Because I am an unrepentant cheapskate who thinks that Thomas Jefferson would have included “free parking” in his list of inalienable rights if there had been cars in the 18th century, I park several blocks away from where I work. On pretty days, this is actually a wonderful setup, because the walk gives me some time to shake off the cobwebs and think about the things I have to accomplish — and I can feel good that I’ve taken a bit of exercise. 

And then there are the mornings where the wind whips up off the river with what seems to me to be premeditated and murderous intent. I put on layers, I pull up the hood on my coat — it helps, but doesn’t cure.

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But all is not lost.

Lucky for me, my walk to work takes me right by Boulevard Bread Company’s River Market Location, which gives me the best reason I can think of to step inside and warm up: fresh pastries. There are usually a few beauties made up of flaky dough and stuffed with jam — and when I can score one with almonds (like I did today) so much the better. One short trip through the office microwave and I’ve got a piping hot homemade pastry ready to go. Boulevard has dine-in tables, of course, but the self-serve, grab-and-go pastry option is perfect for people like me who have a bad habit of eating at their desks.

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Boulevard has great coffee, too, but I don’t normally get it. This has everything to do with my inability to walk while holding hot liquids. And besides, the office provides us with Westrock Coffee, and it’s probably the best office coffee I’ve ever had. 

I was first introduced to Westrock at a coffee cupping event at The Savory Pantry in Hot Springs, and I enjoyed both their quality products and their enthusiasm. Westrock’s commitment to paying fair prices to coffee farmers impressed me, and their mission of helping the communities in which their coffee is grown is admirable. On top of all that, the coffee’s pretty good, too — especially drunk out of a chipped mugged adorned with adorable kittens (as you do).

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Our local weather folks are all over Twitter this morning talking about how cold it’s about to get today. I got news for them: it’s already cold. “Oh,” they say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” I pour another round into my kitten mug and take a bite of pastry. “We’ll get through this together,” I say, and the pastry is gone.