A kinda book/wine party

The Pilot and I have been in an excited frenzy- our family is coming in today from Key West and staying with us for a couple of weeks. We haven’t seen them in so long (my uncle since our wedding, and my aunt and cousin since we took a red eye to orlando 4 years ago, our newest cousin we haven’t even met yet and she’s two!) and we can’t wait to hang out with them. We’ve been getting things around the house fixed/ready, baby-proofed (it was a great kick in the pants to get it done, because little Liv will crawling any day now!), stocked the fridge – it’s going to be so much fun. When we moved into our house, I wanted it to be a family hub so everyone could come over and hang out whenever.

The men

It makes my heart happy that it actually turned out that way <3

I can’t want to see Liv play with her cousins,


 workout with my aunt (she’s a fitness instructor, too) and see my uncle. He tells the best stories and makes amaaaaazing food- I’ll be picking his brain for recipe ideas 😉

Quick dinner:

Shrimp 6

Shrimp with asparagus, mushrooms and onions,

Goddess dressing as the sauce,

served it on top of regular pasta for the Pilot, spiralized zucchini for myself.

Shrimp 7 

Usually before bed, I like to read for about 20 minutes or so, and I finally found a new one to suck me in.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 938039Source

This is something that I knew absolutely nothing about, because I majored in Finance and stayed far, far away from science courses. I had to take a few basic classes for gen eds, and oceanography was a thousand times harder for me than financial derivatives. Anyway, there is a group of cells that has been used to study various diseases and cancers, the affects of immunizations, and have been an incredible contribution to modern medical advancements: He-La cells. These cells were obtained from a woman’s cervix (her name was Henrietta Lacks) a couple of months before she died from cancer, and have been used without her knowledge or her family’s permission since she’s been dead. Cancer cells continue to grow and reproduce, so her cells continue to be studied and sold for about $25 per vial. The craziest thing about it? She has done so much for the medical community and her children couldn’t afford health insurance. This book is nonfiction, but reads like a novel, and tells Henrietta’s story: her family background and where she came from and how her “immortal” cells have changed medical history. 

I’ve never done a book club or anything like that on the blog, because you can’t have a virtual wine party (the best part of a book club.. or can you?) and I never know when I’ll actually finish a book. Sometimes I’ll quit halfway through (cough, 50 shades, cough)… but if you’d like to read this one along with me, I’m really enjoying it so far 😉

This morning, we’re dropping Bell off at the groomers and then meeting some friends for coffee.

Hope you have a wonderful day! <3



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  1. Presley @ Run Pretty on July 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Love that print!

  2. Irene on July 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I read that book too! It was a little sensationalist, but really interesting. I’m a scientist, so I found it pretty eye opening to hear about some of the terrible things done in that book! Looking forward to hearing more about your thoughts on it!

    • Alex @ Brain, Body, Because on July 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      I also thought the book was a little sensationalist, but it was interesting to hear the background of knowledge that I’d always taken for granted.

  3. Hillary on July 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I just finished reading Henrietta Lacks for a graduate course I’m taking, and I absolutely loved it. The combination of the incredible medical history and the family’s story blew me away.

  4. Laura @ She Eats Well on July 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I have heard about that book….good to know you are enjoying it. I think I am going to give it a read, too. I think it is a fascinating story to write about. Also, must say, Livi’s eyes are so big and gorgeous!

  5. emily on July 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you for the book recommendation! I am stuck in a rut of older fiction (not that that’s a bad place to be, but always good to shake things up a bit & try something new).
    Have a great time with your family! Having your home be a hub is such a great thing to have considered.

  6. Mary @Mary Had a Little Blog on July 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I looooove the Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks. I had to read it last semester for my Rhetoric Writing Studies class and I was pleasantly surprised that I actually liked an assigned reading. Just wait until you get to the end you are going to love it even more. Excited to see your new family posts with all the relatives, they are going to love Liv!

  7. Jeannie on July 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Love your blog. I am a new reader. What is godess dressing and how do you make your spiralized zucchini!? Thx!

  8. joelle (on a pink typewriter) on July 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Love that tree advice.. Glad you mentioned that book! I’ve been eyeing it too, but was not sure I’d dig it since I ALSO stayed far, far away from science in college haha.

  9. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on July 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Love the tree quote 🙂

  10. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on July 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    aw, i love when family is all together! have so much fun! and i love the tree advice!

  11. Julie on July 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Let’s do it! I’ve wanted to read this book for awhile now!

  12. Melissa on July 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I am going to put this book on my ‘next to read’ list. Cannot believe she was never compensated or given credit! Her children and descendants should have free insurance for life!!!!

  13. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on July 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I love that tree picture! That’s so exciting that your fam is coming to visit! I’m sure Liv will have a great time with her cousins!

  14. Abby on July 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Ah! I love blogger book recommendations. I’ve heard mention of this book but not enough to dive in so I’m glad to hear your thoughts!

  15. Felicia on July 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    your family lives in key west?! thats awesome. i have a special place in my heart for marathon key–we got engaged there this may on the 7mile bridge 🙂

  16. natasha on July 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    My book club read that book last year. I work in the HIV field so it was fascinating to me as well as just being a good story!

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      i saw on the news yesterday that they just released an hit drug? that is incredible

      • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm

        hit = hiv. autocorrect blah

  17. Tiffany on July 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I have been on the waiting list at the library for this book for while now, and I just got the email last night that it was ready. Started it this morning, and am loving it so far!

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      sooooo good!

  18. Averie @ Averie Cooks on July 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I like the tree picture.

    And having family stay with you for a couple weeks – hope you guys have a fabulous time! They’ll love seeing Livi no doubt!

  19. Annie on July 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Such a great book! Enjoy.

  20. britt on July 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    sounds like great family time!! that shrimp looks SO amazing too.

  21. Josephine on July 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Love your little family hub!

    How do you spiralize your zucchini?

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      i use a joyce chen spiralizer- from amazon

      • Josephine on July 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm

        Thanks! A local store has that model so I’m going to try it. Can’t wait!

  22. Neha on July 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Where did you get that couch from? It looks amazing and am right now in a couch shopping phase!


    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      thank you! it’s the axis sectional from crate and barrel. my favorite couch ever

  23. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on July 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Can I just say how happy I am to hear you quit 50 Shades half way through. Everyone seems obsessed with the series but I read 3 or 4 pages of it online and was so disgusted with how poorly it was written that I can’t even tolerate the thought of reading it!

  24. Neiry on July 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Omg, the best part is TOTALLY the wine drinking. If I can’t get my drank on, I can’t get my literary analysis hat on. Just the way it works, man. I tell myself it loosens up my “intellectual inhibitions” and, indeed, makes me sound SMARTER. 😉

  25. Julie on July 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    It makes my heart happy that your house has become a hub for your family too. I hope the same will happen for my future home.

    Two things: 1) I also can’t get myself to continue reading 50 Shades. 2) You absolutely can have a virtual book club with wine involved! I’ve never done it, exactly, but I think it would consist of everyone sharing their thoughts on the book and the wine they’re drinking. 🙂 Or the hostess tells everyone what wine to buy as a suggestion to accompany the book? Oh, the possibilities…

    Have fun with family!

  26. Brittany on July 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    How old is your other cousin? Cousins are the best. My cousins are the best people I know. We fight to the death all the time and we go weeks without speaking but in the end we are family and we love each other. My favorite cousin quote says “cousins are forever friends”. Have fun with your family.

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      i think she’s 7. so cute!

      • Britta on July 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

        awww. I know from experience that a child needs there cousins. I have so many memories with my cousins when we were little. Enjoy!

  27. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola on July 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    How fun that your family is coming to stay for a while! It sounds like you guys are going to have a great time together! And I read that book for one of my book clubs! I really liked the majority of it but found that some parts were a little slow. I definitely thought I learned something from it though, which I really liked!

  28. Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness on July 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Have a fabulous time with your family!!! There is nothing better than family time!

  29. Amanda on July 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Aww the babies are going to have so much fun! Also, that “pasta” looks really good, I may have to look into a spiralizer.

  30. Richard on July 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    The trouble with book parties with wine is that if I like the wine I always like the book 🙂

  31. Alexis on July 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Is this the aunt that you lived with in Orlando during the Pilot’s last deployment??

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm


  32. Allyson Moody on July 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Love the tree pic. Also, what is your goddess dressing? Thanks for sharing:)

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      it’s from trader joe’s – so good

  33. Michelle in Alaska on July 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Hope this isn’t an awkward question….but where is the Pilot’s family? I know since you live near your fam, you see them more often 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      they live in arkansas and atlanta. since he’s been in the military for so long, he’s used to seeing his family once or twice a year. with my family, if i go a month, i cry

  34. Rose on July 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Read the book and it is a great read. Interesting to read about the family history and how some cells changed medicine as we know it.

  35. Ramani on July 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Gina that shrimp looks amazing. And I think I see those veggie shortcuts at Trader Schmoe. Is that where you got everything? Just asking because I know you go organic when it comes to meat and seafood.

  36. Gina on July 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Where did you find that super cute puzzle? I assume it’s a puzzle? I love it, and would like to order one for my daughter!

  37. ashley on July 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    That’s such a great book! I don’t think you’ll want to stop halfway through. 🙂

  38. Kimberly on July 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Just ordered a spiral slicer. Thanks for the reminder! So excited about the salad and “pasta” possibilities!

  39. Kate on July 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    such a good book! i go to university of maryland and it was chosen for the freshmen to read before they came into school. you won’t quit it like fifty shades i promise! 😉

  40. Kristen on July 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Love a house full of family!! So fun and sometimes crazy 🙂

    What’s Livi sitting on/in?

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      she’s sitting on the carpet with a pillow behind her, in case she topples backwards

  41. Kelly @ My Love Affair with Running on July 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I love reading and love to get recommendations from other people with similar interests.. so would love a virtual book club 😉

    That tree quote is amazing!

  42. Amber L on July 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Love the pic of Livi and her puzzle! Adorable. That book sounds really interesting! I love nonfiction. I think I’ll order it to the kindle!

  43. Jenn on July 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Such a great book! It isn’t necessarily something I would normally be interested in, but I am so glad I picked it up. I still think about it, a year after finishing it.

  44. jameil on July 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Read that a few years ago and happened to be reading it on a trip to the gyno. She’d never heard of He-La so I INSISTED she read it! My opinion of the book shifted as I read it but I’ll let you finish before I elaborate.

  45. JenSanders52 on July 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Gina, your blog makes me so happy! I wish you would move to my city, instruct me in Zumba, join my book club, and bring Bella to play with my bitty Lucy. I loved the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and would join in on any discussion you had about the book! I love reading your daily posts, but I don’t too often stop to tell you how awesome I think your blog is and how inspiring you are! Thanks for always being a bright spot in my day!

  46. Ali @SeeAliEatSeeAliRun on July 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I’m a scientist and cancer researcher so I’m very familiar with He-La cells (although I work with other cancer cell lines) and I remember talking a lot about Henrietta Lacks and her (unknown to her) contribution to science in my scientific ethics class a long time ago. I’m sure this is controversial but along the same lines-I am planning on donating my body to science when I’m long gone. I’ll have no use for it!

  47. Yaara on July 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I love the idea of a book club! Maybe when you finish this one–you can check out “Big Girl Small” by Rachel Deworskin. It was soo good!! It’s about a girl who is a dwarf–only 4-ft.–and about her experiences going to a performing arts high school in Ann Arbor, MI–similar to the school from “Fame.” It’s amazing! Her voice is so true, honest, and real–and it deals with all the teenage stuff adolescent girls go through–i.e. heartbreak, self-acceptance, body image, and some scandal thrown in there too. I looved it!
    PS: Again–Livi too precious for words–she is getting soo big!
    PPS: That spiralized zucchinni–amazing!–How do you cook it after you spiralize it? Do you eat it raw and add sauces to it or do you saute if first in olive oil? Thanks 🙂

    • @pluvk on July 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Oh wow, you make that book sound great! I may have to check it out. 🙂

  48. Emily on July 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I read that book and didn’t know anything about He-La before. We discussed the book in one of my public health graduate classes and it prompted a wonderful conversation! The class included people from lots of health professionals including doctors. Really interesting stuff!

  49. Jess on July 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    That book looks totally up my alley. I did a Science Degree at Uni and I love reading nonfiction- sound like a story- books. I like to feel like I’m learning but still enjoying! 🙂

  50. @pluvk on July 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Have fun with your family! I was always so excited as a child when family would visit. I miss that… 🙁 My hubs and I have a smaller home.

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