<![CDATA[I N S P I R A T I O N - HOME]]>Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:21:00 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[The Wedding of Brooke & August {EVENT}]]>Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:56:03 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/the-wedding-of-brooke-august-event
After a romantic proposal in the mountain of British Columbia, Brooke Warrington and August Morris began planning an incredible wedding.   “August and I are both from Mississippi and appreciate and love all music, so the Grammy Museum was the obvious choice for our reception!” says Brooke.  The two wed in an intimate backyard ceremony in the Mississippi Delta.  Donning her grandmother’s gold and diamond choker, bracelet and ring, the radiant bride said “I do” to her groom.  Following their romantic vows, family and friends danced the night away at the Grammy Museum, Mississippi’s coolest venue. 
Photographer:  BARREG Weddings
Event Planner:  Leslie Warrington (step-mother of Bride)
Dress:  Sarah Seven
Bride’s Jewelry:  Belonged to grandmother and mother of the bride
Hair:  Kathryn Davis at ISH
Make-up:  Alyce Meador and Jena Dimberg
Bridesmaid Dresses:  Jim Hjelm
Venue:  Grammy Museum and Warrington Residence
Rentals:  Event Rentals, Inc. in Pontotoc, MS and Delta Party Rental, LLC in Cleveland, MS
Florist:  Mary Ann Alford
Catering:  Delta Meat Market
Bar:  Delta Beverage
Band:  Coop D’Belle
Bride’s Cake:  Alice Chow Clarksdale, MS
Groom’s Cake:  Strawberry Cake Sugaree’s Bakery, Caramel Cake Sally Mae Watson.  Table decorated by Stefanie Jordan
Car Service:  Trolleys from Carbo Limos, Morgan City, MS

<![CDATA[Inspirational Travel: Starkville {Insider Inspiration}]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 23:05:54 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/inspirational-travel-starkville-insider-inspiration]]><![CDATA[Malaco Records: Celebrating 50 Years {LIFE}]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/malaco-records-celebrating-50-years-lifeIn the early 1960’s, a couple of aspiring Ole Miss apothecaries bonded.  Little did they know, their friendship and mutual passion for music would one day turn into a legendary recording studio.  Tommy Couch hailed from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and Gerald “Wolf” Stephenson from rural Marion County, Mississippi.  Tagged as Social Chairs of their fraternity, they sought to bring the south’s best bands on campus.  These festive fetes would only catapult their love of music.
“In 1967, Couch and his brother-in-law Mitch Malouf opened a shoestring four track recording facility on West Northside Drive in Jackson, renting space adjacent to a record storage warehouse next to venerable record veteran, Johnny Vincent, and christening this dream Malaco Recording Studio,” recalls Stephenson.  Stephenson worked in the studio as well, and soon both pharmacists had left their practices to focus solely on Malaco.
In the beginning, Malaco struggled greatly, but a production deal with New Orleans musical genius Wardell Quezergue led Malaco to a string of hits, including “Mr. Big Stuff” and “Groove Me.” Malaco march on through the 1970’s and 80’s, which welcomed blues musician Z.Z. Hill to their front door.  “Couch and Stephenson’s second offering on Hill, ‘Down Home Blues’ remains to this day arguably the best selling blues album ever released,” boasts Malaco.
2017 marks a significant anniversary for Malaco Music Group – the fiftieth anniversary of the first recorded session in the Jackson studio.  Today Malaco Music Group is comprised of recording studios, record labels, music publishing companies, direct marketing operations and distribution services.  Mississippi’s capital remains the home of Malaco, and they continue creating extraordinary Blues, R&B, Gospel and Soul records with their signature “Down Home Malaco Sound.”   Congratulations to this legendary recording studio.  We cannot wait to see where the next fifty years lead.

{Blog post by Mitchell Walters.  A special thank you to Malaco Music Group for providing the photos.}
<![CDATA[Oysters and Pearls Wine Dinner: Seafood R’evolution and Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry {EVENT}]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 18:28:04 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/oysters-and-pearls-wine-dinner-seafood-revolution-and-lee-michaels-fine-jewelry-eventSeafood R’evolution and Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry are hosting an Oysters & Pearls Wine Dinner on Monday, October 16, beginning at 6 p.m. A five-course menu will feature expertly paired wines with each course for $125 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.

Often-told tales surround pearls, the Queen of Gems, once known as the most expensive jewelry in the world. There is a story about Cleopatra, often titled Cleopatra and the Pearl or The Banquet of Cleopatra. According to legend, in order to show her power and means, she told her lover, the Roman leader Marc Antony, that she could consume the wealth of an entire nation in just one meal. Roman philosopher and naturalist Pliny the Elder recorded this event in Natural History, writing: Cleopatra ordered the second course to be served. In accordance with previous instructions, the servants placed in front of her only a single vessel containing vinegar. She took one earring off, and dropped the pearl in vinegar, and when it was wasted away, swallowed it.

The reception begins the evening with guests enjoying hors d’oeuvres including Murder Point Oyster & Salmon Roe, Oysters Rockefeller, Rabbit Confit & Red Onion Marmalade, and Tomato Galette with Basil Pesto all paired with a Black Pearl Cocktail. The first course will be Cream of Oyster Bisque paired with Hope Estate Chardonnay. Next, attendees will enjoy Oyster Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon paired with Gassier Sables d’Azur Rose. Seared Scallop & Black Truffle Risotto with Oyster Cream paired with Dom Arnoux Bourgogne will follow. The fourth course will be Braised Short Rib with Oysters and Colcannon Potato paired with H. Mynors Zinfandel. Dessert of Chocolate Oyster Pillow with Chocolate Ganache Cream, Assorted Berries and Creme Anglaise, paired with Ferreira Ruby Port will top off the evening.

For more information on Seafood Revolution, click here.
<![CDATA[A Stunning Transformation:  BRAVO! Has Reopened!  {Insider Inspiration}]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/a-stunning-transformation-bravo-has-reopened-insider-inspiration
One of Jackson’s iconic restaurants has undergone a stunning transformation!  Since August 28th, BRAVO! has been temporarily closed while undergoing renovation.  On September 26th, the renovation was completed and BRAVO! reopened with a private Grand Unveiling celebration.

Why the complete remodel?  A few years ago, our structural foundation began a “parting of the ways.  “The kitchen wanted to move to Byram, while the dining room wanted to stay here in Jackson,” quipped Jeff Good, BRAVO! co-owner.  “A support beam under the pizza oven was giving out.  [Jeff and I] knew something would have to be done.  But we didn’t know how or with what money,” says Dan Blumenthal, Chef and co-owner.  When the new ownership of Highland Village approached Jeff and Dan to work out a generous plan to fix the foundation that would require the restaurant to close for a month, the two knew they had to make the most of it.  “When it became clear we would have to close for an extended period, we knew we would definitely remodel our kitchen. We had been talking about it for years,” Jeff explained.

With the structural project set, and the kitchen remodel plans in place, Dan and Jeff realized that closing for an extended period just to fix parts of the restaurant none of our guests would ever see just wasn’t good enough.  So, they decided to up the ante.  “We knew we couldn’t be closed for a month and disrupt our guests’ experience without giving them something.  It was clear that we needed to overhaul the dining room too,” says Jeff.  The incredible design team of Erik Kegler and Brennan Hovell of Erik Kegler Interiors, owners of EK Home came in to help.  BRAVO! needed an all new, modern look that would honor the welcoming and relaxing atmosphere people love— it still needed to feel like BRAVO! – but it needed new life and vitality.  The design they created does just that, but of course, there were a couple obstacles.

“Not going to beat around the bush.  We had no money, it was all going into the foundation and the kitchen, but we wanted to do something incredible with the dining room.  We had been saving money for two years in preparation for the work, but we were still short.  So, we came up with an ingenious plan to raise the funds— we held a celebratory event called “The Closer” and auctioned off all our furniture and fixtures.  We also auctioned off in-home dining experiences to be held during the shutdown.  The party was a huge success with 270 people in attendance, and we sold every single stick of furniture, every light, even the mint bowl by the front door!” Jeff shared.  

With all the plans and budgets and designs set, there was still one huge concern left to address, the most important one of all – the BRAVO! team.  Many of BRAVO!’s staff have been with them for years and are like family, and it did not sit right with Jeff and Dan to leave them out of work for a month.  “So we decided to pay them— which is pretty much unheard of, but it really worked out because we needed a construction crew to make the front house remodel happen so… it is thanks to their hard work that you see this fantastic new space.  They were our crew—we literally couldn’t have done it without them. Ripping out sheetrock, laying floors, putting in ceiling tiles, sanding, scraping, painting, everything was done by our staff.  And they were happy to be here with us!  It is an absolutely incredible family we have here,” Jeff continues, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me to unplug and spend a full month of my life focused on one thing – one project – and do it with people I have nothing but the utmost in respect for.  They are awesome!”  Erik Kegler was impressed too.  “To take an untrained crew and in a month, get them to these results is stunning. I couldn’t be more proud. We have very high expectations for the quality of work that goes into our designs and they met them.”

These results could not have happened without strong leadership.  Every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Jeff was at BRAVO! working with the crew and coaching them through what to do.  “It was absolutely incredible.  He is absolutely dedicated to this place and these people and it could not have happened without him,” Erik said at The Unveiling dinner.

Now, when you walk into BRAVO! the demi-wall facing the front door is gone creating a more inviting entrance while enlarging the bar and lounge.  The iconic Lynn Green Root mural is still there, but gone are the old white ceiling tiles and green 90s paint and upholstery.  Everything has been softened to soothing, modern shades of blues, grays, and tans creating a crisp yet calm atmosphere.  Music plays over an updated sound system- no tinny tunes anymore!- and the lighting has had a complete overhaul with stunning, starburst-like light fixtures and gold and white lanterns.  New artwork adorns the walls and even the bathroom doors have had the royal treatment with bold new graphics.

Some of the biggest improvements cannot be seen.  Behind the bar hides a sleek cruvinet, allowing BRAVO! sommelier, Lesley McHardy, to feature a rotating selection of high end wines by the glass without any fear of oxidation.  And the kitchen has undergone a massive improvement.  The remodel not only fixed the foundation, but allowed the BRAVO! team to create a whole new, more efficient layout, while leveling floors, updating management offices, and replacing and refurbishing equipment.

Along with the gorgeous new interior, BRAVO! also updated their menu, restyling it to match their more contemporary look.  “Don’t worry! Most of your favorites are still here.  We did cut a few items to make room for a couple exciting new additions that we think you’ll really like- like a new ribeye steak and some great new appetizers.  And a few things have been renamed to reflect their classic Italian roots but it is 80% the same.  If you’re looking for something in particular, your server will be happy to help you find it or a new favorite,” explains Susan Farris, Marketing Manager.

To complete the all-new look, BRAVO! now has a new website as well.  Farris continued, “We’ve always been cutting edge— we’ve been on the web since the internet started, so it was definitely time for an update.  It was important for us to have something modern and food-forward to enhance our guests’ experience even before they arrive.  Our new website is fully mobile compatible and makes browsing the menu and seeing daily specials on your phone a breeze.”

Thanks to all these improvements, BRAVO! is now well-positioned to remain a major competitor in the Jackson food scene for another twenty-three years.  But BRAVO! has always been about more than just serving great food—it’s about connection.  It is a place where people can come together, savor the moment, and make memories.  Jeff sums it up best, “BRAVO! is more than a restaurant. It is an extraordinary experience. It is in the memories you make here with us; we look forward to continuing that tradition with you for many more years to come.”

To learn more about BRAVO!, please click here.
<![CDATA[fund for the girls {LIFE}]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/fund-for-the-girls-life
Five years ago, a small group of women changed the face of women’s health care in Mississippi.  “Right after we opened the new Center for Breast Health Center at Baptist Health Systems, we started to see women who fell into a crack,” admits Dr. Barbie Sullivan, Executive Medical Director for Women’s Services at Baptist Hospital in Jackson.  “I would see patients who refused to have a mammogram simply because they could not afford it or the next step in treatment.”
Though Mississippi does not have the highest rate of breast cancer cases, shockingly, we have the highest death rate.  Determined to change that, Sullivan and four other women started fund for the girls in 2012.  Fund for the girls offers payment for breast health services, including screening and diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies and other services, initiated through the physicians on staff at Baptist Health Systems.  Sullivan says, “We require that all of our patients are referred by a physician.  If they do not have a physician, we will help them find one! It ensures they have had appropriate screening and gets them into a system providing care.”
Through special events and generous donations, fund for the girls has raised over $520,000.  Though the charity is very young, its impact has been phenomenal.  Sullivan smiles, “Over 1,100 women have been helped so far.  As of August 2016, 983 have received a mammogram, 285 had ultrasounds and 57 had biopsies.  Mississippi is truly the most charitable state.”
If you are interested in donating your time or money to fund for the girls, please visit their website, www.fundforthegirls.com.  Early detection of breast cancer is imperative.  Fund for the girls is running a new campaign, “Give Your 18: Honor Your Mother.  Lift Another.” If just ten people donate eighteen dollars, one Mississippian will receive a mammogram.  Your eighteen dollars might just save a life.
“I hope they do find a cure, but early detection is the best we have to offer right now,” says Sullivan. “My ultimate goal is to get fund for the girls to a point where we can help any woman in the state of Mississippi and come up with a way to have a traveling mammogram.  I wanted to be able to help every woman in Jackson and the surrounding areas across the state in the near future.”

{Blog post by Mitchell Walters.}
<![CDATA[The Loblolly Festival {EVENT}]]>Wed, 04 Oct 2017 15:36:37 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/the-loblolly-festival-event
Get outside this weekend and make your way to Laurel, MS, for the Loblolly Festival that celebrates the city’s heritage as a sawmill town.  Held annually on the first Saturday in October, the Loblolly Festival gets its name from the pine trees that are native to the area.  This fun-filled family event features vendors from several states.  Artists, crafters and craftsmen set up shop in the streets of downtown Laurel to showcase their wares.  Hear live music on the Loblolly Stage located on North Magnolia Street, The Knight Butcher Stage on Central Avenue, and at the Official Loblolly Afterparty at Slowboat Brewing Company!  Enjoy delicious festival food from the vendors and food trucks that line Oak Street.  You’ll find corn dogs, funnel cakes, fish on a stick, award-winning BBQ, hot tamales, steak sandwiches, baked goods and more!  As you make your way around downtown Laurel, be sure to meet the Loblolly Lumberjack, Ben Napier from HGTV’s Home Town!  He’s a definite crowd favorite as he towers over the festival goers adorned in plaid and carrying his trusty axe.  You can also admire the creative, life-size scarecrows on display as part of the Scarecrow Harvest, a growing yearly competition among downtown merchants as you make your way through downtown Laurel.  Watch International World Cup champion chainsaw artist Dayton Scoggins crank his chainsaw and shape logs and limbs into beautiful artwork at this favorite festival attraction, funded by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission.  Be sure to stop by the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art for the annual Heritage Arts Festival.  Celebrate Mississippi’s Bicentennial with FREE Mississippi-themed music and art activities.  As part of the exhibition, the museum will host an exhibition of local handmade quilts and feature the woodwork of Ellisville artisan J.B. Christian.

This year, there will be an expanded Kids’ Zone at the festival that includes face painting, a special craft area at HAND+made and fun learning activities from Central Creativity and STEM Discoveries.  On Central Avenue, big kids will get a thrill from riding the mechanical bull, water surfing, and much more!  Student artwork painted on Masonite door skins will be on display at Lee’s Coffee & Tea, depicting this years’ theme, “Laurel — 200 years — Celebrating Mississippi’s Bicentennial.”  Be sure to stop in, take a look around, and admire Laurel’s talented young artists!

For more information about Laurel Main Street and the Loblolly Festival, click here.
{Blog post by Jill Dale.  A special thank you to Laurel Main Street for providing pictures.}
<![CDATA[Getaway Space for Fall {Insider Inspiration}]]>Mon, 02 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/getaway-space-for-fall-insider-inspirationLynn Myers Designs transformed an old house into a glorious home.   “We completely gutted an older home.  We had a clean slate to start with, which allowed us to get really creative,” Myers smiles.  Nestled in the beautiful town of Oxford, Lynn and her team dreamed up a beautiful design scheme for her clients.  “We decided to use a blue and white palette, with hints of red in the accessories and artwork.  I love to do the unexpected; we always want someone to walk into a space and feel surprised!”
The result is breathtaking, yet functional.  With a custom bar and a lovely outdoor space, it is truly the perfect home for game day entertaining.  “Our clients have an adorable dog, affectionately named Olivia (after Archie Manning’s wife!), so we chose fabrics that were beautiful yet durable.”  With a touch of Myers’ signature mid-century style, the home stands out elegantly in the charming college town.
{Blog post by Mitchell Walters. Beautiful pictures courtesy of B. Flint Photography.}
<![CDATA[Griot Arts, Inc. {LIFE}]]>Fri, 29 Sep 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/griot-arts-inc-lifeClarksdale youth are finding their voice and being given the opportunity to change their lives and in turn change their community through Griot Arts, Inc., a non-profit arts education organization.   “Griot is a West African title for the community storyteller,” smiles Emily Wisseman, Griot Young Program Director.  “We are an after school arts program so part of what we want to teach our students is how to tell their stories through the various arts (music, dance, visual arts, theater).  We talk a lot about being culture makers and how we can use the arts to create culture at Griot and in Clarksdale.”  Emily shared with us about Griot Arts, Inc. and how they are making a difference in the Mississippi Delta.

{Tell me about Griot. It's an interesting name and I'm sure you get asked many times about the origin of the name.}
Griot is a West African title for the community storyteller.  We are an after school arts program so part of what we want to teach our students is how to tell their stories through the various arts (music, dance, visual arts, theater).  We talk a lot about being culture makers and how we can use the arts to create culture at Griot and in Clarksdale.

{What inspired Griot Arts, Inc.?}
The umbrella non-profit, Griot Arts Inc., was started in 2011.  Griot Youth Program was the first program and it started in the fall of 2011 with 12 students.  Cali Noland was the founder of the non-profit and currently the executive director of the non-profit.  The non-profit was started to creatively address some of the problems in Clarksdale, MS--especially focusing on helping the youth.

Our current mission statement for the non-profit (this applies to all of the programs we have under the non-profit):
Griot Arts fosters creativity and life-long learning through the arts, empowering young people to create positive change in their lives and in their community.

The vision statement of Griot Arts, Inc.:  As one the few creative youth development organizations serving the Mississippi Delta, Griot’s after-school arts programs offer a creative, compassionate, spiritual, and nurturing community for young people to develop their futures.  Through strengthening its core arts programs, Griot is assisting its students to discover their life’s passion and to utilize the life- and job-skills they develop to realize their goals and to live life to the fullest.

Within Griot Arts, Inc., we have 3 programs.  Two of the programs began in just the last year.  Griot Youth Program is an after school arts program for 7th – 12th graders and is held Monday – Thursday during the school year with additional summer programming.  There are 30 students who participate in this program each semester.  Mint Griot is an after school arts program for 3rd - 6th grade students that is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays with 15 participating students each semester.  Meraki Job Training Program is a job training program centered around a coffee roaster for youth 16 – 24 years old.  There are 5 participants in each 4-month session.

{Tell us more about the 4c’s of Griot.}
We Are Griot (student’s moto).   We are culture-makers using creativity, compassion, and intentional community to bring hope to the Mississippi Delta.  We bring the change we seek through sharing our creativity, focused and disciplined work, and discovering our God-given calling.

Creativity:  We believe all people are made in the image of God and given creativity and intellect in order to contribute to their community.

Compassion:  We believe that real transformation only comes through true love for our neighbors and the radical generosity that comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Intentional community:  Love and compassion lead us to live in purposeful relationship with our neighbors modeled after Christ’s example of living and sharing life with those most in need.

The last C is for Christ since the organization is run by Christian staff that sees Christ as central for why we work with youth in the area, the purpose for trying to create a better place for youth and help them discover their God given talents.

{What is the outcome for those that have participated programs?  Are you seeing long-term positive outcomes/positive stories coming from those that have been a part of it?}
In our first 3 years of having graduating seniors (we started with 7th – 9th graders), all of our seniors have graduated from high school and are now attending college or working.  The county graduation rate is only 76%.  We see students that stick with us for several years improve their grades, attitudes, artistic skills, and have hope for their future.  Many of the students that have graduated, but work or attend the local community college come back to volunteer.  This shows the development of the servant's hearts we are hoping for.  We have also seen a lot of our students grow in their faith and use this grounding to help face difficult situations and not lose hope.

Griot is here for the community-we want to help our students become servant leaders.  Our programs are all very relational and we have a lot of volunteers and community supporters that help our students.  We push for artistic excellence, but always choose to create performances with a positive message.  All Griot Youth Program and Mint students participate in two end of the semester performances every school year that are open to the public.

To learn more about Griot Arts, Inc. click here.
{Blog post by Jill Dale and a special thank you to Griot Arts, Inc. for the pictures.}
<![CDATA[The Inn at Ole Miss and My Michelle's {Insider Inspiration}]]>Wed, 27 Sep 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://inspirems.co/home/the-inn-at-ole-miss-and-my-michelles-insider-inspirationThe Inn at Ole Miss is excited to announce that My Michelle’s Catering has taken over the breakfast service in the McCormick Café.  My Michelle’s will be offering hot breakfast daily from 6:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Rotating menu offerings include breakfast pizza, tacos, casseroles, scrambled eggs, grits, sweet potato hash, pancakes, waffles, biscuits with gravy, French toast and much more. The healthier breakfast goer can find homemade granola with yogurt, mixed grain salad with dried fruits, seasonal whole fruit and oatmeal.

My Michelle’s will also be catering football breakfast every Saturday and Sunday of home football weekends in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom.  Breakfast will be open to the public – so get to The Grove early and head over to The Inn for a hearty meal to kick-off the day!  Costs will be $15.95 for adults and $7.95 for children 7 and under.  Some of the delicious breakfast items include: a chicken & waffle station with all the toppings (fried & grilled chicken), traditional scrambled eggs, herb & veggie scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast sausage, cheese grits, biscuits & gravy, breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit, and muffins & pastries.

Not only is breakfast changing hands, so is catering.  The Inn now offers a variety of catering opportunities for special events.  “Allowing outside catering gives us the luxury of providing our customers with the best of Oxford’s culinary offerings when booking their event here at The Inn.  Additionally, these caterers can now recommend our venue for a special event they will be catering” said General Manager Gaye Bukur.  In addition to My Michelle’s Catering, current approved caterers include: A&N Catering, Chicken Salad Chick, The Main Event, Newk’s, Oby’s, Ole Miss Catering, Party Waitin’ to Happen, Tallahatchie Gourmet, and Taylor Grocery.

To better manage all of the new offerings, The Inn added a member to their management team. Gwen Turner, events management coordinator, will serve as a liaison between clients and vendors to ensure all events at The Inn are a hit.  In conjunction with the new breakfast and catering offerings, The Inn released a new logo featuring the signature Ole Miss script.

“We want the new logo to act as a stamp of approval to show that we are the only hotel affiliated with the University of Mississippi,” said Liz Lancaster McIntyre, marketing manager at The Inn.  “By staying at The Inn at Ole Miss, you are supporting the Ole Miss Alumni Association and the University of Mississippi.”

For more information on hosting your next event at The Inn at Ole Miss or to make a reservation, click here.