Pretty Southern

What does it mean to be a Southerner in the 21st century?

Pretty Southern Biscuits with Bacon & Cheese

#bacon #cheese #biscuit pretty southern biscuit bacon cheeseI have to confess, this is my first time making biscuits from scratch! On a recent Sunday morning, we whipped up pancakes for breakfast using Bisquick, and we had a side of bacon. Afterwards we had a ton of bacon leftover so I found this recipe for bacon and cheese biscuits. It’s so simple that even even if it’s your first time baking biscuits y’all will be just fine. Here’s our recipe for Pretty Southern Biscuits with Bacon & Cheese

  • 1 package bacon (cooked and chopped)
  • 1 cup cheese (we used the shredded Mexican mix)
  • 3 c. Bisquick
  • 3/4 c. water

Mix cheese, bacon, Bisquick and water together in a big bowl. Knead until all the ingredients come together. Roll out onto a floured cutting board until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with small biscuit cutter or juice glass. Top with a bit of shredded cheese then bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove immediately from pan and set on a rack to cool.

pretty southern Lauren Patrick is a native Southerner, UGA graduate, and the editor of Pretty Y’all can find her writing, wining, dining, and working out in Atlanta. She’s a member of the Atlanta Blogger Network and Atlanta Food Blogger Society. Keep up with her & Pretty Southern on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Good Manners Never Go Out of Style

courtesy quoteWhen Southern babies are born, one thing is immediately instilled in them: good manners. “Please” and “thank you” are taught right after “ma-ma” and “da-da.” Leave off a “ma’am” or a “sir” after a “yes” or “no” just once, and it will be the last time you ever do. Southern charm starts with a smile and a wave, whether you know the person or not. It’s just what we do.

My boyfriend Kevin is a born and bred New Jerseyan (we met in college at Virginia Tech). Sometimes his bold Jerseyness comes out quite predominantly, and still takes me by surprise, even after knowing him for almost four years. But bless him, he’s slowly adapting to the Southern ways of life.

Back in November, he visited me in North Carolina from Blacksburg for a weekend. We made a quick trip to Harris Teeter one afternoon to pick up a few items for dinner that night. When we’d paid, the lady at the register told us to have a nice day, and Kevin responded with, “Thank you ma’am, you, too.” When we were outside, Kevin said, “Man, it feels so good to be in a place where I can say things like that.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, puzzled. “Why can’t you say that anywhere else?” He chuckled.

“If I said something like that at home in Jersey, people would tell me to go to hell, probably with a certain hand gesture.”

Umm…what? I was genuinely confused. Was he joking? The thought of someone being unfriendly about a polite “thank you, ma’am” did not compute in my head. Who spit in their grits? Apparently some people can’t be bothered to say something nice, or even smile, when someone greets them. Were manners not part of their raising? Is “ma’am” or “sir” offensive? Maybe they think “ma’am” makes them sound old, and that offends them.

I really hope he was joking.

My freshman year of college, my boyfriend at that time was visiting my family in Pennsylvania from his small hometown in central Virginia. As we pulled out of my driveway one morning, we passed a neighbor out for his morning run. Boyfriend waved and smiled out of politeness, but when the neighbor didn’t return the gesture, he seemed upset, even offended.

“He didn’t wave back,” he huffed. “That was rude.” I didn’t disagree.

I’ve never understood why good manners—and general politeness—aren’t common everywhere. It’s not hard to smile or say “please” and “thank you,” and it makes a world of difference. A biting response—or no response at all—can dull someone’s sparkle just as much as a smile and, “hey there, sugar,” can brighten it.

Good manners transcend geographical boundaries, and they will never go out of style.

Kate RobertsonKate Robertson is a features writer for Pretty Southern, a Virginia Tech alumna, and a current graduate student at Elon University in North Carolina. She’s working toward her MA in Interactive Media, and afterwards hopes to further her career as a kick-ass writer.

Originally from Atlanta, Kate enjoys exploring the Piedmont region of North Carolina, especially its wide offerings of wineries. Follow her on Twitter @kate3robertson and check out her blog, A Thought and a Half.


Bien-Aime Fitness: Atlanta’s Best Personal Trainer

Ulrick Bien Aime

“Your fitness is your richness,” Ulrick says, “because your health is your wealth.”

Meet Ulrick Bien-Aime, whom I like to call “Ulrick the Ultimate”. He’s Atlanta’s president of personal training, or at least I like to think so. Bien-Aime has more than 30 years of training, education, and experience promoting health and wellness which all comes together under one roof at Bien-Aimè Strength & Stretch Studio.

Ulrick is a native of Chicago. He went to Whitney Young High School, Chicago’s first magnet high school with famous names including classmates Michelle Obama and the Wachowski brothers from “The Matrix”. Ulrick came to Atlanta to attend Morehouse College where he discovered his passion for fitness and training. A former football player, he graduated with his undergrad and went on to achieve his Master’s in Nutrition Science from Georgia State. He’s also a strength conditioning specialist certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Bien-Aimè has worked with some of the city’s top executives and entertainers maintaining the philosophy that healthy bodies and minds should be maintained in the gym and in the boardroom. But as he says, none of the money matters if you’re not taking care of yourself.

Ulrick Bien-Aime

Ulrick Bien-Aime’s philosophy for life & fitness

“Your Health is Your Wealth” is printed in bold letters behind his desk, and it’s his mantra. For all new clients, before starting your exercise program, Ulrick will conduct a two-hour detailed wellness assessment of your current fitness levels. This includes family history, your physiology, current diet and exercise regimen, among much more to get your “body age”. This way, his team will have the proper blueprint on how to design a new you! It’s a better way to customize a regimen based on each individual’s needs.

When I told Ulrick about my goal for #15in15, he gave me a few key pieces of advice for helping to lose those 15 lbs in a healthy way.

  • Before you jump out of bed or after you hit the snooze, take 5 minutes to breathe deeply and meditate on your activities for the day to get your mind right. Then drink 8 ounces of room temperature water to help get your body’s system going.
  • Take a walk on your lunch hour to combat those afternoon slumps and gain some enthusiasm and focus to power through your day
  • Stretch after every three exercises while working out. This will help to bring more oxygen to the working muscles, aiding in recuperation.
  • Plan your meals. When you know what you’re going to eat this removes stress and prevents going through the drive through. This is coming from a man who gets up at 5 a.m. every day and starts with chicken, brown rice, and a vegetable because he knows his body will need good fuel for his day of training clients.

During my first hour of training, he and his assistant “Autumn the Awesome” had me doing it all! Rowing, stepping, stretching muscles I didn’t have, working my arms, abs, glutes, legs…there isn’t one part of me that wasn’t sore! But gosh does it feel good. The proof is in the sweat. If you want to seriously get in shape, Bien Aime is the place to do it.

For more information about fitness assessments, visit Bien-Aime’s website and make an appointment. Keep up with them on Facebook, and let us know your tips for making sure “Your Health is Your Wealth” in the comments section below.

NY Daily News Mistakes Southern Broadway Star for Robin Williams Heir

Cody Williams Mistake

Cody Williams picture far left above and right below

The New York Daily News made a pretty big error in fact checking today by mistaking Broadway star Cody Williams with the late Robin Williams son, also named Cody. The young performer, originally from Kennesaw, Ga., got quite the surprise this morning when the print edition of the New York Daily News had his photo on the front page.

“I woke up before my alarm went off because my phone kept buzzing. Tons of friends had texted and emailed me about the mix up,” this Cody Williams said. “The mix up couldn’t have come at a more coincidental time because the NY Daily News was actually at my apartment yesterday doing a Valentine’s themed article about my girlfriend and I. I’m so sorry for everything that the Williams family has gone through, and I hope they have a good laugh every time they see my picture photo-shopped in with theirs.”

Cody Williams Broadway

Will the real Cody Williams please stand up?

Cody Williams is currently performing in the Broadway revival of On the Town along with his girlfriend, Alysha Umphress. We’ve kept up with Cody (including seeing the show during our recent trip to NYC) since he graduated from Cobb County’s Center for the Performing Arts at Pebblebrook High School. His Broadway credits include the revival of Cinderella and Memphis.

In a search for “Cody Williams” in Getty Images it’s understandable how this mistake could have happen, but it should have been caught before being plastered on the front page of the print product. The online version of the story has been corrected.

What do y’all think about the mix up? Keep up with Broadway’s Cody Williams on Twitter for more.

Cyc Fitness – Atlanta


Whew! What a workout. I love my spin classes but Cyc Buckhead takes it to a whole new level. I was excited to hear about the new Cyc Fitness studio opening because I love spin class. One thing I really like about Cyc compared to other cycle studios is you get access to the entire gym! Cyc Fitness is located in The Forum Athletic Club (in Lenox Mall – it shares a parking deck with Macy’s). The gym itself is a really cool facility, so overall Cyc is a bit more bang for your buck because after your ride you can lift weights or strength train.

“I think what we’re doing here is pretty special,” said Stephen Nitkin, CEO & Founder of Cyc Fitness. “We chose The Forum Athletic Club because we wanted to open up at the best gym in town. It feels authentic to come here for an awesome workout.”

The studio itself is stocked with amenities – fresh towels are waiting on every bike, and there are KIND bars for snacks pre/post ride energy. The staff are all super helpful and show true Southern hospitality. Cyc is also cheaper than other spin studios. Available now is a 7-pack of classes (5 classes + 2 bonus to celebrate the opening) for $120, averaging to roughly $17 per classes compared to $25+ at FlyWheel or Soul Cycle.

“We’re a little less expensive, Nitkin said. “We made that shift trying to give our clients more bang for their buck by giving them access to all of the amenities of The Forum. You can ride the treadmill, stretch, or take a sauna after your Cyc class.”

Another aspect of Cyc that I really like is the social engagement piece. When you sign up for a class, you can find your instructor on Twitter and Instagram. My “Cycologist” Annie Czarnecki and I were Tweeting before class, and she Tweeted the lovely picture above after we worked up a good sweat.

“Cyc is all about the socially active lifestyle,” said Nitkin. “People need to fee comfortable caring about their fitness. Our riders have active social lives, so we’re trying to help them say ‘Let’s go for a class instead of straight to the bar.’ If they want to get a drink after that’s fine too.”

Cyc is a great option for anyone who loves to spin, or is a newcomer to the world of studio cycling. I’m already looking forward to my next session with a “cycologist”! Be sure to keep up with Cyc Fitness on Facebook and #CycBuckhead. Sign up for classes at Cyc Fitness – Atlanta now.

pretty southern Lauren Patrick is a native Southerner, UGA graduate, and the editor of Pretty Y’all can find her writing, wining, dining, and working out in Atlanta. She’s a member of the Atlanta Blogger Network and Atlanta Food Blogger Society. Keep up with her & Pretty Southern on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.