Not Stepford, just Southern.

stepfordOk….I’ll be honest. From the time I was a little girl the only thing I wanted to be was a true Southern lady. Like the kind you see at church on Sunday mornings that always wore crisp, pressed dresses and big hats. I longed to look that put together and even now as an adult I have yet to achieve it. But before everyone out there in today’s modern world starts moaning and groaning, let me explain. Growing up I was surrounded by strong, southern women. My dad’s mom was the wife of the town pastor and to me, she was the shining example of how a “proper” woman should run a home. Now granted I saw all of this through very young and jaded eyes. I’m sure if I could flashback to those moments, I would surely find some kind of fault. But in my younger years I could want nothing more than to follow in her footsteps. Both sets of my grandparents lived about 2 blocks from one another in a small southern town in Virginia. Their properties were connected by a back pasture that us grandkids used as a cut through from one house to another. Both were large, stately southern homes with big white columns and winding staircases.traditional-porch The things kids dreams were made of these two house both had…hidden doors, multiple floors, wine cellars, wood floors, huge horse barns and rolling pastures. I spent many a summer up there and loved every minute of it. Those memories were some of the best of my life. I remember tagging along on my grandmother’s apron strings to try to soak in all of her feminine ways. For starters, she never came down the stairs with her “face” on. She always looked polished and presentable so at a moment’s notice if someone stopped by to visit she was ready. Her house was always spotless but oddly enough I can never remember seeing her clean so I’m guessing she had some really early mornings or some really late nights. She was a superb cook and always had a fresh pan of something baking in the oven. Her baking skills were second to none….she made everything from scratch and her specialties were cookies, pies, and a type of candy called Seafoam that she made at Christmas every year. Her go to dish was chicken pastry, which she made the pastry strips or “dumplins” from scratch by rolling them out on the counter and then cutting them. I would literally eat so much I wanted to puke. Between that and her homemade yeast rolls I am shocked I stayed so skinny in my childhood! I grew up around some very amazing food. And I was lucky enough to inherit her fine cooking skills thank goodness! The men in my house have come to expect a hot meal at least twice a day for breakfast and dinner. And that suits me just fine…. cooking for me is a huge stress reliever! In fact, every time we get snowed in I start baking. My husband jokes he gains at least 5 lbs with each winter event!

heelsBeing a true southern lady, there are certain “appearances” that you must keep up. Your looks, your house, your yard, how your children look, what’s going on in your kitchen….all very crucial elements to being a blue in the blood southern gal. My grandmother was especially big on appearances. Her hair was always done as was her makeup and she kept up on the latest fashions. Being a pastor’s wife she was always entertaining so she never knew from day to day what her schedule would be or who she would have sitting at her table. Her theory was, if you always looked your best then you have nothing to worry about. And boy, is she right. Every time I try to duck out of the house to run errands with my sweats on, hair in a messy bun, and bare faced I instantly run into someone important. It never fails. You think I would learn to be a bit more presentable when I leave the house but after all these years I still haven’t. I’m trying to step up my image a bit more and look more pulled together when we go out but I am not sure how that would hold up becoming a farm wife so this should be interesting. I don’t even get mani/pedis like most of my girlfriends because I am so rough on my hands that within a day I have knocked the polish right off and there goes at least $50. Having a horse barn and updating my house to get ready for market is very challenging on your beauty routine that’s for sure! I’m also in a state of fashion flux right now with being over 40. I’m trying to update my wardrobe to make it a little more versatile for day to day but I find it’s a struggle to look “age appropriate”. Right now my fave places to shop are The Blonde Buttercup in Louisburg, Girls Round Here in Bailey, and as always I adore anything in Cameron Village. My mother rocks Talbot’s simple and classy style but I’m not quite there yet with clothes. I have the fabulous purses and shoes down however! If I come home with another purse the hubs may put me out LOL! My little guilty pleasure is Burlington Coat Factory. They have great designer looks for discount prices so I never feel guilty when I come out with a cart full of stuff. Even my husband loves the place and he doesn’t complain too loudly when he sees me come home with bags. As much as I would like to look like the perfect little southern princess when I leave the house, the reality is that I am usually wearing leggings, a vest, and my barn muck boots. It’s a cute look……for a horse barn! At least I always fit in at Tractor Supply. I’ve always done my own thing anyway so sticking to strict southern social norms is something I struggle with. I find as I age however that looking nice is more important to represent my husband and my kids more than myself. I’m just fine hitting the Target after the gym in active wear but I have to be mindful that it makes the hubby nuts. He thinks active wear should be for the gym only. I have to admit, you do see more and more people rocking the running tights and sports bras lately. But then again you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone in pajamas either! That is one look I refuse to participate in. If my grandmother ever thought for one second that I would leave the house in my “bed clothes”, I am sure she would just have a fit! Well that’s enough for my lack of style at the moment,now on to the kitchen.

As a southern mom, there always needs to be something yummy going on in the kitchen. And this is the one thing that I have no problem doing. I absolutely LOVE grocery shopping and I think I could live in a Lidl. fresh marketSo glad that the town close to the farm has one! I also love Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Kroger. Harris Teeter and Lowe’s Foods are nice but I find that their prices tend to be quite a bit higher. And just because we have money doesn’t mean that I’m not cheap! I take bargain shopping to another level when it comes to sales and couponing. The trick is to buy things on sale and freeze it. Of course it takes a little bit of planning when it comes to meals because you have to decide what to thaw out for dinner and whatnot. Still, totally worth it when you find organic chicken breast on sale! I do shop with a list and I stick to my regular staples and only allow a few extras that go into the cart. This saves so much time and money. Grocery stores profit the most off of impulse buys. Their stores are strategically mapped out to draw consumers in and attract them with bright colors and lights. I find that if you stick to the outside aisles then you save money on less processed junk and get in and out in such a shorter amount of time. If you notice the middle of the store is filled with processed boxed and bag food. The outskirts of the store has more fresh options and less packaged food. Less time shopping, healthier food…win win for everyone. That’s more time baking for me!

Entertaining is also something that the southern belle should be good at. I’ll admit, I suck at it. And if I’m totally honest, I don’t enjoy having people over at my house. I stress out about every little detail. Maybe it has to do with my OCD but then again maybe not. There is a reason why I surround myself with so many animals…..I’m just not good with people on a daily basis. If it’s people I know, I’m fine but with large group of strangers my brain just goes into overload. It starts to overthink everything…..Is my house clean enough? Can you smell the litterbox when you walk in the house? Is my stuff nice enough? Do I look nice enough? Is my grass short enough? Seems silly that I just can’t have people over. But it’s true. Thank goodness my son goes out with his friends a lot and most of our friends don’t live close. Usually it’s just the hubs and I. My family doesn’t even come over to my house now because we are small on space. When I bought this house it was just me and my son. Now, we are selling the husband’s house in the city and living in my house until the farm house is built, which will hopefully be by Christmas of this year.farmhouse 1 It just didn’t make good financial sense to rent a larger house for 6-8 months and then move again when the farm is ready. So for now, we are downsizing all of our things and beginning the packing process. The house is going to look very bare for the next few months so entertaining definitely won’t be on the top of our list! There will be lots of painting, a new deck to be built, new flooring….so much stuff! But hopefully our hard work updating this house will pay off. My realtor is pretty confident that I will double my initial investment. Which isn’t bad considering I bought this property just 9 years ago. We’ll take the profits from both houses and put it towards the farm house. And then hopefully after the farm is finished we can start being true southerners and entertaining more! If we’re going to be operating a working, profitable farm then I really need to work on my people skills. There’s no way I will ever be as hospitable as the fine women in my family but one can always try.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little taste of southern women culture. Stay tuned as I start to plan out the interior workings of the farm house and begin picking out the furnishings. It won’t be too long now before we get the keys to the old farm house on the property and start going through old family belongings to see what we can salvage for the new house and what we have to donate or throw away. I will make sure to post lots of pictures about this exciting process!

Cheers!……. Gigi

 

 

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