Wednesday Reads — August Wrap Up

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Hello book lovers! Well we made to the end of August and for many of y’all it is the first week of school so parents congratulations on surviving the summer with your sanity (hopefully) intact.

Didn’t get a lot of reading done this month so while I may not have read a ton of book I definitely some great books. I have to remind myself that it’s not the quantity but the quality that really matters!

How was your August? Did you make a dent in your TBR list? What are you currently reading now?

Death by Bubble Tea (L.A. Night Market Mystery) by Jennifer J. Chow

4 STARS

This is the first book in Jennifer Chow’s L.A. Night Market series that feature cousins Yale Yee and Celine Yee who are totally different but work great together. I loved this book and the cousin despite the fact that none of the cozy mystery tropes are in this series. There is no cozy companion, no small town, no love interest and yet I loved this book and hope this series has a long life.

Murder at the Blueberry Festival (Beacon Bakeshop Mystery #3) by Darci Hannah

5 STARS!

This is the third book in Darci Hannah’s Beacon Bakeshop mystery series and it is another winner! It’s August and Lindsey Bakewell is gearing up the annual Beacon Harbor Blueberry Festival but there is a prankster afoot who is creating havoc during the festival. Then Lindsey and her beau Rory Campbell stumble upon the body in a boat with a goat ( I know) and discovers it is Lars Jorgenson and his pet goat Clara. Now Lindsey and Rory along with her friend Kennedy, Betty Vanhoosen, and Lindsey’s parents are trying to discover who’s behind the pranks and who killed Lars?

This is another winner from Darci Hannah. With every book the character development is wonderful and no one is just one note but fully developed from the major characters to the side characters. The red herrings were perfect since I had no idea who the prankster was or the killer was but when the reveal happened I was so surprised and I related to the reason for the pranks and the murder.

If you are looking for a fun cozy mystery that will grab you from page one the Beacon Harbor Bakeshop mysteries are for you! I can’t wait for the fourth book in this series.

The Proof is In the Poison (A Southern Homebrew Mystery) by Diane Kelly

BOOK 2

This second book in Diane Kelly’s delightful Southern Homebrew mystery series was so good. This series is set in Chattanooga, TN and again I am really hoping this series has a long life.

Mousse and Murder (An Alaska Diner Mystery) by Elizabeth Logan

Book 1–3 STARS

This was my Facebook Book Club August pick and I was really excited to dig into this book since it would be my first cozy set in Alaska. Charlotte “Charlie” Cooke’s chef Oliver has been murdered and she is one of the suspects at first now she is determined to find out who killed the prickly chef and clear her name. I loved all the characters and how the police “deputized” everyone to help with the case and it made me want to book an Alaskan cruise. But I felt the story was just okay.

Something’s Guava Give (Trouble in Paradise) by Carrie Doyle

Book #2

I am back in Parasio with Plum Lockhart and I am really enjoying this second book even more that the 1st book which is as it should be. This book is so good I find myself staying up late because I just can’t put this book down!

I am enjoying the growth of Plum in this second book!

Happy August!

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Happy, happy August Southernistas! It’s by God’s grace we made it through July and here we are in August! For many parents this is a month of celebration as they get ready to send their offspring back to school. My own offspring will be starting Pharmacy School this month and I am so proud I could absolutely pop! I can’t wait to attend her coat ceremony!

August is not just back to school season but it also marks the waning days of summer….big sigh. In just 50 days 5 hours 53 minutes and 38 seconds (but whos counting) summer will be no more and fall will be here in fact many retailers are starting to introduce pre-fall collections which I am loving but not ready for. I’m starting to see all the fall anticipation memes about pumpkin spice and all things fall and I say BLAH! At the same time I am planning my fall closet refresh because I am nothing if not fashionable.

Eloquii Pre-Fall Pants and Blouse yes please

August is the only month in the year in which we celebrate no major holidays unless you want to count back to school as a major holiday and I’m sure there are parents who treat it as such with that being said that means we can celebrate everyday like it’s a holiday.

Until next time Southernistas!

Book Review of Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off by Darci Hannah

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5 STARS!

Happy Friday book lovers! I usually don’t do independent book reviews because I do a mini review on my Wednesday Reads posts but of the books I’ve read that week. But this second book in Beacon Bakeshop cozy mystery series by Darci Hannah deserves its own review. I was introduced to this author last year and I added her first book Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop to my TBR but I didn’t read it until this month because as I’m sure you all understand the TBR list never shrinks and takes on a life of its own. Once I read the first book which I enjoyed so much (clink on link below for that review) that I immediately ordered the second book in this series.

Wednesday Reads

Happy Wednesday book lovers! We’re half way through the week and getting ready for the weekend! Since last week I’ve…

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As I’ve stated before I am not a fan of Christmas in July because I like to celebrated each holiday in its season and I can only do one holiday at time and Christmas is a lot! But I knew I was going to break that rule this year because I just couldn’t wait until Christmas to read Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-offDarci Hannah is such an amazing author and she doesn’t disappoint in this second book in the series (yes I have book 3). So as soon as I read my book club picks for July I immediately dived into Christmas cookie bake-off.

It’s Christmas in Beacon Harbor, MI and Lindsey Bakewell has visions of sugarplums and the perfect Christmas a la Hallmark dancing in her head. The bakeshop is doing great, her romance with Rory Campbell is going great, she has more staff to help her out, and the holiday orders are rolling in! The only problem is Lindsay has been through 3 baking assistants and when the self proclaimed Christmas expert Felicity Stewart owner of the towns year round Christmas Shoppe springs a Christmas cookie bake-off competition a week before the Christmas festival titled (kid you not) The Great Beacon Harbor Christmas Cookie Bake-off in which every one must introduce a signature cookie and the top 4 will be in a live baking competition at the Christmas festival that will be judged by the famous Chicago food critic Chevy Chambers of the show Windy City Eats well Lindsay is ready to throw in the towel! How is she going to do this on top of all the baking and filling orders without a baking assistant she needs a Christmas miracle!

Chevy Chambers turns out to be a truly loathsome person creating chaos and making enemies. He is hitting on the women in the competition and making promises to each one in exchange for “favors” but Lindsey sees through the slimy Mr. Chambers and doesn’t take him up on any offers

Then during the actual live competition Chevy is murdered and everything points to Felicity will Lindsay along with Rory, her best friend Kennedy, her parents who have flown in for Christmas and the resident lighthouse ghost Captain Willy be able to find the real killer or will Lindsay’s perfect Hallmark Christmas get cancelled permanently?

I loved this book! You can see the growth in every character and from the first sentence I was hooked and just couldn’t put the book down. There were plenty of red herrings but the one thing I appreciate about the author is she never introduces anyone or anything that doesn’t move the plot along. Also there are never like a hundred suspects or a lot of subplots that can take away from the actual mystery. I was fully engaged in the plot and again the killer was not the person I thought it was but there is one scene in the story that had me dying with laughter that involves Lindsey, Kennedy and her mother Ellie. I also loved her temporary baking assistant Mrs. Nichols who is Lindsey’s Christmas miracle.

It is hard for me to find anything I didn’t like about Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off but if I have too:

  1. I was not a fan of the whole cookie napping thing because the only person who could identify them was Mrs. Nichols it worked on some level but I could have done without it
  2. I was well into the book before the murder actually happened but this is a matter of personal preference for me. I tend to like for the murder to happen at the beginning of the book again nit picking.
  3. The Great Beacon Harbor Christmas Cookie Bake-off I know it was a play on The Great British Bake-off but oh my goodness what a long title and I know I’m being super nit picky but I felt this title was just too much.

Until next time book lovers!

Dealing with Rejection

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rejection: 1. the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc. 2. the spurning of a person’s affections.

Hi Southernistas I always like for my post to be uplifting, encouraging, and full of fashion so I try to avoid dark and heavy topics that may be triggering for some of you but I feel the need to talk about rejection. In this thing called life we are going to face rejection and quite frankly it sucks! We face it on our jobs when that presentation we worked so hard on or that great idea gets rejected by the boss or client, job searches, in our dating life (for those of you who have one), in familial situations, even with our friends we can face rejection I mean you want to try the new Asian fusion restaurant and everyone else wants to hang out at the same old same old.

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No one likes to be dismissed or spurned and I like to think of myself as an expert in this field. In school I was the one who was always picked last for EVERYTHING, I sat alone at lunch. Even in college I had a wide circle of friends but whenever we went out all of my friends were approached and I was just…there and I was like “hello over here.” I was always the wallflower! After college the number of thank you but no thank you letters I received in my job search really made me think “did my mom just waste thousands of dollars on my expensive college education for nothing?” Why aren’t companies breaking down my door to hire me?

As a Christian many times my well meaning brothers and sisters in Christ will say “they rejected Jesus and His apostles so expect the same” and while I know they mean well this is not always what I want or wanted to hear. I know they are trying to be encouraging but there are times I reject this because I don’t need a “cliché” I need more than a tried and true saying. I am always so much more appreciative when I can talk with a fellow believer and they don’t start with they rejected Jesus but they really pour into me with words of encouragement and when needed correction to help me deal with the rejection. They give me a Jesus perspective on the rejection that I can’t see at the time because I am so wounded by the rejection.

Inspiring Quotes

As I got older I found myself slowly withdrawing from any situation that would lead to me being rejected or saying yes to everything so I wouldn’t be rejected because a person can only take so much! Rejection hurts no matter how gently someone tells you no although there are those who take pleasure in rejecting people. When we start to fear being rejected we find ourselves in a position of always saying yes which leads to over commitment and being taking advantage of by some truly awful people who feel no guilt at using you. This fear of rejection to the point of closing yourself off from people or either saying yes to everything is called rejection sensitive dysphoria which is defined as People who have an emotional reaction to negative judgments, exclusion, or criticism beyond what most people feel. While this is not a medical or a recognized mental health issue it is a serious and real thing that can hinder your growth as a person.

So here are some of my suggestions for dealing with rejection:

  1. Know that rejection is a part of life and there is nothing you can do to avoid rejection. You are going to be rejected its how you deal with the rejection that’s important.
  2. Some of the most famous people have suffered a lot of rejection but it didn’t stop them you have to be persistent. Remember that no can lead to a greater yes in a greater career. J.K. Rowling was not an overnight success.
  3. Look at the rejection as a blessing in disguise. Sure that guy/girl turned you down but then you meet “the one” and realize you had a lucky escape. That so called dream job or promotion you didn’t get? Then you discover it was more or a nightmare than a dream…whew!
  4. You are allowed to feel and be hurt when you are rejected but not wallow in self pity. The worse advice I’ve ever received was to suck it up and move on like it never happened. NO! Give yourself permission and a time limit (I give myself 24–48 hours) to be hurt, sad, angry, or whatever you’re feeling then move on. I’m not saying when the time limit is up the feeling just disappear they don’t but you’re able to function better and have perspective. If it requires therapy seek help but don’t act like it didn’t affect you! Hear speaks the voice of experience.
  5. Reach out to your tribe! When you’ve been rejected there is nothing like having those who know you and love you best surround you with love, prayer, encouragement, and guidance! Lord knows where I’d be without my Mom, daughter, church, and besties Lisa & Laura!
  6. Be open to rejection and dare I say embrace it! Yes I said it be open to rejection be willing to approach that person, apply for that job, pitch that idea to your boss do whatever it is knowing there is a chance you will be rejected but you’ll walking away knowing you tried and that is half the battle!
  7. Turn the rejection into a positive! Some of the richest people in the world started their business because they were rejected so they struck out on their own and the rest is Microsoft history!
  8. Use that rejection to work on you and better yourself. Sometimes rejection can reveal something about you that needs improvement.
  9. I can’t say it enough and I know I’ve already said it in #4 but find a qualified and good therapist that can help you deal with rejection. They can give you the tools you need to help you deal with rejection and if you suffer with rejection sensitive dysphoria.

Last but not least try not to take every rejection so personally. It took me years to learn how to deal with rejection and see the pluses and not see it as God punishing me. I can honestly look back over my 51 years of life and see that many of the rejections I received was the best thing that ever happened to me. If I had got that job, stayed with that guy just to be in a relationship, maintained that friendship, and so many other things that were harmful to me I wouldn’t be where I am now and who I am. I don’t think I would be here. There is no doubt Jesus is infinitely more wise than I will ever be and knows what is best for me!

So just know rejection is a part of life but it doesn’t have to define your life or cause you to miss out on what’s to come!

Until next time Southernistas!

Wednesday Reads

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Hello again book lovers! Today I want to share with y’all what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what is up next in my cozy mystery reading adventures. July has been for me a month of non stop reading and yet my TBR pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.

With it being so hot and know for some you the temps have been in the 100s this is the perfect time to stay inside and read a good book:).

What good books are you reading?

Finished Reading

Murder Is No Picnic (Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing

This is the third book in the Cape Cod foodie mystery series and I highly suggest you read the 2nd book An Eggnog to Die For before you read this book as there are references to the second book that for me at least was a slight distraction from the actual plot of this book.

Samantha Barnes the Cape Cod foodie is really excited for her 4th of July clambake she’s planning and has discovered the perfect blueberry buckle to serve. When she gets the chance to meet famed celebrity chef Clara Foster and learn how to make the blueberry buckle for her blog is beyond excited. The day was great and Sam had so much fun with Clara so she is shocked to discover the next day Clara has died in a house fire. When carelessness is believed to be the reason for the fire Sam knows that Clara was too a good a chef to leave a frying pan on a stove unattended and is determined to prove that Clara was murdered.

I found myself steadily engrossed in the plot. I definitely see growth in Samantha and all of the additional characters in this book. I never found myself getting bored with the storyline and there were not too many red herrings.

I give Murder Is No Picnic 4 stars

Murder, She Knit (A Knit & Nibbles Mystery) by Peggy Ehrhart

This was the July Cozy Mystery Book Club pick and I was looking forward to discovering a new (to me) series and author. There are nine books in this series with book 10 in the works so it is a very popular series.

Five years after Pamela Paterson became a widow she is settling into her life and career as an editor for a craft magazine and an empty nester. She runs into an old friend Amy who has moved to Arborville, NJ to teach at the local college. Pamela invites Amy to her knitting group known as knit and nibble but Amy never shows up and when everyone in the group leaves Pamela finds Amy’s body in her yard stabbed with a knitting needle when she goes looking for her cat.

This book was not for me and when the killer was revealed I just couldn’t see how the person who was the killer could have been the killer. I mean everything pointed to 1 of 2 people and it wasn’t the killer. How could everyone enter and left Pamela’s house and not see Amy’s body or hear the murder? I was also disappointed that there were knitting patterns included in the book. I never really fully connected with Pamela.

I give this book 2.5 stars

Currently Reading

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off (A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery) by Darci Hannah

I am hooked on this series! I read the first book in this series Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop quickly because I just couldn’t put the book down. Then I immediately bought the second book in the series which just so happens to be Christmas themed and I just couldn’t wait until December to read it!

Darci Hannah does not disappoint with her second book in this series and I am trying to pace myself but if work didn’t interfere with my reading I would be home right now curled up with a cup of coffee reading this book but I will be reading on my lunch break!

Next Up

Death by Bubble Tea (Night Market Mystery Series) by Jennifer J. Chow

I am very excited to read this first book in this series by Jennifer J. Chow who is also the author of The Sassy Cat series and Winston Wong series. This will be my first time reading anything by this author but I am really looking forward to reading this book especially since it takes place in Los Angeles and not in a small town. If the reviews I’ve been seeing on Instagram by bookstagrammers are anything to go by this is going to be a treat!

1st Book in a New Cozy Series

Book Blurb:

When Yale Yee discovers her cousin Celine is visiting from Hong Kong, she is obliged to play tour guide to a relative she hasn’t seen in twenty years. Not only that, but her father thinks it’s a wonderful idea for them to bond by running a food stall together at the Eastwood Village Night Market. Yale hasn’t cooked in years, and she hardly considers Celine’s career as a social media influencer as adequate experience, but because she’s just lost her job at her local bookstore, she feels she has no choice.

Yale and Celine serve small dishes and refreshing drinks, and while business is slow, it eventually picks up thanks to Celine’s surprisingly useful marketing ideas. They’re quite shocked that their bubble tea, in particular, is a hit — literally — when one of their customers turns up dead. Yale and Celine are prime suspects due to the gold flakes that Celine added to the sweet drink as a garnish. Though the two cousins are polar opposites in every way, they must work together to find out what really happened to the victim or the only thing they’ll be serving is time.

The Shoe File

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Happy Thursday Southernistas and shoe lovers! In case I haven’t stated this before I have a serious love of shoes some would call it a obsession but I prefer to call it an appreciation. Shoes are the ultimate accessory and a perfect way to try a trend or a print if you don’t want to wear that print “why yes I will buy those animal print/polka dot/striped heel.” I often build a whole outfit around a pair of shoes. My shoe goal is to own a pair of (cue the harps and spotlight) Louboutins one day but my bank account tells me to keep working towards that goal.

Weather you love heels like I do, flats or you’re a sneakerhead shoes in my humble opinion shoes completes your whole look. There is nothing like finding that perfect shoe. There are many pieces in my closet I purchased based on a pair of shoes and a specific look I was going for and of course when you want to elevate your look. If you work in an office with a specific dress code you can express your personality with your shoes. I’ve lost number of the amount of times I’ve been complimented on just my shoes and not the whole outfit.

So today I want to share with y’all some of my recent shoe purchases and they are all still available and some of these go up to a size 10.

Until next time Southernistas!

Blue by Betsy Johnson from Zappos
Steve Madden Mules from Zappos
Just Fab Adele Throwback Pump (few sizes left in black and red)
Just Fab Khloy Classis Pump (comes in several colors and prints)
Just Fab Lorelai Block Heel (comes in several colors and wide width)
Just Fab Tweed Mule (no longer available)

How I am Learning to be Single

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for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Phil 4:11b

Happy Friday Southernistas and also Happy February 1st! There is nothing like starting the weekend off in a new month!

When I was thinking about content for this week’s blog I was trying to decided what I wanted to talk about regarding fashion and style but the I felt the prompted to talk about something I’m not comfortable talking about…my singleness especially in February. My martial status is something I try not to think about mostly because I’ve spent a lot of time and energy thinking about my martial status. The closer I get to 50 (I’ll be 48 this year) the more aware I am of the fact that I am still single and I mean single never been married single. I always thought that by now I would be married for a number of years and provided my daughter with siblings.

Then I realized last year that although I am single I never really learned how to be single I mean your status is single when you come into the world but then as we get older and discover the opposite sex we feel the pressure to be coupled up with someone. I remember desperately wanting a boyfriend all though high school and college (not one date in college) especially when you see everyone all lovey dovey. The month of February was torture for me but I had friends that made it bearable. Except for one brief relationship in my 20s I have been very, very, very single and for most of this time I have been very sad, lonely, and depressed about being single.

The number of times I cried on my best friend shoulder about being single are too many to count! The times I’ve spent in prayer asking God why am I still single again too many to count. My Pastor and First Lady encouraged me that it would happen for me but it just seemed that every year it never happened. One year at my church it seemed like all I did was announce upcoming nuptials! To encourage myself I would ready 1 Corinthians 7 to remind myself the benefits of being single versus being married.

I look back over those years and realize now that I wasn’t ready for a real relationship. I was needy, desperate and was looking for someone to fulfill all my emotional needs. I had a lot of baggage that needed to be unpacked and dealt with. I also realize now that I wanted to be a relationship so I could say I was in a relationship so I was more committed and in love with the idea of being in a relationship.

Then last year it happened! No I didn’t meet a man but I realized that I had to learn how to be single. I had to learn to truly appreciate being single and being happy with my state until God changes my status. I had to learn that I can go out by myself and shop, eat, visit museums and enjoy my own company. Also I also realize how great it is to have the freedom to come and go as I please without having to consider someone else. My spending choices are mine alone. Most importantly this is the time when you can really focus on God and really seek Him.

As I was thinking about what to say the latter part verse 11 from Philippians chapter 4 came to me in this last chapter the Apostle Paul is encouraging the Philippians to rejoice, not to worry and if you do what to think on to ease the worry, and then he begins to let them know that he has experienced different circumstances the one thing he has learned is to be content. Now I want say I’m content with being single but I am learning to be content. I am learning that my life is not dependent on having a man in my life but it is dependent on having Jesus in my life!

Yes I am still single but the difference now is that I am waiting for that someone that is right for me and not doing anymore is moping around discontent and depressed because I don’t have someone in my life. I know longer dread February 14th. I am learning in this phase of my life to be single and content and that has made all the difference.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Eloquii x Draper James Collection (no longer available) | Shoes from Payless

Spring has Sprung!

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Hello Southernistas and Happy Spring! At the risk of being a broken record I do so love Spring! I know this time of year can be miserable for allergy suffers and I am so sorry the pollen is making your life miserable but SPRING IS HERE…WHOO HOOO! It is just something about seeing the Earth waking up from its long winter nap that lifts my spirits. To see the trees budding, feel the sunshine, the flowers blooming, and the most important thing the Spring fashions and swimsuits my favorite brands rollout well a girl can’t help but be happy.

In this blog I’m going to post some of my favorite pieces I’m loving right now from two of my favorite brands Eloqui and Lane Bryant!

Until next time Southernistas!

Eloquii Textured Full Empire Dress
Eloquii Wrap Around Dress
Lane Bryant Cami Dress
Lane Bryant Ruffle Hem Eyelet Fit & Flare Dress

The Bodycon Dress

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Hello Southernistas! Hope you’ve had a great week and that you have an even better weekend! I confess the one article of clothing that puts me way outside my comfort zone is the bodycon dress. What is a bodycon dress you ask. Bodycon is a dress that hugs your body and trust me I realize this dress makes many plus size women uncomfortable and many avoid this dress . I understand because I was one of those women for years because of my tummy. My comfort zone is an A-line or fit and flare dress that doesn’t draw attention to my middle.

As you can see from the numerous pictures of me on this blog I carry my weight in my middle so in my mind bodycon dresses are more suited for an hourglass shape or a pear share. If you’ve wanted to try a bodycon dress but have been hesitant I recommend a sweater dress they have stretch and they tend to skim the body so they’re not too bodycon which I personally believe is the perfect dress to start with or size up the dress will not hug your curves as much. If you’re self conscious about your tummy or another part of your body you don’t want to draw attention to add a duster, cardigan, moto jacket, or blazer to give you a little more coverage. I cannot stress the importance of the right foundation garments! The right shapewear and bra with the dress will not make you slimmer but smooths everything out so the dress fits you like it should!

I promise you bodycon dresses are nothing to be afraid of and there is a dress out there for you that will make you feel sexy and a total bombshell. Don’t let the negative voices or doubts stop you from dipping your toe in this part of the fashion waters. If you’re still not ready to try full on bodycon look go with a pencil skirt to begin with and work your way up to the dress.

You have a wide selection of brands to choose from but I highly recommend Fashion to Figure they are my go to for bodycon dresses and this little red bodycon sweater dress (buttons are not functional) is FIRE! I wore a cami under it for the office and wore this red moto jacket to complete the look. This dress is sold out but click here and here for an alternate

There is a bodycon dress out there for you I promise!

Until next time Southernistas

Dress — Fashion to Figure (sold out), Moto Jacket — Eloquii (sold out) alternateShoes — Just Fab

Why I Love Shoes…especially Heels!

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“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world!” Marilyn Monroe

Hello Southernistas! Well I hope y’all are having a great week and that you have great plans (or not) for this last weekend in February! You might not know this but I love shoes! I actually own a little over 100 pair of shoes. I’ve actually written previously about two of my favorite shoe brands Nine West and Just Fab. Now I can hear the men saying “what woman doesn’t love shoes”…LOL! But my love of shoes especially heels border on obsession okay it is an obsession. I mean I use to watch Sex and the City just to get my shoe fix. I wear heels 6 days out of 7. My motto is the higher the heel the closer to God!

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love high heel shoes it is definitely a life long love affair. I think I get my love from my grandmother who loved heels and tried to pass it on to my mother but it skipped her and passed to me. I remember going out shopping with her and how she would bypass the flats and go straight to the heels section of the store. I guess it rubbed off on me because I’ve been wearing heels since I was 13 and as I got older my heels got higher. At one point I actually owned a pair of 5 1/2 inch heels.

Why do I love heels maybe its because I’m 5’3′ and I love how “tall” I feel when I wear them. I love how great my legs look in heels and as a short girl when I wear maxi dresses, skirts, or certain pants heels assist in “lifting” the hems so I’m not tripping over my hems and I don’t have to pay a visit to my tailor. They give a little extra oomph when I walk. Heels can take a plain ordinary look and kick it up a whole level. You’re wearing a LBD (little black dress) just add a killer pair of red stilettoes, animal print, sassy pattern or a jeweled sparkly shoe and boom just sit back and watch the compliments roll in!

The best things about heels is that unlike shopping for clothes they fit regardless of dress size. I love that heels come in different heights, types, and styles. I love a wedge heel for a relaxed and causal look and they are the best type to wear if you want to wear heels and be comfortable. Block heels are right up there with wedges when it comes to comfort but are dressier and perfect for the office and church. Stilettoes are for the ultimate girly girl and when you want to totally vamp it up! I myself am personally a stiletto girl and they make up a large percentage of my shoe collection but when I want to feel sexy, fierce, and unstoppable then my go to shoe is a pair of killer stilettoes and I feel like I can take on anything or anyone!

Now I know that many of you can’t wear heels or any kind for health reasons. Some of you have had surgeries, suffered sports related injuries, are dealing with a chronic illness, back issues and other reasons. I have friends who love heels but are just not able to wear them. But for those of you who are just a teeny, tiny bit hesitant about wearing heels my best advice is to start with a kitten heel (2″) or a cute little wedge and work your way up and stop at the heel height that feels comfortable for you.

I absolutely love shoes and I’m pretty sure when I’m 95 I’ll still be wearing high heels and they will probably be orthopedic and I’ll probably be using a walker but I’ll still be wearing them and loving them!

Until next time Southernistas! Keep your head, standards, and heels high!

The Southernista

I’m a 50 something southern girl who has a passion for fashion. Join me on my fashion journey. Follow me on Instagram: @reginathesouthernista

Yes You Can!

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Hello Southernistas! As I was thinking about what I wanted to talk to y’all about the campaign slogan from President Obama’s 2008 first presidential run popped in my brain! His slogan was Yes We Can except I substituted the we for you (you get it). This also lead me to Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” So many times in this life we live we are more often told no you can’t do that in one way or another but as then Senator Barack Obama proved Yes…You…Can! The Apostle Paul list a number of situations he had experienced but then followed up with verse 13 in chapter 4 which is every Christian’s go to scripture (and Romans 8:28). I think about all the times I allowed the negative words from well meaning and some not well meaning people to tell me I couldn’t do something or you can’t wear this or you shouldn’t wear that because of my size but I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to listen to the no you can’t/shouldn’t and start to listen to the yes you can Regina voices!

Today I want to let you know: YES YOU CAN! Yes you can start that business, blog, YouTube channel. Yes you can wear that swimsuit, pattern, print, color. Yes you can leave that toxic relationship weather it is a romantic, a friendship, or a work relationship. Yes you can write that book. Yes you can heal from unspeakable trauma with the help of a great therapist and Jesus. Yes you can take that trip by yourself or with your girls. Yes you can buy that house all by yourself. Yes you can take that chance on that new relationship. Yes You Can! Yes You Can! Yes You Can! YES…YOU…CAN! God will give the strength you need to make the steps you need to make.

It is so important to surround yourself — not with yes people — but with cheerleaders who will always bring out the best in you, cheer you on, encourage you, tell you the truth, help you achieve your goals. I am blessed to have some great cheerleaders in my life. People who saw my potential when I didn’t and couldn’t see it and was listening to the negative voices. People who loved me, encouraged me, pushed me, cheered me, and wouldn’t let me accept less than in my life. Who said to me yes you can until I could say if for myself. This blog exists because of my mom, a friend at work, my church (love you AHOD) especially, and my besties Lisa and Laura. When I first thought about starting a blog I talked to my cheerleaders and they helped me pick out the name of my blog and gave me really great input and not one word of negativity or discouragement was spoken.

So if you’ve been thinking about taking that first step in a new direction in life and you’re wondering if you should let me be one of your cheerleaders to tell you YES YOU CAN with the help of God (always seek God first), therapy (if needed), and great people in your life you can achieve your goals!

Until next time Southernistas!

Skirt & Top from Ashley Stewart (sold out), Faux Leather Blazer from Eloquii, Shoes from Just Fab (sold out)
Cropped Blazer, Top, Skirt from Ashley Stewart (sold out), Shoes are Just Fab (sold out)
Blazer and Jacket from Lane Bryant (old), Turtleneck from Ashley Stewart (sold out), Shoes are Torrid (old)
Faux Leather Blazer and Pants from Eloquii, Sweater from Old Navy, Booties from Just Fab

How I Handle SAD

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Hello Southernistas! Well here we are at the end of January and unless you live in the Caribbean, Canary Islands, or some other year round warm haven then you like me are in the depths of winter. I am sure that some of you like me are tired of winter and ready for the H.E.A.T! Here in NC we started last week with snow and ended with snow and now the weatherman is predicting more snow this weekend. Make…it….STOP!

So I suffer from a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a thing and it affects some 3 million people. This occurs during the winter when the days are shorter so longer nights (how do people in the Arctic Circle survive) and some of the symptoms are depression, fatigue, hopelessness and social withdrawal pile on top of this pandemic. This can be treated with therapy and in some cases medication. If you can afford it a vacation to warmer climes it is a wonderful boost.

Last week with the frigid temperatures coupled with snow and ice I really struggles. I just didn’t want to get out of bed and felt so low so I recognized the signs and knew I needed to practice my coping skills when I began to experience some symptoms.

Here is how I handle the winter blues:

  1. I lean more into my quite time with God when I get up I grab my Bible, devotional, journal and I spend time praying and letting God’s word speak to my soul. I try to spend at least an hour and when I come to the end of that hour reluctantly I feel lifted and ready for the day.
  2. Exercise! Weather it’s just 15 mins or you go full on beast research shows that exercise releases those wonderful endorphins which gives you a boost. I am by no means a morning person but when I get up and go walking at the YMCA, because hello it’s cold outside, for 45 minutes at the end of my walk I feel in the words James Brown good and I am in a better had space! So get moving
  3. Fashion (I mean you knew it was coming) I am firm believer in the Regina Brett quote “No matter how you feel get up, dress up, show up!” and that is what I do! Last week and this week has been a real struggle for me. I didn’t want to get up and do #1 or #2 but this quote would pop in my head and after my quiet time and walk after I shower and go through my morning routine I hit my closet and pull on something fabulous. By the time I dress and step into my heels I am ready and in a totally different place. Now I know there are many who don’t believe in the power of fashion but I am telling you there is nothing like putting on that dress or suit that gives you boss feelings! When you put on that outfit you know the one that puts a big smile on your face. There is indeed power in fashion and there is something to be said for the feeling you get when you see yourself dressed and ready to take on the world.

Now as I said my SAD is very mild and I am in no way a psychiatrist or therapist so please seek treatment if you are suffering from SAD. These are what work for me and hopefully along with other treatment these suggestions can be incorporated into your treatment.

Until next Southernistas! Stay Safe! Stay Warm!

Top Ashley Stewart, Faux Leather Skirt alternativealternateShoes Just Fab
Blazer, Pants, Sweater Ashley Stewart sold out
AlternateAlternate
Top, Pants & Coat — Eloquii (sold out) alternatealternate, coat alternate
Dress (sold out)— Elquii alternate, Shoes — Just Fab
Blazer & Pants — Eloquii

Sweater Dress Season

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Hello Southernistas! I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that y’all are enjoying the leftovers! If you traveled I hope you had a stress less travel holiday with no delayed flights and not (too) crazy traffic. In the next few blog posts I will be talking about sweater dresses and the brands I love. This week’s post is about Lane Bryant sweater dresses but it is not sponsored by Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant is my go to for affordable and stylish dresses and sweater dresses are included. I actually bought 6 sweater dresses (there was a sale) and I don’t regret a single purchase. I love that Lane Bryant’s sweater dresses are feminine and come in different styles from A-line to bodycon and you just can’t go wrong!

I’ve stated before and even wrote about how much I don’t like Fall but with that being said I must amend that because I do love fall fashion and I especially love when I can break out the sweater dresses…oh yeah! Fall is referred to as sweater weather, cuffing season, and cozy season but I like to refer to it as sweater dress season. I love a great sweater dress they give you a cozy feeling and warmth. Every year when I add to my sweater dress collection and this year is no different. Some are very heavy and warm and some of them are very light weight for 60 plus degree weather.

Every brand offers several dresses in every color, length, type (A-line, bodycon, sheath), and weight (heavy and light). This is the perfect time to grab them up with all the sales that are happening and if you’re not a dress girl they would make a great gift for the dress girl you know.

Until next time Southernistas!

Lane Bryant Fit & Flare Sweater Dress (Sold out) Alternate
Lane Bryant Mock Rib Sweater Dress
Lane Bryant Rib Mix Sweater Dress, Shoes — Just Fab (old)

The Southernista

I’m a 50 something southern girl who has a passion for fashion. Join me on my fashion journey. Follow me on Instagram: @reginathesouthernistaTHE SOUTHERNISTA FOLLOWS

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Sofistafunk Girl

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Hello Southernistas! I hope you’ve had a great week and are getting ready for not only the weekend but to regain an hour of sleep as we turn back out clocks. Today I want to talk about an independent size inclusive brand that is woman and black owned and a totally cool and unique fashion brand and that is Sofistafunk the Skirt Co . I discovered this brand about 3 maybe 4 years ago thanks to an Instagram ad. Arlinda McIntosh is the owner and incredible designer of this brand and trust me when I say once you see her designs you will find yourself reaching for your credit card. 

The designs really are one of a kind I mean Arlinda elevates the denim skirt to a whole new level and believe me you’ll get nothing but compliments. I’m not going to lie to y’all some of her pieces are expensive but they are worth your dollars and she offers customization plus this brand is environmentally responsible and most of their designs produce zero waste! If you have any questions you can reach out to Arlinda and she will respond to you pretty quickly. This brand doesn’t just offer denim skirts I just love the denim skirts but you will find dresses, tops, and accessories also.

As a plus size woman independent brands are a plus size girls best friend! They really do design with a larger body in mind and they give us the fashion that we want and demand and they are worth every dollar. I have purchased two denim skirts from Sofistafunk and I have never been disappointed. 

When you order from Sofistafunk keep in mind everything is hand made so it will not ship out that same day you order it takes about 10–14 days without customization. She does offer customization which can add to how long it takes to receive your order but it is well worth the wait and Arlinda always adds some little extra goodies in your order. 

I recently purchase this lovely maxi denim skirt and it fit my 5″3 frame perfectly and I’ve gotten nothing but compliments. Don’t sleep on this brand!

Until next time Southernistas!

Sofistafunk Denim Maxi Skirt, Top — Ashley Stewart, Denim Booties — Nine West

Print Love: Houndstooth

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Hi Southernistas! Let’s talk about houndstooth! Now I know for many of you any print is scary to wear because we’ve all heard “the rules” no polka dots, no florals, no strips, and only wear black to make us look “smaller.” Well throw those rules out the window and embrace….houndstooth! I love this print in fact it’s right up there with my love of all things gingham and polka dot. If you look in my closet you will see plenty of all three prints but houndstooth to me is by far the boldest of the prints (I also call it the optical illusion print).Houndstooth is a very sophisticated print and it can make you look very pulled together and elegant. This print is as previously stated a bold print and you have to wear it with equal boldness and fierceness! This print not only comes in black and white but you can find it in other bold colors like this print from Ashley Stewart who does has really taken it up when it comes to this particular print.

I encourage you to give this print a try. If you don’t want to do a head to toe look try wearing a pant or skirt or a blazer/jacket in this print. You’ll feel elegant and trust me the compliments will come!

Until next time Southernistas! Be Bold! Be Brave! Be Beautiful!

Duster & Pants– Ashley Stewart

Created for Purpose

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For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesian 2:10

Hello Southernistas! I was actually working on something else as I struggled to come up with a topic for this week’s blog post then this week then I felt the Holy Spirit whisper you are created for purpose! The verse that immediately came to me is Ephesians 2:10 which has become my life verse and I often speak this verse over me when I am bombarded with self doubt.

So I abandoned the blog I was working on for this week and wanted to let you know that God has created you for purpose. There are so many self help books and gurus out here that say they can help you find your purpose but the only book you need is the Bible, God’s holy word, that speaks truth. There are times when we wonder why am I here what is my purpose? To know what your purpose is you need to know who Jesus is and once you come into relationship with Jesus and begin to walk with Him trust me you will begin to realize that you are created for purpose and He will help you to walk in your purpose and live out your purpose.

For so long I wondered what my purpose was in life I even read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren but still felt like my life had no purpose. Then one day during my quiet time with God I was lead to Ephesians 2:10 and this verse just stuck me and made me realize that I am His masterpiece and I was not created just to exist but to do and everyday I strive to live my life with purpose. I am not just talking fashion but to be that light that points others to Jesus. 

Just know that God has created you for purpose and where ever God has planted you He put you there weather it be temporary or permanent you are there for purpose. You are there to be an agent of change for good and to have a positive affect on the lives of those you come into contact with. Purpose doesn’t require wealth or celebrity status all it requires is a willing heart and faith in Jesus.

Until next time Southernistas! Live with Purpose!

Healthy at Any Size

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Hello Southernistas! The one thing I never ever talk about on my blog is weight loss or exercising or anything remotely like it but as I was wondering what to talk about I just couldn’t get away from this subject so I want to talk to y’all today about being healthy at any size. Now before you move on just hear me out first. I’ve spent most of my life on one diet or another I mean literally since I was 13 years old I’ve been dieting. I’ve lost weight and gained (more) weight. I decided in my 40s that I was getting off the diet hamster wheel and just make peace with my weight and live in my body and live my life and that is what I’ve been doing for the last 7 years.

Let me say right now before I continue that I am not getting weight loss surgery or starting a new diet in fact I’ve started a healthy lifestyle. Also I am not here to judge or put down weight loss or weight loss surgery. You have to do what is best for you! I had to make changes due to high blood pressure and I now use a CPAP machine so I knew I needed to make some changes but it took me a long time because all I heard was loose weight i.e. go on a diet.

Once I realized that getting healthy does not mean going on a diet but making life changes then I was able to realize that healthy does not equal dieting. So I’ve stopped eating fast food every day but I try to limit my fast food stops to once a week, I walk 2 miles or more 3–4 times a week, I eat at home more and bring my lunch to work but again to get to this point I had to stop looking at exercise and healthy eating as “dieting” which was a major obstacle for me. As a plus size woman diet culture it constantly pushed in my face and I constantly get unsolicited weight loss ads and suggestions on my social media sites when I block. It wasn’t easy but it helps when I go walking and I see bodies of all shapes and sizes being active, I see plus size influencers who work out not for weight loss but to take care of their bodies and I have an amazing doctor who really talks to me and not at me and treats ME the person.

Luckily there are loads of resources (listed below) out there to help you get started towards a healthy lifestyle regardless of what the scale says. Plus more and more brands are creating plus size workout wear we can be just as cute and stylish as we move our bodies. If you’re looking at being healthy as dieting just know that you are not alone in this thinking. Once we get off that diet wheel we don’t want to fine ourselves back on the weight loss/weight gain merry go round but I just want to encourage you to get moving weather it’s dancing, walking, bike riding, skating or whatever it may be just enjoy moving your body.

Until next Southernistas! The fashion will be back in the next blog…PROMISE!

If you’re wanting to start a health journey check out these websites:

Health At Every Size Community

National Eating Disorder Website

Association for Size Diversity and Health

What I’m Loving – Skincare

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Hi Southernistas! I hope y’all are staying safe, washing your hands, practicing social distancing, staying home and most importantly staying sane in the pandemic!

I have been doing a lot less shopping since I’ve been home and been tackling my quarantine reading list (if you’d like to know what I’m reading check out my IG @reginathesouthernista) but I’ve also been overhauling my skincare products. These products are inexpensive but just as effective as the more expensive brands with the most expensive product being $16.00. If your budget is stretched thin right now but you don’t want to forgo your skincare routine I hope you will find these products kinder to your pocketbook and they are vegan and natural products.

First product – Botanics All Bright Foam Cleanser

I discovered this cleanser at Walgreens and it was one of my best discoveries! I was looking to purchase my usual cleanser which is close to $20 then my eyes fell on this cleanser and it is under $10.00! It is a very light and gentle cleanser so perfect for sensitive skin and it left my skin feeling truly clean and bright.

Second Product – Burt’s Bee’s Cleansing Oil

The first time I heard about cleansing oil was on thatgirlarlene blog and I was intrigued but hesitant and one of the biggest obstacles was the price. I love Arlene’s blog but the prices for the cleansing oils were a little on the pricey side then I found Burt’s Bee’s cleansing oil and at $16.00 it is still a little pricey but compared to other cleansing oils this is truly inexpensive. I have nothing but good things to say about cleansing oil it leaves your skin clean and so soft. Don’t let the word oil scare you it is all natural and very gentle. I highly recommend.

Third Product – Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner

Now I know there are some that don’t think toner needs to be a part of your skincare routine and I will admit I was in the camp for a long time but within the last few years I have reincorporated it back into my routine. Toner removes excess dirt and oil from your face and further helps open up those pores. This toner is gentle and under $10.00.

Fourth product – Cleen Beauty

I had never heard of this product but I’m so glad I found this product through a Google search. I was looking for skincare products under $10.00 and this brand popped up first in my search and imagine my delight when I found it could be purchased at Wal-mart. All of Cleen Beauty products are under $10.00 and vegan. I purchased their serum, night moisturizer, and night mask and I am happy with each of these products. My skin definitely has even more of glow then ever.

I cannot recommend these products enough! They are either natural or vegan and since I’ve been using these products I don’t suffer the slight tingling or discomfort I use to deal with when using other products because they don’t have harsh ingredients. They can be purchased from drug stores, Wal-mart, or online. My skin is smoother, brighter, and softer. It doesn’t hurt that they are extremely affordable!

Until next time Southenistas! Remember Be safe, Stay home, wash your hands, and practice social distancing!

Regina

Best Tights I’ve Ever Worn

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Hello Southernistas! Well I know I’ve been M.I.A in fact I haven’t blogged since October and I can only apologize. I decided to just enjoy the holiday season and I was really going to resume at the beginning of the year but then I took a 21 day social media fast to reconnect with God. After the fast I just got use to not blogging but those days are behind me and I am back feeling refreshed, renewed, and restored.

For my first 2020 blog I wanted to talk about as the title says the best tights I’ve ever worn and it’s all because I took a chance and responded to an Instagram ad about Snag Tights. I will admit I am very wary when it comes to Instagram and Facebook advertising because the product doesn’t always live up to the hype unless it’s an ad from an established company but with winter around the corner I decided to see if the hype was real. Snag promised that their tights are not just size inclusive but height inclusive also which was what caught my attention. At 5’3 my biggest complaint about wearing tights are that when I put them on I can literally pull them all the way up to my underarms! I always go by the size chart recommendations on my tights but I swear they make tights for Amazons and not shorties like myself or the tights I do purchase that fit I only get 1 or 2 wears out of them before I have to throw them away with the exception of Lane Bryant. Not to mention tights I’ve worn in the past have either been too big once I put them on or too small. What made up my mind to try these was Gloria Shuri Henry who is a YouTuber (glowpinkstah) and is in the add wearing their tights.

Once the decision was made to purchase the tights I went to their website and was very surprised at the variety of tights they offer but they also have chub rub shorts, fishnets, sheer pantyhose and skin tone tights. They have opaque tights, woolies (merino wool), and semi opaques too. Depending on the type you purchase they cost from $20 (woolies) to $12 and the chub rub shorts are $13 but if you order 3 pair you get a 10% discount, 5 pair 15%, and 10 pair 25% off . I ordered their short F according to the size chart in black and caramel. Snag Tights is a British company so be prepared for a wait to receive your order it was 3 weeks before I received my order but they do offer next day delivery . When they arrived I was excited to try them out and OH MY they fit my short little legs perfectly! The short F black tights fit me and stopped at my natural waist. I can’t begin to tell y’all how wonderful it was to put on a pair of tights that stop at my waist with no sagging. They are so comfortable and feel so good on my legs.

I highly recommend Snag Tights it will be the best money you spend!

Until next time remember BE BOLD! BE BEAUTIFUL! BE CONFIDENT!

This post is not sponsored by Snag Tights

Snag Tights Black| Calvin Klein White Button Down Blouse and 41 Hawthorne Skirt from Stitch Fix|Blazer from Lane Bryant (old similar here and here).

The Shape of Things

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This post is not sponsored by Lane Bryant or Catos I just really love their shapewear.

Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all enjoyed this last weekend of Summer and are ready to kick of the first day of Fall! I can’t believe Summer is over! I hope your Summer was full of fun in the sun (with sunscreen) and travel.

Today I want to talk foundation garments specifically shapewear now there are those who don’t wear it and those who want leave the house without their Spanx. I am one who wears shapewear when needed but I was also that person who wouldn’t wear shape wear. I found it uncomfortable and at times very painful plus I also believed that if I wore it I was trying to make myself look smaller but I have come to realize that is not the purpose of shapewea. Shapewear is not about trying to look “smaller” as many A list actresses wear shapewear and proudly admit that they wear shapers. I have come to realize that the purpose of shapewear is not to make you look smaller but to smooth you out and when you are wearing that body con dress or jeans/pants it gives you a smooth clean look.

Shapewear is not necessarily one size fits all and gone are the days of our grandmother’s girdle that only came in super painful. There are different types of shapewear depending on what look you are going for. There is shapewear that is very firm and really holds you in to shapewear that smooths you out with no firmness at all. I personally like Lane Bryant and Catos shapewear. Lane Bryant’s Cacique’s line comes in different levels ranging from 4 being extra hold to 1 which is no firmness and it doesn’t roll down. Catos’ is perfect to once again smooth you out especially their panties and they are not expensive whereas Lane Bryant is a little pricey. Also when purchasing shapewear do not size down or up get the shapewear in your size! So don’t be afraid of shapewear there is something out there for everyone and tons of videos on YouTube by plus size bloggers with their shapewear recommendations.

I bought this beautiful yellow body con maxi dress from Just Fab and the first time I wore it I didn’t wear shapewear as you can see but when I wore it again I made sure I wore shapewear and you can see the difference. I am wearing Lane Bryant’s Cacique #1 shapewear which is not firm and it just makes me look good in this dress.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold! Be Beautiful! Be Brave!

Dress from JustFab.com (sold out) alternate, alternate| Shoes from JustFab.com (sold out) alternate

Rock Your Runway

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all had an absolutely fabulous weekend and that you are relaxed and recharged. If you attended church on Sunday I pray you are fully restored and filled and ready for Monday.

This weekend I attended a plus size fashion show with my beautiful friend and style sister Laura of the blog wonderfullymadestyle, y’all go check out her blog. The fashion show was produced by the talented Mrs. Jenica who is the founder and CEO of Plushy Jenica and she truly put on an amazing fashion show! The models were different shapes, sizes, and heights but they were all beautiful and fierce as were the fashion they rocked. As we enjoyed the fashion show the audience was invited to rock the runway between collections and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you Laura and I were more than happy to struct our stuff on the runway!

I want to encourage you today whatever size you are to rock your runway! You may never walk in New York Fashion Week but everyday that you get up, get dressed and step outside your house you can rock your runway ladies and gents! Whether you are going to work, running errands, or keeping up with the little ones you can step out onto your own personal runway and work your style with confidence. You never know who you will inspire!

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Here are some pictures from the Plushy Jenica Fashion Show. If you would like information about any of the outfits from the fashion show check out Plushy Jenica’s Facebook page.

Laura https://wonderfullymadestyle.wordpress.com/ in Eloquii
Laura of wonderfullymadestyle and I ready for the Show
The Fabulous Jenica of Plushy Jenica

My Dress is from the Betsy Johnson x Dia & Co Collection (sold out)| Shoes from Just Fab

My Second Favorite Color

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Happy Monday Southernistas! I hope I y’all had a great weekend and that you are feeling rested, renewed, and restored and ready to conquer your week.

It is not secret that my absolutely favorite color is red! I look amazing in the color red and I feel bold, confident and sexy in red too. I mean what girl doesn’t feel a total boss babe or a sexy siren when they put on a red dress or lipstick or even a killer pair of red stilettos. But I must confess there is another color I am starting to fall in love with and that is the color green. Now don’t get me wrong it will never replace my first love red but over the last year I find myself gravitating to the color green whenever I go shopping. I discovered this beautiful green maxi dress at Ashley Stewart and it is so comfortable and stylish but alas it is sold out but I will provide links to alternates. Green always reminds of Spring and Summer and it is such a restful and peaceful color and it is a soft color. Green can also be a bold color like every color there is a shade of green for everyone.

With fall just around the corner I’ve been checking out the darker tones of the color Green and can’t wait to incorporate them in my fall closet. If you are looking in your closet and wondering what’s missing I would suggest you incorporate a little green in your closet and just enjoy all the compliments.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Ashley Stewart (sold out) alternate, alternate, alternate| Shoes from Payless Shoe Source

My New Skincare Routine

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Hello Souternistas! I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you are now recharged and refreshed and ready for Monday.

If you’ve been following me for any time you’ll know that I did a post all about my skincare routine a while ago but since then my routine has changed. I was introduced a few months ago to Yeouth Skincare and since then more and more of Yeouth’s products have been replacing my other skincare products that I thought I would never let go. Yeouth is fragrance free, sulfate free, cruelty free, paraben free, and gmo free so you don’t have to worry about harsh ingredients. I started out with incorporating their Retinol Serum into my skincare routing and I quickly saw wonderful results. I now use Yeouth’s hyaluronic acid, vitamin C & E Serum, and the Glycolic Acid 30% gel peel and my skin looks great! Not only does my skin look great but I love how gentle they are on my skin also. The products I use to use could sometimes irritate my skin but since I’ve been using Yeouth I have experienced no skin irritation.

I am so glad I was introduced to Yeouth Skincare products. They are gentle on my skin and I love the results since I’ve been using these products. If you are looking for an all natural skincare line please check out Yeouth and let me know what you think of their products. To get 20% off your first order use SOCIAL20.

Until next Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Beautiful!

Finding Inspiration

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all have had a wonderful weekend and that you stayed cool and fashionable in this heat.

I must admit that lately I’ve just felt like I’ve lost my fashion mojo. The great thing about fashion is that there is so much great plus size fashion out there and my closet reflects this the problem is there is so much great plus size fashion and my closet reflects this. I honestly don’t know how full time bloggers do it! Once upon a time I hardly had anything to wear and now I have an overwhelming selection. Usually I plan out my outfits for the week but lately I have been lacking inspiration. I have just felt so uninspired the last few weeks and I find myself looking in my closet thinking whatever my hand lands on that is what I will wear and sometimes that works.

I plan to find my inspiration by tapping into my style sisters at church, my friends, on Instagram, and the Dia Facebook community where there is sisterhood and I am always encouraged and inspired by the women in the Dia community who are fearless. These are great ways to rediscover my fashion mojo. If you’ve been feeling uninspired lately or have lost your fashion mojo tap into your community weather it is on online or in real life and rediscover you fashion inspiration.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

Dress from Eloquii | Shoes from Payless Shoe Source | Bag from JustFab (sold out) alternative

Miss Dynasty

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Hello Southernistas! I hope y’all are having a fabulous 4th of July holiday and that hopefully you were able to have a 4 day weekend.

I want to introduce y’all to Miss Dynasty whose sizes range from XS to 4X. This is a great company with plenty of cute and affordable fashion. The sizing is junior plus so please use the size chart and check out the reviews before purchasing. When they reached out to me (my first) to give them a try I was hesitant to do so at first because my style is modest and I didn’t think I would find anything that would work with my style aesthetic but I was so wrong! I found this cute denim ruffle t-shirt dress and it checks all of my style boxes. The fit also is great for me especially in my arms and I liked how the dress moved with me. I have worn this dress multiple times and gotten so many compliments every time I’ve stepped out in this dress. I like that I can be super casual in this dress or dress it up and not sacrifice comfort. I’m sorry to say that this dress is sold out but I have linked an alternate that I think you will love.

The wonderful people at Miss Dynasty has given me a PROMO code that you can use, again a first for me, to receive 25% off your order with them which I have linked below. This discount if for you and I don’t receive any money when you use the promo code and this post is not sponsored by Miss Dynasty.

To receive 25% off your order use PROMO https://missdynasty.com/discount/REGINA

Denim Ruffle Dress (sold out) alternate

Until next Southernistas remember BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BE BEAUTIFUL!

Another Year

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Hello to all my Southernistas! I hope y’all had a great weekend and that your Monday has been a good one.

Today is my birthday! That’s right today I turn 48 and I count myself blessed to see another year. In the past I’ve usually been so depressed when my birthday comes because I am so focused on the negative and what I don’t have instead of counting my blessings. Year 48 I am looking for greater blessings and even more love. I know I’m blessed to have a loving family, a beautiful daughter, awesome friends, the best church family (love you AHOD) and my fashion is ever evolving. I am embracing my natural salt and pepper hair and I have my hair stylist Angelia to thank for knowing what’s best for me even when I’m being stubborn. I changed the name of my blog and I have great things in store for the blog this year! I am also in great company in celebrating my birthday because I share it with the ah..mazing Stacey Jemison as well as Judy Garland.

To celebrate my birthday I turned to my favorite retailer Eloquii and got this beautiful strapless fringe dress I have been lusting over forever and paired it with my go to black lace bell sleeve top from Ashley Stewart for modesty. Pulled the whole look together with these cute silver shiny heels from JustFab.

So as I enter into year 48 I enter with expectation and anticipation! Who knows this could be the year I meet my husband.

Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident

Also I’ve included pictures of the birthday surprise from my daughter

Strapless Fringe Dress from Eloquii (no longer available) alternative, alternative, alternative| Lace Bell Sleeve from Ashley Stewart (no longer available)| Halsey Pointed Toe Shoes from Justfab.com

OMG…My Blog turned 1!

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Hello to all my Southernistas! I hope your week has been awesome and that you are ready for the three day weekend and remember to take time to remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.

I can’t believe it has been a year since I started this blog! My actual blog birthday was May 6th but things got a little crazy at work. First I never thought I would ever start a blog and now I’ve blogging for a year so crazy. When I started this blog it was and still is my intention to share my fashion journey and a peek inside my life (not a lot happening) with my fellow fashion addicts. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and I really thought a lot about weather to start a blog because there are so many awesome blogs out here now but with the encouragement of my Mom, my best friend Lisa, and the awesome Shelia Amir’s Blogging with Precision class I took the plunge and here I am 1 year later. So today I just want to share what I’ve learned in my first year.

First Lesson: Blogging is hard! It is one thing to say I’m going to start a blog but it’s a whole another world when you start! Blogging is a commitment and you have to be willing to commit time weather you are doing it as a hobby (me), part time, or pursuing it as a full time career you have to be committed.

Second Lesson: Blogger/Social Media Workshops are worth the money! When I decided to take that step and start a blog I had no idea where to begin (refer to lesson 1) and I was overwhelmed when I did a Google search. The great thing is I had enrolled in a social media workshop and it helped me so much and when I received an email that Shelia was offering a workshop all about blogging I gladly paid the money. It was money well spent and at the end of the blogging workshop I had the tools I needed to start my blog. Now there are free online blogging classes offered online too if the funds are just not there but if you can make the investment.

Third Lesson: Blogging requires organization! Yes you must be organized when it comes to blogging especially if you have decided to make it a career. There are so many tools available that will help you get organized and stay organized. There are blogging workshops, manuals, and every state has a blogger network you can join for a fee and YouTube is a great resource too. Seasoned bloggers who have a YouTube channel have shared great advice.

Fourth Lesson: Be You! I follow a lot of bloggers but I know that as much as I admire these bloggers I am not them and I have to be Regina and have my own voice. Make sure your blog reflects you. It is totally okay to admire and even to aspire to be like that blogger you love but don’t lose who you are because you are pretty cool yourself and the more authentic you are the more authentic your blog.

Fifth Lesson: Blogging doesn’t have to be expensive! I started my blog on Medium.com before I moved to WordPress but there are other sites you can go to and they are free. Also don’t stress over hiring a photographer. My mom takes all of my photos on my cell phone and I get asked all the time who my photographer is and when I say my mom the look on people’s face is priceless. Also I’m learning how to take my own pictures and check out my girl Laura of wonderfullymadestyle she takes her own photos! Don’t stress thinking you needs buckets of money all you need are people who love you and support you to help you make your dream come true.

Last but not least I’ve learned to have fun! Blogging can be stressful but it can also be loads of fun too especially the photo shoots.

Well those are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned this first year of blogging and I’m constantly learning and discovering something new and neat everyday.

Thank you for following me and your comments and encouragement! This blog would not exist without my Southernistas! As always remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Dress from Fullbeauty.com (no longer available)| Shoes from Venus | Bag from Justfab.com

My Skincare Routine

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Hello my lovely Southernistas! I hope your week is off to a great start. My Monday was a little rocky at work but all in all in it was a good day.

I thought in this blog post I would share my skincare routine with y’all which takes me 30 minutes from start to finish and is well worth the time. I will confess I have been pretty lazy when it comes to my skincare routine and my skin has reflected this so I decided this year I would get serious about my skin after all it is the largest organ and as I get closer and closer to 50 I realize I need to take better care of this organ. One of the first things I’ve started doing is drinking more water! That is the best thing you can do for your skin. When you hydrate you will see your skin start to look clearer and healthier. Try drinking water for 30 days and if you don’t see any results let me know but I can guarantee you will see the results.

For my morning routine I usually use L’Oreal cleanser but I’m currently using Garnier sulfate free cleanser, Burt’s Bee’s lip scrub, L’Oreal toner, L’Oreal Revialift serum, L’Oreal eye cream, L’Oreal hyaluroinc acid (new addition), collagen that I buy from Family Dollar, and a moisturizer with SPF 25 sunscreen. Sunscreen is important regardless of race!

For my night routine I add Yeouth skincare retinol serum along with a face oil or mask. After I apply the collagen I use L’Oreal’s night cream and the last item I use before I go to bed is L’Oreal’s overnight mask.



Since I’ve started drinking more water and being consistent about day and night skincare routine my skin has never looked better. My skin look healthy and I’ve gotten so any compliments! This is not a sponsored post by any of these brands I just really love their products and they have worked for me. The prices range from $20.00 – $1.00. I didn’t list any of the masks I use but I use the Global Beauty brand mask and you can buy them at Family Dollar for $1.00 and they have a variety of masks.

Southernistas it is never too late to start a skincare routine no matter the age just get started and fine what works for you! Nor does it have to drain your pocketbook.

Until next Southernista remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

My Tips for Online Shopping

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Hello Southernistas! Happy Friday to everyone. I hope everyone’s week has been a great week and not too stressful. I can’t believe it has been two weeks since my last blog post and I missed y’all. If you haven’t noticed I’ve changed the name of my blog to Regina the Southernista instead of the Southernista let me know what you think.

There is no doubt plus size fashion has come a long way and I am very happy to see the number of new fashion forward plus size designers along with the established and older brands. I love all the options that are now available to me but what I don’t love is the fact that I do the majority of my shopping online. More and more straight size brands are extending there sizes but only making it available online or in select stores (yes I’m talking about you Anthopologie and Loft). I talk to many of my friends who are hesitant to shop online because they are afraid the clothes will not fit and I totally understand that because I was nervous when I first started shopping online because lets face it there is nothing like going to the store and trying on the clothes. Plus with the inconsistencies of sizing it is better to try on everything because you could wear a size 18 at one store but a size 22 at another store.

To help you better navigate online shopping here some tips that I use when I am shopping online.

  1. Know your measurements – this is the most important thing you can do before you buy anything online. You can take your measurements, have a friend do it or go to a tailor and have your measurements taken. By knowing your measurements you can look at the sizing chart and determine what size you should purchase. Also if you like styling services like Dia & Co, Stitch Fix, Trunk Club etc you can send them your measurements for better picks.
  1. Read the reviews – Trust me reviews are very helpful. By reading the reviews it has helped me avoid some big mistakes.
  2. Bloggers – Find bloggers that are your body shape or close to your body shape. Those who are full time bloggers are very honest in their reviews of brands plus you get to see what that brand may look like on your body.
  3. Become familiar with the brand’s return policy. Some brands will give you a refund and some will give you a store credit. Some have very easy return policies and some are complicated.
  4. When in doubt size up.
  5. Learn if the brand is Junior plus or Plus trust me there is a difference. If you are ordering from an Asian company please be aware that Asian sizing runs very small so you will need to size up 2 sizes or more.

Shopping online doesn’t have to be scary and can be fun once you get the hang of it. I hope there tips help you in your online shopping adventures.

Until next time Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Lip Care

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I hope you’ve had a great week and although you couldn’t tell by the weather Wednesday was the first day of Spring! Happy Spring everyone! I’ll do a spring fashion post soon…promise.

Today I want to talk to y’all about lip care. Last year I realized that as fanatical as I’ve been about taking care of my skin especially as I am getting closer to 50 (yikes) I have never given my lips the same attention. Our lips go though a lot! In the winter they can become dry and chapped. Lips can also become severely cracked and bleeding in the winter if they are not taken care of and due to excessive lip licking too. As you get older you will also start to see a lot of lines on your lips. At 47 I realized that I have mistreated and sadly neglected my lips but I also know it’s not too late to start caring for my lips.

To begin my lip care journey I turned to Burt’s Bee’s lip care products to develop a lip care routine now let me say this is in no way a sponsored post by Burt’s Bees I just really love the products. I have been using their lip care products for about 6 months with amazing results. The lip scrub is great, the lip mask is only five minutes and I use the ultra conditioning lip balm before I put on any lip gloss or lipstick. I find that my lip gloss or lipstick lasts longer after I put on the lip balm. At night before I go to bed I apply the overnight intensive lip treatment which feels so good on my lips. If you’re worried about chemicals don’t worry Burt’s Bees is all natural.

Since I’ve started my lip care routine I’ve gotten a lot a compliments on how great my lips have been looking and I owe it all to Burt’s Bees! Before I end this blog I just want to say that Chapstick has just introduced a lip care kit too and it is a kit that includes everything with Burt’s Bees you have to buy each item separately it doesn’t come as a kit.


Wearing Burt’s Bees tinted Lip Balm

You can purchase these products from any drugstore. Wal-mart, Ulta or you can go to their website http://www.burtsbees.com to purchase.

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

The Wearing of the Green

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Happy Friday Southernistas and a early Happy Saint Patrick’s Day which is this weekend (Sunday). I hope y’all’s week has been a great week. My week started off a little rough but it got better.

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner I would be remiss if I didn’t delve into my closet and pull out my green to celebrate this fun and festive holiday. For me this holiday feels like the unofficial start of Spring and I am all for that! I am so over winter! Green is such a rich a vibrant color and I can’t think of another color that represents Spring than the color green.

If you are saying that you can’t wear green first remove the can’t from your vocabulary and know that you can wear green. If you are not comfortable with a head to toe look try wearing a print with pops of green or a cute skirt or pants in celebration. Think about a cute pair of shoes, bag, or jewelry for that pop of green. There are so many ways to incorporate green into your look.

So make sure you break out your green this weekend and HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Until next time Southernistas remember Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Beautiful!

Dress from Eloquii (no longer available) click Here and here and here for alternatives

Eulogy for Payless Shoe Source

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I know it has been a while since I’ve blogged and I ask your forgiveness but the weather here in North Carolina has not lent itself to photo shoots but the rain seems to be holding off so I can create more content for the blog! I hope everyone has had a great week and that you have a great weekend.

Today Southernistas and fellow shoe addicts as you can tell from the title this blog is a memorial for my absolute favorite shoe store Payless Shoe Source. Last month the news broke that after 62 years Payless doors are closing and I am devastated. This news came out of nowhere and to say I was blindsided would be an understatement. Payless has always been my go to store for affordable and stylish shoes for years. In 2008 they partnered with Christian Siriano and it has been a very successful partnership. Payless has appeared on the runway at NYFW and who could forget the recent commercial where bloggers pair hundreds of dollars for their shoes because they though they were designer shoes.

There is no other shoe store you could go to with a $100 and walk out with 6 pairs of shoes a cute bag and still have change! That was the beauty of Payless your dollar went a long way especially for families. I can’t count the number of times I stood in line behind families who were buying shoes for the whole family especially during buy one get one half off. When I was really strapped for cash I knew I could always go to Payless and get a few pair shoes at a really great price.

There is no doubt I am going to miss Payless Shoe Source! I am going to miss Christian Siriano’s shoe line. I am going to miss the savings there is no doubt. I am just going to miss Payless!

So thank you Payless Shoe Source for the Christina Siriano collection, the great sales, but most of all the great shoes! I am going to miss you dear friend. R.I.P


Until next time Southernistas remember Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Beautiful

The Ultimate Valentine

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Happy Valentine’s Day Southernistas! I hope you are having an awesome day and that you are sharing it with you love one(s).

I must confess that Valentine’s day has never been one of my favorite days. After Christmas I always began to the countdown to February 14th with growing dread and depression. As a single girl it is hard to see everyone getting flowers and candy and all the other romantic and sweet gestures that go along with this day and not feel some kind of way about this day. For years my friends Beth & John would always send me a beautiful gift that had all kinds of goodies in it and it just made my day. Of course my daughter and Mom also gave me gifts as well as my sister and my best friend Lisa and I did appreciate it BUT my heart ached for a special someone to give me those things.

This year is different and it’s not because I’m seeing anyone but my perspective about February 14th has changed. Today I celebrate my ultimate valentine gift which is God’s love. I know this scripture is quoted all the time but John 3:16 tells us of the best gift this world was given: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. How can we ever top that gift! This morning in my prayer time I began to thank God for his son Jesus. Jesus loves us perfectly, completely, and whole. His love is without strings and everyday He gives us gifts and again its without any strings attached. Jesus will never break your heart, abandon you or hurt you but he will heal and mend your broken heart and let you know that you are loved with an everlasting love.

So today I celebrate that I am loved by Jesus so much that he was willing to die for me so that I could have eternal life. I celebrate His resurrection and how everyday I feel his love surrounding me and filling me and I know I am never along and I am always loved. Because I know Jesus loves me I allow myself to celebrate and be my own Valentine because I know I’m not celebrating this day alone. Today I celebrate the Ultimate Valentine – JESUS!

Until next Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Brave!

Dress from Lane Bryant | Shoes from Payless Shoe Source (old) | Pearls from Ashley Stewart (no longer available)


Breaking the Rules

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Happy Friday Southernistas! I hope y’all had a great work week and that you are ready for the weekend! For some of us it was a four day work week due to the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I don’t know about y’all but winter has really arrived here in North Carolina and we’ve had more rainy and cloudy days then sunny days. The temperature has dropped with the exception of two days of 60+ degree weather this week. With the days being so gray I’ve taken the opportunity to wear more color and the one color I decided to wear was white. I usually don’t wear white because as a southern girl it was ingrained in me that you don’t wear white after Labor Day. This is so ingrained in me that I really don’t even think about wearing white in the winter unless it is for a church service.

On my fashion journey I am constantly pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone and when I was deciding what to wear my eyes fell on this beautiful Karl Lagerfeld (yes that Karl) skirt I got from a previous Stitch Fix box I almost put it back thinking this is for Spring but then I said to myself “Regina break that no white after Labor day rule!” and so I pulled it out the closet again and paired it with my favorite white sweater from Full Beauty.

I am so glad I did because when I saw the total look it was an instant mood lifter for me and even though it is winter I felt like a beautiful Spring day! So remember to toss outdated fashion rules out the window and wear your white!

Until next time Southernistas remember to Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Skirt Stitch Fix | Sweater Full Beauty | Shoes DSW | Denim Trench Coat Eloquii | Bag Payless Shoe Source

Suit Up!

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Hello Southernistas! I hope everyone has had a good week and that you are keeping warm. Here in North Carolina the week started out in the 60s but it is not freezing!

Southernistas there is nothing like a suit! I had forgotten how wonderful and versatile a suit can be and how timeless they are too. I think my main reason for avoiding suits for so long is because when I think of suits I think about the suits from the 80s shoulder pads and all (shudder) but that is not the case anymore. This week I rediscovered the power of a great suit. The great thing about a suit is that it instantly makes you feel stylish and pulled together. It gives you a polished and effortless look plus total girl boss vibes! You don’t have to go out a buy a suit if you have a great blazer and cute skirt voila you have a suit! Which is what I did with this outfit I paired this blazer from Lane Bryant with this cute skirt also from Lane Bryant and since we’ve had nothing but gray skies recently I wore this ultra feminine lavender floral top and I felt ready to go forth and conquer.

Suits never really go out of style but they are having their fashion moment. With a suit you can mix and match with pieces in your closet to create several different looks. So in the words of Barney from How I Met Your Mother….SUIT UP!

Unit next time Southernistas! Have a great weekend and remember to Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!

Bryant Blazer from Lane Bryant, Skirt from Lane Bryant (old), Shoes from Payless (old), Pocketbook from Nine West (Old)

Wednesday Reads — My Favorite Summer Reads

Happy Wednesday book lovers! Today is officially the last day of summer and tomorrow we will wake up to a new season….Fall! I know many of you started celebrating fall when last month while I have been clinging to summer with all that is in me and trying to make every day count! Last week I shared with y’all the books I will be reading this fall and since today is the last day of summer (sniff sniff) I thought I would share with some of my favorite summer reads!

What did you read over the summer? What were your favorite summer/beach reads?

Image from Google Images

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery) by Valerie Burns

This new mystery by Valerie Burns but this book was hands down my favorite summer read even if the book is set in winter.

I couldn’t wait to get this book in my hot little hands and it didn’t disappoint! In fact I read this book in less than 24 hours I just couldn’t put it down. I gave this book 4 stars but only because the book ended on a cliffhanger and it is definitely a set up for the next book.

The Beacon Bakeshop series: Murder at the Beacon BakeshopMurder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off, and Murder at the Blueberry Festival by Darci Hannah I could not stop reading any of these books from the first book to the third book I found myself staying up way later than I should have. Darci Hannah is an amazing author and these are all 5 star reads. I connected to Lindsey Bakewell who is starting over in Beacon Harbor, MI after a very bad breakup by opening a bakery. Between baking delicious pastries she is also busy solving murders and will she ever find a baking assistant? All the characters in the book are just delightful and I can’t wait for the 4th book in the series.

Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery) by Ellen Byron this is the first book in this series by Ellen Byron who also writes another series that is set in the Louisiana Bayou and another series under the name Maria DiRico. This was my first time reading anything by this author but it want be my last and can’t wait for the second book in this series. I did enjoy the amateur sleuth Ricki James but the real star of is the city of New Orleans and its cuisine. I found myself wanting to make plans immediately to visit The Big Easy and eat my way through the city! Can’t wait read the next book.

Death by Bubble Tea (An L.A. Night Market Mystery) by Jennifer J. Chow is a new series from this author and it departs from several cozy mystery themes: it’s not set in a small town but Los Angeles, there is no cozy companion, and at present there is no love interest but somehow the author still kept the cozy mystery vibe without them. Yale Yee and her cousin Celine who is visiting from Hong Kong are as different as two people could be Yale is quiet, bookish, and anti-tech while Celine is a very tech savvy, outgoing, and she could be called a lot of things but bookish is not one of them. Yale is still dealing with the trauma of her mother’s death which she feels responsible for when Celine comes for a visit. I loved how the differences didn’t pull them apart but was an asset in their sleuthing even if it was a little rocky along the way.

The Trouble in Paradise Mystery Series by Carrie Doyle: It Takes Two to Mango and Something’s Guava Give. If you are a fan of Death in Paradise and Agatha Raisin then this is the series for you! Plum Lockhart finds herself on the Caribbean Island of Parasio when the travel magazine she is editor in chief of folds and she can’t find another job in New York. Plum is pushy, impatient, rude, and arrogant who is finding it hard to adjust in this first book. I almost stopped reading it but the more I read the more I begin to like Plum and the author does a wonderful job drawing you in and giving you a peek into what makes Plum who she is so I am so glad I stuck with this series.

The Cape Cod Foodie Mystery Series by Amy Pershing: A Side of Murder (Book 1) and Murder is No Picnic (Book 3) I discovered this series thanks to the online book community who just raved about this series and so I added to my summer reading list and I am glad I did. Samantha Barnes is back home in Cape Cod after going viral for all the wrong reasons but she is settling in and making a life for herself not as a chef but as the Cape Cod foodie, reconnecting with friends old and new, and solving murders. This series is worth your time and as with the majority of culinary mystery series there are receipes.

Pint of No Return (Shake Shop Mystery) by Dana Mentink be prepared to indulge in milkshakes! The whole time I was reading this first book in this series I found myself over indulging in milkshakes but aside from that the character development and plot are very well written and it was just a fun and enjoyable read. The real star is Trindad’s senior dog!

Smile Beach Murder (An Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery) by Alicia Bessett, I took this book with me to the beach and it was the perfect book to sit out on the beach or in my case the balcony of our Air BnB and read this book. I found it a little slow going on at first but it soon picked up the pace a little what I enjoyed most was joining Callie on the start of her healing journey in dealing with the death of her mom who died 25 years ago when she fell from the local lighthouse and when the death of Eva Meeks happens at the lighthouse it is declared a suicide but Callie’s reporter instincts tells her its murder. When Eva’s daughter tells Callie she doesn’t believe her mother killed herself Callie promises her she will investigate. Great read and I figured out who the killer was so yeah for me!

The Proof is In the Poison (A Southern Homebrew Mystery) by Diane Kelly is the 2nd book in this series that I refer to as the Moonshine mystery series and is a great follow up after her debut novel The Moonshine Shack Murder which takes place in Chattanooga, TN where Hattie Hayes is finally living her dream by opening up her own moonshine business but then there’s a murder and Hattie is suspect #1. When the killer was revealed all I had was sympathy and could understand why and was so sad.

Abby Collette’s Body and Soul Food book 1 in the Books and Biscuits cozy mystery and A Deadly Inside Scoop the first book in her Ice Cream Parlor mystery series. In Body and Soul Food the amateur sleuths are reunited twins Koby and Keaton who open a bookstore & soul food restaurant who find themselves sleuthing when their friend is murdered (4 1/2 stars). In A Deadly Inside Scoop Bronwyn Crewse has been given the keys to the family business when her cousin moves to North Carolina. With all the delays of the renovation the ice cream parlor ends up opening the day of a major snow storm! Then that same day Bronwyn finds a body behind her business and her father is the prime suspect. Bronwyn along with her childhood best friends are on the case to clear her father, save her business, and find a killer (5 out of 5 big Stars). You can’t go wrong with either book I promise you once you pick them up you want put them down until the killer is revealed.

Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery) by Mia P. Manansala there is a reason this first book in this series won this year’s Anthony Award for first novel. I enjoyed learning about Pilipino culture and loved how the author had such diverse characters too. Lila Macapagal has left Chicago to go back home and help her Tita Rosie save the family restaurant. When Lila’s old high school boyfriend who is now a food critic comes in to cause trouble but instead ends up dying after arguing with Lila things go from bad to worse. With her family restaurant now shut down as a crime scene she is on the case to clear her family’s name and hopefully save the restaurant. This cozy was a fun read that dealt with some heavy topics at times in a respectful way. It is so deserving of this honor! 5 out of 5 big stars!

My Fall TBR

Happy first day of fall y’all! Since fall has officially arrived I thought it would be fun to share with you my Fall TBR.

I’ve been trying to thank of way to tackle my ever growing TBR since me not buying books isn’t going to happen so I borrowed from my bookish online friends who create a themed TBR and I must admit creating a summer TBR helped me read books that had been on my TBR for a while and since it worked so well I decided to create a fall TBR from my stack. If you check me out on Instagram I also did a video of my fall TBR. I left off this list my book club and buddy reads.

With all that being said here is what I will be reading this fall!

What will you be reading? Do you create a seasonal/themed TBR?

The Pine of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery Series) by Ellie Alexander

Book 2

About the book:

No other festival compares to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington. The whole town is buzzing with excitement over this year’s activities and eagerly awaiting Nitro’s latest offering Cherrywizen, made with locally sourced cherries. But local brewmaster Sloan Krause is tapped out. Between trying to manage the pub, her pending divorce with Mac, and her mounting feelings for Garrett, she’s fermenting in internal turmoil.

To complicate matters, dreamy movie star Mitchell Morgan and his production crew have arrived in the village to film during the authentic Bavarian brewfest. Mitchell has his eye on Sloan and a taste for Nitro’s Cherrywizen. Sloan escapes his advances for good when she finds Mitchell slumped over the bar. Is this a case of one pint too many, or has Mitchell been murdered by microbrew?

Live, Local, and Dead (A Vermont Radio Mystery) by Nikki Knight

Book 1

About the book:

In a fit of anger, radio DJ Jaye Jordan blows a snowman’s head off with a Revolutionary War-style musket. But the corpse that tumbles out is all too human. Jaye thought life would be quieter when she left New York City and bought a tiny Vermont radio station. But now, Edwin Anger — the ranting and raving radio talk show host who Jaye recently fired — lies dead in the snow. And the Edwin Anger fans who protested his dismissal are sure she killed him.

To clear her name, Jaye must find the real killer, as if she doesn’t have her hands full running the radio station, DJing her all-request love song show, and shuttling tween daughter Ryan to and from school. It doesn’t make matters easier that the governor — Jaye’s old crush — arrived on the scene before the musket smoke cleared. Fortunately, Jaye has allies…if you count the flatulent moose that lives in the transmitter shack, and Neptune, the giant gray cat that lives at the station.

If Jaye can turn the tables on the devious killer, she and the governor may get to make some sweet, sweet music together. But if she can’t, she’ll be off the air…permanently.

No Parm No Foul (A Grilled Cheese Mystery) by Linda Reilly (Halloween Theme)

Book 2

About the book:

The second book in a delicious culinary cozy series — the muensters have arrived in Balsam Dell in this Halloween cozy mystery featuring a grilled cheese shop owner turned amateur sleuth

After a long hot summer in Balsam Dell, Carly Hale is ready for crisp Vermont weather and gourmet grilled cheeses at her Grilled Cheese Eatery. And the upcoming Halloween food competition is the perfect way to impress the locals.

But Ferris Menard, the owner of Sub-a-Dub-Sub, is nursing a serious grudge against Carly. Two days before the competition, one of Carly’s employees quit his part-time gig at Menard’s sub shop, sending Menard into a serious snit. In a confrontation at the Eatery, Menard accused Carly of sabotage and vowed to bring her down.

That’s when Menard’s body is found in his kitchen the morning after the competition, a steak knife sticking out of his heart. But Menard had a slew of enemies, and if Carly doesn’t figure out which one is the culprit, she might find herself — or someone she cares about — serving grilled cheese sandwiches under lock and brie!

Pumpkin Spice & Deadly Heist (The Noisy Paralegal Mystery) by Tanya R. Taylor

Book 1

About the book:

Alan Danzabar has been accused of having been involved in a blatant bank robbery that resulted in the shooting death of a security guard.

All fingers are pointing at Alan by others who have been arrested and ultimately confessed to the crime, but Alan insists that he is innocent.

Will he get off the hook with the help of J. Wilfred & Company, particularly an employee there by the name of Barbara Sandosa who takes it upon herself to dig much deeper to uncover the truth in ways that her boss would never dream of? Or will Alan Danzabar be exposed as a liar and a killer?

A Sprinkle In Time (A Shake Shop Mystery) by Dana Mentink

Book 2

About the book:

It’s Alpenfest in Upper Sprocket! Yodelers are congregating in the square, tourists flocking to the town, and Trinidad Jones is scooping up some fall flavors at her Shimmy and Shake Shop.

The cherry on the sundae is her upcoming feature in The Scoop magazine. She’s determined to serve up the perfect interview, but it won’t be easy, thanks in part to her meddling Cuban grandfather Papa Luis who has decided to make Sprocket his home for the foreseeable future. Papa Luis has set himself up as a taxi driver in his classic 1951 Buick.

But things take a turn when Papa Luis tells her he’s found a corpse in his trunk. Upon closer investigation, they realize the body has disappeared. With the assistance of Juliette and Bonnie (her sisterhood of exes) and the way too handsome nut farmer Quinn Logan, Trinidad must solve the mystery of the disappearing corpse, before her father is up to his neck in a murderous mess.

Musseled Out (A Maine Clambake Mystery) by Barbara Ross

Book 3

About the book:

The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble simmering for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwing — the “Mussel King” of upscale seafood restaurants — is sniffing around town for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to be the least of his troubles….

When Thwing is found sleeping with the fishes beneath a local lobsterman’s boat, the police quickly finger Julia’s brother-in-law, Sonny, as the one who cooked up the crime. Sure, everyone knows Sonny despised the Mussel King…but Julia believes he’s innocent. Proving it won’t be easy, though. It seems there’s a lot more than murder on the menu, and Julia needs to act fast….

Mint Chocolate Murder (Ice Cream Shop Mystery) by Meri Allen

Book 2 — Late Summer so fall adjacent

About the book:

When Udderly Delightful Ice Cream shop manager Riley Rhodes is summoned to Penniman’s Moy Mull Castle, it’s the cherry on top of a successful summer season. The gothic pile built by an eccentric New England Gilded Age millionaire has been transformed into a premiere arts colony by Maud Monaco, a reclusive former supermodel. As part of Moy Mull’s Fall Arts Festival, Maud is throwing a fantasy ice cream social and hires Riley to whip up unique treats to celebrate the opening of an exhibit by Adam Blasco, a photographer as obnoxious as he is talented.

As Penniman fills up with Maud’s art-world friends arriving for the festival, gossip swirls around Blasco, who has a dark history of obsession with his models. Riley’s curiosity and instincts for sleuthing — she was a CIA librarian — are piqued, and she wonders at the hold the cold-hearted photographer has over the mistress of Moy Mull.

But when Adam is found dead behind the locked door of Moy Mull’s dungeon, Riley realizes there’s more than one suspect who’d wanted put the malicious photographer on ice.

Murder at Blackburn Hall (A High Society Lady Detective Mystery) by Sara Rosett

Book 2

About the book:

September, 1923. Despite closing her first case, high society lady detective Olive Belgrave hasn’t found a new client. She’s taken a job as a hat model to pay for her poky boarding house room. But then a job offer comes her way — make discreet inquiries about a famous author who’s disappeared.

Olive travels to the English countryside to hunt for the missing mystery author. But soon after she arrives in the sleepy village, a body is discovered. Then a second murder focuses the police’s attention on Olive, and she must clear her name before the murderer pens a plot that frames her.

Murder at Blackburn Hall is the second book in the High Society Lady Detective series, a lighthearted cozy historical mystery series set in 1920s England. If you love novels that take you back to the Golden Age of detective fiction with interesting plots, posh settings, and twisty mysteries, you’ll love the High Society Lady Detective Series from USA Today bestseller Sara Rosett.

Deserts, Driving, & Derelicts (A Camper & Criminals Mystery) by Tonya Kappes

Book 2

About the book:

Welcome to Normal, Kentucky where nothin’ is normal!

Mae West is just getting settled into the RV lifestyle as owner of the local camp ground in Normal, Kentucky. The Happy Trails Camp Ground, located in the Daniel Boone National Park, has started to bring in tourists for the late summer vacationing family that love to hike, swim, fish, and enjoy the outdoor life.

The Laundry Club ladies are still holding court ( better known as gossip sessions) in the local laundromat. They’re spinning more tales than the washing machine spin cycle after there’s a string of burglaries happening in their small, southern town.

Suddenly everyone in Normal is on alert after one of their own is found dead. Even though Mae West tries her best to stay out of it, she can’t. After all, it’s not good for business when a murderer is on the loose. Plus, Betts Hager, one of the Laundry Club ladies and Mae’s good friend, is the number one suspect and now it’s personal to Mae.

Mae has grown to love her RV community and now that she’s found a place to belong, she’s not going to let anyone ruin it, throwing her deep into using her amateur sleuthing skills to bring the real killer to justice.

A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery) by Dianne Freeman

Book 2

About the book:

Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting — for birds or a second husband — and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.

Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight — along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?

Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all — but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them . . .

Wine and Punishment (A Literary Pub Mystery) by Sarah Fox

Book 1

About the book:

Booklover Sadie Coleman knows that in life, as in fiction, the right setting can make a world of difference. The small town of Shady Creek, Vermont, seems like the perfect place to start over after losing her Boston job to a merger and her relationship to her ex’s gambling addiction. She’s bought and redecorated the old grist mill pub, transforming the Inkwell into a cozy spot where tourists and regulars alike can enjoy a pint or a literary-themed cocktail, or join one of several book clubs.

Little by little, Sadie is adjusting to the rhythms of her new home. Fall in Shady Creek is bookmarked by the much-anticipated Autumn Festival, complete with a pumpkin catapult competition and pie bake-off. Unfortunately, the season also brings an unwelcome visitor — Sadie’s ex, Eric, who’s angling for a second chance . . .

Before Sadie can tell Eric to leave, he’s found dead near the Inkwell. When the local antique shop catches fire on the same night, it’s clear the town is harboring at least one unsavory character. Now, with her Aunt Gilda, her friend Shontelle, and the pub’s patrons all in the mix, Sadie must uncover the truth . . . before a killer declares last call.

Wednesday Reads-My Review of Two Parts Sugar, One Parts Murder by Valerie Burns

Book 1–5 STARS

Happy Wednesday Book Lovers! I hope everyone had a great and relaxing Labor Day weekend I certainly did. What better way to kick off the weekend then reading. I thought doing my usual Wednesday wrap up but I felt that this new cozy mystery series by Valerie Burns who also writes several other cozy mystery series as V.M. Burns deserved the spotlight.

Every since I saw the author’s announcement about this series and read the summary I was hooked so I pre-ordered this book and patiently (?) waited to receive my book but all the reviews from the Bookbiosphere were overwhelmingly good. I mean five stars and it made me almost wish I had signed up for an ARC but oh well.

“I researched careers and decided that the fit for someone with my skill set would be a doctor’s wife.”

Madison Montgomery has been left at the altar of her livestream wedding so when she received word that her Great-Aunt Octavia has died and left Madison her house and bakery she packs up her Louboutin’s and Jimmy Choo’s and heads to New Bison, MI to escape. She arrives in the small town to sell the house and business but finds out that her great aunt has stipulated that she must live there and run the bakery for 1 year. The problem is Madison doesn’t know how to cook much less bake and she inherits a 250lb English Mastiff name Baby!

As soon as Madison arrives she begins to get very generous offers for her aunt’s house that sits right on Lake Michigan, the bakery, and Baby who is a Champion dog. Then the mayor who Madison had words with turns up dead and Madison is suspected what a crazy 48 hours! Now Madison finds herself along with her aunts friends and employees known as the Baker Street Irregulars are on the hunt for a killer!

Every review I read about this book didn’t lie! This was a great book plus there is so much more going on in the town of New Bison then murder. There is corruption and it is possible Madison Aunt Octavia was murdered. When Madison arrives in New Bison she is clearly a woman who has lead a very shallow life and has been pampered by her father The Admiral. But Madison is also extremely smart, Stanford grad with honors, but it’s clear that she has suffered not physical abuse but emotional abuse from her father. He has constantly told her she is indecisive, immature, and has treated her that way.

Aside from the murder I love seeing Madison growing and coming into her own as a woman especially when she stands up to The Admiral one Jefferson Augustus Montgomery. There were hardly any red herrings, the characters were very well developed but could there be a traitor in the mist of the Baker Street Irregulars?

My one negative is that the book ends on a cliffhanger. It is clear that Madison’s aunt was murdered but the killer wasn’t revealed and there is so much more going on that is hinted at but again not revealed. This leads me to believe that all the loose threads will be tied up in the next book that I am eagerly anticipating!

GO. BUY. THIS. BOOK!

Fall Fashion — Lane Bryant

Happy September 1st Southernistas! Well September is here and fall is almost here. I’m sure many of you are happily sipping you PSLs now and I have one Instagram friend that has been posting all the fall décor she has been putting up around her home. I sometimes feel like I am the only one sad to see summer go…SIGH!

While I am not a fan of anything pumpkin spice unless the shoes come in that color I do love the fall fashion. Today I am sharing some cute looks from my second favorite brand Lane Bryant. What I love about Lane Bryant is they offer petite sizes which makes my 5″3″ frame very happy because it means I don’t have to get anything altered. I haven’t been especially bowled over with a lot of the fall fashion but I found some gems!

Until Next Time Southernistas!

Ponte Bryant Collarless Blazer
Colorblock Trench Coat
Sweater Dress
Geo Print Dress
Midi Dress — Lane Bryant calls it Caramel Café but I think it is more PSL
Purple and Grey Wide Leg Pants
Plaid Blazer and Signature Fit Straight Pant
Wide Leg Colorblock Pant

September Anticipated Reads

Hello Book Lovers! I am already seeing all the fall memes and can feel your giddiness that September is finally here. I am looking forward to the three day weekend that is upon us spent mostly reading and remember it is still summer.

Today I am sharing cozy mysteries I am excited to read and waiting to receive. If you are not a cozy mystery reader I hope you see a book that will peek your interest and give a cozy a try or if you are a die hard fan of this genre then I hope you see something that makes it way onto your TBR or will move to the top of your TBR.

I didn’t include the newest series from Amanda Flower because it will not come out until the end of September so you will see it on my October anticipated reads.

What are book are excited to read this month?

Until next time!

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery) by Valerie Burns

NEW SERIES!

Now I know I’ve already featured this book in my August Anticipated reads but the book release was August 30th so it goes on my September TBR! Valerie Burns also writes under the name V.M. Burns and she is a very talented writer. Every since this new series was announced last year I knew I had to have it so I pre-ordered this book and started the countdown. Those who received an ARC (advanced reader copy) have given this book 5 stars so I am salivating to read this book.

How can you not want to read a book about a social media influencer who gets dumps at the altar, inherits her aunt’s home and bakery and a 200lb mastiff named Baby and oh yeah she can’t bake!

Peg and Rose Solve a Murder (A Peg and Rose Mystery) by Laurien Berenson

NEW SERIES

I have a huge fan of Laurin Berenson’s Melanie Travis mystery series where her Aunt Peg has been the sidekick so I am so glad to see her get a spinoff. Again I know I’ve talked about this book before but it is finally here! I can’t wait to dig into this book! Again every book review has been 5 stars!

Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery) by Tara Lush

Book 1

This 1st book in the Coffee Lover’s mystery series came out in 2020 and I’ll admit I didn’t discover this book until this year. I’ve see reviews of this book on Book Tube (YouTube) and read the reviews and before I knew it I ordered this book a few months ago and it has been sitting on my TBR so how happy am I that it is my Facebook Book Club September pick!

A Perilous Pal (A Friend for Hire Mystery) by Laura Bradford

Book 2

I so enjoyed the first book in this series A Plus One for Murder so much I immediately pre-ordered this second book in the series which came out in July. I always love to discover a cozy where the amateur sleuth has a job that is not a librarian, bookstore owner, baker, chef, or crafter and Emma Westlake is none of those. When she has to close up her travel agency she is at a loss what to do until her senior friend suggest she become a friend for hire or a paid companion which is not the same as a sex worker.

Murder in a Teacup (A Tea by the Sea Mystery) by Vicki Delany

Book 2

Murder Spills the Tea (A Tea by the Sea Mystery) by Vicki Delany

Book 3

I love Vicki Delany! I am a huge fan of her Year Round Christmas mystery series and her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery series. So of course when she introduced this series I got the first book. This series is set in Cape Cod, MA and the amateur sleuth Lily Roberts owns a tea shop, helps her grandmother run a bed and breakfast and now serves murder on the side.

Fall Shoe Report

Happy Thursday Southernistas! So for today’s post I thought instead of highlighting fall fashion I would highlight my other great love SHOES!

So with boot/bootie season coming up fast here are a few boots and shoes I’ve got my eyes on for the fall.

Until next time Southenistas!

Just Fab Alma Over the Knee Boot — Available in Wide Calf and Wide Width
Nine West Ihad Combat Booties
Just Fab Classic Bootie — Comes in Red too
Nine West Torrie Dress Bootie
Just Fab Ruby Tassel Heeled Tall Boot (come in black)
Just Fab Alexis Ankle Bootie
Nine West Trendz Pointy Toe Pumps
Nine West Cara Dress Pump

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1

Fall Fashion I’m Loving

Happy Thursday Southernistas! I hope y’all are enjoying August and the weather. This week in North Carolina has been lovely with temps in the 80s and low humidity too!

Well it is that time of year where we are in the waning days of my favorite season Summer! I am already seeing the post of fall lovers that are ready for PSL (pumpkin spice lattes), cooler weather aka sweater weather, and just all things fall while I am bemoaning the fact that there are exactly 35 days 2 hours 25 minutes and 57 seconds (not that I’m keeping count).

But the one thing I am looking forward to is the fall fashion and many of my favorite brands have been introducing their pre-fall collections this month and I am here for ALL…THE…FASHION! Also New York Fashion Week is just around the corner.

So here are some fall fashion fashions from Eloquii that I am loving and ready to claim!

Until Next Time Southernistas:)

Eloquii Sweater and Crop Pant Set
Eloquii Chiffon Ruffled Dress
Faux Leather Double Breasted Blazer (comes in a second color too)
Oversized Faux Fur Coat
Draped Bodice Pleated Dress
Printed Top and Wide Leg Pant
Turtleneck — comes in black & white too!
Faux Leather Pants
Colorblock Sweater
Flare Leg Pant
Square Neck Sweater Dress

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Wednesday Reads — More Anticipated Reads

Hello Book Lovers & Happy Wednesday! This is a slow month for me and I think it is because Fall is just around the corner and I am literally freaking out knowing that summer will soon be over.

I amstill reading Murder at the Blueberry Festival by Darci Hannah and really enjoying this third book in the Beacon Bakeshop mystery series. I thought I would have finished reading this book over the weekend and start Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan which is the first book in her Alaskan Diner series. I am looking forward to reading my first mystery set in Alaska.

So with September just around the corner I thought I would share several books coming out next month that I am especially excited to read so here are some more my most anticipated reads! Big plus they will also kick off my fall TBR.

What are you reading? What books are you looking forward to reading?

Mrs. Claus and the Evil Elves (A Mrs. Claus Mystery) by Liz Ireland

Book 3

For those of you who have been following me for a while then you know how much I love this series! It is such a fun series and who knew Santaland could be hazardous to your health in more ways than one.

About the book:

April Claus is getting an early gift for her second Christmas in Santaland. Her dear friend, Claire, is visiting from Oregon, and April hopes to show off her adoptive country at its cozy, glittering best. But when the annual ice sculpture contest is derailed by a kamikaze drone-deer, it’s just the first in a series of un-festive events…

Drone-deer, created by inventor elf Blinky Brightlow, are none too popular with the genuine, flesh-and-hoof kind, who are currently on strike. With no reindeer games to keep them in shape, Nick worries they may get too chunky to pull his sleigh come Christmas. Now Blinky is missing, his girlfriend, Juniper, is under suspicion, and between rogue reindeer and conniving elves, all of Santaland seems to have gone sugarplum-crazy. Add a dash of murder to the mix, and suddenly April is battling not just to clear Juniper’s name, but to save herself from being put on ice — permanently…

Because I Could Not Stop for Death (An Emily Dickenson Mystery) by Amanda Flowers

New Series!!!!!

Amanda Flowers is another of my favorite authors. I really enjoy her Farm to Trouble series and she is the author of several other cozy mystery series that are on my TBR! But when this series was announced with Emily Dickenson as a sleuth I just had to pre-order it and I can’t wait to get in my hot little hands when it comes out next month!

About the book:

Emily Dickinson and her housemaid, Willa Noble, realize there is nothing poetic about murder in this first book in an all-new series from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author Amanda Flower.

January 1855 Willa Noble knew it was bad luck when it was pouring rain on the day of her ever-important job interview at the Dickinson home in Amherst, Massachusetts. When she arrived late, disheveled with her skirts sodden and filthy, she’d lost all hope of being hired for the position. As the housekeeper politely told her they’d be in touch, Willa started toward the door of the stately home only to be called back by the soft but strong voice of Emily Dickinson. What begins as tenuous employment turns to friendship as the reclusive poet takes Willa under her wing.

Tragedy soon strikes and Willa’s beloved brother, Henry, is killed in a tragic accident at the town stables. With no other family and nowhere else to turn, Willa tells Emily about her brother’s death and why she believes it was no accident. Willa is convinced it was murder. Henry had been very secretive of late, only hinting to Willa that he’d found a way to earn money to take care of them both. Viewing it first as a puzzle to piece together, Emily offers to help, only to realize that she and Willa are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse that reveals corruption in Amherst that is generations deep. Some very high-powered people will stop at nothing to keep their profitable secrets even if that means forever silencing Willa and her new mistress….

Murder on the Poet’s Walk (A Book Retreat Mystery) by Ellery Adams

This is the eighth book in Ellery Adam’s Book Retreat Mystery series and September 27th can’t come fast enough! Everything this author puts out is worth your dollars.

About the book:

For bibliophiles who want to get away from it all, Virginia’s book-themed resort Storyton Hall offers the perfect escape. And in the latest witty installment from New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams, a killer inspired by Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot” doesn’t stanza chance when resort manager Jane Steward is on the case!

When corpses clutching poems begin turning up around Storyton Hall, resort manager Jane Steward is on the trail of someone exercising poetic license to kill…

As Jane eagerly anticipates the wedding of her best friend Eloise Alcott, Storyton Hall is overrun with poets in town to compete for a coveted greeting card contract. They’re everywhere, scrawling verses on cocktail napkins in the reading rooms or seeking inspiration strolling the Poet’s Walk, a series of trails named after famous authors. But the Tennyson Trail leads to a grim surprise: a woman’s corpse drifting in a rowboat on a lake, posed as if she were “The Lady of Shallot.”

When a second body is discovered, also posed as a poetic character, a recurring MO emerges. Fortunately, Jane is well versed in sleuthing and won’t rest until she gives the killer a taste of poetic justice…

Murder at Mallowan Hall (Phyllida Bright Mytery) by Colleen Cambridge

New Series

I am especially looking forward to this mystery because the character works for the Queen of cozy mysteries Agatha Christie!

About the book:

Tucked away among Devon’s rolling green hills, Mallowan Hall combines the best of English tradition with the modern conveniences of 1930. Housekeeper Phyllida Bright, as efficient as she is personable, manages the large household with an iron fist in her very elegant glove. In one respect, however, Mallowan Hall stands far apart from other picturesque country houses…

The manor is home to archaeologist Max Mallowan and his famous wife, Agatha Christie. Phyllida is both loyal to and protective of the crime writer, who is as much friend as employer. An aficionado of detective fiction, Phyllida has yet to find a gentleman in real life half as fascinating as Mrs. Agatha’s Belgian hero, Hercule Poirot. But though accustomed to murder and its methods as frequent topics of conversation, Phyllida is unprepared for the sight of a very real, very dead body on the library floor…

A former Army nurse, Phyllida reacts with practical common sense — and a great deal of curiosity. It soon becomes clear that the victim arrived at Mallowan Hall under false pretenses during a weekend party. Now, Phyllida not only has a houseful of demanding guests on her hands — along with a distracted, anxious staff — but hordes of reporters camping outside. When another dead body is discovered — this time, one of her housemaids — Phyllida decides to follow in M. Poirot’s footsteps to determine which of the Mallowans’ guests is the killer. With help from the village’s handsome physician, Dr. Bhatt, Mr. Dobble, the butler, along with other household staff, Phyllida assembles the clues. Yet, she is all too aware that the killer must still be close at hand and poised to strike again. And only Phyllida’s wits will prevent her own story from coming to an abrupt end…

Gone for Gouda (A Cheese Shop Mystery) by Korina Moss

Book 2

I enjoyed the first book Cheddar off Dead so much that as soon as Korina Moss announced her second book was available for pre-ordered I immediately did just that (December 2021) and like all the other books on this list I’ve been in countdown mode.

About the book:

Yarrow Glen’s newest cheese shop, Curds & Whey, has a lot on its plate, but cheesemonger Willa Bauer relishes a challenge. There’s a float to build for the fall festival, plus the French-inspired cheese shop is playing host to celebrity vegan chef Phoebe Winston. But when photos surface that prove this vegan influencer is, in fact, a carnivore, things crumble faster than any cheese on the market: Phoebe is murdered. Willa’s employee, the affable Archie, was the last one to see Phoebe alive and the first person the police suspect. To clear his name Willa must uncover who’s been up to no gouda..