Guest Blogger – Chai Latte with Southern Charm

The past few days at work have been crazy (I know, there was a weekend squeezed in there, but still) so my sister graciously offered to help out today (and by offered, I mean, I forced her to). As you will probably see, she is the real writer in the family. She has countless journals filled with her writing from high school, college and beyond. Unfortunately she has directed her writing away from short stories and spends most of her time writing up swim practices. I have tried to encourage to her start her own blog, but between coaching 50+ college swimmers and taking care of her adorable dog, she doesn’t seem to have the time. Which is why I am so grateful that she was able to help out today! Enjoy.

Like many people I have a Starbucks addiction, unlike many people mine is far less caffeine driven and has a lot more to do with the routine; unsurprisingly after spending countless hours swimming back and forth over a black line I have become a creature of habit. When I lived in NYC I would get the same breakfast every day (sesame bagel with cream cheese) from the BEST bagel shop of all time, Absolute Bagels—it got to the point that I would walk over on a Sunday when the line was out the door and the man behind the counter would see me, make my bagel and let me cut the entire line—talk about perks of being a regular!

Now that I have moved to Virginia I have traded delicious bagels for delicious treats (aka chai and the occasional peppermint mocha). Nearly every morning after practice I go home, pick up Bexley Ann (my puppy) and head over to the Starbucks drive-thru; it has gotten to the point that when I drive up instead of placing an order I just say ‘good morning, it’s Abby’ and they know what I want and we spend our time chatting about the dog and other such exciting things. Because Bexley has been going to Starbucks since she was 8 weeks old, she gets super excited every time we pull into the parking lot and is quick to jump up on the front seat to stick her head out the window to say hi to the people who are working. When I don’t bring her with me both Bex and the baristas are disappointed.

I have come to know the baristas by name; and am even friends with a couple of them on Facebook. At least once a week I get a handwritten note on my cup from Dylan and Bethany wishing me a happy day and for the holidays they got me a card that had a buy one get one free coupon inside—like I said, my Starbucks is the best ever.

Now that my season is over, I have been heading over to Starbucks a little later in the day which has allowed for a little more conversation with the baristas—don’t really hit the morning rush when you are showing up at 10.30. I have come to learn that Dylan’s talents as a barista pale in comparison to her musical abilities; she is seriously amazing—

Needless to say, transition from NYC to Fredericksburg, VA was not easy, but luckily with the addition of the world’s cutest puppy and the world’s greatest baristas I am surviving and have a reason to get out of bed every morning. Cheers!

(Don’t worry – I have already yelled at Abby about phone usage while driving. She wouldn’t never do this again – not even for blog footage!)

click here for Abby’s last guest blog appearance

Neutral Face

Matt and I have a running joke about my facial expression. He loves to poke fun at what I call my “neutral” face. I define this as the facial expression you make when you aren’t doing anything… your face’s natural resting position – no smile, no laughing, no anger, stress or tears. Well, at some point in my life, as I matured, my neutral face when from one of a sweet and innocent child, to a pissed off and bitter young adult. This has posed somewhat of a problem in my life.

I will be working at my desk or walking around school, and while most of time I actually AM annoyed, frustrated or stressed, people seem to think that is what I am ALWAYS feeling. At first, I was confused when people were asking me, “what’s wrong?” or telling me “smile Molly.” I didn’t understand why people were so concerned with my attitude, especially when I didn’t think anything was wrong. And to be honest, the act of smiling requires some conscious thought and effort. I mean, do people really just walk around smiling without thinking about it? I know that this blog is supposed to be about PMA, but let’s be real – not many people have a smile as the natural resting facial expression. I know for a fact that Matt’s neutral is an open-mouthed, dog-like panting face (those of you who know him are TOTALLY nodding your head right now!)

Well, apparently I looked pissed off all of the time. But I have gotten used to this, especially with Matt’s constant teasing. However, today at Starbucks, the barista TOTALLY called me out on my neutral face. And apparently, it worked in my advantage.

I had to work a little later than usual today and I wasn’t particularly excited about. I decided that I would treat my self to a delicious treat from Starbucks (shhh, don’t tell my Dunkin Donuts friends) as a reward. I walked in, ordered my drink and stood at the counter waiting to pick up my drink. Naturally, I was wearing my neutral. Of course I smiled and said thank you when the person took my order, but really, was there a need to stand at the counter with a silly smile on my face – why create unnecessary wrinkles?

The barista handed out a few drinks to other people waiting and then announced that she didn’t have any more orders to fill. I reminded her of my order, in what I thought was a polite way. She looked at me and was like, “wow, that is some scowl, I am going to upgrade your order to a venti” (I ordered a grande).

After that, I had a reason to smile – and I owed it all to my neutral face!