Farmers Market and Birthday Cake: August 11, 2017

Lots going on so I am just now getting to post about the downtown Sevierville Farmers Market last Friday. As usual, I parked in the lot across from Sevier County Bank because it is so pretty strolling down this street. 


As I approached the courthouse, a funeral procession proceeded slowly down the street. The young man pictured above stopped, removed his hat, and placed it on his car until the procession had passed down the street.         Respect. 


I will only have one more Friday to visit the market due to work hours. It has been a great market season. 


My first stop was the UT Extension office. The recipe and sample was so good that I made it yesterday at home. So good, but go easy on the jalapeños! 


What a wonderful service the UT Extension office offers to the community. Great recipe!


This jewelry always stops me in my tracks. Beautiful, unique, and finely crafted. The vendor is quite friendly so stop for a chat. 


I always stop to look at this booth and have bought several gifts here. Remember that the vendor is an ice skating choreographer; in fact, he has toured with some very world renowned skaters. He recently went rapellling at a waterfall so that was an interesting chat. Stop by!


This is a great booth. I have bought some ‘ bath bombs ‘ beacause they are an easy way to take magnesium. Always friendly. Ask her about the big gust of wind and her tent last month. 


Local honey is good for your health. They sell it in various forms, plus bee pollen that you can add to smoothies or yogurt. 


Going to have some new Iris plants next spring! 


If you look at these bagels more than 10 seconds then you will end up buying one. 


Henderson’s always has a crowd with their good produce. They have been selling in Sevierville for decades. 

On the way out, I stopped at Mom’s Vintage Kitchen to order a birthday cake for my father. We had a celebration the next day for his 85th birthday so it required something special. On a whim, I ordered a strawberry cake with buttercream frosting.  Give her 24 hours notice for cakes because she makes a lot of them and other pastries. After reading this menu board, I wished that I had more time to have lunch there; but alas, it was time to go. I made arrangements to pick up the cake the next morning. 


I picked up the strawberry cake by 10:30 the next morning. 


I spied another pick up order on the counter and the cupcakes looked decadent. 


Mom’s makes cute children’s cakes. 


But my dad’s cake was a masterpiece! We used to eat lunch years ago at Eva’s in Bearden, often ordering the strawberry cake. We decided that this one may be even better than Eva’s—-if that is even possible. You must try it! The cake was rather tall and dense because it felt like it weighed about 8 pounds. It could easily have served 15 people. 


Everyone agreed that it was wonderful. The best birthday cake that I think I have ever had. Just amazing. 


It was one of my last Fridays to visit the downtown Sevierville farmer’s market, one of the best ways to get out and about in Sevierville. 

Save a bagel for me! 

Warm August Day at the Sevierville Farmers Market: August 4, 2017

Very warm temps didn’t keep shoppers away from the Sevierville Farmers Market. There were good things to discover and buy for home. Follow along and see these things, plus learn about some cool vendors who make their wares available each Friday. 


Downtown flowers are a delight for the senses. 


I stopped by Courthouse Donuts first for coffee and to work on photos and messages. New art is displayed in the windows. I like the reflection of the courthouse in the window as well. 


Things were in full swing at the market when I finally arrived. 


When I saw these hydrangeas, I knew that I needed to have some too. 


Arthur Young is originally from California, then, later, south Florida. He has lived here in Sevierville for over 12 years. I bought some Indian nickel earrings from him last year. The jewelry is so unique. 

Go to Arthur Young’s website to learn more about the artist. Go to   ArthurYoungJewelry.com.  

This vendor from Paris and Gigi works alone or with his mother when she is in town. He is quite interesting because he is a retired figure skater, now a coach in West Knoxville at an ice-arium in Farragut. He has toured Europe with many world renowned skaters. Talk to him some time to see who he knows in the skating world. He told me last week and I wanted to hear more. Fascinating! 


Check out the products by Paris and Gigi. I have already bought Christmas presents for friends from this vendor and know that they will love them! Not telling, though 


I saw all kinds of people walking around with hydrangeas from Sevier Blumen. Their blooms and prices can’t be beat. They also work the Knoxville Farmers Market on Market Square. I see them on Wednesdays there. 


Not Your Granny’s Homemade Soap has many products that I like. The bath bombs are a good way to take magnesiumt too! There are significant health qualities to magnesium so check out this vendor and the bath bombs. They smell so good! 

The hotdog lemonade vendor was not at the market today so several others had drinks for sale. Good American business. 



Young market shoppers! 


If you want a unique gift, go no further than our own farmers market for a T-shirt Memory quilt. 


Here is an example. If you know someone with a lot of old T-shirts to get rid of, but they can’t let them go, (like me?) then consider this vendor for a very personalized gift. T-shirt quilts are a wonderful memory that lasts. 


She also sells jams and jellies! 


Peppermint wards off spiders and insects. I asked the vendor if they had peppermint plants a few weeks ago. The next week, they had them at the market, but my friend Karen bought the plant and I missed it. 


Today, there was a peppermint plant for me! It smelled so good.  Just ask the vendors if you don’t see something that you want or need, because they can often get it. 


See the small cantaloupe in the center? It is a special, small version so I bought that too; however, I forgot what it is called. Will cut it tomorrow and let you know. It is supposed to be sweet. 


If you linger at this booth then you find some delightful things. So many! 


I bought a bagel to go. You can freeze them too. Divine! 


This is a SCHS grad with young shoppers at the market. They were looking at the wonderful animal sculptures—one of my favorite things at the market. How fun to catch up with family news. Hola, Jeremy! 


It was time to take my hydrangeas and go home. See you out and about in Sevierville at the farmers market next week! 

Sevierville Commons Arts Council Launches ‘Blast Off’ Event

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There was a big crowd on Bruce Street this evening attending the Blast Off event for the Sevierville Commons Arts Council. People from all parts of the county came to support the arts in downtown Sevierville. There were refreshments, music, auction items, and demonstrations galore. Follow along as I take you on a tour of the event. It was the hottest ticket in town this evening!

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First of all, I know it will be a fun time when I see Bruce Street blocked off!

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It is fun to walk right down the middle of the street. But I wasn’t thinking and took the sidewalk instead. Oh well…

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We were greeted at the door by Pat. He showed us where to check in and it went quickly.

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There was a line out the door when I arrived so I sat on a bench outside and waited for Melinda. The line went through quite quickly as we entered the door. Above, Andrea Wilson and other volunteers process guest arrivals.

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There was rain approaching so I liked how the dinner part was to be conducted, rather than have it out near the gazebo with downpours on the way. We drew a voucher from a bowl to determine the location of our dinner. The draw was Mom’s Vintage Kitchen. We love all those places listed above and were happy to go to Mom’s later. What a great idea for a dinner lottery. Fun!

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Artist, David Freeman, was drawing profiles as we entered the door. I saw him do one on TV this week as a promotion for the event. A fun addition to the festivities.

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Attendees pictured left to right: Michael Johnson, Sevier Commons member Austin Williams, and Katie Williams.

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I expected a lot of art items for the silent auction and was not disappointed! Melinda told me that this artist is often featured at Arrowmont.

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Al Schmutzer and Jim McGill attending the Blast Off for the Sevier Commons Arts Council.

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Local artist, Charlotte Wear, pictured with friends Jayne Wise, Sonya Nave, and another local artist, Mary Phillips.

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A popular silent auction item. The cups were beautiful and the Old Mill coffee is probably great. I am having auction regrets for not bidding on this, but I had to set a limit of 2 items.

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Cheri Schmutzer and Leesa McGill enjoying the evening in the new Arts in Common Gallery on Bruce Street.

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The Johnson family introduces a future art lover to the event. Pictured left to right are Stefanie, Sheena, and Alex Johnson with a sweet little attendee.

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I was glad to see Chris Webb with his wife, Summer. I know Chris’ mom, Patt Webb, and send her greetings!

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Gail Monson, Ken Greene, and Jill Greene enjoying the Blast Off event to benefit the Sevierville Commons Art Council. Proceeds from this event will help to purchase things needed for the gallery. Furthermore, the event will help us learn more about the new art space downtown.

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Melinda Derrick and I were happy to see our friend, Joey Rose, pictured right. The space to his right in the picture above would be for his wife, Sheley, who was a little under the weather and couldn’t attend. I saved the space to his right for her. (Hi, Sheley!) Joey and Sheley are old friends of ours and support the local arts scene, as does Melinda.

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Attendees pictured left to right: Justin Duncan, Jennifer Duncan, and Andrew Temple.

This silent auction item was quite interesting. I don’t need many things so ‘experiences’ are very interesting.

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Crystal Sharp takes a moment to speak to the group and make announcements. There were over 159 attendees while I was there and over 62 items were donated for the silent auction. I bid on two. Will I get them? Stay tuned!

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The music was excellent! Musicians Greg Fitch and Pat Corn were wonderful and added to the ambiance during the evening.

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I remember when there was only 1 restaurant downtown. Now, we have so many more. Many thanks to these restaurants who added to a successful event.

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Love the creative way to thank sponsors. So nice!

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Jennifer Dyer, from Courthouse Donuts, looking at vintage pictures. We think that the upper right picture is the current location of  her business. By the way, Courthouse Donuts just won third place for the best donuts in the state, the only one on the survey located in East Tennessee.

I was intrigued by the ‘fairy doors’ on a table by the Sevierville Senior Center. Very interesting creations! Google it or go to Pinterest to see more ideas.

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As we left, there was more art and even demonstrations outside.

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I love the food voucher drawing idea. We proceeded to Mom’s Vintage Kitchen for tomato basil soup and chicken salad sandwiches. So good!

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Storms were headed our way so we hurried to our cars. The courthouse is pictured above under stormy skies.

The Sevierville Commons Arts Council is thinking of having this event every year to raise money for their Arts in Common Gallery and programming. I had a great time and will go every year. Consider going too if you couldn’t make it this year. The Blast Off event was a great way to get out and about in Sevierville. 

See you on Bruce Street!

Fly High at Sevier Air!

Looking for fun or an intense workout? This place has it all …and more! Follow along as eight of us played at Sevier Air yesterday.


First, you walk in the door and check in by computer, watching safety rules and signing an electronic waiver. Pay close attention because you want to have fun, not deal with bumps, bruises, or worse. The tutorial goes quickly and you’ll be glad to know all the rules for your first visit.


The price is more than worth it. Kids play freely and get a huge workout (adults too). Bystanders can watch for free and take pictures. Well worth it!


You will get a special pair of socks with grippy bottoms to reduce slickness. Bring them back each visit and receive $2 off. You can see the cubbies in the picture above. There are several throughout the building. The Ninja Course requires shoes, so just store them in cubbies while jumping on the trampoline courses.


We started on the Ninja Course because my niece is applying to the police academy and must do a fitness and obstacle course. This ninja course is nothing to laugh at because I could do very little of it. The course replicates the TV show. Consequently, we stayed there a long time, especially with the walls to scale. It was amazing and we all tried it. Over and over again. Two of my nephews could do it so it was great fun.


You have to get a running start and feet must dig into the wall, using all your momentum. It is amazing that people can do this. My sisters and I tried it several times. It is a fun way to compete against each other. Suzanne got her hands up the highest so she won.


The kid at the top may be a future ninja on TV. What an athlete!


The glass wall was kind of hard.

Slam dunk to your heart’s content. One was even adjustable, coming down to any player’s reach. Fun!


There were several dodge ball courts. We played before leaving and just 10 minutes there can be exhausting. But what fun. We played boys against the girls, with one little boy wanting to play with us. I threw the ball as hard as I could, but my nephew just caught it in his hands. No head shots allowed! The hardest part is maintaining your space with a lot of players and not intruding on their trampoline. Strategy!


The jousting area is fun. Players must be well matched in order to play. If you fall in the foam then it feels great, but you really have to ‘swim out’ to get out of there.


I am no athlete, but had a blast!  Therefore, I recommend that you do 2 hours. One hour goes by too quickly. Especially if you are playing with family and friends.


Adults and kids can play side by side. Be careful because you could get a bump, bruise, etc. It is very vigorous, intense fun.


You can take some fun pictures in there. Can you see what we are spelling? V-O-L-S!

We also took some fun ‘Boomerang’ shots for Instagram.


Snack bar downstairs can come in handy. There are drink vending machines on all levels too.


There are a lot of rooms for birthday parties. Each room has a capacity of 43 people. My nephew had his birthday here earlier in the year and enjoyed it with lots of his friends.  Call Sevier Air to get more details.

I was very, very impressed with the amenities for parents and those who prefer not to play. No kidding—it was nice!


An upper level looks over the entire facility. There are large screen TVs, chairs, and tables for waiting parents.  A lounge for ninja parents.


You can rent a massage chair. In addition, you can charge your cell phone while you wait. Brilliant!




Ball are lined up for dodge ball. Workers can referee, if you like.

I was very impressed with Sevier Air and can’t wait to go back. I asked and they said that they may resume fitness classes there in the future. You burn a LOT of calories there.

Here are my final recommendations:

  1. Wear shorts and a T-shirt because you will get a little hot.
  2. Pay attention at all times and follow the rules so you don’t get banged up. I did fine. Just bumped my elbows on the ‘wall,’ but almost twisted my foot on the way down.
  3. Do a minimum of 2 hours. One is just getting warmed up!
  4. Try to go mid-week when the crowds are down if you are not used to jumping on trampolines.
  5. Eat a good snack or carb load before you go. It takes a lot of energy there, but you have so much fun that you don’t realize it until later.
  6. Go with as many friends and family as will go. The more the merrier. I have not laughed that much in a while. So fun!

Play like a ninja and don’t worry about who is watching.

We are all ninjas.

Sevier Air rocks and Sevierville is lucky to have such a nice facility. My sister said that it is a lot better than the one in Knoxville due to the challenging ninja course. With that, you need to fly high at Sevier Air. We did!
It is an intensely fun way to get out and about in Sevierville. 

See you at the ‘wall!’

Put On Your Thai at Thai Basil: One of Our Favorites in Sevierville

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This is probably the best Thai restaurant in East Tennessee. Maybe the whole state. If you haven’t visited yet, it is time to put on your Thai and go to Thai Basil in Sevierville.

I recently met friends for lunch as it seems to be our favorite gathering place for that. Here are some of our best recommendations. Enjoy!

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This is something to be proud of.

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(Overlook the glare.)  Others recommend Thai Basil as well.

First, here is a link to their lunch menu on the website. http://www.thaibasiltn.com/lunch.html

For lunch, you can order your choice of a starter, main dish, protein, and level of spiciness. Go with mild if you can’t stand much ‘heat.’

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Start with the lemongrass or coconut soup. I came last winter when I wasn’t feeling well and it really helped a lot.

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Spring roll bliss.

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I always order Pad Woonsen with tofu. The noodles are bean thread noodles and very low carb. It is always an explosion of flavors.

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My friend ordered pork with garlic black pepper.

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I like the decor and usually sense a nice ‘zen’ feeling while dining here.

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The pictures on the wall make you want to travel to Thailand soon.

The waitstaff are excellent. They will give you a warm greeting and seat you immediately, if a table is available. The staff are quick and efficient. The food always seems fresh and cooked perfectly. I recommend getting a mild degree of hotness. Medium is too much for me!

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I could write more, but it is time for lunch! If you are a tourist visiting the area, Thai Basil is a local secret. Take a look if you like this kind of feel. Thai Basil is an exotic way to get out and about in Sevierville.

 

 

There is a New Nail Salon in Town: Noire the Nail Bar

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I noticed a new nail salon in the shopping center near Buddy’s Bar-B-Que and had to stop in. This place is a little different and has some new things to offer Sevierville. Sit back and look at my trip to Noire the Nail Bar on highway 66 in Sevierville.

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The hours are good. I was a ‘walk-in’ about 3:15 in the afternoon.

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The salon is new and very posh.

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As with other places, the colors were available on the wall display.

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However, you select the color from this collection. They want you to relax so you don’t need to ‘lift a finger.’

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The area for children was quite amazing. It was like a fairytale come to life.

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You definitely would feel like a princess sitting at this station.

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It will probably stay exceptionally clean with each station covered in plastic for easy cleaning.

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There are several manicure areas and a nice large, flat screen TV on the wall.

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It was nice to use a brand new back massage pad. This one really does a good job.

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I was busy editing photos on my phone, but they very nicely brought me a couple of magazines to read. Good ones too.

 

The prices vary. Read the print carefully and note the differences between the verbs and prices. For example, ‘clipping,’ ‘shaping,’ and ‘trimming’ will be different prices. Study the menu of services carefully.  It will be important in order to get exactly what you want in the service. I asked for a pedicure that was in the middle of the price range because it was closer to what I usually get in town. It costs more than other places, but the leg massage was twice a long—a bonus.

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Above, you can see prices for children under 10 years old.

IMG_5212This is what sets the nail salon apart from most. I didn’t have high expectations for the wine because it is not the focus of the business. However, it was not bad at all. I am not sure what brands they use, but you will have a choice between red and white. I had to go see my father afterward so only a taste for me. Nevertheless, it was a very relaxing experience and one does feel very pampered. It is like a spa feeling.

Many ladies I know have a favorite nail salon and an affordable price is a priority. This place may cost more than others in town. However, if you want to try something new, Noire Nail Bar would be a good place to go. I can imagine people coming here for birthday parties, pre-bridal showers, college friend get-togethers, and more. There is a very nice atmosphere here and you will enjoy that aspect.

As with any new salon that you visit, be alert during any phase of a pedicure that involves cutting implements. I only visited Noire the Nail Bar once and my experience was positive, so I can’t speak for everyone. However, I enjoyed it and will go back again some day.

 

 

Art Happening: July 13, 2017

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A friend and I attended the July 2017 Art Happening downtown, featuring artist Susan Edwards. This art was truly special and I wanted to collect it all!  Take a look at what we saw at the Sevierville Commons Art Council July Art Happening.

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The board of the Sevierville Commons Arts Council with featured artist, Susan Freeman. Pictured left to right: Laurel Kiewitt, Crystal Lynn Sharp, Susan Edwards, Jill Greene, and Andrea Wilson.

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I love this work. Susan said that she admired iconography and religious scenes.

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This reminds me of beautiful iconography that I have seen at the Greek Orthodox church in Knoxville.

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Friends of the artist from Pittman Center. Pictured are Sharon Mellor, Lee Mellor, Jack Mellor, Gary and Mary Miles.

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Friends of the artist from Gatlinburg.

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The treats are always good from Jennifer Dyer and Courthouse Donuts.

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Susan Edwards’ friends attending the Art Happening are Pat Butler from Dandridge, and Suzanne Wedekind from Knoxville.

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I loved all the music. The percussionist was pretty good too.

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This multi-media work was my favorite. Outstanding!

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More friends of the artist from Sevierville are Dick and Pat White.

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My favorite treat is either the mini quiche or the chicken salad on tiny croissants.

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This captured the imagination—-doughnuts and sopapilla type chips with a caramel sauce. Oh my!

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Susan Edwards creates collaged sculptures. They are delightful! Her grandson made the jaguar.

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Susan and her husband, Don Edwards. Don provided the music for the event. I loved the songs that he sang. Excellent choice of entertainment!

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These were beautiful and related to the Walk of St. James in Spain. Susan has done the Walk of St. James, also known as El Camino de Santiago. The walk is a pilgrimage kind of  walk to where the remains of the disciple, St. James,  are traditionally said to be at rest.

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As we left the event, the sun was still hot and shining on downtown Sevierville. The flowers have never looked better.

FYI! 

Get your tickets for the Sevierville Commons Arts Council Blast Off event coming in a couple of weeks. Food will be served around the gazebo with tables and chairs nearby for dining. Art demonstrations will be available outside as well. Inside the Arts In Common gallery, attendees will have a ‘make-it and take-it’ opportunity. Also, there will be an ongoing silent auction.  Think Christmas presents! This new art space will be located in the old Bess Medical building on Bruce Street. I have sent off for my ticket. Get yours soon!

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These are my favorite ways to get out and about in Sevierville. See you at the Blast Off!

 

Barbara Tenney Presents Three Cool Summer Salads at KaTom: July 12, 2017

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Barbara Tenney’s ‘Perfect Summertime Salads’ menu was just in time for the hotter temps   in mid-July. A crowd of 28 people gathered to see the preparation, try the dishes, and take home the recipes. I was so happy to see an old friend there. Come with me as I take you through our evening at KaTom.

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I was so happy to see our friends, Shirley and Milford Blair, pictured right. We worked together for years so it was a great pleasure to see her at the event. Shirley told me that it was her first time at a KaTom demonstration and that she had learned about them from this blog. How happy that made me! Pictured left are Shirley and Milford’s friends, Sue and Harold Ownby. They had the best seats in the house!

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I was delighted to sit with my friends pictured from left to right: Harriet Berrier, Sarah Berrier, Debby Smolnyki, Rose Anders, and Cindy Anders. We are becoming regulars.

The Menu

Ripe Peach and Grilled Corn Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

Shrimp Salad

Burst o’Lemon Muffins

Vanilla Ice Cream

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The secret ingredient to the Burst o’Lemon Muffins is a cup of lemon yogurt. They were divine.

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Barbara at work in the KaTom kitchen. Catch more of her classes at Butler and Bailey in Knoxville and cooking segments on WBIR TV. I have followed her for over 20 years. What a great lady and talented cook/teacher.

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This salad is great for a crowd and requires no cooking. I would NOT have thought about combining peaches and avocado, serano peppers and onion…but why not? It was my favorite dish of the evening. Fabulous!

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Voila!

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The Asian salad blended well with the lemon muffin.

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Barbara prefers Hellmans mayo to any other.

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Shrimp salad is a cool entree for hot summer days.

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Homemade vanilla ice cream was made with a special attachment for KitchenAid machines.

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See how it attaches to the machine. Let it run for 30 minutes, then freeze for 14 hours. You can find these at KaTom Chef Supplies store.

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These ladies came from Knoxville for the event. Mimi and Brenda attended the last session  with Chef David Pinckney, Executive Chef from Cherokee Country Club. Teresa, pictured right, said that this was her first cooking demo. They enjoyed it as much as we did.

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I always meet some new people from Morristown and they often have a link to my sister Suzanne. Today was no exception. Janet Johnson is pictured left. Dene Masengill-Jones, pictured right, was my sister Suzanne’s riding instructor in high school when she was learning to jump horses. Dene still owns and runs Walnut Grove Riding Stables. What a small world!

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Always get your picture with the chef at the end of a good meal. Barbara and I holding a peach, an ingredient in my favorite salad. Some of you may notice that we look like we are on the RHOA. (Wink if you know that reference.)

There are more cooking events to come at KaTom. Follow them on Facebook. Here is a link to their events page.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/KaTomRestaurantSupply/events/?ref=page_internal

See more pictures on my Facebook page for blog pictures. Here is a link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1254469567899261/

If you like, follow me on Instagram. I am smokymountainfoodie .

KaTom cooking demos are one of my favorite ways to get out and about in Sevierville. Save a place at the table for me!

Early and Late Visits to the Friday Farmers Market: July 7, 2017

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A schedule change allowed me to visit the downtown Sevierville farmers market close to opening time yesterday. Cooler temps made it a nice experience. I added a couple of visits to other places downtown later. Here is what I saw yesterday.

These candles smell so good. One ingredient is coconut oil. When the candle is put out, you can touch the melted wax and massage it on to achy joints, muscles, etc.

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Opening time is peaceful, yet bustling with activity.

I bought some bee pollen from this vendor because it is supposed to be good as a health supplement. Bee pollen can help reduce allergies, increase immune systems, ease digestion, and improve energy. I could use all those benefits!

The Pigeon Forge FFA is getting some good experience and product exposure at the market.

Beautifully hand crafted coffee scoop/ candle snifters and fan/ light pulls.

A great ‘find’ for me yesterday was the doggie bandana. My favorite, of course, was the orange and white bandana.

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The Sevierville Commons Art Council is busy preparing for their new space on Bruce Street and a special event to expand their fundraising efforts.

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Check out this event and get your tickets soon!

We always enjoy looking at this vendor’s booth. They may bring some peppermint plants soon. I asked for some because they are supposed to keep spiders away.

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The Reunited were back playing for the market. Music adds such a festive, cheerful tone to things. It was great to hear them play again.

You can never have too many sunflowers!

I went to Courthouse Donuts for coffee. This family let me take a ‘foodie’ picture of their doughnuts. Later, Karen and I ended back there for lunch. Try the tuna melt or chicken salad.

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Jennifer Dyer always has a friendly greeting and the best doughnuts in this area. We love her place!

Next, my friend Karen had never been to Two Coyotes Studio so we went there after lunch. Everyone needs to go there! There is always something pretty to see, touch, and buy. There was a jewelry sale with some outrageous prices too.

So many treasures here and such fun to browse.

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My friend, Karen, picking out some charms for her charm bracelet.

We saw some excellent deals! Check out this store soon. Look to see if the ‘open’ sign is on her door.

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I visited the farmers market both early and late on Friday. Both times were nice. Early opening time will have the best temps and selection. Closing time may be sunnier and there may be some last minute bargains with some vendors. Karen and I enjoyed a coffee, browsing the market, a lunch at Courthouse Donuts, and shopping at Two Coyotes Studio. A summer Friday well spent out and about in Sevierville. 

See you next Friday!

14 Tips From the Patricia Nash ‘Blogger Party’ Last Week

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I am a fan of Patricia Nash purses so when I saw an announcement on Facebook regarding a ‘Blogger Party’ last week then it became a must- see event.  A blog is a website and a blogger writes on things that interest them. This party gathered some known fashion bloggers in the Knoxville area to draw people to the showroom. Here are 14 things that I observed that could benefit businesses, organizations, and individuals, especially regarding social media and marketing.

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1. First, invite bloggers that have a link to your product, service, or event. What is your niche? Fashion, health, fitness, food, lifestyle, etc?

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2. Bloggers at your event will interact with customers/clients/attendees and will be available for photos. In turn, bloggers will post photos of your product, service, or event on their blogs and other media platforms, multiplying audience exposure, thus engaging new followers.

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3. Invite other business that complement yours, but do not compete with your product. Patricia Nash sells handbags, so they invited several clothing boutiques, an artist, jewelry makers, and a hair salon to join the party.

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4. Have music. It creates a nice ambiance while promoting a local singer.

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5. Give out a free treat. This also gives a higher profile to a local food vendor and makes people cheerful.

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6. Give a free gift. The blogger party gift was a very nice leather key chain.

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7. Announce a free gift for the first 50 people. It creates urgency to get there early. Below, you can see my new keychain. So nice!

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8. Give out discount coupons. One was from the Patricia Nash store and the others were from the local boutiques. See them in the photo above. Very pretty discount cards were in each basket.

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9. Have designated spaces for the bloggers. This will drive customer traffic and promote contacts. Unfortunately, it rained heavily that day so the white tents were not used; rather, the bloggers stayed inside and mingled with the crowd. I parked under one though because the parking lot was full!

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10. Have an email sign-up sheet for contacts. 

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Now, for the most important things that I learned from the ‘Blogger Party.’

11. Use both Facebook and Instagram both to promote your business. The Patricia Nash showroom manager told me that they have noticed that people over 35 tend to use Facebook, but those under 35 tend to prefer Instagram. The manager further stated that  Instagram seems to be more suited to the younger, more fashion forward audience.

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12. Consider using two Instagram accounts: one for local, one for national marketing. For example, Patricia Nash uses two accounts.  Patricia Nash Showroom is local while Patricia Nash Designer is the national account. This is especially important as they begin selling merchandise on HSN.

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13. Follow basic Instagram rules to stay relevant. The Patricia Nash store manager recommended that one must stay active and post 1-3 times a day. Also, you should ‘like’ and comment on other pictures to stay engaged.

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The next thing was the most important ‘take away’ for me.

14. Create an Instagram ‘pod. The Patricia Nash manager described it as starting a group of other businesses, bloggers, artists, friends, (whatever you can manage) to create a supportive community on Instagram. Since the Instagram algorithms depend on ‘likes’ and ‘comments,’ then the people in the group are crucial to increasing success on that platform. Their goal is to support each other and commit to the community by ‘ liking’ and ‘commenting’ on each other’s posts to boost exposure on Instagram. The more interaction with ‘likes’ and comments gives your posts more views on Instagram.

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I really enjoyed the Patricia Nash ‘Blogger Party’ event and learned a lot. The showroom is beautiful and the people who work there are friendly and helpful. Here is their advice for creating such an event. Have variety and open it to everyone. Be able to ‘grow’ and evolve the event for the future. Use it as a means to meet local people while blending audiences at the same time.

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Actually, I see good use of social media in Sevierville. First, the local tourist groups are very active. Sevierville Commons uses both Facebook and Instagram to post pictures and info. If I pointed out local individuals who do a good job, then one would be Bev Guinn Jones who owns Two Coyotes Studio in downtown Sevierville. She is active on both Facebook and Instagram; further, we ‘like’ each others’ posts almost daily. I could say the same for  Lorie Lea Yount, who owns Loralei’s Boutique on Dolly Parton Parkway. She is extremely active on both social media platforms by posting her new merchandise. I like how she also posts pictures of customers and friends wearing the clothes that they have bought from her store. This is a type of marketing that works very well and gives lots of product exposure to customers.

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Blogger parties can be fun and not a very expensive way to promote products, services, and events. Keep your eyes open for people that help promote your products, etc. Ultimately, these events would also be a good way to get customers out and about in Sevierville.