Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Um. Oops.

So, I suck at blogging. Really, really really. I’m so sorry.

See, the thing is that I begin to write an amazing post, but I always want it to be perfect, poignant, and poetic. So, it goes unpublished. NO MORE!!! I shall attempt to return to the land of the bloggers. Here goes!

Life is interesting at the moment! Back in April of 2014 I was given an amazingly busy, high profile Starbucks right on the Oceanfront (like, for serious, the sand is a block away). Since then, life has been a series of insane events. I’m probably going to end up writing a book about my experiences. You will find it in the fiction section because absolutely no one will believe the actual things that I deal with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Have YOU ever called the police and banned a 70 year old man from your business establishment because he missed the toilet in the loo for the 9th straight day in a row? Have YOU ever had to run random locker checks because someone thinks it is funny to hide little bottles of alcohol in people’s belongings? Have YOU ever had a man sit in your place of business and play a banjo really really well?  I think not. Welcome to my life!

To keep things fresh, I moved down to the beach last April as well (like, for serious, the sand is a block away). I found this amazing, hotel-like apartment complex and have really enjoyed living there even though I’m about to move out. You see, I’ve made this friend that we jokingly call Ginger (she’s got red hair, so original on my part) and she and I are going to be roomies! She’s got an adorable little house that looks like I decorated it. SO much win.

We met Ginger at karaoke this summer…oh yes, I’ve become quite the little karaoke singer! I tend to do more mainstream, quiet pieces; but once I brought the whole bar to silence with my heartfelt rendition of “I Who Have Nothing.” Not that the bar was very crowded that night, but still. It was awesome. We also have fun with duets like “Bye, Bye Love,” “Sounds of Silence,” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Oh yes, and there’s a ‘we’ now. I’ve kinda met the most amazing guy ever working down here at the beach, but that’s a post for another day.

So, that’s a quick hit view of life. Things are busy, but pretty routine. Monday is admin day and small group night, Tuesday is Trivia Night (my team is first overall for the season right now!), Wednesdays tend to be pizza/movie night, Thursdays are blissfully unstructured, while Friday through Sunday tend to be a blur of opening shifts and shopping at WalMart. Oh, the glamour.

My store just got a huge remodel, so I will have to do some before/after for you all to enjoy my dominion. Ever heard of the Shamrock Marathon? It’s a pretty big deal around here, so I’m getting ready for that too. Our goal is to do over 1200 transactions March 21 and 22! Each day. We’ve so got this.

Bring it on!


Change Is In The Air

*peers around the blog*

*taps microphone*


Um, is this thing still on?

So, I know it’s been a while since you all have heard from me. A long while. A VERY LONG while.

In my last post, I talked a lot and vaguely about different paths and which one I should take. Basically, I had a decision to make in April: sign another year’s teaching contract and remain a Shift Supervisor at Starbucks, OR take a leap of faith, stop teaching for now, and pursue an Assistant Manager position with Starbucks. It was a really hard choice to make. I LOVE teaching, love my students, and love being in the academic world. Teaching is so much of my life and passion that the mere idea of just stepping away for a bit was devastating.

When all was said and done though, it became evident that teaching just wasn’t in the cards for next year. You guys have no idea the amount of pain and tears that happened during March and April. Once the decision was made it couldn’t be undone, so I threw myself into the last few months of my teaching career. Back in January the drama teacher had asked me to come alongside her class and help instruct on Shakespeare, since they were doing three parodies of his works. When those plays were finished, I was asked to stay on with drama and help out on the final production. It was a crazy, crazy time of dancing, fighting, and jumping off of cliffs (in a theatrical stage sense!), and I loved every moment of it.

You haven’t lived until you’ve watched a bunch of high school students try to talk over heavy rain on a tin roof.

With production finished, the next big hurdle in life was prepping for final projects and graduation. That took up just about every spare moment that wasn’t already consumed with Starbucks. Crayzhay.

The last day of classes was very sad. My students are awesome though, and they passed around this lovely little journal that anyone at the program could sign. I keep the little leather journal by my bed…such an encouragement! We also hung out in my classroom for most of the morning watching Jane Eyre and talking about Doctor Who. They are such good little Whovians!

It was hard going home that day, but I had a plan. I sat down at the computer, and applied for an Assistant Manager position in the next district over. An opening had come up the week before, and for the first time, it felt right. So, I applied. And interviewed two weeks later. And interviewed again two weeks after that. And three days later, my new District Manager called and offered me the position!!!

Can we all just stop and freak out about this for a moment????


Thank you, that feels much better.

On July 29th, I start my new position, at my new store, in a new district. It is all exciting, but all nerve-wracking as well. In addition, we also lost our Regional supervisor last month (and I am so sad about that, you all have no idea), so we have a new one taking over this week too! So much change, but I think that it is all for the better.

These past few weeks have felt very productive. I’ve finished a lot of personal development training, helped train our newest barista, and participated in a veritable bevy of coffee and tea tastings. Tea tastings…are a revelation. I cannot wait to see the effect that Teavana has on Starbucks!!! We need some more tea materials in the store, I’m just saying.

Open tea bags…Chai, Zen, and Calm.

So, what else is new? I think that is enough for now. The next 10 days will fly by, I’m sure, in a whirl of book clubs, nursery duty, phantom shifts, food service tests, normal shifts, and otherwise crazy schedules!!!! I am very excited to see where the next chapter of my life leads me.

Here goes everything!

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Miss Me?

So, I missed a few days on my blogging challenge. Thursday was a horrible day, Friday was awesome but crazy, and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were just needed for mental recovery from those two days. At some point I may go back and grab those posts, but for right now I’m just carrying on.

This blogging challenge has made me discover some things about myself. One is that I lack discipline sometimes. This is nothing ground breaking,but I had hoped I was doing better in the self-discipline area. The second discovery was how easily I get discouraged. In my mind, I missed Thursday’s post and almost gave up the whole project. Then I missed Friday and thought “there’s no way I’m ever catching up.” It wasn’t until today that it dawned on my little mind that I could just start fresh. I don’t need to make things up, I just need to finish to the best of my abilities. And so, that’s what I am going to do!

So, let’s go through a recap of the past few days.

Thursday: Let’s focus on the good first. Dad brought me lovely Valentine’s Day flowers, Mum got me a *huge* cookie from our school’s V-day cookie sale, and the brother got me ice cream! Sounds like an awesome day, right? Well, we should also add in the fact that I had a splitting migraine all day, my lovely little car ran completely out of oil and subsequently required $1100 of repairs, the rental car I borrowed was bare bones and made me a little nervous seeing as how I was driving around alone that night, rehearsal for drama ran very long, and despite having a performance the next day we were told that we couldn’t set up our stage before 10 am the next morning. Oh yeah…and after all that, I drove home, ready to sit down with a movie and the playlist for the performances…to discover that I left my garage door opener in the other car and no one was home to let me in.


Friday: This was an awesome day, made even awesomer  (yes, that is now a word) by how horrible the day before was. Because I really want to do a post just on Friday, I won’t go into it right now. But yes, this was a good day. A LONG day, but a good day.

Saturday: Sleep, work, sleep. Enough said!

Sunday: Sleep, church, work, sleep. Welcome to the scintillating pattern of my day-to-day life.

Monday: Monday was another pretty cool day. I was a little on the nervous side because I was up for my one year review as a Shift Supervisor. Unbeknownst to me, my SM also made time to go over my Partner Development Plan (PDP) with me and help me create a new PDP as I wait to start interviewing for my next position. I’ve had a rougher time personally these past six months than I have experienced in the past, so I wasn’t sure how things were going to go. Thankfully, my SM has really noticed all the hard work, time, and dedication I’ve been pouring out and she really commended me on it. It’s always nice to know that someone *is* seeing the good that you are doing.

We also got a chance to have a good, long talk about things going on in the district and with the company. The last thing I want to do is go blindly blundering into a position if I don’t feel like I’ll be able to support the direction that things are heading. While some events looming on the horizon make me very sad, overall I feel like things for the future are bright. All we can do is wait and see, but in the meantime we are working on plans to push our store’s potential to the max! Go team, go!

That’s where I’ve been for the past few days! What have you all been doing?

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Accentuate the Positive

Gentle Readers,

People and situations have been a wee bit…shall we say “trying” of late. It’s only to be expected; anytime you interact with others, tensions are bound to occasionally run high.

At Starbucks, we’ve been talking a lot about “assuming positive intent” when it comes to customer service. This idea has also arisen in other articles and conversations, but Starbucks expresses it best. It is easy to apply this principle at work. One only has to be nice for a few hours before the shift is over or it is time for a break. We can do just about anything, cope with just about anything, if we know it will eventually end soon.

But how does this look in day to day life? I think it means that we shouldn’t take things so personally. For example, maybe a friend is shoving their achievement in your face for the umpteenth million time. You can be completely human and see it as a malicious attempt to make you feel inferiour. Or, you can choose to see it as your friend being so genuinely excited about something good that they need constant affirmation to believe it is real.

Of course, chances lean in the favour of this person being thoughtless and selfish, but what good is dwelling on that mindset going to do you? By assuming positive intent, you empower yourself to smile, encourage, walk away, and forget the whole interaction. What’s the point of letting something eat you up? It doesn’t harm the other person, it just drives you crazy.

That’s today’s challange. Assume positive intent…how does that look in your life? Feel free to share!

Until tomorrow,
Miss W


Four Years In, And A Fresh Start

Today is my fourth Starbucks anniversary! Sometimes (like after this past weekend) it feels like I’ve been doing this job forever. Other times, it feels like I’ve just begun. Either way, it’s been an exciting ride. The best thing is that it’s not like my job is stagnant. I’ve been on my store’s management team for 6 months now, and will be moving up as soon as I finish out this year’s teaching contract. With everything going on in the district and the company right now, I’m very excited to keep on going. 


To celebrate my four years with Starbucks, I took a special trip up to see a brand new store that opened up just last week! So, here’s what it looks like:

ImageHow about that shade of yellow??? It is so cheerful; I had to drive through almost whiteout rain to reach the store, but as soon as it came into view it made me smile. So cute! This store is a drive-thru, the window is on the far side. 


ImageThis is what you see when you first walk in the store. I like that the merchandise is visible, but not totally up in your face. There are display shelves right by the front door, but they are just the small, two-shelf assembly. 

My favourite part of the store is the right wall, behind where the majority of seating and comfy chairs are located. That wall is covered in large photographs depicting the coffee voyage before it gets to our stores and takes that last journey of 10 feet. Isn’t it pretty?


The new tables and chairs are very muted, and quite lovely. It’s hard to tell with the lighting, but that wall is a lovely, warm amber. It’s all very inviting, but I also love how light and bright the layout is. 


So, that’s to the right, here’s what is to the left!


Just kidding, there’s a picture of those display cubes/shelves. I love that the bar seating faces out onto the road; nice for those people who wander in on their own. See the condiment bar tucked up in the corner?



This is genius! It is nice and out of the way, can still have at least two people working on their coffee at the same time, gets plenty of light, but has a place out of the sun where carafes can sit. So perfect!

Can you see the detail on the edge of the wood?



All of the edges are like that, from the seating bar to the handoff plane. It is a really cool look, believe it or not. Speaking of handoff planes and drinks…

ImageThe registers are to the right, the handoff is on the left. The only downside here, from what I’ve been told, is that the area between the registers and the plane becomes “socializing area,” making a bottleneck of sorts. That’s a minor flaw, though, that can easily be corrected by barista direction. Oh! See those high top tables??? I absolutely love them. They have the coolest seats! 



On a geeky barista note, the storage here is totes adorbs. Do you see how cool these cabinets are???



I see spaces for tags on each door, and…I think…it looks like the center of each door is a chalkboard! Oh, the possibilities. Seriously, I want to get my chalkboard markers on those. So much potential for fun. 


There you have it. We’ve got a few more stores opening and making major changes in the next few months, so stay tuned for more pictures!





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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.)


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.





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




The new French Press is also totally adorable.


The tumbler matches it perfectly too!


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


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!


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!

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Green Beans

Today’s Friday Frame Up is actually a sneak  peek to a Starbucks post I’m working on! This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a local Starbucks: bins with a visual representation of beans at every point in the roasting process.

My only regret is that the merchandise was blocking the last panel, so it isn’t in the picture. Overall though, it is still a pretty cool thing to see at the counter.

Have a happy Friday, and I’ll see you all soon.

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Blonde, Bold, and Beautiful

Today, Starbucks is launching a new line of coffees! They are a lighter roast then any of our current lineup, and we affectionately call them our “blonde” coffees. Our usual core lineup is undergoing a repackaging and renaming phase as well; we now use the terms “medium” and “dark” to replace bold and extra bold.

So! The two new blonde coffees are Willow (yes, yes, go ahead and talk about whipping your hair back and forth) and Veranda, with Willow also being offered in decaf. Willow is a multi region blend with a bright clean finish, and Veranda is for you fans of Latin American coffees with a mellow and soft body. Not only do these have a lighter taste, but they also have a slightly higher caffeine content, so more pickup in your cup!

Medium still hosts our core classics: House, Pike Place, Breakfast Blend, Guatemala Antigua, Organic Yukon, Kenya, as well as our Iced Coffee blend.

Dark holds many of my favourites: Gold Coast (now Morning Joe), Komodo Dragon, Espresso, Italian, French, Verona, and the best one of all, Sumatra.

For you reserve and seasonal coffee fans, fear not! They will still make their way to our shelves at their appointed time. The best part about all this? (I mean, besides offering a new line of coffee that people are going to love.) We got new coffee passports! They are called coffee tasting guides, and I can’t stop reading mine.


So, that’s about all for now. Make sure to stop by your local Starbucks this weekend for our special “Find the Roast You Love the Most!” event! We’ll help you decide if Blonde, Medium, or Dark is the right roast for you…or maybe you’ll like them all! Who knows, so go in and find out!


Keep Calm and Brew Coffee

Welcome back to Friday Frame Up! I’m on day 4 of 9 closes in a row at Starbucks, so things are all well and good here. Have a fantastic start to your weekend, and I’ll be back with some Starbucks stories over the next few days!


Eight More Weeks

It has recently been brought to my attention that my blogging of late is…spotty, at best. Naturally, this is due to an amazingly complex life workload right now, and (if we’re being honest) a general lack of inspiration. But no more! Today marks my last first-day-of-a-session, and I intend to milk these last eight weeks of university for all they are worth.

This morning, I started Hebrew. After a long struggle with Greek, Hebrew seems even more incomprehensible (if that’s even possible). However, I’ve always wanted to learn Hebrew, so I’m attacking it like it’s a language out of a fantasy book. So what if it bears no relationship to English??? A dalet totally reminds me of the word Dalek…this is doable. Oh! Here’s a picture of what I did in class this morning!

I’m continuing with Oral Communication, the only class that is staying the same over the whole semester. It’s a great class though, almost a brain break of sorts. Really, the class should be called The Art of Storytelling, because that is what we do. We read about orality and the ideas of oral culture (slightly ironic, I know), and then we tell stories! Next week we have to tell either a Teaching or a Vision story. I’ve not yet decided which I’ll go with, but so far all of my stories started out as blog posts here. Look at you all, helping me get an A in this class! We are reading this really great book by Walter Ong titled Orality and Literacy that is awesome! If you’re a word/language-geek looking for an interesting read, I encourage you to pick it up! This guy is scary smart.

Last, but not least, I’m doing Mystery Fiction! Due to being one of the first English majors on campus (and helping start the English Club as well), I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the English Suite talking with our awesome English professors. (By the way, that sentence just won an award for overusing the word “English.”) During one of those chats, I was asking our department head about the likelihood of creating certain courses. One of the things I asked about was a mystery class. I’m a huge fan of the genre, and I thought that it might be fun. While I was told that there were no plans to create such a course for the university, the department head mentioned that she had taught such a class at another college in the past.

Fast forward to last May when I realized that my current degree plan left room for one more elective course. Problem was, I’d taken any and every class that I was even slightly interested in. So, I casually asked the department head if she would be willing to do an independent study with me. She was! So there you have it…the brief and tedious history of my university’s first Mystery Fiction class.

I had the honour of drawing up my reading list, and it’s a pretty awesome one:

Week One – The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Week Two – Murder in the Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

Week Three – A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Week Four – The Maltese Falcon  by Dashiell Hammett

Week Five – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Week Six – Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

Week Seven – Death of an Expert Witness by P. D. James

Week Eight – The Service of All the Dead by Colin Dexter

A bit heavy on the British side of things, but we both prefer British literature anyway, so it works out. I also have two supplementary books for the class: The Perfect Murder, and Bloody Murder. I’m sure after ordering those two books that I’m now on some Amazon watch list. Also, please ignore the fact that I’m ordering from Amazon. Desperate times and all that jazz.

Add to that teaching British Literature twice a week, American Literature twice a week, a few music students, and 20+ hours at Starbucks, and I’m really in for an exciting two months. Oh well…l’chaim!