Friday, December 20, 2013

modesty

I had two reasons that I wanted to start Southern Samplings. One was to try to tell girls how valuable they are and the other one was to simply document all the fun travels I get to go on. Looking back through my posts, these two topics easily make up 90% of my posts. 

What I'm talking about today is simplicity and girls. Or, modesty.
It literally breaks my heart to see so much negativity on social media from young girls. I cannot scroll through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram without reading or seeing horrific things. And, sometimes, from girls 10 years younger than me!!


I was SO overly sheltered as a child, and I suppose to this day, I still am. I was taught to respect myself, to save myself and to appreciate myself. I never went out and "partied" or lived it up by the world's standards. If "most modest" would've been a senior superlative, I had that one in the bag. But, at the same time, I had such a fun high school experience for the most part. I went to football games and hung out with friends without ever drinking or smoking or trying drugs. 

I saw on my Twitter TL last night a tweet from a girl that is 16 that said she couldn't wait to wear her new year's eve dress because it would make her boyfriend drool.

What? Hold up. She's 16.

Not that I want my boyfriend necessarily drooling over me even at 24 but DEFINITELY not at 16. It's a vicious epidemic that a large percentage of girls have today-low self confidence and no modesty. And, it's really sad.

I mean, think about it. If you really respected yourself, you wouldn't be wearing a dress that is so tight you can't sit down or heels so high that you trip every other step. Yes, it's important to look nice and feel good about yourself BUT deep down, I really don't think girls who dress that way feel good about themselves. They aren't dressing for themselves. They're dressing to catch the attention of a guy. And, guess what? You'll definitely get his attention. You'll probably get it long enough to go back to his place for a one night stand and then he'll loose all interest. What's so fun about that? 

Nothing.

You can dress "cute" and feel confident about yourself and catch the eye of the right kind of guy. I don't know about you but I WANT to be the girl that he wants to take home to meet his parents. What's so sad about this theory is that it's so foreign to most girls today.

I also love Jesus and I am a Christian so I have a different view of modesty even to the "world's" definition of modesty. Modesty is something that Jesus commands of us in the Bible. 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Peter 2 are packed of modesty verses. If Jesus commands it of me, it should probably be at the top of my list. We have a gospel mission: not only to preach Christ, but to live in a way consistent with our profession of faith. As we preach the good news of the transforming work of our Savior, our dress should reflect His power at work in us.

You can be modest and still be "attractive" and have fun and not regret what you did the night before. I personally don't drink. I'm not against you if you do, I just choose not to. You can drink without getting drunk and still remember what you did the night before. You can express your feelings without cussing every other word. You can choose the dress that is 4 inches longer and have SO much more fun dancing the night away.

Once you choose to dress modesty, I promise you will see a difference in the type of men that approach you. You don't WANT one night stands with men. You want ONE man that you can spend every night with. That's another issue that is so hugely advertised to young girls-sex. I've had more than a fair share of hate messages over this blog and social media for announcing that I'm a virgin with no regrets about it. Even some Christians have blasted me by saying that being a virgin is a private matter and you shouldn't discuss it on social media. Okay, so if I don't discuss how important it is to save yourself, do you know what is being discussed and sold to young girls? That's right-sex. It's all over the radio, the movies, TV shows, everywhere. So, if being a virgin is anything to be ashamed of, I feel sorry for those people who think it is. I'll be able to give my husband my entire heart without worrying about what I've done with other men. It's a modest way to live. And it's the best way to live. 
 Modesty♡
I've been coaching and mentoring several girls through email and church life groups since I started this blog and I think it's SO important that I not only blog about the way a woman of God lives but that I actually do it.

I'm human. I'm far from perfect. I say things that I don't mean and I get jealous sometimes of the girls who aren't living modestly that seem to get the guys and have ALL the fun. Those moments of jealously are squandered when I think about how much better my life of modesty is. Everyone has off days and doesn't feel confident in their modesty BUT it's my prayer that if you are a girl and you are reading this blog that you realize how valuable you are to God. He values you much more than any guy could. He will lead you to the man on earth that will love you the way a man is suppose to. But, in the meantime, don't be disappointed and think that modesty equals boring. It doesn't. Come hang out with me for a week and I'll prove it!!
 
I've had several requests from people to do a post on modesty and my views on it, so here you go. I'm not judging anyone because we all have our mistakes. I'm just here to encourage the girls who ARE living modestly to continue because every blessing you receive from it will make your life that much more fun and enjoyable. And, God really appreciates a life of modesty. :)

I cant express how much i believe this.. I love being modest. at times it can be hard but its worth it  http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/d3/2d/1e/d32d1eee20e56fba76feade6e97a0197.jpg

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013: country concerts review

I started blogging here at Southern Samplings in February of this year. I wanted to blog about my first year out of college and the adventures I went on. I wanted to blog about manners and morals. I wanted to blog about recipes and everything southern...hence the name.
 
As the year went on, though, I started using Southern Samplings as a documentation of all the fun concerts I was going to. That led to a part time columnist opportunity with several websites and now I'm getting paid to attend concerts and review them. It's definitely not a job that can pay my bills, yet, but it's heading that direction. I'm so excited about the next year. I'll continue blogging about life and country music but a lot of my posts will focus on my planning and move to Nashville. I have a 10 month plan to save and search and I'm already off to a great start.
 
One of the publishing companies I'm writing for approached me about a "year in review" type of post because of my recent spike in readers and numbers. I am very proud to say that Nashville, Tennessee is currently number 2 on my readers list. It's only a close second behind Birmingham and I'm okay with that.
 
Stacy sent me 11 questions about my year but asked me to start off listing the concerts and places they were. I've literally been to over 20 so I'm trying to list as many as possible but I'm sure I'll be missing a few small concerts.
 
I wasn't hired by Stacy and her company until September to write about the concerts so most of the earlier concerts this year are undocumented. I saw Luke Bryan and Jake Owen in Dothan in early spring. Then, my sister and I saw Tim McGraw in Birmingham in early summer. We saw Luke Bryan five more times this year-once in Birmingham, once in Auburn, once in Villa Rica and twice in Nashville. I saw Brett Eldredge in Birmingham and Decatur. I saw Chase Rice twice in Birmingham and Dylan Scott twice in Birmingham and once in Bastrop, LA. We saw Florida Georgia Line three times as well The Band Perry, Thompson Square, Dierks Bentley and Cole Swindell. If they were on the Top 10 at some point in 2013, I've probably seen 90% of them.
 
Okay, so there's a little background information. Now, we'll get to the fun part!
 
1. What were the settings like at these shows? Did you see them as a tour stop or part of a festival?
 
I went to Toadlick Music Festival in Dothan as the first concert of the year. There were several opening acts and local talents but both Jake Owen and Luke Bryan played for an hour and a half, so I felt like it was two concerts in one because they both played for so long. Other than that, the rest have been a part of the artist current "tours." Two of Luke Bryan's concerts were part of his mini tour called "Farm Tour." Several stops were radio hosted events as well.
 
2. What has been the worst concert you've been to this year and why?
 
Well, this is a win-lose situation. I'll have to explain. I'm going to say Auburn, Alabama for Luke's Farm Tour. Farm Tour is general admission aka "if you want a good seat, you better get there at 2 PM when gates open." Farm Tour is amazing because all the money he makes from tickets, he donates to the farm for scholarships. But, at the same time, it's in the middle of a field in the middle of October. And, in Alabama, the middle of October is still 90 degrees. So, you "sit" in line for at least 5-6 hours before the gates are open for you to sprint like a marathon runner to the stage. I should link back to the Farm Tour post so the new readers can experience a little more what it's like. But, it's basically hades on earth. I mean, obviously, once Luke starts performing, every second is worth it BUT it's still hard. The Auburn Farm Tour was also a night that I had a meet and greet for Luke. The meet and greet doesn't start until approximately a hour before he performs. So, this means when the gates open at 6, you run to get your "dream" spot at the stage. And, every concert I've been to this year (with the exception of 1 due to a 12 year old kid at Dylan, still bitter), we've had front row spots. So, after watching Chancie Neal and Cole Swindell open, you have to FIGHT through thousands of people to go to the meet and greet. And, then, shocker, you have to fight your way back. And, let me tell you, I feel sorry for Luke because of the amount of insanely insane fans he has. Like, 50 year old grandma's cussing you out for trying to get back to your spot type of fans. It's one thing to be a FAN and support the artists but it's another to think you're the artist girlfriends (especially when they are MARRIED!!)
 
3. What was the farthest you traveled this year? What's the farthest that you would travel for an artist?
 
The farthest we went for a concert this year was Bastrop, Louisiana to see Dylan Scott. It was an off weekend for both me and my friends that went along so it was the perfect weekend for a road trip. Nashville is only three hours from Birmingham and that's where we saw a lot of artists but that's up the road to me. I don't really think that there is a limit on how far I would travel. I was gifted with Luke Bryan tickets for NYC in January so I'm attending that one. As long as my schedule doesn't conflict with tour stops, the traveling doesn't bother me.
 
4. Who had the best opening act as a regular tour stop artist this year?
 
This one has to go to Luke simply because he had Florida Georgia Line as an opening act. And, I really love Florida Georgia Line a lot. They are so personable and sweet and their girlfriends are adorable! I love when artists make you feel like they really are just another person with a cool job.
 
5. Which artist do you feel like connected with the audience the best? Why?
 
I think this one is a tie. Obviously Luke "connects" with the audience by shaking and dancing. He's also been an established artist for a while so he has fans that will come to multiple show. Exhibit A is me. We saw him 6 times this year. He's fun and energetic and makes the show fun. As far as a new artist, though, definitely Dylan Scott. He hasn't been performing for many years but he had the same ability to hold the audiences attention as Luke Bryan did. To be a new artist, I think that says a lot about his future as an artist.
 
6. Country singers are notorious for being drunk after performing at bars and honky tonks. Were any of the shows in bar settings and did you see any inappropriate behavior by any of the artists?
 
This one is funny because I totally judged Brett Eldredge hard core because I thought he was wasted the first time we met him. But, after talking to him for a while and meeting him again, it's safe to say he just has a drawl when he talks. He definitely wasn't drunk. Ha! And Chase Rice drank the most on stage, by far, but seems to keep his composure the entire show. He also said the F word more times than I could count, but, hey, to each their own. He's a little rock and roll and a lot of country and his show puts that vibe off. He definitely kept everyone entertained. I have no complaints about any of the artist I've met this year. Each one reminded me of why I loved country music to begin with.
 
7. If you can only pick one concert that you could attend next year, whose show would it be?
 
Garth Brooks. Easy. :)
 
8. Whose band was the most fun to watch perform?
 
Dylan Scott's. It probably helps that we met them all after the shows so it felt like you were there supporting them as friends and not just some random fans there to see the artist. A lot of fans and people in general don't realize that the band works just as hard as the artist. Obviously, the artist carries more of the weight because if someone doesn't like a show, it's not normal to blame the keyboard player but it's real easy to blame the artist. Josh Kerr and Jacob Simmons are members of Dylan Scott's band. They are just as fun to watch. I got the same vibe from Cole Swindell and Luke Bryan's band but didn't talk a lot or get to know a lot of the other band members like I've gotten to with Dylan Scott's band.
 
9. Who has the craziest fans?
 
Luke Bryan, hands down. The amount of inappropriate things people say about him at concerts is literally mind boggling. He's married, first off. And he has a family. AND, just for kicks and giggles, a lot of his family members and crew members are in the crowd during shows. It's pathetic to me the way people talk about him. Be respectful. Go to shows to enjoy the artist and their music. Don't go with the intention of trying to hook up with them after. That doesn't make me think very much of you as a fan.
 


10. You've had the opportunity to meet more than 10 of the artists this year. Do you have any advice on how to act, what to say, etc?
 
I'll limit myself on this one because I think I could write a chapter book on "how to meet celebrities 101." Number one, like I said earlier, be respectful. These artists are people with families. Imagine if someone was talking about your husband or brother or daughter the way some people talk about artists. Every time I've had the incredible opportunity to meet them, I try to be as respectful and reserved as possible. There was one Luke Bryan fan that literally met him 30 times this year and for reasons that are still a mystery to us all. Unless I become one of the artist's best friends, I don't want to meet them 30 times in one year. I don't want to ever be viewed as the "crazy fan." I want to go to these concerts because I enjoy their music. I want to bring people to these concerts with me because I want other people to enjoy their music, too. I've never asked them to sign anything crazy or cry when I meet them. Again, like I said earlier, they are just like us with incredibly cool jobs. Be respectful and congratulate them on recent accomplishments. But don't ask them to sign your butt or cry about it. The cooler you are, the cooler they are with you. Luke Bryan didn't remember my name but he did call me Curls two meet and greets in a row and referenced conversations from other times I've met him. You can make an impression by just being supportive and happy for them without try to take their clothes off, literally.

11. If you could give an award for the best concert of the year, who would get it?

Dylan Scott. See previous posts for further explanation. He's just fun. His whole shows are.
 
:)
 
I'll allow Instagram stalking for the purpose of this post because I had to type this on a computer without all the pictures saved. But, there are a lot of videos and pictures from each concert.

Friday, December 13, 2013

cotton snaps

It's Friday.

Woo.

Since it's flash back Friday, it's appropriate to bring up the best vacation that we go on every year. Our grandparents have a house in Myrtle Beach that we get to spend the 4th of July week at every year. This past year, we went to Bald Head Island for a day. It was perfect. The most interesting little island with amazing views. While we were exploring the island, we also bumped into some cute boys. Ha. And those cute boys were wearing Cotton Snaps.








Ginghams



Cotton Snaps has so many different colors and patterns to choose from. My favorites are the chevron and America prints!! Make sure you check them out. You can use the code: 

XMAS13
 and get 15% off your order. You're welcome. :)


America Series:

Patriotic Accessory 

Patriotic Costas

State Series:
 
Georgia Snaps 

Chevron Series:

Love these Pink Chevron CottonSnaps 

Cotton Wraps:

Cottonwraps 2013 
(all pictures belong to cotton snaps via pinterest) 
 Follow on:

Monday, December 9, 2013

i forgive you (and you and you and you)

Forgiveness is something I'm a firm believer in. I believe in forgiving people. 

I've received more hurtful and hate filled messages in the past 7 days- from complete strangers and people who I thought were my friends- and I just needed to type that I'm forgiving them.

Well, I forgive you. I forgive you for saying that I'll be "forever alone because there is no man that believes in waiting for marriage to have sex and you're not pretty enough anyways to marry any guy." I forgive you because I know this isn't true. I'll honor God with my purity until the day I get married. If that means I'll be single forever (which it doesn't), I have to be okay with that. I forgive you because I know that I'm never going to be a Victoria Secret supermodel or look like Carrie Underwood but I'm learning to love the person God created me to be. I have tons of work to do in my life but I forgive you for pointing out my flaws. 

I forgive you for saying that the only reason "people want to be your friend is because you get free tickets to shows. People are just using you and when you figure that out, you'll have no friends." I forgive you because I AM receiving amazing opportunities right now and I'm trying my best to use discernment with the people I allow myself to get close to. Creating relationships with people as friends is hazy sometimes when you don't know their intentions. I forgive you for assuming that I'm too unintelligent to figure this out on my own. 

I forgive you for saying that "your dreams are too big. There should be a limit that you place on them. Moving to Nashville is something anybody can do but good luck making it as a writer or PR person for anyone that is a somebody." I forgive you for putting limits on my dreams. I forgive you for not having enough faith in me-or yourself-to question such ambitions. Yes, it will be hard and I am not ever going to ASK for anything. I'm willing to work 50 hours a week until I figure out the right company to work for, and I forgive you for questioning the work ethic prepared behind my dreams.

I forgive you for saying that "the more you post on social media, the more I assume you're life is perfect. lol. please just have one bad day and prove you're not a robot with no problems." I REALLY forgive you for assuming this. I mean, reading this post should prove the entire previous statement wrong. I forgive you for prematurely judging someone that you don't know.

I've decided to forgive these people-as well as every person who is negative towards me-because it's the right thing to do. I'm never going to be able to keep moving forward if I dwell on every negative comment people send me. Sure, you can think my nose is too big and that my hair is too curly and that my plans are too far fetched. That's okay. Because just know that before you even say these things out loud to me, I forgive you.

I forgive you because whether or not I want to believe it, people are waiting for me to say or do the wrong thing. Some people don't like success stories. Some people can't handle ambition and drive, and I'm sorry. 

I'm still trying to figure out who wants to be in my life for the right reasons and the people who have just started trying to be my friend for the wrong reasons. I am being blessed with opportunities I use to DREAM about and I understand that this will attract some fake people. I have had to become so much more guarded-even within the last 24 hours-of who I allow to be close to me because of their intentions. I don't want to be involved with people who suck the life out of me. I want to be around people who really want to be my friend because of who I am, not because of what I get to do. 

This is a different type of post because it's exhausting to open message after message of negative comments. But, at the same time, I need those people to know that instead of using so much energy to be negative, it won't work with me. Be positive. See the positive in people. Forgive them when they are mean or ugly to you. Pray for those people. Live your life and keep dreaming your dreams. A sweet friend sent me a quote that said "if you're going to shine, you're going to make people mad." 

That's true. So shine anyways. Forgive people and love people. There's way too many people that need love. No one needs the mean and hate. 

Shine on, sun shines! :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

molly green boutique

Y'all know how much I love the south. I love Birmingham, too. And, what I love the most is people who follow their dreams. So, Southern Samplings readers, meet Molly Green Boutique.
 
I am so excited that I found this amazing and unique boutique tonight. After stopping in just to pick up my Ray Bans from Sunglasses Hut, my friend and I noticed Molly Green out of the corner of my eye walking into Von Maur. We stopped in our tracks.
 
If you follow me on IG or Twitter, you know I'm a big country music fan. And a Florida-Georgia Line fan. And a fan of Brian's GF, Brittney. She's absolutely darling and always wearing the most precious things. She's a free spirit that always looks pulled together. Well, when we saw Molly Green, BCOLE is what flashed through my mind! I knew I had to tell her (and everyone) about this place.
 
We walked in and started to look around. It was straight Jesus protecting my bank account that I had just spent 200 dollars on sunglasses or I would've left Molly Green with a few new sweaters and a couple pairs of earrings. My poor paycheck. I've already spent half of it in my mind and I don't get paid again until Friday. Ha!!
 
Anyways, as we are browsing, one of the precious girls working there mentioned she liked my cowboy boots. And that's where it all began. :)

We talked to the sister owners for a good 15 minutes or so about fashion, their story behind Molly Green and about some of the vendors they carried in their store. I asked if one of them was Molly and they said, "no, we just thought she sounded neat." And, Molly Green does sound neat. And fun and fashionable. And that's JUST what Molly Green is about. I'm so excited to have found this little boutique. It's located in the Galleria right beside the food court and beside Von Maur.
 
They were recently in Homewood and moved to the Galleria. And they are just incredible. Lots of local artists have their art in the store, they have the CUTEST earrings and it is owned by the CUTEST sisters I've ever seen.
 
And, the best part is I'm hosting a giveaway with them!! Make sure to like them on Instagram and Twitter.
 
The giveaway will end Sunday night at 9 PM central. Make sure you're entered. And look for more posts about my new favorite place to shop!!
 
The Heart of Dixie bag was made by Yellowhammer Creative. Follow her here on Instagram.
The adorable scarf is from Lillis Taylor who is the founder of Bib & Tucker Sew Op. Follow her here on Facebook. These ladies are two amazing local talents!! I LOVE supporting local gals. Make sure to follow along with everyone!! :) Good luck!!



Thursday, November 28, 2013

be kind this year.

I love giving gifts. As much as I love getting them, I'd much rather GIVE gifts than get them. When I was a senior, we read the 5 Love Language book in Bible class and gifts was by FAR my number one love language. Whether you're my boyfriend or my sister or my cousin or dad, I tend to show my love through gifts. :)
 
For as long as I can remember, my parents are the most giving people I've ever met. My dad is a builder and he has built houses for Habitat for Humanity and other organizations like that. He will stop for ANYONE on the side of the road. He will always go without before anyone in my family does. He's literally the closest example to Jesus I've ever met. My mom has raised five kids and watches my niece now while my sister works. She's on every committee at church, she subs at school and she is just a giver. They both are. Time, money, and talents- they give.
 
I love that I've grown up with their example because it's instilled a love of giving to others in my own life now. I don't want to buy you a 60 inch TV because it's flashy, I would want to do it because I love you that much. Ha.
 
So, anyways, moving along... Last year, my sister, brother, bestie and myself dubbed one night "random acts of kindness" night. We made a list of 20 acts of kindness to do and did them all in one night. It was literally one of the best nights I've ever had. I've gained some momentum on social media since last December and a few weeks ago when I posted about the soldier I "adopted," I got an overwhelming amount of emails asking how people could get involved.
 
If you missed that convo on FB, let me catch you up. There is an organization called "Adopt a Soldier" where you sign up and are assigned a soldier. Then, you write to them and send them care packages. For security reasons, I can't say who or where he is stationed but his letters have far out blessed me compared to what I've written him. It's such a good feeling to send letters and cards and simple stuff like toothpaste to someone who is keeping our country free. So, again, it's FREE to sign up, you just have to spend on care packages BUT I promise it's worth every penny.
 
Adopting a soldier was number one on my acts of kindness list last year. I won't list all 20 unless someone needs ideas and wants me too but I'll list a few here. If you want, share on twitter or facebook or instagram some of your ideas and maybe we can rock this world with random acts of kindness.
 
Some of the acts on our list were:
-make cookies and take them to local fire departments (we took cookies to 5 local stations)
-make cookies and take them to local police station (we just went to 1) :)
-leave dollars taped to coke machines so people could enjoy a free drink on us
-went through several drive thru's to pay for the people behind us
-went to our childhood pastor's house and brought him and his wife thank you letters for all they did for us
-went to walmart and brought it all the random buggies
-took bags of donations to the thrift store
-bought gifts for a local charity and dropped them off
-wrote thank you notes to our parents for everything they've done for us
-collected can goods for a local homeless shelter
 
These are just ten small things we did. Some cost money but most did not. It doesn't take long to write someone important to you a thank you card. For all you know, it may be the only one they've ever received.
I like nice people. I like doing nice things. This world is SO busy and always in such a hurry that it's simple to overlook each other. I'm doing a Bible study right now that is teaching me to manage my time. My relationship with Jesus has to be in a good place for me to be able to witness to other people. It's important to be nice to people and for people to see Jesus in you. It's my honest prayer that my life ultimately points people to Jesus. There is SO many more things you could do for others that these may seem silly to you. And, that's okay. If I was a millionaire, I'd definitely donate money. But, I'm not, so, you know, I can donate cookies to local heroes. It's important for people to know that you're thankful for them. Big or small-every act of kindness makes a difference.
 
So, our 2nd annual acts of kindness night is December 14. I hope you and your friends will join in with us!! :) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

good enough.

I would like to say that I am in love with 98% of my life. I honestly live a dream. I don't say that to sound full of it but I say that because I really do realize how blessed I am. I didn't love my life for a while because I let other people tell me my dreams and passions. I just gave into who others wanted me to be-and not in a bad way. I was the class president, my sorority vice president, etc. etc. etc. because it was FUN and it made me feel VALUED. I led Bible studies at my Christian college, I never ever miss church and I don't drink or smoke. I am the "good girl" mold to a T. BUT, that also means that I can't say no and I end up taking on 500 different tasks and getting burned out. I felt like the more I did, the more valued I would be.
NEWS FLASH ----> no matter HOW much you try, your worth will never be defined by a position or a person or a place. Your worth is defined by Christ. And, in Him, you're enough.
 
"You are my treasured possession."
Exodus 19:5
 
I became a Christian when I was 5. My dad got to lead me to alter and pray with me with my pastor and family right beside me. I've been taught and raised that God's view is the only view of myself that matters. In high school, I was the dorky virgin who ate alone after everyone got drunk at prom. I still am that dorky virgin who gets mean and hurtful twitter messages and emails at least three times a week.
 
"you're ugly"
"you're dumb"
"you're a virgin?? how retarded."
"no one will ever date you."
"just let me live my life and party if I want."
 
Is getting hateful messages something that anyone would willingly sign up for? No. And, like I mentioned earlier, I was raised to not believe it. Do I? Not 99% of the time. But, you know what sucks? That 1% of the time that I do.
 
I try to be a happy go lucky, positive, upbeat girl all the time. And I succeed at that most of the time. BUT, I also get messages like this: "Omg, your life is so perfect and everyone loves you and you are so cool and you have the best tweets and IG's and have a big house and etc. etc. etc." This is such a sweet message- don't get me wrong. BUT, I'm not perfect, lots of people don't like me, I'm a nerd, I'm social media illiterate and it's my parent's house so yeah. :) The heart behind this blog was for me to share my faith and try to be an example to young girls. An example to be pure, to be kind and to be nice. That's still the heart of Southern Samplings. Now, there's just some country hunks scattered throughout, also.
 
I think to be a real "role model" or example to girls, I need to be real. I'm not perfect or cool. I'm Katelyn. And, that's enough. I'm exactly who God made me and for the first time, I'm owning it because I'm following my dreams. I know what I want in life, I'm seeking God in the decisions I'm making and I genuinely believe that God is blessing me.
 
I just want to hug every girl who thinks they aren't good enough. You are. There is not another person in this world that can do what God put YOU on this earth to do. When you seek God with your entire heart and do what GOD wants you to do-not what your parents or teachers want you to do-you'll be happy. I'm not saying your parents or teachers are wrong but just make sure that you are listening to God.

There's a quote that says "you have to fall in love with who God created you to be before He will let you fall in love with who He created you to be with." I don't mention this quote to hope that you're living to be in a relationship with a man but to say you have to love yourself before someone else can.
 
This is a short post because there's only so many ways to say that it's my honest prayer that every girl will learn to love themselves and see themselves the way God sees us. Of course, there are a million things that I can improve on BUT what citygurl1992 has to say about you or me on Twitter should not be what we dwell on anymore. What Exodus 19:5 says about us is what we should dwell on.

Shine on ladies.

:) 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

dylan scott: bastrop, la

Since dethroning Luke Bryan this afternoon on Twitter from "entertainer of country music," according to Katelyn, I've gotten exactly 26 messages from people on Twitter.
"say it isn't so"
"no wayyyy"
"I've never seen Dylan Scott but now I have to"
"omg, you traitor"
...I mean, I could literally post all 26 but I'll save you the drama for your momma.
let's get to the nitty gritty.
my friend hannah and I went to see Dylan Scott in Birmingham the first week of October. we loved his set and got to meet him and his super awesome drummer, jacob, after. he told us he was coming back in two weeks with a full band show, so, naturally, we went.
It was one of the best show I've ever seen in my life. keep in mind that's literally my side job these days-going to shows and reporting. I've been to 25 shows since June of this year alone. Dylan's full band was amazing. every single person smiled the whole time and you could just tell that they were living that dream. I feel like the crowd can sense that kind of passion and it just makes for a fun set.
Fast forward to the next week in Nashville and guess who this girl gets to run into? whoop whoop. Dylan. and Jacob. and Josh Kerr (aka guitar player, amazing song writer). cool, right? I mean, I'm at a Luke Bryan concert and there's more celebrities I get to see. it was a win win situation.
fast forward to two weeks ago. we see that Dylan's last full band show is in his hometown of Bastrop, LA on Friday, November 22.
SCORE. WE ARE GOING. Louisiana really isn't that far away. And, it's a great show guaranteed. There's one problem. Super star little brother is in the state playoffs. The only way we were going to be able to go was if my brother lost the play offs. And, as cruel as it sounds, I've never been more excited about an L for a team. That's so mean but he's only a sophomore, so there's still time to win that championship, bro.
So, since I've been assigned to some newer country acts lately, I BEG my boss to let me go for "work" to see Dylan. He agrees. My life is made!! So, Friday morning, Hannah and I are heading out to Louisiana. We pick up Kayla and Trish on the way. We met them on twitter through our mutual appreciation of Dylan. Shout out to Dylan because now I have two new cool friends.

Bastrop, Louisiana was exactly 375 miles away. We are booking it to get there by the time doors open because anything less than front row is not acceptable. I mean, right? Once you've been front row, you can't go back. The ride there was hilarious. Mississippi has some jacked up roads. And, even though I live in the country in the middle of no where, Bastrop is the smallest town I've ever seen. Especially in the pitch black dark and the rain. Whatevs.
We get there, get our tickets, and secure our front row spots. Whoop whoop.
Chancie Neal opened for Dylan. I've seen Chancie three times before so she was no stranger to me. She is also from the same area and she is an amazing singer. But, more so than that, the girl can writeeeee. Her lyrics were amazing. So, you should go meet Chancie here.
Moving on to the main event.
Like I mentioned earlier, I'm no stranger to sets and shows and seeing artists perform. Luke Bryan is an amazing artist at connecting with his audience but Dylan totally blew him away in that aspect.


Besides the 7 year old that was sitting on the speaker in front of me kicking me 75% of the concert, Dylan's concert last night was the best concert I've ever been to.


I LOVE when artists look like they're in their element and that was Dylan last night. He sang most of his songs, including my faves, "Passenger Seat," "Turn Rows," and "Lay it on Me." He also sang several covers of Luke Bryan and some rap songs. I've seen him twice with a full band and the second time topped the first performance by far. His band members are all so incredibly gifted and they're just as nice as they are talented. I wish I could link my Instagram videos to this post, too, because he did a "campfire set" for several songs that was incredible.
It was all of 45 degrees (if that) and half of the venue was opened to the outside so it was chilly. No fear, though. I mean, no worries for front row because when they started that bonfire, we all got a little cozy. Dylan sang "Grandaddy's Gun" as well as part of Keith Urban's "Cop Car." This is my favorite cover he's ever done. It's kind of neat when a cover is better than the original. Move over, Keith. :)
He sang other songs during the campfire set as well, but make sure you check out my IG for videos.

Dylan wasn't feeling 100% but if he hadn't said anything- I doubt anyone would have noticed. From his dancing to his singing to pouring bottles of water on his band and the crowd (think cold and wet...good one, Dylan), to the way he interacted with the audience and the band are the reasons Dylan has taken number one entertainer spot in my heart.
I've met lots of artists this year alone and I can say from experience, no one has seemed as grateful as Dylan. I mean, country singers are the nicest and most grateful people ever, but beyond nice and grateful, Dylan makes you feel like he's known you forever. It's so funny to me that someone who is a literal superstar (blue check on twitter and all) STILL takes so much time after his shows to talk and meet with everyone.

saying hey to our bestie
Jacob!! He's the best drummer ever. and he really likes bears.
Josh Kerr. he's writes the BEST songs!

He's so young (at 23) compared to most of the current guys in country music that I can't wait to see how big he gets in the next couple of years. I've literally never heard another voice that is as smooth as his and he could sing the ABC's and it would be my new favorite song.

His songs are packed with lyrics of back roads, shot gun seats and hunting. His band is full of energy. He connects with his audience and his fans like no other artist I've ever seen.

I can't wait for 2014 for more roadtrips to see him and the guys! If you don't know who he is, shame on you. :) Go check him out here for more information. Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook! He has an EP at Walmart that you can get here.  Whatever way you connect, just make sure that you do. He's definitely an artist that you'll love and want to see succeed! :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

collab with THE payton sumrall: answering your questions

well, it's friday.
 we made it. :)
 
Today is probably my most favorite post I'll ever post (I mean, besides Luke Bryan posts, of course). This is where you all need to say hey to Payton Sumrall, if you haven't already.

Payton is the author behind "Yeah, I'm a Writer." He is currently writing an extremely awesome novel so make sure you read it after you read our post. Payton's brothers and my brother play football together at Kingwood. Payton and I are the loud ones who like to yell at the games. Besides that, Payton is an AMAZING writer and one of the best guys I know. When I was approached about doing a guys/girls perspective to some relationship questions, Payton was the first person that came to mind. After you read his answers, you'll see why.
 
Payton and I don't agree 100% on every question. And, I think that this is going to help twice as many people because of it. Payton is a good thinker and an incredible communicator. He can articulate his answers in a way that few others can. Make sure you check out his post, too! :)
 
 I posted on Twitter and over 30 of y'all sent in questions. We wrote them all down and picked ten to answer. Payton and I are answering the same questions with different perspectives and with slightly different beliefs.
 
Here we go!
 
"1. How should I handle jealously in my relationship? I get extremely jealous around his ex when I see her out in public."
 
First off, look beside you. He's with you right now and not her. That's a good start. Beyond that, my dad use to explain jealously with a clever definition. He said it was a mixture of anger and fear. Why are you jealous? Probably a little bit because you're angry that he was with her and that it still bothers you even though you're with him now. And, probably a little bit of fear that he still has feelings for her. STOP THAT. You're enough. You have to be able to communicate effectively with your partner. You shouldn't hide your feelings from them, good or bad, because it harbors jealously.
 
"2. All of my friends are in relationships and I get so bummed out because I'm always doing stuff alone. How can you be satisfied and single?"

 I write a lot about being satisfied and single so I won't hammer this one in the ground too hard BUT you have to be okay with being single. Being single is the time in your life that you can work on being the best you that you can be. It's also the best time to just have fun. There are a lot of things that you can do and experience while you're single that you can't when you're in a relationship. Being single isn't a curse, it's a blessing sometimes. It's natural to want to be in a relationship but being in the wrong relationship can be more lonely than being single. You have to fall in love with yourself, essentially. You can't look for your validation in a man so if you're miserable single, you're probably not going to be 100% satisfied in a relationship.
 
"3. What are your thoughts on moving in before you're married?"

I don't plan on moving in before I'm married. I don't think you're "evil" if you do but I don't see any reason in it, either. This goes into the next question but what other reason besides sex are you really wanting to move in? I think that a lot of times, the girl or guy is tired of living at home or some other excuse so they move in together. Moving in is a HUGE step and if you're doing it just to get out of momma's house, that's the wrong reason. Several of y'all have told me that you support it because you want to know how clean, etc. he is. But, honestly, if you're dating someone, you should know if they're messy or not. Moving in together to make sure he does his laundry isn't a legitimate excuse to, in my opinion.
 
"4. What is your opinion on sex before marriage?"

 Well, if this question isn't just my favorite. Ha. There's no other answer that is as basic as no. No, no, no. Never. Not in my opinion. I'm 23 and I'm a virgin. I know, I'm not a Victoria Secret model and no, boys aren't banging on my door to have sex so this one is probably not as hard for me to stand behind. And, I'm probably the most outspoken person about 'no sex before marriage' that honestly, only one guy has even proposed that idea, so there's that. I could link you to almost every blog post because that's what I harp about. But, I'll explain. Sex is by far the most intimate thing that you could ever participate in. And, when done appropriately, it'll be amazing when the day comes. I mean, how cool will it be to be able to give your husband your purity and not have to have flashbacks or thoughts of other guys I've been with? Being a virgin is the number one thing I get ridiculed about but it's also my biggest platform and something that I'll never be ashamed of. I feel like the man I'll marry will respect me enough (regardless of hormones or emotions) to respect my purity until we're married. I feel like so many people can't control their emotions how enough to keep their clothes on. If you're ready for sex, you're ready for the consequences. You can't just JUST have sex. There's a lot behind it. There are a lot of emotions involved. There are a lot of things that could happen. You could end up pregnant or you can get a disease that changes the course of your life. If you're aren't ready to be a parent, don't have sex.
 
"5. I really like this girl that my friend dated for about a year. Is there really rules associated with friends dating exes? Opinions?

I personally don't think that there are "rules" for this one. I think that, obviously, this is a situational question. If you're 14 and 15, that's different than if y'all were living together and 25. Basically, though, you should talk to your friend. Make sure that there are no feelings left there. Even if they do still have feelings and you REALLY want to date this person, you'll have to decide for yourself what to choose-relationship or friendship. But, like Payton said, if it's true love, they won't be mad at you.

"6. What are your thoughts about kissing on the first date?"

I don't personally ever kiss on a first date. I think that there should be SO much more than happens on a first date than a kiss. If I can't get a second date based on our conversation and connection-mentally and emotionally- I don't want to earn a second date by a physical connection. I am the type to take things slow in a relationship so I'd probably be too guarded on a first date anyways.

"7. Do you think that you can only have one soul mate?"
This is the question Payton and I discussed for the longest amount of time. I automatically said no in the beginning to this question but I feel like if I just said "no," it may be a little misleading. So, let me explain. I don't know if I even believe in the term "soul mate." I've used my analogy of how you're a complete heart and your partner has a complete heart. You compliment each other. You don't complete each other. The first person you date may not be who you marry, and that's okay. They'll be a part of the story that leads you to the person you do marry and that person will be who you are suppose to be with. I'm a big believer of "everything happens for a reason." So, if you have to go through some bad relationship(s) to get to your "soulmate," then that's just part of your story.

"8. I'm having a hard time balancing time with my friends and my boyfriend. Do you have any advice on how to balance?"

 I have four siblings that are my best friends so I have to balance my time with friends and a boyfriend. I feel like if you're so stressed about splitting your time that it may be because your friends and boyfriend don't get along? That's a whole other question BUT if you need to, just plan better. You could spend Friday with your friends and Saturday with your boyfriend. Ideally, everyone will get along and y'all should all hang out together. Include your friends and boyfriend in as much as possible together.

"9. I met this guy on twitter a few months ago. We've exchanged numbers but never met. He's super sweet to me in text messages and such but on twitter he is really vulgar. I don't know why or if he's putting up a front? Why is he acting so different on twitter vs texting me?"

 When we were talking about these questions, Payton hit this one out of the park so I totally agree with what he says. In addition, maybe he's showing off a little. He might feel like he's got something to prove so he's vulgar around the people don't matter as much. But, he obviously is being sweet to you for a reason. I wouldn't like it if a guy was doing that with me so I'd probably just straight ask him what the deal was. Remember, communicate? How serious is it? If this is a guy that lives in your hometown and you've "heard of" him is different than someone who lives 8 states away sitting behind a computer screen cat-fishing you. Be careful. I tend to be overly cautious of online relationships of any type anyways. If at any point you feel uncomfortable with anything, stop it before it goes too far.

"10. Do guys really like girls that are intelligent? I'm extremely smart but I feel like all the idiots are the ones in boyfriends."

 Again, I feel like Payton answers this one extremely well because he's, well, a guy. Ha. But, look at the "idiots" with boyfriends. What kind of men are these guys? If you are extremely smart, start looking for those type of guys. It's hard to get connected with a "super intelligent" guy that you see at a bar while he's drunk out of his mind. On one hand, I'll congratulate anyone who doesn't settle for a man just to be in a relationship. It may be a little intimidating for a guy to approach someone who everyone knows is extremely intelligent. But, own it. Don't dumb yourself down just to be in a relationship. This question relates back to number 4. Don't settle.

_____________________________________

Okay, so like I mentioned earlier, you HAVE to go read Payton's answers because they're brilliant. If y'all have any more questions, we are no experts, but send them our way. My contact info is under the "contact" tab here on my blog. Payton's email address is psumrall22@hotmail.com.

It was a pleasure to write with Payton! I'm sure y'all will be seeing more of him on here but make SURE you follow his blog and follow him on twitter here. Happy Friday! :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

count it joy.

have you ever had a word or phrase that sticks in your mind for while and you have no explanation as to why?
 
enter the words -> trials, pressure, joy
 
I will never understand or question God's timing. If there is something I've learned since I became a Christian, it's that sometimes your only option is to choose joy. It's to choose to trust God through the pressures and through the trials.
 
I made a life altering decision this year when I decided I didn't want to finish nursing school. I'm a finisher. That's what I do. So, when I graduated from undergrad in May and decided to go to nursing school, I had to finish it.
 
enter the word -> trial
 
I literally hated every single minute of nursing school. It wasn't for me. I was trying to choose a career where I could help people but, with all respect, my mail man can be just as helpful as a nurse can be. It was a trial every single day to go to nursing school. I knew the day I started that it wasn't for me. But, I don't "quit." I don't really even consider "not finishing" nursing school "quitting." I went to nursing school to chase a dream. I'm still chasing my dream, it's just a different one.
 
There are so many different types of trials that I faced. One was temptation. The temptation of just finishing because "it was the right thing to do." It was an overwhelming temptation to me even though looking at the situation on paper, it doesn't look like one. The temptation of becoming angry because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do started to sink in, too.
 
Another trial that has slowed me down before is persecution. I never want to claim that I was "bullied" by anyone because the hurtful words never made me want to kill myself or hurt myself. The hurtful things people say about me or to me always has made me run after Jesus because I just learned from an early age that he is the one who comforts.
 
The thing that's going to always make me "different" or "weird" is that I'm a Christian. My eyes have his perspective so I will never understand a "worldly" perspective on things. People message me every.single.week and tell me that I'm stupid for being a virgin, too ugly to ever get married or dumb for thinking that you can have fun without alcohol or drugs.
 
enter the word -> pressure
 
My take on pressure is different, too. I never struggled a lot with peer pressure. I was always too cool doing my own thing to be influenced by others. But, God will allow us to go to "pressure" filled trials to produce joy. The pressure is created by God for you to HAVE to fully rely on him. It's not a trick or scam to get to you fail. It's designed by God to produce endurance and perseverance. I'm sure y'all have heard the pressure/diamond analogy. Right? The diamond has to endure extreme pressure to shine. That's what God is trying to do with you through your trials. He's trying to let you shine.
 
enter the word -> joy 
 
I am a happy person. I try to never cry in front of anyone because honestly, I don't really have a lot of reasons to cry. I DO have lots of reasons to be joyful and happy, so that's what I try to focus on. The trial of nursing school and people who don't understand my morals/values have lead me to a path to an AMAZING life waiting on me in Nashville and this blog. The pressure is continually making me a stronger person. And, well, the joy just makes life fun.
 
You can have victory over whatever your "trial" is, too. You don't have to struggle. The cool thing about God is that he is ALWAYS there and he's not going anywhere. Joy may not be the first reaction but it SHOULD be your end attitude. The trials in your life always has a result. God isn't like Ashton and he isn't going to "punk" you. Whatever you're going through, there's a purpose. People are looking at you to see how you handle it, too. The desire from God is for us to be so steadfast in our faith that nothing (boyfriends, mean words, rude people, etc) can take our joy.
 
Count is all as joy. (see james 1)
 
Happy Wednesday!! :)
 
 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chase Rice

I hope y'all have had a great weekend! Sundays are hands down my favorite day. And, since today is so gloomy out, it's easy to sit down and blog about my week.

I was invited to a private show and meet and greet with Chase Rice on Thursday. 102.5 The Bull in Birmingham hosts tons of new singers in their "Bull Lounge" and Chase was the featured artist on Thursday. Chase has an EP out titled "Ready Set Roll" that was released just a few months ago. It is amazing. He has a single out right now titled "Ready Set Roll."





He also wrote Florida Georgia Line's massive hit, "Cruise." He told me on Thursday that his intention was to move to Nashville to write and not to sing. Funny how life deals you cards sometimes, right?



I'm a sucker for a good guy. Clean cut, southern, polite guy. That's my weakness. And, while Chase Rice is all of those things, he is by far the "edgiest" singer I've had the pleasure of meeting and talking with. He's sweet but a little tough, too. His lyrics are more in your face than "let me open the door for you" type of lyrics. He also said the F word 18 times during his show Thursday night, but hey, that's what Fireball does to ya, right? (I honestly wouldn't know the answer to this because I don't drink, ha!)

Even with the harsh-ness that could be associated with Chase Rice, he's still an amazing singer. He was so sweet and interacted with the 15 people that were at the Bull Lounge on Thursday. He took special requests and sang mine-of course. :) He met and talked with all of us for longer than the usual "hey, I'm katelyn, you're hot, cheese, bye" type of meet and greet I've grown accustomed to. He's a star, for sure, but he's still new enough that he has the special gratitude factor about him. Every artist I've met-country wise-has had the same quality. I could do a whole post on why I love country music but it's safe to say that Chase was grateful.



His show was at Zydeco in Birmingham on Thursday night. Chris Lane opened for him and Chase took the stage close to 10:45. He sang all the songs off of his EP and several others. He also sang Nelly's rap part in Cruise and let me tell you, Chase can rap. Ha. He was full of energy the entire show. It's fun to go to shows where the artists are so interactive with their band and the crowd.









If you don't have his EP, I strongly suggest you go to ITunes and buy it. If you want to see videos of Thursday, you can find lots of them on my Instagram! My name is @katelync so come follow along!

Happy Sunday!!

PS- Brett Eldredge's post is tomorrow! Woo!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

find your "Nashville"

there's been so much that has happened in my life lately that lots of y'all have been asking about so I figured I'd d0 a generic "lately" post just to fill y'all in.
 
when I blogged about wanting to quit nursing school-I got so much support from y'all. I am SO thankful that I already have a bachelor's degree. and, since I finished early, my year is nursing school technically means I'm at the same spot-age wise- that I would've been if it would've taken me the average time to finish my bachelor's degree.
 
the more I look back and reflect on nursing school, it was totally what I was suppose to do at the time. I've always been taught to pray for "God's will" for my life and not to pray for just my "wants." I want to follow God's plan for my life, not my plan. I did earnestly pray and seek God (as well as parents, grandparents, pastor, etc) before going to nursing school. the prayer was always for God to lead me to a career where I could "help" others. I think the part where I took matters into my own hands was my belief that the only profession I could have and help people was a nurse. I don't know why I was so set on it but I was. I didn't do well in first semester and I still wanted to be a nurse. It just felt right-all the way up until September. Have you ever known something that you kept from someone and it ate away at your spirit or heart until you finally told someone? Ha. Well, that was nursing school. I hated every second of it. And, I was even doing exceptionally well this semester. The passion to help people has never left. The passion to help people in a hospital bed has. It takes a certain discipline and determination to become a nurse. I was salutatorian in high school and undergrad and I just sucked at nursing school. It's a whole thinking process that I never grasped. The whole time I was in nursing school this semester, my spirit and spark would die a little every day because it wasn't where I was suppose to be.
 
I have a big family and we all live within 10 miles of each other. Both sets of grandparents, my parents and all my siblings. no one else in my family has ever really had a strong passion to live Alabama or leave, but I ALWAYS have. I've said so many times that I could live in a tour bus and just drive because I love traveling so much. I mean, I still love my family more than anything, but I've always just wanted to "go." then, when my sister and I went to Nashville a few weeks ago, it just felt right.
 
I've blogged about this before, but, honestly, I felt like every single person in Nashville was there to pursue their dreams. whatever they may be, they were there and they were chasing them. I want to chase my dreams. I want  a super awesome pr/marketing/advertising/all in one media type of career. I love people. I love social media and I LOVE talking. Ha. And, for me, Nashville is where I honestly believe all this will happen.
 
Maybe your "Nashville" is New York or Tampa or Hollywood or Birmingham or right where you live right now. I think, for whatever reason, so many of us are afraid to dream. Why? That's why so many people are miserable. Fight for your dreams. Chase them.
 
It's easier for me because I have no husband or kids or school to attend. I'm just a free little bird who is trying to make it to Nashville. I'm SO excited about the next year! My one year plan is to save every penny I can and move to Nashville one year from December. I've had a job interview here in Birmingham with an amazing company, and I'm in the waiting process. If this doesn't work out, I still have a job in Birmingham that has supported my dreams and passions since the day I started working there. I firmly believe to make your dreams happen WILL take work. I know that I just can't wake up one day and move to my "Nashville." Neither can you. But, you can work and have a plan.
 
This is all so vulnerable and exposed and out there for anyone who reads this. But, for the first time, I'm SO happy in every single aspect of my life. There is no baggage, no conflict and no strife. I understand that the road to my "Nashville" WILL have many downs. But, it will have many ups. And, you know, it will be SO worth every second.
 
I've decided a while ago that telling my story, whatever aspect of it, helps people. Your story helps people, too. At the end of the day, I'm just a girl that has the best family in the entire world with big dreams of moving to Nashville and living my life. My story of waiting until marriage for sex is a part of this story. My story of not finishing nursing school is a part of the bigger story. My story of clinging to and trusting God is the biggest part of the story. I guess my whole purpose of writing this is for everyone to find their "Nashville" wherever it may be. Don't let people talk you out of your dreams. Pray about them and then work for your dreams. Your life won't be perfect, but you will find so much JOY!! :)
Happy Sunday!