synonyms for starbucks


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Starbucks Today

Five Things That Happened to Me at Starbucks Today:

  1. Barrista guy handed me my second refill and said “any more of this, and I’m sending you to Coffee Anonymous.” It was, I repeat, only my second refill. Of decaf.
  2. I somehow managed to spill coffee all over myself, the condiments table, and the floor (but not, thank goodness, anyone else). Everyone in the place was very nice about it.
  3. Guy at the table next to me scratched literally dozens of lottery tickets. To my deep disappointment, he did not at any point leap up from the table, arms above his head, shouting in triumph.
  4. I relearned, for the thousandth time, that when you work on a project you don’t need to know the next six steps you must take. Just take that first step, no matter how small, and the next step will reveal itself. I’ve been finding other things to do all week because I was certain that once I’d done the one next bit I could think of, I’d be stuck. Now, I know all kinds of things I need to do next. The real thing I need to learn is to trust the process.
  5. I asked the barrista to break a five, and he said he couldn’t. I explained I’d been there for ages and wanted to tip them, and he said, “It’s okay! You tipped us with your mind!”


Then I realized I hadn’t eaten in ten hours and went home.


Pretty Much a Perfect Day

Haven’t posted in a while because I haven’t been to a coffee shop in a while; I just finished two rough drafts (a screenplay and a novella) and needed to let them rest for a bit, so I’ve been working on other stuff this past week; opened my Etsy shop and did a lot of business-of-writing junk. Excel spreadsheets and whatnot.

But today, I went to TWO coffee shops. In the first, a really lovely little independent place called Moby’s in North Hollywood, I played cards for a few hours with one of my best friends.
Then afterwards I went to the Starbucks near my house and spent a couple hours editing my screenplay. It was awesome. I’m probably going to be up all night, but still, it was awesome.
Also, at one point I wrote in the margins of my screenplay, “make this banterier.” It not being a real word doesn’t keep it from being a FANTASTIC word. All our conversations should be banterier.

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Totally off-topic, but I’m just going with it.

I swear, I’m not going to post about this often. Or, ever again.
But a thing I do when I’m not writing in coffee shops is make jewelry, and I’ve opened an Etsy shop named Musee Decolletage (cause, see, the necklaces are paintings, and they hang around your neck… ok, you get it), and I’m really excited about it. So, I’m going to post it here. Just this once!


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Why Minding One’s Own Business is a Good Idea, or, The Most Disturbing Thing to Ever Happen to Me at a Starbucks

It was a lovely day, so I sat out on the patio. Not long after I sat down, and before I put on my headphones, a young man and an older woman sat down at the table next to mine. He was nineteen or twenty, and she looked to be in her forties or fifties–sort of frumpy and maternal. The way they interacted, she was clearly his mother or maybe an aunt.
I didn’t intentionally eavesdrop, but they were right next to me. She was talking to him about the decisions he was making in his life, what he was doing about his future, that sort of thing.
As I got my keyboard and all set up, I sort of made up their story in my head… This was his mom or some other close relative–maybe even a young grandmother–taking him out to coffee so she could tell him to get his life together. I wondered a bit about them, whether he was really as much of a slacker as she made it sound, if he thought her advice was worth anything, that sort of thing.
Then I put on my headphones and started typing.

A while later, I happened to look up and saw that they were enthusiastically, energetically, even aggressively, making out. She was practically in his lap and there were tongues everywhere.

It was horrible. The worst part was, I’d been writing a romantic scene, and I just had to stop. I watched youtube videos for the next hour, and shook.
I’m sure it was not actually his mother. Obviously, it was his older girlfriend, and he probably looked young for his age and maybe she’d had a hard life and was younger than I realized.

But according to what I’d already made my mind up about, he was making out with his mother. Or aunt. Or young-looking grandmother. It was horrible.

I’d like to think I’ve learned my lesson, and will never eavesdrop or make up stories about patrons again. But it’s not like you can always help it, right?

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Put One Word After Another: Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing

Reading Neil Gaiman’s short stories always make me feel incredibly excited to go write. Another favorite thing he said (in a graduation speech, I think?) is that writers need to have any two of the following: Talent, a charming personality, and the ability to meet deadlines. If you have two, people will let the other one slide.

Put One Word After Another: Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing.

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Letter Box: What to Bring

Dear Synonyms for Starbucks,

When you go to a coffee shop to write, what items do you bring with you, and why? Are there variations depending on where you go?
Signed, Wondering in Washington

Dear WiW,
My purse is always way too heavy and you don’t really need to know about the bottles of sanitizer and reams of receipts floating around the bottom of it, so I’ll stick with things that actually pertain to writing in coffee shops. Aren’t you glad?

  1. Earphones. This is the single most important item. I like having people near me when I write, but I usually won’t write a word if I can hear them. I’m awful at filtering out sounds. Also, there are certain types of music that make me (maybe literally) insane.
  2. My iPod Touch. To plug the earphones into. If I’m going light I can also plug them into my iPad, of course, or in an emergency my phone–but I only have two albums loaded on that (Never Mind the Bollocks, Sex Pistols; Anything, Damned) so it gets old. I have a tiny iPod shuffle for when I’m working out but I don’t usually use it for writing–it doesn’t has my workout playlist, not my writing playist.
  3. Something to write with: either my AlphaSmart, iPad and keyboard combo, my laptop (if I have a writing buddy to watch it while I pee), or in an absolute pinch my iPod touch or my phone. If I’m freewriting, it’s just a notebook and pen, and if I’m editing something, the printed-out manuscript and a pen with colored ink.
  4. My phone, partly so I can check email and FB without quitting out of my writing software, partly so I can keep running commentaries of what’s going on at the Starbucks (either for this blog or to send as an email to my bff Alicia–she swears she enjoys reading them). But mostly to use as a timer; if I’m having trouble settling in to write, turning on a timer app and setting it for 30 minutes works incredibly well. Having the timer running and not writing makes me feel much more guilty than regular not-writing.
  5. A re-usable coffee cup. I only remember to bring it about half the time, and boy am I pleased with myself when I do. Actually, lately, it’s more like three-quarters of the time. Huzzah!
  6. Sugar-free Cough Drops. I am pretty much never without a cough drop in my mouth. It’s just who I am.
  7. A jacket, even if it’s warm, so I can drape it over the back of my chair when I get up for a refill or to visit the ladies’.
  8. A spiral notebook, even if I’m planning on typing. Partly because if I’m stuck I find that writing with a pen and paper usually unsticks me, partly because I like to make quick notes to myself when I’m writing, and partly because it’s the best thing to leave on your table if you’re worried about getting your stuff stolen.
  9. Money or a Starbucks card, for the purchasing of the coffee. Really, I’m surprised I have to mention that.
  10. A bag big enough to carry it all in. I don’t like having a purse and a separate bag for my iPad/computer/what-have-you, because who wants to carry two things? Especially if you’re going to be packing it all up every time you go to the bathroom. Since I often walk to Starbucks, it’s usually a backpack–I have a great one that converts to a messenger bag, and another one that is sort of ugly but I got it for eight dollars at Target and it is black “leather” so I feel like it is less super-casual. I also have a simply enormous black purse I got at Ross years ago, and then went and had the straps replaced so I could carry heavy things in it without them breaking. I always keep a cute little black purse in the trunk of my car, so if I’m going to dinner or something after writing I can put my phone and wallet into that and leave the big bag in my trunk.
  11. A clean handkerchief. Because I never go anywhere without a clean handkerchief, and don’t understand why anyone would.

Of course there’s all sorts of other things one might carry, like chapstick and nail clippers, but that sort of goes in the ‘things at the bottom of one’s purse’ category.


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Tools for Writing in Public: the iPad and Wireless Keyboard

ipad and keyboard3Most often when I write in coffee shops, I use my iPad and a wireless keyboard. I know a lot of people who get special cases for this, that make the iPad look a lot like a laptop. I don’t, because for me the absolute best possible way to type is with the screen on a table and the keyboard in my lap. Most tables are a little bit too high for me, and my shoulders start to ache after a while if I try to reach up to one to type. Of course I still use my laptop often, with it on a table, but usually that’s when I’m editing and there’s as much reading and highlighting as there is typing. If I’m going to sit and type 5000 words straight, I’m much, MUCH happier with my keyboard in my lap. Also, I tend to change the angle of the keyboard depending on the lighting conditions where I’m sitting. My case lets me set it so sometimes it’s almost flat, sometimes it’s standing on its side, and sometimes it’s standing on its end. The combo cases are a lot more restrictive.


  1. Keyboard runs on double-A batteries; I always carry a spare set in my keyboard case and never have to worry about running out of power. In my experience, at least, iPads take forever to run out if all you’re doing is typing. I have more than once spent nine hours typing nonstop and still been at 30% power.
  2. Super light. The keyboard weighs nothing and the iPad weighs next to nothing (as long as you don’t get a super-heavy case for it. Why? Why would anyone do this?).
  3. If you’re somewhere where you don’t feel like hauling out the keyboard, you can leave it in your bag and write on your iPad with your thumbs.
  4. Easy to throw into your bag when you get up to use the bathroom. Unlike the laptop, which is a whole thing.
  5. When you hook up your keyboard via bluetooth, you get to see the names of the bluetooth-enabled devices around you, and they’re often adorable.


  1. If you forget to disconnect the bluetooth before packing everything up, you’ll knock your keyboard in such a way that iPad’s volume will be turned all the way up, and then you’ll knock it again and music will start playing. Or an audiobook, which is somehow even more disconcerting. The best is when this happens but you’re listening to your ipod with headphones and have no idea why people are looking at you funny.
  2. The fact that it’s segmented means it’s very difficult, maybe even impossible depending on the size of your lap, to use without a table. So if the only chairs at Starbucks are the big comfy easy chairs, you’re kind of out of luck.
  3. Turning on the bluetooth takes a minute. It’s not a huge thing, but it can be annoying. It’s incredibly annoying for me, because somehow I banged the keyboard and the power button got stuck. At first it wouldn’t turn on but I fixed that by following instructions online and, with an exacto knife, shaving away some of the metal holding the button down (only cut myself a few times!). Now it won’t turn off, and while it’s usable, the batteries drain fast. So, I turn it off by taking out the batteries and turn it on by putting them back in, and I have to kind of time it with the setting up bluetooth. Because it is still usable, I feel like buying a new keyboard would be an entirely unforgivable expense. I’m pretty sure I’m right about that. But it’s kind annoying.

Four Splashes of Soy Milk (out of five splashes)


Schrodinger’s Starbucks

The dilemma: I’m going to a party about thirty miles away from here. The party starts around 4, and I’m thinking I want to get some writing done beforehand. Now, the question is, do I go to the Starbucks near my house, write for a bit, then leave… Possibly misjudging the time it takes to get there and losing out on valuable writing time?

Do I go to a Starbucks near the host’s home? This Starbucks is a completely unknown quantity. It might be awful; tiny and crowded with no tables or only one and it’s wobbly and weird people keep sneezing on me and the bathrooms are broken. BUT it COULD be the best Starbucks ever!!! Roomy and quiet and warm and the perfect place to write and write and write… And I could keep writing until five minutes before I need to be at the party.

I’m frozen with indecision.