Transplant Profile: Southerner by choice, Katie Sciba talks sweet tea, Southern vocab and beating culture shock

Nothing makes the South shine like seeing it through the eyes of a Southerner-by-choice. While Transplant Profiles usually feature born-and-raised Southerners living outside the region, this week’s contributor is a Midwesterner who moved South six years ago. Funny thing about people from the Midwest – they’re hard to impress. If anyone rivals Southerners for having pride of place, it’s Midwesterners. “New” Southerner and author of The Catholic Wife blog, Katie Sciba, shares her experience in adopting “y’all” into her vocabulary as well as a few other worthwhile adaptations she’s made since putting down roots in Louisiana.
@TheCatholicWife and Southerner by choice, Katie Sciba talks sweet tea, Southern vocab and beating culture shock today on the blog! | StayingSouthern.net

(Photo credit: Chip Methvin)

Name: Katie Sciba

Born in: Newport News, VA but grown in Omaha, NE (military brat)

Occupation: Columnist and at-home mom

I currently live in: Shreveport, LA

I transplanted because: Visiting future in-laws with my husband Easter of 2008, he was introduced to the principal at the local Catholic high school. By the end of the conversation, he had a job offer. Two weeks after our wedding in June, we filled a Uhaul and drove down to start a brand new life.

Similarities I found between the South and other places I lived: I’ve described both Midwesterners and Southerners as the nicest people I’ve ever met. Both will bend over backwards to make sure you’re taken care of in times of need and the abundance of care and concern is humbling. It’s been a real blessing to have experienced in both places.

The most drastic difference between the South and other places: The PACE, good grief, the PACE!! In the Midwest, there’s not much time to chat in passing because the work ethic dictates that play comes later. Every man is on his mission and people go go go til quittin’ time. Down here, life is slower, which drove me bananas at first. I remember pushing a cart (what they’d call a buggy here) at Target, getting stuck behind a pair of sauntering Southern belles in a narrow aisle. Cruising at a pace slightly faster than a turtle, I couldn’t get over how much they weren’t in a rush. It wasn’t until I learned to slow down myself that the culture shock wore off.

A Southern habit or value I adopted: It’s almost embarrassing, but I say y’all now. My whole life I made fun of it, and now I’ve proudly added to my vernacular.  The Midwestern counterpart “you guys,” still slips in here and there, but “y’all” feels much more natural. I’m also a huge fan of Sweet Tea and so enchanted by the flavor of Southern life.

How living in the South has changed me: It’s expanded my horizons – I just tore apart and ate crawfish for the first time a couple weekends ago (after living here for nearly 6 years). It’s been fantastic experiencing things outside of what I knew during my upbringing. And I really have learned to slow down, generally speaking, to enjoy life instead of rushing through it like I did before.

Morsel of wisdom to other “new” Southerners: Give your A/C a tune up for the 6-month long summer. I’ll never forget how shockingly hot it was when we moved down here, and how long it lingered into what was “supposed” to be autumn. Other than that? Just dive in. It might not make sense at first, but every nuance of the South has some delightful reason behind it that’s worth savoring.

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Josh Abbott Band: Honest-to-goodness country on tour near you

Throughout history, many great things have come from Texas.

Tex-Mex. The Schlitterbahn. Whataburger. Chuck Norris.

And a recent addition to the list: the Josh Abbott Band.

You may remember these Texas boys from their 2011 release “Oh, Tonight” featuring Kacey Musgraves, but like so many quality artists, the really good songs fly under the radar. Exhibit A:


Hands down the best comparison drawn between a woman and anything, ever.

The Josh Abbott Band doesn’t rest on merely referencing Southern landmarks in their lyrics; they paint a much heartier picture. Listening to “Road Trippin” actually makes it feel 10 degrees warmer outside and gives me the urge to wear sunglasses regardless of what time of day it may be.

“I’ll Sing About Mine” offers a refreshing take on what much of mainstream country music has forgotten about – real life.

“When the radio’s on, I just don’t understand, because tractor’s ain’t sexy and working is hard for small town people like me.”


Good news for Southerners living off the beaten path – the band is making its rounds to Illinois, Colorado and Kansas this July.

Josh Abbott Band: Honest-to-goodness country on tour | StayingSouthern.net

(joshabbottband.com)

July 4: Willie’s 4th of July Picnic: Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, Ryan Bingham, and more TBA! Fort Worth, TX
July 12: Bub City BBQ Festival, Chicago, IL
July 17: Cavalcade Rodeo, Pawhuska, OK 
July 25: Grizzly Rose, Denver, CO
July 27: Dodge City Days, Dodge City, KS

Click here for more upcoming tour dates.

A little humor for your Friday

This is how I feel when I go back home to Louisiana and sit down to eat for the first time.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

It’s a tough time of year to live outside the South – crawfish season.

If you’re a Southerner far from home, chances are you’ve spent the last few months drooling over your friends’ Facebook photos of more than a few crawfish boils.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. is a farm after my own heart: They strive to bring the South to those of us who loved it and left it. Founded in 1985, Louisiana Crawfish Co. specializes in shipping Louisiana products – especially live crawfish – just about anywhere. 

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

Retail and wholesale customers can enjoy live crawfish delivered right to their doorstep.

In addition to crawfish-only orders, Louisiana Crawfish Co. also offers party packs that include live crawfish, seafood boil, their own special Creole seasoning, crawfish bibs, a t-shirt, a koozie and even Mardi Gras beads. With prices starting at about $75, you and 3-6 of your pals will have almost everything you need to have a traditional crawfish boil in your own backyard, wherever that may be. Louisiana Crawfish Co. also accommodates larger shipments, in case you want to invite the whole neighborhood.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

This family-owned and operated business leads the industry with tried and true shipping methods and competitive pricing. They stand behind all of their products, offering a money-back guarantee and they will price match if you are able to find a lower delivered cost. With a “why pay more” attitude, the Louisiana Crawfish Co. website offers price comparisons with other retailers.

A standard of stellar quality and service is evident in an abundance of happy customer testimonials.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. doesn’t stop at distributing only mudbugs. Alligator, turtle, various seafood, King Cakes, spices, Lasyone’s meat pies, turduckens,  a wealth of other party supplies and Southern goods are available on LaCrawfish.com.

More than 25 years in the business and over one million pounds of shipped lived crawfish proves this trusted company is here to stay and ready to help you with your next crawfish boil.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)


Lousiana Crawfish Co.
1-888-522-7292
1-866-593-5320
lacrawfish.com
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Movoto Article: 27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before Moving There

Movoto Article: 27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before Moving There | StayingSouthern.net

Movoto: #1. Louisiana’s National Monuments Are Hard To Pin Down (Image source: Flickr user The Sean and Lauren Spectacular)

Whether you’ve lived in Louisiana or you’ve always wondered what it would be like, there’s no doubt that the Sportsman’s Paradise is a place unlike any other.

A recent Movoto article details “27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before You Move There” and it’s not all alligator hunting and Bourbon Street clichés either.

The article features a few lesser-known fun facts about state including #22, Louisiana’s current “beer-aissance” accelerated by seven craft breweries and it even mentions Louisiana’s growing affinity for the film industry.

Transplant Profile: Anthony Williams in Los Angeles

Transplant Profile: Anthony Williams in L.A. | StayingSouthern.netName: Anthony Williams

Born in: Tyler, Texas

Occupation: Writer, assistant, cashier, background extra, etc.

I currently live in: Los Angeles, California, in the Pico-Union neighborhood.

When I go back to the South, I always: Fail to do everything I want to do. But Taco Cabana is usually my first fast-food stop, whether I’ve driven back and see the first one in El Paso, or fly in and dive into some nachos right after leaving the airport.

Something I miss: I’ve been car-free for a year now, but more than sometimes missing having that kind of transportation, I just miss driving 100 miles or more randomly just to see family or friends. I miss high school football games with huge crowds and intense atmospheres. I miss taking my little cousins off to the city to visit a new mall or new burger joint.  I’ve got people spread all over Texas, and even dotted across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and those little road trips were often a good little escape that I appreciate so much more now.

Similarities I find between the South and Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Lakers are almost as revered, worshiped and talked about as the Dallas Cowboys. Almost.

Something I do to keep my Southern identity: I still say, “y’all,” and started saying, “Bless your heart,” here while (working) in retail – to keep my sanity. And, there’s numerous little things I only catch here and there that I do because I’m Southern or just because I grew up used to it – saving and reusing bacon grease, and cooking huge pots of food even if it’ll only be for myself. Weirdly enough, I say “ma’am” and “sir” more here than I did growing up.

Being Southern has helped me: Stand out. Even though I lean more towards being an introvert, I can be a little extra when meeting and hosting people. I help lead a Bible study group with another Southern guy from Georgia. When it’s at my house, I always end up cooking or offering something, despite protests that it’s unnecessary.

Morsel of wisdom to other transplant Southerners: I’m starting to write creatively, and something that hit me while learning the formulas for scripts (yep, there are formulas) was the quote, “It’s the same, but different.” That’s true in writing and in life, and whenever I’ve traveled to or lived somewhere new.

There are basic structure to cities, communities and routines everywhere. While it may be fun and easier to sit and figure out what’s your “new this” or “new that” (“Pasadena’s my new Fort Worth,” “Ralphs is just Kroger,” “the 405 is my new I-635”), it’s better to accept things for what they are so you can sincerely savor it all.

Oh, and whenever you go back home, relax. Thankfully, I have family that can remind me of that when I’m trying to run around to see everyone and do everything. But you should be able to just chill all day at an aunt’s house as if you’re eight years old again.

Would you or someone you know like to contribute a Transplant Profile? See the contact page!

Read more Transplant Profiles here

Staying Southern amid mortality and casual conversation

Staying Southern amid mortality and casual conversation | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: paullus23.deviantart.com)

Did I mention I was nearly in an airplane crash last week?

As you may remember, I made a trip down South for my cousin’s bachelorette party. There were thunderstorms across the central U.S. on the day of my return to Oregon.

I found myself on a flight to Houston. I wasn’t even supposed to be on that airplane – I had a flight booked to Denver but I was going to miss my connection. The ticketing agent in Shreveport rerouted me to Houston.

Briefly, I chatted with the woman next to me while we were unexpectedly delayed on the tarmac. She was from San Diego. And at this rate, we were both going to miss our connections in Houston.

Staying Southern amid mortality and casual conversation | StayingSouthern.net

This is not an image from my flight. (Image source: wikipedia.org)

We finally took off. The 45-minute flight on the tiny airplane was loud with engine noise but uneventful.

We made our final descent and suddenly, with a few jolting movements, we were all wondering if this was our actual FINAL descent.

There was a lot of armrest gripping, gasps and expletives among the passengers.

The airplane seemed like it hadn’t slowed down a bit. Then, there was fishtailing. We were lopsided. Only the right wheel was on the ground and it felt like we were about to get going on one of those chincy portable tilt-a-whirl carnival rides I always avoid. Passengers were hollering.

Once you start to think about your last words, you stop saying expletives and start saying prayers.

The guy a few seats in front of me had a white-knuckle hold on the overhead rail like he was on an 8-second ride.

The San Diegan woman squeezed my hand.

It felt like there was a lack of oxygen in the cabin, not because we lost pressure, but because everyone had sucked all the air up and hadn’t breathed out yet.

And then, we took off again.

You know in the movies when the co-pilot is yelling, “PULL UP! PULL UP!” to the captain right before they nearly crash? This co-pilot should have started yelling earlier. And louder. (To the co-pilot: You had one job.)

No one, not even our flight attendant who had been so nice as to hand out cookies and cocktails during our delay on the tarmac, offered any sort of explanation.

No casual, “Sorry ‘bout that folks, we’ll have you on the ground in a jiffy.”

Staying Southern amid mortality and casual conversation | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: kurzweilai.net)

Or “Sorry ‘bout that folks, I forgot my wallet in Shreveport.”

Or “Sorry ‘bout that folks, there was a baby bunny on the runway and I didn’t want to squish it. ‘Preciate your patience.”

Amidst the confusion, anxiety and sighs of temporary relief, I turned to the woman next to me and asked, “So what brought you to Louisiana?” As if we hadn’t just had a glimpse at the gates of Heaven.

“We went to a wedding in Natchitoches.” She told me about the festivities, the crawfish boil, a trip to Natchitoches’ Pioneer Pub and the wedding on an old Cane River plantation.

Staying Southern amid mortality and casual conversation | StayingSouthern.net

Front Street, Natchitoches, LA
(Image source: theinterrobang.com)

“I love Natchitoches!” I said.

As if I hadn’t just prayed the fastest rosary of my life and made peace with what appeared to be forthcoming death or dismemberment, I told her about my college career in Natchitoches and getting married on an old Cane River plantation.

We could feel the airplane making another try for the runway. The girl across the aisle from me began to cry.

We landed. It wasn’t pretty and I’m sure that airplane needs new break pads. But we landed.

If I weren’t such a germ-o-phobe, I would have kissed the ground when we finally deplaned.

It’s funny that after I had made peace with my fate with a few minutes to spare, my first instinct was to make polite conversation with a total stranger and bond over weddings under pecan trees.

Maybe my behavior was a subconscious technique to calm my nerves. Maybe I realized I didn’t want to live my last minutes of life being afraid. Or maybe, I was just trying to be a good Southerner.

Dear Miss L’Anne: DISH-functional family

Dear Miss L'Anne: DISH-functional familyDear Miss L’Anne,

I need your help! I have a job that requires me to live far away from my parents. Luckily enough, I have a solid group of friends and family in the area. The Smiths have been friends with my parents for as long as I can remember and my sister, Maggie, and I grew up with their two sons, Kyle and Max.

Every Saturday night, Mrs. Smith invites Maggie and me over for dinner.

Mrs. Smith spends a majority of the day preparing dinner. At the end of the night, my sister and I always clear the table and do the dishes without being asked (our parents taught us well!). We do not expect Mrs. Smith to clean ANYTHING since she provided dinner for us. We know not to expect the men at the table to really help but, Kyle’s fiancé, Lucy, never offers to do anything. If she does, she waits until my sister and I are almost done and then helps load a few dishes in the dishwasher. We clear her plate, she thanks us and brushes us off as if we are working for her.

Part of me thinks that Lucy feels more privileged than us because she is marrying Mrs. Smith’s son. Maybe she feels as though she does not need to help since her future mother-in-law is the one who cooked? This weekend, I came close to asking her to help, but I do not know if that is my place. Mrs. Smith does not say anything and Kyle does not suggest she help us.

My sister and I feel like they almost expect the two of us to clean up since we are not technically part of the family. I am sure I am over thinking that part, but it irritates me that Lucy feels she is so entitled and doesn’t have to help us. Is there a tactful way to tell her to get off her butt and load the dishwasher with us?! Please help!

Sincerely,

Mary in California

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Dear Mary,

How wonderful to have such caring family friends who open their home every week to you and your sister. Building relationships is one of the most beneficial things we can do, but sometimes it takes work.

It is difficult to know what someone else is thinking, and even if I do know, I try to remember this old prayer that usually puts things in right perspective for me:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Because you do not know what Lucy is really thinking, only that she doesn’t help clean up, shifting your attitude might help you resist the bad feelings you are experiencing. Perhaps Lucy’s future in-laws and others who may be judging intimidate her. But to you, it appears like she is stand-offish and privileged.

It is best to focus on what you can change. Try focusing on the generosity of The Smiths and work on showing your gratitude for Mrs. Smith’s time spent cooking and entertaining the group.

Try being kind and generous to Lucy with a sincere compliment. It might take reaching deep to find something, but with practice, you might begin to see and appreciate who Lucy really is beneath her outward appearance.

It will take time to develop and practice a new way of thinking – no quick fixes here!

Remember that relationships help us grow into the kind of person we choose to be. I’m sure you will choose for the best!

Miss L’Anne

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Need advice? Ask Miss L’Anne! She has an answer for everything. Seriously.

SPOTTED: Familiar Springtime Faces… and side-dishes.

SPOTTED: Familiar Springtime Faces... and side-dishes. | StayingSouthern.net

Viola tricolor or Johnny Jump Up

There’s nothing like a relentless winter to make me leap for joy when I finally spot a couple of tiny, familiar springtime faces in the yard.

I have always wondered why these little flowers are called Johnny Jump Ups. The name, I imagine, must have been coined by Johnny, a Southerner living up north, jumping for joy at the sight of blooming flowers after enduring six months of winter.

As pretty as the flowers are, Johnny Jump Ups make a tasty little treat, too. Members of the same perennial family such as sweet violets, violas and pansies are edible as well. The most common way to integrate the colorful blooms into a meal is as a garnish or in a salad. They also make delicious spreadsjellies and even vinegar. Sweet violets (Viola odorata) can be used in tea, syrup and cakes or even candied.  While the sweet violet flowers taste slightly perfumed, their leaves are tart.

 Johnny Jump Ups have even been known to treat epilepsy, asthma and eczema.

For best flavor, harvest newly bloomed flowers in the morning. This is when the oils are most concentrated and blooms look their best. The more you harvest, the more flowers will grow.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

In my Southern family, Easter always comes with a big celebration. Relatives come to town, huge spreads of food are prepared and the Easter baskets are packed full of treats.

Now, living far away and having only a husband and a dog to celebrate with, the epic festivities seem like a lot of work for just a couple people to enjoy. It’s easy to get complacent about carrying on customs, but each year when I make the effort, I’m never disappointed. Although I may be a far-flung Southerner, I can always take traditions with me wherever I live to make it feel like home.

Here’s five easy ways to celebrate Easter that will have you feeling like you’re back home without a lot of fuss.

1. Dye Easter eggs. This easy activity will have you feeling like a kid again as soon as you try the old half-pink, half-blue dunking method. The eggs in this ancient activity are meant to symbolize new life, reminding Christians of Christ’s resurrection. Ukrainian customs hold great significance in each color of Easter eggs:Here’s five easy ways to celebrate Easter that will have you feeling like you’re back home without a lot of fuss.

White: purity and innocence
Yellow: wisdom, recognition, harvest and reward
Orange: strength, endurance and ambition
Red: happiness, hope or passion
Green: sign of spring, hope and innocence
Blue: good health
Purple: royal color, faith and trust
(Ukrainian Easter by Mary Ann Woloch Vaughn)

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

2. Eat. In my family, Easter Sunday Mass is always followed by a delectable lunch. Ham was on the menu when we were young, but as everyone got older and the family grew in members, fried chicken from the grocery deli took its place. Either entrée is enjoyable with sides of potato salad and ambrosia salad.

3. Stage an Easter egg hunt. Whether you have kids or you’re a kid at heart, hunting Easter eggs is a surefire way to add a little excitement to your Sunday. Fill plastic eggs with traditional candy, love notes, jokes, money or other fun trinkets to suit the hunters’ taste and bring smiles all around.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

Photo: Maida Owens louisianafolklife.org

4. Knock Eggs. Whether you call it egg tapping, tucking, pocking or pâquing, this tradition is a competitive sport in Louisiana. My mother taught my brothers and me when we were young and the tournament-style competition has been an Easter ritual ever since. The rules vary by region, but my family’s are simple: knock the pointy ends of two hardboiled Easter eggs until one of them cracks. The unbroken egg goes on until the last intact egg is standing. Don’t be shy about getting into it. Since 1956, people in Marksville, La. gather in the courthouse square after Easter Sunday church services to compete. Some families even make brackets and keep score.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter5. Go to church. I’ve lived a lot of places, most of them hundreds or thousands of miles away from my tight-knit family. Going to church has always made me feel close to them no matter how far away I may be geographically. Raised Catholic, there is a comfort in knowing my family members are hearing the same scriptures and saying the same prayers as I am at Mass 2,100 miles away.

Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter in Los Angeles, California

Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter

Stinson’s novel, False River, is available on Amazon.


Name:
Stinson Carter

Born in: Shreveport, Louisiana

Occupation: Screenwriter, Journalist, and Novelist

I currently live in: Los Angeles, CA

When I go back, I always: Eat Southern Maid Donuts and a Herby-K shrimp buster. And I appreciate the time I get to spend with elderly family members. I listen to their stories like it’s the last time they’ll ever be told.

I miss: Family. And being in a place where I have a past. In Los Angeles I feel anonymous most of the time, but in Shreveport I feel like I’m part of a lineage, and there’s a deep comfort wrapped up in that.

Similarities I find between the South and where I live now: There is a kinship between ex-pat Southerners that I enjoy whenever I meet them in California. I’m working on a script with the producer of The Help right now, who is from Jackson, Mississippi. I think the fact that our hometowns are only a couple hundred miles apart definitely helped me get the job.

A Southern value I keep: I value knowing how to cook, and how to be a good host. A modest spread by Southern standards goes a long way in Southern California. Also, being accountable for what you say you’re going to do. In Hollywood you don’t make real plans. For example, you might say to a friend, “Let’s get lunch this week,” and they’ll say, “Yeah, that’d be great!” (Everything is great in Los Angeles.) But of course you don’t actually get lunch. What you’re really doing is just both agreeing that the idea of lunch sounds nice at that moment. There’s an old joke in Hollywood that goes like this:

“Did you hear that so-and-so died?”
“No!”
“Yep”
“That’s a shame. We’ve been meaning to get lunch.”

Being Southern has helped me: Keep a fundamental baseline for my values, and preserve my integrity in a city and within an industry that doesn’t exactly reward it.

Morsel of wisdom to other transplant Southerners: Don’t forget who you are. If you have a strong work ethic and treat people well, then you will make the kind of friends who will root for your success.

Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter in Los Angeles, CaliforniaRead Stinson Carter’s novel, False River, available for download on Amazon now.

Would you or someone you know like to contribute a Transplant Profile? Contact us!

Read more Transplant Profiles here

Southern progress and an upcoming transplant

In other news, the South has become more progressive. People are now adding things like carrots, mushrooms and, get ready for this, sweet potatoes to their crawfish boils. | StayingSouthern.netAfter a thorough inspection during this past weekend’s bachelorette festivities, I have found that the South is still as wonderful as it ever was.

My absence from the motherland was unacceptably long. I am happy to report that the streak has been broken and I will be back again in two weeks. Hugging my family twice in a month sounds just plain luxurious.

IIn other news, the South has become more progressive. People are now adding things like carrots, mushrooms and, get ready for this, sweet potatoes to their crawfish boils. | StayingSouthern.netn other news, the South has become more progressive. People are now adding things like carrots, mushrooms and, get ready for this, sweet potatoes to their crawfish boils. Maybe this isn’t new, but it’s new to me. And utterly delicious. I highly recommend it.

Coming up tomorrow on Staying Southern, an insightful and eloquent Transplant Profile from a Louisiana native residing in Los Angeles. In other news, the South has become more progressive. People are now adding things like carrots, mushrooms and, get ready for this, sweet potatoes to their crawfish boils. | StayingSouthern.netScreenwriter, journalist and novelist, Stinson Carter is this week’s featured ex-pat Southerner. After you read Stinson’s Transplant Profile, you’ll want more – so go ahead and download his novel, False River, from Amazon now. It’s a great read, steeped in rich characters and identifiable Louisiana goodness.

Dear Miss L’Anne: My guests left me fuming!

Dear Miss L'Anne: My guests left me fuming! | StayingSouthern.netDear Miss L’Anne,

I am a Southerner living in the North. Recently, I hosted a party where I made flower arrangements and spent days making special food and decorations. By the end of the party, I was fuming because guests had let their children destroy my decorations and left my house a complete mess (I found plates of unfinished food in my own bedroom that was off limits to guests!). I felt disrespected and like my efforts were lost on so many of the guests. Should I abandon my efforts to be a good hostess like I was raised, or is there a way I can make people understand that it hurts when they are poor party guests?

Sincerely,

Frustrated Hostess

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Dear Frustrated Hostess,

I am so sorry that your experience hosting a party in another part of the country was disappointing, but look what you gained from this event.

You spent time being creative, cooking, decorating, and preparing for the generous reception of your guests. I think you must have been happy and felt a sense of anticipation.

It seems a predicament was inevitable as the guest list was made. Hosting a party is more than food, decorations and inviting all the people you know to meet at one place. To have a successful party, it is wise to have a vision for the event. Is it to enjoy the company and conversation with people, to play games, to celebrate an occasion, or is it to celebrate something with children? When the reason for the party has been determined, it is easier to make the invitation list, plan the food, decorations, and the event.

For example, if the party is to enjoy conversation and get to know your guests better, the invitation can be extended to a few people and it should be clear that the occasion is for adults. I know it is difficult when children are usually included in everything. I love children, however, it is perfectly acceptable to have a party without children. If parents cannot find a sitter, they will have to decline this time.

Practice a sentence or two ahead of time to express your disappointment that someone will have to miss the party whether due to difficulty of finding a babysitter or some other reason. Being prepared with a gracious comment will enable you to keep to your plan for the party and help your friends still feel honored that you wanted to spend time with them even if they cannot attend.

Having a vision is a good thing, but it is a vision, not carved in stone. Plan, prepare, and then enjoy the time with your guests as you exhibit “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” That’s hospitality!

————————

Need advice? Ask Miss L’Anne! Nothing beats the wisdom of a true Southern lady. She knows everything there is to know about everything. Seriously.

Greetings from America’s skyways!

Tweet with me today while I fly the skies on my way home! (@Southern_Blog)Traveling almost makes you feel a little patriotic, doesn’t it? I love how every airport in America indulges every regional stereotype to its fullest potential. It’s like I don’t even have to leave the airport to really get to the meat of what a state is all about.

For example, Memphis International Airport: Barbecue and blues. Dallas/Fort Worth: Cowboy boots and Cowboys football. Portland International: University of Oregon Ducks, beer, and judging by the woman rocking out on the ukulele at gate C6, Portland likes the arts, too.

It’s like being at Disney World’s Epcot except I’m probably not going to get an autograph and picture with Goofy at any point today. But never say never.

I’ll keep dissecting the airport representations of each state, while you head on over to Twitter to read updates about my cross-country voyage back to the South.

(Psst! You don’t have to have a Twitter account to read my Tweets, just click the link!)