Uncategorized, What Makes Me Smile

Girl Scout Cookie Time

It’s COOKIE TIME!!

You may have seen a flurry of Girl Scouts out in your neighborhood selling those delicious cookies from the classic Thin Mints to the newer, campfire friendly S’MORES. There is a cookie to delight any palette. But that’s not all the Girl Scouts do. I should know. I’m a troop leader for my daughters Brownie troop.

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Since our troop first formed, we have gone to museums, marched in parades, worked on outdoor skills, prepared ourselves for camping, and spent time doing community service projects.

If you asked a Girl Scout what their favorite thing about being a Girl Scout is you will get a myriad of answers. These were the answers from our-then Daisy girls last year:

“I loved making the dog toys for the animal shelter and visiting the animal shelter” 

“I enjoyed our PJ party and being with my friends” 

“I like all the cookies and singing Christmas carols to the seniors” 

Our troop is headed for some exciting times this summer. We will execute our first outdoor camping trip. Try a ropes course. Spend the night in the Monterey Bay aquarium. Take hikes and explore more of Northern California.

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Our local Girl Scout council also provides monthly activities that troops can participate in. Things like Self Defense, Babysitting 101, Night at the River Cats (Sacramento’s       Triple-A team) come to mind.

We are very proud to be part of the scouting community and many families with or without children can find ways to be part of it. There is always a need for strong leaders, people with special skills that can be taught to kids, and troop support.

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If you are interested in more information about Girl Scouts in the Sacramento area, please visit Girl Scouts Central Heart of California.

If you are interested in more information about Boy Scouts in the Sacramento area, please visit Boy Scouts of American Golden Empire Council.

If you or someone you know is moving to Sacramento or the surrounding area, I would love to show them what this great city has to offer.  Please email ucdlaura@gmail.com for a Realtor in the Sacramento area or visit www.sacramentohomesforsale.info 

Travel, What Makes Me Smile

Disney Never Gets Old

Me and my brother never get tired of talking about our trip to Disney World. I’m pretty sure most people are tired of hearing about it. But…I don’t think either one of us cares, so I’ll probably spend the rest of my days blabbing ‘Disney this.. and Disney that.’

I haven’t uploaded my DSLR pictures to my computer until today and seeing my photos sparked all those great memories from way back – way back 2 months ago. Don’t judge.

Unfortunately, I forgot how much I hobbled around WDW (did the Dopey Challenge and ran nearly 50 miles) and how little I used my DSLR to take pictures. But priorities, right?

Since this is a website about what makes me happy, I thought I would post some of these photos from our January 2018 trip to Walt Disney World.

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The epitome of the Magic Kingdom

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Gaston’s has the best drink. Le Fou’s Brew is a must get.

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I really don’t care for romance anything, but hey when in Rome.
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Sci-Fi Drive in Restaurant. My fav restaurant in WDW.
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Dang’t Mark!!!

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Transported back into the 1950s. Love it.

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Is this sponsored by Pizza Rat
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I love the Muppets. I hope they one day further develop this area.
What Makes Me Smile

Dutch Brothers Coffee in Sacramento

About a year ago a new Dutch Brothers showed up in my neighborhood. I’ve seen Dutch Brothers before. They are easy to spot around Sacramento. Usually a micro building with a drive thru window plopped in the middle of a parking lot to a small strip mall. Anytime I drove by a Dutch Brothers,  the line of cars would circle all around the small building. I would see cars around town with Dutch Mafia stickers. My partner constantly raved about them.

Clearly Dutch Brothers is popular with a large loyal following. But I’m usually late to the popularity parties. It took me 34 years to see the first Star Wars movie (or I guess that would be the 4th movie). It took me 20 years to finally start the Harry Potter series (btw I am officially a Potterhead). So, I thought maybe it was about time I see what was drawing people to apply for the Dutch Mafia which serves drinks called the Birthday Cake and the 911.

Winters in Sacramento can be fickle. The week before I was in a t-shirt and pulling out summer shorts, and this week the high in the area was the low 50s. That is cold for me, and thought this would be the perfect time for me to try a coffee over at Dutch Brothers.

Now, I’m not a huge coffee person. Someone like me probably shouldn’t even have caffeine. But I do enjoy the taste, so I usually get a decaf Americano. When I pulled up into a packed lane of cars, a delightful girl took my order from my car and helped me customize a drink. She recommended the decaf Americano with mocha and heavy almond milk. WOW!!! So good. Really smooth and just a perfect blend of the chocolate and almond milk.

That week I came back three more times and started my punch card (which is now full and I’m ready for my free drink).  But the superb drink is not what is bringing me back. It’s their wonderful service. From the moment someone takes your order until you drive away, the servers at Dutch Brothers just make you smile.

They asked how my day was, and if I had any plans. They gave the little Miss whip cream on top of her straw which just made her day. They really want you to drive away with a positive start to your day, ready to conquer the world.  Their glowing personalities are infectious and any business could take a lesson on how to connect with customers.

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We have lost our way of friendly customer service to a world of mobile orders leaving little to be desired. But not at Dutch Brothers. You will be greeted with servers interested in knowing who you are and making sure they provide the best service. When I stopped there this morning, Marisa, greeted me with a cheerful smile and said “Hi Laura. A decaf Americano with mocha and heavy almond milk.” She took the time to remember my favorite drink and my name.

Now when I head off to a showing, I always stop at Dutch Brothers to let their uplifting attitudes pump me up for a successful day.  I’ll continue to recommend my clients take the time to drive thru and let some of that Dutch Mafia attitude rub off on them.

People love Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the Dutch Mafia not because they are trendy, but because they are connecting people to their soul.  I think what we are seeing from this company is merely just the beginning of something much larger and I look forward to seeing their growth in the Sacramento area.

For more information about Dutch Brothers go to www.dutchbros.com

Are you new to Sacramento? Looking for a great place to lay your roots and need to find a home? Email me at ucdlaura@gmail.com and I would love to help and introduce you to our beautiful city.

Running, Uncategorized, What Makes Me Smile

RunDisney – My First Experience

It’s been over a month since I left for my first runDisney trip at Walt Disney World to take on the Dopey Challenge. The name was a complete understatement. It was more like the What-Kinda- Get-Up-At-3am-24degrees-run 48.6miles-Idiot-Are-You Challenge. It was insane. I did wake up every day at 3 am Eastern Time (12 am in California). It was freezing in Orlando. It was the one year Florida actually had snow. I did run nearly 50 miles. But you know what? It was awesome! So, I thought I would share some highlights of this crazy race located in the most Magical Place on Earth.

Vanessa and I set out for Orlando on January 2nd. We landed the next day in Orlando, and the unexpected wind and cold hit me hard. The days before we left, I was sure the weather report for Orlando was wrong. Florida doesn’t get cold. I don’t need a coat. I certainly don’t need a scarf, gloves or hat. Luckily, as we were about to get in the car to drive to the airport, I ran back in the house, grabbed my coat, scarf, gloves and hat, and carelessly tossed them in my suitcase. My brother and cousin, who flew out the next day, didn’t heed my warning: ‘Pack your warm stuff. It is cold”. Nope. They didn’t.

We chose the All-Star-Movie Resort to stay, a perfect dream for a 7-year old, with favorite characters towering three stories high. After checking in to our room, we hurried on a bus taking us to the ESPN Center for the runDisney Expo. We picked up our race bibs and all our race shirts. I, myself, collected a handsome 6 shirts commemorating each race and challenge: 5k, 10k, half-marathon, full-marathon, Goofy Challenge (people who are running the half and full marathons), and the Dopey Challenge (racers running all 4 races (that was me. Im a huge dope)).  The race expo was very crowded, and I had no idea there would be so many runners, rumored to be over 80,000 registered racers.

Exhausted from a long travel, we went back to the room and clicked on the Disney Channel (of course),  and into dreamland ZZZZzzzzz….. And then 3:30 am came and by a miracle I sorta woke up. I slept through my alarm that was set for 2:50 am. The good Lord somehow woke me up naturally.  I shook Vanessa out of her slumber and without thinking, threw on our clothes and hurried out the door and ran towards the bus. They recommend all racers be on the bus from their resort no later than 4 am to make it to the race. Droves of busses were headed to the same place, Epcot, where each of the four races would begin and end.

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After walking through a heavily secured area, we were welcomed with cheerful volunteers and entertainment to warm us up.  Not too many people can say they danced the YMCA with thousand of other people before 5 am.  This did help keep our minds off the frigid temps. I along with the other people in my corral, shivered with crinkly, silver nylon blankets (this space blanket did little to keep me warm) all the while telling myself ‘what the hell was I thinking’. Once we were all situated, we all waited anxiously for the fireworks to signal each corrals release. My heart burst with excitement each time the fireworks went off prompted by cheers of a crazy crowd.

Boom!! Me and Vanessa were off. I held her cold little hand as we ran through World Showcase in Epcot. Every building was lit up, beloved characters were out to take pictures with, and our favorite Disney music was blazing through the park. Runners were dressed in costumes and people were cracking jokes. It couldn’t have been a more cheerful race. We were laid beautiful medals after crossing the finish line.

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My 10k, half and full marathon were no less exciting with even more fireworks, characters and people cheering. The half-marathon leads runners from Epcot and through the Magic Kingdom. I did start to cry as I ran through the castle, despite furiously telling myself not to shed a tear. Characters were on the trains welcoming us in and cheer teams lined the sidewalks motivating us to carry on.

The next day I took on the full marathon. That was hard. Despite sleep deprivation, the excitement of running through all 4 Disney parks kept you going. Coming up to the end of my 26.2 miles, I looked over to see my cousin and my brother propping Vanessa up over the crowd watching me cross over the big word FINSIH!!!  I did it!!!

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I knew I always wanted to do the Dopey Challenge, and when I signed up the year before I said I’m doing this no matter what. It was worth all the freezing cold 3 ams. I would do it again in a heart beat. We will see what next year brings, but I hope to be back again for Dopey Challenge 2019.