Mid Week MUNCH – Tazo

This week I’ve been enjoying Tazo teas… both hot and cold with my Evolution Fresh simmers and/or my Starbucks Evenings.  So, while I’m waiting for the new Tazo/Teavana store to open in University Village… I thought I’d explore what kind of Tazo art is out there in the world?

One of the first art pieces I found this year was a beautifully created Tazo illustration from artist Liyin

Tazo Cartoon

So colorful and fun this piece is!  Plus, it looks like one of my favorite Tazo’s… Brambleberry!

Another piece I had found was that of artist Elena Chudoba

Tazo Tea Bag Sketch

I love Elena’s use of basic black and white to accentuate the design… adding her own little elements to each piece!

This next sketch artist, Faith, has such a beautiful colorful palate to their work, and look at how she utilized a Tazo tea package as a plant container…

Tazo Illustrations in a book

From this piece I decided to branch out of traditional art and show some more creative ways I’ve been seeing Tazo materials used, which stream through Pinterest quite often.

The first is a pretty clever way to hang the discarded tea packets the bags come in… as a Namaste Prayer Flag.  I would love to see if somebody has taken it one step further and put special illustrations, poems or prayers onto each packet?

Tazo bag flag

Another way of using Tazo materials is to make an artistic redesign of the tea tins… this one is from Michelle at Studio B

Tazo Tin redesigned

Then of course, there are the three different pieces of art that I’m creating right now… while I enjoy my Tazo teas!  Can anyone figure out what I’m making?

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What art featuring Tazo have you seen around?  Enjoy the rest of your week everyone and send me those Starbucks art ideas!

Mid Week MUNCH – Great Things Happening!

I started my week off in a FABULOUS WAY with the new veggie burger at Evolution Fresh

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This burger is SO GREAT!  Fresh, crisp lettuce and tomato… Perfectly toasted bun… A beautifully spiced veggie patty… even the choice of Terra chips was perfectly matched!

So, as if this wasn’t already a GREAT way to start the week, early this morning I woke to the email from Starbucks for a #PayItForward campaign!  I JUST blogged about this last week with the inspiration from the #AJO story, everybody must be on the same wavelength?!!

Howard & team, THANKS for picking up on what this country needs right now…. some serious feeling of community and doing GREAT for one another!  I can’t WAIT to see what happens this week when the Starbucks community’s generosity is asked to #StepUP… If ANYBODY can do this, the Starbucks community CAN!

This week is off to a GREAT start…. now let’s go show the rest of the world what we are capable of!  #ToBeACustomer!

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Mid Week MUNCH

The first Mid Week MUNCH for October will be showcasing of course my Starbucks foods of the moment AND the Starbucks Art I’m loving too!

In fact, most all posts will be showcasing art this month, so be prepared for LOTS of inspiration!  So first, all the yumminess this week so far…

Of course, fall means Warm-Your-Tummy-Goodness for me!  And I’ve fallin in love again with Evolution Fresh’s Soups, Simmers and Hot Apple Ciders…
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Something new that I wasn’t counting on was trying the Ramon’s Apple-paya smoothie which is this creamy blend of apple juice, papaya, cinnamon, hemp granola, bananas & ginger.  What a fabulous smoothie for fall!  It has that cinnamon-y, apple fall flavor but with a creamy, fullness to it like the Smooth Breakfast they used to have.

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I’m definitely getting this smoothie again!

And, I even got the story behind the Ramon’s Smooth.  Apparently, the new Assistant Manager of Bellevue “Ramon” worked down at the Seattle Pike store and one day last year they had a huge case of papaya delivered that they needed to get creative with… QUICK!  So through Ramon’s diligent work to resolve a hurdle (storage space) this obstacle eventually became this beautiful smoothie that we get to enjoy today!

So the moral of the story kids is that you should ALWAYS look at obstacles as opportunities in life!  And that each one could hold a better possibility at the end… kinda like Ramon’s creation.  Because now his name is up on menu boards across the country feeding people natural goodness at Evolution Fresh stores!  Great way #ToBeAPartner Ramon!
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So to match this concept of “making obstacles opportunities” I’d like to share the Starbucks art that I’m loving for the moment of which comes from Tokomo Shintani. This brilliant illustrator started incorporating Starbucks cups into her art early on and have become an International success!

Here is a very early version…

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That eventually became a fully expanded concept…

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I adore the themes of her art!  They are whimsical, childlike innocence, with brands, letters, animals, music & holiday themes.  This “B” was a favorite for bringing The Beatles, their song Blackbird and my classic VW bug into this piece!

But if the upcoming Halloween holiday is your thing, yep!  She has plenty of pumpkins to go around!

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Or maybe your celebrating a birthday soon?  Because Tokomo says that everyday is somebody’s birthday after all!

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Or one of my favorite pieces is this “E” one because it is after all my FAVORITE letter!

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No matter what, if you look through all the art of Tokomo’s Instagram site your bound to find a couple that you like!

What kind of drawings, poetry or art have you created with your Starbucks cup?  Or better yet…. what OPPORTUNITIES do you see on that cup your holding right now?!

Become the next Ramon or Tokomo by taking a new view of your surroundings and create something in the world that you LOVE!  The rest of us could end up thanking you that you did!

Tokomo… here is my paper cutting #PSL artwork in honor of you!  Thanks for making our world a little more creative!

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Mid Week MUNCH – Pumpkins & Sirens

Today my youngest and I ventured out to buy some new rain boots because little boys grow through shoes like crazy!

Afterwards we decided to venture over to University Village and took a peek in on the remodeling of the Tazo/Teavana store…

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Then over to Evolution Fresh to pick up a great Fall soup… This time it was a French Lentil & mushroom soup that I paired with a warm cinnamon Tazo tea & Starbucks Parmesan pretzel…

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Then it was time to design our new Fall display area… Pumpkins, Fall leaves & Starbucks Sirens!  The Hunter boots are going to school for puddle-jumping tomorrow!

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I am loving all these fall colors, boots, fingerless gloves, crisp mornings, warm drinks and delicious soups… how about you?

Mid Week Munch – Colorado Style

Last week Colorado suffered severe flooding which happened right before I was to fly out for a trip. Needless to say I was a bit hesitant that this weeks Starbucks plans would happen.

But as soon as the flooding came in, it started to recede and I made it out to Colorado with great success after all!

This is what I was met with upon first arrival…

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I lived in Boulder for years and love this city so much, so to see it’s raging river and mud-washed streets was sad to me. But as I’ve found this year at every turn the Starbucks partners were not only welcoming, joyful and reaching out to help each other and customers… they even carry this positive attitude when a natural disaster is in their own backyard!

The Boulder Starbucks team, who is also in the middle of a major remodel to get a Clover and become a Starbucks Evening, was more than happy to accommodate my need for the biggest Caramel Frappuccino possible after what was a positive but difficult morning!

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I took some time reminiscing in my old home before and after my required appointments.

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I also got to catch a movie (which doesn’t always happen as a mommy) and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing moments with of course, Starbucks treats!

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The one place I was really hoping to see while in Colorado was the Northglenn shipping container store. I did make it to the store right before my flight and was told by a partner that another shipping container is going up soon in Colorado Springs soon! AND, if that wasn’t good news enough that Colorado will have two stores… I just found out tonight from the Issaquah partners that a new SECOND recycling shipping container store is opening up in the next 10 days in the Seattle area too!

I’m of course trying to find out where the store will be, when exactly it’s opening, etc. because this concept of reusing materials, designing and opening recycled stores, focusing on more environmental and LEED certified environments I LOVE and want to support in any way I can!

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The design of this store is very similiar to the first Seattle shipping container store… amazingly simple yet extremely beautiful in their unique aesthetics.

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Of course no trip would be complete without some Starbucks to go! I love our local Alaska Airlines for serving up local tastes like Starbucks to welcome me back home.

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This week I also have been given the extreme honor to meet Jimmy, the founder of Evolution Fresh! So stay tuned because I told you… this Starbucks party don’t stop, no matter what state your in!
*UPDATE* The second Seattle shipping container store is in the Federal Way area and opening SOON! I can’t wait!

Mid Week MUNCH June 6th

This week has been all about the NEW!

New Evolution Fresh goodies such as the Smooth Strawberry Mint or the Smooth Super Avocado (which I think should be called the SUPER Smooth Avocado because that is EXACTLY what it is!)… add to this the launch of La Boulange and Pascal Rigo’s visionary cuisine for Starbucks this week, and all this right before my birthday?

Birthday presents have been offered to me all week long with these new cuisine options!

Evolution Fresh Serving Up Perfection

Yes, Evolution Fresh’s new items totally serve up perfection!  I enjoyed the Smooth Strawberry Mint on Monday, loved it!

Evolution Fresh Smooth Strawberry Mint

Then on Tuesday morning I hit my local Starbucks store to get my first taste of La Boulange and enjoy a beautiful sunrise on Lake Sammamish (since I was there by 5am!)

La Boulange Chewy Chocolate Meringue cookie

I had to try the La Boulange Chewy Chocolate Meringue cookie and boy, is it amazing!  Just look at that soft, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate goodness!  You HAVE to try this cookie… it’s like mom’s freshly-baked cookies right out of the oven type goodness.  I then picked up some items for the boys like the Reduced-Fat Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf, Almond Cookie, Cheese Danish, Chocolate Croissant and of course the buttery-flaky Parisian-style Croissant that truly has the taste of…Oh, La La Boulange!

La Boulange launch croissant and coffee

And on the third day… the Super Smooth Avocado (*wink wink) was created, which I tried with my La Boulange Wheat Spinach, Ham & Cheese and Tomato & Cheese croissants for lunch.  The Super Smooth Avocado was just that… smooth, and with the mango, pineapple and banana it gives a nice, subtle sweetness to the avocado creaminess, truly a great pairing in one drink!

Then, to enjoy this wonderful drink with the buttery crust of the croissants… oh, what presents to my taste buds these delicious additions have been for sure!

Evolution Fresh and La Boulange lunch

This Super Smooth Avocado drink is going to be my go-to beverage for the summer and the La Boulange Tomato & Cheese croissant and the La Boulange Wheat Spinach Croissant… let’s just say the deliciousness is going to keep me coming back for more!

Evolution Fresh Super Smooth Avocado

Thanks for all these early birthday presents Starbucks, I seriously can’t believe my timing on this year…and the Starbucks party doesn’t stop all throughout my weekend!

Mid Week MUNCH (end of May)

Today wraps up my final Make It Yours May focus on Starbucks recipes with a lovely combination dinner of Starbucks, Evolution Fresh AND Tazo Tea!

A week ago I made my own custom soup with Evolution Fresh ingredients and with the change in weather this week I decided to do another final custom soup last night.  I took a custom-made Evolution Fresh bowl full of red peppers, butternut squash, grilled zucchini, herbs and quinoa and puree it to my Evolution Fresh carrot soup base.  I then decided “why stop there?” and went over to the Tazo Tea store for inspiration, which I definitely received from the knowledgeable partners who suggested producing a lapsing souchong concentrate for the soup.

Tazo, Evolution and Starbucks dinner

The tea-concentrate added exactly what the Tazo Tea partners said it would… a nice, hearty, smoky flavor to enhance the butternut squash, carrot and herb based soup.  It was PERFECT!  I am glad that I have more of the lapsing souchong, I’m going to think of other things I can add this new flavor too as well!

Tazo tea tent

I decided to top off the meal with a lovely 8-grain role from the University Village Starbucks and some Tazo Tea white-tip-oolong to finish.  It was a great way to end the chilly spring we’ve been having this last week and a great way to announce all the NEW food offerings that Evolution Fresh is going to have on Monday, June 3rd!

I’m SO EXCITED to try out all the new items at Evolution Fresh, AND all of these new items are launching ONE DAY before the La Boulange launch on Tuesday, June 4th!  I’m telling you all… I am quite literally like a KID IN A CANDY STORE with everything new that Starbucks is adding to their menus this year!  I can’t even believe the good-luck of my timing on this year’s challenge, I can see why people would think I had an inside connection directly to Mr. Schultz?!!  But no… it’s still just little old me, a suburban Seattle mommy, getting to try out all this amazing new food at Starbucks.  And I’m telling you… some days I don’t even know where to begin and what to try NEXT?!  Everything just keeps getting better and better every time I turn around!

Okay, since it is the end of the month I also added up my May receipts for a grand total of… $540 dollars.  Not too bad, and pretty much on cue with the rest of the months so far.  And speaking of months…tomorrow starts my 1/2 way mark of 6 months into this challenge.  I can’t believe I’m already half way through a year?!  Time has flown by and with so many new additions to the Starbucks menu, I don’t feel threatened in any way to not be able to make my goal of ONLY eating and drinking Starbucks, all year, in fact… I’m beginning to think I’m getting pretty spoiled with all these new offerings… thanks partners!

6 month anniversary images

Aren’t these 6-month anniversary images cute?  Little did I know just how many Google images there are for 6-month anniversaries?!  AND how… um, diverse they are?!

Just a FYI… I’m taking some time off from my “specialized” months (diet, saving money, recipes, etc.) for the summer because of travel, events and summer time with my boys but, always stay tuned in because as you can see in this post, there is always something cooking in the Starbucks kitchen during this challenge!  Speaking of which, next up from the stove is my birthday and garden tea party!

See… the Starbucks Party never stops!

Mid Week MUNCH! May 22nd

This week’s Mid Week MUNCH was so easy to choose, because after attending the amazing tasting event at Starbucks HQ with Pascal Rigo… his artistry has been keeping my taste buds and mind firmly planted in the memories of homemade cooking and family-meal celebrating that I’ve been so lucky to know as a farm girl.  Pascal’s wonderful Starbucks SWAG bag with all the yummy La Boulange treats inside have also rekindled these cuisine-related experiences for me that you can now enjoy soon too!

Included in this wonderful gift bag from yesterday’s event was a La Boulange Granola that I tried today with my latest love, Tazo decaf chai latte.

La Boulange and Tazo Tea Morning

And then when i started reviewing the scrumptious cookbook that was included in my goody bag look at what I found?  A recipe for that same granola!

La Boulange Granola recipe

What I ADORE about discovering the granola and recipe is that my mother still makes our family homemade granola, and at certain times of the year when you step into the farmhouse you will immediately smell the dehydrator’s 10 layers either drying apples from the orchard, strawberries from the latest picking or granola (or all of them!) and what a lovely, down-home aroma it is!  So when I tasted La Boulange’s Granola I knew instantly that it was truly “homemade” good…that once you get a chance to put La Boulange’s granola over your yogurt, in a bowl with soy milk, or just sit and eat it with Tazo Tea like I did today, you will taste a bit of that down-home taste like I’ve experienced my entire life.

Enjoy these new products everyone, for these are the items that memories are made of!  Pascal… thank you.  Your items have helped open up my tastebuds to their sweet memories of youth on the farm in the last 24 hours which is a present unlike any other could have given.  La Boulange will always have a place in my heart now!