Friday, April 3, 2009

Basketball, Bluegrass & Bourbon

Strange combination, but let me explain. All of them make Lexington, Kentucky the unique place that it is!

First there is our love for basketball. Most of you know that I'm a huge football fan, from Little League to High School to College to the NFL, I love (and follow) all of it! What I don't often talk about, but is equally dear to my heart, is Kentucky basketball. I don't follow any other team (did not watch March Madness since we missed the NCAA tourney) from college or pros, but I do love our Kentucky basketball. Yes, it's basically a religion here. Yes, people definitely need to find other things to do and obsess about. But, when we got our new coach this week, I admit to being equally obsessed. I already love Coach Calipari (he was actually the Coach I wanted the last time we had a coaching change)! You may ask yourself, who cares-for goodness sakes, it's just basketball! But, again think basketball=religion and you'll understand why I care!

Kentucky basketball is: No. 1 in all-time wins (1,985), No. 1 in NCAA tournament appearances (50), No. 1 in NCAA tournament games (145), No. 1 in NCAA tournament wins (100), No. 1 in Associated Press poll No. 1 finishes (8) and No. 1 in SEC titles (43), winning more than the other 11 SEC teams combined. Finally, there are also those (7) national championships and (13) Final Four appearances. We pack 24,000+ fans every winter into our beloved Rupp Arena!! Below is a snapshot of a very devoted Wildcats fan, Ashley Judd.

Next, there is the beautiful Bluegrass state. I have traveled around the U.S. quite a bit and have lived in Naples, Florida previously (which I did love). However, I remember getting tears in my eyes when the plane would touch down in Lexington while I still lived in Florida. It is the one of most beautiful places to fly into. You come in over horse farms and our famous horse racing track, Keeneland. Gorgeous green grass (not blue-lol) with beautiful white fences, it is known as the horse capital of the world. We have horse racing in Lexington only 6 weeks out of the year. Of those, 3 weeks of racing occur in April and 3 weeks occur in October. So, we are very limited in our "live" racing fun here. Spring season starts today and will run through April 24. Steve and I plan on heading to the track this weekend. Always fun! I wish I had some of my old Derby pics in hats and fancy dresses, etc on this computer, but I don't and I'm lazy and I'm pregnant. So, I'll just load an older pic of some of my nieces and nephews and step-daughter from a Fall day at the track.

And, there is a family pic from this same day at the track of Steve, Maggie, and me. Not one of our best, but a pic just the same.

Finally, here are some "true" bluegrass pics, from the horses we adore to the local farms where they reside...

Finally, bourbon. Kentucky is the bourbon whiskey capital of the world. 95% of all bourbon is made here in Kentucky. It's an acquired taste, but one that I find pretty yummy. You can put it in recipes, mix it with cola or water, or drink it on the rocks. I've done all of the above and tend to stick to recipes and Diet Coke mixes. In case you're wanting to try bourbon sometime, I'll make a few suggestions. The best selling of bourbon in the world? Jim Beam. The best mixing with cola bourbon? Maker's Mark. Reasonably priced and tastes great with Diet Coke. I should mention that I'm a Maker's Mark Ambassador and that I've had a barrel named in my honor. Just for the record, I did not have to drink any specific amount to become an ambassador...However, the bourbon I prefer to drink? Woodford Reserve. I drink it with Diet Coke, but get made fun of for ruining good bourbon by mixing it with cola from hard core bourbon drinkers . LOVE IT! Other fantastic bourbons to try if you get a chance (they are all small batch bourbons, so not easily found): Basil Hayden, Booker's, Knob Creek, and Blanton's.

If you want to try a good bourbon mixed drink, the mint julep is the most famous (think similar to a mojito). It's the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. Also, bourbon martinis are delicious. Steve and I had these Kentucky martinis as our "signature drink" at our wedding. I would post the recipe if I could remember it, but can't find it!

Hope you enjoyed my Kentucky "love" post! I just thought I'd share my adoration with you!


Jen said...

Beautiful photos. :) I lived very close to Owensboro for awhile - KY is very pretty.
Congrats on such a great over 20 week pg milestone.
And I'm so glad I found your new blog!

Jill M. said...

I'm a KY neighbor here in TN. Hello up there! I've been to Lexington for a horse race. It was very cool.

Hope you're enjoying every minute of pair-adise! =)

Emily said...

Beautiful pics and an informative post too :)
Steve so fits the clubhouse part in his sport coat!
I have never tried Bourbon, maybe in a year or so ;)

Lost in Space said...

Bring on that bourbon.... (-;

I have only driven through Kentucky on a "road trip" with my college roomie and remember it being beautiful. Glad you enjoy and are proud of your state's history.

Sky said...

Love the pics! Your step-daughter is such a cutie pie - you're incredibly lucky!

And I love the belly - it's getting there.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

Mmm...bourbon. And we have a friend who hosts a Kentucky Derby party every year. It is fun!

ashley said...

Wow, learned a lot about Kentucky. Lots of nice pics. And I swear I feel this little chica in my ribs too because they always hurt and I have a lot of trouble breathing, but alas, she's still sitting pretty low. Can't imagine what it would be like with two in there.

Leah said...

My in-laws live in Lexington and it is gorgeous! We may move there one day. Next time I'm there maybe we can meet!! Glad the babies are doing well!! Oh, and mommy too!

Penny said...

Kentucky does have its beauty, as does other parts of the midwest where I lived. I do miss the endless rolling farm hills.

Mmmm, bourbon.

Lorrie said...

Hey Jill,

Glad I found you again! One day I just clicked on your old blog name and you were gone!! I got caught up on your last few posts, and am glad to hear the pregnancy is going well. Great new name, BTW!

JP said...

The new name is great! I agree with you that it is very fitting for you and what's to come! I'm so glad that I finally logged into my own blog so that I could find you again. The old name was certainly snagged very quickly!! Glad to hear that your pregnancy is passing uneventfully.