Category Archives: shopping

Peter Asher Coffee

Disclosure: I was provided two 12-oz packages of coffee by Peter Asher for free but was not compensated for this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

A while ago, I was contacted by John Herriott of Peter Asher Coffee and Tea.  Peter Asher is located in Champaign, IL but they are looking to expand their reach west.  They are a family owned business that maintains direct relationships with their coffee bean growers.

John sent me samples of two of their coffees: Black Velvet and Brazil Bob-O-Link.  I requested the coffees be sent ground, since Travis likes the convenience of pre-ground coffee instead of grinding beans every morning.

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Smashburger’s Windy City Burger

Sometimes, I can be a sucker for “limited time only” products. I hate feeling like I’ve missed out on something that may never come back (even when it usually does come back at some point).  I’ve gotten better at this, as most things always go on sale again and I really don’t even need half the things I want to begin with.

Food is a completely different story. If we’re on vacation and near a must-eat spot, Travis knows that we’re most likely going to eat it.  I’m still sad we weren’t able to squeeze in a dessert trip to WD-50 when we were in New York.  Or splurge for a meal at Alinea when we were in Chicago (granted, we weren’t really in the same financial situation then).  I also enjoy seasonal food items – peppermint mochas at Starbucks, mint M&Ms, Cadbury mini eggs (those may be my weakness).

So, when I heard Smashburger was bringing the Windy City burger to San Diego, I was intrigued.  When I found out it was only going to be here through October, I was very interested.  And when I found out the darn thing is served on a pretzel bun, I started making plans to work in a burger dinner.  Throw a limited-time banana shake in the mix and I’m a goner.

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Easy Canvas Prints

Recently, I was contacted by Easy Canvas Prints with the request for a link ad, in exchange for an 8×10 canvas print. Because we had just gotten our professional wedding photos back, I thought it would be a good way to see how we (and by “we” I mean Travis) liked a photo on canvas print before we spent money on a really large one.

If you managed to get through my lengthy Kodak Gallery Photobook post, you may have noted that my process is fairly simple, yet the time it takes to make decisions almost doubles once I get my sweet husband involved. I think I’m supposed to be happy he has an opinion and wants to share it, but sometimes it would be easier if he just let me do what I want. [note: He actually does let me get away with an awful lot of things, so maybe I should just be grateful for that and let him have his opinions about things like, say, our wedding photos.]

Read on for gratuitous wedding photos and see which one we chose…

Sargento Cheese Taste-Off

Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received a $25 American Express gift card to purchase Sargento Cheese and a processed cheese for comparison. 

Before we get too far with this cheese-off, I have to admit that the whole idea seemed a little hilarious to me.  Do people really confuse processed cheese with “real” cheese?  Can they not tell the difference?  I mean, you can tell which cheese is the processed slice above just by looking – it’s the one with the plasticky shine to it.

We had Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Squares in the pantry (their version of Triscuits) and I totally forgot we had grapes in the fridge, so instead of a cheese snack tray, I kind of just ended up with cheese and crackers.  Which isn’t bad at all.  I went to Vons for this cheese trip, but all I really found were pre-sliced packages of cheese – does Sargento even make block cheese?  I picked up some baby swiss, sharp cheddar, muenster, and then “American” slices.

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Kodak Gallery Photobook

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a standard Medium Hardcover Kodak Gallery Photobook. However, we opted to upgrade to a Large photobook with extra pages and paid the difference ourselves.

Almost five months ago, I married the most amazing man.  Five months may not seem like a long time, and I’d agree with you.  It’s flown by so fast, I feel like we’ve been time traveling.  We finally received the pictures from our photographer and I figured they would sit in their beautiful case for ages before I actually got around to arranging them in a photo album.

Serendipitously (totally a word, I say so), right after we got our photo disk, I got an e-mail from Foodbuzz offering a free Kodak Gallery photobook to review, as long as I got a post up by a certain date.  Photos in hand, free photobook, AND a deadline?  The universe wanted me to get this done.

I had actually been dreading making a photobook because there are so many places you can build one, it can get pretty expensive, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing in terms of page layout and design.  I am an engineer.  We deal in straight lines and numbers. No artsy photo arrangement skills.

Continue reading to see how Kodak compensated for my left-brainness…

I love getting mail




Look what showed up on my doorstep! I’ve heard a lot of people saying amazing things about Plate to Pixel, so when Lori held a giveaway for a copy, I entered and crossed every finger (and then I won!)  Can you tell from the photo that I totally need the help?

I flipped through it on my way from the front door to the kitchen and I swear I learned a bunch just from those few pages!  I can’t wait to really get into it and figure out how to make food look pretty.

Changing subjects, how cute are our cherry tomatoes?  I’m amused that they ripen here and there; sometimes I just snack on them straight from the vine and don’t have any to bring in.  Every year I make a note that I need to plant more cherry tomatoes, but I think I also need more room in the garden to do so efficiently.

Heh. Do you think I can convince Travis to help me cut and paint board “backdrops” after we finish the chicken coop?

Thanks for the giveaway, Lori!


the wedding shoes that were (and weren’t)

I had to clear my memory cards so there’s plenty of room for photos of Greece, which means you may actually get some posts while I’m gone.

These are shoes I bought just a couple of weeks before the wedding.  It really wasn’t my fault – had just made me a VIP member and Macy’s gave me 30% off if I bought 3 pairs.

The ones on the lazy susan (I wonder if Travis knows I put my shoes on the dining table…) are Enzo Angiolini’s and were beautiful shiny blue, but they squeezed my toes just a little too much.  I thought they would probably stretch with wear, but for $100 I didn’t love them enough to find out.  So, I returned them.

The other three came from Macy’s – Rampage, Marc Fisher, and Style & Co.  The Rampage ones (with the blue bow) were too cute to pass up, I needed some new black heels for work, and the fancy blue ones on the right ended up being my wedding heels.  They have a platform, so the height isn’t too bad and they ended up being the perfect height for the dress.  I love them and I’ll definitely end up wearing them on a day to day basis.

I also ended up ordering some wedding flats, which was a good decision since I ended up wearing those flats for most of the night.  Super comfy yet cute blue Clarks. I’m wondering, though, if my decision to change into flats made my dress drag a bit lower, and that’s why I kept getting stepped on… or maybe I would have gotten stepped on anyway.

And then, since we’re talking about shoes, I ordered a new pair of Privos (I LOVE Privos) because I needed a new pair for walking around in during our cruise.  I mean, obviously, the five pairs of Privos I already own wouldn’t do. They are super comfy and I’m wondering which pair I should wear on the plane.

Technically, these shoes don’t all fit in my shoe closet, but don’t tell Travis…