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Unique Gifts in Birmingham

With the holiday season quickly approaching you may find yourself searching for interesting gifts for your family and friends. The stores in this map all have interesting items that you won’t find anywhere else. What’s on 2nd, East 59 and Zoe’s are great spots for the vintage-lover in your life who would love nothing more than to have a one-of-a-kind gift from yesteryear. Meanwhile, Lush, Papersource, and Sephora are all great to find cute, unique gifts for your friends who appreciate natural, handmade cosmetics, stationary and paper products or high-end makeup like NARS or Benefit. Check it out, and happy gift giving!

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Seeds Fair Trade Coffee: Feel Good About What’s In Your Cup

The weather has finally cooled down for good here in Birmingham, which means there’s never been a more perfect time to spend an afternoon hanging out in a warm, caffeine filled coffee shop. Seeds Coffee Company, located in the Homewood suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, is a popular pick for students and young professionals in Birmingham for a number of reasons – a vibrant atmosphere, well-priced coffee, and free Wi-Fi, to name a few.

Seeds opened in 2013 as the passion project of a group of friends who had a love of good coffee and people. According to their website, “What originally started out as a hobby quickly developed into a passion for coffee…Through trial and error, thorough online research and training sessions, they learned about detailed aspects of coffee, including sourcing, roasting, and tasting – always seeking out “a better cup.” Seeds is more than just a lively study spot with a good pour-over. At Seeds, all the beans used are above fair trade. It’ something to keep in mind in a world of mega-brands, such as McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts, who’s only commitment is to the profits they can turn from cheap beans.

Fair trade is often a term that is misunderstood and confuses consumers. Fair trade simply means that, “Fair Trade is a global trade model and certification allows shoppers to quickly identify products that were produced in an ethical manner. For farmers and workers in developing countries, Fair Trade offers better prices, improved terms of trade, and the business skills necessary to produce high-quality products that can compete in the global marketplace,” according to Fair Trade USA.

Leisl Seigler, a sophomore at Samford, goes to Seeds at least once a week to study. “I had no idea Seeds had fair trade coffee, to be honest,” Seigler said. “Now that I know, though, I’m glad I go there so often. It makes me feel better about my coffee addiction.”

A common misconception about fair trade coffee is that it will drive prices up for customers. The Fair Trade USA website states that, “Fair Trade Certified coffees and chocolates are generally priced competitively with other gourmet, specialty coffees and chocolates. They are, though, more expensive than mass-produced, low-quality coffees and chocolates.” Seeds has fair trade coffee and their prices are not dramatically higher than Starbucks, who doesn’t entirely use fair-trade coffee.

Every year Seeds takes a trip to different farms that they currently source from or are considering sourcing from. They also partner with importers who have good reputations for how they source. As they’re a small shop, Seeds often partners with other small coffee shops and roasters from around the country. “It gives you more leverage in negotiating with exporters,” says Johnathan Axworthy, who works for Seeds. “The farms themselves have to make ends meet, so they’re trying to make larger deals with larger companies, so they have the preference.” He says that the more Seeds can work with other shops and roasters the more they can guarantee the quality of their coffee.

Fair trade immensely benefits the farms and communities that sell fair trade beans. ASPROTIMANA was formed in the Huila district of Colombia in 2001 and has provided the community with advantages they didn’t previously have. For example, since becoming fair trade, the communities with ASPROTIMANA have gained “the construction of a micro factory including a coffee silo, a technical assistance program for the farmers – offering support on better farming practices, Revolving Credit – providing the farmers with access to finance to invest in their farms which is otherwise unavailable to them, and housing improvements.” according to the Fairtrade Foundation based in the UK.

It’s important that Seeds uses fair trade beans because it has lasting impacts beyond the coffee shop. The next time you’re looking for a place to spend a chilly afternoon, consider Seeds, and know feel good about what’s in your cup.

Relient K Live at Iron City Bham 10/31

Monday I got to see my all-time favorite band play live at Iron City Bham. They paired up with Switchfoot for the Looking For America Tour, which has been going around the country this fall. They played a good mix of new songs from their Air For Free album and classics such as “Mood Rings” and, of course, “Be My Escape”. It was a phenomenal show, as always, and actually the first time I’ve heard “Mood Rings” live. I also got to take a trip down memory lane to “Sadie Hawkins Dance” which is the first Relient K song I heard way back in my freshman year of high school. I made a storify story about the concert which you can check out here.

In Case You Forgot Halloween Was This Weekend, Too

If your life has been as hectic as mine lately, and it’s been all you can do to get caffeine in your system and get out the door in the morning (shout out to coffee, you’re the real MVP), Halloween may have snuck up on you, too. Here’s a multitude of easy, cheap costume ideas to whip up in the next 48 hours. They range from outrageously simple to moderately difficult. If you’re good at makeup, take a look at the animal faces you can make with a little contouring and face paint. Or, if you’re looking for a KISS costume, check out the three ways you can take one Little Black Dress and make three different looks for your Halloween festivities. Have a great Halloween, and watch out for clowns!

 

Underground Filmfest Flop

It’s 55 degrees on Friday Oct. 21, the coldest night Birmingham has felt this fall. Downtown is buzzing with activity to celebrate the end of the week – the skyline is lit up, bars and restaurants are filled, and the BJCC is packed with scores of delighted Disney lovers for “Disney on Ice”. However, 600 feet behind the arena housing the dazzling light and ice show, is an eerie juxtaposition – Birmingham’s horror film fans have gathered for an evening of screening independent films in a cemetery. Continue reading “Underground Filmfest Flop”

Live in Bham and Wear It, Too!

 

I don’t know about y’all but quirky clothes that show off my city are one of my favorite things. I put together a pin board with some of my favorite Birmingham-themed clothes – check it out!

 

 

Not Your Average Thrift Store: Sozo Trading Co.

Sozo Trading Co., located in the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham, is listed as a thrift store on Google. But when you walk inside the double glass doors into the giant warehouse-style building you can instantly tell that Sozo is about more than just cheap clothes and old granny couches. Continue reading “Not Your Average Thrift Store: Sozo Trading Co.”

Meet Me at Revelator Coffee Company

Location: 730 1st Avenue N, Birmingham, AL 35203

Menu: small, just the classics Continue reading “Meet Me at Revelator Coffee Company”

Today I am Lorelai Gilmore

Birmingham Gilmore Girls fans, rejoice! Today is the day, friends! From 7 a.m. to noon you can head to either Lucy’s Coffee and Tea, Crestwood Coffee Co., or The Abbey and pick up a cup of Luke’s coffee and pretend to be a resident of Stars Hollow. Continue reading “Today I am Lorelai Gilmore”

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