A Jam Packed Weekend

So, this weekend my very best friend Elizabeth (a current Nashvillian) paid a visit to the Magic City. We have been best friends, and more like sisters, since fifth grade. So, needless to say-it's always very exciting when we get to spend time with one another. Although Elizabeth and I both grew up around an hour north of Birmingham, the city has changed a lot for the better in the past few years and I wanted to make sure that Elizabeth saw the best of the city while she was here.

As soon as Elizabeth got into town, we wasted no time and headed to one of my favorite Birmingham neighborhoods- Forest Park. Last Friday the neighborhood shops were celebrating their monthly Third Friday in the Park event. So, all of the stores were open late and the restaurants had special food and drink menus. We started by heading to Zoe's in the Park, a vintage and consignment boutique, that has become a Birmingham staple for fashion lovers. After browsing the store while munching on complimentary popcorn, we headed across the street to Naked Art Gallery.

Naked Art Gallery is by far my favorite art gallery in town and who couldn't say no sipping a Slippery Slope (vodka, pineapple juice, lime juice, sprite, limes and fresh mint) from the donation based bar. All of the proceeds went to Creative Wellness, a Birmingham based counseling service that believes in "healing through counseling and the creative arts". Each Third Friday there is always a new drink and a new philanthropy it supports. Besides the delicious and refreshing cocktail, we got a kick out of the current exhibit "The Toys Have No Clothes" by Chad Moore. Check out an album featuring some of Moore's work here.

At that point it was around 6PM and we both needed a pick me up. So, we headed over to Octane Coffee- a fairly new Birmingham establishment that is a roastery, bar, and cafe all in one. Their menu isn't extensive, but what they do offer is amazing. They definitely know how to roast and brew a good cup of coffee,  plus the hip and cozy decor of the store front really adds.

 We were then on our way to the Birmingham Museum of Art for Art on the Rocks, an exciting event held only a few times during the summer that celebrates art of all forms. We enjoyed eating heavy hors d'oeuvres while watching live performances from Art Play Contemporary Ensemble, Jackson based band-The Weeks, live multimedia VJs, and a Gus Mayer fashion show. John was even able to come and join! After checking out all of the live performances, we are able to do some art of our own and sketch live models in the European Gallery. It was a wonderful night to say the least. 


Saturday we woke up early and headed to Pepper Place Saturday Market . It was delightful, as usual, and we stocked up on pineapple salsa and organic green apples. Although we didn't purchase any, the Chilton County peaches were prettier than ever and I fully intend on purchasing a few next Saturday. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping away. First we hit up some of my favorite consignment stores (whose names I will selfishly keep to myself for the time being). I scored a Marc Jacobs sleeveless button down, Ann Taylor stone black skinnies, J. Crew denim colored linen pants, and a J. Crew sleveless navy and black dress shirt all for $25. What a deal! After, we went to Urban Cookhouse for a fresh and light lunch. I had the Berry Good salad with a scoop of their chicken salad and topped it off with a glass of homemade strawberry lemonade. In addition to loving their food, it makes it that much better that they use local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. After refueling, we took a shopping tour of downtown Homewood and visited some of my favorite stores including: Penzey's Spices, Three Sheets, At Home, Ambiance, and Alabama Goods. 

Although, I was feeling a little exhausted, we powered forward and went to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. While we live right across the street from this beautiful Birmingham oasis, John and I hadn't visited in far too long. We originally intended to head over for a poetry reading sponsored by Jones Valley, but soon realized that we had misread the flyer and that the event was actually to be held Sunday. Nevertheless, we loved walking around the gardens before heading home to get ready for dinner. 

Since one of the main things that I wanted Elizabeth to realize was that Birmingham offered a great selection of food, we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants-Rojo. While it may not be the swankiest place in town or have the most Michelin stars, it is hands down some delicious Ameri-xican (Latin and American fare) places around. I mean, you know if has to be good when Bob Dylan himself raved about it after his trip to the Ham. John and I love getting the most out of their menu and like to split two items, one from the American side fare side of the menu, and the other from the Latin fare side. Saturday we decided on the Meditteranean quesadilla and the Fuego burger. While both were fantastic, the Fuego burger may have been the hottest thing that I have ever eaten aside from a raw habanero. My mouth was on fire and the only thing that seemed to cool it down was a visit to Steel City Pops. Elizabeth mentioned that she had seen one of my many Instagram posts featuring the popsicle joint that has seasonal, fresh, and unique flavors, and was very happy to finally see and taste it for herself. 

We had intended on topping off the evening with a Birmingham Baron's game at the new Regions Field, but the rain scared us away and we decided to purchase a new board game called Furt instead. We took a gamble purchasing it since none of us had ever heard of it before, but were pleasantly surprised with all of the laughter and entertainment that it provided. I won't even try to explain how to play, but if you'd like to know more and are looking for a good game night game check out their site

Needless to say, Sunday has been sent resting. However, before Elizabeth's departure I made sure we started the day with one of my favorites, Crestline Bagel. We enjoyed our bagels and cream cheese(both made in house) with a good cup of coffee and the latest Weld. After racking our brains to halfway complete this issue's crossword, we took a long walk around the Crestline neighborhoods to admire the architecture and perfectly trimmed gardens.

It was a jam packed weekend to say the least (hence this novel sized post), but fun and memorable indeed. Although it would take me far more than one weekend to show off my city, this weekend was a good way to start.


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