Pretty Southern

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

November 2011 archive

Hair for the Holidays

It’s already happening. The Christmas trees are up in department stores. The toy catalogues are out. Even the carols are playing on the radio. Though you haven’t ordered your Thanksgiving turkey yet, the holidays are coming on quickly whether you like it or not. The inevitable question is this: how do I get an incredible holiday look without having to work too hard? Lucky for you, Ashley Pugh of Bob Steele Salon has all the information you need…

Let’s start with the guys. We tend to think it is easy for men to get ready – just shave, throw on a nice shirt, and you’re ready to go. But if we’ve learned anything from Tribble Reese, star of CMT’s television series “Sweet Home Alabama”, recently named one of Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 50 Hot Bachelors, and long time client of Bob Steele, looking your best is the result of attention to detail and a clear view of your personal style. Tribble hosted the salon’s first Modern Man event and fashion show, where the guests were invited to indulge in a neck trim, scalp massage, or a Redken for Men Color Camo hair color service. Most important, the gentlemen in attendance were able to learn about the latest styles in a comfortable, relaxed environment.

From Bob Steele's first Modern Man: Gavin Stewart, Nick Simonette, Kirk Halpern, Ted Jenkin, Amanda Hair, Trevor Garner, Tommy Tillman, Larry Hart, Chris Burns and Tribble Reese.

To get ready for the holidays, take a note from the Modern Man event and Tribble Reese. If you don’t have time to get a fresh haircut before your big event, stop by your salon to get a neck trim (most salons offer this as a complimentary service between appointments). It will clean up your look and costs you nothing! If you are ready to change your everyday style, channel John Hamm and go for a Mad Men-inspired look. To make the look more modern, use a matte finish product, part your hair to the side, and comb away from your face. A great product to use for this refined look is Redken Work Hard Molding Paste.

For women, a great day to night look is the classic ponytail – it’s always easy to create and is, conveniently, back in style. To create a modern ponytail, Ashley uses a texture spray on the roots, like Redken’s Wool Shake, before pulling the hair up. Work the product into the roots, using your fingers to pull your hair up to get a little texture to the look. Leave the front part of your hair out once the rest is secured with rubber band and use your fingers to loosen the top of your hair. Tuck the front pieces your behind ears or pin back. Ashley also likes to take a little of the hair from the back of pony and wrap it around the rubber band, securing it with a bobby pin. You can add a headband to this style to give it a little more pop. To finish off your ‘do, add a little texture spray to the hair in the ponytail and separate pieces.

Ashley from Bob Steele Salon has perfected her curls this holiday season.

For the evening, a Veronica Lake-inspired look is a perennial classic. First, part your hair beyond your natural part to give the look some drama. Curl your hair with a medium barrel curling iron, making sure all the curls go toward your face. The trick to getting those flawless curls? Once you use your curling iron, don’t touch your hair and let it cool in the curl.

After all the hair is cooled, spray with a workable hairspray like Pureology’s Strengthening Control Zero Dulling hairspray. Use a natural bristle brush to softly comb all the hair, letting all the curls connect and create waves. Finish with more hairspray. On the opposite side of part, tuck your hair behind your ear or add a holiday-worthy clip to give the look more balance.

The holidays can be stressful, over-scheduled, and tiring, so make sure you are comfortable with the looks you choose and make them your own.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Eun Jung Decker is a freelance writer for Bob Steele and Lift PR, whose work has appeared in the International Herald Tribune and The Honolulu Star-Bulletin.[/author_info] [/author]

Breast Cancer Awareness

Giving back is easy during Breast Cancer Awareness Month; but now in the coming holiday season, it is also easy to forget the important message behind the pink to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer, and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. In 2011, there will be over 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed. The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is a little less one-in-eight. Right now there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States according to the National Cancer Institute. So when you see pink products from almost every major brand, which donate a portion of their proceeds to a breast cancer foundation, or pink NFL wristbands and shoes, remember that the goal is to raise awareness and money for the millions of women and men affected by this disease. Bob Steele Salon in Atlanta recognizes the importance of cancer research and providing support to those affected by breast cancer. For this reason, Bob Steele is donating 10% of its proceeds from all Redken and Pureology products sold and every pink Hairdreams flash strands sold to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. (What’s a flash strand, you may ask? It is a natural alternative to normal highlights, which adds color, fullness, and volume to your hair.) Another way Bob Steele has supported the community is by hosting a cut-a-thon to benefit the CHRIS Kids organization, which provides mental health treatment, stable living environments, education, counseling, life skills, and advocacy for children in need in metro Atlanta communities.

Bob Steele Owner & CEO Amanda Hair

The event was held this fall Bob Steele’s Atlanta Post Riverside location. Shampoo, haircut, and blow-dries were $25, with 100% of proceeds going to CHRIS Kids. Stylists donated their time and considerable talents to a great cause, and Bob Steele clients poured through the doors to show their support for the children CHRIS Kids serves. The event raised over $1,200 for CHRIS Kids and awareness for a significant cause. “We are thrilled to be able to give back to our community and support CHRIS Kids,” says Amanda Hair, salon owner. “We all work to strengthen our own families, and it is an honor to have this opportunity to raise money for those who are suffering.” According to the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, “Atlanta is the poorest city in the U.S. for children – more children in Atlanta are in poverty than in any other city.” CHRIS Kids, rooted in the values of creativity, honor, respect, integrity, and safety for kids, works to serve children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their families. Join Bob Steel Salons in making a difference in the lives of so many by coming in to the salon or donating online to the Susan G. Komen Foundation or CHRIS Kids. Click here for more information on the Susan G. Komen Foundation, visit, and on CHRIS Kids. [author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Eun Jung Decker is a freelance writer for Bob Steele and Lift PR, whose work has appeared in the International Herald Tribune and The Honolulu Star-Bulletin.[/author_info] [/author]

The Wren’s Nest

Southern literature is home to many great characters and they all have to get their start somewhere. One of the very first recorded heros of the South was the good ole Br’er Rabbit. The fables of the wise rabbit, his woodland friends, and the Tar Baby pre-date the Civil War. It was only during Reconstruction did a brave journalist from from here in Atlanta dared to publish them.

One of Atlanta’s most famous writers is Mr. Joel Chandler Harris. An editor for the Atlanta Constitution for more than 20 years, Harris is more widely known for penning the tales of Uncle Remus. As President Theodore Roosevelt said of Atlanta’s native son: “Presidents may come and presidents may go, but Uncle Remus stays put. Georgia has done a great many things for the Union, but she has never done more than when she gave Mr. Joel Chandler Harris to American literature.”

Today, visitors can check out the home of Mr. Harris, The Wren’s Nest now looked after by his great-great-great grandson, Lain Shakespeare. Pretty Southern recently caught up with the Executive Director of The Wren’s Nest about what it’s like to care fo not only his family home but also a becautiful national treasure.

How old were you the first time you heard the story? What impact did it have on you?

To be honest, Br’er Rabbit was something I’ve always known, like my name. It was never that impactful when I was little. Only as an adult, when I started work at the Wren’s Nest, did it hit me just how significant these stories are.

To be clear, Joel Chandler Harris, the dude who recorded about 190 Br’er Rabbit stories, was my great-great-great grandfather. He predates me by about 75 years. His great-grandson, my grandfather, might have read the stories to me. But my fondest memories were of him schooling me at Go Fish.

Disney brought Br'er Rabbit to life in "Song of the South"

Why did you decide to become captain at the helm of the Wren’s Nest?

Desperation. Well, desperation on the part of the Wren’s Nest’s board of directors. They needed someone young, naive, and unemployed. The museum had, at that time, existed since 1913 with its original funding coming from President Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, and Atlanta City School children. Our organization had hit a rough patch in the first years of this century, but had mostly been well managed since 1984. Having grown up with the Wren’s Nest, I knew what an underutilized, misunderstood asset it was, whereas many people had never even heard fo the place. Before I stepped in, the place was about to close. I figured I’d give it a spin if this was our last shot at keeping the Wren’s Nest open for the foreseeable future. Later I came to understand that it’s a National Historic Landmark that’s critical to understanding international popular culture. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to lead it.

What are the biggest lessons you think your grandfather’s work taught our culture? Are they still applicable today?

Harris’s great contribution was tricking a white, Southern literary audience into accepting and celebrating African-American culture and folklore. For the 19th century, this was no small feat.

The dignified gentleman, Mr. Joel Chandler Harris

Even more than that, his work kickstarted the folklore movement and opened up a world of stories from regular folks, not just white, privileged, or well-educated authors. He recognized the power of stories and the value of different cultures, which is something many of us still struggle with today. His young adult fiction is probably the most comprehensive portrait of a Muslim person in 19th century American literature, and much of his work centered around education and empathy.

Look no further than the United States’s current political climate to see that these ideas are still relevant and refuted. Harris stressed the importance of education and empathy in healing cultural wounds and bringing folks together in a more harmonious society.

Is the house haunted? Does it ever feel like spirits are lurking around?

We’ve had several groups of ghost hunters visit over the past five years, and they assure me everyone they’ve run into is perfectly nice. There’ve been some weird sounds and odd coincidences, but I wouldn’t say it’s haunted.

When you were growing up, how often did you hear the stories about Uncle Remus and his cast of critters?

My grandmother on my father’s side read me the Uncle Remus stories all the time when I was little. That part I liked.

The Tar Baby and Br'er Rabbit

What I didn’t like as much was visiting the Wren’s Nest every year with my mom’s side of the family. I had to cut the cake to commemorate Joel Chandler Harris’s birthday each year, and it was miserable. Everyone knew who I was, the house was creepy, and of course I had very important other things to do.

How would you define a Southerner in the 21st century?

The Southern space I occupy is Designing Women meets Mayberry meets OutKast meets the Black Lips. Oh, with some Brer Rabbit thrown in there. In short, the South is a cultural melting pot of diverse, often contradictory people, cultures, and influences. At least in Atlanta we’re rooted in place and looking forward, but always thinking about being defined by the past.

How does the modern definition compare/contrast to how Southerners were perceived by outsiders in the past?

Well I think there’s still a yokel vibe that we’re often defined by. I like being underestimated. It’s fun when people are assuming Deliverance and get something totally different and bizarre instead.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can bestow?

Go for it.

To read more about this amazing Southern home of literary excellence, check out The Wren’s Nest online. We look forward to checking it out soon and meeting Lain!

Redneck Wine Glass

Looking for a holiday gift for that wine brat in your family? Look no further because these “Redneck” Wine Glasses are made from a classic Mason jar. They’re full of utility (and alcohol!) as they can be used for any beverage on any occasion. Purchase your Mason jar wine glasses here.

These make great wedding gifts for the Southern couple, Just throw in a bottle of their favorite bubbly and write a pretty gift tag for a great personal touch! Now these wine glasses make a pretty Southern present.

Spicy Oven Roasted Shrimp

Want a 10 minute weeknight meal? Tex Blair has the answer for you. The new Tex Blair’s Everything Seasoning helps turn an ordinary meal around thanks to a tasty blend of spices. Pick up some seafood, chicken, or veggies on the way home from work, coat in olive oil and a help of seasoning and – in the words of our favorite Louisiana chef, Emeril Lagasse – “bam!” y’all have a stellar entree. It only takes 15 minutes (and honestly y’all the longest part is heating up the oven).

1 lb. Shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail off 21/25 size
1 tbsp. Tex Blair’s Everything Seasoning
1 tpsp. Sweetwater Grower’s Garlic Red Pepper Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Combine shrimp, Texas Blair’s Everything Seasoning and Sweetwater Grower’s EVOO coating the shrimp well

2. Place shrimp in a single layer on a lined sheet pan (sprinkle a ‘lil more seasoning on for good measure)

3. Roast shrimp in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until desired doneness

4. Ready to eat out of the oven (blow to cool first)

5. Can be refrigerated for another meal

These shrimp would be yummy leftover lunch to take to work the next day. A little dash of the seasoning would be great for shrimp ‘n grits to serve at a weekend brunch.

Texas Blair is the proprietor of Joe’s Catering and all its yummy goodness. For more information, call 404.822.3807 or visit Joe’s Catering.

A 5 oz. jar of seasoning is available for only $7.95 or order in bulk (seriously you can put this on anything) an 80 oz. bottle is only $59.95

Plus, Sweetwater Grower’s Olive Oil makes a great gift this holiday season. Remember, buying local helps put money back to your community! Keep an eye out for more recipes on Pretty Southern using these incredible ingredients.