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2015 Texas Associations of REALTORS® Conference

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Ft Worth Convention Center
As a real estate broker licensed for 14 years (15 in January!), I love that our industry IMG_1648[1]continuously changes. I am the type of person who enjoys learning new things and visiting places I haven’t been before. This is why I LOVE conferences.  You get a chance to meet other professionals with a thirst for education who strive to be the best version of themselves AND you get to play tourist in your down time. I just came back from my first Texas Associations of REALTOR® conference in Ft. Worth.

IMG_1654There were a lot of highlights on this conference including the kickoff of the new Texas Young Professional Network! I have been a part of the Greater San Antonio Young Professional Network over the last couple of years so it’s pretty exciting to take our efforts to the next level. Keynote speaker, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, delivered a very inspiring account of the “Miracle on the Hudson”.  My daily problems just didn’t seem so important after listening to him and what he went through. The Governmental Affairs meetings reminded how our Association works to protect homeowner’s rights.  There was a lot of talk about the upcoming vote on Proposition 1 which would increase the homestead exemption and add a constitutional ban on a real estate transfer tax.

Yeehaw
Yeehaw!

Downtown Ft. Worth was beautiful with water features, IMG_1655picturesque, white lights outlining the buildings and a newly, designed Sundance Square.  Eating dinner on a rooftop is always fun too and the weather couldn’t have been better. I got a quick tour on the free Molly Trolley. I think San Antonio is on the right track with their free E Service.

 

Overall, I thought it was nice conference.  I think that if you serve on a TAR committee, you will definitely get more out of the whole experience.

 

Did you attend this conference? What did you think?

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The Peanut Factory Lofts

Peanut Factory LoftsI got a chance to tour the recently redeveloped Peanut Factory Lofts located just west of downtown with the Urban Land Institute (ULI). This is the first major redevelopment on the west side since our “decade of downtown” has begun.  I can’t even recall when we have had a project of this magnitude on this part of town. The construction is still ongoing but there are already a few tenants in place.

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Graffiti Art
This 102 unit complex varies in prices but the average rental is going for $1.60-$1.80 with a contemporary finish out. One of the units I saw was a 2 story with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a 2 car garage for $2400.  My favorite part of the tour was walking up the flights of stars in the still ongoing renovation of the century-old peanut processing plant.

 

The Processing Plant
The Processing Plant

The units in the silos are going to be really unique with circular floor plan. I really liked the graffiti and most of the tour group was asking if it was going to preserved as sort of artwork in these units.  Our tour guide said it would probably depend on the tenant’s wishes.

Up at the top of the processing plant lies the Penthouse at just over 3000 sq ft with a price tag of approximately $4659

Beautiful San Antonio
Beautiful San Antonio

per month.It’s going to be an awesome space complete with an outdoor kitchen and panoramic views. Our beautiful city’s skyline is awesome!

Lounging Poolside
Lounging Poolside

Amenities for the complex include a pool, 2 bark parks, fitness center, controlled access gates and a courtyard with grill area. Crossing busy S. Frio may affect the Peanut Factory’s walkability but it is a short car ride away. It was mentioned that students would be getting a 5% discount off market rents. UTSA’s downtown campus is a few blocks away.

 

Fiesta Medal
Fiesta Medal

 

Kudos Peanut Factory Lofts for the 2015 Fiesta Medal.

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

Free Parking for Hybrids!

As a real estate broker, I drive around town a lot. When it came time to look for a new vehicle, my husband and I knew that we needed to seriously consider a hybrid. Not only is owning a hybrid better for the environment but the savings in gas is tremendous! We have been pretty pleased with our decision. Today, I just found out about a program geared to hybrid owners. FREE parking at city meters! It looks like you need to fill out an application and submit requested documentation to get your parking pass. For questions, call the city of San Antonio Parking Division at 210.207.8266. They were pretty helpful. Link below to the application.

http://www.sanantonio.gov/dtops/HYBRIDVEHICLEPROGRAM5.pdf

Will you take advantage of this program?

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The Fruteria

The Fruteria

Have you been to Chef Johnny Hernandez’s newest restaurant|botanero, The Fruteria?  Check out woohoo4sa’s introduction and make sure to stop by for one of their tortas and marquitos.  Those are woohoo4sa’s personal favorites

Be on the lookout for Chef Hernandez’s openings of The Fruteria and La Gloria in the San Antonio International Airport. The travelers that fly through this airport will be in for a treat!

For more info check out:

thefruteria.com

 

Downtownish Map

New Downtown Project

With the river expansion and the Historic Pearl Brewery’s enormous success it is not surprising that real estate developers have their eye in the river north area. The Historic Henry Terrell building will be renovated as a mixed-used space including apartments and retails. For more details, check out the link below.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/1908-building-to-become-residential-work-retail-4410916.php

Glorious Food Trucks

Third Brewsday

With “Downtown Tuesday” being the new Friday, I have found myself wanting to take advantage of the city’s free parking as often as I can (I LOVE bargains). I have been wanting to visit Third Brewsday and this past week, I finally got the chance. Beer, live music and food trucks? Sounds like a winning event to me. Best of all, this is a free event to the public!

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Diverse Crowd

Third Brewsday is held on the third Tuesday of each month at Hemisfair Park and each month has a different theme. I have seen a Mardi Gras and Cowboy theme in the past via Facebook postings. This month’s event had a Blue Moon theme. Thank to my beer connoisseur husband, Kevin, I have grown to appreciate this wheat style beer. There was beer available for purchase and Blue Moon backdrops throughout.   Groups of people could take a photo in front of the themed backdrop.  I had read that there were going to be samples given out, but probably got there too late to enjoy.  I didn’t see any samples but beer was reasonably priced at $3 a serving.

There was a live art contest going on in which each participating artist had to incorporate the Blue Moon logo. The winner would go on to get a cash prize and a full page ad in the San Antonio Current. It was interesting see the artists’ different interpretation of the logo mixed with iconic San Antonio imagery.  It felt like Hemisfair Park was turned into an outdoor art gallery with the participating artists displaying other art pieces they had created.

Glorious Food Trucks

Wheelie Gourmet, DUK Truck, Cheesy Jane’s and Say She Ate were the featured food trucks for this month.  After sampling their cuisine, you’ll quickly understand why these food trucks are some of the most popular in San Antonio and draw a big crowd.

 

 

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Blue Moon Stage

From families to obvious “date nights”, the crowd was pretty diverse on Hemsfair’s green pastures.  The park was filled with lawn chairs and blankets on the ground. Everyone had made themselves at home and it was a pleasant, relaxed environment.

Sara's Cruiser
Sara’s Cruiser

 

 

The fact that the B-Cycle station across the street at La Villita was full and that there were tons of bicycles in the bike rack and chained to the surrounding trees shows there were a lot of downtown residents in attendance. In fact, my friend and I had taken advantage of the nice weather and ridden down from the Historic Pearl Brewery to check out the event. I was on my pink cruiser and she had ridden on a B-Cycle.

 

Overall, this is a fun and budget friendly event.  Reasonably priced beer is always a plus! I’d definately return to see what next month’s theme is. Maybe I’ll see you there.

For more info, check out:

http://www.hemisfair.org/

https://www.facebook.com/HemisfairSanAntonio

Night View

San Fernando Cathedral

Night View
Night View

I had the honor of attending a wedding at the beautiful and historic San Fernando Cathedral over this past weekend. What made the wedding even more special was that my younger brother was the groom! My family has deep roots in San Antonio with my great great grandparents having been married in the same Cathedral in 1891.

Located in San Antonio’s Main Plaza, San Fernando is hailed as Texas’ oldest cathedral. Despite my frequent downtown visits, I have never ventured inside the Cathedral until the wedding rehearsal.

The Alter
The Alter

Opening the large wooden doors of this 18th century, Gothic structure, my mind immediately thought of all the masses, baptisms, weddings and funerals held over the years. In researching the Cathedral’s background, I have even read there are the remains of the Alamo defenders buried under the sanctuary railing. San Fernando exudes wonderful history!

The Organ
The Organ

During my brother’s wedding ceremony, the grand organ on the upper balcony filled the room with harmonious notes. The Cathedral’s high ceilings are breathtaking and the stained glass windows throughout allow the sun to brighten the room.

The walls are lined with prayer candles from both, the very active parishioners and tourists that come to visit. My brother and his new bride had married in one of the prettiest churches I had ever been to.

Many Prayer Candles
Many Prayer Candles

San Fernando Cathedral is nowhere near the size of Notre-Dame de Paris or St. Peter’s Basilica but it still has its own distinct beauty that is quintessential of Texas. Whether you are a tourist or a local, San Fernando Cathedral is worth the visit.

Thank you to the bride and groom, Carlos and Mari, for the opportunity to finally visit one of San Antonio’s treasures.

Majestic Ceilings
Majestic Ceilings

Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness

For more info about San Fernando, check out:
http://www.mainplazaconservancy.org/
http://www.sfcathedral.org/