Fun fact: I had always lived near a Trader Joe’s in my hometown, had never been, and I only started going after college when a roommate introduced it to me. I always thought it was an expensive Whole Foods twin and I never even gave it a chance or went inside to find out for myself.
While it’s not the go-to place where I buy my main meal items, I’m still definitely a regular and I’ve even come to love certain items that I continue to repurchase over and over. Generally speaking, I tend to eat the same types of foods daily, so I love to pop into Trader Joe’s to find items here and there to switch things up with. A side perk is also that I genuinely love the experience of shopping there and find the unique assortment of branded and seasonal items to be a treat because you never know what you’ll find.
Birthday cards, thank you cards, get well soon cards, etc!
I like to think this is a well-kept TJ secret, but I’m telling you anyways because the secret needs to be out. Trader Joes has some of the most gorgeous illustrations, messages, and overall aesthetics when it comes to their card selection. Seriously, they’re beautiful, look expensive and creative, and are an easy and thoughtful gesture to gift. Most greeting cards have minimal design or completely over the top design, (I’m thinking of the cards with a dog in sunglasses driving a convertible) but I personally find the TJ designs to be a happy medium.
It gets better! Every single card is only $1.00. I make a point to check this section whenever I’m in the store and I’ll pick up some of my favorites for future occasions. It’s absolutely worth the peek, especially since Walgreens can sell greeting cards ranging from $3.99-6.99, depending on the decals on them! I have a little stash I keep handy for whenever I need them and I like that they tend to switch out fresh designs routinely. I’ve even bought ones with designs I liked so much that I used them as prints and framed them!
Spice, spice baby!
There are so many unique spice variations that are unique to the Trader Joes brand. You’ve probably heard of the Everything But The Bagel seasoning, but that’s just the start of it. Some of my personal favorites include the 23 Seasoning and the Chili Lime seasoning.
I like their spice selection because they tend to consolidate a variety of spices to create a unique blend that expedites my cooking because I only need to reach for a few containers versus an entire spice rack for my meal. So instead of plucking the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and oregano separately, I can just pair one or two of the spices for the same taste profile. I also love bringing some whenever I’m traveling for work. I’ll toss one or two in my purse and have it available to spice up boring cafeteria meals or generic hotel breakfast food.
Trader Joe’s is my absolute go-to place for flowers and fresh greenery. They get fresh shipments every single day and they are constantly switching the options available on a seasonal basis. I want to highlight the fact that they’re fresh because I’ve compared the flowers and greenery from other prominent grocery stores, and I don’t feel like their selection holds up.
The Trader Joe prices are incredibly fair and reasonable for beautiful arrangements. The majority of their selection, except for their orchids, fall between $3.00-$10.00. For one of my birthdays, I went to the nearest store and bought out every single set of white roses they had and spread them out in glass vases around my apartment. It was a simple, fresh, and elegant touch and a big hit for the party I hosted later. The flowers also lasted the whole week, so it was a perfect way to keep the birthday spirit going.
I also love making floral arrangements as a thoughtful housewarming or birthday gift, so I’ll always pop in and pick out a couple of different floral and greenery pieces to put together. The guests and the homeowners can enjoy them and the arrangement itself is handmade by me. But you seriously don’t ever need a special occasion for flowers. Get them on a Tuesday for yourself if you feel like it.
Hear me out on this one. You know that avocados have about a forty five minute lifespan before they get all brown. It’s science. And I can’t tell you how many I’ve had to toss one because I forget to eat the second half or it goes bad. This is where the Trader Joes avocados come in. TJ sells a small bag of tiny avocados for $2.99.
I have come to love these because of their size and taste. The size means I’m able to use a whole one on a meal and I don’t feel wasteful because there’s nothing I have to store for later. The taste is great as well, as they’re genuinely and consistently delicious and creamy. My only caveat is because they’re so small, they tend to ripen rather quickly, so that’s just something to keep in mind! But I like picking up a bag of these and popping the avocados in a sandwich, an omelette, or on top of a salad.
Where do I start… The rich dark chocolate covered espresso beans? The pint of juicy mango sorbet? The tiny Parisian box of frozen macaroons? The soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies? The decadent box of four chocolate cupcakes with the creamy vanilla icing?
It’s so weird, nothing comes to mind. As if. There are so many wonderful things to choose from and try. You’ll find these items sprinkled out throughout the store by the cash register, in the frozen food aisles, and in their dessert section, so always keep an eye out. I love picking up something new to try if my taste buds are up for it or just indulging in some of my personal favorites. The mango sorbet is my go-to refresher in the summer time and the dark chocolate espresso beans are amazing as a snack in the winter.
As a side note, I enjoy the portion sizes of their desserts. If you go to the bakery section of most grocery stores, you’re either looking at a giant set of 24 cupcakes or a box of a dozen cookies. Maybe you’re going to a small dinner with friends or you just want something to personally snack on for the evening, but I like that the portions are on the smaller end for these reasons!
Trader Joe’s is a national chain, so take a peek and see if one is nearby you! As a consultant, I would always travel to client sites across the country and stop at a Trader Joes on my way to the hotel to pick up snacks, protein shakes, or even plants for my desk if I was going to be on a long term project. I still have one of my tiny TJ plants I kept on the window by my desk for a project in DC from a year ago.
Or if you’ve been going there your whole life and aren’t just recently enamored like me, still try picking up any of these items the next time you’re shopping around and let me know what you enjoyed!