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When Bloggers Unite

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When Bloggers Unite

           I love when my fellow bloggers decide to collab and not compete! We all win in that situation. I've met some amazing people through this simple concept, especially the amazingly talented Kim Thomas (KPFusion.com). Recently she organized a blogger meet up at the uber luxurious Guesthouse at Graceland hotel. Not only were we awarded with an amazing tour of the grounds, but it allowed me to meet more bloggers in the city. I'm not sure if I enjoyed the hotel or people more; either way I truly loved the experience! 

            Of course I had my Sony camera handy and decided to turn the whole place into my own location shoot! I mean why wouldn't I take advantage of being in this fancy hotel!  

The Interior 

          If you're into interior design, you might go into overload. The Guesthouse at Graceland has some of the best I've ever seen. Admittedly, I'm not an interior designer, but I know nice things when I see them. Every piece has a subtle nod to Elvis Presley in some way. It's like a little scavenger hunt in each throughout. 

The Bloggers 

          I didn't get a chance to snap a pic of everyone in attendance because we were all pretty amazed by all the sites, but I did manage get a couple! Some I've previously known and a couple I had no clue even existed. A special shout out to Denzel Alexander for helping me step my fashion game up and Carmeon Hamilton of Nubi Interiors for showing me how to decorate a coffee table!  Both invaluable!  

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          If you get the chance, do yourself a favor and check out the Guesthouse at Graceland. You will definitely be amazed! Go see Charles at the Lobby Bar! He's literally one of the best bartenders in the city. If you know me, I try to stay as close to the bar as possible! Go check the Guesthouse website for upcoming shows, events, and other happenings. There's something for everyone here! I would like to once again thank Kim Thomas and the entire Guesthouse at Graceland staff for making this all possible. It's always great to showcase Memphis in a positive light and show how many awesome attractions we offer. Thanks everyone!! 

Life is for Living, 

Michael B

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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.  

More pics! 

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My first visit to The National Civil Rights Museum

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My first visit to The National Civil Rights Museum

          Yes, you read that correctly. At the age of 35, I took my first trip to The National Civil Rights Museum. Yes, I was born and raised in Memphis. I've been called Mr Memphis by several people, but this is one of the few places I haven't visited in my city. Why? I'm not entirely sure. I guess because I know a lot about that Civil Rights Movement from my dad protesting in his younger days or maybe because I didn't want a reminder that would potentially make me angry. 

          I decided to take a day off from work and visit. I owed it not only to myself, but to the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and all those who sacrificed so that I could write this blog today. I packed my camera just in case. I quickly found out, I need either a smaller walk around camera or a more compact lens 

          I enjoyed the experience but I will have to go back to fully take in the museum. I went during MLK50, the commemoration of 50 years passing since the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. The museum was very crowded and I felt a bit rushed. 

         I didn't leave the museum upset or angry. I actually left with more questions than answers. I wondered how people could treat others so badly based purely on skin color. How a person could live with themselves while treating others so terribly. To think, these were also "good, church going" people. 

Life is for Living,

Michael B. 

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The KickBack

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The KickBack

Looking for a dope spot to hear the hits from the 80s and 90s hip hop and R&B? Well you need to check out The Kickback!

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SneakFest Recap

        So I got the chance to attend Sneakfest on last Saturday at the Agricenter. I love going to these even though I'm not a sneakerhead like most that are in attendance. I prefer to love sneakers from afar. The brains behind Sneakfest, RJ, Sherman, Adam, and Jay, instantly noticed and clowned me a little. I guess I deserved that much for wearing a pair of Clarks to a sneaker festival. 

 The creators of Sneakfest; RJ, Sherman, Adam, and Jay

The creators of Sneakfest; RJ, Sherman, Adam, and Jay

         I didn't let it bother me too much. I thought I had a chance at winning the prized trophy based on thinking outside the box a little lol. Sadly I did not win. I'm pretty sure that it's all rigged. 

 The trophy I should have won. 

The trophy I should have won. 

          Another reason I go to Sneakfest each time, even though I rarely wear sneakers, has to be the crowd it attracts. I absolutely love the diversity of the crowd! Far too many times in Memphis we get wrapped up in black events or white events. I'm not a fan of division. Sneakfest literally has participants of people of all races and gender. It's an event that transcends race and focuses on what everyone likes as opposed to the differences. That is amazing to me. 

         I didn't buy any sneakers this year, but I do plan on buying some at the next event. I'm also currently shopping for sneakers now so that I will be ready for the next Sneakfest. No way I'm getting laughed at again lol. Sherman told me that I had on the media person classics! That was a good one. Here are a few pics from the event. 

Life is for Living,

Michael B.

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MBRW - H&M Dessert Lounge

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MBRW - H&M Dessert Lounge

          The third stop on the Memphis Black Restaurant Week was to my daughter's favorite, H&M Desseet Lounge. Check out our review of H&M Dessert Lounge HERE 

           This is Maddy's all time favorite restaurant in Memphis, which seems to change every 2-3 weeks, and they never disappoint. I asked Maddy why she liked this restaurant so much and her response was typical of a 9 year old, "I love that there's purple things everywhere." Well that's good enough for me to visit as well. 

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        There have been some subtle changes to the interior since the time if my last review. The first thing that stuck out were the  omission of the living room type areas that features couches and ottomans. In their places are more traditional table and chairs. I like these more. It was hard to eat on those couches.   

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         The middle catwalk still dominates the middle. It's a bit awkward but it still fits. I finally saw people actually dining there this time, which is good to see it getting some use.  

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            The service was good as usual. Seems everyone knew Maddy. Chef Fran greeted her as soon as she walked through the door. I'm starting to think people like her more than me lol. Maddy came specifically for the brownie, more on that later. I ordered the smothered chicken tenders with an original waffle. On my last visit, I mention getting the tenders as opposed to the traditional bone in wings. This still holds true, in my opinion, if you don't want to make a complete mess. 

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            Maddy only wanted a traditional waffle, yet seemed to eat more of my chicken than anything. The gravy in the chicken is great and the strips were very tender. No need for a knife here! Just go right in! 

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           The highlight for Maddy was the chocolate temptation. I mean come on! Look at that! its tasted even better than it looks! There's something about a warm brownie and cold ice cream that go very well together. This time it came with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla when we last had it but it was still very good. Just eat it fast! Rhe ice cream melts quickly!! 

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          If you haven't checked out H&M Dessert Lounge then you're definitely missing out. Now is as good of a time to go since it is Memphis Black Restaurant Week and they are having lunch and dinner specials. They are even having a brunch special this weekend. My next visit I have to try the chicken and dressing waffle. I'm very interested in knowing what that is like!! Go check them out! Maddy gives it two thumbs up. That's gotta be good for something! 

Life is for Living,  

Michael B.  

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A Tour of Crosstown Concourse

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A Tour of Crosstown Concourse

          I recently got the chance to do something I've been dying to do, tour the upcoming Crosstown Crossing. If you're not familiar with this huge redevelopment project, then you're missing out on something amazing. The one Sears building is being transformed into an urban and creative utopia. There will be residential spaces, restaurants, creative classes, at last and even a brewery. Definitely something to check out when it opened in the fall. 

           My tour guide was the amazing Jamie Harmon, owner of Amurica. Jamie happens to be over of my favorite photographers and also a very cool dude. 

 Jamie Harmon

Jamie Harmon

        I was armed with my trusty Sony a7ii with an adapted Canon FD 28mm and the absolute worst shoes for exploring lol. Heres what I was able to capture. 

 The ride over!  

The ride over!  

         Crosstown Concourse is scheduled to be finished in the fall of this year, but the main atrium is open to the public without a hard hat. The apartments are also ready to move in as well. They have about 20% of the units remaining. This will also be the home of Crosstown Brewing Co as well. They are scheduled to start construction soon to begin brewing beer with a taproom soon to follow. 

         Go explore Crosstown Concourse. It's truly amazing what they have done with such an old building. 

Life is for Living,

Michael B. 

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Memphis Comedy Festival - Laugh Your Ass Off!

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Memphis Comedy Festival - Laugh Your Ass Off!

          Did you know that this weekend is Memphis Comedy Festival? Did you even know that Memphis has a comedy festival? Well now you do and it's really something you should be doing this weekend. The festival goes down March 9-12 in various spots around Memphis and will be headlined by Baron Vaughn and Dominic Dierkes. 

      This year's lineup looks awesome and brings some national firepower. Dierkes is a Memphis native and has worked with Donald Glover(Childish Gambino) and has written and produced for Comedy Central. Vaughn stars in Netflix's "Grace and Frankie" and has made several appearances on Conan and Jimmy Fallon's late night shows. 

          I'm really excited to see the "You Look Like A" show! If you're from Memphis then you know about the fine art of checking. It's a rite of passage from middle school to high school to learn this delicate technique. This show is a checking battle and is sure to be an awesome time. Showtime will be 10pm on Friday night and is hosted by the very funny, Katrina Coleman. I'm also excited to see the "Black Nerd Power Comedy Hour"  which will feature Baron Vaughn that goes down at Theaterworks on Saturday at 8pm. There's also an Underwear Comedy Party at midnight on Friday....yeah. Not sure about it, but hey I will check it out just to say I've experienced a comedy show in underwear!

         Head over to the Memphis Comedy Festival site for tickets and more info or if you're lazy, CLICK HERE. This will be an awesome event Memphis. Let's get out, hear some jokes and laugh our asses off!!

Life is for Living,

Michael B. 

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Memphis Black Restaurant Week

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           It's that time of year again and this one revolves around my favorite pasttime, eating. Next week the city of Memphis will once again feature Memphis Black Restaurant Week. A week dedicated to introducing Memphians and everyone in the MidSouth to some of the lessor known black owned restaurants that the city has to offer.

            Memphis is no slouch when it comes to dining establishments, but it's always great to find that hidden gem or the diamond in the rough. I get excited thinking about new food possibilities.

 Cynthia Daniels

Cynthia Daniels

           Memphis Black Restaurant Week is the brain child of Cynthia Daniels, Cynthia Daniels and Co. She organized last year's culinary event, which was a major success resulting in $85,000 in sales, 3185 customers and creating 38 new jobs for local Memphians! Now that's impressive!! I actually first met Cynthia officially at last year's MBRW and since then she's done some amazing things since. Not only is MBRW back for a second year, but it's expanding to 9 additional cities!

           This year's MBRW features 12 restatarants including familiar faces in H&M Dessert Lounge, Déjà vu and Scoops Parlor, but also includes new comers Phillip Ashley Chocolate, Sweet Potato Baby and 2 Vegan Sistas. For full listing of this years participants, click HERE.

           This is another great event for Memphis and we should all support the participants. I'm currently planning my week out! No reservations are required, but be mindful that lines could be a bit longer than normal. So have some extra patience.  Memphis offers other successful events that are open to all; including Memphis Italian Festival, Memphis Jewish Festival, and Memphis Greek Festival. Let's all get out and make Memphis Black Restaurant Week just as big and inclusive to all!!

For menus and participant info, click HERE

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

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2017 Beale Street Music Fest

        The lineups for this year's Beale Street Music Fest has finally dropped! 

 Photo cred: @bealestreetmusicfest

Photo cred: @bealestreetmusicfest

        I haven't gone recently because the lineups weren't very diverse and seemed to exclude a certain demographic (cough cough black people cough cough). It's something I've heard from others as well. I normally hear of the lineup announcement and ignore it, but this year the lineup is much better. They finally heard our groaning and complaining!!  

Friday 

 Photo cred: @bealestreetmusicfest

Photo cred: @bealestreetmusicfest

     It's Snoop!! I'm excited to be able to see Snoop perform. I have always loved his music and sound. I wasn't too thrilled when he went Jamaican for a project but nevertheless it's still Snoop Dogg. 

I'm also interested in seeing Jimmy Eat World and Brad Webb.  

Saturday 

 Photo cred: @bealestreetmusicfest

Photo cred: @bealestreetmusicfest

 

         This will be the most crowded day by far! I'm excited about seeing Kings of Leon definitely, but Wiz Khalifa, Ludacris and Lil Wyte all on the same day!! What?! That's a great lineup!! Saturday is definitely the day to go if you like hip hop music.  

Sunday

 Photo cred: @bealestreetmusicfest

Photo cred: @bealestreetmusicfest

       Sunday is pretty good as well. Jill Scott will definitely attract a good crowd as well as Ziggy Marley. Machine Gun Kelly is intriguing, but I think he would have been best on Saturdays bill. I do want to see Bush and Tori Kelly.  

          This year's Beale Street Music Fest looks to be really good. I definitely will be snagging a ticket, getting my rainboots and poncho ready, and getting something to cover my camera. What artist are you excited about seeing? Do you feel this year's lineup is diverse enough? Are you going? Drop a comment and let me know. 

 

For pricing and tickets, click HERE.  

 

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

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Cognac, Cars and Cigars Part 2!

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Cognac, Cars and Cigars Part 2!

          Coming up March 4th, on the front lawn of The Pink Palace Museum, will be the 2nd Annual Cognac, Cars, and Cigars. I'm very excited about this event, because last years event was great and definitely something new and fresh for the city. Last year's event was held on top of the LAZ parking garage downtown, which I thought was a cool and out the box location. The event sold out all 600 tickets last year as well. 

          Here's a little background of what to expect. The event features cognac samples from, cigars, food from local restaurants, live entertainment, iHeartMedia radio personalities, vendors and luxury cars from Gossett Audi, Gossett Porsche as well as personal rides from NBA ballers! The Bentley definitely stole the show last year. 

          This year's event will be held at The Pink Palace and there will be more tickets available. Tickets and general info is available at www.cognaccarsandcigars.com. Hurry because the tickets usually sell out pretty fast. 

         Tickets are $75 and includes a souvenir glass( last year's pictured above), beverage samples by Martell Cognac, food from local restaurants, and a cigar from BeLeaf Cigars. Also remember that 15% goes to the Make-A-Wish Mid-South, which provides wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. That alone is a great reason to attend. You can find out more about Make-A-Wish by clicking HERE

         I'm also excited to hear this year's entertainment provided by Carmen Hicks. This woman is amazing and can really SANG. Yes, that's way better than regular singing. I try to see her every chance that I get because she's just that great at what she does.             

Carmen Hicks

         So, please don't delay and try to get a ticket at the last minute. This event will definitely sell out! Stop reading this and go get your ticket ASAP! I can't wait to see you there!

Life is for Living,

Michael B. 

        

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The Break Up Show Review

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      I will start out this review by saying this wasn't my first time seeing The Break Up Show. I've gone 4 times. That should speak for itself. Either the show is really great or I have a weird fascination with the pain of others. It's mostly likely a healthy dose of both.

          Aside from my sick sense of humor, The Break Show is in fact a great show. The point of the show is the cast reenactments submitted emails, texts, and dating app breakups and overall people being insanely weird. Screenshots will be the death of us all! The things people say online are usually hilarious. Oddly enough, this is a great show for couples. It should give you tips on what not to do in the event of a break up. Trust me, take notes.

 Got to hang with Savannah before the show!  

Got to hang with Savannah before the show!  

     The cast, headed by creator and director Savannah Bearden, is a great mix of eccentric personalities that seem like really cool people to hang out and enjoy boxed wine with.  It's literally the perfect cast for this style of comedy. I love them all! One word you must remember is Bruce. Bruce simply steals the show, but in a very good way that totally works. He totally makes cross dressing less threatening and fun. Yes, I just wrote that and I'm not taking back. Random fact, Bruce let me touch his fake boobs. While nice, I will stick to the real ones.

 Bruce being Bruce  

Bruce being Bruce  

 

       The most recent show was the best I've been to and the submissions were great! This year they got fancy and held the show at The New Daisy Theater on Beale Street. That amazing in itself, but the most impressive part was  there was actual seating!! Yes real chairs!!

          The story about the guy with the bug crushing fetish was the weirdest thing I've ever heard. There was a LinkedIn bootycall attempt, an appearance from American Idol contestant  Alexis Grace, and my favorite, high school text breakups! Young love mixed with bad grammar and new unique words makes for an epic experience.

 American Idol contestant Alexis Grace  

American Idol contestant Alexis Grace  

      The Break Up show is must see for anyone with an open mind and a great sense of humor. It's also great for the anti-love crowd. I see you Debbie Downers. Go check out their Facebook page HERE and submit some of your bad breakups. Trust me, we all have them.

 Hanging with the cast!! 

Hanging with the cast!! 

        Random fact #2, The Break Up Show taught me the real sinister meaning behind the Pina Colada song! I thought it was about throwing a couple drinks back and having a great time.   Oh no! That song is not about having a good time at all! Don't believe me. Check this out. 

Life is for Living,  

Michael B.  

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Insomnia Cookies

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Insomnia Cookies

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        Have you ever had a late night craving for cookies? If you're anything like me, then you probably just yelled heck yeah at the screen. Insomnia Cookies has heard our cry and brought one of their late night cookie joints to Memphis. I know, I just did a fist pump too. 

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      So check this out. Insomnia Cookies is open from 10 am to 3am each day. Yes 3 am! But wait, there's more! They also serve up these cookies warm and fresh!! So say goodbye to those hard cookies that sit in a display case all day long. Not only that, but they also deliver!! It really can't get any better than this! 

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        So here's how it works. You can call in or order online for delivery or you can head over to their Highland Strip location near the University of Memphis. A late night cookie spot near a college campus? Well played Imsomnia Cookies, well played.  They are located at 545 S Highland St. 

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       The prices are a little on the higher side for a cookie, $1.50 each, but if it's 1 or 2 am I don't think it's terrible. They also have ice cream and milk to go along with those cookies and brownies. Its definitely worth a trip late night just to people watch. I think we can all imagine what the 2am cookie crowd is like! Pure comedy! 

 Ice cream Lt Dan!! 

Ice cream Lt Dan!! 

      I think it's worth a trip and it's definitely something new and exciting to do in Memphis. Think late night adventure. Have you been to Insomnia Cookies? How was your experience? Planning on going? Grab a chocolate chunk for me!! 

 

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

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Attack of the Giant Bunnies

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Attack of the Giant Bunnies

        Saying the art scene in Memphis is booming is putting it extremely lightly. It's exploded recently into more of a norm as opposed to being a niche crowd. More Memphians are getting out and experiencing the works both works renowned and local artists. 

         I really like the type of art that gets people out and active. I'm not sure what type of art this is called. Maybe it's called public art. I really enjoyed the Big Red Ball Project from last fall and now Memphis Brooks Musuem of Art has a new exhibit called Intrude!  

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       Yes! Rabbits! Giant rabbits! I never thought I would get excited about seeing rabbits, but there's something about a giant rabbit that gets me out the house. Artist Amanda Parer brings her bunny take over to the Bluff City from Jan 18- 29, so you still have some time to experience it. 

 Its eating the museum!! 

Its eating the museum!! 

 Lucky rabbit foot  

Lucky rabbit foot  

        I think this would be a great exhibit for families as well. The kids get to run around and see some big rabbits and the best part is that it's free! Also the Memphis Zoo is nearby so you could make a day if it on the weekend. The times of the exhibit are 10am through 8pm, because bunnies have to sleep of course.  

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       This could also be a pretty cool and cost effective date idea as well...you'll get brownie points for creativity fellas!  

Also, Brooks Museum has a cool social media contest going on. Follow @brooksmuseum on Instagram and use #brooksmuseumbunnies. Take some dope pics and the winner will be announced each day at noon. 

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Life is for Living, 

Michael B

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Things To Do: Paula and Raifords Disco

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Things To Do: Paula and Raifords Disco

       Have you ever wanted to go out and just let loose and party? I'm not talking about going out to sit, but actually party. I used to be on the club scene in my younger days, but they all felt pretty much the same. People get dressed up to go out and basically sit around. I got the feeling it was more about what I was wearing than anything else. Doesn't sound fun at all. 

      What if I told you there was a place in Memphis where you could avoid that feeling? Would you believe it? Well, there is!! It's Paula and Raifords Disco!! This place is totally not a fashion show. It's just a party, plain and simple. I have zero rhythm and I feel totally comfortable at Paula and Raifords dancing the night away!

 Dance floor  

Dance floor  

      This place is electric! You get a mix of pop, rock, 80s, and other dance party essentials served up by eclectic DJ Raiford. There's just something about hearing "Don't Stop Believing" that does something to me. Followed by Prince and Michael Jackson with a sprinkling of Nelly. You get all this in a place that takes you back to the 80's with white leather couches and a dance floor that lights up! Please tell me that's not the epitome of cool! Also there's a drum set that it open for anyone, but please try to stay on beat. There are also stripper poles on the dance floor.....

      A couple tips to maximize your trip to Paula and Raifords.

  1. The best night to go is Saturday. The line to get in can get pretty long. 
  2. Be prepared to be social! The partygoers are usually very friendly and talkative!
  3. The music is insanely loud! Some wear earplugs. 
  4. They serve 32 oz beer bottles....get this! 
  5. Don't hog the drums! Everyone wants to jam out!
  6. It's crowded. Be prepared to have someone bump into you. Chill and enjoy the experience. 

 

One must double cup!!

      Go and check out Paula and Raifords! Say hey to Paula, Raiford, Corey Hollywood and Keisha  for me! 

Life is for Living,

Michael B. 

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