Ordering Online


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Over the weekend I did a little virtual shopping.  I thought I’d share my order with you so you can live and shop vicariously.

First, based on Jenna’s post about this book being the “best book she’s read all year” (and that woman reads tons of books), I knew I had to pick it up.

Pictures of You Book

One of my Intentions & Goals for 2011 was to read more.  I would say that falls under Item #7 even though I didn’t specifically say it, I have mentioned before that I really want to read more books!

Hopefully this book will help tear me away from my computer screen, my google reader, and my email and steer me onto the couch in the 3.6 minutes each day that I have that isn’t accounted for and do some good old fashioned pleasure reading.  

Side of book on table

The next item in my order was this USB hub.

USB Mini HubUSB Hub out of package on countertop

My Mac desktop computer only has 3 USB ports:

One port has my keyboard plugged into it.  I don’t want to pay to upgrade to a wireless keyboard right now.  Not to mention, batteries are expensive so being wired isn’t a bad thing.

One port has my external backup drive plugged into it.

And that only leaves one more port.

But, I have my new iPhone to be charged and a card reader for all the photos I import daily or multiple times per day.

I needed more easily accessible USB ports so I wasn’t fumbling around on the back of my computer plugging and unplugging.  Trivial, perhaps.  But I like to streamline things and be as efficient as possible.

Now, I’m all set!

USB Hub plugged inPorts ‘o plenty with two to spare

Plus the gadget is tiny.  Palm-sized which is perfect.  I don’t need any space hogs! Worth 9 bucks in every sense of the word.

Hand holding USB Hub

Various electronics plugged iniPhone Update: Yes, I am loving my iPhone.  Totally worth it, I adapted to Touchscreen within a couple days, and if you’re even thinking about getting one, get it.  You’ll love it.

Finally, I got this portable lighting studio per Kath’s recommendation.

Portable lighting studio in bag
As I said the other day, I am really enjoying photography and it’s become a new found passion.   I want to take beautiful photos and that requires taking tons of them and seeing what works and what doesn’t work.

Natural sunlight is great and works beautifully for photographs, but sometimes that’s not possible and although the overhead lighting I have in my kitchen and living room is fine for day to day living,  it’s not always doing my photography any favors.

Enter this:

Portable lighting studio set up3 lighting stands with light bulbs and umbrellas that I can move around to get the lighting just as I want it.

I probably won’t use these all that often but when I need it, I’ll have it because after creating “the perfect” recipe and being ready to photograph it, if it’s cloudy, dark in my kitchen, or later in the day, it can blow a photo shoot.  Not anymore.  Let there be light.

Close up of each product of lighting studio

There are many different ways to insert the bulbs, and so many ways the lamp heads adjust and tilt, and the stand heights are adjustable.  Tons of ways to customize!

Close up of one of the lights and how to position it

I am also excited about these because although lightboxes are all the rage in the ‘sphere right now, I like how I am not confined to a little box with this setup.

Lighting Studio equipment set up

And it all stores neatly and takes up minimal space.  I should expect no less from Kath and her Neat Home series posts since she’s the queen of neat and efficient spaces and organization.

Portable Lighting Studio in carrying bag

From my last post on the Potato Themed Recipes, I know, holy tater overload.  Hopefully you saw something that will help you take plain spuds to va-va-voom and gave you some recipe ideas.  As much as a potato can ‘voom, of course.

Dessert in honor of St. Paddy’s Day: No Bake Chocolate Coconut Snowballs (Vegan, GF, Freezer-Friendly)

No Bake Chocolate Coconut Snowballs
With Mint and Mint Chocolate Chips for St. Paddy’s Day
No Bake Chocolate Coconut Snowballs with mint chocolate chips


1. Any great product finds lately?  Online or otherwise?  Anything that has made your life better, easier, more streamlined?

Between lights and a USB hub and a book, I’m set! 

2. What do you order online?

As I have posted about before, I order all my bulk spices, nooch, stevia, probiotics, supplements and more from iHerb.com Enter code AVE630 at checkout and you’ll save $5 off your order.

I know many people also use Amazon for their day-to-day bulk goods like hemp seeds, almond flour, or body wash.

If you know what you like, you know what brand you want, and are okay with buying in larger quantities (usually) and are planful enough to order in advance, you can definitely save lots of money by ordering online.

And I also save not only money, but time!  I can put 6 items in my virtual shopping cart faster than I can drive to the store, park, get Skylar in and out of her carseat, and repeat at the next store because I find I need to go to multiple stores to get the products I want at the best prices so if I can eliminate that and shop online, I gladly will!

Plus, many times, my iHerb or Amazon orders are to me within 48 hours and the shipping is free or is just a small nominal charge, and no sales tax at almost 9% in CA rocks.  All I have to do is click-click.

Of course, I don’t buy everything online.  The grocery store is my second home. Fresh produce always needs to be replenished but I do what I can with online ordering.

What do you order online?  Can you plan out your shopping orders and needs in advance or does lack of planning end up costing you time and money?

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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  1. The USB hub is a fantastic idea!!! I do like to order online, but here in Canada the shopping isn’t as good. Our Amazon only does books, DVD’s, etc. No cool food items. Mostly we order our Lululemon items online b/c the store nearest to us is 1hr away and with free shipping it’s a no brainer.

    You’ll have to let us know how that book is. Looksl ike a good one!

  2. I usually order my makeup from Sephora.com and my face products from Origins! It’s so much easier than going to the mall! :)

  3. I order books, food products, supplements, clothes, etc. on line. Pretty much anything!

  4. I unfortuanelty do not read much, do not have the time. One day I hope to read more!
    Hope you find some peace and quiet time to read :)

    And yay for photography!! Something I am loving…still have a lot to learn though

  5. Oooooh! You got the best loot!! :D VERY cool lighting equipment! I’m sure it will help you out a ton.

    Funny, I just hooked up an external USB hub to my computer last week! I have so many USB plugs that I have them spread out on 2 computers and still need more, haha.

  6. Even just 3 minutes a day can really work your way through a book. I work on them on half hour chunks unless they are really good I get glued to them and stay up later to read. That one sounded a little sad but sometimes those can be good, but I have to be cautious about reading books that might make me too sad. I look for funny or uplifting in some way mostly.

  7. Wow total scores. Please keep us updated on how you like the lighting system. I need to buckle down and learn more about my camera (that I’ve had for a year and a half now!) before I invest in anything else, but it’s on my radar.

  8. Can’t wait to see what you think about that book! I’ve heard good things and might add it to my list too :)

  9. oh I love ordering online! its like a little fun package arriving atyour doorstep! sometimes its more satisfying than actually going to the store!

    I order from GAP and banana quite often when they are having online sales, and victorias secret and I do order from iherb too! (vitamins, nooch, protein etc)

    OH and amazon…books and random things!

  10. OOOOO! I love the lighting package!!! Thanks for the deal at iherb.com too, I was looking to buy a few things, so any $$$ saved will be helpful!

  11. I one day will hopefully explore the world of photography. the nicest camera I’ve ever had is a digital and it wasn’t that nice lol

  12. I actually have found quite a few wonderful places to shop online that have saved me money, which is very important when there are two students living under one roof! I would love to explore photography one day! Hubby is taking a class right now in photography so he’s always going out exploring to find beautiful/unique pictures. Its so much for to review his “field trips”.

  13. Interesting on the book, I may need to add it to my “to read” pile. And I had to get an 8-port USB hub for my laptop between iPod cable, printer, doc scanner, camera cable, keyboard, thumb drives, external hard drives. :-P I never understood why it took Apple so long to add a built-in card reader to MacBooks, but Windows laptops has had them for years. Hubby complains about not having one on his MacBook Pro all the time.

    Interesting on the lighting studio, I have a Cowboy Studio pop-up tent that folds up like a car sun shade and it’s fun, but I haven’t used it in awhile because it takes up a lot of space and I just don’t have time to get it out on weeknights.

    1. My new cheap and awesome camera strap which I will be reviewing soon, glad to have one that doesn’t make me look like a tourist. :-)
    2. Tons of stuff – food, books, shoes.

    1. that’s good that im not the only one who needs more usb ports..you need 8…I don’t feel so bad with 4 extra :)

      not wanting to get something out, unfold it, etc on weeknights…totally agree! This is for special photographs for my better recipes…I keep getting denied from certain websites when i submit my photos due to underexposed lighting…so i hope this does the trick :)

      cant wait for the cam strap review!

  14. I don’t buy much online anymore… I used to buy a lot of bulk food when I was cooking for my family, but now it’s pretty much just me and my habits have changed a lot.

    The biggest things I buy online are cameras/photography equipment

  15. I am always nervous when it comes to ordering on line. But it can be alot cheaper and easier! I just need to try it :)

  16. I was expecting that set up to be way more than $70! Wow, that’s a pretty sweet deal; is it kind of chintzy though or are the tripods sturdy?

    I buy a lot online, mainly because I can’t get a lot of stuff nearby. I used to do a TON of online shopping for clothes, but I ended up returning so much stuff that I have cut back a bit on that. I am going back to Old Navy today to get more pants, after I bought 2 sweaters, 2 shirts, and a dress just this weekend. Tis the season to shop apparently.

    I’m going to check out that book too. You know me and reading. :)

    1. i mean it’s decently sturdy for 70 bucks and for indoor use it would be ALL you’d need. i wouldnt take it outside on a windy day but to photography desserts and salads on the countertop, more than adequate :)

  17. Averie, I am so impressed by all that you accomplish! You are a motivation to me, for sure! Your camera equipment is beautiful and your photos really do look wonderful on your blog!! Especially all the sweet things! haha :-)

    I order from iHerb regularly and the Derm Store for all my skincare products. I also order almost all clothing online for myself, hubby and my boys. I know the stores that have clothes that fit me TTS and what works well so that I don’t purchase and then have to send back (although, that does happen from time to time). All grocery shopping is done at the store because I go nearly every day to replenish all the fruit and veggies that we go through like there is a football team living in my house! :-)

    1. thanks so much, Michele for the compliments :)

      And thank you for the package…it arrived today in perfect condition, well packed, and it will be well enjoyed…thank you!!!!!!!!!!

      Derm Store, yes, i use them too sometimes :)

  18. I used to just order movies and CDs online because they were cheaper, but I have started buying food in bulk after I went gluten-free. That stuff can be expensive! Especially since my love of oats is huge. But buying in bulk helps!

  19. The lighting set looks awesome!! I cant wait to see if your pics look even better than they do now! I think that is a great idea, I need something like that for when there is no natural sunlight too ; )

    I just got finished reading The Help and it was amazing! I read it in 4 days!!! So when you are done with that book, if you have not read the help yet, you should!

    I ordered tory burch flats, I really needed a nice pair of black flats, and I ordered my son a birthday gift, so those were my online recents!
    Have a great day!! xoxo <3

  20. I’ve been ordering tons of books on Amazon lately– I love it! I love having the books to read, of course…but I also really love getting packages in the mail, ha!

  21. Oh you’re getting fancy with that equipment. Love it. I order from Amazon frequently. I also order from The Limited. Love iHerb (thanks to you). I used to be addicted to ebay but have really backed off. So much is just crap now or is oddly more expensive than the store. Explain how that’s to my advantage….

  22. I really am craving a good book lately. But I’m so busy reading textbooks, it’s hard to be in the mood for reading after a day of study!

  23. Oooh; I’m going to see if that book is available on Kindle. I used to be a huge fan of ordering everything through Amazon that I could to avoid the 9.75% sales tax TN has; but about three weeks ago, Amazon started adding tax to all orders. Absolute crap!!!

  24. I was very surprised to see that your lighting system was only $70 — I was expecting it to be much more! What a nice thing to have — and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of use out of it!

    I but lots of gifts online, but other than that, if I can get it at Target, I just go get it. But Jason buys almost everything online: clothes, shoes, computer equipment, etc so we always have boxes being delivered!

  25. Looking forward to seeing your photography skills grow– they are already quite good!

    I buy a lot of my goods online, too!

  26. I’m so excited for that lighting set-up for you!! You are going to have so much fun experimenting with it when you get the chance. There is SO many different things you can do with light. And since you’re not confined to a box I bet you’ll get some beautiful portraits of Skylar, too. I still need to invest in good lighting set-up, but I’m waiting until I get my own place. I have no place to set anything up so have been making do with my off-camera flash.
    The USB hub is a great idea; love how compact it is. And thoughts re: wireless keyboards – I hear you. My keyboard hasn’t been a problem but I feel like I’m replacing batteries in my mouse every other week. $$$.
    I buy books online and things like chia seeds, powders or maybe flours or dried fruits that I can’t find around here. Oh and all my horsey stuff :P iHerb has such awesome rates and fast shipping, but I think I just fell in love with NutsOnline, too!

  27. I thought having three USBs was awesome for my laptop haha I had to laugh when I saw you say ‘only three’

  28. what an awesome lighting set up! I need something like that…the light in our apartment when I’m photographing hasn’t been the best, although it’s better now w/ daylight savings time. I’ve been looking into getting a tripod, too. photography is fun, especially of food! (although I love the photos of your daughter, she’s got such a sweet smile!)

    I usually don’t buy things online but a few weeks ago I bought “Will Write For Food” used off Amazon for $3! It was a pretty sweet deal, I couldn’t pass it up!

  29. Love all the new finds! I tend to shop a lot less in general since being in college, but when I do, I like to get things IN store. I used to live in a small town and was FORCED to order products online, but now that I live in a large city and have the opportunity to see things in person before I buy them, I’ll take it!

    I’m totally with you on reading. Again, college makes it very difficult to have any time to read for my own enjoyment, but reading is something that I love and always seems to relax and de-stress me.


  30. I’m totally buying that lighting set. I keep seeing the light boxes, and I just don’t make one because I don’t want all that junk laying around! But a lighting set with it’s own storage…totally my speed.

    I buy lots and lots of things online…

    1. Ok major favor here…if you are REALLY going to buy it, could I ask you to buy it from my Amazon Store?

      I JUST set this store up…like in the last oh, 12 hours :) and havent even blogged about it yet…but it’s a super new work in progress.

      I don’t even know how it fully works on my end (or clearly on the user’s end)… The price from my store is the same from amazon in any other portal and if it’s no difference to you, could you possibly buy from me? And if this is a rainy day future project or for whatever reason you’re not buying….no worries!

      Just thought I’d ask :)

  31. i’m esp intrigued by your photography/lighting purchases, averie! can’t wait to hear more about how they’re helping your photos as you experiment. i love, too, how they bundle up so neatly – wonderful!
    hope you find some reading time – i only read before bed (except on vacation) so get 3-5 pages done a night…yea. i better not pick up “war and peace!” let us know your opinion of the book!
    i shop very little online…definitely is the most time and money-efficient option, though! a lot of the time, companies won’t ship to canada, unfortunately…because the US has the BEST product selection!

    1. thanks for you always positive, supportive, and wonderful comments Cathy!

      hope you made it home safe and sound :)