Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Freshly Meal Delivery Service

*Disclosure: I received these products to review for myself. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. 

I think it's been very well documented on this blog that I 1) do not like to come up with meal ideas and 2) am not terribly good at cooking food even when I do have a plan. So when people offer to feed me and I don't have to do anything except push a few buttons on the microwave, I'm always quick to accept the offer. My most recent food sender was a delivery service called Freshly.

Freshly offers pre-made breakfasts, lunches and dinners, with recipes prepared by experienced chefs, using all natural ingredients that are free of gluten, artificial sweeteners, added sugar and hormones. The meals are portion controlled and high in protein and nutrient-dense veggies. Everything is delivered fresh to your door in packaging with dry ice. All you have to do is heat it up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes!

We received one of the Freshly Flex 6 plans, which consisted of 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners. Meals included two types of omeletts, pecan pesto chicken, orange ginger beef with broccoli and brown rice, toasted almond chicken with risotto and lemon garlic salmon with peppers and broccoli. The shipment arrived just before we headed out of town for my father-in-law's funeral. Understandably, we hadn't had time to shop for food before we left and when we came back a couple of days later, we were too tired to deal with grocery store crowds. So it was great to have meals waiting for us, especially meals that were healthy.

I was impressed by the portion sizes and the quality of meat and veggies.  I've eaten a lot of frozen meals in my day and these meals from Freshly are nothing like that. They looked like something that came out of a restaurant kitchen. My particular favorite was the Lemon Garlic Salmon with Roasted Peppers and Broccoli. Being from Seattle, I'm pretty particular about my salmon, but this dish was great. My husband liked everything that we got- he's a big fan of the Freshly meals too! He bikes to and from work and is preparing for a half marathon, so I like the idea of these meals for his lunches at work- much more balanced than something he could grab in the cafeteria, so that he has the energy he needs for all his exercise.

Freshly offers a Freshly Fit Plan (designed to help you lose weight) or a variety of Freshly Flex plans. You can choose the meals that you like, and avoid the ones that don't meet with your dietary preferences. I think this is a great meal service and one that we will definitely use again in the future!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Intimate Impressionism Exhibition on now at Seattle Art Museum. Go see it!

*Disclosure: I received complimentary admission to this exhibition to write about my experience. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. 

I admit it, I am a HUGE fan of Impressionist art. HUGE. So when I got invited to a press preview of Seattle Art Museum's (SAM) new temporary exhibition, Intimate Impressionism, I actually squealed with happiness. This exhibition (on now through January 2016) is made up of 68 paintings from the National Gallery of Art, on tour while the museum in DC undergoes renovations.

I loved the way that SAM presented these paintings. Instead of grouping them close together, the paintings are spread out, with a few feet in between each one. They are simply placed on the wall at about my eye level (I come in at 5 feet tall), with a simple plaque describing the painting next to each piece of art. I loved the ability to get up close and really admire the brush strokes and colors of each painting. Most are fairly small, but there is so much detail to take in. I'm not normally one to sit and stare at art, but I found myself doing just that for several of the paintings.

The paintings are organized chronologically, so you can see the transitions in art styles from pre-Impressionism all the way to post-Impressionism.  If you visit, please take advantage of the free audio tours that you can download to your smart device. Hearing about the artists and the influences on the paintings made a huge difference to my appreciation of the exhibition.

As far as visiting with kids goes, I am a huge fan of SAM for kids. You can read all about my thoughts over at Trekaroo. There's a wide variety of art at SAM, there are several play areas with art-themed activities, and the museum is free for kids 12 and under. Admission to the Intimate Impressionism exhibition is also free for kids 12 and under, but adults do need to purchase a ticket (ticket includes regular museum admission as well). If you buy online, you can save $5 for the tickets.

For this exhibition, I am unsure whether to recommend it for bringing small kids. Here are my pros and cons. Pros- it's free for kids, and the art is beautiful. Paintings subjects include puppies and kittens and bucolic scenes and things that kids could enjoy. Cons- the art is hung at a height that kids would not be able to see well, and parents would have to lift children to allow them to see it well. Also, visiting with kids typically doesn't allow for leisurely admiration of the paintings.

I would 100% recommend the exhibition for older school aged children and teens. I suggest getting some age-appropriate books about Impressionism and its artists before you visit, to really enhance the experience. It's a lovely exhibition and well worth the visit.