Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Coffee Shop Chronicles

nov 2 10
That sounds like a bad teenage, possibly paranormal, mystery series, am I right? But sorry to disappoint - I'm just talking about my own life, which is not teenage, or paranormal, though it is mysterious sometimes. You know me, always jib-jabbering on about baby steps and progress and giving yourself pats on the shoulder with not one but both hands because you deserve it. So, when I tell you "Hey, I almost feel silly talking about this in a blog post," you know things are getting pretty serious. I'll even excuse you for a moment while you recover from the spit-take that I just caused you to have.

There is a coffee shop up by my job that is hip and happening and always full of regulars, and also puppies. The puppies are also regulars, as if the situation wasn't intimidating enough. See what I just did, though. I called a situation that involves puppies and coffee intimidating - and I love both of those things. The problem is, if you haven't already guessed at it, that I am very easily intimidated. If you've been checking into this blog for a while, you know this, and you know that, while it is easier than before, it is still hard for me to do things on my own without feeling like everyone's watching my every move, waiting for me to screw up my coffee order, or spontaneously throw up on the pastry case. Even though no one gives a gosh darn hootin toot about what I'm doing, I feel like everyone cares, and that is enough to make me want to walk right past the coffee shop.

So I did walk past it, plenty of times. TOO HIP, TOO INTIMIDATING, TOO MANY JUDGMENTAL SMALL DOGS, are just a sampling of things I heard in my head. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I had a pretty decent-sized struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I did this thing my psychologist called "evening out" where an even amount of my body parts had to be touching or, I was convinced, something bad would happen to me. This was my worst "behavior," but there was others. During my first week of college I had a breakdown so fierce I didn't verbally communicate with people for days. I don't think I've told more than three people that fact in my whole life, oops. I've pretty much had anxiety "COMIN' OUT THE EEYUZ!!," as my grandmother would say, for a very long time. It's been a process, but I'm WOW so much better about it all now. I still have plenty of moments though, like, oh hey how convenient, the coffee shop.

A few weeks ago I went into the coffee shop and got a cappuccino. A victory cappuccino, as I am apt to call it. I was nervous and awkward and forgot to put a splenda in it but, by gum, I got it. I went again today, and was, once again, sort of clumsily awkward. Don't you just hate when it's not clear where you're supposed to stand, or where the line forms? Ugh, but minor issue. This time, though, I did remember to put splenda in my latte. HUZZAH. And even though I didn't know where to stand, and the cute barista guy had to say "for future reference, the line forms over here," that latte was delicious. The latte was delicious. Isn't that the point it all comes down to?! The latte was delicious! I am getting ahead of myself (and wishing I had another latte). Sure, I was fumbly and (charmingly?) awkward and uncomfortable, but I ended up with what I wanted. Because I asked for it. Because I made the decision to do something, albeit microscopic in that fantastically vague "grand scheme of things," to make myself uncomfortable to achieve the result I wanted.

Now maybe you see why I felt like I was bordering on silly by writing this post. I'm sure at least one of you has been like "Omg, JUST SUCK IT UP AND GET YOUR GODDAMN COFFEE IF YOU WANT YOUR GODDAMN COFFEE, UGH YOU DISGUST ME but your blazer is cute." Though, I think you're probably barking up the wrong blog if you in fact do not want to hear me attempting to encourage you (and me) with baby step successes. The truth is, this is my life. Maybe it does sound absurd, and maybe it is, but these are the things I deal with, the choices I make, or don't make, or regret not making, and though I absolutely don't put a positive spin on them all the time (trust me, you can often find me covered in 30 blankets feeling sorry for my coffee-less self while listening to the slowest sad-jams I can find, but never Bon Iver because I just cannot, sorry guys) but in my posts, I like to clear my head and think as rationally and triumphantly as I can. I think I and every other good person, spend too much time beating ourselves up, so if I can lessen that for me, and you, then by gum plum dooby dooby dum I'm going to try it out.

Now, an important note about my outfit: I am wearing a blazer.

Skirt: H&M, Sweater: TJMaxx, Shoes, Shirt: Thrift, Blazer: Gap

nov 2 1

nov 2 11

nov 2 4

nov 2 6

nov 2 7

This is my face:

nov 2

This is my face when ordering a latte:

nov 2 8

nov 2 9

Until tomorrow,


  1. YOU'RE THE BEST PERSON WHY ARE YOU SO GREAT. No seriously I love you. I am also intimidated by stuff like cool coffee shops, SO INTIMIDATED. I, too, get flustered when I don't know where the line forms, and ESPECIALLY when I don't know where to wait for my coffee while they make it. Do I sit down? Stand by the other end of the counter? Stay where I am? Oh god oh god oh god they hate meeeee. So I understand. But hey, you survived! And now you can go in there and it'll get less terrifying each time! Baby steps. I get it. And you are so awesome for sharing this in your blog so we can all relate to you (or maybe just me?), and because your writing is so fun and engaging and I love all your little words like gum plum dooby dooby dum WHAT IS THAT I LOVE IT. XD <3333

  2. Been there, done that. I just don't do coffee shops anymore. But yeah, there are a lot more places that also freak me out.
    I was thinking about how great and relatable this post is and then I really thought about the situation and started questioning if there must be something wrong with me.. :/ I guess it has always seemed normal to me to be afraid of things and I's like to think with time it'll all get better. (or not, but I like to stay positive!)

    You look very sharp & sophisticated in your blazer. Both good things! :)

  3. Coffee shops really can be intimidating, but you've just gotta act like you own the place. And HEY the fact that you got a little better each time (1--latte, 2--remember splend, 3--make proper coffee and feel normalish, etc). I can totally understand the whole feeling of apprehension of going into a new place. I remember when I got to college how afraid I was to go to the Publix because *gasp* the layout is slightly different. It scared me so much and I was afraid to look for things like a normal person. If I didn't immediately find it, I would just not get it, and hence I kind of starved for a bit the first few weeks of college eheh.

    But yeah. You make me feel so much more normal, and I hope you know that there are other people who think the exact same thing as you out there, my sweet Nicole!

    I really love the all neutral look here with the pops of color. That sweater looks so darn cozeh!

  4. Aww don't worry I totally understand where you're coming from. Thankfully my slight addiction to coffee has helped me overcome the intimidating setting of ordering coffee by myself in a hip coffee shop but I have to say, I'm still not 100% comfortable eating in a sit-down restaurant by myself, although I have done it on numerous occasions. It's the whole PEOPLE ARE JUDGING MY LONELY SELF kind of thing, but hey, baby steps right? Good job Nicole! You're on your way and the fact that you went back (and probably will go back many times) shows it just takes time :)

  5. Oh god I totally understand! I love coffe shops and oh that sweet sweet coffee but yes they can be very intimidating. Half the time i cant even pronounce the types of coffee they have and where to stand or sit to wait for your coffee!!!! I guess its the price to pay for some good coffee!

  6. I swear this post could have been written about me. I had to psych myself out tonight when I went to a Starbucks I usually don't frequent. I had been there before. And every Starbucks is the same. But still. I had to force myself to drive there. Thank you for sharing this. Anxiety is something I struggle with on a daily basis and since I can't think of anything witty to say, we will stick with the stereotypical "its good to know I am not alone". You are awesome and I wish I could write my words done as eloquently as you have done here.

    Also, I like your hat :)

  7. And hot damn, what a blazer!

    I'm just... really glad that you look your life in the eye and are honest and generous enough to share it, so thank you for this post and all your posts.

    (Okay, and that blouse is pretty great too.)

  8. Awesome blazer by the way! And you describe something I struggle with on a daily basis. For some reason I get intimidated by cashiers, baristas and any sales person I have to communicate with. If a shop has to ensure that I will NEVER take a step inside, just pay people to look like they would maybe try to help me and approach me about my shopping wishes and desires. Then you can see me run! Cool barista people scare the shit out of me, I usually order a simple black cup of coffeebecause I am too scared that I might get a more complicated order wrong like " Can I get a caramel coffee thingy, large, oh, can it be made with soy milk, sorry, to go and ähhh, coffee?"
    Also, one rule in my life: Always get in line of the female, older cashier, never the young, remotely cute male one. Terrible awkwardness, fumbling with my credit card and panic attacks while hectically stuffing and crushing my bought items in my bag would ensue...
    Yeah. Strangely enough, I am not shy all the time but those "service"situations, well...
    However, I have learned that there is some kind of "circle of comfort" which means lying on the couch eating pizza and there is the big world outside full of discomfort and awkwardness, but we need to step outside that comfort circle to conquer the world! Snd to get toothpaste! And it can be done with small steps! So I applaud you for your cappucino victory! And by the way, the barista said "For future reference?.." So he assumes you are coming back! Yeah!
    Sorry for that uber long comment, I loved writing it though. Keep up with your coffee and puppy adventures!

  9. I loved this post and reading all the comments that came with it so far! Thanks for sharing something so many people can relate to- I know it's not easy. xo

  10. HA! I'm totally the same way! I have done EXACTLY the same thing! Because I do this, my friend told me to take myself out on a date. Eating out alone is usually no problem for me because people aren't usually PEOPLE watching, but in coffee shops they are! The first time I didn't end up going because I was nervous and she said I stood myself up! I just try to take some deep breaths and its getting better!

    Loved this post and your outfit!

  11. Congratulations on facing your fear! I used to have a really bad anxiety problem that made it difficult for me to even leave the house so I can totally appreciate how a little bit of bravery can go a long way. When I am at my worst even taking the dogs down to the park can seem like a massive challenge.

    Also, I love this outfit, that blazer is super cute xo

  12. This post is terrific. That blazer is wonderful; this whole outfit is wonderful; wear more blazers; that's the shirt you got at St James, isn't it?

    I am still intimidated by many things. I am intimidated by parties where I don't know everyone, and I am very, very intimidated by groups of girls I don't know very well. Not guys, girls. I'm afraid they will meet me and instantly judge me because my nails are stubby and I'm wearing too many patterns and I don't want to talk about kittens & being a waitress. Girls scare the shit out of me. That being said...

    A STORY:

    I also used to be intimidated by coffee shops. You know how much I love coffee shops. You also know that a high percentage of my friends work in coffee shops, but I used to be intimidated by those very same coffee shops and so I never went in unless I was with my best friend and I still was nervous and hoped she didn't talk too loud or say anything that would make the coffee people judge me. Sometimes I would sit inside a coffee shop with my book and I'd try to read, but really I'd just peer over the top of my book and listen to the coffee people talk about bands I liked and I wished I wasn't such a loser and I wished I could go talk to them but I couldn't. Do you know why I started drinking my coffee black? Because it was less words I had to say when ordering. Coffee shops were full of coffee people. Coffee people were too hip and too together and had great hair and even better shoes and confidently made drinks with fancy names like cappuccino and espresso and caffe macchiato with skim. And coffee people had these hip "regulars" that they were happy to serve... I was not one of them. I did not belong.
    Fast forward a few years. I was having a really terrible time of it and everything felt wrong and I lost a really good friend and everything in my life was uncertain and I felt so awful, and I was lonely. So I figured since I hit rock bottom, there was no way to go but up. I slowly started talking to people I didn't know, and embarrassing myself, and ordering muffins wrong, and mispronouncing words and making a fool of myself in front of the coffee people. And by doing so, some of the coffee people started to like me because they were really fumbling idiots themselves, and they had their own insecurities, and so we became friends.
    And now whenever I see a cool hip coffee shop, I push away any insecurities that might crop up, and instead I'm really excited to talk to the person behind the counter because I bet just earlier that day they called a Regular by the wrong name or something and they are feeling really embarrassed and are looking for a fellow awkward goofball to smile at them and simply order a black coffee... because you can't mess up black coffee.

  13. yo btw i schooled all those other comments- check out all those wordzzzzz baby (jk other commenters, your comments are really nice)

  14. go you! i've done the same thing. i won't go into certain places because i am afraid of them. this one time i sat at a bar and waited for 20 minutes before just saying HEY GIVE ME SOMETHING NOW. because i didn't know how it worked. because i wasn't a regular. but how does one become a regular? just by doing it i guess. and even now michael and i do a bunch of weird stuff because we don't know how stuff works. people just need to accept that a LINE FORMS HERE sign might ruin the aesthetics of their shop, but makes it SO MUCH EASIER. the end. you're adorable. this outfit is adorable and wintery. and perfect.

  15. Hey Nicole! I'm so glad to have found you recently! Your outfits are wonderful and you are so pretty!! Love, love your style. This outfit is no exception! I love the bright blue beanie with the classic navy blazer, the print on the button up underneath -- that skirt, ahh!! Keep up the great work, can't wait to read more :)

    Love & light,


  16. I know I haven't been by in awhile, but I just installed google chrome on my computer at work (even though I am not allowed) and yeah, now I can read more blogs at work! :) First, lemme get it out of the way, YOU ARE ADORABLE! Second, I can relate to this post %1000000. I did push my way through school and getting a better job, etc. But I have some weird forms of OCD. Things have to be a certain way, or I will become anxious ans depressed. I get frustrated and will give up on whatever I am doing, etc. I am afraid to go into new places, especially grocery stores. I am afraid they won't have what I want or things will be in a different place and I will feel awkward walking around or asking for what I need. I always need to go with someone to a new place. I am glad I am not the only one :P


Thank you so, so much for taking some time to comment on my blog!