5 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Want to Keep (+ Giveaway!)

New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Want to Keep

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions! The solemn vows of total abstinence from sweets and daily runs up and down the local mountain that seem so right (this is YOUR YEAR!) while you’re kicking back the bubbly on December 31st are suddenly living nightmares when reality kicks in (usually sometime in the first week of January). Turns out life without chocolate is barely worth living and running just isn’t enjoyable in that foot of New England snow that will be here until April. It’s no secret that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fail within a matter of weeks or months. However, the birth of a new year is still a great time to make a change for the better in your life. It’s a good mental starting point after the craziness and overindulgence of the holiday season. A good resolution is obtainable and actionable. I.e. I will cook dinner at home 3 times a week NOT I’ll never eat takeout again (too extreme) or I’ll be healthier (too vague).

Happy New Year's from the Vegan Wifey! Cheers!

Happy New Year’s from the Vegan Wifey! Cheers!

Here are five ideas to get you started:

1. Cook at Home

Eating out (or getting carry out) too often is bad for your wallet and your waistline. Knowing what goes into your food and ergo into your body is one of the basic tenants of healthy living. Stock up on fruit, oatmeal, and nuts for a quick breakfast at home. Pack leftovers for lunch instead of spending $10 on a sad looking salad from the corner deli. Keep snacks in your bag (like nuts, apples, oranges, or seaweed snacks) so you don’t get tempted by the vending machine or coffee shop at 3 pm. And finally, make dinner at home. Takeout is almost always  uneconomical, unhealthy, and undelicious. We love doing a meal delivery service a few times a week. It reduces the amount of grocery shopping I have to do and forces us to try new recipes, many of which get modified and worked into our regular dinner rotation.

Meal delivery services are great for several reasons:

  • They arrive at your door, letting you skip the grocery store.
  • Ingredients are preportioned and depending on your local grocery prices (shiitakes are outrageously expensive at our local supermarkets) and whether you would use a larger container of an expensive ingredient (truffle oil comes to mind), can be cost effective. If you would otherwise be ordering takeout, they are definitely cost-effective.
  • Recipes are generally healthy (it depends on the company and what you choose) and can be modified to suit your preferences – less spicy, change up the oil, whatever
  • They’re fun! It’s like having your own sous chef. If you have a little one in the house, getting 20 minutes of time to yourself to make some Instagram worthy food is like a vacation in the kitchen. Even if I don’t love a recipe, I almost always learn something new.

I thought a meal delivery service would be expensive but with all the great deals and referral programs, it hasn’t increased our grocery budget. If you’re not sure, try a discounted week at HomeChef ($30 off your first week when you sign up via our link) or HelloFresh (use our code 947T7A for $40 off your first box) let your tastebuds decide. (If you use my codes, I get credit to spend on my own boxes with HomeChef or HelloFresh. Thank you in advance!)

Good home cooking resolutions: I will cook at home x times a week. I will try one new recipe every two weeks. I will pack my lunch 4 times a week.

2. Learn to Say NO

Saying no let’s you say yes to what really matters. It’s a lifelong process to find the right balance. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s hard. It’s worth it. We get conditioned to say yes to the point where it becomes a reflex and not a true answer. Saying no to making 12 dozen Elsa cupcakes for the PTA bake sale let’s you say yes to more time with your munchkins (write a check if you feel guilty). Saying no to that weekly bar night that you’re not really feeling in your life anymore let’s you make space for something new (learning to cook? yoga? time with your SO?) that fits who you are now. You can also say no to activities (ahem hours wasted on youtube/pinterest/buzzfeed/pick-your-poison) that don’t improve your life. Ask yourself:

  • Does this bring me joy?
  • Will I wish I had done this in a week? A year? Five? When I’m eighty-five?
  • Is there another way to achieve this goal?
  • Am I doing this because I think I “should”?

Saying no and yes to the right things is a journey, so remember to make your resolution obtainable and actionable. Examples: I will say no to smartphones at the dinner table and will turn my phone on silent and leave it in the living room. I will commit to no more than 1 PTA project a semester. I will let someone else organize the family Easter party this year.

3. Maximize Your “Easy” Money

We all know (in theory) that decreasing our expenses and/or increasing our income creates more room in our budgets for savings, paying down debt, etc. The problem with this is that if you’ve already done a few rounds of decreasing expenses – cutting cable, no daily mocha-choca-five-dollar-lattes, etc. – you eventually run out of reasonable things to cut without feeling very deprived. And it’s always great if you can ask for a raise or switch jobs for a higher salary but sometimes that’s not in the cards in the immediate future. In the meantime, make it a point this year to increase your other sources of money. I like to save these and use for vacations, padding an emergency fund, extra student loan payments, etc. Some examples:

  • Use credit card rewards to your advantage – one card gives me 3% on gas, another on groceries, and another gives 5% on rotating categories. At no point am I earning less than 1% on any purchase and a year’s worth of purchases can me a couple hundred dollars back for things I was going to buy anyway (gas, food, etc.). This only makes sense if you pay your credits cards in full each month, of course.
  • Take advantage of cash back sites when you shop online. I go through Ebates and probably average $25-50 a quarter in cash back. It really adds up and is free to join. Join here. (I may get credit from Ebates if you join – thank you!)
  • Once a season, unload items you don’t need on Ebay or Craigslist or hold a yearly yard sale. Donate the rest. It’s a bit of a pain but old ipods, clothes in nice condition, books, special edition DVDs, etc. can add up to a pretty penny over the course of a year.
  • Sign up for focus groups. Search “focus groups NEAREST CITY TO YOU” or check Craigslist (use common sense on there) to find groups near you. Many are held online or via phone nowadays and you can earn $25-400+ in only a few hours or at most days.
  • Get a side hustle — teach a dance/karate/soccer class a few nights week, walk dogs, watch children, pick up one shift a week at the local diner.

Continue Reading…

Amazon #Giveaway + Home Chef Review and $30 Off Coupon Code!

Vegan Meal from HomeChef

Wifey and I are slowly but surely getting hooked on the awesome convenience of subscription food boxes like Home Chef and Hello Fresh (see our Hello Fresh Review and $40 off discount code). I can’t stress how awesome it is getting fresh food delivered to us saving us the trip to the grocery store with a newborn. Home Chef has an interesting spin on the subscription box too, you get a lot more customization with them including options like vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and paleo to name a few. If you like eating restaurant quality food, you’d enjoy this one! Use the link below for the $30 discount!

Sage and Brown Butter Pumpkin Gnocchi  With Kale and Sweet and Spicy Candied Walnuts

#Vegan Sage and Brown Butter Pumpkin Gnocchi
With Kale and Sweet and Spicy Candied Walnuts from HomeChef

Features:

  • Choose the number of meals you want each week on their website
  • All ingredients needed for those meals come straight to your door with free delivery on orders over $50 and no sales tax!
  • Flexible subscription so you can skip any weeks you want
  • The recipes are pictured and explained on color cards with step by step instructions, making even tricky meals seem easy to make
  • All ingredients are pre-measured so you only have to chop and toss in, no guesswork required
  • Choose what day of the week you want your food to arrive
  • You can choose from specific diet options, including vegan- something other subscription boxes don’t do
Asian Hot Pot With Rice Noodles, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Sesame Oil from HomeChef #vegan

Asian Hot Pot With Rice Noodles, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Sesame Oil from HomeChef #vegan

My Thoughts:

  • At less than $10 per meal, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than going to a restaurant to eat
  • For just $5 per person you can also add a nice bunch of fruits to your box!
  • It saves us from going to the grocery, which is SO nice
  • You basically make restaurant quality meals with Home Chef so it can save money from going out
  • We have actually learned a ton of interesting new cooking techniques and have recreated many of the recipes on our own already
  • Feels like a date night every night we make one of these
  • Totally worth a try for $30 off- 3 free meals basically

$30 Discount:  simply follow the link Here


Bottom Line: 
Signing up to Home Chef has been a ton of fun and I highly recommend it. This may just be our favorite subscription box yet I’ve already got my parents hooked on it! You can skip or cancel at any time so it’s a great idea to have a little fun and at least try it out for a week, especially for 3 free meals using the discount code! Warning: you may get addicted 😀 Continue Reading…

GIVEAWAY! KitchenGizmos Deluxe Diamond Knife Sharpener

Deluxe Diamond Knife Sharpener Review and Giveaway

There’s an ancient saying about knives: a dull knife makes for a dull kitchen experience. It’s deep stuff, might take a while to sink in. Thankfully, due to the marvels of modern technology we have devised a way to make sure that your kitchen knives never go dull again. The technology I am speaking of is, of course, the KitchenGizmos Deluxe Diamond Knife Sharpener. I had the pleasure of testing one of these guys out this past weekend.

Deluxe Diamond Knife Sharpener

Deluxe Diamond Knife Sharpener

Product Features:

  • 2 stage sharpening system: course and fine
  • Fixed angle slots
  • Professional grade quality sharpener
  • Large handle with a safety bar that makes sure you never get harmed while sharpening
  • Silicone anti-slip bottom
  • Super fast sharpening in just a few swipes
  • Lifetime Guarantee

Continue Reading…

Crystal Wash Laundry Balls Review

Crystal Wash Balls

With a newborn in the house, wifey and I have been carefully making sure that we are keeping our house as safe as possible. This includes making sure her clothes are free of any harmful chemicals. Conventional detergents actually are made from petro-chemicals and are laced with quite a number of ingredients that are questionable at best. We don’t want to be paranoid clean-freak parents but we also don’t want to take any unnecessary chances either. This is where we come to the Crystal Wash Laundry Balls. Let’s see how can solve our dilemma.

Product Features:

  • Cleans laundry just as well as detergent except naturally, without any chemicals, detergents or perfumes
  • Removes all stains and absorbs odors through bioceramics
  • Super cost-efficient since you get 1000 loads of laundry out of these balls (much cheaper than regular detergents, even the cheap ones)
  • Low maintenance- simply let it dry off every 2-3 weeks
  • Balls will contain a pH water sensing chip and a micro-controller with Bluetooth capability to let you know when they need to be “recharged”
  • Good for the environment

Continue Reading…

Pin It to Win It in Foresters Tech Timeout Sweep!

Enter the “Foresters Tech Timeout Sweepstakes” for a chance to win $100! As champions of family well-being, ForestersTM is hosting a contest to encourage families to spend less time plugged in and more time tuned into each other. Join the movement by pinning your family’s favorite tech-free activity to the Foresters Tech Timeout “Family Activity Time” pin board and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Enter here:


Foresters is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark. http://techtimeout.com

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for reading The Vegan Wifey and good luck in the sweepstakes!

BTipsy Professional Jumbo Lemon Squeezer Review & Giveaway!

BTipsy Lemon Squeezer

We had the pleasure of testing out the new BTipsy Professional Jumbo Lemon Squeezer generously provided to us by the manufacturer. I drink water with lemon or lime as my main beverage every day so anything that can help me conveniently squeeze those delicious citrus fruits has my heart from the start. This lemon squeezer comes with a simple design, simple directions and a very pleasant price tag. It’s definitely a great gadget to have around for anyone who likes to add citrus to their water, tea or mixed drinks.

Product Features:

  • Stainless steel design means that it is:
    • Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
    • Rust and peal free
    • Sturdy and will last for a long time
  • Comes with a 3 year risk-free warranty

Continue Reading…

Frazoni Non-stick Silicone Baking Mat Review and Giveaway

Frazoni Baking Mat

During the holiday season, I do a lot of baking for gifts, parties, Tuesdays, etc. The downside to all this baking is a never ending pile of dishes to deal with. I especially hate scrubbing out greased pans so I was excited to try out the Frazoni Non-stick Silicone Baking Mat to avoid having to choose between greasing the cookie sheet or having to scrape a bit to get cookies off when I inevitably leave them on the sheet too long…

Product Features:

  • 11 1/32″ x 16 17/32″ (28x42cm)
  • Non-stick silicone baking mat
  • Can be used on a baking sheet or directly on the oven rack
  • Safe for use from -40°F to 480°F (-40°C to 250°C)
  • Baked goods slide off easily – no scraping needed
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Can be stored rolled up or flat
  • Used properly, Frazoni mats will last 2000+ uses!

My Review:

Cookies Slide Right Off - No Spatula Needed!

Cookies Slide Right Off – No Spatula Needed!

Continue Reading…

#WeareverUS Mattress Pad Review + Giveaway!

Wearever INCONTINENCE MATTRESS PAD PROTECTOR WITH WINGS

I am so excited to share my review of the Wearever Mattress Pad Protector with Wings with you! As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would want to get a mattress pad for my third trimester in case my water broke during the night. I wanted to find a pad that is reasonably priced, comfortable, effective, and reusable. The Wearever Mattress Pad Protector with Wings fulfills all of these requirements.

Product Features:

  • 36 inches by 32 inches with three layers of protection
    • Layer 1 (Top): 80/20 cotton/polyester blend called IBEX
    • Layer 2 (Middle): 8 oz poly soaker which holds the moisture
    • Layer 3 (Bottom): Moisture proof layer made from a knitted, vinyl, barrier fabric
  • 19 inch wings to attach to the side(s) of the bed to prevent the pad from moving during the night
  • Machine washable and reusable
  • Holds up to 60 oz of liquid!
The backside of the pad (put it on the bed the other way!) and the amazing deep wings in action

The backside of the pad (put it on the bed the other way!) and the amazing deep wings in action

My Thoughts:

  • I love that this bed pad is reusable and machine washable (much more eco-friendly than disposable pads)
  • I was pleasantly surprised to find that the wings are long enough to secure the pad into place on my deep King size mattress
  • Bed pad is thin and almost invisible under sheets (and completely invisible once the comforter is on the bed) so it doesn’t disrupt sleep or the look of the bed
  • While I’ll be using this pad in case of my water breaking, it is also great for incontinence or bedwetting. I definitely see us using one of these for the kiddos during/after potty training.

Continue Reading…

#OldFactory Candle Gift Set Review + Giveaway!

I have a love-hate relationship with scented candles — I love the smell and look of a beautiful candle burning but I know that “normal” scented candles release chemicals that aren’t the best for me to be inhaling and can give me headaches. I was very excited when Old Factory offered me the chance to review one of their soy candle gift sets. Keep reading to find out if they were up to my standards!

Old Factory Candle Gift Set - Happy Holidays

Old Factory Candle Gift Set – Happy Holidays

Product Features:

  • 2 oz candles hand poured with natural soy wax
  • Self trimming cotton candle wicks
  • Burns cleanly and evenly for 20 hours per candle
  • Each gift pack comes with 3 different scents around a theme so there’s a perfect set for every occasion:
    • Fall HarvestPumpkin Spice, Cranberry, Autumn Leaves
    • Happy HolidaysChristmas Tree, Candy Cane, Gingerbread
    • Winter WonderlandHot Cocoa, Roasted Chestnut, First Snow
    • RomanceRose Petals, Champagne, Dark Chocolate
    • Fresh & CleanLemongrass, Olive Blossom, Fresh Linen
    • Spa DayCucumber, Lemongrass, Green Tea
    • VacationSea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei, Awapuhi
    • Coffee ShopCoffee Bean, Hazelnut, Chai Tea
    • Man CaveStraight Razor, Leather, Mahogany
    • High as a KiteCannabis, Incense, Bag O’ Cookies
    • New Born BabyBaby Powder, Baby Shampoo, First Blanket
    • 50 ShadesLeather, Vanilla, Jasmine Bubbles
  • Made in the USA
  • Every purchase is 100% satisfaction guaranteed by Old Factory
  • Gift wrapping available

Continue Reading…

New Blog Posts Coming Soon!

Although I’ve had this blog for a year now, I’ve posted sporadically at best. That’s all about to change – stay tuned for new recipes, reviews, and giveaways coming soon! Let me know in the comments what you think I should cover.