My Week in Coffee

As many of you know, I love good coffee. I'm all about the locally roasted, organic snobbery because I really think it tastes better than anything else. I've gotten to the point where I can note the subtle taste profiles in the espressos from different roasters/shops. Some are nuttier (hey oh!) while others are more acidic.

How far I've come since considering this mocha slushy with a chocolate cookie straw coffee...and this shot as a decent photo. Seriously Alex?

Anyway, I'm dubbing this past week my week in coffee. I scored some delicious craft coffee six times in eight days. I only displayed one of them on instagram, which is honestly a huge deal, because I have a visceral urge to share pretty coffee with the internet every single time I enjoy it. Hence this post.


UC Davis had it's annual Picnic Day celebration on the 18th. Brandon and I didn't know exactly what Picnic Day entailed and I definitely thought it was an afternoon event, so we ventured downtown to our favorite coffee and tea spot: Mishka's Cafe.

Mishka's is a total study spot, but since Picnic Day is basically a holiday, there was plenty of seating. I did some blogging while Brandon caught up on some work for the literary magazine he's working on for one of his classes.


Brandon and I were able to sleep in on Sunday and I chose to celebrate with a new coffee spot called Journey Coffee Co. on our way to church.

The coffee is great, but unfortunately the barista was less than friendly. Also I felt like a total hipster walking in to church with my independent coffee shop coffee instead of the ever popular Starbucks, but that's not really a bad thing to me.


I had the longest day at work, which is kind of ironic since I got to work an hour late thanks to some absolutely terrible traffic. It was the first time I've ever crumbled (and by that I mean cried) due to the stress of everything. But I did some confined space yoga in a closet and calmed myself down. My cousin Rachel pointed out how yogi of a thing that was for me to do, and I totally agree.

I treated myself to some solo decompression time at Mishka's that night. I wrote in my journal, I got on Pinterest, I read some blogs and listened to music. It was the perfect way to drown out the day's negativity.


I got coffee with Barbara at a recent Davis find, Common Grounds Coffee. I found this coffee shop on Yelp and have really enjoyed the couple of times I've been there. The coffee is incredibly well priced and well roasted. Plus this time I got an elephant!

Fun story about this night: I'd pumped gas the night before and put my debit card into my pocket, then forgotten to grab my card before leaving for work the next morning. So I show up at the counter and order my drink only to realize I still don't have my card (even though I'd swung by my apartment to change my shoes and grab a few things) and no cash. I stumble through letting the guy behind the counter know I can't pay them and before I can say "let me ask my friend if she can pay," the barista -- who looks nothing like what you'd expect from a local coffee shop -- tells me not to worry about it, that they'll still make the drink for me.


I was particularly sleepy this morning and I figured the best cure would be some pre-work, pre-commute caffeine. I chose to give Journey coffee another try, thinking that maybe I caught them on an off day and they'd be cheerier this time around. I was wrong, this time was worse. I think the barista said hi to me. She definitely didn't smile once. From there the only times she opened her mouth were to tell me how much my coffee and scone cost and then to call out my order when it was on the bar.

Keep in mind, I was pre-caffeinated here. How in the world was I more friendly sans coffee than the girl working surrounded by caffeine?! I even went as far as to thank her for my coffee when I picked it up and she didn't respond. Not a smile, not even a nod. She just turned around.

I'm giving that place one last chance before I decide to write a review on Yelp...and I never write reviews on Yelp!


I closed out the week in coffee with Mishka's, of course. It's sort of become my Saturday tradition with Brandon. We wake up slowly, stay in our pajamas extra long, then get dressed specifically so we can get coffee and tea at Mishka's then walk around the Arboretum. It makes for perfect Saturdays.

On a similar note, I was lucky enough to get an espresso machine that was being replaced by a Nespresso at work! Now I can actually brew espresso and steam milk in my own home. I'm simultaneously excited and intimidated by the legitness (not a word, I know) of this thing!

Stay caffeinated, amigos.
♥ A


Miserable, Magical Monday || 4/20/15

I have some old news:

My once beautiful, flourishing IKEA succulent is gone. I killed it.

I killed a succulent. A SUCCULENT. My seasonal poinsettia lasted longer than my succulent.

Isn't this thing supposed to be low maintenance?

Maybe that's what I get for buying a plant at IKEA.

I couldn't tell you if I neglected or smothered it to death.

All I know is he's gone.


Melodrama aside, I need a botanist to explain some things to me...like how is it I can keep dying flowers alive longer than a living plant? My cut flowers last for weeks and my plants...well, they hold on as long as they can.

In the Villa and I'm Muggin Myself for Being Irresponsible

I've been feeling guilty lately over my repeated use of disposable coffee cups at work. When I was in college and even throughout my first year in the workforce, I was diligent about bringing my tumbler (which I actually just spelled as tumblr -- SAVE ME) to work. But in hindsight, I was more motivated by my need for drinkable coffee than by sustainability. The fact is, the coffee at my current office is delicious (because it's also sold to the public) and I've become a spoiled blob of free coffee and free lunch...and it's having an adverse effect on my noticing how much I throw away.


All of that to say I'm on the lookout for a reusable mug. But I have some conditions. If I'm gonna drop $15 or whatever these things cost nowadays, I want it to be fun-looking, spill proof and durable. Believe it or not, that's been hard to come by.


I have a few new podcasts I've been listening to. Have you heard of the Smart Women Smart Power podcast? It's a podcast where women talk about pressing international and political issues. It's done in an interview format but not always one on one. The host isn't the most dynamic out there, but the conversation is generally stimulating, interesting, and awesome for political science nerds. I listened to the episode with Anne Marie Slaughter a while ago and I was giddy to hear her thoughts vs. reading them.

My friend Barbara tuned me into the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast a few weeks ago and I'm loving it. It's pretty light material since the topic is always pop culture related, but the conversation is some of the most insightful, intelligent discussion I've heard in a while. Usually, pop culture podcasts stay pretty shallow, but the panelists are all so damn smart on this podcast that the discussion quickly deepens and in turn becomes interesting to listen to without being pretentious. I mean, unless you think that talking about and comparing the color palette of a show is pretentious, this might not be for you. 

Have you seen there's a podcast related to Aanan Sayed case? It's totes inspired by Serial's story, but supposedly it covers the story from a more journalistic approach than a narrative one. I haven't listened to it yet but I'm intrigued. I mean, I would regularly think about how weird it must have been to be someone who lived through that whole experience as a teenager, only for it to become the trendy story of the year 15 or 20 years later while the Serial saga was airing. So now I almost feel like I should listen to this new podcast since I made this real horror into a source of entertainment for myself. Like, I might have some minute obligation to keep up with the case since I helped make it such a huge deal by downloading the episodes every week. But I digress (a lot).

I've been digging This American Life lately, but they pretty much always do a good job, so that's no surprise.

Are there any new/new to you podcasts I should start listening to? I like ones that are about an hour long since that's how long my commute is to and from work. Let me know!

Until next week,
♥ A


Birthdays Are Perfect

Except this one.

I've spent next to no time exploring the Napa Valley. I have a business relationship with it. I commute 50 miles to get there, spend eight hours or more making sure employees get whatever they need, and head the 50 miles back home at the end of the day.

I wanted to do something special for Brandon's 25th birthday. I requested a night at the resort and luckily enough got approved! This was Napa's opportunity to show off. I wanted a speed date with it, and I fully expected it to leave a life changing impression on me.

The weather had other plans...

We began the day by grabbing lunch at Boudin, as requested by Brandon. The inside was packed so we sat outside...in the rain...and cold...Brandon had no jacket on.

Little did I know Brandon was coming down with a cold/flu thing.

I'd done a bit of research of possible cool places to visit. One of them was the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park. I looked at the photos and thought it would be such a nice place to explore. Plus, it happened to be en route to the castle we planned on exploring! But when we got there -- and by there I mean the gate -- we realized the mill was not open at all. We were trying to play tourist in the middle of slow season, so I wasn't entirely shocked, though I was disappointed.

Then we set off to visit the Castello di Amorosa. It's a castle built using traditional methods of medieval architecture, even though the structure itself is relatively new. The owner has an extensive history of the project listed on his website. Pretty cool thing to nerd out over.

Anyway, I chose it because I knew Brandon would enjoy it. We pulled into the parking lot and the sprinkle of rain that had been trailing us turned into true rainfall. We sat in the car for a minute trying to decide if we should even get out. I was determined to (read: stubborn) have something to show for our drive out there, so we braved the rain. We walked up the steps and were quickly topped by a woman who ushered us into what I guess is the lobby to purchase our wine tasting passes. Uninterested in a tasting, we walked back into the rain to try and explore the grounds. We were unsuccessful, so we walked back down to the mini stables. The rain refused to let up and Brandon was feeling progressively worse, so we gave up on the outdoor activities for the day.

We still had a bit of time to kill before check in and were both pretty cold, so we headed to Bouchon Bakery in Yountville to get some pick-me-ups. We patiently waited in line outside under the awning until we could fit into the small bakery. We picked up some warm drinks (coffee for me, tea for B) and each got a large macaron to enjoy for dessert later that night. There's no indoor seating and it was still raining outside, so we huddled back to the car. At this point, Brandon was out of it. He was not feeling well and it was clear he needed to sleep. So I took the wheel...and the scenic route to the hotel.

Check in was a surreal experience for me. As someone who regularly interacts with all departments on property, I've come to know nearly everyone by name and face. So it was a little strange to have employees wait on me the way I usually wait on them. I have to give it up to my colleagues and superiors: they really treated me as a guest and not as their co-worker who was using her free night at a luxury resort. The reception agent that checked us in gave us a cottage in a "desirable neighborhood" (yeah, there are neighborhoods) with the most requested layout. I was thrilled even though I had no idea what it meant.

I'd made our dinner reservations for closer to 7:00 than 4:00pm, so we threw on the fireplace and the warmest robes and Brandon crashed while I relaxed.

Can you blame him? He was such a trooper.