Category Archives: Websites and Online






Pros: The perfect one-of-a-kind gift

Cons: Website is a little slow – but no ‘Cons’ with regard to the products or service

If there’s one thing synonymous with summer (other than watermelon and sunburns) its celebrations – gift-giving celebrations to be precise – weddings, anniversaries, graduations, babies, new home, etc. If it’s an event you have to attend, then that, of course, brings to mind an entire litany of questions that need answering before you shop – like:

  • The type of celebration – birthday – wedding – graduation?
  • How well do you know the recipient(s)?
  • Does the recipient already have one-of-everything?  In other words, will I have to take out a loan just to purchase a decent present? In those cases, you don’t have to be rich, you have to be smart and think outside the box. Some people (like myself) think the simple, easy-to-shop-for, budget-adhering gift card is the perfect gift. Personally, I love gift cards – getting and giving, but I admit, for some occasions they are pretty impersonal. But, there is a solution – and one that’s  rather unique and chic, if I do say so myself, Things Remembered.

What is something we all have in common?  A name, right? A name that can be engraved on a door knocker (as above), an heirloom silver spoon for baby,  a desk nameplate, or ‘Mr. & Mrs.  Newlyweds’ engraved on a frame, vase, drinkware,  or embroidered on a blanket or pillows. More about this below. 

Things Remembered is a national gift retailer that takes their wares one step further, offering on site engraving and/or embroidering of their gifts and goods.

Things Remembered offers so many different and unusual items it would be impossible to detail them all, but here’s a small sampling of gifts you can have engraved or embroidered:

  • Women’s jewelry – necklaces, bracelets
  • Men’s jewelry – cufflinks, watches
  • Men’s and women’s gifts – flasks, vases, wallets
  • Drinkware, champagne flutes,  whiskey glasses
  • Picture frames
  • Trinket or memorabilia boxes
  • Photo albums
  • Pens and pencils
  • Clocks
  • Awards
  • Door knockers  ( my favorite for newlyweds)


 Isn’t this adorable? I can easily see this as a wedding, anniversary, birthday or engagement gift. Engraved with their name(s) or a special sentiment would make this the perfect, very-individualized gift.
 Or this personalized backpack for a daughter, granddaughter or just someone special. And it would serve a dual-purpose, identifying the pack as your child’s, and gives the child the fun of having her/his name embroidered on a special pack. They have several different boy/girl styles to choose from.
I could have chosen many other gifts to show you, but you can check them out on their website.
 Fortunately there’s a Things Remembered shop within twenty miles of my home, so for me, shopping is fairly easy.  They offer three convenient ways  to place an order:
  1. In any of their six-hundred stores
  2. Online at
  3. Directly through their Customer Service  Center in North Jackson, Ohio.

If you’re shopping in one of their stores a clerk can assist you with a selection and walk you through the engraving or embroidering process. If you’re shopping online, again, they take you through a step-by-step process making sure the item will appear exactly as you request. You choose the font, size and text of whatever you want engraved or embroidered on the item – they do the rest. Because there’s a store close by, I place my order, walk around the mall, maybe have lunch, and return to the shop and pick it up. Now, it doesn’t happen that way every time – during Christmas for example they can be very, very busy. But since I always know what I want I can place my order via any of the different venues and be totally confident I will get what I’ve ordered.

Things Remembered   is a wonderful and easy way to tell someone you think they’re special.


Check out “Store Locator” on their website













Plated.Com: Dinner is Served! Meal Subscription Service



Pros: Tasty and easy to prepare meals shipped to your front door

Cons: too much plastic packaging, service could get expensive if ordered weekly

Are you a person that dreads planning out a weekly dinner menu?  Do you ever look at your spouse and exchange shrugs about what to eat for dinner?  Then I’m pretty sure that Plated is for you.  Plated is a meal subscription box that sends you all the ingredients and instructions for a tasty dinner.  Plated  recently added the Bay Area to it’s delivery service and I wanted to experience the hype around a meal based subscription box.

Plated meals ship via FedEx and amongst other things, one aspect  I love about this service is their customer service.  They want you to experience the food in the quickest (and freshest) way possible so they have great customer service when it comes to any changes or issues with the delivery.


I enlisted my husband to help cook our first Plated dinner since he is so much more patient with things like recipes.  The meals I ended up choosing for our first box were the Roasted Red Fish and the Korean Tacos.  Plated sends all of the fresh ingredients to you in a cooler packed with ice.  Each ingredient is individually wrapped and there are large recipe cards that come with each plate that give really detailed instructions and pictures.

Our first meal was the Roasted Redfish with Jasmine Rice and Bok Choy.  The husband went through the recipe instructions which were clear and detailed- it took about 35 minutes for the meal to be made.  We cooked the fish and bok choy in the same skillet and used a pot for the rice which meant the clean up was pretty easy.  It ended up being a simple meal to put and we were able to interact with each other and our children while putting the dinner together.  I didn’t feel like the recipe was hard and there was a minimal amount of chopping.  We had never tried bok choy before and I can’t say I was impressed on that particular side dish, but the fish and the rice tasted really good!

The second meal was Korean Tacos with Jasmine Rice and holy cow these were AMAZING!  They had just the right amount of heat and I liked how thin and soft the tortillas were.  Once again there was minimal chopping, the portions were exact and the recipe cards gave clear guidance on how to get the meal made.


If I had to complain about something I think it would be all the plastic packaging.  Hopefully Plated can look into some sort of paper based packaging because all of the plastic baggies and bottles just bums me out.  My husband’s minor complaint was that the lettuce was a bit too fresh, meaning he found some dirt (ha!) on the cabbage.  It wasn’t a big deal though and we washed all the lettuce really well before consuming. 

Now that we’ve experienced we are eager to try more recipes! Some of the meals are Asian inspired and some have a Mexican theme and I have yet to see one recipe repeated. Each week Plated offers seven different recipes- 4 meat dishes and 3 vegetarian options.   The monthly subscription fee is $10 and each of the dinners are $12 each.  If you pay for an  annual membership the price is $8 a month plus for the membership fee.  If you’ve tried Plated did you love it or hate it?

Google Shopping Express: A “Free” Delivery Service by Google Inc.

Google Shopping Express





Pros: Quick service and it’s free for 6 months

Cons: Google is being very quiet on how much the service costs once the trial runs out

Google Shopping Express is a fairly new shopping service from Google Inc. Because they are offering 6 months free delivery, I decided to pull the trigger and order a gaggle of stuff that frankly, I’m too lazy to go and buy in person. This shopping service only delivers non perishable items at this time so think of canned, jarred and boxed items. They also deliver clothing, toys and home items from a wide variety of stores.

Google Express seems to have some of the most popular grocery stores on their list of products to chose from. On my first order I ordered several items from Costco (let’s be real, I HATE dealing with that crazy parking lot) some items from Whole Foods and Babies r Us. I ordered a range of items from laundry detergent to organic juice and Earth’s Best baby food. Since I purchase mostly organic brands I was happy with the selection that was provided from the various stores. Walmart and Safeway offer grocery delivery service but with Google Shopping Express you can get clothing, home items, toys, baby items in addition to food.

I submitted my order at 10:30am on a Saturday and then I got one email confirming my order and a approximate delivery time of 7:00pm. At around 7:06pm my items arrived at my door. I saw a delivery person pull up in a Prius, jump out and unload the items on my front step. He didn’t wait for a signature or even knock on the door before before driving away. A little odd, but I can deal with it.

Several of the loose items were in large sturdy bags and everything was neatly stacked by the front door. The large Costco items had handles taped on for easy handling. Tucked into the bag was a sheet listing the items that I had purchased. I have absolutely no complaints and plan to use Google Shopping Express A LOT before my trial membership is up! I’m hoping that the service gains popularity and sticks around.

After your trial ends you will be charged a delivery fee of $4.99 per store but Google is being very quiet about their membership fees. Why so on the downlow Google? I intend to report back when my membership is up and I get a better idea of how much it will be to keep using the service.  For the meantime I’m using this service up to two times a week because it’s free and convenient!