Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

February 20, 2017

4 Reasons Why I'm Using Collagen Peptides {Vital Proteins Review & Giveaway}

Disclosure: I was 2 complimentary tubs of Vital Proteins for review. The giveaway is fulfilled by Vital Proteins. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Like me, you may have read or heard of people (particularly in the paleo crowd) taking gelatin for health benefits such as a drinking bone broth. However, you may be wondering what do gelatin or collagen peptides actually do? Gelatin, like that JELL-O stuff?  

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and collagen peptides have the same amino acids as gelatin, however they are just processed differently.
Collagen peptides are hydrolyzed a.k.a. broken down into smaller amino acid chains so they are more easily digestible (I will forever be a chemistry nerd so I LOVE learning about food science). 

I had heard of Vital Proteins from reading about them on various blogs, and then had the chance to talk to the lovely people at the Vital Proteins booth and snag some samples at Natural Products Expo East 2016. Vital Proteins was nice enough to send me a tub of their collagen peptides and collagen beauty greens to try out. 

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The Collagen Peptides powder in the blue container come from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides so they are not vegetarian. At first I thought it was a little weird that it was powder from cows, but after that initial moment of weirdness now I love how they are a natural and sustainable source of protein.

The green container of Collagen Beauty Greens contains marine collagen peptides along with greens, probiotics and skin healthy helpers like hyaluronic acid, all in a yummy coconut vanilla flavored powder. 

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Because collagen is a protein in our own hair, skin, nails, bones, cartilage, and joints, the powder will help all of these parts of our body. Besides containing protein, studies show that collagen peptides can improve gut health, skin health, bone and joint health, and hormonal balance. There is a lot of research out there on the use of collagen for hair and skin health, which I found from just doing a quick search of a research database.

I've been taking the collagen peptides about 4x a week (mostly because there are always a few crazy days where I am rushing out the door), and the collagen beauty greens more sporadically. It's hard to tell from only a month, but I think my hair and nails look healthier and less brittle. 

So now that you know a little bit about collagen peptides, why have I been using them? 

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1. They are easy to take every day.

The collagen peptides are dissolvable and unflavored (no, they do not at all taste beefy). I most often easily mix a scoop in with my coffee or tea in the morning-I can’t even taste that it was added. I have also mixed collage peptides into smoothies, juices, yogurt, and oatmeal. I’m not a huge protein powder person lately so I love that these can dissolve in both hot and cold beverages easily and add a nice protein boost to whatever I'm drinking. 

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2. Collagen peptides are great for my bone health.

After my stress fracture I was interested in focusing on my bone and joint health. While the DEXA scan I had showed normal bone density, I figured supplementing and ensuring strong bones and joints couldn’t hurt. Basically bones are made up of minerals and collagen fibers. Collagen makes up 90% of our bones so ingesting collagen peptides may help bone metabolism and help increase bone density. You can read more and find links to specific research studies here. This is one of the bigger reasons why I started using collagen peptides. 

3. Vital Protein products are natural and not full of junk. 

Literally the only ingredient in Vital Proteins collagen peptides is collagen peptides, so I know exactly what I am ingesting. You can read on their website about how they exclusively produce their collagen peptides in Brazil because their cows don’t have hormones too. 


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4. Skin health is important to me.

No matter how young I look or feel, I am getting older every year (and quickly approaching 30, eek). My body will continue to change and dreaded wrinkles (or what I will call my happy lines) will one day in the future start to appear. I have always been conscious of my skin health after having to go to a dermatologist and have some suspect moles removed starting at a young age, but making sure my skin looks great as I age is important too. If I can supplement with collagen and get the added bonus of helping out my skin, that is a win-win for me. 



So if you are interested in adding collagen or collagen peptides to your diet check out Vital Proteins. They offer all different sizes of products including travel-sized pouches and free shipping in the U.S. 


Vital Proteins was nice enough to offer (1) 10 oz. tub of their Collagen Peptides to giveaway to one reader. Enter the Rafflecopter below (U.S. residents only, sorry!) before the giveaway ends on March 6 at 12 AM EST.


Have you ever taken a collagen supplement? Have you read about gelatin or collagen supplements before? 

November 3, 2016

SmartyPants Probiotics Review

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by SmartyPants. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I’m a lady with some tummy troubles so probiotics have been a staple in my supplementation for a few years now. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your digestive tract that keeps your insides happy and healthy as well as boost your immune system. When SmartyPants approached me about trying their new probiotic gummies of course I said yes because I’m a twenty-something adult who loves gummies. Aka the coolest kind of adult lady. I actually already knew had tried Smarty Pants gummy multivitamins so I knew they would probably be delicious. 

Obviously if you think you have stomach issues, talk to your doctor but if you have an upset stomach or have a non-descriptive IBS diagnoses from a doctor like I have, probiotics might be something nice to try. 

Their new adult probiotic gummies come in two flavors-blueberry and lemon crème (which I tried). Honestly the lemon crème doesn’t tasty lemony, just really fruity and delicious. The probiotic gummies contain seven billion CFU’s per serving (2 gummies) which includes two clinically-proven bacteria strains, IS2 & DE111.  They also have 99% survivability which means the supplement isn’t a waste because it isn’t getting eaten by your stomach acid (a little more science for ya!).

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SmartyPants probiotic gummies are also vegetarian and non-GMO as well as contain Wellmune® prebiotic immune support which helps out the probiotics and gives your immune system extra support. With flu season starting, now is the perfect time to give your immune system some extra support!

Like I mentioned previously, these are delicious and are also not too chewy or get stuck in your teeth. Remembering to take them in the morning was not an issue-the issue was stopping myself from taking more than 1 serving! They also have a kids probiotic gummies which I received in a grape flavor are just as yummy. 
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Something really awesome about SmartyPants is that for every bottle sold, they made a one-for-one nutrient grant to Vitamin Angels, which provides a child in need with a year’s supply of vitamin-A supplements. So far over 2 million children have received some life-changing vitamin A!

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You can find SmartyPants in a store near you or grab the adult probiotic or kids probiotics on Amazon. You know I’m all about that Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping.  I also grab their regular multi-vitamins at Target, because Target is awesome (and deadly). 

Do you take probiotics?  Have you ever tried SmartyPants vitamins? 

October 3, 2016

Running into Fall with Lululemon {gear review}

Disclaimer: Lululemon Baltimore offered me a complimentary outfit for review purposes. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

As much as I love lots of different running gear, there are always some pieces that end up being worn the most. The couple Lululemon tops and tanks I have are an example of that.  I have only splurged on pieces from Lululemon every so often, but have been impressed in the comfort and quality I've found. I've actually worn Lululemon capris or skirts for all of the 4 marathons I've run-no chafing at all!


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Running the 2015 Chicago Marathon in a Lululemon Cool Racerback tank and PaceSetter Skirt 

I dare you to go try things on in that store and leave the store empty-handed! However I gained a lot of respect for the brand after running Lululemon's Seawheeze Half Marathon this summer and seeing what an amazing event they put on.  


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post-Seawheeze Half Marathon 2016 in a (tagged) Lululemon Run Swiftly tee and Speedsport shorts

When I was asked to review a couple piece of running gear for my local Lululemon store, of course I jumped at the chance. By the way, the Lululemon in Baltimore, Harbor East is a great store with fabulous employees and local ambassadors, in case you were wondering. 

With the Baltimore Running Festival coming up and the weather still a little bit variable, it was tough to choose what outfit I wanted to review. I run 'hot' (#thesweatylife) and am still loving wearing tanks so I chose out a Run Swiftly tank (MRP $58) in one of the newer colors for Fall, a mixed black/sapphire blue shade . I always think warm colors for Fall but since blue is one of my favorite colors, I love adding this almost midnight blue shade as a Fall favorite. 


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I love the Run Swiftly material because it feels soft, lightweight and comfortable as well as wicks sweat well. 


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One of my favorite features is that it is prevents you from smelling bad due to the X-STATIC® which inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. The color is a deep blue that is perfect for Fall plus it has that Swiftly tech that I love. 

September 14, 2016

Baltimore Bred: Wild Kombucha {by Mobtown Fermentation}

I'm starting a new little feature I've wanted to start for a while on the blog called Baltimore Bred in which I highlight a local Baltimore brand, company, or product that I love and want to share. First up we have Mobtown Fermentation. 

Baltimore Bred #1: Wild Kombucha by Mobtown Fermentation 

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As a fan of Baltimore small businesses and local brands, I was excited to visit Mobtown Fermentation’s new digs in Lutherville-Timonium just over a month ago. I love supporting local businesses, and it was a great opportunity to learn more about this awesome company and get a behind-the-scenes look at their company. 

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{Source}
The three founders of the company, Adam, Sergio, and Sid, had recently moved their brewing operation from Hampden to this new, bigger space in order produce more of their delicious Wild Kombucha.  

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage made of green tea, distilled water, probiotic cultures (bacteria and yeast) and natural fruit juices or sugars.  I’ve been a huge fan of kombucha for a while because I love that it’s a bubbly and carbonated beverage yet packed with probiotics.  Since kombucha is made with probiotic bacteria like yogurt and is said to have healthy benefits such as aiding in digestion and boosting the immune system-both things I could benefit from. 

Adam and Sergio, who are stepbrothers, were familiar with kombucha and the brew process from their parents’ own kombucha creations growing up. Mobtown Fermentation was started in May 2014 by the three childhood friends after experimenting with brewing their own delicious kombucha. Currently Wild Kombucha is available in three flavors including elderberry, ginger-grapefruit, and mango-peach. I can’t choose a favorite flavor! Their brand of kombucha is a little sweeter and less sour than some brands I’ve tried which makes it more accessible to those wary of trying kombucha. 

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September 9, 2016

#PranaFallStyle: Prana Fall Product Review

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by prAna through my partnership with FitApproach. I was provided with free product from prAna. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I know some people are all pumpkin-crazed and ready for fall, but I am not one of those people. Give me some more summer, please!

Fall is lovely, but let’s be honest it’s a small jump away from a long, freezing winter so I’m good with sunshine and shorts for now. I may not like bundling up and pants in general (unless they are of the yoga variety), but I do love cozy sweaters and scarves. At least when cold temperatures arrive I’ll be a little more ready thanks to a package of warm & comfortable clothes I received from Fit Approach and prAna recently. I was sent the Lucia sweater in natural and the Kara jean in denim.

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The pieces arrived so neatly folded and wrapped!
In case you missed my previous post, prAna’s mission is to inspire healthy, active, free-spirited living and create versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories (for men & women!) to wear during every adventure.  I also love the brand because they use sustainable practices in the creation of their apparel such as using fair trade materials-the Lucia sweater I received is made from recycled wool too! 
 
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don't mind the glasses glare!
The Lucia sweater is a wool-blend to keep me warm, dry, and comfortable through all my cold-weather adventures. I also appreciate that it’s wrinkle resistant and wearable besides being so absolutely chic-looking. 
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I love the subtle herringbone pattern on the color and sleeves as well as the fact that the sweater is lined and even has some jersey material on the collar and sleeve cuffs so there is NO itchiness with this wool sweater! It feels very high-quality and looks really quite stylish on.

July 29, 2016

Tummy Happiness with UP4 Probiotics {Review & Giveaway}

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by UP4 Probiotics. I have used and currently use probiotics prior to this post. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

About 6 years ago I started having major digestive issues and things got so severe that I went to see a doctor. After some blood work and tests I was diagnosed with IBS (which is kind of a catchall diagnosis) and was told to grab some probiotics and be on my way.  Now I’m a little bit better at keeping things under control although I know that stress and crappy eating are huge triggers. The one thing I always make sure to take daily are my probiotics!

What is a probiotic, you ask?

Probiotics are the name given to the trillions of good bacteria in your digestive tract that keeps your insides happy and healthy plus boost your immune system

I remember trying UP4 Probiotics at Expo East this past year because they were sampling chewable cube probiotics-they were tasty!  I’m not going to lie, I totally take lots of gummy vitamins. Taking a few gummies in the morning ensures that I NEVER forget to take my vitamins.  UP4 makes a yummy little Adult cube chewable in a mild creamsicle-like flavor.


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chewable Adult cube from UP4
  When they reached out to me about trying some of their products including their UP4 Adult probiotic capsules and their Adult Cubes chewable probiotics. I wholeheartedly agreed. I've found that probiotics can be a little pricey plus I haven’t found a brand that I really liked yet. 

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UP4 Probiotics is awesome because select products are now available in Target stores in the Probiotics, Immunity Support, and The Essentials section and on target.com.  This is awesome because honestly I buy a lot of my vitamins there because I can stack coupons and my Cartwheel app to save me money. Plus let’s be honest, Target is awesome.  They also have Kids Cubes probiotics in the Kids Vitamin Section but all of their products can be used for whomever, no matter their age. 


Here are some awesome facts about UP4 that I learned after trying out their products which sets them apart:

  • UAS LifeSciences has been making probiotics, and only probiotics since 1979! Way before probiotics became trendy again!
  • The science nerd in me loves that they have over 40 years of clinical research on their trademarked superstrain, Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1 and have done clinical studies on select individual strains of bacteria they use in their products as well as some of their finished formulations!
  • The UP4 brand is a shelf stable formulation for 24 months so no need to refrigerate and their potency is guaranteed until the time of expiration.
  • Their capsule products are gluten free, soy-free, vegan, preservative free,and non-GMO
  • Their products feature studied robust strains including their trademarked super strain Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1 which has been studied to be beneficial in people of all ages!
Overall, I really liked the UP4 products.  I love that there is science and research behind it plus it uses an awesome super strain rather than whatever probiotic that I'm grabbing off the shelf mostly because it's on sale. The capsules have helped keep my digestive system happy and the cubes were perfect to take along on all my recent travels when my eating was full of more treats and delicious foods that didn't always jive with my digestive system. The fact that I can pick them up at Target and don’t need to make a special trip or order them somewhere is a huge bonus!


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GIVEAWAY!
Thanks to UP4 Probiotics, one lucky reader will win a bottle of UP4 Women’s Probiotics and a box of UP4 Kids Cubes plus reusable grocery bag.
Enter via Rafflecopter below!


This giveaway ends Monday August 8, 2016, 12 AM EST. Winner must be a U.S. resident. The winner will be notified via email right away. If I don’t hear back from the winner within 24 hours I’ll have to pick a new winner. Delivery of the prize is by UP4 Probiotics.

This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as Nicole and Amanda. Check out Erica and Smitha's giveaway round-ups for more prizes to win!

May 18, 2016

Live Healthier with the new Microsoft Band {Review}

Disclosure: In partnership with Women's Health as a WH Action Hero, I received a complimentary Microsoft Band for review purposes. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Now that I’ve made some big fall race decisions and have new fitness aspirations, it’s time to get motivated. I’m always looking for ways to keep living happier and healthier while getting involved in bigger and better things.  As a busy person, I’m also always looking for things that can help me do that.  With the school semester winding down (thank God) and a light summer class load (thank God again), I have more time to get into a really solid routine and focus a little more on getting stronger.  

I was lucky enough to get to try out another new fancy fitness band, this time the new Microsoft Band, thanks to my partnership as a Women’s Health Action Hero. While I’m not a huge numbers person I do find that casually knowing my steps and being reminded to move on more sedentary days can help. Also the sleep trackers on fitness devices is a great reminder of how much my body actually needs more sleep which leads to stronger fitness and better overall productivity. Getting better sleep is pretty much always a work in progress for me, le sigh

Out of the box, the new Microsoft Band was really easy to use and figure out, which is a huge plus. The Microsoft Band itself comes with a USB charging cable and a paper manual and quick start guide.  It's a little bulky but fairly comfortable to wear. 

Live Healthier with the new Microsoft Band {Review}


Using the Microsoft style of tiles took a little getting used to but merely because I had never used it before on their phone or OS interface.  It was easily to configure what tiles you wanted in what order to display on your band as well as change the settings. You can also customize the home screen color and design;  I chose a blue patterned screen.  You can tap or swipe the home screen to get information. Tapping lets you look at metrics like steps. 
 
Live Healthier with the new Microsoft Band {Review}
Home screen with step count
I found the step and floor count comparable to other devices, based on what they usually tell me my average is. I think they are all slightly inaccurate, so I don’t focus on it too much, but I do like to compare my daily averages to each other sometimes. 

Here are my thoughts on some of the Microsoft Band's features: 

Features Overview


Heart Rate Monitor
            I don’t find the HR sensor on the wrist as accurate as the chest band, in general. For basic HR though, this device was fine. It has an optical HR sensor on the inside of the device with two little LED green lights that supposedly read blood-flow in your wrist and determine your heart rate continuously throughout the day. 

  Microsoft Health App
            Their app gives you all the basic health & fitness metrics you want. I accessed this app on my Android™ phone, but it also works with the Windows Phone and iPhone®. The Microsoft Band can also connect to other for those only delivers basic data.   

Run and Exercise Tracking
            Obviously, this was one of the biggest tests for me since I usually use a Garmin watch (and not my phone) to track runs. I also used this to track my heart rate and calorie burn during a Yoga Sculpt class and a couple lifting sessions. During runs, I was surprised how much I liked it. I simply turned on my GPS if I was outside, tapped on the "running man" icon, and pressed the bottom button to start the run. I turned off the screen during runs to save battery, besides periodically checking my distance or pace. 

Live Healthier with the new Microsoft Band {Review}

The Microsoft Band has really nice functionality and statistics for workouts. You can download guided workouts, although I haven't used that feature. 

Phone Stuff
 Like smart watches, you can receive basic information from your phone, such as text messages, calls, emails and calendar, if you set it up. I found it burned the battery more, so I just had text and calls synced with my phone’s Bluetooth. 

GPS and Zzzzs
GPS during runs seemed surprisingly accurate and didn’t take long to connect in the city.It also tracks sleep automatically-without having to turn on it on-which was a big plus.
           
Overview

You can only have a certain number of tiles or apps on the band, which was a little annoying.  The battery lasted about two days which is comparable to my FitBit. I thought it was pretty for solid day-to-day use and a nice alternative to other fitness trackers and smart watches. 

Overall I think the Microsoft Band is a nice mid-range functionality-wise device that I can see myself wearing on a regular basis for daily tracking or workouts.  



Do you use a fitness tracker? What's the most motivating feature for you? 

May 13, 2016

5 Friday Favorites 5/12/16 featuring Sweet Note GF Bagels & Birthday Cake

Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary Bloom VoxBox through my partnership with Influenster.  I was sent two complimentary packages of bagels to review from Sweet Note Bakery. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Yikes I'm still alive, guys. A crazy busy month of schoolwork and work plus 3 weeks of assignments due like everyday and now finals has me barely hanging out here in my corner of the internet! Don't worry I'm still running and eating. Just less running and more eating lately. I'm back today with some of my favorites from the past week. I still have finals week brain so I'm looking forward to having a really relaxing weekend!

5 Friday Favorites

1. Favorite Beverage: Coffee, Espresso, etc. 

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Duh, graduate school and end of the semester means lots of coffee beverages all day, everyday. You have pretty much always been able to find me lately with a 32 oz. Nalgene full of water and a coffee in the other hand.  I love popping over to Ceremony Coffee in the afternoon for a cortado or coffee. You can also grab some Gundalow Juice while you're there which is a bonus!  

2. Favorite Breakfast: Sweet Note Gluten-Free Bagels

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I love carbs but know I feel better when I can limit some gluten. When I tried these bagels on a breakfast sandwich at my local bagel shop (holla THB!) I was pretty impressed with the texture. 

 Eventually I chatted Sweet Note Bakery up on Twitter (Philly-area love!) and sampled more of the flavors at Expo East this past year. Their New-York style bagels are top 8 allergen free including being vegan and gluten-free They were nice enough to send me a couple bags of frozen bagels which have been an awesome breakfast I can take with me out the door these past few weeks.  The snickerdoodle bagel picture here has all this ooey gooey cinnamon sugar on the outside which is SO yummy especially when made into a PB&J bagel. 

3. Favorite Food: Birthday Cake

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It was my birthday last week on Cinco de Mayo so I was treated with this huge piece of red velvet cake (best in the city as introduced to by Sarah) after a birthday afternoon run. It was marvelous, and I ate every bite. Cake is good running fuel, right? The next day I ate some of my ice cream cake and proceeded to eat a slice for the next 3-4 days straight. Dessert is the best, especially when it's your birthday. 

4. Favorite Workout: Spinning

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The few weeks I've been going to a spin class at Rev once a week, and it's reminded me of a couple things. One-spinning is a sweaty awesome workout. SO sweaty. Two- spinning is a  great complementary workout for running. This blurb I saw in an issue of Women's Health magazine only confirms that!

5. Favorite Package: Bloom VoxBox from Influenster

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Through Influenster I was picked to get the Bloom VoxBox, which was actually the perfect little package for finals week. I mean of course I needed a study break to paint my toenails with the Sinful Shine nail polish. Let's be honest, the chocolate chip Sunbelt Bakery granola bar didn't make it very long either! 

What is one of your favorite breakfasts, foods, or workouts of the week?


This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as NicoleJilland Amanda .

April 8, 2016

Relay Foods MD Review: Healthy Groceries for Busy People

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Relay Foods. I received a complimentary $50 gift card  from Relay Foods MD in return for my review. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

The past couple of months have been ridiculously busy and kind of a mess as far as planning ahead goes, especially when it comes to packing lunches and making dinners! That means lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast or lunch (like at least one a day, most days) and throwing together whatever I can in 10 minutes for dinners.



I was really excited when Relay Foods MD reached out me to work together. 
Basically, Relay Foods is an online grocery store-they are allowing you to shop at your convenience from their stock of over 200 local farmers and vendors.  Most of their foods are organic, local, or all-natural and allow you to just fill up a virtual shopping cart online and either pick-up your groceries for free at their set pick-up spots around the city or have them delivered right to your door for a small fee.  There were plenty of spots in Baltimore City and county that I could've chose from, but I didn't have to go far and picked a spot right in my neighborhood!  

I love it because I don't have time to be driving to a bunch of different stores and seeking out all the fresh, healthy ingredients I want. I also love that there are local vendors that I haven't been aware of whom I can learn about and whose products I can order! 


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I had ordered once from them a few years ago and just never happened to again.  They were one of the first places online nationally to stock Gundalow Juice so of course I was a fan! They have redone their website and it's so much cleaner-looking and more user friendly! On the website you can shop by item type, what's on sale, what's in season, featured products, organic products, or even specific meals. 

I also love that you can keep lists and add favorite items so ordering something again or at another time is made easy.  All of the prices are clearly labeled so you'll know how much you are spending. As a bonus, you can change your order by adding an item you might have forgotten up until midnight the night before your delivery!

You can get $20 off your first order with my Relay Foods link!
 
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