BLTired

Gentle Readers,

Seeing as how pure exhaustion has set in, tonight will have to be brief and about food. One of my favourite sandwiches is a Smoked Salmon BLT, which incidently was what I had for lunch!

Not only does this beauty have the obligatory bacon (smoked applewood, of course), lettuce, and tomato, it also has honey smoked salmon, red onion, cucumber, and spread with boursin cheese.

Absolutely amazing!

Until tomorrow,

Miss W

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Collection of Thoughts

Gentle Readers,

* Teaching Tinturn Abby ito my class went much better than teaching Songs of Innocence and Experience. I will admit, this is a first in my teaching experience.

* I think Farm Fresh employees hate their lives. I can’t blame them at all.

* They found Richard III’s bones while building a car park. There might be irony enough in that for a whole blog post, we will see.

* Though I never would have ordered it on my own, pepperoni and pineapple pizza with cheese stuffed crust is quite yummy.

* When “It’s your thing, do what you wanna do” comes on, you have to sing along with it. That’s a rule.

* If you are going to preach about pitching tents, make sure to say pitching tents. Still laughing about that, D!

* Midsomer must be an awful place to live. So many murders…thanks, Mystery!.

* Josh Groban’s new album came out today, All That Echoes. Go. Buy. Listen. Repeat.

Until tomorrow,

Miss W

Coffee and Pie

It is the simplest combination known to 1950’s TV programming: a cup of coffee and a slice of pie. Now, you can go to your local Starbucks and experience that same, wonderful joy. So what’s new at Starbucks? Here we go….

First off, Tribute is back! For those of you who don’t remember the debut of this coffee last year (for our 40th anniversary), it is the history of Starbucks’ coffee in one convenient bag. There is coffee from every growing area, and every processing method. The ever amazing sun-dried Ethiopian, perfect aged Sumatra, rare Papua New Guinea, and assorted Columbian coffees round out this awesome post-roast blend. Remember, when you buy Tribute you are not just buying a pound of coffee, you are buying a piece of a story.

Tribute is mellow and bold, with cherry notes (and I taste some floral in there too, but I’m odd like that.)

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What goes perfectly with a cherry-noted coffee? Why, cherry pie, of course! We’ve added 4 new petites: cherry pie, apple pie, a brown sugar and walnut tart, and a chocolate hazelnut tart. (Tart is the wrong word, but I can’t think of the correct one.) They are yummy! And pretty filling too.

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Okay! Let’s move on to some of our new merchandise! First up, how cute are these cups???

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The new French Press is also totally adorable.

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The tumbler matches it perfectly too!

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We also have these adorable bags. They aren’t exactly *new*, they are cute nonetheless.

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Finally, some big news! At long last, Starbucks is selling their chai concentrate for the first time in my memory. The best part is that it is only $4.95, which makes it super affordable. And look how awesome the carton is!

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I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of our new waterbottles and our new number mugs, so you’ll have to go into your local Starbucks to check them out. Also, we have chocolate covered cherries and triple chocolate espresso beans! Don’t forget that Tribute comes in VIA as well as whole bean.

Last thing! Starting tomorrow through the 14th if you come in before 11 am and buy an espresso-based drink, you can bring that receipt back in after 2 pm and get another espresso-based drink for 1/2 off! It’s a cool benefit if you already come in twice a day. If you don’t usually come in more than once a day, then consider this your invitation to do so! Make sure to try out a vanilla latte, or my personal favourite: the caramel macchiato. Both are delicious, as are our range of other lattes, mochas, and macchiatos.

And that, my friends, is that. Go drink some coffee!

EDIT: I almost forgot! I have a new Starbucks blog all about my new journey at work. Check it out here!

Traditions

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Well, now that we’ve that out of the way, I thought I’d share some of our Christmas traditions. The first thing that we love to do is go see The Nutcracker. It’s beautiful music, a fun story, and just a really great time overall. This year and last year we went to see the ballet in The Land Of No Internet, in a beautifully historic theatre. Isn’t it pretty?

 

 

 

See? It’s a lovely setting for the whole experience.

We also usually attend a Christmas Eve service. The past few years we’ve gone to the service at a Lutheran church, which is different than what I’m used to, but nice nonetheless. It’s even better if the service includes candles!

Cookies are a favourite too. 7 layer bars, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Whippersnappers, Rolo Cookies, and of course Mum’s world-famous chocolate chip cookies! Mum and Dad also each have a party mix they make; Mum makes a white chocolate one, and Dad makes a savoury one.

Usually we spend some time driving around looking at the crazy Christmas lights people put up on their houses. You know, like the stuff I posted last year. Our town has whole streets that try to outdo each other in the light departments, which makes it fun for us.

So, those are just a few of ours. Do you have traditions? Feel free to share them in the comments, and have a very merry Christmas!

Testing, Testing, TRENTA!

Okay, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. A really, really, really long time. SUCH A LONG TIME.

But, it’s here. It’s finally, finally here.

I’ve held it in my hands. I’ve seen the labels. I’ve heard the news.

Trenta has come to my Starbucks.

What????? You don’t know what Trenta is???? It’s a 31 ounce cold cup for iced teas and iced coffees. For someone who can go through 3-4 venti iced teas per work shift or study session, it’s a dream come true!

It’s not as bad as you might think. It just looks like someone stttttrrrrrreeeeeetttttcccchhhhheeeeeddddd out a venti cup  a little bit. See? Look at the whole family together!

Tall Grande Venti Trenta!

I’m pretty excited. This particular rollout starts on the 18th (NEXT WEEK!!!), so check with your local store to see if you can try out the new size yourself. Happy drinking!

Doing Shots

There’s very little in life that I love doing more than drinking shots. Espresso shots, that is. My coworkers are almost used to my espresso habits; they only blink a few times when I order my number of shots. Night crew likes to give me a hard time about my espresso habits, but at least I’ve trained the morning crew to understand that without shots I am worthless. When I was working mornings on a more regular basis, the shift would start pulling a quad shot the moment I walked in the door. Even last week- my first morning shift in months- he barely blinked when in the middle of blackout I turned and asked him for a couple of shots whenever he had a second. Moments later, there was a short cup full of espresso sitting by my register. Regulation? No. Did I stop dropping every blessed thing I touched? Oh yes. There is method in my espresso madness.

I’m so used to ordering in a place that understands my need to consume a week’s worth of caffeine in a few sips that I find ordering in other restaurants highly amusing. Like a few months ago. I don’t remember where I was- Panera, Books-a-Million, or some place like that. I had already had a lot of milky drinks earlier that day on shift, so I just ordered a double espresso. The very nice lady behind the counter patronisingly explained to me that “espresso” was a tiny amount of very intense coffee, not a “proper drink.” The look of shock on her face when I simply grinned and said “Yep- that’s what I’m looking for” was priceless. Well, not really. It cost me $1.79, but man was it worth it!

A few weeks ago I went out to see a play with my mum and one of her friends (there’s a write-up coming on that play, just so you know. It was wonderful!). I got a triple tall caramel macchiato before the performance, but by dinner afterwards the caffeine buzz had more than worn off and I was having a hard time not dropping into a carb-induced slumber. (There are way too many places to get great bread around here- that’s all I’m saying.) So, while we poured over the dessert menu, I asked our waiter for a solo espresso to get me through the remainder of the meal. Surprisingly, he didn’t register the shock I’m used to seeing. Maybe he was just well-trained, maybe he saw how exhausted I was, or maybe he’s a closet espresso-addict too. Whatever the case, he brought me my espresso with no to-do. It was my mum’s friend that was thrown for a loop by the cute little chunky demitasse in which our waiter delivered my shot to me. It was a great opportunity to talk about espresso, what it is, what makes  it different from coffee, and why you *really* don’t want to order a regularly-sized coffee cup full of espresso shots.

The most recent incident, and the one that made me sit back and muse over my espresso encounters happened last Friday night. We were having an English Club meeting at a cute little cafe, and I was tired. Exhausted. Worn out. Brain dead. I was the designated driver; I needed caffeine. This particular place used to have a honey latte that was amazing, but I soon discovered that it was no longer on the menu. Not feeling up to anything else, I approached the register to order. Nice young guy- a little baffled by our group, but then again we are an unusual assortment of characters. I asked him if they could do a triple espresso, even though they only listed solo and doubles. He looked at me with a slightly startled expression, but said that he could definitely do it. I said, “Okay, good, let’s make it a quad then.” He stopped ringing. He looked at me. The next words out of  his mouth were “I used to work in a coffee bar, and we were all like that. Couldn’t get enough coffee.” YES! A kindred spirit! I responded with “Yeah, I work at Starbucks.” He nodded, rang up the drink, and that was that. No weird looks, no patronising, no incredulity, just pure understanding. And four shots of espresso.

Bliss.

 

How We See Ourselves

We all have a certain way of viewing ourselves. Sometimes it is positive, and sometimes we are pretty hard on ourselves. So, what influences our perceptions of ourselves?

This is the question that we dealt with last week in one of my communication classes. It was a very interesting topic, so I thought that I’d share my most recent paper on it with you all!

If you have the time, skim this article (it’s the one that we read in class): Elastic Body Image

If you don’t have that kind of time, then you can skip straight to my paper. Enjoy!

Three people are sitting at a table smoking: a fit boy from Bosnia, an incredibly slim woman from the Philippines, and a slightly overweight woman from America. They are three amazingly different people with one thing in common: where they are from, their body image is not acceptable. The boy is not skinny enough, the woman is too slim, and the other woman is not skin and bones enough to fit her country’s “ideal” fantasy. As they look at each other, each of them envies the other’s body type, and cannot understand why the other people are unhappy with the way they look. This is the sort of observation that interested Myers and Biocca, and led them to conduct a study on media’s influence on young American women and their perception of their body image. What they concluded is that women hold three different images in their heads; the socially acceptable body, how they perceive their own body, and what their body really looks like (115). In order to understand why this is, Myers and Biocca evaluate the persuasive techniques of television advertisements to discover why women deal with this “elastic body image” (108).

The first thing that Myers and Biocca noted was that women are convinced when they look in a mirror that they are fat, and that this repulses them (109). Wood defines this phenomenon as a facet of nonverbal communication, stating that “based on physical qualities, we may make inferences about others’ personalities” (100). She deduces from this observation that people try to alter their physical appearance to fit an accepted “norm”; wearing contacts instead of glasses, coloring their hair, wearing makeup, and constantly dieting (101). This repulsion, however, is mostly a European/American construct. In other cultures, a larger figure represents wealth and beauty (100). Thus, the question must arise as to why American women are attracted to a slim body image and repulsed by a larger one.

The simplest answer can be found, as Myers and Biocca discovered, in advertising. For example, women want to be sexually attractive. If the models and actresses that advertisements show as desirable to men are super-slim, then women will create a subliminal observation that to be desired, they must be thin (Larson 407). Unfortunately for the average woman, “thin” will never seem thin enough. Every year the average weight of actresses and models drops (Myers & Biocca 113); women can never keep up. At the same time, scriptwriters and advertisers create a conundrum by creating what I call the “Gilmore Girls” effect. In the show Gilmore Girls, the two main female characters were always eating, consistently refused to do any sort of exercise, and yet somehow managed to get slimmer with every passing season. It is impossible to live their life and look as great as they do, a ploy used by television producers that is unfair to women.

The most interesting part of the study was the overall result observed by Myers and Biocca. After subjecting each woman in the study to a series of advertisements specially picked for their portrayal of women’s bodies, the women overwhelmingly portrayed their body as slimmer than they had before the study (127). The best conclusion that made is that this idealizing gave women hope that they may one day look as great as the women portraying the perfection in body image (127). Women like to conceptualize and idealize; if they see that someone has attained so-called “perfection”, then there is still hope that they may attain it as well.

Christian women know from reading the Bible that “charm is deceitful and beauty vain, but a woman who fears God is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30). They know that the “hidden man of the heart”(1Pet. 3:4)  is more important to God than any physical beauty. However, the impact that society has on our minds is clearly seen in Myers’ and Biocca’s study. The persuasive techniques at play here are subliminal, entering the subconscious without any cognitive recognition from the rational part of the brain (Larson 407). As a result, womens’ physical perceptions of themselves and others are skewed, thus their eternal struggle with diets, makeovers, and reinventions. It is time for society to stop demanding an ever decreasing waistline from women, and to start focusing on things of more worth than physical appearance.

Summer Time!

This is my last Friday before going back to school, which means it’s my last summer Friday until next May. Is that depressing or what?

So, in honour of my last weekend of (relative) freedom, I thought I would post a picture of that all-time, iconic, absolute summer food: WATERMELON!

Enjoy the rest of your summer, have lots of watermelon and ice cream, and stay cool!

The Things We Say

Starbucks baristas are funny. Maybe not always “give me a microphone and I’ll do stand up” funny, but still pretty funny. What’s more important is that we crack each other up. So, I thought that I’d share a few of my favourite gems that stand the test of time!

Customer 1: (after giving a long and complicated order for other people from a post it note) “And I need a venti latte. Can you just throw a packet of artificial sweetener in there for me too?”

Barista 1: “Sure. Venti- one artificial sweetener- latte.”

Barista 2: “Would you like to ask the customer if they want pink, yellow, or blue?”

Barista 1: “Can’t it be barista’s choice?”

Barista 2: “No.”

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Barista 1: (Excitedly) “Yay! I have time to restock merchandise before I have to clock off!”

Barista 2: (Rolls eyes) “Some little town in the Midwest is missing a cheerleader.”

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Barista 1: “Sir, would you like room for cream in your croissant?”

Barista 2: “No, but I bet they’d like room for cream in their coffee.”

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Barista 1: “I was so automated after years at the drive-through, that at Thanksgiving my Grandma asked me to pray and without thinking I started with, ‘Dear God, thank you for choosing Starbucks how can I help you today?’.”

Those are just some of the funniest that don’t need any explanation. One day I’ll post a few that need some extensive set-ups. Until then; happy weekend!

Vincent Via