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The Dunkin’ Cup

A while back I got this cup from my work.  It's a 24 ounce BPA free insulated tumbler.  On the outside it's covered bottom to top with Dunkin' Donuts logos and various refreshing beverages that they sell.  And between all the logos and such, at the bottom, in very small print, it states that I am entitled to 99 cent refills until June 20th.  Pretty awesome!  I've taken advantage of this several times over for both iced tea and coffee.  But, given that after June 20th, I'd no longer get a deal on iced tea or coffee... Well, I wondered how it would work if I made my own iced beverage?

I decided a little while back, soon after I got the cup, to try it out.  This idea actually originally came out of me not being able to find the green iced tea, that they have on their website, in a store.  So my initial batch ended up being an iced green tea.  But then I tried other types of teas too.  And, eventually,  it worked great!  I've been experimenting with steep times, how much ice to use, to put a lemon in or not.  To use green tea, or black tea.  After several failed and successful attempts I've figured out the perfect amount of everything....

So this is my own version of homemade iced tea, made in what I will call "The Dunkin' Cup".

If it's morning, to add a little extra kick, I start with two different black teas (I just use the bulk loose tea they have at Wegmans), or if it's afternoon I'll do two green teas so that the caffeine content is less, but it's still got some kick.  Evening time is a white tea, because that tea has almost nothing as far as caffeine goes.  Then I'll add a mint tea (also available in bulk at Wegmans).  I tried other herbal teas, such as lemongrass, or chamomile (chamomile is only really good hot, and works best on its own or with mint or lemongrass, it definitely doesn't ice well), but mint is really the one that works best.  I brew about half the amount that I normally do for hot tea and double the steep time.

Once that is all set it's time to add the ice.  Now, I like to put the lemon in first.  That way it stays at the bottom and really flavors things up.  I decided to go with organic lemon since pesticides lurking in or on the peel can be bad for your health.  I cut up a whole bag of organic lemons and froze them.  Then when I go to grab my ice, I put a frozen lemon in first, and add ice on top.  I fill the cup to the brim with ice.  The ice is Brita filtered water.  As well, I used Brita filtered water for steeping the tea too.  I'm a fan of Brita.  Keeps the taste pure, and it's super cheap to replace those filters!

Anyways, so then you pour the hot steeped black or green tea, and mint tea, over the ice.  It makes its way down to the lemon and starts to mix and match together.  I like to let it sit for a good 15 minutes to really start to thaw the lemon and soak it up.

Then, drink up!  You can add sugar if you'd like.  I just do it straight up unsweetened.

As far as steeping the bulk loose tea, I recommend buying disposable one time use tea bags.  The problem with loose tea is that it can get messy.  I used to steep in all sorts of containers and then try to dump the leaves in the trash, but they get EVERYWHERE.  It's a pain.  Just use the paper tea bags.  You can buy them at Wegmans, or Whole Foods or order them online. They are about 6 dollars for 100 bags.  So 6 cents per bag, and they are spacious, so you can only need one bag per steep.

I didn't try making iced coffee because I only drink it every so often.  I drink iced tea sometimes a couple times a day, so I decided to go with that.

Since The Dunkin' Cup has a bit of a disposable feel to it, I'm considering replacing it soon with a much more robust alternative.  I'm probably going to go with a 24 ounce Tervis Tumbler.  Like, maybe this fun turtle one:

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Some of My Netflix Favorites (As of May 2015)

I've had Netflix for a few years now.  Over the years I've gotten really into a number of TV shows and movies.  I'm looking forward to finding other great shows and movies.  Then I'll be whisked away once again into to the world of many more delightful dramas, off the wall comedies and other fun genres.  Of the shows that I've seen I have some favorites that stand out in my mind, and I figured why not share them?  So, here goes...



Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Current favorite.  This show is super funny.  My favorite character is Titus Andromedon.  He just has soo many lines that REALLY crack me up.  Edgy comedy.  They've pulled out all the stops on this one.  Definitely check this show out if you want a good laugh.  Great paired with a glass of wine or craft beer.  Also goes well with takeout, Chinese or pizza.  As I write this Wikipedia says that season two is slated for release in Spring of 2016.  At the moment there's only one season, so savor each episode.  Although, more are on the way it seems, so it's also ok if you binge watch in one sitting!



Orange Is the New Black

I feel like this needs no introduction.  OITNB for short.  Season three is supposed to come out in June.  I, for one, seriously can't hardly wait!  The ending on season two was pretty great and I'm excited to see what happens next.  This show will be one of my all time favorites, probably forever. I love how they really get into the backstory of all the characters and how each one ended up in prison.  The show is based on a book that I haven't read yet, but I'd love to pick that up in the near future for a bit of summer reading.  This show is best paired with craft beer and a nice burger (I've tried burgers from Five Guys, Elevation Burger, Whole Foods, and Shake Shake).  Or one of those bursting at the seams Chipotle Mexican Grill burritos if you don't dig burgers.  If you haven't seen this show at all hurry up and binge watch the heck out of the first two seasons so you can be ready to watch the third!


Peaky Blinders (TV series)

This show will leave you wanting to travel back in time almost one hundred years and head out to the races wearing your Sunday's best.  It may also leave you speaking with a British accent.  Unlike the other two, it's not a comedy, it's a historical fiction or crime drama, or both.  This show may not appeal to everyone, there's a bit of violence in it, and it gets real serious.  Like, "oh wow, things just got real" type of real serious.  But, I will say the plot really does hook you in.  And they have a habit of leaving massive cliff hangers at the end of each episode.  There are currently two seasons of this show, but I'm certain there are more in the works, at least I hope so, they left the second season all kinds of open ended... I'd pair this show with a glass of whisky of your choice, on ice.  And some kind of imported British beer after if you'd like to get extra tipsy.  This is more of a make your own dinner type of show.  Especially a traditional meal of some sort, or just fish and chips.  I feel like you could pair this with fish and chips and whisky and it would work pretty well.  I'd also break out some plates and forks that remind you of the turn of the century to eat it off of.  When I say turn of the century I mean the one BEFORE this current one, the show takes place just after World War One, so we're talking 1919.


How I Met Your Mother

Had to include this show.  I'm on, I think season eight?  Or something like that.  Yeah, I'm fairly certain I'm on season eight.  If you haven't seen this show, it's definitely worth adding to your list.  Hashtag HIMYM.  This is a good background show, something to keep on while hanging out with friends, or doing work, or basically any project where you need something else in the background.  It's an all around feel good funny show.  There's SOOOO many hilarious lines by all of the characters, but if you miss part of it you'll still be able to follow along.  Great guest appearances as well.  I wouldn't suggest pairing this one with a meal.  More like, snacks.  Party mix, some kind of mixed or honey roasted peanuts.  You could also do chips and dip with this one, or guacamole if you're feeling fancy.  Could even make your own guac if you're feeling extra fancy.  Maybe sip on an iced coffee or iced tea, or some sort of soft drink if it's mid afternoon on a Saturday and you're thirsty.  Feel free to binge watch the heck out of this show just because there are tons of episodes to get through.  Points if you can NOT think of Alyson Hannigan as Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  For the first three or four seasons I thought of her as Willow instead.  But now I can see her as Lily.  Just took a little while.


In Your Eyes (2014 film)

Need to have at least one movie.  I LOVE this movie.  Absolutely love it.  You have no idea.  It's super cute/adorable.  No lie, I'd be totally cool with this if I woke up one morning and a girl from across the country was talking to me in my head.  How much fun would that be?  No one else would know.  You just carry this person around with you, chat with them while you're picking up movie/TV show snack supplies at the store to munch on while watching Netflix later that evening and chatting with them while they watch the same Netflix show you are at the same time.  I guess I just gave away some of the movie plot, but it happens fairly early on and you'll still love it, I swear.  If you haven't watched this one, do it.  You really will love it, I promise.  I'd pair this one with a nice fancy cookbook type of dinner.  Start by browsing and picking something nice to make (or if you're feeling old school, go with a hardcover cook book).  Next hit up the store and pick up the ingredients, start prepping, maybe watch one of the previously mentioned shows, like HIMYM on Netflix while you are prepping/cooking.  Definitely do a nice glass of wine, go for the good stuff.  I'd say go as far as lighting candles and dimming the lights, throw on some comfy clothes.  Indulge in some kind of desert after the dinner, maybe a nice chocolate cake or some chocolate covered strawberries... you know, something like that.  This is a "go all in" type of movie.  Indulge yourself and enjoy a treat yourself right Saturday night type of movie.

There are many others movies and shows that I've enjoyed, but these were some of my absolute favorites.  I hope you've enjoyed my Netflix and food/drink pairing post.  And if anyone has any suggestions let me know!  I'm always looking for new content to check out.

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Duster Buster

So, I spent part of today shopping online for a hand vac (AKA a DustBuster, just in case you're not sure what a DustBuster is here's the wikipedia on it:

Yes, so there I am, I'm searching like Target/Walmart/Home Depot/Amazon for a hand vac/DustBuster.  I thought I had found the one I wanted:

I mean look at those features, and the pet hair tool that it comes with too is pretty snazzy I must say.  I liked a lot about that hand vac.  Then I started reading reviews and found that it was using an old and uncool Ni-Cad battery.  Apparently the "cool" hand vacs all use lithium ion and such.  So then I started looking up other hand vacs that use a lithium ion battery instead of a Ni-Cad one.  As well the filter apparently is only washable on some special version that no one seems to know how to buy.  I guess Black & Decker makes it, but they don't sell it in any of the stores?  The reviews seemed to be quite confusing and mysterious as to how to acquire one of these versions with the washable filter.  I kept reading various reviews on that one hand vac and it just didn't seem to be the one for me.  It had lots of positive reviews and people said they did love it, but there were a few snags.  It's a great little vacuum for sure, but I started to get the vibe there are better options out there.  As well it seemed like the last refresh of that product was almost five years ago.  I kind of want something a bit newer and up to date.  Also, I wasn't sure I really needed the crazy long hose that it comes with or all those different attachments.  Maybe just a crevice tool would do.

I decided, ok, I'm going to make a list of features I want in a DustBuster.  I started jotting down ideas from the reviews and looked up sites from the major hand vac manufactures.  I made a quick and short list.

-Lithium ion battery.  Apparently it doesn't fade in power and suction like the Ni-Cad ones do.  It stays strong long and then just cuts off at the very end.  They are also much lighter.  Seems like a winning combination to me!

-Washable filter.  I don't want to have to be buying and swapping out paper filters.  I feel like models for products change all the time and any time I have something that requires replacement filters or part, they make the filters/parts for about a year after you buy the thing and then you can't find replacements anywhere.  This happened with my shaver and this one turtle filter thing I bought.  I couldn't find replacements anywhere after about a year and then had to buy a whole new one.  Pain in the rear!

-Ultra portable/simple.  Some of these seem to come with long extender sticks/bed bug cleaners and weird gadgets that you can attach to suck your face off.  I just want something to be able to do a quick pick up, or even go vacuum out my car once in a while.  I'm not trying to turn the whole house inside out with suction power.

-Affordable.  One of the items I looked at (Dyson) cost an arm and a leg!  It was just crazy.  250 bucks for a hand vac?  That's crazy.  I'm keeping it under $100.

-Cool.  It just has to look cool.  I wouldn't want an eyesore sitting around for people to point at and be like, "Dude, what on EARTH is that ridiculous contraption over there?  It looks like the new iSore.  That's the ugliest piece of machinery I've ever laid eyes on!"

Ok, so here I had this basic list.  I started searching all the different hand vacs and watching fun YouTube videos.  Li-Ion battery, light, powerful, compact, fun, affordable, etc. etc.

Finally I found one that I think works.  Which happened to also be a Black & Decker

And here's the fun YouTube video of it.  It seems perfect!

I'm going to order one so I can bust some dust around the house and in my car ASAP.

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Ohhhh Snack! (Said like: Ohhhh Snap!)

I have a new favorite snack.  It's this Krave jerky stuff.  I tried it for the first time the other day, and I'm hooked.  I want some RIGHT NOW actually, but I'm about to go to bed and I already brushed my teeth so I probably shouldn't.  But, I feel so strongly about it, I feel compelled to blog about it.  I mean, ok so it's just jerky, yes, but I just love it.  I mean, I love snacks in general, and I have lots of other snacks that I enjoy (But that's a blog topic for another day), but this one just does it for me at the moment.

Their website is:

There's lots of information about their products on the site.  So far, I've only tried the one kind, the black cherry barbecue pork jerky, but I liked it a TON.

I've always been into jerky on and off over the years.  It all started when I was a youngin' at summer sleep away camp in Maine.  We used to go once a week to this little store down the road and we'd be each given five dollars or something like that to buy anything our hearts desired (within our five dollar budget of course).  So there I was trying to decide between some beef jerky and sunflower seeds and instead, I decided to go with the pack of nerds because we were running out of time and they started to tell us that the van would be leaving soon to go back to camp and we'd need to decide or we weren't going to get anything.  Nerds and bubble tape.  But eventually I did buy the jerky, it was horrible.  So the next time I bought sun flower seeds, and some big league chew.  Then, a few weeks later, I began to crave that horrible salty sweetness of the jerky.

They were out.  Instead I bought Slim Jims, which were even worse, and some Pringles (which were awesome).  Fortunately one of my bunkmates family members sent a care package containing some awesome jerky.  I was hooked.  I soon learned that there were different types and not just the really cheap stuff at the little lakeside convenience store down the road from the camp.  Then I completely forgot about jerky for a LONG time until college.  Every now and then I'd buy it, but it really started to feel as though it was just SUPER unhealthy for me to be eating.

Fast forward to the other day when I found this Krave jerky at Wegmans.  Now, I know it's still not the same as eating a basket full of fruit or a salad stacked high to the ceiling with vegetables, but hey, it's not as bad as the ordinary stuff it seems.

And it tastes really good!

According to the website there are seven other flavors!  So now I'm going to have to try all of those other delicious flavors as well.  Maybe next time I'll blog about my love of honey roasted cashews, or any of the various other mixed nuts.  In the mean time, if you see it in the store and you like jerky, pick up some Krave.  You won't be disappointed.

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