February 29, 2012

Wordle Wednesday: Southern Authors

sbs wordle southern authors

There are so many wonderful southern writers and this week’s wordle shows a few of the ones you love best…those of you who named a fave on Facebook. Some are old favorites, but others are new to me and I look forward to checking them out. If you didn’t comment in time for the wordle, we’d still love to know who your favorite is! And if your favorite author isn’t southern, it’s ok to share him/her too!

February 28, 2012

Only in the south: Family Reunions at McDonalds & My Grandpa Wears Girl Pants

I’m not even sure where to begin with this story, but it is awesome in every way. Well the beginning of the story isn’t so awesome because it started two Thursdays ago with my grandparents getting into a serious car accident. They survived, but it was pretty miraculous. I haven’t really wanted to share about the accident yet here on the blog, but they are doing better each day and prayers are appreciated.

This weekend (after Blissdom) I was able to spend some time with my Me-me, who was still in a Nashville hospital with injuries from the accident. On our way back to my hometown, my mom and I stopped off the interstate at a McDonald’s and who did we run into but another carload of our family, including my Pe-pa headed to Nashville to see my Me-me.


I thought this was hilarious because what are the odds? Of all the exits and all the choices, only my southern family would have a unintentional surprise reunion at McDonald’s. After visiting with them a few minutes, my mom and I were headed out when my Pe-pa came and tapped on the car window. He said he wasn’t sure where the blue jeans he was wearing had come from but they were really comfortable. My mom asked him what size they were, thinking maybe they were larger and roomier than what he normally wore. He said they were a size “17.” My mom and I looked at each other. “Like a girl’s juniors size 17?” I asked him. He said someone had told him they might be girl’s but he didn’t care because they were so comfy.

gap jeans

As he walked away, we noticed they were flared, but I suppose we should just be thankful they didn’t have butterflies on the pockets. My Me-me needs to get well soon and come home from the hospital because if my Pe-pa and uncles are left to their own devices for too much longer, there’s no telling what could happen. 

{Disclaimer: My Pe-pa, who happens to be a devoted reader of this blog, is awesome. He could wear a paper bag or a tutu and I’d still think he were the greatest. Any kidding is done from a place of love.}

February 27, 2012

50 Sketchbooks and learning I was a writer

I just got back from a great blogger conference in Nashville where I learned a ton of useful information, met some wonderful folks and was inspired to reach a bit deeper into my creativity stash.

stack of books

One session I attended was led by Nashville writer Jeff Goins who spoke about falling out of love with writing and ways to rekindle the flame. He challenged us to write about our own experiences with this and share them today on our blogs. So here goes. Sort of.

I never really fell out of love with writing, but that’s because I didn’t know I was in love to begin with. I didn’t even know I was a writer. Am a writer. I thought I was an artist.

Since childhood, I always wanted to be an artist. I loved art and making it came pretty easily to me so that’s how I saw myself. I doodled. I sketched. I painted occasionally. I made collages. I adored art museums, art books, and art movies. Then, one day in high school at the home of an acquaintance, I saw in his room a shelf with row after row of used up sketchbooks. There must have been fifty at least.

I had barely filled one sketchbook, let alone fifty. I felt discouraged because this obviously said something about the lack of art within me and the abundance of art inside my friend. Fast forward to college and failure to get accepted into my school’s graphic design program. Just one more instance of seeing others do something with ease that, to me, felt like pulling teeth. Prior to deciding to attend a large state school, I was planning to attend a liberal arts college (I actually had several choices in mind), thinking that was the right path for me. I'm glad I ended up where I did because not only did I make wonderful memories, but I also met my southern beau. But I digress.

What I didn’t realize was all that time my true passion was right under my nose. I might not have drawn enough for fifty sketchbooks, but over the years I’ve certainly filled fifty journals (including composition books, spiral notebooks, and the like) with my loopy cursive writing. From my first purple locking diary at age 7 to file after file on my computer’s hard drive, I’ve always written. None of this content is profound or even very exciting, but it serves to document my experiences over these past 29 years.

Jeff Goins said that to be a writer, we must say and believe as much about ourselves. Maybe for you, it’s something totally different. Maybe like with my experience, your passion is something you’ve done for years, but it feels so natural that you don’t even realize it’s what you are. Maybe it’s time to say it and believe it about yourself. Who knows where it might lead you?

{If you made it this far, thanks for reading…I know this post strays a bit from the typical southern flavor SBS is known for, but I appreciate your thoughts if it struck a chord with you.}

February 22, 2012

Wordle Wednesday: Southern Cities


I asked folks on Facebook the answer the question “what’s your favorite southern city?” and these were the responses. Would you believe I’ve never been to Charleston or Savannah? For shame.

If you leave a comment with your favorite southern city, I’ll update the wordle! Happy Wednesday friend.

February 21, 2012

Happy 64th Birthday NASCAR!

hrdp_1101_15_o bob_dolivio_photos_1952_1960 daytona_NASCAR_race

On February 21, 1948, a fellow by the name of William France got together with a group of other men and founded what we know today as the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing or NASCAR.
Headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida (my family’s favorite vacation destination for 50+ years), NASCAR definitely has southern roots. The second most viewed sport in the United States (professional football is the first), NASCAR has 75 million diehard fans who spend over $3 billion each year on licensed products.

I can’t say that I’ve ever attended a race, or even been a fan, but I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning this anniversary. Whether you love it or hate it, NASCAR is most certainly part of the southern landscape, woven into our culture and a beloved pastime of quite a few people.

If you are a NASCAR fanatic, maybe you could share with us just why you enjoy it so?
Hope everyone had a great President’s Day weekend! I apologize for the lack of posts lately…I’ve missed y’all!

February 16, 2012

Vintage Affections in Sweet Style

vintage valentine's card

I know Valentine’s Day has already come and gone, but the world can always use a bit more love. I found this adorable vintage card on Flickr and can’t believe it only cost a penny when it was new.

Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day card or memory? It could be from this year or maybe another, long ago. What do you say we have a little love fest and share some stories?

February 15, 2012

Better Late than Never: Friday Night Lights


Somehow I missed the wonder and magic that is Friday Night Lights when it first aired on television. I'm not really a huge football fan, but I enjoyed the movie when it came out so it seems like something that would have been on my radar. Back then, I had cable service so I’m not sure why I never watched the show, but last week I finally broke down and watched the pilot. Now I’m totally hooked and afraid to read anything about it on the web, lest I spoil the story line. Thankfully 76 episodes are available to watch instantly on Netflix and so far, I've seen about 11 of them.

These should keep me busy until late March when Mad Men returns to AMC. Tee hee…I promise I do have a life outside of watching television. But if you see me yawning during the day, I’m blaming it on late night FNL marathons. 

Are you a die-hard fan of Coach Taylor and all the gang? Is the rumor about a film version true? Could Tim Riggins be any cuter? I’d love to chat Friday Night Lights with you, if you promise not to give anything away that I haven’t seen yet. Happy Hump Day lovelies!

February 13, 2012

Anti-Recipe: Vegan No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


Chocolate oatmeal cookies (aka cow patties…ew) might not be pretty, but what they lack in looks, they completely make up for in taste. I’ve always liked them, but haven’t made them in years.

This might be the time to officially announce that since January I’ve been eating a mostly vegan diet. It’s for a whole bunch of reasons, but mainly health. I’ve been hesitant to share it because I wasn’t sure how it fit with what SBS is, but I decided since it is something I’m trying and Southern Belle Simple is about me, it would be strange if I completely omitted this part of my life from the blog. So there’s that.

Anyway, back to what matters most….easy chocolate cookies. I followed the fabulous Ezra Pound Cake’s recipe for these, but substituted coconut milk (plain) for the milk and Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks for the butter. I also used brown sugar instead of white.

Let’s just say there are none left. And I only made them a day ago. Stretchy pants for everyone. I couldn’t tell the difference from my version and the ones I’ve had in the past with all the dairy. I’ll definitely be making these again.

No matter which version you prefer, these would surely make a wonderful little cheap & easy Valentine’s treat if you were in need of such a thing. Hope your week is off to a good start!

February 8, 2012

The South in 3 Words

sbs wordle 3 words the south

Yesterday on Facebook, I asked folks to share the 3 words that first come to mind when they hear ‘the south.’ I took the submissions and created this wordle. The biggest words are the ones that appeared most…which doesn’t surprise me at all.

This was a fun little exercise and one I’ll definitely be repeating. If you shared your 3 words, thanks for participating! Happy Wednesday friend!

February 7, 2012

A Dream is a Wish Our Heart Makes

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris

I just finished reading the most delightful little book called “Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris.” Written by Paul Gallico in 1958, it is the story of a London housekeeper who gets the notion to have a haute couture Christian Dior dress made for herself. Once Mrs. Harris gets this idea in her mind, she is determined to see it through. Maybe it’s because she’s the underdog or maybe because we all have secret wishes we long for, but this story resonated with me.

dior dress

I don’t want to give anything away…but you should definitely try to track down a copy. While the idea of a dress costing 1/3 of your annual salary might sound preposterous, maybe you dream of something else. Whether your heart’s desire is a trip or a dress, a certain kind of home or an experience, I think it’s nice to be reminded that there can be good in being determined for something. Even when getting the thing doesn’t turn out exactly like we’d expected (does it ever?), there can be wonderful growth.

To me, the lesson learned from this story is that we must keep wishing and dreaming…even if everyone thinks what we’re wishing for is silly. What secret dreams are you harboring these days? I’ll believe they are possible for you if you’ll believe with me for mine!

February 1, 2012

For the Beau: Sending Flowers


Valentine’s Day is approaching and I’m sure many of the beaus (and aspiring beaus) out there have flowers on their minds. Yes, we gals love flowers. I’m not sure why we love them so much, but maybe it’s just one of those 
inexplicable truths. 

Here is a bit of advice for the gentleman who desires to show his affections with a floral gift, courtesy of that grand dame of propriety herself, Amy Vanderbilt. Her advice may be over 50 years old, but I think it still rings true. 

“A man who is laying siege to a girl’s heart does well not to systematize his flower-sending. I knew one man who 
could be counted on to send two dozen long-stemmed red roses every Saturday, rain or shine. And another who 
might send a gay red geranium in a simple clay pot or turn up with a single gardenia in a twist of green waxed paper 
or a new recording or some fresh catnip for the kitten one never knew. Any woman could tell in a minute which was the more interesting man.” 

While I’ve never been one to stick my nose in the air over a gift of roses, I get Ms. V’s point that variety is the spice of life. Gents, maybe mix things up with something unexpected this year to truly win the affections of the belle after whom you’ve set your cap. 

Are you expecting to give or receive any flowers this year for St. Valentine’s?  If so, are you hoping/planning for the traditional or something with a twist? 

{quote via Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette}