Mrs. Wiggins

I’m not one to name furniture or other items but as I was painting my secretary, all I could think of was my favorite character from the Carol Burnett Show- Mrs. Wiggins, the blond, scatter brained secretary played by Carol Burnett.  Boy, did I love to watch that show growing up! Probably not the best viewing for a 6 year old but I digress.

I originally got the urge for a secretary when I saw Eddie Ross’ secretary re-do via pinterest

Isn’t it lovely?
For weeks I scoured craigslist to find a replica of Eddies’s but to no avail.  Just when I had given up hope and resigned myself to the fact that all the great secretary deals had been lost, I found a craigslist posting that didn’t have a picture but advertised an antique secretary for sale.  Now usually I don’t even look at postings like that.  I usually view it as a sign of laziness if the seller can’t or won’t post pictures.  If I have to go through the effort of texting or e-mailing to get a picture that could’ve been posted from a cell phone when the craigslist posting was created,  I usually won’t give the seller a chance to get my business. This time I took a chance and contacted the seller.  I was desperate, ya’ll;  I wanted something to makeover!  
I called the seller and it was still available!  I instantly liked it and told him I would take it after giving my husband the secret “do you think it’s not a piece of junk and it’s okay to buy?” look and getting the “go ahead and buy it if you want” look.  Don’t you just love secret husband/wife communications?
Here is what I brought home that day:

It doesn’t have the attached hutch like the inspiration piece but I was okay with that since I felt a hutch might be too much visually in my room. I  know some of  you are shaking your head and saying I shouldn’t have touched it but what you can’t see are a bunch of scuff marks and the wear and tear the piece had.  I am also by no means a wood purist.  I will paint a piece in a heartbeat so I had no problem envisioning this piece being another color.
The secretary sat in my living room several months while I made sure I liked it in the space.  Once I knew it was staying, I went to work.  I didn’t take pictures of the steps during the transformation but I will make sure to do capture the entire process next time to share with y’all.  
Without further ado I give you the afters:

It really brightens the room up!

The color is Sherwin Williams Dover White, which came highly recommended by my friend Shanna.  The lamp and lampshade are both from Target.  I plan to spruce it up eventually with ribbon once I decide on an accent color.  The ceramic artichoke is from Hobby Lobby while the mirror and vintage,musical car are from a recent estate sale.  Here is a close up of the car. Isn’t it adorable?
What do you think?  What have you made over lately?
Love y’all,

Lessons from Whitney

I can remember the first time I heard a Whitney Houston song.  Picture it.  Alabama. 1985. I was nine years old. The song was How Will I Know. My mom was a girl’s softball coach and I was being babysat by one of her softball players, Marie.  I thought the moon rose and set with Ree, as she was called and that night my opinion of her further skyrocketed.  She introduced me to MTVand this young black woman singing a fun, new song.  Still today, I can remember the crazy 80’s hair Whitney sported and the words to that song.

Like many others, I was shocked and hurt by Whitney’s untimely death.  I felt like I knew her and I was always rooting for her to get back on top.  Although many consider her a tragic figure, I think she was greatly misunderstood and I think we can learn some valuable lessons from her life:

1.  You have to know your own strength. Whitney’s last album I Look to You features a song called “I Didn’t Know my own Strength”.  Was that an understatement or what?  Most of us are strong beyond our belief.  One of the most valuable things we can do for ourselves is find out who we are and what we believe in.  Knowing those two things will serve us greatly in our lives.  Without them, we tend to wonder through life letting things happen around us instead of commanding greatness from our lives.

2.  Don’t Ever play yourself small!  In Whitney’s 2009 interview with Oprah, she admitted she played small so she wouldn’t make her then husband, Bobby Brown upset with her success. Don’t ever do this, for ANYBODY!  I often quote Marianne Williamson in saying:

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

Anybody who truly loves you, loves you enough to let you be yourself and grow into the person you were meant to be without requiring you to shrink so they can shine.

 3.  There’s nothing like a mother’s love.  Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, has been known as a fierce protector of her daughter who held on to Whitney when everyone else was giving up on her.  Whitney admitted that her mother once showed up at her house with police and a court injunction in hand and told her “I’m not losing you to the world…I want my daughter back”.  Only a mother will help you even when she’s facing the possibility of you cutting her out of your life.  That’s love.  We’ve heard of countless celebrities who fall because nobody will tell them no due to the fear they’d be cut out or replaced.  Cissy didn’t care about that.  She just wanted what was best for her child.  Three years ago, I didn’t quite understand that type of determination but today as the mother of two little ones, I know it well.  A mother will give it all to protect her babies.

4.  The people who matter know the REAL you. Most of the reports we’ve seen since Whitney’s death have focused on her drug use and tumultuous marriage while very few have shown the gentle and very generous side of the star. In an interview with one of Whitney’s former back-up singers the reporter learned that Whitney paid for all of the singer’s cancer treatments. A New Jersey father wrote of Whitney’s generosity to his dying daughter  in his local newspaper and similar testimonies can be found simply by googling her name and the word kindness.

There’s a song I remember my grandmother singing as a child that says “may the work I’ve done speak for me”.  In the end it’s about what we leave behind.  Whitney left us great music, memories and kindness.

I’m sure there are other lessons we can take from Whitney Houston’s life. These are just a few that came up to me as I’ve watched coverage of her death and subsequent funeral.  I’ll do my best to keep them at the forefront of my mind.

What about you? What’s your favorite Whitney song or memory?

Love y’all,

p.s. Check back soon for my first before and after blog post!


The new twist on New Year’s resolutions is choosing a word of the year instead. I welcomed this new idea since I’ve never been really big on New Year’s resolutions. I quickly realized that quite often I didn’t keep them and would find myself feeling disappointed and letdown because I didn’t. I didn’t like that feeling so I decided years ago to stop making resolutions.
My word for 2012 is resolute (sort of funny since I don’t set resolutions!)
Yep, I’m determined to stay the course and stake my claim in the world this year. One way I’m doing that is stepping out of my comfort zone and believe me, starting this blog is stepping out of my comfort zone! This year, I’m no longer content to allow all the creative ideas in my head to keep floating around unshared.
Here you’ll not only find posts about event planning and design, you’ll also find my adventures as a wife, mother, friend, self-imposed local restaurant critic and faux interior designer. You’ll find that people and love are always the focus of “A Southern Flair”, whether it’s a post about a husband showing love by throwing his beautiful wife a 10th wedding anniversary party; a gorgeous, family-centered wedding or a post about the fun, new dish I made for my family last night!

What are challenging yourself to do this year?

Yes, my journey has started, I’m a blogger. Thank y’all for visiting and check back often for more updates!

Love y’all,