Pretty Southern

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

Antico Pizza at Avalon

Antico Pizza Avalon

Antico Pizza at Avalon

Pretty Southern was privileged to attend a tasting of the new Antico Pizza at Avalon. We love the original Antico location in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood so we were excited to see what the second location had in store. Owner Giovanni Di Palma truly has a talent for the tastiest pizzas not just in the South but in all of the U.S. His accolades include:

  • The highest score in Zagat’s first-ever pizza survey of “Best Pizza in 23 U.S. Cities” – beating out New York City
  • A Zagat Atlanta food score of 28 – making it the highest scored restaurant in the city
  • The International “Top in Class” Award for the United States from the worldwide, two-day festival, the Festa Della Pizza in Salerno, Italy
  • Named one of 12 New Pizza Classics by Food & Wine Magazine
  • Best Italian Style Pizza by Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Antico Pizza

The San Genaro at Antico Pizza

Diavola Antico Pizza

The Diavola at Antico Pizza

Antico Pizza Napoletana offers a menu of traditional classics and a few originals, including award-winning creations such as the Diavola. This is our personal favorite with spicy soppressata ham, chili oil, mozzarella cheese, and peppers that will light your mouth on fire. For a more tame yet tasty meaty option, the San Genaro with sausage is sure to please. And y’all can’t go wrong with a classic Magherita pizza.

Avalon is a beautiful new mecca of restaurant, retail and family fun goodness that is conveniently located in Alpharetta just off exit 10 on GA-400. The Avalon location has pizza for dine in or take-out. They also serve calzones. Unlike the original location, you can’t BYOB your drinks. However, there’s Peroni for beer and several wine options. There’s also sodas, Pellegrino, and other beverage choices. Plus for dessert, be sure to check out Cafe Gio next door for fresh gelato and cappucino.

Antico Pizza at Avalon

The glorious kitchen and oven at Antico Pizza at Avalon

For more information, check out Antico Pizza Avalon’s website and be sure to check out the best of Atlanta’s Little Italia neighborhood.

Why I’m Not Watching Southern Charm

Southern Charm Meme

Southern Charm? More like Southern chump.

For some god forsaken reason, Bravo has brought back Southern Charm for Season 2. The first time I saw the promos splayed across social media for the show’s launch back in 2014, I was disappointed.

Here we go again. Yet another portrayal of Southerners doing supposedly Southern things in the lovely landscape of the South.”

But none of it is authentic. There’s nothing particularly Southern or charming about Southern Charm. Just like the shows kindred spirits at The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Party Down South, the scripted drama that these characters act out is more narcissism than an ode to the South.

tastes like drunk

“It tastes like drunk”. Real classy, y’all.

The audience sees them prancing around in seersucker suits and pretty dresses, sipping juleps that “taste like drunk” tossing out “y’alls” like it’s their job (because it is).

As Southerners, we need to collectively say no to the further perpetuation of these stereotypes by refusing to tune in to these shows. I’ve never watched an episode of Southern Charm, Real Housewives, or any other reality show and don’t intend to. My time in the South is too precious to worry about somebody else’s baby daddy drama or some chick who claims she’s a Southern Belle but sports fishnets, Louboutins, and jets around on her older boyfriend’s plane.

I’m all for the idea of a modern, Southern woman…that’s just not my definition.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about the “gentlemen” of Southern Charm. For any guy out there who claims to be a gentleman but then can’t handle his liquor, here’s a little lesson for y’all courtesy of Gone With the Wind:

A lack of the niceties of classical education carried no shame, provided a man was smart in the things that mattered. And raising good cotton, riding well, shooting straight, dancing lightly, squiring the ladies with elegance and carrying one’s liquor like a gentleman were the things that mattered.”

It’s the last two items in this sentence I think would do well to serve the rather knavish male characters on Southern Charm. From what I’ve seen in the promos, there is no refinement or elegance. The drunken brawls demonstrate the incapability to carry one’s liquor like a gentleman.

I implore anyone who calls him or herself a Southerner not to watch Southern Charm. Please y’all. I’m begging you. Instead of spending 30 minutes watching this show, you could read multiple chapters of Gone With the Wind for free here. I promise y’all, the characters in Margaret Mitchell’s fiction have a lot more to offer, and an award-winning story, than anything else on TV.

Recently I was contacted by a reality television development company considering a “Buckhead Betty” show. They found Pretty Southern and wanted to pick our brain about the Buckhead Betty. In my 15 minute conversation, I advised that no respected woman from Atlanta, who actually could be considered a Buckhead Betty, would deign to appear on a reality television show. It’s the same reason why real debutantes, Southern women who had a proper debut, don’t do media appearances about being a deb.

We have much more important things to concern ourselves with when it comes to our own party down South.

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.


Shaky Boots Festival to Rock Kennesaw

Shaky Boots

The Shaky Boots Festival is one of the biggest events to happen in north Georgia..ever. Take it from a girl who spent her teenage years in Kennesaw – nothing ever happens there. It was a huge deal when President George W. Bush came to my alma mater, Harrison High School, back in 2003 right before we went to war with Iraq. The very first Shaky Boots festival is even bigger than that. No offense to W, we do love him, but we’re pretty damn excited for the amount of star power descending on Cobb County.

The Shaky Boots Festival will go down on May 16-17 (Saturday & Sunday) at Kennesaw State University’s Sports & Entertainment Park. Tickets are on sale now with general admission 2-day advanced passes at $169 and VIP passes for $499. VIP includes viewing areas to all stages, complimentary beer and water, lunch and dinner appetizers, cash bars for liquor, and private restrooms. Single day tickets will be available soon, but we suggest y’all take advantage of the discounted advanced pricing while it’s still available! Good news for parents – kids age 8 and younger are free (only two kids per each adult).
The 2015 Shaky Boots lineup includes:

Shaky Boots 2015 Sponsors

Blake Shelton
Dierks Bentley
Brad Paisley
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Dwight Yoakam
Jason Isbell
Old Crow Medicine Show
Sara Evans
Justin Moore
Joe Nichols
Eli Young Band
Kip Moore
Jana Kramer
Josh Thompson
Kristian Bush
The Devil Makes Three
The Cadillac Three
The Whiskey Gentry
Drake White and the Big Fire
Amanda Shires
Claire Dunn
The Railers
Brooke Eden
Jim White vs. The Packway Handle Band

Who are y’all looking forward to seeing the most at the very first Shaky Boots Festival?


A Converted Yankee’s Guide to Dixie Survival

Love the South

Hey y’all! (Yes, I do say that seriously, all the time.) I’m Nicole, a born-and-bred Pennsylvanian who came down south for college and, besides spending an unfortunate year in the frozen tundra people call Boston, never left. I may always be a “Damn Yankee” to some people, but I like to think I’ve acclimated fairly successfully down here. Even my family has admitted that I was born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line!

I enjoy Southern history, manners, culture, architecture, cocktails, weather, people, and lifestyle. What’s not to love? Well, before you pack your bags and join me down south, I have a few words of advice that I wish I’d been given.

Here’s your Converted Yankee’s Guide to Dixie Survival, darlin’.

1. Saying hello to strangers
If someone says hello, they’re not trying to rob you. There are no ulterior motives. People are simply friendlier down here; you’ll learn to appreciate strangers waving and striking up conversation, and you’ll learn to do the same. I know you don’t believe me now, but check back in with me in a year!

2. Ma’am & Sir
Saying ma’am/sir is not condescending. I know, you’d never say it… just wait. I’ve had it slip out more than once lately! I once stayed with a sweet friend in Atlanta who chastises her dog by telling her “no ma’am.”

3. Bless Your Heart
The South has some dangerous things – a few species of wild animals and a poorly-concocted mason jar of moonshine among them- but watch out for “bless your heart.” This will occasionally reflect genuine empathy, but more often than not is a polite iteration of a four-letter word in relation to whoever’s heart is being blessed at the moment.

4. Sweet Tea
Speaking of saccharine things, sweet tea is a staple here. As you would expect water to be at your table at a restaurant, expect restaurants, barbecues, and front porches to serve up a cool glass of sweet tea. Not iced, darlin. SWEET. One taste and you’ll fill your sugar quota for the month, but folks ‘round here can’t get enough.

5. Tailgating and the NFL
May I suggest picking up a copy of Dixieland Delight by Clay Travis, who travels to all SEC stadiums in one football season and shares some hilarity. Not until you are told that you need an entire cooler for yourself and the starting tailgate time is 7 a.m. (no matter the kickoff time), though, do you truly understand southern tailgating. And just to be clear, nobody cares about the NFL here, much less the NBA or (bless your heart) the NHL. A few people enjoy baseball, but unless you’re debating high school recruits and college rivalries… well, just keep sipping that drink.

6. Southern Vocabulary
There are some words and phrases with which you need to familiarize yourself. “I’m fixin’ to buy a new light bulb…” means that I’ll go and buy a new light bulb whenever I go to the store next to stockpile tailgate supplies. A “buggy” is a shopping cart. To “cut the lights” means to turn them off. “Do what” means pardon me. The first time I heard this, I responded with a blank stare. “I didn’t say to do anything!” I exclaimed. Don’t bother.

7. Weather
Ah, the weather. It’s something we all talk about, no matter where your roots lie, but get excited if you move down south. With three inches of snow, cities shut down completely. Many people don’t own shovels, plows are few and far between, and my roommate from North Carolina once got into an accident because she slammed on the brakes when she hit an ice patch. (She didn’t make it past the end of our street, bless her heart.) You can drive in the snow, sure, but folks ‘round here can’t, so do yourself a favor and enjoy the day(s) off. In fact, the University of Georgia had a day off last week and not a single flurry fell. I’d be lying if I said this was the first time this happened.

8. Honking
Finally, I’ll give y’all a little heads up on something that’s quite frowned upon down here when overused: your car horn. It’s the only area of life in which I’m liberal, let’s be honest. The light turned green a half-second ago? Honk. You’re turning right too slowly? Beep beep. The light turned green two seconds ago? Oh Lord, BEEEEP. Up north, this is normal- I know. But I’ve been chastised more than once for my overuse of those innocent taps on the horn. In fact, my dear Atlanta friend once sat through an entire green light, patiently waiting, because the person in front of her wasn’t paying attention. True story. I’m not advocating this level of sainthood, but try holding off for a second or two before you hit that beloved horn. It all ties back into manners, and avoiding things that will caused your sweet heart to be blessed.

While Pennsylvania will always have a piece of my heart — and Lord knows my honking habits and sarcasm will always be with me — I have found my little slice of heaven in the South.

I have no plans to ever abandon my beloved adopted home.

Nicole Stephens

Nicole Stephens was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, attended college in Virginia, and left her heart in her home of four years, North Carolina. She is currently earning her Masters in Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. When she’s not working or in class, you’ll either find her training for her first half marathon or post-brunch playing cornhole, wearing a sundress and pearls. Follow her on Twitter @MadrasAndPearls