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.

PicTapGo-Image (34).jpg

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

img_1549_layers_v1

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!

img_5082

 

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

img_5336

 

Nico tried and loved gymnastics for the first time

img_0591

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

img_5818

 

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!

img_6731

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!

img_6074

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.

img_8170

 

Became obsessed with dragonfruit. It’s seriously delicious!

img_6287

 

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

img_8202

 

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

img_8767

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

img_7334

img_7336

img_7351

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

img_7835

 

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

img_3774

 

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!

img_0960

img_1010 (1)

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!

img_6093

 

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!

img_1874

img_2042

img_2329

 

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!

img_2865

 

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

img_3240

 

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

img_4144

289A0063

 

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.

img_6358

 

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.

img_5904

 

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

img_6871

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!

img_7890 (1)

 

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.

img_8193

 

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

289A9783

2018 Fashion Round Up

IMG_0776_Layers_v1

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???

IMG_0831_Layers_v1

IMG_0890_Layers_v1

IMG_0676_Layers_v1

IMG_1107_Layers_v1

IMG_1161_Layers_v1

289A1460

IMG_1398_Layers_v1

IMG_1631_Layers_v1

IMG_1738_Layers_v1

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

IMG_1704_Layers_v1

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!

IMG_1685_Layers_v1

IMG_1718_Layers_v1

IMG_1738_Layers_v1

IMG_1741_Layers_v1

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

IMG_1629_Layers_v1

IMG_1619_Layers_v1

IMG_1612_Layers_v1

IMG_1631_Layers_v1

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

tarteshapetape

 

Smashbox Color Correcting Stick

smashboxcolorcorrectingstick

 

Face:

Tarte Aquacealer Concealer

tarteaquacealer

 

Makeup Forever Matte Velvet Skin Foundation

MakeupForeverMatteVelvetSkin

 

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

baremineralsbbcream

 

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream

pacificaalightbbcream

 

Young Living Savvy Minerals Foundation

yougnlivingsavvyminerals.png

Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer

 

benefithoola.jpeg

 

Benefit Watts Up! Highlighter

benefitwattsup.jpg

 

BareMinerals Gen Nude Powder Blush

baremineralsblush.jpg

 

Flower Beauty Flower Pots Blush

flower beauty flower pots

 

 

Lips:

MAC Lipstick (Mattes)

maclipstick

MAC Lipstick (Cream)

maclipstickcream.jpg

MAC Cremesheen Glass Lip Gloss

maccremesheenglass.jpeg

 

100 Percent Pure Matte Lipstick

10percentpure.jpg

 

Bite Beauty Lipstick

bite beauty

 

Red Apple Lipstick

redapplelipstick

 

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick

lancome

 

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick

loreal2

 

Maybelline New York Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm

babylips

 

Eyes:

Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette

naked2.jpg

Rodan + Fields Lash Boost

rodanandfieldslashboost

Make Up Forever Eyeshadow

makeupforever.jpeg

 

MAC Paint Pot (Painterly shade as eyeshadow primer)

macpaintpot.jpeg

 

Benefit Ka-Brow Cream Gel Eyebrow Color

benefitkabrow

 

Lancome Definicils Mascara

lancomedefinicils.jpg

 

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

lorealmascara

 

Stila Liquid Waterprood Eye Liner

stilaliquidliner

 

 

Nails:

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

essiegel

 

Color Street Nail Strips

colorstreet.jpg

 

Zoya Nail Polish

zoya

 

JINSoon Nail Polish

jinsoon

 

OPI Drip Dry Lacquer

opi drip dry

 

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

 

Basic

IMG_1432_Layers_v1

IMG_1400_Layers_v1

IMG_1388_Layers_v1

IMG_1431_Layers_v1

IMG_1405_Layers_v1

IMG_1410_Layers_v1

IMG_1398_Layers_v1.jpg

IMG_1435_Layers_v1

Cardigan Sweater: Target / Tee: Target (this color not available online) / Denim: Motherhood Maternity (yep, still rockin’ em) / Booties: Target – these are old, but I’m also loving these and these / Sunnies: Vintage / Necklace: Stella & Dot / Travel Mug: Francesca’s / Lip: ModelCo – trio available on Birchbox / Nails: Essie Luxedo

Happy Fall ya’ll!!!

Excited for my first outfit post on the blog since having my little man, Knox. Fall is in full swing, and we are finally feeling those chillier temperatures. I always thought I was a summer girl, because I absolutely LOVE the beach, but lately the past few years of summer humidity have me enjoying the fall season so much! (And let’s be honest…I’m sure the huge preggo belly all the way through this summer also had me craving fall! Haha.)

We went apple and pumpkin picking the other weekend and Nico is begging us to carve pumpkins this year. Last weekend we went shopping to begin putting together our Halloween costumes. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (only behind Christmas), and our neighborhood really goes all out, so it makes things extra fun. We are also hoping to score a hike up to Bear Mountain at some point this fall before it gets too cold, because the foliage is amazing this time of year.

My outfit is a pretty basic fall get-up, but I loved the color on this cardigan and it’s super soft. It’s lightweight and perfect for layering during the fall season. I’m still rocking the maternity jeans at 8 weeks post partum, but I’m about a week and a half into my 21 day exercise and nutrition program that I’ve been following, and I’m feeling great! I haven’t missed a day of working out, and I’ve been been following the nutrition pretty well although I have had some extra meals/snack to compensate for nursing, and I’ve also had a few glasses of wine. Gotta survive #momofthree life, right?

Wishing you guys a Happy Friday and an awesome weekend!

XO,

Gina

 

Knox’s Newborn Shoot

289A0063

Oh my goodness, I am so excited to finally share these newborn photos of our sweet baby, Knox Gannon Notes, taken by Tyler Lyons of Scratch Studios! Tyler was so patient with our family as Knox was super fussy during the first half of the shoot until he finally fell asleep and allowed us to position him in cute poses haha. We also wanted to get some family shots with our new babe, and you know how photo shoots go with two toddlers! But Tyler was awesome and patient and did such a great job! These photos were taken when Knox was about 8 days old, and I can’t believe he’s now already over 5 weeks!

289A0120

289A0151

289A0157

289A0097

289A0033

289A9918

289A9953

289A0026

289A0007

289A0023

289A9857

289A9897

289A0112

289A0137

289A9783

289A0124

289A0180

So thankful to Tyler for these amazing shots, and it’s going to be tough to figure out which ones to print and frame for the house!

Since my last post, nursing has definitely gotten a bit better. The craniosacral therapy was MAGICAL and really helped with Knox’s neck tension. I felt a huge difference after this appointment, and I HIGHLY recommend Amy from CranioBaby. He still needs work with stretching out his tongue which we are working on with sucking exercises and we are doing more tummy time for neck strength, etc. We aren’t in a perfect spot, and it can still bit a little painful at times, but hopefully it will get better and better as he grows and his latch improves. The good news is that this mama is a milk machine, so he is still getting plenty and growing strong.

Sleep is going okay. At night he is waking up twice currently, eating quickly, and going back down in the rock and play. Naps are tougher as he is a pretty light sleeper during the day, and I have two other noisy boys haha. He also likes to be moving for naps so we have been either using the swing, the stroller, or the K’tan wrap. As many of you mamas know, things are constantly changing with newborns, and as soon as you think you figure something out, then everything changes. Am I right?! So it’s a day by day survival.

This week has been tougher on me as I’m trying to navigate three kids on little sleep, also running a business, and trying to find some time for myself to clear my head, which is insanely hard to do. I know it’s just a season of life, and I’m trying to soak it in, but some days you just need a good cry, and that’s what happened yesterday. I find it tough to meet the needs of a newborn at the same time as a toddler. Something I went through last time around as well. It’s almost easier having all three boys together, because at least the older two can entertain each other. When it’s only two of them, it’s harder, because everyone wants and needs mama’s attention. Being a mom is not for the weak my friends, and my babies need a LOT of me right now. I just have to remember to ask for a break when I need it. Whether I have my hubby take over, call a babysitter for help, go take a walk to clear my head, call a friend or family member, etc, it’s so important to keep myself in a good headspace, so I can be a better mom for my babes. I think it will also help once I am cleared to start exercising again as that is a good stress reliever for me. My post partum appointment is next week, so I am hoping to start back up with my exercise programs again on October 8 for those who want to join me!

As always, thanks for reading! And I hope you enjoyed these sweet little photos as much as I did! Wishing you all a fantastic end to your week!

XO,

Gina

Knox: A Birth Story

IMG_1298_Layers_v1

Introducing our 3rd sweet boy, Knox Gannon Notes! He graced the world with his presence on Sunday August 19, 2018 at 6:48pm at 6 lbs 7.1 oz and 19 inches. I can’t believe today marks 3 weeks that he joined and completed our little family. We are so happy to have him here. Both Nico and Luca are over the moon and constantly fawning over our little guy. They don’t really understand that he mostly eats and sleeps in these early days, and they just want to play with him all day! They have taken on their new roles as big brother and big, big brother very well, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

During my pregnancy with Knox, it was the first time I really felt strong signs that labor was going to be on the way. I was induced 2 weeks early with Nico due to IGR (intrauterine growth restriction — turns out he was fine, and just small, which was no surprise to me), and with Luca my water broke, but I never went into active labor and also had to be induced. This time around, I REALLY didn’t want to be induced. I was really hopeful that I would be able to go into labor on my own.

I started to see (well FEEL) signs of labor preparation as early as the 2nd trimester with Braxton Hicks contractions. I would feel them usually at nighttime when relaxing at the end of the day. This baby was larger than the others and he felt super heavy to carry around especially in that 3rd trimester. I tried to keep moving as much as I could throughout my pregnancy, but once about Week 37 hit, I was lucky if I got in one good workout per week. My body was OVER it!!!! I remember that after walking around, even just a little bit, I felt like I needed a huge rest after. It was uncomfortable to walk, get up and down, sleep at night, and even just drive my car. My baby was getting so big, and I only had so much room in my little 5’0 frame! I was READYYYY!

On my 34th Birthday, July 26th, we went to Coney Island as a family to celebrate with my boys along with my sister and brother-in-law. It was a really great day, but as we were walking around, if I started to walk too fast, I got SHOOTING pains going up through my body from below. I have since found out that this is a “thing” and it’s called “lightning crotch.” WHAT?!?! Haha, I know…I had no idea either. It didn’t feel at all like contractions, but I knew something was happening and he just HAD to be arriving soon!!!

Time passed, and then nothing…haha. I started to get super impatient. Started to do every little thing around the house…got the boys bunk beds, ordered all the baby things that we neglected to order earlier, started purging a bunch of toys we didn’t need anymore, cleaned out our office. Thank God hubby was on board to help with all of this. I was on a rampage and was starting to get super bored. I was too scared to go too far, because I was CONVINCED the baby was going to arrive any minute…but then he wasn’t coming and so it was a lot of days sitting at home in the AC and nesting nesting nesting away haha.

At my 38 week midwife appointment, they checked my cervix and I was already at 2cm dilated! Now for many, this may not seem like a big deal, but for someone who had only dilated on her own to 1cm in the past, I took this as a good sign. I had been eating TONS of dates, drinking loads of loose red raspberry leaf tea, taking primose oil capsules every day, and moving around as much as possible since about 36-37 weeks, so maybe something was working here! I was feeling more and more Braxton Hicks so I felt something must be happening soon.

A week goes by, and at my 39 week appointment, nothing had changed. I was a little defeated, but hey maybe he just wasn’t ready yet. Since this baby was bigger than my other two, I at least knew that he wouldn’t be evicted for an induction unless he was super late to arrive. That said…remember how READY I was? As much as I really truly wanted to enjoy all the kicks and feelings of my last pregnancy, I also was just very uncomfortable and wanted him to arrive ASAP! So when the midwife asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes, it was an immediate YES PLEASE!!! It took her awhile…apparently I have an oddly shaped cervix, but she eventually made it happen. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if it does, it usually helps to speed along labor to happen within 24-48 hours.

Welp, that time went by, and nothing was happening. I was still feeling contractions, but they weren’t strong and they definitely weren’t very regular. I started to become convinced that maybe he was never coming, and I would have to be induced again at the end of the month…

Nonetheless, we decided to have my mom come up the weekend before my due date so she would be here when it all went down to watch Nico and Luca. It’s funny because as soon as she got here, it was this overwhelming sense that okay, this might really happen soon. We were all ready to go. We stocked up on groceries at the Farmer’s Market that Saturday and walked around on that super hot day.

Next thing I remember is waking up the next morning to a long contraction that started out in my back and got stronger than normal. It was 5AM, and I was actually moaning in my sleep and it woke me up. 20 minutes later, it happened again, and I said…”Zack, today might be the day.” Now at the time, that statement didn’t carry a TON of weight, because I had been saying comments like this for about the past 3 weeks!!! Haha. So what did I really know? But it felt stronger than normal, and he couldn’t stay in there forever right?

The weird thing was…the WHOLE family woke up that morning at 5AM, which is very unusual. Zack was up…Nico and Luca came into our room…and even my mom was awake in the living room. It was a strange feeling like we all knew something was about to happen that day. Zack made us a big breakfast on my request (because I thought maybe it would be my last meal haha), and I felt contractions on and off that morning but generally about every 20 minutes.

As excited as I was that something may happen that day, I got slightly discouraged when after 5-6 hours nothing had really progressed. I was still feeling contractions, but they still weren’t super strong and they weren’t getting any closer together. Zack and I decided to go for a walk to try and get things moving while my mom stayed home with the boys. We walked and walked for about an HOUR, and at this point, I started to get PISSED. Haha. I think I only had 2 small contractions during that walk, and I was getting discouraged and uncertain. My mother in law (also a midwife) mentioned something about prodromal labor, which basically means you could feel these things and it could last a few days or even weeks before “real” labor begins. I was super frustrated, and decided to just lay down and rest after our walk.

At that point, I was texting some of my best friends, and they were all curious if anything had progressed. I mentioned to my childhood best friend Rhiannon what was going on, but that things weren’t really progressing. She wrote back that it sounded like it may happen soon, and told me, “It could change any moment.” LITERALLY a moment after her text arrived, I felt a huge GUSH!!!! And started saying, “Omg omg omg!!!” My water had BROKEN! And also, Rhi, I think you are psychic.

Now that my water had broken, it was a game changer. I knew this baby would be arriving no later then 24 hours later. Holy cow! This was getting REAL! This time around, my body knew what to do. In a short amount of time, my contractions started to get stronger and also closer together. It was happening pretty fast, and when they were about 5 minutes apart for about 30 minutes, we decided we should move in the direction of the hospital so that when things picked up we would be close by.

I had a few contractions on the way there that were pretty intense, but less than I had anticipated, and again started to question myself if we were going too early. Zack asked me if I wanted him to drop me off at the front of the hospital, but I didn’t want to wait alone or walk to labor and delivery by myself while he parked the car and brought in all of our stuff, so I told him it was no big deal to go with him to park, especially since my contractions had kind of slowed down.

Welp, I immediately regretted that decision! Haha. As soon as I stepped out of the car and started to walk, it was like contraction upon contraction…every couple steps I would have another one (yes on the street corner!) and have to bend over and breathe it out until it subsided and I could take a few more steps. That walk to the hospital from the parking lot across the street (and down the hill) was probably the most excruciating walk (and longest walk of such a short distance) of my life. And poor Zack was carrying a million things too.

By the time, I got to triage, I was in some serious contraction pain and definitely making some loud noise up in there! Lol. They checked me and I was already at 6cm dilated. So GOOD thing we decided to come to the hospital when we did. I did express that I would want an epidural, but things were moving pretty fast. The contractions were seriously painful and only a couple minutes apart, so there was very little time for rest.

I got to the labor and delivery room, and honestly I just remember screaming like a psychopath, excruciating contractions, my throat killing me from all the screams, and sweating profusely. It felt SO.DAMN.HOT. in there. I don’t know if it was just me, but it was terrible. In terms of the clock, my labor was going REALLY quick, but in my mind this felt like a fricken eternity. It kept getting more and more intense. The midwife questioned me getting an epidural at this point. She checked me and I had moved to 9cm. She told me I was so close, why would I get one at this point, and of course the competitive/challenger part of my personality was thinking, “Hey maybe she is right! Maybe I don’t need it!” And then another contraction would come and I would scream, “I’M DYING!!!!!!!!!!!” Hey…you guys wanted me to keep it real, right? LOL. She had me try to bear down a bit to get him to come down, and it felt so horrible to try and push, the contractions were still right on top of each other and I felt like I would have no energy to push and get through this pain at the same time.

So I tossed my challenger personality to the side and at that point, I very adamantly told them I wanted the epidural. I just needed some relief. They warned me that because it was so late, it may not fully take and that it may be harder to push and that I would have to sit VERY still while the anesthesiologist was inserting the needle, but I didn’t care. This mama wanted that relief and wanted it NOW! Part of me wonders what it would have been like to deliver fully au natural, but at the same time, I don’t regret my decision. Sometimes, us mamas have to do what is right for us in the moment and go with our gut, so that is what I did. Everyone is different, and I did what I felt I needed to do!

The hardest part of the labor was sitting still during 9+cm contractions while this doctor was putting in that epidural. I just kept telling myself “Don’t move, don’t die” lol. I knew that I had to get through this part without moving and just completely stay in my head until it was over for the sake of myself and my baby, and then I would feel some relief. As predicted, the epidural didn’t fully take since I was so far along and I could still feel some pain (although much less). They had to add to it two times before I stopped feeling the pain, and then at that point my legs were completely NUMB. Like way more numb than I had ever been with previous births. I couldn’t feel my legs at all. They felt like dead tree trunks. I thought to myself, “how am I ever going to push now if I can’t feel anything?”

The photo below is us after the epidural kicked in and right before pushing Knox into the world. I was a hot and sweaty mess after going through crazy labor, though the epidural did give me the shakes/chills. I was just happy to not be feeling the pain anymore…

IMG_4024_Layers_v1

Shortly after, Knox’s heart rate started to decelerate because he was dropping into the birth canal. Things were MOVING! It was a little scary and hectic, but it was time for me to push him the heck out. I don’t know how I did it, because I literally felt nothing below the waist, but I dug down deep into my abdomen or something and pushed with all my might. Luckily I am a pro-pusher haha, and he was out before I knew it and on my chest. They did have to rush him away after a minute to check on him because of the heart deceleration, but he was okay, and he was HERE!!!!

(And about 5 hours before his due date…already prompt from birth!)

IMG_0102_Layers_v1

IMG_0172_Layers_v1

It was a pretty surreal experience and so much different than my other two labor and delivery experiences. We had so many moments of calm and lots of time for photos with the other two. This time around, with being in 9+ cm of labor before an epidural it all just felt super intense and crazy and there was no time for any of that! Haha. When he arrived, I honestly just could not believe I was finally holding him in my arms, and I was so utterly happy that he was here and healthy. ❤

IMG_0154_Layers_v1

IMG_0185_Layers_v1

IMG_0184_Layers_v1

My post partum experience was a little crazy as well being at a different hospital than the other two. They had no private rooms available and Zack was unable to stay with me, so shortly after delivery, I was basically on my own (with a pretty terrible roommate quite honestly). Luckily my mother-in-law (who is also a midwife) had arrived at the hospital to meet the baby and check on me before they had to leave, because the post partum unit didn’t do a great job of checking on me that night. They did do a great job of keeping me awake though. We got about ONE measly hour of sleep that night…I was in a lot of pain because I had just delivered, but I had to care for the baby by myself and listen to my roommate having contractions next to me (because she hadn’t given birth yet apparently). When they finally moved her from the room, I was so relieved I could sleep…but then they came in to clean up the room in the middle of the night. Like, really? No sleep in Brooklyn apparently.

IMG_4109_Layers_v1

IMG_4106_Layers_v1

IMG_4112_Layers_v1

IMG_4111_Layers_v1

IMG_4115_Layers_v1

IMG_4130_Layers_v1

I tried my darndest to get out of the hospital a day early, but I had to spend another night there on my own during which Knox was cluster feeding like crazy to get my milk to come in. I also had to fight for a “baby friendly” experience as the staff kept trying to take my baby away to the nursery for every test, etc. and I kept having to remind them that “you are not taking my baby.” It was exhausting and difficult, but we eventually broke free from the hospital and came home.

Because discharge took so incredibly long, I was able to finally take a shower, put on some make-up and take a few photos with our sweet new baby.

IMG_4136_Layers_v1

IMG_1315_Layers_v1

IMG_1295_Layers_v1

IMG_1335_Layers_v1

IMG_1303_Layers_v1

IMG_4147_Layers_v1

IMG_1310_Layers_v1

IMG_1308_Layers_v1

IMG_1281_Layers_v1

IMG_1284_Layers_v1

Once we got home, I was so incredibly grateful to have my mom at our house for the week to help nurse me back to normalcy with her amazing food, helping with laundry and cleaning, and playing with the older boys. And Zack, of course, was also a HUGE help (and still is.)

The most difficult part of our journey thus far has been nursing. After 2 weeks, we discovered that Knox had a posterior tongue tie and lip tie resulting in some SERIOUS pain for this mama. I had felt pain in the beginning with the other two and figured it would subside eventually once he got a little bigger. But it never got any better, and I knew there was something else going on. So we decided to have the ties revised with a doctor who specializes in this field and will hopefully be working with a craniosacral therapist soon to help with getting Knox to open his jaw more, stretching the muscles, etc. so that we can have a better breastfeeding experience. I have felt a little improvement, but we still have a ways to go. I’m hopeful we will get there eventually.

The sleepless nights are tough, but with two other kiddos prior, I am used to no sleep, so that I can deal with! I know these early days are always tough in the beginning, but again…having been through it before, I know we will get into a routine soon, especially with the older boys having just started back at school. Tomorrow is Zack’s first day back to work, and I will be solo managing the 3 boys for the first time on my own! It will be a challenge, but we will find our groove.

In the meantime, I am holding onto ALL the amazing newborn snuggles and cuddles right now, and boy are they awesome. ❤

If you are still reading, thanks for sticking with me! I know that was long-winded, but if you know me by now, then you know I’m not a woman of few words haha.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead and a happy holiday to those celebrating tomorrow.

XO,

Gina