10 things to do in Birmingham this Autumn

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In the south, it’s time to dress for fall in the morning, summer by midday, and fall again at night. It’s finally getting darker earlier which means it’s most definitely almost my least favorite time of year. While I’m not a big fan of the sweater weather, I am a fan of these fun events that you can only do in fall.

1. Attend a haunted house – It’s October and Haunted Houses are now open on every corner, not literally but it feels like it. My local favorite is Sloss Fright Furnace which now has a zombie section. If zombies aren’t your thing, don’t worry. They still run a traditional haunted house and play your favorite horror movies all night long. FYI, Sloss furnaces is rumored to actually be haunted and has been featured on a few of your favorite paranormal tv shows.

2. Find a Fall/Harvest Event – This is the more family friendly October event. There are usually corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkin picking, and carnival rides. You will have to travel 30+ minutes out of the city limits to enjoy this type of event but it’s worth it. 

3. Attend a college football game – In the South, college football is life. I honestly could have made this 3 events on its own because there are three very specific college football games you should attend. #1 You should attend a Homecoming Game. Whether it’s your Alma Mater or just your favorite college team, homecoming is an experience you don’t want to miss. It can turn any sleepy town into the place to be. #2 An SEC game duh, and living in Birmingham means that an SEC game is 45 minutes to 3 hours away. #3 An HBCU Classic is something everyone should experience. It’s Homecoming on steroids but with better food, drinks, tailgating, and events for all ages. Honestly, HBCU Classics are a lifestyle. 

4. Go ice skating – I know this pick surprises you since I live in a city that shuts down for a dusting but hear me out. There is an indoor rink located in Pelham and tickets are usually bogo all year long. But where you should really consider skating is Railroad Park this winter. They are getting their own outdoor skating rink similar to the one at the Rockefeller Center in NY.

5. Attend a Gala or Ball – It’s officially ball season!!!  Support your local non-profit causes and dress up for a night on the town all in one event. It’s also an excuse to wear that bridesmaids dress you loved but thought you’d never wear again.

6. Go to a drive in movie – If you’re looking for a cuter version of netflix and chill, look no further than your local drive in. The colder weather gives you an excuse to cuddle up close together and keep warm. The drive-In in Leeds has double features for $5 a person.

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7. Wacky Tacky Christmas Tour – I was introduced to this hilarious Christmas tour through my job and our partnership with Fresh Air Family. FAF literally looks for the wackiest tackiest Christmas decorations in the city then lead the best adult school bus tour ever. The tour starts at Avondale brewery, you can also bring your own cooler of beverages on the bus. There are a few family friendly tour slots available.

8. Christmas Tree Lighting – DC and NY aren’t the only cities with Tree Lighting ceremonies. You should really check out your local tree lighting ceremony this year. If you don’t live in your state’s capitol but live close by consider driving up for it’s tree lighting. There’s usually more fanfare and local celebrities at the capitol ceremony.

9. Galaxy of Lights – The Huntsville Botanical Gardens has this amazing display of Christmas lights that they do every year. There’s an option to walk their trails and view or or drive. I’m definitely making the drive up this year.

10. Star Gazing – It’s finally getting dark earlier giving you plenty of time to star gaze. If you live in an urban area dense with nighttime light, search for a local planetarium. Most planetariums also host special Christmas viewings.

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Quick and Easy Fall Inspired Date Night Look

Fall Date Night Look

I’m overdue for a makeup post! I recently wore this look to a wedding and received a ton of compliments so I decided to recreate it for anyone looking for a quick and easy fall look for their next date night. I’ve mentioned before how fall is my favorite season, so I tried to incorporate everything I love about the season in this look. So if you would like to know how  you can create this look keep reading!

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5 Rules to Break When Dating

Monday morning my new favorite, mentions in shambles, blogger @StephRoyalty ‘s mentions once again in shambles. The topic, Pre-Dates.

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I never would’ve thought that this would be such a divisive topic. But then again, I should’ve known.  Caleb and I ultimately went on 3 pre-dates before making it official. We had a very unconventional courtship and honestly I think breaking the following 5 dating rules was  the best decisions we ever made.

  1. No Obligation Pre-Date – This is a casual meet up for you and a potential beau. There is no guarantee that he will pay for you and no a guarantee that it will lead to anything. At the most you’ll have an interesting story to tell your friends later. By our 3rd Pre-Date, Caleb asked me to be his girlfriend.
  2. Religion, Sex, and Politics Discussion – Everyone has been warned not to discuss the following topics at dinner with anyone and definitely not a date. Please toss this rule out of everyone’s rule book. These are important details that need to  be discussed ASAP. Discussing Politics is actually how Caleb and I started communicating.
  3. 1st Date Planned and Payed for by the Woman –  I’m a planner by nature with slight control issues. Even when Caleb plans a date, I still handle the logistics and details. It’s one of the reasons why I approached Vanessa about starting this blog.
  4. Discuss your exes – They ultimately change the way you view the opposite sex, relationships, and yourself. By facing our past head on, we were able to grow together and get rid of any hostility we held towards our exes.
  5. Hiding the ugly/family dysfunction – Every argument, breakdown, and embarrassing moment that could happen within the first few months of dating can and will happen. Caleb and I embraced them and rolled with the punches. Going through most of these moments brought us closer together.

What dating rules do you feel should be broken? What rules need updating? What about Pre-Dates? Share your thoughts with us below

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10 Things to do in Washington, DC this Fall

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Fall is my favorite time of year! I love the fashion, fall holidays, and the general feel of the season always makes me happy. Fall is the best time to enjoy the outdoors before winter shuts us inside for three months. Here is what I recommend you do to make the most out of fall in the Washington, DC area.

  1. Celebrate the National Museum of African American History and Culture Opening

If you haven’t heard, the Smithsonian is getting a new museum this fall. In two days the National Museum of African American History and Culture will open to the public as the 19th Smithsonian museum. If you were unable to get timed passes to visit you can still celebrate this historic moment. A free festival will be held on the mall near the museum. It will include music and dance performances, oral history, and a mural wall artist. Every night will end with a free concert featuring Public Enemy, the Roots, and more. You can find more information on the museum and the festival here.

2. Apple picking

Picking apples in fall is so original, right? Ok, I agree this is not unique to DC but it gives you the chance to get out of the city and truly experience the season. You can’t see the leaves change in DC, so take the opportunity to go to an orchard in Virginia or Maryland to take in the fall colors. After you finish getting your fill of fresh cider, you can make some awesome dishes with the apples you picked!

3. Tailgate at a football game

Fall and football are synonymous. While attending the game is fun, I’m a fan of the tailgating. The best part is, you don’t have to do it at an NFL game and pay crazy parking fees. Local colleges and high schools also give the opportunity to tailgate and to see the game for lower cost.

4. King’s Dominion Halloween Haunt

This is another event taking you farther away from the district that is worth the trip. A visit to King’s Dominion is always a good idea any time of the year but their Halloween Haunt is one of the best times to visit. There are discounted admission tickets on Travelzoo for discount admission making this an even better deal.

5.Escape Room DC

Get a group of friends together to get locked in a room to solve a mystery before time runs out! There are two locations in the area, one in Alexandria and another in DC. Each room has a theme and a level of difficulty. If you enjoy playing Clue you’ll enjoy Escape Room. Find out more information and buy tickets here.

6. The Wine and Garlic Festival at Rebec Vineyards

I love wine and I love garlic, so obviously this festival is meant for me. This wine festival will make you drive a little further outside the district but trust me it is worth it. Located in Amherst, Virginia this festival features wine from all over Virginia and specialty dishes whose main ingredient is garlic. There are various stages featuring live music and craft vendors on site. The festival is two days and I highly recommend spending the weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountain region on Virginia. You can find out more information  and buy tickets here.

7. Hennypalooza

Love Hennessey? Then this event is for you! This event is dedicated to everyone’s favorite cognac. The ticket price includes an open bar for all the Hennessey you can drink (responsibly). This event also takes place during Howard Homecoming so it will definitely be a lituation (a lit situation). You can buy your ticket here.

8.Howard Homecoming

Speaking of Howard, their homecoming is a DC institution/tradition. Now, I did not go to Howard (Morgan State, YOU KNOW!) however I have to give props where they are due, their homecoming is LIT. Yardfest, the football game, and all the other events around the city make it a must for the fall.

9. Taste of DC

If you are a fan of the DC food scene Taste of DC where you need to be Columbus Day weekend. This even shuts down Pennsylvania Ave to bring you 60 of DC’s best restaurants, cooking demos, specialty beer and wine, live entertainment, and more. A purchased ticket includes admission to the event, a free drink voucher, and a $10 voucher to use at select DC restaurants. Tickets start at $20 and you can buy them here.

10. People Watch on U Street/Adams Morgan on Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. While I enjoy dressing up, I’d rather see how creative other people get with their costumes. In DC, U Street and Adams Morgan are two of the best places to watch the parade of costumes. Whenever you get tired of people watching dip into one of the many bars these neighborhoods offer and take part in the Halloween festivities.

What are your favorite things to do during fall in DC or your city? Share below!

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62 Date Ideas for Under $62

bowling-237905_1920 After watching Atlanta last night I was inspired to come up with a list of low cost date ideas. The main character, played by Donald Glover, attempts to take his girlfriend on a date to a fancy restaurant with only $62 and it was a fail. Keeping the number 62 in mind I came up with 62 dates that are less than $62. Some of these are specific to DC but I’m sure you can find the equal in your own city. Share some low-cost/free date ideas of your own in the comments!

  1. Visit a museum (in DC most of them are F-R-E-E)
  2. Pack a picnic
  3. Take a Hike
  4. Bike ride
  5. Matinee movie (bring your own snacks!)
  6. Take a paint and sip class, check out Groupon for deals
  7. Tailgate at a college football game
  8. Apple picking
  9. Hit up a food truck festival
  10. Golfing
  11. Take a workout class together
  12. Go to a library, pick out a book, find a quiet spot to read to each other
  13. Wine tasting
  14. Beer tasting
  15. Walking tour of city/town historic district (many are free)
  16. Coffee date
  17. Netflix and chill (when you’re comfortable with the person)
  18. Happy hour
  19. Grab some ice cream
  20. Cook a meal together
  21. 2 for $20 at Applebees
  22. Bowling
  23. Batting cages
  24. Go carts
  25. Mini golf
  26. Baseball game (Nats tickets are cheap the day of the game)
  27. Bake cookies together
  28. Tour a historic house
  29. Go fishing
  30. Visit the monuments at night
  31. Volunteer at a local food bank, animal shelter, etc.
  32. Take his/her dog for a walk
  33. Find a cheap bottomless mimosa brunch (I recommend Mad Hatter if you’re in DC)
  34. Brunch to expensive? Go to IHOP, Waffle House, or Cracker Barrel and drink at home
  35. When you’re comfortable have an adult sleepover. Build a fort, tell ghost stories, make smores, etc.
  36. Play pool
  37. Live in NY or LA? Go to a live taping of a show (Ellen, SNL, etc.) it’s usually free. 1iota is a great resource for free tickets.
  38. Go to your local high school’s football game
  39. If that same high school is having a school play, go!
  40. Take in a show at your local theater
  41. Stroll through a farmers market
  42. Play Pokémon Go together
  43. See an outdoor movie
  44. Participate in a neighborhood clean up
  45. Do a DIY project together
  46. Check out a local band or group’s show
  47. Play a game of 1 on 1 or H-O-R-S-E
  48. Play chess/checkers
  49. If you have access, spend the day at the pool
  50. Go window shopping
  51. Find a place with heavy foot traffic and people watch
  52. Attend a lecture
  53. Go for a drive
  54. Order some chicken wings and watch football
  55. Attend a showing at a local art gallery
  56. Go on a scavenger hunt
  57. Trivia night at a bar
  58. Go to church
  59. Stop by an open house and pretend your date is an episode of House Hunters
  60. Play video games
  61. It’s homecoming season so many colleges and university’s post their homecoming events, look them up and attend the free ones
  62. Do nothing, talking is free, wow them with your personality!
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5 Characteristics of my MCM

Every woman has a type and in 2012, I was in desperate need of a break from my type. What better way to break the mold than to explore the #MCM and post a few myself. Ultimately, I curated a list of 8 men(because I like balance and photogrids were in style) that I deemed swoon worthy. This status was not  gained on looks alone but characteristics that I found valuable and ultimately broke my type mold and left me open to meet, fall in love, and marry Caleb. Here are the Top 5 characteristics I took from my MCM list:

  1. Intelligence  – If you didn’t know before, David Banner is a very intelligent man. He constantly travels across the country to lead discussions on race relations in the USA and community activism. Most people think this is new but David Banner has been on this journey since his days at Southern University where he served as president of their SGA. He also briefly pursued a Master’s degree before he left to pursue music full-time.

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Bonus Qualities: leader, community centered, life-long learner

2. Vulnerabilty – I was a big Channing Tatum in Step-Up fan at this time and was definitely only thinking about his character in this movie when I added him to my list so I’ll refer to him as Tyler from this point on. Tyler taught me that despite being afraid and uncomfortable in a new situation, you need to be open and willing to admit you’re wrong.

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Bonus Qualities: fun, loving, adventurous

3. Personal Style – Erykah Badu is often credited with changing Andre’s style like she supposedly does with all the men that she dates but should she really? Honestly, he’s always had his own style and it constantly evolves yet remains uniquely Andre 3000. He intrigues you visually then blows you away with his views on life.

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Bonus Qualities: great father, extended vocabulary, southern gentleman

4. Take Charge Attitude (Alpha Male) – This may have been the sole MCM pick that was mostly physical. I mean really, can you deny his beauty. I’ve always thought he was the cuter Jonas and when he came back out as a solo artist and asserted his manhood, I swooned hard.  Besides being just plain fine, I most noticed Nick take charge attitude when it came to his image and music.

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Bonus Qualities: family oriented, loyal, funny

5. Sensitivity – While most people may picture Drake when you mention the term sensitive rapper but Wale will always be my favorite sensitive rapper. He’s not only sensitive in his rhymes but on social media as well. He takes things personally even if it’s a joke and that’s something I can relate to.

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Bonus Qualities: athletic, ability to code-switch, honest

Obviously, I have a thing for musical artists and creative people.

Honorable mentions

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August Favorites

I love the month of August! Cooler temperatures, football is back on TV, and we’re one month away from Fall, my favorite season. August is also my birthday month, and I have plenty of things from the past month that could fill 10 blog post! Instead, I will select three and feature the others in next month’s post. Check out a few of my favorites from August!

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  1. Rihanna Puma Slides in Grey

I am usually not the one to run out and buy celebrity products but I just HAD to have these slides. I was dropping hints about them to PJ leading up to my birthday and he clearly got the message. Now, in MY opinion, you aren’t supposed to wear these outside of the comfort of your home. I think of these as luxury house shoes. The only time I’ll wear these outside of my house is when I go on vacation. However, to each his/her own. If you want a pair they retail at $80 and are constantly sold out, especially the grey pair. You can buy them here.

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  1. Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment

As I mentioned in my April Favorites post I suffer from dark circles under my eyes. I use color corrector but that is only helpful if I am wearing makeup. For days I want a fresh face I opt for an eye cream to help brighten my eyes and make me look more alert. I used this eye cream by tarte before, but after it ran out I tried other brands but was left disappointed. So on a recent trip to Sephora I had to pick it up. It is on the expensive side ($38) but a little goes a long way. My last one lasted me about 4 months so it is worth the splurge. You can find it at Sephora or Ulta.

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  1. NYX Baked Shadow in Lavish

I love NYX products. They are affordable and have great quality. I went to Ulta looking for a highlighter and unfortunately did not succeed. I did however find this shadow. I swatched it on my skin and instantly fell in love. The color is very pigmented which a lot of drugstore brands lack. I plan to buy more colors from this line. You can find it at Ulta for $5.99.

Did you have any favorite purchases from August? Share them below in the comments!

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What I’m Learning About Submission in My Marriage

Submission & Marriage

With marriage comes new family dynamics, personalities, and spoken and unspoken rules. You gain all new emotional baggage while also trying to create your own new family & dynamic with your spouse. When you take your vows, you made a pledge to become one with your mate.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24

It can be emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining at times. It’s almost like moving in together but instead of a house or apartment, you have to share and brain and a heart which when you think about it isn’t that big. You don’t just instantly become one when you say I do, you have to work really hard every day at it. Think about every fight you’ve had from trivial to blow out. It’s ultimately because you didn’t agree with each other and ultimately you have to come together to compromise or change your stance in an essence becoming one with your spouse.

I have a Facebook friend who has been married for 3 years and I love the way she references her marriage. She calls it her “first ministry”. When I first read this, it resonated so deeply with me. Not just because I thought it was the cutest thing ever because in truth marriage is really a ministry. Marriage is a place where you learn to not only serve and aid in the care for each other but for those around you. This includes family, friends, and the countless people you encounter through work and other avenues. When you get married, your public presence multiplies rapidly and you are to serve and care for them as well. Caleb and I unintentionally set-up our actual wedding ceremony as a place to minister about marriage to our family and friends as well as remind us about our commitment to God and each other.

Even though we combed through the bible together searching for verses to share during our ceremony that we use as the foundation for our marriage, there are sections of those verses that we fall short on daily. There is one area in particular that I have a really hard time committing to, submission.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husband, as it is fit in the Lord. Colossians 3:18

I am a very independent person and it’s so hard for me to grasp the idea of submission to Caleb in our marriage. I know that I am not the only wife or even female who hears the word submission and instantly wants to say “First off…” then deliver the world’s greatest feminist thesis since Lemonade.

But I hold my tongue because I know ultimately that when Caleb takes the lead on an issue, he’s not trying to rule over me or be a he man woman hater. People also conveniently leave out the fact the bible also says that the husband should submit to his wife as well but right now I’m dealing with me and not husbands, including my husband. My main stumbling blocks when it comes to submission is my stubbornness and need to be right.

Photo via ModernMaundy https://www.etsy.com/listing/151775356/mr-right-and-mrs-always-right-lips-and
Photo via ModernMaundy https://www.etsy.com/listing/151775356/mr-right-and-mrs-always-right-lips-and

Bad habits are hard to break and both of these will be extremely hard especially the later since I’m often right. Notice that I didn’t say always. I’m growing y’all. The first step in my growth has been studying the bible and watching sermons to get on the same page as Caleb on submission. While watching one particular video it hit me that my relationship with my husband and submission mirrored my relationship with God and submission. During our first year of dating, Caleb’s mom invited me to their family Passover celebration and my prayer request that day was that God would work with me on total submission to him. At the time, I never considered that he could and would ultimately use my husband to teach me this lesson.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is saviour of the body. Ephesians 5:23

I’m sure that I will fall short a few more times before I master the art of submission but I know those moments will truly be priceless and so will the times when I get it right.

Share your thoughts on submission with us. 

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Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday in Old Town Alexandria

ApothecaryHarry Potter turned 36 on July 31. Yes, I am acknowledging the birthday of a fictional character. Everyone is a nerd for something and my thing is “the boy who lived.” I am not alone in my fangirling for Harry Potter. My former roommate and close friend Amber is also a huge fan. We discovered our mutual love for Mr. Potter one night back in grad school when we watched an entire Harry Potter movie marathon together. So of course I chose Amber to attend an adult themed Harry Potter event with me.

The event took place at the Stablear-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum in Old Town Alexandria. In honor of Harry’s birthday, the museum holds an annual “Real World Science Behind Harry Potter” weekend event. It includes a tour of the museum, a specialty drink, and a chance to make your own potion for only $15. We started the night with a wine tasting at Sonoma Wine Cellar. A trip here is a priceless date on its own, a tasting of 5 wines ranges from $10-$15 and you can split a small plate for $20. There’s a patio area in the back called the “wine garden” which has a great ambiance. You should definitely check it out if you are ever in Old Town. But back to Harry Potter…

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Late Flights & Early Mornings

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“Bae, if we both become successful is this what life for us is going to be like?”

That was the million-dollar question of the night posed by my S.O. as he unpacked his overnight bag and I packed mine. Would this really be what our lives would be like? Seeing each other in passing… one coming home as the other is leaving.

It possibly could be. I mean isn’t success what we were working so hard for? We push each other to be the best at what we do and support each other’s efforts wholeheartedly so it could only be a matter of time before this becomes our lives.

Being a young, working professional trying to figure out a set career path in itself is not easy. There’s already so much pressure to build a successful career, make a lot of money, plan for your financial future, travel to expand your knowledge and experiences, stay in shape and healthy. When you add dating and relationships into the mix it fells like TOO MUCH!!!! But you can’t let that stop you from pursuing a relationship or maintaining an already existing relationship.

That is why it is so important for us to carve out time to spend together. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I just enjoy being in his company. So if he is sitting at the table editing pictures, I sit there too, most of the time in silence. I also surprisingly enjoy the time spent with him as his {unpaid} assistant while he’s “shooting in the gym”, his studio.

I used to think that in order to “date” my S.O. we had to be going somewhere. But ohhhhhh, how wrong was I. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to go out sometimes but as working professionals with time and energy constraints, going out is not always in the cards. So I revel in the moments that we get to spend on the sofa with my head on his shoulder watching Big Bang Theory. In those moments our bond is growing stronger just because we are together.

You get enough pressure from society; you don’t need to pressure yourself. Alleviate some of the pressure by turning off that internal clock that says you’re running out of time.  Even as we become more successful and the distance of our travels separates us farther, we will be okay because I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

How do you stay connected to your significant other while balancing a hectic life? What keeps you motivated?

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