Birthdays…

 

imageBirthdays are the best time to send a handwritten note. I know, I know…it’s fun to find a funny card, or let someone else express the sentiment- but somehow I think seeing ‘Happy Birthday’ handwritten makes it more special. Here’s a few things I like to say…

  • ‘You are a miracle !’
  • ‘My life is richer because of you !’
  • ‘ Life is sweeter with you in it!’
  • ‘Let’s eat birthday cake!’
  • ‘Today we celebrate you!’

Adding a gift card or some cash in a little purse or wallet is always a good idea-imageAnd since we have a birthday girl at Camellia’s Cottage in May- I did some window shopping at JCrew –

J Crew ‘bling’ jewelry with classic clothing is what the girls around here like! And they had eye-popping displays! The clothes were striped or solid and cotton sweaters, tee shirts, checked shirts and jeans, lots of denim in fact. Go birthday shopping!

Birthdays are also a great time to take a fun trip- May is a great time to head to the beach!

*Allie Mac recommends –

  • Gulf Shores, Perdido and Orange Beaches on the Gulf of Mexico
  • Go over to Pensacola to see the Blue Angels fly.
  • Take a tour of Historic Mobile.
  • Relax at the Marriott Grand Hotel and Spa at Point Clear. The guys can play a round of golf on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course there-or fish off the pier while the girls go to the spa!
  • Stroll around Fairhope or Magnolia Springs on Mobile Bay- that’s always a good idea.
  • The food on the Bay or Gulf Coast is the best seafood you will find anywhere, any time… image

Allie Mac got so excited about that, she mapped it all out! You have to wonder about anybody who wouldn’t want to go to South Alabama! *We’ll drag out this map again later on…

And here is one of my personal favorite things to do on my birthday or any day! image Go get a cup of cappuccino! What a way to say ‘I love you!’ with that sweet little heart the barista makes! (That’s Italian for that guy whippin’ up that fancy coffee!) Whatever way you choose to say ‘Happy Birthday!’ – big or small, I hope you will do it- a birthday is different than other holidays- it is specific to the person.  Remember their day and say- I’m glad you were born!

So- to the adorable birthday girl at Camellia’s Cottage –

  • ‘Happy Birthday! We love you!’
  • ‘Our life is richer with you in it!’
  • ‘Let’s celebrate you!’ ‘You are a miracle!’
  • We hope your birthday is filled with all the good things life has to offer – including cupcakes and shopping, getting some sand between your toes and freckles on your nose!

And to all of those who have a birthday today, in May or any day- You are a ‘milagro’ in any language! We hope all your birthday dreams come true!

Love y’all, Camellia


J Crew   www.jcrew.com

Marriott Grand Hotel and Spa www.marriottgrand.com

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail https://www.rtjgolf.com

Alabama Department of Tourism www.alabama.tourism.gov

Blue Angels U.S. Navy – for schedule go to  www.visitpensacola.com

The Liebster Award…

imageI’m so long winded I had to do two posts about the Liebster Award. As part of the process of receiving the Liebster Award, the blogger shares 11 random personal facts, which you will find at the end of this post- and more important-Camellia’s Cottage pays it forward by nominating other bloggers that we feel deserve recognition. We have chosen 11 blogs that we feel are outstanding. Walter is excited…drum roll please! image

Little Leaf of Spring- https://littleleafofspringblog.com – a young lady from London who has chosen to live in Paris.

Life Happens- http so://l1fehappens.com – who loves coffee as much as I do!

Mint Julep Girl – https://mintjulepgirl.wordpress.com – a beautiful Southern girl

The Yellow Telephone – https://theyellowtelephone.com – two girlfriends, long distance girlfriend who are staying in touch by blogging.

Tiny Love Challenges – https://tinylovechallenges.wordpress.com – a girl who lives in New York, who has committed to recoding 365 small acts of kindness.

Society of Southern Gentlmen-https://societyofsoutherngents.org  A very accomplished family man who lives in Huntsville Alabama who is committed to preserving the traditions of how a gentleman should act.

Almost a Cake – https://almost awake.wordpress.com – a beautiful food blog!

Is This a Keeper?  – https://isthisakeeper.com  A blogger who loves to try new recipes and found herself asking her testers ‘is this a keeper?’

Art and Kitchen by Food Friends – https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com – a new blog created by an already successful food blogger that decided to share space with her food friends

Curl a Little Finger – https://christinanifong.com formally ‘Curl a Little Finger’ blog – a sweet charming blog – she is a freelance writer, a mother and an ‘eater and grower’!

Renee Lilly  – http://buzzworthydesignblog.com  Renee is a fantastic interior designer right here in my Alabama hometown and beyond!

So to all you busy as a bee bloggers, here is your invitation to claim your Liebster Award- image

Congratulations! What’s next?

  • Thank the person who nominated you- post a link to their blog
  • Display the Liebster 2016 award badge on your blog
  • Write a post about your favorite blog that is not your own, explaining why you like it
  • write 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserves the award – inform them that you have nominated them!
  • Create 11 questions for the bloggers to answer

List the official rules in your post – you can find them at this fantastic Australian blogger’s site- https://theglobalaussie.com

Here are your 11 questions:

  • What is your favorite Southern city?
  • Two things, what is the hallmark of a southern lady and the distinguishing mark of a southern gentleman?
  • What is the most difficult thing for you to do as you post your blog?
  • List 3 things on your personal bucket list.
  • My favorite beach in Alabama is the white sugah’ sands of Orange Beach- what is your favorite beach- it can where you live or have visited elsewhere
  • List 3 of your favorite things, one must be ‘southern’
  • What inspires you on a daily basis, whether you blog about it or not
  • Do you prefer ‘sweet’ or ‘unsweet’ iced tea?
  • Tell me 5 things about yourself that you want others to know
  • What is the most challenging aspect of blogging so far?
  • Give me your 3 best tips for creating a great blog post

Ready, Set, Go! then we’ll celebrate!

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imageTo complete the process of acquiring my own Liebster award,  I will share 11 random facts about myself-

1. I am tech challenged, a woman of a certain age who loves Himalayan cats!

2. Most southerners love sweet tea, not me, I prefer unsweetened with lemon with the exception being, iced mint tea

3. I really prefer coffee, black please!

4. I decided to start this blog because I fell headfirst on an uneven sidewalk in Georgetown DC. After my head injury, I believed it was important for me to challenge myself to learn new skills which require concentration and creativity.

5. I am a collector of funny stories.

6. I am a published author, you can find my book ‘Four Days- the Lazarus Principle’ on Amazon.com and other major booksellers

7. I grew up in the shadow of the original Iron Man, Vulcan- overlooking the massive steel mills and ironworks in Birmingham- if you grow up there, the choice is to become as ‘coarse and common as pig iron’ or be ‘refined into a steel magnolia’; I try to choose everyday to be the latter.

8. I do not believe anyone should be mistreated; I am a Christian who believes that I am at my best taking care of ‘the least of these’ and that the distinquishing mark of any faith should be to ‘love one another’ as God has loved us. One way I act on these beliefs-I am a member of the steering committee for the YWCA Purse and Passion/St.Clair luncheon to benefit victims of domestic violence.

9. I will always be indebted to my older sister, who at age 6, taught me how to read from her ‘Dick and Jane’ books- I was 4 years old. It started the most wonderful journey for me, a lifetime lover of words and books!

10. The most challenging thing for me as a writer or blogger is to avoid comparison.

11. Finally, I am a better cheerleader than a promoter of my own work-I thoroughly enjoyed nominating other bloggers for this part of the award process I prefer to promote lighthearted, good wholesome things, artists and others who live in my home state, Alabama. I hope you will look beyond the headlines to the beauty, industry, creativity and generosity in ‘my sweet home in Alabama’ . Again, it is an unexpected honor to receive the 2016 Liebster Award. Look at the cute award badge below! Love y’all, Camellia

 

We’ve been nominated for an award!!!

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‘We’ve been nominated for a Liebster award! Can you believe it Walter? I hate to disturb your nap, but Camellia’s Cottage has been nominated for an award!’~ Walter is looking at me like I’m crazy but Allie Mac, Brenda and I are excited around here! I mean, an award? y’all…really?photo Let me tell you what it is…The Liebster Award is given to new bloggers by another blogger. A big southern ‘Thank you darlin ‘- goes to an amazing blogger -Agatha Chocolats ! I think I’ve gained weight just looking at her blog with all of that chocolate! You have to go see what that little Southern girl is up to! To thank her properly here is a thank you note especially for you, Agatha- imageI like Agatha’s blog because of the images she uses- some are even short video clips, the 13 recipes she does once a week, the unusual combination of mystery and chocolate is intriguing and the playful, tasteful way she produces her blog. Currently it has to be my favorite! She has inspired me to be a better blogger.

Agatha had some questions for me when she nominated Camellia’s Cottage-

  • What would be the motto of your blog? Agatha, I would have to say, ‘Our Sweet Home in Alabama ‘.
  • What is your favorite childhood book? Hands down, it’s ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ – I love the question in it- ‘How do you know you’re ‘real’? And the reply, ‘You know you’re ‘real’ when your eyes fall out, your fur gets loved off and you are very shabby ‘ – by that definition, I am well on my way to- ‘becoming real’!
  • What is the best pairing for chocolate? It took one second to answer that one! Coffee!
  • What forms of social media do you like best when connecting with your readers outside of your blog? I’m old timey here, I would love to chat with them by phone or at an old fashioned ‘tea’ .
  • If you could invite 3 people (living, dead, fictional…anybody!) who would you invite? Well, darlin’ I would have to have 2 parties or one ‘dinner in the ground’! If I could have them back for just one meal, I would choose my grandmother, my husband’s grandmother and my precious mother in law for the first party. For the second party I would invite the ever inspirational Jesus Christ, who attended and even served some of the most miraculous meals ever! Then, C. S. Lewis,  one of the most scholarly and prolific authors ever! And of course, Thomas Jefferson- whose wide range of interests never fails to amaze me!
  • What would you serve? Agatha, I would want the ladies to cook for me! My grandmother’s turkey and dressing, my mother in law’s famous fresh coconut cake and my husband’s grandmother made delicious ‘southern baked-with-brown-sugar acorn squash’! For the men I would serve Parisienne Chicken, steamed broccoli, Sweet Orange Rolls, and a Mandarin Orange/toasted almond salad.
  • What are your 5 best qualities? Well now, that’s a hard one- I suppose (1)my sense of humor, (2)my love of place, (3)I hope I am creatively inspirational, (4)my concern for victims of poverty and domestic violence and the welfare of children; and (5)I would never want anyone to leave here- hungry or empty handed.
  •  What is the best thing covered in chocolate? Agatha! I hate being pinned down but I would have to say-  my homemade English Toffee!
  • What is your passion? My threefold passion is a love of learning, reading and writing, all of which come together at Camellia’s Cottage.
  • If you had 3 wishes what would they be?  Bless your heart, who wouldn’t want 3 wishes? (1)I wish Alabama could be experienced, not by the headlines, but by her natural beauty, a place where talent and  technology rub shoulders with farmers, football players, fashion designers and fishermen, where world renowned chefs and home cooks learn from each other; where goodness and greatness show their generosity regularly and where writers and publishers, art and industry exist on a level barely acknowledged; where kind gentle folk work hard, love their families and appreciate what true southern hospitality really is.(2) I wish I could read at least 100 books in 2016- I’ve read almost 50- so I’m making a good start, and finally, (3) I wish folks would choose watching, listening and reading things that aren’t loud and cynical ( where are Huntley/Brinkley?) but factual news which would inform and fill us up with hope and goodwill- I think those things should start with me and hopefully Camellia’s Cottage will do that.

Finally, Agatha Chocolats asked, which is the my most favorite published blog post? No contest! It was the least ‘liked’ or noticed on Camellia’s Cottage- called ‘ Lookin’ for Fame?’ Posted on March 23, 2016, about the amazing music, talent and recording genuises in the ‘Shoals’ of Northeast Alabama -I hope it will inspire you to at least see the ‘Muscle Shoals’ documentary! here’s a link- https://camelliascottage/2016/3/23/look-in-for-fame And we hope to do a part 2 to go with it, because world famous fashion designers, Billy Reid and Alabama Chanin are doing amazing work up that way too!

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There is more to accepting this award, including my personal nominees for the Liebster Award, which I will do in my next post…

In the meantime go take an indulgent visit to- Agatha Chocolats @ https://agathachocolats.com !   Love y’all, Camellia

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Purses, passion and pimento cheese…

imageThis is my grandmother, Betty Jo Sparks Holmes, standing by a fence in Alabama with her small son and her young brother. This photograph was taken in the late 1920’s. She was a working woman beginning in the late 50’s –  because her husband and her son were disabled. For almost 20 years she rode a bus to downtown Birmingham to work as a florist. She could squeeze a dollar harder than anyone I have ever known and get more out of it too! She was passionate about her work, her home and her family; always making sure her home was clean and beautiful and that there was something on the table that was fit to eat. To this day some of the best food I have ever eaten, the best meals I make, came from MiMi.  I still use her recipes and methods to make good food for my family or for pretty tea sandwiches –2015-06-05 12.02.11 I even grocery shop with her advice filling my head! No one ever left her home hungry; she was immensely talented and seriously funny. She believed in the old ways of putting out fresh tea towels, using the good silver often and being grateful enough to write a thank you note or compassionate enough to write a sympathy card. And she continued to do these things whether her pocketbook was full or not. This week, in her honor and in honor of other amazing women I know- I hand painted a ‘spring collection’ of notecards with cute little handbags.image

Susan B. Anthony said, ‘A woman should always have her own purse.’ This week in Birmingham Alabama, 100’s of women, with purses of their own, raised over $600,000 for victims of domestic violence. The YWCA Purse and Passion luncheon has been raising money and awareness in Central Alabama for over 15 years, they do an amazing amount of work which benefits women and children who often do not have access to safety or a purse of their own. These passionate women are proof that when a woman has a ‘purse of her own’ she can be a tremendous help and an outspoken voice for less fortunate women. The YWCA of Central Alabama is living proof that a passionate young woman named Susan B. Anthony was right about women and their ability to be a force for good and actually do need a purse of their own! In the 19th century, she began fighting for women to have the right to go to school, she went to school then began her own career as a teacher who fought for decent wages for teachers. She became convinced that women should have the right own personal property and earn a decent wage no matter what work she did. Ms. Anthony believed that the only way these things would ever become the law of the land was if women also had the right to vote. The passionate activist, Susan B. Anthony, died before women received the right to vote early in the 20th century, 1920, I believe. In Alabama, 90 years ago this week,voting rights for women weren’t  extended until 1956, more than 30 years after the rest of the nation.  Fast forward to the 21st century as famous Alabamian, Lily Ledbetter, also fought for several decades for equal pay for women. A bill with her name on it was signed in 2009- more than 100 years after Susan B. Anthony died. Yes, ‘Women should have a purse of their own.’

As a bonus, to honor these women- I will make available the closely guarded recipe for my grandmother’s award winning pimento cheese.

It is the best pimento cheese you will ever eat! If  you register your email address with Camellia’s Cottage, we’ll let you in on it! Use the sign up box or email:  brenda@camelliascottage.com

As always we will never ask for your height, your shoe size, when you started dying your hair or where you were when you got those redbug bites. We will never share your email address with anyone, we will never ask if the weight on your driver license is the same as the weight showing on your bathroom scale, we will always let you unsubscribe if you want to- but we hope you won’t, because we’ll never let you leave Camellia’s Cottage without knowing that we are grateful you stopped by! We’ll leave the light on…

Love y’all, Camellia

Grace and Grit –http://amzn.to/1XzrcBX Grace and Grit

Susan B. Anthony –Susan B. Anthony

YWCA YWCA

Visit YWCA of Central Alabama’s website – www.ywcabham.org