Organic Living (on a Budget!)

Clean eating and do-it-yourself tips from a newly married couple's persepective

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Information overload + thoughts from the week

This weekend has been packed with studying, reading for personal development, and learning. My brain is exhausted! When I get to the point where I don’t know if I remember anything I’ve read, I know it’s time to take a break (and get out my Peppermint and Rosemary essential oils for focus/mental burnout and memory!).

This week has been such a learning experience for me–from my classes at USF to learning new skills at work to learning more about myself during my daily personal development/reflection time. I’ve had so many things go wrong yet so many go right over the past seven days! I feel as if I’m a different person than I was when I woke up last Sunday morning and began the week! I’m so glad for the chance I’ve had this weekend to rest and reflect on everything. And I’ve had time to re-focus on my fitness goals for my cruise in December and put together a killer workout plan for the upcoming week! 

When I took the course to become a Certified Personal Trainer last December, my instructor taught our class to create short, intense, effective workouts for our clients and to vary the intensity and type of workout every day of the week. High Intensity Interval Training is THE buzzword in the fitness industry today, and while it’s not always possible to implement this type of workout for my clients (because of deconditioning, injury, or other physical limitations), I love to incorporate HIIT into my weekly routine. I’m super excited about the return of plyometrics day as well!

S: Off

M: Biceps, triceps, shoulders + cardio (30 mins, tempo)

T: Plyometrics + abs

W: Off

R: Legs

F: Yoga + abs 

S: Back, chest + cardio (20 mins, sprints)


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Tank Top Arms Workout

Hello! Even though it’s September, in Florida this means we’re still in prime shorts and tank top weather, like or not! And if the weather’s changing to cooler temps where you are, it’s just as important to keep those arms in shape–surprise everyone with killer arms under that jacket, or rock a strapless dress at a dinner party. Don’t use cooler weather as an excuse to wear bulky clothes and skip your training sessions!

I wrote this workout and did it Friday and it really challenged my arms…they were sore yesterday! Good thing I had Deep Blue Rub–this lotion is my best friend after a hard weight training workout. It nixes soreness and inflammation within seconds! I had stiff, painful biceps when I woke up Saturday morning, but I could move them without wincing after one application of DBR 🙂 Making coffee in the morning would have been really hard if I couldn’t move my arms 😉

This workout is organized in supersets, each superset using the same (or almost the same) equipment, so you can move from one place to another in the gym in an orderly fashion instead of running all over the place to find the equipment! Supersetting means moving from one exercise to the next without taking a break in between, and it has great results because rest time for each muscle group is minimized and you keep moving the whole time. Repeat each superset 2 or 3 times before moving to the next one. If you don’t know how to use the cable machines at your gym, ask any personal trainer there to show you. Also, the Fitnessista has a great blog post on how to use them.

Superset 1 (SS1):

  • Cable shoulder press (8-10 reps)
  • Woodchops (10-12 reps per side)


  • Hammer curls with cable (rope attachment, 8-10 reps)
  • Tricep pushdown with cable (same attachment, 8-10 reps)


  • Front/lateral shoulder dumbbell raises (one arm raises front and the other raises out to the side at the same time. Alternate for 20 reps. Start with a light weight because these will wear you out quickly!)
  • Dumbbell concentration curls (8 reps per arm)
  • Tricep dips on bench (raise one foot if they’re too easy. 10-12 reps)


  • Dumbbell lying lateral raises (8-10 reps)
  • Dumbbell bicep curls (8 reps)
  • Lying triceps extension with barbell (8-10 reps)

Watch the short video demos for all of these exercises on, one of my favorite exercise databases! This is a great site for beginners and advanced weight lifters alike. Leave a comment if you try the workout and let me know how it goes!

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Good sales come to those who wait…

…especially at Williams-Sonoma! Last weekend I stopped in the store I visit to look at lovely kitchen things I can’t afford–but this time was different. For once their clearance section was well-stocked with good deals. I snagged two unique place card holder sets, four placemats with hand-made edging, and a big serving plate for only $29.89! At their original prices, everything would have cost $114 plus tax. Crazy! Aren’t they cute? 🙂 IMG_2456   IMG_2457

I also got a great deal on an ice cream maker (!!!) at Sam’s Club yesterday. This was only $9.87!   IMG_2514   In other news, I spoke with an adviser at college yesterday and she rearranged my classes. Now I’m taking Principles of Immunology, Medical Botany, and Applications of Physics for Biology & Medicine. I’ll miss my other classes but I’m fine with a lighter course load this semester! Looks like graduation is another semester away :/

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Day One

Hello! I’m Gina, and this is my eclectic little blog. I’m passionate about health, nutrition, and enjoying life–but not breaking the bank! I’ll post on a variety of topics with a common theme: getting the most out of a dollar. This may or may not be because I’m the daughter of a Certified Public Accountant 😉 I am a AAAI/ISMA certified personal trainer, and I have my own business teaching classes about and selling doTERRA’s 100% Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils that have helped my family treat a multitude of health issues. I love both of my jobs!

I’m in my final semester as a college student in central Florida. I’m studying biology, and only 5 classes stand between me and my B.S. degree! Today is the first day of class, and I’m already loving my classes. Looks like I saved the best for last 🙂 My classes this semester are:

  • General Physiology (and lab)
  • Parasitology (not as nasty as it sounds…we’ll do an overview of ALL types of parasitic relationships in the plant and animal worlds)
  • Principles of Ecology
  • Principles of Immunology (this might be my favorite! Have to wait for class tonight to find out, but this topic is VERY interesting to me)
  • Organic Evolution (sounds boring, will find out for sure tomorrow)

I think prioritizing sleep will be my biggest struggle. There’s going to be a lot of reading to do–which I love, but sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day! If you’re wondering why sleep is so important to me (read: invaluable), I’d recommend watching this short video on TED.

Time to start reading!