Music Mondays// Alexis Rhode

Alexis Rhode is an incredible, local singer/songwriter. Her catchy melodies are paired with clever lyrics that will get stuck in your head all day (believe me). She is a “uke girl” as I like to call them and she reminds me of Ingrid Michaelson, who happens to be one of her biggest influences. Nevertheless, Alexis has unique elements in her music that is all her own. Her musings seem as though they come from the inner most parts of her mind. The kind that come up in a specific moment of quiet and must be written down quickly before the feeling fades. She has something that so many artists lose over time, and that I will always respect from a songwriter: Honesty.

IMG_5282As polite and friendly as she is, Alexis can’t help but give off the feeling of being a very private person. It seems that the best way to figure out what she is thinking is really to listen to her music. This is the case with tons of songwriters actually. It could take years to develop a trust with us, but we will willingly pour out our most intimate emotions on stage for all to see. It’s a strange little oxymoron, but I think it creates a sweet balance.

Alexis ventured to Nashville and has brought back the best parts of their community to Jacksonville. She went to experience the atmosphere and absolutely loved it. Nashville is a sort of Mecca for singer/songwriters, and her experience was nothing short of spiritual the way she describes it.

IMG_5283” I was inspired by so many amazing, interesting people. You would meet people and not recognize them, but later you would find out that they wrote a ton of hit songs. It was really cool. Also, the community was so encouraging and helpful. I learned so much being there and made a ton of connections. It didn’t feel like business connections, but more like good, strong community connections. It felt like home.”

Alexis mentions the music community that so many wish was here in Jacksonville. I have heard from musicians that we need to pull together and create a better environment for local music. We should not be competitive, but collaborative. We should work to make each other successful, and in turn hopefully someone is working to make us successful. Alexis carries this attitude with her in every interaction with local musicians and I know it will further benefit her career.

Alexis is working on an EP titled “Ruins”

You can keep up with her music on Facebook right here!

Post and photography bypam1

Video by Pam Affronti and Joel Bernkrant



Lean + Meadow

This post is a fairly selfish post. I’ll start out by admitting that to you, but I’m sure that after you see the photos and hear more, you’ll be happy that I was selfish. Remember how excited I was for Community Loaves having a store front? Well, while searching through Instagrams relating to Community Loaves, I stumbled upon Lean and her blog. She had written a post about Community Loaves expressing her love for bread, just like me. I couldn’t help but go through her whole blog and found she didn’t live too far away – in Riverside in the most beautiful home. Usually we meet our people of the city at Bold Bean, but coming from her photography, I so badly wanted to go into her home. I took the opportunity to invite Amanda and myself over. Lean was a great host and didn’t find it strange at all that I wanted to come over. She threw the kettle on and made us lamingtons. Lamingtons are a dessert coming from Australia and she made us these because Lean is from Australia! Her and her husband have been here for a little over a year, and will head back to their homeland in December. It was so much fun talking to her about our beloved city and what she wanted to experience while she was here. It’s also a treat for me to hear everyone’s perspective on how they feel about the city.
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Back in Australia, Lean was a secondary teacher or what we more commonly say, a high school teacher. It wasn’t quite her fit, and through this time she was trying to discover what exactly her passion was. At points she felt as if her passion had been stripped. She tried different creative outlets- dance, music, any type of art; one day she picked up an old DSLR camera and fell in love. She began to collect old cameras and familiarized herself with the technical side of photography and continued to fall in love. This all happened in the Spring of 2013, and you’d never know that she’s so new to this art form by her photos. Keeping her family back home caught up with her life in America, she’d give herself tasks each day of what she’d photograph to get better and better.

Lean’s blog has a ton of beautiful photography of home cooked food. If you know me, you know I love food. We expressed our love for slow food and food made with our hands. We spoke of our love for local businesses, fresh veggies, and I went on and on on how much I loved her photos. Aside from her great cooking and baking, Lean has a reoccurring post throughout her journal. She calls in Creative Humans. This is another reason why I wanted to feature Lean. Her Creative Human pieces are a lot like our People of the City posts. I knew that because of all of her effort being put into Creative Humans, she needed to be placed into a Creative Human in our People of the City posts. She won’t be in Jacksonville forever, and telling by her stories, her and her husband have traveling hearts. So start following her blog and read up on some creative people in the city through Lean as well. She has vision to highlight Creative Humans wherever she goes. I can see this idea getting big rather quickly!

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I absolutely love hearing different view points on our city. It was so much fun to hear Lean’s personal experience with Jacksonville, especially since she’s not even from America! Lean loves the culture and community she’s found here. She loves that she can get on her bike and go to quaint independent places and meet people who are proud of what they’re doing. You’ll find Lean often times in Jacksonville in Sun Ray Cinema, Community Loaves, Bold Bean or walking her beautiful dog, Taj.

Lean is so lovely! If you have a chance to meet her, find a way to! She may even take you in her back yard and supply your household with rosemary and lavender!

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San Marco Bookstore // San Marco

I work in a library, which means that I’m well-acquainted with the heady smell of aged dust on aged books. This smell gives some people headaches, but it makes me smile. I smile because that scent means that I’m in a place of endless magic and opportunity. Not Hogwarts, my friends; this splendid aroma can be found in your local San Marco Bookstore.

_MG_5817books_MG_5823books_MG_5820booksWe humans love books. If we don’t, we haven’t read very much. We love books because they force us to realize the sheer power of words. A book doesn’t do anything, really—it just allows us to hold it. At the same time, though, it pulls us into a whole new world. *Cue Aladdin music.* We forget about the fact that we can’t fly or meet Michelangelo or demonstrate awesome Kung-Fu skills. Normalcy and the laws of gravity are irrelevant when reading a book. The San Marco Bookstore is one of the places in the world that allows us become whoever we feel like becoming in that moment.

What makes this bookstore extra great is the owners. Desiree Bailey and her parents Jan and Mike Molyneaux have owned the bookstore for 15 of its 40 years of existence. Desiree truly loves being in San Marco and believes that it is the people who come to the square who have kept them in business. The family has no background in books other than reading, but something crazy happened: 15 years ago, they saw that the bookstore was for sale. 30 days later, the bookstore was theirs._MG_5829booksThe bookstore is small, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that it can’t overwhelm you. You might get lost in the classic children’s tales from earlier centuries, or the cooking books that remind you that there’s still time to perfect your inner chef before Thanksgiving. This quaint place of over 25,000 books has genres ranging from Art to Science Fiction to Christian to some local Jacksonville goodies. Whether you’re a classics nerd or looking for something on planes, trains, and automobiles, the bookstore is bound to have it. And in case you’re one of those weird humans who doesn’t enjoy reading, you can peruse the stationary or toys. You’d probably enjoy the toys more, since those don’t have any words on them. But the stationary in this bookstore is wonderful._MG_5811booksMy favorite section is the classics. The rich and beautiful bindings of the many volumes make me forget that we don’t currently live in a world where monks are clustered in dark rooms, pouring over ancient scrolls and transcribing the yellowed documents into Latin. That’s a pretty magical feeling that the San Marco Bookstore can evoke._MG_5806booksYou can visit the bookstore’s website here for more information on their inventory and services. Take it from me, a fellow master of book smells, that the bookstore is definitely worth your time. So take a break from the 21st century and step into the past at your local San Marco Bookstore.

 

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Music Mondays…on Thursday// Jacob Creel

Jacob Creel is really great at one thing I struggle with doing; Writing songs. He writes songs like a mad man. He stays up all night many times in order to write and write and write. I was amazed at the amount of music he had. Please don’t be mistaken. These are not quick, meaningless songs. These are thought out, intricate narratives that seem to come so easily. Jacob began writing music at sixteen and is now twenty. Within those four years he was busy writing over five hundred songs. It’s just crazy. I can’t fathom it. But there he sits, quiet as can be, with five hundred songs sitting in his head. What Morgan and I came to realize with Jacob is that he doesn’t only write about himself. He loves to write about history. He seems to be very intuitive to what is happening around him and he writes about that. He is a people watcher. An observer. He is first and foremost a storyteller.

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Jacob has a very Irish folk sounding style and isn’t scared to have a two minute intro. An April Song moves in a way that keeps you interested and throws you off right when you think you know where its going. Just another reason why I call him a storyteller. His songs travel more than most. They end up in a completely different place from where they started. They make you wonder how you got there. It’s a very similar to the human experience. Jacob just has found a way to blend the two.

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“I like to write about different perspectives throughout history. Sometimes I will take the perspective of the person no one would expect to hear the story from. Sometimes is the ‘bad guy’ of the story. I think it makes things more interesting.”

Jacob Creel plays around town and you can find him most often at Three Layers and Rain Dogs. Show him support and stay up to date with his music on his Facebook.

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Hawkers Asian Street Fare // 5 Points

We realize that by now you’ve heard of Hawkers Asian Street Fare in 5 Points. So this post is for you to read in agreement with our profession of love for Hawkers, and, more importantly, my personal love for noodles. Whether we know each other or you’ve been following Somewhere in the City for awhile, you know that I looove noodles. Okay, focus. This isn’t a post about pasta. I do want to make it a point to say how ecstatic I am that Hawkers chose to be in 5 Points. Since they were successful in Orlando, they could have gone wherever they wanted, but the owners fell in love with Riverside and 5 Points like most of us have. I was able to go to a Yelp Elite event before Hawkers officially opened and got to hear the owners talk and share their heart. I was also able to try a good portion of their menu and take in the atmosphere they had created. After such a wonderful experience, I was ready to take all my friends; Hawkers is a place to go with a group, as their menu is tapas style. Sharing is caring, and it’s one of my favorite parts about dinner. I love going and passing around a plate for all to enjoy–it makes for a more intimate meal and makes for better conversation when your guard is let down a little.

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(Photo taken from Anthony N on Yelp)

Hawkers is booming, so there may be a wait when you get there, but we urge you to understand that the success of a business is good for a neighborhood and surrounding businesses. We just wanted to give you fare warning that this isn’t an in-and-out place. But we did say to go in a group, right? Waiting doesn’t really feel like waiting when you’re in good company.

The company gets even better once you’ve been seated and taken a look at the menu. You’ll see that nothing is over $8.00, and there’s an array of options to choose from. We’re going to give some honorary mentions to some of our favorite Hawkers dishes. The roti canai is something we always order, and we ALWAYS order extra roti. Roti is a Malaysian flat bread that reminds everyone of something different; it reminds me of a delicious crepe. I should probably eat them slower than I do, but that curry dipping sauce is so good. I save it and pour it on everything else I eat.DSC_8293

An off-menu item that is also fairly popular is the Thai iced tea. It’s a great balance of tea (brewed in house) and cream. It’s a must-order for me, along with the roti.

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The wonderful thing about tapas style dishes is the endless combinations available. At Hawkers, we’ve created a tradition: we order the roti, another appetizer, and a stir-fry noodle dish to eat ourselves. I love sharing, but sometimes, especially when it comes to noodle dishes, I just want to eat it all on my own.

There are no heat lamps at Hawkers, so your food comes out as soon as it is taken off the wok. That’s how tapas style dishes are–delivered fresh. We recommend going on multiple occasions and trying a variety of dishes, but for entrees your first couple of times, we highlight the pad thai, char kway tea, and the lo mein. You can add to your spice level, and if you’re generous with your noodle dish, you can pass it around the table. It’s a great way to try something you may not have had before, which is what is so great about Hawkers: it encourages companionship, diversity, and branching out.

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Ask about dessert! Their dessert is not located on the menu, but, luckily for me, I had to know what the sweets situation looked like. My favorite has to be the Crème Brulée Trio. Each flavor is of a tea with the taste and texture of custard. Since it’s brulée, the top is caramelized and crispy, topped with whipped cream. Hawkers also throws in a glazed sweet biscuit, which I’d consider more of a cracker. The trio is a great way to end a filling meal of many plates, and my mouth tells me it’s happy every time I order the trio.DSC_8308

Go and visit Hawkers in 5 Points. Fall in love with the exposed brick, the decor made out of woks, the customer service, and fall more in love with the people you bring with you, and if it happens to be us, then great!

Check out what our friends over at Outside the Den had to say. After you read their review, don’t forget to follow Hawkers on all those necessary social media outlets.

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