Thursday, April 30, 2009

On, On, U of K

I absolutely went to the best college around.

But then, I'm a little biased.

I love that these kids pulled a flash mob stunt in "Willy T." during Dead Week... reminds me of the great times I had when I went to UK.

Aerial view

View from the ground floor - in the thick of it!!

May 5 marks 10 years since I graduated from the University of Kentucky, but gosh, sometimes it feels like yesterday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friends and Other Randomness

I've always been a "five-friend" kind of girl.

Never a cast of thousands, my social circle remained pretty limited, and for years I was okay with that.

In grade school, I typically had my one BFF - you know, the one to whom I was attached at the hip. My BFF and I would go trick-or-treating with each other, we'd have sleepovers together. We always signed up for the same activities like Brownies and Girl Scouts and chorus and orchestra. My junior high BFF and I were so close that we both chose to go to a Catholic all-girl's school together, much to the chagrin of her Methodist parents - who ended up thinking it was the best education in town and even chose to send my BFF's youngest sister.

It was just my luck that I had to move away to Connecticut the summer after my Freshman year.

During each stage of my childhood, I had my closest confidante, but the rest of my social circle was always pretty limited. No matter the age, my table in the lunchroom was comprised of a sparse but special crowd of smart girls. We'd talk about the books we checked out from the library or our new favorite show tune that we wanted to sing as a solo in chorus.

I was Dork: Personified, and I came to terms with it and learned to accept that popularity and I were never meant to be.

Fast forward many, many years and my life has done an about face - in some respects.

My Twitter pal, Jay the Big Lug, and I were talking about how hard it is sometimes to keep up with our "followers" (for those of you not tweeting yet, that's what people are called when they begin subscribing to your Twitter feed). You get to a point on Twitter where you've accumulated so many followers that you can't really check 'em all out.

Over time (actually, May 1 marks my two-year anniversary on Twitter) I have managed to acquire more than 900 followers. I have no idea why - I guess for some reason these people find value in the randomness that is my content (much like the random blogging you find here).


These Twitterati, as I like to call them, make up just a portion of my social realm.

Some of them have become my Real Life (RL) friends, people who I spend time with on a regular basis. They join my Junior League friends, my Blogging Gal Pal friends, volunteer friends, old co-worker frends and my Newport Posse friends as the nexus of my social circle.

The dorky girl is thick in the middle of a role reversal.

But for all the invites, casual cocktails, friendly greetings and brief and breezy "hellos" when out and about, I really treasure the connections I'm forming with a fraction of my ever-growing social circle.

Because when you get to the heart of it, I'm still a dork who just needs five good friends.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tie Me Up

His silks are strong - if that's what you're in to.

That was Kwame Jackson's response when our conversation took a fleeting nosedive into steamy territory. Jackson, one of the stars of the first season of Donald Trump's The Apprentice, was in Cincinnati to showcase his line of neck wear, Krimson by Kwame.

I was lucky enough to join Jackson for a lunch prior to his trunk show Thursday night - it was an opportunity Wordsworth Communications orchestrated as a way for the businessman to meet some of Cincinnati's bloggers and blog readers. Red Kat Blonde and I were joined by our contest winners, 5chw4r7z (yes, this guy is a good friend of ours and he campaigned hard to get one of the coveted spots - but we swear it wasn't rigged) and my good pal Jamie.

The minute I met Jackson, I was struck by his presence - he's a tall, fit gentleman with instantly observant eyes and of course impeccable fashion sense.

He was wearing cuff links. I know I've mentioned it on Twitter several times, but I don't know if I've said it here - I have a serious thing for cuff links.

We sat down to a table in McCormick & Schmick's second floor dining room and began talking about technology - blogging, Twitter and the importance of some anonymity despite full disclosure in social media. Being a successful, attractive man with exposure to the national scene, Jackson shared that he values his privacy and must wade between his public persona and personal life.

After dishing about the nuances of the internets, our conversation took a natural turn to fashion, and I was particularly interested in Jackson's take on style amidst a culture that's cutting back on spending. The savvy businessman says folks coping with job loss in the economic crisis should put their best foot forward when interviewing. There's nothing like a suit, and Jackson says people watching their pennies can pick up an oldie but a goodie at places like Goodwill and other thrift shops. With the help of a tailor and the dry cleaner, you can have a practically custom-made suit for less than $50. Jackson said people on a budget should strive to have one great suit, two nice shirts and three ties to yield a combination perfect for any boardroom, wedding, interview or funeral.

Jackson spent a good bit of time in Cincinnati while working for Procter & Gamble many years ago, and I was interested in knowing which hot spots made his list of favorites. He said he was pleased with Bootsy's and has heard a good bit of buzz about Twist (which is oddly missing from the new Relish Restaurant Group website), but also had fond memories of the days when Bella occupied the space now home to Nada.

I liked Bella, but I have to say, Nada has a much better scene, and I swear they put some kind of addiction-inducing drug in that guac, because I'm hooked on it like a crack whore jonesing for a fix.

Red Kat's keen interest in fashion spurred her to ask Jackson how women can apply the traditional necktie to their ensemble. Jackson's instantly offered that a woman can knot a silk tie around her waist like a belt or make a play on menswear by wearing a tie around the neck with a white button down and black pencil skirt. In my mind I envisioned some of the preppies I've known over time who wore neck ties like a headband, the tails flowing beneath the hair in back.

Instead, I mentioned that ties are the perfect thing to grab when you want to tie someone to the bedpost.

Please know I've never done that - but I guess there's a first time for everything.

And as Jackson said, his ties could live up to the duty.

If only finding the right man were that easy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Freckles and Shin Guards

The cleats always click-clacked on the cement on the way to the car.

Shin guards clinging to my muscular but slender legs, the elastic pinched my calves and began a crescendo of dread that swelled until I cracked open a post-game soda.

Soccer was not my finest moment, but rather a chore I labored through for several childhood years. A swimmer's frame, I was solid and lean and preferred more aquatic athletic endeavors. My breaststroke and freestyle cut through the water with precision, my nine-year-old self already discovering the art of physical exertion and the benefits of rhythmic breathing.

Soccer, though? I pretty much hated it.

Don't get me wrong - the whole experience added to my mettle and I'm certain I will subject my future offspring to similar team building opportunities - but I really wasn't a fan of the dirt, the sweat and the blazing heat of summery Saturday games.

I still harbor a huge disdain for polyester thanks to the hideous gold shorts I was forced to wear during those soccer games.

My synapses must be fond of the old days, because they've glorified those games into memories of beautiful, kelly-green fields sprawled beneath an azure sky and the most puffy swath of clouds this side of Heaven. In play, I loved the protective instincts that ran through my veins - it was an urge that came with camaraderie, strategy and a kind of Lord of the Flies type of mania induced when children run around at full throttle.

And I did sometimes run around at full throttle.

All these years later, full throttle is reserved for only the most important occasions.

Those important occasions do not include any sort of exercise that requires a sports bra (actually, two) and running shoes.

The shoes don't tap and clack on the pavement like the cleats did back in the day, but they still manage to trigger a mental objective to which my body responds - it knows physical exertion is just around the corner or down the road. Some of my friends love exercise - their commitment to activity is akin to a drug user's reverent idol worship for his favorite drug.

I guess it's time for me to start mainlining cardio, too.

Tonight marks the start of a six week boot camp that I'm enrolling in with my friend, Heather. Heather's been on this trip before, and she's done a good job of convincing me I need to taste a little of the pain she endured during her first go-around.

Suicides. Running. Push ups.

None. Of. It. Sounds. Fun. At. All.

Thankfully I've started (semi) regularly walking around five miles every other day. My legs and ass have been reacting to all the moving around, and I'm sure they'll be none too pleased after tonight's hijinks.

I am certain I can stick with this - but I'll be kicking and screaming all the way to the end of the six weeks.

Who knows, maybe I'll be running regularly - and maybe even doing a bit of biking here and there, too.

But I'm sure as hell not wearing polyester.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Keyword Analysis

This is a total throw-away blog post.

Please forgive me. I am exhausted and have not yet caught my second wind.

That said, I thought this was kind of interesting:

Top Nine Keywords Leading Folks To My Blog
(because 10 would be too conventional)

hot brown casserole
random musings
reading by candlelight
jeans and blazer okay at keeneland
playgirl pictorial
is green vibrance good to take if you have a brain tumor
sincerely best
kate's random musings
change mind cash out 401(k)

Though I am pleased to see people arriving here for recipe information, fashion advice, grammatical questions and other topics - please know I do not dispense financial advice and am not an authority where medicine is concerned.

Happy hunting!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lunch With Kwame Winner: She's a Doll!

Sometimes good things come to those who wait.

And I've been waiting for a while to announce who won the Lunch-With-Kwame contest...

I finally got confirmation last night from the recipient that she is able to accept the prize (sometimes those pesky work schedules get in the way, don't they?), and I am pleased to announce that it is KircherJL, or @skydoll2 on Twitter.

This gal is a friend of mine, so I thought I'd share that I didn't actually draw her name myself - I relied on a co-worker of mine (and actually, hers was the second name pulled - an unnamed individual won the contest but politely declined for the sake of mystery, intrigue, shyness or another reason).

@Skydoll2 is fashion plate, herself, and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to introduce her to this successful man with an eye for design.

As I said before, Kwame Jackson is a businessman who at one time worked for Procter and Gamble. He's coming to town this week to unveil his new line of neck wear Krimson by Kwame. Take a look for yourself - the ties are sophisticated, vibrant designs that are sure to bring a modern spin to your favorite suit and cuff links *Kate swoons at the thought of cuff links.*


Jackson is coming to Cincinnati this Thursday to unveil his collection at a VIP reception at the Bankers Club in Downtown Cincinnati as part of a trunk show with local clothier Corwyn Apparel. @Skydoll2 and I will get a sneak peek at Krimson by Kwame's ties when we join Jackson and Corwyn Apparel COO Corwyn Thomas for lunch and also the VIP reception at the Bankers Club Thursday night.

Thanks to all of you who entered the contest - I loved reading your entries! It's obvious Cincinnati is rockin' some serious fashion sense...

Random Recap, or, It Was A Banner Weekend

Friday night:

  • Dunkel at the Hof.
  • Bottle Shock on a stunning back patio in Newport. Spectacular friends and a great movie


  • Hair highlights
  • Obligatory volunteer assignment that left a bit to be desired (I hate standing around and "taking turns" push a broom)
  • Junior League of Cincinnati's Aultimate Affair - the "Junior League Prom" - great chance to see a bunch of my friends and get duded up

  • Saturday night wrapped with a rematch of last week's karaoke contest at an undisclosed home in Hyde Park. I think I won


  • 1.5 hours walking in the rain with my new pal - my bum is still feeling it after climbing up and down the hills of Pleasant Ridge
  • Dynamite brunch in a beautiful setting that could only be outdone by my mother; superb food and fantastic company
  • Spontaneous trip to TTC & Keystone for beer and Bloodys for girl talk - you can't put a price on a good, dear friend
  • Homemade risotto dinner and unleashing the floodgates during a touching movie about the Holocaust.
Whew. I'm exhausted just reading that...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

Seersucker, strappy sandals, sunroofs and sneezing.

Spring has finally arrived, and that means its time to seize the moment and soak up the season. Toenails freshly painted and highlights revived, this is my favorite time of year (though autumn comes in at a close second) because it allows me to get reacquainted with the great outdoors and think about my own seasonal rebirth.

The return of sunshine and warmer temperatures gives way to time on my favorite patios and in my favorite parks - including Cincinnati's stunning Ault Park in Hyde Park/Mt. Lookout.

I strolled through this park a couple weeks ago, but this coming Saturday evening will be my first chance to really savor the beauty of spring's embrace.

The Junior League of Cincinnati is throwing its annual Aultimate Affair event in Ault Park Pavilion (7 to 11:30 p.m.) - it's an occasion to enjoy dinner-by-the-bite from the city's best restaurants, cocktails and wine overlooking the stunning gardens, and of course live music from Leroy Ellington and the E-Funk Band (yes, I used Junior League and Funk in the same, run-on sentence).

This ain't your mama's fundraiser.

While the League has been around since the sands of time, it's not the same organization it used to be - built on a foundation of pearls, twinsets and ivory gloves.

These days, the League is a vital organization dedicated to supporting initiatives for the advancement of women and children in Greater Cincinnati. Members receive special training preparing them to serve as skilled board members and resourceful volunteers for organizations around the Tri-State. I, for one, have had the privilege of volunteering at a battered woman's shelter, local orphanages, and other worthy opportunities around town.

The Aultimate Affair will help the Junior League of Cincinnati stay committed to these endeavors and make other vital investments in the community.

Tickets are $75 at the door - hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rise and Shine

The sun is bright and beautiful this Sunday morning, a metaphor that is not lost on me.

Today marks the most holy day in the Christian calendar - Easter Sunday, a day when we reflect on the sacrifice made by Christ, and also God's single most profound gift to humanity.

I won't get all churchy on you all, because that's not my bag, Baby. But I will challenge everyone to think long and hard to find something for which you're grateful.

I am grateful for my gift of life - it is magnificent through every heartbreak and every triumph.

I am grateful for my strong sense of self and destination - I firmly believe God walks this path with me, and I am thankful for the confidence and comfort that instills.

I am grateful for my family and friends - I deeply love each and every one of them, for they have made my life experience infinitely richer.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sharp Dressed Man - Krimson by Kwame

Best Dressed they're not - but ZZ Top sure knew what they were singing about.

Put a guy in a a clean shirt, new shoes, silk suit and black tie (or any great looking tie for that matter - but I'm getting ahead of myself), and it is certain that every girl will, indeed, go crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

My first encounter with a sharply dressed man goes way back to when I was sporting Mork & Mindy nightgowns and dining on Mac n' Cheese culinary goodness. I remember seeing my dad appear in the kitchen on a "date night," dressed to the nines and ready to take my mom out on the town for an evening without the kids. He'd pick me up and I would feel the softness of his skin, smell the deep, masculine scent of his cologne and admire the clean lines of his suit.

I swear I was able to admire fashion design at five. Promise.

This appreciation for well dressed men continued on through my life. My high school prom date was a good friend known for his brilliance in English and World History, though he left quite a bit to be desired with his sweat shirts and massive tennis shoes. I was quite surprised and impressed when he decided to bust out the tails, spats and cane for our big dance.

A bit much? Perhaps. Sharp? Definitely.

Hollywood is full of sharp dressed men. Could you ever imagine Connery (or Moore, Dalton, Brosnan or Craig, for that matter) uttering, "Bond. James Bond," in cutoffs and a holey t-shirt? 007 isn't the only silver screen star to swagger in a suit. Much of the cast of Ocean's 11 looked pretty dynamite in their duds, same with Christian Bale in American Psycho.

Okay, so he preferred to wear plastic when he hacked up people with a saw, but he looked great in all of those investment banker meeting scenes.

These days, I still swoon when I see a man in a tailored suit and tie.

An entrepreneur with Cincinnati ties is helping men bring on their A Game when dressing for a night out. Kwame Jackson starred in the first season of Donald Trump's The Apprentice and is now focusing his talents on a line of neckwear called Krimson by Kwame. These ties are sharp and vibrant - beautiful designs in silk that invoke thoughts of glamour, luxury and power.

They're just the thing to turn your man from dull to dapper.

Jackson is coming to Cincinnati April 23 to unveil his collection at a VIP reception at the Bankers Club in Downtown Cincinnati as part of a trunk show with local clothier Corwyn Apparel.

And here's some exciting news - one lucky Kate's Random Musings reader will get to meet Kwame Jackson and Corwyn Apparel COO Corwyn Thomas and join the dynamic duo for lunch.

If you want to enter the contest, here's what you've got to do:

  1. Review the ties at Krimson by Kwame (click here to see the entire collection)
  2. Leave a comment in this post as to which tie is your favorite and why
I will select a winner to join Jackson, Thomas and me for a multi-course lunch at one of the nicest restaurants in Downtown Cincinnati on April 23. The winning contestant will also be invited to the VIP reception at the Bankers Club that evening.

The winner will be announced on Kate's Random Musings on Thursday, April 16.

Which is my favorite Krimson by Kwame tie? I love all things preppy and am drawn to the rep-style striped versions, and I also adore the bright colors in the woven and paisley designs. But I have to say, my favorite is the Kailua, a bold, red tie with classic white polkadots.

It would look dynamite knotted up in a double windsor for a boardroom meeting, untied after a long night on the town or draped on a doorknob once at home.

I'm just sayin'.

Good luck!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Nobody Home

What makes a home - the house or the people?

My thoughts started wandering Saturday afternoon after the most amazing experience at St. Joseph Orphanage in Monfort Heights. I signed up to volunteer through a leadership group I participate in, anxious for a new opportunity to give back and get exposed to one of the many amazing programs helping children in Greater Cincinnati.

We met one of the program's directors - he told us these children (between 7 and 14) were foster kids waiting to be placed in a home. Some of them were waiting for new foster assignments, others had been temporarily removed from a home because they exhibited extreme behavioral problems and needed counseling before returning to the environment. Other children had come to the orphanage from Children's Hospital, where they were treated after trying to hurt themselves.

Hearing these scenarios made my heart sink.

Meeting the children after hearing these scenarios made my heart break.

We volunteers split into two groups, each getting paired up with a group of four children. I chose to assist the kids with a sweet task - icing Easter themed sugar cookies. Over sugary sprinkles and tubes of colored icing, we talked about hobbies, favorite movies and jewelry. I was open and friendly, trying to put some of the more hesitant children at ease, and after a while everyone was laughing and having a good time.

I consciously steered the conversation to less complicated topics, not wanting to bring up anything uncomfortable. The topic of family is an easy conversation starter for most people, but these were children without families and homes, and I had the sense it was a hard burden for a little person to carry around.

These little kids were a tiny handful of the 500,000 foster children across the country waiting and hoping for a place and a family to call home. I wish I were in a position to become a foster parent, but unfortunately my shoebox of an apartment and financial situation don't lend themselves to taking care of another being (two-legged, four-legged or otherwise).

That doesn't mean I can't give my time.

The afternoon I spent with those kids really opened my eyes to how easy it is to encourage someone to do something they're passionate about, and how important that encouragement is to someone searching for their way in the world.

I hope I get another chance to see those kids - they did me as much good as I them.