Hipster Coffee Odyssey

An essay on angst and modren living.

I had to get out of the house early to get my work done and I decided to go get a bit of coffee this morning. There is a Starbuck’s on the way to work and so I thought I would stop there. They have been remodeling for the past week, why I don’t know. Probably because they have to conform to the new post hipster look that the place MUST have. Probably no more bands you never heard of with their angsty music posters. You’know. Sad hipster is all coffee’d up on fair trade 100% organic phalate free gluten free smoke free iPhone friendly coffee (with a double shot of sugar free fair trade vanilla syrup made of 100% HFCS free base, please). N’kay. I just want a cup of coffee of any political persuasion and I know that this Starbuck’s is open and where it is. And I have money, OK I don’t have money I have an app which allows me to pay for my coffee at Starbucks after going through 13 steps so that I can swipe my phone and get my coffee and the barista with say,”Oh, that is soooo kewl. Do you want your receipt? A-oh nah0oh! Yew have the app so you don’t need the receipt. Haw kewl is that? Y’know.”

Then I can say,”Urnk, grunt, whatever.” And walk out like I am far too kewl to be impressed with something as old hat as wireless coffeepay.

If I was paying for it I would just pull out the money and get my change and be done with it but, I am just as much of a sucker as the barista so…what can I say?

I live in Cincinnati, a place which is usually not the first to embrace anything new. A cancer cure? Not so fast. Wireless communication? Well, that might not be such a good idea. You get the picture. Go slow.

So this wild eyed embrace of Starbuck’s app is a shock to me, really. I am somewhat repelled by it all as I am used to the “other” Starbucks in that quintessentially Cincinnati institution of Kroger where the good ladies are NOT at all hipsters and look at you like you are nuts for even asking about the app thing (App thing? What’s that?). They look like they should be working in a bakery. These Hipster Store baristas are the ones who congregate on the sidewalk just outside the door and sa-moke cigarettes and discuss Ginsberg and Baudelaire earnestly between shifts and breaks. “Che, Che was right…we are just all pawns of the pwnd, man.”

I avoid that knot of earnestness. I pretend I can’t see them. I am not alone.

I also pretend I can’t see those damned cake pops sitting so perkily in the case. One of those bastards has 200 calories in it! 200 CALORIES!!! That is a whopping great dose of calories, bub. Sheesh. And they are expensive, too.

“Vente Pike Place, room for cream.” That’s invariably my order. The barista scowls. I have seen the best butts of my generation ruined by cake pops, kid. Gimme my caw-fee.

That Starbucks was robbed earlier this year. Someone with A SHOTGUN came in and demanded their money. I think they should have insisted he take a boatload of cake pops too, that would serve him right. Here, have 45,000 calories, too, sport.

Anyway, in the middle of the renovation there were two baristas sitting in the window of the store eating (a bunch of cake pops I guess) and staring out the window. I didn’t see that they were employees and walked up to the door where they had affixed a tiny sign saying that the renovation was not over yet and they were not open for business. Oh. I looked up and they were highly amused that anyone would want to enter and get coffee. Phfffft. OK.

Today I guess was their grand opening. I rolled down the hill and was going to go in and stopped abruptly because it was beyond jammed. People were waiting for parking spaces to open up. Mercedes Benz SUV was right on my tail almost boxing me in. It was white and the blonde driver was miffed as I backed up into the 3.5″ of space between my rear and her front bumper so I could nose my way into traffic and escape the jammed up Hipster Starbuck’s parking lot.

There were also masses of lost souls from the Hot Yoga center which had sprung up across the road. That is where the real hard core hangs out. Blissed out. They have sweat themselves silly and tied themselves into knots and done that for 75 minutes to go get a complex and guilt free coffee drink and a cake pop (which they have no idea is 200 CALORIES).

Hot Yoga is where all of the really swell matrons hang out in Cincinnati. It’s the in thing and you must do it. I am kidding no one here, I just bought an intro pass for myself and my step daughter and we are going to work out there, too. So, I get to act like a devotee and then go get lunch with her at the Holier than Oats Cafe next door and dine on groats and wheatgrass (whole grain) tacos with fair trade organic hot sauce and dairy free cheese sprinkles served in a bowl.

Naw, I’m not a hipster. Nope. Not me, I’m too kewl for that.

So, n’kay I will just go to the other Starbucks in the dying shopping mall for my coffee fix. I roll down the street and roll much to fast in traffic. It’s like a country road and you really have to watch yourself because you can get hit by some anxious panxious soul going 89 mph.

So, I get into the mall and avoid a Smart Car which is rolling aimlessly around like the driver is out cold and the hand brake is off (it isn’t but it could have been). I get to the Starbucks and it starts to pour down rain. Wow, you think it’s the end of the world? Do you?

I gets out. I am prepared with my raincoat and hood pulled up and waterproof purse and only to find a tiny sign stuck on the door “No Power. Sorry.”

^&$^&(!!!!!! Why didn’t Starbuck’s fix that? So? We just had a huge storm last night and so what? ARGHHHH!

So, I ended up going to work and fixing myself some coffee. It tastes good and it wasn’t that hard. Getting coffee at a local Starbucks is hard.

Sunday

Got most of the Spring ones done now. Most that is. I have a few more tweaks to go. Really had a great time making up the fragrances this spring in the new Possetorium. Good times. So many neat ingredients, so many neat combinations, so many neat ideas, so many neat names. I shiver with anticipation.

Friday

Into the office today and continuing the Spring update. There have been a few new things come down the pike and I want to experiment with what I think are some winning combinations.

It’s a pity not to be able to loll around in the outdoors enjoying the spring green and magenta of the redbud trees, but I do get to see them from time-to-time and can’t say that I missed all of springtime.

Persistence

There is one thing over all which I think is the most important part of losing weight. That is persistence. It is so easy to get discouraged about not losing what you want, having to give up what you like, and cutting back your portions but time is what is going to work for you and it’s not all going to come off over night.

I found that distracting myself is a great strategy. Join a new forum on line dealing with things about which you are interested. Make up lists of things you have to do but keep on forgetting to do. I like to get into the LoseIt forum (LoseIt is the app/website where you can log in your calories out and in and keep track of your weight loss with buddies) and talk about “diet fatigue”. It helps to talk about it.

I found that I got rid of about 1.5 lb per week with the 2 lb goal I had but the extras I allowed myself. Still, that is going pretty fast. Alas, if you have a lot of weight to take off, you are going to have to prepare yourself for a long event. Happy to say that most of the excess weight will come of pretty quickly in the beginning, but it will slow down as you lose. At the end, people do complain about how hard it is to lose the last 5. That is not an illusion, especially when you consider that the amount of calories you need to maintain and lose goes down the thinner you are. It just takes less calories to move around so you have to work harder at it.

In any event, good luck with losing that winter insulation. It will come off if you keep going and don’t give up.

Losing Weight: The Workout Horoscope

OK, you are now dedicated to the proposition to straighten up and fly right…you are going to work out and keep at it. It is going to become part of life and you are not going to feel complete until you work out every day.

Good! But you really need to sit down and decide what kind of exercise suits you. There are a lot of different sorts of exercises, and each one takes a certain type of personality to do them faithfully and become devoted to them. Out of my experience, here is my observation for some of the more popular ones. Think of this as a “personality test” or a “horoscope” and try to match yourself up with the exercise. Who knows, it might even be right!

Running: You are methodical and don’t mind a certain amount of solitude. Actually, you like to be alone with your thoughts and running sustains you in that. Monotony doesn’t bother you and the steady rhythmic way you feel as you jog along is more comforting than it is a form of exertion.

Bicycling: You are all about passion! Pedal to the metal and full speed ahead. There is nothing you like better than a challenge, and woe betide the person or object which stands in your way of total world domination. No mountain is too high, and cars just best get out of your way.

Weight Lifting: To you weight lifting is just another form of meditation. Boosting some iron over your head makes you feel very light and happy inside. Don’t laugh, chum, light hearts lift heavy weights. You also like the way your arms look when you are though. Win-win here.

Yoga: The physical is the spiritual with yoga lovers, actually it’s just the flip side of spiritual. You like to be in touch with your body, too but in a slower and more concentrated fashion. It feels good to follow the principles of ancient wisdom and to be part of a group. Namaste!

Zumba!: You are pretty tribal and would feel at home in a big old group dance. Something about a lot of people moving in unison fast turns you on. You also love to get sweaty and think it cleans out your pores. Burning up masses of calories is another form of meditation to you.

Treadmill: You were a hermit in a former life. That’s not a bad thing, you just don’t like to share everything, like the intimacies of your workout. That’s private time for you and the treadmill isn’t a group fitness moment. You also like to set your own compass and are fiercely independent.

All of the above are personal observations and meant in good fun. But there is a bit of truth in each of them and I have tried each of them and those were my opinions of what part of my personality were called out when I practiced different forms of physical fitness. See where you fit in, or write your own “workout horoscope”.

Losing Weight, The Right Equipment

Once you have made your resolve to lost weight and found a gym which suits you, then there are just a few things you still need to acquire to make your life easier. I would recommend a good heart rate monitor (HRM) for starters. There are some which are as cheap as $30 (Mio Brand) and some which cost hundreds. Most of them will come with a chest strap which records your heart beats/minute and lets you see what they are. Personally I use the Polar FT4 or FT7 HRM. I think they are simple but full functioned, easy to use while you are pounding away, and reliable. They are water proof so you can go swimming and record your heart rate too. Other people really love the Garmin “Ant” technology HRM’s, but as a general rule they are a bit more expensive.

I paid $90 for my HRM and really believe that was money well spent. Just don’t get the kind that up upload to a place on the computer by sound. Polar has one of those and it never works. I just put my calories used in the LoseIt app by hand every day (it takes less than a minute) and my calories used are automatically added into the equation of my daily weight management.

You will want an HRM which gives you your heart rate and the calories you use while exercising. I like to have my exercise classes kept in the watch, too in addition to the LoseIt info I upload. I like an illuminated watch as well.

After the HRM, you will need serviceable clothes to wear into the gym. I think the Champion line at Target is priced right, looks great, and is just the thing.

Shoes are a different matter. I haunted the DSW outlet in my neighborhood for discount sneakers. If you can get a pair for around $50, you are doing well. Sam’s Club has some remarkable deals, but the selection is much narrower.

If you are into Zumba, do take a look at the dance sneakers if you can afford them. They are much lighter on your feet and have mesh on the sides to ventilate your feet as you move. Best of all, there is a smooth bottom of the shoe so you can slide across the floor gracefully but not so slick as to be dangerous. There is sometimes a ball on the bottom of the shoe so that you can pivot easily and I like that feature. These are about $50-70 and worth looking into if you are serious.

Finally, getting yourself a good aluminum water bottle (which is dishwasher safe) is a great idea. They are cheap so get at least two so you will have one when washing the other one. I like to put ice cubes and lemon juice in my water, it is very refreshing when you are going all out.

In addition to my H2O, I bring about 5-7 paper towels to classes. I mop my brow with them and then throw them away. Why is this good? I keep on hearing stories about very harmful germs you can pick up in gyms and this is one area where I applaud the thought be being able to toss something which could prove a bad idea to drag home with you. I console myself with the thought that they are light weight, cheap, and because I don’t have to wash them every time I use them, I am saving a bit of soap, water, and my labor. But cleanliness is the main driver here. Oh, it goes without saying that washing your hands after being in the gym is a great idea. I do that every time I work out.

Please note: I am not being paid in any way to endorse the things I mention here. I just found them, like them, and use them. YMMV but go out and have fun!

Second Tip About Losing Weight

My first tip was to try to use LoseIt, the app and website which helps you keep track of your calories consumed and expended. There are several other things which have helped me lose quite a bit of weight over 3 months.

One thing I strongly recommend is to join a gym. It seems like gyms are popping up like mushrooms now and that is a good thing for you. I am charged $16.67/month at Urban Active in Cincinnati, and I use the gym every day. That makes it work out to less than a dollar a day! How did I pull that off?

I negotiated with the managers of the gym, and I also asked them what kind of deals they had. I turned out that there was a deal for $400 that would allow me to use the gym for 24 months. That included the group fitness classes and everything but personal trainers and any “smoothies”, child care, or towels. That was a bargain and I had the $400 sitting in my savings account. It was really worth it.

I also got to thinking about some of the things I have missed because I got my will together and started working out. First, everyone in my immediate family had been obese. Everyone. I was the only family member who was normal weight. Second, every one of my immediate family members had arthritis except me. That was not a mistake, I do believe that I had avoided that fate (up until now and I hope beyond) by moving every day. There are the other things like: diabetes, hypertension, and quite a few circulatory system maladies which I don’t have thanks to getting on the ball and working out.

If you can manage to be in that position, and for less than $1/day then I would say that is a real bargain.

If money is a consideration to you, I urge you to talk to your friends who are in a gym and ask they how much they are paying. Sometimes we think it’s so rude to talk about money and will go through a lot of pain to avoid it when it’s money we should be talking about all along. That is why I am trying to open up about how much I pay for my gym membership and other parts of the endeavor.

Please note, I do not take any money from Urban Active or any other gym or entity to write about them. I just happen to belong to that gym and so I named their name in my article. If I belonged to LA Fitness, or Mercy, or Tri Health I would have named them.

Ch. 16 Of Dark Matter Is Available

The serialized Victorian romance, Dark Matter, continues on Possets Perfume. We have seen the lovers elope to the Island of Malta and then be torn apart for appearances sake. Now they look like they will be getting back together as all obstacles are out of the way, right? Well, we shall see about that. Isabella comes home at last and the contrived pairing of her and Stewart seems as if it’s going to work out like magic. However, there is a great sadness in Isabella’s life right now and we shall find out what it is. A new perfume accompanies this chapter, it’s called Oliver and it is the blending of sharp and lovely musk with a candy “shell”. Very playful and alluring with an adult heart. Don’t miss Chapter 16 of Dark Matter.

The Weight Loss Odyssey

I don’t like to admit it but I actually was overweight at the beginning of the year. I had just decided to celebrate the holidays and heck with the consequences. In short, I wanted to lose 25 lbs which had somehow crept up on me, and being the hedonist I am I was not looking forward to this odyssey at all.

My first line of help is a program/website/app called LoseIt. It’s a simple idea: you put in all your vital statistics, then you choose how much weight you want to lose per week (you can choose among 1/2 lb to 2 lbs/week options). It calculates the calories you can consume per day to lose that amount of weight.

What you do then is to promise yourself you will record your intake honestly, and you can also record your exercise. It’s like a bank: when you eat, you are depositing calories, when you exercise you are taking out calories and you are trying to be in debt all the time! Art imitates life, right?

I have lost 17.6 lbs using LoseIt since January 10, and I really started to notice the difference after the first 5 lbs. Exercising was so much easier! If you pick up a 5 lb bag of potatoes and hoist it up and down, then think about strapping it to your back you will notice the difference.

LoseIt is free. I don’t work for them and they don’t sponsor me. I don’t get anything from saying this but a good feeling. You can use LoseIt if you have an iPhone, there is an app for that (none for Android operating system though they keep on talking about it, and I don’t think it’s ready for Blackberry yet either). However, if you are interested and you are iPhone free, then you can use it on the internet: www.loseit.com. It is fully customizable, you can input your favorite recipes and get calorie counts for them. There is a forum where you can meet very nice folks using LoseIt, and there are a lot of charts and measurement tools for your weight loss odyssey.

Want to take a look? Here is LoseIt.