Pretty Southern

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

August 2011 archive

Delectable Honey From Ross Berry Farm

Like many Southerners, I use the word “honey” as a term of endearment. But I love that sweet, golden delight made by bees, especially drizzled on toasted muffins and hot biscuits. Man has always enjoyed the benefits of honey. It’s a sweetener for beverages and often cooked in cakes and breads.

In the South, honey is usually a key ingredient in barbeque sauces. Medicinally it is used for treating burns and soothing throats. Many beauty products like soaps, lip balms and lotions feature honey. And local raw honey, which contains pollen, can help build immunities and alleviate the symptoms of some allergies. While looking for unusual holiday gifts a couple of years ago, I discovered raw honey from Ross Berry Farm. The honey was big hit and of course I kept a few jars. It’s incredibly flavorful and delicious!

Recently I got a chance to chat with Terry Ross of Ross Berry Farm and Apiaries in Canton, Georgia. Terry and his wife Jeannie started their business back in 1994. “Originally the plan was to grow raspberries,” Ross explains. “But we soon found that organic raspberries were a fragile crop with a short shelf life. We couldn’t figure out how to ship them fast enough to market.”

To help pollinate the raspberries, they got some bees. That’s when the magic happened. Ross Berry Farm is in an ideal area for harvesting honey. And as it turns out, raw honey keeps indefinitely!
“Shortly after we got our first hives I found myself at the local library co-founding The Cherokee Bee Keepers,” adds Ross. Starting with two hives, the farm now has more than 45. “Our hives are scattered throughout the farm and in the north Georgia mountains, so the bees are able to find a lot of nectar sources,” he says.
Once Ross and his wife got involved with bees, they realized how important bees are to our ecosystem. “Bees pollinate about 1/3 of our food supply,” he explains. He cautions people to be mindful of bees that visit their gardens, and tells me one thing that most people do wrong. “If you want to get rid of insects in your garden, please don’t use Seven Dust,” he says. “Bees mistake it for pollen and it can kill them. If you have to use something, get liquid Seven. It’s best to spray in the evening after bees have gone back to their hives. Spray foliage and not flowers, so you keep the nectar safe for the bees.”

I recommend the Georgia Wildflower Honey from Ross Berry Farm. It’s their most popular flavor. I was surprised to learn about the different kinds of pollen that go into making this honey such as cherry, poplar, kudzu, privet, blackberry, blueberry and wild crab apple! They also offer Tupelo and Gallberry Honey. You can purchase honey at their farm in Canton and at locations around the state, like Scottsdale Farms in Alpharetta, and Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. For info or to order online, visit Ross Berry Farm’s Website and click on Queen Bee Gifts.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Pretty Southern contributing culture and lifestyle reporter Karen Hatchett is a life-long southerner and resident of Smyrna, Georgia. She’s a Marketing & PR professional, arts & music lover, jewelry designer and casual gardener.[/author_info] [/author]

Decorating With Vintage Letters

Hello lovelies!  Today I would love to introduce to you a new series I am working on for Pretty Southern called Decorating With.  It will be a guide to decorating with a certain item, trend, color, or idea each week.  This week I want to introduce the idea of decorating with Vintage Letters.

This is something that has been somewhat trendy in the decorating world but has not gotten to the point of being overdone or too much.  My husband and I are constantly on the lookout for unique, old, wood or metal letters; but you certainly don’t have to be a designer or type junkie to love this idea.  It is a great, one-of-a-kind way to personalize a space, whether it be a child’s room or a modern kitchen.  Use a random collection to spell out a name or add a moniker or personal mantra to your favorite room.  While this might not be an original decorating idea, it will most definitely be personal to you and your combination of letters will be completely unique to your space and arrangement.

So where do you find your very own vintage letters?  While some big chain home design stores may have jumped on this idea and began producing their own “vintage” style letters- they are sure to be overpriced and less special than that one of a kind treasure you will be seeking out.  My top choices for searching for authentic vintage letters are online sources, flea markets, and architectural salvage stores.  Online sites like, ebay, or amazon have great, already curated finds that would make it easy for you to seek out specific letters when trying to spell out a name, quote, or initials.  If you are not hunting for a specific set of letters then you may have more fun trying your luck at a flea market or an architectural salvage store.  These may take more hunting, but that’s half the fun of decorating, and a bit of elbow grease to get your letters into display-worthy shape- but you can finds tons of treasures for cheap at places like this! 

So take a look around your house and see if there is a room that could use a little sprucing up or personalization.  How sweet would it be to spell out your baby’s name in a found collection of classic letters?  Or to put together as a lovely gift for a friend moving into their first home?  So the next time you are out thrifting or flea market hunting be on the lookout for your next decorating treasure!

image sources: image 1, image 2, image 3, featured image.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Kat Kraszeski-Jackson is an art teacher, artist, and diy crafter living in Greensboro, NC. She loves sharing her favorite artists, projects, and creative inspiration here on Pretty Southern.[/author_info] [/author]

Our Southern Girl in Patagonia

It’s difficult to write this post. Words like “majestic”, “amazing”, or even “overwhelming” seem too cliché to describe Torres del Paine. Saying that “there are no words” sounds cliché too. Nevertheless, it is really difficult to describe.

Renting a car was a fantastic idea. Because most of the famous hiking trails were closed due to snow, we were able to the park in all its glory in one long, photo-filled day. It’s hard to believe that during the summer months, Torres del Paine National Park is actually crowded. Because we were the only people on the roads and hiking trails, it truly felt like we had the park to ourselves. These mountains and lakes were resting here, untapped and unaware we were watching. At first, the colors of the lakes was most surprising– turquoise and cyan, seafoam green and dusty grays, and then out of nowhere, a deep dark purple. All of these colors paired with towering, intimidating and sometimes haunting mountains– I understand why people endure the harsh camping conditions here.

We had heard that Torres del Paine was crawling with guanaco– a llama-like animal with darker hair and more grace. But when we saw our first two, we were mesmerized and got out of the car to get as close as possible. After snapping a few pictures and taking turns guessing what sounds they make, we continued deeper into the park. We turned the sharp corner of a steep hill and stopped again: the word “colony” doesn’t even begin to explain how many guanaco grazed before us. We soon felt silly for chasing after those first two. For the rest of journey the guanaco were present: walking in a line on the side of the road, drinking from a small stream or grazing on an impossibly steep hill 50 feet above our car. They managed to prance up all the steep terrain with such ease. And they didn’t seem to mind us staring.

Like I said, it’s difficult to describe everything we saw in Patagonia. Many of my Chilean students haven’t been to this part of their own country, so it feels like a really special, unique thing to have been able to experience it. In Spanish, the language uses the verb “conocer” to explain visiting a place. (“Yo conozco Patagonia.”) In English, we either use “to visit” (I have visited Patagonia)  or “to see” (I have seen Patagonia) or “to be” (“I have been to Patagonia”). “Conocer” means “to know”. And this verb, for this trip, feels more apt. I visited the landmarks, and saw immeasurable beauty, but most of all, I now know Patagonia. I know why it is so special.


“The Help” Secret Clips

Pretty Southern readers, we have a rare glimpse into more than a dozen clips from the film “The Help”! Check it out here for videos and pictures. Here’s a bit of what you can see. We have Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer) with their sweet scene at the end of the film after their characters worked so hard to write The Help. This is a fabulous film about courage, gumption and being brave enough to do the right thing no matter how hard it may seem. Together these women become the central voice to write the stories of the black maids working during the Civil Rights movement in Jackson, Miss. Part of the reason Aibileen is willing to help Skeeter Phelan (played by Emma Stone) is because they share the common thread of gumption.

Here is an incredible scene of Skeeter and Minny at Aibileen’s kitchen table working on their stories together. Really all three women have the same dream: being happy, overcoming adversity, and serving a higher purpose than what their existence currently relegates them. For Skeeter, she dreams of becoming a writer.

I could relate pretty well to Skeeter’s character. It’s part of why I loved “The Help” so much when the book first hit the shelves. A young journalist trying to make it in the South when society says a girl should be more concerned with finding a husband. Skeeter wants it all and is willing to work for her joy.

“The Help” hits the bookstores in Jackson. The stories told from the anonymous perspective of several maids has the white society up in arms over who this little blue book is really about. An evil debutante, Hilly Holbrook (incredibly played by Bryce Dallas Howard). When Pretty Southern got to interview Kathryn Stockett we asked the author of The Help if Hilly was ever able to learn to embrace integration. She replied “No. I think Hilly is going to be fighting that demon her entire life because she is so immersed in her beliefs.”

Just check out the maniacal smile Bryce used for Hilly’s character. It was such a treat to watch this character in the film because she’s the ultimate Disney villain: the Wicked Witch of the South. Not only does she torture her help, Minny and Yule May, but she also torments her own mother (cleverly played by Sissy Spacek) the sweet Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain’s bubbly buxom blonde)

The entire cast really worked well together as a female acting troupe. One of the best character performances was Sissy as Mrs. Holbrook. What an amazing casting of this role, and with a bit of old lady makeup, any scene with Spacek added a little something extra to “The Help”. Just wait for the scene with the “special pie” Minny made for Hilly Holbrook. Sissy Spacek only makes this plot line even more hysterical.

Speaking of hysterics, Jessica Chastain may be one of my new favorite actresses. Her performance as Mrs. Johnny Foote was enrapturing. In the book, it’s a bit hard to identify with Celia but her character in the film is absolutely charming. If you’re looking for some sweetness this week, head to your local cinema to see The Help and one of Pretty Southern’s Top 10 Southern Movies.

Pretty Up Your Office Space

As the summer is coming to an end and children are packing their book bags with new notebooks, fresh pencils, and colorful accessories it may be a good time to reevaluate your own work space.  Have you had the same office accessories, photographs, and stack of papers to be filed sitting their for months?  August is a perfect time to spruce up your work space, add some color to a drab office, and get your organization on!

I love these colorful office supplies from Design Public for adding some life to your desk, cubicle, or corner office.  Whether you work from home or in a busy corporate setting, we all spend many, many hours at work and deserve to have a comfortable place to pass the work day in.  Take just a few minutes this upcoming work week to see what works and what isn’t working for you!  Clear out old papers, commit to getting through that stack of files that has been looming over you, print out some new family photos, and grab some colorful accessories to add some cheer to your space.  You will not only feel refreshed, organized, and ready to start your work week, but you might also motivate some of your coworkers to spruce up their work space as well.

I head back to work this week, starting my fifth year of teaching, and I know that a few fun, modern accessories will lift my spirits and get me in gear for the upcoming school year.

All photos from Design Public.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Kat Kraszeski-Jackson is an art teacher, artist, and diy crafter living in Greensboro, NC. She loves sharing her favorite artists, projects, and creative inspiration here on Pretty Southern.[/author_info] [/author]