Wednesday, August 27, 2008


After all the trauma and heartbreak that has gone on in my life the past few years, I can't even begin to say how excited I am for my honeymoon. This Friday my AMAZING husband and I will travel to Maui. I consider it my last hoorah from my dad. It was his treat and I look forward to going. Aaron and I have never been there, so we are excited. We are broke as a joke, and are looking forward to just relaxing and being with one another. We are staying at the Hyatt Regency in Maui. Have any of you ever been there? If so, what do you recommend we do?

Bye bye Dad

Yesterday was my dad's funeral at the Clovis Funeral Chapel. I think he would have been pleased with how it turned out. I was freaking out because the night before I pulled an all nighter attempting to create a slideshow to show at the service. I am completely computer illiterate, and it was NOT working. Then my computer crashed. All I have to say is thank God for good friends. Aaron's bff, Anthony (who was also the Best Man in our wedding) rescued me. He came over and after hours of messing with it, he got it onto a dvd! I am oh so greatful! But before he came, I had a break down. I screamed, cried, threw things, and then laid on the floor. I am 24, and didn't think it was still possible to throw a tantrum like a 2 year old. But it happened. The stress was too overwhelming. So there were over 250 people there and all of the seats were taken. Many people had to stand all along the back and along the walls. It made me feel good to know my dad had so many friends. I am happy to be back home though. For those of you who don't know me, I have some good ol' white trash in my family. Before my dad was even dead, his crazy old sister went into his house and cleared it out. Everyone tells me I should put up a bigger fuss about it because I am the next of kin, but honestly, it is just stuff. I have gotten so much from my dad in my life, that I am not going to fight with people over possessions. I was "allowed" to go in there and get a few things though. I got his table (so ugly) but he was so proud of it. It was one of the first peices of furniture he ever purchased. I also got his pijamas and his softball bag. I know that sounds weird, but I loved my dads pjs! My dad was all about the comfort. Everytime I went there, I would put on his clothes and he would get mad that I wouldn't give them back before I left! And then the softball bag....that was just our thing. He never in my life, missed one of my games. He was my biggest fan. I wanted to share the obituary I wrote for my dad, and first let me say that I cannot believe how much those things are! $745 bucks, for an obituary! What the heck!

George Edward Downs
GEORGE EDWARD DOWNS George was born on July 24, 1956, in Miami, Florida, and went to be with the Lord on August 19, 2008. He was a 1974 graduate of Sierra High School in Tollhouse, Ca. George owned and operated George Downs Roofing, Inc. for several years. It was one of the most reputable roofing companies in the central valley. George was known for his infectious smile and his gift to gab. One of his favorite past times was gambling. If he didn't answer his cell phone, he was either on top of a roof, at the casino, or at the race track! He enjoyed riding his Harley up to Shaver Lake and loved to fish. Everywhere George went, he ran into someone he knew! He was well known and loved by many. George's personality was simply one of a kind, and he lived by his own set of rules. As George would put it, 'I did it my way.' George was preceded in death by his father, Edward Downs. George is survived by his daughter, Brittany Downs-Ibarra and her husband Aaron; daughter, Dena Amador and her husband Ryan; daughter, Janie Daughtry; son, Nicholas Cesena; his mother, Peggy Downs; sisters, Jeanette Dollar, Judy Downs, and Peggy Jean Smith; grand-children, Reagan and Aiden Amador; as well as his niece and nephews. George will be greatly missed by many of his life long friends and extended family. A Memorial Service will be held at the Clovis Funeral Chapel on Tuesday, August 26, 2008, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations in George's memory be sent to the St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

I will love you and miss you for the rest of my life! Love always, your favorite girl! ~B

Thursday, August 21, 2008


It has been two days since my dad died. I am back home in South San Francisco. I came into work today....and I am mad that I did, now that I am here. I miss my dad. I think about him randomly, and wonder if he can see me, or if he knows how incredibly much I miss him. Why is it that I NEVER felt comfortable showing emotion around him while he lived, but now that he is gone, I can't stop?! I just feel like a walking zombie. I don't know what I would do if it wasn't for Aaron. He has been my rock. I know it is hard on him because he doesn't know what to do or what to say. He just keeps saying he's sorry. I love him. I am so glad my dad knew I found a great man that would take care of me. I know he always worried about that. Tomorrow I am leaving to go to San Luis Obispo to be a part of my dear friend Mandy's wedding. Then my dad's funeral is Tuesday at 11:00am, and then I leave for my honeymoon August 29th. I am so busy, so overwhelmed...I can barely breathe. I hope my dad knows I miss him...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

RIP George Downs 7-24-56 to 8-19-08

On Sunday 8-17-08. I got a phone call from my mom. She said she heard through the grape vine that my dad was in the hospital again and that he is taking a turn for the worst. For those of you who do not know, my dad has been battling cirrhosis of the liver and diabetes for many years now. I have been called over 5 times to be told that my dad has come to the end of the road, and that I must come say my goodbyes. Every time, he pulled through and went home. I always joked with him and told him he was like a cat with 9 lives! Many of you might also be unaware of the fact that my dad 's illness greatly effected his moods and his brain. His amonia levels would get all whacko and he would do and say crazy, horrible things. It was too the point that we got into it so bad, I told him I didn't want him at my wedding on 8-2-08. We always fought the worst way....we are two of the most stubborn people around!! I called my dad on 8-16-08 and there was no would have been the first time in months we would have spoken. So on Sunday when my mom said it was bad, I figured it would be like any other time and my dad would be home soon. But my husband and I got in the car and headed to Fresno. By the time I got there it was too late to talk to him. He was in a coma....and I went into the room by myself and just balled for hours....I knew I would never talk to my dad again and that I messed up beyond measure. The doctor said he had 48 hours to live and that his liver fully shut down and that the rest of his organs would shut down soon. We stayed in the hospital and I begged him not to die. I wanted him to wake up so I could tell him I was sorry and that I loved him. At 1:02pm on 8-19-08, my dad took his last breath and passed away. For years he would joke with me and tell me that I better say I love him and show him affection because when he was dead and gone, I would miss him more than ever. He was so right. If you are arguing or fighting with anyone in your life, make your peace. There is no way to describe to you, the pain and sadness I am feeling in my heart. My dad is dead....he is really gone forever....I don't think I will ever accept it...I hate it sooo much....I know he isn't suffering or in pain anymore, but I miss him sooo much. I miss you Dad....

Friday, August 15, 2008

I did it!!

I really really did it! 8.5 inches cut, and new blond highlights!! I was nervous and afraid of change! I absolutely LOVE my hair and am so happy that I went for it! I love how my husband stared at me in awe! It was a great feeling for him to think I am so beautiful! Thanks to all of you who voted!! XOXO~B

Ignorant People

It really pisses me off when people leave rude anonymous blog comments. If you have something to say, or you are trying to make a point, leave your freakin name!

Thursday, August 14, 2008 it good or is it bad?

I have an appointment at 5:30pm to get this cut. Can I pull it off? What do you think? I have had the same boring doo for as long as I can remember! I look in the mirror and I think, yuck! I am a chubby girl, and bigger woman with round faces don't really look good with short hair! Tell me the truth, I need guidance!

Does my voice mean anything?

Here is the letter I wrote to the Hilton to complain about my wedding! It has been so long since I have written a lengthy letter. In all actuality, it makes me miss school! I wonder if me sending this letter will even make a difference. I wonder if my voice will even be heard! What do you think?

August 10, 2008
To Whom It May Concern:
I got married at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country on August 2, 2008. Needless to say, it is an experience I will never forget. The ceremony itself was terrific. It all began to go downhill at the reception. As we were seated, I noticed how extremely hot it was inside the banquet room. We got the attention of one of the banquet workers and requested that the air be turned on. The worker just shook his head not understanding what we were saying due to the language barrier.
Then the food was served. It was horrific. The steak and chicken were so extremely undercooked. I could see how it might be hard to cook in bulk and have everything turn out right, but I would assume it would be overcooked instead of undercooked. It was so bad that many of the guests were trying to send their food back to be cooked longer. The problem with this was, that only 1 out of the 4 servers spoke English. When my guests attempted to get a new dish, their plates were simply cleared and nothing else ever came out to them. It was so bad that 2 tables of my guests left my reception to go have dinner, and came back later. As I looked around, I noticed that many plates, full of food, were left on the tables untouched. This was not the worst part. My bridal party tried looking for Maureen Borden, our wedding coordinator who is employed by the Hilton. She was nowhere to be found and that is when we were introduced to Jen, who stated she was the Banquet Captain.
Before the wedding I had met with Lindsay Doughty, whom is also employed at the Hilton. She was my original contact. We created a time line of events that were supposed to be implemented at the reception. It was total chaos. Jen had no clue, when to do what. I asked her if she had the schedule and she said no. Lindsay had also told me that Cavaliere’s Bakery in Santa Rosa, CA was the bakery that the Hilton works with. That is where my wedding cake was to be ordered from because it was included in the package. The lady we spoke with, Margaret, took our order. We ordered a tiramisu that would simply be covered in butter cream. I called to speak with Margaret several times over the course of 4 months and all calls went unanswered and unreturned. My husband and I took it upon ourselves to drive from South San Francisco where we reside, to Santa Rosa, in hopes of meeting with her. We were told she left to go out of town the day before despite the fact we were told she would be there. Needless to say, the cake was wretched. It was not what we ordered at all! It was a white cake with a disgusting filling. It was so bad that we thought it might have been spoiled so the DJ made an announcement for people not to eat the cake, and it was taken away by staff.
Then at around 11:00pm, the music stopped and one of my guests made an announcement that his cellular phone and his friends’ clutch purse were missing from his table. He went to Jen, and Jen informed him that if anything was picked up by any of the employee’s, it would be held at the front desk. He was irate and went up to the worker who was clearing plates at the table. They got into it a little bit, and the server pulled the cell phone in question from his pocket!! Jen made the excuse that he was probably picking it up so that it didn’t get lost or stolen by anyone in our party. My guest called her a liar and said that if that was the case, they would have picked up his hat and his car keys that were also on the table, and taken them to the front desk.
At around midnight the wedding came to an end. As my brother James was starting to load up our gifts to take them up to our hotel room, Jen offered to have our gifts sent up to our suite. She asked for my room key and said that as soon as they were put up in our room, she would return the key to me. As we began to clean up, she said not to worry about it and that we could leave everything in the room and return in the morning to finish cleaning up. We thought that was a nice gesture considering it was our wedding night and headed up to our room. At this time it was about 1:15am and we still had not gotten our key back from Jen. My husband and I went to the front desk to get a new key. When we got to our room, our gifts were not there! We called the front desk and they said they would have them sent up. About 10 minutes later, they arrived. My cousin called my room and said that he wanted us to open his present because he wanted to hear our reaction as we opened it! He described it as being in a hot pink bag with tons of colorful ribbon. I recalled seeing that gift on the gift table while at the reception. The bright colors caught my attention. We looked on the cart, and it was nowhere to be found. Our gift table was a 6 ft. table and the entire top and bottom of the table were filled with gifts. All that was delivered was one concierge cart with gifts stacked up on it. This made me nervous! My husband went down to the front desk and explained about what had happened. Jen came out and insisted that all of the gifts were delivered. She asked the two male workers that had been working our reception if they had seen the gift and they just shook their heads. My husband would not take no for an answer since he knew for a fact we had seen this gift on the table! My husband, whom is Hispanic, attempted to speak broken Spanish to the workers and demanded the gift. After getting into a heated altercation with one of the males, one of them finally presented the gift in question. Jen began yelling at the gentleman asking them why the gift was in a locked room that no one should have been in. She demanded an answer and the one gentleman continued to say, “Jose, Jose!” Jen apologized and said that she was confident, that this was the only gift that was taken.
At this point, my husband returned to our hotel room at around 2:45am. This was such an inappropriate and exhausting way for our wedding night to turn out. We got up in the morning and went into the banquet room to begin cleaning up. My bridesmaids were there to assist. My bridesmaid Mandy, found 5 greeting cards opened under the gift table with no envelopes. I was livid! I contacted the front desk and they said they would have a manager get in contact with me. Then, we went to put our wedding champagne flutes in the nice velvet box with satin lining that was very expensive, that was under the cake table when we had left the reception. To our dismay, the box was gone. Then we were told the night before that our cake topper would be cleaned and put back on the table for us to pick up in the morning. It also was not there. The catering manager, I believe his name was Jeff, came into the banquet room. He informed me that he was notified of the incident, and that he hoped I find comfort in the fact that the two gentlemen that worked my reception, had been suspended while the Hilton investigates the situation further.
I contacted Maureen Borden and let her know all of the problems and concerns I had. She offered for Aaron and I to stay another night free of charge at the hotel. I declined her request. Aaron and I went home and contacted each one of our guests, and had to ask them if they brought us a gift and what it was, so that we could compile a list to see if anything else was missing. Do you know how humiliating that was? I have never in my life been put in a more awkward position. We discovered that over $975.00 in cash was stolen, as well as $225.00 in gift cards. A bag with a cheese grater, food processer, and BBQ tools was also stolen.
I contacted Heidi Miersemann who is also a manager at the Hilton. I let her know what had gone on, as well as what was missing, and she offered to take $1,000.00 off of our final bill so that I felt she was attempting to make things right. She said I signed a contract that stated they were not responsible for lost or stolen items, and who is to say that one of my guests didn’t steal the gifts. I told her the likelihood of my guests stealing my gifts were slim to none. My sister got married 3 weeks before me, and majority of our guests were the same, and she ended up with all of her gifts. My brother, father, as well as my husbands’ father, are all police officers. Many of our guests were also in Law Enforcement.
Prior to the wedding I got a final invoice sent over to me from, Lindsay Doughty. I mailed in a check. She left to have surgery, and I began working with Maureen more. Maureen sent me a different invoice and let me know that I had actually over paid, and that she would settle up with me after the wedding. Then after I complained, I got a final invoice from Heidi, which was completely different from Maureen’s. She said with the $1,000.00 discount she would give me, I would owe a few more hundred dollars, and if I didn’t take her offer, I would owe around $1,300.00 more. I couldn’t believe my ears. Every single employee at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country has something completely different to say to me. I was then told by Heidi, that my cake topper had been mailed out to me. I left a message with the General Manager Lowell Johnson, and as of yet, have not heard back from him.
A week and a half went by, and I still had not gotten my cake topper. I contacted the Hilton, and was put through to Lindsay Doughty. She informed me that for some reason, the cake topper was missing, and no one knows where it is. She said Maureen was in charge of mailing it out, and that now it is gone. She said they would love to replace it for me. I do not want a new cake topper. I want the sentimental one that was used at my wedding. Then Lindsay supplied me with a fourth final invoice, that once again, is different from the other three. I am so disgusted with this hotel, I cannot see straight! They have made this the wedding from hell because of the inconsistencies and negligence of upper management, as well as the lack of communication between staff.
I had a terrible reception due to the food, terrible service, and stolen items. I cannot believe that the Hilton would only offer to take $1,000.00 off of my bill, when more than half of my guests did not get fed, more than $1,200 in cards were stolen, and that the service was worse than any service I have ever received. To top it off, the service charge of my reception was over $1,800.00 alone!
I decided that since the Management at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country is neglecting to be consistent with anything they tell me, that I would notify Hilton’s Corporate Office, with hopes that they can investigate the situation and also to make them aware of the fact that they have a poorly ran hotel. I will also be contacting the Better Business Bureau to file a formal complaint. I will never be able to relive my wedding day, and I am so disappointed and highly distressed that it was ruined by the staff at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country. This wedding will always be a terrible memory on account of that hotel. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at any time.

Brittany Downs & Aaron Ibarra

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hilton Sonoma Wine Country

Please, whatever you do, DO NOT EVER give your business to the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa, CA. This is where I had my wedding and it has been the most hectic, problematic event, I have ever had to deal with. The management has a real problem with communication. The day before my wedding I got an email from the "wedding coordinator" stating that I was paid in full and that I had actually over paid a bit, and that after the wedding, we would "settle up!" So then I had the wedding. The ceremony was FABULOUS, and the reception SUCKED! Food was terrible, service was terrible, then the workers stole my gifts! I argue with the managers a bit and they tell me they will make a gesture simply because they want to "Make things right" with me, not because they admit fault! So yesterday I get another email from the manager stating that I owe 1,386 bucks! What the heck???!!! I am so stressed out and do not know what to do! They have truly made my wedding a bad memory.....What do I do???? HELP!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I am a wife!!!

Well we did it! Aaron and I are finally married! It all took place this past Saturday, August 2 at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa, CA. For the most part, everything went well but we did experience a few very critical problems! First of all, our food was terrible! Most of the guests left their food untouched because it wasn't cooked all the way! Secondly, the cake was was not what we ordered. It tasted as if it had spoiled! GROSS! Last but not least, some of our cards and presents were stolen from the reception site by the banquet staff!!! Can you believe that? But there were also amazing things that happened that day! I was never that was a good thing! Aaron and I decided to write our own vows to each other. They were amazing...they were heartfelt and honest, and I appreciated them so much. The ceremony was by far my favorite aspect of the entire day. I got to profess my love to my husband in front of family and friends, and most importantly in front of God. Our pastor (Aaron's brother in law Cameron) created a beautiful service for us. Our bridal party looked great and our mini-ushers and flower girls were to die for! Everyone ooooed and awwwed as they strolled up the aisle! This wedding definitely showed Aaron and I who are true friends are. I can guarantee that some of the friendships we once had are now over with. Believe it or not, it is a blessing in disguise. I thank all of the people who did so much to make this day so incredibly special to us! Love you all! XOXO PS...I will post professional pictures when I get them! ~B