Calling All Vols: Volunteer Gear is pouring into KARM as We Speak. #GBO

Attention University of Tennessee Volunteers

Remember last semester when the Vol Shops put all of the Adidas on 50% off? And half of you was like *throws money at teller *walks out IN #11 Jersey. But the other half of you was like…. *throws money at teller *walks out with Anatomy textbook in tears.

The only thing we hate more than 8 a.m’s is the wait for Football Season. All we can do to pass the time is gear up. And do I have news for you. Today, I was dealhunting at KARM (Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries), the thrift store. I was minding my own business when one of the managers rolled out an entire rack of Orange and White. Then another rack. Then another rack. Then rack number four.

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People.  Someone bought out ALL the Adidas and donated it to our neighborhood KARM. If you thought 50% off was a steal, you need to see KARM’s prices. Plus, the money is going back to our community to provide hot  meals and safe shelter for our neighbors.Can you say, win-win? The gear has been distributed to KARMs all over town!

And really, is there a better way to prep for the season? Vol Nation at it’s best. We’re so lucky to have an education, housing, access to cafeterias full of food – We’re the lucky ones. Now is our chance to rev up that Volunteer Spirit before the season starts.

After I tried on like 15 things, the manager mentioned that the four racks before me were just the beginning. They’re processing an entire campus worth of Vol Gear in the back. I decided to hold off on my Lady Vols rain jacket…. But you bet your sweet molasses I’m heading back tomorrow to put my money where my mouth heart is. My community!

Also, KARM‘s website just updated for 7/27…..954 Meals were Served and 348 Guests received Shelter. Every single purchase goes directly to Knoxville, for Knoxville, from Knoxville. So don’t forget when your dorm bookshelves don’t sell on Craigslist – you can still donate at 733 Hall of Fame Drive and make a difference!



I call this look “Day Off Chic”

#SingleParentPizzaParty Giveaway – Knoxville


This Mother’s Day, we wanted to reach out to the Single Parents in our community who deserve special recognition. Single parents don’t just take on the role of “Mom”. They are moms, dads, superheros, janitors, handymen, good cop and bad cop. They are the breadwinners and nurses. They are doing it all.

So this Mother’s Day, I want to remind them how important they are. Honestly, I grew up on the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child.” It was painted on the walls of my elementary school. I love that my village has so many amazing parents – so I got together with my friends at Brenz Pizza Co. Knoxville help find a Single Parent in Knoxville who could use a slice of my all time favorite.

We want to give a $25 Gift Card to a single parent in Knoxville – we just have to find some! Please help us by nominating someone you know by:

1. Going to Facebook – either Brenz Pizza OR Taken By The Lapels 

2. Finding our post

3. Tag their name in the comments followed by #singleparentpizzaparty .

You can also follow @BrenzKnoxville on Instagram and tag/hashtag there!

We will be drawing one name at random on Mother’s Day!

I am no mother. I am no father. But I am a pizza lover. Help me share what I love, Brenz Pizza Co. Knoxville, with a family who could use a #SingleParentPizzaParty
Thank Everyone! Have an Amazing Mother’s Day!

Take Nothing But Pictures: A Conduct Reminder for Photographers


One of my outstanding photographers Stephanie was sharing the saddest thing yesterday on Facebook. She was going to the Knoxville Botanical Gardens to renew her photographer’s pass. Seeing as it’s one of our city’s loveliest locations, many local professionals bring their clients here to capture special moments. While Stephanie was there, she got to talking with a groundskeeper.

They discussed the most appalling stories about the conduct of some photographers who had been using the grounds. She could tell they weren’t exactly among her professional colleagues but more the “Oooh, I got a camera for Christmas! I’m going to sell photo sessions!” variety. In my opinion, if you have the tools to do something you love, do it. If you can share your talent and make some money too, do it. But must you be so disrespectful?

The offenses include (quoted right from Miss Steph):

– tearing up flower beds to use the flowers as “props”
– having their subject throw glitter or confetti up in the air – no, the gardens do not have a giant lawn vacuum to clean that up.
– doing a “cake smash” (place birthday cake in front of 1-year-old and let him/her “smash” it) and leaving a mess – oh, and when you use one of the stone benches, the food coloring in the frosting stains it;
– leaving behind balloons, either caught up in the trees or lying deflated/popped along the pathways

It is $100/year to purchase a  photographer’s pass to the gardens. Unfortunately, the gardens can get short staffed on weekends, so it’s hard to police the freeloaders who come in with cameras and shoot as they please. According to Steph, even if they had paid for a photographer’s pass,  that does not give one the right to run around carte blanche and trash the place.”

Stephanie closed with a simple request. Try to be professional, try to be civil. It’s Dogwood season in Knoxville, a sacred time to be a springtime lover. We host festivals, concerts, tours, and galas celebrating Knoxville’s beautiful blossoming Dogwood Trees. Of all seasons, now is the time to treat our parks and gardens with that old cliche, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” And please, keep your balloons secure, your cake cleaned up, and your jumbo glitter at home.


Love’Em Lady Vols – A Guest Post By John Bohstedt

The following is a guest post from my dear friend John Bohstedt regarding University of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team, the Lady Vols. John sent this into a local paper as a Letter to the Editor. I just wanted to get the conversation going.


Letter: Fight name change on the national level

Letter to the Editor , Apr 8, 2015

“Bubbas hit Lady Vols!” and “UTK seeks elite status, national recognition.” Do these headlines mesh or clash? We have three months to find out. The University of Tennessee is not listening to its community. We need to reach out to the national media and see how the issue plays on that stage.

UT Athletic Director Dave Hart has decreed, “No more Lady Vols.” Lady Vols basketball has a reprieve, but that’s merely a divide-and-conquer ploy. Next year or the year after, Pat Summitt’s legacy will also be vaporized.

Instead of UT listening to its fan bases, some junior executive at Nike mumbles something about segmenting a brand, and Hart abolishes one of the university’s most successful brands in terms of national titles and fan base. But what if the issue goes national? Can Bubba University get recognition among elite universities while pushing women around?

What if ESPN and the Washington Post, etc., and Facebook and Twitter took up the issue? Is UT an elite university when its clueless men are rolling the clock back 40 years on women’s recognition? That recognition was not granted by men, but won in competitive battles by strong and courageous women. I’m afraid sweeping them into a man-cave does not get you elite status. Rather it’ll likely push UT into good ole Bubba-land.

So let’s reach out to our strong women on the national level, women like Kara Lawson of ESPN, Candace Parker of the WNBA, Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, UT Rhodes Scholar and onetime U.S. Cabinet member, and others. What women and men do you know who could shine some national light on this blunder? What if it went viral on Facebook and Twitter? This slap in the face is so backward, with women making strides across the board, that our larger society will not accept it.

John Bohstedt, Knoxville


Hey Knoxville, Valentine’s Day Starts At Bradley’s


Anyone raised in North Knoxville knows what I mean when I say, The Chocolate Factory.
Right beside beloved Fort Kid, The Museum of Art, and the World Fair Park, there’s a tall brick building that’s changed quite a lot in the past 20 years.
One thing that hasn’t changed however, is the finest chocolate factory in the south.

Bradley’s Chocolate Factory has been serving up Valentine’s Day since long before I was around. I have had Chocolate Factory treats – Strawberries in the Snow – since I was just a little thing. My first Valentine, My Daddy of course, would fight the crowd on Feb 13th to secure our 1/2 Dozen white chocolate covered strawberries. I wish I had pictures of us sucking them down. I’m sure the tradition began before I had teeth, but you’ll have to ask him and mom.

Let’s just say, I’m not waiting around for my Valentine to maybe remember my Strawberries in the Snow. I will be there in line to grab my own goodies…

Surely, I’m not the only Chocolate Factory Fan out there! If anyone has any #Chocolatecoveredmemories my friends at Bradley’s and I want to know! Share your favorite Valentine’s Stories!







**note: This is not a paid Advertisement. I just really like chocolate.

2015 – Run For Their Lives 5K/Walk Knoxville

Happy Human Trafficking Awareness Day!

For the second year in a row, I’ve had the honor of joining a couple hundred warriors running in the 2015 Run For Their Lives Walk/5k here in Knoxville. The event by Freedom 424 and The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking is held around the country to raise awareness about the horrors of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. On a local level, events like this raise money for better first responder training, relief efforts, and awareness in our community. They also fight for the rescue and support of victims both here in the States an other countries that have Freedom 424 programs.


Despite the freezing cold weather, we had hundreds of outstanding folks run with us this morning in the name of Freedom. Local churches, running teams, athletes, and regular folks just like me took over Market Square and the downtown area in Knoxville. We shared the names of 3 remarkable young survivors who escaped Sexual Slavery and with their stories, we kept warm during the race.


My job as a volunteer was to (try) and make sure every runner had a story to run for. Of course, the turnout was extraordinary. So, we didn’t get to everyone before the start of the race. All the survivors had a beautiful story card written in the reception room, so after the race, runners could go in and warm up, hear some great music, and celebrate such wonderful stories! We were reminded that our 3 names just represented a huge presence of injustice and abuse around the world.

Two of our honorees were from Virginia, USA and India. The third woman’s story stood out to me particularly because she is from Knoxville, Tennessee – My home town. She is currently my age, 20. And she was just a regular girl from a middle class home in my town. I encourage you to look up Sarah/Human Trafficking/Knoxville to read for yourself how very evident the problem of human trafficking is. Even here, in our own hometowns, in our suburbs, absent in our schools, we have individuals fighting for their body, rights, and dignity,

Thanks to the work of Freedom 424 and the passion from individuals willing to run in 14 degree temperatures, we can get this message out to those men, women, and children wherever they are.

Help is on the way.

You are not alone.

For a video of the crowd taking off, swing by here!

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Photo Credits: Julie Sanders and Phoebe Spooner

Phoebe Takes Fiore Boutique!


I had the pleasure of taking over Fiore Boutique for a few hours this week! They invited me to be the guest of honor for the day and, oh my gosh, was it fun! I had the task of dressing the mannequins with their newest Christmas/New Year’s items.


I got to hand pick every mannequin’s outfit. This was my first Mall event, and I did so good not to geek out!


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Since 2006, founders Young & April share a passion for providing an uplifting positive atmosphere for the customers that have graced Fiore. Finding great items, or as they call it “treasure hunting,” is their favorite activity in part of creating a unique shopping environment. Their main goal is to inspire beauty, charm & femininity to all those who visit Fiore Boutique.

My location, West Town Mall Knoxville, TN is only about 3 months old and already, it’s a local favorite. My shop carries brands like Lily Pulitzer, Kate Spade, Laura and James, and Flying Tomato. If you’re in Knoxville anytime soon, or near a Fiore, swing by and you just might fall in love!


Small Business Saturday – Knoxville, TN

The Order of Events! My MUST HAVE Shops for Small Business Saturday in Knoxville Tennessee! If I don’t make it to each one of these shops tomorrow, I will be devastated. I’m sure I’m not alone! Can I get an Amen, Knox? There are so so many more Small Businesses in Knoxville but these are my favorites! Hope everyone has a Scruffy Day!

1. Bliss

24 Market Square, Knoxville TN


2. Earth To Old City

22 Market Square

3. Coldstream Market

34 Market Square

. 4. Lost & Found Records

3710 Broadway, Knoxville

5. Marc Nelson Denim

700 E. Depot Ave, Knoxville

6. K Brew

1328 N. Broadway, Knoxville

Snapshot Sunday


It’s been a beautifully laid back day for me – which is a dream come true because I’ve been extremely stressed out for the past few weeks. I got to relax this morning after church, kicked back on the hammock at my boyfriend’s. I had a lovely view.


This is Jack, who wanted to join us inside for lunch. Grilled Chicken – can you blame him?


Then I got to make the breathtaking trip through the heart of downtown to my new job – which is going famously by the way! Get a look at that big Sunsphere, built in 1982 for the World’s Fair held in Knoxville. It’s kind of our thing here in K 🙂wpid-0920141442b.jpg

Driving right past the Tennessee Theater and historical Gay Street. Is this not to die for? I loved working in Market Square, just a block away from Gay Street. I’m very thankful I still get to pop onto Gay Street on my way to Marriott.


Ta-Da! What a beautiful sight! I’m adoring my new job at the Knoxville Marriott! I promise to update everyone just as soon as I steal some more time! Same goes for penpals! I love you, I swear! Darn that moving/school/new job stress!

Hope everyone is hanging in there! I love you all!

Bike Knoxville Now!

Buckle those helmet straps, kids.

It’s time for an exciting announcement for Knoxville!


As of today, 8 beautiful bright green bikes are available to rent for your use around Knoxville. Just a month ago, the deal was designed but thanks to the partners Legacy Parks, Visit Knoxville, Regions, and Billy Lush Board Shop, now Knoxvillians and tourists can cruise the streets of Downtown Knoxville with ease. 

According to Metro Pulse, the bikes will be available for two-hour rentals, $19 for adults, $15 for teachers and military personnel, and $12 for those under $17. Friends of Legacy Parks will be able to rent them for half off.  Renters will get a lock and a map, and the first 100 renters get a Regions Bank backpack. 


Four of the new lime green cruisers will be parked at the Outdoor Adventure Center on Hill Avenue. The other Four will be at the Visitors Center on Gay Street. Rentals will be managed both online by Billy Lush, or at the cash registers at the Adventure Center and the Visitors Center.


All proceeds go towards Legacy Parks, a Knoxville group devoted to protecting our nature and wildlife, connect our Greenways, amp up fun recreational activities for Knoxville’s Outdoor lovers, and basically, raise the bar for Public parks and Green Spaces. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) That picture is one of the entrances to Legacy Park’s Outdoor Knoxville Center. You can’t tell me that’s not an awesome arch.

The bikes themselves are plain. These cruisers have a traditional diamond frame, with an adjustable seat. They are single-geared and have the pedal breaking system. There’s not racks but there are guards and fenders. They aren’t the toughest bikes on the streets, but I don’t think that will stop Knoxville’s Avid Cyclists from getting an extra ride into their schedule.

Directors of the program are hoping to expand locations sometime soon. According to Metro Pulse, they said they will wait and see how the Bikes are received throughout the fall. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for even more rugged bikes for those hardcore cyclists. Who knows, maybe in the future, Knoxville will step into a true bike share program! Such programs cost a pretty penny, I hear. 

Our 8 little cruisers were completely free, a gift from our friends at Regions! (That’s my bank. I feel so proud!)

Thank you Regions, Legacy Parks, and everyone else involved in making Knoxville a more bike friendly place!


The Green Bike Lane added on UT Campus

All Photos from Outdoor Knoxville Facebook Page 

Special thanks to Metro Pulse Staff Blog and Legacy Parks and Outdoor Knoxville