Feeling Free

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Dress: Free People via Trunk Club (now 40% off!) / Shoes: Kelly + Katie via DSW (now on sale!) / Lip: MAC Impassioned

This dress is another that I scored with my last Trunk Club and my amazing stylist Megan. I wore it to a baby shower while in Maryland a couple weeks ago, but I also think it’s perfect for a date night in the city. These shoes are EVERYTHING and wore them that whole weekend. Surprisingly pretty comfortable for high heels!

I titled this post “Feeling Free” originally because this dress is from Free People, but after thinking more about it, there is a lot more behind the title and how I’m feeling right now. The boys are getting into their routine at school, and I’m getting into my new routine as their mama and as the CEO of my business…both this blog and my health + fitness coaching…which really, it all sort of combines to just really trying to inspire as many people as possible to live happier + healthier whether that’s by exercising, eating clean, taking time for yourself, feeling comfortable in your clothes and in your own skin, etc. With the boys being in school for a bit, I’m getting a little more free time to myself to really dive into this passion during normal day time hours, and I’m LOVING it.

I’ve been practicing the Miracle Morning which is a book by Hal Elrod, and it’s been completely life changing. I have been starting my day with meditation, visualization, reading personal development, journaling, and of course exercise. It’s literally the most perfect way to start the day, and it really sets the tone and my mood going forward. It also allows me to feel less stressed about things I have “to-do” during the day, and I feel that when I’m with my kids, I can really be more present with them and in the moment.

And not to bring down the moment, since I love keeping things positive over here, but I am feeling incredible sad in light of the recent shooting that happened in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the “freedom” of owning guns has allowed so many people to lose their own freedom and even their lives. My own dear friends were supposed to be at the concert, and ended up not going, thank God. I have never been a fan of guns and I feel that by having them, violence is just perpetuated. If you want to help support the end of gun violence, Everytown is a great movement to support.

And whatever else you can do to spread love and positivity in this world, please keep doing that! The world needs you. ❤

Make it a great day everyone!

XO,

Gina

3 Week Yoga Retreat

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I was an athlete growing up, but yoga is something I discovered in my 20’s after college. Being that person who was always into cardio heavy sports like soccer and basketball, yoga was quite a switch. The quiet, calm music…having to hold balance and stay still in a position for an extended period of time. It was definitely different. But the moment I tried it for the first time, I knew I loved it. There was just something about it that made me feel AMAZING after it was all over. It was a different feeling than I had experienced from exercise before. I normally felt exhausted, tired, banged up, bruised, sore, and more after a soccer or basketball game. But after yoga I felt rejuvenated. I felt a clear mind. I felt a release of stress, tension, and anxiety. I knew that yoga would not be going anywhere in my life.
 
While living in New York, I have had the pleasure of attending amazing yoga classes from my favorite teacher Brian Williams! If you haven’t taken a punk rock yoga class before, or a class on top of a roof in this amazing city, this guy will rock your world. Seriously. I am still dreaming of taking his week long yoga retreat vacation to some beautiful, tropical location. One of these days, I will make it happen.
 
But for now…since becoming a mom, it’s nearly impossible for me to make a yoga class (or any other classes for that matter). When my older son was about 18 months, I finally decided to get back into shape by taking my workouts to the living room. I quickly found out I was pregnant with baby #2 and I was going to need something more low impact than P90X. I WISHED Beachbody had a yoga program at that time, but they didn’t. The closest thing they had was PiYo, and I absolutely loooooooooved it. This combo of pilates/yoga/cardio/sculpt/strength + Chalene Johnson will always have a special place in my heart. However, it was not truly yoga.
 
I am THRILLED that as of yesterday, Beachbody has launched a new *** 3 WEEK YOGA RETREAT *** that you can do inside your own living room!!!! This is the program I have been waiting for!!!! Now I don’t have to feel left out because I can’t make the classes, but I can do them from home. 21 different yoga workouts for 21 days. On demand, so you can not only do them at home, but wherever you need to go. Pretty amazing.
 
The super yogis will love this, but it’s even better for those just beginning or those needing a low impact workout.
 
I’m currently doing Hammer + Chisel as you may have seen from my posts yesterday, but I seriously cannot wait to rock out this yoga program as soon as I am finished! I already know that I will love it. ❤
Hope you all had an awesome Labor Day Weekend! I cannot believe they are already serving pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. I am sad for the summer to end, but I do love the fall. School also starts this week for my oldest guy which is crazy! He will be in a 3’s program this year, and it will also be my first experience as a mom packing lunches! Is it weird that I oddly excited about that? I am also a bit excited to get started in our new routine. Yesterday, I was feeling all “Bring Back the Summer,” but today I think I’m embracing the new season.
 
Namaste!!!
Gina

Busy Mama Boot Camp

Busy Mama Boot Camp Invite

ATTENTION MAMAS!!!

Yes, I know you are busy. You’re a mom. So it comes with the territory. Whether you are a stay at home mom, work from home mom, work outside of the home mom, (or maybe you are a mom to a little fur baby). It means you are busy. Busy as hell. You probably barely have time to breathe or shower let alone do laundry, cook dinner, or put on a decent outfit half of the time. Especially you new mamas. You are REALLY busy. Busy trying to figure it all out and understand your new normal. I get it.

We have tiny humans to raise who make us laugh, but stress us out all at the same time. We go from melting into a puddle on the floor at something they said or did to cleaning up puddles on the floor from those things they spilled. We are on the constant shuffle, always on edge of what’s going to happen next, who’s going to throw a tantrum in the store or have a blow out in the car seat. We are constantly late to every event, but you’ll be damned if they miss that sing-a-long on Friday. We are scared to screw up because it’s going to “ruin them forever.” But guess what, we screw up anyway, and they are just fine. We love our children to pieces and would do ANYTHING for them.

But guess what Mamas? YOU are important too. Your health is important. Your sanity is important. Your happiness is important. Because guess what…those children need you around to be healthy, sane, and happy…and that rubs off on them more than you know.

So I am here to let you know that I have created a special group just for YOU. This is that FIRST STEP toward finding that time for yourself again. This is a FREE CHALLENGE group where you can take just a short amount of time out of each day this upcoming week for yourself. To exercise. To eat well. To release those endorphins. To feel happy, healthy, sane…and confident about what you will accomplish by the end of the week.

THIS IS THE BUSY MAMA BOOT CAMP.

Starting Monday May 9th, I will be putting together a SIMPLE boot camp style workout circuit that you can do ANYWHERE. No equipment necessary, so whether you are home, traveling on vacation, or you have no other time to get down on your workout except on your office lunch break, this is something you will be able to fit in. It will be simple, but it will also be a challenge. This is a challenge group afterall. But by the end you will be feeling confident and strong! I will also be sharing some simple, yet delicious family friendly healthy recipes.

If you would like to join the group, please comment below with “I’m a busy mama, but I deserve time too!” or email me here to let me know you are IN! So excited for this group, and cannot wait to get started!!!

Make it a great day everyone! 🙂

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

Fishkill Farms

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I look forward to the fall and harvest season every year. So yeah, maybe I’m basic and I like pumpkin spice lattes. At least I own it. But before my coffee drinking days growing up, I always loved the fall. The new school year was always exciting to me…starting fresh (with brand new school supplies…am I the only dork who was obsessed with school supply shopping? I craved it!), seeing my friends again or meeting new ones, football games, tailgates, parties, social events, soccer season…I loved all of it. And now as a mama, I look forward to the excitement on my little boys’ faces (or at least one of them this year…the other slept in the carrier the whole time) as they run toward the pumpkin field. Those big, bright eyes lighting up when I tell him he can pick one out for himself to bring home. His joy brings ME joy, and I love seeing him so happy and running free in the great outdoors.

We had a fantastic time upstate at Fishkill Farms where we not only got to pick out a pumpkin for each member of the family (and some extra exciting indoor white pumpkins for mama), but we also got to explore the apple orchards and run around from tree to tree looking for delicious fruit to take home and dream about what to make with them. Speaking of…stay tuned for an apple butter post in the near future! 😉

It was a little hectic getting inside the farm with the traffic…definitely not rainbows and butterflies…more like milk and tears and stopping along the side of the road to nurse. But that’s life these days and as crazy as it may be, it was worth getting in there and seeing that little boy’s smile.

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What are your favorite fall traditions?

Yesterday, Nico and I did pumpkin painting for the first time which he thoroughly enjoyed. I am looking forward to doing some more fall and holiday themed art projects with him throughout the season.

Yesterday also kicked off Week 3 of the 21 Day Fix for me. Haven’t missed a day yet and going strong. Really loving being back in action, and this program is keeping my nutrition in check on a whole different level than ever before.  I may even do another round when this is over!

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

{35} Lately

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  Been reading a bunch of books at once these days. Tag teaming a business book and a fun book. Just finished Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. It’s a great read for anyone who works in the social media industry or just has a general interest in social media. I am also reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult as something lighter and non-business related for summertime. And lastly, planning on beginning to read Start With Why by Simon Sinek this week about how great leaders inspire people to take action.

writing  Thank you cards for everyone who attended Nico’s 2nd Birthday Party and for those who have showered our 2nd baby boy with goodies as well. We are very lucky to have such great family and friends.

listening  Inspirational Podcasts. Here is a good list for entrepreneurs. Do you have a good one to add to the list?

thinking  I can’t believe it’s almost time to have this baby! And that I am going to be surrounded by BOYS!

smelling  BBQ Chicken my hubby made for dinner. So delish!

watching  The Real Housewives of Orange County and New York. Yes. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Hey, every girl needs a little trashy TV downtime.

wishing  For a smooth labor and delivery. And for my water to break at home or at the hospital and not in some crazy public place.

hoping  That being said…hoping that baby comes before they decide I need to be induced like my last pregnancy! Grow baby, grow!

wearing  Leggings, maternity shorts, stretchy tanks and maternity tops, maxi dresses. Anything that isn’t extremely hot to wear and that I can still walk around in. There is a reason you haven’t seen a fashion post up lately haha…there’s not much to report these days! Comfort is key to maternity survival in this heat!

loving  My new redecorated and cleaned out office space in my sunroom. Looking for more prints to hang and still need to install the knobs on the desk (which came today, yay!), and some curtains, but I am excited!

wanting  To try some recipes in the new cookbook, FIXATE, by Autumn Calabrese! They look so good!

needing  To keep walking! Exercise is getting a little tougher these days as I hit the 38 week mark of my pregnancy yesterday, but trying to keep things moving, and hopefully that will help this baby arrive soon.

feeling  Like I have to pee constantly. TMI? Sorry, just keepin’ it real over here.

craving  Chocolate. Chocolate. More Chocolate. If you know me, you know I generally crave fruitier desserts, but for some reason, I am all about that chocolate in the past couple weeks. Baby has a sweet tooth!

clicking  Through Etsy for office wall art

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HAPPY TUESDAY!

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

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 gina.notes26@gmail.com to get in on the challenge 🙂

Hope you are having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Pregercises

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Should you exercise during your pregnancy? During your first trimester, it can be hard to even get out of bed let alone exercise, because you are so exhausted. However, I am a big fan of exercise during pregnancy. Not only does it surprisingly give you more energy, it also boosts your mood, improves sleep, and helps with the aches and pains of pregnancy. Exercise strengthens your muscles for labor and delivery, and makes it much easier to get back to normal after the birth of your baby.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women exercise for at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week. You want to get your heart pumping, increase your flexibility, manage weight gain, and prep your muscles, but you also need to make sure you don’t overdo it and cause stress for you or the baby.

If you were exercising before your pregnancy, there is no reason to stop once you get pregnant. Many women continue to run or weight train during their pregnancies. However, you do not want to start a rigorous routine when you are pregnant if you were not a big exerciser beforehand. Modify your workouts based on your fitness level and speak to your doctor about what the best plan would be for you.

Some people may think that pregnancy limits your exercise. That is true to an extent, but there are SO many things you can do during your pregnancy for exercise. Here are some of my favorites that you can do at home or on your own:

Pregercises_Planks

Since crunches are off the table for me during pregnancy (I am afraid of that ab split! No thank you!), planks are a GREAT alternative to keep your core strong. My favorite are the elbow and side planks. When in elbow plank, make sure to keep your back flat so that it’s not drooping as that will put stress on your back. Hold for as long as you are able!

Pregercises_LegLifts

Side leg lifts are great for the outside of your legs and your boo-tay. Move your leg up and down on each side. For the second version of the leg lift, start on all fours and push one leg out and up. Then bring it back in toward your chest and repeat. This exercise is really good for the hamstrings and the boo-tay as well.

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Push-ups of course work that upper body! If you have been doing regular push-ups before your pregnancy, then you could go ahead and continue. If not, then you may want to do push-ups on your knees or against a wall to be safer.

Pregercises_Squats

For regular squats, place your legs shoulder width apart, keep your chest up and your shoulders back. Look up and make sure to put your weight on your heels. Pretend like you are sitting back in a chair and make sure your knees are behind your toes. You will definitely feel the burn in your quads and glutes! For plié squats or wide squats, open up your stance and your will feel those inner thighs getting strong.

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Walking is one of the best exercises you can do while pregnant. Walk at a quicker pace to get that heart rate up as well, and make sure to always stretch. Stretching (especially lower body) is really great overall to prep your body for labor and delivery.

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Step-Ups are fantastic for your legs and bum, and also counts as cardio!

Pregercises_Calf Raises

Start with your feet flat and raise up to your tippy toes. Repeat for at least 30 reps. You can do each leg separate or at the same time–whichever is more comfortable for you. Your calves might be screaming by the end, but they will be strong and toned as well.

Pregercises_Yoga

One of the most relaxing ways to build strength, tone, and stretch during your pregnancy. Some of my favorite poses include downward dog, upward dog, warrior 2, warrior 3, and child’s pose. As someone with an ever-aching back, it only gets worse during pregnancy, so these yoga poses really do wonders for me.  I have actually been participating in PiYo for the past couple months which is a combination of yoga and pilates. It’s a faster paced program that keeps you moving the whole time, and I have felt so much stronger and healthier in my pregnancy this time around because of it. Happy to share more info if you are interested!

Pregercises_Dance

Last but not least, one of my favorite exercises during pregnancy…dancing!  I hope I don’t really look like this when I dance. Maybe I do. I’m a nerd and was trying to end this post on a silly note, but in all seriousness, dancing is a fantastic (and fun!) way to stay active and fit during your pregnancy.

Some other exercises not pictured here that are wonderful during pregnancy include: swimming, low-impact aerobics, pelvic tilts, seated rows, weight training, running (if you were a runner before), and spinning or barre classes.

Did you stay active during your pregnancy? If so, what was your favorite way to exercise?

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

XO,

Gina

P.S. Nico had his first photo shoot for an ad catalog yesterday (my husband’s company.)  He got to model the most adorable lion coat! It was pretty cute, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Stay tuned. 🙂

{32} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  Aaaaaand I’m still reading The Goldfinch.  Haha might possibly be the longest it’s ever taken me to get through a book that I didn’t absolutely hate. LOL. I also just finished Eat That Frog, which is an excellent book about time management and making the best use out of your time. Picked up lots of great business tips in there.  

writing  I recently had the privilege to interview Shannon Fitzpatrick for Autism Awareness month about her son Chase and how Autism has impacted her family. Thank you Shannon for opening up about your experience, and hopefully this can help and inspire those going through something similar.

listening  To Nico say “I love you too” this morning, just about MADE.MY.DAY. Love that kid.

thinking  About some ideas for an upcoming post on the best exercises to do while pregnant.

smelling  The deliciousness cooking at my local cafe and Monday “office” Cafe Madeline.

watching  Revenge on Netflix. I had been wanting to watch this show for awhile, but didn’t want to jump in without seeing the first few seasons. So I decided to catch up via Netflix. It’s dark, but captivating!

wishing  A Happy Birthday to my (pretty much) brother-in-law, Adam!  Hope it’s amazing and wonderful just like you!

hoping  That Nico has a fun time at his first dance/movement class today! Wish I could be there with him, but Mama’s gotta get some work done.

wearing  Floral Pants from Motherhood Maternity – Tank from GAP – Blouse from Express – Polka Dot Flats from GAP Outlet

loving  The sunshine! It’s been very nice out the past couple days, and I am relishing in it! Even broke out my floral spring pants this morning as you can see from above.

wanting  A prenatal massage and a big huge pregnancy pillow (that I never had with my first baby). Mother’s Day? (wink wink)

needing  To go shopping for some new clothes this spring. Yes, I know I have the perfect maternity clothes already in my closet from my last pregnancy, because the babe will be born at the same time of year as Nico…but can you blame me for wanting something new?

feeling  Pretty good! Aside from a little back pain (which PiYo totally helps with by the way!), I am feeling pretty good during this second trimester. How I wish the whole pregnancy could be like the second trimester!  Haha.

craving  Ditching alllllll my cravings for processed sugar this week as I am hosting a 7-Day (No) Sugar & Squats Challenge!  Today is the first day (50 squats down baby!), so feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you want in!

clicking  Through apartment listings. Trying to figure out if it makes sense to move before we have our little one. We could technically squeeze in our current place, but it will be TIGHT. The problem is that finding anything bigger is going to be a huge increase in expense (my guess), and we have such an amazing deal now that it’s hard to leave. We shall see what the future brings!

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HAPPY MONDAY!

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

***I was inspired by Tina of Like Ordinary Life to create this post, and she was inspired by Lauren of siddathornton, who started The Sunday Currently.