Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

I've been working diligently over the past few months to fulfill a dream I've had for a while.  It started way back in college, when my love affair with real estate was born.  I worked as a Servicing Agent at a mortgage company, which means I collected mortgage payments, paid taxes and insurance, formulated amortization schedules, performed escrow audits, prepared mortgage interest statements, and dealt with mortgagor questions.  I was intrigued by this industry, and vowed to one day purchase an investment property of my own.  This was also around the time that my husband purchased his first house.  He moved into it and then rented out the other rooms to his college friends.  I quickly had to learn everything I could about rental real estate so that I could correctly prepare his tax return.  Lucky for us I was studying for my Masters Degree in Accounting, so I had a solid foundation in that area.

After my husband graduated from college, he moved back to his hometown and had to decide what to do with his house.  Instead of selling, he put it back up for lease and quickly found renters.  Little did we know at the time that that routine would happen over and over again in the years to come!  After I graduated, I moved to his hometown as well and we purchased another house.  We only stuck around there for about 8 months before making the move to the Big D, so that house became a rental as well.  All in all, we currently own 5 rental houses, and are knee deep in the world of real estate.  I've read and signed more closing documents than I can count!

Over the past couple of years, my husband and I have discussed how it would just make sense for one of us to have a real estate license since we're so involved in the industry.  I finally started pursuing that course of action a few months ago.  Since then, I have completed the educational requirements, passed the exam, and received my Texas Real Estate Salesperson license.  My sponsoring broker is my mother-in-law, who has been working in real estate for 17 years, so I've got a pretty darn good mentor!  Together, we have started Marcum Real Estate.  We're very excited about it!  Our service area includes the DFW metroplex.  While the original goal of becoming a Realtor was to make buying and selling investment properties more efficient for us, we're now hoping we can offer our expertise to others as well.  So, here's my plug:  If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the DFW area, please give me a call!  Further information about our services can be found on our website, www.marcum-realestate.com.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mixed Bag

Lots going on this weekend!  On Friday night, we were invited to a dinner party at the house of our friends, Jonathan and Rose.  The food was uh-maze-ing.  The main course was leg of lamb, and much to my surprise, I loved it.  Rose made flan for dessert, and I was a happy camper!  That's one of my most favorite desserts, but it can be hit or miss depending on the restaurant.  Lucky for us, she nailed it.

On Saturday, we spent most of the day shopping for a new bed.  We didn't have any luck then, but we did pick up a couple of new chairs for the office.  Can you believe these were only $37 each??  I thought for sure they were quoting us an incorrect price, but we didn't complain and gobbled them up!  They were the last two of their kind in the clearance section, so maybe they were just ready to get rid of them.  Either way, we came out on the winning end of that deal.   

I had grown tired of the rugs in our kitchen, so I shopped around for a new set after I picked up the chairs.  I tried Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target, but nothing really jumped out at me.  My last resort was Walmart, and I actually found some that I really loved!  The colors in my kitchen are mostly neutral (beige, tan, brown, etc), but I have some hints of green and blue.  I thought these would match very well, and the touch of green makes them more fun.  I got a small one, a medium-sized one, and a runner for $63.

On Saturday night, a bunch of us ladies went out to Victor Tango's to celebrate our friend Ericka's upcoming nuptials.  We had a great time chit-chatting and joking around as she opened her gifts.  I won't go into detail about some of the items she received, but you can take a guess!  After dinner, as we were standing around waiting for our cars to be brought up, a guy walked by and caught my eye.  It took me a second, but I realized I was looking at Jason Kidd!  Holy crap!  He walked right by us and into the restaurant we had just come out of.  Dang!  If only we had taken a little longer to eat!  Haha.  It was cool to see one of the Dallas Mavericks out and about in the city.  I just wish I could've snapped a pic before he went inside!

On Sunday, I ventured out again in search of a bed.  My first stop was Stacy Furniture in Allen, and fortunately it was my last stop too!  The first bed I looked at in their store ended up being the one I bought.  It is made by Bernhardt and seemed to be a reasonable price compared to what I had seen the previous day. Meezy and I wanted a solid wood bed, with a sturdy, substantial footboard and headboard, for less than an arm and a leg.  We kept finding cheaply made beds at great prices, or very sturdy, nice beds at exorbitant prices.  I think we found a winner in this one:


With that decided, I then focused my attention on side tables.  The ones in the same collection with the bed really weren't calling out to me.  I figured the shade of the wood in the bed was pretty common, so I walked around the store in search of tables that could potentially match.  I ventured into the living room area of the store and spotted some that I liked, made by Kincaid.  The sales associate helped me carry one over to put beside the bed, so that I could be sure it would match!  It was perfect.  The scrollwork on the legs of the table looks very similar to the scrollwork on the bed.  I think they're going to look great.  I can't wait for everything to be delivered so that I can finally feel good about the furniture in every room of our house!  (The tables are actually a little darker than what is depicted in the picture below).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Friendly Shout-out

Lately I've been super impressed with the ambition of my friend, Lauren.  She's an accountant by day, just like me, but she has recently started devoting more of her free time to design.  If you check out some of her work, you'll see why she's doing it - she's really, really good at it!  She's won a few awards already, and has been featured on a couple of different websites.  Her work is currently available for purchase on Indigo Prints and Minted, or you can work with her directly (lauren@palmpapers.com) for a personalized design.  She does birth announcements, wedding invitations, save the dates, holiday cards, shower invites, stationery, etc.  If you've got a big event coming up, please contact her!  You can follow her blog here. Check out a couple of her beautiful Palm Papers designs below, and then go place an order!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Welcome, Bella!

After much trial and tribulation, my sister finally welcomed her sweet baby girl into the world early this past Saturday morning.  Little Isabella Grace was being a very stubborn girl, but she was worth the wait!  The entire family is thrilled that Bella is here, and we can't wait to see her live up to her beautiful name.  Enjoy the pics!

  Proud papa seeing his new baby

Hi daddy!

Tired, but happy mama


My sweet little niece

Big Brother Joseph

Cute little dress my sister-in-law Michal-ann sent her!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Year Already!

I can't believe it's been a year already since my nephew was born.  Meezy and I traveled to Amarillo this past weekend to celebrate the occasion.  We were so glad we got to share in this special time, and of course see the rest of the family that we miss so much!  I forgot my good camera, so I had to settle for pics and video taken on my Iphone.  Enjoy!

KC checking out a present

Playing with one of the toys we bought him

Having a little fun with cake!

Not even coughing will slow him down!  The best part was that the cake was blue and yellow, but he mixed them to make a nice green hue.  :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Holy Night Terror, Batman!

I volunteered to babysit my niece, Olivia, a few weeks ago when my sister and her husband had late dinner plans.  When it was time to put her to bed, I thought she might put up a fight since her parents weren't there and she wasn't used to listening to me.  I followed the usual routine that my sister had told me about, however, and everything went well.  She was sound asleep by 9pm.  I went to the living room and laid down on the couch to watch TV until my sister got home.  Around 10:15pm, I heard crying from Olivia's room.  I went in there to see if she needed something, and the crying got intense.  She was wailing and screaming and inconsolable.  I kept trying to ask her what was wrong, but it was like I wasn't even there.  She was flailing about and trying to get out of her bed.  I picked her up and held her, but the screaming continued.  I realized that she was probably having a night terror because she wasn't awake.  She didn't hear my talking and didn't even recognize that I was holding her.  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to wake her up or not, because I'm no expert in handling night terrors!  I just kept trying to soothe her and rock her back to a calm state, but it really was just a waiting game.  After a few stressful minutes had past, she calmed down and stopped crying.  I put her back in her bed, and it was like nothing had ever happened...in her mind at least!  I was a little bit traumatized, but glad that we had gotten through it.  I felt so bad afterward though, like something I had done earlier that night had led to this event.  I told my sister about it when she got home, and she assured me that it had happened before, and I handled it well.  Thank goodness!  What a crazy phenomenon those night terrors are! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Leashes, Ever Heard of Them?

Last week I took Juneau to the dog park after work.  It is part of our training plan to take her to places where she'll be distracted, while we work on her obedience commands.  This also doubles as socialization training, because she's in the vicinity of other dogs. Since she still has a long way to go on that part, though, we only went as far as the grassy area NEXT to the dog park.  She stays on a leash the whole time, and she's not allowed to get too close to the dogs inside the fenced-in area.  If she's responding well, we walk her near the fence (still on a leash), and immediately correct her if she starts to get aggressive.  It's all about just getting her more experience around other dogs, while not immersing her completely in a situation with them, and while also making sure she remains focused on us and obedient.  You would think it might be a clue to on-lookers that Juneau is currently in training, when 1) she's on a leash, 2) she's not inside the dog park and 3) I'm telling her commands.  After I had been there for a few minutes, this couple with three large dogs exited the dog park.  They didn't have any of their dogs on leashes, and they started running wild.  That got Juneau's attention, and she got overly excited.  I tried to break her focus on that and calm her down, but two of the dogs started charging at her.  I got a little freaked out, not knowing what their intentions were.  They were very hyper dogs, and were even larger than Juneau.  I don't blame Juneau for going crazy and flailing about, considering two dogs were coming at her, and I had her on a leash.  I'm sure she felt threatened.  I yelled at the dogs and had to jerk Juneau away.  The owners just kept walking along their merry way towards their car, just expecting their dogs to follow.  Are you friggin' kidding me?  You have the nerve to let your rambunctious dogs off-leash in an open area, and you don't even check to see what they're doing?  Thank goodness the dogs stopped just short of Juneau, after my yelling, or I'm pretty sure I would've been in the middle of a dog fight.  I was livid at these people.  It's very irresponsible to let your dogs roam freely, not only for others' safety, but for their own safety!  Needless to say, Juneau was extremely wound up after that, and we had to abandon training for the day.  Thanks a lot, asshole dog owner!

Fast forward to last night - I went to watch my bff's softball game.  Sports are still off-limits to me while my knee heals, but I really miss seeing her and the rest of my team, so I decided to drop in and say hi to them.  I brought along my dog, Riley, since the game is at a park and he could always use the exercise.  Riley is a very friendly dog, and he plays well with others, human and canine.  I would never worry about him running away, because he's too much of a mama's boy. (Case in point - when our back gate was opened somehow while we were away from home, the other two dogs escaped and Riley sat in the backyard waiting for us to get home.)  Despite my confidence that he wouldn't take off, I would still never take him out in public without a leash.  So, we're sitting at the park, talking after the game, and a player on another team has brought their pit mix with them.  I see that they have a leash for it, but once they get by the field, they let it loose.  What the deuce? It comes running over to Riley and sniffs him and starts growling at him.  Riley just sits there unaffected, but I don't know what this other dog is capable of.  It's already started growling for no reason, and that's at a dog that is harmless.  I looked over at the owner with a "seriously?" face.  I reprimanded the stranger dog and looked again at the owner, wondering if they planned on doing anything.  The dog ran away in another direction before anything escalated.  The owner had to chase it down.  What's wrong with people?  Unless your dog is trained personally by Cesar Milan himself and would never stray from your side, even when faced with chasing an alluring squirrel, you need to keep it on a leash!!  I just feel like it shows a lack of caring on your part for your dog's well being when you don't take the necessary precautions to keep it safe.  You're also displaying a lack of respect for the responsible dog owners who would like to keep their dogs safe.   

Grrrrr.  Rant over!