Copycat Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea Recipe

I don’t like coffee. So for the longest time, I never even set foot in a Starbucks. Then sometime in college, I got a gift card so I discovered strawberry frappachinos. While I really don’t like those anymore, I DO enjoy the “medicine ball” tea which is on the secret Starbucks menu.

But at $3+ a cup, that can get pretty pricey, especially during the harder economic times. So I did a little trial and error, researched what other people were doing to make it at home and came up with this extremely easy substitute that not only tastes just like it, but is something you can make right at home while you’re quarantined and craving your Starbucks fix.

Here’s what you will need:
-Teavana Teas in Jade Citrus Mint and Peach Tranquility (can be found at Kroger or Amazon)
-Lemonade (I like Simply Lemonade and the strawberry flavor also tastes really good with this)
-Water
-Honey (optional)

How to make it:
-Mix 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup lemonade and microwave until hot.
-Steep one bag of the Jade Citrus and one bag of the Peach Tranquility in the hot water/lemondade mixture.
-Add honey to taste

There you go! It’s that easy to recreate a pretty spot on Starbucks Medicine Ball right from your own home and if you’re like me, you enjoy it whether or not you’re feeling under the weather.

Six shows to binge watch while you’re stuck at home

We’re on day two of our two week stay at home order and with rain in the forecast this weekend, the outside projects that have been keeping me busy and sane will just have to wait. I’ve been re-watching ER and iZombie, but am about to finish up the latter, so I’m definitely on the hunt for something new to watch soon.

Here are a few shows I’d recommend for binge watching to anyone searching for something over the next few weeks as we all try to stay healthy and social distance from the rest of the world.

Younger
I started watching this on a whim and flew through it in no time! If you enjoyed Gilmore Girls, I can almost guarantee you’ll like Younger too. Starring Sutton Foster as Liza Miller, a 40-something mom who looks way younger than she is. Liza works for a publishing company, but hides her real age so she can advance her career, causing some sticky situations and hilarious moments, especially when she falls for a much younger guy who doesn’t know her real age. Hillary Duff also stars.
Where You Can Watch: Hulu

Atypical
This dramedy centers around Sam Gardner and his family as they adjust to his coming of age while living with autism. Change isn’t something Sam deals with very well, so when his parents face marital problems and his sister Casey changes schools, Sam begins his own transition to becoming independent as the world around him shifts. The storyline is supurb on this show and there are so many heartfelt moments mixed with humor. 
Where You Can Watch: Netflix

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Zoey Clark works for a San Francisco tech firm, but when an earthquake happens during an MRI, she can now hear everyone’s private thoughts, but in song form! The first time it happens, Zoey thinks she’s going crazy, but it becomes both a blessing and a curse and a way for her to communicate with her terminally ill father who is unable to talk. Lauren Graham also stars as Zoey’s boss. This one is really new, but if it makes it to a second season, I think it’s one that could really take off like Glee did.
Where You Can Watch: NBC, also streaming the next day on Hulu

Sons of Anarchy
Outlaw motorcycle gangs never looked so sexy. This American crime drama originally aired on FX and follows Jax Teller, the next in line to become president of the motorcycle club, as they fight with each other, law enforcement and rival gangs. You will be sucked in to all the drama, betrayal and plot twists as this seven season show spirals to its heartbreaking, yet fitting end.
Where You Can Watch: Hulu

The Leftovers
Based on the book by Tom Peretta, The Leftovers centers around a community that’s still reeling from a rapture-like event that took over 2% of the world’s population. It can be bleak at times, so if you’re looking for lighter fare, this one may not be for you, but the storytelling is compelling and many critics call it one of the greatest shows of all time. Expect some frustrations since it comes from the minds of the people behind Lost, but it will challenge you to think deeper and look at what changes you need to make in your own life.
Where You Can Watch: HBO

The Mindy Project
After The Office, Mindy Kaling went on to create this gem of a show. Fox canceled it after a few seasons, but praise be to Hulu for picking it back up. Mindy Lahiri is a gynecologist searching for her soul mate, but can’t quite seem to meet Mr. Right. Combine that with the wacky partners and office staff she shares a practice with and you have a brilliant rom-com that (in my opinion) out funnies The Office.
Where You Can Watch: Hulu

 

Book Review: Jessica Simpson – Open Book

Jessica Simpson rode the wave of teen pop singers during the late 90s/early 00s when the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were dominating the charts. She never quite found the same musical success that Spears and Aguilera did, but became a household name after her marriage to 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey led to the hit MTV series Newlyweds.

In “Open Book,” Simpson recounts her struggles in the music business, relationships with her parents, the men in her life, alcohol, diet pills and sexual abuse at a young age.

Simpson was born in Texas and raised in the church; her father was a Baptist youth minister up until the time the family left Texas to try to launch her singing career. She started out in the gospel circuit, but it’s it’s very clear from the get-go that Simpson was a victim bullying and emotional abuse from people in the industry. They called her sinful because of her chest size and said she couldn’t continue to tour because her image was too sexualized.

Her own father, Joe Simpson, who served as her manager, was a negative influence on her as well, spending money she earned from her hit records, trying to control everything she did, especially when it came to marrying Nick Lachey. 

Even if you aren’t a fan of pop music, Simpson’s book takes a critical look at the unhealthy expectations placed on women, especially YOUNG women, that exist in the music industry. Immediately after inking her record deal, she was asked to lose 15 pounds and spent the next twenty years of her life taking diet pills to try to maintain the “ideal” weight of 100 pounds. And when her records didn’t sell as well as her competition, they tried to “sex up” her image – something Simpson wasn’t comfortable with due to her faith and religious upbringing.

It’s also very clear to see that her father’s controlling nature had a negative impact on her marriage to Lachey and future relationships with John Mayer and Tony Romo. 

“Open Book” is a surprisingly honest and vulnerable autobiography from a star many have written off as just another dumb blonde. It exposes some hard truths about the music industry and Simpson is transparent about her own misgivings and shortfalls when it came to her failed marriage and substance abuse.

This will likely appeal to the female audience that grew up during the height of her career, but even if you aren’t familiar with her music, it’s a quick read that will keep you engrossed until the last page.

4 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

Five Fantasy Series You Should Read While Staying Home

Hopefully you’re staying home, staying healthy and safe while we figure this pandemic mess out – my library closed yesterday until further notice, so I’m home with some free time and plan to get caught up on my Goodreads reading goal. I’m several books behind (oops) so I believe I can get caught up in the next couple of weeks or however long the quarantine is going to last.

You may be looking to catch up on reading too – I hear so often that people don’t have time because life is so busy. Now is your chance! I’m sharing five fantasy series I love and since we’ll be in for a while, I thought series were the perfect choice because you can binge the whole set at once!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Shelved in young adult, this steamy faerie action/romance series is definitely NOT for the younger crowd. The first book starts off as a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” and the action only ramps up from there.  After ninteen-year-old Feyre kills a wolf in the forest that turns out to be fae, she’s kidnapped and taken to the faerie land of Prythian to pay the price.

In the subsequent books in the series, “A Court of Mist and Fury” and “A Court of Wings and Ruin”, Feyre struggles with the decision to become fae herself, a set of trials set forth by the Queen Amarantha and her own family being put in danger. Of course there’s also a love triangle and if you are looking for something steamy, this trilogy delivers. 

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Billed as Harry Potter for grownups, this three book series turned television show follows Quentin Coldwater, a young man who discovers a secret college of magic located in New York City called Brakebills.

While attempting an old spell, Quentin unleashes an ancient evil called “The Beast” on the school. Quentin and his friends attempt to defeat the “The Beast” and discover along the way that Fillory, a fictitious land much like Narnia, is actually real. 

This is a fantastic series for adults with a lot of literary elements that make it a joy to read. Some of the characters are downright unlikeable, but it’s still one of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read for adults. 

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

If the cover doesn’t draw you in, the story definitely will. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is inspired by West African mythology and revolves around Zélie Adebola who is discovering that magic has not completely left the world even though all the maji have supposedly been killed. In a race against time, Zélie set outs with a rogue princess to bring magic back and launch a revolution against a tyrannical regime hell bent on wiping people like her out for good. Don’t let the size intimidate you – at 544 pages, this is an intense book to dive into, but well worth it for the supreme storytelling and lush world building.

Described as Black Panther but with more magic, this inventive new series is the next big thing in young adult fantasy. Only the first two books are out, so if you don’t mind waiting for book three, this is the perfect series to keep you entertained while hanging out at home for the next couple weeks.

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinderella as a cyborg? These reimagined fairy tales follow Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White through a futuristic world where people of earth, cyborgs and people from a lunar colony are experiencing extreme tension. 

An evil queen is trying to wipe out earth’s population with a plague, so Cinder, along with several other classic fairy tale characters team up to try to defeat her and save both Luna and Earth. There are four books in the series (along with a few short novellas) and the entire series is a fun, sci-fi take on the classic stories you know and love. 

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The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I had to throw a classic in here! After Harry Potter, “The Chronicles of Narnia” is my next favorite fantasy series. C.S. Lewis opened my eyes to a whole other level of storytelling as a child and re-reading it as an adult is a unique experience as well because you see the allegories that you missed as a kid.

Narnia is a fictional fantasy land that various children find over the course of the seven books. Most notably are the Pevensie children who first find Narnia by a secret door in the wardrobe. Talking animals, witches and fantasy creatures play important roles in the stories, as does the great lion Aslan, who helps the children overthrow the White Witch’s control over Narnia in the first book.

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Those are just a few of my favorite fantasy series! Got any recommendations for me? Be sure to comment and tell me what you think I should read during all my newly found free time! Happy reading – stay well, safe and practice good social distancing and cleanliness. We’ll all get through this together.