hello fresh

Review: HelloFresh Meal Delivery Service

I love delivery service. Call me lazy, but the fact that I can order a new pair of boots, toilet paper, three bottles of wine and dinner to be delivered on my door step makes me incredibly happy. Doesn’t everyone love coming home to packages?

My work wife, Meesh, informed me about these meal delivery services. She lives in Miami, so I immediately thought they wouldn’t be available to me in the Midwest. Luckily, I was proven wrong, and on I went to my first HelloFresh box.

HelloFresh is a subscription service that delivers fresh meal ingredients straight to your doorstep (or in my case, office cube.) Each week, a new menu is released with five recipes for the classic box, and five recipes for the vegetarian box.

I ordered the classic box for two, and in a week, a box filled with ice packs arrived full of fresh veggies, meats and spices. My choices? Delicious.

Spicy Tuna Tar-Tacos:


Meesh warned me that her friends complained about the amount of chopping. I kind of laughed, thinking “It’s fresh food! Of course it doesn’t come pre-sliced.”

This recipe made me realize why there were complaints. I like to cook, but I’ve never chopped more vegetables for a recipe in my life. But guess what? It was totally worth it. You could pre-chop the veggies the night before making the meal, but it really doesn’t take too long.


Coming off of a sushi high from the weekend before, the spicy tuna flavor was perfect. I’m not a fan of scallions or radishes, but the two came together perfectly with cucumbers and avocado to top each taco. As far as serving size, you’re given six flour tortillas, but we filled four with the ingredients provided, and I was definitely full after eating these!

Download the Recipe

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken: 


Chicken Parmesan is a staple in my household. It’s one of my husband’s favorite meals, and one of my “fanciest.” When I saw that HelloFresh had their own version on this week’s menu, my ears perked up.


The chicken was good, but the honey mustard flavor was a bit over-whelming. The sides though – to die for! The roasted tomatoes are delicious and super simple, which means they’ll become a new weeknight staple. I must admit, I used garlic powder in lieu of the minced garlic – ain’t nobody got time to mince garlic. The balsamic potatoes had just enough of a balsamic kick to leave you wanting more, but I did use quite a bit of salt and pepper to increase the flavor.

Download the Recipe

Plantain and Black Bean Tostadas:

Real talk – I had no idea what a plantain was until a client had us do a graphic about the history of bananas. For the record, it’s a starchier banana.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make this recipe in time before some of the ingredients went bad, but I was able to save the black beans for my burrito bowls! If you get a chance to make them, please let me know how they turn out!

Download the Recipe

VERDICT: HelloFresh hits the spot, especially after a weekend away when you haven’t had a chance to hit the grocery store. The recipes are easy to follow, if not a bit time consuming, and the taste is fantastic.

If you’re interested in trying, you can get $40 off your first boxI’d love to hear what recipes you choose – add a comment below or shoot me a Tweet!

Does Marriage Change You?

Go ahead and Google that phrase. How many articles pop up? Everyone has an opinion (myself included, as I’m writing this blog).

Marriage is a beautiful thing. I’m not an expert – I’m still a newlywed – but so far, so good. Over the past 9 months, things have changed. Nothing to be frightened by – change is the only thing that is guaranteed in this world. Things like…

  • My name (duh)
  • My insurance: Y’all. Combining your car insurance after marriage is amazing. Andy & I saved $500+ with Geico. If you haven’t done it yet, get on and make some cash!
  • My vocabulary: Husband still sounds weird and old. I’ve resorted to Hubs to those who don’t know Andy.
  • My priorities.

pri·or·i·ty /prīˈôrədē/ noun. A thing that is regarded as more important than another.

My hubs and my dog are the two more important things in my life, followed by my family, friends, job and well-being. Doesn’t sound too far-fetched, single friends? That’s because it’s not WHAT priorities have changed, but how.

No longer does a night out on the town sound enjoyable (albeit it can be a needed distraction). My days are filled with working hard, followed by nights of cooking, cleaning, and couch snuggling. I find it harder and harder to make time for others, and more decisive on who deserves what little time I have outside of those in my home.

People have entered and exited my life. I can’t keep up with everyone like I used to, and I honestly don’t want to. I’m narrowing in on my top priority – living a happily married life, and blocked out former tasks and requirements that don’t bring me joy.

The most beautiful thing about marriage is finding someone who knows and loves the real you – the person who pigs out on snacks at night, cries at series finales, and makes excuses to avoid going out so they can curl up by the fire. And if you’re really lucky, that person will help you to become the best version of yourself – the one whose priorities are in order.

Creating a Gallery Wall

One of my 2015 resolutions was to get more creative (you can see my other resolutions on Pinterest!). Armed with gift cards to Hobby Lobby and a color scheme in mind, I set off on a journey to create a gallery wall in my living room while finally incorporating gold into my house.

The finished product. Not to shabby for less than 24 hours!

The finished product. Not to shabby for less than 24 hours!

I know Hobby Lobby doesn’t have the best rep when it comes to the media, but I absolutely love it. I can wander around the store for hours imagining just where that large mirror would fit in my bedroom or how I could turn those stunning lilies into a centerpiece for my kitchen table. It’s addicting.

As mentioned above, I had a color scheme of black and gold in mind, so I went off to search. The first thing I picked up was the black baroque 11×14 frame – I had my eye on it for months, and I still needed to put up a few wedding pictures in the house. After that, I found the large “LOVE” canvas. Here’s a hint, bargain hunters – Hobby Lobby has two sections of home decor. The middle section of the store, holding everything from canvas prints, decorative items, frames and mirrors and the “always clearance” area, usually in place of Christmas decor the other six months of the year. (“SIX MONTHS?” You say? Yes, six months. I worked in a craft store in high school, and set up began in June, followed by take down in January. Craft stores capitalized on the holidays long before Macy’s started playing Christmas music on November 1.) Anyway – I picked up the “LOVE” sign in this “always clearance” section. The chevron print came next, with the ampersand and 5×5 black and gold frame following. The finishing touch was my beloved arrow – something I’ve seen on nearly every Pinterest gallery wall in existence.

Once home with my goodies (costing less than $100, I might add), I got to work laying them out on my floor. Honestly, I probably moved them six times before landing on what ended up on my wall, followed by another four moves once on the wall. It’s a hard process.

Creating a Gallery Wall - Measuring Things Out

Measuring everything out – upside down is key!

After I had them lined up how I wanted, I flipped them all over and measured both the wall space and the decor to make sure everything was in line. I marked off the frames with masking tape to assure I knew where the nails needed to be, and then measured before taping to my wall and hammering in the picture hanger. Apparently this isn’t the standard way of hanging photos according to my mother, but it’s always worked for me!

This is how I measure were to put the nail holes in my wall - it's definitely tried & true in the Parks house!

This is how I measure were to put the nail holes in my wall – it’s definitely tried & true in the Parks house!

Once I had everything from Hobby Lobby hung, I knew there was something missing. The next day, I took my weekly trip to Target and found these amazing Sea Urchins for just $19.99. As the day went on, I decided to create the two-part dachshund silhouette (printed in 4×6 form at Walgreens) and paint two 4×6 frames gold to tie in a bit more of the shine.

Overall, I adore how it turned out! It was a quick weekend project that anyone can do by themselves, and it livens up the space so much.

Are you getting creative in 2015? Share your DIY with me – I’d love to feature some guest posts! 

Top 5 for Prince Farming: My Prediction for The Bachelor

Last time on The Bachelor(ette) – darling farm boy Chris Soules was left without a key to the Fantasy Suite as Andi Dorfman choose to have sexy time with that jerk Nick Viall and choose Josh Murray to live happily ever after in Atlanta.

Personally, I love Chris. He seems like a genuinely good guy with a strong family background, successful career and a hidden talent for note-writing. So of course, as soon as ABC released the cast information for the upcoming season of The Bachelor (beginning on Jan. 5), I had to take my picks out of all the single ladies.


Holiday Gift Guide: The (Normal) Man in Your Life

With Christmas only 23 days away, gift guides are popping up everywhere. I love the concept – how much easier can your wish list get? – but every time I come across a “5 Gifts Your Man Will Love,” I laugh. My man would never wear a cashmere scarf or appreciate a hipster-inspired ice cube tray!

If you’re dating a guy who doesn’t wear suits everyday and can’t quote Shakespeare, let my gift guide ease you into the mind of your average 20-something male.


Why National Adoption Month is Important

I get it – create a search on Google for “November Holidays” and you’ll find a plethora of options – Aviation History Month, Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Sleep Comfort month – it’s a little ridiculous. However, there is one diamond in the rough, and I’m not talking about Housewife’s Day (Nov. 3).

Over 100,000 children and youth in the United States are in need of adoption. That’s 100,000 kids without parents. Without someone to love and care for them. Without someone to encourage them to succeed.



Goodbye Old Friend

When I first laid eyes on you in the spring of 2007, I knew we we’re meant to be. You we’re a bright, shining light at the end of my senior year of high school, and I was young, dumb, and way too excited to jump in.

We’ve come along way since that first day. You took me to my high school graduation. To college. To Nashville. To Kansas City. You got me in trouble, and saved me from harm. You made heads turn in my direction, and became a household name with my friends.

I haven’t always treated you the kindest. There were many bumps and bruises along the way, but you remained loyal. You were there when I met my husband, when I walked across the stage at Jesse Hall, and when I went to my first (second, third, fourth and fifth) job.

You weren’t my first, and you won’t be my last, but you will always be my favorite. I’ll never forget the countless memories we’ve had together, and I hope the next person to jump in the driver seat feels the same rush I did the first time I jumped in.

The Great Pumpkin, March 2007 – November 2014