Summer on Ice with Starbucks

When I wasn't chipping away at this new site this summer, I was probably hanging out with Jacob and Spike over on Alki. Alki is the perfect place to enjoy beach vibes and some of the most spectacular views of the Seattle skyline. It's just a short drive for us and yet it feels so far away from the downtown hustle and bustle. Spike loves the water, so we're out there a lot. Catch us walking along the beach or enjoying spam musubi, pulled pork sliders and yummy cocktails on the patio at Marination Ma Kai!

Coffee fuels almost all of our adventures, whether that's out on Alki or hard at work. I'm in the midst of a year as a part of Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community, and they sent us a package that's fit for any Seattle summer activity.

I love the Starbucks Iced Coffee in all of its flavors, so naturally I was very heart-eyed emoji when I saw samples of four different flavors! Those went quick. Jacob isn't one for the flavored coffees but is all about the DoubleShot Protein Coffee for a pick-me-up in the afternoon. He also got me hooked on the Starbucks VIA Instant packets. We keep a couple of packets on us at all times!  This care package came with the VIA Instant Iced Coffee, which was especially great for road trips or on the ferry.


That picnic basket got a ton of mileage this summer, and that blanket was the perfect picnic & beach seating. After a good cleaning, it's now on heavy rotation for naps on the couch. :)

Thanks Starbucks for a iced coffee-fueled summer!

View all of my Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community Posts here.

Disclosure: I am a member of Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community. Products were provided by Starbucks Coffee Company for this post. All opinions are mine!

Sampling Starbucks' Single-Origin Coffees

Remember when I said I wasn't much of a coffee drinker? That's all changed since joining the Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community earlier this year (coupled with a job that's become a lot more demanding as of late!)

Nowadays I'm carefully rationing out my coffee, only having it on days with a particularly taxing cardio workout followed by a long, full day at work. Last time, Starbucks sent me their Core Coffee Series to sample. This time around, I have the pleasure of having their Single-Origin coffees in my cup.

Starbucks newest Single-Origin coffees were carefully selected to exemplify the best of the region they represent. 'Single-Origin' means the beans get their distinguishing characteristics from the soil, climate and elevation where they're cultivated, creating their unique flavor profile - the spicy Starbucks® Timor Mount Ramelau®; chocolatey Starbucks® Guatemala Laguna de Ayarza and sweet Starbucks® Rwanda Rift Valley®

It's hard to pick a favorite amongst the three as I've enjoyed them all so much. Not only are they responsible for helping me get through my days, but they also take me back to some of my favorite travels. Like a true Seattleite, I seek out coffee shops in every city I go to. Whether it's in New York City, San Juan, L.A. or most recently, Vancouver, there's nothing like a good cup of coffee to bring a little piece of home back into my day. 

Thanks Starbucks for this sweet kettle, kitchen towel & dip glazed mug! We use the kettle exclusively for all of our hot drinks and hot water now, and the mug and towel are such chic additions to our kitchen.

Get these Starbucks Single-Origin coffees at your nearest grocery store!

Find out more about the coffees - and get a coupon for a sweet deal too.

Disclosure: I am a member of Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community. Products were provided by Starbucks Coffee Company for this post. All opinions are mine!

Help Kickstart Kalsada, Philippine Specialty Coffee

In the coffee capital of the world, knowing where our coffee comes from is just as important as the taste. Bonus points if we can put a face behind the beans; one with a passion for coffee and tremendous amounts of care in how its produced. 

My friend My Tam tipped me to Kalsada Coffee, founded by a trio of women entrepreneurs who are championing specialty coffee from and for the Philippines, working closely with farmers to produce the highest-quality beans possible. 

They've got a Kickstarter going right now, and need our help in raising $15,000 to build much-needed infrastructure for their farm partners to take their coffee from good to great.

Currently most farmers dry their coffee on bilao, or woven bamboo baskets. This dries the coffee much too quickly--essentially pre-baking it in the sun and giving the coffee a papery, cardboard taste.

With simple technology and a bit of training, farmers have a better chance of evenly drying their coffee. Already, Kalsada has built raised drying beds and has begun educating farmers on quality.

Your contributions will help build a small, inexpensive washing station that would centralize resources and knowledge. It would save the farmers time and labor, while bringing their unique coffee to aficionados like you.

Check out the Kalsada Coffee story and support their Kickstarter here. Thanks My Tam!

Sampling Starbucks' Core Coffee Series

I'm not much of a coffee drinker, for no particular reason other than that I just never picked up a daily habit. Every once in awhile I'll indulge (it's hard not to in the coffee capitol of the world!), and occasionally I'll have a cup that'll rock my world! Like wine, beer and liquor, I feel like there's a whole body of knowledge of the world of coffee, and you just need the right situation to really get into it.

I have the pleasure this year of being part of the Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community, and am excited to finally have the right situation to expand my brain in the world of coffee!

My first care package has all the ingredients for a deep dive into Starbucks' coffee basics. There's a sampling of beans from Starbucks' Core Coffee Series (blonde (light), medium and dark roasts), along with a sweet, simple pour over brewer with paper cone filters. I feel like a real coffee drinker now! LOL

Because I'm a casual coffee drinker, I'm familiar with the lighter Starbucks® Veranda® blend. It's my usual choice for Starbucks drip, and at home I like it with a little coconut oil and coconut milk. Starbucks® House Blend has been the perfect companion to a lazy Saturday morning breakfast; it's smooth enough to have on its own or with a splash of almond milk. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like the Starbucks® Caffe Verona® blend. I normally shy away from dark roasts for fear of getting the shakes all day, but it's sweet  and just enough of a pick-me-up for an afternoon jolt that won't keep me up all night.

How cute is this Dot Collection mug designed by Starbucks Creative Studio? I bought a few of the mugs during the holiday season. There were over 100 designs for the Dot Collection and it was hard to choose just a couple to take home. So excited to add this gold dotted travel mug to my collection!

I'd be remiss not to mention what's arguably the best part of this care package. The Starbucks Coffee Passport is part tasting guide and part Starbucks history knowledge bomb. The Coffee Passport encapsulates over 40 years of Starbucks Coffee history along with the essentials for tasting, brewing, blending, roasting, growing, processing and buying coffee. Phew! 

There's space to take notes on each coffee you taste, and you can even add a passport stamp sticker to each one you've tried. If you're in Seattle, take your Coffee Passport (or get one) at the Starbucks Roastery on Capitol Hill. There you can have a full flight and education session at their tasting bar and coffee library, and sample some of their exclusive Roastery blends.

Not in Seattle? As of this week, you can get a taste of the exclusive Roastery blends sent right to your doorstep! Starbucks has just introduced a fresh online delivery service for its Reserve line of small-lot harvested, small-batch roasted coffees, called Starbucks Reserve® Roastery Subscriptions.

Get all the info and sign up for your own Starbucks Reserve Roastery Subscription.

Thanks Starbucks! I'm excited to learn more about coffee with you this year.

Disclosure: I am a member of Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community. Products were provided by Starbucks Coffee Company for this post. All opinions are mine!

On-the-Go Work Essentials f/ Starbucks® Iced Coffee (Sponsored)

Holy cow y'all. It's hot! We've been on a streak of 80+ degree days in Seattle, and while the sun is shining brightly on us, this city is just not equipped enough with A/C. When I'm not seeking refuge on the water or beach, I'm over here getting used to working in an office part-time again. It's still a culture shock for me, though a welcome one at that. I really love having some structure in my days, and having a place to go to helps me focus while I'm there. Sometimes I'll jet from work to an event or happy hour, so I carry a big Zara bag to tote all my things around & then some. On any given day, there's a pair of shoes and another big bag full of my lunch and snacks for the day, but pictured below are my purse mainstays to stay refreshed & organized in style.

Stay writing: 

I'm a self-professed office supplies queen, and my vices are Post-Its, notebooks and Sharpies. I am forever carrying at least one of these on me at all times, and in my everyday tote, I've got an arsenal. Sharpies in all point sizes, notepads of different colors and notebooks that each serve a different purpose. In this digital age, I have a fear of losing my penmanship, and thus, I stay writing on pen and paper. I've found I retain info much better when I've written it down by hand too. Sorry, organization apps, you ain't got nothin' on the old school

Stay hydrated:

I also carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go, and my bkr is perfect for the office. It's just small enough for me to have to get up every hour or so from my desk to refill it! I don't drink a lot of coffee, but I'm into these Bottled Starbucks® Iced Coffee drinks for an occasional afternoon treat. Caramel is my favorite!

Stay moisturized:

I'm just as nuts about my lip, face & body moisturizers as I am about my hydration and my office supplies. Gotta have at least five different lip balms, glosses and lipsticks at all times (skoah's Lip Love & smashbox's glosses are my faves at the moment) plus two options each for face & body lotion. I carry a full-size face lotion but I've just run out. I'm crazy, I know.

Stay connected:

It almost goes without saying, but I'm never without my iPhone. I also still carry my blog business cards around, because you never know who you'll meet!

What's in your on-the-go bag?

Leave me a comment below!

Bottled Starbucks® Iced Coffee beverages are the perfect blend of premium Starbucks coffee and 2 percent milk. Available in four delicious offerings: Coffee + Milk, Low Calorie Coffee + Milk, Vanilla, and Caramel, Starbucks Iced Coffee ready-to-drink beverages are the perfect on-the-go refreshment to get you through the daily commute, big projects such as spring cleaning, or an exciting road trip with friends. Look for it at major grocery and convenience stores, available nationwide.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Starbucks Coffee Company via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Starbucks Coffee Company.