Down to the Mississippi Delta and Memphis

BalaganGoldStrikeHotelClick topmost title to open and scroll 

I have always been fascinated by the Mississippi Delta with its rich musical heritage. An invitation to the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica was all the push I needed to head to the Delta and nearby. When I got there, I wondered why it had taken me so long.  

The Gold Strike Casino Hotel Resort in Tunica, Mississippi is part of a strip that some have dubbed the “Monte Carlo of the MidSouth”. It is much smaller and less flashy than anything you will find in Vegas but it is affordable and has its own Southern charm.

The entire area from Tunica to Memphis has a friendly feel.   Family entertainment and country music headliners are the draw at the casinos. We took in the new show at the Gold Strike called BALAGAN Theatrical Circus Sensation. It is a European-style circus show.  Cirque fans will love it. I was told it was produced out of Vegas and it was very entertaining. The whole audience was spellbound.  Tickets start at only $9.95. This is crazy cheap for a show like this anywhere. Trace Adkins performed at the neighbouring casino.  

Many people who visit Tunica never leave their casino or “the strip”. The Gold Strike has access to top-notch golf and tennis, and there is a selection of restaurants. But Memphis is only about 30 minutes away and the prospect of live music and blues bars beckoned.   Memphis is a very pretty city. The downtown is nice to walk in and visitor-friendly. The six-block long Main St. Pedestrian Mall is picturesque and lined with lovely buildings. It’s reserved for people and trolley cars and closed to cars. It’s just up the hill from the Mississippi riverfront with its walkable Greenbelt Park – a fabulous esplanade – and boat tours.   Beale Street with its world of entertainment is just steps away. It’s a treat, one long stretch of live music. I don’t “pub crawl”. I like to find my spot and settle in. The Rum Boogie Café is a local favourite with really good music and a crazy cheap cover charge of $3. We lucked out with a Chicago blues band. B.B. King’s Blues Bar is less than a block away.

The city is known for BBQ but we found tempting restaurants offering fresh fish, Thai, Chinese, as well as traditional Southern cooking.    The Flying Fish is a busy casual Cajun style fish restaurant near popular Beale Street. The funky décor is fun and the food is fresh and tasty. It was a perfect spot for lunch. I had shrimp ceviche that was not traditional with its spicy tomato sauce; but it was delicious and fresh.   We were not able to get a table at Gold Strike’s Chicago Steak House so we went next door to The Horseshoe Casino’s Jack Binion’s Steakhouse. We opted for a “flight of steaks”. The three-cut combo was impeccably prepared, and the elegant but friendly service was Beltz Museum of Asianperfect for the over-the-top retro vibe of the restaurant. They delivered exactly what I was craving a perfectly done, old-school steak dinner with flair and great wine.   We also stopped in for tea and cocktails at the elegant Peabody Hotel. The downtown landmark hotel was built in the 1920s. Locals, celebrities, and tourists flock to see the Peabody’s famous ducks. The ducks live on the roof at night and stay calmly around a large fountain in the Lobby Bar during the day. You can have a full afternoon tea or cocktail. The afternoon we were dropped by, the place was packed.   An expected pleasure was a visit to The Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art during an afternoon downpour. The museum is described as “the largest and most comprehensive collection of Chinese art in the southern region of the United States”. The galleries of silk, jade, and other object d’art and furniture are breathtaking. The Judaic collection contains many unique pieces as well as a very moving Holocaust exhibit. The museum is beautifully curated with a knowledgeable docent. It is possible to arrange private tours. This is a must for art lovers.  

I didn’t go to Graceland. I adore Elvis but the Graceland tour is pricy and complicated. But that’s me – you can go.  There is so much to see, do, and hear down there. I can’t wait to go back.



Road trip tips

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These days a road trip can be a great alternative to over-crowded airports and flights. With a little planning getting there can be part of the fun. Lisa Copeland is founder of Buying Cars Her Way and a leader in the automotive industry for more than 25 years.


Here are Lisa’s tips on how to make a road trip go smoothly:


Fill up all fluids – not just gas

A variety of fluids are your car’s lifeblood – each one keeps your car running smoothly throughout the years. Before you leave for your road trip, make sure you check your oil, coolant, automatic transmission fluid, and brake fluid. This can all be checked during a regular maintenance checkup, so you don’t have to do it by yourself.


Check your wiper blades

Lisa Copeland (Right)

No one likes getting stuck in a rainstorm with old wiper blades. Check to see how old your blades are and replace them if needed. A great rule of thumb is to make sure there are no streaks, screeches or bumps when your windshield wipers turn on. If there are, it’s time to change them,


Make sure your tire pressure is perfect

Tire pressure can affect your car’s performance significantly, so make sure each one of your tires is filled to the proper pressure. Also, make sure your tires have enough tread depth.  If your tires are lacking tread it could bring significant control issues as your vehicle won’t hold the road properly and is especially dangerous in rain. 


Stock up on snacks before you go

It’s easy to pop into a gas station and purchase a few tiny bags of 99-cent chips while you’re on the road — but those 99 cents can build up quickly. Instead of buying your snacks as you drive, purchase the economy-sized bags at the grocery store before you leave. You’ll get about twice as much for your money.


Skip the drive-through and hit local hot spots

Fast food is an easy way to get a big cheap meal, but those burgers can build up fast. Instead of stopping at a fast food joint every time your tummy grumbles, stop at the Mom-and-Pop diners and cafes that you spot on your route. Not only is this food likely to be cheaper, but also it will give you a taste of local cuisine.


Consider camping

Camping is a free way to spend the night, cutting down on hotel and motel costs. Just be sure to bring a tent and sleeping bag for comfort.


Use technology to find the cheapest gas

There’s an app for everything these days, including finding the cheapest gas in your area. These apps can help you choose your gas stops more wisely, saving you a few extra pennies along the trip than can add up.


Be prepared just in case

Pack an emergency kit. Fill a kit with a variety of tools and items you might need just in case you find yourself stranded on the side of the road – such as a flashlight, tire gauge, jumper cables, batteries and water.


DolceDolce Tip

Being spontaneous is fine but we find the most exciting and memorable trips are planned with enough room for detours. Use the Internet and travel sites to plan interesting lunch and overnight stops. Why eat at a dull ho-hum place when 10 minutes more can take you to a special local café or breathtaking picnic spot? Break up long drives with interesting stops to see historic or artistic attractions.


Summer must have: A pretty beachy shoe

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If you have been living in flip-flops, stop! Experts agree that flip-flops are as bad for feet as stilettos. Instead, slip into a cute pair of OKA b.’s .These pretty molded plastic shoes have “ergonomic foot bed”. The design uses “therapeutic principles of reflexology”.The enhanced massage beads, arch support, and sculpted heel cup felt very nice even on my sensitive little feet.


The colourful and inexpensive shoes are stylish. You can find flats, flat sandals, and even wedges. The “Proprietary Microplast technology,” according to the company, is why the shoes are lightweight, flexible, comfortable, and durable.


They also promise they won’t slip, scuff, or mark. You can wash them in the dishwasher. And when you have worn them out, send them back to the factory in Georgia to be recycled. Now, that is green!


Trend: The new nude lip

suede-matte-stick_memento_1Click topmost title to open and scroll 

 “Nude” lip trends come and go. This summer the look is bigger than ever and has been spotted on style mavens such as Sarah Jessica Parker and all the Kardashians.

The key to getting the Nude Lip look right is finding the best shade and texture for you. A Matte Nude looks chic but it can also wash you out and play up flaws, if the colour is too bland.

A glossy nude is easier to wear and can make your lips look fuller and sexier.   For a rich matte nude lip try glo mineral Suede Matte Stick in Memento or Bliss or the glo mineral Suede Matte Crayon with built-in sharpener in Monogram or Trademark. The colour won’t fade or smear.   For a full glossy nude pout, try new glo mineral Cream Glaze Crayon in Praline, Mimosa, or Heirloom. These over-sized easy-to-apply pencils contain essential oils for smooth finish that’s never greasy and stays on.   You can find all the colours at for $16 each.      Glocreamglaze


No-smear sultry eyes

Big-Look-Waterproof-MascaraClick topmost title to open and scroll 

If you have been looking for waterproof mascara that will give you long, sexy lashes but won’t clump, you have to try Pürmineral Big Look Waterproof Mascara Extreme, long wear lash enhancer with Argan Oil. I loathe most waterproof mascaras. They smell bad and dry out your lashes. But waterproof mascara has Argan Oil which is full of omega fatty acids, Vitamin E, and antioxidants to condition lashes. The special wand lets you apply clump-fee and mess-free even in inner corners! Pürmineral Big Look Waterproof Mascara Extreme, long wear lash enhancer with Argan Oil makes eyes look sultry and stays on until you take it off! I love this mascara.


It costs $20.



Supergoop sun protection

Supergoop! Sun-defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadow foam SPF 50jpgClick topmost title to open and scroll 

Supergoop! founder and CEO Holly Thaggard and co-owner Maria Sharapova say it’s incredibly important to read labels and look for a water-resistant broad-spectrum formula with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 to 50.  Thaggard also recommends staying away from Oxybenzone as it was named the number one skin allergen of 2014. I agree!


While I prefer mineral-only sunscreens, I have been able to tolerate Supergoop formulas even though other similar products have caused me to have an allergic reaction. The line is also a favourite of celebrities and beauty mavens because of its light feel and skin pampering ingredients.


The Supergoop line now offers primers, serums, and a wide range of cosmetic and skin care products with sun protection.


Here are two to try:


Supergoop! Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C. It is available in both SPF 30 and SPF50. The non-aerosol formula UV protection and defends skin from dehydrating and free radical damage. It has added Vitamin C to protect skin from free radical damage.

It costs $13.00 – $19.00


Supergoop! Sun-defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadow foam SPF 50jpg  The light, easily-absorbed oil offers offer “superior antioxidant protection”, according to the company, while keeping your skin hydrated. According to the company, “Meadow foam seed oil reinforces skin’s natural lipid barrier to keep in moisture”. It also contains Argan oil, Vitamin E, and fatty acids.


It costs $54 for a small one-ounce spray.



Sparkling watermelon punch

Sparkling watermelon punchClick topmost title to open and scroll 

A crisp, not-too-sweet punch served up icy cold can be the perfect thing for hot summer’s night soiree.

If you want a drink that is as pretty as it is refreshing try Nolet Silver Watermelon Sparkler Punch.  It is made with Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin. This unusual gin has fragrant notes of Turkish Rose, Peach and Raspberry which blends well with sweet watermelon.  But be careful this pretty pink punch is a very potent potion. 


Nolet’s Silver Sparkling watermelon punch

750 ml Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin

(2.5) 750 ml bottles Sparkling Sake

24 oz. Watermelon Juice (I make my Watermelon juice by blenderizing and straining ripe Watermelon)

375 ml Lemon Juice

375 ml Agave Nectar

Watermelon Chunks


Add all ingredients, except Sake, to a punch bowl. Stir well to ensure agave liquefies with other contents (shake or blend agave and lemon juice together with ice if necessary). Refrigerate to chill and top with sparkling sake prior to serving. This makes a large quantity.

Be sure to have plenty of chilled non-alcoholic beverages too.


Unexpected pleasures

graceyhitchcockClick topmost title to open and scroll 

All travel from ambitious treks to short little roads trips offer the opportunity for annoyance but also for small unexpected pleasures.  This last little trip held a few for me. I was delighted by amazingly comfortable the beds at the Gold Strike Casino. The linens as well as the beds themselves are like sleeping on a cloud. For a notorious “princess and pea” sleeper like me it was heaven. I found the value for money in the entire region impressive. Many people perceive the South as being less expensive and that is often far from the truth.  But in I found  very comfortable hotels for $100 for night or less. Tickets and cover charges are often under $10 for excellent live entertainment. This trip held many small unexpected pleasures: a delicious bed, a museum full of ancient treasures, and beautiful riverfront.  Make summer memories. It will be fall before you know it. 

DolceDolce is free. Please forward us to your friends who enjoy the same things you do. And please follow us on Facebook   We post new items and tips weekly, except during our posted hiatuses several times a year. Please send us your comments by emailing us at the same address, or sharing in Facebook. We will respond! We want to know what you think. Let’s start the conversation!   Until next time, have a sweet week and please follow us on Facebook We would love to hear from you. Tell us what you think.   Gracey Hitchcock Editor, DolceDolce Follow me @graceysays All contents copyright © 2015