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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
If you are a boss mom, making that side hustle work while at work, growing your online business or simply working from home, you are here for all the right reasons! Because being a full-time mom is hard enough, you deserve that glass of wine…or two. But first, let’s talk tips that will help run your business for (crosses fingers) smoother sips.
Hire a Digital Marketing Company
Time is not only essential but a true test of money. We’ve already got a lot on our hands while trying to get that bread, but getting that extra set of hands never hurt anyone, I promise! Doing it all is mentally, emotionally and physically draining. But is it worth it? Maybe not at the cost of your overall well-being. Let’s begin by taking a big leap forward and hiring a digital marketing company today! This will do wonders and you will catch yourself saying, “where have you been all my life?”. So what will they do that you can’t? It’s not that you can’t, believe me, you are beyond capable. It is that so much time and effort will be saved so your mind is at ease knowing you have it all figured out without actually “figuring it out”. They make those blogs happen and get it up and running on your website, they make those google ads possible to get you noticed and they even develop social media marketing strategies to not only post, but build on that bond your clients actually crave. Need I say more? It is like having your own virtual assistant with some of the most talented team of digital marketing professionals ready to help you flourish. Go on, proceed, mama, let’s get this brand going.
Stop Selling Yourself Short
“Know your worth, then add tax”. (Drops the mic). No, but seriously. You worked your butt off to follow your dreams and pursue a business so one day you can pass it on to your kiddos (one of the greatest investments you can make while increasing the cash value and retirement options through life insurance). We need to make it a conscious effort to stop selling ourselves short and own the empire we are trying to build. If you are a small or medium business owner, now is your time to hire employees and get an HR group to help you hire, get their payroll and all the tax-related things rolling and follow proper safety audits. You want to maintain a level of professionalism and not rely on any risky legal moves one can easily sweep from the under the rug. Again, this is your brand so everyone involved including your audience should feel comfortable knowing you treat others right.
Let’s start making moves, BIG moves that will make all the difference. When you shine, your kids see it and they shine too.
So when life hands you grapes, not only make wine but also get an extra set of hands to help you drink it.
There is no better feeling than having the motivation and drive to start a new business. Some days we may not be up for it, but there is a goal to keep moving forward every day. It’s like exercising, you need to be committed. Ok, but seriously, who gets up at 4 a.m. to run five miles?! You’re a trooper if you do. There are going to be a few bumps in the road and mistakes made. What are they? Okay, listen up!
- Launching without a game plan.
It all makes sense in our heads to just start, get those views, have google magically pop us up onto everyone’s search engines and then bam, we get our money’s worth. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? WRONG! This, my friends, is a big no-no. You see, the process begins before you even launch your product, service or business. Trust me, you don’t need millions of followers to get noticed. Look at it as a movie trailer. You’re at home, you see the trailer and before you know it you start discussing it with your family and friends and setting up a date to go see it. That same anticipation is what you want your audience to have. Get out there and drive that traffic y’all!
- Not meeting customer’s needs.
If you are here, then most likely you’re a new, passionate entrepreneur who wanted to quit your day job and start a job you’re actually passionate about. I support this! However, always keep in mind that “the customer is always right”. What do your customers want, need, expect? What are you doing on your end to make it happen? Customers want to feel valued and heard. So make a positive impact and make sure your target audience is defined to your business.
- Not being consistent.
Okay, so you’ve already promoted your product, launched it, got people to go on the site and buy a few products, now what? The key here is to be consistent! Just how you check your email every day (or maybe you let it pile up. *Cough cough* break that habit!) but you need to upload that content! Share this content on your social pages, in your email campaigns, etc.. Set up a content plan for what days you will upload and create a marketing strategy. You want to be remembered, because let’s face it, it’s a competitive world.
- Lacking time management skills.
This is your conscious talking to you about getting on a roll! As a new entrepreneur, you’re going to wind up running around (kind of like my kids do). It will drive you crazy, trust me. You need to develop time management skills to get it all done. Plan, hire that accountant, work with a company that will make killer content and help build your brand for you! Look, at the end of the day, we are all human and need an extra set of hands. Plus, once you start meeting your goals, in comes the wine to celebrate!
- Not adding value.
Let’s wrap things up. All that effort your making is going to pay off. But please don’t forget to keep adding value to your brand. Practice having a growth mindset, evolving as technology does, become a leader and most importantly create a bond with your customers. There’s a spot in the business world for you, get out there and make it happen! You got this!
Summer is here and it’s time to switch out the old winter and spring clothes and get out your summer wardrobe. As I was trying to piece together outfits this week, I realized how difficult it is to hold a glass of wine and try on different styles at the same time. So, I thought I would share my best ideas for summer so y’all don’t have to figure it out yourself. After all, your wine is much more important.
Although it might be easy to throw on some shorts and an oversized t-shirt and call it a day, I’m going to tell you how I make myself look presentable while also managing three kids. Here are four summer outfits that work for any occasion.
- A sundress and sandals: It’s easy, classic and stylish. Let me tell you from experience, it’s way easier to wash one piece of clothing than it is to wash two. Dresses are so easy to throw on and walk out the door. One of my favorite local boutiques to get dresses from is Crimson Blue Boutique. They have the cutest sundresses for our hot summers in the south!
- Jeans and a seersucker shirt. This is an easy one to dress up or dress down. To dress it up I suggest a cute pair of booties or wedges along with a few big statement jewelry pieces. Chunky gold is so fashionable right now. My favorite places to find great quality jewelry is Goldstein’s Jewelers in Mobile, Alabama and Jubilee Gift Shop in Daphne, Alabama. To dress it down I throw on some sandals or flip flops and top it off with a cute belt to really pull the whole outfit together.
- Coastal Jewelry is a favorite of mine. Actually, coastal style anything! During summer what better place to wear your coastal style jewelry than at the beach, pool or summer get together? Those octopus or seahorse earrings that have been sitting in your jewelry box all winter are dying to get some sunlight! Pair them with your favorite summer outfit and you’re sure to get tons of compliments.
- Lastly (my favorite of all): a swimsuit! Whenever I can’t find anything to wear, I put on my favorite swimsuit and yell at the kids to get in the car so we can go to the pool. If you take nothing else from this list, a cute swimsuit is a MUST for summertime. Let your kids run around and get all their energy out while you grab a book, get a tan and relax with a glass of wine or a cocktail.
So, save this list for the next time you can’t find something in your mess of a closet… and when worst comes to worst, just put on some pajamas and go back to bed. I won’t judge.
Quarantine: Day 26
If you’re anything like me then you’ve lost all track of time. You don’t know what time it is and you keep mistaking Tuesday for Wednesday. You don’t know the last time your house was quiet. You don’t remember a time that you weren’t telling your kids to go play outside. But what you do know is: Easter is on it’s way! Being stuck in the house all day with the only people in the world that can LITERALLY annoy you to death isn’t easy. So let me share with y’all what I’ve been planning to do to keep Easter somewhat calm and organized.
I have created a list. It’s a list of random, fun things to do to keep my family busy on Easter. No one is going to be bored on Easter, we are going to be completing the whole list in one day.
So here it is for y’all: The Easter List
- Easter Egg Hunt – okay so I decided this year to do it indoors. Ours will be simple. But for all of you over achievers they have some really great ideas for indoors Easter Egg hunting on Good House Keeping’s Website.
- Dye Easter Eggs– If you haven’t dyed Easter eggs with your kids yet, what better time than on Easter day?
- Go For a Walk –In your Easter clothes. Say hi to everyone while maintaining the 6 foot apart guideline!
- Eat a Snack -okay, so what if all you eat today is chocolate, peeps and sweet tarts? Don’t judge me, Chocolate goes nicely with my wine, it’s Easter!
- Build a Fort – Grab the pillow and blankets! We are building a fort! Then we are going to crawl inside and read our bibles and say something we are thankful for!
- Movie Time – Pick out your favorite Easter movies and let’s have a quiet couple of hours! Here are a few I have picked and will let the kids pick from this list.
- The Dog who Saved Easter
- Iceage: The Great EGGscape
- Color a Picture: Let’s face it, even on Easter I need a little me time! Here are some great Easter coloring pages – Free Fun Easter
- Read a book– Read the Bible or an Easter story or anything you can read as a family!
- Coffee Time – Self Explanatory. Happening all day long, I might add.
- Play With the Dog and/or Baby -Let’s face it, pets and little kids are cute and cuddly and more than likely they will probably be wearing the cutest Easter outfit or bunny ears ever!
- WINE – Wine down time for all you Moms! (The blood of Jesus Christ amirite?)
- Call Loved Ones – Call loved ones and wish them a Happy Easter! Facetime a few of them so they can see yours and the kid’s Easter outfits!
- Chalk -Send the kids out to draw Easter drawings with chalk! (So I can sit on the porch and drink my wine.)
- Bake – Fun time in the kitchen! You can find all sorts of easy recipes here – Butter With a Side of Bread.
- Dance Party – Okay so this is really for the kids, so they can wear themselves out!
- Church – This is the best one on the list. Getting to sit down and listen to your Pastor
preaching is the best feeling. It makes things seem more normal. It reminds us of who we are celebrating on Easter.
Listen, my oldest is home from college and she seems to be the only one who hasn’t turned into a zombie. She’s constantly asking us to play ping pong or board games or make beaded bracelets… but if she asks me to play water pong one more time I might die. She’s always baking and feeding me sweets. All the other people in the family (my 11 year old son and my husband) choose to play video games. Constantly. For hours and hours. I don’t know how they don’t get bored with it. They yell at each other and the T.V. for what seems like days. So, when Easter rolls around we will be having forced family fun. Everyone must participate and everyone is going to have some Easter spirit. Happy Easter y’all!
When life throws you eggs, make some deviled eggs.
Who doesn’t need a vacation? Weekends away are the best for some much needed vacation time without taking time off. If you feel like you’re falling into a pattern or getting into a rut, a weekend across the bay could be just what you need. Looking forward to your getaway will release endorphins that will get you back to feeling stress free. So sit down and buckle up, because I’m about to show you the best weekend away in the best place possible.
So… if you’re looking for a getaway, look no further! Mobile, Alabama, is the place to be. From the art museums and historic architecture to the opera and ballet company, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget the nightlife, Mobile has it all. The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa is a great place to stay for the weekend. They offer a pool, fitness center, are pet friendly and have (my personal favorite) a full spa! You can also make a reservation at The Trellis Room restaurant inside the hotel or enjoy the lounge and some cocktails.
Once you’re settled in make plans to attend the Mobile Symphony Orchestra at the Saenger Theater. They put on amazing concerts and productions. Check out their schedule for this season: Concert Calendar & Tickets.
Now let’s talk about all the history packed into this place. Some of my favorite museums to visit are:
- The Mobile Carnival Museum: this museum shows the history of the Carnival tradition in Mobile. Because we will all go to our graves screaming that Mardi Gras originated in Mobile and NOT New Orleans.
- The Gulf Coast Exploreum: yes it’s for kids and, yes, it’s the greatest place ever. Go as an adult and have a good time.
- The Mobile Medical Museum: is pretty high on my list. It’s full of fascinating medical artifacts from the past.
- My personal favorite museum is the Battleship USS Alabama. It is a WWII submarine, a B52D bomber, Air Force and Coast Guard rescue aircraft museum. It is an amazing experience that you have to visit for yourself.
Mobile is also well known for its cuisine! Here are my suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spot of Tea, The Ruby Slipper Cafe and Brick and Spoon are all great choices for breakfast in Mobile. These locales are also known for being locals favorite brunch spots. For lunch, I would suggest Loda Bier Garten or Dauphin’s. They are both super great family friendly places to get some lunch. For dinner, I only have one and only one suggestion: NoJa. NoJa offers beautiful, tasty and fresh food. Be sure to try their famous Altieri cocktail. Their entire menu will make you want to slap your mama.
What better way to enjoy the nightlife in Mobile, AL, other than Alchemy Tavern and Hayley’s Bar. These are two amazing places that are a locals favorite. If you want something close to your hotel, Royal Street Tavern is connected to the Battle House and is also a great choice! If you follow these suggestions you should expect to go back to work on Monday refreshed and ready to conquer your job only to count down the days until it’s Friday again.