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Last night, Lafayette celebrated its Southern Living "Tastiest Town" win with a party at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Highlights included music by the Bayou Boys, cracklin cupcakes from Sophi P. Cakes (pictured below) and Lafayette Mayor Joey Durel making Southern Living Publisher Greg Schumann and Senior Editor Paula Disbrowe honorary Cajuns.

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Gardenia sat in the hollowed out old cypress tree and rolled her tiny white paws together in her lap. Her hind foot patted the cool soil with anxiety as her crystalline blue eyes blinked out at the dawn's pink light. “Oh, if only today could be the day. It's not like I don't deserve it,” she whispered to the rising sun. “I'll bet my britches that today will be the day, alright. Today's a good day. Good things are bound to happen for me today.”

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Selma, Alabama, lays claim to the largest historic district in the state with more than 1,200 historic structures. The town's tree-lined streets hold Antebellum and Victorian homes, century-old buildings that once housed King Cotton and Civil War munitions, along with Greek Revival mansion Sturdivant Hall. The best time to take in Selma's history and architecture is during the Historic Selma Pilgrimage, happening this weekend.

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Florida schoolteacher Stephanie McAfee wrote and self-published her debut novel, Diary of A Mad Fat Girl, as an e-book in 2010. Readers quickly fell in love with McAfee's main character Graciela "Ace" Jones and her cast of friends, and the book became a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. And that was all before it was ever in print. Now in a revised and expanded form, McAfee's hilarious novel is finally in print.

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When "Diary Of A Mad Fat Girl' by Stephanie McAfee arrived in our mailbox, we thought it looked like a fun, summer read, but also suspected it might contain some overdone Southern cliches. We were wrong. McAfee, who was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, but now lives in Florida, has written a fresh novel with a cast of lovable characters that anyone who grew up in or lives in a small town can relate to.

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West Texas cacti and starved poles of yucca riddle the landscape. Only the charred road disturbs their prickly presence. Before him stretches a snakeskin of pavement. When asked, he says there were options he didn’t take, things he would do differently. Thank God there were no kids. Few possessions to speak of. According to the last marker, he is 98 miles from nowhere, but surely the road will end.

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