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El Paso, a wonderful place to explore!~Juan’s Perspective

As I mentioned awhile back, Juan and I relocated back to my hometown. Here is Juan’s perspective on our recent move and why El Paso is a great move for us. Urban Hobo is rapidly growing and can’t think of a better place to build this start-up fun company than here!

Shawn and I recently relocated to El Paso, TX from Phoenix, AZ (my hometown). For Shawn, the decision (and transition) was an easy one. Shawn was born and raised in El Paso and most of her close friends still live here. Since we’ve been married, we’ve visited at least once a year so I’ve had some exposure to the city and, an idea of what to expect.

When we informed every one of our plans, most of our friends and family (not living in El Paso) had the same initial reaction, “Why?” Some were downright scared, “It’s not safe!” “You’ll get shot by the Cartels in Juarez!” If you actually do some research (instead of believing the newspapers and tabloids), you’ll find that El Paso is one of the safest cities in the U.S. After analyzing the data myself, and comparing Phoenix to El Paso, it appears that only by the grace of God did we get out of Phoenix alive without becoming a crime statistic!(ha ha ha) And, El Paso has a VERY strong economy (the overall cost of living is much cheaper than Phoenix). Less crime, stronger economy, lower cost of living and much milder summertime temperatures! All positive reasons to live in El Paso.

Shawn is excited to be back and loves her home town. However, being familiar with the city she takes many things for granted. Conversely me being new to the city and region my perspective on things is slightly different. Furthermore, I’m an avid history buff. I’ve read a lot about the history of the area and have even had a chance to visit a number of historic sites within the region. Many of the sites where historic events took place that helped shape the state, the region and the Country, are within the city limits. Many more are a short car ride away. Besides the historically significant aspects, El Paso has so much more to offer. The culture is evident. Unlike many other Western/Southwestern areas, the culture in El Paso is alive! The Spanish, Mexican, and Southwestern influences are all around you. Not in a phony, tourist or commercial way. The city does not try to hide its heritage, rather it embraces it!

El Paso is a medium-sized city, but with a small town feel. It is also the largest border city in the world. El Paso is also home to Ft. Bliss (the Army’s second largest installation) drawing people from all over the United States. It is this cultural diversity that gives El Paso an energy that I’ve not found or experienced in other cities in the West/Southwest, Northwest or Pacific Islands. Something else I’ve noticed; the residents are much more polite and friendly. El Paso is the kind of city where quality of life is the number one priority.

As I settle in and learn more of my new home, I am finding that El Paso is not just a wonderful place to live; it’s also a wonderful place to explore!

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The move is on!!!!

We’ve been spending the last several weeks getting rid of more STUFF and revamping our furnishings. We are getting ready for our next chapter …our road to adventure…our move to Texas.

It’s exciting because it has been quite some time since I lived in my hometown AND Juan as never lived in this part of the country. Juan LOVES the Southwest and has enjoyed our trips to Texas and New Mexico….he is a big lover of history and has always been fascinated with Billy the Kid.

I do have mixed emotions as I am leaving many of my family members whom I love so much! However, we are not far from one another and a quick hop on a plane or even a drive…will get us together quickly!

We are looking forward to trying new things and taking chances! I’m all about taking chances right now…or even a calculated risk. Life is too short and I do not wish to look back with regrets. If I fail miserably, well at least I had fun trying and learned how “NOT” to do something that way again. (wink wink smiley face)

Much different from last year, Juan and I are managing our STUFF much better, we are not ready to argue due to too much STUFF (yup word of the day), we are much more organized than ever before AND the best part is I am sitting here blogging while Juan is packing up the kitchen how cool is that! (smiley face, giggle now laughing and snort)

So join us this week for the Smith’s family move…..

 

Follow up to…”The Love of Craigslist” SOLD!!!

SOLD!

SOLD!!!A couple of days ago I wrote about putting our mid century modern desk on Craigslist. Well, a beautiful young couple came on Saturday and picked it up.

We are slowly but surely getting our room ready for our new office workspace. I’m excited about adding elements of vintage and new. I really love mixing wood with metal, glass or lacquer. I love the look and I love simple clean lines. (I know…what the heck does that mean?) I love simple lines of a desk and chair. I Love using neutrals and white and adding “pops” of color.

Another goal for this room is getting my Father’s grandfather clock refurbished and running. When my Dad passed away I was devastated. Lost the most precious person in my life…but I have such wonderful memories I can fall back on and that grandfather clock is one. Its beautiful music rang every half hour and it was the first thing I would see upon entering the house….especially when I was a little past curfew! (wink wink smiley face)My Mom had it painted an antique white in the early 1970’s.

My goal is to get the clock cleaned and the mechanics working then refurbish the wood and restore it back to its original beauty. Of course that will be for another post time.

Yes, this is one item I will not give up, donate or give away….it is a treasured piece that reminds me of my youth and I will enjoy for years to come. I’m not always about getting rid of everything, but think about the things you treasure and are most precious to you.
 

A Quick Update

In October, I posted a blog called “Cleaning up the Details”…about organization and how great it can be to purchase dividers or some type of organizational tools to utilize in helping small spaces be more manageable. ALSO…I talked about utilizing things in your house that can be used for storage that may be a part of your family history that you hate to give up and are just sitting in storage or somewhere collecting dust.

I decided to use a very old cash register drawer from Juan’s Grandparents who used to own a furniture store as an organizer for some of the art projects I am working (Shameless plug It’s Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas).
Turned out pretty good! The teak oil soaked in and brought out the beautiful dark wood and now looks like a cool piece of “Organizational Art” for my workspace.
Are you utilizing heirlooms or found some cool way to organize your things with yard sale or antique store finds??? Please email me (info@the9hundred.com) your pictures and tell me about it! I would love to post your pictures and ideas and what you created!
 
 

This “Small Space” Living Stuff Is Catching On….Or Rather Is On!



My orange vintage patio chair

 There is a huge trend where living small is going BIG! (I know I know trying to be funny and clever with my wording) Anyway…it’s true. I continue to research on the subject of small space living and finding so many people embracing it. Not just “Middle Class America”…architects, developers, custome home builders…the list goeas on.

First off… back in the 1950’s the average size of a home was less than 1000 square feet.  Fast forward to the early 2000’s the average size grew a little over 2,300 square feet….a big climb over 50+years.
According to the American Institute of Architects, floor plans and lots continue to decrease (over the last couple of years) due to people wanting less maintenance and less worry. I am originally from Texas…everything is big there. You own a BIG house, you have BIG land, and you have BIG Texas hair! (wink wink smiley face!) You are also brought up with the idea that having and owning BIG means living well. You are successful…you are prosperous…you are someone people need to know.
It is great to see this trend of small space living and what I have termed “right-sizing” your life really catching on. However, I am a late bloomer on this subject and as my desire to learn more about living in small spaces, I have found so many people (experts at small space living) who have been doing this for quite some time. One person in particular is Sarah Susanka, FAIA. Sarah is an acclaimed architect and truly “gets” small space living. This is nothing new to her as she wrote a book called The Not So Big House back in the late 1990’s. She states “Not So Big doesn’t necessarily mean small. It means not as big as you thought you needed, but designed and built to perfectly suit the way you live”. That’s how I feel about the term “right sizing”…it’s not about downsizing or losing everything but right sizing to adjust to you and your family needs.
Sara is working on a project in Libertyville, IL called the Not So Big Showhouse being built on School Street in Libertyville, IL.  This taken from the School Street Libertyville website;
SchoolStreet Homes is defying national housing trends by bringing high-quality, architecturally designed homes to the marketplace at value driven prices. In just one year, 24 of 26 homes have been purchased by eager buyers. The Front Porch Revival homes blend almost seamlessly with the neighborhood’s existing turn-of-the-century homes — along with a historic school that will be transformed into 15 urban lofts. Each design offers a tailored floor plan with classic architectural style including American Craftsman and Bungalow. SchoolStreet Homes is connected to Libertyville’s vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown and just blocks from a commuter rail train station”.
Yes, the Showhouse Sarah created is a much larger home (2,450 sq. ft.) actually…the house I sold was smaller than this yet I moved to an even smaller space which is our current 900 sq. ft. home, however they are creating other smaller sized homes including the 15 urban lofts that will be in the historic school building. Some of the lofts will start at 710 sq. ft.  up to 3,100 sq ft (the penthouse). I would want the 700 sq ft -850 sq. ft. myself! The goal is to connect the neighborhood with the community, you must check it out.
Our friends from Resource Furniture are also involved in providing furniture in the Not So Big Showhouse. I will follow up with another blog about the furniture being used …..Stay Tuned!
Final thoughts… I like to live in 1000 sq. ft. or less… for me and Juan this is perfect. I do not think I would like to go smaller than 700 sq. ft. however, some of you might relish in the challenge. For others, you could never think of living in 900 sq. ft. However, I would ask you to take on a challenge. On a weekly basis, check mark how many times you come into a certain room and the length of time in there. You may be surprised with the results. Just a thought! (wink wink )
 

Yard Sale Is Upon Us!

Well, we are prepared and ready for our yard sale tomorrow (Saturday). We’ve gathered, dusted off and cleaned our “vintage goodies” for our perspective buyers to “wheel and deal”!
I am excited due to the fact that we are eliminating more STUFF from our storage and home and will soon be ready to decorate our spare room.
All the exciting things and ideas we will have at our fingertips from such great resources out there like;
These are just a few of the resources out there that “small space dwellers” la la LOVE!  In future blogs I will continue new discussions about many of the products and services out there dedicated to small space living.
Wish me luck on the yard sale!

 

Cleaning Up The Details

With this whole “right-sizing” our lives, I have tried….really tried…in getting more and more organized. I’ve realized that the more organized I’ve become… with every space, room, closet and drawer, the easier my life becomes and the quicker I can get out and enjoy life.

I’ve taken the time to take each section of our space and find the best organization tools and products out there to help me be more organized. I am convinced…you should take the time to find (or create your own) storage solutions. Take that extra step! Although you’ve cleaned out and rid yourself of the extra stuff…take the time to add/create storage within storage solutions.

Okay so get to the point…with many of the drawers I have, I’ve added dividers to keep everything in it’s place. Admit it, those sock and underwear drawers can become unruly the minute you are running late and flying (yes flying) through your drawers. All that time you took to neatly fold all those “unmentionables” is nothing but a flurry of multi-color and lacy carnage. (Wow that’s a picture for ya). First time in years, I added the dividers for me and Juan and it makes it so much easier because everything has a spot, nook or place.

My latest find is something Juan has kept for years. However it is a great piece to add to my office/workspace in organizing many of my art supplies for example.

This beautiful piece is actually a cash register drawer that belonged to his grandparents who owned a furniture store.

So with a little clean up and teak oil…I will have a cool vintage organizer with great history.

See… you don’t have to rid yourself of family heirlooms or vintage pieces; you just need to think outside the box and repurpose them.

So the next time you are cleaning out your garage or tinkering around a junk store, be creative and find other ways to store, divide and conquer organization.

 
 
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