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Exploring {Birmingham, Alabama} 


   When your husband offers you a holiday weekend ANYWHERE, you say YES. When your husband offers you a holiday weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, you give him hugs and kisses while you are saying YES. If you are not familiar with the area, let me offer a piece of advice...go. Located just 2 hours southwest of Atlanta and a mere 2.5 hours northwest of Columbus, it's far enough away from my home to feel out of town, but close enough to make a day trip. And, if you love southern charm and hospitality anywhere near as much as I do, you will fall hard for Birmingham. 

The *real* purpose of our trip was the Alabama Sheriffs Conference, so we stayed in the hotel where th conference was held in Hoover, a few minutes outside of Birmingham. The hotel, formerly the Wynnfree, but now a Hyatt Regency, was clean and modern with an incredibly friendly and efficient staff. The other super cool part of the hotel-much to the chagrin of my oh-so-loving and generous husband-was that it is connected to a mall that can be compared to Lennox and Phipps in Atlanta. 


If you have ever checked out my Instagram or Facebook or know us at all, you know Randy and I are total and complete foodies. We will drive out of the way and pay the price for a really good meal. We like local spots, holes in the wall, and will seek out the opinions of the natives in our search for a unique and delicious experience. We have also been known to rely on Google when the natives are no where to be found. Which is how we found Sunday brunch. 


Five is now in my Top Five List of favorite brunch spots to date. From the cozy lighting, to the unique and eclectic decor, to the Jazz trio in the corner, it was all just the icing on the cake when it came to the food. 


I never eat the sweet stuff for breakfast, but holy cow, the chicken and waffles were some of the best I have ever had. The fried chicken had a breading that was just enough and the waffles were a great consistency. 

The noise level would be our only complaint, there just wasn't enough to soak up the chatter and it was a little hard to hear. But the overall experience was wonderful and we will definitely be back. 

My new favorite thing to find as soon as we get to a new city is a yoga studio. I went with an area I felt comfortable navigating and found a newer studio in Mountain Brook called (creatively) "Mountain Brook Yoga".   


Clean and spacious, the other attendees (who all knew each other) were warm and welcoming and the instructor was hands on with her corrections and suggestions. While very different than what I am used to in my home studio (RiverFlow Yoga in Columbus), I am always grateful for the chance to practice with other yogis and share an hour or so of life together. 

While Randy was conferencing, I made the most of my time and was able to visit with Sandy Deaton, a sweet family friend, at a little shop called Antiquities in Mountain Brook. If you love unique shops and keeping it local, you will love this area. Also, I FINALLY had the opportunity to eat at Ashley Mac's, owned by Sandy's daughter, Ashley McMakin. 


Ashley Mac's offers a variety of sandwiches and salads at three locations. In addition, you can run by on your way home from work and grab one of several casseroles and choose from a variety of sides when you just can't fathom cooking dinner. While I didn't get to visit all three stores, the Chace Circle location offered a beautiful freezer display, making it easy to see and locate exactly what you need. 


Be sure to check out their website and read to story of how Ashley Mac's came to be. I love to see and support people who make brave choices and go after their dreams and Ashley and her husband, Andy, definitely fall into that category. 

At the suggestion of Sandy, we ventured into downtown Birmingham for dinner one night and checked out Bamboo on 2nd, a new-ish sushi spot on, you guessed it, 2nd Avenue. 

Another great wait staff, in addition to strong owner presence. There were several community style seating areas and it served as a yet another beautiful example of the friendliness of the people of Birmingham. We were approached twice by different table mates, who welcomed us to their city and shared in the various events happening in the downtown area (including, but not limited to a Bernie Sanders rally). 




Randy also loved that there were two different Japanese movies with subtitles being played at the bar. 

I am the absolute worst at thinking I am not going to be full when I order a roll of sushi, but sharing the small plate of KFC (krunchy fried chicken lollipops) and each ordering a sushi roll was more than enough to feel satisfied in both the tastebud and hunger categories. For all my vegetarian and vegan friends, Bamboo on 2nd is a great option. The menu clearly states the ingredients down to the type of broth used. Several tasty options! Another great dining experience over all. 

 Suffice it to say, we love Birmingham and will be back in the near future. The perfect weekend getaway in the perfect Southern setting.