Top Ten Movies From My Childhood

I think preparing to be a mom is making me nostalgic for my childhood. No, I take that back, I’m always in a mood for a walk down memory lane. 

I was thinking back on my favorite movies from my childhood.The ones I watched over and over. The ones that if they happened to air during a free preview weekend of HBO we were sure to record them on our trusty VCR. Remember recording onto a VCR? You could fit one or two movies on a tape, it was just unfortunate when you wanted to watch the second movie on the tape and you had to slowly fast forward through the first one.

These are the ones that were always pulled out on sick days or rain or snow days. The ones I still have memorized. 

Oh the late eighties and early nineties, what a charming time for cinema. More heart and less cgi and action. 

It was hard to choose so I limited myself to movies from my first decade from 1983-1993. 

Did you love any of these same movies? 

1. Curly Sue


 A homeless man and young girl con a rich lawyer. She provides them with lodging and food and eventually a whole lot more. Hubba hubba!

2.  Ladybugs


In order to impress his boss and get a promotion, Rodney Dangerfield signs up to coach a girls’ soccer team. However, the team is terrible, so he recruits soccer star Jonathon Brandis to cross dress as a girl in order to help the girls’ team win. Hilarious.

3. Troop Beverly Hills 


Shopaholic Shelly Long decides to become her daughter’s “Den Mother” in order to show her husband she still has heart and spirit that exists outside of Rodeo Drive. From designing new uniforms, new assignments and badges, and only a desire to show the girls how to survive in the “wilds” of Beverly Hills, Long looks like she’s going to fail. But her heart, passion, and support of a lively group of girls makes her turn a new direction. We used to watch this all the time during Girl Scouts. Our troops version of camping was staying at a condo at the beach in Rehobeth. 

4. The Cutting Edge


Kate is a rich, spoiled Olympic ice skater. Doug is an arrogant Olympic ice hokey player. When both Kate and Doug fail at the 1988 Olympics, Kate’s coach sets the two up as an ice skating pair for the 1990 Olympics. Kate’s prima dona attitude and Doug’s oafish demeanor clash. But their determination to win pushes them to try their hardest. And of course they fall in love. 

5. Annie



Charming and spunky Annie, who never gives up hope of finding her parents, wins over the heart of grumpy ole Oliver Warbucks. Winning herself a loving family while also saving the country from the Great Depression! (by inspiring Roosevelt’s New Deal of course!) I know every single word to every single song. 

6. Adventures in Babysitting


After her boyfriend cancels their date, Chris (Elizabeth Shue) is forced to babysit 10-year old Sara. A quite night at home turns into a wild escapade in Chicago. Chris, accompanied by Sara, Sara’s brother, and his friend, goes to pick up a friend. However a flat tire derails them and they are set off on a night of odd character, hijinks, and adventure. 

7. The Adventures of Milo and Otis


A simple story about a curious cat and a loyal dog who are the best of friends. There is no dialogue, only music and a narrator. Milo, the curious orange cat experiences every type of wilderness adventure and trauma you can imagine. Otis, the pug, chases after him, always an hour or two behind. Finally the two meet up, find mates, and raise their families together. (oy that birthing scene!)

8. My Girl


 11-year-old Vada is coming to age in the seventies. A daughter of a funeral home director and still reeling from the death of her mother (who died during Vada’s death), Vada is struggling with complex emotions. Her best and only friend is Thomas Moore and they explore the pre teen years together. I’ve shed so many tears over this movie! “Where are his glasses? He can’t see without his glasses!”

9. Big


12-year-old Josh wishes to be “big”. The next morning the kid wakes up in the body of 30-year-old Tom Hanks. He heads off to NYC and works for a toy company. His child-like imagination scores him a promotion and a love interest. But soon, Josh sees life as an adult isn’t all it’s hyped up to be. 

10. The Witches


 Based on the book by Roald Dahl, The Witches tells the story of Luke, who happens upon a meeting of England’s witches while vacationing with his Grandma. The evil witches, led by Angelica Houston, plan to turn all children into mice by feeding them poisonous chocolate. Luke soon falls prey to their magic and now he, as a mouse must fight back against the cruel (and so scary and ugly for a child) witches!

What were some of your favorite movies from this time period?

xoxo Katie

Why Lupita Nyong’o Ruled the Oscars

I simply adore award shows and last night’s Academy Awards did not disappoint! I had a fun time wearing my sequins, sipping champagne and Hurricane’s while playing Red Carpet bingo and judging all of the stars fashion and speeches.

I think we can all agree that the beautiful Lupita Nyong’o ruled the Oscars not only with her grace and beauty but also with her true humility. Let us first get the superficial part of of the way as we admire her beautiful presence on the red carpet! True beauty!

Academy Awards, Lupita Nyongo

More importantly, Lupita Nyong’o’s win and speech were both inspiring. Her words were carefully chosen and spoken with an eloquent grace and humble gratitude that is often forgotten during this ego driven and celebrity obsessed love fest.

Before thanking anyone else, Lupita gracefully acknowledged:

 “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s,”

She recognizes and sheds light on the fact that if it were not for Patsey’s pain, her character from 12 Years a Slave, she would not be here today. She does go on and mention her Hollywood colleagues, but prefaces that giving all attention to the oppressed heroes of her story – reminding us that Solomon and Patsey are the true heroes that should be recognized. Their story is the one that counts – Lupita’s acting was simply the method for telling American History.

Lupita Nyongo speech

Yale educated Lupita ended her eloquent speech with,

 “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.” 

So beyond all of the fashion and the jokes and the celebrity  camaraderie and Ellen’s attempt to humanize celebrities with selfies and pizza, the Oscar’s reminded us of the power that Hollywood holds to tell important stories. Stories that shed light on humanity, history, and the role we as humans play in examining the past and shifting the future.

xoxo Katie




2014 Oscar Party Bingo, Trivia, and Ballot Printables

2014 oscar party games

If you know anything about me, you know that I love any reason to throw a theme party and celebrate! The Academy Awards, broadcasting live this Sunday, are no exception.

I adore award ceremonies. I love judging and ogling the gowns on the red carpet, hearing award speeches, tearing up at montage series, and rooting for my favorite stars and films – all while toasting with some champagne.

For the past few years a group of my friends has gathered for a Oscar Party complete with themed food, drinks, trivia, and prizes.

This year I decided to add Red Carpet Bingo!

abla red carpet oscar bingo

It works like this:

Gather your friends around the TV to view the fun of the Red Carpet prior to the awards ceremony.

Each participant gets their own board (I’ve created 8, download and print your them below!).

Every time something occurs on the red carpet that coordinates with a spot on their card they get to put an X through that spot.

First person to get 5 spots in a row wins!

If you have a smaller group you can keep playing, just hand out new cards.

Next up, Trivia!

The trivia game is a fun way to test your knowledge on the history of the Oscars. Since I’m such a huge nerd, I love researching these questions. How much do YOU know about the history of the Academy Awards?

Here are some sample questions off of my 2014 Trivia Quiz (download it below!)

What year were the Academy Awards first televised?

Today the Oscar statue is made of britannium. The outside is gold-plated. But, during the war yeas, what was the Oscar made of? Wood, Tin, Brass, or Plaster?

When Vivien Leigh made “Gone With the Wind” she was paid $15,000. In 1993, her Oscar for Best Actress was auctioned off for how much? $150,000, $275,000, $400,000 or $500,000?

It’s a fun way to learn some fun new facts and have a little competition!

Finally, it’s time to vote!!

2014 Academy Awards Oscars best picture

2014 abla oscar ballot

Prior to the start of the ceremony, give everyone a 2014 Oscar Ballot and have them vote for who they believe is going to win for each of the major categories.

At then end of the night, tally up how many correct wins each person had. The one with the most correct wins receives the biggest prize of the evening! (acceptance speech not required).

Will you join in on the fun?

I’ve included links below for you to download my 2014 Oscar red carpet bingo, trivia questions (and answers), and 2014 Oscar Ballot.

What stars and movies are you going to be rooting for?



Click to open a PDF versions of my bingo cards, trivia questions and answers, and ballot. (links will lead you to a new window in which you will be able to click and download the PDF)

2014 Oscar Bingo card 1 and 2

2014 Oscar Bingo card 3 and 4

2014 Oscar Bingo card 5 and 6

2014 Oscar Bingo card 7 and 8   

2014 Oscar Ballot

2014 Oscar Trivia Questions

2014 Oscar Trivia Answers

xoxo Katie

What Movies Taught Me About Love

I don’t care too much for the rules of Valentine’s day, the ones that say you MUST shell out a week’s paycheck on a romantic candlelight dinner, overpriced red roses, jewelry, or anything else the world of advertising declares is the only way to show your loved ones that you care.

However, I do like getting festive in other ways – like making sweet treats, toasting with an extra glass of champagne, writing sweet notes, and watching my favorite romantic movies. I see it as another day to celebrate all that makes you feel loved – your friends, your family, your partner, or your dog and or cat.

I’ve always loved love stories – and what better time to curl up with your favorite romantic movie then in the bleak and bitter month that is February. They warm my heart and let me have a good cathartic cry. I can’t help it. I love it.

So in honor of my love of love movies I’ve decided to look into the love lessons I’ve learned from my 3 favorite love story movies (in order of their greatness) Love Story, The Notebook, and Titanic.

Love Storythe-notebook-postertitanicposter

These three movies all have a common theme. Boy and Girl from different socioeconomic backgrounds fall in love and stay in love against all costs, whether that be cancer, dementia, or the sinking of a ship. Let’s see how these famous movie couples taught me to believe and fight for love:

Love Story


(I always wanted to be Jenny with her sleek seventies style – I tried to reenact their romping snow scene, but could never be as cute)

In case you’ve never seen it
My favorite romantic movie of all time tells the tale of wealthy Oliver and middle class Jenny and their journey to love and marriage against the best wishes of Oliver’s family. They grow close through hard times and love each other unconditionally. All seems ideal until Jenny is diagnosed with terminal cancer at the young age of 25.

Lesson’s Learned:

1. Love Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry


Many disagree with this classic line and I did too for many years. It didn’t make sense to me, love means ALWAYS apologizing, even when you don’t truly mean it.

As I got older I saw it in a different light. You don’t need to say you’re sorry to the one that you love and loves you in return because that one person knows that you will always be sorry for causing the other one pain (intentional or unintentional). You have enough faith in your relationship to know that it is strong, that apologies can be given with a simple look, hug, or recollection of your commitment to the other. They are your life long teammate.

2. Life is Fleeting, Share and Celebrate Your Love Before It’s Too Late


 Jenny and Oliver fell in love quick and surely didn’t hide their love away. Good thing since their love story was cut short. You never know what tomorrow may bring, if you love someone let them know. Then celebrate it, shout it from the roof tops, live our that love each and every day. Or else, end up bitter and alone like Oliver’s poor father…

line The Notebook


In case you’ve never seen it…who are you?
The movie tells the story of Duke, an old man reading a love story to a woman suffering from dementia. Duke recounts the true love between Allie and Noah, who fought for their love as the world (mostly Allie’s disapproving parents) tried to tear them apart. After seven years of separation the young lovers reunite and realize they are still deeply in love. After hearing this story time and time again, the suffering dementia patient realizes that she is Allie and Duke is Noah – just in time for the two of them to die peacefully together.

Lesson’s Learned:

1. True Love Can Defy All Odds if Both Parties Truly Believe In It


There is no doubt about it, love is a risky endeavor. But once you take that risk and fall down that rabbit hole into the world of love you must both put 100% faith and trust into your relationship. When you are both in it together, miraculous things will happen. Faith and Love are one in the same to me.

2. You Must Follow Your Own Heart


The world will try to tell your otherwise. People will try to tear you apart. Ignore the haters and follow your gut. Listen to your heart and take action. Only you can create your own happiness.



In case you never saw it…really…who are you?!
Jack, a romantic drifter, and Rose, a wealthy young girl engaged to a snob, meet and fall in love aboard the doomed Titanic. Jack rescues Rose as she contemplates suicide to escape the social repression of her life. Within the next few days, the two fall deeply in love as Jack shows Rose a whole new world and way of viewing life. When the boat begins to sink, Rose choses to stay with Jack, rather than escape with her wealthy family. The two struggle to survive as the ship goes down, and nearly do, until Jack dies of hypothermia. Rose carries Jack’s memory with her and lives out an adventure and fruitful life. 

Lesson’s Learned:

1. That Mysterious Artsy Guy Who Isn’t Afraid of Taking Chances Makes a Great Romantic Partner


 When you need a little push or motivation, guys like Jack, will always be willing to hold your hand and lead you on adventures leading to a life of surprises and passion. These guys have a big heart and big dreams and think outside of society’s norms.

2. Love Is Playful

titanic4 titanic3

Life’s too short, live a little! Love’s not all about the big passionate moments. Love should be playful and make you feel alive Take that spontaneous trip, try new and exotic food, pull an all nighter before a big day, let your hair down! Take Jack and Rose’s lead –  Let him draw you naked, have hot sex in the back of someone else’s car, have a spitting contest, dance like fools.

3. Challenges Bring You Closer


No doubt that when you and your love must endure a great challenge (hopefully not a sinking ship) your love will grow and you’ll learn to trust the other in ways you never did before. When life throws you struggles you’ll learn to lean on one another and tide the storm together. Who knew what would have happened to Jack and Rose if the ship safely landed in the States?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Spread the love!

xoxo Katie










Red Velvet Cookie Cakes

Red Velvet Cookie Cakes Recipe

These little cookie cakes are heavenly. I call them cookie cakes because although they look like mini cup cakes they are most definitely rich cookies. They are simple and fast to make and are fun for a Valentine’s Day treat or any other occasion for a lover of red velvet cake in you life!

Before I reveal this recipe, I feel the need to confess.

I always feel a little like a fraud with my recipe post.

Three years ago the most cooking I ever did was fajitas, brownies, or spaghetti. My kitchen cabinets were empty and I had to borrow most cooking supplies from my mother. It was not a priority and it was not fun.

Flash forward. Now I have a hungry man to feed (seriously, how do they eat so much?) and a tighter budget and I’m finding that I love spending time cooking.

My meals are still a far cry from gourmet. Yet, they are  but they are far closer than my grilled chicken, canned green beans, and peanut butter and pretzels menu pre marriage. I still have a hard time making a recipe with more than 10 ingredients or any that takes longer than 45 minutes.

It’s funny though, how when something became a priority, I found that I actually enjoy it. I find solace in cutting and chopping and a great peace when you have a finished product that is rewarding not only for you but for those you share it with. I still get majorly frustrated when things don’t go rights. For instance, the first batch of these cakes got a little burnt. I blame our ancient oven in our rental with a broken top heating unit. As Ryan said yesterday, “Katie, you can get a little nasty when you’re baking”. I still find baking the hardest of cooking. There’s such a small unit of time between “lightly crisped” and “extremely burnt”.

But after some practice I feel like I can now call myself a good cook and baker – and actually look forward to meal planning and discovering and creating new recipes.

For example – these cookie cakes! Yum!

Red Velvet Cookie Cakes


1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix

2 Eggs

1/4 Cup Canola Oil

1/3 cup Powdered Sugar

1 bag of Cookies and Cream Hershey Kisses


1. Preheat oven to  350 degrees

2. Mix together the cake mix, eggs, and canola oil. Blend in mixer for about two minutes.

3. Roll small balls of the dough and place in a sprayed mini muffin tray. The balls should fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way.

red velvet cookie cakes

4. Bake for 10 minutes (I found this to be the magic number after burning the first batch)

5. While the cookies are baking, unwrap your Hershey kisses.

red velvet cookie cakes cookies and cream hershey kisses

6. Let the cookies sit for 2 minutes and then remove from tin and place on a cooling rack.

7. Sift powdered sugar on top of the cookies and then place a Hershey Kiss in the center of each cookie.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

red velvet cookie cakes

red velvet cookie cakes

xoxo Katie

(Blast from the Past) Favorite TV Shows from High School Years

Last week’s post about High School notes inspired me to start a new series “Blast from the Past” depicting all things nostalgic from the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s.

Blast from the Past a beautiful little adventure

This week as I was snowed in for a few days and catching up on my DVR (does anyone else get stressed when the DVR gets to be around 98% full?!) I got to thinking about TV. Teen shows have surely changed since the 90’s. Back then there were no vampires, far less sex,  kids weren’t always dressed in unobtainable designer duds, and story lines didn’t revolve around text messages. There I go again, sounding like an old lady complaining about “youth of today”. Sigh. Here are high school Katie’s favorite shows during 1997-2001.

my so-called life 90's tv

1. My So-Called Life


Okay, so I was in middle school for this one, but I watched my VHS’s of the show non stop in high school. I wanted to be Claire Danes like no other and Jared Leto was my biggest crush (behind Leo of course!). The shows depiction of a 15 year-old girls coming of age in the 90’s was raw and real, with no over the top dramas or bubble gum pop music and characters. I guess too real for the teen drama niche of TV as it was canceled after only one season.

PartyOfFive 90's tv

2. Party of Five

1995 – 2000

Five siblings are left orphaned after a tragic car accident. Instead of being split up they decide to stick together and raise one another with Matthew Fox taking over as their immature and womanizing guardian. Scott Wolf was dreamy.

Dawson's Creek 90's tv

3. Dawson’s Creek

1998 – 2003

4 oversensitive teenagers with the largest dialect known to man over analyzed their changing hormones and growing pains. How could I not love this show? My best friend and I toured all of the filming spots in Wilmington, NC one summer, we were obsessed. Pacey and Joey for life!

Boy Meets World

4. Boy Meets World

1993 – 2000

Two words: Topanga’s Hair. I also loved following the journey of the whole gang, Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric into adulthood. The stories were sweet, honest, sensitive with the right level of cheese. Who will be watching Girl Meets World?

Seventh Heaven 90's teen tv

Seventh Heaven

1996 – 2007

Hailed as the longest running family drama ever! I loved sharing in the Camden family’s ups and downs. The show dealt with an array of moral and ethical themes. Who could resist this sweet family? Lucy was my favorite.

3rd Rock from the Sun

3rd Rock From the Sun

1996 – 2001

4 aliens pose as ordinary humans to observe life on earth. The perfect fish out of water tale. This charming sitcom first gave us Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I loved laughing at this killer cast try to understand the human condition.

sister sister 90's tv

Sister Sister

1994 – 1999

The most unlikely plot ever – two twin sisters are adopted by two separate parents and don’t meet again until 14 years later…when both families decide to live together… chaos ensued. Twins are fun. 

What were some of your favorites?

xoxo Katie







5 Favorite Books from 2013

Another year come and gone. There are only 3 more Friday’s left before we say “see ya later!” to 2013 and welcome 2014 into our lives. 2013 was a year full of love, change and growth. (really, what year isn’t full of these three things?!)

But, how do you sum up a year? I can’t help but reference “Season’s of Love” from Rent, that asks  “How do you measure, measure a year?” There are five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes in a year. What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Can you measure it in sunsets, laughter, hugs, cups of coffee, miles driven, tears, diapers, text messages, fights, trips, weekends?

There is no way to sum up the moments of the past year – but I’m going to try with top 5 lists for the next three weeks. So how about in books?

It’s no secret around her that I love to read. And, as a reader I’m always looking for good book recommendations and reviews. I wanted to share with you my top 5 books that I read in 2013:

2013 top 5 books

1. Beautiful Ruins

beautiful ruins

A story about dreams and how they grow with us through our lives or fade away. This book explores the dreams and the journey of flawed but fascinating characters and spans 50 years. It takes us from the Italian coast in the 1950’s to the set of Cleopatra in the 60’s, to Scotland in the 80’s and modern-day LA. It is full or surprises and enchantment.

2. The Light Between Oceans


I can safely say this is the most beautifully written “new” book that I’ve read in the past 10 years. It is 1918 on a small rock of an island in Australia and a light house keeper and his wife make a life altering decision that will devastate and destroy not only their world but those of others. We are reminded that one person’s moral justice means the exact opposite for another.

3. The Book Thief


I’ve always been fascinated with historical novels that take place during the Holocaust. Narrated by death, this novel tells the story of Liesel and how books (meant to be burned by the Nazis) provide her with comfort, love, and connection. She befriends the Jewish man her foster family is hiding by sharing her books. We are reminded at the power of words to heal and feed our souls.

4. The Fault In Our Stars



I ate this young adult novel up in one sitting, like it was a delicious bowl of ice cream. We are welcomed into the world of terminally ill 16 year-old Hazel who is fighting Cancer. She meets and falls in love with Augustus, who is also terminal. Seeing the strength and perspective of these young adults allows up to widen our spectrum and re ask ourselves the big questions of life and our purpose as humans.

5. The Interestings


The Interestings follows 6 teenagers who met at a summer camp in the 1960’s and remained friends throughout their lives. Spanning 40 years, the novel examines how people, friendships, and relationships change over time. The complex characters all face challenges due to social class, talent, money, envy, health, and personal happiness.  It’s kind of a more grown up “Now and Then”.

Please comment below on some of your favorite books from 2013! I’ll need some new recommendations for 2014.

Remember reading is sexy!


xoxo katie