Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Few Wonderful Hours at The Summit

My mom, my girls and I ventured out yesterday for lunch and to find the youngest some shoes for Easter Sunday.

Our favorite place to shop in Birmingham is hands down, The Summit.
It seems insulting to call The Summit a shopping mall.
Because it is so much more than that.
The Summit is kinda like Disney World...
different areas...different kinds of stores...big names as well as smaller boutiques...and lots of really nice places to way possible to do everything at The Summit in one day.

One of the newest places to eat a recently opened section of The Summit is a place called Flip Burger.
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality suggested it a few posts ago, so I put it on my list for this trip.

When you walk through the door, the first thing you see is this cool mural that is on the ceiling.
You also hear music...hip, popular rock music.

We waited for about 20 minutes for a table...Flip Burger is not a huge's long and rectangular, divided into 3 long rectangular sections, a bar, a regular seating area down the center and a row of booths.
Here are my oldest and middle children sitting in one of the booths...almost like sitting in a space capsule.
The oldest said she felt like she was in Japan.

My firstborn is a connoisseur of potato soup, so she order this as an appetizer and got a surprise extra serving with her meal...which we all sampled :)

If you like real hamburgers, put together with all kinds of other fresh ingredients, and fresh unique sides, you would like Flip Burger. 

You might even have a conversation about foie gras like we did :)
You can add foie gras to your milkshake if you want...but we didn't.
Especially after we had a long conversation about duck liver.

This is my middle child's lunch...those fries are fresh cut as are the pickles...the pickles are really marinated cucumbers...fresh and crispy...and the taste just pops in your mouth.

They don't have a kids' my youngest ordered the basic Flip Burger with all the extras on the side...she's a hamburger with ketchup only kinda gal. 
The folks at Flip Burger were more than happy to oblige her.

These are the sweet potato fries...
which are really tempura sweet potatoes...
and are scrumptious!

How about asparagus fries?
When I saw these on the menu, I wasn't really sure...
But, my mom ordered them and let me have some of hers...
again, sorta like tempura asparagus...but fresh and good!

Of all the interesting decor elements, this t.v. frame was my favorite.
I can so see this hanging on either of my teenager's walls.

After we left Flip Burger, we walked down one side of the new section at The Summit. 
We spotted a new boutique called Gloss.

The "big girls" are experts at finding new and interesting places to shop.

My firstborn is the most fashion conscious of all of us...
Once she enters a store, she has her own agenda and she doesn't really talk to anybody else...she goes around mentally putting pieces together in her head..

My youngest is used to walking into these kinds of stores, taking a look around and realizing pretty quickly that there's nothing here for her.  Her first question today was, "When are we going to Gymboree?"

My middle child, who likes clothes just as much as her big sister, doesn't have quite the same shopping strategy.  She's been known to completely lose control and walk around picking up handfuls of stuff to try on. 
I turn my midle child over to my mother whenever we go shopping.

Gloss has beautiful clothes! My firstborn was excited about the new possibilities at hand. 
The scope is casual, but the tops and dresses are feminine, silky and blousy.
Thank-you God that tight shirts are leaving us this season.
Tight knits are not made for women who have given birth to three children.
Thank you very much!

After being reassured that Gymboree was still on our agenda, my youngest spied the brownies and cookies and planted herself on the couch next to the chocolate.

The ladies at Gloss had already offered these to us, but we were so distracted by the clothes when we first walked in the door that we really didn't notice these goodies.

My youngest did though.

The store itself is really pretty...wood floors and shiny...
not overly packed to the gills with 800 of the same items so that you meet yourself coming and going all season. 
I realize that sounds snobby...I'm not a snob, I promise...I do, however, like unique things.  I don't mind sharing, but I don't want clothes that are exactly like everybody else's. 
I'm not a fan of the "Stepford" look.

My firstborn and middle child scored several pretty new tops and got distracted again by the jewelry at the counter.

I actually think my mom was just as distracted as they were :)

My youngest was still keeping watch over the cookies...but beginning to get a little ancy herself.
When she starts this kind of stuff, I know we've almost pushed her to her limit.
She's going to need a Gymboree fix soon. much ahead of us.

After we left Gloss, I felt a pull from down the sidewalk...
I knew when I saw this insignia hanging on the window, that I was really in big trouble.

Holy Smokes!
There's a Brighton store at The Summit!!

Now, the folks at Brighton have little kids just as figured out as those smart folks at Gloss...
instead of chocolate, they offered my youngest a basket full of toys, which she immediately began to plunder.
The Brighton folks want the adults to have all their attention on their wares.

Lord, help me control myself.

Help me, please.
This season they've even added flip flops to the shoe selection.

Since I began to have trouble concentrating, and I convinced myself that the purse I attached myself to from the moment I crossed the threshold was really too small, we decided to keep moving...

Anthropologie sucks our "big girls" right inside every single time.

Gymboree is within sight of Anthropologie so there was no way to keep control of the youngest any, she'd been more than cooperative so far.

The youngest took control of her destiny at this point of the afternoon.  She has an agenda that gives her oldest sister a run for her money.
The youngest did score some yellow espadrilles to go with her yellow Easter dress...more on that tomorrow.

While I would love to share some photos of my youngest in her element, shopping for shoes at Gymboree, I won't be able to because of this this freak of nature...
I'm sorry for being mean...
but this woman is one of those people who thinks she's the only person on the face of the earth.
She walked into the store talking to someone on her mobile ear about 3 times the volume normal people talk.
I promise.
I'm not exaggerating.
She was rude.
She was obnoxious.
She was evil.
Why can't these folks shop online??????

We ended the day at another iconic restaurant in Birmingham, Johnny Ray's.
We've eaten at Johnny Ray's since the original place on Hwy 31.
This is the new Johnny Ray's at the Colennade.

There's nothing better than a Johnny Ray's pulled pork sandwich...
But, the very best thing at Johnny Ray's is their Coconut Cream Pie.

Oh my...
Please don't tell Jillian Michaels.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wide Open Spaces

I live in a very small rural community so we do have some wide open spaces around here.
But, many of those wide open spaces are covered with chicken houses...bleh!

When I go to my mom's house in Birmingham, AL, the wide open spaces are different.
First of all, if there are any chicken houses in Birmingham, I haven't seen (or smelled) them since my mom moved here 20 years ago.

Birmingham is an older, traditional community with a hip sense of self.
You can find anything in Birmingham...from the best farmer's market I've ever been to (Pepper Place) to some of the best shopping you've ever experienced (The Summit), the best restaurants, book stores, colleges, community name it, it's in Birmingham.
Birmingham has everything a "big city" can offer...with a country style of life.

There are a lot more reasons I like Birmingham, and through the weekend I'll blog about some of my favorite Birmingham "things."

One of my favorite things in Birmingham is the walking trail behind my mom's house.
I love this trail.
I feel as if I am deep in the woods somewhere enjoying the peace and serenity of nature.
Except I'm not deep in the woods...
that would scare me :(

Here are some pictures I took the last time my brother and I walked the trail behind my mom's house.

I increased the saturation some on this photo to bring out the Fall colors. 

Water is one of the most peaceful sounds and sights to me...and I don't even have to get in it.

I love that you can see the mossy bottom of the creek in this photo.

The "rapids" :)
I could sit in this spot all day and just listen to the sounds around me.

The trail photos are bittersweet...the last time we walked the trail, our pal Charlie was with us.

This is my mom's house from the trail...the hill is a lot steeper than it looks...we enter the trail from another spot in the neighborhood to keep ourselves from rolling down the hill.
Ok, ok...I enter the trail from another spot so I won't roll down the hill.
It could happen easier than you can imagine.

Hello, Birmingham!
I'm home.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coupon Goddess Giveaway

One of my new blogger friends, Melanie, is having a giveaway on her blog
Go on over and see how you can win a pair of Lenox Napa Valley Collection wine glasses.

Melanie is amazing.
Wait until you see the kind of money she saves with coupons!
Not only is Melanie a coupon, money saver extrordinaire, but she also gives a ton of food to her local food bank when she gets really good deals. 
And, when I mean really good deals, I'm talkin' about FREE and/or almost FREE!

Melanie has inspired me.
I've signed up for a few online coupon places and am learning to watch the circulars from Walgreens, CVS etc. for special deals.
I've also scoped out our Kroger 20 minutes from my house.
That's where you really can get into some savings.
But, you do seem to have to be we'll see how I do.
I may not be able to save as much as Melanie.
But, every little bit helps!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seasons Change

We are seasonally challenged at our house.

We love Springtime...
As long as we can still build a fire and roast marshmallows...
or marshmatallows, as I've sometimes been known to call them :)

To make things even more confusing my youngest is dressed to the nines in a costume from one of her older sisters' gazillion dance recitals.

Her dad, the Head of My Household, obliged her and built a fire.

She likes to explain the whole roasting process as she eats as many marshmallows as she can...somehow without poking her eyes out with the clothes hanger or burning herself.

I love this picture...even though the scene is a little messy...that's our life.
And, I love every minute of it.
Just the way it is, thank you.

Don't you love how the sticky stuff gets all over your mouth?
And your fingers?
And your clothes?

Even BeyBey got in on some marshmatallow action :)

MMMMM...that's a good looking marshmatallow!!

Here's my youngest explaining to BeyBey why she can't have another marshmallow.
All the while BeyBey keeps her eyes on the prize.

I did not keep track of how many marshmallows my youngest ate.
Suffice to say she wasn't interested in supper.
I know, I know...bad Mommy!

BeyBey wasn't really nervous about the fire...

Until this happened!

The Head of My Household has been doing P90X...Can you tell?
I'm laughing now, but when we go to the beach in June, he may get the last laugh.
Because I would rather poke out my eyeballs than have him "one up" me, I've decided to start Jillian Michaels' Shred once I get back from our New York trip next week.

But, I don't want to talk about it yet.
I want to pretend a little longer.

Pass the marshmatallows please :)