US Citizenship Process - Paperwork

I will try to be as detailed as possible how I did my paperwork. To start off, I am married to a US Citizen for seven years now. I started my research on my fifth year as a permanent resident on how to apply for US Citizenship through U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Make sure to go directly to their website for anything because most of the time, when you google this topic it will lead you to different website that will ask for $fee$ for them to do the work for you. If you were able to do on your own the green card process and all the paperwork it entails, you won't need someone or a lawyer to do this for you unless yours is a special case. 

December of 2016 I started to gather all the information I will need just to get organize and know how much exactly it will cost us. I just want to give an advice. Make sure to always check the USCIS website before sending all your paperwork if 
1. there's any changes to filling fees and 2. to confirm address of lock box facility where you are going to send your application. I send in my application 2017 but I have 2016 information, I didn't check so mine got sent back to me. I'll let you know more about that. 

that's where you can always check the updates. Just click drop down arrow.

As I said mine is not a special case so I did everything on my own but with some "oopsies" moments along the way. πŸ˜‚ I made it special in my own gaga way.  

Here are the things I did:-

  1. I downloaded N-400 form and the instruction. 
    just click it and it will automatically download as a PDF file

  2. I read the instruction/s
  3. Requested Tax Return Transcript through IRS Website.
  4. Answered the N-400 - If you want to change your name this will be the best time to do it because it will be for FREE. That will be on Part 2 no.4
  5. After I recheck my N-400 form for bazillion times and drove my husband crazy, I then started compiling all the documents to support my N-400 application. 
  6. Made copies of all the needed supporting documents. (my cover letter indicates all the supporting documents I submitted)
  7. I made a Cover Letter (I have two different versions but this is the version when my application was accepted without issues) 
    feel free to use this as a guide 

  8. Visited nearest post office to look for the right envelope for all my documents. Fortunately, the Flat Rate Envelope worked. 
  9. Printed Postage through my USPS account. It's cheaper when you print it online. Make sure pay extra for "signature required" so you'll have a record that they received it. 
  10. February 2017 sent my application.
  11. Waiting period.
  12. March 08 received a notice that my application are being returned because 1. incorrect fee - I wrote a check for $680 but they changed their fee for 2017 to $725 and 2. I downloaded the outdated N-400 version. All the forms I downloaded are from December 2016. Yup! Be sure to always check the USCIS website.
  13. Re-submitted everything on July 2017 with updated edition / version of N-400 and correct filling fee but this time I submitted G-1450 form authorization for credit card instead of writing them a check. 
  14. July 20, 2017 received a notice from USCIS that they received my application and it is being processed.
  15. July 28, 2017 received a notice from USCIS that I need to appear on 08/18/17 to their Application Support Center. Here is the funny part. I just scheme through the notice and didn't realize that it is just for bio metrics. As you know the second part of the US Citizenship process is you have to pass the interview and the oral examination about US government and history. I thought this was that next part of the process then I'll be US Citizen. So, 08/18/17 came. I was a nervous wreck because I know that my interview is that day and my husband thought so too because I told him so. I am ready though. I studied everything -my N-400 I reviewed all my answers and all questions that the officer will ask regarding US history and government. I went to the Application Support Center super nervous. I went in and the Immigration officer greeted me. Verified my information. We did the finger scan and took my photo then after he gave me a booklet, looked to me and told me to enjoy the rest of my day. I said thank you then I got so confused. I went back to his desk and asked him where will I wait for my interview? He was surprised. He was like oh that wouldn't be today. If you are ready now, you'll ace your interview. He then continue to say that I will receive a separate notice for that. It was hilarious! and get this! the booklet he gave me was a review book which I already studied for. πŸ˜…πŸ‘Œ
  16. Finally the real thing! October 5, 2017 was my interview. 
  17. November 17, 2017 I am officially US Citizen.

For the breakdown of the costs:-

Filling Fee + Biometrics: $725
Postage:                          $9.10 x 2 = $18.20

Total Amount:                 $743.20

Again, make sure to always check USCIS website for any updates and read thoroughly all the notices you'll get in the mail from USCIS. Yup mine is not a special case but I made it into one.  

Hope you find this helpful. 

Monday Pick: My Girl...

Confession of a Shopaholic...

Remember Rebecca Bloomwood? If you read the book you’ll know exactly who I am talking about. This is not a review about her but this is just to let you know how I had problems with shopping just like her. Yes that credit card debt too. It was cute and fun at first but later on it’s a problem. A problem that you created and so hard to get out of.

I am not going to give you details about my debts (not yet) but I just want to let you all know that God is really wise. He gave me a husband who is so patient, selfless and very forgiving. My husband helped me alot to be accountable for all the blessings that we have.

I still shop alot but I don’t shop crazy, meaning to be in debt just to buy what I want. I will give all the credit to my husband who took alot of his time to sit down and crunch the numbers and created our budget through YNAB “YOU NEED A BUDGET”.

What is YNAB? basically, the whole concept of this is, you’ll budget ahead of time. So, you won’t live paycheck to paycheck. For example your January paycheck is budgeted for February then February paycheck is for March then that trend goes on. My husband took his time to make this happen. He did all the math and read all the in and outs of this software application- YNAB. Ah! How awesome God is right?. My husband asked me to watch their videos so I’ll have an understanding how does YNAB works. Of course, I was pouting at that time but I am thankful that I watched it. 

The software YNAB, they have free trial for 34 days then after that it’s going to be $60 for a year. That was the price when we signed up 3 years ago. 

I have to say that my husband really did a great job categorizing our budget. He really made sure that there are categories for shopping, home decor, salon etc. The categories are where you a lot your money. For example, Monthly Bills then subcategories are phone, water, electricity, grocery etc. It look like this

This software helped me to know where I am on my spending and to know how to spend it the right way. It also helped us to communicate the right way and be accountable to each other. Even if we have to roll with the punches (sometimes) it doesn't stress us out. It also let us see where we need to cut cost. Like our cable bill, we are paying about $200 a month but we really don't need it. We only need internet because all the shows/series, we can all watch it online. It made see where we are really spending our money. It is really a very neat software.  

If you are like me, who have a bad spending habit. I would highly recommend YNAB for you. This isn't sponsored blog. I am a real paying customer, who struggled with finances and dragged my husband in that mess but were able to get through it and one of the tools that helped us, is this software YNAB.

Xoxo, Hannah Michael

Caribbean Vacation Planning

I don't know how it came about. As far as I can remember, my husband told me that we will go somewhere once I passed my US citizenship. My eyes was sparkling with joy and excitement just like a kid.What an awesome motivation! To cut the story short I did passed my exam and interview. Yay! I'll blog about it in details soon.

from the resort website
I asked my husband if we will go on a vacation what would he prefer? tropical or in the mountains? he said vacation for him is somewhere tropical (I am super glad he said that). I did my research and weigh the pros and cons. If we go somewhere like Florida, Outer Banks and the like... we will need to drive. I am not okay driving to unfamiliar places, so usually my husband will do all the driving which for me is a no-no because it wouldn't be a vacation for him plus on top of that, I need to factor in cost of the food we will be eating everyday while on vacation (I may need to cook in order to cut that cost -ah no!) and I have my mind set on a week for our vacation.

That's the reason why I venture on "ALL INCLUSIVE" vacation which includes your Airfare, Hotel Accommodation, Airport Transfers (it varies where you book/travel agency but most of the time it is included),  and Food. Access to all Restaurants they have in the resort (it means you already paid for it. Just come with an empty stomach) plus drink all you can. It may be soda or your favorite alcohol drink. I kinda have an idea since I work in travel industry but I really didn't look into it until last year. I always see this Caribbean destination promotions from different travel agency through groupon and also, I heard from my clients about Apple Vacations. I knew it will be perfect for me and my husband. He doesn't need to drive long hours and I don't need to worry about our everyday meal. I started checking their website about last year November 2017. I am not a newbie on finding good deals and I know that the prices changes - depending what time of the day you look and what week of the month you are planning to go (make sure you erase your web history as well to reset all pricing). I played with the dates that gives me a great prices. It took me about two months to finally said that this will be our date. I asked my husband before all this if he wants to be involved in the planning? he said yes and no. πŸ˜πŸ˜… It means he just want to know how much is the total cost for everything. I drive him crazy specially the time I was playing with the dates when is the best time for us to go. He was like - I don't know anymore, you said March last time? now May? Lol.  It's HILARIOUS!

I told my husband the set date (Yes set date for reals! LOL)  and the total amount of our vacation so then, we know how much we need to set aside each month. My real plan was just do it on my own through Apple Vacations website once we have the money but I am not at peace with it, not because their website is not legit -not about that! but I feel like, I don't have all the details I need and this is our first Caribbean vacation and I want it to be hassle free as much as possible.

Fortunately, there's a travel agency from where I work. I met Rona. She is wonderful. I told her where and when I want to go and guess what? they also work with Apple Vacations. She quoted me the same price as what was priced online but the great thing though, I wouldn't know little details like; I wouldn't need to pay for baggage fee since I am buying travel insurance. When I was doing it on my own, I included baggage fee in my cart on top of the travel insurance purchase. Eek! that saved me about $100. The travel insurance that I am purchasing has a guarantee that even on a day of departure, any decrease in prices via Apple Vacations website or in the resort we are staying in, I'll get that discounted price back to my bank and also, on the day of departure if something happen, just call before the departure time if you can't make it and no questions ask, you'll have your money back. Not that I want this to happen but it always nice to know what to do.

I told my husband about the travel agency and told him I'll do business with them. I forgot to tell you, that they will also hold that price for you, just make a deposit. With me, I just deposited about $500. I made that deposit middle of January since I have a go signal from my husband. Then, in my case they want the remaining amount by April 14. That's good two months to set aside money before the vacation. But hey! my husband is awesome we have the needed money already. So, we paid everything on February 15 and now we are just waiting.

Ah just want to say that I appreciate my husband because this vacation is not debt, it is PAID. It's very nice. I am saying this because during my single hood days I tend to overspend and be in debt. Isn't God awesome? He knows exactly the perfect better half for me.

By the way, Rona really did a great job! Before they swipe my credit card they checked again the price for me if there is any decrease. There was and saved another $100. I am glad I made a right decision to book through travel agency at least now I know enough details regarding our trip.

I will definitely give you all a detailed review for Apple Vacations after our trip and a review about the resort we will be staying. I couldn't wait!


Rona Berdar

tel#: 412- 3723094

xoxo, Hannah Michael

Monday Pick: Unforgettable Movie Lines

C'est La Vie

That Swimwear

Shopping for swimwear can be easy to some and difficult to others. Unfortunately, I am the latter. Before, the only problem I have is when buying for two piece, the top should be large and the bottom should be medium. So, you know when you buy two piece you buy it as a set. I don't know how I did it. There was no mix and match at that time but today yes you can do that. Now that I am married, I am a bit healthier (haha!) I can still wear two piece but I'd rather not. I don't feel comfortable in it anymore. After, searching and searching on pinterest, amazon, and all the stores I could think of. I finally, decided to try this brand "CUPSHE". I ordered their one piece because I like the look of it. It is one piece but it is not. 

I don't know this brand and I am not sure if they are from China. I didn't check their website because fortunately, they sell through Amazon. I placed an order through Amazon so I wouldn't have issues returning it and getting it quickly as they were on two day shipping. 

I ordered Medium size. It was perfect. This bathing suit is really flattering and at the same time classy and modest. I liked it so much that I decided to order another one. Same style but different design. This time I ordered directly to CUPSHE. I paid extra for 5-7 business days shipping. I received everything on time.

Why I ordered the same style? here are the reasons:

  1. Who wants different tan line? not me. I learned my lesson. I wore this crochet tankini, okay? the bra part no problem because it has a layer to it for the padding but the crochet hanging on my tummy, it has little holes to it. After a long day sunbathing, I remove my tankini and saw my tummy. It has brown spot then a inch or two white spot. That was my whole tummy. It looks like I have a six packs but it's more on -what did you do? If somebody can see it. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜… but good thing I can easily cover it up. So, yup! I make sure I'll have even tan line every time! 
  2. I like that it covers a good portion of my tummy and the top fits me well.
  3. The bra. I don't have to tie it, I just need to hook it. 
  4. The price is good. I got a discount for my first order through CUPSHE. 
  5. I feel really good in it. That is super important for me. 
I couldn't wait to share some photos and couldn't wait for that day! CARIBBEAN, two more months!

Olive Garden vs Panera Bread

I know that Olive Garden can get expensive but it is much cheaper than Panera Bread. How? When you are in Olive Garden, you can just order “soup and salad”. This means you’ll get unlimited soup, salad and of course their famous breadsticks for only $8. I really appreciate this option especially when you are in a hurry and would just want a quick but healthy meal.

No, I don’t hate Panera Bread. I actually would eat their food everyday, the only downside is their price. I usually order their “Pick two”. So, I’ll get Napa almond chicken sandwich and Thai chicken salad with baguette on the side. Take note that you’ll only get half sandwich but you’ll get a big bowl for salad or soup. I don’t get any drinks and try not to tempt myself to upgrade to get pastry (this is very tough. LOL) but you should try their bear claw - uh yum!!!

Anyway, for Olive Garden I only pay total of $8.99. This is without any drinks. I didn’t include my tip as I don’t count it as cost of the meal. Now, Panera Bread I paid about $11 for just the meal Pick two.
So, if you are going to Panera just to order “Pick two”, better go to Olive Garden and just to do “Soup and Salad”. πŸ‘Œ 

Xoxo, Hannah Michael

I'm your Remedy


Heading Somewhere Sandy & Sunny....

Beautiful Wednesday

Coco Jingle

This is what I sing every time my kitty Coco is whining. She'll either walk out or just stare at me (looking at me like - YOU ARE CRAZY!). Haha!
I change the Choco to COCO. 

I sing it like this:-

coco coco


I don't have any idea where I heard this song but my kitty cat loves it!

Start at 0:48

A Clueless Blogger, starting a blog

I read a lot of practical ways how to start a blog frugally. They are all great but it is not for me. Okay, 1. I tried WordPress too hard for me to understand.  2. Blue host is still expensive for me and complicated. and 3. Just a thought of the things I need to do is discouraging. YAS! I will be so overwhelmed then I will procrastinate ---- to losing interest. You know, analysis - paralysis. Just being HONEST!!! πŸ’

So, here I am. I am using google's blogger / blogspot. Here are the steps I did to start my blog:-

1. Create gmail account (make sure the email address you created will be the official email address for your blog). Once, you created an account you will see on the top right beside your profile "the google apps" and select blogger.

2. Set up the name you want for your blog and this is the time you can buy a domain directly from google. It only cost $12 for one year and google automatically connects your domain name to your blog site / website.

3. Choose the themes that you would like and you can customized it later on.

4. Sign up for google ad sense. In my case, since I already have an existing ad sense account I just connected it to my new blog. You'll be compensated for this. Just read all about it. It is easy. No cost to have it.

5. Invest on the logo. I got mine from Etsy. I found a seller from Etsy that will sketch anything that you would like. I paid $35. Is it worth it? again YAS!!! πŸ˜…

6. Enjoy! I don't have any certain topic for my blog. I just like doing this or  maybe this is just me being random. LOL!


Hope that helps!

Hello Monday

It's all About...

FUNCTIONALITY. I did a lot a research what litter box that would be the best for my cat and me. The first three weeks we got her, we just put the typical litter box you can buy at the pet stores. It was okay because Coco is using it with no problem at all but to me cleaning and scooping it out drives me crazy (I have to do it a lot of times) and also there was a time when she used it, her poop is all over the wall. Okay! now it's time to invest on a new litter box -I told to myself. My husband suggested that it should have at least a roof or some covering on the sides so the poop accident won't happen again and my main concern is I don't want to scoop and scoop the litter all the time. My goal is to have our concerns addressed. 

I looked at automatic litter box ---way too pricey for me and it is too huge. I don't have space for it. I found this litter box called Omega Paw Roll'N Clean Self-Cleaning Litter Box, Large, Grey Regular Size and I got it from for only twenty dollars and they ship it for free for two business days. I decided to buy it because of the following reasons:-

1. Functionality
2. Price
3. It is a space saver
4. It has a nice two tone to it
5. Coco loves it

I believe it was priced for $54 at Amazon (the time I was deciding on buying it). I usually buy from Amazon just because I have two day free shipping plus the convenience of returning it if I don't like it, will be a breeze. The only reason why I didn't buy it off from Amazon is because of the price. That's the reason why I found I was super ecstatic to just pay for $20 and have it ship to me for free for two business days. By the way, they also have awesome discount if you buy things in bulk. 

If you are looking for a litter box feel free to give this a try. And no this is not a sponsored product review. All the products that I will review in my blog, I paid for it. So, yes this is 100% product review from a consumer like you. Enjoy!


Video Tutorial:

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I never thought