Everyone’s journey to building a strong and healthy self-image is a unique one. Figuring out how to project that self-image is even more difficult; style is not just clothing or accessory, it is self-expression. Self declaration. We all go through times of confusion, struggle, and enlightenment, in order to figure all of that out. Today I’m excited to turn over the mic to my friend Victoria of The Not-So-Southern Belle, as she shares her own personal journey to a sense of style. She’s a saucy lil’ lady whose talent is as evident as her beauty and I’m so happy to have her words gracing these pages. So with no further ado… Head on over to Tide & Bloom to read the rest!
When was the last time you received a card? And I'm not talking about one thanking you for "joining the gym," or from your great-aunt for your birthday. I'm talking about honest-to-God snail mail from a friend just because they were thinking of you. You probably can’t remember, right?
Not to get all old-timey, but in an age where everyone texts, tweets, snapchats, etc., the idea of sending something handwritten seems antiquated—but that’s exactly why it isn’t. It’s novel; it’s different; it’s downright awesome. (Besides, your third grade teacher didn’t make you practice cursive over and over again for nothing.)
I’ll never forget the day I stumbled into a Papyrus shop waiting for my train at Grand Central; everything was just so beautiful, and there was such a vast selection. It soon became a game to pick the perfect card for different people in my life. There's just something so magical about finding a card that fits someone's personality. I'm a dork, I know, but I enjoy making my friends feel special because, well, they are.
Years later, I’d been convinced I was the only person who still sent cards on a regular basis. (Well, besides my mother; I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.) Boy was I wrong. The idea of sending handwritten cards often and always is still very much alive in the South. Thank you notes, welcome to Birmingham notes, hey I’m glad we’re friend notes—I swear I’ve gotten more mail in the last couple of months than I have in the last few years.
Sending a card is a small gesture that goes a long way. Most people just get bills in the mail these days, so why not send a little sunshine instead? Below are some of my favorite recent finds in case you need a little inspiration:
What are you waiting for? Send a card today!
We did it!
Well, at least we started it.
The gentleman and I have been talking about remodeling the kitchen for a while now, but the conversation was always in the abstract.
"Hey, we should..." "It would be cool if we..." "In a dream world..."
This weekend, we finally stopped merely talking about it, and I attempted to channel my inner Thor. Mainly because the beau knew I'd probably take a sledgehammer to his head otherwise.
I know, I know. I'm pretty pathetic. Either way, we got the wall down! We've still got a long way to go, but at least now we have more space? Also, since there is a huge hole in the kitchen we have to keep going, right? Below is said wall before and after:
Eventually, we'll redo the entire kitchen (appliances, cabinets, everything), so stay tuned!
If I've learned anything at work these last few months, it's that the kitchen is the true heart of the Southern home. It's sacred in all of its secrets: how to season a cast-iron skillet, how to make Grandma's biscuits just right, and even how to share recipes. I'd always known my grandmother's recipe box was a cherished staple of the kitchen, but it wasn't until she gifted me with a box of my own (OK, so it's a more modern recipe book, whatever) that I understood its power.
It isn't just a random collection of things to make my beau on a weeknight; it's my family history passed down from generation to generation in recipe form. Not to get all sappy about my lineage, but the strong women in my life won't always be there. This handwritten collection of recipes from both my grandmother's (plus a few from my mother) is a family tree of sorts. Some of the recipes are ones I've made so many times I don't even need to follow the instructions, while others were added just because someone aught to know how to make Granny's Lima Bean Soup.
Either way, every good Southern gal should have at least a handful of go-to recipes under her belt, and this recent edition to my recipe box is definitely one of them. Granny only started making these zucchini-nut muffins a few years ago, but they've quickly become a family favorite. Since this recipe yields about 36 muffins (if you make small ones, if you don't, it's around 24), I love to make a batch on Sunday and freeze the extras for the week (or longer).
Granny's Zucchini-Nut Muffins
3 cups flour
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups raw zucchini washed, peeled and grated
2 cups chopped walnuts
2 cups sugar
1 cup light olive oil or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat 4 eggs and sugar until creamed.
Slowly add 1 cup oil, mix well.
Add vanilla, zucchini, walnuts and raisins, mix well.
Fold in dry ingredients, only a few turns, don't over mix.
Pour into greased muffin pan.
Bake in preheated 375 oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
Well, hello there.
Let me just start by saying please bear with me. I haven't really blogged in a while (personally, I mean); I'm nervous and rusty. Also, I'm used to hiding behind food. For those who don't know, I'm an online editor who has been writing about food since college on thefritteringconch.com, among other outlets. Branching out beyond that is huge for me. It's easy to write about how someone else's food tastes because it doesn't reflect on me in any way. Writing about my life, however, notsomuch.
I promise Not-So-Southern Belle isn't a diary. Rather, it's a way for me to mark my time in the South. Not only do I have too much wanderlust to stay in one region forever (California, I swear I'm coming for you next!), but I'm also truly fascinated by the people and culture of this region. Not to mention, the South is totally having a moment in food, film and fashion.
If I'm being really honest with myself, part of my starting this blog has to do with my motto for the year: TREAT YO SELF, or as my beau likes to say, I DO WHAT I WANT! My move from New York City this last January really inspired me to take a look at life (also, turning 25 will do that to a gal). And part of doing what I want is putting on my big girl pants, and challenging myself to figure out my career, life and friendships.
In these last few months, I keep coming back to Matthew McConaughey's Oscar speech:
So you see every day, every week, every month, and every year of my life, my hero’s always ten years away. I’m never going to be my hero. I’m not going to attain that. I know I’m not. And that’s just fine with me, because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.
So that's what I'm doing. I'm chasing; I'm evolving; I'm living. Now, I'm realistic enough to know nothing I write on here will ever be life-altering or truly profound—and that's OK. With every post, I'm learning, growing and changing. And I hope you'll join me along the way, because I've still got a helluva lot I want to do in life.
I'm a digital + social maven for Cinnabon and Moe's Southwest Grill.
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