• Eco-Friendly Invitation

    “Green” Weddings

    Posted on October 24, 2011 by in Events

    People are “Going Green” in every part of their lives so it’s no suprise when people are looking at having “Green” Weddings. Check out these ideas to make your wedding and reception a little more eco-friendly.

    Use 100% Recycled Paper for your Engagement Announcements and Wedding Invitations.Fresh From The Garden 100% Recycled Wedding Invitation Suite in Natural / Cream, including acceptance card, wishing well/accommodation - Engagement, Special Occasion

    Choose reusable Party Favors!

    100 Organic Soap Favors - Eco-Friendly Handmade AND Packaged in Flower Seeded Paper  (SALE 200 - Normally 300 dollars)
    Instead of throwing it away, plant the paper and grow flowers!

    Wedding Favor Place Cards - Plantable Paper Flowers
    Here are other wedding favor place cards that can be planted. They’re loaded with seeds!

    Shop Local! Use local products and vendors for your wedding reception!

    Ale-8-One is made in Winchester, KY

    Kentucky Ale is made in downtown Lexington, KY

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  • Ring Bearer Pumpkin

    Fall in Love with Autumn Weddings

    Posted on September 23, 2011 by in Events

    It’s time for another season change! Break out the hoodies, light the apple cinnamon candles, and settle in with a Pumpkin Spice Latte for Mother Natures color changing spectacular. It’s this writer’s opinion that Autumn is the best season in the Bluegrass so I’m going to highlight some of my favorite things for fall weddings.

    First, let me say that I love the colors of fall. Deep reds, pumpkin orange, golden yellows… So vibrant and crisp. They bring back so many good memories. Why not create a few more?

    Find your nearest orchard and find the perfect pumpkin, add a little ribbon, and voila! A unique twist on a ring bearer’s pillow.

    White/Ivory RING BEARER or Flower Girl Pumpkin, Perfect for Autumn and Fall Weddings -- Contact Me To Customize Your Pumpkin

    Who says your flower girl needs to wear white?

    Pumpkin Spice-----TUTU DRESS or Tutu---Available in Many Color Combinations----Perfect for WEDDINGS

    …and you could use leaves in your cake…

    Edible Petite Sugar Fall Leaves  2 dozen

    …or not…

    Dozen Holiday Pie Cake Pops for Your Fall Wedding (pumpkin, pecan, apple)

    Fall Pumpkin and Silk  Wedding Cake Topper  by Silk N Lights

    Here are some other fun looks for fall wedding decorations.

    Wedding Parasols Upside Down Hanging Floral or Fall Leaves

    Satin Rosette Wedding Table Runner - Brown

    10 Pom Poms - Your Color Choice- SALE

    Woodland Twilight Place Card Holders - Vineyard Collection Set of 10, Repurposed Wine Corks for Wedding Reception or Bridal Shower

    TAKING ORDERS-Choose Color-Tres Chic '2 in 1' Baroque Ornate Lg Vintage Framed Chalkboard/Mirror Combo/Magnetic-Wedding-Reception

    Fall Green Mum Napkin Rings - Wedding Reception, Home Decor


    Happy First Day of Fall!

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  • Purple Rain Boots

    Rainy Day Weddings

    Posted on September 7, 2011 by in Events

    I haven’t met a bride yet that’s said to me, “We really hoping for rain on our wedding day!” I’m sure there is someone out there that is praying for rain on their Big Day, but I haven’t met them yet.

    We all know that there’s always a chance it could rain (as Mother Nature has the ultimate sayso), but if you’re planning a spring wedding, it’s my advice to plan for rain. Sticking your head in the sand and hoping for the best won’t help when you’re 10 day forecast is planning rain every day. (The first Saturday in May has been sloppy at Churchill Downs the last three years…)

    Here are some things you can do to make a rainy wedding day FUN:

    Umbrellas! Grab some umbrellas for your wedding party in your wedding colors. Talk about some fun pictures! Umbrellas make for useful, fun props (even if it’s a sunny day too)!

    Rain Boots! Avoid getting your white heels muddy by opting for some rain boots while your traveling. Save those heels for the indoor fun.

    Work Rain into Your Theme! Umbrellas on your invitations, “raindrop” toasting flutes, raindrop chandelier decorations, raindrop jewelry… The possibilities go on and on.

    Relax! Like I said, Mother Nature has the final say when it comes to rain on your wedding day. There’s no point in stressing over it. Embrace your day as it comes and it will be perfect no matter what the weather.

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  • Mr-Mrs Banner

    Country Chic Reception

    Posted on August 29, 2011 by in Events

    “Country Chic” weddings are taking Central Kentucky by storm. Mixing rustic qualities with refined taste and quality adds up to a unique, inexpensive theme that will leave a lasting impression.

    If you’re looking for some inspiration for a “Country Chic” wedding and reception you want to start out with the perfect venue. The Holding Area, for example, has a barn-like atmosphere with potential for greatness! But don’t stop there! Adding personal touches to the details is really what takes it to the next level.

    Burlap is a great way to bring the country to the reception table.

    Burlap cutlery holder

    Up-cycled materials are also inexpensive and unique DIY projects. Think window frames and old chalk boards.

    Photo frames, picture frames, frame set, wedding display, 4 x 6 set of 4, French country, Shabby chic,  picture frames

    Two 5"x7" Chalkboard Photo Prop Shabby Chic Elegant Vintage Rustic Menu Message Boards Showers Weddings Parties Bride and Groom

    Of course, a country wedding is never complete without a little lace!

    Lace Clothespins -Black and White -DIY Wedding Accessory -Damask -Sabby Chic -Woodland Wedding -Country Wedding

    Wedding Country Shabby Glam Style Table Decoration Centerpiece By SSSJ on ETSY

    No matter your taste, bringing personal touches to your wedding is what makes it yours.

    Have fun with it!

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  • Balloon Reception

    Easy & Inexpensive Decorations

    Posted on July 20, 2011 by in Events

    Balloons are a great way to create a festive atmosphere while keeping costs low. Because they come in different shapes, sizes and colors, your possibilities are unlimited.  First you want to pick a color theme that will work best with your event.  Next you need to decide how to utilize them.  Popular ways include hanging them from chairs, suspending them from the ceiling, using them as back drops to important areas such as the buffet, head table or gift table, or using them as centerpieces.


    Tulle or Tobacco Cloth is another great way to ad flair to the room without breaking your budget.  Tulle is a very fine netting. Because it is so lightweight, it can be use to decorate just about anything.  You can hang it from chairs, flowers, pillars/columns, doorways, archways and so on without much labor involved.  Tulle is also a very flexible fabric so you can easily shape it in what ever way you want.

    Flowers and branches are another great way to creative a perfect setting while staying within a budget.  Mixing inexpensive flowers into large bouquets can have a powerful effect.

    Branches work very well because you can leave them plain or decorate them to match the colors of your event.

    Please let us know what decorations you think should be added to our list!

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  • wicked by candice chavez

    Old Friends Equine

    Posted on April 14, 2011 by in Equine

    Old Friends began as a retirement and rescue facility for pensioned Thoroughbreds. Then news broke of the inconceivable death of Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand in a slaughterhouse in Japan in 2002 (
    read more about Ferdinand). The discovery gave even more impetus to our organization. “We went from getting five emails a day to hundreds,” noted President and founder Michael Blowen. We knew such a death must never happen again. And so the plan became to bring at risk racehorses–those whose racing and breeding careers had come to an end–to Old Friends, provide them with the dignified retirement they deserve, and open the space to the public. By promoting these one-time celebrated horses through a campaign of education and tourism, we realized we could draw attention to all retired Thoroughbreds and all equines in need.

    Old Friends hosts two to five tours daily (
    See Visit Us), and while our guests come to visit a few ex-racehorses, they leave having been touched by the heart of a Thoroughbred hero.

    We are the only thoroughbred rescue / retirement facility that accepts stallions and so we take exceptional pride in our pensioned champions, among them 1988 Eclipse-winning Turf Champion, Sunshine Forever, and one of the last great sons of Damascus, Ogygian. In addition to our pensioned stallions, Old Friends is home to some very deserving retired mares and geldings. (See Our Horses).

    The above excerpt is from Old Friends’ home page. I want to call attention to them today because they are facing a financial crisis that is by no means their own making. At The Thoroughbred Center, we refer hundreds of visitors to Old Friends each year. We believe in the work they are doing and even sold used horse shoes last tour season to benefit their cause. Below is an excerpt I saw posted on Facebook describing the severity of their situation and how it came about. If you can find it in your heart to donate to this cause, it would make a big difference. Please spread the word and do your part to keep these beloved champions where they are appreciated for their hard work and accomplished past!

    (I’ve made edits to help with legibilty.)

    From Michael… As most of you know, Old Friends has received a lot of notoriety lately. There was a flattering story by Esther Marr in The Bloodhorse last month. Ed DeRosa, in his Thoroughbred Times blog was very complimentary and we’re… receiving a great award named after my great friend, the late Boston Globe turf writer Sam McCracken in July. Last night, at the Keeneland two-year-old sale, I couldn’t walk more than a few yards without someone stopping me to say good things about Old Friends. Yet, today, I feel like a complete failure.

    Given the amazing athletes, great employees and invaluable volunteers, an idiot could make Old Friends profitable. We’re surrounded by superstars that are visited by 20,000 fans a year. They come from all over the world to touch the magic of Marquetry and the majesty of Gulch. They donate carrots and mints and racing memorabilia and money. Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel left money and his trophies to Old Friends. Jerry and Ann Moss, Zenyatta and Dottie Ingordo Shirreffs have been unwavering in their support. Mike Repole, John Ciccolo, Dogwood Stable, Mary Sullivan, Brereton Jones, Brian Burns, Susanne Gottlieb and Angie Dickinson are extremely generous. All of the horses look fabulous. Except for the ravages of old age that we all face and a bowed tendon here and there, they are all doing well. “You have the greatest horses ever assembled in one place in the whole history of horse racing,” Kent Desormeaux told me last week. Yet, with a farm flattered by Eclipse Award winners and more than $80 million in race track earnings, I’m still left begging at the gate.

    All of these great deserving athletes retired without Social Security or a 401 (k) plan. Through no fault of their own they ended up broke. Whether it’s Clever Allemont who won the Rebel and the Southwest Stakes or one time Derby contenders Lusty Latin and Easy Grades or Canadian horses of the year, Thornfield and Benburb, they all come to us and come to depend on us. By the end of May, we should be in better financial shape. We have the Ferdinand Ball on May 5 and the Homecoming on May 7. We have an anticipated grant of $50,000 coming from the ASPCA and some money from Thoroughbred Charities of America. The Frankel Trust will be dispensing a sizeable contribution later this year, once the Trust’s tax obligations are satisfied. The future looks bright. It’s the present that’s problematic.

    We don’t waste money at Old Friends. You can check our tax returns to verify where the money goes. I make $20,000 per year and Diane makes nothing. We get to live in the house as innkeepers and I wouldn’t trade my life for wealth or fame or anything. None of our employees has ever had a raise. And our volunteers are priceless. Here’s what has happened. About three years ago, I went to our bank and asked them to re-write our mortgage so we would have payments due biannually. They would be due after our big fundraisers in the spring and fall. They concurred and re-wrote the loan. We continued to make payments on time through our bookkeeper. A couple of months ago, I was visited by two bank representatives and their attorney. They explained the bank had made a clerical error. While they had re-written the loan, they had failed to increase the payments. Consequently, the bi-annual payments we made were the same monthly payments and we were in arrears for more than $200,000. And, because the bank is under pressure from Federal regulators, they couldn’t do anything until the account was brought up to date. As you might imagine, this was quite a surprise.

    On top of that, the price for horse farms in the Bluegrass has bottomed out. Stonewall, Hillcrest and dozens of other farms are being sold at bottom of the barrel prices. Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm is undervalued as well. In spite of the fact that we built dozens of paddocks, run-in sheds and waterers and fenced in more than 70 additional acres and re-built the driveway to accommodate buses, the value of the farm has actually diminished. We need to raise $300,000 over the next two months to maintain our current status and, quite possibly, increase our space. It’s a lot of money. We don’t get a dime from the Commonwealth of Kentucky or the Federal Government. We receive a grant for signs and brochures from the Georgetown-Scott County Tourism Commission. These horses depend on you and I’m tired and heartsick to ask you once again to do for them what they can’t do for themselves. And, on their behalf, I come to all of you to ask for help, once again. We need to raise $300,000 by the end of the month.

    This is humiliating. Frankly, if I had any money left, Diane and I would do it ourselves. But, we’ve already done that. I resolved many years ago, to not expect people to do what they could do or should do or ask them for money. Today, I’m breaking all three of those resolutions. It’s frustrating because of what all these great athletes have accomplished.

    What if Old Friends received a penny for every $100 wager when Black Tie affair electrified the Churchill Downs crowd when he went wire-to-wire in the Breeders’ Cup Classic or a nickel for every hot dog sold when Awad broke the track record in the Arlington Million? How about a dime for every beer sold the day Gulch won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint or a quarter for every admission when Wallenda and Bull Inthe Heather competed in the 1993 Kentucky Derby? How about a dollar every time a son or daughter of Fortunate Prospect was sold or every time Marquetry was bred? How about $10 for every $100,000 jockeys made riding these great champions? What about a fund set up by vets who earn their living treating these horses or a small fee from Fasig-Tipton or Keeneland every time a horse goes through the sales ring? The ideas for sustained funding are endless. And, once more, they earned it. What does central Kentucky look like without these stunning Thoroughbreds?

    Old Friends not only cares for these deserving retirees, we are a significant boost to the local economy. We are desperately trying to prove that they can generate income once their racing and breeding careers are over. And, we’re on the cusp of proving they can. Once again, I feel terrible at my personal failure and would not be begging anyone for anything except for these spectacular creatures outside my window. They deserve better than what I’ve been able to provide. But I can’t give up.

    Any ideas, donations or advice from all of Old Friends’ friends would be deeply appreciated.

    - Michael

    From Vivien – donations can be made to Old Friends, 1841 Paynes Depot Road, Georgetown, KY 40324 or via credit card by calling the main office, 502-863-1775. We also have a pay pal link on the www.oldfriendsequine.org website – scroll down on the main page and it’s on the right hand side, just about half way. Thank you for your continued support and please help if you can. With your assistance, we can weather this storm and come through stronger and better than ever…all for the horses’ sake.

    Thank you and God Bless, Vivien

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  • Communication Skills for Women

    Posted on June 28, 2010 by in Events

    The Top 10 Communication Hurdles – Can you relate?

    1. Confronting or Criticizing Others
    2. Not Being Taken Seriously
    3. Feeling Self-Conscious
    4. Dealing with Other People’s Anger
    5. Speaking in Front of a Group
    6. Controlling One’s Emotions
    7. Receiving Criticism
    8. Getting Cooperation
    9. Setting Limits
    10. Take the Floor

    If you are in the Lexington area and wish to attend a one-day training seminar on how to help you build skills to overcome these communication hurdles, please call CareerTrack at 1-800-556-3009 or visit http://events.careertrack.com/246496. The seminar is scheduled for September 14, 2010.

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  • Top Ten Most Forgotten Things at a Wedding Reception

    Posted on May 11, 2010 by in Events

    10. Lighters to Light Candles – This is one that though forgotten at first, gets remembered quickly. Usually when the candles are being placed on the tables while decorating for the reception.

    Wedding Day Emergency Kit in a Mason Jar

    9. Emergency Kit – Extra safety pins, sewing kit, nail file, clear nail polish, scissors, extra panty hose, hairspray, hairbrush, bobby pins, rubber bands, baby powder, Tylenol, and anything else you can think of that may be helpful in a bind.

    8. To Eat – Try not to get so caught up with catching up that your forget to eat. You’ll need the energy to make it through the reception. (Tip: Snag some reception leftovers for the wedding night, you’ll be hungry later too.)

    7. Gift Table – Even if you don’t expect many gifts, it’s always nice to have somewhere to put them. Something to put cards in is a “must” as well. (Tip: Put this table away from an entry way or exit. As much as we don’t want to think about it, gifts sometimes walk away.)

    6. Credit Card – Last minute expenses can crop up. Avoid embarressment and make sure the credit card makes it into your wedding purse/clutch.

    rustic wedding cake knife customized burlap wedding cake serving set burlap and lace(K105)5. Serving Set – The cake cutting is a classic photo op. Make sure you remember the serving set to complete your special moment.

    4. Containers for Leftover Food – Most people won’t run out of food. Especially if you have given your caterer as accurate a head count as possible. Instead, you will have some food left over. Caterers usually won’t have containers to give you the leftovers and if you don’t take them, they go to waste.

    3. Boxes for Leftover Wedding Cake - Just like with the food, it is unlikely you will run out of cake. If you are planning to save the top tier for your first anniversary, the baker may have a box waiting for you. If you want to keep more than the top tier though, you may want to bring another to-go container.

    2. Someone to Cut the Wedding Cake – Wedding cake cutting is a dying art form. Most people haven’t the slightest clue how to cut a wedding cake. If you do it incorrectly, you end up with leftover cake or not enough. Finding someone to cut the cake prior to the wedding reception saves a lot time and awkwardness. (Tip: Have a quality knife to cut the cake. Plastic servings sets look nice but aren’t very durable.)

    1. A “Go To” Person – Wedding days are fun, busy, sometimes stressful days. To help alleviate some of the stress, designate a “go to” person. This person is in charge of your cell phone, your itinerary, and your to-do list. This is the person that answers questions (yours as well as others), keeps you focused and looking beautiful. You can do all the advanced planning, but leave the day-of responsibilities to someone else so you can enjoy yourself.

    For more tips and information, please give us a call at (859) 293-1853 or email events@thethoroughbredcenter.com.

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  • Introduction

    Posted on November 16, 2009 by in Events

    Let me introduce you to The Thoroughbred Center, Lexington’s premiere Special Events and Wedding Reception Venue. Located amidst the rolling hills of the Bluegrass, The Thoroughbred Center offers a unique and purely Kentucky experience. The Center is surrounded by historic horse farms and you will love the 2.5 mile drive from Interstates 75 and 64 (and only 5.5 mile drive from downtown Lexington). Whether here on business or pleasure, the Center is the ideal location in a city known for its diversity and charming traditions.

    Four areas make up the Special Events facilities in The Thoroughbred Center’s Main Office: the Lounge, the Holding Area, the Pavilion, and the Conference Room. Each room is unique in its purpose and its history. We would love to help you choose which room is perfect for you and your special occasion!

    The Lounge is our 2,400-square foor equestrian-themed formal room. Complete with its magnificent chandelier, working brick fireplace, adjoining kitchen, and a bar and beverage service, this room is ideal for banquets, weddings, wedding reception, formals, company parties, and small business meetings. This room can seat 200 people.

    The Holding Area is a unique and rustic area. It has a casual, barn-like atmosphere that clearly defines the Center’s central location in the heart of the Bluegrass. This area is wonderful for large wedding receptions, sorority/fraternity parties, barbeques, reunions, and many other social functions. This 8,800 square-foot space can accommodate up to 600 people.

    The Pavilion is our 920-seat Auditorium that was designed for horse auctions with the idea in mind to accommodate conventions, corporate meetings, conferences, seminars, theatre productions, and other special events. This theatre-style auditorium offers a relazing and spacious atmosphere with its red velvet chairs and double-wide aisle ways. A 60′ x 20′ stage, enhanced by a 24-channel sound system, is also available.

    The Conference Room is a wonderful area for groups looking for a nice, quiet location to hold a small-scale meeting. It is ideal for board meetings, staff meetings, conference meetings, seminars, and other small events. The Conference Room can accommodate 15 to 20 people.

    Also known as The Thoroughbred Training Center, we are home to approximately 1,000 thoroughbred race horses. Guided Tours are given Monday through Saturday at 9:00am from April 1st to October 31st. (Reservations are recommended.)

    For more information please call (859) 293-1853 or e-mail the Event Coordinator at events@thethoroughbredcenter.com.

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