A great recipe for sweet iced tea

We are halfway through August which is typically the hottest month of the year. People are looking for ways to cool down and a constant favorite is with a refreshing beverage like a tall glass of southern sweet iced tea.

Now if you are from the south you likely drink sweet tea all the time but on the west coast of the country, many people are not familiar with the classic. Kitchn offers the following recipe that I think is delicious.

YIELD – Makes 1 gallon

PREP TIME – 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 family-sized black tea bags (or 12 individual tea bags), such as Lipton or Luzianne
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Ice
  • Powered by Chicory
  • Fresh mint leaves or lemon slices (optional)

EQUIPMENT

  • Small saucepan
  • Long-handled spoon
  • 1-gallon pitcher, or multiple smaller pitchers

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil the water. Bring 4 cups of the water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. 
  2. Steep the tea for 5 minutes. Dunk the tea bags a few times in the water to fully hydrate, then leave submerged with the strings hanging over the side of the pot. After 5 minutes, remove the bags and discard them.
  3. Add the sugar to the tea. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
  4. Pour the tea base into the pitcher. If using multiple pitchers, divide the tea evenly between them.
  5. Top off the pitchers with water. Add 3 more quarts of water to the tea base to make a gallon of sweet tea and stir to combine.
  6. Refrigerate until very cold. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, ideally, overnight.
  7. Serve over ice. Pour the sweet tea into ice-filled glasses. Add a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon to each, if desired!

RECIPE NOTES

  • Storage: The sweet tea will keep refrigerated for about a week.

Now pour yourself a tall glass, head out to your front porch or stoop and chase the summer heat away!!

Monday: How do I disinfect my car?

Benefits for gig workers

Working in the gig economy means you do not have a boss hanging over your shoulder and you have a tremendous amount of freedom. You work whenever you want which is typically what draws people to rideshare and food delivery to name a few. However, you do give up a lot especially when it comes to benefits!  

Recently, I discovered a new company that is offering help to gig workers for a monthly charge. The company is called Kover and I have no affiliation with them but I do find that what they offer could be helpful to many. Their quoting system is based on your data that comes directly from Uber, Lyft, Amazon Flex, Instacart, Postmates, Shipt, and others. Their services include things like sick leave, health insurance, help with deactivation, record keeping, and more. One of the most interesting benefits is income replacement if you are temporarily deactivated from an app. All in all, I believe it is worth your time to check them out!

Tomorrow: Are you following these steps when wearing a mask?

Does what you wear make a difference to riders?

Rideshare drivers come in all shapes and sizes and what drivers wear while driving is just as varied. Although neither Uber nor Lyft have a dress code, you might want to reconsider before putting on those sweatpants you just pulled out of the dirty clothes hamper.

Being a rideshare driver is more about customer service than anything else. Part of that service is not only how you present your car but also how you present yourself. We judge people everyday without realizing we are doing it. If you were at a restaurant and the waiter serving you looked like they just rolled out of bed, how would you tip them? This is true for any customer service job, including rideshare. Riders are not expecting a suit but having clean clothes is a good start. I recommend a nice pair of jeans and a collared shirt, something nicer than just a t-shirt. 

Now if you plan on driving for Uber Premium you should consider a pair of dress pants and a proper dress shirt and possibly a sports coat. People are paying for a premium service and so they expect your presentation to be the same.

Remember, you are dressing to look somewhat professional not for yourself but your rider and their tips!

Tomorrow: Benefits for gig workers

5 things I wish I knew before becoming a rideshare driver.

Being a rideshare driver means you have to be able to accept a lot of unknowns: where you will be driving to today, how many trips you will have, what kind of tips you will make, what kind of riders you will be picking up, and more. All of these are unknowns will deal with every day. But what if you were new to rideshare, what things would you have liked to have known before you started driving?

Here are five big things to know when you’re getting started that will help you during your day:

  1. Don’t drive around looking for rides – After you have driven for a couple of days, you will quickly learn the busier parts of your city or town. Find a place to park and wait for the app to go off. There’s no need to waste gas and to rack up miles on your car.
  2. Don’t bother waiting for rides at the airport – This is especially true right now because of Covid-19, as there aren’t a lot of rides from the airport. But even when people start traveling again, airport queues for rideshare can be between  30 – 90 minutes. You could have easily made good money during that same time by driving in hotter spots downtown. Too often, airport rideshare lots are just a place where drivers gather to complain about rideshare. They would have less to complain about if they were out working the busy parts of their town or city and making money instead of wasting time in a queue at the airport!!
  3. The secret to high ratings may not be what you think – Too often people who are thinking about becoming a rideshare driver believe that they will be good at it because they have a nice car and they know their way around their city or town. New drivers don’t understand that this is a customer service job. You will be dealing with all kinds of people and you need to be able to read their tone and body language to understand what they want.
  4. Getting your rider to their destination in record time isn’t a rider’s top priority – Yes, most riders want to get to where they are going quickly, but feeling safe in your car is more important than speed!
  5. A clean car doesn’t need air freshener – Riders love a clean car! If you keep your car clean, there is no need for air freshener. People are sensitive to smells like air freshener, anda rider who hates the smell or even gets a headache from it will likely not say a word to you about it. Instead, they will tell your rideshare company with a bad rating. Now, If a rider leaves a bad smell in your car after they leave, just roll your windows down and air out your car before your next trip.

Tomorrow: Does what you wear make a difference to riders?

What percentage of income should rideshare drivers set aside for taxes?

The final date for filing your 2019 taxes was last month. For many of us seeing how much we have to pay on filing-day makes us say never again. I am going to put together a plan so I don’t get stuck with a big bill next April.  

It’s a great idea but how do you know how much of your earnings should you set aside for taxes? In 2018 Visor posted an article with the following advice: set aside at least one-third of your income for taxes. An Uber driver earning $50,000 a year with no other income or deductions might have a federal tax liability of about $12,010 in the year 2017, which works out to be just about 24% of their income. Factor in state taxes and easily one-third or more of a driver’s income could go to taxes.

We are already more than halfway through 2020, so start putting together your finances right now if you haven’t done so already! TurboTax has some great tax information that is specific for rideshare drivers.

Tomorrow: 5 things I wish I knew before becoming a rideshare driver

3 must-sees on Disney+

Everyone it seems is looking for something to stream on their phone or TV. There are plenty of streaming services available as well as shows to choose from. However, Disney+ has 3 offerings that everyone is talking about right now!

Hamilton – On July 3rd, Disney+ released a filmed version of the Broadway award-winning musical Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical biography about the first U.S. treasury secretary won 11 Tonys. This musical’s lyrics are so fast paced, one of the top songs “My Shot” comes in at an incredible 3.36 words per second. This show is a must see for anyone who loves, musicals, history or great storytelling.

Black is King – A film by Beyoncé – According to NPR, Beyoncé’s Black Is King is “a sumptuous search for divine identity.”. It was released on Friday, July 31st. NPR described it as, “A visual companion to the album The Gift — itself a companion to the release of the live-action remake of Disney’s The Lion King — Black Is King is a retelling, of sorts, of the same story. This time though, it centers on ideas of Black belonging and regality. How has Blackness existed in the past? What does it mean in the present? How might it look in the future? In this extended metaphor, “king” is a synonym for the innate greatness that has been stolen from Black people the world over. With this project, Beyoncé seeks to restore that greatness to those of her lineage.” The imagery in this film is stunning!

Mulan – coming Sept. 4th.According to CNET, Disney will release its live-action film Mulan online through its Disney Plus service on Sept. 4, but it won’t be included as part of a standard subscription. Mulan will cost $30 in the US in addition to Disney Plus‘ regular subscription fee, and it will be priced at roughly the same amount in international markets where it’ll be available online too, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of countries in Western Europe.” The buzz for this movie is everywhere.

Monday: What percentage of income should rideshare drivers set aside for taxes?

What to look for when buying a mask?

As more and more cities, counties, and states are mandating their citizens wear masks while in public, we thought it was time to review what you should look for when purchasing a mask.

First of all, you should not be wearing an N-95 mask according to the CDC. These masks are still in critical supply and should be left to our healthcare professionals. However, there are still so many other choices making it difficult to figure out which one to purchase.  

USA Today has put together a list of 8 thing to look for when purchasing your mask:

  1. Choose the right fabric – Fabric has different sized spacing between individual yarns, meaning some fabrics will have larger or smaller “holes” depending on the construction and this will affect their effectiveness against the coronavirus.
  2. Tightly woven fabrics offer better protection – Dense and tightly woven fabrics will also offer the best chance of protection because these have the smallest “holes.” 
  3. Multiple layers increase effectiveness – Studies found that multiple layers of fabric increase the effectiveness of filtration of virus particles, but there’s a trade-off—it may be harder to breathe.
  4. Bandanas are not a good choice – A study from a group of engineers at Missouri S&T tested bandanas, pillowcases, and furnace filters for face coverings. Out of these items tested, bandanas performed the worst.
  5. Knit materials tend to stretch and don’t make for the best protection – Knits are made to stretch and when that happens the holes get bigger, which means it’s more likely that viruses can get through.
  6. Filters are effective but can pose a safety risk – While many masks for sale have an additional pocket for a filter, it could potentially do more harm than good. Certain types of household filters contain fiberglass which can be dangerous if inhaled.
  7. It should fit snugly to your face – Aside from fabric type, fit is a factor in the quality of a cloth mask. The mask should fit snugly on your face, covering your mouth and nose with no gaps.
  8. It is better to go with a mask than without – Some people may find wearing masks uncomfortable. If a double-layer tightly woven fabric mask is uncomfortable or makes it hard to breath, try a single-layer, lighter weight fabric or stretchier mask. These may offer less protection than a denser mask, but might be more comfortable to wear.

Knowing what to look for in a mask can make it easier to choose the mask that is right for you. 

Tomorrow: 3 must-sees on Disney+

Uber Premium begins on August 20th

On June 26th, Uber announced it would be discontinuing both Uber Black and Select from the service options within the app. On August 20th, Uber will launch Uber Premium as the sole elevated option for riders. 

For riders it will make their choice simple. Furthermore, the additional wait time of up to 10 minutes will remain.

What this change means for drivers is unclear. The big question is the rates: Will drivers be paid based on Uber Black or Select rates? Does it mean more drivers will now be able to drive as Uber Premium drivers? And lastly, will Uber be changing what vehicles will qualify? There are a lot of questions to be revealed over the coming weeks.

Be sure to check back in for the answers. 

Tomorrow: What to look for when buying a mask?

How to care for your car’s leather interior

Having a car with a leather interior is a luxury. If you want the leather to hold up during all of the wear and tear it receives from rideshare, you have to take care of it.  

Because leather is a natural material, it is subject to fading and cracking from the sun. To avoid this, you need to routinely condition the leather to keep it looking like new. GoldenEagle has a list of 5 steps to follow:

  1. Vacuum – Vacuum your seats to remove any loose dust and dirt before conditioning
  2. Apply a leather cleaner – Spray your preferred leather cleaner onto your seats and use a soft-bristled brush to gently agitate any problem areas. The most common spots are the creases and places where skin or hair routinely comes into contact with the leather.
  3. Wipe dry – Use a clean, dry microfiber towel to wipe away any excess moisture. The seats will remain somewhat damp to the touch unless they have been coated. Allow up to 24 hours for the seats to dry depending on your climate
  4. Apply a leather conditioner – Apply your preferred leather conditioner generously and evenly. Avoid letting it pool up in a single area to make sure you have even coverage. A good leather conditioner will keep the leather moist which prevents cracking, while also providing UV protection to maintain the color. After application, allow 4-6 hours for the seats to absorb the conditioner.
  5. Wipe dry – Using a clean, dry microfiber towel wipe off any excess conditioner and then wipe until fully dry.

Spending a few minutes every 3-6 months is the best way to ensure your car’s leather holds onto its luxurious look. 

Tomorrow: Uber Premium begins on August 20th

The top 5 car care tips for summer

Keeping our cars in top shape is important year-round. However, when it comes to summertime there are some specific considerations to take into account.

The Automotive Training Center suggests the following:

  1. Keep your engine cool – keeping an eye on coolant levels under the hoodies important. Make sure that you check and top off coolant levels every few weeks.
  2. Have the AC unit inspected – An AC system that’s on its way out won’t last through the heat of the summer. It pays to get it inspected by a certified technician to remain cool throughout the summer.
  3. Replace your windshield wipes – Summer thunderstorms are known for their rain-dumping nature. Switching out your wiper blades for a new set, especially if the same pair has already served you for several seasons.
  4. Change your oil more frequently – If you’ve got long road trips, or just tend to drive shorter trips more often in the summer, your oil change frequency needs to adjust accordingly. During summer travel, follow your manual’s summertime maintenance schedule for your car which can be found inside its owner’s manual.
  5. Check your tires – As temperatures climb into the 80s and 90s, your tires are at a higher risk for a blowout. This makes monitoring pressure levels paramount. Using your vehicle’s onboard monitoring system is great, but you also want to use a manual gauge to check the pressure at least once a month during hotter weather.

Following these tips will not only help to keep your car running without issue through these hot months and make you feel more confident.