Sincerely, Loree is a lifestyle blog that focuses on travel, books, culture, fashion and slow living on the small Mediterranean island of Malta.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Louisville, mint julep and the Kentucky Derby

We almost didn’t make it to Louisville. My husband, who plans all our trips to the US, suggested it as an easy day trip from Indianapolis where we would be staying with his cousin. I wanted to know what there was of interest in Louisville and he mentioned a  cave somewhere on the outskirts of the city. I think I rolled my eyes and said that I didn’t want to see another cave. But then he told me that there were a lot of Victorian buildings in the downtown area. That was all I needed to give the green light.

In the end, we skipped the cave completely and, while my husband and son visited the Louisville Slugger Museum, I headed across the street to the Frazier History Museum. It was the perfect choice for me and I learnt quite a bit about Louisville, bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and mint julep. 
Louisville KY | Frazier Museum | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
Mint julep has a bourbon base and has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1939. For the event, Woodford Reserve have been releasing a limited edition bourbon bottle that features the artwork of a national artist for the past 20 years. All 20 of the Derby bottles that have been released to date, together with all the original artworks, are on display at the  Frazier Museum in the temporary exhibit Woodford Reserve & the Kentucky Derby: Two Decades of Artistry, Bourbon and Horse Racing
Louisville KY | Frazier Museum | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
Louisville KY | Frazier Museum | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
My favourite bottle was from the 2006 edition by artist Kathy Sullivan. 
Louisville KY | Frazier Museum | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
 Louisville KY | Frazier Museum | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
The exhibit is open until the end of 2019. You may read more about the 2019 Kentucky Derby bottle here (artwork pictured below). As for mint julep, you can pay $1000 dollars to drink it from a special edition silver cup or $2500 for the gold (all proceeds go to charity). Alternatively, this mint julep recipe can easily be made at home. I never realised that bourbon and horse races could be so interesting.
Louisville KY | Frazier Museum | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
Downtown Louisville is an interesting juxtaposition of old and modern. The colourful fronts of Victorian buildings, decorated with exquisite architectural details, are interspersed with high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, but the overall effect is pleasant.
Louisville KY | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
Louisville KY | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
 Louisville KY | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
 Louisville KY | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
Louisville KY | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog

Scattered around the streets of Louisville are a number of colourful sculptures of horses known locally as the Sidewalk Derby. The Sidewalk Derby is an initiative that was started in 2004 by Gallopalooza (the city of Louisville’s public art project) with the aim of raising money for charity. 223 beautifully decorated, fibre-glass statues of horses were auctioned to local businesses and individuals and raised $800 000. Some of the horses represent winners of the Kentucky Derby. When we walked past 3 of them in downtown Louisville, I knew nothing about them – although, given the strong association that Louisville has with the Derby, I was not surprised to see them. So I got curious and did some research and now I know. If any of you are in Louisville, make it a point to look out for the horses of the Sidewalk Derby as they are really eye-catching and works of art in their own right.

Louisville KY | Horses of the Sidewalk Derby | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog

Louisville KY | Horses of the Sidewalk Derby | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog

Louisville KY | Horses of the Sidewalk Derby | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
No visit to KY would be complete without a stop at a distillery or an urban still-house. Since we were in a bit of a rush we opted for the latter. The Jim Beam Urban Still-house is located in Louisville’s 4th Street Live! district and comes with its own small working distillery and bottling line. For $8 per person you can participate in a guided tasting that will teach you the history behind Jim Beam, and, among other things, the differences between bourbon and whisky. Each tasting is accompanied by four ¼ ounce pours. I am not much of a bourbon drinker but the apple and honey-flavoured varieties were very good.
Louisville KY | Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog

Louisville KY | Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog
That is about all we had time for when we visited Louisville. I took a lot of photos on the fly whenever I thought that something looked interesting. It would have been best if we had decided to stay overnight because we would have had more time to just take things at a leisurely pace. For the time being, we will be content with what we saw and hope to return again someday.

Louisville KY | 4th Street | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog

Louisville KY | 4th Street | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog

Louisville KY | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog

Louisville KY | Sincerely Loree | Lifestyle blog

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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Back home and feeling human again

Well, we are back – have been back since last Saturday and finally the feeling of wanting to eat or sleep at odd hours has disappeared. The journey to and from the US is always a bit of a nightmare for me since I practically never sleep, hate confined spaces and we have to make 3 stops (each way) before we get to our final destination. But that’s over and done with and we’re home where I’m dealing with the more mundane tasks of piles of laundry, overdue grocery shopping and finding space in my overflowing wardrobe for my new purchases. I tried to only buy items that I needed but, this year, I found some lovely ‘Made in Italy’, clothing and accessories at TJ Maxx which was totally unexpected. It’s always hit and miss at that store. This year I was lucky and I might share some of my finds in another post.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Book talk: Books I read this spring

As I predicted when I wrote about the books I read this winter, I’ve read much  less in spring than I did during the previous season. Which is normal, since spring beckons me outdoors and I start spending time puttering around in our yard. I went through a total of 4 books during spring and I have to say that I really enjoyed reading all of them.

The Winter Folly by Lulu Taylor
The Winter Folly
From the book blurb:
In this house there are many secrets . . .
It is 1965 and young Alexandra Crewe obediently marries the man her father has selected for her. But very soon both she and her husband Laurence realize that their marriage is a disaster. When real love finds Alexandra, plucking her out of her unhappy existence, she is powerless to resist. Her home becomes Fort Stirling, a beautiful Dorset castle, but Alexandra fears that there will be a price to pay for this wonderful new life. When tragedy strikes, it seems that her punishment has come, and there is only one way she can atone for her sins . . .
In the present day, Delilah Young is the second wife of John Stirling and the new chatelaine of Fort Stirling. The house seems to be a sad one and Delilah hopes to fill it with life and happiness. But when she attempts to heal the heartbreak in John's life, it seems that the forces of the past might be too strong for her. Why does John have such a hatred for the old folly on the hill, and what happened to his mother when she vanished from his life? As Delilah searches for the truth, she realizes that perhaps some secrets are better left buried . . .

Monday, 1 July 2019

June round-up and faves

It has been hot around here. Unseasonably hot – the breathless type of heat we usually get in August – minus the humidity. Everything was fine until the beginning of June: temperatures in the mid-20s with plenty of cool breezes. Then, one morning, we woke up and there was an eerie stillness compounded by a heat haze that turned the sky an unearthly shade of white. The sun worshippers are finally happy – me and my plants: not so much. so, I’m doing my best to stay thankful for the small things.

Life lately
Last month I shared some photos of my new hydrangea plant. Unfortunately, it’s not doing so well. The soil around it always seems to be moist but its leaves are drooping and some are dry and brown at the edges. The flowers wilted quickly and I had to cut them off. I hope I’ll be able to keep it alive during our long, hot summer. If anyone reading this knows what might be wrong, please leave a message in the comments. I know that some of you are avid gardeners. My other hydrangea is doing well, apart from a few dry edges on some leaves. Both plants are next to each other and, as recommended, in complete shade from early afternoon. I’ve taken a good peak at my new plant and I think I can detect some new growth. So maybe all is not lost.

Monday, 17 June 2019

A stroll around central Valletta

A couple of weeks ago I had some time to kill while waiting to pick up my son so I drove to Valletta and decided to stroll around for a bit. Our capital city has changed drastically in the last 3-4 years. A number of small shops and boutiques have closed down and been replaced by restaurants, cafeterias and wine bars; and old residences and palazzos that were vacant for decades have been spruced up and are now enjoying a new lease of life as boutique hotels.
Old Treasury Street, Valletta

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