Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm back to shopping! Starwest Botanicals for kosher supplements

I've had to take some time off finding deals as I with my job loss situation and an upcoming move I haven't been able to afford much. I've been using up what I've have on hand. And I've been spending more time on rewards sites rather than spending money. I'll post more about rewards

However, I've had to make an exception for supplements. It can be a huge challenge to get kosher certified supplements at affordable prices. Starwest Botanicals Inc. is the best pricing I've seen with an incredible selection. Nearly everything, except for a handful of items, marked are certified kosher. I love that there are not just capsules but also powders, loose and bagged teas, pill making supplies, essential oils and so many more items.

Also if you are a reseller, they have wholesale accounts for volume orders!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Feldheim Publishers for Jewish books

Feldheim is one of the leading frum publishers. Basically it's a treasure trove to get the essentials--the chumash, siddurim, books of tehillim, books on kashrut and shabbat. Plus a bunch of other wonderful books. Great gift items. They often do have inventory reduction sales, not on the essentials but on the extras. I like to stock up at this time for gifts. Nice little books to give for presents such as birthdays, hostess gifts and other gift giving occasions.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just joined swagbucks.com and already earned an Amazon giftcard

So...I've been having fun the last few days researching for upcoming posts. One big item with becoming frum is the huge amount of books that will become a reference library. And there'll always be yet another book on the wish list.

As I'm very underemployed at the moment, I've been looking at ways of being about to do web stuff. I've had a some success at Swagbucks.com. Basically it's a site that lets you earn a few points here and there doing web searches, surveys, watching you-tube style video content. You can even trade in your old books for credit. The point credit can be redeemed for various offers, my favorites either being Amazon or Target giftcards. It's only been a few days and I've earned enough for my firsst Amazon card. Click on the above link and get free 30 points for signing up. There's no cost involved.

Search & Win

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kosher grocer ships anywhere in the US

For kosher items you can't get in regular stores (or even in the tiny kosher mart in the neighborhood), there's wonderful online sources at great prices. I like AviGlatt.com for their selection and free local delivery. They do deliver all over the US for free but have higher minimums for dry good and even express shipping for perishables. Or just pay for shipping for small orders Even living in Manhattan, I will very frequently place larger orders online as it is often less expensive, better selection and a huge time saver. Trust me, right before chagim, it can be frustrating experience to go shop in stores in person where everyone else is shopping, but a breeze online.

I think if I need to travel outside a Jewish community, I might want to go ahead and order some items to the destination site to save on the shlepping and have a better selection.

Some discount codes to save even more

Coupon Code school for AviGlatt.Com
Get 15.00% OFF
Valid from 8/22/2012 until 9/5/2012

Or this code will be valid longer Coupon Code tjoos for AviGlatt.Com
Get 10.00% OFF
Valid from 6/23/2009 until 12/27/2013
Minimum Cart: 1.00 USD

My best online source kosherwine.com

Living in New York has its advantage that pretty much any wine store will have at least a few bottles of kosher wine. At least the basics of a red, white, various degrees of dry to sweet. Outside of major Jewish areas, often the options quickly dwindle to kosher grape juice and if one is lucky, the very sickly sweet traditional wine.

So when I began my journey out of state, this is where KosherWine.com was a lifesaver for two reasons, the huge selection and the price. Check out the free shipping area for case selection that ship free if you are looking to stock up.

A few years back our shul give a wine of the month subscription to our rabbi, who was a wine enthusiast and he greatly enjoyed.
Like many of my posts, there is an affiliate link, clicking through my site costs you nothing but I earn a tiny cut. Not much but helps me with this blogging hobby.

I LOVE my Soda Stream SodaMaker

My "housewarming" gift when I moved into my current apartment a few years back was a Soda stream soda/seltzer maker. I've used it pretty much several times a week and at sometimes even several times a day! My counter space is at a premium, but this is one appliance that has earned the right not to get put away in the cabinet.

Life in NYC means A LOT of shlepping groceries. It's not fun to have to carry a couple of two liter bottles along with all the other weekly or pre-Shabbat purchases. Even with a cart, it's still a pain. Then there's having to separate the plastic bottles to recycle. When I've had a few guests over for shabbat, that could be several bottles of beverage used with the bottles just lying around until I can take them to the apartment basement post shabbat.

Sodastream has solved that issue since the concentrates are much smaller and lighter to carry. Or just use plain water and make seltzer for just the cost of the CO2 used. The syrups are OU certified. Many rabbis do permit using Sodastream on Shabbat since there's no electricity and it's just mixing CO2 into liquid. I also like that this is a Israeli based company and manufacturing is in Israel!

I know the company likes to tout a cost savings of using their CO2 supplies and syrups versus buying soda by the bottle. Perhaps there is, but really I like not having to deal with big bottles. Besides regular soda, I like making Italian sodas and sparkling water mixes with a bit of juice. Cranberry and Apple juice are a bit too concentrated and high in calories on their own, but mixing it will a bit of fizzy seltzer is a nice way of having a flavored bubbly beverage that's not high calorie. Another option for me is that I use flavored syrups, preferably sugar-free ones like they have at Starbucks. I like Cherry, Almond, Vanilla, Hazelnut Italian sodas. Basically it's just making the seltzer and adding the syrup. Even more adventurous is taking the flavored soda, and turning it into a delicious egg cream. See, I told you I am a huge fan!
SodastSodastreamream has expanded greatly since I bought their product online. The concentrates are now being sold at many retailers including Bed, Bath and Beyond and Best Buy. However, I still use the site for ordering the CO2 replacement cartridges. Still feel a bit funny taking an empty canister to get swapped out. Plus my neighborhood has free delivery. I also use the code FREEMIX to get a free concentrate when I order a CO2 refill so it makes it worthwhile to order online.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Great source for Layering Shells

Yesterday, I mentioned an Israeli company for tznuit clothing I like, Kosher Casual. I love the company but there's another site that's in New York state so faster and cheaper shipping.

However, there are some special items my friends and I like at Shell Sheli's. Kiki Riki is a brand name of shells. Quite a few shell stores in Brooklyn carry this brand. The store also sells Linda Leal brand which is more upscale. I have some LL jumpers and have received many compliments on the quality.

It takes some trial and error to discover what size shell (hint, they tend to run small), sleeve length and material work for you. The cotton/spandex shells tend to be the ones I buy most often. The cotton has a natural feel on skin, the bit of spandex keeps it shape, so that it doesn't stretch out. Generally they are a little less expensive than the dressy one I'll describe next. Perfect for wearing around the house or doing errands in everyday clothes. Also this site as much needed and rarely seen, plus sizes.

One that my friends and I especially like are the ones label "dressy shell." These are microfiber and have a little bit of shiny look. Not glittery, metallic shine but when compared to a flat matte cotton look, the microfiber has a little bit more of a fancier appearance. Looks nice with a shabbat dress or under a jumper worn for work. Right now on this site, they are the same price as the regular shells, often times dressy shells are a bit more expensive which is why I don't buy these as often. However, I'm going purchase the dressy ones while they are the same price.

The other product that I think would be great for those upgrading their current wardrobe to tznuit standards is the dress/skirt extender. This is a fairly new product as a few years back, I had a lot of difficulty kosher-izing my wardrobe as a lot my dress hit right at the knee when standing, which means my full knee was often exposed when sitting. Not good and I felt awful having to replace otherwise nice clothes I liked for longer substitutes. Later on, I found out a lot of women will just wear a longer black skirt undernearth. This does work, except that it adds bulk with having a double waistband of two skirts. There's also "matching" the style of a skirt with the underskirt. These skirt extenders work beautifully, as instead of the bulk of a skirt, there's a thin elastic slip band and 8" of fabric, so that even a mini-skirt can be made kosher with the extender. For me, the extender winders up making the just right at the knees skirt to mid calf, though if I wore the extender further down waist to hips, I could get to almost ankle length.

Just a caveat, the layering dress is tempting, I know since it solves not just knees, but also sleeves and high neck coverage. BUT I don't recommend the Kiki Riki brand layer dress except on very petite women. I am 5'5" but a bit zaftig, and found the layer dress to be cutting too close to full knee coverage without my worrying and feeling I should tug at it.

Instead for the layering dress from Shell Sheli's, purchase a similar item from Kosher Casual. Even with paying for shipping it will be cheaper than the one at Shell Sheli's.  The one from Kosher Casual is a very nice layer dress, comes in white, black or brown (nice to see another color) and does nicely cover knee when sitting. I also like how as a one piece dress, the top half doesn't ride up as sometimes a top shell does.


Although, I'm a single, I don't have a halachic need to cover hair, but many single women do get special hair accessories for shabbat and yom tovim. Fancy barrettes, bows, sparkly clips are all items that the single women wear as part of dressing up fancy. CoverYourHair.com has all sorts of hair coverings for married women and pretty things for singles, gift items for children. I also saw a much loved Goody hair brush I haven't been able to find restocked in stores. Click on the link above to have a look. In full disclosure, the site pays a very tiny commission if one buys, but it costs you nothing. Use code "OS" for 15% discount.

The Kosher Lamp and Bug Checker Light

There are a variety of kosher products at Kosher Innovations, but in my opinion, the best three are the Kosher Lamp, the Bug Checking light, and toothbrush and another popular favorite is the alarm clock.

The Classic Kosher Lamp has a small window giving enough illumination to read when sitting next to the lamp. The Max design has a larger light window and another feature I love which is a thumb button you can use before/after shabbos to turn the light on and off. The Max design is slightly more expensive but I think it is worth it. I tend to like the more traditional decor type patterns like the silver, gold and cherry wood, but there are modern designs and colors.

I have to say that a kosher lamp comes in handy so often when hosting guests and when being hosted as well. It's been very appreciated when I've stayed in a guest room or living room and didn't know my way around the new setting and having the light helped. Hopefully people that have stayed by me have felt a bit more comfortable with the kosher lamp.

I recommend is the Bug checking light as another quality of life invention. This is a chumrah (stringency) but one I find makes checking far easier, faster and much more accurate. Not just in terms of bugs but also dirt and off spots on produce. I use a bug light often, so it generally stays on my counter.

I like the gentleness of the shabbos toothbrush. During the week, I use a sonic brush, so going without on Shabbos was just a mild annoyance, but after a 3 day shabbos/yom tov combo, it was just an icky feeling. You can use the toothbrush with the toothwash also sold on the website or one its own.

Also I don't need an alarm clock as I am pretty good about waking myself up (plus I don't go to the "early" anything), but I know folks have raved over their kosher alarm clock. It has 10 time settings so you can set to wake up in the morning, up from nap, time to go to shuir and a few other times. In shabbat/yom tov mode it turns itself off after a minute. It can also be used as a regular alarm during the week.

Both the lamp and the bug checker light make fantastic gifts for any observant folks. Especially the lamp, as who couldn't use yet another lamp either in the bedroom, living room or other public area of the house! There are a few other interesting products on the website, but these are the ones I;ve used and/or heard highly recommended.

A reasonable Israeli made Modest Clothing site

Many of my posts will be about women's tznuit or modest clothing. In my journey, this was an area that I was encouraged early to take on. As a quiet person, I've always been a fairly modest person, not wanting to attract attention, but I did wear short sleeve shirts, and skirts that often fell right at the knee when standing.

Before throwing out everything, many items in one's closet can be saved. The beauty of a shell, a light shirt worn under tops will solve the neckline, sleeve, and any transparency issues (i.e. thin fabric, lace exposing skin, or decorative cut outs). Outside of Jewish clothing stores, it can be difficult to find shells. Even when living in Manhattan, I found I often needed to travel to Brooklyn but then I didn't know the best stores with the best prices or more commonly I shopped online.

Kosher Casual  manufactures and sells modernly modest clothing for girls, teens and women and all is made in Israel. I love supporting Israel with my online purchasing. Skirts, layering tops and creative modest accessories at great prices and they are good quality for the price. Even workout skirts and swimwear. I recommend checking out the sales area first. Their inventory does change regularly so I do check back regularly. My only complaint is that shipping from Israel does take a little longer than purchasing closer to home, but that's to be expected, and really the cost isn't that bad as compared to purchasing from other small online businesses.

If you are curious to check out more, Please click on either the text link or picture below. In full disclosure this is an affiliate link, if you buy, I hopefully earn a few pennies (literally it's pennies unless you're really replacing your wardrobe). Regardless I am a happy Kosher Casual customer and plan on buying more from then as my budget allows

Welcome to Newly frum

As someone who became religious some time ago, one of the biggest hurdles for me is the costs. Sure there are many online sources to buy, but it can get very expensive very quickly. For other items, it's a matter of find a source for that unique but very much desired treat. 

Rarely is it discussed, but the costs of becoming and staying frum can get pricey. Starting to keep kosher means replacing much of one's kitchen and dining pieces. Some kosher food items can be difficult to find even when willing and able to buy them, so finding new links is such a delight.

Not to mention for ladies, upgrading one's wardrobe means at the very least, purchasing shells, wearing dresses and skirts with longer sleeves and hems.

For out of town folks, it's often difficult to find much needed Judiaca and finding out about good deals as they come and not two days after the online sale ended. In many cases, out of towners also wind up moving to a larger community, so there are significant relocation experiences.

As a frugal bargain shopper, I have enjoyed the challenges of becoming religious while not maxing out my credit cards. I've often informally shared my "finds" with my friends, but I'd love to reach out to a wider audience. Hence this blog has been created. I'm going to post links to sites that I've personally used in my journey along with the the sales I come across these days.