Comfort Food of the South

Maya Angelou once said, “The best comfort food will always be greens, cornbread and fried chicken,” and she wasn’t far off… Southern food comforts you like nothing else. There’s no better way to support a new mom or welcome a new neighbor than a giant southern casserole. Here’s a few of our favorite places for Southern comfort along the Gulf Coast.

NoJa

This Mediterrasian restaurant has some of the most unique dishes that will make your mouth water. Be sure to try the Maple Leaf Duck Breast or the Kansas City Strip! Both will make you fall in love with Noja and the unique experience they provide. The atmosphere, flavors and service will leave you in awe and will make you keep coming back for more. Noja is one of the longest running restaurants in Downtown Mobile and serves food with the freshest ingredients. Check out their website or their Facebook page to find out about their seasonal menus. 

Boudreaux’s

Boudreaux’s is a classic cajun restaurant located in Daphne, AL. While cajun food is very closely associated with New Orleans, now you only have to travel a short trip across Mobile Bay to satisfy your cajun cravings. They have bands playing all week long and a wonderful view of the water to enjoy as you have a Bourbon Street-inspired cocktail. Be sure to try their cheese fries, crawfish and beignets! With family ties from the Bayou and a passion for food done right, this is surely a place to go whenever you crave anything cajun.

Loda Bier Garten

At Loda Bier Garten, you can enjoy a night out on the town! They have two locations that offer a vast selection of beers which will pair perfectly with your burger and leave your mouth watering. Specialty burgers decorate the menu along with classic appetizers that you can not get enough of. They have TVs and a lively staff working open to close. One time my friends started dancing and the staff joined in! There is definitely no place like Loda!

Bozo’s

Bozo’s is a classic seafood restaurant in Pascagoula, MS, that has been around for generations. Bozo’s actually has a seafood market and a restaurant, which are conveniently located right next to each other! You can call and place your order at the market or just walk in. Live music is played outside on the patio for a great open air dining experience. They have a wide variety of seafood at both the market and the restaurant, so stop on by and enjoy everything Bozo’s has to offer!

Briquettes

Briquettes Steakhouse is one of the best steakhouses in the South. They are locally owned and operated, and deliver an amazing experience all around. They have many entrees that are so delicious that is hard to choose just one, but when you order a side I strongly recommend the sweet potato casserole as it is to die for! So next time you want really anything go to Briquettes as they have so much to offer. The South has many options for wonderful comfort food, especially here on the Gulf Coast. Each and every place has a special item that is exclusive to their restaurant, so try anything and everything! The more you try the more you’ll fall in love with every bite.

The Importance of Taking Vacations

A report by the U.S. Travel Association showed that 4 in 10 Americans do not use their vacation time. Health experts suggest that using vacation time is an important part of one’s overall well-being. We each have our own individual reasons for needing to take a vacation. No matter the reason, the benefits are important.

Here are a few benefits of taking vacations that might surprise you:

Improves your mental health

Life can be demanding and stressful. Taking a break from the neverending cycle of everyday life can be really beneficial in reducing your anxiety and depression. Trying to balance a work-life on top of your daily life can become overwhelming. Vacation days are meant to be used! Use your vacation time to recenter your thoughts. By doing this, you are less likely to burn out on your job, coming back motivated and ready to perform your duties better than ever!

Reconnect with your family

After a long day at work, you may not always be on top of everything in your home. Your mental and physical state might not be at the top of its game, making you push your family and their needs to the side. Your family does not deserve to take the beating from your stressful day at work. Instead, take your family on an enjoyable vacation that everyone would enjoy. Make memories and appreciate the time you have together. Use the vacation to bond, build better communication and spend irreplaceable quality time together. 

Increases your creativity and productivity

Did you know that when your brain is exposed to new sights, sounds and cultures, it revitalizes your mind and makes you more creative? Going on vacation allows you to venture out of your comfort zone, forcing your brain to be more productive in thought. Going on a relaxing vacation will help recharge your batteries and get rid of the tension from your workplace. This will then help you to go back to work with your newfound creativity and productivity at a record high. 

Thinking about a vacation makes you happy 

Your brain is prone to have an increased boost of dopamine by thinking about a vacation up to eight weeks before your vacation starts. Dopamine is the chemical in your brain that makes you feel happy. Just the effects of thinking of having a vacation show to magnify your happiness. Let’s not forget the amount of happiness that you feel during and after your vacation!

The point is, taking a vacation is the key to keeping up with your health, your family, your work ethic and your happiness. Enjoy your vacation time before it expires and soak up relaxing time to help yourself be a better employee.

Books That Every Business Owner Should Read

Starting a business takes time, effort and patience. Unless you are teaming up with a major company, you will not have professional development programs at your disposal to teach you the tips and tricks you may need as a new entrepreneur. 

Now, it’s up to you to do a little extra work to seek out resources and knowledge to help you grow your business. Books are a good way to help you gain business comprehension. With a variety of topics out there, it is hard to know where you should start in finding the best books for your business. The key is that you want to read books with different subject matter to stretch your understanding across multiple areas of expertise.

Here are three books that every business owner should read: 

  1. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy explains the importance of one-on-one customer care to have a successful business in your community. He tells a story of why businesses lose money because they do not engage with their customers and build relationships with them. The loyalty of customers is what will keep your business thriving for a lifetime. 

Vaynerchuk continues on describing how customer courtesy, traditions and social media can all be used to grow your business as an entrepreneur. 

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is one of the best-selling books of all time, with more than 30 million copies since it was released in 1936! 

What makes Dale Carnegie‘s How to Win Friends and Influence People so special? He explains fellowship in the workplace. As a successful businessman himself, Carnegie can speak wisely on this topic. He gives advice on how to respect the people in your business as well as for them to respect you also. 

An important takeaway from this book is about criticism. He explains how criticism can come across the wrong way and how to hold your workers accountable in the correct manner. 

  1. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Micheal E. Gerber 

You can be an expert in the industry of your business, but that does not mean that you will be able to have a successful company. It may be easy for you to be proficient in your particular craft, but running a business is a whole different ballfield.

Eighty percent of small businesses fail. In The E-Myth Revisited, Michael E. Gerber explains why many small businesses are unsuccessful and gives pointers for how your business can be one of the ones that prospers. 

Gerber goes on to explain three personalities that are important for running a business. The three personalities a business needs are a technician, entrepreneur and manager. The technician is someone who knows how to do the work. The entrepreneur is someone who is thinking of the bigger picture for the business. The manager is the one focused on the present detail and keeping things in order. 

Books can be very beneficial for growing your business. They can teach you how to thrive when you put their advice into practice. While there are many other wonderful books to help you as an entrepreneur, these three are highly known for success. You’ll be surprised by the professional growth you can experience after reading these books. 

How I Prepare for Hurricane Season on the Gulf Coast

Hurricanes on the Gulf Coast are usually sudden.These sudden storms require preparation at the beginning of the season to ensure your home and business come out on top, and with minimum damage. Whether it is a roof or food, I have collected the master’s list of companies to use in preparing for hurricanes this season.

Roofing Repairs: Azalea City Roofing

Hurricanes here on the Gulf Coast are known for high-speeds winds and heavy rains. That is why it is important to have a trusted roofer on call. Azalea City Roofing takes care of both my home and my business! From small fixes to full roof replacements, Azalea City Roofing offers the best care for my home at any time, not just after a hurricane. The next time you are in desperate need of a roofer, trust Azalea City Roofing to maximize the safety and durability of your roof.

Generator: Professional Electric

When the power goes out, my generator immediately turns on thanks to Professional Electric. Professional Electric checks my generator to make sure it is strong enough to power my house in case of emergency, and repairs the generator when needed! Having trusted electricians ensure my power supply makes me feel ten times more prepared for hurricanes when they hit. Professional Electric is definitely the first person on speed dial when hurricane season begins.

Plumbing: Southeast Plumbing

Southeast Plumbing makes sure my family doesn’t stink and that we can happily flush our toilets during the storm. Before the hurricane, we usually request having someone examine the plumbing to both our home and business to ensure there are no sewer line issues, water heaters are turned off and natural gas is turned off. These simple actions ensure there is no damage to our plumbing, while also lowering the risk of fire.

Storage: Beltline and Security Storalls

Storing outdoor items during hurricane season is a must on the Gulf Coast! Beltline and Security Storalls are the best at helping me store items last minute, and they have given me great advice on how to organize my unit. Whether it be holiday items, camping equipment or baby toys, Storalls has my family’s back. They even help businesses store what they need! When it comes to storing professionals along the Gulf Coast, there is no one like Beltline and Security Storalls.

Food: Boudreauxs

Before the storm, my family likes to stock up on food, but, since we don’t cook, we order in from Boudreauxs! Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill is one of my favorite restaurants; however, when storms strike we are unable to go due to flooded roads. So, we have made it a tradition to order in before the storm. This delicious food gathers our family when times are at the worst, so we can truly appreciate what we have.

Preparing for hurricane season is a key part of living on the Gulf Coast! While it is not fun, it is important to have trusted professionals at your service for when the worst happens.

Things to do on the Eastern Shore This Summer

One of the best parts of summer is attending events on the Eastern Shore! While there was not much to do last summer, due to the pandemic, businesses and committees are coming back stronger than ever with several events to attend this summer. Here are just a few of the events I am looking forward to: 

Malbis Summer Market 

The Malbis summer market is officially back! Open Sunday, July 11th, right off Highway 90, the Malbis summer market is host to a variety of vendors, including artists, boutiques, food trucks, and much more! The vendors will be there from 11am to 5pm and is free to the public. Stop by and support small businesses this summer!

Access 50 Most Beautiful Freedom Bash

The Access 50 Most Beautiful party is one of my favorite traditions! Last year they were unable to celebrate the 2020 50 Most Beautiful, so this year they are celebrating the Hot 100- that’s the 2020 and 2021 50 Most Beautiful. The theme: Rock the Resort! Taking place on July 10, this mind-blowing and surprising night will be topped off with Tito’s airstream bar, which is included in your ticket. Tickets will be $20 and sold at the door. Please RSVP in advance by emailing rsvp.accessmagazine@gmail.com! I cannot wait to see everyone in attendance dressed up in their chic outfits!

Rumours – A Fleetwood Mac Tribute 

The Rumours will take the stage at the Daphne Civic Center on July 23 at 8pm to perform a Fleetwood Mac tribute. The doors will open at 5pm before Dew Pendleton opens at 6:30pm. General admission for this event is $20, and food and drinks will be available for purchase for those in attendance. Tickets are available online and at the door on the day of the events. Come enjoy an amazing night of music by watching the Rumours perform their Fleetwood Mac tribute!

The Best Places to Have Lunch Outside

Lately, the weather along the Gulf Coast has been nothing but clear skies and warm temperatures, which means it is finally summertime! One of my favorite activities to do in the summer is sit outside with my family and friends at local restaurants. Food with a view? Yes, please!

Spot of Tea

Spot of Tea is the go-to place for breakfast on the Gulf Coast! Located across from Cathedral Square, Spot of Tea offers the best outdoor dining for people watching on a Saturday morning. Every Saturday during the summer, Market in the Square takes place in Cathedral Square, meaning after eating and enjoying the view, you can shop from local vendors and get some of the freshest jams, produce, homemade baked goods and even doggy treats! It is a great opportunity to explore what Mobile offers in such a short amount of time! I highly recommend exploring the Cathedral as well after enjoying some of the best french toast you have ever tasted!

Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill

I cannot stop talking about the view at Boudreaux’s! I love to go to Boudreaux’s for a simple date night and sit on their balcony overlooking Mobile Bay. The view is absolutely breathtaking (so is the food), especially as the sun is setting with oranges, blues and pinks mixing together to paint a beautiful sky. Personally, I really enjoy their Plaquemine Parmigiana (the name is fun to say) with my view, but they have a wide variety to choose from. If you are a morning person (I am not), they serve a delicious brunch on Sunday, so guests can watch the rise over the bay!

NoJa

If you know me, you know NoJa has been my favorite local restaurant since it opened in Mobile. They always serve a blend of Mediterranean and Asian flavors that delight your taste buds and your soul, but I highly recommend eating in the courtyard. While the inside of the restaurant is beautifully designed and elegant, the courtyard is dreamy and a must-see on a visit to Mobile. After your meal in the courtyard, I strongly recommend staying for dessert to try the ginger donut (you won’t regret it ;))!

El Papi

El Papi is a new upscale Mexican restaurant located in downtown Mobile! The food derives from locally sourced ingredients and they provide guests with a beautiful view from the patio and courtyard area. While you enjoy the view in the beautifully landscaped area, you will fall in love with their delicious dishes! One of my favorites is the Tatchos, the El Papi spin on the nachos (another fun word to say). Don’t forget to try their specialty cocktails, such as the Top Shelf (it’s an actual drink!), while you are there! 

This summer is the perfect time to sit back and relax while enjoying amazing food outdoors! There are so many local restaurants that provide amazing food with a view, so why not explore them all this summer?

6 Things I Have Learned About Managing a Business

This year my baby is turning six years old! In May, Brad and I will have officially run our company (aka the baby) for six years. Wow, time really does fly when you are having fun (and when you are sleep-deprived). As a small business owner, I have learned many things during these past six years. From handling difficult situations to making hard choices, there is nothing I have not experienced or seen! Together my team and I have grown our business along the Gulf Coast, and we have picked these as the most useful tips when it comes to managing a small business:

Sales is an Important Skill

As a small business, sales is the most important thing to focus on. You need people to be interested in the goods and services you are offering, but, more importantly, you need people to buy them! Sales and marketing are the number one priority to ensure that you can continue running the business you love.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Following up with your clients allows you to receive feedback on your service and see what you can improve. Follow-ups are important to expand and grow your business because if someone likes what you do the first time, they are more likely to come back and work with you again. Follow-ups not only increase sales, but they help you build a better relationship with clients!

Success is Evolving

There is no true measure of success, and what is considered a success is forever evolving. Even after you achieve success, why not try to achieve even more? The only way to continue being successful is to continue to grow beyond what you thought was possible. If you do not continue to grow or progress, you and your business might fall behind, so you must continue to evolve as success does.

Take Risks

When I say take risks, I mean take calculated and evaluated risks that will help your business grow to its fullest extent. Sure, some risks might be a stride down the wrong path, but others are necessary to achieve the level of success you want for your small business.

Credentials Aren’t All the Rage

We are always told that those who go to the best schools, receive the best grades or make the money, are considered the best at their job. However, I learned you do not need the best, you need the best team. Recent studies show that diverse teams outperform those that are more homogenous (including those with the “best”). So, when hiring for a small business, choose those who are unique and will truly bring something new to your team.

It is Okay to be Wrong

Every day, my employees ask me questions that require me to make decisions. These decisions are not always easy, and I will never be able to make the correct decision all the time. No one can always predict what will happen nor can they make the correct decision all of the time. It is okay to make mistakes and be wrong because that is how we learn to make the right decision next time the situation arises.

I cannot wait to see what is on the horizon for Southern View Media. Maybe world domination? I mean, you never know! I could never say thank you enough to all of those who made this achievement happen. Thank you to our clients, our friends, our family and my amazing team for six amazing years. I am looking forward to working with you all for so many more!

When life hands you grapes, hire a team who can turn those grapes to wine!

Shopping During COVID

Let’s be honest, when COVID-19 hit, a lot of things became more difficult. Homeschooling my children, running my business and staying in the same house as my family all presented new challenges in my day-to-day life. However, one thing became easier, simpler and faster than ever before: shopping. If anything, COIVD-19 made me question why I had denied the existence of Amazon Prime and grocery delivery. All it takes now is the tap of a button and boom, new and exciting things are arriving daily, almost hourly, to my front door!

I’ll be honest, I might have gone crazy with this new way of buying goods and services. My husband said I was in a canoe on the Amazon headed straight for debt. But how could I help it? There were new books, movies, baby toys, clothes, electronics (you get the picture), all at the touch of my fingertips. Just simply put in my credit card information, and I had my baby this thing that lit up and carried him all around the house. It kind of looked like a robot vacuum, but with a baby seat attached to the top of it. Just take my word of it, it was awesome! (Even if he hated it at first.)

Soon, I discovered I was not the only one with this newfound online shopping dilemma. Many of my employees, friends and family were all buying new things. We all even joked about how the Amazon delivery man probably knows our address by heart! Isn’t it amazing how things as simple as online shopping addictions bring people together? 

Of course, while online shopping may have many upsides, it also has its downsides. As an impatient person, when Amazon says it will take two days before my item arrives, it feels more like two weeks. We never had this problem when shopping in-store. When shopping in-store, we always got our items as soon as we paid for them. Sure, we lost the excitement and anticipation  when shopping in-store, but we got the item right away. However, even though I am impatient, I have grown to love online shopping. Running a business takes a lot of my time, so I never really had time to go shopping in-person before. Online shopping has saved me time, money and sanity. Even if life returns to normal soon, shopping will probably become primarily online. As we continue to work on staying safe at home, I will continue to browse Amazon while sipping wine as my baby goes around on his robot vacuum baby chair thingy. 

When life hands you COVID, well there’s happiness just a click away!

Valentine’s Day During COVID-19

Valentine’s Day During COVID-19

If you thought 2020 presented us with changes, boy does 2021 hold a shocker for you. As we continue to adjust to life in the midst of a pandemic, we must sadly adjust our Valentine’s traditions. This means it is not entirely ethical this year to dump my kids off on a babysitter while my husband and I enjoy the one free night we have during the year. So, what should we do instead? 

One option is to call the nanny and ask them to watch the baby in the other room, while we wine and dine on takeout chinese food instead of NoJa, our favorite restaurant. Instead of roasted duck and scallops, we have the pleasure of eating wontons and fried rice. What a wonderful trade-off. Option two is to send the kids to their friend’s houses and make their parents deal with all of them. This option saves me the money and time of finding a babysitter while still giving me a full Valentine’s Day off from parenting. Option three is actually watching my kids and spending Valentine’s Day with my whole family, but who wants that? Why should I have to watch them on the one day I have off? I’ve been watching kids for almost 20 years! 

So, which option will I choose? Most likely lucky number one. Our nanny is always ready and willing to watch the kids for us, whether we have to work or just need time away from our “angels,” she is always a phone call away (and already on payroll). Am I going to force my husband to call NoJa months in advance to get a reservation and still get me flowers and chocolates? Of course! After all, I am the boss of our home and our company. So, we will adjust our normal Valentine’s Day plans, but we are going to make the most of a bad situation (or at least try to).

Remember Valentine’s Day is about spending time with your special someone, or, if you are single, working on yourself, or, if you are a parent, it is about getting away from the kids who will drive you nuts the rest of the year. We all have different reasons to enjoy this special day during the year, so let’s try to enjoy what we can of it, all while trying to stay safe of course!

Holiday Madness: Tips to Stay Stress-Free

Holiday Madness: Tips to Stay Stress-Free

The holiday season is finally here, and for many, this means a time of good tidings, cheer and stress. ‘Tis the season to resort to bad habits and heightened emotions, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding ways to relieve stress is at the utmost importance, and are some ways to keep your stress in check. 

Take Calm Down Breaks

One technique my therapist taught me long ago was to close your eyes after waking up, take a deep breath and just relax. You can take it farther by meditating if you’d like, but this very simple routine could make a big difference in your day. Whenever you begin to get stressed out it is always a good idea to take a quick relaxation break anywhere between one to five minutes. Conscious, slow breathing will help calm you down in the line at the supermarket, when your child talks back or whenever you’ve simply had enough. 

Be Generous

When you act generously to your loved ones, co-workers and friends, it helps you stay calm, content and cheerful. The best part: it doesn’t break the bank! Be generous with compliments, offer to run an errand for a loved one or maybe write a thank you note. The possibilities are endless! When you are creative and give gifts that come from the heart, people see your authentic self and love it all the more! 

Get Moving

One of the best ways to stay stress-free is to exercise. Research shows physical activity boosts your energy and fitness levels, as well as evaluates your mood! This is not the season to stop exercising. Between the stress and the extra carbs, we have our work cut out for us. It’s a great time to make use of the bike we all bought and never ended up using. So get out, get active and get happy!

Prepare “To Do” Lists

Preparing a “To Do” list is a very helpful way of managing holiday, and even every day, stress. Writing what needs to be done down leaves little to the imagination and allows you to see how do-able tasks are. Be realistic and then, slowly, begin to tackle each task listed. If you create multiple lists, alternate between them. For example, after completing some holiday shopping, bake your favorite cookies. This way you won’t feel deprived because you are being good to yourself. When you practice self-care and are good to yourself, you become fully available to those around you, without any resentment or anger, although sometimes people still get on my last nerve. 

Eat Real Foods

It might be tempting, but do not use the holidays to stuff yourself with sugar. During the holidays, more than ever, you need to eat real foods that provide you with proper nutrients to be your most happy, energetic and focused self. The best foods for you at the moment are leafy greens, lean proteins and healthy fats. It is also easy to use this time to overuse alcohol or caffeine, but remember your body is a temple, not a trash can. It is best to take polite portions, which are considered to be three to five sips or bites of a bad substance and no more. Remember, you are only as good as what you feed your body. Do you really want your body to be a McDonald’s?

Let the season be full of good tidings and cheer instead of stress and anger. Practice good habits and you might even create new traditions!

If you get overly stressed and these tips just aren’t cutting it, time to wind down with a nice tall glass of wine!

Made in the South: Porch Talk

Made in the South: Porch Talk

October and November have been two of the craziest months this year has presented us. Even in a pandemic the world has new ways to shock us. Not only has the election set records, but so have the hurricanes! Between political ads that won’t go away and rain that won’t stop pouring, I have brought you a very special edition of porch talk.

Election Season

This election season has been insane. Between the political ads being everywhere to record breakings, it has been one of the most competitive elections in recent history. All the early voting has caused problems to arise, plus the long lines on election day caused polling places to remain open later, but there was record voter turnout this year! Honestly, I was so annoyed by political ads. Political advertisements were everywhere this year, as I was shown them in my nail salon, on social media and, the worst one, on children’s channels! Advertisements usually don’t bother me, as my job revolves around it, but a certain line feels crossed when they appear on children’s channels. I hope the next election season is not as crazy, but I guess we will see, if we even make it that far! 

So Many Hurricanes

Hurricane season has also been very eventful here on the Gulf. We have a new one every week! It started with Sally, then we got hit with Zeta, and now we have Eta that’s preparing to hit Florida. You know it’s bad when they have run out of names for them using the english alphabet. At that point, it is not even worth cleaning up my yard until hurricane season is officially over. I’m surprised we haven’t all blown away, although we have come close. We have definitely learned to never underestimate the power of a storm, and to always have a backup generator. Eta should be the last to hit us for a while, but lately we can’t bet on what we originally thought. This whole year has been a test and the hurricanes are just another part of it. 

This year has been so upside for so many of us, but lucky the holidays are coming soon, bringing all the cheer with them! Hopefully, December brings along cold weather, presents and no more drama. If anything, the new year should bring along many surprises, especially with a new president and a vaccine. I wish I could see the future to fully prepare, but I guess we will have to wait for the time being. 

When life brings you craziness, sit back and enjoy a glass of wine!