MELVIN’ S MONTHLY MOMENTS
Growing a Tradition
At Red Hills Realty, I had an annual client appreciation party where I awarded chocolate Oscars. The awards weren’t serious; it was just an excuse to come together and celebrate another good year with my clients. The party gained some notoriety in Birmingham— enough so that people started calling the awards I’d hand out “Melvies.” One year, I had a couple of clients who were both doctors. I must have showed them 56 houses. Those two got the Melvie for being the Least Decisive Clients (you’d think in medical school they would cover training on making fast decisions). Time went by, and the tradition fell by the wayside. But this year, the Melvies came back from their dormancy. By now, my client list has grown so big that hosting a party for all of them would be impractical. Instead, my partner and I decided to throw a holiday party for our team members at LIST Birmingham, and you know what that means ... A lot of the awards we handed out this year were jokes, but a few of them were serious. My partner at LIST Birmingham, Brent, is 40. I’m 60. We live in Birmingham, Alabama, but somehow, we both managed to marry women that are from Upper Saint Clair, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and we both have 10-year-old sons. Brent and I have spent the last five years building a business. It has meant 70–80- hour weeks and taking calls at night, on weekends, on vacation etc. We have built a successful business but it would not have been possible without Robin and Jill being amazing. Brent and I both believe they could have done so much better for husbands than the two of us. They both received Melvies. The Melvie award ceremony is mostly meant to be a fun celebration, but it felt good to stop and publicly thank our wives. So much of what they do is behind the scenes, and it was special to be able to acknowledge that. THE MELVIES ARE BACK!
We also gave a Melvie to the LIST Birmingham Agent of the Year , a young man named Chase McCain. Chase came to LIST Birmingham hungry. He was our first agent. He stayed at our side learning every aspect of being an agent. He has never
said no to us when we have offered him an opportunity. Brent and I made sure Chase was rewarded for that hustle and effort. When
we were negotiating, he was there in the room with us, and when we were at listing appointments, he came to those, too. It’s been fun to watch him grow and develop, seeing him handle things like a much more experienced agent would, even though he only has four years of experience. He finished 2019 in the top 2% in production of all agents in Birmingham. He is also modest and funny. Everyone was excited for him to win the coveted Melvie. This year, LIST Birmingham sold over $100 million in real estate, up 22% over last year. LIST Birmingham is growing. 70% of our business comes from referrals from past clients. Who knows, we may have to have a special Melvies ceremony for our top clients this year. The year 2020 has endless possibilities.
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Meet the Women Who Pioneered Motor Sports
While Danica Patrick and Courtney Force are well known as modern faces in motor sports, they’re far from the first women to cross the finish line. Since the early 1900s, women have been a constant fixture of automotive racing, including the following three who each left their marks on the sport. SHIRLEY MULDOWNEY Shirley Muldowney is professionally known in the drag racing community as “The First Lady of Drag Racing.” In 1973, she was the first woman to earn a Top Fuel license from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and, despite backlash from competitors, went on to win the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series an unprecedented three times. Twentieth Century Fox documented her trials and accomplishments in the 1983 biopic “Heart Like a Wheel.”Muldowney famously loathed her own characterization but still lauded the film as required viewing for anyone interested in the sport of drag racing. JANET GUTHRIE Janet Guthrie had her sights set on the stars from day one. A skilled aerospace engineer, she began her racing career in 1963. After taking home two class wins in the famed 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race, Guthrie became a well-known figure among racing gurus. In 1976, she became the first woman to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series when she finished 15th in the Coca-Cola 600, then called the World 600. To date, Guthrie’s storied career has landed her in the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and the Automotive Hall of Fame.
CREATE YOUR OWN ODYSSEY Mythical Adventures Await in the Mediterranean
One of the oldest stories in Western literature is Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan War. While Odysseus’ travels were fraught with mythical monsters and magic, many of the places he visited are said to be inspired by real islands in the Mediterranean. Even today, travelers flock to these islands looking for peace, adventure, and epic stories of their own. SICILY, ITALY One of the most popular stories in “The Odyssey” is the tale of Odysseus rescuing his crew from Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops. It’s said that Polyphemus made his home on what is now modern-day Sicily. Fortunately, there are no Cyclopes in Sicily today; there are only cultural festivals, world-class golf courses, and delicious food. GOZO, MALTA While Odysseus’ journey was perilous, he did enjoy one peaceful stop. Odysseus spent seven years on the mythical island of Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso. Historians suspect that Ogygia was Gaudos, now modern-day Gozo, Malta. Gozo is home to the Ġgantija temples, which are older than the Egyptian pyramids. In addition to exploring its archaeological marvels, Gozo’s visitors can also enjoy snorkeling, horseback riding, and other memorable adventures. ITHACA, GREECE If you want to chart your own odyssey, make your final stop Odysseus’ home, the island of Ithaca. Covered in lush greenery and quaint villages, Ithaca is a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip. Visitors can enjoy their morning coffee by a seaside cafe before lounging on a secluded beach for the rest of the day. It’s no wonder why Odysseus fought so hard to get back to Ithaca! With dozens of other islands to explore, the Mediterranean is the perfect place to plan your own odyssey —minus the mythical monsters, of course.
DOROTHY LEVITT Dorothy Levitt is known for her driving skills on both land and water, setting the first water speed record and an early women’s world
land speed record. Her motor racing career started slow in 1904 due to illness and various car troubles, but Levitt eventually went on to garner a reputation for her speed and earn the nickname “The Fastest Girl on Earth.”When she wasn’t racing, she spent her time writing. In her book “The Woman and the Car,” Levitt recommended that women carry a small mirror with them for driving in traffic, effectively inventing the rearview mirror five years before it went into production.
If you want to learn more about these women and others in motor racing, pick up Todd McCarthy’s book “Fast Women: The Legendary
Ladies of Racing.”
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STICK A FORK IN IT Healthy Eating Habits From Around the World
In the U.S., there’s nothing we love more than our large meat-and-potatoes dinners, but, according to nutritional experts, American-style meals are expanding our waistlines and leading to chronic medical conditions. Push back against these
and turmeric can decrease inflammation in the body while curry powder can aid in digestion and strengthen your bones and heart.
You Try It: Using your own spices, have a spice-blending competition. Taste-test the creations and decide which recipes are good enough for a repeat and which ones will go down in family history as lofty experiments. Who knows? You may just discover your family’s next favorite meal.
unhealthy habits by checking out these healthier food traditions from around the globe that your whole family will enjoy. JAPAN: THE APPEARANCE In Japanese culture, an emphasis is placed on the look and color of the meal instead of the portion size. Japanese chefs opt for smaller portions of colorful fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish to create gorgeous, nutrient-packed meals. The result is a dish that is as beautiful as it is nutritious.
MEXICO: THE LUNCH Diners in Mexico often step away from the hustle and bustle of their busy days to enjoy their largest meal of the day: lunch. Though it may surprise you, this cultural tradition has surprising health benefits. Nutritional experts point to making lunch the largest meal of the day as the healthiest dining option, especially to
You Try It: Learn the art of making sushi and other Japanese meals with your family. See what creative combinations your family can create, and vote for the best one! As an added bonus, since portions are small, meals are easily transportable to school and work. INDIA: THE SPICE Delicious spices comprise the bold flavors in traditional Indian dishes, and many even boast health benefits. Common ingredients like ginger
control weight. More calories at lunch keep hunger at bay, which means less afternoon snacking and fewer daily calories overall, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. You Try It: Short of packing bigger lunches for your kiddos, try out this style of eating during the weekends. Enjoy large, family-style midday meals and smaller dinners with your loved ones on Saturdays and Sundays to reap the nutritional benefits of a large lunch. For more information and tips on how to transform your eating habits, visit DoSomething.org. EASY SHRIMP SCAMPI
TAKE A BREAK
Inspired by The Blond Cook
In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 oz cooked linguine
1/4 cup parsley
Solution on Page 4
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Laughter and Gratitude at the Melvies Your Epic Adventure Awaits Fearless Women Who Pioneered Motor Sports International Eating Habits Every Family Will Enjoy! Easy Shrimp Scampi Meet the Dog Who Helped Take Down al-Baghdadi
MEET CONAN The Dog Who Helped Take Down al-Baghdadi
On Oct. 28 last year, President Donald Trump tweeted a photo that quickly went viral. It showed an adorable snapshot of a bright-eyed Belgian Malinois, tongue lolling, still wearing
ultimately died. It’s unclear whether Conan was there to track al-Baghdadi or to spot improvised explosive devices that may have been planted on the route, but either way, he performed well. According to NBC News, Conan was injured by some live electrical cables during the mission, but he recovered quickly and was back on duty within the week. Meanwhile, President Trump invited the brave pup to the White House and tweeted out a doctored photo that showed him awarding Conan a Medal of Honor. President Trump captioned the photo “AMERICAN HERO!” and he’s not alone in his appreciation for the hardworking dogs that have been helping our military since WorldWar II. “To me, they’re the first line of defense,” United States War Dogs Association President Ron Aiello told Vox after the news about Conan came out. “They’re such a great asset to our military today.” Military dogs are put up for adoption after 6–8 years in the service, which means a lucky civilian could take Conan in as early as 2022! Meanwhile, dozens of other smart canine heroes are looking for homes. To learn more about military and other working dog adoptions, visit MissionK9Rescue.org.
its camo military vest. In the caption, President
Trump explained that the pup, Conan, was a national hero who was instrumental in taking down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
With four years in special operations forces and roughly 50 missions under his
collar, Conan was selected to be part of the team that pursued al-Baghdadi through a network of underground tunnels in northwest Syria, where the terrorist
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