Rachel Awtrey

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Posts tagged Birmingham
6 Sweet Treats in Birmingham You Have to Have!

It's no secret that Birmingham is a foodie's dream location. I say that you could eat every meal at a different location for an entire year and still not discover all of the yummy restaurants and foods around this beautiful place I call "home." As good as breakfasts, lunches and dinners are I'm all about sweet treats and desserts. I have a sweet tooth like it's no one's business! These are 6 of my all-time FAVORITE places in Birmingham that you cannot miss if you live here or skip out on if you're visiting! 

1. Urban Cookhouse

Not only does Urban Cookhouse have the best salad combinations with fast-food type turn around time, you have to finish you meal with their half baked cookie! It's cooked in an individual skillet just enough to not be runny but the cookie is still warm and soft but the edges are cooked and crunchy. 🍦🍪
They top if off with a scoop of ice-cream (melts quickly) and chocolate syrup! 😋 Ask for several spoons and split it with your table.
Sometimes Thomas and I go just for the cookie. In a rush or you want to treat yourself at home with some Netflix? They have a drive through at the Homewood location! 🙌🏼 

 
 

2. Farm Bowl + Juice Company

If you're on a gluten free, dairy free or any special type of diet, this is a must. Farm Bowl is right next door to Urban Cookhouse and cannot be missed! They serve açaí bowls, oatmeal bowls, juices and smoothies. Wow, wow, wow.
Honestly, I've never had an açaí bowl just as good. Their açaí base consistency is similar to sherbet so it's more like a frozen sweet (but healthy) treat. Top it with granola, your favorite fruit, cocoa nibs, almond or peanut butter, hazelnut chocolate spread, any seeds or nuts and you're good to go! 🍌🍓🥥🥝

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Pick up a juice or kombucha while you're at it!
Don't forget to walk outside, swing on their swings and take a picture in front of their mural. Stay a while!

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3. Steel City Pops

You may have heard of Steel City Pops before but believe it or not, they originated in Birmingham! If it's a hot day and you need to cool off with a popsicle, this is for you. They have tons and tons of flavors: creamy and fruity. Arnold Palmer, passion fruit (my favorite), red velvet cake, coffee, you name it, they have it. Want a little more of a treat? Add a dunk flavor and a chocolate drizzle. 😍
You must take a picture with the Vulcan mural in each store! Ask the friends behind the counter what their favorite flavor is - they'll never steer you wrong. 

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4. Cookie Fix

The cutest little  shop wedged in the streets of Homewood Village, Cookie Fix, has plenty of cookie flavors to take or eat there but also break-apart cookie dough to take home and enjoy on your own time. 🍪🥛

 
 


My favorite is the Healthy Peanut Butter, The Presidential and the Second Date.
Don't feel like splurging that much? That's okay! They have a Superfoods Healthy Peanut Butter: "Sister to the Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie, the Superfoods Healthy Peanut butter contains chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and dark chocolate. It contains coconut oil instead of butter."
Check the chalkboard outside for their flavors of the day, it's always changing! Catch them on a good day and you'll find brownies and cookie sandwiches!

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5. Hero Doughnuts

Definitely Instagrammable! Take a picture in front of their white painted shop, inside with the neon light, wherever! Hero Doughnuts was recently renovated from an old car shoppe into a doughnut shoppe and I am not complaining! On a good day, if the weather permits, they'll open up the garage door and let the fresh air + breeze in - love that!
Pro tip: if you go in the afternoon it's "happy hour" and doughnuts are half-off BUT be careful and don't go too late because they close when they sell out of donuts for the day. 🍩 If you do happen to catch them on your trip, make sure to get the "sidekicks" (aka doughnut holes) they're the best little bite sized things I've ever tasted. Dunk them in some coffee and you've got yourself a treat! If you're a little more hungry for something than just a small snack, ask for their burger - so good!

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6. Big Spoon Creamery

Big Spoon started out as a food truck here in Birmingham but I love their store front! No need to chase down a truck any longer! They have all of the ice-cream flavors you could ever think of plus more unique ones. My favorite? You have to try the Cinnamon Toast Crunch! They actually make it with the cereal so it is an actual replicated taste! Their chocolate cone is too good to be true, try that! 🍦

What are your Birmingham favorites? I'd love to know!! I've got to branch out and try new things!

Margarita March with Bartaco
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I think I ate my weight in tacos today so today was successful in my books 🌮 🙃 I’m so so excited about @bartacolife’s Margarita March and excited to say their Chai-Chicha-Rita cocktail (try saying that 5 times fast!) was a hit! 🍹

I also had the chance to take over @bartacolife’s Instagram Stories today (bloopers in my stories 😂) to share my favorites on the menu! Check it out! Cheers!

My favorites on the menu:
- Tuna Poke
- Pork Belly Taco
- Chicken Taco
- Mexican Corn
REAL Fresh Pineapple
- Get the guac!!

 
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White on White
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A white outfit + donuts 🍩

Now THATS a combo I can agree with 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Side note, the pearl details on this denim jacket have me squealing!! This outfit’s details (minus the donuts, sry) are in the link in my profile 🖤


Shop this outfit


Lunch at Real and Rosemary
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I think you could eat a good meal 3 times a day for an entire year and still not visit every restaurant in Birmingham.
One of my favorites, @realandrosemary is my go to when craving a hearty (but healthy) meal 🙌🏻 🥦🥔🌽 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
QUESTION: Where’s you favorite restaurant (fast food counts hehe)? I’d love to look at their menu and try something new!

To read more about Real and Rosemary head over to this blog post to see their interior and beautiful porch!

Galentine's Day at the Summit
 
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As much fun as Valentine's Day is for some of us, I know it's not celebrated by everyone. But, have you heard of Galentine's Day? It lands on February 13th and it's the time to celebrate all of the girl bosses, best friends, and side kicks in our life. So, grab some cupcakes, champagne, a good chick flick, and celebrate those BFFs!

Galentine's Girls Night Suggestions:

What to snack on

  • Trader Joe's salted popcorn
  • Chocolate Gluten Free cupcakes from Trader Joe's
  • Your fave wine or champagne
  • Get fancy with a cheese board

What to do

  • Watch a favorite movie
  • Play a fun card game (like Cards Against Humanity) something to get everyone laughing
  • Exchange gifts

What to watch

  • 13 Going on 30
  • Definitely Maybe
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  • Along Came Polly

What to gift:

Gifts are tricky, especially for your friends. What if they don't like it? Will they be able to use it? How much do I spend? These questions always crowd my brain when it comes to gift giving to my BFFs. You feel like you know someone until you have to buy them a gift...ya feel?
I've put together some of my favorites ranging from $15 - $50 so you can pick your gift based on the set budget! For me, it's so easy to find anything that I'm ever needing at The Summit in Birmingham, Alabama. If you're in the Birmingham area, I highly suggest going to do your shopping there. You have Free People, Lululemon, Anthropologie, Madewell, West Elm, Sephora, Kendra Scott, Athleta, and way way more all in one place. I'm so grateful I can walk around and get all of my shopping for friends completed all in one trip!

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Galentine's Day
 
 

The other week I hosted a (very) early Galentine's Day Brunch with my friend Christina Brockman of Huckleberry Collective for some of our friends and we had a ball! We wanted to put together a little something before we all got busy but we also wanted to try out a few things to see if they're something we'd want to share with you. We had the best time and tried some new recipes, a caterer in Birmingham you have to book for your next event, a cocktail that's too easy to make it's silly, decor to add color to your party, a flower arrangement that will make you squeal, the most beautiful invitation suite for our guests, and sercies for our guests that they'll actually use.

The Decor

We hosted the brunch at a friend's house (it basically came out of a magazine, so beautiful!) that has plenty of seating, an open floor plan, and a beautiful kitchen! We wanted a beautiful flower arrangement and some other fun decor without overdoing the Valentine's Day theme. Head over to Huckleberry Collective's blog to see how she styled the arrangement and what flowers she used!
I found a shop online called The Paper House that sells the cutest party decor but also the most fun office supplies and gifts. This is where we got the balloons + "Be Mine" banner that we hung in the kitchen with the balloon bouquets scattered around the living area.

 
 
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The Food

We had the greatest menu put together by Dixie Design Collective of the plates that Ashley Mac's put together for us. It was the greatest combination of sweet and salty. You have to look at the cake and read what kind it was! To see the rest of the menu, check out Huckleberry Collective's blog

 
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The Cocktail

The cocktail concoction was so simple and so fun! It's especially great for large groups because the ingredients are easy to mix and serve! See the full recipe here.

 
 

The Guest Favors

There is the sweetest olive oil and vinaigrette shop in Mountain Brook Village here in Birmingham, Alabama called Olio. We used their fused olive oils as gifts for our guests with tags attached by Dixie Design Collective that said "olive you." Each friend got a bottle of either Blood Orange, Wild Rosemary, Mushroom and Sage, or Cilantro Red Onion. This is a great gift idea for your girl friends, mom, or even teacher gifts! They have lots of other flavors as well as vinaigrette options on their website.

 
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Little touches of excellence in the details make events like these memorable and elegant. We loved being able to incorporate some of our favorite vendors to support local and small business. That fact that we had Christina to style and make everything beautiful was so much fun! Everything she touches turns to gold! Don't believe me? Look at her Instagram.

What do you do to celebrate Valentine's Day with your gals? We want to know!

Thanksgiving Weekend Wardrobe

Hey friends!

I hope you all are just as excited to tie on an apron, start stuffing turkeys and slicing pies as I am! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of the gratefulness around the table, the fullness of family (and my stomach) and all the opportunities to loves on those around us. However, there's more to Thanksgiving than just the dinner. For my family, there's the long car ride there (from Birmingham to South Carolina), the feast and then the Black Friday early morning shopping the next day. Packing can be a little crazy for all of these events happening in one weekend but I have found the perfect ways to make sure every occasion has an option.

With the help of my friends at Fab'rik at the Summit in Birmingham, I was able to find my Thanksgiving weekend ware with no sweat.

For the Road Trip

Thomas and I have about a 6-hour car ride to "home" where we'll celebrate the Holidays with our family. I want this car ride to be comfortable but I also don't want to just ride in a t-shirt and leggings because when we step out of the car in South Carolina, I want to feel fun and dressed up to a degree like the rest of the gals. This shirt from Z Supply is possibly the most comfortable thing I put on my body. It has a suede feel that's so so soft and the lace-up details give this regular tee a little umph. Black jeans are my go-to but these jeans with the fringe, or a raw hem jean, are so fun and a great detail addition that's sure to grab some compliments. 

For the Thanksgiving Feast

I want to wear something (again) cozy but cute for dinner. Something that I don't have to worry about zipping or buttoning (for obvious reasons). A romper is perfect for this occasion. This romper with the snakeskin print with a fun raspberry color is one of my favorite fall prints. It ties at the waist to give some shape but it also has clasps up the neckline so you can decide what kind of look you want: v-neck, crew neck, low-v - it's up to you! I pair this with some knee-high black boots and maybe a denim jacket or car coat in case it was to get chilly.

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For the Black Friday Shopping

Imma be honest: the next day, I don't feel like putting on real pants. Who's with me? Has anyone tried Spanx leggings?? If you have, you know incredible they are, how well they fit and create a slimming silhouette but also have a fun leather-like texture to make sure they're not your regular leggings. I'm wearing these with my Adidas tennies (so I can run fast to what I'm wanting) and a comfy camo sweatshirt, again from Z Supply. It's one of those outfits you can throw on with a messy bun or dry shampoo'ed hair but still look like there was some effort. HELLO! My favorite type of outfit!

Thanks again to my friends at Fab'rik Birmingham for helping me put these outfits together. If you mention this blog post, you can receive 30% off an item in the Summit location store (bummer, but you can't double up this discount with Black Friday deals but feel free to use them on any other days this season!)

I'm interested, what are you all wearing for Thanksgiving??

How to Stay Inspired

Like I said in an answer in my Frequently Asked Questions, I set aside one day a week (usually Mondays) to inspiration alone for new blog content, webinars, email courses and other fun blog stuff. I'd like to think that I stay inspired constantly. But, honestly, it's a feast or famine.  Some days I'm overloaded with inspiration and this is good because I can tuck away some ideas for the days that feel really dry. On the dry days, I still like to give my brain a creative break and just have fun and learn new things and create new ideas. 

Coffee with other creatives

This should be at the top of your list. When I'm feeling uninspired or discouraged, I always have someone that I call to encourage me, lift me back up again or keep me accountable to my dreams and goals that I once shared. Find someone that knows what you want and has an idea of a pathway to get there. They may have some fun ideas for you to chew on that'll keep you moving if you feel blocked or hindered by yourself. 

Pinterest

Pinterest is a fun place to go to aimlessly scroll, rejuvenate your right brain and just have fun looking at other people's inspiration. I just revamped mine and am finally starting to pin again here. These two boards (one of my favorite by Mary Grace Baker and one of my own) are two that I hope to act as inspiration to myself and others. Take a look!

Music

For me, music is another great place to go to when I need a little pep in my step. If I'm writing, sometimes it's hard to have music on but if I'm creating content, a planner, editing pictures or responding to emails, I usually have one of these two playlists playing in the background to set a tone that's hard to not be inspired by.

These are just some of my favorite ways to stay inspired, what are yours?? Is it running, painting, drawing, talking to yourself? I wanna know, comment them below! I'm always taking new ideas!

My Fave Maxi

Incase you haven't been told: fuchsia and pink are back, as are maxi dresses ('tis the season) and tie dye (PRAISE). So, when I saw this dress at American Threads, I knew I had to have it. 

Let's talk about it's practicality. It has adjustable straps so you can say "hello" to your flats and your wedges for different occasions. Second, it has pockets. If a dress has pockets to me, it's always a "yes." Pockets are my comfort zone, honestly. 

It's one of those dresses you can toss on with sandals for a beach trip, loose fitting for those sunburns (anyone? Just me? Okay.), yet flattering for date night paired with wedges. 

Besides shoes, there's several different ways to wear this look - tie it up for a more casual feel or letting it hang for an elegant, evening time look. 

What's not to love?

BHM: Revelator Coffee

Ahhhh yes! A coffee shop that has everything I'm looking for:

  • an inspirational + cozy atmosphere
  • friendly baristas that become friends
  • a creative menu
  • big tables to spread out and do work
  • non fluorescent lighting
  • free wifi (let's be honest)

I stumbled upon Revelator in Mountain Brook Alabama. One of the first few days in the area, I looked around for what would be my coffee shop. I was secretly interviewing the baristas and I felt like I was dating the menu's until I found "the one." It wasn't long until this small cute shop became my "one" before I was even able to go anywhere else. 

Mountain Brook location | 2551 Park Lane Ct S Mountain Brook, AL

A plushy West Elm rug greets you with sleek white walls and funky wooden chairs. A few tables decorated with coffee rings and succulents invite you to sit. The menu is small and mighty offering plenty of options to add to your simple coffee: cinnamon honey is my friend's favorite. 

Downtown Location | 1826 3rd Ave N Unit 101 Birmingham, AL

Close to the Alabama Theater, you're in a more industrial environment greeted by, instead of a rug, a standing lamp with a large pine meeting table and the coffee bar. We grabbed a seat next to the window with a view of the latest construction development in the middle of the road. The Revelator baristas brought us over their newest creation to try: mint black tea with a splash of almond milk.

The chairs are comfy and big, the tables are sturdy and their wifi is free. BINGO. 

What more could you ask for?


OTHER LOCATIONS:

Atlanta

Nashville

Charleston

Chattanooga

New Orleans

BHM: Real + Rosemary

You know the places where you go to rest? To defeat the hustle and bustle throughout the day? The replenish and rejuvenate? Real and Rosemary has become one of those sacred safe places for me and I just had to share. 

Real and Rosemary is a quaint eatery tucked away in Homewood, Alabama. It offers a "real" and fresh menu with organic and yummy touches. There's rustic table with minimalist decor finished with a clean, pastel pallet. There's a bar for a night scene to end any great date with conversation that's not competing with the angry-loud music. It's a soft place with the kindest people in denim aprons serving you with an edgy twist. 

The interior is stellar but outside (if the weather permits) is my go-to. Tables on a patio with strung bistro lighting all around. A painted concrete wall adds the perfect amount of color and entertainment for your meal. 

The food...gosh the food. The kind where you leave feeling replenished than full, satisfied rather than sluggish. My go to is either a cup of the White Chicken Chili (without jalapeños) or the Roasted Turkey sandwich (pictured here). The sides are all wonderful: brusselsprouts, roasted carrots, sweet potato soufflé (pictured here), corn palenta cake. It's all so scrumptious. 

And do not leave without trying their freshly made, daily, orange blossom lemonade. It's a tangy thirst quencher with just enough pulp to know it's fresh with a tang of lemon and the sweetness of fresh orange juice and a hint of mint. 

Acquaint yourself with this sweet, quaint, loving place that I am proud to call a favorite. 

First Saturday in Birmingham

It's our first Saturday (not snowed in) in our new town, Birmingham and man! Did we enjoy getting out and exploring or what! 

It was a beautiful 70 degree weather day so of course we took the motorcycle and took a few (accidental or purposeful?) wrong turns. We wandered around some windy roads by Cahaba Heights, found a running trail, park, waterfront park and so much more fun! We meandered our way to a sweet nursery called "Leaf and Petal."

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Naturally, I fell in love with a few succulents that would go perfectly in my new gold distressed planter I picked up in Anthropologie my last visit. My brother, Hamilton, was in town staying with us and he went to grab coffee with a friend so we met him afterwards back near our home at a great burger joint: Flip. 

Seriously, their turkey burger with avocado and pomegranate ketchup was to die for. We chose to sit outside on the patio because, again, the weather was magical. At the Summit (a nearby shopping center) there's an overlook that looks over the mountains in the near distance. So, we were able to enjoy lunch and a view. Too bad we were too full to not enjoy their Nutella milkshake topped with marshmallows. 

But, we bounced across the street at Steel City Pops for our second visit of the weekend to grab a coffee and cookies + cream popsicle. It was seriously just the best lounging day. 

I could do this every Saturday, honestly. A "welcome" to a city has never been sweeter. 

Moving Home Sweet Home

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

If you follow me on social media, it's no question that this family likes to move around. We've been from California (seasonal location for Thomas's job), South Carolina (so I can graduate from the best university), and now Alabama. I guess you could call us pros at this point and since we've been moving so frequently, this pack up was super easy. There wasn't much to pack since most things were already in boxes from the last move. Sheesh. Thomas's parents made the move up with us, following us in their car + a trailer holding Thomas's beloved motorcycle. We got to Birmingham pretty late Wednesday night and we unloaded the truck 'til mid-day Thursday. With all the contents in the apartment we started moving things around, finding arrangements that we agreed on and now, I'd say we're all set. 

The packing process, like I said, was light -- but, I did find some pretty great diy/alternative ways to make sure all of my dishes and China made it here safe and sound. And it worked! (Tips at the bottom).

Y'all, we could literally fit all our entire home in South Carolina in the living room of our Bama house. PRAISE. Because things were starting to get a little small for my liking. Hallelujah for an upgrade!

We had some beautiful pieces "donated" to us (couch, table, chairs, bed frame). We are so blessed beyond belief because I can't imagine a furniture shopping trip right now...

We bought some chalk paint and repainted some of the furniture to fit the scheme of our "minimalist farmhouse" look. 

After Thomas's parents left, a few friends from high school joined us for the weekend. We would wake up in the morning, cook breakfast together while sipping on our coffee, do a little unpacking laughing and dancing to music. We'd take a break and cuddle and catch up and then cook dinner and head out to venture in our new town. It was dreamy. Thomas and Allan hung up decor on the walls, hung curtains, all the manly stuff. Marissa and I took paint brushes to these furniture pieces and gave them a renovation, place eucalyptus and small decor (candles, frames, knick knacks and such), girly stuff. 

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We are so thankful to have had them to help us adjust emotionally to this "newness." Having a piece of home here in the area was an answer to plenty of prayers. The four of us brought in the New Year with us sitting in a local Waffle House watching the ball drop in NYC early (since we're in the Central Time Zone now). Ugh, adjusting, ya know?

We finally have all the lamps plugged in, placemats on the table, dishes put away, comforters on the bed, etc. We're nesting now and waiting for our "finishing touches" to appear and then you can expect a fun "Home Tour" on the blog soon. Stay tuned. 

xoxo


Moving Tips

1. Use styrofoam plates in between each plate to move

2. Use clothing from dressers to wrap dishes instead of purchasing lots of bubble wrap

3. Saran Wrap drawers or cabinets from pieces to avoid having to un-pack and re-pack that furniture. 

4. Tape cords together and label them so (a) they don't get tangled and (b) you can tell which appliance they go with. 

5. Set aside toiletries, clothes or cleaning supplies you'll need when you first get there and put them on the back of the truck so that you have them handy at your final destination.

6. Use trash bags and wrap them around your hanging clothes to avoid missing hangers, clothing items and you can easily transfer them from the truck, hang them in your closet and cut the bag off.