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Most would agree that cocktails in general are great for summer. So narrowing down the list for the best summer cocktails is always a challenge. The consensus is that people want a drink that is thirst-quenching, above all else. This means tart flavors and fruit mixtures that send the right amount of summer vibes for any sweltering get together.  If you’re lacking inspiration and need help staying away from your worn-out go-to drinks, we’ve got some suggestions for your next cocktail here. Cheers, Tuscaloosa!

I’ve mentioned before my love of all things movies and music, but let’s add books to the list, shall we? I just got a new Kindle and I’ve blown through a LOT of great books in recent weeks. And I’m no snob about what I read – give me a great "chick-lit" book any day and I’ll be happy. I also read biographies and smarty books, but this time of year, I’m in the mood for an easy read that’s engaging and fun and will keep me entertained as I sit on a beach or by a pool relaxing. It's all about decompressing, and escaping into another world for a little bit. I thought I'd share some finds, so hopefully one of these will suit your fancy.

It's that time of year again, the one where we send senior classes off into the wild blue yonder.  But before they go, many of them will participate in some regular traditions and we want to know what you think are our best local senior traditions?

Hi. My name is Liz, and I’m a movie addict. Some of you already knew that I was a huge music fan – I spend way too much on concert tickets but hey, who doesn’t enjoy a night out at the Tuscaloosa Amp seeing The Avett Brothers once in a while? Well, now you know my other secret: movies. I love them. Even the bad ones.

And that’s kinda what I wanted to talk about right now: Bad movies…for date night.

By Liz Stephens

We did it: We just booked our first-ever trip to Europe! 12 days of fun and frolicking in London and Paris. And of course, this means a lot of walking. As much as I heart my Antelope wedges, something tells me they won’t work so well on the cobblestone streets of the UK and France. No, I need new kicks that will give me enough support to walk much more than I normally do.

Therein lies the problem. No one wears actual “kicks” in Paris. No, the women of Paris float around effortlessly in adorable ballet flats all day long (looking perfectly put together, of course). I’ve tried ballet flats before – they typically don’t offer enough support for all-day walking. But is it even possible to buy cute shoes that are also good for traipsing around, tourist-style all the time?

I’m here to tell you, after exhaustive research and tons of shopping (and returning), yes, you can find cute walking shoes for Europe that won’t leave your feet aching after day one of your vacation.

I found three pairs. Three. Pairs. Of. Shoes. I. Love. I now own a new pair of boots, a pair of Mary Janes and a pair of delicate-but-supportive flats – and that’s all my happy traveling feet will need for this trip.

First, the boots: Autumn in London and Paris can be a tricky time, shoe-wise. Average temps are between 45-60 degrees, and it rains. A lot. My thinking was, I needed a pair of boots that were waterproof and slip-proof.

That’s where these awesome ECCO boots came in. The ECCO Abelone GTX Short Boot is perfect for my needs. It is extremely waterproof, it offers plenty of sole support (and a removable footbed if you need to put in some orthotics), and it’s actually really cool looking (IMO). The GORE-TEX was a concern – would they be simply too hot for fall? I’ve worn them around for several days now and I can honestly say that no, they’re no warmer than any other ankle boot.

See? Nice, right? I like the sleek look of this boot – it will pair really well with my black pants and jeans. ECCO shoes/boots are not cheap, but at long last, I’ve finally learned that you almost always do get what you pay for – spend the $$$ and get good shoes. I’ve earned it.

Score!

Next up: My casual, practical walking shoe – the Naot Sea. I’ve heard friends rave for years about Naot shoes. “They’re the most comfy shoes ever!” “It’s like walking on clouds!”

But wow, the price. Yikes. The high price always held me back, but given how much we’re shelling out for our trip, I figured I should at least order a pair and see what all the fuss is about.

I’ll be honest: The Naot Sea isn’t the greatest looking shoe out of the box. The shoes are definitely much cuter ON. Don’t write off Naot until you try a pair. The Sea shoes feature a 1.5” polyurethane sole (very sturdy for cobblestone walking), along with an anatomic cork and latex footbed that molds to your feet as you wear them.

And you know what? The moment I slipped these shoes on, I knew why everyone was raving. Yep, it really does feel like you are walking on clouds, with some support of course. But the cushioning is definitely there.

See? Not bad looking, but not the shoe you grab in the store and scream over. It’s a much better looking shoe ON. Just remember that. You owe it to yourself to at least try the Naot. If you aren’t thrilled with the thicker sole, you can always go with one of Naot’s other popular Mary Jane styles (the Matai is nice looking, for example).

And now for the “fun” part of my shoe shopping experience: the search for the delicate-but-supportive flats! The challenge here, without a doubt, was to find a great feminine-looking shoe that I could wear out to nice dinners.

IF I win the lottery tomorrow, I can tell you I’ll purchase a pair of Tieks, but the high price point keeps me from pulling the trigger and ordering. For now, I’m really thrilled to say that I found a great pair of stylish, black travel flats by Yosi Samra.  

Adorable, right? And SO comfortable! These are the shoes I think I’ll wear the most around town on a day-to-day basis, though for Europe I may have to limit them to just evenings (possibly with tights). They have a great, durable sole and a bit of padding but very little arch support. The Samra is a slip-on flat that just seems perfect for everything from running errands or a nice dinner out. Also? They are lightweight, and they pack extremely well. They fold right up into the cutest little dust bag for traveling (and they fit in my tote – another plus).

I hope this helps anyone worrying about the agony of aching feet (or in my case, also an aching back) – you can absolutely find cute shoes for fall walking in Europe, you just have to start shopping early and be prepared to return the shoes or boots if they don’t fit right. Allow plenty of time for this process, because I’m told that shoes really are the MOST important thing when it comes to packing right for a European trip.

Bon Voyage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may be hot this season, but the long summer days have got us ready to enjoy dinner on the patio at Tuscaloosa’s most popular restaurants. Check out our recommendations to enjoy an al fresco breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Tuscaloosa style.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. It’s what a body starts off with and what gives it energy. Some believe breakfast is in a league all its own, while others only save breakfast for the weekends. Which ever way you swing, we’ve listed the best breakfasts in the area to satisfy every stomach. 

 

With warmer days approaching, the greater outdoors serve many purposes. Fishing, swimming and hiking are just a few, but the best places are those with prime picnicking real estate.

Have you ever been to a vacation spot so fast and so beautiful, that you wish it were your home? That’s how I feel anytime I stay along the stunning Gulf Coast. From the shores of Mississippi to the vast, emerald waters of the Florida Panhandle, to the sugar white sands of the Alabama Gulf Coast, the area offers numerous vacation spots boasting genuine, natural beauty.

It’s hard to miss when an Alabama summer hits. Children are out of school, swimming pools are open, and humidity is at an all time high. While the best summer events are up for debate for anybody, we’ve highlighted some happenings that are enjoyable for a range of Alabamians. Enjoy!

 

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Lake Tuscaloosa Living (LTL) is the premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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