Its Halloween, so lets talk finances


This is Vanisha and I, having a chat whilst thousands of miles apart.
V had this idea to host a Couch Talk series - A little like a coffee date and a little like vino with friends. I didn't want to do it on my own, so she asked me to co-host, and I said yes! And so begins, what we hope will be the start of something big, and something you will all join in with. Think hot drink/cold wine, friends, laughter, and life. There maybe a little weirdness in there too, but what the heck, we're friends!

(If you're taken aback by the length of this post, we've put the questions in bold, if you want to contribute)

Helen: What does being 'financially chic' mean? I think its one of those phrases that is so different to so many different people. I've told you before that I think we're going to come from different angles on this. Personally, I don't have a lot of money, scratch that, any money. I got myself into debt trouble when I was at Uni and I'm still paying for it now, 3 years later. Trust me when I say I'm NEVER going down that road again. What about you? Do you have a credit card/overdraft? 

Vanisha: I agree with you on both points, that being financially chic definitely means different things to different people and that perhaps we will come at this differently. For me, personally, being financially chic means being debt free. I don't have a credit card or an overdraft. I'm married so you might say it's a bit different. I guess it is but Patrick has a credit card that we don't use, we have nothing owing on it. We only use it when we're booking things that need a credit card and won't take our visa debit cards. We've always saved for everything, that includes the piece of land we bought in Fiji. We wouldn't have bought it if we couldn't pay for it from the money we had saved. 

Helen: Looking back I'm glad it happened though. I've learnt from my mistakes and although I don't currently have the freedom money can allow, I'm in a good place. I feel 'financially chic' knowing where I'm at with regards to money. I pay all my bills on time every month, even if it leaves me with no spare cash. Its all about being responsible and living within your means. I know there will come a day, soon, when I'm debt free and I can feel so proud that I got myself out of that situation. Are you a 'lose' the bills down the back of the sofa kinda person?

Vanisha: I'm definitely not a 'lose' the bills kinda person at all. I think sometimes with blogging readers can get carried away with what others have, adding to their massive wishlists and then going out and spending money they don't actually have. I know I've bought a few designer pieces over time, and I don't ever want people to think that they should have that too, or that they need those things. I save for ages to be able to buy what I want. I make wise choices - not just about my money but about my lifestyle. They are so closely linked. For me, it just comes down to saying no to debt

This month we're so excited to introduce a bunch of wonderful ladies who linked up as part of this series: 

1) Mayra shares her experience of being unemployed, having moved from Kansas to Florida, but having a financial safety net for the 'unexpected'(check out her drawing too!) 
2) Arni tackles the ever timely issue of self control and that important pause before making purchases
3) Marlene talks the importance of saving and investing, and recycling your wardrobe to do so

What does being financially chic mean to you? 
How do you keep your finances in order? 

The Obligatory Weekend Recap

I had such a great weekend! How was yours?

We drank champagne and laughed a lot.

It was nice getting away from the computer, but what can I say, I missed you guys.

I super excited too because I finally got the announce the winner of the blogiversary giveaway.

Congratulations goes to Chelsea from Big, Beautiful and Broke Blog.

I'm well and truly back on the weight loss wagon. A yummy beef and butternut squash stew is cooking as I type this.

I went shopping, like I had a major shopping fix. The brilliant thing it all cost me hardly anything; I love charity shops. Jumpers, scarves, books, I'm fully stocked up for being locked inside against the elements.

Speaking of elements, American friends, stay safe. I know I can't do much from behind a computer screen, but I'll be thinking of you and praying that you and yours are OK.

That's enough writing for one post, I hope your feeling these pictorial delights.






Oh, and I think you know by now. My phone camera is shocking!

Coffee in the Desert

If you haven't checked out this girls blog you must, like seriously. 
She's so cool. I mean she even wants to invite you guys for coffee.....in the desert!

Hello Eat. Enjoy. Live. readers!  
I'm Arni from Travel Gourmande.  

I love to travel and eat (in equal order).  I consider myself blessed for having given the chance to see interesting places. I am an expat living in the United Arab Emirates for the last nine years. I can't imagine a better place than to share an afternoon coffee in the desert with you.  


Spending the day in Jebel Faya, 20 minutes drive from the bustling city of Dubai.
Jebel means mountain in Arabic. 
Jebel Faya is an archaeological site in the Emirate of Sharjah.
Middle eastern stone age tools were unearthed here. 

The rocky mountain echoes of quad engines and 4x4 vehicles exploring the red sand dunes. 
The sound almost disappears afterwards and a lovely sense of calm takes over. 
This is a favorite paragliding site for gliders living in the city and   
an ideal family picnic ground within the desert.   


Lesson learned: If you see wild camels -  stay, stay away.

My curiosity led me to walk closer to these beautiful, sweet  and graceful creatures of the desert.
As I started taking pictures of them up close, this dude was not happy to be disturbed.
There I was running on the sand dunes, screaming and laughing, chased by a camel.
I finally made it to the vehicle just in time.
They're cute, though, don't you think?
Until I've been harmlessly bitten by one.
But I love them just the same. 
Whenever I see them quietly strolling on the sand in a group 
while driving on a desert highway,
they always cheer me up.



Things to do there:

1. Grab a mat and lie down.  Just be on the look out for quad drivers to keep them from  running you over.  Sometimes, this place is completely deserted.  A quiet site to read a book or some alone-time for reflection.

2. Walk barefoot on the soft sand. During winter season, the cold sand is refreshing.  Climb up the dunes barefoot. Great exercise by the way.

3. Bring some friends and enjoy the rugged beauty.

4. Camp outdoors.  

5. Picnic barbecue.

6. Watch the sunset

Thank you Helen for this opportunity.
Thank you all  for virtually having a coffee with me in the desert. 


Ric Rac Ribbon Rose Ring

Phew, try saying that 3 times fast. I totally know you're trying that right now.

Whilst I'm away spending far to much money in charity shops and having a jolly good time I needed to share this with you.

How cute is this?


Its super easy. Dig out that ric rac ribbon, glue gun and a ring/hairclip/brooch base.

You can find the original tutorial here, but this is how I did it.

Your going to need 2 pieces of ric rac ribbon. Mine were 16 inches each, but really you can make them any length you want.


Now braid!


I did glue the ends. Its so much easier to braid and roll that way.


Get rolling. It looks better if you alternate between tight and loose rolling.


Glue the end of the ribbon to the underside of the rose, and attach to whatever you desire.


Simple, beautiful and effective.

By the time you've finished reading this post you could have made one......

Needed.

This time this weekend is needed.

I need a break from technology, blogging, applying for jobs.

I need to remember what autumn smells like. Go for a walk in the low morning fog and feel like I'm the only person on earth.

This weekend is a sad one.

We've had a caravan in the seaside town of Scarborough since I was 7. At nearly 25 I've grown up there. Summers were spent, first best friends were made and good times were had.
As I've got older its been more of a getaway for a girlie weekend. Its only a 2 hours drive so my two besties and I go as much as possible.

This is the last weekend we'll ever be going. The caravan is being sold, luckily to my Aunt. The ground rent/petrol is too expensive and its getting old; 18 years now!

So this weekend I'm taking for me. To remember all the good times I've spent in the green tin can caravan.

As you're reading this I'm raiding the charity shops in Beverly. Having coffee. Laughing.

As it will be our last time there, and I'm feeling a little sad I decided it had to be the best weekend ever!

So I made gifts. Gifts that the girls know nothing about. I bought wine, lots of wine.







Most importantly I didn't bring my laptop.

See you on Monday!

Living young, wild and free

Another blogiversary beauty in the form of Kristine today. Seriously how lovely are all these girls?
More tips on how to make every day a party? Ummmmm hell yes!
Take it away girl...

Hey lovelies!!
Thanks so much to the wonderful Helen for having me on today!
I entered my late 20's this past February. 28 to be exact.
For those of you who are thinking that I was already in my late 20's the year before. 
Bite me.
Just kidding. Sort of {wink wink}.
I wanted to share my TOP TEN ways of living young, and wild, and free with ya'll!

#1 Dance (like you just sh$t your pants) !
Yes Mom, I had to say it!
My bestie Cori and I 2009 - cuz that's how we roll, ha!
Who doesn't love a good dance party? I know I do! I love to twirl with my girls!
Twirling on my birthday! Maggie would let me twirl her forever, and I would if it was guaranteed that she wouldn't errp on me!
We do our best dancing in the living room and kitchen, especially if the Hubs is singing. But it's good to go out and shake my groove thing all dolled up sometimes!

#2 Speaking of going out...
GO ALREADY!

Especially if you have people who love and want AND offer to babysit your sprout-lets!
For me just thinking about getting "ready" is exhausting, and I find myself talking my way out of getting dressed, and sometimes going out all together. But the times I've "made" myself go the Hubs has "made" me go, we've had a blast!
New Years 2012
It's good to step away from my "Mom role" once in awhile and put on my "Hot Wifey Role" It's about finding that balance. For everyone it's different, maybe once a month is good for you, maybe once a week, whatever you need to do, do it. You'll be happier and so will your family!

#3 Exercise
Magpie says "Just Jump Right In!" FEARLESS my girl is!
Listen to "Big" M, she knows what she's talking about.

#4 Make Exercising FUN!

Refer to #1 above for an easy, stress-free exercise routine. Refer to #3's picture, pictures speak louder than words. Need more ideas? Find a partner in crime. It's so much easier to get my running shoes on, if the hubby is game. Running not your forte, taking and actively playing with your kids at the park (or anywhere for that matter) counts as exercise in my book! And heck if it's in walking distance, walk!
The Hubs showing "the kids" how it's done
#5 DO things on your "Bucket List"
Since our first vacay to Hawaii years ago, I've always wanted to go para-sailing. I added it to my bucket list, and there it remained uncrossed till this last year when I did it with one of my SIL's in St. Thomas.
SO.TOTALLY.WORTH.IT.


#6 Don't be afraid to try something new
This can go hand in hand with #5 above, but even something as little as trying something different from the same menu at your favorite go to restaurant. Just don't ask what it is till it's made it's way all the way down to your stomach "eel what?!" You only live once, try new things, you just might like it!

#7 Don't be afraid to get DIIIIIR-TAY!
Spontaneity! It's a wonderful thing!
So what that we didn't have anything but one bottle of water to wash us off with afterwards? So what that we used Daddy's brand new shirts (that thankfully happened to be in the trunk of the car) to dry us off with? So what that days later Gpa was still picking mud particles from his car floor? She wanted to play in the mud, so we did! Again, so worth it!

#8 Love, love and then love some more!
Never waste an opportunity to tell your loved ones you love them. Better yet, show them in your actions that you do! Tomorrow is never promised. Take every chance to snuggle your babies, because it goes by way too fast! There will always be something to clean, but your babies won't always be so little and want to be held. Recently Maggie is refusing to sit in a shopping cart, so I carry her. Someday I won't be able to.
Miss Mia and Me when she was about 2 months old.
#9 Make time and take it ALL in
God's beauty that is. We've been blessed enough to have visited a variety of places around the world, all so different in their "beauty" What do you see everyday that you might take for granted? Every time I see the mountains here it just takes my breath away. Take it all in! Ok... maybe not while you're driving (safety first), but still take that time. You deserve it. I promise you'll thank me :)
Nevada morning - the mountains are stunning in any light
#10 Surround Yourself with Positive Supportive {real} Peeps = Choose to be Happy =  
Our fam of four at my first bday dinner surrounded by people who love us
I've said this lots of times before, and it's because I truly believe it. 
Negative Nancy's are WACK! 
And eventually if YOU allow those people around you and your kids, you're putting yourself out there for their negativity to engulf you too.  

I know first hand all these "tips" are easier said than done, and this last one, when people say it to me I just want to slap them! But... it's the truth
Only YOU can let how others affect you. 
I'm not saying you can't be pissed off. 
I'm not saying you can't call your Mom, sister, and bestfriends and "bitch" about all the bad, negative crap that DOES happen in life. 
What I am saying is you should, I do. 
But after it's all said and done and you've done your fair share of (justified?) complaining, you need to move on
Because you can't change someone else, 
and in the same respect you can only help people who want to be helped.

So my fun "dancing" post that started out light-hearted, kinda went full circle back to serious real life? 
In the end, only YOU can prevent forest fires 
(does anyone else remember those commercials?)!

What are some ways you're staying young, and wild, and free??
If you love birthdays, and want to also live life young, and wild, and free please come on over to our casa and introduce yourself. #holla

 
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Come and party with me

Fancy partying with me? I can't promise things won't get a little crazy.


Check out how dark my hair is!

I have medium and small sponsor spots available now or you can queue up for a large ad.
Remember all sponsor spots are free and you will also have the opportunity to guest post.
Go here to grab one.

I have good news.....
I've extending my blogiversary giveaway! until Sunday!
The reason? I'm going away with the girls for the weekend and I want need a technology free weekend. 
Soooo.....
It will close on Sunday (28th). There will be 1 winner. Winner will be announced on Monday (29th).
Go and enter!

Margarita Cupcakes!

Blogiversary celebration party post number 3 brings you....... margarita cupcakes! 
A party's not a party without margaritas right?
Over to Paige to teach you how to make these yummy morsels of goodness.
You can win ad space and lots of other  things in my blogiversary giveaway.

Hello Lovelies! My name is Paige, and I blog over at ArtsyAnthropology. I own a small Etsy shop and am working on also starting a small web design business... anywhoo, this lovely crazy life is how I met Miss Helen and I am so happy to get to share this amazing recipe with y'all! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Oh My God!

Okay so, I don't drink much but I love myself a Margarita ... and please, who doesn't love cupcakes? But a MARGARITA CUPCAKE? Get outta here!  I took this recipe from http://www.browneyedbaker.com and I would be lying if I said that I wouldn't be back to try some more stuff. But back to these cupcakes!

Margarita Cupcakes 

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Bake Time: 25 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila (Or more… if you’re like me)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup buttermilk (Substitute of 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk, sit for 5 minutes – then use    required amount, also works) 
For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (note, I used ½ cup, and it was just less fluffy but still delicious!) 2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). * I only did like 2 minutes, then I got bored… it turned out just fine.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. 5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!) **It really does, so glad I was warned!
6. Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.
7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.
**I use a plastic ziplock bag to pipe my batter into the pan, I just put the bag into a pitcher and then put the batter right in, cut off a corner and go - so much easier (see they all flatten out anyway)


8. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila (optional). Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.

To make the frosting: whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.
**I added green food coloring to my salt garnish so it stood out – super fun!

Dirty 30

Eeeeeeee Mia's here! I love this girl. She's totally my sister from another mister. Guess what? She's sharing party pins :) Pin obsessed; yep that's me.

Hi there, lovely Eat. Enjoy. Live. readers!  I'm Mia from The Chronicles of Chaos and I'm so thankful to Helen for giving me the opportunity to talk to you guys today.

So, I have something important coming up in March.  It's a little bit depressing to me, but admittedly a little bit exciting as well.

I'm turning the big 3-0! I can't believe it! Thirty. Thirty?! I mean, say it out loud, "I'm thirty years old." It's just weird to me. But it is an important milestone, one that I believe needs to be celebrated in style. Here are some 30th birthday party "pins" that I'm totally in love with:


























Thankfully, I still have 5 more months to plan my 30th birthday festivities... So help me out ladies!! What did you do for your 30th birthday? 

Thanks again to Helen for having me! xo


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