As we close out 2017 and enter into 2018, I figured I would share my 5 tips to how I made my life easier, faster and more efficient this year so that you can do the same in 2018!
Tip #1 | Restaurant apps:
I discovered the amazingness that is apps for restaurants; both fast-food and sit down. I’m talking being able to place your order for food or coffee as you leave your home and arriving to it sitting there ready for you on the counter. Or the sit-down restaurants that offer you to locate your bill, split it, add promos, and pay all on your phone so that you don’t have to wait on your server or hand over your credit card! That feeling I’ve gotten from knowing I’ve placed my mobile order at the Dunkin Donuts near my home as I walk out my front door and then walked into DD with NO PURSE and picked up my order before the entire line of people and crowd that was waiting, was pretty awesome. (Rockstar status? Lol) Or the time I’ve placed my mobile order with Chick-fil-A, pulled into the pick-up spot and had my food brought to me while the massive drive-thru and counter lines continued to grow. I’ve used similar apps for Moe’s, Starbucks, and McDonalds – once I discovered these gems I downloaded them all! I love that most of the apps offer you points and rewards for using the app too. It’s perfect for someone like me that likes to save money wherever I can, plus I love free stuff – who doesn’t?!
Sit-down restaurant apps are slightly different, as I mentioned earlier, but still a great way to make your life easier. Did you know places like Cheesecake Factory and BJs Restaurant & Brewhouse have these sorts of apps? Think of all the times you stand in that massive line at Millenia Mall for a slice of takeout cheesecake – you could have ordered it on your phone before you got there! These are amazing apps and I highly recommend them for an easier, faster and more efficient 2018.
Tip #2 | Delivery apps:
This year I used Amazon Prime for things like toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, cleaning supplies and much more to cut down on the time I would spend at places like Target, where I would normally buy WAY more than I ever intended to. This saved me time, gas and a gave me the freedom to do other things.
Here in Orlando, many food delivery apps are at our disposal. The main ones I use are Prime Now (part of Prime membership) and UberEats. I can get almost any type of food I want all day long! I order pizza, Indian, Thai, Italian, burgers, etc. This allows me to do what I need to do around the house, or really, what I want to do – such as sit in my PJs and binge on Netflix and Hulu shows – while my food is being prepared and delivered to my door! Which is my favorite? Well, I like both for different reasons. With Prime Now there is an order minimum, but if we reach $40 we don’t pay a delivery fee. Plus, if anything ever goes wrong, Amazon is usually pretty good about making it right for next time. An example: we ordered dinner from Red Robin but they couldn’t get ahold of the restaurant to place the order. Amazon contacted us via email canceling the order, explaining why, and providing us with $10 off our next order “for our trouble”. Great customer service! UberEats allows you to order with no minimum and many times has more options. Heck, if you wanted to, you could get froyo or a smoothie delivered to your door! The biggest catch is the delivery fee always applies. Both companies now allow you to add a tip thru the app as well, so you don’t have to keep cash on you. Prime Now has you tip ahead of time, while UberEats allows you to tip after delivery.
I haven’t tried grocery delivery apps, but that might be my next thing for 2018!
Tip #3 | Meal delivery websites:
This summer I decided to try out a few meal delivery websites. I did a lot of research, had my first-time promo codes and placed orders with Blue Apron and Home Chef. These are amazing ways to plan out a few meals a week (I always do 3) and not have to worry about grocery shopping. I found Home Chef to be my favorite of the two due to presentation of recipes, packaging and meal options. Now listen, I have been cooking most of my life – it’s always been a passion of mine – but my meals never tasted as good as these meals! I won’t lie to you, these dishes can be very time consuming and a lot of work goes into them, but it’s totally worth it! These companies send you recipe cards with step-by-step instructions on how to make a specific meal. They provide you with all the ingredients (except for usual at home items like EVOO, Salt & Pepper), already portioned out for you. After about an hour of cooking, I usually have a restaurant quality meal, perfectly portioned for the two of us, and I’m always getting compliments from my significant other. Something else I love is that you do NOT need to order every week. I use both the website and the app to control my meals from Home Chef and if I need to skip a week, I do. I sometimes go a month before getting a delivery, and this is totally fine with them! As far as customer service goes, If something was accidently left out of your box, you just send them a quick email and they will usually credit your account to make it right. This has only happened to me one time – a shallot was left out – so they credited me $5 towards my next order. You might be asking, “OK but how much is something like this?” Well, I do 3 meals for a week for 2 people and it’s $60 with free shipping (that’s $20 a meal or $10 per person per meal!). Honestly, I would be paying more to eat out or buying all the ingredients.. Want to try Home Chef with $30 off? Click here!
Tip #4 | Local businesses that come to you
I am a bit of a pet food snob and this can be a problem when it comes to finding particular brands at the usual pet stores. I used to have to travel to a specific store and then pray they had the food in stock. Sometimes I would get so busy I would wait till I was about to be out of dog food completely. This caused me a problem once when the store forgot to order the food and therefore was out of stock. I eventually stumbled upon the local company, Pet Pantry, out of Longwood. They are AMAZING! I get a text the week before my intended delivery to ask if I’m ready for food delivery and if not, they push it back, if yes they deliver my dog food on a specific day of the week and it’s waiting for me at my door when I get home from work! I have actually used Pet Pantry for a few years now and they have delivered to me at my old home and at my old office; in fact, they deliver all over Central Florida! This is a service and company I highly recommend. A big plus – they are SO friendly.
Slobbr Concierge is a new company I just started using in the last month. My keys are kept at my apartment leasing office and when I need a service, such as dog walking, feeding, sitting, etc., they pick up the keys and do it! I then get an email with a report on how it went and with photos of my pups. This was a huge help when I had family in town recently and we were spending very long days at Disney World. I had someone stop by, take them for potty walks, feed and play with them and then I would get the report knowing I could continue entertaining at the parks for a few hours longer. In the past, I would have either driven all the way back home (then back to the parks) or paid to leave them at the kennel for the day – huge hassle. This is a wonderful service that offers convenience to pet owners of Orlando.
Tip #5 | WDW Apps:
It’s no secret that I love Disney World and all things Disney. It’s also no secret that I go to the parks A LOT, especially when we have visitors. I’ve had plenty of friends tell me that they enjoy going to Disney with me because I plan it all and we get to do so much. Here’s the thing, it’s really simple to do a lot at Disney, you just need to know how to make it happen. How? I use the My Disney Experience App. If I know I will be going to the parks in 60 days, 30 days, 5 days or even 1 day, I am on that app booking dining reservations and Fastpasses (I can only book FP+ within 7 days but AP’s can do this 30 days before and hotel guests even earlier). I try to make sure my Fastpasses aren’t very spread out either. I try to book all 3 back-to-back so that the moment I’ve scanned my last one I am on that app making my next one – and I continue to do this. Sure, Fastpasses aren’t always available, but there is usually something, especially if you are at Magic Kingdom. My new favorite feature of the app? MOBILE ORDERING! Sense a pattern here? As much as possible, I utilize the new mobile ordering feature. I’ve gotten many meals at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora without having to wait in the long line. I’ve gotten Dole Whip at MK without having to wait in a line (and you know those are long!). I’ve sat at a table at Pinocchio Village Haus, Columbia Harbour House and Flame Tree Barbeque, instead of standing in line, while my food order had already been placed & prepared. I get that little notification that my order is ready and then I head to the mobile pick-up counter with no fuss. Keep in mind, not all of the quick serve locations offer mobile ordering yet, but they keep adding more. You can actually place your mobile order many hours before you are ready and then once you are there and ready you click on the button in the app stating so and boom – you order is being prepared and your payment is taken via the card linked to your account!
Another pretty good app to keep handy is the Shop Parks app. This is WDW’s merchandise app. This is a great way to locate something you were really wanting but now can’t find. Looking for that Aladdin shirt? Ok no problem, looks like they have it at World of Disney! Now, the app isn’t always perfect but it is pretty handy. They’ve even begun selling things exclusively through the app – remember those Dumbo and The Beauty & The Beast Dooney and Burkes? Yea, those went FAST and through the app only! I luckily scored them both, but it took A LOT of checking on the app for a LONG time. They eventually brought The Beauty & The Beast pattern to the parks, in different styles, but this isn’t the case for all.
Ok, so those are my 5 tips for how I made my life easier, faster and more efficient in 2017 – I hope they will help you in 2018! Do you use these apps and services? Are there other apps and services out there that you highly recommend? I would LOVE to hear them to help make my 2018 an even easier, faster and more efficient year!
And don’t forget… our FIRST Girls Night Out is January 23rd at Sugar Factory Orlando – can’t wait to see you there!
Wishing you a Happy New Year Orlando Housewives!
This time of year, families all over the world gather together to share in many different holidays. In my household, we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. I grew up celebrating Hanukkah, so adding in another holiday's tradition has been pretty fun for me.
This year Hanukkah started on the 12th. We lit candles every night and had just a few presents exchanged over the course of 8 nights. I even let the dogs have one of the presents that arrived in the mail for them.
Today is Christmas Eve and we are spending the day relaxing together at home. Tomorrow we will be going to a Christmas brunch at one of the Rosen hotels - no clean up and all the fun of a holiday meal! This year we decorated for the holidays immediately after Thanksgiving. This was our third year putting up a tree and it's finally starting to get enough decorations to look full. We added a skirt and a topper this year as well. Our tree is VERY Disney themed; almost all of our ornaments are Disney. We also added an inflatable to our patio this year - I couldn't resist representing our love for Boston Terriers.
I have to admit, it will be sad to see all the pretty decorations go, but until then I am going to enjoy them.
Wishing you and your family a happy holiday, no matter which one(s) you celebrate, and a very happy New Year!
Located in Hannibal Square, just a brief walk from Park Ave. and the Saturday Winter Park Farmer's Market, you will find the eco-friendly salon, Æffect Hair. One of the charms of this local business is its rare (to Orlando) basement location. The salon is also filled with recycled glassware, low energy LED lighting, up-cycled decor and furniture, some of which was handmade by local business partners. Guests also have the opportunity of trying locally roasted coffee, sustainable wine from Quantum Leap Winery, cold pressed organic juice from Grounding Roots, or a Florida made craft beer while having their hair done.
Æffect Hair is eco-friendly - they offer hair services using Davines, a natural, sustainable color and hair care line from Italy and are a member of Green Circle Salons, a group whose eco-friendly policies extend from recycling all waste produced in their salons, including excess color product, to creating hair brooms for oil spills. Æffect Hair is cleaned using only organic and locally sourced cleaning products from City Maid Green.
Owner and Stylist, Celina Suarez, and the Æffect Hair team travel around the country participating in workshops to keep up-to-date with the latest techniques and trends. Celina has also brought these workshops to Æffect Hair for other local stylists to continue learning these techniques and trends as well.
I personally have been a client of Celina's for about 4 years now and have been a client at Æffect Hair since the doors opened two years ago. One problem I have always had, and I'm sure many women have had, is not being able to replicate that "salon look" after walking out the doors. Celina has taught me many things to do at home to accomplish this while never once pushing me to purchase her products - this has been a game changer. Although, nothing feels better than that just cut feeling...
Hello and thank you for taking the time to check out our page! My name is Michelle and I wanted to use this first post to introduce myself to you. I was born and raised in Hampton Roads, Virginia and then went to college at George Mason University in Northern Virginia (Go Patriots!). After a few years in Virginia Beach, my boyfriend and I moved to Central Florida. It’s now been 4.5 years and to say I love it here is an understatement! I am truly a Floridian now – 70 degrees is freezing to me.
One thing I found to be very difficult once graduating from college and then especially once moving to a whole new state, is meeting new people. Sure, you can meet new people at work or possibly some career networking events, but I had a hard time meeting a lot of new ladies from all walks of life. When the opportunity of bringing Housewives in the City to Orlando came about, I figured this would be the PERFECT way to not only meet new women myself, but also help others that may want to get out and meet new people too! I have seen how amazing Girls Night Out events are in our other cities and I can’t wait to bring the same fun to all of you!
I’m looking forward to sharing my life and other local information with you. A little more about me: I love traveling, spending my days at the parks, finding new places and activities to take part in, going on cruises, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with my friends and family. I also have two dogs who are my world.
I hope that you continue to check here and on our social media pages to see what I’m up to and what fun you can join in on. Stay tuned for our upcoming January Girls Night Out launch event! If you ever see me out and about, please come say hello – I can’t wait to meet you!
Hi! I'm Michelle. I love traveling, trying new restaurants, meeting new people, going to the parks, and playing with my dogs. I'm also super Disney obsessed - parks, cruise lines, movies - I love it all!
I host monthly networking events in the Orlando area for all women to attend. I look forward to meeting you at our next GNO!