Scott County Revitalization Master Plan Community Day Meeting

>On Wednesday, February 2nd our landscape architecture studio held a meeting with the community of Scott County in Kentucky. This is our final semester (thank goodness!) which is also our senior capstone project. It is one large scale project that takes our education into a real life setting. Every year the studio is given a county or community to work with  to create a comprehensive master plan for the town. We looks at issues such as transportation routes, recreation areas, historic districts, education, and many types of other issues. I am also the photographer for the project, which I’m going to enjoy!

On Wednesday we held our first meeting with the community. We presented research we had done for two weeks leading up to the meeting. My part of the research was education. I looked at the current trends of education in Scott County such as education levels. Our studio combined each of our analysis studies into a Powerpoint presentation. After the presentation, we divided up the 11 who showed up into two groups, and talked with them about how they see the county and where it needs some improvement. We learned a lot from the meeting and now we are diving into what projects we want to do for the master plan. I am going to look at the historic districts of Scott County and want to do more on streetscaping of the downtown areas.

Atlanta, Georgia

Recently a friend and I traveled to Atlanta to visit another friend he graduated with at the University of Kentucky. Chase has recently moved to Atlanta taking a job at Jacob’s Engineering working as an Urban Designer. Our first day was spent mostly on the road. It was a six hour drive from Lexington, KY. The drive was an incredible trek through the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. We were even graced by some light snow that made the scenery even more spectacular. I never get tired of driving through the Smoky Mountains! Once we arrived in Atlanta, we unpacked our stuff at our friend’s home and headed to dinner at the 5 Seasons Brewing Co. This place goes highly recommended on my list!

Our first full day of Atlanta adventures started out with a trip on the MARTA train. The public transportation in Atlanta doesn’t really compare to much larger cities like NYC or Washington, D.C., but it was very impressive nonetheless! It seems as though at every stop there is some type of mixed use development going on and the trains were spacious and comfortable.

Once we were in downtown Atlanta we made a transfer and headed to the Georgia Aquarium to pick up a CityPASS. The CityPASS let us see the most tourist attractions for half of the price it would be to see everything separately. If you have a few days and are looking to checkout lots of interesting things, I would grab it. It was well worth the money. The aquarium was pretty amazing. Although I have been to a few others in Milwaukee and Baltimore this one was definitely worth it. What made Georgia’s standout was the huge tanks and the 35′ whale sharks they had swimming around. The also had some crazy otters and some rather large beluga whales. It was also interesting to see the divers free swimming with all the sharks and fish in their larger tanks.

 After our visit to the aquarium, we stopped at the World of Coca-Cola to take an intimate look at this history of Coke. Once you get inside they show a pretty neat animated (and lets hope fictitious) video of how these little creatures make vending machines work. It was pretty comprehensive and had everything from Norman Rockwell paintings to delivery trucks to old soda shop memorabilia. At the end, they let you sample every beverage that Coca-Cola makes around the world and let you choose a free bottle of Coke that was made there.

Next, we headed through Centennial Park to the CNN Center to get the Inside CNN Studio Tour. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos while we were on our tour, but I did snap a few while we were waiting on the tour to get started. The building is pretty amazing and open. It also boasts the largest free standing escalator and some very state-of-the-art studios. The guide told us the secrets behind making the news and how they use the same 2 or 3 studios for all of their shows by having different camera angles. Being an avid watcher of CNN, I would have never guessed that all of their programming is done in one building.

We then headed to Atlantic Station to meet Chase after work. After such a busy day it was time for some shopping and food. Atlantic Station is a smart growth development which means that it has lots of opportunities to work, shop, and live. If you are interested in learning more about the concept visit We made a few stops at West Elm and the Body Shop to pick up a few things.

All of us then went to a rather nice sushi place called Shout!. This restaurant had a wonderful selection of sushi and Asian-America fusion cuisine. If you visit Atlanta and are into the sushi thing, I would recommend it. Once we were finished eating, we decided to go down to Centennial Park to try ice skating. Unfortunately, we were unable to skate, but we did get to see a pretty amazing musical water fountain show in the park and hang out for a while.

The next day was spent touring the city by car with Chase acting as our chauffeur and we got to see a lot of the town. We started at Atlantic Botanical Garden and Conservatory. This was an amazing place. The tree walks, vegetable garden amphitheater, outdoor kitchen, and orchid garden were pretty awesome. The place also had one of the largest conservatory exhibits I have ever seen and is worth seeing if you are a plant geek like me.


 We then ate lunch at this cool little supermarket/cafeteria called Alon’s. The food here was really good too. It was sort of an a la carte experience that had lots of options. It took everything in me from venturing over to the bakery section. I think if I had it to do over again, I would choose that route, but the tuna and yogurt I had was a very nice and light lunch.

Next we ventured off to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History to check out some interesting stuff about Georgia. We also had the chance to see some cool modern day exhibits and some neat science type stuff. The exhibits also featured a sampling of the dinosaur and large mammal species that were thought to have lived in Georgia. There was also an interesting presentation on human migration and an interactive exhibit on water.

We also had the chance to see where Chase spends all of his time at Jacob’s Engineering at their office on the north side of town. He showed us the office and also gave us a glimpse of the types of projects he works on. After our trip to the office, we stopped at the local Taco Mac to grab some beer and appetizers before heading back to Chase’s apartment. The food was great there, but a little commercialized. Anyway, once back at our friend’s home we watched Precious, which was a very heavy, but great movie.

Our last full day in Altanta was quite exhausting and went well into the night. This was also the coldest day while we were down. We started the day by stopping at this little taco bar called Cantina Tacqeria. Contrary to the reviews, this place had wonderful food and exquisite fish tacos. I would say giving this place a try for lunch some time would be a great investment! We then ventured to the south part of town to see the Atlanta Zoo. This was a very typical zoo set up, but it was somewhat disappointing. The cold weather streak meant that most of the interesting species were inside and were not viewable. However, we did get to see the Panda, which was quite an amazing site and made the whole trip worth it.

Needless to say, I was hard to miss that day because I accidentally wore all red!

Once back in Atlanta we headed to Decatur to check out the sights. Once we got there and drove around for a bit we were all hungry again. So we decided to forgo any more exploring and just grab a bite to eat. We chose this cool pizzeria called Zucca’s. We had a crazy specialty pizza with some pesto and some bruschetta for an appetizer. The place was reasonably priced and very, very good! I only wished we would have had more time to explore some of the shops and atmosphere that Decatur is famous for.

Our last stop that day was by far the most interesting of the entire trip. The Salvador Dali exhibit at the High Museum of Art. The museum had a last minute marathon of operation to ferry in those who had been postponing the visit. Over Saturday and Sunday the museum was open 31 hours straight.

Like most museum galleries I couldn’t take any photos inside, but believe me, they were all amazing. If you ever get a chance to see a Dali Exhibit, DO IT! One of the paintings on display was the Persistence of Memory, which is Dali’s most famous work. It was much smaller than I thought, but still impressive. The exhibit focused on much of his later works and also tried to paint a picture of the troubled genius. We also got to see a glimpse of the new Dali Museum being built in Florida which is set to open this year. I’ll have to make a trip down there soon and put that on my itinerary!

Early the next morning we ate at the Waffle House with Chase and said good-bye to Atlanta (or more like ‘see you later’). We were actually chased out of town by a wild winter storm that swept through the south that day and paralyzed the city. But in any case, I can definitely say that the whole experience changed the way I see Atlanta. It is a lot more progressive than I thought and has come a long way since the Olympic Games. I look forward to visiting my friend and the city again when the weather is warmer.

Apple Latkes


I made these apple latkes several days ago and they’re really good and pretty easy too! I didn’t get a photo when I made them, so I added a link from the Smitten Kitchen, a good cooking blog! I used Nigella Lawson’s recipe I found in a magazine, but both are about the same. The apple latkes diminish in taste after a couple of days, so either eat them all or split the recipe in half.

Nigella Lawson’s Apple Latkes from Food Network Magazine December 2010 issue:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt plus 1/3 cup more yogurt or milk (I used 1/3 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 apples to make 1 cup of grated apples
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • maple syrup, sugar, or cinnamon for serving

Beat egg with 1/3 yogurt and 1/3 milk or yogurt in one bowl.
Whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in another bowl.
Grate the apples to make 1 cup.

Mix the yogurt mixture with the flour mixture, then fold in the apples

Fill a frying pan with 1/4″ of oil and heat over medium heat until hot
Dollop spoonfuls into the pan and fry for a minute or two until golden on the underside. Adjust temperature of skillet to not burn
Flip with two metal spatulas and cook on the other side.

Lay on paper towel to drain
Serve plain or with additional toppings

Thanksgiving Potluck & The Gallery Hop

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and it wouldn’t be complete without the 5th annual UK Landscape Architecture potluck. The tradition was passed onto me to organize. This is my last year in school, so this year I had to teach someone else how to plan it for the future.

Planning a potluck like this is a lot of work. There is the tasks of organizing it- making announcements, getting people to sign up, making signs, cleaning the space, setting up tables and chairs, organizing all the small details, and guiding people the day of. I did it all on my own last year, but another student helped me this year so he could keep the tradition going next year. It’s hard to coordinate a group of busy college students, but we had plenty of food…even though we had a lot of cheesy potatoes and macaroni and cheese. I wasn’t able to get a photo because I was so busy getting things ready. I always have to eat last because I have to make sure everyone is able to have a good time and a good meal. I also made for the third year in a row my famous deviled eggs. I made 45 of them!

Later that evening was the gallery hop I had been anticipating. An art teacher who I had taken community classes with, Christine Kuhn, asked her past students to help her fill in an exhibit she wasn’t able to fill. Our exhibit was held at the Sishopromatem (Metamorphosis spelled backwards) Gallery. This gallery is a non-profit which helps underprivileged kids to learn art and have activities they can participate in.

This hop was the last one of the year on November 19th. I contributed two photos and a quilt I recently made. If items are sold at the exhibit, the proceeds goes to the gallery to teach kids art. It was a fun night and a lot of people showed up to the gallery. I met a few other students who had taken classes with my teacher. There was also entertainment and food, and I took my pull apart bread. The photos will be displayed at the gallery for another month.

My photos are of my pets: Josie the orange tabby on the left, and Silas the Beagle on the right. A few other student’s works on this same wall.


A guy sung some bluegrass and classic rock tunes for most of the night. Some of the other student’s paintings on the wall.


At first, my quilt wasn’t going to be displayed, but I asked my art teacher if we could hang it on this blank wall in the back. It was exciting to having something displayed in such a large local event.



Pull Apart Bread

I’m finally excited that something I cooked turned out right! I haven’t felt like I’ve been a very good cook lately, but this bread has brought me enthusiasm.

I found this recipe through ‘The Kitchn‘ website. Someone wrote in looking for the lost recipe of ‘pull apart bread’. Someone in the comments ended up having the recipe, so I decided to try it too. The recipe was taken from the blog ‘Dreaming of Pots and Pans‘.

I didn’t add the cheese (and used olive oil on the top instead of milk), because I wanted to keep it simple. I also altered the cook time some because I thought the temperature in the recipe was too hot.

I think I’ll make this in the future, especially for taking places. The slices pull right apart which means no cutting, and each piece is really moist. It’s almost like rolls made into a loaf shape. It also came right out of the loaf pan which means it can just be wrapped up without leaving it in the dish. Plus it looks cool and each slice is unique.

The hardest part was keeping the discs from falling over while stacking them, and then maneuvering all that sideways into the pan. I imagine you could just put them directly sideways into the pan as you make each layer.
My loaf went way outside the pan! Last time I made rolls the yeast was very inactive…but this time it was very active! I felt like it could have been a scene from ‘I Love Lucy’

Pull Apart Bread

  • 1 packet active yeast (or 2.25tsp from bottle)
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 1/2 C warm water + 1 C
  • 4 C Bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 block of cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • 2 Tbs fresh or dried herbs
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbs milk (for glazing)
  • In a small bowl, whisk yeast, sugar and 1/2 C warm water. Allow to expand 10-15 minutes. You want the yeast to foam and expand.
  • Sift flour and salt. Make a well in the bowl.
  • Drizzle in olive oil and yeast. Mix well.
  • Slowly add in the remaining 1 C of warm water as needed, until a ball of dough forms.
  • Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 10 min until smooth.
  • Place in an oiled bowl and cover with damp towel.
  • Allow to rise 30-45 minutes for rapid rise yeast. 45 min- 1hr for regular active yeast.
  • Punch bread down slightly. Knead again 2-3 times.
  • Mix together oil, herbs, pepper, and cheese if desired.
  • Cut dough in half and cover one half while working with the other. Roll into a log and make 10 balls from each half. Roll into flat circles, 3-4″ in diameter.
  • Top each circle with 1 tsp of cheese/oil/herb mix. Brush edges with oil. Keep stacking circles of dough.
  • Turn the stack sideways and put in a well oiled loaf pan.
  • Cover and allow to rise 20-30 minutes. Brush with milk and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake 40 minutes total. Bake 20 min at 400 degrees. Cover with foil. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake more minutes.
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