Friday, May 28, 2010

Warm, Moist, Earth

I am a girl with many facets.

For all my urbanity, sometimes I dream hazy fantasies of a place where my short-fingernailed hands can comb through dirt. In these dreams, I'm wearing gauzy cotton or linen, and a graceful straw hat sits atop my head. Part Katharine Hepburn, part Martha Stewart, in these visions I'm experiencing some communal moment with Mother Earth as I till the soil and plant crops aplenty.

The likelihood of that actually happening is directly proportional to my getting older and moving further away from The Core.

So instead, I get out my ya-yas by researching where I can pick berries locally and volunteering for the occasional yard project at the parents' home in Symmes Twp.

In the immediate future, I plan on scouting out some berry picking (strawberries? raspberries? blueberries?) this holiday weekend. In the not-too-distant future, I intend on doing some research on container gardening.

That's how city folks grow their 'maters and basil, you see.

My future apartment is on the top floors of a lovely building in Over-the-Rhine. With plenty of fire escape space, I plan on making a little container garden to grow almost everything my heart desires. Peppers, squash and green onions do well in containers, and speaking of containers, we're not talking the traditional terra cotta pots you'd pick up at Lowe's or Home Depot. Just about anything would work well as a container garden - including an old pair of shoes or boots.

I'd love to see some mint growing out of a well worn cowboy boot.

Just because a girl plants down roots amid concrete and asphalt, it doesn't mean she has to miss out on the occasional opportunity to be one with nature.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Look Mahvoulous...

I feel like a goddess right now.

And it's because someone paid me a lovely compliment. A wise woman once told me a compliment is the best gift you can give someone; it makes them feel like a million bucks, and it doesn't cost you a dime.

Wiser words were never said.

So today, I ran into someone I know from being a gal about town. This awesome chick is embarking on a really cool business opportunity, and she mentioned she might need my assistance to serve as a sort of model, "because, you know, we want pretty people."

Jaw drop.

My head swiveled around and, for a minute, I thought she was talking about someone standing behind me. I've never considered myself a raving beauty. I am never the prettiest girl in the room, but sometimes one of smartest or most interesting. Never the stunner that everyone's looking at and talking about.

Though there was that one weekend a few weeks ago.

A pal of mine, @the_joey on Twitter, gave me a blogging writing assignment over two weeks ago. "Kate, write about the last time you were truly happy."

Little did he know that this Monday evening assignment came on the heels of a weekend that could have not presented a bigger, more varying emotional roller coaster.

The night prior, I was crying my eyes out over a very painful situation involving a very trying relationship. Since this isn't the Happy Moment In Question, I'll digress.

The Saturday night of said weekend, though, what a fantastical experience.

So, there I was, never-the-prettiest-girl-but-sometimes-one-of-the-smartest-or-most-interesting, dressed up for an evening of ballet and cocktails. I had on a black, Calvin Klein dress very reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe's white vision on the subway grate and these dynamite stiletto shoes. My hair was flipped out and had a good bit of volume, and I was actually sporting makeup.

It was a banner evening in regards to my ensemble and styling - and apparently everyone noticed.

I don't think I've received so many compliments in one evening. There I was, receiving glowing remarks from just about everyone who chatted with me. I got hit on by single men, married men, older men, younger men. Even women.

That Saturday night was phenomenal. I enjoyed cocktails with a handsome gentleman, trotted out a few dance steps with another, and had one gentleman offer to make another jealous.

All around, very surreal goings on for Kate.

A dear friend of mine (who said she couldn't keep her eyes off my cleavage while I was wearing the dress of the evening) has suggested I get copies of that dress made in every color of the rainbow. Another friend suggested I wear that dress every time I go out.

I know my black Marilyn dress isn't magic, but I do suppose it gives me an extra shot of confidence.

And confidence is sexier than the best pair of legs or the tiniest waist in the world.

Find what makes you feel mahvoulous, and rock out.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Back On The Reservation

I didn't die. But I could have.

The past nine days have been a thready mess of insanity, chaos and excitement, all rolled up into a tight, colorful rubberband ball.

The two biggest things to happen - #1 I put down a deposit on an apartment in Over-the-Rhine. I'll be making a new home for myself by July 1. Can't wait. It's an amazing, two-story loft with tons of space, exposed brick, gorgeous antique hardwood floors, skylights, windows galore ... and a washer/dryer and dishwasher.

Could a girl wish for any more? More to come on this ahead.

#2 - My car didn't blow up - but it could have. The Saab is hanging out in Mariemont, waiting for an insurance adjuster to green light a project that involves a destroyed exhaust pipe and a punctured gas tank. I'm just grateful the car didn't ignite last Thursday - and that I managed to get out of it safely.

Add in some CAC/Shepard Fairey street party insanity (anyone else bummed they didn't have the balls to dive in to the Rumpke dumpster swimming pool?) and a nice evening of recognition and celebration at the Junior League of Cincinnati (humbled by an award I received for the cookbook; excited about joining the organization's board) - the past nine days have been off. da. hook.

The ride continues this week... but I promise to get up a blog post about one of the coolest things to happen in Cincinnati in years - Alex and Alison's Watch This concept - complete with a showing of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark - Wednesday at the 20th Century Theatre. Free.

Can you beat that with a stick? Likely not.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dream A Little Dream For Me

An ocean, a wedding, friends, family, paparazzi... And me swimming in a cocktail gown.

I never remember dreams, but this one was pretty vivid, and involves some of my friends, so I thought I'd jot it down for your entertainment.

Evening. Moonbeams and glinting waves lap up on the shore. I have no idea which "shore" this is, though I'm guessing Connecticut because the scene is very similar to where I lived as a teen. Navy waters and a grand, glowing hotel hosting a sparkling wedding reception. I am a guest at said event.

I find myself swimming in the water in a black dress with a plunging neckline. My long (obviously this is Fantasy Land) golden tresses wave and whirl behind me in the water as I splash and stroke through the ocean beneath the midnight, starry sky.

Flash forward. I'm dripping wet. My dress and my hair are completely water logged, and I'm wandering around the wedding reception with Ms. 5chw4r7z. I'm trying to be inconspicuous, as my embarrassment grows about my damp condition. She and I roam around the tables with flickering candlelight and stunning floral centerpieces, looking for our friends. We pass through the dance floor and see Sara Celi - she's got a feathered headpiece in her hair.

Then I remember that I was supposed to spend the evening at the reception with my father and youngest sister. I panic because I feel like I've abandoned them, and I'm running through city blocks of OtR-ish brick buildings (yes, somehow this scene is still related to the wedding reception, but now we're in a city instead of at the grand hotel on the ocean) and desperately searching empty cafĂ© tables and chairs for my dad and sister.

I find them at a two-top table closer to the hotel. They are sitting on a porch area that overlooks the water. We see each other and my dad looks disappointed. I am completely ashamed.

Then I wander back to the reception and see my best friend, Bluegrass Brit, wearing a stunning, floor length, silver, silk gown with navy petticoats and crinoline underneath. She has a silver and navy trimmed British fascinator in her hair, and she's making the most grandiose poses for the paparazzi, who have assembled to take her photo. That's when I notice she has purple lipstick smeared below her lower lip, unbeknownst to her. She's smiling and posing, and I approach her and tell her about the lipstick and she wipes it off, and the blinding camera flashes begin again.

And then I wake up.

Anyone with any insight on what this means?

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chris Seelbach Running for Cincinnati City Council

I'll preface this by saying that Chris and I are dear friends.

And I'll say that I've been begging him to let me write a blog post about his campaign for weeks. The fact is, Chris has been hesitant to seek any press at all. He finally agreed to let me pen something when I convinced him that enough people know about his aspirations by now, and that someone is going to write something about it sooner or later.

A friend might get an opportunity to break it, right?

Now that I've revealed the nature of my relationship, some of you may very well dismiss my post. But the things I'm going to share about Chris aren't personal or rose-colored, they're the kinds of things that people from a variety of political perspectives can admire - and do.

So. Yes. Chris Seelbach is running for City Council.

What does that mean? Who is Chris?

An Over-the-Rhine homeowner, I've had the pleasure of witnessing Chris's passion for local politics during our work together on CincyPAC. Through it all, Chris is committed to making the best Cincinnati this city has seen in years.

He's dedicated to creating a community that draws people who want to live here, work here and raise families here.

Chris says he wants to make changes to Cincinnati's current zoning policies to ensure we can enjoy livable neighborhoods that once again allow for a better mixed use of retail and residential offerings. Don't you enjoy the way Hyde Park allows neighbors to walk to a square full of shops, restaurants and other businesses?

Cincinnati's current zoning laws wouldn't allow the city to develop a similar community. Chris wants to change that, and he's already teaming up with Vice-Mayor Roxanne Qualls to learn how other cities are executing this kind of reform.

Most city residents are aware of the Queen City's budget woes. Tough choices have to be made. Still, Chris wants to champion elements that are so important to citizens.

Can you imagine a Cincinnati without a Reds Opening Day Parade? Chris wants to preserve that strong tradition for years to come.

He also is concerned about Cincinnati's future, and knows recycling is a responsible way each resident can do his or her part to help protect and improve the environment.

Another vital city resource that Chris wants to protect - our community centers, which offer so many programs that help our seniors stay active and healthy.

Some of you might be wondering, what about crime? If Chris makes it to council, what's he going to do about safety?

He and I have both discussed our shared interest in and support of the city's CIRV (Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence) program, which aims to rehabilitate offenders and help make neighborhoods safer without adding more police to the streets and accruing overtime costs.

My favorite thing about Chris is that he is passionate, and cares deeply about his neighborhood. A proud OtR resident, he has long championed improved transportation offerings, as well as incentives that help local businesses take root and thrive in the city. Chris and his partner Craig's hospitality has convinced me I should move to Over-the-Rhine and be part of the energy in this emerging neighborhood.

So I am.

I am so proud of Chris for running for office. If elected, Chris would be the first openly gay member of Cincinnati's City Council. This is a great triumph in itself, but it doesn't overshadow the many ideas and passions Chris brings to the table.

Chris is a good friend, but more importantly, he's a great neighbor for our community, and I trust he'll make the best decisions for Cincinnati.
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Remembering Maeve

She was the first person to teach me about the gift of life.

Maeve is my oldest niece. No longer with us on Earth, she went on to better, more beautiful things two years ago today. She'd be just over two and a half years old if she was still with us.

This little girl was the first child I loved with all my heart. The closest thing to my own child. I know if anything happened to my sister and brother-in-law, the rest of the world would have had to fight me for that gorgeous baby.

Maeve spent the last two months of her life in the hospital, fighting to survive despite a series of heart defects and problems related to Noonan Syndrome.

My niece's sheer will to live taught me that life is something precious and worth fighting for.

Brigid would tell me stories of this little girl, battling to live despite an open chest covered with only a piece of surgical tape, and tears streaming down her tiny, cherubic face because of the pain associated with her feeding tube.

Maeve taught me that time here is fleeting. Whether I live to be 35 or 95 - every day is precious and miraculous. Take nothing for granted, because each breath is a gift from God.

Maeve taught me that, while grief never completely vanishes, it turns into something softer, more bearable.

Today, Maeve's lessons are my mission. Carpe Diem is more than a trite Latin saying. It is a philosophy I hold dear. I also know I will survive any heartbreak or challenge life gives me.

And that those heartbreaks and challenges are sometimes gifts or opportunities for growth.

It is amazing to me - a little baby girl who lived for seven fleeting months is able to teach me so much.

And she continues to do so.

KayKay loves you, Maevey Bean.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Night a Volvo Fell Out of The Sky

It was the end of spring break my senior year in college.

We went to bed early that evening. My dad was going to drive me to Providence early Sunday morning so I could make my flight back to Lexington.

He was struggling with getting rest - little did we know that three days later doctors would discover a brain tumor the size of a plum close to my dad's brain stem. At the time, we thought he was just having bad headaches.

The house was quiet, and I wasn't sleeping well, despite being a normally sound sleeper. There I lied, tossing and turning in one of the two twin beds in my front bedroom, shivering to stay warm in the flannel sheets.

The night was still. The sky was black. I sat there with my thoughts, undisturbed, until a loud, crashing bang erupted in the dark.

Eyes wide open, I froze to get a read on the source of this shattering disruption.

I eased out of my bed and peered out of the window, discovering something glinting in our driveway. The rhododendrons blocked my view, so I stared intently and heard a bit of rustling. That's when I heard a stage whisper of our last name.

Dashing to my parents' room, I stepped softly so as to not wake the the entire household. "Mom?" I whispered. "Mom?"

Stirring from her deep sleep, my mom growled at me. "What the hell do you want, Katy?" We'd all been on edge because of my father's headaches, and my mom was beyond annoyed that I was waking them in the middle of the night.

"Mom, I think there's a car in our driveway. There was a loud crash and I heard someone whisper our last name."

She lumbered out of bed and quickly charged ahead of me, making a beeline for my bedroom window. She, too, saw the odd reflection in our driveway, and raced downstairs to the front door.

"Oh my God. Their fucking car fell off the cliff," she yelled.

As it turns out, our neighbors' daughter came home from a late night out with the rest of her high school class. Unable to drive herself home, a friend took the wheel of the old fashioned, Volvo 240 station wagon. She cruised it up the hill to their garage and pulled in the door, parking the car in neutral.

After the girls got out of the vehicle and made it inside, the silver wagon rolled out of the garage, across the driveway and down the nine foot cliff that separated their property from ours.


Dad woke up and settled with the details outside. The wagon was trapped in our landscaped shrubbery, so it would have to stay there overnight.

The next few weeks would be even more tense than normal regarding my parents' relations with these shifty neighbors. The conversations involved crafting truth for the insurance company and struggling to get compensation for the damage to our landscaping.

But when the hell do you ever get to say a car fell off a cliff and landed in your yard?

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gotta Get A Little GaGa

Love what the good people of Madrid did to spotlight their hope that Lady GaGa adds a tour stop there.

I am a total sucker for flash mobs.

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Wine Where the Wild Things Are

Argentina, Chile and Italy.

Three places on my Must Travel To list... If you've seen me sing the signature song from Evita, you'd know why (well, at least regarding my love for Buenos Aires).


My schedule is busy and my budget is tight, so there are no immediate plans for a far-flung adventure (though an inkling of Italy in December with my dear friend, Sweet, does sound delicious...)

Thankfully, I only need to go as far as the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to get a taste of the world beyond.

Wild About Wine pops the cork on a good time this Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. I will be volunteering along with Bluegrass Brit and Zooey (I do love making up aliases for all my friends, don't I?) at this event, which supports the Zoo's Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife.

The fun night out also treats guests to a great spread of appetizers from Noodles & Company, Keystone Grill, Senor Roy's Taco Patrol, Local 127, Lavomatic Cafe and other hot spots. Having just enjoyed Senor Roy's delicious tacos over a week ago, I am looking forward to an encore.

And of course - you can enjoy great music and get up close and personal with some of the Zoo's most unique creatures-in-residence.

Tickets are $30 in advance, or $40 at the door - come find me and I'll try to sneek you a healthy pour!

Check out the Zoo's website for more information.

See you there!

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Bloom and Grow, Forever

I'll admit it. I am a sucker for flowers.

After good food and spectacular travel, flowers are likely the third best device to make me fall in love with somone. They're romantic, they're fleeting and they're stunning.

Flowers are the best way to say I'm sorry / I love you / I miss you / I need you / Thank you. Flowers are a great way to honor an old friend or loved one, and a goregeous way to leave a lasting impression on someone you've just met.

A man who gives flowers is a hero on a white horse.

Sunday is Mother's Day, and sadly my mother will be out of town visiting her own mom in Minnesota. Had she been in town this weekend, she would have likely scored some flowers from Zinn's Buy the Bunch at Findlay Market.

The Over-the-Rhine market is one of my favorite places to buy flowers. Living a single lifestyle doesn't mean one must survive without a bunch of stunning blooms to call their own; I am quite comfortable buying my own flowers, no matter the occasion.

Buy the Bunch is a new vendor at Findlay Market - Justin says he replaced the previous flower shop three months ago. A quick spin through his corner, and you'll see why he's bound to reap many successes.

Whether you prefer sunflowers as big as dinner plates or calla lilies so graceful and slender they make you think you could sip champagne out of them, this little shop is sure to have something you'd drool over.

The peonies above captivated me for a good minute or two. At first glance, they looked like the Martha Stewart pom poms I once made for an event (note: 30 or 40 of these pom poms look stunning when hanging from a ceiling at various heights). Upon further review, I grew enamored with the contrast of the flowers' white, almost translucent petals, and the deep maroon-purple center.
The most whimsical item in the place - a daisy tree. If my mother was really in to flowers, then this is what I'd buy her. Daisies are her favorite, and at $45, this tiny tree is a bit of an investment.

But gosh... it's just so darling.

You can find Buy the Bunch in the Findlay Market building - it's on the other side of the wall behind Col. De Ray's Herbs & Spice. More information at or 513-275-2331.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Soldier Spoof

American servicemen, serving in Afghanistan, doing a remake of Lady GaGa.

It sounds like such a strange conglomeration of spirit, but it is actually beautiful and quite clever.

I'm glad these men and their fellow soldiers are able to find a moment to put aside the frightening realities of the sacrifices they make each and every day. Sometimes, we all just need a little song and dance to make it through another night.

Viva la GaGa!

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ask, And Ye Shall Receive

I'm gonna put it all out there.

It's time for this gal to find a new place to live.

After five loving, interesting years in Oakley (remember, there was a peeping tom, a really bizarre encounter with a neighbor, and the man who continued to try to enter my apartment at all hours of the night), I am finally biting the bullet and migrating even closer to the core.

Yes, I already live in the City of Cincinnati, but it's just not enough. Considering I spend most of my social time in Downtown Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine, Newport and Northside, I'd like to find something closer.

I want OtR, baby.

I've had a hard on for OtR for years. I started telling Double Platinum I was going to move down there over three years ago. This time, it's time to put up or shut up.

My current apartment building has transferred ownership, and the new owners want me to sign a 12-month lease.

I've been leaseless for over four years, and I'm not about to make a year long commitment to an apartment that has a laundry list of neglected maintenance needs.

So, I thought that if I told you all what I'm looking for, you (or someone you know) might have a place in mind.

Here's the list:

-One bedroom and one bath. Anything more than that is gravy.
-Dishwasher. This appears to be the bane of my existence. Provide a dishwasher, and many of my housekeeping problems will go away.
-Big kitchen space. I love to cook. I am a good cook. For five years, I've been cooking Indian, baking pies (with crust) from scratch and otherwise making do with about three feet of counter space. I need something a bit bigger to accommodate all of my culinary ambitions. An island would be lovely. Plenty of cabinetry or shelving is a must.
-Hardwood floors. I am really sick of dealing with grungy, apartment grade carpet. This girl wants some hardwood.
-Natural light. I love windows! I'd love to be able to fling open the drapes and let the sunshine in on a gorgeous day.
-On-site laundry. The apartment doesn't necessarily have to include hookups, but I can't be hoofing off to a laundromat to wash my unmentionables.

-Off-street parking. In OtR, off street is key. Doesn't have to be a parking garage, but something with some security is desired.
-Security system. Again, not a must, but safety is nice... and I oppose packing heat.
-Outdoor living space. Rooftop patio? Courtyard garden? All good in my book. Something that allows me to enjoy Mother Nature while I'm unwinding after a long day in the office.
-Closet space. Believe it or not, I'm not a clotheshorse. I'm still rocking pieces from my college days (and one infamous shirt from 8th Grade. I know... it's a miracle). But, I DO like my accessories. Shoes. Handbags. Hats. Jewelry. All this stuff needs to go someplace.
-Exposed brick and other industrial aesthetics. I love the mixed media of OtR's condos/apartments. Old and new all rolled in to one. I don't want to move in to an apartment that looks like it was built by Drees two years ago.
-Nearby dining/drinking/shopping establishments. Right now, I can step out the door and hit about a dozen places on Oakley Square. I'd love to be close to the best that OtR has to offer.

That's a pretty comprehensive list. If you know of something in OtR or Downtown Cincinnati that you think would work for me, please shoot me an email at I'd love to hear about what's available, and whether it works with my price point.

Which brings me to an important point. People - I work in non-profit. I am not an heiress and am not looking for something that carries a four-figure monthly rent.

Game on.

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