March 27, 2012

Building Fences

old fence

I love this photo because it reminds me of my great grandpa’s farm and the fences he built around it. He wasn’t a cowboy, but he believed in a job done right so I think he’d have liked this poem.

{photo credit}

March 21, 2012

Wednesday Wordle: Spring in the South

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Spring officially started yesterday and in honor of the occasion, I asked SBS Facebook fans to share favorite things about spring in the south. Here are your answers, wordlefied! Hope everyone’s springs are getting off to a great start! Happy Wednesday friends!

March 20, 2012

Anti-Recipe: Sunshine Salad


While my kitchen is usually my favorite place to decompress after a long day at work, there are some days I come home and the idea of stirring a pot on the stove just doesn’t appeal to me. On those kinds of days, I love to throw together an easy salad like this one…which I’m calling a Sunshine Salad because it’s so cheery and bright.

Toss together a few handfuls of salad greens (I’m loving baby kale right now) with some chick peas (drained, from a can), several sections of a navel orange, pecans and a few raisins. Basically you can adapt this recipe to your liking any which way.

Greens + citrus fruit + beans + nuts + dried fruit = Yum!

I make my own dressing in a glass jar with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spicy mustard and garlic.

The taste is wonderful, but this entire concoction is so good for you…when you eat it, your cells will have a party because of all the vitamins and nutrients it brings to ‘em. My southern beau was particularly fond of this one which, because of the beans, is quite filling.

Happy First Day of Spring friends! Hope there’s lots of sunshine wherever you happen to be. 

March 14, 2012

Wednesday Wordle: Southern Eats

sbs wordle 3 foods the south 2

This week’s wordle is made up of your responses to the following question: What three foods best capture the essence of the south? I posted the question on the Southern Belle Simple Facebook Page and these are the responses I got. If you didn’t get a chance to weigh in this week, hope to see you next time for another burning question!

I guess I’m not surprised that fried chicken was such a huge choice, although I was kind of expecting to see more deviled eggs and pimento cheese on the list. I suppose it’s hard when I ask y’all to narrow it down to just three. If you’re curious, my submissions were biscuits, cornbread, and red-eye gravy. Don’t see your favorite southern delicacy? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

{here’s the link to the wordle if you want to grab a larger copy for yourself!}

March 12, 2012

Saying Goodbye to a Era

Women in the 1920s - Flat Rock Org

Today begins the last official week of the 20s…not to be confused with the roaring 1920s, but my 20s. As in, come Sunday I’ll be turning the big 3-0. I guess the reality hasn’t sunk in yet or maybe it won’t, but it’s funny how we pick and choose these milestones to mark in our lives. From one day to the next nothing particularly changes, but it sounds like such a huge leap, from my twenties to my thirties.

How have you dealt with this issue in your experiences? Do you feel older and wiser or do you still feel like the same clueless 18 year old much of the time (I will admit to this). Was there any birthday/age where you felt completely different about yourself? I’d love to hear reader wisdom, which I know there is much to speak of.

In a way, I’m glad the twenties are coming to an end. College dramas, uncertainty of young adulthood, ‘finding yourself,’ blah blah blah…some of that was hard stuff. Some of it was also wonderful and because I know it made me the person I am today, I can’t look at it with too much disdain.

I feel very blessed to be exactly where I am…even though I’m sure there are always things that will change and evolve (as they should). I’m grateful for the last decade, the lessons I learned and the people I’ve encountered along the way. I’m hopeful for the next decade, looking forward to the adventures it will bring and taking it, as always, one day at a time. As my dad says “crossing each bridge as I come to it.”

So if you have any insight or just something to share, please be my guest. And thanks for humoring me while I waxed rhapsodic a little bit here. Happy Monday.

March 8, 2012

I heart art: Andrew Saftel


I’ve been a huge fan of artist Andy Saftel ever since I first saw one of his paintings hanging over the bar in my neighborhood Ruby Tuesday. His thick use of encaustic-like paint and the way he attaches found objects to the canvas reminds me of another favorite artist (and southerner), Jasper Johns. Saftel is from Massachusetts, studied art in San Francisco, but has called East Tennessee home since 1985. His work is highly collected and I often stumble upon pieces of it on display.

Chosen as this year’s Dogwood Arts Limited Edition Print, his work Scenic Road (shown above) was inspired by a postcard written in 1951 by someone who had taken a trip to the Smoky Mountains. It depicts a small ramshackle cabin in Saftel’s signature style, with whimsical shapes and patterns surrounding it. The postmark, taken from the original piece of mail that inspired the work, overlaps the words “Mama said let’s go home,” also from the card.

I love it because it reminds me of my people, where I come from, and what feels familiar to me.

In describing Scenic Road, the artist mentions the theme of “how people move through time together; how they interact and communicate with each other; how important the hand written word is; how handwriting communicates more than what is being said; what is lost between humans as time moves on; what replaces older methods and materials in our modern world; and how people find hope in different ways in the face of a complicated world.

I know museums are filled to the brim with art, and as a student of art history, I was taught to look at all different sorts of works and see something to appreciate. It’s just that there aren’t nearly as many pieces out there that I’d want to hang on my wall and look at every day. Andrew Saftel’s work is that for me. It just makes me happy.

You can purchase a copy of the work here for $100, printed in a limited run of 750. I know I plan to. To read more about Andrew Saftel or to see more of his amazing work, visit

March 7, 2012

I feel pretty, oh so pretty

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the film West Side Story. I was around nine years old and my grandpa rented it for me during a weekend I was staying at his house. I think I watched it on repeat for the next 48 hours, dancing around singing along to every musical number, especially Maria’s famous song “I Feel Pretty.” I pretended to be the gorgeous Natalie Wood, swirling my skirts and stirring up gang warfare as a response to forbidden love.

natalie wood

That’s not really the point of this post, but feeling pretty is. When is the last time you felt pretty (or handsome, if you’d prefer)? Based on my observations and the things I overhear, very few of us ever feel truly good about ourselves, or at least our looks.

“I’m so ugly. I’m fat. I hate how I look. I’m the least photogenic person I know. I haven’t liked the way I look in 20 years. I don’t believe it when people compliment me.”

I’ve heard different people make each of these comments this week and it makes me so sad. Even sadder is the fact that they believe these things are true about themselves. If you’re reading this post to see what steps I will outline as the solution for this problem, I fear you’ll be disappointed. I don’t have a quick fix solution because there isn’t one.

We judge ourselves harshly in so many ways. We are often our own worst critics. At the end of the day, do we take stock of instances where we might have shared a kindness with someone or brightened his day? No, we hate ourselves for eating a piece of pie AND a slice of cake. We beat ourselves up for failing to accomplish every task on our never-ending lists. We think we aren’t good enough because our house/car/life isn’t as nice as the next guy’s. And we continue to believe the lie that we are not enough.

The only way to change this is to change our belief. In order to feel like you are a certain way, you must believe you are that way. I can’t tell you how to do this. I just know that it is possible. I love the Bible verse that says “For his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (Luke :45). If our hearts are filled with love and compassion, it shouldn’t be too hard to speak compassionate, loving words about ourselves. {Funny, this still feels hard sometimes}.

heart speech bubble

How do you deal with this in your own life? Do feelings of being “good enough” plague you or is this something you’ve long ago figured out. I’m just curious to see where y’all are on this topic. If you have something to say, please leave a comment. If you’d rather chat privately, feel free (as always) to email me at southernbellesimpleblog AT

I’ll leave you with another favorite verse of mine, one that always helps give me some perspective on what I believe is really true about me (and you!). 

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; And my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13 & 14

March 5, 2012

Talk Southern to Me, part 2

texas farmhouse
It’s been awhile since I blogged about southern sayings, so I decided today would be a fine time to share some old favorites and see if you have any good ones to add to the list. I collected and compiled these over the years, and credit several southern wordsmiths as sources. While I might not completely understand the proper usage for every single one of them, each makes me smile.
Some are simply expressions to describe a particular person or situation:
  • Crazier than a sh** house rat
  • Busier than a one-legged man at an a** kicking contest
  • He's only got one oar in the water (crazy?)
  • He could thread a sewing machine and it a runnin' (my personal favorite....don't we all know somebody this nervous and high strung?)
  • His bread ain't buttered on both sides
  • Useless as teats on the boar hog
  • Busy as stink
  • Old as Cooter Brown (variation Cootie Brown)
  • Pretty as a speckled pup
  • He’s as tight as Dick’s hatband (means he is cheap)
  • They was in high cotton, but they got moved to the hind teat (things were going well, but now they aren’t anymore)
  • He ain’t got a pot to pee in (very poor)
  • As slow as molasses in January
  • As cold as kraut
  • Brown as toast, brown as a biscuit, or brown as a hoecake (the few times in my life I’ve ever had a tan, I loved receiving this compliment)
  • As full as a tick, about to pop (when you’ve eaten too much)
  • Grinning like a possum eating a sweet tater
  • She looks like death warmed over (she isn’t looking well)
  • That girl’s just a fart in the wind

Others offer a word of advice:

  • If you're going to hoot with the owls, you've got to soar with the eagles
  • Hoe your own row
  • Many hands make light work
  • When cows start flying, you've just gotta shoot 'em (referring to a cow that constantly gets over or through a fence....also a new fave of mine!)
  • You'll lose a crop that way 
  • If you sleep with dogs, you'll wake up with fleas
  • Tell the truth and shame the devil
  • If you run with trash, you're gonna smell like it
  • Don’t mess and gom (as in “I’ve just cleaned the whole house so you better not mess and gom in there”)
  • No matter how thin you slice it, there’s two sides to everything
  • The best way to go fast is to go slow
  • Don’t sell your mule to buy a plow
  • If you don’t straighten up, I’ll jerk a knot in your tail

Still others just offer a random sentiment:

  • In for a dime, in for a dollar
  • It’s never cost what it’s worth (referring to alcoholic beverages…cracks me up!)
  • Some drive a Cadillac, some drive a Ford, some ride a donkey and swat it with a board, but they all get where they’re going eventually
This list is by no means complete, so feel free to add your favorite southern sayin’ in the comments! Happy Monday friend!

March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!


I grew up reading and loving the ridiculously wonderful tongue twisters of Dr. Seuss, as did many of you. Since today is his birthday, I thought I’d share some images from a recent event I attended celebrating him and the new Lorax movie (which is in theaters now).


Yours truly and the Lorax himself (I can’t help thinking he looks just like Wilfred Brimley). The event was decorated in the most adorable way, with furry Seussian trees and gorgeous flowers everywhere.


I hope you have a magical day and an enchanted weekend! I leave you with my favorite passage from one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, Fox in Socks.

When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles 
and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles...
...they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle
bottle paddle battle.