Nest Knoxville nestles into downtown

Natalie Stair, left, with her mother-in-law, Dorothy Stair, at the opening of Nest Knoxville.

Natalie Stair, left, with her mother-in-law, Dorothy Stair, at the opening of Nest Knoxville.

It was a sweet gathering of family and friends last weekend as Nest Knoxville, the beautiful new furniture and gift store on the 100 block of Gay Street, officially opened its doors.

Proprietor Natalie Stair and her husband, Marshall, an attorney and Knoxville City Council member, have been working for months to get it ready. And they made it in the nick of time. In fact, the awning went up just hours before the Friday opening. Whew!

Natalie is from the furniture capital of America, nearby Hickory, North Carolina, and she said it seemed like a natural move for her. You can read about her history in the furniture business in a recent News Sentinel article (click here) and in a blog post on Inside of Knoxville (click here).

What I like the most about the new store is the wide variety of things to look at (and buy). From gorgeous leather couches and upholstered chairs to jewel-like wine stoppers that would be perfect for hostess gifts, the store has it all. Continue reading

Filed under: Art, Business, Downtown, Events, Knoxville | 12 Comments

Fun, fireworks and fowl to celebrate Fourth

Rick Blackburn, president of the board of Knox Heritage, gets up close and personal with Sundance, the Dewhirsts' pet chicken. Isn't she pretty?

Rick Blackburn, president of the board of Knox Heritage, gets up close and personal with Sundance, the Dewhirsts’ pet chicken. Isn’t she pretty?

It’s summer and that means Knox Heritage’s uber popular Summer Suppers are in full swing. I love these things. They are great little (or big) parties put together by a creative host committee at a private home or interesting setting.

Earlier this month, 50 guests attended one at David and Tracy Dewhirst’s farm located in South Knoxville just minutes from downtown. It started with cocktails on the lawn of the house and ended with dinner and fireworks at a beautifully restored Amish barn the Dewhirsts saved and transported to their property from Indiana.

The hardworking host committee purchased the barbecue that was the main course, but they made the eight side dishes. And Tracy made three kinds of pies for dessert.

Don’t miss out on these fantastic fundraisers. There are still three that are not sold out. They are on July 23, July 30 and August 27. Click here for more info on them. Maybe we’ll see you there. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Historic preservation, Knoxville | 3 Comments

Solstice steals spotlight at summer soirees

John Schwartz, a member of the host committee, welcomed guests with wine at the Summer Solstice Dinner at the Knoxville Botanical Garden.

John Schwartz, a member of the host committee, welcomed guests with wine at the Summer Solstice Dinner at the Knoxville Botanical Garden.

It wasn’t too long ago that you didn’t hear much about the solstice. And when it was discussed, it was just a mention in the weather report about the longest day or something. The only solstice “celebrations” you heard about conjured vague images of Wiccans and other assorted pagans dancing around in a field.

But, it appears that solstice celebrations have now gone mainstream. To such an extent, as a matter of fact, that Alan and I attended two solstice dinners last month which were fundraisers for two different gardens in our community. And I didn’t see a single Wiccan at either of them!

Several posts ago, the Blue Streak covered a solstice supper that was held to benefit Beardsley Community Farm, an urban demonstration site that promotes food security and sustainable urban agriculture. (Click here for that post.)

The second we attended was the fourth annual Summer Solstice Dinner benefiting and located at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum. Both were delightful. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Historic preservation, Knoxville | 7 Comments

A sweet memory of Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt and Mary Ellen Allen in a photo from 2009.

Coach Pat Summitt and Mary Ellen Allen in a photo from 2009.

Maybe you’ve heard of “Throwback Thursday.” It’s a practice on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, whereby users on Thursdays post old photos with the hashtag “ThrowbackThursday” or “TBT.”

Well, we are doing it today on the Blue Streak.

The link below will take you to a post from the first month the Blue Streak was ever published — in April 2009. It is a very short anecdote from a speech Pat Summitt gave at an American Heart Association event, and I think it’s really sweet.

I hope you like it. Click the link below:

Pat Summitt shows soft side (honest!)

 

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Knoxville, UT sports | 4 Comments

Plated.com changed our lives. Seriously.

Our Plated pushers -- Peter and Jenn Moore. Nice selfie, guys!

Our Plated pushers — Peter and Jenn Moore. Nice selfie, guys!

Let me say this up front. We do not represent this company. We just happen to be huge fans of it.

It started last November when our neighbors, Peter and Jenn Moore, insisted that we try a meal kit company called Plated. As you know, there are several similar meal kit companies — Blue Apron, Green Chef, Home Chef, HelloFresh and others. But Peter and Jenn had tested many of them and said that, hands down, Plated was their favorite. They sent us a free trial kit — three meals.

And the rest is history. We’ve purchased three Plated meals a week (each one serves two people) almost every week since. It costs $72 per week. And it has broken us of our habit of going to restaurants quite as often as we used to. And that has saved us a chunk of change.

We still love going out to eat, of course. But now it’s more intentional. We don’t just do it because we haven’t had time to go to the grocery store. Continue reading

Filed under: Food | 33 Comments

Southern Summer’s Night lights path to hope

Hosts Rick Fox, left, and Ralph Cianelli.

Hosts Rick Fox, left, and Ralph Cianelli.

For 20 years, Covenant Health’s Hope Center has been benefiting people and families coping with AIDS and HIV. For 14 of those years, Rick Fox and Ralph Cianelli have been throwing a huge fundraising party in the middle of summer to benefit it.

That’s important because there is no charge to anyone that the Hope Center serves. Inpatients, outpatients, people relocating to this area or newly diagnosed individuals can find at the Hope Center a safe, non-stigmatizing place to feel encouraged and valued.  Visits to the Hope Center, located off Middlebrook Pike in West Knoxville, are made by patients, physicians, staff, community hospitals and various agencies.

The Southern Summer’s Night party – held at the historic mansion known as Middlebrook – features food and drink, of course, as well as silent and live auctions. There always is great entertainment, this year by Taber Gable and his quartet. Gable is a graduate of Knoxville’s Joy of Music School and a talented jazz keyboardist. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Knoxville, Music | 3 Comments

Savoring Beardsley’s scintillating Solstice Supper

Khann Chov, urban agriculture director at Beardsley, with Alan Carmichael of Moxley Carmichael.

Khann Chov, urban agriculture director at Beardsley, with Alan Carmichael of Moxley Carmichael.

An eight-course vegetarian feast was the substance of Beardsley Community Farm’s fifth annual Solstice Supper fundraiser, which Moxley Carmichael was happy to support through a sponsorship.

Held at The Standard in downtown Knoxville last Monday night, it featured the culinary talents of chefs Jeffrey DeAlejandro and Winter Hose. DeAlejandro owns OliBea, the  popular breakfast and lunch restaurant in the Old City.

Beardsley Community Farm is an urban demonstration site that has promoted food security and sustainable urban agriculture through practice, education and community outreach since 1998.

It operates under the auspices of the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee with support from AmeriCorps and annually produces more than 10,000 pounds of produce, which it donates to local food pantries and a women’s shelter.

It also helps about 150 people and organizations each year establish community gardens. Continue reading

Filed under: Uncategorized | 14 Comments

A party for the posies

Random Acts of Flowers founder Larsen Jay with his wife and partner, Adrian Jay.

Random Acts of Flowers founder Larsen Jay with his wife and partner, Adrian Jay.

Knoxville-based nonprofit Random Acts of Flowers specializes in bringing smiles to the faces of people in health care facilities. On a recent scorcher of a Friday evening, benefactors Hash and Nazzy Hashemian brought smiles to faces of Random Acts of Flowers donors and volunteers by hosting a beautiful fundraising party at their West Knox County home.

As you may know, Random Acts of Flowers was founded in 2008 by Larsen Jay of Knoxville. Following a near-fatal accident, Jay was recovering in the hospital and was cheered up by the dozens of visitors who came to see him and the stunning flower arrangements many of them brought. He thinks these kindnesses actually helped him heal.

When Jay was able to walk around the hospital, he noticed that many of his fellow patients didn’t have any visitors or flowers. So he began “re-gifting” some of his arrangements. He was touched by the smiles the simple act generated. When he got out of the hospital, he formed a nonprofit to recycle and re-purpose flower arrangements to be distributed to folks in hospitals and nursing homes. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Knoxville | 4 Comments

Stunning Lonesome Dove eatery opens Friday

Chef Tim Love poses with architect Faris Eid, right and his son, Marwan.

Chef Tim Love poses with architect Faris Eid, right and his son, Marwan.

The long awaited game restaurant, Lonesome Dove, located in the former Patrick Sullivan’s building in Knoxville’s Old City, will open to the public this Friday.

A pre-opening cocktail party last night revealed the beautiful job Chef Tim Love and his team have done remodeling the historic building. The  original bar from Patrick Sullivan’s, which is studded with coins, has been relocated from the ground floor to the third floor, which is now a space for private events.

The crowd at last night’s cocktail soiree seemed to consist mostly of folks involved with the project in some way and of Old City neighbors. The bar served wine — including Love’s own rose — and a signature cucumber jalapeno margarita, which was drawing raves.

Passed hors d’oeuvres featured menu items and were snatched up by the hungry and the curious. Chef Love’s mother, Margaret Love (nicknamed “Queenie”) was on hand, as were his beautiful wife, Emilie, and three children — son, Tannahill, and twins, Ella and Anna. Continue reading

Filed under: Business, Downtown, Food, Knoxville | 12 Comments

Clarence Brown in ‘Black and White’

Who is this? Read on!

Who is this? Read on!

The Clarence Brown Theatre this year took the theme for its annual fundraising gala from Truman Capote’s famous 1966 Black and White Ball held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

This one, however, was held at the Jackson Terminal in downtown Knoxville. Folks here had no hesitation about throwing themselves into the spirit of the evening, many wearing masks, as the original guests did.

Guest of honor was University of Tennessee alumna Paula Pell, a writer for “Saturday Night Live” for more than 20 years and an actress who has guest starred in television’s “30 Rock” and “Parks and Recreation.” She also wrote the 2015 hit movie, “Sisters,” starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

The Clarence Brown Theatre is part of the University of Tennessee’s renowned Department of Theatre, whose broad mission is to provide study for graduate and undergraduate students and to operate a professional theater to foster professional standards for the students to emulate and to provide a top-notch cultural experience for East Tennesseans. We are very lucky to have it in our community. Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Knoxville, Theater | 9 Comments