Friday Faves

Hi friends! Happy Friday and happy last weekend of 2018. I feel like I haven’t seen you in so long! We have so much catching up to do. I’ve spent the past week enjoying the holidays with the crew and each day has been incredibly full. There were many days that have blurred together – so often I can’t remember what we did yesterday – and this week, I’ve found myself constantly wondering what’s happening and what day of the week it is.

Cheese me

The girls are the best ages right now and it’s been my favorite winter break so far. We go to bed, and instead of feeling totally spent, I can’t wait to wake up and do it all over again. I also don’t miss school drop off AT ALL. We’ve slept until at least 8 or 8:30 every day (a Christmas miracle! Just don’t ask what time we go to sleep), and it’s such a treat to enjoy slow mornings instead of the usually before-school hustle. We’ve had such a blast together already and I’m already sad we only get one more week of break. Yesterday while I was putting Christmas stuff away, P said, “Why are you taking down the decorations?” I explained that Christmas was over so it was time to put things away and get ready for New Years. She said, “I’m so sad right now. I miss Christmas already.” Me too, girl.

Some fun pics from the past week:

Gingerbread decorating party with the cousins. I picked up these gingerbread sets at World Market on Black Friday and they were PRE-ASSEMBLED, which was clutch. We listened to Christmas music while we decorated, and the kiddos ate about 5 pieces for every one that went on their house. Doin’ it right. 


Cheese board from our girls’ night gift exchange. My friend asked me to make a board, so I rolled up with my enormous paddle and all of the cheeses/toppings in a bag. It still came together pretty well and I added some festive touches (rosemary, pomegranate) along with the usual staples (different cheeses, charcuterie, Skinny Dipped almonds, Whisps, Simple Mills crackers, olives, jam, mustard, dried fruit, fresh fruit, etc.).

Cheese board

Holiday nails. I still love the dip powder! I found an awesome place in Tucson if any of my local friends want the info. 

Dip powder nails glitter tips

Christmas Eve, getting ready to head to my dad’s house. We feasted on tamales, enchiladas, beans, rice, and a festival of desserts before opening gifts with dad’s side of the fam. The weather was also gorgeous so all of the cousins could run around and play on their backyard playground.

Xmas eve

Our favorite guy was missing the festivities, but we’re excited to see his face again soon. 😉 No egg nog was consumed in his honor. It just isn’t the same without him exploding it all over the kitchen.

Santa came!! The girls were pumped. They loved all of their gifts, but some of the hits were the melting snowman in their stocking, the enormous giraffe, this doll house, this ET book, and their Caboodles. They’ve absolutely loved filling them with little treasures. P also asked for “gym clothes” this year – I told you guys that she’s really into running right now – so she really enjoyed trying on all of her new outfits. She’s rocked athleisure every day this week.

My dad and stepmom got Liv a Hatchimal and watching that thing hatch was a hoot. We were all huddled around the Hatchimal intrigued and elated by everything that was happening. You’d think a live baby animal was being born at my dad’s house. No, it was an electronic bird pecking its way out of a giant toy egg. What is this life?

Santa came

Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. We had brunch here at the house, so I made nana’s famous egg dish, the best cinnamon rolls, mimosas, and coffee, and madre brought over tamales, rice, beans, grammies, and coffee cake. I also set out a cookie tray from all of the baking we did over the past couple of weeks. (It makes it so easy to freeze everything and they set it all out on xmas. It tastes totally fresh and you can have a better variety that way!) We spent the day eating, opening gifts, drinking mimosas, and watching Christmas Story before heading out to see the new Mary Poppins movie. (I LOVED Lin and Emily Blunt, but don’t hate me.. I found the music to be underwhelming. We still had a great time and let’s be real, if you put me in a dark room with an enormous vat of popcorn I’m going to be happy no matter what happens.) 

Cinn rolls

Opening gifts


This hair tie holder! This holds your hair ties so you don’t get weird dents in your arm. 

Hair tie holder

Beautycounter is having a HUGE sale. Check it out here! (If you haven’t tried anything yet and need help with products, please let me know.)

Winter sale

They’re selling out of a lot of products quickly, but you can still get the Instant Awakening Trio (which has the peel — my very fave product), mini lipgloss vault (all of the colors are flattering ) and this gorgeous palette. If you have New Year’s goals so switch to safer skincare, now is a great time to try out some of these incredible staples.

Read, watch, listen:

Thank you so much to WebMD for featuring me in this article about the new exercise guidelines.

My latest post for the WebMD blog can be found here! This one is all about working out when you don’t really feel like it.

This is an awesome dad!

The best news of 2018.

Hilarious tweets from parents.

Give me all of the scheduling and productivity hacks.

If you’re starting to plan for New Years, here are some of my most popular New Years-ish posts:

5 things to keep in mind for New Year’s resolutions

4 workouts everyone needs to try

Meal prep ideas here!

Meal prepping 2

Steps to accomplish your fitness goals

Back in the fitness game workout

Eats/ recipes:

This Pinch of Yum chicken, lemon, and asparagus recipe. It was so easy to put together, and we enjoyed it one evening with sweet potatoes from the Instant pot. Dinner was served in about 15 minutes. 

Chicken dinner

This glorious plate of grammies on the table on Christmas morning. 


Happy Friday, friends! I’ll see ya on Monday sharing my goals for 2019 and some tips for going after your fitness and health goals!

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by the blog today. <3



Random question: what was the best book you read in 2018? After finally finishing Eleanor Olliphant is Completely Fine (and feeling very down when it ended. No spoilers, but the ending just was rough/sad for me) I’m on the lookout for something new!

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  1. Aubrey on December 28, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Looks like you had an awesome Christmas! It’s so fun that the girls are at that age where everything is so magical! This is the first year I don’t have any Santa believers so it was a little different. Also my first year having a teenage daughter and she got makeup in her stocking and I swear grew up 5 years overnight (so scary!)

    Have you shared the grammie recipe by chance? Those look amazing!

  2. Jackie on December 28, 2018 at 8:36 am

    I just finished Educated and it was by far, the best book I read all year-highly recommend!

  3. Lauren on December 28, 2018 at 8:49 am

    I needed that article about the good news in my life!

  4. Amy on December 28, 2018 at 9:29 am

    “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng, “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult, and “Am American Marriage” by Tayari Jones were some of my faves from this year!

  5. Kelster on December 28, 2018 at 9:35 am

    What are grammies?

  6. Laurie O on December 28, 2018 at 9:49 am

    ‘The Hate you Give’ was wonderful and I listened to ‘The Secret in Her Eyes’ – super creepy & crazy ending.

  7. jaclyn eccless on December 28, 2018 at 10:19 am

    WHAT?!?!? My back straitened when I saw that hair tie holder – LOL. It was in the ol’ Amazon cart in a flash! Love these posts, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family from snowy MN!

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:31 am

      YESSSS you’ll love it!!
      hope you have a happy new year!

  8. Stephanie S. on December 28, 2018 at 10:41 am

    That is so cute that P asked for gym clothes!!! <3 Adorable! She wants to be like her mama 🙂 And that's great news that you'll be seeing your favorite guy soon – I've been wondering about that; so happy to hear that news!

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:31 am

      thank you- we’re so excited <3
      and yes, it's so fun to see her running around in gym clothes

  9. Michelle on December 28, 2018 at 10:51 am

    I would love to know where in Tucson you get your nails done. Can’t find somewhere I love.

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:30 am

      go see tea at skyline nails!

  10. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on December 28, 2018 at 11:03 am

    P rocking athleisure sounds amazing. And YAYYYYY for your favorite guy returning so soon — that will be a belated and wonderful New Year gift. Also, I want a Caboodle — I can’t believe they are back, and I love that. Finally, I’ve been getting SNS dipped nails for more than a year now, and it’s addicting. I literally cannot have bare nails now, but boy it’s an investment of time to get it done hahaha — why can’t it be faster — my place takes no less than 90 minutes every single time?? Happy weekend, Gina! I got my beautiful mug you sent too — Thank you!! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:30 am

      yay, glad it made it there!!
      i think of you when i get my dip nails! you’re right. they take SO LONG. the first time, it literally killed me. i felt so impatient hahaha
      hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  11. Caitlin on December 28, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Girl with Seven Names was one of my favorite books of the year!

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:30 am

      i haven’t heard of that one. thank you!

  12. GeeAnn on December 28, 2018 at 11:55 am

    I’m in the middle of Where the Crawdads Sing and it’s pretty good so far! I have Educated to read next, which I heard was really good as well. My favorite book of the year by far was The Alice Network, if you like historical WW2 fiction/lady spy novels then you’ll like the book.

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:29 am

      i’m loading up the kindle now. thank you!

  13. Annie on December 28, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    The 7 husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Educated: a memoir

    Glad y’all had a fun Christmas!

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:26 am

      that was such a great one!!! i haven’t looked at educated yet!

  14. Samantha on December 28, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Educated by Tara Westover
    Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
    Swing Time by Zadie Smith

    were a few of my fave books this year!

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:26 am

      looooved crazy rich asians! checking out the others now 🙂

  15. Lauren on December 28, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    I just finished Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – it was good and a quick read. Reese Witherspoon featured it as her book of the month a few months back.

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

      i’ll check it out now! thank you!

  16. Emily on December 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    The Crazy Rich Asians trilogy is so good! Complete fluff and fun, and the cultural footnotes the author includes make me want to travel to Singapore ASAP.

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

      i LOVED the first one. trying to get into the second one. i’m sure once i give it more time i’ll be hooked

  17. Allison on December 28, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Have you read Pillars of the Earth? It’s super long but I could not put it down. Currently reading Bear Town which got rave reviews. Not sure if either of those are light/funny reads but just some ideas 🙂

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

      no, but i’ll look at both of those! thank you!

  18. Tracy on December 28, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    You sound like me. I looove when my kids are off school! Party every day and no schedules 🙂

    So hard to pick the best book I read but some I liked:
    The Woman in the Window
    How to Walk Away
    Book of Essie
    Before We Were Yours
    From Sand and Ash
    Little Fires Everywhere

    So happy to hear you’ll get to see the pilot soon!!

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

      yes, having them home is the best ever! thank you for all of the amazing suggestions. i’m loading up my kindle now!

      • Tracy on December 29, 2018 at 1:23 pm

        Also, I meant to tell you the 5 kids’ books arrived. THANK YOU AGAIN!! 🙂

  19. Juliana on December 28, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Happy holidays! I really enjoyed “the lost vintage” by Ann Mah. I originally downloaded it to read during holiday travels, but accidentally read the whole thing in one Sunday. Crocodile on the sandbank is a classic that I recommend to everyone. Do you recommend Eleanor oliphant is completely fine? I’ve heard it’s good, but also sad.

    • Fitnessista on December 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      i’ll have to check those ones out!
      it was WAY way too sad for me. i was already invested in the story by the time i learned about the sad part, so i finished it, but it was a hard one for me

      • Juliana on December 29, 2018 at 2:03 pm

        okay, that’s good to know, i don’t think i can handle a sad book right now. crocodile on the sandbank is HYSTERICAL if you’re looking for a pick me up after a sad book 🙂

  20. Jann on December 28, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Not a 2018 book but I loved A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s the first book of a trilogy; very well written novels involving witches, vampires, and daemons. It sounds like total fantasy but the books include current day science and great characters which totally draw you into the storyline.

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:24 am

      that sounds fascinating!!

  21. Hilda on December 28, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    “Why We Sleep”. It has taught me a lot about the science of sleep and has scared me straight about getting 8 hours every night.

    • Fitnessista on December 29, 2018 at 12:24 am

      amazing! i’ll definitely be on the lookout

  22. Julia on December 29, 2018 at 11:31 am

    I’m a huge fan of the Michael Connelly Bosch Series. It’s not fluff reading though, it’s like reading law and order but better because of the characters. Looking forward to New Year fitness motivation on your site! (I had instagrammed you about getting my sister to Kyle’s restaurant the weekend before Christmas – they hit some gnarly traffic coming into Tucson and couldn’t make it. Boo.)

  23. Emily on December 29, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I just finished a collection of moth stories called “All These Wonders” – it was amazing! Also it’s low commitment since each story is 5ish pages so you can chip away at it without getting lost mid chapter. Highly recommend!

  24. Maeve on December 29, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Those cinnamon rolls…. I have to have them. STAT! And I feel exactly the same way about movies (as long as they are not sic-fi/horror: Dark room + movie theatre treats = I’m happy irrespective of the movie itself.

    The Alice Network
    Little Fires Everywhere
    Where the Crawdads Sing
    The Hate U Give

  25. Megan on December 29, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I love reading about your fun Christmas festivities. I have a 3 year old girl, too, and this was by far the most fun Christmas.
    My top 3 books of 2018 were Educated, The Hate U Give, and The Radium Girls.
    I’m currently reading Matchmaking for Beginners and it is a super fun, cute, light read.
    Side note: After seeing all these great book recommendations, I think you should start a book club on the blog!!
    Happy New Year

  26. Alissa on December 29, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Born a Crime by Trevor Noah was so fascinating/interesting/heartbreaking/hilarious/uplifting. It’s an excellent read. Also enjoyed Educated and am reading and enjoying Becoming right now.
    I have been thinking about you this month! We are moving and my husband has already started work in another state, but he came home for Christmas. Glad your guy will be back soon.

  27. Amanda on December 29, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    I’ll echo a few of the previous books — Where the Crawdads Sing, Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and Crazy Rich Asians (trilogy). I also recommend Queen of Hearts, Next Year in Havana, Rush, and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. All of them are novels I couldn’t put down.

  28. Sarah Persia on December 29, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Little fires everywhere and this is how it always is were my faves from this year. I also just finished the new Liane Moriarty (nine perfect strangers) and it gets an honorable mention too 🙂

  29. Jacki on December 31, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Tough call, but I think the Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner was my favorite. Non-fiction and not an easy read, but such a tremendous story.

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