The Friday Five

Around the blog world, I have noticed a trend called The Friday Five, which began over at Meet Virginia. I’ve decided to join in the fun!

Miss Meet Virginia’s list has got categories, but instead of categories I’m just going to list five things I am currently loving on this lovely fall Friday (though it certainly doesn’t feel like fall out there…humid and rainy CT, wtf?)

1. the baristas at the Simsbury, CT Starbucks

I tweeted and Facebooked about this both yesterday and today, but the last two mornings after getting into my car, post-coffee-run at Starbucks, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find a “Happy Fall!” message and illustration on my cup (grande non-fat half-caf extra-coffee misto for the none of you that are probably wondering). The baristas there are always so nice and efficient and it’s great that they felt like doing a little something extra to perk (bad coffee pun) up my morning! And I’m a sucker for all things FALL, so that only aided in making me smile. Believe me if someone had draws a snowman and puts “Happy Winter!” come January, they should fear for their safety, because it’s likely that I’d physically harm them. “Happy” and “winter” should never be used together.
But I’ve gotten side-tracked. Just look at these cute illustrations!
2. wine tastings
I’ve done three wine tastings in the last few months and have had a great experience every single time! I love expanding my horizons and trying new wines. The CT Farm Wine Development Council has a CT Wine Trail, and I picked up my “passport” to the trail at the tasting I attended last weekend at Priam Vineyards in Colchester, CT. The tasting actually made me realize that there ARE white wines out there I like, and I even bought a bottle of one on special called Cayuga (fun name, and obviously even better because it was the cheapest).

Lidia and I at Priam Vineyards, enjoying our tasting of a red wine.

I’ve also used a Groupon at Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT with my mom, where we got to sit out at picnic tables and listen to jazz while we each enjoyed a glass of Merlot. At the Newport Vineyards in Newport, RI, I got the chance to try a dessert wine called a port, which I really enjoyed! My dad was shocked since it’s a bit heavier (think half red wine/half brandy), but I guess I can handle the hard stuff more than one may think!

My dad and I enjoying the tasting at Newport Vineyards.

Wine tastings are great because wine drinkers like myself can try new wines, or non-wine drinkers like my friend Lidia can discover that there are wines out there they like. And so many of these places let you buy a bottle or a glass and drink it on their picnic tables. You can bring your own snacks – Priam even has a pizza place that will deliver to their patio! It’s a great idea for a date night or a girl’s night – or bachelorette party, because I saw my fair share of those at both Priam and Newport. The grounds are so pretty on a nice day!

The view from the picnic tables at Chamard Vineyards.

3. local coffee shops
Oops, two things on this list are about coffee. Oh well, I’m addicted! Also, this doesn’t really make sense since #1 on this list was about Starbucks aka The Man, but hear me out. I go to Starbucks M-F for the convenience and quality factor. I grab my coffee, go straight to work, and don’t stick around.

Cafe au lait in a mug at So G! Cozy windowsill seating too.

When I DO want to stick around, or when I’m visiting a new place, I want to try something new and/or local. I love studying in cafes – the atmosphere helps me concentrate and there’s something so cozy about drinking coffee out of a mug. Cafes are also a great place to hang out with friends and chat. Since I moved back home in May, I’ve been trying to keep my hometown coffee visits restricted to the two local spots that I’m really enjoying in my town, Daybreak Coffee Roasters and So G. Both are places with extremely high quality coffee (Daybreak roasts their own, and the types they have are endless!) and really friendly staff (a So G barista delivered a freshly-baked cookie to my friend Kim and I during one visit!) Call me a nerd, but I can’t wait to spend my weekend doing homework at one (or both) of those cafes.

Kim’s gorgeous So G latte.

When I’m in a city I’m not normally in, I’ve got to try a cup of coffee from a place I can’t get to often. This past weekend, in Brooklyn with Lidia and our NYC-living friend Hong, I got to try one of Brooklyn’s best cafes, Blue Bottle Coffee. Each cup is individually brewed by a barista pouring hot water from a teapot into special hemp filters – how much more fresh can you get?! The coffee was from Africa too, and really high quality. I’d read about this place on other food blogs, so visiting myself was a great opportunity!

The barista pouring hot water into each individually brewed cup.


Aren’t the mugs cute too? I want one!


4. audio books


Call me a grandma. It’s okay, I know I am. But ever since I started work and took my Nana Connie’s suggestion about listening to audio books on my commute home, I’m addicted. In fact, now the only time I listen to the radio is when I have passengers or in the morning on the way to work. Any other time, you can bet I will be listening to my audio books! I love the ones that are read by more than one person, to account for different characters. The best audio book I’ve listened to was “The Help” – the character acting was so great that I thought I was listening to a play!


Currently I’m listening to my first Jennifer Weiner book, “Best Friends Forever“. It’s pretty fluffy and cheesy, to the point where I’ve found myself rolling my eyes. I’ve considered quitting but I only have a couple of discs left and I am curious as to how it’ll play out – even though I’m the ending will be just as fluffy and cheesy as the rest of the book.


5. my DVR


This seems like a very not-intellectual, non-fulfilling thing to put on my list. But I’m going to be real: I love the nights when I have time to plop my butt down on the couch, eat dinner, and catch up on the shows saved in my DVR. Especially with all the new fall shows starting, and my addiction to “Dance Moms” at its strongest point, it just makes for a relaxing way for me to end my day. My Friday night is going to consist of hanging out with my parents while we spend some quality time with the DVR and dinner. No shame.


So that’s what I’m loving this Friday, and that post definitely made me happy – may make this a weekly thing!


What are your thoughts on a weekly Five Things Friday feature?
Do you ever listen to audio books? Are you as addicted to the DVR as me? Got any cafe or winery experiences to share?

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