It’s no secret that I love Starbucks. Having a bad day? Go to Starbucks. Coffee addict? Go to Starbucks. It’s 2pm? Go to Starbucks.
I go there so frequently I have a gold card and I get free drinks pretty much every two weeks. It’s a problem, but I’m not interested in disassociating myself just yet. Hey, it’s delicious.
Starbucks introduced the new Refreshers the other day, so of course I had to indulge.
Yes, all three of those drinks were mine. It was free refresher Friday, and it was also raining, so I got my usual rainy day drink (tall soy steamer with one pump white mocha, one pump chai) in addition to two free refreshers.
The refreshers come in three forms, barista-made to order, in a can, and in powdered instant form. I’ve tried all three, and I have to say the barista-made is my favorite.
The canned was way too sweet (think Izze soda), and the powdered variety is good, but Crystal-Light-esque. The barista makes these versions with real fruit, blackberries for the berry red version and lime for the green version.
Apparently the refreshers are supposed to tout green coffee extract, which has just as much caffeine as regular coffee. I honestly couldn’t tell that this was hyped on on caffiene. Coffee usually noticeably jacks me up, and these had no effect. It does, however, taste nothing like coffee, so at least it has that going for it.
Maybe I need some more trial runs? Take a guess as to where I’ll be this afternoon?
things I’ve been up to…
I joined a running group. I’ve always trained alone, so it’s definitely a change, and a good one, at that (I think). I also have a bit of social anxiety, and considering I don’t know anyone in the group, it’s a bit of an understatment to say that I’m nervous. Orientation was this week and our first group run is on July 14th. Time to tackle my fear of being slow and get my butt in gear. Disney is less than 200 days away now!
Maybe I’ll just picture this during my training:
My mom and brother came to visit me in Greenville. We did the “Mice on Main” challenge, went to the farmer’s market, walked around Furman, went camp shopping and ate delicious Italian food. My brother is currently at sleepaway camp a short drive away from me, so they stopped in for a visit before he needed to get dropped off. I hope he’s having fun!
I’m addicted to beverages. It is so, so hot outside (104 this weekend.. ugh) and I need constant refreshment. Water gets a bit boring. I’ve been drinking coffee every once inawhile instead of every day, and it’s going fine so far. Let’s hope it continues this way. And yes, I’m aware that coffee dehydrates. It’s just so delicious. Otherwise, I’m also enjoying the cherry vanilla cream slush and green tea lemonade. Yum.
So nothing too exciting over here, just the usual working, running, eating, family, friends.
All I have to say is TG(T)F!!!!
Coolest website ever. It even starts playing the artist you type in. Quick! Someone throw a party where you have to make whatever drink pops up.
This is when it would be convenient to live in a bar.
These are the random thoughts that permeate my Monday night. I think I should go to bed now.
Yesterday me and two co-workers went to High Cotton, a local to South Carolina restaurant, for a drink. We were a little bit too late for happy hour, though.
Keeping with the local theme, I got the Greenville Cocktail.
It was a little too sweet for my taste, but that didn’t stop me from slurping it down.
Afterwards, I changed into my running clothes and did a speed workout up and down Main Street. I’ve lost it. Seriously.
Speaking of losing it, I tweeted yesterday that I was giving up coffee.
Today, I had an iced coffee. Fail.
Oh well. There’s always tomorrow.
Obviously, I celebrated.
I picked up a variety pack from World Market a few weeks ago, and I’m just now getting around to the last few of the 6-pack.
Both were delicious. I enjoyed the Brooklyn slightly more than the Turbodog, but I’m pretty sure that’s just because I’m partial to New York.
A few days ago I had an Extra Stout, which was also surprisingly good. I need to brush up on my beer knowledge.
Also, FYI. If it’s two days before your birthday, you should probably visit this website and sign up for a bunch of free stuff. Let’s just say I’m going to Firehouse Subs on Friday and I’m set in free ice cream for a few months, at least.
I admit it. I’m a Harry Potter nerd.
You can just call me kitchen wizard. Witch?
And yes, I did put on my graduation robe to have a late night HP inspired photo booth session. If you haven’t figured out I’m lame by now, there’s no hope for you.
I’ve read all the books (several times) and I’ve seen all the movies (several times). Who all saw HP7.2 this weekend? I didn’t see it at midnight, but I did see it the day it came out. So, so good!
I don’t remember exactly when I saw each of the movies, but I do remember seeing HP four and six at midnight. When the fourth movie came out, I was beginning my freshman year of college and a bunch of us dressed up as different characters. I saw five on a huge outdoor projector screen, drive in style. And six? Some people fell asleep in the movie theatre at midnight. How ridiculous. IT’S HARRY POTTER.
I listened to the seventh book on tape during my two hour commute to my summer classes at MTSU. I cried throughout the whole last disc. I think it takes a true love and appreciation for the series to be able to understand the emotional depth of the story. #nerd
However, you don’t need to be a HP buff to be able to enjoy this tasty treat.
Since I live quite a bit away from Orlando, I haven’t (yet) visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and thus, I haven’t had the distinct pleasure of drinking butterbeer. What’s a girl to do? Make my own?
Butterbeer (inspired by the never-over-in-our-hearts Harry Potter series)
16 oz cream soda
1/2 c butterscotch chips, less if you want it less sweet, more if you want it more sweet
a double boiler or a microwave
- Heat up 8 oz of the cream soda. Do this by putting it in the double boiler or by microwaving it in a bowl. Yes, it will lose some of it’s fizz but that’s okay. You’re going to make a butterbeer “concentrate” first, and then add the rest of the cream soda later.
- Add the chips to the microwave bowl or the double boiler. Heat and stir until smooth. Not all the chips may melt and incorporate, and that’s fine.
- If you want your butterbeer piping hot, heat the rest of the cream soda SEPARATELY from the concentrate. If you want it lukewarm, skip this step.
- Fill a glass halfway with the hot concentrate. Pour cream soda over the top of the concentrate until the glass is full. If you do this fast enough, you should have nice bubbly foam on the top.
It sorta resembles pumpkin juice in color, no? I used diet cream soda and store-bought butterscotch chips, so assembly and clean up was a breeze. This drink is low-calorie too!
I’m interested to see how they make it down in Florida, because they have both a hot and a cold version.
The weather has been a bit cooler around here lately, so drinking a hot beverage was quite nice. I sat on my balcony, enjoyed a light breeze and sipped on my tasty treat.
The only thing that would have made the moment more delicious was if Neville popped in for a visit. Yummy.
Where was I? Oh yes, Monday.
Two weeks ago today (has it really already been that long..!?!) I was still in drizzly San Diego. The morning was a bit dreary but it quickly turned to sun later in the afternoon.
I took the ferry over to Coronado after renting a bike and riding around Seaport for a bit. There are so many things to see, especially in Coronado: one of a kind houses, secret alleyways, unique shops and restaurants, the shoreline and of course, the people.
I met up with Sam after work and we rode around like safe, helmeted losers together.
We went to a little French bistro for a late lunch, Tartine (Ironic because the other day I was in the bookstore and absolutely fell in love with the cookbook Tartine Bread. Do want. One of my get-out-of-a-funk goals for this week is to make homemade bread).
Lattes and coffee were had.
I had quiche surrounded by a huge bed of greens. SO good. So, so delicious.
Sam’s plate: Salmon bruschetta.
After stuffing ourselves, we went searching for photographic opportunities.
Above two photo credit: Sam (He’s learning so fast..!).
We took the ferry back after it got dark and the city view was spectacular.
After landing in San Diego, we scoured Gaslamp for someplace to have dinner. We ended up at Starbucks to use the WiFi for Urban Spoon. US recommended several places, but one caught our eye, mainly because of the name, Searsucker. Anyone who is familiar with Southern culture knows the importance of seersucker.
As it turns out, Searsucker did not disappoint. The chef, Brian Malarkey, was apparently on a season of Top Chef!
We got a whole bunch of appetizers and split them. Obviously, as with most restaurants at dinnertime, the lighting was horrible.
We started off with artichoke hearts, gruyere and a tomato spread. Atop crusty bread it was a perfect starter.
Goat cheese, asian pears and crackers. Creamy, salty goodness.
Sam ordered some clams and salmon and we also had a strawberry, champagne, walnut and goat cheese salad at some point. We had a bottle of white wine (you don’t think we would have broken the streak, now do you?) and cheddar puffers, which were light, billowy cheese biscuits.
I thought I couldn’t get any more full. Little did I know we would encounter the greatest culinary delight on Wednesday…
After Saturday, I was convinced the rest of the vacation couldn’t get any better.
I was wrong.
Sunday we woke up to yet another street festival occurring directly outside the hotel, the Sicilian Festival!
Not too sure why they had french crepes at an Italian festival, but they were delicious so I wasn’t complaining. I also got some ginger lychee juice, which was.. interesting. A little too pulpy for my taste.
Have I mentioned how much I loved staying in Little Italy? Because I did. It was seriously the perfect location. Walking distance to most everything around.
Of course we had to have authentic canollis while we were walking around. Sam had never had one before. SO good!
Afterwards we snacked some more from the farmer’s market buys. (Are you noticing a trend? In case you can’t tell, I want to eat all.day.long.)
We set eyes on Giada DeLaurentis for about 30 seconds. Wasn’t super impressed.
Because we had spent so much of the morning relaxing at the Sicilian festival, we got to the USS Midway Museum literally five minutes too late to get in.
Turns out it was a blessing in disguise though, because we ended up at the Maritime Museum and spent close to three hours there, exploring all the different kinds of ships parked in the bay.
No, we didn’t act like
children idiots the whole time. Just most of the time.
Exploring the ships also allowed Sam to show off his photographic skills with my camera. Photo credit for the above three go to him!
The number 53 follows us around.
In order to crawl around the submarine, you had to be able to fit through this hole. I passed the test.
All in all, the Maritime Museum was much cooler than anticipated it would be. Ships are fun, but they don’t fascinate me unlike the navy nerd next to me up there. Two thumbs up!
Running around ships for three hours sure worked up an appetite, but there were so many places we wanted to eat. What to do? Order a half carafe of white wine, a vegetable plate and a baked goat cheese plate at one place and then go to another place? Sounds like a plan to me!
The baked goat cheese was so.good. The vegetable plate came with a few dips, which I gladly inhaled.
After leaving Sogno DiVino, we went to another little place where we had caprese salad and a bottle of wine. The guy at the second place didn’t want to let us in at first, because it was almost 10pm at this point. I don’t know what changed his mind, but the fact that he did earned him a huge tip!
A nice relaxing day filled with Italian food, a good friend, history, beautiful weather, wine and more Italian food. Does it get any better than this?
Vacation was.. absolutely wonderful.
I’m sitting in the LAX airport, with 1.5 hours to go before I board to Chicago. It’s bittersweet, in a way. I’m happy to get back to my apartment, my job and my routine, but I’m sad to leave the beautiful west coast and my best friend.
I’m thankful for blogging because for the next few days, I get to re-live my fun time through posts. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
The days leading up to May 19th were full of anticipation and jam packed with work, work and more work. I was SO ready for a vacation. I got to the airport so early (as obviously I am apt to do) and sat around for a bit.
My flight from GSP to Houston was uneventful, as was my flight from Houston to San Diego. I basically shot off the plane in SD and immediately saw Sam, who had been there for a bit already. We picked up my bags and took a cab to the hotel.
If you’re ever in San Diego, I highly recommend La Pensione Hotel. It was basic, but the location was absolutely fantastic. It’s in the heart of Little Italy, with tons of eateries and fun shops around. I rolled out of bed on Saturday into a Farmer’s Market and on Sunday into a Sicilian street festival. Also, the hotel has the cutest dog. How adorable is that!?
Anyway, after dropping my stuff, Sam and I walked next door to meet his friend Andrew, and we had a few drinks at a cute British Pub.
On Friday, Sam got up early to go to work and I slept in a bit. After a nice snooze, I set out to explore San Diego on foot.
I stumbled upon Formaggi, a little deli where I had breakfast. Orange/carrot juice and a bagel with cream cheese.
I walked along the shore and took in the sights.
Then I won at Monopoly.
I came across a park, where I kicked off my shoes and enjoyed the lush grass and beautiful flowers.
I pretty much just enjoyed being in a city again. San Diego, unlike L.A., is super walkable, which I LOVE. I sat at Starbucks (where I enjoyed my very first Coconut Mocha Frappuccino) and wrote for a bit while waiting for Sam to get off the ferry.
We met up with Sam’s friend Daniel, who drove us over the Coronado Bridge. I had my first glance of Coronado, Mexico, and the Hotel Del.
The Hotel Del Coronado is a lush, extravagant hotel on the west side of the island. The rooms go for a lot of money a night, and Sam and I considered staying there just one night out of the vacation, but then determined we would subsequently be poor.
Honey apparently opened a candy shop on the island.
All intentions to celebrate the food holidays basically went out the window. It was hard without transportation and a kitchen. I know one day was saltwater taffy day, and I found some!
Sam and I had our first of many indulgent dinners at Island Pasta, where our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomach. Cheesy garlic bread, a bottle of red wine, pesto pasta and a margharita pizza = YUM.
We originally wanted caprese sandwiches, but the restaurant was out of bread? No bread. How does that happen? Who knows.
After dinner we went to Coronado Brewing Company where several unpictured beers were had with two of Sam’s buddies. We walked around the island a bit and eventually headed back to the hotel to crash. Obviously my vacation just began, but I was already in love with San Diego, Coronado and the west coast.
I’ve been drinking one of these every morning for the past week or so.
Delicious is an understatement.
I’m trying to take a lesson out of No Meat Athlete’s blog and have a smoothie every morning and a salad every afternoon. His philosophy argues if you have those two things, it pretty hard to screw up the rest of your eats for the day.
Vegan Shamrock Shake, a.k.a. Green Monster
1 c rice milk
2 tbsp dry oats, I used instant rolled
1 tbsp golden raisins
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 frozen banana
1 handful spinach leaves
- Blend until smooth. Drink. Enjoy.
I also read elsewhere that it’s better to drink your breakfast in the morning, so as to “ease” your digestion system into waking up, rather than shocking it with a huge breakfast. Interesting concept. I’m running a little test on myself to see if there is a difference. So far, so good.
This smoothie is much better than the actual Shamrock Shake, which boasts ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, sugar, natural flavor (plant source), xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), yellow 5, & blue 1. Uh, yeah. No thanks.
I would think adding in some mint extract would be most wonderful, I just didn’t have any on hand. You can make this smoothie with literally anything you have. Frozen fruit? Throw it in. Nut butter? Why not? Just make sure your blender can handle whatever you’re tossing in.
I can’t believe tomorrow is already Wednesday!