Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bravo, Tim Gunn

Dear Tim Gunn,
I really want to be your friend. Is that too forward? I watch your show on Bravo and can't help but think, I want to be his friend. I NEED to be Tim's friend.

Each week, you take a fashion lost soul under your wing and transform them into style divas. You connect them to life coaches, runway coaches and make-up artists. Last night at dinner, I practiced my runway walk through the restaurant just like you instructed in episode two. I swear, heads turned. You see, I'm listening! Isn't that an important quality in a friend?

I vowed to no longer take part in the "slobification of America," as you call it. No more going to the grocery store in gym clothes for me. No, sir! And, now that it's fall, I'm going through my closet and sorting things into four piles: keep, donate, mend and discard.

I'm working hard to get you to notice me, Tim.

Call me. Please.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On My Mind

There are a few things I need to get off my chest.

First, if another celeb lectures me about limiting my carbon footprint, I'll scream. Since when did one week's training at "Inside the Actor's Studio" make you a scientist? Save the lecture. We all need to do our part. Let's start with Leo getting rid of his Hummer.

Second, an area shock jock about sent me over the edge the other day. During his drive-time program he announced any woman who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in the "upcoming" election should be ashamed of herself. I hope you'll forgive me for voting based on the issues rather than the plumbing below the belt.

Third, corn. Does anyone else worry about eating this vegetable that can also be used to fuel our cars? So, I can put it in my car to make it go AND I can put it in my stomach? Hmm. No thanks.

Finally, file this under things I need to let go of. I think band class is sexist. Or, at least ten years ago (alright, 15 years), when I took it it was. I was excited to play the trumpet, the sax or the drums. What did I get stuck with? The flute. Who played the aforementioned? The boys. Well, you know how this story goes. Since I was given no good reason for not being able to play what I wanted, I rejected it. The result? An "F" in the class. How's that for maturity? (Now that I'm starting my own company, I prefer to think of it as entrepreneurial spirit.)

Thanks for listening.

I Lost My Appetite

I live downtown. And, every urban dweller faces one uncomfortable truth: At some point, you will be asked by a homeless person for money. On the spot, you're forced to decide if you help someone get their next meal.

I recently faced a situation like this that left me steaming. While driving on a city street to dinner, I saw a man standing on a corner with a sign that read, "Hungry, please help." As a person who literally can't go two hours without eating, signs like these haunt me. I can't imagine going days without food.

But, it's what I saw next that made me lose my appetite.

The light turned green and the small pick-up truck in front of me pulled to the side of where the man was standing. The "hungry man" took his sign, threw it in the back of the truck and they sped away.

Here's an idea: If you're hungry, sell the truck. It's not even a buck to ride the bus.

But, he's not starving. Begging for money is his day job. And, while most Americans go to work to pay their bills, this man takes advantage of human decency.

There are millions of people in our country of abundance who work long hours (at legitimate jobs) and still struggle to put food on the table. And, this man was making a game of it. He's giving those who truly are in need a bad rap.

Confession time: When I see a person asking for money, I immediately start assessing. In our parking lot, a man once asked me for bus fare. Since he was wearing a gold necklace, I told him no.

This week, a woman standing on the corner not far from my house had a sign asking for money for food. Two reasons made me tell her no. First, from that corner, you can literally see the neighborhood soup kitchen. If you're really hungry, you don't need my money. You can walk up the hill and eat for free. Second, she had an eye patch. On a snap judgement I decided it was fake. While her clothes were disheveled, she wasn't filthy. And, the patch, it was stark white and new.

It embarrasses me to admit I make these snap decisions. But I also balance those thoughts with, what if that was your dad? Or, as a person of faith, what if that was Jesus? Well heck, then I'd give him my wallet and the keys to my car.

So, what's the solution? How do I help the working poor and not feel like I'm being scammed? I've considered offering granola bars. I've heard the idea of giving McDonald's gift certificates so they have to be used for food. After the pick-up truck incident, I decided to take a bag of groceries to the local food pantry once a month. I can have confidence I'm helping the working poor and not those just working the system. After all, the working poor don't have time to stand on the corner begging for money. Because, well, they're working.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Michael and LL: Own up

Two things drive me crazy about Hollywood: Celebs who aren't accountable for their actions. And, stars who testify before Congress. (Really? We couldn't find anyone more credible then a guy who plays a doctor on TV? Let me guess, he stayed at a Holiday Inn last night, right?)

Today class, we're focusing on stars who have no sense of accountability.

Let's start with everyone's favorite friend, Michael Moore. (Or, "Michael S'more" as I like to call him.) Up front, let me say that I haven't seen "Sicko" and I have no plans to. But I take issue with a 400 lb. man complaining about our nation's health care system. Yo, Mike, you want better health care? Put the Cheetos down and pick the dumbbells up. I definitely don't support a national health care system where my tax dollars are used to compensate your bad eating habits. Better health care starts with the person you see in the mirror.

Next, Lindsey Lohan. She's 21, has two DUIs and is facing her second stint in rehab. Lindsey, at this pace, what will you have to look forward to in your 30s? After being pulled over Tuesday night for driving under the influence, police found a white powdery substance. I'm going to guess it wasn't anthrax. Soon after, LL sent a letter to a Hollywood reporter stating the cocaine wasn't hers and someone put it in her pocket.

Linz, (can I call you Linz?) here's the deal: I know Hollywood is a magical place but cocaine doesn't just magically appear in your possession. People (read: addicts) put it there. You only get one body and you're putting some nasty stuff in yours. Stop boozing. Stop stoning. Start loving yourself.

Finally, I'd like to spotlight a refreshing change from an unlikely source. I never thought I'd cite NY Gov. Elliot Spitzer as a good example of anything...but I'm doing it. His administration was called under fire for its questionable tactics to discredit a rival senator. It's yet to be determined the Gov's role in all this but I have to give him props for his initial response. He said he had no knowledge of the alleged events (we'll see -- he's rumored to be a micro manager), apologized and took responsibility for the actions of his staff.

Elliot, I think you're shady and it's doubtful we'll ever exchange Christmas cards but I give you props for at least publicly acknowledging your team did something wrong and taking responsibility for it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gayle and Oprah would be proud

I just returned from a trip to Galena, IL. Not your typical Summer vacation hot spot but this was not your typical trip. Each year, all the chicks on my mom's side meet for a weekend of girl power.

Now, before you make some snide comment about the Oxygen network, consider the brain power in the room. There were two small business owners, a lobbyist, a nurse and educators. I assure, you there were no pillow fights.

Was there People magazine? Sure. (And, US and In Touch....) Was there wine? Lots. But more importantly, there was great, intelligent discussion. Last year's hot topic was No Child Left Behind. This year, it was Hillary Clinton. Not exactly your typical sewing circle, eh?

They have a fabulous winery in Galena where we sat for hours and talked. My mom shared what it was like to beat breast cancer. My cousin shared how hard being a new mom has been. My aunt talked about the impact she's making as a woman in her male-dominated field. And, me? I just soaked in the greatness and said a prayer of thanks for these positive influencers in my life.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I was raised Catholic so naturally, I have an abnormal amount of guilt. I was taught to attend Confession and get all those little white lies off my chest. But, I despised Confession as a child and only went once. (Strange though, I always made it to Communion where there was food and wine...)

But for some odd reason, I've never been able to shake my need to tell people when I've done something wrong. So, if you who thought today's blog was a review of Usher's album, "Confessions," you're in for a surprise. Mass is in session.

Here's a summary of my latest doozies:

Confession 1: I layout in the sun. I like it. I only use SPF 4. And, it's tanning oil. I side with my sister-in-law on this one who says, "tanned fat always looks better than white fat." Preach on, Julie.

Confession 2: Today, I didn't workout. And, I didn't have a reason. I just slept in. For those of you thinking, "get a grip," allow me to put this into perspective. Last night, I had TWO bowls of chips.

Confession 3: I have a new (bad) habit of telling people they're boring. The other day in a client meeting I blurted, "This is boring." This was met with some puzzled looks and then thankfully, laughter. Here's a tip: Telling your client they're boring is not a blueprint for success.

Confession 4: I read People magazine. And US Weekly. And OK! And In Touch. But, I don't read Star magazine or The Enquirer. Come on, even I have standards. Everyone knows those two magazines are just lies anyway.

Confession 5: I hate the show "Seinfeld." Here's the deal George and Elaine, if I want to hear someone whine, I'll listen to myself. While everyone else laughs at "no soup for you," I just stare at the TV and think, "those are really bad outfits."

Sigh. It feels great to get that off my chest. I think I'll bury a statue of a saint upside down in the backyard, say the Lord's prayer, a few Hail Mary's and call it good.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Financial Summit

I'm the last person who should ever give financial advice. The LAST person. I often joke that my hubby is the CFO of our family and I'm the CSO: Chief Social Officer. (It was a unanimous decision by the board.)

But early in our marriage, the Mr. initiated quarterly Financial Summits. I've capitalized the phrase because it's a significant event in our house. A proper noun -- just like Christmas. But not.

It started as something I dreaded. Each quarter, we'd walk through our finances and pinpoint just where our money was going (JCrew) and where it wasn't (savings). I was forced to face the shameful stares. The frustration. The self-doubt: How could I have bought that extra pair of heels with the Summit approaching? Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

But, amazingly, it's turned into something that I actually, gulp, like?

Since we've started the Financial Summits, the debt is nearly gone (aside from the house and that pesky 2% MBA loan) and we actually know how much money we need to retire.

At this point, those of you who know me are probably staring at your computer with a perplexed face. Allow me to reassure you, this is Kat's take. You're reading the right blog.

I know there's some wacky stats out there about the number of married couples who fight about money. I know that the number of Americans who save is less than 1%. In short, Americans' waists are getting fatter and our wallets are getting smaller.

The Financial Summit may not be the right way for you. But find a way. Don't owe the man. (And, if you do use the Financial Summit, let me know so I can trademark it. I've got a student loan to pay off!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Smitten with Bitten?

I checked out Sarah Jessica Parker's new clothing line, Bitten. All of the pieces are under $20. It's nice to see another star launch a line that's affordable to divas of all price ranges.

But, be forewarned. While I applaud the price points, the quality is lacking. It's just not feasible to produce clothes for under 20 bucks and expect them to be top quality. As a point of reference, when comparing the quality to H&M, Bitten bites.

That being said, the poor quality didn't stop me from buying a pair of seersucker hot shorts. (You: Seersucker? Me: They were $10. You: Hot shorts? Me: They were $10. You: With your legs? Me: Easy...) Can't you seem em' with a white skinny tank and red heels? Smokin'!

My take: Even if they just last one season, I got my money's worth.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Consumer Retorts

My sad saga starts like this: The warranty on my iPod Nano expired after 12 months. On the 13th month, it crapped out on me. Sigh. Online troubleshooting didn't help (does this EVER work?) nor did tech support. I had to visit the nearest Apple store for a little one-on-one action.

I made a 1:40 appointment at the "Genius Bar," where Mac employees repair iPods and iBooks. I arrived, checked in and waited. And, waited. And, waited. After 25 minutes of playing, "Guess who wasn't in drama club," they called my name.

To my dismay, there was no acknowledgement OR apology for the tardy. Why make an appointment if Apple's not going to honor it? I can hardly stand waiting at the doctor's office. Do you think I'm going to stomach it at the Mac store?

I then learned since the Nano was no longer under warranty, it would cost $79 for them just to open it and determine why it wasn't working. Then, there would be a cost to fix the 13-month old iPod. Our "timely" Mac "genius" suggested trading in the old Nano and receiving a 10% discount toward a new one. WOW! You mean I could get 35 whole dollars off the price after just 13 short months?! How generous. Not.

I'm sour on Apple.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Don't fall flat

At social events, the tall comments always come out. My favorite from a baby shower this weekend, "You're too tall. I don't want to stand next to you."

Sigh. I have so much work to do.

But the saddest comment? It was from a fellow glamazon.

"I never wear heels. I don't want to be any taller so I always wear flats."

Ugh. The dreaded flat. It's like nails on a chalkboard. That's like saying, "I'm looking for a shoe to make my calves look bigger."

Tall women around the globe have long debated the high heel. Do you wear them and risk looking taller in exchange for great legs? Or, do you pass on the flat to avoid adding inches?

Kat's take: Burn all the flats. (Unless you're a librarian.) Even those cute ballerina shoes that are in style. I mean, do you really think someone my height is going to be a ballerina? I didn't think so.

Where's the LUV?

Can you save the emergency exit row seats when flying SWA?

I vote yes. Our flight attendant voted no.

Our packed flight didn't bode well for my "B" boarding pass but fortunately, my travel partner was an "A." Translation: a strong shot at getting the coveted emergency exit row seat.

I boarded the plane, took a deep breath of recycled air and smiled. There she was, a vision of loveliness, sitting in the emergency exit row with two seats saved. Cue the bright lights and harp music. My long legs would be spared the circus moves of my youth.

But, there was tension in the air.

"You can't save emergency exit row seats," said an SWA flight attendant, providing a loud verbal spanking to my friend. "That's rude."

Rude? What?! Since when?

I fly SWA enough to be a frequent flyer. And, I've been greeted by more than one 4'10 gymnast in this row saving a seat for a friend. This is America. We save seats everywhere we go. We save spots in line, too.

I get that these seats are a premium. Some airlines even charge more for you to sit there. But, if you're going to make these seats un-savable (is that a word?), you have to do it on ALL flights...not at the whim of the flight staff.

Monday, May 28, 2007

To all who serve: Thank you

On Memorial Day, please take a moment to thank or pray for those who have fought for our freedom. I am thankful for these brave men and women AND their families. Can you imagine going a year without seeing your loved one while they served their country? I'd lose it.

If you live in Kansas City, check out the Liberty Memorial. I believe it's the nation's only WWI memorial (note to self: hire fact-checker) and each Memorial Day, they surround the drive with American flags.

If it doesn't put tears in your eyes, you must be a Russian.

Also, the Wall Street Journal had a great editorial in the May 26-27 edition. Titled, "Home of the Brave," it talked about the 40,000 members of the military who are not American citizens. It will make you think twice about the immigration debate.

To all who serve: From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Memo to Jimmy Carter: Zip it!

I respect all that Jimmy Carter has done for this country but his recent comments about the Bush administration have me thinking one thing: Zip it!

There's an unspoken rule among former presidents: Don't comment on the performance of the current president.

For cryin' out loud, Jimmy, even Bill Clinton has managed to follow this unspoken rule. Bill, "blue dress" Clinton! Can't you play nice in the sandbox?

And, now, he's telling us his words were misinterpreted. What part of Bush’s administration being the “worst in history" does he think we misunderstood?

And, on another note, is anyone else DREADING the forced kiss we're going to be subjected to between Bill and Hillary? You know it's coming. He's out campaigning for her. NO ONE truly believes they're in love so they'll do that staged french kiss.

Remember Al and Tipper's tonsil swap? I think all of America immediately thought of their own parents "doing it."

In a word? GAG.

The other woman

It happened again this weekend. Sigh. But this time the wound cut a little deeper because (insert dramatic theme music here) another woman said it. (Gasp!)

So, I'm lounging by the pool when one of my WOMAN neighbors made a comment about my size. I think it went something like, "Well, you're a bigger woman anyway..." In fact, I'm sure it went EXACTLY like that.

Why do I distinguish that she's a woman? Because in my experience, whether you're 6'2 like me or 5'2 like her, all chicks have image issues. I expect a man to use the "b" word (and then have me blog about him). I expect a woman to know that no lady ever wants to be thought of as big. (Unless she's Russian.)

I mean, would you ever say to one of your heavier friends, "Well, you're a fatter woman..." or "You're a balder man..." or "Your breath stinks and you look like a troll..."

NO! Because you read this blog and are educated on the importance of manners.

Tall chicks everywhere: My mission to educate the ill-informed continues.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Please and Thank You

On a recent family vaca to the Florida gulf, I was pulled over for speeding. And, saying "speeding" is putting it lightly. The officer clocked me at 68 in a 45 and then at 68 in a 35. (Hee, hee, hee...insert nervous laughter here.)

The officer asked if I knew why he pulled me over. "No..." I responded hoping it was the tail light on our 2007 rental car. I then received the unfortunate news of how fast I was going. (Would you believe the accelerator was stuck?)

Public Service Announcement: Maybe it's because my grandfather was a police officer but I have little tolerance for people who are rude to cops. I was definitely irritated that I was pulled over but mad at myself -- not at the officer who was simply doing his job.

I responded to the rest of his questions with the manners my mama taught me and then waited...some country song played on the radio while he ran my plates, checked my record and I hoped, hoped, hoped I'd remember to pay that parking ticket from last year.

When the officer returned to my car, he gave me the good news. Since I was so nice and polite he was only ticketing me for going 45 in a 35. Sweet. That saved me $300 and a second trip to the gulf for a court appearance. All for saying please and thank you.

I received even better news today. Upon calling to pay my ticket via credit card (the other option was certified check. Really? Certified checks are a whole other bothersome blog), I learned the ticket was never turned in. And, if after 15 days the county hasn't received it, the ticket is removed.

Hold on, I need to go buy a lottery ticket.

Here's my take: First, I'm appreciative of the officer for slowing me down. Even by my NASCAR standards, 68 in a 35 is too dang fast. Second, I don't know if it's a stretch but I like to think my manners and kindness made it a little easier for this police officer to "forget" to submit my ticket.

Moral of the story? Let's be nice to each other.

Class dismissed.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A "Big" Woman Like You

It happens to every tall chick and today was my day. Three different men felt the need to comment on my size. The first two were at the gym -- fine, I just made happy chat ("Yes, I played basketball..."), put my headphones on and went back to "sweatin' to the oldies." The last "gentleman" actually followed me through the grocery store. At first, I thought I was imagining it. But, then, no, I realized he was actually shopping for me. When we finally did talk (hooray), he wooed me with lines like, "I've been looking for a BIG woman your size." My self-esteem just soared. Public Service Announcement: At no time is it ever okay to call a woman "big." Ever.

Does it sound like I'm whining? I'm not. Being 6'2 this happens a lot and I typically don't mind it. I really enjoy people and meeting new friends. Sometimes though, humanity lets me down with chucklehead comments like, "Do you play rugby?"

Tall chicks everywhere: I'm looking out for you.