West Coast Army Navy

Ramblings of an Army Navy Wife

The Livermore Home

We are in the beginning of our house-hunting journey.  Been in a few weeks and have seen about 10 open houses in the last few weekends. We found a beautiful home in Livermore last weekend that we decided to put our first offer on.  The asking prices was $850K which was over our budget.  We decided to put in an offer of $820K to see what happens and no expectation of the seller accepting the offer.

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The things that I loved about this home was that it wasn’t too old and it wasn’t too new where it would lack backyard space.  I love the idea of having a decent sized backyard for entertainment, bbq, gardening.  Nothing too big, but adequate.  I’ve decided that homes built in the late 90′s with an upgraded interior is ideal.  This home had all of that, a beautiful spacious interior of 2500 square feet, an updated kitchen although it wasn’t very big and open.  The home was well-maintained and the selling point of that home was definitely the backyard with lovely landscape and a small vineyard of grapes.  The owner supposedly bottled 2 cases of wine from what they grew!

What I didn’t love so much about the home was the master bedroom and bath.  It really didn’t wow and the master bath was underwhelming with an incomplete shower.  I also didn’t love the fact that it didn’t have a built-in microwave and the traffic on the freeway from Livermore is awful.  I would not want to be that driver.  However, what I loved outweighed what I didn’t love which is why I thought it was worth it to put in an offer.  I normally would not put in an offer on a home unless I could see myself living there.

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Unfortunately, I just found out that I didn’t get the home.  They accepted an offer from a buyer who offered at least asking price, which was fine because I didn’t have high hopes of getting this home.  But I knew I would have regretted not having tried.  It’s back to the drawing board, but I’m hopeful that my perfect home is coming on the market in the near future.  The market is hot right now, saturated with homes.  I just have to be patient.  I’m sure it will take several offers before I finally get my own, but it will all be worth it in the end.

I don’t feel completely bad for not having gotten the Livermore home because a nice open gourmet kitchen and master bath is important to me, besides having a great backyard to entertain.

Published by Janelle, on July 22nd, 2015 at 1:28 am. Filled under: MiscellaneousNo Comments

Follow These Tips to Finding the Right Limousine

My sister’s birthday is coming up in about a month and I thought what a fun idea it would be to rent a limo to Napa or Sonoma for the day, just like my husband had done for me for our anniversary.  You can read all about it below.  She turns the big 3-0 so I figured it should be something more spectacular than another gathering around the house at mom’s with dinner and cake.

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I had called a few places up to get quotes on an 8 passenger limo.  It’s interesting how differently each company quotes.  Some give you all-included rates, which includes driver’s tip, taxes, and fuel cost.  Other’s charge rates without including the tip.  So if you are price shopping, be sure to keep this in mind.  Many will include complementary champagne and bottled water with the trip.

It was also interesting to learn that some companies are small family-run businesses with only a 3-car fleet, while others were bigger and had a fleet size of 15 or more.  See here for party bus options.  I’m always for helping small local businesses.  Something you may want to consider if you want to bargain or negotiate a lower price is to ask for an all-cash option.  When I asked around, many were willing to reduce the cost  by 10%.

If you are particular about how the limo looks, you may want to ask for a photo of it or ask to come view it.  You may also want to ask what year the vehicle is.  Many limo companies run older limousines from 2003-2015.  In some cases, the older limos tend to be quoted cheaper than the newer more sought after ones.


Besides inquiring about rates, you will also want to find out how the reservation process works.  I’ve called around 5 companies so far and have gotten very different answers.  One company doesn’t requires only credit card information to hold the limo, no deposit required.  And they charge the full amount day of trip.  A second company requires a $150 deposit with credit card info and will charge the remaining amount on day of service.  A third company requires a $200 deposit and charges the full amount 2 days prior to trip for credit card payment or will take remainder on day of trip if paying in cash.

Definitely do your due diligence and your research.  Finally, don’t forget to ask about their cancellation policy.  I have gotten answers from 3 days to one week before trip.


Published by Janelle, on April 8th, 2015 at 9:58 pm. Filled under: LimosNo Comments

Travel Tips to Remember When Staying at a Hotel

Traveling can be an uncomfortable experience for some, mainly due to how your hotel stay ends up. Hotels can ruin your trip by surprising you with all their hidden fees, like how airlines operate.


Hotels make up to $2 billion in fees per year, so there’s a lot of them out there. Here’s some you can try to avoid at your next hotel stay:

Cancellation fee: Find out, before you book your hotel stay, how long you have before you are charged to cancel and how much the fee would be if you missed the grace-period.

Pet fee: Some hotels are pet-friendly and allow pets for a small charge.

Internet access fee: Most hotels nowadays do offer free wifi at specific spots, like the lobby or cafeteria, but if you want to have internet access in your own room (yes, it’s the exact same internet speeds as the lobby’s), chances are you’re going to have to pay some premium for that.

Safe fees: This can be a sneaky hidden fee as most people won’t be using the safe inside a hotel room or not enough realize they have one. If you see it in your room, you’re going to be charged for it, whether you use it or not.

Hotels will often try to hide fees like these under the category of “resort fees” and you won’t even realize what you’re actually being charged for and end-up paying for things you didn’t ask for or use. At the end of the day, you’re going to want to ask questions about your room before checking-in and get the room that best accommodates you.

Getting the best rest possible while away from home

Sleeping in a room that is foreign to you can be tough sometimes. The bed isn’t like yours at home, the smells, the sounds, and everything else can throw your circadian rhythm off. Luckily, there are some ways you can make things a bit more comfortable, without too much effort. Try some of these out the next time you’re traveling and see if your sleep improves.

Ask for a room that is the most secluded and distant from things like stairwells, main entrances/exits, elevators, and any main air conditioning units. It may sound a bit demanding or picky, but if you are talking to a receptionist who knows their way around the hotel, they’ll be happy to guide you to a room that is notoriously quiet.

After you’ve got your room, try to limit the amount of distractions inside the room by blocking out all those pesky LED lights from the TV, AC unit, or any other electronic devices.

If light leaks through the door a lot, put a towel under the door and try to hang one around the frame to block as much light as possible.

If you are one who likes to fall asleep with the TV on, try to put it on a timer. Keep the room a little colder than you would normally, once you’re ready to fall asleep. The likelihood of waking up prematurely goes down if you’re snuggled-up in blankets and sheets.

These travel tips are offered to you by Oakland Limo Service at http://www.oaklandlimoservice.org.  We hope you found it useful.


Published by Janelle, on September 18th, 2014 at 8:37 pm. Filled under: TravelNo Comments

My Surprise Anniversary Limo!

Hi guys, thank you for taking the time to visit my website.  So last weekend, my husband surprised me with an amazing anniversary trip to Napa in a rented limousine!  Mind you, I’ve never had the privilege to ride in one in my life and so you can imagine the look on my face when I saw a gorgeous white stretch limo pull up outside our home.  I’ll admit, for a minute, I thought they were here to pick up my neighbors because why in the world would a limo ever be here for us?  lol.  We’re just an average middle class couple who you wouldn’t typically see riding in something so fancy.  Well, I was shocked beyond words.

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Our limo driver Ted was so courteous.  He greeted us, opened our door and offered us glasses of complementary champagne!  Not to mention very knowledgeable about the Napa wineries and its history.  We were very impressed!  The ride up to Napa was so beautiful and scenic.  We enjoyed the lovely views of the valley and the rolling hills.

We were taken to several wineries, including Robert Mondavi, Castello di Amorosa, Domaine Chandon, Sterling Vinyards, and Beaulieu Vineyard.  We also stopped for a picnic lunch at V. Sattui which is an absolutely beautiful winery and picnic area.  They offer fresh deli selections, meats, cheese, and all sorts of spreads and wines for your enjoyment!  It was great!  Ted was so patient and waited for us at every winery stop so that we could enjoy our wine tasting.  He even cleaned our wine glasses during stops.

After getting a bit of wine in, we stopped quickly at Bouchon Bakery to pick up some of my favorite macarons–raspberry, chocolate, pistachio and caramel.  A trip to Napa would not be a trip without a stop here!  The hubby then surprised me to dinner at Morimoto Napa, which was awesome because I’m a huge fan of Iron Chef America, and obviously, this was one of Morimoto’s restaurants.  Everything we ordered was delicious!  The Sea Urchin Carbonara, the Whole Fish, Toro Tartare, Morimoto Sashimi, Pork Belly with Congee, it was all delectable!  For dessert, we tried the mango sorbet over white chocolate ganash with yuzu pearls and pop rocks, tofu cheesecake, and the “Mango caviar” panna cotta with mango jelly tapioca.  I would definitely recommend this place to anybody who wants to try Japanese cuisine taken up a notch.  You won’t have to drool behind your television screen every time you watch the judge tasting!  You can taste for yourself!

Anyhow, we must have spent about 8 hours in Napa and Ted got us back home.  I just can’t enough I wonderful this limo company has been.  For any of you looking for fantastic limo service, I highly recommend San Francisco Limo Company here www.sanfrancisco-limo.com.  It was the first time I had ever ridden in a limousine.  And I will tell, it will probably not be my last after this experience!

I just want to thank my wonderful husband for putting together one of the best wedding anniversary gifts ever!  He definitely out did himself.  I am so ever grateful for you in my life.  I love you!

Published by Janelle, on August 16th, 2014 at 5:44 pm. Filled under: LimosNo Comments

Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to my blog!  As an army and navy wife living in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can read about all the exciting and not-so-exciting things surrounding my life. :)

Published by Janelle, on August 11th, 2014 at 1:25 am. Filled under: UncategorizedNo Comments