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A cart full of holiday items at Trader Joe's in San Diego

The Best Seasonal Holiday Items at Trader Joe’s

It’s time, it’s officially time!! The holiday season is here!! Can you picture little Elf Amanda saying that? Because I hope you did! As promised, I am letting you guys in on what I think are the best seasonal holiday items at the famous Trader Joe’s. 

Holiday Items at Trader Joe’s

I’ve tried most of everything I like to think and I love Christmas so I’ll take every excuse to get festive, here are my favorite (must buy’s – if you will) of what you should buy this season! So let’s start the season of eating…diet starts in the new year, right?! From Thanksgiving to Christmas and even into New Year’s we all have countless parties to attend to bring things, and these are perfect! Or if you don’t, indulge yourself!

Autumn Maple Coffee

Is there anything more cozy than a freshly brewed warm cups of coffee on a cool morning? I don’t think so! These grounds have a hint of maple, just enough so you can taste it but it’s not overwhelming for a sweet cup for your morning!

Jingle Jangle

This is addicting so be careful, you can probably eat the whole container without realizing! It’s that good. This is a combination of milk chocolate-covered mini pretzels WITH dark chocolate-covered caramel popcorn, dark chocolate-covered Joe Joe’s cookie bits, candy-coated milk chocolate gems, AND mini peanut butter cups. Need I say more? P.S. they even have a jingle jangle ice cream if you want more!

Cranberry Chevre OR Fig Fresh Goat Cheese

I love adding a log of goat cheese to any cheese board…and why not make your board more festive while you’re at it. I personally LOVE the fig and LIKE the cranberry chevre but I also like a little more savory than sweet. 

Eggnog Greek Yogurt

You egg nog lovers can run to the store ASAP! Because this is for you! I like to think of this yogurt as Christmas in a cup and I like to think it’s a little better for you than the traditional eggnog. And they also have eggnog almond milk. 

Turkey and Stuffing Seasoned Kettle Chips

You guys, these are my new favorite. You know how Lay’s (or whoever) always tries to come out with new/odd flavors of chips and 9/10 they fail? Well, of course Trader Joe’s didn’t. 

Spiced Cider

HOLY MOLY, this is so good warm! I love with with a shot of your fave alcohol, or even warm for the kiddies! It makes me feel so festive and gets me into the seasonal mood!

Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s

For everyone who love the spiced cider Joe-Joe’s, those are good. But these are great. Like buy a few extra to put in your freezer so in February you can grab a box! They’re your traditional Joe-Joe’s but with candy cane pieces mixed into the cream. If you really wanna go all can get them dipped in dark chocolate also. 

Breaded Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy

As Trader Joe’s is always good for, this is an option for both vegetarians and vegans on Thanksgiving, and I like their meatless of course I like this. Yes, it’s not real turkey, but it’s pretty delish!

Naughty or Nice Dog Treats

Gatsby will only be eating the nice dog treats this season because we’re not taking any chances. They also have puppy treat advent calendar, and you can bet Gatsby got one of those!

Winter Snowflake Pasta

These snowflakes are your typical pasta but I swear they taste better! If you’re like me and living in a warmer city where you won’t be getting snow then this helps fill the void (a little!)

Turkey Cranberry Meatballs

These are dreamy! They’re so perfect for any occasion – you can serve them as an appetizer with toothpicks or on top of Trader Joe’s snowflake pasta. Am I too festive? No, okay good..but on a serious note, they have turkey, cranberries, and flavors of stuffing inside so it’s like you’re eating a Thanksgiving dinner in one bite. 

Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows

Since I’m the one who’s always on a diet, these are perfect because they’re bite size (portion control). They’re peppermint-flavored marshmallows coated in dark chocolate which are great for something to satisfy your sweet tooth or put out on the dessert table!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Pecans

This is the perfect holiday side…with ZERO stress but all the yum. This is your typical sweet potatoes, butter, cinnamon, and maple-roasted pecans side dish that all you have to do is heat up. And waaa-laaa, your dish is done. 

Cinnamon Rugelach

Trader Joe’s sadly didn’t bring back their cinnamon roll wreath, but this is almost as good. It’s more of a croissant texture and rolled with a date and cinnamon filling. I like to top it with a little bit of powdered sugar for a “snow like” effect. 

Scallops Wrapped In Uncured Bacon With Brown Sugar Glaze

It’s a little DUH moment that these are delicious…scallops and bacon, I know is everyone’s favorite, so I’m curious when Trader Joe’s will get smart and keep this item year round. This is an impressive (and easy) appetizer for any meal or to bring to a party! Another win for Trader Joe’s frozen food section. 

Camembert Cheese And Cranberry Sauce Fillo Bites

If you love the savory and sweet then this is your new go to. It’s both not to mention flakey and gooey so they cover all the bases! Can it get better? They only bake for 12 minutes!

Hot Cocoa O’s

Holiday spirit doesn’t stop for a quick breakfast, hot cocoa o’s are the perfect seasonal breakfast for something quick! You’ll get chocolatey O’s with freeze-dried marshmallows, who says you can’t have hot chocolate for breakfast?

Baked Lemon Ricotta Cheese

Now this…this is a game changer! It may not go well with your typical pasta dish because this ricotta has lemon and sugar which makes it perfect for a cracker and a tart jam. This can be used on either a cheese or dessert plate!

Scandinavian Tidings

These are perfect to put out on a table to add more red and green and another option for easy snacking. They also are great to keep in your desk drawer for a mid day slump or throw in your child’s lunch for a treat!

Mini Gingerbread Men

Can you get more festive than gingerbread men? If you’re like me then you’ve had your fill with a bite or two, which is why I love these so much! Trader’s says that 3 cookies is one serving…not that we count serving sizes in any sitting during the holidays. 

Turkey Pot Pie with Stuffing

Pot pies are one of my favorite items during the cold months and this is no different. If you’re eager for Thanksgiving then go run to get this! You’ll get turkey, veggies, turkey gravy, cornbread stuffing, dried cranberries, and of course a puff pastry!

Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit

These are like your typical cookie decorating, but just with your typical ugly sweater! This comes with cookies, frosting, and some sprinkles so you can make your own ugly, yet cute sweaters!

Nantucket Style Cranberry Pie

This is great for last minute get togethers where you don’t know what to bring or even just to throw in the oven on a weekend night with a glass of wine! This is the perfect holiday dessert and you can top with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 

DRUMROLL PLEASEEE..for my all time favorite!

French Onion Soup Bites

These are the perfect frozen appetizer (or meal) and I feel so fancy eating these! They have caramelized onions and Swiss cheese, seasoned with a vegetable broth. Basically you get french onion soup with no need for a spoon. 

If you’re looking for some other frozen food appetizers from Trader Joe’s that are amazing but they have them year round, check out my blog post! My favorite frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s or even my favorite Trader Joe’s Finds.

Did I miss something? Let me know!

~ XOXO, Amanda, the elf who’s ready to eat!

Chakra Facial in San Diego, CA

I got a Chakra Facial & Here’s What I Thought 

Disclaimer: what I am about to tell you sounds very “SoCal” and I know, It’s a little crazy and I was a little nervous/skeptical myself. I am 100% a newbie and very naive to chakras and stones, the whole 9 yards. But why not try a chakra facial. I love facials, and if you’ve never had one..stop reading this and go get one. I’ve always been intrigured by chakras and getting them cleared, so why not with a facial?

Shadow Era Spirit & Beauty

I went to Shadow Era Spirit & Beauty for my first chakra facial because since I am such a newbie to this whole sphere I needed to make sure this wasn’t almost a fake/spam thing. One of my friends goes here for facials and lash extensions and she speaks highly of the place. I saw they have a chakra facial to get aligned and pampered – I thought immediately, “this is what I’m looking for.”

What is a Chakra-Balancing Facial? 

In addition to your typical facial (steaming, cleansing, extractions, etc.), chakra balancing facial will use crystals to cleanse and help you open up. This is supposed to help you release any stifling energy. So first things first, I got my face steamed while she read my chakras. 

What are the 7 Chakras?

Root – Safety & Stability

Sacral – Emotions & Stability

Solar – Power & Self-Esteem

Heart – Unconditional Love

Throat – Espression & Communication 

Third Eye – Intuition & Vision 

Crown – Spiritual Connection

By placing all the chakras down your body, it helps align the spine from the base to the crown of the head to help energy to flow through your body properly. The goal is to keep the chakras opened and aligned. 

My Chakra Facial

So first things first, I got my face steamed while she read my chakras. When she was telling me “your root chakra is open” I kid you not, I would be like “what does that mean?” for every one. That’s how naive I am to this, so I was very interested in learning each of them and trying to relate it to my life. All of my chakras were open, expect the heart chakra which was closed (surprise surprise). 

The purpose of reading your chakras first is to help your esthetician/healer use the specific scents, crystals, and massage techniques that you need to help your overall self. Since my heart was completely closed, I held throughout my facial a large heart quartz and was surrounded by watermelon tourmaline quartz. 

My esthetician, Megan, went straight into the facial from there. I started with a coconut papaya enzyme which she chose because I have sensitive skin and this enzyme has a low tingle, I personally don’t mind a little tingle. It was a clear mask that added a calming aspect, it also had a little extra collagen to help with pigmentation and anti aging. After that, we added a serum to get the skin hydrated. After that, I got an arm, hand, and shoulder massage. 

Then was my favorite part, who else LOVE extractions?! She used a “skin scrubber” which you can even buy on amazon. I told her I wanted to buy one and she said it’s best to do it after you take a shower because your pores are open and make sure to leave water on your face. The skin scrubber is great because it removes dead skin and blackheads, it also takes out any dirt and excessive oil. EW!

After the Facial 

I was given an affirmation to say every morning when I wake up and before I go to bed, “I am open to receiving unconditional love.” I think for chakra readings to really help you get aligned and balanced you have to have an open mind, this was completely different than anything I’ve ever done and crystals is a whole new ball game. Knowing that I don’t want my heart to be closed off forever, I was fully in the game. 

Would I recommend one? 100%! 

Thank you Shadow Era Spirit & Beauty for the chakra facial! 

~ XOXO, the hippy guru, Amanda


Self Date Ideas for the Single Girl

If you’re like me, then you probably save your cutest outfit, the place you’re dying to go to, or the new chic restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for a hot date with a cute guy. Why do we all do this?! This is almost like us saying, “I’m not good enough unless I am being desired by another human.” You’re single and doing the “same ol same ol” can get pretty mundane, and instead of hating men and their asshole tendencies, why not just date yourself!
After all, the most important relationship you’re ever going to have is with yourself. So how do you date yourself? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with lots of ideas! Keep on reading.

How to Date Yourself

Go to the movies. This is a timeless date idea and now you get to go to the movie you want to go to, you don’t have to share popcorn, and the movie will fully entertain you. You get to enjoy the film and yourself.
Wine & dine yourself. How often do you open a recipe book, buy all the ingredients and make a meal? Probably not too often. Pick a recipe, head to the store, and don’t forget a bottle of wine…or two. A homemade dinner + a bottle of wine = the perfect night.
Pamper yourself with self-care. Have you been wanting to do your nails? Put on self-tanner? Whatever it may be do it.
Splurge and stay at a hotel. Sure, romantic getaways are wonderful. Getaways with your girlfriends are so much fun. I know it may sound weird to go check into a hotel for just yourself but trust me, there’s nothing like sleeping in a huge perfectly made bed by yourself, ordering room service, sitting by the pool & having a cabana boy bring you your next margarita, and taking advantage of all the hotel amenities.
Have a photo-shoot. Don’t pretend like you don’t do this anyways, but do your hair, your makeup, and put on your cutest outfit. Learn how to work the self-timer and take 5,000 photos that almost look exactly the same. And waaaaa-laaaa, here’s a new picture to show off on every social media platform.
Get flowers. Go to a flower shop, your local Trader Joe’s, or farmers market and buy yourself some flowers. After all, you are a strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man to buy you any flowers. *insert hair flip*
Go to a coffee shop. I always find this to be a fun activity. I love going to a coffee shop with a notebook and jot down my latest thoughts/feelings, a planner to actually *try* and plan my life, or even my laptop to catch up on blogging. The general rule of thumb is to order the biggest cup of coffee you can, a snack is optional, but you don’t get to leave until the coffee ground smell is your new perfume.
Take a bath. Buy the salts, the bubbles, the wine holder that sticks to the side of the bath, and the candles. And soak away all the worries. You’ll get out of the bath feeling refreshed and ready to climb into bed for the best nights sleep you could ever imagine.
Binge watch Marie Condo. Then “Marie Condo” your whole house. This is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. You’ll be able to breathe again, especially when you didn’t even know you couldn’t before.
Take a long walk. And do this with the intent of thinking and relaxing vs. burning calories, because at this point that’s just an added bonus.
Declare a “naked day”. Go about your normal chores, daily activities like cooking, and anything else (inside) in the nude. Just remember to keep all the doors and blinds shut so your neighbors don’t get a front row seat.
Ride down memory lane. Maybe this includes watching old home videos, going through old photos or yearbooks, or even watching an old show/movie you used to love. Taking yourself back to your childhood often brings back the fondest memories.
Do whatever you want. Even if that means doing nothing at all. And even if you’re in a relationship, that doesn’t mean you can’t date yourself. If you find another awesome date idea for yourself, please share it with me!
~ XOXO, the single (& couldn’t be happier) Amanda
Fall scarecrows & pumpkins

Exploring San Diego in the Fall

*This post is written as a guest blog post by author, Rachel Crawford*

When was the last time you visited San Diego? San Diego is known for its beaches, parks, and year-round sunshine, but most families travel here during the peak summer months. Traveling to San Diego in the fall months will shave off quite a bit on the travel expense, and you still get that sunshine you’ve been dreaming of. Your savings will increase if you visit with your family during Kids Free San Diego which lasts throughout the entire month of October. Explore San Diego by land, by sea or through your belly, the choice is yours. Staying at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on Mission Bay will put you and your family, friends and loved ones at the epicenter of it all. The recently renovated hotel was featured in TODAY as the #2 Best Family Resort in the USA as of June 2019.

Explore by Land

The Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa is part of Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre aquatic park that is dedicated to leisure and active sports. Located to the south of the hotel is Tecolote Shores Park which is a preferred park by families with small children looking to swing, slide and climb. To the north, you will find De Anza Cove Park which has a lifeguard protected beach to dip those little toes into. Venture a little further away from the hotel to discover all of the walking trails connecting you to the real beauty of San Diego, nature. While there are plenty of trails within 5 minutes from the hotel, Balboa Park Loop is favorited by locals and visitors alike. Balboa Park is also home to the World Famous San Diego Zoo. Kids get in free throughout October with each paid adult and parking there is always free. The park is also home to the Botanical Building and Lily Pond, and the Japanese Friendship Garden. 

Explore by Sea

Mission Bay offers ideal conditions for paddling, kayaking, or sailing. Rentals are available year-round through Action Sport Rentals located on the dock of the hotel. If you’re looking for a tour out on the water, Flagship Cruises & Events offer up to 6 children free with each paid adult throughout October. For a little more adventure, the SEAL Amphibious Tour combines both land and sea with a unique experience you will never forget. Kids ride for free in October with each paid adult. 

Explore Through Your Belly

Kids eat free at Acqua California Bistro which is the year-round restaurant at the resort. If you can’t make it back for dinner every night, be sure to start your day off with breakfast overlooking Mission Bay. If you are out exploring San Diego, there are a lot of other restaurants that are also participating in Kids Free. For a list of participating restaurants, or for more ideas on exploring San Diego, check out the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website. 

No matter what interests you and your family, you will be sure to find it in San Diego!



5 Things to do in Boston Before Fall

Are you planning a trip to Boston? Are you a local looking for something to do? Summer is one of the busiest times of the year in Boston and if you’re like me as soon as summer hit in New England you wanted to spend every second outside until dare I say, winter came again. Here are my favorite things to do in Boston in the summertime:

Catch a Red Sox Game at Fenway

Fenway Park is one of the most historical ballparks in the MLB and from the day I moved to Boston, I was converted. There’s nothing like spending an afternoon walking around Lansdowne Street and grabbing a drink before the game and being surrounded by Red Sox Fans. Fenway first opened in 1912 and has been an iconic Boston landmark ever since. You’ll see history of stolen bases, home runs, and although Boston’s fanbase has grown, the original park still stands. They have done expansions to make the park larger which brought about the “green monstah” and “pesky pole” but still, no matter where you sit – there’s not a bad seat in the house. 

Enjoy the Weather & Sit Outside

There are so many great places to grab a cocktail and enjoy the weather! There’s nothing better than feeling the sun hit your skin with a cool cocktail in hand. Sometimes it’s hard to pick but some of my favorites are the patio at Eataly, Lookout Rooftop at the Envoy Hotel, and of course the pop ups around town, City Winery on the Greenway and Cisco’s pop up in Seaport. This spread is from Eataly!

Have a Picnic on the Charles River Esplanade

This might be one of my favorite summertime activities because it’s so relaxing, throughout the year. Grab some friends, some snacks, and some drinks with a blanket and it’s the perfect spot for a great view of either Boston or Cambridge. 

Eat a Lobster Roll & Clam Chowder

New England is famous for their seafood, especially lobster rolls and clam chowder. You’ll feel like a true New Englander while indulging in it’s most iconic foods. There are so many great places that serve lobster rolls, be sure to check out my blog about craving lobstah rolls. The one pictured here is from Saltie Girl which is one of my favorite seafood restaurants in Boston because it’s full of mermaids so it fits me perfectly! 

Stroll Around Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill will always be one of my favorite spots in Boston. Before I lived in Boston, this is what I imagined all the neighborhoods to look like – classic stairs leading up to apartments covered in beautiful brick. Acorn Street is one of the most photographed streets in Boston, and for good reason! 

Now tell me! What do you love to do in the summer in Boston? I’m always looking for new ideas! 

~ XOXO, the Bostonian in me that loves summer

The Best Frozen Appetizers From Trader Joe’s

The Best Frozen Appetizers From Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is my all time favorite for mostly everything. It’s great because you can get pretty much everything you’ll need to host any sort of function from the frozen food aisle. You could be craving any cuisine – Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Indian, etc and they’ll have something for you. They have everything ranging from the child at heart, mac n cheese balls, mini pizzas, and pigs in a blanket to “fancy” apps like tempura shrimp and vegetable samosas. 

I love hosting and getting friends together, but I also love a good easy and affordable way to continue to do this. After a busy day, the last thing I want to do (most nights) is to spend an hour or two cooking. I was having a girls night so I went to my local Trader Joe’s and here are my favorite frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s. 

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip – $2.99

This creamy and cheesy dip is always a crowd pleaser with my friends. This is always one of the first appetizers to be finished because you can have so many things in the dip and it’s perfect. I’ll normally leave out pita chips, celery, and carrots with this dip. 

Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions – $4.99

A puff pastry, melted cheese, AND caramelized onions — is there really anything more appetizing? Although these bites are one of the more pricey options but they’re sooo delicious. I also think about how much it would be for me to buy all the ingredients for these and then how long it would take to make them and hope they turn out instagrammable. These are two-biters so be ready with some cocktail napkins. 

Crabless “Crab” Cakes – $3.99

These cakes have all the textures and flavors of seafood-based cakes but they’re made with jackfruit. I’m not vegan or gluten free or any of those things but I’m always down to try a healthy option, and I did. Then these quickly became a go-to. I’ll cut these up on a platter with a few different sauces to dip in and you can’t even tell they’re not real crab cakes so your guests will think you’re extra fancy. 

Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower – $4.99

The outside of this has a nice crispy texture but once you get to the cauliflower it doesn’t hold and it’s softer. The flavor, however, is still there. The flavor is similar to kung pow chicken. It’s $4.99 which like the pastry bites I feel like is a lot but with this you get 1.5 pounds of food which is a lot for people to keep munching on and is healthy! 

Meatless Meatballs – $3.99

Again, I’m not a vegetarian but I do have a few friends who are so these are always my go-to protein when hosting so everyone can enjoy! They will fool any meat-loving person and they’re so easy to leave out. I leave them in a shallow bowl in a vodka or marinara sauce (I have heard even in BBQ sauce they’re good) with some toothpicks and boom done.

When I was doing some research for this post, I found a lot of delicious sounding frozen appetizers that are season. When the holidays come around, I’ll try them all and give you my favorites. 

Just some more reasons why Trader Joe’s is the best grocery store in the history of grocery stores. Have a favorite app that I missed? Let me know! I’m always down to try more! 

~ XOXO, Amanda


The Perfect Southern Maine Roadtrip

Southern Maine may be one of my favorite parts of New England. I visited Ogunquit, Maine before I moved to Boston and it may or may not have influenced my decision.  I fell in love with it’s small town coastal charm. But how could you not? I had a friend visit recently and we wanted to get out of the city – so I took her on a mini road trip up the coast of Maine so she too, could fall in love. Here’s a recap of our trip & why I think you should take a day trip too.

First Stop: Kennebunkport, Maine 

Kennebunk is one of the quaintest towns and the Bush family agree so much that they have a “compound” just around the corner. Kennebunk has ice cream shops on every corner and you can’t go wrong with any seafood spot. There’s beautiful hotels and everyone is so friendly. I recommend stopping at The Clam Shack and/or Allison’s to get lunch! 

As you’re leaving Kennebunkport, make sure you stop at “Maine Diner” for some of the best seafood soup you’ll ever get. It’s like clam chowder but with lobster claws. 

Second Stop: Ogunquit, Maine 

Ogunquit will always have my heart. I found it to be the cutest little town and one day when I grow up (haha!) my goal is to buy a house along Marginal Walkway! It’s a short walk along the coast that is a must to do on your southern Maine road trip. You also have to stop in Perkin’s Cove and walk around to grab a souvenir, can you say you’ve been to Maine if you don’t come back with something lobster and some blueberry jam? There are such cute boutiques and stores all around.

A great place to stop here is the “Front Door” which is a piano bar and is SO FUN if you’re here in the evening time. 

Third Stop: York, Maine

Just down the road from Ogunquit is York, where Nubble lighthouse is at. If you didn’t get ice cream in Kennebunk, then make sure to get some here! There’s also a huge salt water taffy place where you can watch it get made. York is a great place to walk around, sit on the beach, and just enjoy Maine.

Fourth Stop: Portland, Maine

Portland is a beer and foodie paradise. Most of these places are good to spend a day in (at the very least) but Portland you could spend a full weekend in. I don’t particularly (or at all) like beer but there are SO many breweries. Their lighthouse is also one of my favorite in Maine! 

Like every town in Maine – Portland is known for their lobster rolls. I had one at Portland lobster company, and I think I made a mistake …if I were to do the day over again, I would get one at Highroller. Not that Portland Lobster Co was bad, I just think it could have been better.  You also have to get fries from Duck Fat, which are some of the best fries I’ve ever had. Stop in one of their most popular breweries Bissell Brothers, Allagash, Austin Street, Shipyard Brewing Company, & Rising Tide Brewing Company (just to name a few). On your way out, don’t forget to stop by The Holy Donut for the ride home. 

Is there someplace I missed that I need to try in Southern Maine? Let me know!

~ XOXO, the Maine obsessed, Amanda


What are the Best Dog Food Delivery Services?

Dog’s health seems to be a growing topic of popularity these days and I’ve been very intrigued. Kibble or dry food is known to be filled with additives that aren’t healthy to our pups and I’ve always thought “one day” I’ll make Gatsby his own food. I read this statistic,  an “average life expectancy of 13.1 years of a dog who is fed high-quality, fresh, real food versus 10.4 years for a dog for a dog who is fed kibble.” And I swear right after I saw that I stumbled across pet food delivery services and thought I’d give those a try! 

I won’t lie, one of the main reasons I didn’t switch earlier was it’s more expensive, but then you really think about it and that’s like me saying an extra 3 years of Gatsby’s life has a price tag on it, and wow was I ready to switch immediately because he’s my everything. Here are the ones I’ve tried and my thoughts on them


I tried pet plate food delivery first and they deliver in two-week increments which were a lot, I live in an apartment and I would think my freezer was the typical size and it was FULL of the containers. They come frozen so you have to thaw them out before feeding your pup and use within 7 business days. I got Gatsby the “lamb” flavor because that’s the type of kibble he used. Gatsby will eat literally anything and isn’t picky but here are my personal thoughts on Pet Plate: 

The Good:

  • You could see the real food in it. 
  • It’s delivered right to your door, so no need to go out to pick up pet food. 
  • They have 4 flavors – lamb, chicken, beef, and turkey. 
  • You can skip/pause the meal service. 

The Bad: 

  • I kid you not over 75% of my freezer was full of food. 
  • They come in plastic containers which aren’t great for heating up and not environmentally friendly. 
  • If you feed your dog three times a day, this food is designed to be fed twice, so you can either divide it up yourself or skip the 3 meals. 

The Cost of Pet Plate: 

Every 2 weeks: 

14 meals per delivery
$72.95 / week


I tried nomnomnow next and they send you a week’s worth of food at a time which is a much more manageable amount of food to store in my opinion. They came fresh so you could pop them right into the fridge, they do recommend if you aren’t planning on using them within 7 days to put them into the freezer. 

The Good:

  • One bag is one meal so you simply open the bag and feed your pup.
  • You can also order probiotic to add to your pups food to help with normal digestion and immune support. 
  • They have 4 flavors – beef, pork, chicken, and turkey.
  • They make and ship out the food weekly. If you want less frequent deliveries then you can set those up too. 
  • You can skip weeks.
  • There were chunks of real food in it. 

The Bad:

  • Every meal is supposed to be based on your dog’s ideal weight and what they weigh now. I talked to my vet and she did the math, and she thought Gatsby needed a little more than what they offered (½ a bag more) so I go through the food quicker or have to supplement his food with something else. 
  • You only feed your dog twice a day with these, and if your dog is like Gatsby then he may miss having lunch! 
  • You can’t change the day it’s shipped out/delivered on. My food gets delivered on Friday and I recently took a long weekend and left Friday morning so my neighbor had to bring in the food. 

The Cost of NomNomNow varies on your delivery schedule: 

Every week:
14 meals per delivery
11 lbs of food
$71.31 / week

Every 2 weeks:
28 meals per delivery
22 lbs of food
$60.84 / week

Every 4 weeks:
56 meals per delivery
43 lbs of food
$55.59 / week

We ended up sticking with nom nom now and Gatsby still loves it! Want to try NomNomNow for your pup? Follow this link for 30% off your first nomnomnow order.

I didn’t try Farmer’s Dog because I actually loved Nom Nom Now so much, but I did have every intention to! Overall, we do love our pet meal delivery and do think it’s worth the extra cash. It is a little annoying if you’re taking your pup on vacation or if someone else is watching him while you’re gone. 

Want to learn more about pet food delivery and how bad kibble is? Watch Pet Fooled on Netflix! 

~XOXO, the dog mom, Amanda


My Nantucket Travel Guide

Nantucket has been on my radar since I moved to Boston, and it was only a matter of time until I crossed it off my bucket list. If you haven’t traveled to the quaint little island yet, it’s time you book a trip. You’ll find delicious food and drinks, shingled cottages, fine sanded beaches, and cobblestone streets.

Here is my Nantucket travel guide with where to stay, what to do, what to eat, & insider traveler tips! And we only spent 3 days on this quaint island so I’ll give you everywhere we went to and places we wanted to but didn’t make it to.

Grey Lady

Also known as “The Grey Lady” because it’s like the grey lady of the ocean because the island gets covered with a thick fog. People also refer the island as “ACK” because that’s the airport code for the airport. I will say it’s not a budget friendly island, especially in peak season. The island’s population in the offseason is 2,000 which can grow up to 55,000 in the summer months even though it’s less than 48 square miles. One of my favorite things about Nantucket is one side you have the beach and the other side of the harbor.

How to get on the Island

You can fly into “ACK” from nearly airport but I wouldn’t say that’s the easiest nor do you get the full experience. 

There’s a ferry from Hyannis with two companies operating out to the island – HyLine & Steamship Authority which both take about an hour. I’d recommend flying into Boston and then driving the hour to Hyannis and hopping on the ferry! You’ll get the full experience pulling right up into the beautiful Nantucket Boat Basin which will give you your first taste!

Where to Stay in Nantucket

We stayed at an AirB&B but i’ve long admired The Cottages at Boat Basin or The White Elephant. Both looked very cute and would give you the ideal “Nantucket” experience. We enjoyed our AirB&B a lot though and there were sooo many to choose from. I would recommend bringing some cash as some places are cash only so it’s nice not to run into any problems finding an ATM.

What to Eat in Nantucket


Island Kitchen – We sat outside at Island Kitchen and they have a lot of seating and can accomodate large groups. They did move on island time, so if you’re in a hurry this may not be the spot for you. I got the tofu scramble, but you can’t go wrong with the avocado toast, eggs benedict, breakfast burrito, or the animal (pictured) which is panko crusted eggs, bacon, sausage, with hollandaise on a brioche bun.

Lemon Press – While we didn’t eat there we did have their lavender lemonade which everytime I see on a menu I have to get. And we stopped in for drinks. I’ve heard this place though, if a great spot for breakfast.

Downyflake – These donuts are the perfect size and they weren’t too dry. They’re cash only ($1) and come in cinnamon sugar, chocolate frosted, coconut, and plain. We got a chocolate and coconut and they were both amazing.

The Handlebar Cafe – I thought this was the best iced coffee we had on the island. They have a cute little water bowl out in front for the pups and you have to walk around to their secret garden to drink your coffee.

Keepers Restaurant – We loved our breakfast here. 3 out of 4 of us got some version of the eggs benedict (fish cake bene & lil’ buddy bene) and both were delish! We got tried “the keeper” because how could you not?

Where we didn’t get to: Black Eyed Susan’s for the pancakes, ‘Sconset Market for the (specifically) blueberry muffins, Brant Point Grill for a bougie brunch with a legendary lobster bloody mary, or 45 Surfside which is known for their pastries.


Oath Pizza – this place has outdoor seating on the water with endless pizza options which makes for a very affordable meal with a view of the harbor.

Millie’s – is right on Madaket Beach so if you go for dinner make sure you walk down to the beach for sunset. But this place is off the beaten path so it was fun to see more of the island on our way. We got some apps and drinks and shared. We got the dip trio with guacamole, queso, & salsa and then a grilled shrimp quesadilla & a steak quesadilla which hit the spot. I also heard the mahi mahi tacos & salads were to die for. After grabbing a bite to eat make sure you head over to Millie’s Market for some hot sauce to take home because it was that good!

Provisions – I heard a lot of buzz around these sandwiches, so I did have high expectations that were 100% met. We all got different sandwiches so we could try them all because so many of them sounded delicious. My favorites were the thanksgiving sandwich (it’s exactly what it sounds like) and the turkey. This place is another place that is cash only.

Cru – This way by far our most expensive meal but we knew it would be. We all got the lobster rolls for dinner with oysters. We could all agree that the lobster rolls were 10/10. They have a chic/nautical interior & right on harbor so you can’t beat the views. We sat inside but they have an adorable little patio as well. We did call and make a reservation which I highly recommend.

Where we didn’t get to: Galley Beach which I was bummed about because who doesn’t love a restaurant/bar sitting right in the sand?! Lola 41 which is the only buzzy sushi spot on the island, and Club Car for the small italian bites and they have a cute little club car which turns into a piano bar at night.

Ice Cream

The Juice Bar – Notice how this is the only one listed? It’s because this ice cream shop is the best in the whole wide world. I’m not even kidding. I’d recommend going at an “off” time because there can get a line, even if there is one, it’s worth it.

Drinks & Cocktails

The Gazebo – This bar is in the middle of the little downtown strip & gets really popular at night. It’s a must for a mudslide & 888 vodka drink. We did see El Presidente there…heard he frequents the spot a lot.

Chicken Box – This bar has a stage with live music and can get a little rowdy. Your typical live music/bar scene for a fun night of drinks and dancing.

Straight Wharf – Right next to The Gazebo so it’s a great next spot to go get another drink and keep the night going.

What to do in Nantucket

Brandt Point lighthouse – This is the iconic lighthouse you see everywhere when you think of Nantucket. It was first built in 1746 and then automated in 1965. It’s a great photo op and if you take the ferry in, you’ll get some great views of it.

Cisco Brewery – Cisco is a fun place to spend the afternoon, we went to Cisco beach before we wanted to go because we thought that they were close..learn from us, it’s not within walking distance. But it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat, have a drink, & spend the afternoon. They do have other things than beer to drink, like cocktails and wine! There’s also food trucks to grab a bite and live music to enjoy the afternoon.

Whaling Museum –  This is a little museum in town to learn about the history of Nantucket. We didn’t get a chance to stop by but it

Rent Bikes or Mopeds – This is a fun way to get to a different part of the island and see more that you may not be staying around.

Explore the ‘Sconset Bluff Walk – This walk is beautiful walk with views of the ocean and beautiful big homes. You can walk past the cottages and it will lead you straight to Sankaty Head Lighthouse.

Go sailing or out on a boat. Why not be on the water every second you can get.

Head to the beach! We spend a day at both Surfside Beach & Cisco Beach and had a blast at both. Surfside was a little busier and had a restaurant and bathrooms. For majority of the time, we were the only ones at Cisco which was amazing.

Shop – Nantucket is FULL of shopping! If you want it you can get it there from your typical touristy shops and then other must – go to’s including For Now which is a pop-up so consumers can discover new brands and their motto is “find what you weren’t looking for” which I am obsessed with. There’s also a Beautycounter pop up so you can try all their products, if you do go – make sure if you buy anything to let them know you’re shopping with me! (Amanda Sobkowiak). There’s also Skinny Dip Nantucket and Levitate which both have good items to check out!

There’s no way you can cram everything into one trip, we sure didn’t. Trust me, you’ll be back. I know I will!

Until next time, Nantucket!

~ XOXO, Becky aka Amanda


The Cheeseboard to Bring to a 4th of July BBQ

I am a big holiday person, I take that back, I am a big celebrating person. I love celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, not to mention every holiday/season. And the 4th of July is no exception. I love everything patriotic, red, white, & blue, and anything that is obnoxious & screams “‘MERICA” but am I alone? I don’t think so! If you are looking for something to bring to your BBQ this 4th of July – try this cheese board!

Here is my guide & what you’ll need for the best patriotic cheese board. This assortment of cheese, dips, fruits, & crackers will be sure to wow any party. Everything can be prepared in advance and assembled the day of, making your life easy!

Easy Patriotic Appetizer for the 4th of July

This cheese board is perfect for a BBQ where you don’t want this to be the main food option or make people too full. For the presentation of this board, I left the cheese mostly alone, except the stars which I cut into thin slices and then used a star-shaped cookie cutter, and bought the meats already sliced. I also added some crackers and pretzels for dip and a change in the consistency.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3-4 different types of cheese
  • Some sort of meat
  • Crackers/pretzels
  • A variety of red/blue fruits
  • Hummus
I threw this together with brie, cheddar cheese shaped like stars, blue cheese, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, hummus, and salami. I also added pretzels and crackers for dipping and to go along with the items. It’s very low maintenance.

~ XOXO, the cheese lovin’ Amanda