All posts filed under: UNCATEGORIZED

The Magical Power of Bringing Gingerbread Men to Life

By LaReeca Rucker It probably seems like I am quite the cook based on some of the social media posts I have made lately. Truth is, I’m not. But at one time, I aspired to be. As a person who has a lot of hobbies that I drop and pick up again from time to time, I have done everything from stamp collecting to salsa dancing. At one time, I convinced myself that I was going to be the next top chef. (Well, not really, but I was determined to master cooking.) For a while, I was obsessed with watching the Food Network. I purchased many cookbooks, and I was given many cookbooks as gifts. But truth be told, cooking – I learned – is much more than a skill. It’s a talent. It’s an art. And while I can generally read directions and sometimes create a dish that is a hit, I also sometimes miss. I’m an unreliable cook. However, this Christmas I was determined to make a few dishes for a family Christmas …

My Christmas Tree is Filled With Aliens, Robots and Monsters

By LaReeca Rucker The way you decorate your Christmas tree says a lot about your personality, as do the ornaments that we choose to adorn it. More than 20 years ago, I began collecting and making my own ornaments at Christmastime. I try to make and buy a few new ornaments every year to add to my collection. I started with porcelain cherubs, leaving some white and decorating others. Then I bought traditional Christmas balls and covered them in glitter, back when you couldn’t find glittery decorations like them. I have also made ornaments for my tree that feature pictures of my late pets. In the last few years, I have taken an annual trip to Hobby Lobby to select ornaments that I like. I also look in Walmart, Fred’s and other local dollar stores. Tomorrow, I plan to attend two Christmas craft events and search for more interesting ornaments to add to my collection. There are a few things that I am fond of and always on the look out for – aliens, robots …

Let’s make Mississippi an ‘American Idol’

In light of the controversial events that have transpired because of Mississippi’s House Bill 1523 locally and nationally, with protests by notable Mississippians and some companies refusing to do business in the state, the yin and yang of the universe decided that on the last season of one of America’s top-rated television shows, two Mississippians were selected to showcase their artistic talent – one of the fine things Mississippi is very well known for – and a Mississippian won the contest. Within every place and every person, you can find both good and bad. For far too long, Mississippi has had a reputation of ranking last in many categories. It has become trite to recite the list. The state has the highest high school dropout rate, the highest teen pregnancy rate, the highest obesity rate, highest poverty rate, worst economy, and the lowest life expectancy in the country. Mississippi students have ranked last in school performance, and the state has one of the highest unemployment rates. We read these studies over and over again, and …

What it means to be ‘The Hospitality State’

Mississippi is historically known for a progressively delayed (and often stalled) civil rights legacy. In the minds of some throughout the U.S., the state’s name will be forever linked to the opposition and violence that occurred in Mississippi in the 1960s – opposition and violence that resulted when fellow Mississippians stood firm, demanding the basic, inalienable right of equality, affirming that all men (and women) are created equal and have the right to be treated as such. Mississippi is also historically known for many good things, some of which include generosity, a rich literary and artistic history, and the notion that we are “The Hospitality State.” In light of Governor Phil Bryant’s decision to sign House Bill 1523 (authored by Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton) – a bill that would allow Mississippi business and government workers to deny services to any citizen based on their religious beliefs – (essentially anyone they choose not to serve for any “religious” reason) – it might be wise to reexamine what it means to be “The Hospitality State.” Should hospitality …

Jeepers celebrates a year

Some people are BMW and Mercedes people. Others prefer big trucks with big wheels. I’m a Jeep girl. I bought my first Jeep Cherokee Sport in 2002 and drove it until it died a little over a year ago. Then, I had to decide what kind of vehicle to buy. I wasn’t happy about having a car payment, but I really love the white Jeep Patriot that I got. I’ve named him Jeepers. Here’s a look. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. </

Pen pals meet for the first time after almost 50 years of writing

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to write a fun feature story about a woman and her pen pal, who had been writing each other for almost 50 years. They first began writing as teenagers when one was living in St. Louis and the other in New Zealand, and they recently met in person for the first time in Oxford. Here’s their story. You can read more at OxfordEagle.com. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Art 101

This is my first attempt at painting a building with oil paints. I’m sure it’s not that great, but maybe it will inspire others who think they can do better to pick up a brush. This is my take on Square Books in Oxford. Hopefully, I’ll improve as I go along. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

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

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 …

‘Walk the Line’ has new meaning for Witherspoon

Well, I guess I spoke too soon – six years too soon. Back in 2007, I blogged about Reese Witherspoon, commending her for managing to keep it together and stay out of the “Girls Gone Wild” club of celebrities, who at the time, included Britney, Lindsey, Paris and Nicole. But over the weekend, it seems Witherspoon got bent out of shape when police made her husband “Walk the Line” after he was pulled over and charged with DUI. She was arrested for disorderly conduct. I think everyone would have probably looked over this incident with this particular “America’s sweetheart,” if she hadn’t pulled the, “Do you know my name? . . . You’re about to find out” card. That’s a hard line for any middle-class American to swallow. And I was just saying this week how it’s funny that every time someone has a movie to promote, they seem to find themselves in a predicament that makes national news – an arrest, an accident, a divorce, a stint in rehab. I’m not sure that’s the …

The world needs more Elvis impersonators

Growing up in North Mississippi between Tupelo and Memphis, it was hard to ignore the fact that Elvis Presley was part of my cultural heritage. I spent several summers during college and after I graduated working at a Tupelo newspaper, where I met a lot of people who knew “the king.” I covered the annual Tupelo Elvis Festival, and met fans from all over the world, who wanted to see where the superstar was born. I interviewed many of Presley’s relatives and distant relatives, including the late sheriff, Harold Ray Presley, who was killed during a police stand-off. I forged a working relationship with the late Janelle McComb, who was in charge of the Presley birthplace and had been a close friend of Elvis in the final years of his life. She told me stories about Lisa Marie’s visit to Tupelo to see her father’s birthplace. And I interviewed the owner of Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis Presley decided against a .22 caliber rifle and opted, instead, for a guitar. During my stint as a reporter …

Wanna get in the "Mud" with Matthew McConaughey this weekend?

When I first learned that Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon were set to star in a film involving the Mississippi River with some scenes filmed in the state, I tried to keep tabs on the film and its release date because I thought it might make a good feature. I first took notice of Arkansas director Jeff Nichols’ work after watching his 2011 film “Take Shelter,” starring Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and Jessica Chastain, released the same year Chastain won an Oscar nomination for her scene-stealing role in “The Help” and blew up. “Take Shelter” is a movie any Mississippian could probably relate to who has spent their lives terrified of destructive tornadoes, and it asks the question: What would you do if you began hearing frightening noises and dreaming of impending doom? After a series of nightmares about a terrible storm, Shannon’s character begins to prepare for it by expanding the tornado shelter in his backyard, kind of like Richard Dreyfuss did in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” when he began sculpting images …

Hinds County deputies photographed in high heels

I said it once, and I’ll say it again. You can prove you’re a real man by wearing high heels. I recently told you about a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event that was being held at Mississippi University for Women to stomp out rape, sexual assault and gender violence. At the time, the event schedule only showed one event happening in Mississippi this year. But when I looked at my Facebook page today, someone had posted these pictures of Hinds County officials participating in their own Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event today. They posted a gallery of photos that you can look at here with this message: “Hinds County deputies and other law enforcement personnel sport high heels for the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event at the State Capitol this morning. The one mile walk was held in an effort to raise awareness about sexual assault, rape and gender violence and is sponsored by the Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Busted heels, bruised ankles and burning legs were just …

Real men wear high heels

Think you’re a manly man? Then prove it by wearing a pair of high heels. That’s right, if you think you’re man enough, stuff those unmanicured toes into a sparkly pair of Jimmy Choo pumps or shiny Wal-Mart specials and, literally, take a stand against sexual violence by walking one mile. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® is a relatively new event created to stomp out rape, sexual assault and gender violence. I first heard about it on “The Housewives of Beverly Hills,” when some of the cast members sent their husbands off with a pair of high heels to participate in the event. Since then, it’s been gaining attention, and now it’s coming to Mississippi University for Women April. 4. (I checked the calendar, and I don’t see any other listings for it in Mississippi this year, but you never know when someone will decide to organize an event.) Described as a playful opportunity for men to raise community awareness about the causes, effects and remedies for sexual violence, the intention is to get …

More of the story: “The luckiest guy in the world’ in “the greatest show on earth”

When Pensacola native David Shipman was 2, his godparents took him to the circus the day his mother was giving birth to his twin sisters. It was a trip that changed his life. “I remember almost everything about it,” he said. “I remember sitting in the audience with wide-eyed wonderment. The elephants were doing these amazing tricks. I remember the jugglers. I remember the clowns. I remember just being in total awe of everything that was happening. And I remember thinking that the ringmaster was the coolest person and the luckiest guy in the world to get to do it every single day.” Today, Shipman is that lucky guy. He is the ringmaster for Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Presents Fully Charged, Gold Edition, running Thursday through Sunday at Jackson’s Mississippi Coliseum. Billy Orr, executive director of the Mississippi State Fair Commission, said he is looking forward to the return of the circus, which he says always draws a large crowd. “We do business with them about twice a year,” he said. “They come here …

High-flying hitchhiker makes a stop in Mississippi

New York native Amber Nolan, 28, is planning on thumbing a ride to all 50 states, but she isn’t doing it in automobiles. She hitchhikes on planes. Last week, she landed in Gulfport, then flew to Jackson and convinced a local pilot to show her the highlights of the city — like blues night at Hal & Mal’s and eating at Brent’s Drugs. Then, she experienced a view of the reservoir by air before continuing on her journey to Little Rock. “I had a chance to do some scenic flying over the reservoir at dusk, and the water was like glass,” she said. “It was really beautiful.” While in town, she also helped promote a Jackson philanthropy called Operation PROP created to “improve the lives of people with disabilities and Wounded Warriors by eliminating both real and perceived barriers that prevent them from achieving goals and living their lives to the fullest.” “Operation PROP stands for People Reaching Outrageous Potential,” said Flowood resident Linwood Nooe, a pilot since the 1980s who heads the organization and …

The Bible and Fifty Shades of Grey?

I’m not exactly sure what it says about American society when the top two books that American women are currently reading are The Bible and Fifty Shades of Grey, but those seem to be the results of a new survey. Yes, the good book and an erotic romance novel by author E.L. James were found to be the nation’s two best sellers this year, according to a survey conducted by the market research firm Lab42 that asked a random sampling of 500 women, 18 and older what they were reading. These were the results: 1.     50 Shades of Grey – E.L. James 2.     The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins 3.     The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling 4.     The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling 5.     The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien 6.     A Song of Fire and Ice series – George R. R. Martin 7.     Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell 8.     1Q84 – Haruki Murakami 9.     The Help – Kathryn Stockett 10.  The Twilight Series – Stephenie Meyers Got a comment? E-mail me at …

Fung shui for monkeys?

The BBC reports today that the L.A. Zoo is paying a fung shui expert $4,500 to create a comfortable space for three monkeys on loan from China. My question: Do you think a monkey really knows he’s from China and, therefore, opts for Asian interior design over, say, contemporary modern or country chic? I personally think he’d rather have $4,500 worth of bananas. What’s next? “Trading Cages?” Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save