An Ode To The Pumpkin Spice Latte

An Ode To The Pumpkin Spice Latte

Many people like to give you a bad reputation. They try to tarnish your good name, but not today. No, today you will be held in the highest regard.
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Pumpkin Spice Latte. PSL, if you may. It is finally your time to shine once again, and I could not be happier.

The moment the first leaves began to change color, I started dreaming of pumpkin everything. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin candles, pumpkin candy-corns, pumpkin patches, and, of course, pumpkin drinks. I started dreaming of you—the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Many people like to give you a bad reputation. They try to tarnish your good name, but not today. No, today you will be held in the highest regard. You are the best of the best, the epitome of what a fall beverage should taste like. Some might even say that your arrival brings about fall itself. I would have to agree.

Whether it is from the nearest Starbucks or the small drive-thru coffee stand on my way to work, a Pumpkin Spice Latte makes any day magical. Some might call me "Basic" when I order a PSL, and I am—Basically living the best life ever, that is.

This year I discovered that there is, in fact, a way to make you even better, my beautiful PSL. Of course, I will always love and cherish you in your pure form, but you have to understand that sometimes we could all use a little help to make us absolutely perfect. What is this glorious concoction, you ask?

I present you with:

The Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte.

Bam. I know. It is OK to be in shock, I was, too, the first time I heard of this incredible drink. Now I have another option when ordinary coffee just won't do. Thank you, PSL for sacrificing your solidarity to make my life even better.

Oh, Pumpkin Spice, if only I could repay you for all that you do for me. You make me happy when skies are gray. You warm me up when I'm walking to class. You are the perfect prop in my brick-wall-background candid pictures I post on Snapchat and Instagram. You give me another reason to laugh at frat boys, who refuse to try you in fear you might deconstruct their fragile masculinity. You are a true blessing to this Earth.

Though you are only here for a limited time, I will forever love you with all of my heart. You are the envy of all fall drinks and the pride of every coffee stand. You allow hipsters to stay trendy. You've given Millennials another thing for the world to hate them for, so thank you—I truly love ruining the world one avocado and PSL at a time.

I know that fall will be over all-too-soon and you will have to leave us until next year. I can only try to not think of it. We have to enjoy the time we have together while we have it. It does not do well to dwell on a future you cannot prevent.

As I finish drinking my PSCTL, I will say goodbye to you. Until tomorrow, that is.

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.
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Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.


6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!


7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.


9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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Top 5 Hidden Gems In Clemson, SC

What are you missing out on in this beautiful South Carolina college town?

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Clemson, South Carolina. Home to the Clemson Tigers, one of the happiest universities in the nation and full of southern hospitality. I'm sure if you live in or near Clemson you know all the main spots to hang, or just grab a bite to eat. Who doesn't know Red Bowl, Spill the Beans or Bowman Field? Maybe you need a new spot, somewhere to quench your thirst for adventure, or maybe you're just tired of the same old same old. Either way, you're going to fall in love with these ten hidden gems, just as I have.

1. Yolk Asian Kitchen

Whether you're coming to Yolk for the made in house ginger ale, the stone rice bowls, or the kimchi tater tots; you'll always leave satisfied.

Located across from Mellow Mushroom (because you surely know where that is), this small restaurant has a very special place in my heart. I mean, 5 minutes from campus, good prices, and vegetarian options? What more can be said?

2. Todaro Pizza

Todaro Pizza. This small pizza shop that has the right amount of crust, to sauce, to greasiness and cheesiness. Everything aligns perfectly on these large slices of heaven. Not to mention, dollar slice nights every Wednesday from 6:00-11:00 p.m.

3. All In Coffee Shop

This small (but not really so small, its got amazingly spacious seating inside) cafe features pastries like your grandma would make, a bountiful selection of coffees and bubble tea offered every Wednesdays. This place is home to many of my study sessions, friendly conversations, and my large consumption of almond milk caramel lattes.

4. The Barnes Center

Now, I know this one may not be very hidden to those students who live on campus (particularly the high-rises) but, some may not know about the weekend events hosted here (and at least this one isn't completely food related). Whether it's game nights, DIY sessions, or cupcake wars: this spot on Clemson's Campus is a smorgasbord for bored college students.

5. Brackett Hall

Now, of course, if you're a student this building is not much of a secret. Many of us have had classes, exams or walked past this building many times. Though this building is underrated in the fact that in the evening it's one of the quietest places to study, with rows of tables and computers lining the bottom floor. (It even has a secret lounge for geology majors!)

I know these spots are great places to hang out with my friends and as a freshman, they've almost become little spots of home to me. Hopefully, these small little gems in this college town will quench your adventurous thirst and bring some spice to your life!

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