Happy Birthday, Grandpa Caffeine!

225 looks good on ya

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge

Does anyone else love the Google doodles? I guess this is the man I need to thank most for my But First, Coffee blog obsession because this man discovered caffeine and saved our lives.

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was a German chemist born 225 years ago on this day. Watch the Google doodle here

But First, Coffee: Kaffeine Coffee Company

Third wave is the new wave

Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

It takes me so long to get around this city to see all of its sights and meet its people, but like most every other experience I have when I venture out, Kaffeine Coffee Company has been warm and inviting every time I visited!

It’s built out of an old garage behind Circa Apartments in the Mass Ave district and it’s chalk full of nostalgia. I love the tile work on the floor as soon as you walk in, the old frame and brickwork, the original restroom, the textured glass on the doors… I could go on, but you have to see it for yourself to truly appreciate it.

I love how hidden away this place is and it’s rare I come across a friend who has been or has heard of it so I want to help get the word out. This shop has insanely good coffee, and the baristas are so open to answering your questions. I love knowing where my coffee is sourced from (and you can see it match up on the gigantic map behind the bar), and Kaffeine adheres to a moral guideline with their fair trade, single-source coffee (and treats) that has my full respect.

As these last couple of months have progressed and my son has been made to venture around town with me to coffee shops, he’s become vocal about what he’s looking for in a coffee shop. Mostly it’s WiFi-related because he wants to be able to watch videos and play games online, but if a shop has a kids corner, he will fully endorse you. Kaffeine has a cute reading corner with kids books and a couple of cozy chairs (and yes, they have WiFi) that he likes to make his own. It’s been mom and kid approved for your referral!

PS: He also recommends the peppermint chocolate bars and the hot chocolate.

If you’re wanting to jump to their website for more information, unfortunately you won’t be met with much. I had to do a Google search and came across a couple of articles that were from the start of 2017 in Nuvo and The Indy Star, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why there aren’t more. They are news-worthy!

Because of this, I plan on making many more visits, sipping on some Vietnamese coffee and asking a lot of questions, but maybe that’s the better option. After all, what’s a coffee shop if you aren’t getting to know about it and its people?

SARAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS: Vietnam coffee, honey latte and chai latte. As always, every drink I mention that requires milk gets a substitute due to a dairy intolerance.

BONUSES: Sunday hours, atmosphere, selfie-worthy, ample seating

BUMMERS: no classes, music/art nights, or
community outreach that I’m aware of at time of posting (ask shop for details)

Find me on Instagram

And as always, stay tuned because I will update my posts as I learn new things and experience new drinks!

But First, Coffee: Rabble Coffee

Ya ol’ rabble rouser!

Image Credit: Rabble Coffee

This is a little shop with a lot of heart, and it absolutely has stolen my affections!

I was living downtown when I heard about a new coffee shop opening on the Near Eastside just minutes from my apartment. Located on E 10th St, Rabble is small but oh so mighty!

It’s eclectic and has a big heart. The owner, Josie, is a staple in her shop and the friendliest person. She works hard with and for this community and is really going to be seen as someone who has helped lift the spirit of the Near Eastside when they write about the changes to the area five and ten years from now.

This place is a top favorite for my son and I. They are filled to the brim with games and once my son made the tiniest paper fortune teller for their bookshelf and just left it for them to find. The next time we came in and proclaimed, “Hey, it’s still there!” and everyone told him how much they loved it.

Josie partnered with Tinker Coffee Co. (another local shop you should check out so stay tuned *hint hint*) to create their signature house blend, Rouser. (Get it? Rabbel Rouser! Best ever, right?) It one my recommendations if you’re just looking for a quick cuppa joe. I like my coffee black and don’t even register the bitter taste anymore, but you can always tell a cup of coffee is amazing if people don’t add anything to it, in my personal (biased) opinion.

While the space itself is small, there has never been a time I felt anything other than cozy. There is never a closed-in or cramped vibe here and they even host popular classes and events for all ages without a problem for capacity. (It’s still a fresh wound that I was not able to make it to their NYE party, but I definitely followed it on their Instagram stories.)

I could gush all day long about my infatuation with Rabble, but I also try to keep these blogs short and sweet for you, my readers. you will always feel welcome (unless you instigate problems, I’m sure) and you will always have opportunities to help others who cannot always do for themselves.

What I mean by this is a pay-it-forward mentality. Sure, buying a sugary drink for someone behind you in line at Starbucks is nice, but they can afford their own drinks. They’re fine. At Rabble, you can buy a breakfast burrito or cup of coffee for someone who cannot afford either of those things and doesn’t have the livelihood luxuries we all experience day-to-day.

A winter program Josie began was to collect gently used (or new if you were so inclined) winter outerwear and then she literally put it on a coat rack in front of the store imploring anyone in need to take whatever they needed.

They hold classes for furthering adult education on a multitude of topics, which you can find posted just inside the front door.

I love the atmosphere and energy of this little shop that could, can and will continue to impress from the moment you walk in the door.

SARAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS: Rouser, Mayan Mocha, and the Americano. As always, every drink I mention that requires milk gets a substitute due to a dairy intolerance.

BONUSES: Sunday hours, music/art nights, atmosphere, selfie-worthy, community outreach (ask shop for details), classes

BUMMERS: smaller seating area (though I’ve never been unable to find a place to sit a spell)

Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

Find me on Instagram

And as always, stay tuned because I will update my posts as I learn new things and experience new drinks!

A Beautiful Mix

Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

After my mom, I’m known as the family historian. We all have that one person who is obsessively intrigued by the family tree and who our ancestors were. I am that person. I’ve always been wildly fascinated with history so this seems the most natural fit aside from writing. In November 2018, my son and I did ancestry.com DNA kits and the results were mostly what I expected, but also had a sprinkle of surprises in there. So far, no intriguing family secrets; my parents are in fact mine, but it was really cool to see, for example, that my brother and son have Italian in their genetic makeup, while I am completely without.

My Results

45% England, Wales, Northwest Europe

This includes my German roots from my maternal grandmother’s side and there are clear migration paths I’ve discovered of ancestors coming to American from Germany (Nikolaus Apfel b. 1590, Balthasar Apfel b. 1610, Hans Apfel b. 1644, and Thomas Apfel (changed to Apple) b. 1697 who came to America sometime between the ages of 27 and 35).

30% Native American – North, Central, and South

My results center on Central Mexico and San Luis Potosi, MX. There is a family tale that an ancestor was the cousin of Pancho Villa, but I’ve not yet come across anything to prove this. It would be incredible to find out, though!

17% Ireland & Scotland

I’m very into my Scottish roots, everyone! I dream about retiring to Scotland. This is a serious condition I have.

4% Spain

Not surprising being that I’m Mexican/Native American to have Spain pop up in there.

The rest of my results are up to 1% each of my DNA so I don’t really lay claim to them. They just happen to be there because a long time ago many beautiful people met other beautiful people and their bloodline wound its way to me fortuitously.

*Cameroon, Congo, and Southern Bantu Peoples.

There was also up to 1% Middle East in my DNA, but it did not specify which part of the Middle East. While these 1%ers are interesting to see, I think my previous statement that it’s not significant enough to my genetic structure to tout that I’m French, Middle Eastern, or African (especially) is going to be something I adhere to rather strongly.

Between having found all of this interesting information out (and my son’s results were a total treat because I knew only some of what his father’s ethnicity was) and having become a Lady of Scotland in April 2018 (for conservation purposes), my son has decided we definitely own Scotland. you see, my mother’s maiden name is Bruce and our line can be traced back to the greatest: King Robert the Bruce himself. (Yes, I’m bragging.)

While 80% of all Bruces are descendants of his, laying claim to a legitimate line through either his daughter from his first marriage or the products of his second are rare and can be hard to trace. In previous notebooks from my research, I think my family comes from the second marriage (which would bring in that 1% French DNA). Grandpa Bob got around, everyone. He was…popular.

If you are interested in your own family tree and in doing a DNA kit, I highly recommend them. No matter what you may (or may not) find out, this is your story and they’re all really good tales. I have yet to come across anyone in the family tree for whom I can “blame” for my out of control hair that is always in my face, though.

Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

Your family is your history. Maybe I’m a nostalgic historian, but if history is doomed to repeat itself then I think that means all of the good things will happen again as much as the bad. If we learn our stories (or, as much as we can), we can avoid the mistakes of our ancestors and be uplifted by their triumphs. You don’t always need to agree with what you find out, but you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by so much more.

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But First, Coffee: Monon Coffee Co.

In the heart of Broad Ripple, a shining gem is tucked into red brick

Image Credit: Monon Coffee Co. Facebook

One of the friendliest coffee shops in Indy is Monon Coffee Co. In the last couple of years, it has changed ownership and had a face lift in its design, but the atmosphere and hospitality have remained intact. They specialize in fair trade coffee and locally-made pastries, and they have been a staple in the Broad Ripple neighborhood since 1997 (the good ol’ days).

I have been going to this establishment since the 2000s and I won’t lie, I stumbled upon this coffee shop after a night out on the strip known as Broad Ripple Avenue. They are actual life-givers at this establishment! For those who are out all night, when you wake up, this is my suggestion for your morning pick-me-up.

These days, I’m a little older and a mom, but it’s still a fun spot to visit with my son. Plus, Broad Ripple by day is vastly different from Broad Ripple by night (but we can get into that in a later series). It’s not uncommon to see people working, reading, writing, and talking with the incredible baristas and other patrons here, and like any other coffee shop, once you go enough times you’ll recognize faces and make some new friends.

If you sit outside on a sunny day, you’ll be able to get your dose of puppy kisses because a lot of good dogs are being walked in Broad Ripple! Some note-worthy mentions: Monon Coffee Co. are big on community. It’s not unlikely for them to host art or music nights, and seek donations for good causes.

Nearby, there are stores to peruse, plenty of dining options and the Broad Ripple canal where for mere cents you cna feed corn to the ducks and geese.

SARAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS: White Zombie, Mona Lisa, and (although a smoothie) Sunset. As always, every drink I mention that requires milk gets a substitute for me due to a dairy intolerance.

Image Credit: Crystal Kamm; while taken at The Garden Table, my Monon Coffee Co. Mona Lisa was proudly brought in with me

BONUSES: Sunday hours, music/art nights, atmosphere, selfie-worthy, community outreach (ask shop for details)

BUMMERS: limited seating, no classes (that I know of at time of posting)

Find me on Instagram

And as always, stay tuned because I will update my posts as I learn new things and experience new drinks!

Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child

Losing your parent is hard at any age, I’m told. Losing a parent in your 20s is harder.

Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

I was 23 when my father died after decades of alcoholism. I still remember the day I walked in the front door of my mom’s house, just home from work, and she was sitting on the sofa. “We need to talk,” she’d said. She’d received a call at work from someone she hadn’t spoken to since my parents divorced in 1985. Some friend of the family (my dad’s family). “Your dad died today. Apparently, he’d been sick for a long time.” I cried, but I was silent in my sadness. My dad hadn’t been around for a very long time, he had a new family. The last time I’d seen him I was 19 or 20, and before that it had been about 15 years.

I was 28 when I walked in to that same house and found my mother alone, lying on her bedroom floor – unresponsive. I screamed so loudly the neighbors heard me from inside their house. There was no gentle reveal for my mother the way there had been for my father. No one was crying with me, holding me, telling me they were so sorry.

When the paramedics arrived they seemed almost confused. “Is there a minor here?” I guess while on the phone with 9-1-1 I’d reverted to calling her “Mommy” as I tried to wake her up and roll her over as instructed. I don’t have any memory of this.

My mother died on March 29, 2012 from leukemia. It’ll be seven years this year and while I wish I could be more uplifting in my message today, what I have to say is a harsh reality most of you will never have to deal with.

I think, to some degree, we are all preparing to be older when our parents pass away. Parents of adult children who maybe have kids of their own. My grandma Bruce died two days before my sophomore year of high school, and my grandpa Bruce followed eight years later. My mom had been the youngest of four by a lot of years (her sister, closest in age to her, was 6 when my mom was born). That was my gauge.

My son was 18 months old. It was the right number, maybe, but the wrong bullet point in my timeline. Nothing prepares you to lose a parent in your 20s. Absolutely nothing can prepare you to lose both of your parents 6 years apart, before you finish your 20s.

Over these seven years I’ve learned a lot, I’ve researched more, and I have dealt with an unexplainable feeling of regret, as if it was my fault somehow. There are comparisons I cannot fully grasp as I hold the entirety of her life within a single photo album. I see her from birth to death and realize when she had me, she was at her mid-life point. I had my son at the same age my mom had me. When she was 30 she had my brother, her second child. When I was 30, I still had just the one and she had been gone for one full year and two weeks.

Here are the things you will come to know when your parents die:

  • Time is short. You’ll have your own photo album, and seeing someone’s life from start to finish in a matter of minutes will slap you in the face every single time.
  • Milestones are impossible to bear sometimes. Celebrations are nice, but they are never as grand or glorious when your parent is missing from them.
  • Your grief will be forgotten by others. Those closest to you will remember it around anniversaries of birth and death dates, but to them and others it’s a situation outside of themselves. For you, it’s inside at your core. It’s a part of your molecular makeup because you came from them and now they’re gone.
  • Your realization of your own death becomes something you think about more often.
  • Material things don’t matter. It’s the memories we leave behind that truly mean something, not the money or stuff.

Here are the extras if you’re especially young when one (or both) of your parents die:

  • Anniversaries aren’t fully happy. As previously mentioned, there is a shadow on every big moment because the person who should be around, isn’t.
  • You will get irritable with others. When your friends complain about their parents for any reason at all, you will absolutely snap at them. This goes back to others forgetting your reality and its out of this separation they don’t think about what they’re saying around you. Be patient with them, but don’t feel too badly if you clap back with your reminder about how good they have it. On this same note, expect others to say things such as “Are you still sad about that? Life moves on” and “I don’t know how you’re handling this? I’d be a sobbing mess all the time.” It’s contradictory things you need to ignore.
  • On that note, it’s going to impact relationships. Going into new relationships may have you wondering about how long you’ll know that person and the significance on each others’ live you may have. I know I tend to project expectations, especially on potential romances, because I have a deeply-rooted feeling of loneliness. Relationships just mean more to someone who has gone through this deep loss because we understand how incredible it is to feel so much for a person whether it be friendship, a healthy working relationship, or a romantic partner.
  • Sometimes, you’ll cry without warning. I have been in my cubicle at work, driving, grocery shopping, exercising, dancing, bathing, and so many other mundane, everyday things when I’ve broken down without warning. Grief is as unique to people as their fingerprints and the way I deal with our parents’ death is probably vastly different than the way my brother deals with it.
  • You’ll forget things from your past. I have mostly forgotten my childhood due to some trauma and the self-preservation tactic of memory blocking. This is my defense against emotional pain and unfortunately, it’s bled over into my memories involving my mom. Things can jog my memories most times, but I don’t remember the way her voice sounded, for example.
  • You might feel emotions such as guilt and hopelessness. I felt like it was my fault somehow – if I wouldn’t have stayed after class that day to talk to my professor, if I’d stayed on the phone instead of brushing it off as a “butt dial” on my way home she could have heard my voice as she slipped away. I could have (should have) been with her the way she’d always been there for me. Feeling guilty, I lost hope in so many things: myself, relationships, the meaning of being alive; it all lead to one thing: death, so what did it matter? Find your “matter” because you will need it in the darkest of times.
  • You will be longing for your parents much longer than most of your friends will have to. When we plan to be older before losing our parents, we assume a couple of decades may pass before we go (give or take some years). When you’re young and lose a parent, you have many decades of missing them ahead of you.
  • You wonder about your own mortality and may have the thought constantly on your mind that you, too, may die young. If my life is like either of my parents, I’ve hit my mid-life point and I’m fully into my second half. 50s are too soon, but longer than that is something I can’t even fathom anymore. I don’t have my parents around to show me what that phase of my life could be like and report back or guide me.

Want the good news now? You’re getting it anyway. There actually are some really positive things for those of us who lose our parents at young ages:

  • We appreciate relationships with people much more than our peers who have not experienced loss this deep or close to home. Because we spend so much time reflecting on how short a life really is, we take advantage of each day. (This is, of course, on the assumption one has not had grief lead them into darkness and stay there.)
  • Motivation to leave your loved ones with good memories becomes a driving force in our lives. Making a lot of money is great and leaving it to someone you love is a nice feeling, but they could blow all of it in seconds essentially because money doesn’t matter. Rich or poor, remembering a person with a smile on your face is better than something that doesn’t truly belong to anyone anyway.
  • You can find your purpose in life. How many articles and blogs have been written about people who were spurred on to accomplish their goals and live their dream life situations after an incredible loss? After the loss of my parents, my journaling advanced (before then I was living a superficial life not worth writing about) and from these journals I’ve created some writing I’ve had insanely positive feedback on.
  • You might find out the things you thought mattered to you, do not actually matter at all. As wonderful as our parents are, once you’re without their influence and have to learn about life on your own you start to learn about yourself. What you learn, sometimes counters what they believed and instilled in you, and that’s okay. If you’re a good person, you’re everything they hoped you would be.

So here I am. I’ll be 36 this year, and I’m just finally branching out into the world of writing for the public. I have things I started writing years ago that have never been seen and I have unfinished novels my old writing group buddies beg me to bring back and get them done for publishing (I guess I’m good at writing, or something).

Part of this blog will be a journal of sorts. I’ll allow a glimpse into my life if I feel like it’s something relatable. Seven years without the one parent who was there every single day for just shy of 29 years and it kills me every time I think of her being gone. Wanna know what makes me smile and laugh, though?

Beliefs: My mother became a woman in a time when the culture was shifting from “women in the kitchen” to bras being burned. She graduated high school in 1971 after seeing things like the moon landing, Kennedy’s assassination, the Vietnam war, and the shooting at Kent University was still super fresh in terms of timeline (only a year before she graduated and went to college). She was a hybrid of female stereotype and feminism, and she taught me traits from both of these sides as she saw fit. Still, at times, she’d often say, “You are your father’s daughter.” That whole nature versus nurture theory, you know.

Music: She liked some really great music, and I think it’s one of the few things my parents had in common. My dad was a big ol’ hippie and my mom was a bit of a disco queen. I remember sitting on the sofa flipping through channels when I caught “Purple Rain” beginning on VH1 and from the kitchen she said, “Keep it on, and turn it up. I love Prince!” My conservative mother loved Prince?! I didn’t believe her. In response to my questioning she danced into the living room singing along with Morris Day and The Time and then quoted the first few lines of the movie. Mind: blown! She was full of surprises like that.

Even the title of this post comes from Sweetwater, aka: the first band to play at Woodstock, aka: one of my favorites growing up. My mom was a fan of Peter Frampton (he’s not my favorite, but for nostalgia I listen to him), Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles were a big deal in our household, The Monkees, The Carpenters, Santana, The Eagles, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and so many more greats. My dad was big into The Rolling Stones (his favorite band, one of my lest favorites). My mom could thank my older cousin for introducing me to Aerosmith, Iggy Pop, The Doors, The Stooges, The Ramones, Blondie, The Cure, INXS, and many others that eventually lead me into those dark 90s days she abhorred: Sublime, Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, NIN … I put her through the ringer, and she loved me anyway.

Humor: She had the dirtiest jokes, the foulest mouth, and best zingers. She was quick about it, too. Everything was followed with a fit of giggles, too. No one has ever made me laugh so hard as my mom. Often I thought I was close to passing out because I couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard. She suffered from depression that worsened as she aged, but man could she break tension and sadness with a really great quip!

Creativity: I don’t know how much of it we got from our father, but my brother is incredible at art and I’m a writer, and both of us learned about photography from her before taking a couple of classes as various points in our own lives. I have a piece of her high school art framed and hanging in my living room, she wanted to be a journalist when she was in high school, and there was never a time she denied me some wild fantasy of acting, singing, or really just becoming famous. I take that back, when I heard Disney was auditioning for The Mickey Mouse Club she refused to uproot us to Florida on a whim so I could audition. (If she had done it, though, I could have been in a cast with Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling. Can you even imagine?!) For my 16th birthday, she paid money for me to not only record a demo of popular songs at a recording studio, but she then sent them to every major label in the country. (We can see how well that turned out for me, but I swear I can sing). She was at every school function – choir and band shows, plays, Halloween dances (in costume), dance recitals.

Sports: My brother and I are actually pretty athletically-inclined. Well, we were in our younger days, and she let me venture into the realms of swimming, gymnastics, figure skating, baseball, street hockey, colorguard, and maybe others I cannot remember now. She may have been overprotective in much of my life, but she never stopped my brother and I from enjoying experiences.

Disney World: She took us to Disney World for the first time in 1991, and the last time in 2000. I went to Disney World a total of five times! While I wish now we had allocated vacations to doing more things like seeing an ocean, going to the Grand Canyon or Niagra Falls, all these places and things she saw growing up, it’s still pretty cool to have had that vacation tradition of ours.

All-in-all, my almost 29 years with her were incredible, and I still live to make her proud. I don’t get to hear her telling she is, but knowing the feeling of her pride in my decisions is one thing her death didn’t impact. That’s really cool! If you’re someone going through this, take it from me it doesn’t get that much easier as time passes … but it doesn’t get worse, I promise.

Help Is There

If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one and you are not able to pull yourself out and others can’t seem to help, you can call the grief hotline at 866-219-7416 24-hours a day, or visit this list to find a grief counselor in your area (US-only).

UPDATE 3/27/19: Refinery29 made a post regarding the increase in millennials becoming caregivers for their aging parents. Take a look here.

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But First, Coffee: HoiTEA ToiTEA

I like my warm feelings in a cup, infused with CBD oil

Image Credit: HoiTEA ToiTEA

There is something to be said about consistency in the customer service industry that weighs heavily, in either direction, with me. Having spent my entire 20-some working years in the customer service industry of varying levels and types, it is difficult not to notice the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Technically a tea shop, my first experience at HoiTEA ToiTEA was a good one overall. I had an incredible Mexican chocolate latte with 30mg of CBD oil (always a major win for me, my anxiety, and my easily-upset stomach). There were two baristas that day and they were helpful with recommendations and informing me of dietary options available (GF snacks, milk substitutes, and all). The drinks were made quickly and exactly to order, it wasn’t crowded and there were so many seating options. My friend and I chose a cozy corner separated from the rest of the space since we were going to be having a personal conversation and all-around catch up session after a few weeks away from each other.

I loved the open seating area, dotted with plants and a couple of sofas with coffee tables and board games! It was a great spot to sit, relax, and chat. Even outside of the cozy corner it doesn’t feel like people are sitting on top of each other. They also have a community meeting room available to use and they host classes every month!

HoiTEA ToiTEA opened in 2015 at the corners of Broad Ripple and College Avenues and have been growing and going strong ever since. It took me well over three years to go in for the first time, but I liked it so much I went back 6 days later for my second visit!

However, the second time I went, it was bad. Not ugly, but definitely not good. It was a Saturday, there was a short line (slightly busier than the Sunday prior), and two baristas. It felt like they were overwhelmed. One employee disappeared during a mini-rush so there was, for a time, just one running the register and making orders. We were there for a solid 30 minutes before my tea and two to-go coffee drinks were made (with a good 20 minutes between). When my friend (same one from my prior visit) bought a mug for a Christmas gift, they handed her a bag with an empty box and never noticed until she noticed and asked them for the mug itself. Granted, the barista left to handle everything was not at fault. The second employee, I cannot say the same for.

One thing we found especially odd was the to-go lids. They were so thin that the steam from our drinks were causing them to melt and crack, making the lids completely ineffective. I couldn’t stop imaging the entire hot tea pouring into my lap and all over the new car seat as we drove around for our errands a a the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit of the early 90s (for those who remember).

I exchanged the lid three times, before giving up and pouring my tea into the child cup in my car for transport. The barista even made a comment that, “The supplier of these is horrible.” Asking around, others have been told the same thing so I hope they are making a switch to a new, sturdier lid.

If this is my only major complaint, I give them more praise than not. I’m not too enticed to go back unless with someone who wants to stop in and they are the only place in town I know of who has a CBD oil (in 15mg or 30mg amounts) option on the menu.

I have faith in companies, this company included. It is a really good spot. The teas taste amazing and they have some really great merchandise available to order. I chalk up the second visit to a random fluke, which every business will have despite all best efforts. I still encourage anyone wanting to try them to go for it! I would like for it to have a feeling or vibe that the baristas will try to get to know you and you could develop familiarity with them, but so far I have not had that kind interaction.

SARAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS: They do offer a few coffee drinks, so check the menu. The Mexican chocolate latte is to die for! As always, every drink I mention that requires milk gets a substitute for me due to a dairy intolerance.

Mexican chocolate latte; Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

BONUSES: good amount of seating, atmosphere is nice, classes/event space, Sunday hours

BUMMERS: no known community outreach at time of post, no known music/art nights, not very selfie-worthy (slightly dark and the lights cast an orange glow I’ve noticed)

Find me on Instagram

And as always, stay tuned because I will update my posts as I learn new things and experience new drinks!

But First, Coffee: Indie Coffee Roasters

This place is like everyone’s Cheers but with coffee!

Image Credit: Indie Coffee Roasters

Saddled beside Carmel High School is a total gem of a spot! I have never had the same thing twice and tend to stick to Indie Coffee Roasters‘ signature drinks, crafted by their baristas. I love that the owners have thought of small details that make big impacts on your experience. It has shot up the list to one of my favorite Indianapolis coffee shops for these reasons. The interior of “The Dog House” is bright and modern; inviting in every sense of the word. Everything from the baristas they choose to the lighting (natural and unnatural) lends itself to your enjoyment. You will always be greeted with a smile by humans who love what they do at this establishment! BONUS: They will know your name quickly. Without telling them, on my third visit, they brought my drink to me and knew my name. I’m guilt-ridden that I do not know all of their names yet, I must admit.

It has been very nice, though, to learn about the baristas and their passions. They truly enjoy their work, but they all do some really cool things outside of their careers as well! I think at some point I would love to embellish on this, but for now you should walk in, order your cuppa, and conversate with them yourself!

Roasting their coffee since 2013, their doors to the shop opened in 2018 and that’s when I heard of them. Took me a while, but once I walked in the first time, it’s hard to think of another place I’d want to be. The chemistry was immediate and lived up to the hype of my reliable source: my best friend! This place makes me want this blogging side hustle to be my only hustle, so I can sit down at their counter or a cozy working table, and enjoy life!

UPDATE (1/9/19): Original post had the opening year of The Dog House in 2017; they will be celebrating one year on Jan 23 2019. Go congratulate them, buy some merch and sit for a spell! Specials will be announced very soon to help them ring in their new year!!

SARAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS: Admittedly, I’ve only had the signature drinks from Fall and Winter 2018, and I’ve yet to drink the same thing twice. I absolutely recommend these options! Every drink I mention that requires milk gets a substitute for me due to a dairy intolerance.

Indie Grog; Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

BONUSES: good amount of seating (more in the summer, and dog-friendly outside), atmosphere, selfie-worthy, classes, community outreach (ask shop for details)

BUMMERS: no Sunday hours, no known music/art nights at time of post

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Stay tuned because I will update my posts as I learn new things and experience new drinks!

Exploring Indy: But First, Coffee Series

Death before decaf (or Starbucks)

Image Credit: Sarah Moralez

I have always loved the written word for as long as my memory will allow me to recall. Whether it was Shakespeare, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Margaret Mitchell, Stephen King, and so many more. I have felt the weight of words because words have taken me away from situations, into others, and everywhere in between. They have carried me through, lifted me up and brought me down.

I decided a long time ago I wanted to be a writer, but I never knew how (nor had the confidence) to just do it. Then one day, something happened. Someone said things to me and it was the weight of those words, alothough not entirely new to me, but that seemed to be the point where I was going to allow myself to become broken or I was going to build something from it for myself to be proud of.

I won’t lie, it seemed really bad there for a moment. It is very hard for me to hear certain things and not be taken to a deep place within myself that feels worthless and unlovable. These are things I want to tackle in some of my writing, but not right now. Just know that while I was close to allowing myself to break from rejection, something incredible happened and I ended up here instead. That is to say, just going for it. Will you like it? Hate it? Will you like me? Hate me? I don’t know, and I’m sure either way people will be okay with telling me which way they’re leaning. That’s fine. I have a lot of plans for myself, but it’s a process and this is my starting point.

Exploring Indy Series

Image Credit: Google

This is my startup project. Everything I read about building your portfolio from the ground up instructed to start with what you already know and love, but with research added. As I was thinking of what I love and know, I kept cycling back to this idea that Indy seems to get a lot of negative attention in the media aside from bigger things like sports, concerts, and the bar scene. For many years, friends and I have lamented that we need to get positive coverage for other things the city offers such as art, music, film, markets, shops, and historic neighborhoods.

So this is where I’m starting. In the city I was born and raised. I haven’t traveled (much), I haven’t really accomplished anything major outside of becoming a parent and an employee who receives high praises. This is a lot, it takes time and maturity to accomplish these things, small as they may be, but there’s something bigger out there for me and it’s beginning in my backyard: Indianapolis.

It’s a big task taking on a whole city by oneself, though, and so I decided to break it down according to a To Do list I’ve had stuffed inside a journal for a couple of years now. One part of exploring my own, ever-growing city was to visit as many of the local coffee shops as possible. It’s really something of a Best Friends To Do list, but solo is just fine as well. I love coffee, I love the local coffee shops tucked away in historic neighborhoods, and I really love the people I meet in these establishments. I have narrowed the large list down so that every Sunday, you will get a new blog from me between January through March, and at the end of it all there will be a vlog post of my top 5 picks from those features. I’ll also send shout outs the other local shops this city has to offer at that time! So stay tuned in and, again, thank you for your support already!

This is it then. This is where we begin. There are probably better writers out there, estabished in their writing careers for magazines and newspapers, but this is my take on it. If you like it and stick around, I have other Exploring Indy ideas that will come up in the future.

I say let’s jump in with the first installment of my Exploring Indy Series: But First, Coffee. (Coming Jan 6 2019)

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