Latest reads

Hi guys! How’s your morning going so far? I’m so glad you liked the quinoa pancake recipe. I had another batch for breakfast this morning. So good 🙂

Yesterday afternoon while Liv was napping, I decided to plant some more herbs out in the yard since we still had unused soil and pots.

Bell was my helper:

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and Caroline supervised.

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In theory, it seems nice to have multiple plants and herbs all over the front and backyard except for the whole watering thing. Some always end up missed…. hence the “fighting for their lives” shamrocks in the pic below.

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Last night, I had Zumba class #2 of the day and got to team-teach with the studio owner. I don’t know if I’ve written about her before, but she’s pretty much one of the best Zumba dancers and instructors I’ve ever met. (<— she doesn’t know I have a blog and has no idea that I’m going total fangirl mode right now.) I’m even more excited about teaching there because I know I’ll be able to learn a lot from her and become a better instructor. Also, the ladies at the studio are AMAZING. I taught half the class, it was a blast, and I’m really looking forward to my next one! Looks like I’ll end up with five Zumba classes this week— it feels nice to be back in the shake of things.

I was thinking about why I wanted to get back into teaching so badly, and besides the obvious reason that I enjoy teaching and helping others achieve their fitness goals, it also makes me feel like me. It’s easy to go through the day and night in mama mode and realize that I haven’t done anything to challenge or nurture my creativity for the day. Teaching challenges me, gives me a chance to interact with and meet other adults, and will also help me to become more involved in the local fitness community.

Random sign outside the studio:

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While I was Zumba-ing, the Pilot took Livi for a sunset beach playdate.

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(Not my legs haha)

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They built sand castles, watched the surfers, and headed back home where I met them for chicken lasagna dinner. 

I don’t have any new recipes or workouts for ya today, but I’ve been meaning to write about some recent reads. I haven’t picked up the Kindle this month, but last month I read The Husband’s Secret and listened to The Power on Audible. I’ll probably download and read some new books, especially now that things have settled down.

The Husband’s Secret

I’m still trying to figure out how I felt about this book. I think I liked it? For one, I was intrigued because I really wanted to know what the secret was, so it sucked me in and I finished it relatively quickly. I will say I hated the ending. The dinosaur cry came out, and not in an, “Oh that was so profound and beautiful” way, but a “sob sob this is so unfair” way. Even though I didn’t love the ending, the epilogue was fascinating (it makes sense if you’ve read it). All in all, I’ll say it was a quick read but it’s not on the “omg you must read this now” list.

The Power

I have to start this off by saying I am a giant The Secret goober. The Pilot makes fun of me often (“Gina, you did not use the Secret to get us this parking spot.”). I’ve always been a huge believer that remaining mindful of your goals increases the likelihood that you’ll accomplish them. The Power takes this a step further by discussing the power of love: everything you do must come from a place of love and you will reap the rewards of your actions. Of course, I I think I would prefer the text version instead of the audio because the author sounded like she was scolding me the entire time. Highly recommend it, though.

Any great reads this month? What are your thoughts on the Secret/Power??

Hope you have a wonderful morning!



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  1. RachelG says:

    Aww Bella! It feels like there haven’t been too many pictures of her on the blog lately. What a sweetie! 🙂

    I’m glad you mentioned thinking about WHY you want to get back into teaching. Sometimes I find myself planning my workouts for the week and I stop and think “why am I basically planning my whole post-work schedule around fitness/yoga classes?”. My worry is that I may get a little too deep into the “must lose weight. must look good in a bikini.” mode and the classes may become more habits than hobbies. Thankfully 99% of the time I take a moment to consider my reasons for going to classes, they have to do with the amount of fun and peace I get from the booty shaking, weight lifting, and hip opening. 🙂

  2. I really loved The Husband’s Secret because it really grabbed me in. I love it when I can’t put a book down. Plus, it is set not far from where I used to live in Sydney! But, like you said, the end is kind of tough.

    I just finished The Book Thief. That was a good book but it was much harder for me to get into, I think because of the writing style. Still worth stick with it.

    Also, another Sarah Jio book comes out this month and I can’t wait!!!

  3. I really liked “What Alice Forgot” by the same author that wrote “The Husband’s Secret”.

  4. Annalisa says:

    I totally laughed at the (“Gina, you did not use the Secret to get us this parking spot.”) ahhahhaaa. Your pictures are beautiful! And I loved how you put why you couldn’t wait to get back into teaching. I am a stay at home mom and I totally get what you said! My son will not let me leave him at day care so I am a little stuck with finding good babysitting. Plus we just moved to a new city and it is going to take a minute to find someone I like. Good luck with the teaching, you’ll do great!

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you! hang in there with the child care. i hope it works out for you soon! it makes a huge difference just to get a little bit of time to do you things you enjoy, for YOU. <3

  5. I can’t handle the ocean pics – I think I’d take a tent and just camp out there everyday!

  6. I wish I had time to read a book. The Power sounds like something I really need. I’m considering a career change and need to put it into actions.

  7. Hi Gina – Your love of your new home in California is totally evident!! I love the photo of Livi standing in the sand where you see her see her back – shes looking at the ocean. Simply beautiful!!!! Thanks for the pup photos too!

    Your friend Gina (from Mass)

  8. What beautiful pictures of Livi at the beach!
    I just read The Light Between Oceans, it was amazing. Such a good read. I also read Morning Glory by Sarah Joi, which was the perfect summer book.

  9. Wheat Belly is great and I’ve been working my way through that!

  10. I have been reading The Woman Code so I am working my way through that right now. Love the pilot’s comment about parking spots! However, I am truly a big believer that the way you think is a huge influence on the direction your life takes.

  11. Hi Gina!

    I was also intrigued by ‘The Husband’s Secret’…I feel like I too, was left feeling oddly about the book when I finished it! I followed that book up with ‘Hidden’ which I highly recommend! It was another book that kept my curiosity peaked! I then read ‘The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes’ and although it is not a book I would normally read, It was a great read for mindless entertainment while working out or not sleeping ;-). I enjoy things that get me through my Step Mill Intervals without having to focus on how many minutes I have left! Hope you have a great day!

  12. I’m on Allegiant, the last book of the Divergent series, and I love it!!!

  13. Gina,

    I agree with what you said about The Husband’s Secret. I actually wrote a review for that book on my blog (here:

    If you’re looking for another quick read, but maybe something with an ending you might feel better about, might I recommend either Jojo Moyes or Graeme Simsion? I have read a couple of Moyes’ novels (they’re sad, I warn you, but they read really quickly and I have enjoyed them immensely). Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project is a little different. It also moves at pace, but the main character is a bit of an oddball (in the most lovable way possible). The comparison to Sheldon on the tv show The Big Bang Theory is pretty apt.

    You can find all of the reviews here:

    Happy Reading!!

    P.S. I tried your Barre workout yesterday morning after my run and loved it – thank you!!

    • Fitnessista says:

      so happy you liked the barre burner!
      i LOVE your blog. i’ll be checking it for more book reviews 🙂 i’ll definitely check out the authors you suggested.

  14. I need to get back into reading this summer! I like your shirt in the gardening pic (how did you take that pic btw?). Do you mind sharing where it’s from?

  15. LOL @ dinasour cry. I haven’t heard that phrase before but it totally reflects how I feel when I finish certain books. I haven’t read any really deep books recently because I’ve been too busy to read anything too challenging or deep but these sound pretty good, especially The Power.
    Thanks for the recommendations 😀

  16. I read the Husband’s Secret and felt the same way. I became so invested in the secret and then it came to the end and I was mad. haha. Overall a good read though!

    I would recommend Firefly Lane and Fly away which is the “sequel”. They are really heart felt!

  17. I haven’t read a book in forever! The last one I finished was Gone Girl, about a year ago. Amazing book!

    It must be so nice to live by the beach in sunny cali 🙂

  18. Beautiful photos! Where did you get your top in that first photo? It’s so pretty and flowy – I love it!

  19. Dinosaur cry lol…. kind of like the kim Kardashian ugly cry?! Hahahaha! I always laugh at the sisters when they make fun of her for crying ugly LOL hey no shame 😉 I am reading Cameron Diaz’s “The Body Book” annnnnd I Sort of love it. You can totally hear her voice in it. Nothing fun right now besides your blog 🙂

  20. The husbands secret was a great book!

  21. Last month I finally finished The Grand Weaver (it’s not long, I’m just busy, haha). It was really a perspective changer, and made me think hard about making the most of the life I’ve been given and challenged me to look differently at all of life’s twist and turns and trials.

    This month I’m hoping to get through Middlemarch. Maybe Catching Air by Sarah Pekkanen, if I can carve out more time!

  22. You look so cute by your garden! I have absolutely no green thumb and somehow manage to kill all plants… The latest victim were potted tulips that lasted only about a week haha. Congrats on the new Zumba gig, that’s awesome! I’d love to take a class from you if I were located down south! And I read The Husband’s Secret and really liked it! I sped through dying to know what the secret was too!

  23. I love these posts. I am currently reading Racing Weight which is more of a running book, but I am finding it really interesting and learning a lot of information about fueling to perform!

  24. Sharon T. says:

    The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. It’s wonderful! Sort of along the lines of The Secret of maybe The Power…The Desire Map helps you identify your core desired feelings to help you identify how you want to feel when you make and set your intentions and goals. It’s pretty amazing, I highly recommend it!

  25. The Goldfinch…The Elegance of the Hedgehog…The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry…all engaging in different ways 🙂

  26. omg your parking spot story sounds like me! last month we were driving around downtown looking for a spot on a super crowded night. every. single. time we took a turn down another road looking for a space, i was like, “okay, i seriously feel it this time. there’s an empty one waiting for us…” well, 75 minutes later we found one and i was like, “see, told you…” haha, didn’t convince my Man but i convinced myself and that’s what counts, right? 😉

    • Fitnessista says:

      hahaha amen! whenever tom is being negative i tell him to stop because he’s messing up the secret 😉

  27. I am going to San Diego in July for a work trip, and I will take a few days over the weekend to enjoy myself. What area in the city do you recommend for getting a hotel? I will be one woman by herself so safety is key, but I’d like to be near good food, the beach, and stuff to do. Also any recommendations for specific places to eat or go and do would be awesome!

    • Fitnessista says:

      do you know which area your work thing is in? that will help me narrow down a good spot for you!

      • So during the week for work, I will be staying at a hotel near the public health department. During the weekend though I can stay anywhere in the city to make the most of my trip.

        • Fitnessista says:

          i would definitely stay in la jolla. it’s my favorite area and there are so many fun things to do. they have an amazing yoga studio (la jolla yoga center), you can watch the seals, shop outdoors, go down to the bike, hike in torrey pines, and they have fantastic restaurants. pacific beach is another great option. we’ve stayed at tower 23 which is right on the beach and they have some funky restaurants, shops, and fitness classes nearby.

  28. Those pics of Liv on the beach are adorable!

    I haven’t heard of The Power but I’m huge into manifesting lately so now you’ve got me intrigued! 🙂

  29. The pics of Livi at the beach are priceless. Looks like she (and you) are adjusting well to your new home. I’m pretty sure if I lived in California, I’d never leave the beach.

  30. I think it’s awesome that you recognize teaching makes you feel like you and gives that creativity. Such a good quality to know about yourself

  31. Yaara Leve says:

    You always have the cutest denim shorts! Are those Gap? I think I have a similar roll-down pair. I’ve been hankering for those high-waisted cut-offs–but I don’t know–for a short girl like me–they kind of hit me weird. Congrats again on the zumba classes. I wish I could fly down to San Diego to take one of your classes!

  32. 10% Happier by Dan Harris – just finished it and thought it was excellent. It’s funny & charming plus insightful. Harris, a long time skeptic on all things about meditation and mindful, details his true journey to being a “mindfulness warrior.” It’s uplifting and very entertaining and so real. I’ve started using Compassion Meditation because of this and love it so far (only about 2 weeks in to it.)

    It’s a fast read too — HIGHLY recommend it.

  33. I felt the same way about The Husband’s Secret. Couldn’t really decide if I liked it or not!

    I just discovered a new (to me) author named Lisa Scottoline. I’ve read Look Again and Don’t Go. Both were very good!

    I’m stoked for Sarah Jio’s release later this month!!!!!

  34. I’ve been doing more “boring” (re: law book research) reading at work lately so I’ve been reading V.C Andrews and Nora Roberts at home. (Heaven and Honest Illusion if you will.)

    I haven’t read the Secret or The Power yet and don’t know that I will, but I do think that if you put good into the universe, you generally get good back. (Mostly) It has to be sincere though, you can’t put the good out SO you get good back, You have to put the good out just to put the good out.

  35. Lindsay says:

    I loooooooove The Power. I am a huge The Secret goob as well so I thoroughly enjoyed The Power. I feel so refreshed after I read a section of it, too. I am waiting on my min to finish The Husband’s Secret. Can’t wait! Just wrapped up The Soldier’s Wife (ugly tears) and started The Time Between by Karen White. Good so far!

  36. How cute was that daddy and daughter date?!
    So happy that you are now teaching again. Being a new mother myself, I totally get the need to feel like me, feeling…which is why I am starting to marathon train again : )
    Have a blessed day!

  37. My book club read the Husband’s Secret two books ago. Personally I loved the epilogue. I didn’t love in terms of the actual outcome, but I loved how it really made me think. It’s the whole “Sliding Doors” kind of thing.

    I’m hosting next month and I picked the Invisible Thread which is actually a true story. Haven’t started it yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

  38. Haha I’m actually a big believer in the law of attraction/the Secret. I figure, even if it’s total BS in the grand scheme of things, it still makes me feel good in the here and now, which is really what matters : )

  39. Shaina Anderson says:

    totally get that “feel like me” feeling, which I’ve been missing a bit lately. Randomly, someone heard me talking about private personal training in the grocery store the other day and asked if they could hire me….big buddha belly and all haha. Something to think about once I figure out the whole mama-of-2-craziness that’s about to ensue…

  40. Brene Brown, “Gift of Imperfections” and “Daring Greatly.” Have you heard of her? She changed my life a few years ago when I picked up her books. Incredibly individual inside and out. She’s got a couple of incredible videos on youtube “power of vulnerability.” Check them out. They are self help but in the best possible way. You’ll learn to love yourself in a whole new way, inspire others and just have that warm and fuzzy feeling. Incredible, can’t say enough great things about her work!

    Enjoy 🙂

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