Day for Exploration: Inglewood

It has been ages since I’ve wanted to pay a visit to one of Calgary’s coolest neighbourhoods: Inglewood. And since I’m an avid fan of cafés, I had to finally check out Gravity! The interior was absolutely posh and the food was superb. Is it a surprise that I didn’t order coffee? Go figure, they served Phil & Sebastian.

DSC04592I have a terrible habit of going shopping when I’m stressed, most specifically during exam times. Inglewood is definitely the place to go for all things local and unique! Of all the stores I visited, my top three favourites are listed below:

1) Reworks: This store is the absolute coolest! They are all about artistic innovations made from recycled materials, whilst supporting small businesses and/or local artists.

2) Olivier’s: Sweet tooth got you craving? This is heaven for all chocolate and candy lovers! Upon entrance, you are easily drawn in by the scrumptious whiff of their fresh, local goods. I made my last purchases of gifts & a little something for myself and family.

3) Phoenix Comics: How could I resist not going inside this haven of all things geek? What I appreciated about this particular comic store was it was well-organized, unlike most that are cluttered. It made maneuvering around and finding things easier. Also, if you collect pins like I do, they have plenty of awesome ones! They also have a vintage, yet pimp Ronald McDonald statue.

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Since stores are individually built, prepare well to dress in warmth if you are to visit in the middle of winter like I. Layers will do.

DSC04582DSC045871) Oversized Shirt: GAP (similar here) | 2) Leggings: H&M | 3) Coat: Thrifted (similar here) | 4) Boots: ALDO | 5) Thigh-Highs: Free People | 6) Backpack: Vintage from momDSC04595Inglewood is definitely a gem & will now be one of my favourite spots to hang out!

A plus tard et avec l’amour!

Morning Grind & Poetry Rhymes

It has been a while since I worked a morning shift, but it feels nice to have a trek in peace and quiet, despite the frosty chill and slippery slopes.DSC03862 DSC03864 What better way to start the morning than to listen to Daughter and have myself a bite and coffee?DSC03866 DSC03879 DSC03882

I am currently obsessing over thick, long socks, scrunched to peek out of booties. I went to Roots yesterday and am in the state of regret for not getting myself a couple of cabin socks. They’re so comfy, warm and Canadian!

For an hour, the café was terribly quiet so I went ahead and recited my poems… not that there is reason to practise.
DSC03872 DSC038851) Plaid Coat: ZARA (similar here) | 2) Sweater: Garage (similar here) | 3) Jeans: Makers of True Originals (similar here) | 4) Socks: Walmart (similar here) | 5) Rain Boots: Mel | 6) Toque: Club Monaco (similar here)

A plus tard et avec l’amour!

British Invasion: 221B

Recently, I have been subconsciously inspired by British style: simple, yet has an indescribable charm. Perhaps I am lacking the eye candy of a beautiful British man who lives in 221B who’s got me poppin’ my collar. To those who are currently suffering from such deprivation, I am with you. Perhaps a third time of watching all the seasons isn’t such a bad idea… if only my GPA didn’t need a little more attention.
DSC03546I have absolutely no idea what my bag says for it’s in Indonesian, but my best guess would be that it’s rice related because it’s recycled from the material used in rice bags.
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1) Pea Coat: Aeropostale (Gifted) (similar here) | 2) Ripped Jeans: Levi’s (similar here) | 3) Bag: Local Store (similar here) | 4) Boots: Kensie


I needed a little day off from everything and the beautiful, chilly weather has got me in the mood for a little exploration around one of my favourite neighbourhoods: Kensington. It is full of art, diversity and innovation: an energy I find refreshing and inspiring. A little retail therapy at a local store, Silla, and a visit to possibly my favourite café, Vendome, was my way of getting away from it all. Escapism would be incomplete without immersing myself in self-reflection and poetry. There is nothing more calming than finding time to ‘ajoute life’ into paper. DSC03536 DSC03535 1 DSC035482A plus tard et avec l’amour!

What I Eat in a Day

One of my best friends suggested that I document what I eat in a day. I thought this was a very cool idea to see how much and what I put into my body. So, here it is!

Breakfast

They say breakfast should be your biggest meal, but not being a morning person to start with has gotten me to the habit of a quick fix. I usually eat the ‘typical Filipino’ breakfast of egg and rice but when my mom doesn’t cook it in the morning, I usually make myself oatmeal. I used to eat oatmeal with sugar but since changing my diet, I started using natural foods as sweeteners such as bananas with the addition of goji berries & pumpkin seeds for that extra crunch. I cook it with lactose-free milk as it becomes tastier and has more texture.

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Lunch

My lunch meals are almost never repetitive. I’m usually out for lunch because of meet-ups or since I’ve been busy, I don’t have time to make my food. But today, I was able to make a salad.

When I eat salads, I like to add lots of different textures and tasteful ingredients. I usually opt out from using dressings because they are counterintuitive of the idea of having a salad. They have lots of calories and is processed food.

I found vegetable rotini and wanted to try out. It’s delicious! The addition of chickpeas, cucumber, carrot and greens was what was available in our kitchen so I used these as garnish.
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Contrary to popular belief, I don’t always eat healthy. In times of stress or random cravings, I go out with friends for desserts. In between classes, I went to Analog with a friend to have an almond croissant and soy latte.

It’s a misconception that lactose intolerant people cannot consume dairy products at all. This is false as we actually can, although not to excessive amounts. Personally, I cannot consume heavy, dairy based desserts such as cheesecake, cheese itself and neither milk.

It’s a pity cafés don’t carry lactose-free milk because soy is full of sugars, but what else can a lactose intolerant person have besides soy/almond milk?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES When reading, I like to have tea. My favourite spot is Oolong Tea House!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDinner:

As good as it would be to eat all things healthy, being Filipino and loving the cuisine, would not allow me to be so. Or rather, I would not allow myself to be so. For dinner, I often have home cooked meals by my awesome chef of a mom!  We always have a main dish and rice to go with it. For tonight, it was chicken in tamarind soup with romaine lettuce.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI hope you liked this post as much as I enjoyed documenting it. It was nice to see what I consumed in a day and how well it has shown me how far I’ve come. If this was years ago, it would be larger proportions, unhealthier choices and lots of junk food. I’m so happy I was able to change my diet, and overall lifestyle, because it feels good at the end of the day.

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!