All posts filed under: MISSISSIPPI

Mrs. Sippy

I took a picture of this can label in Crystal Springs and had the photo enlarged for framing. It was a nice addition that hangs above my collection of Mississippi pottery. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

My favorite flower

This is perhaps my favorite flower. Jonquils grew at the foot of the hill in my grandmother’s yard every spring, and when I see them each year, I feel renewed. It’s as if the world has pressed restart, and there’s an abundance of hope again. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Birds in a tree

For about 20 years, I’ve had a tree bed. You can’t see the entire bed in this photo, but it’s a headboard and footboard made of tree branches that I bought over 20 years ago in Ripley, Miss. So if you use your imagination, it’s kind of like sleeping in a tree house. Growing up, my mother had a pair of metal peacocks on our wall, so I decided peacocks would be the vintage theme of my room. I bought a pair from eBay for around $20, then I found another pair at a thrift store even cheaper. Continuing the peacock theme, I had purchased a velvet jeweled peacock picture from a thrift store. I decided to place it on top of a canvas so it would be a larger art piece in the room. I bought a piece of foam board from a craft store and covered it in burlap. Then, I attached it to the wall with a nail and hung it over the foam board. I also added a string of white …

Ole Miss one of 15 schools nominated for ‘The South’s Best Tailgate’

Ole Miss was one of 15 colleges chosen for Southern Living’s “The South’s Best Tailgate” competition, But Clemson University was declared the winner. The contenders were listed in the magazine’s September issue. Southern Living Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Bierman said pre-game celebrations in the South matter as much as what happens on the field. “We’re asking readers to decide which school best honors our great tradition of Southern hospitality with the most stylish and spirited spread,” she said. The competition was held through Sept. 30. Southern Living crowned the winner at a fall home game. Here are the schools: 1. Appalachian State University 2. Clemson University 3. Florida State University 4. Louisiana State University 5. Marshall University 6. Oklahoma State University 7. Texas A&M University 8. University of Alabama 9. University of Georgia 10. University of Mississippi 11. University of Tennessee 12. University of Texas 13. Vanderbilt University 14. Virginia Tech 15. West Virginia University Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Entertaining angels: Mississippi man donates kidney to man he met while hunting

The hunter spent his spare time chasing deer in Mississippi when he wasn’t chasing fires. Starkville firefighter Rob Robinson, 44, had been stalking bucks in his home state for years, but when he learned that Kansas, the state where his sister resided, was one of the best places to turkey hunt, Robinson made several trips there throughout the years until he scored a record-breaking kill in 2007 that ranked seventh in the world. Motivated by success, Robinson decided to go for the “Grand Slam of Turkeys” in 2008, and wandered upon 1,600 acres of farmland owned by Gillan Alexander in Nicodemus, Kan. He had no idea that when he knocked on Alexander’s door, he would eventually save his life. The chance meeting later led Robinson to donate a kidney to Alexander. This weekend, the two will hold a fundraiser for an organization they have created called Forever Outdoors. It will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 at Starkville’s Tractor Supply at 1301 Greta Lane. The organization will take wounded veterans on hunting excursions, help …

From Gulfport to Starkville, new Southern Living cookbook features five Mississippi restaurants

A new cookbook featuring five Mississippi restaurants is now on the shelves. Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Second Helpings is a travel guide/cookbook that takes you on a journey to eateries in 16 Southern states. Written by former Southern Living travel editor Morgan Murphy, the 272-page book published by Oxmoor House and sold for $22.95 features 150 of Morgan’s favorite recipes. “When researching my books, I always look forward to traveling through Mississippi, because the culture and feel of the state is so very familiar and feels like home,” said Murphy, an Alabama native who began his magazine career at Vanity Fair and later worked at Forbes, is a best-selling author, editor, entrepreneur and decorated naval officer. “I usually travel with companions to help me eat all that food, and on much of my research for this book, I actually took my mother along. She’d always wanted to take one of these trips with me, so I saved Mississippi for her. I knew it would be a great one, and the Magnolia State didn’t …

Mississippi native Faith Hill answers questions via Facebook

“Mississippi Girl” Faith Hill took a moment last week to answer fan questions via Facebook. Here’s what they asked, and here are some of her answers: Q. What is your favorite Tim McGraw song? A. How could I choose? He has a million! “My Best Friend” is a really great one. Q. Faith, you are my inspiration to follow my dream of being a country singer! I’m a bit curious as to what your inspiration was? A. I was one of two people who listened to country music at my high school. I definitely wasn’t part of the “cool group” at the time! But when I saw Reba for the first time in concert, I wanted to do whatever it took to make it as a musician. Lots of hard work! Q. What’s your favorite gospel song? A. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Q. What is your favorite memory from the past shows at the Venetian? A. Other than the time on stage with my husband in front of such an intimate crowd, …

Mississippi native LeAnn Rimes and hubby next couple to try reality TV

Many couples have done it, and for some, it has ended badly. Starring in your own reality show isn’t always good for relationships. Just ask Jessica Simpson and a slew of other celebs who put their private lives on national TV and later divorced. But maybe things will be different for LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, who will soon have their own VH1 reality show. “We are really excited to be working together on a unique show that will give you a glimpse into who we really are, or better yet, who we’re really not,” said the Rimes in a news release. Rimes and Cibrian have been tabloid targets thanks to Cibrian’s ex-wife, Brandi Glanville, who stars on Bravo’s “The Housewives of Beverly Hills,” where she has often publicly discussed frustrations about her ex-husband and his new wife. Rimes Tweeted Thursday: “Thx for all the love about our new show. We are very excited to do something new and unique.” Rimes, a Pearl native, who has won multiple Grammy Awards, has been in the spotlight …

Priscilla Presley says Kanye won’t be buying Graceland

Some Elvis fans were are all shook up earlier this year about the possibility that Kanye West might be purchasing Graceland, but Priscilla Presley, ex-wife of the late Tupelo native, said it isn’t going to happen. “There is absolutely no truth to the rumor about selling Graceland,” Presley said on Facebook and Twitter. “From what I understand, this gossip came out of the tabloids in London. This will NEVER happen.” Presley received a slew of comments from fans. “Amen! No amount of money will ever see Elvis’ beloved home belong to anyone other than the Presleys! Thank you for saving Graceland all those years ago Priscilla, & Thank you Lisa for sharing your home with all of us,” said one fan. Others thanked Presley for preserving the home. “Thank you for the assurance Priscilla,” said Melissa Laster via Facebook. “I made a lot of childhood visits to Graceland while my brother was undergoing cancer treatment at St. Jude, so Graceland is a place very close to my heart. I am SO thrilled to hear that …

Mississippi chef David Crews is ‘King of American Seafood’

Mississippi Chef David Crews has been crowned “King of American Seafood.” The executive chef of Six Shooter Land and Timber in Drew, a private farm and hunting preserve, won the title in New Orleans during the 10th annual Great American Seafood Cook-off. According to The Times-Picyune, Crews’ winning dish, Southern Nicoise Salad, “included potato-crusted lump crab and tuna loin crusted with pork rinds, plus heirloom cherry tomatoes, puffed pork skins, Tabasco-cured bacon and poached eggs.” More than a dozen chefs flew in to compete at the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s 60th annual Food Service Expo. The Times-Picyune said Jeffrey Ferrell, a chef de cuisine at City Grocery in Oxford, assisted Crews during the competition. Ferrell’s boss, chef John Currence who won the 2008 competition, was also present. According to Crews’ website The Chef’s Table, he got his start in 1997 at The Airport Grocery in Cleveland. “What started out as just a job, slowly turned into a career, then an absolute affair love with food,” he said. Crews later enrolled in the Culinary Arts Institute at …

Oprah shares screen with all-star cast and other Mississippians in ‘The Butler’

It’s been more than a decade since Kosciusko native Oprah Winfrey worked as an actress in a major motion picture, but she’s back as the wife of “The Butler” in a film about an African-American (actor Forest Whitaker) who witnesses notable events of the 20th century while working for years as a butler in the White House. The story was inspired by a Washington Post article about an African-American man who served as a butler to eight presidents in the White House for more than 30 years. IMDB.com reports that the “film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man’s life and family.” Oprah isn’t the only Mississippian in this all-star cast. Keep a look out for rapper David Banner, of Jackson, who plays “Earl Gaines” in the film, and Mississippi-based actress Tarra Riggs has a role as “Sophie Wilson.” According to IMDB.com, Riggs landed her first film role as “Marlee” in “Ballast,” a movie shot in Mississippi, specifically …

Unusual Mississippi mascots discussed on Yahoo blog

East Union Attendance Center was discussed today on Yahoo’s “Prep Rally” sports blog. Writer Cameron Smith took note of the team’s unusual mascot – a sea urchin. “There is no logical reason why a school in Mississippi should use the sea urchin as a mascot,” he said. “The school in question is not on the water, and Mississippi is not historically known as a particular sea-faring state, unless one conflates on a grandiose paddle boat on the Mississippi River as being seafaring. “That in itself should be enough to push the Blue Springs (Ms.) East Union High Sea Urchins into the realm of the absurd and right to the top of the Mississippi mascot lists. Incredibly it doesn’t, thanks to an equally bizarre mascot that looks like a bouncy ball with giant spikes protruding from all of its surfaces.” Smith goes on to talk about two other Mississippi schools and their unusual mascots – St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis and the Taylorsville High Tartars. You can read the full article here with more descriptions …

Mississippi’s obesity rate among low-income preschoolers declines

The obesity rate among low-income preschoolers has declined in Mississippi, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. According to the study called “Progress on Childhood Obesity,” obesity among low-income preschoolers declined from 2008 through 2011 in 19 of 43 states and territories studied, and Mississippi was one. Obesity rates in low-income preschoolers, after decades of rising, began to level off from 2003 through 2008 and now are showing small declines in many states, according to the CDC. However, too many preschoolers are obese – about 1 in 8. The CDC says obese children are more likely to become obese adults and suffer lifelong physical and mental health problems. State and local officials can play a big part in reducing obesity among preschoolers. The CDC offers the following suggestions: • Create partnerships with community members such as civic leaders and child care providers to make community changes that promote healthy eating and active living. • Make it easier for families with children to buy healthy, affordable foods and beverages in their neighborhood. • Help provide …

CNN Money names Mississippi Top 10 entrepreneurial state

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, Mississippi is one of the Top 10 states in which to do it, according to CNN Money. Mississippi ranked 5 in the list of 10 most entrepreneurial states. According to the website, these states had more start-up activity than anywhere else in the nation. The study was based on information provided by the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. What did they say about Mississippi? Mississippi’s 2012 start-up rate was 430 per 100,000 adults. CNN Money quoted Tony Jeff, CEO of Innovative Mississippi, a non-profit that helps early-stage companies. He said small businesses have been a big part of Mississippi’s economy because we have fewer corporations. And many new college grads start their careers by launching a business here. CNN Money said: “Start-ups can get help doing research and finding capital through Mississippi State University’s Entrepreneurship Center. They also can enroll in business-training bootcamps offered throughout the state by the Mississippi Development Authority.” CNN also said many entrepreneurs are being lured to Mississippi because of its growing telecom, …

Entertainment: Mississippi native wraps up first season of "Pretty Wicked Moms"

Last night, was the season finale of “Pretty Wicked Moms.” Fans of the Lifetime reality show will have to wait until next season to see the antics of Mississippi native Emily Dees Boulden and her best friend, Nicole Noles. And it will be a while before we learn what’s happening with her Atlanta boutique, Swank; her daughter, Amzie; and her husband, Pete. Last night, the friends managed to get in trouble while attending a party at a “frienemy’s” house. While joking around, they found the party host’s preserved wedding bouquet, tossed it to one another as the camera’s rolled, and petals fell out of it onto the floor. The two also managed to knock over her wedding dress on display in the bedroom. Giggling ensued, followed by confrontational reality show drama that involved Emily telling the party host she was “fake.” You’ll have to wait a while to see Eli and Peyton Manning’s cousin steal the show, but she’s back in Mississippi this week. A couple of days ago, Boulden Tweeted: “Wheels Up to Mississippi! …

Jackson and Natchez named among ‘Top 10 friendliest’ U.S. cities

If you’re planning on visiting or moving to one of the Top 10 friendliest cities in the United States, guess what? You’re already living in one. Conde Nast Traveler recently named Jackson as one of the Top 10 friendliest cities in the U.S., and Natchez also made the list, tying with Jackson. In the online magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Survey, people were asked to rate cities on a number of factors, including “friendliness.” The Top 10 were cities that showed the most Southern hospitality, and all but three of the cities were in the South. Here’s what the editors had to say about Jackson: “Visitors to Mississippi’s capital—and most populous town—note that ‘friendly people and great food’ make it a worthy stop,” they said. “Its streets are ‘steeped in history’ and dotted with ‘green and pretty’ public spaces. Take an afternoon to sample ‘wonderful barbeque’ and chat with ‘lovely’ residents.” And Natchez: “Known for well-preserved relics of pre-Civil War architecture, including ‘very beautiful antebellum houses,’ Natchez also boasts a sweetly Southern resident community,’” the editors …

Jackson native produces ‘The Way, Way Back’

In fourth grade, Jackson native Tom Rice told his classmates that he wanted to be a film director. “I was a very creative-minded person growing up in a school that was very sports-centered,” he said. “If you didn’t play sports you were kind of a fish out of water. “I tried to fit into the sports scene without playing sports. I was the school mascot. It was a way to fit in and adapt. But I had a family who loved me, an interest in artist endeavors, and I was on my own to find out where I would find that creative satisfaction and find out who I was in the same way Duncan does.” Duncan is the lead character in Rice’s latest film. The Jackson creative who eventually founded his own production company is celebrating the opening of his latest project — an indie with an all-star cast that includes actors Steve Carrell, Toni Collette and Sam Rockwell called “The Way, Way Back.” In it, you meet Duncan, a 14-year-old boy who travels with …

Looking for summer fun in Mississippi? Check out this list

Looking for something to do this summer? The Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division has compiled a list of suggestions. “Both locals and visitors alike are looking for ways to enjoy summer getaways and recreational options without spending a lot of money,” Malcolm White, director of the MDA’s Tourism Division, said in a news release. “Mississippi offers a variety of free activities that are family-friendly and easy to enjoy during a weekend road trip or a longer vacation stay.” Here’s some of the MDA’s suggestions of free things you can visit in Mississippi. Causeyville General Store, Meridian area The Causeyville General Store, just south of Meridian, was opened in 1895 as a general store and gristmill. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has many original fixtures and working gristmill. Explore the interesting mechanical music collection, country and movie memorabilia. Hot roasted peanuts, glass bottle Coca-Cola and old-fashioned hoop cheese are local favorites and available for purchase. Civil War Interpretive Center, Corinth Located at the site of Battery Robinett, a Union fort …

Film review: ‘The Way, Way Back’ and its Mississippi ties

Last week, I attended my first private film screening. It was just myself and a film company representative in the Madison theater all by ourselves watching “The Way, Way Back,” an indie coming-of-age movie that has been deemed a summer hit by some entertainment publications. It also has a Mississippi connection. Jackson native Tom Rice produced the film starring Steve Carrell, Toni Collete, Maya Rudolph and Sam Rockwell. If you remember Carrell’s nerdy imbecile character from “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” or his awkward portrayal of a guy looking for love in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” you’ll see a whole new side of Carrell in this film. He’s a confident, sexy, leading man with lots of issues. One of those is his habit of degrading the lead character, Duncan – his girlfriend’s 14-year-old son. This repeatedly occurs on a summer vacation beach trip that Carrell, his girlfriend, and their children take together. Duncan, a socially awkward adolescent, has trouble making friends and communicating with them. It doesn’t help that he’s constantly undermined and belittled by …

Hooray for ‘Sippiwood! Many film projects underway in Mississippi

A number of film and television projects are in the works or recently have been completed in the state.Here’s a rundown on what’s happening in ’Sippiwood. “Artists Die Best in Black” — This independent film has been shot on the Gulf Coast. The mystery, directed by Price Hall, stars actor Malcolm McDowell, whose most famous role is probably Alex DeLarge from the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange.” It is described as, “A noir romantic thriller full of intriguing characters, art and death (that) unfolds in a gripping mystery that rocks the art world of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.” The Sun Herald reported that a local premiere may be held in September. “Category 5” — This weather disaster action film just completed filming along the Gulf Coast. Starring Burt Reynolds, the movie is about five families caught in a Gulf Coast hurricane. The Hattiesburg American reported earlier that nearly a dozen University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast film students were hired as production assistants for the film. No word on a release date yet. …

Mississippi pageant queen serves her country in high heels and combat boots

Putting on a sequined dress, placing manicured feet into high heels, and wearing a sash and crown on stage is a little different than putting on a camouflage uniform, lacing up your combat boots and roughing it in a tent outdoors. But for Miss William Carey University Jennifer DeMelo, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, it’s the best of both worlds. When this active duty soldier wasn’t conducting medical missions throughout the United States, she found time to enter the William Carey pageant and won. Now, she’s got a shot at winning the Miss Mississippi Pageant, an opportunity that would allow her to serve in a different way. “When I first meet people, they never realize that I am a soldier in the military because I do not fit their ideal mold of what a soldier looks like,” said DeMelo, a Louisiana native who has served in the U.S. Army the past five years. Raised in a middle class family with a father who owned a carpet cleaning business and mother who worked different jobs …

More of the story: Miss Mississippi contestant Kennitra Thompson fought for her life against Stevens Johnson Syndrome

When Kennitra Thompson was 6, she told her mother she wanted to become Miss America. The determined little girl convinced Patricia Thompson to purchase a few blank VHS tapes to record the annual pageant, and she repeatedly watched the videos, studying the winners and learning to emulate Miss Americas like Heather Whiteston (1995), Angela Perez Baraquio (2000) and Erika Dunlap (2004). At 13, she entered and won her first real pageant, Miss Junior Teen Jackson as number 135 out of more than 200 contestants. Other pageant wins followed. Then, Thompson was crowned Miss Metro Jackson and got to compete in the Miss Mississippi Pageant for the first time last year, bringing her a step closer to the Miss America crown. This year, she’ll return to Miss Mississippi as Miss Rankin County Southwest, but a lot has changed for Thompson in the last few months. When she walks on the stage wearing a swimsuit, audience members may notice that her body is blemished with scars or “warrior wounds” from the life-threatening illness she recently battled. Kennitra …

More of the story: Miss Mississippi Marie Wicks talks about giving up the crown

It took five attempts before Ocean Springs native Marie Wicks was crowned Miss Mississippi last year, proving that persistence pays off. It’s funny how time flies. “It feels like yesterday,” said Wicks, recalling that victorious moment in Vicksburg. “It’s been such an incredible year, and it’s really surpassed what my wildest dreams are of what it would be to be Miss Mississippi. I’ve gotten to travel to different cities and meet people I never dreamed I’d meet.” One recent experience was visiting Camp Shelby. She met military members, received a combat uniform, drove a tank and learned how the National Guard trains for missions. Wicks, 24, has also spent the last year promoting the Children’s Miracle Network and her platform eyeSTAR, an acronym for EyeSight to All Regions, raising awareness about visual impairments. “I’ve done a lot of work with the Lion’s Club, organized free vision screenings and collected donated glasses,” she said, excited about the response. She also wrote a children’s book called Myope about a lion who needs glasses that she’s selling to …

‘The Bling Ring’ review: If you’re ‘Pretty Wild,’ karma often comes with cuffs

There were two reasons I wanted to see “The Bling Ring” this weekend. 1. It stars Mississippi native Israel Broussard as one of the teen thieves who broke into Hollywood homes and stole designer clothing and jewelry from famous celebrities. I got a chance to interview Broussard by phone last week, who is a very polite and mature young man. I’m sure he has a good film career ahead of him because landing your first major role in a Sofia Coppola movie “ain’t” too shabby. 2. I had previously watched the E! reality television series “Pretty Wild,” starring Alexis Neiers and her two teenage “sisters,” which I think – as reality shows go – may be one of the most absurd and entertaining ones I’ve ever seen because of how oblivious these girls and their parents seem about everything taking place in their lives. I’m not sure how this happened since their mother tried to home school them using metaphysical consciousness principles with a curriculum based on the “The Secret” or laws of attraction. But …