Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quote of the Day: Tyra Collette Edition

The best lines I've ever heard, in any TV show or movie or song, courtesy of my favorite show:

Two years ago, I was afraid of wanting anything.
I figured wanting would lead to trying, and trying would lead to failure.
But now I find I can’t stop wanting.
I want to fly somewhere in first class.
I want to travel to Europe on a business trip.
I want to get invited to the White House.
I want to learn about the world.
I want to surprise myself.
I want to be important.
I want to be the best person I can be.
I want to define myself, instead of having others define me.
I want to win and have people be happy for me.
I want to lose and get over it.
I want to not be afraid of the unknown.
I want to grow up to be generous and big-hearted, the way that people have been with me.
I want an interesting, surprising life.
It’s not that I think I’m going to get all these things.
I just want the possibility of getting them.

- Tyra Collette, FNL

Photos of the Day: Chicago Maloney's Edition

Missing these two (and all the other Staloney's, too).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Photo of the Day: Sunday Night

Scott's cousin Allison just moved in to a new place which is complete with an awesome backyard pool. We visited last night for an impromptu barbecue, and it's safe to say it was the perfect anecdote to the Sunday Night Blues.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Photo of the Day: El Traffic Edition

When I first moved to Chicago, I thought it wouldn't be long til I worked at getting some kind of vehicle. That thought lasted roughly 37 seconds until I became acquainted with the CTA (Chicago's public transit) and, more importantly, Chicago traffic. Driving in Chicago sucks, y'all!

The photo above was taken at 4pm on a Sunday when traffic was at a near stand-still... for no apparent reason. No Cubs game, no politicians nearby, no reason at all.

Photo of the Day: Aisle Runner Edition

This photo gives me the chills - I can close my eyes and think of that moment so, so clearly.

Photo courtesy of Studio Noveau Photography.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

GPOYW: Personal Attendants Edition

I would like to give a public (and overdue) shout out to my amazing personal attendants, my cousin Jenifer and my friend Kelly. I cannot say this enough: they literally zapped the stress out of my wedding day. I've talked a little about the wedding zen I experienced on my wedding day, and I am positive I would not have had that without Jen and Kelly. I am so lucky to have you both!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Script - You Won't Feel a Thing

This cycled on to my iPod this weekend during a marathon cleaning sesh, and let's just say that my obsession with The Script continues via this song.

Photo of the Day: Closet Edition

Wait, you don't lay out your weekly outfits on Sunday night?

Monday, August 22, 2011

10) Find my signature quotation

I love quotes, and that made this goal hard. I like quotes that inspire and make you feel something, and when I saw this post card I knew this was it.

The Year of the Kate blog originated as a place to help me expand my horizons, to start doing things rather than just thinking about them, and I think this sums it up. So many of my most memorable experiences were things outside of my comfort zone and this quotation is a good reminder.. without exiting my comfort zone, I'd never go to Europe, or do water sports, or lots of other fun things.

(2/28 accomplished!)

Photo of the Day: Monday Morning Blues

Bringing a new meaning to the term "Monday Morning Blues"!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

11 months til the Fehrman's!

This weekend, one of my best friends asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding!

Sam and I met our freshmen year of college in Chi Omega - her last name and my last name began with the same two letters, so alphabetically we were matched up. We actually went through Chi O initiation together, and have been great friends ever since. We lived together for 2 (?) years of college, and nearly every memorable college moment involved her.

A couple that spring to mind involve shots of Hawkeye rum followed by apple juice chasers (don't ask), walking home from the bar in January sans coats (don't ask) and a series of impromptu dance parties involving the Rocky soundtrack. Suffice it to say that Sam significantly shaped my college experience.

More importantly than being so darn fun, Sam has always been there from me. She's the one I called when I was upset about a boyfriend, needed to vent about a professor, or needed a ride home from the library at 2am. I have never doubted her friendship, her loyalty and her support. Sam was by my side as I married Scott in May, and I am so thrilled, so honored, and so excited to return the favor eleven months from today!

(Photos courtesy of Studio Noveau Photography)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Photo of the Day: Homemade Pizza

Lately, we have gotten in to the habit of making pizza when we have a taste for it, rather than ordering in or pulling something from the freezer. It's delicious, super cheap, and fun to make.

And since my middle name is Condiment, I also add a few of those.

Quote of the Day: Doing Edition

"You can do anything but not everything" - David Allen

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quote of the Day: Logic Edition

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you everywhere" - Albert Einstein

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quote of the Day: Time Flies Edition

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot" - Michael Althsuler

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quote of the Day: Judgment Edition

"Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment" - Barry LePatner

Book Review: Hunger Games

I'd been hearing murmurs about this series of "Young Adult" books called The Hunger Games and was reluctant to check it out. I knew the premise and, frankly, it didn't seem like my thing.

The book centers around a teenage girl, Katniss and her family and friends. They are living in (maybe?) post-apocalyptic North America, in an area known as District 12. There are 12 districts, which are all controlled by the all-important Capital. Each district has a specialty: coal, agriculture, technology, but most residents are near starvation. There is no such thing as luxury - each family is on the verge of breaking. Each year, all children aged 12-18 are entered in to The Hunger Games. Two tributes are chosen - one male, one female. These tributes then enter an arena and face off against the tributes from the other 11 districts (a total of 24 teens) and fight each other to the death. The last standing is crowned the victor, and is then able to return to his/her family and live a more privileged life.

I don't want to share more here, but suffice it to say that I thought I'd be reading the first book only and never reading the other two - and I DOVE through the first two. I literally couldn't put them down. It's the kind of book that makes you stay up past your bedtime and read until you can't stay awake. I am anxiously awaiting getting my hands on the third in the trilogy.

(Sidenote to anyone that's read the books: for the first 100+ pages, I thought Katniss was a boy. I was very surprised when "he" started discussing "his" feelings for Gale. A few pages later, I realized Katniss was a girl... whoops).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quote of the Day: Discipline Edition

"Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most" - Anon

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote of the Day: Realist Edition

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
—William Arthur Ward

Song of the Day Highway 20 Ride

This song has nothing to do with me, or my life, but it brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. I love his voice!

Photo of the Day: 7th Inning Stretch Edition

"For it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the ..."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quote of the Day: Doubt Edition

"I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education" - Wilson Mizner

Chicago Half Marathon

Nothing is more inspiring than seeing hundreds and thousands of people running through the streets of Chicago.

This morning I went downtown to watch Matt and Kelly run Chicago's Rock-and-Roll Half Marathon. A friend told me that it's harder to spot a runner than it is for a runner to spot a spectator when they know where to look, so I decided ahead of time to be at the 7 mile mark. I picked that spot because it's about half way through (when I thought a cheerleader might be a welcome distraction for a moment) and, selfishly, because it was the closest spot to the Red Line train, so it would be easiest for me to come (and go).

When I got to the race, the weather was a little disappointing- cool with sprinkling rain. I quickly realized it was probably ideal for runners (years past has seen 100+ degree days for this race).

I was at a perfect spot - a bit past the 7 mile mark, directly between a water break and a line of rest rooms. I got downtown a little earlier than I anticipated, and watched runner after runner after runner race past me. All ages, all body types, men, women, grandmas and grandpas, teenagers, even several people in wheelchairs. It was really inspiring.

I knew Kelly was wearing a hot pink tank top, so I banked on that and scanned the crowd over and over hoping to spot them... and then I did and I don't know if I've ever screamed louder. I was about a half mile past where I had told them I'd be, and because of that they thought they'd missed me so it was especially exciting. After a quick high-five, they were on their way to the remaining six miles.

I was planning to leave after that (remember I had picked my spot based on easy in, easy out) but I was so inspired seeing them that I wanted to be a little more of a cheerleader. I borrowed someone's race map and found another spot nearby where they'd be running past about 5 miles later. The race course zigzags through downtown Chicago, so it was a very quick couple block walk and I was in position around mile 12.5.

The view from this spot was pretty sweet - it was overlooking Soldier Field.

As I mentioned, this spot was a little after mile 12.5, so at this point a lot of the runners were t-i-r-e-d. One woman was running alone when she staggered a little bit and almost looked like she was going to stop or fall over. A woman behind her (they didn't seem to know each other) slowed her pace and grabbed her arm and said "You can do this - see the finish line up there? You're almost done! C'mon, let's do it together" and they took off running together. It was really, really cool.

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to spot Matt & Kelly again (especially because this time they didn't know to look for me), but a short time later (shockingly short actually considering they were RUNNING SIX MILES during this) they appeared again! YEAH!

They kept on running, and FINISHED the half marathon.

Congratulations to my favorite half marathoners!

Photo of the Day: Sapporo Edition

First Sapporo last night - might not beat Miller Lite for my go-to, but I still liked it for the change up.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

#1) Go to a White Sox game

Scott and I went to the White Sox game last night - so this can be officially checked off the list. We were part of a big group that rented out the "Fan Deck" so it was free food & drinks until the 7th inning - a very fun way to see a baseball game. On top of that, I LOVED Comiskey US Cellular Field. It was ridiculously clean, had awesome food vendors (veggie burgers!), a wide beer/booze selection and had a high police presence in and out of the park. (As a Cubs fan and a resident of Wrigleyville, I kind of hate to say this... but I would argue that it's a nicer field than Wrigley. Whoops). It was a very fun experience.

Photo of the Day: Homemade Ravioli

Earlier this week Scott and I made homemade ravioli - it was surprisingly easy and very fun to make.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Twenty Eight by 28

1) Go to a White Sox game 8/12/11
2) Finish our condo (decorating, not renovations as that may never be entirely finished) 7/12/11 4/1/12 4/16/12 4/18/12
3) Be able to do 10 legit pushups
4) Start taking vitamins consistently 9/10/11
5) Chop off my hair 9/18/11
6) Run a race 3/25/12, 5/2/12, 7/14/12, 7/26/12 - registered. 
7) Travel to somewhere I haven't been
8) Host a cocktail party 11/30/11
9) Give someone the perfect gift 12/24/11
10) Find my signature quotation 8/22/11
11) Go to a Bull's game   Try something new in Chicago 5/6/12
12) Sing a karaoke solo
13) Send out Christmas cards 12/5/11
14) Visit cousins cousinfriends as often as possible (atleast 2 different cousins in different locations) 1/2 - LA to visit Christine 9/1; 2/2 DSM to visit Megan/Anne/Jane weekend of 11/15; 3/2 - Bloomington to visit Jenifer/Christine weekend of 4/28, 6/2 Minneapolis to visit Jane/Anne, 7/2 Minneapolis to visit Jane/Anne
15) Find an "important" book that I haven't read and actually read it 7/26/12
16) Visit a haunted house (and actually go through it) 10/15/11
17) Take my parents to dinner 2/18/12
18) Have a snowball fight Make my own jewelry 5/30/12
19) Go to (or host!) a costume party 10/29/11
20) Find a favorite wine 9/3/11
21) Bake something not from a box 11/29/11
22) Be a tourist in my city (do something quintessential Chicago) Zoo lights: 2/11/12; Auto Show 2/12/12
23) Plan some kind of surprise 5/16/12
24) Try a new type of sushi 12/26/11
25) Decorate for a holiday 12/7/11
26) Stand in an ocean 9/3/11
27) Visit a new city 7/5/12
28) Start using non-Facebook social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) 10/1/11

I'm literally not sure that any year could top 26... but here's to an awesome 27. Thanks for reading my blog! xo

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Year of the Kate: A recap

Twenty six was the best year of my life.

(So far).

I got married to the best guy for me (which changed everything). We bought (and began renovations on) our first place. I advanced in my career. I had the honeymoon of my dreams.

I also witnessed some great loves make it official, and hung out with many amazing people.

I may not have memorized the Constitutional Amendments (whoops) or quit Diet Cook (sorry Mom) or a few other things... but I'm still calling this a phenomenal year.

I read books, took walks, savored the moment, watched the Bears (lose, mostly), went to Cubs games, took boot camp, thought about things that matter, and things that don't, stood firm and changed my mind, savored every single part of being engaged, hosted Thanksgiving, loved my family, contemplated, planned, appreciated, danced, and LIVED.

27... bring it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Photo of the Day: Ped Mall Fountain

In Iowa City, there's a fountain in the middle of the ped mall. As a child, my mom would often take my brothers and me there to splash around and play. Though the surrounding area has changed a lot since then (and even the fountain has shifted shape) it still makes me smile every time I see it. I had the best childhood.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Quote of the Day: Love

"Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning" - Anonymous

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

GPOYW: Newlywed Trolley Edition

So much happiness in this photo:

Recipe: Homemade (Non)Crab Rangoons

After a weekend of overindulgence, Scott and I were looking for a sneaky way to get in a lot of vegetables: enter veggie stir fry.

We had a bunch of wonton wrappers that were burning a hole in the fridge, so we also mixed up some homemade non-crab crab rangoons.

Really easy to make. Simply mash up cream cheese (fat-free works, too!) with any spices (we used some Asian-inspired sauce), add garlic and pepper to taste, and voila. Use water to seal the sides of the wonton wrappers, and fold them on to themselves. One word of caution: do not overfill. Once created, fry them in vegetable oil. (Definitely not the healthiest add-on, but was pretty delicious).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

the weighting game

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to lose ten pounds.

I have a distinct memory of being in third grade, and wishing my knees looked as skinny as Ashley Someone.

(In third grade, I was nine years old).

Walk in to any high school lunchroom, and you're bound to hear some high school kid complain to her friends "I feel so fat". Turn on the TV, or flip through a magazine and you'll see page upon page, ads upon ads dedicated to "dropping pounds fast", "getting it off and keeping it off" or "hot bikini bods". Losing weight, being skinny- this is the perceived goal, the thing to want and need and work toward.

I think we can all agree that our society is unabashedly obsessed with weight - and further, that we are taught that skinny equals good, fat equals bad with a capitol F. But having body fat - a little or a lot or somewhere in between - doesn't make you a bad person - it doesn't change your value, and it is not a measure of a person.

And yet our culture seems to not grasp this. Celebrity moms are plastered all over the weeklies for "getting their body back" mere days after childbirth. Diet gimmicks with famous spokeswomen abound. Weight chatter is everywhere - it's impossible to avoid. The message is clear, loud and unwavering: fat = bad, and therefore fat people = bad people.

Many times the comments are less obvious, and even seem complimentary: "Wow, you look great... did you lose weight?" or "I'm so impressed you've kept the weight off!" But though those are positive messages (messages of affirmation), they still sharpen the weight focus: losing weight and being thin are good, whereas gaining weight or being fat are bad.

I think it's time to put an end to this, and while I certainly can't change the culture of a society, I can change my own attitude and the way I respond to this kind of diet-obsessed, weight-obsessed behavior and language. If you want to complain about "feeling fat", do it to someone else. I won't listen to you. From this day forward, no more bitching about the last few pounds, wishing myself thinner. It's time to embrace who we are - size twenty or twelve or two.

And the next time that someone comments on my weight (or, worse, someone else's weight to me), I won't stand for that either. We are so much more than the size of our jeans, and I won't allow anyone to make me feel otherwise.

Who's with me?

14 Years

Happy anniversary to my incredibly supportive, patient, generous, funny and fun parents. I'm lucky to be a Staloney!

Quote of the Day: "Our wedding was many years ago. The celebration continues to this day" - Gene Perret

Photo of the Day: Diva of Geneva

One of the highlights of this weekend was an almost matching pedicure with my mama.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Photo of the Day: Sky

If you look very closely, you can see a black dot in one of the clouds - it's actually a skydiver falling through the sky!

25) Send birthday cards to every single one of my cousins

The point of this goal was to show how much I love my cousins (and I do) but I didn't quite send cards to all of them. I completely dropped the ball a little bit in April/May (it was a crazy couple months) but I think I was darn close to reaching out to each cousin on their birthday - either a card or email, call, text - SOMETHING.