Surviving Texas

While I’m not completely new to Southern living since I lived in Nashville for eight years not that long ago, I will confess that living in Texas has been a major shock to my system after four years back in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

For one, I’d forgotten (or simply blocked out) just how hot and sticky the summers are, and for another, I’m still getting used to being called “honey” and “sweetie” by complete strangers all over again.

Of course, the people in Minnesota are known for being nice (hence the expression “Minnesota nice”), but this brand of friendly sometimes catches you off guard—like when your Starbucks barista says “I’ve got a non-fat iced caramel macchiato for sweetie pie,” and you know she means you.

But in my quest for survival in the Big D, I have stumbled upon a few new essentials that have made life downright bearable. So with no further adieu, here are my favorite five items I’ve only recently learned that I can’t live without.

1) Greta, my GPS—Yeah, I know it’s a crutch, but have you ever tried driving in a place with a gazillion three-number freeways and the craziest drivers known to man? Here I’d always thought the Nashville drivers were the nuttiest lot around, but now I know they’re downright tame compared to the swerving, turn-signal eschewing, cut-in-front-of-you-with-their-gigantic, jacked-up-trucks Texans. But thanks to bossy ol’ Greta (yep, I named her), I don’t get lost while trying to navigate the Texas highways—a giant relief to say the least.

2)Smashbox Photo Finish primer. Truth be told, foundation and copious amounts of sweat aren’t exactly bosom buddies. And while I’d love to be one of those au naturel, makeup free beauties, I just don’t feel quite “ready” without it. So what’s a girl to do when the dewy look has gone seriously greasy? Well, I gave the Smashbox Photo Finish primer a try, and low and behold, my face doesn’t look all nasty when I’m out in all that hot sunshine. It keeps everything in place and is weightless to boot—what’s not to love?

3)Garnier Fructus smoothing serum. It’s cheap and keeps my frizzies at bay. ‘Nuff said.

4)Magazine subscriptions. When you’re getting your house all organized and are still working, working, working, there’s not much time for reading books (as sad as that is). But magazines? That’s another story. You can flip your way through (and read a few articles) in no time at all. So thank you Real Simple, Food Network Magazine, In Style and Entertainment Weekly for keeping me informed without taking much time at all.

5)Super Target—Oh how I love thee, I can’t even begin to count the ways. In addition to having yummy produce and the roasted red pepper hummus I like, you’ve got everything else I need, too (lightbulbs, Advil, throw pillows, cheap dishes when your movers have broken most of yours) all in one handy place—genius.

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