Sunday, January 17

Hey folks! How are we doing today? I’m doing much better than I have in past weeks, hence why there hasn’t been a newsletter since now. The best way I can equate it is by comparing it to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you’re struggling with personal needs, your motivation is less likely to be at its height. I was finding it really difficult to sit down and write because I was frankly just dealing with some overwhelming stress. However, like I said, things are going much better for me now, and that’s mostly due to a change in mindset.

One thing that has been adding a bit of stress to my life is instability with my job. Starbucks has recently unveiled a new covid policy called block scheduling, which is unfortunately adding conflicts to a lot of people’s schedules (including mine.) I have extended my availability to hopefully get some of my hours back, and I’m planning on filing for partial unemployment as well. 

Things in my personal life have also been up in the air as well, which is tough for me because I am such a planner and I just want to know the answer to everything. However, through communicating with my support system, journaling about my feelings, and taking positive steps for my mental health, I think my life is headed in the right direction. One of the ways my life is going to be changing in the past few months is by moving to a new state.

I’m planning on moving to Portland Maine on May 1 for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is because I really miss my mom, and she lives fairly close to Portland (she works in Portland as well.) With covid and everything that happened last year, I have really felt like I was isolated from my family so quickly. I miss my mom and feeling that sense of security of knowing she’s nearby. Being in Boston by myself in the middle of the pandemic, dealing with food/job insecurity, my stress has become more exacerbated than it needs to be.

That sort of ties into another reason I’m moving- my rent is ridiculous in Boston for the measly minimum wage I make working at Starbucks. And especially with these new scheduling cuts, that has only gotten worse. I’m looking forward to relocating to another city where rent will be MUCH lower, and I will probably have an easier time finding a job that relates to my Bachelor’s. That being said, I do enjoy working at a coffee shop, and I’m not against transferring to a Starbucks up in Portland (as long as I get enough hours!)

I’d also like to move into an apartment that’s pet-friendly, as my current apartment is not and that gives me stress about my pet rats. I think I will feel a lot better living in an environment where it is safe for me to have animals, and I can adopt more of them, too. I’d like to adopt more rats, a cat, and maybe even a senior dog once I relocate and get settled into Maine.

So as you can see, there are a ton of reasons why I’d like to move up to Maine. There are so many circumstances in my life right now that add stress to me, and I’m ready to be done with them. Obviously May is a long way out, but I’m looking forward to updating you guys on the process!

Can we just talk about this color story as well? SO pleasing.

I am both blessed and cursed to live close to TJ Maxx. On one hand, it’s not particularly helpful for my wallet, especially since I’m trying to bulk up my saving’s account. On the other hand, I have found some adorable products that I have loved adding to my collection. 

My current collection of bath/skincare products is also a cultivation of things I’ve bought at Ulta, made myself, or purchased through a small business! I’m so excited to share everything with you, and I have to say, my skin has been looking FIRE since adding these changes to my routine. 

Acne has been a fairly prevalent part of my life since middle school, and I believe the addition of having quite oily skin and mild PCOS (among other hormonal imbalances) has accentuated my acne. I’m certainly not a skincare expert, and what works for me might not work for someone else, but I have found a personal routine that is improving my skin hugely. Just look at how different my skin looks now as opposed to last summer. I do still have a bit of acne, but the redness and bumpy texture of my skin is clearly so much better than it used to be. In fact, my skin is so leveled out, it almost looks blurred. There aren’t any filters or blurring effects on the right picture: that is a real flash picture of what my skin looked like after I finished my night routine. So let’s get into it!

Hyalu Melon Smoothing Milky Wash | Garnier Green Labs | $8

Just to be clear, I don’t use three different cleansers every single day- I rotate them depending on the time of day and what I feel my skin needs. For day-to-day cleansing, I use this product by Garnier. I was actually inspired to buy it because my roommate whom I share the shower with had it in her caddy, and I thought it sounded really cute and refreshing, so I decided to order my own on Ulta. I think this is a great product for folks like me, who have oily/sensitive skin, because it’s a very simple product that isn’t too scented or intense. Foaming cleansers are generally not good for the skin (it can dry you out,) so this is an excellent, almost jelly-like product that glides on easily and doesn’t cause too much irritation. I definitely foresee myself buying more of this in the future.

Egg Cleansing Foam | Esfolio | $4 (at TJ Maxx)

This is another cleanser I sometimes use at night to get off remaining stubborn makeup, but because it is classified as a “foaming” wash, I don’t use it as often as my other cleansers. I was mostly drawn to this product because I thought it was adorable. I have been really into Korean and Japanese products/aesthetics lately, and since this product was so cheap, I decided to give it a try. It is a bit more scented than the Hyalu Melon cleanser, but it feels really good on my skin and I love how supple my skin feels after I use this. I really think Korean skincare is onto something.

Seaweed Cleansing Soap | Mario Badescu | $14

I’m sorry, I know I seem like I’m going overboard with the cleansers. But like I said, I don’t use them all at once, and I primarily stick with my Garnier one. However, for the nights when I’m feeling extra ∼boujee,∽ I do whip out this cleansing soap by Mario Badescu. I’ve been using Mario Badescu products for years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience with the brand. I particularly like their Drying Lotion, which is great for folks with stubborn acne, so I was really excited to give this product a try. Similarly to the egg face wash, my leading factor in purchasing this was the aesthetic, but I also genuinely wanted to give this a try and add it to my budding collection. It is extremely thick and creamy, and it feels so luxurious after sweating it up under my mask at Starbucks all day. Although it’s probably the heaviest cleanser I own, it does make my skin feel the softest. 

Exfoliating Body Scrub | Body Prescriptions | $5 (at TJ Maxx)

I don’t know if I’ve ever said this before, but I am literally obsessed with coconut anything. Candles, soaps, scrubs, hair products- if it has coconut or it smells like coconut, I want it in my home immediately. I wanted to buy a body scrub because I find that shaving/avoiding ingrown hairs is much easier if I exfoliate before shaving. Doing so can open up your pores and make it easier to get a smoother, cleaner shave. This feels especially luxurious on my legs after I shave them, and like I said before, the fact that it smells like coconuts makes it 5000 times better. This is definitely something I’ve been going through so quickly. 

Witch Hazel Facial Toner | Thayers | $10

Thayers, like Mario Badescu, is one of those iconic, staple brands I’ve been loving and trusting for years. Particularly for folks like me who are prone to redness, natural witch hazel is a great way to soothe your skin and keep it looking evenly toned. I use this product twice a day- once in the morning and once at night after I have cleansed my skin. This witch hazel also comes in a variety of scents, such as rose water, cucumber, and lavender! I’ve used the rose water scent in the past and loved it, but currently, I’m using the equally-soothing lavender witch hazel. 

Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer | Derma E | $20

Throughout my research on skincare, I have learned that Vitamin C is an essential ingredient to add to your skincare routine. Some people prefer to get their Vitamin C through serums and toners, but for me, I found the best solution was through moisturizer. Moisturizing is extremely important, even if you have oily skin and you think you don’t need it! Just like cleansing and toning, I use my moisturizer twice a day. Not only does it keep my skin feeling soft and replenished, but the added Vitamin C helps my skin to feel (and look) more brightened and radiant.

Wildflower Honey Bar Soap | Homemade

As for other bath/body products, I’ve been getting more into bar soap these past few weeks. One thing I have discovered I love to do is make my own bar soap! I made this wildflower honey soap using real honey, glycerin soap base, and a bit of added color. I love that it has a subtle yet sweet smell, and it gets SO bubbly, which makes it great for lathering up and shaving. If you’re interested in purchasing some of my soap (in other scents as well!), I will leave the link here.

Coffee Scrub Bar Soap | Good Minds Soap Co. | $10

If you enjoy supporting small businesses, you should definitely check out Good Minds Soap Co. I went to high school with the girl who makes these products, and I was so happy to support her shop and purchase a bar of coffee scrub soap. I love the gentle grittiness of the coffee grounds; it almost feels like a massage. I also think this soap is so aesthetically pleasing in my bathroom, and I enjoy reaching for it every day. She has several other scents on her website, including grapefruit, rosemary, and lavender. She also sells zero waste cat toys- what could be cuter than that! Anyway, I’m really loving the soap I ordered and the zero waste packaging it came in. If you’re interested in supporting her shop and browsing her products, click here

That’s everything I’ve been loving on my skin lately. On top of using high-quality, more natural products, I’ve also started removing my makeup with a reusable makeup cloth instead of trying to rub it off in the shower with my cleanser. It’s a small step, but I think not rubbing the product into my face when my pores are open in the shower has been making a huge difference and I HIGHLY recommend taking off your makeup before you shower! That just about summarizes everything I’ve got for you today. Remember to check out Good Mind Soap Co. for some awesome handmade soap, and if you’d like to support my personal shop as well, pop over to Sugarbeet Goods!

Like many other people, being in quarantine for most of 2020 meant I was able to spend much more time cooking, baking, and overall cultivating my culinary skills. I’m certainly not a chef by any means, and I’m still a picky eater, but these are the five recipes I enjoyed the most this past year that I’m looking forward to making again. I hope you enjoy these recipes just as much and find some inspiration!

One Skillet Sun Dried Tomato & Gnocchi | Eat Yourself Skinny

I actually have to give full credit to my mom for finding this recipe. From the beginning of 2020 to pretty much right up until I moved in May, my mom and I made this recipe constantly. For those of you who don’t know, Gnocchi is a delicious potato-derived pasta commonly used in Italian dishes. It has a chewy, doughy, soft texture, and the taste is neutral enough that you can mix it into a variety of dishes. As you can probably guess, I prepare this recipe without the chicken, but it’s just as delicious and filling that way. It’s a perfect comfort meal for a cold winter evening, and it can be made in less than thirty minutes. 

Easy Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad | Baker by Nature

This is actually the most recent Pinterest recipe I made, and I love it for its simplicity, its bold yet simple flavors, and the minimal amount of time it takes to prepare this dish. Really, the hardest part of it is just boiling the tortellini, and that’s clearly not really labor intensive. I’ve been bringing this to work for lunch the past few days, and I have to say, I’m still not tired of it! It’s like the classy, more evolved older sister of a basic caprese salad. 

‘Chickpea of the Sea’ Tuna Salad Sandwich | The Simple Veganista

Back before I was a vegetarian, I used to love tuna and considered tuna fish sandwiches to be one of my favorite lunches. Luckily, chickpeas have come to the rescue in this recipe and allowed me to enjoy a very similar version of my childhood favorite! Nori sheets are optional to give the salad an especially fishy taste, but personally, I think it tastes just as fine without. Even Nathaniel, a tuna eater, liked it, which he himself admitted he wasn’t expecting to. 

This Thing

I admittedly don’t know what one would call this sandwich and I couldn’t find a name or a website for the original inventor, but regardless, it’s delicious. It’s filling. It’s greasy. It’s extra. And although it was fairly messy to make, it was worth every paper towel and dirty pan. Truly, I think a decadent egg sandwich is the vegetarian’s dream, and this particular one really knocked my expectations out of the park. Like I said, I can’t find an OG recipe, but here is a pictorial!

Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake | The Baking ChocolaTess

In the deepest depths of quarantine, like many other Americans, I found myself getting extremely invested in baking bread. Particularly since I work at Starbucks, I was very eager to see how this pumpkin bread would hold up to the test. As a novice baker, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this came out! It was thick and delectable without being too heavy, and I think it had the perfect amount of pumpkin (although Nathaniel said he didn’t think it had enough.) All in all, an absolute classic recipe. 

I have to say, considering I don’t really have much of a background in cooking, I’m really happy with the different recipes and varieties of food I have tried in 2020 (even if it’s mostly pasta.) I think all of these dishes are delicious, but I especially recommend the sun dried tomato gnocchi pasta. Be sure to let us know if you try any of these recipes and what you think below!

Monday, December 28

Thankful for these little fur babies who helped me through the holidays!

Merry (late) Christmas to my friends who celebrate the holiday, and to everyone, I hope you all had a happy, safe weekend with your friends and family! My Christmas was pretty up-and-down, but overall uneventful. Actually, the entire past week was so simultaneously bad and yet anticlimactic in a way I can’t describe. I guess the best place to start would be last Tuesday.

I went into work like any other day, and the plan was that I would work Mon-Thurs and then take the bus to see Nathaniel for Christmas. That whole fiasco was actually an entirely different stress in my life, but I’ll touch on that later. For now, let’s focus on Tuesday and onward.

My roommate texted me on my ten minute break to let me and my other roommate know he had tested positive for COVID, and that’s pretty much where things took a downhill dive. Honestly, though, I feel like I was so numbed out from the other things that were upsetting me in my life, I kind of just added the COVID stress to my mental tab and didn’t immediately get upset about it. I told my shift manager, who told me I needed to go home and quarantine for ten days in isolation (over Christmas, I might add.) Which I was more than happy to do for the sake of keeping everyone safe, and I agree quarantining until I had a negative test was a good idea, but still, it was such a bummer that Nathaniel and I had been racking our heads trying to work out a plan for me to come see him, and then once I did work something out, I had to stay home anyway. 

One of the biggest things that was stressing me out was the fact that I would not get paid for this quarantine time. The first thing I did was go to Tufts to take a COVID test, which literally took two hours because the line was out the door, and then I applied for a grant from Starbucks for the pay I would be losing by staying home. After I’d done pretty much everything I could do to make my situation less stressful, I sort of just accepted the reality that I was going to have a very lonely, isolated Christmas by myself.

By the way, my infected roommate DID go home to his parents so he could properly isolate, and my other healthy roommate was out of state, so it was truly just me and the rats in the apartment. And yeah, it was kind of awesome, being able to keep my bedroom door open and play music and walk around in my underwear, but it was still eerie and sad and weird to be so isolated for so many days. However, the good news is I did NOT have to be isolated for ten days! Because my COVID test came back negative (thank god) and my infected roommate isn’t coming back until he has a negative test, I was able to properly clear myself of all exposure and come back to work today, Monday the 28th. 

Actual Christmas Eve and Christmas day felt like any other day. I woke up, I did dishes, I played the sims, I hung out with my rats, and I mostly just hung around my room. It could have been a lot worse; at least I wasn’t sick, you know? Still, and I think a lot of people feel this way, I would have been so much happier if I could have at least seen my friends and family. 

I’m happy to be back at work again, because I really love my co-workers and it’s nice to be making an income again! My boss did tell me that I have 22 accrued sick hours I can use, so I just went ahead and used all of those to make up for the three week days I was out. It all ended up working out in the end- I’m still going to have a decent paycheck and pay my rent, I spent a lot of bonding time with Susie and Jenna, and honestly, I’m just going to look back at this as a winter vacation. 

I’ve been going through a bit of a funk lately, related to numerous things in my life, and having to rely on texting and social media to communicate with others hasn’t been helpful for me because it’s so difficult to really communicate with people meaningfully and effectively that way. I’m going to try to be easy on myself this week and focus on things that make me feel happy and productive- self care, keeping my room and my apartment tidy, staying on top of chores, and giving myself a lot of pet therapy. My mom always seems to know just what to say to make me feel better, and today, her advice was that I don’t have to make a decision about anything today, I can just let my life run its course and see what happens. I’ve felt a bit better since I’ve talked to her, and I think I’m beginning to remember who I was before this fog took over me, if that makes sense.

I hope you all have a great day and a great week. I personally am looking forward to brighter days ahead and I’m looking forward to continuing on this path to 2021.

Sunday, December 13

It’s crazy how quickly December is flying by, isn’t it? Honestly, I feel like the older I get, the faster the years are flying by. I suppose that’s probably a good thing right now, seeing how we’re still in the middle of COVID-19 and so many of us can’t wait for it to be over. There’s new hope now that the vaccine is being rolled out, but I have no idea what the accessibility of the vaccine is and how quickly food service workers like myself will have access to it. 

Despite that, the past few weeks have actually been quite nice for me, and I feel extremely privileged to say that. I think that’s primarily because of my new job location and the convenience that has granted me, and additionally, I’ve just been more excited in general because it’s Christmastime! I haven’t gotten to see my family very much this year, so I’m really looking forward to spending some (safe and responsible) time with them this month. This upcoming weekend I am going to spend time with my parents and my stepfather, and the weekend after that, which is actual Christmas weekend, I am going to be with Nathaniel and his family! I have a lot of great family time to look forward to, and I just know I’m going to get super emotional when I see my mom again. 

Nathaniel and I had a tiny Thanksgiving this weekend! Complete with a vegan roast.

This past weekend was also really uplifting for me! I got to spend time with Nathaniel, which is always a treat, and we watched a movie he’s been trying to show me for a while- Boogie Nights. I have to say, I was skeptical going in, but I actually really enjoyed it and found the theme of the movie to be so interesting and thought provoking. Definitely not a family friendly holiday fun movie, but if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it.

I also saw my friends Alanis and Sean, who are another couple in my friend group, and we had a low-key margarita night at my apartment yesterday. Alanis and I are good friends, and Sean and Nathaniel are pretty tight too, so it’s always such a great, positive time whenever the four of us hang out. So it was a great weekend, but now it’s back to work tomorrow! I did pick up an extra shift yesterday, so it didn’t feel like a completely relaxed weekend, but I can’t complain about making some extra money. I’m going to begin my bedtime routine so that I can feel bright and refreshed tomorrow. Have a great week, everyone!!

For the last couple of years, Juvia’s Place has been one of my favorite go-to brands. Not only is their price point hard to beat, their products are genuinely incredible and I’ve never been disappointed by a new launch. Additionally, Juvia’s Place is a proud Black-owned business, and all of their products are designed to be inclusive and workable for all skin tones.

With that being said, I was super excited when I checked my email on Black Friday and saw that Juvia’s Place was offering an amazing deal- a mystery bag for only $35. In the mystery bag, you would receive one 16-pan palette, one six pan product, a highlighter, a lip product, and a mystery product. For the price point, it seemed like an amazing deal to me, so I went ahead and ordered a mystery bag on the spot. My only reservation about the order was that I may receive a palette I already own; as far as I know, there are only two 16-pan palettes, and I already own one of them. However, I figured that if I got a second copy of the Magic Mini, the palette I own already, I could simply re-gift it to a friend.

The package arrived in a fairly reasonable amount of time- I ordered it on Black Friday and it was at my doorstep the following Wednesday. I received five products in my mystery bag, and as expected, everything was in beautiful, vibrant packaging. I sadly did receive a second Magic Mini palette, but I gifted it to a good friend of mine, who is super excited to try it out! The six pan palette I received was The Taupes palette, which is absolutely beautiful, the Heroine Loose Highlighter, a liquid lipstick in the shade Rouge, and a passion fruit scented lip balm, which was the mystery item. 

I decided to try out all the products in one look (minus the palette I re-gifted,) so that I was able to have a well-balanced first impression of everything. First and foremost, I was so happy with the six pan palette, The Taupes. Although I do love crazy eyeshadow colors, I do appreciate a solid neutral collection as well. Particularly since I’ve been doing a lot of makeup on others, I think these colors are going to be extremely versatile and flattering on a variety of skin tones. As expected, the color payoff and blendability was extremely impressive as well. I’m eagerly looking forward to buying more of these single color-story palettes, especially The Pinks and The Nubian Glow!

I was absolutely amazed by the loose highlighter- I’ve never used a loose one before and I didn’t know what to expect, but now I literally CAN’T stop putting it everywhere. I’ve been brushing it everywhere, from my brow bone to my inner corner, and my upper lip to my cheekbones. It’s truly such a glamorous, pigmented highlighter powder, and I’m excited to see what other highlighter colors Juvia’s Place comes out with in the future. 

Now, let’s move onto the lip products. I love a good matte lipstick, and especially a red/pink toned one, so I was really excited when I unboxed this Velvety Matte Lipstick in the shade “Rouge.” It looks a bit darker on the site, but when I swatched it on my hand I discovered that it is actually a lovely, deep, muted fuchsia. I really enjoy the finish it leaves on my lips as well; it’s matte and velvety without looking dry or cracked. As someone who is prone to dry lips, especially in the wintertime, this is a huge perk!

I think the product I am most excited about, even more than the highlighter, is the “mystery product”- the passion fruit lip balm. It may not sound like a very groundbreaking product, but listen- I am OBSESSED with this lip balm. For one thing, it tastes like a fresh, tropical smoothie, so I feel like I’m truly pampering myself when I put it on. It’s also slightly tinted, but not too tinted, so I can throw it on when I’m having a no-makeup day and still feel luxurious. If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer for a friend or makeup lover, this lip balm is a perfect choice.

Overall, I’m really happy with this mystery bag and I’m glad I decided to buy it! When taking into consideration the reasonable price point and the extremely high quality of the products, I think it’s hard not to love this amazing deal. I admire Juvia’s Place for the hard work and clear dedication they put into their products, and I’m looking forward to trying new items in the future. What makeup products would you like to see me try next? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 9

I’ve been at my new store for about two weeks now, and I have to say, it’s so nice not having to commute for multiple hours a day to go work at Starbucks. Now, my commute is only about twelve minutes, and my train fare has been cut in half, so I’m saving quite a bit of money as well. My coworkers are all very kind and welcoming, but I’ll admit, I was fairly miserable for the first couple of days. Even though the last Starbucks I worked at was overall worse in every regard, I did love my coworkers like family, so it was really difficult for me to make that transition from being surrounded by friends I love to being a new girl in an unfamiliar store. Nonetheless, I do feel like I’m getting on well with a lot of my coworkers, and I’m already feeling better now that I’m more comfortable with the store and the routine. Additionally, one of my shift managers used to have pet rats, so he’s given me a lot of great advice about how to care for them and help them come out of their shell!

So that’s been all fine and normal. Aside from that, everything else in my life is going fairly normal as well. In fact, a little too boring. So last weekend, I took it upon myself to rearrange my entire room, and I have to say, I’m very happy with how it came out! I’ve been trying to dedicate more attention to decluttering my room and throwing away/donating things I don’t use anymore. Now that my work situation is a lot less crazy and exhausting, I am able to dedicate more time to doing things I love/need to do around the house. 

This upcoming weekend I am going to visit my father for a couple of days, which I’m looking forward to, and then the weekend after that I’m going to visit my mother for the holidays. And then the weekend after that is actual Christmas, so I’m going to be spending Christmas day and the following weekend with Nathaniel and his family. I feel like I have three families: my dad, my mom and my stepdad, and Nathaniel/his family. With that being said, I am doing my best to dedicate individual time with all of those three groups separately, since it wouldn’t be safe or responsible to see everyone on the same weekend. I know even now it sounds risky to go visit my family during the pandemic, but I can promise you that I’m not going out into huge crowds or putting myself (or my family) in any danger. Whenever I go to see my family, we always stay low and hang around inside the house, until it’s time for me to head back to my own city. Granted, if cases continue to get worse, I may have to revaluate my current action plan. It’s such a shame, the way everything feels like it’s being stripped away from us. I am of course grateful for the things I do have, but I still feel the pain of 2020 being a downright shitty year. Honestly, I feel like the only silver lining of this entire year is Nathaniel. I’m tired and confused and my life feels so insecure- not knowing where my groceries are coming from next week or if I’m going to be able to make my rent unless I pick up overtime- but it’s all worth it because of him. And next year, things are going to be so much different and better. We’re going to have our own place, my rent will be marginally cheaper, and most importantly, we’ll be together. He’s back at home now that the semester is winding down, and I’ve missed him so much. I can’t wait to wake up to him every day in 2021.

Hopefully, 2021 will also bring a vaccine, so that I can bring all of my family together again and see everyone safely. I’m trying not to be too optimistic, but like I said, I really feel like 2021 is going to be my year. I’m ready for positive changes.

Talk to you next week!

Savor the flavors of Starbucks holiday food and beverages
Image source: Starbucks.com

I’ve worked at Starbucks for roughly half a year, and in that time, I have tried a LOT of coffee. I’ve tried everything from the summer 2020 Kiwi Star Fruit refresher (fairly gross, might I add,) to fall-themed pumpkin spice chai tea lattes (absolutely delicious.) And today, I am going to be sharing with you guys my thoughts on every single ∼holiday drink,∽ so buckle up and grab your lattes.

Peppermint Mocha

Of all the holiday drinks, I think peppermint mocha is probably my favorite. I’m just a huge fan of peppermint year-round, so being able to enjoy it in my morning coffee is such a treat. I will say, I find the regular brown mocha to be far too thick and gunky, so I always opt for a white chocolate peppermint mocha instead. You can also opt for less pumps of mocha to counteract the thickness, which I sometimes do as well. I highly recommend ordering this drink with whipped cream! 

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

The toasted white chocolate mocha is a bit different than a regular white mocha, because it has a bit more of a toffee nut flavor to it. I personally enjoy this flavor as well, and again, it’s a lot less thick and chunky than regular mocha, which I prefer. As you may have guessed, toasted white mocha also pairs very well with peppermint and I highly recommend asking for either a pump of toffee nut or a pump of peppermint in this beverage, if you’re feeling ∼fancy.∼

Caramel Brulee Latte

I am admittedly not the biggest fan of caramel, so I’m not as into the caramel brulee as I am the other holiday flavors. There’s just something about this particular flavor in particular that I don’t gravitate towards; I can’t tell if it’s too sweet or too sour, and there’s just something about it that doesn’t sit right with me. I will say, however, that the caramel brulee topping is absolutely delicious. That may be its one redeeming quality to me. 

Chestnut Praline Latte

Chestnut Praline is definitely up there in my top 2, and honestly, I feel like it’s probably the most underrated flavor. I’ve never tasted anything like chestnut praline before, but it feels like the perfect toasty, spicy, warm, holiday flavor for a chilly winter day. Unlike caramel brulee and eggnog, I feel like chestnut is a flavor that actually pairs well with coffee and enhances the overall drink experience. If you’re looking to try something new at Starbucks, definitely try the chestnut praline!

Eggnog Latte

Listen, I just have to say- I am a huge fan of eggnog. It’s one of my favorite holiday flavors, and one that I look forward to enjoying at my dad’s house every christmas. But a hot eggnog latte? I’m sorry, but it is simply atrocious. For one thing, your barista will almost always be unhappy with you for ordering an eggnog latte because eggnog does not aerate very well. This means that the preparation of steaming the milk is going to be obnoxiously loud and screechy due to the thickness of the milk, and then, in the end, what are you left with? A latte that tastes like garbage. I’m sorry, but eggnog and coffee do NOT pair together and you may quote me on that! Go out and buy yourself a quart of cold eggnog instead and enjoy it that way. 

Those are more or less my final thoughts on the Starbucks holiday drinks, taking into consideration the quality of the coffee and the price point that customers pay for. I would definitely recommend opting for a peppermint mocha for something more sweet and traditional, and a chestnut praline latte if you feel like trying something new. I can even justify trying the caramel brulee for shits and gigs, but for the love of god, STAY AWAY FROM THE EGGNOG LATTES.

Have you guys tried any of these holiday drinks before? What were your thoughts? Let me know below!

Sunday, November 29

Hi everybody, I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted on here so today I am trying to make a strong effort to get back into it. It’s not even that I haven’t been enjoying writing, and more so that I just haven’t been in the right headspace to sit down and do it. However, this week is going to bring about some really positive changes, and I think that is going to make a huge difference for me and my ability to focus on my passion projects. So, as some of you may know, I currently have to commute fairly far via walking and public transit to get to work, but as of tomorrow, I will be working at a MUCH closer location to my house! So that is going to save me a ton of money and time, and additionally, I won’t be spending any more time at the old store, which was frankly a very negative and toxic work environment for me and several other people. Everyone is really happy that I found a way out of the store, albeit, they’ve said they’re all going to miss me very much. I miss them too already, but it’s not too bad, because I’m friends with several of my coworkers outside of work and I see them fairly regularly anyway. I’ll definitely keep you guys updated on the new store. I am a little stressed because they haven’t scheduled me as many hours as I’m used to working and that’s going to put a damper on my ability to pay December/January bills, but oh well, it will work out. It always works out in the end.

I spent the last few days with Nathaniel and his family for Thanksgiving, which was very lovely, and we stayed locally and didn’t expand into huge groups or gatherings, which I feel relieved about. The virus is very scary, and I’ve been trying my best to take it seriously by wearing my mask and maintaining a distance from others. However, like I said, I spent this past weekend with a very small group of family, and we were all very careful, so I feel pretty good about it. Nathaniel and I went to visit some cows at a local farm we love, and we got some great pictures from that!

Unfortunately, Nathaniel’s family is currently going through the loss of a family member- his grandfather. It was very sad for me to see him suffering emotionally from that, but I am grateful at the same time that I was able to be with him and help him get through it as best as I could. I had met his grandfather a few times, and I always loved spending time with him. He’s also an artist, so we had several conversations together about art and our favorite painters. 

That’s pretty much all that’s going on right now. I’m very happy to be reunited with the girls, Susie Q and Jenna- I missed them so much! I’m looking forward to the week ahead and especially to work at my new store tomorrow. Stay safe and I’ll talk to you guys soon!

Sunday, November 15

Hi, everyone! How are you all doing? Is it starting to feel like winter wherever you live? We have plenty of chilly days here in Boston, but for the most part, it’s actually been sticking in the forties these past few weeks. Although it’s a bit concerning, environmental-wise, it is nice on my 7am walk to work. 

This past weekend I took the commuter rail up to Northern Massachusetts to visit my dad, my brother, and my good friend from high school, Eli. I don’t get to see them very often, especially with COVID and working all the time, so it was nice to take a break from city life for a few days and focus on family. One of the strangest things for me coming back to my hometown was noticing how quiet everything was. There was no rumble of the train, no shouting people or police cards- just pure silence. It was a nice change.

I took a bubble bath on Friday for the first time in six months, and even though it was just a little thing, it was so nice to sit in steaming hot water for an hour with bubbles everywhere. I sometimes find it hard to ultimately relax, especially when I’m caught up in my work cycle, so having that little bit of time to myself was extra special. I also watched Elf with my family, because once it’s November, that means it’s officially Christmas.

It was a treat to see Eli as well! We walked around downtown Newburyport (with masks, of course,) and we stopped into Starbucks as well, which is so funny for me to do when I’m not working. We also went to Marshalls, where I picked up a couple of things for the girls.

Speaking of the girls, they’re doing great! Jenna is really starting to flourish and she’s very inquisitive and energized, although she does love a good snooze on her daddy’s shoulder, too. Susie is also good, and enjoying trying all kinds of new snacks, such as kale and cheerios and blueberries. I can hear them running around in their cage right now, having an absolute blast. When they snuggle up and fall asleep together, it’s the cutest darn thing. 

So things are going really well right now, and I’m so glad I had that little break away from the city to spend some time focusing on other things. I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, but even sooner than that, I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Goodnight everyone!