Alabama Backroads Beauty…

 

 

75BEC44E-B2E7-4316-ABFA-802C59978E7FAlabama is a beautiful and unique state- we have mountains, rivers, lakes- all the way down to the most beautiful beaches and bays you can imagine! In the Fall, folks like to take a Sunday drive to see the colorful displays of autumn beauty or stay beside one of our Lakes, hike through the woods to see a Waterfall or stop at a Roadside Stand. When Mother Nature shows out and throws down carpets of gold, green and red and happily reaches her arms up to the sky with brightly colored leaves– it’s breathtaking when we have a beautiful Fall, y’all! Let’s get going on our Road Trip- through the Backroads of Alabama…

Off we go!

Let’s get over to the Rivers and Streams…

And take a look at these close ups!

And stop at a road side stand…jeremy-fall-30-marketYou can almost hear the singin’…. ‘For the Beauty of the Earth…’ ringing out from the churches!jeremy-fall-27-church

 

How thankful we are for the enormous talents of Jeremy Miniard and his generosity in sharing these beautiful photographs of Alabama the Beautiful! Enjoy!

Love y’all, Camellia

find Jeremy at jeremy-miniard.fineartamerica.com

photographs may not be reproduced without express permission from Jeremy!jeremy-fall-26

Tacky or Tasteful #3…

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The South is a Matriarchal society. There’s a reason our Daddies said, ‘Ask your momma’. For all our feminine clothes and flirting…it’s true y’all, Southern Women are ‘Steel Magnolias’, who rule the roost with an Iron Hand whether the Roost is the size of the Chicken coop or a Big House on a hill. They insisted on- Tradition, Tact and Taste- otherwise their families would erode into Tacky or even worse- Trashy. They knew that classic dressing would last- if you had a Nice Black Dress and a Good White Blouse- you could dress Tastefully whether you had a fortune or lost one.

A whole lot of us, including me, wore a mix of new, homemade and hand-me-down clothing. We were not poor, I just had an older sister. If garments were well made and classic, they stood the test of time. Then there were some who learned the art of Tasteful Fashion by association with friends who had Mothers who insisted that Dressin’ Decent was the right thing to do. It boiled down to self respect and respect for others. I still believe this. I can never forget hearin’ our mommas say– ‘Always leave something to the imagination darlin’

So, to end Fashion Week at Camellia’s Cottage, let’s talk Accessories and more…

  • Pearls
  • A Good Watch
  • A Nice Pocketbook
  • Monograms
  • Sunglasses, Diamond Studs and Lipstick

Some of us come from the school of wearing a Single Strand of Pearls- others like to pile them on! I’m with Chanel who wore ropes and ropes of them! Nothing dresses up the neckline of a blouse or a simple dress like Pearls. Just don’t wear your pearls on your wedding day – my grandmother thought wearing pearls on your wedding day signified a string of troubles! Though that is not a proven fact.

A good Watch, whether it’s Cartier or Timex sets off any outfit casual or dressy. Our mommas wanted us to have a Watch because they expected us to be on time– for school, work and get home when we were supposed to! jackie-kennedy-vintage-cartier-black-turtleneck

A Nice Pocketbook is always a necessity. Let’s face it- if Queen Elizabeth thinks carryin’ a pocketbook is the right thing to do- who’s gonna argue with her? The Fashion Icons carried them too!

Monograms-Give a Southern Woman a blank surface of fabric and we can figure out how to monogram it! Several years ago- I inherited a mink stroller from my friend’s mother – on the inside her name had been monogrammed. In the South, if we ever get a cool snap, we’ll throw on a fur coat- real or faux- with jeans or our finery. However, after inheriting the mink stroller, to be honest I never had the occasion to wear it until our family flew to Montreal one winter– I wore it on the plane. Of course I was burning up! I looked down and saw Sybil’s name monogrammed inside and immediately was horrified thinking- if that plane crashed- they would think Sybil had died all over again! I love monograms.  Monogrammed handkerchiefs, scarves and jewelry are classic.monogrammed-silver-bracelet

A great pair of Sunglasses can take you anywhere! Not only do they stave off cataracts at the beach, but protect the delicate skin around your eyes and are a touch of glamour! The Fashion Icons agree!

Hold onto that thought… because I am about to share some well kept secrets

Diamond Studs, real or faux, are appropriate for young ladies and the ah…Southern Belles who are aging gracefully. I’ll never forget when chandelier earrings became fashionable- a Southern Mother told her daughter-‘Ruth Anne, the only appropriate place for chandeliers to hang are from the ceiling!‘ The truth is- wearing earrings is fun when  you’re young…but when it comes time to get a job? Listen to the Southern Mothers- ‘Nobody’s gonna hire you if all they notice are those earbobs janglin’ around!’ Wear Diamond studs instead. Now,hang in there with me… Think- Sunglasses, Diamond Studs and Red Lipstick! 

The truth is- Red Lipstick in all of it’s varied shades is the most classic pick of all timeRed Revival from Maybelline™ and. Cherries in the Snow from Revlon™ are all time favorites. Red Revival on the left- Cherries in the Snow on the left. Both have that Hollywood glamour!

 Diamond Studs bring sparkle up higher on your face, actually brighten the eyes and detract from fine lines! For those times when you wouldn’t be caught dead actually getting out of the car but need to scoot to the drive thru window at the bank-Sunglasses and Red Lipstick are a lifesaver. And finally, darlin’ …if you are gonna inflict your bare feet on the general public- please paint those toenails Red!

I can’t resist showing you my ever glamourous friend, Lorrie- she’s worn Red Revival Lipstick for years!morton-tims-event-1-029

Oh, I’ve had so much fun laughing with you during our Fashion Week at Camellia’s Cottage. Don’t be Tacky, be Tasteful in all you do! Of course we’ll never run out of advice from our Southern Mothers!

Love y’all, Camellia

The top photograph is from my friend Paula’s personal collection. The bottom photograph is from my personal collection. Other images are from AOL and may be subject to copyright.

Instinct or Fitness…

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I’m just going to admit it- I’m uncoordinated. I will never be good at sports or exercising. Never have been, do not aspire to it.  First of all, going to a gym without at least some color on my face- blush or lipstick -would be sort of horrifying for me. I would hate to inflict that on anyone. I no longer buy swimsuits. I still call them bathing suits-I do not wear bathing suits so as not to inflict my aging body on the general public.  I can wear a cute cover up and have a fine old time. IMG_1398

The last time I tried exercising in a group publically was in an aerobics class at my church at least 30 years ago- it was a disaster– no really, I am not kidding. The building had indoor/outdoor carpeting. I  had on a cute new outfit with socks and tennis shoes. I stood on the back row of a class of 30 women, just in case. I could not get the steps right, I could not shift several steps to the right and hop, flailing my arms around in the air at the same time. I hopped-scooted over…my tennis shoe caught on the indoor outdoor carpet I stumbled backwards, trying not to hurt anyone or break their rhythm and ended up flinging myself into a whole wall of metal folding chairs. It was not pretty, it was loud with all of those chairs falling like steel dominoes. The acoustics in that room are pretty good… let’s just say this was not a joyful noise unto the Lord.women exercising dailymail.uk

I have tried to explain being uncoordinated for years- especially when folks tell me about steps and swings and all manner of fitness routines. I cannot risk it.  I’m not proud of this.  I have tried walking on a tread mill more than once and more than once have managed to trip and skid off, machine still rolling.women on treadmills vintage

My husband, a person of considerable athletic skill, has known and accepted my uncoordinated style; since as newlyweds he let me go with him on a run…when we got back he said-

  • ‘How ’bout letting me run by myself from now on?
  • ‘Why?’
  • ‘Well your feet flap on the pavement.’ Enough said.

I signed up for golf lessons many years ago…the instructor told me at the end of the first lesson- ‘Ma’am, golf just isn’t your game.’ He didn’t offer to return my money…I didn’t ask either.vintage woman golfing

I really accepted my ineptness early on…when I was in college I was required to have a certain amount of physical education.

  • I took tennis.
  • I knew the rules, I aced the written tests.
  • When my grade came out, it was a glaring ‘B’ –
  • I asked the instructor why he had given me a B-
  •  Graciously he said, ‘You don’t have the Killer Instinct.’

Most Southern folks start planning their funerals when they are in their 40’s if not before…Please believe me, I know this- we have a morbid fascination with the process. It could be argued that dyin’ is more fascinating in the South. When I want my husband to listen to anything I am saying – I just have to say- ‘When I die…’ or ‘I want this played at my funeral.’   He listens up.

Recently I was contemplating an extra roll of fat I had found- it’s none of your business where I found it-I was thinking maybe I should give fitness another chance. I’ve got some important tests coming up- my cholesterol screening and BMI. I thought of all the personal risks involved. To exercise is risky for me.  I have decided that having-

Beloved Wife and Mother

She Never had the Killer Instinct

Carved on my tombstone-is sounding better and better all the time.old tombstone- aol images

Meanwhile, before I start pushing up daisies- I’m keeping close to the ground and digging in my garden…

Love y’all, Camellia

The photograph of the tennis player and the swimmer are from a vintage encyclopedia- called The New Wonder World- last copyright- 1941 by Geo. L. Shuman and Co.

The women on treadmills- attributed to an article by Huffingon Post

The golfer, the group photograph of women exercising and the tombstone from AOL images and may be subject to copyright.

 

Loud…

loud print vintage dress

 

It occurred to me recently that if you are not from the South, you might not understand how we talk. Words that normally have just one clear meaning for other regions- may be couched in southern code- like loud. With that one exception of our yelling at SEC football games…we teach our children to speak kindly, softly and as quiet as possible. Even if you’re driving home an important point, use non-offensive language- please.

My favorite example, when I am challenged on this point- is my friend Linda. For years, Linda was the Director of a sizeable rambunctious group of kindergarteners… when she wanted to get the attention of one, a few or the whole bunch of wild Indians; Linda would lower her voice to a whisper instead of getting louder! So, yes- Southerners use the word ‘loud’ just like the rest of the country. But there is loud like talk radio- and there is loud like a printed dress and again there is loud- like perfume-here’s how we respond:

  • Loud Talk-‘Well, bless his heart, do you think he’s deaf or does he just talk loud because he’s coarse and common, or doesn’t know better?’
  • ‘Turn that music down, it’s so loud I can’t hear myself think!’
  • If we really want to get sinister, we say- ‘You’d better quieten down, you’re talkin’ loud enough to raise the dead!’
  • Loud Style-‘Now why in the world would her momma let her go out in that loud print? As pale as she is, she just can’t stand up to it- in fact, I’m not sure I know anybody who could wear loud prints effectively.’
  •  ‘That necktie the preacher had on was so loud, you couldn’t hear a blessed word he was sayin’. Bless his heart, his wife should’ve known better than to let him go shopping by himself.’
  • ‘The black dress was fine but those hot pink earbobs and matching high heels, well, it was a cryin’ shame- it was so loud it ruined the whole look. And the nerve…the nerve of her wearing her grandmother’s pearls with that outfit! Mattie Rae would roll over in her grave, if she could see it’. *The scarier version is ‘Mattie Rae’s is twirling in her grave!
  • Loud Odors- ‘Well, I guess we’ll know for a week that she cooked collards! The smell is so loud, somebody needs to crack the windows and doors open-now.’
  • ‘Now why, would anybody order those loud oriental lilies for a funeral blanket? By the time, the funeral parlor’s shut up all night, smellin’ up to high heavens. For a solemn occasion it’s roses, those lilies are so loud they just ruin the whole effect.’
  • ‘Honestly, we couldn’t taste the food for those loud cinnamon red hot candles she had burning, right smack dab in the middle of the table!’
  •  ‘If she keeps wearing that loud perfume, she’ll be sending the wrong signals- only a gardenia bush full of blooms or a streetwalker smells that loud.’ collage of fragrances

Since fragrance is one of my specialities- Let me help you out a little bit here… I worked for some of the finest fragrance companies in the world, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, L’air du Temps, Bvlgari,Tiffany, YSL and more…  I worked for European fragrance lines, which still use real flowers and essential oils for the basis of their perfumes. Americans engineer synthetic fragrances so well you can barely tell the difference except for how it reacts on human skin.  Since I reeked of fragrance by the time I came home from work- I developed sensitivities to fragrance and hardly ever wear it except on special occasions, which I have come to believe is the appropriate use of perfume. Women no longer ‘layer’ their fragrance and shouldn’t…with powder, lotion and spray. Here is what most women want to know…how do I know which fragrance is right for me? First, my responses will be for European fragrances, the rules are unclear on synthetics.

  • First when choosing a fragrance you must understand that your nose cannot process more than 3 fragrances at a time. You can clear the nose by deeply sniffing coffee beans.
  • The best and most effective way to choose European fragrances is by your skin tone.
  • The rule is: the darker the skintone- the darker the color of the fragrance (in the bottle) you will be able to wear, without it getting too ‘loud‘.
  •  If you are very fair skinned and get ‘pink’ in the sun- go for a fragrance that is almost clear in the bottle. If you really love a fragrance that is darker than clear…do not buy perfume or parfum
  • For a lighter version of a fragrance you love, buy the eau de toilette or the even lighter cologne, each one has a descending amount of the actual perfume in it.
  • For an even lighter fragrance consider body crème, lotion or even soap.
  • The best perfumes have a top note, a middle note, this is the heart of the perfume and a base note– which has the most irritants in it.
  •  A perfume that smells good in the bottle reacts with the skin’s natural oils and will definitely smell different as body heat distributes the fragrance and causes the fragrance to bloom– or get ‘loud‘.
  • Buy the smallest version of fragrance available- European fragrances are perishable.
  • Store your fragrance in a dark cool place to extend the oils and the shelf life.
  • Speaking of shelf life- as you age, your skin is more delicate and thins out- you may need to adjust the strength of your fragrance or even consider a change. This is also true at various life stages – expectant mothers or change of life etc…
  • Know what you are allergic to! If you have seasonal allergies in the spring- florals may set you off, if you are allergic to live Christmas trees- fragrances with cedar, pine, bark or wood resins may not be for you, the same is true if you have allergies in the autumn- scents with patchouli (moss) or various leaves which we associate with fungus. Citrus scents are the least allergen producing. Allergens will usually be found in the base notes and will be listed on the box.
  • And if you cannot wear fragrance at all? One of my all time favorite scents is Jergen’s Lotion!  Just for heaven’s sake…don’t go cheap and don’t get loud!

Love y’all, Camellia

P.S. I met Oscar de la Renta once, he told me he loved Southern women because they are not afraid to be feminine! Gotta love a man like that! He walked around his mother’s garden in Santa Domingo and picked a bouquet of flowers and herbs – which became the classic Oscar de la Renta fragrance!