Reflecting a lot on last week, when we were enjoying all the comforts of being back home in Alabama, and when life was still normal.
One of the highlights of our visits home is doing everything local – we eat the ‘Ham, we shop the ‘Ham, and we soak up all the nuanced cultural differences that so clearly define the Southeast from the Southwest. If it’s possible to love and cherish two places at once, that’s us.
Given the current state of affairs, at least as things stand today, the best way I know to do my part (beyond the obvious things we’re all doing) is to give specific shout-outs to the #shoplocal places (both here in the Fort and there in the ‘Ham) that will continue to earn my business, and that are worthy of yours. Tell them I sent you.
This list (today representing just a few places from the Magic City) is by no means exhaustive, and there are character limits to contend with, so please bear with me if I didn’t mention you:
Serendipity Boutique (Cahaba Heights) – ask for Pauline or Hannah; if I am “well-dressed”, it’s only because these two taught me how.
Soca Girl (Homewood) – ask for Chris; try things on with your daughter, and you might just leave with something coordinating without being cheesy – great shoes and jewelry for moms, too.
Little Soles, GiGi’s Teen, The Lili Pad (Cahaba Heights) – No substitute for having someone custom fit your kiddo for shoes to increase general happiness, shoe usage and the reduction of whiny complaints J; and they have a great selection of on-trend spring and summer sandals for moms, all reasonably priced. At GiGi’s and The Lili Pad, expect courteous service, unique and boutique fashions, with both stores impeccably run by sisters Katherine and Susan. Sign up for the Fivestars rewards program too – it applies at numerous stores throughout the city, with purchase points you can accumulate that never expire. Saving my 25% off entire purchase for our fall shopping haul.
If you want to get geared up for collegiate football, do not miss Alumni Hall at The Summit – but be sure you’ve signed up for their email list first (double digit percentages off can also be found on their Insta page). If #lakelife is more your speed (ahh, childhood memories spent on the waters of Lake Martin!), you’ll find funky hats and t-shirts by the plenty at either The Pants Store or Mountain High Outfitters. The latter also has that coveted shirt that I really want in my life, especially out here in Texas where I wear my home state pride like the badge of honor that it is – “Eat the Ham.”
Monograms Plus is not to be missed, nor is Darnell’s Fun Stuff (think cozy home décor, and all the girly things from candles to jewelry to throw blankets to clothes and more), which brings me to a new find I discovered last week after a visit to Vestavia Nails (major upgrade there, by the way – love the expanded footprint and spa-like vibe they’ve got going on there – talk about clean, you guys).
So, near Vestavia Nails is a store with a rather curious name – Dirty Hippie. When I first read it, I thought ‘What on earth?” Then I went inside and left there with slippers for the 10-year-old (thank you Susie!), plus the earrings and necklace I’m wearing here, along with one more necklace (because jewelry makes the outfit, and is there really a thing as having too much? I think not), and a coffee mug sporting a saying that speaks to my Deep South ways.
A quick word on food (of which there is no shortage of local options), but two faves – for Meat and Three goodness served up with waiters and waitresses who will become good friends if you let them, get thyself over to Ted’s.
For James Beard award-winning Carolina style barbecue, there is no question – Rodney Scott’s is where it’s at. Order a slab. Trust me on this. P.S. – 1 pound easily feeds two adults, leaving you room for their mac & cheese, fries, homemade hand pies and/or a scoop of Ella’s scratch-made banana puddin’.
Of course, it’s not always possible to shop local. There are necessities best found at chain stores (as I’m about to hit “purchase” on the must-haves I’m running low on from Ulta.com). The point being, however, to the extent I can put my discretionary spending money where my mouth is, you can bet your boots I’m gonna do exactly that.
Wherever “local” is to you, I sure hope you’ll do the same.