Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Unique and Modern Jewelry You'll love


http://www.visibleinterest.com/shop-by-category/whats-new/round-xo-pendant-in-sterling-silver/michelle-chang

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-- >This post was created in partnership with eAccountable. All opinions are my own. See full disclosure HERE


Recently, I had a really good conversation with my husband on how nowadays, some people do not take pride on their work. Craftsmanship is a scarce ...we always seem to experience and notice business and individuals who works not because they are proud of their workmanship but  just in it for the money.

Let me tell you a few facts on what I admire and love about  Visible Interest .

Their collection of modern jewelry are appraised and vetted by 
independent jewelry designers. Indie jewelry designers who share a PASSION for fresh and modern styles. PASSION -- that you seldom experience.  Visible Interest carefully chooses no more than 20 pieces per designer. New jewelry is cycled in often to keep us all looking fresh. Now, how awesome is that? Their jewelry is all made by hand or in small batch processes, and most is made in the USA.

Now that it's wedding season--- that time of the year when love is the air and it's nearly non-stop nuptials.
Big decisions about the dresses, venue, food, and the seating chart have hopefully been nailed down. So, now is the time to think about details that can make the special day even more perfect.
Visible Interest is the ultimate source for modern jewelry-from earrings, to bridesmaid's gifts to wedding bands. These small but significant touches take the wedding take from special to sizzling.
Understated, but still making a statement, these pieces are the perfect compliment for the modern bride and the wedding party.

Wedding Day Earrings

As seen in Martha Stewart Weddings,these Freshwater Cultured Pearls sit on dainty solid 14K gold hoop earrings and provide an updated twist on pearl studs.

Stunning vertical bar earrings in 14K yellow gold set with five white diamonds. Also in rose gold or white gold or with champagne diamonds, each earring measures just a dainty 1/4 inch long.

These extra long faceted Swarovski crystal teardrop dangle earrings on sterling silver chains provide refined glamour and impact.

Dangle earrings of Baroque cut Swarovski crystal on sterling silver faceted discs give a dose of drama.



An update on the diamond stud, these mini spear-shaped ear studs that are just a 1/4 inch tall in 14K white gold with four white diamonds.



The Perfect Bridesmaid Gift

Tell them how much you adore them with a modern XO charm necklace in solid sterling silver on an adjustable sterling silver. The charm is hallmarked with the designer's signature detail - a contrasting 18K gold ball placed artfully on the design.

Another option to give them a hug and a kiss: An open circular XO charm necklace in sterling silver on an adjustable chain.


Modern Bands

This six sided minimalist hexagonal ring comes in yellow, rose or white gold set with black or white diamonds (diamonds are 0.1 total carat weight) over two sides.


Another minimalist band made in solid 14K gold (yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold)


       ORDER HERE
Named by Style.com to their list of top sustainable engagement rings, the Nico Ring is a minimalist double band ring with a vertical row of diamonds. Available in yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold, it's a beautiful choice for eco-conscious, stylish brides





Have you seen their MOST PINNED STYLES? , from now until May 17, 2015 Sunday , get 15% off most pinned styles.




Have fun!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Eggplant Parmesan

Lets talk about pasta. I love pasta , I know..it is not friendly to our "hips" but hey..what I love about this recipe is that:  First: you can use wholewheat pasta ; Second: it is meatless ; Third: it is BUDGET FRIENDLY.

This is so easy so go ahead and add EGGPLANT PARMESAN to your menu this week.





Ingredients:

2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1/3 cup prepared pesto
1 lb spaghetti noodles
2 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 plain bread crumbs ( I used homemade crumbs)
1 8oz Italian cheese blend (shredded package)
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups pasta sauce


Directions:

 


Coat your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, prepared pesto and milk. In a plate or medium size bowl, toss the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese  (1/4 cup).
Set aside 1/2 of the sauce. Spoon the 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Dip each eggplant slice in the prepared egg mixture, then to the breadcrumbs mixture.
Layer about 8 pieces of the eggplant  slices into the slow cooker.
Top with 1 cup sauce and 2/3 cup if the Italian cheese blend. Repeat the layer twice.
Cover and cook on LOW for 5 1/2 hours to 6 hours.

Now is the good time to relax..and listen to Bon Iver .

During the last 30 minutes of cooking time, cook your spaghetti noodles according to package instructions.
Drain and toss with 2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy this delicious and worth the wait eggplant Parmesan


 

I would love to connect with you! 

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On a hunt for a good slow cooker ? I recommend these two slow cookers :



  





---> this post contains affiliate links, see full disclosure HERE


Friday, May 8, 2015

How we Paid Cash for our International Travel

     You did read that right, we paid cash for our International trip last December. Not a single dime was spent using a credit card or a debit card, not even our plane ticket. It is possible and achievable, you may run into several bumps along the way of achieving this but keep your eye on the prize.

     If you are like us, my ultimate finish line was being able to hug and show lots of love to my family that I haven't seen in years. Our trip to Philippines.. to be with family and have a long deserved vacation was our prize.







   Just like anything else, every family dynamic is different . We do not want debt anymore and our eagerness to travel and see family is something that we always wanted. We are a one income family, No other income ( no blogging income was use), just solely my husband's HARD WORK  and our family's TEAMWORK. I am writing this to inspire you that it is possible.



So how did we do it?

We decided to travel to Philippines around January.  The month where you think of your goals and resolutions. For our family, our top was to travel. We have not done anything big like this. We had a few travels and escapades, nothing International.

 So having decided that we have 11 months to save, we came up with a "game plan:"

First , decide on how much is your target amount, including the plane ticket. Let's say $15, 000. Look into your paycheck, some of you get paid every two weeks or some every week.  We divided our target amount into how many paycheck there will be. So if it is $15, 000 divided by 24 ( lets say you get paid twice a month). You know you need to save $1,250 a month or $312.50 per week. There will be months, where there will be 3 paychecks, now that is a bonus.  Keep that in mind for my next tip.

Build an emergency fund. I'd say $1000 is a good start. Why? 11 months is a long way to go. You will never know what life may throw at you. Car repairs, Medical payment? Building an emergency fund is a life saver for those "life may give you lemons" moments. If $500 is all you can build, go for it. It is better than not having an emergency pool when you need it.

Treat your target amount like a bill. We "paid" that target amount every paycheck, like it was a regular bill.  In the beginning of the year, I do have a guide budget for whole 12 months. I have it all in a spreadsheet -- bills, grocery budget ..etc.  There will be weeks where you just couldn't make your target weekly amount. That is okay..tweak the other weeks. If you can not reach it, make a note to pay it back.

--> speaking of bills , while you are away .. you can give your cable or dish company a call to stop the service while you are gone. Same with your mobile carrier (if you are not taking it with you). They will prorate your bill.

Use cash on groceries. I know right? what a hassle to stop by the bank to get some cash. It would just take a minute of your time, but your wallet will thank you too. If we can wait patiently in line at Starbucks , how inconvenient will it be to go drive by your bank.  Let's say your grocery budget is around $200.  Try to budget under that.

extra cash after the grocery shopping trip :
---> you keep for later spending . why? there might be times within the week that you may have something that you have forgotten to buy. That way, you do not have to use your card and stay discipline
---> or you can use the extra cash to build your emergency fund. Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Now that you will use cash, MENU PLAN. It might take you an hour or less to plan your whole week's meal but the result of it is worth it. You will be less likely to spend more ( stick to the list). It is not just money that you will be able to save but your time later on. There's not gonna be..what in the hey am I gonna cook for dinner tonight? or " do you guys really have to eat dinner"?   Make your meals around what is on your grocery circular.

STOCK UP. So how can we save money if we plan on spending by stocking up? Stay with me here,,, since we had planned on traveling by December. January is that month where of course they put all the Christmas items on clearance. Wait until they are 50% to 75%. I had bought Christmas wrapping gifts for only .50 cents as compared to buying it around $3.00.  We knew that we will be giving gifts to family..so we stocked up on some ( non perishable of course) gift items during the after season sale.  January is also a good time to buy..toys , cold and flu medications.

Download this Month by Month Buying Guide for free : click here
Use this as a guide when you shop or plan to shop.


Shop smart with Ebates  where you get cash back for your online purchases. When buying gifts for our kids, I sometimes prefer to shop online because it saves you time, gas and saves you the temptation of buying more than what you intend to. Sign up here : Ebates

WRITE YOUR PLAN and expect unforeseen expenses for the trip.  When I say write your plan, I mean things that you will be needing for the trip. Will you be needing  luggage? how about a stroller if you have a little one? ( like us). New outfits and comfy shoes? Write it and slowly purchase it. I will say it again, wait for the items to be on sale. What about the other expenses like passports? Since its was our girl's first International travel, we applied for  one. How about the airport parking? Lucky you if you have family or friends nearby that you can rely on taking your family to the airport.

Tip for airport parking --> compare months ahead of your trip. Sign up on the company's free newsletter as some of them offer coupons and discounts. We saved a lot when we got a coupon code for 20% off.

CALL YOUR BANKER Even though you WILL NOT use your credit card or debit card , visit your banker anyway. Know the rates, in case of emergency that you REALLY MUST use your card..know how much is the international charge for it. Know the bank affiliates overseas. Coming home not knowing how much the hidden charges are is not something you would want to come home to. Discuss what is the safest way to handle your money overseas.

LIMIT your eating out. I do not recommend not being able to eat out at all. Why? because sometimes, the best way to stay discipline and to not go astray is to " pay yourself first." Just limit it on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.

Have fun in a least expensive way. During summer, there's a lot of movies at the park. Like here in Redlands, every Friday they would have a free kids movie by Ed Hales Park. You can bring your own blankets and snacks. Speaking of snacks, we always pack snacks. Finding the BIG YELLOW ARCH fast food everywhere is so tempting. That way, we stay on budget and still eat healthy.

Sign up on Kidscoop , their newsletter will send a monthly list of local events, coupons. National Macaroni Kid , does the same too..Sign up for their free newsletter for free and cheap local events in your area.They even have a list of nearby parks and list of libraries that offers reading programs and events.

If possible, SAVE A PORTION OF YOUR TAX REFUND. During the tax season, there's always advertisement on electronics furniture, etc. Do not let these ads dictate on where your money should go, instead tell your money where it should be spent. In this case.. SAVE IT!

PAY CASH for your plane ticket. I can hear the, wow, that is a hefty price! Yes, it is..imagine how concerned we were-- first it was a hefty plane ticket because of the month we chose to travel second - letting go of that hard earned money is kinda hard to do.  First, you need to find a reputable travel agency. Check their license , nobody wants a scam. The very good side of this is again -- no debt..no interest to think of. We like the travel agency because we get to ask questions about our trip as well. It gives you a personal service so to speak. But then again, do your research and make sure it is reliable.

---> also, consider traveling low season. We chose to visit Philippines in December because I wanted Rob and our Kids to experience Christmas in my hometown and it's my birthday .

---> not all search sites , give you the list for  low cost carrier (LCC). why? because these budget carriers try to keep costs low by not paying a booking commission to search sites. Try Skyscanner to compare prices. They do include budget carriers and when you find the lowest deal, it will take you to the airline website -- NO  MIDDLE MEN.

WORK HARD. If there is an opportunity to earn extra money, embrace it. My husband worked hard to make this happen for us.  Remember that a little sacrifice here and there won't hurt.

Lastly , Have faith and pray. All things are possible with God.













Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mouthwatering Mexican Dishes

Here are a few easy, budget friendly and mouthwatering Mexican dishes that I had shared here at A Bountiful Love. Feel free to pin and share!



Easy Chicken Fajitas with Homemade Tortilla Flour


  

  






  





 
 







Monday, May 4, 2015

10 Free Printables for Teacher Appreciation Week

It's Teacher appreciation week! Show teachers some love with these adorable printables. Purchase a nice 8x10 frame at Michael's , Hobby Lobby or at Dollar Tree.I am sure that you will make our teachers smile. All of the printables are on PDF format. If in any case , you will have a problem with the downloads feel free to contact me, I will directly email the link to you.







Enjoy!