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That time I tried Instacart.

App life.

A few weeks ago, my Jeep was in the shop and I was without a rental car (it’s the gift of Jeep that keeps on giving). So, I was taking Lyfts all over the city, but after ride #4, I was trying to figure out ways NOT to take a Lyft.

This included making efforts to bum rides (in exchange for pool use and homemade pizza), using the workout room at my apartment complex instead of going to the dance studio, and trying Instacart.

I posted on Facebook to see if anyone I knew tried it, and sure enough, I got someone who said they loved it, and offered me a coupon for $10 off! I actually have a coupon to share now, too, so use it, y’all.

So, Instacart basically allows you to have your groceries delivered, and you choose where you want the food from, and pick exactly what you want.

I put in my zipcode and was given a list of stores available to me, including Whole Foods, HEB, and Target, among others. Once I picked my store, then I started shopping.

I had my grocery list, so I simply searched for each item and put it into my cart. You get to see the price for the item (and approximate prices for produce) and brand options.

There is also a note that says your Instacart shopper will look for the freshest, best produce available, but you can also leave notes for the shopper, i.e. I buy green bananas so they will stay good until the end of the week.

You can also apply in-store coupons to your purchase, which I was pleasantly surprised by. The only advice I’ll give is that you can’t read the product labels with this program. So, don’t buy anything new! Unless you’re not like me – I read ALL the details on the labels.

Okay, so once you’ve gotten everything you want in your cart, you schedule your delivery. You can have your groceries delivered anywhere from 1-hour, 2-hours, or you can even schedule a day later in the week! This has got to be the coolest feature and it will keep me coming back. I like to get my groceries on Friday right after work; think if I just had them delivered to my apartment by 6pm instead of having to go to the store? YES!

Once I set my delivery time and paid, I got text updates to let me know when my shopper had started shopping. There were two items the store was out of, so she replaced the items and it asked for my approval. There’s also an option to chat with your shopper.

I got a message when she finished shopping, and also got an estimated time of arrival, which was right on the DOT. And because you can tip within the app or through the web browser, there’s not real interaction during “drop-off”. I opened the door and she handed me the bags – that’s it!

All of my grocery items were in fine condition, and I got everything I ordered. I will definitely be using this service again!

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Life in the ‘Soap Opera’.

Grab your powdered soap!

On Sunday, I went to the laundromat, and I realized something – the laundromat has been a staple in my life for much longer than I realized.

I remember going to the laundromat as a kid; I also remember not liking it, even though it involved absolutely no work on my end. The place was sort of old, and the TVs only had news channels playing.

As I grew older, my parents moved into homes with washers and dryers (although we did have a clothesline in at least one of my backyards). I learned, and did, my own laundry in middle school.

Once I got to college, the dorms had a laundry room, but it only had two washers and two dryers – I quickly learned that going off campus was probably my best bet. I also heard way too many horror stories about cute guys in the laundry room seeing co-ed underwear or whatever. I wasn’t having it.

There was a place just a few blocks off-campus called “The Soap Opera”, and to this day, that still has to be the best name for a laundromat, ever. It was on the edge of campus, near an area that was a tad rough.

But whatever, I showed up with my quarters, powdered soap, and one of those collapsable hampers full of my dirty clothes. I followed the directions printed on the washing machine: add clothes, add soap, add coins, start.

Nothing happened.

I waved over the attendant; an older, thin woman with graying hair.

“I don’t know what happened,” I said. “The water just isn’t coming out.”

She opened the lid, looked inside, and let the lid drop with a loud “thud.” Then she slammed her fist onto the lid, and with that, the water started.

“Sometimes you just have to give it that extra somethin’,” she said.

It was a moment I’ll never forget, and I continued washing my clothes there until I found a washer and dryer elsewhere – usually at a sorority sister’s house who was willing to share.

Once I got my own apartment, I enjoyed the luxury of having my own washer and dryer, but when I was looking for apartments, I decided that a washer and dryer was something I’d be willing to give up (on top of other things) in trade for a lower rent payment.

Currently, my apartment has a big closet housing a washer and dryer hookup, but I use it for storage (a filing cabinet, Christmas decor, and a crafting table). I told myself I would simply go to the laundromat for as long as I could stand it, and if I really started to hate it – I could look into renting the appliances or be watchful for a sale.

But, here I am almost two years later, and I still am okay with going to my laundromat, “The Washatopia” (leave it to laundromats for the clever names). The place is clean, it takes a little card so I don’t have to worry about quarters, plus there’s free wifi – and there’s lots of TVs. And yes, they show the news, which is enjoyable 25 years later.

Going to the laundromat makes laundry a task that I simply just DO and it takes around two hours from loading my car, driving there, washing, driving, hanging, and heading home. When I’ve had a washer and dryer at home, it seemed to take foreverrrrrr – and I also don’t have to worry about the appliances racking up my water or electric bills, or anything breaking down.

Plus, there’s always a lot of great people watching to be had at the laundromat. It’s really a win-win, so don’t be shocked if my next novel has a plot at a place like “The Soap Opera”.

Pic of the Week.

Sorting out life, one load at a time.

Sorting out life, one load at a time.

Hola! I wanted to offer a quick apology for my lack of posts last week โ€” it’s been a crazy few weeks with the move and all. I was really struggling to function, let alone get my five blog posts in. But I’m back in action and ready to roll!

So, life in Austin means life without a washer/dryer. Of course, there were many options for apartments with said appliances, but I went into my search really focusing on finding a place that would be less of a financial burden than places of my past โ€” even if that meant giving up a few luxury items I was used to.

While I’ve had a washer/dryer in my apartment for 8 years, I honestly don’t do THAT much laundry. Maybe a load per week, two if I’m washing sheets and towels. The apartment that I found, not to get too in depth, is $210/month less than my old apartment. So, cya washer/dryer, I’m onto the laundromat!

So, Saturday afternoon I found a laundromat that offered hi-tech machines equipped with card machines โ€” I was NOT going to deal with quarters. I brought my own laundry detergent and dryer sheets, along with a La Croix and a stack of magazines.

Awesomely enough, the washing machines use soft water so the machine instructed me to use half the normal amount of detergent (more money to save!). So, I set up two loads, and 27 minutes later (plus $3), the loads were done. The dryers at this place are HUGE, so both of my wash loads fit into one dryer and were completely dry in 30 minutes for $2.

All in all, it was $5 for two complete loads, and one hour of my time.

Sure, I’m aware it’s a little bit of an inconvenience… and many of my friends think this new hobby of mine won’t last long.

But, I have to say $5 for two loads of laundry was way cheaper than I expected, PLUS, when I got home, all of my laundry was done, all I had to do was put it away, and finally, since I don’t have the appliances in my apartment, I have a giant closet where the hookup is that I’m now using as a mini office/utility closet. MEGA score (I hate looking at my filing cabinet)!!!

I think I also have this fantasy that I’ll meet a hot guy at the Washatopia (where it’s “Loads of fun!). Think about it: he’ll be there and in desperate need of a dryer sheet, and I’ll be there fully equipped with my all-natural, organic vegan dryer sheets. Right?!

My Project Repat quilt!

My Project Repat quilt!

In college, I went to the laundromat (it was called the Soap Opera, best name EVER), each week and I used the time to study. I remember the first time I went there, I was really nervous, as it was on that edge of campus where things go from okay, to really bad.

I put in my detergent (the powder kind) and my clothes and my money… and the water doesn’t turn on. So, I had to consult the attendant, an older woman, and she merely walked over to the machine, closed the lid, and slammed her fist onto it.

Worked like a charm!

Okay, speaking of chores, I do have a little housekeeping to do:

  1. Remember the quilt I had made from all of my old t-shirts?! I got it back, and it looks FABULOUS (pictured above), and the better news is, you can still use my code to get 20% off your very own quilt! Use this code, and if you’ve got no clue WHAT I’m talking about, check out my previous blog post on Project Repat.
  2. Tomorrow’s post is incredibly steamy and inappropriate, so just note that the password will be “sexy” (minus the quotes). And yes, I realize I’m putting it right out there, but I’m confident people won’t read this far and actually GET the password.
  3. You can always follow me on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 to see what’s happening in my world all day everyday โ€” I see all my new followers and I just love it! Hope to see you snapping with us TODAY!