Mint Juleps and Glue Guns!

Remember a couple of weeks ago, I shared with you a bit about TJ Grier, the hero in my new book, KIDNAPPED BY THE COWBOY? Readers first met TJ in UNTAMED COWBOY, when he was a young and lanky wrangler. Readers also met ten-year-old Callie Mae Lockett, the heroine’s daughter. And now, TJ and Callie Mae are all grown up and have their own story.

If you read UNTAMED COWBOY, you’ll know that even at such a young age, Callie Mae had a real love for fashion. That love carries over into KIDNAPPED BY THE COWBOY. And as TJ follows his dream of racing his prized thoroughbred horse, it was easy to envision just how Callie Mae would’ve dressed at the track.

Including her hat.

In the nineteenth century, women wore hats as a matter of routine, but a day at the race track meant something special. Men and women wore their finest. In fact, at the very first Kentucky Derby in 1875, promoters visited all the women’s clubs and invited them to dress to the nines. They weren’t disappointed.

The event was held on a hot and windy day, and newspaper accounts describe how “clouds of suffocating heat” damaged “hats, ribbons, flowers, laces, silks, dainty fans and parasols.”

Mention the Kentucky Derby, and most women will think of the hats before the horses. Big, broad-brimmed hats. Hats with flowers, feathers, ribbons. Elegant and frothy hats. Or simply outrageous ones.

Along with mint juleps, they’re a tradition at the big races, but no one knows just how or why that hat tradition took root. When hats began to lag in popularity in the 1960’s, wearing them at the Derby flourished–but only by way of some friendly female competition.

Socialites spare no cost in dressing themselves up, some spending up to $1,000 or more for a custom-made hat. They want to be noticed and talked about. They want to have their picture taken.

Most of all, they want to have fun.

Designers begin with light-weight straw weave hats in all colors, soft and bold, and after that dip into their stockpile of rooster feathers (or quail, peacock or pheasant), sequins, silk flowers and puffy plumes. After that, well, the possibilities are endless.

But for those who can’t afford hundreds of dollars for a hat, a trip to the craft store and firing up their glue gun will do the trick–for a fraction of the cost.

Men, too, get caught up in the craze with high-priced suits and Panama hats, complete with feathers and other decorations.





Ever had a Mint Julep? Here’s a recipe:

1 3/4 oz. Kentucky bourbon
Fresh mint leaves
1 tsp. superfine sugar
1 Tb. cold water

Place the mint in a glass. Add sugar and water. Crush with the back of a bar spoon until the sugar dissolves and the fragrance of the mint is released.

Add the bourbon. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Stir. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

So, do tell. Do you wear hats? Or do you feel silly in one? Too flamboyant? Or incredibly fashionable. Would you like to see them come back?  Ever had a Mint Julep?

Share your stories, and I’ll draw a winner for a copy of KIDNAPPED BY THE COWBOY!


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Pam has written 30 romances, most of them historical westerns, but her newest releases are contemporary sweet romances featuring the Blackstone Ranch series published by Tule Publishing. Stay up on the latest at

54 thoughts on “Mint Juleps and Glue Guns!”

  1. I have never had a mint julep but it sounds really good right now! At my work, we even have mint growing there….but, I think my co-workers may look at me funny if they see me carry in a Kentucky bourbon bottle ..LOL! Or they will ask me to make them one, too! 🙂

    I don’t normally wear a hat unless I know I am going to be outside for a long period of time at which times I wear a “ball cap” style one. I do think hats are fun to wear though! And I’ll start wearing one if it gets me an “Untamed Cowboy” ..LOL! :

    Thanks for the recipe Pam!

  2. I wear hats outside, since I live in a desert. I have a custom made cowboy hat, and several girlie hats, (off the sale rack usually). I’ve loved hats since I was a toddler and used to wear a deflated ball on my head like a beanie. 🙂

  3. I have never had a Mint Julep but i will have to give that a try. I use to get hats for my girls to wear to church on Sundays and they’d look so cute.I’m with Kathleen there-I’ll start wearing me one to if it’ll get me a copy! lol I do wear a sunvisor if i’m gonna be outside long i had a dark spot frozen off my face awhile back so i’m conscious of what the sun can do. i always think of the Red Hat Society when i think of hats I have a cook book by them and there’s picture’s of the ladies in their hats and it looks really cool. You can gain 10 pounds just reading over their wonderful receipes. I beeter go eat breakfast i got food on my mind now lol!

  4. I’m more in the ball cap category of hats-although I’ve always wanted a cowboy hat. I can’t even imagine wearing a big fru-fru hat! That would be a fashion trend I would gladly pass up, if it were to come back in style.

    I never knew that a Mint Julep had bourbon in it. I don’t know what exactly I thought it was-but I always thought it would be similar to a Pina colada.

  5. I love hats. My mother has a wall that she hangs old style hats on. We use to take them down when I was little and play dress up with them. I Think that is where my love for hats got started. I don’t wear as often as I would want to though. I love the black hat in the picture, my mother has one just like it. I never had a Mint Julep, but sure does sound good.

  6. I don’t wear hats but I think that they look elegant. I have never had a mint julep. I am not a big fan of mint.

  7. Pam!!!! Im so happy to see you blogging today! I was going to send you an email..but I’ll just put it here instead!!! 😉

    I LOVED both UNTAMED COWBOY and KIDNAPPED BY THE COWBOY….both were awesome stories!!!!!!!! I especially loved the tenderness you gave TJ under his toughness…..I wont spill the beans though… but…what he told Callie Mae there under the stars that night after everyone else had left…awwww!!!!!!!

    ok..anyway… I do get carried away LOL

    about hats and such…I never wear hats! I am such a casual person..the only hat I have is a baseball cap!! LOL I dont like mint either…so, more than likely I would not enjoy a mint julep…however the world “julep” sure reminds me “Juniper Barnes” from Stacey’s GUNSLINGER LOL 😉 now…Id looooooooove to have a talk drink of that!!! haha

  8. Hi, Kathleen! LOL on your mint julep. Your boss wouldn’t appreciate you all hitting the bourbon on the job, would s/he?

    I had my first mint julep in New Orleans when we went down there for National. We visited a plantation and they served them afterward. It was perfect for the setting. And very relaxing.

    I’m not a big bourbon fan–it tasted a bit strong to me, but it was lovely sitting under the trees and drinking such a famous drink.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. My enjoyment of hats started when I was cast as a giggly old maid in a high school play. As the daughter of the town founder, she was quite fashionable and always wore a hat. I don’t wear them much any more–traded ’em in for a hairnet at work, I guess. 😉

    I’m not a bourbon fan either, Pam… but I am willing to try.

    I’ve already enjoyed (a whole bunch) Kidnapped, so my name doesn’t need to go in the hat, and I’ll congratulate the winner in advance for getting a great read!

  10. Lori, I used to always, always, get my girls little white straw hats to wear on Easter Sunday. They didn’t wear hats to church so much when they were little, but growing up Catholic, we always wore hats. Usually a lace mantilla. And I remember my mother always wore hats to church when I was young.

    Oh, I miss those days when little girls wore them.

  11. I don’t wear hats, although I did wear a cap on the boat last Sunday, hoping the visor of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers cap my husband got from my college aged daughter for Father’s Day would keep my nose from burning.
    But I have the world’s roundest head. I’m serious, Charlie Brown round.

    So caps seem to magnify the roundness of it.

    Mary ‘Pumpkin Head’ Connealy

  12. I always get a kick out of looking at the hat pictures from the Kentucky Derby. Most are quite extravagant and some look downright silly. I think I would look ridiculous in one of them. The only hats I wear are visors, baseball caps, and sun hats when I know I will be out in the sun for a long time.

  13. Terry, it’s amazing how many ladies wear ball caps!

    I think they’re so cute when a woman’s hair is long, and the pony tail sticks out from the back.

    But I have short hair, and I look dorky in one.

    Pina Coladas are better than Mint Juleps. I could drink them all day long.

  14. Rebekah, I LOVE the black and white hat. The girl looks so cute in it!

    It does take a bit of courage to wear a hat like that, but she pulls it off beautifully!

    And if you’re at the Derby–hey, even better!

  15. Pam–My hat is of a buckaroo style with a smaller brim. It’s made of 50X beaver. I ordered it at the Jordan Valley Big Loop rodeo and it took over a year to get it. They measure your head with this odd head measuring contraption, cut a wooden form out of 2 inch pine to that size, then shape the hat on it when they make it. When you get your hat, the pine form comes with it to store the hat on so it holds it’s shape. I actually have many cowboy hats because we were them around here. You have a good hat and a using hat. Summer hats and winter hats. And a lot of people just wear ball caps, but they aren’t nearly as romantic looking. 🙂

  16. Crystal, hats are ver-ry elegant. Very feminine. I have a black straw hat trimmed in red that I’ve had for years. Also a cream colored one trimmed in navy with a navy veil.

    I can’t bear to throw them away, so I just keep on keeping them. LOL.

  17. Fun blog, Pam. I have hats in my closet–mostly for hiking and gardening. Nothing elegant like the ones in your photos. No one around here seems to wear them these days. But they can make such a statement on the right person! Years ago I had a hat with a veil, felt like a movie star in it. So flattering.
    Have a great day

  18. Hi Pam,

    I second Melissa. Absolutely devoured Kidnapped By the Cowboy and didn’t want it to end! What a powerful opening. I knew from the first page it was going to be a humdinger of a story and indeed it was. TJ and Callie were meant to be together. They were the perfect characters. Both were strong and stubborn as all get-out. But boy did they have passion!! Wow! Great conflict and plot carried the book, but it’s those characters that I’ll always remember. Very good job!

    As for hats, I don’t wear any except an old battered straw one when I mow my lawn. I would’ve loved to have seen that hat Callie Mae wore in the book. Now that was something.

    Wishing you lots of success with book sales! 🙂

  19. Hi, Kimmy! (I have a sister by that name!) Thanks for stopping by–and I hope you get a chance to taste a mint julep sometime, just so you can say you have. 🙂

    They’re such a novelty.

  20. Enjoyed the comments. Living here in the desert of Arizona, alot of people wear hats in the summer. Mostly straw hats and the guys wear ball caps. It’s a must.
    Yes, I have enjoyed Mint Juleps-not only are they tasty, they look good too

  21. I enjoyed the photos of the hats which are lovely and elegant from another age and time. I wear hats outside in the sunshine which is important. When we movd to the Southwest my husband bought me a beautiful black cowboy hat which I treasure. Looks great. Mint juleps look enticing.

  22. Cheryl, going to the Derby, just to see the high-fashion and all those hats, is on my list of things to do before I die. And the outrageous hats are a purposeful thing–the ladies want to be noticed. They have a great time trying to stand out.

    Too fun!

  23. Jeannie, that hat sounds awesome! Something to treasure for special occasions. Beaver–wow!!!

    Thanks for explaining how it was custom made for you. Interesting stuff!

  24. Elizabeth, different regions of the country are more inclined to be popular for hats. The south, New York (a major fashion center) etc, are places where they’d be worn more, but in the hard-working west, less so for fashion, I think.

    Linda, what a sweet Filly you are. Hugs! Thanks for liking KIDNAPPED so much.

  25. Joye, holding a mint julep in your hand just makes you feel elegant. Something about that sprig of mint poking out over the top of the glass. 🙂

  26. I always thought I looked funny in hats, except for baseball caps… I remember as a kid wanting to try on hats, but they really looked odd on me.
    As for Mint Julep… nope never tried it!
    Everyone enjoy your day!!! 😀

  27. I’ve had a Mint Julep in New Orleans! Wow, it packs a punch. And I love big hats, though I don’t wear them. I think a woman who wears a hat makes a statement of self-confidence and elegance. Do you ever notice how heads turn as soon as a woman walks into a room wearing a hat?
    It’s eye-catching!

  28. I don’t wear hats ~ I’d like to be brave enough to.

    I just had a Mint Julep at the Blue Bayou Restaurant in Disneyland last week ~ it was a virgin of course.

  29. why of course I have already read both of them!!! LOL…. I actually read the 1st one in one day and then the 2nd took me 2 days to read!!hehe.. I dont play around…I devour good books! 😉

  30. I rememeber Julia Roberts wearing that hat in Pretty Woman at a polo game. I never thought of that as a tradition. Next time I watch it I’ll see if every other woman has a hat on.

  31. Hi, Colleen–it does indeed take some confidence and flair to wear a hat. But I think we women are our own worst critics when it comes to liking how we look.

    Enjoy your day, too!

  32. Charlene, heads do indeed turn. So I guess if we wanted that attention, and was comfortable with it, then we’d wear hats more.

    I do wish more women did. I just love them!

  33. I have different hats for different jobs. Straw for yardwork, ballcap for everyday, and cowboy for western events.

    My best – or should I say worst – hat story pertains to my cowboy hat. I’ve had it for almost 35 years. It’s tan felt with a small feather tucked into the braided band. A long, knotted strip of leather holds it in place on windy days. And taking up the front in bold, black letters is the autograph of BJ Thomas, my all-time favourite singer.

    Here’s my story: It was July, 1985 and I was in line to see BJ Thomas and get his autograph. It was the 3rd day of the Big Valley Jamboree (now called Craven Country Jamboree) in Craven, Saskatchewan. Instead of sitting there watching BJ’s performance like I had for the rest of the 20 or so headliners, I stood in line for 90 mins to get his autograph. BJ and I went back a loooong way. I remember the first time I heard him sing, ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’ I almost swooned. I was still a teen and couldn’t carry a tune but BJ’s clear distinctive voice sent delightful quivers down my spine. I still get shivers when I hear him sing. I remember walking through a mall one time and hearing someone calling, “Anita…Anita…” I looked around and didn’t see anyone. I was standing in front of a record store and wouldn’t you know it? There on the stand in front of me was a BJ Thomas album! You can bet I scooped ole BJ up and I still have that record to this day. That was thirty years ago…but I’m getting off track.

    So, there I was – hot, sweaty and eating the dust of 80,000 other people. But I wasn’t complaining, b/c I was finally going to meet BJ himself. When he finished his performance and his encore, we waited. After 15 or so mins, a murmur when through the line-up and then a cheer. Yes! BJ was there at the table. I was about thirty women – make note – not men, teens or children but just women – back, so I had a good view of what was going on. I saw them handing him pieces of paper, clothing articles and limbs. Yes – even limbs like hands, wrists and arms. I had been planning on giving him my jamboree programme, but I wanted something more lasting. Something that hubby wouldn’t through out in 2 yrs, ya know?

    The line neared the table and I watched him laughing and cajoling with his adoring fans. I wasn’t sure what I would say, but it would be something witty and charming b/c if I knew one thing, I wasn’t going to just stand and oggle him, much as I wanted to.

    My turn finally came. His eyes were so piercingly blue that my heart jumped! He smiled at me when I stepped up. I whipped my cowboy hat off my head and presented it to him. His laugh melted my insides. As he put black marker to my felt hat, a breeze ruffled my hair and I announced, “My goodness! I haven’t taken off my hat in 3 days!”

    Of course, BJ looked at my ‘hat hair’ and laughed. And that was the impression I left him with.

  34. I too used to wear them to church but I really don’t have the kind of hair now adays so I never wear them. I do like to see the women at the horse races who wear the outlandish hats lol.

  35. Wow, Anita! What a fab story! BJ Thomas was my idol, too. I played his songs over and over again. Obviously, you remember that day like it was only yesterday. LOL. Love it!

    Hat hair and all . . .

  36. I have a black felt cowboy hat that I’ve had for many a year, a broad-brimmed flat-crowned black felt hat and several gardening hats. Also own two straw hats for summer flea markets–my husband wears a straw hat to flea markets, too.

  37. Hi, Pam! Although I share a name with a hat (go, Indy!), I rarely wear them except for warmth or occasionally for shade. I guess I probably do feel silly because my style is so sweats-and-a-t-shirt that I can’t imagine knowing how to carry off a real hat with flair. And nope, can’t say I’ve ever had a mint julep, but maybe someday, when I’ve had a makeover and can carry off the accompanying hat!

  38. Hello, Pam,

    Used to have lots of hats because of having to wear
    headgear to church. I kept several that my daughter
    and I would use for play. That included the hats
    we wore for each wedding on the soap operas we
    watched! Missy would run to my closet and pull
    out two hats and we would sit and participate in
    the happy occasion!

    Pat Cochran

  39. Estella, too bad hats give you headaches. I once had a girlfriend who had long, thick hair, and she often got headaches. Her doctor made her cut her hair, and believe it or not, her headaches went away. I couldn’t believe it.

    So I guess that weight on your head can make a difference in how you feel.

  40. I wear a hat in winter, but nothing like the pictures posted. It’s more like a knitted hat that I wear when it’s below zero and I’m freezing. Not very attractive, but practical. lol I do like the cowboy hat on the cover of your book. I think he’s just about to take it off and say hello to me.

  41. I loved this post. I have often wished hats would come back in style. In this day and age of sloppiness (my consideration), it’s so refreshing to see these modern day women wearing hats. Thanks Pam.

  42. Kammie, I bet you’re right! He’s got his eye on you. Hee!

    Hey, Karen! You’re a classy dresser, and with your dark hair, you’d look like a million bucks in a hat.

    And we certainly have grown into a society with a very casual attitude.

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