Famous in a Small Town by Miranda Lambert

This song describes my hometown of Statesboro, Georgia perfectly, y’all. Everyone knows your mama and daddy, where you go to school and church, and they ALWAYS know your business – sometimes before you do! (Other small town natives know what I’m talkin’ about here.)

I think the part that resonates with me the most is the first verse where she talk about cheerin’ at your high school football games make you just about as famous (if not more) in your hometown than winnin’ a Grammy. I can remember this one time goin’ into the Statesboro WalMart to grab somethin’ for my mama, and some little girl came up to me, gave me a hug, and called me by my name. I wasn’t sure who she was, but she told me that she watched me cheer every Friday night and wanted to be a cheerleader one day herself. It was just too precious, y’all.

While I’m happy I don’t live in the Statesboro fish bowl anymore, I do kinda miss times like those every once in awhile.

Happy small town gossipin’, y’all!

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Rule #7: Know Your Football

This is rule is so important, y’all, especially with football season right around the corner. A lot of women around the country think that knowin’ all about football is a man’s job. Wrong, y’all. As a southern belle, you should be able to have a full blown conversation about football with Vince Dooley himself. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to get as rowdy as Steve Spurrier when you’re arguin’ over your favorite teams; you should always conduct these types of conversations like the lady that your mama raised you to be, but stand your ground like your daddy.

So y’all may be askin’ yourselves what exactly you need to know about football to make yourself a southern belle. Here’s a short list:

  • Know the different positions on offense and defense and what their job is.
  • Know who your team’s players are and what position they play.
  • Know who the coaches are.
  • Know who your college teams’ top recruits are and what teams the recruits are considerin’.
  • ALWAYS tailgate for and watch their games, even if you can’t go. If you’re too much of a rookie to be able to analyze ’em, watch some Sports Center and listen to all the broadcasters to get a better idea of how they played.
  • Know all the cheers! “Gooooooo Dawgs! Sic ’em!” “Goooooooo Blue! One more time!” “I’m a helluva engineer!”
  • And most importantly, know how the game is played, including all the terms that you need to know (i.e. touchdown, punt, sack, etc.)

Here’s a useful site to help y’all get started: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/understanding-footballs-downs-yardage-and-stuff.html

Happy football season, y’all! And Go Dawgs/Jackets/Eagles!

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^^^Story of my life, y’all!^^^

1. Belle’s Best: Hubee D’s

Alright, y’all… Here’s the first of a long list of some of my favorite things, whether they may be restaurants, shops, brands, charities, books, etc.

Hubee D’s

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If y’all thought Zaxby’s, Cane’s, or Skogie’s was good, wait til y’all take a bite of their buttermilk fried tenders, cornbread, fries, or better yet, their FREE boiled peanuts that you can eat to your heart’s desire while you wait for your food!

It originated in South Carolina, but praise the Lawd they brought one to Athens! Everyone I know loves it now, from the entire UGA football team to my closest belles.

I highly recommend their chicken finger basket with their cornbread and fries, a glass of their sweet tea or a Diet Coke, and y’all just HAVE to try their house sauce. Seriously, y’all! If you need somethin’ on the lighter side to fit into your deb dress, get the Goat Island Delight Salad. Their grilled tenders alongside some cranberries, almonds, and goat cheese all on top of a bed of fresh greens is the perfect light solution. Just grab ya some unsweetened tea and mix it with some artificial sweetener, and you’ll be well on your way to Scarlett’s waistline without sacrificin’ good southern cookin’ that’ll make your mama jealous!

Happy eatin’, y’all!

Hubee D’s is located at 1591 South Lumpkin Street in Athens, Georgia. Follow them on Twitter by clicking here!

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Rule #6: Love and Listen to Your Mama and Daddy

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” -Proverbs 1:8-9

My, how time has flown since the day I moved out of my parents’ house and into my college dorm and now my very own apartment. I remember countin’ down the days until I moved into my dorm in Creswell Hall that was half the size of my bedroom at home, and I even had to share it with someone. While I’m barely able to remember those times these days, there are other memories that quickly come to mind that make me regret every excitin’ feelin’ I had about movin’ out on my own.

The first memory that made me regret those feelin’s was one of the first times I had to provide dinner for myself. While I probably wasn’t regrettin’ those feelin’s the day before when I was galavantin’ around spendin’ my (well, I guess my parent’s that they’d given to me) money as I saw fit, I was definitely feelin’ some type of remorse the next night when I was watchin’ tv while eatin’ those infamous Ramen noodles. I was all alone in my dorm while my roommate went home to eat dinner with her family since she lived only an hour away. Of course, I didn’t have that luxury bein’ from below the Macon-Dixon line (aka, south of Macon, Georgia). It was then that I realized how unthankful I’d been about my mama’s home-cooked suppers every night and my daddy’s countless tips about savin’ my money. Talk about a wake-up call, y’all.

The next one of those times was when I was busily studyin’ for my college finals. Finals durin’ my first year weren’t so hard, but the ones durin’ my first semester of my second year proved to be a rude awakenin’. Y’all, I can remember doin’ everything in my power not to call my mama. I kept tellin’ myself, “I can do this. I’m a grown woman who’s smart and can make it through this.” Tellin’ myself this definitely didn’t work, but somehow, hearin’ my mama and daddy both tell me, “Baby, you are a strong, smart, beautiful young lady at one of the south’s top public universities. They wouldn’t have let you in if they didn’t think you could handle it, and you wouldn’t still be there if you couldn’t. You can do this. These tough times will pass.” As y’all can see, this was essentially the same thing I told myself, but I guess I couldn’t quite believe it until I heard it from them. (It usually takes them tellin’ me somethin’ for me to believe it with just about anything. I may be a grown woman, but I can’t quite think like one yet; hence them still callin’ me “baby.”)

Now I’m about to tell y’all about a time that seems to happen on a recurrin’ basis. I enjoy keepin’ it classy in the Classy/Classic City, even on a few Friday and Saturday nights. While I always have fun with my friends, I too often see somethin’ that rattles my feathers: young men disrespectin’ young ladies, physically or verbally. What’s even worse is when the young ladies find it acceptable. No ma’am, no sir, no way on earth is it ok with me. Every time I see this happen to someone else or, Lawd forbid someone’s fixin’ to try it on me, I always remember my parent’s preachin’ to me about how a young gentleman should treat a young lady and, more importantly, how my daddy has always treated my mama. I’m usually followin’ my quiet, mild-mannered, southern belle ways, but whenever somethin’ like this happens to me or one of my close friends, my southern sass kicks into full gear, and that wretched young man feels like those Yankees did after the battle of First Manassas.

One of the times that I really should’ve listened to Mama and Daddy was when I finally broke down and realized that I needed to learn how to cook. Y’all, my mama, bless her sweet heart, has tried relentlessly since I was a young’un to teach me my way around the kitchen and grocery store. I can still remember from the time I was a young’un til right before I left for college followin’ her around the store as she pushed the buggy and listenin’ to her say, “You’re gonna need to know where __________ is located in the grocery store one day.” I guess I always just assumed that I’d be on meal plan my entire college career. Wrong, y’all! I started tryin’ to learn how to cook through Pinterest back in September. I can still recall pickin’ a few recipes that seemed easy enough to fix, makin’ my grocery list, then spendin’ hours pushin’ my buggy around Kroger tryin’ to find all the stuff that Mama had pointed out to me before. The struggles didn’t end there, y’all, as I completely ruined every single one of those first set of meals. Eventually, I conquered all of them as well as many others, but it would have been so much easier if I had listened to Mama.

Actually, y’all, just listenin’ to her and Daddy the first time about everything would have made my life so much easier. I think this realization is the only thing that somewhat constitutes me as a grown woman. (Lovin’ and respectin’ them is what makes you a southern belle, which I’ve always done.)

Happy lovin’, respectin’, and listenin’, y’all!

Don’t Forget to Remember Me by Carrie Underwood

This is one of my favorites y’all, and not just because it’s Carrie singin’ it. I’ve been missin’ my mama lately, so this song always reminds me that she’s just a phone call away. Havin’ my mama tell me for the millionth time, “You’re a strong, smart, beautiful young lady,” always gives me just the boost I need to get through my rough week.

Call your mamas, y’all, and tell her you love her.

Rule #5: Big Hair

Big Hair, Don’t Care You Better Care!!!!

I’ve always told people, “Never mess with my family, my friends, or my hair.” That’s because a southern belle’s hair is almost as important as football down here. Now I’m not sayin’ you have to go 80’s country music star/pageant queen on me, but y’all don’t need to be lookin’ like a European woman who gets her hair cut maybe twice a year and lets it just lay flat on her head every day in between.

How do you get those luscious locks like those on the heads of Carrie Underwood, Robin Meade, and the current Miss Georgia? One word y’all: FreezIt. It’s that gold/copper colored aerosol can y’all see those crazy pageant moms suffocating their toddlers with. I’m not sayin’ you have to use an entire can in one sittin’ like they do, but make sure you use enough that your hair can withstand the south’s humidity.

Here’s another big hair secret of mine: use a straightener to curl your hair. All you have to do is place the straightener on an angle as you pull through. A curlin’ iron and your mama’s curlers that she wears to bed will give you ringlets that were cute when y’all were 5 years old, but you want somethin’ a little more grown up now like the styles shown on some of my hair idols below.

1. Carrie Underwood hair: A southern belle’s dream. Actually, everyone’s dream. I’m not for certain, but I’m purty sure any hair stylist out there would bow in the presence of her hair. I know I would, y’all. It’s just that perfect. This is what I strive for everyday, except for today, because I ran out of FreezIt. 😦

2. Miss Georgia hair: Y’all don’t have to have long hair to get the southern look! I absolutely love Miss Georgia 2009’s, Emily Cook’s, short and sassy cut. I know this southern belle personally, and lemme tell you, she’s just as smart as this cut makes her look! Whether you have long or short hair, the keyword (other than “FreezIt”) is “layers.”

3. Robin Meade hair: Not too big, not too small, and not too much FreezIt. This is easy enough to fix every mornin’ before you take the young’un’s to school, but purty enough to wear to a Sunday-go-to-meetin’ dress type event. If she can get up before 6 a.m. and still do this, y’all can too. No excuses, y’all. (Disclaimer: Robin Meade was born in Ohio, so she’s not southern by birth, but she did release a country music album last year. She also now lives in Atlanta and is just as sweet as she can be , so I think we can consider her a southern belle by association.)

Happy combin’, sprayin’, and stylin’, y’all!

Rule #4: Mind Your Manners

Down here in Georgia, the words okay, alright, and the like are used, but only towards your friends that are your age or younger. If I were to even think about usin’ ’em to talk to my Mama and Daddy, not only would I get a raised eyebrow, but the use of my middle name combined with my first name as well in that voice parents use when they’re about to give you a whoopin’.

As a rule of thumb, if someone is five years or more older than you, you MUST add a “ma’am” or “sir” to your response to their question or request. I know some people from above the Mason Dixon line who have told me that usin’ ma’am and sir is a sign of disrespect or saracasm. Well not down here, y’all. This might as well be the eleventh commandment. 

And don’t y’all be forgettin’ about your standard “nice words” that your mama engrained into y’all’s heads before you had company over for the first time since you learned to speak: please and thank you. I really hope y’all are sayin’ “duh” as you read this because this is such an obvious rule, but y’all never know how some mamas raised their young’uns. 

Last but not least, when y’all do have company over, whether it’s for a gourmet country fried steak dinner with all the fixin’s or just a glass of iced tea on the porch, y’all always invite ’em back with the southern standard, “Y’all come back now, ya here?!” This don’t mean you have to invite ’em back if they were horrible company that didn’t mind their manners, but you always say it anyways just to make sure y’all ended on a good note.

Got it, y’all?

(If y’all responded with a “yes ma’am,” then you’re one step closer to becomin’ the ultimate southern belle.)

 

Time is Love by Josh Turner

Y’all, there is just one song that I have been listenin’ and singin’ along to nonstop lately. Time is Love by Josh Turner and his lovely deep southern voice has to be the sweetest, most precious song I’ve heard in a good while. All y’all southern belles need to find a man who will treat you like sweet Josh treats his lady in this song…

Happy singin’ along, y’all!

Rule #3: Never Forget Where You Come From

Sorry y’all, I know it’s been awhile. I have a good excuse though… I went home this past weekend to visit my family and close friends. And let me tell ya, it was amazin’. I know I complain about the three-hour drive from Athens to Statesboro (which I will refer to from now on as “the Boro”), but there seriously ain’t no better place to relax and unwind. I swear, the further south you go, the slower life is. Lemme just tell you a little about my trip, so sit down, grab a glass of sweet tea, and let’s talk.

Alright, so after I got all the way back to the Hopulikit (which is a small community where I live right outside of the Boro town), my mama had my favorite supper waitin’ for me when I got home: grilled steak, baked potatoes with all the fixin’s, and peaches. Y’all, it was simply amazin’. My mama’s and daddy’s hugs would have been more than enough for my welcome home gift, but, like always, she put on the dog and made the most delicious meal. After we blessed and ate supper, the rest of the evenin’ was spent on our back porch watchin’ our cats and dog play in the backyard, listenin’ to the sounds of an evenin’ summer, and, of course, talkin’ about all the juicy Boro gossip I missed while I was in Athens. (In case you’re wonderin’, someone we knew married his ex-wife’s sister. I’m not lyin’ to ya.)

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As if that supper wasn’t enough, my mama and little sister drove me to my favorite place on earth: the Georgia coast. We spent the entire day on Tybee Island, Georgia. (Just so y’all know, that’s where the movie “The Last Song” was filmed.) I did absolutely nothin’ all day but ride the waves, work on my much needed tan, eat some bo’led peanuts, and sip on a few cold ones. The sun was shinin’ and the breeze was blowin’. Now, of course, the beach is the only place where I don’t worry about what my hair’s doin’. This is truly what bein’ a southern belle is all about y’all… Feelin’ blessed for the little things while wearin’ your pearls and drinkin’ your tea.

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After I reached my lobster red skin color, we headed on back to the Boro. Later that night, I got to see many of my close friends from high school. I know I’m talkin’ y’all’s ears off all the time about how great it is to be a Dawg, and it is, but y’all gotta remember where this sense of football/school pride was instilled in me…

See, back before I brought my southern belle class to the Classic City, I was a proud little Blue Devil from Statesboro High School. My pearls were still worn everyday, my mama and daddy were still the center of my heart, but I cheered louder on Friday nights than Saturday nights down at Womack Field for my then-favorite football team.  Y’all, I can still remember cryin’ at Waffle House after our team lost in the third round of the state football playoffs, just like I cried after the Dawgs lost to LSU in the SEC Championship game this past year. I guess some things never change.

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As I was fixin’ to leave my house after church on Sunday, I realized that this was the first time since my freshman year of college that I really didn’t want to go back. Y’all, I love my family, friends, and pets so much. They made me the pearl-wearin’, tea-sippin’, yes-ma’amin’ southern belle I am today. 

Thank the Lawd I was raised in the south.

Happy reminiscin’, y’all!

You can take the southern belle out of south Georgia, but you can never take the south Georgia out of the southern belle.

Rule #2: Always Ask for Coke

I know all y’all ladies readin’ this know who Paula Deen is, and you’re probably startin’ to wonder what you’re supposed to be consumin’ as a true southern belle when I haven’t even taught y’all how or what to cook yet. As far as food goes for right now, just go with anything fried or grown in your mama’s garden. We’ll get to all that stuff a little while later.

Y’all are probably thinkin’ that you’re safe with choosin’ any plate from KFC, right? Bless your heart, darlin’. You’re wrong. I’ll tell ya why… It’s ’cause they don’t serve Coke products. Ya see, it’s quite blasphemous to drink any other type of carbonated beverage down here besides a southerner’s favorite drink other than their mama’s sweet tea, which is none other than Coca Cola.

We won’t cover much history in our lessons other than a few topics regardin’ the War Between the States and famous southern football rivalries, but y’all need to know some things about Coke. A pharmacist by the name of Dr. John Pemberton came up with this sweet drink in Atlanta back in the late nineteenth century when the South was gettin’ back on its feet after the War Between the States. About a year later, a gentleman named Asa Candler bought the recipe from Dr. Pemberton and turned Coca Cola into what it is today. And just so ya know, Coke stayed true to its southern roots by keepin’ its headquarters in Atlanta. The South is risin’ again, y’all!

This is why we refer to everything besides tea and wooter as “Coke.” When I’m too rode hard and hung up dry to cook, I go grab somethin’ to eat with my family. Y’all will know you’re in the south when you order a Coke to drink and the precious waitress asks, “What kind, darlin’?” She knows a Coke can also mean Sprite or Diet Coke to a true southern belle. Now Lord forbid you’re at a restaurant and they don’t serve Coke products, so the waitress is gonna say somethin’ along the lines of, “I’m sorry, ma’am, is ______ alright?” If y’all are like me, y’all will be tempted to say, “Ma’am, is monopoly money alight?”, but we have to remember that we keep it classy down in these parts, and we simply respond, “No ma’am, I’ll just have some wooter.”

Needless to say, when y’all are pushin’ your buggies down the Coke aisle (aka, the “soda” aisle) at the Piggly Wiggly, y’all better not be fixin’ to pick up anything besides Coca-Cola products. I swear, y’all will burst into flames.

Alright y’all, it’s hotter than Luke Bryan here in Georgia today, so I’m about to go get me a Coke from the corner store. (And just so y’all know, whenever I say, “Coke,” I always mean Diet Coke.)

Happy sippin’, y’all!