Southern Flair

Southern Flair
Always Look and Feel Fabulous!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goal Setting Tips for the New Year!

Happy New Year!

It's the beginning of the year! A fresh new start! This is the time of year when most people make resolutions. But oftentimes, resolutions don't last. A January 2013 article in Forbes Magazine states that a University of Scranton research study found that only 8% of Americans keep their New Year's resolutions. Instead of making resolutions I set goals, and I set them based upon what I believe is attainable and sustainable.

A Southern Belle must make sure she's on top of things, and she's always looking for ways to improve her life while making things better around her. A sure way to do that is to set goals. Here are a few tips that can help you set and achieve your goals for 2015 and beyond!

1. Be realistic-- It's okay to dream, and in fact, you should. But dream with your head in the clouds (for creativity and inspiration) and your feet on the ground (to steady yourself so you stay focused).
2. Define Outcomes-- Be specific about what kind of outcome or impact you want to achieve. Will accomplishing your goal(s) result in increased income, weight loss, job/career advancement, improved health, etc.? Knowing this will help you manage your priorities.
3. Create a timetable-- Never mistake activity for achievement. You can be busy doing a whole lot of nothing! Establish a timetable by which you would like to achieve your goal(s). This will keep you on schedule and help you become more efficient.
4. Develop a budget-- Whether your goal(s) will require out of pocket expenses or your time/human capital, it's an expenditure, and you need to account for it.
5. Delegate-- Ask for help! You don't have to do everything yourself. Work hard on the things that are within your control and delegate tasks to others who can assist you in reaching your goal(s).

Abundant Blessings for a Fabulous New Year!

 Trice Hickman

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How to Make an Ornament Wreath

I love a beautiful wreath on a front door! It's a signature stamp that greets guests and says, "Welcome, come on it!" It's the standard of Southern hospitality, and every Southern Belle I know has a wreath hanging on her front door throughout the year. I change up my wreaths according to each season, and I make them by hand so I can have exactly what I want! Because Christmas is my favorite time of year, I love creating a festive wreath that sparkles and shines with the spirit of the season. This year I decided to make an ornament wreath, filled with bright, vibrant colors. The great thing about an ornament wreath is that you can make it with ornaments of various sizes, shapes, and colors, and they will all come together and look fabulous! Here's my wreath below, and here's how to make one of your own.

Materials Nedded
  • 1 green wreath (I used a 24" wreath that I purchased from A.C. Moore)
  • Ornaments (You will need a lot! I used a combination of ornaments from Michael's, The Dollar Store, A.C. Moore, Home Depot, and Macy's)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks (You will need a lot of glue sticks)
  • Patience
  • NOTE: I use a green wreath instead of a wire or foam wreath because I like incorporating greenery into my decorations. But you can use any type of round material for your wreath base.
Start by fluffing your wreath so that it's full and appears to have depth. Place ornaments where you intend to glue them. I start by placing my brightly colored and larger ornaments at the top, bottom, and sides of the wreath, then I fill in from there. Glue your ornaments in place and continue to fill in the empty spaces until your wreath is covered. Voila! Your finished product will be a gorgeous, custom made masterpiece that reflects your individual style.

Happy Holidays and remember to stay fabulous!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tips for A Relaxing Holiday Season

Southerners are known for doing everything on a large scale, especially the holidays. We're talking turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas trees (several theme trees throughout the house is a must...and don't forget the front yard, too!), holiday feasts, shopping, caroling, family gatherings, and parties galore.

But as much fun as this festive season can be, it can also bring on stress, depression, and exhaustion. Even under the best of circumstances, the last six weeks of the year can cause major anxiety. But it doesn't have to! There's a number of things you can do to create peace, joy, and relaxation.

Here are a few ways to enjoy the holidays and keep your stress to a minimum.

Pray/Meditate-- This is an excellent way to center yourself, connect to a higher power, and gain a sense of peace. It doesn't cost a dime to pray, but you may pay for it if you don't.
Ask for help-- Don't try to do everything yourself. This is the season of giving, but it's also great to receive. If you're blessed to have friends and family who want to help you, bless them by receiving the blessing they want to extend to you.
Exercise-- It's estimated that most people gain 5 lbs. during the holidays. Food, parties, and late night eating can expand the waistline. Exercise can help take the pounds off and it can also help to clear the mind and relieve stress.
Massage-- Stress, along with cramming lots of activities into long days, can cause tight muscles, which can lead to pain, headaches, and poor health. Massage is a proven way to relieve pain and stress, and it's incredibly soothing. Treat yourself to the good life and get a nice, long rub down!
Laugh-- Laughter is medicine for the sole! A good laugh can erase even the worst of moods and can increase endorphins, giving you more energy to enjoy the holidays.
Love from a distance-- Let's face it, there are people who create stress in our lives, and some of them can be people we love. If you encounter an obstacle or problem, the first thing you try to do is remove it. Sometimes you have to take that approach with people, too. Sometimes you have to learn how to love from a distance. Surround yourself with positive people and positive things that will keep stress at bay.
Take Vitamins-- Some people take vitamins to boost energy, while others use them to replenish specific nutrients they're missing from their diet, or, as a result of a health condition. There's also vitamins that help relieve stress. Talk to your doctor, local pharmacist, or naturopath to find vitamins that will work for you. Valerian is a great, natural herb that I love. You can take the capsule whole, or break it open and make a tea. It calms, soothes, and relaxes.


Remember, the holiday season only comes once a year, so try to enjoy it! Life is meant to be savored slowly and enjoyed in abundance. From me to you, I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving!

PS--Stay tuned for my "Southern Tips for A Relaxing Holiday Season"which will be filled with hilarious things that only Southerners do!

Be Fabulous!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside...and it's all about the scarf!

...I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice

Dean Martin's duet with Doris Day of, Baby It's Cold Outside is classic! I absolutely LOVE that song, not only during the holidays, but also during the year, and especially on days like this one.

Across the country, and especially in the Midwest and east coast, it's downright frigid outside.The bitter cold combined with biting winds make for an Arctic-like experience. Winter is a time to hunker down with comfort food and heavy apparel. But that doesn't mean it has to be hum-drum--beef stew and flannel. Winter can mean fine dining (put some wine in that stew for a zip of flavor) and you don't have to limit yourself to frumpy clothing. This season is prime time for fashion--fierce boots, stylish coats, elegant gloves, and oh-so-fly hats! I love it!

When you go out, make sure you layer up with thermal underwear, cotton tees, or anything else that's going to keep you warm under your clothes. Then accessorize your outer layer with warm and beautiful pieces that will keep you smiling through the cold. This season is all about the scarf! I adore a beautiful scarf. It's the perfect accompaniment for any outfit at any season. During the winter when the mood can be bleak, brighten things up with a pop of color around your neck. It will instantly turn a cloudy day to sunshine. Here, I'm wearing a red infinity scarf, perfect for the holiday season. It's made of soft wool with a beautifully woven design pattern. I picked it up at a flea market in Baltimore, MD; proof that you can find fashion on a budget! You can also find infinity scarves at your local department store (they are everywhere).

Bundle up and be fabulous!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wine, Popcorn, and a Movie

I haven't posted here in quite some time because I was under deadline for my 7th novel titled, Secret Indiscretions, which will be released July 28, 2015!

I'm so excited to be out of my writing cave, you have no idea! When I pressed send and submitted my manuscript to my editor, I literally jumped for joy, and then proceeded to take a long nap. It feels fantastic to have completed another novel! And although I have another deadline looming for book #8, I'm going to take a little time to relax (just a little) while gearing up for the next project.

I'm enjoying this brief reprieve and I'll be doing things I enjoy; cooking and baking, hanging with friends, watching movies, reading good books, and of course, shopping! Last weekend I treated myself to a long bubble bath by candlelight, and then I nestled under my comfy chenille throw with popcorn and wine while I watched, The Devil Wears Prada. That movie had me in stitches!! I enjoyed myself (I'm great company, if I do say so!) It was a fabulous evening!

Life is a beautiful experience. Each day is a blessing, so make it count and live the most fabulous life you can. Do things that bring you happiness, excitement, and fulfillment. It can be something as extravagant as a trip to Paris, or as simple as wine, popcorn, and a movie. Whatever you do, make sure it brings your heart great joy!

Be Fabulous!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Challenges Help You Learn...

TGIF! Whew! This week has been filled with many challenges and what feels like not enough time. I've been working long hours each day (and into the wee hours of the morning) to finish my novel. Some days I've felt tired, overwhelmed, uninspired, and doubtful about my course. I've had to adjust my writing process along with my work and life schedule. My entire flow is different and somewhat unfamiliar to me. I'm entering uncharted waters, not only with this book, but with my life. It has been unsettling at times. 

But in the midst of it all, I'm learning a lot about myself along this journey. I've learned that I'm so much stronger than I give myself credit for (because I bounce back every day). I'm resourceful (I find a way to get things done). I'm determined (I refuse to give up, period!). And I'm creative (these characters and scenes!...). I'm not bragging, I'm simply sharing my truth, and I thank God for my gifts. I'm also thankful for the angels in my life who support and encourage me daily. 

My fabulous friend, let your strength and determination lead you to resourceful and creative ways to live your life and grow. Plant good people around you and stay encouraged! And never, ever stop dreaming, believing, or wanting more. Faith + Action = Results! 

Be Fabulous!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm Feeling Good!

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life, for me...and I'm feeling good."--Nina Simone

The late, great, Nina Simone and I have a few things in common. She was from North Carolina, and so am I. She was African American, and so am I. She stood up for social justice and civil rights, and I champion those struggles, too. She had her own style and sense of beauty, and she embraced them...and now, so do I!

It took me 40 plus years to realize that yes, I am beautiful, and I don't apologize for it. It's not a bragadocious statement, it's simply true. Beauty presents itself in many ways. Most people think of beauty in an aesthetic way, which is natural because we are a visual society. But real beauty comes from within, and transends to the physical. Ever wonder why some women who have "average" looks can attract men like bees to honey, or appear in top fashion magazines, or be herolded as the most popular girl at school, or be the life of the party whom everyone wants to know? It's because of their essence. The unique way they carry themselves. The kindness they extend to others. The talent they allow to shine from within. The respect they show and demand in return. And the confidence and comfort they posesses that lies in knowing they are wonderfully made, exactly as they are. This is the beauty that Ms. Simone owned, along with her beguiling looks; rich dark skin, expressive brown eyes, thick, lucious lips, and impeccable style. This is the beauty that I, too, possess (sans the thick, luscious lips...but you get my drift).

Southern women own their style, embrace their beauty, share it with the world, and do it like nobody else!

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life, for me...and I'm feeling good."

This song resonates for me, as does the life of Ms. Simone. She was a fierce woman, and she did things her own way. She was a sister on a mission who broke down barriers, stepping right over sterotypes of what beauty, talent, and love was supposed to look like. She ushered in a new day! Her life so inspires me, and as I continue my research to learn more about this interesting woman, I'm discovering many things about myself in the process (more on that later). 

Be fabulous, just the way you are!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If You're Gonna Do Something, Do It Big!

One thing about a Southern Belle--we take everything we do to a whole new level! If we decide to do something, we do it BIG! Take for instance my post-workout meal this afternoon. Normally after I workout I eat a light meal, usually a salad, and I feel satisfied. But today I was hungry--ribs touching my backbone kind of hungry--and I knew a salad wasn't gonna cut it. So I grilled a thick, juicy burger (charcoal grill, which is the ONLY way to go!). Well, I didn't want that delicious burger to stand by itself, so I cooked up some golden fries to go along with it. When I tell you it was scrumptious...Lord have mercy, it was good!

Moral of the story...If you're going to splurge, go all out. After I grilled my thick, juicy burger a little voice said, "Make a small side salad to go with it, that way you can reduce your caloric intake and not ruin your entire workout." But then a bigger voice said, "Excuse me, but that burger needs fries, and you need to enjoy it!" If I ate burgers and fries every day I would've listened to that little voice, but I don't, so I didn't.

Life is too short to deprive yourself of what you want. Moderation and balance is key to most everything. But it also pays to splurge every now and then. Live big, think big, dream big, and enjoy the beautiful blessing we call life...with a thick juicy burger and fries to wash it down!

                                           Do it big and enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Delicious. Quick. Easy...who wouldn't want to make this!

If you're like me, your days are filled to the brim, spilling over into late evenings most of the week. Between work, family, and the demands of everyday life, finding time to prepare a meal, or even a tasty snack, can be challenging. It's so easy to just grab something on the go. But oftentimes that can be expensive, not to mention it tempts you to make choices that aren't always healthy.

One thing about Southern women; we know how to make find ways to juggle it all. Here's a quick and easy recipe that's delicious, quick, and inexpensive to make. The recipe for the mixture below is easy, and leftovers can be stored in the frig for a few days.

The dish can be served as a meal or curl up with a good book and enjoy it as a snack!

Be fabulous and enjoy!

Black bean and corn Quesadillas. Yum!!

Ingredients: (I don't measure, so just judge according to your taste)

8 inch flour tortilla (I use whole wheat. The taste is richer than the white)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained and rinsed (or small bag of frozen corn)
Salsa (I use half a medium size jar)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
Generous pinch of brown sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
Cheese (I use Kraft shredded Mexican cheese blend)
1 tablespoon butter
Olive oil (enough to lightly coat the pan)

Pour olive oil in skillet and heat. Add onions and saute. Stir in black beans, corn, salsa, and sugar. Cook until thoroughly heated, then remove from pan and put mixture aside. Melt butter in a large skillet (medium heat), then place one tortilla atop melted butter. Sprinkle with cheese. Top black bean mixture evenly on cheese. Place another tortilla on top. Make sure to press the edges down with the spatula you're going to use to turn it. Let tortilla cook for a about two minutes on each side. Cut into rectangles and voila! Yummy!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer 2014 Books | Praise 100.9 & 92.7

 I'm soooo excited to have two of my novels, LOOKIN FOR TROUBLE, and BREAKING ALL MY RULES, listed on the Summer 2014 Book Pic list!!

Summer 2014 Books | Praise 100.9 & 92.7

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Life of an Author: 4 Questions with Blog-in-the-round

FOUR QUESTIONS AND PASS IT ON: I love this idea of the blog-in-the-round. The lovely and talented, Trisha R. Thomas, author of the wildly popular, Nappily series, picked me and passed the literary baton my way. Thanks a million, Trisha! I’m honored to participate and share my experiences. Happy Reading!

What am I working on/writing?
It’s a great thing when a writer can say they’re working on something…anything…because this is a tough industry. I feel very blessed to be working on several projects this summer. My sixth novel, Troublemaker, will be released July 29, and I’m currently working on the promotional campaign to launch the book. I’m also on a tight writing deadline to complete my seventh novel (which will be released next year) by the end of the summer. In addition to my book work, I recently launched a new blog (which you’re reading now!) called Fabulous Southern Belle. FSB is a culture and lifestyle destination that pays homage to my Southern roots while providing nuggets of helpful information that make life fabulous!

How does my writing/work differ from others in its genre?
Like every author, I like to believe I have a distinctive voice with the stories I write. I work hard to make my characters relatable, authentic, and believable. My storylines always contain colorful secondary characters who warrant a book of their own. I’ve recently begun to set my stories in small, sleepy southern towns, as opposed to the big cities and foreign countries that is often the setting of many women’s contemporary fiction books currently on the market.

Why do I write what I do?

This is a very good question! I write because I love the adventure of creating worlds out of whole cloth, filled with interestingly complex characters who face challenges and dilemmas.  I think most people believe that writers write about themselves or people they know, and many do, but I’ve yet to be that specific in my work. However, I do impart pieces of myself into the characters I create and I definitely draw upon what I observe in everyday life. I also write what I like to read about, which is—love, family, intrigue, romance—and those elements help me create compelling stories that people can relate to.

How does my writing process work?

My writing process is pretty simple, in that I can write anywhere as long as I have uninterrupted time. I can write in my home, at the library, on a train, in the airport, etc., just as long as I have a long stretch of uninterrupted time that will allow me to get into the minds of my characters. I’ve also started outlining my chapters, which helps me write more efficiently.

I ONCE AGAIN WANT TO THANK MY FRIEND, Trisha R. Thomas, for inviting me to join this wonderful effort which supports, encourages, and highlights authors and the work we do. I’m passing the torch to two very talented writers; Karla Brady and Lutishia Lovely, who will be posting their Q&A in the next two weeks.

Karla Brady is one of the sharpest, wittiest authors I know, and her skill draws you into the wonderful characters and plots she creates. Lutishia Lovely is a powerhouse in the literary industry, whose pure talent and amazing work ethic have made her a national bestseller book after book after book. I can’t wait to read what these ladies have to say!

As always, enjoy life and be fabulous!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Make Everything Special!

One of the best qualities of a Southern Belle is that we know how to make every occasion special. It's like second nature for us to make a way out of no way, and in many respects, that's not just the Belle in us, that's the South in general. But a Belle knows how to do it with grace, style, and impeccable flare!

The beauty of a Southern Belle is that we understand how to improvise. We don't simply survive, we thrive, and we take everything a "step up." Give a Southern Belle some lemons and she'll not only turn the sour fruit into a sweet refreshing drink, she'll toss in a delicious meringue pie to enjoy along with it. If she's had a long frustrating day, she won't mope or pout about it, she'll examine what went wrong and why, and then she'll get busy making the next day a winner! If she's on a tight budget and can't afford a trip to the spa, she'll create her own relaxing oasis right in the comfort of her own home. We also recognize the importance of celebrating and pampering ourselves.

One of my favorite hotels is the Ritz Carlton, and my absolute favorite service they offer is their bath butler service (the downtown Atlanta, GA, property has the best one I've tried in the country). They draw a bath that's pretty close to what I imagine heaven might feel like. In addition to specially prepared water that makes your skin feel like silk, the experience includes scented candles, fragrant rose petals, amazing gourmet chocolates, and a silver tray filled with bath products to take home. Honey, that's livin'!!

I LOVE nice things and I'm constantly looking for ways to create wonderful experiences that I can enjoy. But let me tell you, nice things don't have to break down your wallet (the Ritz can set you back!). I can't afford to Ritz it up every month, but honey, I'm a Belle, and I know how to do the doggone thing on my own! I can relish in splendor for the cost of an entree at my local restaurant. I found the products below at Walmart, Stein Mart, and Walgreens, and trust me, they work!

Village Naturals Sleep Therapy Foaming Mineral Oil and Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution can be purchased at Walmart. Ellen Tracy White Amber Bath Salt can be found at Stein Mart, and the Calming Lavender Vanilla Candle is in stock at Walgreens (Note: Yankee Candle's Lavender and Lavender Vanilla scents are divine!).

Take a soak, relax with a nice glass of wine, and make everything in your life special!

Enjoy your Fabulous Life!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Design of a Southern Belle

Today is the first day of spring, and what better way to usher in this bright new season than with a new post about being a Southern Belle! After all, this is when flowers bloom, and there's no flower more delicate, strong, complex, unique or beautiful than that of a Southern Belle!
I love being a Southern Belle, and a fabulous one at that! Over the years, the meaning and very essence of a Southern Belle has evolved in many ways.

Old School Southern Belle: According to Wikipedia—“The image of the Southern belle was developed in the South during the Antebellum Period. It was based on the young, unmarried woman in the plantation-owning upper class of Southern society. A Southern belle of that era was keenly aware of the popular fashion of that time, and the modern archetypal (archetype) image still includes antebellum fashion. A Southern belle typically wore a hoop skirt, a corset, pantalettes, a wide-brimmed straw hat, and gloves. They also frequently carried parasol umbrellas and hand fans. As was fashion at the time, these young women shielded themselves carefully from the sun, as a sign of tanning was considered working-class and unfashionable. Southern belles were expected to marry respectable young men, and become ladies of society dedicated to the family and community.”...
When you read the origin of a Southern Belle, one can only say, “Baby, we’ve come a long way!” My, my, how things have changed. 

Modern Day Southern Belle: According to Wikipedia— “In a modern context, the term is used to describe graceful Southern-born females from any ethnic background. The term may also be used for a debutante from the southern United States. There is no single formula for what constitutes a Southern belle today, but they are certainly not all old money and triple-legacy sorority girls.”…

Okay, now this is more like it. This is my world! I’m a proud, fabulous Southern Belle and I absolutely LOVE everything it embodies. What does being a Southern Belle embody, you might ask? Let me break it down for you, the way I see it. 

  • ·         A Southern Belle is first and foremost, a lady. Every grown female is a woman, but not every woman is a lady (more about that in another post!).
  • ·         A Southern Belle is respectful of herself and others, and she values family and friendship with a sense of honor and tradition.
  • ·         A Southern Belle is strong enough to be bold, yet soft enough to be gentle, and she knows exactly when to use each strength to her advantage.
  • ·         A Southern Belle is always courteous but is never a pushover.
  • ·         A Southern Belle is confident and self-reliant in both her professional and personal dealings.
  • ·         A Southern Belle is well rounded and can engage in a conversation about politics as adeptly as she can about sports, literature, or the latest fashions.
  • ·         A Southern Belle smiles with her eyes and not her teeth because she is sincere in all that she does.
  • ·         A Southern Belle will always have a strand of pearls in her jewelry box (that’s a fact!).
  • ·         A Southern Belle’s kitchen is stocked with stemware, flatware, and cookware (no matter if she uses it or not), and she’ll be prepared to entertain a party at the drop of a dime, whether she’s the hostess or a guest.
  • ·         A Southern Belle lights up a room when she enters it because her genuine presence and poise command attention

What you’ve just read is only a smidgeon of the traits of a Southern Belle. Trust me, I’ve got tons more, and I’ll be sharing them with you in future posts! This blog will be a destination spot full of fun, informative, sexy, and always topical posts that include: style reports, delicious and easy recipes, tips for entertaining, how to create fabulous DIY projects, and the latest in art, culture, politics, fashion, beauty, sports, and all things Southern! Until then, enjoy the promise of sunshine, blue skies, and warmer temperatures that this spring season is sure to bring!

Until next time, stay sweet and fabulous!

Many Blessings,
Trice Hickman