Tag Archives: Starbucks

The Art of Seduction Is A Piece of Cake

You know, you can learn a lot about life from watching a Season 8 episode of  NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” You’re rolling your eyes saying, “Thank you Captain Obvious. The moral of the show is that we have an obesity problem in America.” And I would respond kindly, “Yep, there’s that, but that’s just the fat of it. Forgive the pun. You need to go deeper to get to the meat of the problem.”

Temptation. The word basically means the quality of seduction. I find the Temptation Challenges on “The Biggest Loser” quite entertaining and down-right educating. The first Temptation Challenge changes the weight loss competition into a all-out strategy game. The contestants stood behind silver platters. When they open the platters, a single cupcake is revealed containing 100 calories. Whoever eats the most cupcakes gets to manipulate which team would fall below the yellow line at final weigh in. However, the team who wins the challenge still has to work hard to not fall bellow the yellow line, or it would be a waste of strategy. Oh, and whoever wins the challenge would not receive any help from trainers to lose weight. To put it simply, to eat the cupcake, or not eat the cupcake? That is the question. Only two gave in to the temptation as piles of cupcake are added to each contestant’s silver platter- Antoine from the red team ate one cupcake, while Tracey ate four. She “wins” the temptation.

When I saw this, I had to laugh. This is ridiculous? Tempting people with cupcakes? That’s so easy to resist. But it isn’t. I forgot the context of the situation, and who is being tempted. For someone who enjoys food and eats cupcakes like breathing air, this was quite a challenge. Addiction is challenging. I remembered my own addiction to Starbucks frappes and how I tried so hard to give it up for 40 days, only to fail on the 20th day. When the temptation was presented to me, the smell of a Chai frappe floating through the air, floating towards me–I remembered the fun times I had sipping on my Starbucks frappes. And my body remembered too, craving it. That’s what temptation is, right? Seduction. Reminds you of what you’re missing out on, what you can’t have, what you had, and essentially, what you could have for the taking. It’s right there in front of you, welcoming you, calling out your name. It messes with your mind. Temptation is easy; withstanding it is the hard part.

Lately, I’ve been craving cupcakes, but not just any cupcake. RED VELVET CUPCAKES! My mouth is watering just typing the words down. I can taste it now, the vanilla cream cheese with a dash of red sprinkles touching my taste buds. And I’m not the only one. Everyone and their mother have been wanting cupcakes, whether it be red velvet cupcakes, I do not know.  In this down economy, the cupcake industry has been steadily growing between 2006 and 2008 and still growing now. Gee, that’s about time the economy started going down. But why the increase when the economy isn’t tasting good? Apparently, cupcakes are nostalgic foods and comfort foods. Cupcakes bring people back to when life was much simpler and better (nostalgia) and when they eat the cupcake, it makes them feel a whole lot better about themselves and their situation (comfort). It’s as if all the stresses of the world disappear while you’re eating a cupcake.

Living in Los Angeles, I love Sprinkles Cupcakes (located in Beverly Hills). They sell about 5,000 cupcakes a day. And though the cupcakes may be a bit pricey (hey, they got to pay the Beverly Hills rent somehow), their cupcakes are worth it! Not only are they delicious, but you can also customize it if you want–find a cupcake that matches your nostalgia and comfort.

So with that, I send you off with a Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcake recipe located via Martha Stewart, the Queen of Conventional Cooking and Arts and Crafts. And send a cupcake or two my way. I’m great at testing food.
What’s your favorite cupcake? What’s your favorite cupcake bakery?
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Filed under Entertainment, Food, Issues/Causes, Life, Movies/TV

My Drinking Problem Or The Lack There Of

Photo Credit: InImagine

Photo Credit: InImagine

According to old English Common Law, “A man’s home is his castle.” If that is true, then aside from the couch being a sort of throne, perhaps the toilet is like a side throne. In either case, a man spends some time on these two equally important thrones. In America, a man sits on his couch, drinks beer, and watches TV. And in his younger days, a man lies down on his couch, passed out from his excessive drinking. At least, that’s the stereotype. On the other hand, a man conducts all kinds of business on the comfort of his toilet seat, even reading magazines and newspapers while sitting. And in his younger days, he would vomit into the toilet from his excessive drinking. Thank God I’m not the Australian man who had to get rushed into the emergency room after sitting on a toilet that was pranked with fast-acting adhesive. No, my problem is drinking.

But not exactly the kind of drinking problem you may automatically be thinking. I am a 23-year-old male college student/graduate, but that doesn’t mean I binge drink. You see, (now this may be a bit graphic for some people), I went to urinate today and discovered that my urine wasn’t quite as clear or light-colored as it should be. Diagnosis? My drinking problem is that I don’t drink enough water. Sure, everyone knows that drinking alcohol gets you dehydrated, and therefore you need to combat that with drinking water. But for me, it’s all those Starbucks caramel machiattos, those Tapiaco Express boba milk teas, and those Arizona sweet teas that have led to the downfall of my urine. This was quite a wake-up call to me. There you have it. I am not ashamed of my drinking problem, and chances are you aren’t too, because you may be suffering just like I am, being dehydrated and not know it! As a result, I’ve decided to be an amateur advocate promoting the healthy drinking of water. According to nutrition experts, “a good estimate is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. That gives you the number of ounces of water per day that you need to drink.” In my case (and I’m a little sensitive about revealing this to you), I currently weigh 195 pounds (yes, I’m working on losing 30 pounds). That means that I should be drinking 97.5 ounces of water daily.

You may wonder why I am promoting the “healthy drinking of water.” You may think that it’s redundant, that water is healthy for us anyway because it flushes out all the filthy stuff in our bodies and refuel our cells and giving us some energy. That’s all true, but drinking too much water too quickly is also bad for you–it can even kill you. You can have “water intoxication,” just like the tragic story of 28-year-old Jennifer Strange. A local radio station contest held the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest in 2008 when the Wii just came out. Strange drank  some six liters of water in three hours for the contest and was found dead in her home. Another incident involved a 21-year-old male student from California State University, Chico back in 2005. According to the Scientific American, he  died after being “forced to drink excessive amounts of water between rounds of push-ups in a cold basement” during a fraternity hazing gone wrong. As tragic as their stories were, it educated me about the dangers of excessive water-drinking, especially because our health-conscious  culture tells us to drink plenty of water. Now we know how much is “healthy.”

I know I’m a strange person for even examining my urine. But I’m a curious college student. And this curiosity led to a scientific exploration of my dehydration. Now, I hope you too will drink more water instead of all that other junk. And I hope you will drink water responsibly too!

For now, I’m trying to control my Starbucks addiction. In the mean time (and this is bad timing), Jamba Juice has a special promotion until September 27, 2009. If you buy one smoothie, you can get one 16oz. smoothie for a buck if you print out the coupon.

Photo Credit: InImagine

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Filed under Issues/Causes, Life, Masculinity

Starbucks and Alcohol, Quite a Concoction

Photo Credit: DelawareOnline

Photo Credit: DelawareOnline

I love Starbucks, almost as much as I love my parents. Heck, I’m a walking free advertising for Starbucks. Sometimes, I find myself preaching about the coffee trinity: chai frappuccinos, mocha lattes, and caramel machiatos. And for students like me, Starbucks is our second home. It’s where we go to get high on caffeine, the much needed “drug-of-choice” to stay awake and study. Even the atmosphere of the coffee store, the “chillaxin” factor, the soft music, and the company of friends who are in the same fate to study speaks to college students alike. And now, Starbucks is venturing into something no other mainstream coffee store has ever gone before: ALCOHOL! Yes, that’s right, according to the Associated Press, alcohol may be the remedy. Due to the failing economy and the fact that many Starbucks stores have closed shop nation-wide, and that lower-priced coffee stores like McDonalds is taking a lot of their sales, the people of Starbucks (God, I love them) want to market to a bigger crowd. Okay, I’m guilty of not being loyal to Starbucks. You can find me occassionally at McDonalds, sipping a McCafe. But I’m not the only one, and there’s many other Starbucks lovers out there who have gone to McDonalds doing just that. Sometimes, we can’t afford the $4.30 for those delicious frapes, so we settle for the McCafe, which is half the price. Economy and business is so interesting when you live it out!

Starbucks is currently testing this out in one of their Seattle stores, changing the name to “15th Avenue Coffee and Tea inspired by Starbucks.” They will continue with testing by opening two other stores in the Seattle area. If it’s a success, Starbucks will copy this pattern nation-wide, meaning they will serve alcohol in all their stores.

Are you hoping it’s a success? Will drunk people plague Starbucks? Will they be selling alcohol during the day? At $4 to $7 a glass, is the quality going to be just as good as its alcohol competitors? I wonder if Starbucks will have its own brewery company. And if so, will Starbucks be known as a coffee store that sells beer, or a bar that sells coffee?

Photo Credit: Delaware Online

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Filed under Food, Issues/Causes, Life

Free Pastry from Starbucks

I am a big fan of Starbucks mainly because of their frappes, getting a addicted as a result of all that studying I do for my UCLA classes. Personally, I favor the Chai frappe. Luckily, I have an excuse to go to Starbucks tomorrow. For a summer promotional offer, Starbucks is giving away pastries tomorrow. However, the catch is you have to bring the printed coupon. Some of their pastries are pretty delicious, especially the strawberry crumbler. So print the coupon out and let’s go to Starbucks together.

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