A Story (You can win something, too!)

Hi there, I’m Jade.

Author looking messy and laughing in a parking lot with her phone in hand.

© Robin Hardee

     I’m really glad you’re here, because that means I actually published this! Holy cow!

I’ve been cookin’ this baby since June. While reading a friend’s amazing new project centered around anonymous stories of loss, a faint voice fluttered to the surface of my brain, saying, Hey, you could bring your big idea to life, too!

At that moment, I jumped off of the couch and began taking notes in a fevered rush.

A few months, a load of self-doubt, and a pinch of hustle later & voilà!

à la mode: adverb & adjective 

  1. in fashion; up to date

But it wasn’t actually THAT simple, so here’s some backstory.

I was born and raised in West Virginia, spent some time out West on two separate occasions, and have now landed in Southwest Virginia with my husband and two dogs. We aspire to one day own a little piece of West Virginia just for us, but I think we’ll bide our time a little longer.


My bearded man & me at Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo ©Cathy Jones

I dropped out of college after completing my junior year as an English major. I migrated to Colorado for reasons I won’t go into, but take my word for it when I say they weren’t very good reasons. Since then, I’ve moved approximately one thousand times, changed jobs like my underwear, and spent a long time flailing about in uncertainty over “what to do with my life”. I’ve wasted a ton of energy because I thought I no longer had a passion and that I was doomed to be a “failure”.

Now, on the cusp of 30 and starting to think about raising a family, I’ve realized that I spend an awfully lot of time underestimating my abilities and listening to my own negative self-talk. I want a lot of things for my future self, but I haven’t done the work necessary to bring those desires to life.

So I asked myself, “What do you love more than anything? What do you care about so much that you could do it and it wouldn’t be a chore?”

The answer came surprisingly easy. I’ve written in an online blog since I was 14 years old. As someone who never sticks with ANYTHING long (hey, I’ll admit it), I think it’s significant that I’ve never given up on blogging.

The next question: “So, what am I so passionate about that I can enthusiastically write about it on a regular basis?”

“Home” came in a snap—so quickly I just knew it must be the right path.

You see, I felt a constant pull in my heart while I was living away, on both occasions. I felt heavily guilty for leaving when the region (West Virginia, in particular) desperately needs young people to stay. Since moving back last October, I feel more strongly than ever that Appalachia is a special and unique place full of equally special people. It’s no wonder I was homesick!

As these things often go, it took me moving away from home to truly realize the gift I was given to have grown up here.


Monroe County, WV. © Jade F.


So what is this blog all about?


  1. This is my own humble “lifestyle” blog, but I’m an introvert & I live in a trailer so it’s not gonna be any kind of yacht party up in here.
  2. I am not an expert on Appalachia by any means, and will never claim to be. In fact, I am attending a class at my local university this fall entitled ‘Introducing Appalachia’ to learn more about the history of this region. I hope to share what I learn with all of you and encourage an attitude of lifelong learning.

My goal is to shed light on the people, particularly women, who are challenging the notion of what it means to be a “hillbilly”.  Those who are rising above and dedicating their time and energy to making life just a little bit brighter here. Artists, homesteaders, writers, crafters, entrepreneurs, activists, and everyday heroes. This will be accomplished in my monthly interview series: Wildflowers: Women of Appalachia.
(Pssst, that’s coming August 14th)

3. I am also not an expert on any environmental concerns I may discuss. I do not call myself an ‘activist’, as I have so far done nothing to earn the title. One of my goals in starting this blog is to become the kind of person I’d like to be, which includes putting myself out there and doing physical and measurable work for causes I care about. I am learning, as I believe all of us should be, how to better serve my community and become active in those things most important. As someone who suffers from anxiety, activism can be pretty intimidating. I hope to utilize this blog to motivate and encourage myself to get out there whenever I’m able.

4. This is not a political space, and ALL are welcome here. Hate speech or racist language will not be tolerated. Though I may be discussing subjects that at times may relate to public policy as it concerns our region, I do not invite nor encourage comments on the current federal administration. There are PLENTY of other avenues available for you, if that’s what you’re seeking. I will from time to time encourage action, but it is entirely up to you whether or not to participate. If you do, GREAT! If not, that’s fine, too. I’m not here to preach or make anyone feel guilty or as if they’re an “other”. All opinions stated here are my own, and I’m not looking for any arguments. I’m pretty sure you all get enough of that on other social media.

I am inspired by anyone with a vision who is brave enough to stay and make it happen when so many of our talented people are fleeing the region in favor of ‘a better life’.

I was one of those people.  Once.  I’m here now to say I don’t think there is any better kind of life for me than one lived in the bosom of these mountains. Despite its many challenges, it is my home. It runs deep in my blood.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll follow me wherever this leads.

(Probably through some woods.)



Giveaway Details!!!

(‘Cause we all know that’s why you’re really here.)


Share this post according to the instructions below and win:

  • A tote bag printed with a lovely Blue Ridge Mountain scene
  • Handmade soy wax candle in the scent ‘Country Roads’ by the beautiful Rhiannon over at Black Dahlia Goods
  • A framed original watercolor painting by my talented and amazing little sister, titled ‘Hydrangea #1’
  • A copy of Follow The River by James Alexander Thom, which details the incredible true story of Mary Ingles Draper, an Appalachian badass who followed the Ohio River for a thousand miles to return home after being kidnapped by Shawnee Indians in 1755. I read this book when I was young and it’s one of those that pops up in your mind randomly and you think, ‘Wow, that book was amazing!’

How To Win

1. Follow via e-mail subscription by clicking the menu at the top left and entering your
e-mail address to receive post notifications. (+1 entry)

2. Follow my page on Facebook. (+1 entry)

3. Follow me on Instagram. (+1 entry)

4. Share my page on Facebook (must be shared directly from the Appalachian à la Mode page, not shared through someone else’s share). (+1 entry)

So, that means you have FOUR chances to win these goodies!

Winner will be announced August 13th at 12 Noon EST. Winner will be notified by
e-mail, Facebook message, or Instagram message as appropriate. If unclaimed within 24 hours, the prize will be given to the next in line.