The Pantry Shelf; A Hazard & East Kentucky Staple|The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

Opened in 1967, The Hazard Pantry Shelf has been going strong for decades, and has served generation after generation of East Kentuckians. The business was Hazard’s first convenient store, opened by Shirley Martin, and later continued by his daughter, Susan Brotherton, who has been running the family business since 1981. Through the years, Pantry Shelf has gained many faithful customers, and proven that local Mom & Pop shops can survive in small communities. Every time I drive by or stop in, the place is packed the brim with locals, or those passing through who have heard of the legend of the Pantry Shelf doughnut. This Hazard icon has stood the test of time, and has some exciting things coming up for both patrons and employees.


There’s one tradition, in Hazard, (my favorite) that started in the 1970’s that would really put Pantry Shelf on the map, and distinguish it from any other convenient store in the area. They began to make and serve their own donuts. Today, the tradition is strong as ever. My husband brought me home a half of dozen of these delicious Hazard delicacies yesterday, and I hid in the bathroom to eat one so I wouldn’t have to share with my kids. The plain glazed donuts are my favorite, but they serve a wide variety including cinnamon rolls, danishes, creme or jelly filled, chocolate and doughnut holes! Many folks crowd in the shop early morning to buy a dozen, or just buy them by the doughnut. They sell them all throughout the day, and it’s not been unheard of for someone to drop by the Pantry Shelf and pick up a dozen glazed as an offer of apology, or to impress someone. The way to anyone’s heart or forgiveness is Pantry Shelf doughnuts, or least, it works on me every single time.





The Pantry Shelf is open 365 days out of the year from 6 am to midnight, faithfully. Storms, sleet, snow, rain, the Pantry Shelf is always open to it’s customers. During the blizzard of 2015, my husband hitched a ride down the mountain on a side by side to get provisions. Folks around here really remember and appreciate that, especially since the Pantry Shelf is in easy walking distance of those of us who live downtown, or at least right in the heart of town.

Donuts are not the only thing that Pantry Shelf specializes in. They have a deli where they make some mean sandwiches at cheap and competitive prices. You can also get convenient foods and groceries here, milk, bread, beer and cigarettes. The service is always top tier, with at least two clerks on duty at all times, (which is better than I can say for most chain stores around here) with two employees having been working at Pantry Shelf for over 30 years.

The Pantry Shelf is also dedicated to the community and community organizations. In addition to donated time and money to various churches, schools and committees, last year alone Pantry Shelf donated over 4,000 dollars to The Imagination Library (a program that gives free books to any kid in the county who signs up) and are continuing to raise money this year as well.

The Pantry Shelf also has some huge news coming up! The store will be expanding, adding more space and doing a total remodel. There will be a second doughnut fryer, a better and more spacious layout to ensure optimal service is provided to customers, but at the same time, the atmosphere and overall feel of Pantry Shelf will remain untouched.

Remember your local businesses. Especially local businesses like this that really and truly care about the community and the people in it. Pantry Shelf is a store that has been locally owned and operated since it’s beginning. It’s so easy to get so used to something being there you forget how important it is to stop by. Shop local, buy local, give your money to those who will keep it in your small town and use it to benefit Hazard. Why would you not? Plus, the Pantry Shelf doughnut is the best I’ve ever had. I’ve been to Spalding’s in Lexington, and numerous other “acclaimed” bakeries and none has ever came to close to a PS Doughnut. I could be biased, but I feel that most who have had both would completely agree.




One Year Blogiversary Giveaway |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

Wow! How quickly a year goes by! I can’t believe this month has marked one whole year since I began The Bourbon Soaked Mom. I must say, I’ve learned so much during the short time I have been doing this, and I have had a load of fun! I still have much to learn and I can’t wait to see what else time has in store for me, the blog & my online shop.

In honor of the one year anniversary of starting my blog, I’ve decided to give away these “Bourbon Ladies” tee shirts from my new online store, The Bourbon Soaked Boutique! To enter the contest, you must do these three things.

1: Share this post on Facebook and (if you have it) Instagram!

2: Like The Bourbon Soaked Mom on Facebook! and @bourbonsoakedboutique on Instagram!

3: Tag Three friends in the comments & tell me what your favorite TBSM article/blog was/is!

Thank you to everyone who has read, commented (good or bad), shared and spread the news of my little blog by social media or word of mouth. From the bottom of my (bourbon soaked) heart, I really appreciate it!

Winners of the contest will be announced on August 31st, along with the winner of a set of Bourbon Social Tickets!

The Makery’s Grand Opening. Manchester, Kentucky. |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

Saturday, I rolled myself out of bed to drive an hour away to hit up this amazing little handmade-handcrafted boutique grand opening that I just happened upon on Instagram. Jessalynn, the fabulous owner, visionary, fellow Mama and blogger (link to follow) personally invited me to the shindig, so I was super excited to go!

Manchester has always held a soft spot in my heart because half of my family calls Clay county home. I spent countless summers on my Dad’s farm in Sexton’s Creek, and I have many dear memories, whether it was going to Pat’s or just crusing downtown in a beat up pick up truck.

When I found out the Makery would be a brick and mortar shop that would be opening directly downtown, I thought it was a fantastic idea, and such a positive step to attract both young and older generations to not only come and shop downtown once again, but to also invest in downtown business. So many of our East Kentucky downtowns that were once booming have suffered such losses with the onslaught on commericalism, and the dwindling demand for Mom & Pop shops. Revitlization depends on the people, and the only way to help the problem, is to take steps to make downtown tangible again. The Makery certainly does just that.


With it’s custom made signs, tiffany blue door, and old time/artisan feel, The Makery has found a perfect home in the building that it inhabits. Hard wood floors, a rustic vibe and beautiful decorations all add a perfect atmosphere for a place that specializes in handmade, handcrafted & vintage goodies. Three things that I both love and know a few things about. Jessalynn and her team have done a wonderful job bringing the building back to life, and matching the mood to the merchandise.


Vintage clothing and dresses adorn the walls, along with Kentucky themed tee shirts & designs like jewelry, necklaces, rings and earrings. All of the jewelry is handmade and handcrafted to give it that special one of a kind feel. I bought a wire wrapped “Ale8” bangle, and I absolutely love it. I wore it out on date night later that evening and got so many compliments. I also came away with a Boho inspired camera strap, and a coffee mug with “Vintage” Pyrex inspired graphic designs on it.


If you’re in the Clay County/Manchester area, I highly suggest you stop by the Makery. They have a little something for everyone, artisian soap, hand printed graphics, specially designed duffels, and boho chic purses. You;re in for a real treat, and I dare you to try and buy only one item!



IMG_6393Head on to Main Street in Manchester and the Makery a shot! Shopping local and supporting our locally owned and operated businesses is so important to revitalizing our small towns and making our downtown areas special again!

Follow the Makery on Instagram to see cool items listed every day! @themakeryky

Kentucky Brewed Tees |Brand Ambassador |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

I am so happy & excited to announce that I am one of the new brand ambassadors for Kentucky Brewed Tees! I have teamed up with them on several occasions to promote their wonderful brand and vision, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to now represent their collections & share with my readers how awesome their present & future merchandise is! This company is East Kentucky proud, Kentucky proud and just generally honest & kind. Their “Love More” campaign was a huge success & such an amazing idea to promote positive vibes and generosity, not to mention their recent endeavors to help/raise money for the Johnson County flood victims was such an amazing thing to do for our fellow Eastern Kentuckians in need. It was not a hard decision when I was asked to be a brand ambassador, OF COURSE, I said yes!

These are some of my favorites that are currently up for purchase. The shirts are a buttery soft blend of cotton,rayon & polyester, and NO, they will not/do not shrink! I absolutely love a soft, vintage-y feeling tee because they are so versatile, which is (important) for me, not to mention unparalleled in terms of comfort. As a Mom, sometimes I just want to throw on a tee and go. There are also times when I just want to dress the tee shirt up and little and these are perfect for just that, and showing off how proud you are to be a Kentuckian.

Here’s a few shots of how I style my KBT shirts. Hope you enjoy! Give em a visit on Facebook, and a follow on Instagram! @kentuckybrewedtees

Here’s the link to purchase, or ya’ll can go visit em’ yourself in the Mayo Plaza! Happy huntin’ ya’ll!

Don’t forget, in honor of becoming an Ambassador for the brand, my readers can use the code: BRBNSOAKEDMOM for 10 percent off your purchase!


















You can also purchase “The Bourbon Soaked Mom” collab with KBT through my own personal boutique, Bourbon Soaked Boutique. “The Mountains are Calling” tee is a great way to show how proud you are to be from Eastern Kentucky! The tees will be available for Pre-Order now through the 21st, and then will be shipped out after a week or so! Be patient, and kind, it’s my first pre-order and collab, and we are very excited! Purchase yours here:

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What My Marriage has Taught me about Life & Love |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

This morning, as I sat down to drink my daily pot of coffee (really) I found a handwritten note from my husband.

“Always remember that I am constantly thinking of you. I love you, and our boys.”

I’m not a lovey, dovey person and I despise Nicholas Sparks novels, but shit like that can make even my cynical, hardened heart, turn to mush.

September 1st will mark three years that I have been married to my favorite person on the entire earth. Anyone who knows me personally, me will tell you that they would have never believed I would get married, far less be the first one of our group of friends to walk down the aisle. I never was the girl to dream of a huge wedding, or perfect diamond. Right in the middle of not looking for anything, I found my fairy tale, even if the story was a little bit more unconventional than usual. We decided to marry after 9 months, planned the wedding in a week, and still have never even had a honeymoon. There was no wedding party, no huge reception, no speeches, only our closest friends and family to watch us in the happiest day of our lives. Looking back, the biggest wedding budget on earth could never replace that day, and I am so thankful we went about it the way we did. Nothing overshadowed what was important that day; us.

We’ve had a wonderful three years, filled with many ups and a couple downs. We’ve moved three times, bought our home, and added River into our wild and crazy mix. Getting married at 22 was a big leap of faith, and at the time, what some people would have called “crazy”, but the only thing I regret is not being able to meet Kyle sooner, so we could have been together longer.

I reflect this morning on the things I’ve learned from being a wife for the last three years. Some funny, some heartfelt, but all true. Marriage is something that isn’t for the faint hearted, and something that takes a lot of work from both sides.

I know that I’ve been married a short amount of time, and I do not claim to be an expert on the situation, or even really know what the hell I am talking about, but some things I know for sure. Marriage is something that is truly worth it, and even though there are times when I want to put Kyle on the rack, I could not imagine walking through my life without him by my side.

1: Marriage has taught me that I can be selfish.

There’s nothing like sharing every aspect of your life with someone to make you realize what a selfish asshole you can be. As an only child, I failed to learn one very important aspect of everyday living. How to share. How to share my feelings, how to share my stuff, how to share my life. Being married is something you share with another person, and it can be really hard. Sharing a house, a bank account, and all your assets is scary enough, but sharing a damn bathroom takes the cake! MAN STUFF EVERYWHERE!

Sometimes it’s easy to just hoard all your crap and your thoughts and scream MINE! like a kindergartner, but be patient with yourself. Be patient with your partner. It takes a lot of work to be a team. The reason people get married in the first place it to share their life with someone. TO be a part of someone, mind, body and soul. To help them through everything life throws at them. If you don’t want to share all that you have, don’t get married. It’s a lot of getting used to, to give someone that power, to be codependent on someone, and to let yourself be that vulnerable. That is just what marriage is. Scary, and intoxicating at the same time.

2: Marriage has taught me the importance of compassion and compromise.

Marriage is both giving and taking. It takes a lot of hard work to be around someone, and still love them all the time. My husband and I just recently got into heated argument about which Gordon Lightfoot song (Sundown or If You Could Read My Mind) is the best. Seriously, heated. (For the record, If You Could Read My Mind is the best, Sorry Kyle.)

What I am saying is, no one gets along all the time. Before I was married, I would have never admitted that I was wrong, far less admitted that I owe someone an apology. Now, I am slower to anger than ever before. I am a more compassionate, and understanding person, because that is what marriage demands of me. I look at arguments from both viewpoints, and analyze my response before saying or doing things that I would be likely to regret after I calm down.

Marriage is tough, probably one of the toughest things anyone ever has to do. It’s important to learn patience, understanding, compassion and empathy. No one wants to be married to a heartless, cold, and unforgiving person. Nobody, no matter how much you love them, or they love you. If you are unable to forgive, marriage is pointless, whether you are the forgiver, or the forgiven.

 3: Marriage has taught me I can also be really selfless.

Despite that fact that marriage has taught me I can be a huge turd, it’s also taught me that I can be undeniably selfless. My husband, and children have always taken the front seat above my own selfish wants and needs. I have an innate need to see them happy, healthy and satisfied above anything else.

In order for me to be happy, those things have to happen first. I could never be truly satisfied with my life unless I knew they were contented and thriving,first. That is selflessness, and I will be honest, I never thought I could love anyone so much. But it comes easy.

4: Marriage has taught me appreciation is key.

The day you stop appreciating the things you do for each other, is the day you will start to have issues. Never take for granted what your partner does for you. Never take for granted the sacrifices that he or she makes, the special things they do, and how much they love you, or how much you love them.

It is so important to appreciate your significant other. Never let them forget that you do. Write them letters, send them text messages or emails, just to make them feel special. Do little things. Have inside jokes. Remember how much you care for them. Everyone needs and deserve that when they put all they have into a marriage. It is very easy to get so caught up in living your everyday life, to forget these things. Don’t ever let yourself neglect your partner, and if you yourself begin to feel neglected, it’s better to discuss it, rather than let it sit unnoticed and turn into a festering problem.

5: Marriage has taught me relationships should be handled with care.

Marriages, like any relationship, should come with a “Handle with care” label. You should never stop cultivating your relationship. You should never stop learning new things about one another, discovering new things, and exploring new places. A marriage should only deepen your love, and friendship with the passing of time, as you grow and learn together, not lessen or weaken it. There is a life after “I do, and the Honeymoon” that becomes very real, very quickly. After the party is over and everyone goes home, you have each other. Remember that. It’s about the two of you above anything or anyone else.

 6: Marriage has taught me what really matters in life.

Marriage has taught me that certain things matter in life and some things just do not. Having someone to hold your hand and be with your through everything is the best and most important thing in life. Your family, and your life together is what makes everything bearable. Your life together is what makes living worth it. Your children, your faith, your beliefs and your home are the reasons you live, breathe and get up every day. Those are my reasons, anyway.

Everyone wants someone to grow old with, to love and respect. The fundamental want in life is to find the person you’re meant for, so when you find them, don’t let all the other shit in life deter you from making your life with them. Money, materialistic wants, freedom, all the things that USED to matter so much to me, just really do not have much of a place in my life anymore.

Sure, money is nice, but If I was a millionaire and didn’t have my husband and my kids, what kind of life would I have? If I had a huge, fancy career, but no one to share my successes with, I wouldn’t be happy. Just like Branson told Mathew Crawley on Downton Abbey, that he’d never be happy with anyone else while Lady Mary walked the Earth. It’s true. Once you find your person, well, that’s just it.

7: Marriage has taught me that a sense of humor is so important.

When life gets heavy, sometimes the best medicine is just to laugh it off with your significant other. How else would you get through all the muck? Being blessed with someone with a sense of humor to match mine has been one of the most refreshing and endearing things that has ever happened to me. Being able to find humor in bad situations, or any situation is a wonderful thing. Laughter is key to a long and happy life.

8: Marriage has made me a better person in every single way.

Marriage has made me more aware of my faults, and more eager to work on myself than ever before. I find myself wanting, not only for myself, but for my husband and children to become better, do better, be better. Marriage has forced me to put the needs of others above my own, and love something bigger than myself. Marriage has taught me the true meaning of trust, teamwork, friendship, kindness, understanding, compassion, thoughtfulness and above all, how to love someone completely and without fear. Something that has never been easy for me.

If your significant other doesn’t inspire you to become a better person, maybe they just aren’t the one. From the first day I met my husband, he has done nothing but encourage me, teach me new things, and inspire me to achieve goals I never would have attempted otherwise. I love him for that, and thank him for pushing me, bettering me and loving me. Every single day.

These things do not only apply to marriages, but to people who are in committed relationships, as well. It is so important to remember fundamental aspects like appreciation, respect, trust and forgiveness when you love someone. These things do not change when you have a ring on your finger, they are things you should remember anyways and always. 

In looking back on my last three years of marriage, I find myself reflecting on the good and bad, and excited for the future. Excited to be building my life with someone and never having to go it alone. For everyone who is about to be married, engaged, or even if you’ve been married for the last 50 years, never forget these fundamental things, and never stop bettering your relationship and your marriage!

Here’s to 50 more years!

I love you, Kyle.


Moon in Leo Shop on Etsy |The Bourbon Soaked Mom |

I really can’t stress enough how much I love ETSY. There is so much on there to plunder through, and so many possibilities. Not too long ago, I was looking for dresses (vintage) of course, and I happened upon this amazing little shop, Moon in Leo, out of Canada. Moon in Leo specializes in funky, eclectic, boho chic with delicate hippie details, and mint condition vintage. Swoon.

With satin and silk slip dresses, scalloped lace blouses, and Mexican embroidered sheaths, I fell in love instantly. I ended up purchasing a shear champagne, sequin dress with scalloped edges, and hand stitched detail that was from the 70s and an absolute dream. For under 40 bucks! I call it my Studio 54 dress and I adore it.

b-2-2bourbonsoakedmom2Not to mention, Mitka, the owner is fabulous, efficient, easy to communicate with and more than accommodating to her customers! Here are some more of my favorite pieces available now in her lovely little shop!







Be sure to check out Mitka, and MooninLeoShop on Etsy and Instagram!

Instagram is @mooninleoshop

All Photos of me are by Natasha Raichel Photography


6 Quick Tips for Keeping Your Sanity as a MOM |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

I’m not too proud to admit that lately, I’ve been in a serious funk. My kids have been going wild with the recent lunar pull, my house has gotten into a seriously messy state, and my laundry room has accumulated so many dirty clothes and linens that I didn’t think I was ever going to get it cleared away. I found myself overwhelmed, feeling guilty and completely out of control over myself, my household and my kids. The three things that are my job to take care of. Not only was it depressing, but I also completely let myself down.

After doing some research, I realized that it isn’t uncommon for Mothers to feel like this. Both stay at home Moms, and working mothers, and even mothers who are still in school. It’s incredibly hard to run your household, and keep with all the busy things you try to do for your kids. I never realized how much everything was slipping away from me until it was already out of control. So, I took to other MOMMY blogs and Pinterest, of course, to see if there were any certain steps I could take to cut down on the stress, up the organization and make my life, and my stress level a little easier.

1: Always make the beds when you first get up. 

This way it starts the day on a productive note and you’re not tempting to (or your children) to crawl back into it later in the day. Making your bed just feels nicer, doesn’t it? It may be a chore, but if you do it, it truly sets the tone for your day.

2: Wipe down your kitchen counters and swiffer the floor before bedtime. 

This one is a hard one for me, because my kitchen is a real problem area. My kids love to sling food everywhere, my dog has a thing for peeing on my rugs, and let’s face it, husbands aren’t much better. I have found that giving the counters a quick rub down with a Clorox wipe and taking my Shark to the floor works wonders. Especially after supper when things are their messiest.

3: Get some exercise at least once every day.

I have to MAKE myself do this. I usually just try to take the kids for a walk/stroll down my neighborhood or take them to the park. It’s honestly hard to fit it in, but important. Exercise fights stress, and it just good for your overall health. I always feel better after a morning run or walk.

4: Choose at least ONE activity to do with your kids daily. 

Whether it’s making a craft, coloring a coloring page, or reading them books, it’s important to just be in the present and do something with them. I try to plan fun things for my kids every single day. We will go for a bike ride, walk downtown, or go exploring in a new town we don’t know. They always love the excitement, even if it’s just getting in the car and driving down the road. It’s good to make them feel special. They aren’t little long.

5: Give yourself certain chores everyday so that you’re not overwhelmed. 

I went on Pinterest and printed myself out a list of chores to do on certain days. This way, it breaks them down into categories and puts all your focus on a few things a day, instead of just trying to get everything done in one sitting. Much easier and much more realistic.

6: Make sure to give yourself ME TIME. 

Even if it’s only taking a bath by yourself, that time is really important and trust me, I am sure you’ve earned it. Being a Mom is challenging, and every now and then, it’s nice to just relax and be alone!

It’s been around two months, and I am slowly getting myself back to normal. My stress level has decreased, I am slowly getting organized, and my children (and myself) are much happier. That’s what it’s all about, even if you lost a fraction of sanity along the way.