Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Change of Plans

Shortly after I wrote my last post I found out that by getting a loan on my own, we wouldn't really be approved for much of a house. This was kind of discouraging because it meant that we had to put our plans on hold for the time being and wait to see what happened next with a few things. One of those things was JB's job. I was unsure how long it would take for them to post the manager position for him to even apply, but then everything started happening pretty fast. They posted the position and he had an interview the following Tuesday. By Thursday, he had been promoted!!!!

This changes things in a great way for us. The house that I mentioned in my previous post, The Walnut, is now a pretty good possibility for us. We now have comparable steady incomes and are working to increase credit scores where necessary for financing. We informed our realtor that we would no longer be looking at resale homes and wanted to focus mainly on getting ourselves a Walnut. Last Sunday, she met us at the model homes and we walked through them again. We looked at the one we want, and then just to be sure, went around and looked at all the others to see the different options and ideas. Finally, we went in and talked to the sales representative.

She went over the prices of the different elevations with us. Luckily the one we want is the least expensive. She also went over some of the basic upgrades that we are most likely going to want in the home. The fireplace is optional, which I think is stupid, but we are probably going to get it anyway. There are no HOA fees for the development, but there are mello roos. The good thing here is that they lower the property taxes so that the mello roos and taxes combined still equal 1.25%. Their lender does FHA loans, which means we only have to put down 3.5% and we would only have to pay 25% down on any options we select, which also goes towards the down payment. This means we don't have to come out of pocket any extra for the options we want. The unfortunate part is that since we don't have 20% to put down, we have to pay a PMI, which is $160 a month!!! Hopefully within the next 5 years we might have enough equity in the home to get rid of that. Who knows what will happen in this state though.

We left the sales office feeling pretty optimistic. I think with both of our incomes and dwindling debt, we should be able to live comfortably in this home. And since it's 2434 square feet, we should be able to stay there for quite a while, family expansion or not. We made an appointment at the design center this Thursday to go and price out different options and whatnot, and we are going to do a pre-qual to see what suggestions they have to improve credit scores. They have a block for sale right now that would possibly close escrow by November, but we are not sure we will make it in that one with the things we still need to take care of. The next phase will possibly be move-in ready by Feb/March 2010. That will also be good because we can spend that time building up our savings. I tried to include some pics below of the model, although what we end up with is going to look completely different, but the site is being lame, so I put them on my facebook.

After we left the models, we headed over to the mall for lunch. I asked JB if we could look at sparkly things just for fun and he said yes. We looked in every jewelry store, but I already have a specific one in mind and only one store in the mall carries it. Of course we ended up there last. I didn't even find anything at the other stores that came close to the one I want. When I finally got to try it on, it was even more beautiful in person than the pics on the designer's website. I'm sure I won't be getting it anytime soon, but it was fun to try it on and see how it looked in person.

What a great day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Be Veeeeeery Quiet, I'm Hunting Houses

Gotta love my humor and my horrible Elmer Fudd attempt. It is true though, JB and I have started the process of looking for a house. Of course, we made the mistake of looking at models and fell in love with one, so of course nothing else is going to compare. Especially the stuff in our price range. Ideally, this is what we are looking for:

Single story
At least 1500 square feet
Roseville/Rocklin or Folsom area
Built in the last ten years
Great room concept
Master Suite
No tile countertops

There are a few more requirements and there is some stuff we are willing to budge on, but for the most part, that's what we want. The model home, The Walnut, is amazing. 2400 square feet of amazing, if I may. I can't even really describe it and just seeing the floor plan isn't enough. You have to see the model. It's like the heavens open and shine down light and angels sing for this thing. Well, maybe not, but that's how I feel. And I'm pretty sure JB feels the same way.

Fortunately for us, and not so much for others, there are a lot of short sales out there right now which puts houses that would normally be out of our price range, just within our reach. Maybe we will find an awesome home that is almost as good for us, but more affordable. All I know is that I have a tendency to get my hopes up about stuff like this, and get excited, and then get let down. That is going to get old pretty fast. A lot of the agents are listing homes really low to get the attention, but then when the offer goes in, the bank rejects it because it is nowhere near the appraisal value of the home.

Luckily we are using someone that is a client of JB's and she has been in the business for over 30 years. We met with her last Saturday to go over the things we were looking for and what we absolutely don't want. After that we went and looked at three houses, but two of them were in contingency. Each house got better, but none of them was "the one". I'm sure we will know it when we see it.

Another thing that might change is JB's position at work. He is interviewing on Tuesday for a fitness manager position and if he gets it, we might be in better shape income-wise. I'm not so sure about the rate we would be able to get though. I guess we'll just hang out and play it by ear.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Work in Progress

So, I posted an album on myspace and facebook with some pics from the past two years to chronicle my struggle with getting into shape. Being an active kid in high school with cheer and dance, fitness was never really something I had to pay attention to. Once I was out of high school, pretty much inactive and making my own money to buy food left and right since there was never much in the house that didn't require preparing, I started gaining weight. Now, I know that everyone goes through changes in their bodies as they grow older, but there is also a lot that you can do to affect the way it changes. Stuffing your face with fast food and not exercising, is probably not the best way to assist those changes that your body is already going through. There are other things that can affect a woman's weight as she ages as well, such as birth control. Hormones tend to have quite the effect on weight gain. And although I slowly gained some weight after high school, maybe about 5 lbs per year, breaking off my engagement (I promise, I will blog about that at some point) really sped up the process. It has been almost 4 years since then. The first two years I spent drinking from Thursday night to Sunday night and enjoying the late night eating, followed by lazy hangover days with greasy burgers that goes along with it. In May of 2007, I was almost 160 at 5'6". My body fat percentage was around 30% and I looked like this:

That's when I realized that something needed to change. I needed to start taking care of myself and changing my lifestyle. If this were easy, America wouldn't be obese. But I suddenly had this fear that if I didn't start doing something about it now, it would be much harder and a much bigger task later. It's not like exercise was foreign to me. I have danced most of my life and participated in soccer and gymnastics briefly when I was younger. But as an adult, finding time to work it into my busy social life outside of work was more difficult than I thought. At least that's what I told myself.

At some point, I found The Abs Diet. Which was interesting because it wasn't a diet at all. It was just a book with tips and workouts and recipes and knowledge. Once I educated myself on how bad what I was putting into my body was for me, it made it easier to stop doing it. It also taught me that everyone gets to indulge, and moderation is key. No brainer, right? Well, even with the foods and workouts right in front of me, it still wasn't easy. A year later, I still looked like this:

I felt like I was making progress, but clearly the pictures tell a different story. Have you noticed a common theme yet? Alcohol. Right. Apparently not only does alcohol equal empty calories and make you want to stuff your face, but it also hinders your body from burning fat, so very little, if any, of what you take in is even being burned off when you have alcohol in your system. Changing your lifestyle is really hard when you have collected friends and taken to activities that mostly revolve around drinking and spending money you don't have (different blog for a different day). I wonder how much more money and how many less lbs I would have if I counted up all my trips to Vegas over the last four years. Thinking about it makes my head spin. But of course I am not going to cut off all my friends and completely quit drinking. Not that I couldn't, but moderation is the key. So, I cut waaaaaaaaay back on the amount I was drinking and switched what I was actually drinking (Vodka/soda - the only calories are in the vodka - 50 per 1oz shot). That along with eating the right things most of the time and hitting the gym a few times a week was doing something, but not enough.

In December, JB let me borrow his body bugg. It's a device that you wear, always except showering and sleeping, that counts your calories burned and steps taken for the day. This tool accompanied with the website used to log your food and upload your bugg data, shows you what you are taking in and what you are burning and helps you to set goals and reach them. I started the day after Christmas 2008, still around 150 lbs, and around 25% body fat. I used it diligently for about 2 months. I was eating 1600 calories a day and burning 2200 at least. I was really good with my eating and was getting to the gym 3-4 times a week. I fell in love with Turbo Kick Boxing and JB fixed my running form so I could actually run for longer than 15 minutes and not get tired. Slowly but surely I started to see a change. I weighed in at 143 and was down to 23% body fat on May 22, 2009 and just last week in So Cal, took these pics:

I was half kidding while posing on the beach, but when I saw the pics, I felt like my hard work after all that time had finally paid off! Not to mention I can almost run a 10 minute mile!! This coming from a girl who failed PE her freshman year because she loathed running. Now I am one of those people that goes jogging after work in my neighborhood and does ab videos and squats and lunges in the living room if I can't make it to the gym. I enjoy working out now and I get frustrated when I can't go for days at a time. I find places to fit it into my schedule and even turn down invites if it means I have to skip the gym. I have turned time with friends into gym dates instead of happy hours (most of the time). And JB and I have gym dates at least once a week and love working out together. I admit, there are times that I slip, have bad days, whatever. Tonight for dinner I had chicken and mac 'n' cheese. But I don't get defeated or beat myself up about it and I get back on track the next day. It's almost like more motivation, at least that's what I tell myself ;)

JB likes to think he is mostly responsible, and I give him partial credit, but not as much as he thinks he deserves. I probably could have done it without him, but he made it a hell of a lot easier and way more fun. Makes me love him even more!

I am not exactly where I want to be yet, although I feel I am in a great place. There's something about having to get all of your pants taken in that makes you feel like you have accomplished something. Next up is a fitness boot camp. A coworker and I have signed up for the July session. Three days a week at 6am. I am going to hate and love every minute of it. I feel like that might just get me to where I want to be. That final push over the edge.

Stay tuned...

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