Biltmore Gardens

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Okay you guys…I am way back logged with updates and blog posts. And I usually don’t apologize for that, because people have busy lives these days and to be honest other things (and little people) have been a priority over my blog posts….BUT that being said…I have so many things on deck to share with you, and I am going to make myself accountable here by just calling myself out to make sure I share the rest! ūüôā

So these photos are from our trip to Asheville back in April at the Biltmore Gardens. It was the first trip in a LONG time that hubby and I took alone (thank you Mimi and Nano!), and we honestly had the BEST time. Today, I want to share my FAV spots in Asheville with you, so keep reading…

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Dress: Macy’s – similar¬†+ here / Shoes: H&M – similar / Sunglasses + Necklaces: Vintage / Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

Okay…along with the Biltmore…which was totally worth a visit…I also want to recommend the following if you are planning a trip to Asheville in the near future:

Biscuit Head – A MUST. If you eat nothing else in Asheville. Go to Biscuit Head. Incredible Southern food complete with a JAM and BUTTAH bar to enjoy at your leisure. Hands down the best meal I had in Asheville. Though, I will say my typical workout did not cut it. ūüėČ We stayed in West Asheville, where Biscuit Head is located so we were able to walk here and ENJOY.

River Arts District – If you love art, painting, sculpture, jewelry, funky tees, furniture, etc. you will love this area of Asheville. Old train tracks area, turned artist sanctuary, it was a ton of fun, creative, and inspiring.

Blue Ridge Mountains – A short drive away, the Blue Ridge Mountains were an INCREDIBLE natural escape from the city. As you know, I love exercise and the outdoors, so this was such a fun way to get our workout on for a day. We hiked the Mountain to Sea Trail, and enjoyed some fabulous views!

Wicked Weed Brewery – I wanted to visit a brewery while in Asheville since it’s famous for their fresh beer. Zack wasn’t super into it, so I thought it may not happen, but at the last minute, we decided to stop in for ONE beer. We quickly realized that a FLIGHT was a way better option, and we shared 6 different beers and some delicious appetizers. It was honestly one of the best experiences we shared in Asheville from the environment, the company, the food, the amazing beer, and the ambiance…I am so glad we decided to do this last minute…and he would agree!

Isis – Another West Asheville FAV. This live music venue had spectacular food to enjoy while listneing to “Asheville Music.” Not sure how else to describe it, but it was a little bluegrass, a little country, a little soul. We heard Duncan Wickel, his friend Lily, and his little brother who had a guest performance. Crazy enough…Duncan and Lily actually live in Brooklyn, so we didn’t have to go all the way down to Asheville to hear them hehe. It was such a fun evening and the music was fab though (and food too), so would totally go again.

White Duck Taco – Many people recommended this spot, and I DID enjoy it. I live in NY with lots of amazing tacos, so it wasn’t MIND BLOWING for me, butttt it was definitely a fantastic meal and budget friendly!

French Broad Chocolate Shop – I feel like this place might be touristy…but for good reason. Great chocolate, coffee, and ice cream. I got the Golden Milk vegan ice cream (made with turmeric and coconut milk), and it was LEGIT.

Tupelo Honey – WOWWWW. This place put the nail in the coffin! It was officially time to leave Asheville, because I could no longer control myself with Southern food! Lol. I got the famous sweet potato pancakes and chicken with tupelo honey, and holy moly. It was incredible. I would absolutely recommend this place. Though I was COMPLETELY off my “nutrition plan” here. Balance, right?

There were a few places that were recommended to us like The Grove Park Inn and Curate…that we weren’t able to make it to, but wanted to give a shout out, because we had so many good recs for…reasons to go back right???

I think the best parts of Asheville were staying in our sweet Airbnb, SLEEPING IN, enjoying each other’s company without being constantly interrupted, and just enjoying quality couple time. I had the best time in Asheville, and I would absolutely return!

Have you been to Asheville? What were your favorite spots?

Hope you all had a great weekend, and wishing you a fantastic week!

XO,

Gina

 

 

 

 

Let the Countdown Begin

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This photo was taken 2 years ago at our last family trip to the Outer Banks. Nico was almost 1 year old, and I was so excited to bring him there for the first time. You see, the Outer Banks is like a second home. My parents grew up vacationing here, and then I grew up with my sister and cousins vacationing here. My uncle lived here for 25+ years, and my cousin also calls this place home. We have family friends here, we know our way around, we have our favorite restaurants, beach spots, shops, and traditions we keep. We spend long days here lounging in sand or playing corn hole on the beach. We ride the waves and sit in chairs getting lost in conversation until we realize we are halfway in the ocean lol. We go for jogs and walks down to the pier and back. We spend our evenings with a quick dip in the pool then off to celebrating summer birthdays, dining on restaurant seafood + home cooked pasta and meatballs, and mingling with family. Our late nights are spent here playing board games, drinking wine and playing guitar/singing out on the deck. It’s the one time of year where my entire family gathers to be together at once. We may need more than one house to fit all of us there, but we make it happen and we create the best memories.

I’m sure many of you have a place like this that is so special for you and your family. What is that place for you???

As I think about our upcoming trip to the OBX in 4 days, I think about my little Luca…who is the age and size that Nico was in this photo. I am excited for him to experience all of this for the first time, and happy that Nico may even be old enough to carry some of the memories home with him (and maybe some seashells too).

I may be raising little city kids up here in Brooklyn, but they sure as heck will be OBX beach babes every summer.

Counting down – 4 days ’til OBX fam

XO,

Gina

Caribbean Cruise

Woweee, ok if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you are probably sick and tired of seeing all of our Caribbean Cruise photos by now….but just in case you’re notttt, and you wanted to see a little more detail from the trip, I created this blog post.

The ship (Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas) was absolutely incredible! One of the biggest in the world, it had everything from a wave rider, putt-putt golf, aqua theatre, rock wall, zip line, multiple pools and hot tubs, all you can eat ice cream dispensers, clubs, grand ballrooms, a champagne bar, a “Central Park” re-creation, stunning views, a solarium, a carousel, 17 floors, amazing restaurants, and even a Starbucks. I mean, seriously?!?! I am cruise SPOILED!!!

When docked in the Bahamas and Jamaica our ship just dwarfed every other one next to us. I literally cannot believe our company rented out the entire boat for us. I was beyond impressed with the great lengths they went to make our trip amazing and how wonderful the Royal Caribbean staff was.

Each day, we woke up to the option of working out with a celebrity trainer followed by an awesome post-workout Shakeology bar. My little buddy came up and did two workouts with me on the top deck.

Nassau was absolutely beautiful. We walked around the town exploring, went to Junkanoo Beach, treated ourselves with ice cream and Bahama Mamas, and splashed in the crystal clear waters. This was Luca’s first ever trip to the beach, and I’m pretty sure he was a big fan!

Getting to spend quality time with some amazing friends and fellow boss ladies on this trip was fantastic. We hang out online pretty much every day, but to see each other in person, you would never know we had only met face to face ONCE before! These gals push and inspire me daily, and they have become so important to me. It was also a super huge bonus during our team dinner to have Tony Horton come up and entertain my children! He was just as sweet and as funny in real life as he is on DVD ūüėČ So grateful to have been surrounded by so many positive people each day on our trip.

These smiles pretty much made my vacation! My boys had an awesome time, and I’m so happy I was able to provide this adventure for them! I will never forget it.

And last, but not least…Jamaica Mon! This place was gorgeous, and I definitely plan to return for a longer stay!

Again, I am so grateful to have had this experience with my family and close friends. A year ago, I never would have imagined a Caribbean vacation would be possible with a toddler and 6 month old. What an adventure! So happy to have stumbled upon the opportunity to work for such an amazing company. Looking forward to what is in store for our future!

We are now back to our regularly scheduled programming here in New York. Yesterday was a cold one waking up to a bit of snow on the ground. While I am still dreaming of the islands, it is nice to get back into my normal routine again!

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

 

Finger Lake Adventures

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Wanted to share some of my insta-photos from our time at the Finger Lakes over the 4th of July weekend. We went with the best of friends and this was an area that none of had explored before. We like to check out a new lake spot each year, so this was the next one on the list!

The first pic is our first night on Seneca Lake. So serene!

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Cheers to our first night on the lake! (with sparkling cider for the pregos)

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Because my workouts come with me wherever I go ūüėČ Hooray for Beachbody on Demand!

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Hiking at Watkins Glen State Park. We honestly did not even know this was minutes away from our lake house. We stumbled upon it, and couldn’t have gotten luckier. This is seriously a MUST see place to visit. It was absolutely stunning!

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Hiking with our friend Rai Rai in the woods.

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Just breathtaking.

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Boys trip out on the lake.

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All dressed up for a dinner date with the crew. Heading to Hazelnut Kitchen, which was SUPERB farm to table freshness, by the way.

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My 4th of July morning breakfast.

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Gettin’ down on that watermelon. That’s my boy!

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Spent the holiday at the Americana Vineyards (on the Cayuga Wine Trail) for their 4th of July Celebration complete with wine and beer (for those who could partake), BBQ, ice cream, 6 live bands, a dance floor, and an awesome firework show.

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Last day on the lake.

Overall, it was¬†a trip full of both adventure and relaxation. We love our annual lake trip, and next year we will actually have THREE kids joining us at the lake, which is crazy to believe! (My bff Erin is pregnant too!) Nothing better than being pregnant with your best friend ūüôā

Hope you are all having a great week so far. Guess where I am going tomorrow? NASHVILLE! Whoo hoo! I cannot wait!

XO,

Gina

NOLA {Part 2}

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Here is Part 2 of our 4 Year Anniversary Trip to NOLA!

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Elizabeth’s for Breakfast in the Bywater

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Bananas Foster French Toast

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Honey Island Swamp Tour in Slidell, LA

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SNAP!

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Me and my honey walking down Bourbon Street

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Another tourist must – pralines!

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Street music was impeccable

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And the indoor concerts were just as fab – these are¬†the Brass-aholics at Blue Nile¬†on Frenchman Street / You’ll also want to check out the Spotted Cat, Maison, Cafe Negril, Vaso, dba, and Three Muses. You can pretty much just walk along and pop in when you hear something you like!

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Fabulous dinner at Upperline with friends Uptown – everything from the adorable owner, incredible food, art on the walls and wonderful service made this experience perfect

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Is it bad that I hung out with gators, and then ate gators? This and an entire menu of amazingness at Cochon in the CBD

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Oh how I miss these adorable houses! I wish I had documented even more of our trip. We got a tour through the beautiful Garden District, uptown, and the area near Tulane and Loyola of New Orleans (where I went my first time to Nola). It was so nice to have such great friends to hang out with and show us around, and we also made sure to enjoy some alone time together. We walked down Royal St. checking out all of the art galleries along the way. I could have spent a week or more there just exploring…although I must admit, I was a little tired after running around for only three days! Haha.

Hanging out with my little guy today. Heading to story time and then maybe the grocery store. I have missed him!

Hope you all have a great Tuesday!

XO,

Gina

Out in the Country

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This look totally said “I’m going out to the country” this past weekend. Casual, comfortable with layers¬†for a chilly morning and warm afternoon. Planning outfit shoots with a toddler in tow these days, is almost near impossible. He has no tolerance or patience for sitting still and wants to run, run, run! ¬†We often resort to pulling over on the side of the road when the little one falls asleep for a nap. Whatever works! Haha. We found this adorable green church out in the countryside of Beacon and thought it would be a perfect place to stop and shoot since we had to wait for the little guy to wake up before exploring anyway. I’m still thinking fondly of our mini get-a-away last weekend, and can’t wait for the next one.

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Top: Motherhood / Jeans: Motherhood (old) / Trench: H&M (similar on sale) / Boots: Target / Sunnies: Vintage Kenneth Cole / Necklace: Love, Lori Michelle / Bracelets: Tory Burch (similar), Stella & Sparkle, Baublebar / Watch: Michael Kors

What a gorgeous day outside! Can’t wait to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Make it a good one ya’ll!

XO,

Gina

Tulum Diary

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Happy Hump Day everyone! ¬†These cold temperatures are still lingering here in NYC, and it’s making me miss the weather from our trip to Tulum, Mexico. I’m excited to share these photos and a little bit about our adventures down there. ¬†It was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Boho hippie chic in style, completely relaxing, but adventures around the corner for those who want to partake. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of the trip sick (from the food I’m guessing? God only knows), so we didn’t get to do as much as originally planned, but we still had an amazing time and at least enjoyed the warm weather! ¬†We stayed in Tulum for a week and then ventured to the town of Akumal for three nights. ¬†We also explored around to different areas to visit Mayan ruins, cenotes, and Playa del Carmen. The first photo is from the Mayan ruins in Tulum. Simply gorgeous!

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This photo is also from our trip to the Tulum ruins.

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My little monkey hanging out in the carrier!  He is such a good traveler!

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Pool at our condo in Tulum. We rented it off airbnb.

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This was taken before our private dinner right on the beach at Momo Hoja.  Never thought the most romantic dinner of my life with be with a toddler in tow, but this place took the cake!

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Doesn’t get any more amazing than this. ¬†It’s basically paradise at Papaya Playa Project. ¬†They are welcome to outside guests, free parking, and fabulous beds as long as you place an order for food or drinks. ¬†Done and done.

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Decided to drive out to Coba for the day to explore the Mayan Ruins.  I definitely recommend getting a tour guide here as it was extremely helpful to understand what we were looking at and we learned so much about the ancient history, language, and culture of the Mayans.  They allow you to climb to the top of one of the pyramids here.  I climbed it with a baby in my belly and baby on my back.  A little steep and a little scary, but pretty awesome!

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Crystal clear blue waters of Tulum = heaven.

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Spelunking at Aktun Chen. This was really fun and kid friendly.  We toured the spectacular cave, saw lots of animals, and then went swimming in the underground river cenote.  Pretty amazing.

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Lounging for the day at El Paraiso.  Zack also took a boat off the beach here to do a snorkeling tour and had a great time!

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Sopes for lunch at the incredible Le Zebra beach club.  This place was absolutely gorgeous, and I would recommend people stay here!  Fabulous food, rooms, and scenery.

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They had BEDS in the restaurant! ¬†I meeeean…it doesn’t get any better than this! ¬†Haha.

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View from our Villa in Akumal – Villas Flamingo

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Didn’t get fancy at all in Tulum, so decided to glam it up a bit in Akumal for dinner on the beach.

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Day trip to Cenote Azul for some fabulous swimming and snorkeling!  What a gorgeous place!

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Don’t want to leave!!!

Ahhh, I am craving this warm weather right about now!  Take me back!

It’s been a busy week here in NY, working away with fitness challenge groups, freelance writing, and running around with my Nico. ¬†We had so much fun over the weekend capturing our gender reveal and we are so pumped for Nico to have a little bro!

Hoping warmer weather is in our future.  We are ready to play outside again! How about you? What are you most looking forward to for the spring season?

XO,

Gina

{31} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading¬†¬†Still reading The Goldfinch. ¬†Didn’t realize how long the book was! ¬†I am actually enjoying it, but I have been pretty sidetracked with reading business development books and other things. ¬†I will eventually finish it! ¬†

writing  I recently started freelance writing for the new parenting blog started by Mom365. They are a newborn photography company who specializes in hospital photos.  Their blog has tons of parenting tips and advice from moms across the country and is an excellent resource, especially for new parents.  I am so excited to be included in this new venture!  Here is one of the more recent posts I wrote about taking baby outside in the cold.

listening  Went to brunch over the weekend at a piano bar and heard amazing music from Dylan Meek.  We ended up getting his CD and have been playing it while cooking dinner this week. So relaxing!

thinking ¬†How much I miss Nico’s curls. ¬†I held off getting his hair cut for SO long. People thought I was crazy as his hair was growing into his eyes and all, but I just thought it was adorable. ¬†I did have to admit, things started getting out of control, so we finally decided to go for a haircut. ¬†I’m definitely missing those baby curls on my little boy!

smelling  The chicken dinner my husband prepared for us last night lingering in the kitchen.

watching¬†¬†Just watched 127 Hours, which was nominated for an Academy Award a few years ago. ¬†What an incredible¬†survival story. ¬†It was tough to watch at times, but I’m so glad we watched this amazing account of a man’s will to live.

wishing  We were back in Mexico enjoying that warmth & sunshine once again!  Although my stomach probably wishes otherwise haha.

hoping ¬†For a good doctor’s appointment this week. ¬†We are going on Thursday to check on our little baby for an anatomy scan to make sure he or she is healthy. ¬†Please send us love, prayers, and good vibes! ¬†We will also be able to find out baby’s gender VERY soon! ¬†We are hoping to do a fun reveal in the next week or two (not only for you, but for ourselves as well!), so stay tuned!

wearing ¬†GREEN! ¬†In honor of my Irish heritage. ¬†Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m actually 50% Irish. ¬†As you can see from above, Nico is celebrating too. Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all!

loving ¬†Nico uttered these words this week… “I love you Mama.” I meeeeeaaannnn this pretty much just made my entire life! ¬†I think every mom waits to hear those three little words from their child. I admit, I prompted him to say it, and right now he loves parroting everything I say, but it was absolutely amazing all the same. ūüôā¬†

wanting  One of these amazingly cool cartoon bags.

needing  Support for my Lenten service project! My sorority sister, Brielle, and I decided to join together to run a family supply drive for the Thorpe Residences in the Bronx, NY. They provide food & shelter to families in transition. They are in need of everything from diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, to board games & toys for family game night. We created an Amazon Wish List that will be up until April 12th for donations, and we can also accept donations in person. Brielle and I will be hand delivering the items to Thorpe after the drive. We appreciate anything you are able to donate!

feeling  How proud of how productive I was yesterday.  I normally hate waking up early, but decided to force myself to stay awake (and not go back to sleep), get my workout in early, eat breakfast and get a jump start on my work for the day.  I have to admit, it felt amazing, and I felt like I had so much energy to get things done.

craving ¬†A green smoothie…because it is St. Patrick’s Day afterall.

clicking  Through beautiful houses in Deep Creek Lake, MD.  Planning a bachelorette getaway for my bestie, Meg, and should be making a final selection on a place tonight!  Whoo hoo!

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On a final note, I would like to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my niece, Brittany!  Hope you have a great day!

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.

Take Me to Mexico

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*Photo via Tulum Vacation Condos*

The time has finally come!  Tulum, Mexico!

I have been wanting to travel here for quite some time, and I sort of can’t believe today is the day. ¬†Very excited to flee this winter wind, cold, and snow for a retreat to the warm sunshine and sand. ¬†We are looking forward to checking out the Mayan ruins, relaxing on the beach, and swimming in cenotes.

We are about to board the plane now, so please wish us luck! ¬†It’s quite a challenge flying with a toddler, but we stocked up on new books, stickers, and flashcards (along with some iPad games) to keep our little guy busy, so we are hoping this is enough to do the trick! ¬†Honestly, no matter how horrible the plane ride though, it will be worth it!

I should have wifi down there, so I am going to try and post as often as I can while away, but it’s inevitable, I will probably get caught up in vacation magic. ¬†Regardless, you can follow me on Instagram for more insta-updates!

XO,

Gina

Happy New Year!

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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!

XO,

Gina