Wine and Reels: Napa Valley Film Festival

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125 Films + 250 Filmmakers + 150 Wineries + 30 Chefs = A foodie/culture lovers DREAM!

Friends, when a belle first heard about the Napa Valley Film Festival, we just knew it was vacay time! Y’all know that we love indie film + travel, so this would be a perfect combination. We jetted into San Francisco and made the hour and a half drive to Napa. The drive was scenic y’all and is worth seeing to believe! On Thursday afternoon, we saw Black and White starring Octavia Spencer, Kevin Costner, and Anthony Mackie. The film was shown in the quaint Uptown Theatre in the heart of Napa. One thing I’d like to tell y’all is that although indie films are featured, don’t think these films don’t cast TALENTED actors! Black and White delved into the relationship amongst maternal and fraternal grandparents–one black and the other white–fighting for custody of their biracial granddaughter. The story line was pretty straightforward, yet it raised interesting questions in regards to race, discrimination, class, privilege, and most importantly, LOVE. Kevin Costner was at the screening and I got to catch a quick glimpse of him! Ow! If you have the opportunity to see Black and White, I think you’d enjoy it. The entire staff delivered a solid performance, and I’d gladly rate it a 5/5 belles! Overall, if you want to be surrounded by beautiful vineyards, cute people, awesome films, and loads of wine the NVFF is the way to go! IMG_0120 A belle was invited to the uber exclusive Gala, which featured sweets from Sweetie Pie’s, Kollar Chocolates (which I later visited..y’all know I have a sweet tooth), and wine from various wineries. There was also a cigar bar, which only a boss would partake in! Curious about what I wore eh? Ever the frugal fashionista…. IMG_0180

Dress: JC Penney $8 Bag: Vintage (got it from my mama) Shoes: Miu Miu (consignment) Jewelry: (consignment)

IMG_0241 During NVFF, we visited the cooking demonstrations (it’s the foodie in a belle) and the wine pavilions. We tasted wine from: Chimney Rock, Rutherford Hill, Provenance, Trefethen, Acacia, Sterling And these are the ones I can remember before the wine kicked in smh. We’ll provide detailed reviews of wines/wineries in a later post so stay tuned! IMG_0291 (1) IMG_0301 I enjoyed Kollar Chocolates so much that I had to visit the store and buy a few to nosh on. They were unbelievably good (and expensive)! IMG_0506 On Friday night, we made the 45 minute trek to Calistoga to see #ChicagoGirl. This film deals with heavy subjeect matter, so it was refreshing to have such an intimate and inviting space to feature the film at. #ChicagoGirl revolves around Ala’a, a Syrian-American teenager in Chicago who utilizes social media to help coordinate the Syrian Revolution. If you ever thought social media was a waste of time, this film illustrates how one young woman helps to fight for the liberties so many take for granted, and how Ala’a courageously fights against a regime using social media. #ChicagoGirl is an AMAZING movie that really brings a lot of things into perspective. Goodbye to all That: We didn’t care for this movie so much. The plot was weak, the characters were one dimensional, and the ending left much to be desired. Watch at your own risk… I’d highly suggest you take a trip to Napa, soak up the vineyards, sip some wine, and partake in the film festival. Be sure to arrive an hour early to see your wishlist films. Due to smaller venues being at capacity, we were unable to see many films…however there’s always next year! Quite a few of them I’ll be looking for on the Google (yes, I call it the Google). What’s your favorite film festival or indie film?

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STOP in the Name of ArtBLT: Exploring the Motor City

Friends!! We missed y’all so much! Tamika and I took a break away from blogging to handle family matters. In a few short months I have moved twice to 2 states (yep, you read right chile), AND Tamika has moved twice to the same state (LOOOOOONG story)! Needless to say, we have been trying to get ourselves together before bringing you the freshness you deserve. I’ve been traveling a lot lately (mostly for work), and I had the opportunity to visit Detroit….the Motor City…Home of Motown… Take a gander at a few of my travel shots! detroit3 A Birminghamian just HAS to take a picture in Birmingham, Michigan. 😉 detroit2 The Detroit Riverwalk is fascinatingly beautiful! It is near GM’s headquarters. I felt such a cool sense of peace as I walked along the river. Don’t let anyone scare you from visiting Detroit. It is a nice city…you just have to find those little gems. detroit1 To STOP and STAND in the same room where The Temptations, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and the list does go on sang their hearts out was incredible. Visiting the Motown museum is a MUST if you’re visiting Detroit! detroit Along the way I tried some great eats, and found the coolest lil wine joint! But alas, I was so immersed in my experience I forgot to snap pics of the food! What’s your favorite place to travel too?

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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Brings the Fun Out!

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Give a girl booze and good food and she is bound to have a great time! Friends, y’all know that a belle loves some good food and wine. When you couple these things with southern delicacies and a festival, you most certainly have our attention! Unfortunately, Tamika couldn’t make it, but I brought along our new intern, Khalia. We had so much fun at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival (AF&WF), which brings together happy people, great food and wine.

The AF&WF celebrates southern culture, food, and drink. It is an awesome event to attend to try new foods/spirits you haven’t had before. The festival welcomes other cultural influences such as Indian, Chilean, African, etc. with its various foods and wines. In addition to the tasting tents, there are also culinary experiences, where you can see star chefs and mixologists display their unique talents.

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Held in Midtown, the festival was replete with tasting tents, classes, dinners, AND more! If you’re really into food and wine, then this is the festival for you…right in the heart of Atlanta.

I had the opportunity to try spirits I do not normally drink; this included moonshine, whiskey, and rum. The kind of stuff that puts hair on your chest…haha. Some of a belle’s standout favorites at AF&WF were barbeque chicken with Big Green Egg barbeque sauce, grit frittatas (who knew?!), sea-salt caramel gelato, and an AWESOME salad by Lumiere French Kitchen. Chef Tom Condron knew what he was doing with that salad babyyy!

Have a gander at my Watermelon Lime Patron popsicle…yes Patron! It was a King of Pops popsicle at that! This festival is not froo froo at all because as you can see…cotton candy was there!

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Whisper Creek had this yummy strawberry rye whiskey. I don’t even drink whiskey, so if I say it’s good, please trust my tastebuds.

afwf142Look at us being silly! Coke had this photo machine where we took a variety of cute shots. We got our Top Model on! Coke had this uber cool lounging section where a local musician played some smooth music, and patrons were given Coke floats. Y’all, that Coke float gave me life! It took me back to my childhood when we ate root beer floats at home!

I’d definitely suggest saving for AF&WF because the tickets can get pricey if you want to enjoy the FULL experience like a true VIP! However, the price is definitely worth it. Until next festival friends!

Disclosure: We received tickets to AF&W, but it does not affect a belle’s opinion.

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Let’s Jam: 5th and York’s All In

I remember the first time I heard about 5th and York. We’d just started ArtBLT and a belle was looking for some fresh talent to feature. Ever a fan of jazz music, the sis approached me one day and our convo went like this:

Tamika: You gotta check out this jazz group I found on Twitter.

Me: Really? Are they solid?

Tamika: These cats are tight!

Me: Lemme check out their website.

This was my introduction to 5th and York. The musicians latest album, All In, definitely goes all in. It has a smooth jazz feel that will take you back to drinking lemonade under the shade of a tree. This is not your typical jazz album. The group breaks up the monotony by having dialogue interwoven within the cd, adding a fresh touch to its signature contemporary style. I did regret that the dialogue could be too long at times though, as in “The Casino.” However, 5th and York does a splendid job of merging jazz, rock, and traditional r&b to create a style that’s distinctly their own.

One of my favorite tunes is “Key of G (Ea).” I want you to listen to it and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

If you’re ready to open your ears and explore the world in a smooth sultry musical ride, then check out 5th and York’s All In. You can buy the album on iTunes.

Disclosure: The cd was sent to us for review. It does not affect a belle’s opinion. 

Image via 5th & York