House Hunting (Pt. 1)

California, Dreams, Family, Goals, House Hunting, Life, Southern California
sweetsandlifehouses

A glimpse at the houses I’ve toured.

We officially began house hunting on February 7th of this year and since then I have toured over 80 houses. This whole process has not been easy at all.  If you guys keep up with the news you probably know that interest rates are at a all time low. Oh boy, did we pick a right and wrong time to begin looking for a house. Houses are selling at a ridiculous rate and prices are high due to the demand. Since we began our search we have officially put in 6 offers yet we don’t have a house. I say officially because there has been several times were we begin to summit an offer and then we are told that they already accepted another one.  We are currently looking for a house in the middle of Los Angeles and Orange County which has not been an easy task.  In fact my cousins in Kansas are trying to convince us to move out there because we haven’t had any success getting a house here.

What we are looking for in a house:

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 1 bathroom
  • Nice size backyard
  • Not a busy street
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Within our budget
  • Good school district

See we are not being too picky about what we want. We are even flexible when it comes to move in ready or a fixer upper. Anyways, I just wanted to share with you guys a tad about what’s going on with our house search.  Please send us lots of prayers and/or positive thoughts so that we get a house soon.

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2014’s Broken Resolutions

Dreams, Family, Goals, House Hunting, Life, Moving, Planning, Savings, Uncategorized

Hesperia

Now that we are in 2015 I feel that I should probably explain all the cryptic tweets I kept making last year about our New Years resolution. I should begin by saying that the Hubby and I are planners and for the most part every big decision we have made has been carefully thought out. (Well most of them except this one.)

Last year before the ball dropped in NYC the Hubby and I began to reminisce about the year. We talked about all that we did and all that we wanted to do this year. One thing that came up was that we both felt it was the right time to start thinking about purchasing a house. We began to day dream about what kind of place we might get and what we were going to do to attain it. While all our family and friends were out partying the night away we sat on our couch watching our little Buttercup playing as we thought about what the new year would bring. We decided that our New Years Resolutions would be to buy a house. At that point we did not know exactly what we were going to do about it we just sat there day dreaming and enjoying the moment.  Fast to a few weeks later when we devised a plan that I like to refer to as my crazy idea.  The Hubby came home from work one day and suggested that we have my parents move into our apartment to help us save more money for a downpayment. I thought that he went nuts when he suggested that. I mean I moved out when I was 18 years old I was used to being on my own. Why on earthy would I want my parent living with us in a two bedroom apartment. I called his bluff and suggested an even crazier idea. Whenever I try to explain it to people I get a weird look from them so here goes nothing. Try to keep up and don’t get lost. I’ll try to simplify it as much as possible.

My idea involved asking for help from both sets of parents which we would normally not do. We don’t like asking for help and usually we don’t share information with anyone until the plan is complete. The first part of my idea was to get my in-laws to agree to let us borrow their house for a year. You see my in-laws had purchased a house last year and nobody was using it. They bought it as a retirement house the house was just sitting there empty. Part 2 was to get my in-laws to agree to let my husband stay with them at their one bedroom apartment during the week. Part 3 involved my parents. I had to get them to agree to move in with me and our little Buttercup for a year.  They had to leave the comfort of their small town in order to help us out. I have never asked my parents for help and have always done things on my own so I felt odd even asking. With both parents aligned and the details worked out we set a date to move.  We decided that it would be best to move when our lease was up from our apartment.

Although we’ve been here for almost 10 months now it doesn’t get easier saying bye to my husband every Sunday night. Nothing about this whole process has been easy and we’ve all made sacrifices. In early October we had an appointment to get pre-approved but for some reason we couldn’t make it that day. A week later the Hubby was notified that he was being laid-off from the job that he LOVED. About 300 employees were affected in all. We were crushed by the news! All the sacrifices we had done meant nothing. Everything went numb for us and I know that it might not seem like a big deal but it was to us. We went through all the stages of grief and decided that 2014 couldn’t be over soon enough.

…To be continued…

Life: 15 Years Ago

California, Disney, Disneyland, Dreams, Growing up, Life, Orange County, Southern California, Uncategorized

It all began shortly after high school like most great fairy tales begin. Right?! 15 years ago I walked into a bakery bright eyed, timid, and a total nervous wreck but little did I know that my life would change forever.Sweets and Life: Blue Ribbon Bakery Disneyland

I grew up in a very small town in the Central Valley where after high school you either enter the military, get married (more likely pregnant), or you leave town in hopes of a better future and I decided on the latter. In a manner of a few days I applied, had a phone interview and was on my way to my first real interview. With my parents blessing I took enough clothes for 3 days and headed out as the Dixie Chicks say to Wide Open Spaces. By the end of the week I was given a position as a “culinary hostess” at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Words cannot describe my delight as I began working on October 23, 1999. The friendships and memories that I made there by far exceeds what I ever expected out of my “first” job. (I worked as a welder for a summer when I was 16 so technically my second job.)

Sweets and Life: Cast Member name tag

I worked full time in several positions throughout the park for almost a decade while I attending school full time on and off. I wouldn’t change anything about my time there because I believe it has made me who I am today. The values the company instilled in me will be part of me for as long as I’m alive and I’ve very proud to take to any company I might work at in the future. At Disneyland I learned how important it is to initiate guest contact, that picking up trash is done by everyone throughout the park, maintaing the “show” aspect is what makes this place special, and genuinely caring for our guest is the number one priority. Keep in mind that when I refer to the guest I’m not just talking about the adults but to children as well. I learned how to communicate with children more easily and how to get down to their level. I learned about public speaking and now I’m able to communicate with anyone I come across.

Sweets and Life: My buddy Mickey

I was part of the magic that was created there on a daily basis.  Some of the moments guest felt were above and beyond were documented at guest relations and in 2008 I was lucky enough to be nominated for a Service Excellence award for it. Most of what I did will never be known and I’m okay with that because it will stay in my heart.   Here is just a small glimpse of what I helped create and to my defense I left the couple without refills to go get a piece of cake at another location. Guest go to the park for different reasons and one cannot assume that they are simply there on vacation.  Wether it be for an afternoon of fun with their families, trying to escape something difficult in their lives or to celebrate something people always turn to the Park. Some of the individuals that go saved up for months or years to be able to take their families there. (My family was one of those people.)  I was taught that you threat everyone the same whether they be an annual passholder, a celebrity, or a regular person.  I learned how to deal with different personalities from all over the world. Through my guests I learned about different cultures and customs. My co-workers became part of my family as I spent most of my holidays working long hours.  In fact I loved working holidays because everyone was so happy to be  there celebrating. What better place to ring in the New Year or 4th of July?

Sweets and Life: Carnation Cafe

The company also instilled in me a sense of citizenship. I participated in several VoluntEARS events throughout my time there. They encourage cast members to help out in their community. I relished in helping out in any way I could whether it be by raising money for a walk, painting a playground, spending time with the children at CHOC, or other events throughout the year.

Sweets and Life: Disney VoluntEARSOut of all my time working for the company the position I cherished working the most was being part of the Dream Squad. In order to attain that position you had to get nominated and approved by the operations manager, turn in a resume, and get interviewed.  I’m not going to say much about the Dream Squad except imagine being Santa Clause everyday. It was simply phenomenal.

Sweets and Life: Dream Squad

So, you might be asking yourself why on Earth did you quit this magical place? I quit simply because I was accepted into UCLA on a summer scholars program and I was unable to work full time, commute on the Metro, and attend all my classes without something suffering. I could only stretch myself so far.  But before I’m done reminiscing I would like to say that Disneyland gave me the greatest gift of all, my Husband.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen when the person that interviewed me on the first day told me that I was going to find love there I dismissed it.  Little did I know how truly magical my time being there and how it would change me forever.

Sweets and Life: Disneyland

Maybe one day I will return to the place I consider my second home but for now I’m setting my sights on other things.  I’m very happy about the work skills I acquired while I was with the company. My Husband often thinks I’m weird for asking people if I can take their photo for them when we are out and about but I can’t help myself. There are so many magical stories that I’ve yet to share with you and so many things I have learned that I would love to list but that will have to wait until next time. In the mean time here’s a little glimpse of me when it all began circa 1999.

Sweets and Life: Cast Member of the Month

 

 

Life: Day Zero Project

101 in 10001, Day Zero Project, Dreams, Goals, Life

Earlier this year I saw a blog entry that Joy from How Joyful posted that really caught my attention and I decided to look further into it,  the Day Zero Project.  The project can be described as a realistic bucket list or a set of goals that one wants to achieve in a 3 year span.  I few years ago I decided to write a bucket list in one of my journals and have slowly been crossing things off but now I have decided that I want to join the Day Zero Project. I want to make more of my goals into a reality and I believe that this project will help.  This year has gone by so fast and there are so many things that I want to do and I feel that if I set a realistic timeline for them I will complete them.  So here goes nothing or perhaps everything…


If you want to learn more about the project go here.
For more inspiration go herehere, and here.


Here’s my list:


For Others
1. Give blood at least twice a year. (0/6)
2. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
3. Make Crème brûlée for my best friend.
4. Volunteer at Rescue Mission at least 6 times a year every year. (0/18)
5. Bake a cake to give to someone on a special occasion. (0/8)
6. Volunteer once a month for a year at a non-profit organization. (0/12)
7. Donate to a worthwhile charity twice a year every year. (0/6)
8. Donate my wedding dress. 
9. Donate things we don’t use or need around the apartment. 
10. Recycle everything we possibly can in our apartment by installing recycling bins.

For Myself
11. Get an awesome job that I love.
12. Try kobe beef.
13. No social networks except blogging for an entire month. (0/30)
14. Get a facial every year. (I’ve never had one.) (0/3)
15. Learn French.
16. Get a massage every year. (0/3)
17. Not watch t.v. for an entire month. (0/30)
18. Learn mandarin.
19. Wear a two piece bathing suit at the beach.
20. Learn Italian.

For Health
21. Average at least 3 days a week at the gym for 6 months straight. (0/6)
22. Eat at home for 30 days straight. (0/30)
23. Sleep 8 hours a day for a month. (0/30)
24. Run Disney half marathon. 
25. Run Las Vegas half marathon.
26. Run the Los Angeles marathon.
27. Go walking with the hubby everyday for a month. (0/30)
28. Give up fried food for 6 months. (0/6)
29. Give up sweets (except fruit) for 3 months. (0/3)
30. Lose 50 pounds. (0/30)
31. Give up dairy for an entire month. (0/30)

Family, Friends, and Love
32. Get pregnant? (hm maybe).
33. Enter a sandcastle competition with family and friends.
34. Visit my parents once a month for a year. (0/12)
35. Work on genealogy tree for our family. 
36. Transfer all old family movies into DVD’s.
37. Have game night at our apartment once a month for a year. (0/12)
38. Have dinner with my cousins and my best friend once a month for year. (0/12)
39. Have a cookie swap party at our apartment. 
40. Teach my little godson how to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch. 

Learn Creative Blog
41. Learn Photoshop.
42. Learn HTML.
43. Learn XHTML.
44. Learn Java.
45. Learn Excel.
46. Learn all the function in my DSLR.
47. Enter a photo competition.
48. Enter a baking competition.
49. Complete the 365 photo challenge.
50. Make our wedding photo album.
51. Re-decorate all rooms in apartment. (0/5)
52. Learn how to use all the features on my mac.
53. Blog at least once a week for 52 weeks. (0/52)
54. Make/bake colorful macarons.
55. Bake 20 recipes from the cookbook my aunt sent me from Mexico. (0/20)
56. Make a photo book for every year the hubby and I have been dating. (0/10)
57. Learn CPR.
58. Make/grow an indoor herb garden.
59. Carve a cool pumpkin for Halloween. 
60. Learn how to make tamales.
61. Organize all our photos. 
62. Redo the chair I found in the alley. 
63. Re paint our dresser drawer. 
64. Bake a cake and decorate with fondant.
65. Bake a cake and decorate it with royal icing. 

Entertainment and Travel
66. Visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 
67. Visit family in Kansas with mom.
68. Visit the Grand Canyon.
69. Visit Jalisco, Mexico.
70. Visit New York, NY.
71. Go camping to Yosemite.
72. Visit Guatemala with the hubby.
73. Go to Sequoia park with the hubby.
74. Go to Vegas with my parents, the hubby, and my in-laws. 
75. Go to the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
76. Go on vacation with a group of friends. 
77. Go on a cruise with the hubby.
78. Visit Chihuahua, Mexico.
79. Visit another continent besides North America and Europe.
80. Go kayaking with the hubby. 
81. Go snowboard.
82. Go snorkeling.
83. Build a snowman. 
84. Go horseback riding. 
85. Go to a film festival.
86. Buy another lens for my camera.
87. Go to Monterrey Aquarium.
88. Go hiking in Point Lobos. 
89. Visit Big Sur.
90. Go paintball fighting with the hubby and friends. 
91. Visit my cousin at his architecture school. 
92. Visit Yellowstone. 

Business and Money
93. Open an Etsy Shop.
94. Save up for closing cost for a house.
95. Set up my own photography website.
96. Write out our living will.
97. Sell a cake.
98. Sell a photograph. 
99. Get sponsors for my blog. 
100. Get my own domain name. 
101. Write code for my own website. 

BONUS – Donate five dollars for every goal that I have not accomplished at the end of 1,001 days

Thanks Joy Kelley for inspiring me to do my list!