Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To all the girls who think there's something wrong with yourrelationship,

There we are. We look happy, don't we? But what if I told you he made me cry that same night? Or what if I told you that I wasn't sure if we were gonna make it to our 1-year anniversary the next week? What if you knew what went on *after* the picture was taken, and the smiles had faded away? Well, that's what this post is about. 

Let me make two things clear before I begin: 1- I genuinely AM blissfully happy in my relationship and 2- I am in NO way a relationship expert. I am merely a woman who's had to learn the struggles of a long-term relationship the hard way. 

I, like many of you, was naive. I had this idea that men bent over backwards all the time for their women. I thought they would cater to me whenever I asked, and shower me with flowers and gifts 24/7. I knew men were different than the ones in the movies, but I never really thought about *how* they were different. I just kind of knew they were. 

I have dated in the past, and those relationships were fine I guess, but I was happy single. I genuinely enjoy being alone- it's much easier than always worrying about somebody else every time you make a decision. But then I found Ian...

We had been friends in high school, and we had always had a great, fun relationship. And then we started dating. That's when you start to realize the things that annoy you about that person. Where's THAT in the movies? I was always finding random quirks here and there that just bugged me. But I knew I was happy, so why was that happening? Did that mean we had to break up? Was the man of my dreams supposed to piss me off sometimes, or had I simply picked the wrong man? 

Yeah, being in your "first" long-term relationship makes you second guess yourself. No, that does not make you a bad person, and no, it doesn't mean you need to beak up. All it means is that humans are by no means perfect. If two people are together long enough, they ARE going to annoy each other, or make the other person mad, or maybe be a little too honest and hurt your feelings, or maybe need some space to clear their head and be independent. But the worst part is that no matter how many people try to tell you this logically, you'll never fully understand it until you experience it *emotionally.* How emotional you get depends on you. But until your head and your heart agree to ignore the bad things and focus on the millions of good qualities, you'll never fully understand that concept. It may take two years, or it may take ten. Who knows. But I'm here to tell you this: it's NORMAL. 

It's normal to need to spend a night doing your own thing without him. I suggest a girls night out with your friends to unwind. And it's NORMAL to be hurt by him and wonder, if he loves you, why is he saying things that hurt you? 

But the best piece of advice I can give you is this: NEVER threaten to sacrifice the relationship unless you're fully ready to lose him. 

This isn't a Nicholas Sparks book; he WILL NOT come running back to you and sweep you off your feet. Breaking up is a permanent decision. I've been guilty of this, and it used to make me secretly hurt that Ian wouldn't fight for me the way I *thought* he was "supposed" to. But then it hit me: if I'm going to go far enough to END everything we have over hurt feelings or a bad argument, why would I expect him to fight when I've already made up my mind? 

So, ladies, don't do that. It'll get to a point when he's just not going to care about the relationship OR you anymore. 

So then what?

Be happy. And if you're not happy, change your attitude. Instead of assuming it's HIS fault, try turning the attention on YOU, and deal with your problems first. So many of our possible arguments have ended because one of us changed our attitude and took responsibility. You DO have control over what you say and how you feel. Nobody wants to be with an emotional, irrational person. Again, we're not perfect, and mistakes will be made. But make them few and far between. 

It's been two years now, and I wouldn't trade Ian for the world. Despite any little annoying habits or harsh words, he's an incredible man and I'm extremely lucky to have him. When I finally realized that our relationship was normal (well, as far as the emotions were concerned) and that I no longer had to second guess anything, ANYTHING about our relationship... THAT'S when the fights became minimal, the hurt feelings reduced, and we could pay more attention to the blissfully happy moments. 


So ladies, I hope you all have this realization before I did. Being in a relationship with somebody FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE can be quite daunting. Your mind will be racing with doubt and questions. But remember that nobody is perfect, including yourself. Everything can be worked through and nothing is permanent except the relationship. Hurt feelings will fade and arguments will end, but the relationship remains constant. So treat it well and never do anything to harm it. 

And when times get too hard and you're struggling, remember that there is one Father who is ALWAYS there to talk to. And I promise you He'll make you feel a million times better. 

:)

Friday, August 9, 2013

15 Things NOT to do at Starbucks





To many of us, Starbucks gives us our daily dose of espresso to get us through the day. Whether it's 5am or 2pm, customers come into Starbucks seeking a way to wake up, enjoy a delicious beverage, and maybe socialize with friends. I used to be like these customers. Whenever I needed to meet a friend to talk, or if I had free time to work on my writing, I would go to Starbucks. Heck, Ian and I even had or first date at Starbucks. So I get why people love going there. The CEOs of Starbucks seek to make all of their locations feel like a mini-refuge 
from your daily life. And I must say they succeed. 

However, I have recently become a barista of my favorite coffee joint, and there are some not-so-refuge-like things about the atmosphere, as well. No, I'm not talking about the Hell-like temperatures they lock the thermostat at. And I'm not talking about the staff, either. Because, I must admit that Starbucks does an excellent job when staffing their stores. Per store you really only have one (maybe two) employee(s) that don't have great customer service. But for the most part, we love what we do, we know a LOT about what we do, and we genuinely do want to give you exactly what you want... I'm talking about the obnoxious customers that decide they are the only customer that matters, and we must bow down and kiss their feet.

SO here are 15 things NOT to do as a customer at Starbucks. If everybody could just follow these rules, everybody could have a perfect experience every time. 

1.  DO NOT stir macchiatos. This irritates me to my core. Absolutely more than anything else, when I see a person grab their macchiato and immediately stir it, I want to scream. At Starbucks, a "macchiato" is a drink that contains vanilla and milk (hot or cold) at the bottom, topped with espresso shots (and caramel drizzle on top if you'd like). It's intended to have the person drink the shots first, and then wash it down with a sweeter drink afterwards. It's about $5 for a grande. Listen carefully: If you stir it, you just made your $5 drink into a $3 drink. When mixed together (vanilla, espresso, and milk), it makes a vanilla latte. A vanilla latte is $3.55 after tax. So save your money (and my sanity) and please either stop mixing your macchiatos, or start ordering vanilla lattes. Please. 

2. Don't order at the bar. This one bugs me so much. The "bar" is where we put drinks when they are finished. Many times, people sit along the bar and talk to us while we work, which we don't mind. But, if we are working, and you see a long line, do not (I repeat DO NOT) walk up to the bar like you own the place and tell me something's wrong with your drink. You are not the president of the U.S., nor are you Ryan Gosling. So get in line like everybody else and then we would be happy to serve you. If you're simply asking for milk because we're out, or you need a lid, then feel free to ask at the bar. But if you want water or a new drink, or anything else that makes me stop serving other customers, then get in line. 

3. Don't order at the window. I put these two close together because they are similar, but equally as important. If you're going through the drive thru, do not pull straight up to the window and tell us what you want. Chances are, we have a system, and you are not following it. If you pull up to the window and confuse us, and then a real customer comes up to the box to order, we are more inclined to care for their drink first since they followed the rules. Don't get me wrong, I'll put on a smile and tell you it's alright to blatantly ignore all the signs and pull up straight to the window like a bat out of hell. But in reality, it's annoying and it doesn't give us time to properly make your drink and have it ready for you when you arrive at the window. And don't tell me you pulled up and nobody answered the intercom. Don't insult us as employees just because you didn't want to follow the rules. Seriously, there's a loud, obnoxious **BEEP** that goes off in my ear when you pull up to order. Trust me, if you pull up, I WILL hear you, whether I want to or not. 

4. I will judge you for ordering breve. For those of you who don't know, "breve" means a drink is made with steamed cream...CREAM. Unless you are a body builder, if you order a venti latte breve, I'm going to judge you. While I'm sure it tastes amazing, you are consuming about a 700 calorie drink. Expect to be judged. 

5. I am not a slave. I love my job. Honestly, I do. I love helping figure out new drinks to try and making them with extra shots and syrups until somebody finds the perfect drink. But I am not a slave. It irks me when customers treat me like I'm no better than their pet. Heck, most people here treat their pets better than they treat some of us. If your drink isn't perfect, I'm sorry. I will happily fix it. But don't act like a drama queen. It's not the end of the world. Don't assume it's my fault--I may not have been the one to make your drink. Regardless, we will fix it for free. So you'll ultimately get what you want anyway. There's no need to be a prick about it .

6. "Extra hot" is NOT a temperature.  I'm one of those crazy kids who likes their drinks "extra hot." I think it makes the drink taste better and stay hot longer. But when people order a drink "extra hot," all it means is we push a button on the steamer and it'll steam the milk an extra 10 degrees. For most people, that's fine. But for some, they want it steamed to 170 or 180 degrees, and then complain when the drink isn't hot enough (yes, even in the summer). So, if you want your drink to burn your tongue, you have to TELL us a certain temperature. Unless you come in every day and order the same thing, I can't read your mind. And unless you tell me otherwise, I'm just going to push the button and let the steamer stop when it's ready. 

7. Don't use your phone while ordering. Seriously. This is just common courtesy. Whether you're in drive thru or ordering at the register, get off your phone. It's really confusing when you're ordering to me and talking to somebody else at the same time. It's already hard enough to hear because I have a headset on and people are yelling in my ear, but to have to turn around and ask you "What?" every five seconds because you're on the phone is really annoying. Tell that person to hold on a second, give me your order, and continue talking when you walk/drive away. 

8. Know what you want to order. This one doesn't apply to everybody. If you genuinely don't know what you want, or you've never been to Starbucks before, I'll be happy to help you figure it out. Seriously, I find that really fun. But if you finally decide and you walk up to order, be sure you know what you're ordering. Again, I'll be happy to answer questions. But don't order a "mocha latte" and then return it later because you wanted the "iced one." Also, I can tell when it's your first date, or if two people are both trying to pay for the other, or if you aren't familiar with the menu... but don't make it awkward. Figure it out before you order. When two people are both handing me cards it gets very complicated. I don't know which card to grab, and I don't want to cause tension between two people. Don't put me in that situation. Similarly, don't pull up to the drive thru and argue with the people in your car. We CAN hear you. Figure it out before you pull up, and order when you're ready. 

9. Know what other people in your party want. The most frustrating thing is when one person orders for somebody else, and doesn't know what they're ordering. It's usually obedient husbands ordering for their wives, and they feel like they're speaking a third language. I feel their pain. I asked Ian to order me an "extra hot vanilla mocha" once and he looked at me like I was crazy. So men, I know where you're coming from, but please know what you're getting. Or to the lady who orders a drink for someone at your office, don't tell me it's an "orange drink" and then turn down the only two drinks we have that have orange in them. That doesn't even make sense. Or if the person is substituting/adding syrups to drinks, know which one it is: substituting or adding. It DOES make a difference. I honestly do care about making your drinks exactly how you want them, so not knowing whether or not I'm doing it right is such an annoying feeling. So please, know what other people want before telling me what to make you. 

10. Cups of water. Obviously, making a cup of water is the easiest thing I can do. And I genuinely don't mind. But if we're busy and you walk up to the bar demanding water, it's annoying. I'm busy making drinks for customers who ordered them. So, instead, order water while ordering your drink, and it will be put in the line of drinks in the order it was ordered. Plain and simple. Same with drive thru: tell us you want water when you order. If I hand you all your drinks, and I'm ready to move on to the next car, you are making me stop what I'm doing to get you water that I could have had ready five minutes ago. Be polite to the other customers waiting and order ALL your drinks at the same time. 

11. Don't be THAT person. Don't be the person who orders "six ice cubes" in your hot coffee, or who wants "two and a half pumps" of syrup. While we will do our best to take the time out of our busy schedule to count your odd numbers of things, it's unnecessary. Instead, just tell us you want a "few" ice cubes, or to put in "less" syrup. Don't get me wrong, it's good to know what you want. But I can't exactly do a "half" pump. Well, I can. I'm not stupid. But you guys get the idea: don't be unnecessarily obnoxious about your drink order. 

11b. THERE IS NO SECRET MENU. Don't order a "Snickers Frappuccino" and expect me to know what you're talking about. There is no "Nutella Frappuccino" on the menu, and there's a reason. 1- when you people ask for those drinks, it's 95% syrups, which makes it about a 1,500 calorie drink, but 2- we don't know how to make them. Even if you pull it up on your phone, we don't know how much of each thing to put. So please, forget you ever saw anything about the "secret menu" and let us help you find a real drink you'll enjoy (and one you can order no matter where in the world you are). 

12. Don't blame ME. Recently, my store ran out of caramel syrup for the Caramel Ribbon Crunch seasonal frappuccino. People get incredibly angry. "Why don't you have it?! The menu says you have it! The other starbucks had it! Make it for me anyway!!" etc etc. People, I'm not the CEO. I don't decide what seasonal drinks to make or how long they'll be around. And I can't control when we run out of certain things. So please stop blaming me. If the brew of the day is Italian, and you wanted Sumatra, don't get mad at me like it's my fault. I don't choose those things. So just chill out and do the best with what we DO have. 

13. Don't order decaf. I understand some people order decaf lattes because they like the taste of the syrups and milk. And it would be strange to get a steamer as an adult (a child's drink made like a latte without the shots). But what's the point in buying decaf coffee? Seriously. You've basically just spent $2.50 on water. There is literally zero reason to ever drink decaf coffee. And the same goes for americanos. Why on EARTH would you want decaf shots mixed with water? It has got to taste disgusting and have approximately zero benefits for drinking it. I suggest you save your money and just get water if you're gonna go decaf. Or get a cream based frappuccino if you really have calories to waste. 

14. Don't give your kid caffeine. I understand you're their parent, but when I see an 8 year old come in and order a frappuccino that has coffee in it, I want to scream. I'll even tell the parents, "That one has caffeine, is that okay?" and the stupid parents don't care. Literally, they say "I don't care." Well, I do. So I'll make the drink without caffeine anyway, because I care more about your child's health than you do. But let's be honest: no young child needs to be given any type of espresso or coffee. It makes me wonder what else these parents "don't care" about. Obviously health isn't important to them. 

15. Drinks take time. Unless you're ordering black coffee, your drink will take some time to prepare. And, chances are, you're not the only one in the store. So don't get impatient and demand your drink because it's "taking too long." Your beverage will be made in the order it was received, so calm down. And remember we have drinks in the drive thru too that need to be made also. So bear with us and be patient. If you're in a hurry, order black coffee. And keep in mind that we only have one person doing frappuccinos at a time. One lady in the drive thru yelled at me for "standing around" (aka, waiting for all her drinks to be made) while she was waiting. Not only were her and here daughter both grossly obese, but they both ordered frappuccinos. And, before them, four people in the lobby also ordered some. So don't blame me because your drink comes after the other ones that were ordered first. We can only make one (maybe two) frappuccinos at a time. And honestly, we hate making them, but that's a different issue. SO keep in mind that you are not, in fact, the only customer that matters, and be patient. 


I don't want this post to sound more bitter than it's intended to. I'm more than happy to help you, to make you feel at home, and to give you exactly what you want. All we ask in return is a little respect and common courtesy. One of my co-workers always tells me he's surprised no customer has ever reached over the bar and literally shaken him to make his drink faster. People, calm down. We're doing a JOB, just like most of you have. So give us a little credit that we know what we're doing. We can't make the milk steam any faster or the espressos pull any quicker. All we can do is put the time and attention into your drink that it deserves, and provide you with the perfect drink. 

So if we all behave and act like mature adults, every customer can have an excellent experience every single time. But hey, even if you're one of those annoying customers we hate, I'll put on a smile, make your drink however you want, and you'll never know how obnoxious you are. Because that's what I'm paid to do. And I've come to realize that some people just *want* to be annoying. If they are having a bad day, they want others to suffer as well. So I've gotten really good at always being loving and positive, and no obnoxious customer can bring me down. 

Share the love with your baristas :) We really do love our loyal customers.