Timothy Olyphant and Harlan County, Kentucky

Justified-Wallpaper-justified-11261812-1600-1200Well, hello there Raylan Givens aka Timothy Olyphant. Ha!

Yesterday’s blog topic for the March Madness Challenge over at Alabama Women Bloggers is to Review Something: A book, TV show, movie, music. I have over the last few seasons become addicted to FX’s series Justified.

Justified is based in Harlan, Kentucky where you either work the mines, the whore house, or run the drug deals and the shady bars, maybe all of the above. Well, or you could leave. People don’t amount to much more than criminals around there, of course, except Raylan. Someone has to be the good guy. He leaves his criminal father and Harlan for a job in Lexington as a United States Marshall. Talk about from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Raylan still finds himself in Harlan from time to time for work and having to deal with his own cousins and people he has known all of his life. Sometimes he cuts them a little slack and overlooks the prostitution or the illegal businesses if they help him find whomever the latest fugitive might be. The show has taken on a few different spins within the last few seasons where Raylan, his cousin and Harlan crime boss, Boyd Crowder, and a few others have their own stories that always seem entangled. How can 2-5 different people become connected to the same crime bosses/workers from Canada, Mexico, Tennessee, Florida, and Kentucky? It is ridiculously thrilling and suspenseful.

ustv_justified_5The above is a picture of cousins Raylan and Boyd.

Now, one cannot be so hard on Boyd. In the last season or two he has taken on a softer side where he wants to do good, but he’s just in a bad position. In a recent episode his fiance is moved to the state prison and his anguish made me truly feel bad for him. Don’t we always like the bad guy and see his good qualities? Ah, let’s cut him some slack. It’s okay if he just shot 3 people, he’s trying to get ahead so he and Ava can leave Harlan. Ha! People and our TV shows.

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Not that Raylan is a picture perfect American Hero. He might work for the law and uphold it 99.5% of the time, but he has his bad qualities of walking away from feuding criminals and letting them take care of one another on their own (which gets him a hard right hook from his supervisor in this latest season) to his womanizing ways. While his ex-wife and infant daughter are off in Florida, he is too busy wanting to save the world from Kentucky’s redneck hell-bound “crime bosses.” He even laughs when someone considers Boyd a crime boss.

But, what can I say, something about his American Hero job and tendency to lean on the law when it might help out some poor soul makes him pretty attractive. I mean, then we can throw in his looks (greying hair and all) and it’s all over. Ha!

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Really though, the show keeps you waiting for next week’s episode. We had dinner with family last night, causing us to miss this week’s new episode and I am so thankful for DVR. I just want to find out if Ava gets out of prison or what happens since Raylan’s most recent flame he actually seems to like, broke it off at the end of the last episode. What?!

It is a show that Man of the House and I watch together. It has enough action and law breaking and violence to keep him interested, but it’s not gory or enough constant blood shed to cause me to leave the room.

It is not kid-friendly. And for once, Justified is a show that displays that loud and clear at the beginning of the show and end of every commercial break with a huge M for mature logo on the screen. I would definitely recommend you find Season 1 and start this journey through Harlan’s 21st Century crime lords (and ladies) and all of their never ending turmoil and activities.

A Perfect Day in Southern Mom Life

What would I consider my perfect day?

This is the topic of today’s March Madness Blog Challenge over at Alabama Women Bloggers.

I have never thought about what a “perfect” day would be like. I believe it would be very different than how the days go now! Ha!

I’m sure an absolute dream like perfect day would include the beach and Man of the House and kids, no worries on costs or bills, relaxation, fun, quality time kind of activities and things all day every day.

BUT…

A REALISTIC VERSION OF THE PERFECT DAY: It would start out with waking up around 6 a.m. after a full night’s rest (is that even real anymore?) and being able to prepare breakfast for a sit down meal together. Then I would kiss Man of the House as he headed off to tend to the cattle and farm (that we don’t quite have completely yet) and I would load our daughter up for school. After dropping her off at her classroom, I would head to my job as an Elementary School counselor (a career I’m still pursuing by working on my Master’s). After spending a great day helping develop and encourage the lives of children, I would leave around 2:30 to pick up our daughter and we would either have a little mom-daughter time (ice cream, shopping, etc.) before heading on home to Daddy, or head on home and have some great family time outside. (My perfect day would of course be approximately 75 degrees, so outside activities would be a must!) Then I would leave daughter and Man of the House for some outside quality time while I prepared for dinner. We’d have a relaxed evening. While our daughter did a little homework and/or free time, Man of the House and I would sit on the back patio and talk for a little while before heading in to do the bedtime routines and get little one ready for school the next day.

That’s my version of a realistically perfect day. What would yours be?

Juliette Gordon Low

Juliette Gordon Low

The Girl Scout Birthday is coming up on March 12, 2014, and the Alabama Women Bloggers’ March Madness Blog Challenge is focusing Wednesday’s on National Women’s History Month; therefore, I am going to focus my first post about a woman from history on Juliette Gordon Low, also known as Daisy to family members.

Young Daisy Gordon developed what was to become a lifetime interest in the arts. She wrote poems; sketched, wrote and acted in plays; and later became a skilled painter and sculptor. She had many pets throughout her life and was particularly fond of exotic birds, Georgia mockingbirds, and dogs. Daisy was also known for her great sense of humor.

Juliette Low was very athletic. From her childhood on, Daisy was a strong swimmer. She was Captain of a rowing team as a girl and learned to canoe as an adult. She was also an avid tennis player. One of her special skills was standing on her head. She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she still could do it, and also celebrated nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays by standing on her head. Once, she even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.

Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts on March 12, 1912, when she gathered 18 other girls in Savannah, Georgia to register the first two patrols (troops). The next year, the name was officially changed to Girl Scouts. Juliette’s movement brought girls of all backgrounds the opportunity to become self-reliant and resourceful. She not only believed in girls taking on the traditional role as a homemaker, but also the possibilities of girls and women in future professional careers outside of the home. How correct was she with her hopes and plans?

There are more than 2.4 million Girl Scouts between the ages of 5-17. 80% of women business owners were Girl Scouts, 69% of female U.S. senators were Girl Scouts, and virtually every female astronaut who has flown into space was a Girl Scout.

She knew what she was doing! I am very grateful and proud to be a current troop leader for some girls in my area. Everything Juliette hoped to accomplish in teaching girls often comes true before my eyes! Help me as we celebrate National Women’s History Month and encourage a Girl Scout somewhere. Oh, and buy some cookies from her.

Locks You’ll Love

If you have thick, dark hair and struggle between oiliness and dull/dryness all within the same week I have great news for you!
Keep reading below.

I have oily hair and then dry frizzy-ish hair sometimes within a 10 day period. It is ridiculous. And I cannot use only one shampoo constantly, it causes my hair to lay flat on my head. Gross. So I always try to have two shampoos on hand. I have went through and tried so many different shampoos in the last few years. From Tresemme to Aussie to Suave’s new product lines to brands no one has ever heard of anywhere else on the planet. Haha! After a while, my hair looks the same as always because of buildup. Do you have the same hair type and struggle with the same problem??

I have two products that I LOVE and will promise is worth every cent.

1. Mane & Tail Shampoo41-R3nQaqdL._SY300_I used this product during childhood when my mom would buy it and bring it home. It makes thick hair feel AMAZING. I had stopped using it for some time during high school and even during college, but I have come back to it. Here is my advice: Once you find a product that works for you, stick with it. Don’t stray off for every new pretty product, etc. There’s a reason it worked for you. This product used to smell strange when I was younger, but the bottles I have bought lately don’t have much of a scent to them. That is a definite bonus. My hair gets oily so easily, that I never purchase conditioner products, but you’ll know you’re hair type better than me. They offer a conditioner as well as the shampoo. At Wal-Mart I cannot find it in the shampoo section. It is actually in the pet section, Ha! Dollar General and other stores have placed it in the shampoo and hair care aisle, though.

2. John Freida Brilliant Brunette

john-frieda-brilliant-brunette-shine-release-moisturizing-shampoo-all-shades-350x350This product is the definition of a little goes a long way. A small amount of this shampoo and a good scrub on my head makes my hair look totally different! (And I personally like the scent.) My hair color is somewhere in between dark brown and almost black. I’m not sure that almost black is a shade you could ask for at the salon, but that is about the best way to describe my hair. This brilliant Brunette makes such dark hair shine without looking oily. I have this really ridiculous and strange OCD against my hair being oily. My co-workers swear it doesn’t look oily when I think it does. So this eases my mind (: And the results really are great.

I don’t really have a set schedule on which shampoo I use on certain days, etc. I know my hair and how it has been lately and go with it from there. You should do the same. Any beauty tip page will give you an outline and schedule, but I truly think that they are suggestions for you to build your routine around. No two people’s hair or skin is identical, how can we all follow the exact same routine?!

Do you have dark and THICK locks? What products have worked for you over the years? Are you a faithful product user, or like me for a few years and swap around?

Yeah, Where I Come From..


Where I come from
There’s an old farm boy out turning up dirt
Where I come from
There’s a preacher man in a cowboy shirt
Where I come from….

…….


….That old man right there in the rocking chair
At the courthouse square I’ll tell you now
He could buy your fancy car with hundred dollar bills
Don’t let those faded overalls fool ya
He made his million without one day of schoolin’

…….
……Where I come from
That little white church is gonna have a crowd
Yeah, I’m pretty damn proud of where I come from.

I’ve never really been a big Montgomery Gentry fan, but when I read over a few of the first entries in the March Madness Blog Challenge, this song ran through my mind for some reason. When I looked up the full lyric spread, I realized just how much this song describes the little town where I grew up.

Lawrence_County,_Alabama_Courthouse

I live in a small, north Alabama town. We are central to Florence, Cullman, Hartselle, Decatur, and Rogersville and Madison. It is a good thing we are within 20-45 minutes of all of the prior cities, because Wal-Mart Supercenter, Tractor Supply and Foodland are the only major retailers in the area. Oh wait, and the Dollar General! It was 2013 when a 24-hour gym finally came to our town! Moving on up. Ha! Honestly though, I love it that way. I graduated in a class of 118, which was the largest graduating class in my county out of 7 high schools. I graduated with mostly everyone that I had started Kindergarten with. Poor Lawrence County does not have many “popular” claims to fame, but there are quite a few that people tend to forget about.

To start, there is a National Forest in Lawrence County – Bankhead National Forest.

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I love to go hiking and trail riding in Bankhead. (We call it “the mountains.”) You can take the Sipsey trail head for hiking and bikes. There are numerous waterfalls and trails that follow the Sipsey River. There are also many trail heads for horseback riding. In 2012, Man of the House took me to Bankhead for a day of hiking. He passed the Sipsey trailhead and randomly parked on the side of the road. We got out, walked to the opposite side of the road and I joked wondering if he was taking me off into the random part of the forest to leave me there. Ha! He promised that once we were off the road, we would be able to hear a waterfall and he was right! 300

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305This waterfall has no real trail to it nor have we found it on any tourism maps. It is amazing and one of the reasons I love the area where I live.

Pine Torch Church in Bankhead National Forest. It is considered to be the oldest standing structure in Bankhead National Forest.

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Lawrence County, Alabama is also the birthplace and host of Jesse Owen’s early childhood years. We have a Jesse Owens Memorial Park. (Which is down the road from the Oakville Indian Mounds and Museum which can be looked at here: http://www.oakvilleindianmounds.com/)

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Please also take time to read about the historic home of General Joe Wheeler. He was a General during the Civil War and served again during the Spanish-American War. His home is located in Hillsboro, Alabama, in Lawrence County. http://www.wheelerplantation.org/

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And one of our more recent claims to fame would be the one and only,

index lucas blackLucas Black.

You can probably reference him to such movies as:

upcoming movie Fast & Furious 7 (released 2015), upcoming series NCIS: New Orleans, 42, Promised Land, Seven Days in Utopia, Legion, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Jarhead, Friday Night Lights, Killer Diller, Cold Mountain, All the Pretty Horses, The X Files, Flash,Sling Blade, American Gothic, and originally The War.

Lawrence County is the kind of small town where people worked at the paper mill their entire lives. Until now. September 11, 2013, International Paper announced that it would be closing the paper mill in Courtland, Alabama that had been in operation since the 1970s. The International Paper Mill site in Courtland, AL was one of the largest paper mill sites in North America. 1,100 jobs and millions of dollars in taxes and revenue would be leaving the county. I heard stories of grown men crying where they stood in the plant as they were told the news. I heard too many of my friends fathers say, “I’m in my fifties and I’ve worked one place my entire life. I’m not close enough to retirement. Who will hire me now?” I’ve watched the stories in the local papers as one family after another is moving and transferring or taking jobs with companies out of state. Mothers and mainly fathers moving into apartments in strange cities just to have work to pay the bills back home in our little town. I cried the day I saw a picture in the paper of an older gentleman, holding some papers in his hand and dressed in country Sunday dress at its finest. The picture was a feature from a local job fair that International Paper held to assist the workers and the man from the picture was quoted saying, “I haven’t been for an interview since I was 19 years old. I don’t know what to expect.”

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Everything I heard seemed eerily similar to the stories my grandfather told from the 60s and 70s about people leaving North Alabama in droves for Texas and Michigan just to find work. One amazing thing from it all was I watched as a community banded together through a hardship. They took care of one another, they cried with one another, and they supported one another during their new endeavors. That is one reason I am proud to be from “my town.” It might not seem like much, but if you hang around our neck of the woods for a little while, you’ll learn that we may all have our strong differences but that your neighbor will be one of your greatest supporters and defenders when the time comes.

More children have probably grown up with chicken houses in their back yard and never thought twice about it than many other areas. Many people are into some type of farming whether it simply be personal, commercial, or a combination of both. The highways and roads are usually lined with pastures and fields and the beautiful scenery of the great foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

It is a small southern town and I could not be more proud to be from a place with so much heritage.