Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Conquering the Laundry Pile + Laundry Service Giveaway!

Laundry...the dreaded chore that can never be completed. I loathe the laundry. In fact, I'd rather give up French Fries for life than have to locate all of the dirty socks and wet towels strewn throughout the house. I'd rather take 10 toddlers to the DMV over sorting all the clothes into piles. I'd rather walk barefoot through glass over washing, drying, folding and putting away all the laundry. It just never ceases to amaze me how much laundry we accumulate throughout the week -- you would think 25 people live with us. And since our schedules are too hectic during the week, we are limited to the weekends to getting it done in between meal planning, grocery shopping, errands, soccer games, birthday parties, church and more. And trust me, I've tried to break it up into multiple loads throughout the week to keep the loads manageable, but it never fails that I am collapsing into bed just as the washer dings and am too exhausted to get up and switch it over, resulting in the same load getting washed again and again and again before it actually makes it to the dryer.

And you know the other task that haunts me? Dry cleaning, which normally sits in my car for at least 2 weeks before I get around to dropping it off...and then forget about it for 3 months.

So until I can pay Caroline an allowance to fold all the fitted sheets, I'll treat myself to throwing in the towel every now and then and outsourcing a few loads of laundry. That's where 2ULaundry comes in to save our weekend by giving us more time to do things we actually love to do.
HOW IT WORKS

STEP 1 // Create an account: Customize your cleaning preference, select your bags and schedule a pickup.
STEP 2 // Receive Your Bags: The following day your free personal garment bags are hand delivered by 6 pm.
STEP 3 // Stuff Your bags & Set Them Outside for Pickup 
Just kidding. They won't clean your kids, although I would pay extra for that. Stuff your bags with all the items you especially hate to wash/dry clean (fitted sheets, dress clothes, winter coats, etc.) and set them outside your scheduled pickup location by 8 am. You'll receive a text when your driver picks them up. The bags are scanned and tracked to ensure quality assurance.
STEP 4 // Laundry Picked Up. At the cleaning facility, the garments are scanned, sorted, itemized and cleaned according to your customized instructions.

STEP 5 // Clean Laundry Delivered! The next business day, your garment bags are scanned into the system, labeled as clean and returned to you by 6pm. You receive a text once they’re dropped off fresh and clean.
PRICING

The pricing is determined by your zip code, but to give you a ball park estimate I am sharing my rates.

Large Blue Bag (Wash, Dry, Fold): Holds up to 35 lbs or 4-5 loads of laundry and is $35 per pickup.

Pink Bag (Wash & Hang Dry): Holds up to 8-10 lbs or 1 load and is $10 per pickup.


Dry cleaning is priced per item. The prices are a little higher than my dry cleaner down the street, but the convenience is totally worth it and gives me hours of my weekend back to spend with my family. This is actually Matt's favorite service since he is the main culprit of our piles of dry cleaning. He is obsessed with the one day turn around so he can wear his favorite shirts more often.
MY HONEST REVIEW

I was super impressed by the one day turnaround, the cleanliness, the perfect folding of our clothes (including the fitted sheets I tossed in there), the customization options (detergents, etc.) the ease of scheduling, reminders and status updates (done through texts) and the friendliness of my driver. Overall, this company has seriously nailed the concept and their process.

Would I recommend this service to others? Definitely. I especially recommend this service as your next baby shower gift for your new mama friend. Or your co-worker, friend, family member, etc. who needs some extra help.

Will I use this service again? Yes, especially for our dry-cleaning and all my pesky wash & hang items I rarely wash (I'm looking at you - work dresses)! Oh, and I love treating myself to this service when we've been out of town for the weekend and return home with suitcases of dirty clothes and no time to clean them. I can dump them all into bags on Sunday night, they're picked up the next morning and returned cleaned and folded the following day.

GIVEAWAY

And now for the best giveaway EVER. My friends at 2ULaundry have graciously offered to give away ONE MONTH OF LAUNDRY (4 large bags of wash, dry, fold) which is about a $140 value, to one lucky reader! Enter using the rafflecopter below. The contest will run through Feb. 26 and the winner will be picked at random and announced back here on Feb. 27! Good luck!


Want to try 2ULaundry now? Click here to save $20 off your first laundry or dry cleaning order.
 
This post is sponsored by my friends at 2U Laundry. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Crockpot Hack: Pesto Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Coming in hot with another recipe using the crockpot hack! The kids were out of school yesterday for Teacher Workday and I attempted to catch up on work from home, leaving me very little time to cook any sort of meal that involved more than dumping a few ingredients into a crockpot. So early yesterday morning I dumped THREE ingredients into my crockpot, set the timer and voila -- dinner was ready 8 hours later.
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breast
4 medium sweet potatoes
1/3 cup pesto

Directions

Assemble your crockpot hack. Place sweet potatoes on one side of the crockpot and your chicken on the other side. Drizzle chicken with pesto. Cover and slow cook on low heat for 8 hours. Remove potatoes (there will be liquid at the bottom of the pot) and set aside. Shred chicken with two forks. Slice open your potatoes and stuff them with chicken. Enjoy!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Turks & Caicos

We are back from paradise! Even though we sat on the beach for 4 days straight the trip went by at warp speed, and in the blink of an eye we were back home to a fallen tree, a sink pipe leak, power outage overnight, an urgent care visit and two wild toddlers (who we missed!). Reality. But let's get back to talking about paradise...

When we planned out our trip we strategically chose to vacation during the school/work week so we didn't lose any weekend time with our kiddos. So on Monday morning we dropped the kids off at daycare and then headed straight to the airport. Ms. Jamie took it from there and had a great time with the kids, allowing us to sneak away care-free. She's the best.

MONDAY

We arrived to Turks & Caicos late in the afternoon and a quick cab ride later we were welcomed with cold towels and rum punch at Seven Stars Resort. The resort was so beautiful and the location was perfect. We could walk or bike to tons of restaurants, the grocery store, other resorts, etc.  Our suite was gorgeous too and since we had a little kitchen, we took the advice of others and made a quick bike ride to the grocery store to stock up on snacks and booze after settling in. 

Even though the grocery store was a football field away, we almost died trying to ride our bikes on the opposite side of the road. There are no traffic lights on the island and only roundabouts, so it took a little bit to adjust. But we made it!

For dinner we went to Buguloos, a beautiful beach-side restaurant where we both devoured our first conch dishes of the trip. After dinner each night we had cocktails and cozied up next to the fire at The Deck, Seven Stars beach-side lounge.
 
 
 
TUESDAY

On Tuesday we slept in before heading to breakfast at Seven and then down to the beach for the day. The saltwater pool at the resort was really pretty but we never spent anytime there because we couldn't peel ourselves away from the unbelievable ocean view. We spent the entire day on the beach -- me reading under the umbrella in a comfy beach lounger and Matt laying in the sun...which later that evening he would realize he forgot to apply sunscreen...to his FACE. He was burnt to a crisp and spent the rest of the trip in a t-shirt under the umbrella. Lesson learned, Matt. Although he does something like this every summer so actually the lesson is never learned. 

For dinner we walked to Coco Bistro. This restaurant is very popular and books up fast so by the time I thought to make reservations a few weeks ago there was only a 5:30 pm reservation available...and I totally understand why. The palm grove ambiance and the food were both incredible. Matt ordered the seared tuna and I ordered the salmon. We both ate every last bite. After dinner we walked across the parking lot to Cocovan, an airstream lounge created by the Coco Bistro owners. We had another cocktail and ordered churros for dessert which were the best churros I've ever had in my life. The deep-fried fritters were coated in cinnamon sugar and served with a dark chocolate dipping sauce and vanilla ice cream. After dessert we returned to the resort to lounge at The Deck.

 

WEDNESDAY

Happy Valentine's Day to us! We slept in, ate breakfast at Seven and spent the gorgeous day laying on the beach where I plowed through The Woman in Cabin 10, which I loved.

For lunch we didn't want to leave our view so we ate at The Deck! This beachside restaurant offers a gorgeous beach view, comfortable lounge seating, the service is excellent, the ambiance is perfect and the food was absolutely delicious. We loved the fish tacos! We spent a lot of time here throughout the trip and got to know and love all the bartenders. They were all so great and took amazing care of us. 

We walked to Coyaba for dinner. Hands down, our favorite dinner of the trip. The ambiance of this restaurant is so romantic, the service was excellent and the food was the best. We both ordered specials of the day. Matt ordered ravioli stuffed with the perfect trio of crab, conch and lobster. I ordered the fish of the day special which was mahi mahi! The presentation was amazing and the taste was even better. It came with slow roasted capers, stuffed zucchini and rice. This place deserves all of the awards. I can't wait to come back here.

After dinner we stopped at Infiniti for late night cocktails and dessert. This place is so chic and they had beautiful live music. In fact, I'd say this was the best ambiance we experienced. We sat there long enough to want dessert so we ordered the Chocolate Gourmandize which was basically the most exquisite lava cake with shaved banana, chocolate salt and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was spectacular.
THURSDAY

We slept in, ate breakfast at Seven and parked it on the beach. That afternoon we took a short bike ride before deciding it was too hot to go any further and came back to the beach. 

For our last dinner of the trip we decided to stay on property and go to Seven. Matt ordered the duck and I ordered the lobster salad. Both were delicious. After dinner we claimed our favorite sofa in front of the fire at The Deck for cocktails.
 

FRIDAY

Since it was our last day we tried not to sleep in too late. We grabbed our very last delicious breakfast from Seven and squeezed in a few hours of beach time before packing up and checking out.

Our flight wasn't until late afternoon so we decided to grab lunch at Da Conch Shack to see what the heck all the hype was about! Well folks, I'm here to tell ya that this place truly is a gem. Don't leave the island without stopping for one last bite of conch here. 
It was hard to say goodbye to the island but we promised to come back. This trip was exactly what Matt and I needed and we felt very grateful to have had the opportunity to take this trip, to know our kids were being loved on hard by Ms. Jamie while we were away, and for ALL the laughs and the moments that Matt and I shared uninterrupted.

*{not sponsored, just good advice} I would be remiss not to mention how wonderful our travel advisor, Christine Serio, was in helping us design this dream trip and keep us organized. I found her highly recommended in a local mommy Facebook group and she was excellent to work with -- very responsive, helped us pick our destination, select our resort, etc. If you're looking to book a trip, I highly recommend her. It's no cost to use her and she has tons of connections and travel knowledge.
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