Friday, September 30, 2011

Quote of the Day: Elizabeth Warren Edition

"You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate' you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a facotry and it turned in to something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay it forward for the next kid who comes along" - Elizabeth Warren

on marital "success"

In my opinion, defining a marriage's success is a tricky thing to do.

First of all, it may be a challenge to label it as a success until it's over - and unless I'm missing something, marriages seem to end in only death or divorce. So if a marriage doesn't end until one partner dies - does that make it a success, because you made it "til death do us part"?

The other option - divorce - would mean that my mom and biological dad's marriage was a failure because they did divorce. But what does that make me, and my brothers? I'd say we're all doing pretty well - and the marriage produced us, so does that "void" the failure and make it a success? What about no children - does that make your marriage a failure?

Or what about spousal abuse? Infidelity?

So yes, my opinion - defining marital success is tricky business.

In my definition - in my marriage - I hope to define success by a number of ways: are we dedicated to the health our marriage? Are we happy - independently and as a couple? Are we living out the promises we made (and continue to make) to each other? (I'm sure there are dozens of other barometers - but I haven't found them yet. I've only been married for four months, after all).

These four months have taught me a thing or two about marriage, though - namely, that I'm no expert. So when I read stories about real experts and their two cents about marriage, I pay attention. Huffington Post ran a story recently (interestingly titled "The Fine Line Between Marriage and Divorce") in which the author interviewed 200 wives who had been married for 15-70 years each. The article is an interesting read in general, but in specific, I found the section containing commonalities the most interesting. The author said that these three things led to the highest marital satisfaction among wives:

1) "The happiest wives have a sense of purpose and passion in work and causes outside of the home. Wives who counted on a spouse for fulfillment and sustenance were often angry and lonely".

2) "And the happiest wives don't spend a whole lot of time with their husbands... couples who allow each other to grow separately are the ones with the best chance of growing together and staying together".

3) "Finally, the wives with the highest marital satisfacation have a tight circle of wild women friends with whom to drink, travel and vent about their husbands".

I certainly agree with these now - I need a life outside of my relationship, I need my "me time" and I need my girlfriends - and I think if we swapped the terms "wives" and "husbands" Scott would agree, too. There's more to me then Scott. There's more to Scott then me.

My aunt Barb introduced me to Kahlil Gibran the summer I lived with her, and I think his famous line is an appropriate reflection: "But let there be space in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love; let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls".

Thursday, September 29, 2011

$2.16 Jeans

Guys, can I brag for a minute?

I was shopping the other week, and came across the deal of the year - a pair of white jeans (which I was on the market for!) for $2.16. TWO DOLLARS.

(Ignore the wrinkles in the photo below - picture was taken post-wear).

on Mormon Presidential candidates

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this here yet, but I have a real fascination with Mormons - particularly, Mormon women. It's hard to put my finger on why - I think the earnest, pro-family, and wholesome-ness is very appealing to me. I know for sure that I would make a lousy Mormon, but I appreciate many good things about the Mormon lifestyle: wholesome young people, a level of modesty missing from much of America, life-long marriages, the closeness of family, etc.

I don't know any Mormon's personally, so instead of being intrigued in person, I've taken to reading several blogs, penned by interesting Mormon women.

One of my favorites posted something this week about a documentary that she recently saw, which neutrally explores why one in five American's say they would not vote for a Mormon Presidential candidate. The blogger said, "Obviously, that goes against the constitution and is an important thing for our democracy to consider".

It's my interpretation that she is saying that it's unconstitutional to vote for someone (or, conversely, to NOT vote for them) because of their religion... But is that actually true?

The Constitution states this about religion:
  • First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".
  • Article V1: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States"
The fact is, Mormon's (like Catholics or Buddhists or Lutherans) are not prohbitted from running for public office, even - especially!- the Presidency, and that's a good thing. I am one of those people that the blogger refers to - the one in five Americans that wouldn't vote for a Mormon Presidential candidate, at least not right this minute. Because while I can appreciate that some Mormon Presidential candidates could potentially be open-minded, pro-women, pro-gay - I haven't seen that person yet. I can also recognize that the specific Mormon Presidential candidates involved in this election are not those people. Both Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney favor much more conservative, traditional "family values" - in other words, they are classic Republicans. The fact that they belong to a conservative church really has nothing to do with it.

Or maybe it does?

We've all heard the old adage, something about being able to tell alot about a person by the company they keep. When people position themselves as members of a specific group, even a religious group, they align themselves with that group. If I say "I'm Catholic" that means that I'm part of a specific group that has specific beliefs and requirements - and by putting myself in that category, doesn't that mean that I am aligning myself with those beliefs?

Mormons belielve in abstinence from all alcoholic beverages, all hot drinks (so Diet Coke may be alright but coffee and tea are not), that marriage is only between a man and a woman, is mostly against abortion (though they do allow a few exceptions after thorough prayer reflection), that women cannot be of the most senior level leader in the church, among lots of other things. (In some ways this is an unfair representation of what Mormon's believe - its' like saying, Catholics are pro-life and pro-abstinence. It's true, but it doesn't paint a picture of their faith). I'm not making any judgment - I call myself a "Cafeteria Catholic" knowing that I'm therefore linked to people/beliefs that I'd rather not be.

I guess all of this is to say that it's going to be an interesting 13 months - who knows what will happen or who will enter the race. And while I don't know for certain which name I'll be selecting, I know I can rule out two - and not just because their Mormon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Song of the Day: Howie Day - Everyone Loves to Love a Lie

You know those songs where when you hear them you can vividly see a part of your life, as if the song is a soundtrack? This song is that for me - fall 2009. I had just started this blog, and had just moved in to my own apartment. An equally good - if very different - time in my life.

GPOYW: Special Self Portrait

We're still perfecting the art of the "long arm" photo.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Song of the Day: Pat Green -Feels Just Like It Should

Here's one of my current most-played songs, introduced to me by the Birthday Boy himself.

(Don't tell Scott, but this weekend when I borrowed his took our car to the suburbs, I blared this song with the windows down. Fall bliss!)

on Matt

Twenty five years ago today, my brother Matt was born and I took on one of my favorite roles: big sister.

I think being a sister has shaped me more than any other position I've ever held. It taught me all of the biggies - how to share, that hitting is bad, and that family matters.

Matt is just 25 months younger than me, so that means we grew up close - in age, but perhaps more importantly, in proximity. It always felt like it was us against the "grown ups". Trying to negotiate later summer curfews, or more car-time with the red Honda, we were always almost always on the same side of any family negotiations.

The only downside to moving to Chicago was that I missed my family... a lot. Matt put a bandaid on that problem when he moved here after graduation.

Although I'm two years older than him, I'm used to being introduced to people as "Kate, Matt's sister". Everyone knows Matt, and everyone who knows him, loves him. He is the single most likeable, focused and ambitious person I have ever met.

I'm lucky to be his big sister.

Happy birthday, Matt!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Made in America- Toby Keith w/ lyrics

I'm trying to think of the right words to say why I like this song, and I am struggling. I like to think that I attempt to be "wide eyed" at the ways of the world - reading world news and not ignoring the things affecting our brothers and sisters across the globe. I'm also proud to be an American. I don't know if it's patriotism or a soft spot for Toby Keith - I've been listening to this song non stop.

on someday motherhood

Almost as quickly as we returned from our honeymoon, people began asking when Scott and I planned to have children, and how many we were going to have. My standard answer is "five years", because it seems to quickly shut the conversation down, but the reality is that I simply don't know. I can hardly imagine us in those roles.

(Though I do have an answer ready to spit out, I must admit that I hate getting the question - I think it's quite invasive, and frankly, it makes me want to sucker punch whoever is asking).

The truth is, I'm not ready to be a parent right now, and I don't know when I will be.

One year? Six? Ten?

See, I'm a big believer in "life stages", and celebrating whatever stage you're in now. And right now, I can't help fantasize about my first trip to Europe, or prioritize ridiculously overpriced shoes. I still count down the days until my next booze-y margarita girls night.

Those reasons sound selfish... and they are selfish. I'm selfish. And I know I'm not ready to put those things to rest - yet.

I can't wait to be a mom, and I can't wait to see Scott be a daddy, and I can understand and appreciate the beauty and joy that those roles bring to people. But the truth is, I don't know when it's going to stop being "just" the two of us. And I don't know what shape our family will take, or even how many of us there will be. I don't know if any of us will share biology, and I don't know if I'll have sweet daughters or precious sons or some combination.

But I believe in my gut that I will be a mom someday - some way, somehow - and that someday I'll be ready and excited and relish the experience.

(And I won't miss those margarita girls nights).


Photo of the Day: Monday Already Edition

Wishing I was back in Wine Country with my sweetheart... but Monday at the office is a close second (and I'm not being sarcastic).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Do fans "boo" their own team?!

I haven't talked about the Chicago Bears in a while, but not for lack of loving on them: I am a proud Bears fan, through good seasons and bad seasons, good games and worse games.

I may dislike certain players (cough cough Jay CUTLER) but no matter what happens in a game or season, I will never boo "my team". Is it a common practice for fans to boo their own team? It's halftime right now, but at the end of the second quarter when the Bears couldn't make the 6 points happen and instead went for the field goal, Bears fans booed. Maybe it's naive of me, but I didn't realize that fans booed their own team. Frankly, I think it's shameful.

on Geography

"When I was younger and I thought about what my life would be like in my late-20s, I assumed that everyone I loved would be close to me and we'd be able to share experiences together. That we'd always find comfort in, at least, the physical proximity that one has to the other. But in truth, we're thousands of miles away from each other as we go on dates and have babies and break up and get married. And so something stronger - the affection we have for each other - has to keep us close in ways geography cannot." - JoyEngel

This paragraph really sang to me, probably because I have such a hard time with the distance between my favorite people. When I think back to the happiest times in my life, it was family vacations where we were all crammed in the minivan for cross country roadtrips, or my best girlfriends and I sharing an apartment our senior year of college. There's something about the physical distance that makes it so easy to be happy.

I love "my" Chicago, but Iowa has something that no city will ever be able to compete with: my family. If I'm honest with myself, then I'll admit that while I love living here, there's a part of me that feels like I'm missing out on something by not living near my parents. And even though we don't see each other in the day-to-day, we ARE close, and I think Engel's right - it's because of the affection we have for each other.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quote of the Day: Two Hundred Feet

"Think of a car driving through the night. The headlights only go a hundred or two hundred feet forward, and you can make it all the way from California to New York driving in the dark because all you have to see is the next two hundred feet. And that's how life tends to unfold before us. If we just trust that the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, and the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, your life will keep unfolding." - The Secret

I find this very comforting. Sometimes thinking about the future is really overwhelming, and while it's smart to consider the big picture, I also think it's smart to think about today - the next two hundred feet - from time to time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

on Pinterest

Have you heard of Pinterest? Pinterest is an online, virtual bulletin board system. Users create boards around varying topics (like "style" or "recipes" or ANYTHING) and then when they come across something they like on the internet, they "pin" it to their board.

Pinterest is accesible via your Facebook or Twitter account, and once you are set up, you are automatically connected with your Facebook/Twitter friends that are using Pinterest.

I started using late last month, and I must admit that I am HOOKED. It's especially great for later recall. If I find a cool holiday idea or recipe, I can "pin" it to the appropriate board, and later go to that board, click on the link and see the idea or recipe without any internet searching.

If you're curious about the experience, click here to view my Pinterest.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Photo of the Day: Weekly Outfits

Not only do I see the world in black and white, but that's also how the world sees me.

(Perhaps it's time to invest in a little color?)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

5) Chop off my hair

Snip snip!

(The 5 fingers I'm holding up represent the approximately 5 inches chopped off!)

Photo of the Day: Flowers Edition

Thanks Scottie... it was a great way to start a great weekend.

Jake Owen - Barefoot Blue Jean Night

Listened to this song a lot this weekend.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quote of the Day: Marriage Edition

"It's very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or, as I like to call it - marriage. You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car, I didn't gay park it" - Liz Feldman

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mashup #3: Just Dance + Don't Stop Believin'

What's better than two favorite dance songs? One mega-song, obviously! :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Eleventh

I first learned about terrorism in fourth grade in Mrs. Loops class, when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Before then, I can't remember ever knowing that real evil existed. I was sitting on the North side of the classroom, in the last row next to the windows. I remember looking outside while she was talking to us about it, looking down in to the Roosevelt Elementary School ravine and trying to visualize it - what it must look like and feel like and be like. What would make someone do this, to create the horror.

But it didn't make sense then, and it doesn't make sense now.

I was 17 and one month exactly when the terrorists struck The World Trade Center, and just like the Oklahoma City bombing, I remember what class I was in, and where I was seated. It was second period - an English class - and we had a substitute teacher. She was an older lady, and she let us watch the news coverage on TV. At first our class was confused, thinking it was a horrible accident and maybe a pilot had mismanaged a turn, accidentally hitting the building. We were watching when the second plane hit, and with it the realization that this was on purpose, and that people - other people like us - made this happen.

I was fortunate to be unaffected. No one I knew died. My home was thousands of miles away. My life continued, nearly just as it was before. The sun kept shining and I still went to school and to work and to soccer and to football games on Friday nights. I still got to hug my parents, and tease my brothers, and go to the movies with my friends.

I remember being scared, and very sad, and certainly confused... but my family and I were safe, and alive- the lucky ones.

I still say a prayer during takeoff of every time I fly. I cry reading stories about the lives lost ten years ago, and about the sisters and brothers and parents and children left behind. Is it even possible to remember that day without being sad? I sometimes try to think about what it was like to be a New Yorker ten years ago - walking home after the towers fell, phone lines and bridges jammed up, alone and scared. Not knowing who was alive, and who was lost forever. What must it have been like for the firefighters, as they raced up each flight of stairs, each step taking them closer to the danger.

It's hard to comprehend the amount of bravery and composure and strength and faith that was required of some American's during that day, and all the days that followed.

And on a day like today it's hard not to be sad, thinking of those lives lost and families forever changed. And angry - anger at the horrible, horrible unfairness of it all. And maybe scared, too, wondering if there is more evil lurking, waiting to deepen the pain.

But for today, I don't want to worry about tomorrow. Today, in my heart, I want to honor the heroes, the survivors, the victims, by choosing gratitude and hope and remembrance.

Mashup #1: Chasing Cars + Every Breath You Take

Do you like Mashups? I love them - here's one of my faves. I'll be sharing a few other favorites this week.

Quote of the Day: George Bush Edition

"One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real and so is courage" - George Bush

Saturday, September 10, 2011

4) Start taking vitamins consistently

It's only been one month since I set this goal, but I'm on the vitamin wagon completely. Check!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Carolyn + Kamron: 7.30.11

Yesterday, I finally realized how to connect my camera to my laptop (don't even ask why I couldn't make it work before...)

My college friend Carolyn got married July 30th in Muscatine, Iowa and I was thrilled to be there to witness it. It was a beautiful wedding, but sadly, I took a grand total of FOUR photos (wah wah!)

Chi O's :)
Four of my favorites
I took these because I was OBSESSED w/ her table centerpieces - they are actually super ornate paper (above) and candles (below). Gorgeous!!

Congratulations Carolyn & Kamron!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

20) Find a favorite wine

During our LA getaway, Scott and I took a quick day trip to Santa Barbara. While there, we did a four-vineyard tour of the wine country.
The scenery was insanely beautiful - like something out of a movie.

I have always been a white-wine kinda girl, but during our excursion I found my favorite wine - and shockingly, it was red: grenache. (I'd never heard of it before, but apparently it's quite popular).

My other favorite wine? Anything served in Christine's living room, like the "Two Buck Chuck" that I had excitedly mentioned pre-trip that she had waiting for me - perfectly chillled :) (Thanks Christine!!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Photo of the Day: Dinner Edition

After our weekend getaway, we returned to a nearly empty fridge. The first night back, we threw together an impromptu - and pretty healthy - Mexican feast.
The crown jewel were spicy stuffed peppers.

14) Visit Cousinfriends 1/2

Part one completed with an AMAZING LA visit to see Christine. I've said it before and I'll say it again: everyone should have a Christine in their life.
Thanks for an awesome long weekend, CER!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

26) Stand in an ocean

Pacific Ocean: September 3, 2011

3/28 accomplished!

The Year of the Kate Wordle

Back from my SoCal vacation and in desperate need of a blogging recap. While I do that, thought I'd share the "Wordle" for The Year of the Kate, courtesy of my cousinfriend Jenifer:
At first I was a little embarrassed by all the "WANT"ing... but then I realized that Wordle takes all the words on the page (not archives) so I'm guessing this has to do with my Tyra post from a few days ago.

With that grain of salt in mind, I decided I shouldn't be embarrassed at all - The Year of the Kate is about wanting - wanting to do things and live an interesting life. So yeah, Wordle, I want.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Photo of the day: Weekend Edition

Happy weekend y'all! As you read this I'm in LA with my cousinfriend Christine drinking Two Buck Chuck, taking too many photos, and loving California life.