Happy girls are the prettiest girls

3.27.2013

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts!

I am sure many of you have started to see people using more coconut products in their diets these days; ranging from the versatile coconut oil, to coconut flour, coconut milk, and even coconut sugar.
There is a lot of attention being given to the many great nutritional properties that coconut products bring to your health, so it's worth a shot to learn more, then start incorporating these products into your own diet. I have found many articles that give you a great explanation on why these products are good for you, so a nice place to start is by reading this extensive article here.

Something neat to know: coconut oil slows the digestive process, and lowers the overall glycemic index of your meal. When you add coconut oil to your carbohydrates, the carbs are broken down into glucose slower, so blood sugar levels remain steady even after you eat.

This. is. huge.

When your insulin levels spike, your body stores more fat, especially in the belly area. Obviously, this is a problem when you want to lose weight. I found this info in a great article about the benefits of adding coconut oil to your diets, you're welcome to read the whole thing for yourself here!

If you prefer a more streamlined way to get your information, I also found an article using bullet points to highlight the positive affects of adding coconut products to your diet, which you can read here.

I have begun using coconut sugar, oil and milk in my own diet, and plan on finding some coconut flour to use for baking as well. I really like the flavor of coconut, but Billy does not, so I will have to get creative when baking and cooking to make sure his preferences are taking into account. I also love the idea of using a product with a low GI so as not to raise my blood sugar and insulin levels.

Have you considered or started using coconut products in your own diet? I would love to hear how things are going, and if you have some good recipes, please share!

3.26.2013

Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate banana protein pancakes

Hey dolls, happy Tuesday! I am following in the footsteps of my girl Cassie for her Tasty Tuesday series {even if there's no link up, I have to give her credit!}

Today I am sharing with you a little treat I threw together last week that seriously satisfied some cravings, while keeping me completely satiated, and full for hours. Those qualities are just what you need when you are watching what you eat, especially after a run when I turn into the feed-me-everything-I-can't-stop-eating monster. 

Some back story: I am not a huge pancake lover. I know, it's so weird that I hate bacon and don't really like pancakes. There are plenty of other breakfast options that make me happy, so I usually don't even think about pancakes. Unless of course when I have to run past my neighborhood Denny's to get to my usual creek trail run spot, then all I want are pancakes. Denny's must pump food smells out into the surrounding area to entice customers or something, because last Thursday I just about stopped my run to lick a window or two. which would have been gross, and thank goodness that is NOT what I did. I kept on running, but I still had pancakes on the mind when I got home. Now, I have made protein pancakes in the past that were dry and disgusting and made me want to spit them right out, so it was tempting to just pass entirely on another attempt, but darn Denny's wouldn't allow it, so I came up with these instead! Moist, sweet, flavorful and healthy, these pancakes hit the spot and made me feel good about eating them. 

Chocolate banana protein pancakes with peanut butter
Makes 2 big pancakes
Ingredients:
1 ripe banana
1 whole egg
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder {I use MRM 100% natural Dutch Chocolate whey protein powder}
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
about 1 tsp organic coconut oil to coat your pan
Directions:
  1. Heat a small fry pan on medium heat. melt 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil in the pan, then swirl to coat. 
  2. In a bowl mash banana with a fork. Add in egg and mix thoroughly. Add in protein powder and mix until everything is incorporated. 
  3. Pour half of the batter into your heated pan, and let cook until edges are set and bubbles start to appear. Flip pancake over and cook for about a minute or until the center is cooked. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the rest of your batter to make your second pancake. 
  5. Spread peanut butter over your pancakes while warm and enjoy! I like to fold or roll my pancakes up and eat them like a burrito, but that's just me being hungry and not wanting to use a fork ;)
Nutritional info: 365 calories, 29g protein, 33g carbs, 14g fat, 5g fiber, 16g sugar, 9 weight watchers points plus

3.25.2013

The weddings are coming!

Weddings are here!!
Oh boy am I pumped! <--- That's what I would be saying if I weren't so freaking worn out from a long day of wedding hair and makeup, hour long drives to and from the wedding site {that I forgot to collect my travel fee for}, and another 5 hours at the salon on my regular clients! Currently, I am struggling to stay awake and focused long enough to type out this post so it's all ready to go for Monday. Please forgive me if I make little sense, have silly spelling or grammar errors, or struggle with run on sentences and general running on of the mouth. Thank God for spell check at least...
From Linh's Pt. Reyes elopement 1/5/13, my first wedding of 2013!
Sunday marked the official start to Wedding Season. This is a time of the year where my life revolves around all things wedding related, but mainly the hair and makeup that I provide for brides and their bridal parties. Engagement sessions, trial run appointments, and the actual Big Day keep me busy from late March through October with some add on weddings on either side. Seeing as  I have had already worked 5 weddings this year {including Sunday's} and have 23 more booked with another 13 on tentative hold, you can imagine what my life will be like through October. Busy.
Kristine at her trial run for a Winery wedding
Kristine on her wedding day 3/24/13
I see every bride at least twice. Once for her trial appointment where we nail down the style she would like to see, and then again on location for her wedding. Let's say I do end up working 41 weddings this year, {not unusual, as I worked 40 wedding in 2012} I will have seen brides 82 times. Now let's say a bride here or there requests a second trial, or would like a trial for her mom/maid of honor/ sister etc., and you get even more bride face time. Now let me also remind you that I have a full clientele who I see regularly at the salon for their cuts, colors, and styles, and you can imagine my little 3 day work weeks get awfully crowded. Today I was on the road by 8am, and came home around 8pm. I actually had an hour long break between my wedding and my salon clients, so today wasn't even that bad. A typical busy weekend will be weddings on Saturday and/or Sunday with salon clients booked whenever I am finished, then coming home to crash on the couch exhausted with swollen feet, burned fingers, new color stains on my clothes, and inevitable cuts on my fingers and hands from sloppy scissor handling. 
Photos from Katie's wedding 1/12/13, my 2nd wedding of 2013!
After 3 years of weddings, Billy is a pro at handling me in raging bitch mode the delicate condition a long weekend of wedding work will leave me in. He starts early the day before a wedding by folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, hand washing dishes, walking the dog, and feeding himself without me having to ask. Then on the day of, he makes my life easy by making his own breakfast and lunch for the day, staying out of my way while I am getting ready to leave, then having food readily available when I am home, taking the dog out, keeping his video games or TV quiet so as not to disturb me, and giving me a Melatonin to help me sleep. He will ask multiple times just what he can do for me, and even make suggestions to help my addled brain decide, if I even want to be given decision making authority at that point. Mainly, he reads my mood and is the best hubby ever. He learned to do this through trial and error, so don't expect your husband to automatically do any of this for you in your time of weakness. There have been many, many phone calls where I yelled unintelligibly about not wanting to have to make a decision about what to eat, I-am-starving-and-you-better-just-feed-me; times where I freak out and tell him not to ask me hard questions like how was your day; and times where I come home to immediately blow up at him for not reading my mind and doing all of the little chores around the house that now fall on me to do.

You guys, he's amazing and I can't believe he's stuck with me so long when I can be a such a heinous monster if I become overly hungry, have to get up early and work all day, when someone was mean to me, or I get my confidence shaken when someone hates their new look I just gave them. 

Love that man.

Now, I think I will show you some of the trials, engagement sessions, and wedding day photos I have taken recently! 
Rachel's trial run for a Golf club wedding {Friday 3/29! She's my next wedding}
Sabrina's trial run
Julie's trial run through
Kelly's engagement photo session hair and makeup
Claire's trial run for a wedding in the redwoods
Carrie's trial run for a SF elopement
I absolutely love my job, even when it turns my brain to a pile of mush. Happy Monday folks!

3.22.2013

Friday's letters 3.22.13

Hellllo Friday! 

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Setting up the weekend by linking up with Ashley for Friday's letters! 

Dear Friday, Welcome back, homie! You are filled with some extra fun girlfriend shenanigans, and I am very much looking forward to it. Yoga with Caroline this AM, then wedding dress shopping with Danielle for Anne's fake wedding {she was married years ago, but never had the chance to try on dresses} this afternoon! 
Dear weekend, go easy on me, will ya? The first official wedding of the season is on Sunday, and it kicks off about 6 months straight of busy-busy-busy for me. 
Dear Billy, your cute face just makes my day. It kinda swells my heart every morning when you leave for work and tell me you wish you could just hang out with me instead. Thanks for making those benefits for us and putting up with retail woes for me :)
Dear Texas, over the last few months my tune has changed from being hesitant about the idea of moving, to actually being enthusiastic about the possibility. I've kicked back a bit this last week on dream house hunting and planning my future Texas life to get some perspective. It would be such a change, {understatement of the year, right there} but I can actually appreciate that change now.  
Dear Costco, the letter you sent Billy saying you received his transfer packet and will be contacted "soon" was such a tease. I really wished you had said "hey, we love you and can't wait to have you on our team!" Another few weeks of waiting it is.
Write your letters and link up with Ashley too! 
Hope you all have a fantastic weekend ahead, see you on the other side of it when my "work weekend" is over ;)

3.19.2013

Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

Head on over and check out Cassie's blog and see what sorts of tastiness she has created lately!
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There are some things in life that just go together well, but none so perfectly as chocolate and peanut butter! The sweet and salty combination is just fabulous, and I am sure 9 out of 10 of you would agree. I'm not even thinking about the people who don't like this combination, because I want to keep you as friends, and if I knew, well then, we couldn't be friends.

Last week Billy's eldest sister celebrated her birthday, and requested chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. I was more than happy to oblige the birthday girl, and though I didn't admit it at first, I knew I was going to have a cupcake, processed sugar be damned. Let's just call it a cheat day. I actually ended up having two cupcakes and a slice of Mama's jelly roll cake. I couldn't help it, once I had a bite of sugar, I needed more. Thankfully I only had a few cravings the next day, and have been able to stick to my no processed sugar plan since.

So for Tasty Tuesday this week, I am bringing you my chocolate peanut butter cupcakes! they were a hit with the family, and had just the right amount of mmm mmmm good to them. I actually think these are the best cupcakes I have made in the last 6 months or so, since there have been some total failures in baking on my part. 
Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcakes
Ingredients:
Chocolate cake
1 box Duncan Hines devil's food cake
1 small box Jell-o chocolate fudge pudding mix
4  egg whites
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup peanut butter chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cupcake tins with liners. In a large bowl, mix together egg whites, sour cream, oil, and water. Add the cake mix and the pudding mix, mixing on low speed until combined. Mix on medium speed for four minutes. the batter will be very thick and pudding-y. Gently fold in the peanut butter chips. Using a small ice cream or medium cookie scoop, fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pans and allow to cool on wire racks. I tossed mine in the freezer for ten minutes because I was in a time crunch. 

Peanut Butter buttercream frosting
Ingredients:
8 tbsp butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1-2 cups powdered sugar (I used about 1 1/2 cups)
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips for garnish

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl fitted with a wire whisk, beat together butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and salt slowly, beating between each scoop until combined. Add in vanilla and milk, beat on low until combined. Beat on medium high for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice, until the frosting is fluffy. You can vary the amount of powdered sugar and milk you add to get the consistency you are looking for. I scooped my frosting into a pipping bag fitted with a large circle frosting tip, then put in the fridge to harden for about 5 minutes. Pipe onto cupcakes, then sprinkled with chocolate chips.


 Let me assure you, these are delicious! The addition of the sour cream and pudding to the cake mix makes for a more durable, and slightly denser cake, and the peanut butter frosting is the perfect blend of salty peanut butter and sweet sugar. I'm actually dying for another cupcake right now as I type, but I will be strong and resist the power of sugar! 

Do yourself a favor and make these the next time you need cupcakes, you will love them!

Mingle Monday 3.18.13

Mingle 240
Stop by Meg's to do a little mingling ;)

Well hello there lovelies, welcome to another week! 

Today concluded another wonderfully successful 3-day weekend of work for me, and after the last few slow weekends, this was a blessing. I even had a two-day multi-process color correction that turned out as perfect as the picture she brought of Keri Russell:
Mind you, she is Asian and had a dark natural color with years of reddish brown at-home box color on it. To say I had my work cut out for me is an understatement. But ta-da! I did it ;) Sorry no before and after pics. I've officially earned my "weekend during the week".

And now the week may begin! 

What do you have planned for this long grueling work week? 

3.15.2013

Friday's Letters 3.15.13

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Happy Friday! Linking up with my girl Ashley over at the Sweet Season for another run at Friday's letters. Go ahead and get your letters written and link up also!

Dear Friday, hey dude, welcome back! You are bringing another 70+ degree day, and ushering in a fabulous looking weekend, or my work week as it is. I won't be able to head outdoors and enjoy the nice weekend as I will be stuck inside the salon beautifying my wonderful clients, but that's the life of a hairstylist I guess.
Dear Billy, I sort of love and hate that you have taken to pretending to not even hear me when I ask you questions you don't want to answer, like "any news about Texas?" or "can you take out the trash?". You are so clever and I can't help but laugh even when it frustrates me ;)
Dear Texas, I'm actually quite excited at the prospect of maybe calling you my new home some day, even if that is completely dependent on factors I cannot control. {no word yet on the position B applied for!} I even tried on cowboy boots while at DSW with Billy on Tuesday, and they weren't awful! I cannot, however, get behind country music just yet. It literally makes me clench my teeth most of the time and I end up turning the station as quick as possible when some twangy stuff comes one. Are there pop-country stations I can listen to instead, because that isn't so bad.
Dear story in my head, I wonder if I will ever be able to write more than character biographies or introductory chapters and actually finish one of the stories that is banging around in my head. I don't think I will ever become a writer if I can't figure out how to find the discipline and focus to write daily.
Dear Spring, welcome! I've spent more time outdoors lately, and I am loving it! The 70+ degree weather is really making me happy, even if I did get a sunburn on my hike yesterday. Hello again, perma-racer back tank tan lines!
Dear BODYPUMP, I would say that my attending two classes this week means you are an instant success in my book. Anyone else ever taken a Les Mills BODYPUMP class before? It's a fabulous  full body workout, and it hurts so good.
Dear Google Reader, what's this I hear about you shutting down? I depend on you to read blogs on my phone. You must have forgotten how much I hate change, as this makes me unhappy. Thankfully I have blog lovin' and will be able to use that.
Dear light bulbs, how many of you have to die at the same time in my house? I currently count 5, and it's getting pretty dark. I guess light bulbs are on my shopping list today ;)

Happy Friday friends! Enjoy the weekend!

3.14.2013

Spring hiking in California

I don't know about where you are at, but Spring is here in California! A few weeks back everything  turned green and exploded into bloom, creating a riot of colors and a feeling of expectation for what's to come. While Autumn remains my favorite season, I absolutely love this time of year for the beauty it brings. The fresh and vibrant colors, the clean breezes that blow away the staleness of winter, and the warmth of the sunshine all make me a very happy girl.

Today I took a break from life and went for a hike in a nearby county park that I knew would renew my attitude {um hello, negative Nancy from Friday's letters!}, let me take a moment to reflect on the beauty all around me, and allow me to soak up the California landscapes while I can.
{with the idea in mind that a move to Texas may eventually happen}
Normally if I feel particularly inspired, I'll snap a pic with my cell phone, but today I had intentions to take photos that I could frame someday when I am missing my California home, so I brought my camera along for the ride, and I am so glad I did! Everything was beautiful! Right now there is green everywhere, but in a month or so all of that green will be golden as the temperatures warm up and the rain stops. Wildflowers were growing like crazy also, creating a kaleidoscope of colors that blended into each other like a painting. I think Sadie got annoyed with me for stopping so often to take photos, but that's OK! California poppies dotted the terrain, creating lovely pops of orange against the sage brush. The other wildflowers remain nameless to me ;)
I hit the top of the Stiles Ranch trail and had to grab my wandering puppy and make her take a photo with me. I wish the sky had been a little less hazy; I just love when it's super blue and sometimes has puffy white clouds drifting lazily across. My sweaty Betty self is showing here, sorry! That trail is particularly tough, with lots of rocky switchbacks to get up to the top. 

Sadie found lots of places to stop and rest. She's a tiny thing at just 12 pounds, and I sometimes forget that for every mile I walk, it would be so much more for her tiny legs. Even so, she is happy as a clam to keep going along and would resent me for leaving her at home because of her size.
Once we hit this stretch of trail bordered by fields of wild mustard {or canola for my Canadian friends} I smiled and grabbed that little dog of mine again for more photos! This one is my new favorite!
While taking photos we were passed by some wild turkeys! They didn't want anything to do with us, but I got a picture anyway. Gobble gobble!
We did see a bobcat lying next to a stream partially concealed by trees and bushes, but Sadie took that moment to bark at a girl taking a photo, so the bobcat left before I could get a picture. I will admit it made me nervous to see a bobcat with Sadie off leash. She is *pretty good* at coming back when I call her, but she's not completely trained or trustworthy to do as commanded around other animals. 
Sadie loved being able to stop and sniff all the smells, check out the bugs, and frolic through the grass! This photo cracked me up with her ears and tail streaming behind her and she dashed about.

All in all we covered close to 4 miles of up and down terrain, so Sadie and I both got a great workout while enjoying the beauty of this California Spring day. Sadie is now fast asleep on the couch beside me, her little feet twitching and moving, I imagine she's dreaming of her hike! 

Hope you all get a chance to enjoy the weather and the outdoors soon!

3.08.2013

Friday's letters 3.8.13

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I am getting my act together and finally linking up with Ashley over at the Sweet Season for today's letters. It's been awhile. Grab yourself a bevy and read some letters, then write your own and let me know!

Dear Billy, you are an amazing husband, and I really appreciate that you are also my very best friend. I mean, who else could possibly stand to put up with my incessant housing market pursuing where I constantly show you all of the houses I want in Sugar Land, or the never ending questions I have regarding your possible transfer, when you obviously have no clue? That's right, only you my handsome man. Thanks for having patience and for humoring me when you can. 
Dear running, why are you sucking so much lately? Seriously, I hate you right now. I am *this close* to kicking you to the curb in favor of cycling, yoga, or DVD workouts. The time apart may do our relationship wonders, even though my previous 5 week break seemed to only make it worse. I want to actually start liking you again, but you are killing me with the shin, calf and achilles pain that two new pairs of shoes aren't curing. Get it together, or you're out of here.
Dear Asics, why the heck did you discontinue my FAVORITE shoe ever?! I blame you, Asics, for ruining my relationship with running. The Landreth is a wonderful, soft, neutral shoe that has served me well the last few years and was always there for me when I strayed to other shoes. But now it's nowhere to be found, and it's all. your. fault. 
Dear blog designers, I am seriously jealous of all of the pretty designs I have been seeing lately on so many blogs, and I am freaking envious of people who can manipulate code and pictures and designs, while I am stuck with my limited knowledge of picmonkey collaging, and stealing photos off the internet. In other words, I suck at making pretty things and I want someone to do it for me. So, who wants to do it for me?
Dear future Sugar Land Costco, um....can you hurry up and get on my time schedule please?! All I want is to know for sure whether Billy will get the optical manager position and cause us to move to Texas. So, be a doll and let us know. But let me down easy if it's a no, cuz ain't nobody got time for that. 
Dear body, I took measurements for the first time in awhile and realized I'm bigger, by a lot, and I don't like it. I was hoping that cutting out processed sugars would help, but it's been a week and I have no patience for waiting to see slow changes. Basically, I'd like to magically revert to where I was a year an a half ago, mmkay? 
Dear Pure Barre workout, holy ish are you hard. I have never felt so out of shape, not athletic, and inflexible as when I am in your classes. You hurt so good that even though I feel like a complete moron who can't lift her leg off the ground when sitting, I'm going to finish up my Groupon anyway.
Dear no processed sugar removal, you're not as bad as I thought you would be. I am impressed with myself so far in how little I have caved, and how I have stuck to my resolve to kick processed sugar out of my life. We shall see how phase two goes, which is to not eat any products that have sugar added, rather than just avoid all sugary treats like phase one. Ketchup and Ritz crackers, I'm looking at you  added sugar weirdos.

3.07.2013

Sugar we're going down

via my whole food life 
Oh dear Lord, what have I gotten myself into? 

My entire life I have been a sugar and high fructose corn syrup super consumer.Healthy in my house growing up was adding canned or frozen veggies alongside our meat and carbs, and lots of packaged "healthy" yet sugary goods to snack on. Chewy peanut butter chocolate granola bars and Goldfish crackers are not healthy, folks.  

As I aged and became smarter, I have learned that sugar is indeed terrible, and a major proponent to my up and down weight. I've written about my sugar addiction extensively here on the blog, usually highlighting how like cocaine sugar is in its addictive qualities. I am no slouch in my research, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that sugar isn't good. Thanks to documentaries like Food, Inc., Hungry for Change, Forks Over Knives, and Vegucated {watched all on Netflix}I was informed that my Standard American Diet, or SAD {ironic, ain't it} is bad for me. Even knowing this, I just ignorantly proclaimed that "Sugar is my vice, man! I have to have something if I don't drink regularly, smoke, or do drugs, right?!" And how hard would it be to get rid of sugar from my diet? Like so hard I have never wanted to try.

So imagine my surprise when I read a New York Times blog article {seriously, read that ish} last week that proclaimed sugar to be a toxin. "Metabolic syndrome {causes chronic disease and diabetes} is a result of insulin resistance, which appears to be a direct result of consumption of added sugars. The take-away: it isn't simply overeating that can make you sick; it’s overeating sugar. We finally have the proof we need for a verdict: sugar is toxic."

You know what was the most tune changing for me? This line: "The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s. You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.”

You see, I HATE cigarettes. I think they are one of the most foul, disgusting, and loathsome things a person can do or put in their body. My mother has smoked pretty much my entire life, and it breaks my heart that she won't, can't or doesn't want to quit. You see, she's addicted to cigarettes and nicotine, just like I am addicted to sugar. How can I allow myself to continue feeding an addiction that is just as bad as the one I hate so passionately? That would be hypocritical and I try to live my life as real as possible, even calling myself out on all my BS. 

So last week I decided to reduce, then remove processed sugar from my diet.

First step, removing products that contain sugar, and other sugar by products. My first day without sugar, I was feigning for something, anything, everything. GIVE ME ALL THE THINGS! MOAR SUGAR! I was prepared though, and had my meals planned, with lots of fruit cut up and ready to snack on, and I even had Simply Light chocolate bars that are no sugar added {although, the malitol sweetener, a sugar alcohol, made me super bloated and gassy, real talk} to get me through my cravings at the beginning. 

I will not be using Splenda or other artificial sweeteners because they are just as bad as sugar. Instead I  will be using stevia in the raw and organic coconut sugar. The coconut sugar especially because it has a low glycemic index, so it doesn't affect blood sugar levels or cause insulin spikes, and stevia is a great natural sweetener. You can check out this Hungry for Change post on nature's best alternatives to sugar if you need more suggestions. This My Whole Foods Life blog post has tips for quitting processed sugar that are also helpful.

I can't promise that I will never eat anything ever again that contains processed sugar, {hello, cupcake addiction} but if I can help it, I will avoid it as much as possible. For now, I am just working on reducing what was already in my diet and replacing it with whole foods, fruits, and natural sweeteners instead. We will see how the cravings go once all processed sugar is out of my diet, and what that looks like in terms of my baking, socializing, and general happiness ;)

3.06.2013

I love you California

On the heels of the post I wrote last night, I thought it was fitting that I happened to see this commercial today! Thanks Hulu for having all sorts of ads to interrupt my viewing of the Client List, which is set in Sugar Land ;)
and then this one:

Texas bound?

Hola chicas, buenos noches! It's Tuesday night and I am catching up on TV with my love, baking a no sugar added, no oil, gluten free banana bread. Wish me luck on that one, I don't have high hopes, but I do have a hankering for lots of bananas. Since my last post was a Tasty Tuesday banana bread post, I'll save you the repeat, and talk about something else that's been on my mind recently: Texas.
As Billy wrote in my birthday guest post, we have been considering a move to Texas. In December, it was to San Antonio. Billy didn't end up getting that position, but at the end of January, a new opportunity was presented. There is a brand new Costco store being built in Sugar Land, an affluent suburb of Houston, that will open in July. A new store means so many things; what Billy and I see as the biggest draw is that he could essentially build his department and train his employees to be exactly what he wanted. No stepping into an established department where he would have to correct bad learned practices and behaviors or deal with resentment of the new manager. It would be his department.
A management position is a huge jump in responsibility and position for Billy. However, he consistently leads in sales and more than meets their objectives, and has been groomed to be a manager since he started over 3 years ago, so this is a great opportunity for him. Doubling his income in a place that is 30-40% less expensive than where we live now is also appealing.
A rendering of the new Sugar Land Costco location via Telfair life
It's also freaking scary for us both to even consider. 

Just on Billy's end, he would be moving away from his immediate family, whom he is incredibly close with, and suffers from homesickness if he doesn't see them every few weeks. To be several thousand miles away from them, instead of 10 minutes away, would be tough. We would have to plan far in advance for when we would travel home, and it would be a bit of a struggle to make that as often as we both would like. 
As for me, I would be starting over, completely. The clientele I have built up and the contacts I have made over the last 7 years were hard earned and trying to re-do all of that won't be easy. I've never lived anywhere else. San Jose is my home, my family is here, my friends all live here, and I know the area so very well. It's intimidating to imagine moving across the country to a place where we don't know a soul, and have to start all over.

The scariest part? Should Billy get the job and be transferred to Sugar Land, he would be going out there as early as May or June. Me? I have weddings booked steady through the end of August, with weddings every other week or so through November. The earliest I could move to Texas? September. A four month separation would be awful. You can believe I've looked at flights, and a $500 booty call to visit my love while we are separated ain't cheap.

Despite all of the scary parts of a possible move across the country, I have been incredibly optimistic! I have been the one pushing Billy to get his recommendation letters from his department manager and the warehouse manager {both were so glowing and wonderful!}. I'm the one asking him every day if everything is all set and ready to be mailed in. I'm on realty sites daily, scouting out the market and dreaming of the homes we could own. I am the one who ordered the relocation guide for the county, reading all 65 pages of it, and I researched the area, finding out the history and learning as much as I can about our possible new home.

I am willing to do all of this is because I am 110% committed to supporting my husband in this endeavor. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is being with my hubby. He's my best friend, and I can do anything with him by my side. The life we could create for ourselves in Texas far exceeds anything we could make here in the Bay Area. Buy a great big house and pay less for a mortgage than we do for rent on our one bedroom apartment? We have our pick of any number of beautiful homes. Save for retirement because we won't be strapped for cash and retiring at 65 and living like kings? No problem. If we one day decided we actually want children? We could afford it.  That all just blows my mind.

I will miss the beautiful Bay Area with it's multitude of amenities, and  proximity to, well, everything wonderful, and the amazing weather we have year round. Moving away doesn't mean we can never come back, or at least visit though. I can get my California fill on those trips to visit family and see friends. I will really miss this little dude, but he already can use an iPad better than I can, and likes to video chat with Billy, so I know we will still "see" him regularly if we leave.
Billy's transfer application went in today. We have no idea when we will hear back about it, so please keep your fingers crossed for us, we need patience and positivity! You better believe I will be keeping you all updated on this, getting it or not. 

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