starbucks rewards program

So I’m sitting here in Starbucks, blogging away and sipping my free grande coffee. Wait, WHAT? FREE Starbucks?

sbux

You got it. I’m talking about My Starbucks Rewards™, a star-studded program offered by the elite coffee company.

When I say star-studded, I’m referencing the way in which you earn rewards, and therefore advance levels.

First things first, you’ll have to register a Starbucks card. Essentially you put money onto either a gift card or your Starbucks mobile app and register it for rewards. After that, you’re in and can begin earning stars!

You’ll earn one star each visit you make and pay with your registered card. After five stars, you’ve already hit the Green Level — that’s where I’m at now!

Perks of the Green Level
-Free coffee and tea refills in the store
-Birthday drink

After you accumulate 30 stars within 12 months, you’ve hit the Gold Level.

Perks of the Gold Level
-Sounds cool
-Personalized Gold card (snazzy)
-Free drink or food every 12 stars after hitting Gold level
-All Green level benefits
-Special offers via email and text if you sign up

I’m so mad I didn’t know about this program sooner. I am a sucker for a good rewards/loyalty program, especially when it involves anything FREE. I just keep thinking of all the free refills I could have received by now since I love camping out at Starbucks for hours.

Moving forward, I have a goal to hit Gold level. I’m currently 23 stars away — and I really just started a couple weeks ago.

sbux rewards

I also love paying for Starbucks with my phone via their app. It’s so convenient and easy. Maybe a little too easy to spend 🙂

Starbucks’ site is a little vague when explaining some of the perks like free refills in-store. The Starbucks Melody does a great job of going in-depth into the ambiguity on her blog. She also mentions a few perks I didn’t know existed like free syrups! Check it out.

Please note: I am in no way affiliated with Starbucks. All opinions in this post are my own.

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hanson milk tea #hansonmilktea

I spend a lot of time on Instagram exploring the healthy, fit lifestyle of other instagrammers. The other day I saw a post of a Starbucks beverage hashtagged #hansonmilktea. After poking around I found a Fit instagrammer by the name of Hanson Nguyen who put a twist on an already ‘secret’ beverage at Starbucks called the Black Widow (Iced, 1/2 coffee, 1/2 iced tea).

His drink got dubbed Hanson Milk Tea because it tastes similar to Jasimine Milk Tea, an asian drink usually falling under the category ‘Bubble tea’ because of the tapioca balls in the bottom. It’s gotten pretty popular in only a few days!

So, since I’m always game for a new coffee-related beverage I gave it a try!

Everyone on Instagram was talking about how difficult it was to explain the directions to a Starbucks barista, but mine got it right the first time!

Hanson Milk Tea recipe from @hansonnguyen

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I got mine with only 4 Splenda, because 7 seems way too sweet for me. You can also substitute a natural sweetener, like Stevia or Truvia — I didn’t have any on hand so Splenda it was.

The drink is also low calorie, and low carb, but provides a great pick-me-up. About 50 cal with 0g Protein, 0g Carb, 2-5g Fat.

Anyway, I really, REALLY liked it. I don’t normally get drinks with half n half, so it was sweet, and creamy — something I’m not used to!

I’ll be ordering this drink again and again. Plus, it’s cheap (if your barista only rings it in as an iced tea) at about $2.50 a cup. Who knew I could find such a healthy steal on Instagram!

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public market day

I wrote a couple days ago about farmer’s markets and how they’re awesome for so many reasons. But today I’ll write about the most epic farmer’s market in town: the Rochester Public Market.

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It’s one of my favorite places in the city for several reasons.

1. Cheap produce
2. Mostly local foods in addition to produce like baked goods, syrups, honey, meat, yogurt, cheese, nuts, flowers
3. Great food and coffee
4. Fun environment
5. It’s colorful — especially colorful and pretty in the Fall pre-Halloween. Definitely my favorite time to go.

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I make an effort to go nearly every Saturday morning even if I don't get much. In general I enjoy buying a lot of my produce from other, smaller farmer's markets because it's usually even cheaper, and it's guaranteed local. The Public Market also focuses heavily on local foods, but there's plenty of imported goods -- they're usually easy to spot, and they're still cheaper than your standard grocery store!

Today I got
Pineapple (obviously not local) $2
4-5 medium sweet potatoes $2
5 lemons $1
2 cucumbers $1

Since it's prime Apple season, I usually get those but I got a bunch on Thursday at the farmer's market so I was all set!

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Today I noticed a new Donut stand. They looked and smelled amazing.

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Plus, there's an abundance of coffee/bakery stands and shops.

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Later in the day I treated myself to the holiday 2013 Starbucks Buy One, Get One Free Deal.

Starbucks BOGO

I got an iced Skinny Peppermint Mocha with 2 pumps of peppermint and 2 pumps of mocha. Normally they put 4 pumps of each flavor in a Grande! WAY too much for me so I cut it in half. I think it tastes great still.

Because it was BOGO, the Barista was nice enough to make one iced for me now and one (without ice) for later.

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coffee fridays

TGIF.

One of my favorite coffee treats is an Iced Caramel Coffee with Skim Milk from Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s definitely a treat and I only have them a couple times a month, but I really love the sweet caramel syrup it’s hard to resist getting them as a pick-me-up on hard days.

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I used to get a medium Iced Caramel Coffee w/ Skim from Dunkin every single work day (5 days) when I lived in Boston one summer. That’s probably one of the reasons I packed on about 15 lbs!

170 cal, 0 fat, 39 carb, 4 protein

To keep sane, though, I do allow myself to indulge in this treat every now and again. I’ve also developed more of a taste for coffee so I appreciate drinks that aren’t so sugar-y like this one.

Here are some of my favorite coffee drinks that are better choices!

Skinny Peppermint Mocha (Starbucks) Grande 130 cal, 1.5g fat, 17g carb, 13g protein
Skinny Mocha hot or iced with 2 pumps mocha (Starbucks) Grande 120 cal, ~2g fat, ~25g carb, 13g protein

Did you know Starbucks is having their Holiday Drink Happy Hour? Enjoy!

Starbucks BOGO