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Bedded Bliss Founder Donna Osif Talks Jennifer Lawrence, the Gambling Royals, and Derby Traditions

Bedded Bliss Founder Donna Osif Talks Jennifer Lawrence, the Gambling Royals, and Derby Traditions

Donna Osif, owner of the preeminent Louisville, Kentucky linen boutique Bedded Bliss, was originally lured to Derby City by two great motivators: love, and the opportunity to pursue her dream job. She married the guy, and in 1997 opened up her acclaimed boutique in Chenoweth Square. For most of the 19 years since, Donna has been a beloved and respected partner of Matouk. We are thrilled to share with you her thoughts and reflections on business and life in Louisville, and, of course, some entertaining Derby stories to enjoy as you sip your mint juleps.

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As Donna says, “It’s basically sacrilegious not to have a mint julep while ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ is being played before the Derby race.” Ok. And if you’re looking for the official recipe for that mint julep, no worries. Here it is.

If you are lucky enough to be in Derby City this weekend, don’t go anywhere without reading this wrap-up by the New York Times.

Here’s what the Linen Maven of Louisville has to say about The Run for the Roses (among others things).

The store:
I actually opened in 1997 as a gift shop with a little bit of everything, called Chenoweth Home Collections….this was the beginning of the matelassé craze and we sold them like crazy. Soon, people started asking about sheets, and within about 6 months of opening, I knew I was destined to be a linen shop. I started using the phrase “Bedded Bliss” and it really stuck. That was when I started converting all my inventory into linens. Our customers are committed to those important details that make a house a home. Even our younger clients who get married and lost in the madness of early parenting eventually make their way back. You never forget what a good bed feels like.

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Jennifer Lawrence and...Frank Langella:
We open on Sundays during Christmas, and the last Sunday before Christmas, maybe 3-4 years ago, I was so exhausted and just wanted to stay home. My clearly intuitive husband convinced me to go in for those last four hours of Christmas madness and even offered to join me. Lo and behold, in walks Jennifer Lawrence! I was quite speechless, and tried to act all nonchalant about her, but I think I probably did nothing right, except sell her some Lowell sheets from Matouk! (Editor’s note: The Goddess Jennifer Lawrence sleeps on Matouk? OMG.)

There was another time that a movie was being filmed in the area and Frank Langella and Kirsten Dunst walked in…..I was really flabbergasted to see Frank Langella, and I did ooo and aahhh over him. (I’m showing my age!) This cute little blonde just stood there with him smiling, and I think she was enjoying my conversation with him. After they left, I realized it was Kirsten Dunst. (I was so excited to meet Frank, I forgot to sell him Matouk!)

On Derby Culture:
Louisville is insane starting 2 weeks before the Derby. The official beginning of Derby is kicked off with one of the largest fireworks display in the country. Its called “Thunder over Louisville.” Then there are airshows, balloon races, a marathon...we keep going solid ‘til Sunday.

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On Friday night before Derby, you can go to Kroger and watch the ladies sewing the blankets of lilies for the winner of the Oaks, and the roses for the Derby winner. They work through the night. How amazing is that?

There are endless parties; even if you’re not going to the track, there are always parties to go to. Some are more elegant than others, lots of black tie events and then the late-night blow outs…it really just depends on your friends and your desires. They’re all filled with high profile sports stars, major celebrities and minor ones too...everyone comes in droves.  It’s all crazy!

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(It goes without saying that brunch before Derby is huge, right?)

Two secret Derby traditions that only the locals know:
Many people do not know that Friday before Derby is just as big a day at the track as Derby. It is the running of the Kentucky Oaks, which is the “derby” for 3 year old fillies. Several years ago Churchill Downs coupled with Susan B Komen, and started a "pink out” for the Ky Oaks. There is a survivor walk on the race track, and everyone dresses in pink…men too….it is quite impressive to see almost 160,000 people in pink.

Favorite Derby story:
There are so many! Our best times were prior to the racetrack being massively renovated; sadly I’m afraid when they tore down the old, they also tore down the charm! In those old days, our husbands knew every inch of the track, and they always had fun sneaking people into the race. (We all went through the kitchen one year!) We always had a lovely box, but our guys loved sneaking in buddies, just to drink and gamble at their favorite bar in the clubhouse. I also had a great friend, who used to sneak into Millionaires Row and The Turf club all the time…that was fun to get up there and see what celebrities were around. So many names: Queen Elizabeth (betting I hear!), George HW Bush.

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My favorite celebrity moment was standing in the betting lines right next to Jack Nicholson. Jack was having a blast shaking hands with everyone, he was great….not snotty at all. He was the guest of the Gulfstream family, who had a horse running in the derby.

And speaking of Gulfstream….there will be over 600 private jets lined up at the airport Derby weekend. It really is amazing.

Whew that’s exhausting. How about nighttime routines?
The minute I get home, I am in my nightgown and robe….my husband and I eat dinner and sometimes he falls asleep right there on the sofa. Let’s be honest: I love that quiet time like no other and I just immediately sneak upstairs and just get in my bed and read or watch TV. I wish it were more exciting, but I crave my alone time after being with customers all day long, and my bed is very cozy with all the great sheets I have!

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And if you’ve ever wondered why the Southern ladies wear those huge hats...well here you go.