The Feasts of Florida

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.

Ceasar Salad from Caribe Royale's Calypso Restaurant
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Fancy Flower

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.

Coriander-spiced Lamb Chops
Coriander-encrusted rack of lamb

 

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Aquil enjoying a Moroccan Casa Beer

 

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!

Fried Seafood Feast from Johnnie's Hideaway
Florida’s Fisherman Feast: Fish, Shrimp, Oysters and Shrimp/Lobster Fritters

 

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Just little ol’ me eating a big ol’ shrimp at Johnnie’s Hideaway

 

Johnnie's Hideaway Famous Rolls
Rolls, glorious rolls

 

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Johnnie’s Hideaway Roasted Salmon with Red Aioli

 

Whiskey Sampling from Johnnie's
Private Barrel Whiskey Sampling for the hubby

 

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.

Frontera Cocina's Carnitas
Carnitas! Carnitas! Carnitas!

 

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Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas

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

Recap: Natural Hair and Health Expo 2017

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The sights and sounds of the Natural Hair and Health Expo 2017 (NHHE) are now a memory, but like your favorite hairstyle from the 80s, it’s one which won’t soon be forgotten. Of course there were vendors galore with every, single thing you needed for your hair and health. The event’s Main Stage brought you up-close and personal to the nationally known heavy hitters in hair, health, fashion and business, while at the same time making you feel as comfy and cozy as a warm salon chair on a cold January morning. From the amazing, on-stage stylings of the Visions Beauty Style Team and the NHHE Live Blogger Panel with Q&A featuring nationally known bloggers Clair Sulmers and Tami Reed the Main Stage gave you the best of the business of beauty, hair and fashion.

Huntsville-based Entrepreneur Melody Holt inspired with her “Five Essentials for Building a Multimillion Dollar Family Business” paving the perfect path for The Coca-Cola Company’s Eyvon Austin to share their 5by20 initiative with the women, an amazing effort to empower 5million business women entrepreneurs world-wide. There was more encouragement, inspiration and motivation than a Hallmark store has, and the ladies (and gents) soaked it all up.

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Melody Holt, Holt and Holt

 

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Eyvon Austin, The Coca-Cola Company

Reality star Sheree Whitfield graced the stage with her wit and wisdom on all things fitness, family, fashion and of course, relationships. Local entrepreneur Iyishia Jones of ISHI? Boutiques provided a fashion show rivaling any New York couture catwalk. Hosted by Fashion Stylists to the Stars Goo Goo Atkins, the ISHI? Boutiques collection stole the show.

 

 

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Sheree Whitfield, RHOA

 

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Goo Goo Atkins, Celebrity Stylist

 

Other features rounding out the day included Birmingham’s Keisa Sharpe of Alabama Power, and of course, the Natural Hair and Health Expo Pageant. There were contest winners like Antwane’ Thompson, who won concert tickets to two concerts from Coca-Cola, and Jasmine Ruffin, grand prize winner of a Bahamas Resort Vacation compliments of Coca-Cola and Breezes Resorts and Spas.

 

A cold, soaking Saturday outside in the Magic City was hotter than a new pair of flat irons on the inside of the BJCC for the Natural Hair and Health Expo. And just like my favorite hairstyle from the 80s I can’t wait for it to return again.

@AngelaMichele316

 

Coca-Cola Serves Up Economic Empowerment at NHHE2017

Saturday, March 11th was all about hair, health, beauty and business for the thousands who attended Birmingham, Alabama’s annual Vision Beauty Distributors’ Natural Hair and Health Expo. To add a burst of flavor in the form of financial and economic empowerment, title sponsor The Coca-Cola Company discussed strategies from its 5by20 initiative to an audience of women wanting to hear more about their efforts to empower.

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The 5by20 initiative was developed in 2010 recognizing that women around the world were already pillars in the business system. “The 5by20 initiative is our company’s global commitment to enable  economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by the year 2020, said Eyvon Austin, programs director of supplier diversity for Coca-Cola North America. The online sign up program is simple and free, and addresses the most common barriers women face while trying to succeed in the marketplace, while also offering access to trainings, financial services and connections with peers or mentors. Bringing that message home to her Alabama audience, Austin offered practical tips and tools to inspire the women in attendance. With a message to “Transform Your Leadership”, Austin rallied the captivated guests to…INgage the heart, INspire a compelling vision, INvent your winning team and INstill collaboration. She also shared best practices on expressing vision and passion, balancing work and life, and partnering with civic organizations to help support business.

Proving they are beverages and much more, The Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to 5by20 resonated loudly and clearly with the ladies in attendance at the Natural Hair and Health Expo as they freely shared questions, business strategies and desires toward ownership in a moderated Q&A session with Eyvon Austin.

All-in-all it was a truly refreshing time thanks to The Coca-Cola Company’s investment in empowering women.

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@AngelaMMoore316

 

 

AB+L Marries Art and Music in the Perfect Union

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In its 11th year, Art, Beats and Lyrics presented by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and affectionately known nationwide as AB+L, returned to Birmingham bringing with it its eclectic mix of stunning visuals and stirring sounds, merging art and audience in an experience which was as sophisticated as it was raw. The contemporary, yet cultured affair was hosted at the Birmingham Museum of Art on March 10th to a crowd of thousands who were treated to the best of all forms of art and cutting-edge culture. The shoulder-to-shoulder, standing room only affair offered the best of visual art, music and social hobnobbing a free admission could buy.

Featured visual artists included Frank Morrison , Miya Bailey, Rahiem, and Amirkan, whose works were crowd pleasers, along with AB+L curator and co-producer, Dubelyoo, who eagerly shared his vision of the event with early media guests. Guests were able to be up-close and connected to the art through an accessible and intimate feel initially foreign to some, but quite familiar by nights end.

Lyrical artists gracing the stages inside and outside of the museum included hip-hop headliner and New Orleans own Mannie “Figgie” Fresh, plus crowd favorites Wally Sparks, Birmingham’s DJ Rahdu and more. The Birmingham Museum of Art was lit, literally, as beams of beautiful lighting from various angles shone perfectly against the concrete and glass backdrops of the event. As if the night couldn’t get any more electric, title sponsor Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey delighted guests with specially crafted Jack Honey cocktails flowing throughout the evening. Long lines couldn’t stop crowds from capturing a sip or two of their strong and sweet elixir.

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Art, Beats and Lyrics came to Birmingham with a mission to mesh art and music under one roof with an experience not soon to be forgotten by guests. Mission accomplished and so much more. Until next year…

***Presented by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, AB+L is a traveling art and music showcase celebrating the uniqueness, creativity and diversity of art and music which began in Atlanta, GA. Now the largest exhibit of its kind, AB+L features some of the newest visual artists in the urban art industry, while also celebrating the vets and paying proper respect to their craft. Simultaneously, it highlights DJs, musical artists and poets who grace each city with some of the freshest beats, hottest performances and dopest lines. Past performing artists include: Master P, Twista, Teddy Riley and Kendrick Lamar.

@AngelaMichele316

 

Farewell, 44!

One week from today I turn the BIG 4-5. Woohoo!!!! I’m looking forward to it and all that it has in store, especially with 44 being a year to remember in every way possible.

I don’t know about you, but my idea of 45 based on 45-year-olds I saw growing up was nothing like my life now. Call me childishly misinformed, but based on some examples of the women I saw on TV like Florida from Good Times or Mable from What’s Happening, or like some I observed in different places (none of which were related to me by birth I might add) I would always think of some women 45 and older as tired all of the time, out of touch with modern times, wearing wrinkle at the ankle stockings, going to work, going to church, taking care of home and that’s all, possibly with a cigarette dangling at the end of a trembling lip because hopelessness and “this is as good as it will get” had set in. I remember seeing women with worlds which appeared to be entirely defined by their husband or lack thereof, their children, their job, or their role in the church or not so much on them as a woman.

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I know now that not all women were that way. For that, I am grateful. But I wondered, how do others see me, those younger, growing up and coming up behind me. I hope I share and they know enough about my past to see why I’m so life-set (not dead set) on enjoying my present. I hope they know that parts of my life, at least to me, have been tough as the dickens, but so am I. I hope they’ve seen a pep in my step even when my (far too many) medical issues tried to get the best of me. I hope they don’t see me as trying to dress young or not act my age, but know that I’m going to stay as fashionable and fresh as long as my body and budget allow. I hope they know I work really, really hard and take pride in caring for the ones I love, but I also purposefully plan vacations, girlfriend get-togethers, spa trips, naps, and self-centered escapes whenever possible.

When I turned 40 I felt I was grown. Turning 45 has me feeling like I’m for real, for real grown. With the approach of 45 comes an excitement and simultaneous sense of mystery regarding the future. I’m cool with that as long as I remember that I’ll always be a young as I feel, as wise as I ought to be, as strong as I need to be, as involved as I can be and as ALIVE as I should be. So farewell, 44! It’s been real, but it’s time to take life to the next level!

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@angelamichele316

We Won, Sisters

She’s been down and out, yet determined to grow up and come up.

She’s been gossiped about and still struts with a mean stride.

She’s been down to a $1 and made her family and her look like a million.

She’s been hurt and even hurt others with her hurt, but got help so she could help others.

She’s been so many versions of herself that even she had to catch her breath to embrace her true self.

She’s been in a nasty, gut-wrenching battle with rejection and disappointment and fought them off through the grace of God.

She’s let her negative mind almost get the most of her, and pulled herself up out of it into a place of perpetual peace.

She’s lived in the past far too long thinking that was as good as it gets, then decided to finally trust the future for even better.

She’s stared fear in the face and almost waved the flag of defeat, but found the strength to tell fear where to go.

She’s been lied to, lied on, and lied about, but still she chooses to love.

She’s used her mind and mouth to pick her own self apart and been put back together again by the gentle hands of her gracious God.

She’s been friended, defriended, and offended, yet still offers forgiveness and welcomes friendship freely.

She’s been so many unfair and unfortunate things she never would have imagined, yet she is still here and therefore she WON.

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She is me. She is you. We are WINNERS. We won, sisters. We WON!

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@AngelaMichele316

Coors Light Serves Up a Classic Experience

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The 75th Magic City Classic was just that, MAGIC! If you’re not familiar with the magic which is “The Classic”, it’s a large, and long-standing college rivalry pitting Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University in a battle of the best of football and half-time spectaculars, which also includes a week of epic tailgating, fashion, parties, comedy shows, concerts and more. Think of 75,000+ people converging in one place for one purpose….a GOOD time. And that would be the #mcc.

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I had the privilege to again spend time in the VIP tailgate “Chill Zone” hosted by Coors Light. For a second year in a row, this experience did not disappoint! The adult beverage bosses served up a festive atmosphere right in the heart of the magical madness and had something to offer for all, even those non-drinkers like me. The floating crowd of alumni and supporters were welcomed into the zone to a feel which was like an uber-upscale family reunion with your favorite old and soon-to-be new friends. Per usual, there was delicious food. I mean the food was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!! (And I love food so I know food.) The picnic theme with burgers, hot dogs, pork sliders, pasta salad, garden salad, uber-SWEET corn on the cob, baked beans and plentiful liquid refreshments, of course including Coors Light, was the ideal back drop for the 88 degree October weather game-goers were surprised by. The food was hot, fresh and replenished often by a doting team who was always watching and making sure all was better than well. Little extras like that make a foodie like me really, really happy. Former Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta star and radio personality Traci Steele http://tracisteele.com/ was on the scene in a fabulous jumpsuit, might I add, along with legendary (and still cute) hip-hop DJ, DJ D-Nice, both bringing a party vibe to the hot “Chill Zone” which made one want to wobble right smack dab in the middle of the sun-drenched crowd. Joining them was life-style specialist Kenny Burns, and the return of none other than rapper and reality star Yung Joc, who, was one of my favorite entertainers at the tailgate last year too. Even in the midst of sizzling sun and scorching, hot temps, the Coors Light VIP Chill Zone was a breath of fresh air.

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As if the celebratory atmosphere wasn’t enough, Coors Light extended their hospitality and HBCU support to the half-time show by presenting a $20,000 scholarship donation which was equally divided among the schools for students 21 or older. It just doesn’t get any more magical than that. Cheers, Coors Light! Here’s to more Classic magic.

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@AngelaMMoore316

The Return of the Lady

Recently I had an opportunity to spend a Saturday morning with some young girls from Grace House and young women from the University of Montevallo’s Mu Mu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. who were my captive audience for a training on Dining Etiquette.

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It had been a while since I’d done any group talks and quite honestly I didn’t realize how much I missed it until sharing that time with the ladies and little ladies. Like, I really miss speaking regularly. Their questions and responses were thought-provoking, sincere, hilarious, encouraging, hilarious (I know I’ve already said that), gasp-inducing and inspiring all at the same time. They all participated and were engaged, and sent a clear message to me that, regardless of what the media says or what we might see regarding girls and young women, the return of the lady is inevitable.

Yes, we debated who was better, Beyoncé or Kevin Gates (who? what?), but we also talked about which fork to use, what’s appropriate to discuss at the table, how to slice a bone-in, fried chicken breast with poise and elegance (and still get all of the skin and juicy, meaty goodness) and how to engage in effective networking at “fancy” functions. Sure, we talked about why it’s not a good idea to place gum behind our ears or on the rim of our plates, why “smacking somebody” is not the answer or why we can’t take crab legs from a buffet, but we also embarked on a stirring dialogue about the fact that each and every one of them will be someone BIG someday and deserved a seat at the table, and not just a seat at the table, but some undeniable influence as to what was being served, and preferably positioned at the head of that said table. We absolutely laughed out loud, when teaching each other how to gingerly bite a green, frosted cupcake or cut it with a fork, then sip tea with or without a pinky up. We discussed at length how not to pull out the hot sauce in our bag (swag) to saturate our food at a fru-fru function, and talked about how it’s okay to be classy and respectable and unique and still cute and noticed even in this bare as you dare, be angry, be loud, frown all the time, forget manners, and pop off at will world.

That time with the girls was the perfect balance of what makes a lady. A REAL lady is a woman who is able to put her best foot and best face forward, regardless of her setting or personal circumstance, regardless of her upbringing, regardless of what media or social media says and regardless of what she might have seen before or hasn’t received from others. And a REAL, REAL lady can do that while feeling comfortable and confident never forsaking that fact that she belongs.

So, here’s a snippet of what we discussed. Want more? Email angelamoore316@gmail.com

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Table Talk in the Business World

  • Avoid: religion, politics, sports team talk, inappropriate jokes or topics of conversation.
  • Share the conversation (Don’t be a talking hog).
  • Plan to talk. Know what the topic of the event is and have conversation ready to share.
  • Know the organization or product you’re representing or supporting.
  • Take a deep breath and breathe, especially if feeling out of your comfort zone.
  • Just say no to the telephone while at the table. (That includes snap chatting, texting during the event, answering your phone during the event, not turning off or silencing your phone and any other things we think we can’t go without for that brief 2-3 hours.)
  • Know that you belong at the table, and the head of the table is always for the taking.

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@AngelaMMoore316

I’m Not Feeling It

Here’s my truth…
Sometimes I’m not feeling it. I mean really. Sometimes I don’t feel like talking. I don’t feel like smiling or being nice. I don’t feel like helping or hearing other people’s problems. I don’t feel like remembering what Jesus said do or don’t do. I don’t feel like taking the high road and being silent about tomfoolery and things which are unfair. I don’t feel like squashing the feisty part of my #35211. I don’t feel like looking at the bright side, looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or even looking for the rainbow at the end of the storm. Sometimes I’m just not feeling it.
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But in those times you shouldn’t know it and it shouldn’t show because my feelings and not feeling it are between the God who can fix them and me. So on those days like today, in addition to prayer, I blast my William Murphy Demonstrate (Deluxe Edition) on Spotify really loudly in the morning before work. I search for the motivating posts and scroll quickly through the ones with complaints and bad news. I purposely think about the great things going on or coming up and think of them often. I get a dose of 90s-themed Hip Hop, usually with a Miami or Atlanta-inspired heavy, bass background. I fight back the urge to stay in bed, but I do leave my linen pulled by just enough for me to motivate me to hurry up and get back home. I fluff out my hair accessory (my wig), pull out my FINEST Kmart couture and take great care to make my lips pop with a bold red or rich purple.
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Sometimes I’m not feeling it, but in those times I do whatever I have to do to look and feel better because looking and feeling bad is not a good look for me.
@AngelaMMoore316

Are You Grown or Have You Grown Up?

In today’s day and age, a great deal of emphasis is often placed on being “grown”. I know you’ve likely heard it as I have, “I’m a grown “a” woman”, “I don’t have time for that. I’m grown”, “He ought to know better. He’s good and grown”, or ” She’s too old for that. She’s grown”. Let me help you with appropriately adjusting your expectations of people. Being “grown” is good when your behavior backs up your birthday. I’d like to argue that having “grown up” is better than being “grown”!

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Having grown up shows that your age and actions are aligned. Having grown up shows that the actions of others don’t negatively affect your reactions.  Having grown up warrants selfless and responsible responses to responsibilities, feedback, setbacks and handling your business in a way that just being grown doesn’t. Having grown up shows that you no longer let people get in your head, especially when they aren’t putting anything in your pocket. Having grown up shows that, even in the face of adversity, you take the high road knowing that it’s called “high” for a reason. Because it takes you somewhere!

Signed,

#agrownAGEDwoman

@AngelaMMoore316