Wednesday, September 30, 2015

From College to Career - Wardrobe Staples for under $100 from Our World Boutique!



I have two daughters both in their twenties. One just recently graduated from college in June and I have another one in her third year of college. A clothing budget can be challenging for a mom, especially when so much is going into funding a college education! I spent some time viewing the fashionable and affordable items at Our World Boutique. I found 10 pieces- a mix of tops, bottoms, jewelry and one dress that total ....wait for it...under $100!  Can you believe it?! Sometimes two pairs of jeans, even one, might cost that much!  

I picked these items with my two girls in mind because these items are multi-functional, perfect for college to career wear! This is a tremendous value as these clothes can transition from one phase to another in a college gal's life.  Here are the items:

Item #1:  The Ella Peasant Top in Turquoise.  The blouse can be paired with jeans, (even jeans shorts) and some cowboy boots for class then with a narrow skirt for the internship!  I love the color! Regularly priced at $15.00, this top is on sale now for $7.00!

Item #2:  The Floral Print Blouse in Coral.  Another great look that could easily go from co-ed to office colleague. The color of the printed pattern is so feminine against a dark bottom! Regularly priced at $49.99, but on sale now at $7.00, this is a great buy!
Item #3:  The Sydney Sheer Sleeveless Shirt in Ivory. This color combination is classic. Pictured here, she is perfect for a day time look. Then put a black blazer on and a black skirt and she's ready for her work shift. Previously $44.99, this top is now on sale for $5.00.
Item #4:  The Long Sleeve Dolman Tunic in Royal Blue.  Office wear tends to stay in the conservative side of the color rainbow.  This blue however is office appropriate yet fun for the college campus too! Regularly $34.99, it is on sale for $12.00.

Item #5: We all own a little black dress, right? We can call this next piece a lbs - "Little Black Skirt". The Chelsea Solid Pencil Skirt also comes in charcoal, navy and red.  It goes with anything and is on sale now for $5.00.
Item #6: Another great choice for the College to Career wardrobe is the Brooklyn Textured Skirt. Pictured are the grey and navy blue colors.  I can easily see either colored skirt with items #1 and #5.   It also comes in beige, red, chocolate brown and burgundy.  This is priced at $15.

Item #7: For a one-piece selection, I loved the brightness of the Venice Zigzag Sundress.  This dress under a navy or white blazer is perfect for a dressy campus event, interview, and of course the office!  This is priced at $12.00.
Item #8:  Everyone know that accessories complete an outfit.  Here is the Two Tone Stranded Statement Necklace in black and white that will complement any color scheme.  This also comes in gold and silver, mint and white and hot pink and white.  You can get one for every season! I would love to see this styled with the yellow zigzag dress. This is priced at $13.00.
Item #9: The Ombre Statement Necklace is one of my favorite pieces from Old World Boutique. This paired with the Royal Blue Doman Tunic and black or white pants would look amazing!  This is regularly priced at $28.00 but is on sale for $8.00. Hurry before it sells out! 
Item #10:  I loved the look of these Biannca Bangles, subtle and elegant! They are just the right touch to add a little special something to an outfit. They come in gold, rose or silver and are priced at $7.00. 
These are my ten items from Old World Boutique that could totally transition with your young college gal to career woman!  At a great price too!  You can get all ten items for less than $100! With all the money you're saving, you can afford to check out a new item at Old World Boutique, their Mystery Box. For $15, you receive two pieces of jewelry and two pieces of clothing, a value of at least $40.  I love receiving packages in the mail, especially surprise ones! New also is a section for the little ones featuring ties for the boys and leggings for the girls. Moms can shop for the whole family at Old World Boutique. From October 5 - 7, 2015 use the promo code "LORASAYS15" for an extra 15% off! For fashionable, affordable college to career wear, check them out today! 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary items for this blog post.

Disney Cruise Planning and Packing Tips!

The Bumatays love Disney Cruising! We have four Disney cruises in our memory books and one more coming up pretty soon!  Here are some tips on how to plan and what to pack to make your Disney Cruise experience the best ever!

1) This first one is a super priority and do it asap...get those passports ready!  It can be very stressful if you find out a week before your trip that your passports have expired! Give yourself plenty of time to get these done. To figure out what you need to apply for a passport in San Diego, click here.  There are specific requirements for those under sixteen years of age. We were lucky that the local library at the Otay Ranch Town Center processes passports and even makes appointments too.  Easy peasy and stress free!

2) Buy trip insurance! You never know if something will come up.  Rest assured that you can recoup some if not all of your money if an emergency happens.  We all recognize that a Disney Cruise is not a budget cruise line. In fact Disney offers a Disney Vacation Savings Account program that can help you plan any Disney vacation.

3) Get your online registration done as early as possible so that you can do a few things:
    - Choose your boarding time! I'm all about getting on the boat as early as possible to begin your vacation. When you board, grab a quick lunch at the restaurants versus the buffet spot as that gets crowded.  I've noticed that the restaurant locations tend to set up a buffet as well on the day of
embarkation rather than take orders off the menu.

    - Book your activities like reservations at the adult-only restaurant or a spa treatment!

    -Get your kid signed up for the kid's club!  They will have so much fun, they will want to stay in the club all day!

      Your luggage will probably not be in until later in the day so have your kids in their swimwear already when you board and get in the pool or on the Aquaduck while other families are still in the terminal!

Here's EJ on the Disney Dream in 2011 right when we boarded.

Here he is chillaxing last year on the Wonder.


 
4) Budget for gratuities.  I was really naive when it came to this on our first cruise.  I wasn't aware that the workers on the ship really depend on your gratuities to supplement their salary.  As of the last information I received for our upcoming cruise, a suggested amount to tip was about $12 per person for each day of the cruise to cover your restaurant server, the assistant server, the head server, and the stateroom host(ess). Room service is at your discretion.  Envelopes are provided if you want to tip in person or you can add it to your room expenses. What I do is utilize our Disney Reward Dollars that have accumulated from using our Disney Chase Visas.  Order a redemption card about a month before your trip and you can download the dollars right before your trip.  Use this amount to pay for gratuities, excursions, whatever you want to purchase! Look at all the cool designs out, even STAR WARS!! I'll have to order a new card to add to my collection.

5) Budget for photos!  Vacations are extra special when you look back at pictures and remember all those fun times. On our first cruise ever, we didn't anticipate all the photo opportunities there would be with the characters, the Captain, and family pictures with different backgrounds. Even while dining, photographers are snapping away.  Shutters  is the photography company on board.  I spent at least 4-5 hours during my first cruise reviewing pictures and selecting what I wanted to purchase. The word "shutters" is now an inside joke with all the cruise husbands (add in an eye roll too) as that's where the wives were when they couldn't find us and where a lot of money went!  Yes it can be pricey, but these are lifetime memories captured on film. Nowadays, we have just resigned ourselves to buy the photo package! And since our first cruise, Shutters has revamped their system so that each family has their own designated folder to view printed pictures.  Don't wait until the last day to look at pictures either as the place can be packed and the lines LONG! It may not be the happiest place on the boat at that moment!

6) Budget for excursions! We went on a Mexican cruise the first time with Disney Cruise Line and signed up for an excursion.  They provided the transportation to and from and lunch was included. It was expensive. On the second cruise we visited St. Thomas and St. Maarten and decided to forgo booking through the ship and contacted tour companies directly on our own (convenience of the internet!) and saved some money! Of course, do your research on these companies, its buyer beware! On another port stop, we literally came down the plank, negotiated a rate with the driver of a van (they are all lined up to greet tourists)  and he took us on our own private tour of the island. Cut out the middle man! We reached a peak on the island and took a picture of the ship from here.  Isn't she beautiful?

Save some more money and order sandwiches from room service and pack them for your lunch while you are out exploring! See my previous post just for foodies.

7) Budget for Bingo!  Being Filipino, you know it is in our blood to love gambling. However you will not find a casino on a Disney ship. Bingo is your next best bet!  It is really fun too! Go early to claim your spot and buy your cards. For some reason, the electronic cards seem to win more! I wish Disney would add pull-tabs, then I'd be there all day, hahaha! They have as many as three bingo sessions a day and the biggest jackpot is saved for the last full day on the ship!  It is not cheap but it is a fun time for the whole family!

8) You might want to make custom shirts!  Its a unique souvenir.

This cruise was a special one, as each family brought along the grandparents too!


We'll be wearing these pretty soon!
Photo courtesy of Melanie Sunico
Another tip, try your best to get ready early and be the first family to be in line for pictures. You can then jump from station to station with the different backdrops and be worry free about clothes getting messy because you'll be all done with pictures!

9) Join or create a Facebook group or organize your own Fish Extender exchange if you will be travelling with multiple families or just want to participate in some Disney magic!  Don't know what that is? I'm going to let you google it!  You can also spread some Disney love by Pixie Dusting too! This may take some time to get crafty so plan in advance! At the very least, plan to decorate your door with something! Here's our decorations made by my BF Norliza, that I keep recycling from previous cruises!

10) Here are some more packing suggestions for you!
    - Clothes for a family portrait. How often do you get your picture taken by a professional photographer? We tend to use one of these photos for our annual Christmas card!

    -Disney princess costumes for your princess to wear for character meets and photo opps!

    -Pirate costumes for Pirate Night! You will be given a bandanna to wear, but for eye patches, swords and hooks, you're on your own! I like to pack glow in the dark necklaces for Pirate night too! Speaking of Pirate night....spoiler alert...save your appetite because this night is when the turkey legs come out! (Now if only they can also serve California Adventure's Corn Dog Castle corn dogs, I'd be in Disney food coma heaven.)

    -Waterproof case for your phone or camera to take pictures/video even in a wet zone! Here's Alli and I on the Aquaduck and she's recording the ride!

    -Bungee cords. I can hear the "huh?" Here's why. We find it more affordable to book two inside connecting staterooms for our family of five. So that we can keep the connecting doors open between the two rooms, we hook one end of the bungee cord to the doorknob and attach the other end to something secure. We do this to both doors. It may not seem like much to have that area
     open, but it does make a difference!

   -Clothespins to maximize hanging the wet clothes in the clothesline in the bathroom.

   -A plug in night light because it can get really dark in the inside staterooms!

Bonus tip! Make good friends with your restaurant servers and stateroom host(ess). Disney is the first cruise line to institute "rotation dining" which means you will get a chance to dine at each of the restaurants on board and your servers travel with you to a different restaurant each night.  They will get to know what you all like to drink and have it ready and waiting by the second night.  We observed the servers cutting up our kids' food and even feeding them.  They also performed magic tricks table side just for the kiddies in our group.
They seemed like part of the family, especially by the end of a 7-day cruise. This was taken on the Magic with assistant server Miko (far left), server Charlie (back right), and head server Wira (in white, with thumbs up sign) in 2009.

Here's another picture. We first met Erasmus as our restaurant server on the Disney Magic in 2005 and then met him again on the Disney Dream in 2011. He is now a head server!

On the Magic, one of our granddad's was turning 60, so our team of servers worked with the chefs (many of them from the Philippines) and provided our group of 40+ cruisers with Filipino cuisine for the birthday celebrant! Tocino and kare-kare on a Disney Cruise! That's right! How special is that?!

Bottom line, making relationships with your Disney hosts can really turn your vacation into an extra special affair!

I hope I shared some helpful information!  I would love to hear all about your Disney Cruise!   Please share something that I didn't cover in a comment below.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Eating through LA - Eggslut at Grand Central Market!

As my childhood and blogger friend Cynthia and I were making our way to Los Angeles for a blogging event, we decided to find a Filipino-owned joint to stop for lunch.  We happened upon eggslut, specializing in gourmet egg dishes.  I've been a follower of eggslut for a minute on Instagram and was secretly hoping that co-owner and chef, Arvin Cailan would be there for an impromptu visit!  Alas, he was somewhere in a big important meeting, but we were able to chit chat with his friendly staff and watch them make our food!
Eggslut is located at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, a food emporium where all kinds of food is served. Eggslut is open 7 days a week, 8:00 - 4:00. It is situated at the entrance of the emporium. There is plenty of seating at tables and chairs out on the wide sidewalk if you don't get a spot at the counter. Luckily, a couple of spots opened up at the counter after we ordered so we plopped ourselves down.  It was a HOT day again in Southern California! We sat idle so the warmth of the open kitchen would be bearable.  However, the 90's tracks playing on the loud speaker put a smile on our faces as we remembered these songs from our college days!  I found myself nodding my head to the beats....and perspiring, LOL!
Breakfast is served all day!  See the menu here. I asked the server for a recommendation and she suggested the Fairfax. This is a sandwich made of scrambled eggs, chives, avocado, melted cheddar cheese, and sriracha mayo served in a brioche bun. The eggs were fluffy and the bun was so soft!
Cynthia ordered the slut, a coddled egg served over a potato puree in a glass jar.  A baguette comes with it.  The jars are sous vided until an order is put in. Then the jar is transferred to a pot of boiling water until the egg is set just right.

The puree reminded me of grits.  It was subtle in its taste but mixed up with the broken yolk and topped on a baguette bite, it was fun to eat!  I think I liked Cynthia's order and she liked mine more!
I was able to get some face time with Blaise Sepulveda who was working behind the counter. He says he also co-founded eggslut. He, Alvin and co-owner Jeff Vales are all childhood friends.  They grew up in San Gabriel and started with a food truck in 2011. They used to park outside of coffee places that didn't really serve food, hence a business relationship started, serving customers who wanted their morning grind and a breakfast sandwich.  A regular patron of theirs from one of these coffee places told them of the opportunity at Grand Central Market and that's how they grew out of the food truck business. Blaise was too shy to take a picture but he shared these tidbits with me:

  • The name "eggslut" came out of a moment of being silly and it stuck.
  • They go through at least 1000 eggs Monday through Thursday. Double that sometimes on weekends.
  • I asked him about plans to expand and it seems a second location is in the works, probably in West LA.
  • They have a friendly barter relationship with RiceBar a couple blocks down and trade food!
  • He's a big fan of Snooze here in SD and hopes eggslut can be like them soon!
  • Although he loves to eat Filipino favorites like tapsilog himself, eggslut prides itself on providing quality and healthy food products especially to our Filipino demographic where diabetes and hypertension run rampant. So you won't find these dishes on the menu, not yet anyway.
  • He's planning a trip to Hawaii soon.  Mahalo Blaise for the on-the-spot interview. Have a great time!

Eggslut is growing their fans fast! I hope to see a brick and mortar soon!

You can find eggslut on social media here:
https://instagram.com/eggslutla/
https://twitter.com/EggSlutLA

Follow Chef Alvin at https://twitter.com/eggslutalvin

Monday, September 21, 2015

Living with Autism - How Jiu Jitsu has changed my nephew's life!


Meet my nephew, Julian Bumatay, age 14. He recently competed and won first place in his division at the California Kids Dream Jiu Jitsu Tournament  this past weekend in Cerritos, California. He had three matches and swept them all in his division! (Video links at end). We are all so proud of his hard work and efforts I wanted to highlight him on my blog!

Julian has been grappling since he was ten years old.  I want to say it stemmed from an obsession with Bruce Lee that started when he was really young.  One Christmas, we gave him Bruce Lee's book, Chinese Gung Fu. He was so happy!

Here he is dressed as you know who for Halloween in 6th grade with his firefighting little brother, Nolan.
When Julian traveled to Seattle a couple of years ago for vacation, his parents knew that Bruce Lee's grave was a definite must-see for him.

Why is Julian's First Place win so special to our family? I'll tell you why. After years of struggling with communication skills, school work, his feelings of being incompetent, unaccepted and isolated, Julian was diagnosed with Autism in 2010.  This explained a lot of his behaviors and his feeling of being different. He couldn't conform to group type sports and lacked self-confidence to feel comfortable around other kids. He felt like he never fit in. One of his elementary school teachers wrote this card to him. It made me tear up.

Here's Julian, anxious and nervous to start 7th grade last year at EastLake Middle School. For many reasons, Julian ended up transferring to another school for 8th grade this year.

As soon as he was diagnosed, Julian started to receive services from the San Diego Regional Center and his parents enrolled him in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the Stronghold Eastlake studio in Chula Vista, CA.  In addition to the support of his parents and coaches, combined with Julian's own sheer resilience...jiu jitsu has changed his life.

This was taken in 2012 at one of his first tournaments. Julian was ready for his opponents!
He ended up taking second and third place in that tournament.
In 2013, Julian won 1st and 3rd in a Gi and No-Gi competition in Long Beach, CA.


In March 2014 we were able to watch him as he participated in his studio's promotion process to earn a stripe.
I was shocked at the physical endurance that the students had to exert in order to earn a stripe on their belts.  Julian must have grappled at least ten different kids non-stop for over a half hour. He deservedly received this stripe!
Coach Mike Cusi giving Julian his stripe.
In September 2014, he earned another stripe.

Here's Julian feeling accomplished with some of his coaches.

Last year he also competed in the same BJJ Dream Tournament he won this year.  Julian was seriously sizing up the competition.

He ended up taking second place in his division!
Coach Vince was there to support him!
Coach Vince Cocol

Julian prepared for this year's tournament physically and mentally. Check out his flowchart!
Obviously his strategies worked! Here are the videos of Julian's three matches that made him the First Place winner of his division in the 2015 BJJ Dream Tournament (Sept. 2015)!
Grappling is only a part of Julian's life.  He also loves to game on his Playstation, watch anime, film himself on Dubsmash, and eat! Especially oysters, any seafood really!  This kid can put it away like a true Bumatay!

Julian also likes to be outdoors, fishing and surfing!


This tough competitor has a soft side too. Julian's concern for his friends and family is admirable. He is a very loyal, considerate and genuine person. He worries about the health of his mom and his grandparents and he is also quick to correct his own behavior when he knows he said or did something wrong. Julian is also good with his little brother, who I am sure wants to be just like him when he grows up!
Through Jiu Jitsu, Julian has experienced the result of what hard work can do for you, what success feels like and has gained the confidence to be himself. We can't wait for what the future holds for our CHAMPION! CONGRATULATIONS to you, Julian! 

Follow Julian on instagram at https://instagram.com/submission_4_ever/
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