pregaming with coffee

life's a party. stay awake for it.


When you feel like sh*t is hitting the fan

la la la // pregaming with coffee

Guys – I have a confession to make. I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.

I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in ages. I’m tired all the time. My feelings about most things this days are best described as “meh.” I’ve officially reached the inevitable and dreaded quarter-life crisis. Exhibit A: I already chopped off all my hair. So why don’t I feel any better? Isn’t that supposed to be a prerequisite for “getting your life back on track?”

I know this is all hard for you to believe. I mean, I clearly live a life solely comprised of pumpkin muffins and cute clothes. I hope you sense my sarcasm.

Here’s my point: I often scope out fashion blogs and their respective authors on social media and I think to myself, “Damn, these girls have really got it together.” And then I stress out because I feel like my life is exactly the opposite of these girls I frequently see throughout the interwebz, with their fresh-cut flowers adorning their clean-as-a-whistle, stark white desk spaces and macaroons neatly stacked on top of one another on the teensiest, cutest little chevron-patterned plate.

And then I realized – F that. Seriously, that ain’t me. Antrophologie is way too expensive for my taste, and I don’t even know where I can buy macaroons ’round these parts.

Exhibit B: here's my desk space at work. Those flowers are fake.

Exhibit B: here’s my desk space at work. Those flowers are fake.

I’m not even really a competitive person. I just think people subconsciously compare themselves to one another from time to time. It’s natural, but the trick is to not let it get the best of you.

How? By not worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on yourself. That’s what I’m trying to do these days, anyway.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some other pretty basic things I’ve made a point to do that have helped me overcome deal with my first-world quarter-life crisis.

  1. Stretch. When I get stressed, I tend to tense up, resulting in unnecessary ache throughout my body. As of late, I’ve been making a point to do a few stretches right when I roll out of bed in the morning. Sun salutations  (just the first three steps – I’m not that ambitious in the morning) are my go-to. Oh my God, the term “sun salutation” sounds so pretentious. But really, incorporating breathing with a few simple stretches does wonders for my body and mind in the morning.
  2. Chin up. Literally. As the workday wears on, I find myself slouching over more and more. My mom always used to tell me to “sit up straighter,” but I’ve found that a better approach is to slightly lift my gaze. As my chin lifts upward, my chest naturally opens wider and my body raises itself higher, allowing more room for me to breathe. Try it when you’re in a slump. (Baha!) You’ll be surprised at how revitalizing this can be.
  3. Be human. I’m sure those girls with the fresh-cut flowers and ridiculously overpriced French desserts still do human things like poop and drink too much and binge eat pizza in their sweatpants every once in while. While I typically make a point to be uber productive after work (working out, freelancing, making meals from scratch, being Supergirl), I finally relished in a nap yesterday right when I came home. I couldn’t fight it anymore – I was burnt out from trying to do too many things in so many hours. After being knocked unconscious for 90 minutes, I woke up and ate a bunch of carbs while watching Zoolander. You need to be able to relax and not beat yourself up over it – it’s OK to not be Supergirl.
  4. Rediscover the world. No, you don’t need to drop a thousand dollars and spontaneously jet-set off to Europe. Go outside – it’s my favorite place to be. Visit your local park, admire the scenery, get lost in the woods, BREATHE and realize that you’re smaller than you think. And if you need to get further away, take a little road trip. From Akron, you can get to Pittsburgh in roughly two hours. Niagara Falls is also only about three or four hours away. Driving is a good way to clear your head, but going on a walk is just as effective.
  5. “If you don’t like where you are, MOVE. You are not a tree.” I stumbled across this quote on Instagram and I couldn’t have said things better myself. If you are unhappy, find out why. When you pinpoint a reason, ask yourself, “Is this something I can change?” If yes, do it. Yes, I know, life is complicated, and it’s easier said than done. But make a goal. If you’re unhappy with where you live, save up X amount of money to move out. If you dislike your job, look for something else. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s doable if you put forth the effort. Again: you are not a tree. You are not “stuck” here.


I hope that I don’t come across as a total dickhead. Like I said, I’m no expert – I have no idea what I’m doing. But I hope that I can at least offer some perspective for those other wayward souls out there.

Have a wonderful day!

- Gina


Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins // pregaming with coffeeHi everyone! Hope your week is going well so far.

I was looking for a fall treat to make a few weeks ago, so naturally I turned to Pinterest – the trusted source of everything pumpkin spice this fall. I came across this recipe, which claimed to be for “the best pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.” I figured I shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best, so I gave it a shot.

Damn. These people don’t play – this really is the best muffin recipe, ever. I had to strongly resist eating the entire batch by myself.
pumpkin chocolate chip muffins // pregaming with coffee

Shout-out to Aldi for supplying me with all the baking goods I didn’t already have on hand for a super reasonable price! I’m skeptical to buy their produce/real people food for whatever reason but Aldi is perfect for dry goods. Venture to your nearest location for all these ingredients, then bake away!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(From Just A Taste)
Yields roughly 18 regular-size muffins

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups of your favorite mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with baking cups.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

In another large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the pumpkin.

Alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the water to the bowl, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend the batter well, scraping down the sides as needed.

Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips then fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops of the batter with the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, then bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.


If you’re looking for a fall potluck dish (or something to indulge in while watching scary movies/Halloweentown), definitely give these a try!

Have a wonderful day,

- Gina


Weekly brew: Week of October 12, 2014

pregaming with coffee
Hi peeps, and Happy Friday!

Today is the day I say goodbye to my crappy college PC and FINALLY become the owner of a MacBook. I don’t think you understand my excitement – editing photos and doing basic tasks like, I dunno, browsing the Internet, have become a daily struggle for me, so I’m happy that I’ll finally be able to blog without wanting to throw my computer off my balcony. That being said, expect a bit of a blog makeover in the near future!

Okay, I’m done being nerdy. Here’s what else I’ve been loving this week:

  1. Flying Lotus – “You’re Dead!” Jazzy, madcap instrumentals thrown over trip hop beats and hints of Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg. There are so many “Wait, what?” moments on this album. Only thing better than this is seeing FlyLo do his thang live.
  2. TownHall’s latest announcement. This place is already my favorite bar in Cleveland, but their goal of having a GMO-free menu by 2015 makes me love them even more.
  3. This hot chocolate bar idea. Fellow Akron/CLE bloggers – we may need to do this for our next gathering.
  4. Emancipator. His music sounds like cloudy days. Perfect for fall.
  5. This DIY whale stuffed animal, crafted from old denim. I need to brush up on my sewing skills because this is too adorable. (Warning: the original instructions are in Finnish. So this may be a challenge. Thank God for Google Translate!)

Looking forward to sleeping in, wandering around CLE with my man and hopefully sneaking in a run this weekend! Hope y’all enjoy yourselves, too!

Have a great weekend,

- Gina


Sponsored post: eShakti Product Review

eShakti dress | pregaming with coffee

dress: eShakti | headband: Claire’s | booties: Steve Madden

eShakti dress | pregaming with coffee

***This post is sponsored by***

G’day, friends!

Today’s post is brought to you by a super-cool website called eShakti, which allows you to truly customize dresses and skirts to your exact size and style. If you’re one of those people whose clothes never fit quite right, this site is definitely the place for you. The folks over at eShakti were kind enough to let me pick out a dress, customize it and write about my experience, so here goes:

I LOVE THIS DRESS. But what I especially love about it is that I feel like I made it my own!
eShakti dress | pregaming with coffee
Like almost every other Millenial, I was a huge fan of the Sims during my awkward middle school years (I swear I have a point here). For me, the best part of the game wasn’t really the game itself, but the ability to create a million different characters of all shapes, sizes and color.

That’s sort of what eShakti is like, except with clothes. See a dress you like but you’re not too fond of the length? The lovely people at eShakti can lengthen or shorten it for you. How ’bout dat neckline? Yep, you can change that as well. They get so specific that they want your exact measurements to ensure that your dress fits you perfectly. And I can attest, I’m satisfied with the end product!

eShakti dress | pregaming with coffeeI spent forever perusing their selection of adorable styles and settled on this polka dot chambray design. I wasn’t too keen on the original boatneck style, so I opted for a sweetheart neckline instead. I kept the length the same, since I wanted a classic fall-ready look. I entered the exact measurements of every square inch of my body, and voila! This baby fits me like a glove. I’m so happy with how it turned out, and I can tell that it’s extremely well-made.

Overall, my experience was awesome, and I’d definitely recommend visiting eShakti for yourself! I can especially see it being ideal for all y’all who are getting married and in need of bridesmaids dresses. Or for those of you who grew up playing the Sims, like me. :)

Have a beautiful day!

- Gina

Check out eShakti on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest

And find me on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest



Weekly brew: Week of October 5, 2014

weekly brew | pregaming with coffeeHappy Friday, people of the world!

Here’s what I’m into this week:

  1. SBTRKT’s “Wonder Where We Land. His first album was so good, but this one is an excellent follow-up. Plus I’m really glad that Sampha is back to provide plenty of smooth vocals.
  2. So Delicious Hazelnut Coconut Milk Creamer. The coffee at work is meh. This makes it bearable.
  3. This pumpkin cheese ball idea. I can’t handle how adorable this is, and the flavor combination actually sounds pretty interesting. Definitely going to make this as a Thanksgiving appetizer this year!
  4. This Harry Potter sweatshirt. Nerdy-chic, badass and perfect for chilly mornings.
  5. Crescent-wrapped baked apple brie. Drooooooling. My boyfriend and I have this weird obsession with brie as of late. I need to make this ASAP ASAP ASAP.

I’m going down to Athens today to pay homage to my alma mater, the one and only Ohio University! I spent all last night baking a million things for “brunch and punch” (read: boozy brunch) at my sister’s house tomorrow, so be on the lookout for debauchery on Instagram. By debauchery, I mean a bunch of photos of quiche.

Have a great weekend!

- Gina

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Smashed white bean quesadilla with kale and creamy BBQ sauce

pregaming with coffeeHey y’all!

So, while I love cooking, there are some days where I simply don’t feel like slaving away for an hour in the kitchen. I just want something quick, easy and satisfying that isn’t your standard drive-thru food.

Enter the quesadilla, aka the less doughy grilled cheese. I love dressing them up with traditional Hispanic ingredients like black beans, salsa and spicy seasoned veggies, but this non-traditional recipe really intrigued me.
pregaming with coffee

Holy Moses, is this good. And inexpensive to make!

Since becoming vegetarian, I don’t really eat much BBQ, but I love using the sauce as a dip for fries and the like. I never would’ve thought to make a creamy version with plain yogurt, and it’s simply a match made in heaven with the white beans, kale and white cheddar. Plus, this whole thing takes roughly 10 minutes to make, so you’ll be chowin’ down in no time!

Oh and I apologize for the lack of photos … but not really. I had to devour this immediately. I’m sure you’ll understand.

Smashed White Bean Quesadilla with Kale and Creamy BBQ Sauce
(adapted from this recipe)


  • 4 fajita-size whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 shallot (the store ran out so I used a red onion instead), diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 stalks of kale, leaves chopped and thick stems removed
  • 2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of your fave barbecue sauce (I discovered this brand and I’m in love with the sweet brown sugar flavor. No high fructose corn syrup and super nom. Plus, their website rules.)

Heat cooking spray or olive oil in a pan on medium heat, or heat up panini press. In a medium-size bowl, add beans and smash with either a fork or potato masher.

In another small pan, heat up some olive oil and add shallots, salt and pepper, cooking until translucent (roughly three minutes). Remove from heat and add ‘em to the bowl with the beans. Mix together.

Place one tortilla on pan or panini press, then spread bean mixture on one side. Add a small helping of cheese and kale leaves, then fold over. Cook for three minutes on one side until brown, then flip to cook other side. (Obviously if you’re using a panini press, you can just fold the tortilla over and press ‘er down.) Make additional quesadillas as needed, then cut ‘em in half.

In a separate bowl, mix yogurt and barbecue sauce together until tan in color. Serve sauce on the side with quesadillas.


Happy almost Friday! You’re almost there!

- Gina


Weekly brew: Week of September 28, 2014

pregaming with coffee
TGIF, yo!

I’m gonna keep it short and sweet today. Here’s what I’ve been loving as of late:

  1. James Blake. I’ve caught the occasional tune from this London-based producer on random Songza stations, but I’ve never actually sat down to listen to his hauntingly beautiful tracks. I’ve been missing out.
  2. Ello. Think of this as the anti-Facebook – a social network that’s not about selling your information and purely focused on … well, being a social network. It’s still in beta and invite-only, but I think it’s worth the wait.
  3. Green beans. I forgot how delicious these guys are, especially when they’re fresh from a local farm. Toss ‘em with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder, then spread ‘em out on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 425, turning over at the 5-minute mark. Boom. A delicious, nutritious side.
  4. Fuzzy vests. I saw a girl wearing the gray one out and about in Cleveland, and she gave me a hug when I complimented her. Needless to say, it was a very warm and fuzzy hug. Don’t worry, it’s faux!
  5. This brass leaf ring. A perfect little fall staple.

What’re you guys loving as of late? Any new music I should check out or sweet recipes I should try?

Have a great weekend!

- Gina


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