Kentucky in One Word

A single word can be a powerful thing.

This week, some of the HerKentucky team members have written about their commitment to the One Little Word project in the New Year. Lydia's mantra for 2013 is "commitment." Sarah's word is "simplify." Both are great words that have the power to transform a year.

As I read Lydia and Sarah's respective mission statements for 2013, I thought about the One Little Word that I plan to use personally and professionally in 2013, which is "Do." I have so many ideas, plans and dreams that have seemed just over the horizon lately; it seems time to bring them to fruition. I also started thinking about the power of One Little Word to characterize our unique Commonwealth.

In recent weeks, it seems that the use of One Little Word has polarized Kentucky. As y'all have probably seen by now, the guys behind the Kentucky for Kentucky project are once again spreading the message of a Kick-Ass Kentucky.  This time, they're suggesting a re-branded state.

Image via Kentucky for Kentucky
While advertising experts and social media users have overwhelmingly embraced the Kick-Ass Message, the Kentucky Department of Tourism was less than amused. Now, I personally find the idea of re-branding Kentucky as "Kick-Ass" kind of hilarious and edgy and irreverent, even if that opinion places me in the Department of Tourism's "constituency of no one."  The word "Kick-Ass" makes people take notice -- they high-five, giggle, or squirm, but they don't readily forget it. It doesn't have much gravitas, and I would imagine that there are a lot of people who don't want to see a mild expletive on billboards and license plates. I sure do like the idea of an upgrade to a hipper, more modern view of Kentucky, though. 

We first started HerKentucky was to provide an outlet for Kentucky women's voices. We wanted to share our unique experiences of life in the Bluegrass State. Along the way,  we found that there were few absolutes. Our respective backgrounds are rural or urban, equine or agrarian. We identify with different colleges, cities and sports teams. We sit on different sides of the partisan aisle.  Some of us fall into the "Kick-Ass" camp, while others identify with an "Unbridled Spirit." Kentucky life is a little different for each of us. In a way, we each have "One Little Word" that sums up our Kentucky experience.

And so, as we begin 2013, I'd love to hear from our writers, readers and friends. What One Little Word describes Kentucky for you?

2013 : One Word

“One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In stopping to think through the meaning of what I have learned, there is much that I believe intensely, much I am unsure of. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

This new year, I've decided to work on living with intent. I'm participating in the One Little Word class presented by blogger and life-documenter extraordinaire, Ali Edwards. This is the first time I've decided to let a word guide and shape my life for a year.

I've chosen the word "commitment" as my guiding force for 2013. This year promises to be one of big changes for me, for my family and for my future. In order to succeed in life, in happiness, in my career, in my new business I need to commit to the goals in each of those areas. Some of those goals are tangible, defineable. I want to run another half marathon, for example. Others are more on the intangible side. I want to become successful in my business while still honoring the commitment I have to my 9-to-5 job through the end of that engagement.

My family, independent of my move toward One Little Word, started thinking about this concept over email at the beginning of January. Aunts and cousins and other various relations have chosen words like 
  • Do
  • Relax
  • Healthy
  • Moderation
  • Listen
  • Active
  • Serenity
  • Gratitude
  • Discipline
  • Spontaneity
  • Focus
  • Now
  • Open
 Do you choose a word to guide yourself through a year? 

New Year, New You?

I received a free class coupon for Pure Barre a couple of months ago.  If you haven't heard of Pure Barre, let me enlighten you a bit.  Pure Barre is a bar method class utilizing the ballet bar to perform small isometric movements.  I have heard from several people that this workout has changed their body appearance for the better, giving them lean toned muscles versus bulky muscles you may get with weight training.  

I have been hoarding my free class coupon since October.  I am considering going in the next couple of weeks, but I hate to appear as one of those over-zealous new year's resolutions gym rats.  You all know the type- the ones you've never seen before and they suddenly appear after New Year's looking like a hot mess.  

Lucky for you, if you live in Kentucky you can give Pure Barre a try!  Pure Barre opened locations in both Lexington and Louisville.  

Pure Barre Louisville -- Westport Village
1321 Herr Lane #180
Louisville, KY
(502) 749-2222

 Pure Barre Louisville -- Summit
4284 Summit Plaza Drive
Louisville, KY
(502) 425-8300
Lexington Pure Barre
867 East High Street #150
Lexington, KY(859) 335-2391
Have you all heard of Pure Barre or know anyone who's tried it?  

HerKentucky 2013

I've never been one for New Year's Resolutions. 

They seem so arbitrary and artificial and destined to fail. Or maybe I'm just never too committed to them. So, when the HerKentucky team decided to post 2013 Resolutions, I knew better. This year, I may complete the entire Craft Bourbon Trail, but I probably won't.

Resolutions may not be my thing, but goals sure are. One of my biggest goals for 2013 is to make HerKentucky bigger and better than ever. I want this site to celebrate the lives and stories of Kentucky women in new and exciting ways. I want HerKentucky to explore more recipes, more crafts, more entertaining ideas and more local products. I want to tell the stories of more Kentucky women. I want this site to make our readers smile and hopefully teach y'all a little something from time to time. I'm excited that HerKentucky has partnered with The Southern Blog Society, and I look forward to exploring new ways to get the HerKentucky story out there.

As always, if you have a story to tell or an idea to share, HerKentucky would love to hear from you. Just shoot me an email at



New Ways of Thinking

The New Year means new resolutions, great ambitions, and setting yourself up for about two weeks of success. I don't say this to be cynical, I say it because it's pretty much the truth. What can we do to make our changes stick around? If you have the answer, feel free to share in the comments!

A big focus I want to have this year is to flip my way of thinking about things. I want to stay things with positive intentions instead of with fear or reflecting on past mistakes.
image from Wander Postcard Project
So for example:

  • Instead of: "My workout sucked today." I could think: "I am so glad I got a workout in today."
  • Instead of: "I wish I were as lucky as that new author." I could think: "It's great news that the publishing industry is opening up more to new authors."
  • Instead of: "Man I wish I did this job earlier." I could think: "I work great under pressure."
Perhaps these are overly simple examples, but they are all part of my new way of thinking. Here's to 2013!

New Year, New Reason to Make a List!

I'm a mighty big fan of lists. I love making them. They make me feel so organized and ready for whatever it is I'm making the list for. 

Of course, usually once the list is actually made, I feel a weird sense of accomplishment just for making the list and then I lose interest. It's a problem.

One of my most favorite authors, Victoria Schwab (who has an amazing book The Archived coming out in January which is beside the point but I can't help but tell you because amazing), posted a link on Twitter yesterday to her own list of "101 Things to do in 1001 days."  The list comes from, a goal-setting website that's free to use. That gives me a little less than three years to accomplish the things I choose to put on the list.

And being the addict that I am, of course I'm all over this. 

As it turns out, coming up with 101 things to do is pretty daunting. I'm trying to think in terms of life goals, rather than my usual "Empty the laundry basket"- and "Pick up some Cherry Coke Zero"- type goals.

As I start to create my list, I'm focusing on two main things: writing and traveling. I thought this might interest you because a lot of my travel goals are Kentucky-related. I'd like my 6-year-old daughter to get to know some of the cool things to be found in the state that she lives in, just like I did when I was a kid. So obviously, a few easy Kentucky attractions are on my "Must Do" list, such as visit Mammoth Cave, go see The Stephen Foster Story, and go watch UK play in a Final Four game (because we all know that'll happen again in the next three years anyway). Aside from the normal Kentucky activities, I'm using a book, Kentucky Curiosities, to help me find other lesser-known places to check out.

My list isn't complete yet, but I'll be adding to it over the next few days. Feel free to take a look, and if you decide to make one, please link it in the comments. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for my list!

My 2013 Kentucky Resolutions

Well, my 2013 Kentucky resolutions are going to sound a LOT like my 2012 Kentucky Resolutions. Let's revisit shall we?

  1. Visit Mammoth Cave. A national park and the longest cave system in the world - not to mention just about two and a half hours from my house - Mammoth Cave seems to always be at the top of any list of Kentucky tourist attractions. I'm not quite sure how I escaped childhood without a single field trip there but I plan to remedy that this year. 
  2.  Become a Kentucky Colonel. One of the most humiliating moments of my life was when I worked for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. One of the interns found out I was from Kentucky and exclaimed, "Are you a Kentucky Colonel?!? I am!" He had never even been to Kentucky. He was from NEW JERSEY. Oh, the shame. 
  3.  Visit Bubbleland. The Kentucky Bend fascinates me. I'm not saying a visit would be life-changing but it's close and seems like something you just gotta see. 
  4. Try Col. Bill Newsom's Aged Kentucky Country Ham. This recently popped up on a essential Kentucky list in Garden and Gun. One of the few culinary experiences in Western Kentucky, it seems crazy I haven't tried it yet. 
  5.  Go to Tater Day in Benton. Every cool kid in my high school skipped school to go to Tater Day. I'm not sure why I never went except that I wasn't that cool. Well, there's nothing to stop me now and I love sweet potatoes.
Y'all, if it weren't for my beloved Nanny this year would have been a COMPLETE and TOTAL bust. Up to about a week ago, I hadn't checked a single stinking thing off the list. Luckily, I have the best grandmother IN THE WORLD and for Christmas she presented me and my husband with our Kentucky Colonel certificates. I literally squealed. 

Need photographic proof?

I have to say if I was going to pick one thing to check off my list this would have been the one!

But still! Time to step it up. My husband went to Princeton about a thousand times for work and there is NO reason he couldn't have brought me back some ham! And Bubbleland hasn't gone anywhere! And was I REALLY too busy to miss Tater Day.

No more.

This is the year! I'm will NOT be reposting this list again. 2013 is the year!

~ Sarah Stewart Holland