Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Like most people, I like to start the day and mid day and sometimes late afternoon with a coffee. And again like most people, going to Starbucks once or twice a week is not in the budget let alone three times a day. So I make my own delicious drinks at home.

At an after Christmas party last year, a  friend of a friend’s college (I kid you not, that’s actually the connection) began telling me about a great coffee shop in North-ish Scottsdale that roasts their own beans. She detailed how amazing each of the blends were and how unique each of the types of beans were in flavor, color and scent. I don’t fancy myself someone who knows a lot about all that jazz, but I do like a really delicious iced coffee. So Bay and I ventured out to the Village Coffee Roastery and were very pleased with the results. Not only is the shop its self adorable, but they offer a variety of pastries and sandwiches in addition to great beans. The best part is the coffee is really noticable better than something you buy in the grocery store or, dare I say it, Starbucks. I tried the Mexican blend this time and it has a very noticable chocolate flavor to it. It is delicious with some Truvia sweetener, two shakes of cinnamon, milk and ice for an afternoon jolt.

The manager is always there and might be one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever met. She knows about each bean and what it tastes like and is more than helpful with trying something new or bagging up your long time favorite. Try it for breakfast and take a bag home to keep your caffeine addiction fed.

Village Coffee Roastery

http://www.villagecoffee.com/index

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The Many Uses of Sunscreen

Ok, I know this is totally random, but it made me very happy (and my lips too) so I thought I would share.

While in San Diego this past week, I realized my SPF 15 lip gloss and or chapstick were not cutting it for the several hours we were outdoors each day. And as someone who is prone to cold sores from too much sun, I was concerned. We made a stop at a local surf shop and while buying other goodies, I asked the doodlebop behind the counter if they had anything stronger. His response? “noooo dude, we don’t. But, you could, like, totally uuuusse one of the sunscreen ssttiiiicks on your lips instead of, like on your whole face, man”. 20 minutes later when he was finally finished with this sentence, I kindly thanked the “dude” for all his “like, advice” and headed for the hotel.

I realized I had packed a sunscreen stick for Baylie and thought I would try it while we were still in the hotel and could wipe it off, rinse and repeat before leaving incase it left a funky sunscreeny taste. It turns out the duuude totally knew what he was talking about! Not only does it not have a funky taste, it’s waterproof, SPF 55 and it moisturizes as well as chapstick. I now carry a stick with me for my use and Bay’s – so nice to have one less thing in my bag rather than one more thing. Oh, and it works great on your part too so your scalp doesn’t get burned – no greasy hair! Not to mention the benefits of being able to get sunscreen UNDER the kiddos eyes (yes, they do get sunburned because they don’t wear sunglasses. I am an idiot) without getting it in their eyes.

So as the weather finally begins to cool and we start to pull out the beach cruisers for a ride to The Vig, a hike up Camelback and get your drink on at a football game, remember to pack your handy sunscreen stick!

Run to Buy Buy Baby

If you are in need of some new clothes for your munchkin, a baby shower gift or are on my quest to complete your Christmas shopping list months early – run, don’t walk to Buy Buy Baby. They are having a huge 75% off sale on select clothing. And my select, they mean anything but the Halloween costumes! I got this adorable dress for $1.77. No, I didn’t miss a decimal point! So stock up for next summer and for all your gift giving needs!

For all the non parents buying gifts, remember to buy bigger and for the right month. I.E. don’t buy a cute short sleeve 6-9 month dress for your sister in Buffalo when her daughter is going to be in that size in December 🙂

Happy shopping!

Christmas in August

Hello Goonies! I’m introducing yet another new category to the blog called Retail Therapy. Get excited! I’m hoping to give you my take on some great places to shop and lovely little things to shop for. Enjoy!

Yes, yes, I know it’s nuts to be thinking about Christmas already. But I have a goal this year to do most of the shopping way in advance so that we actually get to enjoy the season. I hate going to the mall when it’s crazy crowded and I hate the amount of money that flies out the door in December. So, step 1 is that I’m scaling back on the amount of gifts given. Step 2 is to find great deals and ideas so that my friends and family get really meaningful gifts that don’t break the bank. And Step 3 is to get it done ahead of time so that we get to actually go see the Christmas lights, go to the parties  and enjoy all the hoopla without feeling stressed and like I need a cocktail and a nap.

I’ve started to get a few ideas together and I thought all you The Goon Room readers might be interested in case you want to join my “no stress holiday” campaign. If you are a family member, please stop reading. Or read at your own risk and ruin your Christmas surprise. You’re choice.

Christy Alverado Designs

My step sister Nancy turned me onto Christy’s beautiful jewelry. She is a local artist and mom and designs personal and affordable creations. I have a great necklace with a silver disc that says “Baylor” and a pearl charm for her birthstone. It’s one of my favorite pieces and I wear it with everything. Bring your own ideas, purchase a premade design or have Christy assist in a creation. Children’s names, spouse’s names, last name and family names, initials, pets, hobbies..you name it, there is a design for it. necklaces, bracelets, earrings, cufflinks, she’s got it all! http://christyalvaradodesigns.com/

Books

Books are a great gift and can be affordable with some preparation. I stay away from specific genres if I’m not sure what the person likes to read. I go more for the general topics. I stumbled on the Humor section of Borders Books last year and about lost my mind. One of my favorite finds was “F U Penguin. Telling Cute Animals What’s What”. It is not for the faint of heart, those who do not have a sick sense of humor or anyone offended by foul language. But if you’re like Peter and I, you will have tears streaming down your face and your abs will hurt for days.

Sign up for several book store’s rewards program before you need to buy. They generally send out coupons after a purchase. Stock them up and save on gifts. Also, scope out the books and then buy them from Amazon.

Stationary

There are a lot of great websites that will create personalized stationary for a decent price. Horchow and Tiny Prints are two of my favorites. Couple a personalized set with a few boxes of thank you notes and blank notes from Target and you’ve got an awesome, personal and inexpensive gift.

Booze

I’m always stumped what to buy the men in our family. Their hobbies and interests are all way to expensive to buy for so I usually stick with booze. Borrow your mom’s Costco card and hit up their liquor section. They almost always have a box set of something that includes glasses, shot glasses or a smaller size bottle of whatever you’re buying. It make the gift seem more substantial but the price is still small. Total Wine and also Bevmo have similar items. They are also great of miniature bottles – pick up a five or six different things and pair them with some cheese and crackers in a basket. Cheap AND adorable!

Gadgets

Again, men. I have always had great luck with Eddie Bauer and Orvis. They both carry small, multipurpose gadgets that are always a big hit. EB has a “key” that is actually a knife, screwdriver, bottle opener and dishwasher. Ok, obviously not the last one, but still!

http://www.eddiebauer.com/EB/Bags–Gear/Outdoor-Gear/index.cat#ppl=%7Btype%3A%22hide%22%7D

More to come as I keep at my list. I hope you decide to join my crazy bandwagon and get started early. You’ll thank me when you’re bank account is full and you have time to sip hot chocolate while you listen to holiday music instead of fighting for a parking spot at the mall.