Monkey Turns Three

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Dear Nico,

Three years ago today you came into our lives 2 weeks earlier than expected. I thought I would be going to work, but the doctor said it was time for you to make your appearance. Papa and I were freaked out and nervous but excited at the same time. It took probably 36 hours or so before you finally arrived, but there you were. So tiny and fragile, my little monkey.

You changed my world the very minute you arrived. I learned about unconditional love and how fiercely I could love another human being. I learned that being a mom is hard…like REALLY hard…like how did no one ever tell me it would be THIS hard?! But it’s also the most rewarding job I have ever had in my entire life.

I have watched you grow over these past three years into an incredible little human. Everything you choose to do you do it full out with 110% effort. There is no holding back. You go all in…always. You are so intelligent, always seeking knowledge and answers. Reading books is one of your favorite things to do, and I know that will be such a huge asset in your future. You have a wild sense of adventure like your Papa, but you also approach situations with caution like myself.

You may drive me crazy sometimes, especially when you are tired and don’t want to nap, but you also make me melt into a puddle when you are sweet to your little brother or you hug me tight.

I seriously cannot believe you are three years old today. This is the year you go from toddler to little boy. You are growing and changing and becoming more and more independent each day. It makes me sad to lose my little baby, but I’m so proud of all your new accomplishments and achievements and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Happy 3rd Birthday to my Sweet Little Monkey, Nico Bonzo! Mama and Papa love you SOOOOOOOO freakin’ much.

XOXO,

Mama

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Happy 1st Birthday Luca

Baby Luca Has Arrived

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My Luca Bear. I cannot even believe my little baby is ONE today!!! It feels like you were born yesterday, but that also you have been here forever. When we got the news of my pregnancy with you, I thought for sure you would be the crazy one. Your brother was a pretty awesome baby, and I thought there is no way we could get two awesome babies. You kept me up all night kicking my belly during my pregnancy…and I guess the whole keeping me up thing hasn’t really changed haha, but aside from that (and the fact that you occasionally bite me…ouch dude, you should really probably stop that), you are pretty much the most awesome baby ever. Just sayin’. Like AWESOME.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine such a cool, chill, laid-back, patient child would arrive in my arms. I suppose I have your father to thank for that! It’s tough being the 2nd child. I’m not a 2nd child myself, so it was hard to imagine until you came along. Sorry little sis. But yeah, in this past year I have seen how hard it can be. Your older brother getting tons of attention, following his schedule…you along for the ride…mostly dragged along, woken up from naps constantly, pushed around, toys stolen. Of course there are the hugs too (mostly too tight). We kept a book of all your brother’s milestone moments, but we were too busy and stressed to create yours. But you honestly have handled everything like a champ…and with the BIGGEST SMILE!!!!

You rarely complain, you are incredibly patient, you go with the flow, and again with that smile!!! You are ALWAYS smiling. Like the happiest baby on the planet. I don’t think you even really cried for like the first 6 months of life. Not really. You truly made becoming a mother for the 2nd time a much easier process than I had anticipated.

A year ago today, you arrived in my arms and it was love at first sight. I knew how hard I could love a human being because I had your brother, so when you came, it was just instant. I knew I would love you just as much. And my love has kept growing throughout this past year.

I love the way you light up and crawl toward me when I come into the room with your little one legged crawl.

I love how your eyes smile along with your mouth…your Irish eyes are always smiling.

I love the way you snuggle your head on my shoulder when I sing to you before bedtime.

I love how independent you are with feeding yourself, and it’s seriously impressive how much you can eat.

I love how interested you are in animal sounds, dancing, drawing, my workouts, + the ABC song.

I love the way you push cars around a room and say “Broom Broom!” like you are having the time of your life.

I love the way you are always happy to see your brother even though he can sometimes be a butthead to you. You forgive him every time.

I love how when you say “Papa” it’s always in a whisper.

I love your sense of humor and that belly laugh that erupts whenever I show you a silly face.

I love those crazy curls on your head that no matter how many times I brush them, they pop up in a mohawk style.

My Luca Bear. Luca Dukes. Dukes. Goose. You have made our world so incredibly happy. You bring so much joy to our family and I seriously cannot imagine what life would be like without you in it. Apparently this birthday means you are a toddler now, but I don’t believe it. You still seem SO tiny to me (and maybe that’s because you are), but you are still my little baby, and I don’t see that changing for awhile. I am constantly amazed at the new things you accomplish on a daily basis and while I want to really keep you my baby forever, I am also excited to see you learn and grow even more in this next year.

Happy 1st Birthday to my sweet little angel baby. I love you to the moon and back again.

Love,

Mama

Let the Countdown Begin

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This photo was taken 2 years ago at our last family trip to the Outer Banks. Nico was almost 1 year old, and I was so excited to bring him there for the first time. You see, the Outer Banks is like a second home. My parents grew up vacationing here, and then I grew up with my sister and cousins vacationing here. My uncle lived here for 25+ years, and my cousin also calls this place home. We have family friends here, we know our way around, we have our favorite restaurants, beach spots, shops, and traditions we keep. We spend long days here lounging in sand or playing corn hole on the beach. We ride the waves and sit in chairs getting lost in conversation until we realize we are halfway in the ocean lol. We go for jogs and walks down to the pier and back. We spend our evenings with a quick dip in the pool then off to celebrating summer birthdays, dining on restaurant seafood + home cooked pasta and meatballs, and mingling with family. Our late nights are spent here playing board games, drinking wine and playing guitar/singing out on the deck. It’s the one time of year where my entire family gathers to be together at once. We may need more than one house to fit all of us there, but we make it happen and we create the best memories.

I’m sure many of you have a place like this that is so special for you and your family. What is that place for you???

As I think about our upcoming trip to the OBX in 4 days, I think about my little Luca…who is the age and size that Nico was in this photo. I am excited for him to experience all of this for the first time, and happy that Nico may even be old enough to carry some of the memories home with him (and maybe some seashells too).

I may be raising little city kids up here in Brooklyn, but they sure as heck will be OBX beach babes every summer.

Counting down – 4 days ’til OBX fam

XO,

Gina

Belvedere Sparkle

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Dress: Vijiv via Amazon Fashion (I know. I can’t believe it either. Amazing, right? Just wait ’til you see the price!) / Shoes: Nina / Bracelet and Earrings: Gifted / Sunglasses: Vintage / Lip: MAC Up the Amp / Bag: Old, cheap, and don’t remember! Oops! – But LOVE this one here

TGIF!!! Every Friday deserves a little SPARKLE!

Can you believe I seriously found this dress on Amazon? Like PRIME, 2-day shipping Amazon. With 3 weddings in June, I needed some fancy dresses quick, and I was happy to say that Amazon did NOT disappoint! As surprised as I was to find this gorgeous number, I am actually obsessed with this dress, and wish I had a million more occasions that I could wear it to!

This occasion in particular was the beautiful wedding of a fantastic couple and long-time friend. It was held at the classy establishment The Belvedere in Baltimore, Maryland. This classic, fancy, old-style venue seemed like the perfect opportunity for a flapper dress.

That being said…we rocked out the night to a Bruce Springsteen cover band (who was amazing) all night long! I think it was the busiest dance floor in that I’ve seen in my wedding guest history (and I have been to a lot of weddings!) The energy was plentiful and the dance floor was PACKED the whole night through.

Honestly?!?!?!?! I think the venue had some trouble getting us out of the building!!! It was as if we were at a real-live concert and the lights came on to kick us out, but everyone just screamed ENCORE!!! Pretty cool if you ask me.

SUCH a fun night, and I’m looking forward to posting more photos from their wedding soon!

Tomorrow, we are having a joint birthday party for both Nico + Luca!! Their birthdays aren’t until the end of the month, but we will be on vacation, so we wanted to do something at home with our friends in the neighborhood and any family that could come to town. We are doing a LEGO theme this year and we have been busy building over here this morning! I seriously cannot believe Nico will be 3 and Luca will be 1 already. It’s like I snapped my fingers and 3 years have gone by. They always tell you it will happen that way, but it’s hard to imagine when you are living it! The days are slow but the years are too quick!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!

XO,

Gina

The Best Message

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I got a message from one of my challengers this morning:

“I’ve noticed some positive changes since I started P90X3 – definitely more peppy and happy when I walk into work and also feel less stressed and anxious about doing chores at the house. Also getting hungrier. I was a little later than usual this morn cuz granola wasn’t gonna cut it I needed real food – ham, eggs, cheese toast.”

You won’t believe it, but this challenger is my HUSBAND! I have been a coach now for 20 months and while he has been super supportive of me building my business, he has yet to try a program himself. I admit my jaw dropped to the floor last week when he told me he was going to give the program a shot. You see I had tried for what felt like forever, but it just goes to show that you just have to be ready to make that commitment. Even if I was ready for him to try it, he would not have been successful without making the decision himself. He’s now on Day 4 and rocking out each workout with enthusiasm. I can’t wait to see his progress the next 3 months!

In addition, it’s amazing to know that as a coach you not only are able to help people reach their goals, but that you are able to make a difference right in your own household with your own family. His decision to improve his health and fitness will have an impact on our future together. His goal is to ride his bike into his old age…to be able to play with his grandchildren. Now it may seem like that is pretty far off at this point, but really it’s not. Every step you take in life will get you a little bit closer to that goal. And I want to be climbing mountains with him and traveling the world together ’til we are old and gray.

So proud of you babe. Looking forward to growing together, continuing to make positive changes and living a healthy lifestyle for our future and for our children’s future. Keep up the great work Zack!

XO,
Gina

 

Summer Lovin’

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Excited to share photos from the beautiful wedding of E + M! Such a gorgeous day up in Ithaca, NY. It was our first trip away from the kiddos (thanks to my mom!) and it was such a wonderful weekend! E + M really made everyone feel SO welcome the entire weekend starting out with a Southern style lakeside BBQ on Friday night, the beautiful outdoor/indoor wedding on Saturday, and ending with a hotel brunch on Sunday.

Rather than tapping silverware on wine glasses to achieve a newlywed smooch, they requested tables jump up and sing songs with the word “love” in it to get the kiss! This could not have been more perfect for our group of friends attending the wedding (sidenote – we kind of love karaoke), and I think maybe we got a little too into it haha. You could truly see the personalities and the sense of humor of the newlyweds shine through in each detail of the wedding and more importantly you could see how much love they have for each other.

Congratulations E + M! Love you and hope you are enjoying the married life!

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I just got back to New York from my recent Beachbody Coach Summit trip to Nashville! WOW!!! It was an amazing experience and only reaffirms why I am so happy to be involved with such an incredible company and group of people who changes lives each and every day. Can’t wait to share more on the blog from my trip!

That being said, it was so nice to snuggle all my boys after being gone for 5 days!

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Sun Kissed

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Dress: ASOS / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Earrings: Stella & Dot / Bracelet: Vintage / Sunglasses: Brickyard Buffalo / Lip: MAC Snob

Ahh this dress! During an online shopping spree for our June wedding season, I saw this dress at ASOS, and I just HAD to have it! I just love the bright neon florals for summertime, and it was perfect for the outdoor/indoor wedding we attended in Ithaca, NY. I hedged my bets with this one hoping it would fit as only the smaller size was available. I normally would have gone for the slightly larger one, but it seems my hard work in the “gym” aka my living room has paid off and I was able to slip into this delightful fit and flare silhouette! So happy that it worked out, and we had an amazing evening watching the sun go down and dancing the night away with great friends.

It’s been a busy summer here with lots of traveling and more coming up in the next few weeks! Nashville is SOOOOO soon!!! Eeeep! If you don’t remember, here is a post of me from last year’s Summit breakin’ it down with CIZE at 8 months pregnant! LOL! I am getting so excited to return to the place where I met all my coaching teammates in person for the first time and looking forward to learning from the best about how to keep moving my business forward and changing lives along the way.

In other news…not that you all particularly care, but the fellow moms out there might! We are in the midst of potty training with my toddler, and so far it’s going MUCH better than I had anticipated! I speed read the Oh Crap! book which helped to reassure me that we were more or less on the right track! I can’t believe we are crossing this big milestone and he seems to be aging SO rapidly right now! Threenager attitude and all! LOL! The baby learned to full out crawl and now a week later he is pulling himself to standing. SLOW DOWN KID! Ahhh they grow up too fast don’t they? But I do admit, it will be pretty darn cute (and terrifying) when they are running around together/in opposite directions. Haha.

Hope you are all having a great week so far!! I am having a blast with the Jam out in July Challenge!! I don’t know why I haven’t been blasting music in my house during my workouts already! SUCH a great idea and such great motivation!

Make it a happy one!

XO,

Gina

Jam out July

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Like music? Like working out? Like listening to music WHILE working out?!?!

Then THIS is the challenge for you!!!

Join some of the top coaches on Team SPARK! July 18th for Jam Out July!!! This FREE 5 Day Health + Fitness Challenge will incorporate a summer jam for each workout on each day of the week. You can listen to the song once for a quick mini workout, play the song on repeat for more of a challenge, or string them all together at the end of the week to pump up that jam!

We will also be sharing healthy recipes and tips for summer fun! Should be a good time, and you won’t want to miss this one!

Comment below with your email address to JOIN the fun or reach out to me for more details!

gina.notes26 {at} gmail.com

Cannot WAIT!

XO,

Gina

Watercolors

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Dress: Olive & Oak / Shoes: Call it Spring / Sunnies & Bracelet: Vintage / Clutch: Express / Earrings: Stella & Dot by Jess Sigler / Lip: MAC Up the Amp 

No, I’m not traveling to Miami, but this “Miami Maxi” by Olive & Oak  is the perfect flowing dress for summer! Fancy enough to dress up for a wedding, but easy going enough for a Sunday BBQ, this is one of my favorite versatile looks for summer. Plus the colors are just gorg!

June was the month of weddings for us! Lots of traveling, lots of love, and lots of dressing up! Will be sharing some more summer wedding looks on the blog here in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned.

We spent this past week at the lake in the Poconos with friends celebrating Independence Day. It’s getting tougher to “relax” the more kiddos we add to the mix here on vacation haha, but we did have a great time!

Today in my challenge group it’s “Random Act of Kindness” Day. It seems that the world could surely use a little (or a lot) more kindness, so I would love it if the rest of you could also participate in this little challenge! Please do at least one random act of kindness for today and report back in the comments section when you have done something KIND!

Hope you all had an awesome weekend, and cheers to a great week ahead!

XO,

Gina

Baltimore BoatHouse Wedding

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I am SO excited to finally share these photos from the wedding we attended at the beginning of the month. My college bestie and roomie, Nichole (otherwise known as Tissy) married the love of her life, Tom, at Canton Waterfront Park. Their story is special, and I am happy to say that I was there when they met in Boston through our mutual friends (and other college bestie/roomie + her hubby who performed the ceremony!). Who knew that at our friend’s apartment and a night out in Boston (and it was one crazy night! LOL!) that years later they would end up as husband + wife. Their ceremony was intimate and incorporated everyone who attended. The whole event captured their personalities, their humor, their style, they favorite foods, and the happiness they have together. They shared their first dance on the altar, and I think it’s pretty clear how much love they have for each other as shown by their giant smiles.

Congratulations Tissy + Tom! Love you both so much, and wishing you a lifetime of smiles just like these!🙂

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This last photo is my favorite. I just love how happy they look together! What a perfect day and a perfect couple. Hope these photos give you a glimpse into how beautiful it was.

Hope you are all having a great week so far. Nico had his last day of his first year of school on Tuesday. I can’t believe how fast it flew by! Summer is officially here for us and we are heading to a lake house at the Poconos on Saturday for a week to celebrate the holiday! Looking forward to a little R + R coming up as well some adventures swimming and hiking.

Make it a great day everyone!

XO,

Gina