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Blue Apron v. Plated v. Home Chef v. Hello Fresh

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Lo and I are no strangers to cooking.

But sometimes you get tired of making the same old things, and the process of finding recipes on Pinterest, narrowing them down to a few specific meals, making a grocery list of ingredients, picking them up, forgetting something, going back to the store, then trying to pull up those recipes again to actually make the things…..is daunting, to say the least.

So we decided to try out one of these new fangled food boxes…4 different ones, actually.

And I’m going to tell you what we liked and didn’t like about each one.

(I’ll even tell you which is our favorite and why, so if you’re into spoilers go ahead and scroll allllll the way down for that part.)

Similar things about all 4 services:

  1. You get all the ingredients you need for 3 meals for 2 people, for what breaks down to about $10/person/meal
  2. They include step by step recipe cards on how to prepare each thing
  3. Each has an online dashboard where you can “skip” weeks that you don’t want to receive deliveries, and in most cases you can customize your meals to a certain extent

But each box had it’s own pro’s and con’s:

BLUE APRON

This was the first box we ever tried, and cards on the table: it’s been about 2 years since we’ve ordered this, so things might have improved. Overall we didn’t find the recipes to be very flavorful, and the ones that involved meat didn’t seem to have quite enough meat included for us to really feel full. (Note: my friends Aly and John said they got this box recently and that the portions were big enough for leftovers, so it sounds like Blue Apron likely responded to customer feedback and made some improvements since then). What we DID like, was that the instructions were really fun and very step by step. So we learned some cool cooking techniques, most notably, PLANTAINS ARE SO EASY TO COOK AND SO GOOD. I still make them regularly as a side dish.

PLATED

One week is a hit. One week is a miss. Lots of instances where things were missing or proportioned incorrectly so if you’re not paying attention you can definitely use too much of something and ruin the dish. They also recently launched an online store for cooking related products and gear, which I guess is a convenient upsell for people who are completely new to cooking. Not my fave, though, clearly.

HOME CHEF

After getting Blue Apron and Plated, I created a binder with clear page protectors to save the recipes we really loved for future use. It ended up becoming the best cookbook ever. But then we got Home Chef, and our first box included a binder, and all of the recipe cards are hole-punched already, which I thought was a really smart and cool added bonus. Overall: the meals were pretty simple – some so simple I couldn’t imagine they would even taste good – but it’s all so well-thought out that even basic things were very flavorful. The only down side was that we felt there were too many unimportant steps included in the recipe breakdown. i.e. things that took 3 separate steps / pots could easily be combined into one step / pot.

HELLO FRESH (THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE)

I keep going back and forth, but all things considered this one is my favorite. Firstly, they keep the recipes fairly simple and don’t overcomplicate the steps. If she can be cooked together at once, they tell you to do it that way. Still lots of fun, minus theatrics. They also do a good job with portions and overall food freshness, and I know this is a small thing but it really makes the process more convenient: they package the ingredients for each meal together. So you don’t have to manually sort things and then try to figure out how to place them together in your fridge so that you know what’s what.

If you’re interested in trying the food box concept in general, I’d recommend signing up for each on different weeks so you can weigh your own pro’s and cons.

Plus, they all have special discounts for first time signups, so initial boxes are heavily discounted.

 

3 Things I Forgot About Yoga

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Yesterday I went to my first yoga class in almost 2 years.

That’s a long hiatus considering how often I was going for years…

But I just turned 31, and decided that it’s time to start prioritizing my health again.

So I found a studio near my new house, looked up the class schedule, and found a one hour evening flow class, and booked (and paid for) my spot online to make sure that I didn’t punk out.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.

photo from a few years ago @ Life Yoga Studio in New Orleans – by Suzy rivera

Sure, I’ve taken lots of classes in the past, but I’d never been to this particular studio before, and I had no idea what the instructor would be like, or if I’d walk into a room full of handstanding, pretzel-bodied yogis prepped for a way more advanced class than I was ready for.

I reminded myself that everyone starts somewhere and tried to quiet the self-judgement going through my head.

Still – I almost didn’t go…

As I approached the front door, I was super confused about how to get inside….was there a class going on right on the other side of the door that I couldn’t see? Should I knock? Try the door? Wait for someone else to arrive and see what they do? No. I read the sign. It says “enter through side gate.” *whew*

I walked through an unexpectedly cute and spacious garden before entering the small studio.

Immediately, I was greeted by the warmest, friendliest handshake and ‘nice to meet you’ from the instructor, Katherine.

With still almost 30 minutes til class time, she showed me around and let me get set up in the shala.

Inhale.

Exhale…

And then something really really magical happened.

In this empty room that I’d never been in before, all alone, I suddenly felt completely relaxed, safe, and at home.

That’s when I remembered what I loved so much about this practice, but somehow forgot…

Yoga people are really fucking nice

As the room filled up and my self-consciousness of being 15 pounds heavier than my last practice kicked in, I was actually relieved that other students offered friendly, genuine ‘hello’s!’ as they entered. Throughout the practice, no one was there to show off or ‘outdo,’ we all just breathed together.

There’s always something new to learn

When class began, the instructor announced that we’d be spending the entire class working up to one, single, challenging pose. SHIT. As the class progressed, I was fairly certain it was going to be Eagle Pose – one that I’ve always found not just difficult, but super uncomfortable once I was able to get into it. Nothing about this pose ever made sense to me. I wanted to UNWIND, not feel like I was being tied into a knot. But guess what I found out: it was uncomfortable because I’d been doing it wrong the whole time. Katherine broke down the pose into such individual components that I was able to see the difference between what I was doing (squeezing my shoulders and hips and everything else into a tight knot in order to hold the pose) and how it’s supposed to be done (relaxing the shoulders and hips and pressing the elbows and knees together with a gentle lift). Towards the end of class, we were all in Eagle Pose, and I felt my back begin to actually stretch out, and it felt so amazing that I almost cried with relief.

Yoga classes are like mini retreats for the soul

I walked into class exhausted from the work day and super stressed out. With every exhale, all of that melted away. And when it was over, I walked out clear-headed, relaxed, and yet energetic. I felt…happy.

In the past, this excitement would have fueled me to immediately sign up for a daily yoga challenge package or build some kind of unrealistic practice schedule.

But one thing I have learned about myself over the past few years is that I constantly set unrealistic goals, and then feel disappointed in myself when I don’t reach them…

So for now, I’m easing back in slowly, one week at a time.

 

How are you going to make 2017 your BEST YEAR YET?

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Way back in 2010 when the internet was still weird, I posted an overambitious blog post about my New Year’s Resolutions.

Although I didn’t check everything off of the list, I did feel accountable once it was out there.

2010 also happened to be the year I started my company, Conversations, so I’ve always reflected on this post as “the very beginning” of building the life and career that I wanted – one positive step at a time. 

This year, instead of outlining my own resolutions, I talked to some of the people who inspire me the most and found out what they’ve got planned for the upcoming year….

aileen

Aileen Bennett, Speaker, Communication Consultant, Author

So far my plans are twofold : To Do Good Work, and to Do Good.

Do Good Work: I’m proud of the work I’ve done this year, and the companies I’ve helped so I want to continue that. I plan to do the best work of my career.

Do Good: I’m setting up a new company that produces paper goods (to start) that gives at least 23% of the profits (sometimes more) to arts & community projects. It’s going to be called Two&21 (the two letters in the alphabet that correspond to B and U (Be you).

ginevra

Ginevra Kirkland, Writer, Community Whisperer, Entrepreneur

Revolutions, not resolutions!

I’m going to stop using words I don’t mean and be more impeccable with how I address people “Just,” “I’m so bad at this,” “sorry,” and the worst one of all: “I think.”

moneyguns

Michael Schexnayder, Entrepreneur and founder of The Money Gun

  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn Dutch
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Focus more on my business
  • Start another business
  • Work a lot less

screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-10-02-17-am

Lexlee Overton, Intuitive Energy Healer

I took a few minutes and thought about the things which when I do them cost me dearly by being huge drains of energy. And I am simply making a commitment (as much as possible) to no longer do things that zap my energy and take a considerable amount of time to recharge.

Here’s few items on my “No Longer Doing It”  list:

  1. Using email/phone, ipad/computer after arriving home
  2. Working weekends
  3. Late night flights
  4. Listening to or participating in conversations which are negative, judgemental or critical about others

ernestsvenson

Ernie Svenson, Author & Founder of Small Firm Bootcamp

I plan to list 10 things that I want to accomplish in 2017, and then describe the actions that lead to those goals.

I will sign up for Michael Hyatt’s BYE course and do all the exercises.

That’s how I hit my marks in 2016.

bologna

Megan Bologna, Fitness Guru and Personal Trainer

For me, 2017 will be all about personal growth.

Between having my daughter 2 years ago and running my business every day 24/7, I haven’t focused on myself or taken care of myself like I should. Being a fitness professional, I have maintained exercise and healthy eating, but I’m talking about mental and spiritual growth in 2017. I have already started by finding a women’s center that focuses on growth, healing and positive surroundings and I will be attending my first class on Friday!

lynncasper

Lynn Casper, Founder of Homoground

By visualizing lots of $$$

I currently work a fulltime gig with a set salary and realize that it is currently impossible for me to accomplish my financial goals (paying off credit card & dental debt) while still having money leftover for saving & spending. By visualizing all the ways I can use my skills and current projects to bring in more cash flow, I’ve gained confidence in my abilities to make this happen. Now I have 2 new clients and have set up new systems for my current projects so that I can be more organized and productive. I was never a morning person, but now before bed I visualize how my morning will be and what my life will be like once I accomplish the goals I set for myself to provide motivation to rise and SHINE!

Got big plans of your own for 2017?

Add them to the comments below!

Choose a pace, and stick with it…

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I had a work/life realization last week that came about in a super unexpected way…

It was Saturday, and the weather was nice.

I was spending the whole day with a good friend I don’t see enough of, and we stopped at my favorite wine bar for early afternoon drinks.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this idea…

Typically, the wine bar is pretty empty early afternoon, but on this day it was packed – and only one person working in the entire shop.

Everyone “needed” her full attention.

When the crowd cleared, she circled back to where we were sitting, and I said something along the lines of:

“That was really frantic…your head must be spinning…”

Her reply stuck with me:

“You know, I just decided on a comfortable pace and stuck with it. I can only do what I can do, within the time that I have.”

She didn’t ignore anyone, and she didn’t let the vibe of the space get frantic.

Instead, she focused on helping one person at a time, giving them the same attention she would if there weren’t a store full of people.

She calmly moved from one personal exchange to the next, until everyone had been helped.

Then she began picking up dishes, clearing the desk and organizing bottles.

She focused on taking care of people. THEN, she put “things” in their place.

Of course that makes sense. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how often I do this backwards.

Social Media, SEO and business change every single day. No one person can even completely stay on top of everything, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But magically, everything always gets done.

I know this. I just don’t always REMEMBER this.

So this week, I’m trying something different…

Instead of stressing out and frantically trying to “get it all done” as soon as possible, I’m going to choose my pace, and keep it.

This week,  I won’t check my email before 10a.m., because I’ve decided that from 8-10 I will dedicate myself to all of the writing I’ve been meaning to do but never seem to get around to.

This week, I will find time to walk around the park on a beautiful day, just because.

This week, I’m going to focus on meaningful interactions and experiences with the people I love.

Everything else can wait it’s turn.  

work-life-balance-heyitsmegan-megan-hargroder

You never know what awesome shit is on the other side of the hard stuff. This is why I kept going:

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Six years ago I decided I was going to “do” Social Media.

I didn’t really know what that meant outside of the fact that all of a sudden, businesses wanted to pay people to post things to Facebook and Twitter for them – and it seemed surreal that this could be an actual “job.”

And I wasn’t especially qualified for this “job,” nor did I have any idea how to go about freelancing.

All I knew is that I was now living in the big city of New Orleans, which meant that anything was possible, and that Aileen Bennett told me that I was something special (and I desperately wanted to prove her right).

I started out with one very simple goal: to make enough money managing social media accounts to be able to support myself (which, at the time, really didn’t require much).

I was living alone in a $500/month one room apartment, took advantage of free meals at networking events and from sweet friends who seemed concerned that my fridge consisted of a jar of olives, a jar of tiny pickles (they are SO GOOD), and a block of cheese.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.16.56 AMThe first time a potential client asked about my rates, which I hadn’t thought through, $500 seemed like a great number to shoot for per client per month. After all, just one client meant my rent was paid.

Within a few months, I had FOUR CLIENTS, and was pulling in $2,000 per month – and I thought I was BALLIN.

And how did I keep these four clients?

By putting every skill I had at their disposal. Unlimited.

I managed social media, of course, but I also wrote blog posts, ran analytics, created original videos, took pictures anytime they asked me to (at least once/week), literally anything. And I was always available. Meaning I didn’t really have time to take on any additional clients or projects. Or breathe.

And that’s when the realization (panic) hit:

I hadn’t started my own business and I wasn’t on the road to financial freedom. 

I was trapped in a 24/7 job that maxed out at 24k/year. I wasn’t my own boss. I had FOUR BOSSES. 

I considered calling it quits and taking a full time job.

I considered moving back home.

I considered both of those options to be failure…and failure was not an option. I had something to prove.

I COULD DO THIS.

I WOULD do this.

And if I still wanted to quit after I had figured out how to be successful doing this thing, then it would be okay.

Looking back, this was probably the bravest decision I’d ever made and I feel really fucking proud of 24-year-old me.hey its megan

I started scaling back on deliverables and/or going separate ways with existing clients, I raised my rates, and I hired an assistant to help out with the workload to keep me from getting overwhelmed about having to always be “plugged in.”

I took advice. I accepted help. I learned from people who had done this before.

I took risks. Mostly those didn’t go so well, but sometimes they did. I said yes to almost everything. And I can’t say that I was wrong to do that back then, because I wouldn’t have known who and what was a “good fit” if I hadn’t found out who and what was a “bad fit.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.15.15 AMI found a community of people with similar goals, and immersed myself in that community.

Six long-ass, amazing, exhausting, beautiful, exciting, terrifying years later:

I’m still learning. Every single day.

And because of that – my Social Media Company – Conversations – is a success.
(At least by my own standards; which is all that really matters, or so I’m coming to realize.)

IMG_7355I hired 2 full-time employees (besides myself), and have 3 contractors that we work with regularly. We have an office of our own in downtown New Orleans, and we are working with really fucking awesome businesses and very good people.

I’m still learning how to scale.

I still make lots of mistakes.

And every now and then I have a month where I wonder how on earth I’ll make payroll.

But if I take a step back and really look at this journey so far, I can’t image doing anything else.

When I started out, I had no idea how big this world would be, and had no way to visualize all the different faces of opportunity that I’ve come across. I’m just so very grateful that it all unfolded this way.

In a couple of weeks I turn 30.

And if you remember how I turned 25 about three times, you may be thinking that I’m freaking out.

Actually: I’m feeling like this is just the beginning…

 

Today I took a “work-cation.” Here’s what happened:

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In my world there are two types of to-do lists:

1. The mandatory actions list

This consists of action items I need to accomplish in order to keep my business and life running (and my clients happy)! So things like paying bills, creating and sending reports, writing blogs and social posts for clients, etc.

2. The Someday list 

Also frequently labeled as “the long list,” and including things like writing personal blog posts, creating new workshops and courses, refining my business website, and lots of “exciting and brilliant ideas” that I never actually get to – because List #1 is always #1.

I decided that today would be different.

Today I didn’t answer phone calls, texts, or check my inbox.

(Gasp!)

Why?

Because if you’re always RESPONDING, then you’re never CREATING.

And every single interaction – answering the phone, reading and responding to emails, “troubleshooting” – all of those things take up a certain amount of energy and focus. And since there’s only so much time (and ability to produce quality work within that span of time) in one day, I decided to dedicate everything in me to the Someday List.

Just for this one day.

Just to see how much I could actually get done…

Here’s an overview of how this shit went down:

– – – – –

1. SPEAKING EVENTS / PRESENTATIONS:

I get asked to do these A LOT. 90% of the time, the requests I get are unpaid, and the pitch from event planners is that “it will be great exposure to potential new clients.” So guess what. We’ve got enough clients. In fact, we’re at capacity and in the process of creating our growth plan to include hiring a new team member (yay!).

What that means is: my time is more valuable now than ever. Not for going after new business, but for dedicating myself to creating strategies and content for our existing lineup of badass clients. Because they rock. And because we want to keep them.

And the time that I DO have outside of that, can’t be spent on Pro-Bono work. I’m constantly telling my clients that time is money and that they need to place more value on their time and expertise. Now it’s time to practice what I preach.

So today I developed my new presentation + workshop rate card, and a corresponding survey link on my website (to streamline the request process).

[CHECK!]

2. Social Media Summer Course Development

Last year, I created a program called “Next Level Social Media,” which was a 6-week online course full of innovative (duplicatable) strategies, templates and cheat sheets to help busy social media managers grow their audiences, create better content, and operate more efficiently.

But there were lots of problems.

I couldn’t get the forum or webinar system to work properly, I gave away too many free tickets – stretching my time thin for the individual component that I promised attendees, and there was a noticeable dropoff of people staying engaged – which I was too busy to track and troubleshoot at the time.

Looking back at this #Fail, I was able to identify specific problems, made some adjustments (like investing in GoToMeeting to host upcoming webinars, eliminating the forum component and using the live events as a Q and A space to incentivize attendance, and modifying some of the course elements so that I’m over delivering this time (instead of overpromising).

I’m also giving myself plenty of lead time to refine and update all of the information and resource components, by scheduling the course to kick off on June 1st.

Ta dah!

Introducing the new and improved: Next Level Social Media [Summer 2016] Online Course

But wait…what about those people who paid full price the first go round?

I thought of that too!

So today I also sent out the very first announcement to last year’s attendees, with a promo code to try it again (for free this time). Because that’s only fair.

AND – I prepped a new email announcement + scheduled it to go out to my primary email list next week. SHAZAM.

[CHECK!]

3. Blog: 2016 Social Media Management Tools

This is a blog post that I’ve been meaning to write since January.

That’s right. January. And it’s going to be APRIL in a couple of days.

 

Additionally: we’ve been way behind on posting new Social Media Blogs to the company website because we’ve been so busy helping our clients with theirs. And our SEO over the past few months has certainly taken a hit as a result.

So today I went ahead and cranked out my blog post for Conversations Media disclosing basically everything in our internal toolbox (with detailed explanations for SEO, and affiliate links bc, duh).

[CHECK!]

4. Posting a new blog for HeyItsMegan.com

This sort of just happened organically since I was logging my work-cation progress today anyway – but it’s very cool that I was able to push out a “bonus” accomplishment as a result!

[CHECK!]

Conclusion: 

HOLYSHIT I feel really good about what I accomplished today. Like really, really good.

Today’s work-cation allowed me to recover from regular task burnout, improve my business SEO, set the ground work and initial promotions for my upcoming online Summer course, and finally streamline and simplify my public speaking process, which I know will make me feel more confident in charging what I know that I’m worth for these types of events.

WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN

And now I’m going to have myself an ice cold dirty martini, up. Because it’s a fancy martini glass kind of day…

CHALLENGE:
If you’re still reading this, that’s probably a very strong indication that YOU, my friend, are in need of a serious Work-cation of your own.

It might seem impossible. It might seem like now isn’t the right time.

But guess what: It’s never going to be a GOOD time. That’s the point.

The world won’t collapse if you take a day off to catch up on all those pet projects, dream projects, and miscellaneous things on your Someday List.

And chances are – doing so will re-energize you and lift your spirits so that the next workday doesn’t seem so daunting, even with an extra day’s tasks piled up.

Don’t open your calendar to find an ideal date.

Just take a moment to jot down your Someday List.

Keep it on your desk.

And one morning, when the moment is right, and hopefully soon, you’ll make the decision that TODAY is finally SOMEDAY.

xoxoxo

2015: New Year New Me

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Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.13.34 PMI love the New Year more than any other holiday (including Mardi Gras).
For me: the New Year is a chance to start fresh. To stop doing things that aren’t working, and to start new things I’m excited about.

This year, I’m dreaming BIG. Here’s what’s in queue:

Conversations Media: I’m taking my social media consulting company to the next level with a fresh new website design, an awesome new SEO service for lawyers (designed around requests and projects throughout the year), and we’re announcing that we’ll officially be offering full scope website design + development services for 2015!

SEO service for lawyers

 

Apothecary Box: Lauren (my partner in life and crime) and I are starting a subscription service called Apothecary Box – which will be a monthly sample box of curated natural, holistic, handmade body products from small local makers. We’re launching the kickstarter for that at the end of this month (Put your name on the list at ApothecaryBox.com if you want to get an email when it launches!)

Monthly sample box of curated natural, holistic, handmade body products from small local makers.

 

Consulting Calls: Because I work primarily with startups with limited budgets, I get a lot of requests to “pick my brain over coffee,” which adds up to a lot of unbillable hours and shaky caffeine hands. Solution: Clarify is a badass new tool that I just set up a profile on so that people can book consulting calls with me BY THE MINUTE. So for example if you only need 20 minutes to pick my brain for new marketing tactics for 2015, it’s just $33. You get what you need. I get paid. Everybody wins!

Book consulting calls with me BY THE MINUTE.

Live Events: I LOVE getting the chance to do workshops or speak to groups about Social Media, so I’m prioritizing doing more of that this year! So far for this month I’ve scheduled a 2015 Marketing Bootcamp Workshop at Propeller on the 21st, and will be doing a guest lecture at Nunez Community College on the 27th.

2015 Marketing Bootcamp Workshop

Birthday Trip to Colorado: Last year, Lauren and I were fortunate enough to find the time and extra cash to take an amazing weeklong trip to New York for my birthday, and Colorado for hers. We loved Colorado so much that we’re planning another trip there for May! MOUNTAINS, Y’ALL!

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.00.48 AM

Give More Hugs: My official New Years Resolution is to GIVE MORE HUGS. This is way more practical than saying I’m going to jog 2-3 times a week (because I won’t) or that I’ll quit drinking (because – no.) I plan to give more hugs to family, new friends, old friends, even clients. I know that some people don’t like hugs. But I don’t trust those people. Hugs rock.

on being gay, what it means to “choose,” and why you should never ask if I want a split check

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There are a couple of things you need to understand about non-straight people and their relationships. Well, A LOT of things but here are some that have been on my mind lately:

First and foremost: If you’re a restaurant server and I am CLEARLY on a date and ask for THE check – DO NOT ask if I want that split. I do not want it split. Because I asked for one check.

If you do this, I’m going to glare at you with mean eyes until you comprehend what you have just said OR until Lauren gets so uncomfortable that she shoos you away with a quick “yes, one check, thanks.”

And when you get back to the table, don’t give the check to Lauren just because I’m wearing a dress. I asked for the check. Bring it to me. </rant>

The second thing is a little more complicated. Because I know you mean well, straight person. But when your “defense” of same sex relationships is that “it’s not their fault they’re gay, they didn’t choose it,” it makes us sound, well, like there’s something WRONG with us.

It’s like saying “Poor Johnny. He doesn’t WANT to have Lupus.”

GAYNESS IS NOT LUPUS PEOPLE.

No, I do not CHOOSE who I’m attracted to, but I CHOOSE to be with that person. Because this is America and we don’t have to marry the person our daddy tells us to.

I CHOOSE to be with the most amazing, brilliant, beautiful person that I’ve ever met – and I’m CHOOSING to build a life with her.

There’s no affliction here. We don’t sit around talking about how hard it is to be gay and how we wish we weren’t.

It’s not even something we think about regularly. (We actually just think of ourselves as normal humans living our lives.)

I love and appreciate everything about Lauren and my relationship with her and who I am when I’m with her.

Yeah, it sucks that we can’t get married, adopt kids, enjoy a lot of the rights that other couple have…but all of that is changing.

And one day none of this will be a thing because you will realize that people are people and love is love.

Lots of people have figured that out already…

I choose to be happy. Right now. Regardless.

 

Apple Support Call

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I’m a HUGE Apple fan. It’s easy to use, things always work and I’ve never gotten a computer virus. Currently I have an iMac, macbook pro, iPad and iPhone and I run my entire business off of these devices. The other day, I bought a macbook air because my pro has been getting old and loaded down. Unfortunately the N key sticks so I thought I’d call Apple Support to see if there was some easy obvs solution for this. And then this happened and I will never ever call Apple again…

NO.

Me: Hi, I just bought a new macbook air and my N key is sticking. Could you let me know what I should do about that?

Support: Sure, I’ll just place you on a brief hold while I check on that.

*10 minutes later*

Support: Hello ma’am, can I get the serial number on your computer?

Me: sure. *reads serial number*

Support: I see that you don’t have apple care on this product, but since you’re such a great customer, we’ll let you go ahead and add that apple care now and it can cover ALL of your devices. So you can call us for free anytime you have a software issue!

Me: I’m pretty sure that a sticking N key is a hardware issue

Support: Well, yeah, it is. But I’m trying to get you to see the big picture. You have lots of devices that aren’t covered. If something goes wrong with the software, you would have to pay for support. Should I transfer you to apple care setup now?

Me: No. Dude. I just want to know what to do about my sticking N key. I don’t need software assistance. Is there anything I can do about this HARDWARE issue on my NEW computer.

Support: Well you could bring it to your nearest apple store and they can take a look at it since it’s brand new.

Me: Thanks

Support: do you want me to transfer you to a brief survey to win a $100 gift card?

Me: OMG. NO.

never go to the store

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I HATE going to the store. Any store. Especially the grocery store but really all stores annoy me.

Luckily it’s 2012 and we have the internetz. So I thought I’d share a few of my favorite sites/services/strategies for never ever having to go to the store. Ever. You’re welcome in advance. This is going to change your life.

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
I use Drugstore.com for things like cleaning products, paper towels, toilet paper, medicine, bath products, essential oils etc. It’s free shipping over $50 so I usually do a bulk order of everything I need every 6 weeks. This involves some planning ahead but you can really get this down to a science. Plus I’m from the country where we couldn’t just run out to the store if we needed one little thing because it was REALLY FAR and probably not open so I’m used to this kind of “prepared shopping.”

BEAUTY PRODUCTS + SELF CARE
I have a subscription to BirchBox, which, if you’re unfamiliar with,  is a box delivered to your door monthly containing 5 delux beauty samples; stuff like nail polish, face wash, perfume…I seriously haven’t bought any of those things since I subscribed because as soon as I run out of a sample there’s a new one. Plus you get points for reviewing products and can use them towards full sized versions of the stuff you really like.

FOOD: DRY
Vitacost.com is so badass y’all. It’s like half the price of whole foods and you can get a ton of dried foods like beans, quinoa, coconut milk, gluten free pasta, snacks, tea, etc. AND it’s free shipping over $50 AND there’s no tax AND you get $10 for referring people AND if you use my link for your first order you get $10 off of that. You are seriously VERY welcome.

FOOD: FRESH
If you live in New Orleans, Hollygrove Market has a badass weekly produce subscription service. They even have a ton of recipes on their website just in case you’re like “WTF is this and what the hell do I do with it!?”  If you live somewhere else, there’s probably something like that there. Look it up.

WATER
Get a water filter off of Amazon.com and drink the water from your sink. Bam. No driving to the store to carry heavy, bulky bottled water. And you save money. Win/win.

MOVIES
Not that I think anyone reading this actually still goes out to the video store, but if you do…WTF dude. A lot of people I know use Netflix instant streaming and/or delivery service but I prefer Hulu because I don’t really watch that much TV.

CLOTHES
This of course is entirely dependent on your style and what you like. I like to watch the sale section of FreePeople.com and Anthropologie.com

ANYTHING ELSE
Amazon Prime. If you don’t have a prime account, it’s worth the upgrade. Free 2 day delivery on basically anything you can think of.