Pretty Southern

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


If 2014 set any precedent for this year, then 2015 is gonna fly by!”

This is a big year for me. I’m turning 30 this July and it’s kind of freaking me out a bit. My 20s were awesome. I’ve had a blast writing, traveling, got married, bought a house, paid off my debt, and did all the things grown ups are supposed to, right? I even launched this website and with the help of you, dear reader, have kept going strong for four years! But my body has paid the price.

Jamaica Honeymoon

Me on my honeymoon in 2010

When I got to college, the world of late nights drinking, eating Pokey Sticks from Gumby’s, and the 3 a.m. trips to the Pita Pit packed on 20 lbs over four years in Athens. I was able to lose some of that weight after graduation (I dropped 15 lbs my two years out of school) plus I got “wedding skinny” where a gal stresses herself out so badly she drops weight during the last few days before the wedding. After getting married, the weight from “happily ever after” came back. Launching a food blog hasn’t helped for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I’m not posting the obligatory before and after pictures because I’m not unhappy with the way I look, quite the contrary actually; what I’m not happy with is that I can’t run a mile in under 12 minutes, and I’m stuck at a desk most of my day (the curse of being a writer is you have to keep your butt in a chair). My routine now doesn’t factor in 30 minutes of cardio each day.

The jiggly bits have got to go.

Therefore, over the first six months of 2015, I’m on a quest to lose 15 lbs before my 30th birthday. I’m calling it my #15in15. That’s about 3 lbs a month, and to burn a pound of fat takes roughly 3,500 calories. For all your FitBit users out there, y’all know it’s a lot of steps.

The good news is, I have friends to help me. is going to shift gears a bit. We’ll continue to post our food blogger adventures with a few helpings of fitness. I’m going to get my butt kicked by personal trainers, check out some classes at Cyc and Pink Barre turn, plus try more healthy recipes. I’m also going to try and get at least 15 more minutes of physical activity in every day.

If anyone else out there has fitness resolutions for 2015, please share your story in the comments section below. Let us know your tips, tricks, successes and “opportunities”. We’re all in this together. After all, as my new friend Ulrick Bien-Aime says…

“Your health is your wealth.”

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.

How to Survive Winter: a Guide from a Southerner Trapped in the North


If there’s one thing (most) Southerners are terrified of, it’s winter. Three months of cold temperatures, bitter winds and questionable weather forecasts is no one’s idea of a good time.  Gray and brown take over, as most flowers, plants and other vegetation have died or gone into their “hibernation.” Sometimes the sun doesn’t come out for a week; when it comes back, we’ve forgotten what it was.

And Heaven forbid it snows. What is snow, anyway?

After living in the Great White North, I’ve learned how to deal with winter and how to get through those long, gray days without losing my sanity. I’m no expert, but nine years (ugh) of experience in blizzards, subzero wind chills, icy roads and shoveling driveways has provided me with plenty of insights to share.

Here is my best advice on how to survive winter, straight from a misplaced Southerner.

Invest in a snow blower. My parents never had one for six of our years in Pennsylvania; our neighbors have one, and they graciously clear our driveway when snow strikes. But a few years ago, Mom broke down and bought one of our own. And you know what? We haven’t had a rough winter since. Omen? I’d like to think so.

Don’t buy cheap shovels. They break too easily. No one wants to hear that snap! in the middle of shoveling the driveway. It’s the worst. Shelling out for a sturdier shovel will be worth it later. Buy them early, too. The early bird gets the good shovel.

Don’t leave the house unless you absolutely have to. “I drive good in the snow,” said no Southerner ever. Cabin fever will eventually set in, and you’ll have to make a choice. For me, that choice is easy. As long as it’s cold and/or there’s snow on the ground, I’m staying inside.

Pull out all the thick, soft blankets and keep them within reach. Snow is much nicer when seen from inside, wrapped in a blanket, sipping on hot chocolate (or a Hot Toddy).

Stock up on the essentials well in advance (if possible). Sometimes icky winter weather strikes with little to no warning, and you may not have time to refill your supplies. If you do, though, bread, milk, eggs, peanut butter, soup and non-food items like batteries run out fast. May Publix be ever in your favor.

Check your flashlights and charge your electronics. Put fresh batteries in your flashlights and lanterns, and make sure your cell phones, tablets, etc. are fully charged. Power outages can happen, and they aren’t always resolved quickly. Be prepared.

And most importantly, be careful. I joke about snow and driving and cabin fever, but winter weather makes for treacherous driving and travel conditions. If you feel uneasy about being on the roads, by all means, stay in.

Remember, winter is short. Come March, the grass will be much greener on the other side…literally.

* This might be more applicable to our friends in Maryland and Virginia, where snow is a little more common. 

Kate RobertsonKate Robertson is a features writer for Pretty Southern, a Virginia Tech alumna, and a current graduate student at Elon University in North Carolina. She’s working toward her MA in Interactive Media, and afterwards hopes to further her career as a kick-ass writer.

Originally from Atlanta, Kate enjoys exploring the Piedmont region of North Carolina, especially its wide offerings of wineries. Follow her on Twitter @kate3robertson and check out her blog, A Thought and a Half.


“You should be kissed often, and by someone who knows how.”

Gone With the Wind Poster #GWTW

In honor of the 75th anniversary of “Gone With the Wind”, our pal and fellow journalist Abby Westcott designed this amazing illustration. This iconic scene is when Rhett Butler sweeps Scarlett O’Hara into an embrace although she’s mourning the death of her first husband, Charles Hamilton. “You should be kissed often, and by someone who knows how,” he tells her, but he doesn’t actually kiss her. No, Scarlett and Rhett don’t actually spark that magic until after she’s gone through her second husband, Frank Kennedy. This is an image that will truly stand the test of time. As much as we love “Gone With the Wind” over here at Pretty Southern, we’ve started a Pinterest board dedicated to all things #GWTW. Thanks to Abby for sharing her talent with us! Here’s a bit more about our designer:

Abby Westcott Abby Westcott is on a quest to design 365 daily illustrations in 2015. Follow her on Twitter @abdub29 using #designaday and #project365. She’s worked for Gannett for the past five years with roles including design editor at USA Today, news designer for Asbury Park Design Studio, and currently a news designer at Gannett’s Louisville Design Studio. You can find her work daily in the Cincinnati Enquirer. You can find her portfolio here. Abby is a Ball State University graduate with a degree in journalism graphics.

Celebrating Colleen Oakley – “Before I Go”

Before I Go book

When I first heard that a journalist from Atlanta published her first novel, “You go girl!” was my first reaction, as I’ve been slacking on finishing my own book. I started reading up on Colleen Oakley and her first novel “Before I Go”, then my pal from UGA’s Grady college — now editor of Eide Magazine, Tova Gelfond — invited me to attend her book party.

The event was hosted by Jenn Hobby, Kirsten Palladino, Tucker Berta, Vikki Locke, Meg Reggie, Lisa Shore and (of course) Eide Magazine. Family, friends, fellow journalists, and new fans gathered at Room & Board to celebrate “Before I Go”. Guests nibbled on JCT Kitchen snacks and sipped cocktails from Candoni Wines and Vixen Vodka.

Grady College girls

Yours truly, Colleen Oakley, and Tova Gelfond

Turns out, Colleen and I are both graduates of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication, along with Tova Gelfond and one of the other hosts from the party, Tova Gelfond. It was neat to see so many other writers, editors, and UGA grads come out to celebrate one of our own. Here’s a bit more about “Before I Go”

“Twenty-seven-year-old Daisy already beat breast cancer three years ago. How can this be happening to her again? On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant “Cancerversary” with her husband Jack to celebrate three years of being cancer-free, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it’s an aggressive stage four diagnosis. She may have as few as four months left to live. Death is a frightening prospect—but not because she’s afraid for herself. She’s terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but otherwise charmingly helpless husband when she’s no longer there to take care of him. It’s this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife. With a singular determination, Daisy scouts local parks and coffee shops and online dating sites looking for Jack’s perfect match. But the further she gets on her quest, the more she questions the sanity of her plan. As the thought of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy’s forced to decide what’s more important in the short amount of time she has left: her husband’s happiness—or her own?”

Y’all can keep up with Colleen on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to pick up your copy of “Before I Go” on sale now.


How to Spend 3 Days in New York City

Empire State Building Christmas

Bless my mother’s heart because she’d never been to New York City. This past Christmas, we decided to surprise Momma with a trip to NYC. Since I had a limited amount of vacation days, we decided to maximize this trip as best we could. We left on Friday around lunchtime and came back early Monday afternoon so I could still get a few hours of work done on both Friday and Monday. This wasn’t my first rodeo with The Big Apple so I had a pretty good idea of what all we could accomplish with just a few days in Manhattan. It also helps to have pals/former Southerners in New York – special thanks Katie Cooper, Liz Krebs, and Cody Williams who helped with planning and suggestions! Below is my agenda and tips. This 3 days in NYC agenda works well if you’re planning to do a long weekend in the city, especially for tourists who have never visited. Here’s how to spend three days in New York City.