Reasons You Should Fall in Love with a Bourbon Drinker.

Bourbon drinkers are a defined, eccentric and passionate group of people. I’ve always said you can tell what type of person someone is by what they drink. We are the dreamers, the believers, and the free thinkers. We are also the traditionalists, the trailblazers, and the bold. A person who loves to drink Bourbon is unique, and has no grasp on social norms, classes or status quo. Bourbon drinkers are the people’s people. This is a group who are as fiery as they are loyal and odd as they are special. Falling in love with a Bourbon drinker means to tempt fate, but trust me; everyone should do it at least one time in their life.

Falling in love with a Bourbon drinker, means falling in love with a soul a lot older than any number of years. Just as drinking Bourbon has been a tradition passed down for generations; a Bourbon drinker is equally old fashioned. A bourbon drinker will read you Cecil (preferably Melbourne), Bukowski, Thompson, Faulkner, and Twain. You’ll start to identify with the likes of Bogart, and Errol Flynn. They’ll introduce you to pureness of the crackle of a vinyl, and you’ll share cigarettes and marvel at the wonder of Miles Davis,(Bitches Brew) Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Robert Johnson . The soul of a Bourbon drinker will always wander back in time; they never belong to their era. They’ll be reluctant to give themselves away, but you’ll understand it. Subtle things. A Silver engraved cuff link, a vintage wiggle dress, a stand up record player. They are slaves to the past. A Bourbon drinker always marvels at the simplicity of this world, and how it’s amazing to find beauty in even the most mundane things. That’s why we drink our bourbon neat. No chaser.
Falling in love with a Bourbon drinker means to burn. A Bourbon drinker is passionate. Just as they like the burn and bite in their whiskey, they love to burn in all aspects of life. Intense and all encompassing, a Bourbon drinker will demand all of your time and energy. It’s consuming, all or nothing, no nonsense with a Bourbon drinker. They know what they want, and nothing else will do once they set their sights on something. It’s just our way. Imitation is non-existent to a Bourbon drinker; we always go for the original.
Falling in love with a Bourbon drinker means you’ll learn to savor tradition. The best and most notable Bourbons have been perfected, and distilled for generations, creating their own brand of traditions and celebrations. Bourbon drinkers usually come from a long line of Bourbon drinkers. We are the troubadours, the cowboys, the outlaws. We greet change, but appreciate tradition and uphold it the best we can. We realize and protect the importance of staying true to our roots, but also welcome progress and change. A Bourbon drinker is always looking for ways to better themselves, while keeping the integrity of their heritage and past intact.

Falling in love with a Bourbon drinker means being loyal. You’ll rarely see a Bourbon drinker drinking anything other than Bourbon. Once we’ve made our mind up that something is for us, that’s it.When we’ve found that perfect something, we leave it at that. A Bourbon drinker is fiercely and intensely loyal. Not only to a spouse or significant other, but to family, friends, co workers, and occupations. Loyalty is a trait that also goes hand in hand with being an old soul. It’s rare, and hard to find, but I’ve found that fellow Bourbon drinkers usually possess it.
Falling in love with a Bourbon drinker means you’ve fallen in love with someone who is real. You can be a very rich man and drink bourbon, and you can be a very poor man and drink bourbon. It’s for everyone, and Bourbon drinkers aren’t tied together by how much the brand they are drinking is, but by the fact that what they love is the same. Bourbon drinkers aren’t worried about frills, expectations, or what looks good on paper. We love what we love, and aren’t worried about the rest.

Giving your heart to a Bourbon drinker is something that is both wildly intoxicating and exhilarating at the same time. I can’t pin point why most of the people who enjoy Bourbon share these same qualities. Perhaps because we all share the same love for our heritage, and tradition. Perhaps because Bourbon attracts those who are full of passion and intensity. For whatever reason, I think you’ll discover that loving a Bourbon drinker will leave you with the same feeling equated with simply taking a straight shot; fulfilled, brazen, and ready to take on the world.

“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

TBSM’S Irish-Bourbon Coffee |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

I drink Coffee like it’s going out of style. I recently went to Buffalo Trace on a distillery tour and ended up coming home with a bottle of their Bourbon Cream. During the tour, they mixed their Bourbon Cream with Coffee, and it was delicious. I’ve not been able to locate any of the “Buffalo Trace” brand of it in Hazard, so I’ve had to make due with Ryan’s Irish Cream and I have perfected an Irish Coffee concoction that I absolutely love to make when I’m just home, relaxing and reading a book. It’s amazing, and even if you’re skeptical of creme liqueur, I encourage you to give it a shot.

-Cup of Your Favorite Coffee (I do Colombian, because I like it strong.)

-1 Shot of Your Favorite Bourbon (today I went cheap and had Early Times. Yep.)

-1 Shot of Your Choice Irish Cream, or Bourbon Cream if You have it.

-Pinch of Cinnamon

-Pinch of sugar or your choice creamer.

You can also add whipped cream!

It’s sweet, I must warn you, but also packs a bite. I’m a Bourbon guzzler, so I like to make mine pretty stout. Anyways, that’s just me. I hope you enjoy this and have a Happy Sunday.

(Technically, Early Times is not considered Bourbon. All Bourbon is considered “whisky” but not all “whisky” is considered Bourbon. It’s all I had on hand, so you get the general idea. All you Bourbon nuts out there, don’t freak on me!)

Reasons why Kentucky Women Kick Ass

As an Eastern Kentucky lady, there’s nothing that makes me more proud to come from the Bluegrass State. We have Bourbon, Horses, Basketball, Tobacco, Mountains, Heritage, Culture and Amazing Food. All of these wonderful things that go hand-in-hand with Kentucky life also have a profound affect on Kentucky women. As products of our surroundings, our heritage and our raising, we are just generally awesome and kick a lot of ass….literally.

1: Kentucky Women will literally kick your ass.

Most of us grew up with many brothers, sisters, or (in my case) cousins that forced you to develop a thick skin and stick up for yourself. I had been beat up and cussed at so many times before starting public high school there wasn’t a damn thing anybody said or did to scare me. Literally, Kentucky women don’t care to split your wig. It’s in our blood. We are scrappy.

2: Kentucky Women can name off basketball stats, rosters,starting line-ups, and tell you the names of the entire coaching staff along with the names of their families and children.

Kentucky women really, really love their basketball. This can be either UK or U of L. I’ll leave out how I feel about women who support Louisville. Okay. I am a die-hard Wildcat fan. I cried to the point of illness when UK fell this season to Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament.  I cried to the point of illness during the press conference when seven of our boys announced they were going the draft. I already know all there is to know about up and coming players who have either committed to playing next year, or have a chance of committing. I can name off every major event in UK basketball in the last 30 years and I am only 25 years old. Bottom line: we know our basketball, so don’t come at us like that.

3: Kentucky Women are amazing at tailgating.

Excuse me, but have you been to a UK football game? Basically outside of Commonwealth Stadium there are nothing but modelesque students and rich MILF’S running around in blue sundresses with cowboy boots, drinking bourbon in red cups, toting pounds of dips in monogrammed casserole dishes and drunkenly shouting the C-A-T-S chant at random cars. It’s awesome. Same goes for every other college in the state. Hot women, loads of alcohol, lots of school spirit. What can possibly go wrong, right?

4: Kentucky Women drink straight Kentucky Bourbon.

Keep your white wine spritzers and your fruity drinks, we need grit, bite and burn. We’ll take our Basil Hayden, Buffalo Trace, Knob Creek, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, and for those of us who can afford to be fancy, Pappy Van Winkle. On the rocks. No, we don’t need a chaser.

5: Kentucky Women aren’t afraid to get dirty.

We really have no qualms about baiting a hook, riding a four wheeler, or getting in the bed of a truck to go fishing or hunting. The great outdoors is just a part of living in Kentucky, and not only is it in our blood, but it’s expected of us, and we rock that shit.

6: Kentucky Women are beautiful.

Jennifer Lawrence. Need I say anything else?

7: Kentucky Women are natural equestriennes, and natural gamblers.

Obviously. I know most of you are googling “equestrienne” and I am super sad for you. We have the Kentucky derby, Keeneland, and Churchill Downs. We love to ride horses, and we especially love to bet on them. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have an account at U-Bet (when it was open) where I would call in trifectas over the phone and have money deposited when I would win. Which was often, because I’m a Kentucky girl and I can gamble like a man.

8: Kentucky Women are the kind of women you take home to Mom.

We may go out and have a good time on Saturday night, but come Sunday we are sitting in Church singing “glory hallelujah” with the best of them. Kentucky women are also brought up with a very strict code of conduct and natural manners. We are polite, respectful, intelligent, loving, kind, generous and delicate. We are also brash, loud, crazy, wild and free spirited. The thing is, we know when and where to display which qualities. Does that make us manipulative? No, it makes us smart.

9: Kentucky Women can cook.

There’s nothing like trying a recipe that has been in someone’s family for generations upon generations. I have a collection of my Grandmother’s favorite, famous dishes that I try to perfect every chance I get. Scores of other ladies from the bluegrass state are in the same boat as myself. We just know how to cook. Fried chicken, golden, crispy and dripping with lard-grease. Rich pies with fresh picked blackberries and sweet strawberries from the vine. Jams, jellies and marmalade, canned to perfection. Fluffy buttermilk dumplings, and garden green beans. Now I’m just making myself hungry….

10: Kentucky Women are the best of both worlds.

Kentucky Women are the perfect combination of Northern tenacity and Southern gentility. We are all the product of melded cultures that make us unique. We are intelligent, witty, loving, strong and high spirited. We receive all the best qualities from the states around us, the cultures that have made their way to our state, and the heritage that we share between borders, and we’ve learned to use them to our advantage. Kentucky women really are magnificent creatures, and I am certainly proud to be one.

Share this post if you’re proud as hell to be a LADY from Kentucky.

 

Irvine Kentucky: Where the Bluegrass kisses the Mountains.

I’ve always been a fan of Irvine. My Grandmother and Aunt used to bring me here in my days of “apprentice” picking and I have loved it since. When I was going to school at EKU, I used to always take the two-lane through Clay City and dash through Irvine, if anything just to catch my breath and enjoy a true May-berry feel. Today my husband had to cover court again, so myself and the kids packed up and set out for a day of something different. We’ve had so much fun, just trudging around in unknown territory, and visiting some beautiful spots that I wanted to share with my readers. This is an amazing day trip to take, and we only covered a fraction of all this adorable little town has to offer. Plus, if you have time, the Mountain Mushroom Festival is going on this weekend, and it looked like it was going to be pretty awesome.

irvine3

irvine4

irvine8

irvine9

River View Place

My husband was passing through that area yesterday, and found this amazing Antique shop that is not only amazing for all the pretties that it houses, but it’s also amazing because of the history. River View Place on Main Street in Irvine is housed in what used to be an enormous (and from the looks of the building, extremely opulent) hotel, that was later converted into a hospital. The building was erected in 1913. The staircases are amazing, the intact wood trim and doors are seriously just worth going in and looking at. I was a little overwhelmed at the grittiness and beauty of the inside of the building. I am talking three stories of antiques, primitives, arts and crafts. They also have a ton of local hand-crafted jewelry (I came away with a amazing spoon ring) and home-made soaps, candles, furniture and a custom made rocking chair used by the Estill County Judge in the 20’s. I actually got lost in this place. I honestly couldn’t believe that I had never been here, or that more people from my area have no clue about this place. I also bought two king sized handmade vintage quilts for 30 dollars, and had to tear myself away from all the vintage linens, tablecloths, handkerchiefs and hats. There is no way you can beat that.

IMG_2561

IMG_2597 (2)

 

IMG_2574 (2)

 

 

IMG_2593 (2)

IMG_2568 (2)

IMG_2572 (2)

IMG_2581 (2)

IMG_2603 (2)

Thyme on Broadway Cafe/Restaurant

This place was magical. The decorations, the way they had cafe seating on the side walk outside, and the ethereal theme was just amazing. They have a realistic gnome/elf/fairy model in the window display. We went inside for a cookie, Ale 8 and a hand squeezed lemonade. Bottom line, i’ll let the pictures of this place speak for themselves. It was surreal.

IMG_2609 (2)

IMG_2613 (2)

IMG_2624 (2)

Rader’s On the River Restaurant

I’ve heard of this place many times but never had the chance to get down to eat there. We went today and it was magnificent. Nestled underneath the old steel bridge in Irvine, it overlooks the Kentucky River, and underneath is a dock with a row of house boats.Think “Circle T” on the riverside. Down home country cooking. I had golden fried catfish, mashed potatoes with gravy and garden beans and corn. It was amazing, the view was beautiful and my Greyson even ate his hamburger which had everything on it. I recommend.

irvine

 

irvine1

irvine5

irvine7

If you have a chance to visit this weekend, I suggest you do so. This place is beautiful, quaint and pretty much what a small town should be. Plus, the drive in is just as beautiful as the town itself….I would expect nothing less from Kentucky…

irvine10

irvine11

irvine12

irvine13

River View Place:

105 Main Street, Irvine KY

Rader’s On the River:

5 South Irvine Road, Irvine KY

Thyme on Broadway:

131 Broadway Street, Irvine KY

Spring has Sprung in Perry County KY|The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

Some pictures I snapped while on a Saturday evening drive with my youngest son, River. We had the best time last weekend, and really enjoyed how green and beautiful everything is. It is my belief that Hazard/Perry County is one of the most beautiful spots in the state of Kentucky. Have a look at some of these pictures and see for yourself.

IMG_2382 (2)
Taken from Crawford Mountain

 

 

spring1
Crawford Mountain

 

spring3
Lost Mountain Strip Job

 

spring4
Lost Mountain Strip Job

 

spring5
Junction at 476, Rowdy Low Gap

 

spring6
Lost Mountain Strip Job

 

spring7
Rowdy Mountain

 

spring8
Ary, KY

 

IMG_2392 (2)
Lost Mountain Strip Job

 

 

springtime11
Ary, KY

 

springtime12
The old Hale Log Home, Homeplace, Ary KY

 

springtime14
Swinging Bridge on 476, still in use.

 

spring13

springtime15
View of the Hazard Bypass from Skyline Drive

 

 

springtime16

springtime17
“Thinking Spot” Skyline Drive

 

 

Bill’s Grocery and Country Store in Bonnyman KY | The Bourbon Soaked Mom |

Bill’s Grocery has been a staple in Bonnyman for decades. Dating back to the 1940’s, when this little country store was owned and operated by Dayton Dunn, folks would do all their “tradin” and socializing at this little Mom and Pop spot, including those who worked for Blue Diamond Coal. Not much has changed around Bill’s. When you walk in, you’re greeted by the same oiled wooden floor, antique coal- fired stove, and of course, Bill Helton behind the counter, who’s been running the place for the last 35 years.

 

IMG_2321 (2)

Country stores like this are an endangered species. When you find gems of this sort, it’s important to preserve and appreciate them. Of the many country stores that I stop at and nose around in, Bill’s is among the best kept and purest that I’ve ever been in. Antique cook ware, tools, signs and glassware adorn the walls. Rocking chairs, benches and stools are scattered about for those who want to take a load off. A half worked puzzle waits for Bill to finish, and his sweet wife entertains the masses who are waiting for their hot dogs or pickled bologna. I was taking my son to soccer practice at Kaikumba field a few days ago, and as we passed the tiny grocer, I was ashamed that I hadn’t thought of profiling it before this. Bill’s is such a staple, and I am so used to it being there, I simply overlooked it. Going in there today has made it even more clear to me that more people should see what an amazing little piece of history we have right here in Perry County. IMG_2302 (2)Walking in, we were greeted by a puppy on the front porch, and in the midst of an April shower, we sat on the stoop and patted the friendly hound dog. I laughed to myself and realized that it really doesn’t get any more country than that. Inside, you can just sense and feel all the history. Opening those doors is the equivalent of stepping back in time a few decades, when people wrote letters, there was no such thing as a cell phone, and if you wanted to talk to friends, this little store was the spot to do it. Sandwiched between a coal burning stove and several rocking chairs sat a couple of members of what I presume was the “old guard”. Several gentleman who were enjoying hot dogs and NE-Hi’s in glass bottles were bantering back and forth and just having a good time, enjoying each others company.  I can whole heatedly vouch for this store’s “small town” authenticity, because upon walking in, I was recognized as ” Argene’s granddaughter and That Pepsi Man’s Little Girl.” It’s true what they say, in Perry County, everybody either knows you or someone in your family. It’s easy to feel at home when everybody is intertwined, there’s always much to talk about that way.

IMG_2313 (2)IMG_2316 (2)IMG_2317 (2)IMG_2319 (2)

Young and old alike hold this spot dear to their hearts. My generation speak of waiting on the front porch of Bill’s to catch the school bus, or going with their grandparents for a quick and cheap lunch. Many youngsters still stop by on their way to fish to pick up a sandwich and a bag of Grippos, or a candy bar, or bring in their children to show them off to all the familiar faces. Local message boards are filled with stories of Blue Diamond Mining families who remember Mr. Dunn and his era, doing their trading and grocery shopping in the same store, among the families of the same people who frequent now. It’s no surprise the community loves the store and it’s owners so much. For a store that symbolizes so much for past generations, it also serves a reminder to my generation, and those to come. Hard work, and good people can and do persevere. Not only has Bill’s survived, but even today the place is positively thriving. I was in there for only 30 minutes, but I lost count at how many happy folks that were served up hot lunches and cold drinks in glass bottles. It’s hard not to be in a good mood here, one of the many things I like about it.

IMG_2318 (2)I encourage anyone who has not been here to stop by if you’re passing through and give Bill and his buddies a visit. Not only is it a place to get good food, have good conversation, and take a rest, but it’s also one of those spectacular little places that will give you a glimpse of the past, and perhaps make your day a bit more cheery. There certainly aren’t many places of this caliber around here anymore. I promise you’ll neither be disappointed or hungry when you leave. In a region, economy and time when everything is constantly changing, Bill’s has managed to weather the storm and stay the same. That is something that is both refreshing and comforting. There’s no doubt in my mind you’ll leave with a big Eastern Kentucky smile on your face.

 

10 Hilarious Lessons Learned from Living with ALL-BOYS.

Everyone that knows me, knows that my home is pretty much the equivalent of a mini-frat house. Any given day there is crap everywhere, place is always a mess, and it ALWAYS looks like I’ve thrown a rager the night before. In reality it’s just the work of my husband, my toddler and my three-nager. Sometimes I just cry at the sheer unfairness of living life with all males, with my only female consolation prize being my Yorkie, Penny-Lane. Then I realize, how boring would my life be if I didn’t live in complete fear for my life and belongings every single day. Honestly, when I lay down in bed at night I just whisper a prayer of thanks that my house wasn’t burned the the ground that day. Raising boys has been an adventure, and it’s always been so fun. I joke around about it a lot, but I absolutely do love it. I love my children, and of course my husband, who have taught me so much these last four years. I wouldn’t trade them for all the cleanliness, order, peace and quiet in the entire world. Here are some hilarious, and very hard-learned lessons my boys have taught me over the years. I hope that this gives you a laugh and lightens the load today. (Especially since we are all still mourning our lost UK season and the dead dreams of 40-0. My heart is laying back in Indy, trampled and in a million pieces if anyone wants to find it for me and just throw it in the garbage.)

 

1: You get really good at cleaning up messes.

As I type this article, I have sandwich remnants and cut up hot dogs laying everywhere. I’m really quick and efficient at cleaning up god-awful messes. Poop int he crib? Got that under control. Baby vom on the couch? Rookie stuff. I tell everyone I got a dog for the boys, but really I just got her to eat all the extra food that gets thrown everywhere. AM I kidding…not really.

2: They give you a really thick skin.

You think that dress looks great on you? You actually look pretty fat. You think your makeup is on point today? That lipstick is too red and you look funny. Always count on your kids to tell you the honest and brutal truth, especially boys. They just have no filter. It’s not their fault, they are hardwired that way. My husband doesn’t exactly help matters, either.

3: You learn not to care so much about clothes.

Your clothes, or their clothes, because either way, both will get ruined. Most of my stuff is snot stained, food stained, or gobbed up with unknown substances that even spray and wash won’t bring out. It’s okay, that’s why I buy all my personal stuff from thrift stores.

4: They introduce you to the wild and wonderful world of heavy equipment and super heroes.

Excuse me, but have you realized all the cool toys that boys have? My three year old got a motorized back-hoe for Christmas, complete with a drop down bucket that you can dig with. Keep your barbies. I can’t imagine the damage I would have done to my Mother’s flower bed if I had had that during childhood. (Coming from someone who spray painted her Barbie Jeep black and re-named it The Beast III. I really like the Little Rascals.)

5: You gain an entire new level of patience and understanding.

You have to, there is no other way to get through life on the daily. Is that your grandmother’s antique table? Let me pour my juice all over it. Oh, your Aunt bought that China for you as a wedding gift? Let me throw that off the balcony. You love that necklace? Let me just rip the pendant right from the chain. All of these things have happened to me, and yet my kids are still alive.

6: Boys can do wonders for your diet.

It doesn’t matter if I am munching on a turd sandwich with a side of cat litter, if I’m eating it, my kids want it. If they want it, they get it. I only ever eat half of anything I fix myself. Works wonders for your figure, but I am always hungry and cranky. Sometimes I lock the door and sit on the toilet to eat a sandwich.

7: You get really well acquainted with the folks who work at Poison Control.

Seriously, I’ve called them so many times that on occasion people laugh when I give them my kid’s name. The last time I had to tell them that my son had ingested “Pure Seduction” Victoria’s Secret body wash and smelled like a giant orchid drowned in rose water. They cackled. He survived.

8: You really start to identify with “Jenny” from The League in more ways than one.

First off, if you’ve never watched The League, I suggest you do so. It’s on Netflix. Second, for those who do not know, Jenny is a wife and Mother and member of The League (group of men who play fantasy football) who really, really gets into sports. I’ve always loved sports, but living with a bunch of boys really kicks it into overdrive. Like I said earlier, this basketball season has crushed me, soul and spirit. Shedding tears over games is silly and unrealistic, but I really loved my UK team. Is there an alternate ending to this saga, and how I can I access it?

9: You really start to freak out about screwing your kids up.

Please god, just let me be slightly dysfunctional enough to make them funny. The fact that I’m trying to raise my boys into being good men is all-encompassing sometimes. I can’t sit down and really think about the enormity of it without fully going into freak out mode. Then I just think, if it all goes down hill, I can just blame my husband. That was a joke, I don’t really mean that…or DO I?

10: I get to the be the most important woman in their lives….for a little while.

Plus side. I’m hanging the moon over here on Sun Valley. I can wade through all the muck to be the one to be their constant. It’s worth it. I’d do it for the next eternity if it meant they’d never grow up and leave me. Not realistic. Now I just have to bide my time until I can terrorize their future wives and bully them into submission….I’m just joking. I’d never do that. Or would I??….

In short, Moms with all boys, own that title. It’s hard and trying, but it’s also completely awesome and so much fun. I can’t speak for the majority, but I could never see my life any other way than the way it is right now. House full of boys, me and my dog.

 

The Bluegrass Birthright: Loving Kentucky Basketball

The social contract we all share has a little piece that requires us all to keep up with some portion of knowledge, for the purpose of small talk. Very rarely do I have the time or ability to plan a full week of activities, but most of the time I know the weekly forecast. Why? Simply because, if I find myself in a place with people I don’t know, and I am there for a period time that requires some form of communication (to keep things from turning awkward), at least I have “Wednesday is supposed to be nice.” I know that there are common topics that most people have in their repertoire, but it really is amazing that the majority of our entire state can fall back one solid topic, even more so than the weather. Math may be the international language, but here in the Bluegrass, we have Kentucky Basketball.

I was two years old when Christian Laettner hit a heartbreaking buzzer beater in the East regional championship to end a UK season, in overtime. 104-103. To this day, I’ll change a channel if I see that old has-been on television. I was six when Tony Delk, Antoine Walker, and Ron Mercer led UK to a 76-67 victory over Syracuse. I still have the size 6x UK Cheer-leading uniform I wore, and pictures of the after party my parents threw.  At seven years old, I cried myself to sleep the night that Arizona won the Championship over us, 84-79. I was allowed to miss a day of school, because I made myself so sick. In 1998, when we won the National Title again, I saved all my “Comeback Cats” memorabilia, and somewhere, in a box and folded neatly in tissue paper is a Championship banner replica that used to hang above my childhood bed. To put it lightly, I’ve always loved my cats. It’s my birthright.

I learned my first curse words under the loose supervision of my father during UK basketball games. I was also very quickly schooled in which teams were undeniably evil and couldn’t be tolerated. Duke, (the team referred to as swine by Hunter Thompson) of course, being number one, with Louisville as a close second. I also learned the weight and heaviness that these games hold for people all over the bluegrass. “It’s just a basketball game.” No, it isn’t. Not in Kentucky. Not here. There is so much more to Big Blue Nation, and UK basketball than just winning a championship, or hanging banners, or even going 40-0.

I was in a motel swimming pool in Lexington with my Dad, the day before he was to go under the knife for major back surgery. That day,Tayshaun Prince scored 31 points, with five consecutive three pointers to lead UK to victory against North Carolina, 79-59. I was ten. The Motel staff had wheeled out a big screen TV for all the people swimming to be able to see the game. Even though I try not to, I remember the sheer awfulness of the Billy Gillespie era. The absolute torture of having to endure terrible seasons, with a coach who couldn’t handle the pressure of being a coach, and a team that seemed to be in turmoil. I was nineteen years old when the University of Kentucky hired John Calipari to be their head coach…..

Was I skeptical about Coach Cal? Wasn’t everyone? But man, I was happy as hell to have him. I still have a ragged old UK tee shirt, now a bit too small, dated from 2009 that simply reads, “We’re Back.” Then, I wasn’t sure how true that was, but I am certainly glad for it now. I was in Lexington the night that West Virginia beat Boogie Cousins and John Wall, on the road the the Final Four. I’ve never heard Waller Avenue as quiet as it was after the game. I locked myself in the bathroom at a house party and cried. I couldn’t believe it was all over. I had just turned 20, and felt the same heartbreak I had at seven when Arizona slipped past us in the NCAA finals.

In 2012, I was pregnant with my first child, but stayed glued to all things UK. I watched every Anthony Davis interview, googled every stat, brushed off every loss. “It’s always good for them to lose early in the season.” I bought into it all. When they won the Big Dance, we had a bon-fire at my house and may (or may not) have burned a couch. Maybe.

The incredible tournament run of last year’s team shocked not only the nation, but even the truest of the true blue fans. I picked up chain-smoking again, trying to watch the wire-to-wire competition. I would shake every-time the ball tipped off and said my Hail Marys many times, despite that fact that I’m definitely not a Catholic. Looking back, I was certainly heart broken we didn’t take it all. But now, this season, and this team makes me lose any regret. Without that loss, I honestly don’t think we would be the team we are now. These boys are hungry.

So, I cut off talking about this team, because tonight we play in final four and I’m very superstitious. What I do want to say is that I speak on behalf of many, many, die-hard fans of Big Blue Nation. Loving UK Basketball, for most of those who were born and raised in Kentucky is a privilege and a birth right. I thank God that I’m from Kentucky, because honestly, how horrible would it be to have to root for anyone else? I’ve laid out all of my big UK memories. Through my entire life, those were the ones I remember. Those memories are what I contribute to the table when the old guard starts to talk about UK basketball. Many will speak of Cawood, Rupp, Joe B. Hall, when the Goose got Loose, Pitino, The Untouchables, the losses, the heartache. Every UK fan has these moments in their hearts and brains. We all talk about these times around dinner tables, replay them at Barber shops, and immortalize them in our hearts. It’s something very special to love a team and program so much that you associate their victories and losses into your major life moments. I do. I always have.

Now, I see my eldest son at three years old, pick up a basketball and say he wants to be like Willie Cauley-Stein. I see him wake up every Caturday and grab his #15 jersey out of his closet and wear it around town. He can’t read or write yet, but he can identify the UK emblem on anything, and he certainly knows how spell out C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS. Our grass starts out green, just like our blood starts out red. However, once it grows a little while, and is allowed to bloom, they both turn blue.

Here’s to you, Big Blue Nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Update Your Old Coffee Table for Under 15 Bucks.

Just for the record, I am in no form or fashion someone who is good at making over furniture. I am lazy, sloppy, and not very artistic. BUT, I can slap on a coat of paint and make it look decent, just because I have learned one thing since buying my home. New Furniture is really, really expensive. That being said, I set out to look for cheap and easy ways to update my very old (inherited) furniture. I just can’t justify paying a ton of money for expensive stuff right now, because my kids literally destroy everything I have. Plus, I have a light bill and mortgage to pay, so, there you go.

When I moved out of my parent’s home, my mother gave me a coffee and end table set that I am pretty sure is close to thirty years old. I was just happy to have some furniture to move into the one bedroom I rented right before I got married. Back then I was too busy preparing for my baby to even notice how grodie and worn the set actually was. Adding a husband and two kids in the mix, didn’t help furniture matters, either. Water stains, food everywhere, yea, it was looking rough. We’ve lived in our home for almost two years and yesterday I finally got tired of looking at how awful my living room furniture was, and found an old can of Cabot’s stain and seal in the garage, and slapped on a coat. It turned out a lot better than I expected….

IMG_2046 (2)
Cabot’s Stain and Sealer. You can pick it up for around 13 bucks at Lowes or Wal Mart.

I really like dark stained wood furniture. I also look the worn/rough/rustic look, so that’s what I was going for. All I did was clean the piece of furniture before hand, did some light sanding, and used a regular painter’s brush to put on one coat. Cabot’s stain is honestly so amazing. It goes on great, and it dries quick so you can apply several coats during the duration of the day and it finishes so glossy. You do not have to put anything else on it because the sealer is already built in. My G-Man even helped me paint……which you can see in some places where it’s a little gobbed. But that just adds to the story and character of the piece, so I left it that way.

IMG_2042
Greyson had the best time painting with Mommy.

After the first coat was finished and had dried, I applied a second coat, only because the wood was so old it soaked up a lot of the stain and needed more. After the second coat was applied liberally, I let it dry. When the second coat was finished drying, I sanded the top down, put on rubber gloves and applied the last coat with my fingers to make it have a more smooth appearance. I was pleased with the results, which isn’t really saying much, since it was such a poor shape before I refinished it. But Greyson had a good time with me, helping me do it, so it was worth the 12-14 bucks I had in it. Something cheap and easy to bring new life into old furniture, but also will not make me sob when my kids sling spaghetti and pee on it later. Hope you enjoy!

IMG_2043 (2)

And the final results……

IMG_2053 (2)

IMG_2055

 

 

IMG_2056 (2)

Jeremy Patrick from “The Hillbilly Stomp” offers us up his review of Mi Amigo’s. Knott County’s Newest Restaurant.

While going through my articles last night, I realized that I have hardly anything on here about our neighboring county, (and the county that my husband is from) Knott County. I felt almost embarrassed at this, especially because I really do enjoy Knott County so much, and I always look forward to going over to Caney to visit my in-laws on the weekends. I stumbled upon Mr. Patrick’s blog by chance, and I love what he is doing. It’s always great to support your fellow Eastern Kentuckians…..especially the ones who love to promote their small town, as well as their region. The Hillbilly Stomp is doing just that. I hope you all enjoy this review of Knott County’s new restauraunt, and are inspired to venture that way and take a visit in the near future. Now I turn over the reigns….

My oh my, where to begin?  First and foremost, if you’re actually interested enough in what I have to say by  making it this far, then thank you so much for your interest and support!  It’s much appreciated!  Secondly, if you’re not from the good land of Knott County, then you have literally no idea what this establishment is going to mean for our local economy, or our overall demeanor.  It’s a welcome addition to my home town, and “long overdue” doesn’t even begin to put it into perspective.  Again, if you live here, you know exactly what I mean.  It brings me great pleasure for Mi Amigo’s to be my very first official review for this blog, with many more to undoubtedly follow.

As long overdue as it may be, I have to try to remain objective enough to give an honest-to-goodness review of the establishment itself.  I can sit here and gush all day long about how much it’s needed in the community, but if it fails to impress, then it’s not going to do anyone any good.  So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

diningareamiamigos

The way this works, is I break the dining experience down into four categories, those being:
1. Food quality (taste, presentation, appearance, temperature, texture, affordability)
2. Ambiance (decor, music, lighting, feng shui, room temperature)
3. Cleanliness (self explanatory, applies to dining area, restrooms, foyer, parking area, etc.)
4. Service (punctuality, knowledge of menu items, attentiveness, friendliness, etc.)

I then award each category a possible 1 out of 5 rating, of course with 1 being lowest, 5 being highest.  I then tally the scores to give an aggregate total.  It’s completely a matter of opinion, and my reflection may not necessarily reflect another’s experience on a different day and time.  I feel I’m stern but fair in this aspect, and again, I will try to remain as objective and open minded as I possibly can.  For example, being in a close-knit, small town rural area, I may know some of these business owners. I will do everything in my power to make sure my relationship with them does not, in any way, interfere with the outcome of my assessments of these establishments.  I have also undoubtedly dined at many of these places in the past.  I will not let any past experiences, positive or negative, interfere with my current assessment.  But enough of the technical stuff.  You’re ready for ‘meant-n-taters’ right?

miamigosmenu

My company and I arrived at the restaurant at approximately 4pm.  The weather has been absolutely dreadful for a week now, with record snowfall, freezing temps (it was warmer in Antarctica and Alaska than Eastern Kentucky this past week), and today with sleet, freezing rain, and abundant flooding due to melting snow.  Not exactly ‘go out and eat’ weather.  But, this place has been open for a little over a week now, and we figured it was time to indulge.  We weren’t the only people who felt that way, because there were several other families eagerly waiting as well.  That level of patronage during what is typically the slowest part of a restaurant’s day, combined with the aforementioned weather, is definitely a good sign to start off with.  We were greeted by a nice young lady, promptly seated, and the server took our drink orders almost immediately.  Here are what I had already gathered:

Cleanliness:  Mi Amigo’s is very well maintained.  The floors throughout were swept and mopped, and even with the soggy weather, they were still clean and dry.  The tables and chairs were wiped down and clean as well.  The side stations were well organized, and the men’s restroom was thoroughly clean and fully stocked.  The posted Health Department score was a 97%, with the only things mentioned being something about food labels, and nothing at all about actual cleanliness.
Overall Cleanliness Score: 4.5/5

Ambiance:  This place is unapologetically stereotypical in its “Cheesy Mexican” motif.  Is that an issue?  Absolutely not!  I love it.  The interior paint is that off-yellow color that you often see in this type of place, with the booths and support beams inside a nice dull red color.  Very typical and not anything new in that department.  There are sombreros hanging about, with a very nice large wall clock behind the checkout station.  There are also large floor vases with different types of flowers and weeds in them, and large wooden cacti.  Yes, cacti.

miamigoscacti

There’s also some light salsa type music playing in the background at a nice volume, and the entire dining area, while it may appear a little cramped at first glance, it actually isn’t.  You don’t feel crowded at all.  The room temperature was a tad chilly, but with sub-zero temps and the sheer level of dampness in the air, that’s to be expected.  There are also two large flat screen TVs on opposite corners of the restaurant for your viewing enjoyment.

miamigostv

Everything just seemed to compliment everything else in terms of the overall feel and appearance of this place.  The walls were a little bare, but that only means there’s room to add more decor in the future if they so choose.
Overall Ambiance Score:  4.5/5

Food Quality and Service:
Our food was brought out fresh and hot, made to order, within 8 minutes.  Our drinks and the ever present free chips and salsa, within 2-3 minutes.  The server was very gracious, asking us if everything looked/tasted OK, and was very attentive with our drink refills, or anything else, really.  He was definitely on top of things.  I ordered what was awesomely called the “Hindman Special”, which consisted of Mexican Rice, White Cheese Sauce, a choice of steak, chicken, or shrimp, and a side of two tortillas.  I went with steak, because steak.  The meat was tender and fantastic, the rice was plump, and the cheese sauce was very flavorful.  The tortillas were a little lukewarm, but still very tasty.  I ordered my obligatory Mountain Dew as a drink.  It was very good as well, but it could have been a little more flavorful.  It was almost as if they had the syrup hose turned down maybe one notch too much.  My mom and step-dad ordered the fried ice cream, and it was genuinely one of the best servings of that dish I’d ever had.  Very flavorful, rich ice cream.  My meal was $8.99, not including the drink.  A more than fair price for the quality of food and service I received.  Pretty standard prices in this area for a casual dining experience.

miamigosplate

We sat there and traded some funny stories and just basically enjoyed each others company for roughly two hours.  It flew by.  Our server was very professional, attentive, understanding, prompt, and most importantly, nice.  He made our experience very enjoyable, and we made sure to leave him a really good tip!
Overall Food Quality Score:  4.5/5

Overall Service Quality Score:  5/5

In the end, I really enjoyed Mi Amigo’s.  I stated earlier that this place is a welcome addition to our community, and now that I’ve experienced what it has to offer, I definitely stand by that statement.  Is it mind blowing and life changing?  I guess not, it’s pretty standard fare for a Mexican casual dining establishment, but that isn’t a bad thing at all.  It’s a wonderful place, and I award it an aggregate total of:

 

4.5 Sombreros!

 

Thanks for reading!  Check back soon for another review from “The Hillbilly Stomp”!

 

Jeremy Patrick is a Culture and Restaurant Blogger from Knott County, Kentucky.  He is a 1999 graduate of Knott County Central High School, as well as a 2005 graduate of Morehead State University, holding degrees in both Communication (Ad/PR) and Philosophy.  Jeremy is currently employed as an Autism instructor at Hindman Elementary School, and as a Case Manager for D&S Case Management.  He was appointed to the Knott County Tourism Commission in 2012.  His blog, “The Hillbilly Stomp”, was created as a labor of love for his home state, county, and town to honor it’s people, culture, and heritage.  He also collects vinyl.

jeremypatrick

Be sure to keep up with Jeremy on his blog at:

www.thehillbillystomp.blogspot.com