The Remagicing of Birmingham

dream

 

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.

 

ledz2

photo – Hannah Scofield

Led z

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.

Half the Year Gone

People are always asking, “Where did the time go?” The time goes in big and small moments, some memorable and some wasted. You can read my highlights of the first quarter of 2016 HERE.

Here are some highlights of the second quarter of my year:

  1. I got my taxes done on time
  2. Discovered Ruffner Mountain
  3. Finished out the year subbing – you can read some of those adventures HERE.  This also included the last three days of school with a great bunch of 8th graders  IMG_4822
  4. Flew to Tampa to spend time with fam. This included a late afternoon at Clearwater Beach and a gorgeous sunset sunset 
  5. Read lots of books – You can check out what I’ve read so far this year here on my Pinterest board
  6.  Made several trips to Pepper Place Market
  7. With more time in the summer, I checked out movies from the Hoover Library. It’s also a great place for lunch or a coffee!
  8. Discovered: Over Easy Cafe – delish!; Hillsboro Trail; Lazy Boy BBQ in Helena (great pork – best for take-out); Twisted Root Burger  in Vestavia (you  must check out the Chuck Norris wall!)
  9. First-time visit to Clanton for Peach Festival – highlight was getting peach ice cream.
  10. Got the first pedicure in over four years at Riveria Nails & Spa in Hoover. – so nice!
  11. Enjoyed watching the Braves beat the Marlins in Atlanta with hubby and daughter. braves

 

Looking forward to the rest of 2016!

30 Things I love Right Now

This post was inspired by Javacia Harris Bowser. You can read her post HERE. I decided to alphabetize my list – it’s the teacher in me. 🙂 Since she had a song in hers, I’m including one I love, too – Rainy Night in Georgia sung by Boz Scaggs.

  1. Back porch mornings
  2. BFF Cathy – we have known each other for over 40 years
  3. Blogging
  4. BOGO school supplies
  5. Bulletproof Coffee
  6. Discovering B’ham
  7. Freshly painted bathrooms
  8. Hiking at Red Mountain
  9. Husband of 36 years
  10. Loretta, my black lab
  11. Making my own schedule
  12. Melatonin
  13. Microwaved pepperoni dipped in hummus (just ask me)
  14. Mom – my example and support
  15. My grandkids – I love both of them so much my heart aches
  16. My kids – four plus my DIL
  17. PackPoint app
  18. Pepper Place Market
  19. Photography
  20. Prepping for Montana
  21. Reading
  22. Rug from World Market
  23. Salami
  24. Spotify
  25. Steak from the backyard grill
  26. The soft wind
  27. Toss pillows
  28. Tweeting
  29. Writing letters
  30. Zumba videos

Music Part Two

Garden & Gun is a must have for southerners, whether born and bred here or transplanted. I find gems in every issue, from music to restaurants to places I want to visit. I even have a playlist on Spotify made just of music I discovered while perusing the pages of this one-of-a-kind publication.

Inspired by an article in the June/July issue, written by Julia Reed, titled Songs of Summer, I got to thinking about songs that stand out in my mind and the memories attached to them. This is part two – you can read part one HERE. I have skipped the 80s as I was having babies in the 80s and just didn’t keep up with the music.

1990s

The 90s songs I know I learned from my kids. Like the Sweater Song by Weezer. I can still remember riding in the car with my youngest, the windows down and us singing the chorus loud and clear. I really didn’t know the other words until I recently googled them. Hmm, maybe I would not have been singing it with her if I had.

I was a latecomer to Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice; it cracks me up that he now has a show on the DIY Network. Anyway, I didn’t actually begin to like this one until I got the soundtrack for 13 Going on 30 , with Jennifer Garner, which came out in 2004.

Another 90s hit I like is Everyday is a Winding Road by Sheryl Crow .

I remember a bunch more, but they aren’t exactly blog worthy. Hammer Time was a fun beat. And there is a funny memory of my daughter’s teacher singing My Heart Will Go On. Celine Dion she was NOT.

Peaches by The Presidents of the United States of America is pretty catchy. My younger brother was in a short-lived band and this was on their playlist. Watch the goofy video below!

One last hit I like from the 90s is Buddy Holly by Weezer. I never saw the video until I researched it – but I love it! You can read about the song HERE.

2000s

She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5 is a song that always reminds me of my older daughter and sometimes makes me cry.

I liked Alicia Key’s Fallin’ , but I’m not so impressed with the video.

Norah Jones is a favorite with me and my husband – we saw her perform in Tampa years ago. Listen to  Don’t Know Why – she has a voice like honey.

A fun listen is “Knee Deep” by the Zac Brown Band. But it makes me miss the beach.

And that’s a wrap.

Thanks for the Musical Inspiration, Garden & Gun

Garden & Gun  Magazine is a must have for southerners, whether born and bred here or transplanted. I find gems in every issue, from music to restaurants to places I want to visit. I even have a playlist on Spotify made just of music I discovered while perusing the pages of this one-of-a-kind publication.

Inspired by an article in the June/July issue, written by Julia Reed, titled Songs of Summer, I got to thinking about songs that stand out in my mind and the memories attached to them. This will just be a sampling through the decades, except I’ll probably skip from the 70s to the 90s. I was having babies in the 80s and just didn’t keep up with the music.

1960s

What came to mind first was “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul and Mary. I didn’t realize until I looked it up that it was actually written by John Denver with the original title of “Babe, I Hate to Go”.  My memory comes from a late summer afternoon, riding in the back of my aunt and uncle’s station wagon with my cousins. I learned the song from my cousin Paula, and we were belting it out at the top of our lungs as we rode home from the public pool in Reidsville to their home in Glennville, Georgia. If I close my eyes I can feel the warm summer air blowing on my face, and hear the laughter.

An amusing song, one in which we didn’t get half the words right, was “Judy in Disguise (with glasses)” by Jon Fred & his Playboys. My little brother, when he was about three or four, would sing “Judy in the skies – na na na na…” For some reason it was great fun to egg him on to sing and dance.

JUDY IN DISGUISE (WITH GLASSES) 

I can’t let the 60s go by without a Beatle’s shout out. My cousin, Anita (Paula’s sister, see above), used to play “Eleanor Rigby” on the piano upstairs in the playroom of their house. It was an eerie and intriguing song to me, back in an innocent time of my childhood.

cousins 001

L to R: Us Cousins – Norman who sang “Judy in the Skies”, Paula, Anita, me kneeling, brother David, Serena, Denny

 1970s

Fast forward to my senior year of high school and the disco era. There are just too many songs to mention, but some of my favorites were from KC & the Sunshine band, especially “Boogie Shoes” and “Get Down Tonight”. It was a huge thrill to see them perform live at Disney during Grad Night, 1976. Back then there was a dress code for us seniors and I felt especially cool in my pantsuit, rocking out in the crowd in front of the castle. Check out the the  outfits below – mine AND the Sunshine Band’s!

70s

Me wearing my pantsuit with my brothers and Dad

BOOGIE SHOES

This next song is also on Reed’s list: “Muskrat Love” by Captain and Tennille. This came on my radar in 1977. My college roommate, Donna, was in love with Tony, and this was “their song”. They were a lot like Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam. She always kept that youthful silliness and I miss her – she passed away a few years ago.

MUSKRAT LOVE

My last 70s mention is “Brickhouse” by The Commodores. Every time I hear this I go back to my first year at Georgia Southern (then College; now University) where I joined the Chi Omega Sorority and this was like our theme song. I always think of Paula Ferguson and a bunch of us dancing to this over and over, though none of us were 36-24-26.

BRICKHOUSE

Stay tuned for Part Two

Where the Skies are So Blue

I felt the need to explain the title of my blog, since even my husband, a fairly decent Lynyrd Skynyrd aficionado, didn’t catch it. It’s from the song  Sweet Home Alabama.
“Big wheels keep on turning

Carry me home to see my kin”

Me and some of my kin   photo bomb
Yes, most of our kin are in Jacksonville, FL – ​our moms and brothers and many other extended family members. As I was driving home from my last trip to the beach (a sweet 35 minutes drive)  before we moved , the song came on the radio and I just began balling there in my car. ​With tears on my cheeks and the wind blowing my hair, I wasn’t sure what the coming year would hold. ​I was headed for Alabama​ where I have no kin. Now, after being  here a year, I still have no blood kin, but we have brothers and sisters in Christ here in B’ham. I still miss Jax, but I want so badly for Birmingham to be my new sweet home. So, one day when I sing “Carry Me Home” ​ I’ll be thinking of Alabama.
My other brothers and sisters  IMG_2129
“Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue”
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B’ham blue skies  view1