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Service Review: Boston Organics

December 29, 2021 Leave a comment

Boston Organics is an organic only grocery delivery service for homes and offices. They focus on local whenever possible and supporting other small businesses. They are committed to sustainability, including recycling and composting.

Their service area includes towns surrounding Boston such as Billerica and Waltham. See their full delivery area here.

I originally signed up for Boston Organics in October 2012. I put my account on pause when my work location and schedule meant it was easier for me to get to the grocery store. When the pandemic arrived and grocery stores in the Boston area were largely out of stock of a lot of produce, I was thrilled to be able to unpause my account and resume my deliveries in March of 2020. I am not exaggerating when I say when my first delivery included a fresh pepper – I cried.

When you sign up for Boston Organics, you choose what type and size of box you want. They range from small to family size. Many sizes let you choose the proportion of fruits to veggies. There is also the “dogma box,” which is the local foods only box. Cost of boxes ranges from $27 to $60. You can choose every week or every other week delivery. My family of two gets the small box with every other week delivery. The produce lasts us one week, but we alternate this service with another for increased variety.

When you sign up, you set up your produce preferences. You can change these at any time. There’s a set list of what boxes are getting what produce each week, but these are adjusted to suit your preferences. Your options are dislike, neutral, like, and love. If you set dislike you never get that produce item. If you set neutral, you sometimes get it in smaller quantities. You can set a whole category of produce, like I do here:

Or you can expand a category and set the items individually, like I do for alliums.

The basic boxes are just produce, but you can order “add-ons.” You can do these one week at a time, or just add them to every week as a subscription. The add-ons are really fun. They include pantry staples like pasta and beans to beverages to eggs to tofu. What I really like about them is how thoughtfully sourced they are. They come from mostly small local businesses, like my subscription tofu delivery is made in New York state. You can also add on produce itself. This is part of why my family does the small box because then I add on produce I know we want every time, like spinach. This gives us both consistency and variety. You can also add-on a tip for your driver. These are in $1 increments, so you can add on whatever you think is appropriate. I really appreciate they added this feature. You have until noon the day before your delivery to make adjustments to your subscription/account for most items. There’s a special deadline for bread and dairy.

The produce gets dropped off in a reusable green box. They will leave it wherever you want, including inside your front door if you give them a key. They are insured to do this. We have ours left on our porch.

They pick up the previous delivery’s plastic box at the time of the next delivery. You do need to remember to leave it out for them. I love that they use a reusable box. It’s more sustainable, and I don’t have to mess around with crushing down a giant recycling box. If it’s summer and hot, you can leave a cooler out for them. The Boston Organics driver will put any chilled items into that cooler. Obviously from the snow on our porch, that wasn’t necessary for us at the time of this delivery!

If you ever have any issues with your delivery, it’s incredibly easy to report. There’ s a “report order issues” button on your account. You fill out a quick form, and a person gets back to you. Human beings run this business, so of course sometimes errors happen. They are not common, though. I would say we see an error once a quarter. The response is always speedy. You usually get a credit toward your next order equal to or more than the amount of the item with the problem. Sometimes you also get that item as a free add-on next time if it’s produce. Better than that, though, is the issue manager tells you exactly what they’re going to do to address it so it doesn’t happen again. I really appreciate how transparent they are and wonderfully easy to deal with.

Overall, Boston Organics makes eating fresh, organic produce and groceries year-round convenient and easy. The customer service is A+, and I’m happy to recommend them.

Sign up for Boston Organics here. Be sure to use my referral coupon code for a 10% discount off your first delivery. Coupon code: 2163boa9b9

Although I do receive 10% off my next delivery when someone else signs up, please know that I only recommend services and products that I have tried out for a significant time and can wholeheartedly recommend.

Have questions about the service? Feel free to leave them in the comments section!

Product Review: Allay Lamp

February 23, 2021 Leave a comment
A glowing green lamp.

The Allay lamp is a narrow band green light therapy lamp that I purchased in early November 2020. Why did I do such a thing?

Emerging research suggests that green light therapy may be beneficial for migraines. I have episodic (non-chronic) migraines with aura. This means that I have fewer than 15 migraines a month. Fifteen or more would make it chronic. When I do have migraines, I experience aura. For me, my aura presents as seeing sound (synesthesia). What I read initially was that using a green light during a migraine as your light source might mean needing to try to function through a migraine could be less painful (akin to putting on sunglasses during a migraine). While my migraines have improved significantly since I began working remotely due to the pandemic last March, I was still having them. What really pushed it over the edge for me was that I was struggling to do yoga at home. Basically, the lighting in our home is primarily overhead. If I was in even the beginning stages of a migraine, I found it painful to do yoga. It was important to me for stress management to be able to continue to practice, so I started investigating in alternative lighting sources. But all of them just seemed like they would still cause me pain if I was symptomatic. The Allay lamp seemed like it at least stood a shot of giving me enough light to practice yoga while not causing me pain.

What’s special about green light? Different colors of light are also different wavelengths. The Allay lamp uses a very specific narrow range of green light that is small enough that it isn’t painful to look at for people with light sensitivity due to migraine. (Their website does a far better job of giving a detailed explanation than I just did.) Interestingly, new research is emerging that shows that use of green light therapy by those with migraines had a significant reduction in number of migraine days, as well as even more significant reduction how bad the migraine was when it did come, as well as improvement in quality of life. (Martin et al, 2021)

So the science is, arguably, limited, but promising, and this is a non-invasive treatment. Essentially – it’s a light. If I didn’t like it, I could just…not use it. So I figured I would go ahead and try it. Plus, I really liked that it’s charged by usb and fully portable. If I was going to use it regularly, it needed to be able to easily move around the house with me.

I’ve used it since the middle of November. This is just a description of my own experience as a person with episodic migraines with aura.

A woman in a flannel shirt looks directly into a glowing green light
  • If I am feeling at all light sensitive, I can use the Allay lamp without pain from light. This allows me to continue doing some activities.
  • Usually when I am feeling light sensitive, I am also actually in some low-level pain without realizing it. About an hour or so into using the light, I will notice that pain suddenly easing.
  • If I am experiencing prodrome (pre-migraine symptoms that tell me a migraine is oncoming), sometimes I can actually arrest the migraine by putting myself in a dark room with my Allay lamp for an hour. This is true regardless of what I am doing while I am using Allay (ie I’m not always doing yoga when I use Allay, so it’s not the yoga.) This is so much the case that if I am exhibiting any prodrome symptoms my spouse, who used to suggest I take some ibuprofen and have some caffeine (which can sometimes arrest migraines), has now started saying, “Maybe you should go spend some quality time with your lamp.”
  • My migraines are not entirely gone, but they are less frequent, less severe, and I can arrest them when they start at night without messing up my sleep by drinking caffeine. I’m also able to take ibuprofen less often, something I prefer. (I prefer not to take any medication unless I must). If I am in an active migraine, the pain is eased by spending time with Allay.
  • I usually feel less anxious after using Allay. It’s possible that my anxiety is exacerbated by pain, so this is just a symptom of the pain easing. I suppose I could try using it on a day when I am not in pain but am feeling anxious to test this. If I do, I will update this review further.

A note that when you first come out of the green light, regular light looks a little wonky. I think it looks kind of like a pinkish-purple. This was noted on the paperwork that came with my lamp and that it would pass. It’s just from seeing one wavelength of light for a time. It passes very rapidly for me (under 2 minutes), and frankly I enjoy seeing the purple light anyway (cue Purple Rain). It comes with a shade to “direct” the light. Personally, I felt like it just blocked one side of the light and didn’t make the other side stronger, so I don’t use it. The directions say you can lay your palm on the top to turn it on, but I find I have to purposefully put my finger at the particular on location on the top of the lamp.

So, bottom line? If you have migraines and the money to spare, I recommend trying it for the reasons I explained above. If you don’t have migraines but do think you’d like to try a different type of relaxation light, I don’t see any reason not to try it. The light is soothing to me, and it’s portable and easy to set up.

Currently, Allay is $149. Get $25 off the cost of the lamp by using my referral link here (the referral link generates a coupon code).
Full disclosure: I receive $25 for every purchase made with my link. However, all of my opinions in this review are an honest reflection of my experience with Allay. I tried it for three months prior to posting to ensure I had a solid amount of use of Allay prior to reviewing. I use it at least once a week, sometimes more often.

Disclaimer: The information given in this review is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Seek advice from a qualified health care provider before starting a new treatment or discontinuing a current treatment. Speak with your health care provider about any questions you may have.

If you found this review helpful, please consider tipping me on ko-fi, checking out my digital items available in my ko-fi shop, buying one of my publications, or using one of my referral/coupon codesThank you for your support!

New Release Friday: Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton by Donald Firesmith (#apocalyptic #paranormal #fantasy)

I know Opinions of a Wolf readers love a strong female lead (I do too!), so when Don contacted me about his new release, I was excited to feature it. Take it away, Don!

Front Cover HD

Blurb:
When huge holes mysteriously formed in Alaska’s North Slope, a research team went to discover their cause. But when an army of invading demons erupted out of these hell holes, only two scientists and Aileen, the team’s secretive photographer, survived. Now in this exciting second book in the Hell Holes series, they must flee south along 350 miles of the Dalton Highway, one of the world’s most treacherous roads. Aileen, a member of an ancient order charged with defending humanity from Hell, must save the two scientists, but who will save her?

Genre: apocalyptic paranormal fantasy

What makes this book unique in its genre?
The book is strongly grounded in reality and based on real life locations, which helps to make the fantasy elements (e.g., magic and invading demons) more believable. For example, in addition to the book’s beta readers and two editors, its military aspects were based on the inputs of three military advisors and a tour of the relevant parts of Eielson AFB including the Wing Commander’s conference room. Another interesting aspect is that each of the three books in the trilogy is written from the first person viewpoint of a different major character.

Could you tell us more about some of your research? It sounds like you did a lot!
I very much like to ground my science fiction in science fact, and that also carries over to my fantasy books. This book was largely driven by the flight of the three survivors of the first book (Hell Holes 1: What Lurks Below) down the Dalton Highway as they are chased by the invading demon horde. In addition to driving part of this dangerous road in real life, I have also “driven” it using Google Maps street view, and major locations along the way were often used to drive the plot to its logical conclusion.

Buy It on Amazon (print or ebook).
Buy It on Smashwords (ebook).

Coupon Code:
But wait! Now through June 30th, get the ebook for free (that’s 100% off you guys) using the coupon code HE54A on Smashwords. Get it here.

Thanks so much for being featured here on Opinions of a Wolf, Don!
Would you be interested in being featured on New Release Friday? Find out how here.
New Release Friday is a sponsored post but I only feature books on New Release Friday that I believe would interest readers of this blog. Book reviews are never sponsored. Find out more about the sponsored post policy here.

New Release Friday: Adam by James Bushill (#scifi #thriller)

I am pleased as punch to be able to feature James Bushill’s brand-new scifi thriller on today’s New Release Friday. In addition to this being Australian lit (yay Australia!) with a smoking cover, James has been the nicest person to work with on this feature. Take it away, James!

New Release Friday: Adam by James Bushill (#scifi #thriller)

Blurb:
2101. The asteroid Metis. A runner jogs along a silent tunnel, tracked by a pool of light. Then there’s a noise, a low rumble, and in the distance, another light, which becomes two headlights moving fast, the lights of an enormous mining truck. Its cab is completely empty.

Ten years earlier, Victor and his wife created Adam, the world’s first biological supercomputer. They dreamed of changing the world.

Now, Victor sleeps alone in a hospital corridor in the pollution-shrouded city of Missoula, Montana, his dreams in tatters.

He doesn’t think his life could get any worse.

But then he’s forced to return to Metis.

And when that mission becomes a desperate fight for survival amid the dark tunnels of the abandoned mine, he must finally confront the terrifying consequences of his past actions.

Genre: scifi thriller

What makes this book unique in its genre?
There are lots of stories about robots or computers that turn against their creators, but I think this might be the only one about a biological supercomputer.

What was your writing process like for this book?
“Adam” started life as a screenplay written during a screenwriting course that I took through UCLA. It’s changed a great deal since then, but it’s retained some of the fast paced, no filler style of the script. So there aren’t pages stuffed full of world building, or unnecessarily detailed descriptions of technology. Instead, there’s a thrilling science fiction story set in a dystopian future, with tragically flawed characters, and an ending that you’ll never guess.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Coupon Code:
But wait! Now through April 22nd get 50% off if you buy it through Smashwords using the coupon code: HC66M. That’ll give you this thrilling scifi read for less than $2. Buy it on Smashwords here.

Thanks so much for being featured here on Opinions of a Wolf, James!
Would you be interested in being featured on New Release Friday? Find out how here.
New Release Friday is a sponsored post but I only feature books on New Release Friday that I believe would interest readers of this blog. Book reviews are never sponsored. Find out more about the sponsored post policy here.

Announcement: Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale

Hello my lovely readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that I’ve signed both my novella and my novel up for Smashwords’s annual summer/winter sale (so entitled to cover both hemispheres).

BOTH of my books are 100% off aka FREE through the end of July!! Just use the coupon code SW100 when checking out to get my books for free!! Smashwords books are compatible with all ereaders, computers, and tablets, and you can also give Smashwords books as gifts. Click through to Smashwords by clicking on the titles.

cover_ecstaticevilEcstatic Evil
paranormal romance

Tova Gallagher isn’t just your average Bostonian. She also just so happens to be half-demon, and the demons and fairies have just issued a deadline for her to choose sides. But it’s hard to worry about the battle of good versus rebel when she’s just met a sexy stranger on the edge of the Charles River

Silhouette of woman and cat.Waiting For Daybreak
post-apocalyptic psychological science fiction

What is normal?
Frieda has never felt normal. She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment. But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies. As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?

Happy reading!