The Big Boo Cast, Episode 37

Well, I know that I’m in the middle of a big ole bloggy break, but Melanie and I have been wanting to record a podcast, and the day before our friend Annie’s new book comes out seemed like a fine and wonderful time (Annie book releases July 15th; Mel and I are super excited for her).

Here’s the cover of Annie’s book. I love it a lot.

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Annie and I have a delightful chat about 10 minutes into the podcast. Melanie was supposed to be part of that, but unfortunately we (and by “we,” I mean “I”) could not figure out how to record the three of us at once now that I’m using different software than I did back in the days of FryDaddy.

SO – Mel and I talked a little, then Annie and I talked, then Mel and I talked a bunch more. We extensively examined the beach house vs. lake house debate, our favorite summertime foods, the perils of trying to have grown-up conversations when kids are listening, and, of course, our dogs.

Also, please excuse the awkward sound effect transition that I used at the beginning and the end of the part with Annie. Just know that I did the best I could with an impromptu back-up plan and very limited technical skills.

If I can ever finish this book, I may need to consider signing up to take some sort of online podcasting seminar. I feel like that would be good for all of us.


You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Hope y’all enjoy!

Miss Mississippi 2014 Viewing Party

Before we get started, here’s my standard viewing party call to order:

We’ll share our thoughts / observations / reactions in the comments. This is all in good fun, so let’s please be mindful that somebody’s mama or cousin or great-aunt Ethel could stop by and read what we say (every single year that we’ve done this – and this is the 5th – at least one contestant’s relative has emailed after the pageant to say how much fun they had following y’all’s comments). In other words: let’s do our level best not to say anything hurtful. These girls are young and singing / dancing / performing their hearts out. And I think it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that we dare not criticize during the swimsuit competition. If any one of them showed up at a pool or beach where I happened to be spending the day, I would cover myself with a blanket and run screaming for the indoors. These girls are darlin’.

As far as watching the pageant goes, there are a few options. If you’re in Mississippi, you can watch on WLBT. If you’re like me and in another state, you can watch on the Miss Mississippi pro app, or you can watch the WLBT live feed on your computer or iPad. Here’s the link to the WLBT live feed.

At the end of the pageant, I’ll draw from all the comments for 2 special pageant prizes. One commenter will win seasons 1 and 2 of Designing Women on DVD (just because a little Suzanne Sugarbaker makes any day a good day). The second winner will get a copy of Mississippi author Julia Reed’s Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties.

So. With all that being said, let’s enjoy the show. I’ll update this post throughout the pageant (you’ll have to refresh the page a lot), and we’ll visit in the comments. It’ll be big fun. See y’all at 8 central!


All righty – quick roll call – who’s here (in addition to Molly)? The live feed is working on my end, and I am so excited!


STOP IT. A POEM ABOUT MISSISSIPPI? I am on the floor dead. So happy.


This might be the best opening number ever. The denim shirts and turquoise jewelry are a nice touch.


I have heard great things about Caroline Conerly from a friend of mine. And I am always happy to see Shelby Corn.


This is the first year when I have watched the pageant and felt like they’re young enough to be my daughters.


Anybody know how many years Jasmine Murray has been in the pageant?


Top 10:

Miss Riverland
Miss Turtle Creek
Miss Dixie
Miss University
Miss Rankin County
Miss North Central Mississippi
Miss Mississippi State University (#HailState) (#GoDogs)
(don’t know title)
Miss Historic South

I’m having trouble with the feed…can anyone fill in the blanks?

I’m moving to the comments! :-)


That was so fun, y’all!

I used to select comment numbers for prizes.

Molly – you won the Designing Women DVDs
Karoletha – you won the Julia Reed book
I’ll email y’all to get shipping info.

Can’t wait for Miss America!

Keeping The Tradition Alive

Well, I’m still not finished with the book (getting close, though), but the Miss Mississippi pageant is this Saturday night. And quite frankly I don’t see how I can possibly call myself a native Mississippian if I don’t take a wee little break from writing and continue our tradition of having a viewing party here on the blog.

This will actually be our 5th annual viewing party – even if we’ve only gotten to see the pageant four times because year before last the live feed didn’t work. Still, though – we showed up even if technology did not, and it seems only right and fitting to show up again this Saturday night.

So. The pageants comes on Saturday night (July 12th) at 8:00pm central. You can watch the pageant on the Miss Mississippi website or on the pro version of the fancy new Miss Mississippi app (links for the app are on the home page of the website).

I’ll put up a post Saturday night about 7:50 central – and we’ll use that post to comment as we watch (provided that the live stream cooperates). This will all be in good-natured, friendly fun, and we’ll be ever-mindful not to say anything mean or hurtful. Mainly we just like to have a safe and happy place to talk about the pretty dresses and share our gratitude for contestants who tap dance or clog.

I am praying that the Lord will show favor on us and allow a baton twirler to make Top 10.

(This is from Miss America, not Miss Mississippi. But I could still watch it 900 times because it’s the pageant equivalent of a pep rally for me.)

The viewing party should be a delightful way to spend a Saturday night. Hope some of y’all can join us for the festivities!

I Break For Books – Or, Well, For Book

So last night I spoke at a church in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and I wish I had videotaped the whole thing. I mean, not the part of me speaking because NO, I WOULD NEVER, but I wish I had taken some videos of the women talking to each other (“HEYYYYYYYY! And don’t you just look DARLIN’?”), not to mention the sound of all those Southern women visiting over dinner. I know that some people might think it’s corny, but that sound is like a symphony to me. I also wish I had some pictures of what everybody was wearing because Mississippi women like to BREAK OUT THE COLOR in the summertime. You have never seen such an array of cute pants and cute tops in your life. Martha would have flat-out coveted at least 17 different 3/4 sleeve jackets, and she might have even brokered deals to buy a couple of them right there in the fellowship hall.

And yes, I know that I’m incredibly sentimental about growing up in Mississippi, but everything about last night reminded me why I love my home state with all my heart. There was chicken salad, there were impatiens wrapped in burlap, there was bread pudding in miniature Mason jars, there were 158 door prizes (give or take), and more than anything else, there were the sweetest women, including one named George Ellen, which is now my new favorite Southern name BY A MILE.

Also, I came home with the prettiest gift basket which contained, among other treasures, two giant jars of Mentholatum. I was so tickled when I saw them because it is hard to find those jumbo jars these days, and considering my deep and abiding affection for Mentholatum, it really was the most thoughtful surprise. Mississippi pays attention, y’all.

I say all of that because I haven’t even been in Mississippi for 24 hours (I’m back at my parents’ house right now), and I’ve already thought of four or five things I’d love to blog about. But I’ve also thought about how we’re home from vacation and have a few weeks ahead with no camps or big obligations (except for July 9th – I’m speaking in Hernando, Mississippi, and I’ll post details on my Facebook page sometime next week), and I have a book that I need to finish. Technically I am in the home stretch, so mentally I need to hunker down and focus. I actually got my first look at the cover last week, and I thought, Oh, it would be so delightful to know that I was finished writing the words that are supposed to go inside.

Only I’m not finished. But I need to be. You can appreciate my dilemma.

So. I’m gonna take a blogging break until I finish the new book (it’s called Home is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong). I need to give these last few chapters my full and undivided attention, and I can’t do that when I’m writing blog posts in my head about why does California hate air conditioning and when did people stop having an appropriate amount of self-awareness and sunroofs are sort of lost on me and Hazel went to boarding training school while we were on vacation and she was so excited when we picked her up Wednesday afternoon that I almost cried.

That dog. She’s something else.

So I’ll see y’all at some point in the next few weeks. Thanks for being patient and understanding and etc. And if you find a really good mascara or granola recipe, please email me and let me know because nobody needs to keep that kind of vital information to herself.


Nerdy Thoughts That May Be Of Limited Interest

So one thing people might not necessarily assume about me – especially in light of my preoccupations with fried chicken and SEC sports and Bravo – is that I really like trying to figure out what makes people tick. I’m not exactly sure when I realized this about myself, but I feel like it’s directly tied to taking one too many quizzes in Seventeen magazine when I was a teenager. It may also be because I apparently have a sticker on my forehead that says “TELL ME YOUR PROBLEMS,” but don’t think for one minute that I’m complaining. Sometimes I even think about going back to school and getting my degree in counseling, but when I try to imagine adding classes to an already full schedule, I pretty much just picture me looking like this all the time.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-8574-1339605907-10 (source)

So I think it’s safe to say that I’ve crossed “go back to school” off my long-term to-do list.

Anyway, lately (NERD ALERT) I’ve been thinking a lot about what motivates people. I’m sure I had some class in college where we talked about primary motivators and whatnot, and my guess is I memorized whatever I needed to for a test and then said, “GET THEE GONE” to that particular subset of information. But the older I get, the more I’m aware that I am absolutely motivated by two main factors when I’m making decisions or prioritizing commitments or analyzing a situation that’s driving me crazy. For me those two things are contentment / peace and loyalty. They’re what I value most in my marriage, in our home, in my work / writing, and in my relationships.

And for a variety of reasons, I’ve been thinking about all of this for the better part of three days.

Yesterday our flight back to Birmingham was delayed by a couple of hours, and while we were sitting at beautiful gate 31 (it wasn’t really beautiful) (I don’t even know why I used that adjective), I explained my train of thought to D and asked what motivates him most in the day-to-day. His are fairness, consistency, and stability. I wasn’t surprised even a little bit because 1) we have been married for A LOT OF YEARS, so I know how he thinks, and 2) if there are three qualities that mark his life and his character – well, THESE.

So then I asked Alex. He said fairness, consistency, and adventure. And then he sang a song about toots, so clearly he was very interested in my question.

Obviously there are a bunch of different motivators, and I’ve been mostly focusing on the healthy ones instead of stuff like insecurity, jealousy, greed, etc. Some of the ones I’ve thought about are fun, adventure, tranquility, excellence, power, integrity, passion, well-being, freedom, achievement, ambition, service, legacy, and love. There are two or three in that bunch that might affect my decisions in a very specific set of circumstances, but by and large – in the big stuff and the little stuff – contentment / peace and loyalty are my go-tos. If I take action in a situation without those things in mind, I’m gonna feel some pangs of regret later on.

So I guess I have now shared way more information about my thought life than anyone ever really needed to know. I do apologize. And if you are a real-life counselor / psychologist / psychiatrist, I hope you aren’t horrified by my terminology. I don’t really know the fancy (much less professional) ways to explain myself.

However, if any of you other over-analyzers want to chime in with what most motivates you, I’d love to know, mainly because I’m endlessly curious about this type of thing.

And, well, I’m also a little bit nosy.

We’ve Been Gone, Gone, Gone

By the time most of y’all read this, my little family will be back home in Birmingham. We have been in California for most of the last week, visiting David’s best friend’s family and basically having a big ole time. I haven’t said anything about the trip before now because, well, I thought we would have a house sitter but then I decided not to get a house sitter and then I started to get paranoid about a RING OF THIEVES having Google alerts for blog posts that mention “vacation” and I just decided that I would wait until the end of our trip before I wrote anything about it.

So I guess you could say we have now reached Safe Blogging Territory.

We didn’t have our finest travel day on the way out here, thanks to the Loudest Talker Ever on the row behind us when we flew out of Birmingham, a plane switcheroo / re-ticketing fiasco once we got to Dallas, and someone in front of me who opted to keep her seat reclined all the way from Dallas to LA, which pretty much triggered every claustrophobic / personal space issue I have. It ended up being the perfect opportunity to distract myself with Mindy Kaling’s book, though, so all’s well that ends well, I reckon.

(However, I will go on the record and say that I’m not the biggest fan of reclining seats on planes.)

(We’re all doing our best to sit quietly in our thirteen inches of space without having some sort of breakdown, so the reclining seat feels like an intrusion to me.)

(You may be picking up on the fact that I have some thoughts about this particular non-issue.)

Ever since we landed and settled in our rental car, however, we have had a ball. Here are some of the highlights.

- Noah’s Ark at the Skirball – We did this on Saturday morning, I think, and it was so fun. The Noah’s Ark play area was gorgeous and hands-on at the same time; the kids and the grown-ups loved it.

- Greenlee’s Blueberry Cinnamon Bread – Sweet mercy. This stuff is dangerous.

- Rita’s – David and Alex love the custard, but I am partial to the watermelon and the mango Italian ice. It’s the perfect summer dessert because it’s fruity and tangy and not too sweet. I am certain that I would develop quite the Italian ice habit if there happened to be a Rita’s anywhere near my house.


- Tempurpedic mattress – Granted, this is a strange-ish addition to my list. But there is a Tempurpedic mattress in the room where David and I slept, and the sleeping was such a magical experience that I now refer to said mattress as Mama’s Little Cloud. David agrees. I looked forward to going to sleep every night like a kid looks forward to Christmas, and I’m a little afraid of my reaction when I have to re-adjust to our mattress at home. I so appreciate that our mattress has been a good’un for 10 or so years, but part of me wants to figure out how to pack that Tempurpedic in a carry-on bag and take it home.

- Trader Joe’s Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds – Under normal circumstances I do not care for dark chocolate. But these almonds are not normal circumstances. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Because these almonds are a wonder.

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- Maleficent at The El Capitan – I’d never been to The El Capitan before Sunday, so I got a huge kick of being in such a beautiful theatre, seeing the magic show before the movie, and then getting to eyeball the kids’ reactions as they watched Maleficent. What surprised me was how much I liked the movie, too – and how once again Disney has given us a movie with a message that’s way bigger than the movie itself. Really, really good.


- Time to hang out and visit – Sometimes trips to see friends can get super-rushed and busy. That has not been the case this time around. We have hung out at the house more than we’ve run around town, which means that the kids have played and played and played while the adults have talked and talked and talked. It’s been good for my head and my heart. I know David would say the same.

We’re a little sad that it’s time to go home – but we’re mighty grateful to have been here. And now we’re looking forward to a safe trip home with no reclining seats on the row in front of us.

A girl can dream.