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

{46} Lately…

It’s been a long time since I have written one of these posts, but I have missed them and they were a crowd favorite, so I want to bring them back over here to the blog! And what better time than when I’m sitting here at 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant patiently (not-so-patiently) waiting for this 3rd baby to arrive. Am I right?

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Lately I’ve been…

reading Reading all the things you guys. A couple that I want to highlight that I finished recently are Real Food for Pregnancy  by Lily Nichols. Such great insight and research into optimal nutrition for us preggo mamas. Aside from her incredible nutrition info, she also touches on food myths, exercise, and the 4th trimester. Highly recommend this one! The next book I loved recently was Stranger in the House. I finished it in less than 2 days as I couldn’t put this thriller down! Shari Lapena, author of The Couple Next Door, wrote this one which was a huge hit, and I actually think I liked this book even better! I am also currently reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. Definitely a great read, but also super heavy, so I am taking this one at one chapter per day so I can soak it all in. And lastly, I just picked up Amy Schumer’s book from the library last week, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, which is already to be proving to be a hilarious read.

 writing  Thank you notes from the boy’s bday and baby gifts, and I recently wrote a Baby Mama’s Hospital Bag Checklist that I posted on this here blog if you haven’t seen it yet!

listening  Mixing it up between chill music to relax and dance music to try and dance this baby out. Loving Drake, “In My Feelings” right now. Super original, I know.

thinking About my mama who is driving up to NY right now from MD to come help out with the boys until the baby arrives and beyond. Super thankful!

smelling  The coffee I am drinking…a dark roast from Roatan (off the coast of Honduras) brought to us as a gift from my mother-in-law after her recent trip and made with the French Press. Mmm.

watching  Hubs and I have been watching Mad Men together which is a nice throwback to my advertising background. We are currently on Season 4 and loving it. I am also pumped about the new seasons of both Orange is the New Black and Shameless that just arrived recently on Netflix.

wearing At this point at 39 weeks pregnant, anything that still fits and is comfortable to move in. That mostly means maternity leggings or maxi dresses. I did buy these cute slip on shoes on sale from Old Navy for the fall though.

exercising Right now I’m lucky if I get a couple workouts and some walks in each week. It’s mostly yoga, light weights with holds, or dance aside from walking. Just trying to move a bit to get this baby out already!!! He doesn’t seem to want to budge though.

feeling  Achy all over and just SUPER ready. This is my longest pregnancy yet. Baby #1 came out with an early induction at 38 weeks and Baby #2 came out at 39 weeks due to water break. This is also going to be my largest child at birth (by far I imagine at this point), so he is just feeling super heavy in there and wearing me down big time. Chasing two other kiddos around is a task on it’s own as well!

wanting  This baby to be born. I mean, I think that’s obvious by now, no? Haha.

needing  Today to be the day. Need I say it again? Okay, fine, I’ll give you something else. If baby doesn’t come today, we have been needing to hang up some wall art and family photos in the house that are way overdue. Including some from our recently family photo shoot with Tyler Lyons, which I will hopefully get around to sharing here soon! So that may be a potential project while we are waiting around.

loving  How sweet my older boys have been in anticipation of the new baby. They are constantly giving me belly rubs and kisses, telling me how they are going to hold and help with their new little brother, and even more importantly, they have been playing so nicely together this summer (for the most part) to allow me some rest and work time when I need it. I honestly feel very lucky for them!

wishing For a smooth, quick, painless (hah!) delivery, and my sweet babe to be in my arms soon.

hoping  For some nice weather today so we can get the boys outside to play with their new little pool they got for their birthdays. And maybe I could also go into labor…

craving  ALL the ice cream.

clicking  Around for back-to-school sales for clothes in the next size up for Nico. Old Navy has some great deals going on right now. Also looking around for some post partum wardrobe items. Totally getting sick of all the maternity gear!

following Been loving following Lauren McBride lately, a Connecticut based life and style blogger. She recently became a mama of 3, so she has lots of great mom tips, shopping tips (especially for post partum), and beautiful home posts. Her blog is fantastic, but I also just love following her on Instagram for her daily updates and stories!

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HAPPY SATURDAY!

What are you up to on this summer weekend?

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

Baby Mama’s Hospital Bag Checklist

Baby Mama's Hospital Bag Checklist

As I hit 37 weeks on Monday with my 3rd pregnancy, I realize maybe I’ve been a liiiiiitle too lax this time around! We enjoyed vacation, and then upon returning home, I have been frantically realizing that we might not have as much time as we think we do, and being full term, who knows when this baby will arrive! Along with trying to get bunk beds set up for Nico and Luca, I am also planning their 5th and 3rd Birthday Party, running my health + fitness coaching business, and trying to survive a hot summer home as a stay at home working mama with two kids 24/7 home from school.

I still have yet to pack my bag even after making this checklist…I think that will be the first thing I do after hitting POST on this! But do as I say, and not as I do, right? 😉 Haha. I would recommend having this bag packed by 36 weeks at the latest, because you honestly just never know!!! At least the essentials.

While this checklist may seem quite large…know that I am a serial over-packer. You’re like, ok….WHY am I reading this post then? This is supposed to be HELPFUL! Haha, but hear me out. Everyone has different needs and necessities, and I also got some feedback from many of you that was fantastic…so I do include quite a bit to make sure I covered most of the bases. That said, if I mentioned EVERYTHING that people suggested, then it would become too overwhelming. So I included many of the things that I found useful and a few additions that I know others have truly found useful in past pregnancies.

I will highlight some of my FAVORITES and MUST-HAVES for ME…and then I have included an overall checklist that you can feel free to print out. I included a section at the bottom in case you want to add some things that I didn’t find necessary that you may want to bring.

I hope this is helpful for many of you new mamas out there! Or even any 2nd or 3rd or beyond time mamas, because through the craziness of labor and delivery, sometimes it’s hard to remember back when!

Okay so here we go:

THE HIGHLIGHTS:

1. Footwear: I absolutely recommend a pair of your own non-skid socks as they make you wear them in the hospital so you don’t slip, and the ones they give you are pretty terrible. I just bought this pair from Kindred Bravely. Many people also love to have a pair of slippers. I didn’t really find I needed them having all August babies, but if you are a slipper gal, these are a nice pair. I DO recommend bringing flip flops, because you will want to take a shower at some point post-partum, and you will NOT want to put your bare feet in that shower. I also wore my flip flops coming home, so they were essential!

2. Hair Ties/Head Band: I definitely wanted something to pull my hair back after a long time in the delivery room, so a hair tie was essential for me! A headband can also be a good idea. No need to get fancy here. I picked mine up from a local drug store. Post partum, I needed a brush/comb for after a shower. Some people take the time to blow dry their hair if that’s your thing and makes you feel like a human afterwards, but I threw mine up in a top knot personally and called it a day.

3. Make Up: This is what DOES make me feel more like a human. Haha. Post partum after showering, I definitely wanted to freshen up, especially before it was time to go home and see my mom and family (not that they cared, but again, makes ME feel better!) So I plan to bring this BB cream, powder, under eye concealer, blush, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. I will also bring CHAPSTICK for labor and delivery, which definitely should not be forgotten as your lips will get super dry with all the hospital air and all the heavy breathing.

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4. Nursing Bra: Comfort is KEY. Something I can sleep in as well as wear all day and comfortably nurse in and then go home in. I think I’m going to purchase these. (certain colors are also on sale now!) Will let you know how I like them! I may also bring a stretchier, comfy sports bra or bralette.

5. Robe: I stayed in the hospital gown almost the whole time with my first baby, and wished I had brought a robe, so the 2nd time I brought a comfy one that I got for free from Ulta along with a purchase. So much more comfortable that time around! Here is another one from Victoria’s Secret that looks cozy.

6. Motherlove Nipple Cream + Breast Pads: Not gonna lie. Nursing hurt like a B*TCH for me for the first couple weeks after having BOTH babies. Motherlove Nipple Cream was my savior and the only thing that made them feel better and heal. I applied it literally every time after I nursed, and will absolutely do it again. Breast pads are also a good idea as your milk may start to come in and leakage is no fun. I like these reusable ones that you can wash and use again, but also use and love these disposable ones from Lansinoh as well.

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7. Herbal Perineal Spray: I have never used this before, but I have read about them on a few different blogs, and it sounds like I have been missing out and that it’s super helpful with recovery and pain after birth, so I plan to get some of this Earth Mama ASAP to add to my bag!

8. Comfy Clothes: I plan to pack some comfy clothes all around…a couple days worth of tops, pants, (most likely my maternity leggings or something similar) in dark colors, pajamas or something to sleep in, and then something to go home in. Nothing fancy. Comfort is KEY.

9. Pillow + Nursing Pillow: It’s nice to have some comforts from home, so I always brought my own pillow to try and sleep as much as I could since I was so exhausted during and after giving birth! I also found a nursing pillow to be really helpful for breastfeeding, and I used my Boppy every time!

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10. Towel: Hospital towels are the WORST and ridiculously small. It will feel SO amazing to dry off with a soft, comfortable towel from home after your first post partum shower.

11. Cell Phone + Charger: This is kind of an obvious, because who doesn’t go anywhere without their phones these days. But one thing you may want to add is a portable charger or an extension cord to your list, because oftentimes the plugs can be so far away from the beds and it’s a pain to have the phone so far away while charging.

12. Camera: I always brought my DSLR camera to take some photos before and after delivery and for those early moments in the hospital. Sure, you can use your phone, and I will likely take phone pics also, but I will absolutely bring my camera to capture some precious moments. Make sure to bring your camera FULLY charged, so you don’t have to worry about bringing chargers…and also make sure your SD card is IN your camera! I can’t tell you the number of times I have brought my camera out to shoot something and then realized my SD card was in my computer or somewhere else.

13. Toiletries: These will be different for everyone, but I plan to bring shampoo, conditioner, a little hair de-frizz product, soap, face wash, face wipes, face oil/moisturizer, body lotion, deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste.

14. Snacks + Water Bottle: You may or may not be allowed to eat in the delivery room, but either way, you will want some snacks for the next couple days. Hospital food is mediocre at best and you will be STARVING. I also always try to scope out the local food in the neighborhood of the hospital, so I can send hubby out on a food run! Trust me, he is MORE than willing to oblige as he doesn’t want that hospital food either! Haha. Many of you suggested bringing your own water bottle to the hospital because you either didn’t like the cups provided or they were too small and you had to keep refilling. I don’t remember water being an issue for me, but wanted to include it here and will pack one this time just in case since it’s a new hospital for me.

15. Clothes for Baby: You will definitely want some onesies for the baby while you’re in the hospital. I always hated the clothing they had them in at the hospital the first time, so the second time I brought my own clothes. And then something for them to go home in. I usually just chose a cute sleep and play with a baby hat to match. Bonus if the outfit has built-in anti-scratch mittens, because the separate ones always fell off my babies hands.

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16. Swaddle Sleep Sack: 2 kiddos down and I still can’t properly swaddle using a blanket, so I will bring our Halo Sleep Sack for baby, so I don’t need to call a nurse every time I need to swaddle!

17. Car Seat Installed: Make sure you have your car seat installed now just in case so you are ready when it’s GO time! I remember feeling like our babies were SO tiny in those things, and I just couldn’t quite believe they were going to let us take them home!

18. Gifts for Nurses/Staff: I have never actually done this before, but I have read it on a few other blogs and it seems like a really nice gesture to at least give them some cards with a nice note and maybe a sweet treat.

If you have older siblings in the house, it’s also a nice idea to bring them a gift or a goodie bag from “from the baby.” Since the baby will be getting so much of the attention, it will be nice for them to feel the extra love coming from baby! Since all my boys are August babies, I plan on having the new baby give them Birthday presents when he arrives!

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There are some other things on the printable list for you to go through, but these were some that I really used, needed, or enjoyed having there! Can’t believe we will be doing this again soon! Okay…time for me to go pack now!

Your printable checklist is below. Happy packing and congrats on your sweet babe on the way!

XO,

Gina

Baby Mama’s Hospital Bag Checklist

Baby Mama's Hospital Bag Checklist

A Folly Good Time

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 Hooded Sweatshirt Dress: HiHo (on sale!) via The Skinny Dip boutique in Charleston / Sneakers: Converse / Heart Sunnies: Amazon – similar

I discovered the cutest boutique while in Charleston…adorable shopping downstairs, coffee upstairs…and I had to snag this beachy throw over while it still fit! Hah! Made of 100% cotton terry, this hooded sweatshirt dress is so comfy-cozy + perfect for those spring and fall beach days or a chillier summer evening during beach season. It fit over the bump with a little room for growth even in the XS, so I had to scoop it up! It’s currently on sale, so bump or not, grab it while you can!

These photos are from our last day in Charleston…we spent it on Folly Beach, which was a ton of fun…perfect weather, perfect scenery. Honestly, couldn’t have been a better way to end the trip!

Fast forward to yesterday…it was a crazy one running around getting my shattered iPhone fixed, but the weather was GORGEOUS, so I was pretty much on Cloud 9. Call me basic, but the sunshine TOTALLY makes my day! Lots of outdoor time to make up for all the rain…

Also hit 27 weeks this week! This pregnancy is going so fast!

Make it a good one!

XO,

Gina

Joylab

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Sweatshirt: Joylab for Target (sold out) – also like this one / Side Tie Leggings: Joylab for Target / Sneakers: Blondo via Trunk Club / Sunnies: Brickyard Buffalo (old)

Okay, you guys. I am seriously behind on blog posts! This shoot was done back in NOVEMBER. I know, I know. Look how long my hair was! And this was before the baby bump even existed. But better late than never right? And guess what? Joylab, the now new-ish activewear line from Target is still fabulous…and comfortable and adorable…and totally perfect for that busy mom-on-the-go life.

I’m telling you, this sweatshirt is the softest, most comfortable ever, and was my go-to all winter long. The fit is loose with plenty of room for that belly that continued (and still continues) to grow as well. The leggings no longer fit with the bump, however, I look forward to wearing them again once baby arrives. Super sleek, comfy and perfect for either a workout, running errands, or hanging at the playground with your kiddos.

The rest of their line is adorable too, so I would check it out if you haven’t already!

This week has been a bit gloomy here in the Big Apple, and I’m personally missing the sunshine. However, mama and baby had a good doctor’s appointment this week…which if you have been following me on Facebook, you know it’s been a crazy roller coaster. I haven’t really shared over here, but we had a super big health scare with baby a couple weeks back which required some further testing, and luckily the results came back looking good, thank GOD. So to hit Week 26 this week with another good appointment is frankly the only real sunshine I TRULY need.

Happy Friday to all, and cheers to getting some more uber-belated blog posts up in the next few weeks!

XO,

Gina

 

Maya Kaimal

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Well, it might be April, but it still feels like winter in NY. As we were driving down to sunny Charleston, SC last week, it was SNOWING up here in NY. Crazy!!! With the cold weather around here, these Everyday Dals by Maya Kaimal have been on heavy rotation!!

Not only are they delicious and comforting, but they are organic, non GMO, kosher, vegan, plant based, gluten-free, and get this…SO EASY to make! Which is perfect for this busy mama.

These amazing Indian dishes are tasty on their own, and they are also incredible on top of a bed of basmati brown rice. Such a great, healthy alternative to Indian take-out. They packed with flavor, spice, and nutrition as well.

My favorite flavor combinations are the Red Lentil with Butternut Squash + Cumin as well as the Kidney Beans with Carrots + Tamarind, but honestly? All 5 flavors are amazing and flavorful. Hubby is obsessed with them as well!

Right now, they are available at Thrive Market and at Jewel locations in Chicago…but they are making their way to more in-store locations soon!

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Before I tried these Everyday Dals, I was already obsessed with the Chickpea Chips from Maya Kaimal AND their sauces (Tikka Masala and Butter Masala are SO good!) Katherine, from Maya Kaimal also sent over both their Chickpea and Naan Chips in many flavors and we have been healthy snacking like crazy over here, oh my goodness, YUM! Thanks, girl! I have to hide them from the rest of the family, so they don’t demolish them before I can get to ’em! Haha.

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This week I am catching up on life after Spring Break vacation down in Maryland and Charleston, SC. We had such a wonderful trip which I will detail here on the blog soon, but I am totally exhausted from the last few days of driving. Yesterday was spent trying to get back into our normal routine, and there is still a ton of unpacking to be done over here.

I hope you all are having a great week so far, and crossing my fingers for some warmer spring-like weather here in our future!

XO,

Gina

Baby Notes #3 Reveal

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Oh my gosh, you guys. The reveal day is finally here!!! I have been waiting to share (and find out myself) for so long! Lemme tell you, holding onto that envelope for 2 weeks while Zack was out of town was not easy! Haha. But our props finally arrived, Zack came home, and Saturday was go time. We headed to Prospect Park with Tyler Lyons on Saturday evening around sunset to capture our reveal and our reactions along with the news. It was a beautiful evening, and we are so happy for our little Baby Notes on the way!

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Your guesses on Facebook and Instagram massively skewed toward girl. I honestly went back and forth each trimester thinking something different. Of course, I found this soccer ball reveal prop on Etsy, and I just HAD to use it being a soccer player and now that my boys love the sport as well. My neighbor was the first one to find out since she purchased the soccer ball for me to use for this shoot. Okay…keep scrolling to find out if you guessed it right!!!

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It’s a BOY!!!! Another Brother! #boysonlyclub

Oh my gosh. You should have seen poor little Nico’s face. He was CERTAIN it was going to be pink, and he was in SUCH a state of shock. I felt a little bad that we hyped up this reveal a little too much, because apparently he really got into it! He was hoping for a sister…That said, one day later, and he was back to being super excited again about his little baby on the way!

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So I had an extra ball ordered, because I wasn’t sure how easy they were going to be to break open, and I was a little nervous myself or one of the kids would break it before we actually got to take our photos! LOL. I will say that this thing was STURDY as a rock. I had to kick is really hard (and my foot actually hurt haha), so I don’t think buying two was necessary. But that said, we had an extra one, so we let Nico throw it down to take a few more photos once we knew we were having a little BOY! It took him about 4 throws before he could get it to break, but he finally got it!

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The official sonogram pic that the sono tech had put in an envelope for me. Yup. No doubt about that anatomy haha.

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Can’t believe I’m gonna be a #boymom for life!!! Wow! Another little monkey will be joining this crazy crew in August!

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Thank you Tyler Lyons for capturing this special family moment for us! It was so much fun!

Tyler also snagged a video for us from his phone, and I edited a little something together as well if you want to watch the action.

Thank you all for your patience! I know I was driving some of you crazy making you all wait this long to find out haha. One person even said they thought we were having twins because of all the hype hahaha. NO. I guess I have always just loved a big production. 😉

To see the reveals we did in the past for Nico and Luca you can check them out here (Nico’s) and here (Luca’s).

Thanks for all the love and I feel so incredibly blessed right now! ❤ ❤ ❤

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

XO,

Gina

Black is Boss

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Dress: Tobi – now on sale! / Jacket: Goodnight Macaroon – similar here and here / Over-the-Knee Boots: ALDO – similar – also love these / Earrings: Forever 21 / Lip: MAC Dark Side

While I LOVE pops of color and mixing in lots of color to my wardrobe, there is always something super comforting to me about basic black. Maybe, it’s the New Yorker in me, but I gravitate toward black frequently, especially in the winter time. Black is just classic, and will never go out of style. I scored these over-the-knee boots on sale after Christmas of LAST year, and had been keeping my eye open for the perfect dress to wear them with. I saw this one from Tobi with the open V-back, and had to snag it! A little bit sexy, a little bit chic, and a little bit badass with the boots, no? The top knot with the drop earrings finish the classic look…and since it’s still winter…a quilted moto jacket so I don’t freeze. The day we shot this, we actually had weather that was creeping into the 60s which is crazy for a New York winter!

This week I hit the 12 week mark of my pregnancy! Yay! Hoping to come out of that 1st trimester fog soon, though been suffering with some headaches as of late, which are typical for me during pregnancy when my hormones are going crazy. We’ve also been dealing with an insane 4 year old this week. Not sure if it’s lack of sleep or if something deeper is going on, but it’s been impossible to get through to him. Mamas can you relate? I thought 3 was a tough age and 4 was honestly getting better for us. So I’m hoping this is just an off week for him, because it’s really been out of hand with pretty much everything. My 2 year old is dabbling in potty training, and he’s doing okay, but there’s also some stress that goes along with cleaning up pee off your floor every 20 minutes. LOL. #momlife

My February Challenge Group started up on Monday, and these gals are off to the races! Their progress in January was AMAZING, and I am so very proud at how hard they worked! We have lots continuing on with their goals, and some new faces just starting out with us as well! I decided I’m going to jump into a program called PiYo, which is a pilates/yoga based program that focuses on stretch, strength, cardio, and core. I did this same program when I was pregnant with Luca, and it was fantastic, so I’m going to dive in again so that I have something I can stick to this month and stay motivated to keep moving with my growing babe.

I have so many ideas and posts in the works for this blog in the next few weeks and also some exciting projects I’m working on, so stay tuned for what’s to come! Hope you have an incredible week!

XO,

Gina