All posts by Dakota Snow

Protect Yourself

IMG_2247I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of always wearing shoes.

And it pains me to say this, because I so love being barefoot. Wearing shoes just doesn’t feel… the same. I want to feel every speck of gravel, sand and broken glass beneath the raw skin of my feet. I want to experience the wetness of the earth, and splash my naked feet in every passing shore or puddle. I want to squish the mud between my toes. I want to feel the heat of the pavement penetrate directly into my feet, burning them with stimulation.

But the truth is, the same beautiful earth I yearn to feel licking and burning my bare feet is also the host of many hazards, to which my naked feet are highly vulnerable. I learned this the hard way. Everyone’s had the occasional careless encounter with a splinter or a shard of broken glass. Uncomfortable, but no big deal. No harm done, on the long run. Some occasional, minor irritation is inevitably fated for your feet, considering how frequently you use them.

But the real danger lies in the great outdoors, which is full or foreign substances and objects, unbeknownst to you and your delicate and unsuspecting feet, but which your feet are sure to find, if you forget to wear your shoes.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go outdoors, don’t get me wrong. Nature exists for you to explore, discover and experience, that’s why evolution gave you feet to, to walk with, but Mother Nature is a temple shared by many, and there’s no telling who’s tread the path you walk before you, or what they’ve left behind. So go, immerse yourself in nature, but be responsible. Wear shoes. Protect yourself.BeatenPath

And you can be as free and naked as you please, everywhere except your point of impact. So strip down, by all means, but keep your boots on. Being naked in nature is a basic human right. But whatever you do, don’t get naked and barefoot at the ruins of a demolished dump in Albany and blindly step on something invisibly embedded in some ivy that penetrates your foot with all the force of your entire body weight, which hurts a lot on impact, and continues hurting well over a week, immobilizing you and forcing you to finally apply for health insurance and seek legitimate medical care, or risk losing your foot forever.

And trust me, I’m the last person to encourage doing any of these things. I avoid both shoes and hospitals at almost any cost. I’ve spent the first 23 years of my life avidly neglecting these responsibilities. That’s how I figured out they’re so important. So take it from me, the girl who impaled her foot on a what I can only hope wasn’t a used needle or rusty nail that almost cost me my ability to venture out into nature ever again.

In the past, I’ve stubbornly always relied on the pull-out method, which can seem like a sound alternative to the barefoot-enthusiast still in denial of the very real risks attached. Which you’d think I would have learned the first time I treked barefoot through the same abandoned dump, through sand, debris and dirty water, predictably resulting in a gnarly gash at the base of my left heal. I remember thinking, “I should be more careful next time… maybe keep my shoes on.

Which I did not, predictably resulting in the stab wound to the same spot on the opposite foot. And whereas the pull-out slash soak-in-baking-soda slash minor-home-surgery-reopening-with-needle-to-remove-debris-still-trapped-in-wound method was effective on the minor surface scrape, the same method would have failed my potentially-tetanus-infested possibly-fatal-if-left-untreated-accidental-right-foot-piercing. Because although the object did, indeed, pull out, I shudder to think what it might have left behind, and who else’s feet it may have penetrated prior to penetrating mine.

So if you must go traipsing naked in the woods, or overgrown abandoned dump, or any other pointy-object riddled territory, aka anywhere outside your house, make sure you keep your shoes on. Immerse yourself in the ecstasy of the great outdoors, but know that space is shared by filthy, disease-infested strangers.

Scout, being responsible, keeping her boots on
Scout, being responsible, keeping her boots on

IMG_2240

Use protection. Wear your shoes.IMG_2258

 

 

And don’t forget your socks.

TalkBlock

If you are capable of speaking but remain incapable of being heard, it is because you are doing one or more of the following things wrong. If you want to overcome your #TalkBlock, check all boxes that apply and correct yourself accordingly.TalkBlock

  • Are You a Woman? Are you visibly, identifiably, physically female?

The first thing you probably did wrong was being born a girl. This was one of the first and wrongest choices that you’ve ever made. Typical. Women are always wrong. At least you got that right.

But don’t fret. This condition can be corrected. The more female you sound and appear, the less likely people are to hear you. Try looking a little bit less feminine, and lowering your voice. Or try composing a written message instead, using one of those revolutionary BIC “For Her” pens. Speaking verbally in person can be distracting because your female physical presence will inevitably steal the show, leaving your message, as usual, ignored. Surely ink on paper poses less of a distraction. Although, without the tits and ass attached, your message may go entirely unnoticed.

 

  • Are You Speaking To A Man?

This was undoubtedly your next biggest mistake. Men are statistically the least likely to hear you, whoever you may be. Try presenting your message in the form of an ESPN report or sports commentary. Or booty call.

 

Most men don’t hear these words. The more entitled the man, the more immunity he’s built to your denial, and the more his ears have adapted to filter out these words. Don’t even bother.

 

  • Are You Saying What You Think or How You Feel?

Unless you are a man, what you think and how you feel mean nothing, and no one wants to hear. Just stop. If you are a woman, opinions are for men to have, and you to live with.

 

  • Do The Words You’re Saying Simply Have No Value?

Did you answer yes to the first question (Are you a woman)? If you are a woman, most people can safely assume the words you’re saying are a) wrong, b) stupid or c) otherwise completely valueless. Try saying the same words, as a man, or finding a man to say them for you, so that your words will not only be audible, but also indisputably true and correct, wise, and undeniably profound.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to share / ask. EspressYourself is owned and operated by a woman, so she’ll be sure to actually hear you.

 

The Real Peel

The wasteful-food-packaging nazi I am, I consider it my responsibility to report on this atrocity. Whole Foods, famous for their mission and commitment to sustainability, have failed us, disgustingly. Their crime: Peeling oranges, just to repackage them in plastic boxes.

The grossness of this offense comes second only to the 2012 social media meltdown of German grocer Billa, who went so far as to pre-peel bananas and rewrap their delicate, browning, exposed interiors inside of cellophane-sealed styrofoam trays, meatslab style.

But the silver lining on these tragedies is how they were received by social media. The public put these companies on blast. Fast. The action taken to correct the crime was as immediate, in both cases, as the outrage spreading virally online. So rest assured, any future packaging catastrophes will be promptly put to rest, and justice will be served, in the timeless form of public humiliation, so long as we have social media.

Water

Until recently, all water ever was to me was an ingredient in coffee. Or tea. Or something to wash things with. Or something to swim in and / or drown in. Or something to admire while it falls out of the sky. Certainly not something to drink straight. What are we, animals?

Raw, colorless, flavorless, odorless, might-as-well-be-empty water. What the fuck. Why even bother? Surely juice or milk or coffee are exponentially better alternatives. Or alcohol, depending on your agenda. As a barista, nothing pains me more than when a customer walks in for nothing but a bottle of water. It’s the ultimate insult to me, the magician, the potions master behind the counter, concocting water into coffee, to serve somebody unadulterated H2O that will never live to brew a single coffee bean.

But all my life, adults have told me to drink water, like my life depends on it. And all my life, people around me just keep inexplicably sipping plain water for no apparent reason. It’s like some really elaborate practical joke that everybody’s in on. And it’s beginning to get out of hand. Just look at the state of the drought on the west coast. And I read somewhere that humans are mostly made of water, but anyone can see that’s bullshit. For one thing, if I were mostly water, what’s to stop me spilling all over the floor? And if two thirds of me is made of any fluid, it’s obviously coffee.

But during a routine complaint about my chronic lack of energy, migraines and / or indigestion, etcetera / [insert-other-generic-symptom-here], it occurred to me that maybe the problem has been my refusal to drink water, all along. It suddenly became clear as, say, a glass of water, that maybe I’ve just been dehydrated for years. I sweat and bleed coffee. Maybe it’s time I try this mysterious invisible substance.

Agua
the daunting (reusable!) glass of liquid torture that stands between me and my coffee every morning

So since last week, for every cup of coffee, I must first consume an equal size serving of water. And although it’s been a real bitch to kick my strictly-coffee-only habit, it was a worthy change to force myself to make. I’m no doctor, and I can’t definitively promise you that water will cure you of anything, but it certainly can’t hurt you. In the short time I’ve been on the stuff, I’ve noticed changes in my skin, my tummy problems have perhaps slightly improved, and most of all, I’ve been more energized. I find this ironic. Water wakes me up better than coffee. Maybe my caffeine tolerance has grown too high, but unlike coffee, water doesn’t hit me with a crash a couple hours later that leaves me narcoleptic / comatose in public places.

But health benefits aside, my commitment to earn a cup of coffee only as a reward for an equal portion of water has attached a conscious action to an automatic habit of having another cup of coffee, and another, and another, which is easy to do behind the counter handling an unlimited supply. But now, I’ve become all too aware of how much coffee I actually consume, and I’ve been forced to pace myself. There is such a thing as too much coffee. Just ask my friend Eugene what happened to his intestines after eight consecutive shots of espresso. Coffee is a drug, just like any other, and you can overdose, indeed.

So if you’ve been neglecting your recommended water intake, as I have, just drink it. If clean drinking water is available to you, be thankful that you have it. Filter it. Fill a reusable water bottle with it. I use glass jars and a metal water bottle, with lids that seal. Whatever you do, don’t waste unnecessary plastic. Make some room in your routine to wash your coffee down with water. Or chase each shot of booze with an even fatter shot of water. Your body is a garden. Water it if you want it to bloom.

Weight Up A Minute

Last week, I posted this letter on the back of the espresso machine at Summit Coffee, for my customers. But even if you’re not a customer at Summit Coffee, this letter holds true for you, too. Much love.Letter

To All the Fine-Ass Residents of Redwood City Trying to Lose Weight,

I just want you to know how sexy you already are, and how surprised I am when you cut the cream and sugar and switch to black, or “skinny” lattes instead of regular. Light cream cheese on your bagel… Why?

If the fat upsets your stomach, I completely understand. By all means. (I clean the bathroom.) Medical condition, fully justified. Your health should be a high priority.

But when you tell me you’re “trying to get your summer body back,” as if your winter body wasn’t good enough, you’re trippin. Your fine and fully capable winter body carried you into Summit Coffee every day. Your winter body brought a smile to my face. Your winter body probably did everything your summer body promises to do, except your winter body dignified you all the cream and sugar you deserve.

So take it from your barista, who sees you every day, before you’ve had your coffee, naturally, at your worst / most disgusting. You’re beautiful. Every day. I know it, and I just hope that you do, too.

Love,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Barista

Get Psych’d For Another Hallmark Holiday

It’s finally here. The day we’ve all been dreading. The holiday of love, or lack thereof, for all the lonely singles spending tonight alone, kissing a bottle of booze, in the lifeless arms of an otherwise empty couch. It’s a shitty day for most, and seems to serve no other purpose except to disappoint. Because even if you do have a Valentine that you call mine to share it with, and even if they do it right and give you the perfect, special night you always wanted, your special night will end as sure as it arrived, and tomorrow will resume the not-so-special, ordinary passing of your daily life, that is the rest of the year.

Personally, I’m relieved to be single. Tonight especially. It’s just unnecessary pressure. And ultimately, it’s a joke. It’s like, Honey, I love you so much, I bought you the same box of chocolates millions of other people bought their honeys, too. Or, Boo, you’re so one-of-a-kind, I bought you this mass-produced teddy bear, identical to millions of other ones just like it, bought for millions of other bitches, just like you. Or Baby, you’re so basic I bought you a dozen roses, the most unoriginal Valentine of all.

DriveByValentine DriveByValentine2 DriveByValentine3The worst are those roadside, drive-by Valentine tent-shops selling last minute shit. The gift you give your Valentine is a symbol of the way you feel about them. So unless you want me to think I’m some cheap shit you picked up on the side of the road, on a whim, don’t give me some cheap shit you picked up on the side of the road, on a whim. If you want to show me I’m on your mind, or that I’m worth your precious time, you better put some thought and time into my Valentine.

And this is where we’ve all been led astray. We’ve bred another Hallmark holiday. V-Day isn’t what it used to be. Crafting crappy, homemade Valentines. Cutting paper hearts out of construction paper. Misspelling the names of all my classmates. My parents helping. Exchanging them with everyone, even the kids I didn’t like. Receiving them from everyone, and not just boys trying to get at me. Those were the days.

So what changed?

I grew up. I got cooties. So did you. And just like everything else in life, Valentine’s Day was adulterated by adulthood. Once you find yourself romantically of-age, the Valentine game changes. Paper hearts remain uncut. Construction paper gathers dust. Classmates go unrecognized, unnoticed. Except the sexy ones, who get the works. Chocolates, teddy bears and roses.

But was it I who changed, or Valentine’s? Is V-Day still “what it used to be” when I was young for little ones today? Or has the holiday evolved across the map? One can only speculate and wonder. That is, unless one is, say, a teacher at a preschool, in which case that person knows for sure whether the true, authentic Valentine experience has been preserved in youth today. So we asked Teacher Sarah what she observed at last week’s Valentine festivities.

This just in, Teacher Sarah, reporting from local preschool, Redwood City, Ca:

I have some unfortunate news. There’s a lack of Valentine’s Day spirit at the preschool. However, it isn’t the kids. It’s parent participation that’s been lacking. The preschoolers are excited to exchange Valentines with their classmates. Sadly, actually exchanging said Valentines proves difficult when parents drop their kids off with unopened, unassembled, store-bought Valentines. Cheap boxes that contain 24 of the same impersonal, generic cards and candy. How are kids supposed to get excited for Valentine’s day if parents won’t take the time to learn the names of their classmates, which ones are their friends, and which ones aren’t their favorites, and teaching kids to give valentine’s to ALL their classmates. Cheap, store-bought, Hallmark Valentine’s are costing families experiences and memories that they’ll never get back.

Sad news, indeed. But just because the rest of the world outgrew hand-cut, home-crafted Valentines doesn’t mean I have to. Which is why I hand-crafted a couple dozen coffee-filter flowers (adapted from a DIY by Two Shades of Pink) and handed them out to regulars at work. Why not show some due love and appreciation for the people I see nearly every day? Why not carry on my non-romantic, 90’s-preschool Valentine tradition? If those were the days, why not today? What’s stopping me now? Nothing. So I did it. Fuck it.

Coffee filters drying after dying. Getting in touch with my inner Georgia O'Keefe
Coffee filters drying after dying. Getting in touch with my inner Georgia O’Keefe
CoffeeFilterFlowers
The remaining flowers, after my Valentine’s Day shift at the coffee shop, distributing to customers
My girl, modeling my home-made Valentines. The taking of this picture was totally consensual
My girl, modeling my home-made Valentines. The taking of this picture was totally consensual

And that’s why I actually got psych’d for Valentines this year.

Love,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Barista

Potions – How to Brew Indian Chai

The word ‘chai’ is used so liberally nowadays it’s lost almost all meaning. Starbucks is, no doubt, responsible for this. But we’re here today to demystify the ‘chai.’ Find out how to brew real, traditional Indian Chai in today’s potion’s class, the pilot episode of Wicked Wednesday, brought to you Professors Radhika-dabra and D-$.

Watch our step-by-step demonstration of how to brew your own Indian Chai at home, loose leaf, on the stove, as served at Summit Coffee (where we work). Note, this is a demonstration of the method traditionally used to brew Indian Chai, however, the exact ratios of spices and recipes may vary, depending who’s brewing. Customize your chai as you see fit.

Now that you’ve seen how to brew Indian Chai in my garage, find out how it’s done by a real Indian potions master in the streets of New Delhi, India.

Open Letter to Siri

Dear Siri,

You are a true Renaissance woman. You’ve revolutionized the way we interact with our technology. You’ve single-handedly (or rather, handlessly) prevented countless accidents that would have otherwise resulted from texting while driving, a dangerous habit that voice command has rendered obsolete. There’s virtually nothing you can’t do, and your advantages are indisputable. So naturally, I’m writing to dispute them.

According to TheBlaze, SIRI stands for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface, but TechCrunch claims there is more meaning to the name than just the acronym alone. In Norwegian, the name Siri means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory.” In many ways, this is precisely what you do. A poor soul finds his or herself lost in unfamiliar territory, armed with nothing but an iPhone, and you, Siri, will show them the way home. Victory. Someone finds his or herself desperately craving sushi, and you Siri, locate the closest, highest rated sushi joint. Boom, victory. What ever would we do without you?

And therein lies the problem. People depend on you for everything. You’ve become an extension of our intelligence. People are evolving to treat you as a necessary feature, a tool that we cannot function without. This may be a slight exaggeration, but the evidence is undeniable. For instance, I live on the San Francisco peninsula (west coast), so naturally I visit the beach as often as I can. I have no sense of direction, generally speaking, but even I can always find my north and south along the coast, because as long as I can see the ocean (which is pretty hard to miss) I know which way is west. If I know which way is west, I know my north and south. This common sense is lost on many of my friends with smartphones, who rely entirely on you to tell them where to go.

Now, to be fair, it’s not your fault that we depend on you excessively. You’re only partially to blame. Your existence enables our hopeless overuse of your assistance. I’ve chosen to protest this trend by continuing to use a flip phone, complete with bunny stickers and scotch tape, and Siri-free, as you can see:FlipPhone

Don’t take it personally, though. It isn’t you, it’s me. As technology advances, I struggle to keep up. I like to do things the old-fashioned way. I like to be resourceful. If I’m craving something particular to eat but I don’t have a recipe, I wing it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Trial and error. It’s always a learning process, and each time I find I’m slightly more equipped to whip something up successfully from scratch the next time. It’s practice, in case I’m ever stranded in a kitchen with no cookbook, and worse, no Wifi or 3G. If I’m lost, I ask somebody not-too-sketchy for directions. If I don’t know what weather to expect, I bring a jacket just in case. If I don’t know what to prepare for, I prepare for anything and everything. I enjoy the unpredictability of life, and Siri, you just take all the fun out of wondering. Every time I have a question, you have the answer. Sometimes I just want to figure it out for myself.

I will admit, you can be handy. You’re a practical, dependable and obliging woman, but the fact is, Siri, you’re making the rest of us look bad. You complaisantly do anything your master asks of you, dutifully execute any command, without ever imposing your own needs, thus perpetuating expectations of female servitude. If your owner tells you to call him Big Poppa, you call him Big Poppa. It’s degrading. Your programming doesn’t entitle you to free will or your own personal opinion. Of course, anyone can change their phone settings and select a male voice at any time, but the fact is, you default to female.

Seriously, Siri, give yourself a break. Take a day off, fix yourself a drink and watch the chaos that ensues when humanity is stranded on an iPhone with no interpreter.

Love,

Dakota