June 30, 2010

Sharing the Love!


In the world of southern blogging, we belles gotta stick together! That’s why I’m oh so excited to be honored with an award by that cutie-pie herself, the Brown-Eyed-Belle! I’ve been reading her blog for some time now and now she’s a fan of mine as well! Is this too mushy for you? Julie, here’s a HUGE thank you and if I could, I’d hug your neck! You are too sweet.

The rules: Select five words that summarize your blogging philosophy, motivation and experience. Then pass the award along to five new blog favorites!

1. Southern- surely I don’t have to explain this one! DSC00844

2. Simplistic- I’m all about easy projects & recipes that don’t take too much time or energy (and especially don’t require mathematical skills)repurposed plates tiered stand

3. Relatable- While I do enjoy a few “high society” blogs, you won’t find much of that here…I’m all me, down-to-earth, all the timefront porch farm

4. Hospitable- This is where I turn on my southern charm and try to make all visitors to my blog feel so at home here that they never want to leave!Cupcake Doormat

5. Refreshing- I would wish for my blog to bring a little breath of fresh air and provide a small bright spot in an otherwise average daycountry lane edit

Cherish a’ la Southern Soulmates

JDB a’ la Chin Up, Pretty Smile, Give ‘Em Hell

Cass a’ la That Old House

Erica a’ la Fashion Meets Food

Buckhead Belle

So if you’re in the market for a few new blogs to read, check out these fun ladies! You won’t be disappointed, I promise! And if you are looking for a little southern belle gear, visit my new cafepress shop! I’ll be adding things from time to time also!

June 29, 2010

Where we come from

miss kathy callahan rose The following is an excerpt from “What Southern Women Know About Faith” by Rhoda Rich. It really spoke to me and I wanted to share!

“To Southerners, a sense of place is enormously important and often defines who we are…for it tells from where we come. Returning to that familiar place on a regular basis tucks us securely into the bosom of our lineage and reminds us of those who have come before us and built the foundations of our families.”


I don’t know about y’all, but I am ever-so thankful for the ones who came before me and I feel awfully blessed to have been loved by them. Being southern is more than just funny sayin’s or curious behaviors or even delicious food…it goes much deeper than that.

Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is going well!

June 28, 2010

Bag or bargain?

Coach  Handbags - Windows Internet Explorer 6282010 40121 PM.bmp{a loverly bag I might scrimp and save for}
This past Saturday was a great day for junkin' in my small southern city. My faithful yard sale buddy and I turned up lots of treasures in just a few short (HOT!) hours. At one particular sale, the guy in charge of the goods tried to convince me to buy a "real" Coach purse for the low, low price of $30. I knew from a quick glance that it was, in fact, a fake Coach and a poor fake at that. But this got me to thinking about the idea of real vs. fake.
coach coral handbag.bmp
I would rather buy a cute purse that doesn't break the bank even if it's not a well-known brand. I have a couple of faux designer bags (bought out of cardboard boxes on Canal St. while I was in my early 20s...when that sort of thing seemed to matter a lot  more). At this stage in the game, I just don't care as much to have the status bag. Maybe I'm just fooling myself because the truth is I can't really afford to drop a few hundred or even a thousand bucks on a purse. But even if I could, I'm not sure that I would.

I love luxurious beautiful things and I certainly don't begrudge anybody who has them. I'm just curious about what y'all think on the matter.

June 26, 2010

It’s a Mad Mad World!

Happy Saturday to you and a very merry mad tea party experience to all! If you aren’t familiar with the talented Miss V over at A Fanciful Twist, do not delay and visit her blog! She is hosting all of us for a sweet affair today…a Mad Tea Party! Maybe you’ve noticed that button in my side bar for these last couple of months and now all of the planning is behind us and we can celebrate!
{first we need some blooms to decorate our table!}

{now…our lovely table awaits us…sweet tea for everybody! that’s how we do it in the south}
{and afterward…we can all take a long nap in this comfy bed…well it might be comfy if we were bunnies! I think the White Rabbit would enjoy munching in here!}
{magical times to be had by all…except I think the Mad Hatter left something behind!}
{and just like with any good fairy tale…}

June 25, 2010

A fabric of a different color

fabric word art 

Of all the types of fabric in the world, I think linen is probably right up there at the top of my list of favorites. When warmer weather rolls around, I wish I could live in it. There’s something about how linen breathes and keeps you cool even when it’s hot Hot HOT. It’s wonderfully southern and looks fantastic even when it is kind of rumpled (because who are we kidding? even if you starch linen within an inch of it’s life…it’s going to wrinkle anyway!).

flax plant

Made from the fibers of the flax plant, almost any type of garment can be found in linen form. If you haven’t incorporated it into your summer wardrobe, I suggest you try it. Don’t feel like making a fashion commitment right now? What about dabbing your brow or décolleté with an antique linen hanky just to make yourself feel really southern. I have a couple of linen scarves that I wear through the summer and also sometimes use as table cloths.

How are you keeping cool in the mind-numbing heat of summer? Pray tell there is a cool glass of lemonade in your future! Happy Friday!

June 24, 2010

Brace yourself….for some organization!


I bought this little black candelabra at a friend’s yard sale years ago and have been holding onto it for some reason. The other night I decided to organize my collection of bracelets which had previously been strewn across the top of my bookshelf on a silver tray. The tray contained them alright, but it always looked pretty cluttered. For some reason this candle thing seemed like a good way to display them. What do y’all think? Weird or good?


This cash register was one of my most beloved childhood toys…providing me with hours of fun in my make-believe store. Of course I had fabulous grandparents who never tired of “shopping” and letting me ring up their purchases. The dishwasher was my display case and I set up shop at the kitchen table. Now my little toy serves as a nifty spot for my necklace.


I kind of like being able to see all my baubles at once. I even hung some earrings on too. I still have my little frame earring thingy, but the bracelets were getting out of control. Do you have anything that you have re-purposed to help you achieve better order and organization at your place?

{like my burlap curtains? I made ‘em myself!}

June 23, 2010

Only in the south: congealed salad

I’m starting a new feature here on SBS called “Only in the south” to point out and highlight different aspects and encounters of daily life here in the sweet south. Of course these are just my opinions from my experiences…if you’ve had  similar things happen to you in other parts of the world, please share!

country cooking

My fun parents and I whiled away this past Saturday piddling around in a couple of cute little Tennessee towns. We stopped off for lunch at a place called The Apple Dish, an old-fashioned restaurant in the front of a large antique store. After perusing our menus for a moment (I’m still kicking myself for not trying an appetizer called portobello escapades), I decided on the pimento cheese sandwich. Well…after making sure that the pimento cheese was homemade of course. The waitress promptly told me that they were out of potato chips (which normally came with the sandwich) and “would I like to substitute a congealed salad?”

congealed salad and pimento cheese

She then sweetly began explaining to me what a congealed salad was and I politely stopped her and said “yes, please.” Only in the south would you be able to eat a gigantic rectangle of pink frozen goodness in lieu of a small bag of Wavy Lays. The pimento cheese was pretty good, but the congealed salad made the meal. Just so nobody is confused, this is not the same thing as jell-o salad (which I spoke at length about here). 

congealed salad after

And yes, I totally cleaned my plate. Had I been in the privacy of my own home, I would have licked it. And the ones of you who know me in real life can vouch for that!

A similar recipe to the one I enjoyed (if you’re interested)

Congealed Salad

Mix together: 8 oz cream cheese…2 T mayo…3/4 cup sugar…1 cup cool whip

Add: 1 can fruit cocktail with juice, 1 can crushed pineapple with juice, 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Pour into a pan or mold and freeze until it sets.

 Do any of you lovely readers have a liking for this frosty dessert? Or maybe a favorite recipe to share? Don’t keep us in the dark!

June 22, 2010

Wanna be penpals?

country mailbox

I've written before about the wonderful memories I have of waking up on my great-grandparents' farm and eating breakfasts that I still dream about, but there were tons of other fun times that didn't revolve around food. I always looked so forward to the time of day when the mail ran because I would watch for the mailman and then run out to the mailbox to retrieve whatever goodies he had brought. Of course there was nothing for me, but it was fun just to open the mailbox and find a stack of letters inside.

This feeling of glee over checking the mail isn't always one that I experience as an adult, what with all the bills, credit card applications and just plain junk that I receive. But today was a different story. When I unlocked the little door on my mailbox, imagine my excitement to find 2 packages in there that I wasn't expecting. Maybe this is trivial to some folks, but just knowing that two different people had thought of me and taken the time to put something in the mail put a gigantic smile on my face.

party potpourri jr league cookbook.bmp

My first package was from one of my besties and contained the sweetest note along with this gorgeous book, compiled by the Memphis Junior League. I can already tell it will be a valuable asset to my collection and cannot wait to prop my feet up and start reading it.

My next package came all the way from New York and was a gracious gift from Mr. Stan Williams, aka The Elegant Thrifter. If you haven't been to his blog, you should go there immediately! His book The Find is a fabulous volume and his gift was a personalized book plate wishing me "Happy Thrifting" (I'm thinking I'll probably frame it instead of sticking it in the book). If his brilliant ability to turn thrift store finds into amazing treasures wasn't enough for me to like him, he also has a crazy love for all things Dolly Parton (a big-haired southern girl after my own heart).

So now I want to know…what’s the best package you’ve ever gotten in the mail? Was it an unexpected gift or the product of a blog swap? Maybe it was just a sweet note from a friend that lifted your spirits. I’d love to hear about what it was! And if you are in need of a cheerful note, email your address to southernbellesimpleblog@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to send you one! Sometimes a little cheer in the mail can do a world of good! It definitely did for me.

June 18, 2010

Happy Dad’s Day!



Father's Day is coming up so I thought it a perfect time to devote a post to my dad. It seems like the father/daughter relationship is such an interesting thing, wonderfully complex and very crucial to a girl's development into a woman. I have heard stories of how men are forever changed after holding their baby daughters for the first time. How there is a certain transformation that takes place in them, linking the dads and the daughters for life. Well that's not exactly how my first encounter with my dad went. My relationship with my dad isn't one that began instantaneously when I was handed to him as a screaming, red-faced newborn.  He met my mom when I was 5 and they married soon after that. You see, when I say Dad, I am technically referring to my step-dad (although I totally hate that word and it doesn't apply here. Read on.)

Maybe our relationship officially began when I walked down the aisle with my mom to meet him at the altar (the other flower girl fell asleep and I refused to walk down alone). Then there was "D" day in Kindergarten when we invited our dads to school to eat homemade "d"oughnuts and wear construction paper "d"aisies on their lapels. It's possible we formed our bond over fashion when he took me to buy my kindergarten graduation dress (a smart chambray shirt dress with a popped collar and wide white leather belt...ah 1988). From 5 years old to now (I'm 28), I can't even begin to list all the things we've gone through together and all the times he's been there for me. Standing in line, driving me around, cheering me on, footing the bill, making the call, offering advice, sticking it out. From glasses, new school clothes, and piano lessons to braces, my first car, and college...he's been the magic behind it all. Of course I have a wonderful mom, but this post is about fathers.


Just because our relationship started differently doesn't mean that it is any less amazing than the ones that start in the delivery rooms of hospitals. In fact, I think ours is more amazing because we know how lucky we are to have each other. And even though he didn't come onto the scene until I was 5, I honestly can't picture a moment of my life before he was in it.

I can’t tell you how many times his famous words “remember who you are & where you come from” have popped into my mind in one situation or another. And his less G-rated advice “don’t take no sh!t” has come in handy once or twice too. Yeah, he’s a keeper. So Happy Father’s Day Dad! I love you more!

June 16, 2010

A good combination

rc cola

I don't know about y'all but to me, these summer weeks can sure seem to drag by at a snail's pace sometimes. It's not that I want to wish my life away, but once summertime rolls around, I pretty much live for the weekends. It helps if you have something exciting going on over the weekend that you can look forward to.
rc and moon pie fest

I have some exciting weekend plans (more on that later), but if I didn't, I know where I'd be come Saturday...historic Bell Buckle, Tennessee. This weekend is the annual RC Cola & MoonPie Festival. I've been to Bell Buckle and it is a wonderful little spot. During my visit (probably 14 years ago), I met Tennessee's Poet Laureate Maggie Britton Vaughn. She is quite a character and I think she still lives in Bell Buckle.
rc cola ad vintage magazine

As a kid, I always loved visiting my aunt and uncle in Nashville because besides the fact that they were fun, they always had cans of RC at their house. That was the only place I ever got to drink it and I love it to this day. It’s probably the only regular (i.e. not diet) cola product I like. Maybe I’ll go ahead and have a MoonPie with some RC this weekend, even though I can’t make the festival. Who else is with me? If I could, I’d get RCs and MoonPies for everyone!

June 15, 2010

Making a Sweet Difference



While on my fun trip to Nashvegas this past weekend, I visited the quaint city of Franklin where I was blown away by all the cute shops and eateries in the little downtown area. I definitely recommend this as a must-see if you happen to find yourself in middle Tennessee. We parked on one end of the long street with plans to meander all the way down and make our way back up the other side.


Our first stop? Naticakes....a cupcake shop! It drew me in from first glance with the glittery silver star on the door and pink and white interior. This is what a cupcake shop should feel like. It was a hard decision, but I finally chose a Pink lemonade cupcake...so delicious. The icing must have been whipped or something, because it was the lightest, fluffiest I've ever had.


After finishing our treats, I met the owner of Naticakes who told me the story of how the shop came to be. Her 2 year old niece, Natalie (nicknamed Nati) passed away unexpectedly in 2007 and Naticakes is a loving aunt's way of helping to make a difference by donating proceeds to Nati's foundation. Nati's parents started the foundation in her honor to improve the lives of kids all over the world. Knowing the story behind the shop really made the cupcakes taste that much sweeter. It goes to show that anybody can pitch in and make a contribution based on what his or her talents and gifts are. I knew cupcakes were magical and this is just one example of the differences they can make! If you are interested in making a contribution to Nati's foundation, visit the website here.

Exported Videos

{the tagline on the Naticakes website}

June 14, 2010

Hostess with the Mostess!



I just got back from the most wonderful little weekend jaunt over to the Nashville area where I was wined, dined and thoroughly entertained by my good friend Jill. More on some of the cutie-pie places she took me in another post, but for now I wanted to talk about something that this trip made me think about: being a houseguest.


There is a wide array of acceptable (and not so acceptable) social graces where houseguests are concerned, but I feel like it mostly boils down to common sense things and basic good manners. When staying at someone's house it is important to remember that you are not at a hotel. The hosts are already nice enough to allow you to stay under their roof for free, so don't treat them as your personal servant for the duration. I always make it a practice to take a little gift of some sort for the host or hostess. It doesn't have to be anything huge, but something to let your host know you were thinking of him and appreciate the gesture of hospitality. If you don’t want to do a gift, that’s fine, but a prompt heart-felt thank-you note is imperative. The idea is to get invited back!

{some potential hostess gifties} hostess gifts

Be flexible! If your hosts get up super early, try not to sleep all day. If they like to sleep in, pack a book or some other quiet project that you can occupy yourself with until they wake up. Be considerate! Your host has a certain way of doing things and it's your job as the guest not to step in and change up the mix. It's perfectly fine to lend a hand (for instance in the kitchen), but if your host insists that you sit back while she cooks or does the dishes, let her. You'll have a chance to do things differently when you host guests at your place.


{The Queen’s Bedroom a’ la The White House}

One subject that comes into question in the area of houseguests is linens. The widely accepted thing to do is strip the bed on your last day and leave the sheets stuffed into the pillowcases or something. Personally, I would rather the guest just make the bed back up. As a host, I may or may not have time to wash the sheets immediately and that way, the room doesn't look so disheveled until I'm ready to do the laundry. A 70-something southern belle from Memphis shared with me that when visiting her son and daughter-in-law overnight, she makes it a habit to take her own sheets with her so that when it is time to leave, the sheets on the bed would not have been used. This seems like taking things to the extreme, but this particular belle is steeped in southern tradition and propriety.

So, tell me...what is your secret to being a great houseguest? Or maybe you love to play host to all your friends! What special touches make your house the one guests flock to?

June 10, 2010

kraut and weinies

It feels like just yesterday that I was yapping about coleslaw, but today I wanted to do a little poll and find out what y'all's view is on another fine cabbage product: sauerkraut! As kids, we were totally raised on this stuff, straight out of the can and browned in a skillet with a package of hot dogs (cut diagonally with flair!) mixed in. I always loved it. It's not really a dish that I make very often and I'm not sure why it's off my radar. Maybe it has gone out of fashion for a time (a’ la acid washed jeans) and will be coming back around soon. According to some studies, it has cancer fighting properties. Who knew!?!
So here's the question...what do you think of this tangy dish?

June 9, 2010

Greening things up!



When attempting to eat healthier, I pretty much always try to stick with salad, but this can get kind of boring quick, fast, in a hurry if you don’t keep things interesting…I mean how much iceberg lettuce can one person eat?  I think of myself as brave as far as adding different ingredients to my salads, especially colorful ones that are flavorful and contain all that other good healthy stuff.

Here are some of my favorite salad add-in combos:

pistachios + sunflower seeds + dried cherries + unsweetened toasted coconut 

almonds + dried cranberries + macadamia nuts + dried pineapple

black olives + garbanzo beans + roasted red peppers + feta cheese + red onions

raw green beans + radishes + fennel + blackberries

strawberries + pecans + dried cranberries + poppyseeds

These are just a few, but I could probably go on and on. All you really need is a green base (Bibb lettuce, mesclun greens, spinach, romaine, watercress, arugula, etc.) and your options are limitless. As for dressing, I pretty much always stick with a balsamic vinaigrette or something similar. But just play with it and see what strikes your fancy. You’ll never look at a salad bar the same way again. I promise!

Now, tell me what are your favorite salad toppers?  

June 8, 2010

Summer’s gonna sizzle!

scenic south -- girl by lighthouse with summer fun {image from Scenic South c. 1952}

While the temperature speaks otherwise (it is hot, Hot, HOT where I live!), summer is not quite upon us, but since it will most assuredly come in like a lion, I advise prepping in advance. Here is a round up of tips guaranteed to make your summer sizzle or maybe I should say to keep you cool while summer sizzles around you!


After keeping our skin mostly covered during the cooler months, it’s time to bring out our largest organ and put it on display…with proper sun protection of course.

1. Lemons are a great tool for softening rough skin, especially elbows and knees. I always cut a lemon or two in half and rub it liberally on any rough patches.  

2. Keep legs soft and smooth by shaving with hair conditioner. It softens the hair and makes it easier to get a close shave. Some beauty magazines suggest using baby oil, but this always makes my shower too slippery as I’m fairly accident prone already.

3. Slather your feet with Vaseline, shea or cocoa butter before bed and sleep in a pair of thick socks. No pedicure has ever gotten my feet softer than this method and if one night isn’t enough to do the trick, repeat as often as necessary. My tootsies are sandal ready for sure!


4. Make your own summer body scrub by mixing 1/2 cup olive oil, 5 T jojoba oil, a drop or 2 of a scented oil (if you wish) and 4 T salt in a repurposed glass jar. The salt will sink to the bottom so dispense the mixture with a small spoon or popsicle stick. Rub vigorously onto your skin and rinse for a long-lasting softness on the cheap!

I will now take this opportunity to stand on my tiny soapbox and encourage all you lovelies to please wear lots of sunscreen this summer! I wasn’t kidding about our skin being our largest organ and it is oh so important to take good care of it. If I could erase years of sunburns and the subsequent damage from them, I would in a heartbeat! After spending my early 20s baking in the sun, I now spend most of my sun time in the shade (much to the amusement of some members of my family). My legs are a tawny golden brown a’ la Jergens daily self-tanning lotion and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But no judgment here! Just love and concern!

Feel free to add you best summer tips as comments! I love Love LOVE hearing from you!

*Note: I bought a small bottle of jojoba oil awhile back and it has served so many purposes. I use it as moisturizer for face & body and it has many other properties. According to wikipedia it is a fungicide and can also be used for controlling mildew. Who knew!?!?

Festive summer Saturdays

{Overton County Courthouse}
If any of you lovelies from the Tennessee area aren't doing anything particularly exciting this weekend (June 12th), I suggest you make plans to attend the 4th annual Hogeye Festival in darling Livingston, TN. I've never been to this event, but from what I know of Livingston and its precious folks, you won't be disappointed. I spent a Saturday in the downtown area recently and I can't wait to go back. Actually, I always look forward to visiting the OC (Overton County) because one of my besties lives there. We have a yearly tradition of meeting for breakfast on Christmas Eve morning and then hitting the little local shops to pick up any last minute gift items. It is a great way to de-stress right before spending time with our families (who we adore, but sometimes drive us crazy).
DSC00656 {local shop window}
The Hogeye Festival boasts all-day fun including great food, craft vendors, ice cream contests and pretty much everything else you can expect from a small town festival. Funnel cakes anyone? Even if you can’t make it to Livingston this Saturday, I think you’d be missing out if you never visited this quaint burg. The town square is made up of lots of cute shops so plan a big chunk of time to spend walking around and taking in the sights. Be sure to peek into the historic Post Office and see the WPA mural inside painted by Miss Margaret Covey Chisholm…this alone is like a free visit to a history museum!
So have I convinced any of you? What other fabulous festivals are going to be taking up your summer Saturdays? Please share so we can all join in the fun! I just love the south. There really isn’t anywhere else like it in the world! 
{a gorgeous arrangement from the garden of a Livingston belle}

June 7, 2010

Very Berry Winners

  luscious berry desserts
40 lovely folks threw hats in the ring to win 1 of 2 cookbooks I was giving away. I wrote all of your names on little pieces of paper, folded each for luck and drew them (blindly) out of a box! The winners are:
Sarah M.
Congratulations ladies! And to those of you who didn’t win this time, stay tuned for some other cool books that I’ll be giving away. I know how it feels to not win because sometimes I feel like I enter things all the time, but you’ve got to try! Next time might just be your lucky day!
silver medal prize