University Must Haves & Tips!

sam_1801Winter is Coming and first year students are shivering in both excitement and worry! But fear not, I’m here to give you tips on how to survive this big transition.

1) There’s nothing worst than forgetting your bus pass and getting ticketed for it. I’ve been there. To avoid this accident from happening, find a wallet that has a window ID. I found this functional and chic Michael Kors wallet that has the window ID at the back, a keyring and multiple compartments. Its small size is ideal for tight spaces.

2) At first you would think that having pizza or burgers everyday is a dream come true since fast food is very accessible in most campuses, but I must warn you that your health, wallet and tastebuds will not like you in the long run. It’s not a sin to have the occasional greasy, overpriced food from campus, although I highly suggest that you bring food from home/dorm most of the time. This glass Lock&Lock container is a must in my list as it’s the perfect size, is BPA free, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe and best of all, has a locking system that seals it air and water tight!

3) If you so prefer and your professor allows it, laptops and iPads are good ways to remain eco-friendly and sharing notes will be easier. However, I personally find these options distracting because who wouldn’t be tempted to check social media when sat in lecture for hours? I’m going to be honest, I plead guilty to such crime! To avoid this, try it old school. This cute trio from Studio-Oh! that I found from Chapters will do the trick! Also, despite paying overpriced tuition, don’t expect luxurious, oversized tables. It’s most probable that you will find very small desks so aim to buy small notebooks. Lastly, binders will be your enemy!

4) What’s paper without writing utensils? As tempting as it may be to buy those pens and pencils that come in 12s, trust me, you don’t need any more than one. Invest in one good, expensive pen & pencil because it will last you longer and you don’t have to worry about asking it back from that unprepared classmate. Unless you intend to make ‘sharing’ into flirting with that cute guy/girl in class, then perhaps you can save an extra one ; ) I highly recommend brands such as Pentel, Pilot and Staedtler.

5) You may think that school books are more than enough of a read, but if you’re like me who enjoys leisure reading, you’d probably find yourself procrastinating with other books. There is nothing wrong with that because at the very least, this option expands your knowledge and you’re less likely to fall into the trap of pulling an all-nighter because you were too distracted with the internet and all its glory! Bookmarks are very helpful in both leisure and school reads. This feather bookmark is from a local market but you can buy ones similar to it on Etsy!

6) As organized as day/weekly planners may be, there are too bulky and incompatible with my preferences. I like post-it notes better and as a fan of Hello Kitty, these are perfect for those short notes, reminders and to-do lists!

7) Earphones are necessary not only for your favourite tunes in those daily bus rides, but also for when you need peace & quiet when studying. You are likely to encounter a person who prefers studying in groups but as friendly and fun as that may seem, it can sometimes get distracting. Plugging in your earphones, even without music playing, is the ultimate ‘Do not disturb’ sign. If they are really persistent or you just happen to be in a noisy environment, consider noise-cancelling headphones such as the ones I own from Sony.

8) If you are lucky enough to experience dorm life like I did, decorating your own room for floormates/housemates to visit is exciting! Those first few weeks will feel a little lonely, but adding personality into your space will attract people that share common interests and you’ll eventually find some good folks, possibly even lifelong friends. So don’t be afraid to show your inner geekiness and with that, I chose this Game of Thrones Stark Stein! You know nothing, Jon Snow”.


I hoped this post was informative for you freshmen. Which school are you attending and what field of study? Good luck and take care!

A plus tard et avec l’amour!

 

Coffee/ Latte Art 101

*I am no expert, far from it, so this is mainly intended for those who know very little or close to none about coffee*

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The best of my latte art thus far

Ever since I became a barista, I have so much more respect for other baristas. This job is not easy as it requires patience and determination to achieve a good cup of coffee. When I first started, I was trained extensively in making microfoam. To not waste any milk, my manager provided me with a substitute: a mixture of dishwashing soap and water to practice with. Apparently, its consistency is similar to milk. I found this replacement to be effective, minus the fact that there are obviously more bubbles in this concoction. For two shifts, I did nothing else but this. I was awfully frustrated because if it wasn’t the consistency that was incorrect, it was the temperature. When my ‘dishwashing soap and water’ mixture appeared to be more than satisfactory, my manager finally allowed me to practise with milk. It was much easier to deal with although each trial remained inconsistent.

Frustration inevitably reached its peak and on top of that, I was required to immediately work alone under the circumstance that my manager was booked for days off. At this time, my inability to produce or deliver what was required, accompanied with an increasingly declining confidence left me in panic and chaos: from mixing up orders to creating iced chocolate Americanos (they were supposed to be mochas… don’t even ask).

But those days are now scarce after a lot of practise and a heaven sent ‘How To Latte Art‘ post I found online! It is imperative that you have at least tried to make microfoam otherwise, these words will mean very little.

After reading this article, it has helped me tremendously in understanding my past mistakes. I immediately applied the techniques and knowledge read and just recently, I have become more consistent with my microfoam. However, as briefly mentioned in this article, one does not work with only one kind of milk. As 3.25%, 1% and soy milk all differ in the amount of ‘fats’, the main factor in the composition of microfoam, technique therefore differs for each as well. Thus far, I’ve more or less achieved consistent results when working with 3.25% and 1% milk, leaving me to struggle with soy milk (as pictured above). I’m still due for more practise.

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Proper technique for tamping espresso

Tamping espresso is quite easy. My manager taught me a proper technique: to face sideways and with my arm forming a 90 degree angle with the surface. If that makes sense. It is (I believe) quite obvious that the coffee grounds must be evenly distributed into the portafilter for an ‘even’ taste (minus the fact whether the coffee was dialed in correctly… but that’s another story).

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The baby: La Marzocco ❤

Anyways, I hope you found this post informative and helpful. I just wanted to share my current knowledge and resources on coffee and latte art. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

A plus tard et avec l’amour!

My Life as a Barista!

Since the 9th grade, I looked for a job every summer to finance my own expenses (all right, desires). However, I’ve always found my past jobs boring and uninteresting until now. Since the end of May, I’ve been working as a barista in a local shop here in NW Calgary called Postino. I absolutely adore this job! I get to interact with regular customers, meet the occasional eye-candy (ehmm Australian backpacker) and have fun with it!

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Pretending to be busy 😛

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“Was that to stay or to go?”

Starting out without prior experience as a barista was not easy. I cannot tell you how much frustration I had to go through, especially with trying to get the perfect microfoam. Believe it or not, it’s been months and I am still working on trying to remain consistent with my methods. Though in the end, it’s all worth it when I see even the simplest latte art of its kind, the heart. I will be writing a post on Coffee/ Latte Art 101 so stay tuned for that!

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Tamping espresso

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Latte art is difficult and requires concentration

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“I can do it!”

I have always been a fan of coffee though this only intensified when I became a barista. My knowledge has improved tremendously and so has my ego in terms of coffee. Visiting another coffee shop with me would probably not be in your best interest because I have become very watchful and judgmental of everything: from the sound of the milk frothing to tampering techniques of the barista. You could say that I could probably guess the taste of the coffee prior to even having my tongue touch it. Also, be prepared to be bombarded with random coffee facts and techniques.

As well, I can no longer drink instant coffee nor brew coffee, unless absolutely necessary. Fresh espresso tastes so much better so an Americano, I am now aware, differs from brew. And that folks is why it’s more expensive.

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Coffee ❤

 I hoped you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoy my job! I love being artistic with what I do and I get free coffee doing it too 😉

A plus tard et avec l’amour!