Explore Alabama’s BACK ROADS!


Spring is in the air!

IMG_9916

Movement! Life! Sunshine! Yes, some rain too, but warmer weather! I will take it!

South Alabama Back Roads   IMG_9882

It’s the perfect time to roll down the windows or take the top down and explore some of Alabama’s “BACK ROADS”.

IMG_9858IMG_9856

A favorite route of mine is the drive from the sandy white beaches of Orange Beach/ Gulf Shores through Magnolia Springs to the artsy lair of Fairhope.

IMG_9859

You never know what you might find.

IMG_9944

On this day I remembered why I love Alabama. The mixture of rural fields, pecan groves and horse farms dotted among fishing piers, docks with mailboxes (in Magnolia Springs the only place you can get mail by boat)

IMG_9878

and a variety of trees and flowers (Pines, Oaks, Hydrangeas and moss covered Magnolias) continue to quench my thirst for variety.

IMG_9987

After a long drive, a perfect spot, even on a partly cloudy day, is this bench at Fairhope pier where you can watch the tide roll in and out before meandering up to the quaint artsy town that overlooks another setting sun over the bay.

IMG_9995

Blessings and Happy Spring!

Allison Adams

Get ARTSY! It’s Spring!


This past weekend I had a booth at the Druid City Arts Festival. Thanks to all who came out and especially those who gave my paintings some new “homes”.

There are a number of opportunities for you to get out and “get artsy”.

Sometimes, just getting out in the countryside can be all it takes to get you in the mood to create!

IMG_9891

Photo: Magnolia Springs

If you are along the Gulf Coast, you can stop on Hwy. 98 just west of The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL and watch Bill Harrison do a demo or take a class at The Garage Studio. www.facebook.com/thegaragestudio

harrison

On APRIL 18 Art on The Lake at Lake Guntersville (www.artonthelake-guntersville.com) will host 130 artists and craftsmen with juried requirements. It is held rain or shine indoors at the Recreational Center. It benefits local scholarship programs.

laurel

Photo: Laurel Browning’s Paintings at The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival in March

April 24-25 The Magic City Art Connection (www. Magiccityart.com) will be in Birmingham. If you have not been to this one, it is worth the trip. Many of the artists I have seen at national shows such as the renowned Coconut Grove show in south Florida travel this circuit. There are stages with music and educational events, a Corks + Chefs special dining event and many activities throughout the weekend. It is located downtown Birmingham in the green spaces and fountains of the beautiful Linn Park.

May 1-2 Foley Hot Air Balloon Festival

This years festival will feature a Crawfish Boil and is sponsored by Tanger Outlets. There will be chances to go up in tethered balloons beginning Friday night.

See the site at www.southbaldwinchamber.com/gulf-coast-hot-air-balloon-festival-overview/

May 9 Art in the Park Jasper (www.facebook.com/artingamblepark )

Will take place from 9-4 at Gamble Park in Jasper with more than 80 artists from a variety of medium.

May 16- Birmingham’s Do Dah Parade (which begins at 11:01 am along Highland Avenue and the festival (www.dodahday.org/ will take place in the Caldwell Park with bands, families and their pets on blankets on the grass soaking in some good music and laid back dog focused events.

Be sure to share YOUR favorite events and get the family out (this week don’t forget the umbrella) and GET ARTSY!

Allison

Custom Graphic Design/ Newsletter APA Designs


Stop letting everyone else’s customers get all of the FUN PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL!

YOU TOO can have a great looking newsletter, e-mail blast or one page flyer.

I created a fun 8 page newsletter for the Bark in the Park Event.

The Link for the Newsletter in FULL /Design is here (in red):

BARK IN THE PARK 2 NEWSLETTER

Bark2 Logo

If you would like a quote for a newsletter (The one at link on Google Docs printed through Colonial Printing in Tuscaloosa)

Feel free to contact me for all of the details.

I would love to help you get the word out about YOUR business.

This design began as a blank slate. If you have material already in Word format, I can create one of these (ready to email to your customer email list or send to the printer of your choice), for only $150 (until May 30).

This price includes material for an 8 1/2 X 11 (finished size) newsletter from a folded 11X17 page with center spread. (can be smaller)

($150 for a 4 pages/ $275 for 8 pages) (actual printing cost will be additional).

Includes: as many pictures as you would like to provide, Two “articles with full content from scratch” written by me, and Four edits of the final draft). Additional,content/edits are charged by the hour ($20 for this promotion).  Will divide payment/collection into two months (credit with $5 fee) for my ARTSY friends if you mention this promotion.

I am a member of SCBWI, Women’s Council of the Chamber of Commerce of Tuscaloosa and Alabama Media Professionals and assure quality work and satisfaction.

OTHER SERVICES:

I can also set you up with a BASIC website that HOSTS for free

Visit mine at www.allisonpadams.wix.com/allisonadamsartist

or www.allisonpadams.com/artist-site (if you have lots of GRAPHIC content)

OR www.allisonadamsrealtor.com (this is a paid site by the year but I can design you one and it

will pull in your MLS information (for REALTORS only) ) This one is more complex so starts at $350.

For a basic site I charge $200. and show you how to update and maintain the site. (you provide the graphics as a jpg). That is for the initial setup. If you decide to make changes after signing off on the initial design, edits will be done at 20-$30/ per hour.

See these sites you wish you knew how to use? Let me help get you in the “know”. For a postcard or mailer layout with QR code $40 per item with training on how to do it yourself the next time. (ex. Vistaprint)

Custom Photobook layout created from Snapfish or Picaboo (you supply the photos on Dropbox) $50.

Contact me HERE if you would like a quote or to set up a meeting!

SPRING IS A GOOD TIME TO CHECK THOSE “WANNA DO FOR MY BUSINESS”

GOALS OFF YOUR LIST!

Allison

Also find me on LinkedIn

Note: I did NOT design the flyer~ but can do graphic design upon request

Photography: Photo shoot $100 on site (you get one time use of 25 of the digital images). Any reproduced will be negotiated. See my photography on FACEBOOK 

SATURDAY EVENTS IN TUSCALOOSA


Bark2 Logo

is a special event created by THE TUSCALOOSA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS to help raise funds for the Will May Dog Park at Sokol Park in Tuscaloosa.

Click here for the PROGRAM AND NEWSLETTER

I have loved getting to know all of the REALTORS in Tuscaloosa and being a part of such a great event.

I created/designed the newsletter this year, since I will NOT be able to be at the event.

The DRUID CITY ARTS FESTIVAL is the same day

and I will have a booth there again this year. Hope you will jump in and enjoy the day

with ALL three events!

including the LAKE CLEANUP.

Saturday will prove to be a GREAT day to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.

(See my article that advises the same in the latest issue of DRUID CITY LIVING in my Lake Living column!

CURRENT ISSUE LINK HERE~

Have a BLESSED day..and don’t forget to bathe your 4 legged friends (let the boy scouts do it…all in the name of the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS!)

Allison

 

Water for Life


 The lake outside my window has taken on a whole new life. Mother nature has dumped gallons of water across the Southeast, making us all take notice of the power of water.

Here on the lake, not only is the beauty, the million dollar homes, the leisurely lifestyles and the fishermen who flock here the focus, but so is the quality of the water and the love for nature shown by those who will gather in the next weeks to clean her shores.

Water brings with it the gift of life. The stored treasure beyond my yard fuels our children, quenches Tuscaloosa athletes, bathes us as we prepare for each day. It flows freely from the lake to filtering systems to our faucets. We work to conquer our little empires, meet our goals, and work to afford vacations to other waterfronts across the world.

As we gathered over burgers on the back porch, the value of that water we take for granted took on new meaning. I learned of groups from local churches venturing to Haiti and the Dominican Republic 6-8 times a year, carrying water filters into the hillsides where families with million dollar views live in three dollar shacks with no clean water. Each year 3.4 million people die from water related illnesses, almost the number for the entire city of Los Angeles.

A group there worked with Church of the Highlands to hike into the jungle, going door to door in Voodoo country taking 600 free filters to families.  Volunteers visit each home, placing water filled with mud into the filters and and out comes water that the team drinks in front of them.

On a particular trip, a mother had recently passed after giving birth. Four other children remained with a father, who was terminally ill. The team took him to the hospital for treatment and has arranged for the children to be taken care of.
“The needs are so great,” a local participant said. “We cannot do it all, we know that. But it is like those starfish that you throw in the ocean. Some of them DO make it back. We return as often as we can to find those starfish.”
There are teams working on adding space in their building there to take in children who are orphaned and have nowhere to go. They also are sponsoring children for school. Education is the key to their escaping this life.

I recently met a sweet girl who ran the Mini Cooper tour business there. Twenty four, bright, educated, but unable to ever leave the country. We offered to host her here. She now has a baby and will probably never leave.
As I stand on the hillside and look out across the Caribbean beauty on a recent vacation with my family, it is hard to express what hides among the hills with the best views.

It is this groups goal to find each one and bring them the fountain of life that we here in America expect to simply drip from our faucet, straight from our freshwater lakes.

I!f you are interested in learning how to get involved, contact info@filterofhope.com or visit your local church to find a trip you can be a part of!  www.churchofthehighlands.com has a number of ministries across the world for you or your child.

Dock of the Lake by Allison Adams

Dock of the Lake by Allison Adams

http://www.adamsacrossamerica.com

 

Happy National REALTOR Day


Today is National REALTOR Day.

I  began my real estate career in 1994 after working ten years in commercial interior design. My last day of work as a full time 8-5 employee was just a few days before I went into labor with my first child. He is now 21.

Being a REALTOR (the title is trademarked) means you are a real estate agent who is a member of the Association of REALTORS and complete education and professional requirements every two years to be up to date on laws, marketing information as well as technology.

I, like many who ask me about being a Realtor, believed this career would provide me with a flexible job that would work well with my “child rearing responsibilities”. I got my license shortly after he was born thinking I could “be at home more” with him. Little did I know the time and effort that goes into a transaction.

Back then, there was barely an internet. The REALTOR was the gatekeeper with all of the secret information, your guide, your counselor. We scheduled our appointments by telephone, fewer times by cell phone. We drove our clients around in our vehicles. Today buyers like to be in their own vehicles for the most part. We printed out paper to show the home information and delivered contracts by hand. Fax was the fast way and usually a response came a few days later.

As far as flexibility of schedules are concerned, my first years in real estate I often had a two and four year old in the car eating cereal snacks and watching a VHS tape of Barney in the small TV I had rigged to play in my Suburban. It was not the glamorous or predictable lifestyle I had dreamed of. Quite often, people wanted to see the properties just as they were getting off work or on weekends in the middle of soccer practice.

Today, my schedule is still flexible, and thanks to the internet I can email a response as well as a dozen photos in a few minutes. The difference now is that I might be making deals at night with a response expected immediately. Technology is a must for today’s Realtor. I also have a child who is older than my two back then, and more adaptable as well.

This generation of buyers is much more savvy and you can bet they have done their homework. They usually know what they are looking for or have researched the schools or narrowed down to a location. In fact, sometimes they find properties that we are not aware of, thanks to some of those mega information sites that may or may not provide accurate information.

Many families choose to sell their homes themselves, making the job of the Realtor more challenging as there is not a uniform cross section of data for us to use while making a home search for our clients. Most home sellers are also savvy and are willing to work with agents who represent buyers.

A most awkward moment occurs for a for sale by owner seller when the buyer decides to make an offer. Perhaps the items being negotiated for that were not spelled out in a document such as we have through MLS (multiple listing service) that lets you know grandmother’s chandelier will be REMOVED at purchase. These are the things that a Realtor can help a buyer address, as well. We are also required to update the status of properties promptly so if you use www.realtor.com you are assured to have up to the minute information.

Sites created for sale by owner advertising provide an avenue for pictures as well as general information, but they lapse in the service that has again become the thing that attracts clients to the Realtor. That is the renewed definition in the role as the gatekeeper.

With valuables being in the home, medications that are often targeted, and safety concerns it is important for homeowners to be wary of the risks of opening your home to a complete stranger.

As a Realtor, I take it as my responsibility to meet with a client if possible before showing a home. A qualification from a bank helps the client know exactly what our target market is and gives them confidence in a firm offer. This also avoids our bothering homeowners that might not be in that price range but whose property may be of initial interest to the potential buyer.

In addition, I usually ask for a copy of a drivers license. We cannot be too careful, for ourselves or our client’s who are opening their homes as they offer them for sale.

While Realtors are still defining their roles in the world of home buying and selling, the best plus for a home seller is the marketing expertise they receive. With Realtors networking weekly, having caravans and open houses for fellow professional members of their boards of Realtors, you can assure when you hire one Realtor, you are getting the force of the membership behind you as well.

Whether you sell by owner or hire a REALTOR, remember we are all working for the same goal, to help you or someone else enjoy the American dream of owning their own home.

I hope if you see a Realtor today who is rushing to and fro, obviously working a deal on a cell phone at dinner with their family at a restaurant or at the soccer field, give them a big hug! They will gratefully appreciate it!

Blessings to my REALTOR friends who raise the bar each and every day!

duckworthredfacebook

Allison Adams

Allison sells real estate in Tuscaloosa, home of Alabama’s Crimson Tide and writes her Lake Living Column for Druid City Living Newspaper from Lake Tuscaloosa. Get info on properties available in her area of Alabama at www.allisonadamsrealtor.com

This Weekend is the SOUTHERN VOICES Festival


Congratulations TONIGHT to MELANIE MORRIS for being the official artist for the Southern Voices Festival, taking place this weekend.

Tonight is the reception, rain, snow or ice!

melanie_08x11

She will unveil her newest work and it will be displayed through the next month at the Hoover Public Library following the event.

county-roadhr

Visit her facebook page to get the current pics!

Wally Lamb, author of She’s Come Undone will be the main speaker and hopefully will share his experience with his volunteer facilitation at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison located it Niantic, Connecticut. With his guidance, women were able to express their frustrations and craft the experiences into something unexpected and beautiful. Those publications are Couldn’t Keep It to Myself and I’ll Fly Away.

The full syllabus for the event and the authors who will be sharing their expertise on Saturday, February 28 from 9:30-4:00 pm is located at http://www.hooverlibrary.org/sv

Nearly ten years ago Melanie started a Christian small group for artists when it was all we could do to claim the phrase, “I am an artist” while blushing showing us that ANYONE WHO CREATES IS AN ARTIST, as taught in the books we studied over the course of six years.

Some of those are listed here:

The Creative Call, Janice Elsheimer

If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat

Scribbling in the Sand, by Michael Card

Other inspiring books on creativity:

The Vein of Gold A Journey to Your Creative Heart, Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way

Unlocking the Heart of the Artist, Matt Tommey (Purpose Driven Life for Artists)

Walking in This World, Julia Cameron

Finding Divine Inspiration, J. Scott McElroy

Melanie paints using a palette knife. She layers vivid color masked with muted tones that create vibrant landscapes and some of the most vivacious trees I have ever seen.

If you haven’t signed up for Southern Voices and want some tidbits from the festival, you can watch for my summary on my website, www.allisonpadams.com

Speakers will be:
Wally Lamb (author of She’s Come Undone, I Know this Much is True and We are Water)
Karen Abbot (American Rose)
Chelsea Cain (Heartsick, Sweetheart, NPR’s list of top 100 thrillers ever written)
Amy Greene (Bloodroot, Long Man, 2010 Tennessee Writer of the Year.
James Scott (The Kept)
Jon Sealy (The Whiskey Baron)
Thrity Umrigar (Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, The Weight of Heaven)
Meg Wolitzer The Ten Year Nap among others, and two that became movies, This is My LIfe and Surrrender Dorothy starring Diane Keaton.

Whether you attend or not, the books mentioned will surely fuel your creativity. Simply celebrate and explore the work of these writers with published works. Let that inspire you to press on with your blog, poetry or whatever creative endeavor is inside you. Let it burst forth to life!

And if you want to jump into painting and are in the Birmingham area, try one of her workshops!

She is the one who taught me to undercoat in red for every painting and to use the palette knife! You are sure to have some fast and furious FUN!

Fast & Furious Florals with Melanie Morris

Alabama Art Supply
Birmingham, AL

Cost – $100

Saturday, March 7 (Full with wait list)

10AM – 4PM

space

Saturday, March 21 (New)

10AM – 4PM

Happy Creating and Blessings for Unleashing your Creativity!

Coco Love

Coco Love and painting “Dock of the Bay” by Allison Adams

Allison Adams

Follow me on twitter : Artallie

Brent McCollough Music


I have always had a love for music. Ever since I was a kid, with one of those red, rounded top tape recorders that you pushed one of six small buttons to record from.

I drag along a notebook of “prose” I want one day to turn into song.

So I can’t play an instrument. I took piano. Mrs. Frances Mellon taught me each week at Livingston University. I was ten. I was bored. I PROMISED if my mother let me quit, I would never regret it. I was standing in the front yard, in cleats, wanting to go play flag football with the boys on the street.

She let me, I do.

I have taken guitar…left and right handed to no avail!

So my children, I have nurtured their love of music. All of them play by ear. It is a TRUE gift.

Last night I had the pleasure of having my two teens drop in for spagetti dinner at the big table, like we did before they were 21 and 19. After dinner they went up to our nine year old daughter’s room where they “taught her a few chords” on her guitar.

I watched them, my daughter singing, my son showing her where to put her tiny fingers on frets.

I cried watching this beautiful display, this common thread of a love for music that began with my own dad showing me how to wire the stereo amp to speakers and external turntable (before any of that was the norm).

All of the memories of years of Olivia Newton John through headphones melted my heart as I watched them collaborate.

Music, as my son wrote for his first paper at The University of Alabama, is the common thread that holds the world together. He wrote it after bonding with his Chinese ONLY speaking roommate AFTER realizing he played a mean guitar.

Together, for three years they have savored this friendship that began with a guitar and keyboard when no other words could be understood. (He now speaks fluent English, and came to Alabama ONLY because he wanted to go where Forest Gump lived, yes REALLY. Winston Groom, you MUST meet this boy, who went against all Chinese culture to the dismay of his parents to come here).

I am blessed to witness my children’s love for music, to be able to hear it, see it, feel the bond between my babies as they develop their own talents.

You can visit my son, Brent’s Site HERE:

brent music

And listen to Brent and Shelton singing together on this song he wrote.

https://soundcloud.com/brentmccollough/forever-mastered-mp3

Yes, today, I am blessed beyond words.

Forever doesn’t last too long…will be something they created that will last…..well…..forever.

Allison

BAG 101 ART SHOW THURSDAY for First Thursday Northport~ Allison Adams


Bag 101

will  be representing my GIRLFRIENDS Series

 

 

 

girlfriendsallisonpadams.com

 

Stop by Bag 101 

205-722-2298

312 Merchants Walk Suite 6

in Northport 

(McFarland between Zoe’s and Talbots)

 

FIRST THURSDAY ARTWALK 

NORTHPORT

 THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 4

Drop by between 12-6:30

for some refreshments 

and to say HI.

I will be there all day.

 

The entire store has been arranged around my newest paintings!

 

I hope to see you!

 

Allison Adams

ARTIST

 

 

 

Lake Living: Gardening on Lake Tuscaloosa


I like to focus on lake topics, bringing ideas of nature to your mailbox in Druid City Living Newspaper in the Lake Living Column each month. This month, I’m writing about a challenge that applies to many of us: how to have a beautiful garden.

Rule one: Sun is required. I have discovered that the raised garden at our new home is in the shade most of the day. I wish I had realized that last year when…

I planted seeds that yielded tiny, Barbie-sized squash and melons, dangling from nearly brown stems.

Another issue is water. We have irrigation, but last year I watered in the late afternoon because, well, I am not a morning person. Keep disease at bay by watering in morning.

I am not yet a gardener, but I am a newly adopted member of the Ceres Garden Club. This week, I received two Knock Out Rose bushes from Peggy Babbs, after a meeting in her magical rose garden. The month before, Renee Holloman with Holloman Farms shared her expertise on Daylily plants. Later, a sweet neighbor gave me more “divisions” from her yard. This week, Wayne Ford, a former County Extension agent cheered us on with helpful hints.

I have been told that the largest hurdle, besides the rock that lies less than four inches below my “grassy looking stuff,” is the deer. I discovered there are some pretty plants the deer are not fond of, including burgundy blanket flower, verbena, butterfly weed, globe thistle, Jacob Cline bee balm, butterfly bush, purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, thyme and crepe myrtle. If deer concern you, fence in the plants, or use bone tar oil.

While trying to “keep up with the Ceres,” I’ve been reading The Impatient Gardener by Jerry Baker. It has some amazing tricks for those of us who are “horticulturally challenged.” Who knew plants love beer and dishwater? (They help to keep flowers disease-free). I didn’t clarify how much left over beer is too much. Proceed with caution.

All of this new information inspired me. I rushed to Lowe’s, bought two green planters, soil, fertilizer, two rose “topiary style” trees with mixed color, grabbed a multi-mix basket of flowing verbena and petunias and began planting (after a stop to get the important part, beer). After planting two Knock Out Rose bushes, daylilies, and putting seeds in pots that I had started last month after the first Ceres meeting (it’s how I roll), I sat hunkered under a fluffy blanket, serenaded by the waterfalls as they deliver the overflow from recent storms to the lake. Lightening bugs flickered. A red bird swooped into a tree. A bat hovered as I dodged mosquitos. One by one, I noticed more stars. I was overcome with the stillness.

Genesis 1:29-30: “Then God said, ‘Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as good for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground – everything that has life.’”

Nature is for all of us. May we all come to find our little slice of Heaven. For now, I am starting with the slice I can possibly conquer: The deck!

Disclaimer: if you burn up your plants with beer and soap, don’t blame me, I’ll be right there with you. But if it works, tell the neighbors I told you so!

Photo: Allison Adams

1ad1a-dsc08487

Creative Call


As Church of the Highlands begins small groups I wanted to share this from my small group while in Birmingham. Now that I am in Tuscaloosa hoping to start a similar group. Message me if you are interested!

Allison Puccetti Adams

Painting with a group can propel you to another level when working on finding your creative style.

In recent years, a group of women artists joined each week to study the book, Creative Call, by Janice Elsheimer. The book provides inspiration so that we may become the artists God made us to be.

Each week we gathered to share information, to encourage each other, to listen to praise and worship music and to explore our gifts of painting- in a attempt to wake up the creative spirit that lives within us.

Goal one is to come to the realization that because we create, we ARE artists.
Our first semester brought us to a comfortable place in our new title as ARTISTS.
Semester two we studied Scribbling In the Sand by Michael Card.

Other books of interest:
The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron

If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have…

View original post 172 more words

EZULWINI AFRICAN PRESERVE


 

This photo contains small photos of our trip.

This photo contains small photos of our trip.

My husband and I bid on a trip at a charity auction a few years ago and had the opportunity of a lifetime. We bought a trip for a Safari at Ezulwini Game Preserve. The only way to visit is to purchase by donation to a charity.

While talking to a friend, I soon learned that she had lived in Johannesburg for two years and shared her love for Cape Town, South Africa. My husband and I were determined to add it to our trip.

We flew into Johannesburg directly from Atlanta (an 18 hr direct flight) The couple who bought the Safari the year before us flew into Amsterdam with a layover for a night while celebrating their honeymoon and then continued into Johannesburg a day later.

We stayed in “Jo-Berg” overnight at an American Hotel Chain and enjoyed an incredible meal.  It was a late flight so we ate there, had a bottle of wine (all for about 40 bucks including a steak…be ready to spend tiny bits of money for elaborate meals in South Africa~ and no scrimping on the quality) and turned in.

There is a lot to see in Jo-berg but it is dangerous at night. We were just ready to sleep to get ready for the new day and adjust to the time change. A little prescribed Ambian on the plane is not a bad idea either. I usually do not take anything ever….but as someone who already creatively gets my days and nights mixed, I thought it best to get on the same schedule as my traveling companion.

We rented a four wheel drive car (recommended) and drove to Ezulwini’s main camp the next morning. It is a beautiful drive but if you are not comfortable exploring and ending up on roads that lead to nowhere, then you might want to arrange public transportation.

Some people took a short flight from Johannesburg to the place they recommend near Ezulwini and Krueger National Park.

I believe it was a four to six hour drive through mountains and on back roads and once we ended up at the end of a road after a wrong turn in a township which was a bit scary but that is how we roll.  Let me also note that there ARE signs at exits that say HIGH HIGHJACK AREA DO NOT STOP.  WE whisked through that one looking LEFT RIGHT LEFT…NOT GOOD AS YOU DRIVE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD SITTING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CAR. Luckily THEY stopped as we entered oncoming traffic to the left.

Do not let that deter though. South Africa is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and that includes most of Central Europe, Costa Rica, Mexico and across the U.S.

We DID make it and as we drove through the huge gates into the property we were all alone in a car passing monkeys, elephants, giraffe and some hippos on the way in. Imagine the excitement of that!

Driving from the city we were able to get an idea of the industry, huge diamond mines and mills along winding cliffs and fields coated in dark black stones with cattle grazing among the rock. We began to wonder how South Africa can be so poor yet so rich at the same time.

We stayed at Ezulwini’s main lodge for two nights and Billy’s Lodge three nights.  I would recommend that combination. Each night others who have bid arrive and together we enjoy shared dinners around the table cooked by the staff at both places.  It is incredible to meet people from all over the world who have also won the trip through a donation to a charity. We each had an individual “hut” that was airtight (sealed from the critters that include scorpions and other things I had not studied up on) but they make sure to sweep out each night and there are nets to give you the feeling of security from things that bite. Again, I have to admit, Ambian became my nightly friend.

There is a pool at the Main Lodge and open air bar that is a fun place to look at all of the photos of others who have passed through, write in a journal, sit around and meet the locals who work there or you can wait for the sunset views from the tower overlooking the watering hole.  You will not be disappointed by the facilities. It is more like visiting someone’s home than a resort. The Billy’s location has more of an open air/ hotel feeling. There they have long overlook walkways and some of the homes have private pools. Ours did not but our neighbors were so sweet to share it one day when they were out exploring. There we were, sunbathing overlooking the bush as animals roamed just in front of our feet in the valley below.

They DO recommend you be escorted at night anywhere on the grounds, as in all camps there because WE are prey to lions and many times those animals pass through. There is also the thing I did NOT research and that is the BLACK MAMBA. So it is not for the faint at heart but we even had an elderly woman with cane-like walker who did FINE on the trip and rode in the vehicles on all of the drives. She had no problems.

Our first night at Billy’s Lodge the owners were there. They invited us to their private wine cellar located in a luxury cave that still had line drawings etched in the walls from hundreds of years before. There was a complete bar and a staff member to serve us.  He shared the history of the places. They emphasized that they only allow those who have a heart of giving to be a part of their preserves.  We never met a person we didn’t love getting to know as they all had various philanthropies and the same urge to explore the world while also giving back.

After that we travelled to Cape Town by plane and will both say that is the most incredible place in the world.  It is wine country that competes with California in climate and sophistication. The beaches have white sand and are clean with crystal blue waters. Whales pass through seasonally and there are seals that make their home on the nearby rocky shore. The hotel we stayed in was just beneath Table Mountain and first class. I think it was Harbourview, a name that later in my life became significant. The pools were oriented, as well as the entrances, so that you felt you were there all alone. Community dinners gave us an opportunity to again make friends with a couple from London who later went to dinner with us at a local restaurant that served the freshest food and some of our favorite wines to date. We ended the night in a pub where karaoke soon rang out with a little “Sweet Home Alabama” twang.

We had drivers take us around in Range Rovers as you can quickly end up in a township that is best explored with someone guiding you.

Ezulwini’s owners also own an incredible house tucked beneath a mountain overlooking the sea just about an hour outside of Cape Town. Here is the LINK to Maritime on Moonlit Bay.  It is remote on the end of a peninsula overlooking a lighthouse and not much else. Baboons roam free there across the roads. We travelled out there by car and they were so kind to just tell us “stay, really stay”. It was a private house when we were there but that is how the owners are. There is also another private home with security.  They are incredibly generous and just want the world to know how great South Africa is.  Everyone in Cape Town speaks ‘LONDON ANGLISH”. BEING FROM THE SOUTH, I GOT A KICK OUT OF THAT.

If you want to visit contact them for information.

Website Click HERE

Follow Ezulwini on Facebook.

Twitter

Trevor and the guides update the hunts as they happen. We just saw that the lion king of the pride died since we have been there. Big Boy. So as you see, even two years later we are connected to what goes on there.  We saw all but one of the big 5 (Cheetahs were off in another area but some others the day we got there had seen them) on tours that were made twice a day.

The unique experience here is that they are a part of an innovative group taking down fences to ensure a natural environment for the animals to have free range on private lands.  A number of the owners in the area work together to see that they have more open range. Many are fenced.  There is NO hunting on this preserve, but the photos and memories are priceless!

 

 

Blogging Basics~ Great Photos


There are blog posts and then there are POSTS THAT POP.

With so much going on this summer I fell behind in getting the great photos transferred from camera to blog.

I discovered some handy tools to help me “spice things up”.

I took a photo and used each of the following to show a bit about what they can do for YOU.

Foter- Photo Editor. (Click to left to go to site)  This site runs from the internet and lets you import your photo from dropbox, your computer, flickr and other sources on the web. Then you can re-size, edit, crop, enhance color, add text and add some fun features for Logo design.  Send it immediately to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter!  I love that it is also available for mobile apps.

Tired of all of your photos being digital? This app lets you PRINT ACTUAL COPIES- on your own computer or through CanvasPOP (order them on canvas for instant artwork!)

  1. PicMonkey
    I’ve been using PicMonkey in the past and love its ease of use, but have had to upgrade to a fee based version. I am not too keen on the idea that when I forward those photos to others there is an advertorial for Pic Monkey before they open it. It has been my go-to until I found Fotor.   I used the same photo above and edited it in PicMonkey to come up with this: cropped-framedgirlfriendsapa.jpg
  2. Instacollage
    This is a free app and easy to use for those wanting to do something quickly from your iphone that creatively mends your photos together. There is a version on Facebook that lets you collage pics from there as well and with VIDEO being the way to go recently, you can get your feet wet at this site.
  3. Picasa
    Not only is this Google’s image system, but it also provides a storage backup version for those with lots of images. You can keep them private or share with your google account. It also has editing tools as well as collage options.
  4. Photovisi
    The ones above look too complicated? This is a great place for beginners!
  5. Photocat (free) This is another one that is simple and fun. A kid can learn on their phone how to edit photos and share. Icons are kid friendly and they can edit faces, make themselves skinny. It’s a beginning editors dream!photocat
  6. Befunky This one is free and makes collage photo creations FUN with a few more bells and whistles. This is the one to use if you want to do a GREAT Facebook Cover. (free)BeFunky_Fotor081813198.jpg The collage maker was a bit confusing but this was one of them: BeFunky_Fotor081813198collage.jpg
  7. PiZap This leads you to a site where there are a number of options from basic free collage that can be set to music to video creations and professional logo design.
  8. Picstitch This leads to the demo in the itunes preview. It is a great one for your phone. It is free but there are upcharges for frames and extra items.
  9. Ribbet (free) Ribbet is the next one I plan to test out. There is free cloud storage of your past work so you don’t have to download it to your hard drive. Great to know when you are like me with nearly 100,000 photos in your library.
  10. YOU share with us YOUR favorites!

Allison Adams

 

 

Lake Tuscaloosa Living


BAMA FANS!

Wondering what the lake here in Tuscaloosa is REALLY about?

Check out the new website.

http://www.laketuscaloosaliving.com

IMG_0019

As a Realtor and someone who LOVES the lake we would be excited to take you on a private tour by boat. 

Get pre-qualified now at 205-451-5510 and we will help you find your little slice of Lake Tuscaloosa Heaven!

Looking forward to an incredible season of BAMA Football, Tailgating and ending the afternoons watching the sun set on the lake!

Why choose Lake Martin and 280 traffic when this little gem is right down the road!

The most current article in my Lake Living Column can be found at www.druidcityliving.com on STAY-Cations.

Blessings!

Allison 

Artist, Author of four books, Realtor with Duckworth Morris Real Estate Lake Tuscaloosa ~ Alabama

Artist, Author of four books, Realtor with Duckworth Morris Real Estate
Lake Tuscaloosa ~ Alabama

Alabama hunters haul in a record-breaking 15-foot alligator weighing more than 1,000 pounds


Alabama, where you can be mangled by an alligator, wild hog OR a shark. Something to be said for bio-diversity!

National Post | News

CAMDEN, Ala. — A group of Alabama hunters is celebrating the catch of a lifetime: A 15-foot-long alligator weighing more than 1,000 pounds.

Al.com reports the monster gator was pulled from the water in south Alabama early Saturday during the state’s alligator hunting season.

Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries biologists were able to measure the gator at 15 feet, but weighing it posed a challenge.

 Sharon Steinmann / Al.com / Associated Press photo Sharon Steinmann / Al.com / Associated Press photo

The first attempt completely destroyed a winch assembly used to hoist most average gators. So they had to use a backhoe to lift the animal. It weighed in at 1,011.5 pounds.

The gator is the largest ever legally killed by an Alabama hunter. It was caught by Mandy and John Stokes, Kevin Jenkins and his children, 16-year-old Savannah and 14-year-old Parker.

 Sharon Steinmann / Al.com / Associated Press photo Sharon Steinmann / Al.com / Associated Press photo

View original post