The future is no place, to place your better days.

A highlight of my summer each year is attending the Dave Matthews Band concert in Pittsburgh.

Entertaining the Pittsburgh crowd.This year was no different. I looked forward to it for months and definitely went all out when it finally arrived. Mike, Ryan, Jess, Keith, Jim and I met up with Brian, Lindsey and Tommy up at the First Niagara Pavilion parking lot around 2pm and tailgated up until the concert began at roughly 8:30 (we skipped over the opening act, I don’t even know who it was).

There were First Niagara Pavilion parking lot workers that had to make their rounds around the parking lots to keep people in line if necessary, and we were told by many of them that we had the best tailgate going on. It’s probably because Brian had a couch in his truck that we were all sitting on at different times throughout the day.

The most fun part about attending a DMB concert is guessing what he’s going to play next. With a whole lot of songs to choose from, they always keep us on our toes with what they’re going to play next. Since we’d already heard what Friday’s set list was like, we had those songs to eliminate from the list. Also, I get to watch the concert each year with some of the biggest DMB fans in the planet. Tommy has been to 68 shows and can predict song choices like no other. He and Jim are really enthusiastic, and it makes it more fun.

We Pittsburgh concertgoers were lucky enough to hear DMB’s live debut of a song that will be on their upcoming album in September; the song was called “Belly Belly Nice.” I liked it a lot, as well as “Gaucho” which I’d already heard before, it’ll also be on the new album that comes out on September 11, 2012!

So I kept track of the set list in my Notes app on my phone as each song got played, but alas, my phone died in the middle of the show. After charging my phone in Mike’s car, I was able to download the DMB Live app and retrieve the rest of the set list that I couldn’t jot down in my phone:

 The set list for DMB in Pittsburgh on Saturday, July 14, 2012:

Squirm (I was happy to hear this one live again)

Proudest Monkey

Satellite (One of my early favorite Dave songs, so I enjoyed this!)

Song that Jane Likes

Shake Me Like a Monkey

Blue Water teaser 


Belly Belly Nice (the live debut!)

Big Eyed Fish

Don’t Drink the Water (We thought he’d open with this one)

The Dreaming Tree (!)

So Much to Say

Anyone Seen the Bridge

Too Much

Dancing Nancies (Tommy was psyched for this one! I wasn’t so much.)

Gaucho (the other new song)

You & Me (this one left me a bit jealous of all the couples swaying back & forth… I love this song)


Pantala Naga Pampa


The Space Between (Dave did a solo on this one… beautifully done.)

Typical Situation

Ants Marching (It was an awesome ending!)


Other than the good times I had at the concert, of course there were the bad. I am getting too old for these lawn tickets. Too many drunk/high idiots that don’t give a crap about paying attention to the concert. My knee hurts like crazy from trying to stand on a sloped hill all night. I kept getting pushed around by people that were disrespectful of each others’ concert experience. And finally, lawn seats always causes some kind of drama, where couples can’t find each other and people end up yelling while others are trying to listen to the music. It’s unpleasant.

But other than that, it was very enjoyable! Good friends, good weather, good music… can’t get much better than that.

I’ll leave you guys with a link to the rest of the photos I took from far, far, far away (without a zoom lens I could sneak in) as well as a really pretty solo arrangement of one of Dave’s more popular songs:

“The Space Between” Solo

The space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more” – DMB



So today, I decided that one of my added resolutions for this new phase of mine is to stop making excuses – especially my signature one, “I’m too busy.”

Not that I was ever necessarily lying – I really was busy… Always. But the reason that I was always so freakin’ busy was that I simply bit off more than I could chew sometimes. Also, my priorities weren’t quite straight all the time.

Today, I had (and still have) this whole day ahead of me that I can do whatever I want with it. I got everything I had to get done today in the morning, and decided to go for a walk.

I originally thought that I wanted to go for a half hour-ish walk, but I kinda just kept walking. Every chance that I had to turn around or start heading in the direction of my apartment, I kept walking away from it.

On my walk, I listened to music nonstop, caught a bunch of nice breezes from the cars passing by and just observed. In over two hours, I checked my phone twice, briefly… (which goes with another one of my resolutions).I thought about how I prefer walking alone than with a friend, because I can take whatever path I want and listen to whatever music I want to. I also thought about how I found another reason to be happy that I stayed in Morgantown, because I’ve never taken as enjoyable of a walk back home in South Park as I did today. Days like today reminded me that Morgantown isn’t just a college down, because I walked around downtown amongst a bunch of parents walking around with their young kids. I feel like for the past 5 years that I’ve lived here, it’s a rarity to see young kids. There are people that live in Morgantown, and I wish that some college kids would take more pride in Morgantown as their home, especially when they do some of the stupid things that they do on the weekends… or days like St. Patrick’s Day (dumb drunk kids).

I definitely took the craziest route ever for my 6.06 mile walk today. And don’t underestimate Morgantown’s hills!

80 plus degrees, two hours and ten minutes later (not counting the 10 minute break I had to take in order to not throw up from how hot it was outside) I was back at my apartment.

Crazy how much your mind can just let go and think about anything when you don’t have to focus, since you’re just walking and listening to music. I thought about a whoooole lot. And got inspired by a lot of different things on my little adventure today. It sounds so dumb… but it’s true.

I think back to the person I was a year ago, even just months ago, and I never would have “had the time” to do all the different things I did today, even aside from my walk. These are things I need to do for myself. I definitely put aside my own priorities for others all the time in the past how many years, and I need to cut that out.

Also, yesterday, I started Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred” DVD. Even just the Level 1 exercise that I did yesterday kicked my butt, so I can’t even imagine for when I start levels 2 and 3.

Ok. Getting off this computer… off to shoot pictures for the Arts Alive on the River festival here in Morgantown! Some more outside time, and my first Daily Athenaeum photo gig. Here’s hoping that I can handle some more sun today!

Onwards and Upwards

I had a great birthday & birthday weekend!

My co-workers at BlaineTurner Advertising got me this on Thursday for an early celebration:

And then I went to my other office on my birthday and got way too spoiled!


Oh… and I wore my balloon for my entire work afternoon!

I guess it’s good that the ceilings were high enough.

And you guys are too sweet.

That night, I had some great friends over plus my sister. We had some yummy sangria (compliments of yours truly) and went out to Chic ‘n Bones and Sports Page. Marianna & my friends made sure I had a drink in my hand all night. It was a good time! Definitely topped last year’s birthday.

Other than that, had a pretty good weekend. I met a puppy at Animal Friends that I fell in love with, and still considering whether or not I can adopt him. It’s not whether I want to or not, it’s whether or not my anti-dog roommate would get over it. The dog is so beautiful, a little over a year old and just so perfect. I fell in love. I can’t even post a picture here, or I’ll cry. It sounds so dramatic, but it’s true.

Started the week off right by being super productive almost all of Sunday (except for an awesome four-hour dinner trip!) and most of today as well. Packed my breakfast and lunch for the morning, as well as put all the ingredients together to throw in the crock pot in the morning, so that it’ll be ready by dinner! It seems strange that I have all of my meals packed and ready to go for tomorrow. I used to not even have time to think about food… now, I have my food all planned out for the next day. And it’s all really healthy. I could get used to this. 🙂

I’m tired. So I’ll leave you all with this… I felt super old in the past few days (I know I will regret saying that someday very soon!) but laughing like a total idiot to these videos made me feel like a child again:

Circus Afro!

Bananaaaaa, Potato-naaaaa

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” -Anonymous

It’s been an entire year, to the date, since I last posted on this blog. I left my last entry with the promise of blogging more often … clearly, I did not stick to that promise.

There are also other promises that I made to myself that I didn’t keep. Not anything completely worth regretting, just little things here and there that I wanted to change about myself. Maybe I didn’t blog about these goals, or even write them down at all, but the point is that I could have spent this entire past year keeping these promises to myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret anything about the past year – I might have made it sound like I did horrible things or something, and I really didn’t. In 365 days I have grown up in some ways and not in others, met some great people and created some beautiful friendships that I know I’ll cherish for the next 365 days, and the next and the next.

In the past couple of months, I’ve gotten to do a lot of thinking about how I don’t appreciate myself enough sometimes. Because I am the kind of person that wants to help others as much as I possibly can, I’ll often put their happiness or needs in front of mine – which is fine in some cases, sometimes that is what it takes to be a great friend. But I’ve come to see that there are limits on how much you can put off your own priorities to help others and/or make them happy. If they want to be just as good of a friend as you are to them, they will understand that sometimes, you have to put yourself first. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the “yes” girl when it comes to going out of my way to please others or make something easier for them; I never thought of it as something that was a hindrance to my daily life, but really, it can be a problem at times. I’m ready to stop letting myself get walked all over. Of course I will still be there for my friends, but I really do need to start considering my own sanity before trying to cram everyone else’s priorities in with my own.

Another thing I’ve picked up along the way is to not settle for anything. Of course there are sacrifices that have to be made in some cases, but if it is something that bothers you every day and something that you can’t get over in a couple weeks or so, don’t settle for it. More things I’ve gotten accustomed to are taking a few minutes (or even hours) before responding to someone that makes you angry, or thinking, “is this going to matter in a year?”

I graduated over a year ago, and have gained a lot of perspective … though I am still not quite sure of exactly it is that I want to do in the future. I am in my sixth IMC class and have seven more to go before I have my master’s degree; halfway through the program, and I am panicking that I still haven’t figured out exactly what it is that makes me tick. I think I know what I’m good at, but I still feel like I have lots to learn. I’ll probably always feel like that, though.

Ok, let’s get away from the deepness of the last year of my life, and look back on some awesome things that happened since my last blog entry:

I got to be a bridesmaid for their big day!

I had the pleasure and honor of being there for Chelsea & Brad on their big day. This wedding in Savannah, GA was gorgeous!

Before Whitney & Jeremy's Wedding!

This kid moved into my apartment with me! We are also living together again this year.

Dance Team party at Ky's!

Met this guy right here who will always mean a lot to me.

Photo before Mountaineer Madness

I was a third-year member of the WVU Dance Team this year! The only grad student.

Crystal Palace Dinner

I got to visit Florida three times in one year… twice at Disney. Here’s the first trip. Max & I were Lilo & Stitch for Halloween!

This would be the second of those trips...

I got to go to the Orange Bowl with some awesome people! WVU 70, Clemson 33. Hellll yeah.

Prom pic!..... not.

Yay for new great friends. Plus, this “prom” picture is pretty sweet. Thanks Mark Brown for the shot!

Photo by Brian Persinger

I got to be a part of “Dancing with our Mountaineer Stars” with my roomie!

"I Can't Make You Love Me"

Got to be in one of my favorite pieces I’ve gotten to do, choreo’d by John Perry. Photo by Mallory Bracken.

Disney Photopass Photo

Grant and I got to re-create this image from Fall 2009 when I went back to visit in mid-April 2012.

There’s so much to look forward to in this next year. It’s my last year that I can say I am a “student,” so I might as well get all of that “student stuff” out of my system in the next year … whatever that may be.

This stuff that I want to change isn’t just something that I can do overnight. I’ve started to re-organize my entire life slowly in different ways in the past month. I’m eating healthy, getting more sleep (obviously not tonight… whoops), relying less on others, not letting others rely so much on me, taking my photography stuff to the next level, not procrastinating (as much), being more patient and careful with things, limiting my spontaneity to things that won’t end up making me crazy, taking my health and myself more seriously and at the same time, taking things less seriously. Oh, and having time for myself! Which is something I’ve never really done much of. It gets boring sometimes, but it’s so refreshing, after 5 years of being a complete nut with making my schedule busy (not to mention, all those high school years that I was crazy).

I have less than 24 hours left of being 22. Sure, everyone posts that lyric on their Facebook statuses on their 23rd birthday, “Nobody likes you when you’re 23” from Blink 182, like 23 is just some insignificant age that you have to just get through. However, the point of this blog, “New Me 23” is to document this new chapter in my life. I’ve always said that I don’t like it when I’m an odd-numbered age (stupidly enough), but this year is going to be totally different.

And I’m really excited to get started.

I Graduated!

The summer days in Morgantown are finally here, and it has brought a lot of changes for me:

  • Graduation
  • Master’s program
  • New job

I graduated from the WVU Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism on May 15, 2011 at the Morgantown Events Center. It was a gorgeous ceremony, and it was exhilarating knowing that I did as much as I could extracurricular-wise in my four years of undergrad (including spending a semester away at an internship in Disney World) and still was able to graduate in four short years with honors cords (cum laude) and two minors to go along with my Bachelor of Science degree in public relations.

The following pictures of the ceremony are credited to WVU’s Photographic Services (photographer names shown if you hover over the image!)
Thaaaat’s me! Walking to get my diploma.

Getting my diploma from Dr. Martinelli! I was so excited.

Hugging Dean Maryanne Reed! It was great working with her in the SOJ Dean’s Student Advisory Board.
A neat shot of the ceremony, it was beautiful in there!
The ceremony was run like a well-oiled machine, and I give credit and thanks to all of the staff members and students that worked and volunteered their time to make such a special afternoon for us graduates!The key-note speaker was Brooke Gladstone, the co-host & managing editor of NPR’s “On the Media.” Her speech really was inspiring, and you can hear some clips of it in this video (created by my co-workers at WVU University Relations) around the 2:07 mark:

At the ceremony, I got to sit by two people I made friendships with throughout my four years, Megan Mischler and Matt Morris. The three of us had a lot of fun, and I was lucky to sit by people I knew! Also, it was a lot of fun seeing all the creative decorations that people put on their caps. I put some “bling” on my cap by very carefully creating the shape of the WVU logo, the flying WV, and put the latin words for “Mountaineers are always free,” the state’s motto.

Sorry for the crappy camera-phone quality! 😉

My mom, sister Marianna, and dad were all there to share that day with me, and it meant so much. Afterwards, we went to eat with my boyfriend Taylor & his family at Muriale’s in Fairmont, and got some delicious Italian food. Totally worth the 20-some minute drive to get out of the craziness in Morgantown with all the graduates’ families trying to get some dinner!

If you’d like to see my full album of pictures from commencement from Facebook, click here!

So, Sunday the 15th of May was the end of one chapter in my life.
However, Monday the 16th of May was a different story…

Master’s Program

Even though I got that diploma that Sunday, it doesn’t mean my education stopped there, or even less, that I gave myself any kind of time off: I started my path in Integrated Marketing Communications the day after commencement, and I now have 11 brand spankin’ new classmates to get to know! I am currently enrolled in the program’s introductory course, IMC 610 with Professor Matthew Cummings. I’m almost three weeks into the program right now, and I already love it.

Luckily enough, WVU offers their IMC program online, which means I don’t have any in-classroom time to commit to, which makes my summer work schedule quite flexible… (I’ll get into that later on.) Every week consists of having an in-depth answer to the professor’s question on the discussion board by 11:55 PM on Wednesdays, four well-put responses to different posts from classmates by the same time on Fridays, and assignments are due at the same time on the following Mondays. I’m at an 100% in the class right now with a perfect score on the quiz and two perfect participation scores for the past two weeks, so I’m definitely working to keep that up! Graduating with honors is something I definitely want to repeat.

Our “client” for this introductory course is IKEA, which was delightful for me to find out, since I love going to the one in Robinson Town Centre.  In fact, Taylor and I got to stop there and make a visit on our way back from Keith & Karen’s wedding this past Memorial Day weekend. I actually ended up making some purchases, including a set of knives for less than $10, a silverware organizer, set of plates/bowls for $20, matching mugs, Tupperware-like food storage, and more. For everything I got, I only spent $46 total, which leads me to my point I made earlier: I LOVE IKEA.

All in all, so far-so good in grad school! I really like getting to know the background stories of my 11 classmates, and I’m definitely the youngest one in the class. (Most are over 30 years old, and I’m turning 22 tomorrow!).

New Job

So I’m definitely in the market for a big-girl job, but currently I am still working here at WVU University Relations-News as a PR intern. I really do like it here, and I love the people that I work with.

Additionally, I just got a serving job at Texas Roadhouse, so I’ll be honky-tonkin’ it around there, serving food and line-dancing to the country music (Taylor loves that I’ll be around it even more now, he’s already gotten me into country quite enough!) I never thought I’d be a country music fan, but after dating Taylor for over a year now, I have to say that I’m a really big fan… just don’t tell him, he probably won’t read this! 🙂


Well, that seems like enough of an update for the day. Now that I’ve graduated and have a little more time on my hands, I can actually get around to updating this thing more often — so you’ll be hearing from me a lot more!

As always in my blog posts, I’ll leave you with a video… this is a movie trailer of a film that I am extremely excited for. Make sure you watch the whole thing!

Disney College Program: the Time of Your Life

Do you fit under one of the following categories:

-Burning out with schoolwork
-Looking to build your resume
-Wanting to get away for a bit
-Needing a life-changing experience
-Looking to secure a job for the future

Then you need look no further than this link right here. But before you click it and get distracted away from the blog, I’d like to tell you just why I am directing you to this link.

I completed the Disney College Program for their fall 2009 program, and the decision for me to go wasn’t an easy one.

I know what you’re thinking… “leave school for a whole semester?… but, I won’t graduate on time!” WRONG. I’m graduating in four years, and that’s with two minors to go with it! I took online classes while I was down there: 12 hours, which still qualified me for full-time student status. I didn’t lose my health insurance, either. Score. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it wasn’t tough to commit to the online classes, it definitely was – but if you have enough money to buy a calendar at Walmart, you should be just fine.

I know what some of you might be thinking… “but, my boyfriend/girlfriend goes here… it’d be too hard to do long distance.” (SEMI)-WRONG. I was with my (now ex-) boyfriend Brandon when I went off to Orlando for five months. Did it get tough? Yeah. Did we fight a lot? Sometimes. Did he visit? Once… he had “other” things to spend his money on… Did we break up? Not while I was there… two months after I got back, yeah, but it had nothing to do with Disney… so I digress. If you’re with a decent guy or girl, you guys will get through it. Skype/FaceTime exist now, technology will help you guys to see each other. If you budget your money correctly, you could take a couple days off to fly home, he/she could come visit you, etc. etc. etc… please don’t let that factor make your decision to stay at school. It’s ONE semester!

I know what you’re thinking… “I’m going to room with complete strangers? I’m not going to know ANYONE there!” Don’t worry; I went to do the program only really knowing one girl that I was really good friends with at the time, and we ended up not being able to live together…we hung out probably four times out of five months. I went down there and made an amazing group of friends instead, and I hung out with them everyday; I actually ended up getting to do the same parades as them, which brought us all even closer. Anyway — scared about unknown roommates? Well, we live in the days of Facebook and internet-stalking, which really works out to your advantage. You can find people in discussion groups on Facebook and get to know some of them, and discuss living with each other. I found a great group of six people, and we actually ended up getting split up into two different places- but I still remain great friends to this day with one of the girls put in the other apartment.

And finally, I know what you’re thinking… “that’s way too far away from home.” Trust me, I know – I’m from the Pittsburgh area, and it only takes me an hour to get home from school, which means I could pretty much go home any weekend I wanted to or have my mom come baby me if I was sick. I was FINE in Disney; you live in Disney Housing which are really nice apartments equipped with air conditioning, internet, pots/pans/plates/etc. already in your apartment, furniture, semi-private bathrooms… all you really have to do is bring yourself, your clothes, sheets etc., and you’re good to go. There’s a Walmart closeby, as well as a million fast food and sit-down restaurants to satisfy your cravings. There are a ton of outlet malls in Florida, too… and many places within thirty minutes from your apartment… but remember that budgeting up there I was talking about?! Don’t go crazy with spending your money at the outlet malls!

Now for the “categories” I mentioned:

If you’re burnt out with schoolwork: I recommend that you do the program, and that you don’t take online classes like I did. If you don’t like schoolwork right now, you’re going to hate it even more online. I’d say to take the semester off, and maybe make it up in a summer or something if you still want to graduate on time. Or, overload on credits like I do… 18 or more credits a semester ::faint::

Looking to build your resume: Seriously, anytime I ever tell anyone that I worked for Disney, they ask SO many questions — this experience is going to be such a positive thing for you, that you’ll have so many good things to talk about. When you walk into an interview and you have Disney on your resume, employers love to ask you about what you got out of such a huge company, and why you decided to do the program.

Wanting to get away for a bit: Um… where is a better place to do this than Disney World? ::crickets:: That’s what I thought. I mean, where is a better place to do this than FLORIDA in general?! I had the time of my life in Disney, whether I was working or not. I loved my job, I loved (most of) the people, and a beach isn’t too far a drive away. With your swipe-in card for work, you can get into all four parks for free, and make ALL your friends at home really jealous. They might even want to come visit you… but use your main gate passes wisely! (We will talk about that later!) Also, if you have drama going on at home, Disney World is the absolute best place to get away.

Need a life-changing experience: Well, in my opinion, I don’t think you’ll ever find a cooler job than working for Disney. You get to see the ins-and-outs of the parks and make magical moments for guests that are choosing to spend their vacation periods at a place where they can be happy and live out their childhoods all over again. Working for Disney really made me tap into who I am and what I want to do with my future; I don’t really know exactly why, but I came back a different (and better) person. It put my priorities in order, and it made me an even harder worker with more determination.

Looking to secure a job for the future: I know tons of people who stayed at Disney after their college programs: some of these people actually dropped out of school to stay there full-time, and others are attending UCF while being an employee. Now, I am NOT here to tell you that you should do the Disney College Program and drop out of school – by all means, NO. I think that everyone has a decision to make for themselves and that the people who did drop out of school to stay at Disney are really happy, but I think that education is extremely important. If you just end up falling in love with it as much as I did, you have a couple of options: 1) Stay seasonal with the company and go back to work/play on breaks [that’s what I’m doing!] 2) Stay at Disney and take online courses or enroll at a college like UCF 3) Extend your program one more semester, and return to school a semester later than you had originally intended. I know a lot of people that work as higher-ups in the company started out as CP students… so let that be your motivation! It sure is mine.

Now for the benefits…

As a college program member, you automatically get all kinds of discounts, just like the regular full-time employees. [As long as this hasn’t changed since I’ve been there] you get 6 main gate passes, which means you can get 3 people into the parks for 6 days! You have to watch block-out dates; for example, I wasn’t able to get my ex in on Thanksgiving Day, which is why he visited during the first half of break and left before Thanksgiving. But I was able to use these main gate passes to get him, my mom, sister, and my best friend Ryan into the parks, all on parts of holiday breaks. As long as you do your research and plan out days that work with the block-outs, you can get them in free AND get them a bomb discount on Disney hotels. Anytime somebody came to visit me, we stayed at the All-Star Resorts: they were really nice, and the cheapest you can find. They didn’t have internet… but with smartphones these days, who needs it?

For a limited time, I was able to get into the water parks [Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon] for free as well! The water parks are a lot of fun, though they weren’t something I would spend my money on going to as an employee even with our discount – so I really did like having the free option for that period of time. Also, during Christmastime, we got 50%-off discounts on merchandise all over the parks, which is how I got my Mickey Dooney and Burke little wallet thing.

What I didn’t mention here was my job description: I am a performer in the entertainment department, and I am “Pooh/Munk” height, which means I get to be best buddies with characters like Winnie the Pooh, Scrooge McDuck, Timon, Chip/Dale, Jessie the cowgirl, the 7 dwarves, Mike Wazowski, and many many many more. I had a blast making little kids (and parents) smile and making their character meet-and-greets/character dining experiences magical.

I am going in NINE DAYS and I am so excited to see what shifts are in store for me. I know that I’m gonna be best buddies with one of the Little Einsteins, Leo, on my first day there… but I’m still waiting on the rest of the week’s schedule. AND I get to see one of my best friends down there, Erin, doing her thing too and I haven’t seen her in so long!

Take it from me – you WILL be able to figure out a way to do the program with all of the factors above mentioned (distance, credits, etc.) I promise. I had to talk to a lot of people in order to figure out everything, and talking to someone with experience in advising a CP student will expedite the process. Also, talking to someone like me OR a campus rep at your school will definitely help with specific questions.

I’ve taken away so much with my experience:  great friends, amazing memories, a whole box full of stuff to scrapbook [I’ll get around to it sometime!], an insane love for Disney, and I’m even going to be a bridesmaid in one of my Disney roommates’ weddings this June. 🙂

I’m out — and as always, Have a Magical Day!

I’ll leave you with these few videos to get you excited:

The Coffee Grinder

I am currently an employee at the WVU Downtown Bookstore’s cafe, and I was inspired for this post by a young woman who simply came up to me and asked, “what are all my low-fat options?” before ordering her drink.

We get this question a lot, and before I say anything, I’m here to tell you one big thing that most people don’t know (and are shocked to hear): ALL FRAPPUCCINOS come with WHOLE MILK by default, since Starbucks revamped our Frappuccino recipes to the “NEW! however-you-want-it” style in May of 2010. Unless you ask for 2%, nonfat, or soy, you’re gonna get nasty [in my opinion] whole milk.

Whatever your pleasure, I’m here to give you a quick run-down of your low fat options (with some of my favorite custom drinks thrown into the mix).

DISCLAIMER: This is all my personal opinion of Starbucks beverages… it has nothing to do with the place/people I work with, just my thoughts on the matter.

First of all, we offer four different sugar-free syrups: vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, and cinnamon dolce (one of my favorites by far) which means that they contain zero calories and zero fat. Keep in mind that they contain artificial sweeteners, however. (It doesn’t bother me, I’m a big Splenda fan.)

These are some of the “Delicious Drinks Under 200 Calories” that Starbucks has listed on their website. Next to a few of these drinks, in bold, is my preferred suggestion.

COLD DRINKS (These are tall sizes, which Starbucks stores still offer, but sometimes don’t feature on their menus):

Caramel Frappuccino Light (Blended Coffee) | Cal. 130, Fat (g) 1 – I suggest, instead, ordering a Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino Light; make sure that the Barista knows that you want (1) sugar free cinna-D syrup, (2) nonfat milk, & (3) light frappuccino syrup. And no whipped cream!

Shaken Tazo Iced Passion Tea (unsweetened) | Cal. 0, Fat (g) 0 – Zero cal! That’s fantastic! – but you’re not going to enjoy it unsweetened as much as you would with this suggestion: tell them to add (only ONE pump) of raspberry syrup, and add a splenda yourself. Yum. I also recommend the other teas (Green & Black) with a Splenda or two.

Iced Coffee (with classic syrup) | Cal. 60, Fat (g) 0 – You can make this even more low-cal by substituting the classic syrup with a sugar-free syrup (remember: vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, & cinnamon dolce!)

HOT DRINKS (Still tall-sized):

Brewed Coffee (House or Bold) | Cal. 5, Fat (g). 0 – Don’t put a bunch of Half & Half and sugar to sweeten your coffee; use nonfat milk instead, and choose between Splenda or a sugar-free syrup shot, in my opinion.

Caffe Americano | Cal. 10, Fat (g) 0 – I prefer this drink over brewed coffee… essentially, it is expresso shots diluted with hot water. It goes down smoother than regular coffee, and it doesn’t give me the slight headache that I can sometimes get from brewed coffee.

Nonfat Caramel Machiatto | Cal. 140, Fat (g) 1 – To make this even more low-cal, ask for it “skinny,” which means the syrup will be sugar-free. Of course, the caramel drizzle on-top is sugar-FULL, but you’ll feel better about it if you go the “skinny” route. This is another one of my favorite drink options. Another way to try it is to ask for it  “upside down”… it’s interesting.

I could go on for days, but the key thing to remember with Frappuccinos is to ask for light frap syrup, nonfat milk, and sugar-free syrup (if it applies… we currently don’t offer sugar-free mocha, white mocha, green tea powder, vanilla bean powder, or java chips.) However, the strawberries-and-creme Frappuccino is sweetened with classic syrup, which in my opinion, it doesn’t need… ask them to hold the classic!

As for your sugar options: If you’re getting a regular coffee, or just want to add sugar to a caffe latte, Starbucks (or at least the branch of it that I work at) offers regular sugar, Sugar in the Raw, Equal, Splenda, & Sweet’N Low. I went researching sugars and found within this site that “one packet of Sugar in the Raw is 20 calories,” but if you’re in-between the idea of adding that versus regular sugar, you’re better off with Sugar in the Raw because “during refining the sugar cane, juice flavor filled with nutrients is removed.” I prefer Splenda, but do what you want!

I hope that you got something out of this. If you have any further questions about creative drink recipes (I’ve experimented a lot in my over-two years of barista experience) feel free to comment.

The title of this post is inspired by not only the topic, but also from this past weekend: an entertaining young man performed the “coffee grinder” break-dance move in a suit during an interview I was a part of, and it put the biggest smile on my face. Just thinking about it puts that same big smile on… enjoy this example of the coffee grinder (found a random YouTube video):

Dog Days are Over

So, new blog… fresh start. I’ve never used WordPress before, so this is new to me. I’ve been navigating the site for a little bit now, & I’m trying to get used to it.

I’d love to be able to say that this blog has a specific purpose or point, such as blogging about PR-related things or a specific topic, etc… but it really isn’t like that. Some posts probably will be something along those lines, or WVU-related posts, but I can’t promise an overall theme.

I keep going back & forth in my head about what I want to do with my life after I graduate on May 15. I’ve finally come to the point that I’m really interested in applying for the Integrated Marketing Communications master’s program at the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, and I’ve spent my last week compiling the information that I need for my application, as well as recommendation letters (just got approval from two letter-writers today, and I am so excited!). I was originally thinking of applying to the SOJ MSJ program, but I wasn’t as interested as I am in the IMC program… the only catch is, the IMC program isn’t available for tuition waivers anymore, so I’ve heard. Therefore, I’m really not sure what I’m going to do about tuition… we shall see. I hate being an out-of-state student. The good news is, you can bypass having to take the GRE if you have over a 3.3 cumulative grade point average… which I qualify for. Score.

I’ve kind of reached a turning point in my life where I’ve really put in perspective what is important to me and what isn’t. For example, this ISN’T a major part of it, but something I realized was that I had been setting my Twitter account as “private” in the past, so I could tweet about anything I wanted to… even if it involved something that bothered me about a so-called “friend,” or to vent about stupid things or people — whatever it was. I look back at some really lame, petty tweets and realize that this is not the way I want to use social media. I’ve matured enough to know what I want to make public on my Twitter, and if I don’t want people to see it, I’m not going to say it. Simple as that. Social media is really helpful in my field of study, and I’ve made an oath to myself to utilize it in the most professional way that I can (but still have a little positive fun, I’m in my early 20’s, so I owe that to myself.)

I’ve also prioritized my life lately in ways that I can look back on the day when I’m getting ready to go to bed, and be proud of what I’ve accomplished for the day. With all of the clubs, activities, etc. that I’m in, I used to just try to get as much stuff done as possible without leaving myself any “me” time, or even leaving that much time for my boyfriend, Taylor. I’ve turned this all around for the better; I’m not leaving things for the last minute, I’m not trying to fit a bunch of simple tasks into one day.

I could ramble on about this, but basically, I want to be sane for my last few months of undergrad, and the only way I’m going to do this (with the added pressure of “what-the-heck-am-I-doing-in-3-months” on my back) is to cut out the negative in my life and really focus on the important things. I’ve cut out negative people, I’ve deleted over 500 friends on Facebook that I don’t talk to anymore, updated my cover letter/resume/LinkedIn, got business cards made for free, applied for jobs as a grad-school backup, and I am currently working on this IMC application (well, not right now, obviously.) My relationships with my family, friends, & Taylor are taking a turn for the better, and it just makes everything better.

Not to mention, this awesome new iPhone 4 for Verizon has really gotten my stuff organized, too… there’s an app for EVERYTHING. Ridiculous! I love it.

The title of my blog is a dedication to the song that I woke up with in my head today, and it really has so much meaning to me in my life right now. Enjoy it for yourself.