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Week In Pictures

Wrapping up my year-long Starbucks challenge this month. Here is my last week in pictures….

A little bit of SBC….
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A little bit of Starbucks coffee…
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A little bit of Willows Lodge…
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A little bit of Oooh-La-La!
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A little bit of Costco shoppin…
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A little bit of gift openin….
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A little bit of Evolution Fresh….
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A whole LOT for the rest….
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A happy holidays at SSC….
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A new Teavana Latte/Tea….
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A radio #FrappBOMB for three…
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And ONLY two more weeks of Starbucks for ME!

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!

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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!

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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…

DylanMAustin

TheCoffeeQween

JacobWigley4

MyNameIsNimi

Sbux5738

TheHumanitarian31

RachelMAdams

RobberBand

VeganAng

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 – What A Week!

Another big Starbucks week for me so let’s begin!

First of all has to be my new walking-distance store’s opening! I’ve been eying this Siren for weeks, posting photos everyday practically! First of all probably because I’ve never done a Starbucks opening…but mostly because come on, I LIVE HERE!  So to have a Starbucks I can just walk to now to finish my year out with… FABULOUS!

Here is my baby’s progression…

First signs up!

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It’s getting serious…

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Almost there! I can just TASTE the coffee….

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Then suddenly… The clouds parted, the Starbucks corporate ways worked their magic and VOILA! The friends & family night begins…

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Of course the views are some of the BEST at any Starbucks I’ve seen! And the walls adorned with beautiful coffee knowledge…

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And this mornings first Tazo tea…

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As well as of course having to enter the sirens address on Foursquare so everybody knew where she was!

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Okay, the week was full of other amazing things so keep reading…

Besides my new store, last week was the opening of a Starbucks design inspiration… The Seattle Pike store!

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I was meeting a local show producer (Hi Jillian!) at Lifelong Thrift store to do some serious damage and since this Pike store is SO CLOSE I thought I’d swing by for a bite…

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And I’m happy I did! I finally ran into Mr. Adam Brotman… a partner I was hoping to meet this year!

We had a nice chat, he introduced me to even more Starbucks rock stars and I left with a spring in my step ready to take on the thrifting world.

Adventures were had that evening I can assure you, but we will leave that to insider knowledge and a few million followers on social media threads…

On Thursday, right before the Starbucks new store’s opening was announced, I was about to walk into a tea tasting I’ve wanted to experience since I first walked in the doors of the University Village Tazo store! First of all I met up with Laurance from Biscottea to drop off a little thank you card for all their lovely items at the tea party.

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Laurance and I had a lovely conversation as well as some great new tea tastes but then I got serious and had the Tazo team lead me through one of the most amazing, knowledgable experiences on the intricacies of tea. From double and triple steeping and the variations in color/taste in them as depicted in this “tea timing” photo…

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To all the regions of tea in the world and the color/taste changes in them because of region…

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I left knowing this might be my last trip to this lovely store (unless they have a SALE?!) which left me sad in a way but excited to see the new concept store of Tazo/Teavana this fall!

But I left with some keepsakes and one of the most lovely sparkling iced teas I’ve ever had! Good thing I’ve heard the new store will keep a carbonation option!

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Then I braved the traffic down and back to the farm and stopped at the Tacoma drive thru for the first time..,

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I was worried for a bit that traffic might keep me from reaching my new Starbucks store opening goal of the evening but no, again the magic parted the ways to allow me to meet fellow partner manager Stephanie (from Pine Lake) and get to meet the team I will be finishing my challenge year with!

I’ve already shown all the pre, pre, and post opening photos above of the new store so I think I’ll close with all the amazing goodies I ended my busy day yesterday with…

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I am truly a very lucky lady to be living this Starbucks brand!

What a week indeed!

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 – Starbucks Bloggers Activate!

I always loved the cartoon characters the Wonder Twins, I think I originally seen them on Scooby Doo… another staple of my childhood.  But the whole thing about the Wonder Twins was their phrase “Wonder Twin powers ACTIVATE!”  That concept of two people coming together to activate into a super power was EXACTLY what Dylan M Austin’s adventures with me on Wednesday felt like.  We were a Starbucks force for sure because our day’s worth of adventures were POWERFUL to say the least!

And when I say adventures, yes… we pushed the bar to get as much Starbucks and Seattle sight-seeing in that we possibly could take in one day.  Which we successfully achieved and which I had to take a day of rest (yesterday) to catch my breath from!

After a whole day spent with Dylan I have so much appreciation for his love of the siren, his youthful vigor and mature demeanor, his visions and goals both personally and professionally and when I tell you he is an absolute joy to be around I am not kidding.  This young man is certainly on his way in life and Starbucks is all the better for having people like him under their wing!

So, let the following pictures guide you through the adventures we had on Wednesday and if you get a chance to check out his videos along with the other Five Awesome Baristas please do!  Also, Dylan can be found at his Twitter and Blog pages… and hopefully at a Seattle location near us SOON!

First of all, we drove to the SBC (Seattles Best Coffee) drive-thru only blocks away from corporate.

SBC Seattles Best Coffee Drive Thru

I had not visited this location before but learned SO MUCH about new menu items for me (YEAH!) and a LOT about the Seattle’s Best Coffee (@SBC) expansion in Texas and where they are headed.  We learned all this and more from the super-friendly partner, Valarie, who was just a pure joy to begin our day with!  Valarie (and partners) I will be back to try MORE of those wonderful SBC pies!  (probably today!)

SBC Valarie

From there it was a quick hop, skip and a jump down to one of my favorite Starbucks stores, the container store!  Boy, do I ever want a tour inside that place someday!

Dylan Starbucks Container store

From south Seattle we started our “loop” back and drove up to the infamous Viretta Park memorial for Kurt Cobain next to his home.

Kurt Cobain's home

I haven’t made a Seattle “pilgrimage” for a long time considering I’ve pretty much lived here my whole life.  The experience is pretty neat to relive and even if you are a local, I would suggest doing these touristy things sometimes so you can reflect on what we are surrounded with everyday that is special!

From Montlake we headed over to University Village Tazo Tea.  Partner Travis was again a pleasure to learn from, and this visit I decided to try his last suggestion… a Sultry-Strawberry Tea Italian Soda.  OMG, this drink is SO YUMMY!  Here is part of the process of hand-making this creation, the carbonation station.

Tazo Carbinator

We both had a plethora of information to contemplate concerning tea, and it’s a product that is very much on both our radar’s to explore for sure!  We were greeted by the store manager, Meggan, who also had a visiting partner from Toronto in store… it was really turning out to be a fabulously, sunny, Seattle adventure!

Tazo TeaLicious Italian Soda

But we were not through yet… OH NO!

From there we walked over to the University Village Evolution Fresh store so Dylan could try out their store.  We were sorry to miss the wonderful new manager, Lena, but we were greeted by her super friendly and helpful, knowledgeable partners Nate and Molly who helped Dylan sample so many wonderful items from the Evolution Fresh menu!  I’m sure by now most readers, partners, SSC and anybody I can speak to know how much I LOVE this Evolution Fresh brand, and hopefully the rest of the country (world?!) will one day too because it is really amazing!

Evolution Fresh Lunch with Dylan

With full tummies from our Evolution Fresh lunch and juice tasting (that sweet burn ROCKS!) Dylan and I decided to go for a walk because I had been hearing rumors that a NEW Starbucks CONCEPT was in the making.  I’m not sure where the new store will be housed by my sources tell me that it is a “re-evolving the store (Tazo) to be a new concept store under the Teavana brand name.”  Apparently the new store will open in November and “will represent a cafe’-style experience to include hand-crafted tea beverages and tea inspired food pairings in addition to the portfolio of Teavana’s world-class loose leaf tea and merchandise.”

Um, YES PLEASE!  More Tazo, more Teavana, more Starbucks concepts coming SOON!  I am truly the LUCKIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD this year with this challenge and I am so happy to help spread the word about everything amazing that Starbucks is doing… Living in Seattle truly is an experience of a lifetime!

From our little walk we decided to first check out Gasworks park and then make our way over to the infamous Fremont Troll.  But before we could go trolling we had to make a quick stop at the Fremont Starbucks and pick up our #treatreceipt goodies…

Fremont Starbucks

So, with refreshers in hand we ventured over to the troll and did the ULTIMATE Seattle #Sipface (thanks to Dylan’s BRILLIANT idea!)…

Fremont Troll #Sipface

There seriously isn’t anything better than troll #sipface!  EXCEPT maybe…

Dylan in Seattle

A Kerry Park #sipface?  I had to show Dylan this memorable spot of Seattle photo-taking since I already did my version this summer (back in May) too…

Seattle Starbucks Sipface

Were we done yet???  OH NO WE WERE NOT!  Dylan and I quickly realized that there was ONE MORE stop left on his list, my cozy little fav up on the hill… Roy Street Coffee!

Roy Street Baked Goods

I know I’m on a diet, I KNOW I am on a DIET… but really?  This sign, this case, THESE Strawberry Rhubarb Bars RIGHT HERE!  Yep… “what diet?”

Of course, just having the pleasure of sitting down with Winter at Roy Street Coffee last week, Dylan and I had to take the (soon to be iconic) photo in front of the Roy Street Coffee sign!

Dylan and I at Roy Street

Okay, Okay… this was the end (not really, but only Dylan knows the “rest of the story”) of our day’s adventures.

Like I said, the day was a whirlwind of Seattle, Starbucks and getting to know this up-and-coming talent in the Starbucks and Internet communities which was truly a real pleasure!

Dylan I hope your trip back home was nice and RELAXING, especially after the amazing day we had on Wednesday!  I hope you liked my hand-made card, that you have grown to LOVE my home even more and that our city will be lucky enough to have your presence in it soon!  Our Wonder Twin powers definitely activated the Starbucks social media feeds all day!

I am so excited for another Starbucks, Tazo, Teavana concept store this fall… OMG!

Have a GREAT WEEKEND everybody!

Friday Follow Up – Summer Starbucks Drinks

We now have officially been surrounded by summer in the Seattle area for weeks (well, besides today) and my drink choices are feeling it!

First I had to try out all those Starbucks Discoveries that I purchased last weekend on our farm trip.  Which turns out are a great addition to Starbucks Iced Coffee VIA packets!

Iced VIA and Starbucks Discoveries

And because I always have to balance out my Starbucks coffee with some great Evolution Fresh juices and Tazo tea (Teavana you are on my serious radar now) I also started making my custom “Arnold Palmers” with a variety of choices between the brands.

Perfect mixing for these hot summer days!

Tazo and Evolution Fresh blend

This is pretty much what you feel like when you blend Starbucks products together to customize your summer drinks… rays of sunshine lighting up your day!

Starbucks Sunshine

And for all those that gave me a heads up about the Starbucks BOGO this week, and all those that “thought of me” when they got theirs… I hope you enjoy(ed) your Starbucks mouth-watering choices this week!

Next up… treat receipts, YEAH!  Keep those cool summer offers coming Starbucks, WE LOVE THEM!

Starbucks BOGO
I know the Seattle area is going back into a sunny weekend, but it’s kind of a Winter-y looking weekend for me!
I look forward to meeting this Starbucks legend in person!

Have a great weekend everybody!