Monthly Archives: September 2013

My Evolution as a Coffee Drinker

2007 Café con leche

My first cup of coffee was actually in Barcelona, Spain while studying abroad.  We had super early classes but we were also in Barcelona!  In Barcelona you eat dinner at about 10PM and go out around 12AM.  We would have class as early as 8AM…so you do the math.  The lack of sleep combined with me wanting to be “cultured” led me to my first Café con leche.  Café con leche is basically espresso with milk.  Because I didn’t particularly like the actual taste of coffee at this point I would put in a TON of sugar.  It helped that the sugar packets in Spain were about the size of my hand.


2008 – 2009 Dunkin Donuts medium french vanilla made in a bean-to-cup coffee machine, with skim and two splendas

After being abroad I came back to school and discovered that I might actually like the taste of coffee (well a lot of flavors, milk, and sweetener disguised as coffee).  This is when I started going to Dunkin Donuts.  The order went something like french vanilla iced coffee with skim milk and two splendas.

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2009 – 2011 Starbucks grande coffee with vanilla, skim, and splenda

I discovered Starbucks!  I moved to Boston and started working right across the street from a Starbucks.  This quickly turned into a 5 day a week relationship and there hasn’t been much turning back since.  This might sound silly but I just love starting my day going to Starbucks – especially if you have a regular one where they know you.  The workers are always so nice and just help get your day started on a positive note.  My first couple of years as a Starbucks drinker I still thought skim milk and splenda and adding vanilla syrup was pretty “healthy.”  Sometimes for a treat I would get a vanilla latte but of course “skinny.”


2011-2012 Starbucks grande coffee with sugar-free vanilla and soy

I realized that I shouldn’t be putting 2 splendas in my coffee every day so I weaned myself off of it.  Although at the same time I switched to sugar-free vanilla syrup (which is made from splenda – I was a dumb dumb).  I then decided that soy milk was what healthy people drank so went  with that.


2012-2013 Starbucks grande coffee with vanilla and whole milk

When I started eating primal I knew I had to stop with the soy milk and anything with artificial sweetener.  I switched to a splash of whole milk but couldn’t pull myself away from the vanilla.  By the way when you add syrup to a Starbucks coffee they put 4 huge squirts in! That’s a whole lot of sugar!


Today Starbucks grande coffee with one pump of vanilla, black

I know, I know what the heck does one pump of vanilla even do?  But give me some credit – I’ve come a long way!  I’ve weaned myself off all of the processed, artificial, and sugar add ins.  My goal is to start enjoying coffee just plain black but I’m not there yet.  Either way it feels good to have a coffee almost in it’s raw form!   I can’t believe how much I used to put in it – now all of that stuff tastes so sweet to me it’s crazy!

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Bouncing Back After Vacation

Yesterday was a tough one.  My body was tired from traveling, still on West Coast time, and  still feeling the vacation blues (mentally and physically).  With all of that said, the best way to feel better is get back on routine!

This is what needed to happen.

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I started my day with a nice black iced coffee from Starbucks, half a banana, and a handful of almonds.  It worked out that today was catered lunch at work.  They actually provide some great healthy lunches about twice a month and always include a huge salad bar spread! Today I filled my plate with spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, a few slices of steak, a couple of slices of grilled chicken, and huge heaping mound of avocado!  I drizzled it all with just plain balsamic vinegar that’s always stocked in the office.

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After work, I headed to a 7:30 yoga class.  Since moving to Connecticut I’ve really only been practicing in the mornings so it was a nice change-up to go tonight.  The temperature cooled down, the room was breezy and peaceful, and it was a great way to end my day!

On my way home I realized I would be passing a Trader Joes!! I haven’t been to Trader’s since I moved out of Boston. I was super excited to take advantage of the opportunity.  I didn’t get much since I have a pretty short week but did stock up on a few staples since Trader’s is super cheap!

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Since it was about 9PM by the time I got home to cook dinner I made a super simple meal that I could also take for lunch tomorrow!

Bacon, Mushroom, Spinach Scramble

2 Servings of Trader Joe’s bacon pieces and ends



4 eggs

Pepper to taste

Saute the bacon until almost cooked to desired crispness.  Break up the mushrooms and throw in with the bacon.  Add the spinach to the pan on top of the bacon and mushrooms.  Cook over medium heat until mushrooms and spinach are cooked.  Add in 4 scrambled eggs and cook for about 5-7 minutes.  Dash some pepper to taste.  Ta – da! That was easy!

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Take Me Back Tuesday – San Francisco Part One

I guess I am being a little greedy this week since I haven’t even landed back on the east coast yet but yes take me back to San Francisco.  Why is ending a vacation so hard?  I’m an emotional roller coaster today getting teary eyed at every other song on my “chill” playlist.  Think I need to toughen up!

Although I could have stayed in San Fran for about another week I think my body is going to really appreciate that I am going home.  I definitely indulged on this vacation because that’s what you do when you travel.  I just think my body is more sensitive recently to straying away from clean eating.  It literally only takes about two days of eating bread, carbs, and drinking a lot of wine and beer for my body to start feeling it.  With that said, traveling to new cities is about taking in the culture, trying new things, and experiencing everything that it has to offer.  It’s definitely a balance but I am not going to beat myself up over it.  I am human, and love to travel, and it’s okay that I strayed from eating primal for the past few days.

We had an awesome time on this trip.  We saw some great areas of the city, took in tons of gorgeous views, and ate some awesome food!

Where we stayed: An apartment right near Fisherman’s Wharf through Airbnb.

This was my first time using Airbnb.  It was a pretty good experience and I am glad I tried it out.  First off, what we paid for the location was a steal.  We were a two minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf, right next to Ghiradelli Square, and about a 10 minute walk to North Beach.  With that said, the pictures were a little bit deceiving.  It was a studio apartment shared with a business that felt a little “make-shift.”  It was fine for us since we weren’t there too much.  The only complaint is that it was pretty hot with no AC and not very much ventilation.  I guess that’s my fault for not noticing AC on the amenities list.  Oh well, the place kind of grew on me over our time there.

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Day 1

Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach

We arrived in to SFO around noon on Friday.  To save some money we took the Bart to downtown San Francisco to the Embarcadero stop.  This was about an $8 ride versus a $50 cab ride. We then took the historic street car that runs along the bay waterfront.  It was super crowded but only $2 so we dealt with it!


Once we got settled in to our apartment we headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day and packed with tourist because America’s Cup had just started this weekend.  We walked around a bit and after much of my indecisiveness finally chose restaurant called Eagle Café.  They had an outdoor deck that overlooked Pier 39.  At first they tried sitting us inside and I just wasn’t having it so I finagled our way outside to the deck.  We had some seafood, San Francisco beer, and talked to a local who gave us a great recommendation for dinner.

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For dinner we headed to a restaurant called The Park Tavern right in Washington Square in North Beach.  They had awesome cocktails like a strawberry basil caipirinha – so good!  We got a table outside and had some of the best appetizers I’ve ever had – no lie.  I freaked out a little bit because they had Brussel Chips!  My best friend and I have talked about “inventing” brussel chips for years now; I could not believe I found a restaurant that made these. They were so good!  We also had deviled eggs with bacon on top.  Dee – lish!


Day 2

Golden Gate, Muir Woods, Sausalito, Sonoma

Saturday we had booked our wine country tour.  I thought it would be different to combine it with Muir Woods so we headed there first.  On our way to Muir Woods, our driver took us to what I think might be the best look out for the Golden Gate.  It was up on a big hill behind the bridge so you were looking down on it.  I was so giddy from getting to see this view!


Muir Woods was really neat.  It’s a national park with a ton of red wood trees as tall as 300 feet!  It was crazy to see something like this right outside of a bustling city.  On our way out of Muir Woods our driver took us to Muir Beach Overlook which was another absolutely breathtaking view!

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We then headed to Sausalito to meet up with our wine tour group.  We had about an hour to hang out there and got some fish tacos at this little fish and chips place.  Sausalito is this beautiful town right across the bay.  The median real estate price is something like $2 million.  It’s pretty ridiculous to think about.


At this point in the day we were definitely ready for some wine tasting!  We headed out to Sonoma and took in the pretty landscape.  There are over  500 vineyards in Sonoma/Napa valleys!  So you can just imagine how pretty of a drive that is.  We went to two really small wineries which was nice.  They both produced only between 1000 – 2000 cases a year compared to the bigger corporate ones which produce hundreds of thousands.  We really enjoyed the wines at both places and had the perfect day!

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We somehow rallied ourselves after this full day to go out to a bar for dinner and drinks.  We head to the marina / cow hollow district to a restaurant I had actually already been to before called The Tipsy Pig.  It was a cute little gastro pub.  Then when we got back to our apartment we couldn’t resist the little Irish dive bar right below us.  We went in there for one last beer.  They had some live music going on so after the long day we had we thoroughly enjoyed some loud obnoxious singing.

Stay tuned for Part two….a bar full of NY Giants fans in San Fran, some hippie neighborhoods, chocolate covered bacon, and a “sunset” cruise under the Golden Gate!