Trending In ‘Bama: Is Southern Hospitality still a real thing or just an Ideal to our generation!

So we all know how much I love Alabama and I am so proud to be from here, but we can not deny the history that we have when we talk about prejudice.

Well thank God that that’s all gone right?

As much as we would like it to be, when you talk to people who aren’t from the south or maybe have a little different appearance or opinions…its not!

I interviewed my dear friend Carmilla who is from Hawaii. She is half Polish and half Tongan, which is a pacific Islander.

Due to her appearance and views, she claims that she is often the target of discrimination here in Alabama and it has even affected her children.

I made this video up top to show just how prevalent these problems still are.

So guys let’s say we step it up and move on from, but still respect, the past that we have!

So until next time, enjoy the weather and War Eagle!

Alabama Beer Tasting: Truck Stop Honey Brown from Back Forty Brewing

As I have mentioned on here before, Alabama is producing some of the best craft beer in the country right now and isn’t showing any sign of stopping! In my opinion, quality craft beer should be treated like wine and there is even a process to tasting these fermented elixirs. In this video, my dear friend Marleana shows us all how to appreciate the delicious beers correctly and to the fullest.

Until next time ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the weather and War Eagle!

Music in ‘Bama: Alabama Shakes.

Alabama Shakes is an incredible group of musicians that are from different parts of northern Alabama. They have had tremendous success in the last couple of years and are continue to rise. They sing a genre of music that I call “movie music,” which is a genre of music that sets the tone for a moment and perfects a point.

The group was nominated for a Grammy Award last year and found themselves singing Nazareth on the same stage as music legends like Mavis Staples and Elton John. As an Alabamian I was really proud of them at that moment.

The lead singer of the group, Brittany Howard, has an astonishing tone in her voice that drips with pain and tragedy even though she is just 24 years old. She has an incredible range and her voice just tells a story of its own.

The group was nominated for a Grammy again this year for their work on the Steve McQueen film “Twelve Years a Slave,” the film that ultimately won best picture at the Academy Awards this year.

This group is clearly on the rise and hopefully they continue to produce incredible music with that Muscle Shoals Swamper Sound.

I picked their song “You ain’t alone” to share with you guys because it is absolutely beautiful and she shows out in it!

Until next time ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the weather and War Eagle!

Well it’s tax season…

 

Well everybody its tax season, not only in Alabama, but EVERYWHERE! So this has prompted me to use what I have been learning lately in my multimedia class. We have learned to create these nifty little things called fusion tables. A fusion table, as it turns out, is one freaking amazing way to display any kind of information that you want to present to your audience and it takes a total of about 10 minutes! So I wanted to find out and let you guys know where Alabama stands in the tax situation and all the other states in this beautiful union as well.

That Summer in ‘Bama…

I have lived in Alabama for my entire 22 years on this beautiful earth. Although I have a lot more to see and so much more to experience, there is one thing in this world I don’t think will ever change, and that is Summer time in Alabama.

There was something magical about the summers that I spent in my home town. As a kid, summer meant baseball and team drinks, and the city pool, riding bikes to the Chevron for coke ICEES, catching lightning bugs in the yard until it got dark, and not having a care in the world. Summer meant sleep overs and staying up until midnight, because that’s what made you cool.

When I was 16 it meant a summer job with the Board of Education and playing cards on every break that we had. Summer meant impromptu trips to Pelham to get Sno-Biz with way too many people in the car. Summer meant Butch’s lake on Joiner Town Road and not thinking about the future because what was the point?

When I was 18 Summer meant last chances and paying attention to what and who I had around me and finally appreciating it. This is the summer that I feel that I truly began to understand what I had when I was growing up and just how precious it was.

I began to notice how beautiful the water was, no matter how murky and brown, and how gorgeous it was when the wind blew over it. I began to notice how water oaks twisted and turned almost in sync with the river that they grew beside.

I learned what a hangover felt like and that Jim Beam could be your best friend but then he could definitely be your worst enemy the next day. I found out how awful a headache could really be and sweating it out was the only thing that helped.

I learned how fun truth or dare could be and I’ll just leave that there.

I started to realize how beautiful my friend’s laughs were and I began to cherish the times that we had together because I was realizing that we were running out of time.

I loved riding in the jeep, we called the Green Pea, more than ever that summer and I loved the feeling of that Bulley Creek mud between my toes every time I stepped into the water to cool off.

I watched the Liberty Day fireworks that Summer with a tinge of sadness in my eyes because I knew that this would be the last time that we would see them together, for a while at least.

I decided that my favorite time of day was a second after the sun set when the sky turned purple and pink, dying the water the same shades of lavender and salmon and you couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the earth began.

I realized how beautiful the stars were and how clear the sky in the country was and how lucky I had been to be able to never know anything different.

I found out that true love isn’t always found in high school and that is one of the hardest lessons to learn. I found that love can build us up and love can tear you down even more. I learned that love can make you crazy and love can make you sweet but it’s usually one extreme or the other.

I learned the, like David, in the Bible, I found peace beside the still waters and I learned I felt closest to God when I was being rocked by the gentle flow of the river.

This was the summer that I learned to really talk to God and what the peace of God actually felt like.

It was the Summer that I said goodbye to my childhood and to some of my closest friends. I’ll never forget the way summer felt there on the banks of the Coosa River and I’ll never forget the way it felt to just exist in true happiness with the best friends that I have ever had.

We all are spread out and live in different towns and cities and go to different schools but when the weather starts to get warm, or when a certain song comes on the radio, or even when the sky turns that certain shade of purple, I cant help but think that they think of that glorious summer that we got to spend together and just for a moment go back to summer in Alabama.

 

Trends in ‘Bama. Acid Wash.

girls acid

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s back with a fiery vengeance, Acid Wash and all its glory will be seen on every street corner, beach, park and snow cone stand this sweltering season in Alabama. This style of shorts, jeans, and shirts was huge back in the early 90s and we’ve decided that its cool again. So ladies run to your mom’s trunk and dust’em off to save some money or you can just make your own out of an old pair of jeans. This look is easy to pull off and is fun to make and wear.

chubbbies 2

This look isn’t only for the ladies. As you can see from the picture above that my brochachos at Chubbies Shorts have caught on to this awesome trend. I myself have made two pair of my own acid wash shorts and have ordered two pair from Chubbies and I am really excited about them. They go great with t-shirts and tanks and if you cut them short enough they make fantastic alternative swim wear!

 

acid chubbies

So how do I go about making these you ask?

Well that’s simple!

Just find an old pair or pairs of jeans and cut them off to the length that you want them, I am a fan of a shorter short, but to each their own.

You should really be careful cutting them because one small slip and you can ruin those pants as well as hurting yourself so be careful!

After you have them cut at the desired length put them in the washer. I found that using 1/4 cup of bleach for each pair of shorts works really well for a nice faded look but if you want more of a blotchy look I’d use a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup per pair and then add your regular amount of fabric softener to the load of laundry. The softener will help reduce the damage done to the fabric by the harshness of the bleach.

Give those britches a wash on the long cycle and dry them and you’ve got yourself a brand new bad ass pair of shorts to wear to Gulf Shores, the river, or to Sno-Biz this summer.

These shorts are something cool you can make and be proud of and you can apply this technique to just about anything else. I have seen acid back packs, acid wash, shirts, acid wash shoes and acid wash hats. It literally applies to everything…even hair, but I dont recommend that!

Well, I hope this has been helpful, and until next time ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the weather and War Eagle!

Speaking of State Parks….

So my friend Michael Whelan and I having Writing and creating music together for about a year now and we have a great time doing so. In my last post I mentioned how much I loved going to our local state park, Chewacla, which is where we shot this video.

We wanted to be somewhere calm and soft like the song is and we thought that water behind us really gave us the effect we wanted.

We were out there on a perfectly sunny day just soaking up some good ole’ vitamin D and I really think that we let the weather and our surroundings inspire us we played and sang the song.

The Alabama woods can be a magical place that inspires and brings clarity and in this case i feel like they definitely helped me. Let me know what you guys think of this and tell me what you think of Chewacla and the other state parks you’ve been to.

Get Outside People…and here’s where to get to!!!

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So I posted a map here earlier today of the 5 Best Breweries in Alabama. I liked the map concept so much that I though I would do another but for another subject.

This one shows you where all the Alabama State Parks and National Forests are. With all this warm weather and sunny weather why wouldn’t you want to know where these beautiful places are.

Our local state park in Auburn is Chewacla State Park and I absolutely love going out there and just listening to the water run and birds sing. This is where I get a lot of my ideas for this blog or just life in general.

Whether we want to admit it or not, nature is a powerful thing, and when you are surrounded by it you can really get a sense of peace and comfort from the sounds and sights.

Also going to these state parks and national forests help these places stay and business and I truly believe that it is so important for us to show our support.

So get outside ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the weather and until next time, War Eagle!

Bama’s 5 Best Breweries

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=ztiCyAA7Z6sY.k06ZRljCibWs

So here in Alabama we’d like to think that we have some the best beer that you can find in the nation right now, basically because we do! In 2012 and 2013 the state of Alabama opened up more breweries than any other state in the nation. 

This may or may not of had something to do with the Alabama brewing laws drastically changing, making home brewing legal.

So I have created a google map for you guys who are interested in finding some of the best craft beer that this state and country has to offer.

In the orange and blue are the breweries that made Southern Living’s list of the best breweries in the state and in the white are the ones that I deemed fit to serve as honorable mentions.

When you click on each orange and blue dot you will find the name of the brewery and a description of what the brewery has to offer or a unique fact about it.

I have found that being able to make these maps is extremely useful and looks wonderful when trying to present information about a certain place or grouped information.

So anyway now that my pitch for Google Maps Engine Lite is out of the way lets talk breweries.

Number 5 on the list was a place called Straight to Ale brewing, which, as you can see on the map, is located in Huntsville, Alabama. I personally have not had the opportunity to enjoy one of their fine ales but I hope to in the very near future. These brewers clearly enjoy their work and the creative process by coming up with incredible names like “Monkeynaut IPA” and the “He Ain’t Heffe” Heffefeizen. These guys are open 7 days a week and a great relationship with their local food trucks so you don’t have to worry about getting the “greasies” and having nothing to eat. (The “greasies” is the kind of hungry you get when you drink a lot of alcohol, much like the closely related “Munchies” but Im sure you see the difference here.)

Number Cuatro on this list of liquid lust producers is Blue Pants Brewer. This sucker is located just a few miles away from number 5, just outside of Huntsville, Alabama. These guys have a fantastic concept of artwork that they stick to really well and I really think that you all should check them out. They have an amazing coffee stout and a BLACK IPA which is exceedingly rare.

Number 3 on the list is Back Forty Brewing located in Gadsden, Alabama. I really enjoy this brewery because these guys choose to use local ingredients in their beer. They use local honey, oats and grains and really awesome about supporting their local economy. These guys now distribute 6 beers with two new ones in the line up, the Fence Post Session Ale and the Paw Paw’s Peach Wheat. They also produce one of my favorite porters which is called the Kudzu Porter.

The first runner up on the list was Good People Brewing. Good People is located in Birmingham, Alabama and is located directly across from the Baron’s stadium. They have a wide selection and their Snakehandler Double IPA was voted best beer in Alabama last year. Alabamians absolutely love this brewery. I think it is an awesome organization with a schtick.

Now for the moment you and I have all been waiting for! The number one brewery on the list is Avondale Brewing in Birmingham, Alabama. I could not agree more. I. Love. This. Brewery. I love the theme, I love the beer, I  love the atmosphere, I even love the artwork on the bottles. They have a wide selection of seasonals and a wide selection of anytime beers, and I have yet to find one that disappoints. From their Spring Street Saison to their Vanillaphant Porter, this place has it all.

Sno-Biz

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This is an Island Breeze, a glorious combination of lime flavored syrup and the ever popular Blue Raspberry flavored syrup! This can can only come from one place and that place is known as Sno-Biz. 

I. LOVE. SNO-BIZ. 

At one point in my life I went through a phase where I was trying to find the perfect flavor, out of the 100,000,000 that they offer, and I tried over 230 flavors from April to August. I even helped make up some new ones. 

For you unfortunate souls out there who have never gotten to experience the sheer ecstasy that is Sno-Biz, let me lay it out for you.

First of all, Sno-Biz is CHEAP. I mean dirt cheap…an extra large cup of Sno-Biz is $3…Yup $3!!! I would pay $20 but I don’t have to because this ish is just $3.

“So what exactly is this Sno-Biz you speak off Jon?” you might be thinking.

Sno-Biz is essentially a Hawaiian shaved ice, but exponentially better, like I mean you cant beat it.

The ice is shaved so thin and is so powdery you would swear that they have a direct connect to the snow covered mountains in Colorado in that little shack somewhere. 

So now lets talk about the flavors! Good God the flavors…its borderline overwhelming!

They have so many combinations that you’ll just about go cross-eyed.

Frog-in-a-blender, Godzilla, Ninja Juice, peach cobbler, blackberry cobbler, strawberry shortcake, fuzzy navel, island breeze, sucker punch, chunky monkey, island breeze, Georgia peach, sweet tart, margarita, apple pie, big red, chocolate cake, banana pudding, and they’ve even got one that tastes like a freaking wedding cake, and I know from experience that it tastes JUST LIKE WEDDING CAKE!

I caught up with former football auburn football player, Colton Wingard, at one of the two local Sno-Biz shacks and Asked him what flavor he had gotten and how it was. He informed me that he had gotten an AU Cyclone and this was his description,

“It’s like tiny little magical flavor fairies covered in ice dancing around in your mouth making you all happy and stuff.”

…..and that’s pretty much the most accurate description I have ever heard of how Sno-BIz makes a person feel. It is truly magical and takes me back to summers as a teenager! 

This frozen concoction is basically Margaritaville for the underage beach bum and sometimes for the legal beach bum on the wagon.

For me, nothing, no shaved ice anywhere can compare to Alabama Sno-Biz and it is a tradition that I hope to carry on in the future with my family.

I have never seen Sno-Biz anywhere but Alabama and so until proven otherwise I will consider it to be unique to us!

Well until next time Ladies and Gentlemen, enjoy the weather and War Eagle! 

All Things Happening In Alabama