A New Generation of CATS Fans: Baby's First Final Four

Hi, everyone! My name is Lilly, and I blog at Pancakes and Beet Juice. I was born in Dallas, Texas, where I live today, but have plenty Bluegrass in my blood from my Dad and living in Western Kentucky for four years growing up. One thing I've known my whole life is that there is nothing more exciting than Kentucky playing in the March Madness tournament!

This year's tournament has been special for two reasons. First of all, it is the first time to share our love for UK with our three month old daughter and my parent's first grand-baby, Heidi. It has also been so fun to root for the Cats to play their way into our own backyard with the Final Four and National Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington! When we won our Elite Eight game, it was a mix of jumping up and down and calling family and friends to see how we could be a part of the welcome wagon to Texas.

The University of Kentucky Alum Association had a great pre-game party on Saturday by the stadium. We got to see the Kentucky band, meet other alum families and, most importantly, show Heidi the award winning Kentucky cheerleaders! She loved all of the attention. It was a rainy afternoon, but nothing could dampen the spirits of these diehard fans.

The best part of the game being in Dallas was we were home for game time. Heidi loved showing off the moves she learned from the cheerleaders before she tucked in to bed.

I'm excited to have a new generation of Dallas-bred Kentucky girls in the house and to share this fun family tradition with her! Tonight we're cheering for title number nine!

7 Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

Today we have a great guest post from Colene Elridge, aka Coach Colene. 

Are you “over” this winter? From school cancellations and delays, to sloshing through snow, it’s easy to fall into a funk in February. Don’t get down, though, as there are simple things you can do to ease cabin fever. Here are my seven tips to help you make it through the rest of the winter with a positive outlook:

  1. Slow Down. Bears hibernate for a reason, right? This is the season right before the great awakening that is spring; use it to do your best work… the work on yourself. I tend to go 100 miles a minute, but winter forces me to slow down a bit. What do I do with my “extra” time? Read, bake, go to movies, and catch up on TV shows. 
  2. Treat Yourself. I’m a firm believer that we all deserve a big slice of happiness! Rewarding ourselves with a bit of a treat is incentive enough to keep us moving until spring. I buy loose-leaf tea and local honey and savor every sip of it. I’ll spend time with friends who make me laugh. What small ways can you treat yourself? 
  3. Exercise. I do hot yoga, so it’s easy for me to go in the winter because it’s hot and feels like a bit of a vacation from the cold. We all know exercising is good for you, so take some time to work up a sweat. Your mindset, and your spring and summer clothes, will thank you! 
  4. Wear something bright. Don't feel like you have to wait until spring to wear bright colors. They will help boost your mood and add a bit of pep into your wardrobe. 
  5. Get rid of stuff. Go through your house and get rid of things you don't need, use or love. This act of making room for spring will get you in the right frame of mind for a new awakening. Make sure you donate and/or recycle the things you can. You'll feel good about the extra space and giving to those in need. 
  6. Embrace the cold. Make an effort to go outside to take in the crisp air and get a bit of sunshine. The vitamin D is good for you, plus you can take in nature’s splendor. 
  7. Do something you've been putting off. Use this time to do something you've been procrastinating about. Frame pictures, knit a scarf, call an old friend to catch up. Pick one thing and tackle it! 
About Coach Colene: Colene is a dynamic trainer who offers an interactive and innovative approach to learning and development. She is a Success Coach who works with individuals and organizations that aspire to "Be More." Colene is also a human resources professional and certified mediator. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University and a Master’s degree Sullivan University. You can learn more about Coach Colene here

Which of these will you embrace to help beat your winter blues?

Bluegrass Junior Woman's Club Poinsettias for a Purpose

Today, HerKentucky welcomes blogger Jessica K. Peace-Urgelles. Jessica is a runner, photographer, news journalist, blogger, and advocate.  She is  also the mother to a rambunctious little boy name Gabriel and his faithful sidekick, a French Bulldog named Escobar.  Jessica has written for several publications including her blog, Blog of a Bluegrass BelleAsk Miss A, and most recently The Mountain Advocate newspaper. Following a personal tragedy, Jessica became a passionate advocate for several causes including domestic violence and poverty.  She is now a board member for Bluegrass Junior Woman's Club,and a General Federation of Women's Clubs Champion for the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life campaign. When she isn't mothering, writing, or advocating, she can generally be found with a camera in her hand at her business, Jessica Urgelles Photography.  Today, Jessica will be sharing the BJWC's Poinsettias for a Purpose campaign with us. Thanks so much to Jessica for reaching out to HerKentucky! -- HCW

Every year many families "deck the halls," but what if your seasonal decorations could help support charitable projects in your community?  Bluegrass Junior Woman's Club in conjunction with Pemberton's Nursery are offering poinsettias, fresh wreathes, and garland.  A large portion of the proceeds will go to the Bluegrass Junior Woman's Club and the many projects we conduct in the community.  Bluegrass Children's Fund, Santa's Shoppers, along with partnership organizations such as Bluegrass Domestic Violence (now known as Greenhouse 17), Ronald McDonald House of the Bluegrass, Hope Center, Children's Advocacy Center, and many more local agencies benefit from the hard work of Bluegrass Junior Woman's Club.  We are unable to fulfill all of our commitments without the support of our community.  We ask that you consider purchasing your live and fresh holiday decorations from BJWC this year. Poinsettias are $13 each.

 In addition to the poinsettias, we have several greenery options:

  • 22” Mixed Noble Fir w/ Cones Wreath - $24
  • 20” Boxwood Wreath - $26
  • 75 Feet of White Pine Roping - $35

  • Orders will be placed on Wednesday, November 20 so any order will need to be received on the evening
    Tuesday, November 19. Please contact bjwc@twc.com or me directly.

    Your generosity allows us o contribute to and continue our partnerships with many other non-profit organizations in the Lexington, Kentucky community. Have you satisfied all your holiday decorating needs? You can still help us. We are asking for Santa's Shoppers sponsorships.
    Federated in 1970, Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club (BJWC) is a non-profit organization made up of women who are committed to improving the quality of life for disadvantaged women, children, and families in central Kentucky through volunteerism and fundraising. During the 2011-12 club year, the BJWC donated over $16,800 and many volunteer hours to local charitable organizations such as the Children’s Advocacy Center, Ronald McDonald House, and the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program.  Our hallmark project is Santa's Shoppers. The event aims to help selected children and their families have a happier holiday season. We generally have the privilege of shopping for approximately 25 students. BJWC purchases gifts for each participating child.  These are wrapped prior the event and handed out by Santa Claus. The children are allowed to shop for a new coat, shoes or boots, hats and gloves, pajamas, socks and underwear. The children are then allowed to purchase small gifts for each member of their household. The children are sent home with their new winter necessities, gifts, and a large box of grocery items. It is a very successul event due to a collaborative effort among the event chairs, membership, prospective members, volunteers, and school staff. We are each reminded of how truly blessed we are during the holiday season, and our club couldn't pull off the event without our fundraising efforts and generous donations from members of the community.

    Bluegrass Juniors cordially invites anyone interested in learning about membership to contact the club or to attend one of our meetings.  The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, November 19th at 7pm at the Beaumont Centre Clubhouse in Lexington, Kentucky. We really enjoy guests, so always feel welcome to attend! Feel free to visit us on the web, Twitter, or Facebook!

    Strawberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze: a Guest Post from Picture Perfect Cooking

    It's so fun to find new ways to enjoy Kentucky's harvest of  fruits and vegetables. Today, Tammi Davis, of the Kentucky-based blog Picture Perfect Cooking, is sharing a lovely-looking cake that displays fresh summer strawberries. You can follow Tammi on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and  Bloglovin'. -- HCW

    Strawberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze

    I come from a long line of gardeners and even though I know I am not the most talented gardener, I love to do it.  I will even grow things I don't like to eat just for the joy of growing them.  My Nanny (maternal grandmother) and my mom instilled a love of growing things in me that persists to this day.  Nanny remembers her aunts using empty coffee cans for flower pots because nobody could afford real pots at that time.  I am so lucky and blessed to still have Nanny in my life and she still gardens and raises chickens just like always.  I never run out of fresh eggs!

    My husband and I have two raised garden beds and a small strawberry patch at our home and we enjoy every bite that comes out of that space, especially the strawberries!  The plants produce enough for us to eat, but I usually get some more to freeze from a local grower who also happens to be an acquaintance of ours.  Here is a shot of those beautiful berries from a couple of months ago:

     When I got the opportunity to guest post at HerKentucky, I really wanted to use local ingredients in the dish.  You can’t get much more local than strawberries that grew a couple of miles from your house and eggs fresh from your grandmother’s farm, can you? This cake has a delicious flavor with a moist texture that is highlighted by the sweet tart of lemon glaze.  The recipe originated from Tide and Thyme and I found it on Pinterest.

    Strawberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze

    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, divided
    • ½ tsp. baking soda
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • 8 oz. plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
    • 1/3 cup buttermilk 
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
    • 12 oz. sliced strawberries (thawed frozen berries or fresh will work) 
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
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    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees the grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.  Sift together 2 ¼ cups flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest.

    Cream the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, and then stir in 1 tbsp. lemon juice.  Alternate adding the flour and yogurt, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. ;Add the buttermilk and vanilla.  Mix until combined. 

    If you are using frozen strawberries, drain as much of the juice off as possible and toss with the remaining ¼ cup flour. Add them to the batter and gently combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.]

    Cool for 10 minutes in the pan then turn out on to your cake plate to cool completely.  To prepare the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar into the remaining lemon juice.  When the cake has cooled, slice and drizzle with the glaze.

    PinkLouLou and American Blogger

    I was so excited when our friend Allison from PinkLouLou announced that she was going to be interviewed for the American Blogger documentary. Who better to represent Lexington than a sweet, sassy and gorgeous Kentucky girl like Allison?  Today, she tells us all about the filming experience! -- HCW 

    Hello HerKentucky readers! Allison, from PinkLouLou here again, thanks for having me back! I am so excited to tell you all about a really special project that I was so luck to be a part of this past weekend.
    About two months ago, I got an email from filmmaker Chris Wiegand {the super cute and talented hubby of Miss Casey Leigh.

    Chris is an incredible filmmaker. He won many awards at last year's 168 film festival, and has since started his own production company. His latest project which you can read more about here on Casey's blog, is a documentary on… you guessed it, bloggers!!

    To say I was humbled when asked to be a part of this, is an understatement. I was completely touched that somehow, little me was asked to be part of something so big. Chris is currently traveling the country filming and documenting stories of various bloggers along the way.
    This is from Chris, explaining a little more about his vision:
    What started this whole film idea for me was how my wife loves to blog/instagram so much and she is always meeting new people and, in most cases, really (sincerely) connecting with people around the country (and world). I was really more interested to dig deeper into all this blogging/instagram/twittter world and one, help people understand how cool it is to have an area on the internet that is all yours. And two, I hope to sort-of take a visual snapshot of this time in history when all these instagrammers/bloggers are able to put something out there into the world and really shape culture (in a positive way). An example of a visual element (besides the interviews and actual stories) - Imagine a woman sitting in a skyscraper apartment in NY and she reaches in her pocket and grabs a phone, takes a pic of the city below and uploads it. Then imaging another, sitting on a porch  looking at the mountains, grabs their phone, takes a pic, and uploads it. This is so visually beautiful because they are both doing the exact same thing from two completely different worlds and perspectives. I think this is important to show the differences and similarities!!! I truly think this will be a emotional movie as well as a big hit.
    Oh yeah, and Chris is traveling around in THIS.

    How cool is that?? He renovated this 70s airstream and has been packing it all over America. It was so surreal to see it this past weekend in front of MY house!!

    When I found out Chris was coming to Lexington, I was eager to plan the perfect weekend to show him a little more about this little town that I love so much.
    Along with his gorgeous and talented wife, Chris also has three little angel babies. So of course I had to get them all a little something from Kentucky! Hope the kiddos like their little horses!!
    I had a glass of wine before he got here. I was a little nervous. HA! But the moment I met him I realized that I had nothing to be nervous about, he is so cool and laid back-it was just like talking to someone you have known forever!
    Apparently I really thought we needed some fresh flowers in the house, because I put some everywhere, lol. And I have now decided they shall stay always. ;)

     (my cute little momma came over in her pink skinnies!)
    Here are some behind the scenes shots of filming in my home.

    I also took him out to Keeneland to give him a really good dose of what Kentucky is all about. We drove back through the horse farms, etc., and it was really cool seeing his reaction to all of the things that we Lexington natives take for granted. 

    After seeing some of Lexington, some of my girlfriends and I took Chris downtown for dinner, and on the way to the restaurant we saw this double rainbow. It was honestly one of the coolest things I have ever seen... it was huge! I had never seen one like it. It feels like it has been raining in Lexington for weeks, so to see the sun, and this beautiful rainbow, was just breathtaking. And luckily we had this awesome photographer guy to capture it ;)
    AND, to put the icing on the cake to a fabulous weekend,Sunday morning we went on WKYT to promote American Blogger! I am so happy that it worked out, and that Chris got to have such a cool opportunity and experience!

    You can watch the interview;here!

    I am just so overwhelmed, and so honored to have been asked to be a a small part of this big adventure. So so humbled and blessed! Chris is honestly one of the most genuine and interesting people I have ever met, and I am so lucky to have met him, and to have gotten to know his family a little bit more. He is super determined, and I cannot wait to see where American Blogger takes him. So happy and thankful to have been even a teeny tiny part of it. Thank you Chris for allowing me to show you a bit of Lexington, and my life here.

    Hope you all enjoyed my little portion of the American Blogger story. Make sure you follow along with Chris (@chriswiegand) and Casey (@caseyleighwiegand) on instagram to keep up with the journey and the other amazing ladies he is profiling. I'll be sure to keep you posted on when/where/how this film will be available. 

    June 1, 1980 -- A Guest Post by Allison Johnson of PinkLouLou

    Do y'all read our friend Allison's blog, PinkLouLou? It's your daily dose of over-the-top pink decor, pugs, big hair, and all things Carrie Underwood. Allison, a Lexington native and UK alumna, was kind enough to share this adorable story about her parents' wedding. Somehow, their story of what may be the worst wedding day ever seems unique and precious. Thank you so much for sharing this sweet story, Allison! -- HCW

    June is often thought of as wedding month, and since we are in wedding season I thought I would share a tragic, but very very sweet story. This story is about my sweet parents, who just celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. (They dated 7 years before they got married, mom would kill me if I left that out!) Anyways… My mom was oldest of 5, and grew up very privileged with nannies, and housekeepers and the whole nine yards. She grew up in a beautiful home, but always felt just very different from her brothers and sisters. She was interested in music, and saving baby birds etc. (ha!) and not at all into the froo-froo-ness of a wedding. She didn't want a diamond engagement ring (pause.. Insert gasp here) she just wanted to be with my dad. Dad had a break in between Med-school and his residency and I quote, mom said "I think this might be a good time to get married." and that was it.

    The wedding was planned for June 1 (I feel positive my Nana was involved in this!) My mom had insisted on making her own wedding dress (which was beautiful, might I add) and everyone came home to Pikeville, KY for the wedding weekend. Wedding was planned for Sunday, and that Friday evening before the wedding, their neighbors were having a dinner for the wedding party etc. My mom remembers not feeling well, and wanting to stay home and nap, but of course no one in there right mind was gonna let the Bride get away with that, ha. 

    And then, it happened. Not sure exactly who discovered it, but my grandparents' house, that my mom and her siblings had grown up in, was on fire. There is still debate about the cause-I have heard many things over the years (you know how stories seem to change with time). Everyone ran next door and watched my grandparents' home burn to the ground. The city fire department would not come, as my grandparents' house was a few miles out of the city limits- so there was nothing to do but stand there, and watch all of their memories go up in smoke. My mom's wedding dress was inside. My Aunt Lucy was home from college, and all of her things were inside. All of the baby books, pictures, childhood memories that meant so much to my family- were inside. My mom's suitcase that she had excitedly packed for her honeymoon was inside. The family Boxer, Oscar, was inside. My mom tells me she remembers watching her brothers try and throw the iron pool chairs through the sliding glass doors to save the dog, but they wouldn’t break. The rest of that day, and the days to follow were a huge blur. My mom says she hardly remembers her wedding. The entire family had to go to Dawahares, who opened their doors especially for them early Saturday, to buy new clothes for the wedding, and my parents honeymoon. I know you are thinking, WHY in the world did they not postpone the wedding?? Well in all seriousness I think it is because my Nana was scared my parents would never actually get married if they did that, HA! ;) so they went on as scheduled. My parents left the next day for the Virgin Islands, and wouldn't you know the airlines LOST all of their luggage, so they had to go by brand new clothes all over again once on their honeymoon. Yep… serious. Icing on the cake right? 

    This next little thing I have to share, is my favorite part of the story, and I know could only be orchestrated by God. While my parents were gone on their honeymoon, the rest of the family spent time going through the ashes of the house. Guess what they found. A small little box. The fuzz on the outside was all melted away, and the hinge had broken. It was the ring box holding my dad's wedding band that my mom had gotten for him. The ring was inside, untouched, and untarnished. Just sitting there perfectly. To this day this little charred box sits on my mom's dresser in her closet, with the ring inside. Is that not the sweetest thing you have ever heard?

    Another sweet little tidbit? After my mom got home from her honeymoon, she re-made her wedding dress that she lost in the fire. My sissies and I all plan to wear this dress on our rehearsal dinner nights, just the way she made it. (we might have to add some fabric... we aren't exactly 95 pounds, HA) Isn't it just beautiful and timeless? 

     Not sure what possessed Aunt Liz and Cam to pose for a pic in front of the remains? 'Awkward family photo' for sure, right? ha ha 

    Sweet parents :)

    My teeny tiny adorable momma!

    And last but not least, meet Imogene. I am pretty sure I got my poofin' skills from my g-ma. I mean look at that volume!

     I guess things worked out alright, because my parents have been together for 40, (married for 33) years, and have a wonderful marriage. They had us three girls, and I bet if you asked them, they would tell you that life has been pretty good. :) Some people have the perfect storybook wedding, and unfortunately don't make it. It really is about so much more than the "wedding." My parents had all they needed, and still do. Each other, and love. Love you mom and dad!