The one pesky black hair on my chin seems to be growing faster these days. It has refrained from multiplying, however, so that’s still working in my favor. I’m no bearded lady. I’m just a more frequent plucker.

In more Jen-related news, when I cook dinner, I’ve been making double everything and putting one finished meal in the freezer for future easy-reheating. It’s because life is about to get seriously hectic.

Why, you ask? Because the rumors are true. I’m leaving Chico.

I’m heading back to the Bay Area to become the Production Supervisor for a specialty chocolate company based out of San Leandro, CA. My first task: attend The Fancy Food Show in NYC. Then, I’ll move on to learning the ropes, overseeing production, and marketing lovely tea-infused artisan chocolates to domestic and international buyers. Sign me up, bro.

In more good news: with some severe arm-twisting, Calvosa said I could keep writing this column. I’m super excited because: 1) I love this column, 2) I’ll have access to fun foodie things in the Bay Area that I’ll share with you, 3) It’ll keep me connected to Chico so I won’t feel totally lost and distant without all of you, and 4) When I visit, you’ll know it because all those Synthie Duffy’s bucks will have been stockpiled and drinks are on me. Sheez.

Finally, I’m marrying my long-time friend, Mick Grochol.

We relate on some level that is cellular, deep, easy, and beautiful. Sara Calvosa asked, “Are you like, attached at the belly-button soul mates?” We feel like we’re somehow attached at the frontal lobe.

Even though the physical distance between us currently spans the three-hour drive between San Francisco and Chico (duuumb), we can feel each other wake up in the morning. He’ll send me texts that say, “Yep. Another day waking up in love with you.” And I turn into a puddle of molten chocolate before getting out of bed. Melted Jen requires a chocolate mold, which Mick happily provides from the wealth of products available at Williams-Sonoma, where he works at the corporate level, and consequently, gets discounts. Score!

We’re moving to the East Bay for the easily accessible BART stations and good schools. I have family there, Mick has family there, and the kids know the area—they made great friends very quickly when we lived there previously. Bonus: my oldest son will regain access to Buckhorn Grille—the one thing he was sad to leave in the Bay.

I can go back to playing softball with the Richardheads (I’ll love you forever Synthesizers!) with girls I played ball with back in high school. Adult co-ed softball is basically a large-scale drinking game: better than beer pong, and requiring stronger athleticism. So you have a few drinks, hit some balls, and say mean things to people you don’t know.

And, you marry your favorite person. Duh. I love you, Chico!

Jen Cartier misses Chico! However, she has taken to the great beyond (er...The Bay Area) to be some kind of chocolate maven while simultaneously figuring out how the hell to navigate her long-ass work commute, and still kick ass at raising three munchkins, loving one soon-to-be husband, and keeping one rascally Brittany Spaniel in the damned yard. She loves Nutella, red wine, and American Spirits. She takes her dog along on runs to wear him out (sometimes he shits in someone else's yard - bonus!) and also to balance her own general consumption of all the fine tasty things life offers, ciggys included. Follow her blog at