Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Mele Kaliki-Starbucks

I love my friends. This morning I woke up to find a wonderful email from our dear friend and sorority sister, Ronda, in Montgomery, Alabama. She and her beautiful family visited a Starbucks on Christmas Eve and thought of us, so they shared some pictures of everyone enjoying our favorite treat! A White Chocolate Mocha for Jason, an Eggnog Latte for Ronda, and a couple of Peppermint Hot Cocoas for Hugh and Grant. I'm craving a cup just thinking about it. Awww...nothing on the menu for Eli :-( I get this face when I can't have Starbucks either, but it's not nearly as cute. It's okay Little Man. You'll be joining us for "coffee" in no time. We are so looking forward to Ronda's return to Hawaii in January and plan to have her join us for at least one Starbucks stop during her visit. (Love ya Ronda and thanks for the Starbucks gift card!)

We opened presents at home. Woohoo! A Starbucks gift card from Jayme! (See why I love my friends?) Jayme is another dear friend and sorority sister that will be visiting us next year. (We'll see you at Starbucks Girl!) Then we opened more presents with my mother-in-law. Oooooo! A Tucson Starbucks mug from my brother-in-law, Mike! Larisa and Malia don't know about this new acquisition yet. Well okay, they'll know now, so sorry girls. Mike's not on the web, so he doesn't know about the blog or the mission. He remembered my desperate search for Tucson mugs (for all three of us) when we visited him in October 2006. After stops to every Starbucks in our path, a barista finally told me Tucson didn't have a mug. Guess they do now, so I'll be sure to pick you each one up the next time we go see him. Mahalo Mike for mine!

On our way to my mothers for lunch and more presents, I got a call from Malia asking if I want to break away from the family for a quick Christmas Starbucks break. We'd talked about possibly doing a Christmas Starbucks visit, but with all of the hustle and bustle that comes with the holidays combined with the need (and for some a requirement) to visit with family, I wasn't sure this was going to happen. An opportunity to ditch...er... I mean sacrifice time spent with my family for Starbucks? Tell me where and when. I'm there.

Most Starbucks locations were only open until noon or 2 p.m. today if at all. The Aloha Tower Starbucks would be open until 4 p.m. depending upon the flow of business. If it got too slow, they'd close shop early. QUICK!!! TO ALOHA TOWER!!!


For this visit:

Our baristas: Wise, Amy, and Ricardo

Our drinks:
  • Malia: Venti, Decaf, Nonfat, Sugarfree, Foam, No Whip Gingerbread Latte
  • Larisa: 2 Grande, Iced, Stirred Caramel Macchiattos (one for Isom)
  • Mai: Grande, Whole Milk, No Whip, Toffee Nut Latte

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Starbucking Discovery

Well wonders never cease. Yesterday, I was finally ready with my Christmas gifts for Malia and Larisa THREE WHOLE DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS!

Malia was exhausted from having volunteered at the Foster Families Holiday Party all day, and Arwen and I had just about reached the end of our rope having spent the day shopping, wrapping, delivering gifts, and getting Arwen's face painted at Isabella's 1st Birthday party. But we decided to get together anyway last night for a last minute latte at the Waimalu Starbucks, giving me an opportunity to deliver my gifts to the rest of the I Heart Starbucks crew.

I went with a Starbucks theme again this year (seriously?) with some more ornaments for their trees and a Christmas music CD. By the way, the best version of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer performed by Jack Johnson is on this one. If you don't have it, go get it. It's probably part of the After Christmas clearance sale now. Most of the ornaments didn't come as a surprise because I gave them the heads up that they were coming...didn't want them to go shopping for themselves. Though, like the mugs, can you really have too many Starbucks ornaments? The surprise was actually on me that they even got to see them before Christmas this year. Last year, I had to recruit mainland help to get their gifts because I knew the ornaments existed, but none of the stores here had them. This year, I scooped them up the day they hit the shelves, but the baristas kept restocking them. So much for getting them first. Now you can get them on sale. Anyway, their gift bags still came stocked with at least one surprise - a DVD titled, Starbucking. I have to credit my husband, Rob, with the great find. He came across it while shopping for me and just had to tell me about it. It came with the promise that this is the ONLY time he's going to contribute to this Starbucks madness. (We'll see about that.) Of course, I had a heck of a time finding two more copies. At the time, Amazon.com was out, and most stores here didn't carry it. Fortunately, I was able to find one copy at each of two Barnes and Noble stores I visited. Yay!

It turns out our mission to visit every Starbucks on the island of Oahu is not only not original it is minoot compared to that of Winter, the star of Starbucking, a documentary about a guy whose goal is to visit every Starbucks store (only the real ones) in the world. This guy has travelled to thousands of Starbucks all over the world since 1997 and has a website http://www.starbuckseverywhere.net/ to tell about it. This guy is CRAZY.

Will this stop us? No way. With the exception of the occasional drink order screw up and Malia's continued foam issues, we still love going to Starbucks, and there are many differences between what Winter is doing and what we're doing. First, Winter's goal is to visit every REAL Starbucks in the world, and he requires himself to drink at least a sample at each of these locations. (Rent or buy the DVD to watch him attempt to break his record of visiting 28 locations in one day. I repeat. He is CRAZY.) Winter only drinks the drip coffee (and think I remember him mentioning an occasional espresso in the film.) He doesn't order the other drinks and says he has no desire to. He's a man on a mission.

We're keeping our mission local (for now), but of course the three of us will welcome the opportunity to visit a Starbucks out of state (or even country) together. We have not set any requirements...food, drink, gifts, even nothing... it's all good. The point is that the three of us are at the location together, enjoying Starbucks. Doing this Winter-style, we'd have been done in a few days, but we're enjoying this adventure at a much more kicked back and relaxed pace.

Keep doing what you're doing Winter! You're crazy, but we love it! Be sure to let us know when you come back to Hawaii.

For this visit:

Our baristas: Joe & Jamie

Our drinks:

  • Malia: Venti, Decaf, Foam (though they didn't put much), No Whip Gingerbread Latte
  • Larisa: Tall, Iced, Stirred Caramel Macchiatto
  • Mai: Grande Chai Latte
  • Isom: Grande, Iced, Stirred Caramel Macchiatto
  • Gabe: Ice Water
  • Arwen: Kid's Cocoa

Other:

  • Larisa: Chicken Club with Bacon Sandwich
  • Malia: Subway Sandwich she brought in from across the street (guess outside food is allowed here?)
  • Gabe: Turkey Pesto Sandwich
  • Mai: Costco Chocolate Cupcake that Larisa saved for me from yesterday's Christmas party and a Police CD as a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law
  • Arwen: Crispy Square Bar

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Starbucks Christmas Tree

Malia invited us over for a little get together to celebrate her 39th birthday. (Woohoo! Happy Birthday Malia!) A while back, Malia shared that she and her twin sister, Malisa, plan to run the Honolulu Marathon next year, which will fall right on their 40th. So Larisa and I figured we'd kick off the beginning of her training with these cute little marathon runner cookie favors from Hokulani Bakeshop. (If you haven't tried the cookies or cupcakes from this place, you NEED to...immediately. Yum!) Malia reluctantly admits that it took a while to figure out why they all had the number 39 on them. (It's okay Malia. These things come with age.)

The cookies were pretty much the only thing that worked out in the way of birthday plans Larisa and I had for Malia. We thought about putting together a surprise party, which was quickly foiled when we realized she really didn't want one. Then our back up plan to take her on a Kaneohe Starbucks tour with a stop at her fave dim sum place disintegrated upon the news that she would be participating in a holiday potluck at her office building that day. Oh well. An intimate gathering of good friends for dinner and a delicious spread of food prepared by Malia (I need to get that dip recipe) is all the birthday girl wanted, so we granted her wish and had a fun time. We weren't allowed to bring food, so of course, we all came bearing gifts, which included a Starbucks Hannukah Activitiy Menorah that Larisa went back to Schofield to get. You may remember this rare Hawaii find spotted during the Central Oahu coffee crawl. Nevermind that Hannukah was last week. Oh, or that Malia's not Jewish. It was a cool Starbucks gift that she was sure Malia didn't already have.

The bonus to this visit was that we all finally had a chance to see Malia's Starbucks Christmas Tree. Originally Malia was going to create a Starbucks Mug Tree, but unfortunately her poor tree's branches couldn't possibly support the weight of her collection. As cool an idea as it was, I shudder at the thought of the mug tree toppling over at the slightest bump or breath - a true Nightmare Before Christmas. Would her two Starbucks buddies sacrifice a portion of their own collections to help her rebuild? Ehhhhhh.... probably not. (That's friendship for you. What's mine is yours, except for my Starbucks mugs.) No matter. Her mug collection is safely put away in the cubbard, and her Plan B tree with a Starbucks Christmas To Go cup for a topper and the green and blue holiday cup sleeves, gift cards collected over the years (empty of course), and this year's mitten gift card holders as ornaments and even a few REAL Starbucks Christmas ornaments in the mix, it is quite the sight! Hopefully, we'll get Malia back on here to post more about the birth and development of her spectacular Starbucks Christmas tree, but I thought I'd take a moment to at least mention it and share some pictures of her beautiful Christmas creation. I'm so glad that there was at least a little Starbucks involved in Malia's special day this year. I think the only way Larisa and I will be able to work Starbucks into her birthday next year will be by standing at the marathon thirst aid stations holding a couple of lattes instead of Gatorade. Malia, do you want those iced or hot?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pancakes, Presents, and Paris

After Larisa sprang our Christmas gifts on us early last night, Malia was inspired to get her gifts wrapped and ready early as well. I say early because I assure you there is no way ANYONE will ever receive a Christmas gift from me before the 15th of December. Usually they come later. Often they come after Christmas. So if you haven't received your Christmas gift from me yet, don't worry... it's coming... later.

Malia invited the Starbucks team complete with spouses and offspring to the windward side for some dinner and presents...and, of course, to take in a little more Starbucks. What holiday would be complete without this little treat? Windmard Mall is home to one of the few IHOPs on the island, and being about as family-friendly a restaurant as they come, this is where we ate. As Larisa's husband, Isom, quickly discovers that IHOP coffee and caesar salad are not a good mix, my husband shakes his head in defeat as the Starbucks craze continues with Larisa's bringing mini Starbucks espresso mugs filled with chocolate covered espresso beans for us (so cute!) and Malia's gifts... Starbucks ornaments, gift certificates for CUSTOM Starbucks cards, and City Mugs from PARIS (compliments of her older sister, Liza!)


Malia told us about these beauties when our friends from Orlando arrived, so they were included in our inventory posted earlier. This was the first time Larisa and I were able to lay our hands on them. Belle!!!! I believe I speak for all three of us when I say thank you Liza for these beautiful mugs. We truly appreciate both the thought and baggage space sacrifice it took to get these to us. Even moreso because now we'll have that much more room for other mugs when we make the Europe trek ourselves!!!

Off to the Windward Mall Starbucks for dessert! Good times!


For this visit:

Our baristas: Sunshine (who was nice enough to give Larisa a sticker) & Stephen

Our drinks:

  • Malia: Grande, Nonfat, Decaf, Foam, No Whip, Toffee Nut Latte
  • Larisa: Tall Vanilla Cream with Whip
  • Mai: Grande Chai Latte

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Crying a Thousand Pearls Over Starbucks

Thanks to Larisa, we had the privilege of attending an advanced screening of Kite Runner, a movie based on a book that was featured at Starbucks a few months ago. I'd looked at the book many times while waiting in line for my latte and added it to my mental checklist of "Books I Must Read If I Ever Find The Time." All I can really say about the movie is that we "cried a thousand pearls." It was both heartwarming and tragic. It filled you with both hope and sadness. Click here to view the full review of this movie that Larisa wrote for Hawaiimoms.com. Great job Larisa! This book is now being moved up on the mental checklist to be read as soon as I finish Eat, Pray, Love, an early Christmas gift from Larisa and an absolutely FABULOUS book.

After such a heavy movie, we left the theater in need of some uplifting. STARBUCKS! That'll do the trick. It was pretty late, and we were in an industrial part of town where, amazingly enough, you don't find a Starbucks on every corner. Hard to believe. Malia heard there was a new location open on Sand Island Access Road, but we quickly detoured and continued on to the next nearest location when Malia phoned ahead to let us know that it had already closed for the evening. She did, however, stop to take a camera phone pic of the new location to prove it does exist. Larisa and I raced (not literally...okay maybe Larisa did) to the Airport Trade Center location down the street. Still open, but it was 9:57 p.m., and the sign said it closes at 10 p.m. We made it!!!! Along with 8 other people that barged in at the same time. The baristas looked thrilled. They were actually much better sports than I think I would've been if almost a dozen people walked in just as we were about to close. Sorry guys, but mahalo!


We quickly ordered our drinks (Malia's by cell phone because she was still on her way from Sand Island) and then proceeded to hang out in the parking lot to chat about the movie and enjoy our drinks. Mission to uplift our spirits accomplished. Mahalo to Wayne for taking a break from closing to take our picture.

For this visit:

Our baristas: Maria, Dan, & Wayne

Our drinks:

  • Malia: Tall, Chai Latte
  • Larisa: Tall, Peppermint Mocha
  • Mai: Grande, Toffee Nut Latte

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Aloha Orlando

Some very dear friends of mine recently returned from a family vacation on the mainland, which included a stop in Orlando, Florida to visit Disney World. Kimberly and her 2 year old daughter, Griffin, met up with Rob and me for lunch to catch up on all they've missed the past couple of weeks, share the tales of their trip to the Magical Kingdom, and to bring us gifts!!!!!


Kimberly had called during her vacation to give me a hint as to what she was bringing back, so as Griffin handed over the bag, I quickly dug in. Amidst the adorable assortment of princess and Minnie items for Arwen were three very HEAVY items which had my name written all over them. Okay...they said Orlando, but they were mine! Okay... one for me and two extras to share with my Starbucks addict friends, but I have a new mug! Okay... Rob was there, so, "Look Honey, WE have a new mug!" Rob sarcastically asks Kimberly, "Why do you encourage her?" To which Kimberly replies, "With such a cute blog, how can I not?" Yay for friends who GET it, and many mahalos to Kimberly and family for trucking these buggers back across the country for us. Malia and I have both had a taste of what it's like trying to find enough precious luggage space to store these very large (but oh so beautiful) Starbucks souvenirs. It's not easy, but don't our big glowing smiles make it all worth the effort?

Now in talking Starbucks to a friend because, hey, that's what I do best, Kimberly asked what mugs we already have, so I figured this is as appropriate a time as any to share our inventory and explain a little about how the Starbucks craze (at least among the three of us) began.

Last year, Malia went sailing through Spain, and she struggled with what she could bring back as gifts for her friends. She was funny because I think she thought her decision was lame because at one point she contacted me before coming home and said something along the lines of, "You're probably going to laugh at what I brought back for you, but I thought they were cool." She returns from her trip and presents the gift. Are you kidding?!?! A Starbucks mug from Madrid!!!!! How cool is that? Malia and I had a long time Starbucks connection since the day the Kaneohe Drive Thru location opened. Every coordinated effort to meet from that point ended with a call for "Starbucks?" "I'm heading over to campus for EC. Starbucks?" "Come over to my house and stamp. Starbucks?" So OF COURSE, I was tickled to get my gift. Then we went to Larisa's house and delivered her gift together. Malia again opens with, "You're probably going to laugh..." and then presents the mug. Larisa calmly places it on her counter and says, "Oh you have no idea!" as she reaches into her kitchen cabinet and begins pulling out her collection of Starbucks mugs one by one. And so the Starbucks Trio was born. We were friends pre-Starbucks, but Malia's little memento from Madrid helped us unleash the passion we all had for our favorite LITTLE coffee spot.

As per your request, this is our mug inventory. All mugs were either received as gifts (giver in parenthesis) or we travelled to the state, country, or region to get it.

Mug Inventory:

Larisa:
  • Alaska (Pua)
  • Austin (Isom)
  • Canada (Mai Ly)
  • Chicago (Isom...the beginning of her collection)
  • Cincinnati (Kimberly)
  • Hawaii
  • Hiroshima (Malia)
  • Indianapolis (Mai Ly)
  • Kauai
  • Kona
  • Korea (Laura)
  • Las Vegas (the tallest Starbucks)
  • Los Angeles
  • Madrid (Malia)
  • Maui
  • Maui Stamp (Malia...see earlier post by Malia regarding this one)
  • Orange County (Malia)
  • Orlando (Kimberly)
  • Paris (Liza)
  • Philadelphia (Mai Ly)
  • Pike Place (Mai Ly...the first Starbucks)
  • Portland
  • Salt Lake City (visiting Isom's mom)
  • San Diego (visiting Jeannine)
  • San Francisco (Malia)
  • Seattle (Mai Ly)
  • Seoul (Laura)
  • Tokyo (Malia)
  • Waikiki
  • Yokohama (Malia)

She also has a Christmas mug (Ashley.)

Malia:

  • Canada (Mai Ly)
  • Cincinnati (Kimberly)
  • Cologne (Liza)
  • Hiroshima
  • Indianapolis (Mai Ly)
  • Kyoto
  • Madrid (the beginning)
  • Maui Stamp
  • Orange County (asked Larisa if she should get mugs from OC...surely we don't want THAT many!!! Little did she know...)
  • Orlando (Kimberly)
  • Paris (Liza)
  • Philadelphia (Mai Ly)
  • Pike Place (Mai Ly)
  • Portland (Malisa)
  • Roppongi Hills
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle (Mai Ly)
  • Tokyo
  • Yokohama

Mai Ly:

  • Canada
  • Cincinnati (Kimberly)
  • Hiroshima
  • Indianapolis
  • Madrid (Malia...where my collection started)
  • Maui Stamp (Malia)
  • Orange County (Malia)
  • Orlando (Kimberly)
  • Paris (Liza)
  • Philadelphia
  • Pike Place
  • Portland (Malia)
  • San Diego (Malia)
  • San Francisco (Malia)
  • Seattle
  • Tokyo (Malia)
  • Washington, D.C. (Phyl)
  • Yokohama (Malia)

Mai also has the 2007 Anniversary mug.

So there you have it. Got Starbucks mugs?