YEEHAW! LOL! It’s been ONE WHOLE YEAR since this California girl, from Vegas, has been living in this big ol’ state of TEXAS! And, wowsers…what a year it has been! I have learned quite a few things since living here in Houston, that I have never encountered before ever in my life! Lemme break it down for ya…
- Whataburger – This is THE burger fast food chain in Texas that is crazy popular! Without an In N Out in Houston, this has quickly taken place of the best burger in town, er’ state. They have the best Root Beer shakes and their chicken tenders are the bomb dot com. Dip it in the Honey BBQ sauce…yummmm! Don’t forget to order an apple pie!
- Kolaches – sounds like Coal – la – chee. Say HUH? Say YUM! Basically it’s a “pig in a blanket” but a BIG one! The best are from Shipley’s Donuts (another Texas chain and delicious donuts) and my favorite is the jalapeno and sausage with cheese.
- TEX MEX – growing up in California, I have had really good Mexican food (Taco Bell does not count) but TEX MEX is totally different! Chips and Salsa is on a whole other level with Queso and there are these fried tacos….OH EM GEE… Delicioso!
- Sweet Tea – I’ve always liked Sweet Tea, but in Texas there is Sweet Tea and SWEET Tea! If you order a non sweet tea, you get a funny look and a “Sweet Tea, right?”
- Blue Bell Ice Cream – Texans are pretty religious about their Blue Bell Ice Cream. You can visit the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, TX and enjoy their delicious flavors after the tour. Pretty much the entire frozen ice cream section in the grocery stores is 90% Blue Bell Ice Cream!
- Bluebonnets – The Texas State Flower, Bluebonnets are wildflowers that bloom in Spring. They are all over the vast country fields and alongside roads and they are just beautiful. But, you can’t pick them! Just like California’s golden poppies, it’s a BIG No No if you pick them!
- Rodeo – There are Rodeos, and there is the Houston Rodeo, which lasts a whole frickin’ month! Like, days and weeks of it! I had many people telling me that I HAD to check it out, but I’m just not THAT Texan, yet! Apparently, there is more than just bull riding and horses and other stuff that I assume happens at a rodeo, there is lots of BBQ, shopping, carnival rides and concerts. Maybe next year!
- BBQ – For real, the BBQ here is off da hook! I don’t know if it’s just how it’s prepared and cooked, but I think the beef is so much better here! Those Texas cattle…they must be fed giant corn with spices or something!
- Cowboy Boots – I remember in Vegas there were the Boot Barn stores, but in Texas, people take their Boots very seriously. It’s like purchasing a fancy car…fancy boots are a big investment.
- Ma’am and Sir – everyone uses Ma’am and Sir a lot. A LOT. At first, it was just weird to be called Ma’am, and it was something I had to consciously remember to say after every “YES”, “NO” or “Thank You”. Because if you don’t, you will be given the evil eye. Now, my girls are saying it, and it’s really cute. So polite!
I wouldn’t say that I completely feel like I fit in yet. I do feel like a bit of an outsider. The majority of the folks that I meet and work with have been born in this state and their state pride is BIG! Every house in our neighborhood has either a Texas flag or a big Lonestar proudly displayed on their exterior. On freeways and buildings you’ll find the lone star emblazoned within the concrete walls and facades. Texas State shaped dishes, cutting boards, hamburger patty molds, bird baths, wrought iron, clothing, and anything that can display a logo, you will find anywhere and everywhere. It’s pretty serious. So, I’m always a bit shy to say that I’m originally from California, so I lead with the fact that I just moved here from Las Vegas. It makes for fun story telling and I get a lot of questions.
The more that I meet people in the creative and blogging community, the more and more I’m amazed at how everyone is so warm and welcoming! It really is that southern hospitality that you hear so much about, and here I am the cynic that thinks that everyone wants something (that’s Cali thinking for you). I’ve made some great new friends this past year that have really broadened my view that no matter where you were born, we all have so much in common.
What is on the horizon this year living in Texas? Well, my husband and I are finally putting down some roots and we are purchasing a house this year! No more moving for a LOOOOONG while! It’s something that we have always wanted to do, and have a house to call HOME for our girls. I may even put up a big ol’ lonestar!
I also want to start exploring outside of Houston, taking weekend trips to Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. Maybe hit up Waco, too, to visit the Magnolia Silos. Texas is a huge state and filled with rich history and places to explore. I feel like I’m beginning a new chapter in this book called Life.
Did I miss anything? Where should I visit in Texas this year? Where are your favorite places and things that you love about your state?
Photo Credit – Taylor Elizabeth Photography , Houston, TX
Wall Mural – Colorful Graphic Wall, Pavement Clothing Store Parking lot on Westheimer in Montrose, Houston.