eat well, travel often, dream big!

Holiday Photo Gifts for Grandma

Today I hit a milestone on my iPhone, 1000 images. That’s a lot of pictures! I’ve been relying on my phone to snap day to day images, instead of carrying around my large DSLR. I’m able to take pictures more often and much more naturally than with the large camera. I can easily import pictures to Facebook, Instagram, email them to family members, or add them to blog posts – basically anything.  The one issue I do have is that there are limited editing options on my phone.  I have to pull the pictures onto my laptop and then adjust to do any more advanced editing.

Enter Krome.

It’s an app that helps take pictures, retouch them as needed, and then have them printed. There’s two options, either do a quick auto retouch or have Krome’s team retouch (yes, by a human) it.  Within 24-48 hours your image is ready.

Is it hard to use? 

This is an example of the screen shown after you select the image you want worked on.

retouch screen
Simple enough? You allow Krome access to your images, select the image you want, and then describe the changes you would like to see to the image. I’ve taken series of pictures of the same or similar thing and then have a hard time deciding which is the best to use. Krome lets you upload a series of photos and the editor (remember the real human behind the scenes) can select the best one to retouch based on your wants. Your completed pictures are stored and backed up on your account.


Now the part that’s going to make my life a lot easier.

You can print from Krome. If you’ve ever purchased professional photographs you know how expensive they can be.  For good reason, professional photographers but a lot of time and energy into their craft. You can get a professional quality, retouched 8×10 from Krome for under $7! There are a lot of other products like iPhone covers, canvas prints, and photo books made from your edited images too.

Earlier this week I was talking to MarocBaba about sending some gifts home to my family. We were struggling to figure out what would be meaningful and not cost a fortune to send.  This is my solution!

 What do grandparents love more than pictures of their grandkids?

Grandkids for a week!

No just kidding they’re not getting that. Pictures of course!

I see a lot of potential for this app.  If you’re an iPhoneographer or just love to take and print high quality pictures from your snapshots this is a must-have app for your phone. You can find Krome in the iTunes store and also on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

If you decide to give it a try I discovered that you get a $10 credit when you download the app!  Cross a gift off your list and get to creating!

Speaking of pictures, what’s the one thing that you struggle with when taking pictures?

For me, it’s having enough natural light to make the picture really shine. Nighttime pictures are a nightmare!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I am being paid for this post.  However, all opinions and experiences are my own. My mom will be getting a picture of the kids in the mail soon – you can ask her! 



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I’ve shared a packing post in the past but it was when I was packing five suitcases for my three guys to live out of for nearly two months.  Packing for a weekend trip is a whole lot easier!  It seems that no matter where we are going or how early I start to pack I always forget things for me. Never for anyone else – just me.  This time I’m making sure I triple check my suitcase before we go.
One of the struggles I face when picking out new clothes is finding items that are modest, flattering and comfortable. It seems that you can pick one or the other but rarely all three. A little while ago I was contacted by Fresh Produce to review one of their items.  I have looked at their clothes before and was impressed that they had many options available for someone who has modest dress requirements.  There are longer length and loose capri pants (that work for me), cute cruise wear for your next adventure, and colorful caribbean clothes. There are also several maxi dresses and longer length dresses as well.  The item I chose to review was the What it Seams skirt.  I chose this skirt because I’m always looking for long skirts and have been searching for some type for one made out of material similar to yoga pants. They pack a lot smaller, are easier to wash and air dry (if needed), and are comfortable.  The What it Seams skirt fit the bill!

Free Produce Skirt


You’re even getting a rare glimpse of me – well at least the skirt on me!  I’m 5’4″ and this skirt is asymmetrical – it is shorter in the front than in the back.  So far that hasn’t been a problem and I haven’t tripped over myself. The color I have on is called Oyster and it’s a darker color of gray.  I love it.  Seriously love it and want to have one in every color. (The great thing is that there are soooo many colors!)


Fresh Produce Skirt 2


Look at that two pictures of me!  This skirt is a staple in my wardrobe now and I am deciding which color will be my next choice.  Fresh Produce ships to 200 countries so any of my readers can pick up these great items!


Make sure to visit their webpage, Facebook and Twitter pages to keep up with the latest news and watch for specials and coupon codes!

** Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review however I did receive this skirt to review. As always all opinions are my own.

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My boys have hit an age (5 and nearly 8 ) where they would rather spend a few hours punching each other and rolling around wrestling on the floor. It seems that the days of coloring books and building blocks are just distant memories. Even more frustrating the toys that once kept them entertained for hours have been cast aside for video games and expectations of hours of TV watching.  A few months ago I gained a new Twitter follower – @FortMagic and was intrigued.  I checked out their website and thought they had a really cool product that would keep my kids interested and busy.

It’s a fort kit!  I spent so many hours when I was a kid building forts out of blankets, chairs and tables and knew that my boys would just eat up something like this. When we got the package in the mail they immediately hauled it to the basement and started to rifle through the box.  Soon there were cries for mom and dad. Right out of the box I think they were a little overwhelmed.  From the Fort Magic website;

Fort Magic Contains A Whopping 349 Pieces!

A single Fort Magic kit includes 142 straight and curved sticks – in seven different sizes that can build anything kids can think of! Each kit has 77 Connector Pieces in 5 varieties of shapes and sizes for unlimited kid-building fun!
Fort Magic also contains 130 Fabric and Accessory Clips! Securely fasten accessories or fabric covers to any fort design with NO SEWING!


349 pieces left them not sure where to start. So we picked one of the designs out of the instruction book that came with and started putting pieces together.  MarocBaba has limited patience with projects like this and lacks the fort-wonder effect that I have so there was some grumbling.

With the help of mom and dad we were able to assemble a fun fort (though not the most creative if you ask me!) I think that my older son and some friends would be able to put this together quite easily and on their own. However for my younger son – he was more interested in tossing around the pieces and actually playing in it after it was built. Overall I have a mixed review.

  • There are a lot of pieces so that means this can be reconfigured a LOT of different ways.
  • The kit comes with many fabric clips so that you can cover the tent. We used blankets – from thin blankets to heavy afghan blankets and all were able to attach and stay put.
  • It’s a really creative play toy. My boys haven’t taken it apart and rebuilt it but it’s been a spaceship, an actual camping tent, and a hideout for movie watching.
  • A good group activity. When the weather is nicer I could see packing this up and taking it to the park or even in our backyard. This would keep older kids busy for a long time.


  • There are a lot of pieces! This is a pro and con – just make sure to keep everything together!
  • This product is better for older kids. Younger kids can benefit but older children will be able to build and take apart.
  • Space. You do need a decent size area to build in. We have a large basement that’s a play area – we use this area.
    I see this as a great gift for a major holiday or for grandparents and/or caregivers. As mentioned, I think kids 7 and up would enjoy and be able to play constructively with this kit. Fort Magic has a really cool website with videos that show different designs for building. The kit normally sells for $279 but right now you can get it for $199.
    Check them out on Facebook and Twitter too!

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    vegetarian saffron road

    Have you heard?

    Saffron Road Foods has come out with four all new entrees that are completely vegetarian!  I can’t tell you the number of hours I’ve spent in grocery stores reading the labels of “meat-free” products only to discover they do in fact contain ingredients derived from meat.  That meat tends to be pork and so sadly we can’t eat it.  I’ve been so happy with Saffron Road products for a few reasons.  First, they are all halal – that means I don’t have to worry about the entrees that do contain meat.  The products they use are also sustainably farmed, antibiotic free and any animal products are fed a 100% vegetarian diet.  Many of their entrees are also gluten-free which has become a big priority for us.
    Back to the new vegetarian line.  I’ve been fortunate to try out everyone of Saffron Road’s products and have not been let down by any of them.  When these new entrees showed up to try out I wanted to give them the family test.  MarocBaba has eaten most of the other entrees (the Chicken Biryani is his favorite) but the kids have not.  So I cooked all of the new entrees and thought we’d do a family taste test.  MarocBaba won’t be commenting on the Mac and Cheese or Lasagna because they do have gluten.   Here’s a description of each and then our taste-testing results!
    Manchurian Dumplings with Basmati Rice – An Indo-Chinese masterpiece, this exotic vegetable dumplings dish is made with cabbage, carrots, green beans and onions simmered in a spicy red chili and ginger sauce. Gluten free, vegan, all natural and an authentic recipe.
    Macaroni & Cheese – Saffron Road replaced ordinary pasta with delicious, flavorful pasta made with exotic Jerusalem Artichokes and durum semolina. This classic dish makes the perfect side dish with soup or a salad and each package is big enough for two to share. Premium quality, authentic recipe, all natural and vegetarian.
    Thai Basil Chili Tofu with Basmati Rice – Thai basil is no ordinary basil – it has subtle undertones of anise or licorice, and is a perfect addition to zest up our protein-rich firm organic tofu. Thai cuisine is based on balance, and each spice works in harmony with this medley of fresh crunchy vegetables to make an extraordinary entrée. Gluten free, authentic recipe, all natural, and vegan.
    Three Cheese Lasagna – From sunny Italy and the south of France, two great cuisines meet in one magnificent dish. Imagine layers of the finest durum semolina pasta topped with Italian Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The dish is covered with layers of a Ratatouille recipe worthy of Provence, with zucchini and diced eggplant in a wonderfully seasoned and perfectly savory tomato sauce. Premium quality, authentic recipe, all natural and vegetarian.
    This review has been a long time in the making.  I first got a package of entrees to review several weeks ago and was waiting for a night when everyone was home and had time to taste and give feedback.  When that day came I went to our chest freezer in the garage to find that someone had stolen a lot of food from us (over $200!) including the Saffron Road entrees.  The company was kind enough to send me replacements so that I could give you my thoughts. I baked all four of the entrees for dinner and gave everyone a little bit.
    Meet the contenders: There’s me and MarocBaba of course – as mentioned he’ll be eating only the Manchurian Dumplings and Thai Basil Chili Tofu (the other two entrees have gluten). Me I’ll be trying everything. M is 8 and my least picky eater. He tried everything.  K is 5 and has recently turned into a carnivore.  He also goes by “the cheese man” for his love of all things cheesy and his “cheesy” smiles.

    Macaroni and Cheese: We’re a Wisconsin family and this macaroni and cheese is made with Wisconsin cheese – what’s not to like?  The kids gave this a resounding yes.  I was impressed that the noodles were not mush.  Frozen macaroni entrees have a bad reputation with me.  This was flavorful, had a good texture and the cheese was stringy – that’s a great sign!  We give this a big thumbs up.




    Manchurian Dumplings: This was a bit of a toss up.  MarocBaba loved them but they were a little too hot for me and the kids. M likes chili peppers sprinkled on pizza or in a quesadilla (frankly he’s into hot food much more than me) but these were just a little too hot. I can’t tell you my thoughts because I only got one bite in.  If you’re someone who can handle and enjoys hot then my all means this is for you!


    Saffron Road Thai Basil


    Thai Basil Chili Tofu: I tried really hard to get K and M to take some of this but they were not interested.  I really thought I would be the only one to eat it but was shocked when MarocBaba ate up half the entree.  I remarked that it had tofu and he said he knew and he liked it.  I really really liked this one too. I managed to get M to eat a bite of the tofu (he wouldn’t go for the vegetables) and he thought it was alright – hey not bad for his first try!  The tofu is very firm and flavorful.  This was my favorite entree.


    Three Cheese Lasagna – I grew up eating real Italian food. I have vivid memories of standing on a chair in my grandma’s kitchen and rolling pasta and gnocchi, so my standards are high in the Italian food department.  That being said the kids and I ate all of our portions.  I think I should have cooked it a bit longer and might have added more cheese to the top. The three other entrees bake in the oven for 22 minutes and this one should cook for 3o minutes.  I may have been a little under.  Like the macaroni the noodles are firm and not mush.  The flavor of the sauce is really good. I’m not a huge eggplant fan so I kind of picked around that but it was the best frozen lasagna I’ve eaten.


    Overall we were impressed with the flavor and variety and liked everything.  I’m sure the kids will be asking for the macaroni and cheese soon! You can get these and other Saffron Road entrees in select retailers (like Whole Foods!) Check their store locator to find the retailer closest to you. Also make sure to “Like” them on Facebook for coupons and new products as they launch.


    No, I did not tell him to do this - he's getting into being a "reviewer!"

    **Disclaimer – I was not compensated for this post however I did receive free products.  All opinions (MarocBaba, the kids and mine) are our own.

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    When I’m Dining Alone – An Easy Weeknight Meal

    I love soup and it’s only been recently that I have been able to convince everyone else in my house to love it as much as I do.  That being said they have their favorites and tend to stick to them. Recently I had the opportunity to try out Bertolli’s Meal Soup for Two.

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    New American Table - Marcus Samuelsson

    I am completely addicted to social media and not afraid to admit it.  I’ve made great friends and I’ve won really awesome things.  One of the awesome things won recently is New American Table by Marcus Samuelsson.  I follow him on Facebook and Twitter because this chef seriously works social media.  He has an awesome blog and is always posting really thought provoking and informative articles and information. A little while ago he was giving away a copy of his new cookbook.  The winner would be selected from those who tweeted about the giveaway.  I tweeted.  I won!  Even better – the book showed up autographed.

    I should share that I really really adore Chef Samuelsson.  I love his style because it reminds me of my own.  He takes a little bit of all of his experiences and combines them to create a totally new dish.  He’s not beholden to the “traditional” interpretation of dishes, though I’m certain he could pull off authentic as easily as he does his fusion style dishes.  The focus of the book is on the food of America and the corners of the world that it hails from.

    This cookbook is a food playground, it’s creative and fun and I assure you many of these combinations you will not find in any other cookbook.  The ingredients are easily accessible, the directions are clear and the images are gorgeous.  The chapters are broke up uniquely as well.  Titles include, small plates, staples, everyday, weekend, condiments and many more.

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    The Food of Morocco: A Review


    Last week was a busy week for me at work.  Thursday evening I came home very late after an event and guess what was waiting for me on the dining room table.  If you guessed a copy of Paula Wolfert’s new book The Food of Morocco, you’re right.  I had been hoping that it would come before we left for Morocco so that I could take a peek and let you know what I thought.  So what did I think.

    I love it.

    No really I love it.

    This is my third cookbook fromPaula Wolfert and it’s my favorite.  One of the first “real” cookbooks I got was a gift from my grandma – it was Paula’s Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco.  It was that book that I credit with keeping my husband here in the US with me instead of going home due to starvation.  The Food of Morocco takes that cookbook a few steps forward.

    What originally struck me was the images along with the food.  There are a lot of pictures of great food but there’s also pictures of everyday life in Morocco.  The sidebars are peppered with literary quotes from the likes of Paul Bowles and Edith Wharton.  This IS Morocco in a book.  It’s the words, the sights, the flavors and the stories of the country.  Paula’s gift of storytelling shines through in the descriptions given of each dish.  It’s so reminiscent of the street performers of Marrakech telling their tales in the night markets of Djem al Fna.

    The recipes themselves are the classics and the lesser known recipes that make up Moroccan cookery.  The majority of the dishes will be easy for even a novice cook to pull off.  The more complex recipes are broken into steps and even have hand drawn diagrams to make the steps more clear.  While I love Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco there are plenty of recipes that include organ meat I was happy to find that those recipes are few and far between in The Food of Morocco.  While the die-hard foodie indulges in such delicacies many home cooks especially in the American audience are turned off immediately to those recipes.  As with all of the other Paula Wolfert cookbooks I’ve used, these recipes are tried and true – and delicious!

    This book is a delight for it’s value as a cookbook that encompasses the width and breadth of Moroccan cooking but also as a travelogue of sorts.  I highly recommend it for those who loving making Moroccan food but also for those who simply love Morocco.  The images and stories are worth the price even if you never attempt a recipe!

    This cookbook can currently be pre-ordered before the October 4th official release date.  Amazon currently has The Food of Morocco on sale for $28.22 (retail is $45 for the 500+ page book!)  If you’d like to connect with Paula Wolfert you can do it on her Facebook group Moroccan Cooking or on Twitter.


    I was not compensated for this review however I did receive an advance copy of this book to review.  All opinions are my own based on my reading and use of this cookbook.  

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