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#1 of 30 Old 06-14-2010, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas!

My husband is most likely going to be relocated to Houston with JP Morgan and will be working at the JP Morgan building downtown on Travis St. What would be nice suburbs to check out that have good schools, some crunchy mamas would be great, and housing for under 200K? Also, close locality to a Whole Foods or health food store would be cool too! He would prefer to commute under 1 hour if possible. Thanks for any insight!!

Melissa
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#2 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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Hi Mamas!

My husband is most likely going to be relocated to Houston with JP Morgan and will be working at the JP Morgan building downtown on Travis St. What would be nice suburbs to check out that have good schools, some crunchy mamas would be great, and housing for under 200K? Also, close locality to a Whole Foods or health food store would be cool too! He would prefer to commute under 1 hour if possible. Thanks for any insight!!

Melissa
Okay- under an hour will be anything closer than Kingwood/Woodlands/Galveston etc. Anything closer than that will get you under an hour- as a rule. Depends on traffic of course. At peak time 15 miles can take you an hour.

Under 200k you'll be able to find anywhere outside the loop (would be hard-pressed in West U/Bellaire/Heights, but other than that, you'd be fine.)

What do you consider good schools? Public? Private? Magnets? Choices? or neighborhood schools?

-Angela
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#3 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply Angela! I would probably be looking for good public schools, I don't know that we could afford private. I also do not not know what magnet schools are, what is that? Thanks!
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#4 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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Magnet schools are schools with a special focus (public) that you can transfer into instead of going to your neighborhood school. Magnets might include - gifted and talented, math, science, fine arts, computers, etc.



-Angela
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#5 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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Sugar Land fits the bill. We're right near 59, a major highway into downtown. Not sure what the commute is like in rush hour, but less than an hour. There are even commuter vans and such that go downtown and utilize the HOV lanes for faster transit.

There are a handful of Whole Foods in the Houston area, and we've got one. We are moving (within Sugar Land) and one of my criteria has been how far we are from WF. Our home right now is about 5 minutes away. Love it!

Public schools here are reputed to be quite good. We homeschool, so I don't have personal experience, but I'd say 80-90% of my friends have their kids in the Sugar Land public schools and are very happy with them.

For magnet schools, I have only heard of them in Houston ISD, but know some people who have attended them and loved them, and moved into Houston specifically to be able to transfer to them.

There is a wide variance in home values around here, but you can certainly find a nice house in a good, established neighborhood for $200k or less. You may not get into a master-planned community for that, but there are plenty of other convenient, attractive, safe neighborhoods around.

HTH!

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#6 of 30 Old 06-17-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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Why not start with locations of Whole Foods and go from there? Also, under 1 hour commute could be during rush hour or could be on an early/late schedule. How far away from WF do you want to be? Keep in mind, that there are now many grocery stores in the Houston are that starting to carry more and more organic and/or bulk foods. Under $200k is easy but definitely outside the 610 loop and possibly Beltway 8. It all depends on what kind of neighborhood you want. Personally, unless we were doing a magnate school, I would not send my children to HISD. Check out HAR for housing listings. That will give you an idea of what's available.

Good luck!

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#7 of 30 Old 06-17-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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Personally, unless we were doing a magnate school, I would not send my children to HISD.
And I wouldn't send my kids to Katy schools because there isn't any choice All depends on what you're looking for. FWIW though most HISD schools are magnets for something.

-Angela
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#8 of 30 Old 06-17-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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If you don't have to live in the suburbs, there are plenty of great town homes in the 77057 zip code in Briargrove/tanglewood that one can purchase for under $200,000 and live within 20 minutes of downtown during rush hour, 5 minutes of Whole Foods, and nearby Briargrove Elementary is supposed to be a good school, but I can't speak from experience.

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#9 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone! I would really love to actually homeschool, but I'm still trying to convince my DH.
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#10 of 30 Old 06-24-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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I work downtown, so needless to say I know the commute to travis st quite well and if you want a commute that under an hour on a regular basis you have to live inside of the beltway. The second that you go outside of the beltway during rush hour your commute goes from 30-40 minutes to an hour. If he can handle the commute of a little over an hour then the further out suburbs will work.

I live in Spring Branch, right inside the beltway. The schools are not awful, they are not HISD and they have a lot of resources (read: money) so they have some good opportunities. For example, when I was young (many years ago!) we were the first schools in Texas to have a full suite for 3D animation and non linear editing for the students who wanted to go into that field. The prices for houses are around what you are looking for, it depends on the size that you need. Mid century modern homes, ranch house style, mid 50's to mid 60's.

We have two WF within relatively close distance to us. One is around 10 minutes, the other 15. Neither really too close, but we have an amazing HEB that doesnt make me miss whole foods a whole lot.

I like where I live and with the downtown commute it is a happy medium I think. You could find houses close to the city in the Oak Forest area for similar prices I believe as well. I have friends that live there and quite like the area.

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#11 of 30 Old 06-27-2010, 09:36 AM
 
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Why not start with locations of Whole Foods and go from there?
LOL that's pretty much what I'm doing! We're moving BACK to houston in a few weeks and being near WF (or equivalent-- are there any independent health food stores? i can't recall...) is a priority....

can't wait to catch up with you mamas again-- and meet some new people too

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#12 of 30 Old 06-27-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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Vanessa- in the time you've been gone the "mainstream" groceries have really caught up. The Krogers by me has a lot of what we get. I need VERY occasional trips to WF (for food stuff their prices are outrageous unless it's their store brand) and Central Market. I actually get a lot of my food from Costco- they carry tons of organics and such.

-Angela
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#13 of 30 Old 06-27-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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I need VERY occasional trips to WF (for food stuff their prices are outrageous unless it's their store brand) and Central Market.
-Angela
My experience is quite different. I consider Whole Foods reasonable and Kroger outrageously expensive for natural, organic and gluten free products.

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#14 of 30 Old 06-27-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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My experience is quite different. I consider Whole Foods reasonable and Kroger outrageously expensive for natural, organic and gluten free products.
Fascinating! I know different Krogers charge different prices and I wonder if that's what's in play. Everything I've compared at the two I can get the exact product cheaper at Krogers. Only things worth getting at WF are things they carry in 365 brand. We're not gluten free though. But we buy a lot of other natural and organics.

-Angela
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#15 of 30 Old 06-28-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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And I hate going to Kroger because the selection is so limited. It also drives me nuts that only a very small percentage of the store is anything I'd consider purchasing. Whole Foods is like freedom to me.

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#16 of 30 Old 06-28-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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And I hate going to Kroger because the selection is so limited. It also drives me nuts that only a very small percentage of the store is anything I'd consider purchasing. Whole Foods is like freedom to me.
This makes me feel totally spoiled because with the HEB near me and the Costco there is nothing (except for the 365 stuff) that I have to buy at WF. I also find that the prices are WF are much higher than my HEB and Costco. I am sure that the HEB near me is not really the "normal" one though... so that might be it. Our HEB has an even bigger GF section than WF does!!

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#17 of 30 Old 06-28-2010, 06:19 PM
 
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This makes me feel totally spoiled because with the HEB near me and the Costco there is nothing (except for the 365 stuff) that I have to buy at WF. I also find that the prices are WF are much higher than my HEB and Costco. I am sure that the HEB near me is not really the "normal" one though... so that might be it. Our HEB has an even bigger GF section than WF does!!
I get a LOT at costco. We go at least once a week, Krogers more like every other week.

And our kroger is one of the better as far as naturals are concerned from my experience. I suspect it's because we're still close-in and have a high crunchy concentration BUT are not super close to a WF or Central Market (by close-in distance standards )

-Angela
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#18 of 30 Old 06-29-2010, 09:21 AM
 
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Fascinating! I know different Krogers charge different prices and I wonder if that's what's in play. Everything I've compared at the two I can get the exact product cheaper at Krogers. Only things worth getting at WF are things they carry in 365 brand. We're not gluten free though. But we buy a lot of other natural and organics.

-Angela
I doubt it. I have stopped at Kroger in various parts of the city when needing last minute items, and I cringe. I am sure that in the main part of the store the prices are less, but item for item the natural foods section is at least $$.50 more than Whole Foods. Some items are almost $2 to $3 dollars more.

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And I hate going to Kroger because the selection is so limited. It also drives me nuts that only a very small percentage of the store is anything I'd consider purchasing. Whole Foods is like freedom to me.
This is how I feel. I can shop at WHole Foods and not worry about GMOs, carbon dioxide and pesticides.

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This makes me feel totally spoiled because with the HEB near me and the Costco there is nothing (except for the 365 stuff) that I have to buy at WF. I also find that the prices are WF are much higher than my HEB and Costco. I am sure that the HEB near me is not really the "normal" one though... so that might be it. Our HEB has an even bigger GF section than WF does!!
Maybe we should compare grocery lists , because I don't have the same experience at the HEB you mention.

I am a frequent Costco shopper and their organic prices are great.

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#19 of 30 Old 06-29-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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I doubt it. I have stopped at Kroger in various parts of the city when needing last minute items, and I cringe. I am sure that in the main part of the store the prices are less, but item for item the natural foods section is at least $$.50 more than Whole Foods. Some items are almost $2 to $3 dollars more.


This is how I feel. I can shop at WHole Foods and not worry about GMOs, carbon dioxide and pesticides.



Maybe we should compare grocery lists , because I don't have the same experience at the HEB you mention.

I am a frequent Costco shopper and their organic prices are great.
I am curious why you think that shopping at WF means that you dont have to worry about pesticides? They have conventional stuff too it isnt all organic.

My grocery list basically consists of all organic fruits and veggies, very little packaged stuff except for eggs, yogurt, and other dairy stuff. I dont get any personal care stuff because I get everything through frontier co-op so maybe that is a huge difference. I also get my meat through Paidom so maybe WF has a better meat selection.

I have actually compared the HEB on bunker hill and the WF's (even the big kirby one) and have found that the HEB has much more variety of organics when even WF does, especially for packaged stuff. Even the detergent that I use (Biokleen) has more varieties at HEB. At WF they just had the premium plus which has stuff that I dont want in it for my cloth diapers, and at HEB they had the regular good old fashioned one.

Going back to the OP though, years ago I was so happy to be close to a WF because I could not get anything that I wanted to buy except for there and now I go once every 6 weeks or so when I get a craving for anything 365.

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#20 of 30 Old 06-29-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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I doubt it. I have stopped at Kroger in various parts of the city when needing last minute items, and I cringe. I am sure that in the main part of the store the prices are less, but item for item the natural foods section is at least $$.50 more than Whole Foods. Some items are almost $2 to $3 dollars more.
That's really odd. We must be getting different things The items I get there are way cheaper at Kroger than WF- crackers, cookies, cereal- about the only non-fresh foods we get. A few things I've found cheaper at Target actually, but for the rest Kroger consistently beats out WF. BUT we're not GF, so perhaps that's the difference?

-Angela
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#21 of 30 Old 06-29-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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I am curious why you think that shopping at WF means that you dont have to worry about pesticides? They have conventional stuff too it isnt all organic.
:

I won't buy any produce at WF as a rule- most is conventional and even that is way more expensive than anywhere else.

-Angela
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#22 of 30 Old 06-29-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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I worked downtown before DS was born and it took me 30 min from my driveway to my parking garage at work most days. I live in Kingwood. There's not a WF here but there is an HEB that carries a huge selection of organic produce and lots of playgroups (some crunchy, most mainstream) and lots of trails (called Green Belts) that go through the neighborhoods. It's a lovely, peaceful place to live.

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#23 of 30 Old 07-03-2010, 03:03 AM
 
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This is exactly the thread I was looking for! We are preparing to move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Houston. DH will be working in downtown Houston. We were so disappointed to learn that the Houston chapter of Holistic Moms Network disbanded, as that is definitely my tribe here in the Bay Area.

One of you mentioned in a post that you live in a high concentration of crunchy mamas. Where is that?

I don't want to venture into the Whole Foods debate, but I am definitely going to miss my local Trader Joe's here. Are organic foods pretty mainstream in the Houston area? What about local produce? Are there organic farms offering CSA shares? And hormone-free/organic meats?

For schools, we are probably going to go the Montessori route. When I Google "Montessori Houston" I get lots of results. Do any of you in Houston have more specific feedback? My girls are 3 and 1, so I'm concerned about Kindergarten and early elementary in the next few years.

We have been considering living inside the loop if we can find a nice home with space (we really want a good sized yard, like 1/2 acre), or else up the direction of Spring. DH will be permitted to work from home a lot and make a schedule that will allow him to miss the worst of rush hour, but living within 20 minutes still sounds like a dream. So we are really unsure about whether to stick to inside the loop or venture further out. The housing prices seem rock bottom to us after struggling with the concept of buying in California for the last few years (and ultimately deciding not to), but part of the purpose of the move is to live more within our means so we don't want to splurge on housing either. I'd say we'd like to stay under $350,000.

TIA!
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#24 of 30 Old 07-03-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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I am curious why you think that shopping at WF means that you dont have to worry about pesticides? They have conventional stuff too it isnt all organic.

My grocery list basically consists of all organic fruits and veggies, very little packaged stuff except for eggs, yogurt, and other dairy stuff. I dont get any personal care stuff because I get everything through frontier co-op so maybe that is a huge difference. I also get my meat through Paidom so maybe WF has a better meat selection.

I have actually compared the HEB on bunker hill and the WF's (even the big kirby one) and have found that the HEB has much more variety of organics when even WF does, especially for packaged stuff. Even the detergent that I use (Biokleen) has more varieties at HEB. At WF they just had the premium plus which has stuff that I dont want in it for my cloth diapers, and at HEB they had the regular good old fashioned one.

Going back to the OP though, years ago I was so happy to be close to a WF because I could not get anything that I wanted to buy except for there and now I go once every 6 weeks or so when I get a craving for anything 365.
I was referring to the organic selections. At least we are loyal to our stores!

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This is exactly the thread I was looking for! We are preparing to move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Houston. DH will be working in downtown Houston. We were so disappointed to learn that the Houston chapter of Holistic Moms Network disbanded, as that is definitely my tribe here in the Bay Area.

One of you mentioned in a post that you live in a high concentration of crunchy mamas. Where is that?

I don't want to venture into the Whole Foods debate, but I am definitely going to miss my local Trader Joe's here. Are organic foods pretty mainstream in the Houston area? What about local produce? Are there organic farms offering CSA shares? And hormone-free/organic meats?

For schools, we are probably going to go the Montessori route. When I Google "Montessori Houston" I get lots of results. Do any of you in Houston have more specific feedback? My girls are 3 and 1, so I'm concerned about Kindergarten and early elementary in the next few years.


TIA!
Montessori-
Most of the schools that you Google are not "real" Montessori schools. I have friends that attend schools that are Montessori in name only. The Post Oak School (AMI) and School of The Woods (AMS) are the only two that I can recommend in good conscious, and even I prefer The Post Oak School greatly. The tuition is reasonable, similar at both schools and comparable to other private schools in the city.

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School of the Woods sounds amazing, and I love that it goes through high school. Is that in the Spring Branch neighborhood? What is the neighborhood like? Ideally I'd like to live within a couple miles of my children's school. This would also be relatively close to DH's work in downtown.
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#26 of 30 Old 07-04-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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Montessori-
Most of the schools that you Google are not "real" Montessori schools. I have friends that attend schools that are Montessori in name only. The Post Oak School (AMI) and School of The Woods (AMS) are the only two that I can recommend in good conscious, and even I prefer The Post Oak School greatly. The tuition is reasonable, similar at both schools and comparable to other private schools in the city.
"reasonable" tuition is of course objective. Most families I know find Post Oak tuition to be completely out of reach to ever consider.

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School of the Woods sounds amazing, and I love that it goes through high school. Is that in the Spring Branch neighborhood? What is the neighborhood like? Ideally I'd like to live within a couple miles of my children's school. This would also be relatively close to DH's work in downtown.
School of the Woods is in the Spring Branch area. There are ALL sorts of different neighborhoods in the area- from a little run down to oh-my-gosh mansions.

-Angela
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#27 of 30 Old 07-05-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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School of the Woods sounds amazing, and I love that it goes through high school. Is that in the Spring Branch neighborhood? What is the neighborhood like? Ideally I'd like to live within a couple miles of my children's school. This would also be relatively close to DH's work in downtown.
Choosing a school that goes through High School was important to me too. We applied to two schools for my son, The Post Oak School and a school that is PK3-12th grade. He was accepted to both, and choosing was an agonizing experience. I love Montessori, but I was deterred by the fact that the school did not extend beyond the 8th grade. Private school competition is fierce, and I was worried about my son not gaining admission to a good private school, so we chose the non Montessori route.

My son's school is on the fringe of Spring Branch, and I can reach downtown in about 15 minutes.

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#28 of 30 Old 07-06-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AndrewsMother View Post
The Post Oak School (AMI) and School of The Woods (AMS) are the only two that I can recommend in good conscious, and even I prefer The Post Oak School greatly. The tuition is reasonable, similar at both schools and comparable to other private schools in the city.
I think the Post Oak school is a lot more expensive, like 20% more if I recall. I guess reasonable depends on what you are comparing too. But for my family they are not reasonable at all.

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#29 of 30 Old 07-07-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by almadianna View Post
I think the Post Oak school is a lot more expensive, like 20% more if I recall. I guess reasonable depends on what you are comparing too. But for my family they are not reasonable at all.
You are right, there is a difference in price. In my mind that there is not that much of a difference between $13,000 and $16,000. I would not base my final decision on a difference of $3000 if I like the philosophy of one school over the other.

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#30 of 30 Old 07-12-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by buksnbootz View Post
This is exactly the thread I was looking for! We are preparing to move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Houston. DH will be working in downtown Houston. We were so disappointed to learn that the Houston chapter of Holistic Moms Network disbanded, as that is definitely my tribe here in the Bay Area.
We are moving from the SF Bay area to Houston this Winter too. We have been looking in the Woodlands/Spring area as well. I will be imploring family to ship me some of my favorite TJ items.

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