Thanksgiving – Grateful for Linda Thomas

If you have followed me and my yearly challenges since 2011 when I lived an entire year ONLY shopping at the Goodwill, you would know that from the start Linda Thomas has been there to announce my latest yearly challenge adventure.


Linda has been a long-standing Seattle media personality that believes in the “stories of others” and from the very start, Linda has been talking to and reporting out on many PNW people and all the interesting, good, bad, strange or celebratory stories that unfold in their lives.  I have been interviewed all over the world since my challenges begun and I’ve become acquaintances with a number of media personalities that are lovely people to follow as well…

Jamie Tompkins
Sabra Gertsch
Marco Collins
Marty Reimer
Dale Emanuel

And there are many others in PNW media that are funny, nice and entertaining that I would encourage to find online and hook into their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram feeds!  They often show not-seen-on-TV pictures and MUCH MORE (like Marco Collins is an avid Art Connoisseur) in their personal interactions in the PNW community!

But since this month is about showing my gratitude for those that have been a major component of this Starbucks years challenge, Linda is my lady!  Our PNW media personalities are wonderful people who I have been fortunate enough to get to know as each challenge year comes along and I for one will always be grateful for them ALL, and especially Linda Thomas’s presence in my life.  I will be the first to stand behind her wherever her new media path may lead, Thank you Linda for everything!  And…


Friday Follow Up – Grateful for Photo Media

This week was the opening of the new Teavana store in University Village and boy am I happy about this newest addition!  Not only is it lovely tea that just smells incredible when you step into the room… but, Starbucks expanded my menu yet again with this stores opening!

I first of all had to try the Butternut Squash salad (add bacon) because, um BACON!!!!  I haven’t had bacon bits all year?!  I wanted to order a bowl of just bacon alone… but I refrained because the store wouldn’t have anymore for anybody else!


And with a case FULL of new goodies like this, you know I had to grab me a couple of those Lemongrass Ginger Chicken Rice Balls as well!

I know, I know… so many new food choices (yet again!) from Starbucks.  I could dwell on Teavana’s opening all day but this is THANKSgiving month so…

For this month of gratitude, and since photography has always been my thing, I cannot go this month without giving praise to the two major photo social media sites I live on… Pinterest and Instagram.

I’m a photojournalist at heart!  I adore the ability to tell a story with one great image, a hashtag or two and let it live in the world through social media.  Both my accounts have many of the Starbucks stores, partners or customers on them including all those that I’ve regularly spoken to and am very grateful for during this challenge year…










And over on Pinterest I created Starbucks and Evolution Fresh boards that I’ve invited many Pinners to populate so feel free to check it out and add/repins from the collections.

I adore and utilize these sites so much that next years challenge will be REALLY be focused off of these two platforms.  Since a large part of next years challenge entails tracking my years challenge & brand in many, many areas of Washington state, the PNW and the world… so showcasing all of that means TONS of photos!

For all my current followers, thank you so much for all you’ve brought to this years challenge… Your lives through your photos have been educational, informative, funny and down right inspirational!  I hope you all will enjoy the beauty of our wonderful Mother Earth with me in 2014… and maybe tag me in some Starbucks selfies of you now and then just for old times sake!

Friday Follow Up – Grateful for Dylan Austin

It would be appropriate that this week I’ve been on an Evolution Fresh juice cleanse, because one of the partners that I’m very grateful for, Dylan Austin, is also a huge fan of the Starbucks brand.

So this week, like I said… pretty much my entire menu has been Evolution Fresh, which I find in a variety of flavors at either PNW based PCC Markets or on a national level at Whole Foods markets.

Just look at all these possible choices!

One of my absolute favorite juices is one you can get in their stores too, it is called Sweet Burn and boy oh boy is it a delicious blend of spicy, sweet goodness!

And yep, this is what my purse looks like everyday…

So, speaking of Evolution Fresh… This week(end) I want to share my appreciation for one of the most influential and sweetest partners I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this year… Dylan Austin!

Dylan is one of The Five Awesome Baristas who contacted me earlier this year on all the numerous social media feeds we share (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and arranged a Seattle trip in which we shared an entire day of me playing tour guide…

For his youthful age, Dylan has recently (and quickly) taken a new position as a store manager and if there is any partner that SSC should have on their SHORT-LIST to move home to Seattle it is this young go-getter!  Talk about a partner with a “ground-floor-up” story!  I often find his feeds studying successful people, their biographies and in the day-long discussions I got to share with him this summer Dylan and I share the “Upward and Onward” mentality.  So I know I will be friends with this brilliant and energetic young man for quite many years and FULLY expect to see him expanding his life’s successes here in Seattle in the near future!

With a combined love for the siren and her world, this young man will be one of the people I will miss interacting with MOST!  But, you never know… with me taking Evolution Fresh into next years challenge, and Dylan’s appreciation of them too… I feel our paths will cross again someday!

I’ll never forget what an amazing addition to this year you’ve been to me Dylan!  Keep your eyes on this (Seattle) prize because you belong here and Seattle would be better with your energy & enthusiasm for Starbucks and life!


Weekend Wrap Up – Grateful For Freedom

This weekend we enjoyed some relaxing weekend activities like bubble baths, Evolution Fresh juice parties, Starbucks sandwich-building and some patriotic movies.


Speaking of patriotism… Today is also Veterans Day in America.

A national holiday that honors our military personnel and one that Starbucks has recently made announcements about…

First free coffee for veterans today!


And secondly, the company’s wonderful decision to focus their hiring efforts to include veterans!

All this got me thinking about those military partners that I speak to on Twitter.  There are many, many partners that I am very grateful for on my Twitter feed such as…


But out of all these partners on Twitter, today is an extra-special day of gratitude on my part for @SBUX75DEVILDOG and @sempersue.  Not only am I grateful for each of these partners presence on Twitter this entire year informing, educating, sharing and entertaining me with their Starbucks work and lives but because of partners like @SBUX75DEVILDOG and @sempersueI owe an eternal amount of gratitude for their dedication to our personal freedom as American citizens!

So today, for all those veterans & veterans family members you know give thanks, honor, help or simply maybe Tweet-A-Coffee out of respect for all they have given you.

Maybe your next barista might be someone who not only gives you a latte but also helped give you your freedom!


Friday Follow Up – Grateful for Winter

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


Evolution Fresh hot apple juice too….


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.


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.

Weekend Wrap Up – Grateful for Christine Hall!

I mentioned in my last October post that this whole month of November I would be acknowledging all the amazing people I’ve been lucky enough to get to know during my Starbucks challenge year in a “THANKSgiving” post.  So this first November post I would like to showcase a lady that started my year off with LOTS of great tips for not only losing weight on Starbucks but who is an inspiration to many, Christine Hall!

First off, a little housekeeping…
My total spent for October was $544.45 which is still keeping in my $500 – $600 range.  I was asked by Dylan M Austin this week if I try to budget my month, the answer is yes and no.  I always seem to have “life events” that continue to bring my averages up, first of all the amount of times I purchase items for my boys… but this month I wasn’t expecting my oldest to break his ankle, so I also wasn’t expecting to be buying extra frappuccino’s to help sooth this transition, but it happens and I’m more than happy to accommodate a simple gift here and there for his happiness.  So budgets don’t always get followed obviously but even with that said, my month’s averages continue to keep working out to be around the same amounts?!

I did get a very welcome addition to my menu choices on Friday at my visit to SSC (corporate) with the knowledge of Sodo Kitchen, a restaurant open to the public and owned by Starbucks!  Did you know that you can actually make a day tourist trip out of visiting SSC?  I mean between the Sodo Kitchen for lunch (on the 3rd floor), and the retail store which usually always has great hard-to-find anywhere else Starbucks items (up on the 8th floor) you can literally hang out at SSC for the afternoon and have a lovely time!

It only took me 10 months to find this new eating option for my challenge but what a wonderful addition indeed!  Especially when I can now get items like leg of lamb…

Or how about some SUSHI from Starbucks?!!!!  OMGG did I miss this food option!  I picked up a couple of packs to go and enjoyed the rest of my weekend….

Of course, lots of other great things are always happening in this challenge, like my latest “Holiday drink” tastings suggested by Starbucks partners on Twitter.  So watch my other social media feeds to participate in those engagements… but let’s get into the THANKSgiving post!

Early this year, when my challenge broke Internationally, one of the first Starbucks “insiders” I met online was Christine Hall.  Christine’s connection to Starbucks was through what most people heard in the media as “The Starbucks Diet“… which I quickly came to find out was only one little piece of what Christine did and WHO this amazing woman is in the world!


When I first spoke to Christine, I wanted to understand what she knew about loosing weight through eating Starbucks foods/drinks because I needed to shed a couple of mommy pounds and I wanted to focus an entire month to her process.  But when I spoke with Christine she quickly told me about how the Starbucks diet was the tool she used for a much greater gift she was planning to give… The gift of LIFE!  See Christine wanted to donate a kidney along with the world’s record of largest kidney donators, 32 people!  And THAT was why Christine started eating Starbucks all the time, she had to loose weight to be able to donate and Starbucks offered her the convienence, diversity of eating options and most importantly the nutritional count she needed to make it work for her diet goals.

This act of eating Starbucks so that she could loose the weight she needed to save another persons life, that was how I started this year and met Christine… but her story doesn’t stop there!  Christine also just celebrated her 37th year as a cancer survivor and she has been active in helping comfort Newtown community members.

For everything Christine has done to help others, for her great advice on how to loose weight eating/drinking Starbucks, I am grateful for her this year and I hope to keep in touch as my challenge years continue.  Thanks Christine for all you do, there are many people out there in the world that are truly touched by your presence!

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…


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!

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…


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!


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!


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!

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?

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!

Weekend Wrap Up – Family & Fortunes

This weekend I was fortunate enough to spend it on the sweetest things in life… Family, Art, enjoying the fall season and of course Starbucks!

We had another trip down to the farm the last couple of days, with a road-trip stop at SBC for some much-craved-by-mommy POP!  (yes, I say pop not soda or soda pop)

SBC Pop Sipface

Our SWW adventures always come with some great, old farm truck spotting.  This one I have never seen before in the LC… AND it was Starbucks Siren green!

Our family gathering was so wonderful to talk about recent events, see the kids play and we even had an impromptu photoshoot to get holiday images…

This is my immediate family, I love these small-town farmers, hometown realtors & corporate managers so much!

All our gatherings mean LOTS OF FOOD!  And even though I didn’t make it to drive thru in time to get my tomato & cheese croissant (or my chicken Caesar salad) everybody’s accustomed to me bringing Starbucks by now…

After a great weekend mommy picked up ice cream at the store for dessert and what should I find stuck to my Caramel Macchiato but a fortune?!

Has anybody else had “Fortune Ice Cream” before?!  Either way… I think I’m going to parties a lot in my near future!

We finished the weekend in true fall, Washington state dessert style…

Apple pie a la -AMAZING-mode (the Starbucks version!)

Have a great week everyone!

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.

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…

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

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!


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

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

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!

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!

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!