Yum Yum or Yuck? Trader Joe’s Products

My car is fixed! My car is fixed!  What does that mean?  Well, it means I’ve made 3 trips in the last two weeks down to the town where friends and family lives.  It also means I’ve been to the Trader Joe’s in that town 3 times in the last two weeks!

I picked up a few things and wanted to get my thoughts down here on what I liked and didn’t like.

The Good

(image via fatsecret.com)

Trader Joe’s Chicken Fried Rice. This is in the freezer section.  You cook it by heating oil in a pan on the stove, dumping the rice in and covering it with a lid, stirring every so often for the short cooking time (5ish minutes). This comes with scrambled egg already in it but I added more (beat two eggs with seasoning in a bowl, push rice to the side in the pan, add a small amount of oil, dump beaten eggs into the oil, scramble and incorporate with the rice).  Contains red peppers (very small), corn, peas, edamame, scrambled egg and chicken.  The chicken is dark meat.  It comes with microwave directions but it is so easy to cook on the stove, don’t bother.    This is good stuff!

Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice.  As with the chicken fried rice above, this is super easy to cook.  Contains red peppers (very small), corn, peas, edamame, and carrots.  I added scrambled egg to this one, as well.  There are tons of vegetables in this and it got rave reviews from all family members.  I plan on buying this one again and again!

Trader Joe’s Cleanliness is Next to Godliness multi-purpose cleaner.  I usually use Honest Company’s all purpose cleaner, but I decided to pick this up on one of my trips.  I’ve primarily used it in the kitchen and it works very well on grease and kitchen grime.  The smell isn’t overpowering.  I may pick up another bottle for my pantry soon.

The Bad

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups.  Now, I love Reese’s.  I love cookie butter.  This seemed like a match made in heaven.  Not so much.  The chocolate tastes waxy and cheap.  The cookie butter isn’t creamy, it is crumbly, and tastes like a bunch if spices were added to it for this product.  I won’t be buying these again.

I’ve got some other products in my cabinet to review as soon as I try them.  Can’t wait!

 

MY Leather Chair

Just before my daughter was born my father said he wanted to get her a present.  He was staying at my house, so he logged in to my computer and did a bunch of searching and ordered something for her.  When it arrived, it was a brown leather rocking recliner.  An adult-sized one.

We have used it for feeding and for rocking a restless baby to sleep at night. As a toddler she now uses it to watch TV, snuggling in under a blanket with her stuffed puppies.  It is the most sought-after and fought-over chair in the house.

We love that recliner.  Good furniture does more than just fill up a room, it becomes part of the family.

When we moved last year we got a much larger house and we need more chairs!  I want to customize a Leather Club Chair at ClubFurniture.com, one that I can buy several of so that we can fill our living areas with leather furniture. Everyone needs a nice leather chair to call her own.

Gwynnie Bee & Me (Conclusion)

Well, I just packed up my last bag to be sent back to Gwynnie Bee, and scheduled it for pick up tomorrow with the US Postal Service.  My 30 day free trial isn’t over until April 2, but I cancelled the service anyway.

I started the service because I was looking for a dress to wear to a wedding, and I didn’t want to buy a dress I wasn’t going to be able to wear that often.  Since it was free to try, it seemed like a win/win!

I didn’t get any of the dresses I initially picked out, but I did get a dress that worked fine for the wedding, and I also found a dress I would love to own (not the dress I wore to the wedding) if I had someplace to wear it.  That dress isn’t one I would have even tried on in  a store.

After the wedding I deleted all of the dresses from my closet and started adding cute tops to maybe spice up my daily wardrobe and take advantage of the remainder of my 30 day free trial.  I picked out a ton of tops and ended up with three that didn’t really work for me.  The final one arrived today and while I really liked it, it was long enough to be a dress and it reeked of cigarette smoke.  Ugh.  I washed it before I sent it back.

Pros of the Gwynnie Bee service:

1.  Great selection!  Beautiful clothes that don’t just go by size, but also give you the measurements.

2.  Free shipping to and from them.

3.  Loved the packaging!

4.  I loved getting new items to try.

Cons of the Gwynnie Bee service:

1.  You won’t always get the item you want, in fact, it might take a while.  You can email and suggest which item you would like to have, but it doesn’t mean you will get it.  It’s sort of like Netflix for clothes.  You get what is available from your queue.

2.  Pricing.  The service is kind of pricey or someone like me.  Also the prices for the clothing you want to keep is rather expensive for used clothing.

3.  It is used clothing.  Everything I got was in pretty good shape.  The dress I wore to the wedding had a handmade hole in the belt that was there when I got it.  (Thank goodness, because the belt didn’t fit me otherwise.)  There was minor wear on some items, usually on the inside.  The last outfit I got reeked of cigarette smoke, which made me quite unhappy.

4.  The selection may not be appropriate for where you live.  I’m in Florida, and most of the tops available were 3/4 or long sleeved and thicker material, which doesn’t really work here.

While I enjoyed trying out the service, I just couldn’t justify the cost every month.  I liked having some jazzy tops to wear but as a stay at home mom, I just couldn’t find a time or place to wear them.

This service would be great for someone who goes out a lot or needs some new jazzy things for her work wardrobe.  I’d recommend it for that.

Gwynnie Bee & Me Part 3 (&USPS)

Just a quick update.  I scheduled a pickup of the package containing two of the dresses I got from Gwynnie Bee using the US Postal Service package pickup plan.

I scheduled pickup for during my regular mail delivery (you can also schedule a specific time, but there is a fee of $2 for that service) for free.  I left the package out on the front porch close to mail delivery time and it was gone within an hour.

I checked the tracking number from the package and it had been picked up, but I also received an email a few minutes ago from USPS confirming the package was picked up.  A+ to USPS for their package pickup service.  I’m going to be using this a lot!

I went on the Gwynnie Bee site, went to my closet and let them know that the package was mailed out today so they should be getting my next shipment shortly.  I’m filling my closet with cool tops so I can’t wait to see what I get next!

Gwynnie Bee & Me (Part 2)

I tried on all three dresses from Gwynnie Bee yesterday and took pictures myself, since my husband was busy wrangling our toddler.  Here’s what I got:

gwynniebee gotAnd here’s how the looked on me (and yes, I know the photography is horrible):

IMAG4911 (3)My daughter loved this one.  She said I looked like “a butterfly so high in the sky!”  If I had anywhere to wear it, I would buy it, but probably in the next size down.  The material is pretty thick and it’s lined and the type of material makes it very forgiving.  Seriously loved this dress.  I think it might be too flashy for the wedding.  Back it goes.

IMAG4913 (2)This one looked really good on the website.  In person it is kind of bland and a bit too large, making it seem very shapeless.  The lace yoke at the top is beautiful but I have neither the time nor the inclination to go out and buy a strapless bra just for this one dress.  It also is a more cottony material that was quite wrinkly out of the bag.  Back it goes.

IMAG4915 (3)I really like this dress on the website, too.  I loved it when I put it on, even the belt and I HATE belts.  The material feels good and has a nice drape.  It doesn’t look terribly festive, but I looked and felt good in it, so this one is the winner.

I might send them all back and try my luck with the next batch, but there is no time before the wedding.

The dresses came in two separate boxes (assuming different fulfillment centers) so I have two postage paid return bags.  I put the two “going back” dresses into one bag and am sending them back tomorrow.  I’m hopeful that they can get me some interesting tops out before my free trial is over.

This also gives me a chance to try out the USPS home package pickup.  My car is in the shop, so I scheduled a package pickup for tomorrow.  I’ll also let Gwynnie Bee know I’m sending the items back so they can start packing my next shipment.

This is fun!

GwynnieBee and Me (Part 1)

Two of my best friends are getting married to one another this Saturday, and I haven’t been out of the house in anything dressy in a coon’s age.  This was going to be a little bit of a problem.

I noticed an ad on Facebook for GwynnieBee and thought it might be a solution, since there was a “first month free” option.  I went to the site and looked through some of the clothes and decided I could find something to wear to the wedding.

GwynnieBee is a plus sized wardrobe rental services with many different plans. You pick the clothes online and they ship them to you.  You try them on, wear them, then keep or send them back as you wish.  You can buy the clothes at reduced prices.  The monthly packages start at around $39 a month.

I picked out three dresses because of the three at a time out monthly plan I selected.  These are the dresses I chose:

gwynniebee wantedI thought the green and blue one might be the best one, but I was excited to have FREE options.  I couldn’t wait.

Unfortunately, the system doesn’t ship you any dresses until you have at least 15 items in your closet.  I agonized for a couple of hours and finally got enough dresses in my closet to trigger my first shipment.

Success! I got an email from GwynnieBee saying they were mailing out my first box.  So what was in it?  These:

gwynniebee gotI was a little bit disappointed, although I do like all three of these dresses.  The brightly colored one might be a bit much for the wedding but we shall see.

The shipment confirmation was email March 4 and the package was supposed to be delivered USPS Priority Mail on March 9 (yesterday).  I didn’t get the package (actually 2 packages) until today (March 10).

I’ve already tried on the dresses en situ but I will be doing a fashion show for my husband and daughter tonight with the correct undergarments and shoes, and I’ll have my husband take pictures at that time to post later.

I think I know which one I’m going to wear to the wedding, but I’ll wait and take votes.  More later!

Cold Outside

Here we are back in Florida.  Last year in Louisiana we lived through several snow days and quite a few weeks of cold weather.  While I enjoyed it, I really wanted to come back to Florida where it stays warm most of the time.

Unfortunately, it does get cold in Florida.  The last few days have been bitter cold in the mornings and chilly in the afternoons.  I don’t like it, and we’re not prepared for it!

The next time we go house hunting I want to find a house with a fireplace.  I’ve been looking at Fireplace Grates at Northline Express and imagining one of them full of wood that is on fire and throwing cheery warmth and light into the room.

I would love to have at least two fireplaces: one in the main living room and one in the master bedroom.  I love the smell of a fireplace, the warmth, and the way it feels so homey.  Would a fireplace in every room be so bad?

Working from Home

After years of struggling to begin a writing career, I finally got my big break last fall writing blog posts and web content for a company on the West Coast.  It pays well and is interesting work, and I love it so much that sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that this is real.  I get to work from home doing something I love.

Working from home is something that people only dream about.  I love being able to do it, and you might, too.  Here are some great sites and links to help you find real work from home:

1. Wahm.com – this is a fantastic site for work from home opportunities.  Often they cull their listings from other resources, so you may have to pay to see some job listings, but wahm.com is free.

2.  All You – on occasion this site offers up some great ideas on how to work or earn money from home.  It’s also a really interesting magazine for women.

3. Work-At-Home-Moms.  Great site with listings for call center jobs from home across the country.  Great information on the fees and hiring processes.

Happy job hunting!

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Give Me A Ring

Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  I can never think of a gift that I would like for my birthday or for Christmas or for my anniversary, but for some reason Mother’s Day is special.  I guess it is because I never thought I would be a mom.

I’m planning to ask for a mother’s ring this year.  I’ve been looking at some mother’s ring designs online and now I have a big decision to make. Should I include the birth stone of the child we lost before she was born, and if so, should it be for the month she was actually born or the month she should have been born?

New Email Scam – Car Wraps

This is probably one of the most obvious scams I’ve seen, but I’m posting it here anyway.

I got an email with this subject: SMIRNOFF LOGO.  The email was from [email protected]  This was the entire body:

 

SMIRNOFF GREEN APPLE MALT BEVERAGE would like to paste our ad on your lovely vehicle while we pay
you $300 every week for that.
Reply if you are interested
I replied and said I was interested.  Later that day I received a response, this one from VEHICLE ADVERT ([email protected]).  Here is the content of that email:
Hello,Thank you for your swift response and your willingness to work with us, Wrap advertising is the marketing practice of completely or partially covering (wrapping) a vehicle in an advertisement or livery, thus turning it into a mobile billboard. This can be achieved by simply painting the vehicle surface, but it is becoming more common today to use large vinyl sheets as decals. These can be removed with relative ease, making it much less expensive to change from one advertisement to another. Vehicles with large, flat surfaces, such as buses and light-rail carriages, are fairly easy to work with, though smaller cars with curved surfaces can also be wrapped in this manner. Wrap advertising is available to anybody irrespective of the vehicle you drive.We are currently seeking to employ individual’s world wide. How would you like to make money by simply driving your car or banner wrapped for our BEER

How it works?
Here’s the basic premise of the “paid to drive” concept: Our BEER® seeks people regular citizens, professional drivers to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert of our BEER plastered on your car. The ads are typically vinyl decals, also known as “auto wraps,”that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any portion of your car’s exterior surface.

What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy?
Lots of exposure and awareness. The auto wraps tend to be colorful, eye-catching and attract lots of attention. Plus, it’s a form of advertising with a captive audience,meaning people who are stuck in traffic can’t avoid seeing the wrapped car alongside them. This program will last for 6 months and you can decide to extend your contract after the initial 6 months.

You will be compensated with $300 per week which is essentially a “rental”payment for letting our company use the space no fee is required from you. Our BEER® shall provide experts that would handle the advert placing on your car. You will receive an up front payment of $300 inform of check via courier service for accepting to carry this advert on your car. to this effect you are advise to check your email regularly to get update as to know when your upfront payment will arrive along with Graphic Artist address.

1)   You will receive a Certified Check.  As soon as you receive the check, you will cash the check for the decal wrapping on your car, deduct $300 as your up-front payment. The rest of the funds should be transferred to the Graphic artist that will wrap the decal on your car. All you need is to confirm the acceptance and understanding of this email.

2)  You will make a transfer of funds to the Graphic artist at the nearest western union or moneygram outlet in your area, the Info which you will make the transfer to will be emailed to you soon.

3)  We’ll like to have some Information about your car.

i) Type of Car and Color

ii) Model/Year :

iii) Present Condition and the Mileage:

Note:  Please, confirm that you did receive this message so that we can process funds that would be sent to you for the car advert.

It is very easy and simple,no application fees required. Get back with the following details if you are interested in these offer.

Applicant information:

Full Name:
Full Contact Address:
City,State,Zip code
Phone Number:

All other instructions will be sent out to you ASAP.

I……..Confirm to have received this email and understand the content.

Best Regards,
Hiring Manager

There are many ways in which this is a scam.  Random capitalization is always suspect.  Also, they didn’t identify the product, the name of the advertising company or anything.  I emailed back asking for the name of the company I would be working with.  I haven’t heard from them since.
Don’t fall for this.  They will send you a cashier’s check or company check for x amount.  You deposit it and take your “cut” and then they will ask you to wire the rest or mail it someplace.  By the time you do that the original check will be discovered fraudulent and you WILL be on the hook for all of it.
These wrap companies do not contact you randomly.  You must apply with them and they must approve you.  We have two older vehicles and do not travel the area much so we would not benefit companies like these.  Just sent this one to the trash.