Tara Massouleh McCay

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About Tara Massouleh McCay

Tara Massouleh McCay is a writer and editor based in Birmingham, Alabama. She was previously associate editor at Birmingham magazine and has been contributing to local and regional publications since 2015. She loves sports, spicy food, and above all the art of storytelling.

5 films not to miss at Sidewalk Film Festival

2022-08-06T16:27:00-05:00By |Culture|

Many Birminghamians associate the end of August with more than just the return of the school-year routine. The last couple of weeks of August bring with them the reemergence of Sidewalk Film Festival, an annual film festival that has graced the Magic City for 23 years and running. Each year, more than 15,000 film lovers rendezvous in downtown Birmingham, filling theaters across town to celebrate the art of movie making. Each year, around 250 filmmakers from across the country—and around the world—have their films selected to show during the weeklong festival. 

Meet Alabama’s first certified Black woman winemaker

2022-08-06T12:53:17-05:00By |Food & Drink|

Rada Griffin wears a lot of hats. During business hours, she’s a contract software engineer working on top-secret NASA projects. But after she clocks out for the day, the real fun begins. In addition to serving as a personal chef, Griffin is also the owner of Anissa Wakefield Wines. She recently became Alabama’s first (and only) certified Black woman winemaker.  

5 Birmingham artisans making beautiful handbags

2022-08-06T11:50:32-05:00By |Fashion, Lifestyle|

Artisan-made goods aren’t hard to come by in Birmingham. Thanks to a healthy (and very busy!) community of artists and makers, you can shop local for all sorts of things, from soap and shampoo to jewelry, candles, and ceramics. If you’re looking to elevate your style, several Magic City makers specialize in handmade handbags that combine form and fashion for a timeless accessory. Using hand-cut leather, vinyl, canvas, and more, these talented designers and artisans create one-of-a-kind wearable art that you’ll be proud to carry. So the next time someone compliments your purse, you can proudly report that it was made right here in the 'Ham.  

How to spend a perfect weekend at Smith Lake

2022-07-20T16:41:12-05:00By |Travel|

Most Alabamians have a favorite lake to escape to for long weekends and day trips, and one of the most popular is Smith Lake in North Alabama near Cullman. With more than 500 miles of lush tree-lined coastline, the 21,000-acre Smith Lake is one of the state’s most expansive reservoirs for swimming, boating, and general recreation. And with water temperatures averaging around 80 degrees, the conditions are just right for jumping in! If you’re planning to take a trip to Smith Lake this summer, here’s how to make the most of your visit. 

The best lake restaurants in Alabama

2022-07-15T15:29:25-05:00By |Travel|

Summer is busy season for Alabama’s many lake communities as everyone looks to escape the heat. Alabama is home to several gorgeous lakes that are ideal locations for a quick weekend trip on a hot summer weekend. While you’re spending a relaxing weekend on the water, the last thing you want to think about is cooking, so in between sandwiches on the boat or easy grill-out nights, head out to have lunch or dinner made by someone else. Here’s our guide to eating out when you’re at the lake this summer, no matter which stunning Alabama body of water you choose to visit.  

How to spend a football-free weekend in Tuscaloosa

2022-07-15T11:41:34-05:00By |Travel|

When you live in a state like Alabama where college football is king, it’s wise to be wary of falling into a couple of common traps. One is associating cities exclusively with football teams, ignoring the decades of history and community that exist independent from the team. Thus is the case with Tuscaloosa. Sure, the western Alabama city is home to the University of Alabama and its beloved Crimson Tide football team, but it also brings a lot more to the table. Whether you’re a fan of the Crimson Tide, the Auburn Tigers, or could care less about football, Tuscaloosa—also known as T-town or the Druid City—deserves a visit. Here are our recommendations for enjoying a weekend in the city. 

Industry veteran opens new downtown Birmingham coffee shop

2022-07-29T10:03:08-05:00By |Food & Drink|

If you’ve explored Birmingham’s dining scene over the past decade, there’s a good chance you’ve run into Jimmy Truong. The Birmingham native has worked at and with some of the Magic City’s most popular establishments from Automatic Seafood, Collins Bar, and Queens Park to former favorites Octane and Woodlawn Cycle Café. Last month, Jimmy Truong established his own place in our city’s ever-growing food and beverage scene with the grand opening of a new coffee shop, June Coffee, in downtown Birmingham. Though Truong says owning his own business was somewhat in his destiny, it wasn’t always clear that coffee would be the form it took. 

Best birding spots in Alabama

2022-07-08T13:47:24-05:00By |Outdoors|

The last two years have been filled with an ebb and flow of trends throughout the pandemic. While some have faded, like bread baking and the popularity of Tiger King, others like board games and Zoom have remained. Another of the biggest lasting trends has been an increased interest in birdwatching. Businesses that sell birdfeed and backyard birdfeeders reported a sales increase of between 45 percent and 50 percent.  The usage of Audubon, a birdwatching app, also went way up. If you got into birdwatching during the pandemic or are curious to see what it’s all about, Alabama is a great place to start. Here are the best places to go birding in Alabama. 

How a Birmingham maker turned a childhood craft into a jewelry line

2022-06-27T19:57:46-05:00By |Living|

If you grew up in the ‘80s or ‘90s, you may be familiar with Perler beads. The humble craft is made by arranging tiny beads on a peg board, then fusing them together with a hot iron to create colorful designs and shapes. While the concept is simple, the possibilities are endless, and that’s exactly what Birmingham native Aaliyah Taylor saw when she began making jewelry out of the children’s craft in 2012. 

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