What’s My Summertime Drink? Sweet Tea, of Course!

Sweet tea. It can make or break a restaurant in the South. And if you live in the South you’d better make it well and have it handy. In fact, the uber-prepared hostess these days has not just sweet and unsweet tea, but also half-sweet (half unsweetened, half sweetened). And some lemonade in the fridge in case anyone wants an Arnold Palmer (half tea, half lemonade). McDonald’s, ever the one to capitalize on a trend, even coined a phrase of their own for half-sweet tea: Half-Cut. Go on, go through your nearest McDonald’s drive-thru and order a large half-cut tea. Of course McDonald’s sweet tea isn’t as good as Chic-Fil-A’s, but they do try.

My friend Kim makes the best sweet tea in the world, and I’ve watched her make it oodles of time and mine is never quite as good as hers, but it’s pretty darn good. I think it’s just one of those “tastes better if someone else makes it” things. So here’s my recipe:

Run six cups of water through your coffee pot with a Lipton family-size tea bag in the pot.  Yes, I said Lipton, there’s no need to get fancy with this.  And the bag should go in the pot, not where the coffee grounds go.  Let it sit for five minutes or so, and then remove the tea bag in stir in one cup sugar (or Splenda or whatever) until dissolved.  Fill a two-quart pitcher with cold water and pour the hot tea into it.  Serve over lots of ice.  Do not refrigerate – that makes it cloudy.  My husband likes a wedge of lemon in his, but I usually drink mine straight.  This is a beverage appropriate for any time of the day, and any season.

*disclaimer: This is MY sweet tea recipe.  It’s not the way my mother makes sweet tea, or my aunt makes sweet tea, or my neighbor makes sweet tea.  Everybody has their own recipe.  If you don’t like yours or if you’ve never made sweet tea, start with this one and change it to suit your taste.  Just don’t add sugar after the tea has cooled – that’s NOT sweet tea and any waiter or waitress who suggests it is needs remedial tea training.

What’s your favorite summer beverage? Got a fabulous adult beverage I need to know about? A kid-pleaser you make by the cooler-full? Jump in and share it (or any of the other prompts) at Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop!

What TV/Netflix Series are You Loving This Summer?


— 1 —

I’m one of those people with no self-control who binge-watches when a new season of one of my faves pops up on Netflix. But I’m not a spoiler, so don’t judge. I just want to say that this season of Orange is the New Black is my favorite so far!

— 2 —

 I’m currently watching Royal Pains, and I enjoy it because of the characters and the actors who portray them. But if the main character in a series is a doctor please, for the love of all things holy, get a physician in there to read the script for the pilot episode. I almost had to stop watching because of all the in-your-face medical discrepencies. Then they should have thrown a few bucks at anyone with some medical training – a medical assistant would have been fine – to watch them film. You can’t defibrillate someone through their shirt. #justsayin

— 3 —

Michael, John, and I rarely enjoy a show together – our tastes are too different. But BBC America’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is fabulous. You’re only two episodes behind if you start watching this Saturday, and depending on your cable providor you may be able to watch the two you’ve missed on-demand. Brilliant show, simply brilliant.

— 4 —

I vow to stop reading free Kindle books. I’ll stick to the library for my free reading. I’m all about a writer offering the first in a series for free, motivating readers to buy their other books because the first book was so well-written and the characters are so appealing the reader wants to know what happens next in their lives. That’s the excitement of finding a new favorite author/series! But I’m seeing an alarming trend whereby one book is chopped into three or four short sections, each ending with some sort of cliffhanger. Then each section is marketed as one book. No. That’s not a book. That’s a sample, and should be marketed as such.

— 5 —

The silver lining in that black cloud is that it has motivated me to start writing again. I’m still a long way from getting any of my three books published (not a series, just three contemporary fiction stand-alones), but I’m not at a stand-still anymore. That’s especially good timing since I’m finally going to be able to attend a writers’ group meeting this weekend. I’ve missed nearly all of them this year for one reason or another.

— 6 —

I still love Nerium – the products and the business. It doesn’t replace the rewards of working as a nurse, but in some ways it’s better. As a nurse I certainly was never able to help someone make a difference in their financial life!

— 7 —

Now it’s time to sneak in a nap, because last night was all storms and tonight is supposed to be the same. I, personally, love storms. I love the energy in the air, and even hard rain sounds so soothing. I can’t explain how something is exciting and soothing at the same time, but I feel the same way about the ocean. Sadly, our rescue dog, Boss, is terrified of storms. He trembles and whines while lying in bed between me and Michael, and I think he’d climb inside Michael’s skin if he could. Poor thing!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Authenticity and Why I Embrace It

trueorfalseShould everyone be authentic in both their personal and professional lives? Yes, I believe so. By that I don’t mean I think I should say every thought or opinion that pops into my head. Nor should I upset others unnecessarily.  But I believe in living your life honestly. Once you’ve tried it (trust me!) it’s so much less stressful.

Even though my nursing career is behind me I am more than just a disabled person. I am a wife, mother, daughter, friend, blogger, writer, and skin care consultant (along with my husband). I am part of two huge extended families. For the past two years I have been completely and deeply authentic on my blog and all Social Media outlets. Not that I’m encouraging everyone to do this to the degree that I have . . . but consider taking it up a notch. I blog about recipes, parenting a teen, and frugal tips, but I also blog about chronic pain, depression, and my suicide attempt. I blog about faith. If you see a bit less of that here lately it’s just because I’m also blogging with my pal Kerri over at Obstinate Hope.

I like to think that being authentic, expressing my true feelings will help someone, somewhere to feel less alone. To seek help. To know what to expect. Something you don’t get from Little Mary Sunshine stuff that ignores the negative in life. But within the last couple of months I have had a close family member say, “Don’t blog about that.” I’ve had a business associate verbally ‘slap my hand’ (her words) and say, “Don’t post that on FB.”  I actually deleted both the post and the comment, but now I regret it.

The post was a very well-researched one about what is appropriate attire for a graduate at an academic event. I found it fascinating, and thought-provoking. The comment was in response to a post in which a “leader” was calling out some of her teammates for not attaining a particular goal. I identified myself as one of those not currently attaining it, explained why, and asked for suggestions. If a leader isn’t looking to help, why point out shortcomings? Shaming? Not a leadership skill I will ever aspire to.

In short, I’m not deleting posts, comments, tweets, pins, or any-fucking-thing else to please someone else ever again. Because did my deleting that post keep my husband from being treated like shit by the people he was afraid it would offend? Oh, no.  Did deleting that comment cause my leader to be more helpful or motivate my team in any way? No. So I’m keeping it real. I will tweet obscenities during The Walking Dead and post about the realities of being disabled and under fifty (in short – you’re screwed).

By that I don’t mean I’m not the person to take shopping with you – just the opposite. I will tell you if a color or style doesn’t suit you and dig through racks until my fingers go numb finding you the perfect thing. Because I believe the best kind of wife, mother, daughter, friend, blogger, writer, and skin care consultant. . . is an authentic one.


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