Dinner, simplified: Make meal prep easy with Hello Fresh

Every Sunday I go grocery shopping and then prep my meals for the week.

Since I basically work three jobs (my full-time gig, teaching fitness, and blogging), I’m always doing something and lately I’ve just been feeling very overwhelmed. When it comes to the weekends, I just want to relax, I don’t want to constantly do work 24-7.  So as you can imagine, finding recipes to make for the week is the last on my list of things to do. When it comes to nutritious meal ideas, I usually check out my favourite food blogs or go through Pinterest, but since there’s so many recipes out there, it’s hard to narrow it down to something I want to make.

Enter Hello Fresh, the meal kit delivery service that takes all the planning out of the equation. I’ve been familiar with Hello Fresh for a while now but I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out yet.  They were kind enough to send me one of their Pronto boxes last week and I was more than happy to skip my usual meal prep and give theirs for a test drive.

Hello Fresh box

In case you aren’t familiar with Hello Fresh, it’s a weekly meal service where you choose a specific plan (Pronto, Veggie, or Family), the number of people you want to feed (two or four), and the amount of recipes you want (two to four), then you choose from a variety of different meal options of the week and they send you a box containing all the ingredients you need for those meals.  Each meal comes in it’s own labeled bag with all the ingredients already pre-measured and portioned out, so all you have to do it make it (aside from the veggies, which you have to cut up, if required).

I got the Pronto plan with three meals. Since this was set up though their influencer relations department, I didn’t get the choose the meals I wanted, but for that week there were five to choose from for that particular plan. I did mention that I don’t eat pork, so she said she was sending the Poblano Beef Tacos, the Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Thighs, and the Roasted Cauliflower Biryani.

Since I live in Winnipeg, our delivery dates are Tuesday and Wednesdays, which if you like to meal plan on Sundays like I do, that may be a bit of a problem, since you’ll have to go grocery shopping anyways for the Sunday and Monday, or eat out.  My box was delivered in the morning through UPS from Saskatchewan (I actually always thought that this was a franchise and that it was delivered locally, so the fact that it’s shipped was surprising to me).

Hello Fresh ingredients pre-portioned and packaged Moroccan Spiced Chicken dish from Hello Fresh

Now I know what you’re thinking. There’s protein in my meals, so how does the meat stay fresh? The box is insulated and they actually put the protein at the bottom of the box, layer it with ice packs, then put cardboard over top, which the three different meal plans sit on in their paper bags.  Everything is labelled, so you just grab the right bag and the protein, along with the recipe book and start cooking!

We tried the Poblano Beef Tacos first, which were really yummy and something I’ll definitely be making again.  The recipe cards I found could have been a little simpler to follow. For example, the first step was to wash the veggies and mince the garlic, but you don’t actually use the minced garlic until like step four or five. I ended up throwing the minced garlic in the pan right away since I was confused with what I was supposed to do with it. It wasn’t a big deal since it gets added anyways, but I found that they could have moved that step to later in the recipe.

Anyways, the tacos turned out delish, the only qualm I have with them is that the onions could have been chopped a little thinner (they were precut), but other than that they were super easy to make and I’ll definitely be cooking this recipe again.

For the second day, Hello Fresh actually sent me the Mustard-and-Herb-Crusted Pork instead of the biryani, which I was disappointed about since I don’t eat pork for religious reasons. I ate it anyways since I have had pork before and it looked yummy (I just try really hard not to eat it).  Out of the three, and I hate to say it since it’s pork, but I liked this one the most. The sauce that goes on top of the pork was amazing and next time I’ll totally swap it out for chicken or beef, but I was super satisfied with how this tasted. My boyfriend actually whipped this up while I was teaching a fitness class and he said that he had to bake the pork longer than what was called for in the recipe card.

Moroocan Spiced Chicken Hello Fresh Herb-and-Mustard Pork from Hello Fresh

Last was the Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Thighs, which were also delicious. Everything was pretty straightforward with these and it took about 45 minutes to make (because you have to bake the veggies for 20-22 minutes at 425 degrees). The meal was topped with an amazing and easy to make lemon yogurt crema, and the was served on freekah, which I had never heard of before but will definitely look into buying in the future.

Overall, I was super happy with how every meal turned out and loved how it was all pre-cut and portioned, so all I had to do was open the bags and go to work.  I will say that although these were all two-person meals, I did stretch the pork and chicken meals to three meals, since I needed a lunch the next day.

So have I sold you on Hello Fresh yet?  The only bad thing about this service I have to say is the pricing. The box I got (Pronto for two people and three meals), comes to C$79.99 a week, which is expensive for three dinners and potentially two lunches. Let me put it this way, I usually spend a maximum of $70 a week on my groceries, and that includes breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. The $80 for the box is only three dinners, which if you eat out a lot for two people at nice restaurants, it’s totally worth it. But, if you’re used to cooking at home, then I would say to stick with the grocery store.

So what is the ideal situation like for Hello Fresh? I travel a lot, and for days when I get back on a Monday and don’t have time to grocery shop the next day, then this would be perfect. It means less time wasted grocery shopping and meal prepping.  Also, I tend to stick to the same recipes a lot, mostly because I know I like them, and some of the ingredients in new recipes I find look very foreign to me and I have no clue where I would get them. Hello Fresh lets you expand your horizons and make meals that you might order in a restaurant, and best of all, it includes easy-to-follow recipe cards that you can now use again and again, so if you liked a certain recipe, then you can go out and buy the ingredients to recreate the meal.

Overall, I do recommend the service to try out. I wouldn’t order it every week since I would have to go grocery shopping anyways for lunches and stuff, but if I’m ever in a bind, then I would take a look at having it delivered.

If you want to try Hello Fresh, you can get 40% off your first box with code SHAYNA40.

Let me know what meals you get!

Have you tried Hello Fresh yet? What were your thoughts?

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Under the sea: Tarte Cosmetics Mermaid collection

Can we have a moment for Tarte’s new mermaid-inspired collection…

Okay, so when it comes to beauty brands, I always get so excited for what Tarte and Too Faced come out with, since they tend to release such fun, totally out-of-the-box collections.

Last year it was unicorns, this year it’s all about mermaids (okay, and unicorns too, they don’t seem to be going anywhere soon).  This huge collection contains an eyeshadow palette, brushes, serums, repackaged favourites like their Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara, and so much more.

Since I love any festival-inspired collection, I was so excited to get my hands on a few items and channel my inner Ariel.  First up is my favourite item from the collection, the brushes.  The Minutes to Mermaid Brush Set (C$54) contains five brushes, complete with mermaid tail handles and plush hot pink bristles.  The brushes include a large powder brush, a cheek brush, a highlighter stippling brush, a domed eyeshadow brush, and a pencil brush.  I am obsessed with the handles on these as they are teal to purple ombre and are just so luxe to look at (plus there’s little mermaid tails on the end!!).

I couldn’t wait to try these and have to say that the selection of brushes they included is awesome, at first I was a little sceptical about the choice in the brushes, especially the highlighter stippling brush, but after using it, I’m loving how it is applying my liquid highlighters. The only thing this is missing is a good crease brush, but all in all, if there is one thing you need to pick up from the collection, it’s these.

Tarte Cosmetics Minutes to Mermaid brush set and Lights, Camera, Lashes limited edition mascara Tarte Minutes to Mermaid Brush Set Tarte Minutes to Mermaid brush set and Picture Perfect Eyelash curler

Along the same lines as the brushes, they also have the limited-edition Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler & Deluxe Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara. This duo, which retails for C$25, has the same mermaid-inspired packaging as the brushes (you obviously need this to complete the set), as well as a travel size of their fabulous Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara. I really like this set, especially at that price, but I will note that I’m used to having holes in the handle of my eyelash curlers, so the fact that this one doesn’t have it makes it a little tricky to hold (especially on my left eye as I’m right handed). Aside from that, the eyelash curler really lets you get to the base of the lashes and leaves them nice and curled.

Speaking of the Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara (C$30), they have released their cult-worthy mascara in a stunning green glitter packaging. I love this mascara already, so I was super pumped to see it’s under the sea makeover (although this one is not waterproof, might I add). If you’ve never tried this mascara before, now is the time to pick it up, since the casing is so beautiful and really sparkles.

Tarte limited-edition picture perfect™ eyelash curler & deluxe lights, camera, lashes™ mascara and Mermaid lashes Tarte Be a Mermaid and Make Waves eyeshadow palette Tarte Cosmetics Mermaid look

If you want to give your lashes a major boost (and some mermaid flair), then pick up the Mermaid lashes (C$18), which are synthetic lashes layered with multicoloured fringe for a mystical look.  These are cute, but definitely not for everyday use since there is colour in them. Save them for a fun vacation with the girls or a festival, if you’re hitting one up.

Lastly for the eyes, the piece de resistance of the collection, the Be a Mermaid & Make Waves eyeshadow palette is a seashell-shaped iridescent palette that opens up to 14 matte and metallic shadows. This palette is incredibly summer appropriate since it contains lots of golds, pinks, and blues. Although this does have some beautiful shadows in it (especially those metallics and glitters), I do have to say that I wish there was more selection in here. For example, there’s no matte browns for a crease, and there’s no true brow highlight (although Nude Beach is stunning as an inner-corner highlight). This palette is perfect for lid colours, but if you are looking for a well-rounded palette, then I would look at other options (their Tartelette in Bloom palette is amazing).

For some flawless mermaid skin, take a look at their Mermaid Skin Hyaluronic H2O Serum (C$55), which is a water-light hydration serum that deliver moisture to parched skin.  Apply this before your moisturizer for a blast of hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, and marine plant extract that will help plump skin for a dewy look.

If you’re looking for a little shimmer, then take a look at the Mer-Mist Shimmer Spray (C$29), which is a shimmer spray that adds a little bit of glimmer to the skin. This is not a setting spray, but instead is perfect for the chest, arms, legs, as well as hair (I wouldn’t necessarily spray it on your face as it does you some shine).  I was really impressed with how this made my skin look and will definitely be packing it for some hot vacations I have coming up. Best of all, it has a yummy light coconut scent to transport you directly to the beach.

Tarte MerMist, H2O Serum, and Mermaid Waves sea salt spray

Finally, for those mermaid waves, you’ll definitely want to pick up their Mermaid Waves Salt Spray (C$27), which is a hair-texturizing spray that is loaded with sea salt for easy, mermaid waves.  Get that “I just got back from the beach” look by spraying this in damp hair and then braiding it (for all you straight-haired gals, like me), or just let those curls air dry if you have them already.  Pair this with the Mer-Mist Shimmer Spray for the ultimate mermaid look.

If you need more mermaid goodness, then Tarte also has gems, primers, glitters, and more to get you fully into and under the sea vibe. If you can’t tell already, I’m completely obsessed with this collection.  Everything is just so cutely packaged, and as always, the quality is top notch.  If you want to pick up a few items, and not break the bank, then definitely the brushes, the eyelash curler set, and the limited-edition repackaged mascara are must haves!

Are you planning on picking up any items from Tarte’s mermaid collection?

Products provided by PR, all opinions are my own.

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Festival-ready hair: L’Oreal Paris Colorista Spray One-Day Colour

So anyone else have major Coachella FOMO?

I’ve been to EDC Las Vegas, but Coachella has been on my bucket list for the past few years.  Every time this part of the year rolls around I always say “okay, next year for sure” and then it never happens (to be fair I was actually in LA this time last year, and it sucks they don’t do one-day passes!).  My friends and I have been chatting about it, and maybe next year will be my time to go (*fingers crossed*).

Anyways Coachella is typically the kickoff to festival season and in case you haven’t noticed, all the brands are rolling out their festival-inspired collections. First it was Too Faced, then Tarte (their Mermaid collection is coming up soon on the blog), but if you want to rock the festival trend easily and at home, then L’Oreal Paris has you covered.

L'Oreal Paris Colorista Spray One-Day Colour

Okay, so I’ve chatted about their Colorista line of temporary hair colour, and they actually sent me the one-day sprays last year. I’ve had these sitting on my “desk” (aka dining room table) for the past six months as it wasn’t really an appropriate time to bust these out… until now.  I absolutely adore the Colorista temp hair dye, but since I work in an office, it would be nice to rock the pink hair on weekends only. Well, now I can!

Available in 10 on-trend fun shades, the L’Oreal Paris Colorista One-Day Spray is a temporary hair colour that washes out with one shampoo. Unlike the original Colorista, this is a spray that allows for a quick and easy application that instantly transforms your hair colour.  The formula contains a white micro-powder to deliver a visibly pigmented colour, so if you’re a brunette that wants to be a rose gold, you can totally do it with these.  The colour dries quickly, meaning that even if you’re short on time, you can totally rock the unicorn hair trend in an instant.

I haven’t tried every colour in the line, however, I did find that the ones that I did try worked well.  The only complaint I have is that it tends to stain the clothes you wear underneath, so definitely wear something you don’t care about (I still have purple on my robe that is refusing to wash out), and it also gets on your hands, so wear gloves (as you can see in the photo below, I obviously did not follow my own advice).  Once you spray the colour on, you’re supposed to leave it for a minute before brushing your hair.  When I tried the hot pink, pastel pink and silver on my hair below, it did end up getting pink on my brush as well.

As for wearability, the colour is very bold, however, your hair doesn’t feel as soft as the regular version of Colorista.  You can definitely feel that this is a spray product as my hair felt very starchy.  Also, in terms of washing it out, I had to apply shampoo twice and even then I still had some pink left over in my hair (which looked more rose gold). I would say this comes out in two-to-three washes, not one, especially if you have blonde hair.

L'Oreal Paris Colorista Spray One-Day colour in hot pink and silver

Like I said, I love the original Colorista, however, sporting teal hair for the amount of time it takes to wash out (about a month since I don’t wash my hair that often) isn’t the most professional look. With these sprays you can be a wild child on the weekend and an office queen for the weekdays, and no one will know the wiser.

Have you tried the L’Oreal Colorista Spray One-Day Colours?

Please note, I received this product from PR. All opinions are my own.

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