The Many Nuances of “Bless Your Heart”……..

I’ve been a southern girl all my life…so the correct use of ‘Bless Your Heart’ has always  come naturally to me. I’ve been able to read the undertones since birth. 😉

Recently on my trip to Atlanta I met some wonderful new friends at the Haven Conference…some from the south, some from the north.  {I love the North… of our favorite places is Vermont!}

When one of them was sharp enough to notice that when someone says ‘Bless Your Heart’ it didn’t always mean the same thing as it appears to on the outside….I knew a ‘Bless Your Heart’ lesson was in store.  {It can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, in other words.}

You see, here in the South we believe in being polite, even if it kills us…so sometimes when we really want to say something nasty, we just say “Bless your heart” because it makes us feel better.

I highly suggest that if you are not trained and well-acquainted with this powerful phrase that you do not use it…..many people have done that and, sad to say, never lived it down.

Here’s the quick lesson that some of us gave our new friends in Atlanta last week:

Some of the Many Uses of ‘Bless Your Heart’

Example:  When someone walks into a room wearing a distasteful outfit and someone says “Bless her/his heart” … it means: “That poor thing has the tackiest taste in the world!” or it could even be more specific as in “Good grief, those pants make her bottom look like it’s dragging the ground!”

When, let’s say, a family member calls and tells you of something stupid another family member has done there are several “Bless her/his heart”s and this means: “Well, even though they don’t have enough sense to get out of a wet paper bag, we still love them.”

When someone you love and care about gets hurt or has something bad happen to them and you say “Bless your heart”…. it means “Oh, I am so sorry you are going through this, I wish I could take it away and make things better.”

It can be a form of empathy and used as a big hug…. as in when a friend calls and tells you about how bad her job is, and the kids are going crazy, and the dog just destroyed the house….. we say “Bless your heart”….and it means:  “Honey, I hate that you’ve had a bad day, but I’m glad it’s you and not me!”

And then one of the biggest ways southerners use “Bless your heart”….is a way to identify each other.  You pretty much know where someone came from when they use this powerful phrase. You also know where someone came from if they use it incorrectly. 🙂 {And you appropriately say “Bless. your. heart.”}

Now, this is definitely an abbreviated lesson….just in a nutshell.  There are many other ways to use it, and the nuances are many….for instance: when it is said through clenched teeth, drawn out slowly, with a squeal, etc…..but, for any of you that are not familiar with it, I don’t want to overwhelm you.

I am proud to say that we had our new friend using this lovely phrase 90% correctly within two days.  She was a quick learner. 😉  Only a few stumbles…but we quickly said “Bless your heart!” and covered for her.

She also had a question about the phrase “Fixin’ to”……whew!  That’s a whole other lesson.  I’ll have to tackle that on another day.

Bless ALL of your hearts today~

{and I mean that in the best, most loving way}


Haven and My Atlanta Getaway……{Haven Conference 2012}

I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things…coming back from my five-day getaway! Woohoo!  It went by so fast. I took some great classes, met some super people, and had lots of fun! Are you ready for me to ramble????

{Please excuse the poor quality of the pics…they were all taken on my phone.}

plane wing

These girls were great…..had so much fun with them! And Kristin’s {The Hunted Interior} hubby arranged for us to go to a fabulous restaurant in Atlanta called Cinco’s.  We were treated like royalty….and it was delicious! If you are ever in the area…be sure to check it out.

haven 2012 group

One of the first classes that I took was Marian’s {Miss Mustard Seed} Advanced Painting class.  Loved learning about some fun tips on new products for painting….

miss mustard seed

In her class there was a contest to see who had the worst/best paint clothes.  If you guys have been around here very long….you know that my favorite painting clothes are my 20 year-old tie-dyed jumpsuit that is basically dry rotting as we speak.  The straps are held together with safety pins and there is a huge hole in the rear…so I always have to wear something tied around my waist.  I’ve tried cleaning them out….but I just can’t.  I really do think that I paint better in them.  😉 {I’m on the left}

miss mustard seed paint clothes contest

{Photo is from the Haven flickr group and taken by}

Well…..I WON!  My ratty paint clothes won the contest!

paint clothes

I won this super set of Annie Sloan paint brushes…..and you guys know that is my favorite paint for furniture and other home projects! 🙂 Can’t wait to put them into action….my others were wearing out.

annie sloan paint brushes

Here are some of the colors of Miss Mustard Seed’s new milk paint that will be coming out in the  fall……there are 12 different colors, and they are all beautiful.  If you love the chippy-look…milk paint is for you!  I’ll keep you updated about where you can get it and how I intend to use it.  Can’t wait! The waxes from her line actually smell like lotion….and some will smell like lavender!  {A far cry from the smell of mineral spirits, I’d say!}

miss mustard seed milk paint colors

{Picture from Miss Mustard Seed}

In one of my other classes….photography, I think….I put my camera bag down and it had a sister! ha!  I love Jeanne Oliver Designs….and it looks like someone else did, too.  These two bags became the talk of Haven….and certain women {who shall remain nameless} chased us down to find out how to get them!

jeanne oliver camera bag

Home Depot was one of the main sponsors of this great two-day event…..and I was one of the winners of their big prizes!  Woohoo! And guess what it has to do with?  PAINT!  Yes!

Home Depot

After Haven was over I still had another couple of days in Atlanta…and got to spend it with some fun new friends going to fun places……Ikea being our first stop! {You just can’t pass up Ikea when it’s right down the road!}


And then we headed to the Titanic Exhibit….a treat for anyone that loves history. The artifacts that have been recovered are amazing…there aren’t very many; but the ones there are – are just incredible.

titanic exhibit

My last day was spent getting ready to leave…..and for a bit of R&R. I somehow managed to twist my ankle and was trying to keep it up a bit.  I ordered what was supposed to be a nice, little breakfast …. an omelet with fresh fruit.  THIS is what I got……merciful heavens! It was enough for the entire group of Haven to come eat with me! {OK, maybe not entire…but a lot!}

room service breakfast

So I delved into one of my favorite reads while eating my feast breakfast…Kinfolk.  It is only published twice a year….and is a treat to read.  You can find it at Anthropologie and Williams-Sonoma.

kinfolk magazine

 Packing up was more than I bargained for…….having to sit on my suitcase to get it closed. It was filled with drill bits, Annie Sloan paint, brushes, tools, etc…..all wonderful swag from the Haven sponsors.  I had already shipped one box of fun gifts home at the UPS store….and was praying I would make it through security with all the other stuff!

sitting on suitcase to get it closed

I was greeted by these wonderful messages when I arrived back home… of which said:

“Nothing happened to da house while u were gone…so don’t ask.” ha!

I asked.

welcome home messages

The wonderful ending to my excursion…not only coming home to my favorite people {the best part!}….but while walking through the garden seeing this……

brick walkway

Handsome had created a walkway out of antique brick…salvaged from a Civil War home in the deep south… is beautiful! These guys know how to welcome me home!

Have you been on any excursions lately?  I’d love to hear about them!

Resting up from my getaway~

If you’d like to read about some other Haven experiences….head on over to Southern Hospitality!

Summer Dreaming…

Today is the first day of summer….to me.

I know that the calendar says that the official first day of summer is a few weeks away, but to me…June 1 is the first day of summer!  Woohoo! I’m ready.

I’m looking forward to a fun weekend….it will be a packed-full-of-fun kind of weekend.

Tomorrow is the annual Dinner on the Grounds day hosted by the local Historical Society at a Civil War church here in our town.  I love dinner on the grounds… old-fashioned homecoming. Our whole family looks forward to it each year and we have so much fun.

After that we are headed to enjoy the NC Symphony perform at Tryon Palace….the South Lawn Series has begun for the summer! Something else we look forward to during summer. Having a lovely picnic while listening to the symphony….the perfect summer evening.

And then on Sunday…..heading to the beach. {It’s great to live so close to the beach that you can go for the day!} We are mountain people…..but we still love the beach. 🙂

In honor of the first day of summer….here are some pictures that say summer to me.

{Click on each picture for the source.}

Summer evening dinners outside…..everything tastes better!

Late afternoons on the beach…..aaaahhhhhhh

Quiet lakes and ponds….canoes, kayaks….pondering and wandering.

Path to a perfect day……

Mornings at the farmers’ market……..

Sand angels!

Books, books, and more books! Summer is for wonderful reading under a tree…

Fresh honey….

Picnics in fun places….anywhere works for a picnic!

Art on the beach…great combination.

There’s nothing better than a good road trip!

I will never outgrow swings…….

You can follow all of my picture inspiration on Pinterest Here.

Or if you have an iPhone follow on instagram: cottageintheoaks

I hope your weekend is just loverly!

Happy Summer~

A Lovely Day……

A couple of weeks ago Handsome and I took off

on a little road trip to spend the day at

Tryon Palace… was the annual spring

Heritage Plant Sale.

This is one of my favorite spots in the palace gardens…..

And, of course, where there is clover…

Handsome always finds a four-leaf one!

Here is the South Lawn….the back of the palace.

We spend several nights here in the summer

at the South Lawn Series…..having a picnic

and listening to the NC Symphony.

This is the potager {kitchen garden} of my dreams!

Love these onions…..

and poppies……..

The houses in this historic town are hundreds of years old.

Being in a coastal town most of the men use to be sailors, fishermen, etc.

So the majority of the houses have widow’s walks:

These special little platform porches on the tops of houses

allowed the wives to go out each day to look over the seas

to see if she could see her husband coming home.

They’ve taken such good care of history in this town.

And you know in any good historic town…..there are

wonderful antiques and flea markets.

Here are my two favorite flags flying together!

Have you taken any fun day trips lately?

If not…I hope you plan a fun day trip soon!

Have a great weekend~