Savannah: One Month In

By Nichelle Stephens

The mission: better, more interesting blog posts for “Future Me”. Today was great!  It’s my one-month anniversary of living in Savannah.

Old Savannah Cotton Exchange

I have spent one whole month in Savannah and I love it. The locals and the transplants are very friendly.  I am not around tourists too  much, but I guess they are cool too. I joined the Gratitude Circle this afternoon. It’s my fourth week of giving gratitude. I feel abundant. Then I walked around River Street and then I went to the library on Bull Street to read.  Later I met up with Linda at the Wormhole, the local bar in my neighborhood. Then we walked over to Occugarden, an urban garden, and chatted briefly with Frank who was watering vegetables. The garden is growing a lot of stuff including eggplants, tomatoes, oregano, and even black bell pepper.

Black bell peppers at SUGA. #occugardens

Then we headed to Green Truck Pub for a burger and a couple of beers.  I had a delicious hamburger with pimento cheese.   I talked to the bartender about wood pellets.  Highland Brewing out of Asheville, NC brews some nice beer. I like the IPA.

categoriaMe commentoNo Comments dataJuly 1st, 2015
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I Use To Write On My Blog, Then I Just Posted Links

By Nichelle Stephens

Back in 2005, I use to write on my blog. Where I went, what I read and the like. I would state opinions, rant and even mention my friends. At some point I stopped. Reading blog posts of mine from 2007 are just links of stuff I thought was interesting. It pretty sanitized and boring. Well if ten years from now I am reading my blog, I want it to be interesting. Entertain the “Future Me”.

Anyway, today wasn’t entertaining. I had a writing deadline since today is the last day of the month. I made pasta for lunch and had a spinach salad with avocado for dinner. The good news is that I finished my work and my Wednesday can be less stressful. I am waiting for checks to come in. Somehow I signed up for a magazine subscription to Cosmopolitan. I don’t know how it happened, but I don’t want it.
I want to do more yoga. I hope “Future Me ” is satisfied with this post. I am getting ready to go to bed.

categoriaMe commentoNo Comments dataJune 30th, 2015
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Dogwood Alliance: Save Our Southern Forests

By Nichelle Stephens

Kid climbing a tree before the SOS Forests event.

The British are coming! The British are coming! The British are coming to take our forests! I am surprised to hear about how Southern forests are shrinking because Europe is importing wood pellets from U.S. forests to use as fuel.  I care about the environment and climate change though I wouldn’t call myself a “treehugger”. However when I heard about Dogwood Alliance’s campaign to bring awareness to the destructive impact on a faulty European policy, I got fired up.  The policy is this: European countries import wood pellets from U.S. forests (mostly from the southeast) to cut down on their  carbon footprint.  This is insane since it raises the carbon footprint here in the south. There’s a great article in the Washington Post about the wood pellets issue.

In reality, these scientists say, Europe’s appetite for wood pellets could lead to more carbon pollution for decades to come, while also putting some of the East Coast’s most productive wildlife habitats at risk.

The Dogwood Alliance is taking action by highlighting the urgency of the problem and letting the community know what’s going on.  Last Friday, they held an event in Savannah where locals made a human sign in Forsyth Park.  A drone was used to take a picture of about sixty people who came out to make the word “SOS”.  I was in the first “S”.  Follow The Dogwood Alliance on Facebook for updates.

Savannah says #sosforests !!

A photo posted by Dogwood Alliance (@dogwoodalliance) on Jun 26, 2015 at 3:23pm PDT

Update: I susbcribed to the USDA Farm Releases which are press releases from the Department of Architecture. It just so happened that today I got an email promoting biomass retrieval incentives. In fact these incentives will begin June 30th.

According to the farm release:

For 2015, USDA has reserved up to $11.5 million to assist with the cost of removing woody or herbaceous residues from farm fields or national forests and woodlands for delivery to energy generation facilities. A majority of the funds are expected to support the removal of dead or diseased trees from National Forest and Bureau of Land Management public lands. Orchard wastes, and agriculture residues such as corn cobs and stalks, also qualify as energy-producing feedstock.

This is an incentive for farmers and foresters to deliver produce biomass that helps Europe’s carbon footprint but may cause problems with our environment. We don’t need to facilitate more carbon dioxide. Even dead trees are better than no trees.

categoriasavannah commentoNo Comments dataJune 29th, 2015
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By Nichelle Stephens

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categoriaMe commentoNo Comments dataJune 27th, 2015
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Creators’ Foundry In Savannah

By Nichelle Stephens

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The Creative Coast, an organization for creative start-up businesses in Savannah, opened Creators’ Foundry last fall. Creators’ Foundry is a HIVE, “a home for innovators, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs”. As an newcomer to Savannah, I would describe Creators Foundry is as an entrepreneur space and event venue. It is located in an old railroad building and conveniently near Georgia State Railroad Museum.

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On Wednesday mornings, I go to 1 Million Cups at Creators Foundry which is a weekly gathering where local people present an idea or business. 1 Million Cups is kinda like a cross between Pecha Kucha and the New York Tech Meetup. People typically their pitch ideas. Some of the presentations are businesses and nonprofits that are to going to be crowdfunded and some presentations are about marketing existing businesess and getting feedback from the audience.

Maven Makers

A new local business at Creators’ Foundry is Maven Makers, a new makerspace that will open in mid-July.  Founders Tim Cone and Ty Donaldson are encouraging the residents of Savannah to create, make and play. Maven Makers will have a professional wood shop as well as other tools to make things. They will also offer classes.

During October 15-17th, The Creative Coast will put on GEEKend which is a two-day interdisciplinary conference for tech start-ups, creatives, content makers and the like. It is open to anyone who is “all geek all the time” or someone who wants to be geek for a weekend. GEEKend is a two day conference for only $150. Curiosity is the only prerequisite for GEEKend; no coding skills needed. Register today.

If you like the content of the post, pledge a quarter ($0.25) to keep me writing.

categoriaconferences, savannah, tech commentoNo Comments dataJune 23rd, 2015
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True Blue: A Burger Is A Wonderful Thing

By Nichelle Stephens

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I have a thing for hamburgers. Perhaps it is because I have eaten alone at a bar when I was a traveling management consultant or I just like a good piece of beef sandwiched between a fresh bun. Anyway, I have been told by Savannah locals to go to Betty Bombers. Betty Bombers is located near Forsyth Park on Bull Street inside the American Legion Post 135. I was hesitant to walk-in because I thought American Legion were only open to members and veterans, but it is open to the public. Betty Bombers is in the back and the cuisine is true blue American food. I ordered a cheeseburger with bleu cheese and order buffalo wing dipping sauce to eat with the fries and the burger. It was delicious. Burger with fries and a Strawberry Fanta was $9.00.

PS: If you want to make burger cupcakes, then check out my post on Cupcakes.About.com.

categoriafood, savannah commentoNo Comments dataJune 23rd, 2015
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Farmer’s Market Shopping and Making The Best Out Of A Little

By Nichelle Stephens

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Last Saturday,  I attended the Forsyth Farmer’s Market here in Savannah and it was nice. It reminded of the farmer’s markets in Decatur, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Seeing all the fresh produce, food vendors, families and tote bags made me feel at home. I spent $20 at the farmer’s market. Twenty dollars doesn’t go as far there as it does at a grocery store but the challenge of making good food from a small amount of local food is something I gladly accept.

Some people say we’re paying too little for food. In some ways, I agree. We are paying too little for bad food. Junk food and the dollar menu at fast food restaurants seem to be the only way for people to eat cheaply.

On the other hand, that’s not true. We can eat well and cheaply. It takes planning, experimentation and smart pantry shopping. In your pantry, I recommend keeping beans, coconut milk, oatmeal, stewed tomatoes, pasta, rice, and canned fish (anchovies, tuna and sardines). In the fridge, it’s good to always have eggs, fresh tomatoes, onions. Buy bananas at Wal-Mart. They are super cheap there. Freeze half of them for smoothies and banana-based ice cream.

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At the farmer’s market, I got blackberries, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, peppers, potatoes and herbs.   I ate the cookies along the way. When I got home I boiled the potatoes as if I were making mashed potatoes. In another pan, I cooked chopped garlic and onions. Then I added the peppers and parsley from my farmer’s market bounty. I had leftover coconut milk and pour about a half cup in the pan. Then I added red curry paste. Once the potatoes were soft, I strained them and added them to the coconut milk and red curry sauce. I added salt and pepper and let cook for about five minutes. Then I took off the heat. I opened a can of sardines and mixed in with the potatoes. It was delicious and cheap dinner. The next morning, I ate the blackberries with a Little Debbie honeybun for breakfast.

Bottom Line: Think of buying food like it’s fashion styling. Mix up high cost food with cheaper items.  Eat more vegetables, but don’t spend all your money in one place. Diversify your food shopping.

categoriafood, savannah commentoNo Comments dataJune 16th, 2015
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Horchata Latte And A Sugar Cookie

By Nichelle Stephens

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Since being in Savannah I have frequent a few of the local coffee shops, and there’s a few local coffee roasters based here. One of these is PERC which is sold at various places as well as the Forsyth Farmer’s Market. As much I love a good cup of coffee, I got most excited about seeing horchata on both the Foxy Loxy and The Coffee Fox menus. I love horchata! For the uninitiated, horchata is a cool Mexican rice drink flavored with cinnamon. It is not caffeinated. However, I stopped by The Coffee Fox yesterday afternoon and ordered a iced horchata latte and a sugar cookie. It was a nice treat after a day of running around in ninety degree weather.

Note: If you like this post, send me a quarter: https://sparesense.com/pledge.php?id=6i

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Gratitude Circle Wednesdays

By Nichelle Stephens

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I give thanks everyday, but on Wednesdays I do it up with people. My friend Joanne Morton organizes a weekly gratitude circle here in Savannah. It has been running weekly for 84 weeks. That’s over a year a mindful gratitude. Every Wednesday afternoon, a group gathers at one of the 22 public squares in Savannah and form a circle of gratitude. It is a wonderful way to shine light to abundance and to meet like-minded people.

If you are not in Savannah, you do could create your own gratitude circle. You can do set a place and announce it on Facebook. It’s free, and you can get so much in return.

After the gratitude circle, I saw a quote on Instagram that was timed perfectly for me to tweet.

Update: Gratitude in the squares got press in the local newspaper.

categoriasavannah commentoNo Comments dataJune 11th, 2015
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Pimento and Pig Sandwich

By Nichelle Stephens

When  pimento cheese is done right, it is addictive. I ordered the Pimento and Pig sandwich at Back In The Day Bakery today, and I can’t wait to have another one. Cheryl, the owner, mentioned that there’s bourbon in her pimento cheese which makes it extra special.

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Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah

By Nichelle Stephens

The fountain reminds me of Italy. #savannah #forsythpark

The Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah reminds me of Trevi Fountain in Italy but was based on the Parisian model of developing city parks. There are twenty two public squares in Savannah and yesterday I attended a weekly gratitude circle in Warren Square.  Later I got caught in a major downpour. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in Savannah. They are like an alarm clock for a summer afternoon nap.

I am grateful for my family, new friends in Savannah, old friends in New York, good physical health, freelance work, my sense of wonder, cooking skills, writing skills and patience. I have abundance.

categoriasavannah commentoNo Comments dataJune 4th, 2015
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Writing, Learning, Moving Forward

By Nichelle Stephens

I learned more about myself, and I am going to release the past and look ahead. I am optimistic! I am in Savannah right now, and the city is lovely.  Will post photos on my Instagram.

I wrote about Fixing Your Man’s Plate on Medium.

The finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race was last night and I was quoted in an article in Art For Progress  about the fashion of the finalists.

Frazey Ford’s new video, “I’m Done”.

categoriaMe commentoNo Comments dataJune 2nd, 2015
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