Pre-Pregnancy Jeans

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About 10 days ago, I decided to try on these pre-pregnancy jeans and I was pleasantly surprised I could BUTTON them!!! Only 1 week before, I couldn’t. They are still a little tight, but they are proof of the progress I am making on my post partum journey. I have completed two full fitness programs since I had my 3rd baby in August, and I am currently in the middle of another. I haven’t been super strict or hard on myself in terms of nutrition this time around. I am making healthy choices for the most part and following my plan (save some wine and some weekend indulgences), but I am nursing a tiny human! I want to enjoy balance and the holidays…and hell, I birthed a human…it takes TIME! I HAVE been staying very consistent with my workouts, because I know how important it is for me to move my body not only physically but mentally. And while these were a little tight to squeeze on, it felt good to know that the rest of my normal clothing is in my near future!

I had also been eyeing this gorgeous Cloudspun sweater from American Eagle for awhile, so when it went on sale for Black Friday, I had to scoop it up! Unfortunately this color is now sold out, but they have four other beautiful colors from which to choose!

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Cloudspun Sweater: American Eagle (unfortunately this color is sold out, but they have four other beautiful colors from which to choose and they are all on sale!) / Jeans: ZARA (my old pre-pregnancy jeans that I can finally button again, whoop whoop!) – similar / Booties: Target (old) – also like these / Earrings and Bracelet: Selah Box / Lip: MAC Heartless – discontinued, but try Brave Red

This week has been busy busy with holiday shopping and activities (Santa and Dyker Heights Christmas lights!) and trying out our brand new workout program that will be officially launching mid-January. It’s going to be only TWENTY minutes, you guys! I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty perfect for this busy mama. I’m filling up my group now, so for those of you who are looking for a plan of action in 2019, let’s get to chatting!

This weekend we have a few holiday parties coming up and we are taking the boys to the NY Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show, because they have pretty much been waiting to go back since last year. This time of year is my absolutely favorite, so while it’s busy with work, I’m trying to soak up every second I can with the fam!

What do you love about this time of year?

XO,

Gina

Sparkly Season

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Sparkly Tank: Forever 21 (old) – similar / White Blazer: Target (old) – similar / Leggings: Target – similar / Ankle Booties: H&M – similar / Hat: Habit (boutique in Brooklyn) / Lip: MAC Rebel

‘Tis the season of SPARKLE!!!! This was supposed to be my New Year’s Eve outfit, but I got excited and wore it on Christmas Eve instead. I planned on wearing my red dress, but decided I wanted to feel a little more casual…but not TOO casual. So I managed to dress up black leggings with nothing else other than a little sparkle, blazer, and a hat. And who knew my aunt would be bringing hats for each one of the gals at the party for a “funny hat” photo?! Guess I had a sixth sense or something…

Christmas was a blast as usual with lots of family craziness, keeping kids up late, some crankiness, tons of presents, cookies galore, and much much more. We had a great time…I wish it hadn’t felt like such a rush through it all. Nico really enjoyed himself and it was amazing just seeing all the excitement in his eyes. Oh how I love the magic of Christmas! Luca slept through most of the excitement of his 1st Christmas, but he was mostly his smiley self when awake (except when we kept him up past bedtime LOL.)

This week I am hoping to relax a little more, see some more family and friends, get back into a workout routine, ramp up some work time…and maybe even get a little date night or something. It’s hard with two kids, but we’re trying!

Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful holiday season!

XO,

Gina

Transformation Tuesday: 21 Day Fix Round 2

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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!

XO,

Gina

Namaste November

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Happy Monday!!!

It’s FREE Challenge Group time!!! And this month, I am going to mix things up a bit with a NAMASTE NOVEMBER CHALLENGE!

Many of us have a LOT of stress coming up with the holidays…lots of parties to prep and plan for, lots of unhealthy comfort foods at every event, holiday shopping, decorating, you name it. I wanted to take this next week prior to all the craziness to just DECOMPRESS and CHILL OUT a bit.

Join me starting November 16th for a YOGA inspired challenge where we will come together for some low impact exercise, inspiration, healthy festive recipes, and tips for how to carve out time for physical and mental wellness during the chaos of the holiday season.

If this sounds like something you would enjoy or even if this is something brand new and outside the box for you, I would love to include you! Simply comment below with your e-mail address or e-mail me at gina.notes26@gmail.com. It’s going to be a fun week and will hopefully allow us to enter the holiday season this year with a little less crazy.

Namaste!

XO,

Gina

Dyker Heights Lights

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Before skipping town for the holidays, we made our way to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn to check out their stunning Christmas Lights display.  We found a spot to park and had a fantastic night walking around the blocks to check out the all festive houses.  They were completely decked out with strings of lights, humongous wreaths, multiple blow up characters, reindeer, and toy soldiers.  We saw nativity scenes, dancing ballerinas, a giant Santa Claus, and even two carousels!  One house was selling hot chocolate for charity, and that ended our night with a sweet twist.  Dyker Heights has the most stunning display of lights I have ever seen in one neighborhood.  I definitely plan on returning for future holiday seasons, and I would love to bring some out-of-town visitors here to check out the scene.

We had a lovely time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family and the day after Christmas with my husband’s family.  It was so much fun to see Nico get excited about opening his gifts this year.  He was very much into the wrapping paper, and wanted to play with every single toy or book he opened right away.  Simply magical!

We are spending another week in Maryland catching up with more family and friends.  Last night we went out to celebrate a friend’s 30th Birthday, and we are planning on spending New Year’s Eve in Baltimore.  It’s kind of nice to have free babysitting! 😉  Not to mention, we love that Nico is getting so much quality time with his grandparents and family.

Hope you all had a great holiday, and wishing you the best for the new year!

XO,

Gina

Santa Success

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I consider seeing Santa without crying this year a “GREAT SUCCESS!”  (in a Borat voice).  I was anticipating some possible tears due to the sheer fact of toddlerhood, but we tried to prep him with little Santa videos, talks about what we were going to do and just acting straight up excited about the experience.  Of course, the toddler right in front of us started screaming bloody murder as soon as he got anywhere close to Santa, so I sensed Nico getting a little scared/nervous about what was going to happen.  We ended up just easing our way up toward Santa slowly, chatting with him and giving him high fives, before we actually did the lap sitting.  Luckily, the staff at Bloomingdale’s was incredibly patient.  They did not rush us at all, and I love that you can also take your own photos there.  Nico gave Santa a few sideways glances and seemed a little unsure about the whole thing, but eventually he cracked a slight smile…enough to capture on camera.  And like I said previously, no tears this year equals success in my book!

We are now down in Maryland with family preparing for the holidays.  I went shopping with the mama last night and braved the crazy crowds.  I have also spent most of this week wrapping presents for family and friends.  We are getting excited for our Seven Fishes Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow night!

Happy Holidays to you all!

XO,

Gina

December in the City

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Since I moved to New York City in the summer of 2007, I am constantly asked for advice from hometown visitors on places to go and eat, things to do and see, and of course, where to shop. Since December is one of the busiest tourist seasons here due to the holidays, I decided to put together a little list of “non-obvious” (obvious being Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes) things to do on your New York City visit this year. Maybe, I will even surprise some of you locals with and idea or two as well.

 

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

Located in the Bronx from November 15 – January 19, the Holiday Train Show has been around for 23 years.  The twinkling Haught Conservatory has been transformed into a miniature version of the city with recreations of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center all made out of tree bark, leaves, and other natural materials.  The model trains zip past as you walk through this tiny wonderland.

 

Holiday Market Shopping

There is nothing more exciting scoring adorable handmade gifts at the outdoor holiday markets during Christmastime.  Vendors boast hand knit hats, stunning jewelry, tree ornaments, clever tee shirts, artwork, soaps, and so much more.  Not to mention, who doesn’t love an apple cider donut or a hot chocolate while walking around from booth to booth?  My favorite market remains the one at Union Square, but you can also find fabulous goodies at Bryant Park, Columbus Circle, Grand Central (indoors), and Brooklyn Winter Flea (also indoors).

 

Ice Skating

Of course, we all know about the famous ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center.  While it’s completely iconic, it’s also completely overrun, small, and a bit stressful for my liking.  I prefer Wollman Rink in Central Park for it’s quintessential view and also because it doesn’t get much better than Central Park for me in New York City.  Bryant Park also has a skating rink that is less crowded.  If you don’t particularly care about views or shopping, you can also skate at the Lasker Rink in the northern part of Central Park or the brand new Lakeside in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  There are a few other indoor rinks as well, but I tend to lean toward the outdoor rinks during the holidays (and always actually).

 

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

If you have some time to spend in NYC, consider making the trek out to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn to see their stunning Christmas Lights display.  These lights are like nothing you have ever seen before.  Houses are decked out and over the top.  Some are even decorated by professionals and neighbors are constantly trying to “out-do” each other, so it gets crazier and crazier each year.  The lights will be on display from Thanksgiving – the New  Year starting from around dusk and staying on late, maybe even past midnight.  It’s best to drive and street park to walk around, or take the bus in (subway is a bit of a hike).  This is totally worth seeing!

 

Winter Solstice Celebration

If music and performance is your thing, check out this concert at the gorgeous Cathedral of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  The event features Paul Winter’s ensemble complete with dancers, drummers, and a contemporary take on ancient solstice rituals.  Puerto Rican singer, Danny Rivera will also bring a new twist to the event this year.  If you’ve done Radio City and the Nutcracker, this is a fantastic holiday alternative to add to your list of shows.

 

Gingerbread Lane

Head to the New York Hall of Science in Queens from November 14 – January 11 to check out the stunning display of handmade gingerbread houses.  Created by chef Jon Lovitch, all the houses are made of edible ingredients, and last year’s display was named the largest gingerbread village in the world by the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records.  There are also certain dates set aside where visitors can create their own gingerbread houses under the guidance of Lovitch.

 

Bronx Zoo

If you have children, the Bronx Zoo could be a fun trip during the holiday season.  Children can meet the reindeer herd or take a ride on the horse-drawn wagon.  You can also watch the ice sculptors create beautiful animals in front of your eyes.  The zoo’s theatre will be playing A Mammoth Christmas in 4-D throughout the holiday season, and from December 26 – 31 there will also be a Tropics on Ice playground complete with an ice slide, treehouse, and ice throne.

 

MOMA

This last place on the list isn’t holiday specific, but if you enjoy art, you should definitely visit the MOMA to check out the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibit that will be on display from October 12, 2014 – February 8, 2015.  The exhibition consists of over 100 cut-outs composed of painted paper cut and pieced together in a most unique way.  It has gotten rave reviews, and I cannot wait to make it over there myself to check it out.

 

I had a lot of fun putting this list of things to do in NYC this December.  Since I am so often asked my opinion on what to do in this big, bad city, I may incorporate a few more NYC-based posts in the upcoming year.  Would love to hear your thoughts, dear readers!  Would this be something of interest to you?  Places to eat, shop, visit, things to do in different months of the year, etc?  Let me know if this is something you think I should continue for the new year.

I have been busy recovering from my thumb surgery that I had last week, so I’m sorry for the lack of posting, but it’s been a bit difficult to type, text, write, and basically use my right hand in general.  Try changing a diaper with one hand people!  It’s not easy!  I will hopefully be getting my stitches out on Friday and see how things are healing.  Looking forward to getting back to normal soon!

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

{19} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  A little here.  A little there.  Chapter here. Magazine article there.

writing  Finished up my Christmas cards over the weekend, and sent them out this week!

listening  Christmas music…duh.

thinking  I can’t believe the year is almost over, my maternity leave is coming to an end, and it’s almost time to go back to work.  Bittersweet.

smelling  Roasted pork in the oven.

watching  Vanderpump Rules (cringing as I write this, because it’s so trashy).

wishing  Everyone a Happy Holiday season and safe travels!

hoping  That all my holiday gifts I ordered arrive in time and ship properly to my parent’s house.

wearing  This tartan jacket, a gift from my aunt from last year’s Christmas.

loving  That Nico is now sleeping through the night.  I didn’t mind waking up once a night to feed him (he really is a great sleeper), but the two hour scream-fest before bedtime was not working.  I now feel like a human being again since we aren’t fighting to put him to sleep every single night anymore.

laughing  At this Xmas Jammies video.  An interesting take on the holiday card, and also a smart way to plug the new family business.

wanting  To get rid of this cough.  Have been sick for about a week now, and can’t seem to shake it.

needing  To pack for our holiday trip to Maryland.

feeling  SO excited for Nico’s first Christmas with my crazy, lovable family.

craving  Some new jeans.

clicking  Through photos that I need to edit.

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What have you been up to lately?

Have a happy one ya’ll!

Love,

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.

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Seeing Santa

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Nico’s Santa Outfit: Cherokee for Target – on sale!

We were FINALLY able to see Santa last night!  I had been trying to make it there for the past couple weeks, but things were just not working out for us.  The first week, lack of sleep was an obstacle, and on Saturday, the snow and ice was a major obstacle.  However, the Notes family was bound and determined to see good old Kris Kringle this holiday season.  How could I look Nico in the eye when he got older and tell him I never got a picture of him with Santa on his 1st Christmas?  So this time, we headed into the city via subway (also Nico’s 1st ride) to Bloomingdale’s for a lovely experience.  They handed out cookies in line, allowed you to take your own free pictures, and offered professional photography as well.  I would definitely go back again next year.  Not only was this Nico’s 1st visit to Santa Claus, but it was also Daddy’s!  Despite all the craziness of not being able to get to Santa earlier, this day definitely made up for it all.

Oh, and by the way…the winner of the Goodnight Zoo giveaway is Kimberley.  Congratulations!  I will be in touch soon with details on how to claim your prize. 🙂

XO,

Gina

Stripes, Polka Dots, and Sparkle

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I donned this get-up on a “business” lunch the other week with my boss and coworkers.  Nico was in tow, which is why the business is in quotes, and it was more of a catch up session on what’s been going on in the past few months as well as a chance for my office to meet my little guy.  I liked this stripe, polka dot, and sparkle mix so much I decided to sport it again while on our trip to Maryland over the holiday.  Pattern mixing can sometimes be tough, but I think it works well when you keep within the same color palette.  How do you all feel about pattern mixing?

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Photos by: Zack Notes / Edited by: Myself

Striped Blazer: GAP – now on sale! / Polka Dot Button Up: J. Crew (old) – similar / Sparkly Loafers: Seychelles / Jeans: Motherhood / Watch: Coach (old) – similar / Lip: Lancome Groupie

The holidays are in full force!  We put up our tree last night and decorated the house.  It was so sweet to watch Nico’s eyes and smile grow wide when he saw us putting up all the lights.  He was kicking so hard with joy in his rock-and-play, I thought he might jump out and try to help!  We did get him a super cute sock monkey stocking and a brand new ornament which he helped to put on the tree.  It’s crazy to think how different this Christmas is from last year’s.  I even cried while dancing to Silent Night with my little family.  Ok, enough of the emo stuff.  Nico and I are off to his 3 month doctor’s appointment today.  Hope you all are enjoying the week and the holiday season!

XO,

Gina