Category Archives: Coffee

I Like My Coffee


Like I like my men/women…

…usually in the same mug.

…with pastries.

…from a local independent coffee shop.

…with cream.

…with cinnamon.

…with eggnog.

…frequently bought at Starbucks.

…not too bitter.

…so good I wish I could savor it for hours.

…easy to acquire.

…made at home.

…in the middle of the afternoon, just because.

…with friends.

…earning me a stamp toward a free one.

___

Just a little bit of levity. Add your own in the comments!

 

Blaugust 19: I’m So Tired


Ever since I’ve come back from work today (retail work: I have been doing editing work in short bursts since then), aside from some brief stretches of alertness, I have barely been able to keep my eyes open. I’m sleepy as hell because I’ve been waking up earlier than usual but still staying up kind of late. My neck is stiff.

Now, being back in a space without air conditioning (sigh), I’m not sure how well I’m going to sleep. Since I have a lot I want to get done tomorrow before I head off for a fun night of debauchery, aka playing rock band, I will have to wake up early again. AND I don’t even know if I have any coffee…

I forgot to check.

I FORGOT TO CHECK FOR COFFEE.

What is my life?

Coffee is everything. Coffee is perfection. How could I not think of it? And now it’s going to be mad. What have I done? I’ve angered the coffee.

You can tell I’m tired, because clearly my filter is gone.

Virtual Renovation


Last post was number 150 on this blog! Except that I went back and deleted a few old ones, so it isn’t really, but oh well!

So yeah, about that… I’ve revamped this blog! Totally new theme and format, which I haven’t totally settled on, but it will be much closer to this than what it was. It will be much easier to browse through posts now with the new menu bar. The names of categories may still undergo some tweaking, but I definitely like what I’ve done so far.

I’m not in love with the theme. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s really cool and I like it plenty, but I don’t think it’s quite right for this blog. I’m keeping it for now, and when I have time to find a better one I will probably change it. Unfortunately, most of the themes I like best are not free, and just buying my two domain names this year was barely affordable (I exaggerate, but not by much…). Until I have a little more spare cash, I don’t get to do any of those fun extra-customization things that they offer if you’re willing to pay an arm and a leg through your nose.

That sounds uncomfortable, huh?

The past few days I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee with egg nog instead of half and half. I love doing this, but even though egg nog is really available all year, I only get it around Christmastime. I rarely drink it on its own anymore, mostly in my coffee. I just had a delicious thought: I would love some egg nog ice cream.

Not too much other food news. I made another unattractive but yummy omelet, and I tried a new chicken dish from my go-to Chinese restaurant that I really like. I’ve been drinking tons of tea, with and without honey, because I have a cold. That’s it.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on the formatting or the theme of the blog, I’d be glad to hear them! Just leave me a comment.

Coffee-pocalypse


I was just thinking that I will never make it to the end of the day without getting some coffee, and then this post popped up. Oh, so sad!

Of course, if we just ran out of coffee I’m sure we’d all acclimate to some other beverage. Or just take speed. This might reveal me as completely ignorant, but I’m going to ask anyway: since there is widespread climate change, isn’t it possible that some new area might become suited to growing coffee? And more importantly, is anyone looking into this? My motivations for asking are totally selfish. I already spend probably “too much” on coffee (like there’s such a thing) and I don’t really want to decrease my intake out of necessity. That’s just not nice.

Coffee, come back!

The Bean Stream

It is, quite literally, the beginning of the end. For coffee lovers.

Brazil, one of the countries with the highest production rate of Arabica coffee beans, is facing one of the worse droughts it has confronted in 20 years. It has been reported that more than 140 Brazilian cities are being rationed water, with some cities only getting water every three days.

While this is a difficult time for the people of Brazil, the unfortunate situation also has a ripple effect on the better part of the world. Other countries around the world that would normally rely on the import of Brazilian crops are being denied food and resources because of the drought; and the first and foremost crop being affected is coffee beans.

An interview on NPR tells us that in 49 days, southeastern Brazil (where most of Brazil’s crops are grown) has gotten only 11 millimeters of…

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What Could Be Better?


Having acquired quite a large amount (probably too much) of things that I don’t necessarily need, I’m starting to become more discerning in my acquisitions and thinking about the things I really feel like I need. What would actually improve my quality of life in general? Bit by bit I’m starting to collect those things, but there are some that in my experience are just really difficult.

1. The first is winter-specific, and that is thin, warm sweaters and tops. I am not really a fan of bulky or chunky sweaters that tend to abound in colder-climated places. They do absolutely nothing for my figure, and this is (sometimes disproportionately, I’m sure) important to me. The one really cozy sweater I have is not very bulky and hangs nicely. I have one or two more fitted, long-sleeved tops that are not bad for providing warmth, but I still have to layer them with another sweater on very cold days.

While I’m on the subject, I also am in desperate need of winter boots that look good with skirts or dresses. I mean actually weatherproof, will keep out snow and rain, but also moderately dressy and don’t make my pencil skirts look ridiculous. A few weeks ago I realized that the cold itself was not my only reason for wearing jeans every single day–it was because I don’t like how my boots look with skirts.

I need items that help me stick to my style in the winter instead of just defaulting to jeans and the same few nice tops or layers of cardigans, scarves, and tees all winter long. I’m too fancy for my winter clothes. I will have to start trying to fix this problem next winter.

2. This morning I found myself really wishing for a travel mug that does not change the flavor of my coffee, but also keeps it warm. Any time I take coffee in my metal ones, it tastes odd, very different from how it tastes in a normal mug. When I use my ceramic travel mug, which I bought because it had a picture of a peacock on it, the coffee is cold within 15 minutes. And, occasionally, the rubber top tastes weird to me. I shouldn’t have to taste the lid of my travel mug.

I don’t think this is such a problem for everyone else. It’s not something I’ve ever heard others complain about, from what I can recall. I also want one without a Starbucks logo, and made from eco-friendly materials. Any suggestions?

3. For at least ten years I have been searching for a great skincare routine. In the past few years my acne has subsided a bit as my skin naturally became a little less oily, but I still have that pesky “combination” skin–some oily areas, some a little dry at times, others normal. I need a collection of products that are effective but gentle–because I hated using cleansers and such that would completely dry out some areas of my face. I need a routine that does not need twelve different products every day (my maximum that I’m willing to deal with is 7 or so), but really improves my skin in all ways–smaller pores, no blackheads, fewer blemishes, that “glow” everyone’s always talking about. And then it also has to make pimples go away more quickly; I’m sick of getting these spots that hang around for several weeks before they finally start to diminish, sometimes even with regular use of a spot treatment.

My current skincare routine is okay, having abandoned the harsher acne cleansers I used to use for some gentle, more natural products. In many ways they work much better for me, but I feel like my pores are getting larger by the day. Supposedly this is common as you age, but I don’t want them to be so huge no matter how old I am, so I’ve got a few brands in mind to try. I worry, though, that by the time I find the products that really work, my skin will be changing again and I’ll have to restart the search.

4. This is something that I assume I won’t have to buy, but is very hard for me to find: A time management guide. I have some issues with time management, one of them being that I hate routines that have me doing the same exact thing every day. Minor changes don’t count (like “today I have yogurt for breakfast and tomorrow I’ll have eggs”). I start to get very restless and going back and forth to and from the same places and activities every day becomes monotonous before too long. So the most typical advice of mapping out your day and setting aside particular times to do things makes me resistant because I don’t like being so closely scheduled. I prefer freedom, flexibility, options. I need the room for spontaneity even if it’s only used once in a while, or I start to feel suffocated. So I need some sort of time management buddy that allows me to organize things without planning out each day precisely. I have yet to find one that works for me.

These are the most prominent in my mind right now. There are other things as well, but those are more of long-term goals. Like owning nice furniture that I actually want to look at. I like dark wood, probably because it always seems to look nicer. Even cheap dark wood looks like better quality than light wood. Of course, I’m hesitant to buy any furniture right now. Not only do I not have the money, but I don’t want to acquire so many large pieces in my current apartment. I’m still hoping I won’t be stuck there for that much longer.

So what about you? What things do you feel like you need to make your life better/easier/more enjoyable? I want to know!

Look Around, Try Something New


Ever been to Clover? They’re a vegetarian,  fresh-fast food joint with a few locations and a food truck or two.  I’m not vegetarian myself, but I’ve enjoyed their offerings every time I’ve been there so far.  This morning makes number 3, and it was definitely delicious. [Click the link in this paragraph to go to their website if you’re interested in finding out stuff about the business. You should, they’re cool.]

Circumstances collided this morning to make me desperate to buy a breakfast sandwich. I was on my way to Starbucks and happened to look up as I walked, for once, and notice Clover across the street. As I was thinking to myself, “They’re so good,” I saw their breakfast menu written on the window. For some reason I had been under the impression that they only did lunch, so I was surprised and immediately thought to hell with Starbucks, I’m going to Clover!

I got the breakfast sandwich, which is a freshly cooked egg, tomato, and cheese on pita. It’s not the typical egg sandwich–the bread is unusual and the egg I think was soft-boiled (that’s the only method I’m aware of that would result in the eggy end product on my breakfast…)–and that’s ok. It was delicious. Of course, if you feel like you need bacon on your sandwiches, you’re going to have to go elsewhere,  but you’ll be passing up something great!

I also got a coffee, even though I’d already had coffee that morning, because I have a hard time resisting coffee. They use the pour-over method, which essentially guarantees you a good cup of coffee. I’m not a pour-over snob, I promise. I drink as much regular drip coffee as the next person who likes things that are simple and easy to prepare (but not instant–never instant! yuck!), but I like pour over places because it means that your coffee is freshly brewed, every time. It takes only a few minutes longer than the standard Starbucks coffee.

What it all boils down to is freshness. They use local ingredients, actually fresh ingredients (not frozen), and everything is made to order. I know some people don’t think that really matters, but believe me, you can taste the difference. However, they don’t jack the prices up like some places would–in fact, I find them very affordable. I am sure I’ll be going back there for breakfast in the future.

And they have popovers! I don’t always like popovers, but sometimes I’m in the mood for them. Maybe I’ll try the popover sandwich next time.

Iced Coffee in the (Half-)Dead of Winter


On the bus, as I’m waiting for blood to circulate back to my numbed ears, I look out the window and I see people carrying iced coffees. Large ones. Perhaps I should rethink my theory that I’m insane. But, you know, maybe these people are made of volcanoes.

Ok, maybe I’m still insane…

But at least I’m not crazy enough to drink iced coffee when it’s this cold out.

This morning was day 1 of my new project: being able to wake up like a normal person. Yesterday, after sleeping way too late yet again, I searched for articles about how to wake up more easily. Some of the tips were stupid, but some were helpful, and the most helpful-sounding ones were repeated over and over again.

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Take some time to “wind down” before bed (I’m giving it at least half an hour). That means turn off electronics, don’t eat anything heavy, maybe meditate.
  • Turn lights on/open blinds right when you wake up. I’ve always noticed this definitely does help, but now that the internet has confirmed my observation, it’s officially true.

The articles actually suggest setting your alarm every single day, including weekends… I’m not going to do that this weekend (at least, not both days), and not on Christmas, but I will probably start to do it soon. My winter-induced urge to hibernate does not match up with my daily life. Supposedly, if you stick to the routine, after a little while you’ll fall asleep and wake up naturally at those times.

I’m also going to try, for a little while, to reduce my caffeine intake after 2 or 3 pm. I’ve been known to drink coffee right up until sometimes 9pm, although usually I stop closer to 6 or 7. However, I think that until I get used to falling asleep earlier, having unnecessary caffeine in my system probably won’t be helpful.

I’m not a decaf person. I’ve rarely ever had it in my life. Does it taste different? Is it worth even getting it? Because I feel like it would change the flavor. Maybe it’s just the idea of it–if I didn’t know it was decaf, it would taste exactly the same. I want to do this experiment. Someone, please give me decaf coffee, tell me it’s regular, and we’ll see if I can tell the difference.

Probably not. But I do like to think I would.

That also means less black tea in the evenings. I have no idea what I’m going to drink now. Probably water and green or herbal teas.

However, as I might have mentioned, my policy is not to deprive myself of foods (apparently, this is the European way?) or drinks, so if I really want chai or coffee after work, I’ll get it. I just might hold off for this week, to try to get myself used to actually falling asleep.

If you’re like me, and you’re not a morning person at all in terms of energy, you might like to hear how this project goes. I’ll update occasionally as my sleep patterns change or don’t change, so pop back in next Monday or so.

In the meantime, avoid iced coffee if you live in New England (or Canada, or somewhere else where it’s almost winter). For me.

Monday Madness: Really, it’s Egg Nog Season


It’s not Christmas season, it’s eggnog season! I swear, it’s one of the things I look forward to most. And I don’t mean cocktail style, with rum or whatever people put in it. Just plain old, ridiculously sweet, rich, freaking delicious eggnog. Last year I made pancakes with it. This year I’ve been thinking about making cupcakes. Spice cake with eggnog frosting. I’m pretty excited.

I keep thinking about the pumpkin saturation we’ve been seeing the last few years. every fall, or rather, late summer, pumpkin starts creeping in, and by the end of September you can barely take a step without colliding with something pumpkin-flavored. Maybe it’s that fact, or maybe I just don’t like them as much anymore, but I’m pretty much “over” pumpkin coffees. I’ll get a handful throughout the pumpkin spice season–somewhere between 5 and 10, I’d guess–but I don’t crave them every day and I don’t get that excited for them to come out.

I reserve that feeling for the delicious, probably not nutritious, eggnog latte. Starbucks started having it just before Thanksgiving, so I’ve already managed to have two. Cafenation is advertising one as well. I’m not sure if they have them yet or if I’m going to have to wait a bit longer, but I’m really looking forward to it. Cafenation does everything well, so I’m sure I’ll love it when they combine two of my favorite things, coffee and eggnog.

This should not be such a big deal. You can in fact get eggnog any time of the year, and I suppose I could get an espresso machine (although at this point I don’t really want one), but eggnog has always been seasonal for me. We had it every Christmas morning. And probably Christmas eve. Now I tend to drink it all through December, padding a little in November and January depending on availability. I don’t want it at other times of the year.

That’s probably a good thing. It’s not exactly the best everyday food. But it is THE BEST holiday drink.

Monday Madness Again


I haven’t even been awake (fully) for three hours and I want to go back to sleep. Such is my life.

And because I woke up so late, I had tea and cookies that I keep in my desk for breakfast. No omelet (see yesterday’s post about what the hell I should do with all the basil), no yogurt, NO COFFEE. I think that bears repeating: I had no coffee this morning. The truth is, I don’t need it for the caffeine. I can wake up ok without any coffee. (And, you know, this might be a thing that addicts say, but) It’s the feeling of sitting down with a cup of coffee, the flavor, the knowledge that I actually have time to sit and drink coffee, more than the effects of the caffeine, that make me so unhappy when I miss it.

And now that I’m sitting at my desk, I don’t want to go out in this below-freezing weather to get coffee.

On some occasions, I sort of wish I were a trophy wife. If that were the case, I would have time for coffee every morning, because I wouldn’t have to worry about being at work. And I’d have time to organize my home, which I have not managed to do. I think that no matter how long I live somewhere, I have to really feel that I want to be in that apartment (or house, but that would be a long way off) before I can make efforts to make it feel like home.  Like, I would really like to get some drawer organizers, and then I thought I could probably make some myself. And then I thought further, when the hell am I going to have time for that?

But I don’t really want to be a trophy wife. I want the perks without having to be showered in extreme sexism/chauvinism every day. I want time and space to do the things in life that really matter to me. When you feel like you have to squeeze in the things you really care about wherever you can find time, and otherwise devote your life to pursuits you’re not enjoying just so you can afford to live, the passions and hobbies can become strains–especially when you start to feel guilty whenever you don’t have time to do them.

I feel like I, and pretty much everyone else on the internet, complain about the same things all the time. We could all just shut up and go DO things instead. But it’s so hard.

Woe Is Wednesday…


Well. Last night I decided I should make a pizza bagel for dinner, after buying bagels from Cafenation. It was very tasty but, of course, being pizza, it burned the roof of my mouth. So breakfast this morning was a little painful.

Worse, though, was the sad state of my coffee. I don’t know what happened exactly, but it wasn’t good today. It wasn’t terrible, so I drank it anyway. But I was kind of sad about it. Between that and how bad my hair looks today, I am not loving this Wednesday. I’m also very very tired, I think I need several days to just sleep.

Woe. Woe is me.

So the debate going on in my head is should I just have unsatisfying coffee today, or should I go out and get some? It should be an easy answer. It would help me be a little bit warmer in this freezing cold office (I’m exaggerating, but I am definitely cold), and I tend to go out for some food or drink every day, sometimes even just to get out of the office for a few minutes. But I’ve done very badly with my money this month so I would like, ideally, to spend as little as possible until whenever it is next week that I get my paycheck.

But coffee.

And sadness.

And so the debate goes. And screw it, I’m probably going to go get a coffee. I should be able to spend $2-4 today without a problem…

I think this problem could have been very easily avoided if I could have worked from home today. In fact, it would eliminate many problems if I could work from home. Logistically, I could do it. My tasks are generally things I do at a computer by myself, so…

Life is NOT fair. It’s not even close.

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