Thirsty Thursday: Pumpkin (spice) Perk Poser

Pumpkin Spice Latte…poster child for coffee posers?

Starbucks Latte

Recently I partook in an act I would consider innocuous to my “rep.” I ordered, and enjoyed I should point out, a Starbucks PSL.

Since its inception in 2003, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte has been fodder for both adoration and abhor-ation. Many, MANY blogs and articles have been written about it, some notable ones being:

My intentions with this post are not to add  much to the debate over whether enjoying a PSL (skinny, hold the whip) is good or bad, cool or uncool, “in” or “so passe’.” Truthfully, I’m more interested in the cult hysteria and discussion surrounding one, java-based drink and how it has come to represent a line-in-the-sand between acceptance or rejection of the mainstream. It’s an quirky occurrence to recall several scraps of information just from a beverage order…

It seems this flavored brew has come to represent all that is right and wrong with, not PSLjust Starbucks, but large coffee conglomerates, or, for that matter, conglomerate society. I’m sure the coffee realists had quite a field day with comparisons and explanations of the negatives in mainstream American society when one could (finally? sadly? obviously?)  get their franchise coffee (Starbucks) inside and while shopping in a big box store (Target). Again, I’m not here to debate right or wrong, but I will admit I was jazzed to be able to pick up a chai along with my E.L.F. Cosmetics and Market Pantry items.

As a New Orleanian I was raised on coffee milk (a blend of chicory coffee and lots of milk) at my grandfather’s table and remember the distinguished feeling of finally being allowed to enjoy a cafe-au-lait with the adults after dinner at a fine restaurant.

I respect true coffee experts’ pallets and discernment between various brands, brews and beverage preparations…I’m just not that sophisticated in my coffee drinking. I tend to go more with the “drink what you like” mentality.

I support the ideas of “Shop Local” and financially contributing to mom-n-pop establishments over large corporations. There is certainly something to be said for the feeling one can only get from a steamy, neighborhood coffee joint, most likely filled with notable and interesting characters (especially the ones in the Uptown area of New Orleans). To me, there is also something to be said for the exhilaration of receiving stars, points and perks with my perk! The loyalty/reward system usually only being offered by franchised coffee locations, however.

Lest we forget the big, franchised brands started as Original Starbucksjust another neighborhood shop down the street. I’ve been to the original Starbucks in Seattle, and I enjoyed checking it off my “touristy to-do” bucket list. I didn’t feel that I was visiting coffee mecca nor did I feel I was visiting the hell where “real” coffee goes to die. I imagine lobbyists on each side of the java debate would feel one of those ways.

The price argument is an interesting one as well.

Coffee pricing can be compared to wine pricing. There is a societal equivocation with the price and quality of wine, understood that, as the price of a bottle of wine goes up, so too should the quality and taste of the wine. The counter to that is the movement that says wine should be accessible and a $10 bottle could taste as complex and palatable as a $1000 bottle. Similar school’s of thought can be correlated to coffee pricing. Upwards of $8 for a beverage is justifiable for the quality of the ingredients, time spent crafting it, taste output, etc.. But why spend that much on a beverage we make so readily at home for considerably cheaper? -or- If you’re going to spend that much, spend it at a neighborhood establishment.

So the argument goes, and goes, and goes…

For me, I will continue to get my PSL and other frothy beverages from Starbucks and continue to justify my purchases based on my points system. Points from credit card purchases get turned into a Starbucks gift card which earns me points with each now “free” beverage which, in turn, leads to more free beverages. (Nice huh?)PSL Latte I will also feel comfortable knowing that, when my purchases don’t come from a mom-n-pop owned coffee shop, I’m still supporting the job of the barista behind the bar at the Starbucks I frequent, or at the one in the airport I just found. I will enjoy their service because, frankly, they are always so nice! Seriously, 90(+)% of the time they are infectiously nice. Perhaps it’s because that’s part of the hiring process and a standard for the Starbucks brand. Another positive hashmark on the side of  the big-box-brewer.

So it looks like, for now, I will remain a

Pumpkin Spice Perk Poser

…Proudly? well let’s just say Purposefully 😉 

 

What side of the coffee line do YOU sit on, dear readers? Would you proudly, or indifferently for that matter, walk around with a PSL on your green and white cup? Do you prefer your local java spot because the barista knows your order, or how to make latte foam leaves? I would LOVE to know your thoughts.

 

& for the record, while I like a PSL, my prefered Fall hot bev is:

Hot Chai

  • no water
  • skim milk
  • add Pumpkin Spice
  • hold the whip

It’s a bit sweet, but good & punchy. Try it if you like spice, you’ll thank me!

Try it Tuesday – Bag Balm

 

Made for Cows – Great for Humans

BB

The Bag Balm Clover and Cow Logo


The only way that I can think to properly begin this post is to start with a confession…”Hi, my name is Alicia, and I love the reality show Laguna Beach.” I share this  because the show was the first place I saw Bag Balm. In a montage of behind-the-scenes footage, the product was raved about by almost all of the female characters. Me being the kind of gal who loves to try cult products (& now to blog about them) I went out to investigate.

IMG_5591

I was pleased to easily locate some Bag Balm at my local pharmacy but I was utterly confused to read that it was made for use on cows! (Utterly…cows…get it? Get it?? Ha. OK, I’ll stop.) Seriously though, the product says that it’s made

“…to provide moisturizing and softening…For use on cows…teats & udder…”

However, turning the signature green, square tin, I read it was

“For chapped conditions and superficial abrasions.”

IMG_5597Checking out the ingredients, it was clear that the “petroletum, lanolin base” are what provide most of the moisturizing properties.

I decided if it was a hit with California girls who dealt with the sun and salt water in Summer and wind and snow on ski trips in Winter, I was down to loose the less than $6 it cost if I hated it. I would be a fibber if I said the packaging, with it’s vintage, slightly apothecary look, wasn’t a significant factor in my choice to purchase. But then again, that’s why companies put so much research and money into packaging; it sells!

I got home and opened the signature, clover covered tin. I found exactly what I expected, a naturally colored, waxy salve.

IMG_5592Bag Balm has a fairly neutral smell and, thankfully doesn’t taste like much. If anything, a faint hint of minerals is present, but nothing overpowering. Because of this and due to it’s soothing qualities,  Bag Balm is excellent for all kinds of dry/chapped skin needs.

I had decided when I first got my hands on the packaging that I was not carrying the cumbersome cube around in my purse as the Laguna girls had done (note they do come in 1oz cans but are sometimes harder to find individually. Online, you can get them in packs) and choose instead to keep it on my nightstand. It comes in handy for all sorts of nightime rituals. I slather a considerable sized glob on my hands and then place them in moisture gloves, letting the balm soak in while I soak up a satisfying half-hour of whatever Bravo show I’m currently addicted to. I rub some on dry elbows, knees and feet. I have made coating my lips with a serious swipe a do-not-skip nightly step, the result of which has been soft, pleasantly plump lips when I awake.

Use on nails and cuticles. Take off stubborn eye makeup and waterproof mascara(carefully). Mix with lipstick remnants for a D.I.Y. gloss of a color you have almost used up. Treat burnt or blistered skin…The list goes on.

As we move into the winter months and our skin will soon be exposed to frigged outside air and drying inside heat, I highly recommend you grab yourself some udder jelly and make Bag Balm a part of your soft-skin regimen.

*Readers: Are you a Bag Balm lover already or have you taken my advice and purchased some of your own? Leave comments below and let us all know how you

Blob on  Bag Balm 

 

Makeup Monday – Mascara, Buy the Best Brush

I love, love, LOVE mascara and the way my eyelashes look when I apply the right formula with the right brush, which I have found is the key. (For my money, nothing has ever come close to the awesome results I get with L’oreal Double Extend Mascara in Waterproof Black as a standard for everyday use.) Since I tend to play around with about 3 mascara’s at a time, depending on the lash look I’m going for, I like to try different formulas and brushes. Sometimes it’s a waste of money, though, if the brush wasn’t meant for the results I’m after…

This month Sephora  opened their Buxom® Mascara Bar which they are describing as:

“A collection of seven mascara brushes, each customized for a head-turning lash effect.”

I first read about the Lash-Bar opening in the August issue of Allure magazine. What I found most helpful about the article was the breakdown of types of mascara brushes and their results. This is the kind of information that sends Jackpot bells ringing through my head!

I have spent many 10 minuet periods of time staring at the VAST array of mascara’s out there, each one promising 100%, 200%, 500% more lashes! Or longer lashes, thicker lashes, doll-like lashes! With each new mascara comes a differently shaped brush.

Buxom® takes the guess work out of the process by breaking down the results each brush is meant to create and how the brush is designed to get these results! Thanks Buxom®! So whether you purchase from the Buxom® Bar or from a different brand, check out the Buxom® wand chart, or rollover the wand heads for descriptions on the Buxom® page,for insight into the kind of eye-fringe you’re after!

Bonus read from Allure online: 6 Steps to Perfectly Thick Eyelashes

Wishing you: Enticing Eyelashes Everyone 😉