Costco Favs

Yes, I know Costco isn’t a local store, but this is the first time I’ve been a member.  I have found a few favorite items that I  can’t get anywhere else, so I thought I’d share.

  1. Mango Peach Salsa.  Sometimes those people who give out samples really do get us customers to buy. When I was in Costco a month ago, the elderly lady giving out samples was having trouble opening a new jar, so I gave her a hand. I’m so glad I stopped and tasted, because now I love this salsa. One way I eat it quite often is with the next item.
  2. Chicken & Cilantro Mini Wantons. This takes literally five minutes to prepare! Then, I add some of the Mango Peach Salsa, stir it in about 30 seconds until warm and yum!
  3. Aussie Bites. I discovered these at my son & daughter-in-law’s house. They are wonderful to pack in a lunch!
  4. Cashew Clusters. Packed with nutrition, these tasty morsels are perfect for throwing in a backpack for a hike or in a lunchbox. These were a hit with our grandson.

Do you have any Costco Favorites? 

The Remagicing of Birmingham

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I’ve been reading Fannie Flagg’s I Still Dream About You, and it has made me look into so many aspects of Birmingham’s history. One is the refurbishing/reopening of  many lovely buildings downtown, most of which I’ve yet to see. Such as….

 

Florentine Building

Located at Second Avenue North and Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard, it first opened in 1926 and has always been an events center. It sat empty for about six and a half years until Corretti Catering bought it and remodeled it. It has a newly renovated ballroom and they hope to have a cafe open for lunch in April.

 

Redmont Hotel

This  hotel first opened in 1925, and some of it’s original features are the 10-foot chandelier, marble staircase, moldings and iron railings found in the lobby. Harvest Restaurant & Bar on the ground floor is a fine-dining restaurant that serves farm-to-table fare with an Italian twist. The hotel’s Cafe 2101 serves pastries and other treats made on-site, along with Revelator coffee.  Two ballrooms and two board rooms make up most of the meeting room space and there are 120 guest rooms. There is also a new rooftop lounge. The Redmont Hotel Birmingham is located downtown at 2101 Fifth Avenue North.

 

Pizitz Food Hall

The Pizitz Building was built in 1925, but it had been vacant since the early 1980s. It recently reopened with restaurants, retail and apartments. Pizitz Food Hall  is a unique dining experience with a wide variety of vendors, from traditional burgers to Asian to Ethiopian to Israeli cuisine.

Thomas Jefferson Tower

The twenty story Thomas Jefferson Tower, completed in 1929, had been  vacant since 1982. The 96 renovated apartments are ideal for living in the middle of the magic of Bham.  The newly opened  Roots and Revelry restaurant here is worth a visit.

 

Lyric Theatre

The Lyric Theatre, built in 1914 for vaudeville shows, underwent an $11 million restoration project and relit its  marquee in 2013. It features a restored 38-foot mural, “Allegory of the Muses,” that was painted by local artist Harry Hawkins.

 

The Carver Theatre

Now known as the Carver Performing Arts Center, it was originally opened in 1935 as one of the first movie houses for African-Americans to see first-run films. It closed in the 1980s, but reopened in 1993 and is now the location of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

 

The Empire Building

This Classical Revival style 16-story building was built in 1909 and was the tallest building in Alabama at the time. After being remodeled, it reopened as City National Bank. It was again sold in 2012. After a $27 million renovation, it is now experiencing new life as the Empire Hotel, which includes a restaurant and rooftop bar.

 

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photo – Hannah Scofield

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photo – Hannah Scofield

The Alabama Theatre

Now this is one I have been in. And I love it. I’ve been in similar – perhaps sister- theatres in Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida. They are all lovely. The Alabama, built in 1927  as a classic movie palace with gorgeous  Art Deco style, underwent a major renovation and restoration in the late ’90s.
Birmingham has indeed once again earned the right to be called the Magic City.

Full Pantry

 

I’d like to introduce you to Madison Murphy and her unique business, Full Pantry. This is a locally based grocery shopping service with a personal touch. Madison has a heart for her customers that can’t be beat. But first, how does it all work?

It’s simple. You place your grocery order by midnight the day before you want it. There is a form online, but you can also email, call, or text. So very flexible. The other flexible part is the variety of stores. You can choose from any store in the Greater Birmingham area, even The Market at Pepper Place, and Full Pantry delivers from Columbiana to Bessemer. My first order was from Trader Joe’s (can you say Cookie Butter?) because I don’t get over near the Summit very often, so this was an ideal choice for me. I placed the order on a Monday afternoon, and received a text with a one hour delivery window for the next day. Easy peasy.

You can learn more about the business by visiting the website.  But I’d like to tell you a little more about Madison.

This vibrant, organized, initiative-taking entrepreneur is only 24 years old, yet wise and caring beyond her years. She started the business not only with a goal of making money, but as a way to offer a service and minister to those with a need. She is experienced in serving others, as she helps her mother care for two grandmothers with dementia. In addition, she teaches piano, traveling to the homes of her students. She has to be super organized to pull it all off, which she does and does well.

As a native Birmingham girl, Madison wants to promote local businesses. Not only can you get essentials and non-grocery items like toilet paper from a Publix or Wal-Mart, but you can also get farm fresh products in season from Mountain Meadows Farm or natural supplements from Organic Harvest.

Full Pantry is ideal for working parents, moms of little ones, and shut-ins. One client, a mother of ten, depends on the weekly personal delivery. Regular customers appreciate knowing that when they say “milk” they will get what they want, whether whole or low-fat. Because their personal shopper knows their preferences.

If you are feeling overwhelmed after a long work day, tired of fighting through the supermarket with toddlers in tow, or can’t get out of the house, Full Pantry is your answer. You can rest assured that your shopper will have your best interests at heart.

You can also check them out on facebook and instagram. And soon on twitter!

Adventures with a 17 year old in B’ham – Day 4

My brother-in-law and niece are in town this week. He came for the SEC Baseball Tournament at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. She has no interest in baseball, so she and I set about exploring Birmingham.

Day 4

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This was a full day of breakfast and bookstores, gardens and a graduation. We had a friend with us on our adventures today, a girl the niece met when she was here in November. These two happily identify themselves as book nerds (they met at 2nd and Charles). We started the day at Tip Top Grill on Shades Mountain. The brother-in-law joined us for breakfast. My BLT on a biscuit was marvelous and the blue-sky view was beautiful. After a friendly conversation with Mr. S and his little granddaughter, we were on our way to the first bookstore.

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Alabama Booksmith is unique in that every book in the store has been signed by the author. The niece was thrilled to pose next to picture of one of her favorite authors, Birmingham’s own (for a while, anyway) John Green.

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Next Stop: Little Professor Book Center. Here I stayed upstairs in the used book section. I couldn’t find anything on my list, but did find a book by an author on my list, so I bought it. I need another book like I need a hole in my head, but, well, ……

We then headed for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I enjoyed the flowers and serenity; the girls were talking books the whole time. We walked through the Japanese Garden and then I surveyed the roses. I discovered that there is a library at the gardens – mostly botanical related items. I was able to use my library card to check out a few magazines and I can then return them at the Hoover Library – sweet! I also purchased a delicious smelling soap at the gift shop before we left.

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Last stop: Barnes and Noble at Patton Creek Shopping Center. I got a Smor’es frappuccino (don’t judge) and read while the girls bought even more books.

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After a few hours at home, we headed out for a graduation at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills. Two sweet young ladies passed a major milestone; one is headed for Birmingham Southern in the fall.

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ADVENTURES WITH A 17 YEAR OLD IN B’HAM – DAY 2

My brother-in-law and niece are in town this week. He came for the SEC Baseball Tournament at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. She has no interest in baseball, so she and I will be exploring Birmingham.

Day 2

If you read yesterday’s post, you know we got lost. Today we started out by getting locked out of the house before we could even leave the driveway. I had switched my purses and grabbed the wrong keys. JUST AFTER closing the locked door behind me I realized I had the husband’s car keys, and no house keys to get back in. The guys had just left for breakfast at the Egg & I, so we had no other choice but to sit on the back porch and wait. The shade was nice. I had tried all my windows, so at least I know now that my house isn’t easy to break into.

The worst part was we were headed to Maylene (a spot in the road) to pick up my pastor’s son for a belated Birthday Breakfast. We finally got there about 10am, and then headed to Panera Bread in Alabaster to enjoy our breakfast and celebrate Gabriel turning 10, then head to the Dollar Tree and Books a Million.

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The niece and I then went to Helena (which  has one of the lowest crime rates in the US), strolled down to Buck Creek Park to check out the dam, then walked the block of nearby Old Town shops.

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Tonight we sleep, for tomorrow we hike again.   🙂

Adventures with a 17 year old in B’ham – Day 1

My brother-in-law and niece are here this week. He came for the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover; she tagged along to hang out with me.

Day 1

We headed out in the morning for a little hike at Moss Rock Preserve. We both had our cameras and were hoping for some good nature photos.

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We saw a few squirrels, a chipmunk, and a cardinal, but the coolest thing I saw was blooming cacti growing out of the limestone rock. It was an unexpected sight .

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Our adventure kicked in later, as we were on our way back and got totally turned around. After backtracking several times, I finally had to admit we were lost. I spotted a trashcan and shouted “Yay, civilization!” thinking we were at the other edge of the parking lot where we’d started. Turns out we were at a parking lot alright – at the back of what I figured out later is Simmons Middle School. So back into the woods we went. We finally popped out again at a Firehouse!! The kind firemen pointed us in the right direction – about a half mile further down the road and we finally got back to the car. You can check out our route HERE.

After a break at home for food and showers, we headed out for a book adventure; first stop – 2nd & Charles on Montgomery Highway. This unique bookstore buys and sells new and gently used and it has lots of non-book products, also. I got a book for myself and a gift, the niece left with an armload.

Second stop – the Hoover Library. After giving my niece a brief tour, including the Cone of Silence, we stopped at Coffee-ol-ogy where I got an iced coffee and she got a delicious chocolate milkshake.   She then scored three books she’d been wanting at the Friends Bookstore, all for under five dollars.

Hoover library

On the way home, we made two stops at Target and Kohl’s. I was glad to get back home and rest my aching knees!