DIY: GIFT GLOBE



Gift cards get a bad rap as being impersonal but I think it's all in the presentation! Check out this super easy Gift Globe craft! It's two gifts in one, customizable and sure to be a hit!
ADHESIVE: For this globe I chose to use a little red wagon and attached a miniature flocked Christmas tree. I attached the tree to the wagon with a couple of dabs of Krazy Glue!
TWINE: Measure out a piece of twine long enough to wrap around the tree and gift card several times!
There are tons of cute miniature options in the doll house section of your favorite local craft store. You can also get adventurous and check out discount stores and toy departments for jar items. Just make sure they fit through the mouth  of your jar with ease! This wagon was perfect because the recipient could use the wagons handle for easy retrieval of the gift card!

BALANCE:Two sets of hands are better than one when it comes to balancing the gift card! 
WRAP: Wrap your twine around the gift card and wagon and leave enough twine to make a secure bow

FIT: Test the fit of your wagon! I decided to leave my wagon mobile but you could easily secure the item to the bottom of glass with some epoxy! Just make sure your gift card is easy to retrieve! 






















LET IT SNOW: Follow the directions on your Insta-Snow container and watch the magic happen! I used two scoops of Insta- Snow to fill my globe!
FUN: Place the cap on the jar tightly and your gift card is off with flair!

SUPPLIES: 
Miniature Red Wagon
Krazy Glue Adhesive
Gift Card
Twine
Wide Mouth Ball Jar
Insta-Snow
*All supplies were purchased at my local Hobby Lobby

SUR LA TABLE: COOKING EXPERIENCE

While Birmingham plays host to a delightful culinary school, Culinard, committing to a lengthy program isn't feasible for the working foodie but with a little digging I came across SUR LA TABLE’s cooking classes. With great instruction (some of the chefs are instructors at Culinard), location and a variety of classes, playing culinary student for a day was a must!  I’d toyed around with attending a class as a birthday gift to a friend and had to scrap the idea as classes start around the 69 dollar range and may not have been budget conscious for guests. I was in luck a few weeks ago as I noticed a promotional email advertising classes at a reduced rate! Of course I grabbed a foodie friend and signed up!
AMBIANCE: If you’ve never visited Sur la table you are definitely missing out on a cooking sensory overload. It's safe to describe it as the north side of kitchen heaven!  Products range from mid to high end. The  vast selection of gadgets and gizmos, quality service ware and cookware would satisfy any aspiring amateur or full-fledged chef. Sur la table didn't spare any of the glamour in their teaching kitchen either. It was well stocked with cutting edge gadgets and showcased some of Sur la table's own branded tools of the trade. The fully functional instructional kitchen was well planned out  and was conducive to teaching and learning. My only qualm was the mirror used to reflect the teaching demos, it was located in an area that only favored itself to one side of the audience. A video system to display the of the moment actions on the large flat screen, that ran continuous advertisement throughout class, would have been more conducive.


THE INSTRUCTOR: Well versed, educated and armed with quite a bit of patience, I found Chef Jared to be informative, personable and very helpful! As an instructor by day  at the local culinary school and with an extensive background, I'd list him as an admirable instructor. Chef Jared was assisted by two wonderful ladies (Taylor and Lilly ) who made sure our stations were stocked and dishes magically disappeared and reappeared clean!  All in all, my first instructional kitchen experience was far better than television depictions with popular screaming chefs! Plus who doesn’t like a chef that feeds you first, during and after!






INSTRUCTION: Croissants were the teaching topic of the day and while looking at the provided recipe packet may have been intimidating,  Chef  Jared’s hands on approach made the process much more graspable. 
Three stations were set up and our class of 10 was allowed to form groups of 3 and 4. Chef Jared demo’d the process and we made our attempt at croissants with his support. 
Working with dough calls for resting and proofing as our well prepared instructor anticipated and provided prepped dough to keep the class moving. We took about a twenty minute break which was great for browsing the store for the tools you'll fall in love with as you use them during the process!  Our class lasted around three hours and chef even provided samples of the finished product and a few varied usages of croissant dough (fried croissant dough taste similar to the beignets) as well as. 


VERDICT:
I give SUR LA TABLE's cooking class experience  four out of four whisk! It was tons of fun and very informative. I don't think I'm brave enough to tackle croissants at home just yet but I learned a lot about baking! Take a friend or significant other with you and of course you'll meet some new friends in the process! Sign up for the Sur la table emails and keep your eye for the perfect class for you or as a gift that will sure to win you brownie points.... hmmmm Sur la table brownies??? 

THE RËVIEW: FIVE



THE BAR: FIVE Bar  Birmingham is nestled in the bustling Lakeview restaurant district. Known for its simple menu (take note Cheesecake Factory)  you can visit one of their five locations found in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and most recently Tennessee!












YOSHIE'S CHICKEN:

Soy-ginger seasoned Sriracha aioloi












AMBIANCE: I’d visited the restaurant once prior to this review and I have to say it’s such a hipster spot! Its corner location and open café features make up for the parking challenge (valet is offered). The lighting was dim and the whimsical over-sized chalkboard menu was a nice touch. Bar, booth   and table seating inside and on the  patio are available.  



SERVICE: On my first visit, a Friday night dinner, the restaurant was packed but the hostess sat us quickly and our waiter was more than attentive. We had a little one in our party and our waiter was more than happy to put in a special kitchen request for toasted bread to suit the mini palate! I grabbed an after work snack for this visit and with such pleasant weather it was a treat to be seated near the large open doors.







PIMENTO CHEESE  N "JELLY":
pimento cheese five pepper jelly toasted crostinis

















MENU: The concept of 5 is a simple menu. With its 5, snacks (appetizers), entrée’s and red and white wines, the minimalist menu does not affect the food quality!   5 also has nightly entrée specials such as  Shrimp Rigatoni, Crab Cakes and Ms. Anne’s fried chicken and they top of the menu with a dessert of White Chocolate Bread Pudding!


VERDICT: 5 is definitely on my frequent visit list. Though the menu choices are limited the portions and the flavor are more than accommodating. On my dinner visit I ordered the panéed chicken with mac and cheese and the portion was so generous that I had lunch for the next day. The chicken was awesome and while I wasn't a fan of the mac and cheese I've noticed it's currently being replaced with mashed potatoes. I have to admit  I also devoured one and a half orders of bread pudding! With friendly and efficient staff, good food and a cool venue to match 5 gets a high 5!
FIVE - Birmingham on Urbanspoon

ALOHA: RETIREMENT BREAKFAST


ALOHA:  What's better than a trip to Hawaii? An island themed retirement party of course! 



JOIN US: Soft coral and pink colored Evites were accented with a gold palm tree.
LEI:We created this beautiful fresh flower lei and brought a little bit of Hawaii to the guest of honor! 




'ahui: Gold Vases held colorful Gladiolus and Palm Leaves, creating simple yet  elegant tropical arrangements.

Votive candles flanked equally stunning windowsill arrangements.


SOUTHERN HAWAIIAN: A southern cuisine was only appropriate and a creamy grits bar is a great way to let guest control their main dish! Toppings included bacon crumbles, sausage, cheddar cheese, asiago cheese , portobello mushrooms and green onions.


Small clip on chalkboard signs guided guest through the breakfast buffet. SWEET TREATS: An assortment of pastries included cheese danish, mini cinnamon buns and blueberry muffins.

HEALTHY: Selections of Yogurt, Granola and Fresh Fruit rounded out the breakfast buffet. 

I SPY:A flamingo playing in the sand! 

CONVERSATION PIECE: A large Straw umbrella anchored the buffet bar.


QUENCH: Guest refreshed at a beverage station featuring green apple  infused water, orange juice and Starbucks coffee!
Chalk it up! 

Large Chalkboard signs looked awesome on our Monticello beverage dispensers! 
ALOHA: It's not a send off without custom luggage! This twist on a guest book gave guest a chance to leave messages for the guest of honor on custom postcards.


VENDOR CREDITS:
Design &Styling: ëmagine
Grits: Culinard
Florals: Sourced from Davis Flower Warehouse
Tropical Birds: West Elm
Chalkboard Signs & Suitcase: Hobby Lobby