Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Zaza Gallery Canvas Photo Print

A while back I contacted Zaza Gallery about doing a product review for one of their wrapped canvases. I’ve always dreamed of a big beautiful family photo canvas on our living room wall, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

This wasn’t a company I was familiar with so I checked out their site to find they offer countless options for wrapped photo canvases at REALLY reasonable prices. Their 8 X 10 canvases start at only $25. I couldn’t find anywhere else offering this great of deal so I was excited to get my canvas and see the product quality, hoping it would hold up to my expectations.

I had them ship the canvas to my mom’s house (I worried too much about damage having it shipped all the way to Germany). Whenever I talked to my mom or sister I would ask for an update of packages I was waiting on and was excited to hear my picture arrived early- less than a week and a half after I ordered it! I was so excited to finally get ‘home’ last week and see pile of boxes in my room waiting. I saw the box addressed from Zaza Gallery and it was the first I tore into.

First of all the packaging was perfect (no need to worry there). The canvas was very safe and secure wrapped in bubble wrap to prevent any damage during shipping.

I pulled it out and took it in. I had a VERY hard time picking which picture I wanted and would think would look best on a canvas. I decided on this one and couldn’t be happier with the picture choice or quality.

The canvas is stretched BEAUTIFULLY. This was really important to me because having paintings stretched in the past I haven’t always been happy with the results. I assume stretching a canvas is something that must be done by hand and is an ‘art’ because I’ve realized it’s not something everyone can do well. Hugh and his team at Zaza do a beautiful job- all the corners are folded PERFECTLY and there are no bumps, waves, or misalignments on the picture. I feel confident the quality of this product will hold up over time and will be on our wall for years and years to come.

The only drawback? The sides. I honestly don’t have a ton of experience (ok, hardly any) with canvas prints, and the mirror wrap on the sides struck me as a bit odd (especially because it mirrored parts of our body). I didn’t select which option I wanted (when you order you can choose from gallery wrap or mirror wrap both of which they have pictures of on the site) but I trust that they do this a LOT and chose what they thought would work best with my picture. My mom actually prefers the mirror wrap and if I decide it is a deal breaker I could always choose to have it framed as well. For now, I LOVE that you don’t have to have a frame for it- it looks beautiful hung exactly as it arrives (though you may need to add a hanger or wire to the back).

I am excited to move back to the states (hopefully in about 6 months) when I can get this up on OUR wall. For now my mom and sister will surely enjoy it. Also planned for when we get back, I am DYING to do a photo wall. I am thinking at least a couple of 8x10 gallery wraps will be perfect additions and look forward to ordering from Zaza Gallery.

Overall it was really easy to work with Zaza Gallery and they have a truly beautiful product at amazing prices. If you have any other questions I’d be happy to answer them, or you can find Zaza Gallery here with a list of their pricing and options. (You can also click for the link on the upper left hand side of my page!)

Travelling with a toddler.

Jackson and I just traveled 4500+ miles from wintery Bavaria to land here, in wintery Kansas  Silly me, I thought because we’d already made the trip and back with him once to the US once we’d be (somewhat) prepared. Oh no. Babies do NOT = toddlers. I mean, I KNEW that. Last time we flew Jackson was 5 and 6 months old. He slept A LOT. He didn’t walk, or even crawl. He was happy to sit, and nurse, and sleep. This time I packed countless snacks, I lugged numerous toys in our carryon, I even bought a portable DVD player.

And really, the trip wasn’t THAT bad. Thankfully we had two bulkhead seats (the ones at the very front with extra leg room but no under seat storage). We had a window and an aisle (yes I BOUGHT him a ticket) which gave Jackson a ‘litte’ freedom while I could still keep him mostly contained to his seat and extra floor area using my legs as a barrier (though of course he did frequently protest this arrangement). However, anytime I’d stand up to get into our overhead bags to replenish the depleting toy or snack stash he would jet. Once I didn’t even realize he had made it past me and found him 5 rows back chatting up an elderly couple.

We stretched our legs, making countless trips up and down the aisles of the plane- most flyers smiled adoringly at the little ‘toddler’ . . .oh for about the first 6 times, after that I’m not sure they were happy to see us coming. Sticky hands, excited squeals, and drool covered mouth. . I can imagine.

Jackson slept for an hour (of nine and a half) which was nice but man I was not ready for the constant go-go-go ness of the other 8.5 hours!

In case you were REALLY curious as to our timeline here it is: We left our house at 8am. Got to the airport for breakfast and spent some time with Dad trying to run off some energy in the blissfully-not-too-busy Munich Airport. We managed our way through security (where they didn’t even mention the liquids I forgot pull out. . and also in Germany you don’t have to take off your shoes.)

We were on the plane to Chicago by 12pm (it left at 12:40)and arrived in Chicago a little after 10pm our time. After clearing the passport check, picking up ALL of our luggage to go through customs, dropping it back off and then travelling to a new terminal, a new security check (where they DID check all of our liquids and made us take off our shoes), we picked up some ‘decent’ food re: yogurt and bananas (for only about 8 bucks) we were set for our Kansas City leg which was delayed (of course) and had no gate. This meant we got to walk out on the tarmac in 20 degree weather. Where were our coats? In our checked bags, of course.

I won’t lie. When we landed in Kansas City (at 130am our time) there was a LOT of screaming, and that was ok too. By that point I was relieved to be in a familiar city, with believe it or not, understanding strangers (at least they pretended to be), and two beautiful ladies waiting to pick us up and help me find my way to some clean sheets and the smell of ‘home’. Sigh.
Since I haven’t given you a belly pic in a while, you can see it peeking out here, and I’d say this picture pretty accurately sums up our day.

I didn’t even have much time to think about this extra ‘passenger’ we were bringing back. Jackson’s 20 week (gestation) brother or sister travelling in my belly. Other than a few inopportune kicks to my bladder I didn’t have much time to think about him/her at all, but I’m happy to report ‘Baby’ seems to be happy and growing, growing, growing :) Weighing in at 13 oz and 9.5 inches at my Dr’s appt last Monday.

We made it safe and sound, only 15 minutes behind schedule, with all of our bags, carseat, and stroller, so really, who am I to complain? Though we are certainly NOT counting down until we make the trip again in 30ish days :)

So that was last Tuesday. . .since then there has been frequent Target trips (is that the best place EVER, or what?), Mexican food, doughnuts, shopping and frequently waking up at 4am (yes, for the day). . .more on that later, maybe.

**All of these pictures were from the Munich airport before we even set out. No plane pics. Certainly no after pics. . . you can imagine why!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Things I love right now.

Jackson is a *pretty* good walker these days. His steps are still short and choppy though, and given the option when we go for a walk he will usually elect to hold our hands. I love this- his little hand clenched tightly on a finger or two as we trail our way through the red slate roofs of our neighborhood. . .sigh, I know it won’t be long before he’ll want to give it up and take off in the opposite direction.

He is a little mimic- especially with signs. “please” “cheese” “again” and “cracker” are some of his new favorites. There are quite a few other's he's tried a few times, and he keeps signing something that looks like 'apple' but quickly refuses apples when offered :). I see a whole, WHOLE lotta ‘please’ which really means ‘give me that!’ but doesn’t it sound so much nicer as please?

He is into finding his own food. He’ll frequently bring a box or a bag from the cabinet and expect me to open it and give him some. Even if it’s something totally non edible, like his favorite, a box of neon straws. He is also mastering opening boxes and packages himself. . . oh my.

These are a few videos I love right now too. He is such a silly guy.

Jackson loves to pull the dogs tails. . .of course I don't condone this behavior, but thankfully right now they are faster than he is :)

Talking on the phone to Dad. . .a favorite pastime.

*Excuse the disaster of my house, really. (Please?)

Another thing I love. . . every morning he goes directly to this toy box, pulls it from the shelf, and climbs in.

 And another because this post has been sitting in my saved posts so long I have to come back and keep adding to it. . .he has started to walk backwards- which we all find hilarious. Hoping to get a video of this soon.

Lastly I love cuddling up with Andy early in the morning with his hand on my belly. . .he’s been able to feel those big kicks, flips, and turns I feel our little one doing all day. I should post a belly pic here, but don’t’ really have one. Sorry! Soon!