Pretty Southern

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

January 2012 archive

Your Hair Style Q & A

Ever wish you had your hair stylist on speed dial?  And wished that said stylist would actually be available to field your pressing hair issues?  We are excited to provide you to the next best thing.  Introducing a Q and A with the hottest stylists from Bob Steele Salon, recently named one of Salon Today’s Top 200 Salons. 

Now that Santa is done collecting letters from children all over the world, Bob Steele and Pretty Southern are teaming up to gather letters from you.  We want to answer all of your beauty questions, big or small.  Do you need five hairstyles for all five-work days that take under 10 minutes?  Are you unsure of how to work with a bad hair day?  Are your once lush locks thinning?  Perhaps you saw Carrie Underwood’s new hairstyle, and you want to make it your own.  Ask us.  Each month, we will choose a few questions from our readers.  The stylists at Bob Steele, who all undergo intensive educational training and are always ahead of the latest trends, will answer your most challenging questions. 

Please comment your burning questions.  We are excited provide customized how-to’s, creative solutions, and runway to reality hairstyles courtesy of Bob Steele in the coming weeks!

A High Engagement

In this winter weather we all need a bit of sunshine. We can’t change the cold but we can transcend our hearts to a happy place thanks to the amazing artwork from Blume Photography. The husband and wife team created this beautiful engagement session for Sara & Diogo at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in the summer of 2011. Sara’s summery dress, the sunny weather, and aesthetic surrounding certainly are a breath of fresh summer air. Thanks to Blume Photography whose lovely photos keep us warm all year round!

The happily engaged couple smiles beneath an old tree outside the High.

Don't y'all love the way the photographer captured the light in these shots?

Looking forward to seeing the stunning wedding pictures from this elegant couple.

Smashburger Sandy Springs

Atlanta’s newest burger sensation just opened their fifth store. Slightly OTP on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, this Smashburger promises to bring a much-needed gourmet fast food experience to the North Fulton area. Forget McDonalds, Wendy’s, and the like: Smashburger is just a better burger!

This place has everything y’all ever wanted for the ultimate fast food experience…and they even serve adult beverages! Forget Five Guys, Wendy’s, Mickey D’s and the like: Smashburger has got beer and wine, plus your food is ready in six minutes or less!

Burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken sandwiches, fries in multiple kinds — regular, shoestring, sweet potato and even veggie frites — plus fried pickles, fried onions and yummy chili. For lighter fare, there are fresh salads including slices of avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes, guacamole, and other crisp vegetables. Want to spice up your meal? Add the fresh grilled jalapenos which leave your mouth with a happy heat for the duration of your meal.

To cool off your palette, sample a Smashburger shake. These milkshakes are some of the best in Atlanta, made with Haagen-Dazs and available in floats and malts served in frosted mugs. Classic American flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry compliment crazier concoctions such as the Nutter Butter. A sweet Peach Pie shake was created just for Smashburger’s Georgia locations.

The first Smashburger spot in Georgia is in Buckhead with two more stores up north in Johns Creek and Alpharetta plus a Kennesaw location making the Sandy Springs shop the fifth store to open in just six months! Management plans to open 20 Atlanta-area locations over the next seven years. Smashburger also opened shops in both Charlotte and New Orleans and are planning to spread more shops across the South.

Conrad Fink: a Gentleman’s Legacy

In Greek, nostalgia means pain from an old wound. When I got the call from Marianna Hediera, the current News Editor of The Red & Black, to inform me Professor Conrad Fink passed away, all those feelings of loss and wanting to go back to the good ole glory days of college returned along with a flood of grief.

Mr. Fink was the best teacher. Although he was not a tall man it was sometimes tough for me to look him in the eye because he turned my stomach to mush. He was the most remarkable professor of journalism the South has ever known. News of his passing spread as all good stories do in the age of new media. It was on Twitter, Facebook and RSS Feeds. His death even made The Associated Press wire.

Mr. Fink moved on to the newsroom in the great beyond on at the age of 80. His legacy as a refined ambassador, a true journalist, and a mentor to aspiring writers will last forever. He was a character, even without his trademark eyebrows, as Mr. Fink always wore a coat, tie and slacks for every class. The only time I remember seeing him dressed down was at a University of Georgia tailgate and he still carried an impressive aura.

To sit at Mr. Fink’s table in one of his classes was a real honor. This was a man who recorded the Vietnam War and the Kumari of Kathmandu then later wrote financial reports from an office in London and finally served as a vice president of the Associated Press. He would begin teaching late in life. For a man to give up that kind of powerful position to teach the “rascals” of the world who wanted to be writers is pretty special. He described it as “perfect teaching environment” he created with his students seated around a large mahogany table in the William J. Holland Conference Room.

Photo courtesy of UGA

“There is conversational back-and-forth that stimulates discussion and creates camaraderie,” Mr. Fink said.

I’ll never forget our first conversation. I was standing in the hallway of the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication giving some prospective students a tour of the school. That day’s edition of The Red & Black featured one of my “Sex in the Classic City” columns. I was a junior at UGA, a news staff reporter for The Red & Black, and just starting to find my voice in the world of opinion editorials. This particular column listed the top 10 reasons to wear a condom. The legend of Mr. Fink and his reputation was enough to make me nervous when I saw him coming down the hall in my direction.

“Morgan, you rascal,” he said. “Your column was really something today. Do your parents know what you’re up to?”

For a second an immense fear took hold of me. In my three years at UGA, I had yet to receive an audience with the renowned Mr. Fink. And here he was interested in my sex-ed column! After a deep breath I finally replied. “My parents are proud of me, sir.”

His unforgettable laugh erupted. “Very well then,” he declared, sauntering across the hall to command his next class.

The next time I saw Mr. Fink was later that spring. We were at an award’s banquet for the Society of Professional Journalists where I received the Mark of Excellence Award for Column Writing. It was the first major recognition I’d gotten for my editorials. Mr. Fink was sitting one table over, and I remember him smiling at me from underneath those bushy white eyebrows. At the end of the reception, he came up to me with another older gentleman, who he introduced as the editor of a newspaper. I wish I could remember which one. I only remember Fink talking to me.

Fast forward through the summer and there I was sitting in Professor Fink’s classroom. I had just assumed my new role as Opinions Editor of The Red & Black and for my first Fink class I chose a seat further down the table. He entered the room and said to me, “Morgan, get over here and sit next to me.” I would sit in the same chair to his left for my entire senior year.

Mr. Fink was king of the one-liner. He always loved good writing that packed an instant punch. It was part of the reason he was so keen on our pal PT Umphress. One of the best jokes between these guys was when Fink said he used to be a knife fighter in Bangkok. I wish I was witty enough to remember all of Fink’s great comments. I hope one of God’s angels is a journalist keeping good notes. At least he has one now with Mr. Fink.

On the horrid afternoon when news broke of the shootings at Virginia Tech I was conveniently heading to one of Fink’s classes. Fellow Red & Black Editor, Juanita Cousins, was serving as News Editor at the time. We approached Fink with the simple question: how do we tell this story?

“Here’s what you do,” Fink said in his cool, collected tone. “You run a story from the wire with the most up-to-date information you have in time to go to press, then below the fold you focus on how this impacts your university.” We took Mr. Fink’s advice back to our Editorial Adviser, Ed Morales, and I remember his face lighting up and saying, “You know, he’s right.” We did just as Mr. Fink instructed and the next morning the front page of The Red & Black looked just as good as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and better than The Athens Banner-Herald.

Professor Fink taught me to keep track of the week’s stories by ripping off the front news pages every day and taping them to my wall. Monday through Friday’s editions would hang in my office as a reminder of everything we’d accomplished in five days. Butterflies flapped hard in my stomach before going into his class, wondering if our coverage would be good enough, capturing the right tone with our institutional opinions from the Editorial Board, and conveying the University’s news without bias. Thank God I was on his good side.

More often then not, Mr. Fink would end his classes by citing a list of students he wanted to see after. I almost peed my jeans every time my maiden name left his lips. But that was just me being a pansy.

One time, it was because Mr. Fink had selected me to attend a Leading the Newsroom 24/7 conference at the American Press Institute in Washington, D.C. It was on this trip I got to see the USA Today newsroom in McLean, Va., and visit with the online editor of That was almost five years ago when I was Editor in Chief of The Red & Black.

Right before graduating, Mr. Fink pulled myself and Mr. Umphress aside to inform us we both would received scholarships. Every year, Grady picks two seniors, one young lady and a gentleman, to receive the Lewis Grizzard grant for journalistic achievement. The only condition was we had to write a thank you note to the widow of Mr. Grizzard. I didn’t realize at the time Professor Fink pretty much chose us for this honor. Since then I’ve been a raving fan of the late Grizzard and forever thankful to Mr. Fink for the recognition.

It seems like along with traditional journalism the great columnists are on their way out too. Grizzard is gone, Ernie Pyle is long dead, and now Mr. Fink is with them. As the world continues to spin rapidly in the digital direction we have to remember the virtues great men like Mr. Fink taught us: a good journalist latches onto a story and never lets go, that we have too much power to have bias, and your family always comes first.

Now that I’ve gotten all nostalgic, it’s time to move forward to the future. Losing Mr. Fink reminded me there are so many great tales to tell and adventures to discover. It’s great to know he’s looking down on us, peering over his spectacles, red pen in hand waiting to edit the stories of our lives. In ancient Greece, writers wrote about their heroes in epics so they would forever be immortalized. I like to think Professor Fink did the same.

A Modern Flower Arrangement

There’s an affliction cast upon Southern households in the months of January ’til April and that’s not having fresh flowers to put in a centerpiece. Nothing really blooms in the South during these months so we are forced to find new, alternative methods of showcasing pretty buds. This European example has given us some new insight. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like these vases are available in the U.S. yet but we’ll see how we can make our own arrangement using a soup can (labeled removed) and flowers from our farmers market. Check back on Pretty Southern next week for our take on this modern flower arrangement. Sure, those buds may not be grown South of the Mason Dixon line but we’ll find our own way to make do with what we have. After all, it’s what Southerners do.