Trunk Club Try-On May 2019

Happy Monday! So excited to share another round of try-ons. Today, I’m sharing my Nordstrom Trunk Club. My stylist sent me a bunch of new on-trend favorite pieces to check out. Some were total hits and some were major misses (for me), but it’s always fun to try on new things. Whatever you love, you keep and whatever you don’t, you just send back! You have a chance to review the trunk before it ships and you can also let your stylist know about specific items you may desire. There is a $25 styling fee, but you can use it as credit if you purchase anything from the trunk. So here we go!

The first outfit was a win for me. I own the mom jeans (Target), and decided to style them with this breezy button up, cotton jacket and leather espadrille slip-ons from the Trunk. Loving this casual look! Comfortable and also nursing friendly.

Madewell Surplus Cotton Jacket

Halogen White Leather Espadrille Mule

Treasure & Bond Breezy Striped Boyfriend Shirt

 

I’ve been seeing these button down dresses everywhere, and I LOVED this chambray version from Madewell. Very comfy and loved the pockets as well! The back straps criss-cross in the back as well which was a nice added touch. And of course, also nursing friendly.

Madewell Button Front Chambray Tank Dress 

 

This was called a utility jacket, but it felt more like a shirt. It was super lightweight, but definitely really comfortable and soft! The striped tee underneath was comfy and great as a basic tee!

Treasure & Bond Utility Jacket

Madewell Striped Pocket Tee

 

I also loved this button down thread dress from Madewell. This is an XS, the material was super comfy, and it fit well! These nude suede slip on sandals by Halogen were also great. The heel is a good height where it doesn’t hurt your foot and bonus: it’s currently marked down!

Madewell Texture & Thread Front Button Dress

Halogen Slide Sandal

 

I got majorly excited when I saw this white denim jacket in the trunk! I don’t own anything like it, and it seems like a great spring and summer staple! Bonus: it’s really soft and comfortable as well. I think I’m keeping this one.

Kut from the Kloth White Denim Jacket

 

The dress hugged me in the wrong places and was a little too loose up top, but I like the print, and would make a sexy date night dress! Just not a great fit for me.

Leith Wrap Mini Dress

 

I loved this button down dress when I pulled it out of the box, but it ultimately didn’t work for me. The buttons in the chest area pulled too much and you could see right through the holes to my bra which wasn’t flattering. Super bummed, because I loved the color, pockets, and fit of the rest of the dress. Shame the buttons were weird!

Hinge Button Front Midi Dress

 

This dress was really cute online, and I wanted to love it, but the material wrinkles really easily, and it was not flattering on my body at all. I LOVE the color, but between the wrinkles, the fact that it hugged me in all the wrong places and since it’s not nursing friendly, it’s just not gonna work for me.

Something Navy Flirty Mini Dress

 

Definitely keeping this black bralette from Free People. Perfect to wear under those summer tanks or shirts where your bra peeks out, because it has such pretty detail you don’t mind showing it! Perfect summer staple.

Free People Bralette

 

This simple rose bangle was also included in the Trunk inscribed with “Stop and smell the roses.” Classic and chic. Goes with anything. Keeping this for sure.

Kate Spade Rose Bangle

 

I liked the idea and style of this top, but for the price, I didn’t think it was worth it. It was a little short and a little sheer. It was okay, but I didn’t love it.

Madewell Woodland Floral Smocked Waist Top

 

This top was a little large and didn’t really do me any favors. Loved the print, but not the fit. Just kinda made me look wider than normal.

Madewell Striped Peasant Top

 

Thinking my stylist doesn’t really understand the “mom bod” going on right now. Haha. The color of this top was pretty, but way too low cut for me. I spend a lot of days at the playground with my kids and unless I’m nursing my baby, I don’t really want my boobs hanging out, ya know? So this was a no-go, but I felt like striking a pose anyway. 😉

Hinge Button Front V-Neck Top (similar)

FYI – jeans and shoes are mine and I linked them here:

Zara High Waist Black Jeans (similar)

Chinese Laundry Carnival Sandal

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And that’s it for my May Trunk Club Try-on! I need to send back what I don’t want today, so if you have any suggestions for what I should keep and what I should return, PLEASE let me know!!!

I have the full try-on behind-the scenes posted in my Instagram Stories so feel free to check that out as well. All the items are linked here in case you want to purchase them (I do receive a teeny tiny commission if you use my link, so THANK YOU for using it – it helps me to continue doing these types of try-ons!) OR sign up and get your own personal stylist to have a trunk delivered to your door! I love a good package, and the fact that I don’t even have to leave my house or bring children with me shopping is clutch!

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Hope you guys had a great weekend! We celebrated my nephew’s 1st Birthday, Knox was Baptized into the Catholic Church, and my boys made my mom and I breakfast in bed down in Maryland! The boys were seriously so super sweet to me all day, and we had a wonderful weekend celebrating lots of great things! I was also able to keep up my workouts while away and got in a sweat sesh with my mama!

Back in Brooklyn today and it’s a gloomy, rainy one here, but going to make the most of it! New clothes always help. 😉

Make it a great week everyone!

XO,

Gina

The 4th Trimester (and Beyond): What No One Tells You

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There is a lot of info out there about what to expect when you’re pregnant. We so diligently go to our frequent OB or Midwife appointments to get both ourselves and the baby checked up on.

But AFTER baby arrives? When they send us home from the hospital with a new human who doesn’t sleep and pretty much ZERO clue what we’re doing??? Yeah it doesn’t really look like all the beautiful hospital photos plastered over Instagram. You want to know the REAL SHIT?

Well, that’s what I’m here to talk about today.

For starters, I want to mention that I think it’s kind of ridiculous that we go to ONE follow up post partum appointment at 6 weeks to get a check up and then we are usually sent on our merry way to figure out shit on our own and deal. Babies get checked out SO often in the beginning and for legit reason! But why are post partum mothers so neglected in our system? We have just had a serious trauma on our bodies. A HUMAN just made an exit, one way or another…through a now gaping hole down below or via slicing our insides open. (Yep, not sugar coating this ya’ll. You deserve to know the truth!) But I think maybe checking up on the mother’s health: physically, emotionally, mentally, hormonally – ALL OF IT – needs to happen more than ONCE after having a child.

Okay, that is my rant on our current medical system…and now onto the good stuff. Here are some of the TOP things that no one tells you about the 4th trimester (the first 12 weeks of the postpartum period) and beyond:

Breastfeeding is a BITCH! – Yes, I said it. I have breastfed all three of my children, and eventually I promise, it’s beautiful, but Lord, it hasn’t been easy. For something that is supposed to be so “natural,” I’m flabbergasted at how incredibly hard and painful and time consuming it can be, especially in the beginning. Of course, you may be one of the lucky ones where everything goes smoothly from the start and never have any nursing issues. To you, I say, “Thank your lucky stars! God Bless you!” But for most of the moms I know, it hasn’t been rainbows and butterflies from the get-go. I have heard, “oh if they are doing it right, it won’t hurt.” I call BULLSHIT! It hurt every single time starting out. Not that it hurts for everyone, but I am convinced that some babies are just so tiny (and y babies were tiny) that it’s impossible for their itty bitty mouths to get around your ginormous milk filled titty. (sorry, that’s not my usual choice of word, but I’ll do anything for a good rhyme – well, not anything). Now if the pain never goes away, there could be something inherently wrong. I noticed with my 3rd babe that the pain level was BEYOND bearable. It was clear that something was truly wrong with his latch, and we ended up seeing lactation consultants, tongue tie specialists, craniosacral therapists, YOU NAME IT to help with correcting his latch. On top of the latching issues, I also had a CRAZY oversupply (which I feel like a jerk saying, because the flip side is that many mamas just cannot produce ENOUGH milk). But my oversupply and fast let down was causing baby to basically choke every time he tried to eat making things super hard for all of us. My first baby dealt with this by ripping off my nipple screaming at the top of his lungs while milk sprayed voraciously into the air. I felt so embarrassed to feed him in public, because I was already terrified of having my boob out in front of strangers (those covers are a pain in the ass), but now I’m SPRAYING and he’s drawing attention by screaming?! I had to pump for 3 months before he finally would latch and have a full meal. I walked around the house shirtless most days (because of the pain) afraid to go out by myself with the baby for the first 3 weeks. Your boobs leak milk whenever they feel like, and if they get too full you are at risk for super painful clogged ducts and even worse infections like mastitis! This shit is no joke. Even once we got into the swing of things with breastfeeding my children, you are still tethered to them if they can’t or won’t take a bottle, making it difficult for anyone else to watch them. I totally don’t judge anyone for choosing not to breastfeed if it’s not working for them. Everyone needs to make the best choice for themselves and their families. DESPITE ALL OF THIS – breastfeeding is something I was really committed to and wanted to make work. At the end of the day, I am definitely glad I did. It DOES get significantly easier typically after the first 6-8 weeks, it feels amazing to be the sole source of nutrition for your child (and kind of incredible actually), and I do feel like it’s been a nice bonding experience for me and my boys. So I don’t regret all of the hard work…but it IS hard work!

One resource that has helped me in the past during those brutal nights of late night breastfeeding was an online community hosted by Lynzy of Lynzy and Co. She created the hashtag #latenightnursingfeed for mamas to come together in the wee hours of the night (or anytime really) to talk about the ups and downs of being a new mama.

You will bleed – A LOT! – Oh, you just thought the baby comes out, and that’s IT? Ummmm no. I bled for WEEKS! And I’m talking filling up 4 humongous pads stacked together in a hospital granny panty diaper in a couple hours. During labor and delivery you may rip and need stitches which can make it really painful down there and you will be loaded up with ice packs and witch hazel in your crotch. It hurts every time you pee and you have to use a squirt bottle to rinse with warm water each time. Your body has some serious healing to do inside, and all of the afterbirth takes awhile to remove itself. Even if you’ve had a C-section you are not immune to the bleeding. It might be less, but it’s still there. 

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You will still look like you’re pregnant – Once the baby comes out, your baby bump doesn’t just magically go away! You still look like you’re pregnant for awhile. Instead of being a hard bump, it’s just all gooey and squishy instead. I wore pregnancy jeans for weeks after having my babies, even once I got back into exercise. This is totally normal, so please be KIND to your body. For some reason, society places so much pressure on us to “bounce back,” not just physically but in many different aspects…but this post partum time is not about bouncing back. It’s about rest and recovery which is SO important. Again, your body just went through something MAJOR. It took 9 months to grow a human and your body will take time to adjust and heal. Trust me…when you’re ready, I’m your GIRL, and I have a health + fitness challenge support group with your name on it. I’ve GOT you. 😉 It’s definitely possible to feel confident and comfortable in your body again. But don’t feel that you need to rush into “getting your body back” right away.

You will be STARVING! – I mean ravenous. You will eat a crazy large meal, and then want another one hours later. You just did WORK pushing out that baby! Your body is in overdrive making milk for a tiny human and replenishing constantly. This is totally normal to last a couple weeks or months if you continue to breastfeed.

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You may not INSTANTLY bond with your baby – I remember thinking that my first baby would pop out and it would be love at first sight! There was some element to “wow, I created this human, and I love him” but I didn’t feel that overwhelming GUSH of obsessive love that I thought I would right away. I knew that I would do anything for him and would take care of him with all my heart, but it took TIME and getting to know him and his personality and quiet moments together for that love to grow and grow and grow.

You may CRY for NO REASON – Your hormones are going super crazy right after birth. You have a new human who can’t talk, can only cry to communicate, and no idea what you’re doing. You also aren’t sleeping. You’re incredibly exhausted around the clock with 24/7 duties (remember the breastfeeding?) so it’s SUPER normal to just cry and be extra emotional.

Postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression can happen to anyone – This is one of the most important things to check in with yourself after having a baby and know that it’s COMMON and happens to MANY women. It also doesn’t have to happen right away. I was never diagnosed with PPA or PPD, but I was right on the borderline, especially with Baby #3 this time around. They give you those dumb questionaires to fill out where you know the answers that are going to diagnose you or not, so most people don’t fill them out truthfully or maybe they aren’t even sure WHAT they are feeling with all the craziness going on. I’m not sure if I answered in full truth with the first two kids…I honestly don’t remember, but this time around…I tried to do my best to answer as truthfully as possible. And I hit right below the line of diagnosis on the scale…but here’s what I experienced. The sadness came more frequently than what I had remembered in the past. I was in a foggy state some days. Things that would typically make me happy, didn’t neccesarily make me unhappy, but I was kinda just going through the motions. Remember, I was walking around shirtless and in pain while nursing, recovering in between nursing sessions, and going to multiple appointments to check up on the baby and fix his latch. Lots of tears. Typically when I’m stressed and tired and overwhelmed I tend to snap at people I love (something I’m not proud of and working on)…but I felt I didn’t even have the motivation to snap. Plus trying to give attention and love to two other children. It was a lot. EVERY day and every moment wasn’t sad. I was happy many days and moments also, but for a person who sees the bright side of most things and likes to stay positive, it was a weird feeling for me to be upset a heck of a lot more then normal. I thought about going to therapy, even if I didn’t have a real diagnosis, but I ultimately never went. It likely could have helped, but it felt daunting to add yet another thing to my schedule. It helped a lot to start exercising again, which is a great stress reliever for me, and as time went on and breastfeeding got easier, sleep got better, things got a little better. But I won’t lie…sometimes all of these things are still hard and I still have tough days that pop up unexpectedly and catch me by surprise even 8 months later. I talk a lot about it with the hubby and he has been super supportive. I think getting some alone time has been one of the best things that has helped. Being a stay at home working mom is amazing and a blessing, but it’s also tough to get a break. So hiring a babysitter for some mornings to work my business or run an errand, finding time to recharge and do something that feels like ME. Then I’m usually a much better to come home and be a better mom. I do think it’s also easier for me once they get a little older. There are different challenges, of course, but the baby stages with lots of crying are hard for me. Postpartum anxiety or depression is not something to be ashamed of though, and if you are feeling any of these symptoms, don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor or a loved one and get help.

Here is a resource called Post Partum Support International which is an online community of mamas along with helpline for support.

Your hair will clog up the drain like WHOA – Oh holy hair loss! When you are pregnant, your hair is thick and luscious and you don’t lose the normal daily amount. But post partum? Oh LAWD! For me this didn’t happen right away, but a few months post partum (maybe 4-5), and my hair just started coming out in CLUMPS, especially in the shower. It happened every day for a few months and just tons of it was coming out, I couldn’t believe I still had hair left on my head! I have two spots on the side of my hairline where it’s most obvious, and then it all takes forever to grow back in and looks crazy. But it does usually get back to normal over time.

Poopin’ ain’t easy – Hey, I warned you in the beginning, I was gonna keep it real here ladies. For whatever reason, after having a baby, it’s incredibly difficult to poop. I guess all of that going on down there and body parts shifting around makes things go outta whack. Usually it resolves after a few days, but I swear the 3rd time around going to the bathroom didn’t feel completely normal for over a month. Colace will be your best friend.

You’re not a playa, you just SWEAT a lot – This actually happened to me more in the months leading up to birth while pregnant and during labor and delivery than I really remember postpartum, but this is another thing that can happen. I remember kicking off all the covers every night because I was SOOOOOO hot and wanting to constantly sit by the air conditioner (granted it was a summer pregnancy!), but as a person who dislikes the cold and prefers warm weather, this was weird for me! I don’t sweat a lot typically, but hormones are crazy and it’s pretty normal to sweat it out during this time.

Bringin’ Sexy Back ain’t really that sexy the 1st time back – Yeahhhhhh, so after pushing a human outside of you and everything shifting around in there, hormones raging…doc gives the green light but whaaaaaaa? I was definitely not ready for that after my 6 week appointment!!! Haha! But when I finally felt comfortable again, it did NOT feel like normal! It felt painful, super dry, your boobs are probably leaking and you definitely don’t want them touched now that baby is touching them, and you may not feel like that sexy lady you once did because your libido is LOW. It took a few times (and a LOT of LUBE) to get to feeling back to normal again, but it does typically go back to feeling good again! If it doesn’t, there could be some underlying pelvic floor issues, and a pelvic floor therapist could be really helpful!

You’re only cool if you pee your pants – No, no, that’s not true. That was just in the movies. But you MIGHT pee your pants. Speaking of pelvic floor therapy, this might be a really good option if you can no longer control your bladder. Jumping, sneezing, coughing, and laughing just aren’t the same anymore after having a baby. It’s super important to strengthen those muscles if you want to get it as close to normal as you can. Kegels may help, but pelvic floor therapy could be a good option. Also aside from your bladder, if you are feeling any pain down below (regardless of whether or not it’s during sexy time), a pelvic floor therapist may be able to help.

Your abs might separate – Yes, your abdominal muscles might actually SPLIT apart from each other. Crazy right? I think having a strong core in advance can be helpful with this, but even still it can happen. You will know if there is more than a finger space between the right and left abdominal muscles when you are in the process of sitting up, but you can also check with your doctor. If this happens to you, I would be very careful when jumping back into exercise. Skip the crunches, sit ups and similar exercises or else you can actually make it worse. I had slight ab separation after Baby #2 and over time it eventually closed up. If the separation is drastic, then there are also physical therapists you can see to help with this as well.

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Your will never sleep the same again – Of course we all know that there is little sleep in the beginning. And it DOES get easier…but you still won’t sleep the same. That passed out cold, nothing can wake you up sleep? Yeah, no. As a mom, you are on constant alert and you hear EVERYTHING. And when you don’t hear ANYTHING? Then you’re awake, because you’re afraid something’s wrong LOL. Welcome to mom sleep.

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You will feel like a ROCKSTAR when you put on real clothes – What used to be an every day occurence…getting showered and dressed…will now feel like an ultimate luxury!!! You will feel like a total rockstar…even when you are still wearing maternity jeans.

Someone will tell you that you need to enjoy every moment and you will want to slap them – Hah. Kidding. Not kidding. So many people will tell you that you are so lucky and blessed (AND YOU ARE), and that your children will “never be this small again” so you just have to “ENJOY EVERY MOMENT.” Well, in that moment when you are exhausted, in pain, stressed out, the baby is screaming, you’re in a fog, and you can’t hear yourself think…it’s HARD to appreciate that moment, and you may just want to tell someone to eff off haha. Instead, just BREATHE. This moment was hard. You don’t have to enjoy this one. But you WILL get through this moment. And you can enjoy a different one later.

Alright, now that I’ve shared all the craziness and behind-the-scenes of the 4th trimester and probably scared you all off from having any future children… 😉

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I DO want to acknowledge that while the 4th trimester and the early days of mommin’ are HARD…it IS also very beautiful. You DO have many wonderful moments as well. Seriously, nothing can compare to a newborn snuggle sesh. There is something so precious about holding that tiny human in your arms and knowing they are fully dependent on you and they trust you, regardless of whether or not you have all the answers. Watching your partner hold your child and seeing them as a parent will send a beautiful wave of love and emotion over you for them that you have never truly felt before in that way. As a mom of three, watching your children bond with their new sibling for the first time will bring happy tears to your eyes.

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Yes, mommin’ is the hardest job I have ever done. But it’s also the most special. Things DO get easier as they grow and you start to figure them out and their unique personalities. Try to remember to have GRACE with yourself. You are also human and figuring things out. Life is forever changed and it’s a brand new adjustment for you and your family. You have a new needy little roommate and need to figure out how to live together.

So it’s OKAY if you don’t have all your shit together. It’s OKAY if you no longer have control of everything. It’s OKAY to not totally feel like yourself right now. It’s OKAY that you don’t recognize your body. This is all a normal part of what we moms go through. Have patience and know that this stage is a SEASON and it won’t last forever. Take things one day at a time. And my best advice is to find a mom group of support. Local is even better. That TRULY helped SO much during my experience as a new mom.

XOXO,

Gina

 

 

Oscars Red Carpet 2019

While I LOVE movies, this mama doesn’t get out much with three littles to actually see many of them these days…So while I watched and loved the Awards as always…it’s time for my annual Red Carpet fashion round up!

Pinks and ruffles definitely rocked the Red Carpet this year, and I have to say…seeing all this color is really getting me excited for Spring. Here were some of my favs from last night.

Kacey Musgraves wearing Giambattista Valli. Okay, I was DYING over this dress ya’ll. If you remember my wedding dress back in 2011, you know how much I love tulle, and pink tulle!? Yes please! I’m especially loving the neckline, the cinched waist, and the multiple tiers. Almost like a regal ballerina.

 

Gemma Chan wearing Valentino couture. I just LOVED this dress, and the fact that this dress has a POCKET just took it up a notch for me as well. Also a fan of the high neckline. She is slaying this dress.

 

KiKi Layne weating Atelier Versace. This sleek light pink number really complements her skin tone and I love the back ruffle detail to give it some flare. Looking super chic.

 

Pretty sure Helen Mirren always looks classy in whatever she wears, but I loved this fun vibrant dress with layers of color. Made by Schiaparelli Haute Couture.

 

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Angela Basset in Reem Acra. A little prom-like for me, but she pulls it off.

 

Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet wearing Karl Lagerfeld (Fendi). RIP. Also, someone I know pointed out that he is wearing a SCRUNCHI on this wrist! Haha!

 

Amy Adams never disappoints on the Red Carpet. Last night she rocked Atelier Versace.

 

Another beauty who always rocks the Red Carpet with style and grace. Emma Stone wearing Louis Vuitton. Loving those shoulders!

 

J. Lo. always glows. Last night with A. Rod, both wearing Tom Ford.

 

Lady Gaga in Alexander McQueen. Still DYING over her performance with Bradley Cooper and the chemistry they shared. I NEED to see this movie ASAP.

 

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Bradley Cooper wearing Tom Ford and rocking the runway with his mama, Gloria Campano, and his girl, Irina Shayk. But again…DID YOU SEE THE CHEMISTRY WITH HIM AND LADY GAGA?! Just sayin’.

 

Okay, I had to share Billy Porter, as I believe this was the BIGGEST statement piece on the Red Carpet last night. Half tuxedo, half ball gown, this stunning Christian Siriano design completely caught my attention. What a beautiful collaboration of masculinity and femininity, playing with the gender binary and such a bold choice. Bravo!

 

Jennifer Hudson looking vivacious in this stunning Elie Saab gown.

 

And lastly, I wanted to share this ray of sunshine, Constance Wu, in Atelier Versace. She made the Carpet bright, and has me totally wishing for warmer weather here on the East Coast!

Big congrats to all the winners and nominees. I pretty much still need to see all of the movies. Got some work to do! Haha. What movie should I start with?

Okay, you guys, I want to hear YOUR favorites on the Red Carpet from last night!

Let me know below!

Make it a great week everyone!

XO,

Gina

Favorite Book Round Up

Okay, you guys. I know I have been promising a BOOK post to you, and it’s FINALLY HEREEEEE!!!!! I’m so excited about this post. I’ve pretty much been a book nerd my entire life, and ain’t embarrassed to say it. I LOVE to read. I had a few periods during my life, namely high school and college, where I had SO much reading to do that I stopped doing any for fun…and more recently I have made reading a priority again.

I try to read at least ONE personal development book per month as an entrepreneur running this blog and my health + fitness business, and I simultaneously read another book for fun and to keep my creativity wheels spinning.

It’s been a long time coming, so I have a lot of books to share with you today in a few categories. I will be more mindful about sharing my books in the future, and I have decided to create a Highlight Reel over on my Instagram Page with books I’m reading as well as a group hashtag #popcornbookclub so we can all share our favorites together. Any time you find a book you love, you can post it on IG with this hashtag, and hopefully we will all end up with some amazing recommendations!

Okay without further ado…

I will start with my fav personal development reads in no particular order:

  1. The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy
  2. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
  3. No Excuses!: The Power of Self Discipline by Brian Tracy
  4. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk
  5. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  6. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
  7. Balancing in Heels: My Journey to Health, Happiness, and Making it All Work by Kristin Cavallari
  8. The Go Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg
  9. The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington, and Tom Pile
  10. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman
  11. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown
  12. Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Finding Your Message, Building a Tribe, and Changing the World by Russell Brunson
  13. 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by John C. Maxwell
  14. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell
  15. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon
  16. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferazzi
  17. Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM
  18. The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein
  19. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Live an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
  20. You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero
  21. Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley
  22. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
  23. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
  24. Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media by Brittany Hennesy
  25. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
  26. Currently Reading — Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Other Non-Fiction or Memoir:

  1. Discovering the Healer Within: Use Chakras & Intuition to Clear Negative Energy & Release Pain by Anysia Marcell Kiel
  2. Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition by Lily Nichols
  3. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
  4. A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
  5. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

 

Fiction: Mostly thrillers these days, but there are a few others in the mix as well and I included some from years back as this is my first list:

  1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  2. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  3. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  4. Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
  5. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  6. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  7. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
  8. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  9. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  10. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  11. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
  12. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  13. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
  14. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  15. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  16. The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam
  17. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
  18. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  19. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  20. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  21. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  22. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  23. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  24. Currently Reading: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Okay, now I know that’s a lot of books! But for my first list, I wanted to be thorough! I plan to check back in with you all once a year with an update of my yearly reads, and my goal is to finish 26 this year, so hopefully next year’s list will be about half as long as this one! LOL. Please please feel free to post in the comments any recommendations you have for your favorite reads! I love adding to my Goodreads list! (Even though my list is already a million miles long!)

Again, I will also be posting over on Instagram throughout the year, so please feel free to check in there in the meantime!

Happy Reading!

XO,

Gina

Jan 2019 Target Try-On

Whoo hoo! My first try-on for 2019, and I’m going to be trying things a little differently around here. Over on my Instagram page, you guys wanted more try-ons, so I’ve made it a goal this year to make that happen! I will be uploading my try-ons in my Instagram Stories for you to watch, and then the shopping links will be featured here on the blog if you want to snag an item you see. For full disclosure, I DO get a tiny percentage if you decide to order, but ONLY if you shop through my link. I appreciate it SO much, and it also allows me to continue to do try-ons like this and find amazing items for you in the future!

So for this round, I went to TARGET! (Alone!) Mamas, you KNOW how amazing this is haha. I decided to try on a bit of activewear for my fitness-minded mamas and then also some cozy knits since it’s still super frigid cold over here on the East Coast. Hope you enjoy!

The first photo above was not part of my try-on…just the outfit I was wearing that day in the RAIN haha, but I decided to include it as well since the jacket is also from Target! 🙂

Rain Jacket: It’s more water resistant than waterproof FYI! Good for light rain.

Rain Boots: (not Target), but can’t live without these!

 

Sports Bra: I picked up the wrong size to try on, but I did like this bra, especially the flecks of rose gold! It was also comfy!

Black Workout Moto Leggings: These were WAY too long on me, but I loved the sheer back of the calf (well actually in the photo the sheerness hits a different part of the leg…probably because I’m so short!) and detail of them! Good for a taller person! These were also mid-rise, and I would prefer a high rise right now since I’m still in my post partum journey! These were a bit tight for me!

 

JoyLab Crew Neck Sweatshirt: OBSESSED with the comfiness of these sweatshirts, and I also own it in black. I snagged this one, and it’s perfect for layering.

 

Champion Zip Up: Went out of my comfort zone with a light colored zip up (I would normally pick BLACK), but really loved this. The rose gold zipper detail was beautiful, and loved the sturdy collar and asymmetrical look. This came home with me.

 

Umbro Tank: This tank is a throw back to my soccer days, so I had to try it on. I thought it was cute, but didn’t love the fit on me currently. Could possibly size up on it for a better fit.

Champion Laser Cut Workout Leggings: These were super comfy and breathable. They are supposed to be capris, but they are a great full length pant for my 5’0 frame. I had to bring them home.

 

Joylab Black Asymmetrical Zip Up: Unfortunately, I cannot find this online ANYWHERE! Not sure if it’s an older item or if it’s in-store only, but it came home with me. Super comfy and locks in the heat so good for colder weather and potentially running in the colder months.

 

Short Sleeve Workout Tee: I accidentally grabbed a size 1X (I think the hanger was mislabeled!) so I ended up tying this one up, which I actually kinda like. But didn’t end up taking this one home. It was comfy though! I love the detail on the back which you can see if you click through on the link.

Colorblock Leggings: These were a little tight on me in the XS, so I would size up to a S right now. I love the look of these, and they were comfy also.

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Pink L.A. Sweatshirt: Cropped and cute, especially the color scheme for Valentine’s Day coming up! I would pair with a high waisted pant!

 

Sunday Mood Sweatshirt: If you know me, you know I love mustard colored everything (except actually eating mustard, blech! lol). Here I have it paired with jeggings, but I think this would also be great with joggers for running errands or around the house.

Universal Thread High Rise Pull on Jeggings: These are so comfortable! Great to pair with pretty much anything.

 

JoyLab Moto Side Zip Sweatshirt: I’m only seeing the black online. This was really comfortable as well. Tight on the bottom, but I guess I should have just unzipped it a little, duh! 😉 Love the moto detail on the arms.

 

Camo Tee: I wasn’t able to find the one I tried on, but here is a good alternative with a crew neck. It runs a little longer as well.

 

Cream Knit Cardigan: Great for layering. I didn’t love it on as much as I thought I would though! I think the color is just out of my comfort zone, and reminded me of a doctor’s coat! LOL.

 

Forest Green Knit Pullover: This one I loved, and kinda wondering why I didn’t take it home! Love the knit pattern as well as the color! It was lightweight so could be great for winter or fall. Super bummed I am unable to find it online, but this knit is similar in a different color, and also on sale!

 

A New Day tees: Tons of these in all different colors. They are super stretchy and comfy, and I kind of need all of them! 🙂

Faded Frayed Black Skinny Jeans: I liked the look of these on the rack, but they were too long on me and the distressed knees hit me in the wrong spot! Better for someone taller!

 

A New Day Scoop Tee: Also in a million colors! Loved these. So comfy.

Wild Fable Mom Jeans: Yep. My first pair. EVER. And not hating them.

A New Day Scoop Tee Pink: Took this one home.

Who What Wear Colorblock Cardigan: I decided not to get this one, because it was a little itchy…and then at the last minute I had to have it regardless. Ugh. Can’t take me anywhere. Just loved the colors on this! It’s pretty and warm. Wish the quality was a little better.

*********************

Okay!

And there you have it!

The first try-on of 2019. Hope you guys enjoyed it, found something you liked, saved an in-store shopping trip, or even decided against something you had been looking at previously! I hope to continue doing more of these for you guys this year. Please make sure to go to my Instagram Stories to see the full try on sesh.

Still planning on putting together a reading list for you as well and sharing more about my post partum journey and the new fitness program I’m rocking here on the blog. Til then, enjoy the rest of your weekend, and make it a kick ass week ahead!

XO,

Gina

2018 In Review

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2018 was a busy year! From pregnancy, a super fun reveal, adventures, maternity workouts and clothing, prepping Nico and Luca for a new sibling, welcoming our sweet Baby Knox, and adjusting as a family of 5, there was a lot to celebrate all through the year. There were a few scary moments in time with illness in the family and a pregnancy scare, but happy to say 2018 ended well! Not sure yet what 2019 will bring, but here is a look back at the past year…

Hit my 4 year health and fitness coaching anniversary at the end of this year helping others get healthy and strong, and helping women start businesses from home. I am so incredibly grateful for what this opportunity has given me from being able to have freedom and flexibility to work on my own time from home, spending more time with my kids and family, while earning and income and building toward an income I am proud of. I am accepting new challengers and new team members for my challenge groups and coaching mentorships for the upcoming year, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have some goals to crush this year!

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Our little family announced there would be a new addition coming to The Notes Crew!

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Nico tried and loved gymnastics for the first time

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I really dove into matcha during my first trimester (because coffee made me feel yucky), and I became super curious about crystals and sage.

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I surprised Zack for his birthday and took him to the Alesso concert in Brooklyn which was probably not the BEST place for a pregnant lady to be and we realized how “old” we’ve become because we couldn’t last the whole night, but it was hella fun!

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I finally learned how to poach an egg…even better, I learned from Vanderpump Rules, because I figured if fricken Tom Sandoval could poach an egg, then so could I!

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Survived a week of HELL when we got back scary blood test results telling us that our baby’s chances for Trisomy21 were much higher than normal. We did further testing to reveal that he didn’t have this genetic disorder and these were my tears of relief after finding out.

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Became obsessed with dragonfruit. It’s seriously delicious!

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Continued to exercise all throughout my pregnancy and documented the growing bump on Instagram!

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Fulfilled my dream of making pasta from scratch on a date night with the hubby. We made ravioli and fettuccine!

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Found out we were having a 3rd baby BOY!!! Shots captured by Scratch Studios.

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Zack and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on a Spring Break trip to Charleston! Thanks to my parents for watching the kids!

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I gained a sweet new nephew!! Here he is with his older bro.

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Nico had an amazing year at Pre-K for his first year in NYC Public School. Luca completed his first year of school with a 2’s program, and while it was a tough transition, it truly made a world of a difference for him and school has been a breeze this year in  3’s!

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I traveled to Indianapolis for the first time to meet up with these fabulous ladies as we learned how to grow our coaching businesses together at our annual Summit. This was my 4th Summit, and it’s an event I never want to miss!

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We headed to Cape May for family vacation with my husband’s side of the family, and had an amazing time! We then hopped over on the ferry to Rehoboth, DE and continued the fun with best friends and some family! I also had a record breaking week with my business while we were away!

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Sissy and bro-in-law came up to Brooklyn and we took them to Coney Island for the first time to celebrate our birthdays. Even though I felt like I was about to pop, we had a total blast!

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Nico turned 5 and Luca turned 3 with a Firefighter themed backyard Birthday Bash

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We welcomed Knox Gannon Notes on 8/19/18 and officially became a #partyof5.

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While it was a beautiful and happy time, the first six weeks post partum were also rough with tongue tie issues causing painful nursing problems, sleepless nights, borderline post partum depression, and hormonal tears. I honestly thought three would be a breeze, and we were thrown for a bit of a loop in the beginning, but we had been through two kids before and we knew there would be a light at the end of the tunnel which kept us going. Happy to say even though there are still some crazy days, the fog has lifted.

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Took the boys upstate to go apple and pumpkin picking at Fishkill Farms. We also attended my cousin’s beautiful wedding down in Maryland for our first official event as a family of 5! They learn to travel young in this fam! LOL.

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Had an EPIC Halloween dressed up as a family of TROLLS this year!

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Started exercising again after having Baby Knox and starting to see some progress, though it’s also been even more beneficial for my sanity and clarity to be cleared to move every day again!

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Had such a wonderful Christmas season visiting our favorite NYC sites like the Bronx Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show, the Dyker Heights Christmas lights, and roaming Manhattan. We also had such a memorable season with our family and friends down in Maryland.

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2018, that’s a wrap! You’ve treated us well. We’ve grown as a family and grown with even more love to give. Looking forward to seeing what’s in store for us in 2019!

What were your favorite memories of 2018???

XO,

Gina & the Boys

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2018 Fashion Round Up

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Pregnancy and Post Partum marked my style for 2019. Always a challenge to dress an ever-changing body, but I had fun with it rocking lots of dresses over the summer bump and lots of comfy casual in the squishy fall.

Which look is your favorite???

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This weekend I am working on posting a yearly round up of adventures we’ve had both as a family and for the blog and business which is always fun to look back on and see how we’ve grown in the past year. I’m also working on goals for 2019, and a round of some of my favorite books I’ve read in the past year or so. Lastly, I am kicking off my “Make it Epic 2019” Health + Fitness Challenge Group officially on Monday! I have a few spots open for anyone who is still looking for a plan of action in this New Year. Our new program also launches on January 14th, and we will be hosting a Team Test Group for those participating in this 20 minutes cardio based program with us! Okay just kidding, I’m not done yet. I also made a last minute giveaway purchase at Target with a little bag of goodies for a special winner to start off the year on the right foot! I will be announcing the giveaway sometime this week, so stay tuned!

Hope you all enjoyed the holidays, and cheers for a healthy + happy New Year!

XO,

Gina

Pre-Pregnancy Jeans

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About 10 days ago, I decided to try on these pre-pregnancy jeans and I was pleasantly surprised I could BUTTON them!!! Only 1 week before, I couldn’t. They are still a little tight, but they are proof of the progress I am making on my post partum journey. I have completed two full fitness programs since I had my 3rd baby in August, and I am currently in the middle of another. I haven’t been super strict or hard on myself in terms of nutrition this time around. I am making healthy choices for the most part and following my plan (save some wine and some weekend indulgences), but I am nursing a tiny human! I want to enjoy balance and the holidays…and hell, I birthed a human…it takes TIME! I HAVE been staying very consistent with my workouts, because I know how important it is for me to move my body not only physically but mentally. And while these were a little tight to squeeze on, it felt good to know that the rest of my normal clothing is in my near future!

I had also been eyeing this gorgeous Cloudspun sweater from American Eagle for awhile, so when it went on sale for Black Friday, I had to scoop it up! Unfortunately this color is now sold out, but they have four other beautiful colors from which to choose!

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Cloudspun Sweater: American Eagle (unfortunately this color is sold out, but they have four other beautiful colors from which to choose and they are all on sale!) / Jeans: ZARA (my old pre-pregnancy jeans that I can finally button again, whoop whoop!) – similar / Booties: Target (old) – also like these / Earrings and Bracelet: Selah Box / Lip: MAC Heartless – discontinued, but try Brave Red

This week has been busy busy with holiday shopping and activities (Santa and Dyker Heights Christmas lights!) and trying out our brand new workout program that will be officially launching mid-January. It’s going to be only TWENTY minutes, you guys! I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty perfect for this busy mama. I’m filling up my group now, so for those of you who are looking for a plan of action in 2019, let’s get to chatting!

This weekend we have a few holiday parties coming up and we are taking the boys to the NY Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show, because they have pretty much been waiting to go back since last year. This time of year is my absolutely favorite, so while it’s busy with work, I’m trying to soak up every second I can with the fam!

What do you love about this time of year?

XO,

Gina

Oh Hey

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Button Up: Old Navy / Jeans: Old Navy  (Santa Catarina wash) / Slip Ons: Old Navy – these are unfortunately sold out, but these other slip-ons are great for the season! / Lip: MAC Amplified Dark Side

Happy Friday! I don’t know about you, but I feel like Old Navy has been killin’ it this season. I haven’t been wanting to spend a ton of cash on clothes lately while I’m in sort of that post partum transition period, and I’ve been scoring major deals here on jeans, shoes, sweaters, and more!

I love a good plaid button up for fall, and I have been loving everything burgundy lately, so I had to snatch this one up. I also just added the same shirt in red and black buffalo plaid to my Christmas List which is perfect for the holiday season.

Speaking of the holidays, this velvet tee was also a recent purchase that I’m going to be wearing all month long. I got it in the Galactic color, but they are all beautiful.

Lastly, if you’re a mama like me, you may be looking for some adorable holiday outfits for your kiddos. My boys will likely not allow me to match them forever, so I took advantage while I could and I grabbed this shirt in 5T, 3T, and then they have a matching one for baby. How presh, right? They will be looking adorable on Christmas Eve!

So many things are on sale right now…the options are truly awesome…so it’s a perfect time to head over there and scoop up some steals!

It’s been a crazy week around here with the launch of our new 20 minute workout program coming in January! I’ve been signing up so many new challengers and coaches to be a part of our team test group with me, and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s not too late to commit, so please feel free to reach out if you have goals to reach in 2019.

That said, I’m looking forward to relaxing a bit this weekend. I plan to work on (and hopefully finish) my holiday cards (while sipping wine and watching Christmas movies of course), and the boys are SUPER excited about a visit to Santa’s Workshop!

What are you most excited about this holiday season?

Have a great weekend!

XO,

Gina

 

READER’S CHOICE BEAUTY AWARDS: PART 2

HYear!

 

My goodness, you guys, I almost feel embarrassed posting Part 2 of this Beauty Awards post almost a year later! But better late than never, right? Part 1 was all about SKINCARE, and Part 2 is going to be all about MAKEUP! I’m definitely not a beauty blogger by any means, and makeup tutorials are not my thing. However, I do love wearing makeup. I feel most like myself when I take the time to put some on, and especially love a good pop of lip color! I come from a family of ladies who know how to rock a bold lip, and so that’s always just been a go-to product for me, and it’s an easy way take your look to the next level.

In the past couple years, I have been trying out some more clean, natural brands and so this list will reflect many new, clean brands that you all have recommended. However, there are still products on here that we all use and love that aren’t in the natural category. Just want to make sure I mention that up front! I am always open to learning about different products, so if you have any favorites that aren’t on this list, please send them my way!

I have linked the ones you recommended here for your convenience and maybe you will find something for yourself or a loved one for the holidays.

Without further ado…here are your Reader’s Choice FAVORITE MAKEUP products!!!

 

Under Eyes:

Tarte Shape Tape

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Smashbox Color Correcting Stick

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Face:

Tarte Aquacealer Concealer

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Makeup Forever Matte Velvet Skin Foundation

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BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

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Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream

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Young Living Savvy Minerals Foundation

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Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer

 

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Benefit Watts Up! Highlighter

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BareMinerals Gen Nude Powder Blush

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Flower Beauty Flower Pots Blush

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Lips:

MAC Lipstick (Mattes)

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MAC Lipstick (Cream)

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MAC Cremesheen Glass Lip Gloss

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100 Percent Pure Matte Lipstick

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Bite Beauty Lipstick

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Red Apple Lipstick

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Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick

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L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick

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Maybelline New York Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm

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Eyes:

Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette

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Rodan + Fields Lash Boost

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Make Up Forever Eyeshadow

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MAC Paint Pot (Painterly shade as eyeshadow primer)

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Benefit Ka-Brow Cream Gel Eyebrow Color

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Lancome Definicils Mascara

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L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

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Stila Liquid Waterprood Eye Liner

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Nails:

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

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Color Street Nail Strips

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Zoya Nail Polish

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JINSoon Nail Polish

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OPI Drip Dry Lacquer

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Oh em gee!!!! Okay, that was a lot of makeup!!! Thank you SO much for all of your beauty recommendations for Makeup…I appreciate it so very much! I have used many of these on the list, but there are definitely some that I am going to go out and try for SURE! Hope you guys get a chance to try them as well!

Do you love some things on this list? Do you think something needs to be added? I want to know!!! Please leave your comments below!

The Notes Family is getting ready to head down to Maryland for the Thanksgiving holiday. Trying to tie up all the loose ends around here…getting all the blog posts prepped, getting all the invites out for my upcoming health/fitness Challenge Groups, doctor’s appointments, laundry, packing, and all the rest. We are getting excited to see family and friends next week and for all the delicious food! OH! And I scheduled my annual (yes I know) hair appointment with my girl Nikki Cagle for when I’m in town. If you guys have any inspo for what I should do, please send my way!

Happy Sunday!

XO,

Gina