57 Things Series · Uncategorized

57 things series

Did you happen to come across this fun article back in January? It’s a list of 57 doable, mostly food-related goals. Before even coming across it, we had been doing many of the things listed, but I thought it would be fun to occasionally post about some of the items on the 57 things list as a series. For example, number 38: “Save your oldest, softest shirts for sleeping—not oil splatters. Invest in an apron.”

Now, I already have an apron–two, in fact. The first one I received as a going away gift when we moved back to Michigan from Japan a few years ago. It’s this Cath Kidston one below (I absolutely love it!).
    My second apron is the black apron I earned for becoming a coffee master at Starbucks. I love any occasion to use either in the kitchen, but I especially can’t wait to use them once we’re back in the states and have an oven again!

Do you have an apron for your kitchen adventures? The Cath Kidston print on my apron is no longer available, but check out these prints!

xx Caitlyn

PS when studying for my coffee masters I was inspired in the kitchen and in the craft room–check out these Chocolate Temptations or this Vintage Coffee Clock DIY to get started on just some of the coffee fun 🙂

Seen/Heard/Tried · Spring Bucket List

My week (and a few days) in pictures

IMG_1694                                              Above: My last week in art journaling

After our tram ride journey, we had just one more day of break before returning to school. We decided to go for a yakiniku lunch at a place called Ikebukuro Yakiniku Stadium, and it was super delicious (and only 900 yen each!).IMG_1617                                                                  kimchi

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This guy *swoons*

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I also got around to doing some hand lettering after being inspired by the cute bag from this post.IMG_1653After two days of school, it was already the weekend. Saturday was super cloudy, so we went for coffee at Starbucks and I started reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler. (This means I’m on book two out of three for my Spring Bucket List!) I’ve really been enjoying the book so far.IMG_1659On Sunday we had sunny weather, so we decided to head out to Setagaya to go to the famous Bear Pond Espresso. I first heard of the cafe when we watched A Film About Coffee back in the states, and had been dying to try it ever since. On the way there, we saw this giant ape above a Family Mart!IMG_1671
The cafe is a bit inconspicuous–we actually walked right by it at first. I tried to covertly take a picture of the outside, having read that there are strict rules on photography there.IMG_1672Despite the rules in place, the owners do allow some pictures if you ask first, so I happily took pictures of our lattes when we were inside.
IMG_1673I’m sure if you’re anything like me, you’re dying to know the verdict. And the verdict is… amazing. Super nice flavor with the espresso really standing on its own. Chad pointed out that BPE espresso is a bit more citrusy than the espresso at Streamers, which I’ve got to admit still has my favorite lattes so far. BPE’s latte was a close second.IMG_1674IMG_1675 IMG_1682
When we left, we saw this cool street art above. I love how so many shop doors are painted in Japan.
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Above is my art journaling for this week so far. Last week I was running every weekday for at least 1.5 miles or more, and I’d been keeping to my goal of running at least a mile each weekday for about a month. This week, however, I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I only ran on Thursday. On the bright side, I felt creative this week and had a lot of fun in my classroom.

IMG_1687Here is the pretty piece of cake I chose from several our manager got for us. It was a really nice balance of chocolate and orange flavors.IMG_1693Lastly, we’ve been sashimi crazy as of late. I think we’ve been having it for dinner two or three times a week, and we still love it! I feel lucky that we can take advantage of easy access to quality sashimi in Japan.

I hope you enjoyed a peek at what I’ve been up to lately. We’ve got some more fun planned this weekend that I can’t wait to share with you soon. Hope you have a great, inspiring weekend, Little Snail darlings!
xxCaitlyn

Around Town · Seen/Heard/Tried

Saturday Sights in Shibuya

Thank goodness for weekends. We had a lazy start today (like last weekend!), eating French toast, drinking coffee and watching Game of Thrones. Then when we were thinking of how to spend our afternoon, I remembered that Chad had said he thought Shibuya was a cool area, so I decided to see what we might be able to do out that way today. I chose three main places I wanted to go: Theobroma Musee du Chocolat, Nata de Christiano’s, and Streamer Coffee. We started our journey by walking through Yoyogi Park to Theobroma, where I purchased three chocolates for us to split later.IMG_1366IMG_1401

The one that looks like a mix between a miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and a tiny cupcake was hazelnut and milk chocolate. The one in the back right had a bit of framboise action happening (and was my favorite), and then the other (left) was a honey infused chocolate. IMG_1371After leaving Theobroma, we headed about a block over to Nata de Christiano’s. This tiny bakery specializes in egg tarts, and though I’ve made some decent ones in the past, I’ve never quite been able to make a perfect egg tart. I had to see if Nata de Christiano’s lived up to its reputation!
IMG_1392First of all, let me just say that when I write that the bakery is tiny, I mean tiny. But it is also adorable!
IMG_1390IMG_1372 IMG_1374 IMG_1375 IMG_1376They serve alcohol too!IMG_1377 IMG_1378The staff was very friendly, and the service was prompt.IMG_1380 IMG_1381Don’t they look amazing? THAT’S BECAUSE THEY ARE.IMG_1384 IMG_1386There is absolutely nothing tiny about how fabulous these tarts are, you guys. The puff pastry is just slightly burnt but super buttery and flaky. Contrasting with the crunch of the pastry is the sweet, silky egg tart filling. I just can’t tell you how in love with these tarts I am! Gahhh! I feel like Nata de Christiano would be enough of a reason to go to Shibuya, but after that, we had another great experience at Streamer Coffee.

IMG_1402Streamer Coffee is known in particular for its latte art. The owner, Hiroshi Sawada, was the first Asian to ever become a World Latte Art champion. If you know me at all, though, you know that I don’t care much about latte art if the espresso doesn’t hold its own. But um, you guys? The espresso at Streamers is absolutely awesome.    IMG_1397And I mean, awesome. As in, my latte was one of the best I’ve ever had. Streamers has created its own coffee blend, and the beans are also for sale in the cafe. #pleasegiveme #allthecoffee
IMG_1399 IMG_1400 We had such a successful day in Shibuya! After walking around for several hours, we were ready to go home for dinner. I captured a couple interesting shots on the way home (one is posted below, and the others are on instagram!). Then I worked on a super fun project I can’t wait to share with you tomorrow! (Hint: the project is part of something from my Spring Bucket List!) IMG_1406 Have a lovely weekend friends! I’ll see you back here tomorrow!
xxCaitlyn

Seen

Happy Sunday!

Don’t you just love those days off where time actually seems to be going at a reasonable pace and you can really relax? Today has SO been one of those days, and after a crazy week, it’s been much needed! We woke up this morning at a lazy pace, had coffee and peanut butter toast, and then hung out reading all morning.IMG_1351We were going to go on a picnic today for lunch, but since it was raining we decided to go to an Indian restaurant for curry instead!IMG_1339                                              I really liked the Kima Curry (left).IMG_1340

After lunch we decided to wander around, and I found some really fun stuff while window shopping!IMG_1342
I thought this bag was really cool, and I want to do some hand lettering with the quote.IMG_1343How fun is this coffee cup? I sat looking at it with puppy eyes for several minutes, thinking how much I love a good croissant with some quality coffee. The design is so simple, yet cute, with the little croissant inside peeking out like a delightful surprise. (I tried that technique when I made my Odd Side Ales mug last summer). IMG_1344Then I found this sweet kitty cat makeup bag, as well as a sloth-print hand towel.IMG_1345How amazing is this? Ojisan means middle-aged man. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I need to own this pouch! It just makes me smile.IMG_1346Do you know what else makes me smile? We got home and Chad made a French Press while I was cleaning. I was in a different room when he said, “I poured some coffee for you!” I came out to see that he had somehow bought me the cute cup I’d been looking at without me even noticing! What a sweety!!IMG_1352
After doing a bit more cleaning, I made a list on a new notepad I bought today!IMG_1350
Then I wrote some letters, did some art journaling, and relaxed a bit. Talk about a nice day, and it’s not even over yet! Next up: grocery shopping so I can make chicken salad croissants and deviled eggs for a nice spring dinner. I might hit up the 100 yen store and see if anything strikes my fancy, too. Then tonight we’re going to watch Hector and the Search for Happiness. Have you seen it yet? What have you been up to this weekend?

Have a lovely Sunday darlings!
xxCaitlyn

Reviews · Tried

Flavor Fun: Starbucks Chocolate Orange Mocha

starbucks advert I couldn’t help but try the Chocolate Orange Mocha when I stumbled across it in Japan. As far as I know, this flavor isn’t offered in the states–at the very least not in Michigan, so I decided to share about the beverage here 🙂IMG_1905

I got a tall size of the hot version of the Chocolate Orange Mocha, and it wasn’t too bad. A barista told me that they use mocha, orange syrup, espresso, steamed milk, orange-infused whipped cream, mocha again on top, and orange sprinkles. One of my former coworkers (here’s looking at you, Dona!) would kill me for saying this, but the orange sprinkles SERIOUSLY tasted like Fruity Pebbles cereal. I’ve got Chad to back me up on that. IMG_1907To be honest, the whole Fruity Pebble flavor going on with those sprinkles didn’t really do much for me, though otherwise the beverage tasted like a lightly sweetened hot chocolate with the slightest hint of orange. It almost felt like less pumps of mocha than standard were used, though I never put full pumps in my beverages anyway.

I’d have to say the beverage, for me, was sort of take it or leave it, but I definitely will be visiting the same Starbucks location again. After all, I got to meet a Japanese coffee master there, and the partners were all really friendly.

Have you tried any fun beverages lately?
xx Caitlyn

Food & Cooking · Tried

Infographic Love, Coffee Love, and Epicurean Baristas (Love!)

Christmas BlendClick image to enlarge

Hi everyone! I’ve been going crazy over infographics as of late, and I even made one to describe Starbucks Christmas Blend (pictured above). After I finished my Christmas Blend infographic, I got to wondering if there were a lot of other Starbucks coffee-related infographics out there. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find many that talked about coffee, though I could find quite a few that described Starbucks as a company and its history. Here are a couple of the ones I liked (though they’re not in English):

Starbucks 1Click to enlarge (Source)

PrintClick to enlarge (Source)

I also found these super helpful (free!) websites that I will be using to create future infographics:

Easel.ly
Infogr.am

After thinking about all that coffee, I knew today I would have to make a French Press at home. I decided to pair Christmas Blend with a Cranberry Loaf, and OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS THE LOAF WAS AMAZING. I will share the recipe eventually, but I am planning on making it for every single Thanksgiving get together this year so you’re just going to have to wait and drool.

Christmas Blend Pairing(You can find this image on my instagram, too! 😉 )

While we’re still talking (and dreaming about) my pairing from this afternoon, I think it’s a good time to mention that I tried taking my first ever video while preparing the tasting. I’ve got a lot to learn, and my friend Amanda is going to help teach me the ropes of editing, but I think the video I took today will be a good start.

A good start to what, you ask? A good start to a new YouTube channel that my friend Tia and I are starting called Epicurean Baristas. Since Chad and I are going back to Japan, Tia and I thought it would be fun to stay in touch via video “letters” talking about things we’re very passionate about: eating and drinking! We’re still working out the kinks of our YouTube page and blog, but I’ll keep you posted as things progress!

xx Caitlyn