Friday, March 27, 2015

Cool App To Frame Your Instagram Photos

Here today, gone tomorrow. That's what it sometimes feels like after uploading images to Instagram or Facebook. They  don't have any sense of permanence. My Instagram gallery includes many lovely, evocative images from my travels. And I've had people ask me if they could buy them framed to hang on their walls or to give as a gift to someone. There's an app for everything, right? Why not an app for getting your dreamy photos off your iPhone or iPad, have 'em framed to hang on your wall? Instantly Framed to the rescue.

chapel along the Camino de Santiago - credit: Jeanine Barone
This free app allows you to choose the image you want framed and one of several desired sizes (8x8, 6x6, 4x4, 4x6, 6x4) -- it recognizes the image quality, not allowing you to choose one larger than is reasonably possible, pixel-wise. Once you pay the $65, which includes free shipping, expect your beautifully framed -- it's handcrafted, sustainably-farmed walnut -- image in three business days. (The shipping in theh U.S. is free, too, except to Alaska and Hawaii. Your photo will be printed using archival inks on photo luster paper behind glass in a 12" by 12" frame.

The photo you see here now hangs on my wall and everyone who has seen it was impressed with the quality of the framing. It arrived in great condition and speedily. My only problem with the entire process was that that app kept on crashing because I'm on an older iPad. That being said, it was worth it and I would use the app again.

My readers will get $10 off their order by using the discount code: CITRAVELAUTHORITY10. It's valid through April 6. 

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Fave National Wildlife Refuges

Not much wildlife made it into "Wild," the Reese Witherspoon movie based on Cheryl Strayed's solo, thousand-some-mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. That is, unless you count some of the shady people her character meets along the way. In real life, it's the four-legged, winged and finned creatures in our nation's wild places that provide treasured experiences for ourselves and our children -- whether it's prowling for owls, digging for crabs, learning to photograph flocks of cranes, or following the tracks of a bobcat. In America, wildlife links us with our past and provides a gift we can offer future generations. We can thank President Theodor Roosevelt for establishing the first national wildlife refuge -- Florida's Pelican Island -- in 1903. But the idea of protecting America's fish and wildlife, and the plants and waters they depend on dates to the mid-1800s, when reporters and explorers in the West documented how animals were being wiped out. The public came to the realization that America's heritage is intimately tied to its wildlife that require safe and healthy havens to thrive. Every U.S. state plus its territories has at least one refuge, all managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serve. I recently wrote about six stand-out national wildlife refuges for National Geographic Traveler - Intelligent Travel. 

credit: Ward Feurt/USFWS

credit: Colin Hackley

credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Anguilla In Pictures

Just 25-minutes from St. Maarten by ferry, Anguilla is blessed with some three dozen white sand beaches. I visited 20 of 'em, beaches for all personalities, whether you want nothing but utter solitude or prefer to wine and dine and socialize. And for all activities, whether you're a thrill seeker who wants to kite surf or you're eco oriented and interested in finding sea turtle nesting sites. With a low-key, intimate vibe; gourmet but unpretentious dining; and a sense of anonymity, if that's what you desire, Anguilla might very well be one of my favorite Caribbean islands. This should YouTube video slide show provides a window into my Anguilla experiences.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Surprise Discoveries in Portugal's Centro Region

Just an hour drive from buzzing Lisbon is a region brimming with hilltop stone villages, long stretches of sandy beaches, vast expanses of pine forests and agricultural fields and plenty of historical features. This is Portugal's Centro region that's home to one of the oldest schools of higher education in the world, the University of Coimbra. (It also may have been the inspiration for Hogworts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.)

On my recent visit, I explored blooming gardens that are perfect for bird watchers, the ruins of a monastery that flooded for centuries and all the artifacts retrieved from that site and much more. My article for the Huffington Post provides insights on the treasures in this varied region.

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