09 July 2012


Free lattes?!

I blame my mom, Anna Marie Smith and Katie Tran-Lam for my coffee addiction. Each of them has contributed in some way. First, my mother. In all my years of knowing her and observing her ways so that I could formulate my own views of society and create my own life path, I knew two things: first, I was certain I did not know her natural hair color because she had colored it so many times that I lost track and now can only say the same about myself, and second, that she was not as fun or functional without a cup of coffee or three.


“Wait, I haven’t had my coffee yet!”

Then there’s Anna Marie, a girl I have known since she came into the world just four months after I. Our moms have been close since the ‘60s. I think Anna Marie was born with a cup of coffee in her hand. She can take down coffee and tea like no one else I know. Every day starts with coffee, every afternoon includes coffee and every evening ends with a cup of tea or chocolate before bed. When I visit her, we plan our days around our favorite coffee stops.

Katie was my college friend and everyone knows that Starbucks is where the college kids go for fun – or to study, or to read or to chill and try not to think about school for an hour. When we were busy professionals (and Katie still is), we relied on Starbucks for a much-needed energy boost. And, when I come to visit, we usually need the caffeine because we were up into the wee hours of the morning.

So I blame them – ALL of them – for my culminating addiction. I should also mention that it was Anna Marie who turned me on to the Starbucks loyalty program, which made me add a Coffee line in the budget to account for my refillable card.

Nicola and I spotted two Starbucks cafés in Sydney and we hit them both. Later we found out that Starbucks had pulled all but these two stores because, according to our new friend Stephen (or Steven…not quite sure), “a coffee culture already existed in Sydney before Starbucks was present so it was never really successful.” So, to summarize, Sydney has two Starbucks cafés in the entire city and we found them both without any help from a person or our smart phones – we have built-in radar.

We visited the Starbucks at Darling Harbour after a morning with the animals (check back in a couple days for that post – the photos alone will be worth the peak). We were “having an amble,” as Nic likes to say, and stopped in for an afternoon pick-us-up. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones with this desire.

While standing in the obscenely-long, nearly-out-the-door line, my ADD kicked in and I began checking out the stock of travel mugs displayed within grabbing distance. I found a cute mug, noticed the “Winter Clearance” sign but paid no real attention and then flipped over the mug to take a peak at the knowingly-not-cheap price. To my surprise, the mug was priced under $4. Awesome, I thought. I’ll take two! And so I did.

When I arrived at the cash register, I was delighted to learn that by purchasing the clearance item, I was rewarded with not only a free mug wash but also a free drink inside my new travel mug. How great is that?! Upon hearing this, Nicola was absolutely certain that she needed to buy a blue mug with yellow pansies and a bunny for her husband and she proceeded to order her $3.95 chai latte. Bonus, when I use my travel mug at a Starbucks in Singapore, I save 50 cents on every fill up. Even better. 

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