bluegrass threads: warren + gretta

Thank you faithful readers for checking in all month as we celebrate the month of love.  I have loved reading all of the sweet stories that we have received!

But, no bluegrass lovebirds series would be complete without a newlyweds story! I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of this duo over Labor Day weekend.



Tell us a bit about yourselves…

Continue reading bluegrass threads: warren + gretta

bluegrass lovebirds: greg + jessica

Here we are at my favorite time of year on Bluegrass Threads: the Bluegrass Lovebirds series!  Each year in honor of Valentine’s Day (and to combat these gloomy gray days), we feature couples that met, married or moved to the bluegrass area.  A huge thank you to all of the couples who nominated themselves or friends to participate!

I have had the privilege of knowing the first of our 2016 Lovebirds for many years.  They are both such amazing people and graciously contribute their time and talents to worthy local and regional causes.  Introducing…


Tell us a bit about yourselves:

Continue reading bluegrass lovebirds: greg + jessica

have your own backyard adventure

…and not necessarily in your literal backyard.  I know that I talked about some of our favorite past Kentucky day trips, but there are so many other beautiful (and often hidden) outdoor places to enjoy.  Over the weekend, we got to explore an amazing old mill in Versailles, KY that was the site of a friend’s wedding.

Wedding BGT 2

Could anything be more “Kentucky”?  Love checking out new spots with my handsome husband.  It was fun to snap a few photos under these lush trees and down by the creek!


What are your favorite hidden Kentucky spots?

katherine Greene

bluegrass lovebirds: lauren + cody

It is hard to believe that the end of February is upon us!  For those of us dealing with many lingering inches of snow, the end of February does mark the promise of lovely spring weather just around the corner.  We want to leave you with one last bluegrass lovebirds feature to wrap up this month of love.  We are pleased to introduce these lovely newlyweds.  Meet…

LaurenCody_1Tell us a bit about yourself…

Lauren and Cody live in Lexington together. They are both teachers. Lauren teaches music at Deep Springs Elementary School. Cody teaches Latin and Christian Studies at Lexington Latin School. He also serves as an administrator there, as well.

We both love drinking good coffee and can be found at local coffee shops reading and drinking coffee. Lauren also sings with Cantabile, a small vocal ensemble that performs in the Lexington area.
How did you first meet? Was it “love at first sight” or were your “just friends”?

Cody and I met through an online dating site. We both joined eharmony on a whim. I joined after being stood up on a date (how rude) and he joined because he decided it was time to “do something.” I was on the site for three days before Cody messaged me. He sent me this beautifully composed email and I was hooked. He was intelligent, witty, and had a beard. What more could you want? I immediately wrote him back with my best grammatical skills and we decided to meet a week later. We were both each others first dates from online dating.


Where did you go on your first date?

Cody was currently living in Louisville and I was living in Lexington. He drove up to Lexington for our first date. It was a marathon date! It lasted seven hours! We met in the afternoon for coffee and walked around downtown. Then we took a country drive to one of my favorite spots “The Windy Corner” and chowed down on bacon beer cheese burgers. We both love to eat good food. Next we went to a choir concert in an old church downtown and enjoyed beautiful music. Finally we wound up at the Titanic Exhibit and finished off the night with learning about the shipwreck of 1912.

After our first date Cody says he knew I was “it.” I knew that Cody was someone that I wanted to keep seeing. I knew he had a gracious heart for people, was patient and kind. We decided to keep seeing one another and finally became “official” after three weeks of dating.  We still had not kissed at this point. (I know.)


Where did you share your first kiss?

So our first kiss. We had been dating about a month before we kissed. During this first month of dating, I kept complaining to my roommate, “When is he going to kiss me?” “Is he ever going to kiss me?” On my birthday in December Cody came to Lexington to celebrate with me. I thought that for sure he would kiss me. It’s my birthday after all. We spent the entire day together. No kiss. At the end of the night I walked him to his car and we hugged. I looked up at him longingly trying to communicate to him- kiss me you dummy. But he didn’t kiss me. So I took matters into my own hands-literally. I got on my tip toes and reached up for his face and pulled it down to kiss mine. This was no easy feat considering he is a full foot taller than me. Finally! We kissed! It was great and don’t fear- we kiss a lot now.

When did you know that he/she was “the one”?

As I said before, Cody knew I was the one after our first date. He definitely is not the stereotypical man who is scared of commitment. I think I knew that Cody was the one for me in February of 2014. No particular event stands out in my mind. I think it was the culmination of many events. Seeing him with his students, his graciousness in dealing with my many emotions, the way he cared for me. All of it together made me want to marry him.

Tell us about your engagement proposal…

Cody proposed to me on March 8, 2014. It was a Saturday and we spent the day doing things we typically did like going to get coffee and browsing book stores. Later in the afternoon Cody and I were sitting on the couch and he asked if I wanted to go on a walk. I told him I didn’t want to go because it was too cold outside (sorry Cody.) So we sat on the couch and he was babbling to me about something. I had no idea what he was talking about. I literally stopped him in the middle of the conversation and said, “I’m sorry but I don’t know what you are trying to say.” He then got up in the middle of my living room and got on one knee. I said, “Oh, this is happening.” Cody then told me some of the sweetest things anyone has ever told me and then he asked me to marry him and I said YES!


 When and where were you married?

We were married on September 27, 2014 at the Bluegrass Wedding Barn in Danville, KY. If you love rustic and simplistic weddings then you should definitely check them out! The day could not have been more beautiful. Blue skies, white clouds, and rolling hills.


 He said/She said:

Your partner’s best quality is…

He said: I would say Lauren’s best quality is compassionate conviction.

She said: I love Cody’s gentleness. He is a wonderful listener who really cares about who he is talking to, whether it’s me or someone else.

The thing about my partner that drives me crazy is…

He said: Lauren has pre-constructed expectations of things which can make things difficult at times.

She said: Cody loves to read, but sometimes it is hard to go into that world with him.


Number one piece of advice about love is….

He said: If you don’t find all your worth in the other person then you are free to courageously love them.

She said: Love is a choice. Choose to love them everyday.


Thanks, Lauren and Cody!  May your first year of marriage be filled with amazing adventures!

Want to catch up on other bluegrass lovebirds?  Check out more stories hereherehere and here.  You can also check out our 2013 and 2014 series.   Thank you to all of the lovely readers who have followed these features all February long.


To true love.






P.S. Have a local story to share?  A great love story?  A local style standout?  An awesome local business?  Send us an email and we will check it out—it may even be featured here.

**All images are provided by the participating couple**

bluegrass lovebirds: kathryn + gentry

The next couple in our bluegrass lovebirds series may no longer live in the bluegrass, but Kentucky has certainly been an integral part of their story.  I’m excited to introduce this lovely couple, who also happen to be both alumni of my high school.  Meet the incredibly sweet…

KathrynGentry_6Tell us a bit about yourself…

We are both native Lexingtonians, and in fact grew up just a few minutes down the road from one another! We have lived in Washington, DC for the past seven-and-a-half years, but still hold Kentucky near and dear to our hearts and will always consider it home. Gentry is a Branch Manager at PNC Bank and Kathryn conducts research on women and human rights in developing countries at a DC-based NGO, The International Center for Research on Women.

In our free time, we love taking in all that DC has to offer! Some of our favorite DC pastimes are attending performances at The Kennedy Center, exploring the international culture scene at local festivals and by visiting the embassies, and spending lazy Saturdays enjoying the many beautiful masterpieces that can be found at The National Gallery of Art. We are also huge foodies, and love cooking and eating out at all of the new places in DC’s ever-emerging restaurant scene. Traveling is another important part of our lives – we are always thinking about where we can go next (South Africa, Thailand, and Australia are on our short list).

How did you first meet? Was it “love at first sight” or were your “just friends”?

We were definitely “just friends” first – for seven years before we officially started dating!

Our moms knew each other for many years before we ever met, and first introduced us when Kathryn was thirteen and Gentry was fifteen (in fact, it is believed by some that our moms were conspiring to get us together!). When our families ran into each other after a concert at The Singletary Center, Gentry says it was love at first sight!

A year later, Kathryn started at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and joined the marching band, where we quickly became friends. Gentry asked Kathryn to prom on a band trip to Disneyworld, even though he knew she already had a date (a guy can dream, right?). Regrettably, Kathryn declined, but we stayed close for the remainder of high school (we have many fond memories of eating ice cream together at Graeter’s and swimming together at Kathryn’s family’s pool).

We stayed in contact all throughout college (Gentry used to keep Kathryn company online using AOL Instant Messenger when she was pulling all-nighters!), and spent time together during winter and summer breaks. We were both finally single at the same time when Kathryn was twenty and Gentry was twenty-two, and decided it was time to try our hand at dating! We dated long-distance for a year-and-a-half while Kathryn finished school and moved to DC, though saw each other frequently (Gentry often visited the University of Richmond to go to Kathryn’s sorority socials and to see her perform in school drama productions).

In 2008, Gentry moved to Washington, DC to start a new life with Kathryn, where for the past seven years we have enjoyed culinary adventures, lots of travel, spending time with good friends, and making wonderful memories together.


Where did you go on your first date? Though we had regularly hung out as friends in high school, our first official date was in the summer of 2006 at the Ruby Tuesday near Turfland Mall. The fact that the restaurant AND the mall closed many years ago is a testament, we guess, to how long we’ve been together!

Where did you share your first kiss?

It was so long ago that neither one of us can remember where our first kiss was, but it must have been magical since we are still together after all these years!  


When did you know that he/she was “the one”?

As close friends for so long, by the time we started dating we had already shared so many “life moments” together that transitioning from friends into something more seemed totally natural.

Gentry: We always knew that if we started dating it would be something special, and it turns out we were right!

Kathryn: I have early memories in our relationship of Gentry and me cooking dinner together and of him playing guitar for me (that still makes me swoon!), but as the years passed and Gentry continued to stand by me through all of life’s ups and downs, I realized that I couldn’t imagine life without him by my side. That’s when I knew for sure that he was “the one”.

Tell us about your engagement proposal…

The engagement was quite elaborate, even for Gentry, who regularly plans super special dates for the couple. Gentry told Kathryn that the evening was a birthday surprise for her, but when the night finally arrived and Kathryn saw all that was Gentry had planned, she suspiciously (and wisely!) asked Gentry if he was proposing. Gentry said “no” and Kathryn believed him, since he told her that their desired ring designer was unable to make Kathryn’s dream ring, and that he had scheduled an appointment to look at rings again the following weekend.

The night began with a set of pink envelopes which held clues Kathryn had to decipher to figure out where they were going (their very own DC scavenger hunt!). Each place represented somewhere the couple had traveled, and the whole date centered around their two favorite loves: food and travel!

Over the course of five hours, Gentry and Kathryn celebrated with local specialties from The Caribbean (representing their cruise to Key West, Florida, Grand Cayman Island, and Ochos Rios, Jamaica), California, Greece, Italy (celebrating a trip to Naples and the Amalfi Coast), Naples, Florida, and Strasbourg, France.

The night ended with one final stop at Gentry’s apartment. When Gentry opened the apartment door and Kathryn saw that the room was filled with rose petals, pink and white flowers, and candles, she finally knew that Gentry was proposing. Kathryn asked Gentry one last time if he was proposing and he responded by saying “Just come on in.” Upon entering, Kathryn said “It is all just so beautiful, I don’t know if I can go any farther.”

Gentry then sat Kathryn down on the couch (her legs were shaking) and played a song he wrote for her that had the lyrics, “I want forever to start right now. I can’t wait a second longer. I want forever to start right now, because this is right where I belong.” They were both emotional during the song, and when he finished singing, Gentry got down on one knee to give Kathryn the ring (it was her dream ring, which he had actually had all along!).

The night ended in happy tears, pistachio gelato (from Kathryn’s favorite DC spot, Dolcezza), and phone calls to Kathryn’s mom (who originally was worried since it was 1:00 AM when the phone rang), Gentry’s parents (who were excited to hear that Kathryn had said “yes”), and Kathryn’s friend and Maid of Honor, Claire Viall.


image by

When and where were you married?

While we live in Washington, DC, we couldn’t wait to share our Kentucky roots with our family and friends from around the world, so making the decision to get married in our shared hometown of Lexington, Kentucky was an easy one! Our ceremony took place at Central Baptist Church on August 30th, 2014, and was followed by a reception at Lexington Country Club. The reception was Kentucky-themed, complete with a Bluegrass band, lawn games, and good, Southern food (Kentucky Hot Browns, pulled pork BBQ, fried chicken, shrimp and cheese grits, a Kentucky Proud salad bar, and Graeter’s ice cream – a hometown favorite – for dessert!). To further share our love of The Bluegrass State with our out-of-town guests (from England, Belgium, Germany, Ecuador, and across the United States), we held a Kentucky Day the day after the wedding, hosting a brunch at Holly Hill Inn, followed by a tour of Old Friends Horse Farm and Buffalo Trace Distillery.


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He Said/She Said

My partner’s best quality is…

Kathryn: His patience and the kindness he shows to everyone he meets. Gentry is literally the guy that will help an elderly woman cross the street (I saw him do it one time!). I also love his smile, his sense of humor, and how much he loves me – I pretty much love everything about him!

Gentry: Her passion. Kathryn approaches everything she does with her whole heart, and that’s what I love more than anything about her. This makes her a wonderful friend and an amazing wife!

The thing about my partner that drives me crazy is…

Kathryn: The fact that I can’t stay mad at him – he always knows how to make me laugh, especially when I don’t want to!

Gentry: She always steals all the covers at night – I’ve threatened that I’m going to have to get my own comforter!


My number one piece of advice about love is…

Kathryn: Love your partner with your entire mind, heart, and soul. Always be their cheerleader and biggest advocate. Above all, never give up on love or on each other. Life is going to be hard at times and throw you curveballs, but as long as you’re committed to one another, there is nothing you can’t handle.

Gentry: I cannot stress enough the importance of strong communication in any relationship, but especially in a marriage. Tell the person you love how special they are and how much they mean to you as often as you can, and always be there to listen and share during the good times and bad. Kathryn and I started playing a game where we ask each other daily: “What do you love about me today?”. It’s a nice reminder to take a moment out of the everyday craziness to remember why we are together and to celebrate our love.


Thanks, Kathryn and Gentry!  May your first year of marriage be filled with amazing adventures!

Want to catch up on other bluegrass lovebirds?  Check out more stories here, here, here and here.  You can also check out our 2013 and 2014 series.  We will also feature one final couple for 2015 soon!


To true love.






**All images were provided by the participating couple**

bluegrass lovebirds: doris + bill

For those of you living in the bluegrass, I hope that you are enjoying Snowpocalypse 2015 (over 10 inches of snow here)!  Perhaps to warm your heart a bit during this bitter cold snap, we have another installment of the bluegrass lovebirds series.

I am very excited to introduce our next couple, who will celebrate 40 years of marriage in June of this year.  I was thrilled to feature their sweet story to commemorate those 40 wonderful years.  It is my pleasure to introduce…

DorisBill_1William H. (Bill) and Doris Dearen Settles

Years Together: as of June 28th, 40

First date: 2/23/75; Engaged 3/15/75; Married June 28, 1975


Tell us a bit about yourself…

I [Doris] was born in Lexington but moved to Danville when I was 3 weeks old, then to Arlington Heights, Illinois at 12. Graduated from UK for both English/journalism BA and Instructional Design/english MS. Started out at the Kentucky Standard newspaper in Bardstown after college and met Bill (as an adult) soon after. I’ve spent 40 years as a writer, most of it freelance. I taught English Composition at LCC and UK, working with faculty in all disciplines to create web-centric distance learning courses and developed the first completely online Composition sequence. One day I got a call from the College of Education to interview for a new position as the Director of the newly established Ky Center for School Safety. My interest in education technology and timing put me at the forefront of Internet safety. I worked with two Ky Attorneys General to develop a statewide curriculum before stepping down from that position. I have published two books on the topic and am still asked to speak at schools and education conferences. I am currently at work on a book about Bardstown and Nelson County, where my parents grew up and my husband is from.

We have one son, Burr, who turned 37 today. He is a Ph.D in Computer Science and works for DuoLingo, a startup in Pittsburgh. Heras been married to Natalie (Larson) for 12 years. Natalie has an M.F.A in Art and Artist-in-Residence at University of Pittsburgh. We also raised Bill’s two children from a previous marriage, William J. and Tracey Settles Berry. Between them, there are three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Bill was born in Bardstown and was active in sports and choir at Bardstown High Schools. Graduating from the now defunct Ky Southern College in Louisville in Biology, he continued his education at Western Ky University with an MS in Aquatic Biology. He taught at Bardstown High, and was teaching at St. Mary’s college when we married. When he and a college friend opened a remodeling company in Lexington, we moved and he ultimately spent 33 years selling pre-engineered building components. About a decade ago he missed teaching and served as adjunct at BCTC until he retired from both last year.

We enjoy travel, international and domestic. I enjoy reading and gardening, and became a Fayette County Master Gardener in 2012. Bill has been a Southern Gospel fan since his teens and serves as Deacon and teaching Sunday school for Calvary Baptist Church, where we are both members. Bill’s free time is limited as I always have projects for him to work on. In fact, he decided to go back to work part time to cut back those activities.

Bill lived 2 doors from my Aunt/Uncle in Bardstown, and went to the same church as my family, so we knew each other since childhood. However, as he is 4.5 years older there wasn’t a lot of significant interaction. When we met as adults, he knew who I was, but really didn’t know anything about me. We fixed that pretty quickly.


How did you first meet? Was it “love at first sight” or were your “just friends”?

Doris’ grandparents lived in Bardstown, where Bill grew up. He lived two doors down from my three male cousins, with whom he was friends. Being nearly 4 years older (and one year older than my oldest cousin and sister), I was always trying to horn in on whatever they were doing, not a great start. Many years later, I moved to Bardstown to work for the newspaper and we met at church. We were involved in a Bible study, and one night…February 23 to be exact…we went out afterwards.

Where did you go on your first date?

Feb 23, 1975

We went to La Taberna restaurant in Bardstown for a late snack and drink after Bible study. I think we ended up closing the restaurant and spending until the wee hours on my grandmothers porch talking. I’m not sure we spent a whole day without seeing each other until after we were engaged.

Where did you share your first kiss?

Probably February 23 on our first date.

When did you know that he/she was “the one”?

Oh, maybe two weeks?

Tell us about your engagement proposal…

That’s a tough one, because neither of us can remember there actually being a proposal. A few weeks after we were engaged, we were driving somewhere and Doris said something about there not really being a proposal. Bill probably made it official, but it was so “beside-the-point” then neither of us really recall.


When and where were you married?

We were married in the Bardstown Baptist Church, where both my parents and my sister were also married. Both our families had attended there for many years. Both sisters and best friend from high school were bridesmaids; Bill’s two best friends from undergrad and Doris’ brother-in-aw were groomsmen.


Funny story: After our honeymoon when we went to church, I went to the left and he went to the right. Our families had always sat on opposite sides of the sanctuary. We ended up sitting on the left side of the middle.



He Said/She Said

My partner’s best quality is… 

Doris: I can tend to get really intense, and Bill’s sense of humor can stop me from going there.

Bill: An outstanding quality is her organization and ability to get things done.


The thing about my partner that drives me crazy is… 

Doris: He doesn’t seem to be able to put things back where they belong.

Bill:  In 40 years she hasn’t given up on trying to improve me.

My number one piece of advice about love is…

Doris: Before you get married, make sure your core values are similar. Then the really big stuff you’ll at least be in the same ballpark. Let the little stuff go.

Bill: See your differences as strengths in your union. If you were identical, one of you would be superfluous!



Congratulations on 40 years of marriage, Doris and Bill!  Wishing your many more years of happiness!

If you haven’t caught up on the 2015 bluegrass lovebirds series, check out other couples here, here and here.  Be sure to check out the 2013 and 2014 couples, as well.

To true love. And celebrating love all month long.






**All images provided by participating couple**

bluegrass lovebirds: erica + samuel

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we felt that we needed an extra dose of love this week in the form of another set of lovebirds, and maybe some chocolate madeleines, too.

The third couple in this year’s bluegrass lovebirds series are close to our heart, as Erica works at a place that we love–the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.  Introducing…


Tell us a bit about yourselves…

I was born in Saint Augustine, Florida and at the age of 8, my single mother and I moved to Costa Rica to reconnect with our family’s roots in Santa Ana. 10 years later, I graduated high school and moved to Ohio to attend college. After a semester, I realized it wasn’t a good fit for me so I moved to Brandenburg, Kentucky to live with my aunt where I enrolled in community college in Louisville. After earning my associates degree, I applied and was accepted to Berea College in Berea, KY. I graduated with a major in Communication and a minor in Peace and Social Justice in May 2013. Currently, I am the Youth Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. Originally from Lexington, Sam graduated with a degree in Political Science from Berea College in 2012. He is currently working at to save money for law school. We have a beautiful, sweet, spoiled grey tabby named Katniss. We adopted her from one of our Berea College professors in July 2013 when she was 10 weeks old.

How did you first meet? Was it “love at first sight” or were you “just friends”?

We first met in our Human Rights and International Law class at Berea College in August of 2011. We were both assigned to the same group. Our group project was to prepare a presentation about capital punishment. It was during one of the meetings that I realized I really liked him. Sam found out through the grapevine (as it happens at a very small school), but I wasn’t trying to hide my feelings for him. I’m sure my constant ‘looking over my shoulder’ to see him in class was a dead giveaway (haha).

Where did you go on your first date?

The first time we hung out one on one was for a Fairness march and rally in Berea. Our first date was to the Paddy Wagon, an Irish bar in Richmond.

Where did you share your first kiss?

The Paddy Wagon.


When did you know that he/she was “the one”?

I realized Sam was the one when he surprised me with a bag of goodies (soap, tissues, snacks, water) at the bus stop (after only having been dating for a month or so). I was headed to NYC for

Occupy Wall Street with 15 other Berea students. That realization was further reinforced when upon my return, he surprised me with flowers. He was just so considerate and sweet, how could I not fall for a man like that?!

Tell us about your engagement proposal…

Sam proposed to me during Mayfest 2014 in front of the bronze boy and girl fountain in Lexington with a ring he purchased from a local artist at the festival. He got down on one knee in front of hundreds of people. It was incredibly romantic and of course, I said YES!


What are your wedding plans?

As I’m writing this, we have not officially set a date but we do have one in mind. The small, intimate wedding will be sometime this year. For our honeymoon, we’d love to travel to Europe together.

He Said/She Said


My partner’s best quality is…

Erica: Sam is one of the most considerate and intelligent people I have ever met. He’s also a very talented writer. I don’t think I can pick just one quality!

Sam: What I love most about Erica is her indelible passion for helping people. She always gives so much of herself and never expects anything in return.
The thing about my partner that drives me crazy is…

Erica: He tends to be forgetful and a tad disorganized, but he makes up for it by being the house chef!

Sam: She likes everything to be clean and orderly, even if no one is coming over.

My number one piece of advice about love is…

Erica: Don’t rush it. If it’s meant to be, it will be.

Sam: Be yourself. Love someone for who they truly are.


Thanks, Erica and Sam!  Happy Valentine’s Day and best of luck with all of your wedding preparations!


Be sure to catch up on the 2015 lovebirds series here and here, or check out 2013 and 2014.  More coming your way this month!


To true love.