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Maddie Fest

  • Gifts, Holiday

    Great Gift Ideas for Family

    With Christmas coming up fast, it’s always a good idea to get a head start on shopping for your loved ones. We know that it’s hard to show everyone how much they mean to you in a creative way, while also not breaking the bank, so we have compiled a list of some ideas for just some of the important people in your life. Let them know how much you love them this holiday season with these ideas!

    For Your Brother

    Socks are a necessity for every boy, and you can make them individual to your brother by customizing them to fit his personality. Does he favorite football team or food? You can find socks with either! You can find all kind of funky socks especially for your brother at Happy Socks in Birmingham.

    For Your Sister

    Shopping for sisters can either go extremely right or extremely wrong, depending on how well you can judge your sister’s taste. However, a simple but powerful gift that is sure to please any sister are the Giving Key necklaces. There is a plethora of different words that you can find imprinted on the different jewelry pieces. There are necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more all emblazoned with words like “create”, “love”, and “strength”. Pick the perfect word for your sis and watch her smile. You can find these online, or at boutiques in Birmingham, like Lizard Thicket.

    For Your Mom

    Your mom finally learned to FaceTime, and now she won’t forget to have her charger on her always with the Lightning Cable Key Ring. It fits right on her keys and you’ll be so thankful she’ll be able to FaceTime you all the time! These are easy to find online to purchase.

    For Your Dad

    Do your parents like to entertain a lot? Then a perfect gift idea for dad is a serving board in the shape of his home state. Whether that be Alabama, Michigan, or any state in between, your dad could serve up his favorite cheeses and other snacks on his favorite state. If your dad happens to be extremely patriotic, you could choose a serving board in the shape of the United States instead. These are also easily found on Etsy, or a similar website.

    Have fun shopping for your loved ones this holiday season!

  • Portfolio

    Want, Need, Wear, Read: Holiday Gifts Simplified

    It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of Christmas, what with the incredible sales occurring and the excitement of the holidays around the corner. However, have you ever stopped to think about how much you or your loved ones actually pay attention to the gifts they receive? Especially with young children, the gifts that they’ve reminded you about for months might get played with for a few days, but are stuffed in the closet for the next coming months.

    This year, I heard a saying that could really make the difference for everyone frantically shopping for the right gifts. Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. This simple saying is sure to point you in the right direction in shopping for your loved one. Something they want? That could be anything they’ve had their eyes on for a while, so pay attention if your loved one mentions anything along those lines. This category is a little broad, so you have a lot of options.

    Something they need? Anything from sports/music equipment, a new phone case, decorations for their room, or new pajamas. Something they wear? Fun socks! Besides a sweater or jeans, jewelry or any kind of hair product would be a great idea. Last but definitely not least, something to read.

    You can really tailor this one to fit your loved one perfectly, depending on their passions and interests. If they’re not a huge reader, a magazine subscription could be another good option. This simple saying will surely point you in the right direction when Christmas shopping this year, and your loved one will be so thankful you put so much though into the gifts. Happy holiday shopping!

  • Portfolio

    Women in Sports with Macy Marin, Samford Sideline Reporter

    In a world that is dominated by men in the sports field, it is wonderful to see girls making powerful strides in the athletic world as well. We have interviewed Macy Marin, who is a student at Samford University and works very closely with their athletic department, often sideline reporting at away games for 99.1 The Game, and sometimes working at home as a booth manager. Macy did a sideline report for ESPN 3 for women’s basketball last season, and is scheduled to do one this season as well. She also does any sideline reporting for women’s soccer, and she works with the football team’s athletic academic advisor when they are both travelling with the team. Macy obviously is very committed to Samford sports, and I was interested to see what else she could tell us about working so closely with all the different athletics at the university.

    What is your favorite part about getting to work so closely with the different sports teams at Samford?
    My favorite part is the athletes. I have a passion for the game of football and helping the athletes. Whether it be telling their stories on the sidelines, giving them a voice, or helping them graduate by working with their athletic academic councilor. I love the game so much, but nothing beats the relationship you build with the athletes or knowing that you made an impact in their success. For some athletes, sports are their ticket to an education or a better life, and seeing them happy and successful makes all the hard work worth it.

    While speaking in front of people (or camera), do you get nervous at all?
    I feel like if you aren’t nervous you aren’t pushing yourself to new opportunities. So yes, I do get nervous, but (not sure if this is a good thing or not) I like to talk a lot! So when I get in front of the camera and start talking all the nerves go away! It is really fun, I have just found that if you prepare and put in the work there is no reason to be nervous! You just have to make sure you are prepared and knowledgeable as possible!

    Do you have any really cool stories of something that happened while you were working with any of the sports teams?
    Not any specific story, but since I work with the Samford football team with the academic side of things, I know the boys very well. So the games I sideline reported they would smile, wave, speak to me on the sideline, encouraging me to do well. That is what makes reporting so special, and the guys do not know how much I appreciate it. They are working and have a job to do, but still make a point to speak to me out of respect. I worked one game this season, and then was not on the sideline the next game, and the guys came to me and asked where I was the next week. They told me they liked me down there with them because I was normal and smiled and didn’t just stare at them. I started cracking up, but I really appreciated them saying that.

    What has been one of the most rewarding things while working with Samford sports teams?
    The relationships with the athletes. I have been so blessed to have so many amazing opportunities with both media and with the academic advising. The people that have been there to teach me have become role models. Learning from them and building relationships with them is something I will always be thankful for.

    What would you say to a young girl who is trying to also pursue a career in working with sports in any sort of way?
    To work hard and and never stop dreaming, girls belong in the sports field. There are so many good role models who have paved the way for us. Two of my favorite are Sam Ponder and Laura Rutledge. I love watching and learning from them. I would also tell any young girls who want to work in sports to work together. It is easy to see it as a competition, but I am the person I am today from learning from other great women in the field. When someone turns you down, use that as motivation! Always stay true to yourself, keep your head up, and enjoy the ride- because boy is it fun!

  • Portfolio

    Book Review: The Night Circus

    In a richly divine world of circuses and magic, Erin Morgenstern spins together a story of games, romance, and eccentric characters enveloped in a magic circus. I thoroughly enjoyed the chase and puzzles of The Night Circus. I found this book to be extremely imagery-driven, and the plot picked up more in the second half. Readers are sure to become enchanted while following the ongoing and elusive games between Celia and Marco, the details of which become apparent sparingly throughout the novel. We are curious about the characters at first, not sure what to make of all their wild personalities and huge egos, but soon fall in love with the way they fearlessly put each other’s safety before their own. With the details being extremely well-hidden within the novel’s vast language, I would advise to pay attention to the small nuggets of information the author supplies. Readers are also sure to be enchanted by the beautiful landscapes and mesmerizing tents the circus provides. From illusionists to fortune tellers to a room made especially of different smells, the circus can swallow anybody up in its never-ending magic. I read this novel with my book club, and we all loved picking apart the dense imagery to find the important details and sharing our wild ideas we thought the novel could take a turn towards. If you enjoy the fantasy and allure of Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter, this book will be one of your favorites.

  • Portfolio

    Christmas Themed Fun in Birmingham

    Christmas is quickly approaching (thank Goodness!), and we are looking to do anything we can to get into that Christmas spirit. Thankfully, around the Birmingham area, there is plenty to do for the holiday season. We’ve gathered a list of favorite things to do in the Birmingham area that are sure to get anyone excited for the holidays.

    Ice Skating in Railroad Park
    This ice skating rink is open until January 1st, only closing on Christmas day. This activity is perfect for all ages, costing only $12 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. This also includes skate rental. This is a perfect way to spend some time with loved ones during the holiday season.

    Zoolight Safari at the Birmingham Zoo
    Experience the zoo in a holiday spirit this year as you see over one million lights, listen to festive music, and ride the Shipt Candy Cane Ride. With a Christmas snowfall and enjoying the animals, nothing will give you more holiday cheer.

    Claus and Paws: Pet Photos with Santa
    Do you have a dog or cat that you truly consider part of the family? (Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.) If so, take your furry friend down to Brookwood Village Mall on December 5th from 6-8 P.M. to get their picture taken with Santa Claus! This picture will be sure to make you laugh every single Christmas you pull it out. Frame this cute photo and stick it on your mantle.

    The Magic of Model Trains at McWane Science Center
    This event is tons of fun for people of all ages. Discover trains of all shapes and sizes that are sure to bring back memories of the Polar Express.
    Speaking of the Polar Express…

    Polar Express P.J. Party
    Also at the McWane Science Center, be transported to the North Pole as you watch the Polar Express on the IMAX Dome. You can visit with Santa Claus over hot cocoa and cookies, and special gifts are given to those 12 and under who wear their PJ’s. This is on December 9th at 2:00.
    Also at the McWane Science Center

    Jingle Bell Breakfast
    On December 9th at 8:30 A.M., you can be transported yet again to the North Pole as you enjoy breakfast, crafts, and a nice visit with Santa Claus himself. Afterwards, you and Santa can enjoy a private viewing of Santa vs. The Snowman. The price for this event is $25 for kids 12 and under and $30 for those over the age of 12.

  • Portfolio

    How to Support a Loved One in Recovery

    Addiction affects 10% of all Americans, which is a truly shocking fact. Out of the 10% who are addicts, only 11% receive treatment. Whether you’re aware of it or not, addiction seriously affects people’s lives that you hold close to your heart. I’d like to share some of my story about how to support a loved one struggling with addiction, and to let you know that if you are enduring something similar, you’re not alone.
    When I first met my loved one, it was towards the end of his addiction, however I was not aware. About a month or two after we met, he left to get treatment for his addiction. Since I was barely aware he had an addiction, I was completely taken aback when the recovery process became a part of my every day vernacular.
    When my loved one went away to treatment for ninety days, I didn’t even understand half of it. I wasn’t getting educated like I needed to, and my mind was running wild wondering how and what he was doing. My first bit of advice would be get educated. Learning is always a wonderful thing to do when experiencing something new; the more you know, right? So as early as you possibly could, I would recommend getting educated, so you can be best prepared for what is to come.
    Communication is key, when experiencing a trauma such as this. It is important to be extremely honest, even if it might be hard. You need to be prepared for some of the heartbreak that could happen along the way. The long road ahead probably won’t be perfect, but it will be incredibly rewarding to see your loved one grow, and become the great person they were meant to be.
    If you are in a similar situation with a parent, a sibling, a significant other, or anyone you hold dear to your heart, just know that you are not alone. This situation is more common than you think, and they have felt scared, guilty, and heartbroken as well. Look up an al-anon meeting in your area and attend one. The people who are apart of al-anon are insanely welcoming and will talk to you about anything. They have been in your situation, or one very similar, or maybe are enduring the same thing as you at the same time. You will find people who you can lean on.
    Addiction is a disease. But there is a cure, and it is treatment. It will be challenging, but so worth it. You’re not alone, and you’re going to get through this.

    If you, your friend, or a loved one is experiencing addiction, the Crisis Center in Birmingham is confidential and has counselors on duty to help direct you to local resources and just to talk. CrisisLine: 205.323.7777; Teen Link: 205.328.5465 (specifically for teens)

  • Portfolio

    TV Shows with Powerful Women

    Watching TV shows with powerful, totally awesome females is one of my favorite things about Hollywood. It’s important to have those role models to look up to, especially when they are breaking down barriers for women everywhere. Here are a few TV shows that I love with incredible female characters.

    Parks and Recreation-Leslie Knope
    If you’ve seen Parks and Rec, you definitely know who Leslie Knope is. Played by Amy Poehler, Leslie is an upbeat, ambitious, kind bureaucrat who reaches for the stars in every endeavor. Optimistic would be an understatement: Leslie radiates joy and the intense spirit of a person who never quits. She shows us in every single episode how amazing she is, and we never forget.

    The Mindy Project-Mindy Lahiri
    Mindy Lahiri is a totally awesome woman for many reasons. In a nutshell, Mindy is an incredibly brilliant OB/GYN who even starts up her own fertility clinic. Although she loves romance movies, Mindy paces her own way through life, without a man at most times. Mindy is way more self-sufficient (and not to mention, hilarious) than she probably gives herself credit for.

    New Girl-Jess Day
    Jess, although all over the place at times and largely finding herself in hilarious predicaments, has a heart of gold (sparkly gold, probably) and a go-getter’s attitude to go with it. As a teacher, she yearns for every kid to have the best possible education, and to also have a great time while learning.

    These three characters are only a few in the growing number of wonderful, inspiring female role models. Their imperfection makes them easy to relate to, but their incredible feats and everyday attitude inspire girls all over.