A monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.”
There’s already a conflict.
How on earth does this happen? Dost the masses not understand the unwritten rule of the south - the rule that states, and I quote, “Thou shall not schedule important and/or life-altering events during any given Saturday for the duration of the fall season?”
Yet somehow, it occurs. A blind eye is turned. The rule overlooked. The statute ignored. The priorities flushed.
In the college football fan attendance and viewing playbook for the upcoming season, November 7, 2015, looked to be one of those days of perfect gridiron engagement bliss. Alabama vs. LSU. Auburn vs. Texas A&M. Tennessee vs. South Carolina. Arkansas vs. Ole Miss. The list goes on…
The football scheduling brass looked down upon their work. They savored their craftsmanship, as they had created a gift to all SEC college football fans of the world. They celebrated their achievement with high-fives and self-adoration, while visions of advertising dollars danced in their heads. The people approved. And they were pleased.
Harmonious celebration was sure to ensue. Birds chirping. Children laughing. Fathers rejoicing.
But in the distance, a thunderstorm was evolving, in the form of an intrusive, upper-level low made up of everlasting commitment and impending nuptials - a disturbance caused by a jet stream of affection; a cold front of love.
Indeed, a friend scheduled his wedding on Nov. 7, and out of state to boot.
Suddenly, the vision of tailgating and grilling and chips and dips became blurry. The glory of the first game starting at 11 and the last game ending at 11 and never missing a moment of it became distorted. The outlook was grim, and the future uncertain. Gloom, despair and agony were soon to be followed by deep dark depression and excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.
After coming to grips with the certain doom, the football Gods smiled, and as luck would have it… the happy couple changed their wedding date. But there is no way I was going to erase all of this and start over.
Rest assured, something will come up. It always does, just like it did 10 years ago. And sometimes, certain events trump (not an endorsement) other events.
To be fair, and for all of those keeping score at home, yours truly got married in the month of October which, of course, is smack-dab in the middle of football season. It was a gorgeous day, with lovely weather and low humidity. But most importantly, it was to a beautiful woman who has managed to put up with my eccentricities for almost 10 years. She deserves an award, and she most definitely deserved her wedding day whenever and wherever she wanted it. And she got it.
That’s how it happens. And that, my friends, is priority.
Happy Anniversary, Honey.
I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.
Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and daughters Savannah and Anica.
Article sponsored by Bradford Health Services.
Find them on the web at: https://bradfordhealth.com
By Courtney Corbridge
Let’s face it: competition for jobs continues to be challenging for everyone. And it works both ways, as employers struggle to attract sustainable employees. For potential employees, a spiffy résumé is a must –but there are a number of other factors that can help someone land a dream job.
That’s where workforce development comes in, and it’s happening right here in T-Town.
Shaunee Lynch, manager at the Tuscaloosa branch of PSI (Personnel Staffing, Inc.), gives a few tips on how to get the job your dreams—even if you only have limited experience.
But first, what are the biggest challenges potential employees face in today’s job market?
Surprisingly, it’s not a matter of being under-qualified. In fact, Lynch says it’s actually a weakness in “selling [your] skilled contributions to a company.” Often what a job-seeker might write off as being unimportant, employers see as assets. This is why having contacts for previous employers is so valuable; they can vouch for your character and work ethic. As Lynch describes, “When employers call an applicant’s previous employers for a reference, the response can be the difference between being hired or not considered”—even if you are the most qualified applicant.
Since the reports of previous employers can be so vital, it is important to remember that no matter who you work for—or for how much—you need to, as Lynch says, “display professionalism and an eagerness to benefit [your] employer.” Their reports become one of the best return-of-investments for you, since they will continue to build and strengthen your résumé over time.
Another challenge for new job seekers is knowing the unwritten rules of the interview process. A few to remember are dressing appropriately, not exposing personal information during the interview process, arriving at the right time, and learning to transform your paper résumé into a verbal platform in person.
At PSI this is exactly what Lynch helps a variety of people to do every day. In her words, they “transition their employees from the ‘I just want a job’ attitude to an ‘I want to be an asset’ attitude.” PSI helps clients create a sustainable and qualified workforce by educating employees and helping them to maximize their employability.
Lynch told of one recent success story:
“We had two very persistent young men, who are related, and had no work experience come to our office looking for a job. Over the course of two weeks, we taught them how to write a ‘no-experience’ résumé, sent them on a short assignment to experience the value of employment, and the importance of identifying self-value. After a few conversations, I learned that they both had great skill and gifts that can be transferred to a degree in higher education. They are both now working full-time for one of our clients and are enrolling in school. When I called to deliver the news about their hiring the grandmother’s response was priceless!”
Regardless of your current employment status, a great job worthy of your talents can be available to you.
Article sponsored by Interlinc Mortgage Services.
Find them on the web at: https://www.interlincmortgage.com
By Tori Linville
Maybe it’s a silhouette out of the corner of your eye. It could be hushed voices when no one’s around. Maybe something falls off a shelf unexpectedly. Or a cold rush overcomes you and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
These are just a few experiences you could have in some of Alabama’s haunted places – some people have already had them. We’ve listed some places around your area that are known for their supernatural residents. Feel free to visit – if you dare.
There’s a reason both paranormal reality shows “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Hunters” have investigated the happenings at Sloss Furnaces. Creepy stories and legends practically hold up the walls to Sloss Furnaces, the old pig iron manufacturer. More than 60 workers died during the furnace’s heyday. The deaths were nasty accidents, though some contest that some were murdered. Here’s what has been experienced:
· apparitions of figures throughout the furnaces
· sounds of workers moving behind/beside visitors
· pipes banging and other residual noises
· two investigators reported having been slapped in the face
Hotel Highland/Pickwick Hotel
The Hotel Highland features many unexplained events that leave visitors scratching their heads. Known also as the Pickwick Hotel in the 1950s, the building used to be known as The Pickwick Club before that. It was also once a medical building. Some say a nurse still roams the halls of the hotel. Here’s what’s floating around:
· ghostly figures sighted frequently, including a little girl, a man in a suit in the dining room and a woman in a long dress entering the elevator
· eerie, cold feeling in basement gym, which used to be a morgue, along with strange smells
· feeling of being touched
· feeling of being watched
The Jemison Center at Old Bryce Mental Hospital
There are several things said about “Old Bryce,” and most is usually fiction. Some claim that former slaves were forced back into slavery at the facility. Since it wasn’t founded as a health care provider until the 1920s, the slave theory doesn’t make much sense. Regardless, the patients who lived in the facility most likely did live through the abuse that occurred for many mental patients during the time. Here’s what people have recorded from their visits:
· unexplained voices, footsteps
· unexplained slamming doors
· unexplained hair pulling
· sensation of being hit or kicked
If visiting Old Bryce sounds like fun to you, we wouldn’t advise it. Trespassers caught on the grounds will be prosecuted for breaking the law.
Moundville Archeological Park
Down the road in Moundville, the Moundville Archeological Park is home to the remains of a large settlement created by the native peoples who lived in the area beside the Black Warrior River. The mounds in the settlement helped support residences, were used for a mortuary and had other uses. It’s said the spirits of the Moundville natives can still be felt among the grounds. Here’s the spooky run-down of what’s been seen and heard:
· faint drumming heard at night
· light coming from one of the larger mounds, taking the shape of a pyramid
Kate Shepard House Bed and Breakfast
The gorgeously decorated bed and breakfast has said to have visitors that are always checked in. Run by friendly staff and teaming with Southern charm and history, there’s no questioning why the masses flock to the breathtaking home. Here’s what those who got to check out have reported:
· an apparition of an elderly woman seen in guest rooms
· strange presence felt by staff and customers
Battle House Renaissance Hotel
A member of the Historic Hotels of America, the Battle House Renaissance Hotel is known for its luxurious ways. The hotel regularly aces customer reviews, and lists a 4.8 for service and cleanliness via a 5.0 scale on its website. While the hotel has been renovated, history can’t be removed like drywall. Here’s what’s been reported:
· unexplained voices and apparitions
· faucets turning on and off by themselves
· unexplained photo evidence of apparitions
Once known as the state’s capital, Cahaba, Alabama is now a certified ghost town. Eerie, empty buildings are only maintained by the Alabama Historical Commission. Abandoned streets, cemeteries and ruins are the only markers that anyone ever lived in the town.
Check out hauntedplaces.org for more ghostie fun.
Article sponsored by Alabama Power.
Find them on the web at: http://www.alabamapower.com
No matter where you live in Alabama, you are close to something fun to do this fall. And since the weather is so nice, it’s hard not to get out of the house and join up with the community. Here are a few of our favorite seasonal activities for each of the big areas of the state.
By Courtney Corbridge
If it’s one thing true Southern women know, it’s fashion. And while pearls are always in style for women from Huntsville to Tuscaloosa to Mobile, why not consider adding a little extra flair? This fall mix up your look with bold pieces, simple pieces, or both!
For the bold:
· Big and Bright
While the rich colors of the harvest may be just around the corner, the vibrant colors of summer still reign in the world of jewelry. Trending now are large multi-colored crystals paired against each other or with vibrant contrast bands.
JCrew’s ombre crystal statement necklace features clusters of crystals that gradually move from creams to teals then pinks to greens and deep blues.
For even greater pop, the JCrew leather brulé bracelet showcases a host of rainbow sheen crystals on the backdrop of a fluorescent yellow leather band.
If you’re feeling extra daring, ditch the “pair” and go with a now-trending runway look of a solo stud or drop earring.
For the understated:
· Bunches of Bangles
Another trend making it big is the bangle. Wear one simple bangle or load up and mix and match them. Find Kendra Scott’s cuff bracelet series at Nordstrom, or for a finer piece, check out Tiffany’s infinity knot cuff.
· Long Pendant Chains
The retro long chain and pendant are big this fall. Get out an old thin chain or check out the y-chains at Nordstrom. Chan Luu’s beaded double strand is a favorite.
For the classical:
· Pearly Whites
The surge in pearl popularity (finally the rest of the world gets it!) lets you break out your strands in grand fashion. Twist them together to wear them in new ways or find a pearl brooch or hair piece to accessorize with.
· Bring the Brooch
Brooches are not just what you found in your grandmother’s jewelry box. They are coming back full force with Prada, Chanel, and Calvin Klein—in metals, flowerets, and organic shapes. Find one to dress up your fall cardigans, jackets and sweaters. And really, let’s face it: Women of Alabama, we almost all have a special family heirloom brooch tucked away in our lovely, monogrammed jewelry boxes, do we not? Time to show it off!
Article sponsored by Nancy and Co.
Find them on the web at: http://www.nancyandco.com
By Courtney Corbridge
Fall isn’t fall without a good corn maze or pumpkin patch. But finding the best one online can prove a challenge. So we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are some of the best pumpkin patches in the state—complete with addresses, phone numbers, activities, fees, and hours of operation. It’s all of what you need and none of what you don’t. Find the best one near you!
The Great Pumpkin Patch
39min north of Birmingham
1hr 20min from Huntsville
288 Co Rd. 45, Hayden, Al 35079
Open from Sept. 26–Nov. 1, Birmingham’s Great Pumpkin Patch is the image in your head when you think, “take me to a pumpkin patch.” Here you can take your celebrations to the next level with extreme bungee jumping, an inflatable park, pony rides, and train rides. Admission is free, so any charges are just for what you choose to do.
Fri and Sat, 8am–6pm
$7–9 wagon rides (pumpkin included)
$3–5 inflatable park
$1–3 pony rides
$1–3 train rides
$1–2 petting zoo
1hr 8min east of Birmingham
2hrs 5 min from Montgomery
1073 County Road 13
Heflin, AL 36264
Each weekend in October, take your kids for some fun at Bennett Farms. They are complete with hayrides, petting zoos, corn cribs, a hay maze, pipe slide, tire crawl, and wagon train. To top it off, on Saturdays from 11am–1pm, there is live music from guys like John Howle, Russell Blanton, or the David Winkle Band. Don’t miss it.
$10 child admission (kids younger than 1 are free)
$5 adult admission
$3–20 pumpkins are an additional fee
55min north of Birmingham
1hr 6min from Huntsville
7066 County Road 703
Cullman, Alabama 35055
If there’s a place that has it all, it’s 4D farm. The usual corn box, hayride, pillow jump, petting zoo, hay jump, corn maze, and pumpkin patch are all here. But then there are duck races, pig races, cow trains, and horse swings. And even that’s not all. You still have to add in the massive spider web, 200ft kid’s zipline, corn cannons, pumpkin slingshots, two-story play barn, and the 80ft black mamba slide! Close to both Birmingham and Huntsville, this place is practically an amusement park, and it’s open from Sept. 26–Oct. 31.
$9.95 general admission
$7.95 admission for 65+
Sat & Sun
$10.95 general admission
$7.95 admission for 65+
Pumpkins are an additional fee
$2–4 corn cannon
$2–4 pumpkin slingshots
$4 pony rides
Pumpkin Patch Express
35min south of Birmingham
53min from Montgomery
1919 9th St
Calera, AL 35040
Combine your pumpkin search with the love of trains! The Pumpkin Patch Express takes you on a 1 1/2 hour ride through the forests of Shelby County, and at the end, you get to pick a pumpkin, jump on the bounce house, and more! It’s a new way to experience the joy of finding your perfect pumpkin every weekend in October.
Train Ride Schedule:
Sat—10am, 1pm, and 3pm (3pm excluded on Oct. 31)
Sun—1pm and 3pm
Children under 2 are free
Faye Whittemore Farms
51min northwest of Birmingham
1hr 21min from Huntsville
2hr 18min from Montgomery
1335 Forrester Rd.
Jasper, AL 35504
Put a spin on your pumpkin patch adventures with a pirate-ship playground. Faye Whittmore Farms also has a petting zoo, moonwalk, inflatable slide, fishing, and face painting. It’s a great place for the whole family.
$10 general admission
Pumpkins are 30 cents per pound.
Old Baker Farm
41 min southeast of Birmingham
1hr 17 min from Montgomery
184 Furrow Lane,
Harpersville, Al 35078
Old Baker Farm goes beyond the regular pumpkin patch with a cotton bounce, civil war reenactment, a cotton patch, hay maze, hay mountain, Indian festival dances, and horseback rides. Everything except food, horseback rides, and the crafts are included in the admission price.
Pumpkin Patch 9/26–10/31
Cotton Picking Celebration 10/24–25
$10 general admission (pumpkin included)
Griffin Farms Pumpkin Patch
46 min southwest of Birmingham
826 Griffin Rd
West Blocton, Alabama
Open from September 26 to October 31, Griffin Farms Pumpkin Patch has hayrides, corn cribs, a corn maze, petting zoo, swings, bouncy obstacle course, tire mountain, culvert slide, hay mountain, 450-foot zip line, 18-foot rock climbing wall, and 7-foot kids climbing wall. With an extra fee, you can also get your face painted and take a pony ride.
$10 general admission (pumpkin included)
$5 pony rides
$5–10 face painting
Article sponsored by Diamonds Direct.
Find them on the web at: http://www.diamonds-direct.com
S’mores in a Skillet? Yes, Please
By Amy Poore
If your idea of a perfect fall evening involves hanging out in the backyard with friends and family cheering on your favorite teams and enjoying tasty treats, this is a recipe just for you. Did you know that you can make S’mores at home, without a campfire? Yep, you can. You can make them in a skillet! Enjoy this recipe – it is always a huge hit.
Happy fall, y’all, and bon appétit!
1/2 Tablespoon melted butter
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
7-10 jumbo marshmallows, cut in half
Box of graham crackers
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Swirl butter around the bottom and sides of an 8 inch iron skillet.
Evenly spread chocolate chips in the bottom of skillet.
Arrange marshmallow halves on top of chocolate chips (cut side down).
Place on middle rack and back 6-10 minutes or until the tops of marshmallows are browned.
Let sit for five minutes; serve immediately with graham crackers.
*Caution - skillet and dip will be hot.
Amy Poore is a new mom, a wife and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at www.pooreamy.com.
Photo: Amy Poore
Article sponsored by A Touch of Love.
Art lovers will descend on Kentuck Park this weekend to enjoy one of the premiere art festivals in the country. The 44th annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts will be held this Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18. More than 270 diverse artists will present their work and interact with festival-goers at Kentuck this year.
Nationally recognized for its quality and diversity, a stroll through the Kentuck Festival brings visitors eye-to-art with a variety of artistic styles ranging from folk to contemporary art and craft. Traditional and heritage craft artists such as basket weavers, blacksmiths, potters and quilters invite visitors to watch them demonstrate their skills and share the secrets of their craft.
Kentuck will feature a variety of live music and spoken word performances on two stages. This year’s lineup includes Debbie Bond and the Trudats, the Steel City Jug Slammers, The Bear and The Mulligan Brothers.
An interactive art environment in the center of the Festival entertains both young and old with an invitation to befriend a tuba at the musical petting zoo, squish clay, or indulge in fabric fantasies at the tie-dye area.
Free, continuous shuttles provide transportation to the park from downtown Northport. Advance purchase only weekend tickets are available online through Oct. 17 for $15 for ages 12 and up. Children under 12 are admitted free. Daily tickets are $10 per person per day. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. No pets, alcohol or smoking are allowed in the park.
The 44th annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts hours are Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information on the 2015 festival, including the full artist lineup and the schedule for each day, visit www.kentuck.org or call (205) 758-1257.
Article sponsored by Hudson Poole.
Find them on the web at: www.hudsonpoole.com
By Tori Linville
The DCH Foundation will host its three PINK events to raise awareness for breast cancer, with all proceeds benefiting The DCH Foundation’s Breast Cancer Fund. There are several opportunities to get involved in this week's fun activities.
To kick off the fundraising festivities, the foundation will host its Day on the Courts Ladies Tennis event this Tuesday, Oct. 13. A Nite on the Green and The DCH Foundation Golf Classic will follow, on Thursday, Oct. 15 and Friday, Oct. 16, respectively. Each event will be held at the Indian Hills Country Club.
Former Alabama Gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson was key in helping make the breast cancer fund a reality. Casey Johnson, the foundation’s director of development, said it was then that the breast cancer awareness events began to form.
“Back in 2004, The DCH Foundation was approached by Sarah Patterson to help uninsured and underinsured women with assistance in getting mammograms and needs associated with diagnosis and treatment,” Johnson said. “Because of her own struggle to get a clear mammogram, she had encountered many women who had shared their struggles while sitting together in doctors’ waiting rooms. Coach Patterson knew that together, we could put together a program to make a difference in the lives of women in need in our community.”
The “Day on the Courts” was added four years ago to the event lineup, providing a tennis mixer that allows for breakfast, doubles play, lunch, gifts for players and prizes for winners, Johnson said.
“A Nite on the Green” includes music by Fast Lane Melvin, a band formed by Luke Standeffer, Scott Donaldson, Bob Falls, Stuart Falls and John Voltz. While the events make fun a priority, they also serve to create a better quality of life for breast cancer patients and their families, Johnson said.
“Participation ensures uninsured women in our community will have the opportunity to have proper mammograms, further testing if needed, and wigs, prostheses and more if they are diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said.
For more information on how to get involved, call The DCH Foundation at (205)-759-7349 or visit dchfoundation.org. to book a team or to purchase tickets.
“The color pink is known everywhere as the ‘color’ for breast cancer awareness,” Johnson said. “The important thing is not the actual color, but the faces behind it. Far too many women (and men) are being diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection is so important. Treated early, they are living longer, happy, healthy lives.”
Photo: The DCH Foundation
Article sponsored by DCH Health System.
Find them on the web at: https://www.dchsystem.com
By Courtney Corbridge
By the time summer rolled around each year, the only things left in my trick-or-treat pillowcase at the base of my closet were a few rolls of Smarties and a bunch of empty wrappers. Summer popsicles and ice cream cones set my sweet tooth at bay, but by September, when I found myself back in school, I often had one thing on the edge of my mind—Halloween. I dreamed of dressing up, bringing home my weight in chocolate, and then trading out treats with my siblings on the living room floor. It was one of the great meccas of childhood.
But not for everyone. In fact, while almost all of my friends loved dressing up and going from house to house, a few of them got the short end of the stick when it came to trick or treating. And the biggest setback was typically allergies! One of my closest friends was actually allergic to chocolate! Can you imagine? Others had peanut allergies, and others weren’t allowed to have sugar. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common thing for a lot of kids. The most common kid allergies include milk, eggs, nuts, and wheat. So how can we help those deserving kids find the magic in Halloween and trick or treating as well? Here are a few alternatives you can consider to your typical candy-in-a-bowl routine.
--Mini Nail Polish
--Small Bags of Legos
--Mini Bubbles Bottles
--Halloween Cookie Cutters
--Mini Notepads or Coloring Books
--Fake Dracula Teeth
--Mini Flash Lights
Last year Food Allergy Research and Education, Inc. (FARE) started an awareness program for kids with allergies called The Teal Pumpkin Project. Families who are committed to giving healthy alternatives on Halloween can put a teal pumpkin by their doorstep so that trick or treaters and their parents can identify allergy-friendly homes. If you would like to join in, please visit http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project#.VfhBtxFVikp to learn more.
Article sponsored by Lakeside Dental.
Find them on the web at: http://www.lakesidedentalsmiles.com
By Stan J. Griffin
The recently-released biography written by Monte Burke about University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, titled Saban, The Making of a Coach, has received a host of positive reviews, and is no doubt a huge seller, especially in Tuscaloosa with the college football season now underway.
Saban himself, however, expressed displeasure with the book during the Crimson Tide's fall camp, especially with the timing of the release of the 324-page book that basically chronicles his coaching career and how he was shaped by his relentless and demanding father, among others.
"I just want everybody to know that I'm opposed to an unauthorized biography for anybody," he said. "I think that is some person you don't even know trying to profit by your story, or someone else's story. One of these days when I'm finished coaching at Alabama, I'll write an authorized book, because, you know, there's really only one expert on my life, and guess who that is, me. There won't be any misinformation, there won't be any false statements, there won't be any hearsay and there won't be any expert analysis from somebody else."
Despite the objections from the ninth-year Alabama coach, who did not participate in the work at all, Burke's tome is, nevertheless, engaging, and, at times, very engrossing.
While the book rehashes many of the stories that anybody who follows Alabama football, or college football in general, has heard many times before, such as the chain of events that allowed late former Alabama athletic director Mal Moore to lure Saban to the Crimson Tide program and away from the NFL's Miami Dolphins, it is well-researched. It is also enhanced throughout by revealing quotes from numerous former coaches and players.
Many of these quotes are blunt, and, at times, critical - especially regarding Saban's demanding and often profane nature on the field and his tendency, especially early in his coaching career, to quickly jump from job to job.
“He wasn’t very personable, which is okay because he wasn’t paid to be personable,” former Cleveland Browns linebacker Ed Sutter noted about Saban during his tenure as an assistant coach with the Browns under Bill Belichick. “But he tried to intimidate and threaten players, even vets like Clay Matthews. That works in college, but not in the pros. He was kind of a little tyrant walking around out there. And because he was just a coordinator, you could blow him off, and sometimes guys did just that.”
Despite a few unsavory comments, no doubt made by players and coaches whom Saban rubbed the wrong way on his journey to the top of the college football coaching ranks, the numerous anecdotes and stories by individuals who have known the Tide coach on an intimate basis make the book a must read.
Many of those experiences related by numerous friends and acquaintances in Burke’s book no doubt helped shape Saban into the energetic, relentless, demanding, non-frivolous and often short-tempered individual he is today.
Article sponsored by State Farm.
Find them on the web at: https://www.statefarm.com/
By: Zani Polk
Pan (releases October 9, 2015): No one wants to grow up, which is why the Peter Pan story never gets old. In this new movie, learn about the origins of Peter Pan and how he became the legend we know him to be today.
Jem and the Holograms (releases October 23, 2015): Four sisters are flung into fame after a video of their music is posted on the internet. But with the fame, the bonds and relationships they hold closest are tested. This movie takes you on a journey that will make you rethink who you are and what you choose to be.
Goosebumps (releases October 16, 2015): Back in the early ‘90s R.L. Stein’sGoosebumps series was the biggest thing at school book fairs and library trips. Maybe you read some, maybe you remember reading them to your siblings, or maybe you helped your kids pick them out. Regardless, this Halloween season, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Jack Black bring the spookiness ofGoosebumps to life. It’s a great alternative to a scarier movie on Halloween night.
The Peanuts Movie (releases November 6, 2015): For Thanksgiving you may be ripping out the old classic, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, but you don’t have to wait that long to see Charlie Brown in action. In this 3D film, a new kid moves to town and Charlie Brown gets another chance to prove he’s a winner. Join in to watch all of your favorites—from Lucy and Snoopy to Peppermint Patty.
My All American (releases November 13, 2015): It may not be the Crimson Tide, but it is football. Catch this heartwarming movie about sportsmanship and determination, as a young athlete—seemingly too small to compete—makes it in college football.
The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay—Part II (releases November 20, 2015): In the fourth and final movie of the series, Katniss Everdeen brings her fight to the Capitol. Finally she must take on President Snow and defend the current and future freedoms of the people of Panem.
The Good Dinosaur (releases November 25, 2015): Pixar has done it again! Imagine a world where humans and dinosaurs existed together. Imagine dinosaurs replacing dogs as man’s best friend. In this heartwarming tale, see a young boy bond in friendship with a good dinosaur and combat the elements of earth’s earliest periods.
Article sponsored by Belle Chambre.
Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BelleChambreTuscaloosa
Moundville Archaeological Park is celebrating its annual Native American Festival this weekend, and if you’re looking for something exciting and unique to do with the whole family in our area, this is it. The four-day event, which begins on Oct. 8, is one of the premiere tourism events in the state of Alabama, drawing thousands to the Park in Moundville each and every year.
Visitors to this year’s Moundville Native American Festival can enjoy performances, browse wonderful arts and crafts displays and watch great demonstrations designed to entertain and educate everyone about the rich culture and heritage of Southeastern Indians. Children are invited to get hands-on by playing native games and making crafts in the special Children's area.
“Moundville Archaeological Park is undoubtedly the most important prehistoric site in Alabama,” said Betsy Irwin, education outreach coordinator for the park. “The massive amount of labor and skill involved in leveling the plaza and constructing the mounds reflects the sophistication of the ancient people who once lived here. Less than 15 percent of the site has been excavated, making Moundville the best preserved site of its kind.”
One of the highlights of any visit to Moundville Archaeological Park is the University of Alabama’s Jones Museum.
“This is very important to Native Americans, many of whom consider these mounds to be sacred,” Irwin said. “In close consultation with Southeastern Indian tribes, we developed the Jones Museum exhibits to reflect their culture from the past as accurately as possible. Moundville and the Jones Archaeological Museum are both treasures that belong to everyone.”
Festival admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children.
The Festival will take place October 8 and 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and October 10 and 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For more information on the Moundville Archaeological Park, including more information about the 2014 Moundville Native American Festival, visit www.moundville.ua.edu
Photo: Jeff Perrigin
Article sponsored by Trade Partners Exchange.
Find them on the web at: http://tradepartnersexchange.com
By Tori Linville
The smell of excitement and hamburgers is in the air, which can only mean one thing. Tailgating season is in full swing. Though the quad is the most thought-of area for tailgating areas, those who stay near to their vehicles deserve some tips and tricks just as much as the rest of us. If you’re one of those, it’s your lucky day. We’ve found a few car gadgets that can add a twist to your tailgating experience and have all your friends talking. So why wouldn’t you check them out?
Power Converter, $34.90
A power converter that can easily connect to your car via its cigarette lighter will always serve a purpose – whether it’s using the computer for a quick second or to charge a phone. While this is a smaller converter, using only 120 watts, it’s convenience is so versatile that you won’t regret making the purchase.
Portable Oven/Pizza Maker, $129.99
This one’s a no-brainer. It doesn’t take up much room, which is perfect for vehicles with little space. This Black and Decker beauty is engineered to cook a pizza in under five minutes, as long as its 12 inches or smaller. It doesn’t stop there, though. It can serve to cook frozen snacks such as Pizza Rolls, baked goods and the like. Perfect for the ultimate game day snacking.
Tailgate Grill, $619
If your family has a grill master who won’t settle for some Pizza Rolls, then a tailgate grill is the perfect idea for all your grilling needs. This particular grill locks at a 90 degree angle to allow you access to the back of your vehicle while still being able to cook up all the goodies your tailgate requires. When it’s time to pack up, the grill is removable and fits most vehicles.
On-the-Go Pet Cup Holder Bowl, $21.28
The family pet definitely isn’t forgotten on this list. While you can easily pack a bowl for water after you get to town, what about the ride there? This convenient to-go bowl fits snugly into a car’s cup holder while having a larger opening to hold water for your thirsty pal. While it may require more bathroom stops, a happy pet is worth it.
Car Awning, $699
If you don’t want the inconvenience of a short tent, or if you have limited tailgating space, a car awning is a great idea for keeping you (and most of your car) out of the glaring sun’s heat. With an easy set up, the awning only needs to attach to the car and you’re ready for game time. The best thing about this awning is that it comes in many different varieties and sizes, so it can fit multiple vehicle types.
Tailgaters’ Hammocks, $349.95
If a tailgate grill just isn’t up your alley, but ultimate relaxation is, you’re in luck. The tailgaters’ hammock was made with tailgaters in mind. The hammocks have an easy set up in just 10 minutes and can be stowed away in special packs when not in use. Plus, they’re just cool.
Image credits: Wayfair.com, Amazon.com, Amazon.com, Amazon.com, Rhinorack.com, and Gizmodo.com.
Article sponsored by Nationwide.
Find them on the web at: http://www.nationwide.com
When it comes to true Southern elegance, few things can compare to the incredible grand, old houses in downtown Tuscaloosa. If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting one of these beauties, you have a chance now, thanks to the efforts of Marc and Kim Roberts. The Tuscaloosa couple have opened Bama Bed & Breakfast on Sherwood Drive, offering lodging and true hospitality to their guests.
And while booking one of the new B&B’s rooms during football season is certainly a desirable thing to do, Bama Bed & Breakfast offers year-round hospitality and charm. The couple also runs a Bama Bed & Breakfast locale on a private lake in south Tuscaloosa. In other words: They’ve been incredibly busy!
The Roberts’ bought the classic, 1823 antebellum home back in May, and Kim Roberts says they got to work immediately.
“We jumped in the very next day with rolled up sleeves and muscle,” Roberts said, adding that there were many repairs to be made and decorating to do. “We had only nine weeks to go from an empty house to a stunning B&B.”
During the lightning-fast renovations, Kim Roberts’ parents came up from Mobile so they could live in the house and help with guests once Bama Bed & Breakfast opened.
“It was an extremely stressful time, but we pulled together as a family, along with our incredible team of workers, and we got it done,” Roberts said.
Indeed they did. Bama Bed & Breakfast opened its doors to its first guests in July.
The Roberts knew they wanted to locate a B&B by Bryant-Denny Stadium. Their lakeside location, which opened eight years ago, has proven quite popular. Now the challenge involves getting the word out that the downtown Tuscaloosa/campus location is open for business.
“We want our friends, neighbors, and entire community to know that we are here for them,” Roberts said, adding that they’d like to host community events at their B&B, including everything from Bunco meetings to birthday parties to tea groups. “We also hope to eventually offer the B&B as a wedding venue.”
And of course, football game weekends are a big draw, given the location in the shadow of the stadium.
“The Ole Miss Weekend was our first really big football weekend test. We had a group of younger men who decided to come see ‘the best college football you can find’ and they all stayed with us,” Roberts said. “It was fantastic.”
Bama Bed & Breakfast is having a grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Roberts says she’s excited about having everyone in the community come by for a tour given by the Tuscaloosa Belles.
If You Go:
The Bama Bed & Breakfast Grand Opening features free food, a raffle for a free weekend stay, and other prizes. Parking is available in the gravel parking lot behind the Publix on University Boulevard. Signs will direct everyone to the B&B from there. It’s a short walk of about five minutes from there.
Photos: Craig Worley
Article sponsored by Bama Bed and Breakfast.
Find them on the web at: http://www.bamabedandbreakfast.com
By Mike Green
In August, our youngest child, Ross, packed most everything he owned into his 2003 Toyota Corolla and started a 2000 mile trek that would end in Los Angeles. This California destination will be his home for at least the next nine months and his mother and I are nervously wondering if it may be a permanent move. Ross has been “out of the house” for most of the past five years, but he was never more than a 45-minute drive from Tuscaloosa. This move is, of course, much more significant for him and for us.
As parents of young children, then teenagers and eventually adults, our relationships with our kids go through many significant transitions. Navigating those transitional phases can be scary. Dropping a child off at college or giving our new 16-year-old the keys to the car and the freedom that goes with it can test all our previous commitments to trust our son or daughter. With two adult children, I have faced several of those transitions and I am sure I could learn much from many of you who have navigated far more of these “opportunities” than I have. But I would like to share a few insights that might just help those of you who will face them in the coming days.
First of all, trust yourself. After 13, 16 or even 20 plus years you have invested thousands of hours into your child’s development. And yes, you made far more mistakes than you think you should have. You were not the perfect parent. But I know you care about your child. Why? Because you are taking the time to read this article. And though you are a flawed parent, your child has learned much from you. Even if some of their decision making as a teenager makes you question that. Here is one thing I have learned about teenagers: Sometimes they are very adept at not revealing that they are actually learning something. But far more is sinking in than you can imagine.
Second, trust your child. This is a general principle and not a hard and fast rule, so give me a little grace here if you will. Our kids love to rise to the level we expect of them. Let your children know you trust them. Verbally communicate that trust. Let them know that this new stage of life will test them and that you “can’t wait to see how they perform.” Then celebrate together when they do well.
Third, trust God. As I wrestle with my shortcomings as a parent this one gives me much needed peace. The bottom line is, your children are more God’s than they are yours. He loves them, aches for them when they are in pain, celebrates with them when they succeed and has the omniscient ability to be concerned with their well-being even when we are busy working our jobs, attending to other children or getting away for a much needed vacation with our spouse. I am convinced God is good. And that goodness means He is constantly concerned for our kids.
Mike and Laura Green have two grown children, Brittany and Ross. They serve on staff with Tuscaloosa Youth For Christ. Their first grandchild is due in September.
Photo Caption: Mike and Laura Green
Article sponsored by Tuscaloosa Youth for Christ.
Find them on the web at: http://www.tuscaloosayfc.org
By Courtney Corbridge
Every good Southern cook needs their space. And even when space is hard to come by, white cabinets can create the illusion of space. Consequently, in the last few years, white kitchens have been the clear “in” item for residential kitchens in Alabama and throughout the south; they look clean, feel large, and bring brightness to potentially congested spaces.
But looking clean and staying clean aren’t necessarily the same thing, and busy area moms know that best. Luckily for you, designers suggest that light grays will soon match or even top the call for bright whites. These grays still open the look of your home, but they will not show the dirty finger prints or spills as much as their whiter counterparts.
Less common, but equally trendy, are the olive greens popping up in cabinetry and remodeling magazines. The green has a natural, earthy quality that will allow your room to mimic your healthier organic food choices. It also reflects the beautiful outdoors that we here in Alabama enjoy nearly year-round. But you don’t have to commit to green cabinets to bring this mood into your kitchen. Other options are, of course, green backsplashes, light olive green trim, or even the now-popular indoor herb gardens. Whether as a wall or just as potted pieces for the counter tops, fresh basil, parsley, mint, and rosemary can go a long way to de-sterilize the look of your kitchen and give it some life.
Statement walls and wallpapers are, of course, always another option to dress up an otherwise drab kitchen, but for an even trendier twist, try introducing a colored sink. Apron sinks have become especially popular, and people are ordering them in everything from greens and apricots to teals. If there is no statement wall, this becomes a fantastic alternative to dress things up.
All in all, neutrals still get the win in the kitchen, but don’t be afraid to liven things up a little here and there. It will make it more personal and help your cooking space feel a little more like home. And isn’t that the true hallmark of a great Alabama kitchen?
Photo: The Design File
Article sponsored by Willcutt Block and Supply Company.
Find them on the web at: http://www.willcuttblock.com
Cooking with venison (deer meat) can be challenging at first. Proper tenderizing and seasonings need to be added to enhance the flavor and cut down on the "gamey" taste that comes along with wild game. We first started cooking with venison as a way to cut costs at the grocery store meat department when prices started to skyrocket. I also found that I liked the fact that the meat was all natural, with no steroids or other additives. The following five recipes have become family favorites over the years.
Slow Cooker Venison Roast
3 pounds boneless venison roast
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ cup Red Wine
Put cleaned meat in slow cooker and cover with onion. Sprinkle with soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and pepper. In a small bowl combine the soup mix and the soup; mix and pour mixture over venison. Add red wine after cooking for two hours. Cook on Low setting for 6 hours. Instead of adding carrots and potatoes to the roast, coat them with olive oil, season to taste, and roast them on a cooking sheet in the oven.
Cajun Sauce Piquante
2 lb. of venison strips
1/4 c. cooking oil
1/3 c. flour
1 lg. can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 pkg. fresh mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 or 4 onions, chopped
1/2 c. white port wine
6 pack of 7-UP soda
Jalapeno pepper, chopped (to taste)
Salt & pepper
Make roux with oil and flour, add chopped vegetables, and cook until tender. Add all other ingredients, using the 7-UP instead of water as the sauce is cooking. Cook 6 or 7 hours, in crock pot, adding meat after 3 hours, so that it will be tender but not overdone. Serve over noodles or rice.
3 lb. deer meat chunks (best to chop a roast into cubes)
1 cup chicken broth
2 cans of corn
½ pound dry lima beans, cooked and mashed
2 large cans of tomatoes or tomato juice
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup Tabasco sauce
2 red peppers
Black pepper to taste
2 tbsp vinegar
Salt to taste
1 onion, chopped fine
Brown meat in skillet, don't overcook. Add chicken broth. Mix all other ingredients together in large pot. Cook 3-5 hours on stovetop, checking meat often to make sure you don't overcook it.
Venison Chili Mac
3 lbs. ground deer meat
2 med. onions, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 16 oz. Cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato puree
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. mustard
1/2 c. ketchup
1 can beer
2 cans red kidney beans, drained
2 packs chili seasoning
2 tsp. chili powder
Pepper to taste
In large skillet, brown deer, 1 chopped onion, 1 pack of chili seasoning, and 1/2 can tomato sauce. Pepper to taste. Put in large pot or crock pot, and stir in chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato puree, honey, mustard, catsup, beer, beans, chili seasoning, chili powder, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer covered for around 1 hour or to desired consistency. If using the crock pot, set on low and cook for 6 hours. Stir occasionally. Add cooked macaroni just before serving. Great served with cornbread.
Deer Meat Stroganoff
1 lb. deer steak
1 tsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. instant beef bouillon
1 c. dairy sour cream
2 tbsp. dry white wine
Hot cooked noodles
When meat is still partially frozen, thinly slice across the grain into bite-size strips. Combine 1 tablespoon flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Coat meat with flour mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in skillet and brown meat quickly on both sides. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic, and sauté 3-4 minutes. Remove meat and mushroom mixture from pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan drippings, stir in 2 tablespoons flour. Add tomato paste, bouillon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1 1/4 cups water. Cook and stir until bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Combine sour cream and remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Return meat and mushroom mixture to skillet. Stir in sour cream mixture and wine. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve over noodles. Serves 4.
These are just a few of my family's favorites. One of the best ways to find out which way you like your venison is by trial and error. However, there are a few tips that novice venison cooks need to know. Do not overcook venison. Venison is leaner than beef; therefore, it requires extra tenderizing prior to cooking. Spices are your friends. Without seasoning, venison meat will have an aftertaste and taste "gamey." Try some of your favorite beef or chicken recipes using venison. This way you know your family likes the beef version, by swapping out the beef for venison, see if your family still loves the dish. Using venison is a great way to save on the grocery bill. I know I have saved a lot of money and removed harmful food additives at the same time. So, do not be afraid to experiment and have fun cooking.
Article sponsored by Med Center.
Find them on the web at: www.medcenterurgentcare.com
By Courtney Corbridge
If you’re looking for some fun things to do during this beautiful first weekend of fall, we think these are some of the best. Whatever you do, Birmingham, have a wonderful time and get out and enjoy the best that our area has to offer.
Saturday, Sept. 26
Irondale Whistle Stop Festival (10–7pm, 9pm for fireworks at Grants Mill Station) Visit historic Irondale while browsing more than 100 vendors’ arts, crafts, and food stalls. On top of that, there will be live entertainment. Best of all, it’s free! Visit http://irondalewhistlestopfestival.com/ for more details.
Crestline Rocks (4–6pm) Help Birmingham’s inner-city preschoolers get a head start by joining in an afternoon of family fun and entertainment! This collaborative event between PreSchool Partners and Regions Bank will have the best of the area’s local bands playing at the Emmet O’Neal Library. Come relax on a blanket as you listen to music and participate in kid-friendly entertainment—all while supporting a great cause. It’s only $5 for kids 11 and under. And $10 for everyone else. All proceeds go to PreSchool Partners. Visit http://www.preschool-partners.org/crestline-about.php for more details.
The Little Red Hen (10am & 12pm) The Wee Folks Theatre brings to life the classic tale of a busy little hen and her bread—but this time it’s the whole story. Meet Miz Hen and others in a musical not to be missed! It’s $9 for kids and $11 for adults. Check out http://www.bct123.org/RedHen.html to learn more.
Big Fish Through Oct. 4 (Thurs.–Sat. 7:30pm & Sat.–Sun. 2pm, beginning Sept. 27) Gear up for some tall tales because Big Fish is here—and only for another week. It’s probably the most fun you can have in the story of man rebuilding his relationship with his father. For tickets, prices, and more details visit http://www.bct123.org/RedHen.html.
Sunday, Sept. 27
24th Annual Magic City AIDS Walk & 5k Run (3:30–6:30pm) Come support a great cause while getting fit and being entertained. With food, a 5k run, live music, craft vendors, and food, you simply cannot go wrong. Admission is free, so don’t miss it. More details can be found at http://www.birminghamaidsoutreach.org/#!magic-city-aids-walk/c24d3.
Thursday, Oct. 1
Birmingham Art Crawl (5–9pm) As with every first Thursday of the month, the Birmingham Art Crawl is back with live musical performances and its local artists. Snatch up a new painting, or just get your artsy on as you browse vendors throughout town. Check out http://birminghamartcrawl.com/about.html for more information.
Greek Festival Oct.1–3 (10:30am–10:30pm) For the 43rd year in a row, Birmingham brings the South all things Greek—dancing, music, and especially food. That’s right, homemade Greek food for the picking, from baklava to pastiche. Don’t miss this unforgettable cultural experience.
Look at the full menu and find more details at http://www.birminghamgreekfestival.net/.
The Alabama Butterbean Festival Oct. 2–3 (Fri. 6–10; Sat. 9–4) This isn’t just another festival with food, music, and crafts; it’s Alabama’s second largest festival, and it’s got carnival rides, pony rides, and a petting zoo to boot. Stick around Friday night for a great fireworks show.
Other Events to Note:
Oak Hill Cemetery’s Zombie Walk and Rummage Sale (Sept. 26) - https://www.facebook.com/events/899639303441129/
Alabama Symphony Orchestra Red Diamond SuperPops! Series (Sept. 25) - http://www.alabamasymphony.org/
Homestead Hollow Arts & Crafts Festival (Sept. 25–27) - http://homesteadhollow.com/
It Ain’t Nothing’ But the Blues (Sept. 17–Oct. 4) - http://www.virginiasamfordtheatre.org/season/it-aint-nothin-but-the-blues/
Swan Lake by the Russian Grand Ballet (Sept. 25) - http://www.ticketmaster.com/Swan-Lake-tickets/artist/804359?tm_link=edp_Artist_Name#BVRRWidgetID
By Liz Stephens
How did people get around before smartphones? I know we did, but for the life of me right now I can’t remember how I managed. I know I got lost. A lot. I hopped a lot of “express” trains in NYC, I missed multiple stops in D.C. and I somehow managed to take the wrong line in Boston (really? I mean there are only like FOUR choices).
In planning our first trip to London and Paris, I’ve run across some pretty useful little apps that help keep me organized and lower my anxiety levels tremendously. I’ve tried maybe 15 apps over the past four months, and only a handful are truly great enough to warrant a mention here. My hope is that some of you will find these useful as you plan your dream vacations as well. Some of these are paid apps – but none cost me more than $5. And even better, some are free.
This one is my gem. Thanks to a travel-savvy friend, I snagged this (FREE) app quite a while ago, and I couldn’t be happier. TripIt let me design our travel itinerary in a snap. I created the trip, and gave my email address. TripIt automatically grabbed my flight confirmations, hotel reservations and our train reservations. All the information is there – confirm numbers, phone numbers and even maps to the hotels/train stations/airports. Boom!
Despite the fact that I studied French for two years in high school, my skills currently stink. I’ve been studying up, but I’m so nervous I’ll get flustered and forget what I’m trying to say. That’s where Google Translate (which was FREE) comes in: Just type in or say what you want to say in English and Google Translate automatically repeats the words in French for me. It works with a variety of different languages. While I’d love to rely on my basic French skills, if I fail, I have Google Translate as my emergency phone-a-friend.
London Tube and Metro Paris Subway
I’m lumping these two apps together because they do the same thing: Provide extensive transportation maps on London’s Tube and the Paris Metro, with color coding and simple, easy to understand directions. Both allow me to save trips for access when I don’t have a data connection. The Metro Paris Subway app also helps me find nearby taxi stands and Laduree (we will talk about my obsession with Lauduree at a later date). Need a cup of coffee? Oh look, the Nespresso place is 58 m away!
London Tube offers detailed subway maps and other bonuses as well. For $1 (well okay .99 but that annoys me), I was able to add the London Bus routes as well. I can easily switch back and forth – I enter one desired destination and this app shows me Tube and bus routes, allowing the choice. Neat, huh?
Honorable Mentions to Great Apps I think I’m Also Going to Love
XE Currency App: Need to convert Euros to U.S. dollars in a flash? This is your app. It’s super easy.
Rick Steves Audio Europe: You can download so many great audio tours for sights all over Europe to listen to offline as you tour around. Very useful. And free!
Today Tix: This app lets me find discount tickets for shows in London’s West End (it also works in NYC for you Broadway fans). It also alerts me if a show I REALLY want to see has released tickets at the last minute. Fingers crossed kids, this woman needs to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet.
Article sponsored by The Core.
Find them on the web at: http://thecoresite.com