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Spending most of the last year socially distancing has taught me the fine art of appreciating time at home — and the way I’ve embraced it is by finding creative ways to make the same space feel different and exciting.
Another thing I now appreciate? Home delivery. Like millions of people, I had already been using Amazon Prime for everything from household staples to gifts, but it has lots of limitations: Many items take several days to arrive, some things are far more expensive than they are in stores, and not everything I want is available on the site. As I started to add delivery service after delivery service, I realized I was spending an absurd amount of time ordering online. Then I found Walmart+ home delivery. It's similar to Amazon Prime, but offers fresh groceries, along with a ton of other stuff.
And that's precisely what I love most about the service. I can shop for everything I need in one place, from veggies to wine to whatever strikes my fancy that day — like, say, "emergency" lawn games and pool toys when you realize five guests are coming over and you have zero fun activities and your floats are all busted. Yes, dear reader, this happened to me, but have no fear — Walmart+ saved the day.
Walmart+ prices are about the same as what you'd pay in-store, and if you're lucky you can grab a same-day delivery slot. Otherwise, you can generally get delivery the next day (but if you really want it sooner than later, it's $10 for two-hour delivery). The signup was easy—a risk-free trial gives you 15 days, but a quick three-question survey will tack on two more weeks. After your 30 days are up, you’ll be charged $12.95 per month or $98 per year depending on what you select.
I have to be honest; I thought I was going to cancel after the trial period, but four months later I’ve fully embraced the convenience and the savings.
Here’s how I turned my backyard into a party space using Walmart+ home delivery.
I don’t want to say that my friends and I are competitive about bean bag toss, but that’s because honestly, it’s too embarrassing to detail the lengths we’ve gone to to win. What’s especially great about this EastPoint Sports Light-Up Bean Bag Toss is that it lets us play late, late into the night (best two out of three has absolutely escalated to best seven out of nine) and still be able to see what we’re doing without having to worry about moving the game under the backyard lights.
If you didn't spend at least one day lounging on a unicorn pool float this summer, you're not living right. I love to have fun pool floats on hand that are novel and inexpensive, so much so that I’m heartbroken when one of my excitable friends accidentally pops one. Plus, let’s face it, a unicorn pool float is basically a guarantee that you’ll end up with great photos from the day. Add one to the pool and you’ve got an instant party.
Unicorn-pool-float-fun aside, this is the pool float that’s much more my speed — and the one I keep hidden during gatherings so it’s in perfect condition for me to use when everyone goes home. It’s really an inflatable chaise lounge that keeps you floating above the water, but — get this — has a built-in mister to keep you cool and hydrated without forcing you to submerge yourself below the surface. Add one can of bubbly rose for the cupholder, and I am officially in heaven.
Backyard volleyball is always a good time, and this affordable ball is an even bigger money-saver because it can be used in or out of the pool. The Coop Hydro Waterproof Volleyball is regulation-sized and completely waterproof, so no matter where you end up playing, you’re covered.
Maybe it’s my East Coast roots showing, but I cannot resist a game of bocce. It makes me think of the summer bocce league in my hometown’s Little Italy (alas, usually without the wafting aromas of garlic and red sauce). This inexpensive bocce set also includes lawn darts, and has a carrying case for easy transportation if I ever want to take it anywhere else besides my yard. (Spoiler alert: I do not.)
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