Monday, February 28, 2011

Building Ecuador Excitement

My study abroad program in Ecuador is a little less than 3 months away, and I am starting to get excited.
I bought a vintage red suitcase (which probably won't be practical for Ecuador but I love it anyway) and a passport cover (girly, I know). I also received a lovely packet of Ecuador info from a couple back home that used to live there as missionaries awhile back. People are so thoughtful. :)

Last night was our first official meeting to, which was exciting in scary. You know, those meetings when you are travelling in groups where they have to prepare you for every worse case scenario. Let's just say there are a lot of those, but there are also exciting things. I know who my roommate is! Her name is Brandi, and I am eager to get to know her.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eat. Pray. Love.

This past weekend, I watched the movie Eat. Pray. Love. with Travis and his momma. I love the essence of this movie--a woman's journey to find herself amongst people who are very different than her. I admit though that I dislike her motives to take the journey. I could not get over that she left her husband just because she didn't want to be married anymore--it was a tad selfish. It worked out for her in the end, though.

Watching the movie fed my adventure bug in a crazy way all over again. I love how she experienced Italy, India, and Bali with local people--seeing the realness of that country.

It got me thinking if I could pick my Eat. Pray. Love. countries, what would they be?

After a lot of pondering, I made my list and I wanted to share it with you:

  • First, I would go to Morocco. I LOVE Moroccan culture. It is such a hub of so many other cultures such as Spain, France, Arab, and Africa.
  • Second, I would go to India (like the movie, I know), but it is such a colorful place. There is really no other culture like it. Ever since 3rd grade, my friend Brit and I decided we wanted to go to India because it sounded cool in history class. That thought has never let only deepened by things like Slumdog Millionaire (I heart that movie!).
  • Last, I would go to Australia. I have no particular reason for the last one other than I enjoy learning about the struggle with the lost generation of aboriginals. I would love to learn more about that first hand, and the wildlife is amazing.

So those are my Eat. Pray. Love countries, 

What are YOURS? :)
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What is a Latte?

This week for "Adjusting the Grind" I wanted to answer the question:

A Latte is one of the most basic espresso based coffee drinks (coffee brewed on a espresso machine). It is the drink I most often recommend to newcomers because it is a safe, basic drink that you can have fun with if you want.

"Latte" literally means "milk" in Italian.

So why is this coffee drink called a latte?
Well, "Latte" is short for "Cafe Latte".
"Cafe" literally means coffee in Italian.

So if you went to Italy and ordered a cafe latte, you would get a funny look and receive something that looked like this. 

However, Americans changed this. A cafe latte is not a part of the main traditional Italian drinks like the cappuccino. Caffee Mediterraneum, in Berkeley, California, claims to be the place where the American cafe latte was born. According to them, one of their owners, Lino Meiorin, came over from Italy in the 1950's and created a larger cappuccino with more milk to appeal to a wider crowd. 

Today, the cafe latte has become to be espresso + steamed milk.

Compared to a cappuccino, a cafe latte has less espresso to the milk ratio and less foam in the steamed milk. It is also served at a higher temperature than a cappuccino. In a 12 oz. or tall latte (like pictured here), there is  two shots of espresso mixed with steamed milk. 

That is all!

But the great thing about lattes is they are the basis for many other coffee drinks. For example, a mocha is a latte with chocolate. So be creative with your latte, but it fantastic all on its own as well. 

I took and own all of these photos of my co-worker, David, in action.
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Bee House Giveaway WINNER!!!

Sorry about this delayed announcement. Last week was long and crazy, but without further a due, here is the winner of the Bee House Giveaway:

Just like I promised, I used a random number generator to pick the winner from those who commented and those who sent followers. The random comment number selected was #1. 

So congratulations Matt!

Also, I reached 30 followers as hoped, so to thank you all, I will be featuring everyone who participated in the giveaway. If you were one of the 7 participants (either a left a comment or someone wrote your name in a comment), please send me an e-mail ( to let me know how you would like to be featured.

Thanks again to everyone who participated!!!
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Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine Got Me Pittsburgh

This year my Valentine, Travis, got me something extra special.

Instead of gifts, we decided to save our money to take an adventure together on Spring Break. Our good friends Jay and Amber live up in Pittsburgh, PA. Neither one of us has been to Pennsylvania, so it sounds really exciting.

If you recall my Train Ride Across America post, this is number four on my American Bucket List:
4) Visit my friends, Jay and Amber, in Pittsburgh, PA. They are doing some great work with Americorp, and I know their is a lot of coffee and history there.

I don't know what non-profit or coffee activity might take place or how to incorporate a train yet, but I am really excited for this adventure. I will keep you posted on every detail.

Have a very Happy Valentine's Day!

P.S. You only have 2 Days to Enter my BEE House Giveaway!!!!
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coffee Ethic Brewing Class

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Social Media Boot Camp with Sarah Evans

Today, I attended a Social Media Boot Camp with Sarah Evans and Social: IRL. It was incredible. Sarah Evans is a PR and new media consultant at Sevans Strategy and a guest writer for Mashable, a prestigious social media blog. She also has her own blog at and is a "social media freak", and her Twitter is @PRsarahevans and leads a Twitter chat called #journchat.

Photo here
 Here are my 7 Social Media Tips from her today:

  1. Hone in your passion when blogging. If you care about what you are writing about, it will show.
  2. Twitter is all about the "re-tweet". Always leave room for others to "re-tweet" your tweet.
  3. Always create a Facebook Fan page for business NOT a personal profile page.
  4. Every moment is a PR moment. "Tweet" about news breaking news you experience such as earthquakes, and journalists may come to you.
  5. Make Social Media Releases that are SHAREABLE with strategic time releases.
  6. Blog headlines are for search engines, and "Tweets" make it attractive to click on.
  7. Do not "pitch" Bloggers, but partner with them and establish relationships instead.
It was a great event, and I left with lots of ideas and networking opportunities. The Coffee Ethic even catered the event, so I baked the muffins for the event. Coffee and Community really did collide for me today! I also got to spend lots of time with my classmates and my former internship supervisor, Lindsey Neddenriep. My fellow Bear Communications member Doug and I came up with some great ideas for Urban District Alliance. I appreciated Ben Smith of Social: IRL to bringing such a reputable social media guru to Springfield, MO.

Extra tip from Sarah: Share a little "link love" with others. Link others and sometimes they will link you back. It's about the relationships you create online and continue offline.

Do you all have any tips for Social Media and PR users? Pin It

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bee House Giveaway: Sweetening the Deal

Okay, only 10 ten days left to enter the Bee House Giveaway! I thought I would make things a little bit interesting by adjusting some of the rules in your favor: If you already follow my blog, you can enter by clicking here, and if you get more people to join, it just adds to the fun!

New Stuff:

  • If you have me on your blog roll, add two extra comments.
  • I will randomly select a name from the list. The more people you get to join, the more chances you have to win.
  • If I reach my goal of 30 followers, I will feature EVERYONE who at least one person to follow me either in my blog roll and/or a special blog post.
***NOTE: Please comment on original post. Found HERE. Pin It

Friday, February 4, 2011

Coffee News: Northwest Regional Barista Competition

Apologies for the absence this week. Southwest Missouri has experience a "Snowpocalypse" this week. If you want to see some of my adventures throughout my three days, go here, here, and here.

In Coffee News, last weekend was the Northwest Regional Barista Competition. The Barista competition is the most prestigious competition for Baristas all over the world. It involves making four espressos, cappuccinos, and signature drinks in 15 minutes. There are four tasting judges as well as judges in your face taking notes on waste, tamping techniques, and consistency.

Oh, and you have to talk charismatically and intelligently with the judges about your coffee you are using. No pressure.

With Regional competitions underway, everyone is watching and wondering who will make it to the US Barista Competition (USBC). The Northwest Barista Regional Competition is important because it includes the coffee-driven cities of Seattle and Portland. So the competition is INTENSE!
Robbie Britt at Competition 201. Kudos to Here
The Winners of the Northwest Regional Barista Competition Are:
3rd place: Laila Ghambari (Stumptown)
2nd place: Ryan Wilbur (Stumptown)
1st place: Samuel Purvis (Coava)

And the other finalists were:
Sarah Dooley from Espresso Parts (Olympia).
Robbie Britt from Espresso Parts (Olympia).
Tyler Stevens of Barista (Portland).
Image from last year on Espresso Parts
Robbie Britt (one of the finalists) used to live in Cape Girardeau, MO, and work for my mom's Grace Cafe. He was the first person in the whole world to train me on an espresso machine four or five years ago. I am so stoked he made it into the finals. Now, he works for Espresso Parts in Olympia, WA.

This is a classic "Robbie" look. Photo from Facebook.
He was also my youth minister growing up. So my first coffee mentor and my spiritual mentor made top 6 Baristas in the Northwest Barista Competition! Whohoo!

Kudos here
Also, worth noting, my former co-worker Jon Freihofer competed in the Northwest. He helped me with a lot of my training at The Coffee Ethic. I will keep you posted on how the rest of the competition pans out!
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