Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Best Dressed, Manners, Beautiful Homes & Savoring Moments

Today, I thought I would poach a subject that is near and dear to all Southern bred women and really to all women, best dressed, minding your manners, creating a beautiful home, and savoring your moments.

I have been following a wonderful author for about 25 years, Alexandra Stoddard. These are just a few of her books.  They helped me develop my sense of style. 

  • Daring to Be Yourself
  • Living a Beautiful Life
  • Open Your Eyes
  • Feeling at Home
  • Choosing Happiness

You can find her website at: Some of her ideas are right in line with things my mom has taught me and some thoughts that I read on a previous post from French Garden House blog.  French Garden House was speaking on French and European women I thought these all applied to the Southern women of the south and just women in general. 

Also check her out here:

We need to take these to heart as we are losing some of these beautiful characteristics of a Southern woman with the fast route of fast food; stretch pants and just living sloppy in general! 

Everything I know about gracious living I learned from my mother, Margaret Reames Holland as she had an incredible sense of style too. She taught me “pretty is as pretty does” and to always act like a lady, to create a beautiful, warm and welcoming home, and to invite friends and neighbors over for her Southern desserts. I miss my mom every day and only wish she had been around to help raise my children with my husband and me.  Her style, attention to detail and her recipes were wonderful!  When she walked in a room, everyone turned to notice.  I so miss that.  I know few women that have that presence of self-confidence. 

BEST DRESSED.   I try to never go anywhere without make-up on and some accessories, ever.  Looking nice and stylish is very important to me.  I guess my mom’s sense of style wore off on me.  I may not have the most up to date clothing on sometimes, but being confident in what I am wearing is so important.  Buy the best you can purchase.

French Garden House blog mentions that there isn't a single woman in Europe who would go outdoors in sweat pants, unless she's jogging, period.  Everyone has a fashionable coat, a scarf, and great shoes. What a way to do it!  For Europeans, looking good is a way of life. Even a quick trip to the market requires a certain level of chicness.

Some of my mom’s rules:

1.    There is no excuse for not taking care of yourself. Even if you are stressed, you will feel so much better if you find some time to do your hair and makeup and use some body lotion. You will be able to give back to others once you do this.

2.    Find YOUR style, realizing that the most popular style may not look great on your body. If this is the case then revert to the styles, colors, shapes and fabrics that work for you, stick with those. Trends come and go, what fits and looks good on you is forever.

3.    Always make a habit to buy the best you can afford. Investing in cheap fabrics looks just that, CHEAP. Invest in the real thing such as real cotton, linen, cashmere and silk. There are some polyesters on the market that look amazing these days, just shop wisely. The key word is "look amazing."

4.    Fit is KEY. If your clothes fit poorly take them to a tailor/seamstress and have them professionally tailored. If your pants hit the floor take care of that hem.  If something will never fit your body right, donate it.

MIND YOUR MANNERS. My mother always said that perfect manners are essential to be a true Christian Southern Lady.  Pretty is as Pretty does! Inside and out!
I remember putting my foot on the pew to straighten my white socks in my white patent leather shoes at church, only to be pinched softly by my mom.  I never did that again!

·         no swearing, cursing or using slang language, seriously!

·         good posture makes every woman look classy, and slimmer too!

·         smoking is never elegant, if you have this habit and can’t break it, do it in private.

·         leave lots to the imagination such as low-cut, skimpy and tight clothes are not for you! No one wants to see your hinny, or your chest exposed.

Southern women use their beautiful things, and are so adept at creating little beautiful vignettes almost anywhere. Try a beverage bar.  Coffee and soft drinks are always welcoming when guest arrive.

You will not very likely find paper plates when true Southern women entertain. They use their antiques, their silver, and their best glassware for guests.

CREATE BEAUTY AT HOME. You don't have to live in a large home to have a pleasing home, it's not too difficult to make your home welcoming and a nice place to come to. Bring some beauty to your world.  I try to have fresh flowers when possible when I entertain.

Flowers don't need to be all that expensive, you can pick up a little bunch at the market, or cut a few flowers from your garden. There are times that I clip branches from our front garden and call it an arrangement, they look beautiful. I’ve even decorated with branches in my chandeliers. 

SAVOR MOMENTS. French Garden House wrote that the whole concept of picking up a coffee and drinking it while driving somewhere is so foreign to European women.  When they drink coffee or tea, they make it an event. You can do the same. 

In America, we enjoy our fast food, however when you have a guest savor the moments that you have together, sharing, talking, smiling and encouraging your friends/guest.  They will cherish these times you shared together and remember them for a long time.  Plus, your relationship will blossom from these savored moments.

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Southern's Love for Fresh Lady Peas

I wanted to share with you all a true Southerner's love of Lady Peas otherwise known as Creamette 12.  They are the sweetest of peas available.  Many, many varieties are grown by the South Georgia farmers, such as Pink Eyes, Zipper Peas, Little Lady Peas, Crowders and Purple Hull Peas, however the Lady Pea is by far the best!  My children love these peas and when we have a family gathering they always ask for me to make some.  I try to keep my freezer stocked with these peas.

Our love for these peas started a long time ago in Middle Georgia, Columbus to be exact.  My husband's momma and my mother cooked them all the time.  They used to be more readily available to the housewife back in the 50s and 60s.  Now you can't find them unless you go to South Georgia to a farmer's stand.  Even down south where my best friend grew up, you must get in line with the local farmer (if you are on his good list) and put your name down to get how many bushels you want to put up and there is a limit you can ask for. 

In recent years, I would go south with my friend to her home town and we would get lady peas and put them up and then bring them back to Atlanta frozen.  Then I would stock them for the winter in my freezer.  This is a practice that I still do, however this summer we were not able to do this as her freezer there went out.  So, recently when visiting South Georgia for a funeral, we stopped at a local farmer stand on the way home and they had a refrigerator with one bushel shelled for sale.  This is so rare this late in the season since it was September.  Of course, I snapped up that bushel for $32.00 and asked my hubby to go next door for ice for our Costco cooler to get them home. He's always accommodating to my whims, at least usually.

When we arrived home, this was my freezing preparation process:
  1. Put peas in a very clean large bowl and wash, taking out any trash you might have in gathering.
  2. Put a large stock pot on to boil using a double stock pot with strainer.  If you don't have a double stock pot with strainer don't worry. I used a regular stock pan for years and just strained the hot water off with my colander instead of the strainer inside the stock pot.
  3. Add peas and bring to a boil and boil for 6 minutes.
  4. Make sure you don't put too much water in as it will over boil.  Just cover the peas.
  5. While the peas are boiling, remove the skim that forms at the top, but you won't be able to gather it all.
  6. While the peas are boiling prepare your sink by cleaning it extensively.
  7. Fill it with cold water, enough to cover peas 
  8. Add enough ice so that the water is ice cold.
  9. Strain peas and only add peas to the ice-cold bath.
  10. Let peas sit in bath for a good 5-10 minutes making sure they are ice cold before removing.
  11. Start filling quart size Ziploc Freezer Bags for individual servings. Add a tiny bit of water and start to seal the Ziploc by folding over the bag expelling the air from the bag.  The water will help to push the air out.
  12. Place in your freezer after you date and label the bags.

While everyone has a different method of freezing, this one seems to work for me.  I have frozen peas for years this way and it always works. You never want to put them in the freezer while warm as they will sour.

Look for your peas soon as I believe the fall crops will be coming out at local farmer's markets around Georgia.  They will go fast! You will be so glad in January you did.

Happy Freezing!