Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hot and Hot Fish Club

Hello, all! I hope your Tuesday was just splendid. For those of you that know me, I already know what you're thinking, "Faith, I thought you were allergic to seafood!?!?" Well, yes, this is true. I can't lie when I say that seafood looks absolutely amazing to me. I wish I could indulge but alas, it is hopeless. Nevertheless, there is a great restaurant right here in the great state of Alabama that brings the perfect combination of all foods of the southern sort. It is located in the heart of Birmingham and as you guessed, called the Hot and Hot Fish Club. I have eaten there a few times in the past and it is always a treat. A couple of weeks ago, I went there again with my mom for a late graduation/Mother's Day outing. Need I mention again that my mother and I are always exploring for delicacies below the Mason Dixon Line? I could spend hours talking about their accolades. This place is simply top notch. For my meal, I ordered the strip loin and it was divine. My mom had salmon. We also shared a basket of crispy fried okra and topped off our entrees with strawberry doughnuts and banana cake. I know our thighs thanked us accordingly. Everything about this restaurant is perfection. There is an intimate dining area that allows customers to see all of the cooking and preparation. In another corner, someone is slicing hot bread. There are window seats with quaint tables including khaki, black, and white tones for decor. The Hot and Hot will not disappoint, I promise. Their attention to detail is immaculate. I love sharing little gems hidden in the Heart of Dixie! If you ever have the chance to go to Birmingham, make sure to call ahead for reservations to this restaurant. You can even ask for a kitchen bar seat that will put you up close and personal to true southern culinary magic.
P.S. They also have a cookbook that I received the Christmas before last. I love it!
First photo courtesy of USA Today

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Cannot Eat My Fruit Without...

I've come to terms with the fact that I am a fruit fanatic. Yes, I'm that girl who stalks bridal shower tables continually returning for just one more piece of pineapple. I love fruit because it is one of life's simplest pleasures.
When summer rolls around, I get really excited because I know that I can buy delicious strawberries and blueberries all the time (among other things, of course!). Today, I ate an entire carton of blueberries and an entire carton of strawberries between two meals. In my mind, Michael Jackson's Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough is sweetly playing. Anyway, to get around to the meaning of this post, I encourage you to try these two minimal ingredients on your fruit: lemon juice and Splenda. Oh man, something about this combination is irresistible. Its totally worth your time. With these two quick additions, your normal bowl of freshly chopped fruit will be perfect for every occasion. It is bliss. So, squirt some FRESH lemon juice on your fruit and mix in your Splenda. I don't measure the amounts usually, I just season to taste. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
P.S. This works on all types of fruit in my opinion.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Fashion Forward: The One and Only Miss Central Alabama

For the past several years, I have observed, coached, and styled women competing in numerous pageants across the state of Alabama. I haven't ever been a pageant type of girl although I do enjoy watching the trends of this part of the fashion world. Pageant fashion is and forever will be bold and glitzy. A pageant girl must follow the trends of the competition year and be able to stand out in a crowd. One of my dear friends, Rebecca Whitlow is competing in the Miss Alabama pageant this coming June. She holds the title of Miss Central Alabama. I have always loved Rebecca’s style and beauty as she keeps her wardrobe classic, tasteful, and of course, pageant appropriate. This past Saturday, I took pictures for her at her send-off party. We all had a great time seeing her outfits, having her answer questions, and performing her talent for us. I wanted to show you a couple of her outfits so you can get a taste of her classy style.

There are many things I love about Rebecca. Beyond her style and most importantly, she is genuine. These days, true gems competing in pageants are hard to find. As I spoke with her throughout the afternoon, I learned more and more about her dedication to serving our state. She has poured countless hours of her personal time into organizations that help children and adults across our great state. Her platform is Help Us Hear Alabama. It consists of goals to prevent and educate Alabama’s citizens about noise induced hearing loss. I love, love, love, her platform compared to many that I have seen because it is an issue that many people neglect. She has a personal connection to this cause making her efforts to support it even more influential. What more can Alabama ask for than a young woman with two architecture degrees, solid style, and a platform that reaches a variety of citizens?

I know some of you readers out there are avid Miss Alabama fans so, watch for Rebecca as she competes this year. Just look for classy outfits, beautiful blonde hair, and a flawless smile. Rebecca has become a solid candidate in this system and I cannot wait to see her again! I wish her all the best in the pageant and certainly, I will be there to cheer her to a win!

Alabama Tornadoes 4/27/11

Hello, all. I am so sorry that I have not blogged recently. These past few weeks have turned out to be quite challenging for me. My heart goes out to all of the tornado victims throughout the state of Alabama. I have seen things in the past few days that I hope to never see again. Most of it is so unreal that it seems that the destruction is constructed like props on a horror movie set. The devastation across the state is horrific. Things are not where they belong and it is terrible. I try to make sense of it all, but somehow, I just cannot. Most people do not think that they will see a tornado much less its destruction in their lifetime. These storms have taught me several lessons and given me a new outlook on life.

On the afternoon of the storm, I was on my way to school (University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa) about 3:30 to take a final exam. When I arrived at the door, my fellow classmates were telling me to leave and go home as the weather was supposed to get very bad. I had been tracking the storms on my phone and thought I had plenty of time to run a quick errand before going to meet Billy at my apartment. Somehow, when I got to my car, I had the gut feeling that I should go immediately home to see Billy. Again, I realize now that it sounds stupid of me to want to “run an errand” before a bad storm. However, at the time, I did not take tornadoes seriously. I returned to my apartment where Billy and I decided to hide under the concrete stairs at the bottom of my apartment complex. I, being the ridiculous one, kept kidding with him about checking the weather. For some reason, I continued to think that it was just weathermen over-reacting. All I can say is, thank goodness for Billy. He was the calm one that I needed when I did not realize the potential of this storm. As we sat under the concrete, we suddenly felt and saw all the signs you are warned about when tornadoes come. Birds stopped chirping, it got extremely hot, and a cloud of dust moved right in front of us faster than I have ever seen. We watched the clouds turn in a circular motion and the tornado quickly touched down right across the river from my apartment complex. It seemed like it took years for the tornado to end. Repeatedly, I replay that moment in my mind and I try to make sense of what it looked like. Literally, who thinks they will see an entire tree swirling around inside a tornado? It was such an incredible sight and I mean that in a shocking sense. After it left our line of sight, I was so traumatized; I did not know what to do next. My cable, internet, and phone did not work so; I had no idea of how bad the damage was. It was about three hours later before I was able to figure out the size of the damage in Tuscaloosa. I was so scared because I could not get in touch with my closest friends. Billy and I went to a Burger King on the other side of town. There, we waited for almost two hours to eat. Being in that restaurant was so bizarre. It was then that I began to realize how bad the tornado really had been.

The next day, I went with a close friend to survey the damage to her father’s house. Unfortunately, it was destroyed. We helped a few other families salvage what they could. Even then, I was still in shock. I looked down and saw a Christmas card in the middle of a truck’s windshield. It was such a small detail in all the debris yet; it seemed so fragile and important because it belonged to someone who would never find it.

I wish I could say that I am not scarred from the damage now engulfing my college town. Sights such as a truck in a basement with no home on top definitely make for quite the reality check. I am so blessed that I am safe and so are my loved ones. I do not believe I will ever be able to make sense of this tragic event in my state. Cooking, fashion, and home design, the articles I write about on my blog, seem to take a backseat in times like this. I mean that this tornado has really made me focus more closely on the true important things in life. It has also made me want to follow my dreams more than ever. Now, as I reflect, I cannot believe that this is how my college years at UA have ended. I never had a last day of school, finals, or a graduation (at least not until August 6th). Life is weird right now. Everything just stopped and that was it for my college career. As much as I grew attached to Tuscaloosa over these past four years, it means even more to me now. Truly, my heart goes out to my college town.

As my mom works for the State Health Department, I have also traveled across the region with her visiting East Franklin, Phil Campbell, Cordova, and Hackelburg. Having seen the devastation in these areas, I am quite impressed with the employees of the state of Alabama. So many of these workers have gone beyond the call of duty to make the best of this trying situation. Having my own mom work ninety-eight hours of overtime in seven days and use eight hundred cellphone minutes definitely puts this devastation into perspective. I am so fortunate and I hope to not to forget the lessons of this storm for my lifetime. In addition, I am a big proponent of taking one of your own talents and using it to help others. As this sate tries to mend itself, I hope that all of you will take time to extend a caring hand to others. It is a crazy world out there so, be safe! Thanks for stopping by to read about my experience. Please continue to keep all of Alabama in your thoughts and prayers. Love you all and Roll Tide!