When it comes to personal blogs, it seems that there are two types of blog posts.
A) The ones when people’s lives look incredible
B) The ones when you feel sorry for them.
Example A: The SAHM posts a recipe for the incredible dinner she made last night that just happened to be gluten-free, nut-free, and organic, alongside pictures of her adorable children wearing clothes she made by hand while homeschooling them, with a Downton Abbey reference thrown in and a final picture of the flowers her gorgeous husband bought her “just because.”
Example B: The SAHM writes about the fact that she hasn’t slept in five weeks and has gained eight pounds just by looking at a Snickers bar and has to take a break from this blog post because her youngest child just pooped on the floor and where did Johnny go? but hopes to finish the eightieth load of laundry before lunch because she knows the child she just finished potty-training will probably wet the bed during her nap and why is the fire alarm going off? but maybe tomorrow she will get to take a shower if …
As a single gal, I fully recognize that I too can write either of those posts. I can either tell you about my fun social life or I can bemoan my singleness, the state of the world today, or the various chores, errands, and to-do list tasks that haven’t gotten finished because I work all day and come home to other things that need priority- and therefore am probably just eating cheese for dinner because that’s what in my refrigerator.
Let’s go with the first, shall we?
The Derby party that almost wasn’t
The Saturday of the Derby, I went to a lovely baby shower for my friend Lori and then headed back to town for the first Musician’s Corner of the summer. Musicians’ Corner is a fun free concert series in the shadow of the Parthenon. A group of us met up there in the afternoon and enjoyed the beautiful (very warm) spring day. It was a really fun, low-key afternoon with people coming and going, eating at food trucks, sweating, and listening to good music. Holly Williams was one of the artists — she turned my head when she announced, “My granddaddy wrote this song…” and then launched into a Hank Williams song. One of my friends wryly commented, “I think she’s going to make it in the business.”
We were planning on heading back to my friend Manda’s house to watch the Derby — we had the makings for mint juleps, Kentucky browns, and two Derby pies waiting for us. The last band to play was Jars of Clay, and we were enjoying their concert and I was losing track of time when I saw Manda packing up at the corner of my eye. I glanced at my watch. 5:20. Holy cow, we were going to miss the Derby.
We went into action, throwing all our stuff into bags and scattering our different ways towards our cars. My friend Matt called back, “Do you need anything!?” as he headed to his car. “Ice!” Manda called back, and we ran for mine.
I laughed the whole way to her house. We were throwing a Derby party and we were going to miss the Derby. Who does that!?
We ran into her house, I turned on the TV, we all put our hats on, KY Browns went into the oven, Matt arrived with the ice, and the Derby began. A few people did end up missing it, but they arrived in time for mint juleps, so it was all okay.
Birds and Brandy
That next Monday, Manda and I headed south of Nashville to hit up Hobby Lobby for our Steeplechase crafting. She needed a ribbon for her big hat and I needed some props to build my fascinator.
I love Hobby Lobby. It’s a good thing there isn’t one near my house.
I was persuaded not to get this for my head. Maybe next year.
(I hope you all are thinking what I’m thinking right now)
After shopping, we treated ourselves to a fantastic dinner at Gray’s on Main, the former-pharmacy turned brandy bar in downtown Franklin. Their menu is delightfully southern, while their cocktail menu honors the drink culture of the late 19th century, when the building was constructed.
fried green tomatoes with roasted creamy corn and goat cheese,
fried pimento cheese with moonshine pepper jelly, shrimp and grits on collards, and bacon-wrapped figs with goat cheese and a balsamic reduction
The cocktail menu features brandy, the drink of the late 19th century, and so we let our waiter choose the drink he thought we would like. After hearing what we usually drank, he advised us to try the White Mule, a play on the Moscow Mule. I loved it. I would drive to Franklin for it. It featured Delord Blanche Armagnac, a cognac that is sold nowhere else in the United States. Looks like I am going to have to drive to Franklin for it.
It’s all in the family
I hope I don’t sound like an alcoholic, but one of the other highlights of last week was a random Thursday afternoon bourbon tasting at one of the wine stores near my house. My friend Liza had seen on Twitter that Belle Meade Bourbon was doing a free tasting and featuring mint juleps. I convinced Manda to meet me there. We were going to pick up some things for Steeplechase, taste the Belle Meade Bourbon, and go on our merry way. I didn’t expect that the person giving the tastes would actually be one of the owners of the distillery, nor did I expect his story to be so fascinating. You can read more here, but basically two brothers discovered that their great-great-great grandfather had owned one of the three most notable distilleries in Tennessee (the other two being George Dickel and Jack Daniels, and he was far out-selling Jack Daniels). The distillery closed during Prohibition and had become family lore. The brothers decided to reopen the distillery a few years ago, a hundred years after it had closed.
I loved hearing his story and was fascinated by the history and the details of distilling. Kind of a random Thursday afternoon, but I’ll take it.
Am I in Italy?
My friend Mario turned the big 3-0 on Friday, so we all went out to DeSano’s, a local pizza place, to celebrate. Father had told me that it was the closest I would come to Italian pizza, but I’m a bit of a snob and a skeptic, so I had to taste it to believe it.
It was pretty darn delicious. The atmosphere was amazing — big communal tables, lots of noise and laughter, and a full view of the pizza-making process, complete with dough-tossing and audience participation. Father announced that it was Catholic, and it was true.
Mario even got to catch some dough… while wearing a birthday cake hat made of balloons. (the perks of having a balloon artist as a friend.)
The Social Event of the Spring
Last but certainly not least… the social event of the spring… Steeplechase. You can read all about the event in last year’s post, when I became enamored with how easy, fun, and classy the event was – for only $15. Of course, you also have to factor in the expense of your picnic and your fascinator. But who needs to buy a $80 fascinator from Macy’s when you can make your own!?
My friend Megan got a series of awesome texts like this a few nights before….
but with her help and Manda’s shopping guidance, I managed to pull of a fascinator that didn’t not cost $80, did not feature a bird, and still made a statement.
The finished product:
It even held up in the wind. Well, most of it. I had a bit of a casualty with the big feather in the back, but that just means it’ll be easier to change up and update for next year’s race!
Oh, Steeplechase, how I love you. I love your bow ties and your seersucker and your picnics and your horses. I love the thrill of the race and the laziness of the afternoon.
The rain even held off, which seems to be a theme when it comes to the second Saturday in May.