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Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin: November 14, 2015

On a day when the No. 2 Alabama football team seemingly could not find any consistent offensive rhythm for the most part, especially in the early going, Nick Saban's Crimson Tide needed something significant to provide a lift as it found itself involved in a gritty affair against Dan Mullen's feisty No. 17 Mississippi State team in Starkville Saturday.
Alabama finally began to find a bit of that offensively and in the special teams department through big plays from Jake Coker, Calvin Ridley, Derrick Henry and Cyrus Jones.

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By Candice Morris

 

In the South, we don’t see much cold weather during the fall and winter seasons, so we tend be a little more relaxed with our gardening. But just because the leaves on trees are gone and the flowers aren’t blooming doesn’t mean we should neglect our yard and gardens. Check out these tips to help get the yard and garden ready for the colder temps.

Insulate

Just as we flock to scarves and sweaters on cooler days, our plants need a little insulation from the weather too. One of the most cost-effective methods involves spreading mulch around flower beds. Spreading a 1-2 inch layer of mulch around your plants will help to not only keep the cold from getting to the plants but it will also help to retain moisture during drier months.

Fertilize

Fall is also a great time to get the lawn ready for the spring. Be sure to fertilize it well with lawn food and reseed thin spots around the yard. To add some color during the winter seasons, planting annual ryegrass seed on top of the warm-season grass will do the trick. Using a mower to chop fallen leaves can also be beneficial; leaves will break down and add nutrients to the soil. 

Inject Color

If flower beds are looking a little sparse, try planting colorful fall flowers that are perfect for cooler temps. Mums and pansies are a great choice, but also consider fall flowers such as aster, helenium, or goldenrod for a garden bursting with color. For perennial beds, fall is the time to pull those weeds and cut back perennial flowers; this will help to ensure better growth in the spring.

Plant Bulbs

Spring-blooming bulbs should be planted approximately six weeks before the ground freezes, but here in Alabama we often don’t have this worry. Bulbs such as crocuses, tulips, and daffodils can be planted well into November and sometimes December. These hardy bulbs will grow best in well-drained soil. If you’re unsure about your soil’s quality, work in some sand and compost.

Before the weather gets too chilly, be sure to take advantage of the mild fall days to get the yard and garden in shape for the colder temps. With these simple preparation techniques you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful yard and garden even on the chilliest of days.

Photos (all are stock)

Mulching.png: Spread mulch around flower beds to help keep plants insulated during chilly months.

Mums.png: Mums are a great planting choice for fall to inject color into the landscaping.

 

Article sponsored by Pants Store.

Find them on the web at http://www.pantsstore.com.

 

Courtesy of DCM Fan Zone

By Erik Stinnett

Guess the committee wasn't so crazy after all. 

From Tuesday night through Saturday afternoon last week, the complaining, hand-wringing, chastising and head-shaking came out in force. All from the national media. The supposed experts on the game were incredulous as to why the College Football Playoffs selection committee placed Alabama at No. 4 in the rankings, ahead of a handful of unbeatens and a couple of one-loss teams -- Notre Dame and Florida -- that, despite those defeats, were highly esteemed by the national media.
 
Um, one week later, nobody is screaming at the committee anymore.

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By Chloe Monte

 

Food banks across the state of Alabama are collecting goods and seeking volunteers.  According to the 2010 Government Census, 36% of Alabama’s residents live below the poverty line, which is over 1.6 million people.  Many of these people receive food from food banks to make ends meet. 

 

Hunger often goes unnoticed because it cannot be seen nor touched and many people who cannot feed themselves nor their families have nowhere else to turn for nutritious meals. 

 

If you are interested in donating to a food bank this fall or to volunteer, then click here to find a food bank near you.   As well, there are many other organizations that are involved in fighting against hunger.  The West Alabama Food Bank website has a great list of organizations that help fight hunger. 

 

Let’s work together to affect positive change in the lives of those around us.   Donate today!

 

Article sponsored by Belle Chambre.

Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BelleChambreTuscaloosa/

 

 

 

 

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By Chloe Monte

 

Painting pumpkins is nothing new, but what is new is using these pumpkins as highly stylized design elements in one’s house.  One of the easiest and most beautiful ways to accomplish a Southern Living type look is to use Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint®, which can be found at various retailers across Alabama. 

 

Chalk Paint® is so easy to use and can be used on practically any surface from glass, metal, wood, or upholstery, without priming, prepping, or sanding.  Equally as great, Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® comes in beautiful colors.  

 

The blog, Perfectly Imperfect, run by Shaunna West, an Alabama native and star of the HGTV home improvement show Sweet Home Alabama best showcases the beautiful designs one can create this fall.  

 

There are many retailers across Alabama who both sell these paints and offer classes on how to best make your house look beautiful. 

 

An Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® retailer in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Restoring Piece, for example, offers both introductory and advanced courses that include both written curriculum and hands-on instruction while also teaching techniques that can be applied to any project.  A full schedule of events offered by Restoring Piece can be found on their website: www.restoringpiece.com.   

 

 

An easy way to decorate your holiday table.  

 

Click here for a full list of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® retailers in Alabama.

 

Happy designing!

 

Article sponsored by DCH.

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

 

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin: November 8, 2015

Although Saturday's much-hyped Southeastern Conference showdown between No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Alabama was competitive for a half in terms of the scoreboard, there was never any doubt about which team was the dominating force for this evening.

The Crimson Tide used a methodical offensive attack led by junior tailback Derrick Henry to dominate time of possession, pile up yardage and eventually break the game open against a weary Tiger defense. Alabama also rode a smothering defensive effort that held the Tigers' talented sophomore tailback Leonard Fournette to 31 yards while generally stifling the LSU offensive effort overall.

The result was a convincing 30-16 win for the Crimson Tide in front of a capacity crowd of 101,821 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The win, Alabama's sixth in a row since a home loss to Ole Miss, and fifth in a row over LSU, improved the Crimson Tide to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in SEC play. LSU, with its first defeat of the season, fell to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.

Most importantly, the big win allowed the Crimson Tide to regain control of its destiny in the SEC West thanks to the 53-52 victory by Arkansas at Ole Miss Saturday.

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By Sherry Holmes

 

A prenuptial discussion is probably not high on any engaged person’s “to do” list. No, it’s most likely down at the bottom, and with good reason: The discussions about prenuptial agreements can be super awkward.


Here’s the thing, though: If you both are entering into a marriage with a lot of assets, having a prenup is necessary. In theory, prenuptial agreements can protect both partners, providing an equitable solution in the event that the marriage doesn’t work out and ends in divorce. No, it’s not something engaged couples like to think about – but they should. Because if you take some steps now to try and work through prenuptial agreement details, it can help protect you in the future if something goes wrong.

 

Pick the right minute to discuss a prenuptial agreement with your future life partner. Try not to spring the idea out of the blue at the last-minute. Be proactive: Broach the subject well in advance of the wedding. This will allow both of you to talk about the subject freely and openly, without so much pre-wedding chaos going on.

 

Test the waters with your partner. Raise the thought of a prenuptial understanding amid easygoing discussion, and give careful consideration to the response you get. Does your future bride or groom bristle at the idea of a prenup? The response will help you gauge future discussions, and how they’ll go.

 

Keep things positive. Approach the discussion about a prenuptial agreement as positively as you can. Be clear when you explain the way you feel, and emphasize to your future mate that a prenup doesn’t mean a lack of commitment or trust from you.

 

Present the idea of a prenup as a collaborative effort. Both partners should be heavily involved in discussions of the details of the agreement. And by all means, if any issues do arise, deal with them together.

 

Article sponsored by Diamonds Direct.

Find them on the web at: https://diamondsdirect.com

 

By Chloe Monte

 

There are some amazing pumpkin spiced recipes out there, but with so many options,  it is hard to find the best ones.  So we put together a list of the top 5 pumpkin spiced foods in Alabama.  Mmmm!  Enjoy!

 

1.) Maple Pumpkin Cupcake, Twist Cupcakes, Mobile

 

These cupcakes are to die for, truly.  They would go perfect with any fall birthday party or even as desserts for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

 

2.) Gingersnap Pumpkin PiePie Lab, Greensboro

 

If you like pumpkin pie, you will not find a better one than at the Pie Lab.  Get there early because they go fast. 

 

3.) Pumpkin Cheesecake, Liger’s Bakery, Montgomery

 

Pumpkin cheesecake is this amazing combination of two really great things.  Give Liger’s Bakery’s pumpkin cheesecake a try.  It will not disappoint. 

 

4.) Pumpkin Spiced Latte CupcakeGigi’s, Tuscaloosa

 

If you are in town for a game, head over to Gigi’s to try this cupcake flavor. In fact, order a bunch for game day parties.  Your guests will be thankful. 

 

 

Article sponsored by PRIDE of Tuscaloosa.

Find them on the web at: http://www.prideoftuscaloosa.org

 

 

 

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By Courtney Corbridge

 

In today’s market, the vast majority of pearls sold by jewelers are not, strictly speaking, natural pearls. They are cultured, which means that the pearl-instigating irritant is actually implanted inside the mollusk’s shell rather than naturally appearing there. Once the pearl is harvested, jewelers often, as they do with other gems, enhance or alter the color in a pearl using various treatments like bleaching (making white pearls whiter), irradiation (turning pearls black, silvery, or bluish-green shades), and dyeing (creating a variety of colors). Though this does not necessarily affect the quality or longevity of the pearl, it will, and should, be reflected in the price. These treated pearls, have likely been treated in order to compensate for a shorter development period, which will affect color, luster, and depth of nacre.

 

While untreated cultured pearls can take years to mature, treated pearls are removed in 8–9 months. The shorter maturation period means a smaller layer of nacre that needs to be artificially enhanced.

 

Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is the natural substance on the inside of a mollusk’s shell. It is layered on the irritant over and over to create a finished pearl, the color of which is contingent upon the color of the mollusk’s natural nacre. According to the Gemological Institute of America, here are a few naturally colored pearls you can find from around the world:

 

Akoya: Largely produced in China and Japan, these pearls mostly have white and cream body colors with pink or green overtones. Yellow, pink, and blue akoyas can also be found.

 

Tahitian: Home of the famous “black pearl,” Tahiti and other French Polynesian islands traditionally produce darker pearls—grays, browns, blacks, purples, greens, and blues.

 

South Sea: These salt water pearls come from Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Largely pastel in color, they come in whites, creams, yellows, blues, and silvers. The pink, green, and blue overtones can additionally influence the appearance of the pearl.

 

Freshwater: This fairytale color collection of pearls, with its whites, creams, yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples, comes from the fresh waters of China and the United States. Here, you will also find the rainbow-colored orient pearl.  

 

As pearls are quickly coming back in fashion, dive in and find the trendy color for you!

 

Article sponsored by Nancy & Co. Fine Jewelry.

Find them on the web at: http://www.nancyandco.com

 

By: Chloe Monte

 

This fall hike was had at Hurricane Creek Park Trail.  This area is known for its summer splashes in Hurricane Creek where families and friends alike gather in the peaceful flowing water to beat the heat.  The area is also known for its amazing trail system that loops through the cascading hills. 

 

The trails are open to both mountain bikers and hikers; however, the trail system tends to be peaceful and low in traffic.  It’s the perfect trail to hike when one wants to feel in touch with nature and to get away from the noise of town.

 

The trail has both North and South loops.  The North loop is 4.3 miles long and the South loop is an extra 1.1 miles.  This is the perfect length to feel like you’ve gotten away, yet it is short enough that it can be done without giving up your entire day. 

 

During my hike this past weekend, I found myself enjoying the trickling sun that danced upon the colorful fall leaves and beautiful birds that cascaded between the branches.  It was truly a pleasure to experience this. 

 

Hiking during the fall is one of the best times to hike in Alabama because the weather is often dry and temperate.   In other words, Alabama is not making it difficult to have an amazingly relaxing day.   Football season often competes with the call of the trail, but the die-hard outdoorsy people know that this often works to their advantage.   And no worries, though, if game day cannot be missed to enjoy the tranquility of the trails, simply go on another day.   It will be win-win!  (Pun intended.)

 

Happy trailblazing! 

 

Article sponsored by Tuscaloosa Tourism.

Find them on the web at: http://visittuscaloosa.com

 

Courtesy of DCM Fan Zone

By Erik Stinnett

Two longtime SEC East big boys. Now going two entirely different directions.

 
That was the story coming out of Jacksonville, Fla., over the weekend after the latest installment of the Florida-Georgia rivalry ended with Florida winning 27-3. 
 
It was yet another sign this season that the Gators, under first-year head coach Jim McElwain, have become relevant again on the national scene. Very relevant, in fact. Florida, whose lone loss this season came at LSU, is now one SEC win away from punching its ticket to the Georgia Dome to play for an SEC title, and a win there could very well mean a spot in the College Football Playoffs.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin

Although the No. 7 University of Alabama football team was off this past week in terms of an actual game, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said the week was a productive one, nevertheless, for his team.

"We have been working on a lot of things, and a lot of repetitions for a lot of players, to improve," he said Monday. "But now it's time to sort of refocus on the task at hand. The players had a few days off, and I think the goal is is for us to play our best football of the year. To do that, each individual on the team needs to play their best, and that obviously starts with preparation, and we're going to start our preparation (for Saturday's game against No. 4 LSU) today."

Saban noted the magnitude of the Alabama/LSU rivalry, and how it has grown during the past several years. It will no doubt be a formidable challenge for his Crimson Tide squad once again when Les Miles' Tigers (7-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play) comes to Tuscaloosa Saturday to battle his Alabama team (7-1, 4-1).

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By Chloe Monte:

 

The website, Influencer, recently surveyed 40,000 influencers to find out what Halloween candies were the most popular in each state.  

 

Most states preferred chocolate goodies, such as, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Kit Kats, or surgery delights, such as, Candy Corns. 

 

But those were not the only treats people preferred.  In fact, the list was quite diverse.  Mississippians loved Hershey’s Kisses while Georgians preferred Pixy Stixs. 

 

The people of Alabama, however, preferred AirHeads!  Very interesting. AirHeads are delicious, so I am not surprised to find out that they ranked so highly.  So, Alabamains, if you want to be the popular house on the block, you know what candy to give out! 

 

To find out more about how other states ranked, click here

 

Article sponsored by Pants Store.

Find them on the web at: http://www.pantsstore.com

 

 

 

 

 

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By Candice Morris

 

As a new homeowner, one of the first things I wanted to purchase was something for my front door. I love the look of monogrammed door décor, but wanted mine to be special, something that was uniquely “me.”

With most of my new home budget going towards things like paint and home-repair supplies, I knew I needed something for my door that was inexpensive and could easily be updated each season. I loved this rustic frame I found at Hobby Lobby. Between hitting Hobby Lobby on the right sales day and a having a digital coupon, I managed to get all of my supplies, which included burlap ribbon, some fall décor, and a wooden “M,” for around $20.

The trickiest part of this project was fashioning the bow. If you’re unsure how to make one, a pre-made bow would be perfect for this project. You could also tie your ribbon into a simple bow. I attached the bow to the top of the frame by using the ends of the bow to tie it on. I then tied the fall décor, which were fall-colored jingle bells, to a smaller ribbon and attached to the back of the frame. I left the letter unpainted and glued it onto the frame using small dots of wood glue. After adding a loop of ribbon on the back, it was ready to be hung!

This versatile door décor is a simple afternoon project that is sure to look great on your front door. You can always put your own personal touches on it, too – paint the letter your favorite color and voila!

Happy Fall, Y’all.

 

Article sponsored by Russell Lee Flooring.

Find them on the web at: http://www.rslee.com

 

By Joshua Watkins

Walk into Mugshots Grill & Bar and you will be greeted by images of many patrons (and a few famous individuals) all over the walls of an upscale rustic décor befitting a southern favorite. It’s a comfortable atmosphere and server, Kristin Beach, was most gracious as I looked over the extensive menu. Ultimately, Kristin recommended the “Come-back Burger” and it did not disappoint.  

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin: October 24, 2015

Nick Saban's No. 8 University of Alabama football team struggled offensively and defensively throughout the course of Saturday's contest against rival Tennessee at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and it appeared late in the contest that a physically-spent Crimson Tide team was in dire jeopardy of having its Southeastern Conference and national title hopes squashed by Butch Jones' Volunteer team.

But in a game mainly defined by the sluggishness of the Tide and the stubborn resolve of the visitors from Knoxville, a resilient and gritty Alabama team used big plays by Jake Coker, Derrick Henry, ArDarius Stewart, Ryan Anderson and A'Shawn Robinson among others in the last five minutes or so to avoid the huge home upset, while also keeping its win streak alive against the Volunteers.

(Courtesy of DCMFanZone)

By Erik Stinnett

If ever a team needed to be on upset alert, this weekend is most certainly it for Alabama.

Since self-imploding against Ole Miss on Sept. 19, the Crimson Tide have been rolling. And picking up steam fast. Alabama has gone 4-0 the past four weeks with its most impressive, dominating victories coming on the road against undefeated, top 10 competition.
 
Alabama upset (yes, it did classify as an upset) Georgia, 38-10, on Oct. 3. Two weeks later it went back on the road and walloped Texas A&M, 41-23. The other two wins in the last month were home wins over not-as-imposing competition -- 34-0 over Louisiana-Monroe and 27-14 over Arkansas.

(Courtesy of Crimson Magazine)

By Stan J. Griffin: October 23, 2015

A few years back there was a bit of scuttlebutt regarding the Alabama-Tennessee game, and whether it should be played every year in the SEC rotational system, as some outsiders felt that perhaps the Crimson Tide had an advantage by getting to play a downtrodden Vols program every year instead of, say, a Georgia or Florida, or even South Carolina.

Fortunately the powers that be in the conference used good judgment and opted to continue the yearly battle between Alabama and Tennessee, realizing how big of a rivalry the game still is for many, while also realizing that it's not exactly the Crimson Tide's fault that the Tennessee program had fallen into hard times over the past few years.

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By Courtney Corbridge

 

When you think of your dogs or your neighbors dogs, you are likely aware of how obedient, affectionate, fun, soft, cute, funny, entertaining, or protective they are. As long as any of us can remember, and certainly much longer than that, dogs have been considered man’s best friend. That’s true right here in Alabama, and it is true pretty much anywhere you go.

 

But this relationship wasn’t always just the recreational one it largely is now. Dogs became man’s best friend when they banded together for survival. Man protected dogs, and dogs helped man find food. Though hunting dogs have mostly become family dogs in our day, here are a few dogs that are still used for hunting today – especially in Alabama.

 

The best way to tackle the expansive list of hunting dogs is to first break them down into types. For our purposes, we’ll just look at the two main types—hounds and gun dogs. Some dog experts break this down further to include curs, terriers, feists etc. But the two most common dog types today are hounds and gun dogs.

 

Hounds are land trackers. They are best for hunting raccoons, jackrabbits, coyotes, and similar animals. Some hounds track using their developed sense of smell, and some track with their acute sight. The more familiar hounds, the scent trackers, will go on long chases as they hunt their prey, and they’ll often chase the target into a tree, where the dog will patrol until the hunter catches up by following the dog’s bellowing barks. A few great hound breeds are American Foxhounds, Basset Hounds, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, and Greyhounds.

 

Gun dogs are better for hunting prey that cannot climb trees. These game dogs are more tactful for hunting deer and birds, and typically the hunters that use them are armed with shotguns—hence the name gun dogs.

 

Retrievers, one variety of gun dogs, locate prey once they have been shot down, and they quickly retrieve it for the hunter.  The Labrador Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Golden Retriever are three of the most loved retrieving gun dogs.

 

Flushing dogs, yet another type of gun dog, are trained to locate hiding prey and then force them into the open. Common flushing dogs are spaniels like the Blue Picardy Spaniel, the American Water Spaniel, and the Welsh Springer Spaniel.

 

Unlike flushing dogs, setters and pointers locate their prey and then freeze on the spot for the hunter to come with a net or gun. Common pointing dogs are Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, and the German Shorthaired Pointer.

 

For a more complete hunting dog list, check out http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/huntingdogs.htm.

 

Article sponsored by First South Farm Credit.

Find them on the web at: http://www.firstsouthfarmcredit.com/home.aspx

 

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By Chloe Monte

Haunted houses are everywhere in Alabama and we put together a list of ones to visit if you dare!

 

Atrox Factory

 

Columbia Manor

 

Haunted House of Horrors

 

Haunted Lester Hospital

 

Hollis Haunted Chicken House

  • 7522 Hwy 431, Heflin, Alabama 36264
  • $15 1 Token / $25 2 Tokens / $40 3 Tokens
  • Open every Friday and Saturday from 7pm – 12am.
  • http://hauntedchickenhouse.net

 

Insanitarium

 

Popes Haunted Farm

 

Sloss Fright Furnace

  • 20 32nd Street North, Birmingham, AL 35222
  • $20 - $24 general admissions
  • All ages can take the furnace tour.  The trail tour is restricted to age 14 and up unless accompanied by adults
  • Open every day of the week
  • http://www.frightfurnace.com/index.asp

 

Spook Trail Maze of Monsters & Mayhem

  • 17347 Highway 269, Quinton, Alabama
  • $15 general admission or $10 with a canned food item
  • The trail is open every Friday and Saturday night.  It opens at 7pm and closes at 12am.
  • http://spooktrail.tripod.com/spooktrail2.html

  

Terrortorium

 

Twysted Souls Haunted Trail

 

Warehouse 31

  • 3150 Lee Street, Pelham, Alabama 35124
  • VIP pass $49.95
  • Gates are open 6:30 pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday and until 11 pm on other nights.
  • Free parking is available.
  • http://warehouse31.com

 

 

This article is sponsored by Morning Pointe.

Find them on the web at: http://www.morningpointe.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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