Wednesday, July 17, 2024

My Appalachian Elegy

Have you ever considered how the place where you grew up continues to shape you, even if you’ve moved far away and never returned? With the recent announcement of a Vice-Presidential Candidate from Ohio with roots in Kentucky, much discussion has centered around his 2016 memoir, Hillbilly Elegy. I read the book and watched the Netflix docu-drama adaptation. Opinions about it are polarized; some love it, others hate it. Many of my friends, who also have deep Southern Appalachian roots, have strong feelings about it. If nothing else, it has sparked some great discussions.

Having grown up in the mountains of Appalachia, I understand the term “hillbilly” in a way not everyone does. Some parts of Hillbilly Elegy resonated with me, while others did not. I’ve also lived in various parts of the country, and I believe some of the themes in Hillbilly Elegy—poverty, dysfunctional family dynamics, and educational challenges—are not unique to Appalachia. This is an important point to make. Similarly, strong family connections are not exclusive to the region nor are they present in every Appalachian family.

My Appalachian family wasn’t wealthy, large, or particularly close-knit, though I knew many who were. My parents weren’t uneducated nor scholars. Our family has faced struggles with addiction, but it didn’t touch my life directly. My personal hillbilly elegy would be quite different. This is the challenge when an individual’s story is seen as representative of a larger group.

Despite my Appalachian roots, most of my adult life has been spent far from those hills and the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m now a flatlander, more coastal than mountain. The cultures are as much the same as they are different, and my ears are more accustomed to the Carolina Low Country drawl than the twang of my mountain roots. I have moments when I deeply miss my hometown, lifelong friends, and the region. But I also cherish seeing Spanish moss blowing in the breeze or a palm tree against a Carolina blue sky. These experiences are equal parts of who I am, blending to shape my identity.

Yes, the deep, unique, and rich culture of Appalachia is part of my soul, but it’s mixed with so many other life experiences. None of us can fully claim to know all the facets of what it means to be a hillbilly.

Signed, Southern Flatland Mountain Girl

Friday, July 5, 2024

Convertibles in the South

Who doesn’t love a spin in a convertible? I find it to be hugely stress-relieving and calming. But for those of you in other parts of the world who prep and put your convertibles to bed in the fall for a good six months or more until convertible weather returns, we in the South have a different routine.

Where I live, we enjoy a convertible season that lasts pretty much nine to ten months. The “off months” for us are not during the cold, winter months. Instead, our top-up time is in the dead of summer. Personally, I have been known to drive in freezing weather with the top down, wearing a heavy coat with the heater blasting. However, when it starts to feel like the backside of Satan’s toaster oven, there isn’t enough AC to keep that top down. I will keep the top down and the AC flowing until I could cook a lasagna in the passenger seat. But after that, it is no longer convertible season. I. Can’t. Roll.

So, for the next couple of months, my top-down days will be missed and very limited (maybe left for a few nighttime rides).  Though, this is a good time to tweak some of the "work in progress" and maintenance that comes with driving a vintage a new clutch. I am counting down the days until I can feel that air in my hair again! Y’all up north, just know I am envying your summer rides!

Until the cooler days return, I'll be dreaming of my next top-down adventure!

Monday, June 17, 2024

Rediscovering My Voice...

I wrote my first blog post of 2024 yesterday. It wasn’t deep and it wasn’t long. It was just the marking of a celebration for someone I love. But, in so many ways, it was much more. 

For years, writing was my sanctuary. I found solace in the rhythm of my thoughts flowing onto paper, the tap-tap-tap of keys as my ideas took shape. My blog was a personal haven where I could share insights, stories, and snippets of my life with a supportive community. Eventually, it even led to a paid position as a columnist, and I held a secret dream of writing the great Southern Novel one day. However, an unexpected turn of events led to a hiatus from writing. After a long break, I finally found my way back to the keyboard to share, though not so frequently. 

 As I struggled to keep the muse fed and the words flowing someone used my own blog to try to assassinate my character. It wasn't just a nasty comment by an anonymous online person, casual jab, teasing remark, or even my words. Harmless clip art, I shared as an accent to a post that discussed my personal financial journey, which was a common theme, were presented in court. Now mind you, the post – words - (in full) was not presented. But the clipart from this post was used to paint me as someone I was not. Someone who knew how much writing meant to me used it as a weapon to attempt to hurt me, and I am sure make me stop. And stop, I did. I pulled away from writing on my blog except on rare occasions. 

Fast forward several years and I would, from time to time, write a post and think of jumping back into the words until a few months ago, when someone very near and dear to me ridiculed my blog, my writing, my use of social media. The blog that once represented my voice, my history, my faith became a source of embarrassment and hurt. The sting of their judgment was sharp. I often tell myself that I shouldn't care what others think, especially when it comes to something as personal as my creative expression; but reality is different. The criticism and mockery cut deep, especially coming from someone I love - someone whose opinion mattered to me. I had hoped for support, maybe even pride in my accomplishments, but instead, I was met with ridicule and reopening of long sealed scars. 

In the aftermath, I stopped writing. The blog that had been a canvas for my thoughts and experiences lay dormant and made private, hiding almost 20 years of my life. I pulled in my personal social media use, making previously public presences private, as I felt vulnerable. I withdrew, silencing the words that had once been better than therapy. The fear of judgment, of having my words twisted and used against me, was paralyzing. Each time I considered returning to my blog, the memories of those hurtful experiences would resurface, and I'd retreat further away from the keyboard. 

But I missed the cathartic release that writing provided. I missed the community of readers who found value in my words, who connected with my stories. Slowly, I am rebuilding my confidence. It isn’t easy. I must remind myself that my blog is my space, a reflection of my journey, thoughts, and creativity. I am starting small, rediscovering the joy of writing without the pressure of an audience. 

I decided to reclaim my blog. Sharing my story—this story—for me. To anyone who has faced similar challenges, know that your voice matters. It's easy to say we shouldn't care what others think, but it's okay to acknowledge that their opinions can hurt, especially when they come from those we love. However, it's crucial to remember that their views do not diminish your worth, the value of your creative expression, or your story. 

Rediscovering my passion for writing is a journey and I don’t know where it will go. My blog is once again a space where I can be unapologetically myself…whoever that is in this season of life. It is a place where I hope I can share my truths and connect with others who find solace or humor in my experiences, my wins, my losses, my adventures, and who knows what else. I hope that by sharing this experience, I can inspire others to reclaim their voices, to continue creating despite the setbacks, and to find pride in their unique stories. Writing is more than just putting words on a page; it's a reflection of your path. No one should ever have the power to take that away from you.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Birthdays and Bourbon

This week my husband is celebrating a milestone birthday so, of course, he needed a party. It is easy when kids are little to come up with an idea or theme for a party but big people can be harder to plan for! 

He has a hobby...bourbon. He is not a heavy drinker as one might suspect of an individual whose hobby is "bourbon". Over the last year he began formally studying bourbon.  Yes, and if you didn't know, there are courses and classes you can take just on this particular subject.  He is enrolled in a program to become a Certified Bourbon Steward.  So, to say we have quite the growing bourbon collection might be an understatement, but that is a topic for another day.  As well,  he has a growing circle of "Bourbon Nerds" that he loves to get together with so a Bourbon Tasting Party it was!

We brought in an expert to lead the tasting and do somewhat of an abbreviated version of her Introductory Course.  By the way, if you are looking for some expert advice, look no further than Bourbon at Tiffany's.  It was such a fun night and I think a good time was had by all!  If you would like to see more about the party or my husband, check him out at DHB and His Bourbons.  Happy Birthday, sweet man!

Saturday, December 2, 2023


I am fond of words.  I like conversation, I love how words can help you "know" someone. I love books, articles, even a well versed text.  I especially love written words and that is generally why I write (or have written in the past.) I read recently that a writer writes because of unsaid words.  I am in a season of unsaid words and a season where the desire to write is strong; the time to write, not so much.

Words help me to know people and people seem to like to share their words with me. Sometimes, are these words  just an illusion they want me to see?  Yes, I have lived long enough to know some souls are gifted with just such a way with words.  Even as I see actions, I have often given more chances that I probably should have because of their words. I want to believe the words people use. It is a fault that I listen to words probably as much as I watch actions.  But....still, I want to believe in the words because I want to know people, understand them. 

Being Southern, I believe, gives me a particular love of the world that can be woven by words.  In the South we revere our story-tellers.  We value someone who can entertain us with their words as much as a good drink at a party, if not more. Why do you think there are so many amazing writers who hailed from Southern Roots?  Even those annoying relatives are tolerated, if not regaled, if they have the ability to leave us spell bound with stories of our past, present, and possibly our future.  Culturally, we are a region that loves words, and I am a product of that love.

Saturday, June 3, 2023



I haven't gone back through the last 18 years or so of blogging to determine how many posts I have written about purses but I am betting there is more than one or two!  Purses (pocketbook if you prefer... an interesting side note the term pocketbook is used almost exclusively in the Eastern U.S. and even then, primarily in the South!) are very personal.  Much like shoes, I think they can say so much about personality; even more than clothing or jewelry. 

It is near impossible to buy a purse for someone  (now I am not talking about a cute, little, cocktail number or statement purse but rather those bags we turn to everyday)  unless you have specifically been shown what/which purse they love.  I believe this to be almost exactly the same in the buying shoes.  These items are not just decoration they have to work with our bodies.  The handles/straps have to fit "us" and our lives or even season of life.  I remember the years of not really carrying a purse but throwing my wallet into a diaper bag.  Now, I often forgo the purse and drop my wallet, keys, sunglasses into my computer bag and head out. Just like a shoe has to fit your foot to work in your daily life, so does the size, shape, and yes, even whether it has pockets, snaps, or zippers in a purse matter.  I can look back at my purse styles over the years, and although I have "tried on" different styles, I tend to navigate back to a basic style and fit... much like my basic black pumps that live in my closet as a necessity not an option  

In purses I am not brand loyal or even a brand snob.  If I see a purse I like, regardless of brand, and it fits...I will carry it.  My current bag is a lovely, pink patent, Kate Spade that I have carried in Summers past.  It is still in great shape, fits, and I love the pop of color... not to mention since it isn't current season no one else has the same bag!  One holiday season I carried a bag which had been the giftbag for a set of lotions but was made of red faux fur, trimmed in white faux fur with big, fuzzy, white pom-poms!  It worked and it fit.  It was festive, got lots of compliments, and no one was the wiser it wasn't even a purse.  I once had a friend who made delightful cocktail purses from wooden cigar boxes.  There is probably a great post about cocktail purses somewhere, I just haven't gotten around to it.

All this to say, that bag you haul around everyday says a lot about you.  If it is recyclable tote from the grocery or a Hermes Kelly bag, you are sharing more than you may realize!  Your purse is an extension of that arm it hangs from!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Where Have the Bloggers Gone?

Where are the blogs? Have they died? Are they lost to podcasts and Instagram? And, most importantly, where have the bloggers gone? You know, the people we used to keep up with just like neighbors; the friends made online that just made life a bit more bearable. Oh, I am guilty of dropping the blogging ball myself. I am sure I had a hand in losing track of the wonderful souls that became part of my life online and even some who became IRL friends (and still are). 

When my divorce happened several years ago, I stopped writing. The words literally dried up. Not only did I stop writing but I know I stopped interacting in blogland. My attention span was so short and shallow that I moved to less deep forms of mindless entertainment, such as Instagram and Pinterest. My emotional place only allowed for so much and since the words were gone, scrolling through pretty pictures became my “social media”, even though there was very little social involved. Just a click of a heart and scroll away. It wasn’t like leaving a comment on something someone wrote or responding to the same. 

I work in communications, and by all my research it says blogging is long from having the coffin closed on its existence and its viability. But, when I look at links of those blogs I used to love to read, most haven’t been updated in years...literally…years! So, either everyone has created a new blog or become addicted to Pinterest and the Tik Toc or it is just me? 

If anyone out there reads this, drop a word or two in the comment section and let me know your thoughts as I would like to revive my blog, it truly was the best therapy! Let me know where you are. Let’s catch up like old friends because, with the time that has passed, I am sure we could share for months without breaking a stride.