Forget Content, Caffeine Is King

Problem

Like any normal human, I absolutely cannot start my morning without a hit of caffeine. My brain refuses to function without a liquid lightning bolt to zap it awake. On more than one occasion, the coffee shop cashier asks what I want, and I stutter, “Uhhh…a lerge coofee..sorry, a big ice brew…a large COFFEE!” Luckily my baristas know me by name and can usually decipher my derpity-derps.

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As my caffeine intake has steadily increased over the last year (thanks, 50 hour work week!) so has my need for specific types of caffeine throughout the day. I’ve found that different types of caffeine can solve different problems during my 9-7 whirlwind.

For example…

Red Bull

Problem: It’s 7am and my bed is way warmer than a cold gym.
Solution: This carbonated poison surges through my veins and guarantees an effortless trip to the treadmill. (Though the bubbly sensation of barfing may come and go after a couple of miles.)

red bull

5 Hour Energy

Problem:
I ran out of Red Bull.
Solution:
A mini slurp of this syrupy toxin makes me invincible during my morning jog. (Also, reference previous point about bubbly barfing.)

5 hour

Starbucks Cold Brew

Problem: I’ve finished my work out but after a quick shower and breakfast, am needing an energy burst to deal with the commuters along Sunset Blvd who totally forgot how to drive.
Solution:
A venti bucket of liquid cocaine and 2 packs of stevia keep me vibrating around my cubicle for the next few hours.

Cold brew

Regular Starbucks Iced Coffee

Problem: Starbucks has run out of the cold brew.
Solution:
A weak version of cold brew and 2 packs of stevia at least alleviate the caffeine headache, but still leaves me a little sad.

ice coffee

Starbucks Bottled Frappuccino Drinks

Problem: I’m too lazy to wait in line at Starbucks for my late afternoon buzz.
Solution:
A 5 dollar bottle of cream.

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Starbucks Gingerbread Latte/ Toasted Graham Latte/ Peppermint Latte

Problem: I’m fantasizing about stuffing a whole cake into my mouth circa 4pm.
Solution:
Drinking 100 grams of sugar and letting go of any dignity earned from jogging earlier today.

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It’s No Secret: Working With Great Brands Satiates Your Soul

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Anyone who works in a creative field knows the feeling. The one that slowly buzzes throughout your body after you’ve finished a project that you’re truly proud of. Whether it’s acting, designing, writing or making sculptures out of popsicle sticks, you’re filled with pride and you bask in that warm glow of accomplishment.

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But then, you submit your work to your boss/ client/ colleague/ popsicle judge, hoping they’ll share in your sparkly enthusiasm.

They don’t.

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They don’t like the way you performed that scene. Or the way your red logo is “TOO red.” Or how you described something in your script. Or the brand of popsicles you went with.

You feel deflated, just like Tom Brady’s fooseball. (Sorry, too soon?)

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But you realize that maybe your work wasn’t well-received because your boss/ client/ colleague/ popsicle judge doesn’t quite “get” it. Or maybe they’re afraid to do something different. Or perhaps they’re hesitant to let a little personality shine through. They probably hate taking risks.

Then there are the kind of brands that you always hope to work with, like Secret Squirrel.

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They’re a local family-owned business that makes incredible cold brewed coffee.

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And they’ve got an inspirational story.

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Owners Trevor and Rebecca Smith are the epitome of successful entrepreneurs.

These self-proclaimed coffee lovers would often experiment with different ways of creating and enjoying their favorite drink. The duo built Secret Squirrel from the ground up and embarked on a grassroots marketing campaign. They began selling their products at a local farmers market and quickly developed a community of cold brew loyalists.

Now Secret Squirrel is partnered with the largest independent natural foods distributor and just rolled out a new line of dairy-based drinks. (Yummy Hint Alert: stay tuned…more recipes are in the works.)

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I had the pleasure of working with Secret Squirrel recently, and I admire them for a myriad of reasons.

Trevor and Rebecca have created a great, approachable brand that invites people to be a part of their world.

They don’t hide behind an anonymous corporate wall.

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Their website is a welcoming digital experience with fun facts, pretty pics, and a rad recipe section, complete with boozy brew beverages!

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And they absolutely love interacting with their customers.

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Best of all, they clearly have a spectacular sense of humor.

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Oh, and their coffee is downright delish!

It’s so refreshing to see brands like Secret Squirrel. I know that as they expand and grow their empire, they will continue to be an inspiration to people like me, and to other businesses. I’ll drink to that!

I Just Want To Make The Dude At Coffee Bean Smile

I’ve been visiting the same Coffee Bean every day for the last year. Each morning I saunter to the counter and get a large iced coffee with one sugar, one Splenda. By now, they don’t even ask what I want, they just start ringing up my order when they see me walking in. 2 of the employees are always chipper and sweet and greet me with a smile. 1 of them however…he clearly hates his job.

His name is Tom. He’s about 6’5″. He has long black hair that he stuffs under a cap, but little flyways always manage to sneak out by his ears. He has beautiful green eyes. He acknowledges my presence by muttering “g’morning” at a barely audible level.

I’ve tried winning him over with numerous tactics:

1) Being overly enthusiastic. “Yeah I’d LOVE an iced coffee!” I think he could sense my desperation.

2) Being mellow yet very polite. “Thank you, I really appreciate it,” I purred in a tone as smooth as their dark roast. He looked perplexed.

3) Acting like I just don’t care, which means grabbing my coffee as I casually shrug, trying to look super nonchalant.  I don’t think he even noticed.

4) Trying to start a conversation. “How’s your morning thus far?” “Aight,” he quietly replied as he walked away.

I want to know what he does on the weekends. I want to know what kind of music he listens to. What kind of car he drives. How much pizza he eats. How much pot he likes to smoke.

My next tactic is to start cracking jokes. If that doesn’t work, I’m planning to buy him a present.

C’mon, Tom, let’s leave this apathetic, caffeine-based, awkward-morning-interaction-dance behind us and start anew with a fresh cup of java tomorrow and top it off with a smile. I’ll even settle for a grimace at this point.