Free Coffee in NYC: Pret A Manger

In case you were wondering, yes, they do have pumpkin spice lattes that can be vegan or not! There’s nothing basic about enjoying some pumpkin spice in the fall time! *glares at haters*

New York City is known for being expensive! We have lived here since August and I can confirm this, however, there are ways to visit or live here on a budget. One thing that we have done, is traded in Starbucks for a much better coffee chain Pret a Manger.

Not only is the coffee here delicious and cheaper than at other chains. They give you a free first coffee and they had a great card that rewards you for your loyalty. This card is digital and you can use it through your their app. You can also save your payment information which allows you to pay by scanning your unique barcode directly from your phone.

Although you will often come in to Pret and see a long line of people, the line will move at lightning speed. This is because they only make fancy coffees for you and if you want a regular coffee, you can pour it yourself! They have a cute little coffee bar with four options: decaf and three different brews as well as several kinds of milk, including nut-based dairy-free milks! Of course there’s also sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.

So basically, you come in, scan your barcode, pick a size and you do the rest yourself. No one gets the chance to mess up your order and you are in an out as quickly as you need. Of course, you can also bring your own thermos to illuminate plastic waste and you are welcome to hang out in their seating area for as long as you want.

In case you were wondering, yes, they do have pumpkin spice lattes that can be vegan or not! There’s nothing basic about enjoying some pumpkin spice in the fall time! *glares at haters*

Check it out:

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Why You Should Order Pet Supplies from Chewy.com

This past week, I was picking out a new food for Smiley on Chewy.com because I wanted something with fewer ingredients. Amazon had it for $10 cheaper, but here is why I chose to buy it from Chewy…

This is not a sponsored post, although from the amount of money they have refunded us over the past few months, it might as well be.  But let me start at the beginning!

We adopted Smiley just over three months ago and like any crazy dog parents, we began spoiling him with toys and chews. We try to limit our Amazon shopping because we are morally opposed to their business tactics but all other websites, like Petco, had expensive shipping fees and overall prices.

That’s when someone recommended Chewy.com. They offer free shipping on orders over $50 and for most dog foods. When shipping isn’t free, it’s very cheap and with all of their sales on doggie sweaters and chews it’s worth paying the fee.

In addition to being cheap, they also ship quickly within a day or two and we’ve never received an order later than 4 business days and that was once when it got lost in transit. All of their products come packaged sustainably in paper boxes with crumpled up paper to protect the items. They use as little plastic as possible which is another reason I love them!

Finally, unlike Amazon recently, Chewy takes responsibility for lost packages. Even when it was 100% not their fault. We don’t live in the best area of Brooklyn and so far, 3 packages have gone missing. One of these I later found outside in the trash, unopened. So I managed to retrieve it. The other two, however, were re-shipped at their expense.

Calling Chewy customer support is a completely unique experience. They pick up the phone within two rings, they don’t play calming waiting music, there is no line of people waiting ahead of you. They always answer right away, it is always a human and they are incredibly friendly and helpful. Again, unlike Amazon.

When Smiley’s new sweater went missing, they simply re-shipped it without hesitating or asking questions. The second time, it was his food that went missing. This was a bigger problem because he is severely allergic to chicken and will break out in itchy hives. We mentioned it to Chewy and they not only re-sent the food but they also refunded us $20 to buy him something else in the mean time. What other company does that?

During the holidays, unfortunately it didn’t happen to us, but they sent presents to a lot of their customers. They commissioned artists to paint the customer’s doggies and sent the art out as Christmas presents! They also send flowers and condolences notes if a beloved pet dies.

This past week, I was picking out a new food for Smiley on Chewy.com because I wanted something with fewer ingredients. The variety of their products is impressive and quite overwhelming. I used their filters and found the perfect food that also happened to be cheaper than his current one.

Finally, just to check, I decided to see if Amazon sold it for cheaper. They did. But did I buy it from Amazon? No. Could I save over $10 a month ($120 a year) by shopping from Amazon instead of Chewy.com? Yes. Would I stray from a business that is caring, treats their employees and customers with respect? Never!

Thank you Chewy, for being amazing and for showing us what companies and customer service should be like. Also, thank you for caring about us and most importantly, about Smiley. If you haven’t already, go to their website and see for yourself. If you have any questions about anything, just call them and see just how different from other companies they are.

Nowadays: Pet-Friendly Bar

Their already great beer prices are even more exciting during their 2-for-1 happy hour which runs from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It only works for select beers, but where else in NYC can you get a draft beer for $3? 

I am lucky to live next to two great dog-friendly bars with amazing beer prices! One is the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery and the other is Nowadays. Nowadays is located in Ridgewood, Queens but is right next to Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s just a five minute walk from Wilson Avenue subway (L).

Nowadays has an indoor and and outdoor area. The indoor area is fancier, doesn’t allow dogs and has a cover fee to enter after certain hours. The outdoor area is dog friendly, free and has a relaxed vibe that I love. Nowadays is open Thursday – Sunday, sometimes also on Wednesdays and they are open year round. Make sure to check on Facebook to see if they are open.

Their already great beer prices are even more exciting during their 2-for-1 happy hour which runs from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It only works for select beers, but where else in NYC can you get a draft beer for $3?

As mentioned before, they are open year round! So when it gets cold, the outdoor area is heated with chic round fire pits! I was there on a particularly cold October day and the fire was much needed, plus it added to the great atmosphere. I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy it in the snow, but we’ll find out.

In addition to a great space and atmosphere, the staff is also pretty amazing. They are always friendly and let you try the beers, offer shots of mulled wine (that make you end up buying a cup for $11). I’m from Europe, where mulled wine was born and Nowadays made it so surprisingly good that I almost forgot I wasn’t in Prague’s Old Town Square.

If you’re ever in the area or feel like venturing over to this part of town, make sure to check out Nowadays! It doesn’t get hopping until later at night but if you come early you can grab the best spots while enjoying cheap drinks! Feel free to bring your pets as long as you don’t mind staying outside.

My only complaint: the beers come in single-use plastic. However they will let you re-use the same cup all night.

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Singapore Infinity Pool: Hotel Jen Orchardgateway (Video)

We did a lot of research before our trip to Singapore to figure out the best place to stay and enjoy an infinity pool: Hotel Jen Orchardgateway won hands down! Find out why…

We did a lot of research before our trip to Singapore to figure out the best place to stay and enjoy an infinity pool: Hotel Jen Orchardgateway won hands down! Find out why:

Crazy House, Da Lat, Vietnam 2017

The name of this place, the Crazy House, is no exaggeration. We got lost soon after entering since there are dozens of rooms on various floors with several ways to travel between them. You will find bizarre animal statues and beautiful views of the city – this might be one of the highest points in the city.

Formally known as the Hang Nga Villa, the Crazy House was built in 1990 in a unique and intentionally bizarre style. Designed by Dang Viet Nga, this eccentric architect wanted the house to help people reconnect with nature. Other than attracting visitors during the day, the Crazy House is also a functioning hotel!

During my visit in July 2017 there are still areas of it that are being built and refined. This actually only adds to the craziness so I had zero complaints. Another thing that makes it so exciting to visit, is that a place like this wouldn’t even be legal in some countries because of safety issues. My clumsy husband may have hit his head at least twice in some low areas and I kept worrying about slipping on the high “bridges” with low rails. But that’s all part of the awesomeness – the designer is clearly a genius.

In addition to all the great views of the city, this place is also great for relaxing and enjoying a cup of coffee or fresh juice. The cafe at the bottom has great prices and some unique drinks like coffee enhanced with fresh banana, which was surprisingly delicious. Just be careful sitting by the pond for too long, I was eaten alive by mosquitoes that I always seem to attract.