July 6, 2020

Delivery Reviews | Instacart, DoorDash, and The Bouqs

As soon as we were told to shelter-in-place back in mid-March, I immediately began to rely heavily on delivery services. Four months later that's still the case, at least for me. Since my state (I'm in NJ) has been slowly reopening though, I have started taking baby steps to shopping in person. But it's mainly been at individual stores with outdoor entrances and strict monitoring around capacity and masks. Still, I think it's a long way to go for me to feel 100% relaxed inside a grocery or a mall. So I thought I'd share reviews of the delivery services I've been relying on and will continue to use for the foreseeable future.


I tried Instacart a week into the lockdown. I had heard of the service before but having my groceries delivered just wasn't something I needed or considered until COVID happened. From the start, I was extremely impressed with the service. I've only had one bad experience and maybe a couple so-so ones but overall, it's been excellent. The way it works is that you can choose to shop from a wide range of local stores. I always order from ShopRite but they have Target, Stop & Shop, ACME, Coscto, The Wine Club, and even Staples and Petco. And that doesn't even cover the half the available stores! You order in advance, choose your delivery date and on the day of, the shopper who picks up your order texts you through the app and will be in communication the entire time. For example, if something needs to be replaced because what I wanted was out of stock, I've had shoppers text me photos of what I can choose from which is super helpful. Because you do pay for delivery and tip, it is a bit more expensive than shopping on your own but I find the convenience of the service well worth it. And if any of the items are missing, damaged or not to your liking, the customer service is quick and helpful with giving out refunds or credit. Some personal tips: set your deliveries for the morning to ensure you're getting the freshest produce and make sure you're available to chat with the shopper to get exactly what you want. I highly recommend giving this a try if you haven't already! 


Friday night takeout has become one of the highlights of my week and my go-to app for ordering food is DoorDash. Even though I do have UberEats and Seamless on my phone as well, DoorDash is the one I always open. The app is just really easy to use, I like how the categories are set up, and they have a bunch of promos going on that you can take advantage of. It was also a great way to support local restaurants when everything was closed at the start of the pandemic. Even though there was curbside pickup available and now outdoor dining has become an option, I'm still not doing either of those things. I still prefer to rely on having my food delivered for now (and for who knows how long) so I know I'll be continuing to use this app a lot. 


Back when I could go grocery shopping every week, I would always buy a bouquet of flowers. Fresh flowers at home immediately brightens up any space in my humble opinion and it was so easy to find a nice bouquet for cheap at Trader Joe's. I hadn't bought any flowers this entire until my birthday. I had received flowers from The Bouqs before (courtesy of some amazing friends) so I decided to give their service a try and send myself a bouquet. The flowers were arrived on time and were very carefully packed into the box. I was actually pretty impressed with the care put into it and of course, the flowers were beautiful. It made me realize how much I've loved having flowers at home! And since I was so happy with the service, I decided to sign up for a monthly subscription. It is on the pricier side so I went with a monthly service but they offer bi-monthly if that's more affordable for you or bi-weekly if you're willing to splurge. 

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Are you a fan of any of these services?
Or, are there any others you'd recommend?
I'd love to hear from you!

July 3, 2020

Links + Loves


Here are some non-bookish articles I really liked this past month and my latest loves.

Links
1 / Some really great and empowering messages about personal health and autonomy from Lizzo and Florence Pugh on social media. If you weren't fans before, you will be after listening to these two short videos. 

2 / PopSugar put together a list of "375 Things You'll Remember If You Grew Up in the '90s" and omg, if you're in the mood for a trip down memory lane, you'll want to see this. I was personally happy to see Popples make the list (I loved mine) but seriously almost everything they mentioned was a part of my childhood. 

3 / This "Social Distancing Thoughts" illustration on Cup of Jo is very relatable.

4 / I feel like I've been sharing burnout posts every month but like The EveryGirl says, "Emotional Burnout is Real." I'm figuring this out myself each week and it's just really important to not ignore the physical or mental cues your body is giving you. 

5 / I recently started following Alyssa Lenore on Instagram and I've become such a fan of her content, authentic voice, and... her bag collection 😂  I'm usually not into watching YouTuber content (I mainly just watch old clips from my favorite TV shows when the mood hits OR workout videos) but I actually subscribed to her! Her recent video on her luxury bag collection was long but totally worth watching. 

6 / Reading this woman's experience with adopting a cat and how it helped her mental and emotional state only made me want to adopt even more. 

7 / Apartment Therapy posted "15 Reasons You Should Consider Pink for Your Bedroom" and they've certainly got me considering it now!  

Loves

1 / I've bought face masks from three different shops and these Tie Bar ones are by far the best. They're breathable, well-made and decently priced. If you want extra protection, there's a pocket for a filter. And I love the assortment of colors/prints they have. I couldn't say no to this lavender set! 

2 / With the hot weather these days, I wanted walking sandals that I could use in place of my sneakers. I took a chance on this Teva pair from Amazon and wow, I am so glad I bought these. They're super comfortable and required no breaking in whatsoever. I was worried this purchase would be more functional and less cute? But they're actually cute in person! 

3 / Having rosacea is super frustrating and finding products that work for my skin is a struggle. For past couple of weeks I've been using Dermaced Redness Redux serum and so far I'm noticing a difference. Fingers crossed it continues that way. 


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Do you have any links or loves to share?
Would love to hear about them!

July 1, 2020

June Recap

Life lately
How is it the end of June already?! I thought being home most of the time would make the months feel slower but instead, I think they're flying by even faster! But June was great and not just because it's my birthday month (although that's a big reason). 

In general, I didn't think we'd be doing any celebrating this summer and so far that hasn't been the case. We had lunch in the backyard for my cousin's birthday, Father's Day, and my birthday. These family get togethers once a week are everything to me, now more than ever. I indulged in some shopping, got to hang out with Alexa (!), step inside a bookstore, and just have these tiny moments of taking baby steps towards normal (but don't be mistaken, I am still very paranoid and cautious). But I'd say summer is off to a good start so far and I hope these upcoming months will only get better and better.



This month's ...
Favorite read
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On the blog


Read but not reviewed
  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler 
    - 3 stars
    I read this for my Reading Women 2020 challenge. It's a thought-provoking book that definitely tackles difficult and sometimes uncomfortable topics head-on. But there were parts of the story I wish the author had probed on further which is why it got 3 stars from me. 
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1) by Ann Brashares - 3 stars
    More to come on this at a later date but every month starting in June, I'll be re-reading a book in this series with Alexa and Kristin. There were a lot of things about this book that didn't hold up for me but the best part is still the friendship. 
  • Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan - 4 stars
    To be honest, I didn't realize this was a companion novel to her Kingmaker series! I just saw she had a new book out and I immediately bought it. It was so good! Sexy, super romantic, and so much depth. 
  • Angel's Blood + Angel's Kiss (Guild Hunters, Books 1-2) by Nalini Singh - 4 stars
    I'll be doing a full review of this series in a later date for something Alexa and I are working on but wow. So far I'm definitely hooked and loving this world Singh has created. I can't wait to read more!
  • Rage & Ruin (The Harbinger, #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout - 4 stars
    I love that I can consistently count on JLA books to entertain me. This installment continued to expand the world and show how the heroine Trinity grew and faced challenges (both personally and against villains). I have a lot of thoughts on the direction and I'm excited to see how the series will end. 
  • Places I Stopped on the Way Home by Meg Fee - 3.5 stars
    Meg Fee's writing is undoubtedly beautiful. I knew that from her blog and it's apparent in her book as well. But I'll be honest, there were times when this book felt very.. self-indulgent. Her experiences will undoubtedly resonate with other people but while I did ultimately like her collection of essays, I personally didn't relate to a lot of it.  
  • When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore - 3.5 stars
    McLemore's take on magical realism is just so haunting. I've read at least 4 books by her at this point and I'm always struck how she conveys her characters' experiences and feelings. This isn't my favorite by her but it's still very glad I read it.
  • Lucy's Chance (Red Rock Ranch, #1) by Brittney Joy - 3 stars
    I'm in one of my horse book moods again! This was so short (under 200 pages) but it was cute. I think if it had been longer and the story/characters were developed more, I would've rated this higher because I liked the MC and setting a lot. 

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