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By Tori Linville

 

The temperature for July easily stretches toward the hundreds and sometimes, outdoor fun just isn’t worth the sweat stains. To save you some body stress and worry, we’ve listed July’s top movies to watch for. Instead of applying the sticky sunblock, apply to some butter to your popcorn, sit back and relax.

 

 

Magic Mike XXL (R) – July 1

 

Creating a different kind of heat is the sequel to Magic Mike, “Magic Mike XXL.” The second installment of the Magic Mike line sees Mike three years after he left his stripper job while he was in serious demand. “Magic Mike XXL” follows Mike and the Kings of Tampa as they visit Myrtle Beach for a last hurrah. In other words, hunky Channing Tatum and other hunks with abs go to beach and look even hunkier than thought possible. Hunks all around, people.

 

Minions (PG) – July 10

 

Despicable Me’s minions have finally received their own movie, and we hope it to be everything you wished for. More specifically, minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are taken up by Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock). She and her husband, an inventor named Herb (voiced by Jon Hamm), have the age-old plot to take over the world. Maybe Stuart, Kevin and Bob will stop them?

 

The Gallows (R) – July 10

 

A small town tries to honor the anniversary of a tragedy that occurred during a school play 20 years before. Years ago the lead actor, a boy named Charlie, died on stage due to a prop malfunction. The resurrection of the play turns out to be a really bad idea – go figure. Creepy and dark, the movie utilizes the horror home-video aspect that adds suspense. Go watch if you dare.

 

Trainwreck (R) – July 17

 

Growing up, Amy’s father chanted to her that “monogamy isn’t realistic. Years later, Amy is doing what she likes, when she likes it, while working at a men’s magazine. Then she meets Aaron, who actually wants a relationship – which isn’t in Amy’s playbook. Amy Schumer and Bill Hader star in what the movie’s trailer dubs the film “not your mother’s romantic comedy.” Which is enough reason in itself to go see.

 

Ant-Man (PG-13) – July 17

 

Marvel is back in action after the second Avengers with “Ant-Man.” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a con-man. After being watched closely by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Scott is sprung from prison in order to become the ultimate soldier (well, kinda). Armed with a suit that can shrink to the size of an ant, but has unmeasured strength, Ant-Man comes alive. Then he has to fight this guy named Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll). Fun stuff.

 

Paper Towns (PG-13) – July 24

 

Margo Roth Spiegelman is not your average girl next door. But ever since Quentin saw her, he’s been hooked. One night, Margo needs a get-away driver and Q’s hand-me-down minivan is the vehicle that will get the job done. The two avenge Margo’s cheating boyfriend in a memory-filled night, and then Margo goes missing. Q and his friends set out for the road trip of a lifetime to find Margo and learn about themselves along the way. Based on John Green’s novel “Paper Towns,” the movie stars Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff.

 

Article sponsored by DCH.

Find them on the web: https://www.dchsystem.com

Thunder on the Mountain is one of the biggest fireworks shows in the state.   But rain and severe weather have been impacting the Birmingham area all day today.    What are the rain delay plans for the fireworks show over Vulcan?

According to Clarence Stallworth at the Vulcan Park Museum,  the fireworks show will go on rain or shine.  He said, "In the five years that I have been with Vulcan,  we have never cancelled the fireworks due to weather."  Mr. Stallworth did say that if there is severe weather, it may be delayed, but not cancelled.

Thunder on the Mountain is scheduled to start at 9PM.

Music coordinated with the show can be found on the following radio stations:

98.7 Kiss FM

104.7 WZZK

95.7 Jamz

106.9 The Eagle

Easy 97.3

Birmingham Mountain Radio 107.3

98.3 La Jefa

1500 AM Juan

 

 

 

 

 

What fireworks are best for your home or lake display?

Alabama has a love of fireworks and is one of the few places in the US that allows Class C fireworks (which have both arial and explosive capability). The rules about fireworks vary widely from municipality to municipality, so check with your City Hall or Fire Department in the area where you are planning to use your fireworks about these rules.

To make your firework shopping easier, here are the major categories of fireworks:

Artillery Shells
These are a chrysanthemum shape and come in a variety of colors and sizes . Artillery shells are launched out of tubes that are placed on the ground. Most go 100-150 feet high. There are two major shapes of artillery shells: spheres and cylinders. The cylinders can have up to twice as much powder as the spheres, which allows for a greater variety of effects. Artillery shells range in price from $20-200 and come in packs of 6-34 shells per pack.

Shelton Stalls, TNT Leeds owner, demonstrates loading an artillery shell style firework

Fountains
These classic fireworks are placed in on the ground and shoot up in a “fountain” shape. They come in a variety of colors. From pinks and purples to red, white and blue for a patriotic flair. Fountains are legal in almost every state in the US in some form and thus, are the most sold firework in the US. They range in price from $4-$70 each.

Multi-arials/Finales
In Alabama, multi-arials are best sellers. These are the pre-set assortments that we often associate with the multi shot finales at fireworks shows. A popular product by TNT, the Corruption, has 205 shots in one pack. There is a wide variety in the number of shots, colors, shapes and noises in the multi-arial product arena. Shelton Stalls, owner of Leed's TNT fireworks, says his personal favorite is the Dark Revenge by TNT because “it hits fast and has a unique color scheme.”

Assortments
Assortments are very popular because they are an easy way to get a lot of different effects without having to buy a lot of one style. Assortment packs are priced widely between $15-500 and contain everything from artillery shells and fountains to sparklers.

Smaller Fireworks

  • Sparklers – hand held fireworks are a great starter firework. They are popular year round with wedding and party planners.
  • Smoke bombs – come in a variety of colors and send out a colored ribbon of smoke, usually for a few seconds
  • Firecrackers – noise makers come in single Poppers all the way up a 16,000 piece super firecrackers that take 15 minutes to finish.
Sparklers, smoke bombs and poppers are kid favorites

If you go crazy and buy too many fireworks to use this year, just hold on to them. As long as they are kept in a dry environment, fireworks should be fine for an extended period of time. Humidity can erode the quality, so do keep them dry.

Thank you to Shelton Stalls at TNT Fireworks for sharing his knowledge and love of fireworks.

Visit www.tntfireworks.com for videos and examples of all of the types of fireworks listed here.

 

Independence Day PUPsicles

 

Serving:

16 for small pups

6-8 for large pups

 

Ingredients:

 

·      1 ripe banana

·      1 cup plain yogurt

·      4 tablespoons peanut butter

·      Dash of honey

·      1 cup water\

·      16 dog bones

 

Directions:

 

Blend all ingredients into an electric blender until the texture is consistent.  Pour into ice cube trays and place a dog bone in the middle as a handle. 

 

Freeze overnight. 

 

Article Sponsored by Fincher and Ozment.

Find Fincher and Ozment on the web at: http://www.fincherandozment.com

 

By Tori Linville

 

Red, white and blue. "The Star-Spangled Banner." It wasn’t said, but you probably thought of the national holiday that is unlike any other of its kind. Millions of Americans celebrate the nations independence with barbeques, fireworks and more. Everyone knows the key to keeping a party going in the summer heat requires hydration. With the help of Pinterest, we’ve picked out some July 4 drinks that scream America while keeping the thirst quenched.

 

‘Merica Mocktails

 

Layered Freedom Colors

 

The key here is to choose drinks with different sugar contents so they actually layer instead of mixing together. Try this combination to get you started:

Pour in a Sobe Pina Colada, followed by Gatorade Fruit Punch, then G2 Blueberry-Pomegranate for a refreshing taste of freedom.

 

Fireworks Frenzy (Non-alcoholic) Martini

 

What you’ll need:

           

            Pop Rocks (blue or red, one pack per glass)

            corn syrup

            sprite

            blow pops (blue or red, one per glass)

 

What you’ll make:

           

1.     To rim the glass with Pop Rocks, pour some corn syrup in a bowl big enough to dip the entire rim. Once dipped in the corn syrup, immediately dip into a bowl or plate of Pop Rocks. You could also just sprinkle the candy as well.

2.     Fill a glass with Sprite and unwrap a blue or red Blow Pop to add to the glass. Allow to sit for five to ten minutes to allow the drink to be flavorized.

 

 

Cocktails

 

Red, White and Blue Sangria

 

            What you’ll need:

           

            strawberries

            blueberries

            pineapples (cut into star shapes if you feel like it)

            2 bottles of dry white wine

            1 cup Triple Sec

            1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka

            1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

            1/2 cup simple syrup

           

            What you’ll make:

           

            Combine and stir! Chill in fridge for at least four hours. 

 

Bomb Pop Shots

 

What you’ll need:

 

            1/3 oz. Sprite

            1/3 oz. lemon vodka

            2/3 oz. blue curacao

            2/3 oz. grenadine

 

            What you’ll make:

 

1.     Mix Sprite and vodka into a shaker with ice, then strain into glass.

2.     Use a spoon turned upside down angled into vodka mix to break the surface. Very slowly poor the blue curacao. If not poured slowly, the two will mix instead of layer.

3.     Then pour in the grenadine by pouring close to the glass’s edge, in a waterfall effect. Since it’s so thick, it’ll drop to the bottom and your shot will be complete.

 

 

Don’t have enough time to mix up a bunch of these ingredients? No problem. Grab some strawberries, blueberries and blackberries and pop a combination of each into an ice tray’s slots. Pour water in each slot and freeze. Add to water or Sprite for a red, white and blue combo that doesn’t take much effort at all.

 

(See punchbowl.com, thekitchenwhisperer.net and Pinterest for recipes.)

 

Article Sponsored by Tuscaloosa Tire & Service Center.

 

Find Tuscaloosa Tire & Service Center on the web: http://tuscaloosatireandservice.com

 

It's peak blackberry season here in Birmingham.

Grab a pail, bring a person of the shorter persuasion (i.e a child) and enjoy one of the simplest pleasure available in life. At this time of year, when the berries are thick on the vine, it doesn't take very long to fill a pail. There is something deeply satisfying about finding something so delicious that is just a part of nature here in Alabama.

Here a couple of tips to make your experience enjoyable:

Go in the morning, preferably before 10am.
The birds are chirping and there is a hint of morning cool still hanging around. This is the difference between a lovely experience and a hot, sweaty one. Try to be finished by no later than 10:30am for the most pleasant experience. At that point, find some shade and a cold drink. Maybe take a nap.

Wear bug spray or cover up head to toe if you hate bug spray

Be aware of snakes and other fellow nature lovers – Don't stick your hands and feet where you can't see them. Pay attention to where you step. Keep children on cleared paths and out of overgrown areas.

Do a tick check when you are finished.

Where to Pick Blackberries Around Birmingham

Find a friend with a field or hunting property (of course, make sure no hunters are active). Old logging roads and power company right of ways are great paths for looking for blackberries without having to get into underbrush.

Look for bushes on country roads – Check with your local municipality regarding the laws about picking blackberries on public property. And make sure you haven't strayed onto private property.

U Pick Farms

www.holmesteadfarm.com – Clay County Open Mon – Sat 8-5 and Sundays 1-5

www.petalsfromthepast.com – Jemison Tues – Sat 9-5 Sundays 1-5

www.mountainmeadowsfarmsal.com – Columbiana Wednesday – Saturday 7am – 1pm Sundays 1-7pm

Kenneth Witt Farm – Hayden/Blount Co – Call for Times 205-259-0753

Judy Bee's Honey and Berry Farm – Mt Olive Call for Times 205-631-2895

Independence Day Vanilla Infused Peach White Chocolate Ice Cream

 

Serves: 2 quarts

 

Ingredients:

 

·      5 cups fresh peaches, diced

·      2 tablespoons of Vanilla extract

·      1 cup of granulated sugar  (you may add instead vanilla flavored sugar)

·      1 cup white chocolate morsels

·      1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk

·      1/2 package of instant vanilla pudding

·      1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk

·      4 cups of half and half

·      Large bag of ice

·      Rock salt (for ice cream machine)

·      Electric ice cream machine

 

Note:  The ambient air temperature will determine the amount of ice and salt used in the ice cream machine.  Be sure to follow instructions on machine.

 

Instructions:

 

Place peaches into a bowl, add sugar, stir.  Allow mixture to sit for 1 hour. 

 

Place peaches into a food processor and pulse 3 times or until mostly pureed.  Set aside.

 

Whisk the evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and pudding mix.  Add the diced peaches, white chocolate morsels, sweetened condensed milk, and half and half, and whisk well.

 

Pour mixture into the ice cream machine and process.  Afterward, transfer to a container of choice and place into freezer.

 

Article Sponsored by Willcutt Block and Supply.  

 

Find Willcutt Block on the web:http://www.willcuttblock.com

 

 

Independence Day Fried Green Tomatoes

 

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients:

 

·      Canola oil

·      4 green tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch rings

·      ¾ cup all-purpose flour

·      1 finely minced fresh garlic cloves

·      4 eggs

·      2 tablespoons milk

·      1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs

·      Dash cayenne pepper

·      Dash paprika

·      Dash curry

·      Dash of salt

·      Dash of pepper

 

Directions:

 

In a deep-fryer, preheat oil to 350 degrees F.  You can use a low/wide pan with a mesh splatter cover, as well. 

 

Take sliced tomatoes and sprinkle salt / pepper on each side.  In a dish, place flour with minced garlic.  Then, in a second dish, mix breadcrumbs with cayenne and paprika.  In a third dish, beat eggs with milk.  Then take the sliced tomatoes and run them through the flour, then the eggs, and then through the breadcrumbs.  Add to fryer.  Only add several pieces at a time.  Allow pieces to fry evenly for about 2 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and serve. 

 

Article sponsored by Townsend Auto.

 

Find Townsend Auto on the web:  http://www.townsendautofamily.com

Independence Day Barbecue Burgers 

Serves:  4

Ingredients

·      2 pounds ground beef

·      Dash salt and black pepper

·      4 slices bacon

·      1 onion, cut into 1/4 –inch thick rings

·      4 hamburger buns

·      4 slices cheddar cheese

·      ½ cup barbecue sauce of choice 

Directions

Create 4 evenly shaped burger patties.  Light grill and set on high heat. 

Place burgers on grill and cook until well charred (about 2 minutes).  Flip patties and brush with bbq sauce.  Then cook for another 2 minutes and occasionally brushing on sauce.

Brush bacon with bbq sauce and place directly over hot grill, sauce side down. Brush top with bbq sauce.  Cook until well charred (about 1 minute).  And repeat after flipping. 

Place onions on grill for 20 seconds, then flip and repeat. 

If you prefer the buns to be toasted, place them on the hot grill until browned.

Assemble burger. 

 

Article sponsored by Belle Chambre of Tuscaloosa and Lakeside Dental.

 

Find Belle Chambre of Tuscaloosa on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BelleChambreTuscaloosa/

 

 

 

Find Lakeside Dental on the web: http://www.lakesidedentalsmiles.com

 

 

By Amy Poore

 

If you’re planning a backyard get-together this summer, why not try something totally new and different? This jerk spiced shrimp with pineapple salsa is a dish that’s sure to please any seafood lover! The salsa is a snap to make, too.

Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

Have a great week, and bon appétit!

Jerk Spiced Shrimp 

·                1 tablespoon sugar  

·                1 tablespoon paprika  

·                1/2 teaspoon salt  

·                1/2 teaspoon garlic powder  

·                1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper  

·                1/4 teaspoon ground thyme  

·                1/8 teaspoon ground allspice  

·                2 tablespoons olive oil  

·                1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp 

·                1 gallon freezer bag 

·                Cooking spray 

 

Pineapple Salsa 

·                2 cups fresh pineapple, diced 

·                1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced 

·                1/2 cup sliced red onion 

·                2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro 

·                2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 

 

Combine all salsa ingredients well, cover and chill for 30 minutes. 

 

While salsa chills, add all shrimp ingredients in freezer bag, mix well. 

 

Thread shrimp evenly onto skewers (metal or water soaked wooden ones). Place skewers on grill or skillet coated with cooking spray.  

 

Grill/cook on medium/high heat for 6 minutes or until done, flipping once. 

 

Serve immediately with pineapple salsa and jasmine rice (optional). 

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

 

 

 

One of the best summer treats comes in a truck, a cup, a cone and a range of other vehicles. It comes with sprinkles, fudge, whipped cream or any other topping that a tummy desires. Ice cream is a timeless treat that is enjoyed by every age from one to 99. It’s happiness in a scoop, which is why we’ve got the top ice cream sellers in your areas right here.

Babs Hart has spent decades in Tuscaloosa’s business spotlight as a true leader in the community. She is a second-generation insurance professional, having followed in her own father’s footsteps as president of the Hart Insurance Group, Inc. She oversees a team of professionals as well, working hard to maintain relationships with, and meet the needs of, their clients. She specializes in Life and Long Term Health Care and Disability Insurance, providing essential information for evaluating the need for long term health care protection.

Babs Hart is also a published author, having written “Plan Ahead: Questions (and Answers) You Should Ask When Buying Long Term Care Insurance,” a guide to help people wade through the many issues so they can make an informed, appropriate decision for their family. Hart has also contributed to Bloomberg Magazine, writing on topics such as taxes, reverse mortgages, health and life insurance, and more.

Hart is an accomplished public speaker, having delivered addresses at various seminars including the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa.

 

Name

 Babs W. Hart

Job Title

 Owner, Hart Insurance Group and an independent agent specializing in Life, Long Term Health Care and Disability insurance

Current City of Residence?

 Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Family (Names & Ages)? 

 Husband: Robert, Daughters: Lauren, Becca and Olivia, Son: Robby

What is your educational background?

BA in Communications, Auburn University; CLTC- Certification in Long Term Care; MDRT – Premier Association of Insurance Professionals

Where did you grow up?

 In Birmingham, went to Shades Valley High School

What’s the first website you check in the morning?

 First Protective and then the bank

If you had to choose another career, what would it be?

 Mom, was my first career and it was awesome....if it was something else, then I would say being on the Pro Tennis Tour

What’s your guiding business principle?

 Do the right things...integrity...really caring about what happens to that person and making sure your have recommended everything that serves their needs

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 "Wait broke the bridge"...don't procrastinate...and if there is a problem jump right on it

What keeps you up at night?

 Nothing

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

 Highland's Bar and Grill in Birmingham / Zoe's in Tuscaloosa

What’s your favorite professional sports team?

 I'm a sports player, but I don't have a favorite.

 

Website:

http://hartinsurancegroup.com/

Address:

Babs W. Hart
600 Luckie Drive, Suite 305
Birmingham, AL 35223

EmailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 205.345.7668

By Marlena Rice

 

It is officially summer. Parents of older children probably just said a prayer of relief after that statement. For them, this hiatus in classroom learning means no more dropping off to school before work in the mornings, and no more late work lunches in order to make plays, parent teacher conferences, and holiday classroom parties. I just heard multiple sighs of relief, because although we enjoy all of these things and love watching our little people discover themselves as they participate in their activities, my goodness, it gets exhausting!

 

But what happens when your child goes to school year-round?

 

I have a preschooler. And, although my son’s official preschool session has ended, as all preschool mothers know, the summer leaves us with 2 and 1/2 months of preparation for the next “big boy” and big girl” class come the fall. So, while our babies are attending preschool day camps full of movies, water days and other hot weather fun, it is up to us to continue enriching their learning experiences as they grow.  Here are some great ideas:

 

Visit the Zoo

 

Taking your child to the zoo can result in multiple lessons about a wide variety of land and sea animals. Take photographs, and afterward your child will have pictures to reference as he learns the animals’ names and about the habitats in which they live.

 

Hit the Blue

 

Go to the pool, the river, the beach or play around in the sprinklers in your front yard. It is never too early to teach our babies to enjoy and not to be afraid of the water. Visit a local department store, get some fun water floats and toys, and work on everything from counting multiple buoys to learning to differentiate varying colors as you play together.

 

Flashcard Fun

 

You know what your child loves more than anyone. “M” is for Mickey Mouse, and “P” may be for Popsicle. Your next step? Hit up your computer with your little one and find pictures that match your alphabet. Make flashcards. Sit together for 30 minutes to one hour each day and you will be surprised what can happen during summer break.

 

Explore the Outdoors

 

If you live in a wooded area with lots of greenery or near a walking trail or park, grab your child’s stroller or wagon and go on a nature walk. Be on the lookout for flowers and plants, bugs, rabbits, and creepy crawlies that your littles ones might love (even if you don’t) and combine your exercise session with a lesson about plants and wildlife.

 

Take Up a Shared Hobby

 

Despite the fact that most of us working parents don’t have a summer break like our children (and yes, I’m extremely envious of all my teacher friends), our kids’ summer freedom often means just a little more free time for us as well. If there is something that you love doing, whether it’s picking up the old guitar in your spare bedroom or taking photographs, incorporate your child into your hobby. Teach them a little more about the fun side of yourself.  

 

Pictures are always fun and are such an easy and fun way to document our memories. Pack a picnic one day, grab your camera and buy a disposable one for your little person and have a photo day! Once you’re done, visit a crafts store and build your own scrapbooks or make a collage of your memory together.

 

Whatever you do, have fun with your kids this summer!

 

Photo: Marlena Rice

 

Caption: Beaux William watches the giraffes at the Birmingham Zoo.

 

 

Beach Checklist

22 Jun 2015

By Tori Linville

 

Packing for any trip can be overwhelming, especially for the beach. The surf is calling, but before you can get there, you have to pack. Beach checklists have the usual swimsuit, sunscreen, beach towel thing going on – mostly, it’s common sense stuff. Which is why we’ve linked some free, printable checklists for you to use instead of listing another one here.

 

Instead, we’ve scoured the DIY organization bliss that is Pinterest for some checklist suggestions that aren’t always mentioned or are worth mentioning twice. Check them out and see why we think they should be part of you checklist for good.

 

Beach Tent

 

Create your own beach side cabana by bringing along a tent for some ultimate sun protection. Not only does this feature a sand-free room, it’s a perfect way to store all your beach items in one place that proves best for windy days. Store your cooler, your valuables and your exhausted beach-goers all in one place. Get one big enough for the whole family to maximize the fun.

 

Upcycled Ice-Cream Containers

 

We’re talking the bulk ice-cream containers. The ones with the handle. The ones your family works on for months. Instead of just tossing these in to (hopefully) a recycling bin, bring them to the beach. Keep the lid to store snacks on the way to the beach. Once you’re there, pop said lid off to store beach toys or finds that just can’t be left behind in the sand. Or just pop in some ice and create your own drink chilling station.

 

Baby Powder

 

Proven to remove sand from the crabbiest of beach bums. This is a no-brainer that needs a second mention. If you’re finding sand in your toes after the beach is behind you, baby powder or any type of basic cornstarch can rid you of your grainy woes.

 

Tide App/Chart

 

Download a free tide app before you hit the beach to be scary accurate on where to hang out for the day. Apps like Ocean Watch or TideApp will have you knowing down to the minute when the sandcastles will be stormed by the waves.

 

Sand Spiker Drink Holder

 

Definitely not a necessity, but a cute idea all the same. Grab one of these personalized made-for-the-sand cup holders here for only $7! Use as a weird sandcastle mold if you’re trying to justify the use.

 

Sites that offer free, printable checklists:

 

http://blog.inkwellpress.com/2014/06/free-download-travel-packing-checklist.html?m=1

 

http://www.thriftymommastips.com/beach-and-pool-checklist-printable/

 

http://blog.trekaroo.com/ultimate-beach-vacation-checklist-families/

 

http://crazyloucreations.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-ultimate-vacation-packing-list.html

 

http://www.deliciouslyorganized.com/2012/08/organize-your-suitcase.html?m=1

 

 

Whenever you’re talking about must-have beach things, books are always a great idea. But which ones? DCM’s staffers started discussing their favorites not long ago, and we decided to collaborate and share with our readers. Behold: Our suggestions for excellent beach reads. Enjoy!

Laurie Perrigin’s Must-Read Beach Novel for 2015

I usually waffle whenever anyone asks me to pick just one favorite current read, but this summer, there is no doubt in my mind: I’m recommending “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. This is a really interesting page-turner of a mystery, filled with complicated characters (and issues). I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen “You have GOT to read this one!” If you tore through “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, you’ll love “The Girl on the Train.”

Honorable Mention: I’m currently reading “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah, and so far it is an epic experience. This is *not* a quick beach-y kind of read, but it is a beautiful, sweeping historical novel that’s really, really touching on so many levels. At the halfway point, I feel safe in recommending this one too!

Tori Linville’s Must-Read Beach Novel for 2015

There’s action, there’s humor and there’s Special Agent Kate O’Hare’s perfect foil in conman Nicolas Fox. I’ve always enjoyed Stephanie Evanovich’s quick wit and for the O’Hare and Fox team in “The Heist,” she teams up with “Monk” writer Lee Goldberg. What emerges is a perfect combination of sass and action that keeps the pages turning. It’s a perfect time to start this series and catch up to the fourth installment, “The Scam,” out Sept. 15.

Honorable Mention: “Beachcombing at Miramar: The Quest for an Authentic Life” changes a day at the beach for the better. Richard Bode created this introspective book in 1997 after heading to the beach to reflect on his life. Turning reality on its head, Bode contemplates the true meaning of this life we lead.

Amber’s Must-Read Beach Novel for 2015

This summer’s best pick is “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed. This is a beautiful story of human triumph. The author decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada, to regain perspective on life, and while doing so, she tells her story honestly and vividly. At times you will cry for her experiences, and at other times, you find yourself shouting, “Keep going. You can do this!” You want her to succeed with every page that is turned. This book will impact your summer.

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.” 

 

All Hail Fathers of Greatness

 

Wives can sometimes be obsessive compulsive.

 

Husbands can sometimes be obsessively repulsive. Well, because we are men. And some men have a way of not being able to identify the unpleasantness of our own being. In other words, we can’t smell ourselves.

 

Men are primarily simplistic creatures, practically to a fault. My grandmother used to tell my father that to get by, all men needed was a bunk and a skillet. And that is (almost) true.

 

Dads are all about priority and contrary to popular belief, dad does have them, although they may not always match those of our superior female counterparts. It’s not that dad can’t remember things. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Dad can remember a plethora of seemingly worthless information that only men can prioritize by order of importance. 

 

For instance, ask dad what team Alabama usually plays on the third Saturday in October? Or who won the National Championship in 1992? Or what time the race starts on Sunday? Or when hunting season begins and ends? Or all of the above.

 

See? That’s history. That’s current events. That’s relevance.

 

It’s not that we didn’t remember to fix the doorknob. It’s just that it hasn’t fallen off of the door yet. It’s not that we forgot to clean out the garage. It’s just that there is still adequate space for you to pull your car in. It’s not that we forgot to call the plumber. It’s that the line was busy when we did.

 

We are the dads of the world. We are the maintainers, the providers. We are the heroes of little girls and the role models of little boys.

 

We are men. We are fathers. And we are undeniably flawed. But our intentions are good although our execution may lean to the side of procrastination.

 

And while we may not know anything about some things, we know something about everything. 

 

For that reason, all hail to the good dads of the world: the ones who fight the good fight, the ones who (eventually) finish their work, and the ones who mostly remember to roll the trash out on the correct pick-up days. Unless there’s a holiday during the week which throws everything off by a day. That confuses us.

 

If you are fortunate enough to be able to hug your dad on Fathers Day, then make sure you do. Everything in life is filled with imperfections, but the love of a man’s family can make our day perfect.    

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. 

 

We love our Dads. They do so much for us. Here in the south it could be everything from how to bait a hook to planning a garden to fixing an engine. Father's Day is the time we take the time to formally say “Thanks Dad” for all the things they do for us.

But finding something that is unique and that they like is often difficult. If they are an expert in fly fishing and you are all about tech, you may not know the latest and greatest in fly fishing options. And getting another sweater from the mall just seems lame.

Luckily there are a ton of local artisans that make items for all kinds of Dads. Whether it is the Dad whose idea of heaven is a day on the lake to the Dad who is the grill master. Local artists even make handmade beard care items for the young hipster dad.

And if you are just stumped, a gift basket filled with local beers, local peanuts and an Alabama beer stein will be well received by almost any Dad. He can enjoy that whether he is fishing at the lake, watching Nascar or listening to the symphony on his porch. Be a little creative, support local Alabama artisans and surprise your Dad with your thoughtfulness with an Alabama made gift.

All gifts are available at Alabama Goods, located across from Savage's in Homewood. Alabama Goods specializes in locally made gift and food items. We appreciate owner, Sherry Hartley, for providing the gift suggestions.

Gifts Shown:

Alabama shaped Gift Basket with etched beer stein, local beer and peanuts $38.00
Shur Shot Dip Mix $4.99 each
Handmade Shaving Mug $23.00 No Photo
Locally made Shaving Handle $18.00 (multiple colors available) No Photo
Green Mountain Shave Soap $3.14-$13.46 No Photo
Chocolate Superfruit Pralines Gift Box $8.50
Handmade Wood Server with Forged Chopper $38.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. It’s what a body starts off with and what gives it energy. Some believe breakfast is in a league all its own, while others only save breakfast for the weekends. Which ever way you swing, we’ve listed the best breakfasts in the area to satisfy every stomach.

 

By Tori Linville

 

Road trips require a sense of adventure, time and most of all, patience. Traffic is a guaranteed obstacle and keeping the family entertained during jams or open stretches of road can be forgotten in the bustle of activity. So bringing entertainment to pass the time is always a good idea. Thanks to Pinterest and common sense, there are some easy, innovative ways to keep your passengers satisfied.

 

Portable DVD Player

Some cars have WiFi hotspots built in and if you have one, just substitute the DVD player for an iPad with downloaded entertainment for hours. If not, slipping in a favorite movie can easily kill a couple of hours of the journey. Pick favorites while packing, then sit back and relax.

 

Snack Smorgasbord

Use an old tackle box as a way to store a variety of mini-snacks for the ride. By using each little compartment as a place for some Chex Mix, crackers and other snacks, this smart idea knocks out a lot of birds with one stone. Not only are different snacks accommodated for different tastes, storage is saved by compiling the goodies into one box.

 

Backseat Activity Center

Throw an old cloth shoe rack over the back of a car seat to maximize space. Load the shoe rack up with books, snacks, drinks and other must haves. This way, whatever a passenger needs is right in front of them. While this is great for children, others can benefit too.

 

Book on CD

Rent a book on CD from your local library and bring it with you to listen to during the trip. By sliding the book on CD into the CD player, it allows a group experience in which even the driver can participate. Conversation starter, for sure.

 

Baking Sheet Activity Tray

Slide a regular baking sheet under the seat for a passenger to use as multi-functional surface. The tray can be used as a writing surface for crossword puzzles, craft surface for little ones or even a table for lunch on the go.

It's peak season for all types of produce in Alabama. A visit to Pepper Place market on Saturday was a riot of color and flavor as the summer harvest comes to town.

Gorgeous yellow summer squash, bright green herbs, hot pink watermelon and purple peas. All the nutritionists say to “eat the rainbow” for good health. This time of year, eating the rainbow is easy.

Making a classic Southern meal this time of year is simple. No recipes necessary for a meal that is worthy of a gourmet restaurant. It's not a surprise that James Beard award winning restaurant, Hot n Hot Fish Club, is famous for their Alabama tomato salad. They are famous for highlighting the best our local farms have to offer.

Grab some barbeque, saute some fresh summer squash, slice some tomatoes, fry okra in cornmeal and break open a watermelon (sprinkled with salt) for dessert. That's all there is for a summer supper in Birmingham.

To spark your creativity in the kitchen, here is a list of the produce that is in peak season in the Birmingham area:

June Peak Produce for Birmingham, Alabama

Collards

Herbs

Cabbage

Onions

Summer

Squash

Beans

Blueberries

Broccoli

Corn

Cucumbers

Eggplant

Peaches

Peas (purple hull, crowder)

Potatoes

Peppers

Tomatoes

Watermelon

 

Azalea City Living is Mobile, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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