Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks’

London in the Snow!

I woke up this morning to some serious snowfall outside of my window. The rooftops of neighboring buildings were laced in snow and cars were covered with inches of powder. After getting my morning workout in, I headed to the local Starbucks in Covent Garden to meet up with Steve, a friend of a friend who’s in town as part of a whirlwind tour of Europe (in true backpacking form). We spent the day touring around Central London and as I was showing him around, I realized how different (and beautiful) London looks when it’s covered in snow! It gave me a whole new perspective of the city. Check out our little tour through snow-covered parts of town:

Trafalgar in the winterAfter cutting through Covent Garden and checking out the Piazza, we made our way to tourist hot-spot, Trafalgar Square. Check out the water — frozen over!

National Gallery in WinterWhile we were there, we hit up the always amazing National Gallery. We were in and out in about thirty minutes, but we caught some great glimpses of Monet, Cezanne & Van Gogh. I always forget how pretty this place is inside!

After passing the Buckingham area, we made our way to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey to snap some pictures. So pretty!

Big Ben & the London EyeAfter checking out the sights (and before grabbing delicious lunch at Pizza Express), we took an alternate route back and stumbled upon quite possible the prettiest place in London! The bird-covered pond looked absolutely gorgeous with the snow all around, plus it made for some pretty incredible pictures.

We also made some cute new friends!

All around super fun day. If you haven’t been out in the snow yet, it’s a must! It’s definitely a chance to see everything in a whole new way.

Lots of love,

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Scoping It Out: LSE, The British Museum & Russell Square

I started the day off incredibly well. I took a jaunt down to the LSE campus without getting lost once! I got a bit disoriented on the way back (and ended up taking a bit of a detour), but I finally felt that I knew my way around, to a certain degree. Exciting! I met up with Alex, Sarah & Lisa for a quick (self-guided) tour of LSE! Although we couldn’t get an inside look since the campus is closed on Sunday, we did manage to check out the building and get a feel for the location.

Houghton Street, WC1Houghton Street — the main entrance to LSE.

LSE EntranceEntryway to LSE on Houghton Street — the buildings were so awesome!

LSESarah, Alex, Lisa & I checking out the campus!

After our LSE excursion, we headed to Starbucks to grab some coffee and chat about our impending adventures in Munich! Sarah & her traveling buddy are heading to Munich tomorrow and Alex, Lisa and I will be meeting them there on Thursday! After our much-needed and extremely over-priced caffeine run (2GBP for a grande coffee?!), Lisa and I headed back to my area to check out the British MuseumRussell Square and run a few errands.

Russell Square was so darling! It’s a fairly small green, but it was gorgeous today with the sun shining. There were loads of people in the park, enjoying the infrequent rays and having lunch. Note to self: pack a fun lunch, grab some drinks and head to Russell Square with some friends — such a cool little place!

Russell Square Sign

Russell Square

After discovering that Russell Square sits about 8 minutes from my flat, we headed towards the British Museum (which sits at the corner of Museum Street & Great Russell) to pop in for a minute. Luckily, all national museums in the UK are free so we didn’t feel bad leaving after a few short minutes — I’ll have to head back on a weekday when everyone and their mom isn’t hanging out there! Bonus: I found out that the museum is down the street from my flat — 5 minutes walking down Museum Street!

British Museum

We ended with a late lunch (jacket potato for me, fish & chips for her) at a nearby pub (the Prince of Wales on Drury Lane), and met a darling bartender who sat down to explain to use how the phone systems work! And now? Now I’m sitting in my bed, drinking pretty disgusting instant coffee & loving every second. Tomorrow’s agenda? Hit up HSBC in the AM  to get my account taken care of, followed by a trip to Oasis Sports Centre next door to join the gym! Afterwards, I may take a jaunt to the Whole Foods Market in Soho to gather some groceries for the week.

Three more days in London, then heading to Germany on Thursday!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

To check out more pictures from London, click here!

Seattle, Part Deux.

Alright, so time to check back in! I got back into Sacramento last night after spending the day roaming around Pike Place Market — such a cool place to check out; to me, it was the embodiment of Seattle, as a city. The weather was perfect (85 and sunny!) so there were loads of people enjoying the streets on Sunday afternoon. The city, as a whole, reminded me a lot of a super clean version of San Francisco — not as much litter and grime and not as many homeless folks (although there were some). I had expected the fish market area to smell like Fisherman’s Wharf in SF, kind of an old bay/rotting fish-type scent, but the odor was super faint in Seattle (bizarrely so, considering all the fish)! The market was dotted with flower shops, enticing eateries and some of the coolest, unique stores (think map shops, Afghani clothing stores, apothecaries, etc.)

PikePlaceAlthough this shot is somewhat blurred, I love that it captures the whole view so well!

ShannonShoppingThere were street vendors & street performers everywhere! From jewelry to vegetables to Michael Jackson tees, there were bits of everything!

PikePlaceVeg

When they say that this place is the ultimate farmer’s market, it’s no joke! There were so many vegetable stands on the streets with a ridiculous selection of fresh fruits & veggies. My kind of place!

StarbucksOooh, yes. You know I couldn’t make it through Seattle without seeing the original Starbucks. Here it is, with a line out the door and musicians hanging out outside. I didn’t get to see the original Nordstrom though, which was mildly depressing… maybe next time!

We also ran into this shop called Tenzing Momo, an herbal apothecary that was so unique that I had to wander through it! They had an amazing array of essential oils, incense, herbs, natural healing remedies and the like. They also had a palm reader inside and loads of books for expanding your spiritual horizons!

Tenzing Momo {Inside of Tenzing Momo}

Our last stop before I had to head to the airport (*tear*) was a little art gallery that was amazing! I have a minor obsession with glass work; I think that the people who are able to actually blow glass are brilliant considering the colors and shapes that are ultimately created.

ArtGalleryChrisArtGallery

All in all, we had an amazing trip. I did have to sit in front of a screaming two-year-old on the way home, but I was still so euphoric from the trip, I hardly minded! So much fun, definitely a place worth visiting! We so wanted to be able to carve out time to head up to BC! My grandmother kept talking about how gorgeous Vancouver was… no luck though.

Has anyone been to British Columbia? Worth checking out?

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Check out the entire ‘Weekend in Seattle’ album, courtesy of facebook.

Bites for Girls on the Go!

woman-juggling 

I am constantly on the go! Between work, school, gym, meetings & family events, my days are just jam-packed with fun! I never have time for a real breakfast during the week & I usually eat lunch on-the-go as well. Dinner is the only meal I will occasionally get to eat at home, but even that’s rare event. For everyone that’s in a similar situation, I’ve found that there are a number of on-the-go bites that are delicious and nutritious. I am grossed out by the thought of eating greasy  fast food, so I try to pack snacks that are portable and healthy. Some of my favorite things to eat, whilst on the run:

Prepped Oatmeal :: I am a huge lover of oatmeal (my boyfriend thinks its absolutely gross)! I lovethe plain kind so I can doctor it up with whatever goodies I want. Way less sugar & still good! I usually take a Ziploc bag filled with a serving (1/2 c.) of oatmeal, some cinnamon, a tidbit of protein powder & a couple of packets of Splenda. When I get to work, I pour it in a bowl, fill it with water and pop in the microwave! Easy & nutritious!  

* Fiber One & LUNA bars ::I keep touting these bad boys, but they really are great! The Fiber One Chocolatefiber-one Mocha are my favvooorite. They have loads of fiber and only 140 calories. Love it! They don’t have much protein though, so if you’re looking for something with a good amount of protein, I would go for a Zone bar or Muscle Milk bar — also delish <3.

* Baby Veggies :: Mainly baby carrots for me. I buy the little bags at Safeway and keep them with me to snack on. You can buy a number of pre-packed veggies and keep em with you. Just make sure not to leave them in the heat. Yuck.

strawberries* Fruit! :: I’m obsessed with fruit — apples, nectarines, strawberries, grapes; all fruits are my friend. I also love that fruit tends to be super portable. You can throw the whole thing in your purse and be ready to rock. Alternately, you can slice em up, put them in a Ziploc and be on your way (I don’t do this because I hate when my fruit turns brown!) Also, if you’re super lazy (or just super busy!) you can stop by the grocery store and get the pre-sliced and packaged stuff. Those things were MADE for people like us!

* Suncakes :: These little heart-shaped energy bars are vegan and they are heaven sent! They’re hard to come by, but those who do carry them typically carry an assortment of flavors. My favorite is the Raisin Spice. Mmm!

Those are typically my favorite things to take on the go. I also like to keep things like hummus, cottage cheese doubles & light yogurt in a fridge at work so I can easily grab something when I’m starved (helps stave off the runs to the nearby convenience store!) I also find that since I drive around a lot for work, I’ll end up being super hungry on the way back from a long trip with no prepared food (oops!) In these cases, I will either stop by a gas station and grab a bar or I will stop by an oh-so-evil fast food joint! (Aaaaahhh!!) I am VERY discerning about my fast food picks (I use the term “fast food” broadly here) and there are only a handful of places that I will stop. Here’s my run down of good fast food picks:

                                                     * McDonald’s Fyogurt-parfaitruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait :: Okay, these things are absolute life-savers for me. They’re delicious (it’s got to be the best yogurt EVER!) and they’re only 130 calories if you don’t put in the granola (which I don’t!) Even with the crunch, you’ll only add 30 calories. They’re not super big, but they’re big enough to keep me full until I reach my destination. Also, if you need a pick-me-up, try McDonald’s Sugar-Free Vanilla Iced Coffee! Only 90 calories in a medium & they are amazing! You’ll be surprised.

* Starbucks Spinach & Feta Wrap :: These are one of my favorite breakfast items. They taste amazing (it’s the feta!) and they’re pretty decent sized! They usually keep me full all morning and they’re only 240 calories — not too bad!

* Panera Cheese & Egg Breakfast Sandwich :: I only allow myself to have these once in a great while, but they are THE best breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had (although many people beg to differ!) The cheese (white cheddar) and egg (no meat!) is amazing; I think their homemade bread makes the difference. These bad boys pack about 370 calories though, so eat sparingly :)

That’s it for me — if one of those places isn’t in sight, then I’ll grab a water and keep on truckin! Luckily McDonald’s has taken over the universe so typically I can snag a Fruit n’ Yogurt parfait anywhere in the world and that makes me happy. I am making a concerted effort to PACK my snacks in advance though — definitely the best option to have healthy eats nearby and save some cash!

Does anyone else have on-the-go grabs worth mentioning?

Happy Eats,

Also, for other cool blogs, you can check out www.alphainventions.com <3.