Pretty Southern

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

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Spring Into Change at Cyc Fitness

Cyc Fitness Atlanta

Cyc Fitness, Vitafusion, & Gilt City have partnered to bring Atlanta their “Spring Into Change” challenge. Over the next 10 weeks, Cyc Fitness at The Forum Athletic Club is offering an incredible opportunity to “pedal your way to a sexy physique”. We’re pumped to take part in this challenge as part of our #15in15 and you can join us too!

Here’s what this deal includes:

  • Unlimited rides for 10 weeks at Cyc inside The Forum Athletic Club (powered by vitafusion)
  • Access for one to kick-off ride event to meet your fellow challengers
  • Use of The Forum Athletic Club 2 hours before and after your scheduled rides
  • Complimentary childcare
  • Daily support from your lead Cycologist
  • Weekly emails with personalized advice from lead Cycologist
  • In-studio progress tracking
  • The chance to win a transformation photo shoot

The Spring Into Change challenge kicks off this week. The cost to participate is $600 and more details can be found here. If you love Cyc as much as we do, then we’re pumped to see you in class!

Be sure to keep up with Cyc Fitness on Facebook and Twitter, plus follow #CycBuckhead.

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.

Pretty Southern Updates

Just in case y’all missed the news…

Keep Calm Stay Southern #lovethesouth reached record traffic with 70,000+ hits, 62,000 unique visitors and 96,000+ page views in one week

On Wednesday, March 18, Pretty Southern published a contributed editorial from a young, single woman who spent the past six months living in Charleston. As a native of Atlanta, she’d always loved Charleston and decided to move there. Well, things didn’t quite turn out like she expected, and Pretty Southern invited her to share her opinion. Essentially, she called the city of Charleston an “ugly baby”. Charleston residents picked up the story, as did Reddit, and the local media outlets. Our story went viral.

The post received 8,000+ Facebook Likes before it had to be taken down due to the author of the post receiving threats. Pretty Southern’s unique visitors represented all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and 113 countries around the world.

We were invited for an interview on Mix 96 Live, Charleston’s local radio
On Friday, March 20, Pretty Southern had its first radio appearance. I called into “2 Girls and A Guy” to discuss this post, why we chose to publish it, and the crazy response. The full interview is available here. We also had a local College of Charleston student submit “a polite rebuttal” in defense of her city.

Meanwhile, back in Georgia…

It’s our privilege to announce our membership with the Atlanta Press Club as a journalist member.
Pretty Southern was also named PR/Social Media Chair for The Atlanta Food Blogger Society. We’ve been tasked to help further expand the outreach of our 40+ bloggers by aligning our efforts with local Atlanta PR firms, restaurants, and festivals to promote the city’s dining scene.

We’re also excited to celebrate the 100th birthday of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication. The Grady College Centennial Weekend kicks off on Thursday, April 16 with a symposium at UGA, with a field party on Friday, April 17, and a black tie gala on Saturday, April 18, followed by a brunch on Sunday, April 19. More information including tickets can be found here.

It’s hard to believe March is already almost over. Springtime is upon us, which means festival season is coming too. This week we’re particularly excited for our PR/Marketing/Social Media girls meetup hosted by the lovely Tori Allen. Plus we’ve got BaconFest for Dad’s Garage, the opening of D. Gellar & Son’s new location in Sandy Springs, and much more. Please make sure you follow us on social media for the latest updates.

And as always, bless your heart! #LoveTheSouth

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.


In Defense of Charleston

I was one of those people this website made fun of for loving Charleston.

I’m a native of Mount Pleasant, but I’m not going to respond with personal attacks or vulgarities. I just want you to know that after 21 years of living in the same place, I’ve never been bored. All of the groups, places and activities I plan on mentioning I’ve experienced personally; moreover, this is not an exhaustive list. I am absolutely not an expert on Charleston, I’ve just lived here for a while and I hate that people might be missing out on what our city has to offer.

I get the whitewashed feeling, I really do, but I also don’t bemoan the commonalities and judge the people around me for how they choose to dress. I won’t get in to the how that attitude is substantially more damaging than someone choosing a buy a popular brand of t-shirt, because that’s another post I don’t have time for right now. Instead, I would very much like to assert that you could not possibly long for diversity if you can’t find it in Charleston.

Let’s open our eyes together.

WoSe Charleston

Photo courtesy of Ahren Ciotti

There is a very involved African-American community that celebrates their culture and shares it with the community. Let’s start with the various African Drum and Dance Groups like WoSe, Wona Womalan, Djole, and Adande. I absolutely recommend to you, and anyone else who hasn’t seen a performance, to glance at these websites and find one of many events you could go see; they are rather beautiful. There’s also the yearly Moja Arts Festival, which celebrates African-American and Caribbean arts and culture. There are various groups promoting and teaching Gullah Geechee culture including Gullah Geechee Group and African American Charleston, to name just two. I am personally particularly proud of this segment of the Lowcountry’s history. If you took some time and experienced it, you might be, too.

I’m incredibly confused by your inescapable boredom. I think it, too, is related to a lack of trying. There are hundreds of things other than the beach, going out on the boat, or walking the bridge that you could try (although I’ll never get tired of any of those and can’t fathom how you are). Let’s address your horror at our “two” museums. Do you mean fifty or so? Because if you hop on down to Meeting Street, on the Museum Mile there are “six museums, five nationally important historic houses, four scenic parks, a revolutionary war powder magazine, as well as numerous historic houses of worship and public buildings including the Market and City Hall, in just a singular mile of the entire city. Here are about twenty more in just Charleston county. I don’t know how being in such a historically important place can be wearisome, but you could try some of the many, many art galleries all along Broad, Meeting, and King, the Gibbes Museum of Art on Meeting, or the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston. I don’t mean to brag, but Charleston native and internationally-known graphic designer Shephard Fairey of Obey Giant not only had an incredible exhibit at the Halsey, but also marked up the city with his murals (on top of the Francis Marion hotel, splashed across the side of College Lodge Residence Hall at the College, on a pillar of the old Cooper River Bridge, etc.).

If you’re tired of looking at beautiful things, listen. Attempt to enjoy Charleston’s brilliant music scene. You can try the bigger venues like Charleston Music Hall, the Music Farm, The North Charleston Performing Arts Center, and Family Circle Stadium for big ticket events, or pay a couple dollars to listen to some locals and smaller sets jam at places like Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer, King Dusko, The Pour House, The Royal American or my personal favorite, Awendaw Green.

awendaw green charleston

Go to their Wednesday night Barn Jam for a really cool scene, good music, and yummy food. Finally, if you’re still not satisfied, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Jazz Artists of Charleston put on some incredible shows.

Bottom line: we don’t live in a vacuum devoid of culture.

I realize that you could possibly still be completely bored. It sounds like you’re into the outdoors so do a little research into the Francis Marion National Forest. You can bike, camp, fish, hike, and horseback ride to your heart’s content. Look, I found the woods for you.

coastal climbing charleston

The Wall at Coastal Climbing

I took the liberty of finding several more things you could possibly do in this miserable place:
• As one of the biggest arts celebrations in the world, the Spoleto Festival is a must. Simultaneously, Piccolo Spoleto showcases more local artists, too. If you can’t find something that interests you in these two festivals, then I may not be able to help you.
• Just go a couple miles in various directions, hit water, and go kayaking or paddle-boarding. Rent equipment here: Half Moon OutfittersCharleston Outdoor Adventures, or even more
• You could go bouldering or climbing, even on a peninsula a foot below sea level. If you can stomach driving to one of the islands you care so little about, James Island has a great climbing wall, too.
• There are some incredible lectures at the College of Charleston, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Citadel that are open to the public. My favorite is the TEDx event.
• Sports fan? Try any of these: A Charleston Riverdogs baseball game, a Charleston Battery soccer game, a Stingrays hockey game, and The College of Charleston or The Citadel baseball, basketball, etc..
• The South Carolina Aquarium has otters. Really cute otters.
• Try the Sewee Center and see some really rare Red Wolves.
• Want to laugh so much it hurts? Try Theatre 99. It literally says, “Where boredom goes to die” on it’s home page, so you must not have been there yet. Improv night is my absolute favorite.
• The South Eastern Wildlife Expo is always cool.
Charleston Fashion Week always makes you feel especially chic.
• Visit a distillery, one of Charleston’s growing industries. These are just two of many local breweries: Westbrook Brewing and Palmetto Brewery.
Next, it is misinformed to claim that we have no corporations in Charleston. Look up Boeing, Kapstone Paper Kraft, Blackbaud, and BenefitFocus, among many. Speaking to the last two, Charleston is rapidly developing a reputation for high-quality computer science and digital marketing companies.

I cannot speak to your distaste for our food because I honestly cannot comprehend it. My favorite “ethnic” restaurants that you think are missing are Co Banh Mi Noodles Bar (Vietnamese, on King St.), Leyla (Lebanese, on King St.), Pane e Vino (incredible Italian food, on Warren St.), and O-ku (Japanese, on King St.). There’s also an ethnic grocery in Mt. Pleasant, Venta De, if you can’t handle driving to North Charleston.

Finally, I can’t help you find a date. That’s an intensely personal journey that Charleston is not responsible for. I do think, though, that if you try some of the activities and places I’ve mentioned, you’ll meet some really cool people.

I hate that you’ve had such a miserable time in a place I love so much.

I also hate that you had to receive so many awful comments on your original piece. I do have to acknowledge that there are awful people here and online, but they’re in Atlanta and every other city in the world, too. Surround yourself with people that build you up and please, in the future, don’t try and tear an entire group of people down. We don’t like getting judged. If you want diversity, find it in the people around you instead of lumping them into stereotyped groups. I hope you can find something in here that can improve your time in Chucktown before you move—and maybe even change your mind.

Rebecca Sydow

Rebecca Sydow is a third year psych and history student at The College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, who loves her hometown more than she thought. You can catch her playing with her cat, eating yummy food, or exploring the Palmetto State from the Atlantic to the Appalachians. Ask her to name all 46 counties in the state of South Carolina (in song form).

Letter From The Editor to All of Charleston

Dear residents & lovers of Charleston:

We here at aim to be a voice of the South, a place where your opinions can be heard. In 2010, Pretty Southern entered the blogosphere and social media. I, Lauren Morgan Patrick – with the help of my husband, friends, and fellow writers – launched this website as a home to tell stories, your stories, about the South. Being Southerners, born and raised in the South, hearing Southerners share their stories and love of this land is essential to our existence.

Before March 18, 2015, our most popular post Words Only Southerners Say helped us to reach more than 100,000 people every year who want to relish in those glorious Southern phrases distinctly our own. In the past 24 hours, we’ve heard from more than 43,000 Southerners who all have opinions they wanted to share about the city of Charleston.

A dear friend of Pretty Southern, whom most of y’all know by now, lived in Charleston for the past six months and decided that this city, your city, is not for her. After hearing her sentiments, I asked her if she would be willing to share her thoughts on Pretty Southern. It wasn’t about click bait, or yellow journalism; this was an opportunity for her to tell her story. We’ve all had different experiences unique to our own paths in life. Her experience in Charleston was her own.

Our Pretty Southern blogger had the gumption to share her thoughts, then was vilified for them.

No Trespassing Charleston

My husband snapped this pic on a trip to Charleston. It’s so true.

As a woman, especially a Southern girl who was raised on “yes ma’am”, “yes sir”, “please”, and “thank you”, I was appalled at some of the comments posted to this blog. From the 43,000+ hits and 400 comments – which have all now been taken down – I think I read every swear word in the English language. There were F-bombs. There was the n-word. The trolls crawled out from the depths of the internet to sling some of the most profane, misogynistic, and violent insults I’ve ever read. And these folks claimed to be Southerners.

We Southerners are supposed to take pride in our manners. Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian and Southerner, espoused the right to have an opinion, then the right to disagree with it. What disappointed me the most was the lack of respect shown by all parties. We could have done better, and y’all – the collective, commenting masses – could have done better too.

To protect the institution of Pretty Southern, albeit a “puny blog” as someone called it, I took down that editorial. Pretty Southern is my labor of love, my digital home. I invited a guest into my home to share her opinion with our Southern readers and things got completely out of control.

Tomorrow morning, Friday, March 20, at 8:10 a.m. EST, I will be live on air with Charleston’s The Mix 96 FM. Please submit your questions you would like for me to address in the comments section below.

If you have an interest in contributing to Pretty Southern, we would love to have you. We reserve the right to edit your material, but this is a place for y’all to be heard to. As a disclaimer, no other media outlet was responsible for taking down this post. It was in response to the uncontrollable rascals sharing their rather violent two-cents.

Thanks for reading, and (seriously) bless your heart.

July 4th outfit
Lauren Morgan Patrick is the editor of Pretty, a native Southerner, UGA graduate, and Georgia Bulldogs fan. Y’all can find her writing, wining, and dining in Atlanta. Keep up with her & Pretty Southern on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.