Tag Archives: Blue Apron

Last-Minute Gifts They’ll Actually Love

By Tracey Dowdy 

It never fails. You think you’ve wrapped up – pun intended – the last of your holiday shopping. Then you’re invited to participate in a virtual Secret Santa, a friend or coworker drops off an unexpected gift, or plans change, and you’re suddenly short a present. 

Take heart; all is not lost. And, since 2020 has changed the way many of us shop and transformed our homes into spas, entertainment venues, playgrounds, and restaurants, your options for that last-minute present have never been better.

2020 may be the year of the subscription box. For foodies or adventurous eaters, chose from monthly subscription boxes like a subscription to Bokksu or Fulton Fish Market’s Fish Drop

If tea is their bag, consider Sips By, or for the coffee lover, choose Trade, which allows you to customize your coffee selections from top roasters. Choose Flaviar for the whiskey lover in your life or a wine subscription for the aspiring sommelier. There are boxes for pets and their peoplefashionistashealth and wellness, self-care, beauty, and even boxes designed especially for vegans and carnivores. If you haven’t a clue what they’d like, Mouth offers the “gift of good taste.” Now, who wouldn’t love that? 

An Audible membership is another great option for readers and non-readers alike. Even if they don’t enjoy reading, Audible allows them to listen while they work out, commute, fix dinner, or relax at the end of another long day. Choose from a one, three, six, or 12-month subscription, and each month the recipient will receive a credit to use toward an Audible audiobook — existing members will get all of their gifted credits at once. A Bookshop gift card supports indie booksellers, and small bookstores, one of the many businesses hit particularly hard this year. Choose an amount between $25 to $500, which can be spent at different bookstores through the Bookshop portal.

Since we’re all eating at home more but still trying to juggle work and manage our unofficial second jobs as teachers, consider a meal subscription like Hello FreshDaily HarvestBlue ApronPlated, or Purple Carrot (which specializes in vegan food). Membership plans vary, but each ships recipe cards and pre-portioned ingredients to your house in insulated packaging. They only send what you need, so there’s no food waste or leftovers.

Keeping all those plates – literal and figurative – spinning is exhausting. A subscription to HeadspaceCalm, or Aura apps is a thoughtful gift for anyone trying to go into 2021 with a healthy mindset. Each has different strengths, but all will help settle your mind, take control of spiraling thought patterns, and help you fall asleep at night. Pro Tip – Matthew McConaughey narrates “Wonder,” one of Calm’s Sleep Stories selections. A bedtime story from McConaughey? You’re welcome. 

One of the best gifts you can give is a MasterClass subscription. With over 70 classes from famous teachers like Neil Gaiman, Gordon Ramsey, Margaret Atwood, Judd Apatow, and Anna Wintour, your giftee will love sorting through which experts stories, skills, shortcuts, failures, and successes they want to explore. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Give Mom the Gift of Hassle Free Dinners

By Tracey Dowdy

If you’re wracking your brain trying to come up with a clever, unique gift for Mother’s Day, have I got a suggestion for you. At this point, no one needs to be reminded that the past year has been challenging, and perhaps no one has felt the pressure more than mom. One of the frustrations I heard most often from my mom friends was the never-ending demand for snacks and meals. It seemed the breakfast dishes had just been cleared when someone would be sniffing around the pantry looking for snacks. Those crumbs would be still on the floor when the cry of “What’s for lunch?” would sound. Don’t get them started on the “Spaghetti? Again?” battle over dinner time. 

This year, give mom the gift of one less thing to think about and shop for through a meal subscription plan. Each of these options – Home Chef,  EveryPlateFreshlyHelloFresh, and Blue Apron  – works similarly. Their chefs create delicious, balanced, and healthy recipes with all the ingredients you need shipped to your door. Each delivers to most US zip codes and uses packaging that keeps ingredients fresh for up to 24 hours after delivery (in case you’re not home) and for up to four or five days in the fridge. Each runs frequent promotions like Hello Fresh’s $90 credit and free shipping for new customers and Blue Apron’s $80 savings over your first four boxes. 

Home Chef categorizes its meals by difficulty, from easy to expert, and offers weekly recipe rotations for all skill levels and dietary preferences, including calorie or carb-conscious and vegetarian options. You can customize meals to upgrade, swap, or double up your favorite protein on select recipes, skip deliveries, or pause your account anytime. Plans start at $6.99 per meal with a minimum order of two meals/two plates, and shipping is $6.99 per order. 

EveryPlate’s meals start at $4.99 per meal, making it the least expensive option on this list. Their minimum order is three meals/two plates with $8.99 shipping per order. You can choose from 14 recipes that change every week, each with six simple steps and designed to be on the table in 30 minutes. The one downside is the lack of vegetarian meal options. 

Freshly meals are $8.99 each and require a four meal minimum per order – the most among the other plans on this list. Each fully prepared meal is delivered fresh and ready to heat and eat in three minutes or less. Plans are flexible, and you can change up your number of meals, skip a delivery, or cancel anytime. 

HelloFresh offers the largest variety of meal options of the services in this list and is America’s top meal kit, offering the widest variety of recipes to over a million customers around the country. Meals are $8.99 per plate with a two-meal minimum per order and $6.99 shipping. Choose from 25 fresh recipes every week, with options like “20-Minute Meals,” “Craft Burgers,” and “Taste Tours.” You can pause or cancel anytime, as long as you hit “Pause” five days before your next delivery schedule.

Blue Apron’s boxes offer step-by-step recipes for three meals for two, four, or six people, priced at $7.49 per serving with three meals/two plates minimum on each order, plus free shipping. You can choose from their Signature or Signature for four plans customized to dietary preferences to personalize the menus you receive. Right now, new Customers can save $80 over their first four boxes. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.