Southern Living refers to where I live as the “upper south” I call it the “lower north”. In all reality it has the climate of the Midwest with lots of snow and long winters without much sun! It is enough to make a Southern Belle wilt.
I’m a transplanted Southern Belle of 10 years and here are my 10 must haves to thrive or survive when transplanted:
1. Health Roots to Stand Firm. Being transplanted usually means moving far away from family and life long friends. Family is very important to Southerners as our roots run deep and wide. Being without family within walking distance has been the hardest part of my move. If you are in the process of relocating, get a good phone service or Skype because you will be calling your mama, your poppa, your brothers, your sisters, and your BFF daily!
2. Good Rich Dirt to Grow in. A good church is the best place to start. This is a place where you will not only be spiritually feed, but find new friends and learn all the local traditions, best shopping, and eateries.
3. Other Transplanted Southerners. Southerners need Southerners. We can be ourselves and we speak the same language. Where I live there seem to be a lot of other transplanted Southerners especially Ladies from Tennessee and Texas whom I adore! Being transplanted seems to break down the team rivalries and is turned into a competition of fried chicken, peach cobbler and of course, sweet tea, all while wearing the cutest team gear.
4. Good Reads. Next to the Bible and your grand-mama’s cookbook, Southern Living Magazine is a must. When I get Spring Fever or need a little sunshine on a cold, dark winter day, I pull out one of my Southern Living magazines and can almost hear the birds singing and the sun a-shining. I love me some Southern Living Magazine!
5. A Front Porch. In the lower north (aka the upper south), traditional front porches are few and far between. In our neighbor our drive ways become our front porch. We bring out our lawn chairs, fire pits, grills and “pass the time of day” while watching the kiddos play. As nice as this can be, nothing replaces the memories made on a front porch on a hot summer day with the breeze blowing through to keep you cool.
6. Sweet Tea. Sweet tea is what makes Southerners so sweet Need I say more.
7. A Beautiful Backyard (and front yard). Surround yourself with all things beautiful, trees, boxwoods, hydrangeas, peonies, any and all cutting flowers for your home. Convert your lifeless yard into a living sanctuary, a place you can go to be refreshed, renewed, and most of all spend time with God.
8. Bounty. Growing up my family always had the freshest of produce from my parents vegetable garden. I don’t have acres of land to plant as they do, but I do have space for a raised bed and plan to add a few more as I can successfully plant all my favorites veggies and have fresh produce in my backyard. This not only gives me joy and a healthier diet, it saves money too.
9. Farmer’s Market. I enjoy farmer’s markets because I can purchase fresh vegetables that I cannot or don’t grow in my backyard and I can buy enough to preserve for the winter. Another one of my family’s favorites is going blackberry picking. I can make jams, pies, muffins, breads, ice cream and the best blackberry sweet tea, yum!
10. Home Conversion. Converting my home into a modern-traditional southern home has been a long, long, long process mainly because of my busy schedule. We Southerners love our antiques, crown molding, hardwood floors, slate/granite countertops, and columns. A home needs to be made your own and meet your family’s needs. It should be a place filled with love, a place to relax, and a place to grow.
Always remember you are a Southern Belle no matter where you are transplanted. We like our manners, sundresses, cowboy boots, bling, and lipstick!