Heartsleeves Coffee Comes to OC

I’m feeling kind of nostalgic right now. I did something I waited 30 years to do; it was at this time last year I resigned from my safe, corporate job and did something I dreamt of doing since I discovered the wonderful flavor that is a cappuccino.IMG_1811

On Sept 4, 2018, Heartsleeves Coffee opened in Orange County and brought independent, craft coffee to Aliso Viejo.

I waited 30 years to have a coffeeshop and this was my magic day.  IMG_1415

Let me back up…

Brandi Kirschbaum is the brains, operations and creative genius behind Heartsleeves Coffee and I got the share her dream after a fateful meeting in San Diego. 

It all started when I, the reluctant business traveler, went to San Diego for a professional, corporate trainer conference.

Our love story is not the focus of this tale, but it does explain how we opened a craft coffeeshop in Orange County.fullsizeoutput_1b5e

I’ll save the love story for another blog post.

Back to how Heartsleeves Coffee came to Aliso Viejo.

While in SD, I walked into Heartsleeves Coffee, met Brandi— instant chemistry— team saw the sparks ⚡️ and next thing you know she is closing the SD shop on a high note and moving up north to be with me. 

We got the opportunity of a lifetime and decided to take over a space in Aliso Viejo. 

We signed the paperwork and celebrated both my dream and hers of having a coffeeshop with someone they love. IMG_1418

We did a soft opening on September 4, 2018.

We shared our love of craft coffee.

Brandi was killing it with her amazing coffee cocktail like concoctions and I couldn’t have been more proud.

We were an awesome team and we learned that we can handle anything together. We had fun sharing craft coffee with Aliso, but we were both burning out with the hours we were keeping. It was time to walk away knowing we did something that hadn’t been done and we did it together. 


We opened our doors on September 4, 2018 but sadly we closed them a few short months afterwards. We weren’t defeated; we were pleased with our achievement: Heartsleeves Coffee brought independent, craft coffee to Aliso Viejo.


Here’s to doing something great babe. I know because we did this that we can do anything. 

Thanks for taking me on a ride through coffeeshop life. IMG_4951







Next stop…

Drinking Nostalgia aka Pumpkin Spice

There seems to be a love/hate issue when it comes to Pumpkin Spice coffee drinks.IMG_1759

I am in the love category.

I love the change of season; I love the smell of spices whether it be pumpkin, apple or cinnamon.

I love, love, LOVE Halloween.

It’s my favorite time of year.

I look forward to pumpkin-flavored everything!

When I was a kid and up until I was a teenager, my mom would decorate the whole house with fall-colored leaves and fall-scented candles. She loved to decorate as much as I loved her to do it. My family and I carved pumpkins and made salted pumpkin seeds from the slimy guts of the orange gourds. For me pumpkin spice reminds me of my favorite time of year: for me, I’m drinking nostalgia.

I remember one year, my mom made a crock pot of apple cider; it made the house smell so yummy. It was like drinkable potpourri.

My pumpkin-spice friends and I get giddy for this time of year. We love to share pumpkin memes and Halloween messages. We look forward to pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin creamer in our coffee; I am not sure if they feel like they are drinking nostalgia. I am just happy they want to share a pumpkin-flavored coffee with me.



How Many Cups of Coffee Do You Drink A Day?


This is a question I get asked a lot and the answer might surprise you.

How many cups of coffee a day do you think I drink?

Do you think I drink a pot a day? Maybe 20 espressos?


fullsizeoutput_14c9Surprisingly, I only drink 2-3 cups of coffee on a normal day and 3-4 on a heavy day.

My usual coffee ritual is 2 cups in the morning and one in the afternoon. But sometimes I’ll have 2 in the morning, then one in the afternoon and one in the early evening. It also depends on what I am working on and what I want from the coffee.

When I am writing or working on a project I will want more coffee to sustain my mood and help me stay creative. Coffee is ritualistic for me. IMG_2717

The smell, the taste, the sight, the sound, the warmth: all of these elements are part of the enjoyment for me. For example, if I am stuck, I’ll stop and hold the mug, inhale the scent and close my eyes. Let the aroma bang around in my head and see what sparks appear when I open my eyes again.

I don’t drink coffee for the “buzz” or zing these days. I used to when I was younger and needed the charge of energy from coffee.
My military days were my major coffee habit days; I had a very physically demanding job and I was also in my 20s. I lived on at least a pot of coffee with a few Mountain Dews thrown in for good measure.

img_0039.jpgThe coffee was usually free, but sometimes you had to put in some quarters to the Chief. It was worth it. It was black, mud, tar-like and needed sugar and creamer. It did the job and was worth the coinage. Besides the walk down the hall and into the Chief’s office was part of the charm. That’s where all the action was. So not only was it needed for the job, it was where my team hung out. 

IMG_3785Long gone are my pot of coffee days. I drank enough coffee one night to give me the shakes and make the room wobbly and freaked me out.
So I never did that again. That was before the military so lesson learned. My friends and I were having a writers’ night at Carrow’s and we drank and wrote and drank and wrote. I felt the whole room shake and it wasn’t an earthquake; it was me on too much coffee. It was scary and I told no one, just ordered some fries and tried to make the shaking stop.

Coffee is communal. Coffee is ritualistic. Coffee is life. If I didn’t drink coffee I wouldn’t put any liquids in my body. Coffee is all I drink in a day. 2-3 cups or 3-4 cups is how I keep myself going.