Monday, January 30, 2017

My Honest Review of HelloFresh

First Impression:

I decided to try out HelloFresh when I saw a good deal during Black Friday. I received my first box for $19. I'd been wanting to try one of the dinner boxes but had been hesitating due to the cost. A regular box for two people is $69 for three meals. I planned to receive the box the week between Christmas and New Years. HelloFresh does a great job with branding, from the box, to the literature, to the food packages. The recipes came in a booklet and were made with heavy card stock. I really appreciated the look of this and loved that they included the other recipes for the meals I didn't choose for that week. There were two large ice packs to keep everything cool. Each meal had it's own box while the meat was separate. I had two chicken meals in my box but with different cuts. It wasn't directly obviously at first which meat was supposed to go with which meal. I would have liked to have the meat labeled for each meal as well. I loved that there were bins for the individual meals but I quickly saw how much waste/trash there was.

The Meals:

I chose to start with the Chicken Satay Skewers since Chicken Satay is one of my go to orders at Thai restaurants. I had never thought to roast pea pods as I figured they might be too delicate and burn easily but they roasted up well and I will for sure be making them again. I wasn't crazy about the skewers. The coconut marinade was not very flavorful and the peanut sauce was not to my liking. I typically cook skewers on the grill so I liked having a new way to cook them. (500* for 15-20mins) This probably isn't a recipe I would make again.
Both Errol and I liked the Sizzling Beef Stir fry. We are huge stir fry fans and this is totally something I would make again. The bok choy that they included with the box was less than fresh so I substituted broccoli. 
The Honey Mustard Baked Chicken was another winner. I loved the sauce on the chicken and roasted veggies are a staple in our house. I saved the recipe to make this again but I will double the sauce next time. I had to buy a new zucchini because the one I received was not fresh by the time I made the meal. 

HelloFresh recommends that the meat is used within 4 days of receiving your box. I would much rather see a best by date then just use within 4 days. How do I know how long this meat was sitting at their warehouse before it was sent? 

Overall Thoughts:

It was nice to try but nothing I would continue with. I cancelled my subscription after receiving the first box. HelloFresh does give you the flexibility to skip weeks or even put your membership on hold for a few months but I could not justify the price versus the value. I could have easily purchased the items for these three meals for half of cost of the box. Most of the produce was less than fresh with the exception of the items that keep longer like sweet potatoes. And the waste. I received two large ice packs in my box and they made a mess of my trash. I will say that I was honest in my feedback to HelloFresh when I cancelled my membership and they did call me to get more information. They said they had heard about the produce from other members and were taking steps to improve the quality. I was also offered a credit to try another box. I declined but appreciated the follow up and customer service. 

Have you tried a meal subscription box? What were your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Last of 2016 Reads

December was a slow reading month for me. All my reading was done the week between Christmas and New Years but I've started off strong in January and already have four books under my belt. We leave for our trip in 8 days and I'm looking forward to some serious travel reading. I always get a lot of reading done on flights. 

Loved It:

Holy hell, was this a good book. I wasn't quite ready for it to suck me in and spit me out like a sobbing, blubbering mess. I had heard nothing but good things but I fell in love with every single character and the whole town of Alice. There's books that you read and you know where they are going but the writing and the story just grab you and pull you in such a way that it doesn't matter. I need to know Maya and Amy's story after AJ. 

Liked It:

It took me quite a few pages to get into this story but once I did, it flew by. If you are a fan of fantasy or fairytale retellings, you'll like Bitter Greens. It flipped between several different stories and I found De La Force's my favorite. She had a sad tale and was pretty unlucky in love but she had a strong personality and wit and could hold her own in a time that women were meant to be pretty accessories. 

I thoroughly enjoyed A Little Something Different so I was excited for her newest. Signs Point to Yes was good but almost a little too cutesy for me. It was fun and light which was what I was looking for at the time.

I've been a fan of Kingsolver since I read Prodigal Summer. I've been slowly working my way through her stuff. This one was pretty sluggish for me. I don't know what it was but I couldn't get into it. It was interesting to learn about the butterflies. It kind of reminded me Picoult's Leaving Time in that there was this one main animal that was woven into the book and you gain a lot of knowledge about them. I liked Kingsolver's choice to use the butterflies as a way to segway into global warming.

Love It: The Storied Life of AJ Fikry
Leave It: None!

Life According to Steph

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Plans

+ Continue My Passion Search

Last year this was at the very top of my list. I had just transitioned to my new job and feeling the change. I'm happy where I am but I really want to challenge myself this year to step outside my comfort zone & go towards the things I want in life. I know that sounds a little cryptic but it's because I'm not 100% sure what those things are yet but I have ideas. Then figuring out the direction and making the plan and going towards them.

+ Ring in My 30's 

I've been dreading turning 30 since I turned 29. I need to stop being afraid of getting older so I'm challenging myself to make my 30's spectacular and full of new things.This year we'll arrive at the Grand Canyon on my birthday and I can't think of a better way to celebrate a new decade then being on a road trip with the bff.

+ Get a Piercing

I'd like to pierce my nose but I'm not sure how professional that is and if it's something I should do. Part of me says fuck it but the other cares. If not that then my tragus which I've always wanted done.

+ Take a Project Management Course

At my current job I'm an account manager but I want to eventually be in a project management role. I know taking a specific course in this will help me get to this goal.

 + Plan Another Long Weekend in Acadia

I fell in love with Bar Harbor and Acadia on our anniversary trip and there was so much that we didn't get to see. We missed going on any of the hikes I had planned and I'd like to plan another long weekend there.

+ Homeownership

Our goal is to buy a house this year but if for some reason it doesn't happen, I want to make sure we have all the boxes checked so that we can pull the trigger when we find the right place.

+ Make Hiking a Priority

I've not hiked regularly in two years and I miss it, a lot. I want to make time for it. It's healthy for my mind and body.

+ Trade in My Car

I have a year left on my lease but I'm ready for an upgrade. I like my Impreza and it goes so good in the snow but we have a privately maintained dirt road and it's just too low to the ground. I'm really wanting a Toyota 4Runner.

+ Teach Chitty to Walk on a Leash

I'd like to take Chitty on some outdoor walks (that's a crasy cat lady statement if I ever heard one) but to do that, he needs to be able to walk on a leash and currently he just flops down and rolls over when he's on it. 

+ Blog Consistently

I only wrote 60 posts in 2016 with many intentions of more. I would have a schedule all planned out but then when it came to writing the actual posts, I fell flat. My goal for 2017 is 100 posts.

My Word for 2017:

I really want to focus on getting healthy this year and not just physically. I want to do the things that make my soul happy like hiking, reading, spending time with people I like and going on adventures. I also really  need to get my eating in check. Both Errol and I need to eat better and stop snacking. Our group at work likes to eat out a lot and get treats and I need to say no. I don't exercise like I should so I'm working towards a routine. I feel like if I don't put the effort in now, it's never going to happen. I'm not exactly happy with how I feel right now and I need to change that. It needs to be a priority.

What's your 2017 word?