January 2, 2014 (USA TODAY) - A meal of fish and chips was a welcome change at 12:03 a.m. on Jan. 1 for a Seattle woman who had just completed a year-long challenge to eat only Starbucks products.
Beautiful Existence (yes, that is her real name) says she committed herself to consuming only Starbucks-affiliated drinks and foods, including Roy Street Coffee & Tea, Tazo Tea and Evolution Fresh, for 365 days.
Existence, who is an employee and student at Bellevue College in Washington, informed Starbucks at the beginning of the challenge. She used her website, For 1 Year of My Life, to track her progress as she had done with previous challenges. Existence says in 2011 she shopped only at Goodwill and in 2012 she followed the advice in Parents magazine and applied it to her life.
"I just have a natural curiosity to find out about companies and how things work in the world," Existence told USA TODAY Network.
She admits this challenge was a bit harder than previous ones.
"I had to deal with a lot of food changes as they introduced products on a continuous basis," she said. "And if I didn't plan accordingly, Starbucks would be closed."
For example, her Thanksgiving meal left much to be desired. She mainly ate grapes, eggs, cheese, apple slices and a bagel.
She says the challenge cost her $500 to $600 a month for food, except for the last month which cost more than $800. Existence decided to do it alone, though she said her husband and her 3-year-old and 11-year-old sons were supportive.
Since Starbucks is based in Seattle and the city has many coffeehouse options, Existence says the geographic location helped her succeed. Plus, she was contacted by Starbucks' public relations department to have lunch in the cafeteria of the headquarters. She brought along her sister.
Existence says the best part is that she didn't gain much weight. "I'm a typical woman and my weight fluctuates a bit," she said. "But I didn't see higher weight gain even when I had more Frappuccinos."
A Starbucks spokeswoman told USA TODAY Network that Existence was not paid for her challenge.
So what is Existence's challenge for 2014? Learning more about sports from REI in Washington.