July Express Try-On

Green Floral Halter Maxi

 

Happy Monday and Happy 1st Day of July! July is one of my favorite months for a number of reasons. One, being it’s my birthday month! Where my fellow Leo’s at? (end of July). My sister and I grew up celebrating our birthdays together every summer at the beach. These days, we head to family vacation in August, but we still get plenty of beach days here in NYC believe it or not. I’m also excited for July, because I’m heading on my annual Coach Summit trip!!! Going to meet some of my favorite ladies and business partners out in Indy next week for some fun and inspiration.

Today’s try-on is from Express, and it’s a mix of fun summer pieces that I can dress up or down, take to the beach, take to my Summit parties, wear during our casual conference, or wear running around with my three boys this summer. All items are linked so you can shop. I do receive a tiny commission if you decide to purchase anything using my link (not in-store or outside of this link), and I so very much appreciate you guys using my shop links as it helps me to keep doing try-ons like this! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the pieces!

The green floral halter maxi you see above fits TTS (true to size – I’m wearing an XS), it’s super flowy and very comfortable. The length is perfect for my 5’0 frame, and the back has a super deep V cut for a sweet, but sexy look.

OH and Express is having major sales right now, so mostly everything you can get as discounted prices! Whoop whoop!

 

Floral Romper

The one I tried on here is a S, and it was a little big up top, so I snagged the XS off the mannequin! Hoping it fits perfectly, so I can wear it to one our parties in Indy with some wedges! This one is 50% off right now!

 

Waffle Knit Tee

Camo Shorts

This outfit is perfect for running around the playground with my kiddos or running errands in the hood. The top is really comfy cozy, and the shorts are a lightweight linen blend and easy to move around in. After looking up the tee online, apparently it’s supposed to be an off-the-shoulder-tee, but who knew? I guess you could wear it either way. It comes in a few different colors as well. Shorts on sale!

 

High Waisted Tie Cargo Pant

Paired the same top with these high waisted tie pants that are also the perfect length for my shortie frame. Or maybe they are supposed to be capris, but whatever, they work! Haha. Also crazy comfortable and easy to run around in with three small children yet cute enough to wear to the office if you work somewhere without a super fancy dress-code.

 

White Ribbed Bodysuit

Same pants, different top. This time rocked a white ribbed bodysuit. I haven’t rocked a bodysuit since probably the 80’s (I was 5), but I sized up here to a small, and it honestly wasn’t as uncomfortable as I’d remembered.

 

High Waisted Striped Tie Shorts

I tried to mix and match as much as possible to give you different options for how to style everything, and it also works really well if you’re into the capsule wardrobe thing, but here is the same bodysuit top with these linen blend tie shorts. I have tried these shorts on before. I loved them then, and I still love them now! These are a size S, but they run a tad big, so I needed an XS. These are also 40% off right now!

 

High Waisted Black Tie Shorts

Also comes in navy blue, red, and ivory.

 

Downtown Cami

Swapped out the bodysuit for this versatile chic cami which you can dress up or down. It comes in a TON of colors and it’s buy 1, get one 50% off right now!

 

High Waisted Multi-Stripe Tie Wide Leg Pant

I LOVED these pants on the rack, but in reality they were WAY too long on me. They were totally comfortable and if I were about 9 feet taller, I would definitely rock them. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating, but you do need to be kinda tall!

 

Heathered Strappy Back V-Neck Maxi Dress

FAV item of the day!  I loved it so much, that I bought it even though it’s a little long, and I will have to have it hemmed. This particular one is a Medium, because I couldn’t find my size right away. The XS fit a little tight, and I liked the looser fit, so I ended up getting the Small. It does come in a few other colors as well (I tried it in black of course), but this one was my favorite.

 

Sequin Sheath Dress

Last but not least, this dress was so fun, I had to try it on, even though I have nothing to wear it to! Could be great for a summer wedding or fancy party. It was sort of a pain to get on and off as it’s very body hugging (I would prob wear Spanx under), but I really like it!

And there you have it! Can’t wait to hear what you think and which items you love! I have the full try on Saved on my Instagram Stories if you want to check it out!

Hope you’re all kicking the week off strong! I rocked a double workout today as our BRAND NEW 100 day program launched coaches to begin testing it out! You know I had to try it! It’s going to be a combo of HIIT, strength, and balance for 20-30 minutes per day and it’s set to a LIVE DJ! Very excited! There is ONE sample workouts available for non-coaches if you want to try! Just shoot me a message. Make it a great week everyone! July 4th is coming!

XO,

Gina

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

 

 

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.

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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

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

 

Knox’s Newborn Shoot

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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!

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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

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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…

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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!)

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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. ❤

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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.

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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.

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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