Costco "Next Level" Haul

Kuochun and I took our investigative trip to Costco this past week so I could try and find some of the products recommended by Bobby of FlavCity. I was not sure how many I would be able to find as some of the videos are up to two years old and he is located in Florida. My focus was on snack items - I did pause my Seattle Sutton meals because I fell behind and to save money but once the meals run out I will go back to Costco and look for meal ideas.

We purchased several different "Bobby Approved" snack products to try and our overall favorite was definitely the Kirkland Keto Snack Mix. It is a large bag of very high quality mixed nuts which are lightly salted, in my opinion the perfect amount of salt. Sprinkled in are cheddar cheese bites. Amazing!

I thought these dark chocolate keto nuggets were addicting, a delicious combination of pumpkin, quinoa and sunflower seeds covered in chocolate. The bag is already gone, next time portion control will be in order!

I could not find a photo but the Keto Bombs by Nature's Intent are wonderful! So fulfilling and only 60 calories each. They are rectangular pieces of dark chocolate with finely chopped almonds, pecans and coconut on top. Bobby said they are "the bomb" and he is right!

I was not sure if I would like these mini cookies as crunchy cookies are not my favorite. However they are fantastic! They are neither crunchy nor soft, it must be the almond flour but they almost taste creamy.

The only disappointment were these dark chocolate coconut mini bars which is a great concept but they tasted kind of stale. I do not think I will try these again. The Emmy's coconut cookies, especially the chocolate covered ones are good but at 100-110 calories each I would prefer to find a lower-calorie option as I am on a calorie budget.

Many of these snacks are keto-friendly but I am not looking to follow any particular diet. I really like the concept of eating "next level ingredients" as opposed to cheap, highly processed ingredients and with the Bobby Approved app, it is very easy to identify the better choices. It is also awesome to be able to pick them up at Costco for a better price. I was very happy with $16.99 for a 24 ounce package of very high quality mixed nuts which are not overly salted.

On a side note, I selected some items I thought Mother would like which are not Bobby Approved but they made her happy. I did try the French butter cookies and thought they were delicious. I also sent some more French items her way including little pancakes and madelines. Finally, a trio of different flavors of goat cheese, healthy chips and salsa and salami and provolone snack packs.

We also got the recommended Polish sausage, the millet and brown rice ramen and the Kirkland Signature grass-fed butter from New Zealand as well as the 2-liter extra virgin olive oil for Kuochun to use in his cooking. It is a big step up from the corn, canola and vegetable oil he was using. I know ideally homemade is best but baby steps! When we get to Arizona I hope to have time to break in the new kitchen and make my own salad dressing, pesto and cookies with heritage flour. Kuochun has come such a long way with his eating habits since I met him. He used to drink tons of regular Mountain Dew and now he only drinks water with the exception of coffee some mornings.

Thankfully Kuochun is doing so much better health-wise! He is sailing through cardiac rehab with flying colors and up until RecPlex closed the pool for maintenance for a bit, he was picking up a third day swimming over there. He has gained about 20 pounds and his weight is at an all-time high. His current weight is the same as what I weighed on my wedding day. Goals!

Mother has been working very hard pricing hundreds of pieces of jewelry for two clients and these projects have come to an end. Now I can get back to polishing silver as it is really piling up and she will be able to put the earrings, pins and pendants on cards for me.

After years of using my Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo to print shipping labels, the more recent printing of jewelry labels did both my printer in and Dad's as well this past week. The labels kept jamming and sticking and using the cleaning card did not help. I decided not to mess with them anymore and ordered a Dymo LabelWriter 4XL from Amazon. This printer prints the large, professional labels for shipping packages and can handle the jewelry labels too. The only drawback is that I need to change the label rolls every time I want to print one label or the other. I learned from past experience and have been extremely careful not to let the spindle get sticky so far. I even cut off the first two shipping labels because the label that holds a new roll in place leaves stickiness behind in spots when it is removed. So far, things have been perfect with not a single jammed label. It is tempting to buy a second printer but they are not cheap, maybe when I get back next spring. I currently have two Dymos in Scottsdale, my original 330 which is slow compared to the new technology but still works like a champ and a 550 which is super fast and will handle the jewelry labels.

Now that I have a Shopify store I can create the shipping labels right from there and the tracking number is updated on the customer's order automatically. This works for direct store purchases and eBay. For Etsy, I need to print the label through their system. I was able to try both as I had some recent online orders and they were successful. I have had for 21 years and it may have become obsolete. I just need to see how to print a label which is not tied to an online order which I think can be done through my USPS account. If I let go, I would no longer have all of my shipping information in one place but I would save $18.99 per month. The other venues offer the same USPS postage discounts.

After living and breathing estate sale paperwork for several weeks, it is all finally squared away. Now instead of trying to complete two packages per day, I can go back to four per week. It was definitely a setback having key folks go on vacation this summer but of course they deserve to go!

This plus another development will delay the online jewelry sale though. Mother mentioned that she was thinking about selling her car. I offered to purchase it - it is a really nice car but not one I was considering. I thought it would help her out and I was very doubtful that the Kona was going to come in on time in the color I wanted. Mother ultimately decided to hang onto the car a while longer but literally the next day we received unexpected news! The Hyundai dealer closest to the Scottsdale home called and said a Kona in Cactus Fern was due to arrive in mid-October. It is the SEL model which is the mid-range and the one we test drove but it has a black interior and no extra features. On the one hand, that keeps the price down but on the other it would have been fun to have a sun roof in that beautiful winter climate. The navigation screen is smaller but it sure beats what I have now which is no navigation!

I did not hesitate to reserve the car. A couple of days later, we were informed that the tentative arrival date will be October 8, the day after my birthday. In a couple of weeks the dealer will have a better idea as to whether the car will arrive on time. Regardless, it looks like we will be taking off a month sooner than expected. I do not mind a bit because the extreme heat is gone by October and I am looking forward to putting the house back in order. I have not been there since I had to leave abruptly due to Kuochun's heart attack. I ordered the airplane carry bags for Margot and Vivi, the challenge will be to train them to get used to them in a short period of time. I am not as worried about Vivi as she was an excellent travel buddy but Margot is a different story. If she does not want to do something, she will dig her heels in and refuse to do it. I am hearing horror stories about the airport agents making dogs stand up and turn around in their bags on command. Margot will be scared and that will not happen. I told Kuochun the other day that instead of Margot being our emotional support animal we are her emotional support people. The party's over though, boot camp will begin once the bags arrive in a week!

I also decided to throw in the towel as far as my fight with Farmers Insurance and asked the attorney to close the case and return my retainer. I will need it to help pay for the car. It was a very difficult decision but I hit another milestone as well - I made my final payment on the loans I had taken out to pay for the repairs that the insurance company should have paid for. It just seemed like a good time to move on from this bad situation and focus on the positive. All I can say is if you have Farmers, go with another company because it is likely that they will not be there for you. I plan to change companies once I purchase the car.

Next week oddly enough we only have one sale which is located in Long Grove. Normally the weekend after a holiday is extremely sought-after because some clients would prefer to avoid the holiday. It so happens though that most of the folks who are calling have October closing dates or are not quite ready to have a sale this soon. We are receiving lots of interesting calls though and I think the schedule will fill up again.

In the meantime, the Oak Park consignment jewelry has been selling like hotcakes in Wilmette this weekend and I will be sending the remaining jewelry plus new pieces to Long Grove. There is still SO MUCH it is incredible!

I will make the best of things next week and start to tackle everything that needs to be done before we leave for the winter. The first step will be to figure out how to get all of the items we want out there. I need to document everything so I can get quotes through uShip. I will be so glad when everything is settled down but so grateful that Kuochun is on board with giving a winter in Arizona a try.

See you next time!