southern heritage

on the road: taylor, mississippi

A few miles down the road from Oxford, Mississippi is the village of Taylor. Taylor occupies 4.1 miles and boasts a population of less than 500. To call it a village is a bit of an overstatement, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm.

It's the kind of place where dogs sit in the back of pickup trucks while their owners eat dinner at Taylor Grocery, the local catfish joint. Dogs, rusty pick up trucks and tin roofs are the norm here. The pace is slow. The line in front of the restaurant is out the door, so everyone drinks their beverage of choice in the parking lot while they wait. On certain nights, a local band serenades patrons while they eat dinner off red and white checked tablecloths. The grilled catfish is delicious, the hushpuppies are decadent and the only thing missing from the entire experience is sweet tea served in Mason jars. When the rest of the world thinks of the South, they think of a place like Taylor. Taylor doesn't disappoint.

And just to further prove that we're crazy about dogs in the South, here are a few photos of our dog Porter playing with his new lab cousin Easton.

Neither one would sit in the back of a truck to wait for us to finish dinner.

City dogs...

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Styling The Southern Bookcase

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We recently moved into a new home and have been slowly unpacking and making the space our own. This past week, I inherited a white Crate and Barrel bookcase from my sister. Even before we brought it into the house, I knew it belonged in our sunroom. I had some ideas on how to style it, but before I started moving things around, I surveyed the room and considered the personality of the space. A very comfortable couch (which arrived the same day as the bookcase) beckons us to lay down with a good book and a glass of sweet tea while two ceiling fans whirl overhead. Three of the four walls are covered almost entirely by windows that offer a great view of the backyard. The wall and floor colors are muted and soothing.

As the room feels soft and beach-inspired, it would have been easy to fill the bookcase with jars of shells, but instead I decided to focus on sweet tea and ceiling fans and devote the bookcase to Southern writers -- several of whom who live or have lived in Oxford, Mississippi, where we fell in love. By choosing a specific genre for the bookcase, we were able to highlight some of our very favorite authors as well as the South's rich literary history.

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Gathering the books was the most challenging part of the styling process. Some of the authors aren't well-known Southerners, so I checked inside the dust jacket of every book in question. After piling them up, I arranged them by color and then by height. I stacked some in rows and others in piles. This particular bookcase gives us room to add some future titles, but in the meantime, I placed a few vanilla candles and a porcelain urn on the middle shelf. Glass vessels filled with seashells serve as additional placeholders. After all, the beach is an important part of Southern life, especially this time of year.

I was pleased with the results. The bookcase immediately became a collection and added personality to the room. More importantly, it will inspire us to spend more time reading and writing instead of watching TV or checking Facebook on our phones. After all, if our home doesn't inspire us, what will?