Would You Like a Mug With Your Coffee?

I love coffee…I guess it just goes without saying that I love mugs for my coffee. So much so that my cabinets are overflowing with the bounty that is my mug collection. They’ve infiltrated my plate shelf and are stuffed into the spaces between the salad bowls. You’ll also find mugs sitting precariously between the serving platter I never use and the fancy teapot I only bring out for company.

There’s a Doctor Who Tardis mug, a Scottish plaid mug, a mug from the National Gallery of Art, two from Luray Caverns (or maybe three?), a bright red Starbucks mug (extra big for lots more coffee!), a lovely cream-colored mug adorned with Scottish castles and landmarks – and no, I’ve never been to Scotland, but I did find a store that sells stuff from Scotland! Fancy mugs, dollar store mugs, souvenir mugs, mugs that I just thought – and still think – are eye-catching…I have no shortage of mugs. If you come to my house, you’re ensured of two things…a baked good and coffee served in an interesting mug.

Suffice it to say, I need another mug like I need a hole in the head (as my mother used to say).

As you may remember, there is a new Starbucks, relatively new at this point anyway, in my local grocery store. Yes, Starbucks has graced our fine little town. Unfortunately, not happy with simply promoting a die-hard coffee addiction amongst the general public, Starbucks also pushes a variety of coffee related accouterments…like…you guessed it, MUGS. The powers that be at Starbucks headquarters are smart too, wicked smart, because come Fall and then the holidays, the choices they offer expand.

Our new-ish store is no different and let me tell you, the stuff they have there?? It’s a mug hoarders dream, trust me. I suppose it’s a good thing my bank account keeps me in check because otherwise, I’d need to expand my collection into the bookshelf. Oh wait. No. Not there. No room. Okay, well, I’d have to expand somewhere at any rate. Hey, don’t roll your eyes at me…I know I have issues.

In the meantime, if you’re listening Starbucks, you’re killing me. I just want you to know that. I hope you’re happy. You’re. Killing. Me.

too cute for words, and kind of reminds me of NYC for some reason

 

who doesn’t love Fall leaves??

 

isn’t it just too adorable? gets you right into the “here comes the snow” spirit!

 

love this…simple yet elegant

 

this…this one is my favorite by far. it was all I could do to leave it sitting there on the shelf.

Pray for Me

Lord help me, but our rinky-dink grocery store which is out in the middle of nowhere, just like the rest of us in this small town, just put in a Starbucks. Yes. A Starbucks. Which is quite ironic given the lay of the land around here. But hey, it’s coffee and if there’s coffee, I’m there. This oasis just opened two days ago, and I’ve been there 2, 3, 5, okay, fine, 6 times.

Now, you have to understand that previous to this, we had two Starbucks nearby – if a 30-minute drive in one direction and a 45-minute drive in the other direction can be considered “nearby.” So obtaining the desired bounty of a spontaneous craving for caffeine was just a bit time-consuming and often simply not worth it. This was a good thing. Both for my weight and my wallet. But now, now that delicious, overpriced, heaven in a cup is just 5 minutes away. AND it’s literally next door to the high school, soooo…dropping my daughter off at school and picking her up just became that much more fraught with peril.

Even more so because like a local, lower-level drug dealer trolling for victims, this Starbucks’ marketing ploy was to offer free samples…then they upped their game to coupons…you know, to get you hooked – if you weren’t already. And can I just take a moment here to ask “just what the hell does Starbucks put in their coffee anyway??” I mean, what kind of person spends $4.00 on a cup of coffee?? An aficionado addict. That’s who.

The fact that there are few carry-out coffee choices here notwithstanding, I was perfectly happy with McDonald’s coffee, if not the grumpy employees who run our McDonald’s, thank you very much. Now? Arrgghh!  Now there is the very real possibility of my waistline getting fatter while my wallet gets thinner on a daily basis. But my espresso fueled productivity?  Through the freaking roof.

 

An Unrepentant Addiction Redux

So in honor of National Library Week, I’m going to repost a bit of a previous entry about my love of books. Believe it or not this obsession with books even outweighs my obsession with all manner of horror films. I know, I know, but it’s true.

So when my son was little, and then again with my daughter, we’d make the weekly trek to the library, dufflebag in hand, prepared to raid their shelves of as many books as I could physically carry out to the car by myself.  Oftentimes it was quite the struggle out to the parking lot (and then again into the house) and to an outsider it probably looked as though my bag was filled with bricks what with the way it bent my back. And trust me, this was not an exercise made in vain either…we actually read every book we stuffed into that dufflebag, usually before the week was over. Our bedtime ritual was quite a lengthy one given the fact that we had to read 5 or 6 books each night. Keep in mind, we had books of our own…stacks and stacks of books. But we soon exhausted our own supply and since I didn’t have a money tree in my backyard for trips to Barnes and Noble, the library was a weekly fixture for us. Of course they’re older, but my kids retained their love of books…as have I.  And my house shows it.

Now, if you’ve ever been at home watching network TV in the late morning/early afternoon, during The Price is Right, Family Feud, or any old school soap opera you’ve no doubt seen those cheesy coffee commercials where a woman wrapped tight in a pastel shawl has her hands cupped around a steaming mug of French Roast. Without a care in the world she looks out the window of her breakfast nook just contemplating how wonderful of a morning it is. She’s in no rush at all to start the day and just basks in the comforts her caffeine and nook are providing her. How silly, right? Well…

I want that! Not exactly that, but close to it. The only thing I’d change about those commercials is that instead of standing around like a zombie I’d be curled up in a decked out bay window seat with a good book in my hands. It’d be a requirement.

Books, reading, literature…appreciation of the written word is the lifeblood of my house. I may not have the breakfast nook or the time to laze around in the mornings or a sprawling vista of oaks and elms rolling into the distance from my backyard, but I do have the book part down. They’re absolutely everywhere; stacked on nightstands, scattered around the bed, piled on stairs, and littering the kitchen counter. Hell, it’s not rare at all to find a book under my bed covers because I fell asleep reading (again). My daughter’s room is practically a library in and of itself.  Even the spare room isn’t safe and has more than its share of bookshelves.  We’re hopeless addicts (a nicer way to say this would be bibliophiles) to novels, tomes, epics, thrillers, horrors, mysteries, best sellers, unknowns, contemporaries, and classics. It’s all fair game.

This addiction doesn’t make for the tidiest house in the world but certainly an entertaining one seeing as how you can literally stumble across a good story at any given moment. While the rest of the Barnes and Nobles are going down quicker than the Titanic, I may be single-handedly keeping the one near my house in business. Every time I go in there with my daughter any cash I may be fortunate enough to have in my pockets is quickly transformed into a bag of books.   You can never have too many, right? At least that’s my understanding. It’s simply impossible for us to window-shop in a book store.

On top of the whole Barnes and Nobles temptation problem I have, there is another one closer to home.  The downtown area of my neighborhood is reminiscent of Mayberry (showing my age here).  And right smack in the center of the main drag next to the coffee shop is a used/rare book store. It’s large and dusty and unorganized and the guy who runs it looks like he hasn’t stepped out into the light in decades.  But it’s a treasure trove to me!  I could seriously spend hours in this place.  And have.  I enjoy everything this hole in the wall offers — the smells of the old books, the joyous wonder of searching through the shelves to find some rare book I’ve never seen before or perhaps one that I remember from my childhood or maybe a classic in its original print rather than the abridged edition.  They’re all fodder for my unrepentant book compulsion.  And did I mention it’s right next door to a coffee shop!?  Nirvana.

One day I may have a house that has that beautiful vintage inspired reading nook complete with a cushioned window seat and surrounding bookshelves in an oh-so-cute and artistic arrangement.  Until then, though, I’ll enjoy the hard and softbound jungle that is my cluttered home, which really, in itself has become the greatest reading nook of all.

The literacy site

Rise of the Javaholics

We all have our vices. For some of us, it’s cigarettes. Others nail-biting. Gambling. Speeding. Teen Mom. We’re all addicted to something that we maybe shouldn’t. Raise your hands if that thing is coffee. If I were to follow my own instructions I’d be typing with one hand right now, because the other would be emphatically waving up in the air. Yes, coffee has a grip on my soul that nothing but sweet death will give me release from (and even then I’d probably be a pretty happy ghost if you put a Keurig in the casket with me).

big coffee cup

wish I had a cup this big

Along with these vices comes the temptation. Otherwise, without the fun of being lured back into the darkness, what power would these vices hold over us? Coffee doesn’t make any sort of attempt to even give us addicts a fighting chance. The options and ease of getting that delicious caffeine into the bloodstream is getting ridiculous. I already have a tough enough time passing up a Starbucks, but now some of their stores even have a drive-thru. I don’t even have to bother with parking and walking anymore, two of the things I hate most about going to get coffee. I often war with myself whether it’s worth getting out of the car if 1) it’s simply too early in the morning or 2) it’s raining or 3) various other sub-optimal weather conditions or 4) I just don’t feel like it.

Every time I crave a coffee-shop coffee, I have the angel and devil on my shoulders. The angel, bright-eyed and secure in its control over stimulating substances would say, “Oh Wendy, it’s way too cold out. Do you really need to don a scarf and gloves just for 12 ounces of coffee?” The devil, much more alert and awake than the angel will ever be, says, “Oh, you know what you want. You go get it. You’re an adult and you make the rules, not Mother Nature.” With the drive-thru, the angel doesn’t even stand a chance. Hell, most of the time he doesn’t even show up to the game anymore.  Starbucks has found an even better way to get $4 out of me with as little resistance as possible.

starbucks drivethru

my downfall

Oh, and for the record — I blame my friends and family for my continued crippling debilitation.  It’s not all me…being weak willed and such. They know I love Starbucks and so they shower me with gift cards for Christmas and on my birthday.  Damn enablers. (Psst…hey…hey you…if you’re reading this, I didn’t mean it…I still want those cards for Christmas!)

Don’t worry, I’m not one of those uppity coffee drinkers. I don’t splurge for the grande mocha soy latte extra hot extra shot extra pump add whip cream instead of foam. I mean, come on! It takes some people a full five minutes to just spit out their custom blend order to the 12-year-old barista behind the bar. You may be saying to yourself, “Well Wendy, if you hate the dilemma Starbucks puts you in so much, why don’t you just make your own coffee?” Duh! You think I haven’t bought the special coffee before? I’ve even gone so far as to get the unique Starbucks syrup and the cute little rinky-dinky cups that make me feel like I’m sitting on a patio in Paris and turns my kitchen into a miniature barista paradise. But, it just never tastes the same.  It. Never. Tastes. The. Same.

My theory? Starbucks must be “enriching” their beans. They’re dropping something special in their brew making it extra addictive. Or maybe their cups are laced with a little something extra. I have to believe this. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually, possibly even years from now, that a headline will read “Starbucks coffee contains addictive substance,” or “Revealed: Starbucks additive found to be highly addictive.”  I have to believe that because why the hell would any sane person continue to return time and time again to pay for overpriced coffee and be happy doing so?

Maybe it’s the start of a New World Order; the gradual world domination by the mysterious Starbucks under dark mocha skies using their (not-so-secret) weapon…addictive, delicious, wonderful, fantastic, amazing coffee that no one can seem to resist.

starbucks beans

just what exactly is in those beans!?

Stranded (I wish)

You know that old phrase, “If you were ever stranded on a desert island…” Meh, I’m not a huge fan of that. It’s not like I have anything against beaches or sunshine or lounging in the sand. I just happen to have a better place in mind to be stranded should the next polar vortex or zombie apocalypse rear its ugly (and rotting) head. Put me in a bookstore before any place else. It’s the one place I know of that never gets boring. A desert island, yeah, it sounds nice but I think I might get tired of eating coconut every day and seeing the same damn horizon day in and day out. In a bookstore nothing remains the same. Around every corner and on every shelf is a new landscape to traverse, a different perspective to consider, a unique set of lives to explore. It’s a sanctuary of endless possibility and I revel in the impossible task of trying to find that nonexistent end. I can’t think of anything better than being stuck to while my days away in a Barnes and Noble…especially one with a Starbucks in-house. Throw in some pastries and caffeine and that pretty much sums up Nirvana for me….even if zombies are knocking at the door.

stranded at bookstore