My Funny Valentine

6 years ago, Bella was a Valentine’s Day gift from the Pilot.

baby bell

Same sassy face, 6 years later:


We had gone to look at puppies one weekend, and I knew Bell was the one, so we decided to go back the following weekend. She came from a family here in Tucson –none of whom spoke English- and the Pilot went to pick her up while I was at home studying. They gave her a bath, wrapped her in a T-shirt, and when the Pilot came back to my apartment, he put her tiny puppy face into the doorway first.

Of course, it was love at first sight.

me and bell

Bella and I have been through a lot together: 3 deployments, living in Tucson, North Carolina, Valdosta, Orlando and back to Tucson. She’s traveled with us all over the place, and now she’s a protective mama dog to Livi.

My funny little valentine. My other valentine is currently snoozing on my chest in the Moby 😉

Chicken, however, is Bella’s true love and always will be.

Last night, she gave us a little bit of a scare when she decided to take the rest of the Pilot’s chicken drumstick off his plate while we were upstairs. She ate all of the meat, and half of one of the bones. After a call to the emergency vet, they told us to watch her but she should be ok. She just loves chicken a little too much sometimes…

It was really awesome having the Pilot home yesterday. We got a lot done around the house:


(Dance Central 2 and Fruit Ninja)

made dinner together, and ran a few errands.

V-day breakfast appetizer:


(sea salt AND almonds)

and the main course:

oats and tea

Raspberry oats –add the berries in just before the oats are finished cooking- with Sun Warrior, hemp seeds and tea

We’re going to go on a little walk before it starts to rain, and then nana is coming over to visit 🙂

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day <3



Some of my favorite mushy love-y posts:

How I met the Pilot + a love story

-Anniversary posts: Four years, three years, two years

Pilot comes home from deployment

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  1. Stephanie @ Legally Blinde on February 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Awww, that first picture of Bella is adorable 🙂 Have a great Valentine’s Day!

  2. Julia on February 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Have a great day!

    I am gonna dig a hole and hide…:-)

  3. Liz @ Southern Charm on February 14, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Ahh even as a pup Bella is adorable! I love looking at puppy pictures and comparing them to how they look now!

    Happy Valentine’s Day to your and your family!

  4. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on February 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Adorable! Happy Valentines Day to you and the pilot 😀

  5. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on February 14, 2012 at 11:48 am

    What a sweet post and here’s to having many more years and Valentine’s Days with Bella.

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Gina, to you and your family 🙂


  6. Ali @ Peaches and Football on February 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Tiny baby Bella is so adorable (not that she isn’t still adorable now, of course).

    What a fantastic Valentine’s Day present and I love how the two of you have been through so much together. Who cares if chicken is Bell’s first love, right? 🙂

  7. Ali on February 14, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Happy day of Love my friend! <3

  8. Ali @SeeAliEatSeeAliRun on February 14, 2012 at 11:59 am

    My boyfriend bought that chocolate for me today! It’s my favorite 🙂
    My Yorkie was a gift from my Dad for my 21st birthday-she too came from AZ (Glendale) from a huge family that didn’t speak English. My pup is the sweetest and 4 years later, we’re still best buds!

  9. Hillary on February 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Every single time I watch the Pilot’s homecoming video, I cry. Every single time. It’s embarrassing!

  10. Marci on February 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    The Pilot comes home post/video is probably my favorite blog post on not only your blog, but of all of the blogs I read. It is just so happy and touching 🙂

  11. renee on February 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Are those game on xbox360? It appears there are no controllers so I am assuming so. I am getting one next week and I am looking for some fun games. So pumped!

  12. Lara on February 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Oh my goodness–Baby Bella is TOO cute! I love that you always keep bows in her hair. My girls rip them out as soon as I put them in. They currently have them in, we’re on Day 5, so we’ll see how long they last!

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Gina and family!

  13. Lizzie on February 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Ahh could baby Bella be any cuter? As you know, I will always-for as long as I live-love your “how we met” story. It’s the first thing I think every time I walk in a Starbucks (which is often) and I swear I’ll find my husband there one day 🙂

  14. Sophia on February 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Gina! I made your Protein Pancakes this morning and I was soo impressed! They were absolutely delicious (and filling). Definitely will become a new breakfast staple for me! 🙂

  15. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) on February 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Bella is a little sweetheart! So lucky to have her in your life. <3

  16. Emmie on February 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Bella is cute, Livi is adorable, you are gorgeous…such a cute bunch of chicas.

    I’ve been catching up on posts so I’m just doing one ginormous comment.

    The controversial family post…don’t sweat it, people who got it got it and people who didn’t never will.

    The post on you looking for a birth control method, I really don’t recommend the implanon that some others mentioned. I’m actually going to have mine removed a year early today because of side effects that were never mentioned by the doctor: increased water retention, horrible mood swings, and sorry for the tmi but constant bleeding (for the past 20 months…shoot me.) Apparently these are really common, especially the last one, and I would not wish it on anyone. I’m going to try the Today Sponge because it can be inserted hours ahead of time, is non hormonal, cannot be felt once in and can stay in for up to 30 hours. It’s not for those timid about their bodies but just thought it might be an option if you are not wanting hormones.

    Lastly, somehow I stumbled back on your formspring q&a…some really funny reads, especially seeing where you are now.

    Love love love the blog, as always!

  17. Beth on February 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    That picture of Baby Bella is too much!! PLEASE show some more baby Bella pics! That would make me so happy, LOL!

  18. Racheal @ Running with Racheal on February 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    What a perfect Valentine! Such a cutie. 🙂

  19. Kerry @ Totes My Oats on February 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Bella is so cute. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your precious fam!

  20. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on February 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Your post about the Pilot coming home from deployment (and the video) still gives me shivers Gina – it’s beautiful!! And so is Bella of course! I’d love to have a little dog as well but sadly my work schedule just doesn’t allow for it and I’d feel bad leaving her home alone for so long. In the meantime, I’ll live vicariously through you!

  21. Lisa on February 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    That picture of Bella as a baby is one of the cutest things ever! She is such a sweetie.

    Happy Valentines Day to you, the Pilot, Bella and Livi. I hope you have a great day!

  22. Olivia on February 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    What a cute story! Puppies make awesome gifts, no? Haha happy v-day everyoneee!

  23. marci on February 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    My doggie will always be my first born too. Last month, my husband gave her a rib bone to gnaw on while we ate dinner. 5 minutes later, she had eaten through the bone and swallowed half of it! I didn’t know she could do that! No more munching on bones. Those little ones have strong teeth!

  24. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig on February 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I just had to comment to say that first picture of Bella is beyond cute! I love your dog! We’re moving overseas with our cat in two weeks… it costs $2100, but we just can’t part with him. These damn cute animals.

  25. Brittany on February 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Baby Bella looks like a stuffed animal! I can see why you knew she was the one right away!

  26. Yin on February 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Reading how you and the Pilot met, I’m just curious how he proposed. Sorry if I’m intruding but I just love those stories! Happy Valentine’s Day 😀

    • Fitnessista on February 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      thank you!
      there isn’t a long story to that one, it was just something we talked about. it was basically like:
      you want to get married?
      um, yes.

  27. Laury on February 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Happy Valentines Day, Gina! You have so much love around you this year! Enjoy it, sweetheart! Love that puppy pic of little Bella!

    PS- I’m obsessed with the “chocolove xoxox” sea salt–adding almonds though, I need to try that one!

  28. Lena @Fit on the Rocks on February 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    She definitely is a sassy little dog, and so cute as a puppy! I wish my dog still looked like he did in his puppy days. He’s still a major cutie, but not the size of a fluffy cotton ball that hops through the grass.

  29. kari on February 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Gina, Happy Valentines day to you. You look so pretty after having Livi and she is such a beautiful baby. Bella was and is such an adorable dog. it makes me want a dog like yours. well, have a nice day.

    • Fitnessista on February 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      thank you, kari- hope you have a great day too!

  30. Amy R. on February 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    That face on baby Bella is great! Cracks me up.

    I am sure you have mentioned this before but what kind of dog is Bella??

    • Fitnessista on February 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      maltipoo 🙂

  31. Talia @ Bite Size Wellness on February 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Bella is so cute!
    I have never had hemp seeds before. What do they taste like? What else do you add them to?

    • Fitnessista on February 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      they have a really mild flavor- you can hardly taste them, but they add extra nutrients (healthy fat and protein) and fun texture
      they’re great in smoothies and on salads, too

  32. Anna @ The Guiltless Life on February 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Bella is so adorable, I’ve never seen the photo of her as a tiny puppy!

    Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!

  33. Toya on February 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Hey, Fitnessista HAPPY Valentines day…..Livi is gorgeous and bella is a cutie pie. I know you are transitioning a lot right now but I NEED your help and desperate please email me at so I can go into detail and maybe you will decide to help…


  34. Alexa @ Simple Eats on February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Little bell is the perfect valentine 🙂 Have a great V Day!

  35. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups on February 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I love that your Valentine’s Day post is about Bella! What a wonderful gift!

  36. Joss on February 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    awwww baby cute 😀

  37. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on February 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Baby Bella is SO stinking cute!! Ahh I can’t take it. Happy Valentine’s Day girly!

  38. Shari on February 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Bella is adorable!!

  39. Kelly @ Vegolosophy on February 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    awww baby bell! So cute!!! Hope you enjoyed your valentine with your family 🙂

  40. C on February 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    It’s amazing how different Bella looks when she was a puppy! She looked almost brownish, but now she’s pure white! And soooo cute <3 She looks just like my poodle, who is my favorite Valentine (sorry, boyfran).

    I backtracked to you and the Pilot's "love story" and I just wanted to let you know how much hope it gives me with my relationship. Not quite a deployment, but my boyfriend and I are going on completely different career paths and the way it is looking, we will still be in a long distance for a while. It's been hard and a source of a lot of problems, but he's so special to me and letting something like a few states come between that seems silly to me. I can only hope I can be as strong as you!

  41. Brittany (Eating Bird Food) on February 14, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I love that Bella is a v-day baby. 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day to you Gina.

  42. Chelsa on February 15, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Bella was too cute as a puppy and is still adorable now. You and the pilot have a beautiful love story!

  43. Emily on February 15, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Oh my gosh, look at lil puppy Bella, she’s adorable.

  44. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola on February 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Omg, I literally awwed out loud when I saw that picture of Bella as a puppy- she’s so precious and is still so adorable! I loved reading about you and the Pilot too! It sounds like you guys have such an amazing relationship and as a single gal it’s always nice to read stories about people who found their partners in random ways (like Sbux!) Happy (belated) Valentine’s day!

  45. Life's a Bowl on February 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Aw, baby Bella is adorable!!!

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