Our Floorplan

Our Floorplan
900 sq ft

About Me

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Call us crazy, nuts or temporary loss of senses. That's what they said....this is about the quiet quest to simplify our life! The process of eliminating the clutter and stress and taking back our freedom. Like many small business owners….we were hit hard due to the economy. We found ourselves rethinking the direction we were heading. Should we gamble and keep the big house and "stuff" because that's what everyone does or do we reexamine what is truly important in our lives? 9 Hundred Square feet is an open-ended journey in living “Smaller, Simpler and Stress-Free” lives!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Urban Hobo Cookies-A Couple of Friends Helping Me Out!

Well Christmas is over and I am still baking!!! You’d think I would be sick and tired of baking by now….however….I really… truly LOVE it. I do not know what it is; I can be exhausted from my “real job”, come home and get energized to start baking.

Juan and I were so pleasantly surprised at the great responses we’ve received from the customers we sold our hobo bags to. What has happened…the people that received them as gifts, have contacted us for new orders. For that I am so grateful and thankful people are enjoying.

So …I have a couple of “friends” assisting or rather cheering me on to complete orders for this week.

If you are into peanut butter and white chocolate, you’ll love these. They are simple yet delicious. AND…they are delivered (or shipped) in these cute hobo bags (or bindle packs)!

A great price ($15.00 for two dozen) for the peanut butter/chocolate lover in you!

Our next phase…we are attending several Farmers Markets in the coming weeks for anyone to sample our delectable goodies and check out our cute packs. Also, we are completing our website that will list our products of yumminess (I know, I know making up word s again).

Last but not least…all will be accomplished in a small space traveling in a small car. (wink wink smiley face)

Happy Baking!

Who Says You Need Four Legs?

Came across an interesting designer….Caroline Gomez. She is a French designer who has created a collection of furniture that seems to be coming right out of the wall.
The group is called Contre and she has a desk or console, a small table or nightstand and a shelf.

Just by simple design, the pieces lean up against the wall and there is no need to attach unless your wall is not a flat surface. The tension of the piece leaning on the flat surface keeps it in place. Yes, by simple design!

She states “why do you need four legs when the piece is going to lean on the wall?

Be sure to check out her website, Caroline Gomez. I think I’ll have Juan look into this…he’s a pretty good carpenter…maybe he could create something similar…(wink wink smiley face)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recycling Your Christmas Tree

Recycling and Going Green with your Christmas tree
I know many of you love to have a real fresh cut tree for your holidays. It’s true…nothing like the smell of a fresh cut tree filling your house during the holiday season.
As the end of the year approaches and your tree has fulfilled its duties of brightening your home and bringing smiles to all that enter…it is time to take down the decorations….what to do with the tree???
Help the earth and do something good and green for you and the earth.
#1 Create your own mulch.  If you have a chipper or access to one….cut up your tree into manageable branches and make your own mulch. The chips can be used around garden plants to protect them from the elements and keep the weeds out. You can use the chips in a compost bin and create beautiful paths throughout your garden!
#2 Find a recycling center. Should you not have a need (or space like me) for mulch…find a recycling center so they can dispose of your tree. Many of the recycling centers will mulch your tree to provide for city parks and neighborhoods. If you are not sure of where to look, try Earth911. They should have a directory of recycling centers nationwide.
It is a great way to “repurpose” your tree instead of throwing out to end in a landfill not providing much use.
How many of you?....
Purchase a fresh cut Christmas tree every year?
Purchase a living tree to be planted later?
Own or recently purchased an artificial tree?
I would love to hear from you on what you use for your Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Is Officially Over!

Whew!!! Yup…that’s me…Monday afternoon after spending all day packing, storing, cleaning and reorganizing Christmas 2011! By the way….were you able to take some time PRIOR to the holidays and get your “Stuff” organized and ready for the Christmas season? Do you recall the posting I did in November “Organization for the Holidays”? If not…you should take a peek.
Now many of you probably think I am horrible for tearing down Christmas so soon. However, I put up Christmas right at Thanksgiving. I have an artificial tree and I do love the Christmas season and want to enjoy it as long as I can. Once Christmas is over…I don’t mind cleaning up and ready for the New Year. Since I do own a business and work full time, I figured it is best to do while I’m at home and by New Year….I can relax and enjoy the festivities.
Sorry….I was talking about organizing your holiday decorations et al…If you didn’t have a chance to get things organized BEFORE Christmas (and read that blog about organizing)…NOW is the time to do it right before you put it all away. Review what you have and take note of what you are not utilizing anymore. Is it something you could give to charity? A Church? Friends or Family? If you find certain pieces you are tired of or not using anymore see if your family or friends would be interested in OR by all means if it is trashed…throw it out.
We tend to want to hang on to things because we paid a lot of money for it or someone special gave it to you. However, if it is out used its usefulness… (Am I just making up words now) by all means donate it to charity and take a right-off.
So here are some tips, tricks or things to think about in organizing your holiday décor.
ü  Take the time and go through your holiday décor. Is there anything that needs to be thrown away, donate, given away etc?
ü  If you have empty tins or containers, are you able to use them for next year’s cookies, treats or other baked goodies. If not, donate, have a garage sale or throw out.
ü  Make sure you are keeping only strings of lights that are working. If not, take the bulbs (if you can use them on other strands) and throw the strand away.
ü  Organize your strings of lights with cardboard. Cut a piece of cardboard in the shape of a rectangle and write with a sharpie pen what the lights you are going to wrap on the cardboard are to be used for next year. Such as, tree, indoor garland wrap, backyard etc. Then you wrap you string of lights so you are not dealing with knots like Clark Griswold.
ü  Organize your ornaments; you can purchase great storage solutions for ornaments at Wal-Mart, Target, IKEA or specialty organization stores. If you have large storage bins and don’t wish to buy more storage dividers…make your own. Get a flat piece of cardboard and cut to fit inside your plastic bin. Get the plastic cups (I like the solo red cup size) and glue to the cardboard in rows. Now you can wrap your ornament and place in the solo cup. What is so great is if your bin can allow 2-3 or more layers…you can add another 2-3 layers of these cups. Saw something similar once on Martha Stewart but I thought the cups were too small they were using. So I went with the bigger solo cup. (wink wink smiley face)
ü  If you have an artificial tree, take care in dismantling and folding the branches back up in place. If you take the time, you will be able to get the tree back in its original box. When I had the 9 ½ foot tree for years (pre-lit too), I always took the time to get the branches folded carefully and each year never had any trouble getting back in the original box.
ü  Go through your holiday décor again and see if there is anything you are not using and please…get rid of it!
ü  Be sure all linens, towels etc are washed and pressed and ready for next year. I typically will store these items with Christmas as my space is limited in the house and right now I have holiday décor in a storage facility. If you are able to store all items at home, be sure you have a place for them that is out of the way. Since you won’t need them for at least another 10 ½ months, might as well keep them out of sight.
ü  Label your boxes and bins. If you have the clear plastic bins, you can tell what items are in it. However, I like to label the outside so I know exactly what is in there and which bins I should pull first to get started.
Bottom line is that you want to make it easier and easier each year when you decorate. Not just for Thanksgiving and Christmas but for all holidays and festivities in your life. I love parties and I love to entertain and when you take the time to get rid of STUFF and organize…getting started putting out the decorations doesn’t seem like such a chore.
Happy Holidays.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

It's not what you spend for Christmas...it's who you spend it with.

Juan and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Enjoy time with your family and good friends as this is the most precious gift you have.

All our best,
Shawn and Juan
aka Urban Hobos

Friday, December 23, 2011

Urban Hobos-Brrr... A Little Chilly!!!!

Well, Juan and I are working from home today and decided to take a morning bike ride.

Living in Phoenix, our blood has thinned and when it comes to near freezing temperatures....we are "wusses"! (I checked spell check and it said it was right)

Wow! My toes feel like they are going to break off as we arrived at our destination. However, I wouldn't miss an opportunity to get on my bike and ride.

So it's the "eve before Christmas eve"...I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday with family and friends and finished the mad rush of shopping.

Juan and I will warn up with another cup of "organic Ethiopian" and head back out in the chilly air.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Special Ornament Every Holiday

My Dad
 During the Christmas season…Tons of memories flood my tiny little brain. The main one is always of my father. My Dad LOVED… I mean La La LOVED this time of year! Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole Christmas music was blaring on the stereo and we set out to find the perfect  Christmas tree (which meant HUGE). Oh and it had to be flocked…you know …for the snow effect. Although we did not get a lot of snow in El Paso TX…my Dad loved the flocked trees. I guess it reminded him of the wintery settings he enjoyed through his youth in Rochester NY with his 8 brothers and sisters! (Big Irish Catholic Family)

When I lost my father, I lost my best friend…my support….my hero. He was John Wayne! I was the youngest and only girl and I believe my Dad was wrapped around my little finger. (wink wink smiley face) We did a lot growing up together and yes, I would do all the “boy stuff” like camping, fishing and working in the yard with him.

He was a man of integrity... with God in his heart, strength in his hands and very humble. My family and I were amazed at the countless letters of condolences regarding my father’s passing that year and how much he did for their family. Juan (hubby) could not believe the charitable things he did without telling anyone…without saying a word. He was a good man with a HUGE heart.

I honor Pops each year during the holidays. If you have lost a loved one…or know someone who did…this is a great token to give to a loved one who has lost someone special.

I know you can buy these at any craft store; small picture frames that are made to hang as ornaments. My sister-in-law found several of these and put dad’s picture in it. She made one for me, her husband (my brother) and my other brother. It was a tough year 2007, the three siblings PLUS their spouses each lost a parent that year. No kidding… each one of us. So my beautiful and thoughtful “sis-n-law” created such a beautiful token to honor my Dad each year when I trim the tree. For me…that small little picture frame ornament was THE most precious gift I received that year. No amount of technology, jewelry or clothing could top such a gift. It brought tears to my eyes and I will never forget such a thoughtful and wonderful gift.

So if you’ve lost someone special OR you know someone close who has lost a loved one, I would recommend getting one of these little frame ornaments and creating a special gift.

May this year be the merriest of holidays for you and your family.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"Now This Is Some Amazing Furniture!"

Have you ever played with one of those wooden puzzles? You know the ones that might be shaped like a cube or box and there are intricate wooden pieces that you have to figure how they connect to create the original shape? What was so cool about them were the beautiful colored woods so smooth and the challenges of figuring out where they go!

Take that same amazing talent of a puzzle and create furniture! What do you get??? Claudio Sibille! Claudio is a Uruguayan industrial designer who graduated from IUB (Instituto Universitario Bios) in 2009. He is known and recognized for creating beautiful and unique furniture for small spaces. (From his website)
It is amazing to see this simple “sideboard” looking piece of furniture and watch how it transforms into a desk, two chairs and a file cabinet.

I love the attention to detail where the backs of the chairs has the same pull handles so when placed back into the cabinet it lines up as if there are multiple drawers.

His expertise is furniture and more specifically how to create furniture that is fully functional in limited spaces.

Claudio has been recognized and selected in furniture design contests and you can see why he will be someone we will see more and more of in the future.

Be sure you check out his website….awesome pieces and other neat furniture ideas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thank you for your orders!-Urban Hobo Cookies

Well....I've been spending many nights mixing up batches of my cookies and today had several orders ready for delivery. Thank you so much for your orders.

These are simple yet awesome cookies. If you love peanut butter and white chocolate you'll love these!

I love this time of year as so many spend time creating fabulous treats for friends and family. For me...I would much rather receive a homemade treat from someone than any pricey store bought item. Don't get me wrong.... I love anyone who takes time to buy me or make me something. Anyone who thinks of me as someone special to deliver a gift is always appreciated. However, nothing says Christmas and how much they care than a homemade or handmade gift.

I hope this holiday season is finding your home full of happiness and love.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Urban Hobos-Patron Your Local Neighborhood Haunts!

I mentioned on several posts about our love of urban living…living small (right-size your life) and organizing your life to where you are not spending all of your time at work to now come home and spend hours managing a home that is too big. Again….everyone will have a different set of values on what is too big and what the right “downsize” would be. However, if you are not getting to enjoy life for all the hard work you out in to…then that is where “right-sizing” comes in.

Anyway, as “Urban Hobos”, Juan and I are passionate about walking or riding our bicycle as much as possible especially on the weekend. That is why we chose a home that was in a great neighborhood location and also near all the conveniences such as restaurants, markets. retail, grocers etc. I did suburban living and I am really glad I made the move to a more city/urban way of life.  Why???...great local/Mom & Pop places to visit and hang out.
One favorite destination for us is LGO or La Grande Orange Grocery. La Grande Orange Grocery and Pizzeria is an organic coffee/breakfast bar, café, pizzeria with a funky retail grocery. (Taken from their website) Their food is simple and clean with no hidden ingredients. It’s a one stop shop of happiness no matter what time of day.

Juan and I will head out on our bicycles early in the AM to LGO’s. We enjoy the ride especially this time of year as it is very chilly in the morning (Can be as low as 32 degrees which is cold for us) and our route takes us through beautiful mid-century modern homes and old style apartments to arrive ready for a large cup of HOT coffee at our destination.
It is a typical neighborhood friendly spot. It gets really busy yet everyone seems to be at ease chatting with friends and neighbors waiting for their orders while enjoying the cool early morning talking about their holiday plans for the next two weeks. The staff at LGO are always there to lend a hand, whether it is to answer a question or to help you to your table with an extra plate or two…always happy and eager to help!

So many ways to enjoy a meal; eat at the restaurant, order a quick breakfast/lunch/dinner meal to sit outside, take-and-go, or come in and wander the aisles for awesome baked goodies and treats. PLUS for you 40+ year olds…some very cool “old school” candies you haven’t seen in years! They also showcase local artists/crafts displaying unique table top gifts. Truly so much to see and do!

SO if you are in the Phoenix metro area, I encourage you to make a stop at LGO. You can sit in the Arcadia room enjoying fine wine, pizza and other specialties. Or you can order on the grocery side your favorite breakfast/lunch or take-and-go treat…or enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the cool early morning sun on the patio.
Question for you….Do you have a special local restaurant you enjoy to frequent that is nearby to your home? If so, tell me about it and send a picture or two, I would gladly POST on our site and showcase your favorite place!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Urban Hobo Cookies Are Here!

Well…it’s the holidays and for many this is “baking season”! You know….you get in that mood where you want to hang out in the kitchen with your cup of coffee and your recipe book and sort through delectable goodies from years and years ago. Recipes that have been passed down generation to generation. Amazing how some things have changed in how we mix or knead….and how “old school” is still the best way to prepare…especially when it comes to baking.

I LOVE to bake…always have. As a child I always found myself wanting to create some sort of themed cake or cookie creation for the holidays and it still rings true till this day. So much so that I have decided to branch out and create a simple yet tasty treat that can easily be shared with anyone on the go….Urban Hobo cookies”!

Why did we come up with the name Urban Hobo? Well in order to tell you about our name I should give you a little insight into Hobos. A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond. The term originated in the Western most likely Northwestern region of the US during the last decade of the 19th century (Wikipedia). Unlike “tramps”, who work only when they are forced to, and “bums”, who do not work at all, “hobos” are workers who wander.

Juan and I like the idea of a hobo as they were in a unique class of their own and also had a code of ethics that they followed. I will provide you a list of many that truly speak to Juan and I and what we are trying to do with this new line of products we will soon be selling. (I know shameless plug)

The “URBAN” part of our name speaks to our love of urban living….living small and living near the city or neighborhood where you have access to great restaurants, groceries, retail etc…the majority being small business owners which we need to patron as the small business owners are what will help our country grow and get back on track economically. So PLEASE….wherever you are located in the US…please visit and patron your local small business shops! (Okay so now I have created a public announcement)

So like the hobo…we have created delicious homemade goodies that will be delivered in a brindle pack to your door. (A brindle pack is where hobos carried all their worldly possessions)

cookies packed!

Here is a sampling of the hobo ethical code that the true hobo lived by. It truly speaks to me and Juan and what we would like to do with this new product line;

  • Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you
  • When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times
  • Don't take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos
  • Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again
  • When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts
  • When jungling (jungle is a hobo camp site)in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you
  • Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling
We will announce our new website (coming soon!) where you will get a chance to view our line of wonderful tastey treats! 

Should you wish to order or have questions, please contact;
Shawn Smith

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A chilly bike ride.....

Well, we bundled up and headed on our bikes this chilly morning. For me...I really do not care how cold or hot it is...riding my bicycle is such a stress reliever, allows me to meditate and for me...can put things in perspective.

When life throws you curve balls one needs to get away for awhile to "de-clutter" your mind and organize your thoughts. Whether its bicycling, hiking, running, swimming or just walking...it's good for the heart and soul!

So get out there and enjoy the day, Refuel your mind and body.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Regrets-Juan's Perspective

I ran across this blog post the other day and found it very interesting. It deals with the regrets people have at the end of their lives. It’s interesting, because they are all things that we recognize earlier in our lives.

However, in our quests for success, survival or what not, we push these thoughts to the side until a later time as we count other needs as more immediate or important. As this blog points out, by the time we decide to focus on these issues it’s often too late.

I found the summarization of point #2 especially relevant given all that’s transpired in the economy these past few years.  Hopefully you’ll take something of value away from this article and take some time to reflect on your life, so that you don’t have any regrets.

By Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. “I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. “I wish I didn't work so hard.”
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. “I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.”
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Shawn’s comment: In reading the article above…not one time did you ever hear about “STUFF”. Bigger house, cars, status, things…I could go on. It has everything to do with love of family, friends and self. My Mom always said…”Don’t wish your life away by wanting to be older. As you age the years start coming faster and faster and before you know it, you are past your childhood, teenage and young adult years heading to retirement.” Enjoy each and every day! Right size your life!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Micro Kitchens & Baths

Micro Kitchens & Baths
Cool company based in the UK (I believe) called Kitchoo! (Cute name)They focus on compact kitchen and bathroom designs. You must check out their website (Kitchoo) to see a full line of products based on your “micro-space” needs.

This truly opens up anyone’s idea of small space living. ESPECIALLY… if your desire is to have an ocean view on the west coast or a posh pad in Manhattan….these micro kitchens and baths are a great addition to any size living space, even 135 square foot apartment.

They offer great color options to meet all your small space designer needs!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Can your table do this???

Yes, it's the holidays and time to gather around the table with family and friends. What? In your small space??? Just because you decided to “right-size” your life and downsize your square feet, doesn’t mean you can’t have a party. That is where cool functional/multi-purpose furniture comes in to play.

I don't know about you…but we grew up in a very large home equipped with huge eat-in kitchen and a separate formal dining room. The cool thing was getting to eat in the formal dining room. I must admit... my mom and dad truly enjoyed to entertain and enjoyed eating in the formal room, however as we got older and our lives got busier…less time was spent in the separate dining room and more…much much more time in the eat in kitchen.

I’ve talked to a lot of people and when asked about growing up with a formal dining room….all agreed….they rarely ate in that room! (Another room that can be eliminated from your square footage)

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a nice area to sit down and enjoy your meals…do you need more than one?

Another point I would like to add is how many times in a year do you have a large crowd? The obvious times are during Thanksgiving, Christmas and possibly a momentous birthday. So the way to think about your space is to think what the function of your space needs to be 98% of the time THEN follow up with the leftover 2% of the time. I am guilty of doing this too. I found myself always looking to have extra rooms. You know…I need to set up my home office AND I need a separate room for guests. The occasional guest…let’s see…in 7+ years in my bigger house that would be 5 times having guests over. Yes, in the course of 7+ years!

All of us in general tend to think about the one time we might need the extra space or a certain item verses the other 364 days of the year.

So here’s a solution from my good friends at Resource Furniture when it comes to dining and having more than the typical 4-6 guests at your home. It looks like a regular console for the 98% of the time you need it. However, when it’s time to have 2, 4 or more guests???? This sleek piece with aluminum telescoping mechanism and FIVE extensions becomes a gorgeous dining table at an unbelievable 117” long!!!!

What is so great about this piece is you focus on the furniture on what it is supposed to be most of the time and when you need to host a large gathering, you have an instant table. With the five extensions, you have the ability to make the table any length. It also comes in other colors and finishes. So be sure to check out their web site @Resource Furniture.

If you think you are going to re-do a room… think about what the room will be the majority of time…not for “that one time”. Be creative with multipurpose furniture or if you have a knack for carpentry, look through magazines or online for ideas and build your unique piece.

Remember to focus on what you need the majority of the time and purchase or create a unique way to utilize your space when you are entertaining, having guests overnight or whatever purpose you might need for the few times!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Greatest Clicks for November!

Juan is not too sure about this guy, with his sister

I know I am getting this started a little late as we are now into the first week of December and would be remiss in not providing you our “Greatest Clicks” for the month of November!

In case you missed any postings in between shopping, baking and decorating…here are the top five for the month!

1. Happy 1 Year Anniversary
2. Organization For The Holidays
3. Juan says…”Our house is too big!”
4. Myth #1….My place is too small to entertain!
5. The Tree Is Trimmed…All Minus 1 ½ feet


As always…Juan and I appreciate your continued interest and support. If there is anything you would like to share or if you have questions…I am a quick email away!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Urban Hobos-For Small Spaces

When living in a small space, many tend to think you should decorate small. Not true!

For me...I hate having a bunch of tiny little "art de objects" all around the house. Tough to clean on a regular basis. I love to add big pieces...art or fun objects such as these cute guys.

Wonderful and fun metal ornamentation that adds great bold colors to your tiny living space.

Living small doesn't mean everything has to be small....

Have fun go big, bright and bold!

Urban Hobos-The "After Life" In Style!

So...enjoying my trip and LOVE to check out some of the colorful stores with the bright colors and southwestern flare.

If you are interested...Have I got a custom product for you.

A beautiful carved coffin customized right down to the leather pillow to lay your head for your peaceful rest in the after life.

The things you find.....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Road Trip!

One of mine and Juan's favorite traditions is heading to El Paso to visit my girlfriends.

I was born and raised in El Paso, TX and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I had an opportunity to be a part of two cultures....read/write Spanish before English....enjoyed a small town feel in a large city and everyone knew who you were, your parents, who you hung out with AND...if you were doing something you weren't supposed to, adults would gladly follow up with your parents and not only did you get grounded by the adult who "caught you"...you also got it from Mom and Dad too!

So off I go to visit my three girlfriends' and their family and will report in on some fun finds along the way.

Happy travels!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Tree Is Trimmed…All Minus 1 ½ feet

WOW! It seems like Labor Day was just here and we were THINKING about Halloween. How’d we get to Christmas so fast? I tell Juan every year, Christmas comes faster and faster.

I la la LOVE Christmas. Everything about it. As a kid I loved the holiday decorations, the holiday spirit in everyone’s hearts and the joy of family and friends getting together. It is my time of year. As a child, my father loved Christmas too. I spent many days just hanging out in the living room with my Dad as he blasted Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole Christmas music on his “Reel to Reel” stereo. (For the much younger generations it was like a HUGE cassette!)

I collect Santa ornaments. When I travel, I love picking up one in remembrance of my trip. For years, I’ve been trimming an artificial tree. I put mine up so early, I want to be able to have it up after Thanksgiving and enjoy through Christmas. This is a challenge if you buy a real tree…besides some of my ornaments are heavy and the fake branches can hold the weight.

Since we moved to our 900 square foot home, I did have to get rid of the 9 ½ foot pre-lit tree I used in my old house. It would be folded over due to the low ceilings and the circumference would take up the whole living room. So we purchased a 7 ½ foot unlit slim tree. It is perfect for a smaller space especially with the narrow diameter….you do not feel that each time you walk by you will take an ornament out!

Since I had to manually light the tree I got started. How spoiled I’ve become with a pre-lit tree. It sure made it easy to put together. I was able to concentrate on getting the branches bent correctly and fluff the tips up to look like a real tree. Now I will have to wrap the lights AND get the branches ready for decorations. Juan hates this part as I become very picky on how the lights go on and how the branches are set. He would run around the tree in circles with the lights and throw a clump of tinsel at once if he could. (wink wink smiley face) I however like to weave the lights in and up to the trunk and back out trying to give the tree a perfect glow. (Wow that is so Martha Stewart, right?) Okay….I am a little particular when it comes to festive illumination!

Well, back to lighting. I thought I would be smart by setting up the first tree section and wrapping the branches before I add the middle and top section of the tree. That way I could easily lean over the top of the section and really weave the lights perfectly. Heck I am so smart…I’ll have this tree glowing and ready for ornaments in no time.

I spent a lot of time getting that first section lit. It was perfect….a perfect glow and the branches looked great. Now on to the middle section….I carefully lined up the pole to add to the bottom section and it doesn’t want to go in???!!!! Why? I thought well I must be way off and got under the branches to see what was going on. I am sure most of you know by now what happened. I did a beautiful job of lighting the MIDDLE section of the tree first! Crapola!!!!!Needless to say, Juan was laughing hysterically a good 10 minutes before he calmed down. It was pretty funny but now I am thinking “How can I add the bottom piece without disturbing the middle section?” or “Am I going to have to undo ALL the lights and start over?”

 So….I decided to continue on and instead of trying to pull out the section I did…I went ahead and added the top section and began my weaving wonderment of lights. It was beautifully lit….heck I should have another 1 ½ feet of tree to light but alas I was not paying attention when starting this project. Instead of a 7 ½ foot tree….I have a 6 foot tree and you know what???? It looks great. Juan agreed, he said you don’t even miss it and it fits so nicely in the room.

This year I decorated with my glass and German glass Santa and Snowman themes ornaments…went with heavy red accents and a dash of green on top!

Note to self:
* Be sure you check the labels of the tree to be sure you are starting with the correct section
 * Maybe you should hold off lighting the tree before you put the whole thing together

* Don’t get upset of you make a mistake….it’s the holidays and not worth it

* If you do mess up….take a break, have some eggnog and get creative!

              HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Well....as I blogged the other day about entertaining in my home...I started cooking the dressing and turkey as well as preparing garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry salad and setting the table.

I prepared the majority of the meal so today Juan and I can enjoy our early morning bicycle ride and enjoy a stress free morning.

I have the ceramic dish-ware ready to go and all will be hot and ready at once in my 900 square foot home.

Juan and I wish you and yours a wonderful and safe Happy Thanksgiving.

We're off on our ride....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary Juan!

Today Juan (I call him Juan his real name is John) and I celebrate our 11 year anniversary. Juan is my best friend…he puts up with my constant “last minute ideas” and as he likes to say…I am full of rainbows and unicorns! (wink wink smiley face)
So just a short note to wish Juan…Happy Anniversary! You are the best! I am so glad I ran into you at the coffee shop and spilled your coffee.
The best guy I could ever have sharing 900 square feet in.
Happy Anniversary Honey!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Myth # 1... My place is too small to entertain!

Tis the season to entertain. You live in a small space (right size living) and you feel you do not have the ability to invite family, friends or colleagues to enjoy some great food...a little wine and fun.

So not true! If you are organized and have your small space in order... It's easy, manageable and can be stress free.

I will be preparing Thanksgiving for Juan and I as well as my mom and her friend. I'm not worried and it's not about stressing myself out...it's my holiday too and I want to enjoy.

When you walk in the main area... It’s a long narrow rectangle space.  So… not a lot of counter space to place covered dishes or hot plates, etc. I have seating inside and outside, however outside is not quite ready. Simple yet not formal seating...narrow area to sit and hang out....no problemo!

I try to create intimate areas for people to hang out and enjoy without creating a huge roadblock of the narrow walkway through the house. The patio is a great place to have cold beverages on ice as well as glasses etc and place to have people enjoy and hang out.

In the living area is a great place to have horsderves and another area to have people mingle and enjoying while you are doing the finishing touches in dinner. What is so great in being in a small space, you stay connected to everyone.

So back to Thanksgiving dinner...

Me... I'm always thinking out of the box! Tradition dining with different thought process about how we go about doing it.

Thinking about Thanksgiving Day and trying to prepare a hot and delicious meal for all to enjoy is all about timing. Cook the stuffing and prepare the turkey. Then you have to boil potatoes...gotta have some greens. The rolls...where are the rolls to bake?...pumpkin pie from scratch??? Oh and then the homemade gravy...and all needs to be ready and hot all at once without drying out or burning what is already cooked. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Now the way I do this will probably not be an option or desire for you, but I find this way easier on me and then I can enjoy like everyone else.

I started thinking about the meal and the best part of Thanksgiving for me is leftovers. So I took this idea and worked it to my advantage. Why not prepare dinner a day early? (I know you think I'm nuts about now)
I'm typically home on Wednesday and by then I've been to the store and hopefully got everything I need.  (Juan can always make a run if I forgot something). There's no stress as I start cooking the stuffing and prepare the turkey. I enjoy some wine as I boil some potatoes and decide to get all my dishes and dinnerware ready for tomorrow. I continue preparing additional dishes if needed and get the table ready for a party.

Basically I prepare pretty much all of the dinner or the majority of it so that on Thanksgiving Day I'll be ready, happy and stress free to enjoy my meal with my family. By doing this, I do not have the extra dishes around where I don't have room...I'm able to heat in my ceramic ware and place on the kitchen granite countertops.

I'm able to reheat the turkey and stuffing…heat and add additional cream to mashed garlic potatoes, prepare the rolls and everything will be hot and ready at ONCE!

You probably think I'm crazy or weird but for me...I'm able to enjoy Thanksgiving morning with a bike ride some coffee and Juan. Enjoy a relaxing rest of morning adding final touches to my table. Have my meal heating while guests arrive and have everything hot and ready at once when everyone gathers around the table for grace.

I enjoy entertaining and I enjoy having people over to my small space…this works for me and I truly enjoy cooking and baking. I’m forever trying to do things easier and better each time…you might think of something different, if so…you should share and I would be happy to post!

Right size living has made me and Juan much better at eliminating the clutter or STUFF...keeping organized and in their place and enjoying a simpler lifestyle.

So why not cook ahead of time and enjoy the "meal/leftovers" on Thanksgiving Day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Organization for the Holidays

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….. Maybe not quite as much here in Phoenix AZ…but I am sure in other parts of the country.
I know you are also saying…”Why the heck is Shawn talking about Christmas when we haven’t even eaten the turkey and “camped out on the couch enjoying the football games."
Well…the reason I am starting now is since October you have been getting into your attic/garage/basement/shed/storage unit pulling out the holiday decorations. This is the time as you go through each holiday event (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years etc) look and see if you can better organize your decorations.
Sometimes the hardest part is taking the time to go through everything and see what you wish to keep, throw away or pass down to others…getting it organized. THEN…the next thing to think about is storage solutions.
As I have preached on several occasions, the key to small space living is great organization. Heck! The key to sanity with holiday décor regardless of size of home IS organization.
Let’s start off with ornaments. I remember growing up; my parents had the ornaments in their original packs. (Okay 1960’s) Although it kept the glass ornaments secure, you had a bunch of these small cartons you had to stack up in storage or in a box; however they were never quite the right shape to put in the bins etc. Or…you had all the ornaments in one giant box where they clanged on one another or wrapped in tissue and you never seemed to have enough room to put all your ornaments in one box.
So look for storage solutions at Target, Wal-Mart, IKEA or specialty container stores where you might find more specific needs at a slightly higher price. I’ve included a couple of ornament storage solutions that make it easy to organize and protect your precious ornaments year after year.
Strings of lights are always a challenge. One thing I decided to do was pre-lit Christmas tree. That way I do not have to spend the time weaving in strings of lights before I get to the fun part of decorating. So many trees are easily assembled with the pre-lit lights…no headaches in connecting etc. If you are investing in an artificial tree, be sure you get one that you are going to enjoy for years to come. Artificial trees are great as they can hold your heavier ornaments and be displayed a lot longer than a real tree. If you like the smell of a Christmas tree, try purchasing greenery at a nursery. You can decorate your mantels or other areas with the greenery and adding ornaments as well as having that great Christmas tree smell.
For outdoor lighting, be sure you have them neat and bundled. You do not wish to be spending your next year of decorating trying to eliminate the big “KNOT” in your string of lights like Clark Griswold had in “Christmas Vacation”. There are plastic boards you can wrap your lights around, a reel style that you can wind your lights on and easily spin off when needed, OR….a cheaper way is to get heavy duty cardboard, cut in a large rectangle shape and wrap a string of lights around. Only string one per cardboard, that way you can determine how many you will be using each year etc.
Bottom line you want to make decorating for the holidays easy.  There is nothing worse than dreading the thought of decorating. If you do not have your items easily accessible…try to find a spot in the garage or in a shed where you can get to your boxes easily.
For me….decorating for the holidays is such a joy. I LOVE the Christmas season. And if you take the time to organize your decorations, clear out what you do not want or use and have it easily accessible, you’ll be more apt to put them up each year!