Get Happy, Get Lean – Let’s Rock 2017!


Almost 2 years ago, I finally decided I had enough of being unfit after having my first baby and made the commitment to my health + fitness by starting P90X and becoming and online fitness coach. Two days into the program, I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 and had to change the course of my journey. The road toward success or change is never easy and there are bumps (and in my case baby bumps! hehe) along the way. I could have easily quit and said “I will just wait until after I have my 2nd baby to work on myself. But I didn’t. I chose to keep going. A 2nd baby was an absolutely blessing…and it certainly was not an excuse to quit or give up on myself. Instead I chose to get healthy THROUGH my pregnancy…kept up with my exercise, improved my nutrition, helped others do the same…and it made it that much easier once baby arrived to keep going and get those results that I had originally intended.
This past year after getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight…I ended up surpassing that and getting back into even better shape than before. I challenged myself with tough programs + heavy lifting, and I also let myself breathe and have fun with yoga and dancing. I have continued to grow my business helping over 300+ challengers and have grown a team of 20+ coaches who are out there leading and inspiring others to reach their goals. I have also grown myself in ways that I never thought possible. I have learned that in order to help others, it starts within, so this past year has been incredible for self-reflection and growth. I have also learned that I would never be able to do this without the incredible supportive community of challengers and coaches to keep me accountable along the way.
Beginning January 2nd, I am LEAPING into the New Year strong to continue my personal journey, and I would LOVE for you to be there with me alongside to support each other!!! It’s never too early for resolutions, so if YOU are looking to make a CHANGE in the New Year, then please jump in to our amazing group and receive that support you deserve to reach your full potential.
The Beachbody community is also running their 2nd Health Bet this next month where challengers and coaches have the opportunity to win a share of a $2 Million pot JUST for completing 3 workouts per day and drinking Shakeology 5x per week. Sounds like easy money to me!!!! Getting paid to work out? Yes please!!!!
Let’s Get Happy, Let’s Get Lean…Let’s Rock Out 2017!!!
Who’s with me?!?!?!?!
Comment below or email me at gina.notes26 {at} for details 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤

The Best Message


I got a message from one of my challengers this morning:

“I’ve noticed some positive changes since I started P90X3 – definitely more peppy and happy when I walk into work and also feel less stressed and anxious about doing chores at the house. Also getting hungrier. I was a little later than usual this morn cuz granola wasn’t gonna cut it I needed real food – ham, eggs, cheese toast.”

You won’t believe it, but this challenger is my HUSBAND! I have been a coach now for 20 months and while he has been super supportive of me building my business, he has yet to try a program himself. I admit my jaw dropped to the floor last week when he told me he was going to give the program a shot. You see I had tried for what felt like forever, but it just goes to show that you just have to be ready to make that commitment. Even if I was ready for him to try it, he would not have been successful without making the decision himself. He’s now on Day 4 and rocking out each workout with enthusiasm. I can’t wait to see his progress the next 3 months!

In addition, it’s amazing to know that as a coach you not only are able to help people reach their goals, but that you are able to make a difference right in your own household with your own family. His decision to improve his health and fitness will have an impact on our future together. His goal is to ride his bike into his old age…to be able to play with his grandchildren. Now it may seem like that is pretty far off at this point, but really it’s not. Every step you take in life will get you a little bit closer to that goal. And I want to be climbing mountains with him and traveling the world together ’til we are old and gray.

So proud of you babe. Looking forward to growing together, continuing to make positive changes and living a healthy lifestyle for our future and for our children’s future. Keep up the great work Zack!



Back to School – Back to Basics Challenge

Back to School Back to Basics Invite

As hard as it is to believe, the summer is almost over, and it’s back to school time soon (or back to working hard for many of us). Vacation mode is nearing a close, and it’s time to get back to business and back to the basics.

Starting with our health and fitness! Had one too many ice cream cones this past August? I know I did. (I’m blaming the baby!) Shrugged off that last morning run because of the heat? Whew! I don’t blame you!

Let’s start FRESH in September!

If the kids are heading to back school, maybe it’s time for mom to spend that extra time to devote to herself? If you are ending travel plans and getting back into the grind at work, maybe it’s the perfect time to get into a better health and fitness routine?

Starting Tuesday September 8th, I am going to be hosting both a 21 Day Fix Challenge & a Mixed Program Group Challenge to get back into gear! It begins the day after Labor Day Weekend ends, which is perfect timing after all the celebrations and boozing I know many of you will partake in. Hey, and maybe even I will too if this baby gets here in time! 😉 Haha.

It will be perfect timing to kick off the fall season and feel healthy again!

The Challenge will include:
-A DVD Fitness Program of Your Choice (which I will help you to choose based on your likes/goals/needs) – most programs are 30 min per day!
-Nutrition Plan
-30 Meals of Shakeology (which is a super healthy drink packed with vitamins, nutrients, and super foods)
-A Spot in my Monthly Health & Fitness Support Group
-Personal Coaching (as much motivation as you need)
-30 Day Trial of Beachbody on Demand (where you can stream workouts via wifi and try out other programs)

Who’s with me?

COMMENT below with your e-mail address or e-mail me at gina.notes26 {at} if you would like to chat more!

Let’s make it a great week everyone! 🙂



7 Day Push Up Challenge

7 DAY Push Up Challenge

It might be the end of summer, but there is one work out that you can take with you ANYWHERE! On the beach at vacation, on your office floor, in your living room, Saturday in the park…no matter where you go…you can take your PUSH UPS with you!

Join me on Monday August 10th for a FREE 7 Day Push Up Challenge! Strengthen and tone that upper body with one simple exercise each day for a week. I promise you are stronger than you think!

I will share proper techniques, and no matter what your skill level or athletic ability, you should be able to participate. I will also be sharing modifications for beginners, and for the advanced, there will be tips for making your push ups more challenging. Our push ups will increase each day and we will motivate each other to get through the week one day at a time.

So who is ready to PUSH YOURSELF?!?!?!

Comment below with your email address for more info or email me at to get in on the challenge 🙂

Hope you are having a great week!



Tank Top Arms & Tasty Treats

Tank Top Arms Challenge Invite

Do you have tickets to the gun show? No, I’m not talking about the right to bear arms….I’m talking about the right to BARE ARMS…see what I did there? 😉 Ok ok…I admit, I’m a nerd…the point here is…it’s FREE Challenge time, and this month is all about those TANK TOP ARMS! It’s summer time and the guns are out, so let’s show them off with pride, ay?

Starting next MONDAY JUNE 15th, we will be sculpting those shoulders, building those biceps, and toning those triceps. Who says arms can’t be sexy?

We’ll also be mixing in some TASTY TREATS next week with some refreshing summer slim down recipes for meals and snacks.

No equipment necessary…and you can do this challenge from the comfort of your own home! We will meet online in a private Facebook group for support.

Who’s with me? COMMENT below with “I’m in!” and your e-mail address, and I will add you to the group You can also email me at gina.notes26 {at} Friends are always welcome, so feel free to spread the word!

Looking forward to seeing you next week!

Happy Hump Day!



Clean Eats

After a week of preparation, our 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge officially kicks off today! I am so excited to have a fantastic group of challengers with my partner, Karen.  Everyone looks like they are off and running, fridges are stocked, and here we GOOOOOOO!

photo 1

So, what exactly is clean eating?  Basically it’s tossing all the JUNK.  We have decided to cut out the crap for a week and instead choose foods that are whole, natural, and REAL…without all that processed stuff.

Our group is sharing helpful info and tips for healthy eating, a meal plan, shopping list, and recipes.  At the end of the week, I am hoping we all feel healthier, lighter, & more energetic.  I can’t think of a better time to start loving your body than right before Valentine’s Day (call me cheesy if you must.)

The fam and I headed out to the grocery store yesterday to stock up on all our clean eats.  Here is a pic of my fridge below:

photo 2

I am truly hoping that this will make me and my fellow challengers more conscious of the food choices we make on a daily basis and instill more of a lifestyle change.  As one of my challengers stated, “I can do anything for 5 days, but my goal is to make a permanent change to clean eating.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself!  What an awesome mindset to have.

Well, as Day 1 kicks off, this was my morning Green Machine Smoothie!  I would love to have you join a future clean eating group with me, but in the meantime, here is a sneak peek of one of our recipes this week:

Green Machine Smoothie

1 Cup Almond Milk

1 Cup Spinach (packed)

1 Mashed Banana

6oz Plain Greek Yogurt

1/2 tsp Peanut Butter (I swapped for almond butter)

(I also added) 1 Small Apple

A Few Ice Cubes

*Many challengers swapped for coconut milk, different fruits and nut butters, etc.  Smoothies are so versatile which is why I love them dearly!

photo 3

So excited to start off this week on a happy, healthy note.  Hope everyone had a nice weekend, and hope you are staying warm out there!  NY is lookin’ pretty icy!



#86 Turn Off My Cell Phone for a Week

May 24, 2011-June 7, 2011

With the rise in technology since I was a child, people have become more and more dependent on their gadgets…yeah I said gadgets.  At the age of 5, I would call my best friend Katie from my house to tell her I was coming over.  Then when I got there, I would call my Mom from Katie’s house phone to let her know I arrived.  If you said you were going to meet someone at the 7-11 over the phone…they just showed up.  You didn’t send them a text message or call their cell on the way, because those things didn’t exist!  You just went where you were supposed to go, and trusted the other person would do the same.

When it came to sending mail, you wrote a letter.  Remember my pen pal post?  You hand wrote a card, licked an envelope, put a stamp on it, and stuck it in the mailbox.  It usually took a couple days to arrive.  When the internet and e-mail was invented, you got your mail instantly.  People stopped using the postal service, and the term “snail mail” was created.  Most of the “snail mail” consisted of junk mail (aside from wedding invitations which are still sent the old fashioned way!)

Invention of the cell phone + invention of the internet and e-mail = the invention of the smart phone.  Our ticket to accessing anyone, anything, and everything we want at any time of day or night.  We make a phone call, send a text message, check our e-mail, update our Facebook status, take a photo and upload it to Twitter…all on this one device.  If we forget our smart phone at home before we leave the house, we freak out and think our life is over because we won’t be able to get that one e-mail or text message or phone call.  We have become so dependent and reliant on these gadgets to get us through our daily lives. 

My goal with this adventure was to shut down–turn my cell phone off for a week.  I decided that my honeymoon was probably the best time to try this considering I should be focusing my attention on my new hubby anyway right?  Who needs the rest of the world when you are on your honeymoon?  The first couple days of the trip, I needed to use my phone for small things like booking an excursion for our trip.  But two days in, I turned my cell phone off, and if we needed to make any more calls, it became my new husband’s job to call.  I ended up keeping my cell phone off for almost TWO full weeks instead of the one I had planned on!  I admit, I did check Facebook via laptop a few times to see new wedding photos people had posted (come on I couldn’t COMPLETELY shut down!), but I did not make any comments or postings of my own, and I kept that phone off for over 12 days. I made a call to my family our last day there, because I was dying to tell them all about our trip, but I had already made it well past a week by that point.

It was kind of amazing to shut myself from off from the rest of the world, and just ENJOY spending time with my new husband, and enjoy the beautiful island of Kauai.  I wasn’t worried about the latest Hollywood gossip or what everyone else what up to at home, and there were no distractions from work, family, friends, or the hustle and bustle of every day life.  I just took some time to sit back, relax, take in the ocean, the beautiful views, the amazing cliff hikes, the horseback ride, and everything else we enjoyed while we were there.  I seriously recommend that everyone should shut down from technology the next time you go on vacation, and just really enjoy this world we live on for what it is, and not the gadgets we have become glued to.

#73 Do a Tough Mudder Race

Saturday November 21, 2010

Picture this: New Jersey in November, a freezing cold lake, 12 miles of running, 10 foot walls, glops of mud, a raging fire, and let me reiterate…NEW JERSEY.  This just might have been one of the most challenging items completed on my bucket list!  To say it was tough is an understatement…it was grueling.  But it was totally freakin’ awesome, and I now qualify as a hardcore bad ass.  I guess I am my father’s daughter haha.

I must first thank a few people for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this event, thus checking the item off my list.  First, Mike Cerrone, for pressuring me multiple times to join the “Tough Mudder Tinkerbells” until I finally caved in.  Second, Allan Damkilde, for without your car, I would have had no transportation to Englishtown, NJ.

We embarked on our journey early Saturday morning, driving out to Dirty Jerz as a team.  To give a little backstory on Tough Mudder, it’s basically a 12 mile race filled with 18 different military/boot camp style obstacles and a ton of mud.  I have a lot of respect for those in the military, but I would never want to join myself.  However, I have always wanted to do the military obstacle courses, and figured this would be a great place to get a similar experience (minus all the red-faced screaming military officers harassing me).  The race was designed by the British army, and is not designed to be an every-man-for-himself-let’s-see-how-fast-I-can-go kinda race.  Instead it is supposed to be a team effort–you help people through and make sure that everyone crosses the finish line.  Upon arrival, it was exciting to drive up and see people already completing the course, and totally caked in mud!  They staggered the start times so people wouldn’t get too backed up at each obstacle.  We were surprised to find that not many other teams dressed up for this race, (I guess they were insistent about looking super tough) but the ones who did dress up were pretty funny.  There were tons of HUGE dudes standing around either already finished or about to start the race, and some bad ass chicks (including the three on our team) were sprinkled in as well.

Our adrenaline was pumping when we heard the horn at the starting line, and we took off to see what would await us!  While we had an idea of the course map beforehand, we really had no idea what to really expect out of this race.  The first part was the “Monster Chase” where we started off running after a monster truck to get warmed up.  The second obstacle was called the “Ball Shrinker” and our first foray into the water.  Basically, it was a tightrope to walk across with your feet, but you had a rope up top to hold onto with your hands.  The problem for me was that there were a bunch of huge guys weighing down the bottom rope, so while walking, all the sudden the rope disappeared from under my feet!  I ended up having to monkey my way across the top rope using only my arms!  After I successfully completed the obstacle, I thought “Damn, that was the first real thing we had to do, and already my arms are shot!”  But there was no time for crying, it was time to press on…

Obstacle 3 was “Walk the Plank”, which was the HARDEST part of the day.  Prior to the race, I was extremely nervous about the temperature of the water, and turns out I had every right to be!  Mom, you should stop reading and skip to the next paragraph now…Okay, for the rest of you, we jumped off a 15 foot plank into the freezing cold lake, and HOLY SHIT was it ever cold!  After plunging in, I swam to the top gasping for air.  It was so frigid that my heart was pounding a mile a minute, and I couldn’t seem to catch my breath.  Some might say my body went into shock.  My teammate, Paul W., jumped in after me, and he looked excited until he saw my gasping self.   His look then turned to horror!  I was immediately thankful that I decided to wear my swim cap, and I flipped over on my back to get my face and chest out of the water.  Paul thought I was drowning and grabbed me, and helped to pull me while I swam backwards toward the shore.  Luckily, it wasn’t that long of a swim to where I could stand, but we then came to Obstacle 4, which was the “Underwater Tunnels.”  Three times we bobbed up and down into the water until we were finally out.  My entire body was numb when I got out.  I was running, but couldn’t feel my feet, and just when I was starting to feel good again….we had to swim back across the lake.  NOOOO!!!!!  Luckily, I made it through this time with minimal shock.  I just swam on my back the whole way and was so happy to be finished with this part of the race!

I thought I would be shivering the rest of the race, but I was too numb to feel most things, and kept running happily along.  Although the race was extremely tough, I thought our team kept a really good pace, and we pretty much had smiles going the entire time.  The next few obstacles consisted of the “Mud Mile” of which we had to trudge through the muddiest and stickiest of water, “Cargo Nets” (which conveniently fell down right before we had to climb them–although I would have happily climbed them!), “Kiss of Mud” which was crawling on our bellies under the cargo nets through the mud, and a bunch of motorcross hills that had been sprayed with sprinklers for three days straight including a huge hill called, “Cliffhanger.”

We crawled through the “Boa Contrictor” which was a long skinny tube.  Being small actually worked to my advantage in this one!  The “Berlin Walls” were nice and high, so most of us used our team help to get over them.  Although I do remember my teammate Warren superhero-ing himself over a wall or two on his own.  I had done enough high knees in my soccer and basketball career throughout my entire life, so “Tired Yet” was actually pretty fun for me!  Tons of tires were laid out football style and we had to step through them to get to the end.  “Rubbernecking” was a little bit more difficult, because each person had to CARRY a tire around, and they were NOT light!!!  My teammate, Dave, unfortunately chose the tire that happened to be full of water, making his even heavier!  Whoops.

The “Fire Walker” was pretty intense, and Mom, you might want to skip this paragraph too!  I was definitely really nervous for this one, and I told Dave “I’m grabbing onto  you for this one!”  Smoke was everywhere, firefighters were on deck, and 4 foot flames surrounded the path we had to run through.  I covered my eyes/face, put my head down, and grabbed onto Dave while we ran through this mess.  It was so hot and hard to breathe.  At one point, I thought I might pass out from inhaling too much smoke, and it was at that point when we were through!  Whew!  Thank God!  The second hardest part was now behind me.

The “Log Bog” wasn’t too bad, jumping over a bunch of fallen trees, although we did take a big spill in the swampy muddy mess!  “Funky Monkey” was near impossible, as most of our hands were completely caked in mud at this point.  On top of that, some of the monkey bars were greased up with butter (plus leftover mud) to help us fall more quickly.  I did see a few tough guys make it across, but most people were falling after the second or third bar.  I on the other hand, couldn’t even reach the FIRST bar!!!  I stepped on the wooden bar, and reached up, realizing that I was too short to reach the first bar.  I figured “I guess I have to jump,” so I jumped once–slipped off.  Jumped twice–slipped off again.  I decided to jump ONE more time, and gave it all I had.  Third jump–BOOM!!!  Slipped off and came crashing down on my right butt cheek.  Holy cow.  At the time, it hurt, but my body was pretty numb, so I shook it off and kept going.  Later that  night though, I realized there was a bruise as black as night and the size a grapefruit on my bottom!  It stayed there for over a week, and it was so ridiculous that I just had to show it off to my friends and family so they could see how tough I am.

The last three obstacles were “Twinkle Toes”–walking across the wooden log that was on the water, the “Mystery” obstacle which ended up being that we had to run through live wire…yes electrically charged wire…and “Insane Bolt” which was a sprint to the finish line!!!

The entire event lasted about 2-2.5 hours, and the firefighters were there at the finish line to spray us down with a fire hose.  Once I stopped running, I started shivering, and don’t think I got warm until I got back to Manhattan!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the after party, as I had 35 Italiano family members waiting for me back in the city for dinner.  They had all come to town for Grandma Guaragna’s 80th Birthday!  So they got to see me in Zombie mode pretty much after this race haha.

Before Tough Mudder, the coolest thing I ever did was the St. Anthony’s Triathlon, but I definitely think Tough Mudder takes the cake on this one!  I am so proud to have completed this challenge, and I also congratulate my teammates, Paul Macknis, Paul Warner, Warner Hardwick Siebert, Mike Cerrone, Lori Dooley, Jim Yellion, Dave Ford, and Nadia Schwartz for taking on this endeavor!  Special thanks to my fiance, Zack Notes, for being an excellent photographer and camera man.  He must have ran about 2 miles tracking us down on the course!

I have taken the time to edit together some footage of our experience into a 2 minute video, so please take a look and let me know what you think!

#93 Survive a Week in NYC Spending Only $20

August 10, 2010-August 16, 2010

This week, I have decided to embark on one of the most challenging items on my bucket list of 100 Things: #93 Survive a Week in NYC Spending Only $20.  I honestly don’t know if this will be possible.  My good friend, Ailie, has decided to take on this challenge for her bucket list as well, so at least I will have some company to make it a bit easier.  Because of my insane schedule, I have not had any FULL weeks in the city lately.  I have been traveling every single weekend, making it difficult to even attempt this challenge.  I originally wanted to start this challenge on a Sunday or Monday and go the full week, but a week is a week, and because of my traveling circumstances, I am starting on a Tuesday (Tuesday August 10) and will go for 7 full days, meaning my challenge will end after going to sleep on Monday night August 16th.

I have set some guidelines or rules for myself and this challenge which I will explain to you.

1.  I am not including rent or utilities.  Quite honestly, rent is way above $20 a week in NYC, and would just be impossible.  I also do not plan on sleeping in the street for 7 days…I have to pay rent regardless.  So this challenge will purely be about food, drink, transportation, entertainment, and life expenses OTHER than shelter.

2.  For hygiene materials, I can use what I already have.  (i.e. soap, deoderant, face wash, makeup, etc.)  If I already have it, I can use it–I do have to be presentable at work afterall.  However…I cannot purchase any more of that stuff unless I include it with my $20 budget.  Guess that sucks my eyeliner ran out over the weekend…

3.  For food, I cannot use what I already have if I have purchased it prior.  This is to ensure, that I did not go to the grocery store on Monday and stock up with $200 worth of groceries to last me the week.  I would feel as if that was cheating.  So I cannot eat what I already have in the fridge or cabinets.  Instead I must purchase all my food for the week using no more than the $20.

4.  I have one exception to rule #3, and that is:  I am able to eat or drink something if it was given to me as a gift or I got it for free and did not purchase it prior.  For example…that bottle of champagne that was given to me an an engagement present?  I can totally take advantage of that.  That chocolate bar I won last week a that bridal shower?  Come to Mama.  But that 6 pack of Miller Light in the fridge that I bought last week?  Sorry, that’s a no no.

5.  I can take charity from others.  HOWEVER, they cannot have any knowledge that I am doing this $20 challenge.  For example…if my boss decides the office is going out to lunch tomorrow and the tab is on him?  I can take advantage of that and get a lunch that does not apply toward my $20 since I’m not paying.  BUT…I cannot beg or plead to someone saying “I only have $20 this week, can you cover my dinner?”  That’s considered cheating in my book.

6.  Subway transportation and taxis are included in my $20 tab…so I must be very selective about my traveling choices this week.  I will be walking a lot or riding my bike more than usual to make up for this.

At the end of the day, I have a little bit more than $2.85 to spend per day.  With so little money, and difficult transportation, I’m thinking my meals will be few and my exercise will be high…so who knows, I may lose a little weight this week?  Although, this is certainly not the healthiest way to do so, and I don’t recommend!  Regardless, I’m going to try and find creative ways to keep my tummy full and my brain from going bonkers with boredom.

So I’m off to start the challenge!

Day 1:

Tuesday August 10, 2010

10:15 am: Got to sleep in today, and had to be at work by 11:00 instead of 9:00.  Sweet!  Walked 2 miles to work this morning.

11:30 am: Tea is free at my office, so I drank a cup of Green Tea.  Green tea is said to help curb some hunger, so it might be very helpful this week with my small budget!

3:30 pm: A busy day at work had me wait until now to get a slice of pizza for lunch.  There is a new place right near my office called 99 cent Fresh Slice, so this seemed perfect for today’s lunch.  All in all, the slice ends up being $1.00.  My first purchase this week.

5:00 pm: Already hungry for a snack, I snapped off a piece of that chocolate bar I won at a bridal shower 2 weeks ago.  It’s been in the freezer at work untouched, and since it was a prize I won for free, it’s fair game!  Milk chocolate with almonds.  I only took a small couple pieces, but hopefully the bit of protein will help me last until I can get to the grocery store/market later tonight.  Already I’m feeling this challenge is going to be rough!

7:30pm: Starving, I finally make it to the market.  Zack came along, and we went to the market on 82nd Street owned by our favorite Asian disco dude.  We put three items into the basket, and decided it was all too expensive.  Zack suggested a cheap market in the 90s, and we hurried to put everything back before leaving the store.

7:45 pm: This was the best suggestion Zack has ever made.  This Turkish market has some of the cheapest options I’ve seen in the city!  Score!  Here is what I was able to come away with:

$.50 2 bananas

$.99 box of mac and cheese

$.99 vegetable spread (aka fake butter)

$.99 bag of pasta

$1.00 bag of carrots

$1.00 carton of milk

$1.00 dozen medium eggs

$2.99 loaf of sourdough bread

$2.99 block of havarti cheese

Total with Tax Came to $12.53

9:30pm: Ate 1/2 box of mac and cheese with a side of carrots for dinner.

Total for Day 1:  $13.53

Remaining Budget:  $6.47

Not a lot of money left over for the week, but I’m thinking that this amount of food can get me through at least until the last couple days.  Definitely don’t think I’ll be taking the subway at all this week.  Hope it doesn’t rain.

Stay tuned.

Day 2:

Wednesday August 11, 2010

9:00 am:  Got to sleep in one hour longer today, then made the 2 mile trek down to the office.

10:30 am:  Made myself a cup of that green tea.

12:00 pm:  Enjoyed a banana from my purchase at the market yesterday.

3:00 pm:  Made a grilled cheese sandwich at work out of the bread, butter, and havarti cheese I bought yesterday.  Also munched on a handful of carrots.

5:00 pm:  Got out of work a little early today, and started the 2 mile trek back home.  Chatted on the phone to Mom and Dad to make it go by quicker.  Called Zack when I was halfway home, and he was only a few blocks away, so he met up with me and walked me the rest of the way home, which made it nicer.

7:00 pm:  Decided to stay in this evening so as to avoid temptation.  Did some core exercises while watching TV, painted my nails and toes, and read a book.  Also ate the other half of my mac and cheese from yesterday.

8:30 pm:  Cooked myself 2 eggs with 2 small pieces of toast.  Hey, maybe this challenge won’t be so bad afterall 🙂

Total for Day 2:$0.00

Remaining Budget: $6.47

Day 3:

Thursday August 12, 2010

9:30 am:  This challenge sucks.  It’s raining outside, and I have to walk to work.  I made sure to dress comfortably for the rainy walk, and of course, carried an umbrella.  I’m praying that the rain does not continue for the rest of the day because I was planning on walking home from work and then biking to and from my soccer game tonight.  Go figure…it rains the day I have to be outside the most.

10:30 am:  Enjoying hot tea in my dry office.

12:30 pm:  Having a banana for a snack.

3:00 pm:  Enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich, since it was so yummy and filling yesterday.  Also some carrots, and another green tea.

6:00 pm:  Walked home from work.  Luckily it didn’t rain this time.

7:30 pm:  Made some yummy pasta noodles for din din, and saved half for lunch tomorrow.

8:45 pm:  Ok…my most feared moment of the day.  Riding my bike to my soccer game.  I live all the way on the Upper East Side on 80th and 2nd.  My game was at Pier 40, which is located on Houston Street all the way at the West Side Highway near the Hudson River.  Normally it takes me at least 45 minutes to subway there…so this was a LONG bike ride!  Thank God, Zack came with me, because I was terrified.  I hate driving through the traffic.  Once we got to the bike path on the West Side Hwy, it wasn’t so bad…until the rain hit.  It was pretty awful riding there in the rain…I couldn’t wait to just get there!

10:00 pm:  Played my soccer game also in the rain…seems to be the theme of the day.

11:00 pm:  Time to make the bike trek back to my apartment.  Still raining.

11:45 pm:  Finally home.  It stopped raining during the ride, and was actually quite nice to ride in the peace and quiet of the city at night time.  However, I am SO glad to finally be home.

Total for Day 3:$0.00




















































Remaining Budget: $6.47

Day 4:

Friday August 13, 2010

9:30 am:  Friday the 13th!  It’s actually a gorgeous day outside, so I’m headed off on my 2 mile trek once again.  I’m getting kinda used to this.

10:30 am:  Get to the office, and stop at the fruit stand outside to grab a banana for $.30.

1:30 pm:  Ate the banana and some leftover pasta noodles for lunch with some chocolate bar pieces.

2:30 pm:  Got out of work early today and walked home.

3:30 pm:  Stopped at the library and got 2 movies for free.

7:00 pm:  Made 2 eggs with toast for dinner.

10:00 pm:  Hung out with the gang for a game night.  Some ladies brought wine to share, so I had a glass or 2.

12:00 am:  Headed out to the bar with the group.  The bartender made a mistake on making someone’s drink, so I got a freebie!  Score!

2:30 am:  Came home tipsy and made myself a late night snack (grilled cheese sandwich) before going to sleep.

Total for Day 4:$0.30

Remaining Budget:$6.17

Day 5

Saturday August 14, 2010

11:00 am:  Slept in and then woke up and watched a movie, Dear John.

2:00 pm:  Ate some carrots, 2 eggs, and toast.  My rations are still going strong.  Wondering where the hell my money goes during normal weeks when I’m not doing a $20 challenge.

3:00 pm:  Spent a lovely day in Central Park with my fiance–laying out, reading, playing cards.  Great day.

6:00 pm:  Was treated to a burger, fries, and shake at the new Shake Shack on the Upper East Side.  Felt amazing to eat something other than grilled cheese, eggs, or pasta.

10:00 pm:  Rooftop party for Maria’s birthday celebration!  I contributed that bottle of champagne I had been given as a gift at our engagement party.

12:00 am:  Bar hopped with the gang, and managed not to spend a penny.

3:30 am:  Late night grilled cheese sandwich before bedtime.

Total for Day 5:$0.00

Remaining Budget:$6.17

Day 6

Sunday August 15, 2010

2:00 pm:  Had a pretty late night, so managed to sleep a lot today!  The rain outside helped, since I didn’t feel as if I were missing too much outside.

3:00 pm:  Cooked 2 eggs and watched Mamma Mia in bed.  Also chatted on the phone to Teri (who was checking in about my challenge), and my friend Whitney (trying to coordinate transportation to her Labor Day Weekend wedding in Maine).  Unpacked all my clothes from last weekend and straightened up the apartment a bit.  Had a pretty lazy day today.

6:00 pm:  Made pasta for dinner and saved the 2nd half for lunch tomorrow.

10:30 pm:  Watched Entourage and read my magazine before bed.

1:00 am:  Bed time.

Today for Day 6:$0.00

Remaining Budget:$6.17

Day 7

Monday August 16, 2010

9:30 am:  Woke up.  Last day of the challenge!!  Thank God!  Left far too late to make the walk to work in time, so I ended up taking the subway which knocks off $2.25 from my remaining budget.  Kinda bummed because I wanted to use the last $6 to get something yummy.  Oh well.

11:00 am:  Drinking hot tea at the office.

2:00 pm:  Ate the last of my pasta and the last of my carrots!

5:00 pm:  Ate the last of that chocolate bar!  Impressed with myself that I was able to keep it going this long.

6:00 pm:  Started my trek home–it’s raining lightly.

6:15 pm:  Ok now it’s pouring!!!  There is no way I can walk 40 blocks in this.  Thank God, I saved some emergency money.  Bus ride = $2.25.

7:00 pm:  It’s gross outside.  Decided to spend the evening in tonight.  Read my book, watched TV, hung out with Zack.

8:30 pm:  Cooked the last of my eggs, cheese, and bread.  All my food is gone just in time!

12:00 am:  CHALLENGE COMPLETE!!!  Time for sleep 🙂

Total for Day 7: $4.50

Total for Entire Week:  $18.33

Remaining Budget:$1.67

I’m completely astonished that I was able to make it through 7 days in New York City with only $20, and I still had money leftover!  It just goes to show you that maybe it isn’t always necessary to spend so much money.  Granted I have a stack of laundry that needs to be done, bus tickets to purchase for future travels, toilettries to replenish, etc that I have been waiting a week to be able to complete…but at the end of the day, maybe I should start walking a bit more or riding my bike.  It’s healthy, and it saves money.  I am definitely glad to add meat and vegetables to my diet this week, but I honestly didn’t starve at all this challenge besides the very first day before I made it to the market.  So it is doable to cut back and make things work even while living in this expensive city.  I’m pleased to say that my friend, Ailie, also completed this challenge successfully.  The best part is that we were both still able to have a great time, and we figured out ways to have fun with a very small budget.  I don’t think I will be anxious to do this challenge again, but I have definitely learned ways to save money in the city while still maintaining a fun life and my sanity!