Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fucket List

We all have them, don't we? A list of things we want to accomplish in our lives. I'm definitely one of those people who want to see the world and experience life to it's fullest potential. So, here is my list (as of July 24, 2019) of things I'd say, "FUCKET" to - in no particular order:

  • Go to the airport and buy a ticket to a random flight.
  • Go on a road trip from California to New York.
  • Visit all the Main Streets in America.
  • Ride a water taxi in Venice.
  • Visit Niagara Falls.
  • Visit the four corners.
  • See the seven wonders of the world.
  • Travel to Ireland.
  • Travel to Italy.
  • Visit Juliet's House.
  • Eat a pizza in Naples.
  • Experience Ibiza.
  • Take my daughter to Paris.
  • Take my son to Hobbiton.
  • Write a novel.
  • Write a screenplay. 
  • Birthday trip to a new place every year.
  • Learn French.
  • Learn to swim.
  • Ride a horse.
  • Travel to Egypt.
There are some things on this list that are currently in the works. I am sure this list will change as I cross some things off and add new ones. So far, it looks like I want to do a lot of traveling - which is something I don't think I will ever get bored of doing. There are other things on this list; however, that should have been fulfilled a long time ago - like learning how to swim! I just can't seem to find the right teacher that will help me overcome my fear of the water...

I will keep you all posted on my progress. In the meantime, what's on your Fucket List? Do you have one? If not, now might be the time to write it down. Life is too short to not do incredible things.

XOXO,


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Dreaded Query

I'm finally done with my script. I know, it should be an exciting moment for me. I should be celebrating the moment I finally finished it. But I haven't had a chance to. I guess the moment that I finished, I went straight into worrying about writing my query letter - which has been the most stressful thing I've been dealing with lately. I don't know what it is, but whenever it comes to synopsis or a query letter, my mind goes blank. I need help and I don't even know where to begin.
Everyone keeps saying that writing a summary should be easy and explaining what my script is about should be a breeze. But honestly, it's the hardest part for me. There is a million things running through my mind and trying to narrow it down and sum it up in a sentence or short paragraph isn't simple.

Maybe I just need to clear my head. I've sat at home trying to write, but the quieter it is, the more noisy my mind gets. I think it's time to go back to my Starbucks routine and start writing there. After all, that's where I've written a lot of my best content. Who knows, going back to my old routine may spark up some inspiration!

If you have any tips, please send them my way. And if you can send good vibes, I'd appreciate that too.

I will definitely keep you posted to let you know how this dreaded query letter is going.

Till next time!








Friday, August 11, 2017

College Advice: From a Person Who Has Been There, Done That.


If you're like me, you know that having a college degree is important. These days, it's hard to land a job without one. For those of you who have read my previous post, my son is starting his Senior Year, which means that this time next year, he'll be off to college.

My kiddos and I have an open line of communication. I do my very best to instill my 35 years of knowledge and experience into their brains so that they can make wiser choices then I did at their age. One important lesson that has always stuck with them is going to college. There's never been a doubt in their mind - it's never been an option. For as long as they can remember, they know that they will be going.

This is because I've been going to school for most of their life. I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Human Services two years after my daughter was born. A year and a half after that, I graduated with my Master's degree in Psychology. My kiddos were able to remember that moment more clearly. My daughter, who was 4 at the time, went around for a week with a rolled up piece of paper saying, "congratulations" and then shaking people's hands because that's what she saw me do when I went up on stage to accept my diploma. My son always remembers me studying and writing papers.

Even after graduating with my Master's, I pursued certificate programs in Human Resources and now, Screenplay writing. I'm a lifelong learner. I really enjoy school and learning new things. I teach when I'm not taking the kiddos to set. Prior to that, I worked as an Enrollment Advisor, enrolling interested college students to our school. I went through tuition costs, had extensive convo's on borrowing responsibly, and giving students the big picture of what education will cost them to earn that degree.

After all is said and done, I find myself saying, "I wish I attended Community College my first two years because these student loans are a bitch!"

So from someone who has been there, here is some advice.

1. DECIDING ON A MAJOR
 
Many students and parents think, "You will figure out what you want to do when you're in college." This is true, but it can come with a price. What if you have a hard time in class and end up failing? I'm guilty of that. What if you decide to change your major and lose out on some credits because it didn't transfer? Yup. Still guilty. Well, congratulations. You just wasted $700 or even $1800 on that course that earned you ZERO credits.

At least 50% of freshman choose "undecided" as their major, which according to Forbes.com, is bad advice. In the long run, choosing undecided can become costly. You may be taking courses you don't need just to fill your schedule, and when you finally decide what major you want to take, many find that some of those courses aren't transferable - meaning, they lose out on those credits, and have to spend more money to "catch up" for the required courses needed for their new major.

Even those that have a major in mind end up changing it. USA Today College states that 80% of students will change their major at least once before graduating. My step-daughter is guilty of that. She's changed her major at least twice before ending her sophomore year. By doing so, she extended her four year education to four in a half years.

It's important to understand that choosing a major is a big decision and should be thought out carefully. Make a pro/con list with your teen. Ask questions, such as:

  • "Why do you want to go into that profession?" 
  • "What type of degree do you need?" 
  • "How much school does it require?" 
  • "What is the job market like for this career?" 

Get their minds thinking. But also, both parents and teens need to educate themselves. 

If your son/daughter wants to become an auto technician, see what type of schools are available for this type of career. Does it require going to a 4 year college? Or do you just need a certificate from a trade school? If they want to be a doctor, understand what type of degree they need, how long school will be and what requirements need to be met. Both careers have very specific guidelines, so you want to make sure that you are headed into the right direction so you are not wasting time or money.

2. DECIDE ON A COLLEGE

Will it be a University, State School, Community College, or a Trade School? Decisions, decisions. 

If your child is truly undecided, consider going to a community college for the first two years so they can figure out what they want to do. The first two years of any college (except trade/vocational school) is taking general education courses such as Math, English, and Science. Many don't get into their core courses until their junior year. 

This is the most cost effective because while they decide what they want to do, they can get their Gen Ed courses out of the way, saving thousands on tuition. Yes, thousands! But I'll get into that in #3.

If attending a University is important to you, going to a community college for two years won't prevent you from doing that. Think about it. You can earn an Associate’s degree at a community college within two years. This can help you land a better job. You can then transfer to a University to finish your Bachelor's degree.
 
Did you know: If you live in California, you have a higher chance of getting into your desired University when you transfer from a California Community College? For example, on UCLA's transfer admissions guide for 2017-2018, it states:

"We give highest priority to students who are transferring from California community colleges or other University of California campuses."

My step-daughter currently attends California State University. When she was looking to transfer to a UC (University of California) school, she learned that many of her credits won't transfer in and priority is given to CA Community College transfers. She didn't want to lose out on even more credits, so she decided to stay at Cal State. 

Again, do your homework. Making a decision on a major will help you decide what type of school you need to attend.

3. COST OF TUITION

Sometimes, it comes down to cost. How much is this going to be once I finally graduate? Parents don't want to burden their kids with debt before they can even get their career started. 

I had this discussion with my own kiddos. When my step-daughter first started college, I sat with her and we went over numbers. We discussed what Grants were, went over student loans, and the cost of tuition. 

Since it was her first year in college, we wanted her to live in the dorms - because we never got to experience that freedom when we went to college. We wanted her to experience "college life" because we missed out on those things. She live in the dorm with three other girls, but by the end of the school year, she ended up moving out and into an apartment. Why? Because reality hit. Renting in the dorms cost $900/mo per person. She was able to find an apartment with the same amount of girls for $400/mo per person. You live and learn.

Now, let's talk tuition costs. 

Earlier I talked about how taking your Gen Ed courses can save you thousands of dollars if you attended Community College.

My Bachelor's degree cost roughly about $35,000 for four years. My step-daughter pays close to $4000 a semester at Cal State (it is about $6000 a semester at UC). My hubster attends Community College right now and pays $700 a semester. You do the math. 

You can spend $3000 to earn an Associate’s Degree at a Community College and then transfer to a University for your Bachelor's degree. Your student loans will be much less than what you would spend attending a University for 4 years. 

If I only knew then what I know now...

TAKE THE TIME TO TALK TO YOUR TEENS

Educate yourself and your teen by knowing:

  • What schools offer your major?
  • What requirements are needed (i.e. will there be additional field study work, lab hours, etc.)?
  • What type of degree is needed, if any?
  • How much is tuition?
  • How long will it take to graduate?
  • What courses will I be taking? 
  • What other expenses should I factor in (supplies, parking, housing, food, etc.)? 
  • Are online classes available?

These are just a few important questions to go over.

PARENTS - LISTEN TO YOUR TEEN!

This one is major. I don't know how many students go into a program because their parents decided it would be the best one for them. But parents, have you asked your teen what they want to do? After all, it is their life. They are the one's putting in all the hard work. They are the ones that will have to live with this career. If you both decided on it, then great. However, if you didn't even listen to your teen about what they want to do, then you may have a long road ahead of you. 

When I first graduated high school, I had just given birth to my son. My parents were very supportive and all they wanted me to do was go to college. So they helped me out financially and I did what I was told because I felt like I owed them that much. I wanted to study Psychology, but they wanted me to become a nurse. So I went ahead and chose that major because I thought to myself, "they are paying for it and they have helped me and my son so much already." However, after my first semester and after much debate, I couldn't do it. I realized that as a nurse, I'd have to deal with blood - which is something I can't stand. Then one day, I will have to deal with the loss of a patient. These are things that I, personally, was NOT OK with. I got the courage to talk to my parents and they finally understood the reality: I would have to be the one to deal with this every day, not them. 

So the decision, whatever it may be, is ultimately up to your teen. 

I am a strong believer of supporting your child's goals, because there is no limit on what they can accomplish. Just because you (parent) can't picture yourself doing it, doesn't mean that they can't.  

These are big decisions, and when you're just entering adulthood, these decisions are life changing. Talk with your teen, but also listen. Really listen. Go over those major questions and concerns together.

I hope this advice is helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me.


References:

Onink, T. (2012, October 08). Bad College Advice - the Undeclared Major. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/troyonink/2010/12/16/bad-college-advice-the-undeclared-major/#6882104632a8 

Avoid these 3 pitfalls when considering switching majors. (2015, January 07). Retrieved August 11, 2017, from http://college.usatoday.com/2015/01/07/avoid-these-3-pitfalls-when-considering-switching-majors/

UCLA Undergraduate Admission. (n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2017, from http://www.admission.ucla.edu/prospect/adm_tr/tradms.htm





Monday, August 7, 2017

Sorry Not Sorry

No, but really...I am sorry that I haven't posted in a week! I've been super busy with the kiddos starting school this week. Can you believe that it's my son's first day of his Senior year? I can't! On my way to taking him to school, we decided to stop at Starbucks to kick off a great start to his first day. I know that he's going to have a great year! He has all the classes he wanted and he decided to take a full schedule instead of having a free period.

I also know that he's going to have a busy year, not only with his 18th birthday approaching, but also with SAT, college essays, college applications, and of course campus visits. He really wants to attend UCLA, but being the conscious kiddo that he is, he doesn't want to pay the hefty price tag that comes with it. He is thinking of going to community college for the first two years and then transferring. Smart kid. I'll post another blog on why this option is the most realistic choice. Having been in education myself (Student and Employee), I know what the burden of student loans feels like. 

But that's a post that I'll save for next time. Anyway, tomorrow, my daughter is starting 6th grade. Since her school goes up to six grade, she opted out of starting Middle School and decided to stay at her elementary school this year. Over the past few days, she's been stressing out about what she's going to wear. Trying on several outfits and figuring out how she should do her hair. As a result, her room is a complete mess with clothes all over the floor - but, she finally got her wardrobe situation figured out. I remember being that age. Excited to start a new school year, and the only thing I had to worry about is who my teacher is and what to wear to school.

As for me, I feel like this school year is going to be insane and I'm already preparing myself for it.  When I'm not taking the kiddos to set, I substitute teach. And when I'm not doing that, I'm working on my Etsy shop. Which, by the way, is an exciting adventure for me.

I predict that this year will be full of exciting new things and experiences, and I can't wait to share it with you!

Until next time!
XO

Thursday, July 27, 2017

L'Assiette Steak Frites in Los Angeles

Restaurant: L'Assiette Steak Frites
Location: 7166 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Website:  https://lassiettesteakfrites.com/

Date: Saturday, July 22, 2017
Occasion: Get-together with friends

Overall Rating: Good Food. OK Service. Clean Atmosphere.
Likely to Visit Again: No
Suggestions:Servers should be more attentive.

Since the Dine LA event is from July 14th - 28th, we chose to choose a restaurant from Dine LA's list. So we decided to eat at L'Assiette Steak Frites. I had never been there before, but a few of my friends had. They said it was a really good place and the food was great, so of course, my expectations were high.

Like many of the restaurant on Melrose, the outside looked very small - and even though it was, the atmosphere was very elegant with an intimate setting.There was high-table seating at the front to fit all 11 of us comfortably.

MENU
For the Dine LA Event, L'Assiette Steak Frites offered a four course meal for $39 a person.
Here's the menu that I retrieved from Dine LA for L'Assiette Steak Frites




 WHAT WE ORDERED:
Since it was a four course meal, Hubster and I decided to get opposites, so we can try different dishes.

Dates Farcies au Chevre frais
Star Rating: 🌟🌟

At first bite, the wrapped dates were delicious, but then you bite through the dates and goat cheese, and the flavors all together became a bit overwhelming.

 Truffle Mac n' Cheese
Star Rating: 🌟
 I love mac n' cheese, but this one was just not good. There was a pungent taste to this dish, leaving a sour flavor on my pallet.

 Steak Frites
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
I had the steak cooked medium-well. Usually, their house sauce is spread on top of the steak, but I asked for it on the side because when I viewed pictures of the meal beforehand, I just thought there was too much sauce. I tried a piece of meat and frites with the sauce, and honestly, I liked it without it. The frites were good, but I didn't taste anything special about them. My friends that have been here before said that the meal wasn't the same. The frites taste so much better the first time they tried it, so I felt like I missed out on something.

 Poulet Forestier
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Hubster got the Poulet Forestier. Now, the Chablis sauce on this meal was delicious. It soaked into the frites which made it taste so much better. Needless to say, I dipped a few of my frites onto his plate. 


Which leads us into the last course: Dessert - and by far the best meal.

Amaretto Cake
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The Amaretto cake had a sponge-like texture, and had amazing flavor.

L'Assiette Fudge Brownie
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The fudge brownie had just the right amount of sweetness, which paired well with the ice cream.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE
Even though the first and second course were mediocre, the main course and dessert was good. I wouldn't go as far as saying that it was the best, because, honestly, I don't think I'd go back there for it. The service could have been better. We had to ask the server for water 3x before he finally remembered to bring it. Again, the restaurant wasn't large, and we were the biggest table he had, so for a $650 bill, I would think that the service would be exceptional.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Planning My Next Adventure

Hello Humans!
So, I've been trying to plan my next adventure to Seattle and New York, but I am at my wits end. I know it shouldn't be this hard just to book this shit, but I'm trying to find the most affordable rates on flights and hotels.

First Up: Seattle
I'm going in a few months, just for a couple days and I've never been before. I was thinking of renting a car, but after much debate and recommendations from friends, I decided to look for a hotel in Downtown Seattle and just walk or use public transportation if needed (and if all else is fails, there's always Uber right)? Finding a hotel doesn't seem that bad, it's just finding an affordable flight. Every time I chose a flight time it ends up raising $100 more each way, for the time I want. Otherwise, I'd have to fly out at 6am, which is not the bizness. I've been on Expedia, Hotels.com, and AAA with no luck. And can I just say that AAA really needs to update the travel section of their website? They don't really have many options to choose from when trying to narrow down the choices. Then again, that's probably a tactic so I would have to speak to a travel agent. I guess I can, but I like to do things on my own. Then again, it would probably make life much easier if I got some advice and help.

Well, wherever we end up staying at I'm sure it will be great. I'm so excited for this trip and I have this crazy craving for seafood - which is NOT like me, because I am not a seafood fan to begin with. Mainly because I only eat certain kinds - like crab, shrimp, some fish, and...well, I guess that's it. I don't like octopus or squid, not even calamari. I don't eat oysters because I think it looks like a vagina - and any seafood consumed raw - forget about it! I know...if you're a seafood lover, you're probably hating me right now, but hey, craving seafood is a step up for me. So maybe I'll surprise you and this trip may turn over a new leaf...OR not. I guess we will find out. Keep posted!

I also want to see the bubble gum wall. I wonder if that's walking distance from Downtown???

2018: New York
My son turns 18 this year. YES! 18! And he will be graduating in June. So I wanted to do a trip to New York to celebrate. We haven't been so we are excited to explore the town. Though we are still looking for places to go and things to do (Suggestions welcome please and thanks) we know one thing is for sure: We have to try the pizza! Well, this is true for any destination because I love pizza as much as people love tacos. But, I mean, everyone who has been to NY always says there is nothing like NY pizza. There are the obvious places that we want to see, like the Statue of Liberty and Time Square. Maybe a Broadway show? We're going in the spring, so I'm hoping that it's still cold. We really wanted to experience NY in the cold (is that weird)? It's probably a subliminal message from all the movies we watch.

If you've got some recommendations for Seattle or New York, please feel free to share them with me. I appreciate it more than you know!

Till next time!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Bar Celona in Pasadena

Restaurant: Bar Celona - Modern Spanish Tapas Bar
Location: 38 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA
Website:  http://www.barcelonapasadena.com/

Date: Friday, July 7, 2017
Occasion: Celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary

Rating: Excellent Food. Great Service. Clean Atmosphere.
Likely to Visit Again: Yes
Suggestions: Greet customers as they walk in. Update prices on website as prices have raised at least $1.

To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided to try something new. So we headed to Bar Celona Modern Spanish Tapas Bar in Pasadena, CA. We arrived at 5:30pm, just in time for Happy Hour which was from 4pm to 7pm (on Friday's).

In front of the restaurant were a few tables and chairs for outdoor eating. Inside was a bar style vibe with a row of two-seater tables on one wall and a large bar on the other.  There were also lounging couches with small tables throughout the remainder of the space.There was a big screen in the back of the restaurant and several TV screens behind the bar which was currently playing the sports channel.

No one greeted us when we walked in, and it was quiet. Since it was our first time, we didn't know if we just seat ourselves or if we had to wait for a table, so hubster asked the bartender, who said that we can sit wherever we like. It seemed pretty slow, with only two customers; however, it started to pick up around 6pm, so it started feeling more upbeat. 

The bartender was also our server. He was very polite, attentive, and provided excellent service throughout our evening. We received three menu's.

MENU'S
  • The first was the full restaurant menu with a list of  appetizers, salads, soups, and main dishes. 
  • The second was a tapas menu
  • The third was a happy hour menu
HAPPY HOUR
The happy hour had a great selection of food items such as garlic fries, pinchos - chicken (chicken skewers), crispy calamari, chicken or beef empanadas, pizza, flatbread, and paella. The price range for happy hour was $4.50 to $7.95.

There was also a decent selection of drinks such as sangria, house wines, beers, well cocktails, specialty drinks (martini, cosmo, mojito, and margarita) that ranged from $3.50 to $7.00

The only problem with the happy hour menu is that there were no descriptions of what some of the dishes were. So I had to go back and forth from the main menu to figure out what kind of dish it was.

For someone who hasn't been there before, this can be a little frustrating. And [if you're like me] I like reading the descriptions, so it took us about 10 minutes to figure out what we wanted. 

WHAT WE ORDERED
Drinks:
A glass of House Moscato $6
A glass of 805 $5.50

 Charred Rustic Bread $6.50
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Topped with manchego cheese, garlic, and raw tomato
I was in heaven with this dish. The tomato's were well seasoned which paired well with the cheese and bread. I couldn't get enough of it!


Pinchos - Chicken (2) $4.50 
Star Rating: 🌟🌟
We ordered the regular portion (4 skewers for $5.95)
I'm a big fan of chicken skewers, but I just thought these were OK. They looked delicious, but the chicken itself tasted under seasoned.


Crispy Pork Belly (main menu item) $16
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Includes brussels sprouts, salbitxada and a fried egg
Hubster loves pork belly, so he had to try this main dish out. $16 is a little pricey, but it was definitely worth it. The skin was perfectly crispy, the pork was flavorful and the veggies paired well with the meal.  

Chicken Empandas $5.95
Star Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Empanadas had a soft, buttery crust with shredded chicken inside.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE
Great! Once it started picking up, the atmosphere felt more upbeat. The food was excellent and the price range was pretty decent for the portions you get. My husband really enjoyed the Crispy Pork Belly. The skin was perfectly crispy and full of flavor. I was in heaven with the Charred Rustic Bread, I just wish there was a little more tomato to accompany the large pieces of bread. The tomato just put it over the top, so it doesn't hurt to have a little more of it.

We will definitely be eating here again!

*Prices reflect date of service as of July 2017.