Friday Follow Up – Grateful for Winter

This week has been about hot Tazo tea and hot Evolution Fresh simmers and soups…

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Evolution Fresh hot apple juice too….

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And even MORE hot Tazo (Earl Grey) tea!

Red Cups and Red Lips

With the Seattle weather being the typical rainy and windy mess it is in winter, no wonder we are the home of HOT GOODNESS like coffee & tea from Starbucks!

Speaking of Winter… at the beginning of this year, shortly after meeting Christine Hall online, another Starbucks “insider” introduced himself to me online, Winter.  I’m pretty sure most everybody that reads this blog knows Winter and his challenge to visit every Starbucks store around the world (termed “Starbucking” in his documentary).  Winter has been taking this challenge on since 1997 and you can read all about it on his website Starbucks Everywhere.

Luckily, this year I also had the pleasure of meeting Winter in person a couple of times since he was on a contract position in Portland, OR for awhile.  We first met at a favorite place of mine here in Seattle… Roy Street Coffee & Tea.

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Not only has Winter been a great inspiration for my Starbucks year-long challenge, sending me photos of places he has been (especially of the foods which are very different Internationally!), keeping me in the loop about Starbucks interests he has found, but he has been a good online friend that I hope will stay in touch with my future challenges…No matter what, as long as Starbucks stores are still opening around the world, you will have plenty to follow with Winter’s challenge.

I am grateful to have met and to now know Winter and his amazing dedications in life!

Red cups are here…. and so is Winter.  Let the holidays commence.

Friday Follow Up – Halloween week!

Last weekend started off our Halloween week full of parties, costumes, candies and of course Starbucks!  First of all, my costume…

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As anybody that watches my Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feeds witnessed this weekend… the Starbucks Siren (in particular the new Anniversary Blend Siren) is where my inspiration came from.  You can see by the photos taken at our Seattle Halloween party (below) my costume was as close as I could get to the work of art corporate created for the season.

This costume took me a month to create, reusing all the Starbucks paper bags I’ve been collecting for months to make the scales, tails and even the crown!

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As you can see, each “scale” was hand attached, colored and moved with me!  It’s been an amazing costume for sure, and everybody has not only loved the detail of the piece but also my special new Converse kicks that I made to go with it!  I am a BIG FAN of that LaBoulange pink with the siren’s green and white colors (somebody PLEASE get me a LaBoulange pink apron for the holidays!!) so as soon as I seen these kicks at Nordstrom RACK back in September I KNEW they had to be a part of my costume!

20131028-073310.jpgSince this month’s focus was all about Starbucks art, I thought I’d finishing things off with one of the popular artistic creations during fall, pumpkin carving!

As you can see, there are different variations of pumpkins that have been drawn, painted, carved and even just had a sticker applied to them showing the Starbucks siren…

Siren pumpkins

Starbucks pumpkins

And then there is the one I colored on my pumpkin earlier this month…

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Speaking of Starbucks Halloween-esque inspirations… a more crafty version can always be seen on Halloween through what else?  Starbucks costumes!   Just look at how cute these little ones are in the green and white…

Starbucks kids costumes

One place that always has a lot of Starbucks inspired crafty items is Etsy.  If you do a search you might just come up with an original work of art that is also reflective of Halloween like this piece by Blankenetizen entitled “La Ejecutiva

La Ejecutiva

Here is a quick sampling of some other Etsy Starbucks inspired pieces

No matter how you celebrated this fall with the changing of the seasons, Halloween, pumpkin patches or creating your own art… I hope you shared it with a Starbucks in hand!

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With tomorrow being November 1st, the month known to Americans as a month to celebrate giving thanks, I will be using my second to last month of this year-long challenge to highlight all those partners, customers and supporters that I’ve met for the last 10 months!

It’s my way of giving “Thanks” for all this brand called Starbucks has given me!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

Friday Follow Up – Comfort & Creativity

With Halloween quickly approaching I’ve been diligently creating my Starbucks costume masterpiece!  Watch my Instagram or Twitter feeds this weekend for the unveiling of all my hard work.

But besides costume creativity, this week has certainly been busy.  Namely because my oldest had an operation early on and of course, pre & post op we were comforted with a Starbucks RIGHT in the lobby of the Hospital which is so great!

20131025-052413.jpgHe is doing better now and even received a couple of care packages from the staff of a local skate store (Zumiez) and his best friend which always helps recovery!

The coupons this week from Starbucks (in the PNW region) for $2 Oatmeal PLUS additional coupons for beverages like the Chocolate Chai Tea Latte have kept us warm and comforted during this recovery week.  As we found out, and I’m sure millions can attest to, Starbucks was with with us every step of the way!

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This morning as I sit here sipping my Latte and working feverishly on my costume I wonder how many others are doing the same right now?

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Please share your Starbucks Halloween costumes and decorations partners and customers, I’m sure many others would love to see the creativity (and as my week has shown, comfort) that your Starbucks bring to your lives!

Friday Follow Up – Chalk It Up

One of the more prominent forms of art seen over the years at Starbucks around the world are the chalk renderings.

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Usually found as a menu board, and many times artistically created by talented partners!  This piece I found off a great Pinterest page FULL of partners chalk art…

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And of course Starbucks has even given customers a try at our own chalk-like art with the create-your-own cups!

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But over the years I’ve come across some amazing pieces that were born from the hands of brilliant artists!  True professionals of their day in this media so old in history but still so relevant.

The first artist I’d like to showcase is Andrea Casey who not only has created masterpieces for Starbucks (and many others) but who also has a very artistic website!  Here are two pieces to tempt your curiosity into her lovely portfolio!

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Another commissioned artist I found was Kimberly Parker,  who also shows what it takes to work her chalk magic.  Here is the finished piece..

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And then there is the Asian artist Mindflyer, who was commissioned for this piece in Singapore…

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But honestly, it might be my personal preference because typography is a love of mine (as a life-long Toulouse Lautrec fan) but this chalk art by Jaymie McAmmond is just so exquisitely done that I could stare at its purest intricacies for hours!

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I mean seriously… these perfectly straight lines, the perfect symmetry of the objects, it’s simply mesmerizing to behold!  HOW can you make chalk look like print?!  But now I know you absolutely can because these were drafted on chalkboard with chalk and then penciled in before printing them.  Still, it’s chalk art and it’s BRILLIANT!

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As I go into this weekend trying to complete my own Starbucks masterpieces I take great pleasure knowing that Starbucks encourages art and creativity through partner, professional or customer access to medias like chalk…

CHALK… it’s not just for the sidewalk anymore!

Friday Follow Up – Come Together

They always warm you NOT to talk a about sex, drugs or politics…well we are WAY past that point now so who am I to argue?  I’m going there, so get ready!

While there is always plenty of Starbucks goodies to show you, plenty of new conversations to have and plenty of Art to still share…

There is nothing more REAL in our world than the concept of people’s lives being honored, respected and given the ability to flourish!  And with the turmoils of the recent years…the current situation in American politics is one that we must turn ALL OUR attention to and try and resolve, TOGETHER… for the sake of the world!

So as I could easily tell you about my latest goodies, or Artistic choices of this wonderful, Internationally-loved brand called Starbucks… What I’d like to take my time to do instead is make sure EVERY READER of this blog, EVERY PERSON within eyesight of any of my words has seen Howard & Partners request to #ComeTogether as a country, as a community, and ask our politicians to do the same for the sake of us ALL!

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Please go to: ComeTogetherPetition.com and sign the online petition to let Washington DC hear your voice that we need our government working FOR the people, BY the people!

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Because as the bracelets I wear everyday will show you… we are ALL Indivisible in this world if we just show some LOVE and #ComeTogether!

This means YOU TOO Washington DC!

(Ok, I didn’t talk about sex and drugs… but one outta three isn’t bad!)

Friday Follow Up – Jimmy and the Juice

As if flying across the country for three days, visiting natural disaster torn Colorado and getting to see the (second in the country) Starbucks shipping container store wasn’t already enough for a week…

I flew back in just enough time to also meet the founder of Evolution Fresh (and Naked juice) Jimmy!

Ever since I met with the Evolution Fresh team on their one year anniversary in March I have been asking to meet this juice legend, a man truly with a vision to help humanity eat and drink natural, good-for-you products…. Jimmy Rosenberg!

Jimmy was kind enough to speak to a group of us about his journey from taking juices from the streets of southern California to across the country (and eventually the world) through Starbucks with Evolution Fresh!

Jimmy and Us at Evolution Fresh

As you can see, I tried to capture Jimmy’s passion, his utter happiness about juice when he was pouring out his beautifully healthy product for all of us to sample.  All you have to do is be around him and you’ll see his passion about good juice in the world!

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So, already with a full tummy of healthy goodness from lunch, a head FULL of Jimmy’s passion of good-for-you choices for all people, the amazing juice tasting that I already knew was the clincher on why I choose to take on a year of Starbucks… if that wasn’t all enough, then team Evolution Fresh pulls out a swag bag with guess what?  A NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH!

OMG!  If I didn’t already LOVE Evolution Fresh, and the pleasure of meeting a true visionary changing the world’s palate with healthy choices, now I was being given the one thing I have not been able to have this entire year… a BURGER!

Yes, you see this announcement below right… Evolution Fresh will be launching a new veggie burger in select stores in a matter of weeks and I for one plan to make this a staple item for my last couple of months for sure!  Besides the fact that Evolution Fresh has wonderful soups and simmers for our chilly autumn and winter nights… now I can grab a family-full meal for my boys and I with burgers too!

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Kevin & Evolution Fresh team… Thank you so much for yesterday’s meeting with Jimmy!  And THANK YOU for allowing me to finish off my year with a product I’ve been craving for months, Veggie Burgers!

Evolution Fresh will definitely be the place my boys and I will be enjoying dinners before movies, after shopping, or just because from now on and so should YOU!  Take advantage of this new menu offering, try some of Jimmy’s visionary good-for-you juice and/or smoothies and know that Starbucks has your well-being in mind with every new product and brand they keep introducing into the world… thanks to amazing people like Jimmy!

P.S.  Jimmy… I fully expect to hear that naming story and get that front seat ticket to your “Jimmy and the Juice” Ted Talk some day soon!  😉

Have a FABULOUS WEEKEND EVERYONE!

Friday Follow Up – Fall Flavors

This week I’ve finally tried some of the last items that were released for the fall season by Starbucks… La Boulange’s Butternut Squash and Sage Savory Square and the Evolution Harvest Roasted Soybean Pepita Almond bar.

I’ll start with Evolution Harvests bar since I find myself buying these a LOT considering that they are now in grocery stores like Whole Foods too!

The flavors combine for a slightly sweet, roasted nut flavor which I’ve now paired with my fall favorite #PSL and even with an Evolution Fresh Protein Power drink!

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If I could buy these bars in bulk at Costco I would they are that good! AND, I was reminded by Evolution Fresh that they are also GLUTEN FREE for all those curious about options.

The second total surprise to me this week is the LaBoulange Butternut Squash and Savory Sage Square

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So, this was a VERY SURPRISING item to me, one I had been putting off for days because… well I have a childhood food horror story around squash, so needless to say I didn’t know how this would be received on my taste buds.  But WOW!  For the first time in years I have truly enjoyed a squash-based item!  It is definitely the SAVORY flavors on your palate that won me over.

Thanks Pascal and Starbucks for yet another truly wonderful item to enjoy this year!

Friday Follow Up – It’s Fall When…

This week has definitely, unequivocally felt like FALL IS HERE!

The PNW has had serious downpours for days but with those last fleeting bits of summer still trying to hang on by making things feel muggy all around you.

This weekend signals the last bits of the 2013 summer with Labor Day events in America as a kind of bridge into the changing of seasons. I have to say that I’m a little bit sad that this summer is already over because what an AMAZING SUMMER it’s been for me with Starbucks!

But I have so many more exciting things to be shared with everyone that this summer has led up to, that I’m just bursting at the seems to move into fall and keep the super-awesome momentum flowing into one of my favorite seasons!

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

And apparently Starbucks is on this wavelength of both celebrating the last days of summer with their hosting of the VIP Gold Card area at the internationally known Seattle music festival Bumbershoot this weekend! (Which of course I will be attending)

And at the same time Starbucks is helping the fall season get their party started by PRE-launching one of my most favorite drinks ever… The Pumpkin Spice Latte!  Have you seen the new special-limited-edition Starbucks Swarovski mug to celebrate???  This is super-SWEET!

Early holiday present for me?!!

Limited Edition Swarovski Starbucks mug

This year marks the 10 year birthday of this beautifully-fall-flavored drink and to celebrate they released it early (in select stores so call ahead) before the entire roll-out right after Labor Day. The hashtags for this seasons so-utterly-fall beverage of choice are #PSL10 and #ItsFallWhen both of which I’ve been following and retweeting heavily because again… Starbucks and I are on the same wavelength about bridging summer and fall and finding ways to celebrated BOTH right now.  (like that MUG, and yes… I’m mentioning it AGAIN!)

So go celebrate your Labor Day weekend Americans (and International end-of-summer holidays too!) and then go get yourself ready for fall with the birthday celebration of PSL…

First PSL Pumpkin Spice Latte of Fall

All I have to say is that this summer has been simply amazing!  That my fall is quickly becoming even MORE amazing and that I feel #ItsFallWhen there are CELEBRATIONS to be had by all, and Starbucks is there every step of the way!

GoodBye Summer of 2013 and Happy Labor Day Weekend Everyone!!!!

Friday Follow Up – Late edition

Like that title?  Ha-ha… yep, my Friday Follow-Up is 24 hours late, I guess the unwind of no college classes and the end of summer laziness has just finally set in with me.  So here is my follow-up since last weekend at the farm which by now you know is gonna be FULL of Starbucks!  (I sense a pattern going on here?!)

We stopped by Seattle’s Best Coffee to pick up goodies for our train trip to the farm…

Bubs with Seattles Best Coffee at train station

Have you checked out SBC lately???  I mean that little drive thru in south Seattle is just the BEST (thanks to awesomesauce partners like Valerie!) but come on… even their website is SUPER CUTE!

Check out these awesome animations on their home screen… LOVE THEM!  They are so my colorful, fun-loving style for sure!  Great job corporate!

And yes… those SBC drinks are all super YUMMY too!

Seattle's Best Coffee screen shot

From SBC to a typical  breakfast on the farm for me.  Yum!  I LOVE that Starbucks blueberry oatmeal with some Evolution Fresh OJ and the new one to the bunch this week was the Tazo sweet cinnamon spice tea, which is lovely!

Farm Starbucks breakfast

On the way back from the farm I stopped in my little paradise town on earth… Steilacoom and enjoyed my treat-receipt frappuccino down on the beach with my youngest…

South Puget Sound Sipface

This week I’ve been experimenting with different juice and tea combos… usually from my local PCC Market because they have SO MANY varieties of both you can combine a million different summer, iced drinks!

Evolution Fresh and Tazo tea combo

You can pick up so many varieties at PCC (if you’re in the Seattle area)… just look at all these combinations!

Evolution Fresh at PCC

Tazo tea at PCC

And I’ve been experimenting with different custom dinners like this brie, crusted chicken pretzel sandwich that I made from Starbucks Evenings menu options and Bistro box packs.  I made this sandwich back in spring too and it was SO GOOD I decided I’ll be making it a couple of more times this year!

Starbucks Pretzel sandwich

This week I received my first FREE Starbucks drink at a drive thru because they had made an extra and the partners offered it to me!  It was a mocha, cookie-crumble frappuccino and boy was it good!  I’ve read a lot on the social media feeds this year about partners offering free items to customers if they are extras, I have even read about partners offering free bistro boxes or food if they are just going to throw it out?!  I guess if you are a regular and are nice to your partners, they too might think of you for many of these times.  But I haven’t experienced it this year until now.  I get the feeling that it’s more like a “right place at the right time” kind of deal, so as far as free or reduced Starbucks items I of course ALWAYS encourage signing up and using your Gold Card from Starbucks because they will keep you in the loop of wonderful, free, reduced things coming up all the time!  But I still encourage customers to be extra nice to your partners regardless (because it’s a good thing to do… not because they will give you things).

I wouldn’t normally order such a sweet drink, the regular caramel frappuccinos that were recommended to me from a Starbucks fan I’m seriously in LOVE with but they are about as sweet as I can handle.  But it was incredibly nice of the partners to offer it to me and I appreciated the different drink option that I might not normally order!

Free frappuccino sipface

And of course, if you watch any of my feeds… there is always lots of FUN in my life going on like my new oral fixation of siren-tooth picks!

Starbucks siren toothpick

Lots of great happenings are coming up once again this weekend and next week, so stay tuned!  Hopefully Winter and I can hang out again!

My Living the Goodwill Life challenge has been coming back into play with the resurgence of thrift shops into cultural norm (thanks Macklemore!) and I’m loving that… and always more Starbucks, and probably now Teavana finally!

It certainly is feeling like the end of summer to me…. everybody ready for cool fall evenings with hot Tazo/Teavana tea like me???

Here is a recent shot off the Mercer Island Park On The Lid with the Seattle skyline in the background… of course, the #EarlGreySkies needed some great Tazo earl grey tea to match!

Tazo Earl Grey Tea

Have a great week everybody!

Friday Follow Up – What a WEEK!

Okay… I think this is the first time all year that I haven’t posted anything for a WEEK?!  But with good reason, it was the end of my college quarter (a condensed summer version) so this is pretty much what happened…

I studied with Starbucks

Studying with Starbucks

And more studying and Starbucks

Starbucks Studying 3

And yes, again, I studied some more with Starbucks!

(but WAIT!  don’t go anywhere yet… it does get better!)

Studying with Starbucks

THEN, when I was all done… I treated myself to some much deserved goodies for finishing!  Dang these caramel frappuccinos are GOOD!  (and yes, still no firm diet on track… I might be giving up on that one)

Starbucks studying treat

And then, with the PERFECT TIMING that Evolution Fresh always seems to have in my life… yesterday they had a FREE smoothie day for the first time!

Evo Fresh Free Smoothie Day

I just adore going into the Evolution Fresh stores and speaking to some of my favorite partners!  I hope everybody got to try their absolutely wonderful products yesterday, I spoke to quite a few people who were really excited about their FREE smoothie day promotion!

Evolution Fresh Free smoothie day in Bellevue

Foursquare seemed to be buzzing with Evolution Fresh feeds as well!

Evolution Fresh Free smoothie Foursquare badge

Then, after a long two weeks… I was treated to a nice Starbucks Evening dinner for two (well, three).

Double Trouble Starbucks Evening

It really is all about the simple, enjoyable things in life… like family, friends, Starbucks and BEING DONE WITH COLLEGE QUARTER!  Please remind me to NEVER take a full-load in a condensed summer quarter again… please!  🙂

Now onto the family farm all weekend for some real R&R for the next three days!

Happy Weekend Everybody!