How To Throw A Party And Ruin Your Health

May 13, 2015

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This Sunday Austin graduates from med school which means a lot of things that require a lot of lists. Most pressing is the 40+ people coming to my tiny house for a party after the ceremony, including multiple houseguests. So far I have developed a stress pimple (Gary), and a stress stye in my right eye (we call him Sal). My wish for them is to die quickly and leave me alone with my lists.

I don’t know about you, but when a lot people are coming to my home for an event, I like to abide by the following protocol to reduce stress.

Step 1: Plan ahead. Make at least fourteen lists of things you need to do on various days, including a grocery inventory and cleaning schedule. Use a highlighter if necessary.

Step 2: Talk it out. It is important to process every detail of the event as many times as possible with your sister, aunt, and friends at the gym. Make sure to also call your mom to go over the food items as she may take pity on you and make half of them. Include at least four rounds of heavy sighing.

Step 3: Employ your spouse. Asking Austin to do things around the house is one of my very favorite hobbies. However, asking your spouse to do all the things you do not want to do is a delicate process. Use tactics such as bribes, “looking busy,” and again–heavy sighing.

Step 4: Start a project you cannot finish. 3-5 days before your event, it is important to start a project that is impossible to finish. This idea is usually one that is supposed to “improve your environment” and “make things more homey.” Possible ideas include rearranging the furniture, creating a gallery wall, and painting the bathroom. Do as little research as possible.

Step 5: Run unnecessary errands. You need to get groceries for your party so you should probably also stop by Target for a new bra, shower liner (someone may take a shower!), and 20 houseplants. Wait, Target doesn’t carry houseplants. But a dozen local greenhouses do! Spend at least a half hour at each one. Use half of the grocery money on hanging baskets. Call your mom again.

Step 6: Completely panic and finally start the laundry. Oh, 50 people are coming to your home in less than 48 hours? Now would be a good time to do the dishes and start a load of laundry. There is also dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, and carrying boxes of things you cannot deal with to the attic. You should also clear your phone pictures and make a moving slideshow. This would also be a good time to google “fun adult games.” Put the kids in front of Netflix. Go to bed at 3am.

Step 7: Transform into a gracious host. The last few hours before a party begins can be a bit “strenuous” as the children unpot the houseplants and your spouse keeps mysteriously disappearing to the basement. You may not be your best, soft spoken self–but people will be arriving soon, so it’s important to make the transformation from Disney witch to beautiful princess for the sake of morale. Kiss the children, smile at your husband. You are a beautiful butterfly.

May the odds be in everyone’s favor.

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2015 Summer Watchlist

May 11, 2015

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Hello pop culture nerds.

I know this is the season of being outside, but it’s also the season of allergies and collapsing on the couch after chasing your kids at the park all day. Sometimes you just need to sit back and let Leslie Knope make a fart joke.

Some favorites from this winter to share with you this summer. What’s on your radar? My twitter feed needs some new things to talk about.

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Netflix

You’re Not You
For PMS cries, women helping women, contrived EMOtions, Hilary Swank fans

The One I Love
For Duplass fans, Togetherness fans, super weird indie movie fans, confused genre fans, Elizabeth Moss lovers, movies that make you go “what,” movies you want to discuss

United States Of Tara
For a TV binge, Toni Collette fans, Weeds fans

Drinking Buddies
For Happy Christmas fans, Joe Swanberg fans, NICK MILLER lovers, people who like beards and beers

Chef
For indie movie lovers, Jon Favreau fans, movies to watch with your spouse

HBO

Togetherness
For a TV binge, complicated family themes, Happy Christmas fans, HBO junkies, great writing

Going Clear
For a great documentary, cult curiosity, Scientology IRL

Girls
For Lena lovers, women IRL fans, millennial drama, HBO content, great writing

Amazon/Redbox

Whiplash

Boyhood

St Vincent

Obvious Child

The Imitation Game

Hulu

The Mindy Project

Up Next/TBD

Broad City

Transparent

House Of Cards

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What are you watching?

PS: Safe, kid-friendly shows on Netflix for 4-year-olds and their little sisters–> Mouse And The Motorcycle, Curious George Movies, Milo & Otis, The Hungry Caterpillar. Bonus: A great site for figuring out what’s best for your child.

PPS: Good reruns –> Modern Family, New Girl, The Office, Parks & Rec, West Wing, Friends

PS: 10 Movies On Netflix + 15 More Things

Friday Snacks {5.8.15}

May 8, 2015

FINAL

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Five Links To Read

Life Is So Much More Than Work + Aging Out Of Hollywood + Let’s Talk Frankly About Sex + These Empathy Cards + For Mother’s Day

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Four Things To Love

For Your Mama.

Mother's Day

Shirt // Photobooks with code KATEJB
Monthly Gift Box / / Vintage Teacup Candle

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One Truth For The Week

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Happy Friday

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Thank you to everyone who shared Internet gems. You make Fridays better.

For Self-hosted WordPress Blogs looking for a host. Never going back to Bluehost. #PTSD

Insert Welcoming Remarks

May 7, 2015

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Hello friends.

It’s been a long time since I’ve talked to you like this. As I’ve mentioned before, blogging has changed a lot over these four years. Personal narrative blogs have been replaced with niche blogs, affiliate links, Instagram, Buzzfeed, and what I call “worldview pieces.” Readers, including myself, skirt to and from blogs so quickly that it’s hard to continue any sort of story, making it necessary to write essays that can stand alone.

Sometimes I’ll read a random blog, click around, and still wonder what is going on. Where do they live? What do they do? Why are they always at the beach?

I thought this might be a good time to clear things up.

HELLO. My name is Kate and I like Friends reruns and sandwiches featuring complicated mayonnaise. Technically my name is actually Kathrine, inconveniently spelled without an “e” in the middle, which means a bunch of KathErines with gmail accounts get a lot of my “urgent” Old Navy emails. Enjoy the maxi dress! Now an entire 25 cents off.

I live in a small town in Eastern Pennsylvania, a day’s trip away from New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. My kids are Waylon (3, almost 4) and Eva (1, almost 15). My husband’s name is James but he goes by Austin. I guess both our parents liked things super confusing. Next weekend he’ll graduate from medical school and in June start a five year residency in Radiology. This first year will presumably be the hardest, with work weeks averaging over 80 hours a week. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me.

At the end of the month we’ll be married six years.

In case you are wondering about the mild home renovations referenced on Instagram, we live in a modest three bedroom house Austin’s parents bought at the beginning of medical school. Because we rent from them–we can make renovations as we are able. When we matched to Penn State Hershey this Spring, we decided not to move (thank you Jesus) and just upgrade a few things. So far we’ve painted everything white and bought 100 items off Craigslist. We hope to own our own home someday, but for now paying a low mortgage on a house that’s not ours is actually pretty great. If the garbage disposal breaks, I just call my father-in-law. Please don’t tell him how to block phone numbers.

If you’re wondering what I actually look like (not just what I look like with 17 filters), here is an all natural photo I plugged into the age predictor site everyone’s been using this week.

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It identified me as 12-year-old. Bonus: I still dress like one too.

Things you’ll find on this blog: Real writing on Babies, Bodies, and Womanhood + Pop Culture Posts + Book Reviews + Music.

Friday posts are links to things to read, watch, or check out with some light PR.

If you’ve been listening to my playlists, you’ll notice Grooveshark shut down without warning and all my music vanished forever! I was sad too. After many recommendations, I’m learning Spotify and loving it. It reminds me of when I read The DaVinci Code ten years late and everyone was like I KNOW. Slowly rebuilding playlists and setting up camp under the Music tab. All you need is a (free) Spotify account. So far, so amazing.

Two years ago I gave in to the self-indulgence of two Q&A posts. It led to one of my most read pieces on Church. Many new readers later, I’m wondering if there’s anything else you want to know. Did you stumble here and now you’re wondering why I’m constantly talking about cheese? If you have questions, feel free to leave questions in the comments below or shoot me an email. I’ll either respond personally or put together another vainglorious Q&A post. (You can see the first ones here and here. So much has changed!)

Thanks for reading, listening, responding, and double tapping. All the heart eye and dancing girl emojis right back at you.

xo

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Book Review: The Martian + The Age Of Miracles + The Snow Child

May 4, 2015

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Hello earthlings! I am back after a mild book coma where I blacked out and read a book about a guy on Mars for a few days. It was as great as it sounds.

Making my summer reading list and hoping you’ll share yours, too.

Two great ones (and a boring one) below.

As always, all book reviews are spoiler-free.

Happy reading.

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1. The Martian.

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If You’re Looking For: Believable Science Fiction, Page Turner, New Fiction

If You Liked: Station Eleven, Oryx and Crake, A Walk In The Woods

My Review: A classic tale of survival against all odds–basically Robinson Crusoe on Mars. You don’t have to be a space nerd to enjoy it, although it would have made it slightly easier to comprehend. So many times I stopped to think, “Wait. What?” Still, I couldn’t stop reading. Charming, funny, and insanely well-researched. Not your average fiction read in any capacity. Five stars for originality and suspense.

Their Review: “Riveting…a tightly constructed and completely believable story of a man’s ingenuity and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.”- Booklist

Quoted: “If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”

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2. The Age Of Miracles.

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If You’re Looking For: Coming-Of-Age Novels, Soft Sci-Fi, Young Adult Fiction, Summer Reads

If You Liked: The Lovely Bones, We Were Liars, Fangirl, Eleanor & Park

My Review:  Young adult fiction at its best. I zipped through this novel in a day, compelled by the gripping plot line and wonderful writing. A beautiful marriage of apocalyptic fiction and a coming-of-age tale. One of those stories that gets stuck in your head long after it’s over, especially the terrifying details of our (seemingly plausible) end. A great, smart book for the beach or backyard. Five stars for writing, depth, and feeling.

Their Review: “[A] gripping debut . . . Thompson’s Julia is the perfect narrator. . . . While the apocalypse looms large—has in fact already arrived—the narrative remains fiercely grounded in the surreal and horrifying day-to-day and the personal decisions that persist even though no one knows what to do. A triumph of vision, language, and terrifying momentum, the story also feels eerily plausible, as if the problems we’ve been worrying about all along pale in comparison to what might actually bring our end.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Quoted: “How much sweeter life would be if it all happened in reverse, if, after decades of disappointments, you finally arrived at an age when you had conceded nothing, when everything was possible.”

PS: I read this a few years ago! Re-reviewing to showcase great summer reads for the blog.

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3. The Snow Child.

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If You’re Looking For: Magical Realism, Alaskan Fiction, Adult Fairy Tale

If You Liked: Chocolat, Olive Kitteridge, Everything Is Illuminated 

My Review: This was our book club book a few months ago, and while I tried really hard to love it– I found most of it uninspired, slow, and a bit too “this is what is happening.” I can see why so many reviews sing its praises; I mean, it’s a nice story. But not once did I ever feel shaken or swept along. To sum it up: underwhelming. Three stars because I wanted to (and did) finish it.

Their Review: “The real magic of The Snow Child is that it’s never as simple as it seems, never moves exactly in the direction you think it must…Sad as the story often is, with its haunting fairy-tale ending, what I remember best are the scenes of unabashed joy.”―Ron Charles, Washington Post

Quoted: “We never know what is going to happen, do we? Life is always throwing us this way and that. That’s where the adventure is. Not knowing where you’ll end up or how you’ll fare. It’s all a mystery, and when we say any different, we’re just lying to ourselves. Tell me, when have you felt most alive?”

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Favorite Books

Up Next: The Girl On The Train, The Rosie Effect