pw mercantile on the corner of main street and kihekah ave by Brooke Haney

I booked a plane ticket for Oklahoma months ago with a girls' weekend on my mind. When I landed, however, I wanted to nail my Frye kicks to the ground. No longer did I want to head north to Manhattan, Kansas. Instead, I stopped the world from spinning a little too quickly and just stayed home.

It's no secret small towns make my top five list of the most beautiful traits of America. I love the way communities boom when all hands are on deck. The way an entire community can help raise a child. The way you can drive a 4430 to school during spirit week and be crowned Homecoming Queen on a Friday night. 

Small towns are the foundation of everything that is good in this world.

In graduate school, I stumbled across a blog many of you know by heart often refreshing my browser to check for a new post. Then - it was a little rough around the edges, sans digital ads, and winning a mixer giveaway didn't seem like a longshot. I loved the way the girl behind the keyboard poured her heart into her family - and her community. And her wit. Man, I loved her wit. 

PWMercantile

Saturday, my mom and I drove a few miles up the road - stopping every 10 miles at an antique store - to visit a new venture in Pawhuska, Okla. It was less about the destination and more about how my mom and I haven't been in a truck together in a while. Man, I forgot how much she likes to talk. And, how thrift shops tug at her soul. 

People from all over the region lined up for blocks to spend their hard-earned cash money in small town, Oklahoma. As I held our place in line (for two hoursmaking friends with those around us, my mom ventured into every single store in town. Pawhuska is going to reap the rewards of this store in more ways than a TravelOk listing and sales tax, because while this store has a line wrapped around the block the other stores are swinging their doors open saying "come on in!"

Lines typically are not my thing. However, it was clear the other folks in line were not present for celebrity or autographs, although the Drummond kids walking the line like Mickey and Minnie at Disney was something Pawhuska hasn't seen before. Folks were standing in line to celebrate a good thing about a small town. 

It's when we invest in small towns they can truly thrive. When kids can be proud of their hometowns, they'll come back. When small businesses can keep their lights on, the town can become a destination.

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So, take my cash money, Ree. 

Because your mercantile on the bustling main street of Pawhuska is the perfect combination of Antropologie, the feed store, and all my favorite boutiques. Take my money and make more jobs, give back to this special corner of Oklahoma and keep telling your story.

And, please, for the love of everything holy, open an online store.

molly the muttnation model by Brooke Haney

I honestly can’t imagine what your heart must feel like to be a parent to tiny humans, because mine has ranged from worry to overflowing with pure joy and back again as a dog mom.  

She’s my fearless farm dog who prefers chasing chickens and squirrels to most anything in life. Except maybe for begging for pizza, which of course is her drug of choice.

She’s just a weird little ball of ornery feistiness who brings so much joy to this world she has a waiting list of sitters for my next out-of-town trip. I'm not bluffing here. A half-stranger has called dibs on watching her for a trip in December.

Living in Music City, weird requests come across the table. For example, “hey, my friend needs some dogs for a photo shoot - you and Molly in?”

Yep. Sure.

Wait, for what? 

There are about a million things in this world we should do to make a difference: cure cancer, feed the homeless, care for the orphans. Among them, is take care of all the abandon pups. Miranda Lambert's MuttNation Foundation was built on her love for the furry little creatures and is making great strides to make sure so many of them have loving, stable homes. Last fall, my friends and I took over Tishomingo, Okla. for a long girls weekend, and a common theme among conversations with locals was an appreciation for Miranda's impact in the local community, specifically Redemption Ranch.

So we showed up on a rainy Saturday and found the only XS shirt in the box and rocked some MuttNation Gear.  MuttNation merchandise fuels the MuttNation foundation. So basically, it's adorable and goes directly to local shelters. And, Molly was able to spend a morning soaking in all the attention she clearly doesn't get at home.

Clarification: That's a joke. All she gets is attention. 

So here's to helping local shelters and keeping your furry besties dressed to impress! Oh, and be on the lookout on the MuttNation Facebook page for photos of Molly. 


Affiliate disclosure: I am grateful to be the girl behind Rural Gone Urban and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links helps off set hosting and other costs. - b.

open letter to my neighbors: by Brooke Haney

The produce section at our local grocery store is the worst, right? To be fair, I hate it so much. Sometimes I’m simply not in the mood to to fight the poor floor layout and I go to the better grocery store two miles up the road. But their parking lot is a mess. Honestly, it’s horrible.

The fancy Kroger 9 miles north of town is a dream. It has a Starbucks!

Between us chickens, sometimes my friends and I go to Whole Foods because we’re in search of a musician trying to be humble and normal while buying $18 cheese. Our lives are not the same as celebrities.

The Publix in Belle Mead is my favorite. Nothing makes me happier than passing grocery store after grocery store in search of one that fits my perfectly-curated list of demands: seamless layout, decent prices, fresh flowers, choice of gluten-free brownie mix.

We’re all such pretentious jerks. Yeah, you and me. We’re the worst.

Per a quick google search there are at least 20 grocery stores within a 10 miles of our house. Ten miles. That does not take into account convenient stores that have begun to fill their aisles with fresh produce or the brick and mortar farmers market. Or that I can throw a deflated football at three must-visit restaurants and am a hop, skip and a jump from an on-ramp to a major interstate. Growing up in a small town in central Oklahoma, our house was 18 miles from Walmart. I mean, technically it still is, but now it’s 21 miles from a second Walmart. Options!

We’re so fortunate to have such solid options in Nashville. And, to be honest, you and I have it better than most. We have a cars allowing us to drive to the store of our heart’s desire. Some are fully dependent on their own kicks or the bus. Add in a few more hurdles like childcare, schedule, etc., etc. and you have yourself a food desert. (Do you live in a food desert? This map is helpful.)

We have to stop taking our good fortune for granted.

My challenge to you:
Leave town for a beat. Drive north, take a random left, the maybe a random right and see how truly close you are to your food supply.

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You might surprise yourself.

Take a minute to look past the Instagram opportunities and soak in how fortunate you are to live in a place with access to safe, sustainable and affordable food.

Filling the well by Brooke Haney

A common theme among my various friend groups is a state of overwhelming exhaustion. State of the uterus or left ring finger aside, we all seem to be waiting for the next season to be our knight in shining armour.

Let’s level. I’m a 29 year-old who has had a few too many drinks probably a few too many times in her life. This means I’ve felt the room spinning and prayed for it to stop. If you have not felt this you are a better human than I or are simply too proud to admit you’ve let your hair down from time-to-time.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve felt like for most of 2016. The room is spinning and I can’t will it to stop. And it’s all my fault. I make the choices to push myself and bear the weight of disappointment when I can’t reach perfection.

Climb the professional ladder.
Spend more time with your friends.
Take on more projects.
Visit family.

Date your husband.
Exercise more.
Keep the house clean so you can eat off the floors.

Then, I said enough.

I put myself in time out. Made a list of all the things that make my insanely happy: random adventures, writing, making things with my hands, reading, deep conversations with family, helping people, long drives, big ideas and spontaneity.

This year has been one bucket list of filling the well.

RoadTrip

I start every weekday morning by talking to a friend and it’s become the very best part of each day. When friends post about a book, I read it. When Travis says “hop in the car” I hop in the car and cross my fingers we’ll pass a Sonic. I took a flower class. I volunteer at church. I’ve bought art supplies and followed up with a calligraphy class. I take my personal laptop (and leave my work computer behind - this is very important) to coffee shops and write short stories and poems and childhood memories.

And the room has started spinning just a little bit slower.

home tour: master bathroom by Brooke Haney

The Haney HQ was built just shy of 100 years ago. Last year, a realtor/contractor husband and wife duo took the house down to the studs before I found it on Redfin and we swooped it up before anyone else in Nashville stood a chance. 

It's like they browsed my Pinterest boards when picking the cool hues and bright whites, which made my job of outfitting the house easy.

Like most of the American female population, I'm a sucker for a quality bathroom. Why? It's our quiet space.

From October-May of this past year we had a house guest who was not only transitioning to life in Nashville, but also making a serious career change. Read as: not running around sans pants in your own house. The bathroom became the only place I could truly get away and shut the door. 

Just me, a detox bubble bath, a Spotify playlist and a dog snuggled up in a pile of dirty clothes. The dream, am i right?
 

I've been meaning to write the duo who flipped this house a thank you note. I'm serious. A vintage, understated chandelier? Marble countertops? Slate floors? 

Look at that Rita Ortloff print, y'all. One of my very favorite humans has the original, and someday I'll have my own. That's a promise.

Let's agree to skip the business part of the room. I mean, it's just a toilet. In a tiny room. With a door. Cool? 

That's the end of the road for this room, folks. Just a too-clean bathroom we happened to put claim as our own.