The Faces of Reed Books

Reed Books is a bookstore in downtown Birmingham. With a residency of several decades, it has become a staple of the community. While people come from all over the world to view the thousands of books that line the shelves and the floors, there is much more to this bookstore than just the books. While Mr. Jim Reed, owner of Reed Books, will want to greet you with a smile, there are more faces that will welcome you into the store. Take a look…

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String Theory

An unconventional & groove-worthy ensemble

A musician guides his bow across the strings of a cello. He is tucked away behind a conductor stand, embracing the cello as if it is a beloved friend. Just a few measures into the song, he thrusts the bow with vigor. The instrument delivers a melody reminiscent of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen’s chart-topping, pop-rock anthem. Have your ears deceived you, or is a conservatoire-trained musician performing rock ‘n’ roll hits on a cello?

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Three Inexpensive Nights Out In Birmingham

You deserve a night out. If you are a college student like me, you are probably juggling six or more classes, an internship for academic credit and a paid full-time job just to pay your rent. Because of all these things, you have the right to treat yourself every once and a while. The issue often tends to be that, though you may want a night out, you cannot afford to spend a lot of money. That is where I come in. Having lived in the city of Birmingham my whole life, I knew quite a few spots that can help you save a few bucks while enjoying what the city has to offer. Here is a short list of three different locations in Birmingham on the cheap. You can find directions to each location by clicking on the venue name in the list.

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Q&A with Harrison Tarabella

One of the best parts of my Samford experience has been all the creative people I’ve met during my four years here. One such example is Harrison Tarabella: a talented visual artist who got his initial training from professional National Geographic photographer. I sat down with Harrison to talk about where his passion comes from, his favorite experiences thus far and what’s next for him.

Answers have been edited for content and clarity.

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Throw a Casual Soirée

 

Strawberry Pie

Ingredients for Deep-Dish Strawberry Dream Pie. Photography by Rebecca Terrell

 

Soirée is my favorite word. Not because it rolls off the tongue in the most graceful fashion (which it does by the way), but because it has a classy, almost old-fashioned demeanor to it. When I hear the word, I picture sophisticated grown-ups stirring up deep conversations and popping bottles of bubbly.

The idea of a classy dinner party excites me. I love the idea of gathering together in fellowship snacking on tea sandwiches and tiny treats. But instead of white linens, men in bowties and expensive escargot passed around by butlers, I picture a whimsical affair with lights stringing through the trees and lace draped along the tablescape.

A soirée no longer has to mean an over-the-top event. It can mean a casual evening filled with bite-sized delights and cheese plates, with a corn hole game in the backyard. It can mean that you skip the expenses and focus on planning the perfect party.

Personal touches can turn a typical social gathering into a magical soiree. One way to do this is through the food. Rebecca Longshore, the assistant editor of Cooking Light, shared her favorite recipes that are simple, yet elegant.

 “In my opinion, bite-size foods and mini dishes look really classy at a party,” says Longshore. “You can turn almost any appetizer or dessert recipe into a single-serving treat.” So skip the catering and try some of these chic dinner dishes for your next celebration.

Deep-Dish Strawberry Ice Dream Pie

 “With a chocolate crush, strawberry mousse filling and fresh seasonal berries to top it off, this gorgeous pie tastes even better than it looks. Plus, you can make it in advantage and freeze overnight,” says Longshore.

What you’ll need:

  • 30 chocolate wafers
  • 5 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Dash of salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups frozen low-fat whipped topping, thawed

How to do it:
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Finely grind wafers in a food processor. Add butter, egg white, and salt; process until well combined.
3. Gently press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9.5-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray.
4. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Freeze 30 minutes or until well chilled.
5. Slice 1 cup of strawberries; place in large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon strawberry jam and lemon juice; gently stir. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Gently fold in whipped topping. Spoon mixture into prepared crust, smoothing top. Freeze 4 hours or up to overnight.
6. Quarter remaining strawberries lengthwise; combine with remaining 3 tablespoons jam. Arrange mixture over pie. Serve immediately.

Charred Red Online Dip

 “This simple, refreshing onion dip pairs perfectly with baked sweet potato chips and is guaranteed to be a crowd favorite,” says Longshore.

What you’ll need:
1 cup chopped grilled red onion
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
Baked sweet potato chips

How to do it:
1. Combine onion, yogurt, sour cream, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, ground red pepper, and salt.
2. Serve with baked sweet potato chips.

Mushroom, Gruyere, and Spinach Quiche

 “A cheesy, spinach quiche partners beautifully with a bright, citrusy salad to serve at a spring party,” says Longshore.

What you’ll need:
5.6 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons ice water
Cooking spray
3 center-cut bacon slices
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 (8-ounce) package pre-sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 cups packed baby spinach
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/3 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
2 ounces cave-aged Gruyère cheese, grated

 How to do it:
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and baking powder in a food processor; pulse 2 times to combine. Combine oil and 3 tablespoons water. With processor on, slowly add oil mixture through food chute; process until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 1 minute. Press dough into a 5-inch disk; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 20 minutes.
3. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Line dough with foil; arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove weights and foil; bake an additional 2 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
5. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings; crumble. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add shallots to drippings in pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Drain any excess liquid.
6. Place milk, half-and-half, eggs, egg white, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender; process until smooth.
7. Arrange half of cheese over bottom of crust; top with spinach mixture and remaining half of cheese. Carefully pour milk mixture over cheese. Sprinkle with bacon. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Let stand 10 minutes.

Like these recipes? Share your creations with us on Instagram at @exodusmagazine.. And be sure to be on the lookout for more mini-dishes in our print edition of Exodus Magazine, coming soon.

 

 

Taylor Swift 2.0

As Oct. 27 approached, faithful T-Swift fans anxiously awaited the songstress’ new album. Fans and non-fans alike anticipated a new bundle of heartbreak, revenge, and cryptic lyrics delivered Taylor Swift style. We heard a small taste of “1989” with two pre-released tracks, “Out of the Woods” and “Shake It Off.” But on Oct. 27 we got the whole album and it was a delightful surprise.

As usual, “1989” is a glimpse into Swift’s diary and failed relationships. After the opening song, “Welcome To New York,” an ode to Swift’s new home and her love affair with the Big Apple, the album takes listeners on a journey through the past two years of the seven-time Grammy winner’s life. Sure, “Shake It Off” is a fun, get-up-and-dance song but Swift truly shines in heartfelt songs like “Style,” “Wildest Dreams,” and “Clean.” “Clean” is the perfect end note to an album about past mistakes and relationships. In “Clean,” Swift admits that heartbreak hurts but she has moved on. It provides closure for the failed relationships mentioned in the tracks earlier in the album.

Swift’s new tracks demonstrate her ability to call out what many people have criticized her for: her varied dating past. It’s as if she decided to admit the truth and expose her past mistakes rather than the mistakes of those she dated. In “Blank Space” she sings “Got a long list of ex-lovers/They’ll tell you I’m insane/’Cause you know I love the players/And you love the game,” and “I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”

Although “1989” includes several songs about her exes, as should be expected from Swift, they are not blatantly negative about her former flames. The songs also come in a refreshing sound that is distinctly pop. Previously, Swift still considered herself as part of the country genre. But we all know she left her country sound behind with the teardrops on her guitar. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Swift admits that her last album, “Red,” “straddled the line between country and pop.” For “1989” Swift made a deliberate decision to make an album that would be strictly categorized as pop.

“1989” is available on iTunes.

Photo courtesy of taylorswift.com

Photo courtesy of taylorswift.com

Hunter Lawley Band adds new perspective to country music

Hunter Lawley has always known he wanted to be an entertainer. He majored in theatre at the University of Montevallo before deciding to dedicate his life to music.

The Hunter Lawley Band performing at the Main Street Tavern on March 28.

Over the years, Lawley has acquired guitar player Allen Stone, drummer Chris Brown and bass player Steven Riley to form the eclectic mix that is the Hunter Lawley Band.

The Hunter Lawley Band performs on March 28 at the Main Street Tavern.The Hunter Lawley Band plays mainly covers, anything from Johnny Cash to Snoop Dogg. They also write original music, which Lawley describes as alternative country.

Lawley and his crew play everything from intimate bar shows to the Alpha Psi Rodeo in Auburn, which usually attracts more than 15,000 people. They’ve played with headliners such as David Allen Coe and Eric Church. But according to Lawley, big names and fame aren’t what it’s all about.

“I always say you shouldn’t do [music] to be famous because if you’re doing it to be famous, you’ll never be famous. You do it for a career,” Lawley says. “Put the time into it and you’ll meet the right people.”

The band hopes they’ve met the right people. They recently signed with EastCoast Entertainment, an agency out of Atlanta who has represented artists such as John Mayer and Zac Brown Band (before they were famous, Lawley likes to point out.) Now, the band looks to the future and is getting ready to record a new album.

There are definitely perks to being in an all-man band. Lawley says the speed with changing tires can rival that of a NASCAR pit stop crew.

But the true benefit comes to life when watching the band play onstage. The camaraderie and collective sense of humor provide for a show that is guaranteed to entertain no matter what the musical preference.

You can see all of the Hunter Lawley Band’s action live and up close Monday, April 29 at Pub 261 in Pelham or at Innisfree Irish Pub in Birmingham Friday, May 3. For more information regarding shows or music purchases, visit the Hunter Lawley Band Website.

Photos by Kaitlin Bitz 

3 women

The Lovelady Center

Story and photos by Leah Jane Henderson

Starting over and getting back on your feet is anything but simple. The women residing in the Lovelady Center bear first-hand knowledge that the next chapter of their lives entails seeking relief from adversity.
3 women

Despite facing adversities, women at the Lovelady Center still find reasons to smile.

Sitting at the corner of 79th Street and Second Avenue South, the Lovelady Center serves the community by providing shelter and assistance to women and children.

The Foundation

The shelter offers a life-changing program with the goal of providing tools necessary to overcome obstacles and start over. Many of the residents were homeless at one point or have been released from prison and are unable to provide for themselves or their family.

The nine- to 12-month program is designed to rebuild lives and give hope to the 378 women and approximately 100 children currently residing at the shelter.

Basic care includes housing, clothing, medical care and hygienic products. The staff provides nearly 1,200 meals daily. In-house psychologists provide counseling for substance abuse and drug rehabilitation.

Available transportation is provided for work, school and doctor appointments, as well as the in-house KidZone daycare center open to the public.

The center partners with Jefferson State Community College and Tennessee Temple University for women to gain higher education and job skills.

The Workforce Development Program trains them to find sustainable jobs for a more hopeful future.

Jennifer White is one of many graduates that have advanced to working on staff.

“If it weren’t for this place I wouldn’t be nearly as successful as I am now. I thank God every day for showing me this place. It really is amazing,” White said.

In the Beginning

Brenda Spahn possessed determination and a huge heart when she single-handedly began what is now one of the most thriving shelters in Birmingham. Five women inhabited Brenda’s home and quickly became 40 after local press coverage. The shelter opened in 2004 and currently holds a plethora of mothers and aunts, daughters and wives.

Because of a lack of state or federal funding, the center relies predominantly on donations. Bright pink donations bins are planted on the sidewalk. They accept clothing, linens, baby items, and small appliances. Food donations, volunteer work and tutors are also essential segments of the center’s success.

Road to Success

The Lovelady Center is no day camp when it comes to the requirements that serve as the foundation for advancing toward graduation.

Every occupant and visitor must sign in and out at the front desk, residents must complete drug tests upon return from any outing and curfews are stricly enforced.

b miller

Outreach coordinator, Bonnie Miller (middle), oversees rules and regulations that provide an environment for success.

Outreach coordinator Bonnie Miller administers the stern policies that are monitored by all staff members.

“It’s strict. There are mandatory church services and mandatory devotions. You have to take a certain number of classes, no rated R movies or secular music. It is strict, but there is a lot of structure,” Miller said.

The women have an option to participate in work contracts associated with the shelter. Businesses include Dunkin’ Donuts, Piggly Wiggly, the Blackwell House and the Lovelady Thrift Store.

Rent costs $150 per month and covers room and board, transportation, classes and meals. A total of 20 credits are required for graduation and departure. Twenty to 25 women are taken in each week including repeated returns.

“If someone transitions out and they feel they’re about to stumble, or even if they do mess up, they know they can come back. They always have a place to stay,” Miller said.

Numerous volunteer opportunities await any who are willing to help at the center. Opportunities involve group and individual work including prayer warriors groups, room makeovers, mentors, church services, devotionals, teachers and tutors.

For more information about volunteer work and donations contact the Development Department at (205) 833-1064 or info@loveladycenter.org. The Lovelady Center is located at 7916 Second Ave. S in Birmingham.

2 girls

Nearly 400 women of various ages currently reside at the shelter in Birmingham.