Archive for May, 2011

May 24, 2011

Time Flies When You’re… well it just flies.

Wow, it’s been a while since I have posted! Funny I thought it had only been about a week or so and I log on today to find that it’s been more than two! Story of my life, time flies and strangely enough it seems to fly faster the older I get. Summer vacation from school as kid seemed to last and last; it was great, long sunny days full of fun activities. Now as an adult it seems as though you start planning your summer weekends in April and by now you’re all booked with weddings, planned get-togethers, graduations etc. It seems those warm pleasant weekends get filled up and the next thing you know that long anticipated summer has turned to cool crisp autumn! Don’t get me wrong, I love fall, but “oh those summer nights.” Now before I get off on a “favorite movie tanget” with more one liners from ‘Grease’ I’ll get to my point, in an effort to slow things down a bit, I am going to share with you a collection of some images from this fabulous but fast paced life. Some pictures of summers’ past all taken around the state of Maine. I read an article this morning about slowing down, living in the moment and enjoying today. I feel like sometimes we get caught up in our everyday routine activities and we forget to enjoy at least a part of each day. We spend our energy focusing on past experiences, or dreaming about future endeavors that we don’t stop to smell the roses, so to speak. So without further adue, let’s attempt to slow down time for a bit……enjoy some images that bring to mind summer!

“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”
~Henry David Thoreau

May 3, 2011

For the love of traveling joe.

Via Really Natural

There are  a few things in life I really enjoy, simple things, 400 thread count sheets,  a well made  margarita, a new scented candle, a steak cooked exactly how I like it, and up at the top of the list, a good cup of coffee.

Via Unique Coffee Mugs

Some might say coffee is a type of drug, that you are addicted to the caffeine….  In fact there is a whole market for products which poke fun about how coffee can affect someone’s demeanor. Mugs, magnets, and signs, with sayings like “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” or “instant human: just add coffee.” I am sure there is boat loads of evidence/research defending the addiction argument and I am not here to try to convince you otherwise but I believe coffee is so much more than a caffeine addiction. My morning cup of coffee has the ability to set the tone for the entire day.  Most of the time, my first cup of coffee in the morning is the only hot coffee I have all day. On occasion I’ll have a small coffee in the afternoon if I’m feeling a little sluggish or the mood strikes me but most of the time, I have one shot to get it right and it has to be “on point.” On point in our house means the coffee is exactly how we each like it. I take cream and sugar in mine while Mark drinks his black. My “on point” coffee is not too strong, not too weak, not bitter or burnt and I have mixed it with just the right amount of sugary sweetness and cream until it’s the perfect shade of beige…now thats on point, for me. Consistency is key, I like my coffee to taste the same way each morning.  It’s all about the color first than taste.

Mark and I both take a travel mug of coffee to work each day. Transporting your coffee is a very important detail to enjoying your coffee experience. And for proper transportation you really need a good travel mug. I like to consider myself a travel mug expert of sorts. What qualifies me you ask? Well I take my coffee work with me EVERY day and I have many, many, different types of travel mugs. I feel as though sharing what I have learned might be beneficial to others who have been let down by travel mug purchases of the past.

Via Got Free Shipping

First I have to clear the air, I can’t keep it from you any longer, so I am just going to say it. I am not a huge fan of Starbucks actual coffee. Wait, stop! Don’t judge me, I’ll drink it for sure, it is not awful, but given the choice, it’s not my go to coffee. Ok there that’s out-of-the-way… moving on and back to my point, one thing that Starbucks has that I absolutely love are their travel mugs. In fact the majority of the mugs that Mark and I have purchased together are Starbucks mugs and they do a fabulous job! There are obviously certain qualities we look for, not every travel mug they carry on the shelf makes the cut but they do have quite a few winners. Anything stainless steel without a handle gets considered and the best of the best have made it home to our coffee mug cabinet.

Here’s the thing, a travel mug needs to do a couple of very important things and it needs to do them well. 1. It needs to transport your coffee from A to B without spillage or leakage and 2. It needs to maintain a warm temperature suitable for drinking for a reasonable amount of time. There  are some other factors that make for an excellent travel mug but we’ll get to those later.

Task 1, transportation. Key to this is a good seal between lid and bottom, a sound locking or closing mechanism for the drinking area and a size and shape the fits comfortably in your car’s cup holder. You know what I am talking about, we’ve all had the tall super skinny mug that falls over when you take a sharp corner too fast, a loose fit in the cup holder, a poor seal on the lid and that’s a huge mess awaiting to happen. Imagine coffee all over your car’s dash-board and carpet, now that is making or breaking your whole day right there.

Task 2, keeping your beverage hot. Don’t under-estimate the power of this little characteristic. We accumulated have many travel mugs between the two of us; some of which were mine and some of which were Mark’s and we have since purchase many together as I had mentioned. Andfor good reason because every morning we each grab a travel mug and go, doesn’t matter which one, we share them all…..or so Mark thinks. I have one secret mug that Mark never takes to work for a couple of reasons, one because it’s usually not in the cabinet with the other mugs (and I have no idea how that happens) and two because even if he found it, I would probably wrestle him to the ground on his way out the door for it. This travel mug is that good. Let me explain.

Have you ever had one of those mornings at work where you have a plan mapped out for your day, and from the moment you enter through the door, said plan is thrown out the window. I like to start my day the same each morning, ease into my tougher work load about an hour into my work day. My ideal morning at work begins with reading and answering my emails while enjoying my coffee and slowly becoming human again. (I am not much of a morning person with or without coffee) I just need enough time to be able to wake up, to think logically and creatively about designing my client’s kitchens, that’s not too much to ask for is it? This process usually takes about half an hour to an hour depending on the day. Don’t get me wrong I am still getting things done, I am just prioritizing my work load so that I am doing the really important stuff during my very alert hours. On a good day, there I am, answering emails, filing yesterday’s paper work,  sipping my coffee and gearing up for the rest of the day, ah life is good.

Thermos Brand

But every once and while you come into work to find 37 emails, 4 missed calls, and 2 faxes regarding 3 kitchens that were just delivered. One is the wrong color, the other is missing pieces and so on and so on, then you are thrown into your day without warning. You have contractors to call, cabinet companies to argue with and the next thing you know it’s 11am and you have not had one sip of your amazing “on point” coffee, ah the nightmare!!! On a regular day you might think to yourself, “Great, now I have to go all the way down the hall, pour out my luke-warm coffee into a microwave safe container, re-heat (which is never as good), pour it back into my mug just to enjoy my one cup of coffee today! Grrrr, the absurdity of it! Then you realize you have your special mug today. A stainless steel  Thermos brand mug (with small dent in the side, but it still rocks) with flip back top that clicks shut!! Yes, redemption tried and true your coffee is still hot and “on point!” And that in a nutshell is why Mark will never take my special mug to work.


Now there are other details to consider when selecting a travel mug. Clean-ability, grip-ability, attractiveness, etc. I personally don’t like the travel mugs with handles, they don’t fit in my car’s cup holder and I rarely actually use the handle when drinking. And I will never buy a coffee mug that can’t go in the dishwasher. And lastly durability, let’s face it things get dropped, they roll, they bounce, they tip over.  A good travel mug should be able to stand the test of time.
Wow there is some much more to coffee than caffeine. Favorite ceramic coffee mugs to drink from at home, don’t even get me started! Well maybe but that’s for another post…. In fact that brings me to a question… What are some of YOUR favorite coffees (ground or whole bean) to brew at home? Let me know! Thanks for stopping by, happy sipping!