Part of the Magic

Photo © Stan Rapada

Photo © Stan Rapada

In May 2011, I graduated from San Joaquin Delta College and then a year later - June 2012, from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Los Angeles. I had absolutely no idea where I was going next, what I was going to do, or how I would get there. I was a Fashion Merchandise Marketing major, with big goals and dreams. It's a different path, starting your family and then going back to school and beginning a career. However, I grew up a lot after having kids and realized it is NEVER too late to follow a dream or find your place in this world. Jeff and I have always wanted to encourage our kiddos and wanted to set that example to pursue careers and a life that made us truly happy.

Originally, I'm a native of Southern CA and moved to Northern CA with my parents and brother when I was a Junior in High School. Total culture shock; total change. I retreated into music, more daydreaming, thoughts of pursuing my college education and future career back in Los Angeles. I could not wait to move back home. A funny and beautiful thing happened, I met the love of my life up here. We started a family, settled and made our home here. All the while, for the past 14 years, a part of my heart has always longed to return. Dreams of working for the Company that has set the bar on entertainment slowly faded as time passed, or so I thought,  and I settled with the thought that I'll always have Disneyland to go to, even if I can't work for the mouse.

I went to Delta and was submerged in the fashion and entertainment culture, I learned a lot about myself and the world. I found out what I had a passion for outside of my family life as wife and mommy. I am business minded, I liked running things, organizing, creating and being social. I like fast paced environments, heck I've got five kids, wouldn't have it any other way! I think faster on my feet when there is chaos. While I was working on my degrees, my mind and my heart started to bubble with excitement with the career possibilities. I dabbled with the idea of applying at Disney, yet the idea of relocating my family just to pursue this dream seemed somewhat silly at the time. I mean, really, would it be worth it? There's always a risk when it comes to matters of the heart. I've ALWAYS loved the Disney brand. In fact, to simply say that I am a Disney fan would be somewhat inaccurate. It's more than that. I'm pretty hardcore.

I bleed the MAGIC. 

Growing up in Southern CA and with Disneyland practically in my backyard, I found it to be a place that has always given me fond memories... a true happy place and I have graciously passed on the love of Disney to my five kids and even rubbed some sparkle off onto my husband, haha. 

Dreams do come true.

I was given an amazing opportunity to help open the very first Disney Baby store, in Glendale, CA, in August 2012. It was a very unique situation for my family and myself, as this meant I would be commuting almost 6 hours every couple of weeks to live in LA. I'm so grateful and blessed to have a supportive family because it was a growing experience for all of us during that time. It was one of the most AMAZING experiences of my life. 

I learned so much, met some of the sweetest people and was privileged to work for and alongside some of the top Disney executives in the Company. I also had celebrity regulars shop with me and got meet some really cool people.

I've made friends for a lifetime at Baby, we keep in touch often.  
Opening Management team, Cast Members and Director of Store Operations & Vice President of Disney Stores :) Love my Disney Family! 

Opening Management team, Cast Members and Director of Store Operations & Vice President of Disney Stores :) Love my Disney Family! 

Eventually, the separation proved to be a bit tougher than we thought, and I made the permanent move back to Northern CA to seek out opportunities that will allow me to work and be with my family. It was definitely a hard decision. I left part of my heart in LA at 15 years old, over 20 years ago and then again in 2013, which was like ripping a bandaid off a scab. Sounds kinda dramatic, but that's how it felt. I love my family dearly, yet I also loved my job and the Company I worked for. Dammit. I want my cake and I want to eat it, too! :)

I made the best decision when I took the job and also when I decided the separation proved to be too much and resigned. I have no regrets. They were both appropriate at the time.

I know that one day, hopefully sooner than later, I'll rejoin the magical cast, but until then I have a ton of wonderful memories that I'll cherish for a lifetime. More stories to come :)

xo {spread your sparkle}