Best way to welcome spring? Hats!

Sheena McCall, left, and Sara Fortune Rose in their fabulous pink hats.

Nothing says springtime like a new hat!

The folks at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum have recognized that fact and, for the fifth year in a row, have celebrated the fortunate match with a fundraiser featuring hats by beloved milliner, Patricia Frankum.

Called “Hats in Bloom,” the luncheon delights a couple of hundred ladies and gives a reward to those who pay a little extra by letting them in early to get first dibs on hundreds of fashionable and fabulous one-of-a-kind creations by Frankum. Many wear hats purchased in previous years to shop for this year’s treasure.

From Vincennes, Indiana, Frankum waited until after her family was raised to follow her passion of making hats. She learned from other milliners and started out by making custom hats for herself and her friends. Her marketing truly was word of mouth at the beginning. Now, she’s the subject of blogs and news articles. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Knoxville | 13 Comments

Air travel needs to be fixed from the ground up

Here's Alan in the Atlanta airport after 8.5 hours. You can imagine how happy he was after 20 hours! (Photo by Cynthia Moxley)

Here’s Alan in the Atlanta airport after 8.5 hours. You can imagine how happy he was after 20 hours! (Photo by Cynthia Moxley)

NOTE: This guest post was written by Alan Carmichael, president of Moxley Carmichael.

The world was shocked when they saw United Airlines forcibly remove a passenger from a recent flight, precipitating a public relations crisis of the worst order, compounded by an incredibly bad company statement about the incident and the need to “re-accommodate these customers.”

In the week before, Cynthia and I were eyewitnesses to how another airline, Delta, handled its own crisis related to multiple delayed and cancelled flights following severe storms in the Southeast. Like United, this incident pointed out lessons in public relations, customer service and the critical need for crisis training and advanced planning – internally as well as externally.

Cynthia and I were among hundreds of passengers stranded in the Atlanta airport overnight April 5-6 due to cancelled flights resulting from the predicted bad weather. It happens, but what we saw and experienced that night should give any airline CEO real incentive to see that the crisis could have, and should have, been handled a lot better on the ground. Continue reading

Filed under: Travel | 16 Comments

All that jazz — and all that fun

Our host, John Trotter, and Phyllis Nichols, CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League and a big jazz fan.

Our host, John Trotter, and Phyllis Nichols, CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League and a big jazz fan.

It was a perfect night for an inside-outside party. In March, it was one of the first evenings that was truly comfortable to be outside. And what a great outside it was!

“An Evening of Jazz” — a fundraiser for the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra — was held at the historic home of John Trotter — formerly the Dulin Gallery of Art — at 3106 Kingston Pike. The original house was built in 1899. John has done an excellent job of updating it. And he is so generous to use it to benefit non-profit organizations.

This night, the Keith Brown Trio (KB3) played and Nancy Kendrick catered and the evening was mellow and relaxing. The views of the Tennessee River were stunning and the camaraderie was warm. At a ticket price of just $65 per person, this was one of the best bargains of the year. Continue reading

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A stellar night in the cellar

Friends Tim Young and Monique Anderson checking out the charming table set up for dinner in the wine cellar of Cherokee Country Club.

Friends Tim Young and Monique Anderson checking out the charming table set up for dinner in the wine cellar of Cherokee Country Club.

In our fun quest to redeem all the auction items we’ve purchased over the past few years, we recently hosted a dinner party for six in the wine cellar of Cherokee Country Club. I didn’t even know this warm, romantic spot existed until Executive Chef David Pinckney told me that’s where our dinner would be. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Knoxville | 4 Comments

Little bird embarks on a migration

Amanda Shell Jennings, right, with Becky Hancock of the Tennessee Theatre at The Underground at the Crown & Goose last week.

Amanda Shell Jennings, right, with Becky Hancock of the Tennessee Theatre at The Underground at the Crown & Goose last week.

Gosh, this week I feel like a mother bird whose little chick has all of a sudden flown out of the nest. The little chick is Amanda Shell Jennings who started working at Moxley Carmichael as an intern in 2009 when she was just a teenager.

After two internships, she came to work full time with us in 2011. We watched her mature into a beautiful, intelligent and poised young woman with more grit than a seasoned drill sergeant. We all went to her wedding in 2014  and welcomed her husband, Mark, into the Moxley Carmichael family. (He already was a friend, having dated Amanda for five years.) She mourned with us that year when a colleague of ours suddenly passed away. She went through grief counseling with us.

And we have been through scores of exciting work projects together. Continue reading

Filed under: Business, Downtown, Food, Knoxville, Public Relations | 13 Comments

What a relief! Clarence Brown Theatre announces plans for new restrooms — and a great 2017-18 season

Brooks and Karen Clark this morning at the season announcement. Brooks is chair of the Clarence Brown Theatre Advisory Board

Brooks and Karen Clark this morning at the season announcement. Brooks is chair of the Clarence Brown Theatre Advisory Board.

The crowd that gathered at The Lighthouse this morning to hear details of the eight plays the University of Tennessee’s Clarence Brown Theatre will produce next season burst into shouts and applause when they heard another announcement. UT plans to add restrooms to the 43-year-old theater building on campus.

“You’ll be relieved to know that we are going to more than double the number of restrooms,” David Byrd, managing director of the Clarence Brown Theatre, chuckled. The limited number of restrooms — particularly women’s — has long been a problem. When attendance at a play there is at or near capacity — as it often is these days — women either get in a line so long that they risk missing the beginning of the next act or they do what I do and leave the theater building to seek a restroom in another campus building. This also causes the risk of being late to the second act. And it’s particularly irritating when the weather is bad. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Knoxville, Theater | 4 Comments

Plays, food and jazz make perfect trip: our tips

Sunset Boulevard, playing on Broadway until June 25, is a must see.

“Sunset Boulevard,” playing on Broadway until June 25, is a must see. Here’s Alan in front of a poster for it.

Thanks to Scripps Networks Interactive for the awesome long weekend in New York City. Alan and I purchased at a charity auction a while back a trip package donated by the Knoxville-based company, and we just redeemed it.

We bought it at a benefit at Historic Middlebrook called Southern Summer’s Night, a fundraiser for The Hope Center, part of Covenant Health. The Hope Center provides, at no charge, caring support and assistance to all individuals and families living with HIV.

During three days in the Big Apple, we packed in three plays, a visit to a noted jazz club and meals at new (to us) places as well as at old favorites.

The biggest takeaway is this: If at all possible, go see “Sunset Boulevard” starring Glenn Close. The musical, with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a 40-piece orchestra, is stunning, and Close is mesmerizing in it. Continue reading

Filed under: Food, Theater, Travel | 7 Comments

Knoxville community welcomes new campus leader

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport makes remarks at a welcoming reception hosted by business leaders.

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport makes remarks at a welcoming reception hosted by business leaders.

Beverly Davenport, UT-Knoxville’s new chancellor, charmed more than 200 Knoxville business and community leaders recently with her enthusiasm and openness at a reception held in her honor at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Costs of the reception were paid for entirely by three sponsors: Pilot Flying J, First Tennessee Bank and University of Tennessee Medical Center.

In brief remarks, Davenport thanked the crowd for the “Big Orange welcome” and discussed her pleasure over finding a historic home to purchase within minutes of the UT campus.

As chancellor, Davenport is the top-ranking official in charge of the Knoxville campus. She reports to UT President Joe DiPietro who heads the entire University of Tennessee system, which includes additional campuses in Chattanooga and Martin; health sciences campus in Memphis; research institute in Tullahoma; and various extensions throughout the state. Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Knoxville | 8 Comments

That bird didn’t fly, but wine was divine

Roasted squab at L'Amour du Vin. I just couldn't do it.

Roasted squab at L’Amour du Vin. I just couldn’t do it. A squab is a young pigeon that cannot yet fly — usually younger than four weeks old.

I might not be the most adventurous eater you’ve ever met, but I do try to sample new things from time to time. Thanks to the wonderful Trust Fall dinners (click here and here and here and here), I have forced myself to try such exotic delicacies as lamb sweetbreads, duck tongues, beef heart tartare, sea urchin, beef tongue and buffaloed rabbit wings. (Rabbit wings?)

But last Saturday, I was introduced to a plate I just could not force myself to approach. It was roasted squab with liver mousse, carrots and puff pastry, the third course at the otherwise elegant and fun L’Amour du Vin, a major fundraiser for the Knoxville Museum of Art. That’s it at the beginning of this post. Alan Carmichael, my husband, called it “the Harry Potter course” because it reminded him of something that might appear in those stories. My friend Jerry Kruse, whose company, The Pour Guys, was helping with service Saturday night, offered to remove the head from my plate for me. But there still was that claw. I just decided to pass entirely and rely on the wine for sustenance. Continue reading

Filed under: Art, Downtown, Events, Food, Knoxville | 4 Comments

Bramble makes Blackberry event even better

Jim Haslam, left, and Bill Arant at An Evening with the Knoxville Symphony at Blackberry Farm. Jim and Natalie Haslam were honorary co-chairs of the alluring event.

Jim Haslam, left, and Bill Arant at An Evening with the Knoxville Symphony at Blackberry Farm. Jim and Natalie Haslam were honorary co-chairs of the alluring event.

The Knoxville Symphony‘s annual fundraiser at Blackberry Farm was even more fantastic this year because it was held in Bramble Hall, Blackberry’s brand new events center.

Bramble Hall was modeled after the huge timber-framed barns that used to dot East Tennessee’s rural countryside. These barns were used for all manner of local celebrations, from community barn dances to weddings and harvest parties. It sounds rustic, I know. But, if you’ve ever been to Blackberry Farm, you know that they do “rustic” in the most elegant way imaginable! Bramble Hall is no exception.

Bramble Hall, equipped with state of the art sound and lighting to accommodate the many musical evenings at Blackberry, is beautifully appointed with huge beams and stone fireplaces set off by comfortable, understated furnishings. An outdoor amphitheater provides an under-the-stars option for entertainment during fair weather. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Knoxville, Music | 5 Comments