Greetings everyone and TGIF! First, let me say how good it feels to be "out there" now with our blog. For all of you following along, we're psyched you take a minute out of your day to read our ramblings.
Moving on...so it's Friday and as part of my continuing promise to show you how amazing Kentucky is (particularly in the fall) and to make sure you don't spend your weekend lonely and bored, I thought I'd do a list of some things going on around here this weekend that I think you should check out. I will be here:
There's apparently a parade of scarecrows at the Arboretum this month. Sounds like fun!
Check out the changing leaves at the Gorge this weekend!
Image from www.redrivergorgerusticcabinrental.com
Basically, there is no excuse to sit around this weekend and not find something fun to do and frankly, I'll be sorely offended if I find out you didn't get out there. Welcome Fall into the Bluegrass with open arms! And be sure to let me know what other fun stuff you guys get into this weekend!
No, no - not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter! I mean, I think all three of us would agree we are darn lucky to have the lives we do here in Kentucky, but I’ve got something more specific in mind. This goes back to a conversation I had about a month ago with my 4-year-old nephew, Ethan. I remarked that we were “lucky,” and he asked me, “What does that mean? Lucky?”Now, I have twenty years of schooling under my belt and I was stumped. How do I explain luck to a child? My first inclination was to give another synonym, fortunate came to mind. Explanation fail. Word to the wise, replacing a simple word with a more complicated word does not help your cause.
So I began describing all the ways that I thought we were lucky. I said, “Well, we’re lucky because we have lots of people who love us,” and began listing off all the people in our family. He caught on and added in the dog for good measure to the list of people/animals who loved us. I said we were lucky because we have a nice house to live in and cars to make sure we get where we need to go. What started out as a simple question was turning into something much larger. It occurred to me, for perhaps the first time that I was shaping this little guy’s perceptions and thoughts. I mean, I have always tried to set a good example in front of him, but I wondered, “the next time he hears the word ‘lucky,’ will he remember this conversation?” and I have to admit, I got a little emotional.Silly, right?
I guess this is the part where I should tell you that I think being an aunt is basically the best gig ever.I have Ethan, my 4-going-on-14 nephew and my niece Emily, who just celebrated her first birthday. Look at how cute they are!
I'm in love. With a kitchen appliance. I know... I know. But it's true. Let me explain.
I have a demanding career, a husband, a house, and 2.5 cats. Ok, scratch the .5, because that's creepy... but you get the idea. All of that makes for one busy lady. For a while, about a year ago, my husband's job required him to work until 9:30pm, and I was thus left with dinner duty. Now, Andrew is a great cook (actually, better than me, but don't tell him I said that), and we are all about equality in my household, but it wasn't practical for him to come home at 9:30 and make dinner. So - I had to come up with some simple dinner ideas that wouldn't leave me exhausted. One day, while scouring the vast internet for delicious and easy recipes, (and trying to avoid the ubiquitous Rachael Ray and her acronyms), I stumbled on this blog: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ - A Year of Slow Cooking. The lovely lady who runs that blog had made a meal of some sort for her family in her crockpot EVERYDAY FOR A YEAR. She's now published a cookbook, but has generously left all of her recipes up on the blog. I highly endorse what that lady is selling. It was a revelation.
What I thought was a clunky old-fashioned appliance taking up room in my cabinets was, in fact, an answer to my very modern problems. I quickly learned that the modern cook is not relegated to only pulling out ye olde crockpot when it's time for Sunday pot roasts. You can make almost anything in a crockpot.
No... I am not kidding.
Lasagna? Yes. Breakfast casserole? Yes. Ribs? Yes. Stroganoff? Yes. Paella? Yes. Ice cream? Well... no. I mean, you can't have everything. Don't be greedy.
There's something you must know. I love the University of Kentucky Wildcats. In fact, basketball season may just be the thing I treasure most about this state.
Football season is nice, don't get me wrong.
Kentucky basketball, on the other hand, is a family thing.
You see, Kentucky fans are knowledgeable. I can't really explain it, but people in this state study the game, our coach, and our team members as if it were a religion. In some ways--it is. For example, my 74-year-old grandmother (shout out Mim!) knows more about Demarcus Cousins than 95% of ESPN analysts. Students camp out for days in the cold just to watch Kentucky's first practice. PRACTICE. We are a knowledgeable group of people, but that doesn't make us family.
In my experience, the family bond starts at birth. I, along with nearly every other person in the state, can tell you exactly where I was and with whom on March 28, 1992. (I was in the living room with my Mom, Dad, Uncle, Grandfather, other Uncle, and Brother. It might also be important to note that I was 10 years old and will never forget it for as long as I live.)
On a happier note, I remember my excitement when my Uncle would hand me the new season's calendar. Before the Internet and fancy Kentucky blogs, this calendar was my only hope of seeing the players and learning the new schedule before the season began. I would study the new shoes, the players, and even the uniform style. *Let's all just forget about the denim era, please.*
So, for me, my early Kentucky basketball memories are memories of family. Like family, things aren't always good. We win some, we lose some, we go through bad experiences, and really, really great ones. Sometimes we are victorious, and sometimes we fail. This bond--the family kind--makes every trip to Rupp Arena feel like a big ol' family reunion with 23,000 of your closest loves.
Megan has already alluded to the beauty that is Kentucky. She’s not kidding with that postcard business. But we’re more than just good looking scenery, fast women and beautiful horses around here. (Or is it beautiful women and fast horses?) I like to consider myself one of the Commonwealth’s biggest fans and have taken many opportunities throughout the years to spread the gospel about our great state. Basically, if you’re not from here and we spend more than about thirty minutes together, I will give you a top ten list of the reasons you must come to Kentucky and how you can best spend your time here when you arrive.
To give you an example of my tour guide tendencies, let me set the scene for you. Last winter, my boyfriend and I took a weekend trip to Chicago. We were enjoying a “Whiskey Trolley Tour” of the city (which I highly recommend, by the way). It basically involved riding around on a trolley, in downtown Chicago, enjoying a variety of whiskies. Included in the offerings were two bourbons from Kentucky. The tour guide and mixologist had recently visited Makers Mark and was regaling the tour with stories of the hospitality she experienced while in the Bluegrass. She then commented, “But don’t take my word for it, we’re lucky enough to have some Kentuckians on board the tour. Alicia, why don’t you stand up and tell everyone about why they should visit?’ We were five whiskies into the tour at this point and I had a captive audience, so I turned on the tour guide. I touted our amazing southern hospitality and the Bourbon Trail, but there’s a lot more too! (For the record, several folks on the tour asked me for more details later, so I contend to this day that I generated hundreds of tourism dollars for the state with my little spiel. I’m still awaiting my recognition from the Governor for this great feat.)
In my opinion there are basically two things you cannot forego if you visit central Kentucky. One is exploring one (or more) of the many bourbon distilleries in the region. Not only is the history riveting, but the libations are delicious. For your touristy convenience, we have even organized them into a trail which includes six distilleries. (We have way more than six, so don’t limit yourself. I prefer Buffalo Trace, which isn’t technically on “the trail.” Take the hardhat tour. It requires reservations, but you won’t regret it.) Even if you don’t like bourbon, these tours are worth the trip. Here’s some scenery from one of my many trips to Woodford Reserve.
I’d encourage you to visit in October since the weather is crisp and the scenery is magnificent. Fall is simply gorgeous in the Bluegrass. But you’ll also kill two birds with one stone because the ponies at Keeneland only run in April and October. That’s right, for only two months out of the year, you can see beautiful thoroughbred horses racing on one of the most beautiful tracks in the world. (It was in Seabiscuit. It’s big time. It also played host to Megan’s wedding, which was bigger than Hollywood.) Per wiki, it was named #1 among thoroughbred tracks by Horseplayers Association of North American in 2009. Sure, Churchill gets all the publicity for the Derby, but Keeneland is an altogether different experience. Folks put on their Sunday best and crowd the rails to see some of the most beautiful athletes in the world rounding the turns. You can go for years and not win a buck (just ask my boyfriend) but you’ll always have a good time. Don’t we look like we’re having fun? Oh and try the burgoo.
We’re just getting started here, so stick around and we’ll give you no less than one million reasons why you should visit. Write ahead and I’ll even help you with your itinerary!
As the old saying goes… you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone. For the record, that’s also a rockin’ song from the 80s powerhouse “Cinderella”… but I digress. Grammar faux pas and bad 80’s music aside, that cliché does prove true. It’s true about ice cream, boyfriends, high school waistlines, and in this case… home. My home is central Kentucky – often called the “horse capital of the world”. I know that’s true, because it’s painted on the side of a water tower. No, really. It is.
Kentucky is known for horses, bourbon, horses, tobacco, horses, fried chicken, and the Kentucky Derby. I’ve lived in Kentucky my entire life. I would definitely say that I have spent a lot of that time not fully appreciating my home state. Part of that would be because I never really spent any time away from it. That would all change my Junior year of college, when I spent five months studying abroad in London, England. Studying abroad was amazing, and there are plenty of stories I can tell about that experience. Right now, what I want to share is the moment when I knew I would never take my home for granted again.
Welcome to our Blog!!! We are Alicia, Emily, and Megan, and we are the Bluegrass Trifecta! We will be blogging about our lives, our relationships, and our thoughts and experiences living in Kentucky - the Bluegrass State. We hope you enjoy reading, and we look forward to your comments and questions.