Once upon a time, in a land filled with cotton fields, Spanish moss and Piggly Wiggly grocery stores, people were mysteriously painting their front porch ceilings a sky-blue color. Perplexed, the Northerner would ask, “Why is your porch ceiling blue?” Gazing down from a tall glass of sweet tea, the Southerner would politely answer, “None of your business.”
Ok, it probably never went down quite like that but yes, the South has many quirky traditions. While it’s always fun to confuse the Northerners, we continue these traditions because they are steeped into our Southerner roots like chicory coffee.
One of the most commonly found down here is painting your front porch ceiling a soft blue or “haint” color. You probably saw this delicate color covering the entire stretch of your Me-Maw’s porch ceiling and found yourself curious about its origins.
Why did she or anyone in the South have blue porch ceilings? Was it because it accented our home’s white columns so nicely? Was it an affordable paint color choice? Or was it (and I’m a firm believer) to mess with the Northerners?
Where it All Began
This custom actually began with the Gullah Geechee people who were descents of Central and West African slaves. The Gullah resided in the low country areas of the United States including Georgia and South Carolina. They would paint the exterior portions of the homes blue as a way to ward off spirits or “haints.” Nothing was off limits…shutters, doors, window frames, and of course, porch ceilings were painted in this color. The Gullahs believed the “haints” would confuse the light blue color with the sky and instead of entering the home, the spirits would pass on through the ceiling. (I wonder if this would work for door-to-door salesmen? Hmm…)
Some people also believed the “haints” were deathly (see what I did there?) afraid of water. If a haint came upon a home with this watery color hue, the spirit would avoid the residence all together.
The Insect Theory
If there is anything a Southerner despises more than a plate of cold biscuits it is an intense hatred of anything that flies that doesn’t have feathers. Insects are to front porches like Southerners are to Me-Maw’s fried okra. There is an intense gravitational pull with nothing to deter us but serve them to us blue and you might get some hesitation. Actually, the old Southern belief is a front porch with a blue ceiling can deter wasps (and possibly door-to-door salesmen). Like the “haints”, insects will confuse the blue ceiling with the sky and will avoid the building their nests in the corners of the porch.
Now, I am not one to argue with Me-Maw or anyone who believes these theories but adorning your porch with this shade of blue does give a welcoming, calming vibe to your entrance. And just like other Southern traditions like sweetening your tea and using your manners, painting your porch ceiling haint blue will never fade away.
If you find that that blue paint didn’t quite pan out like you thought it would, well then the ole saying goes… When Life Hands You Grapes… Make Wine.
When you visit the South there are two things you will need: an empty stomach and a translator. Southerners have a unique way of using words and phrases that can be hard for those above the Mason Dixon Line to understand. Here is a simple explanation of some the South’s favorite sayings.
Bad-mouth – what your momma tells you not to do. Don’t say bad things about people.
Bless your heart – a heartfelt insult or empathy (depending on the situation or person).
Buggy – a shopping cart (and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise).
Catty-corner – at an angle (Ex. “He parked the car all ‘catty-corner.’”)
Fat as a tick – a full belly after a good meal (Ex. “I am ‘fat as a tick’ after eating supper at Boudreaux’s.”)
Fit to be tied – extremely frustrated/upset (Ex. “Our friends from Vermont were ‘fit to be tied’ when they found out Chick Fil A wasn’t open on Sunday.”)
Fixin’ to – what you are about to do (Ex. “I’m fixin’ to make a ‘mater sandwich.”)
Hissy fit – being overly dramatic (Ex. “He threw a ‘hissy fit’ because I didn’t use Blue Plate mayonnaise on his mater sandwich.”)
I don’t have a dog in that fight – feeling neutral about the outcome of a situation because it has no effect on you. (Ex. “Oh, that football game, I don’t have a dog in that fight.”)
Madder than a wet hen – one step above a “hissy fit”.
Mind your manners – be nice. The end.
Pocketbook – a handbag/purse (Ex. “I need to grab my pocketbook before we go to the store. Yes, I will need a buggy.”)
Preaching to the choir – trying to convince people who are already convinced (Ex. “You are preaching to the choir about the deliciousness of NoJa.”)
Reckon – to say you will do something (Ex. “I ‘reckon’ I’ll make myself a mater sandwich.”)
Slow as molasses – something that is extremely slow (Ex. “She was ‘slow as molasses’ when putting on her shoes.”)
Stinks to high heaven – something that has an unpleasant odor (Ex. “Those ‘maters stink to high heaven.”)
Stove-up – stiffness in the muscles after sitting down too long (Ex. “I sat too long on the front porch drinking my sweet tea. Now I’m all stove up.’”)
Sweatin’ like a sinner in church – an abundant amount of sweat.
Tan your hide – you about to get a whoopin’. (Ex. “I will “tan your hide” if you throw a ‘hissy fit’ at Greer’s.”)
That dog won’t hunt – used to express that an idea or plan will not work.
Ugly – being rude or a jerk. (Ex. “He sure acted “ugly” when I told him I was out Moonpies.”)
Y’all” – Most used word by Southerners. A contraction of ‘you all.’ (Who says ‘you all’ anyway?)
Yonder – a great distance when giving directions.(Ex. “We parked the car over yonder.’”)
As you can see, us Southerners have a colorful way with words. So, grab your favorite Yankee and show your manners by going over this list. Don’t be ugly if you get some crazy looks.
Summer is here and that means one thing…it’s about to get hot up in here. Ok, it’s already hotter than Hades but that means it’s time to enjoy some cold drinks in some cool places. Luckily, Mobile and Baldwin counties have plenty of spots to enjoy your beverage al fresco style.
Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill
One of the best spots for a view of the Mobile Bay is Boudreaux’s in Daphne. Their covered deck is the perfect spot to enjoy some of their handcrafted specialty drinks. Their brunch, lunch and dinner menus will satisfy that craving for Cajun cuisine.
If by some mysterious reason you and your spouse happened to have a date night, then run to NoJa in downtown Mobile. Located just off Dauphine Street, NoJa’s courtyard has the perfect romantic vibe with soft lighting and a relaxed atmosphere. Sit back and sip one of the many wines they offer.
Spot of Tea
Located smack dab on Dauphin Street is Spot of Tea. And don’t be fooled by the name because they offer way more than just tea. Indulge in a delectable Bloody Mary filed to the brim with okra and bacon or enjoy a classic mimosa with your brunch.
The Blind Mule
The Blind Mule has everything you probably didn’t know you were looking for when it comes to outdoor dining. Their courtyard provides enough shade to keep off the summer sun while the nighttime lights give you a laid back vibe. As far as drinks go, you name it, they’ll make it!
Trattoria Pizza and Italian
Watch the kids play in the sand while you sip a cold one with some friends at Trattoria in Spanish Fort. Classic Italian fare is on the menu including pizza and pasta but they also offer a great beer selection.
One of downtown Mobile’s newest spots, Southern National, has an excellent outdoor patio for enjoying a late night beverage. They create some amazing craft cocktails including their own, The Southern National which is a mix of bourbon, rye, Italian vermouth, cocchi americano, and bitters.
Bayes Southern Bar and Grill
Head down to Orange Beach to Bayes Southern Bar and Grill if you want get away from the tourist traps and just chill. Their “Happiest Hour” starts at 2:00 PM and lasts until 6:00 PM which is plenty of time to enjoy a $4.00 martini, house wine, draft beer, or well drink. Their own creations include a Coconut Mojito and a Cookies n Cream Bushwhacker (yes, please!).
Sunset Pointe at Fly Creek Marina
Well, Panini Pete has done it again with Sunset Pointe in Fairhope. Enjoy a local craft beer or a specialty handcrafted drink (their margaritas are perfection) outside on the patio while you toast that evening’s sunset with fellow guests.
Seriously, what are you doing? Why aren’t you at one of these amazing spots right now? Get out and do some day drinking, pronto. I promise I won’t judge….I’ll just join you.
Father’s Day is right around the corner. It’s a time to celebrate dad and all that he does for you and the family. While a new tie and a personalized watch make for good gifts, there are many more ways to tell dad “I love you.” Whether this is his first Father’s Day or fifteenth, this list is sure to make him feel special.
Give him the day off – He works tirelessly day in and day out to take care of his family. Give him a day (or maybe the whole weekend) free from his fatherly duties. Let him sleep in, have older children take over his chores, leave the handyman jobs for another day – or surprise him by taking care of them yourself! Give dad the day off to kick his feet up and relax.
Do what he wants to do – His favorite pastime may not be your favorite activities, but show him how important he is by doing what he wants to do anyway. Go out fishing, catch a ball game, or maybe leave him alone for some peace and relaxation. Instead of surprising him with a full day planned, ask him what he wants to do.
Remind him why he’s special – Praise the heck out of him today. Let him know that you don’t take for granted his sacrifices and his perseverance. Help your children make specialized cards from them telling him why he’s so important. If you’re really feeling crafty, you can put together a scrapbook of dad moments from the last year – the big, the funny, the emotional, all of them.
Get him talking – What dad doesn’t love to talk about himself and the glory days? Turn off the television and the cell phones and sit around together to talk to dad. Listen as he tells stories of his childhood. Ask him about his goals and what his dreams were when he was a kid. Let him know that you care by really listening to what he’s got to say.
Simple acts of kindness – Even small things can make a person feel special. Make your daily tasks centered around him. You have to eat, so eat dad’s favorite meal for dinner with his favorite dessert. Dad’s car needs washing but he doesn’t have time to do it, so do it for him. Rent his favorite movie or find his favorite game and all play together. The small things let him know that you were thinking of him.
Plan dates – Don’t let Father’s Day be the only day that dad is reminded of your love for him and his importance to the family. Give him a coupon book full of activities that he can cash in on at any time. Plan a romantic date for the two of you and help the kids pick out special activities to do one-on-one with dad. This gift keeps on giving as dad is reminded that he is important on days that aren’t Father’s day, too.
If you were born and raised below the Mason Dixon Line, it’s hard to not cringe when Hollywood tries to do its own interpretation of the south. The bad accents, the actors’ overabundance of sweat (despite what you’ve heard, we do own air conditioners), and the stereotype that southerners aren’t the brightest crayons in the box. Despite the negative light that Tinsel Town sometimes sheds on our part of the country, they do tend to get it right.
This movie is a journey of love, loss and gossip as shown through lives of six southern women in Louisiana in the 1980s. Full of southern sass, watching it is almost like a rite of passage for southern women.
Gone with the Wind
Chances are you’ve probably heard the famous quote, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Well, you should give a damn about this historical southern tale. It beautifully illustrates the life of southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and the struggle of the south during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
This six-time Academy Awarding winning southern classic follows the life of a simple Alabama man who seems to find his way into several 20th century historical moments. From Gump’s time as football player at Alabama, his time served in the Vietnam War to owning his own shrimp boat this is touted as one of the best films of all time.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Whether you are from the south or not (and bless your heart if you are not) the book version of this film was probably required reading during summer break. Set in rural Alabama in the 1930s, the story depicts racial inequality in the south as seen through the eyes of a young Jean Louise Finch (Scout).
Fried Green Tomatoes
Food and friendship, oh and a murder. But don’t let that scare you away from this drama about female friendship and the sacrifices people make for their friends. Oscar winners Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy lead this southern journey but we all know the real stars of this film are those fried green tomatoes.
Sweet Home Alabama
Southern darling Reese Witherspoon did the us a favor with this cinematic southern favorite. She showed her natural southern side while proving that Alabama and its people are truly one of a kind. Who can forget the way she politely said, “Look at you, you have a baby…In a bar.”
O, Brother Where Art Thou?
May I be biased for a moment? This movie is a gem. While some may think this is a current adaption of the south, it does give peek into how life was in rural Mississippi during the depression era. Loosely based on Homer’s “The Odyssey”, this film also includes a stellar soundtrack.
So, curl up on the couch with a plate of fried chicken and sweet tea and grab your best Yankee buddy so you can educate them on all that is southern.
Being a stay at home mom you’re more overworked and overtired than you’ve ever been and just an inkling of adult interaction would be nice (And, no, chatting up Cinderella at Disney World doesn’t count). Finding a group of fellow moms would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Where My Ladies At?
Finding the right mom group may seem overwhelming but do a simple Facebook search and you’re likely to find a group of ladies who will welcome you with open arms (as you run to them frantically, leaving a trail of juice boxes and animal crackers behind).
Splash Pad/Pool Moms
Start by sticking your toe in the pool (literally) and meet up with the splash pad/or pool mom group. The first day it hits above 70 degrees you will find this group soaking up the sun before nap time. They’re usually hunkered down with a beach bag full of supplies to help the kids stay protected (copious amounts of SPF needed), fed (Cheez-It’s. All the Cheez-It’s) or entertained (pool toys for sharing are mandatory, because…toddlers). These ladies will help carry you through summer because while the days are long and the years are short – the summer days are especially long. So. Very. Long.
Fit Mom Groups
Do you love your splash pad/pool mom group but hate all that comes with warm weather? You know, tank tops, shorts…. SWIMWEAR. Face it, we live in the south and we can’t get by wearing yoga pants in July. For the moms that want a group of ladies who will help them tighten and tone there are several fit mom groups in the area. These moms band together in the park, at the gym or at one another’s home to shape up. They build each other up to help meet goals that don’t involve getting your child to try a new vegetable (just one bite…please!)
Park Mom Group
The park mom group…where everyone knows your name because your likely to hear, “hey mom! Watch this!” as your 3-foot child decides to try the monkey bars for the first time at Fairhoper’s Community Park. This group of mom gets it because at least one of them has snatched their child up as they walk in front of the swings.
Sport Mom Group
The phrase “Ball Mom” also applies and these ladies will be on the sidelines with you cheering on the youngins’. Lined up on the sidelines or the bleachers, you’ll catch up with your girls as the kids toss, tackle and kick balls across the field.
Coupon Mom Group
What’s on Publix’s BOGO this week? Spare some Kohl’s cash? Coupon binder getting low? These ladies have your back and your wallet (ok, not literally) and are on the same sales page with you about saving some dollars.
So go on and get out there! Belonging to a mom group knows no bounds. Join one or join twenty. It doesn’t matter as long as you and your fellow moms enjoy each other’s company and it helps if your children like each other as well.
Growing up in the south is definitely interesting! You may hear southern stereotypes, but a lot of these are fabricated. Unless you grew up in the south, you can not truly understand Southern living. However, we are here to help you get an idea of a few things you learn when you grow up in the south!
Southern Food > All Other Food
Whether you are eating chicken and waffles, barbeque that falls off the bone, biscuits with honey, or gumbo – the south truly has the best menu available! Growing up in the south means that you are exposed to food that you will crave for the rest of your life! No matter where you travel, nothing will be able to compare to grandma’s sweet tea or fried chicken!
Hot Asphalt and Leather Seats are a Nightmare in Summer
There’s nothing quite as painful as hot asphalt on your bare feet or your thighs touching those hot leather seats! You have truly never felt “the burn” unless one of these has happened to you during a hot southern summer day!
Chivalry is not Dead
Southern Belles and Southern Gentlemen definitely still exist. Growing up in the south you will learn to mind your manners. Yes ma’am, No sir, please and thank you, are a part of every southerner’s dictionary.
Sundays in the South
If you are headed out for church, you better dress your best! It is better to overdress for church, than underdress.
What’s a secret?
Word travels fast in the south! So if you have big news, you better tell your family first because before you know it, it has spread like wildfire.
There’s no better time in the south than during the holidays! Whether it’s during Christmas and the table is overflowing with homemade dishes, or Easter where the whole family is gathered around. Holidays in the south can’t be beat!
What’s Fall? Oh, You Mean Football Season!
Fall in the South is better known as football season! You can typically find everybody gathered at the local high school on Friday nights decked out in their school colors! However, come Saturday you will find everyone representing their SEC teams. Football is a fixture in the south, you can certainly count on the whole town showing up.
Spare time in the south is typically spent outdoors. You spend a lot of time under the Oak trees, or on the Southern coast. Rather than sitting in front of the television, you’ll spend a lot of time outdoors!
In the south, blood runs thicker than water. In other words, your family will always come first. Mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles – they all played a part in our journey of growing up!
When hard times hit, Southern communities come out stronger! The communities rally around one another and lend a helping hand to all of those in need.
Growing up in the South is truly a blessing. It comes with many perks like tight knit communities, great holidays, or even better food – the South has much to offer!
If you are from the South, or have ever visited it, then you will know that Southerners tend to have their own vocabulary. You may have heard some sayings that make absolutely no sense, or at least to you they don’t. However, to every other Southern born and bred individual, these sayings are regularly used and commonly understood. We understand that conversations south of the Mason-Dixon Line can be confusing, so below we are breaking down 5 Southern sayings and just what those sayings mean. Keep reading below if you are ready to have your vocabulary expanded and your mind blown.
“We’re Living in High Cotton”
Why would you want to live in cotton may be the initial response to this commonly used Southern phrase. However, the real meaning behind this phrase is quite clever. For a long time, cotton has been a key crop for the South’s economy. Because of the monetary benefits of cotton, Southern farmers used to pray for tall bushes loaded with cotton in their fields. If a farmer was successful in growing these tall cotton bushes, it made them easy to pick and yielded higher returns. So, to put it simply, if you are considered to be “living in high cotton” it means that you are feeling successful or wealthy. When we put it in those terms, who doesn’t want to be living in high cotton?
“She Was Madder than a Wet Hen”
We don’t know who she is, but it does not sound like we want to meet her! If someone refers to you as madder than a wet hen, you may have just made yourself an enemy. The meaning behind this odd little saying is because hens can enter a phase of “broodiness”. They can get to a point where they will stop at nothing to incubate their eggs and can get very aggravated when farmers try to collect them. In order to break them of this, farmers used to dunk hens in a cold water.
“He’s as Drunk as Cooter Brown”
Cooter Brown may or may not be a name you have heard before. If you haven’t, it’s okay! Cooter Brown is an infamous character of Southern folklore. According to Southerner’s, Cooter Brown lived on the Mason-Dixon Line during the Civil War. In order to avoid being drafted to the North or South side, he stayed drunk throughout the entire war – which made him ineligible for the war. So, if someone compares your level of inebriation to Cooter Brown, it may be time to grab yourself a glass or five of water.
“He Thinks the Sun Comes Up Just to Hear Him Crow”
As most of us know, roosters usually crow when the sun rises. This typically wakes the house and pretty much anyone else who lives near it. You may meet a rooster or two in your life who thinks that the sun rises only because he crows – or in other words, a cocky individual who believes that when they speak, everyone should listen. No need to tell names here, we all know a person like that!
“Bless Your Heart”
This phrase is in the vocabulary of pretty much every Southern woman. If you have ever crossed paths with a Southern woman, you may have heard her drop this phrase a time or two. In reality, this phrase has very little to do with religion. In fact, it has nothing to do with religion at all. It is used as a passive-aggressive way to call you an idiot. Depending on when it’s used, telling someone “bless your heart” could be the most effective insult.
Of course, there are more than just the above southern sayings, but these are probably the phrases you are most likely to hear on your next visit south of the Mason-Dixon line. It’s a good to get your vocabulary in check, so you can know the difference in a compliment and an insult.
Oh Valentine’s Day, what a beautiful time to celebrate love and all the ways it impacts our life. Even if you’re celebrating February 14 as National Single Awareness Day, you can still find ways to honor the day and its traditions. Because after all, Valentine’s Day is about our love life- and who hasn’t helped shaped that more than our ex’s? So if you’re avoiding cupid this year and can’t resist getting in one last jab at someone who may have made the last few sour, then update your Valentine’s Day cards this year with these special messages tailored for your ex.
If you’d like to stay with a classic, then send one of these cards that put a small twist on the ageless poem.
- Roses are red, violets are blue. This day’s about love, but I hate you.
- Roses are red, violets are blue. You may have left me, but I’m better without you.
- Roses are red, violets are blue. My life became special when I finally left you.
- Rose are red, violets are blue. My friends now know every little thing about you. (Every little thing)
- Rose are red violets are blue. My favorite thing about me is that I’m no longer with you.
If poems aren’t your style then opt for a “heartfelt” message instead.
- (Front) I’m sorry for calling you crazy. You deserve more credit than that. (Inside) I should have said really
- (Front) If I had a nickel for every time I thought about you…(Inside) I wouldn’t even be able to buy a gumball.
- (Front) I’m sorry for how our relationship ended. (Inside) I’m really sorry it ever even started.
- (Front) I will always treasure our times together…(Inside) because I’m planning on using it for material to make me the next Adele.
- (Front) My time as your significant other meant so much to me…(Inside) because my social media stalking skills have now made me eligible for the FBI.
Take inspiration from film and song with a play off these memorable romantic lines and scenes.
- (Front) If you’re a bird, I’m a bird…(Inside) but like a much bigger bird. The kind that is obviously higher on the evolutionary chart than you and one that could destroy you if need be.
- (Front) It started out with a kiss, how did it end up like this? (Inside) Oh that’s right, you cheated.
- (Front) Our song is a slammin’ screen door…(Inside) from when I finally wised up and left you.
- (Front) Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world you had to walk into mine. (Inside) Everything really went downhill from there.
- (Front) I’ll never let go…(Inside) unless we’re in the middle of the ocean then I’m dropping your a*s.
- (Front) Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. (Inside) You killed my dreams. Prepare to die.
- (Front) You lost me at hello…(Inside) and had me at goodbye.
- (Front) “I miss you.”-You—(Inside) “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”-Me
The recent destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean Islands and Florida means a long road to recovery. The catastrophic path taken by both storms has affected millions of people, displacing families from homes in some cases and completely destroying them in others. Those of us in Mobile are long familiar with the effects of hurricanes and can sympathize. Perhaps more importantly—at least in this case—is our unique position geographically. Existing in between both Texas and Florida, we here in lower Alabama can go east and west to help those in need. When we see our fellow man in trouble the natural response is to want to reach out and lend a hand in any way possible. There can be so many options for doing this, although it can become overwhelming. Find out how to help hurricane victims right now with these tips from Mobile Bay Local then choose the one that best falls in your area of expertise or ability.
- Give to the Red Cross
- The Red Cross is one of the most recognizable organizations worldwide and has built a reputation over the years as one of the most trusted. The Red Cross now has a system set up to make it easier than ever to donate, simply by texting the name of the disaster—in this case Harvey or Irma—to 90999 to give $10 (the amount is reflected on your next bill). While many like to see what they’re giving and opt for clothes, these donations start to pile up until there’s only loads of unnecessary clothes and nothing to help with major damage. Those at the Red Cross and other fine organizations have protocols and experience to quickly and effectively help in times of need. By donating to them you’re helping them put that money towards the most pressing issues. Don’t just give to any organization though as some scams will arise during this time. Do your research and only give to those that have a proven record or plan.
- Donate Time to Clean Up
- Before we can even start to think about donating items, there needs to be a place to put everything. Hurricanes are unique in that they cause both massive wind and flood damage. This can be daunting to clean up and generally takes leagues of volunteers. If you’re able, take a trip to Texas and/or Florida, even if it’s only for a day or two. Help someone clean out their home, get rid of ruined sheetrock or moldy carpet, and the like. Not properly cleaning up can cause problems ten-fold down the road so get as many hands on deck as possible in this area.
- Assist Local Churches
- Like the Red Cross and other organizations, many local churches are adept at assisting after natural disasters. Some have certain areas of expertise while others are plugged in through networks to other communities. Churches will often take trips to help with the clean up and give donations, so find one that you trust and ask how they’re helping those in Texas and Florida. Volunteer with them and you’ll be utilized in whatever way is most needed at that time.
- Take in Animals
- It’s not only humans that are displaced after a disaster, but animals too. A family pet can bring comfort after catastrophe. On the flip side, knowing they’re in danger can cause more angst. If you have the space and patience, volunteer to be a foster home for pets and take care of them while families get back on their feet. This isn’t just for dogs and cats either; horses and other large animals are harder to transport so are usually left to their own devices during a storm. If you have a farm, consider helping rescue and house these animals afterwards.