Each time I attend it becomes easier and easier to explain the phenomenon known as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Art, Beats & Lyrics(AB+L). Think, if you will, as to what would happen if you took a family reunion, an art museum field trip and a music festival placed them in a piping hot pot, seasoned them with soul, swag and sass, sprinkled in a few flakes of “the culture”, saturated it in speaker-thumping sounds from all the genres of music that really matter, added a big dollop of dope art and interactive exhibits, tossed in a swig of Jack, then let it simmer for hours in an urban, artistic roux. That, my loves, perfectly conveys what AB+L Birmingham 2018 served up. We got served!
Regions Field was the perfect playground for a standing room only crowd of Birmingham’s best to experience the best art and music creatives from around the country have to offer. Along with the wall-to-wall art and free-flowing Jack Daniel’s elixir DJ Wally Spark, DJ Rahdu, Gina T and WERC Crew set the night’s musical mood and made it just right for hip hop musical guest BAS. Since it’s humble beginnings in Atlanta in 2004, AB+L has been the vehicle moving culture forward in all its urban glory. “The motivation behind the start of AB+L was to give a platform for urban artists and musicians that weren’t getting accepted into many of the galleries and outlets at that time,” said AB+L Curator Dwayne “Dubelyoo” Wright. With no plans of slowing down, Curator Dwayne “Dubelyoo” Wright says AB+L will continue to be next level. “We have been striving to keep the wow factor at our events. We incorporate new technologies and non-traditional ways of showcasing art to keep the audience excited year after year,” he said.
Art, Beats & Lyrics Birmingham was electric! The people, art, music and Jack Daniels (for the drinkers) were too. I can hardly wait for next year to savor the dopeness also known as AB+L.
Acclaimed rapper, actor and businessman TI was in Birmingham last month for the 76th Magic City Classic. At the request of sponsor and Magic City Classic supporter, Coors Light, the Atlanta rapper spread his southern hospitality in the Magic City with a concert performance.
The partnership with TI and Coors Light is one proving to be beneficial as a presentation of two checks of $10000 each from Coors Light were presented to Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University.
Photo Credit: MillerCoors
Becoming a staple at the McDonald’s Magic City Classic, the Coors Light Tailgate Experience was also one for the record books as game-goers and tailgaters braved the muddy conditions to enjoy the festivities which included live music, vendors, interactive games and more.
Photo Credit: MillerCoors
A good time was had by all, especially from my household!
A recent trip for my job landed me in Orlando, Florida. Known as home to the Mouse, it, for me, is now home to some of the best, most fresh and flavorful foods I’ve had in a long, long time. While there, my husband and I had the opportunity to enjoy the buffet breakfast from the beautiful Caribe Royale Resort, and its Calypso’s Pool Bar and Grill Restaurant, where we enjoyed great food and watched some great b-ball.
We feasted Moroccan-style at Epcot’s Spice Road Table and experienced the most succulent coriander-crusted rack of lamb on a bed of fluffy jasmine rice, and engulfed the spiciest spicy lamb sausage and crispiest calamari we’ve had in…well, forever. Even the water, on that warm March day was especially crisp and refreshing.
We enjoyed the BEST seafood known to this man and woman from Johnnie’s Hideaway, so much so, we went twice during our five-day visit. The ooey, gooey, cheesy, buttery bread (which put Quincy’s, O’Charley’s and Logan’s to shame at the same time), the fresh seafood, the wait staff, the ambiance, the elixirs, everything was PERFECT!
Rounding out our trip was a trip to Disney Springs where we ventured into Mexican cuisine at the ultra-chic Frontera Cocina from one of my favorite superstar chef’s Rick Bayless. Succulent carnitas with melt-in-your-mouth pork and buttery black beans hit the spot for me. For the hubs? Only the best Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas would do.
All-in-all, between an impactful work conference, and combined vacation/honeymoon/birthday celebration, the feasts of Florida were the perfect backdrop to a perfect getaway.@AngelaMichele316
Singles (and by singles I mean not married, even if you have a boo or a bae, with the same last name you’ve always had, with the same last name you used to have and now have again, filing single on taxes and checking the box which says Miss, Ms. or Divorced )…
Here’s a little secret. You can do it…yourself. While scrolling through my new best friend Pinterest I came across a clever post. Of course I can’t find it now, but it read, “Stop expecting others to do for you what you won’t even do for yourself.”
It’s as simple as that. The time for waiting on life to start is over. Newsflash, life is well on its way to being exactly who its meant to be for you! The mindset of, “I’ll do this when I have someone to do it with” is debilitating. The notion that life alone or in the company of friends, pales in comparison to the married life is a myth. I can tell you a thing or two about both. The thought of “I have no one so I can’t do whatever it is I really want to do” is cuckoo. Pardon my harsh language.
In the words of my daddy when I would pout as a teenager about wanting to do what everyone else was doing, “You were born by yourself. You’re going to die by yourself so stop always talking about what other people are doing.” The same is so in the land of singlehood. We can’t wait on others, compare ourselves with others or complain about others. We simply have to do it. So go ahead and do those things you want to, can afford to, have time, and deserve to do.
Go to a movie alone or with friends
Eat at that five-star restaurant
Plan an amazing trip out of town
Plan an even more amazing trip out of the country
Invest in that rental property
Make financial investments
Get a massage
Join a gym and go at it solo if need be
Start a business
Write a will (I know that’s grim, but hey, singles have stuff to leave behind too.)
Buy a house
Paint your house
Learn how to garden or repair a car or cook
Remodel your bathroom…unless you have zero remodeling skills as I do
Or do like I did and buy those close up concert tickets to see Diddy and the crew… #cantstop #wontstop #badboyforlife
Whatever you do, singles, just make sure to take time to do it for yourself. You deserve it! Of this, I’m sure.
The initial installment of what must be a repeat performance was nothing less than spectacular. It was Heaven on Earth for a foodie like me. My friends and I, some of which came in from Baltimore and Charlotte just to experience the experience, were thoroughly pleased with this perfect park feast. It truly was a festival in every sense of the word. The mood was the electric. The crowd was eclectic. The food samplings were superb and the people watching at an all-time high. My one complaint, if any, is that I must wait a year in order to again enjoy all that this trendsetting event has to offer. Kudos to the organizers and the brains behind the Atlanta Brunch Festival.
Enjoy scenes of some of what I enjoyed…and make plans to be there next year. Get there early. Pay extra for VIP. Bring your best friends and your best walking shoes. Clear space on your camera and clear space on your proverbial plate for all things Atlanta Brunch Festival. Your tummy will thank you.
Recently I had a chance to visit Baltimore, Maryland to celebrate the birthday of a dear sister/friend. Braving the 17 degree temperature, and snow all around was no big deal, but no small feat for this southern girl born and bred. From Thursday to Sunday, as if we were high school teens again, we laughed until we cried, cried because we were actually crying, we celebrated each other, we caught up on things old and new, we posed for pictures, we had our faces made up, we enjoyed ah-mazing spa treatments and we ATE!!!! Boy, oh boy did we eat.
I won’t waste my mere words describing the delightful dishes we indulged in and engulfed from famous Baltimore spots like Shell’s 365 Deli where they specialize in a $5 meat and two which will make a southern grandma wave her flag in food defeat or Ships Café Restaurant and Crab House where the seafood is as hot, perfectly seasoned, abundant in portions and fresh as the staff is friendly. I wouldn’t whisper a peep about the hot, moist brownies which greeted us after completing our massages, facials and Blue Grotto mud baths at the Pearl Spa (Google it, honey!). I won’t tell you about how we visited the local P.F. Chang’s and literally ate a sampling of everything from land, air and sea. I won’t even mention the 12am late-night breakfast fest at Double T Diner where the portion of pork sausage was so large it would make Miss Piggy run for cover, or the Cinnabon trips which were right on time. And I certainly won’t tell you about ending our final meal at Fogo De Chao just near our East Harbor Marriott Hotel where we didn’t take many pictures of the food because, well, we (as in I) was embarrassed at how much meat (leg of lamb, lamb chops, chicken, sirloin steak, filet mignon, ribeye steak, and some other steaks) made its way to my mouth…over and over again.
What I will tell you is that we were blessed to be there and even more blessed to share this experience celebrating a true angel on earth, my sister Karla F.M. Reid Young.
Baltimore, I’ll be back and I’ll be ready for MORE when I return. #feedmeBaltiMORE
I’m proudly from West End… a ‘hood in the western heart of Birmingham, Alabama. Known for many things, some good, some not so good, there are SO MANY success stories and fond memories from people who’ve been privileged to call this place home. #35211
Aside from learning how to pull a cardboard box out of the street with the quickness (or even knowing what “with the quickness” means), learning how to toss a mean double dutch rope, getting the little bit of street sense I do have, and enjoying the joys 19th Street and the surrounding areas provided me, I also learned some quick wit, and wisdom which has followed me all of my life.
So I share with you samplings of my West Endian Words of Wisdom.
Just because I didn’t say it doesn’t mean it’s not so. You’ll know on a need-to-know, or never-to-know basis.
Never gossip to the ones who gossip with you.
There’s a difference in being fake and being polished…and I’m not talking about nails.
If it was meant for your mind to talk you out of your greatness it would be your mouth, not your mind. (Think about it.)
Everybody’s not your friend. But some people are.
Lotion and/or Vaseline are a wintertime must.
Be nice. You never know what a person is going through, or what you might soon go through.
When people choose to remove themselves from your life for reasons that are unknown or seem unfair don’t sweat it or fret it.
Sugar solves problems.
Lipgloss can never be to glossy.
The Prep and Cabbage Patch are always appropriate.
Your wolves often lead you to your sheep. Thank them for that.
Just because you’re grown doesn’t mean you’ve grown up.
Pretty and perfect are two different things.
Family doesn’t always have the same bloodline or last name.
Water from a hose won’t hurt you.
Putting your hand on your hip let’s them know you mean business…or that you think you’re really cute. It’s a win-win either way.
And when all else fails…a windmill is always in order.
If you’ve not felt the pinch of the economy then consider yourself amongst an elite few. Across the board people are finding themselves having to find ways to make the most out of whatever they have, no matter how much or how little. One season where we need to start thinking with the heart to outdo what’s in our hands is the Christmas season. So many times people go out of their way and out of their minds spending money they simply do not have. My thought, even before the changes with the economy is that a memory will outlast money any day.
Accustomed to completing my Christmas shopping by October, I began to feel overwhelmed this year because I wasn’t able to tackle my list early on like I had been in the past. I haven’t even started. I’m used to off-season and outlet shopping that will rival any barganista. Maybe I was to take my Christmas giving to a new level by being even more frugal and even more creative in celebrating those I love as we remember the birth of Christ.
So I decided to share some Christmas shopping secrets with you:
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words and Doesn’t Cost a Thousand Dollars.-Print photos from events throughout the year and present them in inexpensive, yet beautiful photo albums.
Leave a Love Note.-Present your loved ones with a handwritten, heartfelt letter telling them just how much they mean to you. Kick it up a notch by placing it in a frame or rolling it in a scroll with a dainty (or masculine) ribbon.
Give a Sweet Treat.-You can’t beat a sweet! Assemble their favorite sweet (or savory) homemade or purchased snacks in a gift bag or box. Attach with a handwritten note that your loved ones can cherish long after the sweets are gone.
Food, Glorious Food.- You can’t lose with food! Print custom-made food coupons and present to your family and friends. Offer them a redeemable coupon to use that will allow them to receive their favorite meal, baked good or specialty prepared especially by you. Who wouldn’t want to be able to redeem a coupon for Grandma’s Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, Macaroni and Cheese, Sweet Tea and Peach Cobbler at some random time in the year?
Go Coupon Crazy.-Coupons are all the rave! Take your couponing to the next dimension by taking a cue from the above tip and creating personalized coupons from you to your family and friends. Offer to babysit, wash a carwash, treat to a spa, or do breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. The good thing about this is that they can redeem it long after the Christmas season has come and gone.
Give the Kitchen to Your Kin.-Organize favorite family recipes and present members with an inexpensively printed family cookbook.
Share the Days.-Make an inexpensive, personalized calendar with photos and birthday reminders on sites like walmart.com to give to loved ones.
Divorce is no laughing matter. Ask me how I know. But, what is funny are the little humorous nuggets which often come out of nowhere as one tends to deal with divorce, which often comes out of nowhere. I was talking to an old acquaintance recently about a rumor which must have been spread about my ex and me that I had no idea was floating around the mean streets of Birmingham. After all this time, I had no idea this was even one of the many things on the gossip radar. At first I was as hot as an outdoor fish fry in Arizona. After talking to some others about the “made up matter” I began to reflect on some of the hilarity which has ensued as a result of the repeal of an “I do”. I even chuckled about the rumor and the absurdity of it all.
I remember a dear friend experienced her divorce a few years before mine. She was at her breaking point with the unwanted separation and actions of her ex and was about to go “Lifetime Made-for-TV-Movie” in a very public place. The repercussions would have been TMZ worthy I’m sure, but she was fed up and you know what R. Kelly said about a fed up woman. (There ain’t nothing you can do about it.) Thankfully, she called me on the phone as she was literally about to go all in. I did my best to talk her out of it. Actually, I begged through her screams and tears, assuring her that one day she would look back at that day and laugh. She did. She eventually laughed hard, really hard. This was especially so when she sashayed all the way down the aisle with a great, new man a few years later.
I shan’t go into the juicy deets, especially about the time a loved one had to be dragged out of the double doors of Best Buy when he/she saw my ex for the first time after he left or the time I drafted a five page letter to “tell on him” to the masses, (bless my heart). But let’s just say, there have been avoided incidents, initial reactions, and reconsidered actions, which are absolutely natural, but thank God, through his supernatural intervention were not to be so. Thank God. While, at the time of the pain they might not have seemed funny at all, they proved to become some of the most gut-wrenching, tear-jerking, snort-inducing, head-bobbing laughs of all. That’s the beauty of life. There are little gifts of unexpected goodness sprinkled in even the most difficult of packages if we only heal enough to make it through the process.
So hang in there wherever you are. You will get the last laugh, even if it’s laughing at yourself.
The 74th Annual Magic City Classic has come and gone and already I’m looking forward to the BIG 75th gathering pitting Alabama State University against Alabama A&M University in Birmingham, Alabama for the largest HBCU football game in the United States. For those unfamiliar, the Classic, as it’s called, is more than football. It’s about food, concerts, syndicated morning shows, late night nights, high fashion, school colors, charity, half-time shows, long lines, even longer hugs, parades, vendors, tailgating spanning days, rivalries and reunions all in one. Both of my parents and several of my relatives are Alabama State University alums and have celebrated Classic for more than four decades. It’s a part of my DNA. It’s etched in my life’s story. It’s the Classic…an experience like none other.
Here’s a photographic snapshot of my Magic City Classic experience which started with the Rickey Smiley Morning Show dark and early on Friday morning and ended with the post-Classic family dinner on Sunday where my mother cooked enough food to feed a small British battalion. I hope you enjoy my instant trip down a not-too-distant memory lane.