Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Date Night: Bourbons Bistro

Monday night for our anniversary dinner, Sean and I decided to try a new place and went to Bourbons Bistro to celebrate. It's just down the road from our apartment, and we both love bourbon so it was a no-brainer!

We were both starving when Sean got home from work, (it's been a while since our last trip to the grocery...) so we went early around 5:45. There was a couple at the bar and only one other seated table.

Our waitress gave us a little extra time to peruse the extensive drink menu that includes over 130 bourbons. We were thinking of trying a bourbon flight (they offer several types or you can create your own), but we didn't really know where to start in choosing bourbons from the huge list. In the end, I settled on an Old Fashioned cocktail made with the well bourbon, Old Grandad 114 and Sean ordered a glass of Booker's, neat.

My Old Fashioned was refreshing and tasted great with the fried green tomatoes we ordered to start. Served with a tomatillo scallion aioli and lemon caper relish, they were the perfect treat to hold us over until dinner. They were fried to perfection and easy to eat, and not too soggy/messy like some fried green tomatoes can be.

Fried green tomatoes, Sean's Booker's, and my Old Fashioned

We ordered the Mixed Greens Salad to share, and the mixture of the candied walnuts, goat cheese, and bourbon apple cider vinaigrette was a great combination and excellent start to the meal. Sean even liked it, and he's not a big fan of fruit in his salad.

Sadly, the experience took a bit of a dive at this point in the meal. As we waited for our food, I couldn't help but notice the pounding and stomping coming from just above us on the second floor. Maybe they were bowling with bourbon barrels up there or something (???), but for me, it really took away from the atmosphere. (If any of you Louisvillians are familiar with the Homemade Pie and Ice Cream Kitchen at Taylorsville and Bardstown, it sounded like it does there when they have a dance class going on in the studio above... Yikes!)

When our food arrived, neither one of us was really impressed with what we had ordered. I had the Pan-Seared Pork Chop, which was stuffed with chorizo and came with mashed potatoes and asparagus.  The bacon, cabernet, veal reduction over the pork chop was just too rich for my taste, and the asparagus  was a bit over-cooked. Sean's entree, the Ruby Red Trout and Prawn, was just ok in his opinion, and he thought the prawn was especially bland.

But Bourbons Bistro redeemed themselves when it came to dessert. We decided to try the bourbon truffles, a fairly new item on their menu. We were served three truffles that had different bourbons in their centers. I'm sorry I left the tasting notes on the table, or else I could describe them better for you, but they were absolutely delicious combining two of my loves: bourbon and chocolate. They were a perfect final touch to our bourbon-themed dinner!

In the end, I think we will definitely visit again, but maybe just for drinks at the bar and an appetizer or salad. I'd also like to get my hands on those dessert truffles again! :) I think the bartenders might be more knowledgeable on the bourbons they offer and would be able to help us more than our waitress did with choosing a drink. I definitely want to go back and sample some of the bourbons as they offer flights for $10 with your choice of three bourbons. Sean said (and I agree), it would be a great place to stop for happy hour at the start of a night out.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two Years

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of our wedding. It seems like it's flown by, but then again, it feels like we've been married forever. (In a good way!) 

One of our favorite shots at the end of an amazing evening: 4/23/2010

In the past two years together we've experienced:

-visits to Florida, Las Vegas, New York City
-countless road trips to Cleveland, Northern Kentucky, and Charlotte
-new jobs
-7 weddings of friends and family members (plus more to come soon)
-loss of family members
-gaining family members
-turning 25
-nights out on the town with friends

Mostly good, some bad, but through it all we've been together, and I can't wait to see what's next for us in our lives together.

A shot from this past weekend at a Bats game
Happy 2nd Anniversary Sean! I love you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Louisville's Own James Gordon?!?

So, Louisville just swore in its new police chief, Steve Conrad, and I wanted to pose this question to you, the reader:

Is it just me, or does he look very much like Gary Oldman as
Gotham City Police Chief James Gordon in The Dark Knight (at least in this photo)? 
(Just add an amazing mustache)

Steve Conrad

James Gordon (Gary Oldman)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition

Esa-Pekka Salonen
   The Grawemeyer Awards are five annual prizes given in the fields of music, political science, psychology, education and religion from the University of Louisville. The music award is one of the world's most prestigious music composition awards. On Monday, I went to the 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition talk. This year's winner was Esa-Pekka Salonen, an accomplished composer and conductor from Finland who has worked extensively in the United States. His winning composition, Violin Concerto, was completed in 2009 at the end of Salonen's 17-year tenure as the music director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
   The program began with Salonen receiving the award. He then read some prepared remarks regarding inspiration and creativity through the example of music composition. He emphasized how music is something that is emotional, raw, and organic and cannot be based on music theory or mathematical formulas alone.

Leila Josefowicz
   Next, a film of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France performing Violin Concerto was shown in it's entirety. Salonen conducted the performance and it featured the soloist Leila Josefowicz, who was the original performer of the solo part and inspired and encouraged Salonen's composing of the piece. Her virtuosity and dedication (she memorized the entire solo part for her performances of the piece) are truly amazing. The solo part is extremely fast and complicated, utilizing the violin in ways that I had never seen before. The concerto is truly an intricate masterpiece and well deserved of the Grawemeyer Award.

   After the film, Salonen took several questions from the audience. One person asked him what it is like for him to conduct his own new compositions, and he responded by relating how difficult first rehearsals of any new works are for even experienced and renowned music groups. He then related some words of wisdom that a music teacher of his had told him regarding this subject, that a conductor should never go to the first rehearsal, but if he does, he should not go sober. In response to another question, he emphasized that music cannot be created in a vacuum but is inherently influenced by all the music that has come before it. In this way, 'old' music is very integral to the creation of new music. He concluded the talk by relating how commissioning is so essential for music composers in that such a great deal of time goes into the creation of a single piece of music that very little music can be created without it. It is essential to the continued creation of new music, and monetary awards like the Grawemeyer Award are also extremely important for the same reason.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Style Icon: Michelle Obama

Over the last few weeks, I've seen Michelle Obama appear on talk shows and at various campaign events, and I'm loving her style. She always looks so professional, but she adds a touch of her own flair and lets it shine through. Here are a few outfits I've seen her in and have been loving lately:

Today on The Ellen Show
I love the flower pins she's wearing above and below. They add an extra little something to her basic sheath dresses.
Last week on The Colbert Report
She perfected the color blocking trend for Easter at the White House this year (Sasha and Malia look cute too):
At the White House Easter Egg Roll
At the Kid's Choice Awards, the First Lady got glitzy with some sparkly jeans and a fun top... I think she looks so fun and fresh for a casual event:
Kid's Choice Awards
A bright pop of color for spring:
Wearing L'Wren Scott
She always looks great for formal events... I'm loving the piles of necklaces she's wearing too:
Wearing Marchesa
*All photos via

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Friday!

Sean and the Lemur ;)
The Elephants are always my favorite!
We went to the zoo yesterday to cap off our great week spent with the Campbells (Sean's Mom, Dad and sister were in town for the week). It was the perfect day for the zoo: just the right temperature and we got to see a lot of the animals! Hope everyone out there has a great weekend planned! See you next week!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Travel Tuesday: My 4th Grade Dream... Frankfort, KY

You guys, I have a confession to make: I have lived in Kentucky for my whole life and have never visited our capital in Frankfort... UNTIL NOW! :)

In Kentucky schools, fourth and/or fifth graders take a course in Kentucky history which usually culminates in a field trip to the state capital. Well, I can't remember why, but my class's field trip got cancelled and was never re-scheduled so I missed out! I finally had the opportunity last week to visit, and we had such a great day.

I was the first one to arrive in the morning, so I snapped this shot.

I told you yesterday that I met my mom, aunts and uncle, and our Irish friends on Thursday morning in Frankfort. Our first stop on the agenda was a tour of the Governor's Mansion. It is a beautiful home, built in 1914 and transforming through the years with its inhabitants. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, and he had lots of fun facts to tell us about each room that we saw. There is a lot of French influence in the decor and there are even a few pieces there that once belonged to Louis XIV and Louis XVI. We only toured the rooms on the first floor, as the upper floors are where the Governor and his family actually live. Here are a few shots:

First stop: the Ballroom
Dining Room: The lights lining the ceiling were so pretty.
Also, the current First Lady has placed several modern pieces from
various KY artists around the mansion (like the one on the table).
Originally an office, this room is now more of a sitting room. 
A rare French breakfront (from either Louis XIV or Louis XVI... I can't remember!)

After that we took a break for lunch at Sage Garden Cafe, and walked around their greenhouse and garden shop after our meal. Next, we had an appointment at the Capitol Building for a tour. We lucked out too because we were supposed to be on a tour with a group of fourth graders but they were running late, so our tour guide took us on a special tour for just our small group. Our tour guide there was also very friendly and knowledgeable. Brendan, one of our visiting friends, is a member of Irish Parliament, so we had fun talking with our tour guide about the differences between the Irish system and our own.

"The Aunts" and my Momma striking the
"sorority girl pose" with Abe :)
The Capitol Dome... you can't see it here, but it has LED lights that change color!
Mural of Daniel Boone standing above the Kentucky River
French-inspired reception room
Outside on the steps after our tour
After our tour, we headed to the Frankfort Cemetery which is a beautiful place overlooking the Kentucky River and downtown Frankfort.

There's the Capitol Building in the distance.
Daniel Boone's grave in the Frankfort Cemetery
Downtown Frankfort

Finally, we headed over to Buffalo Trace for a quick bourbon tasting (we were too late to take a tour). We had a delightful day in our state capital, and I would love to return again sometime with Sean for a little day trip!

I hope you enjoyed this special Travel Tuesday! Have any of you ever been to Frankfort? What are some of your favorite Kentucky landmarks?

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Wonderful Weekend

Sean and I had a very busy weekend with my family and some very special guests this weekend. My mom and her siblings have a very dear friend from Ireland, Michael, whom they have known since they were in high school and have kept in touch with ever since. He was visiting all last week and brought his youngest son Brendan and Brendan's wife Roisin along for the visit.

My Aunt Mitzie's beautiful Easter table!

I started my weekend early by taking a quick trip to Frankfort on Thursday to meet my family and our guests for the day. (Tomorrow will be a special Travel Tuesday with more details on that trip!) On Friday night we had a family dinner and then Molly, Sean, my cousin Jeremy and I took Brendan and Roisin out for a night on the town. We went to Moerlein Lager House and had a few beers...

Top: Sean, Me and Roisin; Middle: Jeremy zombie-fying us on his phone;
Bottom: Molly and Brendan

We finished off the night at Molly Malone's in Covington. I know, I know we didn't really plan to take Irish people to an "Irish bar" but we just ended up there. It was great because the band was playing some songs that Brendan and Roisin knew, and we introduced them to Irish Car Bombs (the drink!) They didn't like them very much (Brendan said they "ruined perfectly good Guinness"), but we still had a great time!

On Sunday, the Easter Bunny brought a basket of chocolate and marshmallow eggs from Schneiders Candy Shop... my favorite!

Yum! Easter candy!

We had a beautiful Easter dinner at Aunt Mitzie's and Uncle John's house to celebrate both the holiday and the last day that our Irish friends would be in town. There was an adult Easter Egg Hunt (Eggs full of money instead of candy!) and a rowdy game of Left Right Center, which Jeremy won.

We had so much fun with our guests and with the family this weekend. We all hope to visit our friends sometime soon in Ireland, and are so thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and family! Hope your Easter weekend was as lovely as ours!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter!

We hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend! 
And may the Easter Bunny treat you with lots of candy!

Happy Easter!
Aileen & Sean

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Can I quote you on that?

I have been uninspired this week, so that's why there was no Travel Tuesday yesterday. (Also, I've been thinking I might make that an every other week type of post.)

So, I do this thing where I write down quotes that I like in my planner whenever I see them online or in magazines/books I'm reading. I'm not sure when I started doing it (college maybe?) or what to do with them, (I have a few years' planners saved in my closet because they have quotes in them! :\) but I just like doing it and it makes me smile when I read over them. So to stir up a little inspiration, I thought I'd share a couple of recent ones I've written down with you today:

I printed this from Makeunder My Life one day on a whim...
Then when I went to put it in my planner, it matched!

"Sit down and put down everything that comes to your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it."
~Sidone-Gabrielle Colette
(French Writer)

"Read, read, read. Read everything--trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window."
~William Faulkner

"I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be."
~Diane Von Furstenberg

"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know."
~Ernest Hemingway
(A Moveable Feast)

"What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for." ~Irish Proverb

*Some of those I believe I found on my Google homepage gadget: Daily Literary Quotes. And then there's that last one, which I like very much... ;)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

An evening with Philip Glass and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

   On Friday night, Aileen and I attended a special performance of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall entitled Life Reflected. The performance was conducted by Dennis Russell Davies and contained the premier of a new work, Cello Concerto Number 2, Naqoyqatsi, by Philip Glass,  alongside Symphony Number 6 in A Major by Anton Bruckner.

   An hour prior to their weekend concerts, the CSO hosts Classical Conversations, during which they provide a preview of, and discussion about, the works to be performed. We arrived in time for this program and were able to hear William White, the assistant conductor of the CSO, and Philip Glass discuss the evening's program. It was fascinating to hear Glass discuss his own compositions and career, as he is one of my favorite modern composers. His concerto is based upon the score that he wrote in 2001 for a film entitled Naqoyqatsi (a Hopi word meaning 'war as a way of life'). The film is the third in a trilogy that deals with the state of our modern world.

Image from

Philip Glass

   First on the program was Glass's concerto. It featured Matt Haimovitz, a notable cello soloist and virtuoso, known for his nontraditional  performance venues and technique. The work was divided into five movements, with additional short sections before and after the third movement. The First movement, "Naqoyqatsi," echoed much of the beginning of the film score. The main difference is that it was condensed and that the chanting of the word 'naqoyqatsi' had been replaced by instruments, which I actually preferred. A very subtle and slow movement, it was performed mainly on the lower end range of the orchestra. The second movement, and my favorite of the evening, "Massman," began and ended with lyrical sections that truly showcased the soloist while the middle showed more chaos and agitation utilizing the entire orchestra. Between the second and third movements was "New World," a short, yet haunting, solo for cello. The next movement, "Intensive Time," contained very complex rhythmic patterns throughout the orchestral parts, which purposefully overwhelmed the solo cellist at times, who was all but replaced by a solo trumpet (a soprano vocalist in the film version). "Old World," the second short section, featured the solo cellist again, but with the addition of a few short harp melodies interspersed throughout. The fourth movement, my second favorite, "Point Blank," was the climax of the entire concerto. The soloist was now almost completely overwhelmed by the other players as the melodies swirled and competed in a war-like helplessness. The concerto ended with "Epilogue," as the solo cello, at times softly accompanied by the orchestra, quietly ended the piece on an optimistic major chord. The audience must have truly enjoyed the concerto as much as I did, because they stood applauding for a full five minutes when the piece ended.

Anton Bruckner
   The second half of the program, Bruckner's symphony, was not the focus of the evening for most in the audience. However, you could not tell that by sound of things. The piece began with a stirring and memorable melody quickly driven from the quiet high end of the violins into the deep booming brass and bass ends. Immediately it was clear that this work was to be given the same attention by the orchestra as the previous piece. This symphony, while not one of Bruckner's more widely performed works, is a true showcase of Bruckner's signature "Bruckner Rhythm." This is a rhythmic pattern that he used quite often throughout his compositional career featuring a beat divided in a duple manner (two beats) immediately followed by a beat divided in a triple manner (three beats).

   The two differing styles of composition were very clear: whereas Glass's concerto was mostly haunting, delicate, and lyrical, Bruckner's symphony was methodical, with intricate juxtapositions of complicated rhythmic beats, and at times bombastic and heavy. Regardless, both pieces were performed beautifully by the CSO, and Dennis Russel Davies deserves a great deal of praise for his leadership and artistic vision and interpretation. The evening's program was wonderful, but one thing about it did leave me less than pleased: the venue was only about half full. In this age of television, popular music, and instant gratification, the greater part of the general public could not be troubled to attend the world premier of a concerto by arguably one of today's most important living composers. I count myself fortunate to have been able to experience this amazing event.