2017 in Review

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WOW! I can’t believe 2017 is coming to a close. It’s been a year of personal growth, adventure, travel, family moments, and so much more. I learned a lot, and have come up with some exciting ideas to take with me into 2018. I plan to jump even more outside of my comfort zone this upcoming year, and see where the wind blows.

I want to thank each and every one of you this past year for supporting me on this journey…for reading this blog, for joining one of my health + fitness Challenge Groups, for commenting on a Facebook post, direct messaging me on Instagram, watching my IG Stories, giving me all of your advice and feedback on outfit choices or motherhood woes or workouts…or just telling me that you are inspired by a post or that you can relate. It truly means SO much to me. I started this blog and my brand really as a creative outlet a few years ago, but it’s turned into an incredible community which I am so grateful for. So THANK YOU for your continued support, and I hope you continue to take the journey with me in 2018!

Below is a look back at some of my favorite memories and experiences of 2017:

 

Zack and I finally went on a “Paint Night” Date and we loved it

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I was obsessed with smoothie bowls:

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I learned a ton about gut health + drank lots of kombucha (I did a LIVE @ 9 Episode on this which you can find on my Facebook page, but I promise to create a blog post on this for 2018 so it’s in written form):

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Boys both fell in love with soccer just like their mama:

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Helped hundreds of Challengers get on track with their nutrition with these amazing portion control containers:

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Little sis got engaged and asked the entire fam to be in the wedding ūüôā :

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Zack and I had a week-long road trip together to Asheville (thanks Mom + Dad!):

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I was able to take the family on an all-expenses paid trip to Punta Cana with Beachbody as a reward trip for my work with the company. To say they had a blast would be an understatement:

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I developed a passion for nut butters lol ūüėČ

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Hubby and I did the Ultimate Reset Challenge Plant Based Cleanse program and we learned so much about our bodies, our eating habits, and made many tweaks and changes to our habits going forward (again, I owe you all a full synopsis of this experience in blog post form…coming at you in 2018!):

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Went to the Dave Matthews Concert with the fam:

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Spent many summer days at the NY Beaches + riding the rides at Coney Island:

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Took Nico on his first roller coaster ride at Hershey Park with the family:

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Celebrated our 10 Year NYC Anniversary:

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Went to Rhode Island with the hubs to watch one of my best friends walk down the aisle:

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Went to NOLA for my 3rd Beachbody Summit with my amazing team. We continue to grow, and I love training each new person how to become a #boss and build businesses that give them happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives:

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Completed multiple workout programs including Shift Shop, T25, Insanity Max 30, and 3 Week Yoga Retreat:

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Celebrated my sister’s Bachelorette Weekend in VA Beach rooftop style:

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Luca got his 1st haircut:

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Nico turned 4 and Luca turned 2 with a Construction themed Birthday Party:

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My challengers got amazing results with their fitness + nutrition:

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We went on family vacation to Cape May:

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and the OBX:

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Nico started his first year of “real” school through the NYC DOE and is loving Pre-K. Luca started a 2’s playschool co-op, and it was a bit of a transition at first, but he seems to be enjoying it now:

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We threw at Rainbow Sprinkle Themed Bridal Shower for my sister:

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My little sis and her high school sweetheart finally tied the knot after 13 years:

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Took the boys on their first-ever camping trip this fall with good friends:

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Had an epic Halloween dressing up like The Wizard of Oz characters:

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Did ALL the the holiday things to celebrate the season (and enjoyed my most favorite/stressful time of the year):

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Welp!!!!

That is a WRAP. Wow. What.a.year.

It’s been a good one full of fantastic memories. Thanks again for your continued support of popcorn and pandas. I appreciate you all SO much. More than you know.

I wish all of you an incredible New Year!!! I cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store.

XO,

Gina

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Maine via Instagram

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Red’s Eats – Best Lobster Roll in Maine

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And here you have it…amazing

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At the top of Mt. Battie in Camden

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Maine blueberries

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The cute little town of Camden

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We ate ice cream everywhere…

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Blueberry pancakes with fresh fruit and blueberry syrup thanks to the homeowners of the lake house we stayed at

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The view from our bedroom…breathtaking

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Pretty much ate blueberry everything…also the popovers here were fantastic!

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Me and my Munchkin at Jordan Pond

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Just chillin’ at Branch Lake

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A little Fourth of July manicure – Essie Forever Yummy and Set in Stone

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Gorgeous sunrise on the lake

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Happy Independence Day in Bar Harbor!

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Homemade blueberry pie from Gale…found her through a local inside tip!

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30 weeks pregnant smoochin’ my honey – this photo by Rai Pollard

Wow!! ¬†What a trip! ¬†Well, here is your first sneak peak into our Maine adventures! ¬†While I took many photos with my “real” camera on the trip, sometimes it is just easier to run around with your iPhone instead of lugging around the big heavy camera all the time. ¬†If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen some of these photos, but you may want to read on if you plan on visiting Maine. ¬†If you haven’t planned on it, you should still read on, and you may want to afterward!

We picked up our friends Erin and Rai from the airport in Boston on Tuesday morning and started our journey to Maine. ¬†Along the way to our lake house in Elsworth, we decided to take the longer scenic route through Camden, a town we had visited for a wedding a few years prior. ¬†I have to admit, another main reason for taking this route was for the amazing lobster rolls at Red’s Eats! ¬†We ate here last time we were in Maine, and it’s absolutely amazing. ¬†They pile on the lobster, add some drawn butter, throw it on toast, and it’s ready to chow down. ¬†Although, the lines here are typically and famously long, we have gotten lucky both times and have arrived with no line. ¬†The first was at closing time, and this time it was for opening. ¬†We arrived 30 minutes before opening and were the first group in line. ¬†Not 2 minutes after we arrived there was a ridiculous following behind us. ¬†Talk about perfect timing!

After Red’s Eats, we continued on to Camden, where we drove to the top of Mt. Battie, picked some Maine blueberries, walked along the water, and ate blueberry ice cream. ¬†It was the perfect little day time stop through on our trip.

We eventually made it to camp at the Branch Lake house, Shaw Cottage.  We met the owner there who gave us the grand tour, and we found out that we were actually the first people to ever rent the house!  He even left us blueberry pancake mix with blueberry syrup as a little welcoming gift.  How sweet was that?  We stocked the house with groceries for dinner and breakfast and played Cards Against Humanity while we cooked.  So fun!

The next morning, we hung out at the lake, took the motor boat and kayaks out for some fun, went swimming, and had a ball. ¬†That night, we gussied up and drove down to Bar Harbor (which surprisingly seemed closer than it did on the map) for dinner at Havana. ¬†It was an adorable little spot with fantastic seafood and Latin cuisine. ¬†And of course we got ice cream after at Mt. Desert Is. Ice Cream. ¬†Yum! ¬†After returning to Branch Lake, we did another one of my favorite Maine activities, which is looking at the stars. ¬†I don’t know whether it’s lack of pollution or being closer to the top of the globe, but the stars just look amazing in Maine. ¬†I could literally see the Milky Way Galaxy outline; it was unreal.

Day 3, we started off the morning bright and early (and I mean early) around 4:13am to watch the sunrise. ¬†I cannot wait to actually share these photos with you soon. ¬†Zack and Erin went kayaking to check out the morning sights and the sunrise from the water, and Rai and I stayed behind to capture the view from our floating dock. ¬†I don’t know if I have seen a sunrise so beautiful! ¬†It was picture perfect. ¬†Once the sun was fully up, we were actually still exhausted so we went back to sleep for a few hours before really starting our day.

Once we were fully up, we headed down to Acadia to check out some easy hiking trails. ¬†Unfortunately, we ended up “hiking” by a golf course and the side of the road for an hour instead of on a “real” trail. ¬†That was kind of a bummer, and it was super hot out, so we decided to then hit up Sand Beach quickly before lunch. ¬†Sand Beach was really beautiful and had gorgeous rocky cliffs on either side of it. ¬†The water was so cold, I don’t know how people were actually swimming in there, but it was at least refreshing to dip my toes in. ¬†After Sand Beach, we headed to Jordan Pond, which was a really great restaurant within the State Park. ¬†We treated ourselves to their famous popovers, lobster stew and sandwiches while taking in the views of the water and mountains around us.

That night, we headed into town at Bar Harbor for their Fourth of July fireworks show! ¬†We have seen fireworks in Manhattan for the past couple years, which are always fantastic…but there is something about sitting on a big lawn overlooking the water with the band playing patriotic tunes that just makes you feel good ‘ole American on the Fourth of July! ¬†We were all really impressed with the pyrotechnics, and we headed back to Elsworth that night with big smiles on our faces.

Our last full day in Maine was spent lazily enjoying the peaceful lake.  The early morning and the hustle and bustle of the previous day made us all exhausted, and we wanted nothing more than to relax and enjoy the serenity.  We kayaked, sunbathed, took multiple swimming dips in the lake, read books and magazines, and had long chats on the floating dock.  I think we each had a little nap that day as well.  We ended the day with a delicious tapas dinner at Cleonice in Elsworth, although I have to warn you, there is no AC there, which was pretty brutal!  Luckily, the food was good enough to make it worth withstanding the heat.

We definitely wish our trip to Maine could have lasted longer. ¬†We had a great time with great friends, and a trip back is definitely in our future! ¬†Stay tuned for the rest of my photos next week from the “real” cam.

Happy Friday ya’ll!

XO,

Gina

2012: A Year in Review

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Ringing in the New Year in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica!

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Hiking in the Cloud Forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica

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Three Italianos Reunited in Brooklyn!

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Valentine’s Day Surprise at the Mary Poppins Show! I dressed just like her without even knowing.

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Celebrating Zack’s 31st at crazy Mehenata Bulgarian Bar

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OAR Concert with Jack and Sammy

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14 inch hair chop! Bye Bye. Thanks Nikki!

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Sweetlife Festival at Merriweather in MD featuring Avicii…AMAZING.

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Seeing Emily Blunt and Jason Segal at the premiere of 5 Year Engagement at the Tribeca Film Festival

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SKYDIVING!!! Thanks to my amazing husband – he surprised me on our one year anniversary with this bucket list item.

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Dad FINALLY visits us in NY. With Zack, Mom, and cousins at their pasta shop in Brooklyn

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DMB Concert and Upstate NY trip

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Virginia Beach trip with friends for Shirin and Shahrum’s wedding

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Testudo came to Zach and Jessica’s wedding! Go Terps!

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Happy Birthday to ME! Love my new camera!

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Girl’s Weekend in OC for Katie’s Bachelorette – Seacrets is crazy!

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Family vacation in the Outer Banks, NC

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Surfing Competition in the Rockaways

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Dewey Summer Send off on Labor Day Weekend

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A Naval Academy Wedding for Megan and JoJo

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Visionary Art Museum Wedding for MaryBeth and James

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Trip to Montauk for Mike and Abby’s Big Day

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Katie & Adam tie the knot at Sagamore Farms

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Running with Patrick and Melissa for my late dear friend John Petrovick. “Inside all of us is HOPE.”

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Thanks to Gabbi for helping to raise money for John’s cause.

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Camping trip with Erin and Rai to French Creek

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End of the season pic with my JV High School Girls Soccer Team

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ASHS 10 Year High School Reunion – man time flies

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AC trip for Alex’s Bachelorette!

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All my girls at the 5th Annual Pollard Potluck

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Christmas Morning at Mom and Dad’s

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Alex and Seamus get married to end the year!

It may seem like a lot of photos, but this is just a small snippet of what took place in 2012.  There were so many more fun memories of this past year.  There were also some sad moments as well.  I have learned a lot this past year, and I know that I am truly thankful for the family and friends that I have.  I am incredibly lucky for the support and love that I have received this past year, and I hope I was able to return the favor to all of you as well.

I wish you all a Happy New Year’s Eve. ¬†Please stay safe tonight.

Bring on 2013!

XO,

Gina

French Creek

Living in the concrete jungle, it can be tough sometimes to get out into nature and enjoy the great outdoors.  Most public transportation only takes you so far.  Getting to another major city is no problem, but to get to a campsite or a hiking trail can be a bit of a task.  Luckily, with the purchase of our new car a few months ago, we now have the luxury of going and coming as we please in any direction we choose.  My nature loving husband is especially appreciative, and to be honest I may or may not have used that in part of my selling pitch to convince him we needed a car  (along with the fact that we now live in Brooklyn, travel an insane amount, and have a driveway to park.)

We headed to French Creek State Park in Chester County, Pennsylvania for the weekend, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather! ¬†It was warm during the day, not too cold at night, and no rain. ¬†Perfect conditions in my opinion. ¬†When we arrived at the campsite, we put together our tents and set up shop. ¬†We got a new tent (thanks in-laws!), and this was our first chance to use it. ¬†We were extremely happy with how easy it was to put up, and I was extremely happy that it stayed bug-free the whole time. ūüôā

After setting up camp, our group of four set out on a three hour hike.  We got a great work out while taking in the colorful views on the trails.  The foliage was just so beautiful; I love being outside at this time of year.  After working up an appetite, we came back to camp and cooked up a delicious meal.  We sat around the campfire until way after dark telling stories and catching up with our friends.

My only gripe with the trip was that it ended too soon.  What a wonderful weekend with wonderful friends.

(Last photo by Erin Pollard.  All other photos my own.)

What are some of your favorite places to visit in the great outdoors?  We decided we want to try a new campsite every year, so we are looking for recommendations.  Let me know!

XO,

Gina

Glamping

Glamping (verb) Going camping, but with glamour.

Ok so, we may not have embraced the “glamping” term the way the Real Housewives of Orange County would have…we actually got down and dirty camping with tents and sleeping bags. ¬†But who says you can’t enjoy nature without a little bit of style?

The hubby and I met up with our besties, Erin and Rai, this weekend for some fun in the outdoors and smores in the woods of Pennsylvania. ¬†Here are a few shots of me in my “glamping” gear.

Cargo Pants: H&M Рsimilar here / Top: Lady Foot Locker / Vest: Merona via Target (old) / Hat: John Deere / Sunglasses: Calvin Klein / Bracelets: Friendship bracelets from the boardwalk on Jacob Riis Park, Batman bracelet / Boots: Aldo / Earrings: Aldo

Photos by: Rai Pollard