Word on the Street: Southern Perceptions


Recently I sat down with some of my Columbia classmates to discuss their perceptions and experiences with the south. We kept it light, but boy was it fun to hear what they had to say on the subject! Check out some of my favorite quotes from our conversation below.

On Food

The food… fried chicken is good everywhere! That something I miss. And Waffle House. Waffle House is the greatest.

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Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned in NYC


If you know me or have been following my NYC journey on social media, then you probably know I moved from North Carolina to New York a little under a year ago. With my first year of graduate school at Columbia coming to a close, I thought this would be a great time to reflect upon all of the lessons learned during my first year in the city. Read more

Southern Review: Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar


Location: 102 North End Ave, New York, NY 10282

Specialty: Popsicles and Prosecco

Magnolia Rating:  4 out of 5

Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar has quickly become one of my favorite spots for a drink in the city. Now that we’re approaching summer I couldn’t resist covering this fun place.

A rooftop bar located on top of the Conrad Hotel, Loopy Doopy is known for its craft cocktails.

The south is known for whimsical cocktails, but this NYC bar does not disappoint. The drink options are both fresh and inventive.

Don’t play games when looking at the drink menu. Go straight for the popsicles in Prosecco. This place is any wine lovers dream, plus there is a view of the Hudson River that can’t be beat. Although, you pay for the novelty and the atmosphere – drinks are about $20 each but completely worth it for the experience.

I’ve always gone during happy hour and though it’s often crowded, it’s not impossible to find a seat.

Make sure to take a photo as well. This is not a time to be shy. About a dozen other people will be raising their glasses to take the perfect Insta-worth pick at sunset.

Amber and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Bug


As promised, let me tell you a story about me, my apartment, and a very big bug.

You remember me mentioning that sometimes I catch my Southern showing? Well honey, this was one of those days (cue Patti LaBelle voice).

It’s no lie that we are familiar with bugs in the south. Mosquitoes and gnats are everywhere, especially in the summer, but the bugs in New York are from a different family. They are decidedly bigger, badder and of an entirely different breed. You haven’t truly lived in New York until you see your first cockroach.

The day was September 12th and it was an oddly warm fall evening for New York. Not quite hot enough for the A/C unit to be turned on, I cracked a window in my apartment to let in some fresh air. A traditional girls movie night, a friend and I set-up shop in my apartment surrounded by halal and an array of junk food from the nearby Duane Reade. The feature film of the night was “Age of Adaline.”

We were about an hour into the movie and Blake Lively had just pulled us into yet another graceful plot twist when the visitor arrived.

My vision was triggered by sudden movement on the wall to my right.

“Oh. My. Gahhh-shhh!” I whispered the statement in fear that the apartment’s latest inhabitant would hear me.

On the wall, about four feet above my bed, sat the biggest cockroach I had seen in my 20-something years of life. I don’t know how long it took me to get up from the couch but the next several minutes were a blur and slur or What do I do?!

Maybe the drama of the moment was enhanced by the darkness of the movie, but at that time the situation was life or death. My friend and I decided it would be best for me to use my Swiffer as a weapon… oh, and I would be the one to kill the bug.

My heart quickened as I climbed upon my bed to be in better reach of my opponent. What would I do if he fell to his death upon my soft yellow bed spread and favorite decorative throw pillows? I would for sure have to replace it all.

Usually when one gets closer to an issue their fears begin to dissipate as they realize the situation is no where near as big or dire as they thought. The opposite happened for me. Up close and personal, I saw that the roach was as big as I had imagined from afar – maybe even a centimeter bigger. At about two and a half inches in length, he was ready for a fight.

I became paralyzed with the exception of my legs which were now shaking due to nerves and the squishy surface of my bed below.

“You can do it! Kill it!” My friend chirped in the background. It wasn’t until the bug began to move that I too jumped into action.

With my Swiffer waving up into the air I would attempt to squish and swipe him to my right behind the bed. A brilliant plan except for the fact that as I swung in defense I closed my eyes, letting out what I imagine to be a full Serena Williams level grunt of power.

When I came back to my senses the bug was nowhere to be seen, but I was told that my plan had somewhat worked and he was now on the other side of my bedframe.

I walked around to the back of the bed with a heavy amount of dread and anticipation. The fight was not over. There the bug lay. Unmoving, unconscious, and surely not dead. I would have to finish him off.

Oh my gahsh!

Oh my gahsh!

Oh my gahsh!

The southern accent deep within me reared its head and the verbal attack was on. Sometime between my ill wishes and my friend’s kind encouragement I managed to complete the task. With pink rubber gloves and a wad of paper towels, I picked up the victim and threw him into the trash can. This must be what a near death experience feels like.

The next morning I called my super, and the exterminator arrived two days later. A pest control company visits my building once a month. They are perhaps my favorite people in New York.

Got a story of your own? Send it my way for the chance to be featured on The Urban Magnolia!

Monday Musings

7 Reasons Why I Want to Sit at the Reception Desk

Recently, my office was moved into a smaller space behind the reception desk of my organization’s office. Due to that small space actually being a conference room, we often leave the door open to feign off the feeling of cramped claustrophobia. That being said, we have the pleasure of hearing daily reception desk convos.

As a writer, this is paradise considering the conversations and the amount of shared personal information literally runs the gamut – especially on a Monday. Below are several conversations I overheard this past Monday, and some pretty darn good reasons why working at the reception desk is totally underrated.

  1. Movie Reviews – I received a full review of Zootopia. Apparently the movie has “deep undertones,” and is an adult movie in disguise. Note taken.
  2. Weekend Recaps – On average between the morning and the afternoon about five people stopped by to share full details of their weekend gallivants. My particular favorite was a spirited play by play from the office delivery man. He boisterously shared a story about watching his baby alone for the first time without his wife’s supervision. It seems that this was a trial and error experience.
  3. City Events – I learned all about the Gay Men’s Choir event held at NYU last weekend.
  4. Drunken Subway Stories – An associate in the office gave a boisterous monologue about being stuck in a drunken conversation with a friend of a friend on the subway. He does not remember the details, and fears that his feigned sobriety was blatantly apparent. Takeaway – awkward conversations are to be avoided by taking a cab.
  5. Anonymity – Often office visitors cannot see what a receptionist is doing on their computer due to their low-sitting desk behind a partition. I envy this ability.
  6. Health Advice – While sitting at the reception desk, one hears a great deal of unsolicited advice. Today’s topic was health and the importance of offsetting workouts with regular rest to prevent muscle tears. “Once you kind of tear it, it stays,” said a man with a small voice (I remained at my desk and never saw his face). The man continued on to share how he himself had torn a muscle in his knee a long time ago.
  7. Popularity – Did I mention that receptionists are often the most popular people in the office due to the array of mints and candies sitting on their desk. Yeah, it’s pretty hard to beat that.

Let that all sink in for a moment. Have a good day, lovelies!

Southern Slang And Other Misleading Pleasantries

Buzzfeed published a wonderful post titled “17 Phrases Only Southerners Truly Understand.” Loved it. It made me realize how often we Southerners say one thing and mean another. Watch out New York friends! 😉

In the spirit of my upcoming podcast all about Southern slang, check out some of my favorites from the Buzzfeed article below. Stay tuned for the next episode.

1. “Bless Your Heart.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 5.02.48 PM
via Buzzfeed 

2. “That’s An Interesting Point.”

via Buzzfeed
via Buzzfeed

3. “Well Isn’t That Special!”

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via Buzzfeed

Nene said it best…

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via Buzzfeed



Why The Urban Magnolia?



/ˈərbən/ adjective

: of or relating to cities and the people who live in them. – Merriam-Webster


\mag-ˈnōl-yə\ noun
 : a floral blooming tree often found in the Southern part of the United States.

The Urban Magnolia? As a North Carolina native and New York transplant, the name just felt right. Magnolia trees are sort of a Carolina signature, thus I could think of no better representation of me.

In this day and age, there are literally thousands of blogs in the blogosphere. You must be wondering – Why the h-e-double hockey sticks does this girl want to add another to the pile? And a lifestyle blog at that! The nerve. Well, I’ll tell you:

The NYC population is growing more and more each year. According to the Huffington Post in 2013:

“The city’s population has grown by more than 161,500 people since 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated. The increase is more than the entire population of Kansas City, Kan.; Savannah, Ga., or Hartford, Conn.”

People flock to the city from all over the world, throwing themselves into the New York lifestyle – and trust me, it is a lifestyle.

While procrastinating deep in the library of Columbia University, I Googled the phrase “Southerners moving to New York,” 1,340,000 search results appeared. In my mind, this was enough to constitute the subject as a blog-worthy topic. So in the words of Jennifer Lopez in “The Wedding Planner” – “You need me!”

Just think of me as your New York City transitional life guide. And if you are thinking about moving to the city (whether that be from the South or a small town), I’m here to give you a behind the scene glimpse of everyday life. You’re welcome!

Let’s figure things out together.