The Pumpkin-Lovers Guide To 2017's Best And Worst Pumpkin Spice Products

The Pumpkin-Lovers Guide To 2017's Best And Worst Pumpkin Spice Products

The 11 things I tried so you don't have to.
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If you're like me, September is your favorite month of the year because that means the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks is finally back. I happily ignore all of the comments exclaiming how "basic" I am and manage to take a Snapchat of my PSL. This year, it seems like almost every major brand is trying to hop on the "pumpkin spice train," and I thought I would put my love of pumpkin to good use and try almost everything I can, so you don't have to. I'll rate things on a scale of 1 to 5 pumpkins, five being the best and one being the worst. Just call me you "pumpkin spice fairy godmother."

1. Pumpkin Spice Tazo Chai Tea

I was so excited to try this tea, but I had the hardest time finding it! If you're a chai tea lover then this is for you, but sadly I'm only giving it a 3 out of 5 pumpkins. It tasted just like chai tea, but I didn't pick up any hint of pumpkin. Although it didn't have a pumpkiny flavor, I would definitely buy it again.

2. Pumpkin Spice M&M's

Y'ALL. These little morsels were FANTASTIC. 5 out of 5 pumpkins! The pumpkin spice hits you right in the face as soon as you open the bag and the taste is out of this world.

3. Pumpkin Spice Special K Cereal

I was very excited to try this since I'm a lover of Special K chocolate cereal. However, this was probably the biggest letdown. I'm giving this a 1 out of 5 pumpkins. Unless you happened to get one of the pumpkin spice clusters on your spoon, you didn't get to indulge in any pumpkin spice.

4. Pumpkin Spice Quaker Oatmeal

Y'all, another letdown. I didn't taste any sort of pumpkin spice in this oatmeal. I'm an oatmeal lover, so I was super excited for this but I have to give it 2 out of 5 pumpkins.

5. Pumpkin Spice Oreos

This had to be the BEST ITEM ON THIS LIST. Oreo isn't messing around guys! What I love about these cookies is the fact that they taste more like pumpkin pie rather than pumpkin spice. Rather than getting a mouth full of cinnamon and allspice, you can actually taste the pumpkin. 5 out of 5 pumpkins!!!

6. Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

You'd think this would be a good combination in an ideal world. However this didn't even smell, let alone taste, like pumpkin spice. To be quite frank, it didn't even taste like chocolate. 0 out of 5 pumpkins.

7. Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

There's a reason Cheerios is the king of all cereal. They can do no wrong. This cereal wasn't super in your face with pumpkin spice, but the taste was definitely there. However, I wouldn't call it subtle.This is a good example of the perfect amount of pumpkin spice. 5 out of 5 pumpkins

8. Pumpkin Spice Chobani Flip Yogurt

I'll be honest, I was dreading this item. Pumpkin yogurt doesn't sound like it would be the best combination. Boy, was I wrong. The flip cup comes with pumpkin yogurt with sugared pecans and sweetened pie crust pieces that can be tossed in with the yogurt and it is SO GOOD. 4 out of 5 pumpkins.

9. Pumpkin Spice CVS Cough Drops

Okay, okay, okay. I know this sounds disgusting, but hear me out! I always have cough drops on me, whether it's in my book bag, my purse, or my car. I just love cough drops. So you know when I hear about these I bought about a million bags. Honestly, they aren't bad! Yes, they taste like cough drops so that they have menthol flavor but they're my new favorite. They taste like if big red came out with a cough drop. They have a lot of cinnamon flavor, but almost no pumpkin flavor. 3 out of 5 pumpkins.

10. Pumpkin Spice Wheaties

This has to be my favorite cereal right now. I think Wheaties came out on top and even trumped Cheerios! The cereal itself is orange and the taste is to die for. It's not too much, but it is definitely noticeable. 5 out of 5 pumpkins.

11. Pumpkin Spice International Delight Coffee Creamer

It's like having Starbucks in your kitchen making your own PSL. Do I need to say anymore? 5 out of 5 pumpkins.

* * *

I know there are many more pumpkin spice flavored products on the shelves of Target, but these were the ones that stuck out to me that I knew I would enjoy. If you're anything like me, you probably wish pumpkin spice would stick around year round! However, the sad reality is that it can't, so we might as well try to stock up as much as we can! #PSL FOREVER!

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:” Line Matters,

I want to start off by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can’t afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you’re just lazy and you “don’t feel like it”? Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you’re unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the US Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck.” stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:” line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can’t seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to ten people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!”

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the seventeen other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there’s a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 dollar bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of ten times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession - whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food, and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a forty dollar bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes - as if you’re better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you’ll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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My Experience As A Caregiver

I have respect for anyone who takes care of other people.

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Last summer I took up the onerous job of being a caregiver for a home healthcare service. Although I found a different job for this summer, one that aligns more closely with what I'm actually interested in, I would never take back the hard work and dedication that I put into being a caretaker last year because I learned so much and genuinely feel like I made in a difference in the lives of the people whom I helped. At least I know they made a difference in mine.

Being a caregiver helped me overcome simple fears that I've had for years. For instance, I've always hated driving in areas I'm unfamiliar with, but going to a different home every day in neighborhoods that could be up to 50 minutes away from my house made me much more comfortable navigating new places, especially during construction season. I also got over my fear of blood, or have at least learned how to cope with it, by taking the blood sugar of some of the people that I helped take care of.

I was taught lessons that I never would have imagined to learn from a summer job. For the first time in my life I had to cook and I didn't even get to enjoy the food I made. But cooking was just a simple skill I learned. I also realized the importance of patience, and working with ninety-year-olds helped me gain a better perspective on life.

But what last summer truly taught me was the value of the people who spend their time giving back to those who need hands-on help. Caretakers, nurses, moms, doctors, dads, counselors, you name it: they're all life savers and what they do isn't easy.

After working nine hour shifts, traveling to different houses throughout the day and helping people do the simplest tasks, by the time I got home I felt proud but exhausted. I rarely had the energy to take care of myself because I had been so focused on others all day. I also realized that a "bad day" couldn't exist for me because my job required diligence and compassion at every moment.

And my job was easy compared to doctors who go to school for years to work in the medical field or stay-at-home moms who spend every waking second watching their children. I'm so grateful for my experiences as a caretaker, but I accept the fact that that type of work isn't for me. Now more than ever I'm endlessly appreciative of those who spend every single day helping people. Not everyone can do the work that a caregiver does.


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