Downtownish Map

Downtown Parking Made Easy!

Pango Screenshot
Pango Screenshot

I often hear people complaining that they avoid downtown because they don’t know where to park.  I just learned about a new app from Texas Public Radio called Pango.  This app, in real time, shows where you can park and the current cost.  In the past, I have only been able to find the location of city owned lots, garages and meters through a non-gps map (let me know if there is one out there). I like that the app does include non-city owned parking including businesses with their own parking such as a hotel. The app seems pretty user friendly and if you click on a particular parking spot, you will be given details such as method of payment accepted and other parking features (e.g. Valet, Overnight Parking, Elevator).

At this time, the app is available for Iphone, Android and Blackberry.

So what do you think, will you be downloading this app?

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Kayaking on the Mission River Reach

As a Southtown resident, I have been able to readily take advantage of jogging and bicycling along the Mission River Reach.  It is just across the street! Toby and Roxy love trotting along the trails and making friends with other four legged pooches.  One of the things that I have been wanting to do is kayaking! For months, I have seen groups in the early morning unload their kayaks and paddle away in the San Antonio River.  This looks like it would be such a fun mini-adventure so close to home! This past weekend, I finally decided to actually stop dreaming about it and actually look into how I could join in on the fun.

The San Antonio Mission Reach
The San Antonio Mission Reach

A quick Google search led me to Mission Kayak. I saw there was an hourly option and several “group tours” you could choose from.  As a first timer, I was pretty nervous about falling out and not be able to complete the entire trek. After speaking to one of the owners and conveying my worries, I was convinced that the shortest tour, a 2 mile tour, would be ideal for our beginner group.  Our kayak trip ended up costing $30 a person and included the kayak rental, a life vest and shuttle to the launch area. The tours ranged from $30 to $50. Mission Kayak’s meeting spot is at Espada Park and the shuttle will drop you off at your launch site.

One of the chutes
One of the chutes

To our pleasant surprise, no one in the group fell in! I have had a few people express similar concerns and I think you can be rest assured. The kayak on the calm river seemed pretty hard to turn over. I think you would have had to lean all the way to the side and purposely flip yourself over.  In all honesty, the only “difficult” part seemed to be getting in and out of the kayak. During our adventure we discovered there were 3 chutes in the 2 mile route that added some excitement. They were pretty shallow and narrow so again, I would say it would seem difficult to fall out.

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We survived our first kayak adventure!

Overall, it was a fun experience! My arms got a serious work out and I really felt the 2 miles the following day. It didn’t take long to get the hang of it. Some fellow Mission River Reach adventurers even thought our group were experienced kayakers! I had spotted children sized kayaks to the side. This is definitely a family type of adventure suitable for all experience levels.  I would be weary of a longer route if you are a beginner. We plan on taking Toby along the next time and shoot some dog videos with a GoPro along with water and a hat.  The Texas sun is brutal.

Will you be joining in on the kayak fun? Check out Mission Kayak at http://www.missionkayak.com/ for more info!

 

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Viva Fiesta Medals!

As a proud San Antonian, I look forward to celebrating Fiesta each year like many others. Fiesta is typically a 2 week celebration dating back to the Battle of San Jacinto in 1891 composed of parades, food, and overall pachangas.  We have our Fiesta traditions (such as sitting in the same spot each year for the King William parade, attending NIOSA on opening night, dancing crazily to the high school bands during the Fiesta Flambeau) and have just barely discovered another Fiesta tradition-MEDALS!

Bare Sash
$5 Bare Sash

I have always seen medals on the Fiesta royalty and a few people with those sashes filled with them but thought you just had to “be someone”  to get one or pay a small fortune. My husband is given a TMMTX medal each year and after 8 years, I  figured that I had enough that I could start pinning on a sash.  My medal obsession had officially begun. I went to Amols and made a $5 investment for a blue sash and starting pinning my few medals on.

Once I had decided to try and be on the lookout for them, I realized EVERYONE has a medal to give out! Corporations, individuals, non-profits, politicians and of course, Fiesta royalty. And a lot of them are FREE! Liberty Bar had an event where the first 100 people to come would get one. Pin Pandemonium, held on Fiesta’s opening day, is a day to grab some freebies and trade with fellow medal enthusiasts. I learned that many companies produce their own medals. Some are exclusive to employees such as TMMTX, Whataburger and HEB (I got my hands on 2 of the three). Other company/organizations use the medals to raise monies or bring attention to their causes such as the Canolli Fund and Beethoven Maennerchor.

District 7 & Trader Joe’s medals

I have to admit Fiesta has gotten a lot more exciting since I have been on the hunt for Fiesta medals. Here are some basic tips I have learned as a first-time collector:

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Aguillon & Associates. Won in a Facebook contest
1.Social Media.  I was surprised at the amount of contests on instagram, facebook and twitter that are offered a medal as a prize. I posted a few pics of my medal haul and some of my thoughtful friends even got some for me.

2. If you get the opportunity to score duplicates, keep one and trade the others! Or just trade them all you are not particularly attached.  Some of these experienced traders are specifically looking for the current year or certain themed medals.

3. ASK! I saw people wearing Fiesta medals and I asked if they had any trades. Some did and others just gave me some. It seemed like there were a lot of people whose sole job was to pass out their medals from their organization. It was fun to see everyone’s collections and hear the tale on their medal acquisition. At NIOSA, I saw a man wearing a Whataburger shirt and I asked if he happened to have any medals. Score!

District 5 Medal
District 5 Medal

4. Wear your medals proudly! I actually had people come up to me and give me a medal for my collection. Woohoo!

Bibliotech Medal. Had to complete a research task for this one.
Bibliotech Medal. Had to complete a research task for this one.

 

There are a few days left of Fiesta left which means more time to get more medals! What do you think of fiesta medals and are you collecting?

My 2014 medals so far...
My 2014 medals so far…

 

 

Downtownish Map

San Antonio Real Estate is Heating Up!

Hello! I am so sorry readers that I have been ignoring woohoo4sa for a while.  I get really wrapped up in the holidays and work has been crazy!  In San Antonio, we really have been seeing the real estate market transition from a buyers’ market to a sellers’ market. Why this transition? Simply put, there are not enough homes on the market for all the buyers that are currently looking.  What does that mean for today’s buyer?  Less houses to look at.  And when you finally do find a house that you are ready to make an offer on, you may find yourself in a multiple offer situation.  Here are a few tips that can help buyers in their process:

1.    Be patient.  Low inventory means less homes for you to look at. If your real estate agent says he or she has shown you everything currently listed, they are are probably telling the truth.  You and your agent will have to check everyday to see what is new on the market.

2.  Get your finances in order. When you find your dream home, you have to be ready to make that offer. Now more than ever, sellers are not going to consider your offer without a prequalification letter from your loan officer.  Do not assume that sellers today are going to pay for all your closing costs.  With multiple offers, sellers have their pick and choosing of the offer that is best for them.  In some markets, buyers are offering more than list price.

3.  Select an experienced & proactive real estate agent.  Your agent needs to be diligently checking for new inventory that fits your needs and pass that information along to the buyer.  Sometimes looking for new inventory is more than searching the MLS. I have seen agents knock on doors that are not currently listed and ask if they are willing to sell.  With the rising amount of pocket listings (non-MLS), agents need to have a good working relationship with other agents so that they can find out about these sort of properties. That being said, the buyer needs to make sure they have good communication with their agent. An agent and buyer who are not aware of the homes that are new on the market WILL miss an opportunity.  An experienced agent will help guide you in this market and make sure you find the right home.

 

What do you think of our sellers’ market? Do you have any tips of your own?