Central Kentucky Daytrips

February is my least favorite month of the year, and usually the only nice thing I can say about it is at least it is the shortest month of the year. However, this year, Jay and I planned a few fun day trips, so those cold weeks were a little more bearable.

The view from a backroad en route to Loretto, Kentucky. 

The view from a backroad en route to Loretto, Kentucky. 

The first getaway we took was technically overnight, but we normally just spend an afternoon there. We headed to Shaker Village, which is one of my favorite spots in Central Kentucky. While it is only about 30-45 minutes from Lexington, it feels distinctly different. One of my favorite things to do there is just walk around and soak in the simplicity of the structures against the vast rolling Central Kentucky hills.

While there is a decent amount to see in the village, I prefer to go for events and wander around before or after the event. Unless you have a fascination of Shaker history or really like museums, there’s only so much you can look at before it all starts looking the same, or maybe that’s just me. I’d say a couple hours is enough time to fully explore the village. However, Shaker Village has lots of great events throughout the year. We went for the Bee My Honey brunch, which was one of their Fresh Food Adventures and featured honey dishes paired with Old Forester bourbon cocktails. The Christmas Tea is always one of my favorite holiday events, and Jay and I have already talked about heading back for the Well Crafted Brews and Bands Festival and a day hike with Annabelle. 


The second getaway we took was to the happening town of Loretto, KY. Unless you’ve been to the Maker's Mark Distillery, you probably haven’t heard of it. We headed to the distillery because Jay’s ambassador barrel was ready. Maker’s Mark has an ambassador program that is free to join, and when you join, they engrave your name into a bourbon barrel and when your barrel is ready, you can pick up a specially labeled bottle of bourbon from your barrel. There are a few other perks that come with it too, such as invitations to special events.

Anyways, we headed to the distillery to pick up a couple of bottles from Jay’s barrel. We took a wrong turn and ended up driving the last few miles on a one lane gravel road, but the views were spectacular. I’ve been on several distillery tours, and many take a more general approach to the bourbon making process. I found that this distillery tour was much more focused on the specifics of Maker's Mark. My favorite part of the tour was seeing the Dale Chihuly glass ceiling juxtaposed against the rustic bourbon barrels. It is always fun to go to a distillery because it just feels so Kentucky. 

It's always nice to get away and disconnect, even if just for an afternoon. 

 
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Giveaway with Rachel's Clay

Pardon us for the hiatus, but as of today, Kindly Kentucky is officially back and in action! We are so excited to welcome you to our new and greatly improved website. We will give you the low-down on all of our changes soon, but today is about celebrating our re-launch, and what better way to celebrate than with our first ever giveaway? As you may have already guessed by our name, we've got some serious love for the Bluegrass state and all of the unique things it has to offer. Today we are honoring one of our favorite artists and product of the Bluegrass state herself, Rachel Child. Rachel of Rachel's Clay is a young mama hailing from NKY who specializes in handmade ceramics. She throws, trims, decorates, and glazes in her in-home studio in St. Augustine, Florida. 

 
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Rachel's work is inspired by clean, minimal lines, while highlighting imperfections and the handmade touch. As said by Rachel herself, her "pots are meant to fit seamlessly into the home and the daily rituals, traditions, and celebrations that fill it."

 
 
 
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Today, we are giving away this beautiful mug handmade by Rachel, and it is screaming to be your new vessel for some morning java or, let's face it...maybe a little bit of wine. To win, follow both @kindlykentucky and @rachelsclay on Instagram (hint: @kindlykentucky is now on our right sidebar!), and repost your favorite @rachelsclay photo. Tag both Kindly Kentucky and Rachel's Clay to be entered into the drawing! Repost your photos before midnight on Thursday, and we will announce the winner on our Friday Favorites post this week.

While you're at it, be sure to drop by Rachel's Clay on Etsy to snag your next hostess gift (or gift for yourself)!

 
 
 
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Kentucky Running

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I ran my first 5K when I was 17 and my first half marathon when I was 20. Since then, I’ve run a handful of 5 and 10K's and one or two half marathons a year - nothing too crazy - and I certainly haven't ventured into full marathon territory. Around this time every year, I start slacking on my fitness. I'm over the cold temperatures and my new year's resolutions have worn off. However, I usually try to combat this lack of motivation by signing up for an upcoming race since it essentially forces me to stay in shape. If you're in the same rut, I recommend signing up for something like a race or an intramural event because it definitely makes you think twice before hitting snooze or driving past the gym on your way home from work.

I've listed my favorite Kentucky races, and I love them all for different reasons. If you're looking for a running buddy or want to sign up for a race, let me know! It's always better to have a friend there for motivation.

Favorite 5K Races:

November 24: The Great Turkey 5K, Bowling Green

November TBA: Girls on the Run 5K, Lexington

Favorite 10K Race:

October TBA: Medical Center 10K Classic, Bowling Green

Favorite Half Marathons:

April 2: Run the Bluegrass (shorter options available), Lexington

April 30: Derby Festival Mini-Marathon, Louisville

October 16: Iron Horse Half Marathon, Midway

 
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I'm ready to try some new races. Here are the ones on my radar for 2016!

April 16: (Un)Pleasant Hill Trail Runs, varying lengths, Shaker Village

August 13: Midsummer Nights Run 5K, Lexington

September 17: Railrunner 10 Miler, Nicholasville

Because that was a semi-boring post, I'll share a humorous little backstory about my first half marathon...

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The race itself is only notable since it was my first one, and it had some big hills, which are no longer part of the course. However, the pre-race details stick out the most. For starters, neither Alex nor I were really familiar with Louisville at the time, so we stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of town. When we checked it, I was really excited to learn that the hotel had free (aka really cheap) drinks and appetizers. It was a month away from my 21st birthday, so I felt pretty fancy drinking a glass of the white zinfandel out of a plastic cup. Alex was already 21, and I think she was smart enough to not partake. After our wine and cheese, we lounged by the hotel pool with the sound of interstate traffic drowning out our gossipy conversation. The hotel's policy was that an employee had supervise the pool area whenever it was occupied. Since it was late April, we weren’t in our bathing suits and weren’t even thinking of getting in the pool. Nevertheless, a pimply teenage employee sat out there to monitor us until we left to carb-load at a pasta dinner. While the evening wasn't too crazy, I laugh every time I think about how slick I thought I was drinking cheap wine. If I drank that now on a night before running, I would probably be seriously sick during the race. Oh, to have the liver of a college student...

Since this was my first half marathon, I took training really seriously. I followed one of the training plans from Hal Higdon, and I found it to be a really great starting place. Now, I’m lucky if I get two or three 10+ mile runs in before I run a race. I just try to consistently run about five days a week in the months preceding the race.

Cheers and happy running!

Laura

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day in elementary school was just the best! I loved picking out my box of Valentine cards, carefully tearing down the perforated lines of the card stock, selecting which card I would give to my closest friends and secret crush, and taping a piece of chocolate on each one. I loved decorating my shoe box that would become my Valentine mailbox and making crafts out of pink and red construction paper and doilies. I loved looking through all of my cards during my afternoon ride home on the school bus. Seriously, it was one of the best days of the year! Then middle school happened, and Valentine's Day became one of my least favorite days. It became a stressful holiday where I had to think about romance or worse - the lack of romance in my life, depending on the year. Although I've been fortunate enough to have the BEST Valentine the past few years, it still stresses me out. Candlelight dining and the pressure to make the evening feel special is just too much for me.

Around this time every year, Jay and I hesitantly look at each other and agree to not exchange gifts. Inevitably, he'll surprise me with flowers, and I'll make him a sweet treat. We'll decide to do something together because that is way more fun than receiving heart-shaped jewelry. A couple of years ago, I happened to be in San Antonio for a work event that ended on Friday, so Jay flew up and joined me for the rest of the Valentine's weekend. We rode bikes to missions along the river, ate well, and enjoyed the 75 degree weather. It was the best!

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This year, we have less time to get away and are planning a longer trip for later in the year, so we're heading to one of my favorite places in Central Kentucky - Shaker Village! We are spending the night, going to brunch, and if the weather cooperates, hiking and exploring the village in the afternoon. It should be just long enough to feel like a mini-getaway.

If you haven't been to Shaker Village recently, it has seriously gotten cool. There are so many events I want to go to in the next few months, from beer and bourbon tastings to concerts to yoga and paddle boarding. We're heading to the Bee My Honey Brunch, which couldn't be more perfect for us with brunch fare, honey, and bourbon.

One thing that I do like to do on Valentine's Day is have a festive outfit. Since it falls in the middle of winter, little red dresses and pink skirts are out of the question in Kentucky. Because we're having a casual Valentine's Day, I'm all about being comfortable and wearing practical clothing. Here's what I'll be packing for our weekend...

Sweater    Blouse    Jeans    Nail Polish    Bracelet    Flats

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Valentine's Day! Some people love the romance and others prefer to pass on celebrating. What will you be up to?

Cheers!

Laura

Weekend Roundup: Winchester Wedding

I just got back from a wedding weekend in Winchester, KY for my close college friend, Logan, and her new husband, Spencer. Although I’m only 23, several of my close friends are married. Talk about a reality check! This was my fourth time being a bridesmaid, and my seventh time playing a role in a wedding in general. *cue Katherine Heigl from 27 Dresses* All that aside, I can honestly say that this particular wedding was one of the prettiest I have attended. Logan was brave by having an outdoor wedding in November, but once I saw the venue, I immediately knew why. She was married on a bison ranch comprised of the tell-tale rolling hills of Central Kentucky. Being late fall, the trees were showing off their last few days of bright orange and yellow leaves. Of course I forgot to snap a pic of the breathtaking landscape (beginner blogger probs), but you can catch a glimpse below behind me and my forever wedding date/boyfriend, Ryan.

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While I'm lucky that my friends have done a great job picking out bridesmaid dresses in the past, this can definitely be a point of stress as a bridesmaid. Let's be real -- there is no dress out there that can universally fit all body types, and I definitely don't want to be wearing one that showcases the two bags of Halloween candy I bought on sale last week. One of the best parts about Logan's wedding was that she let us buy any dress we wanted as long as it fit in the wedding scheme. Seriously -- best decision ever.

I got my dress from Ann Taylor. Who knew that Ann Taylor carries a wedding collection?! It was the perfect floor length, blush colored dress for the occassion.

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Where is your favorite place to look for formal dresses?

Cheers!

Sarah