Being southern is something I have always associated with my identity, and not just where I live geographically.

And, that can surprise people.

I think it was something engrained in me when I was younger, especially by my mom and my grandmother. There was no sort of strict “rules” of how to act…  but my grandmother definitely thought I needed to know how to snap a green bean, and my mother made it clear there should be a set table and fresh flowers in a vase every time guests came over for dinner.

And no, none of us lost any of our teeth and we wore shoes (in public)…

Never show up to a party empty handed. Plant your bushes and trees in the winter for the best blooms. Grow your own herbs. Never touch up your lipstick at the table. There were basic lessons like that, but there was one TRULY non-negotiable rule.

And that is Southern women are strong.

I never forgot the stories my grandmother told me about growing up on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the hard work it entailed, and the physical strength she earned from it. But what always made an impression on me– and still does– is when she told me about marrying my granddaddy and moving to Alabama, leaving everything she had ever known behind for this foreign place.

Now, that’s strength.

All of these seemingly small things, from the way Ma churned homemade ice cream on the fourth of July every year to my mom’s constant gardening, made such an impression on me and made me appreciate the place and the culture of where i grew up. There’s truly no place like the South, and like southern people. These ideals were so engrained in me throughout my life that I forget some people don’t quite realize how helpful the Farmer’s Almanac is, or that you can wear red lipstick to any event you want and yes, you can pull off overalls.

Some people have such an idea of what they think southern women are like, but I’ve found that just isn’t true. I have a career, I’m independent, and I am educated. But I also love to bake, I think cowboy boots go with everything, and some of the best food I have ever had was from a gas station in Selma.

You can be both. You can be all of these things. And to me, that’s what being a Southern woman is about– being strong enough to know that.

Writing this blog is a way for me to share these ideals I was so immersed in and share them with people who weren’t.  And more importantly, to show that southern ideals aren’t what many people think they are. It’s a modern take on those ways of life that I want to share.


Ivana Hrynkiw, Southern Style DiariesI realized recently that a lot of ya’ll who are new to SSD don’t know me, so I wanted to take a minute to tell you about me, my job, and why I started this blog.

My name’s Ivana, and I work for AL.com— the biggest online news source in Alabama. We produce three papers across the state, and typically I’m writing several stories a day.

The thing is, I don’t write about entertainment, or style, or food. I cover homicides, fatal fires, fatal car crashes, etc. for half of my day. The other half I spend in courtrooms covering the trials for those responsible for those crimes. I know, ya’ll weren’t expecting that from me.

I always say, I meet people on the worst days of their lives. I’ll never get used to parents finding out their child is dead, or a child being killed in a horrible way. I’ll never be okay with a wife sobbing in court because her husband was murdered from a stray bullet, which was fired from a drug deal across the street. It’s hard, and it doesn’t get easier.

With that being said, I have to believe this job has made me realize that you have to appreciate the small things in life. For me, that’s a good pair of jeans and red lipstick. You have to appreciate your family, like when I have dinner with my fiancé or go shopping with my mama. These are the things that keep me going and motivated to tell the stories of those who can’t.

I’ve had several blogs over the years, but I created SSD in 2016 when I was at a turning point in my career and needed a place to channel my love of all these things, and share what my tips and tricks to being a woman in the south with some dang good style. It’s not been an easy journey to handle this blog AND a full-time job, but it’s totally worth it. I get to do both things I love in the same way: Telling stories.

So, that’s me in a nutshell. Questions about my day job or the Southern Style Diaries? Leave them in the comments because I would love to share! Also, if you ever have requests for posts on this blog, please let me know and I would be happy to do it. 




We recently did our engagement photos, and we had SO much fun! I’ve had so many requests to share them, I figured this was the perfect platform to do that.

I definitely didn’t want our pictures to look staged or stuffy, and I really trusted our photographer to pose us and pick our spots. She did not disappoint! I’ll include links to her website and information at the bottom of the page if you’re in the Birmingham area and are interested!


Ivana Hrynkiw, Ivana, Southern Style Diaries

For the first outfit, I went with a basic white v-neck and my Spanx leather leggings. I was hoping the leggings would look a little more shiny, but I still how the look turned out. I also wore a BP plaid cape with fringe, and I think the colors were perfect for our scenery!

I’ll admit it… I did by this cape just for the pictures. Glitter and Gingham made me do it.

In case you’re wondering, the Spanx leggings are COMPLETELY worth it. I bought mine during the Nordstrom sale so they were a little cheaper than retail price, but I may buy another pair at regular price… That’s how much I love them. I am a size 27/28 in jeans and I bought a medium in these for reference. My tee is from Madewell and its easily my favorite white tee of all time! My mom steals it daily, and I actually had to rummage in her closet to find it for this shoot.

Ivana Hrynkiw

Top: Madewell Whisper Cotton Tee

Leggings: Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

Cape: BP. Plaid Cape


The second outfit we (when I say we, I mean I) wanted to be a little more formal, so I went with this On the Road velvet maxi. I am in love with this dress and want to wear it everywhere, so I was really excited to wear it for our engagement pictures.

The color is a beautiful, rich purple and the fabric is very thick, so it hangs nicely. You could wear this to a wedding and use tape to secure your chest so it would be a deep V, but that just wasn’t going to work for me in these pictures! Or ever, to be honest…

I bought this dress at the Neiman Marcus Last Call outlet, and I can’t wait to wear it again. I bought it for the pictures, but ended up wearing it to a friend’s wedding about two weeks before the shoot!

For reference, I am wearing a small.

Ivana Hrynkiw, Southern Style Diaries

The boots I have on in this look are from Forever 21 a few years back, but I’ve linked some similar styles!

Southern Style Diaries Ivana Hrynkiw

Dress: On the Road Temptress Velvet Plunge-Neck Dress

Boots: Similar here and here

I hope you enjoyed our photos as much as we have. It’s hard to pick favorites! In 99 percent of them, we are laughing and looking like goobers… but that’s us, and that’s what I love.

Photographer: Arden Ward Upton | Arden Photography 

Venue: Windwood Farms, Pelham AL


Hi ya’ll! To celebrate my new “lifestyle” section on SSD, I wanted to share 15 things about myself you may not know. You may know some of these, but hopefully there’s some you don’t! I hope you are as excited for this new section as I am. The possibilities are endless!

Happy reading!

  1. Unless its my oldies records or Taylor Swift, I’m listening to podcasts.
  2. I’m all about fitness (I run and do kickboxing three times a week) but…
  3. I love eating, especially trying out new restaurants!
  4. Baking is one of my favorite stress relievers
  5. I have a really horrible attention span when it comes to TV shows, but docuseries are my favorites and can usually keep me interested.
  6. My day job is as a breaking news, crime, and courts reporter for AL.com and The Birmingham News.
  7. I hate telephone calls, unless they’re with my fiancé or my mom
  8. My fiancé is my blog photographer and is such a good sport about it!
  9. To say I am an animal lover is an understatement. My four dogs (one’s mom’s, but I claim him anyway) are my children.
  10. I love holidays!
  11. Dirty Dancing and It’s A Wonderful Life are my all-time favorite movies.
  12. I love crime shows, like Forensic Files and Snapped
  13. I’m extremely family-oriented, and my mom is my best friend in the world
  14. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and no weekend is complete without a breakfast at a local diner or Cracker Barrel.
  15. Blogging is my favorite thing, and I hope it shows in the Southern Style Diaries!


Sometimes in blogging, you only see the glam side of things. I say this because I recently realized that I do it too– I see bloggers that I love posting on social media and on their sites about all the amazing things they do, how gorgeous they look, and how put together their home is. When that’s all you see, it’s easy to get caught up in the “why don’t I look like that?” world.

But the truth is they aren’t perfect, and neither am I! I have my days where I’m lucky if I put on athletic shorts and a clean t-shirt before running out the door. Sometimes my makeup looks gross, and my house isn’t always clean. That’s ok, and that’s normal.

I wanted to share this because in a world with seemingly perfect bloggers and social media accounts that Paris Hilton would envy, I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to get caught up in the mist of making my readers think I am perfect. I’m a normal person, who doesn’t always look good and who has a laundry pile a mile high.

Blogs are amazing things, because they let us show the world our favorite parts of life and where our passions lie. Blogging is my favorite hobby, and I hope one day it will be my career— but while on this journey, I always want my readers to remember I’m not here to be perfect. Just to be myself.Follow


Sweater and shorts outfit for spring.

I’m Ivana– a Birmingham native who’s still here, 25 years later. The Southern Style Diaries strives to showcase my love of all things southern. Find out how to throw the perfect back porch party, how to wear overalls without looking like your cousin Ed, and the best way to rock a red lip.

I’m a news reporter by day, where I cover crime and local court for AL.com and The Birmingham News. See my professional work here.

My favorite things are my dogs (all dogs, actually), tacos, and a good T.J. Maxx.

Connect with me on social media to keep up with my day-to-day life—sometimes you’ll even catch some breaking news tweeted there from the Magic City, as we call it! Please check back weekly for new posts! Make a request for posts on social media or in the comment section, and I will be happy to look into it.

Drop me a line for any questions, or just to say hi!



Media kit available by request. Follow