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!

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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.

Know Your Kentuckians: Verna Mae Slone |The Bourbon Soaked Mom

Once in a blue moon someone comes along that so unexpectedly knocks your socks off that you really never even saw it coming. For me, Verna Mae Slone is that person. I’ve grown up in a land where Slone’s name is synonymous with Knott county, the border county to my native Perry. Known as the “Grandma Moses” of Appalachia, Slone has left a lasting impression on those from Eastern Kentucky, Appalachia and all over the world. I am proud to claim this strong, influential lady among the ranks of those of who are unabashedly proud of being from Eastern Kentucky, and who aren’t afraid to portray this region in a strong, and positive light. God knows we need more in the area like her.

Verna Mae Slone was a special brand of Appalachian hero. A strong and stout East Kentucky lady with endless wisdom and intelligence gained from years of experiences that could never be taught within the walls of any school room. A Knott county native, and advocate for the mountain people of her region, Slone’s enduring voice still echoes through the legacy she left, not only in her hometown, but through her first (and my favorite) book, “What My Heart Wants to Tell” The work debunks the myth of the barefooted hillbilly, allows insight into the grit and gall it took to survive the wilderness of Appalachia in the early days, and it gives all us hill folk something in which to take pride. It is a sweeping, sharp and heartfelt look back into the history of a way of life that is being forgotten, as well as the art, craft and traditions of those who paved the way for all of us. Slone’s book paints a vivid detail of the characteristics of our region and the importance we hang on family and community.

Born October 9, 1914, Verna Mae Slone spent her entire life in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. She was raised by her father, Kitteneye Slone, after her Mother died when Verna Mae was just six weeks old. A mother to five sons, as well as a quilter, doll-maker, and advocate for the preservation of Appalachian life and culture, Slone found her voice later in life, writing about her experiences in the mountains for her grandchildren. Never expecting much to come from her musings, Slone’s writing became popular among her relations and were passed around. Soon, she began receiving recognition and had the chance to publish her stories, thus was born her first book, What My Heart Wants to Tell. Slone’s sense of pride about being Appalachian, coupled with the simple and dignified way she expresses her admiration and love for her region and culture is second to none. East Kentucky lost one of the best in 2009 when at 94, Slone’s voice fell silent.  Her efforts to put right the myths and injustices the outside world believe, and force upon those who were born and raised in the mountains, will make you feel proud to claim an individual who loved her land so much and made sure that everyone knew it.


“So many lies and half-truths have been written about us, the mountain people, that folks from other states have formed an image of a gun-totin’, “baccer” spitting, whiskey-drinking, barefooted, foolish hillbilly, who never existed, but was conceived and born in the minds of the people who have written such thinks as Stay on Stranger and the Beverly Hillbillies. And as lies seem to be more easily believed than truths, no matter what we do, we can’t make folks believe we are any different. These lies and half-truths have done our children more damage than anything else. They have taken more from us than the large coal and gas companies did by cheating our forefathers out of their minerals, for that was just money. These writers have taken our pride and dignity and have disgraced us in the eyes of the outside world. When our children go into the cities for work, or are drafted into the army, they are forced to deny their heritage change their way of talking, and pretend to be someone else, or be made to feel ashamed, when they really have something to be proud of.”

Slone is best remembered for her sense of pride in being Appalachian, for loving her family, maintaining mountain traditions and translating the beauty of her heritage and region through her crafts, and her six books. What My Heart Wants to Tell includes many bits of mountain lore and ceremony, including when to plow, plant and have babies. Tales of haunts, quilt making, moonshining, and “molassie stir offs” come to life in every page. One can not help but being lured into a powerful familiarity, feeling that they know Slone personally, as she shares personal histories of her family and continually tells of her respect for her home, and her neighbors on Caney Creek. You can feel the love in every word she writes to her grandchildren, so they can know the real truth about their heritage and mountain ways that will soon be forgotten. Her words are as much a call to arms for preservation as they are a written reflection of her time and place on earth. The message belongs to all her people, not just those connected to her by blood, but for all who are bound by those same cultural connections, in which she has such an amazing way of portraying. These words are for those who wish to take interest, so they too can know, love and cherish the culture and traditions.

I encourage everyone who reads this piece to find a copy of one of Ms. Slone’s works and give it a read. I have a personal fondness for her message. I am well aware that the time and place Verna Mae reflects upon is no longer in existence. The world has become a very small place within the last twenty years, and Appalachia is a modern region. I feel close to the central message of Appalachian preservation, but I sometimes believe that this idea is misunderstood, at least to the extent in which I promote it. Putting our feet in the ground and resisting modernization is not in the best interest of this area. In fact, we need to sturdy ourselves and push forward into the future. The strong will, character and general constitution of the regional people was forged by times gone by, but I do not suggest we revert to the socioeconomic climate. The message is to show outsiders, and local people who have forgotten, that what our ancestors built with the little opportunity they possessed was remarkable. Appalachian people were never presented with lucrative opportunity and squandered it. Instead, they were a people which survived and found happiness, despite the possibility of prosperity. The purpose is to show that it is what is on the inside that truly counts.

I do not write my own words in the hopes that you as the reader will simply just think back on what an amazing heritage we used to have. The same ideas, integrity and character that made our heritage great are still present. I believe that a great majority of it has been temporarily forgotten or dampened by outside forces and circumstances, but I believe it is still here. If anything I write, or in this case point you toward the words of another, can spark a value for those traits, I am happy.  The opportunities we have today are vastly greater than those of our ancestors. I believe that a revival of the traits they needed to survive, coupled with the opportunity we have today would allow for this area to prosper. The burden is no longer our predecessors’, but ours.

God knew that it would take brave and sturdy people to survive in these beautiful but rugged hills. So he sent us HIS very strongest men and women, people who could enjoy life and search out the few pleasures that were contained in a life of hard work. They were an enduring people, who did not whimper and complain because their burdens were heavy. They loved each other and lived closer to God and nature than any folks anywhere. So with God’s help, I hope my brain can say to my hands what my heart wants to tell.”

Verna Mae Slone, 1978


Clink the link below to purchase What My Heart Wants to Tell by Verna Mae Slone

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.