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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?

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Texas State Fair

Awesome Deep Fried Nutella
Awesome Deep Fried Nutella

It’s a tradition for us to pack up and head to Dallas for the Texas State Fair.  If you haven’t been, you are missing out! The fair is held for about a month at Fair Park. Most people associate this event with fried food.  That assumption would be completely correct.  Here you can try fried deliciousness such as Fried Twinkies, Fried Pizza, and Fried Beer. Pretty much whatever your imagination can think of, it’s probably been done. This place is like Willie Wonka and his Fried Factory. Every year there is a food contest with categories such as “Most Creative” and “Best Taste”.  The common thread is FRIED. We really enjoying seeking out the new entries in the fair and doing our own judging.  This year, we were especially excited to sample “Fried Thanksgiving Dinner” and “Awesome Deep Fried Nutella”.

IMG_4678If fried food isn’t up your alley, there are plenty of other things for your family to enjoy.  A fair would not be complete without the fun rides and carnival games.  Many can’t resist the opportunity to win an oversized stuffed animal and it’s fun to see proud kids with their prizes.  There are many livestock competitions and you are able to walk among the pens and see/pet these magnificent animals.  My personal favorites are always the sheep and goats.  If you prefer to see animals more active, the dog show and ostrich races are always a crowd pleaser.

When we are in need of a break from the Texas heat, we head indoors to view the car and garden show.  This year, we stumbled upon the costumes used for Superman since

Superman Throughout the Years
Superman Throughout the Years

Christopher Reeve in the car area.  I love the randomness that’s at the Texas State Fair.

IMG_4677Like I said earlier, our annual State Fair trip is a tradition filled with many other mini rituals.  We always go during the Red River Rivalry game (UT vs. OU) and sport our burnt orange clothes.  It’s fun seeing the fair filled with crimson and burnt orange. You can always tell who is losing during the game because the

My Big Tex Pose
My Big Tex Pose

fans leave early and the fair is filled with the losing color. We always take our group pics in front of the famous, Big Tex.  This year he was back better than ever sporting those infamous Dickies after last year’s fire.

It’s nearly impossible to get to see and do everything at the Texas State Fair in one day but it’s fun to keep returning to try.

 

 

For more info, check out:

Bigtex.com

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Mortgage Rates Are Increasing!

If you have been keeping up with the news, you may now know that mortgage interest rates are no longer record lows.  Financial analysts are predicting rates to increase to 5% by mid 2014.  While in the middle of searching for the perfect home, I have had a couple of buyers’ purchase power decrease because of the rising interest rates.  In one case, a couple I had been working with had their purchase power decreased by fifty thousand over a few months.  Needless to say, it’s pretty shocking news. It is important to make sure you have communication with your mortgage loan officer about how current interest rates can affect you.

Don’t let the rising mortgage rates scare you about the purchase of a home.  Home ownership is still attainable!  It was just a few years ago that we thought an interest rate in the 5’s was rock bottom.

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Southtown Farmers & Ranchers Market

I was pretty excited when I heard there would be a Farmers market within walking distance of my house. The Southtown Farmers & Ranchers Market is open every Saturday “rain or shine” at the Blue Star Arts Complex from 9AM-1PM year-round. Debuting in Mid-June, my husband and I recently got a chance to walk over to Blue Star and check out San Antonio’s newest farmers market. Smaller than the well-known Farmers Market at Pearl, this market is still worth the visit.

Honey Lessons
Honey Lessons

There was a pretty good mix of vendors to browse through on a leisurely Saturday. My husband and I are on a Goldrush kick (a tasty bourbon cocktail mixed with honey and lemon) so we were pretty interested in Gretchen Bee Ranch’s stand. We were give delicious samples of honey and a lesson on how honey can taste different depending on the type of flowers the bees have been visiting.

Frio County Huajilla
Frio County Huajilla

I tried to get my husband to purchase the gallon size (honey goes quick in the Gerrish household) but we ended up getting 16 ounces of heaven known as their Frio County Huajilla blend and a beeswax candle in the shape of a beehive.

The Farmers market, like many other Southtown places, is dog friendly. There were dog bowls of H20 ready for your 4 legged friends. We left Toby and Roxy at home but made a stop at Katie’s Jar with them in mind. This vendor specializes in natural and homemade treats for dogs. We ended up getting our dogs the “Good Dog Sampler”. It was filled with various empanadas filled with dog loving tastiness such as lamb, beef and sweet potatoes.

Dog Empanadas
Dog Empanadas

We almost laughed out loud when we were told to make sure to keep it refrigerated because of the treat’s freshness. Our dogs gobbled them all up as soon as we got home. No time for refrigeration.

Given all the walking around, we were pretty hungry. There were a couple of vendors with food to taste but given my

Cheeks & Chops
Cheeks & Chops

current obsession with food trucks, I was a little dissapointed that there was only one to choose from. I had to keep in mind this market is still pretty new and the word is still getting out. The one food truck on site was called Cheeks & Chops.  Cool name. Perhaps more will park in the future.

Tasty Carrots
Tasty Carrots

We ended up decided to grill on our own and headed to a farmer’s booth to got some side dishes. The veggie selection was pretty impressive. We got some ears of corn and an explanation why our corn tops were eaten up (no pesticides). This was new to me but my Iowan born husband was already “in the know”.

 

This market is still growing and is a fun,free place to hang

Cute Candle
Cute Candle

out. Help get the word out and support your local farmers!

For more info check out:
http://www.southtownfarmersmarket.com/
http://www.gretchenbeeranch.com/
http://www.katiesjar.com/katies_jar/Welcome.html

Downtownish Map

Home Education Event

RE/MAX Unlimited is holding its first home education fair at the PicaPica Plaza’s new event center located at 910 S.E. Military Dr.

Buyers, are you looking for more information about the home buying process?

What does a REALTOR® do?

Are you ready to build your dream home?

What loan is best for you?

How can I fix my credit?
If you are wondering the answers to these sort of questions, this event is just for you! The public will be able to get their real estate questions answered at no cost. Today’s market is starting to heat up. Now is the time to act to make all your real estate dreams come true!

Professionals from the following will be on site to answer your questions:
RE/MAX Unlimited-San Antonio
imortgage
Mission Title
KB Home San Antonio
Debt Free Angels
Hawx Insurance

Bring the kiddos. Take your pic taken with H-E-Buddy and participate in drawing your dream home. There will be raffles throughout the night.

For more info, contact RE/MAX Unlimited at 210.532.8774

Downtownish Map

SOLD 714 Topeka Blvd San Antonio, TX 78210

I love looking and selling historic homes. They just do not make them like they used to! Features such as hardwood floors, high ceilings, and built-in ironing boards are some of my favorite characteristics in older homes. Check out this 2 bedroom, 1 bath home in the charming Highland Park neighborhood. It was built in the 1940’s.

What do you think of historic homes?