pregaming with coffee

life's a party. stay awake for it.


The state that raised me + where I’m headed

pregaming with coffee

Flagstaff, Ariz. – 2013.

Hi everyone, long time no see!

Things have been a bit nuts on my end. Between travel, travel and a weird bout of stomach flu, I’ve had a lot occupying my time as of late. But one thing in particular has been taking up a majority of my free time and mental energy, which I’m really excited to tell you about…


It still doesn’t seem real to me, that this is actually happening. I just accepted a position with a new company in Golden (~20 minutes from Denver), and will be moving to the area at some point in January. But before I get into that, I guess I should back up and explain myself. Not that I have to, but because I want to.

pregaming with coffee

Hocking Hills, Ohio – 2014.

You see, I’ve lived in Ohio for a majority of my life. My family and I relocated here from Phoenix, Arizona, when I was nine years old -– June, 1999. I remember moving and being excited about seeing snow in my own backyard in winter. The common wildlife sights of quail and lizards were replaced by squirrels and deer. The barren desert landscape of saguaros and agave was replaced by green grass (that you didn’t have to plant!) and a variety of shady, luscious trees. My educational experience became more traditionalized; I received As and Bs instead of pluses and checkmarks, and my classmates Skyler, Truly and Presley were replaced by those with more conventional names. And, perhaps most importantly, my extended family – which is quite extensive – is here. I got to experience big family gatherings and birthday parties and holidays with so many people I love, and it was awesome.

Arizona is where I spent my childhood, but Ohio is where I’ve really grown up. I’ve had my first kiss here, my first heartbreak, my first job, my first drink, my first college party, my first real apartment. So many firsts. It’s a great place to grow up.

pregaming with coffee

Nature Realm; Akron, Ohio – 2014.

So why am I moving, then? Because I’ve done my growing up (but not growing – that will keep happening until I die). Because, while Ohio is beautiful in its own way, I still miss the mountains. Because I want to carve my own path and go somewhere I haven’t lived before. Because I love the West.

I had my sights set on Colorado before ever visiting. Everything I had heard and read about the place had only been positive. I always had a special affinity for northern Arizona’s pine forests and towering, snow-capped mountains, and through my research, it seemed like Colorado’s natural environment was mainly comprised of these things. And the abnormal amount of sunshine I’d heard about also piqued my interest.

When I visited Denver for the first time last week, it was better than I could have ever imagined. The city itself is so fun, lively and walkable, with a beautiful backdrop of the mountains in view. It’s sunny roughly 300 days of the year, which also pleases me. And again, THOSE MOUNTAINS. When I first saw them in Boulder while visiting a friend, I freaked out, saying that they looked like Mt. Everest or Mt. Kilimanjaro or something crazy. I couldn’t believe that people wake up and see that every morning.

pregaming with coffee

Flagstaff, Ariz. – 2013.

So now, I will have the privilege to wake up and see the mountains again. I feel so lucky, blessed and honestly baffled that I am going forward with this adventure. I will miss Ohio, its farm country (+ corn), its diehard sports fans, its shitty gray days (maybe not) and its down-home pride. I will miss my friends and family and my little cozy apartment in Akron with my roommate and Mo. I am giving up a lot here – and to be honest, the prospect of moving so far away on my own is slightly terrifying. But I’m terrified in a good way. I felt I was getting too comfortable here, and I didn’t want to settle down quite yet. I’m only 24. I have a whole life to live. It’s time to step out of my comfort zone.

That being said – I’m not sure what the fate of this blog will be! I want to keep up with it, but perhaps not in the same capacity it has been for the past year or so. Fashion posts suddenly seem extremely unimportant compared to all this ADVENTURE I have in store!

Or maybe I’ll keep up with the fashion and show you all how to dress in Denver, where it snows like mad. I dunno. Bear with me as I grapple with my online identity.

Lastly – Thank you to all my friends, family members, strangers, coworkers and everyone else for the love and support. I am extremely excited about this opportunity and will keep you posted on everything! And if you ever find yourself in Denver, please drop me a line!

CARPE DIEM, YOLO, and other “live your life” cliches,


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Weekly brew: Week of October 26, 2014

weekly brew // pregaming with coffeeHappy Halloween!!!

I realize that most suburban neighborhoods/colleges have already had their Halloween fun for whatever reason, but I always love to celebrate the holiday on… you know, actual Halloween. I’ll be traveling down to Columbus tonight to get my groove on at Haunted Fest, and I’m super stoked – especially since Chris and I have some pretty kick-ass costumes. We’re being Frodo and Gandalf (I’m obviously Frodo-licious), and it’s going to be hilarious and awesome all at once. Our costumes have gotten nerdier with each passing year. I love it.

What are your plans for this weekend? Dressing as anything fun? I wanna hear!

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been loving this week:

  1. Daniel Radcliffe’s Reddit AMA. As a Potterhead, I immediately flock to anything the cast says or does. I read this entire thing and laughed a majority of the time – both at Daniel’s and Redditors’ responses (this and this in particular). Plus, he admitted to playing with WWF figurines and practicing his American accent when he was a kid. We probably would have been best friends.
  2. Taylor Swift’s new album. I have been very anti-Swift for a long time, so it seriously pains me to admit that this album is actually kind of … good? Ugh I can’t believe I just said that, but anything with synth instantly draws me in. Don’t expect to see me at one of her concerts anytime soon, but I have more respect for her now that I’ve given her another chance.
  3. Caramel apple Milky Ways. These were an impulse buy at Target. No regrets.
  4. This bunny. My heart swells.
  5. Cleveland. The return of LeBron has sparked something in the city (Akron too, obviously), and it’s actually quite incredible to witness (LOL SO PUNNY). Setting all opinions of the dude aside, I’m glad to see that hometown pride shining brighter than ever. Even if we lost the home opener.


I’m not gonna lie – these next couple of weeks are going to be a bit nuts, so I may not be on here a whole lot. I’ll be in Vegas all next week for a business trip, and the following week I’ll be in Colorado for a few days to visit my friends! It’s going to be a blast.

Anyway, I hope your weekend is filled with lots of candy and scary movies. Enjoy!

– Gina


Fall floral

fall floral // pregaming with coffee

jacket: Marshalls | dress: F21 via Plato’s Closet | boots: Target via Plato’s Closet

fall floral // pregaming with coffee

Failed at capturing the leaves in motion:/

Hi guys!

So … I’m hardcore eating my words after that last post. It’s been absolutely B-E-A-UTIFUL here in Akron the past few days! I’m wearing shorts and a T-shirt with flip flops on my balcony as I write this.

I had an absolutely fantastic weekend. Had a girls’ night with my sister and friend on Friday in downtown CLE, then visited my parents at home for a gorgeous, relaxing fall weekend. I know the days of good weather are numbered, so I’m soaking up the sun as much as I can!

fall floral // pregaming with coffee

sunglasses: Versona Accessories. trying 2 be cool.

This leather jacket/floral dress combo has basically been what you’d call my fall uniform. I’d been longing for a fall floral pattern ever since I saw the girls of Dearest Darling rockin’ it, but I never thought I’d find such a thing since I’d always associated flowers with spring. Lo and behold, I encountered this little number (along with the perfect fall boots!) at my local Plato’s Closet. Goes to show you that you can find exactly what you’re looking for in the most unlikely places! AND IT HAS POCKETS (!!!!)
fall floral // pregaming with coffeeWhat’s been your fall uniform? Let me know!

– Gina

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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

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