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Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment Hardcover – November 12, 2013

4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Phaedra Parks has been one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta since 2010. She is also managing partner of The Parks Group, a boutique law firm specializing in entertainment, intellectual property rights, civil, and criminal litigation. She is a certified mediator and arbitrator. Born and raised in Georgia, Phaedra received her BA with honors from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and her JD from the University of Georgia. She has also served as consulting producer and talent for one of BET’s most-viewed shows, Tiny and Toya. Her volunteer and philanthropic work includes board membership of the Junior League of Atlanta, Atlanta Children’s Shelter, American Heart Association, Ambassador for Be A Hero and the American Bar Association’s Advisory Board. Phaedra is the proud wife of Apollo Nida and mother of Ayden.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Secrets of the Southern Belle

° How to Be Nice °


I would like to believe that most people have good intentions, because, really, who actually wants the rest of the world to think they were raised by wolves? So I gladly give everyone credit for at least trying to behave well. However, the truth is, some people could use some extra help. If you ever have the pleasure of spending time in the South, you can readily note the fundamentally different way southerners interact with people. People who are not from the South are often confused or genuinely surprised when they experience true southern hospitality. Smiling, greeting strangers on the street, and opening doors are not common in all parts of the world. But it surely makes us happier people!

Our ability to be kind and generally respect others comes from most of us being raised under the biblical premise of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In the South, whether you live in downtown Atlanta or rural Alabama, there are no strangers. Most of us realize from early childhood that karma is real and the bridge you so easily burn might well be the bridge you have to cross to get home. In different parts of the world that move at a faster pace, being insensitive or considering most people as dispensable seems to be the norm. But in the South we treasure being respectable and respecting others. Unfortunately, as we see more migration from other parts of the world, we also see an increase of poor manners and rude behavior. But the Southern Belle prides herself on treating everyone like the next president, because potential is not always obvious; your parking valet today might be chairman of the city council tomorrow.

So we greet people. It’s such a small thing, but I notice that in some cities, no one ever says hello, good morning, or have a nice day. They intentionally avoid making eye contact with any and all living things. (Apparently their shoes and belt buckles are quite the conversationalists!) I find it particularly odd in business, when the salespeople or tellers don’t speak or thank you for your patronage. Don’t they realize that without customers they would not have a job? I guess my mama’s favorite adage, “Common sense isn’t common,” is definitely true in most cases. To intentionally ignore someone’s presence is just simply rude; if someone pretends you don’t exist for long enough, you might start believing them!

We say, “Hello, how are you doing today?” even if we have no interest in the answer. Everybody always says, “I’m fine, thanks for asking, and how are you?” We might mention the weather. When appropriate, a Belle will try to bring a compliment into the conversation. It’s as simple as this: we treat the people we meet as human beings. We try to pay attention to them.

And I’d like to think we try to be considerate. We aren’t in as much of a hurry, so we’ll let somebody get in line in front of us if asked nicely. We are especially kind to the elderly and the infirm. We do favors for people. We are warm, but at the same time we are formal, which is why we are always well-groomed. Some of these habits, which some might consider old-fashioned—like writing notes and sending flowers—are very charming and endearing, as you will learn on your way to becoming a Southern Belle.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476715459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476715452
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Everybody knows that each franchise of the Bravo's hit series Real Housewives, there is one housewife that becomes a fan favorite. For me, that person is Phaedra Parks, Esq. of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. She's not the typical housewife who married into money and sits on her behind. She's an accomplished lawyer with a business savvy that rivels the best. I placed the bias for her aside in hopes of writing an impartial and honest review for the Netgalley provided copy of Secrets of the Southern Belle.

Phaedra Parks has written an advice book on how to be a Southern Belle which is her reality personality on the series so it's hard not to associate her with the advice given in the book and compare it to the show. There's no getting around it especially if the reader is familiar with the reality show. This isn't a bad thing because I think much of Parks actions and personality coincide with the advice given in Secrets of the Southern Belle. This provides a little more insight to fans of her actions. Now on to the book!

Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment let's us into the inside world of a true Southern Belle and exposes the secrets to her pulling it off without a hitch. Parks encourages women to take care of themselves and the rest of the world will too. She's not suggesting that Belle's behave like the feminist revolution never happened or to cater to any man's needs, but to simply put more effort into the person they present to the world. I love this idea. Most people are judged by there outside appearance so why not put your best foot forward?

One of the ways a Southern Belle can get what she wants is by being respectful, mannerful and establishing connections.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Normally, a book like this wouldn't find its way into my hands, but I will admit that being a fan of The Real Housewives of Atlanta made me a little curious. A modern day book of manners, Secrets of the Southern Belle is filled with tips on how to live a fabulous life as a "lady" and how to do things "properly".

Like most books of its kind, there are guidelines on relationships, keeping a home, work life, and entertaining. Parks' humor and southern twist makes those old standards fun to read. And yes, she gets a few jabs in, like what to do when someone attempts inappropriate communication with your significant other (looking at you, Kenya) and other reality show related tidbits.

I'm not necessarily the target market for this book, but it could be helpful for young women who need guidance on the appropriateness of certain behaviors and situations.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being a fan of the real housewives of ATLANTA, I was excited to read this book. That being said, I was a bit disappointed when she advises to be extra sweet to those you have a problem with. I have heard her say "Kenya whore" every week for awhile now and that doesn't seem very southern belle like. Or how about that "bathing suit" she wore. A southern belle is not left alone with a man she isn't related to or dating, so why would it be ok to wear such a bathing suit around other women's husbands? Miss phaedra isn't perfect and I don't expect her to be but when you write a book about being a southern belle, you should walk the walk.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book overall is a good read and would make a great gift for a young lady 18-25 ish ..More like words of wisdom from a Southern big sister. I don't agree with a lot of generalities or associations made about Northern women; after all everybody knows that manners are a matter of upbringing not limited to geography--and some the behavior in the book attributed to the North had nothing to do with where the women were raised.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good advice for hosting get togethers as well as everyday stuff; like what you should carry in your purse. Great advice for the southern gal trying to put the extra polish on her appearance and personality. Love it!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased this book to read for myself, being a Southern wife and mother, and I plan to buy a copy for my newly married daughter for Christmas this year. This book is invaluable for keeping the traditions that we hold so near and dear here in the South alive. Ms. Parks is a true lady is every since of the word.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is okay, I rather if someone gave it to me as a gift. Even though it didnt share any secrets of a southern belle, I did however, found it entertaining, easy read for a boring day.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked reading many parts of this book. It refreshed etiquette tips I had not used in a while. I enjoyed all the 'girly' tips though I do not think there should have been certain comparisons of women in Greek Letter Organizations. The author may have women who have purchased her book that belong to other Greek Letter organizations and may have the impression she is telling the world that these women are not as 'prestigious' as others but they to are supporters of her book by purchasing and reading the book.
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