Girl on a Budget: How to Make the Ultimate Homemade Latte

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When the Pumpkin Spice & Toasted Graham Lattes start to roll out, I’m in big trouble. Pretty soon my weekend-only Starbucks rule turns into every morning on my way to work. “It brightens up my day!”, I justify it to myself. I've found that the only way for me to stick to my coffee budget is to try to make even more fantastic lattes at home. The perfect mug, a cute yet cost-effective espresso machine, my favorite coffee beans, the right amount of foam – little splurges now that will save money in the long run. Here are a few cute finds to help you gear up at home before those Gingerbread and Chestnut Praline Lattes hit the streets, and your wallet!

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The Capresso machine from Sur La Table is what I use at home, for only $59 it’s a steal. I ordered the 49th Parallel espresso beans from my favorite Vancouver coffee shop, because serious change requires serious beans! For the foam, you can use the steamer on the Capresso machine but I prefer to use the Bodum Milk Frother most mornings. (I've tried generic brands, but Bodum is worth the extra penny, and also makes way better foam than the battery-operated wands.) 

How to make perfect latte foam

Pour about 1/3 cup cold milk into the glass Bodum beaker until it hits the line. (I use 2%, the higher the fat content the better the foam.) Move the plunger up and down for about 30 seconds until the milk turns into foam. Let it sit for about 20 seconds, and then warm it up in the microwave for another 20 seconds. Spoon over your espresso or coffee. Also delicious over iced coffee! 

Tip for the clumsy: If you break the glass beaker, you can replace it with a wide mouth mason jar and it works just as well.

Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte


  • 3/4 cups warm milk
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin spice latte syrup (try Torani brand available at World Market)
  • foam on top + whipped cream and cinnamon, if desired

Fall Style Trends - September

Fall Style

While it's still beach weather here in Manhattan Beach, I can sense a Fall crispness in the air, really I can! (Or maybe it's all the football & pumpkin spice lattes I've been indulging in lately.) I've gathered up some Fall finds, including this cozy Banana Republic sweater that I've practically been living in! And if you're looking for a show that you can stay home & binge watch to, I highly recommend HBO's The Night Of, an 8 part crime drama series, so good!!

BR Crew Neck Sweater  /  Adidas by Stella  / Mermaid Blanket  /  J Crew Betty Sunglasses  / Norden Ceramic Candle  /  Aurore Ring