Saturday, September 19, 2020

Grocery & Meal Delivery Services, My Firsthand Experiences

In the midst of a global pandemic, I have never been more thankful and grateful for businesses that have made my life easier. Grocery delivery, produce delivery, butcher delivery, meals in a box, and so much more. I have used each of the services below and here is my honest review of each as well as links to try them for a discount if you'd like to.

Grade: B

Misfit Market was my go to for over a year and I was so grateful when the pandemic hit that we had a subscription and were able to keep it coming each week. They had paused membership for quite some time and opened it back up over the summer. 

Misfit Market is a subscription membership for produce that is classified as a misfit. You could get a carrot that splits in half, a potato growing an eye, or an avocado that might have rolled off the counter onto the floor. Honestly, my produce always looked and appeared perfectly fine upon opening the box. The only issue I ever had, which happened every single box, was that I needed to use almost all of it within 2 days. So that meant our family had great produce for a few days, but the second half of the week was slim pickings for us. 

All of their produce is organic. One issue I had with them was you didn't know what you were getting until your box arrived. So, you could get a dozen apples or no apples. You could get everything you need for an amazing salad for dinner or no salad items. So, you pretty needed to have an open mind. 

We paused out Misfit Market subscription over the summer to switch to Imperfect Foods because you can choose what is included in your box. Misfit Market appears to have changed that now and you CAN choose what comes in your box. 

Try Misfit Market out here. And use code COOKWME-LN4LHV for 25% off your first box. 

Grade: C-

First of all, we just cancelled our subscription. Like today cancelled. The packaging and delivery was such a disappointment for me, I just couldn't deal anymore. With that being said, their food, beverages, meats, cheeses, and produce are all phenomenal. If their items weren't great, I would totally rate them an F. 

Their prices are great and competitive. Their produce, while claiming to be imperfect, was almost always great. Their pantry items are solid and brands are known. They have both organic and not and if you're plant-based or vegetarian, they're a great company to check out. 

You can set preferences and repeat orders, which is great. So if you want a certain pasta every other week or coffee every week, you can make that happen in your subscription. 

This week, our box arrived and the side appeared wet. When I opened the box, the box of chicken stock was smashed and every single item in my box was covered in chicken stock. It was disgusting, I'm not going to lie. It also stank because I don't know how long everything was covered in it. 

Last week, our box arrived and two containers of blueberries were open and all of the berries were smashed in the box and everything was covered in blueberries. They credited me $2, the amount that the blueberries cost because I wasn't able to eat them. Nothing for the other items that were damaged that I had to toss. 

The week prior, one of the onions was moldy and had been rolling around inside the box, touching every other item in the box. Again, they credited me for the ONE damaged item, but not for anything else, even though I tossed almost everything else in the box because, well, mold. Eewww. 

Also, they claim to deliver to my zip code on Thursdays. I have never once received a delivery on their scheduled date. It's either the next day or two days later. Sometimes, my cold food is no longer cold as the cold pack is warm OR has fallen out of the cold bag because it wasn't sealed and then everything is wet and not cold. Again, a packaging and delivery issue. 

I'm not sure if it's just me or just my area or it's company wide, but right now, I am just fed up with the damaged items in delivery. 

BUT, if you want to try Imperfect Foods, click here for $10 off your first box. 

Grade: A 

This is one of those million dollar ideas I wish I had. Seriously. And the best part is they now carry seafood! 

Butcher Box is a meat (and seafood) delivery service that is a monthly subscription. You can create a custom box or a box they design. I personally prefer the custom box because I will modify it each month if I need to (like if we didn't go through all of our chicken, I won't get chicken next month). 

It's $149 a month (if you do their pre-chosen box it's $129) and at first, it seemed like a lot to me but we have yet to run out of meat in a month since starting with Butcher Box. Their meats are exceptional. They taste amazing and have tons of flavor. The beef is grass-fed and the chicken is free-range organic. The pork is heritage breed and the seafood is wild-caught. 

Their packaging is exceptional and I have never once had an issue. My order has never had an error and everything comes pre-packaged and frozen. A nice perk which I like is if you want to push back your delivery date or skip a month, it's super easy to do online and there's no penalties or upcharges. Honestly, I cannot rave about Butcher Box more. 

Everyone I know who has subscribed to it raves about it. They had a long waitlist because of the pandemic and not only are they accepting new subscriptions now, but they have specials again. 

If you want to try Butcher Box, click here for $15 off your first box AND their sign up special right now is free ground beef for the life of your membership! 

Grade: B (personal shopper grade depending) 

First and foremost, if Instacart didn't jack up prices compared to the store being shopped, I'd totally give them an A. Maybe even just say that every item gets a 2% upcharge to cover their fees and cost. 

With that being said, Instacart has been a saving grace for our household for a few years. When they finally announced delivery to our town, we were ecstatic! Stop N Shop, Big Y, Costco, and more deliver to our front door and I couldn't be happier about it. It saves me so much time and frustration not having to go to the store. Also, I meal plan much better and more efficiently. I don't end up with random items that caught my eye or were on an end-cap screaming my name. My shopping is much more intentional this way. And we love it. 

If you'd like to try Instacart in your area, click here for $10 off your first order or use code NROSENSTEIN1F01B2

Grade: A  

This is worth every penny. Amazon Prime perk for the win, without question. I can shop at Whole Foods without leaving my home. And there are often numerous specials for Prime members so you can get some special items on sale too. 

If I want to make something special for dinner, I get it from here. I get my produce here now. I get snacks and treats here. I even get fresh bakery items here. Once every other week I place an online order. They are very similar to Instacart in that you have a personal shopper shopping for you. So they'll text you or message you while shopping for any changes or substitutions. 

I don't have a link for a discount but if you have Prime, you have this opportunity!! 

Grade: A

I haven't used Blue Apron in over a year, but when we did we absolutely loved it! The only reason we stopped was because I would only want 1 dinner once a week from them and that isn't an option. I love meal planning and having Butcher Box delivery, it didn't make sense to have both. 

Their recipes are outstanding and very easy to follow. Their ingredients are clearly labeled and marked and are often things I want to make again in the future. 

Want to try Blue Apron, just click here and they often give $60 off your first order! 

Grade: B+

The only reason they aren't an A is because when I compare them to Blue Apron, I just like Blue Apron better. The ingredients, the recipes, the packaging, just the company as a whole. 

Just like Blue Apron, I didn't continue it because it didn't really fit for us with Butcher Box. Also, you really should get 3 meals a week from them to maximize the cost. And right now, that doesn't fit into our family needs. 

I love how their meals encompass all aspects though. There's a protein, a starch, and veggies and makes for a complete "happy plate" as we call it at our house. Most of their meals are able to be made in under 30 minutes, and the rest in under 45 minutes. An added bonus that they do is with each menu dish you choose, it breaks down the cost for you. So some dishes are under $5 each while some are upwards of $7-10 each so you can really see the breakdown of what you're paying for.  

If you want to try Hello Fresh, click here for $40 off your first box!

Whew. That was a lot, wasn't it?! I hope this gives you some insight into the companies we use and have used in the past to help with our groceries and meal planning.   

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

What's Cooking Wednesday: Spicy Watermelon Margarita

Everyone deserves a good drink now and then. And this baby has been on heavy rotation in our house this summer! 

2-3 cups of watermelon (pureed)
1/2 cup tequila
splash or shot of triple sec
dash of simple syrup (if you don't have any, use honey) 
splash or shot of lime juice
sliced jalepenos

In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients with some ice, shake, pour into your favorite glass. 

I like to have mine on Taco Tuesdays. Or Wacky Wednesdays. Or Thirsty Thursdays. Who am I kidding, I like to have it any night of the week! 

And our dinner this time was taco bowls without the tacos! Some seared steak marinated in lime, black beans, corn with carmelized onions, and fresh avocado salad. Yum. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

What's Cooking Wednesday: Easy Alfredo

I could not believe not only how easy this sauce was to make, but how delicious it was. I should've baked bread to go with it to slop the sauce up too!

I sautéed some shrimp to go along with it but any protein or vegetables would be delish. 

2 tabelspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter (judgement free zone here people)
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of chicken stock
1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
salt and pepper for taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (same amount as your cream)

Heat a skillet at medium and melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the garlic for barely a minute to release the flavor and sizzle a bit. Add the stock and cream and stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Lower the heat then add in the parm to melt. Once the sauce is melted together, add in your cooked pasta of choice. Toss thoroughly then top with some more parmesan because you only live once! 

Friday, September 4, 2020

How To Sell On Poshmark

Over the last four years, I have bought and sold over $10,000 worth of merchandise on Poshmark. I am not a professional thrifter nor am I a professional shopper (but boy should I be the later one!). I am simply someone who enjoys high quality items yet does not mind shopping second hand. 

Here's what I've learned from using Poshmark over the years, what has worked for me, and what hasn't. I hope it helps you in your Poshmark endeavors. 

1. Some brands sell better and easier than others. Plain and simple. 

It's true. Higher end items, such as Gucci, Tieks, Louis Vuitton, and Anthropologie, retain their value over time and hardly ever go on sale so when you can find an item on Poshmark from these labels, you will be paying more. And on the opposite end, you can ask for more as the demand is higher. Loft, Gap, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, even JCrew don't sell as well as others unless they are the classic tried and true best sellers (like Gap softspun jogger, a JCrew sweater blazer, Ann Taylor suit, or Banana Republic cashmere). When you list an item, list it to sell. Don't list it "to see if it will sell". Is it really worth the hassle of arguing with someone over $5. If not, lower it by $5. 
Also, when you go to list what you're selling, browse Poshmark to see if others have the same item or something similar already listing to see what they're asking so you can ask a similar, or even better price. 

2. Be willing to take less than you're asking. 

This is the toughest part for people on Poshmark. Buyers are looking for deals. They don't want to barter back and forth. They want to send you an offer, have you accept it, and have you both be on your merry way. When you list your item, be prepared to sell it for 20-50% less than you're asking for. So, if you list a JCrew sweater for $50, it will likely sell for $35. Poshmark will take their cut (which is 20% or $2.95 if it's under $15) and you'll make roughly $26. Just go in knowing and expecting that. 

3. Be open to offers. 

People are cheap. There, I said it. It's true, hate to break it to you. If you list an item for $20, someone will, without doubt, offer you $8 for it. You can decline it OR you can go back with your own offer to them. This can go back and forth for as long as you're willing to go or until the buyer decides to take your offer or decline it. People are ALWAYS looking to get something for less. It's the way of the world these days. As long as you're aware of that and open to it, you can be successful on Poshmark.  
The buyer is also paying for tax and shipping so that's a solid $10 more than what they're offering you for the item, so keep that additional part in mind too. 

4. When someone bundles items, offer them a deal too good to pass up. 

When someone likes 2 or more items in your closet, they can 'bundle' them. This gives you the option to offer these items at a discounted price AND with a discount on shipping. Now, YOU pay the discount in shipping (it's just taken from your profit) and 99% of the time it's worth the $2 to get items out of your closet and into someone else's. People will sometimes bundle one item and truthfully, I just ignore that. They just want you to give them an individual offer with discounted shipping. Unless it's a high-end item, I ignore it. 

5. People are cheap. Sorry, but they are. There's no nice way to say it. 

As I've stated above, people are out for a deal. Go in ready for that and understand that and Poshmark can be truly successful for you. 

6. Be detailed in your description. 

Be as detailed as you can be in your description. How many times the item has been worn, what kind of condition it is in, any issues with the item (snags, pulls, if it was hemmed or altered at all, etc) and how it fits on you. Details make or break the sale. 

7. Use stock photos. 

Research online and google the item. It takes a few minutes but using a stock photo as the first photo in your listing catches the eye and gets them to click on your item. Yes, it might take a while to find a stock photo, especially if it's an older item, but that makes your listing more professional AND makes your closet more visually appealing. 

8. Take GREAT photos of your items. And measure them. 

Take pictures of your item with natural light. Do not use any filters, it misleads the buyer and puts you at risk for a return. Hang your item when you take your photos. List measurements of your item too. Pit to put for the bust, length for a dress or blouse, sleeve length if it seems an odd length, inseam for shorts, pants, or jeans, and waist for any bottoms you list. Measurements and great photos will get your items sold. 

9. Keep track of who "likes" items and offer them personal deals.  

You'll get notifications when people like your items. You can send offers to all likers, but it must be at least 10% less than the asking price AND 10% less than the last offer you sent! This is a great way to get items sold if you're willing to send a great deal. 

10. Package pretty and write a note. People check reviews! 

I always wrap my items in tissue paper, tie it with a ribbon into a bow, and toss in a short hand written note thanking them for shopping my closet. I also ship in under 48 hours. People can leave a review and buyers often check reviews before purchasing from a seller to see if they're honest and efficient. I have over 100 five-star reviews because of this. 

You can also join Poshmark parties, share other closets and specific items, and earn Poshmark stats. I don't do any of that. I stick with my closet and share my items a few times a week to keep them newly searchable (if you don't share your items, they slowly move down the searchable list as newly listed and newly shared are the first when a buyer searches). 

Good luck in your selling on Poshmark and I hope these tips help you clean out your closet.

Find me on Poshmark here and with code NAOMIPERK you'll get $10 off your first purchase!