Gratitude

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Hola, everyone!

This week’s flown by so quickly! I was in Mississippi for my job over the weekend, then luckily got the OK from my boss to take Monday off since I worked all weekend. I spent some much-needed time with my mom (shopping, duh!) and grabbed a bite to eat with her and my dad afterwards. It was a great day off!

Tomorrow, I also have the day off in observance of Good Friday. I never appreciated three-day weekends so much until I became a working adult. My fam and I are heading down to Hocking Hills to spend some time in the great outdoors, and I couldn’t be more excited!

So, you’re probably wondering where the above quote comes into play. I’ve recently been participating in this organization called Girls on the Run, which is a non-profit that teaches girls to have self-confidence while integrating physical activity. While we do a 5K at the end of the program (ours is superhero themed – I get to wear a cape and everything!), it’s less about being fast or “the best” and more about finishing the race and the positive feeling that comes with accomplishing something. It has a great message, especially for young girls!

Each practice of ours has a theme, and our most recent session centered around the theme of gratitude. The girls told me countless things that they’re grateful for, ranging from family and living in the United States to unicorns and doughnuts.

My point is that oftentimes, we become so downtrodden and focus on what we don’t have that we lose sight of what we do have. I’m guilty of doing this at times, but I recognize that my life is beautiful and wonderful and full of so many incredible people. I’m very fortunate and blessed, and while sometimes I’d rather snuggle in my bed all day instead of trek to the office (coffee, please!), I try to start each day with a positive outlook.

One of my fellow coaches said that she writes down five things she’s grateful for before she goes to bed every night, so she’ll see that list first thing in the morning. I think this is such a great idea, and a surefire way to start each day with a grateful heart.

Whether you’re celebrating Easter, nomming on some Peeps and Reese’s eggs, or just spending time with family/friends, I hope you have an amazing weekend!

- Gina

Bright sunshiny day

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top: F21 | pants: F21 (originals and similar) | bag: Tignanello | wedges: Ragz Dressware

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I have no ass.

pregaming with coffeeHola!

I got these pants a few weeks back at the Forever 21 in Times Square (basically my version of Disney Land), and I fell in love the moment I first laid eyes on them. They’re a tad bit long, but they work super well with my obnoxiously tall wedge sandals. I love how they accentuate my long legs! And they feel just like pajama pants, but I can actually wear them in public without garnering disproving looks from other people.

During my many past shopping trips, acquiring clothes — and only clothes — was always my main focus. But now I’m making it a goal to add more accessories to my wardrobe. So when I spotted this necklace at H&M, which was so strategically placed in the checkout line, I grabbed it without any hesitation. It’s become one of my favorites!

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Shop here.

Anyway, back to the pants. I’m obsessed. I just might go buy a few more pairs in different prints, because they’re seriously the most comfortable pants in the world. Definitely a staple for this summer!

Have a fantastic weekend,

Gina

Let’s Eat! Quinoa lasagna

pregaming with coffeeYoyoyo!

Hope you had a great weekend! I took it pretty easy and chilled in my little Akron, Ohio. Ventured to a wine bar with some friends for delish grub and vino on Friday, pampered myself Saturday with a trip to the spa for a massage, facial and manicure (all were much needed!) and then caught up on some cleaning and Gossip Girl yesterday. Oh, and I ran outside for the first time since like, October! Seriously, it was perfect running weather yesterday.

Know what else I did? Yep, I whipped up this delicious recipe and now I’m all set on food for a few days. This “lasagna” uses quinoa instead of noodles, and is chock full of yummy vegetables to make you feel somewhat healthy while you indulge. Make this! You won’t regret it. Promise.

pregaming with coffeeQuinoa Lasagna (adapted from EatingWell.com)
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 can organic pasta or pizza sauce
  • 1 15-ounce tub low fat ricotta cheese (the original recipe called for cottage cheese, but I’m not a fan of that)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves (or basil!)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 cups zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn stove on medium high and bring water and quinoa to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed. Fluff and stir with a fork, then remove from heat; set aside.

Place a saute pan over the already-hot stove. Add olive oil and let simmer for a minute. Add mushrooms and onions and cook about 5 minutes until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic powder and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine ricotta and egg. Stir in rosemary/basil, oregano and pepper.

Grab a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and spray with cooking spray. Add quinoa, then add 1/3 of the sauce. Spread mushroom and onions over sauce, then spread ricotta on top. Add zucchini and spinach, then spread remaining sauce on top. Top with mozzarella

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until cheese is melted and begins to brown. Remove from oven, let cool and devour.

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My photos don’t do this dish justice! If you do try it, let me know what you think. Have a great Monday!

- Gina

Audrey

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dress: (swapped) F21 | sunglasses: Marc Jacobs | belt: thrifted | bracelet: UO | wristlet: Express | booties: Steve Madden

pregaming with coffeeTGIF, errbody!

I’m channeling my inner Hepburn in today’s post. I received this dress back in February at a local blogger clothing swap, and I absolutely adore it. The only thing is, it’s a bit big on me, but I think the blue belt does a decent job of cinching the waist.

Hilarious story about these sunglasses: they were actually found buried in the sand on a beach a few years back! (Did you really think I’d purchase Marc Jacobs sunglasses out of my own pocket?) Somewhere in the universe, there is a girl who’s majorly regretting bringing those puppies on vacation.

Top it all off with my trusty Steve Madden booties and I’m suddenly in the mood to watch “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” … which I own on DVD, of course.
pregaming with coffeeHave a wonderful weekend!

- Gina

Transitioning

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sweater: Gabriel Brothers | earrings: F21 | skirt: Marshalls | shoes: ESPRIT

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Hello everyone!

Well, I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think spring is finally here! Yesterday was a gorgeous 60 degrees and sunny, and after this brief photo shoot, I hopped on my bike and enjoyed the fresh air on the Towpath (I changed my clothes first, obviously). It felt so amazing to finally do something active outdoors. So refreshing!

Anyway, I guess I wasn’t feeling entirely springlike though, as you can tell from this outfit. However, I think the skirt and quarter-length sleeve sweater combo make a nice transition from March to April.

I just got these earrings at the Forever 21 in Times Square the other weekend. I love how they pop with the monochromatic outfit, and I know they’re going to be a staple of mine throughout spring and summer. Blame it on my Arizona roots: I’m obsessed with anything turquoise!

Now, let’s all knock on wood and pray that the warmer weather is here to stay!

- Gina

Let’s Eat! Whole wheat penne with swiss chard, olives and currants

pregaming with coffeeHi, all!

Just got back from a work trip to Secaucus, N.J. The only thing you really need to know about Secaucus is that it’s about five miles from Manhattan, so needless to say, it would’ve been a sin not to venture to the Big Apple. I did some damage at the H&M and Forever 21 in Times Square, but until this cold weather goes away (will it ever?), we may have to hold off on the outfit photos for a bit.

Solution? Food post!

While in the city, I did what any New Yorker would do: indulge in a giant slice of pizza and a humongous pretzel smothered in spicy mustard. Not hatin’ it, but I kind of want to be a little bit healthier this week.

I just watched this documentary called “Forks Over Knives” on Netflix, and basically it made me realize that the American diet is, in a word, gross. I’m a vegetarian but dairy has been my vice (see giant slice of pizza reference above), but the documentary explains how we as Americans tend to overindulge in this food group. I won’t go into too much detail about it, but let’s just say that the movie was somewhat of an eye-opener for me as far as health goes. The moral of the story is that a diet consisting primarily of whole foods – that is, whole grains, non-processed items and plant-based foods – is magical for the body and can not only prevent some diseases, but also reverse them.

Okay, done with my soap box rant! The other awesome thing about the movie is its website, which is chock full of yummy, healthy recipes! I figured I’d try this one out and was surprised at how delicious and filling it is. Take a look!

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Whole Wheat Penne with Swiss Chard, Olives and Currants
(original source: ForksOverKnives.com)
Servings: 4

  • 2 packages of whole wheat penne
  • 2 bunches of swiss chard, ribs removed and chopped, leaves chopped
  • 2 shallots, diced (the original recipe calls for 4, but I think that’s a bit much. I used Spanish onions instead because the store didn’t have shallots.)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup  dried currants
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (again, adjust to your liking)
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional) olive oil, to taste

In a large saucepan, saute shallots and swiss chard ribs for five minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions then strain, leaving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Add garlic and thyme to the shallots and swiss chard ribs, ensuring that the vegetables don’t stick to the pan by adding small amounts of water.

Add half the chard leaves and a little of the reserved cooking liquid and cook until the leaves begin to wilt. Add the remaining leaves and let cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add the olives and currants. Mix with pasta and toss with olive oil if desired.

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Enjoy!

- Gina

 

Irish for a day

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(clockwise from top left) Essie nail polish, Topshop dress, Nine West pumps, JCP ring, Marc by Marc Jacobs earrings, Fossil clutch

Hello, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today marks one of my favorite holidays. The color green, Celtic music, mugs on mugs of beer – what’s not to love? I’m only a smidgen of Irish (the name “Sweeney” runs in my family), but I like to flaunt my heritage as much as possible on this day.

What are you doing today to celebrate?

- Gina

Floral and pastel

 

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bralet: Gabriel Brothers | skirt: F21 | tights: JCP | shoes: ESPRIT via TJ

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Happy Friday!

Since Ohio seems to think it has the right to be bipolar with its weather (60 to 19 in 24 hours, ugh!), I decided that two could play at that game with this outfit. I’m totally lusting for some stable springtime here. I spotted my first robin of the season yesterday, which in my book signals that it’s time for the snow to disappear once and for all.

Anyway, enough of my whining. I snagged this adorable bralet last year at good ol’ Gabe’s on the cheap, and I’m hoping they have some more options in stock this season! Pairing it with a high-waisted skirt seemed like the ideal option, as I don’t wan’t to show off toooooo much skin.
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I also wanted to show off the little vignette I composed behind our couch. I spotted the mirror at a local shop in Vermilion while Christmas shopping and immediately fell in love, especially when I discovered that it was on sale for half off. I decided that it’d look a little meh hanging up all by its lonesome, so I compiled some little decorations to make the wall look more cohesive and homey. Looks pretty spiffy to me, IMO!

Finally, Mo decided to join in on the fun. He makes a pretty good model, even if his head’s a little blurry.
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Have a wonderful weekend!

- Gina

Cozy

sweater: UO | locket: F21 | earrings: Express | leggings: UO | socks: Jo-Ann Fabrics | boots: Report
sweater: UO | locket: F21 | earrings: Express | leggings: UO | socks: Jo-Ann Fabrics | boots: Report

pregaming with coffeeObviously ecstatic about snow in March.
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Happy Monday, everyone!

I went back up to the lake this weekend for some much needed relaxation. And although we may have sprung forward, you can see that the spring weather was definitely at bay this weekend! (Have no fear, Northeast Ohioans: they’re calling for 50 degrees today and tomorrow.)

This is one of my favorite outfits to wear when I just want to cocoon all day. I love a good slouchy sweater, and the lace detail on the bottom is a unique finishing touch. I scored the patterned leggings on sale for only $10, and they’re a nice change of pace from the standard monochrome ones I frequently sport. And as for the socks, they were a random find during my Sailor Moon Halloween shopping spree. Who knew Jo-Ann Fabrics even sold knee-highs?

I’m pretty stoked that my hair is finally long enough to put up in a bun! Although I loved having short hair, I find that long hair is actually a bit easier to style, especially in the morning when I’m lazy and a zombie. Can’t wait to get them beachy waves! Eventually…

Until next time!

- Gina