Best Dog-Friendly Places in Lexington

So I'm definitely one of those crazy dog people. Since moving into our new house about 6 months ago, I can't tell you how many neighbors start a conversation with something like, "I see you with your dog all the time." Yep, that's me! I'm always walking to the park or heading to meet a friend with Annabelle in tow.

 Heading to an outdoor concert downtown. Annabelle carries her own water and treats in her Outward Hound pack. 

Heading to an outdoor concert downtown. Annabelle carries her own water and treats in her Outward Hound pack. 

Especially when the weather is nice, we love taking Annabelle with us to outdoor events or just to dinner. We're fortunate that she's mostly well-behaved and gets along with people and other dogs. During spring, summer, and early fall, we almost always try to eat outdoors, so we always keep an eye out for good patios that we can enjoy. If the weather is less ideal, we typically head to a brewery since most of them in town are dog-friendly and serve food.

Favorite Patios: 

Favorite Breweries:

We obviously don't take Annabelle shopping very often, but she will ride along with us to our local pet shop, hardware store, and plant nursery. I found this list of national stores that allow pets, and the last time I was in the Container Store, I purchased a dog product and was informed by an employee that they are also dog-friendly. However, I'm not sure if Annabelle or I would enjoy if she tagged along to the Container Store or Pottery Barn. I'm pretty sure I'd be tugging her away from breakables the entire time.

Annabelle's favorite store is Chevy Chase Hardware. The store employees always give her treats and pets! We obviously don't take her shopping with us very often, but she frequently rides along with us to the hardware store or local plant nurseries. 

Where are your favorite places to bring your dog?

 
 

 

 

How to Get into the Derby Mood

If you live in Louisville or have spent time there during the first week of May, you know that the Kentucky Derby is more than just a sporting event. It's a bona fide holiday, and celebrations rival those of Christmas and the Fourth of July. Kids are out of school on Friday before the race, and everyone is getting Derby-ready the better part of April and early May. People are celebrating at concerts on the waterfront, running the Derby mini-marathon, chowing down at the Chow Wagon (which still confuses me, what is a chow wagon??), or just participating in a number of other festival events

 Photo circa 2015, when we were in better shape and sporting coordinating headbands at the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon. 

Photo circa 2015, when we were in better shape and sporting coordinating headbands at the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon. 

For those of us living outside of Louisville, it takes a bit more creativity to celebrate Derby week. Here's my plan for making the most of the next few pre-Derby days!!

1. Pick up some Kentucky Derby-themed snacks!

 
 

I stopped at Thornton's while running errands to grab a quick pick-me-up, and the bourbon vanilla latte did just the trick! They also had bourbon ball donuts and Johnsonville bourbon BBQ sausages, which would be festive treats to pick up if you're driving out and about this weekend! They'll have these offerings for the month of May.

2. Use Kentucky and equestrian-themed drinkware and dishes.

3. Pick up some red roses for the kitchen counter. Read more about the history of the garland of roses here!

 
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image via

 

4. Have fun outfit planning for the weekend festivities! Check out our top picks!

Cheers to Derby Week! How are you celebrating?

 
 

Saturday Night with Coopers' Craft

Just in time for Kentucky's spring horse racing season, we received a bottle of Brown-Forman's newest bourbon to try - Coopers' Craft! You may recognize some of their other bourbons, such as Jack Daniel's or Woodford Reserve, and they also make one of my favorite additions to champagne, Chambord.

Since I'm from Kentucky, I'd really like to say that I LOVE bourbon and drink it straight, but that isn't the case. I've tasted lots of bourbon and thanks to a number of distillery visits, know a fair amount about it, but I can't say it's my drink of choice. I'll have a handful of bourbon cocktails during the year at Keeneland or at Derby parties, so I prefer lighter bourbons that are easy to mix.

On Saturday night, we cracked open the bottle and invited some friends over to make cocktails, which was really fun! We had lots of snacks and a few mixers on hand (our favorite mixer with bourbon is Ale-8-One), and everyone went to town making their own cocktails. The highlights were the fun blackberry bourbon smash, classic Manhattan, and simple bourbon and ginger.

The consensus was that it is a great mixer. The experienced bourbon drinkers in our group agreed that they probably wouldn't reach for it if they were just having a bourbon neat or on the rocks, and I would use something a little more distinctive if I needed bourbon for a recipe. It is definitely a sweeter and lighter bourbon, which is just what I prefer in mixed drinks. In fact it is so easy to drink in a cocktail, you'd need to be careful not to overdo it!

Coopers' Cup is a mid-priced bottle (about $25-30), and you can find it in Kentucky and a handful of other Southern states right now. Coopers' Craft has also partnered with the Atlanta Braves this season with a bourbon bar inside of SunTrust Park, so you can stop by for a drink if you're at a Braves game this season. I plan to use it again this spring in a batch of bourbon punch for the Derby!

 
 

Central Kentucky Bucket List: Fall Edition

It's been a little nippy when I've taken Annabelle for her early morning walk the past few days, and even though the temperature is still rising to the 70s and 80s every afternoon, a small taste of fall is in the air. Like most 20-something girls, Sarah and I are excited for the upcoming season and all of the fun Instagram-worthy activities it brings.

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image via

While autumn tends to be blissful anywhere, Central Kentucky is especially beautiful during this season. Here are the 15 activities I want to tackle before Thanksgiving.

  1. Tailgate and watch the horse races at Keeneland
  2. Go hiking at Red River Gorge
  3. Convince Jay to have a fall photo shoot with me
  4. Pick pumpkins at Evan's Orchard
  5. Bake pumpkin everything: pie, bread, and cake
  6. Run a road race
  7. Tailgate at a home UK football game
  8. Visit a cider mill
  9. Take a bike ride through the horse farms
  10. Decorate the porch with mums and pumpkins
  11. Visit the St. James Art Fair
  12. Enjoy some bourbon and the scenery at Woodford Reserve
  13. Wander the pumpkin maze at Cherokee Park
  14. Have a picnic at Ashland when the Ginko leaves on Catalpa Road turn bright yellow
  15. Enjoy a #basic Saturday morning - blanket scarf, boots, PSL, etc.

What's on your bucket list this fall?

 
 

Federal Grove

This past weekend, I spent some time in Bowling Green. Maybe it is because I don't make it back there as often as I would like or the fact that it is growing insanely fast, but there is always a new place to check out when I'm there. While I love my mom's home cooking (really, there is nothing better than your favorite meal made by your mom), it is fun to try new restaurants when I'm in town.

 
 It is nearly impossible to get a winning picture when my dad is behind the camera lens (read: he is dancing while taking this, so the picture is blurry, crooked, and off-center), but this is pretty much real life. 

It is nearly impossible to get a winning picture when my dad is behind the camera lens (read: he is dancing while taking this, so the picture is blurry, crooked, and off-center), but this is pretty much real life. 

 

One of my parents' favorite "new-to-them" places is Federal Grove. With 6:30 reservations, we left Bowling Green around 6:00 for a leisurely scenic drive to Auburn, KY. We arrived early, and I loved the opportunity to wander the grounds for a few minutes before our table was ready. Federal Grove is a beautiful historic home situated among South Central Kentucky farmland, and the views didn't disappoint. 

 
 

The restaurant boasts Kentucky and Southern eats served family-style, and there was no shortage of food, to say the least. We started with cornbread, sliced tomatoes, and cole-slaw before the main dinner was served. Dinner consisted of fried chicken, catfish, country ham, green beans, baked apples, ranch potatoes, and squash. Because I wanted to save room for dessert, I skipped the country ham, cole-slaw, and potatoes. However, when my fudge pie arrived, I could only take a couple bites before I had to request a to-go box. 

If you've been to Monell's in Nashville, you'll be able to relate to the sheer volume of food, and it honestly stressed me out a little bit. The stress subsided once our server stopped delivering more dishes, and I enjoyed everything I tried. I appreciated the fact that there were more simple but flavorful vegetables than casseroles, which is what many Southern kitchens serve. Their menu changes frequently based on the seasons, and you can always find their menu on their Facebook page

 
 I failed to capture any pictures of dinner, but here I am after eating two servings of summer squash waiting for pie. Every room is decorated with a different theme, and I think we were in the "country casual" room, which suited me just fine.

I failed to capture any pictures of dinner, but here I am after eating two servings of summer squash waiting for pie. Every room is decorated with a different theme, and I think we were in the "country casual" room, which suited me just fine.

 

I'm sure I'll be back again. There were families, dates, groups of friends, and all types of people enjoying the restaurant. If you're in Bowling Green and hungry, I recommend taking the 20 minute drive to check out this gem in Auburn!