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Flava House Quick Review

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           I want to start off by saying I’m always more lenient with Black owned businesses. Always. Why? Well, I don’t think Black owned businesses always get a fair deal in most cases. They are constantly judged by past bad experiences at entirely different establishments. Some of that is accurate feedback and some is just a crazy customer. Yes, there is a such thing as a bad customer. I want to see all Black owned businesses flourish and thrive. 

THE BAD 

         Ok, the service is pretty bad. Before I get any backlash, I must explain that I went on 3 different occasions just to give them the best chance possible to change that opinion. That’s the reason I held off this review. Be prepared. It’s definitely not the worst I’ve ever had but its pretty common in that area. I want so much more for Hickory Hill. They are also pretty pricey and the menu isn’t clearly defined. 

THE GOOD 

         The food is awesome! Omg! Those jerk lamb chops are some of the best I’ve ever had! I believe they are made to order, so there will be a little wait. With that wait you’ll be rewarded with pure excellence. I paired mine with fried okra, which also was very good. I actually love the fact they are located in Hickory Hill. That part of town needs all the love it can get and for that I thank establishments like Flava House and The Wing Guru for servicing those areas. 

 

         In closing, I will say I recommend you going to check out Flava House, but with some concessions. I’m willing to overlook service for exceptional food. Hell some places with bad service have the best foods. I will say it’s more than worth it to try it out. 

 

Life fe is for Living, 

Michael B.  

           

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Comic Tees are the Best!

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Comic Tees are the Best!

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           Yep, my secret is out. I’m Batman. Everyone calm down. No, not really. I couldn’t live Bruce Wayne’s life though mine is very similar. Demanding career by day and demanding career by night. I don’t think I have any enemies though.

            There’s something about rocking a cool comic tee that lifts your spirit. It always takes me back to being a kid and dressing like my favorite superhero and pretending I had super powers. I must admit I did feel more confident in the Batman tee. 

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           Comic tees also are easy to pair with just about anything. I usually rock mine a bit more fitted with some nice jeans (no dad jeans) and a pair of lace ups. I prefer lace ups because I don’t wear sneakers often. Also, don’t half ass this. Get the matching socks to complete the look. The cool level goes up exponentially! 

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            I got this cool Batman tee at Target for $12. They have a huge supply of comic tees. Want something more exclusive? I’ve got some awesome tees from Amazon. The socks were a gift. Who is your favorite superhero? Do you have a love for the comic tee? Drop a comment! 

 

Life is for Living,

Michael B.  

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A Random Walk in Midtown

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           Lately I’ve been walking and reflecting more. I think about life, what I might eat next week, or whether that’s a raccoon or a really big housecat staring at me. I don’t really plan these walks. They sort of just happen. This walk led me to Midtown; specifically Overton Square. 

         I must admit I don’t spend a great deal of time in Overton Square. It’s certainly changed from how I knew it growing up. Despite its changes, there’s still a charm to Overton Square you don’t find most places. There’s also some very random things lurking about.  

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           Not sure what the last pic is. Maybe a duck or stork? Who knows. Let’s just go with a bird of some sort. See if you can find this guy! It's near The Zebra Lounge. I love the random artsy things of Overton Square that usually go neglected. People are normally hurrying to a restaurant and overlook the little things like the Koi pond near Belly Acres. Honestly, it was my first time seeing them as well. 

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          Speaking of Belly Acres, I love the crop-duster protruding from the building. That's so cool and different. It seems totally out of place until you actually go inside. That interior is simply amazing. I wish they had movies on that huge wall of monitors. Now that would be dope. 

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          I can’t really recall what my thoughts were on this day. Maybe I should start taking notes lol. Well, I did enjoy my walk and that’s all that matters. What are some of your favorite spots on Overton Square? Favorites things to do? 

Life is for Living, 

Michael Butler  

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Meeting A Facebook Friend In Real Life

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Meeting A Facebook Friend In Real Life

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         Technology is crazy. Like seriously insane. I grew up in a time when I had a penpal that lived in Nova Scotia and waited days or weeks for a letter to respond to a question I asked. Now everyone is way more accessible and having a friend on the other side of the globe isn’t very far fetched. I’ve recently experienced the closeness technology brings us when I finally linked up with a Facebook friend, Stephan Tapley.  

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        I’ve know Stephan for quite some time. We met via a Facebook group dedicated to Sony cameras. He actually bought a lens from me. Every since then, we’ve talked pretty much everyday via Facebook Messenger comparing photography work; he’s amazing at capturing cars, but we’ve never met. Until recently on my trip to visit family in Georgia. 

          I told him I was coming into town and that we should try to link up. We were both pretty excited about it. We decided to explore a bit and ended up inside a home that was being built, which actually turned it to be a pretty dope place to shoot. He brought along a buddy Alex, who had a super sweet Honda Civic. 

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           It’s was literally hot as hell and we headed towards the AC of a spot called Freddy’s, which at least had good ice cream. I didn’t really eat due to going to a BBQ soon after the shoot. Stephan and Alex ate all their food, so I’m gonna assume it’s half decent lol. I took advantage of the nice lighting to create some bokeh! Bokeh is life people. Trust me on this. 

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        And that’s it! Stephan and Alex turned out to be super cool fellas. I’m so glad I got to finally meet Stephan in person. I got to see how he approaches his work. He’s just as particular as me. I love that he shoots entirely different from me and that we both got some great tips from each other. Definitely can’t wait to go back. Next time you’re wearing dress up clothes Stephan lol. I really appreciate the hospitality bro! 

Life is for Living,  

Michael B.  

Images by Stephan

 

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Nothing To Do In Memphis? Check out a Free Concert!

           If you’ve lived in Memphis for more than 10 hours, you’ve probably heard someone say there’s just nothing to do in Memphis or it’s such a boring city. Trust me, I hear it everyday even though I kinda write this whole blog about things that I do in Memphis! Crazy right? Whoever is telling you this is not telling you the truth. Consider your source first is what my mom always told me. Want something easy on the pockets? Love music? Then head over to the Levitt Shell for their free Summer Concert Series! 

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          Yep, that’s totally something to do! Maddy and I go all the time and we enjoy ourselves every time. Do we always know who’s performing? Nope, but that makes it all the more exciting! FYI, we’ve never heard anyone bad ever. These are professional acts, but the local garage bands lol. This past weekend the featured band was Dustbowl Revival and they were very very good. Check them out on YouTube, Apple Music, or wherever you get your music these days. 

            Our essential list for Levitt Shell adventures goes like this. Blanket, fruit, sandwiches, drinks, Prosecco, chips, hula hoop, bubbles, and the amazing Panchos cheese dip. Oh god how we live that Pancho's cheese dip! That’s all you need for a picnic. Show up, find a spot, and enjoy. The parents are normally laid back with a beer or wine while all the kids run around doing kid stuff. It’s a very nostalgic feeling to it all. Like what summers used to be like as a kid. 

          There ya go! Something to do in Memphis! Want to see the upcoming performers? Gotcha covered. Click HERE.

 PRO TIP: ARRIVE EARLY! It fills up quickly and parking is pretty terrible over there near the zoo. You’ve been warned. So come out, let the kids run around with no shoes, hang out and enjoy some good music. Don’t forget bug spray! Southern mosquitos don’t play!   

 

Life is for Living,

Michael B.  

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What Happened to the Lightning Bugs?

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           That’s a question I recently asked myself while sitting in the patio at dusk with Maddy. She hasn’t seen many of them and was so excited to see one. It was odd because when I was a kid we saw them all the time. They would take over our backyard in the spring and summer nights. Those were some of my favorite memories. Playing around with my cousins on the Slip N Slide and my dad handing each kid a half of a giant watermelon to eat on their own. Great times. In all those times, I remember there were always lightning bugs. Did anyone else try trapping them in glass jars and forget to poke holes in the lids? Just me? Oh my bad. 

         But honestly, where did they all go? I’m sure there is some super scientific answer for this, but I want the Cliff Notes version. I hate Maddy doesn’t get to experience the joy of watching lightning bugs. For now, her iPhone holds her attention. If you know, drop a comment. 

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Life is for Living,

Michael B.  

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Why I Bought a $79 Umbrella.

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         Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Did Mike just say he spent $79 on an umbrella? Yep! I know I could simply buy a cheap umbrella from a dollar store that I wouldn’t particularly care about losing. So why did I spend $79 on something I could have for $5 anywhere? Simply because I didn’t want just another cheap umbrella and I got tired of getting wet. Also, I ain’t balling, but I wanted a nice umbrella. 

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          Before you close the page, let me explain. The umbrella in question is the Classic Umbrella from Blunt Umbrellas.  I’ve long believed an umbrella was an accessory that a man didn’t need. I can just run to my destination, right? I’m manly and too cool for that, right? Another item to lose. I totally agree with all those logical points, but why is an umbrella not manly? All the classy fellas seem to carry them, so why not the average man? I love showers, but I don’t necessarily want to take one with my clothes on. Why do I arrive wet and have to shake water off like a caveman? (No offense to any cave people.) All in the name of being viewed as macho?

           Sure it looks familiar but this umbrella has some pretty cool tech. It’s super light weight, can withstand a Category 5 hurricane and even has a pocket for a Tile so you don’t lose it. Ok, I might have over exaggerated the hurricane part, but all the others are factuals. Just open it once and you’ll see what I mean. It’s totally different. The opening mechanism is so fluid and smooth. The other cool thing about this umbrella is the 5 year warranty! So that $79 ain’t so bad.  

 David Quarles with Blunt Metro umbrella 

David Quarles with Blunt Metro umbrella 

          All I can say is that I’m sold. At a certain point you just get tired of getting wet. Fellas, this umbrella also makes you look totally swagged out and what better way to impress that lady at the office than by pulling out that umbrella and walking her to her car? Classy move Ace! See where I’m going with this? Blunt Umbrellas come in lots of colors to match your style and there are also less expensive options, like the Metro line. Go check them out online at www.bluntumbrella.us and their super cool IG page. Ladies, this would be a great Father’s Day gift! Wink Wink.  

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

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Hanging in Saddle Creek

            So I’m really trying to do more vlogging. It’s actually a bit easier for me because I’m such a tech nerd and love playing around with my camera. The being in front of the camera part is a bit weird but I’m getting used to that now. 

         I recently met up with some of Memphis’ super crazy dope bloggers for Pour and Explore at the Shops of Saddle Creek benefitting Street Dog Foundation. You drink wine, shop and mingle. What’s not to like about those things? Here’s the video!  

Life is for Living,

Michael B.  

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A Day with Lil Wyte (Video)

            Photography has allowed me to work with some very interesting people. Every now and then there are the times I get a client that is actually someone that I admire. Enter Memphis hip hop legend Lil Wyte. I got a message that he was working on a new album and needed artwork. I was shocked his people knew me and even more so that he wanted me to do the photography. I was expecting this to be a wild and insane shoot, but Lil Wyte was by far the easiest client I’ve ever worked with. That’s saying a lot! Check out the video! 

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

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I Finally Went To Hattie B’s

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I Finally Went To Hattie B’s

           So, I finally went Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken. I put aside the Memphis/Nashville beef, which is totally a real thing, in the name of trying new food. See, that’s growth y’all. 

          I must say I was very impressed with the interior. It definitely vibes with the area it currently resides in. The patio is top notch and it’s covered!! It’s the perfect patio for brunching. I did notice Hattie B’s offers chicken and waffles on Sunday. I need to check to see what the mimosas situation is like. I pray they have mimosas. I need that patio in my life. 

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           So back to the chicken. I ordered the large white, which comes with 2 sides. It came with 2 huge breasts with the wings attached, which is way more than I was expecting. You can also choose the level of spiciness when ordering. There are levels to this mane. The chicken is pretty good, but I wasn’t overly impressed. I wasn’t disappointed either. Its kind of a toss up for me. Not great, but not bad either. If I could use an analogy it would be that Hattie B’s is kinda like the city of Nashville; very nice place but lacks soul. For the sides, I went with baked beans, southern style greens, and pimento Mac and cheese. Yes, my inner fat kid came out. Mac and cheese was kinda blah, but the baked beans were crazy good! Greens are one of those polarizing dishes. Everybody can’t make them and there are lots of variations. They were better than I expected. Someone knows what they’re doing. Did I mention the beans are amazing?

           Would I recommend Hattie B’s? I wouldn’t say don’t go. It’s pretty good chicken and the prices are very good. It lacks a little in the seasoning department outside of just being spicy. I would probably go back if I’m in the area. I will certainly see what’s up with the brunch situation. I still think Gus’, Uncle Lou’s and Jack Pirtles are better options. No, I’m not just saying that because they are local. They just have a bit more of that soul that Hattie B’s lacks.


Life is for Living,

Michael B.

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Things I Learned from Beale Street Music Fest

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Things I Learned from Beale Street Music Fest

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           Festival time is in full gear in Memphis and I couldn’t be happier! This is what makes Memphis, well Memphis. There will be a festival each week until October, which is why I call Memphis the City of Festivals. We just wrapped up Beale Street Memphis MusicFest, which finally offered a very diverse lineup after years of...... yeah we ain’t gonna go there. I enjoyed it this year and in the process learned a couple things.  

 

1. RAIN BOOTS ARE VITAL

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          Now this I shouldn’t even have to say, but I get asked each year if it’s really muddy. Mane look.  It’s a festival in the middle of spring. It’s gonna rain at some point and get muddy. Get a pair of rain boots and you’re set. There are some that go just sandals or barefoot, but those people are savages. Who raised y’all? I wore boots the entire festival and my feet are paying the price. Just prepare to wear them next year. 

 

2. OLD PEOPLE STAY AT HOME

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         Yeah I said it. Old people don’t belong at the festival. Well, I will put it like this. People who don’t want to be bumped into, be around intoxicated folks, talk to random strangers, or don’t want to smell a little weed; should probably just stay at home. It’s a festival Grandpa! What do you expect? Festivals are a very unique experience. Just chill out and enjoy or take your old ass to bed. People with attitude problems should stay home as well.

 

3. POST MALONE IS A PRETTY BIG DEAL 

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          Post Malone was clearly the reason thousands of 20 somethings showed up to the festival. I’ve never seen a crowd that large for any other artist than the one that showed up to see Post Malone. They were literally waiting at the stage for hours just to see him. I’ve heard of Post Malone, but I didn’t think he was that big. I was obviously wrong and I’ve been regulated to Old as Hell status. This might be a dumb question, but is he a rapper or a singer? Yeah, never mind because now I feel old for even asking.

 

4. PRONTO PUPS ARE LIFE! 

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         When you think of Memphis food, what comes to mind after BBQ? If you said anything other than the amazing Pronto Pup, you’re lying and I don’t love you. OMG!! It’s the most epic food there is! I literally ate about 30 in 3 days and I don’t feel ashamed about that at all. If you ain’t got Pronto Pups at your event, don’t invite me. Maybe that was a tab bit dramatic, but you get what I’m saying.  

 

5. ERYKAH BADU AINT GONNA BE ON TIME. DEAL WITH IT. 

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         There’s a thing called fashionable late and then there’s Badu late lol. Not only was she 45 behind, but her first couple songs were her freestyling sound checks. I can’t lie I was super pissed she didn’t go on at her scheduled time,  but when this woman sang I instantly forgot all about that. Did she play me? Hell yeah she did, but I don’t care! I can’t get enough of her regardless of the wait time going On and On. See what I did there?  

 

 Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

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In Frame: Tori WhoDat

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           I like to think I have a pretty good ear for music. Especially hip hop music. I grew up in a time when we experienced some of the best music lyrically made; the late 90’s and early 2000s. It’s hard to top a time when Tupac, Biggie, OutKast, Jay Z, Nas, and TI were killing it on the mainstream level. You also had your more regional powerhouses in Three 6 Mafia, Talib Kweli, No Limit, Cash Money Records, Tech N9ne, and the group I feel was far ahead of their time, PM Dawn. That era of rap was everything.  I say all that to say; I have a thing for lyrically driven music. Enter Tori WhoDat. 

          She probably doesn’t remember but I first met Tori back in 2014. She was on stage at The New Daisy opening for some artist I can’t remember. My first thought was, “Who the hell is this little girl and why is she on stage?” Suddenly she spit a few lines and I was hooked. Not only was Tori wild as hell, she was lyrically gifted. They say never judge a book by its cover, right? Well, I did and ended up looking dumb. 

          Over the years, I’ve watched that skinny, wild kid jumping all over the stage grow into a skinny, focused and composed artist. The transformation is very evident. Most rappers get in their niche and never venture out, but Tori WhoDat has totally elevated herself musically and professionally. I last saw her not opening, but headlining at HiTone with Lil Wyte and Frayser Boy. Pretty good company to be involved with with based on their success and longevity. Honestly, I’m honored she still even knows my name.  

          With this shoot, I wanted to capture the essence of not only Tori WhoDat, but also Tori the person. We tend to get lost in our own personas at times and Gucci Mane said don’t get lost in the sauce. So who is Tori? Honestly, she’s one of the nicest and funniest people I know. Incredibly humble and appreciative, Tori the person is awesome. Tori WhoDat is the powerful, raw lyrical beast that’s packaged behind a those mysterious eyes. I dig the balance. It’s kinda like the Light and Dark side of the Force. I also love that Tori isn’t afraid to be herself in a world that doesn’t always welcome individuality. That’s definitely a sign of maturity and self love. 

          You owe it to yourself to check out the work of Tori WhoDat. I’m awaiting her release of “The Come Up”, a playlist from music from 2014 and 2015. Search Tori WhoDat everywhere! That’s on Facebook, SoundCloud, IG, Twitter, and YouTube. You’ll find more info about upcoming projects, music and updates. Drop a comment and let me know what you think. 

 

Shoot details: 

Camera: Sony a7ii 

Lens: Samyung 35mm f1.4 AF

Location: Somewhere in Memphis  

 

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

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