Here I am, sitting on a boat in the middle of the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, fly fishing, on my last day as a 23 year old. And yes, I am fishing... it’s just not my turn at the moment. Looking back, for me, 23 has been a weird age. They call you an adult, but at least for me, I haven’t always felt like an adult. I started 23 in a new place, with no people, doing new things because that’s what you do when you graduate college, which I had just done prior to my 23rd birthday! I remember this time last year feeling hopeful, excited, and stressed (lol). Today, I kind of feel that same way, but in another way I feel completely different.
We all face trials and tribulations in our life (I have not been shy about mine) and as I look back on the past year, I am reminded of the challenges that I faced and I am relieved at how I handled them. I can speak for many of us when I say, the first year out of school, paving your own way is nothing shy of difficult. Meeting new people, feeling alone, feeling left out, wishing you were better understood, laying awake at night wondering about the future and what it holds, worrying if you are in the right place / doing the right things, learning new things professionally, living your life in the fast lane (both literally & figuratively), wanting to fall in love and wondering why you aren’t, missing your friends, and feeling disheveled. That is how I would describe 23: disheveled. You can be super happy, but still live in a state of dishevelment.
I have joked this whole year that I lived in my car, but truthfully, I have at times. I am constantly packing and unpacking a bag. Most of the time I don’t stay in the same place more than one night in a row. The amount of sweat I have shed from carrying bags up and down the stairs of my parents house (i am not a light packer) just makes me mad thinking about it... Again, disheveled!
In addition, at age 23 social media has been a BIG issue for me. I feel like people
don’t talk about it regularly because on Instagram you have to be perfect, right? I used to not care about social media, likes, comments, etc. at all (which is how I imagine you feel when i’m talking about it) and when I wasn’t caring was the best. I used to get an average of 300 likes. In the past year, i’m lucky if I reach 300. It’s usually more around 100. I can understand that this might not be an issue for you, but if you were to tell there has never been a time you felt insecure or self conscious while using sites like Instagram, I’d give you a trophy because that seems almost impossible in this day and age. The real reasons those numbers have changed, I believe is because Instagram changed it’s algorithm (long story) and those who get the most comments regularly are shown first in your newsfeed. I am imagining some of you are feeling a sigh of relief to learn this info. It’s not YOU. However, even though I know this, it’s often hard for me to remember that. Instead, I think it’s because no one likes me / cares what i’m doing, or because my edit & photo wasn’t the best. It’s honestly ridiculous and I hate feeling that way. Sorry to all of you who I regularly complain to about the gram. Did you know Instagram is getting rid of likes because people are suing them in relation to mental health issues? Again, it’s not talked about enough!
(my soapbox is over)
I wanted to share those things to then share that in-spite of a hard adjustment year, these hard times did not affect me the way they would have in the past. A few years ago, I could have easily seen myself having some type of breakdown or being in a state of depression. However, not present day, not at 23. I faced challenges and felt hurt, but that only showed my growth and how my strength has grown in momentum with me. It’s ironic and maybe I am not writing it well, but no matter what happened this year, I was able to look in the mirror and know I was loved and know that I am strong... I think if I can do that for the rest of my life, the age 23 will have given me a wonderful gift.
I’ll think back and remember all the laughs while living with my aunt and uncle. I’ll remember working for two badass women in a male dominated industry. I’ll be transported back to the multiple times I saw Taylor Swift in concert during the Reputation Stadium tour and the inspiration that came from that. I’ll remember the advice my Dad gave and the work ethic he displayed. I’ll look back fondly on starting a podcast with the ultimate hype women in the world and how doing that helped me learn more about the passions I have + the things I love. I’ll never forget seeing Bohemian Rhapsody alone in theaters the day Saturation launched, and walking out feeling like I could conquer the world. I won’t forget the many markets I traveled to with my Mom and how her professionalism is eye opening. I’ll remember being around for all of my brothers senior high school activities and realizing that was an answered prayer. I won’t forget the sibling trip Madison and I planned, which brought me so much joy. I’ll always cherish falling in love with my high school best friends all over again.
The list could go on and on. Truth is, I’ll forget a lot of things and hopefully I’ll remember even more! However, it’s the feeling from this year that will never leave me. My goal for 24 is to not care what others think and with that dismiss the innate ability I have to please everyone around me. It sounds cliché, but it’s what currently gets in the way of me living my best life. This year was not bad... that’s not what i am saying. I am saying it challenged me in ways I hadn’t expected and because of that, I am thankful. Well... it’s my turn to fish now. Lots of fish to be caught today & lots to be caught in my new year, get it? 24, I’ll see you soon!
Southern and Thankful
p.s. I just finished Busy Philipps book "This Will Lonely Hurt A Little" (after writing this blog). I have been trying to finish this book for almost a year now and just read the last page in the final hour of my 23rd year and I fee like I can conquer the world. I haven't felt this way since seeing Bohemian Rhapsody last year (see about reference). Coincidence? I think not😉 24, let's chase those dreams!
5 years… 60 months… 260 weeks… 1,825 days… 43,817 hours… 2,629,038 minutes… and 157,742,310 seconds: that is how long I have been Southern and Thankful
I am sitting here trying to process how it has been five years. A flood of memories comes rushing in. A lot has changed over these past five years. I mean, I’m so overwhelmed at the moment that I had to grab a beer to keep me company as I sit here and reminisce (that’s for sure a new perk of being a blogger 5 years later). However, in a lot of ways, life has stayed the same.
I actually began taking notes / writing this big post on Sunday as I was flying back to Arkansas from Dallas. I took a small airline from DFW to Hot Springs. For those of you lacking aviation knowledge, because of the size of the plane, we were flying lower than your normal jet. In the midst of my trip, and my writing, things changed very quickly as we entered a storm. I am usually a pretty good flyer, but this was a ride like none I’d been on before. We were bouncing all around. Up and down, over and over. The worst part was all the lightening you could see. It was so crazy. I was accompanied by 3 other passages and two pilots. As this is all happening, one of the pilots is trying to speak to us, but naturally no one could hear because of the rain / wind. I am not saying I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t feel great about the situation at all. I thought about turning off of airplane mode to text my family and friends, but I just continued to read / write because that is what I do… I can be freaking out on the inside and no one will have a clue thanks to my outward calm appearance. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the characters that oddly have died on Grey’s Anatomy due to plane crashes (s/o to the Grey’s fans). Gosh, I love my pop cultured obsessed brain (another addition in the last 5 years). Of course, then I turned on Taylor Swift through my headphones. I also prayed and had a nice long talk with God.
As I continued to write through all the large bumps in the sky, our pilot went in for a landing. At first, for 2 seconds, it felt like things were going down, not in a good way. Remember, I couldn’t hear. Then I realized that they were actually attempting to land the plane. That happened, as smoothly as possible, and we were on the ground. I felt peace, but quickly realized that I was not in Hot Springs. We came to a halt and they turned off the plane… finally I could hear them. Long story short, we landed in Texarkana because the storm was only going to get worse and there was no way of knowing what was ahead or how much worse it would have gotten. They arranged for an uber (yes you read that right) for the 4 of us passengers and our pilot. We then drove 2 and half hours back to Hot Springs. I didn’t know any of these people’s names… You know me, I tried to make friends, but no one was in a particularly good mood. We got in the car, started driving though the storm and Taylor Swift comes on the radio. As a looked at my basically empty note on my phone, where I had begun writing this post around the time we entered rough altitude, I began to laugh. I am sure they all thought I was loosing it, but I had the perfect realization to recap the past five years.
My time as Southern and Thankful as well as my personal life over the these years was just like that flight. I started the blog, and in my mind quickly found some success. Life was good. Sky’s were blue. I envisioned making a big career out of Southern and Thankful. I thought about all the followers I would get, all the people I would impact, and all the money I could, hopefully one day make. AKA I thought I was going to land in Hot Springs at 3:35 like expected. You know that didn’t happen and you know I am not some famous blogger with millions of fans. I have always been pretty open on how my life has changed and what I have been though instead. God had another plan.
Things got rough and things got dark, both in the sky and in my life. I fell in love with pop culture. I gained wonderful friendships and lost some that I thought would last forever. I prayed a lot. I felt alone. I couldn’t hear or understand when those I trusted gave me advice. I watched a lot of Netflix. The sky felt like it was falling. I stopped writing (for a short time). I could not see. It was scary. I wanted my Mom. I looked ahead. Nonetheless, I had faith. I trusted my pilot and we eventually landed.
*hope you are still with me*
It was in an unfamiliar place, with some unfamiliar people. My head felt clear. I looked back behind me at what I had come through and realized my own strength. I picked up my things, plugged in my phone, made new friends, and took a small break before getting back on the road. Granted this was not the path or way I saw my life going (AKA the way I saw getting home), but it was okay and maybe it was better. That is the beauty of life, sometimes we never know. Oh, and don’t forget, Taylor Swift is always on the radio, especially in moments of major epiphany.
Two years into Southern and Thankful I was freaked out because I felt like people only knew me as that, they didn’t know my name. I realized Southern and Thankful + me are one and the same. These past 5 years have been remarkable. There have been up’s and down’s, but God has always provided. As he will continue to when the sky gets dark again. He has a plan for me, for this brand, and for all the things to come. I have said that many times in many posts, and this one will not be the any different. Just as Christ landed my plane, and found me a different way home, he will do the same for you, and has done the same for me over these past 5 years.
*i am almost done, promise*
Our 5th birthday party theme is “Make sure your friends are okay.” That is largely because if my friends and family did not check on me, I would probably not be okay. Whether that is by a simple text or a surprise visit, it makes all the difference.
In honor of this, I have restocked all my past lines / designs in t-shirts and….
THEY ARE ALL AVAILABLE FOR $5.00… for one week at the online store. You can order online and then pick up at Coker Hampton, or I will ship like normal.
My hope is that you will buy your favorite SAT shirt, and send to a friend. Remind them you are thankful for them, tell them you love them, and make sure they are okay. Also, feel free to get one for yourself. They are literally $5.00. A percentage of these proceeds is going to Project Semicolon. Project Semicolon is an organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide. Let's celebrate this anniversary and do some good!
Thank you for loving Southern and Thankful. Thank you for believing in the brand and in me. Thank you for reading posts, liking my pictures, commenting the nicest things, and buying t-shirts. Thank you for wearing them all over the world. Thank you for sharing my impact on you. Thank you for being Southern and Thankful. Thank you for flying in this plane with me, no matter the conditions.
Southern and Thankful
Heyyyooo. Remember me? Yeah, I almost forgot too! To all my loyal readers, I am SO sorry for basically abandoning you. I don’t want to sound lame and give you an excuse, or blame it on someone else… BUT, here I go…
Last December, I hired a company to help create and design a new website for me that would better encompass all my projects and that I am working on. You know, the blog, podcast, social media, modeling, etc. It was honestly time for a upgrade. For over 4 years, I have been designing and operating the website on my own. I had pretty much used all the abilities, tricks, and design elements I know. Therefore, I wanted some help moving forward.
The new site was supposed to be done in February at the latest. It doesn’t help that the company working on my project is in London, which creates a major time zone difference. On top of that, the girl that runs the company has had some personal things going on and fell very behind, she said. Trust me, I have been very frustrated. I’ve hesitated to write / do much on the site for fear she was working on it, or the content would be lost in the transition. We are finally on the same page, the site will be finished soon, and she assures me I can continue blogging like normal. So, I have some fun stuff coming your way!
First things first, I have partnered with a few brands over the past few months and I think it’s time I share some of my favorite products I have been using. I always feel weird / skeptical about advertisements, but these items I have been loving:
MANSCAPED Lawn Mower 2.0 (+ more)
This company kept coming up on my Instagram feed as a sponsored post (love when that happens), and I decided to give in to my curiosity and check it out. I have sensitive skin and fast growing hair, which makes shaving a pain for me. I literally use a razor every single day, in some way or another, and always travel with one. Their products have been a HUGE game changer for me!
MANSCAPED is the only men’s brand dedicated to below the waist grooming and overall hygiene. They have a lot of funny humor that goes into their brand identity, which makes it stand out to many. Did you see Mark Cuban offer MANSCAPED a deal on Shark Tank? Yeah, that’s pretty cool! Plus, their razors can be used all over the body. MANSCAPED created the world’s first manscaping kit that makes shaving safe and easy. The Perfect Package 2.0 features the Lawn Mower 2.0 waterproof manscaping trimmer with a powerful 6,000 RPM motor. The ceramic blade head is replaceable and uses SkinSafe Technology, which prevents nicks and snags. Underarms, neck, back, chest, etc. these razors work anywhere. The Lawn Mower 2.0 is waterproof, cordless, and is made of shock resistant polycarbonate. Featuring a low-drain built-in battery that’s rechargeable by USB cable lasts 60 minutes on one charge! So convenient and great for travel.
They also have underwear, body wash, deodorant, and much more. Guys don’t really like to talk about shaving, and the proper practices that go along with that. This company is not shy about anything and wants us to live our best life, to say the least.
Girls, guys, anyone reading…. This would make a wonderful father’s day gift and makes a lot of sense to use this time of year. From bathing suits to birthday suits, this company has you covered!
Get 20% OFF your MANSCAPED order + Free Shipping + Free Gift (the shed travel bag) when you use my exclusive promo code: CADE20
I could talk for days about these products + they have so many things I am excited to try. Stay tuned for more talk of this brand. I am a fan and hope you will be too!
Check it out:
AP24 Whitening Fluoride Tooth Paste
Don’t roll your eyes, I know there are lots of whitening products on the market right now. I feel like I see a least one Instagram story of girls using various whitening tools every day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want things that plug in that you have to keep up with and worry about losing. I have been trying to take good care of my teeth lately. I started using white strips and they were fine, but to be honest I always forget to use them. Then, I purchased this toothpaste that Kendall Jenner was advertising. It was the black charcoal kind and I thought… “This has got to work! It’s Kendall Jenner.” Nope! My friend and co-worker Tisha introduced me to this toothpaste and I am obsessed. There is literally no hassle in using this product, which again, I love.
This toothpaste is safe for all ages and has no bleach or peroxide. It seriously works better than anything I’ve tried! If you are interested in joining me, visit the link below or reach out to Tisha at her e-mail. Tell her I sent you and maybe she’ll work something special out for you! I LOVE HER FOR SHOWING ME THIS PRODUCT!
I don’t know if this is content you come to Southern and Thankful to read about, but I wanted to give it a try. Reach out if you have any questions / let me know if you like posts like these. I’m always down to talk about my favorite things! Afterall, these are things I am thankful for. See you soon!
Southern and Thankful
There are few things I love more in the world than:
2.donut puns to use when talking about the delicious pastry / captioning a photo
Donut judge me. Everyone loves them. Donut even try to act like you don’t. See what I did there? lol
I wanted to write a quick post about this ever so trendy sweet treat because today I tried a new donut shop. I have always enjoyed going to the donut shop, whether that be a Daylight Donuts or some super hip place with awesome creative flavors.
On Wednesday, I discovered Hurts Donut Company. I know this a chain, therefore it is likely many of you have already tried it. However, on Wednesday they opened one in downtown Little Rock. It is super close to my work and to the convention center. This is a wonderful addition to the city and I was looking for something nice / sweet to give a friend as a little happy. I saw on Facebook that they opened so I went down to check it out.
Again, it’s in a great location and super colorful, bright, and fun inside. They were blasting great music, which was helpful since the line was semi-long on the opening day. They have great seating areas to hangout in while you munch. They also serve delicious sounding milkshakes and all the coffee options your heart desires. The menu is more than just donuts. They have enough sweets in that place to put you in a coma!
They also had lots of packaging options. I chose the “dirty dozen” that was around $16.00, which allowed me to choose any 12 I wanted. And y’all, they have got many good looking options. I got:
-Peanut Butter Cup
-Cereal Killers: Fruit Loops
This is a great option to take to the office, a family gathering, or in my case sampling several with a group of friends. We highly recommend blueberry streusel, timmy t, homer, cocoa puffs, and/or peanut butter cup. SO DELICIOUS! Also, you can't go wrong with the classic glazed.
*I do not recommended eating too many at once, they are obviously very sweet. Don't be silly*
I am not paid to write this, I just love to share places and things I like. Plus, I think it is super important to support this business! I have been trying to eat less sugar because #health, but I could not pass this up. You shouldn’t either!
Southern and Thankful
“Single on Valentines Day... again.”
I see this exact sentiment every year. Not to mention oh boy, do I feel it. A fact, few realize about me, is that I love Valentine’s day. I am a sucker for candy hearts with the cute and delectable wording on them. I am always looking for an excuse to send some flowers. No, seriously... I know guys don’t receive flowers. I don’t want them, but there’s something fun and mysterious about calling up a local flower shop to send a girl some roses with a sweet message or from a “secret admirer”. If I had the money, oh & the girl, I’d send flowers every day. Especially for random occasions like, “Congrats... You brushed your hair today... enjoy these flowers.”
IDK- I’m getting carried away on the flower topic... my bad!
I want to buy any corny or sweet Valentine and hand them out to every person I walk by because why not? The red and pink color combo gives me all the feels and who doesn’t love a box of chocolates? (I act like the king of Valentine’s day when in reality I have actually only celebrated the holiday with someone I love LOVE a few times...lol) I guess what I am trying to say is I have a hankering for romance. I always have. But like I said, most years here recently, I have had to bypass the day and all the feels because no one wants to celebrate spending Valentines with yourself.
That got me thinking about this blog and writing about the power of being single on Valentine’s day blah, blah, blah. If I don’t want to hear it, then I know you reading this really don’t want to hear it. Yes, it’s easy walking around all day in a mood. Hating all the happy couples walking around, kissing on Instagram, and planning over-the-top dates with some type of extravagant jewelry or big teddy bear involved. That’s what society tells us to do. Make fun of it...to hide your true feelings of jealousy? Behave insanely rude because you are sad inside? That’s not healthy for anyone, myself included.
This Valentine’s day, why don’t we embrace it. Take those feelings head on. It makes you sad to be alone on the day full of love. But, you aren’t ever alone... You can celebrate with friends or family (yep, s/o to my mom for sending me a package every year) because love is love. Everyone is looking for love, few truly find it, but everyone is willing to give it. If you spend every day focused on the fact that you don’t have a significant other, you aren’t going to find a significant other. Go out there and live you life. Let karma, and most importantly, God, work it out for you in the/His perfect timing.
I’m not happy about the lack of romantic wooing I will get to do or partake in tomorrow, but I’m happy for all those who can, will and should. Love will be in the air tomorrow (& seriously you can feel it if you let it in) and maybe when you are out there dancing around living your best single life, that love will come right in and fill you up. For crying out loud, the Lord will fill you with love all day long!
Hope this doesn’t feel too much like fake, annoying, inspo. I get the bad feelings about being single on Valentine’s day. However, it is a choice. I also feel all the lovey dovey feelings of the day and I’m single as a pringle. It’s possible to be single & happy on Valentine’s day.
Btw- the shirt I have on is from Sweet Birds Co. & I got it last year because the proceeds went towards To Write Love on Her Arms, which is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope & finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, & suicide. I’m so happy to be wearing this shirt on Valentine’s day this year because yes, it’s sweet, but also it stands for showing love, being love, and feeling love. Remember, you are never alone. Not on Valentine’s Day. Not on any day!
My plans include celebrating the day with my first two loves: Stephanie Bell & the movies. Stephanie is my best friend and literally is my right hand. She’s ALWAYS coming to my rescue. The least I could do is show her all the love today. Palentines are the best there is. And, there are few things I love more than seeing a good movie at the theater with all the goodies!
Happy Valentine’s day friends. Single, In A Relationship, or It’s Complicated... everyone deserves love on this day!
p.s. I’ll find someone to fulfill my flower fantasy with one of these days ;)
Southern and Thankful
Don’t you love how such wonderful things happen when you least expect it? I am thrilled to announce that a few weeks ago, I signed with Sculp Agency for modeling and acting, or I guess also they signed me… I don’t know all the right lingo. Anyways… SHUT UP, I KNOW. I have been having ALL the emotions. I sometimes have had to pinch myself and be like “HELLO, yes, this happened, can you believe it?!?!” Let me give you a little back story.
*I prefix this all by saying that I understand this does not make me some famous celebrity, walking the runways of New York Fashion Week soon. I signed with the agency here in Arkansas, but they have connections and offices all over the world, so I am looking forward to a great experience which could lead to even more wonderful opportunities, let me have my moment LOL!*
I know very little about this world. I mean of course I grew up dreaming of being on a magazine cover, TV, or commercial. However, being this small town boy, I never in a million years thought it would happen. I mean I cannot tell you a single time where I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “You look so good. You are totally model material.” I am for real. I don’t consider myself that good looking, but I am a risk taker, so...I am here for it!
Over the years, people have encouraged me here and there to look into the modeling / acting gig, but I had no idea how all of that worked. When I graduated college six months ago, those encouragements grew louder and kept coming up in conversation. Thank you to those of you who always believed I could do something like this. Special s/o to Paige and Spencer Arnold for helping me, and putting in an excellent recommendation. The application process, and all the things I had to submit was a little overwhelming. To be honest, it seems very much like a miracle to me! I AM SO EXCITED.
With the above change in my life, as well as other changes happening in my professional life, a few small changes have been made, mainly on Instagram. In the last few months, my advisors have recommended that I have a personal Instagram (for Cade) and a Southern and Thankful Instagram (for all the blogging stuff). I have not been looking forward to making this change because I didn’t want it to be an inconvenience my loyal followers, or cause confusion. However, the time has come, so...here are the details:
NEW Personal Account: www.instagram.com/wcadebethea/
NEW Southern and Thankful Account: www.instagram.com/southernandthankful/
This is (hopefully) going to be such a positive change. I hate the pressure of likes, and posting too much or too little as a blogger. My personal account will still be very active, but much less structured. These days everyone worries about having a theme on Instagram or having the perfect aesthetic. I wanted to get away from that personally. Professionally, you can find many more posts and more blog like material on the Southern and Thankful account. I may not be explaining it in the best way, but once you follow you will see! Also, I would like to add, this is going to be super helpful when my new website debuts!
YAY… I can add modeling / acting to the resume AND my Insta game is changing. Thank you all for supporting me and this brand. I am telling you, great things are coming! See you soon!!
&&& yes, I have been giving all sorts of gratitude to the Big Man Upstairs. He is working in my life in the craziest of ways, and I can literally feel it in my bones. PRAISE YOU LORD.
Southern and Thankful
If we are being honest, I am not ready for 2018 to end. I recall, so vividly, this time last year writing about how crippling 2017 had been and how 2018 was going to be the “year of the rise”… and rise it did! It isn’t that I have bad feelings about 2019, but I am going to miss 2018, I have just gotten comfortable with this year, despite all the changes it brought.
I have been going over 2018 in my head the last couple of days. I think back to this time last year, and at all the uncertainty it held when I looked into the new year. For example, I had no idea where I would be after graduation (or that I would get a dog in 2018)!!
I had so many unforgettable moments in 2018. From dream achievements to life learning realizations, 2018 was a year I will never forget.
Below, in no particular order, I am going to recap important moments from 2018, as well as lessons I learned along the way. Walk back through my year with me, if you’d like:
•Graduating college...in the moment, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal...but, it’s the moments afterwards that make it feel like the greatest thing you have ever done. I find myself telling people, “don’t graduate...the real world is not all it’s cut out to be,” which in turn makes me feel very old. However, I have grown more in the past six months since I walked across that stage on May 12, 2018, than I have in a many years combined. I graduated with a bachelor’s of science in Strategic Communications with two minors in Film, TV, Digital Media, & Communication Studies. I never thought that moment would come, and I believe that feeling of accomplishing something so pivotal, will always feel like magic.
•My last semester in college reminded me of my own strength, and one in which I had no idea I possessed. I removed toxic relationships and people from my life because I knew in order to find myself and be happy, I had to do so. (That’s a whole other conversation for a whole other post). It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It wasn’t until I made that decision, and followed through, that I rose up from a dark hole I had been in for a while. My strength comes from God and my strength these days is unmatched.
•On June 2, 2018, after booking a last minute trip to Chicago, my best friend and I, both unemployed at the time, saw my favorite artist in the pouring down rain. Little did I know, I would end up seeing Taylor Swift 3 more times in 2018, but this moment in the windy city with Stephanie Bell, is the one I will be telling my kids about. We had so many worries about our unknown futures at the time. Regardless, we danced like no one was watching and I cried when Taylor surprised the audience by singing “22” because Steph and I were both 22 and in that stadium, at that moment, I felt like all was right with the world.
•I started working in the agriculture industry just two months before my grandfather retired from the same industry/company after 53 years. In that short overlapping time, I learned a lot about him and how much of a legend he is to those he has worked with and come across in his time at Riceland Foods, and in this industry. Words cannot describe how incredibly proud I was to be able to witness this, and I consider myself very lucky for this connection we formed in 2018. Again, we are so proud of his accomplishments, and we still celebrate his retirement every single day.
•I learned that God brought me back home to Arkansas after graduation to build me up. I know I am here, for now, to be showered with love and encouragement. I could not have done 2018 without my family. My parents are working harder than ever, plus they have me back at home part time. I have been able to attend most of my brother’s senior events as he prepares for graduation. I was able to see first hand him fall in love with a school and make his college decision. We had many great weekends in Fayetteville together. And another bonus, I have been able to be closer to my sister, Madison, than I ever have felt. I live with my aunt and uncle part time and it has been a time I will always cherish. I have spent so much time with my best friends from high school Maycen, Stephanie and Leighton. I feel more connected to them than ever. I also believe, Leighton Lawson takes the prize for favorite friend of 2018. There is no one like her and I love looking back at how our friendship grew this past year. I’ve also gotten to help with the family businesses and watch the different stores grow. Having a role in that feels very rewarding and makes me feel more a part of the team than ever. All of this, and them, have lifted me up to where I am today.
•The year wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Every day I learn more about mental health and battle my own demons. 2018 taught me that social media has such a negative effect on me, and many others, mentally. I haven’t figured it out yet, and I don’t know how I am going to fix it, but it is often a daily struggle for me and I know others feel the same. We constantly compare ourselves and allow likes to define us. I am hoping in 2019 I can find a way to be on social media in the most positive way, and I hope to help others as well.
•Southern and Thankful officially became an LLC (limited liability company) in 2018. It was a gift from my parents to me this Christmas, and it showed me that they believe in me and my dreams. I launched a new podcast with the queen of my life, Grace Lamb. 2019, is going to be a big year as the blog and company grows. I have a lot of ideas and a lot of things in place. Stay tuned!
I could go on and on about the trips I took, the friendships I formed, the mistakes I made, the delicious food I ate, the people I miss, the concerts I attended, or the lessons I learned, but I want to end with this…
One complement I have been receiving since the Podcast dropped is, “you sound happier than I’ve ever heard you.” Numerous people have said that, and when I hear this, I tear up because those words could not be more true. In 2018, I set out to learn how to love myself. On the last day of an incredible year, I can say with a 100% confidence that I achieved that goal. I love the way I look and feel. But even more, I love the person I am, and the heart I have. I believe wholeheartedly that you cannot love others or love your life, until you love yourself. I don’t love myself in a vein or selfish way, I promise. I love myself in a way that is healthy and in the way God taught me to. I aim to build on these things and hit 2019 running. I’m ready for the new challenges, memories, and to see where God takes me. I pray he protects my heart and mind everyday and that he continues to build me up. However, I know that when the time comes for whatever God has planned for me next, that I will be able to take all of this love and “buildups” on to the next path.
Thank you God for this year. Thank you for 2018. Happy New Year!
Southern and Thankful
Sometimes life is just funny... I feel like it has been ages since I've written. Truthfully, I’ve been pretty busy, working hard on several projects. So, let me tell you all about them!!! (Sorry this is going to be a longer post)
First, however, let me fill you in on a few things. Right after Thanksgiving, my AMAZING grandparents went with me to Fort Worth to clean out my storage unit. Ever since I graduated in May, I have had my things like furniture, my bed, etc. in a storage unit there because at the time I didn’t know what my next move would be. So, It just made sense to leave things there until I knew. Flash forward to today, and I still don’t know— SHOCKING lol— but since my family owns some storage units in my hometown, it made the most sense now to stop paying for that one unit all the way in Texas. Plus, all my winter sweatpants and joggers were in my unit down in Texas and I was needing them to wear sooner rather than later. My grandparents, JanJan and Bia, love me with this unconditional love that is so special. They drove down with me one day, and back the next, without me, but with a u-haul containing all my things, ans driving in the pouring rain. I needed to stay for a photoshoot and return to Arkansas the next day. I cannot thank them enough!!
It was also very bittersweet to be officially closing that TCU chapter in my life. In my mind, it wasn’t finished until I cleaned out that unit. Such a special place and time in my heart! However, it feels good to have all my things in one place making life a little more organized.
When I returned from Texas I actually flew in to Hot Springs because my car was there and I took this super small flight— Southern Air— into the Hot Springs airport. That week, my boss’s were out of town therefore, I got to work from wherever I wanted. I chose the Lake because in addition to work, i was launching some new things and this gave me the perfect place and peacefulness to get things done. I cannot tell you how I long for that week back. One of my favorite weeks post-grad thus far. And speaking of launching new things...
My new projects:
My darling friend, Grace Lamb, and I dropped our podcast called Saturation. We love pop culture, entertainment, celebrity news, and more. We constantly DM back and forth on Instagram about what’s going on in the world. Therefore, we decided to record a weekly podcast to share our thoughts and updates with YOU. I will put the links below on both Apple and Spotify.
This was a huge dream come true for me. It is a lot of work each week to edit, record, produce, and bring this to you, but it is so worth it. Also, we had to get the podcast approved after the first episode was recorded so that we could be on the primary streaming services. And we got approved!! THAT WAS A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT. I hope you will give it a listen and tell all your friends. Episode 4 comes out next week!!
2. THE 411
This is very similar to the podcast, but this one is just me each week. It’s my weekly newsletter that you receive to your e-mail after subscribing. I, in a very skimmed down fashion, update you on all things going on in pop culture + my life. I almost have 200 people that have subscribed which is crazy cool. To sign up, all you have to do is go to my homepage, follow the instructions, and you’ll get it every Tuesday!
3. NEW WEBSITE
I am currently in the process of getting a makeover online. My new website is coming in early 2019 and I can’t wait for you to see it. It is going to be so wonderful and allow me to take my blogging to the next level as well as bring back the fashion blogging element. Stay tuned!!
I am continually praying for God to guide me in the right direction. Here’s to hard work and a little fun along the way!
I tell you all of this to also share a quick story. I really needed that time alone at the lake to wrap up and release these projects, but also to spend some time with myself reflecting on this year. I felt such peace and protection while I was there. I am so grateful for that. However, you know I have a funny story.
You are probably wondering why this is titled “HOME ALONE” just like the famous Christmas movie. When I realized I was going to be over there for a while, I knew I needed to go to the grocery store. This is where my “Kevin McAllister from Home Alone” moment happened. I’m 23 years old. I’ve been to the grocery store alone, but I felt like everyone was looking at me the way they look at Kevin in the movie. I was buying the most random things... trying to be responsible, but also i’m a kid at heart. The check out person gave me that look like, where’s your Mom?” I spent the whole week Home Alone cooking mac and cheese like Kevin, putting up my small Christmas decorations like Kevin, and enjoying a little freedom like Kevin. When it came time to drive home to my family at the end of the week I found myself excited to see them like Kevin. I missed them like Kevin.
This Home Alone moment, this time of the year, made me feel extremely grateful for my family. After being in school a whole state away and not being able to see them as often, I’ve really enjoyed being around them. I have never been more close with them. It’s extremely unique, and one thing I am most thankful for this holiday season. Surround yourself with loved ones this Christmas. After all, they are the best gift. If you don’t have anyone or feel alone this Christmas, call me! You are always welcome to surround yourself with my loved ones.
Also, might I add...thank goodness I didn’t need two criminals breaking into my house to make me realize how much I loved my family!!
Merry Christmas y’all! Be thankful!
Southern and Thankful
It’s currently 6:25 a.m. & i’m coming to you live from the duck blind. HAPPY THANKSGIVING FAM!
Every thanksgiving, it has somehow become the family tradition to start the day with a duck hunt. Yes, a very early tradition, but also one of my favorites! I always feel an immense amount of gratitude while the sun rises with a full moon. It doesn’t feel like thanksgiving until i’m out here with the family!
Several people have asked me what I am thankful for this thanksgiving. It’s funny because I choose gratitude every day, but thanksgiving is like THE DAY everyone feels obligated to join me.
I have been giving mine some serious thought this year. After all, a lot has happened in the last year. Lots of changes & new chapters, which have all lead me back to one thing: my family & proximity.
You see, after spending 4 years in a different state attending college, I never saw myself back in Arkansas. I went months at a time, not coming home / not seeing my family. I got used to the distance and time + it was the price I paid to attend my dream school. I didn’t realize, until I moved back to Arkansas, started working here, living with my aunt and uncle, seeing my family virtually everyday, how much i missed them.
I am so grateful to be here & be with them. I think about my friends who are off in new places not near their family at all. It’s been kind of challenging because I don’t have that many friends nowadays or people to hangout with. However, I constantly feel so so lucky, because I do have my family. There is nothing better. I feel very fortunate to be around people who love me no matter what & support me no matter what. I know I am back in this place, with these people for a big reason. That is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving... this place & these people.
I pray each of you found multiple things to fill your heart with thankfulness on this Thanksgiving. It truly is so important. Sending lots of love & lots of thanks to each and every one of you. I have felt so much encouragement as I have graduated college, navigated through the adult world , AND started these new ventures with my brand. Y’all make me feel like a super star & that means the world to me. Therefore, thank you & happy thanksgiving to you!
This is probably one of my most exciting posts I have done in a while. I have been working on a lot of little projects, and I have to tell you about a colllab / announcement I am beyond pumped about.
First, a little back story:
For those who are unaware, my Mom and Aunt have owned a women’s clothing boutique for about 5 years now. Such a great addition to our small town & I am super proud of what hard working entrepreneurs they are. The boutique is called The Social Shop. Unlike most clothing stores, the Social Shop was founded on the idea of private shopping. They are open every day of the week, but people make regular private shopping appointments (at no cost) where they come in and have the shop to themselves. The Social Shop sits on the corner of a quiet street and itself is quite cozy. Anyone can go in and shop when they are open, however, you must ring the doorbell to gain access. We keep it safe, and again comfortable. Also, for those of you that do not live in Stuttgart, follow them on social media, @shopthesocialstuttgart because they ship for free!! They provide a very special services, we like to call it concierge service, and I have really not seen this type of service anywhere else, and that isn’t because I am biased either, lol.
Now that you are caught up:
I have wanted them to bring in men’s clothing for years now. Part of it was because selfishly I wanted to get good looking clothes for myself from them (lol), but also because I think men would really enjoy this shopping experience as well. Everything I know about style I have learned from my Mom and Aunt (who got it from my grandmother, JanJan). They have been picking out my clothing since I was born and let’s be honest, they still dress me to this day. As a male I really don’t like to try things on, like anyone else, and I certainly don’t like to in front of a bunch of people. Their expertise at this quaint shop + men’s clothing would be such a winning combination.
WELL, THE WAIT IS OVER…
In October, at market, we picked up our FIRST MEN’S LINE, and it has finally come in!!! If you haven’t heard of Barbour, you most definitely should. This brand is iconic. It has been around since 1894 and is famously worn by the British royal family (YES KATE, THE QUEEN, HARRY, WILLIAM,ETC.), but also famously worn by my Dad and me, too, if that counts.
Barbour now has 10 of its own retail shops in the UK, and a presence in over 40 countries worldwide including the United States, Germany, Holland, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and Japan. There are now over 5,000 products across the two seasons, and the collections now cater for Men, Ladies and Children (and dogs!!). Broadening out from its countrywear roots, today the heritage and lifestyle clothing brand produces clothing that is designed for a full lifestyle wardrobe. As well as jackets and coats, the Barbour wardrobe includes trousers, shirts, socks, knitwear and a range of accessories. Nevertheless, in whichever area the company now operates, it remains true to its core values as a family business which espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.
I personally love their famous Wax Jackets and quilted vests. I hope guys will check out this brand exclusively at the Social Shop. And I would hurry because it is selling like crazy. Being able to announce this addition and in a way bring it to the Social Shop is SO FUN for me. Please reach out with any questions AND stay on the lookout for details about the Southern and Thankful X Barbour Pop Up Shop this Friday in downtown Stuttgart. I am currently so grateful that we are fortunate enough to bring this brand to my hometown with people I love so so much. This is going to be fun!
Subscribe to the “The 411” my weekly pop culture updates NOW on my homepage
Follow Saturation my new exciting venture coming December 5, 2018, with my talented friend Grace Lamb. This is going to be huge y’all!
Southern and Thankful
Blessed is an understatement when it comes to my life. Each and every day I am amazed by God's steadfast love. In return, I have claimed this space to show my thanks and whatever else comes along the way. A recent graduate from Texas Christian University who loves any creative insta post, all donuts, and dress pants that make you do a double take. I pray God has a grand purpose for me and I plan to get there with a little Southern and a lot of Thanks! Join me!