{45} Lately…

So you guys, it may seem like I have skipped a few Lately posts, but the last few I have done LIVE over on my Facebook page…42, 43, 44…so this is the first written one I’ve done in awhile!!! Excited to be back in action with this one since it’s one of the blog favorites and also one of my personal favs….

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  So many things you guys! I recently finished Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod which has been LIFE CHANGING and I absolutely recommend it to EVERYONE. Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson which was AMAZING for any entrepreneur or anyone pursuing a side hustle and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (author of The Girl on the Train) which I have to say was good, but not as good as The Girl on the Train. I then read The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena in about 24 hours. Couldn’t put it down. I just had to find out what was going to happen next. I am also re-reading The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy along with my current challenge group.

 writing  Not a whole lot, but still striving for my daily 5 minute journal habit that I started up in January of this year. I will absolutely re-up for 2018.

listening  I’m going to embarrassingly admit that I am enjoying the Hipster Yoga playlist on iTunes during my Miracle Morning.

thinking About how awesome my Challengers who are rocking CLEAN WEEK are doing! Seriously! They are crushing it.

smelling  Broccoli. Yep. Roasted broccoli was happening when I was writing this post.

watching  Grey’s Anatomy. Still obsessed.

wearing  These amazing new leggings from the new Target athletic line, Joy Lab.

exercising You guys…I’m on Day 47/56 of Insanity Max 30…a program I tried once 2 years ago and swore I would NEVER do it, because it was too freakin’ hard and it way way to hardcore cardio and guess what…I’m almost done.

feeling  Kinda badass about post above.

wanting  Someone to cook for me right now, because I’m hungry but don’t feel like cooking. Should have prepped better, dang it.

needing Hot coffee.

loving  All of the adventures I’ve been taking with my boys this week…zoo, museums, etc. Feeling like I am getting a great balance of break time, coach/work life, and mom life with our new routine this school year.

wishing Luca could get over the hump of tears at school drop off. I felt like we were doing well and now it seems like things are going backward. He also recently is having trouble going to sleep on his own and I feel like it’s all related. That being said…his experience in school is definitely showing in other aspects of life…at a music class we went to yesterday he was really involved and participatory whereas in the past he would have clung to me the whole time. Baby steps.

hoping  That all of the costume items I ordered for Halloween will actually come before Halloween lol.

craving  Wine.

clicking  Around about a few things I am interested in doing and learning in terms of health and fitness and taking things to the next level. Yoga teacher training? Mind Body Green nutrition program? Podcasting? Organizing a Wellness Retreat? Thinking long-term here and not TOMORROW by any means, because let’s face it, I’m already crazy-busy. But always good to do research and advance ourselves when we can!

following Amanda Bella – her blog is super cute and I just love her hair and make-up video tutorials!

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HAPPY FRIDAY!

Are you celebrating Halloween this weekend? Dressing up? Or that’s just for kids?

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

Jam out July

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Like music? Like working out? Like listening to music WHILE working out?!?!

Then THIS is the challenge for you!!!

Join some of the top coaches on Team SPARK! July 18th for Jam Out July!!! This FREE 5 Day Health + Fitness Challenge will incorporate a summer jam for each workout on each day of the week. You can listen to the song once for a quick mini workout, play the song on repeat for more of a challenge, or string them all together at the end of the week to pump up that jam!

We will also be sharing healthy recipes and tips for summer fun! Should be a good time, and you won’t want to miss this one!

Comment below with your email address to JOIN the fun or reach out to me for more details!

gina.notes26 {at} gmail.com

Cannot WAIT!

XO,

Gina

Transformation Tuesday: Meet Amy

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Meet Amy!

Amy is a fellow Brooklyn Mama who I met when both of our oldest sons were born. We have known each other for the past two+ years, and our sons are now going to preschool together. Our younger sons are also around the same age, and it has been so nice to have a friend in the neighborhood who understands what life is like with two boys and going through everything together at the same time!

I was so excited when Amy reached out about joining my next 21 Day Fix group, and with her passion for fitness, I knew she would love it and do fantastic. She has worked so hard, and her results are proof that hard work pays off.

So without future ado…let me introduce Amy!!!

 

P + P: Tell us about yourself (where you live, family, hobbies, interests, anything else that you would like to include about yourself)

Amy: My family of 4 lives in Kensington, Brooklyn. It’s a small neighborhood by the bottom of Prospect Park. My husband and I have two boys (2 years old and 7 months old). I’m 41. I like to put my age out there. I feel good about where I am in my life and the things I’ve accomplished.

I’ve lived in NYC for 17 years. Initially, I worked in theater, mostly in PR and marketing. I decided to leave my desk jobs and go to beauty school. I started at Arrojo Studio as an assistant 11 years ago and worked my way up to being a Master Colorist/Texture Specialist. I work for an industry leader and have had the opportunity to travel, teach and grow with the company. My work is my passion and I love being creative and helping people look and feel their best. That’s my day job.

My other full time job (my day and night job), is being a mom to my boys. When I’m not at the salon, I’m with my sons. I love the balance of doing both jobs.

 

P + P: What is your fitness background?

Amy: I lost 35 pounds my senior year of high school and started managing my diet and exercising. At that point, I was hooked and haven’t lost my motivation since. I went to my college’s gym between classes, joined a gym during my first internship and again when I moved to New York. I always made fitness a priority. I took spinning classes, African dance, pilates and even worked out with personal trainers. One trainer was a friend and I worked out with her for over a year. I have always loved weight lifting and cross training. From her, I learned I had to leave my comfort zone to get results. If I thought I could only do 10 pushups, she made me do 15.

 

P + P: Why did you decide to try the 21 Day Fix?

Amy: Even though I have always been dedicated to working out, I’ve always carried extra weight on my frame. The weight lifting probably made me look even heavier.

I gained 36 pounds carrying my first son. Our birthdays are two days apart and I was determined to get back in shape for my 40 birthday and his 1st. I did it, and I felt great even though I was already pregnant again. I never got to enjoy my fit self because I gained 30 pounds carrying my second son. When he was 4 months old, I saw a picture of Gina after she completed her first round of the 21 Day Fix and realized I wasn’t nursing my way into skinny jeans.   I said to my husband, “I just want to lose 4 pounds. That’s it and I’ll be happy.”

I contacted Gina, bought the 21 Day Fix program and Shakeology and joined her challenge group. I lost 6 pounds the first round.

Since then, I’ve completed 2 more fitness challenges and I’ve lost another 6 pounds (for a total of 12 pounds) and have my muscle and definition back.

 

P + P:  What about the program worked for you? What did you like about it? 

Amy: The program is easy to follow. The color coded containers make sense and I don’t feel limited since there are a huge list of food I can choose from. I also started cooking which has been a win for the whole family.

I love the 30 minute workouts. It’s a manageable amount of time when I’m home with my kids. I don’t have to go to a gym to get in shape. I have a yoga mat and weights at home and the 21 Day Fix workout videos make me feel like I’m part of the class. The first time I did a video I could barely make it through, now I’m taking on the 21 Day EXTREME workout for my next round.

 

P + P: What was tough or challenging for you? (particular workouts? sticking to nutrition? anything else?)

Amy: The controlled portion sizes are my biggest challenge. I had a decent diet before: No processed foods but I ate out a lot, I’d order in, sometimes have a beer with dinner and probably ate twice the portion than I needed.

The clean eating came easily, but eating smaller amounts were very difficult. I found it hard to resist snacks, especially my kid’s snacks. Why are bunny crackers so appealing?

 

P + P: 12 pounds and 6 inches from your waist is an incredible accomplishment! How did you stay motivated for those 63 days?

Amy: When I started, I wanted to fit back into my old clothes and feel better. After the first round, I looked so different I wanted to keep going. I wanted to look good, but the potential for looking GREAT was so close.

Friends and co-workers started noticing and everyone was enthusiastic and supportive. The 21 Day Fix became fun, like a fitness game.

 

P + P: How do you feel today and what are your goals moving forward? 

Amy: I feel completely different than I did before I started the program. I’m fit, feel healthy and I have energy again. The kind of energy I use to have before having kids. At 41, I never thought that was possible. I assumed people just get more tired as they get older but that’s just not true. Doing this program showed me that if I want it, I can make it happen. I put in the effort and I got the result.

Another thing that still surprises me is how much support I am receiving on my health and fitness journey. My husband, friends and co-workers are cheering for me and I inspired them to change themselves. I’ve learned how gratifying it is to lead others as they get fit. It’s the ultimate way to pay it forward and that’s why I became a coach.

 

I am so incredibly proud of Amy for her hard work and dedication. As a brand new coach, she has already inspired 9 new people to start their own fitness journey. It’s clear that whatever challenge Amy takes on in life, she goes at it full-on…whether it’s as a Master Colorist/Texture Specialist, a Mama of two, or a Fitness Coach, Amy does it well and with great success! Thank you so much, Amy, for sharing your story here with us!

Hope you are all having a great week so far. It’s been unusually nice outside for February after we just had a major snow storm, but I’m certainly not complaining!!!

XO,

Gina

Zucchini Chips

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When Autumn Calabrese, creator of the 21 Day Fix, came out with her new cookbook, FIXATE, I just knew that I had to get my hands on that! I am not typically a cookbook person. I have a bunch, and then totally forget to use them. I usually end up looking up recipes on Pinterest or somewhere else online. However, this cookbook was different! Not only are the recipes super easy to make, they are also extremely healthy…AND the best part is that it’s perfect for those following the 21 Day Fix plan. Autumn lays out exactly which color coded containers she uses for each recipe along with other nutritional information.

Since I have been demoted to sous chef in my household (not due to terrible cooking, mind you…but due to childcare duties and hence lack of a desire to cook on my part these days), my husband took on this recipe for Zucchini Chips, and I have to say they were bomb diggity! Yes, I just said that…sorry I’m a child of the 90’s 😉 We will definitely be making these bad boys again…and you know, maybe I will even make them myself next time around!

Ingredients:

2 Large Zucchini, very thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt (or Himalayan Salt)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F
  2. Place zucchini slices in one layer between paper towels to help draw out liquid.
  3. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Place zucchini slices on prepared baking sheets.
  5. Brush zucchini with oil; sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for 2 hours, or until golden brown and crispy.
  7. Cool completely before serving.

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We had our first family road trip to Maryland this past weekend as a family of four. It was definitely challenging, but we survived! It was wonderful to celebrate two of my best friends as one is expecting her first child and the other is getting married very soon! We have all been friends since high school, and it’s amazing how close we still are even after so much time has passed.

I hope you are all enjoying the week so far and embracing the fall!

XO,

Gina

Transformation Tuesday: A P90X3 Story

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Meet Caitlin!!!

She joined my Challenge group in May of this year, and dove right into the fitness and nutrition plan for P90X3.  I met Caitlin in high school back in Maryland (her brother was in my class), and she was always active and fit.  However, as many of us women know, having a baby can take a toll on our bodies. She has a beautiful baby boy to show for it, but Caitlin was eager to get her post-baby body back. Plus, working as a pastry chef, it was hard for her to keep her hand out of the cookie jar if you will. I don’t blame her! I was so happy to have her join my group. She worked so hard, and has incredible results to show for us and has adopted a healthy lifestyle for herself and for her family.

Okay enough chatter from me…let me introduce you to Caitlin and let her tell you about her journey herself!

P+P: Tell us about yourself (where you live, family, hobbies, interests, anything else that you would like to include about yourself)

Caitlin: I live in Baltimore, MD with my husband, Matt, 9 1/2 month old son, Max, and dog, Buck! I went to the Ohio State University and studied Athletic Training. I did that for a few years but burned out quickly and decided to pursue my passion in baking and pastries! I went to culinary school and I am a pastry chef – which makes it hard to resist my sweet tooth since I am surrounded by goodies all day!
P+P: What is your fitness background?
Caitlin: I was always an athlete and have always loved to workout. I played softball, ice hockey, and when I was younger did everything from basketball to soccer to ballet! I love sports and have never had a problem working out (well sometimes the motivation isn’t always there but once I get going i’m good!). During my pregnancy I tried to stay active though I did not have a set workout routine. I stuck to mostly walking but made sure I did it daily! I still gained weight, as you are supposed to during pregnancy, but it was hard to lose after!
P+P: Why did you decide to try P90X3?
I decided on P90X3 for several reasons. One, I had already done P90X and loved the routines, but they were quite long. Since I liked them, Gina recommend P90X3! I wanted something that was high intensity and had a lot of variety which is exactly what P90X3 offers. Lastly, I needed something that was short and sweet. I do not have enough time between work and being home with my very active son, to fit in a long gym sesh. Having 30 minute workouts that I could do at home was clutch (and honestly the only way I could workout and stay sane!)
P+P: What about the program worked for you? What did you like about it? 
I loved that the DVDs were only 30 minutes long. Like I said I have very little time and working out during my son’s nap is not an option. I nap when he does because I go in to work at 3 am in order to stay home with him. He is great at self play but gets bored quickly, so 30 minutes is the perfect time for me to get in a good sweat. I also loved the variety. There was a bit of lifting, some cardio, and my favorite – MMX (a mixed martial arts DVD Tony Horton style!)
P+P: What was tough or challenging for you? (Particular workouts? Sticking to nutrition? Anything else?)
The toughest part for me was nutrition. The workouts were no brainers, and it was easy to press play everyday. I think mostly because I have always loved to work out and also because the DVDs got me excited (gotta love those endorphins!) The nutrition part was a struggle because I am such a sweet tooth and am surrounded by all the bad (but oh so good!) stuff every day. I found however the more I worked out, the less I craved the sweets (well the more I thought about what I ate because I didn’t want to ruin the hard work I put in that day!)
P+P: 17 lbs and 3 pants sizes is an incredible accomplishment! How did you stay motivated for those 90 days?
My motivation came from several places. One – my support group and coach! It was awesome to see and hear from other ladies going through the same struggles and accomplishments that I went through! It also held me accountable knowing I was going to check in with them later and couldn’t lie! Also seeing the results motivated me big time! It wasn’t even what I saw on the scale – it was seeing little changes – my arms toning up – my legs slimming out – my tummy getting tighter. It started with small differences. Then I took the picture at 60 days and compared it to day 1. I could not believe what I saw! When it comes off slowly you almost forget where you started! I was so glad I took that before picture because it really put things into perspective! That then gave me the courage to try on an old pair of shorts that I had from HIGH SCHOOL! I could not believe they fit! Now 90+ days out those shorts are getting BIG! Yea I still can’t believe it! I also was very highly motivated by my son. I did not want to be self conscious and pass that on! I wanted to be fit and active and have better eating habits for him to learn! I wanted to be able to go to the beach and be happy swimming in the water and playing in the sand with him without any thoughts of “oh I bet people are looking at my belly” Plus just waking up and seeing his cute smile was all the motivation I needed to be healthy and be there for him!
P+P: How do you feel today and what are your goals moving forward?
Today I feel amazing and almost in disbelief. I know everyone says they want to lose weight, or tone up, or run that marathon – but there is always that self doubt. will I actually be able to do it? Can I do it? Now I do not even consider those questions! Yes, I CAN do it and I WILL do it! I am happier, healthier, thinner, more toned, can keep up with my son, and feel fantastic in anything I wear! My goals moving forward are to continue to create healthy habits. I feel like I am addicted to working out now so I want to try new things! I want to start lifting heavier and get more definition! I want this to be my lifestyle, a habit, something I don’t have to think about – just something I do, everyday, no questions asked!
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Caitlin (continued):

I have had such amazing results that I am now officially addicted! I jumped right into the 21 Day Fix and have plans on doing another program set to come out in December. I also am going to start training for the Baltimore Half Marathon in October (YIKES!)! I know what exercise, nutrition, and support has done for me, so I want to share that with others. It was pretty much a no brainer when you approached me about the coaching opportunity! I was already doing the workouts and working hard on the nutrition and I LOVED the challenge groups. So the transition into actually helping others do it was so easy! I have always loved to help and inspire others in any way that I can. Becoming a coach just gave me that opportunity.It also help hold me accountable! How can I help others if I am not doing it!? It was all the more reason to become a coach. I also had major support from my husband who knew this was something I wanted and something I would be good at! My son played a major role in my future as well. I want to be able to stay home with him but still provide financially for the family! Becoming a Beachbody Coach has me on the path to that lifestyle – all while keeping me healthy (and my family!) My future is filled with helping others and maintaining this healthy lifestyle – this isn’t a fad, its not a quick fix – it is hard work that I have made in to long lasting habits and I want to help as many people as I can do the same!

Caitlin Family

I am so proud of Caitlin and all the hard work she has put into creating a better life for herself physically, mentally, and financially.  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I am excited to see what you accomplish for yourself and your family in the next year, and I know you will help and inspire so many others along the way!

Hope you are all having a great week so far. I am on Day 2 of being on my own with my two boys. So far, it’s going pretty well! I am surprised I have actually been productive. I was able to get out of the house two days in a row, get Nico down for his naps, get 2-3 hours of work done each day, and not have the house be a complete disaster upon Zack’s return home. #winning! Beginner’s luck? We shall see how long it lasts 😉

XO,

Gina

Shakeology Super Sampler!

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Have you been wondering about what the heck is the dealio with this Shakeology “stuff” I have been drinking? Are you in need of getting your health and nutrition back on track?

Since I am not yet cleared to get back into exercise just yet, I am going to switch it up this month and run a group based on nutrition and Shakeology! If you have been curious and you are interested in trying out a sampler before making a full monthly investment, then you are a perfect candidate for this group!

I will have all 6 flavors available to ship and try out along with some of my favorite recipes to go along with each flavor. You can also feel free to try out your own recipes and share them with the group.

Why Shakeology? Because it’s a great way to get in all your vitamins, nutrients, and super foods each day. It’s been known to boost your immune system, curb those sweet tooth cravings, lower cholesterol, improve digestion, increase energy levels, help with weight loss, strengthen your hair, skin, and nails…and so much more.

Not only will I be sharing Shakeology recipes in this group, but I will also provide recipes for nutritious meals and tips for healthy, clean eating (because you definitely should not be drinking ALL of your meals!)

Shakeology veterans who are interested in learning new recipes and sharing with the group are also welcome to join!

The group will begin Monday September 21, and I wanted to make sure to give everyone enough time to get their Sampler Packets before starting.

COMMENT below if you want in or MESSAGE me for more information on how to get started, get your sampler pack, and join the group!

Have a great week everyone!

XO,

Gina

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} gmail.com if you would like to chat more!

Let’s make it a great week everyone! 🙂

XO,

Gina

Comfy Cozy

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On Me: Sweater: Forever 21 / Coat: ASOS / Jeans: Paige Denim / Boots: Sears (believe it or not!) – similar / Bag: Thrifted / Hat: Gifted

On Nico: Coat: OshKosh B’gosh / Jeans: Carter’s (on clearance!) / Boots: Old Navy / Hat: Target

Last weekend we wandered around SoHo popping into art galleries and shops before heading to a playdate with friends at CitiBabes.  This winter I am all about comfy cozy, and this was the perfect casual weekend outfit for me.

This week, I have been partaking in a clean eating challenge, and so far it’s been going really well.  I have been making delicious smoothies, attempted to make overnight oats for the first time, made hard boiled eggs and homemade hummus in advance, and stocked my fridge with healthy snacks like yogurt, fruit, veggies, and even a little cheese.  My husband has been AMAZING with helping to keep up this challenge by cooking a healthy, clean dinner for us every night.  We’ve had a fish taco bowl, pork tenderloin with swiss chard and sweet potatoes, stewed chicken with zucchini, and more.  I am feeling super healthy, and I am hoping I have inspired my group to feel the same this week.

On another note, my friend Shirin sent me a little sample of a microdermabrasion cleanser from Rodan & Fields to try out.  As someone who doesn’t use these often, the texture was a little weird for me at first, but after rinsing it off, I couldn’t help but notice how soft my skin felt afterwards.  I also really enjoyed the lip serum that she included in the package.  Thanks girl!

Happy it’s Friday!  My mother-in-law is coming to town today to hang out with us, and we are very excited to catch up!  The hubs and I are also very excited to have a night out this weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  We are heading to The NoMad for the first time for a fancy date and couldn’t be more excited!  Even better, we are also going to catch a flick beforehand.  No, it’s not going to be your typical 50 Shades of Gray…we talked about it…but the reviews were just too bad.  Instead we are taking the non-traditional route and heading to the IFC Center to see the Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts.  It’s one of my favorite programs that I see every year having worked in the animation industry for so long.  I wasn’t sure we were going to make it this year, but I’m happy to say we will!

Hope you all share lots of love with family and friends this weekend and enjoy the long holiday for the Presidents as well.

XO,

Gina

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!

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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:

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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!

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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!

XO,

Gina