About Julia Sayers Gokhale

Julia Sayers Gokhale is a writer and editor who has been working in the lifestyle journalism industry since 2012. She was Editor in Chief of Birmingham Magazine for five years and is now leading SoulGrown’s content team.

SoulGrown’s handpicked Alabama-made gift guide

2021-12-06T17:00:30-06:00By |Living|

There's always good reason to shop small, but especially this year—in the midst of labor shortages and shipping delays—it's an even better time to support your favorite local businesses. In Alabama, there are countless makers and artisans selling handmade items and handcrafted wares that make for meaningful gifts. We sat down and thought about what local gifts we love to give and receive. It was hard to narrow it down to just a few, but here are our favorite Alabama-made products, handpicked by the staff and contributors of SoulGrown.

This hidden gem in Pelham offers gourmet dishes and specialty food items

2021-09-28T11:24:25-05:00By |Food & Drink|

Criss Smiley is the kind of guy who will do anything to make his community happy—including bringing raw steaks out to customers' cars so they could still choose their speciality cut when the restaurant's interior was closed during the 2020 lockdown. His corner shop in Pelham, Smiley Brothers Specialty Foods, offers butcher-cut meat, an extensive cheese and wine selection, and other gourmet foods like crackers, jellies, and sauces. But these aren't your run-of-the-mill condiments. The team makes several of the items in house, including tomato jam, pickles, salad dressings (they sell their ranch by the bottle), fermented hot sauce, and pimento cheese made with peppers grown just for Smiley Brothers.

Chase a pig and attend a rodeo at annual Eva Frontier Days festival

2021-09-27T14:34:02-05:00By |Culture|

If a greased pig chase and a frog jumping contest sounds like you're idea of a good time, then you've come to the right place. Each September, the small town of Eva in North Alabama comes together for a week of old-fashioned fun and games at Eva Frontier Days. The family-friendly festival, September 17-25 this year, includes the aforementioned greased pig chase and frog jumping contest, as well as a parade, hayrides, showings of antique tractors, and a rodeo. 

Yellow Hammer Farms is a groundbreaking urban farm in downtown Birmingham

2021-07-08T12:08:32-05:00By |Food & Drink, Living, Outdoors|

In a nondescript warehouse on 3rd Avenue North in Birmingham, strips of LED lights hang from the ceiling, glowing pink and purple. Music plays in a room behind a large glass window. I step inside the room and it smells like...lettuce? Yes, that's right—this isn't the city's newest club or trendy restaurant, it's an urban hydroponic farm growing greens and herbs for consumer sales and restaurant distribution.

A Trussville couple spent 5 years developing an Alabama-grown botanical facial oil

2021-04-29T17:29:20-05:00By |Lifestyle|

A simple, square black bottle with a gold embossed flower on it holds a precious product for an Alabama couple. The Clarity Oil, an Alabama-grown facial botanical oil, is the result of five years of hard work for Kelly Steffey and Hamilton Trimm. It’s the first (and currently only) product for their Trussville-based small business called Mila.

How to spend a dog-friendly day in Huntsville

2021-04-30T11:23:03-05:00By |Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Travel|

Plenty of people (myself included!) got pandemic pups in 2020, and now they're attached to us just as much as we are to them. For those who like to take their dog everywhere (guilty), it isn't always easy to find places that are dog-friendly. But luckily, some places and some cities are more furry-friend friendly, and Huntsville is one of those. Here's how to spend a dog-friendly day in Huntsville (as shown by Louie G. the Frenchie).

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