Win back to school supplies (and help our teachers, too!)

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Thank you to Great Clips for sponsoring today’s discussion and inspiring my family to support teachers!

When I was little, one of my favorite parts of the summer (nerd alert) was taking a few days to help my mom set up her classroom. My mom, recently retired, spent 35 years teaching elementary school. Each year, weeks before the first day of school, my brother and I would be her little helpers (although now that I have my own little one, I understand that we likely just made things more difficult for her).

I’d watch with awe as she hung up her HANDMADE posters (my mom is an incredible artist), bulletin boards and customized name tags. I’d help her organize the books for the reading nook and put together her “first day” goody bags.

And of course, I’d always judge my first-day experience against my mom’s impossibly high set bar. I’m lucky that many of my teachers lived up to the challenge. I was one of those kids who couldn’t WAIT to get my classroom assignments. To catch a sneak peek of the classroom before the first day. I loved finding my name tag and desk and then spending the afternoon fantasizing about who my new friends (or crushes – ha!) would be. Am I the only nerd who did this? Maybe the only one that admits it…

What I didn’t know at the time is that on average, teachers spend $1,000 of their own money just to make sure their students have the resources they need to learn. That is why Great Clips wanted to team up with an organization who can help both teachers and families. Great Clips and Adopt a Classroom (AdoptAC) want to give back.  Between now and September 5th, for every download of the GreatClips Online Check-in App, a donation will be made to adopt a classroom.

Check out this makeover!

great clips

Even better? YOU can win, too. Simply upload your own back-to-school supplies list. Every day, one lucky winner will get their school supplies bought and shipped to their front door for free (up to $100 value)!

Plus, save on back-to-school haircuts for the whole family! Please visit your local salon for pricing details. #GREATLIST contest entrants receive a $2-off Great Clips coupon with their confirmation email the first time they submit a school supply list. One coupon per customer.

 

Ten things I know for sure

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1.)    Menchies (or probably any frozen yogurt) ice cream is not nearly as delicious if you forget to take one of their spoons and have to use one at home. Am I the only one who feels this way?

2.)    PINK clothing from Victoria’s Secret should be reserved for teenagers or college students. Once you hit 25, “PINK” across your tush isn’t so cute anymore.

3.)    House of Cards. Game of Thrones. Mad Men. True Detective. These are the best (drama) shows that television currently has to offer. Hope you are watching them.

4.)    As I’m getting older, it is getting far less acceptable to leave the house with wet hair and no makeup. I caught my reflection in a window when I went out on a Menchies run last night. Shudder. It was easier to pretend it was a stranger.

5.)    I received a pre-school prep email yesterday. WHAT IS HAPPENING? How is this only one month away?

6.)    I took a sports cardio class yesterday that revolved around sprints, agility drills and jumping. When I told the Mister about it he literally laughed out loud. Not sure how to take this.

7.)    I continue to receive super positive feedback from my last semi-serious post – THANK YOU. Means the world to me. And for those following along, I’ve been asked to “lay and sing”  the last five days! The little bean’s ears must have been burning :)

8.)    The Mister leaves tomorrow on a three day bike ride, the PAN OHIO. Almost 400 miles, people. I am so incredibly proud of him for his commitment, dedication and ambition. In the time he’s taken to train and prepare, I don’t even think I would have mastered clicking my shoe into the pedal.

9.)    I have the DIY itch – does this happen to anyone else this time of year? I’ve just redone our guest bedroom and we are preparing to backsplash the kitchen. Last night I ambushed the Mister with paint swatches to consider for our entryway, as well as an accent wall in the upstairs hallway. He responded like I was the witch from Snow White offering him a tainted apple. Can someone please confirm that I am not crazy?

10.)  The talent and skills of people I know and love continue to baffle me. BAFFLE.

For example:

My brother designed this incredibly clever and well-executed shirt celebrating Lebron’s return to Cleveland. You can buy it here. And you should.

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We went to the Cleveland Flea Hingetown market this past weekend with good friends that we don’t see nearly enough. My friend Amanda, an amazing photographer, happened to catch these sweet moments when we weren’t even looking. CLEVELANDERS – if you need a photographer who has an eye for beautiful moments and want yours captured, contact this woman – Amanda[dot]kozma[at]gmail[dot]com – she’s incredibly talented and just an amazing human being overall.

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Blue Apron – an honest review

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Note: this post was NOT Sponsored by Blue Apron. I have no affiliation with them what-so-ever. I was simply curious about the program and wanted to share my experience with you.

A few months ago, I received a promo email with an offer to try Blue Apron for a week – no charge. Having heard positive things, and never one to pass up a free meal, I quickly signed up.

To be honest, I practically forgot about it until the package arrived at my door. And what an incredible presentation it was! From the get-go, Blue Apron certainly locks you in with their packaging, branding and presentation. Here is what my box looked like upon arrival.

Blue Apron Box

Blue Apron Box

ba box

First impressions: Blue Apron separates and labels all the ingredients for you, making storage and prep a non-factor. “This is so cute!” I must have said 47x. I also appreciated the fact that the meat was all-natural and grass-fed. It wasn’t clear where the veggies were sourced from, which I feel is a potential missed opportunity (I’d pay $10 bucks more for organic, personally)

The first dish we tried was Chicken Supremes with Sautéed Ramps and Sugar Snap Peas.

Blue Apron provide recipe cards to help walk through each step – and it is relatively easy and self-explanatory. One thing I would like to clarify – THE INGREDIENTS ARE NOT PRE-CHOPPED/PREPARED. I was under the assumption that they would be, so I was disappointed when I learned I’d have to peel and cut an onion (took some of the convenience factor out of it). Thinking about it afterwards, I do realize it would be much more difficult to keep pre-chopped vegetables fresh, but I felt a little bit misled in this regard.

From start to finish, the dish took about 30 minutes, which I believe is pretty standard for Blue Apron. Result – delish!

chicken

The Mister and I both thoroughly enjoyed – AND! It’s something that I would have never made on my own (ramps?!) – I loved being “forced” to try a new ingredient.

The next dish we made was the salmon roll sandwich with a beet salad (I made beets! — and honestly - would not go through the process again – I mean really, isn’t that what prepared foods sections are for?), which was my favorite dish of the week (and again, something I’d never make).

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The third dish – fried green tomatoes – we never got around to.

This is my main gripe with Blue Apron – the Mister and I don’t eat fried food (I’d rather have a cupcake, thanks). Blue Apron features five dishes a week and selects the ones that best match your (very general) food preferences. I wish we had the opportunity to hand select the dishes we’re sent, because we would have MUCH preferred one of the other dishes “left on the table.”

That being said, the other two dishes were incredibly delicious and easy to make.

We both agreed that it was something we’d consider doing again – maybe once a month for a special treat (it’s $60 for three meals, which isn’t that expensive, but we tend to eat simply at home – think turkey burgers and grilled veggies) – and spend our money on dinners out.

Turns out that we got to give it a whirl again much earlier than anticipated – enter, my second gripe with Blue Apron. Now, this isn’t entirely their fault, because I’m sure it was outlined in their “Terms and Conditions.” But who reads those?! Not this girl. Apparently you have to go through the “opt out” process every single month. The default is that you will receive the meals, so you need to go in and cancel the delivery (which is super simple, but a PITA to remember). So when the Mister asked me why there was a $60 charge on the credit card from Blue Apron, it was then that I learned we’d be getting another box.

Which brings me to my third gripe with Blue Apron – Boxes arrive on Wednesday or Friday. Missed opportunity! I would be much more inclined to participate if the boxes could arrive on Monday. We tend to take a lot of adventures over the weekend and don’t like to be tied to the house for homemade meals – admittedly, we normally go out, get take out or make something quick and simple at home. BUT I know some people enjoy making homemade, fancy family dinners on the weekend, so this might work out best for them.

All in all, I enjoyed Blue Apron, but will not use the service on a regular basis. To help you decide if you’d like to give it a try, I broke down the pros and cons

PROS

CONS

Have you tried Blue Apron or a similar program? What did you think?

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