Monday, June 9, 2014

8 Things that I learned from Maya Angelou

Truthfully, there is not much I can write that has not already been written. Maya Angelou lived her life, publicly, thoughtfully, openly, and loudly. She affected millions of people in a multitude of ways.  She played the role of my mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, and mentor when I had none. I didn’t know her personally, but I looked to her grace to guide me.  One writer lovingly, penned her as a professional  “hope-monger” and she always doled it out, when I needed it the most.  Through the years I have read every book, every article, watched every interview and felt that she was ethereal. Upon her passing her friend Toni Morrison is quoted saying, “ I thought that she was eternal, that she’d always be there.”  As did I.  Here are a few things that Maya Angelou taught me,

    1.     “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” This was life changing for me. I have a terrible habit of falling in love with people’s potential, not who they really are.  They know themselves better than anyone; so trusting their take on themselves is an important action. Plus, it’s not fair to thrust my expectations on anyone; I need to accept them for exactly who they are at this exact moment.
    2.      “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refused to be reduced by it.”  It took a while for me to understand that I didn’t have to surrender my opinion of myself to anyone else.  People can be cruel, and this little gem helped me immensely and repeatedly.
    3.   “Life loves the liver of it.” One can overcome great adversity, and still be joyful.
    4.    “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” In my opinion, the most interesting and inspiring people have been through “it”.   Wounds and scars make for interesting people.
    5.   I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” I interpret this quote as both passive and aggressive. You can’t always be a doormat, you have to push back sometimes, but you also can’t only take from people, you have to give too.
     6.       “I am a human being and nothing human can be alien to me.” We are more alike than we know.
     7. " Courage is the most important of virtues.” She has said this in at least a dozen interviews. Her theory is that in order to be consistently kind, loving, vulnerable, you must have courage and I couldn’t agree more.
     8.     “When you know better, you do better.”   Oprah has an entire montage on this, so I won’t go into too much detail. But I will say that forgiving yourself you’re past mistakes, and chalking it up to a lack of knowledge is very liberating!

I have held her words in my heart for my entire life, she taught me more than I could ever put into words. Although I never met her she always made me feel proud to be me.  

Cheers to a well lived life!

* Photo credit to

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bourbon Slushie!

One of my favorite recipes with bourbon is a simple Slushie! It's light, refreshing, and always reminds me of Derby.  This is my favorite recipe that was given to me by a coworker;

Bourbon Slushie

2 1/2 cups of tea (I used lipton)
1  can of frozen lemonade (12 oz)
1 small can of frozen orange juice (6 oz)
2 cups bourbon (I used Woodford)
1 cup sugar
4 cups water

Mix together and let freeze overnight. Serve over Sprite!

The store was out of frozen lemonade, so I improvised with Italian Ice!  Head over to  for another great slushie recipe!

Happy Derby!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wedding Wednesday

I have been engaged for a little over a year! The problem I have is that I like everything! I regularly vacillate between a farm wedding, Gatsby style wedding, and a small elopement.  The other evening I was analyzing this with one of my friends, and we came to the sad conclusion that I am stalling.  I recently read this brilliant article on -, about what life is like when you have lost a parent. In my case, both my parents have passed away.  This article made me realize that planning a wedding without my parents makes me profoundly sad.  Getting married is a delightful and exciting time, and I want to savor it and enjoy it, but it is really tough to do knowing that my parents won't be there. So, I thought that writing regularly about the wedding will help me to start planning and find joy in this process.  Below is my favorite picture of my parents, my uncle, and I.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love you more!

My fiancĂ© and I are Birthday people. We love Birthdays in a childish way, but those are the 2 days of the year that we put the most effort into! So, on Valentine's day we just do small, charming, gestures to show our adoration. This year, I did a photo shoot with our fur babies!  Here is the final result!

Here are a few outtakes. Please note how amused the dogs are!


I am so excited to give this to him!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mentor Inspiration

I have been very fortunate to have found a multitude of wonderful and insightful mentors during my lifetime. Since my Mother passed away when I was young, I seek out advice, wisdom, and information from a variety of places. This week I was able to spend a few days in Knoxville with one of my longtime mentors. We have known each other for well over a decade and I still learn something new from her - every time I spend time with her.  It's an amazing feeling when someone knows all your dirt, and still likes you anyway.  She is ingenious, creative, and perceptive. Her children are brilliant and hilarious.  Recently, she moved into a new home that is absolutely stunning.  She has a knack for making her home both relaxing and inviting. Here are some of my favorite details;

                                                      A stunning door she had specially made.

Her tough guard dog that was enamored with his reflection!

My sleeping partner for the trip.

Creative decorations.

Every time I leave her home I feel inspired and rejuvenated. I believe it is good for my soul, to surround myself with people like her. Here's to being inspired!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bourbon Cozy

The other day I was lucky enough to tour the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY.  The process of making bourbon is fascinating.  At the end of the tour, it is customary to do a small tasting. During this tasting I found a new delightful treat! Its called Bourbon Cream and it's much like Bailey's but it's made with bourbon and has the flavor profile of oak and caramel, without being too sweet. We have been adding it to everything during this mini storm, and I fully believe it is what has kept me cozy. It tastes great in coffee, cocoa, and even root beer! The versatility of this spirit is making my adoration grow by leaps and bounds!

Happy Sipping

Snow Dogs

Louisville is the kind of city that shuts down with the tiniest rumor of snow.  Many people complain about it, but I think it's charming. I love the idea of an entire city playing hooky! What could be more lovely than that? Here is what I did during the second round of the Polar Vortex.

This little guy is Floyd Rufus. He's our first born (really our first adopted).  We had some fun in the snow!