Category: Shopping

Online Groceries?

So there has been a recent boom with discussions on online retailors for groceries. While this seems like a great idea, I also have my hesitations. Call me Type A or whatever, but I like to be able to touch, smell, and sometimes squeeze my produce to make sure it is ripe but not too ripe. So the idea of having someone else do that for me??? Okay, yeah, I’m type A.

I wanted to take a quick look at some of the non-produce items between two online retailors as I begin to dip my toe into the ever growing pool. You all know that one of my favorite online stores is none other than Amazon so I wanted to see what it’s competition was doing to stay competitive (wow, be jealous of those English skills). I am a member of Thrive Market, which I was able to get for free due to being a student (graduate students count too). While I do shop at Thrive, I was questioning some of the prices and if it was really saving time and/or money. I wanted to compare the exact same item so it was even, but if I couldn’t get that, I labeled below the closest substitute.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post and I am not in any way affiliated with Thrive Market other than having been a customer on my own journey to healthier food selections.

So without further delay… Thrive Market versus Amazon. Ready?

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo – 12 oz jar
Thrive Market – $7.45
Amazon – $14.28

Calbee Non-GMO Lightly Salted Snapea Crisps Snacks
Thrive Market – $1.45 (3.3 oz bag)
Amazon – $17.99 (6 x 3.3 oz = $2.99/bag)

Mavuno Harvest Organic Dried Jackfruit
Thrive Market – $6.95 (6 oz bag)
Amazon – $26.45 (6 x 2.0 oz = $13.23/bag)

Lundberg Farms Rice Chips – Fiesta Lime
Thrive Market – $2.45 (6 oz bag)
Amazon – $26.62 (24 x 1.5 oz = ~$4.44/bag)

KETTLE & FIRE GRASS-FED BEEF BONE BROTH
Thrive Market – $8.95 (17.6 oz package)
Amazon – $15.95 (17.6 oz package)

ANNIE’S HOMEGROWN ORGANIC MACARONI AND CHEESE
Thrive Market – $2.25 (6 oz box)
Amazon – $36.34 (12 x 6 oz = ~$3.03/box)

Now keep in mind that Amazon’s prices do change frequently AND they offer 2-day shipping to Prime members so that is important to keep in mind. Also, Amazon is well known for their price-matching should the item you bought change in price within a couple of days. On the other hand, Thrive does offer free shipping and sample products (sometimes full size) over a minimum purchase – usually $49 or more. Thrive usually ships within 2 days and ensures their products are well secured/packed (wrapped with bubble wrap, include an ice pack, etc.).

Thrive Market DOES offer a free 30-day trial period and a free grocery item (mine was a jar of coconut oil).

End result? In this case, Thrive Market is the winner. I have purchased items from them previously and have been very happy with their selection, delivery, and packaging. The key to detail far surpasses other online retailers I have worked with in the past.

However, more of than not, Amazon is usually ahead with the pricing and selection – plus you can also grab that iPhone stand or new pop socket with your order from Amazon. Plus with Amazon’s enhanced Amazon Fresh program, Prime members can get groceries delivered within hours for free as long as you live in an Amazon Fresh area.

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried Thrive Market or Amazon Fresh? Do you shop for your groceries online? Have you tried pre-ordering and curbside pick-up?

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Shopping – Prime Wardrobe

Third time is a charm, right? Well, not in this case. Regrettably, this will most likely be my last Prime Wardrobe post. Frankly, I cannot believe I am breaking up with a part of Amazon but it’s definitely them and not me.

Truthfully, I have had some success with Prime Wardrobe but the cost of the items and the lack of personalization makes me feel like I might as well just do this on my own –why do I pay a stylist fee if the selections look completely arbitrary? I was really underwhelmed with this last order even though the items looked decent online AND I had my box completely redone because the original selections were all flops.

Amazon did extend me an offer that credits me the stylist fees up to 3 times, which seemed like a great plan and I really appreciated it. But alas, this box was nothing to write home about so it is not easy to get excited for another month.

So without further ado, here is this month’s Prime selections…

Okay, I cheated this time because I was not a fan of the outfits once I received them so I did combine some of them but nevertheless, I’ll break down each item.

Tahari ASL – Women’s Inverted Midi Pleat Skirt (in Black Ivory Dot) – $24.99
This skirt has pockets! It is very elegant and had an underslip so it was very professional. I just did not like the waist or where it fell on me. I have an hourglass-esque figure and I have been noticing that even when I one-up the size, some skirts or pants just sit way too high so it cuts my torso making me look shorter. I received this in a size 8 and a size 10 would be too big so alas it was returned.

Nine West – Women’s Stretch Kiss Front Jacket (in Cyprus) – Price currently unavailable
This was a great little jacket for work that I could through on top of a camisole (like I did in both pictures) or a blouse. It was large enough and had some stretch so it would be comfortable for the workday. There was no way to close the jacket and the pockets are fake. The sleeves have slits so you can fold them up for a bracelet length or let them down for full-length sleeves. For me, the biggest turnoff was the color. I have olive skin overall that with purples or olive colors, I tend to look yellow. Unfortunately, this was too olive so I had to return it.

Nine West – Women’s Stripe Midi Dress with Self Sash (in Fireg Low/Candy Multi) – $63.31
While this looked great online, this does not look great in person. It has a slip underneath that has zero give so if you have curves, it fits like a sausage casing. I felt so constricted and uncomfortable. The bust area also stretched so it looked like it was too small for me but any bigger would be too loose. Also, the length isn’t right for me as it cuts my legs in a weird spot. Overall I wanted to like this dress for a vacation or weekend, but it was not a winner.

Donna Morgan – Women’s Split Sleeve Fit and Flare Dress (in Tea Rose) – $96.05
Okay so the color was great and it is a totally comfortable dress. There are no pockets and it is a back-zip closure. But my goodness – where is the flare? The model makes this look loose yet totally work appropriate. I, on the other hand, could not get this to look good. Maybe if I added Spanx? Meh. Another return.

Nine West – Women’s Bi Stretch Trouser Pant (in Biscotti) $61.8
Can you tell that I have sizing issues with clothing? So these pants that, when you look on Amazon, are supposed to be loser fitting than what I ended up trying on. These pants were way too tight in the thighs to be work appropriate. They had false pockets too which I don’t understand why women can’t have pants with pockets… The color is quite nice and would’ve been great for fall transition. Alas, these were all returned.

Moral of the story? My Amazon Prime Wardrobe account has been paused. I am unfortunately not very happy with what I have been sent and feel that there are other companies, like StichFix, that are listening to the survey you complete, the notes you enter, and know the clothes they send. I do not foresee myself doing another box with Prime Wardrobe but I will still purchase selective one-off clothing items from Amazon!

And on a complete side note…I need a vacation and some sun! Sheesh.

So inquiring minds want to know… Do you have a Prime Wardrobe subscription? Do you have any clothing subscriptions? What is your favorite clothing line?

Shopping – StichFix Box

As I mentioned during the conclusion of my last Amazon Prime Wardrobe haul (this one if you want to read it again), I took the plunge and subscribed to a StichFix order.

What is StichFix? If you haven’t ordered a StichFix box (or frankly been bombarded with ads on Instagram or Facebook), it is a personal-stylist curated box of approximately 5 items. You answer a few questions based on your needs, measurements, wants and dislikes. For example, I look horrendous in deep purples because of my olive complexion. I also hate paisley patterns. But I do need clothes that are staples and easily adaptable from work to dinner. Then your stylist is assigned to you, reviews the information, and sends you a box of clothing. Unlike Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe, you do not get to see the items before they arrive on your doorstep so each box is a bit of a surprise. You then get 3 days to try the clothes on and make a decision to keep or return.

How much does it cost? This is more expensive than Prime Wardrobe. You pay a $20, non-refundable styling fee. Now I say non-refundable but if you buy the clothing that you’re sent, you get that fee applied to your purchase but if you return everything, you get nothing back. You do get a prepaid envelope to send back the items that didn’t work out so that’s one fee you don’t have to worry about.
Each article of clothing is then a different price – depending on how you answered your questions and what your stylist selects. If you do order everything then you get an additional 20% off your order. So boxes typically range from the low $100s to significantly higher, especially if you opt for the premium items (luxury brands).

My order came in quite quickly – 2 days earlier than the estimated date and it was very neatly organized, folded, and packaged. Before we get into the clothing, my stylist included a personal note to me as well as suggested ways to dress the clothing – either he/she copied and pasted some of my note to them or they genuinely read my note, but either way that was a nice touch. I was also given a breakdown of each article of clothing and its cost.

So now for the important stuff…how are the clothes? Well, see for yourself…

1) Fun2FunMackenzie Henley Blouse – This lightweight blouse is one of those “dress-up or dress-down” tops that can easily transition through different seasons. It has two buttons on the front so there is no ‘peek-a-boo’ and you don’t need to add an additional camisole or bralette. The sleeves have a button and hidden strap to roll them up or you can wear them down and button them at the wrist. I love that it is long enough to cover my backside but has the side splits to give it shape and definition. I styled it with my NYDJ jeans.

2) 41 HAWTHORNChace Pocket Blouse – Similar to blouse #1, this polka dot top is in navy blue with white. The front has hidden buttons so it looks like a regular blouse but has a relaxed neckline. Lightweight and transitional, this blouse can be worn to the office or on the weekend. I appreciate the length and the overall relaxed fit. I styled it with the same NYDJ jeans.

3) MIX BY 41 HAWTHORNAbrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan – Fall has arrived! This orange color is perfect for the season. I paired it with a simple white cami from White House|Black Market and my NYDJ jeans. It is light but still has weight to it. It is great for the fall! There are no pockets which is a total bummer but it is a great length for work or play!

4) 41 HAWTHORNKassidy Faux Wrap Dress – I honestly was so scared to put this on… It is a form-fitting, sleeveless dress with a blue and red pattern. This dress is a faux wrap and it gives the appearance of a cinched waist. It also has a belt, made of the same pattern. It has a v-neckline but is high enough that you don’t have to wear something underneath. It is knee-length and can easily transition to fall with tights and boots or booties. I paired this with a pair of black pumps for these still too hot for fall days.

5) VIOLETS & ROSESRuthy Solid Zipper Bootcut Pant – These pants have no zipper or buttons at the waist but rather are elastic. The brown color is very fall and paired great with my white cami and blazer from Chico’s. It is a little bit tight around my backside so I will have to wear something underneath. This is a great length for basic heels when in the office, which is a rare find for me. Being 5’8″ means a lot of pants are capris! These are super comfortable and have a lot of give so they are quite forgiving!

So final consensus? Everything was a keep which resulted in a final payment of $184.07, including sales tax and a 25% off discount for purchasing every item. Not too bad for items that I can dress up, dress down, and enhance my wardrobe with some essentials. This will prompt me to donate some of the items I do have to make some space, so that is also a benefit!

If you are interested in StichFix and want to give them a try, you can click here. This is my personal code so I will get a small compensation, but you will also get $25 off your first box!

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried StichFix? Have you tried a different curated clothing box? Are you interested in trying StichFix or Amazon Prime Wardrobe? Comment below or tag me in your IG story if you are a StichFix-er – @ms_bella_daniela!

HomeChef Update

So back on August 20th, I wrote about a way that I am trying to cut back on excessive spending when it comes to my groceries, reducing waste with unused food, and reallocating time that was previously spent running from store to store. Well, 2 weeks in and going on to week 3, I wanted to share an update! Also, I want to add that this is not sponsored.

When I posted about HomeChef in my New Take on Groceries post, I wasn’t sure what to expect – honestly. I grew up with a mom that worked fulltime but also cooked every week. She taught me to love cooking and that the kitchen is all about organized chaos. She taught me that a little of this and a pinch of that were real measurements for ingredients. She taught me that the kitchen is the heart of the home. And with all of those lessons, I learned about cultural foods, how to basically cook for an army (I am having a really hard time cooking for just 2), and how cooking can bring people together. So when I decided to take a leap into these pre-planned meals, I thought I was shaming my up-bringing. I was not going out and buying my groceries, one cucumber at a time. I was not examining my produce or selecting that portioned ground beef (you know, the one that was priced $6.98 and not $7.02). I was not coming up with my own concoctions. I was not experimenting or playing with food. I honestly felt slightly ashamed.

But I knew I had to do something to help my husband and I cut down on cost, cut down on overindulgence, and reallocate time that has become so precious and so limited (working fulltime, going to school fulltime, and managing some personal side projects really take a toll). So I told myself that this is an experiment so the scientist in me could rationalize the change and took the plunge.

As I mentioned, my first order was curtesy of a promotion code and subsequent orders would cost a bit more but still be less than what we normally would spend on just the groceries themselves. I did a breakdown in my earlier post (you can find it here). So to date, these are the expenses we have incurred for any and all groceries:

HomeChef – $57.50 (week 01) + $89.50 (week 02) + $99.50 (week 03)
Local Farmer’s Market: $30 (week 01) + $32 (week 02) + $0 (week 03)
Local grocery: $30 (week 01) + $20 (week 02) + $28 (week 03)
Costco: $0 (week 01) + $0 (week 02) + $55 (week 03)
Subtotal: $117.50 (week 01) + $141.50 (week 02) + $182.50 (week 03)
GRAND TOTAL: $441.50

Now, I have to admit that some of the local grocery shopping was for our pups who eat home-cooked food which we mix with their kibble, but for the sake of the cost analysis, we will include it. Additionally, there were some expenses that were for work functions, but I cannot find that recent and it was partially reimbursed so we will exclude that. I also excluded non-food items like hand soap, detergents or aluminum foil (Costco for the win though). Also, I had cooked a storm before we started this so we had a LOT of food in the freezer so, for those 2 days when we didn’t have a HomeChef meal, we still had food without having to go out to eat or scramble for last-minute ingredients.

So if we look at what I had predicted for expenses for a month, we will go over $500 in groceries BUT we have had less waste, less time spent shopping (hence my weekend of homework), less gas running from store to store, and less stress during the week. In fact, I opened my fridge this morning and realized it was basically empty – and by empty, I mean full of milk, eggs, and those other staples but not full of food in every Pyrex we own.

Yes, we still have to make some additional improvements but overall, this is still a savings for us. On a given month, we could easily surpass $600 in groceries alone.


Now, let’s talk about the food itself.

I am still feeling guilty about not having my mother’s recipes sprawled about the counter or making up my own concoctions, but I have to say that some of these meals are going to become part of our regular meal rotation when this little experiment is over!

The food is really quite good and I am still able to play with the recipe a little bit – mostly because we cut out a lot of salt (some of these have 50% of your daily intake!). My husband and I also still cook together, most days. And on those days we aren’t cooking together, the recipes are simple enough that one can cook and the other can do homework or personal tasks and he doesn’t yell at me that “a little of that” doesn’t mean anything! Most importantly, we eat together, at the dinner table, and have 1 serving – and we aren’t hungry!

I am currently editing my first unboxing video of the HomeChef delivery, which comes every Tuesday for us and is well packed! So stay tuned as I hope to have that up this weekend.

And just to leave you with an idea on the meals we have had…

So inquiring minds want to know… How important is home cooking in your household? Do you eat out often? If so, how often? How do you manage your budget with groceries?

Shopping – Amazon Prime Wardrobe

So the results are in for the second box from Amazon! Keep in mind that my first box (posted about here) did not go so well even though I was able to review the items before they shipped! Nothing had fit properly and the pictures versus the actual items were not quite the same. So box 1 was a flop but I had high hopes for box 2.

Now of these items, and I think you can see it on my face or in my posture, some were MAJOR flops while others were a success! Let’s break it down by each article of clothing and I will include the link below to the item along with the Amazon photo.

Nanette Nanette Lepore Women’s Ankle Slim Leg Pants (Colonel Mustard) – Retail: $72.45, Prime Wardrobe: $66.67
These pants were an adorable color for fall! I was so excited to get these because I am always looking for great office attire that is in trend with the season. But when I put these on… Yikes. These did not fit me, even though I ordered up a size (normally size 6, ordered size 8) because they are “slim” and I wanted a little extra room. If you look at the stock photo on Amazon (found here), the pants appear to fit a little loose. Yet in reality, they did not. They also did not have any give to them so it showed way too tight around my backside. The length was cute and was surprisingly still ankle length even on me (I almost always have to buy “long” so they fit regularly). I paired this with a plain black t-shirt from Kohl’s and black sandals from Payless (le sigh).
Final answer: Returned.

Nine West Women’s Sleeveless Blouse (Tangerine) – Retail: $Currently Unavailable, Prime Wardrobe: $49.28
This blouse is another color favorite! I was so surprised at how bright it was without being full neon. Pairing with a pair of plain black slacks from Chico’s, I thought the blouse was cute but it did not do me any favors. It did zip up in the back and was a stretchy material. However, the peplum cut just did not fall in the right places. It was short and if I bent over or raised my arms, my midriff would definitely be exposed. Also, it had a weird seam that from the front, made me look busty but from the side, I looked like I reverted back to my teenage years. You can find the Amazon product here.
Final answer: Returned.

Sharagano Women’s Pleated Maxi Dress (Yellow) – Retail: $54.99, Prime Wardrobe: $66.85
This maxi dress (found here on Amazon) is definitely office-appropriate attire while still being elegant. It is very flowy and the pleats give it a very polished look. It zips in the back and has a fabric tie to help cinch the waist. It has a high neckline so you can always dress it up with your favorite draped necklace. It had a liner on the inside so the see-through material was not as see-through, though you would definitely have to wear nude undergarments. Just the right length for heels, and could easily transition to a summer wedding or date night. But I didn’t feel comfortable. The pleats in the bust area were stretched (and I am by no means busty) and it looked like I was a little stuffed – though I wasn’t…in fact I had room! I really wanted to like this dress!
Final answer: Returned.

Calvin Klein Women’s Sleeveless Midi with Asymmetric Hem Dress (Hibiscus Multi) – Retail: $120.27, Prime Wardrobe: $46.42
Pink? Seriously? I am not a fan of pink – in fact, I avoid it like the plague. So right off the bat, I was not a fan of this dress (found on Amazon here), but I figured what the heck – let me get out of my comfort zone. It is a zip closure, with an eyelet hook. The dress is an A-line cut with an asymmetric bottom, though it is hard to see it once the dress is on. Made of polyester and spandex, this is not the most breathable dress but it does have a lot of give, making it one of the more forgiving cuts. There is black & orange color blocking that breaks up the very bright pink.
Final answer: Purchased!

Of the four items above, I cannot believe that the pink dress was the keeper! And in fact, I just wore it for a large presentation this past week and felt super comfortable and elegant – which is particularly great when you have to get ready in less than an hour and you’re awake with the sun! I even received a couple of compliments from my peers!

So am I going to go for box 3? Yes. I will give it another try because scientifically speaking, 1 out of 2 is not statistically significant… Okay. Okay. But seriously, I am going to give Prime Wardrobe one more try before deciding to keep this going to help refresh my closet or end it for a different approach.

With Amazon Prime Wardrobe, I do get to see the items selected for me beforehand and can make some swaps. I also get one week to try the clothes on in the comfort of my own home before I have to ship some, or all, of the clothing back. Shipping is indeed free in both directions and Amazon gives you the return label outright so you don’t have to worry about printing and all that. Also, there is a small “styling charge” that is not applied to your order afterwards – the charge is $4.99 and is non-refundable even if you don’t purchase anything.

As a side note, I have also subscribed to StichFix to see about this subscription service. This is a bit more pricey than Amazon Wardrobe but I wanted to present options! I will post an update as soon as I get my first box – especially since I have no idea what to expect!!

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried a clothing subscription service? Which one? Did you like it or did you revert back to standard shopping? If you haven’t tried these services, what is your biggest hesitation?

Shopping at Local Businesses – Clothing

I have something I need to confess. I hate shopping. Not for food or skincare but retail
I remember growing up in New Jersey, shopping was a past time, a sport if you will. If you weren’t in school or at work, you were shopping. If you lived in Bergen County (Go Maroons!), you went out of the area on Sundays to shop. Honestly most of the jobs for the teenagers and young adults were, yeah, you guessed it, in retail (hence more shopping). I mean, you know you are in New Jersey when you are able to easily access not 1, not 2, but at least 4 malls within a 30mi radius. Plus the lack of sales tax on clothing…yeah that was a bonus.
So for me, I avoid shopping for clothes or shoes like the plague. No, really! I have to mentally prepare myself and caffeinate heavily while repeating calming mantras in my head (sometimes aloud too if it is close to the holidays). If I can shop online, I do it without thinking twice; but sadly I have to try on most clothes because I literally can go from a size 4 in one item to a size 10 in a different clothing line. And if I shopped online without knowing it fits – the return process is almost always worse than the shopping experience! So I default to my brick and mortar stores to try on clothes (which is just as difficult as a 1-hour workout at the gym), avoid salespeople (hooray “introvertedness”) and stand in lines for 15 minutes only to choke when they ring up the items for a grand total of way more than I had mentally calculated before entering the store. No? Just me? Okay, cool.

But sometimes, and usually when I am really desperate, I have to go shopping. When I say desperate, I mean that I cannot literally wear those pants one more time without being sent home from work due to inappropriate attire… And if I can be completely honest, sometimes I find myself wanting something new because I feel “less than” in my current wardrobe items, especially since I strive to minimize my closet. I don’t know why exactly but that little rush of finding the perfect sweater or the right fitting jeans (ha…I can dream)…that little rush really helps me reinvigorate myself to keep my chin up and my workout schedule consistent.

So when one of my friends ranted and raved about a local business, I did some very typical social media sleuthing. Ladies, and gentlemen, if you ever find yourself in Fresno, California, please swing by:

Google Maps Generator by embedgooglemap.net

1755 Broadway Street, #105, Fresno, California

Or you can check them out on Instagram: The Shop at KLSD.
Or you can shop some of their products them online too!!

This boutique is new but it is so fresh. Though there are not hundreds of items, the selection is handpicked and signature pieces you won’t find in that big box store. You even get to talk with the owner which is frankly not a lost art on some of us. You are never pressured to buy items, you are not followed around the store, and you can try on just about everything before you purchase it! So naturally what happened?? I bought two items! And of course they are totally not appropriate for 100+ degree temperatures but I like to think this is my way of thinking for my future self and planning ahead…

I am so happy that I found this gem of a store! I will certainly be back!

So inquiring minds want to know… What have you seen for the fall season in terms of fashion? Going to jump on the trends or stick with classics? Do you love to shop or shop only when needed? Comment below!

A New Take on Groceries

When talking about our home budgeting needs, the one area that always gives us some pause is the “groceries” line item. We have been saving money when it comes to our no spend weeks and our pantry challenges (which is using only what you have in the house for food) which we usually combined! In fact, this past weekend is the first in a month where our fridge is back at capacity!

We are eating healthy, cooking more, and enjoying the time together without interruptions. And yet we are still spending more than we really need to for a household of 2 (humans and 2 pooches).

So we are going to try a little something new and I am bringing you along for the journey! We are taking a new look on groceries and trying HomeChef!

So what is HomeChef? It is a meal delivery service that allows you to customize your meals on your dietary needs (say vegetarian, gluten free, and so on) BUT you are actually the chef. So that means that all the ingredients, including the “dash of pepper” or “sprinkle of salt” is included, along with the main ingredients and the recipe guide. Then you cook the meal. So, if you’re like me and you don’t use much salt in your meals, you can customize your dinner. The best part is that they provide the ingredients per the number of people and the recipe -nothing more. So there is less waste and no science experiments growing in the back of the fridge (c’mon…I know I’m not alone on this one).

Now you are reading this and thinking, didn’t you just say you are being frugal and not spending money? How does that align with ordering meals delivered to your door every week? Well thanks for asking!

We were lucky enough to get a promotion for our first box (slated to arrive Tuesday the 27th and I’ll bring you along for the ride) which only came out to $57.50 for 5 days worth of meals for 2 people. Now I’m not a mathematician by trade but… $57.50 divided by 5 days means that we are eating dinner for $11.50. And if you divide that by 2 … $5.75 per person, per meal, Monday through Friday. Honestly, I’ve spent more at Starbucks on one coffee that I finish in 5 minutes (don’t challenge me on that…I’m a coffee addict and proud).

But lets say we did not get a promotion to try out. The normal box of meals that we are trying is for 5 days and 2 people which equates to an average of $99 (some prices vary depending on the recipes you choose – like scallops would cost more than chicken). That still is only $19.80 per day or $9.90 per person.

That all means that in a month, we will be spending under $400 for varying meals on the most hectic nights of the week!

Now if we just supplement that with fresh, in season, produce from our farmer’s markets like fruit and some vegetables for our smoothies and weekend meals, then we can stay under $500 a month. And that means a monthly savings of over $100 for us! What?! I told you we like to eat! Plus we need to look at the bottom line which includes time spent looking at flyers, comparing prices, and actually going to the stores. And speaking of going to the stores, lets not forget gas!

So now you’re asking me what type of food are we looking at because you know I love to cook and won’t eat just anything… Since I won’t receive my first box till next week, I can only share what my menu is slated to be in no particular order:

Meal 1: Steak with Sauce Robert and spinach scalloped potatoes
Meal 2: Salmon with Dill Crema and green beans amandine
Meal 3: Jalapeño Popper Burgers with chipotle mayo and fries
Meal 4: Umami Miso-Mushroom-Cream Gemelli Pasta with Parmesan & green onions
Meal 5: Chipotle Refried Lentil Flautas with queso fresco & sour cream

I am very interested to see how these are packaged because with the 100+ degree weather we have been having, I don’t want my food to spoil before we get to cook it and eat it!

So tune in this upcoming Tuesday (8/27) as we uncover the world of meal deliveries you have to cook yourself! You may even want to follow me on IG where I’ll do some reviews live!

Prime Wardrobe – Yay or Nay?

Back in July, I mentioned how I was giving Prime Wardrobe a try. For those of you that do not know what Prime Wardrobe is, it is very similar to these wardrobe subscription boxes that you see through IG or FB, except obviously through Amazon. This is great for those of us that, like me, hate to go shopping but obviously need clothes every now again – you get to try these on before committing to the purchase to make sure it fits and is truly your style!

That has always been a fear of mine when it came to online shopping, if I may be completely honest. The models that are used are just that models so how do I know it is going to look just as good on me as it does on them? Then there is the dreaded computer screen & color – what you see online may not actually be what the product looks like in real life so what if that blue-ish is really purple? Or what if that medium really needs to be a small? I really hate to go shopping in the store for clothes, but I often find myself having to suck it up and go because shopping online for someone with curves is not easy – sometimes the same size in the same brand won’t fit the same! So I wanted to give this Amazon Prime Wardrobe a try and see if it would be a success or not.

You get about 5 items to pick from and a 7-day try on window after your box arrives. That is actually fantastic because we all know that there are some days we are more bloated or sluggish than the next so what fits great today may not fit tomorrow. Also, this is all risk-free so you can return parts or ALL of the items without a charge in the return package that Amazon sends you. Plus, you get to see the box before it ships so if there is one item that is definitely not up your alley, you can swap it out for something else!

I was able to try my first box for free and received quite a few items that my personal shopper selected for me based off of a few questions that I answered. Below are the results of that box…

As you can see, I did return all of these items as they did not fit me well when I tried them on or just didn’t say anything! For example, the Adrianna Papell dress was way too form fitting for my comfort zone to wear to work even though I purchased a larger than normal size. The blouses were fairly standard but the Nine West blouse looked way more purple in person than on the model so when I tried it on, I was washed out and yellow. So overall this box was a “nay” but I haven’t given up all hope…

Recently Amazon has revamped their Amazon Wardrobe where now you have to spend $4.99 for a stylist fee but the types of questions that are asked are FAR better than before which can help your stylist find pieces that are more appropriate for your taste and budget.

I am giving it a try again this month and will share the results with you once I receive my box and will even do a little look book! So stay tuned!

Ulta Mini Haul

When you have curly hair and are running low on products, have a birthday coupon and a sale running all at the same time combined with a day off…well, you have the recipe of an Ulta mini haul.

It might not look like a lot but trust me that the receipt says differently! After coupons, sales tax, and me going a little overboard (c’mon who doesn’t from time to time), my grand total was $233.22. Honestly, this will last me and my husband for a couple of months so I do not feel that it is too bad of a deal!

I have used all of these products now, some more than others, so I wanted to do a little break down of the products, cost, and especially for my curly girls, the benefits. Each product photo will link to the Ulta website if the product is available and will have a rating -this week will be little piglets since I am a smidge obsessed!


Dose of Color (regularly $18.00) – This is a nice liquid lipstick in a dark salmon, burnt Siena color that does not feel very dry. It does not last all day but especially when you’re an avid coffee drinker like myself, it is almost impossible to find that perfect product. It goes on smoothly and fades evenly. It does not have a strong odor. It was my first DOC product and I am happy with the purchase but probably won’t run to buy another. I have found other products that are more pigmented and with a better-staying power. Rating: 🐷 < strong>Tarte Shape Tape Concealer (regularly $27.00) – There is no comparison for this product on the market that I have been able to find. This concealer, though limited by its shades especially for olive and darker skin tones, is a stay-all-day, no crease, non-oily, non-drying concealer. A little goes a long way so this is worth the splurge. I have even spoken with Sephora employees that flock to this product time and time again. With a little setting powder, you can get a full day out of the product. It is intense coverage without being heavy so it doesn’t clog my pores or affect my sensitive skin. This is a rebuy and I will continue to flock to this product. Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Mask (regularly $36.00) – When you live in a climate that has very little humidity, some colder temperatures and work in an office with what seems like recirculated air, your hair starts to suffer. When you have those issues and have curly hair? Well, that’s just asking for trouble! I never had the need to deep condition as much as I do now and finding a product that was good to my hair (meaning free of parabens, sulfates, and other harmful chemicals), while still affordable and doesn’t leave my hair greasy enough to coat a frying pan…well, that was a challenge. However, I bought the sample size of this mask and both my husband and I used it several times now and I am so grateful for having this. It has a strong but mild scent that is very enjoyable -almost matcha green tea like. You do need to use a good helping depending on the length of your hair, but I find that if I make my hair just a tad damp, this product goes a bit farther. You can leave this on overnight (I’ve done that when my hair was super dry), leave it on for 20 minutes, use a heat cap, or leave your hair in a messy bun for however long you want and yes, I have tried all of these methods -my favorite is with a heated cap or a messy bun for a couple of hours. Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Super Cream (regularly $28.00) – This product was a bonus for me because my Ulta was selling liter bottles, with a free Super Cream, during a recent sale. So I definitely scored with this one because this is a great product. This is a coconut oil infused cream that does not weigh down your curl unless you want to stretch them out (it is all about application and styling). This helps control my frizz and actually gives my curls a little extra oomph to be just a little bit tighter. My hair is soft, has movement and body and is really great for refresh days after I spray a little water on my hair. Rating:🐷🐷🐷🐷 DevaCurl One Conditioner (regularly $44.00) – With long curly hair, and a husband with tight curls, the liter size products are the only way to go! This is a daily conditioner that is packed with essentials oils and has a beautiful lemongrass scent; don’t worry though, the scent does not stay in the hair forever so you won’t get sick of it! It is a very thick conditioner with a lot of slip and contains olive oil to help strengthen and revive the shine in my curls. Rating:🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Low Poo (regularly $44.00) – Though this is technically marketed to “wavy” hair, I use this product versus the “No Poo” because I need a real cleanser. With the amount of deep conditioning, masks, and treatments that I do, along with the products that I use to keep my curls intact, I prefer a cleanser that will remove the build-up without damaging my hair. The “No Poo” is great and I have that too, but I needed something a little stronger on the cleansing side versus the conditioning. This scent is amazing and has a light lotus flower/citrus scent that wakes up the senses. It is a very mild lather that is gentle yet thorough. It does have rice protein so if you are protein-sensitive, this may not be the best option for you. Rating:🐷🐷🐷

DevaCurl Hairspray (regularly $25.00) – Sometimes you want that extra hold but gel won’t cut it. Sometimes you want to help speed up the drying process (yep, a little trade secret) because you don’t have 4 hours to wait for your hair to air dry. Sometimes you want to slick back those baby-hairs without locking them down when you rock an updo. This is a flexible hairspray so my hair is not crunchy but also not flying around everywhere. It again has protein so you should be careful if you are sensitive. It is lavender scented and the scent does linger so if you are sensitive to smells, this may not be ideal. The best part is that because it is a DevaCurl product, it is always sulfate, paraben and silicone free. Rating:🐷🐷🐷🐷

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels (regularly $15.00) – This was a first time buy for me but this will not be the last! With my sensitive skin, finding products that help without hurting is tough. But my eyes were looking a little tired and puffy regardless of how much water I drank or sleep I got, so I needed to try something to help. These patches are cool to the touch so they almost immediately reduced the swelling. The peptides and botanical oils help improve blood flow making the dark circles look less visible. These, like most of my products, are paraben, sulfate, phthalate, petroleum, and mineral oil free. Rating:🐷🐷🐷 Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (regularly $17.00) – I want to think I have flawless skin, but being realistic, my skin has a break out here and there -especially during that monthly visit! So when I start to notice a little pimple popping up, I apply this drying lotion at night and wake up with a visibly reduced break-out. This is a repurchase for me and I will continue to use this product! This is a spot treatment with salicylic acid, calamine, and other drying ingredients. Don’t shake the bottle though! Just use a cotton swab and dip it in the product to apply to a certain spot, or two. Bonus: when you get a mosquito bite, applying this will help the itchiness and dry up the bubble very quickly! Rating: 🐷🐷🐷🐷


I hope this helps you on your next stop at Ulta! I will keep you updated on any future hauls and if any of the products are kicked from the top for something new!