Party City is closing due to the Coronavirus – I’m still open!

I’m happy to deliver balloons and leave them at your front door, or even better create a yard piece for you to display outdoors at your preferred location. No physical contact required, which keeps all of us safe and healthy.

Most of these designs would be suitable for indoor or outdoor display.

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On a personal and family level we are limiting our daily activities to what is absolutely necessary, and our regular hand washing and general cleaning routine is nearing OCD levels at this time to try to prevent spreading the virus.

Regional Veterans Day Offers 2019

To support our local military members and vets, I’ve collected all the information I could find from multiple sites around the web. Here’s my list for free or discounted food, drinks, and services (even an oil change!) in the East Tennessee region between November 9, and November 11.

Many, but not all, of these places require you to present some sort of ID to be eligible for these offers. And: I accept no responsibility for the accuracy of this list. Please call ahead and verify these offers yourself.

If you know of an offer that is not on my list, PLEASE comment or message me so that I can add it!

I know that some vets (hubby being one of them) are not a fan of “Thank you for your service”. So instead I will say:

3D Puffed HeartI’m glad that you are here today, and I hope that you will have an enjoyable Veterans Day weekend and many happy & healthy years ahead.

And if you’re a veterans’ organization, a vet, or active duty military wanting to celebrate an event or raise funds: call me at 865-223-5865. I will help make it happen for you.

Here’s the list, starting with food, then retail, then other offers.

Applebee'sParticipating Applebee's restaurants are offering veterans and active-duty military a free meal from a limited menu on Veterans Day, November 11. Proof of service required. Visit applebees.com to find a location near you.
Alamo Steakhouse Pigeon Forge. If you have an ID that says Veteran you can get any meal on our menu for free. Drink and dessert not in included! Veterans day only.
KrystalAll participating Krystal locations will give a free sausage biscuit to all military personnel, active or retired, with a military ID or in military uniform from 6-11 a.m., November 11
O'Charley's O’Charley’s will offer veterans and active-duty service members a free meal at any participating location on Nov. 11. O’Charley’s offers a 10 percent military discount all year long. Visit ocharleys.com to find a location near you.
Main EventMain Event entertainment, 9081 Kingston Pike, is offering a free meal from a select menu to all active-duty military and veterans on , Nov. 11.
IHOPAll active-duty and retired veterans are being offered free Red, White, & Blue Pancakes on Nov. 11 at the International House of Pancakes. The offer is for dine-in guests only and is limited to one per guest.
Cracker Barrel Cracker Barrel is offering all military veterans a complimentary slice of its Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake on  Nov. 11.
Calhoun's All Calhoun's locations are offering veterans one free entree on Nov. 11 from a limited menu. Proof of service is required. Visit calhouns.com to find a location near you.
Shoney'sFrom 6-11 a.m., Nov. 11, Shoney's will offer a free breakfast bar to all veterans and military personnel.
Duck DonutsThe first Monday of each month Duck Donuts, 6104 Kingston Pike, will give a 50-percent-off discount to "local heroes," including doctors, nurses, military, police, firefighters and EMS. Identification is required.
Dunkin' DonutsOne free doughnut will be given to all veterans and active military services on Nov. 11 at all participating Dunkin’ Donuts locations. No purchase is necessary. Proper military ID is required. Limit one per customer.
Golden CorralFrom 5-9 p.m. Nov. 11, all participating Golden Corral restaurants will offer a free "thank you" dinner to military veterans and active-duty members.
Zoes KitchenA free entree will be given on Veterans Day to all veterans and active members of the military. A military identification is required.
Texas RoadhouseVeterans and active military personnel can select from a special menu of 10 free entrees and a beverage from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 11, at participating Texas Roadhouse locations. Proof of service such as discharge papers, military or VA card is required. Participating restaurants in the area include 11001 Turkey Drive; 3071 Kinzel Way; 120 Morrell Road; 1019 Parkway, Gatlinburg; 3786 Parkway, Pigeon Forge; 180 Collier Drive, Sevierville; and 334 Fountain View, Alcoa.
Red RobinAll veterans and active-duty military to visit a participating Red Robin will receive a free Red’s Tavern double burger and bottomless steak fries on Nov. 11. Visit http://www.redrobin.com to find a location near you.
Wild Wing CafeOn Nov. 11, all participating Wild Wing Cafe locations will offer a complimentary meal to all military veterans and active duty. Choose from any Awesome Salad, Wild Wrap, Beefy Burger or Chicken Sandwich. Proof of military service required.
Quaker Steak & LubeA free meal from a special menu or a discounted meal will be offered to military veterans and active-duty service members at all participating Quaker Steak & Lube locations on  Nov. 11.
Echo BistroChef Seth Simmerman, owner of Echo Bistro and Wine Bar, is offering a free meal to military veterans. Guests of the veteran may order off the main menu. Reservations are required by calling 865-602-2090.
Hooter'sParticipating Hooter's Restaurants are offering all veterans and current servicemen and women a free meal on Nov. 11, from their select Veterans Day menu by presenting a military ID or proof of service.
Red LobsterAll active-duty military and reservists who visit Red Lobster on Nov. 11, will receive a free appetizer or dessert from a select Veterans Day menu. Valid military ID required. Visit http://www.redlobster.com to find a location near you.
Carrabba'sCarrabba’s Italian Grill will offer military personnel a free appetizer on Nov. 11. A military ID or wearing of the uniform is required.
BonefishMilitary personnel in uniform or with a military ID can get one free order of Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill on Nov. 11.
Backyard BurgerVeterans can get a free Back Yard Classic burger on Veterans Day at any participating Backyard Burger location. Visit backyardburgers.com to find a location near you.
Olive GardenActive military and veterans can order a free entree from a special menu at participating Olive Garden locations on Nov. 11. Visit olivegarden.com for a location near you.
Food City Deli November 11, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, one hot bar meal, and a fountain drink of any size
Chili'sVeterans Day Free Meal (November 11) free meal
TGI Fridays Veterans Day Free Meal  free meal on November 11.
Outback SteakhouseFree Bloomin' Onion & Beverage (November 11) free Bloomin' Onion and coke product.
LongHorn SteakhouseVeterans Day Free Appetizer or Dessert on November 11, plus eligible customers also get 10% off their table's total check.
Krispy KremeVeterans Day Free Doughnut and Coffee (November 11) free breakfast includes a doughnut and a small coffee.
On The BorderFree Veterans Day Meal (November 11) free Create Your Own Combo meal
Famous Dave'sVeterans Day Free Meal (November 11) a Two Meat BBQ Salute.
Buffalo Wild WingsVeterans Day Free Wings and Fries (November 11) a free order of small boneless or traditional wings, and a side of fries.
Little CaesarsFree Veterans Day Pizza (November 11)
CicisFree Veterans Day Buffet (November 11) a free adult buffet at Cicis on November 11
PerkinsFree Veterans Day Breakfast (November 11) a free breakfast for Veterans Day.
SizzlerVeterans Day Free Lunch (November 11) free meal until 4:00 PM on November 11 (choose a 6 oz. Tri Tip Steak, single Malibu Chicken, or Half Dozen Jumbo Crispy Shrimp. Plus a free side and a coffee, tea, or fountain drink.)
Chuck E. Cheese's Free Veterans Day Pizza (November 11) one free personal 1-topping pizza
Country Kitchen's Veterans Day Free Food (November 11) a free Country Scramble.
Romano's Macaroni Grill'sFree Veterans Day Meal (November 11) free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs & Spaghetti meals
Retail stores with military discounts on 11/11
A.C. Moore: 15 percent off your total regular and sale price purchase with valid ID every day.
Bed Bath & Beyond: .25 percent off entire purchase Nov. 9-12 in-store only
Dollar General: 11 percent discount in-store and online with promo code VET17.
Home Depot: 10 percent discount.
Jo-Ann Fabric: 10 percent discount for military service members and their families year round.
Lowe's: 10 percent discount.
Michaels: 15 percent discount for military families every day.
Old Time Pottery: 10 percent military discount everyday to active, retired military and their immediate families.
Publix: 10 percent discount for veterans, military personnel and family members.
Rack Room Shoes: 10 percent military discount on Veterans Day as well as every Tuesday.
Target: 10 percent discount on in-store and online purchases for veterans, active military, spouses and dependent children. To get this discount, register at www.target.com.
Walgreens: 20 percent off eligible regular-price items for all veterans, military and their families with Balance Rewards card and proof of military service.
Other military discounts
D&R Automotive at 2029 Roberts Ct, Sevierville appreciates those who served our Country. On Monday Nov. 11 they show their appreciation by offering vets 50% off Oil Change. Call 865-446-4935 to schedule a time that is good for you.
Zoo Knoxville gives veterans and active military personnel free admission year round, and the families of active military members receive 50 percent off of their ticket price with their Military Dependent I.D. card.
The Museum of Appalachiafree admission to veterans and active-duty military personnel on Nov. 11. Those interested must bring a valid ID. Info: 865-494-7680.
American Family Care will give all military veterans with proper identification a free flu shot on Nov. 11. Visit https://www.afcurgentcare.com/ to find a location near you.
The Museum of East Tennessee History, 601 S. Gay St., will give free admission to veterans and active-duty military on Nov. 11. The museum is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Info: 865-215-8824 or EastTNHistory.org.
NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains, 1545 Parkway, Sevierville, will offer free admission to veterans and active-duty service members on Nov. 11. Veterans and active-duty service members can also get a $2 discount off of an unlimited ride wristband. Military ID is required. Info: http://nascarspeedpark.com.
Dollar General  will provide veterans and families an 11 percent discount on qualifying items in store and online on Nov. 11.
Publix Service members and families can save 10 percent on most items at Publix on Nov. 11 Visit publix.com/pages/discount for more information.
Mayo's Garden Centers will offer veterans 20 percent off regularly priced items on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11. Power equipment parts and accessories are exempt from the offer. Mayo's is located at 9629 Kingston Pike, 4718 Kingston Pike and 620 Emory Road. A valid military ID is required.
Frank's Barbershop 304 S Northshore Drive, will provide free haircut vouchers, hot dogs and root beer to veterans on Nov. 11. To get the voucher, those interested must show their military ID. The voucher is good for one year and can be redeemed in that time frame. Info: 865-588-4001.
Tress Salon3728 Walker Blvd. in Knoxville, will offer free haircuts to veterans and active military service men and women from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 11
Studio Visage, 1701 Downtown West Blvd., will have free hair cut vouchers for veterans from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Nov. 11. The voucher is good for one year and can be redeemed in that time frame. Info: 865-693-7500.
Great ClipsVeterans can receive free haircuts at Great Clips locations on Veterans Day. If you know a veteran, you can also visit a Great Clips on Veterans Day and get a voucher to give to a veteran for a haircut in the next six weeks. Info: https://www.greatclips.com/promotions/veterans-day.
Toes to Nose 3D/4D offers 50% off all products and services to veterans, active duty, guard, and reserves members (with ID) on Nov. 11. http://www.toestonose3d4d.com
Knuckle Buster’s AAMCO, 104 Stekoia Lane Knoxville, is also offering 1/2 off oil changes for veterans on Monday. We are also offer veterans and first responders $25 off our labor rate for any repairs.

Black Friday sale all month long

A Black Friday sale all month long, for all of your events in 2019 & 2020:

A $50 deposit before December 1 will reserve your date in my calendar AND get you 10% off your total order!

Whether it’s a corporate event, trade show, wedding, prom, graduation, birthday, or retreat in 2019 or 2020….whether you want balloons, hotel room decor, a wedding arch, or a backdrop – simply pay a small deposit on your decorations now and you have half of your planning already taken care of.

Don’t know exactly what you want yet? No problem! We will work out the details as we get closer to your event date.

If you’re planning an event in 2019 or 2020, call or text 865-223-5865 today to take advantage of this great offer!

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*Cannot be combined with any other special offer. $50 deposit is a non-refundable retainer.


#knoxville #seviercounty #sevierville #smokymountains #pigeonforge #gatlinburg #865life #easttennesee #EastTN #knoxvilletn #knoxvilletennessee #gatlinburgtennessee #knoxrocks #corporateeventdecor #employeeappreciation #weddingdecorations #weddingarch #weddingrental #gatlinburgwedding #smokymountainwedding #knoxvillewedding #specialevents #businessevents #corporateretreat #teambuildingevents #ballooncolumns #balloonarch #balloondelivery #eventdecorations

Spread the Love – Opening Closed Doors Knoxville

It is time for another spreadthelove post, today at Opening Closed Doors Knoxville. There are several blessingsboxes located throughout the Knoxville area – this particular one at 2928 Sutherland Ave. Additional boxes are located at

198 W Woodland Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917
2910 W Emory Rd, Powell, TN 37849
941 Virginia Ave, Knoxville, TN 37921
1008 Beaumont Ave,
Knoxville, TN 37921
4005 Tazewell Pike, Knoxville, TN 37918
206 Timothy St Knoxville,TN 37914

Anyone can fill them with donated items like food, water, personal hygiene items, and anyone in need can take something from the box.
Give what you can, take what you need – no need to go big: one toothbrush, one bar of soap, one can of tuna, one bottle of water can mean the world to someone who’s struggling.

I think those boxes would be a great idea all over EastTN!

Don’t forget to tell me who I should visit next!

And if you’re planning an event in Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, or the Smoky Mountains, please give me a call – I’d love to help you decorate it.

Planning a fundraiser?

Nearly everyone is involved in a fundraiser today. Whether you organize one, participate in one, or donate to one – hardly a day goes by without hearing about a fundraiser for your local school, youth group, church, mission trip, animal rescue, food pantry, hospital, or fire department.

Fundraisers now pay for everything, from basic everyday needs to special dreams.

Are you tired of selling chocolates, candies, candles, and cookie dough? Tired of washing cars or cleaning other people’s cast-offs for your garage sale or silent auction? Days or weeks of work for only a few dollars in return?

I have a fantastic way to raise funds for your organization or event, and you’ll earn as much as you give – up to 50% of the proceeds!

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  • Spirit poles for new students or graduates
  • Decorated cups filled with candy, school or craft supplies
  • Seasonal centerpieces for delivery
  • Sponsoring deliveries to veterans, foster families, or volunteers
  • Raffle off decor or bouquets during pep rallies, kick-off games, homecoming…
  • Balloons on a stick to give out to donors at your event or location.

Latex-free and helium-free designs are no problem. Want your logo, name, or mascot on the balloon creation? No problem.

Give me a call today at 865-223-5865 to talk about how I can help you raise funds for your organization!



How much do you charge for … or: about expectations and service

By far the most frequent questions I get is: “how much do you charge for this (arch, wall, bouquet, garland, tunnel, centerpiece, etc.)?”

My most common response, right after I ask what, when, and where is the event, is: “what budget did you have in mind?” It’s not a popular question, and some people prefer not to share this information with me.

I ask for a budget range because many decor requests are sent to me with beautiful pictures found on social media. Nearly everyone contacts me after spending at least some time looking at pictures of incredibly stunning balloon decor.

I love it when you share pictures with me because it shows me exactly what you have in mind! Your general budget range helps me come up with a design that will come close to your dream while still making the decor affordable for you – I love to decorate and I try to work within most everyone’s budget, whether that’s $100 or $1000.

Well, but “how much will it cost?”

Let’s dive right into the numbers, in this case let’s use a baby shower or first birthday as an example. Something that’s often requested and very popular these days on social media for many events, including weddings, anniversaries, or product launches. Something like this:

Cauuuteeeee! (image by “K N”, Wedding ideas board, Pinterest. If you know who owns the copyrights please let me know so I can give proper credit)

Most people look at this picture and see “a bunch of balloons” and they are very surprised when I quote them over $1000 for a design like this.

Here’s what I see when I look at this picture:

  • 100s of balloons (many invisible to you) to achieve the nice, full look.
  • 4 different sizes of balloons (many of them 2 and 3 foot diameter).
  • Each size must be ordered in at least 4 colors.
  • Not all of these colors are actually available from balloon manufacturers, which means I create these manually by putting a darker balloon inside a lighter balloon and then inflating them to get “just the right shade”. This is done, for example, in the lilac balloons in this photo. So now we’re at 6 balloon colors, each in 4 sizes.
  • Making the gold confetti balloons by hand.
  • Plus the gold stars.
  • All the material required to make everything stay in place, plus custom-made frame.
  • As a professional, I buy double the amount of nearly EVERYTHING because even decorator quality balloons can pop and I will not leave you hanging on your big day with pieces missing from the decor.
  • Several hours of inflating balloons and very, very many hours of decorating to recreate this picture “just right”.

Then consider the time it takes to source all of that, order it, then load everything into the van, transport it to your venue, install it, and remove it again after your event (because I come back and clean up! My service doesn’t end with delivery).

All of this is reflected in the price.

Can I do it cheaper? Yes of course I can, that is NO PROBLEM at all. I’ll be more than happy to do that for you!

However, I won’t be able to make that exact design at a fraction of the price, for all of the reasons I listed above. What I can do is simplify the design to make something like this:

image 0 60817843_2513978541945487_9014790708220919808_n.jpg

(C) Mikaspartyshop, (C) Partysaurusland, (C) Bonnie Sims CBA

These are much skinnier designs, they require 3 or 4 standard colors in 2 to 3 sizes. They will make your party just as Pinterest- and Instagram-worthy, especially once you add your beautiful, smiling guests to the photos. It will make your event stand out and still keep you on budget, if your budget is around $350-$550.

We can slim that down even more with some very reasonably priced options, like these designs in the $150-$350 range:

Standard Balloon Arch FreestandingImage result for pink gold string of pearls arch53067065_827172040957732_7809793631388172288_n.jpg

(C) Taylor Made Events & Costumes, (C) Balloontastic, (C) T and M Balloon Designs

So if you want balloons for your event, then by all means please do send me those beautiful Pinterest and Instagram pictures. I love them just as much as you do! Please do keep asking “how much for this?”, but please also let me know what you hope to spend, because that will allow me to come up with a design that will come close to your dream while still making the decor affordable for you.


PS: The first photo in this post, with the silver and white balloons with lights and bows in them, was a project that I worked on jointly with The Smoky Mountain Balloon Company. It was for a large event and the balloon decorations took 4 people working together for 4 whole days to inflate, create, and install the decorations. That doesn’t include the time required to measure the installation site, draw up the designs, and order all the materials, which took another full day.

Happy Earth Day!

April 22 is Earth Day, and here in East Tennessee, the Knoxville Botanical Gardens & Arboretum celebrated Earth Fest with environmental education, speakers, demonstrations, music, food, and craft beer.

Maybe you are wondering why I am writing about Earth Day. I’m a balloon decorator, after all, and balloons are bad for the environment – or so we are told – just like plastic straws and styrofoam packaging, along with everything else that’s not “natural”.

11215808_10203360085443004_3151797875611114993_n.jpgOne thing you should know about me is that I’m pretty big on being “green”.
I drive a Prius. I recycle. I eat (mostly) organic. I bring my own grocery bags. I keep bees and chickens and I’ve raised Monarch butterflies. And when I told friends that I’d create balloon decor, they responded with “YOU do WHAT?! But you’re such a tree-hugger!”

Well – I think it’s possible to love the environment, to protect it, and to still use balloons to decorate events.


Because I’m one of only 2 balloon decorators in East Tennessee that fully composts all latex balloons.

The vast majority of balloons that I use are made from 100% biodegradable latex. And all of the balloons that I use in my decor end up in the large “digesters” of the Sevier Country Solid Waste Facility. There are only 5 facilities like it in the whole world. They use state of the art technology to compost waste at much higher temperatures than can be achieved in a regular compost pile at home.  And with the help of bio-solids, all latex balloons (and all the waste from Dollywood and all the other attractions) break down into 100% pure “black gold” Grade A compost within just a few days – which I have picked up by the truck load to put into my vegetable garden.

If you ever get a chance to tour the facility, I’d recommend that you go see it. It’s certainly very smelly, but it’s also very impressive and highly educational. It’ll give you a whole new outlook on waste management and a great appreciation of modern technology and engineering at work to save the planet.

Aside from composting all latex balloons, I also reuse all my framework and base plates, and I recycle the few foil and plastic balloons that I do use in my designs. I avoid helium whenever possible. And of course I don’t do balloon releases, because releasing a balloon is littering, no matter how pretty it might look as we watch them fly into the sky.

So, if you’re planning an event in Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, please give me a call – I’d love to help you decorate while protecting our environment, including our beautiful Great Smoky Mountain National Park.


Getting married in the Smokies?

Are you planning a destination wedding in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or the Smoky Mountain National Park in East Tennessee? Are you planning a small and simple wedding in a cabin or hotel?

Are you and your guests driving or flying in for the big day? You probably don’t want to lug a ton of decorations with you through the airport or fill up valuable trunk space with breakable items. And you definitely do not want to spend your valuable time at the local craft store looking for all the supplies.

Not to worry, there is a solution: You can rent my draped & fully decorated backdrops, arches, and other decorations for your ceremony and photo session to transform even the simplest venue into a magical setting for your wedding album.

No work, no stress, and beautiful memories on a budget – isn’t that what every bride and groom is looking for?

Choose from white, pink, or red flowers.
White draping and white lights are always included.
The arches are 7.5 feet tall and 4.75 feet wide.
The backdrops are 10 feet wide and up to 8.5 feet tall (height is adjustable).

Additional colors, pillars, lanterns, candles, rose petals, centerpieces, chair and table rental, as well as honeymoon hotel room packages also available.

Contact me at 865-223-5865 if you have special requests or to reserve your backdrop or arch today!

wedding menu

Spread the Love – Shining Light Equestrian Inc

I really needed a break after February’s 28 days of #spreadthelove, but now it really was time for another Spread the Love delivery today at Shining Light Equestrian, Inc. in Knoxville Powell.

The founder Sara McGinniss provides horse therapy, therapeutic riding, and horseback riding for disabled and non-disabled people ages 4 to adult.

Want to see Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs on a Clydesdale? Come to the  Grand Opening on May 11 from 10 am to noon at 2724 Lakewood Lane in Knoxville!

See you there!

Spread the Love – Sevier Co. Linemen

February is the month of love and I am visiting a different community group every day to thank them for the wonderful work that they are doing.

With last weekend’s weather, I felt that day 28 of #spreadthelove was a good time to thank the Sevier County Electric Company linemen for working for us day or night (sometimes day AND night) to restore our power.
Send them or your local electric company’s linemen some love at www.sces.net by letting them know what a great job they’re doing in any weather to get our power back on.

I didn’t get to speak with them directly but am told they enjoyed the balloons, thank you card, and the bag of candy bars I left for them. I have a feeling that if I asked them how we can help make their job a little easier, they would tell us to cut our trees under and near our power lines (or at least allow them to be cut by the utility companies), and as a balloon decorator I have to add: don’t release balloons because they can get tangled in power lines and cause outages.

This is my last #spreadthelove delivery for now, because it’s the last day of February. I plan on doing these videos a few times a month from now on, so stay tuned – and don’t forget to let me know who to visit next!