Historic Stearns, Kentucky & The Big South Fork Scenic Railway |The Bourbon Soaked Mom

Historic Stearns, in Southern Kentucky is a place frozen in time. If you’re a history buff like myself and enjoy taking a step back while spending the day imagining you’re from another time, Stearns is the place to go. My Mom and I took my two boys (ages 3 & 5) on a day trip to Stearns to ride on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, because they had never been on a train before, and isn’t every little kid obsessed with choo-choos? Needless to say, they were absolutely thrilled.


I will just be the first to tell you, I was a little hesitant about the train ride. I was afraid it would be miserably hot, that my boys would cry the entire time, and that I would be stuck for three hours with strangers on a train in close proximity who would want to literally toss me off the caboose because my kids wouldn’t hush. The ride had the exact opposite effect. River slept almost the entire time, and Greyson was so enthralled he never made a peep except to point out the scenery, or comment on how much fun he was having.

I really enjoyed the fact that you were actually going into the original depot and company stores when you arrived at the railway. The staff members were so friendly and accommodating and everything went very smooth when we arrived. I pre-ordered my tickets online, and they were waiting for us at the depot window, which was convenient so we could head on to the Whistle Stop and picked up our pail lunches.

The tickets I ordered were 11 extra dollars because they included a coal miner’s lunch, which was a turkey club, chips, a pop or water, a HUGE piece of chocolate cake, and apple sauce. The lunches were packed into cute little red commemorative lunch boxes for us to take on the train so we could eat lunch at Blue Heron mine when we arrived. The train wasn’t cramped at all, it was a cool, beautiful day with the windows down and friendly, fun loving people ready for some history and scenery.



The train ride itself was 14 miles of old track that passed along tunnels cut so close you could reach out and grab rocks, blanketed by beautiful, lush farm land, and decades old mining towns and coal camps that could be toured if you wanted to. The train descends 600 ft into the South Fork Gorge, and offers up gorgeous river views! We passed bath houses, commissaries, and general stores on the way. It was wonderful explaining the rich culture and history of our region to my kids, because I think that sometimes we get caught up in this busy, crazy world that it’s easy for us to forget our heritage and where we come from. Today, my kids were amazed with all they saw and were willing to soak that knowledge and history up like a sponge.



When we arrived at the Blue Heron mine, the boys were absolutely thrilled to learn they would be able to walk across the coal tipple on a wooden bridge. The bridge was connected to the tipple and was accessible through a very short hike up one of the trails. Once you get to the top, you can cross the bridge and look down on the South Fork River. It was a beautiful view, and if you have kids, it’s definitely one to impress them. Blue Heron also had beautiful shaded places to eat your lunch, ghost structures where churches, homes and stores used to be during the boom town days, with trails and outfitters if you want to go hiking,  tubing, kayaking, etc. I wish we would have had more time, I would have loved to of went tubing!



All in all, I believe the trip lasted around 3 hours and I paid 130 dollars for four of us to go, complete with a museum visit and lunch. From Hazard, it took us right at 2 hours to get there, so it’s honestly the perfect day trip. It’s also right around the bend (about 25 minutes) from Cumberland Falls, so you can run down there and take a peak or go hiking after you are finished with plenty of time to spare! We took the boys down for a quick visit and some ice cream!

I wanted to share this adventure because I think that teaching our young East Kentuckians about our heritage is important. Even though the trip was so much fun, and we had a great time, I wanted to make sure my boys understood that I also wanted to teach them about our history and about the industry that has helped shaped our region for over 100 years. I would certainly recommend taking a day trip to Stearns and enjoying a little town frozen in time to remind us all of days gone by.


The Bluegrass Box Brand Ambassador|The Bourbon Soaked Mom

We have some exciting news from TBSM! The Bourbon Soaked Mom is now the first official brand ambassador for The Bluegrass Box! What is even more exciting is that I’ve learned the September box will be FULL of “Appalachian” goodies.


The Bluegrass box is a quarterly shipment filled with ALL “Kentucky” based products that coincide with a theme for that month. I am so excited to be promoting their products, because nothing makes me proud like being a Kentuckian. The Bluegrass Box really gives local businesses a chance to showcase their best and brightest products and ship them around the state, and the country! Another great deal for all of my TBSM readers is that now you can use the code BSM25 and get 25 percent off for all new subscribers!

How it works: The Bluegrass Box can be purchased two ways. You can opt to do a yearly subscription, or a quarterly subscription. The quarterly subscription renews every three months and is 35.00 dollars plus 5 dollars for shipping. The yearly subscription is 135.00 plus shipping and covers the entire year. You may also choose to cancel this anytime you’d like, but I wouldn’t see why you’d want to! All you have to do is sign up, and Bluegrass Box takes care of the rest!


The Bluegrass Box is a family owned business who truly loves and takes pride in their products and in the state they call home. Their mission is to showcase Kentucky proud artisans and allow their talents to shine.


“Our mission is to shine a spotlight on the artisan makers across the Commonwealth who are making amazing products, and introduce you to some of them along the way. Some may be new products, or some may come from a recipe that has been handed down through generations.  Kentucky is about tradition!

Daniel Boone once said, “Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.” And our family feels the same way.  There is no place we would rather raise our sons. We are both life-long Kentuckians and have no plans to change that! We love that there are so many hard-working people that are making things with their hands across the bluegrass everyday.  Every three months you have the opportunity to receive a box of products that are uniquely Kentucky in The Bluegrass Box!  Our family loves the products that we include in each Bluegrass Box, and we feel confident that yours will too!”

After receiving the “June” box, it was clear to me that the theme was summer centered. Think cookouts, sweat tea, kids playing on the lawn and eating a nice, juicy steak. Southern traditions, but of course with a Kentucky twist. In the June Bluegrass Box I received:


  • Integritea Bluegrass Breeze- This amazing tea is flavored with passion fruit and mango which gives it it’s unique flavor.
  • Bourbon Barrel Foods NEW Barbecue Sauce-The tagline for this says it all, “Eat Your Bourbon”. You don’t have to tell me twice.
  • Shell-Bee’s Gourmet Steak Seasoning-This awesome steak seasoning can make ANYTHING taste good! I recently used it on cube steak in the crock-pot and it will absolutely knock your socks off!
  • Funky Junk Gifts Kentucky Coasters-Funky Junk gifts takes things that would normally be thrown away and turns them into works of art! These unique “Kentucky” coasters were formally a fence post. My husband ended up sneaking and stealing these from my house and are now proudly displayed in his law office waiting room! You can’t never have too much “Kentucky” stuff in your area!


If you’re a proud Kentuckian and want to discover amazing products that are from our great state, and support the shop local movement, be sure to subscribe to The Bluegrass Box! I look forward to my quarterly shipments because I absolutely love each and every single product they send me. Plus, getting to support small, local businesses who will be keeping their money in our area is something I always try to do, and obviously something I stress to my readers. It is SO important to buy local. Our communities THRIVE on this concept. Keeping our money in state and helping our locally owned shops will enable our small towns to grow!

You can also grab one of these super-soft Kentucky farm plate tees for 24 bucks! I absolutely love mine, and I’ve gotten so many compliments when I’ve worn it out!


To subscribe to The Bluegrass Box, please visit their official website at:

www.thebluegrassbox.com & don’t forget to use the discount code for TBSM for 25 percent off!


The Cardinal Rules of Thrifting.|The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

I love to go junking/thrifting. I used to go with my grandma and aunts when I was little and I consider myself a seasoned veteran in “flea market speak”. When the weather warms up, I always hit the highway to look for the best flea markets/junk stores and thrift shops around Kentucky. I have managed to furnish nearly my entire home with thrift or junk store finds. This includes furniture, paintings/art/pictures, bedding (yes, bedding), and even odds and ends for the outside.

You can honestly find just about anything you need for a fraction of the price, if you know what you’re doing, what to look for, and how to go about junking. People ask me a lot how I find the things that I find. I have one simple rule I always tells folks, the cardinal rule (for me) of thrifting or junking is this:

Take your time and bring the right tools, an open mind, and a large vehicle. 

Seriously, that’s all you need. But in case that little tweak doesn’t entirely work, here’s some more tips and tricks that I use to always find what I want and get the most from my thrifting experience.

1: Do your research. 

Before I go anywhere, I try to learn a bit about the business before-hand. Knowing the type of merchandise the place has, and who the owner is is actually a big deal. I have managed to establish good relationships with a number of thrift/junk store owners and if they come across a piece they think I’ll like, usually they will save it for me or put it on hold. It’s always nice to have an inside connection. It is also a plus if you are able to scour their social media sites (if they have them) to see new merchandise. Many times, I’ve asked people to put things on hold for me.

2: Take a large vehicle. 

You definitely want to take a large vehicle, just to be safe. What if you find a piece of large furniture that is such a great deal, you just can’t pass up. BUT, you drove a two-seater car. Be safe and take a larger truck or SUV just to be sure. I have been out and bought boxes of dishes, pots for flowers, antique chairs and an antique recliner for 30 bucks at an opportunity store…..better safe than sorry.

3: Don’t be afraid to get dirty, and always bring hand sanitizer. 

You will probably be getting your hands dirty or dusty if you go to a junk store. Some of the ones I’ve been to have had dirt floors even, and those are the best. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dust off hand panted planters or vintage jewelry. You may find a piece of McCoy, Hull or Rosewood….or maybe even an antique piece of Weiss costume jewelry.

If you buy any type of upholstery, I also recommend bringing (at the very least) some Lysol spray because no one wants bed bugs or any other type of crud. Always thoroughly clean any type of fabric before you put it inside your home.

4: Know what you’re looking for before you head out. 

Make the best use of your time by knowing what you want before you go. If you want furniture, you can rule out any store that doesn’t have furniture. If you want jewelry or clothing, you can better gauge what shops you want to check out. It will just save you more time and energy if you are looking for something specific.

5: Learn the art of the “haggle”. 

Learn how to haggle. Most people who own thrift stores or junk stores will work with you. Make an offer on something, all they can say is no! It doesn’t hurt to try. More times than none they just will be happy someone wants to buy it!

6: Don’t waste your time on antique shops unless you’re willing to pay antique shop prices. 

I always steer clear of antique shops that are truly antique shops. They are wonderful to go in and browse, but I know I can usually never afford anything they have. Antique stores know what they have is valuable stuff, and much of it is very expensive. At least at a junk store you can buy it cheap and fix it up yourself, which is what most people do.

7: Don’t be afraid to buy something that is damaged. 

If you find a piece of furniture that is a great price but has a minor flaw in it, don’t be afraid to purchase it. Many of those little glitches can be fixed. I have purchased dressers with chips that were fixed with a new stain. I have bought chairs with bottoms missing and had them re-finished for nothing. I have bought jewelry that I love that I’ve had to replace a clasp. If you love it, there’s a way to fix it.

8: Have fun! 

I always say there is no wasted day when you’re thrifting. Many times, my husband and I will just hit the open road and enjoy the weather and each other. It doesn’t matter to us if we find a gold mine or nothing at all. There is something interesting and refreshing in going through old records, and delving elbow deep in crates of old dishes with someone. Enjoy it. Have fun sifting through old ratty clothes, and just go with it! Part of the intrigue is never knowing what you’ll find, and where your adventure will take you!

Below I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite “thrift/junk stores!

*Oven Fork Merchantile in Oven Fork Ky.

*PJ’s Attic, Hazard Ky.

*Asbury’s in Hazard Ky.

*NU2U (contains upscale things as well as antiques. Wide variety!) Hazard Ky.

*Hazard & Jackson Mountain Mission, Hazard & Jackson Ky.

*FoxHouse Vintage in Lexington Ky.

The Scavenger Hunt in London Ky.



Easy Comfort Food Chili |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

Okay, so I know this is silly posting this recipe when it’s December and also 75 degrees out, but I couldn’t resist! This is my go-to meal when I just need to throw something together, plus who doesn’t love chilli?

I love comfort food, and this hearty chili recipe is perfect for the days (that we will get hopefully soon) that snow if flying outside and all you wanna do is curl up with a good book.

I took this recipe from a book of Eastern Kentucky coal camp recipes, when you had to make the most of your meals. My sons love this recipe, and even when I make a mega-pot it’s gone in a few days. It tastes even better when re-heated for leftovers. I’ve changed it a bit, I know everyone has their own way of making chili, and I’m not any different. Add or take away, there’s really no right or wrong way to throw it all together.


  • 2 cans rotel
  • 1 can your choice tomato sauce
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 can red kidney beans (undrained)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup shells/macaroni
  •  lean ground beef or turkey
  • packet of chili powder or seasoning
  •  1 can drained mushrooms
  • 1 jalepeno pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large pot bring water, rotel, kidney beans and tomato sauce to a boil. Turn heat down and let simmer. Add cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a skillet, combine beef, onion, jalepeno, mushrooms and green pepper. Cook until meat is brown and has soaked up juices from the onion and peppers.
  3. Transfer contents from skillet into the pot with the tomato sauce and rotel. Add chilli powder or packet of chilli seasoning, and 1/2 cup of shells or macaroni. Stir occasionally and let simmer. Let shells cook until soft.
  4. Serve with cheddar cheese and crackers

I hope you all enjoy this recipe, and hopefully we may have some snow soon to go with it! Fingers crossed.

Rowdy, Kentucky|The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

As human beings, we all have cell memories. Certain instances and places seem familiar to us, as an apparent result of trickle down remembrances, passed down genetically from our ancestors, causing us to feel kinship with certain places, perhaps objects.

For some people it may be a house, a church, perhaps a particular piece of property or the family homestead. In my case, I have always felt connected to the area and community where I spent my earliest years, attended school, and the land my family had settled for generations before I was ever thought of being born.

Rowdy, Kentucky has always been my favorite place, and my heart will forever be trying to go back home.


The first years of my life were spent on a slice of land nestled in the valley on what is known as Rowdy Mountain. I’ll never forget my years there, and remember them as some of the happiest of my life.

In the back yard we had a brook, the offset of Troublesome Creek, where I would spend countless hours catching craw dads and setting free messages in a bottle. I remember clamoring along the creek bed, climbing on rocks and catching lizards and salamanders on the bank.

I remember the smell of wet moss on creek stones, and the smooth and cool feel of river bedrock. The sounds of distant coyotes, and bobcats would echo in the night, and bears were animals not uncommon to the area. The closest neighbor was my Great-Grandmother, and the land had been in our family for years.

Rowdy was a place frozen in a time where you really, really knew and loved your neighbors. An area where family was interwoven with family. A place where you could over to the next house over and borrow anything you needed. You could walk down the road without fear, and you could leave your doors unlocked at night because no one would harm you, or steal or pillage.

The traditions and values of East Kentucky were held in high regard here in this tiny, close knit community. Traditions where you went to church on Sundays, after logging a full week of work, and then you went home and cooked your family supper.

You gave to those who were less fortunate, and you helped out those who needed helping. You took pride in your home, your land, and yourself. You loved those who needed it, and you defended your friends, and your community.

Rowdy was a lovely place to grow up, even if some folks wouldn’t agree with me. It was magical, in my eyes. Still is. Even though I’ve been known to romanticize the people, places and things that I love. But none more so than the places…

If you google “Rowdy” Kentucky, you won’t find much. A map that will tell you that this little unincorporated community lies between the Perry and Breathitt county borders. You can count a half written Wikipedia snippet that will inform you that their post office was closed in 2011. A couple of google map pictures that show the old Robinson high-school. There is a lot more to the story and the place than what it seems, with a people and history that has been scattered, if not completely forgotten.


When my Grandfather was a young man, he taught at the “Stacy” schoolhouse. It was your typical one room school building, perched on top of Stacy Hill in what is now the portion of Rowdy that used to be close to the Red Rooster. Rowdy was once called “Stacy”. I imagine because it was settled in large part by the Stacy family, whose descendants still dot the riverbanks of Troublesome Creek. As someone who went to school at Robinson, I had many friends and neighbors who had the last name “Stacy” and now as an adult, who works at Robinson, I see many kids who come from the same line.

Back in the 1940’s or 50’s, the Greyhound bus used to run through Rowdy and pick up riders on the Rowdy Low Gap bridge, and ride them on into Breathitt County where there was a train station. Legend has it that when the bus station started to charge a toll to pick people up on the bridge, a group of rough and “rowdy” wayfarers staged an all out riot, tipping the bus over on it’s side and raising a ruckus. Hence, from then on, the area formerly dubbed “Stacy” was to be known as “Rowdy”.

IMG_2392 (2)

Settled by families like the Campbells, Stacys’, Boggs’, Allens’ and Jones’, Rowdy became home to those of mostly Irish/Scottish descent. One thing I can say that rings true to those who come from these families, even today, is their pride in their land, and the lands that have been passed down to them from generation to generation.

It’s not hard to see it in the way they upkeep their properties, and farms, and how they have stayed in one spot for decades. Many families, remain on the ‘creek’ and live their lives scattered among familial plots, brothers and sisters side by side with Granny and Papaw in the ‘big house’ down the road. This is common for Rowdy. This is how we live. Family is so important, and once you really feel as though this land is your home, it’s unlikely you will ever be able to say goodbye to it.


A collection of beautiful plots of land along Troublesome Creek, Rowdy has become known as the land of swinging bridges. Plots of homes lie across the creek, some places look very much like those rolling plateaus and farmlands of Ireland or Scotland.

The scenery is worth the drive, and sometimes when I am just passing through, despite the fact that I’ve been gone for nearly 18 years, I get a feeling of dreadful homesickness that can only be quelled by pulling over on the shoulder and setting for a spell.

Landmarks such as Rowdy Low Gap, Rowdy Mountain, and Mount Carmel Church are familiar marking spots for directions among the local people. Old timers remember the Red Rooster, and RedWood Store.

I myself, can remember coming home from kindergarten and my Mother taking me inside Redwood General Store to get a popcicle and bag of gummy bears. I can recall a coal burning stove and an old oiled wooden floor that was slightly uneven and creaked with every single footstep. These landmarks have been long gone for years, but not forgotten, especially in the hearts of those who were born and raised in the area.


Many a tale has been told to children of past generation to “not be caught on Rowdy Mountain” past dark. Fear of boogeymen, wild horned mountain goats, UFO’s and other nonsensical, mystical creatures fill up pages of folklore passed down from family to family. Ghosts and shadowy figures are said to roam hollers and walk forest trails in Cockrell’s Fork, William’s Branch and other well worn paths.

Mostly meant to frighten and fascinate the children of those were born and raised knowing these stories, Rowdy became a place of wonder to me at a young age and still seems to absolutely bewitch me when I tell these same tales and drive my kids down these same roads.

My Great Grandmother, Lottie Campbell Gwinn Boggs always told me she was born, would die and eventually be buried in Rowdy. She did just that. The family burial plot lies adjacent to a country church house that is so old no one really remembers it’s age. She rests between her husbands, sister and a tiny tombstone dedicated to Cora, the daughter she lost to measles in the 1930’s. She dedicated herself entirely to making a life within the rough confines of “Rowdy” and she did so with perseverance, intelligence and a strong sense of love for her land and family. A trait that is wholly shared by those who also come from Rowdy, especially those wild and wonderful mountain kin, like her, who really and truly helped to instill those qualities in us all.

As I sit here and smile while writing, thinking of all the people who will read this and agree, or maybe laugh and disagree, I have to say that it makes me feel better to write about the place that I miss so much, and remember with such fascination. To some, Rowdy may just seem like a regular place, but to me it’s much more, and I’ll bet that the majority of people who are from East Kentucky feel the same way. We all have those special places in our minds and hearts. For my husband, it’s his beloved Caney, for my Mom, it’s Lost Creek, but for me, it’s always been Rowdy.

The sentimental bone for East Kentuckians, is grown at a young age and seems to only double in size as the years pass by. Especially when it comes to love of our homes, our mountains and our land.

As my thoughts and words come to a close, I must say that I’m not sure why the area has almost a supernatural strong hold of sentimentality on the people who live within it’s borders, but it surely does. I’ve heard any number of folks tell me the only way they were leaving Rowdy would be feet first, and I understand now what they mean.

It’s a continuous, recurring theme in Eastern Kentucky. The bonds of kinship and family ties are nearly unbreakable, and the area you were born, and come to call home is as much a part of who you are as your family, and the blood that runs through your veins. Despite the fact that I am now defacto Rowdy-ite, (living in the “city” to county folks is the same as being a Yankee, basically) I will always count that area as home, and I will forever be counting the days down to when I can really go back, to the land of swinging bridges.

Being Scots-Irish and mighty proud of it, I think Margaret Mitchell said it best when she said:

“Why, land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for because it’s the only thing that lasts.”And to anyone with a drop of Irish blood in them, why the land they live on is like their mother. Oh, but there, there, you’re just a child. It’ll come to you, this love of the land. There’s no getting over it if you’re Irish.”


The Bluegrass Box|The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

About a month or so ago, I ran across The Bluegrass Box on Twitter and I loved the idea and vision so much. After receiving the October addition of the box, I posted a photo of it, unopened on Instagram and Facebook and had such an overwhelming response, I had to do an unveiling and introduce my readers this amazing idea and new business start up that is unique to Kentuckians! Read on to find out about ‘The Bourbon Soaked Mom’s’ exclusive discount code for a percentage off of your first purchase!


Paul Phillips and his family have always been fans of box services like Birch Box, and Dollar Shave Club, which provides a monthly collection of themed items delivered at your doorstep for a nominal fee. As frequenters of local farmer’s markets, and consumers of regional “Kentucky” proud products, the Phillips family wanted to incorporate a way to bring Kentuckians everywhere a monthly service to provide access to other locally owned and operated businesses who specialize in “Kentucky” specific foods and products.

The first ever Bluegrass Box was shipped out in August and and since, they have shared such products as Summer Shade Soap Company out of Louisville, MAM Candies (who just won “best of show” in the “sweets” category at the Ky Proud Food Show) from Hodgenville, Baxter’s Coffee from Somerset, and Grateful Grahams out of Northern Kentucky in their boxes.

The Bluegrass Box Company is also announcing a Special Edition Bluegrass Christmas Box this week ( they are going to actually share the contents because gift-givers generally want to know what they are giving), and they have introduced a Holiday Corporate Gift Program, also, for businesses who give gifts to clients for the holidays. (See attached flyer below) The corporate boxes will feature the company logo and can be customized to any company budget.

Below is a short video about how The Bluegrass Box vision became a reality!

My October box was centered around the idea of fall in Kentucky. Think bonfires, camping, enjoying the beautiful leaves and mountains, and being with family. What better way to celebrate a Kentucky fall then to ship out a box filled with Kentucky based goodies to make smores and enjoy pumpkin spice everything?

Included in the October box:

  • Crank & Boom Handmade Marsh-mellows. For those of you who have no tried their craft ice cream, you’re missing out. These hand made marsh-mellows are melt in your mouth amazing!
  • Grateful Grahams. These are vegan grahams and absolutely amazing!
  • Baxter’s Coffee in Pumpkin Spice. The best pumpkin spice coffee I have ever had, and as a basic white girl who loves everything pumpkin spice, that says a lot.
  • Cellar Door Dark Chocolate Bar. Simply put, this chocolate bar was heaven.






I was absolutely blown away by the thoughtfulness and love that went into this box. Each is hand packaged and every item is carefully curated by this wonderful company. This family absolutely just gets what Kentuckians are all about, and I think it is a wonderful idea to help put “Kentucky” proud products on the map, and help small businesses brand their items. I can’t wait to see what next month’s box is full of!

As for the specifics of the subscriptions–The Bluegrass Box has 1, 3, & 6 month subscriptions. Pricing is $35.95 for 1 mo sub, $97.95 for 3 mo sub, and $179.95 for a 6 mo sub. The Bluegrass Box also has gifting options for you to send a box to a friend or family member, and you can also try our product by purchasing a single box without a subscription. This would be a great option for a birthday, or Christmas gift!

Use the code SOAKED10 for 10 percent off your first purchase!! 

To find more information, or purchase YOUR subscription, visit:


Must Read Real Life Love Stories |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

Cuffing season is upon us, people. Time to settle down, get into the swing of the Holiday seasons, and be with the ones we love. If you’re like me, you read the most during the winter time. It’s convenient for me to just curl up with a nice book and watch the snow fall outside. There is nothing better, and more comfortable. I always enjoy reading love stories, even more so when they are completely real and true. Here I have made a list of some of my favorite real life love stories, so curl up and enjoy!

 Click on each picture purchase directly.

1: Furious Love. By Sam Kashner

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton shocked the world when they had an affair on the set of Cleopatra. They continued to do so after divorcing & remarrying each other, spending ungodly amounts of money on jewels (he out-bit Ari Onassis for a diamond) becoming infamous drinking buddies & making millions of dollars for being infamous. This book is definitely a guilty pleasure read.

2: Z. A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. By Therese Anne Fowler

The story of spunky southern belle Zelda Fitzgerald and up and coming (then) writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, set in all the glitz and glamour of the roaring 20’s Gilded Age.

3: That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. By Anne Sebba

A look into the life and times of the American and twice divorced commoner who caused England’s heir apparent to abdicate the throne for the woman he loved. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were a fixture in European society with a love story fit for a fairy tale, if you do not count a spoiled (would be) Princess, a disappointed and scandalized country complete with unthinkable extramarital affairs.

4: Jack & Jackie: Portrait of an American Marriage. by Christopher Anderson

The story behind American royalty. Jack and Jackie tells the truth about the relationship between former President and First Lady, with no holding back about all the juicy and sometimes depressing details of their marriage, (Marilyn Monroe trist included) personal lives and parenthood. Grab your tissues.

5: Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story. by C. David Heyman

I am still trying to decide if I believe this one or not, but the gossip hound in me wants to really think that maybe Bobby had an affair with his sister in law. Read and decide for yourself.

6: Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII’s Obession. by Elizabeth Norton

Obviously, we all know this love story didn’t really work out for Anne Boleyn, considering after a few years of marriage (and her inability to produce a male heir) and being Queen of England, she lost her head to a flimsy, unfair trial and allegations trumped up by her court enemy (and rival for the King’s ear) Cromwell. It’s interesting to read about the woman who caught and kept the eye of a King, who turned his country (and put his soul in mortal danger) upside down to have her, and an heir. A sad ending, but an epic real life love story. Plus, Anne Boleyn is probably the most notorious and influential Queen in England’s history, causing Henry to break from Rome and the Catholic church, changing the face of the monarchy, and country forever.

7: Love at an End. A Novel of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. By Gary O’Connor.

Vivien Leigh & Laurence Olivier were the original Hollywood power couple. Both brilliant stage & film actors, highly influential and loved by all who knew them. Their love affair spanned several decades, and set the bar high for other celebrity couples of their day.

Beauty On A Budget; My Favorite Drug Store Beauty Buys |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

Since entering the workforce again, I’ve had to become a little more economical in terms of makeup. As all ladies know, we can be prone to spending a pretty penny on our face, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but if you’re like me (with a husband and two children) I have more important expenses than my makeup. That is why I have decided to share a list of my favorite drug store finds that won’t break the bank and deliver the same affects as big money brands for less.

E.L.F. High Definition Powder. $6.00



I use this E.L.F High Def Powder to set my makeup after applying it. It keeps my makeup in place all day and helps to blur the appearance of fine lines and blemishes. It also gives my makeup a buffed/filtered appearance which I really like. This powder is also a dupe and cheaper alternative if you like the Coty Airspun Powder, which is also great and achieves the same purpose. This is also said to be a dupe for Makeup Forever’s High Definition Powder which contains the same major ingredients, just a lesser quality.

NYC Smooth Skin Foundation. $3.14



I usually wear Clinique foundation, but I just recently ran out of my favorite. I needed a quick fix because I wasn’t able to find the kind I usually wear around here, so I decided to try this cheap and easy alternative. Not only did this cover smoothly, and match my skin perfectly, but the coverage was amazing and I didn’t even need to use concealer for blemishes or under eye circles.

L.A. Colors Gel Polish. $1.00


As a huge Dollar Store person (late night diaper runs, and Halloween decor, hello!) I had to try out this nail polish that was only a dollar. I purchased this exact color and I was amazed at well the polish went on. I did not use a top coat and it stayed on for almost a week and a half without chipping and the shine was amazing.

E.L.F. Powder Brush. $3.00


This E.L.F. brush is supposed to be used as a powder brush but I use it to apply my foundation. The brush leaves an airbrushed feel and is great quality for only 3 bucks! It washes up really well, too and the bristles stay in amazing shape after many uses.

NYX Liquid Suede Lipstick. $6.99


This lipstick stays put all day and offers great color! Even after eating and drinking, and trust me, I drink coffee all throughout the day.

E.L.F. Brow Kit. $3.04

This brow kit is perfect for the price. With a gel part and a powder finish, it stays put all day. This is what I use daily to fill in my brows and I love how well the outcome is. I have very blonde brows, and I have always had a hard time making them stand out. The gel defines them well, and the powder sets it in place. The brush that comes with it will wear out in time, so I have discovered using a small concealer brush to apply it works well also.

Salon Graphix Dry Shampoo. $6.25

I use this Salon Graphix Dry Shampoo religiously. I refuse to wash my hair every single day, so this is the perfect fix for those mornings when you need to look fresh. My hair has been colored a little darker than usual, but even when my hair was cotton blonde, this left no sign of residue and fought off all oiliness. A spray or two after a blowout also does wonder for volume and body.


Tanwise Sunless Bronzing Mousse. 12.99

I have never been one to use sunless tanners, but after finding this at our local Sally’s I am now a believer. This mousse offers full coverage, streak free tans and amazing color. I was seriously so surprised at how amazing this product goes on and how great it stays on. I use it once a week to build my color, and keep a glow year round. A serious close runner to St. Tropez without the price tag!


Next time you want to spend a fortune a Ulta or Sephora, remember these cheaper and more practical alternatives. There is always a way to save money in every area of your life, even the beauty counter. I understand that some products are MUST when it comes to splurging, but some we can afford to skim the line a bit. All of these products are great, and bargain worthy in terms of cost! Check them out and give them a try, hopefully they will do as well for you as they have for me.

Quotes About Kentucky That Will Make You Proud Of Your Heritage. |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

“I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky and I learned, early on, that Habitual Domination was a natural way of life.” -Hunter S. Thompson


Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune. -Daniel Boone


“Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.” -Daniel Boone


“I love Kentucky people, but you’ve got to get on the inside before they accept you.” -Margo Martindale


“The first time I managed to pick up a basketball I knew I was destined to lead the UK to another National championship. … Even now, so many years later, I still believe Kentucky will go undefeated in March & win everything.” -Hunter S. Thompson


“I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards, and a jug of whiskey.” -Andrew Jackson


“Gusts of snow blew in front of the car as he felt his way toward Man o’ War Boulevard …. The snow-covered fields made him think of the desert. Black fences rimmed with snow created a grid against the blank, vanished ground. He saw five snow-blanketed horses huddled under a clump of trees …. He was surprised they weren’t lolling on feather beds in their climate-controlled barns. Racehorses got better care than some people, he thought.” – Bobbi Ann Mason


“Bourbon, Kentucky bourbon especially, is like Dante’s Inferno in a glass, fire walks down your throat, lungs, and heart and everything in between with an unpleasant after-taste. We got along just fine.” -Bruce Crown


I never met a Kentuckian who wasn’t either thinking about going home or actually going home.” -Happy Chandler


“To be born in Kentucky is a heritage; to brag about it is a habit; to appreciate it is a virtue.”-Irvin Cobb



“Kentucky wasn’t a place you could just be in. You had to be from there, or everything about you was strange.” Anne Patchett


“If these United States can be a called a body, Kentucky can be called it’s heart.” -Jesse Stuart 


A Thank You to My Grandparents on Grandparents Day |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

I will always remember the excitement I felt when I would get to go to my Grandparents house. It was otherworldly, enchanted, almost mystical. My heart would skip beats when my Mom would pull up the graveled drive, and I couldn’t wait to swing open the car door and run inside, catching a whiff of whatever delicious my Grandmother had planned on cooking us, (by us, I mean the swarm of cousins that usually accompanied me) and skipping to the living room to see what Western my Grandpa would be forcing us to suffer through that day. It was routine, and perfect, and so predictable, but I absolutely loved everything about seeing my Grandparents. I am lucky enough to also say that I STILL love everything about going to see my Grandparents, even if work, and time do not allow me to visit as much as I should, as much as I want to.

My Grandparents have taught me many, many life lessons in the 25 years that I’ve been on the earth. A lot of who I have become, and who I am still becoming can be attributed to them. They had an avid hand in raising me, in disciplining, and maybe spoiling me just a little bit. They have felt my losses, my triumphs, my major life moments just the same as my parents. Such an integral part of me is also part of them.

I watched last week during Grandparent’s Day at Robinson Elementary, as the kindergarten kids I work with, welcomed their Grandparents who had come school to eat lunch with them. I watched them glancing at the clock during reading lessons, or peeking a look at the door to see if Mamaw had finally made it. I recognized myself in all the flurry of excitement and pride. I recognized those little hands that clung to skirts, who looped fingers in Papaw’s belt. I recognized a lot of love that was passed around at the lunch table, both from Grand-babies and Grandparents. From a Mother’s perspective, it was a very beautiful, and special thing. One great thing about Eastern Kentucky is how close our families are, especially our Grandparents.

I talk about my Grandparents a lot on my blog, but I believe that Grandparents day is a fitting holiday to write a little tribute for Cleatice and Argene Jones and let those two wonderful people know how glad I am that God chose them to be my Grandma and Grandpa, and how thankful I also am that they’ve not killed, excommunicated, or exiled me along the way. Thank you, for always loving not only me, but all of your Grandchildren unconditionally, even when we most definitely did not deserve it. I could list a million reasons why I am thankful for my Grandparents, but I have narrowed it down to the most important ones to me. If I listed them all, I’m afraid we’d be here all day. So here’s to all you Grandparents out there, like mine, who have such a tight grip on the heartstrings of your grandchildren, and who have made such a lasting impact on their lives.

Thank you for teaching me about marriage.

My Grandparents have been married for over 60 years now. True testaments to a time where you worked on things, and divorce was not an option. I’ve heard them bicker, but I’ve never heard them fight. Ever. I’ve watched for 25 years as they’ve grown older together. Helped, and taken care of one another. I’ve watched them through unimaginable losses, illness, depression, and sadness. I’ve watched them through happy times, good times, real times. I’ve watched them embrace another title together, becoming Great-Grandparents, and showing the same amount of love to my children as they did to me. They’ve never faltered from one another. They’ve never given up on one another. They’ve set an example for me of what a marriage should be. Hard work, compromise, honesty and forgiveness. They’ve set the standard in my mind, on how to love another person, and I am thankful to them for giving me such a great example to mold my marriage by.

Thank you for teaching me about parenting.

My Grandparents had six children. Six very crazy children, my Mom included. Even better, four (very beautiful) girls, and two (very rambunctious boys). I love all of my Aunts and Uncles dearly, but I can’t believe that raising six kids could be something that is an easy task. Especially on a teacher’s salary in the 60’s and 70’s. My Grandparents taught me that sacrifice and hard work for your children are what is important in life. It is so important to put your children above anything else, which is what my Grandparents always did. My Grandmother worked long hours in a department store, and my Grandpa taught school (beginning in a one room schoolhouse) to make ends meet. My Grandmother sewed her own clothing, gardened, farmed and made sure her children never went without. Never. By all accounts, my Mom, Aunts and Uncles had a storybook childhood. Lots of love and laughter. Money may have been tight for them, but none of the material stuff mattered, and my Grandparents always stressed the importance of hard work, education and responsibility. Traits, and characteristics I hope to instill in my boys.

Thank you for teaching me about good times and bad times. 

My Grandmother always taught me to enjoy the good times because times wouldn’t always be good, and push to get through the bad times because they wouldn’t always be bad. Life is a roller coaster where you’re not always up and you’re not always down. My Grandparents taught me to be gracious and thankful during the ups, and even more so during the downs. There is always something to be thankful for, even when you really have to look hard to find what that may be. There are so many wonderful things to enjoy about just living. Be sure to always look for them.

Thank you for teaching me the old ways. 

My Grandma is hands-down the best cook on the planet. I would choose her cooking over any 5 star restaurant on Earth. REAL, Authentic Appalachian cooking is my favorite. You can taste the decades of recipes that have been handed down, each generation adding some special twist or quirk to help perfect it. I’m thankful my Grandmother taught me how to cook in that regard. I am not only speaking about cooking, but also about our old Appalachian way of life. I only wish I had paid more attention when she was teaching me to crochet, how to use the sewing machine, and how “knitting isn’t all that hard.” Maybe, just maybe, we can pick that up where we left off.

Our generation can get so caught up in the business of this world, that we forget our roots. My Grandmother taught me the importance of watching the hummingbirds at the feeder in the morning, the art of porch sitting, and how to tell a good “haint story.” My Grandpa taught me the lost art of perfecting your “Annie Over” throw, and how to pick out the best walking stick from the woods. Collectively, my Grandparents taught me the healing powers of driving the back-roads, the scenic byways, and how Bluegrass music on the radio can make anything seem contently pleasant. How a thunderstorm is just God turning over his tater wagon, or how if you see a certain colored wooly worm at a certain time, you’re in for a bad winter. I am thankful to have Grandparents who taught me the value of a garden tomato, who still have me over the sole purpose of stringin’ beans, and all but force feed chicken and dumplins down my throat every chance they get. That, is something special.

Thank you for teaching me that the fundamental things haven’t changed. 

I am thankful, above everything to have Grandparents who are salt of the earth people. Grandparents who have taught me that the fundamental things in life have not changed. That working hard, being kind, and helping people is so, so important in this life. Being a good, decent person is so, so important. Deep down, we all know what is truly right. We all know how to do the right thing. I am thankful to have two people who helped raise me to ALWAYS do the right thing, even if it costs or does not benefit me. I’m very lucky for that.

Thank you for being there for me, always. For loving me, always. 

Thank you for always loving me no matter what kind of idiotic venture I was on at the moment. Thank you for being kind, patient and understanding with me, especially when my parents were just the opposite. Thank you for always being my voice of reason, and knowing exactly how to lead my down the right path without even saying a word. That alone saved me a lot of heartache. I am very thankful for that. Thank you for always accepting me, as me, and loving me despite my flaws, shortcomings, or misadventures (I had a lot of those). I am understanding just how accepting and loyal my Grandparents really are, especially since I’ve become a Mother myself.

Without my Grandparents, I’m not sure the kind of person I would be today. I have great parents, but my Grandparents also hold a very large part of my life, even today. I am so thankful that I have gotten to spend 25 years with them, and that now my children are getting to spend their childhood with them as well. Life would have been a lot more boring, and less colorful with them, and I am so glad they are still around to help me through, and guide my way. 

If you are lucky enough to have your Grandparents still with you, do not forget to thank them and visit them on this Grandparents Day. Cherish them. Celebrate them. Never forget to thank them for all they have done.