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Jun 12

Things I’m Loving: June 2014

Emily Bites: Things I'm Loving Right Now - June 2014

It’s back! Since I got such positive feedback on my first “Things I’m Loving” post in October, I decided to make it a semi-regular series (whenever the mood strikes). Just like in the first edition, I am thrilled to share five of my current favorite things that I think you’ll love as well. I adore talking about the things I’m excited about, so if you’ve got an opinion, a question or a favorite of your own to share, let me know in the comments so we can chat about it!

 This post contains affiliate links.

1. Deflex Comfort Women’s Claire (or Blaire) Scrunch Flats at Payless

Payless Claire Flats

If you don’t own a pair of these yet, I’m about to change your life. That probably seems like a dramatic statement, but if you ask my fiancé he will tell you these shoes have had a positive effect on both of ours (details below). These are hands down the most comfortable flats I have ever worn in my life. It’s not just me either, you can read the 300+ gushing reviews on the Payless site if you need to hear more. So often I’ve found that flats are never as comfortable as they look. They always end up digging into my heel or my toe or being too narrow. Not these. I can walk around in these all day long every day for weeks straight and they will be nothing but comfortable. There’s not even a “breaking in” period, and for those who need a little extra width, they come in wide as well. Everyone I’ve told about these is now a convert, so I can’t wait for you all to try them too!

Payless Claire Flats

I own 8 different versions of these shoes because I wear them almost every day. I own them in navy, black, nude, black tweed, gold, silver, black & raffia and the navy & white striped Blaire version (same fit as the Claire flats but with a little hardware detail). I get constant compliments on them too – they’re so cute! Besides being insanely comfortable, absolutely adorable and going with everything, they’re almost always on sale for $19.99 (if they’re ever not, wait a bit…they will be), so they’re super affordable. I just donated two huge garbage bags full of shoes I never wear anymore because I wear these flats almost exclusively (true story). I have no need for shoes that hurt my feet when I can wear these!

Still waiting on the life changing part? Well, I have always been torn between wanting to look cute and wanting to be comfortable. In the past, when Pat (future Mr. Bites) and I were going to the zoo, a festival, shopping, on vacation, or anywhere else that involves a lot of walking I would inevitably choose fashion over function (innocently – I always thought I’d be more comfortable than I was!) and then 45 minutes later ruin our time by being too uncomfortable to continue. He noticed right away when I started wearing these because I am good to go for long walks and activities without a single complaint (well, unless I’m hot…or tired…or hungry, haha) and they go great with a skirt or sundress in a way that sneakers can’t.

Payless Claire Flats

If you love these shoes as much as I do, check back on the Payless site or in stores every few months because they seem to get new colors and patterns seasonally. I’ve also found that sometimes the stores have styles that aren’t shown online and vice versa. Get to the store and try these on (or buy them online using eBates for cash back – see below!) – you’ll never look back!

2. AmazonSmile



Did you know that by just typing one extra word into the Amazon URL, a portion of almost everything you buy on Amazon can go to the charity of your choice? Let’s say you want to buy this doughnut pan, this amazing book, or these packages of PB2. When you click any of those links you’ll see that instead of starting with “www.amazon.com”, they begin with “smile.amazon.com” instead. When you access Amazon by replacing the “www” with “smile” Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to a charity you get to pick! Choose from almost a million eligible nonprofit groups (my AmazonSmile purchases benefit my local Make-A-Wish chapter and future Mr. Bites’ purchases benefit an environmental conservancy group), so your purchases benefit something meaningful to you. Half a percent may not sound like a lot, but imagine if everyone used this on every purchase they made on Amazon…that’s a lot of nonprofit funding!

The easiest way to remember to use this is to bookmark smile.amazon.com in your preferred web browser. I will also commit to try to remember to always start any Amazon affiliate links I may post with the appropriate smile wording. I love Amazon, so knowing my purchases are doing some good is just a huge bonus. Plus, if you’re trying to rationalize buying something awesome, “it’s helping charity” makes a great excuse to buy.

See here for AmazonSmile FAQs.

3. Pampered Chef Food Chopper

Pampered Chef Food Chopper

I hate chopping onions. Luckily, I haven’t done it by hand in months! I bought this food chopper at a Pampered Chef party I attended last Fall and it’s now one of my favorite kitchen tools. It really does reduce prep time for recipes that involve a lot of chopping and dicing and it saves you from the tears running down your cheeks when having to chop onions by hand! I’ve used it for all different vegetables and nuts and I’m hooked. You simply place the item you want to chop under the chopper on a cutting board (you may have to slice something in half or quarter it first if it is large) and then push down on the top a bunch of times until the food is chopped to your desired size. Smacking down on the top of the chopper is also pretty good stress relief, if you need it. The chopper also breaks down super simply into a few pieces to make it fast and easy to clean.

I am not a Pampered Chef sales rep, but if you know one then feel free to reach out to them or it appears you can order the chopper directly from their web site. I believe other brands have similar products as well if you prefer, though I haven’t tried them so I can’t really speak to how they compare.

Never chop onions again! Leave that to your food chopper. That’s its job.

4. eBates


I seem to be talking a lot about online shopping in this post, but I had to be sure to share this one with you.

Do you want to earn money for shopping online? Oh, you do? Of course you do. Guess what? That’s a real thing! Sign up on eBates and you can earn a % cash back on purchases at over 1,700 online stores such as Macy’s, Target, Bed, Bath Beyond, Land’s End, Ulta, Nordstrom, Toys R Us, ModCloth – almost anywhere you shop online! Plus, right now you get a $10 gift card just for signing up – seriously! I chose to get mine to Target and I spent it as soon as I got it.

Once you have an account, all you have to do when you want to shop online is start at eBates and type in the online store you want to shop in. Once eBates links you to the stores web site you can shop away and when you check out, you’ll get cash back for a percentage of your purchase in your eBates account. Every once in a while when your eBates account gets enough money, they send you a check. I’ve gotten a few checks from them – it really works! You can even earn some cash back for referring your friends – the links in this paragraph are my personal referral link, so if a few of you sign up from here I believe I will earn something back for referring you. I’d be referring you regardless though…it’s a way for you to get money back for doing something you’d be doing anyway! Who wouldn’t want to share that?

5. Trader Joe’s Turkey Corn Dogs

Trader Joe's Turkey Corn Dogs

So you may be thinking…corn dogs, really? I hear ya. I have never given corn dogs a second thought and though I think I’ve tried them once or twice before these I was never blown away…until now. I am basically obsessed with these. I first saw them on Instagram when Kerri (wwpickyeatersplate) posted that she had a couple for dinner and they were only 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus each (I love following other WWers!). I filed that away in my head and figured next time I was at TJ’s I would pick up a box to try. So I did. Then the next time we went to TJ’s after that I bought 5 more boxes. No lie.

Trader Joe's Turkey Corn Dogs

What’s so great about them? Well, the texture is perfect. You bake them in the oven and the outside gets all crispy and actually tastes like they came out of a fryer (no shame in my game, I love fried food), while the inside of the cornbread layer is soft and cakey and a little sweet. The hot dog inside is delicious and eating something on a stick is always fun. They taste great dipped in a little mustard and each corn dog is only 150 calories, so you can eat one with a side of oven fries and some veggies or fruit salad for a low point/low calorie meal that tastes indulgent. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, pick up a box (or two, or five) next time you’re there – you won’t regret it!

Honorable Mention: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars

Why an honorable mention? Trust me, it’s not because I love this book any less than the other things listed. It’s more that there is already so much hype surrounding The Fault In Our Stars right now (due to the corresponding movie that just came out) that I kind of assume you’re already being bombarded by it every time you turn on your computer. Kind of like if I had been like “You know what’s a good movie? Frozen!” a few months ago when it was so big that it was everywhere (I really do love Frozen though as well).

The thing is, this book deserves every bit of the hype. I put off reading it for a really long time even though I kept hearing about it because most of what I heard was “it’s about someone with cancer” and “it’s a total sob-fest.” I really didn’t feel like depressing myself so I stayed away. I read a lot and I get totally attached to characters. I didn’t want to be heartbroken and I didn’t want to read something that was sad just to be sad and really went for it trying to make the reader bawl like a baby.

I finally broke and started reading it and right away it was obviously not what I expected. This wasn’t a preachy, over-the-top, tug-at-your-heartstrings, Hallmark-commercial attempt to make me cry. The story feels authentic and the characters are genuine and engaging and seem real. The writing is beautiful. The book is funny and smart and sad and I couldn’t put it down. You will totally fall in love with Augustus. You will care so much about Hazel. If you haven’t read this yet, let me be the zillionth person to recommend it to you. Yes, you’ll cry, but it will be worth it.

So, that’s what I’m loving right now – let me know what you think! If you’re also loving my favorite things or if you want to tell me some favorites of your own (I would love that), leave a comment below. I want to hear from you!

34 comments on “Things I’m Loving: June 2014”

  1. I will attest to those amazing flats. I’m actually wearing them right now and they are outstanding. I think I have normal width feel but slightly narrower heels, so flats and heels slip out of most shoes when I walk. I can’t wear pumps. But not with these! They stay on, are crazy comfortable and CHEAP! (Not affiliated with them in any way, I just love them).

    Thanks for the other tips! I might check out the onion chopper, I am a huge huge baby with them.

    Regarding eBates, what do they get out of the deal?

    • I also have no affiliation with Payless, I’m just obsessed with those flats, haha. I’m wearing them too! Happy to hear you’re also a fan.

      I assume eBates has some sort of referral fee situation set up with the web sites they partner with? That’s my guess.

      The chopper is awesome! I’m making the Barley Beef Skillet on my site for dinner tonight and there is so much chopping…I’m thrilled I won’t have to do it by hand, haha.

  2. I can attest to the Pampered Chef Chopper – I’ve had mine for at least 10 years – I love it! You know when you want to make a fruit salsa, but you really don’t want to chop up all the fruit? Chop, Chop, Chop and you are done!

    Also, love the other items you mention – I LOVE getting the check from ebates! It’s amazing how quickly my on line shopping adds up 🙂

  3. This list is the shiz! I love it. I whole heartedly agree with everything, thought I have not tried the corn dogs yet (added to my grocery list though!). TFIOS is truly one of the best books I read and if you like that book by John Green, definitely check out Looking for Alaska and Paper Town (his next book that is being made into a movie)!

    Love your blog and thank you for helping me find food I can actually cook for my husband and myself!

    • Thanks Jacqueline! You obviously have great taste ;). I was actually *just* looking to see what else John Green has written, so thanks for the recommendations! I will try Paper Town next and go from there.

      Definitely check out the corn dogs. They’re SO GOOD! Thanks for the sweet comments – so glad you and the hubby are loving the recipes!

  4. Thanks for the shoutout Emily! I love how your freezer is stocked with 3 corn dog boxes haha mine has at least 2 at all times! They’re so damn good! My fiance just tried them for the first time this weekend since he was always kind of skeptical of the ‘turkey’ part of the corn dog and I finally convinced him to just try them and now he’s obsessed too. I had to go out and get another box on Sunday after we both had 2 of them because he wanted more! haha

    Also I will be checking out those flats this weekend! I’ve been looking for another pair of comfortable flats (I currently have Sam Edelman’s which are super comfy but soooo pricey) and these seem perfect! And that price! Can’t beat that! 🙂

    I know I’ve told you before but I’ll tell you again – I love your blog so much! I know you see your recipes all the time on my IG feed haha thanks for all the amazing and delicious recipe ideas!

    • No, thank YOU for turning me on to these wonderful sticks of Heaven! My fiance wanted a bite the other day after I made one for myself and I looked at him like he was insane, haha. MAKE YOUR OWN. 😛

      You are going to LOVE the flats. Whenever I war something else I inevitably regret it. I got my mom and my sister hooked too. Best shoes ever!

      Thanks so much for following my blog and for sharing your pics on instagram. I love seeing which recipes people made and loved! 🙂

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE those flats as well. I bought them in black probably close to 2 years ago….I had no idea they came in so many other colors! Seems like a trip to Payless is in my near future 🙂 And now I can’t wait to try the TJ’s corn dogs….hubby is obsessed with those darn things at every festival/carnival he can find. Who knew you could get such WW friendly ones?!

    • Yes, get to Payless!!! Haha. I actively check to see if they have new patterns…I’m a superfan.

      The TJ’s corn dogs are unreal. You are both going to love them and now he won’t have to wait ’til the fair to eat them! 🙂

  6. This is a great post!! I can never find comfortable flats, and I have also been putting off reading The Fault in Our Stars for the exact same reason as you. Good to know I should just go for it! Thanks for sharing all this great info; you should do it more often! 🙂

    • Yay, thanks Amanda! Maybe I will :). You need to try both, let me know what you think!

  7. Loved reading about your current favorite things, Emily!! Maybe next you can figure out how to give all those things to your loyal and devoted readers. lol!!

    I have one pair of those Payless flats, but I should definitely get more!! My family and I are huge Amazon shoppers, and I had no idea about the “smile” thing!! Mind blown!! I don’t mind chopping onions, but that chopper is great to have around when kiddos are helping you in the kitchen! Love it! I don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby 🙁 , but I would sure try those corn dogs if I did!!

    TFIOS is such a great book! I haven’t gotten to see the movie yet, but I’m dying to! I agree with an earlier poster that “Looking for Alaska” is another great read by John Green! Highly recommended!!

    I was coming to your site to get the Chicken Tamale Bake recipe for tonight’s dinner, and I’m glad I did. Hadn’t gotten the email update yet. 🙂 Thanks, as always, for your posts that entertain and inform. 🙂

    • Haha, wouldn’t that be awesome? I would love to be like Oprah and be all “YOU get Payless flats and YOU get Payless flats and YOU get Payless flats!” lol. Maybe Payless will find this post and decide they should sponsor that. Hey, Payless, over here!! 😉

      So glad to have turned you on to Amazon smile! I wish I could mail you some TJ’s corn dogs, but hopefully you will get to try them someday. Maybe I will try Looking for Alaska next then. I have to finish the book I’m currently reading first but I would really like to read another John Green book after. Thanks for the tip!

      The email updates are set to auto-send at 8 AM the morning after the post goes live, so you missed it by like a half hour! Haha. Hope the tamale bake was delicious! Thanks for writing!!

  8. I am so going to Payless and get some shoes.. I NEED moore shoes. I also didn’t know about the Smile thing on Amazon… but.. I love Ebates, and the Fault in Our Stars book, ( I also read Looking for Alaska. super good read!) Not sure I can get the turkey dogs past my family. I love the chopper for everything. Actually I had two of them but when my daughter moved out she took one. 🙁
    The only thing I would add would be THIS SITE!!!!

    • Yessss, you are going to love these shoes!! I should work for Payless or something because I tell everyone about them, haha. Let me know what you think! It appears we have similar tastes in everything else, so you should love them ;). Thanks for the love! <3

  9. Than you Emily for the tips & favs. I really like your site and have gotten so many great recipes here. I LOVE gadgets, so when you find any cool ones, please pass them along. I do have a chopper. I’m going to Payless and check out the flats, and will download the TFIOS this weekend!

    Keep the favorite things coming! 🙂

    • Thanks Kathy!! I will definitely keep in mind to include more of my favorite gadgets in future lists. I love them as well! I hope you love the flats and the book! Come back and let me know what you think!

  10. Thanks so much for letting me know about Amazon. I order from there a lot and didn’t know of this. Thanks for an awesome blog too!

    • Aw, thanks Yvonne! Glad to fill you in on AmazonSmile – if you’re going to shop anyway you might as well be helping a charity, right?

  11. I’m in the market for a new pair of flats and just spent a lot of money on a pair I have to return. Heading to Payless tomorrow. Thanks for the tip!

  12. Really liked this email, fun to hear about your favorites – one question about these payless flats, do they have any arch support at all? So many of the flats and sandals have no support and my feet start to hurt in no time! Glad you liked TFIOS, it is on our book club reading list for the fall!!

    • Yay, I’m thrilled you love the post! I am a horrible judge of arch support because I have bizarrely flat arches. I can say I have worn these all day walking around and my feet never hurt, if that helps!

  13. I’m with you on 3 out of 5. My daughter owns about four pairs of those flats, I have used mt Pamaered Chef chopper for years, and started earning Ebates money a couple of Christmas’ ago. Great post.

  14. I have had my Pampered Chef Chopper for at least 15- 16 YEARS. I still have the original box it came in and i use it to chop other vegetables as well as nuts and olives. It may be a bit pricey but their products last for years, or 15 and counting 🙂

  15. Thanks for the info on Amazon! I am a huge Amazon fan and had no clue. I will also be sharing this info with all my Facebook friends! What a great way to give to charity.

    I’m also going to checkout TFIOS, Ebates, and of course the shoes!!!

    I’ve just found your website, and I’m truly loving it!

  16. Oh my goodness I love those Dexflex shoes! I may or may not owen 4 or 5 different pairs but they are oh so comfortable!

    And The Fault in Our Stars was splendid! 🙂

  17. Soooo Interested in these “turkey corndogs”? cause yes…..I love corndogs but not all the grease n fat associated with them. I don’t believe though I’ve seen them at any of our grocery stores :(. Do you have any idea where I could find them TY 🙂

    • Hi Lori, these are from a chain of grocery stores called Trader Joe’s and are only found at those stores!

  18. Thanks for the wonderful review! But I bought a pair of those deflex comfort scrunch flats and they keep bruising the back of my ankle! Can you help me alleviate the pain? Or any tips on how to make them more comfortable since you seem to really love them? I would really love to be able to wear my pair because it looks so cute.

    • I’m so sorry to hear you had that problem! Of course, my review above only reflects my own experiences, and everyone’s feet are different, but my mom, my sister and several of my friends all wear and swear by these because they’re so comfortable (for us). I have had the heel problem you mentioned with plenty of other flats, but not these. I wish I could help but these worked for me right out of the box. My best suggestion is to take them back and continue searching for a pair/brand that works better for you. If you find an awesome, affordable brand you love, feel free to post it here as well in case anyone else had the same issue. A girl can never have too many shoe recommendations 🙂

  19. your article is great and cute…but the thing i love the most is the food chopper. i havent seen anything a chopper like that, but im sure i would love to have that as well? whre you bought it BTW? Mine is, it has a handle where i can rotate the blade in a container.. the blade is interchangeable for slicing , chop, and grate…

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