Bottle Tree Shopping at Trader Joe’s

So, here I am on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, and I’m bumping around inside of one of my most favorite stores ever, Trader Joe’s. If you’ve never been in Trader Joe’s you HAVE to go. It’s that good!

I was on a mission this day. I’m cruising the “beverage” isles, checking out all the goodies that come in colored bottles. If you are regular reader of BNOTP, you know where this is going.  I’m determined to make one of these this summer:

(Image from Southern Living magazine)

As I’m standing there in the beverage isle, really studying this one bottle of wine trying to decide if it’s a good green for the tree, an older gentleman speaks to me bringing me back to reality. He asks, “What are you looking for?” Anyone with the sense of a door knob would probably have made up something “normal.” But, nooo, not me. I just blurted out, “I’m looking for anything that’s in a pretty bottle…I’m going to make a bottle tree.” Realizing how dumb that must have sounded, I asked him if he’d heard of a bottle tree? Without even skipping a beat, he says, “The one in the green bottle is better.” You know he must be thinking, “Women!” Being the wise southern gentleman he was, he knew that it was best to just go along and not argue. πŸ˜‰

Just then, a young man (obviously a TJ employee since he’s wearing a TJ badge) comes sweeping down the isle rapidly in route somewhere, calling out that the Vinho Verde is a great summer wine. He paused just long enough to tell us (me and the southern gentleman) that it’s “very light and refreshing.” Silly boy, I already had it in the buggy…it was in a tall, pretty green bottle.

People are sooo nice in Trader Joe’s!

So, here’s what I came home with…

Now, you guys already know I’m weird…so I have to share a little hint on the way I shop in Trader Joe’s. TJs is absolutely filled with awesome food stuff and great prices. I’ve never bought anything in there that I wasn’t crazy about. So each week when I stop in, I ALWAYS make myself buy something I’ve never bought before. There are so many wondeful things in Trader Joe’s that I’ve never even known about; I want to try them all!

But, how is a body supposed to know what new item to try? Ummm, well, here’s what I do and it works great. I usually stop by on a Saturday, later in the day…toward 3 or 4:00, and I look to see what’s missing. Huh? Try it…it works! Just go over to shelves in the cheese/dip/whatever isle and look to see what’s missing…what have folks been buying all morning. It’s easy to tell because the stock of that item will be a good bit back…with several of that item missing from the front. I figure if it’s selling well, it must be pretty tasty.

Yesterday, there was lots of Trader Joe’s Tzatziki Creamy Garlic Cucumber Dip missing, so guess what I bought?

It’s excellent. It has me eating carrots and broccoli…stuff I don’t normally want to eat.

Also, I bought one of their yummy lemon tarts, some of their amazing fresh salsa (I’ve bought it before and I’m hooked) and some of their Avocado’s Number Guacamole Dip, which the sign beneath said was a national best seller. Can’t wait to try it.

Ok, now you know a secret for shopping at Trader Joe’s, and you know for sure that I’m weird. lol

See ya tonight for Metamorphosis Monday!

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  1. Trader Joe's is actually on my
    to-do list today and I plan on doing what you did ~ look for the prettiest bottles. Maybe, just maybe, a sophisticated older gentleman will approach me too? Here's another treat to look for the next time you are there … goat cheese roll encrusted with cranberries! Unbelievable!

  2. Stephanie Lynn says

    These are lovely! I can not wait to see your tree – I'm so excited! I think you may just inspire me to put one together! Love the shapes and colors you found – Off to a fabulous start!

  3. Well if that is what makes you weird you have lots of company!!

    I've seen bottle trees before but none that are as compact as the one in the photo. Most of the ones I've seen showcase the bottles a little more, but I like the look of that one,,can just imagine the sun bouncing light from all those bottles.

    Good Luck on your search for have a great start!

  4. We have a Trader's Joe in our area but I have never been there. I must stop in to see it. I have three bottles saved for my bottle tree. Now to figure out how to build it. You will probably get your built before I get anything done. I hope you share how you build yours. I don't know why but I figure you will build one because I don't think you can just go out and buy a base.

    Have a wonderful Sunday Susan!

    Teacup Lane (Sandy)

  5. Cass @ That Old House says

    Oh, Kindred Spirit! Trader Joe's is a must-shop place for me. Their hummus is fabulous — their foccacia breads wonderful — their natural peanut butters are great — and their frozen broccoli is the ONLY frozen broccoli worth buying anywhere on the PLANET. Plus their bruschetta, their sundried tomatoes in olive oil . . . oh my. Been shopping there for years, and always find new things, too.

    Between Korean green groceries, a good butcher shop, and TJ's, I almost never set foot in a supermarket.

    Oooo….love those blue bottles…

  6. Hi Susan. No Trader Joe's here, but I've shopped at one in Santa Fe. Great store! We have Whole Foods and Central Market, both wonderful resources for almost any kind of food item. Good luck with your bottle tree. Sounds like such a fun project. I'm curious . . . will you put this in a sunny spot or a shady spot? I think the light from the sun would make it sparkle, but then what does the sun do to the colored glass? Is this weird thinking? LOL

  7. I'm LOLing!! I'm going to TJs today just to see what's missing.Tht's the greatest tip!
    Love the bottle tree. Can't wait to see your results.

  8. The White Farmhouse says

    Ahha! So I am not the only one! I do that with things I am unsure of. I usually shop later in the day anyways so my hubby can watch the kids. If there is an ingredient that I am buying and not sure which one to buy, I look for the one with the most gone. My hubby thinks I am weird.

  9. You guys all be still about Trader Joe's. I don't know how far I would have to drive to get to one!!!! haha… no, go ahead. I can enjoy it vicariously this way. Your bottle tree sounds wonderful. I have enough bottles from my dad's collection. What are the spikes? Huge nails?

  10. Now that is a new twist on wine enthusiast. Oh am I jealous that you get to shop at Trader Joe's. I shopped regularly at the original store in Manhattan Beach, CA. The store followed me to Arizona and Indiana, but now that I live in Texas, I'm in withdrawal. Anyone coming to visit us in Texas know to ask what they can bring from Trader Joe's. Try the frozen french string beans. They're the best.

  11. Blondie's Journal says

    I adore Trader Joe's. Their bread is heavenly!


  12. Ingrid DeVilliers says

    Thanks for a great post! I love the colored bottles you bought at Trader Joe's and can't wait to see your bottle tree! Thanks for your tip on what you buy and oh… do I love Tzatziki! We don't have a Trader Joe's here in Naples, Florida….not that I know of…? Awhhh….

  13. Ingrid DeVilliers says

    Thanks for a great post! I love the colored bottles you bought at Trader Joe's and can't wait to see your bottle tree! Thanks for your tip on what you buy and oh… do I love Tzatziki! We don't have a Trader Joe's here in Naples, Florida….not that I know of…? Awhhh….

  14. Ingrid DeVilliers says

    Thanks for a great post! I love the colored bottles you bought at Trader Joe's and can't wait to see your bottle tree! Thanks for your tip on what you buy and oh… do I love Tzatziki! We don't have a Trader Joe's here in Naples, Florida….not that I know of…? Awhhh….

  15. Tales From My Empty Nest says

    I don't have the pleasure of shopping at Trader Joe's since we don't have one, but when I visit my daughter next time, that is tops on my list of things to do. She loves TJ's. Good luck with your bottle tree. It is going to be beautiful. Love & blessings from NC!

  16. Lisa@Pickles and Cheese says

    I LOVE Trader Joes! We don't have one in my town but I am able to get to one everytime we go visit our daughter in Chapel Hill, NC where she goes to school. There is nothing like Trader Joes! They have everything at unbelievable prices and great prices on their wines too. Thanks for the tip on the salsa and the tszatki sauce !

  17. Peg @ Bloomfield Farm says

    Have you tried their lemon curd? I hear it is wonderful. Wish there was a TJs close to me! I can't wait to see the bottle tree. I like the blue bottles best. Maybe I should make a tree too. It would be a good excuse to buy lots of different wines, wouldn't it? Enjoyed hearing about the southern gentleman too… funny!

  18. Allie and Pattie says

    One of our all-time favirite places! Try their mushroom flatbread pizza- TDF!! And if you MUST use a boxed cake mix- their vanilla bourbon is the bomb as per my "I CAN'T bake anything from scratch" neighbor.
    xoxo Pattie

  19. Susan you sound perfectly normal to me!! We are kindred spirits. Love,love TJ shop there all the time. I am always buying something new and delish there. I get my flowers there also. Their blue Italy water is as good as the Tynant from Cost plus, don't forget to get your red bottle there with the still water in it. I will keep my eye open for this fun quest. Now you have me thinking of doing one for my garden I have the perfect spot to do one also. Can't wait to see yours. Don't you just love pretty bottles. I don't drink wine but I bet beverages and more will have what you need and then some. Have fun bottle shopping , wish I could go along with you . We would definitely be partners in crime!! Happy Sunday, Kathysue

  20. Hi Susan
    Been awhile since I've been by. We were traveling bits of the south last week and drove home yesterday.

    I love Trader Joe's and I want a bottle tree too. I have a tendency to save the pretty bottles, so I may have enough to make one. I like your choices.

    Here is my Trader Joe's recommendation. Had I not been so tired from driving home from KY and TN yesterday we would have stopped as we passed by…since it is about a 45 min drive from home. Anyhoo…I recommend the mushroom and truffle flatbread…OH MY yes I do.:-)

  21. Glenda/MidSouth says

    Your got some pretty colors there! πŸ˜€ Love the blue. I have a cobalt blue bottle that water came in that I use as a bud vase sometimes. I have never been to TJ's – we don't have one close. Nearest one is in Brentwood, TN. Think I need to make a trip to Franklin. πŸ™‚
    Have a great week.

  22. Rustique Gal says

    Susan, TJ's Corned beef was fabulous. Unfortunately, I think it's only there for St. Patty's day! Or the Garden of Eden sheeps milk Feta Cheese! I love the bottle tree and think I'll try it myself. You can't be any wierder than I am!

  23. I'm in Ohio for a few days and am off to TJ's to buy wine there tomorrow…The Charles Shaw white zin is so good for only a few bucks ("3 buck chuck"!!)

    I'm anxious to see how your botle tree turns out! If you know of any bartender or waiter in a nice place, ask them to save you some colored bottle, too…and for the smaller bottles for the bottom of the tree, save condiment bottles!

    Good Luck

  24. YUMMO! I absolutely love Trader Joe's products.

    Thank you for sharing!
    ~ Jill

  25. Robin's Nesting Place says

    I love their roasted red pepper humus. I also stock up on the brown jasmine and basmati rice.
    Their pizza sauce is my favorite brand. I also buy my beef and chicken stock there. Those are my favorite Trader Joes items.

  26. mary beth says

    That is funny and it sounds like a lot more fun than me foraging around in the colored glass bin at the recycle center, but I did get home with 5 nice yellowish ones and 2 dark blue ones…at least mine were free! when my son asked me what I was washing out all the bottles for, I just told him he wouldn't understand…I just need to figure out what to use for the base and I'll be on my way! You have made me very jealous about Trader Joe's though, I dont think we have any here in Kansas! pooh!

  27. Trader Joe's is the best! So glad there is one in my town. The Bottle Tree is new to me … I've never seen one in the Northeast. Great blues and greens!

  28. The Shiny Pebble says

    It sucks lemons that we don't have Trader's Joe's where we live!

  29. My sister shops Traders Joe's all the time. Not within easy travel for me to get there but when I'm with her we hit it sometimes. LunaDeluna wine comes in pretty blue,pink and red bottles..not see through colors but nice if you need some solid colors

  30. My Name Is Jeannie says

    What a creative piece of art and I bet that will look stunning in a lush garden as the sun reflects the lights off the bottles.

  31. TJ's is our favorite place – I only shop there and Costco (and our local Persian market for inexpensive fruits and vegies – best deals ever). I love your bottle choices – they will look so pretty in the sunlight. Can't wait to see your creation.

  32. OK. I'm in, I am going to make a bottle tree too!

    Thanks for making me hungry too! HA HA!

    From Virginia

  33. Terri and Bob says

    I put a garden ball on the top of my bottle tree and it looks great. Thanks for the tips.

  34. Cottage Dreamers says

    Oh, that IS funny!! Hub's is wanting to make a bottle tree too, but it's really slow going for us.
    ☺ Celeste

  35. Oh, Susan, how do I begin to tell you how much I love this post. It's one of the best things I love about blogging.
    1) Women sharing ideaas, finds and things that make life even more joyful.
    2) The time I spend reading your blog always makes me feel like it is time well spent. And I also, Susan, love Trader Joe's.
    My favs:
    Their daffodils in the springtime. When you walk in the door and at the registers they are tied in bundles without water and you put them in water when you get home and they start to open. One bundle is $2.00
    Their egg Pappardelle pasta. It reminds me of my southern Grandmother's homemade egg noddles. They are wide and lovely but oh so addictive.
    Also, their bird nests frozen entre thingy. It's a I think asian noodley thing with tempura and a dipping sauce.

    I am going to get the things you mentioned and try them!
    Thanks again Susan!
    This is such a great post and my sister in law has her fav Trader Joe's list also.
    They are the nicest people in there, like you stated also.
    Okay, need to cut my comments off, I could go on and on about this wonderful post.

  36. Outre Beauty Bistro says

    Funny, cuz I just finished unpacking my Trader Joe's bags and singing their praises all the way home in the car! I LOVE to cook, and Trader Joe's enables me to cook from scratch and even try recipes with harder to find ingredients! I swear they are ten times cheaper at Trader Joe's than the regular stores! My only wish, is that some of their packaged stuff was packaged in portions that were a little larger…with 5 kids. Love your blog! Come see mine!

  37. Ohhhhh, Susan. Great minds think alike. I LOVE Trader Joe's. There's one an hour away from where I live and any chance I have to go, I'm THERE! I love their goat cheese and it's so much better in price than in the super. Also, get my shredded wheat cereal there along with dozens of other items. The colored bottles look great! Sincerely, Susan

  38. Kathy@ Gone North says

    LOVE Trader Joe's but sadly there is not one near us. But funny story…years ago when traveling we stopped in at one in AZ. There was a wine that could only be bought there & my husband, on a quest for this wine bought a case & we brought it home ( back in the days you could take it on the plane : )We got to our next stop & were grounded for the night because of weather…off to an airport hotel with not even a toothbrush, but a case of wine. The desk clerk did not have a wine opener, BUT did have a scissors …. we chopped at the cork until it fell in & enjoyed a bottle (with pieces of cork floating πŸ™‚ in our hotel until the storm passed the next morning.
    On our travels now, we always have to stop if there is one near. : )

  39. Love, love, love our local Trader Joe's! I too am always on the lookout for a new item and have never not liked what I've brought home. And, their prices are awesome…especially on fresh flowers.

  40. The "Bottle Tree" is awesome looking with all of the colors of bottles. I know it is must be beautiful when the sunlight hits the bottles. I can just see it surrounded by lots of flowers. I have never been to Trader Joe's, but it sounds like a great place to visit.

    Hugs, Katherine S.

  41. I can't wait to see what you come up with:)

  42. Great strategy for shopping!

    It loooks like you are well on your way to a beautiful bottle tree. The Flowerlady has a pictures of her large all blue one on her blog. It's included in a newer post and some older posts as well.

    I have about three bottles collected for mine but this is going to take a while. It seems as if I am aquiring about one a year.

  43. Sylvia (at) Lily's Pad and Petals says

    Wish I had a Trader Joe's near me as I've heard so many good things about them.

    Can't wait to see your bottle tree when you are finished.

    Can't help but wonder if you couldn't find those bottles in some recycling place rather than having to buy new. Might be worth a try and cheaper in the long run.


  44. This was a great post for the senses. The bottles are beautiful and the Tzatziki sauce has me salivating. Now if we had something to smell! Can't wait to see how your bottle tree turns out.

  45. I love Trader Joe's too! Unfortunately, we don't have one in West Cobb, so I occasionally make the trip over to East Cobb. I had to laugh at your encounter with the other shopper. Sounds so much like me! By the way, after your bottle tree post, I noticed a house near mine that has one in their front yard. Can't wait to see the end result!

  46. susan,
    this is too funny. my hubs and i took a day trip to waterbury, ct on saturday and happened upon a nearby trader joes after having lunch & shopping at whole foods (love). it was so different than what we have here in central NY. tj's was brimming with it must be a happening place. alas, it will have to wait until another road trip for a visit…but definitely a must see!
    judi πŸ˜‰

  47. So cool!!What a great idea~~

    I love Trader Joes too! They are the best:)

    Kay Ellen

  48. My So Called Creative Life... says

    I love Trader Joe's too! I've been drinking that exact wine in the blue bottles, collecting them for my bottle tree! They are a beautiful color and the wine is delicious!

    Try TJ's frozen potstickers. They are pretty healthy.

  49. Beach Blonde says

    what a coincidence , I have just starting reading a book titled On Folley Beach where the bottle tree is given much discussion. I had never heard of one before. Have you finished making yours? You must post photos!

  50. Frederick W. Block says

    Here is our new bottle tree in Campobello, SC. Interestingly enough Folly Beach Brew Pub in SC sells a local beer called BottleTree Blonde,which is an interesting fit considering the location and the book.

  51. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Frederick, great bottle tree! I have a bunch of bottles but haven't found a good "tree" yet. Most I find are so short…I'd like one that's 6-8 feet tall. Love your tree with all the blue bottles…thanks for the link!

  52. How you thought about using the Mod Podge and food color technique to color clear bottles?

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