BEING GRACIOUS AND GRATEFUL {guest post by Alice Greene}


The importance of a thank-you note

nivothankyouimage by dthoskins

Okay – so the presents have all been opened, the toys have been assembled and Santa has eaten the cookies left on his special plate – now it’s time for the THANK YOU NOTES!

That’s right, the thank you note is not dead.  Why is a little note so important?  Well, for those folks who were not present when you opened your gift, it acknowledges that you received the gift no matter if it came by mail, another delivery service or via Aunt Susan.  In addition, it recognizes someone who has done something nice for you.  Did you ever stop to realize the time, effort and expense that goes into giving a thoughtful gift?  Surely you can spend several minutes writing a note of thanks to the giver.

Thank you notes and general note cards are so beautiful these days and relatively inexpensive if you shop at places like TJMaxx, Homegoods and Marshalls.  Add a beautiful stamp and you have a piece of mail that will make someone smile upon receipt.  Whether right or wrong, many people expect a thank you note when they give a gift and many others read their note numerous times as it reminds them that they and their gift were appreciated.

So – you don’t know how to begin to write a note of thanks?  Check out a book from the library or purchase one from your local bookstore on the topic.  I have owned On A Personal Note – A Guide to Writing Notes with Style by Angela Ensminger and Keely Chace for several years and have even given copies as gifts for high school and college graduates and brides and grooms.  It will help you find just the right words for whatever you need to express.  Don’t use this as an excuse for not writing a note of appreciation.  If all else fails, just thank the giver for the gift and tell them how it will be used or that when using it you will be reminded of them.  Isn’t that all anyone really wants to hear?

So in this quintessential season of giving, don’t forget to actually thank those who gave.  You’ll thank me later!


Lexington, Kentucky


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


jingle bell

JingleBellwimage by dthoskins

This is one of my favorite holiday cocktail creations.  It’s light and refreshing—the perfect compliment to heavier holiday food.  Plus, it’s fool-proof: no bartender needed.

Jingle Bell

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp chilled vodka
  • 1/2 cup champagne
  • 1/4 cup scoop of lemon sorbet
  • mint for garnish

Step by Step:

1.  Pour vodka and champagne into desired glass.

2.  Add scoop of lemon sorbet and garnish with mint.  I also love to add a colorful paper straw.  Cut them in half and they are the perfect length for a cocktail stir.


katherine Greene



greenery centerpiece

greenerycenterpieceimage by KGreeneOwens

While I love fresh flowers, the cost adds up quickly when trying to fill your house with them for the holidays.  This year for my holiday open house, I used fresh greenery instead.  This simple arrangement worked well with my overall Christmas aesthetic–rustic and nostalgic.

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh greenery (I snagged some magnolia branches and holly from my mother-in-law’s yard)
  • ornaments
  • rustic bucket (I found this one at TJ Maxx)

Step by step:

1.  Trim your greenery to a manageable length.  You can play with this in your bucket.  Remember, if your guests are seated can they see over the arrangement?  I wasn’t worried about it in this case because it was a stand-up buffet.

2.  Add in assorted ornaments.  I used large glass balls that would not fall through the spaces in the greenery.

Voila!  Easy and affordable centerpiece to grace your table.  Your guests will be impressed!

katherine Greene

holiday favorites ’13

These are a few of our favorite holiday things:


  • Love these yummy cheese balls.  So easy and perfect for any holiday fete!
  • Our favorite holiday looks involve glitter and drama.
  • Adorable diy sheet-music pinwheels would make a festive holiday table.
  • Cute diy snow globes are adorable holiday touches in a bathroom or windowsill.
  • Yummy black cherry salad is a great pre-plated salad for your holiday dinner.
  • Red lips add a festive flair to any holiday look.

What are your favorite holiday things?


your christmas organized

SG4image by dthoskins

Hello, my name is Katherine and I have an addiction to Christmas.

How do I know this?  Because when I tell people that…

  • I was done Christmas shopping in September
  • I began Christmas shopping for 2013 on December 26, 2012.
  • I keep a detailed Christmas spreadsheet of what I spent on each gift vs. the actual retail value.
  • In said spreadsheet binder, I have records of what I have given as gifts for the last 10 years (to avoid duplication).
  • I already have my Christmas cards completed.
  • I am ready to decorate my house the day after Halloween.
  • I have an annual Christmas Open House, as soon as we get through Thanksgiving.
  • I don’t use gift tags, I just wrap in coordinating papers to identify the receiver.  (All of my husbands gifts are in penguin paper.  All of my son’s in reindeer, etc.)
  • I could keep adding to this list

…they look at me like I am crazy.

I do, however, have a method to my madness.  I actually enjoy the entire Christmas season because I am not trying to cram all of these stressful delightful Christmas tasks into a couple of weeks.  I can attend parties, holiday concerts, shop at the mall for fun without worrying about getting my Christmas cards out or finishing my holiday wrapping.

Want in on the crazy?  Here is the fabulous Holiday Gift Organizer that I use each year.  I am an avid list maker and so I love having a hardcopy to make notes on.  For those that would prefer an online organizer, Gift Elephant is a great place to start.

Happy organizing!

katherine Greene