K&J’s Offers Pastry Perfection

I was first introduced to K&J’s Elegant Pastries when they opened less than two minutes from my parent’s home in Alabaster. Running in quickly to see what all of the fuss was about I was pleasantly surprised by the moist, sweet, but not too sweet taste of the sweet potato cupcake my then four-year-old niece and I tried. I would soon find out that this was a customer favorite.

Fast-forward two years later, while searching for a secret cake for my secret wedding I was planning, my mother, still living less than two minutes from the quaint, little storefront shop, stopped by and had a conversation about cakes which would lead to a love affair with their pastry perfection. Not only was their price much lower than any I’d found on my own while searching the web, but I would come to find out on December 30, 2016 that their taste and presentation for my beloved caramel (top tier), lemon (middle tier) and chocolate layered (bottom tier) wedding cake was second to none. Don’t believe me? Take a look.

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Caramel popcorn top tier, Lemon middle tier, Chocolate bottom tier

I came to find out that my wedding cake was one of the last orders taken for a while as they prepared to move from the first location into what I was told would be a beautiful new place more centrally located in the “mainstreet” section of Alabaster, and as the cupcake fairies would have it, closer to my house.

 

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K&J’s Elegant Pastries new location

 

 

For WEEKS my family and I road by the location which was to be their new location waiting on their opening. When the doors finally opened on February 18th we all had a planned family engagement and missed it. No worries. This foodie is for real. We’ve made up for it, and then some since then, visiting at least once weekly or close to it for one dessert of another (Hey, judge ye not…LOL!)

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Just posing and pretending not to want an even bigger slice of cake

 

 

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Chocolate and Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

 

Every. Single. Thing. we’ve eaten from the beautifully decorated pink pastry boutique has been stellar. The family-friendly atmosphere and welcoming staff only make the cakes, cupcakes, milkshakes, cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats that much more enjoyable.

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Pound Cake

 

 

The new K&J’s Elegant Pastries is located at 236 1st Street South in Alabaster, and can easily be seen just off of its Highway 31 location, or often from the line of cars outside of the door. The space is truly elegant and upscale, while remaining warm and welcoming. It’s the ideal spot to satisfy a sweet tooth or perfect place to host a cupcake party…(hint, hint, husband!)

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@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

 

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

Divorce 101: Get the Last Laugh

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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.

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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.

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So hang in there wherever you are. You will get the last laugh, even if it’s laughing at yourself.

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@AngelaMichele316