What’s Going On?

Hi! I’m alive! Sorry I haven’t been staying in touch. I hate when people use the excuse, “I’m just really busy”, because aren’t we all?

In truth this blog hasn’t been making it to the top of my priority list lately. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss chatting with you all. I wanted to drop in and do a little personal check in. Since we’re friends, right?

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We’ve been having perfect September weather and I’m trying to spend as much time as I can outdoors (hence me being a no-show around here lately)

I’ve had our new car for 5 months and have just now realized we’ve had free siruis radio. (car salesman said we didn’t because it was a used car).

I’m completely addicted to Call the Midwife. Netflix just added Season 3 and I can’t stop watching (or crying)

I really enjoy a good cry. I think it’s a really beneficial way to acknowledge a situation or feeling and then to let it go. Or sometimes I’m just really hormonal and cry at everything. Whatever. 

This weekend while visiting my old college roomie in DC. 

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I love that I can go months without seeing old friends and pick up like we’re still 19 years old. 

I took a shot through an ice cream sandwich. It was delicious.

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Naps have a may to make most things better.

I talk to my dog entirely way too much. But she just gets me, ya know?

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I’m the stay at home loser that has all the new fall TV premier dates scheduled on her calendar so she doesn’t miss a thing. Excited for Parenthood, Modern Family, Nashville, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, The Mindy Project, Blackish, Walking Dead, and Reign.

I’ve put off fall decorating because I can’t say goodbye to summer. But pumpkin and apple picking and mum shopping are calling my name this weekend. Time to bust out my fall candle collection. Pumpkin cupcake, yes sir!

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I’ve read 12 books this summer – I love talking about books but also hate recommending books that others end up not liking. What’s your opinion, do you like reading book reviews or discussing books?

Ryan and I rarely go to the movies. I think we’ve seen 5 movies in the theatre together: Batman the Dark Knight Rises, Lincoln,  American Hustle, and The Fault in Our Stars. I want to see Gone Girl, but I also don’t want to be disappointed. Also hate people who talk or have their cell phones out in the movie #grumpyoldlady

I prefer to watch movies at home, with the comforts of wine and bathroom breaks where you won’t miss a second. Plus darkness and quietness and no cellphones. 

Speaking of cellphones, I watched the pilot of the new TV show, Selfie. Pretty basic story line and bad acting, but a good message and trite take on My Fair Lady 

I was impressed with Emma Watson’s UN Speech. I’m inspired that she is using her celebrity for good and encouraging humans around the globe to widen their perspectives. 

Why is white cheddar Pirate’s Booty so addictive?

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That is all for now.

Leave a note, tell me what you’re up to, if you’re a crazy dog lady too. Let’s chat!

 

 

Where Do You Draw The Line with Social Media?

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I have a love hate relationship with social media. I don’t think I”m wrong in stating that this is the norm. At least once a week I have a Facebook friend who declares they are deactivating their account forever, and then they return a week later with a rant about Comcast and selfies with their dog.

We can’t stay away.

It’s simple enough to see that social media has changed our world drastically in a short matter of time. Now, we cannot imagine a world without it. We check it countless times a day, we share what we are eating, where we are going, what we are buying. We share our views on current events, complain about the jerk at Starbucks and humblebrag about our gym workouts. It’s what we do. And that is fine.

 But when does the net of the world-wide web become less of a way to reach out and grow and more of a trap. When does social media hinder us from actually being social?

Don’t mistake me, I love many things about Facebook and Instragram and Twitter. I enjoy seeing what close friends who live states away are up to every week. I’m the girl who will actually click-through all 122 pictures of your beach vacation. I enjoy browsing through the adorable photos of your kids and your pets. I like to see the life updates of acquaintances; new jobs, engagements, weddings, babies, new homes, graduations. I like seeing you do fun and happy things with your loved ones.

I enjoy celebrating and documenting my life and updating friends and family on outings, life updates, and fun photos. I support your choices and will validate them with likes galore.

But somewhere I have to draw a line.  Lately I’m becoming more and more angry with social media. Lately it feels like the rude uninvited party guest that crashes the party, eats the last of the nachos, brags about how awesome their life is, talks badly about every guest behind their backs, and makes you go home early feeling miserable about yourself. 

Social media has every characteristic of a toxic friend:

It’s Rude: Social media intrudes into every aspect of our lives. It’s there in between my husband and I in bed. In the morning we both reach for our phones rather than reaching for each other. On our commutes we bury our heads in our phones, scrolling through our Instagram and Twitter feeds instead of having some quiet contemplation time. We sit down to catch up with our spouse and refer constantly to “awesome” articles we read online, or a blog post that caught our attention, or the newest cat video. It’s hard to imagine a conversation that does not include at least one reference to something we saw online.

Are we even thinking for ourselves anymore? At get togethers with friends, Facebook is causing silence as we “check in” to restaurants and share pictures of our meals and post statuses saying what an awesome time we are having. But are we?

It’s Needy: Social media sucks us in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost 30 minutes or more of my life just trolling through Facebook and Twitter. How many times I’ve back stalked someone on Facebook or looked through countless photo albums. Or when one link on twitter leads to reading 6 BuzzFeed articles. Social Media is that annoying friend that says you never spend enough time with them. They always want more. 

It makes us feel miserable: People only present their ideal lives on social media. You will never see people posting repeatedly about their colic baby, their vomiting dog, their annoying in-laws, their leaky roof, or how their spouse is driving them absolutely nuts. Social media bullies us into thinking our lives are miserable compared to what we see online. Similarly it also makes us feel like our lives aren’t worth living unless we have perfect things to share online. The comparison games leaves us feeling joyless and worthless. We think the things that makes us happy aren’t true unless someone validates them. 

It’s a Dictator: The other week I was catching up with a friend at her house when I witnessed her baby walk from one end of the room to the other. I let our a “woot!” and asked when this milestone happened. My friend responded, “oh last week, didn’t you see the video I posted on Facebook?”. Unless you are constantly checking your feed your are apt to miss out on people’s exciting news.I can’t tell you the last time I had a lengthy phone call with a friend or when news was spread personally rather than a big announcement on social media.

Facebook dictates social news. It has taken over as the way to learn about your friends lives, rather than actually, you know, be social with them on a one to one situation. 

It delivers false promises: Social media promises to make us feel connected to one another. In turn we feel the need to constantly check our news feeds, fearing that we may miss out on some fun story, news, or event. We want to be part of everything. But our FOMO (fear of missing out) makes us so disconnected from ourselves, our needs, that we eventually miss out on what is most important – what makes us happy as individuals.

We are promised community a place to share ourselves and find someone else that will say, “me too!” Instead we have turned into a society of people so desperate for a sense of connection that we sit with our eyes buried in social media blind to the fact that our loved one sits right next to us doing exactly the same. 

Has social media made us all socially awkward? Has it made us lose touch with our independence? In a world of selfies have we lost all sense of self? We declare that selfies are a way to show our uniqueness, our own special beauty. But if we are all so proud of our own beauty, why do we need to share it 5 times a day and constantly check to see how many likes we have received?

Where is the line drawn between sharing, documenting or celebrating your life and searching to one up your friends and acquaintances and prove that you live a worthy life?

I don’t know how to escape it when it’s all around us. We’re headed to Jamaica for a family vacation soon and even my mom was surprised when I said I wasn’t going to take advantage of the free wi-fi at the resort. Escape is hard to find when you live in a world where everyone around you is dependent on social media.

I find a time everyday where I simply put down the phone. We try to have a no phones allowed time each night and stay off of Facebook in bed. But when our cellphones are the only way for family and friends to reach us in times of emergency we can’t simply put down the phone and walk away for a long period of time. 

So I want to know. Where do you draw the line with social media?

xoxo Katie

When Your Best Friend Gets Married

Our Fourth of July weekend included fireworks of another variety – those of LOVE!

Okay, enough with the cheesiness. But my best friend got married on July 5 and the holiday weekend was full of wedding festivities and fun! Are you ready for a picture heavy post? This is a short wedding photo recap of the wedding weekend. I hope to share more with you soon!

The wedding was held at the gorgeous Farm at Eagle’s Ridge.

Saturday was a beautiful, warm but not too hot, sunny day. The venue is an old restored farm-house and farm on immaculate grounds with a fully renovated barn, corn crib, and 1800’s stone farm-house. There are a few glistening ponds and lovely areas to meander around and to enjoy the countryside.  It was such a beautiful and perfect wedding.

I know how much work and stress Kay Marie put into her day, but the wedding day went by as if it was all effortless and natural. She was a beautiful and calm bride and I was so honored to stand by her side as her matron of honor. 

On Friday, July 4 we woke up bright and early to unseasonably chilly weather and rain for a morning rehearsal. We stomped around the muddy grounds and I cried a few tears watching the bride walk down the aisle with her father in the rain. Better to have rain on the rehearsal day then on the wedding day, correct?

After the rehearsal the sun started to shine and we enjoyed a lovely rehearsal lunch in town. Here are all of the bridesmaids ready to spring into action with the bride! Bridesmaids at Rehearsal Day Lunch

After the rehearsal lunch all the girls headed back to my house for an afternoon of baking cupcakes. On of the bridesmaids graciously offered to bake ALL of  cupcakes for the 180 guest wedding. After opening some awesome bridesmaids gifts we got started on baking! wedding cupcake baking wedding cupcake prep

After the cupcakes were baked and all nicely iced and decorated, it was time for everyone to get some beauty sleep.  We all met again at 9:45 am Saturday to get beautified at the hair salon. Who doesn’t like to get pampered with mimosas in hand? wedding day mimosas at the salon christy wedding day hair  getting hair done for wedding

Once we all had beautiful updos done we headed over to the venue to get our airbrush make up done. airbrush makeup for wedding

And now it was go time!!! I’ll let the rest of the pictures do the talking for themselves. I can’t wait to see the professional photographs, but until then my personal photos and those taken by Ryan will have to do!

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Being Critical is Exhausting, Cheers not Jeers

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We women can sure be mean to each other. Mean girls don’t die out after high school (and hey happy 10th Anniversary Mean Girls!). Don’t lie, we’ve all done it. The cocktail infused gossip fest that starts with one little dig and then escalates and escalates until it seems like you and your girlfriends are ruthless dictators cackling your heads off at the expense of another woman (sometimes even another friend! gasp!)  

Last week when I was driving home after such a gabfest I couldn’t help but think, what was the point of that? What part of that conversation lifted us up or made our hearts sing? Did we learn anything new about each other or ourselves? 

I tend to be a positive person, constantly reminding myself and other to “find the positive” and to “choose happiness”.  I know I annoy Ryan sometimes because I can hear him right now saying, “Sometimes I just want to be negative and be upset!” And that’s the problem, isn’t? Misery loves company. Negativity is like a fatal virus, it just takes one tiny comment for an outbreak to spread. Pretty soon we’re spewing out negative comments because that’s what everyone else is doing. Well, like The Lion King taught us, life is one big circle, and pretty soon that negativity is going to be coming right back to you. 

We need to stop tearing each other down and instead start lifting each other up. Sit back and think about all the time and energy you spend on hating on other women, whether you’re jealous, being critical, or simply tearing another woman down. Now, picture if you used all of that time and energy to lift up other women. Ladies, we hold the precious power to build a community of strong-minded and bold loving women. Yet, we’d rather isolate ourselves. 

Take yourself back to the last time someone gave you a positive compliment, comment, or gesture. Didn’t it just make your day? Pass it on!  We all want empowerment. Together, we need to build it. Together we can be resilient. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were all full of positive encouragement everyday. 

As bloggers we have the opportunity to build a community and to inspire with words. Last week I took part in Ashten and Amber’s Happy Hour Hangout and had the opportunity to meet a lovely group of women including the all around beautiful and inspiring Casey from Aslan’s Auspicious Albany Adventure does a weekly link up called Jeers not Cheers that asks bloggers to spread the love and encouragement by sharing their recent favorite bloggers and blog posts. Love it! 

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Today I wanted to share with you some of the recent posts that I wanted to pass on to others because they either touched my heart, inspired me, or made me laugh. 

Emily from Ember Grey inspired us all to Just Do You. The blogging community can be a weird place, I find myself constantly doubting what I’m writing and sharing and if I should be doing it at all. Emily reminds us to follow your own heart and write for yourself, in the end your true self will shine through. 

Erika from All Things E is a beautiful writer that always seems to be living inside of my head! Last week she wrote, Love Thy Neighborhood about how loving where you live can have a huge effect on your happiness. I’m currently in the works of writing about how I fell in love with my current home city, even though I never could ever picture living here. Now it’s home. 

Marquis from Simply Clarke shared one of her favorite marriage lessons in 1 Question to Ask Your Husband Every Day. Her words reminded me that we need to pay more attention to the day-to-day interactions of our marriage, even if you are A+ communicators, small feelings or needs can easily fall through the cracks. Sometimes people need reminders that you are there for them, all the time. 

Sara from Life as a Hughes shared her post I’m Not A Fashionista or a Foodie, humorously writing about how she doesn’t necessarily fit the description of a typical blogger. This spoke to my heart as I believe there are zero rules to living life, except those your write for yourself. Life can so easily put us in boxes. Sara shared the fact that she’s just going to keep doing her thing and won’t try to fit into a trendy mold. 

Spread the love people! Please comment below and share any women that are inspiring you lately! 

xoxo Katie

St. Patrick’s Day Fun! (and Bailey’s Brownies)

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Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone! I hope you are able to let your inner Irish out (hey, everyone’s Irish on March 17!) and celebrate. You know I love any good reason to celebrate and dress, cook, decorate with a theme.

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Ryan and I celebrated with friends at a local street festival. We donned our brightest green outfits and took in some Irish music and dancing and of course drinks. It was so lovely to be outside and in the sunshine. Before we headed to the festival we enjoyed some drinks and snacks at home, including these fun Bailey’s Brownies

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(bonus: they are a weight watchers recipe! Scroll to the bottom for the recipe). The festival provided ample people watching, good laughs, and the oppurtunity to dance in the middle of one of our cities busiest streets. Sláinte!

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Low-Fat Bailey’s Brownies

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup  flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • About 2/3 cup chopped white chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
  • Green food dye

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, Baileys, vanilla and applesauce together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in 1/3 cup white chocolate chunk pieces.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  5. Bake for about 18 minutes. Let cool completely.
  6. Once brownies are completely cool, heat remaining white chocolate in a microwave safe dish for about 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Add oil to the chocolate and stir. Add food dye.
  7. Glaze the brownies with the green white chocolate.

One Brownie – 4 Weight Watchers Points. (makes 16 brownies)

Today we woke up to another blanket of snow. (Just when all the old snow melted!) Hopefully this is the last. Spring IS coming. How are you (or did you) celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day?

xoxo Katie

What Are Friends For?

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Good friends are hard to come by.
Old friends are the best friends.
Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the others old.

There are a reason why clichés become clichés, because they are universally true. I’ve always chosen to have a small tight group of girlfriends that know me in and out over a large array of friends. I feel fortunate to have 4 life long best friends, 2 from high school, Kay and Ashley, and two from college, Laura and Jeanette.

This weekend I hosted a sleepover for three of them. Weekends with girlfriends always make me feel rejuvenated, happy, and young at heart. I absolutely believe those studies that show that people live healthier lives and overcome illnesses quicker when they have strong friendships throughout life.

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Only one lives in the same city as me. The others are in Philly and DC and we all take turns visiting each others cities. Although we’ve all changed and in some ways grown apart, we all have the common base of our friendship to hold us together. If we met in present day, we probably wouldn’t choose each other to be friends. But really, how many people meet friends in their adulthood that compare to the friends they meet or harvest in their college years?

Like any relationship, friendships take effort – especially when we all live so far apart. (Do you know how hard it is to pick a weekend that suits four busy young women?) But, old friends are the ones to invest in because no one can replace the lifetime of shared experiences.

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 We met in high school and college, an intense time where we have the freedom to experiment with our identity. A carefree time that leaves room for spontaneity, creativity, and simple fun. There wasn’t the harsh competition or comparison that we may do with friends that we meet in our adulthood. Studies shows that you are happiest when reminiscing over old memories – and that’s one of the things old friends do best – retelling the same funny stories, bringing up inside jokes, and remembering the “good old days”.

When I’m with my friends it’s always a judgement free zone. We love one another like family, accepting us, flaws and all, and validating us as a person that matters. Friendships play a vital role in our lives. They fulfill our need to connect, to bond, to belong.

Although we’ve all grown up and changed, we still compliment each other so well. We can go weeks with out communicating but when we’re together it’s like no time has passed and we quickly revert back to our college years with big belly laughs, silly stories, and boy talk. But the best part is that we also accept one another as the women that we have grown into and eagerly celebrate our lives with each other.

xoxo Katie

 

Passing Notes – blast from the past

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Confession: I am a hoarder. I keep EVERYTHING. I have boxes of old school papers, notebooks, ticket stubs, toys, cell phones, printed out emails, programs, brochures, gift bags etc.

Last night I came across a dusty shoe box (which used to contain Mia platform sandles circa 1997) stock full of middle school and high school notes. I lost myself for a good hour, pouring over the thoughts of 14-year-old Katie and her bff Kay (who still is my bff which makes it all the more fun!). We were huge boy crazy dorks. Some days we passed at least 4 notes to each other. We kept each other sane during our freshman year of high school when hormones were high and we were desperate for boyfriends.

This blast from the past got me thinking about “today’s youth” (oh god I sound OLD!). In 1998 we teenagers didn’t have cell phones. We didn’t have texting, facebook, twitter, instgram, or snap chat. We relied on good old paper and pencil and sly ways to pass paper to one another during and between classes.

Nowadays, kids can type as many text messages as they want, developing a good back and forth banter. With notes, you had to think out how you were going to use that one piece of paper, what important things did you have to share? What couldn’t wait until the end of the day? Hand written notes have more value and more permanence. I can positively say that in 15 years I will not be going back and looking at old text messages the same way I browsed through notes from 15 plus years ago.

So I’m here to see what being a High School Freshman was like. The year was 1998 – Leonardo DiCaprio was the king of the world, skater culture ruled, the members of Weezer were our idols, boys were mystical creatures, and no one understood us.

Most notes were intricately folded. They are full of code names for boys. Half the time I have no idea what we are talking about. Here is one of my favorite finds. Turns out we were pretty mean and terrible girls!

high school notes

 So poor Kay thought she’d fail science (even though she currently has a 93%) and then suggested that we stage a fight so that we scare the freshman next year? (we so couldn’t wait to be sophomores). I also love that it is written to “Kate”. There was a time that I thought “Kate” sounded SO much more sophisticated then “Katie”.

Don’t worry – we never staged a fight. We actually took freshman “under our wings” that following year. Look forward to more freshman girl insight next week!

xoxo Katie