Friday, February 14, 2014

Planetbox Review

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Before I begin this Planetbox review- I want to share the winner of the giveaway from Monday! 

Elizabeth has been emailed. 



Okay, so next up is Planetbox!


The Planetbox lunch box was actually what spurred this whole series. I loved the idea of having a stainless steel lunchbox that had different sized compartments. I decided to review the Rover set, which includes the lunchbox, carry bag, magnets, and dipper set. This model retails for $59.95, which is a HEFTY price for a lunchbox. Is it worth the price?
carrots, popcorn, sour patch kids, rice cake & almond butter, blood orange and a gluten free brownie
The lunch box itself is made of stainless steel so it is non-toxic and very sturdy. The lid is attached and folds down while securing the box easily. This can be washed in the dishwasher, but obviously cannot be microwaved. 
carrots, rice crackers, chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, blood orange, guac and string cheese
This box is geared toward children, so it comes with lots of fun magnets you can choose from. I haven't used these myself, but this seems like a fun feature if you will be using it with young ones. 

One of the drawbacks to this box is that it doesn't seal completely. You cannot pack foods like applesauce or yogurt inside because they will leak all over the place. This is why Planetbox created dippers, which DO seal completely. You can fill these with dips and sauces and place them in the box- and the lid of the box seals them. 
Carrots & hummus, rice crackers, chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, grapes, and turkey meatballs. 


The bag that the box came with is made out of recycled material and seems pretty durable. When I received it- it had a terrible smell. I made sure to hand wash mine immediately before use. I've read similar reviews, so just be prepared if you order one. 

The inside of the case includes a mesh pocket for a napkin or an ice pack, and two straps for utensils.



Planetbox also has a really cool site where users can plan, create, and share their lunches. You can check it out HERE
Carrots, yogurt tube, chia shot, sour patch kids, strawberries, rice cake & almond butter
 I tried packing a sandwich one day, which worked since I used small gluten free bread. If you were using some big pieces, it wouldn't fit. If you are more of a sandwich eater, Planetbox has a box called Launch that would work better for sandwiches.
Turkey and cheese rolls, rice crackers, chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, blood orange, yogurt with almonds


PROS:
-dish washer safe
-easy portion control
-lasts for years
-dippers seal 
-website to help with lunch ideas

CONS:
-cost $$
-box itself doesn't seal
-not microwave safe 
-not large enough to hold a big sandwich 

Overall, I totally think this is worth it. It is one of my favorite lunch boxes to use. I think many will balk at the price, but if you think about how long you can use it, it's a great investment. I ended up buying a second set to keep on hand, because I love it so much. 

What did you have for lunch today?

post signature
**I received this box free to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Easy Lunchboxes Review & Giveaway

Next up in my lunch container series is Easy Lunchboxes. These lunchboxes are a LOT cheaper than some of other containers I am trying. They come in a pack of four, in classic colors or brights. The lunch bags also come in a variety of colors, and the bags can hold up to three of the containers at a time. These bags are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe, and can last for a few months. 







You can get free shipping if you order from amazon here13.99 for a set of four. You can choose "brights" or "classic". You can also order directly through the website






These are actually rated #1 on Amazon, which is impressive! I've used these a few times now and was shocked at how durable they are. I was expecting them to be the same quality as the Ziplock containers you can buy. These are actually much thicker and stronger, so I was pleasantly surprised!



Andrew uses these a lot as I pack him sandwiches 9 times out of ten. I've also used them for leftovers. A few weeks ago I had some leftover gluten free mac & cheese, and reheated it in the Easy Lunchbox container. You know how when you reheat plastic containers, they get all gross and warped on the inside? Just me? Bueller? Bueller? You will NOT get that with these containers. 


Pros:                                                                                                     
-Microwavable                                                                      
-Freezer safe                                                                                  
-Dishwasher safe (top or bottom)                                                  
 -Inexpensive                                                                                                    

Cons
-not leak proof
-will need to be replaced every few months
-Great for larger appetites 


Although these are GREAT lunch boxes, we are currently using them more for Andrew's lunch than for mine. This is simply because I am now gluten free, so I'm not eating sandwiches, and Drew usually takes any leftovers from dinner. Overall, I would still recommend these for someone looking for an inexpensive option for packing lunches!


Easy Lunchboxes were so kind when I reached out about my series, and they offered up a free set to one of you! One winner will win either the "Classic" or "Brights" set, and the cooler of your choice. You can enter below! 




What is your favorite lunch box?
Which set would you choose if you won?
post signature
*I was given these products in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts/opinions are my own.
*Many will enter, few will win. Just kidding, only one winds.  (I've always wanted to say that.)
*Giveaway ends Friday 12 pm EST. Winner will be emailed by midnight. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five on Friday

That's right folks, two posts in one day. I have a snow day today so I've had lots of free time. I was actually working on my HUGE paper for my *last* grad school course, but then I had to stop. (Long story.) So lucky for you,I made an extra post! I have five of my favorites to share with you today, so I'm linking up with the 5 on Friday link up.


Things I'm loving this week:

1. Want to instantly romanticize your dinner? Go to the dollar store. Buy two candles. Put candles on dining table. Done. $4.


2. Representing Drew's work, while simultaneously hiding my greasy hair. Win/Win. What? It's a snow day!






3. My(work in progress) coffee corner! I still have to take off the magazine rack things off the sides,  paint it, and hang some shelves above. I think it will look really nice when it is completed. 


4. Gluten Free pizza for dinner again tonight... mmmmmmmm.
Recipe HERE

5. All of my awesome new lunch boxes! More to come on them soon.


What are you loving this week? 
Are you dealing with crazy temps today?
post signature

Lunch box series-Go Green Lunch Box

A few months ago I was looking for a new lunch routine. I was tired of packing lots of different containers and wasting ziplock bags. Then, in January, I went gluten free and was even more convinced that I needed a new system for packing my lunch. I never take sandwiches anymore, and wanted something that held multiple containers.

I looked online for reviews on bento style lunch boxes, but almost every review was geared towards kids. I love kids (hey, I'm a teacher!) but I wanted an opinion on what worked for an adult. Finally, after searching and searching, I decided that I needed to create my own reviews. I contacted a few different companies, and they are joining with me to share some lunch boxes geared for ADULTS as well as kids!

Today- I am going to stat with Go Green Lunch Box.
I chose to receive the Prepster bag (pictured above) which is super cute, but I wish I would have gotten a plain cover so my husband would feel comfortable taking it to work also. Hindsight is 20/20. The inside of the bag has an erasable whiteboard to send a loving note or simple reminder. I have just been using it for myself, so this feature hasn't been used much.

Each set comes with an insulated fabric carrier, a lead-and leach-free five-compartment food container, and a stainless steel bottle that will hold 8oz of liquid. I have not used the steel bottle, so I can use that place for more food. It only holds 8oz, so I just bring my own water bottle with me to lunch.
This box is different in that it has turn n' lock technology, which ensures food stays fresh within its compartment. From my experience with the box, the foods really do stay in their compartment. I even packed yogurt and it didn't leach into any other areas. This is the only box i've tried that absolutely does not leak. I choose this box when I have yogurt or dips that need to be contained.

The lid is held to the bottom by two strings with clasps. The clasps allow the lid to be removed for cleaning. The lunch box's retention clips are easily unfastened, so the lid and box can be separated and placed on the dishwasher's top shelf. This is especially handy because the new, reinforced lid is not recommended to go into the dishwasher. I hand washed mine before the first use, and it cleans very easily, but I've also put the top into the dishwasher (shhh... don't tell!) and it was fine. The only issue I have with the strings and retention clips are that they don't seem like they will last a long time. Not a huge deal even if they do break, but something to keep in mind.

Source
The box has 5 compartments that are interlocking Okay- the most important part- Does the box hold enough food?! Simply put- Yes. Each time I pack my lunch with this container, I leave a compartment or two for my afternoon snack to eat while at work. This hold TONS of food and is perfect for an adult. 

Source

Below is one of the lunches I packed. I wanted to test out the locking feature. I packed chicken with bbq sauce, greek yogurt (flavored myself), popcorn, dried apricots and a strawberry fruit leather, and protein balls.

 As you can see, everything stayed in its own compartment. 

Where to order:
HERE from their website ($34.99, shipping not included)
HERE from Amazon ($39.95  Free shipping with Prime)

PROS
  • leakproof lid
  • large enough for TONS of food
  • bottom is dishwasher safe
  • will hold up for LONG time
  • large compartments
  • mesh pocket inside lunch bag for napkin and utensils 

CONS
  • expensive at $35 a box, more of an investment 
  • top is not dishwasher safe
  • flimsy strings holding top & bottom together

Overall, I personally think the pros outweigh the cons. Check out Go Green Lunch Boxes if you are looking for a high quality lunch box that will not leak. 

Do you pack your lunch everyday?
What kind of system do you use for your lunch?

post signature


*I received this box free to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
*This post contains affiliate links. Any affiliate links you see do not inflate the cost of products offered and reflect the current sale price. I do earn a very small commission based on any purchased made through an affiliate link and appreciate your support.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My first "run" in a long time, and a snow day


Today is yet another snow day in my area, so I am working on a paper for grad school in my pajamas. I was already dressed and ready for work when I got the call that school was closed, so my mom picked me up and we went to Walmart. My parents are going to Mexico soon, so she needed some travel junk.

They somehow still had some Christmas items, all for 90% off. I picked up some plastic bins for Christmas gifts next year.


So... remember how I said I was starting my training plan this week? I tried to run outside. I bundled up after work and set out. Drew told me to just go to the gym, but I was bound and determined to run outside. It looked like the sidewalks were clear, and if they weren't I could just run on the road! 

 I checked the temperature, Drew grabbed a photo ( I look so pleased), and went on my way. I wanted to get a slow 3 miles in.

 I bet you can see where this is going.



Yep. Each stride I took the more nervous I was that I was going to break my legs. The sidewalks & the roads were pure ice. That run lasted about .25 miles. Looks like I'll be training on the treadmill until this ice melts. 

I wish I was better at reading while on the treadmill. I just get SO BORED. Three miles is usually my limit. I'm not sure what I'm going to do.. ugh.

In other news- I'm going to do a short series on packing lunches. I was trying to find a lunch box that was big enough for adults. I got sick of packing lots of little containers and plastic baggies, and I found some great solutions. Trying to eat healthy lunches AND stay in a budget is hard, so hopefully this can be helpful to you as well! More info coming soon.

Any ideas to help with boredom on a treadmill? 
What's the weather like where you are today?


post signature

Monday, February 3, 2014

Baby steps

How are you all doing this fine Monday morning? I bet most of you reading this are tired from staying up and watching the Super Bowl. Or is that just me? Drew and I stayed in and made homemade wings, potato skins, queso dip, and fudge. We had way too much food, but now we have lots of leftovers to munch on this week. It was too bad the game was SO BORING. We were rooting for the Broncos, but unfortunately they didn't show up to the game.

My half marathon training officially starts this week! As I'm writing this I only have89Days10Hours38Minutes2Seconds  left! EEK! Seeing that makes my heart stop a bit.  Although I'm just a little SUPER nervous, I am excited at the same time. It will feel good to get back outside to run.

Along with starting my running plan back up, I need to get my eating in check. Ever since I decided to try going gluten free, I haven't worried about calories. I simply wanted to focus on removing gluten from my diet. I'm starting to get the hang of it, and I'm finding more and more "go to" products to make it more bearable. Now is a great time to get back to focusing on what I am putting into my body. Just because I am gluten free doesn't mean I should be eating any junk marketed as "gluten free." I've been thinking about logging my food on MFP for a few weeks to get back on track. I logged in today and it looks SO different from the last time I logged on. It even had a little pop up that said, "It's been a while! Want to update your goals?" haha- whoops. Feel free to add me if you are on MFP! You can find me HERE.


Did you all check out my budgeting posts? HERE is a post on our budget binder, and HERE is the post on our envelope system. I spend a few hours over the weekend looking at different budgeting videos on Youtube. I was so inspired by other families paying off their student loan debt. We are both fired up about snowballing our budget, and we are making little tweaks here and there to our excel budget spreadsheet. We decided to cut our entertainment budget (dining out, movies, etc) WAY down, and I am going to cook more at home. In the past we ALWAYS went out to dinner on Friday, and usually at least one other time during the weekend or during the week. We spend most of our money eating out, and that is just not a wise choice when trying to pay off debt. I went ahead and looked at the next two weeks, and I meal planned for those two weeks. We are going to eat out twice, once for Valentine's day and once for a fundraiser for the elementary school I work at. Our Valentine's day date is going to be a cheap one, and we are foregoing gifts this year. The word tightwad describes us perfectly.  Hopefully within the next few years we will be DEBT FREE! Just have to follow the "baby steps."

Did you enjoy the super bowl? 
Have you taken a Dave Ramsey class? What baby step are you on? 


post signature