Thursday Mashup

Mashup- Giveaways, 36 hours spent in Jackson, MS, 30 Hot Books for Summer and more…

#giveaways

She Reads is giving away Marybeth Whalen’s newest book, The Wishing Tree!

Love At First Book is giving away A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon!

The Book Wheel is giving away A Complicated Marriage by Janice Van Horne!

Book-Alicious Mama is giving away Letters from a Whoremonger’s Wife by Danita Clark Able.

#travel

Jackson, MS was featured in the NY Times Travel section- 36 Hours in Jackson, MS!

For more information on planning a visit to Jackson (or other place in Mississippi)- check the website Visit Mississippi

#bookrecommendations and #hotbooks

USA Today reveals it’s list of 30 Hot Books for Summer. Bookmagnet has revealed her list of books for June in it’s It’s a June Books Boon– and 1 of the books she lists, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls by Anton Disclafani, also made the USA Today list! Two of the books I listed for Beach Bag Reads (The Tao of Martha: My Year of Living or Why I’m Never Getting All the Glitter Off The Dog by Jen Lancaster and Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger ) also made USA Today 30 Hot Books for Summer.

Zippity Doo Dah 2012

I suppose it’s better late than never, so here goes about Zippity Doo Dah 2012 (ZDD). This is the 2nd year of this event- the event used to take place during the Mal’s St. Paddy’s Day parade in Jackson.  Now Jackson has 2 weekends of parades- so March is just a big fun month!

When I arrived in town on Thursday, I immediately saw a pile of women from last year- we all hugged and did the “Ahh! You’re here! What’s been going on?” thing. After unloading my car and taking my stuff to my room- I had to sit in the AC for a bit- it was HOT. Then I went and met up with some of the women- we stood around, talked, and made plans for dinner that night. 18 of us piled into Burger and Blues (a great little place to eat- good hamburgers, sweet potato fries, and and fun atmosphere.) Bless our server’s heart, he did not quit that night after setting 18 women wearing crowns and/or boas. We were a slightly loud crowd, but we were having fun and reuniting after a year of being apart. After eating till our heart was content (and everyone had a full belly) it was back to the Hilton for a night of bands and music. Several different bands played that night- and it was a blast hanging out with friends I see once a year and meeting new ladies!

Friday the first event of the day is called Big Hat Luncheon. And yes, we wear BIG Hats. The past couple of years it’s been held at Sal and Mookies- this great place to eat in Fondren. Pizza, pasta, great drinks and desserts-it’s got something for everybody. It’s non-smoking, has a great patio and a good staff. Eating there and hanging out with friends was a great way to start the Friday. After lunch, most of us went walking around Fondren (it’s small enough you can walk, but big enough that there is much to do!) Most stores were having sales, the weather was nice, and it was just a good day to play outside. After playing in Fondren for sometime- I went to Everyday Gourmet to pick up my Gail Pittman bird (yes, the Gail Piitman that does the dishes- well she designs a bird to sell for Zippity Doo Dah, as well). After that, went back to the hotel to see what was going on and begin to get ready for the night events- The Sweet Potato Queen Ball. After spending some of the afternoon getting made up with false eyelashes and glitter eyes (Thanks to Jen and Jodi!) I went to my room to put my sparkly dress and electric blue wig on- and then I headed to the ball. There was live music- good live music! And it’s always nice to see everyone so dressed up in their outfits- wigs, crowns, sparkly dresses- you name it, it could be there.

Saturday morning, back in Fondren, at Duling Hall- Jill Conner Browne signed her newest book, Fat is the new 30. Cathead Vodka helped sponsor the book signing- there was biscuits, bacon and screw drivers or bloody mary drinks to enjoy. Also Randall Wallace ( We Were Soldiers) was there. He comes most years, if he can make it, from what I understand- I missed seeing him the year before; but he was so kind to pose for a picture with me this year.

Randall Wallace and me- ZDD 2012

Melanie, Jill, Me- getting our books signed

After a delightful morning of yummy food, meeting Hollywood royalty and getting my book signed- it time for some more shopping and then decorating our float for the parade. Once the work was over, though, the ladies in my group headed to eat at Que Sera Sera- and then some of us went back to hotel to start getting ready (it takes a long time to get in those dresses and get wigs, false eyelashes and crowns looking right- BUT, it is so fun!). The parade line-up began at 6, so we did not have much time to waste.

The parade is just something a person has to see to even believe. Tons of women, dressed up in various outfits, laughing and having a great time. People stopping us to take pictures. Beads flying through the air. Waving to friends. Seeing kids excited. And knowing that while you are having a good time, by doing this, the money you help raise is going to Blair E. Batson for the sick children who are there. After the parade is over, and the car has been given away- begin heading back to the cars and we see the Sweet Potato Queen Float. And they let us take a picture on the float. So cross that off the bucket list, folks- I have a pic of myself on the float, in the big chair. It’s a good night.

SPQ Float- with PPPPPQ’s

The last event of Saturday is the Pearls and PJ’s party. And you guessed it- everyone shows up in Pearls and PJ’s. There is live music, food, and the giveaway of the big crown. It’s fun and fabulous- and a chance to relax while having fun because you are not in the costumes.

Sunday morning dawns bright and early for Bathrobe Brunch- shrimp and grits, pig candy, and other yummy breakfast foods. This is where we are reminded that play is good for the soul, and gather to say goodbye to new and old friends. Bathrobe Brunch is the more serious of the events- it’s a quiet reflection of why and how play is good for you, a reminder that life, if you don’t squeeze some fun into it, is boring.

The weekend is a fun weekend, filled with interesting ladies and great memories to be made!

Meeting Shellie Rushing Tomlinson…

Last summer, I met Shellie Rushing Tomlinson at a book signing at Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS. Shellie was signing copies of “Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She just Weighs Heavy”. With a title like that, I knew I had to meet this author.

Shellie is a Southern writer, and has this drawl when she talks, is kind and funny, and just makes you feel welcome when talking with you. Having only a few ladies at the book signing was actually nice because we were able to sit at the big table in the back and just have an informal talk of books and stories- and of course, Shellie read a couple of excerpts from her book.

Shellie’s 2 latest books: “Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On: What Southern Mamas tell their Daughters that the Rest of Y’all Should Know” and “Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy” may not be for everyone- some Southern writing isn’t, but if you are looking for a funny book, with a tinge of advice, then give these a try. Also, if you have the opportunity to meet Shellie, go and meet her. A nice lady who has a gift for story-telling, so the visit will be fun!

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and her fans at Lemuria

For more information on Shellie, follow her on Twitter @ShellieT or friend her on Facebook- Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. She posts quite often, either with something funny or a thought that makes people think.

Mississippi State Fair 2011

There’s something about a state fair that makes me happy. Maybe it’s the food? In a single place, you can consume more “bad for you, but oh so good” food. Personally, I like to bring a friend who likes fair food and split things with them- that way you can enjoy much more. Penn’s Chicken, funnel cakes, lemonade, cotton candy, roasted corn (ooh, I think I’m drooling)- that and much more can be found at the Mississippi State Fair.

I do enjoy some of the rides, as well. Huge fan of the Pirate Ship (arms raised and screaming), the Scrambler, and the Ferris Wheel. I don’t enjoy the carnival games, but as a kid, I did. Now, much smarter about my money.

The best days at the fair- the weather is sunny with a nice breeze. Arriving around lunch to start eating the best food, ride some rides and watch some fair entertainment. Basically, rinse and repeat until time to leave. That’s a day at the fair!

No telling what kind of food you'll see at a fair!

 

Ferris Wheel. Something magical about it being lit up at night.

Zippity Doo Dah Parade 2011

Sweet Potato Queens- a group of fun-loving women from Mississippi. The main SPQ is Her Royal Highness Jill Conner Browne (shortened to HRH Jill for rest of my post). HRH Jill had the idea of being in the St.Paddy’s Day Parade in Jackson many years ago- and through a lot of hard work, determination and the power of a crown- she is known world-wide. Jill writes books, as well. Most are things our Southern Mama’s have been telling or thinking for years, but Jill has a way of collecting stories of hers, her own mom’s, and countless friends and associates-adding in a lot of humor, and some good advice- and making a book that is funny!

I came upon her book on a horrible weekend- my boyfriend had taken me on wedding weekend for his friend that I barely knew and I was stuck with a group of people I hardly knew, a bridesmaid that was his ex (and did not like me), and without my own set of wheels. I was having a not-fun weekend. Enter Jill- the people we were staying with had a copy of Jill’s first book, and while my boyfriend was off at a bachelor party, I stayed in and read- this book basically salvaged my weekend.

After that, I began reading all the books I could find by Jill. In the back of mind, I wanted to go one day to the St.Paddy’s Day parade/Sweet Potato Queen Weekend. Sadly, at this time, I was under the thought process that to go- I had to have a friend or 2. I would beg, plead and cajole- to no success. But, I never gave up wanting to go. In 2010, through a series of serendipitous events, I not only managed to make a plan, but to also find a group to be part of. So March 2011 found me at the parade weekend, except it had changed- it was being held a weekend later than St.Paddy’s and was now known as Zippity Doo Dah!

Upon my arrival on Thursday, I was a bit nervous- I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The group I was a part of would not be coming in to later, and I really did not know those ladies that well either. I tapped a dark haired lady on the shoulder and asked if it was her first time at the parade? This dark-haired lady turned out to be a lovely lady named Deb- who proceeded to become my “welcoming committee”. Deb introduced me to several ladies and these ladies were NICE! Everyone I was meeting was sweet and kind and quite interesting.

Me and Deb loaded up on the bus to Fondren and walked around- I took her to Brent’s Drugs (as seen in the movie “The Help”), and we went to Campbell’s Bakery for sweets. After wandering around Fondren, we headed back to the Hilton- they have live music for the Queens to enjoy! Later that night I met 3 of the nicest ladies- The Mermaids- Jen, Sharon and Kathy were wonderful and really made me feel like I was welcome!

Friday was Big Hat Luncheon- we had lunch at Sal and Mookies (and wore BIG HATS!) Friday afternoon was shopping, and Friday night was dinner and The Sweet Potato Queen Ball- live music from the Bouffants from Memphis- a great band.

Saturday-early part was more shopping, a carnival, a car giveaway and then the PARADE. Everyone got dressed up in sparkly outfits, wigs, and crowns and walked the streets of Fondren- waving to the crowds, throwing beads and other things, posing for pictures- and just having fun. Saturday night after the parade was PJ’s and Pearls. More music and karaoke next door for PJ’s and Pearls.

Sunday morning ends with Bathrobe Brunch- and this wonderful food called Pig Candy-yummm! The brunch reminds all the Queens who attend as to the reason why we played all weekend. HRH Jill will be the first to inform you that play is important- it’s what keeps us going. This whole weekend is not just about giving adults a reason to play and have fun- it’s about raising money for Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, as well. Last year, over 65,000 dollars was raised!

 

Some Pictures to see how much fun ZDD is!

Black Eyed Peas Queens

 

Queens having fun!

 

Mermaids and Me

 

More Queens having fun

 

ZDD Banner

 

PPPPPQ's having a good time!

 

Some Rolling River Queen's getting on the Trolley

 

Ladies in Blue!

 

Friday Night Sweet Potato Queen Ball

 

Deb- my welcoming committee

 

For more information on Zippity Doo Dah- like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter @Zippity_Doo_Dah. To find more about Fondren- an artsy community that is part of Jackson- on Twitter @FondrenMS or @finditinfondren. To learn more about Sweet Potato Queens- http://www.sweetpotatoqueens.com

 

“The Help” Book Signing May 25, 2011

The Help was just a few short months from being aired in theaters- and I was beyond excited to see the movie. Living not far from either of the filming places in Mississippi (Greenwood and Jackson) I was anxious to see what spots in towns I could recognize and how different the book was from the movie.

Then, I found out Kathryn Stockett was going to be at Lemuria Books in Jackson to sign copies of “The Help”. I loaded up, met a couple of friends and got there early enough to grab a prime position in line. Standing in line with my friends, laughing and discussing our favorite parts of the book helped the time pass, and Lemuria was so kind to have a TV set up with the trailer from the movie being shown constantly.

Finally, it was my turn to meet Kathryn Stockett. She was quite pleasant, signed the book, and was gracious enough to pose for a picture or two.

Kathryn Stockett and me at Lemuria Books

Jess and Me waiting on our books to get signed

Me and Lee- waiting to meet Kathryn Stockett

After reading the book and watching the movie-while both were good, I thought the book was better (But isn’t that always the case?)