Change Up Your Grocery Habits

standard September 19, 2017 Leave a response

Disclaimer: This is a post written on behalf of my client, PantryPerks. The opinions contained within are mine and mine alone. 

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I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you’re pretty set in your grocery shopping ways. You probably go on the same day every week, buy mostly the same things, and rarely try a new store.

I mean, I know I am. I hit the same two stores, usually on Sunday evening, and despite my sporadic attempts to vary up our usual menu, I usually bring home some variation of the same stuff every week.

And if I need something from that expensive wholesome place? Well, I put it off as long as I possibly can and then drag myself across town to wander the aisles that always make me feel guilty for not consistently making better food choices for my family. Guilt, not pleasant, which is why I try hard to go as rarely as possible.

But what if I told you that there was a new organic/wholesome grocery player on the scene? And that you don’t have to get into your car to get there? Or feel shamed as you wander the aisles wondering what you even do with sprouted wheatgerm? PantryPerksThis past month, I got the chance to try out PantryPerks.com for the first time. All that wholesome goodness and you don’t even have to get off your couch!

Even better, you get rewarded for shopping, in CASH.

That’s right, pajama shopping you get paid for. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

First things first. What can you find at PantryPerks?

PantryPerks sells all the non-perishable natural or organic goods that you can find at most natural, organic stores.

Think gluten free, kosher, or Non-GMO snacks and baking supplies, as well as tons of great certified organic pantry staples.

You can also get some awesome diapers and wipes, cleaning supplies, and, of course, all of your essential oils.

And more, so much more!

Many of the items are sold in bulk, so you can stock up and rest easy for a while. And since it’s all delivered right to your door, no need to schlep it all home from the store any more!

How do the prices compare?

I’m not the greatest of deal shoppers (don’t tell my husband), but even I can tell when something is cheaper than usual. Other, more savvy deal shoppers than I, have reported that the prices are pretty darn good. Add to that the fact that there are always new deals to be snagged and, well, even I can tell you that you can save some serious cash by shopping at PantryPerks.

For instance, today, a 12 pack of the yummy chocolate brownie Cliff bars is $7.99 instead of $23.14. And a case of 8 Svelte protein shakes is $13.99 instead of $23.26. Take a look and see how your favorite products stack up!

Now, what’s that about earning cash back?

Here’s how it works: When you shop at PantryPerks, you get cash back. Then, when you share your personal referral link (everyone gets one!) and your friends shop at PantryPerks you get cash back too! Guess what, when their friends shop using their referral link, you get cash back AGAIN. (Check out the handy infographic below to see the details.)

(Sooooooo…. if you shop at PantryPerks after clicking any of the links in this post, I might earn some cash back. So, go, shop! Yes, you!!)

There’s a coolio calculator that allows you to figure out just how much money you could be earning just by telling people about PantryPerks.  (Click on the ‘Cheat Sheet’ button hovering on the left side of the PantryPerks screen.)

How much cash back can you earn with PantryPerks?

So, the verdict?

Well, sadly, I still have to get off my couch on Sunday evening to go get chicken, beef, dairy products and fruit as well as all the other perishable stuff that consists of the bulk of my grocery haul. My poor family couldn’t survive without 14 different types of yogurt and assorted cheese sticks in the fridge, tragedy would ensue.

But I might never ever have to go to the place that makes me feel like a terribly inadequate mother ever again. SO YAY!

Get started here, and please come by to let me know what you think! PantryPerks is brand new and they love feedback!

How does PantryPerks work?

 

Please note: PantryPerks is one of my clients, and, as such I was compensated to help them spread the word about their company and find bloggers to help me do so. That said, this post features just my opinions and facts about how PantryPerks works. All links contained in this post are referral links. If you shop at PantryPerks after clicking on any link I might earn some cash back. 

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All the reasons why I hate the end of summer

standard August 15, 2017 Leave a response

All over the web you can find stories and pictures of moms celebrating the return to school or moms lamenting that their kids don’t go back until after Labor Day. Meanwhile I’m over here just as upset as my kids that school is starting the day after tomorrow. Really, I just hate the end of summer.

Of course, I’m not letting on that I hate this time of year as much as they do. That wouldn’t be seemly. No, I’m being all upbeat for them about how great it is! New friends! New teachers! Cool learning! Wheeeee!

Meanwhile, inside I’m all scroogey and sad.

Why, you ask?

Ah, well so many reasons. (And interestingly not the same ones as the ones I wrote about 5 years ago.)

I hate the end of summer

1. I’m going to miss having the kids around.

One of them mastered making mac and cheese in the Instant pot this summer. And she keeps baking us treats. And they’re chilling with their friends and sharing jokes and stories. And they’re just kinda fun to have around all the time.

2. I’m going to miss the flexibility of being able to just go do something fun if we want. 
Ice cream. Day trips to the beach. Target. The pool. Just chilling downtown. Lunches at Chipotle. All on a whim or at a moment’s notice. I mean, duh, I can still do these things, but it’s less fun without the kids. Turns out, the people at Baskin Robbins look at you funny if you order all the candy toppings when you’re on your own.
3.  I loathe the increased anxiety for the older kid and everything that comes with it.
Social Anxiety is a bitch. And in the summer it takes a bit of a break. Then in the fall it comes back with a vengeance. School is HARD for a kid who finds crowds stressful. Like, really, really hard. Especially when those crowds are stuck in a classroom for prescribed amounts of time and you can’t really escape. The emotional upheaval has to get dealt with at home and it’s a strain on the whole family.
4. I looooooathe homework.
There. I said it. I’m one of the moms who thinks that there should never, ever be any homework. Because it gets in the way of our afternoon ice cream outings. And also because it’s a dumb waste of time, energy and stress. Especially for moms.
5. I despise packing lunches.
Oh, the bliss of not having to pack lunches for the last 9 weeks. It’s been amazing.
No, my kids won’t eat sandwiches or anything else that can be prepped ahead of time.
Yes, they’ll eat the same. exact. lunch I’ve been packing for them since they started elementary school.
No, I don’t think I’ll ever stop hating this chore. Nor will I ever feel wealthy enough to just throw in the towel and get them hot lunch.
Please don’t suggest I make them pack their own lunches. The stress mentioned in #3 is already enough for me to deal with.
6.  I struggle with a mix of feelings about having my workload pretty much doubles with volunteer stuff
Because I LIKE the volunteer stuff I do, but there’s rather a lot of it and it’s quite overwhelming at the start of the year. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. Because it’s not PC for me to hate volunteering and also it’s an important part of my kids’ education.
7. It’s kinda the start of a new year and that comes with its own baggage.
Like the kind that makes you take stock of personal achievements and come up lacking. I mean, what have you accomplished lately? Huh? Well, probably more than me. But that’s ok, I still love you.
8. It’s almost the end of the year and that comes with its own baggage.
The start of school seems to be the international signal for the start of the race to the finish. The race to win the whole year. From a business perspective. A frenzy to MEET ALL THE GOALS! MAKE ALL THE SALES! PROMOTE ALL THE THINGS!
Dude, I’m exhausted just thinking about it and so far I’m only just getting wind of the increased work-load on my end.
But it’s not all bad. At least I get to go school supply shopping and soon, really, really soon, the Pumpkin Spice Lattes will be back. Hush now, a mom has to take her joy where she can find it.

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I’m designing (and selling) t-shirts, because why not

standard July 25, 2017 Leave a response

At the last blog conference I attended I somewhat randomly attended a session about creating t-shirts to sell on Amazon. I’m not entirely sure what compelled me to attend, maybe it was that I was already in the room, or the bowl of candy on the table, or the pickle shots the night before… it’s unclear. What quickly did become clear is that I couldn’t take notes fast enough*.

I mean, how many times have I found myself saying “Oh, man, someone ought to put that on a shirt!?”

So there I was, pickle hangover and all, feeling like Kara Carrero was handing me the keys to the kingdom as she tried to tell us EVERYTHING there was to know about selling t-shirts on Amazon.

I took frantic notes. Applied to the program right there and then. And then, I will admit, promptly forgot about the whole thing, because pickle shot hangovers, travel, and, well, life.

So a couple weeks ago, when Amazon sent me an email to let me know I was approved, I was all, oh YEAH! shirts!

And then I fell head first into the most. fun. way. to. procrastinate. ever.

I mean, ever.

First you make yourself crack up as you think of funny shirt ideas. Then you have to see if someone has already used your brilliant idea or if there’s a market for it. Then you have to find the right graphics and fonts. Then you spend hours trying to navigate graphic design software that you have zero clue how to operate. Then you have to read ALL the things you can find on the subject so you can be sure you are using the right descriptions and whatnot.

I have a million t-shirt ideas on a million little scraps of paper and I’m pretty sure I’ve officially lost my mind. But man am I having fun.

As I upload the shirts, I’m going to be sharing them on a Pinterest board created just for the occasion. Or you can see them in the sidebar of the blog, right, over there –>.

Couple other things you should know:

  • I can create any shirt you want me to create (as long as it doesn’t violate copywrite laws or go against Amazon’s terms of service)
  • I can create shirts for your sports club, mom’s group, special event, whatever and set the price point as low as possible to make it as cheap as possible for you guys.
  • I’m always open to shirt suggestions. Please ping me and share!

Check out some of the shirts I’ve already created. Let me know what you think. I love a good piece of feedback! Or get them for yourself or for a friend. That would totally make my day.

Totality Shirt - Total Eclipse of the Sun - August 21 2017

Totality Shirt – Total Eclipse of the Sun – August 21 2017

Birthday Queen T-shirt

Birthday Queen T-shirt

How ewe doin? t-shirt

How ewe doin?

Terrible storms bring beautiful rainbows t-shirt

Terrible storms bring beautiful rainbows.

oh whale t-shirt

Oh, whale…

Donut worry, bee happy t-shirt

Don’t worry, bee happy!

whale, that was fun t-shirt

Whale, that was fun!

Don't yuck my yum t-shirt

Don’t yuck my yum.

Adding to the list every day. I’ll keep you all posted. Next shirt is going to be utterly delightfully word geeky. I can’t wait.

*I also attended a session on podcasts. Stay tuned to hear what’s coming of that!!

The Art of Asking; or rather, the art of being authentic

standard June 1, 2017 Leave a response

For someone who used to intensely hate to read fiction, I seem to reading a whole lot of it recently. I blame my book club and their desire to drag me kicking and screaming from my safe haven filled with vampires, witches, werewolves and other paranormal entities. Jerks. Just kidding, ladies, I love you all dearly.

The whole non-fiction thing has gotten so out of control that this past weekend I picked up a memoir that wasn’t. even. a. book. club. read. I KNOW. Insanity.

In my defense, a few girlfriends and I are currently brainstorming a new business venture and so I stocked up on relevant reading material. Because that I do enjoy doing. I don’t always read the resource materials that I buy, but I dove into The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer without too much hesitation. Because Amanda Palmer is married to Neil Gaiman and she oozes cool and I wanted to feel a little bit like a bad ass this weekend too. And it’s a well known thing that women have trouble asking for, well, anything, and I thought I could use a few pointers.

Also because the last book my book club read was Megyn Kelly’s book Settle for More and I needed to, ahem, bleach my eyes cleanse my palate. I kid. I kid. It wasn’t that bad. But I’ll get more to why I struggled with it in a moment.

So there I was, on my deck, freezing my buns off because I refuse to admit that it’s not yet warm enough for alfresco weekend breakfasting, so engrossed that I had to text my daughter to bring me a pencil so I could jot down some thoughts and notes. Also, maybe because I was frozen to the chair. Or because I’m lazy. Whatever, stop judging me. 

The long and short of it is that Amanda Palmer is a totally unconventional artist who seems to be a social media marketing savant. She figured out the importance of email lists before email was even a thing, understood the power of connecting with people through Twitter before most people even knew what you could talk in 140 character soundbites, and was the first artist to raise a 7 figure sum on Kickstarter. In a month. After having asked for a mere $100,000.

She’s basically my hero.

Not because she’s a successful marketer, but because she gets it. She gets that social media isn’t about screaming into the void, hoping that someone notices and reacts, but that it’s about building relationships, one post or tweet at a time.

But she’s not even doing it because building relationships is important for her business. She does all of it—the music, the tweeting, the blogging, the concerts and home parties, the Kickstartingbecause the relationships and the people in them are critical to her and her well-being. 

I sat there after finishing the book and I thought “huh. Right, it’s about the art, it’s about sharing the words and connecting with people. It’s not about making money from it all.”

I think I might have forgotten along the way.

I haven’t really worked on the book-in-progress because the first one hasn’t really been financially successful enough to justify the hours it would take to write the next one.

But that’s not the point, right? I should probably remember that.

The other thing that struck me once I was done reading was how very honest and real the book felt. After spending hours reading chapter after chapter, I felt like I had spent the whole weekend chatting one-on-one with Amanda. I felt that way after reading Shonda Rhime’s Year of Yes book too. And I finally realized that Megyn Kelly’s book had irked me so much because she keeps her readers at a very safe distance, never allowing herself to be genuinely vulnerable, which makes it hard to relate with her on pretty much any level.

So, to recap, make art just for the sake of sharing art and don’t be afraid to embrace genuine, authentic vulnerability if you want to be relatable and allow people to feel connected to you.

What I didn’t learn was the art of asking. But I think it’s because the issue isn’t really about asking, or even knowing what to ask for (which is a whole other question). It’s about creating a life where you can ask and know that people will respond.  If you put yourself out there in a genuine way, share of yourself unconditionally, whatever that means in your life, people will return it tenfold.

Or, as Amanda’s mentor says it “If you love people enough, they’ll give you everything,” something that basically applies whether you’re talking about friendship, patronage, or even marketing.

As for actually asking for anything? Well, whenever I hesitate, I’m going to think of Amanda, standing on stage, asking the audience if anyone has a couch for her and her crew to crash on, and I’ll try to remember that if you never ask, the answer is always going to be no.

Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

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