Tag Archives: mountain brook

In Love With: A Warm, Dry Place

The only good thing you can say about all the rain we’ve been having is that at least it’s not snow. (We wouldn’t thaw out ’til June!) It has not been pleasant waking up every morning to another gloomy, moist day. Thanks to the rain invading every square inch of Birmingham, my husband and I have had a constant trail of teeny ants in the house, mailbox and both our cars searching for someplace to dry off. We’ve even been visited TWICE now by a 6 inch lizard who must be sneaking in under the doorframe looking for a warm hideyhole.

I feel for these little critters, even as I dislike their presence. I’m beginning to need a place to dry off too, at least mentally. I need a place to hide out on these gloomy weekend days, where I can feel protected against the elements. Quiet is a bonus, and while being free isn’t a prerequisite, it certainly is nice. I think I’ve finally found a place that fits all my requirements: the reading room at the Emmet O’Neal Public Library in Mountain Brook.

For no cost at all, I can snuggle into a chair with any book or magazine that takes my fancy, and bask in the light coming in from the huge, vaguely Art Deco windows. (Naturally, it’s way nicer when that’s afternoon sunlight streaming in instead of lead-colored clouds, but these days I’ll take what I can get.)

The key, I’ve found, is to pick sunny reading material. So far, I’ve enjoyed a P.G. Wodehouse comedy, a gorgeously photographed book on Middle Eastern cooking, and a handful of guidebooks to Italy. Even if it doesn’t stop the rain, at least it banishes it to a distant memory for a while, and reminds me there are sunnier days ahead.

Photo: Emmet O’Neal Library. Courtesy of their website.

In Love With: Bringing Christmas to Birmingham

So I know the economy’s tight when the hardware store in Mountain Brook Plaza is out of canning equipment. The jars and cookers that used to languish under an inch of well-meaning dust are gone. It’s proof that everyone is hunkering down into a bad patch. Which totally stinks when Christmas is just around the corner.

At a time like this, big box stores with their super sales, coupons, and aggressive ad campaigns seem like a boon for stretching Christmas dollars. However, Macy’s and Walmart don’t need your cash as much as many of our homegrown merchants do. This year, more than ever, remember the independent shops that give our city its amazing character. Affordable treats can be found almost everywhere, and each choice makes our Birmingham economy stronger – and keeps our friends and neighbors in business. You won’t face the same ugly mall traffic as at our venerable shopping centers. And hey, now that gas is back to 1993 levels, you have no excuse not to bypass the one-stop stores…

Here’s a rundown of some of the places I’ll be hitting as I shop:

What’s on 2nd and Urban Standard‘s boutique (downtown Birmingham)

Red Rain, At Home, Homewood Toy and Hobby and Collage in Homewood

Atmosphere and Interiors Market in Pepper Place

Jonathan Benton Booksellers (Mountain Brook Village) and The Alabama Booksmith (Homewood)

• The gift shops at the Botanical Gardens and Vulcan Park & Museum

Hanna Antiques close to Lakeview

Village Wine Market in English Village

Tria Market and V. Richards

Happy Holidays, everyone. Be safe and shop smart!

Maki Fresh brings new choices to Mountain Brook

Maki Fresh on Hwy 280

My stomach started rumbling as I passed by my old standby eatery, Newk’s on Highway 280 on my way home at about 1:30p.m. So, I turned in and headed toward a parking space,  but as I got out of my car I saw a “Now Open” sign in a catchy lime green color a few shops down.

I had heard about John Cassimus’ (of Zoë’s fame) new concept through the grapevine, and being a fan of that restaurant I decided to give it a try.

Maki Fresh interior

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