Starbucks & Winter Drinks

Y’all know I love me some Starbucks. One of my most-read posts is this one, a beginner’s guide to ordering at Starbucks. Starting right after Thanksgiving, Starbucks busts out their seasonal red cups and their amazing seasonal drinks. But of course, with new drinks bring new challenges. Namely, the challenge of changing up your regular order so you can taste the limited-time sweet deliciousness heralded by those much-anticipated red cups.

Note: Starbucks espresso drinks, by default, are made with 2% milk!

1. Caramel Brulee Latte

starbucks caramel brulee latte
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The caramel brulée latte is essentially a latte with a few extra ingredients. In case you need a reminder:

latte = steamed milk + espresso shots + foam

For a caramel brulée latte, Starbucks adds caramel brulee syrup (like the regular vanilla or hazelnut sugars, except it has that taste of slightly-burnt sugar characteristic of brulee’s), then instead of foam adds whipped cream and little caramel shavings. Nom.

You can reduce the fat in this drink by getting it with “no whip” or nonfat or soy milk. If you’re a glutton for punishment (or just a glutton, I suppose), order it “breve”- they’ll make it with half & half.

It also comes as a Caramel Brulee Frappuccino- the cold, blended version, that has a coffee base instead of espresso shots. You can get that with the low fat base or sans-whipped cream too!

If you’re in Cali and enjoying our springlike weather, you can get an iced caramel brulee latte- the same as the hot version (milk, espresso, syrup, whip, and topping)- but the milk isn’t steamed, and it’s over ice.

2. Gingerbread Latte

The gingerbread latte is another fancied-up latte (see a pattern here?) Basically, here’s the equation:

gingerbread latte= regular latte + gingerbread syrup + whipped cream + nutmeg

Basically, this drink is like a gingerbread house in liquid form (in a good way). Like with the caramel brulee latte, you can get this guy made with nonfat milk, soy milk, no whip, or breve. You can get this as an iced gingerbread latte (same as hot version but over ice).

3. Eggnog Latte

I don’t have the fondest memories of eggnog lattes from my time at Starbucks. When I was there a few years ago, we still used eggnog with raw egg in it… so if a customer insisted on having their latte “extra hot,” the eggnog literally curdled. I know, gross. Eggnog is also a bitch to steam, because it makes the most high pitch screamy noise ever. Fun stuff, right?

It still makes a crazy noise, but at least eggnog lattes can now be made extra hot without the fear of scrambled eggs. According to the Starbucks website, eggnog lattes are:

espresso+ eggnog + milk + nutmeg 

Like the other seasonal drinks, eggnog lattes can be made iced, with whole or nonfat milk (or breve). You can also get eggnog frappuccinos (regular or light). 

4. Salted Caramel Mocha

The website says that the salted caramel mochas are seasonal, but I have a feeling these might last longer- mostly because the only truly “seasonal” part of it is the salted caramel topping (which is really freaking delish.)
salted caramel mocha = steamed milk + toffee nut syrup + mocha syrup + whipped cream + caramel syrup topping + salted caramel topping

Whew, that’s a lot of sugar.

Some variations on the salted caramel mocha are: nonfat milk, soy milk, breve milk, no whip, or sugar-free mocha. You can also get a salted caramel white mocha, which uses the white mocha syrup (sweeter, and not so chocolatey, like white chocolate) instead of the regular mocha. It’s also higher in fat.

The salted caramel mocha can be iced, a frappuccino, or a frappuccino light. You can get the frappuccinos coffee-based (a regular frappuccino) or for a coffee-free version, get the salted caramel creme frappuccino. 

One thing I might recommend is playing around with the amount of syrup in these guys- because there’s mocha and toffee syrups, you have twice the amount of syrup as in a normal mocha or latte.

5. Peppermint Mocha

This is, hands down, my favorite holiday drink.
peppermint mocha = espresso + steamed milk + whipped cream + chocolate curls + mocha syrup + peppermint syrup

When I order a grande (ie, a medium) peppermint mocha– and the way I’d absolutely recommend ordering it– I get it as a “skinny peppermint mocha with 2 pumps of each.” The breakdown on that is:
-skinny= nonfat milk, sugar-free peppermint, and sugar-free mocha. It also means no whip, and by default, no chocolate curls (though sometimes they’ll put them on anyways).
-2 pumps each= 4 pumps total, instead of the 8 pumps of syrup you’d get with the default recipe. Even with the sugar-free syrup, that’s wayyyy too sweet for me. The peppermint and salted caramel mochas are the two seasonal drinks that double the amount of syrup, because they both have mocha and an additional sweetener. By default, the rest of the espresso drinks have 3 (tall), 4 (grande) and 5 (venti) pumps of syrup. Hello sugar overload when you double that.

Peppermint mochas can be iced or as frappuccinos. For me, hot or cold, it still tastes like Christmas!

That about covers the Starbucks holiday drinks.
Who’s got questions? Want to hire me as your personal Starbucks shopper?

Winter-iffic Manicure DIY

Thanks to L’Oreal for sponsoring my post about my favorite beauty looks, tips and tricks! Check out for beauty advice from the experts.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been in a bit of a holiday spirit spree around here. I’m guessing that’s due in part to the glorious fact that I havent been snowbound in months and that it’s still warm enough here to go outside without wearing a down jacket. Thank.god. And yes, it’s ok to be jealous… California winters are the best winters, especially after a Boston winter.

Anyways, I was selected to do a super fun sponsored post opportunity by the wonderful gals at Clever Girls Collective. Thanks to CGC, and Loreal, I took a little time tonight to pamper myself and try a fun new beauty technique! On twitter, people suggested that I try cat eyes and waterfall braids– both of which I plan to do…when I’m finally feeling human again so that I can take pretty pictures. For tonight, though, I thought I’d change up my nail polish and try my hand (pun intended) at some nail art.

For inspiration for my winter manicure DIY, I checked out this YouTube channel. Sadly, I’m nowhere near as talented as that gal, especially when trying to paint my right hand–sidenote: why haven’t they invented something to help people polish their dominant hand?! Yeah, idk either. Anyways, I thought I’d do something inspired by her bow tutorial but go a weeee bit simpler.

I wanted to feel festive and wintry but not like a Christmas tree, so I used blue and white polishes. All of my polishes are from Essie (my favorite at the moment), and I used: dive bar, mint candy apple, and a teensy bit of oui madame. I also used a chopstick, mostly because I had one lying around and didn’t have any toothpicks. Girl scout resourcefulness ftw.

In all, it was a super easy process:

    -I used dive bar and did three coats for a super dark base coat. It has a really pretty shimmer to it.
    -Then, I made the bows on my thumbs using mint candy apple– basically, I just blobbed on two largish dots and “shaped” the polish with the chopstick.
    -Next, I went French manicure style on my remaining 8 fingers with the same candy apple. Be careful not to smear your thumbs here. Protip: it’s better that you get polish on your finger while creating a pretty line on your nail than having to touch up all of your tips. Protip 2: the square end of a chopstick is great for getting that excess polish off your nails without effing up the mani.
    -Finally, I used a dollop of the oui madame to create the middle of the bows. Fun, right?

All told, I think it took me maybe 15 minutes. If I had a clear polish, I’d do a top coat… But I guess I’ll just have to be extra careful. Here’s a couple pictures (pardon the lighting) of the pretty finished product!


I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Click here to learn more about or become a Facebook fan by clicking here.

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