Mississippi's highly acclaimed Crossroads Film Festival is rapidly approaching!  From April 6-9, come celebrate the art of filmmaking, its diversity and depth.  Film lovers and Filmmakers will gather together in Jackson to view films from Mississippi and around the world.  Click here to buy tickets for all of their upcoming events!
“Southerners are natural-born storytellers.  We have a rich legacy of world-famous storytellers from Mississippi, such as writers Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and Eudora Welty; musicians B.B. King, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis; film stars Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones.  This storytelling culture fosters the expansion from the page and lyrics to film, as film technology continues to evolve.” Robbie Fisher, Crossroads Film Society President

It all started in the 90’s.  A group of promising young filmmakers in the Southern Mississippi Film Program presented a “student films in progress showcase” on campus.  Much to their delight, the event was a rousing success.

Jackson film lovers Ed Inman, Ferrell Tadlock and filmmaker Anita Modak-Truran were intrigued.  They had been hosting independent film screenings around the state, and were striving to create a new film festival in Jackson.  They collaborated with Southern Mississippi Film Program students Philip Scarborough, Nina Parikh and Monte Kraus to form the Crossroads Film Festival and Society, supporting local filmmakers’ works and bringing films from around the world to communities of central Mississippi. 

The first annual Crossroads Film Festival was held in the spring of 2000, with a warm and enthusiastic reception.  It has only grown in scope and size over the past eighteen years. Robbie Fisher, Crossroads Film Society President, says, “Crossroads Film Festival is open to any independent filmmaker anywhere throughout the world.  Although we are particularly interested in ‘growing’ Mississippi filmmakers, and telling our hometown stories, we also have a huge interest in bringing the world’s stories to Mississippi.”

The Crossroads Film Festival and Society are truly celebrating the art of filmmaking, its diversity and depth.  “We believe Crossroads has played a role in the growth of our film production in Mississippi, as films are screened and as filmmakers visit the festival and Mississippi,” Fisher smiles.  An impressive number of films screened at Crossroads have received further acclaim.  God of Love (2010) won at Crossroads for Best Short Narrative and won an Oscar the same year.  Mr. Hublot, awarded Best Animated Film at Crossroads, received an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

This year’s Crossroads Film Festival will begin on April 6, boasting films, a movie premiere of a major motion picture shot in Mississippi, and a Music Video Showcase featuring local bands.  There will also be industry-related workshops, panel discussions with filmmakers and a closing party with live music, celebrities and Mississippi cuisine.  “Overall, we strive to get filmmakers and film lovers in the same space.  We want to share our stories,” says Fisher.  “We provide audiences with the opportunity to experience films they would ordinarily not be able to see in a commercial theater, and we encourage the creation and enjoyment of independent film in Mississippi.” 

For more information on the Crossroads Film Festival, please visit www.crossroadsfilmfestival.com Photographs courtesy of Crossroads Film Society 

 
 
Happy Spring!  Today we are thrilled to unveil our beautiful spring cover, featuring a lovely carousel horse proudly standing in downtown Meridian, Mississippi!
Spring

"In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth.  Each of you is an original.  Each of you has a distinctive voice.  When you find it, your story will be told.  You will be heard."  John Grisham
Meridian’s historical treasure, The Highland Park Dentzel Carousel, is the perfect spot for a birthday party.  Originally built in 1896, the carousel’s exquisite animals, chariots and original oil paintings have been meticulously restored, ensuring the National Landmark will be cherished for generations to come. 

We draped The Carousel House in precious blush, mint and sherbet décor.  Excited guests feasted on the carousel’s famous cotton candy, pastel macarons, iced animal cookies and favors, all topping fluffy pink linens.  Gold and turquoise animals, mirroring the gorgeous hand-carved creatures of the carousel, were wrapped in sweet ribbons and flowers for a soft touch.  The day ended with exhilarating rides around the carousel, leaving the birthday girl and her guests eager for their next trip to Meridian. 

VENDORS:
Venue:  The Highland Park Dentzel Carousel
Serving Pieces:  Modern Revival Rentals
Decor:  Persnickety
Photography:  Adam + Alli Photography
Clothing:  Bows & Arrows
Linens & Rentals:  Pretty Presentations Rentals 
 
 
Photographs courtesy of Visit Columbus!  
 
 
Mississippi Food Network will be hosting their 3rd annual Moonlight Market next Thursday, March 23rd, from 6-8pm at the Farmer's Market on High Street!   Moonlight Market is an incredibly fun evening that raises money for Mississippi Food Network's programs and services, and also help promote farm-to-table and Mississippi farmers. 

Moonlight Market guests will be treated to a feast of fresh produce, honey and meats from local farmers, while sipping on a signature Cathead vodka cocktail!    Chef Nick Wallace and Chef Mark Coblentz will also be preparing three FABULOUS signature dishes for the event!  You will not want to miss this exciting and unique evening with delicious fare, shopping, entertainment and more.  Individual tickets are $40 , or $75 per couple.  They are also offering a special of 10 tickets for $300 for larger groups!

"Mississippi Food Network began in 1983 when a group of citizens realized there was a need for a food bank in Mississippi.  A food bank is a warehouse facility that would accumulate, store and distribute food and household items for charities that made the final distribution to needy people in the community," says Marilyn Blackledge, Director of External Affairs for Mississippi Food Network.  "We began in 1984 distributing 139,000 pounds of food and continue to distribute today with 18 million pounds distributed in 2016." 

As the only food bank located in Mississippi, Mississippi Food Network is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest charitable hunger relief organization made up of more than 200 member food banks.  "We have a mission to relieve poverty-related hunger in our service area by distributing donated and purchased food and grocery products through a network of member churches and non-profit organizations.  We provide nutrition education to our needy clients," says Blackledge.  

Through a number of incredible programs, Mississippi Food Network helps people throughout Mississippi by distributing food to more than 430 member agencies operating food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior citizen programs, after school programs and other human service programs. 

We hope to see all of you at Moonlight Market!  Let's support Mississippi Food Network in their mission to fight food insecurity and hunger throughout Mississippi! For more information on Mississippi Food Network, please click here!

Photographs courtesy of Mississippi Food Network 
 
 
With Spring officially arriving next week, Easter is just a month away!  Beautiful, breezy days are the perfect time to dress your child in precious clothing and sweet jewelry.  We teamed up with Nursery Rhymes, Albriton's Jewelry and Mary Moment Photography to capture these beautiful Easter photographs.  
A special thank you to our very talented Vendors:

~ For beautiful children's clothing, perfect Easter basket goodies, sweet accessories and more, visit Nursery Rhymes in Jackson!

~ Albriton's Jewelry carries THE most gorgeous jewelry.  From precious pearl bracelets to diamond engagement rings, they have anything and everything you could imagine! 

~ Mary Moment Photography beautifully captures special moments in her photographs.  She continues to wow us with every single image.  Click here to see her incredible array of photographs.  
 
 
Mississippi Museum of Art's Spring Benefit will be a huge celebration for the state of Mississippi and for our extraordinary Art Museum! On Friday, April 7th, from 7-10pm, guests will flock to the museum for Icing on the Cake, an extravagant, elegant evening featuring a seated dinner, birthday revelry and of course, cake!

"Not only are we celebrating the state's birthday, we are celebrating a landmark anniversary of the Museum's building - that's the real icing on the cake," says Anna Burnett, Museum trustee and benefit co-chair.  It is hard to believe the Museum has been in its incredible state-of-the-art location for ten years.  

“We are looking forward to all the fun and frivolity we have in store for this year’s gala,” said Sara Ragsdale, benefit co-chair. “The festivities are sure to please the young and the young-at-heart, all the while helping to support the Museum’s ongoing programs and exhibitions. Make it a special date night, or instead of hosting a dinner party in your home, buy a table and invite your friends; it’s a win-win!  We are sure that a good time will be had by all, and life’s too short to say no to cake!” 

We hope to see you in your festive party attire on April 7th!  Come support our art museum, which continues to share Mississippi's visual art legacy.  Proceeds from the spring benefit fuel a robust schedule of outstanding educational programs and exhibitions throughout the year. 

Tickets are required for Icing on the Cake.  Please click here to learn more about the Mississippi Museum of Art and to purchase tickets for the spring benefit! 
Andrew Bucci (1922-2014), Red Swamp (detail), not dated. oil on canvas. Collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Gift of Marie Hull, 1977.010. © Estate of Andrew Bucci

Glennray Tutor (born 1950), Out of Sight (detail), 2000. oil on canvas. Collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Gift of John and Melody Maxey, 2005.033. © Glennray Tutor

P. Sanders McNeal (born 1949), The Rehearsal (detail)1997. oil on canvas. Collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Gift of John and Melody Maxey, 2005.030. © P. Sanders McNeal
Photographs courtesy of the Mississippi Museum of Art 
 
 
Brown Bottling Group is now offering a delicious and surprisingly nutritious drink for children!  Hog Wash is a low-calorie, vitamin-enriched juice drink that children actually love.  With six delicious flavors, Hog Wash is sweetened with real sugar and Stevia, a natural sweetener.  

"Kids love Hog Wash because there are 6 different flavors that taste great, and parents love Hog Wash because it’s a low-calorie drink with vitamins," smiles Emily Helm, Marketing Manager at Brown Bottling Grown.  "My nephew once asked me if he could get a lifetime supply of Hog Wash from me for Christmas!"

With all of the sweet drinks on the market for children, it can be hard to understand which drink is the healthiest!  Below is a comparison chart, showing the differences between Hog Wash and other kids' drinks on the market:
Would you like to try Hog Wash?  Brown Bottling Group will be serving Hog Wash samples at Sal & Mookie's Annual Street Carnival on Saturday, March 25th from 10am until 2pm!!  Proceeds from this beloved event benefit Batson's Children's Hospital, and we can't think of a better time to enjoy a glass of Hog Wash with your family and friends.  

For more information on Brown Bottling Group, click here!  To learn more about Hog Wash, please visit www.hogwashfun.com 
 
 
{Name}  Laurel Donahoo
{Hometown} Madison, MS 
{Event Site} The Donahoo Home in Madison! :)

{Tell us about the occasion for the event?} 
My baby girl Lily Ryan turned ONE! It was the fastest and hardest year of my life, but the best all at the same time! 

{What inspired your event location and theme?}
Our theme was inspired by Lily Ryan’s name!  She is our flower girl! Lily Ryan’s garden party was actually pretty easy because beautiful floral things are easy to find, and fresh flowers are always just a market run away! We hosted the event at our home since it’s so much easier for me to get set up. Since the weather ended up being so nice the day of the party, we were able to spill into the back yard and enjoy some outdoor time, which made things even more fun! 

{What inspired your color scheme/flowers?}
Our color scheme was simply “colorful!” That made it really easy. I love mixing patterns, so if I saw some floral napkins, I’d grab them. If I saw some plates in a different floral pattern, I’d grab those too! It all just ended up coming together and working out really nicely (and colorfully!)

{What’s your favorite event detail? Is there a story behind it?}
I must say, my favorite detail of this event was the cake. Unfortunately I’ve had bad luck with cakes in the past, but this cake exceeded my expectations! It was exactly what I wanted, it was affordable, and as it turns out, the woman who made it (Krista Renfroe) is an old friend of my parents. What a small world we live in!

{What was your favorite part of the event planning process?}
It was probably the day-of setup. I loved stringing twinkle lights and flower garland around the living room, setting up Lily Ryan’s teepee and all of the mismatched blankets to create a very casual, fun, eclectic secret garden feel, and arranging the food and drink! Doing that sort of thing is very relaxing for me, so it was a fun day from start to finish!

{What was your favorite moment of the event day?}
My favorite moment of the day had to be watching the birthday girl run around the yard just enjoying herself with her cousins in her cute outfit! Funny story: What she ended up wearing was not what I originally had planned for her to wear, but I got so into decorating for the day that I forgot to transfer her outfit from washer to dryer! Since she couldn’t wear wet clothes, we went with plan B and I loved how that dress wound up looking in pictures! 

{Your favorite picture from the event day?}
I adore the picture of Lily Ryan sitting in my husband Price’s lap opening her gifts. They are concentrating so hard! ha! That picture will probably be one of my favorites for a long time to come. That sweet daddy/daughter bond is unbeatable! 

VENDORS:

Photographer: Me! Laurel Donahoo
Event Planner: Me! Laurel :)
Venue: Our home
Florist: Me! Laurel :)
Cake: Krista Renfroe
Cookies: Honeycomb Cookies 

 
 
Pantone's 2017 color of the year is Greenery.  Symbolic of new beginnings, this gorgeous shade has warm undertones, reminiscent of lush, spring foliage.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explained, “While Serenity and Rose Quartz, the Pantone Colors of the Year 2016, expressed the need for harmony in a chaotic world, Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.” 

Fashion and jewelry designers beautifully weave the Pantone color of the year into their designs, and Mississippi's Albriton's Jewelry has an exceptional selection of gorgeous green gems.  Albriton's is a fourth-generation, family-owned jewelry store, founded in 1920.  For almost a century, Albriton's has offered customers the greatest value at the best possible prices.

Lauren Fordice, Sales Associate at Albriton's Jewelry, says, "Examples of Greenery inspired gemstones that we have available at Albritons are Peridot, emerald, Jade, Green Quartz, and Green Tourmaline. Custom design is always a possibility along with access to an endless range of gemstones."

Feast your eyes on these gorgeous jewels!  For more information on Albriton's, please visit their beautiful website here!
 
 
1 Peter 5:6

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Without an ongoing appraisal of my own sin condition, I will ignore the grace that liberates my soul.  In this Lenten season, I have decided to know the truth about myself so that I may experience the truth of God’s mercy, grace and love in Christ. 

Joel 2:12-14

 12 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.  14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.

Because of Christ’s atonement for my very real sin, I can enter humbly into the Father’s presence and experience the exchange of love that springs forth in my repentance.  I am His and He is mine.  His Holy Spirit has delivered to me the truth of my sin, and that truth has wrecked me.  I have nowhere to go but to the Father. 

This season, I pray that you feel the Spirit delivering to you the conviction that leads to liberation.  May you know and experience the height and depth of His perfect love which is Jesus Christ, who gave of Himself on the cross so that we may dwell with God forever.