Dare to Dream

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When you look at this photo here, you see a smiling, happy, fun-loving, positive, fitness crazy group of friends.

But what you don’t see in this photo:

-One of these women suffered from eating disorder in her past
-One rarely sees her husband because he is in the military
-One never had a group of close girlfriends growing up
-One always felt like a social outcast
-One recently struggled through divorce
-One is struggling financially to get her family back on their feet
-One was drowning in the day to day of motherhood
-One was overweight and lost over 80 pounds to get healthy
-One struggles with a chronic illness
-One has a stressful full time job

People often comment or tell me that what I am doing is amazing, but they don’t have that kind of motivation, or they don’t have the dedication that I do. I think sometimes they believe I am this fitness machine and that this is just easy for me. But I am human. All of these women here are human. We have our struggles. We have our past. We have the daily grind of life that can sometimes be difficult.

But the difference here is that this group of women have made a DECISION. They have decided that THEY are in CHARGE of their own lives. That their circumstances will not define them. That they are WORTH it. That they will work toward a life they have always wanted, and won’t let anything stand in their way.

This is the type of job where you determine your own destiny. Especially in a country right now where women are still underpaid compared to men…this company has given everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. There is no cap to your potential…as long as you are willing to put in the work. If you believe in other people…in helping other people…that is the key. The ladies here are not in this business for a quick rise to the top or some get rich quick scheme. That’s just not real life. But they are here to help people, to grow and enrich themselves, to learn, to FACE their daily struggles, to conquer them, and to go after what they truly deserve.

I am hosting a “What is Coaching?” Happy Hour online THIS Thursday night at 8:30pm ET to give you an inside scoop on what it REALLY means to be a coach and how you can start to face those fears and go after those dreams in your life. Everyone has the potential to be the best person you can be. It’s all about making that decision. So if nothing else other than pure curiosity, I would love to see you there on Thursday for this info-only event! No pressure to join in this opportunity…only the information to see if just maybe this is the thing you’ve been waiting for.  

COMMENT, drop me an email, or fill out this application below, and I can’t wait to chat more on Thurs!!!

https://pandpfitness.wufoo.com/forms/team-spark/

Make it a great day everyone!

XO,

Gina

Owl or Lark?

Owl or Lark

 

I have been listening to the “Happier” Podcast recently by the author of “The Happiness Project,” Gretchin Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft. I definitely recommend it by the way! It’s pretty awesome.
 
But one of the topics that came up was whether you are an Owl or a Lark? Basically…are you a night person or a morning person?
 
When I was a teenager, my mom would burst into my bedroom basically singing in the morning. I didn’t drink coffee back then, but I would basically grumble, roll over, tell her to leave me alone and I didn’t really feel like having a conversation for at least 30 minutes. I did not understand how she could be so happy and chipper in the morning while I was so miserable. I chalked it up to the teenage years (because what teenager doesn’t sleep in?), but even now at 31 years of age, I still grumble getting out of bed in the morning, and don’t want to talk to anyone until I have had my coffee.
 
On those rare days I wake up early and feel energized, I end up being super productive, and so I sometimes wish that I could be a Lark. But I think I am mostly an Owl.
 
I used to think that Owls could be Larks if they just went to bed earlier. It makes sense right? Well if I just went to bed earlier, then I would wake up happier? But after listening to this podcast, I’m not so sure that is the case! I have tried going to bed earlier before, and many times I end up tossing and turning and rolling around trying to sleep and just sort of lying there. And even if I do end up falling asleep earlier than normal, I generally still wake up grumbling. So I think, well maybe I should have just stayed up and got those things done I needed to do?
 
The world is built for Larks…people get up early to do their workouts, get the kids to school, go to work, etc. If you sleep past a certain hour you are called “lazy.” But what if you could just embrace what you really are?
 
I have been staying up late to get things done because it’s the only time I can find quiet. Everyone is asleep and I can just focus on one thing without any distractions. With kids it can be hard to be an Owl, because they get up so darn early! But luckily since my husband is generally a Lark and likes to go to bed early, he is usually happy to get up with the kids so I can stay up later and then sleep a little later.
 
Anyway, I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this except I think it’s important to figure out which one you are and then try to do your most important tasks for the day during the time when you are most productive. Ultimately that will bring you the most happiness rather than trying to fit into the mold of something you are not.
 
So which one are YOU? An OWL or a LARK?
Hope you are all having a great week!
XO,
Gina

Happy 1st Birthday Nico

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Dear Nico,

Wow.  ONE whole year.  I cannot even begin to explain the emotions I am feeling today.  I will do my best to put it into words.  I am tearing up as I write this, but I’m not exactly sure why.  When I brought you home from the hospital one year ago, I couldn’t believe they were actually going to let me take you home.  Aside from babysitting my cousins and neighbors in my teen years, what did I know about raising a baby?  Especially a 5lb baby who had come two weeks early.  It was a strange feeling after carrying you around inside me for 9 months to then have you right there next to me or in my arms, outside of the womb.  To actually see the little face I could only imagine for so long.  You were so tiny.  So delicate.  I felt as if I might break you.  I was scared to put your clothes on, to swaddle you, to wipe your little tush too hard, or seal your diaper too tight.  Breastfeeding was a bitch.  I’m not going to lie.  It was hard.  You didn’t want to latch.  And I pumped for months, because I was bound and determined to make sure things panned out the way I had planned.  Although, of course things never turn out exactly how you think they will.  But we made it work.  And we eventually came to have a fantastic nursing relationship.

People said this year would fly by.  They said to make sure to enjoy it.  I believed them, but when you’re up around the clock with only a few hours sleep and you can’t tell the difference between night and day as you are in those beginning weeks, sometimes I admit it was tough to enjoy things.  Those weeks were hard.  But sometimes I wish I could rewind and see you that tiny again…before you wanted to squirm away from me after a quick hug.  When you would just lie on my chest for a three hour nap completely content.  Those days we cannot get back.  I look back at those photos from those first couple months, and I barely recognize that little baby anymore.  You have grown and changed so much in what feels like such a short amount of time.

When you gave me that first smile, I just about melted.  As hard as motherhood can be sometimes, it’s all worth it for every little smile, belly laugh, hug, and kiss you have given me.  Anytime you accomplished something new in the past year…it was such a complete joy to watch.  To know that maybe hours before you didn’t know how to roll over, but now you could…I felt such a sense of accomplishment for you.  You were so frustrated when you couldn’t crawl.  You would flail your arms and legs about like a flying fish, and spin in circles trying to make your move.  But that day you learned to army crawl, you were so excited.  You slid around the entire living room.  And once you could really crawl, you took off to explore the entire apartment.  Your sense of adventure and exploration reminds me of your Papa, and I love that you inherited that trait from him.

You are so curious.  You have always loved to see what is going on around you.  You really pay attention and focus on things, especially the alphabet, animals, and people playing music.  I am shocked at the amount of focus you have sometimes to sit and entertain yourself with a toy or a book for a long time.  You love to be outside whether it’s at the park, walking along the city streets, playing in the sand at the beach, or in the water at the pool.  You have flown in airplanes with us, hiked mountains with us, and rode on endless car trips.  You have made so many friends in the neighborhood, and you have attracted attention from admirers wherever we go.  You are definitely a people person, (which I like to think you have inherited from me) and you are incredibly sweet and lovable to all of your stuffed animals.

I am feeling such a mix of emotions.  I’m sad that you are growing up and moving from baby to toddler.  I’m happy that you have accomplished so much in this past year.  I’m excited for all the new adventures we will have in year two.  I’m nervous about the new changes we have coming our way.  I’m sentimental that we will never get back some of those amazing moments from when you were small.  All of those old firsts are now taken for granted.  However, I am anticipating all of the new firsts you will take on.  I am proud of the person you are thus far, and I’m hopeful that your father and I will continue to guide you in the “right” direction…whatever that means.  Most of all, I feel such an intense sense of love for you that grows by the minute.  Every day I think it is impossible to love you that much more, and every day my love still grows and grows.  The more time I spend with you, the less I want to be away from you.  You make my heart full and it’s hard to imagine what life was like before you came into the picture.

You are my Little Monkey, my Nico Bonzo, my Booski, my Boo Boo, my Stinky Butt, my Bubba, my Babycakes, my world.

Thank you for making me a mother.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for the constant light and joy you bring to our family every day.

I love you like crazy.

Happy 1st Birthday, Nico.

Love,

Mama

*First photo by Justin Goldberg.  The rest, my own.*

P + P Spring Closet Sale!

Spring Closet Sale

Hello there lovely readers!

You know when your closet gets so messy that you can’t even see the floor anymore?  Things piled so high, so utterly disorganized, that you give up and just forego cleanliness and keep piling things on in heaps?  No?  Is that just me?  Well, my closet had definitely gotten to that point, and this weekend I finally decided to do something about it with a little spring cleaning.  I must admit, I have a little bit of a hoarding tendency.  My husband is constantly getting on my case about throwing things away.

Zack:  I mean Gi, do you really need to keep every birthday card, soccer trophy, and note you passed in 8th grade?

Me:  YES HONEY I DO.

When it comes to clothing, I am not much better.  I usually keep things around until they are unwearable. Clothes stick around in my closet waiting for a day when that trend will “come back in style.”  I have sorority T-shirts that I don’t even wear anymore, but I cannot bear to part with because of all the memories associated.  A dress that I didn’t wear all summer will sit there with the clear intent that I will wear it.  Then that summer goes and passes, and the dress is still hanging by its lonely self hoping for the following summer to grace the world with it’s presence once again.

That being said, it’s tough to hoard in a two bedroom apartment with a husband and a baby.  The things pile on and the clutter becomes absurd.  Gretchen says de-cluttering is one of the keys to happiness, and I certainly agree that lack of clutter has eased my stress in the past.

So there you have it.  On a quest to staying happy and relieving stress, I spent the weekend cleaning.  And here is my first little online closet sale to show for it.

Here’s the scoop:

1) I created a Pinterest board with all the items for sale.

2) If you want to buy an item, write “Sold” in the comments section along with your PayPal email.  If you don’t have a PayPal account, you can create one here.

3) Half of all proceeds will go to a Reader’s Choice charity.  After you write your intent to buy an item, please cast your vote for your charity of choice.  I will then randomly select a charity from the reader’s votes to make the donation.

4) Shipping is not included.  All items will be sent standard USPS.

5) All items are final sale.

Happy Shopping!

XO,

Gina

I’m Still Here

I’m still here.  It’s 12.21.12, and I’m still here.

I realize the day is not over yet.  I realize a little “knock knock” on some wood might do me some good here.  And should I not be here later today, I suppose I should say my farewells.  Although it’s been a short stint here at popcorn and pandas, it has been a fun one.  I will miss all of you dearly, and wish you all a happy parting from this world if we are indeed ending our time here today.

But as for now, I am still here.  And I still have bucket list items to complete, Christmas to celebrate, a 90’s Christmas mix album to listen to (thanks awesome co-worker!), family to see, friends to hang out with, photos to take, a wedding to attend, and a new year to ring in.

I have packing to do and a trip to Maryland to take.  I have bagels and manicottis to pick up to bring home to the family (you are welcome Dad).  I have some birthdays to celebrate, a wine and pizza night with friends on the books, and a nephew puppy to shower with snuggles.  I don’t know about you…but I’m not quite ready.  I still have too much to do.

So I am going to stay optimistic about the fact that I am still here.  The truth is, we never know how long we may have on this Earth.  Forget the Mayans and their predictions about today, but we aren’t guaranteed anything in life.  Including life itself.  So today I am thankful that I am still here.

And while I am still here, I will take this moment to reiterate how important it is to make the most of what you have.  Make the best of your time here.  Do what makes you happy in life.  Your time is precious and should not be wasted.  You never know when your world will end.

But right now, you are still here.

Happy Friday and Happy Holidays to all!

XO,

Gina