Friday, February 26, 2010


Joannie Rochette, you are the epitome of grace under pressure.

I can't imagine what she is enduring right now, having lost her mother at the Olympic Games and to be able to compose herself enough to not only skate, but to medal in the process. It's amazing. But, knowing the dedication of these athletes, and the parents who stand behind them, I'm sure in the end she was determined to forge ahead. God bless her and her family. I'm sure Mrs. Rochette was watching proudly from above.

Last night's shopping event at The Peppermint Palm was such fun! Yes, I broke the bank, but there are so many cute styles out right now! I couldn't resist the sweetest shift for my daughter that features a horse/Derby theme. The owner of the store told me that Carson Kressley worked with LP to design a line of equestrian-themed patterns (as mentioned on the Lilly Pulitzer's intern blog). The Peppermint Palm is trying to get Carson to appear at an in-house event featuring his new line. It may be at their Lexington store (Carson rides and is big into horses). If it happens, I may have to take Miss E. in her dress and get a photo.

How glad is everyone that it's Friday? Shew, I am. The kitchen renovation is going great, though, so I'll snap some pics this weekend and share them with you soon. Have a great weekend!
Image courtesy of NBC

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Me + Lilly Pulitzer + Fundraiser = Bad News for Bank Account

This evening, I'm attending an after-hours shopping/fundraising event at our local Lilly Pulitzer retailer, The Peppermint Palm. How much more dangerous could this get? Me surrounded by LP merchandise, offered at a discount (only 15 percent, but still!), with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Junior League? I need to be strong and not go hog wild in there, but when it's Lilly, it's hard not to!

My daughter's birthday is next week, so I'm hoping I can find a little something for her, as well as for Mommy. All within reason, of course. Who am I kidding? All reason goes out the window when shopping for Lilly! The gorgeous prints, cute dresses, darling shoes - it's madness, I tell you! Madness!

Okay, I got that out of my system. I promise, I will show some decorum at this evening's event and shop appropriately. ;)

What are you favorite Lilly looks this season? Any outfit in particular that you're mad about? A must-have shift, cardigan or skirt? Do tell!
Images courtesy of

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Junior League Gala Recap

Last Saturday's Junior League gala, Two of a Kind, was a huge success and we had such a great time. The event's theme was "New York State of Mind," with food stations such as Little Italy, Chinatown, Coney Island and more. The food was delicious, the entertainment was stellar and the decorations were gorgeous. They had great silent and live auction items, and Hubby and I walked away with a design consultation from a local decorator.

The second level of the facility featured several gambling stations (we received $1,000 worth of faux money at the door). And even though it was only play money, the guys couldn't get enough of the roulette, craps and Black Jack tables. Hubby and one of his best friends (husband of my girlfriend, Tiff, pictured above right), could not be pried from the craps game. Thank God it wasn't real money!

A group of us got a table together and it was such fun catching up with friends I've made through the League (thanks Stephanie, above left, for taking photos, since I always forget my camera!).
A great time was had by all and the money raised benefits JL and the many organizations it supports.

Afterward, some of the group convinced us to stop by a local pub for a drink. We gave it the old college try, but after one drink, the loud techno music (the scene at the local Irish bars certainly change after midnight - whew!) and very young singles started taking their toll. We left to go home and tried to squeeze in enough sleep before the kids woke up. Needless to say, I was dragging on Sunday. I know, I sound like an old lady. I can only party like a rock star on very rare occasions. ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where Will You be in 10 Years?

I’ve been honored by the adorable Short Southern Mama with the “You’re Going Places, Baby!” award. According to the description, “This award means you're really going places, Baby. You'll still be blogging about your great adventures 10 years from now, and I'll still be reading them. " So, where would I like to see myself in 10 years?

Let’s see…in 10 years I will be 46. I will have been married for 20 years. My daughter will be turning 15 and our son will be about to turn 13. Gulp. Hopefully I won’t have gone completely gray by that point (Wait, that’s never going to happen because I’m going to highlight/color my hair until the day I die!). I hope that by then, I am a published author and either making a living at it, or self-employed in some capacity; something that challenges me and brings out my creative side as much as possible. I hope my husband is enjoying a fruitful career that showcases his immense talent. Are we in business together? Maybe. Who knows! I hope our children are safe, happy and healthy; thriving in school and enjoying a variety of extracurricular activities.

Okay, and I’ll get a little superficial here…yes, I would like to be living in our dream house, whether it’s our current home renovated and decorated as we’ve always dreamed, or a different home closer to where the kids will be in school. But, this is secondary to good healthy and happiness.

Rather than pass this along to 10 particular bloggers, I present the “You’re Going Places, Baby” award to all of my lovely blogger friends! Please leave a comment about where you would like to see yourself in 10 years. Can’t wait to read your responses!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Political Ramblings

First Lady of South Carolina, Jenny Sanford

While at the grocery on Saturday afternoon, I walked down the book and magazine aisle and saw Jenny Sandford’s autobiography, Staying True. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember my post about Jenny Sanford on June 29, 2009, as the firestorm broke when Governor Sanford disappeared to Argentina to visit his mistress. He lied about it at first, stating he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. I felt such empathy for Mrs. Sanford and her sons and how, at least publicly, she seemed to handle the situation with such grace. And, thank God, she wasn’t “standing by her man” during his bizarre press conference. A few weeks ago, Mrs. Sanford started making the rounds on the talk shows promoting her book. I watched her interview with Barbara Walters and was intrigued. So, on Saturday, I couldn’t resist buying the book. I’m half-way through it already, and I’ll give a full update when I finish it.

None of us are in the position to judge others, so I’m not going to sit here and say Jenny Sanford was wrong in her decision to marry him. When you are young and in love, your judgment can be clouded. But from the stories she tells about him early on and well into their marriage, the red flags must have been flying. I mean, when the man refused to take a vow of faithfulness/fidelity during their wedding ceremony because he didn’t think he could live up to it, well, that had to be a huge indicator of things to come. Again, I don't want to make judgmental statements about her - I have come to really like her, even though I've only seen her through television, radio and the written word. But, I have to say I admire her dedication to her sons and her sense of self. She's a good woman. He's an ass.

We Kentuckians watched a similar scenario play out a few years ago when Gov. Paul Patton admitted to an affair with a woman with whom he exchanged political favors. At first he lied, then in a tearful press conference, he admitted it. And, just like Sanford, he stayed on as governor, even though EVERYONE was calling for his resignation.

Oh, look, it’s my soapbox. I think I’ll stand on it…what is it about politics? Does it breed arrogance? Does one begin to think that morals don’t apply to them? I realize that not every politician is like this, but it certainly feels this way at times. I hope changes are underway, especially in Congress. Chuck the whole lot and start from scratch. I don’t believe in career politicians. Serve a couple of terms, strive to make a difference, then move back into private life and be effective in that capacity and serve your community in other ways. If you do something too long it gets stagnant and you can become ineffective. I think we’re seeing that in politics today. It’s time to shake things up a bit!

Okay, I’m stepping down and putting my soap box away. Sorry for my random ramblings, but I felt the need to make a statement, perhaps stir things up a bit on this rainy morning. ;) Hope everyone had a great weekend. Can you believe it’s the last week of February? Spring is getting closer!
Image courtesy of

Friday, February 19, 2010

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down...

Our kitchen, before (above and below)

Out kitchen as of this morning (above and below)

Progress! We started our kitchen renovation yesterday. Our contractor, Mike, took down a portion of the wall that opens into our family room, as well as the wall that faces our center hall. I came home from work and could see straight into the other room. Crazy! Lots of light now flows through. Above are some before and after pics.

Mike is going to work with the plumber and HVAC guys to reroute wiring and our vents. We're also having new lighting put in and carrying the hardwood floors into the kitchen. He'll then tackle the countertops.

And, I apologize for the quality of the photos. Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz we are not.

TGIF, folks. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rock On, USA!

So proud of our athletes at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver – they rock! Shaun White, AKA “The Flying Tomato,” won gold in the half-pipe competition, while queen of the mountain Lindsey Vonn took gold in the downhill competition.

Have you been watching the Olympics? What’s your favorite competition? Hubby likes to ski, so we’ve been watching the downhill races. Miss E. is in awe of figure skating, so we try to catch that, too. I’m fascinated with curling, so I try watch that every chance I get (no, not really).

As usual, I’m going to steer this discussion toward fashion. I LOVED the USA teams’ official uniform for the opening ceremonies, designed by Ralph Lauren. And how cute were those moose hats? Not sure if I would pay $75 for them, but they were super-cool.

Have a great Thursday, everyone. We’re supposed to get more snow in this region between now and early next week, because we just haven’t gotten enough already. ;)
Images courtesy of the New York Times and the Team USA Shop

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday

Beads, King Cake, purple and green: it's Mardi Gras! Time to eat, drink and be merry. Then, tomorrow, we fast.

As you know, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. I'm Catholic, so I'll be getting my ashes and fasting as best I can that day (I have a permanent crown procedure at the dentist tomorrow, so it's probably best I don't go in there totally famished, because it could get ugly. Sorry, God.) Often, I "give up" something for Lent, and it's usually chocolate. This can be very difficult, but at the end of 40 days, there's always an Easter basket. Why is it, though, that the Girl Scout cookies always arrive during Lent? Why must I be tempted in such a way? Oh, well. I'll throw a box in the freezer. This year, I've also decided to give up soft drinks. I love them, but they're baaaaad. My hope is to continue this "sacrifice" long after Lent.

Really, though, these aren't true sacrifices. And, it's better to do, rather than just refrain, and, now that I'm a community advisor for one of the Junior League provisional groups this season, I've got that part covered. Whew, do I have that part covered! (I'll get through it, I'll get through it...)

So, dear friends, if you observe Lent, are you giving anything up? Doing something special? Or perhaps the more interesting question is, what are you doing for Fat Tuesday?? ;)
Image courtesy of J. Peterman

P.S. - Thanks to everyone for the sweet comments you left yesterday! You guys are the best! And, I loved hearing about your Valentine's Day activities as well. Hope everyone had a great day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I 'Heart' My Hubby

My hubby is such a great guy - he bestowed me with the best Valentine's Day gifts ever: caffeine and accessories!

Actually, he and the kids gave me a new coffee maker, because ours was on its last leg. It's the kind that where you can set the timer to grind the coffee and brew it each morning. Be still this coffee lover's heart! And, he got me the new Vera Bradley "Alice" purse in the Poppy in the Fields pattern. Love it! Now, I can't wait for spring to arrive so I can sport my new bag. I have Hubby a hoof pick belt made in central Kentucky horse country (check out Summer is a Verb's postings on this) and the kids gave him a mug.

We went out Saturday night for a nice dinner and a little browsing at a local music store, a tradition for us whenever we're in this particular neighborhood. Actually, we did more than browsing, as I came away with Martha Wainwright and Vampire Weekend CDs and Hubby loaded up on blues music. We then came home to watch UK beat Tennessee. Woo hoo!

It's snowing AGAIN and the roads were horrible coming into work. I would have tried to telecommute, but we have this amazing communications guru conducting training with our work group today. I'm so looking forward to this. He flew in from Chicago last night, so here's hoping he'll be able to fly out this evening.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's weekend. Stay warm!
Images courtesy of Bed, Bath & Beyond and Vera Bradley

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day

We’re heading into a weekend full of heart-shaped candy, flowers, romantic music and lots of pink and red. Are you ready?

Our kids were loaded down with cards and party supplies as we made our way into pre-school this morning. Miss E. was quite excited, especially since I let her wear her ruby slippers from her Halloween costume to complete today's ensemble. She is quite the Valentine today. And, my two-year-old son told me I’m “boot-i-ful," which started my day off on a happy note. So, dear readers, what do you have on tap for Valentine’s Day?

I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend. We have a black tie event to attend next Saturday, so not making any big plans for Valentine’s Day. More snow in the forecast for Sunday night, though, so not too thrilled about that. Old Man Winter, you and I need to have a serious discussion. You’ve made your presence known, we get it. But you have worn out your welcome. Time to move along now and make room for your buddy, Spring. Seriously, you need to go now.
Image courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

P.S. - Anyone else have issues with their Blogger feeds? Some images are appearing and some aren't. It's driving me crazy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Death of a Fashion Designer

I just read that British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was found dead today in his home in London. He was 40.

This was so odd, because I recently commented about one of McQueen's designs that appeared in a post on To the Manner Born. I had never been a fan of his work because I always found it very binding, constrictive looking. As if one was trying to encage a woman. Some of his collections I just thought, "Wow, does he really dislike women that much?" But, apparently that was his style as a young designer. Angry, rough around the edges. But as his work evolved, the style became softer and more approachable. His tailoring was said to be impeccable. And, he certainly made his mark in turning the standard catwalk show into a technological extravaganza.

So, I send codolences to the McQueen family and his design house for this great loss. Long live McQueen.
Image courtesy of USA Today

Snow Daze

We took the kids out in the snow the other evening, even though it was freezing. They had a bad case of cabin fever and needed some activity beyond PBS and DVDs. Little Guy tried catching snow flakes on his tongue, if you can even tell, the photo is a bit blurry. Hubby had the kids outside making a snow man and sledding with the neighbor kids. Mommy was taking photos from the front porch and then retreated into the warmth of the house to finish making chili and check e-mail, because that's how Mommy rolls.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Searching for Signs of Spring

With the return of Snow-madgeddon, I desperately need something to remind me of spring and warm temperatures. What is it you may ask? Well, accessories of course!

I love the latest fabrics and styles from Vera Bradley. I received their most recent catalog in the mail last weekend and it brought a smile to my face. I’m currently toting around a lovely black microfiber Vera purse that my parents gave me for Christmas, yet I already have my eyes on their spring line.

Now, I’ve heard some of the younger ladies in blogger land call Vera Bradley “Grandma” purses. Well, I don’t think that’s fair. Granted, Vera features a quilted design that in the past may have, at one time, appealed to a more mature shopper. But, not anymore. Vera now features a variety of hip styles in great colors. And, one of my favorite things about the quilted bag is that its lightweight. I have to haul around a lot of stuff, so let’s not have the bag weigh 10 lbs. before I put anything in it!

Anyhoo, stop by Vera’s site for a glimpse of spring with her latest designs. The snow is falling mercilessly, so take a moment to daydream about warm places and cute accessories. ;)

P.S. – Don’t miss the markdowns currently available on Vera’s site. See that belt above? Was $26, it’s now $5! Can’t beat that!!
Images courtesy of Vera Bradley

Monday, February 8, 2010

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

Mardi Gras is going to pale in comparison to what took place in New Orleans yesterday.

Cheers to the Saints for their first ever Super Bowl win! And while I was pulling for Peyton Manning and the Colts, I wasn't that disappointed that the Saints won. This was a long-time coming for the Saints and they deserved the honor this year. So, I raise a Hurricane glass to the mighty Saints and congratulate them on their Super Bowl win. I imagine this party will probably last at least until Feb. 16...
Photo courtesy of Garden & Gun - Talk of the South

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Twist on the Classic Shoe

There are types of shoes that have a timeless quality: weejuns/penny loafers, ballet flats, bucks, patent leather Mary Janes. And, for the more sporty variety, there are Converse All Stars, a.k.a., "Chuck Taylors."

My dad spied the latest rendition of the classic "Chucks" in a store window and had to get them for my daughter. Yes, those pink sparkly numbers above are Converse All Stars, and my little fashionista loves them. This child already has quite the fashion sense (can't imagine where she gets it), to the point one can envision her as a future contestant on Project Runway or a writer for Vogue. Yet, she tells me she wants to be a doctor and a teacher, so perhaps she'll be the best dressed member of the Harvard medical school faculty some day.

From what I've heard, Converse All Stars are the rage among young people in Europe right now (in basic black, if you please). There are a variety of fun colors and styles available these days, so stop by Converse to see the latest twist on a classic shoe.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Return of Lands' End

Have you received the latest catalog from Lands’ End? Can I tell you how much I’m loving it?! It’s reminiscent of old school J. Crew featuring striped boat-neck shirts, colorful rain coats, checkered shirts with natty ties for the guys – it’s all there. They even have Tretorns! Be still my preppy heart.

It makes you wonder if Lands’ End took a cue from the J. Crew handbook of business-resurrection by hiring a Jenna Lyons-esque mastermind to come in, shake things up a bit and get them back on track. While you can always count on Lands’ End for quality canvas totes and parkas, it certainly wasn’t forward in its fashion thinking. But now it appears they’ve turned the creative corner. Cheers to Lands’ End – I'll be ordering from you soon!

Happy Friday, everyone! Hubby returns from Colorado this afternoon – can I have an amen?! Just in time for the day-long nap I have planned. ;)
Images courtesy of Lands' End

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Letter of the Day: L

I’m on the mend, but still not feeling great. Of course, my head cold coincides with Hubby’s business trip. My mom came over to help last night and then my MIL is helping tonight so I can catch a Junior League committee meeting after work. Thank God our families live close by.

In the middle of all this madness, I forgot that today is show-and-tell in Miss E.’s class. And, to top it off, you have to bring an item that begins with the letter of the week, which is “L.” So, we’re in her classroom this morning, I’m looking around and decide that my son (pictured above), whose first name begins with “L” will be the subject of show-and-tell today. Problem solved, crisis averted.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sweetheart Tag and the Sunshine Award

First of all, thanks to everyone for your kind get-well wishes. I’m not 100 percent, but I’m on the mend. Looking forward to the weekend so I can catch up on more rest.

One of my favorite bloggers, Queen Bee Swain, tagged some of us married ladies with the Sweetheart Tag, asking us to describe how we met and fell in love with our husbands. Great idea for a post, is it not? So, here’s our story, hope you like it.

The short version: Hubby and I met on a blind date in a pub.

The not-so-short version (And you’re a sport if you hang in there and read this lengthy post today): I was 24 years old and had just moved back to Louisville from Lexington, where I had been working for a PBS affiliate. I had taken a job as a PR manager for a local performing arts organization. To get me up to speed in my new role, Carin, the temporary PR manager, trained me and we became fast friends. Carin was expecting her first child and planning to be a stay-at-home mom. As we got to know each other over meetings at coffee houses and such, she listened to my sad dating stories. That’s when she said I needed to meet her friend Chris, who lived out of town. She and her friends were conspiring to somehow get him to move back to Louisville and apparently I was going to be the key in completing this task. So, the plan was to have Chris come to town and a group of us go out to dinner.

We met with Carin and her husband and another couple at a local Irish pub. When I first met Chris, I liked what I saw. Very attractive, polite, courteous, you name it. We talked during dinner and learned we were both English majors, of Irish-Catholic descent and enjoyed reading and writing. We had very similar backgrounds. I really liked him.

After talking with Carin that following Monday, I learned that Chris and I had the same birthday. In her words, “What?? Oh, hand of God! Fate!” We’ll see, I thought. Sure enough, Chris called me at work that afternoon and asked me out on another date. As it turns out, though, he had been set up the previous weekend with another girl, and was scheduled to have a second date with her as well. He then called her, though, and he told her he didn’t think it was going to work. He’d met someone else. :)

So, that was February of 1998. We dated long-distance for five months and both fell for each other rather quickly. He then moved back to Louisville in late August and got a new job. That Thanksgiving, while at my parent’s house overlooking the lake, he asked me to marry him. We were married on October 16, 1999 in Louisville. I’ve included a photo from that lovely day, as well as a pic from one of our engagement parties, hosted by Carin (or as she referred to herself at that time, “Emma” since she succeeded in her matchmaking effort). We then spent a glorious 10 days in Ireland on our honeymoon. The photo of Chris above was taken on the Aran Islands, while the pic of me is in front of the Dublin Writers’ Museum (Wow, we look young!).

So, 10 + years and two kids later, we’re still together and life is good. Thank you, Chris, you are the love of my life.

Sunshine Award
Thanks to Aspirations of a Southern Housewife for bestowing the “Sunshine Award” upon my modest little blog. The award is given to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blog world. How sweet is that?! So, I’m now going to pass along the sunshine and present this award to some of my favorite bloggers who make my day a little brighter (You know the rules, pass along the sunshine to your 12 favorite blogs). Of course, there are so many of you who make my day bright. I’ll be mentioning you in future posts as well.

A Femme d’un Certain Age
Bees and Fleur de Lis
It’s a Golden Day
Kentucky Mama
Lily Lemontree
Lizzie & Danny
London Zest
Man of the 50s
Metropolitan Mum
My Farmhouse Kitchen
My Pear Tree House
The Southern Blossoms

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sick Day

Well, I finally caught the cold/sinus thing that's been floating around. I feel lousy, so I'm taking a sick day. Sorry, no pithy thoughts or observations this go 'round. My head is too cloudy to think straight. Hopefully with enough rest and plenty of fluids, I'll be back to my old self soon.

Onward and sideways...


Monday, February 1, 2010

Equine Gifts

During our brief getaway to Lexington this weekend, we found that besides Kentucky basketball, a big focus in that region is on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will take place Sept. 25 – Oct. 12 at the Kentucky Horse Park . This international event will shine the spotlight on our Central Kentucky region as the equine world descends upon the Commonwealth during that two week period. I’ve heard that some of the international teams have already been in Kentucky scouting out farms to house their teams of horses in advance of the games. In some cases, the horses will arrive three months early to acclimate to the area. Luckily, we just happen to have a few stables around to accommodate these folks. ;)

As you can imagine, with an event such as this, vendors will be in full force to sell a variety of equine-related products. And while I don’t own or ride horses, I do have an affinity for equine art, jewelry, you name it. If you do as well, consider some of the following gift items.

Toss Designs created the “Steeplechase” pattern for Keeneland Race Course. The bags are available at the Keeneland Gift Shop, as well as online at Toss Designs. How about stackable bangles from Lauren G. Adams? Or, for the guys, there’s the Versailles Hoof Pick belt, which is crafted by an artisan in the region, and is a replica of an actual hoof pick. Our buddy, J. Peterman sells this fine accessory. There’s also the jockey silk needlepoint belt from Smathers and Branson – always a classic option. Looking for a nice print for your home? You can’t go wrong with images of Secretariat or Keeneland’s Paddock. Just gorgeous. I’m sure you’ll find items like this and plenty more for sale at the World Games.

It’s a new month and a new day, my friends. Enjoy!
Images courtesy of Keeneland Gift Shop, J. Peterman and Toss Designs