Coors Light, Concerts and Culinary Perfection…Now That’s Classic! ‪

from my page…www.angelaeatstheham.com

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First, may I start by saying I’m not a drinker. In fact, I’ve never been a drinker, but I know plenty of them, which is why I was super excited to be able to cover the Coors Light Magic City Classic VIP Tailgate in Birmingham, Alabama during the 74th Annual Magic City Classic football game. I was excited because I knew my friends would enjoy the beer, and they did. I knew I would enjoy being able to do what I love to do and that’s eat good food, meet new people, hear great music and write all about it. And I did! It was a win-win for all. And speaking of wins…Yay, Hornets!

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Let me just cut straight to the chase. Celebrity Chef Jason Ellis is a beast! And by beast, I am in no way referring to how he towered over my friends and me while we posed for an impromptu photo which slowed up the food line and warranted us a few side-eyes from the eager feasters.

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The menu, worth the 35 minutes we waited in line, consisted of fish fried and seasoned so perfectly it practically oozed with a buttery taste and was so filled with flavor I forgot the two slices of soft white bread I’d picked up to accompany it. There were grits so delightful we played a round of “guess what’s in these grits” at my table and still couldn’t figure out what made them better than my Mama’s on her best day (and my Mama can cook everyday!). He served us rice, laden with large and succulent crawfish, hot-off-the-grill grilled chicken as pleasing to the eye as it was to the palate, and fresh, crunchy cole slaw with a spicy kick which snuck up on the back of your throat with the surprise attack of an adolescent playing an old-school round of hide and go seek, yet it made you want more and more.

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Topped off by ample Coors Light beer and other stronger elixirs, crowd-wowing concerts by acts like Young Joc (who put on quite a show, by the way), academy award winning artist and my sisters “boo in her head” rapper Juicy J and others, so much mingling in an atmosphere best described as electric, and a surprise visit by Magic City Classic Ambassador Anthony Anderson, the event made it hard for me to leave to go in the game. This Magic City Classic Coors Light VIP Tailgate experience was one for Facebook and the record books!

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I don’t know what the intentions of the celebrity chef known for his stint on Season 7 of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen were when he entered Legion Field, but thanks to Coors Light he came. He served. He satisfied and he left us sleepy in that “I just devoured some itis-inducing, good, soul food” kind of way. He also left this blogger in need of just one more piece of fish. Kudos, Coors and their team of coordinators for putting a bit more magic in the Classic!

@AngelaMMoore316

You Can Take the Girl Outta the Hood….

There’s a popular saying that was really popular in my life growing up. “You can take the man/woman/boy/girl outta the ‘hood, but you can’t take the ‘hood outta the man/woman/boy/girl,” was something often said in various forms depending on the geographical location of the man/woman/boy/girl being discussed. So ‘hood, as in neighborhood could be easily substituted with words like the country, the ghetto, the projects (of which my daddy was particularly proud), Alabama, the Gump (as in Montgomery, my place of birth) and so on and so on.

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While designing my meme anticipating the upcoming Straight Outta Compton Movie and proudly blasting the West on my chest (as in West End, as in West End Manor, as in #35211), I thought about the fact that I’m glad the ‘hood remains in me. Now, don’t get me wrong. My “hoodocity” pales in comparison to some, probably most, as I’ve always been a bit genteel, and sure, it has been buffed, polished and shined up like an Italian leather Easter shoe, but believe me, it’s still there. And I’m proud. My ‘hood has helped me so much. It’s helped shape a little girl into a culturally rich, people sensitive, genuinely caring, grown woman.

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Nowhere else can you learn creativity and ingenuity like the ‘hood where you took a cardboard box and made a full-fledged dance floor, or turn Jolly Rancher and pickle selling into a thriving business. Where else can games like Four Square, Double Dutch, Hide and Go Seek, Dodge Ball, Old Mary Mack, Red Light/Green Light and Hands Up for 85 give you eight full hours of absolutely free fun, and teach you the art of improvising, teamwork and how to refresh yourself from a water hose? Where else can you have your summertime hair stylist live right across the street and she hook you up with braids and beads so colorful and plentiful that they would have made Bo Derek jealous? (Shout out to Carol!) Only the hood could provide the luxury of a wintertime, springtime, and falltime hair stylists who lived two blocks over and had burnt fried bologna, homemade biscuits and Alaga Syrup waiting for you when you walked to her house ALONE as a six or seven year old with $5 in hand to pay her to press the mess out of your hair with Queen Helen or Royal Crown Hair Dressing. (Thank you Mrs. Feagins.) The ‘hood taught me my signature picture pose and how to do it in a way that was real sassy, but still classy. (Take a look at any of the many hundreds of pictures I take today and that “hand on the right hip, head slightly tilted, smile straight at the camera” pose remains the same. As it shall. #35211ForLife) The ‘hood taught me event planning the time my Mom and her friends shut down our entire street, with permission from the city, to host a block party that rivaled one from NYC. Nowhere but the ‘hood would have an unofficial, organized “hospitality committee” comprised of the most loving and caring neighbors who would canvas the street day or night, going from house-to-house to take up donations of funds or food if anything happened to one of their own, or would call for prayer in time of tragedy (Kudos to the 19th Street caring crew like my Mom, Mrs. Mary, Mrs. Long and the rest.) My ‘hood also had loving fathers like my own and so many who wouldn’t mind breaking up a street fight (Gasp! Yes, we did have those) then calling us all to the front porch to break down some common sense (or break out a belt), reminding us, especially the young men who might have been involved of how loved and valuable we were.

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My ‘hood taught me about love, respect, courage, confidence, support to and from others, community, fun (for free) and so much more. None of that do I wish to depart. So yes, the saying is true. You can take the girl outta the hood, but you can’t (and shan’t) take the hood outta the girl, at least not this one.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Wanna See Something New? Say Something Old.

Both of my schools are in the news for two different reasons. It’s certainly bittersweet and a contradiction of the two roads of life.

The University of Alabama has embarked on a great, historical landmark with the election of the first African-American Student Government Association President in 40 years. Way to go Elliot Spillers! I know Elliot personally and admire him for so many reasons. One of which is the fact that he is vested in the undeniable process of investing in the lives of others AND purposely surrounding himself with people who can help shape, mold, groom and grow him to the greatness that obviously is within. He gets it because he allows others to give it so he can give it.

On the other side of that proverbial coin, Birmingham’s Ramsay High School made unfortunate headlines after four students were arrested for a mid-day house break-in. For decades, Ramsay has been the pinnacle of academia in the Birmingham area. Known for bringing the best and brightest from neighborhoods far and near to the beautiful campus nestled near Red Mountain, like many Birmingham City Schools, the school I love and hold dear to this day has been a great launching pad for thousands of students and me.

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The initial outcry after the arrests mostly heard from the Ramsay graduates and supporters I follow was that of shock, anger, embarrassment and disbelief that our legacy could be threatened by the careless actions of some who do not understand the nature of who we have long-sense prided ourselves on being. The comments from some of the people who have time to spew racism, ignorance and hate on posts like al.com are nothing short of venom-come-to-life. I digress…Whether the actions of those four students who had bright futures ahead is what is expected of Ramsay (or any school’s) students or not, clearly something socially and morally is missing that these and many children need.

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In the midst of prepping for my Wednesday night Empire ritual I started thinking. I started reflecting back on my high school and college days and some of the tomfoolery my friends and I found ourselves in. I made a mistake or two or ten in high school and college that I’m not proud of, but thankfully lived through, with no other purpose than to make sure someone else doesn’t do the same. None of my friends or people I thought were friends broke into a home to my knowledge, but to be completely honest and transparent, many of us (yes, I said us as I am certainly included) did things that could have made the top of the headlines or blown up social media had it existed way back then. Gasp! I prefer sipping tea over spilling it, so I won’t tell the bees-wax of anyone other than me, but I wonder what tragic, unfortunate, “wrong place at the wrong time” things could have happened to me when my friends and I skipped school, or went to a neighborhood with purple and gold donning, high school fraternity boys we had no business knowing then a mini-tornado broke out. I wonder what would have happened that time we piled into a Ford Escort with the friend of our friend named Duchess and drove all the way to Tuskegee in the middle of the week to go to a party where the floor literally fell in and the driver fell asleep en route back to Tuscaloosa. I wonder. I wonder. I wonder. While I thankfully will never know what bad could have been back then, I do know what to do now. I believe we all have a little bit of what the youth of today need. It’s up to us to pull from our bag of testimonies (even those humbling ones), know what we have to offer, be bold enough to share it, share it (whether we feel it’s effective now or not) and not stop if we really care about those who need us to care about them.

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The moral of this story: I’m proud of Elliot Spillers and hope that many more stories of this kind become the norm rather than exception. I believe it will. And yes, I’m disappointed by the Ramsay students not knowing or caring to accept the reality of the consequences of their poor actions and accept personal accountability. But let’s be real, people. We’ve all done things without entertaining the aftermath. Now is a GOOD time to get up off of those life’s lessons, mentor these students, hang out with them, hear their points of view so we can know what to do and spill our beans so we can save some lives. No longer is our real, true story good enough to sit on the shelf like a dusty book no one wants to read. It’s time to pull it down, brush it off, open up those tattered pages, unfold those stories from the beginning to that messy middle and the “thank God I made it” end and be real enough to help someone avoid the paths we overcame only by the grace of God. Our impact can mean the difference in the headlines and their lives. #RollTide #IBleedBlue

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@AngelaMMoore316

Bloggers Block and Whitney Houston

Lately I’ve been busy and unable to blog as much as I’d preferred. Actually, that’s not true. I just fibbed. I’ve not been any more busy than I normally am, and in fact some truly amazing, mind-boggling, (frightfully) wonderful, socially relevant, blog-worthy things have been happening in my life, the world and the lives of those around me. I’m certain I’ll be inspired to write about those things soon, but of late, I haven’t been moved to write, or at least write something new.

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I realized today that I’m experiencing a bit of self-inflicted bloggers block. As thoughtful, inspiring and up-with-the-times as I try to be, often letting my personal commentary speak about my life personally and shedding light on public matters, I looked around the world, this country, my state of Alabama, even my own life and decided I didn’t want to talk about any of the things going on. Sometimes I just don’t feel like keeping up with the times in a way possibly expected. As a blogger, I’ve got to convince myself that that’s okay. Sometimes it’s okay to simply share what’s on my heart, whether it’s in line with things going on socially, legally, personally, politically or not. It’s okay not to be deep, inspiring, encouraging, transparent, practical or even sensible. Sometimes it’s good just to write. So I am.

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What does that have to do with Whitney Houston? Glad you asked. I miss the music and inspiration of Whitney Houston. As a soon-to-be 43-year-old I now get how the droves of Elvis Presley fans fondly remember Elvis and all his imperfect glory through life and death. I get now, how my mother took it so extremely hard the day Marvin Gaye died as we were preparing to head off to school, and how the sweet scent of her White Diamond perfume lingered in my nose all day as I remembered her crying up against the chest of drawers at the sound of WATV’s Shelley the Playboy saying Marvin had been murdered. I get how the loyal allegiance of fans of Pac or Biggie remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard of the untimely and tragic passings of their musical icons. I get how some humans (healthily) affix their affections to those they’ve never known, but whose star power helped shine light on their lives, even in the midst of their utter humanity, and how, during the time leading to the anniversary of their passing that rollercoaster of emotions is revived again. I’m not speaking of the wacky, fanatical men and women who take their appreciation for a another’s gifts far too far. I speak of those who simply appreciate the impact a person’s life has had on their own life through a television, a movie screen, a booming system, on a field, from a ball court, a stage or in an upstairs room shared by a younger sister in Birmingham’s West End Manor as the sounds of I Wanna Dance With Somebody blast from a mini-boom box set to WENN-FM and being recorded simultaneously by a blossoming teen with a love for love, lipgloss, Member’s Only and neon. For me, Whitney Houston is that one.

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This year, making the anniversary of Whitney Houston’s February 11th death even more poignant is the tragedy recently occurred in the life of her only daughter Bobbi Kristina. It feels like this year, similar to years I’ve lost personal loved ones, I’ve been made even more aware of the beauty of life, the often overbearing pressures of life and the fact that life makes no promises. I’ve been contemplating things like the importance of family (blood or otherwise), understanding the struggles of others, truly living, getting my business in order, celebrating people while they’re present, knowing when to operate in respect of the lives and privacy of others, and simply not being mean. No, those things don’t have anything to do with what might appear to be more newsworthy and pressing matters in the world around us, but they matter, at least to me. #RIPWhitney

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@AngelaMMoore316

One of These Legs is Not Like the Other One

Sunday, September 14, 2014 was a revelatory day for me. While enjoying the fun and food at Birmingham, Alabama’s Trucks by the Track I was reminded by my sister that my bra on the left side was showing over my black and white striped sundress. This dress, in particular, has always been one of my favorites as it’s fashionable and flowly all in one. It’s the perfect frock for a food truck fest. The problem is, regardless of when I wear it and what I wear it with my bra on the left side always seems to inch up to be seen. I’m a lady, in the truest, southern-sense of the word so I don’t delight in having my “secrets” by Victoria or Delta Burke (Google it) seen. Having had that particular maxi-dress in my wardrobe a few years I’ve attempted to overcome the undergarment issue by adjusting the straps all the way to the end. Still, within a few minutes of wearing it, even if I put a jacket on top, I am challenged by an unwanted game of peek-a-boo bra.

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Not that this dress is the only one who has given me a run for my money. There have been others, including a beautiful white sundress purchased at the Ross Dress for Less in Destin, Florida that caused me to sew the left side up so that the adjustable strap wouldn’t move. I eventually got rid of it. Never did it occur to me that the placement on the left side strap of a lot of things I own(ed) had to be adjusted higher or tighter than the right, or that my left pant leg would often get caught in my pump, or that my left heel would seldom slip out of my shoe…for most of my life. So, while standing there with a fresh, hot Hooked fish and chips basket in my hand I made a bold declaration, “One of my legs is longer than the other.” As if they had been waiting to hear me say that, my mama nodded with a look of agreement only a loving mother offer and my sister blurted out (as only she could), “And I know which one it is too. It’s that left one that’s shorter. Uuuhhhmmm, that’s the one.”

And just like that my 40+ years of standing tall and proud (not always proud, but now super proud) as a 5 foot 9 inch woman was cut short(er). “What the world?!?!?!?”, was my first thought. Then the questions started popping off in my mind and thankfully being answered, as if straight from Heaven, at the same time.

  • You mean to tell me I’m even far less perfect than I already thought? (Yes, you are and God will make sure you don’t ever forget it.)
  • Why hadn’t I known this sooner? (So that it wouldn’t get stuck in your mind and hinder my movement spiritually more than physically.)
  • My left leg is actually a few inches shorter? (Yes, it is. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s quite common. Plus it matters not and won’t hinder your motion.)
  • What would a shorter left leg mean for me? (It will mean what it’s meant all of these years…absolutely nothing, other than beefing up your sewing skills when needed, and monitoring your “southern girl switching” when necessary.)
  • What would the world think? (They’d think what they have always thought, or likely wouldn’t be thinking of you at all, boo.)
  • How would I go on? (Just like I have all along one leg at a time. Now get to steppin’!!!)

 

The moral of this message is: You can still keep it moving, even if things come up short.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Things I Miss

There was a trend going on called “I’m So” where people share memories of people, places or things familiar to their city, neighborhood or school. I must say, I was tickled pink reading and reminiscing on memories of old. It reminded me of this post originally posted some time ago. Today, in honor of #TBT and to go with my #bloglikecrazy theme of Making Memories I’ve remixed this post again. What are your favorite memories?

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Riding into work recently I took a mental trip down memory lane compliments of Pandora. The music of old made me think of people, places and things I’d enjoyed in the past. It made me realize just how much our past really shapes who we become.

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I Miss…

  • Quincy’s Yeast Rolls from the Midfield Quincy’s down from the Cobb Midfield Six Theater and across from Wendy’s
  • Baskin Robbins in Birmingham
  • The Alabama State Fair at Fairpark
  • Practicing for my Easter speech at Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church (where we also listed to Shirley Murdock’s “As We Lay” on the church van just before going to visit the elderly)
  • Palmetto Jeans from Parisian and ribbons from Hancock Fabric in Five Points West
  • Sundays in my overalls with one strap down at George Ward Park (before the fights and killings, of course)
  • Giggling (and being scared at the same time) because I knew what B.A.Q. meant
  • Pulling the cardboard box out of the middle of the street when cars came by interrupting a serious breakdance street session
  • Learning how to drive in Arrington Middle School’s parking lot
  • Waiting on “Batman” to ride down the street in his car
  • Ice Cream from the Ice Cream man that only costs $.50, and rode by just before the mosquito spray man
  • Gas that was under $1
  • Three-piece, plastic, birthstone jewelry sets from Woolworth in Western Hills Mall
  • Size 2 (and her cousin Size 0)
  • MTV when the “M” actually stood for music and Duran Duran was in heavy rotation
  • Having friends in West End (where I lived) and Homewood (where I went to school)
  • Having a serious crush on Cosmo Flex
  • Going to the teen dance at Showbiz
  • Going to Piggly Wiggly off of Jefferson Ave (just down from the African American golf course)
  • ANYTHING from Marsh Bakery
  • First day of school outfits from Parisian, JC Penney’s, New Ideal, The Pants Store or Yielding matched with Bass, Mootsie Tootsie or Sam & Libby shoes
  • Parties at the LR Hall, Highlands Racket Club, Masonic Temple, Rime Garden Inn or anywhere else people would let wild teenagers go
  • GIORGIOcotillions
  • Free movies at the Cobb Midfield Six Theater (minus the people fighting, or the occasional boyfriend drama)
  • Walking to get my hair straightened from 19th Street to 18th Place with Royal Crown, enjoying a “burnt” bologna sandwich or biscuits with Alaga Syrup when I arrived
  • Riding in the back of my family’s green station wagon, passing women on Birmingham’s 4th Avenue and getting a valuable lesson in life on how not to end up a “woman of the night”
  • Magic City Classics when everyone wore leather, pleather and fur and my bestie and I walked the entire game
  • The Flintstones and The Jetsons in heavy rotation
  • Cassette Tapes and answering machines with my “sultry voice” and music from the Quiet Storm in the background
  • Saturdays at the Five Points or Bessemer Flea Market, Sundays at Fair Park and summers at City Stages or The Southern Heritage Festival
  • Having a “boyfriend” in KTU (for all of one month mind you) and thinking I was something
  • Sick days out of school when I wasn’t actually sick
  • Soap Operas when Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless and All My Children were about as bad as television would get
  • Shelly the Playboy, Tall Paul and anybody from WENN, and hearing “Go to Churrrrccchhhh” on Sundays on WATV
  • Skipping school to go to Magnolia’s for a brownie or Subway on Southside for a meatball sub then coming back to eat in Ramsay’s courtyard
  • Boys who actually dressed up to impress girls because the girls demanded it

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Not at all ungrateful for the present or lacking in hope for the future, sometimes a gentle reminder of good things from the past proves to be just the boost needed. One thing I’ve learned is when you’re on your way somewhere, it’s good to remember the great places you’ve already been knowing that even better days are always on the horizon. Here’s to many more amazing memories!

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@AngelaMMoore316