Sweet Southern Belle = the best girl around

C’mon, let’s be honest. Women from the South are the bomb. We are full of wit and speak our minds. Our sense of hospitality is second to none. Best of all: our sweet tea is effin’ sweet. I’m stealing these Southern Secrets from Southern Living magazine, because I think they’re worth repeating.

Perks of Being a Southerner

  1. Floating a river No doubt, especially as I sit here wrapped in a hoodie sweatshirt and pink Snuggie watching the mercury dip to the single digits, floating is one of the best things about summer.
  2. Entertaining outdoors As a Southern Gal, I don’t sweat. I glisten. When it’s time to glisten in the summer heat, there’s nothing better than a bunch of friends, an ice chest full of drinks, and a table filled with lots of Southern cuisine. Having a water hole (lake, river, or pool) nearby makes the party even better.
  3. Frequenting the Local Diner — Everytime I go home to Kentucky, I always stop by Bell’s Drug Store in Sebree for an orange-ade and Gene’s Restaurant in Henderson for a greasy burger and fries. If you’ve never had an orange-ade, think lemonade but swap the lemons for oranges. DIVINE! Secret: you must use simple syrup made with REAL sugar.
  4. Smoking Like a Pitmaster I have a confession: I love to grill, but I’ve never tried my hand at smoking meats. My dad does a wonderful job and I guess I took it for granted that he and his pit would always be in my backyard. One of my favorite meals is ribs with homemade BBQ sauce. Dad can make a very mean smoked pork chop too. These days, I tend to leave the smoking to the pitmasters and frequent our local Spring Creek BBQ when I want ribs, brisket, smoked sausage, and potato salad. It’s so much easier and the clean-up is a snap.
  5. Write a charming Thank-You note  If my mother, grandmothers, and aunts taught me anything about being a proper Southern Lady, it is to always write a handwritten thank-you note to everybody for everything. It is a trait that I continue to cherish, even in this age of technology and instant messages. I hope my friends and family know how much I appreciate them in the notes I send for their gifts of friendship, generosity, and thoughtfulness.
  6. Building with Barn Wood
  7. Keeping It Sweet — There’s a reason mosquitoes love me, I have Sweet Tea (yea, it’s a proper noun) running through my veins. It is my belief that tea cannot be too sweet. Real. Cane. Sugar. Bonus points if served in a Mason jar.
  8. Enjoying the Blues The South’s Greatest Gift to Music
  9. Texas Two-Step I have danced the “cowboy waltz” at the world’s largest honky tonk: Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, Texas.
  10. Savoring Savannah A visit to this Georgia Gem is on my Bucket List. It’s one of the most beautiful and cherished cities of The South and home to one of my favorite ladies, Miss Paula Dean.
  11. Welcoming Friends with a Beautifully Set Table well, duh! Mama didn’t raise no rude hostess.
  12. Passing Along Your Garden’s Best I believe my family’s tradition of green thumbs stopped at my birth. I love being in my parent’s garden and smelling fresh flowers, but growing the stuff myself has not been successful.
  13. Escaping to a Secluded Beach I would take a quiet, charming beach in The South over the crowded resorts in Mexico any day of the week. Plus, I don’t need my Passport and everybody speaks my language.
  14. Counting Your Blessings always.
  15. Carolina Shag — Nana used to dance the Jitterbug in her younger days.
  16. Making a Perfect Apple Pie Nannie, my great-grandmother, had a secret for her apple pies: make sure all of your ingredients and tools are ice cold, even the mixing bowl. She also used apple cider in the filling and rolled the crust by hand. A heavy sprinkle of cornstarch, cinnamon, and sugar made the filling even more ooey-gooey-good.
  17. Catching a break in Music City One of the many things I love about Nashville, TN are the cozy bars with live music.
  18. Visiting the Shrimp Docks  When I lived in Beaumont, Texas and attended Lamar University, I would take a break from school and golf to drive to the Gulf Coast. Almost every visit resulted in a trip to the local boat dock for a pound or two of fresh Gulf shrimp. The local shrimpers greeted me with a smile and I basked in the reality that I was living a college student’s dream. To this day, I’ve never eaten a Raman noodle.
  19. Planting a Family Tree One of the most fond memories of my great-grandmother was the huge magnolia tree in her backyard. Every summer morning, before her first cup of coffee, Nannie would clip a magnificent magnolia bloom for her kitchen table. The sweet fragrance filled her house and it is still a memory I cherish. When Kevin and I moved into our house three years ago, one of the first things we noticed were the two live oak trees planted in the front yard. Perhaps in a year or two we can add a magnolia to our yard.
  20. Cast Iron Skillet The secret to my fried chicken, skillet corn, and cornbread recipe is my iron skillet. Which reminds me, I need to do its annual seasoning.
  21. Pickled Okra yuck.
  22. Rediscovering Mr. Faulkner and other great Southern authors
  23. Celebrating Small-Town Mayors I’ve personally known the mayor in every small town I’ve ever lived.
  24. Growing an Heirloom Beauty see #12…that’s why I leave the gardening to my Dad. However, I am one of the best pickers and shuckers in the country.
  25. Table at Galatoire’s this New Awlins (New Orleans, for y’all Yankees) staple is another line on my Bucket List to visit.
  26. Old-Fashioned Storytelling
  27. Planting a Community Garden Great idea in theory, but see #12 and #24.
  28. Getting Your Shoes Dirty — Kevin and I have our own oasis in the country but if I am really going escape, it’s going to be to my parent’s place in Kentucky. God’s Country. Heaven on Earth. Home.

There you have it. 28 more reasons the South is the best place to be. I’m so proud to be a G.R.I.T.S. (Girl Raised In The South).

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