Posted in March 2013

Dear Kate: My friend mistreats his cat. How do I say something without ruining our friendship?

Dear-Kate-column-identity11By Katharine Luckinbill


Dear Kate,

A very close friend of mine treats his cat meanly and it’s really starting to worry me. He always talks badly to him and doesn’t seem to realize that, as a kitten, he’s going to be ornery for a while. He scolds, yells, and outright spanks the cat for normal kitten behavior. I’ve tried to talk to him about this, but he gets angry and tells me I shouldn’t tell him how he should treat his cat. It really bothers me to see him treating his kitten like this. He plans on getting the cat declawed soon rather than take the time to teach the cat to use a scratching post and not his couch. When I ask him why, his response is always somewhere along the lines of, “I shouldn’t have to deal with this!”

How do I address this issue with my friend without damaging our friendship?




Dear Katie-Cat,

This is a really tough one and I applaud you for not clawing your friend’s eyes out yet for this kind of behavior. Almost every writer on the Kate-Book team is a cat owner/lover, so I think I can vouch for us all when I say this guy sounds like a jerk.

People can get very testy when it comes to being told how to treat their pets (or their children) but sometimes it is so tough to just sit back and watch someone seemingly abuse their pet when you know that there is a better and more productive way of training the little critter.

Funny Pictures of Cats and Kittens

Firstly, I would open the conversation in a non-accusatory way by saying Continue reading

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Kate’s Book Club: Dream Unchained, A review of the final link

Dream Unchained

By Kate E. Stephenson

In this fourth week of March 2013, I hereby call to order the 16th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every week, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate.

As promised, Book Clubbers, I am back on an off week to give you the skinny on the final installment of Kate Douglas’ Dream Catchers Series. Let’s jump straight in…

So if you haven’t yet caught up, here’s the basic plot rundown from Dream Catcher (found in the short story collection Nightshift) all the way through Dream Unchained:

Dream Catcher opens with us following Mac, an IT student on the verge of something big when a fellow student somehow steals his idea, notes and all proof that Mac’s was the brilliant mind behind the new technology. Mac is banned from his graduate program and stripped of his scholarship. Dink, Mac’s best friend (and in some ways his soul mate), and Mac determined to figure out how to exonerate Mac. Enter Zianne, a mysterious and beautiful figure who appears out of thin air ready and able to help Mac clear his name. Why?” you ask. So did I. Frankly, so did Mac. And that is exactly the central question of Dream Catcher.

The answer leads to an even greater problem and an immense (and probably impossible) task that Mac has to solve in Dream Bound. Zianne’s life is at stake. The mission is to save the Nyrians, the last of an alien race, from enslavement under the rule of the oppressive Gar who have destroyed the Nyrians home planet and forced them into bondage for millennia while raping and pillaging the planets of other sentient beings—Earth is next on the list. Continue reading

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Fabri-Kate: Colors and patterns…..changing it up once again!

By:  Kathleen Neafsey

To borrow part of a quote from Isaac Asimov, “the only constant is change….” This is true for me in the sense that I like to change things up at home now and then.  In a previous post I explained that I change my throw pillows and accessories around the house, generally with the change of seasons.  It’s not so much that I get bored, I like colors and patterns so I try to incorporate them into my living space when I can. My latest change was to move some furniture around in the living room; however, that left me with a big empty wall. Ew.


Now the dilemma was what to put on that wall.  Continue reading

Trivia: Hannah Kate

Hannah Kate pink dress

By Kate E. Stephenson

Just in time for Spring, I have found the cutest little people fashion line—Hannah Kate. If you are looking for a modern Easter outfit or just simply versatile, wearable, kid-friendly clothing, Hannah Kate is a company to watch. The 2013 Spring/Summer line revisits fashion trends of the 50s, 60s and 70s in a refreshed, funky, contemporary way that melds bell bottom cotton pants, flower power prints, always chic neutrals, simple shifts, and wacky kid colors together to Continue reading

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Captainess Kirk: Punxsutawney Phil and Star Trek: Into Darkness

Captainess KirkBy Kathleen S. Kirk

I go away for one day to be one of those hollow-eyed zombie travelers you see in airports. You know, those ones that are bitter, angry, and overheated because they had to run to their plane at the other end of the terminal, board, and get all comfy, but were then ordered off the plane with everyone else before takeoff and forced to run back down to the opposite end of the same terminal to board the same flight on a different plane, only to find that the flight was now alternating between delayed and cancelled?

Yeah, I became one of them. And when I returned from their ranks, panicking because I was late for my column and jittery from the sheer magnitude of caffeine it took me to keep going, I discovered that the internet was blowing up, again.

It’s the fourth time this week. We should really get a man in to look at that. Continue reading

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My CompliKAITed Life: Budgeting Like a Badass


By: Kaitlin Marie

If you’ve read my blog a few times, you might know that I work as a secretary. Not a corporate secretary or an executive assistant–nothing fancy like that. I’m just a plain, vanilla secretary (with an incendiary dash of peanutbutter cup tossed in, but that comes from my winning personality!).

As you might suspect, secretaries are not, on the whole, highly paid. I am fortunate in that I get an awesome, incredible benefits package from my job, and I also receive overtime pay. In any event, I thought I would put a breakdown on how I currently manage my finances, in case people were interested.

Things that are important in my personal budgeting manifesto:

  • I pay my credit card off in full EVERY MONTH. I have 0 credit card debt.
  • All of my monthly expenses (except rent) are paid automatically from my checking account
  • The small amount of money I put in savings each month is also taken out automatically
  • I actually pay $60 extra on my car loan each month, so I can have it paid down in 3 years, as opposed to 4
  • If you’re not 100% certain of an expense, always round UP
  • If you’re not 100% certain how much money you have, always round DOWN

Budget Breakdown

If I include my overtime pay, I make just shy of $2000 a month. However, for the sake of this budget plan (and any buget plan you might want to make) it’s best not to include overtime pay. I’m using my lowest pay stub from 2013, rounded down slightly. Just concentrate on the bare bones, and anything you have leftover at the end is yours to play with in whatever way you see fit.

My monthly take home pay (not including OT): 1750

Whenever you’re budgeting for anything, look first at your fixed expenses. These are the things that will be the same month after month, and will under no circumstances change in cost. I’ve rounded up on a few of them to make it simpler. Here are my fixed expenses:


You might have noticed a few things on this list that are missing or extremely low. Continue reading

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Kate’s Book Club: Catching up on the Dream Catchers Series

Dream Catchers, Dream Bound

By Kate E. Stephenson

Hi-de-ho, Book clubbers! I apologize for the long absence. This flu season put your humble host down for the count for over a month. But, I’m back on the scene. In this third week of March 2013, I hereby call to order the 15th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every week, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate.

This week I wanted to give you one last opportunity to catch up on the steamy out of this world Dream Catcher Series from author Kate Douglas. At the beginning of the year we reviewed the first two books, and in a special Book Club meeting next week, we will finish up the series with Dream Unchained! So if you missed the first review, here’s your chance to dive into Dream Catcher and Dream Bound (with a new bonus excerpt!)Continue reading

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The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Health And Fitness: You Can’t Just Stand There And Look Pretty


by Kate Richlin-Zack

I’ve been operating under the false pretense that the hardest part about competition prep would be sticking to a strict diet or working out on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy turning down cupcakes but it’s a lot easier than I expected… and apparently I love lifting things up and putting them down so I don’t mind hitting the gym in lieu of prime time television. But it wasn’t until I stood in a room with four other competitors during a posing class (yes, a posing class, but I’ll get to that in a minute) wearing nothing but a teeny bikini and Lucite heels that it hit me: I actually have to get on stage.

And that’s when panic set in.

The problem is, skilled athletes and trained professionals make it look easy. You look at pictures of people who are bodybuilding pros and they look so happy. So polished. So confident. And so you sign up with a personal trainer, follow a diet, enter a competition and assume, “if I follow the plan, I’ll look just like the impossibly fit women in the pictures.” And that’s true. When I’m parading around in my underwear admiring my physique from the comfort of my own home, it’s really easy to say, “I did it! Look at me! I  could crack walnuts with my ass cheeks!” But when you have to stand amongst a group of other people who have worked just as hard for walnut cracking capabilities, you realize just how difficult it is to get up on stage and attempt to make it look easy.

And that’s why you need coaches to help you prepare to be on stage. The diet and exercise is vital. But presentation is key and your stage presence (or lack thereof) can decide your fate.

Continue reading

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Music break: Swedish electro-poppers, Kate Boy

By Kate Torgovnick

I would very much like to thank Pitchfork for introducing me to my new favorite band, Kate Boy. This Swedish quartet creates ethereal electronic pop that, as the music mega-site explains, is equal parts Peter Gabriel and ( muse) Kate Bush. Their track “Northern Lights” is the perfect ’80s update while “In Your Eyes” builds into a beautiful synth opera. The video for the later, above, is simply incredible — turning a bunch of ordinary fluorescent lightbulbs into something magical.

So … what’s up with their band name? Made up of four members—Hampus Nordgren Hemlin, Kate Akhurst, Markus Dextegen, and Oskar Sikow Engström—Kate Boy is their androgynous fictional fifth member.

But we of course are also interested in vocalist Kate Akhurst, who originally hails from Australia and arrived in Stockholm in 2011. She says that, the minute she met the rest of the band, their connection was obvious.

“Someone from [another recording session] was like, ‘You should meet these boys, I think you’re really going to like them,’” remembers Akhurst. “So we met up for a drink, and then decided to go straight down into the studio and start working that very first night. We had this instantaneous connection; we couldn’t even wait until the next day. I felt like I found my people, like, ‘I’ve been waiting all my life for you! I can’t wait another minute.’”

Can’t wait for more from this band.

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Adventures in Greening: Green things I’m enjoying this month


By Catherine Moran

If you’re anything like me, March evokes green thoughts: emerald hills, shamrocks, buds, and green shoots galore. Not to mention some feisty little leprechauns. Given that it’s March, I thought I’d share some eco-friendly things that I’ve been enjoying this month


1. St. Patrick’s Day The greenest day of them all, I appreciate seeing all of the green that I might be missing in grass or on trees. NYC doesn’t have enough green in many places, so even if I’m just seeing it on shirts and hats, I perk up a teeny bit.


2. Gift giving I realized that I have at least five close friends who have birthdays all in one week. Whew! This year, one of my green goals is to give gifts that are useful, edible, or digital. I’m trying hard not to add to anyone’s accumulation of Stuff.

Continue reading

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Kate Middleton has a shoe malfunction, gets competitive over Scrabble

By Kate Torgovnick

Kate Middleton sure could have used the luck of a shamrock yesterday. The Duchess of Cambridge managed to get her heel stuck in a grate while attending the rainy St. Patrick’s Day parade at Aldershot Barracks. In this amazing photo, Prince William lends his wife a hand as she bends down to free her shoe. Meanwhile, the guy across from them doesn’t break his salute.

In other adorable royal couple news, rumor has it that this pair does fight about one thing—Scrabble. The pair’s pal, boxer Anthony Ogogo, has squealed in a documentary, “When William and Kate play Scrabble they don’t usually finish it – because one of them slams it shut.”

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Kate’s Dates: On Why He Didn’t Call

Kates-Dates-newby Kate Richlin-Zack

You’ve played it cool for the last three days but it’s day four and enough’s enough. Why hasn’t he called? The date went well, didn’t it?

There are only three, (yes, three) reasons that a guy won’t call you back:

1) There was no mutual connection

Emphasis on mutual. Within minutes of meeting up with him for your first date, you were overcome with excitement. He was absolutely perfect and even gave you butterflies in your tummy. After an amazing date and a quick kiss good night, you were in love and convinced he was “the one” so you called your mother and scheduled your Kleinfeld’s appointment for next week. Unfortunately, that first date was also your last and you haven’t heard from him since. Why? Quite simply, he didn’t feel the same way. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s not going to call you back.  It happens. In fact, it happens more often than not. But lack of mutual attraction (again, let me emphasize mutual) is not anyone’s fault and it’s certainly nothing to feel bad about. So what if he doesn’t feel the same way about you? You can’t hit it off with everyone; if you did, there would be no such thing as SOUL MATES.

2) He’s a jerk

Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put forth and no matter how smart, funny, and really really ridiculously good looking you are, guys are assholes. It’s not that you didn’t make a good impression; quite the opposite.  You spent so much time getting ready, picking an outfit, applying make up, doing your hair. Seven hours of prep time for three hours at an Olive Garden in hopes of something magical and sometimes the never ending bread sticks end up being the highlight of your evening. If you really put your best foot forward, the reason you didn’t hear from him has nothing to do with you.  He high-tailed it out of there because he knows you’re not going to put up with his bullshit. Maybe you were clear that you’re looking for something substantial and he’s only interested in booty calls. Maybe he’s not looking to settle down. Maybe he’s busy with the five other girls he’s juggling. And maybe you’re better off. Of course you will have no way of knowing if this is actually the case and you may have to accept a lack of communication as communication. Sometimes there is no closure. But if he doesn’t appreciate all you have to offer, it’s his loss for sure and you can feel confident that it’s not you, it’s him.

The third and final possibility is the one that’s going to sting the most so brace yourself; you’ve been warned. Continue reading

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