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.

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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​21 Things You Need To Do The Year You Turn 21

Cheers to twenty-fun!

There’s a reason people call 21 "twenty-fun." This is one of those years that has the potential to beat all others. All you need are some great friends, a spirit hungry for adventure, and this list of 21 crucial things to fill your year with.

1. Get carded as often as possible.

There’s pretty much no better feeling than when you’re finally 21 and you can order drinks with no fear of being turned down.

2. Tell people what you want with #NoRagrets.

This year is no longer the year to hold in your thoughts out of fear that you don’t deserve what you want. Decide on your dreams (life, career, whatever) and shout them from the rooftops.

3. Find your “Go to Hell” outfit.

You know the one – that outfit you feel so good in that you could tell literally anyone to “go to hell” without blinking an eye. Yep. Buy it. Own it. Kill it.

4. Experience more than normal.

Look at life through someone else’s eyes, visit another country, practice empathy. There’s more to life than black and white. Just experience a little more than your normal. You’ll be a better person for it.

5. Kill the LinkedIn game.

It’s cool to be professional AF.

6. Go on a few dates.

With your significant other, mom, dad, best friends, that stranger you’ve been crushing on, yourself.

7. Learn how to be comfortable with uncomfortable.

Not everything is going to be your cup of tea and not everyone is going to be exactly like you. Learn to appreciate everyone’s differences and your days will get a little brighter.

8. Find a quality genre of music and stick with it.

Top 40 is cool and all, but there are so many genres out there so don’t be afraid to grow your musical palette.

9. Treat yo-damn-self.

To a nice meal out. To those new shoes. To that second Starbucks. To that big piece of cake. To that crazy concert. Self-love is important, too.

10. Strike up conversations with as many strangers as you can.

You never know who you could meet if you just take a second to talk to the person in line in front of you or walking the same way as you. This is the age to form good networking habits.

11. Explain why your license isn’t flipped the ‘right’ way.

Yes, you’re really 21. You just haven’t gotten your new flipped ID yet.

12. Make your forever friends.

What’s life without your forever friends?

13. Gym so hard.

Hit up the gym and eat some spinach every once in a while. It’s good for ya.

14. Buy your parents drinks.

Imagine how funny (or scaring) it’ll be hearing your dad tell the hot bartender some of his ‘high-quality’ dad jokes.

15. Splurge a little money.

Like I said before, treat yo-damn-self.

16. Save a little money.

But, treat yo-damn-self within reason. Your future self will thank you.

17. Always give a solid tip at restaurants.

A nice tip can go a long way… and I mean the monetary kind.

18. Perfect your Insta game.

Juno? Ludwig? Valencia? Choose your favorite filter and throw it over everything. Whether it be your #foodie lunch or your beach pics, find your ~aesthetic~ and stick with it.

19. Make sure your jerk radar is properly calibrated.

This will get you so far in life and save you so much wasted time.

20. Cross a few things off your bucket list.

If you don’t have a bucket list, now’s the time to make one and start checking things off one-by-one. You’ll never realize how much you’ve really done until you see a big list with a bunch of marks through it.

21. Live. A lot.

Okay, so maybe 9+10 is not 21 (#RIPVine), but this is a huge year for you. This might be your last big birthday before the big 5-0 so make sure you’re always living every moment to the fullest.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren LeBouef

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10 Fish That You Can Add To Your New Desktop Aquarium

Even with their small size, they can still be beautifully decorated with pieces of driftwood, small stones, artificial or live plants and/or aquarium safe décor.


A desktop aquarium adds natural beauty and life into any office, dorm room or apartment. Desktop aquariums are 10-gallons or less and generally used to house small freshwater fish. Even with their small size, they can still be beautifully decorated with pieces of driftwood, small stones, artificial or live plants and/or aquarium safe décor.

It's important to note that tanks less than three gallons should be avoided since they are harder to maintain, and there are very few fish that can live in such a small environment. A desktop aquarium can still be low maintenance if you don't overfeed the fish or overstock the tank. The one inch per gallon rule helps to determine how many peaceful community fish (up to two inches) you can keep in your tank. To avoid overfeeding, only feed as much as they can eat in one minute or two to three medium flakes or two to four 1mm pellets for each one–two-inch fish. If you have a local pet store in your area that specializes in aquariums, try taking a visit there since they often have fish and supplies that you won't find elsewhere. People who work at local fish stores also tend to have more experience in the hobby than those at Petsmart or Petco. Here are the top ten easiest and most beautiful fish for a desktop aquarium.

1. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

White Clouds have a silvery white stripe down their lateral line and red fins and grow to be about 1.5 inches. They prefer cool waters, 64°-72°F (18°-22°C) with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. They can live in tanks as small as five-gallons and don't require a heater. White Clouds also prefer a strong current, so a sponge filter isn't the best option. They will readily accept most flakes, micro pellets and freeze-dried foods available for small community fish.

2. Betta/Siamese Fighting fish

Bettas are a super popular beginner fish that can live in just a gallon of water. They don't require aeration because they have a labyrinth organ that allows them to take in air when the dissolved oxygen level is low. Bettas come in a rainbow of different colors and a wide variety of tail patterns from veil tail to crown tail to Twin Tail. They require warmer waters between 75° and 86°F (24°-30°C) with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. Male Bettas should be kept alone, without any tank-mates, if they are in tanks less than 10 gallons. Female bettas can be kept in groups of odd numbers if they are in a tank over 5-gallons. Male Bettas also shouldn't be kept in the same tank without a divider (hence the name Siamese Fighting Fish). They are carnivores and should be fed pellets and occasionally freeze-dried brine shrimp or bloodworms.

3. Endler's Livebearer

The Endler's livebearer is a very colorful and tiny tropical fish that can thrive in a small aquarium. Endler's livebearers look like guppies, but smaller, only growing up to an inch long. These fish come in a variety of brilliant colors and patterns, ranging from red to neon green or yellow with cobra pattern. They can live in water temperatures from 64°- 82°F(18°-28°C) with a pH between 5.5 and 8.0. Endler's livebearers are omnivores and should have a diet of flakes and freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, or brine shrimp.

4. Chili Rasbora

The Chili Rasbora is an easy-to-keep fish that displays a brilliant ruby red color with a black stripe. Chili Rasboras are schooling fish that should be kept in groups of five or more. Since they only grow to a little under an inch, they are suitable for really small tanks. Chili rasboras prefer temperatures from 68°-82°F(18°-28°C), pH from 4-7 and low water flow-since they are so tiny. They accept micro-pellets, crushed flakes, and baby brine shrimp or cyclopods.

5. Sparkling Gourami

The Sparkling Gourami is another beautiful yet hardy fish for a small tank. These fish have a golden body with specks of iridescent red and fins with blue and green spots. Like bettas, they are a Labyrinth fish and do fine in lower dissolved oxygen levels. These fish grow to be about 1.5 inches. They prefer temperatures between 77 °F and 83 °F (25 °-28 °C), a pH between 6.0 and 7.5 and lots of plants. Sparkling Gourami should be fed algae-based flake foods along with freeze-dried bloodworms or brine shrimp.

6. Japanese Ricefish/Medaka

Japanese Ricefish can live on cooler water from 64° to 72°F and are very adaptable to different water parameters. They grow to be about 1.5 inches long and will accept a variety of dry and frozen foods as well as vegetable matter. They prefer densely planted tanks.

7. Fancy Guppy

Fancy guppies are very popular for small aquariums. They grow to be two inches long come in a very wide range of colors, from purple to lemon yellow to red to cobra etc. Fancy guppies should be kept in a tank of at least five gallons with water temperature 64-82° F, and pH 5.5-8.0. They will readily accept flakes, micro-pellets, and freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, or brine shrimp. Guppies are also relatively easy to breed.

8. Rosy Loach

Rosy loaches grow to be between one and 1.5 inches long. Males are light pink/peach in color and females are grey with a black stripe. They can be kept in tanks as small as three gallons with a temperature of 68-78°F and a pH from 6-8. Rosy loaches prefer to be kept in planted tanks. They can be fed sinking pellets or tablets and occasionally some daphnia, blood worms, or brine shrimp.

9. Clown Killifish

Clown Killifish have yellow and black vertical bars and a blue and red striped tail. They should be kept in a tank that is at least five gallons. A lid is highly recommended since they are jumpers. The water temperature should be between 73 and 79° F and a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. They prefer brine shrimp and tubifex, but will also accept flake foods.

10. Pygmy cory catfish

While catfish are not a good option for small tanks, the Pygmy Cory is an exception. They have a stripe that runs the length of their body and grows to be only an inch long. Pygmy Cories prefer to be in groups and should be kept in a tank with a sandy substrate for them to sift through. The water temperature from 72-79°F with a pH between 6.4 and 7.4. They will accept a diet of sinking pellets and freeze-dried foods.

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