Go With Your Gut


Through my journey as an online health + fitness coach, I am always reading, researching, and discovering new things in the health + wellness world…especially when it comes to nutrition. Last year I became obsessed with kombucha…not only because I think it tastes amazing, but because it has so many live probiotics and healing properties for your gut. My obsession with kombucha led down me a path to learn even more about gut health and other ways to improve it. I put together a Facebook LIVE video where I talked all about it, but I really wanted to put something down in writing as well for a quick reference.

Healing your gut allows your body to build a stronger immune system and produce the right kind of bacteria to fight off infection. All diseases begin in your gut, and restoring your gastrointestinal system can have major effects on your ENTIRE body. It not only affects your immune system, but also your mood, memory, digestion, and more. Certain bacteria can affect vitamin and mineral absorption, hormone regulation, and also eliminate toxins.

Some symptoms of a poor gut include abdominal pain, bloating, reflux/gas, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and immune weakness. On the flip side, probiotic foods with healthy bacteria are helpful to make you feel great, slim down and be on the offense against infection. Prebiotic foods are also great as these are foods that probiotics thrive on. I will go into more details on these below.

So without further ado, here are 15 foods for a healthier GUT:

1) Yogurt – Yogurt is full of probiotics, or live active cultures. It doesn’t really matter if it’s Greek, regular, full fat, non-fat, etc. They are all pretty great for that belly. There are also some great dairy-free options (made with coconut, almond, etc) that are packed with probiotics as well. For myself, I try to look for a brand with a low amount of sugar, because this is definitely a food product where many brands sneak in those extras sugars. One of my favorite brands that is also low in sugar is Siggi’s!

2) Kefir – Similarly packed with probiotics, this is drinkable yogurt and has a bit of a tangy flavor. Check out this one by Maple Hill. Many brands of Kefir are also 99% lactose free for those with lactose issues.

3) Kombucha – I touched on this earlier as the gateway drug to my gut health research ;-), but kombucha is a probiotic tea that is both carbonated and tangy. It’s made with a natural bacteria and yeast that have fermented. You can make it from home if you can find the “scoby” to do so, but I personally love the brands Health-Ade and Brew Dr. – Pink Lady Apple tastes like sparkling apple cider! I have seen kombucha come into question many times for pregnant women, because of a couple reasons. 1) technically since it’s naturally fermented it can have trace amount of alcohol in it and 2) it’s raw, not pasteurized in order to salvage the healthy beneficial bacteria. Now, the alcohol part doesn’t really bother me as I’ve never gotten drunk off kombucha, let’s be real. But the raw part does make me a little nervous to be honest to drink while pregnant. I’ve always been told to avoid these types of raw foods while pregnant, and have decided to skip it at least in my first trimester, and I haven’t fully decided about the rest. I have seen and heard many people enjoy kombucha during their pregnancy, and I feel it’s just a personal choice much like eating sushi, certain cheese, etc. while pregnant. At the end of the day, I think it’s important to speak with your doctor and make a decision that you feel is right for you and your baby. That all said…kombucha is probably one of my fav things on this list, and if you haven’t tried it, you must!

4) Kimchi – This spicy Korean cabbage is made with lactic acid fermentation and does wonders for the belly! It’s a staple at many Korean meals, and you can find it at many health food stores and groceries these days or make it yourself! I’m not super big on spicy foods, but if I were, I would try this kind from Ozuke!

5) Miso Paste – Miso paste is made from aged fermented soybeans and can be used to make miso soup, on fish, or in a stir fry. It does have a high sodium content, so just be aware of your intake!

6) Sauerkraut – This chopped cabbage has been pickled in brine. There are tons of beneficial probiotics found in this dish which has been around forever. Look for sauerkraut that is located in the refrigerated section rather than jarred or canned at room temperature, because that is where the live, raw bacteria will be kept thriving and better help that gut. Bubbies makes a great one.

7) Sourdough Bread – This type of bread is made with lactic acid and contains friendly bacteria as well. Who knew? A bread that’s actually good for your gut! Sign me up! Whole grain sourdough is best. Bonus: for those with diabetes, sourdough bread causes a lower blood sugar spike than other types of bread.

8) Pickles – A pregnant woman’s dream!!! Though I have to admit, I have never craved pickles in any of my pregnancies haha. Similar to sauerkraut, you want to make sure your pickles are in brine rather than vinegar and those with live cultures are best. You can also pickle other vegetables in a similar fashion such as beets, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and more. A great pickle brand is Bubbies and one of my favorite pickled beet mixes is from Ozuke.

9) High Fiber Plant Foods – These types of foods are excellent for the gut, because they are preventative to keep the belly in a healthy state. Some high fiber plant foods include vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

10) Prebiotic Foods – These types of foods are what those healthy probiotics love to eat! To keep the healthy bacteria alive, they need something to thrive on, and these foods are it! They include the fiber rich foods listed above, onions, garlic, asparagus, shallots, leeks, beets, cabbage, beans, lentils, soybeans, oats, whole grains, bananas, and mango.

11) Bone Broth – This is another one of my recent favorite things ever. ESPECIALLY when I’m sick. It’s SO healing, and I feel like I get over my sickness that much quicker after having it. It’s nutrient rich and helps to heal and seal the lining of the small and large intestine. You can definitely make this on your own at home with chicken bones (and it’s probably even healthier for you that way to maintain all the nutrients), but I’m a creature of “easy as effing possible” so I have only purchased it. My favorite brand thus far is Kettle & Fire, and I love their Chicken and Mushroom flavor! I have also heard great things about Bonafide Provisions.

12) Apple Cider Vinegar – I know many people who swear by ACV each day. It helps the body created hydrochloric acid and aids in fat digestion as well.  I’ve never drank it solo, but I have enjoyed Mother Earth Organic Root Cider which is mixture that includes apple cider vinegar along with it also boasts roots, vegetables, spices, lemon, peppers, and more. It’s definitely worth a shot, and it’s a great kick start to your day.

13) Coconut Oil – Another favorite of mine to make the list! This medium chain triglycerides (or fatty acids) found in coconut oil may be helpful over time in balancing the bacteria found in your gut which can help with digestion, energy levels, and vitamin/mineral absorption. I always buy unrefined which keeps that coconut flavor. This organic one by La Tourangelle is fantastic.

14) Wild Salmon – Packed with omega 3 fatty acids, wild salmon can help to heal an inflamed gut. Eating wild salmon can help to ward off diabetes, obesity, and Crohn’s disease.

15) Collagen – Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our bodies found in our hair, nails, skin, bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Collagen supplements are wildly popular at the moment and can not only help strengthen all of those body parts listed above, but it can also aid an inflamed gut and slow down the aging process. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is the one I have seen most people using, and have also used myself. Again, always check with a doctor before adding any new supplements into your routine!

Welp, that about wraps up my research on gut-healthy food choices!!! I hope this was helpful!! Did you learn anything new? OR…do you have anything else you would ADD to this list? I love hearing from you all, so please share!

Let’s make it a great week everyone!



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!





You know that lady in your family who gives hugs and smooches and then leaves evidence of said smooch all over everyone?

“Oh I guess you said hello to Aunt so and so, because you have lipstick on your cheek.”

Yeah, that’s me. My poor kids have lipstick smooches on them regularly. So when Suzie suggested I should try out Younique’s Stiff Upper Lip Stain, I figured I would give it a shot! I love a new lip color and had never before tried a stain, so I was pretty excited to check it out. I chose the “Sleek” color for the winter season, and I also think it will be great once fall arrives.

Below are my before photos with a naked lip.


And on the contrary…POP! The Sleek Stiff Upper Lip Stain in action. It’s bold and beautiful. I just love the richness of the color. Since I had never used a stain before, the texture was a little more fluid than I was expecting. I suppose I was thinking it would be like a gloss? But that was definitely not the case. I realized you have to let it dry and that two coats works the best! I was SUPER impressed with the fact that it stayed on ALL day without reapplication, and my kid’s faces were not covered in lipstick by the end of the day. I would definitely recommend trying it out, and it also comes in a variety of colors if dark and bold is not your jam.



This was the first Younique beauty product I have tried, but it looks like I will need to check out some more! Many thanks to Suzie for this great pick!

Hope you are all having a great week so far. We are getting back into our groove from the Easter holiday. We traveled to Maryland so this week has been all about grocery shopping, laundry, paying bills, and cleaning the house. Ohhhh adulting. Trying out lip stains is much more fun! 😉

But in all seriousness, I cannot even believe March is almost over and we will be into April in no time. This year is flying by and the boys are growing way too fast. Luca is already 7 months old, and Nico over 2.5 already. Where does the time go? I am finishing up P90X3 this week, and feeling stronger than ever. I have been absolutely loving it, but I DO feel as if I have let my nutrition slip just a bit in the past couple months. SO I am taking measures to the EXTREME with 21 Day Fix Extreme next month to get back on track…eeeep! I’m a little nervous, but I am up for the challenge.

Also looking forward to warmer days and more long walks and days on the playground with my boys. Bring on the spring!



Transformation Tuesday: 21 Day Fix Round 2

21DF Results Compare Side

Transformation Tuesday!

During my 2nd Round of the 21 Day Fix I lost 2 more pounds and 5.25 more inches. So from Day 1 to Day 42, I lost a total of 6 lbs and 12 inches.

It may not seem like much in terms of weight, but my photos show that you can’t just go by the scale! You can really see a difference (at least I think so) in the before/after shots. I can also definitely feel things have changed in the way my clothes fit. Those pre-pregnancy jeans are now feeling comfortable and not so super tight.

My journey is not over, but I am making progress and that’s what counts! It took me 9 months to carry that little baby to term, and it has only been 3 months postpartum. So I am feeling good and happy and strong with where I am today.

I indulged a little more than I had planned over the Thanksgiving holiday, but hey…that’s also part of why I’m working so hard right? To enjoy! Plus Round 3 started yesterday, and I am back on track for the month of December! Going to be hard to fight off some of those holiday temptations, but the best part about this plan is that it allows some treats! 🙂

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I am SO incredibly grateful and thankful for my family and friends. I am also thankful for all of you lovely readers who keep coming back here each day. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!



Summer Sweat Sesh

Summer Sweat Sesh Invite

Can’t believe it’s almost JULY! This summer is flying by already. School is officially out and I know many of us are prepping for family vacations. Whoo hoo!

Starting July 6, I’m hosting a little Summer Sweat Sesh, because a dip in the pool always feels more refreshing after a nice workout right? Not to mention feeling even more fabulous in that swimsuit. 🙂

Most of the workouts are 30 min per day and are combined with a healthy eating plan. Our group will provide support and motivation each day along with workout tips, nutrition information, and yummy summer recipes.

So what do you say? Who’s in for a little sweat sesh this summer?

COMMENT below with your contact information or email me at gina.notes26 {at} gmail.com.

Cheers to Summer!



Feeling Grateful: Update on Andrea

Andrea Hike copy

This right here is a photo of my sister-in-law, Andrea, and her husband Tink a couple weeks ago.  They went on a WINTER hike up a mountain that was covered in ice and snow.  Yes, this is the same sister-in-law who I spoke about on my blog back in October.  Then, she was anxiously hoping and waiting to have a life-changing brain surgery to rid her of the terrible Parkinson’s symptoms she was experiencing.  Fast forward to present day and she is hiking MOUNTAINS! In the SNOW!

I want to first start out by thanking everyone who helped support Andrea in receiving this surgery.  We raised more than enough money, and she donated the extra funds to future Parkinson’s research.  She was incredibly excited, and didn’t even bat an eye about having to fully shave her head beforehand.  We received a photo of her smiling with a big thumbs up pre-surgery.  She was so happy and ready to go.

According to her doctor, the surgery went very well.  I spoke to Andrea about how she has been feeling since the surgery, and these were her remarks:

My symptoms from Parkinson’s are gone. I’m able walk normally again, and I don’t have to worry if I will actually make it out of the woods if I go on a walk.  I’m thinking I could walk endlessly. It’s been a incredible mind and body experience that still amazes me everyday I get out of bed and simply set my feet on the floor. And then, I think I couldn’t have had this chance without the help from everyone who donated. Living with gratitude is a wonderful feeling.

I have seen such a change in Andrea’s spirit and happiness since the surgery.  She has been able to complete so many physical challenges, hikes, and all the outdoor activities that she used to love and couldn’t do for years.  I love that despite this crazy cold weather, she is not waiting for the summer to get outside.  She is that excited to get back out there, and the weather is no issue for her.  It’s incredibly inspirational and a true testament to living life to it’s fullest while you can.  Our entire family is extremely grateful for all of your help getting Andrea back to a life she can fully enjoy.






I have always been an athlete my entire life. Soccer & basketball were two of my main sports throughout childhood, high school, and college, and even beyond. I participated in my first race (an Olympic distance triathlon) at 22, and that opened up the doors for me to run 10Ks, half marathons, Tough Mudder, Ragnar Relay, and more. I love challenging myself, but also the feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment I get after completing something huge.

Since having my son, Nico, it has been hard to get back to that place of doing things for myself, especially fitness. I didn’t have time to go to the gym, and my membership soon became a waste of money. I decided I wanted to try P90X, something that had been on my bucket list for a couple years. Of course, you all know that is now impossible due to a second little one on the way, but I have not given up my goal of staying healthy and fit, so I have started PiYo (pilates/yoga) and plan to continue for as long as I can throughout my pregnancy.

When my company folded in September, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I enjoyed production and animation (what I had been doing for the past 7 years), but I didn’t feel like my position in the industry as an agent was still as valuable as it had once been. I toyed with the idea of going into fashion merchandising as fashion has always been a passion and hobby of mine (as you know from this blog), but the hours were crazy starting from the ground up. I did a lot of research and informational interviews, and it just seemed like I would be spending a LOT more time away from my family. Now, I am not opposed to hard work. Actually, I like working hard at things I love. But I’m not in my early 20’s anymore, where I feel comfortable staying at the office until 9:00 at night. My priorities have changed. I have a family now, and I want to be able to see my kid more than 30 minutes a day and put him to bed at night.

I discovered a fellow fashion blogger who was also an athlete growing up (basically she is my West Coast alter-ego, love you Marion!), who decided to become a Beachbody Coach, get healthy, and help others along in the process. She was able to quit her full time job in just a couple months to pursue this full time. I decided that I had nothing to lose, joined her team, and took the plunge into the world of fitness coaching. So far it has been a wonderful journey. I am learning so much. I have hosted fitness challenges along with Marion, and hosted a clean eating challenge along with my partner, Karen. I love seeing people make positive changes to their lifestyle because I was able to give them a little push in the right direction. I love that I am able to build my own business anyway I like, and I can work on my own time on my own hours when it is convenient for me and my family. It’s still a LOT of work. But it’s work that I actually enjoy getting up in the morning to do and I don’t have to lose quality time with my family commuting back and forth on the subway every day. Not to mention, I don’t have to ask for time off, and if I want to plan a trip to Mexico in the middle of winter, SO BE IT.

My goal is to get to the point in my business where I am contributing financially to my family again, and hoping to surpass what I was making in the production world. I have seen so many success stories not only from my coach, Marion, but from others on my incredible team. I am confident that if I push myself to my full potential, that I will be able to achieve that goal.

I want to set a good example for my son and future baby in terms of a healthy lifestyle and also a happy career. I also plan to help as many people as possible to achieve their goals both in health/fitness and also anyone else that may be looking for a little financial freedom.

This post was a bit more long-winded than I intended, but I thought it was a good time to share my WHY and my current story with life, health, career, etc. We all have our own journey, and right now this is mine.

Make it a great week ya’ll!



Happy New Year!


The past year has been a bit of a roller coaster.  My family has suffered a lot of loss, but we have also shared in a lot of joy.  There have been changes in my career, trips across the country, exciting wedding celebrations, babies born, and interesting adventures.  Watching my son grow this past year has been the most amazing part.  He turned one in August with a nautical birthday party, and he has been soaking up knowledge like a sponge.  He amazes me every day with the way he communicates and how much he can remember.  He is sweet as pie and shows so much love and affection.  I feel incredibly blessed and lucky.

I also feel extremely lucky to have so much love and support from all of you.  Thanks for sticking by me this past year through the good times and the bad.  There were moments when it was tough to find the time or energy to continuing blogging and creating, but this is always a place I love to come back to, and I appreciate you all coming back here as well.  Some of your favorite posts from this past year included the beautiful fairytale wedding of Melissa and John, some creative ideas for engagement gifts, and when I tried out these fabulous new hair extensions.  I also heard from a lot of you about how I survived the first year of motherhood and the gear that got me through.  As always, please let me know what types of posts you would love to see more or less of in the coming year.

I can definitely say I am excited for what 2015 has to offer.  I’m going to jump into a P90X program starting TOMORROW, and I am so excited to get back into shape again.  I have always been athletic having played soccer and basketball my entire life through college and beyond.  After having my child, I have struggled to find the time and the energy to get into a regular workout routine.  When I was working outside of the home, I quite frankly hated to spend my free time away from my son.  Now that I am home most days, it’s tough to even have free time!  I received the P90X DVD program a couple years ago as a Christmas gift.  It was on my wish list and also on my bucket list as something I wanted to complete as a challenge to myself.  Although the program is still in the shrink wrap, it’s something I have not been able to let go.  I despise the feeling of not being in shape anymore, and although I have lost all of my baby weight, I do not feel like my healthy, energetic self anymore.  I plan on joining an online challenge group to keep myself motivated on this journey, and I am looking forward to feeling good again and setting a good example for my son.  If you are also interested in joining me in my fitness journey, please let me know and I would love to give you more information about the group.

Aside from getting fit and healthy, I am setting my sights on a family vacation to Tulum, Mexico!  I have never visited, but I have heard so many amazing things.  Our itinerary is completely open, so if you have any ideas or suggestions on where to stay or what to do while we are there, please share!

The photo above is from New Year’s Eve on my friend’s rooftop in Baltimore, MD.  We had a blast on our trip, although we are now trying to recover from the yucky sickness we managed to catch while away.  Poor lil guy has the croup plus a fever!  We have finally unpacked all of our Christmas goodies from the car, took down our tree, and put away all the decorations for the season.  I’m always sad when Christmas is over, but I am excited for a fresh start in 2015.

Hope you all had a wonderful year, and I am wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy new year in 2015!



5 Beauty Must Haves

5 Beauty Must Haves
1.  MAC Paint Pot in Painterly – This is a cream eyeshadow, but I use it an an eyeshadow primer.  Before using this, my eyeshadow would wear off before the end of the day.  Now, I have literally fallen asleep, and my eyeshadow has still been wearin’ strong!  My makeup routine is no longer complete without this product!  And the little pot actually lasts quite awhile.
2.  Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula – I have been slathering this on daily to avoid stretch marks from my Little Monkey.  So far, so good!
3.  Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara – I was an avid Lancome Difinicils user for years.  I recently started using Hypnose Drama instead, and I LOVE the difference in my eyelashes!  While it still makes them longer, it also makes them fuller and more voluminous.  I think I will be sticking to this mascara for awhile.
4.  Olay Age Defying Moisturizer – I use this all year long, and have been very happy with it.  As for the anti-wrinkle, you can never start too young in my opinion!  It also has an SPF of 15, which is great for the summertime.
5.  Loreal Extra Intense Eyeliner – I always have trouble with eyeliner wearing off on the underside of my lower eyelid and smudging underneath  (I know, I know, you’re aren’t supposed to put it there, but I have to).  So far, this eyeliner does it the least, so I’ve been using it a lot lately.
What are your beauty must haves?
Tonight, I’m headed to the AICP Show at the MOMA, and very much looking forward to it!  Have a great Thursday everyone.

{10} Lately…


Lately I’ve been…

reading  May issues of Health Magazine and Marie Claire.  Got some yummy new recipes and a desire to return to Italy!

writing  Thank you notes for all of the kindness my family and friends have shown toward Little Monkey so far!  He is a lucky little boy!

listening  To the news.  I admit, I am not the best when it comes to keeping up with the news.  I usually get my updates from Facebook and Twitter (I know, that’s horrible, but true).  But events from the past week have kept me tuned in.

thinking  That I cannot believe I am halfway through my pregnancy!  20 weeks in, and 20 weeks left until I get to meet my Baby Boy!

smelling  Not much of anything.  I have been sick and stuffed up all week.

watching  The always entertaining Real Housewives of Orange County.  Never a dull dinner party.

wishing  For safe travels as we head down to Maryland this weekend.

hoping  That I can pack my bags in less than 2 hours.  For me this would be an accomplishment.

wearing   Today is a lazy day.  I blame it on being sick all week.  I’m literally in yoga pants, New Balance tennis shoes, layered tank, tshirt, and sweater.  On days like today, I’m so very lucky my office is low key.

loving   The fact that 215 people have signed up for the John Petrovick Memorial 5K this weekend!  I am so thankful to my friends who have put this event together.  This is a great turnout for the very first event, and John would be so happy and proud.  So excited to see you all in Baltimore!

laughing  At myself trying on bathing suits with my prego belly last night in preparation for our trip to warm-weather Arizona.  No really…it was quite comical.

wanting  To be outside playing in this sunshine today.  It’s gorgeous in NYC!

needing  To flush this sickness throughly out of my system as soon as possible.

feeling  Super excited for our trip to Arizona at the beginning of May.  Hanging out with my pen pal in her hometown for the first time, seeing family and friends, the Grand Canyon, Sedona, warm weather, Mexican food, our two year wedding anniversary, and our “baby moon” trip…so many reasons for this excitement!

craving  Everything and anything neon.  As seen on Monday’s post.

clicking  I took a million photos during our Boston trip last weekend of the wedding and the rest of our adventures.  Once again, I’m blaming my sickness for my delay in posting these, but I promise they should be up sometime next week!

*Sidenote:  I just got my Waveborn shades in the mail today, and I cannot wait to rock them oh so soon!

What have you been up to lately?

Happy Friday!



***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.

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