Get Creative this 4th of July Holiday

Patriotic Popsicles
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup vanilla flavored yogurt Reusable Popsicle Mold
Place mold into the freezer while preparing ingredients.
Divide the yogurt into two pourable containers (with a spout). Thin the yogurt slightly with water, not too much, the goal is simply to make easier to pour. Distribute the strawberries into one container and the blueberries into the other, mix gently.
Pour into the popsicle mold, using as directed. Put the mold in the freezer and freeze until firm, at least an hour, or more. It is recommended to keep the popsicles in the mold until ready to serve. If making large quantities, wrap each popsicle in wax paper and put back in the freezer. For best use make the same day not in advance.
All-American Hamburger
There is a historic dispute about who served the first hamburger on a bun in America, however, no one disputes it’s the favorite
for all Independence Day Cookouts! While we dare not tap into the famous seasonings and grilling practices of the cookout
masters, we do want to give a little creative fun suggestion.
Make your Independence Day Cookout unforgettably favored with an All-American Hamburger Bar. Compliment the grill masterpieces with toppings for all taste buds to enjoy. Display your ingredients like a buffet, the colors will be vibrant and selections so much fun!
Start with the standard condiments: mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato and pickle. Add selections like spicy mustard, barbeque sauce, avocado, bacon, or onion rings. Let your imagination run wild and put it out there for guests to create a one-of-a-kind hamburger. It’s like a firework display for their taste buds.
Firecracker Strawberry Limeade
Refreshing summertime beverage perfect
for all guests and looks great on display too!
4 cups Lime Juice
1 1/2 cups Water
2 ups Simple Syrup (make your own by dissolving 2 ups sugar with 2 cups water)
20-25 sliced Strawberries
Place strawberries in blender with simple syrup, blend until strawberries are pureed. Mix with lime juice, serve over ice with desired garnish of lime slice. If you want to add some fizz- splash a topping of Sprite to the glass.

Continue Reading →

Dog Days of Summer

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the unofficial authority on all things folklore and weather-related, the phrase “dog days” refers to the hottest time of the year. However, for those of us in Knoxville, we present a new meaning, a better meaning. Throughout the year, including those hot ones, our furry friends can enjoy the East Tennessee weather and hospitality right along with us. A number of Knoxville businesses cater to the four-legged family members with special seating that includes water and treats.

Dog friendly patios are available in numerous locations throughout the area, over a 100 restaurants welcome dogs at their outdoor tables. Summertime is the best time to treat yourself and your pet to some of Knoxville’s top outdoor dining destinations. Whether it’s a weekend brunch or casual dinner, there are plenty of four-legged friendly spots. Enjoy a delicious array of local flavors and help unleash your pets’ inner social butterfly as you chill out on the patio and catch the cool summer breeze. For help finding the right place, browse the list of our favorite dog friendly restaurants. Bone Appetite!

Knoxville’s Dog Friendly Patios

Tomato Head Market Square

Rita’s Italian Ice

Cool Beans Bar and Grill



Blue Coast Grill & Bar

Barley’s Taproom

Cardin’s Drive-In

The French Market Creperie

Stir Fry Cafe


Calhoun’s On The River

Blue Slip Winery & Bistro

Alliance Brewing Company

Balter Beerworks

Blackhorse Pub

Downtown Grill & Brewery

Elkmont Exchange

Schulz Brau Brewing Company

Smoky Mountain Brewery

Continue Reading →

Decorating Den Interiors: Kozar Design Team

“Design Professional Sandy Kozar’s favorite day is when they head out of their working studio on Lovell Road in Knoxville to bring that new look to her client’s home. It’s known in the industry as installation day, the project finale.  “We ask them to leave during the install, then upon their return, the smiles and excitement is our priceless reward,” Sandy says, “it’s the best part of my job.”

Opening in 2010, Decorating Den Interiors in Knoxville continues to provide unmatched customer service with options that allow the client to lead the design best suited for them. “We offer our clients fine furniture, case goods, accessories, lighting, floor and wall coverings and custom window treatments,” Sandy explains, “then bring samples directly to their home, provide in-home consultation and personally oversee projects to installation.”

The enjoyment in helping someone live a quality of life in their home or office space, being a part of that client’s good feeling is the constant reminder that Sandy is doing what she is meant to do. Growing up in Pennsylvania, the corporate world would be her first professional focus with motherhood changing it to family first and as an adult she returned to college where a watercolor class brought the passion for design. Over the years, it was a passion fueled by setting 9 different homes as they moved with her husband’s job. The move to Tennessee brought the Kozar’s closer to extended family and with a desire to open a business, the award of a Decorating Den franchise was the perfect fit. Nine years later, she is still in love with every minute of the design process and especially the building of client relationships that last well beyond the projects.

Recently, Sandy Kozar was honored for business achievement at her company’s 50th anniversary annual conference held in Las Vegas. She received a Prism Award, that put her among the top 20 franchises within Decorating Den Interiors, North America’s largest home furnishings and interior design franchise business. Sandy was also spotlighted in the 2018 Success Panel, a select group of owners that share how they have achieved their success to serve as inspiration for other owners.

It is not the awards or even being an inspiration to others that Sandy Kozar takes pride in or talks about, that is not what it is all about for her and her team. “The relationship with my clients, gearing a design to how they like to live, just making it convenient for them,” expresses Sandy,

“it is an intimate connection being created with them as we work together toward the finale, hopefully exceeding their expectations.”

For the Kozar Design Team it is all about customer service, from the initial, in-home complimentary appointment, they listen to your design dreams and create a customized design. The best part is that they handle all the details from measuring to ordering to installation helping to make your life easier while saving you valuable time and money.

Make your home all that it can be, contact Sandy Kozar today and make your home more beautiful one room at a time. Visit today to learn more or call them at (865) 392-6222.”.

Continue Reading →

Chimney Rock State Park, NC

Today, reaching the top of Chimney Rock takes driving up a three-mile winding road to a large parking area, followed by climbing 500 steps or riding the elevator to the top. The reward, on a clear day, are the 75-mile views overlooking Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge. The adventure took on a whole new meaning in 1956 when a fast driving visitor simply asked, “Hey, can we run up that road?”

Chimney Rock Hill Climb was created. The smell of fuel would fill the air and the loud engines roared with tires squealing, as drivers raced up the narrow winding road in less than two minutes. The road that rose from 1,100 to 2,200 feet above sea level with 13 hairpin turns always lined with spectators. What started as just one man’s adventure became the signature event for the Sports Car Club of America; even a few NASCAR drivers took it on in the latter years of the race. In 1995, despite the fact no one had ever been seriously injured, the growing attraction of visitors and liability concerns ended the event. It is certain that every race car driver who attempted or was crowned “King of the Hill” will never forget the Climb.

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park has been a tourist destination in western North Carolina since a simple stairway was built to the rock’s summit in 1885. In 1902, Lucius B. Morse of Missouri bought the site, and the Morse family developed park facilities in 1916. The attraction included a tunnel and elevator to the rock summit, a nature center and a network of hiking trails to geologic points of interest including the 404-foot-tall Hickory Nut Falls. On May 21, 2007, the 1000-acre Chimney Rock Park was purchased by the state of North Carolina for $24 million from the Morse family, and Hickory Nut Gorge State Park became Chimney Rock State Park.

As one of North Carolina’s newest state parks, Chimney Rock brings the best of the mountains together in one place. Standing atop the 315 foot Chimney Rock, the view is stunning. Visitors enjoy scenic hiking trails, guided rock climbing, live animal education programs and ancient geological history. The Park’s highest point at 2,480 feet, Exclamation Point, can be reached via

the Skyline trail.

The stunning scenery was featured in the 1992 blockbuster, The Last of the Mohicans, and the adjacent Lake Lure was the filming location for the 1987 pop culture classic Dirty Dancing.

Chimney Rock, North Carolina, is a year-around destination, the perfect day trip or weekend getaway; rent a lake house, take a boat tour, hike a trail or attend a festival. And while the racing is not acceptable anymore, a relaxing, scenic drive on the country roads is highly recommended.

Chimney Rock Village has an old-time feel due to locally owned businesses that occupy historic buildings full of character and flair. Walk along Main Street to shop at stores with one-of-a-kind finds including Appalachian crafts, unique souvenirs of the area. Dine at a riverside table, try a local craft beer or savor a glass of wine. After visiting Chimney Rock Village, just head down main street, take a right and the road will lead you to Lake Lure.

Lake Lure is one of the most beautiful man-made lakes in the country, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This is a must do for getting a new perspective to the incredible scenery of the area. From atop Chimney Rock, you viewed from above, and now, surrounded by lush mountaintops and sheer granite cliffs, the “look up” is breathtaking. Bet the song, “Time of My Life,” from Dirty Dancing starts playing in your head. In the fall of the year, Lake Lure invites you to Have the Time of Your Life and relive the moments of the classic film. You can experience movie-inspired dance, music, arts and entertainment. There is even a lakeside screening of the film. Venture out into the lake; attempting the infamous lake lift is encouraged but watching others trying the move is even more fun.

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is an international outdoor destination in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC, attracting visitors from around the world. Recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic outdoor attractions, Chimney Rock is located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, NC. Visiting Chimney Rock and Lake Lure from Knoxville will take less than 3 hours; it is approximately 141 miles. But you won’t mind it. Driving through western North Carolina is an adventure in beauty and worth every mile traveled.

Continue Reading →

Are You Being Heard?

We live in a time where there is so much noise. Wonderful noises include the sound of our loved ones talking to us, with us and near us, making memories together, whether we realize the significance of those memories or not. Wonderful noises also include music of all varieties that make us happy, lift our spirits and entertain us. Necessary sounds such as the running of the HVAC or the tapping of the keyboard become so commonplace we may barely notice them. Unpleasant noises can be distracting, annoying or downright painful. This list could be equally as long, but for now, we will avoid listing those and acknowledge they exist.

With all the noises that surround us, I think we can all agree that the sound of a human voice, especially of someone for whom we love and care, can be one of the most comforting. One of my top three voices belongs to my sweet two-year-old daughter with the other two belonging to my seven-and-a-half-year-old daughter and my husband of nearly ten years. This sweet two-year-old is continually improving her speech, and her tiny voice is precious, but she has one phrase that cracks me every time; every day I hear her say, “Want money, want money, want money.”

The first time we heard “want money,” my husband and I curiously looked at each other with a bit of panic as the “want money, want money” cries got louder. We let our little one take us by the hand and guide us to a point in which she reached the pantry and pulled out gummies, and we finally understood what she truly wanted. She wasn’t asking for money (not yet at least, those years are coming), but she wanted GUMMIES! There is nothing audible in her request that sounded like gummies, but we heard loud and clear.

I smile to myself thinking about how often this plays out in real life. Oftentimes, we tell our loved ones what we want and need, and we hope they have heard us. Sometimes they have listened to us, and sometimes they have indeed heard us. My husband has heard me say I’m exhausted at the end of the day, and cleaning the kitchen is not high on my priority come late at night. I knew he truly heard me when we started tag-teaming the kitchen duties and asking what else he could assist with to make the evenings as enjoyable as possible.

As a senior advisor, I genuinely want to hear from you and your family. I want to ask questions to which your answers guide me to be able to listen to what you are saying completely. I want every one of my recommendations to take into consideration what I hear you say is most important to you. I want to listen to what you are saying but also understand the meaning behind it.

Some of my clients tell me that leaving a legacy is most important, some clients tell me retiring and being confident in their cash flow is most important and some clients tell me portfolio stability and returns are most important. My goal is to give each client the attention and access they desire so that I do hear what they are saying.

Your goals may sound like “money, money, money” the first time we sit down and talk. My job is to walk with you and ask the right questions so that I hear what you are really saying is, “Freedom, retirement, peace of mind and legacy.”

Continue Reading →

Anise Sage Salvia

Outside the sunroom, I have a patch of Anise Sage (salvia guaronitica) planted. While having a cup of coffee in the morning, I love to see the hummingbirds come to feed on this tall blue plant. This perennial has deep blue flowers that bloom from summer to late fall. Salvia needs full sun or light shade and well drained, evenly moist soil. Very rich soil can cause these tall plants to flop. These are really tall plants; they can grow up to 6 feet tall. They are also quite drought tolerant once established.

You should plant Anise Salvia in early spring. This sage combines beautiful flowers with aromatic foliage and has the square stem of the mint family. They form broad mounds that are as large as they are tall. Give them at least four feet to grow into. They enjoy a feeding of balanced fertilizer in the spring. You should mulch to keep the weeds at bay and moisture even. They rarely need staking but can lean toward the sun if they are in the shade. You can cut this perennial to the ground in the fall after a frost or wait until spring if the naked stalks do not bother you.

A friend gave me a clump of this plant last year, and I divided it into four sections. It is now about four feet tall and three feet around. Division is only necessary when the center begins to look thin. I thought that hummingbirds only saw red, but they must be able to see this blue, because they come every day going from one plant to another sipping the sweet nectar.

Hummingbirds can fly up, down, right, left and even upside down. When hovering, they hold their bodies upright, and their wings beat in a shallow figure-eight. Most hummingbirds beat their wings about 53 times a second. All I can see is a blur.

Hummers have a high body temperature and fast heart rate. They must feed about every ten minutes. The major part of this small bird’s diet is sugar from flowers and tree sap. We have witnessed as many as six different birds eating at one time. Sometimes they seem to be chasing each other and doing fancy dives like a WWII bomber. Danny thought that they were mating, but we did a little research and decided they were fighting for territory and food. 

There are 328 species of hummingbirds, and I bet they all like salvia. Their bills are long and tapered to fit perfectly into the tubular salvia flowers. Other plants that are good nectar sources are pineapple sage, cardinal flower, butterfly bush, Bee balm, penstemon, native trumpet creeper and cypress vine. Ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate to Mexico via the East Coast and Gulf States. Hummingbirds live on the average of four years, but there are records on some living to be twelve. Think of the miracle living for 4 years with those tiny wings beating 52 times per second. Amazing! They also remember food sources from previous years, so if they enjoyed your yard this year, they will be back next spring.

I have lots of friends who feed hummingbirds thru the summer months. They put out their  hummingbird feeder when the hummers arrive in April and keep it filled until they leave for Mexico in October. If you have been artificially feeding these little helicopters, don’t worry about them staying. They will migrate because of hormonal changes due to the decrease in the length of daylight. There is nothing you can do to make them stay. In fact, fall is a good time to continue feeding since they need to double their body weight for their trip to the land of the Incas.

We also experience another migration going south for the winter. The Snowbirds come through in the fall. They seem to be looking for coffee instead of sugar water. These “snowbirds” get to Florida before Christmas and then return to deepest darkest Yankee land in the spring. Our job is to give them a meal and maybe a night’s rest as nature makes them complete this migratory cycle.

Hummingbird sugar water for feeder

¼  cup of sugar

1 cup of water

Boil for 3 minutes

Add red coloring if desired

Continue Reading →