This Halloween, treat yourself to something deliciously scary.

La Brioche, an authentic patisserie in Jackson, is indulging Mississippians with desserts and pastries from around the world.  Their delicacies include handmade candies and chocolates, freshly baked croissants and colorful French macarons. 

La Brioche has an impressive international background.  Owners Alejandra Sprouts and Cristina Lazzari both hail from Rasario, Argentina.  Alejandra completed  L’Art de la Patisserie program at the French Pastry School in Chicago, Illinois, and she beautifully blends quality and seasonal ingredients to create delicious confections.

Cristina moved to Sweden to complete studies in Horticulture.  She often traveled to southern Italy, and developed a passion for fine pastries and well-made coffee.  She has worked in pastry shops and coffee shops throughout Europe and Mississippi.

Alejandra says, “For Halloween, our dessert specials include a blood orange macaron, a pumpkin macaron and delicious eyeballs.  The eyeballs consist of Cassis (black currant) Jelly for the pupil, Green Apple Mousse for the iris, White Chocolate Mousse for the sclera, and Raspberry Gelee for the ‘blood’ inside.  The eyeball sits on a chocolate-covered chocolate cookie.” 

She laughs, “I simply wanted to get away from making pretty desserts, and go all out and make something with a freaky and gross factor, hence the eyeballs.  Even though I was going for a scary factor, the dessert still needs to taste delicious and it is made with nothing but good quality and natural ingredients.” 

After the Halloween weekend, La Brioche will be serving Alejandra’s favorite treat this holiday season, Apple Galette, which is served with a scoop of any flavor ice cream.  She adds, “We also offer other tarts this year which include the pumpkin spice and frangipane tart topped off with Chantilly cream and our spiced caramel pecan tart.  We will have all of these beautiful and delicious tarts throughout the holidays!”

Other whimsical sweets this holiday season will include mouth-watering candy cane macarons, meringue Christmas trees, Santa hats (chocolate cake with a strawberry Santa hat), brioche loaves, egg nog and egg nog Chaja cakes!

“What inspires me the most about my job are the endless possibilities and the creative process behind each dessert,” says Alejandra thoughtfully.  “Of course, knowing that people enjoy my pastries is also very gratifying and keeps me motivated.”

Thank you, Alejandra and Cristina, for sharing your tasty treats with us today!  Also, a special thank you to Katie Stafford of Mary Moment Photography for beautifully capturing these spooky desserts!

For more information on La Brioche, please visit their website here!

For more information on Mary Moment Photography, please click here!

We at Inspiration Mississippi wish you all a happy and safe Halloween!
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
Anna Blumenfeld and Nadav Herman charmed guests with a beautiful Southern wedding in a picturesque camp setting. The Alabama bride was radiant in blue, and the Israeli groom proudly wore cowboy boots.  The result?  A magical wedding in the heart of Utica, Mississippi.

Bride: Anna Blumenfeld
Groom: Nadav Herman
Hometowns: Dothan, AL & Golan Heights, Israel
Wedding Site (name and location): URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp, Utica, MS             
Reception Site (name and location): URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp, Utica, MS

Today, the brides shares their love story and beautiful wedding details with us!

  "My story with Nadav began at Jacobs Camp.  I grew up there and was on staff for many summers.  The summer I stopped going, Nadav began his many staff summers at camp.  We both believe it is our camp!  In the summer of 2011 I had to go to Jacobs Camp for work (I work for the NYC umbrella office organization) and Nadav was spending the summer as the Adventure Director.  We both had little birdies whispering in our ears telling us to consider each other, but I wasn’t ready to listen to the little birdies.  At the end of my week at camp my heart turned in to mush when I saw how Nadav interacted with the campers.  On the last night I was at camp, he suggested we do something fun.  I pulled an old line out of my pocket that has been used many a time by campers and staff alike and suggested – let’s go to the tennis courts and look at the stars!  Never mind that it was cloudy, and never mind that I was 33-years-old, the line worked like a charm!

That night led to 10 months of long distance dating, and then Nadav's move to Brooklyn.  Nadav says the best thing to come from a long distance relationship is the airline miles!  Nadav proposed in January 2013.  We knew there was no other place than camp to get married!  I am from Alabama and Nadav is from Israel, but we knew that we wanted to start our lives together at Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi – the site where it all began.  We immediately began checking out the possibility.  We picked a date and started to get organized.  I quickly realized that I would need to work with a wedding planner due to all of the out of town details.  It was pretty hard for my Type A personality to give up control, but I met the perfect partner in Kendall Poole Ellis. 

I knew from the beginning I did not want to wear a white wedding dress.  I, of course, wanted to be the bride, but I was not going to be the bride in a white dress.  I worked with Mark Ingram Atelier to find the perfect navy blue wedding dress. I was able to check off something blue!   Nadav even got excited about his clothing.  He hated wearing a suit, but he considered his shoes (black cowboy boots) to be a major win!  His favorite part of the outfit were his bicycle chain cuff links.  Nadav is an avid (some might say crazy) cross country cyclist.  I gave the cuff links to Nadav the day of the wedding.  He likes them so much he has requested more dress shirts so that he can wear them.  I never thought my outdoorsy husband would request more dress shirts!

Working on the details of the wedding was the most fun.  I wanted our guests to be able to enjoy camp, but I also wanted to have a charming, elegant, Southern wedding.  Pulling off the elegant piece while at camp is magic I still can’t believe.  All of my childhood camp friends could not believe how we transformed camp on Saturday night for the wedding.  We really need before and after photos, you just wouldn’t believe it! 

We had touches of Southern sayings throughout the event.  Cotton was also a huge part of the decor; I am a proud Alabama girl. We had people coming from Israel and the East Coast and it was very important to me to showcase the personality, hospitality, and beauty of the South.  Our menu items all had southern inspirations as well.  

Being part of the Jewish community is a huge part of our lives.  We had multiple Jewish ritual pieces to the wedding.  We knew that the Ketubah signing had to be on the tennis courts, the site where it all began.   Our Ketubah was a custom paper cut Ketubah inspired by the camp gates.  My mother passed away before the wedding and Rainbows were here signature color (and Maiden name!)  The chupah is supposed to symbolize the beginning of the couples home together and we changed the flowers to be Rainbows in honor of my mom.  The Rabbi who married us is a very special friend to both of us. The Hora was a highlight, and our band Almost Famous really rocked it!

The wedding was such joy and love and beauty – I wish I was more eloquent to describe all of it.  I worked with the best team – Kendall Poole Ellis and all of Kendall Poole Event Planning , Meredith Young of Au Courant (florist), Wendy Putt of Fresh Cut Catering & Floral (caterer), Adam + Alli (photographers), and Brock Gomez (cinematographer).  They were so supportive of me, especially after my mom died.  They were there for me, much more than vendors; I truly consider them friends.  I miss emailing and calling them so much!  No one else talks about post wedding withdrawals and missing your vendors!"

Photography: Adam + Alli Photography
Catering: Fresh Cut Catering & Florals
Florals:  Au Courant Floral
Lighting: Davaine Lighting
Cake:  Cakes by Iris
Rentals:  Great Southern Events
Bartending: World of Wines & Liquors
Videography: Brock Gomez Productions
Hair & Makeup: Kate McNeely at Trim Salon
Band: Almost Famous
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
Brookhaven has a brand new sporting goods store!  Vicksburg’s beloved Hobie’s Sports & Outdoors has opened an impressive space in the heart of Brookhaven.  Owner Jason Martin-Nez says, “Hobie’s has given me a great opportunity to not only enjoy my first love, sports, but also share my second love, hunting and the outdoors, with our customers.” 

Hobie’s is known for their outstanding customer service and an extraordinary array of clothing, shoes and equipment.  Jason says, “We offer an enormous selection of products and brand names that cover all the needs of an outdoorsman.”

We spoke with Jason to learn more about Hobie’s exciting new location!

~ Congratulations on your new store!  Where is it located and why did you choose the location?
“Our new location is on Brookway Boulevard in Brookhaven, right next to the Sav-A-Lot.  We have had our eye on Brookhaven as a possible location for a second store for a while now, and when we found this space, we knew it was perfect for us!” 

~ What are your favorite products/items that will be sold in the store?
“Our Brookhaven location will be very similar to our Vicksburg location, in terms of the inventory that we will carry there.  Of course, we’ll have a great selection of outdoor apparel, guns and bows for our hunting enthusiasts, but we’re excited to share our fashionable lines like Dylan and True Grit, North Face, Patagonia and Southern Marsh as well! 

One of my favorite sections of the new store is our awesome sunglass display right near the register!  We carry tons of great brands of sunglasses including Costa, Ray-Ban, Oakley and Under Armour.”

~ What do you think makes Hobie's such a success in Mississippi?
“We are extremely lucky to have some of the best and most loyal customers in the state of Mississippi.  Ultimately they are really what make us successful.  We take a lot of pride in providing outstanding customer service in Vicksburg and look forward to continuing that tradition in our new Brookhaven community.” 

~ What inspired the opening of the first Hobie's?
“When I was growing up, my father owned a sporting goods store in Vicksburg.  He eventually went on to sell it, but I always remembered loving that store and dreamed of having my own someday.  When the opportunity to purchase the store in Vicksburg came up, I knew I had to leave my job in the corporate banking world and fulfill my true passion." 

Jason adds, “We’re incredibly grateful for all of the support that we’ve received from everyone in Brookhaven so far and could not be more excited about getting to know everyone there!”

Congratulations, Jason, on your Brookhaven location!  For more information on Hobie’s Sports and Outdoors, please visit their website here!
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
Mississippi’s most beloved candy shop is celebrating thirty-five years of business this October!   And as the saying goes, “There is candy. And then there’s Nandy’s Candy.” Whether you grew up loving their American truffles, decadent caramel apples, chocolate dipped strawberries or flavorful snow cones, this Jackson haunt holds a sweet place in many Mississippians’ hearts.

“Thirty-five years ago, women were not going back to school.  The first job I had in high school was at a candy store in Houston, Texas.  It was great quality candy.  I decided to open my own business in Jackson and thought I would buy wholesale from the owner.  Instead he said, 'No, I’ll teach you how to make it,’” reflects Nandy’s Candy owner, Nancy King.  “I went to Houston for a week and learned how to make the candy.  But getting the money for my shop wasn’t easy.  I was told by numerous banks to go home and bake my cookies.  But I finally convinced a bank and got a loan.” 

Nandy’s Candy opened its bright red doors on October 25, 1980, in a charming 250 square foot space in Colonial Mart on Old Canton Road in Jackson.  The previous owner left the space in shambles, and Nancy’s husband helped her scrub, clean and perfectly build out the store. “We purchased equipment: a marble slab, a cooking stove for candy, and copper pots,” says Nancy.  Customers were charmed with excellent customer service and her fresh, high-quality candy.  Nancy says, “I am old fashioned.  The recipes I used in the beginning and still use today have lasted generation to generation.  They are tried and true.”

Nandy’s Candy moved to its current Maywood Mart location in 1997, where it has joyfully resided for over eighteen years.  The warm and friendly atmosphere creates a family-oriented feeling, and employees gladly help guide you, whether you are looking for a gift, something sweet for a diabetic, or simply a treat for a child.  “People come into a candy store to be happy!” laughs Nancy.  “I have always wanted to keep my candy factory with my retail business.  I love when people walk in and say, ‘Oh my goodness, it smells SO good in here!’” 

Nancy’s daughter, Emmie, handles many of the responsibilities at Nandy’s Candy.  With social media flourishing and technology racing faster than anyone can keep up, Nancy hopes that Nandy’s Candy will be here for future generations.  Nancy says, “Success in business is not about profits and money.  It is whether you have succeeded in making a quality product and a friend for life.  So many of my customers are my friends.  Not acquaintances.  Creativity is my strong suit, and I love interacting with the people who come into Nandy’s Candy.”

Nancy nails it when she says, “Nandy’s Candy has been a part of people’s lives.  It is part of Jackson.  Whether it is Lemuria Books, Nandy’s Candy, Brent’s, or Beemon Drugs, we are all part of a community.  We have all contributed and we all care about each other.  We care about the Delta, the coast, Meridian and Vicksburg because our state is the size of one large city in most states.  We have to care about each other.  I care about my product and my customers.  I will never give you something that I am not proud of or do not enjoy.”

Congratulations, Nancy, on 35 years of great success!  Cheers to the next 35 years. 

As long as Nandy’s Candy continues brightening our lives with delicious morsels, we will gladly walk through those famous red doors into a world of sweetness!

For more information on Nandy's Candy, please visit their website here or their Facebook page here!
The most beautiful closet in Mississippi belongs to one of the state’s most impressive physicians.

Dr. Barbara Sullivan serves as the Executive Medical Director for Women’s Services at Baptist Hospital in Jackson.  She has authored numerous publications and has served as a presenter at medical and scientific conferences.   Barbie laughs that she is known as the OB/GYN who performs Cesarean sections in high heels!  Barbie says, “I have always been interested in fashion.  My patients know and they always laugh at me!  If I have to run over and do a case or C-section, the nurses always say, ‘we hear clicking down the hall and we know it is you!’”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this brilliant, fashionable and kind woman also helped form a charity called Fund for the Girls through the Baptist Foundation.  It provides all breast screenings that a woman might need, for those who do not have insurance or are under insured. “This is near and dear to my heart. It has turned into a bigger impact than what I imagined it would be when we started it.  We have helped over 700 women get ultrasounds and biopsies in Jackson.  If a woman comes in and cannot pay for a biopsy – we want to provide the kind of care that will take them wherever they need to go, whether it is breast cancer screening, treatments, etc.,” says Barbie. 

Last year, Barbie downsized and purchased a home in Madison, and decided to treat herself with a spectacular closet.  Barbie has a busy schedule and often attends functions in the evenings after work.  She wanted to splurge on not only a lovely dressing room, but also a functional space.  Barbie says, “I just really and truly wanted to do something for myself, and wanted it to fit into my lifestyle.”

Barbie began working with Phyllis Doby of Closet Designs, to create a refreshing room, coated in light paint, featuring plenty of storage and an impressive wall for those famous heels. 

Phyllis says, “Barbie was a delight to work with on her closet design.  She is a very busy lady with a hectic career and with that in mind, we set out to design a closet where items were easy to see and locate.”

Phyllis adds, “The first step to designing a closet it to determine the needs of a client.  An inventory count is mandatory for a closet design.  For example, if a client has a fetish for shoes or handbags, we need to know.  In addition, we need to know how many garments and their lengths for hanging.  And, we always make sure the design is good for resale value of the home.”

Barbie’s closet includes these incredible features:
Rolling ladder system
Illuminated garment boxes with glass doors for quick viewing
Shoe and boot cubbies
Handbag and luggage storage
Customized jewelry drawer inserts
Chest of drawers
Cubbies for sweaters and folded items
Full-length mirror
Laundry/Dry cleaning drawer

Barbie’s 10’ by 11’ closet has enhanced her busy life.  “The thing I like most is that now I can see everything,” says Barbie.  “I can see all of my shoes and all of my clothes.  I don’t forget that I have something, and I shop a lot less than what I did before because I know what I have when I walk into my closet.  If I have an event after work, I can run in, put my hands on what I need, and be out the door in thirty minutes.”  A well-edited, cheerful space built for an inspirational woman. 

If you are looking for exceptional gifts for someone on your list this year, Barbie suggests a wonderful idea.  Every December she donates a mammogram to someone ($180) in her work partners’ names.  The recipient of the gift receives a beautiful card, stating that a mammogram has been provided for a woman in your name.  Barbie says, “All of us have been touched by someone.  We ALL know someone who has breast cancer, so it is something nice to give back.” 

Thank you, Barbie, for serving the Jackson community with your talents and incredible heart.  We are thrilled to share your beautiful closet!

If you would like to give a gift to Fund for the Girls, please click here

If you are interested in giving your closet a makeover for the New Year, contact Phyllis Doby of Closet Designs at 601.214.0254.
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
“10 years ago, I obtained a business license in July and was planning to open a store in Waveland, Mississippi.   Hurricane Katrina happened in August and we were already buying things.  But when it hit, everything was gone,” reflects Ginger Cook.  “Our homes, my childhood, life was gone as I knew it.  My entire childhood was erased that quickly.  My town and school were completely wiped off of the maps.  It felt like a war zone.”

Hurricane Katrina left a devastating mark on the beautiful town of Waveland, and left Ginger Cook pondering her next step.  “We didn’t have anything.  But something inside of me said to move forward with the store.  There wasn’t a need for a store with pretty things, home décor, or interiors,” says Ginger.  “But we opened in October in a temporary location and my business flourished.  It gave people hope.  They loved coming in and looking at the pretty things.  It helped them start rebuilding their lives.  I felt like we were part of starting that rebuilding process and making people smile again.”  

Ginger successfully ran her store for ten years, and decided it was time for a change.  She laughs, “I wondered, what is next for Ginger Cook?”  Throughout the ten years in her store, customers frequently asked Ginger if she would plan their wedding.  “I did a lot of private interior design, but never marketed myself as an event planner.  But people just kept asking."  Ginger quickly realized she had a passion for planning extraordinary weddings and events.

About five years ago, Ginger planned a spectacular wedding and went completely out of the box.  She says,  “I blew it out of the park!  I didn’t choose this profession; it chose me.  It is really what God wants me to do.  I am so stubborn – I think He was trying to tell me all along that this is what I should be doing!”  Ginger Cook Events: A Boutique Event and Floral Design Firm, was born, and developed into a full service production company.  

Ginger approaches weddings from a unique, refreshing perspective.  “When I am looking at an event, I look at the overall picture – how it looks, how it feels, the colors.  Does it reflect the bride?  It is an experience to me.  A wedding is way more than just another party!”  Ginger sets herself apart from other planners in the sense that she completely customizes each event.  With her background in interior design, she loves handling all of the special details, including design, flowers, décor, food, and logistics.   She says, “My love for interiors is budded through my events.”

Ginger’s business is truly a boutique firm, specializing in custom weddings and events.  Her extraordinary events are artistic and high-end, and Ginger is such a delight! 

“I want the bride, groom and guests to be so happy – but I want the guests to leave saying, ‘WOW.  That event flowed seamlessly and beautifully.”  Her events are truly customized and attention is paid to every exquisite detail.  For more information on Ginger Cook Events, please visit her gorgeous website here.  You can also call Ginger at 228.344.0086 or email her -

A special thank you to the following photographers for capturing these beautiful photographs:
Adam + Alli Photography
Julie Holmes Photography
Tilley Photography
Megan Jolly Photography
April + Paul Photography
Jenn D Photography
Micah Nelson Photography
Maria Newman Photography
Today is a gorgeous Mississippi fall day.  The perfect day to head to downtown Tupelo and enjoy the 16th annual AT&T Chili Fest! 

Enjoy a spicy and delicious lunch from 11:00am until 1:30pm.  A $5 ticket includes a bowl of yummy chili provided by BBQ by Jim and a refreshing drink from Coca-Cola. 

Between 5:00 and 10:00pm this evening, treat yourself to the Chili Cook-Off!  With unlimited chili tastings, the chance to vote for the Crowd Favorite Winner, and live music playing throughout the night, and it is sure to be a wonderful fall evening!  Tickets are only $10 and will benefit the incredible Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association!

For more information on the AT&T Chili Fest, please visit the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association Facebook Page here!

To purchase tickets, please click here!
Greggina Brantley Tadlock- Forest, MS
Kevin Haines Brown- Perkinston, MS
Wedding site- Forest United Methodist Church
Reception- Four T Ranch, Lake, MS ( Bride's family lake house )

Brides Bouquet- modern bouquet of creamy white miniature calla lilies. The stems were wrapped in a mint green silk ribbon and tied with a streamer of handmade lace (something old) tatted by my paternal great grandmother. It was secured in place by two rhinestone horseshoe brooches (for luck) that belonged to my paternal grandmother.

Bridesmaids Bouquets- They each carried a bouquet of centered miniature calla lilies with a surrounding base of white roses, tied with a mint green silk ribbon.

How We Met - We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend while we were both on vacation at the beach. We met in the most unlikely of ways as we were enjoying a lazy evening at a local beach establishment, Flora-Bama.  When introduced, I thought that Kevin was the farthest thing from my type that I have ever met.  But we ended up finding common ground.  I lived in Jackson and Kevin lived in Perkinston, MS, but Kevin traveled to Jackson often for work.  When I showed up for our first date in Jackson, I was shocked to find a completely different person than the one I met.  He was wearing ostrich skin boots and jeans.  I thought to myself, "I've never dated a guy who wore boots before we started dating; maybe this guy is different."  After dinner we realized that we had more in common than we originally thought.  Having grown up in the cattle business, I was shocked to realize that Kevin too had a cattle farm.  As the days went on and we spent more and more time together, we eventually began talking about marriage.

Proposal Story - As told by the Groom: In June 2013, we went to Parris Jewelers in Hattiesburg, MS, to look at engagement rings.  Greggina began expecting a ring any day.  However, I was still trying to figure out the perfect proposal and how I would ask Greggina for her hand in marriage.  After many visits to the jewelry store, I finalized the ring in early December and laid the plans for the proposal. Greggina's parents had recently purchased a new condo in Perdido Key, FL, and Greggina had not seen it yet.  So with the help of Greggina's sister, Char'Lesa and her parents, I made plans for Greggina to visit the condo the Monday before New Years Eve 2014.  Char'Lesa picked Greggina up after work on Sunday, December 29, 2013 and headed for the beach.  I woke up the morning of December 30, 2013, and went hunting at my farm in South Mississippi looking to clear my head before leaving for the beach. I ended up killing a deer that I had been hunting for all season and I knew at that moment that everything would go smoothly that day.  I cleaned up and drove to the beach.  When I got there I stopped at the florist and picked up white rose petals and waited for Char'Lesa to get Greggina out of the condo.  At Char'Lesa's signal I made my way to the condo only to see Greggina pulling out of the parking garage.  After speeding off and hiding, I safely snuck into the condo and prepared for Greggina's arrival.  I laid white rose petals on the floor from the front door to the balcony and waited for Greggina to come back to the condo.  As the sun set over Perdido Bay, Greggina walked through the condo and met me on the balcony.  Greggina could not get over how beautiful everything was and kept remarking to me how great it looked.  After asking me why I was there numerous times I finally could not take it anymore. I sat Greggina down in the patio chair and kneeled down in front of her as the sunlight began to fade.  I pulled the ring from my pocket and before I could even ask her for her hand in marriage, Greggina responded with a resounding, "YES YES YES!!!"  We were joined that night by family and friends for drinks and dinner to celebrate, and continued the celebration the next night with a New Years Eve engagement party. It was wonderful.

What Inspired Your Wedding/Reception Location - My hometown inspired my wedding and reception location. I am from the small town of Forest, MS.  I have lived in Forest my whole life, until 4 years ago, and you know the saying, "there is no place like home."  I grew up going to Forest United Methodist Church. When deciding on a church wedding, there was no doubt that I wanted to have my wedding in the big beautiful church I remembered as a child. My late grandparents were members there also. Several Sunday school rooms are named in remembrance of them. The church meant so much to them and it was very special for us to get married there.

My reception took place at my family's lake house, Four T Ranch. We call it "the cabin" but it's really not a cabin. We have had the cabin for 23 years. My family and I have had so many memories there, from fishing, riding four wheelers, checking the cows, and playing in the creek. I wanted to make another memory there and that's exactly what we did. It was amazing and more than I could have ever dreamed of.

Inspired Color Scheme/Theme/Flowers- I have always dreamed of a white, modern wedding full of white calla lilies, hydrangeas, roses, and orchids . I knew exactly what I wanted when the time came to plan my wedding. To me, white is pure and elegant. I wanted to represent the purity of our love.  I added a touch of color to my wedding with beautiful, silk chiffon gowns in mint green by Amsale.

How Did You Pick the Dress- The first dress I pulled off the rack ended up being "the dress."  I had no idea what type of dress I wanted walking into The Bridal Path.  My mother, sister, close friend, and I chose numerous dresses for me to try on. I was in between two different dresses for over 2 hours, but in my mind I kept going back to my first choice.  My father ended up being the deciding factor. I really wanted my father to see me in my dress before the wedding day to get emotions out of the way. When I walked out in "the dress" he said "wow!" and I could tell from the look on his face that it was the one. It was simple, elegant and absolutely perfect. After telling Kevin that I chose the dress, I asked Kevin what he thought it would look like. His first response was, "Well, I know it's not strapless because I have never seen you in anything strapless". My dress was a strapless, timeless and classic ivory silk gown. I definitely shocked Kevin.

Favorite Unique Accessory and Story Behind It - I actually had several unique accessories. In tradition of something blue, I had a piece of my father's blue jeans cut into a heart and sewn into the inside of my dress to rest on my heart. In tradition of something old, my bouquet was wrapped in a mint green silk ribbon and tied with a streamer of handmade lace tatted by my paternal great grandmother, the late Mrs. O.T. Gilbert. It was secured in place by two rhinestone horseshoe brooches (for luck) that belonged to my paternal grandmother, the late Mrs. Luther E. Tadlock.

Event Planner: Kendall Poole Event Planning
Church:  Forest United Methodist Church
Reception Venue: Tadlock Family Four T Ranch
Photography:  Barrett Photography
Lighting:  Davaine Lighting
Catering & Florals:  Fresh Cut Catering & Florals
Cake:  The Cake Diva
Bartending: World of Wines & Liquors
Rentals:  Great Southern Events
Videography:  Brock Gomez Productions
Bridesmaid Dresses:  Bella Bridesmaids
Transportation:   Phoenix Limo
Band:  Smiley & The Young Guns
Dress:  The Bridal Path
Tuxes:  Tuxedo Junction
Hair & Makeup:  Russell's Salon
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
It is no secret that we are enamored with SummerHouse.  The gorgeous showroom welcomes you with pools of light, beautiful interiors and accessories, and most importantly, a friendly, knowledgeable, and remarkably talented staff!  We want you to get to know the delightful design team at SummerHouse.  We are thrilled to share a little more about each brilliant interior designer today!

~ Tell us about your background in design.  How you always been interested in interior design?
TODD PRINCE: “I’ve been involved in design for 22 years through various companies, Walker Zanger in particular. I started out with my own interior design business in Jackson then went to Walker Zanger for 15 years, then came back to SummerHouse. I have always been interested in interior design!”
KATY HINES: “I graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design. I consulted on the design and specification for new construction homes before joining SummerHouse in 2013.”
ELISH PHARES MOON: “I decided to pursue Interior Design my senior year of high school and never looked back. My degree in Interior Design is from Mississippi State University!”
LINDSEY TOWNSEND: “I graduated from the Interior Design program at Mississippi State University. I have always been drawn to beautiful architecture and details, but it wasn't until my sophomore year at MSU that I realized my real passion was Interior Design. Before SummerHouse I was with an Architecture firm in Nashville, TN that specialized in boutique hospitality and residential design.”
CAMILLE HOLLAND PARKER: “I grew up in a home that allowed me to express myself in creative ways and develop my own sense of style, and my dad's business involved with residential construction really influenced my desire to become an interior designer. I earned my Bachelors of Science Interior Design degree from Mississippi State University and worked in boutique hospitality before transitioning to residential, and I am so blessed to be working in this industry at Summerhouse”!
MARY COURTNEY JOHNS: “I have always been creative since I was a young child. I would cover my Grandma's refrigerator with pages colored from a coloring book every time I would visit and, when I was a little older, would rearrange my furniture in my room when I grew tired of the layout. I continued to hone my creative side under wonderful art teachers throughout middle school, high school, and on through college where I was able to take advantage of both art classes and a focus in interior design.”

~ When did you join the SummerHouse design team?
TODD: I joined in December of 2011.

KATY:  I joined SummerHouse in 2013

ELISH: I joined the Summerhouse Design team in 2011. I've been on staff for 4 years and an Interior Designer for 2.

LINDSEY: I joined SummerHouse in August of 2012

CAMILLE: I joined the SummerHouse design team as a Design Assistant in October of 2014, and transitioned into an Interior Designer position during Summer 2015!

MARY COURTNEY: I gained knowledge and direction under our principal designer, Lisa Palmer, here at SummerHouse for a year and a half before obtaining the title interior designer in March of this year. I love being able to work with clients and having that outlet for my design aesthetic!

 ~ Why is it so important for people to hire an interior designer?  Why is it beneficial?
TODD: “It’s a very expensive process and we are here to help our clients not make errors. You see so many people who try to do it on their own first, then end up spending more in the long run to fix their mistakes and get it right. So you actually save money on the front end by hiring a professional designer.”

KATY: “Interior Designers view the project as a total package.  In order to create an environment that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, much thought and consideration goes into each selection, from the styling, scale and placement of the furniture to the very detail on a pillow or window treatment.”

ELISH: “Interior Designers truly have a gift for blending aesthetic, function, and working with a client's individual needs. There are many things to balance when working with clients on home updates, building, or renovations and an interior designer is specifically trained to address all of them.” 

LINDSEY: “As an Interior Designer we are always thinking of the bigger picture for our clients, how everything in your home can coordinate as a whole and flow naturally from room to room.  We are here sometimes to help you think "outside of the box", while exploring new avenues of design fit to each of our client's personalities and lifestyles.”

CAMILLE: “It is important to hire an interior designer because we can envision the whole space or project from conception to installation, and to ensure you love what you are living in. Interior Design is such an investment, you want to feel confident that you are getting the best functioning design and quality of product available.”

MARY COURTNEY: “Every detail of design can look and feel so different when a client is trying to imagine how the size and color of a sofa, for example, will look and fit in their space. As a designer, I can informatively decide the best scale, fabric, texture, and shape of a piece of furniture for a space while thinking of other aspects that would influence that decision. Clients are much happier when a designer is involved on the front end of a project, ensuring that everything flows and fits the client's taste and way of life.”

~ Describe the SummerHouse style in one sentence or less.  
TODD: “I’d say it’s client specific, it’s livable, and more than anything, it’s comfortable.”

KATY: “SummerHouse is current, fresh, and timeless.” 

ELISH: “Summerhouse Interior Design is multi-dimensional and client driven.”

LINDSEY: “We are a mixture of Modern and Timeless Elegance.”

CAMILLE: “SummerHouse is classic and beautiful, never overdone.”

MARY COURTNEY: “Form meets function - It is possible to have beautiful furniture that is really lived on every single day.

~ What sets SummerHouse's designs apart?
TODD: “Our projects are all tailored to what the clients want and need for their spaces. We don't work under any sort of formula. We start with what the client needs the room to function like, what they want it to look like, and how they want it to feel, all in the budget that fits them best.” 

KATY: “We create comfortable spaces that are current and relative to the lifestyles of our clients while remaining true to our aesthetic and passion for beautiful interiors.”

ELISH: “Summerhouse Interior Design is multi-dimensional and client driven.”

LINDSEY: “We really listen to our clients; we ask questions about how they live and how they would like their home to make them feel. After gathering much information; we design specifically for each client.  We are with you throughout the entire process; we really make it fun and easy!”

CAMILLE: “Summerhouse's designs are timeless and unique to every space. You will never see a design duplicated. Our clients’ spaces are tailored to each of their needs and wants!”

MARY COURTNEY: “All of our designs incorporate our clients' aesthetic along with how they interact with their space. We are each conscious of the small but important details that serve as little invitations into a space.”

~ How does living in Mississippi inspire your design work?
TODD: “I think there is something really special about Southern design in general. I think it’s very welcoming and family friendly. It’s very homey and not so regimented. Family and pets are the biggest things that designs have to accommodate in the South, so each room in most southern homes are very livable, casual, and non-stuffy. I want my clients to love and enjoy every room I design for them.”

KATY: “We entertain A LOT in the South.  It's part of our lifestyle. So we design homes with entertaining in mind! Also, generous rooms with high ceilings are hallmarks of the homes in our area.  Transforming these spaces into inviting environments that are livable and beautiful inspire me everyday!”

LINDSEY: “I like watching how design evolves in Mississippi.  I gain inspiration sometimes from different areas of town or from any of our wonderful art galleries.” 

MARY COURTNEY: “Mississippians deeply care about making their house a home. A lot of entertaining is happening in this state and a home needs to be as inviting as possible. This pushes a designer to add custom touches that speak to a client's personal desire in which everyone is welcome.”

Thank you Todd, Katy, Elish, Lindsey, Camille and Mary Courtney!  For more information on SummerHouse, please visit their lovely website here! 

Also, a special thank you to Christina Foto for the wonderful head shot photos!

{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
"I was at a 4th of July BBQ in 2010 and starting talking to a BBQ Team, Smoking Magnolia BBQ.  They all said there was not a legitimate BBQ competition in Hattiesburg!” reflects Brian Saffle.  “I told the team to give me a year and we would have a BBQ event in Hattiesburg.”  Sure enough, the Downtown BBQ Showdown was born!  This year marks the 4th annual BBQ event, held tomorrow from 10:30am until 4:00pm at the Walthall Park in the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood.

With three incredible title sponsors: Brown Bottling Group, Mountain Dew and Cheerwine, this year’s BBQ Showdown is sure to be an extraordinary event.  Brian says, “What makes our event special is that it is located in the middle of Downtown Hattiesburg's Historic Neighborhood, The Walthall Park.  You park on the streets in front of old Victorian Homes and walk the sidewalks to the park.  You can hear the music and smell the BBQ.  It is a very family-friendly environment.  I have had many teams tell me that it’s like a giant tailgate and they become friends with their BBQ neighbors for a weekend!  That is one of the special things that keeps them coming back year after year.” 

We had the pleasure of speaking with Brian about all of the event details, and we are thrilled to share them with you today!

Tell us the history behind the event - when did it start and what inspired it?
“I started to research different BBQ events and quickly found that BBQ had a very strong following and had created its own culture and the BBQ Cooking competitions had developed its own sub-culture from that.   I sat down with Dianna Pennington, the general manager at the Keg and Barrel and John Neal, the owner.  A few neighbors, Mike Madson and Brad Dufrane, who were BBQ enthusiasts, joined us and we hashed out a plan to hold a neighborhood BBQ.  We figured we had a 2-3 year window to see if it was a success. 

We mirrored the event to follow the Kansas City BBQ Society Rules and had 12 teams the first year and gave away $1500 in cash and prizes.  The event received a lot of positive feedback and the second year we had 18 teams and gave away $2500 in cash and prizes.  We all felt like we could build on the success but needed help in the judging aspect of the event.  So we decided to pursue sanctioning of the BBQ by the KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society).   All the paper work was done and they granted us sanctioning of our event.  This was the first event of its kind to be sanctioned in the city of Hattiesburg and we were able to attract 24 teams the 3rd year and gave away $10,000 in cash prizes.  We were able to do this with the help of Brown Bottling Group, Cheerwine and Mountain Dew coming on board as our title sponsors.”    

What can guests expect this year at the event?
“The Keg and Barrel will be providing the general public with an ‘All You Can Eat’ BBQ and sides.  Brown Bottling, Cheerwine and Mountain Dew will provide soft drinks and we will have live music, several vendors and activities for children!  With the purchase of a $15.00 wristband, you have the opportunity to walk around to participating teams, sample their BBQ and vote on your favorite!  The winners will be will be announced at the end of the event."

What does the event benefit?
“On Friday night we will host The White Linen BBQ, and the proceeds will benefit The Extra Table.  They have partnered with Sysco to deliver healthy and nutritious food to local food pantries and soup kitchens at below wholesale prices to help fight hunger on a local level.  This ticket is $35.00 and will provide a BBQ dinner with all of the fixins’ from Cadillac Pig, beer, wine and soft drinks, music by Mark Mann, Carey Hudson and the Her & The Hymns, and a live auction.  All of this takes place beneath the trees and lights of the beautiful Walthall Park next to where all of the teams will be cooking.  The smell of BBQ is free to anyone who attends!”

Tell us about the BBQ Competition! How many teams will be competing this year?
“We have 25 teams signed up who will represent Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas.  Almost all of these teams compete to accumulate points towards the KCBS American Royal World Series of Barbeque Invitational and the Sam's Club BBQ Tour National Championship.  The prize money of $10,000 will be awarded to the Grand Champion, Reserve Champion, 3rd Place Overall, People Choice, and 1st - 7th place overall in each category of Pork, Brisket, Chicken and Ribs.”

How are the winners chosen?
"The KCBS provides (2) representatives to oversee the BBQ and the judging.  There will be one certified KCBS judge for each team.  They judge on Appearance, Taste, and Tenderness.  Our judges have anywhere from 3 to 50 events that they have judged and are some have earned the title of Master Judge.   KCBS Judges take their roles very seriously since these teams travel from far distances, spend a lot of money and time to compete in these types of BBQ events.”

This event sounds fun and unforgettable! Brian adds, “This year we have been selected by the KCBS as part of their 250KCBS program where their goal is to feed 250,000 people across the United States through their BBQ competitions.  Each team will be asked to cook and return a Pork Shoulder provide by Sam's Club, purchased by the KCBS.  We will have to opportunity to provide the cooked meat to Edwards Street Mission Food Bank here in Hattiesburg.  This is a first for Hattiesburg and we are proud that we are able to help our community in this capacity.”

For more information on the Downtown BBQ Showdown, please visit their website here!  
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}