Royal Wedding Gathering

Last night I had a few friends over to watch the Royal Wedding.  It was on at 3am here in LA, and while I was excited for it, I am not such a die hard that I wanted to wake up that early.  I mostly like having themed gatherings, and this provided an excuse to do so!

First, I thought Katherine Middleton’s dress was, in the words of my Mother, TO DIE FOR!  It was stunning on her and her second dress was also amazing.  She really is a classic beauty.

Dress 1 & Dress 2

I didn’t plan to get worked up over the wedding, but when I saw these set of printables from Design Editor, I knew I needed to put them to use.  And so I did:

From top left: flags with the Royal Crown on them, my attempt at a fascinator, Ginger Chocolate Scones, Princess Kate's favorite flower- the Lily

The scones were whipped up by Buck and the recipe was found at one of my favorite vegan food blogs, Post Punk Kitchen.  The fascinator was made in 0.5 seconds and looks more like something Cyndi Lauper would wear than a Royal, but it did it’s job by making me feel fancy.

I couldn’t find images of my favorite hats online, but here are two I liked a lot:

Doesn't Beck's look like a Ken Doll?

It was a fun event to celebrate and I can only hope that he doesn’t turn out to be a dawg like his dad and that their kiddos get her genetics.  Cheers!

Check out how other people got fancy with parties of their own here.  Doesn’t it make you want to have a themed party?!

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April 30, 2011. Tags: , , , . Food, Friendship. Leave a comment.

10 Years

Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate 10 years together.  True, it’s just our “Dating Anniversary,” but reaching the double digits means something to me, so I am choosing to celebrate!  We aren’t going to do anything crazy.  In fact, I think he has a performance, and I am having a Royal Wedding get together, so the celebration is actually delayed until Saturday, when we are going to see Prince in concert (woot!).

I just wanted to take some blog space to talk about my husband and what an amazing guy he is.  We started dating when I was 18 and he was 21.  We met at Illinois State University, where we both went to college.  He was a senior and I was a freshman and we were both acting majors.  The first week of school, I went to see  the famed Improv Mafia perform.  At the end of the show, they played a game called “A Day in the Life” and asked for a volunteer.  For some reason, my hand shot up, and I went up to the front.  Unbeknownst to me, I had a little THO going on, and some guy muttered, “is it cold in here?”  Buck (then stranger, now husband) said to the guy, “We tell the jokes around here” and defended my honor!  I didn’t know about any of this until much later, but knowing that- even in the first budding moments of our life together- he was protecting me makes me smile.

Anyway, I sat down and told the story of my day to the Mafia members, and then returned to my seat.  Buck played me in the scene and they basically made fun of me for 5 minutes, but I have truly never laughed so hard in my life!  A few weeks later I auditioned and got into the group, and our friendship took off.

We were both in other relationships at the time, which allowed us to become very good friends.  We would take late night walks and talk for hours about everything.  I always felt a strong connection to him, and in fact one random day I was walking back to my dorm and I literally burst out laughing, startling a guy walking past me.  I had been thinking about Buck and something silly he did and I could not wipe the smile off my face.  I got back to my dorm and called my mom and then my best friend and told them both that I was going to marry Buck.  We weren’t dating, or had even discussed dating, but it didn’t matter.  I knew whole heartedly that I had found my “missing piece” and it would work itself out somehow.

Our story is definitely a cheesy one, but I love it.  I think on many levels we are a cheesy couple!  Buck makes me laugh more than anyone else in the world and allows me to be myself.  He doesn’t judge or gossip or have a mean bone in his body.  I admire him so much.  He’s my best friend and I am confident that the next 10 years will be even more beautiful- with a side of cheese.

Don't we look like babies?

April 29, 2011. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Becoming a Doula

In March I decided to take the steps to become a Doula.  It was not something I ever imagined for myself, but now that I am stepping into it, it feels right.  It was a light bulb moment for me.  My good friend, Angela, had her beautiful daughter in January and used a Doula.  At one point she asked me, “Have you every thought about doing this?  You’d be so good at it!”  I think I laughed at the time and told her I wasn’t a “hospital person” and not able to handle a lot of poop.  Side note: my older sister’s roommate, Abby, is a nurse and has 1000 stories related to poop that are disgusting and make me respect nurses even more.

In January I went back to Chicago for a family emergency (more on that another time) and spent a considerable amount of time in a hospital.  I learned a lot about the hospital system, but more than that, I learned a lot about myself and the importance of patient advocacy.  When I came back to LA, I was lost.  I literally got off the plane and said to myself, “What do I do now?”

I got myself into therapy, as every good LA resident should, and began doing some soul searching.  My dear friend, Michelle, knew someone becoming a Doula and asked me if I had considered it.  Her enthusiasm infected me and I looked into it.

I didn’t know much about it at the time, and maybe you don’t either, but a Doula is a labor support person.  She supports the mom in achieving the ideal birth- and this is my favorite part- as the mother defines it.  So, it’s not about what I want her to do, or what the doctor wants her to do, or what her neighbor thinks she should do.  It’s about what the woman giving birth wants and feels and allows her body to do.  It is judgement free.  It changes from moment to moment, but remains in the mother’s hands.  That is what I love about it.  It’s about giving control BACK to the woman doing the work.

I sound like a doctor hater, don’t I?  Well, I don’t mean to.  I just feel strongly that birth is not a “sickness” or a disease we need to hurry up and cure.  It’s a process and a passage into motherhood that should not be dictated by the doctor, hospital, or insurance company.

As I go through my certification and talk to more people about this process, I feel the Doula identity emerging, and I like it.  When I think back on past work I have done, so much of it has been in leadership positions where I am called upon to guide and inspire people to do things they don’t think they can do.  I was a marathon runner for many years, and convinced more than a few people to try it.  And they did, and many of them continue to run today.

In case you would like to learn more about what a Doula is, or look into certification yourself, check out DONA International.

April 25, 2011. Tags: . Doula Stuff. 1 comment.

Santa Barbara

I am in Santa Barbara right now visiting my friends, Tara and Steve.  They are expecting their first baby (a boy!) in June and have asked me to be their Doula!  I am just starting the certification process, and as part of it, I need to see four births.  Tara had been looking to get a Doula, but didn’t want someone she didn’t know, so when I shared my news with her, it was a perfect match!

I have known Tara since we were wee ones.  We went to school together from first grade through high school and have kept in close contact ever since.  Tara and I are part of a Dynamic Foursome (not an official title), made complete by Kate and Rachel, who are holding down the fort in Illinois.  (Funny side note: Tara, Kate and Rachel are all married to men named Steve.  I missed the memo and married a Buck, but everyone is cool with it).  These ladies have been a source of consistency and love in my life since we were small and I smile everytime I get to tell someone, “I have been friends with fill-in-the-blank-with-one-or-all-of-their-names for over 20 years!”  How often does one get to say that?  I really value that our friendship has thrived over these years and that now I get to be a part of the next big chapter in Tara’s life- the birth of her son!

My husband and I love coming up to SB to visit.  Tara and Steve have made such a comfortable, warm home here and we always have a great time with them.   I drove up yesterday to attend a series of birth classes with them.  It’s three classes- last night, tonight and next Tuesday- and I am learning SO MUCH!  The female body is amazing, and if you are reading this and you are a woman, pat yourself on the back for having such an amazing body.  If you are a man and you are reading this, find a lady and hug her.  Tell her that you think she is cool, and pretty, and strong, because she is.

I will have tid bits to share when I get back tomorrow, but I just wanted to put down on blog that I am over the moon to be a part of Tara and Steve’s birth experience!

Rachel, Tara, Kate, Me

April 20, 2011. Doula Stuff, Friendship. 1 comment.

Memories of an Artichoke

When I was little, my Dad traveled a lot for work, and I have two main memories related to his travel:

1. If he had to take an airplane, my Mom and I would take him to O’Hare Airport, and go inside to wave good-bye. This was back when you could go through security and sit with people at the gate (AKA: The Good Ole Days). We would watch him board and I would stand at the big window to wave, even though we couldn’t see each other. Once the plane left, I was sad, and to cheer me up, my Mom would get one of those big, soft pretzels with the cheese dipping sauce, and we would share it. To this day, when I go to the airport, I crave one of those, despite knowing that yellow, processed cheese is one of the worst things I can put into my body. I do have a love of processed cheeses…thanks Mom!

2. When I was a bit older, and perhaps when my Dad drove to his out-of-town destination, my Mom would get a special treat at the grocery store: an artichoke. I would sit in the kitchen and watch her prepare it.  First she cut the tops of the leaves and the stem off. Then she placed it upside down in a pyrex dish with about an inch of water and microwave it for probably 15 minutes. Once done, we would let it sit while she melted butter. I don’t know how long it took us to eat one together, but we dug through it knowing that the real prize was yet to come: the heart. The heart is covered with fuzz, so she would take it back to the cutting board and carefully scrape it all off. She would cut it into 4 pieces and we would dip it in butter, taking tiny bites to make it last longer.

Yesterday I was at Ralph’s and saw that artichokes were on sale for $0.99. I started giggling when I remembered eating them with my mom and decided to get one. I made it last night as a side dish to our dinner- Black Bean Tacos with Corn and Avocado Salsa from the amazing vegan food blog, Little House of Veggies. It’s a strange combo, I admit, but it was a happy meal for me! The corn and avocado salsa is killer- my husband and I once made ourselves sick eating the entire bowl- we could not stop ourselves!

Artichoke ready for steam bath

Artichoke in steam basket with fresh garlic and oregano in water below

Ready to eat with a side of melted Earth Balance

Corn and Avocado Salsa

April 19, 2011. Food. 1 comment.

Babysitting Adults

As the building manager for the apartment building we live in, I get a lot of crazy calls.

It started my second day on the job when a guy we dubbed “First Things First” called and said the phrase “first things first” about 6 times in a one minute message he left. “Hi Kate, it’s _______. First things first, the pool water is really low. So, yeah, first things first- fill the pool.”

Then there came “Bird Man” who called at least once a week to scream about a guy in our building who is “blowing that damn bird whistle.” In reality, a tenant of mine has a bird who whistles. I think it’s kind of nice- it makes me think I live somewhere more fancy than Hollywood, but that’s just me. Bird Man even went so far as to leave a note on the front of my building petitioning other people to complain to the owner.

This weekend, I had to step in the middle of ridiculous feud between two tenants. One lives right next door to me, and the other lives above her. For a year now they have been fighting. She is convinced that he has a “workshop with buzz saws” in his apartment and that he is “stomping around,” to ruin her life, when really he is a larger guy who works on computers. No buzz saws. No Irish dancing.

Saturday at 3am I woke up to the sound of my door bell ringing. My husband and I went to see who was there, and found the upstairs neighbor’s roommate, asking me to come up to the roof. So I did, in all my braless, bedheaded glory, and found my neighbor, her dog, her friend, and her friend’s dog. On the roof. AT 3AM.

Her story: “We just came up here to take pictures of the moon because it’s so beautiful out!”
His story: “She goes up there at least once a week to pound on my ceiling to retaliate.”

Who is telling the truth? I have no idea. And it doesn’t matter, because at 3AM, I hate everyone. Shortly after I yell at everybody to go home, the fire department comes tromping up the stairs because they were called by someone who was trapped on the roof! Seems they also hate everyone at 3 AM and we all got yelled at.

I have had many jobs before, and many of them involve acting as a mediator, but sometimes, this job of babysitting adults, just makes me feel like I am the fool.

April 17, 2011. Apartment Managing, Hollywood. 1 comment.

Food I Do

One of the things I really love to do is cook. My favorite section in the bookstore (RIP Borders) is the cookbook section and although I am selective about the ones I actually buy, I have a deep affection for all 14 of them. The one I am lovin’ on lately is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberk and Zoe Francois.

I got this book for my dear friend, MPM, because he bakes bread multiple times a week. MPM is an amazing guy. He is one of those dudes that decides he wants to try something new, and then does it to the MAX! In college he became a killer bartender, but doesn’t drink a drip of alcohol himself. He became a ninja and a dad and is a truly great friend.

So, I gave this book to MPM and then forgot about it and when I was back in Chicago over the Thanksgiving holiday, my husby and I went to MPM’s house for dinner. I was experimenting with the Vegan diet at the time and MPM, being the aforementioned great friend, made a vegan bread from the book and it was DELISH!

I picked up a copy for myself recently and can’t stop making the following recipe:
Rustic Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza Provencal

I make it on the Whole Wheat (Light) crust and it comes out awesome every time!

Whole Wheat Bread
Ingredients:
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tablespoon granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 cup Whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions:
If you have a stand mixer, mix the yeast, salt and water. Attach the dough hook. If you don’t have a stand mixer, just mix this all together in a glass or metal bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour. Once sifted, add flower to the wet ingredients. Again, stand mixer with dough hook is easiest (on speed 2), but a spoon works just fine too. Once combined, put a towel over the top of the bowl and place it in the oven, but don’t turn the oven on. It’s a great place to let dough rise because it isn’t bothered by the elements. Let dough rise for 2 hours. Once risen, sprinkle with flour and transfer to a storage dish. I like to use a Corningware dish I have because it has a glass lid to let the dough breathe, and because it’s the perfect size. Place in the fridge for up to 14 days. If you want to use it that day, leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes- it’s easier to use when the dough is cold.

Pizza
Ingredients:
A grapefruit size portion of dough
2 small red new potatoes, skin on and thinly sliced (or any small potato is fine)
6 large wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, shiitakes, porcini, portobellos, or oyster (I use baby bellas and lots of them- certainly more than six)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (if you don’t have this, GO GET IT! It is totally worth it!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (omit this if you are Vegan)
Cornmeal for covering pizza peel (I don’t actually have a pizza peel. I use a pizza stone and it works great!)

Pizza Stone

Directions:
Preheat oven to 550 degrees, or 500 if that is as high as your oven goes (like mine). Prep the toppings while the oven preheats, and wait until you are done with the toppings to roll out your dough.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan and saute the potatoes first for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the mushrooms and season with the herbes de Provance, salt and pepper (making sure to say “herbes de Provance” in an exaggerated French accent). Grab the dough, dusting it and the surface you plan to roll it out on, with flour. Shape into a ball and using a rolling pin, start to roll it out. Mine always ends up some strange shape and I don’t get ruffled by it because it’s pizza and as long as it tastes good, I don’t care what shape it is! Make the crust as thin as you like. I recently made it a little thicker than normal, and it wasn’t as great. A thin 1/8″ thick crust is best.

Cover your pizza stone with a solid layer of cornmeal to prevent sticking. Now, transferring from the rolling surface to the pizza stone is fun…just do whatever you need to do to get it there without tearing it. Distribute the toppings. I like to put the sun-dried tomatoes down first because when they are on top, they tend to burn.
Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes and check for doneness. If the crust is not golden brown, turn it a little and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting.

Here is what mine looked like pre-baking:

Delicious Mushroom Pizza!

Feel free to add what you like to the toppings.  I often add lots of garlic and red pepper flakes because I like it spicy!  I know this all sounded like a lot of work, but it really isn’t.  Make your bread early, or the day before you need it, and the rest is pretty speedy.

April 15, 2011. Tags: , , , . Baking, Food, Recipes. 2 comments.

Katydid Did What?

When I was little, my favorite book was called Katydid Did It…I think.  I tried to find it online, but no luck.  I think it is sitting on my old book shelf back at my mom’s house and I’ll try to find it when I go home in May for my sister’s bach party/bridal shower weekend, because it’s really darling and you’d like it.

Anyway, it was my favorite book beacause it was about a little girl (bug) that always got blamed for stuff she didn’t do by her older brothers (also bugs).  Whenever they were playing baseball and broke a window, and mom (bug) said, “What happened??” the boys (bugs) would say in unison, “Katydid did it!” and she would be sent to her room.

The book ends with the brothers convicing Katydid to make a big chocolate cake for all of them to eat.  She does this and in the process she makes a mess of the kitchen (she’s just a little girl (bug) after all!), and when mom comes home to find the mess, she asks, “Who did this?” and the brothers all say, “Katydid did it!”  Katydid is sure she is in trouble, so she heads to her room, but mom is so overjoyed because the cake is beautiful (3 layers of chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with a cherry on top!!) that she kicks the boys out of the house so that she can enjoy the cake alone with Katydid.  The last line of the book is something like, “This time, Katydid DID do it, and she got to eat the cake.”

Katydid gets the ultimate victory at the end and she made her mama proud. It was the first time she was given some credit and I think if a second book was written, it would be about how Katydid went on to own those brothers, and how she started a business making cakes and put her brothers to work.  I think Katydid was a strong lady (bug) and “turning the other cheek” probably made her a better person (bug) in the end.

When thinking about the title for this blog, I went back to the stories of my childhood and Katydid immediately came to mind.  It works for me on a few levels: in college a dear friend took to calling me Katydid, so it’s a nickname of mine.  I DO a lot of different things, so you’ll get to see what Katydid does.  And it’s just kinda cute, right?

When I was thinking about my blog, I really wanted to be able to showcase all the things that I do from day to day.  Although I am not curing cancer or anything outstanding like that, I am engaging in what I would consider are a-typical lifestyle activities.

For example:

  • I live in Hollywood, California, which on it’s own is fodder for a blog!  So. Many. Freaks.
  • I am an actor and a Midwestern girl who is trying to figure out how to stay grounded whilst joining the madness of “The Biz”
  • I am pursuing my certification to become a Doula
  • I do a lot of crafting (knitting, sewing, embroidery) and cooking (vegan, mostly)
  • I manage the apartment building that my husband and I live in, so I have plenty of crazy tenant stories

If any of these things sound interesting to you, I hope you will return and read.  If not, that’s cool too!

Thanks for visiting.  Have a super day!

 

April 6, 2011. Uncategorized. 4 comments.