Save $10 on groceries

I don’t usually promote something I have not experienced, so when I saw an offer to save $10 off $50 of groceries by using the new https://grocery.walmart.com, I decided to try it for myself first.

Basically, you put all the items you want in your online shopping cart, then choose to pick them up at an available nearby Walmart, or have them shipped to you. I went for pickup. My local Walmart Neighborhood Grocery was not on the list, just the larger Walmart superstores near me. I’m sure it depends where you live. You get the Walmart low prices for the exact items you want without having to step into the store!

It was nice to think about the basics I needed for my day-to-day eating, and staple items I was running low on too – like soy sauce or apples, throughout the week instead of just during one shopping trip. I kept adding to the cart throughout the week without having to grab my credit card. So when we ran out of napkins and face wash, I quickly added those. And it’s not only limited to grocery/health, so I added a clip hanger on the list for my closet too. And I was able to continue adding through Friday night.

I chose Saturday 9-10am for my pickup, because I have an 8am meeting nearby on Saturdays. Pickup is free! There may be a fee to get your pickup faster.

First you make an account on the website. Obviously they have to know where you live to find a store near you, and if you do pickup you need to download the Walmart Grocery app to let them know when you are on your way. The website says: Choose a date and time for your order by clicking “Reserve” before you start to shop to make sure you get the time slot you want. This will also ensure you are looking at the store inventory of the store where you’ll pick up. You can also wait to book your time slot until you’re ready to place an order, but you risk not having your desired time available.

If you want items to show up on your doorstep, the delivery fee varies, and is based on the time slot you book. They use different partner companies to fulfill delivery orders depending on where you are located. Basically, they are trying to compete with Amazon Prime Now.

You can also choose to substitute or NOT substitute items on your list with a simple checkbox. If you you are accepting substitutions and the store doesn’t have the item on your list, they will go for the same item just a different brand – or they will substitute it for a bigger size at the same price.

I checked the app when my meeting ended at 8:33 and I was ready to drive to Walmart. The app said my order was ready (a little early) and I just had to click the “Check in” button to let them know I was on my way. I had the choice of sharing my location so they knew exactly when I’d be there, and what color my car was. I shared both. (The only thing missing here was a reminder to follow the orange arrows in the parking lot when I arrived, but I remembered that from the website.)

I drove down the street to Walmart and followed the orange arrows to the side of the building where there was a designated pickup area under a large, orange overhang for shade. Three other cars were there the same time as me – 8:42am. They all backed in to have their trunks facing the building. That’s not my style so I pulled in facing forwards.

Someone came to my car window with a device and asked my last name. About 6 minutes later two girls with some plastic bins on a dolly came to my car. They offered me a cold, bottled water. Then they asked if I wanted everything in my trunk. I said yes. One asked if I wanted the bread up front with me. I said it could go in back with everything else. The three of us loaded my trunk together, only because I chose to get out of my car. I certainly didn’t need to. I wanted to kind of eyeball the order and be sure it was right.

Everything in my order was right. One item that I allowed substitution for was substituted – the napkins were a different brand. They let me know that, and had me digitally sign their device and approve my order.

When I got back in my car I had missed a text from Walmart letting me know my order was ready!

The biggest drawback of using this system was the plastic bags. I shop with canvas reusable bags and try to avoid single use plastics in general. Luckily the kids at the school I work for use plastic bags for an art project each spring, so I have a place to turn them in to be reused. The volume of bags was increased because some items were double bagged, and sometimes one item was in its own bag – which was fine for the bread but wasteful when it was simply because the 2 items came from a different department.

One great convenience, besides not having to enter Walmart, is that you can easily reorder the same items again.

All in all, I got my groceries with forethought and ease and $10 off!! You can too! Just use this special link to shop, and you can share the link with anyone who hasn’t tried the system before – it’s good for any new customer: http://r.wmt.co/keG3w

This post was not an ad. I just used a coupon and shared the info.

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VOLTA Cirque du Soleil {giveaway closed}

For a long time, La Nouba was the closest Cirque du Soleil show to my home, at less than a 2 hour drive. La Nouba was in a theater custom-designed and built for Cirque du Soleil on December 23, 1998, at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. 

The first time I saw the show it was on a date with my husband and it was a total surprise. He splurged on tickets and a hotel – I think it was an anniversary gift. The second time I saw it, we brought the kids and we were all already Cirque fans by then. We’ve seen Cirque du Soleil shows in other Florida cities, New Orleans and Las Vegas.

cirque bmx bike actLa Nouba ended its 19-year run on New Years Eve 2017, and rumor has it the show will be replaced by a new Cirque show eventually. But don’t fret – if you are in the Tampa Bay area and miss the theatrical and athletic excitement, Cirque is bringing its 41st original production, a new touring show, under the big top at the TAMPA GREYHOUND TRACK STARTING FEBRUARY 14, 2018!

The new Cirque show is called VOLTA. In literature, volta refers to a point of dramatic change. VOLTA the show is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and the power of the group to make that possible. You know, finding your true self by finding your TRIBE.

The show has a modern, youthful feel with elements of rope skipping, roller skating, BMX, parkour, acrobatics and so much more. What I’ve heard so far about it is:

“Volta contained all of the signature elements I’ve grown to enjoy: elaborate costumes, interesting themes and storylines, creative choreography, dramatic lighting and music, and (of course) mesmerizing acts with elements of humor and surprise that keep you enchanted. I enjoyed the cast interacting with the audience and the creative props and stunts.

The passion shines through every single artist, so amazing!! The wardrobe was soooo cool too! Totally blown away! One of my favorite shows I’ve seen by them!

Exciting and creative acts with plenty of audio and visual stimulation for you to enjoy. Definitely worth seeing.

It was fast paced, exciting and the costumes were amazing! I’ve seen many Cirque du Soleil shows but this one was really special! Go!”

VOLTA will be presented under the Big Top at the Tampa Greyhound Track February 14 – March 18, 2018. I’ll be there on opening night and will be back to blog all about it.

Cirque Club members can purchase tickets for these performances online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/volta. General public tickets are also on sale now by visiting www.cirquedusoleil.com/volta or calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783). Tickets start at $37. Or you can enter to win free tickets below!!

Thanks to my relationship with Tampa Bay Bloggers and Cirque du Soleil, I have a wonderful giveaway to offer to my readers – a pack of 4 tickets to see VOLTA in Tampa! #sponsored #ad The tickets may be used any Tuesday through Thursday the weeks of February 20 or 27. 

To be entered for a chance to win, find the VOLTA photo on my instagram account @rafdarrow. Follow the account and leave a comment on the VOLTA photo (from last week) letting me know your favorite thing about Cirque du Soleil. The giveaway will end at 9pm EST Feb 12, 2018. One winner will be randomly chosen and announced/tagged in the comments on Instagram on Feb 13.

Good luck and enjoy the show!

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Mothers Day Meal at Datz Giveaway [closed]

I’m not sure where the time flew off to, but May is quickly approaching. And with May comes Mother’s Day!

To help you celebrate a special mother in your life – your own mom, a fantastic mom you know, or yourself – I have a Datz gift card valued at $100 to give away. Although the gift card is good for food, beverages and merchandise at Datz on any day of the year, I personally think Mother’s Day is a great time to celebrate! My winner, however, can decide that for herself/himself.

If you have not yet been to the restaurant Datz in Tampa, their atmosphere is trendy-casual and the space is large. The menu is unique, as are their crafted cocktails. They began years ago as a deli, but now offer a variety of comfort foods and astonishing flavors that you may have never tasted together. They have tacos, salads, nachos, burgers, as well as brunch and dinner plates.

They also own the bakery next door, Dough, so there is a wide variety of delectable desserts, ice cream and donuts to choose from!

If you’re super hungry, try The Cheesy Todd  (as seen on Good Morning America!) A 100% fresh ground chuck burger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle. But instead of buns, it is served between two breaded and fried bacon-jalapeño mac n’ cheese patties!

My daughter Alice loves cheese, and her favorite is the April in Paris vegetarian sandwich. It’s warm melted brie with tomato, arugula and basil pesto served on grilled sourdough bread.

While you are reading the menu and deciding what to order, you can start the table off with Buffalo Cauliflower. This appetizer is an entire head of roasted cauliflower lightly fried and tossed in buffalo sauce. It’s served with ranch dressing for dipping.

I’ve never had a bite I didn’t enjoy at Datz. And now you can try it for yourself with the first $100 paid for! To enter my Datz $100 gift card giveaway you need to have a Twitter account. Tweet to me @rafdarrow and let me know something from the Datz menu that you want to try. Be sure to tag @datz4foodies too! You have two weeks to enter. I’ll announce and tweet to one winner on the evening of Wed, May 10. All tweets through midnight EST on the 9th will be in the random drawing. 

As a member of Tampa Bay Bloggers I was given a gift card by Datz for National Cheat Day, and another to give away to one lucky winner. Good luck!

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Earth Fare: Healthy Grocery & Giveaway!

earth fare florida grocery store

Last month, I hadn’t heard of Earth Fare grocery stores. I should have, because there is one about 5 minutes from daughter’s apartment in Gainesville. (Chomp, chomp.) When I heard they were opening a new store in Seminole full of healthy food, I was quite intrigued. And when I was offered a tour and preview two days before the grand opening with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was thrilled!

Here’s the thing about health food – I’m a skeptic. I’ve done a lot of research, and I don’t buy into fad diets or crazy eating habits. I do think much of the standard American diet is junk and not real food. If you are looking to avoid that junk, perhaps lose weight or just get healthier, Earth Fare can actually help. Here’s why:

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Some stores have many products that fit in this box, but at Earth Fare, every item on the shelves meets these standards. I can’t promise you sugar free or gluten free, but I can promise you food free of red dye #6 zillion.

I’m going to tell you a bit about Earth Fare. And then I’m going to tell you how you can try to win a $25 gift card to go try the brand new store out for yourself! #Giveaway!

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Earth Fare started in Asheville, NC in 1975 with the commitment to providing Healthy Food for Everyone, food safe for the community. They have 75% organic produce. The store uses a reverse osmosis to mist the organic produce, so it’s not great stuff doused in gross water.

trail mix at earth fare

Walking past the produce section around the perimeter of the store, next you’ll find bulk nuts, candy and granola in bins, along with bulk liquids such as vinegar, honey, maple, olive oil – which you can take home in a small container or bring our own container. You can also grind your own peanut butter, dark chocolate peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter.

Next come the seafood and deli sections. The seafood is traceable and sustainably sourced. We tasted some smoked salmon that was full of flavor and super juicy.

Yum, I've never seen these before... Apple chardonnay! No casing!

Yum, I’ve never seen these before… Apple chardonnay! No casing!

I also learned some stores have animals raised on antibiotics.Then before animals go to  the market, there is a withdrawal period for antibiotics, meaning any food or milk from animals that have been treated with an antibiotic may not enter the food supply until a predetermined amount of time has passed since the animal’s last dosage. But the animals at Earth Fare have NEVER been exposed to hormones or antibiotics. They’ve also been a leader in supplying cage-free eggs for over ten years.

If there's a cheese you're not sure of, they'll let you try before you buy!

If there’s a cheese you’re not sure of, they’ll let you try before you buy!

You can get organic or biodynamic wine, pet products, cleaning products, build your own six pack of fun beer (some local) – and they also offer catering.

The Earth Fare bakery offers 7 varieties of breads baked fresh in house daily from organic flour. I also hear they have gluten free angel food cake and amazing vegan cookies!

chocolate at earth fare

I would like to try every fair trade dark chocolate bar please!

The Seminole store will help try out their new Heirloom juice bar. You can get fresh pressed juices, smoothies, coffee and tea – and there are a few small tables to stop and enjoy them at, or you can take them quickly to go.

The store has partnered with the Edible Peace Patch project, a local nonprofit, and they are helping to fund a $10k garden at a Seminole public elementary school.

The last area we visited were the sustainable and environmentally friendly wellness and beauty products. The products represented a great variety of brands, and the prices were great!

You can wait till some of the newness wears down if you want, or get right on over to Earth Fare for their Fall Festival on Saturday from 12-3pm with activities just for kids, such as face painting and pumpkin decorating. They are open every day from 7am – 10pm at 7774 113th Street N, Seminole , FL 33772. I drove around a little at the new shopping strip going up behind the store, and there will be a Bealls, Steinmart, Homegoods, Ulta, Five Below and more. It looks so pretty!

Giveaway

So here’s how you can join in the fun and try to win a gift card from Earth Fare and ME for $25. It starts with you heading over to my Instagram account, @rafdarrow. There I have a slideshow from my Earth Fare tour. Hit like and leave a comment letting me know what you are most looking forward to seeing at the store – and in your comment use the hashtag #earthfaresem (for Earth Fare’s Seminole store.)

If you have something really strongly against Instagram, you can Tweet to me instead. Tag me @rafdarrow and use the same hashtag #earthfaresem. In your tweet tell me which weekly deal you’ll probably take advantage of first at Earth Fare.

And, yes, you can do BOTH and get entered in my drawing TWICE. But only one tweet or Insta-comment per reader please. You can leave a comment here, but it will not enter you in the giveaway. It will just give me a smile 🙂

Good luck, enjoy the store, and I will be tallying answers on Tuesday, 10/4 after 6pm so you need to tweet or Insta before then!

If you don’t live near me, here’s where to check to see if there is an Earth Fare in your neck of the woods.

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On Dasher… on Dancer… A 5k Giveaway!

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It’s coming! The exciting ElectroDash5k on Friday March 21 at 8:30pm at the Florida State Fairgrounds. And I have to entries to give away as my Valentine’s gift to you! Check out this video to see what this glowing run party sensation is like…

New in the “fun run” line up, the ElectroDash 5k will be the first in Tampa… in fact it will only be the second event in the US. (There’s already been a great response to ElectroDash5k races in Canada.)

Now, this is not the kind of race you want to shoot for a PR at. I haven’t been to a glow run, but I have been to a color run, and people kind of meander and twirl through the course. There will be lots of people, and kick-@$$ music and glow sticks and 3 miles of hot beats and — did I mention the DJ?

Neon_Pink_blacklighttutuYou’ll want to show up wearing whatever looks best in blacklight. If you love to run in costume, you can search Black Light on PartyCity.com or Yandy.com for items like this glowing tutu. Or just wear black if you want to disappear like a ninja. You’ll be greeted at the glow sticks, but black light makeup, nail polish, or hairspray would be a cool addition. There will be a black-lit photobooth, but some of these events get 12,000 people, so you may want to bring your own camera.

And bring whoever you feel like dancing with! There’s no age limit or requirement here. Pets, however, are not allowed.

best_girls_pic_resized_for_bannerAnd then, just when you thought you were done, there’s the finish line dance party! Music, swag and neon lasers will keep the party pumping!

(And if a 5k is 4ks too long for you, you can also register to volunteer at the race if you’re over 16 years old. All of the fun, none of the run.)

DJs Perspective black light run

Don’t forget people, it’s Valentine’s Day. Need a great last minute gift? Nothing is better than a good time had together making memories with your sweetheart! Promo code TBB15 will give you a 15% off discount when registering for either the ElectroDash 5k Tampa (www.electrodash5k.com) or its sister race Color Me Rad Tampa (www.colormerad.com) coming on 5/24. With your registration for the ElectroDash, you’ll get fun swag like a T-shirt, an LED bracelet, neon sunglasses, and more.
But before you register… enter the contest below! I have 2 entries to give away, and they will both go to ONE lucky winner, because we all need a dance partner to really break it down.

First, check out the event on Facebook and get a feel for it, make sure it’s for you, perhaps hit LIKE, then head back here… I’ll wait patiently.

Next, tell me in a comment on this post, who you would bring as your ElectroDash partner, and if that person is more like glow dancer A, B, or C below!

A. Dizzy Dancer
glow runner glasses
B. Dazzle Diva
black light makeup
C. Glow Show Off
black light leggings

I’ll choose a random winner on March 1… good luck!

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