It Has Been a Long Time

So, how’s it going?

I had a lot of plans today to write a long-winded, probably pretentious post about what’s been going on with me and my life.

First problem: the hydro for my building is supposed to be off for the day.  So I packed my bag and laptop and headed downtown to get my post done.

Second problem: my laptop is inexplicably not working. Great. So here I am writing this post on my phone, and I have decided to make this post exceptionally shorter than originally planned.

Since my last post, I have graduated (yay!); been single, taken, dumped, single, and actively dating (or trying to) in the span of 6 months, and job hunting.  I have lost 25 (ish) pounds since I started trying to lose weight in December,  and I am determined to keep trying despite the summer’s demand for alcohol and goodies.

I have been meaning to write, even if only for myself, but life has a funny way of sucking the creativity out of me. After the passing of my uncle and my break up last summer I focused on school, neglecting my friends. Once fall came, school was more demanding than before and I spent most of my free time studying and working.  I studied so much, my best friend even had test nightmares. But eventually I managed to finish school (with honors, yo), and have been making a big effort to spend time with my family and friends.

Dating has been the expected disappointment that it usually is, and have decided this shall be my pre-Mark D’Arcy Bridget Jones summer. I want to find a job I am passionate about, focus on my health and happiness, and part of that is focusing on hobbies and interests I have neglected.

I have lost some friends along my way (both online and in real life), but I hope to make it up to those who stuck around  and to any new people who come into my life.

So, here’s to new beginnings!

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I’m all around on the interests, find me on instagram – username is cursemymetalbody.

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30 Days of Blogging Honesty (+1 Dare) – Day 11

“When I’ve had a really bad day the first thing (not person) I reach for is…”

It really all depends on the degree of how upset I am.  If it’s what I call a terminal day, though I do usually call one of my friends like Ryan, the first thing I think of is like chicken wings or a sundae.  It’s the fat girl side of me – that’s just what I crave.

However, in terms of non-food related things I turn to, if I’m having an awful day and I just want to try to feel better, these are things I try to do to relax and enjoy the rest of my day:

  • Have a bubble bath, while listening to Josh Groban (or lately it’s been Florence and the Machine) and drinking tea.
  • Watch something I love – which may sound stupid but sometimes I need something I love and nostalgic to make me feel better.  Typically I’ll watch one of my Friends DVDs.  I don’t always sit and intently watch either, it’s usually on just to comfort me.  I may play some Sudoku while I watch, or write in my journal.
  • Cuddle my cat and take a nap.
  • Play a video game – it distracts me.
  • Go for a long walk and work off my frustration.

But above all else, what I turn to (besides people) to make me feel better: Coffee.  It’s my ultimate comfort.

The most up to date list available of participants: Nicole, Last Civilized Woman, Bannatreasures, Sajeev, Happyhippierose, Aurathena, Melanie, Marliz3e, TheFerkel, Prysmatique, AnonymousBurn, Caroline, Koi, Sylvia Garza, Mariana, Nenskei, MyNakedBokkie, Bluefiadiarries, VeehCirra, Princesa Musang, DLonelyStar, LJ, Terriblethinker, Sleep and Salami, Primadonna Zel, and Tom Baker. NSFW Sites: Everything Love & Lust, TemptingSweets99, Sofia.

Coffee Wars: Holiday Edition Part 3 – Pumpkin Spice Latte

It feels like I’ve been neglecting my blog lately.  With juggling two jobs, getting prepared for a new school year in January, the impending doom that is Christmas shopping, starting a new relationship, and trying to see my friends and family, I haven’t been doing much for myself lately it feels like.  Between feeling fatigued all the time and getting over a cold that just won’t leave me the hell alone, my “me-time” consists mostly of me sleeping or vegging out for half an hour before sleeping.  I haven’t had time to write, and when I do it feels like a chore.  I haven’t had time to read, whether it be one of the many books I want to read (I’ve been itching to read We Need to Talk About Kevin before I see the film, as well as finish Under the Dome and read 11/22/63), as well as the many blogs I like to keep up with.  So now that I the house is empty, I have the day off, I am going to take some “me-time” and give some attention to my blog.  I got my home-made latte-esque coffee (I’ve perfected microfoam at home, yay me!), and my playlist blaring, and I’m ready to roll.  This has been a post I’ve been wanting to write since the beginning of October, and now that November is half over, I think it’s time to get it done before it’s rendered useless. 

What is that you may be asking?  Well for those of you didn’t read the title…it’s…

DUN DUN DUNNNNN!

It’s been a year since my previous installments of Coffee Wars, which was originally going to be a little series on my blog.  But due to laziness, and then being busy, it got pushed away and forgotten about for a little while.  But coffee is a huge part of my life, even more-so now that I work at a coffee shop, so Coffee Wars has never been too far from my mind.  During a short time around the fall, all of my favourite coffee shops enjoy a Fall themed holiday drink list.  What’s nice about it is that every shop tends to have a wide variety of drinks, and nothing is ever carbon copied from the other store.  There is one drink in particular that seems to make its way into every store though, and that is my favourite seasonal drink: The Pumpkin Spice latte.  I adore this latte, mostly because I love pumpkins.  I love seeing beautiful carved pumpkins, eating pumpkin seeds, The Great Pumpkin, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, just about everything pumpkin.  This is probably because pumpkins are associated with my favourite holiday: Hallowe’en.  I didn’t get to enjoy Hallowe’en this year, but alas, I did enjoy the lattes.  Now it is time to judge them, to find out who has the best Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Starbucks

First off, I apologize for the blurriness of the image – shaky hands comes with the caffeine lover territory. 

An issue I always encounter with Starbucks is the sweetness of their beverages.  They use a lot more sugar-syrup (used to give the drinks their distinct flavours) than most other coffee shops I find.  This can be really great if you really want something sweet, but if you aren’t a huge sweet-tooth, it can make the drinks a bit overbearing.  Despite this usual occurrence, I didn’t find this drink disgustingly sweet like a lot of their flavoured lattes can be.  It was sweet of course, but perhaps it was extra spice flavours of their pumpkin flavouring that distracted from the sweetness.

This drink to me did remind me of pumpkin pie, it had a nice balance of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  The whipped cream on top reminded me of pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner, so I think with that in mind, it gave the drink a nice edge compared to some other shops.  It was also the only latte that had an orange tinge to it (once you got passed the whipped cream that is).  That may be in part to how much sugar they add to it, but I thought it was night, it suited the “pumpkin spice” image.

Overall, I really enjoyed Starbucks latte.  It was presented nicely, and had a decent flavour.  Though if I had it on certain days were I just wanted a bit of sweetness, this one wouldn’t really “do it” for me.  I find I have to be in the right mood for a Starbucks drink, they just add too much stuff to their espresso and coffee.  That may be in part to a lot of people not liking the flavour of coffee, which is a shame, because that’s what it should be about.

Overall Score:
Appearance – 5/5
Flavour Balance – 4/5 
Overall Enjoyment – 4/5

Second Cup

Anyone who knows me knows that Second Cup is my favourite place to get coffee.  Mostly that’s because if I want a latte, I find even their sweetest lattes aren’t as sweet as Starbucks, and I prefer my lattes to have a nice balance between the sweetness and the coffee. 

One thing I noticed this year though, is that Second Cup is using a different type of flavouring for their pumpkin spice latte, it’s not much different, but there was just enough of a difference that I noticed it.  I found this flavouring to be a bit stronger in the nutmeg flavour, which isn’t a bad thing, but I found that it made the latte have a slightly earthy flavour.  I enjoyed this, but on occasion when I was in a different mood, it wasn’t giving me the dessert types of flavours that I usually associate with the a pumpkin pie.  It reminded me more of a pumpkin soup – which would have more of a nice balance between savoury and sweet.  Not to say I didn’t enjoy the latte, it was just…different. 

This year they added a caramel topping, which I didn’t enjoy as much.  Usually I wouldn’t get it with it on it, instead opting for a sprinkling of cinnamon, but for the sake of this post I got the caramel.  It did add a very nice appearance to the drink though, and for those hoping for a bit more sweetness, it does add a nice richness to the drink.  It’s just not something I was particular fond of.

Overall Score:
Appearance – 4/5
Flavour Balance – 4/5
Overall Enjoyment – 4/5

Williams Fresh Cafe (Formerly Williams Coffee Pub)

I have a love/hate relationship with Williams.  I don’t generally like their coffee, at least when compared to other places.  However I will admit, it does depend on the time of day – they don’t use carafes like Starbucks of Second Cup, so their coffee tends to get a burnt flavour as the day goes on.  Because they serve food and lots of other products, it does take them a while make drinks and bring them out, and it can be a little annoying if you just want it to go.  But despite that, I keep going back.  Mostly because once in a while I’m very pleasantly surprised.

I ordered their pumpkin spice latte and was very surprised.  Their latte had a really nice balance between sweetness and the savoury flavours of pumpkin pie and the spices attributed with that.  I didn’t find that it was overpowering with one spice or another, but everything was married together very nicely.  It was just sweet enough, but not too sweet that I couldn’t enjoy it. 

Appearance wise, I was also impressed.  Often the latte is rushed over, and is spilling half down my cup.  But on this particular time it looked perfect, or at the very least almost perfect.  The whipped cream was a nice finish, and the light dusting of cinnamon completed the drink.  Now, some may say it may have just been that I was having a good day, or was in a  good mood.  But after looking at this picture, I can recall when I ordered this – it was on a first date.  I remember that day I had a headache, I was nervous, and when I got there I wasn’t in the best mood.  So if I can enjoy a drink when I’m in a bad mood, and distracted by trying to impress someone, then that speaks a lot for the drink. 

Overall Score:
Appearance – 5/5
Flavour Balance – 5/5
Overall Enjoyment – 5/5

So, judging by the scores, Williams Fresh Cafe is the victor for this edition of Coffee Wars.  To be honest, I’m a little surprised.  Williams tends to disappoint me, but judging by their Pumpkin Spice Latte, they obviously still have a few tricks up their sleeves. 

Original photo curtousy of the blog “Foodie, Eh?”

 Before I end this post, I wanted to mention that on December 11th I will be participating in the Second Annual Community Networking Meme.  For rules of participation, check out the original post here.  To see my entry for last year’s post, click here.

Poetry Thrusday #63

I wasn’t feeling well on Monday, so I didn’t go to work.  Well, apparently doing that caused my whole week orientation to get all frazzled, and I was almost convinced that today was actually Wednesday.  So I do apologize for this going up so late (well, 7:30 is late for me anyways), but at least I remembered!  Just one poem this week, I was also going to post it for the Poetry Potluck but it slipped my mind to do so, my bad!  But instead of that, I’ll be posting this for the Thursday Poets’ Rally Week 49, hurray!  So here’s my poem for the week, enjoy!

A Perfect Moment of Happiness Before the Storm
Skies of cerulean blue, graced
with wisps of white clouds –
hot summer days, bright sun rays,
sparkles upon calmed water.
Bold and beautiful brew,
a hint of Mozart in the air,
a tan forming on freckled skin,
and a bemused smile on soft lips.

Wondering when and why this
perfect moment will cease,
why the sun must hide,
why the clouds must darken.
For calm waters always anger –
the gentle breeze becomes harsh,
carrying a roar on the horizon,
raining, pouring, on my sunshine.

"Dark Coffee" by Monika Serkowska aka monika-es on deviantart.com

Coffee Wars: Holiday Edition Part 2 – Holiday Hot Chocolates

Welcome to the second part of the Holiday Edition of Coffee Wars!  In this death match, I will be looking at two different hot chocolates that are only available this time of year.  Again, I am pitting Starbucks against Second Cup – who will come out victorious?  Like the previous caffeinated battle, I will be judging the two drinks upon appearance, flavour balance, and overall enjoyment.

Up first:

Second Cup’s Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

Again, I’d like to note that despite the fact that I love Second Cup, I’m going to try to not be biased. 

I want to point out first before I forget that I don’t believe this drink really tastes like a candy cane.  Now while some people may find that to be a hindrance or work against this hot chocolate, I think it’s a definite plus as far as taste goes.  I have to admit, I really hate candy canes.  I don’t mind the taste of mint or peppermint or anything, but I suppose pretty much every candy cane I’ve ever had has been a little stale.  That or they just taste kind of gross.  Thankfully this hot chocolate does not taste like stale, year old, mint candy that has been sitting on the shelf for a whole year before it was sold.  This hot chocolate is made with the white hot chocolate, so it is a fairly sweet drink.  The whipped cream really adds to the richness of it too.  I find that the peppermint flavouring added to it is subtle enough to not be overpowering.  On that note though, it’s not a super strong flavour either, so if you’re looking for something mintier, this may not be for you.  Appearance wise, I think all of Second Cup’s drinks look really nice, they always take extra care to make it presentable.  There aren’t any additional “garnishes” for this drink, but I don’t think it really needs any.  With any of the hot chocolates, whether it be the holiday one, or the regular one, they are very sweet, so I find that a small one is sufficient.

Overall Score:
Appearance – 4/5
Flavour Balance – 3.5/5 
Overall Enjoyment – 4/5

Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Starbucks has a few different holiday hot chocolates, and for this edition of Coffee Wars, I picked my favourite of their bunch.  Like Second Cup’s hot chocolate, this one is very sweet as well.  I have to say I think this one is sweeter; a coworker of mine tried it and had a “sweet overload” (he was flipping out a little).  This is surprisingly one of the few extremely sweet drinks I can really tolerate.  I think it really has a lot to do with the salted caramel part of the drink.  I know it sounds kind of gross, but I love sweet and salty combinations, it’s just amazing.  I think the saltiness of the caramel really makes the extreme sweetness bearable.  I also like how this one isn’t really in your face about being a holiday drink – it’s not really festive or anything, but it’s only available this time of year.  Bastards.  Presentation wise, I love the combination of the caramel and the salt on top – it just finishes the drink really nicely.  And like I said, I definitely am not one to enjoy really sweet drinks, but this is one I can drink a bit more often than I probably should, it’s just really tasty.

Overall Score:
Appearance – 5/5
Flavour Balance – 4.5/5
Overall Enjoyment –  5/5

After tallying the scores with my super advanced score tallying machine (ok, it’s a calculator), I have determined that for this edition of Coffee Wars, the victor is Starbucks.  Though it is a much sweeter drink, the more unique flavour makes it a much more memorable drink – and it is definitely one that I find myself getting a craving for.

Oh, and I wanted to apologize for the delay again, a lot of crap going in my life!  But hopefully I’ll be able to get back on track 🙂  Have a great weekend!  Oh and remember to check back tomorrow for the community networking meme!