Kids are a Reason

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***Kids are a reason***

This what I believe now. But for 18 months I used my kid as an excuse.

“I’m a new mom. I’m back to work in the ad industry. I have an hour and 15 minute commute. I have no time for the gym. It’s too hard to get to the soccer field. I take walks around the neighborhood. Isn’t that enough? I’m breastfeeding…I can eat more, right? A lot more? I’m just too tired. WAY too freakin’ tired. I’m a mom now, so that’s just the way things are. I come last…”

These are just a snippet of the things I used to tell myself…the excuses that ran through my head to make myself feel better. Sure, maybe of them had a touch of validity. Being a new mom was a WHOLE new world, and I did not know WHAT the heck I was doing.

But after 18 months, I finally realized that I WAS important too. And I did not feel like myself anymore. I MISSED myself. I loved being a mom, but I also loved being me, and I wanted to feel healthy again. I wanted to feel athletic again. I wanted to feel comfortable in a bathing suit again. I found coaching at that time, and I have to say it TRULY changed my life and my perspective.

And as I became pregnant with baby #2, I decided that I would not allow my children to become an excuse anymore. Instead they would be my reason. I admit, I originally became a coach for selfish reasons. I wanted to feel good about own self again, and I was out of a job. I needed to bring in more income for my family, and since I had an athletic background, I thought I could make it work.

But I have REMAINED a coach, because not only has this opportunity changed MY life….but I have seen SOOOOO many of my challengers and coaches lives change right before my eyes as well. And I addicted to helping others changed their lives and change the way they ultimately view the world and themselves within it. Seeing the confidence burst through at the seams. Seeing someone scared to start their journey and then feel SO proud about what they have been able to accomplish. It’s addicting.

And all the while, my KIDS and my FAMILY drive me to keep going. I see that by helping others achieve their dreams, I am also going to be able to achieve mine. And I am going to be able to give that kind of life to my children that I have always dreamed of. When I have tough days (because we all have tough days) I keep my vision on the #1 purpose in this life right now which is to create an amazing life for my kids. I am so thankful that I found coaching because it has given me the BELIEF that this is truly possible.

Whatever you are dreaming about right now…know that you are capable. As long as you know your purpose and your why to keep going, you will get there. I am so thankful that coaching allowed me to come to this realization that my kids were no longer going to be my excuse, but instead my reason to live the best life possible. ❤ ❤ ❤

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! TGIF!

XO,

Gina

Day Date

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It’s not every day you get a day date in Manhattan. But hubby and I had been wanting to do a “Paint Nite” event for the longest time, and when we saw one with a cool painting for 1:00 on a Saturday, we jumped at the chance. Thankfully, our babysitter was able to switch her plans around to be there for us, and we decided to make a whole day of it, treating ourselves to brunch beforehand. While typically trying to make the healthy choice as a health + fitness coach, I dove into some chicken + waffles and a Bloody Mary at Whitman + Bloom. It’s not every day you get a day date as parents, right? We really got into the painting and became totally swept into the whole experience despite my lack of artistic ability (hubby is pretty good though!) We had a ton of fun getting out of our comfort zones, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how our work turned out! Feel free to check my Instagram for the finished product!

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Dress: Forever 21 / Jacket: Goodnight Macaroon / Booties: H&M / Necklaces: Vintage + Stella & Dot / Sunglasses: Brickyard Buffalo

Wow, what a weekend! A day date, and a 60+ degree day in February? Whaaat? Crazy. We are on Winter Break over here, so mama is trying to come up with a plan of action for activities and things to do, while still being able to get some work done around here! Haha. I have a feeling it’s going to be a crazy week, but a fun one!

Hope you’re enjoying the holiday weekend and cheers to an awesome week ahead!

XO,

Gina

2016 Style

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And here you have it…a little throwback Thursday here this morning with the 2016 style round-up! Which look is your fav? Which look should never come back around in 2017? LOL.

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Hope 2017 is treating you well so far! I am working on those yearly goals and that vision board! Who else is making a vision board for this year?

Don’t forget to join me on Facebook LIVE tonight at 9 as I will be doing my first LIVE @ 9 “broadcast.” Tonight will be a LIVE “Lately” post!!! So excited to share what I’ve been up to Lately and also to hear what YOU’VE been doing! Make it a great Thursday!!!

XO,

Gina

2016 in Review

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So much has happened over the course of this past year…here is a little recap…

 I came upon my 2 year health + fitness coaching journey this January and I have since been able to help over 300 challengers to reach their goals and over 30 coaches to build a business of their own. I am continuing to help those who want to make changes in this brand new year.

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My sweet little Luca was officially Baptized into the Catholic Church with a beautiful Christening celebration.

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I earned my first Beachbody Coach Success Club Trip and was able to take my whole family on a Caribbean Cruise on the Oasis of the Seas!!! Holy amazing!!!

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I had some fun collaborations with Younique presenter Suzy Engler & UncommonGoods. I now love a great lip stain and one of my readers is rockin’ an Elwood mug.

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We traveled to New Jersey, Ithaca, and Baltimore / (x2)  to celebrate some incredibly beautiful weddings of close friends.

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We spent a week at the lake with close friends in the Poconos.

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I returned to Nashville for my 2nd Beachbody Coach’s Summit and got to hang with my amazing team!

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Nico turned 3 and Luca turned 1, and we celebrated with a Lego themed Birthday Party

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We tackled potty training over the summer and got one kid out of diapers lol. This book was super helpful.

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We spent two weeks at the beach with family from the Outer Banks, NC to Cape May, NJ

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Hubby finally started back up on his own health and fitness journey…and he’s got the abs to prove it!

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Got in a ton of good reads this year including You Are a Badass, Girl on the Train, Me Before You, No Excuses, The 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth, The 5 Love Languages, and more.

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We hiked to the top of Bear Mountain with great friends and Nico almost did the entire thing on his own including the hand and foot scaling!!! I was super impressed.

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I completed several new at-home workout programs and challenged myself from P90X3, 21 Day Fix Extreme, 22 Minute Hard Corps, Country Heat, Hammer + Chisel, 3 Week Yoga Retreat, and Core de Force. Feeling happier + healthier than ever before!

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I traveled to Sundance, Utah for my first ever Coach’s Diamond Retreat which was an experience of a lifetime. What an amazingly beautiful place to reflect, learn, and be inspired by so many other leaders.

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Made some amazing fall soups that were so great, they will definitely be made again this winter.

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Little sis and I pulled off the surprise of the year celebrating our amazing Mom + Dad’s 60th Birthday. Aren’t these two adorable?!?!

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Got in another memorable family Christmas Eve photo by my cousin and fav photographer Misa Me.

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Rounded out the year with a fabulous holiday season with my bests in our Christmas jammies.

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What an incredible year, and we cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store!!!

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What was your favorite memory from 2016??? What are you most looking forward to in 2017??? Please share below!!!

Wishing you all a happy + healthy New Year! Happy Monday!!

XO,

Gina

Jaw Drop

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Holy Thursday!!!
 
My face says it all…today was my first Beachbody paycheck of 2017, and I almost spit out my coffee. This paycheck more than doubled my highest paycheck ever earned since I started coaching.
 
I don’t talk about money or income much, because 1) I think it’s kinda tacky and 2) I haven’t reached my income goals yet…and so at times it can be scary to share the “before” or while you are still on the journey. It’s much easier to share once you have achieved those results you are looking for. But the reality is…there will always be a journey and there will always be goals to reach. And I’m sure others out there can relate…so in an effort to “keep it real” here we go…
 
I became a coach almost to this day about 2 years ago. I had no idea what I was getting into…what to do, how it all worked, etc. I was fresh and new and excited. I knew I wanted to help people. I knew I wanted to work on my own schedule and for myself so I could also be present for my kids…but I honestly had NO idea what it was like to be an entrepreneur. I thought I would easily match what I was making at my old job and then some pretty quickly. But I underestimated how much patience I would need to have. Starting your own business is NOT a “get rich quick” kind of thing. It takes time, and work…LOTS of work. It takes consistency. It takes fearlessness.
 
All of which I have struggled with at times. It’s scary to put yourself out there on a daily basis. To wonder what people think about what you are doing. If they think you are a complete weirdo. I know it shouldn’t matter what other people think, but I’m only human.
 
And then comes the life of being a busy mom, trying to balance two young boys, a hubby, family, traveling, a social life, housework, adulting in general, and everything else that comes with it. There have been times when I thought maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this. That maybe I just can’t do it all. That maybe it’s okay if this coaching thing is just a hobby. That maybe I just am not that great of a leader.
 
But I kept going. And I know now after all the personal growth I dove into at the tail end of 2016 that those are just limiting beliefs. Being a leader starts within, and I needed (and still need) to grow MYSELF before I can help others to grow and succeed. So I will continue to keep going…and growing.
 
Success is a personal definition. It doesn’t always have to be directly related to money. But for a long time I related success = money. To be honest, I thought by the end of 2016, I would have made more money than I did. I thought I would have achieved a higher rank in my company. I didn’t reach some of my big goals. But what I didn’t realize was how much I would learn and grow personally. Apparently, I wasn’t yet ready for all of that. And 2016 was a year of growth for sure.
 
And it’s interesting…when you stop focusing on the money…and start focusing on growing yourself and helping others…then the money actually comes haha. Imagine that.
 
Because quite frankly even though money is not the most important thing…we all need it. Especially when you live in a city like New York and everything is so darn expensive. My husband and I have tons of old debt to pay off, plus our monthly rent, car payment, student loans, credit cards, IRS taxes…and I have goals of traveling around the world with my family…sending my kids to the best schools possible, allowing them to reach their full potential with extra curricular classes, and more.
 
So when I saw that paycheck today, it was a reminder that I need to keep going. That all the hard work that I have put in for the past 2 years has not been for nothing. It was a reminder of all the people I have been able to help to reach their goals. I thought about the thank you notes and positive comments I have received from challengers and coaches on my team. I thought about how I would never want to let them down. I thought about being able to pay those debts off in the future and to be able to give my kids the best education, and about seeing the world. I thought about how supportive my husband has been these past 2 years. When I was down on myself, he always looked at the positive and told me how much money I was saving for our family by working from home or how I was helping to pay off preschool or groceries that week.
 
I thought about how patience is key. And everyone has been telling me that those who don’t succeed are the ones who quit too early. So even those next week’s paycheck will probably not come close to this one…thank you little paycheck for that reminder that what I am doing is important for myself and my family…and that I AM growing…that if I have the belief and the work ethic, anything is possible…and that 2017 is going to be amazing.
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XO,
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Gina

Black Friday

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Top: Forever 21 / Denim: AG Jeans – similar / Booties: H&M – similar / Coat: H&M – similar / Shades: Brickyard Buffalo / Earrings: Gifted / Bracelet: Mantraband

On Nico – Sweater: Chaps – similar / Pants: Cat + Jack for Target / Shoes: Saucony

Hope you all had a FABULOUS Thanksgiving yesterday!!! We had a wonderful day and meal with family, and I splurged on not one…but TWO pieces of pumpkin pie. Yup, that sweet tooth just took over! Eeeps! It was just so darn good, and it only comes around once a year! Luckily, I have a plan in place to get back on track with a cleanse and a new program come Monday!!

Today is Black Friday, and apparently all the stores were open even EARLIER this year for the holiday sales. I stopped going to the stores on Black Friday a long time ago. I just can’t deal with the pushing and pulling and crowds…no thank you! I will just do my shopping from the comfort of my own home on my laptop! OR since I do love the spirit and energy of in person holiday shopping, I do enjoy a trip when the crowds have died down a bit. For those of you who ARE looking for some Black Friday fashion steals, check out Macy’s, Kohl’s, H&M, Target, Dick’s, Urban Outfitters, The Dreslyn, and Bailey44. For electronics, Target, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, and Walmart seem to be where it’s at. And my favorites for online steals are Brickyard Buffalo + ASOS.

Good luck, and Happy Shopping!!! Or if you are like me…enjoy the weekend with family and friends, and then snag those Cyber Monday steals 😉

XO,

Gina

One Year Later

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This afternoon I shared my results from my recent Hammer + Chisel program with my Challenge Group, and I came across my first “Before” photo that I took at 6 weeks post partum. Whew! Hard to look at for someone who has always been an athlete and in shape in the past. I am proud that with my body I was able to give life to two awesome little dudes, but I was eager to look and feel like my old self again. My mindset was much different than after my first pregnancy.

After my first pregnancy, I never really tried to get back to myself for a long time…18 months long. To be fair, I had to figure out who I was at a person since becoming a mom and I just didn’t understand how exercise could still fit into my lifestyle. I had many excuses…many of them were legit excuses…work, time, travel, gym commute, etc….but they were still excuses. I finally found a way to find that time for myself again when my son was 18 months old. I started the original P90X at home, and was SO pumped to start!!! …and then 2 days in I found out I was pregnant again with Baby #2. So while I did start my path of healthy eating, exercise, and “me” time, my journey was a little different than planned. 😉

After having my 2nd son, I was SO eager to finally get back to my daily routine and finally get in real shape again. My mindset had completely shifted and I had made that decision to go after some goals. I whipped out that 21 Day Fix and did 3 rounds in 3 months. My journey continued this past year with P90X3, 21 Day Fix Extreme, CIZE, 22 Minute Hard Corps, Country Heat, and lastly Hammer + Chisel. I honestly cannot believe I have been able to stick to so many programs over the past year, and this is the longest I have stuck to a routine in YEARS. I feel amazing, strong, my endurance is up, and even with little sleep and two little ones, I somehow have energy. With my busy schedule, I now cannot even imagine spending an extra time commuting to a gym or classes. These 30 minute home workouts + healthy eating (with treats of course!) + daily Shakeology have truly been a godsend for which I am so thankful!

Looking forward to rounding out my year with the 3 Week Yoga Retreat and the new kickboxing/MMA program, Core de Force. I love knowing what I have coming up, because it keeps me on track and helps me stick to a daily routine. Knowing how I felt after having my first son and then knowing how I feel now, there is no way I could ever go back!

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Hope you all had a great weekend, and you are enjoying this lovely Sunday evening!

XO,

Gina

P.S. The Country Heat Giveway winner was announced on my Facebook page, so head on over there if you want to hear more details about the package and who won the prize!

Easy Soups for Fall

 

I recently ran a Crockpots + Squats health and fitness challenge, and it had me experimenting a little more in the kitchen! I posted a few photos which had a lot of people asking for recipes, so I decided to put this together to share. I took these recipes from my cookbook called The Italian Slowcooker by Michele Sciolone, but I added a few of my own twists to them as well to make them my own.

First up:

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 large butternut squash, about 1.5 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut (Mom tip: buy this pre-cut! More expensive, but WORTH saving the time!)

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

3 fresh sage leaves or 1 tsp dried

4 cups chicken broth

Salt and fresh ground pepper

olive oil for drizzling

*I also added a can of coconut milk and lots of cinnamon!)*

In medium skillet, cook the oinion in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, but not browned, about 10 minutes. If the onion starts to color, add a tablespoon or two of water and lower the heat slightly. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the squash, potatoes, sage, and broth. I also added cinnamon here. If necessary, add water so that the vegetables are covered with liquid (I did not add water, FYI. I just added coconut milk or more broth until it was covered with liquid).

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly, then puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I actually added cinnamon on top of mine, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Voila!

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The next soup I made last week was:

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Serves 8

2 heads cauliflower, about 1.25 pounds each, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves

3 cups chicken broth

4 cups water

*I replaced some of the water with canned coconut milk instead)*

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I used Romano because that’s my jam)

In a large slow cooker, combine the cauliflower, potatoes, oil, garlic, broth, water, coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until the vegetables are very soft.

Let the soup cool slightly, then pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with a sprinkle of cheese. Boom!

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And there you have it!!!!

Two delicious soups for fall!!!

The entire family ate all of this right up. Mom tip: If it’s difficult to feed younger children a pureed soup like this, you can also give them the chunks of veggies before you puree! My little guy devoured them!

Enjoy, and please share below any of your favorite easy soup recipes for fall!

Reminder: TOMORROW I will be announcing the WINNER for the Country Heat Giveaway!!! For your last chance to enter, please visit popcorn and pandas on Facebook before the end of the day!

Make it a great day everyone!!

Country HEAT Giveaway + More!

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Happy MONDAY!!!! I used to get a “case of the Mondays” every now and then, but not so much anymore…and especially not today. Today I am announcing the BIGGEST popcorn and pandas giveaway of the year!

Most of you know by now that I became an online health + fitness coach almost 2 years ago (Jan will be my 2 year anniversary), and trust me when I say being able to get results doing 30 minute workouts AT home while having two children has been a complete game changer. After having my 1st son, it was near impossible for me to get back into shape and to feel like my old self again. I took a different approach the 2nd time around as a coach, and it’s been life changing, for realz.

In an effort to pay it forward and show someone else that it is indeed possible to feel like yourself again and get into a routine with only 30 minutes a day, I’m giving away a COUNTRY HEAT Package on my Facebook page this week! Here’s what you’ll get:

-Country Heat DVD Workout Program

-Nutrition Guide

-Portion Control Container System (this is KEY!)

-A 7 Day Supply of Shakeology in all 7 Flavors

-A Shakeology Cup

-A Spot in My Monthly Challenge Support Group for the Month of November (the support is MAJOR!)

HUGE!!!! Not only does this program guarantee you an amazing cardio dance workout, but it’s FUN! You’re so busy movin’ and shakin’ that you don’t realize how hard you are working until you are done and in full sweat. Not a dancer? No worries. The best part about this is that you’re in your living room! LOL. So you don’t have to stress about looking silly dancing in front of others 😉

“Okay, enough already. What do I have do to WIN this program, Gina?”

Alright, here you go. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Go to my Popcorn and Pandas Facebook page and click LIKE.
  2. Comment on the Country Heat Giveaway post which will be pinned to the top.
  3. In the comment TAG 3 friends to let them know about this giveaway, and let me know WHY you want to win this program! (do you need something fun to mix things up, do you love to dance, are you stuck in a rut, do you want to work off the baby weight, etc.?)

That’s it!!! Simple as that.

Winner will be announced on my Facebook page this FRIDAY.

For more details on Country Heat, check out this link here.

In other news…our new KICKBOXING program, Core de Force will launch on Halloween! Today (and for the next 3 days) we are opening up a FREE sneak peek of the program if you want to check it out! Sign up here if you want to try it out. I have personally tried it out, and it’s awesome!! I will be the first one buying that complete program on Monday!!!

Okay, hope this little post and giveaway has officially cured your Monday blues today. Can’t wait to draw a winner on Friday for this amazing Country Heat giveaway!!

Make it a great day!

XO,

Gina

Feeling Like Fall

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Top: J. Crew Factory – sold out but other colors here / Hat: J. Crew Factory / Denim: AG Jeans / Booties: Target / Lip: MAC Rebel

Friday night post whoooo! Maybe some of you are as lame as me and able to read this tonight…maybe not 😉 Either way, hopefully you get a chance to check it out at some point over the weekend haha.

I took these photos last weekend when it was truly starting to feel like fall and then we had a week of 80 degree weather!!!! LOL! Go figure! I scored this J. Crew top and hat over at the Factory outlet on summer vacation, and was excited to finally bust them out.

You may have gotten a glimpse of my crazy week over on Facebook, but things are looking up and trying to focus on the positive. Last weekend we had good friends in town and took them up to Bear Mountain for an awesome fall hike. We made it to the top, and I was incredibly impressed that my 3 year old did 95% of the hike himself! I carried the baby on my back which was an extra workout, and we had a great time catching up while enjoying the great outdoors. Tomorrow we are on the road to Maryland to reunite and celebrate a dear friend who has a baby on the way.

In other news, I have the BIGGEST popcorn and pandas giveaway of the YEAR coming up which I will announce here on MONDAY!!!! So make sure you come on back to see what it’s all about! 🙂

Happy Weekend!

XO,

Gina

P.S. I need a haircut. Any good ideas? Throw them my way! 😉