Curls & Twirls

 Before & After

As much as I love fashion, hair is not really my thing. I love it. I wish I could do it. I love having it done for me by other people. But when it comes to doing it myself, I usually end up falling short. I end up taking the easy route and just flat ironing it straight for lack of a better option. Even worse, now that I am a busy mom, I let it air dry or throw it up into a messy top knot. The days of actually “doing” my hair are few and far between, but I still long for a fancy do when I have a special event to go to. I just have trouble making it happen myself. I have tried multiple tools, curling irons, etc., and I always end up in a sweaty huff and unhappy with the results. Until now.

After trying their fabulous hair extensions back in September, I decided to give Irresistible Me’s Sapphire 8-in-1 Curling Wand a whirl. Ladies and gentlemen (all three of you gentlemen that read this blog), I am happy to say that I HAVE FOUND THE CURLING IRON OF MY DREAMS!  Not only are there tons of options for different type of curls, but it was EASY, and I could do it MYSELF!  I actually liked the results, I wasn’t a sweaty huffy mess afterwards…and the best part is that my curls stayed from 10 in the morning when I did my hair until well after I went to bed for the night! As someone who struggles to do their hair normally, this tool has totally changed my mindset on prepping for a fancy night out.  I am so happy to finally find something that works for me, and works SO well. Thank you Irresistible Me!

More BEFORE photos:

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And now for the AFTER:

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Sapphire 8-in-1 Curling Wand: c/o Irresistible Me / Top: Express / Eyes: Sonia Kashuk / Lip: MAC Up the Amp

What do you think? Not bad for my first go at it huh?

Used this curling wand for the first time for a beautiful bridal shower in upstate NY for a lovely bride!  It was a lot of fun and a gorgeous affair.  I loved how fancy I felt, so I decided to go for round 2 of the curling iron this past weekend at my cousin’s baby shower in MD. Happy to say it wasn’t just beginner’s luck! I’m still obsessed with the tool, and plan to use it for many more events in the future.

Had a nice little girl’s weekend with my mom, family, and close friends…although I did miss my boys while away!

Yesterday wasn’t feeling so great, but hoping today will bring sunshine and happiness my way.

Hope today will bring the same for you!

XO,

Gina

Tulum Diary

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Happy Hump Day everyone!  These cold temperatures are still lingering here in NYC, and it’s making me miss the weather from our trip to Tulum, Mexico. I’m excited to share these photos and a little bit about our adventures down there.  It was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Boho hippie chic in style, completely relaxing, but adventures around the corner for those who want to partake. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of the trip sick (from the food I’m guessing? God only knows), so we didn’t get to do as much as originally planned, but we still had an amazing time and at least enjoyed the warm weather!  We stayed in Tulum for a week and then ventured to the town of Akumal for three nights.  We also explored around to different areas to visit Mayan ruins, cenotes, and Playa del Carmen. The first photo is from the Mayan ruins in Tulum. Simply gorgeous!

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This photo is also from our trip to the Tulum ruins.

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My little monkey hanging out in the carrier!  He is such a good traveler!

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Pool at our condo in Tulum. We rented it off airbnb.

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This was taken before our private dinner right on the beach at Momo Hoja.  Never thought the most romantic dinner of my life with be with a toddler in tow, but this place took the cake!

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Doesn’t get any more amazing than this.  It’s basically paradise at Papaya Playa Project.  They are welcome to outside guests, free parking, and fabulous beds as long as you place an order for food or drinks.  Done and done.

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Decided to drive out to Coba for the day to explore the Mayan Ruins.  I definitely recommend getting a tour guide here as it was extremely helpful to understand what we were looking at and we learned so much about the ancient history, language, and culture of the Mayans.  They allow you to climb to the top of one of the pyramids here.  I climbed it with a baby in my belly and baby on my back.  A little steep and a little scary, but pretty awesome!

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Crystal clear blue waters of Tulum = heaven.

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Spelunking at Aktun Chen. This was really fun and kid friendly.  We toured the spectacular cave, saw lots of animals, and then went swimming in the underground river cenote.  Pretty amazing.

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Lounging for the day at El Paraiso.  Zack also took a boat off the beach here to do a snorkeling tour and had a great time!

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Sopes for lunch at the incredible Le Zebra beach club.  This place was absolutely gorgeous, and I would recommend people stay here!  Fabulous food, rooms, and scenery.

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They had BEDS in the restaurant!  I meeeean…it doesn’t get any better than this!  Haha.

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View from our Villa in Akumal – Villas Flamingo

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Didn’t get fancy at all in Tulum, so decided to glam it up a bit in Akumal for dinner on the beach.

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Day trip to Cenote Azul for some fabulous swimming and snorkeling!  What a gorgeous place!

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Don’t want to leave!!!

Ahhh, I am craving this warm weather right about now!  Take me back!

It’s been a busy week here in NY, working away with fitness challenge groups, freelance writing, and running around with my Nico.  We had so much fun over the weekend capturing our gender reveal and we are so pumped for Nico to have a little bro!

Hoping warmer weather is in our future.  We are ready to play outside again! How about you? What are you most looking forward to for the spring season?

XO,

Gina

Nico’s Little _______ !!!

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Happy Monday everyone!!! I know I have been driving you all crazy with the anticipation of our gender reveal for Baby Notes #2!  The photographs are in, and today is finally the day!  Zack, Nico and I went to the doctor on Thursday for our monthly appointment.  First things first, everything is looking good so far for a HEALTHY baby, which is most important!  We are so very lucky and blessed.  While at the doc, we opted not to find out the sex of the baby in the office, rather as you may remember from Nico’s reveal two years ago, we had the doc write the gender along with a sonogram pic in a sealed envelope.  Let me tell you how difficult it was not to rip open that envelope for those two agonizing days!!!

We purchased a pull-string piñata in both pink and blue confetti in advance.  Our trusted neighbor, Tammy, stepped in to help us with our operation, and she was actually the first to know the baby’s gender before anyone, including us!  She opened the card in secret and filled the piñata for us with the correct color confetti.  She also placed the sonogram photo inside so we could have it for later.  We headed to Prospect Park on Saturday early evening with our other neighbor and photographer, Cara Kantrowitz George, to document the big reveal.  We pulled the string and SURPRISE!!!!!!  Take a look at what unfolded below. :-)

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Photography by: Cara Kantrowitz George

Piñata by: LaLa’s Party

What a special moment in our lives!  We are so excited for Nico to have a little brother!  Little boys are so much fun, and I’m hoping they will be the best of buds, just like Zack and his brother are.  I still sometimes can’t believe that our family is growing so quickly, but this moment definitely made it feel like a reality!  We are so grateful to have such amazing neighbors to help us creatively document this wonderful surprise.  We thank you Tammy and Cara for taking the time to make this day so special!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

XO,

Gina

{31} Lately…

Nico St. Patricks Day

Lately I’ve been…

reading  Still reading The Goldfinch.  Didn’t realize how long the book was!  I am actually enjoying it, but I have been pretty sidetracked with reading business development books and other things.  I will eventually finish it!  

writing  I recently started freelance writing for the new parenting blog started by Mom365. They are a newborn photography company who specializes in hospital photos.  Their blog has tons of parenting tips and advice from moms across the country and is an excellent resource, especially for new parents.  I am so excited to be included in this new venture!  Here is one of the more recent posts I wrote about taking baby outside in the cold.

listening  Went to brunch over the weekend at a piano bar and heard amazing music from Dylan Meek.  We ended up getting his CD and have been playing it while cooking dinner this week. So relaxing!

thinking  How much I miss Nico’s curls.  I held off getting his hair cut for SO long. People thought I was crazy as his hair was growing into his eyes and all, but I just thought it was adorable.  I did have to admit, things started getting out of control, so we finally decided to go for a haircut.  I’m definitely missing those baby curls on my little boy!

smelling  The chicken dinner my husband prepared for us last night lingering in the kitchen.

watching  Just watched 127 Hours, which was nominated for an Academy Award a few years ago.  What an incredible survival story.  It was tough to watch at times, but I’m so glad we watched this amazing account of a man’s will to live.

wishing  We were back in Mexico enjoying that warmth & sunshine once again!  Although my stomach probably wishes otherwise haha.

hoping  For a good doctor’s appointment this week.  We are going on Thursday to check on our little baby for an anatomy scan to make sure he or she is healthy.  Please send us love, prayers, and good vibes!  We will also be able to find out baby’s gender VERY soon!  We are hoping to do a fun reveal in the next week or two (not only for you, but for ourselves as well!), so stay tuned!

wearing  GREEN!  In honor of my Irish heritage.  Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m actually 50% Irish.  As you can see from above, Nico is celebrating too. Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all!

loving  Nico uttered these words this week… “I love you Mama.” I meeeeeaaannnn this pretty much just made my entire life!  I think every mom waits to hear those three little words from their child. I admit, I prompted him to say it, and right now he loves parroting everything I say, but it was absolutely amazing all the same. :-) 

wanting  One of these amazingly cool cartoon bags.

needing  Support for my Lenten service project! My sorority sister, Brielle, and I decided to join together to run a family supply drive for the Thorpe Residences in the Bronx, NY. They provide food & shelter to families in transition. They are in need of everything from diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, to board games & toys for family game night. We created an Amazon Wish List that will be up until April 12th for donations, and we can also accept donations in person. Brielle and I will be hand delivering the items to Thorpe after the drive. We appreciate anything you are able to donate!

feeling  How proud of how productive I was yesterday.  I normally hate waking up early, but decided to force myself to stay awake (and not go back to sleep), get my workout in early, eat breakfast and get a jump start on my work for the day.  I have to admit, it felt amazing, and I felt like I had so much energy to get things done.

craving  A green smoothie…because it is St. Patrick’s Day afterall.

clicking  Through beautiful houses in Deep Creek Lake, MD.  Planning a bachelorette getaway for my bestie, Meg, and should be making a final selection on a place tonight!  Whoo hoo!

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On a final note, I would like to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my niece, Brittany!  Hope you have a great day!

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

***I was inspired by Tina of Like Ordinary Life to create this post, and she was inspired by Lauren of siddathornton, who started The Sunday Currently.

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:

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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