.  Also, my fitness goals have clearly changed.  Instead of six-pack abs, I will be looking at a basketball belly here in a few months.  However, I’m not going to use this pregnancy as an excuse to “go crazy and eat whatever the heck I want, because I’m going to get fat anyway”.  I am going to try my best to stick to a healthy diet (even when I’m nauseous and all I want is crackers), and I have also started on the PiYo workout program, which is pilates and yoga.  Much more prego-friendly!

It’s been hard to share what I have been up to lately, because of carrying this big “secret,” so while I am now at 10 weeks during my pregnancy and not quite through the first trimester, I have decided to share our baby news a bit earlier this time around.  Mostly because keeping secrets is exhausting (especially now that I have a toddler running around).  I’m already exhausted enough!  But also, because a post written by a good friend and local neighborhood mom, Sascha, really hit home for me.  I support the decision to announce your pregnancy whenever you so desire, but for me…. right now… this is the right time.

If you have been following my blog for awhile now, you know that I lost my first pregnancy with our Little Peanut.  When I got pregnant with Nico, I lived a lot of the pregnancy in fear of what could happen.  I was constantly scared and anxious that we would somehow lose him too.  But getting through the first trimester also isn’t some sort of magic number of weeks that sends you off on a sweet sunset sail toward labor and delivery.  I have had many friends lose pregnancies in their second trimesters too.  Things happen in life that we have no control over, and as heartbreaking as that is, I felt that even though I know there is the possibility of losing another pregnancy, it wasn’t going to stop me from being happy this time around.  No matter what, you will ALWAYS worry about your children.  It doesn’t matter how old they are.  So I am not willing to let fear stop my happiness.  And God-forbid if my family has to go down that dark path again, at least I can be rest assured that I have a supportive network of family and friends around me to get me through.  Every life is worth celebrating, and right now I am happy to celebrate the 10 week old growing baby in my belly.

That being said, pregnancy with a toddler is crazy!  I’m trying to get through each and every day while exhausted and nauseous.  It’s strange to be going through it a second time around.  It’s sort of like we’ve gone back in time a bit.  Not gonna lie, it’s hard.  And I imagine it only gets that much harder once the baby actually arrives!  But thinking about Nico being a big brother this summer makes me so excited.  He has even started giving the baby kisses (kissing my belly) which just melts my heart.  He is the sweetest thing.

World's Best Big Brother

We cannot be more thrilled to grow our family, and I am looking forward to sharing my pregnancy journey with you for a second time around.

Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

XO,

Gina

We Be Jammin’

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Happy Tuesday everyone!  So I know I am totally late to the party on this one, but after hearing so many positive things, I FINALLY decided to try out Jamberry Nails this weekend.  My sorority sister, Brielle, (shout out to all the Alpha Phis out there) is a Jamberry consultant, and she was kind enough to send me a few sheets of their gorgeous designs.

For those of you who are not familiar with Jamberry, they are nail wraps that adhere to your nails, come in a variety of fabulous designs, they stay on your nails for about two weeks, and they are very cost effective!  Perfect for a busy Mama who doesn’t have the time to paint her nails every week or the time/budget to have them done.  I have lots of family and friends who had been raving about them, so I finally jumped on the bandwagon, and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

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The application process was a little intimidating to me at first, but I watched a few online video tutorials including this one, which is ultimately the method I decided to use.  It took me probably longer than normal for the first application because 1) It was a new process for me to learn and 2) I’m a perfectionist, but once I got a few nail wraps adhered, the rest were pretty simple to do.

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I would definitely use Jamberry nails again, especially because of all the fun designs you can mix and match together.  I was working from a local coffee shop yesterday, and the barista actually complimented my manicure and she thought they were painted! So I had to let her in on the Jamberry secret hehe.

If you are a Jamberry fan or would like to try them out, Brielle can help you with any other questions you may have!  Thanks again Brielle for opening my eyes up to the world of Jamicures!

Hope you are all having a great week.  We got pounded with snow again.  It was almost worse this time, and the weathermen barely made a fuss!  Naturally.  Stay warm out there ya’ll!

XO,

Gina

February Fitness Challenge

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Happy Tuesday everyone!

As January comes to a close, many of us have already started falling off those New Year Resolutions.  Need a little boost?

If this lil’ guy can do it, so can YOU!

Spots are NOW OPENING for my February Fitness Challenge!

As I mentioned in my last “Lately” post, I have decided to take the plunge as a Beachbody fitness coach.  While partaking in my own workout this past month, I have also been co-hosting as an apprentice coach in a January challenge group and learning the ropes.

So what does this mean?

Basically, it’s a month-long challenge focused on your fitness goals.  I will post daily motivation, food, and fitness ideas.  It can be tough to get motivated on your own, so having a group to keep you accountable has been my key to success!

I also offer one-on-one support to all of my challengers and help you choose the best program for your goals and budget.

Start Date: FEBRUARY 2

Where: Private Facebook Group

For more info you can e-mail me at gina {dot} notes26 {at} gmail {dot} com or comment below with your e-mail, and I will send you more details!

I have to say, I am happy to have my workout on DVD today with all this snow outside!  Although I do plan on romping around a bit later this afternoon with the little guy.

Make it a good one everybody!

XO,

Gina

All Wrapped Up

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Patchwork Cardigan: Hinge via Nordstrom (now on sale!) / Denim: Paige / Top: J. Crew / Boots: Target / Sunnies: Vintage / Lip: MAC Up the Amp

Hey there!  Sorry, it’s been awhile.  Last week was a crazy one.  The temps have been cold around here calling for lots of layers and bundles!  I received this patchwork cardigan from mi madre for Christmas, and it’s so cozy comfy (not to mention, warm) that I haven’t been able to take it off since!  Speaking of bundling, we are experiencing a snowfall currently, and the rumor is we will get over a foot!  Hoping the hubby will get a day off tomorrow, and we can have a family snow day.  I’m eager to break out Nico’s new snowsuit (courtesy of his Bubbe) and see what he thinks of the cold white stuff.  Last year we tried, but I think he was too little too really enjoy or understand it.

We had a nice weekend visiting friends in Philly, and now we are hunkered down for this snowstorm.  Bring on the hot chocolate please!

What are your favorite things to do on a snow day?

XO,

Gina