Why I Love Shoes…especially Heels!

“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!

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

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

My Favorite Cozy Mystery Podcasts

Hi Southernistas! Well we are 14 days into 2022 and I hope it’s going great for y’all and that y’all are being a fruitful and productive but most of all haven’t broken your resolutions (if you make one)!

Like many of you I love a good podcast mostly true crime and Christian podcasts but between the true crime and Christian podcasts I’ve discovered some great book podcasts. I am an avid reader of cozy mysteries in fact the last three posts were a wrap up of my favorite mysteries I read in 2021. So now I want to share some of my favorite cozy mystery podcasts. You can listen to these podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Goggle Podcasts or whatever platform you listen to podcasts.

Happy listening y’all!

  1. The Cozy Corner with Alexia Gordon — Alexia Gordon is the author of the Gethsemane Brown mystery series and the host of this podcast. I love this podcast and her interview style. It’s always great to hear an author interview another author about their writing process. New episodes every Wednesday. For more information you check out the podcasts website www.thecozycornerwithalexiagordon.com

2. Cozy Ink Podcast — Leah Bailey is the host and she is also a author. What I love about this podcast is that there are not only author interviews but Leah also has several authors on to discuss different aspects of publishing and writing. They give great advice and tips for aspiring authors. You can learn about Leah and the podcast on her website www.leahbaileyauthor.com. New episodes are not out yet but when she does they will come out every Tuesday.

3. Get Cozy Podcast with Krysti Meyer — Krysti discovered cozy mysteries at the beginning of 2021 and fell so in love with this genre of mysteries she decided to do a podcast and TA DAH…the Get Cozy Podcast is born. Krysti brings a millennial view point with her podcast and you clearly hear her love of cozy mysteries as she interviews the authors. Every episode deals with a particular topic in cozy mysteries the she talks with the authors about and I love it! At the end of every episode Krysti gives book recommendations. New episodes every Wednesday. You can follow the show on Instagram @getcozypodcast

4. Sister in Crime Writer’s Podcast — This podcast is hosted by Sisters in Crime Executive Director Julie Hennrikus. Julie interviews members and past presidents of Sisters in Crime about their writing journey. The authors are from every genre of mystery and don’t let the title of the podcast fool you male mystery authors are interviewed also. If you want to learn more about this organization check out their website www.sistersincrime.org.

5. Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast is produced by King’s River Magazine that features actor’s reading the first chapter of a mystery or a short story. For more information www.mysteryrat.com or http://www.kingsriverlife.com

Cold Weather Fashion

Hello Southernistas! Well after a very warm December winter has finally decided to make an appearance! While winter along with fall is not my favorite season I do love the fashion and I’m blessed to live in a state that experiences all four season (sometimes in a single day). So I indulged myself last month and added a few more sweaters and sweater dresses to my closet to keep me warm and cozy.

Until next time Southernistas! Stay warm and Be safe!

This sweater dress from Lane Bryant does double duty on those days when the temps are in the high 40s — 50s it is super warm and cozy with a pair of tried and true boots I’ve had forever from Payless. Because it is such a thick seater dress it gives double warmth under your coat for colder days.

This dress is still available , Alternate for boots herehereherehere

Fashion to Figure is a brand I’ve wanted to try for a while now but my style is sexy but modest and this brand is full on sexy! But all is not lost and by diligently looking I have scored some cute pieces that work for my style especially this red sweater dress. I just popped a white tank underneath and I was ready to go. The buttons are not functional and you can actually size down because the dress runs a little large. I wanted a compete head to to red look so I grabbed my red moto jacket (comes in several colors) from Eloquii and my brand new red pumps from JustFab and I am warm and slaying it!

Fashion to Figure Sweater DressEloquii Moto JacketJust Fab Red Pumps comes in black also

My Favorite Cozy Mystery of 2021 — Part 4 (The Finale)

Happy New Year’s Eve Southernistas! I hope, those who celebrate Christmas, had a wonderful Christmas spent celebrating the birth of Jesus, enjoying family, and opening presents! I hope you got what you wanted and for my book lovers I hope you got that book you’ve been wanting or a gift card to your local independent bookstore or Barnes & Nobles.

Well here we are…the FINALE! After three post of my favorite cozy mysteries that I read this year out of all the cozies I read in 2021. I really hope y’all have enjoyed the unofficial countdown and that some of these will make on to your TBR or have peaked your curiosity and you decide to read one of these cozies. Here’s to reading and discovering even more new and old cozy mysteries in 2022.

Having said all that here is my choice for the top cozy mystery of 2021 (drumroll please)

You can purchase this book from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads, and where ever books are sold. I have linked the author’s website.

Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Murders (A Mrs. Claus Mystery) by Liz Ireland

This new series by Liz Ireland was in my humble opinion the best of the best when it comes to cozy mystery. I laughed all through the book and was so sad when I finished reading the book and immediately pre-ordered Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide and devoured that book also. I am now anxiously awaiting the third book in this series and so is my mother. In this series April Claus is a newlywed to her husband Nick who is in his first year as Santa after the tragic death of his older brother. She is trying to find her place and fulfill the her duties as the new Mrs. Claus which in the eyes of her mother in low the Dowager Mrs. Claus she is falling short. On top of everything else Giblet Hollyberry has been is killed and all the clues point to Santa himself as the murderer. April knows this can’t be true! While the family doesn’t seem as concerned by this as they should especially her husband and her doubts about Constable Crinkles and Office Jolly’s policing abilities April has decided that it is up to her to find out who killed Giblet before Nick is arrested and Christmas is cancelled.

Of all the cozies I’ve read this year this has been the series I have talked about non-stop. I mean a cozy mystery that takes place in Santaland? GENIUS! Liz Ireland’s does a marvelous job of world building and you would think after all the portrayals of the North Pole in various Christmas stories over the years that would nothing could be added or said but you would be wrong. Her characters are wonderful and I like that the Claus family are portrayed as a normal family with the same issues many families have as well as how out of touch they seem to be. I could go on and on about how great this series is and I can’t wait to see what is next for April Claus and Santaland.

Good-bye 2021…Hello 2022!

Happy New Year Southernistas! Well God has blessed us to say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022! I don’t know about y’all but I honestly thought we would be leaving COVID behind in 2021 but it looks like another relative of COVID has decided to come with us into 2022. I am not one for making resolutions because lets face it before the 1st week of 2022 is over I’ve broken the resolutions. What I do like to do is keep moving forward and improving Regina. I want to draw closer to God, family, and friends. I want to always be a better version of myself and of course step out of my comfort zones and have new experiences whatever they may be.

I know for some of my friends 2021 was a year of change and loss but I have seen them grow stronger through every change. It is my prayer that we all go into this new year with hope and to have a impact on our fellow man. To be a little kinder, more respectful, and hopefully more loving towards each other.

So here’s to 2022 and all the experiences (good & bad), adventures, new relationship weather it be romantic or otherwise, and fabulous style and fashion!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dress — Lane BryantShoes — Just FabThe Southernista

My Favorite Cozy Mysteries of 2021 — Part 3

Merry Christmas Southernistas! I know it’s Christmas Eve but I still want to wish y’all a very Merry Christmas!

We’ve made it to week 3 of my list of favorite cozy mystery series I read this year. For those of you who are wondering what is a cozy mystery? The best definition of a cozy mystery is mystery that usually takes place in a small town with an amateur sleuth (librarian, baker/chef, teacher, etc.) that has not graphic violence, profanity (although some do), and no sex scenes. An example of a cozy mystery would be Murder, She Wrote.

Now that I have defined, my definition, of what what a cozy mystery is I have been sharing my favorite of all the cozies I read this year and while I could list a lot I decided to post 3 each post because I don’t want y’all to get bored and stop reading or unfollow me because I go on and on. I will end the last post with my top pick of 2021 and I can’t wait to share it with you.

You can purchase these books from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads, and where ever books are sold. If you would like more information about the series or to check out the other series by these talented authors I have linked their webpage just click on their name

Murder in G Major (A Gethsemane Brown Mystery) by Alexia Gordon

I discovered author Alexia Gordon, who is a physician also, listening to a cozy podcast, another blog for another time, and her Gethsemane Brown mystery series which is set in Ireland! This is the first book in the series and we find Dr. Gethsemane Brown stranded in Ireland after she looses the position as assistant conductor with the Cork Philharmonic to the music director’s mistress which is how she ends up in the village of Dunmullach as the music teacher at St. Brennan’s School for Boys where she is expected to turn the boy’s orchestra into an award winning orchestra. The upside is the charming cottage, Carraigfaire Cottage, the home of famed classical musician and composer Eamon McCarthy what she didn’t know is that she would be sharing the cottage with a ghost, Eamon McCarthy. I absolutely loved this book and I hope this series has a long life. Gethsemane is tough and hard drinking which is something you don’t see in amateur sleuths.

Spying in High Heels (A High Heel Mystery) by Gemma Halliday

As a stiletto wearing girl this is a mystery series I have been dying to read forever and I finally, FINALLY did it! And I am a better person for it now. I love this first book in the series and I’ve purchased the 2nd book. The 13th book if this series came out this month so I’ve got a lot of binge reading to do…lol. Unlike the majority of cozy mysteries this series is set in Los Angeles, CA and not a small town which is a nice change. Aspiring shoe designer Maddie Springer is a funny amateur sleuth who is a girl after my own heart. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the entire series!

Murder with a Cherry on Top (A Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery) by Cynthia Baxter

I love Cynthia Baxter and was sad when her Murder Packs a Suitcase mystery series ended after two books in her series. She also wrote the Reigning Cats & Dogs mystery series which ended after 9 books. I loved both of these series so when she debuted a new series after a long break and it takes place in an ice cream shop I was beyond excited. The series is set in Wolfert’s Roost, NY in the Hudson Valley where our amateur sleuth Kate McKay grew up and is now back home after leaving a high powered career in Manhattan. I enjoyed this book and I really enjoyed how the murder was solved by Kate. I found myself sacrificing a lot of sleep because I just could not put this book down which is a trademark of all of these author’s books. I loved the characters and found myself wanting to visiting the Hudson Valley.

Honorable mention: Live and Let Chai (A Seaside Café Mystery) by Bree Baker

I know I said I said three books but this series by Bree Baker aka Julie Anne Lindsey is a must read. There are 6 books in this series and I was so sad when the author announced book 6 was the end of the series. This series is set on the coast of my home state North Carolina in Charm where Everly Swan has opened up Sun, Sand, and Tea Ice Café. She is trying to make a success of it but the town curmudgeon comes in everyday asking for a list of the ingredients Everly uses in her teas which she refuses to give but always gives him a free sample which he. And as a member of the city council he has never been in favor of Everly opening her café on the beach and fought her every step of the way. When he is found dead with one of her cups from her business in his hand Everly knows it’s up to her to find the killer before she looses her precious café and house and have to move back in with her aunts.

My Favorite Cozy Mysteries of 2021 — Part 2

Hello Southernistas! I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my favorite cozy mysteries and that you checked them out. I realized that the first post were all about new mysteries (new to me) I discovered this year. I always like to read the first book in a new mystery series I never start with the most recent release. Also if I didn’t enjoy the first book in the series I always remind myself that this is the first book in the series so I don’t dismiss the series but I read the next book in the series. In my experience most cozies get better with each book and it depends on your personal taste as well.

This list features my favorite cozies of 2021 of long running series that I am a devoted fan and when I say devoted I mean I pre-order the books when they become available for pre-order and them I devour as soon as they arrive.

You can purchase these books from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads and everywhere else books are sold. I’ve linked the author’s website just click on the author’s name.

I accept all book recommendations!

Pup Fiction (Melanie Travis Mystery Series) by Laurien Berenson

I have been a fan of Laurien Berenson’s Melanie Travis mystery series from the first book A Pedigree to Die For. This book is the 26th book in the series and once again Melanie and her Aunt Peg (who remains incorrigible) find themselves in the middle of a mystery when the owner of Graceland School summer camp ex-husband if found dead on the property. Melanie can’t believe Grace murdered her ex-husband and when she is asked by Grace to investigate how can she say no. Between being a wife, mother of two boys and five standard poodles Melanie always seems to find time to solve a mystery of two.

Dying in a Winter Wonderland (A Year Round Christmas Mystery) by Vicki Delaney

I love the Year Round Christmas Mystery series by Vicki Delany. I look forward to visiting Rudolph, NY whenever I can to see what murder Merry Wilkinson has gotten herself mixed up in and in this 5th book in the series Merry’s brother is the prime suspect in the death of his old high school girlfriend’s fiancé Jeff Vanderhaven. Merry knew it was a mistake to even agree to help Luanne Ireland with her wedding but after much begging and pleading Merry found herself roped into doing the decorations for her wedding which Luanne moved up from July to February. Vicki Delany is also the author of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, Tea by the Sea series, The Lighthouse Library Series, and her newest mystery series The Catskills Summer Resort mystery series

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke

I’ve saved the best for last! This is the 27th book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series or as I like to refer to it also as the Lake Eden mystery series. From her first book, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, to Triple Chocolate I have been them for them all in fact I have pre-ordered book 28 and can’t wait to get in my hot little hands. If I had one complaint about this series is the love triangle that has lasted way beyond it’s date which is the complaint of many fans of this series. Hopefully the love triangle will come to an end in the next book!

More Sweater Dresses

Hello Southernistas! Did you really think last week’s post be the last post about sweater dresses? Of course not! As the temperatures drop and we get closer to winter, December 21st, sweater dresses are a must for my closet and yours too so here are more sweater dresses I got from Lane Bryant. I’ve also added links to other brands at different price points.

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

Lane Bryant
Lane Bryant Hacci Midi Dress — also come in Purple and Green
Ashley Stewart Bell Sleeve Sweater Dress
Ashely Stewart Fringe Sweater Dress
Swing Sweater Dress — Roamans