Starbucks

The Weekend Recap: Spring Edition

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a happy Easter (and you aren’t suffering the lingering effects of a sugar coma). The weather on Easter Sunday reached a record high (around 75 degrees) and I was happily able to break out a lacy yellow sundress. Here’s hoping the rest of the week is just as nice, and that I don’t devour all of my Easter candy in the next 24 hours.

Starbucks

{Iced coffee season is here}

Spring

{Beautiful Blooms}

Chocolate

{I think the caption sums it up}

Glow Fish

{These fish got their glow on}

Lindt Gold Bunny

{This Easter bunny is out and about}

The Friday Five

Goodbye, winter. Hello, spring (even if it does feel like winter is still lingering in the shadows). After suffering with back pain for the last week, I sure am glad to have two days off and no plans. Here’s to spending the next 48 hours away from my computer, somewhat off social media, and most likely on the couch with a heating pad, binge-watching shows from the week. It sounds like an ideal weekend, if you ask me.

La Boulange

{Decisions…decisions}

Long Island Spring

{Hello, spring!}

Spring Starbucks Cups

{My latest obsession: the spring cups from Starbucks}

Fireplace

{A cozy dinner by the fire}

Chocolate Mousse Cake

{The most #instaworthy cake there ever was}

V for Verismo

Verismo from Starbucks

What’s worse than running late in the morning? Running late and not being able to stop for coffee (that is the worst way to start a morning—especially on a Monday). As much as I love my morning pit stop at Starbucks before work, the long lines were a hassle—and would often make me late.

So, when the holidays rolled around and Starbucks debuted their new Verismo V home brewing system, I was tempted to buy it so I could make my favorite coffee at home—and save some time in the morning. As the lines got longer each day, I got more and more intrigued about buying my own home brewing machine.

Verismo 1

And then that day arrived. The Verismo was marked down after the holidays and came with two free boxes of pods. How fast can you say…sold?

It was the day before an impending snowstorm and I figured the timing was perfect. It was a win-win. Plus, I saved a lot of money by purchasing it after the holidays, when the price dropped (the original price was $149, and I paid $59—a savings of $90!).

Verismo 2

I have been using the Verismo every morning for the last two months and I can’t imagine how I lived so long without it. It makes brewing your favorite Starbucks drink at home a breeze and the machine is easy to set up and use. Once the machine is turned on and the lights stop flashing, you are ready to insert your pod and begin. There are buttons for a milk pod, rinse, hot water, espresso pod, and brewed pod. To begin brewing, you will need to remove the pressure tab from the bottom of the pod, then lift the handle and drop the pod into the chamber. All you have to do from there is select the button for brewed pod and let the machine do its magic. My favorite part is that it cleans itself when you select the rinse button…but I digress.

Verismo 3

I typically drink the Pike Place Roast from Starbucks every morning, but the Verismo comes with a set of instructions to make some of your favorite drinks—like an Affogato, Iced Caffè Americano, Café Au Lait, and many more. There is also a milk frother that is sold separately, if you want to get fancy with your home brewing. With the Verismo, you can be your own barista from the comfort of your home. I haven’t experimented much with the different coffees you can make, as I am usually running out the door as the machine is just finishing brewing my morning cup of Joe. But this baby can do everything with the touch of a button!

This machine was the answer to my prayers. It makes my morning a whole lot simpler, and I get to save time and money every day by skipping the stop at Starbucks. While I miss my favorite baristas, I can now brew my beloved coffee whenever I want.

Pumpkin Pandemonium 2016

I feel like fall is slipping away from me. It’s almost the middle of October, and I have yet to go pumpkin and apple picking (thanks, Mother Nature), decorate a pumpkin, or even buy Halloween candy (it’s probably good that I haven’t done that last activity yet). But I did make it to the Long Island Fall Festival in Huntington over the weekend, where I got my fix of everything pumpkin –- at least when it came to sweets. I’m adding to my fall agenda a trip to Trader Joe’s (because their pumpkin game is always strong)…and maybe then I will finally get my hands on my very own pumpkin!

starbucks pumpkin scone

{Welcome back, pumpkin scone from Starbucks}

pumpkin milk chocolate treat

{Pumpkin milk chocolate treat at the Long Island Fall Festival}

pumpkin spice coffee

{Pumpkin spice coffee is everything}

pumpkin cake

{The best pumpkin cake…ever}

sparking apple cider sangria

{Seasonally appropriate sangria}

Anyone else as obsessed with pumpkin as I am?

June Jaunts

It may only be Wednesday, but I’m looking ahead to the 4th of July already. The weather is supposed to be near perfect, and I have some time at the beach and fireworks penciled in for the long weekend. I know I’m jumping the gun a little, but I just can’t help myself — the Fourth really kicks off the summer for me. And who doesn’t love a good fireworks show?

Since we are still in June, I thought I’d share snaps from how I’ve spent the last few days of the month:

Connetquot State Park

{Made a friend on my hike though Connetquot State Park}

Cheesecake

{The lightest Mascarpone cheesecake}

Bright Blooms

{Bright Blooms}

Rescued Necklace from Scarlet & Gold

{“Rescued” necklace from Scarlet & Gold — coming to the blog soon}

Coffee Break

{Coffee Break}

Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (username: livinginsteil) to keep up with all of my musings!

Relaxing and Recapping

We got lucky with a few rather warm days in May recently. Of course, I’ve taken full advantage of the nice weather, debuted my white jeans (as if I needed an excuse), and sipped on cool iced coffees. If the weather keeps up like this, it will feel like summer before we know it!

Here’s a round-up of my favorite recent snaps:

Flowers

{Hello, beauties!}

Starbucks Iced Coffee

{My summer go-to from Starbucks}

Sunset

{Not a bad sunset to see on your drive home}

Jimmy Choo Glasses

{How fab are these Jimmy Choo glasses?}

Chocolate Chip Pancakes at IHOP

{Started off the week with chocolate chip pancakes from IHOP}

Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (username: livinginsteil) to keep up with all of my musings!

Caffeine, Coffee, and Cravings

Starbucks

I know I’m feeling better when I start craving my morning cup of coffee. Whether you refer to it as liquid gold, morning motivation, or just regular old joe, I’m sure you have a favorite coffee house that you frequent, or perhaps a brand that you brew and enjoy at home. For me, Starbucks has always been my company of choice, but after spending some time in California and seeing the array of kitschy coffee houses I couldn’t help but want to explore more local options. So I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite haunts and preferred beverages.

Starbucks

Starbucks
I’ve been frequenting Starbucks for longer than I care to admit. At my local joint, I know most of the baristas by name…and even know the names of some who worked at the one near American University in Washington, DC. For as long as I’ve been going to Starbucks, my drink has always been a grande White Chocolate Mocha — with whipped cream, of course! This past summer, I started indulging in their iced coffee. But now that it is October, I’m all about the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Southdown Coffee

Southdown Coffee
I found this place through a follower on Instagram and after one visit I could tell it was just the type of establishment I wanted. Nestled in Huntington Village, New York, this small, quaint coffee house makes a mean cappuccino and offers freshly made breakfast sandwiches and baked goods. It has become a regular stop on the days I spend in my old hometown!

Hampton Coffee Company

Hampton Coffee Company
Their coffee wins my award for most delicious…as in, I’m glad there are no locations near me because I would be there every day kind of delicious. I first tried their coffee in August when I was out at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. It was a hot day on the show grounds and an iced latte sounded like the perfect cure. Luckily, Hampton Coffee had a mobile coffee truck at the event. If you head to the East End of Long Island you can find their stores. But for those who like to make their morning coffee in their pajamas, you can order from them online.

Golden Pear Cafe

Golden Pear Cafe
Another establishment I’ve found while trekking out to the Hampton’s is the Golden Pear Cafe. With both indoor and outdoor seating and a full breakfast menu, this is a great place to stop and grab your morning cup of joe. You may even see a celebrity walking down the streets of Southampton, Sag Harbor, East Hampton, or Bridgehampton, which is where they are located. I’ve ordered a cappuccino and an iced coffee from them (on separate occasions), and left feeling well-caffeinated. If you stop here, try their scrambled eggs and aged New York cheddar cheese on a freshly baked croissant. It’s one of my favorite items on their menu.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts
I was never a real fan of their coffee until recently…when they were giving away a medium dark roast coffee for free on National Coffee Day. I hadn’t had their coffee in a while, but I was surprised and pleased with how good it was. And since it was much cheaper than Starbucks and twice the size of my normal coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts has redeemed itself, in my opinion.

Where is your favorite place to get coffee? Do you prefer to make it at home or stop at a coffee house?

Insta-instants

Happy Friday! I always look forward to Memorial Day weekend, which is the “unofficial” start of summer. This year is no exception. I am attending my second kickboxing class on Saturday (let’s hope I’m not sore for four days again!) and will end the day with a baseball game and fireworks. With any luck, the weather will cooperate and there will be some beach time and a little rest and relaxation over the long weekend.

I hope you all have nice plans and enjoy your three-day weekend!

Cherry Blossoms

{Beautiful blooms}

Do What Makes You Happy

{Sometimes happiness is a cup of Starbucks}

Trader Joe's Cinnamon Buns

{A morning treat on my favorite Anthropologie plate}

Kickboxing

{Think this will be me soon?}

Pink Punk Cosmo

{Pink Punk Cosmo from TGI Fridays}

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with all of my musings!

Do What Makes You Happy

Do More of What Makes You Happy

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes me happy, both personally and professionally. The above photo is from a small jewelry dish that I picked up in a boutique in San Francisco last month. Its message resonated with me, and the cheerful colors put a smile on my face. Ever since I got home, this dish has had a permanent spot on my desk, and the phrase in my mind. How often do you think about what truly makes you happy? And how often do you do things that counteract this goal?

One thing that brings me happiness is my (almost!) daily stop at Starbucks. You probably have your favorite morning rituals — and, perhaps, a morning beverage that helps you start your day off right. For me, that drink is a tall White Chocolate Mocha, which I have been ordering for longer than I would like to admit. Recently, the indulgence has extended and the coffee must be accompanied by a bacon, egg and Gouda breakfast sandwich. Now, I realize spending $8.04 a day (yikes!) on breakfast may sound excessive to you. And, Suze Orman, if you happen to be reading, I know you would give me a “smackdown” and deny me so fast!

Let me explain. I am fully aware that my Starbucks habit is an indulgence…and I would save a lot of money if I made coffee at home — or stopped at a cheaper place. But my morning visit to Starbucks, and drinking my cup of deliciousness on the way to work, make me happy. Sure, there are days where I settle for making an iced coffee at home, or skip caffeine altogether. Then there are the days that the struggle to get out of bed is all too real and the thought of my morning coffee is just what I need to help my cause. There have also been times in my life where I have kicked the habit and gone months, even years, without a single stop at Starbucks.

In keeping with the theme of this post, I’d like to stress the importance of finding what makes you happy. It may not be a sugary beverage, but whatever it is, enjoy it…be true to it, and to yourself, because at the end of the day, life is short — so go ahead and order the Starbucks!

Happy Monday!

Monday Musings

Winter is slowly creeping up on us. Last week was freezing and felt more like mid-December than November (although we managed to escape the snow that blanketed upstate New York!). It was the perfect time to unpack the sweater dresses and zip up the riding boots if you have been holding out.

Sunset in Port Jefferson

{A cold sunset in Port Jefferson, New York}

Fall Pumpkin

{The last of the fall pumpkins}

Starbucks Holiday Cup

{Red lip meets red Starbucks cup}

White Sangria

{White Sangria}

Skull Bottles

{Kah Blanco Tequila – Del Fuego Tex Mex Restaurant}

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

{Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter filled chocolate cupcakes}

Happy Monday!