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bluegrass bonds {guest post by Drew Greene, Lexington, KY} part 2

If you haven’t caught up with Part 1 yet, check it out here.

image credit: sports.com

I have many fond memories of Rupp Arena and those memories are the crux of what I wanted to share with the Bluegrass Threads readers. This isn’t a piece pretending the games are larger than life—and I hate to break it to anyone who believes they are—they aren’t. They’re just 18 year olds dribbling a ball. Whoever wins and loses rarely matters. What truly matters are the memories we’re spoiled enough to enjoy because we exist in this unique, timeless culture. I couldn’t tell you the first time I went to a UK game. I vaguely remember Rex Chapman and his awkward 1980’s stylized short shorts. I remember walking into a cavernous Rupp Arena with the generic, 1970’s concrete wall designs, and the orange, yellow and red seats (what were they thinking?). I remember the smell of hot dogs, ketchup and mustard splattered all over the condiment stand across from the vendors. I remember falling in love with the pep band and screaming out “UK!” at the end of each song and then acting like a brat screaming out “UcK!” when the team was playing poorly. My mother was appalled and scolded me–good for her.

I identify March of 1992 as the turning point for my fandom. Kentucky vs. Duke. Everyone knows this game. I remember being terrified of my parents—especially my father who was drinking each bourbon and diet coke like it was his last. Sean Woods hit a running baby hook shot in the lane to give Kentucky a 103-102 lead. My father screamed and got on the ground, doing push ups, almost as an offering to his collegiate athlete God. It was tribal. It was hilarious. I felt like I was a part of something important and much bigger than me. I was hooked. Well, everyone knows how that ended. Christian Laettner hit an incredible shot and broke all of our hearts. I went to my room and cried. Later my mom came in and hugged me. It felt like it did when you’re sick as a kid and mom’s love makes you feel…even more sick.

I like to remind my dad about doing push ups in front of the television, or throwing his glass across the room after that shot and, prior to the shot, exclaiming, “I really want them to win this game” while on his knees. Now that I’m almost 30 and I’ve seen plenty of good times and bad, I can understand why that game meant so much to him then. It was Kentucky re-emerging from the ashes of the late 80’s where probation and scandal had almost killed the program. Calipari rejuvenating the program almost 20 years after that shot is symmetrical. Kentucky being relevant is essential to Lexington and to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. So many families and friends come together for these silly games. “Where you watching the game?” “Want to grab a few beers and watch? “We’re heading downtown for some dinner and the game.” “Elite 8 party at my house! Go Cats, baby!”

I attended another game today. I have no idea how many this makes for me but as I was walking around downtown Lexington, which has grown considerably since 2009, I realized the downtown culture is largely fueled by Kentucky basketball. When the weather is gross, Kentucky basketball keeps the restaurants full and the atmosphere exciting. There’s also the familiar yuletide feeling of Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s so cold outside because that’s basketball weather! The fountains lit up at Triangle Park, complete with an ice skating rink and a Christmas tree as you walk across our goofy little bubble passage ways that rise above downtown.

After the game ends and I step outside onto Vine Street, gazing towards Lexington’s modest skyline, “My Old Kentucky Home” rings in my head. It is played at the conclusion of each game while the cheerleaders lock arms and sway back and forth. I think about how many family members, friends, lovers and partners are linked together from Paducah, Cadiz, Owensboro, Cave City, Bowling Green, Louisville, Lexington, Danville, Somerset, Powell, Newport, Covington, Morehead, Maysville, Middlesboro, Hazard, Harlan and Pikeville. Kentucky is a diverse border state with cultural influences coming from all directions, but maybe basketball is our common bond. It’s both humbling and comforting to feel connected to the world at large. And even in the smallest of scopes, here in Lexington, I know I’m closer to my loved ones because of our bond–especially to my Dad, whom I credit for grooming me as a fan. Hopefully that connection lasts long after we’ve left this life.

 

-Drew

 

Drew Greene is a 29 year old Lexington native with an interest in many artistic endeavors, such as art and video editing. He’s also a self-taught musician and works full time at Galls Inc in north downtown Lexington. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring Kentucky with his girlfriend, Andrea.
Thanks, Drew!  If you or someone you know has something to share about the bluegrass region, send us an email at katherine@bluegrassthreadsky.com or diana@bluegrassthreadsky.com.

bluegrass bonds {guest post by Drew Greene, Lexington, KY} part 1

image credit: ukathletics

If you’ve ever told someone you’re from Kentucky, they’ll likely give you a look of shock because you can speak coherently. Others might engage you in a less condescending manner which, invariably, turns the topic of conversation towards what most outsiders know about the Commonwealth–bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and basketball. Those of us who’ve spent the majority of our lives in the bluegrass state know there’s so much more to explore and enjoy than that, and it can become a bit nauseating—almost like hearing that Elvis is the king or that the Beatles were the greatest rock and roll band of all time (what a novelty!) Well, sometimes clichés ring true. Maybe there’s a good reason our beautiful home – specifically the University of Kentucky – is known for basketball.

There are a handful of schools that are relevant in the college basketball landscape every year—Duke, North Carolina, maybe Kansas or Indiana. 70 miles northwest of Lexington is the University of Louisville, which is also a great basketball tradition, but they lack the hype that UK has. In fairness to the Cardinals, no other program grabs headlines and directs eyes quite like UK. Whether it’s good or bad press, whether we’re a national title contender or an NIT wonder, it really doesn’t matter. Kentucky points the needle, or, as John Calipari has emphatically stated to Kentucky’s insatiable fans, “we are the needle.” Perhaps there’s good reason for him to boast. What other program has had 5 different coaches win national titles since the 1930’s—proving that the greatness of the program extends far beyond one coach who strings together a few good years? Kentucky is a consistent winner; and people love that but plenty of others hate it, too.

I could write about how this all started but if you’re from here, it’s likely you’ve heard those stories. It’s amazing to me to listen to undergraduates at UK who can barely wake up for their noon classes at Alumni Hall, who didn’t breathe air until 1992, and are victims of a largely self-glamorizing culture talk about Adolph Rupp and Joe B. Hall as if they witnessed those teams of the past. And that’s exactly what makes Kentucky awesome. No disrespect to Duke fans but they believe basketball was invented in the late 80s’ when they emerged as a contender. Kentucky fans breathe this stuff. Past players become campus legends and former coaches are revered or (in Rick Pitino’s case) hated. Though, I’ll never fault Rick for returning to our amazing home.

“I was born a New Yorker but I want to die a Kentuckian” said Rick Pitino this year. Why not? If you’ve spent the majority of your life on the hardwood, why wouldn’t you fall in love with a state that breeds people who believe camping out for the first practice of the season is normal? Yes, we are overzealous, egotistical and completely ridiculous when it comes to civic pride, but those things make us great, too. It’s also common to criticize Kentucky fans as being a one-sport fanatics but I can’t stress how far this is from the truth. We love our football too but it’s an abusive relationship where we play the part of the battered housewife and we have to assure ourselves “they really do love me!” Maybe they’ll stop beating us senseless next year. Joking aside, I have just as many fond memories of Commonwealth Stadium as I do Rupp Arena…

 

To hear more about Drew’s basketball memories, tune in for part 2, tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Drew Greene is a 29 year old Lexington native with an interest in many artistic endeavors, such as art and video editing. He’s also a self-taught musician and works full time at Galls Inc in north downtown Lexington. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring Kentucky with his girlfriend, Andrea.

 

Thanks, Drew, for sharing your story with us.  If you or someone you know has something to say about what makes the bluegrass a special place, send us an email at katherine@bluegrassthreadsky.com or diana@bluegrassthreadsky.com.

 

 

 

merry christmas

 photo by dthoskins

last minute ideas for christmas

Here a few things to take your Christmas over-the-top or to help you relax and enjoy the season:

  • Make an easy cheese board for guests to nibble on while dinner gets prepped or for a festive treat during present opening
  • Need a last minute hostess gift?  This wine is my new favorite and so affordable!
  • Love these as a substitute for all that holiday butter.
  • Still need a little holiday pizzaz at home?  There is plenty to time to assemble these snow globes.
  • Need to get out of the house after the christmas fun?  Take your holiday guests to one of these bluegrass spots—one, two, three!
  • Serve a festive holiday cocktail instead of fully stocking the bar.  I like these.
 
Relax and have fun!  Remember to enjoy the little things.  Plus, you might try this for a bit of de-stressing before or after company.
Happy Holidays!
May your days be merry and bright,

 

signature cocktails

For all of your holiday gatherings this year, don’t worry about fully stocking the bar.  Instead, serve a signature cocktail!  It will add some fun and festive flair to your party, plus it’s a great thing for your guests to chat about. I served both of these cocktails this year at my holiday open house.

Poinsettia

sweet and tart with a festive holiday color

  • 1 oz cranberry juice, 1/2 oz of triple sec, 3 oz of champagne
  • Pour cranberry juice into a champagne flute or desired glass.  Add tripe sec and top with champagne.

Jingle Bell

light and refreshing, easy to pair with any holiday food

  • 1 tbsp chilled vodka, 1/2 cup champagne, 1/4 cup scoop of lemon sorbet, mint for garnish
  • Pour vodka and champagne into desired glass.  Add scoop of lemon sorbet and garnish with mint.

Above: Jingle Bell Cocktail from my holiday open house

These cocktails are easy to make, so don’t worry about being a skilled bartender.

Cheers!

photos: dthoskins

 

diy snow globes

This is one of those great “crafts” for the non-crafters out there!  It’s completely fool-proof and totally adorable.  All of those reasons make it the perfect last minute holiday decoration. I displayed these in my bathrooms for a little kiss of Christmas for my holiday guests. They were so easy and so cute!

What you’ll need:

  • epsom salt
  • clean mason jar (or any similarly sized glass container)
  • holiday ornament (I prefer the “Old World” ornaments for their colorful statement)
  • burlap
  • raffia
  • Scissors

Step by step:

1.  Fill mason jar 1/4 full with Epsom salt. This is the snow for your snow globe.

2.  Place ornament into the jar. I twisted mine back and forth a few times to settle it into the salt to steady the ornament.

3.  Tie raffia around the center of the jar to finish the look.

4.  Cut the burlap to create a circular or square “mat” for your jar.   I just eyeballed this step!

photos by dthoskins

 

 

 

local style standout: Christy Stucker & Wildcat Water Giveaway

Bluegrass THREADS is thrilled to be feautring Christy Stucker as a local style standout.  Nominated by Sarah Hall, she described Christy as a “fabulous and fashion forward lady.”  We agree!  Here’s what she had to stay about living stylishly in the bluegrass.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Just call me Mother Stucker!  I’m Cady and Cece’s Mom and Cory’s Mrs..  Hopeless optimist, volunteer extraordinaire and active pageant coach through experience as Mrs. Kentucky America (2009) and Mrs. U.S. of A. Globe (2005).  The Big Brother (CBS) 2012 finalist is thrilled to write “Chatting with Christy” for the Hamburg Journal, as well as The Mother Stucker blog.  Look no further for travel and product reviews, family friendly food ideas and Mother Stucker savvy style.

Describe your personal style…

Confident, classic and feminine in a constant state of reinvention and refinement.  I am a work in progress.

Who are your style icons?

Princess Diana+Marilyn Monroe+Lauren Bacall+Audrey Hepburn+Sarah Jessica Parker+Duchess Kate Middleton

What does “bluegrass style” mean to you?

As a lifelong Kentuckian with a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising, Apparel & Textiles from the University of Kentucky, I truly believe that anything goes!  I find that my understand of “bluegrass style” grows when I travel.  Outside of our Commonwealth, I long for royal blue everything, perfectly scuffed boots, monogrammed oxford shirts, fashion forward fascinators and equestrian motifs from home.

Any favorite local spots to shop?

The J. Peterman Company is based right here in the bluegrass.  Currently coveting: Plaid Shift, Rhinestone Black, Florence and Johnnie Dresses…

Any other bluegrass hotspots we should check out?

My favorite fashion scouting spots are Keeneland & Churchill Downs.  What’s not to love?

What are some style challenges that you face and how do you deal with them?

My “inverted triangle” body shape (broad shoulders, narrower hips) is always a forethought when shopping and getting dressed.  I look to styles worn well by Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow (both inverted triangles) for inspiration.

How important is hair and make-up to your personal style?

Janie Olmstead of Images Model and Talent Agency (Lexington) tells me that my hair is my signature.  Jo Ann Peterson & J.R.’s Salon (Louisville) rock the ‘dp and make me feel like a million bucks!  I live the “less is more” make-up approach for the day to day look.

Which are the accessories that you never go without?

The Mother Stucker needs a Birkin Bag (writing notebooks, magazines, snack assortment for baby girls, emergency flat shoes, etc.), but for  now I manage with a fashion forward carryall.  I always have a small clutch inside the tote with absolute necessities so that I can grab and go when out and about.

What is your must have for the season?

I <3 peplum.  Thank heavens peplum is in for 2012!  Any day now I’m expecting people to start calling me “Jackee” from the show “Sister, Sister” in the 80’s.  I do not care.  I <3 peplum.

Animal print (especially reptile) is big this season—do or don’t?

I find myself wondering, what would the reptile do…?

 

 

Thanks, Christy!  To read more from Christy, be sure to check out her blog.  Plus, in honor of Christy’s bluegrass roots and for all of our Wildcat fans, we have partnered with another Kentucky standout, Wildcat Water, to bring our readers the chance to win a case of their water!

“Our water has been called ‘the best tasting water in the world’…taking home the gold medal award at the Berkley Springs International Water Tasting. BSIW is considered the standard of excellence by water connoisseurs (yes, there are water connoisseurs out there) in the bottled water industry and is the longest and largest water tasting competition in the world.”

If you are not familiar with Wildcat Water, they have an amazing mission, which you should checkout here.  We at Bluegrass THREADS love to see a wonderful local company that gives back to their community!

This giveaway is open to all our readers worldwide and ends at 11:59 p.m. on December 20. Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Best of luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, if  you would like to nominate someone to be featured as a local style standout or if you’d like to do a product giveaway, please send us an email to katherine@bluegrassthreadsky.com or diana@bluegrassthreadsky.com.


preparing your guest room for the holidays {guest post by Alice Greene, Lexington, KY}

With less than two weeks to Christmas, it’s time to get prepared for your guests!  Many of us play hosts to our family members during the holiday season, and even though they are family, they are still deserving of our special treatment.

One of the things I most enjoy to hear is the phrase “Southern Hospitality.”  I always take it as a compliment and hope I do the right things to live up to the reputation.  Whether your guests will be on a futon, a blow-up mattress, sleeping on the sofa or if they are fortunate enough to have a special guest room, the most important thing is to make guests feel comfortable and WELCOME!

Here are just a few tips:

  • Make sure all bedding is clean and smells great. Spritz it with a product like Caldrea’s Mandarin Vetiver for a clean, citrusy scent.
  • Make sure it is obvious which bath towels you wish guests to use. Consider leaving them on their guest bed for easy access.
  • Adding some fresh flowers (even from an inexpensive grocery bouquet) can add a festive touch to a bathroom or bedside table.
  • Always leave two baskets of goodies – one containing items they may have failed to pack like a toothbrush, small toothpaste, travel-size shampoo, conditioner and soap and the other basket filled with an assortment of granola bars, individual muffin packages, chips, snack-pack crackers, etc. so guests will not have to ask for a bedtime snack or an early morning breakfast option.

There are many more small things you can do to make guests feel at home –the more, the merrier – but a good test is to walk in your home and imagine yourself as a guest. Would you know where to find things? Would you know where your host intended you to be?

But the most important element for a good guest stay is a relaxed host and a stress-free environment that says, “Welcome Home!”.

Enjoy your company this holiday season.

 

-Alice

 

Alice Greene is a native Lexingtonian and quintessential Southern lady, who enjoys cooking, baking and entertaining.