April 16, 2012
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Real, Authentic, Blogging from the heart.

Hi friends. It has been way too long.

My friend Emily wrote this post while my husband and I were in Aspen, Colorado for an engagement session/vacation. That morning I had woken up completely grateful and felt different. My body felt whole. Emotionally, physically, mentally. I felt so great and after reading Em’s words I was trying to figure out what I did to get there. Then I realized, each little thing I did, equal my essentials. They are MUSTS for me. Here is what I came up with.

SLEEP :: I need sleep. Lots of it, and the biggest problem of all is that I am a night owl. I love staying up late. My body just seems to work better then, but it isn’t the best. I need to commit to going to bed before 10:30-11:00p.m. In order to wake up at an hour to accomplish everything I can in a day. Sleep makes or breaks my days. So if you ever see me on Facebook or Instagram past these times, please yell at me. Peer pressure me to bed. I need it.

WATER :: Aqua. I really love it. I am obsessed with these Fiji 1.5 bottles.My goal each day is 3 Liters. So just two of these makes it so easy. I just love this water and I know that it’s in a plastic bottle….bad for me……but I truly feel better when I am drinking in. It isn’t cheap, unless you get it at Trader Joes, so many times we just get the big 5 gallon jugs of reversed osmosis water from the grocery store. The key here for me, is a BIG cup. Any favorite glasses or water bottles that you love that hold a liter or more? I am on the search for an stylish water bottle.

DEVOTION :: Time with the Lord. Whether its reading through the word, a devotion or just prayer, this is such a key. If I start my day and immediate run into my work, meetings or household tasks, I am always crashing sometime during the day and if not that day the next. I really have learned that I am no good acting on my own strength. I cannot and I do n0t want to do anything that is apart from Him. I need to start my day, even before my feet touch the floor, and give it all to Him. I am in the process of making a jar next to my bed that symbolizes the Lord.  I will print out (and laminate) little cards that contain things I have a hard time handing over. My finances, work, body-image, worries, future plans, wants, rest. Then each morning I will physically place these in the jar, as a symbol and reminder of giving it up to Him. I can always have more time in this must, but at least 3o minutes to an hour is a goal currently.

EXERCISE :: This one is obvious to most, yet what I learned in Colorado was eye opening. We did two workouts a day in Aspen and I just consistently felt energized. I did hot yoga almost every day. My skin felt so clear and I just felt light. We did most of our workouts early on in the day. SO good. SUCH a must. My plan? Get my runs in (3 a week), as I am hoping for another Half Marathon in May. Hot yoga twice a week and zumba and strength once. Mornings is the best. Even if I have to sleep in my workout clothes. This NEEDS to be at the beginning of my day, otherwise it’s just not going to happen.

QUALITY TIME :: Matt and I have crazy schedules. They often conflict with each other. For example, he is at track practice and the second he gets home I am out for a session or meeting. This has become much better as I have streamlined shooting days and meeting days, yet it want to commit to intentional time with him. Whether it’s 5 minutes on the couch(sans phones), running or cooking a meal together. This is something that was easy to do in Aspen away from our normal responsibilities and we had such. a. blast. I know with effort we can make this happen in MN. Especially with a beautiful summer coming up. Mid-week camping trips and fishing are at the top of my list. Date nights too. Matt are you listening?

WRITING :: Writing connects me to myself. I actually slow down enough to hear. Whether its blogging, downloading or writing out prayer. Writing has been so instrumental for me, yet I seem to always avoid it. Or thinking of it as soooo overwhelming at times. Yes, it takes me time to write and process. But that time is invaluable for the fruit it produces. So…making a quiet time for writing. Even if I have to go to the studio or my favorite tea shop. At least a sentence or two a day.  My goal is to write at least three times a week and have you look at pretty pictures in between. Writing truly focuses my heart and it is a MUST.

CLEAN FOOD :: Oh good ole nutrition. After years of searching, learning, and spending I think I am finally understanding what works for my body and what doesn’t. As I have mentioned before ISAgameon is my baseline. This product is the best on the market. Hands down in my opinion. Tastes the best, and really gives you the best results. Plus the game gives you accountability and a lifestyle around the product. I love coaching and encouraging my teammates, and I am so grateful for them too.  I have a shake every morning, because I LOVE it and it’s the most simple, whole, and tasty shake that is out there. I could talk for years about ISA, but I won’t. Email me if you want to learn more.

Next, what doesn’t work for me. Gluten, Dairy, Soy, greasy food. This was so apparent in Aspen. There were many amazing food choices that it was so easy for me to eat clean. Kale & beet salads, tuna burgers wrapped in lettuce, you get the picture. In fact, I ate so clean that one of the last days we were there I decided I would have a lil’ goat cheese & a side of sweet potato fries. My body told me later on that those decisions were a NO-NO. Now I am not crazy and won’t deprive myself of everything out there, yet I know what it likes to feel 100%. For example the sweet potato fries, something that is totally ok for me to have. Yet a whole side didn’t jive with my body, but I bet a handful would have.  I know what my triggers are to feel less than 100%. Somedays it might be worth it (holidays, date night) yet most of the time it isn’t. Feeling clear, awake, and energized is how I want to feel after a meal. So when I am not in a vacationing in a city with delightful clean food, I have to make this happen at home. It’s all about preparation. A lil’ bit of meal planning and a whole lot of having fruits and veggies cut up and available for healthy choices. This is going to be the toughest part for me as I feel that I barely have time to make a 30 second shake let alone a 30min gf df meal. But with grace I can do this. I know I can.


These are the things that make me feel whole, put together and ready to take on the world (aka my to-do list). I am committing to these! Why? Because I want to be ME. The best me. Natalie wrote in her blog post last week and I couldn’t say it better “I just want to be me. Healthy. Happy. Complete. Whatever that takes, whatever that means……………So here I am. . . reaching, learning, changing, embracing, submitting. . . being me. -Natalie Norton”

What’s it going to take to be the best you? What are your MUSTS?

Goal settings, Everyday essentials, Daily Musts, Setting yourself up for success.Image by Laura Ivanova.


8 thoughts on “MUSTS

  1. yep. twinsies. I’ve had a post like this on my heart all day long. only one day in and I’m already convinced: Isagenix for life!! xoxo.

  2. I MISS YOU!! Seeing your BEAUTIFUL FACE.. you continue to inspire me, I will admit that I am scared to take the steps. I have lived my way for the past 40 years… But I so want to take the steps to make some positive changes. I joined the gym to hold me accountable to getting there. Now I need to focus on the rest. I love what you wrote about devotion. I love the jar and the laminated cards. I am a control freak and I have a really really hard time letting go. But I know I must turn all my worries over to God and he will guide me. He will help guide me through my worries… I love you Gina! You are such a true, genuine and beautiful person inside and out. BLESSED BLESSED BLESSED to know you and have you IN my life… XOXO

  3. I use these: bottles and love them. They’re not quite a litre, but they’re glass bye bye plastic!), pretty much unbreakable with their ‘clothes’, and have some fun colours! I have two and fill them up (when I remember) and put them in the fridge, so no excuses when I open the door! 🙂

  4. Oh man, knowing what I truly need everyday has become so important in the 3 months I’ve been a momma. I’ll admit, after MTH, I still didn’t really know what my 5 things were. Now, I know I need 1) A baseline of cleanliness – made up bed, clean kitchen countertops and an empty sink (don’t care about bathroom countertops, isn’t that weird?) 2) To take care of myself- shower, makeup, some sort of put together outfit. 3) At least a few minutes of quality time with my husband, even if it’s just watching a favorite TV show together 4) A moment to truly enjoy my baby- his milky breath or the loose skin on the back of his head – the things that won’t be around forever and 5) Quiet time for me – to read, to pray, to download, to stretch out and unwind.
    Loving your posts G, they are so inspiring and motivating to me in these crazy days!

  5. I totally get this post. I made a list of my “must haves” a few years back. I don’t always make them a priority in my life and there is no good reason why. I am going to pull my list out a tap it to my mirror.

    BTW: I started going wheat, gluten, dairy, and sugar free over a month ago. Initially it was a two week challenge…now i eat that way all week. It has changed the way I feel and look 🙂

    great post

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Gina is a Minneapolis based wedding and lifestyle photographer that loves bringing the LIFE out of people & capturing that energy on camera. Contact Me