Friday, January 17, 2020

3 Ways to Make Moving Day Easier

Are you planning on moving out of your home this year? I don't know about you, but moving is one of those tasks that feel like a lot of work and neverending. So, if you are looking at a looming moving date, I have put together a few quick tips to keep in mind that will make the moving process easier. This applies to you whether you use a mover or you are moving by yourself.

1) Pack a "first night box." 

As you start packing your stuff, remember that first night (and even morning) inside your new home. Make sure every family member has must-have items for that first night. If you know you are going back to school and work the next day, make sure those things stay within plain view of the packing and moving process.

For that first night, a few things you'll probably need:

Pajamas. (Also, to make it more fun, consider buying new pajamas for that first night. Getting matching PJs for the whole family will make it a night to remember and a fun way to make everyone more relaxed).
A dinner plan! (Consider pizza night!)
Coffee maker (for the morning; you'll thank me later).
Any must-have electronics for downtime (and the chargers).

2) Start a donate, toss, sell pile.

This is the best time for you to downsize and get rid of items you do not want to take with you in the new home. Before you begin the moving process, assess whether or not you have enough items to start a garage sale. This can help you pay for your move and cut down on how many items to take with you.

Next up, start a "donate" area. Remember the general rule, if it hasn't been used in 6 months or more, you probably don't want it anymore. Make sure you donate items that are actually usable by someone else too.

Finally, start a "toss" area. This can be for things broken that you never did get around to fixing. Don't take these things with you! Consider this a chance to have a fresh start.

3) Photograph your stuff. 

Think of things like your computer, TV, or home office of some kind. Photograph the back of your TV, or your computer, or your desk setup and capture how the cords are all plugged in. This will save you time later.

Also as you pack these items, make sure you put cords and other things like that into plastic bags that are clearly labeled.

Are you moving this year? What are some of your tips?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Best Way to Get Groceries in 2020: Why You Should Try Instacart

This post contains affiliate links for which I will receive a small compensation if you purchase through my link.

As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of online grocery delivery services and I think I've tried them all - almost all of them anyways. My personal favorite is Instacart and I'd like to break down why exactly I love it:

How it Works

With Instacart, you sign up for the service and select from a list of grocery stores available near you for grocery delivery. You can usually get groceries within a couple of hours or less. You can also schedule your delivery for several hours and days out if you'd like. When you finish adding things to your cart, you can also select specific replacements. You can also add to your order, even after it's completed, as long as the shopper hasn't started. When you've finished your order, you get a text or app notification when the shopper starts and you can chat with them as they shop as well as make requests.

There are some major perks to using Instacart over some of the other services I am going to review.
Just to bullet point them:
  • You can chat with your shopper.
To me, this is huge. HUGE. As your shopper shops, you can chat with them. For example, if you see them get a replacement item you don't agree with, you can ask them to pick something else. Or if you forgot to add something to your list in time, you can ask them to get it. Of course, this is not a perfect system, messages can get missed and human errors do happen, but overall this is one of my favorite features. 

  • You can get groceries the same day. Even late in the day.
I love the fact that I can get groceries within an hour. In fact, I've ordered as late as about 5 or 6 pm and will still get groceries the same day. Ideally, it's better to order earlier in the day that way your order still gets picked up. However, same-day delivery is a huge factor.

  • You can request unique items.
Another important factor for me is that if I can't find something within their online system that I'm sure the grocery store has - or I'm hoping they have - I can put in a special request. It even lets you add a photo of what you are talking about too. 

  • You can pick replacements.
Before your order even begins, you can pick replacements. In case they don't have that specific yogurt, you can tell your shopper specifically what you want them to do: pick something else that is similar, choose a different specific item (and it can be anything), and or just refund you and don't pick anything at all. This is a major perk to using this service and is helpful to those of us who are particularly controlling 

  • Their customer service.
Recently, I had a not so great experience with Instacart due to the fact that my order was MAJORLY delayed and they didn't do a good job of telling me. However, one thing I will say about Instacart is their customer service is really good and they were very generous at giving me credits for my time after I called and emailed them about my trouble. Honestly, in the years I've been using them, this was one of those rare bad experiences, so I wouldn't say this was a norm at all. Also, whenever I've had to tell them an item was missing or something, they are always quick to give me credit to my account.
  • You can add items after you placed the order.
Let's say you've placed your order with Instacart and then...oh no! You forgot the pickles! With Instacart you can go ahead and put in your forgotten items before the shopper starts. In fact, most shoppers are totally fine if you request an item through chat that you forgot to add.

  • Schedule your order as early in the day as you can. Even if it's 10 am and you don't want groceries until 5pm, I highly recommend you put your order in and schedule it as far in advance as possible. I often find if I am delayed (like, wanting groceries within the hour and it's 6 pm), there is a risk that I won't get it or I'll be too late. This also gives you time to add things to your list too.
  • Make specific replacement requests. I am really picky about brands and what I want shoppers to choose, so I am always making sure I choose replacement items. 
  • Add notes. If you have a specific type of avocado you want them to choose or you want to make sure they get a specific flavor or something like that, add notes. If you don't care what kind of potato salad they get, just that they get potato salad, tell the shopper that too. I do this for each order and it helps the whole process. 
  • Delete your unnecessary notes. This was a mistake I made recently. When using them regularly, as you add notes, don't forget to remove old ones, especially if they no longer apply.
  • Consider Instacart Express. Because of the regularity that I use Instacart, I use Instacart Express. This ends up giving me free delivery and a small fee plus a tip. Overall, this ends up being worth it. 
I hope you consider using Instacart in your future! Plus make sure to take advantage of their free delivery if you are ordering for the first time!


Friday, December 13, 2019

Gift Ideas: 5 Adorable Novelty Food Earrings (Perfect Stocking Stuffers)

This post contains affiliate links.

Looking for a unique gift to give someone? Or something charming to add to your outfits? I have come across really adorable novelty food earrings that will get you all the compliments and put smiles on people's faces. I also have a HUGE collection listed on my Amazon Storefront right now (check it out here) but here are a few of my favorites:

1) Pineapple Charm Earrings

Made with 18K gold plated material these dangle pineapple earrings will make you feel tropical all day long.


Purchase Now.

2) Coke Bottle Earrings

Whether drinking soda was a thing of the past for you or something you still indulge, these coke bottle earrings will remind you of hot, summer days

Purchase Now

3) Donut Earrings

I love these because they remind me of the Simpsons' donuts. Great for someone with a sweet tooth.

Purchase Now

4) Fried Eggs Earrings

Do you love eggs? If sunnyside up is your egg style, you will love these! Perfect for the springtime with the bold yellow.

Purchase Now.

5) Peppermint Candy Earrings

These peppermint candies are all sparkle! Take these to your holiday party and you will get all the compliments.

Purchase Now.

I have a HUGE collection of more you will love, so make sure you stop by and see what else I have to offer over at my Amazon Storefront.

This post contains affiliate links for which I will receive a small compensation if you purchase through my link.

Monday, November 25, 2019

My New Favorite Pizza - Cali'Flour Foods Pizza

One of my favorite foods is pizza and I'm always hoping to find a healthier way to have it. One of the things that sometimes will make pizza more guilt than pleasure is the ingredients list. A lot of the pizzas that I purchase in the frozen food section have a lengthy ingredient list that makes me wonder what exactly I'm putting into my body.

So, I am so happy to share with you the Cali'Flour Foods pizzas. I recently had the chance to try out three of their pizzas and they are absolutely one of a kind.

So, first, if you suffer from any autoimmune disease, you will be excited to find out that you have that in common with Cali'Flour Foods owner and founder Amy. Make sure you read her story here.

One of the things that make Cali'Flour Foods stand out is the ingredients list of their products. Each of the pizzas pictured above has ingredients I understand, which is such an important factor to me. For example, for the Artisan Margherita, the crust is made with cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, egg whites, basil, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. The toppings are made with mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, tomatoes, and basil. (Read full details here

I love that! No weird ingredients! All of their pizzas are like that, including their crusts and flat breads by the way.

So, as far as taste goes, I love the taste of this pizza. It has sort of a learning curve in terms of cooking, though, which is the one downside I'd like to share. Unless you follow their instructions to the letter, the crust can stick to the pan pretty easily. Once you get used to it, you will be addicted to this pizza. I do wish it was thicker, but that may be exactly what you are looking for! 

Overall, I highly recommend this pizza and I absolutely think you should try it. Visit their website right now to purchase yours  Make sure you use my coupon code: BEINGTHEWRITER10 to get 10% off your order. 

I received the above-mentioned pizza in exchange for my honest review. This post contains an affiliate link for which I receive small compensation if you use my link.


Friday, November 22, 2019

5 Ways to Warm Up Without Using Your Heater

I don't know about you, but as the fall turns into winter, I am definitely keeping an eye on the energy bill. It's shocking how quickly the heating expense can be this time of year! So while the weather outside becomes more and more frightful, I have for you a few ideas to keep yourself and your home warm during the winter.

1) Bake.

Can you believe next week is Thanksgiving? And then Christmas? If it's really cold for you this time of year, now is the best time to pick up baking. You really don't have to be an expert at it. It's also the type of thing appreciated by everyone. So whether it's making muffins to bring to the office or making cookies to bring to a neighbor, baking is a great way to keep your home warm while also filling up tummies. If you aren't really a baker, consider just leaving the oven on throughout the day. Warm bread! Toast almonds!

2) Purchase cozy winter items.

I am the type of person always buying blankets, gloves, scarves, hats, and thick socks. Not to mention there is an abundance of heated items that you can buy from heated dog beds to heated socks. While you purchase gifts for friends and family, make sure to give them some warm items. This makes cozy winters an entirely possible idea.

3) Layer up.

If you are really trying to save on heating this time of year, it's time to layer up. I often put on long stretch pants under sweats with sweaters under oversized sweatshirts. Add onto that thick socks and slippers and you have a toasty lady.

4) Do chores.

Okay so doing laundry and vacuuming may not be your idea of fun, but getting moving can be a great way to increase your body temperature. It doesn't have to end after the holidays are over either! Consider January to be your spring cleaning time of year and start vacuuming. Clean out closets. Get the blood flowing and suddenly it won't feel so cold anymore.

5) Add thermal winter curtains.

Oh yes, this is a thing. Take a look around your home right now and you will likely see a lot of windows. Guess where cold can seep in? Windows! You got it. So if you haven't already, consider installing thermal winter curtains up on the windows this time of year. It's a great way to weatherize your home without spending a lot of money.

Hopefully with these tips you can get warmer and save money on your heating bill. Stay toasty friends!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Five Ways to Avoid Colds this Winter

We are soon coming up on the best time of year. When leaves turn brilliant fall colors, sweaters come out of storage, and boots make their first appearance. However, it's also the time of year where you are more likely to get sick. In fact, a Yale study uncovered that there is a direct connection between chilly weather and catching a cold. 

Looking to fight that seasonal virus so you can actually ring in the New Year without sneezing or sniffling? We have five ways for you to avoid colds this winter season that are sure to make you less of a Grinch this holiday season.

1) Wash your hands. A lot.

This may sound like an obvious solution, but this is one of the most effective ways to fight germs you encounter throughout the day. Washing your hands before and after you come into contact with someone sick, before and after making food, and after using the toilet are just a few of the scenarios when you should wash your hands. Not near soap and water? Get hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

2) Get exercise.

It may sound counterintuitive, but by getting a regular work out in, you may be reducing the odds of catching a cold. According to a recent study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, people who exercised about five days a week experienced fewer days of illness than those who worked out only one day a week or less. So get out those running shoes and get started on your start your resolution early if you want to chase away illnesses this winter.

3) Get plenty of rest.

It may sound like another obvious tip, but getting more sleep will definitely improve your chances of fighting a cold. While this is a busier time of year for a lot of people, make sure you are getting at least seven hours of shut-eye each night. Stress can have an impact on how well you are feeling and sleep is an excellent way to reduce that impact.

4) Eat more fruits and vegetables.

This is a tough time of year to add more salad to your diet. But if you can sneak in the extra apple and celery stick, you are likely reducing your chances of getting sick. Adding more of this food group into your diet means you are getting essential nutrients that boost your immune system which fights colds and illnesses. So in between the chocolate bar during Halloween and pies over Thanksgiving, give broccoli a chance.

5) Stay home if you don't feel good.

While this may be easier said than done, if you are experiencing cold symptoms or generally feeling under the weather, your best chances for getting over the common cold is to stay home. You are reducing the number of germs you are spreading as well as the number of germs you are exposed to. So put your feet up, drink tea, and get some rest if you aren't feeling well this winter.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bean Quest Coffee Review and Giveaway

Coffee, coffee, coffee! I am a coffee drinker which is probably why I review it so much on this blog. Recently I had the chance to try out this amazing coffee by Bean Quest. This is a company started by two brothers, who like me, love coffee and ventured out to bring excellent coffee to the world. They also mention on their website that they love gaming, which I can tell by the fact that the labeling looks like it's from an RPG game.

Anyways so I had the chance to try out their Bali Blue Moon coffee. Wow, this was good. It's a dark roast coffee that is extremely rich and strong tasting. I love the richness of dark roast coffee and this gave me exactly that. It has hints of vanilla and chocolate, which is the favorite tasting notes I love tasting in a good cup of coffee. Make sure you purchase some today. 

And I'm so excited to announce that I get to give away a bag of their coffee to one lucky reader! Enter via Rafflecopter below. US only. Giveaway ends on 11/24.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a bag of this coffee in exchange for my honest review.