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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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New Inventory at Urban-Hobo.com

 

Going…Going…GONE!

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Wow! Dia de los Muertos has taken off for Urban Hobos! Juan and I are so excited. We have been able to sell many of our “Folk-Art” Skull friends. The colors are bright the subject (although skeletons) is fun and native to the area we live in.

I do not know why we have taken this road with a Dia de Los Muertos theme, I grew up celebrating this special holiday with many friends since I grew up on the border. I’ve enjoyed sharing with Juan the meaning behind the “Day of the Dead” celebrations.

For my friends and readers that are not familiar… Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. Focusing on family gatherings and friends to pray for and remember family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day. Some of the traditions connected with the holiday include building altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They   also leave possessions of the deceased.

I know I know….many of you might think this is slightly gruesome celebrating with skeletons and honoring a day for the dead, however, I love the bright colors and festivities that come from the celebration. When I think how much I miss my Father, I would much rather honor him and think of him with happy and wonderful memories. Remembering all he taught me and the great traditions that are now in me.

However, we do have some more “Dia de los Muertos” on its way along with a series of crosses I am working on and will have ready in the next week. So I will do my best to keep you posted on any new products we have.

Be sure to “LIKE US” on Facebook as well. Would love any and all feedback too!

 

Funky, Kitschy, Dia de Los Muertos

What a fun way to brighten your kitchen wall; add a “pop of color” in a small nook or any part of your home! They are small yet fun pieces of art that can be added anywhere without breaking the bank. We never knew how popular they would become, so we are going to continue adding more to the collection.

I was born and raised on the border and have always enjoyed the bright colors, history and culture of Mexican folk art. Juan and I try to capture that in our funky eclectic art. Simple, colorful….FUN!

If you are interested in any of these paintings, please email me shawn@urban-hobo.com. They are easy to ship and if you are located in the El Paso area, I am happy to deliver! (smiley face)

Sarape Truck 11X 14 acrylic $35.00

VW Dia de Los Muertos 8X10 acrylic $25.00

Collage Folk Art 12X12 acrylic $30.00

I tried to take the best pictures, however, if you need additional info, photos, questions or comments, please email me shawn@urban-hobo.com.

To see some of the sweet treats we deliver, be sure to head to our website Urban Hobo!

 

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Sometimes the simplest things in life….Are “Old School”

It’s kinda funny as I look back on this year and the changes we have made. This time a year ago we were in the beginning stages of discussion about what we are doing? Why are we doing it? And what are we going to gain from it? My “real role” is running a staffing and consulting firm. We place people across the US in all levels and all departments. (A shameless plug, Kellen James).

As I digress, Juan and I have talked with countless Managers, Hiring Authorities and people looking to make a move and there seems to be a common goal ever since this economy took a dive…A need for a simpler life….A need for quality time with family and friends as that is what is most important.

Going back to my original thought (I know Juan says I have three or four conversations going at once), it was a huge undertaking getting ourselves situated in a much smaller space. Yet, we are so much happier now than when we were in a larger home. I am not a slave to my house/pool/yard. It is like living in a vacation home! (No not as cool as Ileana’s beach house/Previous blog article) But…it’s close.

We find ourselves enjoying our home, hanging out with friends and family here. We enjoy creating cool bar-b-que dishes and sitting at our kitchen table with a cup of coffee and just chatting. We can step outside (when it is not 114+ degrees) and get on our bikes and cruise the canal trail or walk to several neighborhood haunts and enjoy wonderful cuisine of all kinds.

We have an urban space which is very new to me and this area has 71 of these cute 900 sqft “bungalow style homes. There is a sense of great friendship and community here much more than when I was up in the “burbs” where everyone waves but drives right into their garage and shuts the door behind them never to see them until the following morning. We get together as a community for impromptu “happy hour” celebrate a birthday or hang out at the clubhouse to watch a game. It’s truly a community of friendship.

If this is the cost of downsizing and moving to the city?….I wished I did it years ago. So now I will sit with Juan, drink a nice cool “Arnold Palmer” and enjoy “Old School Style” listening to records on my 1962 Fisher Electra Stereo.

A small “taste” of what I am enjoying! Cheers!

 

A New IKEA Update

I received kind words from the President USA for IKEA, Michael Ward. He stated in an email “It is always so fun and gratifying to see the exciting and creative solutions people come up with to make their lives at home more comfortable and inspiring!  I hope that you continue to enjoy your home, and we are glad to been a small part in its creation.” How refreshing to get a response from Executive Management of a huge corporation. For someone at that level to take time to respond…which only took a few seconds to type up….means so much. This does speak volumes to me as my main role in life is a Recruiter and working day in and day out with companies and candidates….well that is a whole other story AND if you are ever interested in learning about that side of my life, please check out our People “geeks” blog. (I know another shameless plug).

Also, I received a great comment from Janice Simonsen. I can only assume, but not certain, that she is a part of the IKEA team. Anyway, she reached out to me to tell me about a great website where IKEA fans can add their spaces/rooms on the site http://www.theshare-space.com/. IKEA Share Space gives you an opportunity to upload photos of your room where you have purchased IKEA products, tag them so people checking out your room can see the product and get some great inspiration from others on what they did in their spaces. If you have a small space? Storage challenges” Or just don’t know what you want to do…check out IKEA Share Space for some great ideas that you can take to create your next small space!

Next, Living in 934 square feet in paradise everyday….

 

The New IKEA Book Is Here!

It’s that time of year; the new IKEA book is out Whooo Hoooo! When Juan came walking in from the mailbox, I could see the tiny little BIG book tucked under his arm. So I patiently waited for him to put it down….Ok…put the book down Juan….Quit talking to me and put the DARN BOOK DOWN!

IKEA really has it down with small space living. Every nook and cranny can be utilized with “multi-purpose” furniture. Really cool! How many of you (raise your hands) LOVE heading to your nearest IKEA store to check out their “small living” spaces? Well, those of you fortunate to have an IKEA near you, it truly is an experience. It’s so fun to view outside the square footage of the space you are about to enter and be amazed at the way you can make a home out of 600 square feet or 248 square feet or dorm room living. You have every convenience.

Take page 30 for example, the basic bookcase…What a great piece to do so many options. We took a book case that was four cubes long and two cubes high (Yes, very technical terms here). We added the doors and made it into a cabinet to hold boundless amounts of Juan’s main wardrobe, T-Shirts! In living in a small space you always want the rooms to appear bigger and a great way to give that spacious look is to add legs. If at all possible, “lift your furniture”. I know that sounds strange but it truly gives a small space an “open and airy” look!


Fold up t-shirts, organize purses or tri-fold your jeans


IKEA can give you so many options at such a great price. If you truly are waiting for a vintage mid-century desk but need something in the meantime, check out IKEA. You may also find you like it just as well AND it does mix very well with different styles.

Also think outside the box…we turned the book shelves into extra space for our clothes by adding the cabinet doors, everything stays neat and hidden. They also have drawers you can add to book shelves to organize smaller objects such as scarves or jewelry.




Added simple straight legs to lift cabinet off floor



For all you smart phone users, IKEA has their catalog available on The App Store and Android Market. So when I am sitting patiently in the waiting area at the Doctor’s office… as my Mom provides details of her ailments plus her weekend activities of garage sales and great food…I sit and electronically thumb through the pages. You can miss so much on a page that you have to go back through 3-5-7 multiple times!
Speaking of waiting for perfect pieces or allowing for extra cash to funnel our way….We took our old office cabinets from our office in our old home and made them our bed side tables for the time being. Hey, it works, right? It may not be optimal for many but until I am ready to look for a better piece of IKEA or other furniture….it works!
By the way…if you recall in my blog (I Thought 900 Square Feet Was Small) I mentioned how hard it is for me to give up the accessories like purses and SHOES!!! Well check out page 280-281 in the IKEA book…great storage solutions to hold all my shoes. I need more shoes to fill in all these racks! 

 I am lucky to have an IKEA store near me so I can see, feel and touch all the great stuff! Also they have a cafe where you can enjoy great breakfast, lunch and dinner at very affordable prices.

That’s the other thing about IKEA…great prices on all products. Yes, you may have to assemble pieces of furniture but it truly is worth it. Very simple instructions….even I can figure it out! So if you ever have any challenges with space, need multi-purpose furniture or seeking a piece of furniture that will fit in an odd shaped corner of a room?….You’ve got to check out IKEA. I am sure they will have something right for your needs.

 
 
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