Monday, August 31, 2015

Sidewalk Film Festival 2015 Recap

Hey guys, I hope you had an incredible weekend! Sorry, I didn't blog as much last week but you know how life gets super busy at times. I have lots of posts ready for this week and I can't wait to share my experience at the Sidewalk Film Festival held in Downtown Birmingham the last weekend in August. This was my first year attending the fest (which is in its 17th year) and I am wondering why I haven't attended sooner! Wanting to get the most out of the weekend, I selected the VIP Ticket Pass, it was totally worth it. Not only do you get access to all the films but a special VIP lounge area in the nearby Continental Bakery with snacks and drinks throughout the day as well as a few Sidewalk goodies and admission to all the pre and after parties of the weekend. The Kickoff party for the event was on Thursday night from 5pm-9pm held at the Historic Rucker Place in Five Points. It's a beautiful old southern style home with vintage décor. There were food and drinks, the specialty drink of the night was called "The Harper Lee", how great is that? The event also had live music and it was great to socialize with the filmmakers, actors, etc. that were local and out of town.

The after-party was at a new favorite spot of mine, Saturn Birmingham located in the Avondale district. It looks like a mix of Space Mountain and Pizza Planet on the inside! A really cool place with a great atmosphere and there are lots of old school and new school video games that you can play around the stage area.

On Friday the festival kicked off with the opening night film, Raiders (an amazing documentary by the way) and the theme was an Indian Jones vibe.  I had never been a huge documentary fan until this past weekend, I saw some wonderful features and can't wait to check out more in the future! The opening night was full of excitement and all the film lovers seemed ecstatic.
It was raining a little but no way that was going to stop the evening festivities!

After the movie, it was like a block party type atmosphere. They were even showing the original Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark on a blow up screen. I was so sad I missed the donut wall though! Yes, a wall made of actual donuts aka a dream come true. After a snack with my buddies, it was time to call it a night to get ready for the first full day at the movies.

I love seeing Birmingham lights at night and the historic, restored Lyric Theatre lit up. Can't wait to see this beauty when it is completed in a few months!

Day 2 (Saturday): After making a quick stop at the Continental Bakery for our VIP grab and go breakfast, it was time for movies. The way it works is you are given a guide with all the movies and their locations. We were mostly at the Alabama Theatre but there are several other theaters and all pretty much within walking distance to each other. They were also offering trams and golf cart rides to take you to your theater of choice. I would recommend parking by the Alabama since it is the hub then walking or taking a tram from there.
It was non-stop movie madness, one of my favorites was Krisha which was actually produced by one of my college friends. You see so many unique and interesting films, animation, shorts and docs at fests like this. Don't let a name or synopsis scare you off from seeing something. Give everything a shot!

Food trucks lined the streets outside the main event hub (the Alabama) so after a few films, it was time for a snack break! My ice cream cookie from Big Spoon Creamery was delicious, try the cookies and cream!

I liked how the Continental Bakery was so close that you could walk right across the street. In addition to the VIP area, anyone could purchase healthier fare such as chicken salad, fruit and sandwiches. Love the décor on the inside!

The Saturday after-party was held at Sloss Furnaces and had a wait for it...a pig theme! You may or may not know I am obsessed with pigs. The decorations here were some of the cutest and pinkest I've ever seen. The event was held at the new Sloss Furnace venue and it was a great choice for the party.

The even had put-put golf for attendees to play! Great music and good times were being had by all.

I really should have gotten a temporary time!
Yes, they even had a mechanical pig you could ride. A MECAHNICAL PIG! Overall, the party was a wonderful way to cap off an amazing day of film watching. Still one more day to go!

Day 3 (Sunday): Another early morning for one of my favorite series of the fest. There were several short film blocks and I found these to be a great way to experience lots of unique films at once. They also have blocks with documentary shorts. The short films range from about 10 min to 30 min so you get a lot of films in at one time. Yes, I also ate a moon pie and coke for breakfast. It was early!
The day just seemed to fly by and soon it was time for the last film I saw at the fest. It was seriously my favorite movie, A Few Zombies More played to a packed house at the historic Carver Theatre. If you are from Alabama (or anywhere really) you must check out this local made hit. It even won the Viewer's Choice at the awards ceremony later that nigh! All films besides the shorts, have a q&a after session so feel free to ask any questions you may have.
As they say, all good things must come to an end and the Sidewalk Film Festival was no exception. They definitely gained a new fan and I can see what all my friends have been talking about for the last few years. It really was a special weekend. If you live in Birmingham, please don't tell me there is nothing to do here...there is plenty. Events like this are happening more frequently and the city keeps preparing for more. If you live in another city or state, I highly recommend the Sidewalk Film Festival and hope you join me next year!
A special thanks to all the filmmakers, actors, producers, and everyone associated with the films for making such great work for all to enjoy. This event would not be possible without the city, event planers, marketing teams, sponsors, food vendors and of course the volunteers. THANK YOU for an eventful weekend!
Happy Film Watching!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend: Tips and Must-Do's in the Park

Hey everyone! Can you guys believe we are only a week out from the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend? This is one of my favorite races of the year and is the official kick-off to my fall race season as well as marking the end of summer. I am so excited to be in Disneyland for the 60th Diamond Celebration anniversary year which means lots of excitement and special surprises at the park. I'll talk a little about race weekend but also throw in some suggestions and my picks for the happiest place on earth!

I am not as familiar with Disneyland as I am the Florida-based Walt Disney World Resort but thanks to runDisney, I have had my fair share of experiences on the West Coast. If you grew up with Disney World, Disneyland is a bit different than what you might be used to. It is smaller, there are two parks (Disneyland and Californian Adventure) but that doesn't make it any less fun. In fact, it is nice to just walk back and forth to the parks rather than take a bus or monorail. You will however need a park hopper pass if you plan on visiting both parks on the same day. There is also a Downtown Disney area like Florida which is within walking distance to both parks. Let's start with the race portion of the post.

Tip 1: Unlike Disney World it is not a necessity to stay on property.

If this was a WDW runDisney race I would 100% tell you to stay on site. A main factor that has Disneyland races above the WDW versions is how easy it is to get to the race. You can stay at a wide array of neighbor hotels rather than just the main three Disney resorts (if you are staying on property, I recommend the Disneyland Hotel). The other good thing if you are closer to the start line, you don't have to be up at zero dark thirty (I'm looking at you WDW marathon and Princess Half) and you can get dressed and just walk over to the start.

Tip 2: Dress in Costume

I've covered this costume topic before but I can not stress enough how much more fun you will have running in costume. Your pictures will look much better, you will get more cheers, and you will be faster (ok, I can't guarantee that one) but you will have more fun (or at least look like it!). If you don't want a full on costume at least put on some 60th Anniversary ears!

Hint for one of this year's costumes...
Tip 3: Print Out Your Waiver and Find Your Corral Letter NOW

At runDisney races, you are required to submit a proof of time (the deadline was a few weeks ago) so you will be seeded into a corral. Print your waiver here and look on waiver to find your race number. Disneyland half corrals are here and Dumbo Double Dare corral letters also available.

Tip 4: Be Ready for the Bling and Have Fun!

Chances are it is going to be hot and you will be sweaty and wondering why you thought running 3.1, 6.2, 13.1, or 19.3 miles was a good idea. Just remember you paid over $100 and for some over $300 to do this so HAVE FUN! Take lots of pictures, stop for characters, the castle, everything! Trust in yourself and it will turn out just fine. Maybe your training didn't turn out exactly how you thought it would if that's the case, take it easy with plenty of walk breaks. It is NOT worth risking hurting yourself. If the going gets tough, just remember you have these waiting at the finish line! Oh and I like to put my medals in a zip lock bag and keep them in my purse or carry-on, I worked too hard to have something happen to them :)

Embedded image permalink
Photo Credit: runDisney

Ok, we have covered the race aspects but what about the rest of Disneyland? Here are a few things, attractions, places you need to see and try!

1. Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Diamond Celebration Style

I can't wait to see the castle all decorated for the special 60th anniversary!

Vibrant fireworks bursting above Sleeping Beauty Castle at the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

2. Mickey Beignets at the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square

Maybe my favorite "land" in all the Disney parks. Southern charm with a spooky twist (hello Haunted Mansion!) and you feel like you are right in the middle of New Orleans. This are delicious and great for carb loading, right?

3. The Blue Bayou Restaurant

One of the best restaurants in Disneyland, the theme is incredible and the scenery is perfect for an easy going lunch or night out. Even my family and friends who are super picky and don't like spicy food (me included) always request to go here. Sip on a mint julep and enjoy your time!

4. Mickey Ferris Wheel in California Adventure

One of the "landmarks" of the parks, I am terrified to ride (I always choose the non-swaying version) but it is a favorite picture spot. It is also the centerpiece for the lovely water fountain show/extravaganza World of Color-Celebrate! which takes place each night!

4. Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream

The old-fashioned ice cream shop over in California Adventure is home to one of the best desserts, the kitchen sink. It is like one of those mini ones you would find over at Beaches n Cream at WDW. There are several different options but I love the mint chocolate chip fudge and "The Oswald". The perfect post-race treat!

5. The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction

Ok, I may be partial to Disney World since I grew up visiting Orlando but one attraction that has WDW beat is Pirates of the Caribbean. It is much better than the Florida version in my opinion. If you are short on time in the parks visit the Disneyland attractions that are not offered in Florida such as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Matterhorn, and the Indiana Jones Adventure to name a few. If you are visiting California Adventure, you have to check out the very popular and well themed Cars Land (Radiator Springs Racers is worth the hype!).
Dangling from a dog's mouth is the key that would free jailed pirates of the Caribbean
Photo Credit: Disneyland
 A few things you also need to try: Corndog (Disneyland is famous for them, the Corn Dog Castle in California Adventure often has a shorter line than the Disneyland cart). Tiki Juice Bar you must have a dole whip at least once in your life! Jolly Holiday Bakery can't wait to try the 60th Anniversary cupcake! Do things YOU want to do, after all it's your vacation :)

Hope everyone who is planning on attending next weekend or in the future enjoyed this post. I would love to hear tips from y'all as well so feel free to email me personally or comment below!

Happy Traveling and Racing!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Waves and Styles: Hair 101

Happy Monday, babes! Hope everyone had the most fantastic of weekends filled with excitement! Or relaxation. Whatever yours was, I hope it was a good one. I have had several requests and questions regarding how I style my hair. So, today's post is all about the hair. Hair is one of those particular features that most females are sensitive and protective over. It is normally one of the first things you notice and everyone has their own individual style.
Regarding myself, I have very long, very thick Mediterranean (thanks Dad) hair. Although it can sometimes be a pain, I love my hair. This was not always the case. When I was younger, I absolutely hated it. A trip to get my hair trimmed was cause for panic and yes, there was crying. Due to the nature of my hair, it was often filled with tangles and having a tender head, it was torture washing and drying my lion's mane. My youth was often filled with self-consciousness. Being half-Greek along with thick hair, I also had very oily (read: acne prone) skin. I wanted nothing more than to have beautiful straight blonde hair and clear skin to look like all the other girls in school.
When I was a pre-teen, I made the super wise decision to cut my hair (which was about waist length) almost all of it off. An afternoon showing of You've Got Mail gave me the idea to get my hair cut like Meg Ryan. I did not look like Meg Ryan. I actually kept the short hair for a couple of years and it wasn't until later (I guess I looked at pictures?) I realized a pixie cut was not flattering on me. It took time to grow my hair out and even when I desired to cut it (I badly wanted Jennifer Aniston's bob circa 2001), I held strong. In high school, my hair was pretty much grown out and I straightened it every morning. Remember the pin-straight look? Again, not flattering on myself. My mom bought me some fun hair products for my birthday and included a set of hot rollers. I thought hot rollers were for old ladies...they are not! From that day, hot rollers have been my number one beauty and hair product that is my go-to, must-have.

Voluminous waves are my signature style and it always makes me happy to get compliments. This look is SO EASY to recreate. It literally takes 10-15 min and here's all the steps you need to know:
1. Plug in your Hot Rollers. These Remington rollers are my absolute favorite. The heat from both sides (including the clip) ensures every part of your hair will have a curl/wave.
T|Studio Pink Silk Setter
 2. Take small pieces of hair and roll into individual roller. Depending on how you want the style to look, you can create looser waves by not rolling the hair entirely up to the crown of the head. For a more full look, roll hair right up to the crown. I like to start from the front and work back when setting rollers.
3. Once all of hair is rolled, apply make-up. Make-up application can be done while waiting for your waves and curls to set. TIP: if you have bangs do not keep rollers in for more than a minute or two. You will look like a kewpie doll if kept in longer.
4. Leave rollers in hair for 10-15 minutes regardless if applying make-up or not. Seriously, that's all you need is 10 minutes!
5. Take out rollers and brush out depending on style/look you are going for. If it looks super big and think it looks a little much, just brush curls out until you get desired look. The more you brush, the less curls you will have. TIP: if you want less curls and more waves, just brush out curls to create waves. However, if you brush too much all curls will eventually fade.
6. Set style with hairspray if you like and you are DONE!
See, just 6 easy steps! I will eventually do a video tutorial on this style and others but though I would share a few tips tonight. Also, if you live in a super humid area like me, I advise putting hair in a low bun or hair clasp till you get to work,school, etc. After you arrive, take hair down and the style is still preserved.
You might be wondering what is the best hair style for you. Luckily, this look works on almost all face shapes and can be very flattering. Don't know you face shape? Take a peek below.
Ask for: long layers, asymmetrical, side swept bangs, loose waves. Careful when it comes to heavy bangs and super short hair styles.
Kate Upton Loose Waves

Kelly Clarkson Asymmetrical Cut

(Photo Credit:

Emma Stone Long Layers, Side Swept Bangs

(Photo Credit:
Can pull off almost any hairstyle (lucky!) Try center parts, pixie cuts, side swooped bangs and sleek blowouts.
Halle Berry Pixie Cut

(Photo Credit:
Heidi Klum Center Part

Carrie Underwood Swooped Bangs

Ask for bangs, experiment with bobs, asymmetrical, straight and waves. Be careful with super long hairstyles.
Sandra Bullock Bangs


Nicole Richie Asymmetrical

Rosie Huntington-Wheatley Loose Waves


Side swept bangs, longer hairstyles, asymmetrical bobs blunt bangs, and pixie cuts are excellent for heart shaped faces. Avoid hairstyles that are super long and just hang with no volume.

Reese Witherspoon Side Fringe


Jessica Alba Medium Bob

Taylor Swift Blunt Bangs

(Photo Credit: beautiful

Go find a new style or update your current one! Most of all pick a style YOU want. You are the one who has to style it and live with it each day so pick one that you personally love. Let your hair be an expression of who you are and no face shape or suggestions can take that away from you. As long as you love it, that is all that matters!

Live in Birmingham, AL and want to create a new look? Fix a bad dye job? New to town and need a stylist? Or maybe you just need a change. I highly recommend dL Salon (ask for Leslie or Debbie) believe me you won't be disappointed!

Happy Styling!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Vineyard Vines Blogger Recap

One of my favorite things about being a blogger is blogger events! I joined Birmingham Bloggers a few months ago and I have loved meeting all my fellow bloggers who share the same passion of taking pictures of their food as me :) As soon as I saw this event was being held at our local Vineyard Vines, I knew it would become one of my favorites. I have been known to unleash my preppy side a time or two (hello Lilly Pulitzer posts) and Vineyard Vines with its classic stitched whale has always been a go-to. The bloggers got to preview the fall collection and we were not disappointed! Check out a few of my snaps below as well as my favorites from the collection.
Upon arriving, I noticed the cute set-up of snacks. How Can you go wrong with finger sandwiches, petit fours, and wine? After making the rounds to chat with old friends and meet new ones, it was time for the fall preview!

One of the first things I noticed was this display of belts. If you are from the South, you know how we feel about college football. If you aren't, well I don't really know how to explain it other than its a way of life. It gets intense. Like really intense. My family is split Auburn/Alabama (War Eagle!) and holidays around football season are always fun. These belts are a cute way for your boyfriend or hubby to show his team pride without the face paint. They had choices for all SEC schools so no matter your preference, you are set!

The one item I would love to have in my closet is this striped weekender bag (seen below) and the Twill and Leather North South Carryall. I am debating picking it up this weekend to use for my writing classes since it's big enough to put all my purse essentials plus my laptop and books. The weekender bag is a great piece for quick travel trips and I could definitely see myself using as a carry-on for my "racecations" when I travel for a half or full marathon.

Another item that caught my eye were the wide array of shorts. I especially was fond of this eyelet gingham pair. The came in two sizes, one had a shorter inseam so if you wanted a longer pair, you had both options. The longer pair could be seen as office casual depending on your work place and paired with one of the preppy button up shirts you can have an easy weekend outfit that works from a trip to the lake to brunch with your besties. This is also a good combo when attending a family event or meeting a significant other's parents at a lunch or family affair.

Ok, I had to buy something (bloggers got 20% off one item) I mean it would have been rude not have purchased anything, right? Well, after much browsing, I noticed this fall centric, super girly, flannel baseball hat (pictured in middle). This hat just looked like fall to me with its cozy exterior and the pastel pink whale for a hint of color. I knew it would get a lot of repeat attention for those Saturday mornings when I've just come from a run and need to go to the grocery store or Sunday for a breakfast outing with the family.

It seems like Vineyard Vines has a lot more feminine pieces this season and that was evident in the "Shep Shirts" (pictured above) named after one of the designers. I loved the mint hued top as well as the white with cobalt blue trim and pink design. All of these shirts seemed like a great alternative to baggy t-shirts you may wear to class or to run errands. Let's be honest, it's always better to look a bit put together since you know the times you look like you rolled out of bed is when you see at least 10 people you know in Target. I know this to be very, very true. I want to add one of these to my collection!

The other item I think would be a great addition is this Stow & Go Raincoat. It has been rainy season here in the Ham this summer and this lightweight rain jacket would be excellent to throw on and go. It also folds up hence the name. I have had the same Burberry rain jacket for years and as much as I love it, it is awfully heavy. This option is much easier to store plus I feel like you would get a lot of use out of it. Plus, y'all know I love color and this bright turquoise can brighten a rainy day!

After the helpful Vineyard Vines preview, we mostly chatted and browsed a little longer before I had to leave for my weekly team trivia outing. What I gathered is that while Vineyard Vines is known for their super preppy oxfords and sometimes more male oriented clothing, there is now plenty for the ladies. Lots of fun and stylish options which are great for work, class, and everything in between. If you aren't into the super preppy style there are still pieces you can incorporate into your wardrobe to add just a hint, such as the bags or scarves. Yes, some of the clothing can be a little pricier compared to say Forever 21. The difference is Vineyard Vines last throughout the years (I still have several items from high school) whereas cheaper materials normally do not. You are paying for quality! Check out where your local  store is or you can always check out the official website anytime to order online.

Once again, thank you tothe beautiful   Birmingham Bloggers for planning such a wonderful event and special thanks to the perfectly preppy staff of the Vineyard Vines at the Summit for being so knowledgeable and accommodating!

Happy Friday and Shopping!