How Many Days Until Friday…?

I lied last week.

Grad school actually hit this week. Like yesterday.

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My Tuesdays are oh-so-pleasant…pleasant enough to have Biostatistics from 5-8 PM. After having two classes earlier in the day, plus some running around to do the drug and alcohol screening examination (including some old-fashioned getting lost and taking the wrong exits), I decided I could at least treat myself to a fried green tomato, bacon, tomato jam, and pimiento cheese sandwich with a friend. And a Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan to boot. 

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Each Tuesday (during the summer, at least that I know of), Knoxville’s Market Square hosts Jazz in the Square. People bring out lawn chairs and blankets and just hang out to enjoy the music. Have I mentioned that I love this place?

Last Friday, I got to go out to Barley’s with two of the Nutrition labs. It was a ton of fun, and it definitely helped to get to talk to people and get to know them better! 

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My roommate was forever telling me about how delicious their calzones are. LOOK AT IT. It was so beautiful, and I even got to save half of it for lunch on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, look at my Farmer’s Market bounty! Complete for only $17.40:

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It was only $17.40 and not $20.40, since I decided to tell the one farm that gave me the ant-infested swiss chard about what happened. I was buying carrots from them, and they apologized and gave me the carrots for free! 

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Plus these guys were adorable. The market is filled with dogs and good people in general. I visited a jewelry place and talked to the owner, who gave me a 10% off “discount token” to bring in whenever I wanted to buy something! I explained to her the grad school life budget I’m on, and why I wanted to save up for buying a nice necklace. She appreciated a good budgeting in a college student!

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So this is the view outside of my parking garage that I every so often get the chance to park at. It’s a bloody war to get into that spot throughout the day.

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This is the view outside of the lab. I know I will be living there a good bit over the next few years…at least.

The weekend was full of *good* work! We had a band at the pub, so we were crazy busy. I loved the cover band- I was able to sing and dance along while working the whole time. I got to wear my fun head band from Peru:

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As far as my food adventures go, here’s a little yummy-ness that I made with my Market Square Farmer’s Market goodies:

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Vegetable Sweet and Sour (link to and recipe from savorynothings.com)

I made some brown rice to throw with it and it has been SO yummy! I also didn’t get pineapple juice because I wrongly assumed that the pineapples I bought from the store would have enough juice to tide me over…nope. So I used some leftover orange juice we had, and it substituted quite well! We also didn’t have brown sugar, so I used some of my organic cane syrup I picked up from the store to sweeten my coffee in the mornings.

The roommate and I shared a frozen dinner tonight (blasphemy!), but it gave me a little free time to update this, and to take a break from tackling this:

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I like this method. It’ll work well. Who needs technology?

Until later!

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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Grad School

It’s definitely starting to feel a whole lot more like school. I’m currently typing this first part of the post draft while sitting at a table outside of the ridiculously busy Starbucks in the Hodges Library. Today I learned that their computers in the computer lab are somehow remarkably slower than the ones in the Mitchell Memorial Library on Mississippi State campus. Everyone is walking by with a backpack on…something I haven’t seen yet since I arrived to Knoxville and campus over two weeks ago (almost three weeks tomorrow!).

Oh, Kaitlin, what have you been up to since Sunday?

Lemme tell ya.

We had our “marathon of orientations” on Monday, which started out with the dietetic internship orientation at 10 AM. This was our second introduction to the people who attended the summer block-field seminar sessions that were held two weeks ago, but a great overall first introduction to our internship director and what will be required of us for the duration of the internship rotations. The second orientation was for the Public Health Nutrition concentration of the Master of Science in Nutrition students, where we learned more about the program and expectations. Our final orientation was for the entire Master of Science in Nutrition student body, which meant that the Cellular and Molecular concentration students joined us to meet more of the staff and faculty and learned more about campus in general.

The day finished with a nice in-traffic drive out to Oak Ridge for a pot-luck at the Dietetic Internship Director’s home.

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Just when I think I won’t see anymore mountains…there are more! The Director also included in her driving directions to watch out for deer on her street. To my surprise, she was not lying!

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This dinner enabled the interns to actually meet each other in a relaxed setting that didn’t involve being in a classroom and being terrified about the master’s program and our social lives for the next few years to come. Although I will not participate in the internship until the spring semester of 2017 (WOW!), it was so nice to actually get to know better the people that I will be having classes with!

Monday was the first day I realized just how busy I would be. It’s not like I didn’t know, but even my roommate was surprised I didn’t arrive back home until after ten-something that night.

***

And now, I am continuing this draft as I sit in the dungeon basement of the Jesse Harris Building (the nutrition department building), where there is a cozy little student lounge and a computer lab. I have access to the Public Health Nutrition lab upstairs on the fourth floor, but I wanted some fun exploring the building first.

I am also eating a tasty Larabar! These things have really become life savers, and they’re so darn good. Kroger has them on sale, and they’re easy to throw in my purse with some fruit and dried vegetable slices to go for the busy day!

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There are fruity flavors, but I’m way too partial to chocolate chip/brownie/cookie dough/peanut butter. That sweet tooth though.

I have my meeting with my advisor for this week in about thirty-ish minutes, and we’ll all be meeting as a lab at 3, and then we’ll be hanging out in Old City at Barley’s (YAY!). I’m definitely going to try a calzone that I’ve heard all too much good stuff about.

On Tuesday, all the nutrition department students attended the “Cultural Competency Express Workshop,” which was truly a great workshop focused on professionalism and culture in many aspects. Essentially, it was both an interactive and Power Point-heavy all day workshop in which we were able to determine that everyone has been given “rules” in their lives from their upbringing and environment, and we must learn to meet each other and be sensitive to other people’s accepted truths of the world and “rules.”

Wednesday was the first day of class! Check out this view I had on my walk to my building.

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I had Metabolism at 11:15, and it’s only a fifty minute class. The professor is great; I just realized that I have to sit at the front of the classroom to be able to hear anything that he is even saying. I am DEFINITELY happy that I bought my little ASUS laptop to bring to class for notes. It’s a real life saver.

Speaking of first day, I decided to make a special first-day-of-graduate-school breakfast:

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It consisted of eggs, turkey, provolone, swiss chard, and some bread from the landlord’s bakery. Super yummy! I have been putting good use to the swiss chard that gave me a headache with the ants last Saturday.

Another use? My sandwich meal I had during work last night:

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And here’s just a nice picture of me in general. I received word that the blog is missing a little Kaitlin face action.

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Work was pretty great last night. Besides being sent home early because of no one being there, I was able to see a good bluegrass/folk band! There was a Need to Breathe show next door, so we had some people come in before the show for food and drinks. We’re expecting for business to be a’boomin’ during football season!

Alas…the graduate school begins. Typically I would have a Nutrition Intervention in the Community Lab meeting that is held from about 9 AM-12 PM every Friday, except for today. Thankfully this fell into place because my car decided to poop out on me today and require me to bring it in to a dealership this morning. Rena-rena-renta car, y’all! That thing drives so nicely compared to my car!

And also, just for the joy of showing food and pictures in general? Here is my typical breakfast:

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(Oatmeal, honey granola, banana, yogurt, and peanut butter. Coffee with cream also!)

Anyways. Going to work on studying before meeting with the advisor.

Until later!

Sunday Funday

I was exhausted last night from not a lot of sleep the night before, so my eventful night was full of Sherlock and sleeping. I can now understand the fandom over that show since it’s so great. My roommate and I watched a few episodes today, along with introducing me to Community. The things I have been missing out on pop culture-wise… 

But no fear! A full day of orientations tomorrow, a full day of a workshop on Tuesday, and class beginning on Wednesday will keep me busy!

After orientations tomorrow, there will be a potluck at the dietetic internship director’s home for dinner with all of the future interns. I made this jewel of a recipe today: Roasted Tomato Pasta with Mozzarella (link to and recipe from Midwest Living)

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 My tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market yesterday that I chopped up today. It was a simple recipe that tastes great, and my roommate contributed fresh snipped basil from the garden. We’ll see how everyone thinks about it at the potluck tomorrow!

Today, the roommate and I decided to go running at Fort Dickerson Park (previously mentioned in another post, in which I describe going to the wrong side of the park to look at the Civil War Memorial Park and the overlook of the Quarry instead!). Can I just say that I love running outside? In nature? By the quarry lake and in the woods and off the road? Gosh it’s great.

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This is the entrance to the greenway and the road leading to the quarry lake. The vast amount of kudzu covering the hills and everything surrounding you here cannot be captured in these pictures.

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This is the quarry lake, where a lot of people were swimming and enjoying the Sunday afternoon.

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This last picture was from a cliff. There are a few cliffs to jump from…including a 100 ft one where someone had passed away this year, and another man told me that he previously injured some vertebrae and his sternum jumping from it. Does not sound like the best of times.

Also, for a laugh, apparently I took a few pictures while running and didn’t realize it.

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This place is gorgeous. I intend to find some other parks and explore some more.

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This is a very picture-heavy post, but that’s what everyone wants to see anyways, right? Besides, all I did was watch tv, catch up with the family, make food, and run around a park. Maybe it wasn’t much of a lazy Sunday after all.

Until later!

Fairs and Markets and Ants, Oh My!

I didn’t think my life would have been so interesting in the last twenty-four hours, but it certainly somehow managed to be!

Work went pretty well last night. My co-workers and managers are great to work with, and the environment itself is fun. I feel like I had the opportunity to work out a lot of first-timer kinks, but it has been fun learning about drinks and bars.

My roommate’s family is in visiting, so I tried my hardest not to wake them up when I got back last night. Jack’s a good little guard dog, so that mission was impossible from the get-go.

On to the Market!

Part of the Farmer's Market

Part of the Farmer’s Market

Please keep in mind that you can click on any picture to see it in a bigger view! Some of the outdoor pictures in a previous post would look a lot better than this small size.

I couldn’t figure out why traffic was so insanely hectic today, and why the “special events” boards were up blocking the entrance to the Market Square parking garage. (Although I did follow the car in front of me, and they turned down another street to get to a side entrance to the garage. Sweet!) Turns out, today was the East Tennessee History Fair!

What is this, you may ask?

Just some really cool reason for people to walk around in costume and for the History Museum to showcase all of their historical goodies from the American timeline. While I was initially purchasing food from the Farmer’s Market and talking to vendors, I kept seeing people walking around in costume and was confused. Not even a street over from the market, the real life timeline was set up throughout the park.

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I came across a gentleman who was picking off the ends of green beans, snapping them in half, and throwing the beans into a basket. I learned a lot about the trials of food preservation, and specifically how to preserve green beans in the sun!

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This last picture is the strung-up green bean line. You run a needle through the middle of the beans (horizontally) and hang the line up during the day in direct sunlight. You have to take it down in the evening and bring it inside so that dew doesn’t collect on it.

He even let me prepare some green beans!

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And Lincoln just casually strolling around and greeting the common folk:

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I also came across a man who was performing blacksmith work.

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I also learned a cool little chunk of history today specifically relating to East Tennessee’s importance in women’s suffrage.

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I am taking excerpts out of The Suffrage Coalition’s brochure:

“In 1920, 35 out of 36 states needed had ratified the suffrage amendment… Delaware and Tennessee were the last hopes for ratification. When Delaware defeated it in June, all eyes turned to Tennessee with hopes it would be the “Perfect 36.” The Senate passed the ratification resolution, but the House was down to a dead tie. After receiving a letter from his mother to be a “good boy” and support the amendment, Harry Burn of Niota changed his red rose that was pinned on his lapel (in significance of opposing the amendment) to the yellow rose to show his support. It was down to the 24-year-old to make history. Even though he felt an obligation to vote in accordance with his constituents in McMinn County, he also “instinctively understood the fairness in the notion of allowing all citizens to vote.”

Talk about a stressful day.

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This is found in the Market Square, which is the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial, established by the Suffrage Coalition. It “exists to uncover and preserve the dramatic and inspiring history of Tennessee’s role in bringing the vote to American women.”

There will soon be a Burn Memorial to commemorate Harry Burn and his mother around the Square as well, “to ensure that this story is not lost and will serve as an inspiration to those who must make difficult decisions under the glare of strongly held opposing opinions.”

Keep your eyes and ears open long enough, and you will learn some amazing things.

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Obligatory cool food truck post. I didn’t get the chance to grab anything from the trucks today, but maybe next week as a treat!

Today I bought some produce for my roommate, and I grabbed some cherry tomatoes and swiss chard for myself.This swiss chard. It had the ants. All the ants. It better be good.

I ran to Kroger afterwards to finish shopping, and upon my return home I discovered that there were ants all over my car, all over my Farmer’s Market food, everywhere.

Long story short? I washed each leaf individually and killed a nearly endless amount of ants. I also learned to check my produce SUPER THOROUGHLY at the Market. Or else I’ll spend half an hour doing that over the sink.

Ant encounter number three so far. Odds aren’t looking great right now. I keep shaking myself thinking I’m covered in tons of crawling ants.

I have no more things. I’m beyond exhausted and may retire before 8 PM tonight.
But first, here’s a picture of someone really important.

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I don’t know if you can tell that I miss him a ton and can’t wait for him to visit.

Until later!

Week 2

I am trying my hand at gardening! The last person that lived at the house I am now renting a room from built raised beds out front, and my roommate had a few open bed spots. 

Last week, I planted carrots, beets, and green onions. 

New gloves and seeds.

New gloves and seeds.

 I still haven’t seen anything sprouted yet. It has either rained or sprinkled every day, so there hasn’t been a need for me to water yet. Today has been gorgeous, so I will be sure to give the beds some watering before I head out to work. 

The roommate and I put together an indoor compost after doing some online research and watching a good few YouTube videos. We got two 5-gallon buckets from Home Depot, lined the bottom of one bucket with newspaper, and made multiple layers of dirt from the garden, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, and dried leaves. We’re going to give it about another five or so weeks and see if we get some rich compost as the result! We also drilled a ton of holes is in the first bucket and drilled holes near the top of the second bucket, which will serve to collect any liquid residue and moisture. 
                I say that “we” drilled holes. That really meant that I watched as my roommate used her friend’s drill on the                             buckets.

As far as work goes, I just had my second night of training last night. It was quite dead, so I didn’t get a lot of work in. Saturday was my first night, and tonight will be my first night on closing and last night of training! I work at a location that serves as a bar and kitchen, so I am still definitely learning a lot about drinks. Mostly I’m learning the computer system, but I almost have it down.

With my bounty from the Farmer’s Market and Kroger last week, I made two Slow Cooker recipes for this week:

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff (link to and recipe courtesy of Granny’s Vital Vittles)

Slow Cooker Chicken and Potato Soup (link to and recipe courtesy of Simple Clean Living)

The Stroganoff was a bit less Stroganoff-y due to the slimy mushrooms that have resided in the produce drawer of the fridge for just a bit too long (therefore, I didn’t use them). However, I think I’m beginning to be obsessed with my roommate’s slow cooker and she has already stated it’s fine for me to use it as much as I want. Famous last words.

Baby carrots!

Baby carrots!

What have I been up to? I went to campus for a field experience presentation that I didn’t technically have to be there for. So, I ran around exploring campus and ran errands instead. I definitely missed my graduate student orientation thanks to only one faulty e-mail date that I wrote in my planner (and completely overlooked the five consecutive e-mails containing the correct date, go me!) in lieu of attending the Aim to Serve class for my ABC Permit. I instead went the next day to be turned away by the University Center staff who sadly told me I missed the orientation by a day. After talking to some classmates, it seems like I didn’t miss anything at all. Win.

Wednesday night, my roommate and I went to Bullman’s Krav Maga and Kickboxing Gym. The first class is free, and she has a gym membership there.

It. Kicked. My. Butt.
And I loved every second of it.

Unfortunately, class prices run a little steep. Until something miraculous happens like me making a ton of money at work, it’s not in the cards for me right now. I do miss martial arts and kickboxing, though. The UTK Rec Sports holds fitness classes (and has a rock wall!) for free, but my roommate told me the kickboxing class is strictly aerobic exercise (no punching and kicking bags! Where is the fun in that?). 

Afterwards, my roommate was extremely kind and treated me out to The Tomato Head off of Kingston. 

Reuben with pickled beets and spinach, tomato chipotle soup, and a Carolina Blonde beer.

Reuben with pickled beets and spinach, tomato chipotle soup, and a Carolina Blonde beer.

We sat next to the kitchen window, and these guys watched over us!

We sat next to the kitchen window, and these guys watched over us!

Ever wonder what a normal morning looks like for me?

Jack!

Jack!

This is Jack, my roommate’s dog. He’s the neediest little sweetheart around. He likes short walks to the backyard, likes not being in the dark, and wants you to pet him 24/7. He’s got his old man ways and he’s fun to have around!

Yesterday (Thursday), I attended a session in the morning to discuss a new system being implemented across UTK campus to submit IRB proposals electronically. Yay for efficiency!

I also was able to attend the MPHGSA (Master of Public Health Graduate Student Association) orientation, which was a nice introduction to staff, other students, and expectations in the degree. I was also able to have a lengthy meeting with my advisor discussing just what in the world I’m getting myself into for these next few years. The most common phrase I’ve heard since I’ve been here? 

“Buckle your seat belt, you’re in for a ride!”

Surely they’re talking about the bad drivers here, right? 

The most important thing I learned yesterday was it doesn’t matter if your Chacos match with your nice-looking professional wear. You will wear them or your tennis shoes to trek across campus. My feet surely didn’t appreciate being subjected to cross-campus multi-hill traversing. 

Sorry if you're squeamish. My feet don't care.

Sorry if you’re squeamish. My feet don’t care.

What else? I found this terrifying bugger today-

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The insect community here in Tennessee has amazed me thus far. Our kitchen has been subjected to two mass ant attacks, and there is always some creepy crawly in nearly every corner. This little guy above was crawling around right next to me during lunch. Not for long, anyways.

So for now? Going to think about my career goals and what I want out of life before I head off to work.

Until later!

Rainy Days and Old City Ways

As the title alludes to, it has been raining very generously here the past few days. I intended on biking the Greenway(s) around downtown, by the campus, and around the bridges…and then it rained. Check out all the Greenways here: www.cityofknoxville.org/greenways/

The seminars I have been attending with other Nutrition Master’s Students is to get an idea of what I will be doing either next summer or the summer after: traveling to a new location, having an RD preceptor, determining the needs and problems of the community, and implementing a process to evaluate. It was great to finally meet a few of the people I will be taking classes with, as well as others in my lab!

In between the rain on Friday, I did get the chance to explore the Fort Dickerson Park area. It’s a quick drive from my house, and I still had to trek up a nice little mountain. I love it! There is so much forest around me, complete with walking and biking trails. I was a little bit of a goof- I expected the Fort area to be the walking trail location. Not so much. The Fort area was complete with history regarding the Civil War and Fort Dickerson’s importance, and it still had great views. A little bit down the mountain was the Quarry Lake overlook, which I later learned the ACTUAL walking trail brings you to. I’m saving that trek for another day that it’s not raining. 

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The overlook to the Quarry Lake. There were people kayaking there!

The overlook to the Quarry Lake. There were people kayaking there!

 Friday night I got to visit a good friend Attila. He lives in a pretty swanky loft that has a fantastic overview of a different side of the city.

Ignore my graceful reflection!

Ignore my graceful reflection!

 We walked over to Old City, which was my first exposure to such a fun part of the city! Full with bars, shops, coffee places, A BOBA TEA PLACE (soon to be ventured to), etc. We went to Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria, where Carolina Story were playing.

Carolina Story @ Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria.

Carolina Story @ Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria.

 A Friday night isn’t complete until you have long talks about life until late into the morning whilst walking around the city. Here’s a view looking towards the campus from the Gay Street bridge:

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Obviously the picture doesn’t do justice…it’s a great view day or night. The city itself is so great. My roommate described it as “a little dot of blue in a sea of red county” when asking about government and policies here. There is such a large focus on well-being, with the number of farms in the surrounding area that come to the Farmer’s Markets and the number of trails, bike paths, and area public transportation. 

Speaking of Farmer’s Markets, here is part of my bounty from my first Saturday (last week) of being here:

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 That is minus the kale and bibb lettuce that I also purchased. So many colors!

Here is the whopping $6.50 purchase from the market yesterday:

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I am loving it!

I’ve been venturing into cooking more now, too, as I now have a kitchen with full storage ability only steps away from my room, as opposed to through three doorways and across a hallway. Or, in the case of when I lived at Herbert two years ago, down three flights of stairs and across a lobby. Right now, I am cooking this recipe in the slowcooker: http://grannysvitalvittles.com/crockpot-beef-stroganoff/

I added a carrot and the rest of my kale to it, so we shall see how it turns out! 

Class starts in ten days, and I am excited and nervous and ready and terrified all the same. I’m taking advantage of the free time while I still can, but I’m also trying to get up on the research jargon and knowledge as much as I can. I have a heck of a learning curve to work with, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here. It wouldn’t be graduate school without feeling all of the feels, right?

Until later!

The City of Knoxville Welcomes You!

Hello there!

My name is Kaitlin, and tomorrow will be the one week mark that I have lived in Knoxville, TN. I wanted to start this blog for a few reasons:

  • to let family and friends know what all I’ve been up to
  • to hone my writing skills in a public setting
  • to begin writing from a public health nutritionist (in-training) perspective
  • to display all the yummy things I’ve been making in this nice kitchen and share some tips along the way

Plus other things. I’ve already typed this post, and wordpress just kind of made it disappear into nowhere blogsphere. This is still definitely day 1 in learning the ropes.

I do have seminars to attend first thing in the morning, but I promise to return with pictures and stories of the Greenway routes and a concert.

Until later!