A Merry Little Christmas Banquet

Dec 26, 2015

Christmas went by oh-so-fast in a blink of an eye. So far, this is the best Christmas dinner I had with my family because my menu turned out to be savory, yummy, and fulfilling. 

For dessert, I made Churro Cupcakes that was kind of a fail but still turned out super sweet and yummy. You can find the recipe at The Domestic Rebel's Site. Check out the image below on how my cupcakes turned out. Forgive my amateur photography. 

For the main course, I have prepared the simplest, juiciest, and tastiest roast beef I could have ever imagined cooking. Everyone approved my amateur culinary skills that turned out to be a success. I got so nervous about the main course because not only was the beef the most expensive part of my preparation, but because of the fact that it was my first time to cook and roast beef in the oven. Thank goodness it turned out juicy and tender. Whew! Get the recipe at The Food Network. If you are looking to buy a roasting rack, check out Amazon's List of Roasting Racks. You'll find a ton of racks that are priced just right. 

For the sides, I have prepared Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Balsamic Reduction, Slow Cooked Mashed (Real) Potatoes, and Roasted Baby Potatoes in Rosemary, Thyme, and Parmesan Mix. Everything turned out to be almost perfect. However, my mashed potatoes seemed kind of dry and overpowered with garlic. 

It took me 5 hours to cook everything on my own but it was all well worth it. I'm glad my family loved it! 

Check out the dish below on how it looks! It is a bit soggy now because it's already the leftover from Christmas Day. Teehee. 

Acorns Investment Company

Overall Rating

      Company (Vision Mission)

  Website and App Interface

  Customer Service

          Overall Experience

This is a review on the trending spare change financial investing for the middle-class society such as college kids and the blue or white collar working class. However, this spare change financial investing opportunity is not limited to such working class, but is specifically tailored to their income capacity. Basically, anyone can invest in this company who has a bank account and is 18 years of age or older. 

Who and What is Acorns?

Acorns is a financial investment company founded by Walter Cruttenden and  Jeff Cruttenden. Their main goal is to help people invest spare change on a per purchase basis and allocates these shares on the portfolio that was pre-selected for you. 

How Does Acorns Work?

Once you have registered and linked a checking/savings/credit account, it will take away a portion of a transaction made in that particular card on a rounding basis. For example, you have used Debit Card A to purchase coffee at $2.90, the remaining $0.10 will be withdrawn and placed in your Acorns Investment Account to round off that transaction to a whole number $3.00. If in case your purchase was an exact $3.00, then it will take away $1.00 to invest in your Acorns account. 

From this context, we can simply say that, for every transaction you make, Acorns will take away the rounded off portion and place it in your account. The more transactions you make on a linked card, the more you allocate in your Acorns account. 

So, how does the portfolio work?

The portfolio is pre-selected for you based on your income, age, etc. which is easily changeable later on after registration completion. There are 5 portfolios to choose from with a specific allocation of assets. From conservative to aggressive, each portfolio is unique in its investment allocation. Obviously, the riskiest would be the aggressive portfolio. The down part of this is that you can't actually select which ones you would like to allocate most on. The inability to allocate a specific percentage on a company of your choice is what makes it undesirable for me.

Moreover, the fees associated with having this account makes investing tricky. The $1 a month fee is almost 10% of my monthly investment which is pointless at all. I think I would be better off on a savings account that yields at the very least 0.01% annual percentage rate without the hassle of fees and the danger of possibly losing the money. Unless I am a tad wealthier and richer, I will consider investing. For now, Acorns is not my thing. 

I just recently closed my account with them and their customer service has been great and pleasant. My money was deposited back into my bank account. However, my login and Acorns account is still accessible. 

If you are on Acorns, how's your experience so far? I'd love to know how it's working out for you!

Seattle Filipino Passport Renewal

Hello everyone and welcome to my review on Seattle's Philippine Passport Renewal located at The Filipino Community Center found along M.L. King Way, Seattle.

First of all, I would like to inform you that if you are planning to go attend such event, make sure you either have enough food for the day, or, you have enough money to quench your thirsts and hunger. Since this event is a one-time event in a year (if I am not mistaken), you have to expect long lines, long waiting hours, and lots of people. 

Second, I would like to remind you that this is based from my experience and that each appointment will be different for all of us. 

If you have called them prior to an appointment, do not believe every word they say. I do not mean that they are lying, but, do not take whatever they say word for word. Trust me, you might get disappointed.

So, how is the process and what are the steps to make?
I'll show you how they do it. You know what they say, "...been there, done that."

The website for the passport renewal is: Philippine San Francisco.org
You will find the requirements and forms there, but I will tell you what is/is not needed, what is/is not written there (that you must actually bring with you - which is total nonsense), and some other stuffs. :P

1. Set up an appointment. I have no idea where and how. So, you have to figure that yourself. My mom was the one who set up an appointment with the consul. 

2. Prepare what you need. Everything you need is found at the website I have provided you earlier. 

  • Filled up application form. I want to emphasize this part as I have seen people lining up for their appointment without having filled up the application form completely. I mean, people, come on! 
  • The old/expired passport
  • Your money ($60 passport application fee - bring spare money for different fees not mentioned in their website). You will be paying a donation of $20 if I am not mistaken, for the facility rental. Seriously. Another, as I have mentioned earlier is for the mail fee, and I am not so sure if you will be paying for the photo for the passport. 
  • Photos. It is entirely your choice if you will be bringing photos as mentioned in their website. They have informed us to bring 2x2/passport sized photos but found out that we will not be using them. Instead, they have this small booth for such. *sigh* We wasted $30 for such. 
  • Identification cards (Driver license/Green Card)
  • Your common sense. Need I say more 'coz I think common sense isn't so common nowadays? DX
  • Your patience. You will need it, trust me.
During the process, you will be asked to line up in several stations for paying several "miscellaneous" fees. Be patient with the staffs as I have observed that most of them are old people. You get my point? 

I hope you won't get stuck on lunch break as they all take their breaks at once which means that the line will totally stop. I am telling you, it is so Filipino. It is the same as how they process stuffs in the Philippines. Be patient my friends, be patient. 

There will be lunch served for $10 during my time of application. They served 2 options for lunch: Beef Steak and Ground pork. I took the beef steak and did not regret it. It was good. :D 

There were other booths set up in the hall, probably to keep kids and people busy. 
I hope you the very best during this time and don't forget to bring with you your patience! 

Disclaimer. All information written in this article are entirely of the author's opinion & point of view. Please do not use this article as a guide through the Philippine Passport Renewal Process. Kindly proceed to the website of the organization responsible for such. Thank you.
The Millennial Blogger