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  • Reminder: LAUSD Choices Application due tomorrow, Friday, November 14, 2014

    Choices Application 2015-2016

    If you are hoping to get your child into an LAUSD magnet school for the 2015-2016 school year, you need to make sure you’ve submitted your Choices application by tomorrow, Friday, November 15, 2014. You should also submit an application if you want to build wait list points to increase your chances of getting into a magnet school in the future.

    The easiest way is to apply is through the eChoices web site.

    Good luck!

    Review + Quick Giveaway: NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto

    I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto. I received products to review, and will receive a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions are my own. Read the full CFO disclosure policy here.

    Nescafe Dolce Gusto Review + Giveaway -

    Allow me to introduce you to my new friend, the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto:

    Nescafe Dolce Gusto Review + Giveaway -

    This little machine has stopped me from making daily trips to Starbucks! I was sent the most popular machine in the Dolce Gusto line, the Genio, which has a compact, space-saving design. With its 21-oz reservoir, the Genio can make 3 cups of coffee, and is a recipient of the 2014 Consumer Reports Award and the 2014 Gold Edison Award. The package that I received included three of the 19 varieties – Morning Blend, Cappuccino Ice, and Chococino. The Cappuccino Ice was definitely our favorite. My husband and I polished off the box before I could take a video and now this is all that’s left:

    NESCAFE Dolce Gusto review & giveaway -

    Here’s why the coffee is so good:

    Each beverage is made using only high quality ingredients, like specially selected coffee beans that are perfectly roasted and ground specifically for each drink. The milk is all natural and free of hormones and preservatives, giving it a clean, creamy taste.

    The custom scroll wheel and flow stop capabilities on the machine allow the user to adjust the strength and amount of coffee. Grounds are precisely tamped into each innovative, airtight capsule as if done by a professional barista, and each capsule is sealed to preserve freshness for up to a year. Coffee is delivered to the cup without ever coming into contact with the machine, meaning you don’t have to rinse the system between beverages.

    The Dolce Gusto is a coffee house quality machine designed with a 15-bar pressure system, which is comparable to those used professionally at coffee shops. Professional-caliber pressure works by very quickly and evenly distributing water over the coffee grounds, bringing out a bolder, more full flavor. And, superior pressure creates a velvety layer of crema, the rich froth that’s the holy grail for espresso aficionados. Pressure differentiates NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto from its competitors, and the SmartCapsule technology calibrates the right amount of pressure for each drink for optimal flavor.

    Here’s my Genio in action:

    As you can see, the Dolce Gusto is incredibly easy to use, and it works really quickly. I could have just added milk or cream to the coffee, but I love the Morning Blend + Chococino combo. That layer of foamy crema really sets the Dolce Gusto apart from every other homemade coffee I’ve ever had. My only complaint is that I can’t find the capsules in stores – but they are at least available online at Target, Amazon, and the Dolce Gusto website.

    Thankfully, Amazon lets you Subscribe & Save to Cappuccino Ice, so I can make sure I never run out. (I know it’s “Ice” but I like it hot too! So it will be perfect in the winter as well as summer.)

    And did I mention that with the Dolce Gusto, I no longer make a daily run to Starbucks? It’s really that good, plus it’s super fast – the machine warms up while you’re popping in the capsule, and it takes less than a minute to produce your coffee. And clean up is just as easy, since all you have to do is pop out the capsule and throw it away.

    Learn more about the Dolce Gusto via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    You don’t have to be green with envy because I get to give a Dolce Gusto away! But enter now, because this is a very short, very special giveaway that ends at 12am PT on October 29!

    WIN IT!

    One lucky CFO reader will win their very own NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto system. To enter this giveaway, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    RSS and email readers: Click here to reach the form.

    Morning Coffee: $10 Sunday LA Times subscription, 20% off oranges & More

    Morning Coffee is published daily and includes the best of the latest coupons, deals, and info I think you may find interesting. Prices and deals can change at any time so be sure to verify them before making your purchase. Please note this post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for using them! You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    ~ Living Social: Get one-year of the Sunday LA Times for just $10 {$104 value; not valid at homes that have received delivery in the last 30 days}

    ~ Today’s Gold Box Deal of the Day: 45% Off New Balance Running Shoes {includes Men, Women and Kids!}

    ~ New printables:

    ~ SavingStar: Get 20% back WYB loose oranges

    ~ Wild for Wags: Kleenex for $0.64 at Walgreens after coupon, Register Reward and Ibotta rebate

    ~ Apartment Therapy: 10 ways to use car wax around the house

    ~ For the Mommas: Free sample of Nivea lotion

    ~ Hip2Save: Free download of Demi Lovato’s album Demi from Google Play

    Banner ad via Escalate Media Network

    The Balanced Approach to Credit Repair

    The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.

    There are two basic camps when it comes to credit repair: those who insist that it can be done relatively quickly if you just follow specific steps and those who insist that it can take months or even years to truly improve your score and history. They are both right. Confused about how two opposing ideas can both be right?

    Fast and Slow at the Same Time? What?

    Here is the truth about your credit: a variety of criteria are used to evaluate your credit worthiness. Some of those things can be changed relatively quickly (within thirty days or so) and others take more time. For example: fixing mistakes can be done in a few minutes and those changes are applied to your report within a month. Disputing debts on your report takes a little longer. Building up a lengthy history of steady debt management can take years.

    So where does that leave you?

    “Just keep in mind that there are no magic fixes in the credit world,” Lexington Law reminds us. “Credit repair done right takes patience, persistence, and an understanding of how your credit score is calculated.”

    So if you are like most busy parents, the first thing you need to do is figure out where to start. That sounds redundant but you would be surprised at how many people decide that the first thing they need to do, when they want to get their credit under control, is start calling their credit card companies and begging for lower interest rates or raised limits. This is not your starting point.

    Your starting point is getting a copy of your credit report and seeing exactly what is on it.

    To do this, you need to officially request your report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You’re allowed to get one free copy of your report every twelve months. It’s possible to make these requests to each agency individually, but you’ll save time if you use It’s linked to all three agencies and makes it easy for you to toggle between them as you request, download and examine your reports.

    Understand that you are not going to be given your current credit score along with these reports. The major agencies charge for that. Typically the fee is relatively low, but make sure you understand what you’re buying before you click “pay now.” You don’t want to accidentally sign up for a year of credit monitoring.

    That’s a lot of information! What do I do once I have it?

    There are two courses you can take once you are ready to get serious about your credit repair. You can make time to work on your reports every night—time for reporting errors, sending verification letters, etc. Or, if like most busy parents, you’re already operating on a time deficit each day, you can hire someone to work on your credit repair for you.

    Finding someone to take on this duty is going to be difficult. There are dozens of companies that promise you a quick or even an overnight fix. It is important not to be taken in by these “too good to be true” offers. A good credit repair agency can help you fix errors, reduce debt and improve your credit report over time, not overnight.

    There are, of course, other details that demand your attention. For example: should you settle some debts? Should you consolidate debts? For now, though, focus on what you can do and then take each next step as it comes. You can set up your next bill payments today (even minimum due payments are better than skipping). You can start putting together a household budget. You can research bill payment services so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting due dates. Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at how much work you can do right now to help get your credit history in better shape for the future.

    Recalled: Youth Bicycles

    If you think you have the following item(s), click through to the CPSC press release for more details:

    Dynacraft Recalls Avigo Youth Bicycles Due to Fall Hazard – Click through for additional photos.

    recalled bike

    Stay on top of recalls by signing up for recall notifications by email at the CPSC web site.