Last week I sat in a movie theater and watched Steel Magnolias.

For the 4,145th time.


Because it never disappoints.


It’s the 30th anniversary of Steel Magnolias and a friend invited me to the re-broadcasting of it in the theater this past Sunday. I laughed out loud and snorted popcorn and giggled at what I knew was about to happen and cried until I gulped and the tears ran down my face in the dark movie theater.

There is so much about joy and life and laughter and love to be gleaned from the scenes of Steel Magnolia and surprising, eye-opening, amazing life lessons to be learned along the way.

So in honor of the greatest movie that’s ever lived…

….here’s a little bit of Steel Magnolia wisdom.

1. Be kind

Especially to your hairdresser.

They have feelings, too.

Hairdressers are full of wisdom and brilliant observations like “When it comes to suffering, she’s right up there with Elizabeth Taylor.”

And besides, you never know when you’re going to need 14 dozen eggs or an extra can of Aqua Net.

2. Have courage

Especially when you are new to town and you just walked all the way to Truvy’s beauty parlor and you may or may not have a husband who just left you behind and you’ll say things like “Miss Truvy, I promise my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.”

You’re nervous.

I get it.

I understand.

But one day you’ll be at a wedding in a dress that the bride gave you with the most amazing pair of glasses and extra rolls in your purse and your waist will be eighteen inches and your dress will be perfect and your hair will be high.

And you’ll have the courage to introduce yourself to the bartender.

3. Know how to rock a bad hair day

When life gets a little overwhelming and your husband doesn’t really pay any attention to you and ignores your beauty parlor and doesn’t help you carry the eggs to the car and your son just drives away on a motorcycle and forgets to take out the trash.

You got this.

Ignore the fact that your new assistant just teased your hair to the sky and backcombed your bangs into something that looks like a helmet.

None of that matters.

Just put on seven-inch heels and tie a scarf around your head and take out the trash yourself and tell yourself, “Smile. It increases your face value.”

And remember.

True beauty comes from within.

4.  Always help others in need

Make yourself available to help those who might need a helping hand.

If someone is getting married and they need a groom’s cake be prepared to step in with a little imagination and an armadillo cake pan.

Be bold.

Be imaginative.

Be creative with your cake choices.

Don’t hesitate to go the extra mile and make the cake red velvet with armadillo icing.

Let them have their cake and eat it, too.

5.  Be true to who you are

This is perhaps the most important life lesson of all and one of the hardest to remember.

You are unique.

And special.

And brilliant.


There is only one incredible, amazing, wonderful you.

And when the church is full of 400 of your closest friends and your handsome groom is waiting at the end of the aisle and your father takes your arm and the doors open to the most amazing array of pink swags and pink garlands and pink bridesmaids and yards and yards and yards of pink garland…

….hold your head high and greet the world like the incredible steel magnolia you were born to be.

And later?

When someone compliments you on your pink decorations just shake your head and laugh and tell them it’s not simply pink…

…it’s actually “blush” and “bashful.” 🙂

PS “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

And this amazing line someone just reminded me of. Best. Line. Ever. “I would rather have 30 minutes of “wonderful” than a lifetime of nothing special.”

PPS Here are some of my favorite magnolia projects I’ve made.

Here’s how to make a magnolia wreath.

Here’s how to make a magnolia garland.

Here’s my pear and magnolia centerpiece.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Jenn Jenn

    Great post! I love your way of pulling life lessons from the best places. Then you intermingle a little decor with it all! So fun! Have a great weekend!

  2. Image for Beth Y Beth Y

    This is so great!!! Absolutely love this post!! Truly classic movie packed with tons of wisdom about life!! I also love Fried Green Tomatoes. I was thinking that I need to sit down and show my daughter some more of the "classic" movies that shaped my thoughts growing up. Of course, she has already seen my nerd classics like Goonies, Labyrinth, Princess Bride and Neverending Story.

  3. Image for Nancy Nancy

    What a great post. Didn't we all just love Steel Magnolias? I remember a bunch of my girl friends and I huddled all in a dorm room watching it AGAIN after someone had a few extra bucks to go rent it at the Blockbuster. We all laughed. We all cried. An occasion I'll never forget based around a movie. The other one...making toasted and buttered English muffins and nibbling on them while watching Mikhail Baryshnikov dance in White Nights. Oh...the 80's. :) Nancy

  4. Image for maureen maureen

    You are such a brilliant writer! I can so relate to what you share! I need to watch this movie again soon! You are truly one of a kind and that is why we all love your posts!

  5. Image for Peg Peg

    When Sally Field breaks down at the cemetery, I sob uncontrollably. "WHYYYY???" Breaks my heart. One of the saddest movie scenes ever!

  6. Image for Carol@BlueskyatHome Carol@BlueskyatHome

    One of my all time favorites. It is definitely a sub~sub, full tissue~box movie. I cry when I read the book too. Have to find it on TV and watch again. Thanks for reminding me about a wonderful slice of life.

  7. Image for jean jean

    Karianne, I cannot believe it's been 30 years since Steel Magnolias. Time does fly by but oh the lessons we learn!!! Thanks for bringing us up to speed on how much wisdom we can learn from 1 movie!!! One of the BEST and the ACTRESSES that played; all worldclass!!!!!! You can teach so well; no wonder your books sell so fast!!! You are an incredible teacher and inspiration. Thanks so much for all you do and help us along life's way!!! Have a wonderful holiday weekend and thanks so much. your blog friend, jean

  8. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    I love that movie! I watch it every now and then just because of Julia Roberts. I like her character. I'd go watch a replay if they had it here in Maine near enough to me.

  9. Image for Chloe Chloe

    What a welcome little post today! I actually played Truvy at a great theatre, so through weeks of rehearsals, I know the script well! I am so glad you got to see it on the big screen and love the take-aways you shared today!

  10. Image for Cindy in Oklahoma Cindy in Oklahoma

    One of my favorite movies ever.... and one of the most poignant as the beauty of my high school class suffered from diabetes, too... had a child against the advice of doctors, etc..... and.... you know the rest..... I laugh. I cry. I love this movie. I've often thought the Real Housewives franchise owes this movie so much credit for being the original!


    What an inspiration-Steel Magnolias!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love how you tied in the life lessons, decor and Steel Magnolias-you are brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Image for Sue Sue

    The wedding reception was the funniest ever. That armadillo icing was hideous. But when the tail was cut off and that red velvet cake made it look like blood, that is a memory for the ages. Don’t believe I could have eaten a bite. I love,love love the movie.

  13. Image for Claudia A Claudia A

    Best parts for me, probably because I can so relate. “I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for fourty years!” “You have the handwriting of a serial killer”. “If you can’t say anything nice about somebody Come sit by me.”

  14. Image for Alice Genzlinger Alice Genzlinger

    I swear I can almost smell the magnolias all the way to Colorado ( because I want to so bad) love this post!

  15. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Well, no matter how many times I watch this movie, I always say "No, that can't be happening", even though I know it did. I am 78, and like most, so many challenges through life that make us cry but also make us stronger and grateful and blessed!!

  16. Image for Gina Gina

    You are my fav movie twin. I know you have a soft spot for Steel Magnolias and Dirty Dancing bc I know you like that. Another Steel Magnolia lesson I have lived since being a mom....A mother will stop at nothing to ease their child's pain and demand them to give her the shot!!! Only in my case, it was figurative. Oh, KariAnne! The movie is based on a true story about the loss of his sister and his mom and her friends!!! And I'd like to think he reads your blog! On an even deeper level...I lost my close high school friend last year...a real Shelby (only prettier and smarter) who was also warned not to have children bc of illness....but left two amazing teens behind. So I am also deeply moved by this movie as you are, friend!!! We are all steel magnolias, aren't we? When I saw the title of this post, I thought, "There she goes again, getting inside my head!"

  17. Image for Nancy Nancy

    My favorite movie! I was so surprised when I found out that the story was written by a man. So many memorable lines.

  18. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Such an emotional movie....highs and lows. Can’t get through it with out crying 😢. Super funny too 🤣 Love your advice.... guess I need to watch it again in honor of its 30 year anniversary.

  19. Image for ruby ruby

    In response to Anelle's accusation that Ouiser did not have a religious bone in her body, Ouiser says, "that is not true. When I was in college, my friends and I would dress up like nuns, and go bar-hopping". when i had the opportunity to play Ouiser on stage, this was my favorite line. There is a line in Steel Magnolias for all life's important moments....

  20. Image for PJ PJ

    Love this movie and this line: The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize. - Steel Magnolias. Clairee Belcher: Thanks for reminding me about all the good it shows us.

  21. Image for Carol Ann Carol Ann

    “I would rather have 30 minutes of "wonderful" than a lifetime of nothing special.” --- Shelby Best line ever.

  22. Image for Kathy Kathy

    Oh, what a great post! My daughter and I use the line... "Take a whack at Ouiser!" quite often. I was so shocked at my emotions of laughing and crying so hard at the same time the first time I saw it that I immediately watched the movie a second time to see if I reacted the same way when I knew what was going to happen. Of course I did and still do...every time.

  23. Image for Erin Kaven Erin Kaven

    Though I love the movie I can bare to watch it any longer. Both my brothers died due to Type 1 Juvenile onset diabetes and seeing what my mother went through back in the Can't do it. I do still love Armadillo cake though!

  24. Image for Lori Lori

    always stop to watch it if it's on. my friend and i (we're both 55) always play how many steel magnolia lines do you know. I used 'pink is my signature color' all the time except i insert 'green'.

  25. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    You always have a way with words, KariAnne. My fave scene is when they are in the cemetery, and Olympia Dukakis takes Shirley MacLaine and says, "Here, hit this!" I don't know why, but that always makes me bust a gut! Thanks for sharing!

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