The "greatest two minutes in sports" has a much longer lead-up here in Louisville, and I love kicking off Derby season with a favorite treat from a Louisville institution, Plehn's Bakery. Their famous horse cookies helped me through the long hours in the studio prepping jewelry for our many trunk shows, pop-ups, and orders for race-ready fun!
Our Pop-Up Shops at Oxmoor Center were a ton of fun, and I loved our shop neighbor with the most fantastically floral fascinators, Tiffany of Darling Handmades. (I even ended up wearing one for a bit on Thursday of Derby week, affectionately (kinda) known as Thurby these days.)
A sweet friend surprised me and a group of girlfriends with a Derby-week visit to the Backside at Churchill Downs on a beautiful spring morning, which is a super-special opportunity to see the stables and horses and all of the behind-the-scenes effort it takes to make the races happen. We had breakfast, sipped coffee, watched the horses have their baths, and then joined trainers, jockeys, owners, visitors, vets, and press as the Oaks and Derby horses had their early-morning workout on the track. It was truly magical, and I have a much deeper appreciation for the equestrian heritage for which the place I call home is known.
A highlight of the jewelry fun this Derby season was having my gorgeous friend Jackie Zykan, Master Taster for Old Forester, ask me to create some designs for her Derby-week looks as she made her press and event appearances on behalf of the delicious bourbon she helps craft.
Each look was inspired by a specific cocktail, and the first was for Thurby, whose official cocktail would be announced this year: the Old Forester Perfect Old Fashioned.
It was SUCH a fun project to select beads based on the cocktail's ingredients, including ice-cube-like rock crystal, honey-hued crystal and agate, along with tiger's eye that resembles the golden-amber color of bourbon, and then touches of red and orange (in African glass) for a cherry and peel. A touch of equestrian elegance in a vintage horse-head buckle finished her look, and it was so great to see how the necklace came together with her fashions by Gunnar Deatherage.
As Jackie mixed cocktails with wonderfully-talented musician Ben Sollee and interviewed with news media, I was settling into my seat at the track. I happened to glance up at the giant screen to see how much time I had to bet on the next race, and then this happened:
Y'all. I never really thought I'd care that much about a Jumbotron for any reason at all, but I have to say, it was kind of awesome to see Elva larger-than-life in front of thousands of people. And then I won $4 on the next race and bought myself a bottle of water. It was a big day.
Jackie's Derby-Day look was inspired by the Derby's iconic cocktail: the Mint Julep. What a delight to let such a legacy lead the design, including leaf-like minty mountain jade, opal, mint glass, and more of that honey-hued crystal to interpret the beverage's ingredients, and we went with brass accents, as the Old Forester version this year was served in a gold julep cup.
After my last delivery on Friday afternoon, I realized I was exhausted. The Run for the Roses gave me a run for my money, so I took myself to the spa on Derby Day and felt like a winner after an amazing saltwater float. Might just be my new race-day tradition. 'Til next year, Derby friends!
Local lovely Maizie Clarke has a few delightful designs in StyleBlueprint's Derby Shop and the round-up includes one of my favorite hostess gifts of all time: her horse blanket tea towel.(above) Such a fun gift for a Kentucky friend...or to bring a little bit of the Bluegrass to any occasion.
With accolades from both Martha Stewart and Southern Living, clearly I'm not the only one who sees astounding beauty in any and every thing designer Jaclyn Journey orchestrates for weddings near and far. When we spied this photo from a recent nuptial celebration in Tennessee, I wanted to don a dress and crash the wedding just to experience it all in person. (Nevertheless, her Instagram feed will have to do...)
I passed by one of my favorite spots in town, the Crescent Hill branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, on my walk to the studio on a snowy spring day this week and had to stop and smile, admiring the beautiful building. I think libraries are among the most magical places on earth, and the fact that I can just borrow any book I choose FOR FREE and bring it home to read for weeks on end is nothing short of amazing.
The Tuesday Local is my attempt at a weekly round-up of cool things related to (living/happening/working in/coming from) the great state of Kentucky. More to come next time, friends. In the meantime, cheers to (and from) Kentucky!