Elizabeth, or Betty as she prefers to be called, is from Guadalajara. Being a single mother with four daughters, she moved to La Peñita de Jaltemba in September of 2002 in part to fulfill her father’s wishes. Her father Heliodoro Nuñez Casilla, who was separated from his wife, lived alone on a ranch in La Peñita. Betty sensed his loneliness and a compelling need to have his family closer. Without fail, every time she visited he would tell her that she needed to live in La Peñita, even if it was just for a little while.
Heliodoro, a renowned chef, had worked at some of the best restaurants in Guadalajara and Mazatlan. Although he had every intention of retiring on the ranch he purchased in La Peñita, he continued to ply his trade. He provided catering services for large events which included numerous Quinceañeras (the celebration of a young woman’s coming of age on her fifteenth birthday) and weddings, for which he also baked elaborate cakes. Betty was his only daughter and he wanted her to move to La Peñita, to help him out with catering events.
Betty worked as an English teacher and as receptionist at a school in Guadalajara. She mulled over her father’s wishes for over two years, before moving here “kit and caboodle.” The caboodle included her daughters Naomi (10), Maria (7) nicknamed Fernanda, Andrea (1) and Dulce nicknamed Daniela, who was on the way at the time!
Although Betty moved here primarily to fulfill her father’s wishes, she also made the life-changing move because she saw a lot of opportunity in Jaltemba Bay and she wanted to be her own boss. Moreover, she relished the opportunity to provide her daughters the experience of living somewhere new, and the same business and career opportunities she would have.
A Fruitful Career in Catering
Shortly after relocating to La Peñita, her dad introduced her to a few folks living in the residential area of Guayabitos, as means to “get her foot in the door” to catering special events. A couple of these folks included Mona and Charley Bryant of Casa de Ensueños, a popular beachfront Bed & Breakfast in Guayabitos. Mona had a heap of English books and she used these books to enhance Betty’s skills in English, for free. Mona also recommended her to others for catering events.
Betty’s apprenticeship as a chef began at the early age of six, under the watchful eyes of her loving father. She loves to cook and her friends attribute her natural talent in creating culinary delicacies, to Heliodoro and the family gene pool.
For those first few events, Betty hosted events featuring simple, traditional Mexican dishes, featuring tacos, tortillas and tostadas; filled and topped with an assortment of delectable toppings and fillings. She excelled at catering events because she loved to create a variety of dishes, featuring flavors that were very different, that complemented each other. She introduced her guests to a multitude of memorable flavors, meats and salsas to experience.
Indeed, Debra Triplett of Casa de los Pelicanos first met Betty on recommendation from Mona, to hire her to cater a special event. Debra and Betty, immediately clicked, and a few years later, Casa Cooking was born.
A Mary Kay Success Story
So far, you know that Betty is a single mom who has raised four daughters, and a great chef who caters events and partners with Debra Triplett of Casa Cooking to run a successful cooking program. What else could this single Mom with four daughters possibly find the time to do? Well, you should know that Betty’s primary business is acting as director of Mary Kay, where she is currently responsible for holding classes on sales skills for 60 women.
Betty has been with Mary Kay for 7 years and after working for them for just 14 months she was made director of the Jaltemba Bay area. She quickly learned that she had excellent sales skills and great teaching ability. Her Mary Kay protégées come mostly from Jaltemba Bay, but also from Lo de Marcos, Sayulita, Compostela and Tepic. Betty adores working with these women, building their confidence and says that the reward is the ability to make a discernible difference in the quality of their lives. She says that once she brings them on-board her Mary Kay sales team, she takes great pleasure in watching them start to feel good about themselves, taking better care of themselves, and having the confidence to earn a living!
On the day of our interview, Betty was off to receive a special award from Mary Kay, the Diamond Ring Award to recognize her for her outstanding teaching ability and for building a team of 60 salespersons. This will be her fourth ring! She has received three other rings in recognition of her outstanding sales achievement, and has plans to pass on all four rings, one to each daughter, in commemoration of some special occasion.
This summer Betty attended a Mary Kay conference in Mexico City… and she enthusiastically states, “yes, this is the life!” She is thoroughly enjoying her career with Mary Kay. What else does she hope to achieve? The ultimate reward, a pink car! Once she has 100 women under her leadership, maintaining the same current high level of sales, the pink car is hers to call her own. It is called Mary Kay’s Grand Achiever Award, and I have no doubt that she will achieve this goal quickly!
She’s a Super Achiever
Betty loves to teach cooking and sales skills, because she loves to help others to learn, and she is always excited to see her students’ progress. She has an outgoing personality, a strong ability to teach and a great sense of humour. This woman is vivacious, self-motivated and hard working.
Betty purchased a home in La Peñita and shortly after, her mother moved here from Guadalajara to live with her. Two of her daughters, Naomi and Fernanda, are now attending post-secondary education. Maria, is now 17 years old is studying to be a nurse. Naomi, who is now 20 years of age, is studying ecology and green tourism. Andrea is currently 11 years old and her sister Daniela is now 9 years old. Andrea and Daniela attend elementary school in La Peñita.
On Living in Jaltemba Bay
Betty likes living in La Peñita and says that she is enjoying a quieter lifestyle with longer days. I asked Betty why she enjoys the longer days and she told me it was because it means, she has more time to accomplish her goals! When she was living in Guadalajara she had long commutes everywhere, which did not leave her enough time in the day to accomplish everything she wished to do. Whereas when living in La Peñita, she can drive to Puerto Vallarta and to Tepic in the same day! Are there any downsides of living here? Yes! She says that the cost of living in La Peñita is about twice as much as it is in Guadalajara.
What else does she have to say about living in La Peñita? That life here is relaxed and comfortable and less competitive. Although she is seemingly working all of the time when she does have some free time, she enjoys relaxing by nesting at home and reading a good book. She loves the quiet life and the abundant natural beauty found in Jaltemba Bay.
Her favorite restaurants in Jaltemba Bay include Piña Colada for the fajitas, the new Tonita’s on the beach by the Hotel Decameron Los Cocos, Irma’s La Casita and La Avenida for good, traditional Mexican fare. She thinks that Piña Colada Restaurant is extra special because of the friendly owners and the fact, that each and every dish served, is made from scratch.
Betty loves the entire area but when pressed to pick favorites she says that they are Lo de Marcos beach and Sayulita. Why Sayulita? She says that it is “taco de ojo,“ a feast for the eyes! (a good or pleasant sight). Did you ever notice how good looking everyone and everything in Sayulita is? “Yes, indeed,” I reply while dreaming of the day, Jaltemba Bay will have pretty pink concrete sidewalks like Sayulita has.
To read about other interesting folks, click on the “Meet Local Folks” link under categories.