Tradition and Thoroughbreds Kentucky Derby Party Ideas

The first weekend in May means it is Kentucky Derby time!  Kentucky Derby party ideas revolve around red roses, mint juleps and fascinating fascinators.


Horse racing reigns supreme in Louisville, and for nearly a century the Early Times Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.

Mint Julep CupMint Julep Cup

Horse racing enthusiasts, socialites and celebrities will flock to Churchill Downs this Saturday to view the Run for the Roses, marvel at the traditional Kentucky Derby hats on parade, and to taste a traditional Kentucky Derby Early Times Mint Julep.


I like to pick up several nickle-plated serving trays from Dollar Tree in various styles to serve mint juleps and appetizers on.   For extra Run for the Roses Derby flair, I clip several roses from front yard flower bed and place on the trays.


No real roses?  No real problem.

faux rose bouquet

Faux rose bush bouquets work too!


In  honor of tradition and thoroughbreds, I present to you the Kentucky Derby Early Times Mint Julep recipe served proudly at Churchill Downs.

The Early Times Mint Julep


2 cups sugar

2 cups water

6-8 sprigs of fresh mint

crushed ice

2 ounces Early Times Kentucky Bourbon

Silver Julep Cups (optional, but highly recommended for the full Kentucky Derby traditional experience).


Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Kentucky Derby 

jalapeno-spiked-bourbon-julep-recipedelish ~ photography by Grant Cornett

Traditional with a twist always works!

This Jalapeño-Spiked Bourbon Julep takes first place.

Recipe here.

kentucky derby party ideasThe Stakes Horseshoe Frame


The Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, a Kentucky original recipe created in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, is a perfect Derby Day menu choice.

This recipe from SheKnows plates turkey, bacon, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and a heavy-handed dollop of bechamel sauce together in all its delicious, rich and Kentucky tradition glory.

Click HERE for recipe.

I’ve got four words for you.





Recipe from The Recipe Rebel found HERE.



Roses and Horseshoes + Mint Juleps = Derby Day celebration must haves.

These cotton napkins from Horse and Hound Gallery are an equestrian equation of epic and proper proportion.




I like several small arrangements of cut roses vs. one large centerpiece.

A combination arrangement of red and white roses perfectly fits in with the Run for the Roses motif.

Karen Scott Deliee Riding Boots

Karen Scott Deliee Riding Boots

I like to incorporate the traditional aspects of horse racing into my Kentucky Derby party ideas.  The pair of vintage English riding boots I purchased from one of my favorite antique malls, Parkway Antique Mall in Maryville, Tennessee, have sadly been misplaced.

May is a great time of the year in retail sales to locate a pair of riding boots on sale.  These Karen Scott Deliee Riding Boots will work perfect in my Kentucky Derby party ideas scheme.

Oliver Gal Artist Co. White Stallion Canvas Wall ArtOliver Gal Artist Co. White Stallion Canvas Wall Art


Saturday’s centerpiece will become my new fall fashion boots.  Now that’s getting your money’s worth.   The black velvet equestrian riding helmet will tie it all together.


Arthur Court Equestrian Horseshoe bowls

Arthur Court Equestrian Horseshoe Bowls (Set of 3)


Diamond Plain Bronco Horseshoe, Size 0, Pack of 4


Diamond Plain Bronco Horseshoe, Size 0, Pack of 4

Horseshoes and horseshoe nut or dip bowl, Kentucky Derby themed fabrics for tablecloth and napkins, mint julep cups, spire salt and pepper shaker set, nickel plated horse bits as napkin rings, and a couple of strategically placed horse and jockey figures and you’ve got a win, place and show-stopping tablescape.

And they’re off!

Love your style!





images via Kentucky Derby, MSNBC-David J. Phillip / AP, HGTV

A Spot Of Spooky Style: Halloween Decorating Ideas

Spooktacular times and Halloween decorating ideas are brewing at Places In The Home.  Will you dare to trick out your “haunted” mansion for Halloween?


Abandoned Mansion – Ogdensberg, NY

We are celebrating two milestone birthdays in our immediate family this October, and Halloween conveniently furnishes the party theme.  The potion for the proper blend of Halloween haunt is a spot of spooky style mixed with a touch of back in the day tradition.

Victorian Witch Gift Tags

Victorian Witch Gift Tags 

Shrieks of devilish delight will ensue when using these Victorian style Halloween favor tags.


Owl Ceramic Pitcher

This Owl Ceramic Pitcher (on clearance) from Pier 1 will give a Hooo…Hoooo…Hoooooooo to a Owl-o-ween tablescape or cocktail station.


The address for a bedecked diy, affordable, and easy Halloween grapevine wreath is 101 Inspiration Lane.

A mix of orange and black burlap, glitter tulle, and ribbon.

Faux glitter flowers.

Witches hat and shoes.

Inexpensive fashion jewelry spider pin.


Grab the glue gun and get busy, my little pretties.


Better Homes & Gardens

Rubber mice have never looked so cute!

These mice mansion pumpkins bring the right balance of unique, gross, and fright to the festivities.  Kids of all ages will love it!


Click on the links to the easy how to guides for the Swiss cheese mouse house pumpkin from Better Home and Gardens and the mouse house pumpkin from Martha Stewart.


Martha Stewart


This is one time of year you want your soiree to be for the birds!

Hitchcock’s genius was spooky wicked brilliant, and what better theme to Halloween decorating ideas to.


Frame a photo of Mr. Hitchcock, cast, and crew on the set of The Birds or movie poster from your favorite scary or silly Halloween movie.





Movie Poster Shop


black-birds-Halloween-decorationMartha Stewart

Love the hauntingly elegant look of these black burlap beaded scroll square placemats from Pier 1 Imports.


Black Burlap Beaded Scroll Square Placemat

pumpkin-chargerOrange Distressed Pumpkin Charger Plate

Bone appetit.

Get it?

 Bone Appetit Skeleton Appetizer PlateBone Appetit Skeleton Appetizer Plate

This solar lighted Lizard Gargoyle Garden Statue will light up the night and the path to the tricks and treats.


The candy is stashed, the pumpkins are stacked, and I’m counting down the days ’til trick or treat time.

Love your style!