Doors of New Mexico…



Whenever we visit historic places, I always come away with a sense of wonder and curiosity. I find myself asking- what is it that motivated the folk in those times to explore new territories, stake claims- then to stay, settle and build. Build, not just humble homes, places of business, government buildings but also to build cathedrals with intricate attention to detail. The cynic in me says it was for power, wealth and influence. The optimist says these folks were natural builders of society, who could somehow see far into the future- a bright shining city on a hill. I’ve come to believe, for whatever reason- noble or not- these folks had HOPE, not a crystal ball. For a city like Santa Fe to endure for close to 400 years that hope had to be undergirded with faith- and repeated time and again. Hope is a powerful motivator, hope breeds endurance and perseverance, hope starts a new business, builds a home, a library, schools and sparks faith which maintains humble homes and great cathedrals.  Enter the doors and peek in the windows of New Mexico and see if you agree…


Wherever you look, grand or humble… look close and you will see hope….

I have to include a few from the last post they were so charming…

And I particularly loved the rustic ones…

And what about this one?  A cool oasis…image

We were amazed among so much Adobe to find these…


How precious are those rustic wooden angels on the wreath of a tiny shop?

The hotels in Santa Fe Plaza area are historic also…the one on the right- where we stayed La Posada, is a virtual adobe village on six acres but the main building was run by a woman named Julia Staubb who opened her home to visitors- imagine! Still welcoming visitors today with guests making S’mores in the fireplace one evening! image

And over on Canyon Road, where statuary is completely amazing…the studios beckon you in… Yes, I do believe that hope for a new way of life, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for making a way to fling open doors and windows, hope to breathe fresh air endowed with healing powers- surely it was hope that convinced many to explore and to settle in this place- New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment! image

And with my favorite of all the doors, I’ll close…Love y’all, Camellia


Flowers of the Southwest…


If I were to compile a list of things I love about Santa Fe New Mexico, the list would be very long and surely incomplete. It is called ‘The City Different’ and that is true; but it is also an ancient city with light so stunningly perfect, artists who are now famous, settled there to capture and re-create things of amazing beauty- one is Georgia O’Keefe.

Her paintings of flowers are iconic. I share her love for the Flowers of the Southwest…they are not so different from my favorite flowers at home. The photographs include some from my list of favorites:

  • Morning Glories- my grandfather greeted me with ‘Moan-in’ Glow-ree!’ every time I spent the night at his house- I can still smell the coffee brewing and bacon frying  as my grandmother fixed breakfast-and hear his lilting happy greeting whenever I see morning glories.
  • Hollyhocks- which are a staple in Santa Fe and Taos- are loved in the South as well. I once grew some, my husband fertilized them- maybe over-fertilized them because they grew over 10 feet tall!
  • Roses- I can never grow enough roses! The light of New Mexico does something magical to Roses.
  • Trumpet Vine – is a flower we consider to be invasive, yet it’s charming blooms climbing up a tree here or over an adobe building there never fail to amuse.
  • Lavender- is not grown reliably in the South’s humidity- I plant and re-plant it- the fragrance reminds me of my grandmother’s Yardley Lavender Soap which she would put in muslin bags among her linens and lingerie drawers. Of course we loved to take a bath with it too!

And that’s just my short list of flowers! The photographs have not been re-touched- they have been edited just to showcase the flowers- I think you’ll agree they are amazing Southwest beauties! And because this was a ‘mystery vacation’ – I have included two photographs of flowers which are made by artists and are not real- see if you can find them! Enjoy…


Everywhere I turned, it seemed there was a picture perfect moment. All but the last photograph were taken in Santa Fe and Taos, the last one in the historic district of Albuquerque, New Mexico. See if you can find the morning glories! I’m still trying to identify all of the different species I saw, help me out! I forgot to mention how much I loved honeysuckle when I was a child- pulling the ‘string out’ and tasting the sweet nectar!So, naturally I had to take a picture of that!

How would it be possible to make a list of the things I love about this part of the United States of America? How would it be possible not to be thankful to our Creator, for using broad brush strokes of beauty all across this land? No wonder great artists are still inspired to come to this region.   Our ‘mystery vacation’ holds more…

Love y’all, Camellia

Mystery Vacation  – go take a look!

oops I goofed! here is the other pot of flowers that is not real- can you believe these are made from very thin wood? again, not retouched in color..


The Mystery Vacation…

I have been writing personal ‘travelogues’ for over 15 years, hardly anyone has ever read them- so why would I openly blog about a vacation? Most travel pieces are either boring or overhyped. I am not an expert traveler, I will not advise you to ‘vacate your life’. I don’t like the phrase- ‘to go on vacation is to vacate your life’… Vacate sounds like an eviction notice‘you must vacate the premises for 5 days and 4 nights.’ Awful and empty, really. The answer to why I write travelogues or any other writing is because my left hand has loved to form letters and words since I was 4 years old and my right handed 6 year old sister taught me to write; I love to tell a good story and my travelogues help me remember the wonderful, aggravating and goofy things that made life larger not vacated.

This one started out as a ‘mystery vacation’ for our family of 5 adults. We have been taking two family vacations a year for over 10 years. For a good many vacations we would designate the family member to choose, because it was ‘their turn’.Some of the excitement seemed to have gone out of the planning phase. I had narrowed it down to several cities- the replies were- ‘It doesn’t matter, you decide’, ‘whatever you decide will be fine with me’, ‘we have a good time wherever we go’. Answers as breezy and nice as organdy curtains, but with no substance. So… I decided. I booked. Two months in advance-flights, hotel and rental car. Then, rather than tell them where we were going- I began sending out ‘hints’.

  • We will be flying southwest.
  • Our first stop will be Orlando.

No one was guessing, I’m guessing they weren’t that interested.

  • A rental car has been reserved.

First response- ‘I am not sitting on the hump.’ from an adult.

  • Designated Driver has been selected.
  • Board, ski and luggage rack has been declined.
  • We will be staying at a resort and spa.

Second response- ‘Oh good, maybe Dad will give us time to get a massage.’ Did I detect a negative? About 10 more hints, barely a response. I sent this one out-

  • Think ‘Game of Thrones’.

‘Well, I thought I had it figured out until you threw that in’. I was having  a ball, they were yawning…probably thinking …’whatever’. Until. that. clue. Plaintively came the cry? ‘When will we find out what to pack?’

  • Your Dad will be wearing his ‘summer travel outfit’.

They all know what that is- Golf Shirt, with white undershirt, ‘short pants’, tennis shoes and tube socks pulled up to his knees. We did go to Orlando- even had to spend the night, because our flight was seriously delayed and we were going to miss the connecting flight. We decided at the Birmingham Airport that we were not going to allow one day of our vacation to be ruined because of something out of our control. We did make it to the southwest the next day, to a city where the author of ‘Game of Thrones’ lives. No one had to sit on the hump. The offer of massages was declined. Dad wore his summer travel outfit every day.image

A good time was had by all…stay tuned.  Love y’all, Camellia

Find ‘Game of Thrones’ on


Big Glamourous Hair…



With ancestors named Dora Eugenia, Betty Jo, Betty Gene, Bama, Delta, Mary Sue and not one but two  great aunts named Trix, even a cousin we called Daw Daw-what would I be but southern- all the way out to the ends of my hair! *And if you will hang in there with me until the end…you’ll see!

Kinfolk, Farrah Fawcett, Dolly Parton, Sister Vestal Goodman and Jackie Kennedy  probably instilled my love for big hair-

Dolly Parton Dolly~!DOLLY PARTONDolly PartonDolly Parton during the cover photo session for her album Heartbreaker ...  Dolly Parton quote




If anyone tells you your hair is too big... More

Dolly’s Hair Quotes are famous! I’ll tell you this and you can mark it down- Give a Southern Woman a can of Aqua Net, a rat tail comb, a jar of Dippity Do, brush rollers, permanent wave solution and a hair pick- and she can go to town with a hairdo.


Carrie Underwood said- ‘I’m Southern, I like big hair and eyeliner.’ Others just like big hair- like the great gospel singer- Vestal (pronounced- Ves-chal) Goodman-

Vestal Goodman on Pinterest | Coconut Cakes, Funeral and Watchesvestal goodman | GOSPEL SINGERS | PinterestVestal Goodman rock of ages.mpg | Christian Music | Pinterest

The Happy Goodmans’ Sister Vestal- on the left when she was younger and her trademark looks on the right- Vestal Goodman was famous for her big voice and hair-it seems to have rubbed off on the men in her life- Look at her singin’ Rock of Ages! Can I get an amen for Sister Vestal??

Pictures Of Vestal Goodman Beehive Hairdo | Short Hairstyle 2013 image


Top People - Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett inspired generations of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ fans and hair stylists. I wonder how many hairdressers heard this- ‘Can you cut my hair like Farrah Fawcett?’ We wanted her face too, but failing that- we’d take her hair! Southern Men are not immune to the love of big hair-

elvis-presleyPorter WagonerEmail This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to ...

Elvis Presley, Porter Waggoner (whose wife shot him though maybe not because of his big hair) and Merle Haggard are just a few… Then there’s  James Brown- isn’t this the truth? Same goes for women! Hair and teeth…

Hair is the first thing and teeth the second. Hair and teeth, a man ...

In the South we ask ourselves this everyday, ‘Is it humid today? It feels humid to me.’ Life with big hair... Humidity Today, Curly Hair Problems, Angora ...

I’d love to have a nickel for every time I’ve heard this- ‘Well honey, it’s the humidity- either your hair’s frizzy or your arthritis kicks up!’ Nothing you do will keep the humidity from creaking bones. Humidity wreaks havoc on hair- limp and frizzy hair is just a way of life.  It’s true- thus, the need for hairspray and Dippity Do. So, if you can get that mess of hair tacked and sprayed- the humidity might not affect your hair quite so much. It is affected, but will hold it’s shape better.  I know from experience, that on humid days, big hair is like a big wad of cotton candy – bugs will stick to it! A swarm of locusts stuck to mine one time- well that’s another story…

Of course our role model on the bouffant hairdo was our late great First Lady Jackie Kennedy- who pulled it off with so much class:

jackie kennedy short hair style hairstyles pinterest jackie jackie ...Jackie Kennedy, 1962... style and poise under pressure more jackie kennedy jackie cattleJackie-Kennedy hairstyle | Flickr - Photo Sharing!jackie kennedy hairstylesJACKIE ONASSIS hairstyle - BakuLand - Women & Man fashion blog

My beautiful mother-in-law, my mother and my grandmother wore big hair. A friend and mentor also wears big hair. She swears she can barely walk past a piano without wanting to drape herself across it and sing.  Her husband is a retired, high ranking Navy man-  she says he impersonated Elvis and entertained the sailors and their families many times. (I have no proof of this. But he does have naturally good hair.)


I also have a darling friend whose hair is normal– yet every now and then- she cannot resist donning a big blond wig and performs with her be-wigged and spangled friends- to delighted laughing audiences-

Beauty queens, brides, bathing beauties and performers know that big hair can make all the difference-

Big Hair is good for the economy– whole businesses are devoted to hair care. One business made quite a stir in our area, it was called- Glamour Shots. The whole idea was- you got up your nerve, enlisted a friend, made an appointment, showed up- they fixed your hair, then rigged you up in several glamorous outfits – I fell for it…big hair, big teeth and all…take it away James Brown..


It took weeks for the proofs to come back-all encased in a leatherette portfolio, and to get that hair settled down! However, I’m with Dolly Parton…if anyone tells me my hair’s too big, I will get rid of them- I certainly don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.  Oh, lordie- to be that young again! Hope you’re laughing your sides off! And please don’t leave me hanging out here alone! Share your big hair moments!

Love y’all, Camellia

p.s. I can’t resist one more…even our statuary has big hair!image

*Most Celebrity Photographs are from AOL images- some celebrities were photographed from old album covers and all others are private photographs.

Live Oaks…



The Live Oaks of Alabama’s Coastal South are hauntingly beautiful…image

With long gray beards of Spanish Moss…image

These ancient ones stand guard and watch carefully over the bountiful goodness…image

Embracing, with wide open arms those who seek shelter and shade..imageFrom Magnolia Springs, Point Clear, Fairhope, Daphne to the other side of Mobile Bay- Alabama’s Live Oaks are our special treasures. How blessed we are! A special thank you to my talented friend who shared her photographs of the Live Oaks near Magnolia Springs right on Mobile Bay. One of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Enjoy!

Love y’all, Camellia

*photographs may not be used without permission