Pretty Southern

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

December 2011 archive

Southern Christmas Songs

We’ve got your top Southern Christmas songs! Our holiday season South of the Mason Dixon line is drastically different than other parts of the U.S. as unlike our Northern kin, we can count on not having a white Christmas. There’s a strong chance it’ll be warm and today in Georgia we’ve got fat raindrops instead of snowflakes. Our latitude calls for a slightly different soundtrack to properly capture the spirit of a Southern Christmas. Pretty Southern is privileged to provide y’all with a few tunes for this auspicious occasion.

To start us off, we’ve got Alabama’s “Christmas in Dixie”.

Followed by Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas”.

And of course this classic holiday favorite “Leroy the Redneck Reindeer”.

Robert Earl Keene’s “Merry Christmas from the Family” is about as Southern a Christmas song y’all can hear

We can’t forget Mr. Garth Brooks and all the gentlemen out there.

Did you know Sixpence None the Richer is a Southern band? The group started in Texas and broke into the Nashville music scene. And thank God they are from the South so we can cap off this Southern Christmas soundtrack with this classic.


Merry Christmas y’all!

St. Regis Rings in Holiday Luxury

Atlanta is an up-and-coming city of luxury. New York, Miami, Los Angeles lack something, an essence only a Southern urban landscape can capture: that’s politeness. And the St. Regis in Buckhead represents the ultimate refinement this holiday season.

Georgia’s only ice skating rink in a hotel is located in one of the most affluent zip code south of the Mason Dixon line (that’s 30305 y’all) and it’s a Winter Wonderland experience for families and party-goers alike. There’s even a life-size gingerbread house! Is it edible? We certainly hope so!

The Astor Holiday Ice Rink (presented by Coca Cola) lives in a magical outdoor setting of the 40,000-square-foot Pool Piazza on the sixth floor. As Georgia’s first and only hotel ice skating destination—attracting more than 10,000 skaters in its first two years—the Astor Holiday Rink will remain open through January 3, 2012.

After skating, help yourself to a holiday tea. Or hop over to the elegant St. Regis bar for the 12 Days of Christmas cocktail menu. Looking for a great gift to give this holiday season? How about a night in one of their excellent accommodations.

“After the success of last year’s holiday celebrations, we are excited to announce our third annual Astor Holiday Rink. A favorite among the Atlanta community, it is a pleasure to continue St. Regis’ legacy of offering unparalleled bespoke experiences this winter,” said Simon Rusconi, general manager. “Guests of The St. Regis Atlanta and residents are invited to embrace the season with our beloved holiday traditions from ice skating and afternoon tea with Santa to a life-size gingerbread house and winter wonderland stay. With so much to do this year, we are excited to introduce St. Regis Holiday Butlers who will be on-hand to welcome visitors and help in creating cherished holiday memories.”

More than a century ago at the flagship St. Regis New York, the Astor family hosted magical evenings for their illustrious friends, known as the “Astor 400,” and would often feature spectacular installations such as a ballroom ice skating rink complete with elegant performers—the inspiration behind The St. Regis Atlanta’s unparalleled winter experience.

During visits, guests and locals are encouraged to indulge in the timeless tradition of Afternoon Tea Rituals in The Long Gallery where crackling fireplaces create a cozy festive atmosphere and St. Regis Butlers provide impeccable service. Black Friday Tea (November 25; $88) is a shopping-themed tea with sparkling wine, fashion styled sweets, and a $50 Saks Fifth Avenue gift card; Holiday Tea (November 26 – December 31; daily; $40) includes 10 varieties of hand-selected teas served with an assortment of handcrafted petite sandwiches and freshly baked pastries; and Tea with Santa (December 2 to 4, December 8-11, and December 15-24; $24 for children 12 and under), during which Santa visits with each child and gives a special gift of gummy penguins and fish from the North Pole. Holiday Afternoon Teas are served from 2 – 5 p.m. Private Teas are also available in the Wine Room that features a captivating orangery and sophisticated atmosphere. Reservations are recommended.

The St. Regis Atlanta will spice up the holidays with festive libations for the social set, continuing the tradition of Twelve Days of Christmas Cocktails. The Twelve Days of Christmas Cocktails will be served at The St. Regis Bar, The Wine Room and Paces 88 throughout the month of December ($12).

Plus there’s The St. Regis Atlanta’s Fire & Ice Dinners—a private dining experience that takes place on ice within the Astor Holiday Rink; couples or intimate groups will dine by candlelight and as ice skating waiters serve the meal. Following the six-course, prix-fixe meal, a St. Regis Butler on ice will perform the signature champagne saboring ritual and present a Champagne toast. Guests will then have the opportunity to enjoy a private skating session, set against the warm glow of candlelight and exquisite light fixtures, creating cherished moments between loved ones. Fire & Ice Dinners are available from $1,500 for two.

For more information on holiday traditions including holiday dining in Paces 88, check out the St. Regis online. The St. Regis Atlanta Hotel & Residences is located at 88 West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead. For more information, please call 404.563.7900,

GARDEN Atlanta

Picture an urban sanctuary. Its sights and sounds capture the essence of relaxation in an ever-chaotic world. That’s just what a Southern shopper can find at GARDEN.

Owner and proprietor Matthew Klyn has relocated GARDEN from its previous home on the Westside of Atlanta to the Shops Around Lenox located in the heart of Buckhead. Reopening its doors to the public in late November, GARDEN displays a beautifully decorated interior nestled in Atlanta’s shopping epicenter just in time for the holidays.

In addition to a wide selection of signature terrariums, exotic floral arrangements, and container gardens, a shopper can also find elegant scents, oils, and incense. Lavender, sandalwood and peppermint make great gifts this holiday season.

Giving the gift of scented oils ala Three Wise Men

GARDEN is home to an ethereal collection of seasonal home-ready accents and accessories specially handpicked for holiday shoppers. Customers also will be able to take advantage of GARDEN’s home delivery service provided through the season.

Recognized for innovation in modern aesthetics and urban design founded on sustainable, green principles, GARDEN also offers a complete range of landscaping services, from design and consultation to full-scale installation. Each design is a thoughtful creation tailored to meet each customer’s style and produce an organic extension of the natural environment.

Calling upon Klyn’s deep knowledge of vegetation, soil and horticulture, GARDEN focuses on providing long-lasting design solutions with simple maintenance needs, from the exotic and unusual to modern and artistic landscapes. Pretty Southern stopped by for some merry shopping on a Saturday afternoon and it was hard to leave the gorgeous space.

Suspended from the ceiling are tiny woodland critters: birds ranging from owls to sparrows, chipmunks, squirrels and brown rabbits float among orbs of brilliant red and shiny gold. And these ornaments are only $7 a pop. All of the products in GARDEN are reasonably priced with flower arrangements starting around $15 and candles from $5 and up!

GARDEN has set up shop in a temporary 1,700-square-foot space adjacent to the woman’s apparel boutique Tootsies (though they’ll be relocating to a larger place soon in the shopping center).

For more information check out GARDEN’s Facebook page or Web site or stop by The Shops Around Lenox located across from Lenox Square Mall next to Neiman Marcus. GARDEN is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.

Have you been to GARDEN? If so, what do you love about the space? Please comment below!

Bob Ross the Southerner

Depending on who y’all ask, Bob Ross was arguably one of America’s most talented artists. Critics may snub their nose at his wet-on-wet technique yet Mr. Ross and his legacy of television shows, classes and paintings cannot be challenged as great work. Even better: Bob Ross was born South of the Mason Dixon Line. He came into the world in Daytona Beach, Fla., grew up in Orlando, and it wasn’t until the Air Force shipped him to Alaska when he was 18 did Bob Ross see snow. The amazing landscapes impacted this Southern young man. Snow covered peaks challenged the power of his imagination shaping him into a great painter.

Ross once said, “I got a letter from somebody here a while back, and they said, ‘Bob, everything in your world seems to be happy.’ That’s for sure. That’s why I paint. It’s because I can create the kind of world that I want, and I can make this world as happy as I want it. Shoot, if you want bad stuff, watch the news.”

We feel the same way at Did anyone out there watch Bob Ross on public television growing up? Did you ever try to paint along with him?

Chef Micah Willix

A native of South Florida, chef Micah Willix moved to Atlanta six years ago to open Ecco for Fifth Group restaurants in Midtown. After cutting his chops in the local dining scene at this notable establishment, Willix is venturing out on his own with the newly opened Latitude in Phipps Plaza. Pretty Southern was privileged to catch up with this busy entrepreneur

What’s the concept behind Latitude? How did you choose the name?

We wanted a name that brought to mind the global concept of food and drink that we will offer our diners. Latitude represents procuring the best cuisine, dishes, and ingredients from around the world and then presenting them to our guests.

The menu seems to highlight a lot of cultural, global-fusion offerings – where did you get your inspiration?

At Latitude I will continue to honor my commitment to utilizing only the finest-quality ingredients but I will be doing so on a broader scale as I begin to incorporate a wider range of flavors to create a more globally inspired menu.

Pan-fried pork chop with artichoke confit, tomato and oregano paired with a tall glass of fine wine.

What excites you most about your new business?

Being able to develop and introduce my own concept has always been my greatest professional aspiration. It was simply a matter of all the pieces coming together at the right time, and I am very fortunate to have great partners who are well respected within the industry working with me to bring the Latitude concept to fruition.

For more information on Latitude in Atlanta, check our the restaurant’s Web site, Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @LatitudeAtlanta