last minute gifts for the grad

It’s that season again—for graduations!  While many college ceremonies are over, most bluegrass high schools will commence Memorial Day weekend, along with a few universities.

If you are like my family, we have several to attend this year, which begs the question: what do I buy as a gift? 

Here are a few of our favorite graduation gifts for the bluegrass grad:


image by Melanie Mauer

What are your favorite grad gifts?  Did you get something special at your own graduation?  Do share!

katherine Greene

grandma sprinkle {guest post by alice greene}

From the moment I heard the exciting news that my sister-in-law was going to be a Grandma, I just knew that she was going to need a Grandma Sprinkle.  You may ask, “What is that”?    Well, it’s a baby shower given for the grandmother of the baby-to-be when the circumstances are either that the grandma is going to be the “baby-sitter” while the Mom and Dad work and therefore needs to be equipped with doubles of all things baby.  Another reason for a sprinkle, as was the case with my sister-in-law, is when the grandma lives so far away from the baby that she will need lots of reminders of her new role like photo frames, photo albums, etc.  and probably will not be able to attend any of the regular showers that the parents-to-be will be attending.

Since this is a fairly new concept for some folks, I included a list of items that guests might purchase along with the invitation to the Grandma Sprinkle Lunch.  Things on the list in addition to the photo frames and albums were a piggybank (for the grandchild’s college fund), a proud grandma t-shirt, a new grandma mug, grandma memory books and even a website that contained lots more gift ideas.


photo by dthoskins
Since the Mom-to-be loves all things astrology and zodiac and since she was doing her son’s nursery in a jungle animal theme, I found these adorable Jonathan Adler zodiac mini-notebooks at The Dandelion Patch and purchased the astrological sign for  each of the guests .  I also visited a zodiac website and printed out the attributes of the new baby as well as the signs of our guests.  It was a fun topic of conversation for the table as we decided if we each fit the characteristics that were listed.



photo by dthoskins

For the centerpiece at the table, I used a “grandma mug” that I had purchased and filled it with colorful flowers.  I presented it to the grandma to take home at the end of the lunch.  By the end of the “sprinkle”, my sister-in-law not only had a wide array of grandma items but felt the love and excitement that is reserved only for grandmothers.

As a proud grandma myself, I would encourage BGT readers not to forget those important Grandmothers when welcoming a new little one into your family!



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



expecting {bluegrass baby}


Above: my 6 1/2 month baby belly- thanks so much to Lindsay from Shrimp Salad Circus for the photo tips–I could have never gotten this pic without a remote!

Yes, it’s true!  I am expecting a baby in July and I wanted to share with you the fun and delicious way that I revealed the gender of our little one to friends and family:


photo by dthoskins

Cupcakes!  Take a bite and surprise…It’s a boy!

I decided to go with one of my favorite muffin recipes from Giada De Laurentiis, and used the frosting as a filling as well as a topper.  These muffins are very sweet and can definitely pass as cupcakes.  People seemed to enjoy them, so here is my slightly modified version of the recipe:

Banana Muffins (Cupcakes) with Mascarpone Frosting



  • 3      cups all-purpose flour
  • 1      teaspoon baking soda
  • 1      teaspoon salt
  • 1/2      teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2      teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2      teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2      cups sugar
  • 1      cup vegetable oil
  • 3      large eggs
  • 1      tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4      ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed


  • 3      ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6      tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3      cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 3      tablespoons honey
  • 1/2      cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional-I leave these out when using this recipe as cupcakes)


Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake the muffins on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack and cool slightly.

For the frosting/filling:

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone cheese and then beat in the honey. Set aside half of the frosting.  To the other half, add the food coloring of your choice.  Using a filling tip, fill a pastry bag or cake decorator with the colored frosting and fill the cupcakes.  I actually sprang for a contraption for the frosting/filling and I loved it!  Click here to see what I used.  Frost cupcakes with remaining uncolored frosting.


Orb and Shug {guest post by Alice Greene}

orb and shugimage via

Whether or not Orb was your pick to win the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, you’ve got to love the fact that Claude R. (“Shug”) McGaughey III finally got his win as a trainer.  The Lexington, Kentucky native finally got his roses on Saturday, May 4, 2013, having waited his whole life (62 years that is) to do so.  Although he has come close to winning in the past, this was THE horse.

Whether or not you put your money on Orb, you have to feel pride as a fellow Lexingtonian that the kid from Chevy Chase, who grew up on Lakewood Avenue and attended Tates Creek High School added to his credits of winning the Belmont Stakes, Breeders’ Cup, Travers Stakes and the Wood Memorial that of  The Kentucky Derby.

Now preparing for the next leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, I only hope he will take a little time and let the magnitude of his achievement sink in.  Congratulations “Shug”!


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


Thanks, Alice!  If you have something you’d like to share with our readers about bluegrass living and style, send us an email at or

all things derby {with the kentucky gentleman}


Above: Diana’s Polyvore set, “Derby Day

Hello again, bluegrass THREADS readers! I know there are two more days before the weekend, but a Kentucky Gentleman does not tell a lie – I’m in total Derby mode. I know you are too, so let’s run through the crucial details.

The perfect Derby Day is a multi-faceted experience. I wrestle with the tough questions myself, so I know you do too. Don’t worry, I’ll hold you hand through this most noble of days: the one not full of Julep Cup, of course.

What To Wear to the Derby

Dressing like a Kentucky Gentleman looks effortless, but is quite the opposite. The perfect Derby outfit for Him takes time and thought – it also needs my guides to dressing for the Derby, found here (shirts, ties and cufflinks) & here (sport coats, pants and shoes). If your beloved needs advice as well, fear not – bluegrass THREADS has you covered with both florals and neutrals.

What To Drink at the Derby

Bourbon is the undisputed king of spirits in Kentucky. I’ve spent a good deal of time outlining my advice on Bourbon. Your Derby Day is guaranteed to include at least a half-dozen conversations about Kentucky’s native drink, so make sure you’re speaking the right language. For the Derby classic, look no further than our perfect mint julep recipe. It’s fantastic!

Throwing the Perfect Derby Party

If your tickets to Millionaire’s Row seem to have been lost in the mail, throwing a festive Derby party is a perfectly acceptable alternative. We’ve even uncovered a fun, new take on a classic: mint julep cookies (love these, Lindsay!).

Who Will Win the Kentucky Derby

Even I can’t predict the biggest detail of the day, but if you follow these pointers you’ll be a winner yourself. Enjoy!


Yours in the Commonwealth,


The Kentucky Gentleman