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

Questions:

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?

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