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!!