I hope that doesn’t bring a whole new demographic to my blog.
But for real, I am doing something wrong at Trader Joes. In that, I don’t know what the hell to buy there.
Oh sure, I have a few favorites (keep reading) but for the most part, when I walk into a Trader Joes it’s like it’s the first time I have stepped outside of the bunker in 15 years.
Is it just me or do you ever feel like you don’t belong inside a Trader Joes? Like, they must know I am not a “regular” or someone who doesn’t know how to cook quinoa or doesn’t use organic laundry detergent.
I feel like I don’t really fit their demographic but it is so much damn fun to shop there!
It doesn’t even feel like grocery shopping!
My Aldi doesn’t have a nautical bell that they ring when they need to open another register and the constantly unhappy employees of my local Walmart don’t wear tropical shirts nor do they ask me what I am planning on making with my newly-purchased Madagascar vanilla and navel oranges like the employees of Trader Joes do!
Then I was thinking, how would I describe Trader Joes to someone who may not have ever been there?
Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota don’t have a Trader Joes within their states. It looks like Mississippi and Arkansas don’t either.
So how would I describe a Trader Joes to someone who lives in say, South Dakota?
It’s like an upscale convenience store.
This is precisely why no one is ever asking me to help them with their blog bio.
Maybe this reason too.
So if you do a Google search of “what to buy at Trader Joes”, three solid pages of blogs, websites, guides, tutorials of what TO and NOT TO buy at Trader Joes pop up.
Well, I stopped at three pages.
I DON’T HAVE TIME TO COUNT GOOGLE PAGES.
That’s just one page.
Then I found an article on my new favorite time-wasting website, Apartment Therapy about Trader Joes Most Loved Products, According to Superfans.
Well if the “superfans” say so, it must be!
Not one damn grocery item on the list.
If you don’t want to read the article, I will give some spoilers.
You know you’re getting old when providing information about grocery store items is considered a spoiler.
Candles, facial toner, body butter WAIT, DOES THIS PLACE SELL FOOD?
Here is a much more detailed article by Business Insider.
Below are some of my favorite things to buy at Trader
An honest list from a person who is gaining nothing financially to share this with you and who probably doesn’t have any business being on the inside of one.
They are currently selling this scent on Amazon for $14. I am quite positive it wasn’t anywhere near that price at Trader Joes. Way sleazy, Amazon.
I didn’t always love the candles at Trader Joes. Once I bought a Honeycrisp Apple scented candle there and it smelled too much like an apple that I had to give it to someone to get it the hell out of my house.
Okay, I may have dropped it into someone’s purse.
But this past Christmas, my dear friend Melanie gave me the Cedar Balsam scent as a hostess gift and it was divine. The perfect pine scent without smelling like a car air freshener.
Mandarin Orange Chicken
By the way, that photo up there is courtesy of yet again, Amazon. Who is selling a four-pack of this for 79 bucks. What the mandarin chicken??
But Trader Joe’s Mandarin orange chicken is pretty good and is our go-to frozen meal to get at TJ’s. Easy to prepare, not at all authentic but when you want Americanized Chinese-ish food, this will definitely do in a pinch.
Blue Fin Riesling
I haven’t had an alcoholic bev since the week of Christmas and I feel amazing. I also feel like that is a whole other post. But when I do drink wine, the Blue Fin brand at Trader Joes is one of my favorites.
It gets you drunk fast, I doesn’t normally give you a headache, and it’s only five bucks.
Rose Water Facial Toner
I happened to get two of these for my girls’ Christmas stockings and then found out that they both had been using them already and love this. I guess Anna introduced Ella to it since she started wearing makeup this year. One of the many perks of having an older sister. 🙂
They both love this, it’s very affordable, and if used properly will last a long while.
Ella has loved these since she was a toddler. She is also the kid that eats only the strawberries in the Special K with strawberries cereal and none of the cardboardy bran cereal.
Okay, we all do that.
So when I hit a Trader Hoes, I always stock up on these.
Also, don’t tell me to try and dehydrate at home in the oven.
It was ugly.
I don’t want to relive it.
Although according to Business Insider, you should skip their produce section altogether because most of it is near its expiration. Which might be why the bananas are so cheap.
Hands down favorite part of Trader Joes. Their flowers are relatively inexpensive and they have unusual varieties.
They also have really affordable house plants there as well.
Fun seasonal items
I love that trivet in the picture above. I bought it at TJ’s over the holidays and usually use it in the kitchen but right now it’s being used to protect a table from the heat of a metal candle.
Trader Joes has lots of fun stuff other than just chicken and flowers. Wool balls for the dryer, felt ball garlands, lotions in seasonal scents, trivets. All sorts of fun things that are seasonal. Christmas is usually the most fun time to buy these items.
But get them early in the season and definitely before the famous blogs start sharing these things or they will be gone.
I know this from experience.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
I have been buying this for years and it never disappoints. I remember when my friend Melissa and I had toddlers and would run to Trader Joes to get “fancy” food for playdates with each other to pretend like we were rich. We would eat our dip with tortilla chips and feel like we were royalty. See? This is why Trader Joes is just good.
I could eat that entire jar in one sitting.
A couple of things I don’t really like that others love:
I do not “get” the body butter. I tried it once and it felt like using coconut oil.
The baking kind, not the tanning kind. Crumbly, nasty and absolutely no smell whatsoever.
Everything but the bagel seasoning. I don’t like sesame seeds, so this is ruined for me.
Tell me every single thing you swear by at Trader Joes. Not your whole list, but what items you can’t find anywhere else that you love to get there.