Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another Year Coming to an End

2007 is almost over! I can't believe another year has just flown by.
I'm lucky that Warmington is giving all of their employees the time off between Christmas and New Years!! Yay!! The crazy thing is that we're going to be busy the entire time!
This Saturday we're heading down to Oceanside. We'll be staying with the Tacazon/Nguyen family for the weekend and until Christmas day. It will be good to see everyone, and of course the nieces! We usually see everyone at Thanksgiving, but since we were in Arizona, that didn't pan out.
Christmas morning, we'll wake up and open presents with the girls, and then we'll head back up to Costa Mesa for lunch. My grandparents and great-aunt from San Diego will be joining us also. My mom will be preparing the usual honey baked ham. YUM! After lunch we'll open some more gifts with the Dressler/Papineau bunch.
The day after Christmas we'll be heading out to Vegas again. We booked 2 nights at the Palms, for a great deal! It'll be a little get away for us and we can do whatever we want! :)
On Friday we were invited to my friend Cristina's mom's 60th Birthday party in Santa Barbara. Cristina has been going to school on the east coast for a number of years now. She wasn't able to come to the wedding...and she's never met Cuong before, so we HAVE to go. It'll be a long drive from Vegas to Santa Barbara, but I've known Cristina since I was 2 years old and she was 1!! I might as well take the opportunity to hang out with her and celebrate her mom's birthday.
My parents are planning on going to Arizona for New Year's, so we'll have the house to ourselves. We don't have anything planned, so it might just be a night in for us. We'll ring in 2008 quietly.
I hope everyone has a great Christmas and a wonderful and safe New Year!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tick tock....tick tock

We’re still waiting to hear about the house.

We were told that Countrywide should’ve had an answer for us regarding acceptance of our offer by Friday, December 7th. Then it moved to Wednesday the 12th…now they’re hoping that we will hear something by this Friday or the middle of next week.
It’s exciting, but getting frustrating. We get our hopes up and then hear that it will take more time.
The agent isn’t making things any better. We tried to contact him before and he never returned our phone calls or emails. I ended up calling him almost a week later and he FINALLY answered his phone.
He’s supposedly in the top 1% of realtors in the nation, but he definitely hasn’t showed that to us!! It’s been a lot of unanswered phone calls and emails.
We’re actually getting more answers from our contact at Countrywide (which coincidentally happens to be our realtor’s contact as well!)

In the mean time, we’re still laying awake a night thinking about how we’ll decorate the house and everything we’re looking forward to. It would be just GREAT if we got the house. I have pictures of the house on my computer at work that I look at every now and then just to day dream!
We’re still keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed that it’ll be a wonderful Christmas present for us to find out that they’ve accepted our offer!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


With Christmas quickly approaching, I figured I should go back and blog about Thanksgiving!!

Our usual Thanksgiving has been consisting of 2 meals in one day!! For the past few years we've been down at my grandparents house in Mira Mesa (San Diego), eating and hanging out there, and moving on to Connie's house for....of course...more eating and hanging out!
This year was a bit different. With my brother living in Arizona for the past 2 years, we decided that we'd head out that way!

My parents, Cuong and I left the house in Costa Mesa at 6:30am and finally made it to Mesa, Az. at about 2:30pm or so. My aunt & uncle (who actually live full-time in Illinois) have their future retirement house in Mesa. My other aunt & uncle drove up from Chandler, Az. These were people that we've never spent a Thanksgiving with! It was definitely different!

After eating and relaxing, we made the 2 hour drive up to Prescott, Az. where my parents have their future retirement house...where my brother is living.

We were excited to meet my brother's girlfriend....but alas, that didn't pan out. She had been working 2 days of 12 hour shifts at the hospital and was too worn out to head to the bars on Whiskey Row.
Here's us at one of the bars on Whiskey Row where all the cool college kids hang out.

We saw the sights of Prescott while we were there. They have a lot of hiking trail and camp sites. My brother took us up on a hill near the famous Thumb Butte (a rock protrustion out of the hill...I guess the Native Americans thought it looked like a thumb). We took a hike trying to get a view of Thumb Butte, but we could never quite see it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Eventful Night

We ended up going to the emergency room in Irvine last night. Cuong’s been having chest pains for about the last three weeks. Yesterday he said that they were the most painful and constant they had ever been while he was at work in the morning. That same feeling came back last night.
Last week he saw his primary care physician. They hooked him up to an EKG and didn’t find anything except that he has a slow heart rate. His doctor recommended that he see a cardiologist. The next available appointment that the cardiologist had is December 13th. In the meantime, the doctor told him to go to the ER if the pains got worse.
We drove down to Irvine Medical Center to their emergency room and checked in. We were the 2nd ones in there, behind the kid with the broken finger. We waited a little while and then a nurse checked Cuong out, hooked him up to an EKG, took some notes, and then sent us back out to the waiting area. We had to fill out some forms before he got his hospital bracelet put on.
We waited a little while longer, and then they called him back into a room to be seen by the doctor. When the doctor came in, he asked a lot of questions, and checked him all out. They took some blood and put in an IV. Since he said his pain level was at a 6-7 out of 10, they injected some pain medication intravenously.
From there, they wheeled him in the hospital bed down to the radiology area of the hospital. The doctor said that chest pain can also be caused by a blood clot in the lung, which could be serious….so he wanted to check that out just in case. They hooked Cuong up to this breathing machine. Once he had been on it for about a minute or so, they put in this colored vapor and he was to keep breathing it in so it would go down into his lungs. After that had gone down into his lungs, they took some sort of x-rays. Luckily those came back negative!
Once back in the room, someone else came in to take a chest x-ray.
The doctor came back in a little while later to let us know that the blood tests, breathing tests and chest x-rays all came back fine. He recommended that he try to push up his appointment with the cardiologist to do a Stress Test. He said that the pain could possibly be coming from muscular strain and not the heart (since it is on his right side).
After about 4 hours, we were on our way back home….and here I am today at work, definitely tired!! Everyone at the hospital kept saying that I looked more worried than he did, and I probably was!
So Cuong’s at home today, just relaxing. Hopefully the cardiologist will be able to see him sooner than his original appointment to get everything checked out. It’s pretty scary when they talk about different heart diseases and ailments.
Definitely keep him in your prayers!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A New Offer

Last night we put in an offer on a house in Orange. It’s up in the foothills in an area called Serrano Heights. It’s right on the other side of the hill from Anaheim Hills.
We definitely really excited about this one. It was built by Centex in 2001 so it’s basically BRAND NEW and it’s gorgeous inside.
The owner bought it in 2005 when prices were way up and now unfortunately he is going through a divorce and needs to move before he goes into default. The house is listed as a short sale and is listed well below market value. We are currently the only offer that is being submitted to the bank for approval. The agent seemed impressed with our credit scores and the fact that we have the down payment ready to go. Hopefully the bank will be impressed as well. It can take them about 2-3 weeks to approve or deny the offer. It’s kind of nerve wracking and it’s definitely a new experience for us.
Now we’re just crossing our fingers (and toes) that the bank will approve our offer in a timely manner!

Aerial view of the house (Corner Lot)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

So we made an offer on a house on Halloween. It was one that we had been looking at for a while. This house has everything we were looking a lot of work that needed to be done. But the actual layout and structure of the house was great!

We put in an offer that was definitely lower than the seller's asking price, simply because the house did need so much work on the inside. Turns out that they've borrowed SO much against their house that they need it to sell for a certain amount just to break even. They ended up coutering back at about $30,000 more than what we offered, and that just won't cut it!

It's a total bummer that we'll have to walk away from this house, but there is no way that we'll be able to satisfy them...and us...with a decent price on the home. Darn!

For now we'll stay where we are and continue our search. I'm sure we'll find the right house, or it'll find us!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire/Smoke Pictures from Costa Mesa

Pictures From Palm Desert

Here's us after dinner at Tuscany Ristorante:
Cuong in the lovely lobby. See the little boats down on the left? You could ride those around the resort to get to different places....we didn't though.

Here's us on of Official One Year Anniversary! :)

Of course I had to get a picture of some of the TONS of wind mill things! They're HUGE!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our First Anniversary

This weekend we celebrated out 1st wedding anniversary! I can’t believe that time flew by so quickly. I’ve heard people say that the first year is the hardest. If that was the hardest, then we’ve got no problems! J
We have made quite a few adjustments since we’ve been married though. At first it was moving in full-time into our house together. That was a very exciting time.
Then a few months later we decided that it would be the best time to put the house on the market. Thank goodness we did it when we did. We sold it within about 4 days and 45 days later, we were moving out.
Now most of our things are in storage, in Connie’s garage in Oceanside, or in my parent’s garage! Moving back in with my parents is different also! It’s definitely not the place you would like a newlywed couple would want to live, but we are very thankful for their hospitality and generosity. Now we’re able to save up some more cash for a down payment, or “fix up” money.
We’ve come so close to putting an offer in on a house in Fountain Valley, but it never works out completely. It’s a nice house (in structure), but it’s a real fixer upper on the inside. We’re handy and we can definitely make it a really nice house…but of course, that all takes money. Unfortunately these people have borrowed WAY too much against their house and are now unable to lower their price because their loan balance is so high. We are the perfect buyers, but sadly they aren’t willing to work anything else out to let us buy their home.
This weekend to celebrate our anniversary, we headed out to Palm Desert. We stayed at the J.W. Marriott Resort. The grounds were gorgeous! You could even take a gondola ride from one location to another. We saw a bride and her family taking pictures before her wedding ceremony. A very nice day to get married!

We had our couple’s massage at the spa on the grounds of the resort. Following the massage, we relaxed in the steam room and Jacuzzi. Later we went back to our room, changed for dinner and then headed to the Tuscany Ristorante. It was merely steps from our tower of the hotel. We had a very nice dinner, complete with wine…and dessert, of course!
Naturally, we stopped at the Cabazon outlets to do a little shopping! I didn’t find a WHOLE lot of things to buy, but it was just enough!
…More pictures to come!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our Indiana Wedding Experience

At 9 o’clock on Friday night, we met my Uncle Mike at Union Station (where he works) and he took us out to my grandparents house in Bradley, IL. There we met my Aunt Barbara. She then drove us out to the town that she lives in, Watseka, IL. We finally arrived there at 11pm. We spent the night in my cousin’s old bedroom…in her full size bed. The next morning we woke up and I peeked out the window. Having not been there in 7 years, I had completely forgotten that there was a cornfield nearly across the street from the house!
We got dressed and ready for the wedding. My dad’s youngest sister, Diane and her son Spencer met us at Barbara & Skip’s house to follow us on our road trip to Indiana. It was about a 2-hour drive into Zionsville, IN. We arrived at the Catholic Church about an hour before the ceremony started. The church was pretty new and had a very nice design.
The ceremony was lovely, and we were glad that we got to share in Kevin & Monica’s special day.
After the ceremony, we checked into our hotel. From the hotel they had a shuttle set up to take us to the Yacht Club, which was on Lake Geist. It had beautiful views of the lake.

Our Day in Chicago

We got back from our Mid-West trip on Monday night. Last Thursday we headed out to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding. We landed at Midway Airport and checked into our hotel in the town of Cicero (near the airport). Since it was about dinner time, we walked across the parking lot to TGI Friday’s. They have their “3 Course Meal for $12.99” deal again…so we all go that. Cuong ordered the Fried Green Beans as his appetizer. Surprisingly, they were actually pretty good!

We didn’t get too great of sleep that night. Our hotel room had a nice view of the parking lot and was located right by one of the exits…plenty of noise…not conducive for sleep!

The next morning we got up and drove into the city of Chicago. My parents dropped us off at the Chicago Architecture Foundation for our tour…in the rain! We had booked the 3 ½ hour city bus tour through Ticket Master and we were excited to see where the tour would take us.
We boarded the bus with about 40 other passengers. Our bus driver was James, and our tour guide was Cima. Cima has her Master degree and was a teacher for many years and is now a volunteer docent for the Architecture Foundation.
Our first stop was down their “Wall Street”. It was amazing to see the very old and massive buildings. We went into one of the buildings and were amazed by the gold leaf decorations on the courtyard plaza area. After the building was originally built, Frank Lloyd Wright came in to help with the stairways and to brighten up the building. He did a fabulous job.

Next we went into another financial building that had enormous cathedral ceilings that were covered in gold leaf. If you looked up, you could see the tiny squares of gold leaf that had to be hand applied.
On the University of Chicago campus is the Robie House that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. We were given a tour by the docent there. His open and airy vision was very different than your typical architecture. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the inside of the building, so the only picture we have is from the outside.

Nearing the end of our tour, we stopped at the Illinois Institute of Technology. We went into their School of Architecture, which happened to be in a building designed by Meis van der Rohe. I had personally never head of him, but Cuong quickly told me that he is one of the most famous architects.

Our last stop was along the Museum Campus. It gave a great view of the city skyline. Our tour guide said that the tours don’t normally stop there, but she was feeling extra nice that day!
….then our camera battery died!
After the tour we were starving for lunch! We found a place called Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta. It’s famous for their Chicago style thin crust pizza. It was really yummy!

From there we headed further up Michigan Ave towards where the new Trump Tower is going up. We headed downstairs to the river to catch our River Tour. It wasn’t as informative as our bus tour, but it definitely gave us a different perspective of the city.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

We've been pretty busy lately. We're still checking out houses online. We haven't been out to really check out houses in a while. Who knows, maybe soon.
Cuong's been keeping busy working on this "thesis" for his last class in his MPA program.

1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be?
Gosh, I guess I would like a vacation home in Hawaii. I wanted somewhere by the beach, but even in So Cal it can be cold at the beach. Hawaii has the nice and warm climate.
2. What's your favorite article of clothing?
Cuong thinks I'm crazy but I think I could live in jeans....and a comfy shirt or tank top.
3. Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex?
Nice smile and pretty eyes
4. What's the last CD that you bought?
Gosh, I don't even remember! How sad! Sorry music industry!
5. Where's your favorite place to be?
Somewhere relaxing with nothing to worry about....and that always happens to be on vacation!
6. Where is your least favorite place to be?
Costco on a Saturday or Sunday. haha I hate when there are a bunch of stupid people all gathered in one place. Or stuck in traffic...same senario!
7. What's your favorite place to be massaged?
Almost any spa will do.....I LOVED that sugar scrub then massage at Pechanga!
8. Strong in mind or strong in body?
Both! But strong in mind can get you to be strong in body! :)
9. What time do you wake up in the morning? The alarm goes off at 5:45am. Cuong gets up at 6 and I lay there until about 6:15.
10. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?
Strange question...I like the oven becuase then you can walk away and come back when the timer dings...but I make most of the food on the cooktop.
11. If you could play any instrument what would it be?
Well...I can play the trumpet. I guess I should probably play it more instead of having it just sit in my closet!
12. Which do you prefer...sports car or SUV?
Right now I'm getting my "sports car" out of the way before moving into the SUV.
13. What is your favorite season? Definitely summer! I like warm weather better than cold vacation usually happens during summer!
14. What is your least favorite household chore? Trash & cleaning bathrooms (scrubbing showers/toilets)
15. If you could have one super power, what would it be? I would agree with able to clone myself when I need to so I would be able to get everything done in a 24 hur period.
16. What's your favorite day? Saturdays. It's the ultimate weekend day. You didn't just get off work...and you don't have to worry about going to work the next day!
17. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger? Sorry, hamburger for me! Nice and juicy!

Now you try this, if you blog . . . then copy and paste with your own answers and leave your blog address in the comments. Or if you want, just copy and paste to the comments section. Have a great Friday!

Monday, September 17, 2007


So I'm kind of frustrated!

My boss just told me that one of the VP's from our design center called him this afternoon to let him know that they are setting up a meeting with some of the big wigs from my company to talk about switching the ordering of appliances to the design center. The ordering of appliances is...ahem!! part of MY job!!
That might be okay if we were super busy...but in this economy, I'm fighting to get any kind of work I can. I've heard of cut throat, but yikes...if they take that portion of my job, I hope I won't get laid off!!
I haven't been in the industry during the down turns, so this is all new to me.

So I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be able to stick it out and that the market turns back around for us!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Have a Shot!!

On Saturday we went to a local restaurant in Costa Mesa. I had been there once before, but the fact that we found a buy one get one FREE coupon enticed me to go back. It had been years since I had been there, but I remember that their Chicken Teriyaki bowl was SO good!

The place is called Skosh Monahans. It's owned by Gary Monahan, the former Mayor of Costa Mesa.

We were seated and the waitress took our order. I kept seeing this scruffy looking guy cruise around to all of the tables and talking. I wasn't sure who he was. Turns out....that was Gary Monahan! He likes to greet all of his guests, get to know them a little bit and make sure that everything is okay with their meal.

After we got our food, our waitress came by and told us to tell the owner that our waitress was pretty slow today and that she needed a shot. Gary didn't come by, so we didn't have a chance to ask him. Our waitress was very persistant though. About 15 minutes later, she reminded us that she still didn't have her shot!

Cuong finally stopped Gary as he was walking by. We told him that she was kind of sluggish and she needed a shot. Gary's response was, "Oh, I'm sorry. She just finished working an 8 hour shift at her other job. I'm sure she's pretty tired." At that point, I thought we got her in trouble, so I felt all bad.

About 5 mintues later, Gary and our waitress walk up with FOUR shots! Apparently if you tell him your waitress is sluggish, everyone gets shots! Bottoms up! I think it was a double shot of Cactus Cooler. It REALLY did taste like Cactus Cooler! Not bad!!

Right after that I thought, "Darn! I should have brought my camera! We just took a shot with Gary Monahan!"

Of course we tipped Jenny a little extra, since our shots were free. Those are the kinds of things that make you want to go back! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Club 33!!!

On Sunday, we went to Club 33 at Disneyland. The Purchasing Director knows the person at Whirlpool who is in charge of making reservations through their Club 33 membership. Luckily I was able to ask my boss about making lunch reservations, partially for Cuong & Paul's birthdays.

Cuong and I, Paul & Yolanda, and Adolfo and Lulu all met at Disneyland at 11:ooam. From there, we picked up our tickets and headed towards Club 33.

It was pretty walk up to the door, ring a little bell and then you're asked to state the name of your party. Once they find your name on the list, the door opens. You step inside and are greeted by a host.

Yolanda, Lulu and I rode in the 19th century French lift up to the dining room. The restaurant is actually above the Blue Bayou and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Once upstairs and seated, we were given our complimentary glass of champagne. We were then able to hit the appetizer buffet. Cuong and Yolanda were so excited that they had lobster, crab and shrimp! We then all ordered the steak and fries.

Midway through eating, who came in....but Mickey Mouse and Pluto!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ok fine...August's Last Wedding!

On the 31st we attended the wedding of Mahiely & Bokeem (Alex's younger sister).

The wedding ceremony and reception was held at the Turnip Rose in Costa Mesa. This was the location that we took pictures at after our ceremony. I absolutely love the Spanish architecture of the building!

The ceremony was held outside in the courtyard with the beautiful staircases and fountain.

Bokeem is African-American, so the ceremony was partially following traditional African rituals. When the ceremony began, the groom's family came down the staircase to drums. Bokeem was the last one down the stairs, wearing and playing his own drum.

He then presented Mahiely's family with baskets of fruits and flowers. These were gifts to the family in return for them giving him their daughter. Her family agreed to allow them to be married.

Then Mahiely came down the other staircase, escorted by her father. She looked gorgeous!

In order to prove himself to both families, Bokeem was asked to pick up his bride. He then asked both families if they would also help him take care of Mahiely.Next the minister had Mahiely remove her shoes in order to step on two blocks of clay. Once she had successfully molded her footprints into the clay, he presented them to Bokeem. He told him that he needed to keep those molds close to his heart and in a special part of his home because the footprints of his bride were something to be cherished.

They then exchanged rings, and the ceremony was complete. As they made their way away from the ceremony site, the Mariachi band came in.

We were then instructed to enter the ballroom where the reception would be held. They had cocktails & appetizers for about the first hour.

There were plenty of speeches, then salad and dinner. We danced for a while before the First Dance, and then continued dancing before the cake cutting.

We had a wonderful time with our friends!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More Weddings!

This past weekend we attended Alex's wedding. Now that we're in Orange County, we had to wake up pretty early to make the drive up into LA.
The ceremony was held at a Catholic church in LA. I had never seen Mariachis in a church before, so that was a first! It was nice though.
Erika looked beautiful coming down the aisle with her father.

None of us thought that Alex would be getting married as soon as he did. Erika is just a really special girl. Their vows definitely touched Erika, as she got teary as she dedicated her life to being Alex's wife.

After the ceremony, there was a reception immediately following. We hopped on the freeway again and headed out to Bel Air. Alex's friend had a home up in the hills and his parents were generous enough to offer their home up to Alex. The house was breathtaking! We were at a table with Adolfo, Lulu, Dee, Alfred, Sandra, Jon, Mario & Brenda. We had a great time. It even sprinkled for about 5 mintues, just for a little luck! :)

Their cake was super cute and matched their colors perfectly! Just had to share!