Person: What’s up? Me: My stress levels

Did the holidays take their toll on you this year? We are right there with you. Earn points when you visit our health spa partners and peel off the layers of stress you accumulated during 2018.

 

Life Touch Massage

1223 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233

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Lemar Storey is a local expert in massage therapy, and his business offers a lot of affordable options. Located near Good People Brewing, Life Touch Massage is a local innovative spa that provides affordable massage services for individuals who work, live, play, and travel to Downtown Birmingham, AL. 

Services include Swedish Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Chair Massage, Pregnancy Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Hot Yoga Massage, Cupping, Full Body Scrub, and Neuromuscular Therapy.

Learn more or schedule an appointment here.



 

The Retreat Day Spa

5236 Overton Rd, Irondale, AL 35210

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The Retreat is conveniently located but feels like a world away from the bustle of city life. Find yourself a time to retreat from your stresses and rejuvenate your physical and emotional body. Our therapists are ready to customize your massage and skin care to your specific needs. 

Services include Massage Therapy, Couples Massage, Sugar Body Polish, Custom Body Wrap, Facials, Microdermabrasian, Dermaplane, Oxygen Treatment, Lash & Brow Tinting, Waxing, and Microblading.

Learn more or schedule an appointment here.

What's Going On for New Years Eve?

Some of our Pointz partners are offering NYE parties, special menus, and more to help you celebrate the New Year in Birmingham!

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Roots & Revelry

Roots & Revelry’s 2nd annual New Year's Eve event will once again take over the entire 2nd floor of downtown’s historic Thomas Jefferson Tower! 
Join us to “Ring in the Revelry” and dance, drink, eat, revel, and enter 2019 in style!  Cocktail attire.

More info and tickets here.


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Wine Loft & Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar

Get down Downtown, and ring in 2019 at some of Birmingham's trendiest spots at the Loft District’s Downtown Get Down. $10 wristband gets you into your first venue, and each additional venue you visit is only $5! *Keep your wristbands*

Locations include: Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar, Wine Loft, Carrigan’s Public House, The Atomic, The Collins Bar, and Paper Doll Bar.

More info and tickets here.


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John’s City Diner

Celebrate New Year's Eve with John’s City Diner. Open for dinner Monday night December 31, 2018 at 5pm. We will offer our dinner menu and many chef's specials. Make your reservations NOW!

Menu and contact info here.


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Cahaba Brewing Company

Alloy Thai and Cahaba Brewing Company are partnering to bring you a New Years Eve multi-course dinner with beer and bubbly! The meal will include at least 5 courses, plus hors d'oeuvres, four 4-oz beer pairings, dessert and a bubbly toast. Wine and additional beer will also be available. A lantern release is scheduled following the meal, if weather permits.

More info and tickets here.


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Corbin Farms Winery

Celebrate the New Year with us! We will have a delicious dinner planned for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Entree options include Corbin Farms Merlot Short Ribs, Bacon Wrapped Creole Cornbread Chicken Roulade with Louisiana Beurre Blanc, and Vegetable Wellington. Taking reservations now from 5:30-8pm!

More info and tickets here.


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Interstellar Ginger Beer & Exploration Co.

The home of the glowing ginger beer is bringing you a New Year's Eve party to remember with our second Masquerade ball. Your Ginger Meister, head brewer, and owner will be manning the taps, so come celebrate in style with the best craft ginger beer in the Universe! No cover. First Contact toast at midnight.


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Rojo

Free New Year's Eve Show at Rojo with Dead Fingers and Will Stewart opening! Our kitchen will be closed (since it is Monday), but our bar will open at 7PM and we will have a few pans of free enchiladas at 7PM until they run out.. Music show starting at 9:30PM with Will Stewart followed by Dead Fingers to ring in the New Year! Free champagne toast at midnight too!


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Tropicaleo

We have a special brunch menu on the first day of the years (gotta start with the right foot!) and the return of the penny mimosa* (while supplies last).

View brunch menu here.

Focused on Finding Your Potential

When Andrew and I walked into Agoge Fitness for the first time, we were immediately greeted by the owner, Dave Hall. At first glance, Dave is a pretty intimidating guy. Within minutes, we were relaxed and felt like we were hanging out with an old friend.

Agoge Fitness is a local gym that’s focused on finding your potential. They use a wide range of techniques and equipment that focus on strength and athleticism. A variety of classes are offered like Strength Training, Martial Arts, and even Yoga! Private personal training sessions are available along with supplement packages and nutrition plans.

One thing that Agoge Fitness Systems seems to have going for it that makes it stand out from other gyms - Dave Hall. Just check out the reviews on their website or Facebook page. Everyone loves Dave. I have yet to find someone that knows Dave and doesn’t consider him a friend. He is a great motivator, knows how to find an individual’s potential, and truly believes that you matter.

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Dave is one of the reasons that we love local businesses so much. Looking for some fitness motivation? Check out Agoge Fitness Systems.

Product Update - New Rewards

We have made a pretty big change to the rewards store that has been getting a lot of praise from our users.

We initially started out with local Birmingham gear like T-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, and sweatshirts. We quickly realized that while those rewards are great, we needed more of a wow-factor. Something that users could really get excited about.

 
 
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Now we are introducing new rewards every few weeks like gift cards, concert tickets, and local Birmingham adventure passes. This is a good way to continue passing on more business to local venues and give our users something to bigger to use their accumulated points for.

These rewards will be updated regularly with seasonal items and new business-oriented merchandise. We want to make sure that the rewards stay appealing for a wide range of users.

5 Restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner in Birmingham - 2018

Don’t feel like cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year? That’s okay, check out these restaurants here in Birmingham that will be serving Thanksgiving dinner.

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Perry's Steakhouse & Grille

Perry’s will be open 11 – 9 . on Thursday, November 22. Full dinner menu will be available as well as a special 3-course prix fixe menu for $49.95 which includes soup or salad, roasted turkey breast with traditional sides and pumpkin pie dessert.

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Seasons 52

Seasons 52 will have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, like traditional herb stuffing and Yukon mashed potatoes. You can finish your experience with a Pumpkin Pie Mini Indulgence, or two. They are now accepting reservations.

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Galley and Garden

Impress your guests this Thanksgiving day by celebrating at Galley & Garden. Chef James Boyce will be whipping up an unforgettable three-course, prix fixe meal to please even the pickiest palate. They’ll be offering brunch from 10:30am to 4:00pm for $58/per person (excluding beverage, tax and tip)

Grille 29

Grille 29 will be opening Thanksgiving Day 10am-6pm featuring a traditional 4 course Thanksgiving Dinner for $39/adults and $20/children. (The special dinner will be the only option available for the day.)

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Ruth's Chris Steak House

The chef’s traditional 3-course feast includes a soup or salad starter, hand-carved 
oven-roasted turkey with sausage and herb stuffing and your choice of one of Ruth’s three
most popular personal sides, finished off with our dessert duo. Or enjoy a favorite from their full dinner menu.

And We're Movin' On Up...

… okay not to the deluxe apartment in the sky, but close. We finally have our own space at the Innovation Depot.

After months of working out of our homes and coffee shops everyday, I have to admit it’s nice to come in to the Depot everyday. I can’t think of the last time I was able to have a passenger in my car without rearranging all of the Pointz swag, equipment, flyers, etc. piled in my tiny coupe.

We were pretty impressed with the size of the room, which easily swallows the two of us. There has been some debate about what we will get to fill the remaining half of the room. Putting green? Beanbag chairs? Ping pong table? Hammock? To be determined…

Oh yea… and we have these awesome lights. There are over 200 settings that can be changed through an app. So right now my day boils down to:

95% Implementing Pointz marketing objectives or selling to local businesses

2% Wondering what I am going to eat today because I am starving

2% Deciding what music I am in the mood for

1% Staring at these lights

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5 things to do in Birmingham this Fall

Well, the weather is cooling down and it’s finally starting to feel like fall (whoop whoop). If you’re looking for some things to do and events to go to in Birmingham this fall, here are a few…

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1. Moss Rock Festival at The Preserve

Enjoy live music, local artists, food trucks, and much more at this awesome festival at The Preserve in Hoover on November 3-4. Click here more for more information.

 
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2. Fright Furnace at Sloss

If you’re looking for a good scare before Halloween, I would highly recommend checking out Fright Furnace. It’s a haunted tour through the historic Sloss Furance and it’s always one of my favorite things to do on Halloween. For more info or to get tickets click here.

 
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3. Boo at the Zoo

Check out the 27th annual Boo at the Zoo event where the Birmingham Zoo transforms into a destination of spooky attractions, themed rides, and carnival games for 18 nights. It’s a can’t miss event if you’ve never been. Click here for more info.

 
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4. Magic City Classic

Join the city of Birmingham on the streets downtown at 8am for the classic Magic City Parade. There will be live entertainment, celebrity artists, free swag, giveaways, and more. The game kicks off at 2:30pm. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

 
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5. Día de los Muertos

The Dia de los Muertos hosted by Alabama Multicultural Organization (AMOR) is the must-attend FREE pop-up outdoor cultural event of the Fall! Held outside in Birmingham’s beautiful Rotary Trail in the downtown area. It’s on October 27 from 12pm – 8pm. Go here for more info.

The Pointz Tech Stack

I often get asked by other developers what kind of stack we used to build Pointz (if you don’t know what I mean by “tech stack,” it’s just a term software developers use to refer to what technologies were used when building your app, website, etc.) and since I love talking about nerd stuff I figured I’d go ahead and write a blog on it.

Here’s exactly what we used to build Pointz (spoiler alert, it’s pretty Google-dependent).

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Frontend - Flutter

If you haven’t used Flutter, consider this a personal ringing endorsement. Before Flutter, React Native was the go-to for writing mobile apps that needed native-like performance, without having to go full native and manage two separate apps.

 
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Now, Google has come out with a new framework called Flutter that in my opinion, is superior to React Native. Why do I like Flutter so much more than React Native? There are many reasons but I’ll just go into a few.

First, there’s no Javascript bridge. This in and of itself is enough reason to at least try Flutter.

 

Second, you develop in Dart, not Javascript. As a backend developer by trade, I abhor Javascript. I have a solid preference for strongly typed languages that are compiled first. It is not only safer and results in much more structured code, but it’s also faster to develop because errors are shown immediately before you test it. If you’re new to Dart- don’t worry; I was too but like every other Flutter convert says, it’s very easy to learn.

Third, Flutter comes with amazing styled components out of the box. This is huge for me because I do not have a designer yet, nor am I very design-conscious. I end up spending more than half my time trying to make an app look good. With Flutter, I don’t need a designer. Everything comes out looking great.

There are many more reasons why I really like Flutter, but I’ll end it there for brevity sake.

Database - Firestore

A lot of people have heard of Firebase, but not so many about Firestore. Firestore is just like Firebase except it’s… wait for it… scalable!! It’s still a (very) realtime database, but unlike Firebase, you don’t have to worry about all the necessary data redundancy in order to get adequate perform and Firestore is much more queryable.

Coming from a SQL based background, Firestore is pretty much a cross between a SQL database and Firebase from my viewpoint. I can’t tell you how excited I was to run a query and have it spit out in the console, “Hey, you need to create an index for the query. Click here to do so.” This was music to my ears. I am more accustomed to being forced to call a DBA to create some index that won’t be created until weeks later (sidenote: I worked at a bank previously).

Backend - Firebase Functions

Firebase Functions gets another endorsement from me. Realtime database triggers with server-less functions, and no need to write a custom API make me a huge fan of Firebase functions. My only criticism is that I wish I could write the functions in Dart instead of javascript, and sometimes my functions get called too many times. Other than that, IT IS AWESOME.

Analytics - Mixpanel

After trying so hard (and I mean really really hard), I simply cannot convert to Firebase Analytics. It’s watered down, has bad reports, and is unnecessarily difficult. I feel like I may be alone on this one, because everyone else seems to love Firebase Analytics (and I really wanted to as well). Mixpanel is just a stronger analytics program and easier to use in so many ways.

Hardware - Beacons

This is kind of obvious, but thought I would include it for the sake of having a complete overview. Right now we haven’t committed to any particular beacon manufacturer, despite trying multiple. All of them lack one thing or another, so we’re hoping our ideal version will come out in the future. If not, we’ll just end up building our own.

Conclusion

Any-who, that is our tech stack. Thanks for me letting me nerd out for a little bit.