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Delta Supper Club

A couple of weekends ago, I had the pleasure of escaping to the Mississippi Delta with some friends for an experience I’m so glad I had the pleasure of having: Delta Supper Club. Delta Supper Club embodied everything I love about down-home Mississippi – no pretense, good food, good friends, and the best dang time I’ve had in a while.

The second installment of DSC took place at the New Roxy Theatre in Clarksdale. First, the Delta is somewhere you just can’t explain. There’s a mystic quality to the region, and the New Roxy lends a perfect taste of that mysticism. The venue is an old cinema in downtown Clarksdale that after 30 years of lying vacant, is being slowly recreated as a revived venue for arts and music. It’s pretty magical with the bare concrete floor, masonry stage, exposed brick walls, and a pretty Delta sky view.

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Add to that ambiance good music by local prodigy (seriously, amazing) Kingfish and a splash or two of Cathead Vodka and I was in hog (literally I ate some good pig) heaven. The family-style dinner was a Southern feast prepared by Chef Cory Bahr.

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On top of all that goodness, in true Mississippi fashion, Delta Supper Club is for a good cause. Proceeds go to help Mississippi students attend culinary school. Keeping the tradition of good food alive.

For more, visit the Delta Supper Club site and read my story in Social South on the organization. Happy eating!

Authors and Books, Mississippi

Eudora, Eudora

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Mississippi is a sacred place and this fertile land grew up a gaggle of writers who have inspired and continue to inspire. That’s one of the many things that I find so captivating about this place – the love of words and the inspired literature that seems to spring forth from the hands of natives.

One of those forthcoming set of hands is none other than the hands of Eudora Welty. She spent her life here in Jackson, in the heart of the state, just a hop, skip, and jump from where I lay my head every night. She was, and continues to be, an inspiration for those of us struggling writers or any Mississippian trying to follow their dreams. She’s proof that this is indeed fertile land, that you can live out your dream here – you don’t have to leave.

This morning, The Bitter Southerner published a piece on The Eudora Welty Portrait Reader, which is so fascinating. She was captivating, inspired, and a good ol’ Mississippi girl. What’s more to love?

Go check out more on the lovely Eudora on The Bitter Southerner today.

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Big Apple Business

I FINALLY GET WHAT THE FUSS IS ABOUT.

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Last week, I had to head to New York for work. Having never been to the Big Apple before now (shocker!), I convinced my husband to buy a plane ticket and join me. We managed to slip in a little play time and I can’t wait to get back.

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The hustle, the bustle, BROADWAY, the feeling of never knowing what little treasure looms around the corner, the FOOD, the FASHION, the everything. I’m in love.

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Do tell – what’s your favorite thing about NYC (because I’m on a mission to get back soon)?

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What Not to Do on an Airplane

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I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport on a long layover after a long week. I just drug myself off of the single most uncomfortable flight I’ve ever been on. Which, like many uncomfortable situations do, spurred a blog post. So, here you go. Consider this my very own PSA for summer travel.

WHAT NOT TO DO ON A FLIGHT:

1. Do not assume (you know what they say about assuming? They say that for a reason) that the person you’re wedged beside on a flight is single and ready to mingle, or even of the same orientation you are. Again, assuming never really works out for either party.

2. If that said person pulls out their phone to put it in airplane mode, don’t noticeably try to read their text messages. For the love. Don’t.

3. Once their phone is put away, if said person proceeds to pull out a book that they’re obviously enthralled in, it’s best to not talk to them.

4. When that said person physically puts a shield between you and them, as in a shield of their purse, leg, and back, again, don’t talk. Please, just don’t talk.

5. If you insist on talking, telling stories about how you live with your mother and a bunch of cats is probably not wise.

6. Asking about political views – no.

7. Commenting on your weight and the weight of others – no.

8. Don’t tell said person that you were recruited to be a flight attendant before you “gained all the weight.” Keep that one to yourself.

9. Don’t try to order drinks for said person when they have repeatedly said, “no thanks.”

10. Request a window seat if you insist on leaning over to peer out the window.

I could go on. I can’t even. I’m a pretty friendly person, I like to think. I became a very unfriendly person about an hour ago. Do yourself a favor, pack a book and headphones and spring for first class. Happy travels!

Mississippi

Affair with a Bear

You know what I love about Mississippi? I’m convinced it’s the quirkiest place you’ll find. A big, odd place that consists of a lot of little odd places. I was born here and keep finding interesting little facts, traditions, people, and ties to the state. This oddity, of course, makes it so very endearing. Like that relative that the whole family shakes their head about but really can’t get enough of.

Mississippians are gifted storytellers – some truthful, some not, but pretty much guaranteed to be entertaining.

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One of those Mississippi stories has stood the test of time, evolved into history, and helped one quaint Mississippi Delta town set itself apart. That’s the story of a softhearted leader of the free world, a skilled Mississippi bear hunter, and a furry little (a debatable detail) black bear.

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As the “real” story goes, President Roosevelt traveled to Smedes Plantation in Southern Sharkey County in 1902 for what would prove to be a monumental, albeit unsuccessful black bear hunt. Holt Collier (pictured above with Roosevelt), the notorious and skilled bear hunter, was to be his guide.

On the first morning of the hunt, hunting dogs sniffed out a bear and history was officially in the making. Collier instructed President Roosevelt to wait in a specific spot for a bear to come out of the cane brake. So he waited. He could tell that the dogs were going in a different direction and like one does when they wait, he got hungry. He decided to return to camp for lunch (good Southern grub, surely). Not long after Roosevelt set off for camp, the bear turned again and came out of the woods almost exactly where Collier had said it would, but the president was not in position to get his shot.

The dogs cornered the bear. As most wild animals would be likely to do, the bear became enraged and grabbed Colliers’s favorite hunting dog, Jocko. Collier jumped to the rescue and clubbed the bear with the stock of his gun, stunning the 250-pound black bear. He tied the bear up and sent word for the president to come shoot the bear.

When Roosevelt arrived, he was saddened to see the bear helpless. Despite encouragement from the crowd of hunters, Roosevelt refused to shoot the injured bear in the name of sportsmanship.

The press went wild with this story of the President, Holt Collier, and the bear, and it soon traveled across the country in news stories and cartoons. New York toy shop owner Morris Mitchom’s wife had sewn two stuffed bears for the shop’s windows. Mitchom had a novel idea to name the bears “Teddy’s Bears.” With the permission of the president, he did just that. The popularity of Teddy’s Bears spread like Mississippi kudzu and history was made, again. This proves my point that all good things have roots in Mississippi soil. Who doesn’t love a teddy bear?

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Now, the little town of Rolling Fork honors that heritage with bears found scattered throughout the town. Carved by chainsaw (!) artists, these bears are serious works of art.

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A larger than life Teddy Roosevelt and his bear cub downtown. A bear scaling a light pole outside the power company. A litter of cubs in a local lady’s front yard. Each year a new carving is unveiled at The Great Delta Bear Affair in Rolling Fork.

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Keep up the quirk, Mississippi, it’s why I love you so. Long live the quirk, forever and ever, amen.

What are your favorite Mississippi quirks? I’m always looking for new ones and am never disappointed that they’re always right around the corner.

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Weekend Wanderings

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It’s FRIDAY!!! What are you up to this weekend? We have a big yard project we’re planning to tackle that includes laying sod (!) and sprucing up our backyard, so I’ll be elbow deep in dirt, which always makes for a great Saturday.

Let’s kick off Friday with some wandering around the worldwide web (is that still a thing?).

Gina Homolka’s Seattle Asian Salmon Bowl is like a delicious sushi roll in a bowl and one of our family favorites. Make it, you won’t be sorry!

Cultivate a Well-Traveled Home . I want to do this allllll over the place! Moroccan baskets? Yes, please!

I pretty much just love the adorable family of Longest Acres Farm. A Vermont setting is made prettier by an adorable toddler and fuzzy sheep. Follow Kate on Instagram.

100 years of beauty. I find this SO fascinating. There’s one for a number of nationalities and it is so cool to see how the trends come and go.

Believe it or not, Millennials are rumored to prefer print over ebooks. I’m a lover of paper myself. What camp are you in?

Reflections

The Wander Years

I am beyond thrilled to FINALLY be launching my new web site! It’s been a long time coming and much, much needed, but… life, y’all. It can get away from you like a runaway train and before you know it, you’re neglecting things you love. And that’s no good. For quite some time I’ve been planning (in my head) to really focus on the writing I love and that time is now. I’m not getting younger, any less busy, and any less in love with hollering into the black hole that is in the internet, so here we are. Welcome.

Kaylyn and Tyler of The Weir House did a bang up job on the redesign of this little baby of mine and I couldn’t be more pleased!

For so long, my site has been mainly for my professional writing and portfolio purposes, which it still is, but I wanted to better convey my passions, the fun, the pointless, and the plain awesome. While the site has always just been Amanda Dove Wells, I wanted a little tagline to more appropriately sum it all up for you dear readers.

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I kept coming back to “The Wander Years.” I debated. Can a mom of 3 that works her tail off really call these insane times “The Wander Years?” Why yes, yes she can. One of my biggest pet peeves is people thinking that growing up equals less fun, less adventure, less, well, life. Having babies doesn’t mean your days of picking up and going are over. Getting a “grown up job” doesn’t mean the fun is over. Responsibility doesn’t equal boredom, it simply means you get to see life through a different lens – a lens that involves a kid view, excitement, the realization that life is short and you should freaking enjoy it.

It’s my hope that this blog will help you see life through that lens. Whether it’s destinations, home, or reflections, let’s enjoy these wander years together, shall we?

Leave a comment or drop me a line and let me know what you’d like to see here. I’m all ears!

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Mid-Century Mardi Gras with Chairish!

I don’t think it’s any secret (particularly if you follow me on Instagram) that I’m utterly addicted to flea markets, estate sales, pretty much any way I can get my hands on vintage goods for a deal. Enter Chairish.

Chairish.com makes it fun and easy for design lovers (like yours truly) to buy and sell pre-loved decor to one another in an environment that’s safe and approved by some serious design geniuses.

Chairish asked me to create a room/design based on one of my favorite chairs (how very appropriate, Chairish) on their site. I’m no design expert, let me tell you, just a girl who’s a big fan of good design, good pieces, and good prices. Needless to say, I was honored they approached me. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to this pretty little thing.

Mid-Century Emerald Highback Lounge Chair

This high-back beauty had me at hello with its mesmerizing hue and elegant yet simple clean lines. Maybe it’s a little too much time in New Orleans or maybe it’s the fact that any color that amazing needs to be celebrated, but my mind kept nodding at Mardi Gras, an easy way to take anything from boring to perfectly vivacious. So here you have it, my dream celebratory sitting room, where emerald and a bold yet subtle purple abound.

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1. Benjamin Moore’s Kalamata is the perfect mix of moody and bold. I really think it would be tough to get tired of this shade.

2. Sputnik. Need I say more? No visions or sugarplums for me, just visions of sputniks in the perfect shade of brass.

3. I’m not sure who had these aviary statues in my childhood, but oddly enough, they remind me of being a kid. They are so fun, yet they’re so elegant and interesting. Brass swan figurine, anyone?

4. The surfboard coffee table is the perfect mid-century staple and that wood tone will warm any room right up. Modern doesn’t have to be cold!

5. I’m a sucker for a bright, worn in, vintage rug and this handmade wool one adds a little pop of warmth in this cool room.

Head on over to Chairish.com to see for yourself what treasures you can find. Feel free to share what you find!

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Cruising the Jackson Metro

…. and I’m back! It’s been a crazy, crazy few months (more on that later), but here I am!

One thing that’s blogworthy enough to bring me back to the world of the Internet is my sweet friend Laurel Donahoo’s new endeavor – just creating a metro system for our city, that’s all, no biggie.

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Ok, ok, so it’s a hypothetical metro system, but that’s beside the point. One of my favorite things about big cities is the public transportation systems that serve as the vein that keeps energy pumping through the city. Although Jackson doesn’t have a metro system, we have a creative energy that is growing by the minute and it’s fun to think of what our city may be like years and years down the road (or maybe not so far in the future, who knows?).

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When Katie Miller, owner of Ridgeland’s Arco Avenue was in the throes of updating her store’s interiors, she asked here sister-in-law, Laurel, to help her create a more modern, metropolitan look. Metropolitan = Subway System. “Katie loved the idea of having a huge subway map on one of the walls,” says Laurel, who went to work creating a fictitious subway system for the city of Jackson.

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During a 72-hour remodel at Arco Avenue, Laurel painted her idea of what Jackson’s subway system would look like if there actually was one onto the wall behind the cash wrap. “One unique feature about the map in the actual store is that it was painted onto a black chalkboard wall, and the silver dots/stops are removable, so with the changing seasons, Katie can highlight different places on the map,” says Laurel. “For example, the map was speckled with silver dots identifying schools for back to school season!”

The city loved the map and requests started flowing for versions to be sold. “Since I already had the design, I figured I would just go for it,” says Laurel. Hence, the Jackson Metro collection which now includes posters and notecards of the map.

One special thing about the map is that it is actually geographically to scale, so when people want to purchase a poster or a card (or a set of cards), they can also purchase clear map overlays with roads identified so they can more accurately figure out which stops are which. Several of the bigger stops, and the starting and stopping points, are labeled so the viewers can really get a grasp on where this subway runs. “I hope people are able to lay the clear map over the metro map and be able to sort of figure out where they work and where they live and all that fun stuff,” Laurel says.

“Jackson is growing so much, especially lately. So it’s fun to imagine things like a metro system running from downtown to Canton. Since I included stops for my own neighborhood and for where I work, I would totally take it!” Laurel says.

You can purchase your own map (or other awesome Laurel creations) here or in person at Arco Avenue.

Photo by Mei Chun Jau
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Currently Crushing On: Everything in The Joule Hotel

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Yep, that’s the pool jutting out over downtown Dallas’ Main Street. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast coolness of The Joule. Photo by Eric Laignel

Recently, I was a lucky duck and had the pleasure of staying at downtown Dallas’ chic Joule Hotel. Comfort and luxury reigned, but more importantly, the interiors made me try to figure out if I could roll up their overdyed rugs and crushed green velvet seating and stuff it in my purse. I wanted to pick up the lobby and drop it in my house.

Effortlessly elegant yet cooly calm, The Joule’s design, by lead designer Adam D. Tihany, was breathtaking.  I was instagramming till my fingers bled because I couldn’t get over the design. It’s true what they say – it really is exactly like nowhere else.

Now, I’ll share the eye candy love. Feast your eyes on The Joule:

Photo by Mei Chun Jau

Photo by Mei Chun Jau

There she is. That rug gorgeousness I lusted after.  Photo by Mei Chun Jau

There she is. That rug gorgeousness I lusted after.
Photo by Mei Chun Jau

Photo by Eric Laignel

Photo by Eric Laignel

Photo by Jonathan Zizzo

Photo by Jonathan Zizzo

Photo by Jonathan Zizzo

Photo by Jonathan Zizzo