Stephen Burks

iPubCloud Web Developer

Stephen Burks

iPubCloud Web Developer

Stephen Burks’s Holiday Recommendations

by | Nov 1, 2019 | All Posts, Holiday Gifts & Books, iPubPicks, Product Reviews, Team Recommendations

Hi there!

It is really nice to meet you, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Stephen Burks and I am a graduate of Clemson University where I majored in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics and Science. So how did I get involved with iPub?

While I have a real passion for working with children, I also have a passion for creating and building things. Over the past couple of years, I have been learning Front End Development in an effort to eventually merge these two passions. During this process, I was hired on as a web developer for iPub early on in my learning track. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning and developing with the team at iPub and I am extremely eager to see the project continue to grow. 

But you aren’t here just to hear about me, you are here to see my holiday recommendations! I wanted to ensure that each of my recommendations sort of fit into three major categories so they are broken into three sections below. Each with a title and brief background for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy and Happy Holidays!


Artisan Coffee On A Budget

I currently no longer work as a teacher and focus primarily on web development, however, there is one thing that remained constant in both of these endeavors, coffee. I love coffee and I really enjoy the craft side of coffee. That said, in my opinion, one of the most frustrating things about coffee culture is that it feels intimidating and even pretentious at times. 

With that in mind, I created a short list of products that I recommend for people who really enjoy a good cup of joe on the go. Maybe not the complete artisan level, but pretty darn close for an at homebrew. While coffee is certainly an area of my life that I could spend large sums of money, I prefer to enjoy good coffee on a budget so all of the items below shouldn’t hurt your wallet too much. Enjoy! 


AeroPress – $32

It is a silly misconception that you cannot have a decent cup of espresso at home without a fancy espresso machine. Sure, there is something to be said about a wonderful espresso machine, though, the Aeropress is a delicious, easy, and affordable option that I have been using for years. That said, get the name brand here – for less than $35 you can’t go wrong but I have heard pour (*chuckles) things about the knockoffs. 

But what about my latte lovers? Don’t worry, I love you a latte (*still chuckling) and found the best milk frother alternatives so that you can get that delicious espresso drink at home! I have been using the manual frother for years and have no complaints whatsoever. I simply heat the milk to a few degrees below boiling, take it off the heat, and froth away until the milk gets to the consistency I prefer (usually about 20 – 30 seconds). If you think that is too much work, I also found an affordable electric frother. I can’t speak to this because I don’t own one but a good friend of mine says that his certainly gets the job done. 

Manual Frother – $20

Electric Frother – $37

Pour Over (Drip Coffee)

Chemex – $45

A drip cup of coffee is our classic idea of coffee at a dinner. However, pour over coffee (essentially craft drip coffee) has been around for a very long time and yields some of the best coffee you’ll ever have. If you ask anyone in the coffee industry what pour over to buy, almost everyone would say Chemex and I have to agree. They have an excellent product with a beautiful design.

However, I do have one hesitation with Chemex and is the price. Yes, Chemex is wonderful, but at $45 with specific materials to use, it is much costlier than other options. I have had a simple glass pour over for years that was a mere $20 and I cannot tell the difference between it and Chemex. I have included two options that I feel are solid affordable options. Piece of advice, still use a paper filter if you purchase one that uses a metal cone. The cone is great but I find that the coffe is much better if it is filtered through a paperfilter inside of the metal cone!

Pour Over Coffee Maker – $18

French Press

The good old trusty French Press, perhaps my favorite way to enjoy a cup of coffee. In my opinion with a French Press, about 80% of what you are paying for is a decent plunger with a good filter. All the other stuff doesn’t matter too much. I included two options glass (my preferred style for the aesthetic) and the stainless steel. I enjoy seeing the coffee which is why I prefer glass but you do lose heat much quicker so the stainless steel is great if you want to keep it warm for a while!

Stainless Steel French Press – $25

Glass French Press – $14


This one is quick! All you need now is hot water and a coffee grinder. I personally find that an electric kettle works best for heating water efficiently and quickly. I prefer gooseneck style for when you are doing a pour over but either kettle works. The last thing you need is a grinder, I do believe that burr grinders are worth the expense and this manual one seems to give you all that you need at an affordable price!

Stainless Steel Electric Kettle – $26

Gooseneck Electric Kettle – $33

Manual Coffee Grinder – $15

Understanding Feminism For Men

While I do not intend for this post to get political I do want to share a brief anecdote from my personal life. For a long time, I didn’t thoroughly understand feminism or any of the other important social equality movements because I didn’t research. I left my judgment to the news and fell for many misconceptions. Over the last few years, I have done a lot of reading and researching perspectives on things that I want to formulate an opinion on.

On this journey, I read a few books that helped me to understand feminism and now I find myself a proud ally Feminist movement among many other important social equality movements. However, you may not and that is perfectly okay but I ask you to consider reading about the victims perspective in each of these movements, it will give you a deeper understanding of the issues and most importantly you’ll begin to see where you fit in.

As a white man in America, it is not super easy to figure out where I fit into the feminist movement and it is even uncomfortable at times recommending books because I am sure that there are better resources out there. But if you are like me and just want to understand it better I have included a few really great books that I think will help you to see things from a different perspective! 

Read them, think about them, and come back and tell me what you thought in the comments section below! I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Why We March – $9

“This inspiring collection features 500 of the most eloquent, provocative, uplifting, clever, and creative signs from across the United States and around the world. Each is a powerful reminder of why we march.”

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies – $16

“An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.”

We Should All Be Feminists – $8

“In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness.”

The Handmaid’s Tale – $16

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States…”

Classic Holiday Books For Kids

This one is perhaps self-explanatory, I am a teacher after all. I wanted to come up with a short list of my go-to holiday books that I often recommend for parents. I also find that teachers and parents alike have difficulty finding solid multicultural holiday books for kids to read. A year ago I found a wonderful article from the Nobel Learning Communities titled 8 Multicultural Holiday Books for Children which can be found here. I have also included those books below for simplicity sake!

Enjoy and happy holidays!

The Polar Express – $10

Squanto’s Journey – $7

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – $10

The Thanksgiving Story – $8

Nobel Learning Center Multicultural Holiday Kids Book List

Bringing In the New Year – $7

Lots of Lights – $10

Lights of Winter – $6

The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving – $4

Dream Snow – $10

Where Is Baby’s Dreidel? – $7

A Kwanzaa Celebration – $20

Too Many Tamales – $8

Didn’t Find It? Search Amazon!

Written By

Stephen Burks

Stephen Burks is a graduate of Clemson University where he majored in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics and Science. While Stephen has a real passion for working with children, he also has a passion for creating and building things. Over the past couple of years he has been learning Front End Development in an effort to eventually merge these two passions. In the meantime he is thoroughly enjoying the process of learning all things development. He is extremely excited to be working with iPubCloud and eager to see the project grow.

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