Make a Commitment to Help Project Homeless Connect

Kit Drive Flyer

It’s almost time for the annual Project Homeless Connect on April 11th and Hands On Birmingham and One Roof: Uniting Central Alabama to End Homelessness needs your help with putting together care kits. This innovative one-day event is about breaking the cycle of homelessness, increasing access to services, and ending chronic homelessness in Central Alabama. Please consider assisting in this effort by donating items such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, socks, hand sanitizers, feminine care products, sun block, etc. Presently, I serve on the Hands On Birmingham Junior Board and would love to answer any questions you have about the event. In addition, consider volunteering for the event by visiting www.handsonbirmingham.org/PHC

 

 

Advertisements

Recap of the Epic Pre-Valentine Knife Party Dinner at Revelator Coffee on 2/7/15

10421218_586988828595_1390541587257845994_n

Last week, I had the opportunity to finally attend a Knife Party dinner after the pop-up returned from a year long hiatus. I got lucky when I noticed that two spots opened up via Instagram early last week. The dinner was hosted on February 7th at Revelator Coffee Company in downtown Birmingham in early celebration of Valentine’s Day.  I have longed to attend a Knife Party ever since I discovered the unique pop-up outfit about a year and a half ago.  Knife Party is a collaborative secret underground pop-up dinner planned, curated, led, and prepared by Wil Drake and Roscoe Hall. Drake and Hall are two young ambitious veterans of the local culinary scene in Birmingham, Alabama with a knack for the unconventional. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to attend due to the limited seat availability and my inability to RSVP quickly for one of the exclusive dinners before the company’s year long hiatus. You might be wondering – What the hell is a Knife Party? And why is it so hard to grab a seat at the event?

10983417_587010804555_7797395025993661212_n

According to a September 2014 Creative Birmingham article, Drake defined Knife Party as, “a supper club for those who like to eat and enjoy a take on deconstructed recipes of old. We use fresh/local/not local/sometimes frozen ingredients. It’s secretive because it’s not legal.” Each dinner is as unique dining experience that includes a drink pairing with the meal. Hall and Drake appear to be on a mission to expose the Birmingham foodie community to unconventional food offerings that highlight strange, eccentric, and often daunting culinary mashups to tantalize the adventurous diner’s taste buds. Personally, I cannot wait to attend another Knife Party after having such a great inaugural experience. I felt that it was important to taste my way through the meal in tiny steps and soak up all of the lively chatter with other diners, the chefs, and servers. The customer service was outstanding and all of the staff was genuinely welcoming and engaging with the diners. Knife Party may sound a little scary on the surface but is well worth the effort to RSVP to take a leap of gastronomical faith. My highlights from the meal include the following: sipping forest leaf tea along with a venison charcuterie plate that featured salty jerky paired with berry preserves and venison baloney and a delicious peanut veloute soup that included chocolate mousse and chicken skin.

10959836_587005525135_5397804947128770243_n

1454705_587013873405_6802866439284415773_n

If you are interested in attending the exclusive dining experience head to the Knife Party website and sign up for the mailing list to get a priority notice about new events. Each event only has 20 RSVP slots so nimble fingers are paramount! In addition, you should check out Revelator Coffee Company if you also love great coffee!

Until the Next Post,

Janece

Cultivate Gratitude: Find Joy in All Experiences

gdgm

My Grandparents – The late Pauline D. Maze and Deacon William A. Maze in the 1970s

Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. ~Walter Hagen


Last month, I wrote a post (i.e., All I Really Want for Christmas Is Presence!) prior to the Christmas holiday. It focused on being fully present in life’s moments (both big and small) to create a series of beautiful moments with the people or things you love. At the start of this month, the previous month’s message rings true with a resounding echo. On January 5, 2015, my grandfather made the transition to heaven early in the morning after living nearly 85 full years on this beautiful earth. I got the call from my mother ten minutes after arriving at my office on that Monday morning and all I could say was, “OK and I love you.” I grabbed my bags and exited work before anyone could see me shed a tear. My car was full of plenty of tears by the close of the morning. However, in the midst of my sadness, I found joy because I knew that I was blessed to have my grandfather’s presence from birth until adulthood. His unconditional love, support, gentle nature, loving spirit, and amazing family meals are some of the most vivid experiences that life has afforded me thus far.

granddad

Easter 2007 with my twin sister, Janeka, Grandfather, and cousin Pauline

In many ways, my grandfather and grandmother helped to raise me and all of my siblings with my parents. Every weekend, summer break, and family holiday was spent with Granddad and Grandma Maze. I spent countless hours in their car on the road to visit family all across the country. We traveled to places from St. Louis to Miami to Little Rock to Charlotte to Detroit and numerous places in between. Each road trip was a unique adventure for me and helped to cultivate my restless spirit of adventure at an early age. Two years ago, I decided to relocate back to Alabama from the San Francisco Bay area after my Granddad became increasingly ill. My family comes before anyone and anything so the move back to Alabama was a non-negotiable decision for me.

I was blessed with two more years to spend quality time with him despite the ever present challenge my family faced while caring for my Granddad. I know that I am a lucky because I had the opportunity to know and spend time with him all the way to the end. He was a living example of fortitude – in spirit and action. He grew up through the 1930s in Mississippi and endured difficult circumstances that make any trouble I have experienced seem laughable. Yet, he persevered and made his way through life with intention and purpose. He went on to become a successful career man and business owner in Chicago while balancing family and faithful service to his church and community.

There are many people who talk about what they are going to do but my Granddad was always a man of faith and action despite being a man of few words. He was the first person to receive a call and the first to show up to lend a hand to anyone in need. I am thankful that he always led by example and attended to all the needs of his family and friends. In addition, I am forever in debt to the sacrifices, hard work, faithful service my Granddad provided to my family.  No one will ever replace him and I will continue to honor the his legacy while I’m blessed to live. Although it is difficult, it is imperative to cultivate gratitude and find joy even when dealing with loss. Be thankful for what you have experienced along the way and store those beautiful moments in your heart to carry yourself through the tough days. Likewise, Eat Drink Savor Life is an affirmation of my commitment to celebrating life and cultivating gratitude in all situations – good, bad, sad, and all things in between. I decide to be thankful every day.

Until the Next Post,

Janece