Sunday, November 25, 2007

Walking Through Ward

Let me start by saying that not all preschool photographers are created equal. Maybe the reason is that she’s 6 months younger and about a foot shorter than her buddy Gabe whose beautiful pictures were shared in the Central Oahu post. Perhaps it’s that her petite little hands just can’t seem to get a good grip on the camera while she’s trying to aim for that perfect shot. There’s a good possibility that she’s been taking photography tips from her daddy whose handy work was observed in our first post about Kahala Mall. Whatever (or whomever) is to blame; the assortment of partial head shots, invading pinkies, or a combination of both like this one helped us quickly decide that, while Arwen was a welcome guest on this adventure down Auahi Street to 4 more Starbucks locations, she wouldn’t be taking anymore of our pictures. With a little help from Mommy to aim and keep the pinkies clear, she was able to successfully capture the three of us in front of the Ward Gateway Starbucks. The rest of her clever shots will go in her scrapbook. Arwen didn't really care anyway. Unlike her friend Gabe (aka "My Gabey") who thought we were totally nuts, this little latte lover actually likes going to Starbucks for "coffee" and was enjoying the drinks and treats right along with us. Okay...before you all scoff at the horrible parent who lets her 3 year old drink coffee, let me clarify that Arwen gets the Kids Cocoa, but as far as she's concerned, it comes in a Starbucks cup just like mine, so it's coffee.

For this visit:

Our Baristas:
Brandee (the cashier with an attitude) & Cathy

Our Drinks:

  • Larisa: Grande, Nonfat, No Whip, Peppermint Mocha in the beautiful Pike Place Starbucks tumbler Mai brought back from Seattle this summer -- saved her 10 cents! Woohoo!
  • Malia: Tall, Decaf, Nonfat, No Whip, Sugarfree, Gingerbread Latte
  • Mai: Grande No Whip Toffee Nut Latte
  • Arwen: Kids Cocoa (which was upgraded to a Tall because they were out of short cups.)

Other:

  • Larisa bought 3 Create Your Own Tumblers for us to enhance the journey. (Mahalo!)
We eventually made our way down Auahi Street to the Ward Entertainment Center and decided it was time for dinner. This is also where we realized that we needed to pick up the pace if Malia and I were going to make it home in time for Desperate Housewives and Larisa home for Nip/Tuck. I'm not sure if this is why we failed to get any other photos than this food shot (photo credit to Larisa) and also missed getting the names of the baristas or if it was because we were so excited to get free samples, but this'll have to do for now. If our mystery baristas happen to read this blog, please feel free to comment to let us know who you are! Of course, after forgetting the lemonade part of my order, they may wish to remain anonymous.

For this visit:

Our Baristas: ???

Our Drinks:
  • Larisa: will pass on a drink and just enjoy the food samples
  • Malia: also passing on a drink
  • Mai: Grande, Sweetened, Black Iced Tea Lemonade (but the barista forgot the Lemonade part)
  • Arwen: an Organic Apple Juice Box
Other:

  • Larisa: a Turkey Pesto Sandwich sample, a Ham and Cheese Croissant sample, and a $5 Gift Card with a cute Christmas Card Box of Chocolate. (Doing a little Christmas shopping?)
  • Malia: a Turkey Pesto Sandwich sample and an Egg Salad on Multigrain Sandwich
  • Mai: a Chinese-Style Chicken Sandwich with Side Salad to share with Arwen
  • Arwen: 2 pieces of chicken from Mai's dinner. Apparently she didn't agree with my dinner choice.

We hurry a little further down the street to the Hokua building, and as we approach this location, begin to get the sinking feeling that it's closed... there wasn't a soul in sight! What a relief to suddenly see movement behind the counter. Yes! We're not too late! This Starbucks does close earlier than its sister stores in the neighborhood, but it isn't closed yet. We hurry in to find Courtney and more samples! Another interesting discovery, this Starbucks location recycles. One more reason to heart Starbucks Hokua!

For this visit:

Our Baristas: Courtney

Our Drinks:
  • Larisa: sample of Unsweetened Black Iced Tea Lemonade
  • Malia: sample of Unsweetened Black Iced Tea Lemonade and a Tall, Unsweetened Black Iced Tea Lemonade
  • Mai: sample of Unsweetened Black Iced Tea Lemonade while still carrying the drink that was missing Lemonade from down the street.

Other:

  • Larisa: Dark Chocolate Graham Cracker Cookies
  • Mai: Holiday Gingerbread
  • Arwen: Rice Krispie Treat
Mahalo to Courtney for taking our picture with extra special thanks from Larisa for including her friend Louis in the shot ("the other brown one.")

Without much time left, we hustle across the street to the Ward Center Borders Starbucks. Aack! A Borders location and no time to browse?!?! The sacrifices we make for our Sunday night TV. As we climb the stairs to our last stop for the evening, we find a kind Borders guy to take our picture. Mahalo Mark.
Upstairs, Arwen quickly finds herself a table and sits down to enjoy her Crispy Treat that I painfully made her wait to open until now while the rest of us chat with our friendly cashier, Marcus. Larisa and I admired their Daily Offerings sign that included a drawing of the island chain and asked if one of their own baristas created it as some of the ones we'd seen in Central Oahu. Marcus explained that they have a partner that comes in to do their signs, but this one they almost had to erase because, though beautiful work, it didn't meet corporate specs. We learn something new with every Starbucks trip.

For this visit:

Our Baristas: Marcus & Nathan

Our Drinks:
  • Larisa & Malia pass.
  • Mai: Tall Java Chip Frapuccino
Other:
  • Larisa: Decorated Cookie Ornament
  • Malia: Rice Krispie Treat

Saturday, November 24, 2007

November 18, 2007: Lewers Waikiki Starbucks


Aha! I finally figured out how to make a post!

I am the least computer savy of the three of us so of course I am the last to post on the blog! I'm Larisa, the brown one in the photos. Mai Ly has done a fabulous job of keeping everyone informed of our Starbucks mini adventures. I say mini because the big adventure is when we hit the mainland in a green Starbucks car traveling from one Starbucks to another. Wouldn't that be a fun little summer vacation?

So for now, this photo of me, Malia, and Mufasa from "The Lion King" will have to do as my photo/post. Just goes to show you that Starbucks is truly universal. From the famous to not so famous to a stay at home mom like me---we all LOVE Starbucks. Til next time....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Catch up with Central Oahu

What do you get when you take a 4 year old on a Central Oahu quest to 5 different Starbucks locations? Hours of seemingly endless entertainment, 3 trips to the potty, company for Malia in the backseat, someone to bus our empties to the trashcan, an assortment of interesting photographs, and confirmation that even a preschooler can shoot pictures better than my husband. (Sorry Rob.)

Meet Larisa's son, Gabriel - our special guest for today's tour of all Starbucks stores within 8 miles of Larisa's home. He's a whiz at designing architectural structures of Tinker Toys and Legos and can produce a masterpiece with paint on canvas like a pro, so naturally we decided this gifted little guy was the best choice to serve as official photographer for our caffeinated crew. The fact that he was willing to work for the bargain rate of one Penguin Cookie and a Sausage and Egg Breakfast Sandwich was a bonus.

Gabe thought we were crazy for taking in so many Starbucks stops in a day, but he was still such a good sport and did an excellent job with the photos. Take a look at this one taken by Gabe at the Mililani Shopping Center Starbucks. I'm not sure any of us could've taken a shot like this if we tried. (Good job Gabe!)

We decided that we had some serious catch up work to do because it'd been almost two weeks since the last time the three of us were able to get together for Starbucks. Make no mistake...we've all been frequenting our favorite java joint since the last post. We just haven't been able to get the three musketeers together at one location at the same time until now.

With Larisa as our driver, the adventure continues with a stop at Schofield Barracks. Our friends at the Main Street Expresso (store name on the receipt) were giving out coffee crumb cake samples. Yum! Larisa also made an interesting discovery we hadn't seen anywhere else yet - Hanukkah Starbucks merchandise. And to answer your question, yes, the 4 year old took this picture. Like I said, the kid's got talent.

For this visit:

Our Baristas: Sarah, Crystal, & Joanne

Our Drinks:

  • Malia: Tall, Nonfat, Decaf, Foam, No Whip, White Chocolate Mocha
  • Larisa: Tall Hot Cocoa
  • Mai: Tall Toffee Nut Latte
  • Gabe (our photographer): Water

Other:

  • Larisa: 2 Penguin Cookies to share
  • Mai: a Coffee Crumb Cake to share (but she didn't)
  • Gabe: some trail mix from Mom's purse (is outside food allowed?)

On to Mililani Shopping Center - site of Gabe's awesome photo shared earlier in this post. We realize at this point that we're going to have to pace ourselves if we want to actually enjoy each of these 5 visits. We'll stick to just drinks at this one. Gabe's getting hungry, so we'll have lunch at the next stop.

For this visit:

Our Baristas: Addison & Jen

Our Drinks:

  • Larisa: Tall, Sweetened Black Iced Tea Lemonade
  • Malia: Grande, Sweetened Black Iced Tea Lemonade
  • Mai: Venti, Sweetened Black Iced Tea Lemonade
  • Gabe: Nada, he's content playing with my camera

What seems like footsteps away, we're at Mililani Towne Center, where we discover that making delicious coffee drinks is not the only talent 0f a Starbucks barista. It turns out that the Daily Offerings and other special signs we admire each day are created by the staff. If there was a contest for this, my vote would be for this one by Kris.

For this visit:

Our Baristas: Cat with a C & Kris with a K

Our Drinks:

  • Larisa, Malia, & Gabe opted to pass on having any drinks here in order to have room for lunch.
  • Mai was still carrying her drink from the last Starbucks stop. (Is it still considered outside food or drink if it comes from another Starbucks?)

Other:

  • Larisa: Chicken Cheddar Club with Bacon Sandwich
  • Malia: Veggie Wrap
  • Mai: Chinese-Style Chicken Sandwich with Side Salad
  • Gabe: Nada, he's holding out for a Sausage and Egg Breakfast Sandwich, which were sold out here
Mahalo to Kris for coming out to take our photo!

Then we make our way over to Waikele. Our team bookworm, Larisa, loves the Borders locations. To complete this visit, we wandered in to find Malia additions to her Warren Kimble collection (something that probably deserves a blog of its own) and ended up finding Larisa a book she didn't already have (shock!) - How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill. We'll have her share a review when she's done. A life without Starbucks is hard to imagine.

For this visit:

Our Baristas: Ke'ala, Leigh Ann, and Jason

Our Drinks:

  • Larisa: Ethos Bottled Water
  • Malia: None, she's just having dessert
  • Mai: Tall, Sweetened Black Iced Tea
  • Gabe: None, they've got his sandwich though
Other:

  • Larisa: Mint Chocolate Brownie
  • Malia: Fresh Banana and Strawberry Yogurt Parfait
  • Gabe: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Sandwich (finally!)
The final, and probably our favorite, stop for the Central Oahu Starbucks cluster was a trip through the Waipio Starbucks Drive Thru. Here we met the self proclaimed "best baristas" on the island of Oahu. These guys were the perfect way to end our excursion for the day, and they didn't have any problem with us taking their picture. They also shared a drink suggestion that we will be sure to try in the near future: Venti, Iced, White Chocolate Mocha with two pumps Almond. Thanks guys!


For this visit:

Our Baristas: Rubin & Josh

Our Drinks:

  • Larisa: Tall, Iced, Nonfat, Stirred Caramel Macchiato
  • Malia & Mai: Tall Java Chip Frappuccinos

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Maui Stamp Mugs

So there I was at the Manoa Starbucks on my way to a Stampin' Up! party. It was suppose to be a quick stop to pick me up a venti nonfat, decaf, white chocolate mocha with foam, no whip, and a Carmel Macchiato for Mai Ly. (Larisa wasn't joining us for the party or I would have picked her up one, too.) However, I caught myself doing something I shouldn't have done...I started to walk around and look at the shelves of Starbucks merchandise. Now, I can probably tell you the current inventory of merchandise in any Starbucks, so why I was walking around was unbeknown to me...okay, it was known...it was out of habit. Good thing (or bad, yeah right!) though, as I spotted the red label we all long for...the red label indicating a sale item. And what was it? A Maui stamped mug! Now, we have a deal that we won't buy a mug from a place other than its city...which is fair, right? I mean what fun would that be if you could buy all your "city" mugs from the same store? (Note to self, write about the "dilemma" while at the Starbucks in Narita, Japan.) But this was an exception, and I'm sure you'll agree with me as to why...they were $1.99! You would be an F-O-O-L not to make the purchase. And there was a sign (as if $1.99 needed to be justified), there were 3 of them! That's right...one for me, Mai and Larisa. I would have felt bad if there was only one, (because I would have to hide it from the other 2) or even two (because I would have to choose who to give it to without the other knowing)...but 3 meant we could each have one...hence, a sign. So, I did the only thing I could do, I bought all 3. What another great day at Starbucks!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Journey Begins

There seems to be one every which way you turn and, just when you think they've got all corners covered, here comes another. This isn't a complaint. It's a celebratory statement. I heart Starbucks. I look forward to my daily cup of heaven and don't think twice about standing in a line that wraps around the shop to get it. The coffee, the pastries, the atmosphere...what's not to love?

So it's a good thing that two of my closest and dearest friends love Starbucks as much as I do. We drink Starbucks. We eat Starbucks. We shop Starbucks. And while we're hanging out enjoying our barista prepared beverage, what do we do? We talk Starbucks. "We should visit every Starbucks location on the island of Oahu." That's right. If we're going to be drinking Starbucks everyday (quite often more than once in a day), we might as well mix things up, be a little adventurous, and see what all Starbucks has to offer us here.

Now the original idea was to not only visit every Starbucks on the island, but to actually visit them in the order that they opened. A great idea until we got a hold of the list. With the amount of driving necessary to get all of them done in order and the current gas prices, we'd burn up our coffee budget - quickly, so we amended the plan to begin at the first Oahu Starbucks - Kahala Mall. The rest we'd take care of in geographical clusters.


And here we are at the beginning of our journey to check out every Starbucks on Oahu. Please excuse the photo taken by my husband who apparently had a difficult time figuring out how to get us and the sign in the shot. Despite the looks of frustration, we were having a good time. (Thanks for trying, Rob.)

With the Starbucks upstairs at Barnes and Noble not opening until 9 a.m. and the nearest alternate location at least 4 miles away (Kapahulu) in one direction and 7 miles away (Hawaii Kai) in the other, this location services a pretty big chunk of morning island coffee drinkers, so as usual the line stretched out of the store and into the mall. But the service was fast and the coffees well worth the wait.

Starbucks Kahala Mall is my home office. You'll find me there just about every morning after dropping Arwen off at preschool, and the only reason I may skip that fix is because I have plans to meet someone there later. Today, I returned for a 1 o'clock lunch meeting with a potential client. I wonder how many visits it'll take before they'll give me a reserved table.

For this visit:

Our Baristas: Matt & Claudine (we would've included photos, but apparently Starbucks has a policy regarding photographing their employees.)

Our Drinks:

  • Malia: Venti, Hot, Non-Fat, Decaf, No Whip, Toffee Nut Latte

  • Larisa: Tall, Hot, No Whip, Egg Nog Latte

  • Mai: Venti, Hot, Whole, No Whip, Toffee Nut Latte

  • Rob (our photographer): Venti Coffee
Other:
  • One Cranberry Bliss Bar and One Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie to share