Saturday, December 29, 2012

Out Take

Took an unintentional break for my trip back to a Ohio, and what a lovely 30 hours it was. I wish I had more time, but Mom and I are back in Chicago for a bit, and then my friend is flying in for New Year's! Most excellent. Thanks to everyone that made my trip hilariously wonderful. Not pictured: my friends hamming it up with my parents in a bar moments after I stepped off a plane. Priceless.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Au Naturale

Since natural beauty products are becoming more en vogue these days and the ever-present threat of toxic chemicals in cheap products always seems to linger in the back of my mind when I pick up a new $2 lipstick (and because I'm susceptible to trends and advice from strangers via their blogs) I've been wondering, should I go with more natural beauty products?

I gave you my rave review about making my own mud scrub and that worked out well, but what about shampoos? Is sulfate going to make my hair fall out? No, but it probably isn't doing any good for my scalp or eczema. Will the toxins in lipstick give me lead poisoning?  Maybe if I sat down and ate it like a pack of cherry lifesavers, but I think I can restrain myself. But would I rather be safe than sorry? Yes, yes I would.

All in moderation. You won't see me chucking my deodorant out the window, but slowly I'm using up what's left of my regular stock and moving on to something better for my health. It also goes well with my 24 Before 25 List in getting rid of beauty products that aren't absolutely essential. So here's what I'm thinking so far:

Photo Via

By recommendation of Joanna Goddard via A Cup Of Jo I really want to try Mama Bee Body Oil, and I was sold on Kiss My Face's shampoo until I smelled it. A leetle too "herby" for my olfactories.  I guess my strands will have to suffer with sulfate until I can find a better alternative. I really want to try Paul Mitchell's Awapuhi and Wild Ginger after a visit to the salon, but my wallet says no. You can see all of her organic beauty picks here.

I also did a quick search on lead-free lipsticks and it turns out that one of my favorite brands: Clinique (who is also scent and allergen free) makes lovely colors sans poison. The Body Shop also makes some great shades that I would love to take for a test drive.

Are you concerned with toxins in your beauty products? My only recommendation would be to do your research rather than taking Whole Food's word for it. I even went to Bliss Tree and after they published a story on Lipsticks Without Lead they discovered after publishing that a Burt's Bee's product still had lead in it. It's kind of a difficult commitment to make right now, but hopefully cosmetics companies start doing the right thing, and natural products in the mean time will pay off.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Z-Pak Holiday

Back in November I had a debilitating  phlegm-y nasty cough for the majority of the month. I kept convincing myself that it would get better on its own and I couldn't possibly break from my busy schedule just to see a doctor. Then a new hire, on his third week of training said: "You know you've been sick since I met you."

I tore myself away from my Saturday of coffee drinking/leaf watching/rain avoidance to go to my local Minute Clinic. Lifesavers those RNs. Ten minutes later and I was out the door with bronchitis and four different medications to get me through the rest of the week.

I got home, took the medications and despite their lack of codeine fell instantly asleep on the couch only to wake up and hour later and discover that the cough medicine had "disagreed with me". As I was hugging the porcelain throne, I lay there uncomfortably warm against the cool tile waiting for someone to come in and ask if I was okay. But Roommate was out and the Captain can't move, so I crawled back out to the living room and nestled myself back on the futon. All at once I just wanted my mom.

24 years old, independently moved out to Chicago to pursue my own goals, have the ability to pay rent all by myself and yet, I still need my mom. Running Buddy and I laughed about it: college degrees, full time jobs, almost to our thirties, and I still want my mom to check up on me and bring me ginger ale. Of course when I'm sick isn't the only time I need my mom. Other times include when I want to see that new musical/romantic/Brad Pitt movie and no one will go with me, when I can't figure out how to switch a magazine subscription, and when my new healthcare plan just doesn't make any sense...

That's why I'm pumped to be seeing her on Sunday!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I allowed the week to just slip away from me, but I'm glad I did. Only 9 more days until Christmas, then I get to escape back home for a little bit. Mom and I will be driving back to Chicago Christmas night and I'll be at work the next day. All that's left to get me through this next week is to let everything slip some more. Go with the flow and enjoy the holidays in Chicago while I still can.

Enjoy your Sunday!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

24 Before 25: 6 Month Review

A little under 6 months in and I thought it was time to do a review of what I have left to do on my 24 Before 25 list...and so far it appears that I have a lot. Being the fanatical list maker that I am, I put a check mark next to the things that I'm well on my way to doing and crossed out the one that is for sure done. I did have to make some edits to the list but that's the way it goes. I think the new goals are more reflective of how I feel about myself and what direction I'm taking my life.

24 Things To Do Before I’m 25

1.) Travel to one place I've never been before (Atlanta) ✓ 
2.) Write something every day (Blog) 
3.) Be happy and self-sufficient with my employment (getting there!) 
4.) Find a work-out regiment that makes me happy
5.) Complete a full length play
6.) Save up enough money for a puppy (money, no time) 
7.) Take a class (free at work!) 
8.) Finish reading all the books on my shelves (three to go) 
9.) Wear a bikini
10.) Start sewing/crafting again (Knitting) 
11.) Check off every place on my foursquare brunch list 
12.) Start shopping vintage/thrift more often
13.) Get a credit card
14.) Promote myself without being embarrassed 
15.) Pair down my beauty supply (organizing and finishing products) 
16.) Shop my closet and wear all of my clothes. If I don’t I have to donate it at the end of the season 
17.) Donate money or time to charity 
18.) Run a 10k (Researched, just not training)  
19.) Learn to cook for myself (Cooking, but same five things) 
20.) Get out of my comfort zone professionally
21.) Find a way to manage my stress level 
22.) Get a bike
23.) Go to the zoo with my Goddaughter
24.) Dance or sing in public 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chicago Day - the Field Museum

On Monday Running Buddy (or RB for all intensive purposes) drove down to have lunch and use my new work benefit: free admission to the majority of all Chicago museums! We decided on the Field, Chicago's natural history museum and I instantly fell in love.

We started off our perfect Chicago day with cinnamon rolls at Ann Sather's, home of Chicago's best cinnamon roll, and they aren't fooling around. Gluten intolerance be danged, I ate both of the cinnamon rolls my eggs and hash browns came with. Only mild queasiness followed.

Then we hopped on the red line and made our way towards museum campus. I had actually been here once before for a job interview when I first moved here, so it was refreshing to come back in a better state of mind, and with all the beautiful Christmas decorations up. I flashed my I.D. badge (like a boss) and we were in.

The first thing you do when you walk in is meet Sue, the world's most complete T-Rex.

We went through ancient Egypt (mummies!), animals, the hall of birds, and Ancient Americans which was one of my favorites.

More dinosaurs! Middle school field trip Kiley was beyond excited.

"Kenneth Parcell" shrank us and lead us on a journey under the soil (animatronic bugs = terrifying) 

Everyone in the museum ends the day on the front step taking pictures of the skyline...I almost wish I had turned the camera around. There was a distinctive row of people all snapping away. RB and I finished the night with a slice of pizza and then I returned to the theatre for a tech rehearsal. All in all it was the quintessential Chicago day.

Also, if you ever feel like going to the Field, call me up my answer (work permitting) will always be yes! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Warm and Snuggly

It might be the festive time a year, my drafty apartment, or just my inherent dorkiness, but I am falling in lurve with matching pajama sets. They're classic, warm and are guaranteed to make your Christmas look like a Norman Rockwell painting. Throw on an over sized robe and cushy slippers to bring the yuletide with style.

/ 1. Aerie Fuzzy Scuffs / 2. Gap Flannel PJ set / 3. J.crew Vintage Pajama Set  / 
/ 4. Aerie Lace Trim Robe / 5. Gillian O'Malley Flannel Coatset / 6. Gap Fleece Sherpa Lined Robe
/ 7. Gillian O'Malley Woven Pajama Set / 8. Hanes Premium Men's Knit Robe / 9. Target Leopard Slipper /

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Despite Chicago's insistence that it should be drizzly, hazy and all around gloomy I'm still in the holiday mood which makes, what? Eight weeks now? I got my little tree put together, the holiday show I'm working on will be going up this week, there's a staff holiday party and a decreed Ugly Christmas Sweater day that I am pumped for. I'm already making plans to bake cookies and knock out all of my Christmas shopping this week, and even better plans to see friends over the next couple of months. Chicago drizzlies can't knock a girl down when she's high on the love of the season...that's not a euphemism for something drug related.

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stage Manager Holiday

What time is it?! Stage Manager time.

It's that time again where I go back in black and don my stage manager "costume". Towards the end of the last run I had all but given up the traditional lackey uniform (I wore a lot of sundresses). This time around the whole cast is wearing black and I'll be appearing on stage, so I have to actually look like a stage manager.

Stage Manager Holiday
Set Via

I can't resist playing with texture and pattern, but there is an obvious color scheme here...all except the cheeky jewelry. Truth be told I'll probably end up wearing slacks and a black button up, but I girl can dream...especially about sequined skirts, lined tights and jingle bell earrings.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

High Light

Ever since this incident I've been trying to grow my hair out, which means a fair amount of babying. No brushing it when it's wet, using deep conditioners, feeding it biotin and massaging my scalp on a regular basis...I have a great long term relationship with my hair. It also means no dying it with hair dye from a box which is my usual "it's winter let's shake things up" routine. So I did the right thing and made an appointment for a cut and color. Next step: decide what to do with it.

I was sold on the ombre thing for a while: finally a popular hairstyle for poor match girl like myself that can't afford to run to the salon every three months. I let my color go last year and realized that growing out your sun kissed highlights isn't quite the same thing as going full ombre. I mulled it over before this last hair appointment, but ultimately decided that if I was growing it out, the last thing I wanted to do was bleach the heck out of my ends, especially since I don't have the long flowing extensions to try it out with.

I talked it over with the poor unwitting stylist who was lovely enough to help me figure out a solution for my wallet and the health of my hair...

I only got highlights around my face, see those little baby ones there? I can't tell if this is tacky or genius, but we'll go with genius for now. Most people don't notice the grown out back portion unless I point it out to them, or unless they're sitting behind me on the El and thinking "what a train wreck that girl is". But I'm happy, my wallet is happy, and now I feel ready to go for the holidays!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Adventures of a Hypochondriact Part I

I titled this post Adventures of a Hypochondriact Part I because this is not the last time I will convince myself that I have a disease. Confession time: when I was younger I broke my arm and nobody believed me. I had a tendency to exaggerate, and even the school nurse told me to go back to class. Once I learned to quit crying wolf, I discovered I actually had a myriad of health problems. Go figure. Remember the time I choked and wound up in the emergency room? Me too. Further proof that I will do anything to eat ice cream for a solid weekend.

Any who, since the discovery of my deeper health issues I've been searching for an answer, and after some conversation with co-workers and friends I convinced myself I had Celiac Disease. My doctor said the only way to know for sure is to cut it out and see how I do. So this is the diary of the week I didn't eat gluten:

Day 1: Going through my cabinets and starting to panic. Absolutely everything has freaking gluten in it! I start to wonder what my life will be like without cake, bread, or whole wheat pancakes. I start chanting "pleasedon'tletthisworkpleasedon'tletthiswork!"

Day 2: I feel fantastic! No stomach aches to speak of, I have a good deal of energy that I attribute to making better choices rather than just making grilled cheese sandwiches, and since most chocolate is gluten free I don't feel all that deprived. Kind of awesome.

Day 3: Tired, which I attribute to Thanksgiving partying. Curiously, while grocery shopping I walk past the bakery and feel that I would indeed rip someone's throat out for a brownie.

Day 4: I feel like total and utter crap. Trying to supplement carbs with brown rice but so far, no dice. I fell asleep on the train and I felt completely drained despite not doing a dang thing all day. Boo.

Day 5: I think about quitting but chalk yesterday up to carb withdrawal. I down a second cup of coffee and seize the day. Have more energy today but it's not solving all of my health problems.

Day 6: Had to wake up early for a training session at work and realized the lag is subsiding but the old problems are still occurring. Co-worker suggests it could be dairy. Oy.

Day 7: It appears some of my issues have been made better by eliminating gluten while others remain intact. I think it would be a good idea to limit the amount of gluten I eat rather than cutting it out entirely, and the same goes for dairy. There is apparently a delicate balance for me, and I just haven't hit it yet.

As of another week later, I'm continuing to limit (but not eliminate) my gluten intake which seems to be helping. The next step is finding a work-out routine I enjoy enough to stick to. I hear you number 4. Other than meals being difficult to plan this has been an extremely helpful experiment that I hope to carry on. Maybe I'm not always a hypochondriact!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I bet you don't know what today is! And the reason I'm a betting woman is because I didn't even realize it myself until last night...

One year ago today I started blogging! I spent November unpacking my belongings in my very first Chicago apartment, all the while hemming and hawing about a blog title (which really is the hardest part of staring a blog) then I eventually settled on Kiley Kate, it being my name and all.

I'm not one for speeches, but thank you to those of you who have supported me by reading Kiley Kate and admitting openly to me that you do read it and enjoy it. It means a lot to me as a writer working to find my voice and direction while I'm living and learning in Chicago.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to celebrate with a baked good of some sort, and I hope you'll do the same, at least in spirit you know. I'd love to share a cupcake with you all!

Have a lovely Sunday!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Nooks and Crannies

I would like to introduce you all to my lovely yet extremely awkward nook space. My neighbor tells me that everyone else has shelves in theirs, but not me. I have this adorable little nook.

Right now the nook houses my rocking chair and pseudo-end table/storage unit/bucket of summer clothes that I need to find new homes for. Plus my Christmas Tree, Albert. As happy as Albert is with his situation, I really think I need to spiff it up. I did a lot of soul searching and Pinteresting and decided that I wanted the nook to be...

// 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 //

...and adorable nook office! Clean and simple. I love the one drawer writer's desk with a chair and a file cabinet for extra storage (for my endless amounts of notebooks) and the two or three wall shelves for my books and tchotchkes. Just a cozy little place to work and be inspired. Seems like the perfect place to set my laptop up and type or go to first thing in the morning and write. I'm glad I didn't just get boring old shelves in my nook!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Work It Out

Sometimes when you have a nerdy question, worry or insecurity, I think it helps to put it out there. Chances are you're not the only nerd that feels this way and other nerds would enjoy commiserating with your inherent  nerdiness. Nerd.

I was in the midst of a work-out/room cleaning know, 50 crunches and then you hang up laundry. 20 lunges and then you clean your sink. It's the ultimate form of procrastination. I'm procrastinating cleaning by working out and procrastinating working out by cleaning which results in actual results. God I'm good. The procrastination took a turn for the awesome when a spine roll/dresser reorganization turned in to a dance party. Thankfully I have but one mirror in my bedroom, and as I'm going in to a full on rage I catch sight of myself and realize that I have no idea what to do with my arms. It was all hips and tush and my arms were like spaghetti noodles. So my nerdy question is: what do you do with your arms while dancing?

The obvious first choice is to Google "what do you do with your arms while dancing?" and low and behold Seventeen has a forum discussion for it. Duh. I started there and worked my way around the internet, and here are my best solutions:

// Run your hands through your hair / Touch other parts of your body: hands on the hips, on the waist, head shoulders knees and toes? / Let your arms move with your hips / Vogue it out / YouTube your favorite songs and try out a few things / Should a friend be present, hold hands with them; this is genius really, let them figure out what to do with your arms / Don't think about it at all. Chances are no one is noticing that your arms are out of sync, and you're just trying to have a good time anyway //

I hope you all feel less like a nerd, I know I sure do(n't), but we'll dance anyway.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Old Dress New Tricks

In high school I remember stealing moments in between school and the time Dad would come home to watch re-runs of Sex and the City and ogling over, what else? The styling. The clothes were great, but how everything was put together in a quirky fashion forward way made my seventeen year old self aspire to high fashion style on a writer's budget. The one thing that got under my skin is how they would wear these beautiful ensembles and then never again! Why pour all the funds in to something that gets a five minute debut and then disappears in to the bowels of Carry Bradshaw's tiny closet...or her stove turned sweater rack.

Please excuse that bottom right pose. I don't know what I was doing but my hair looks great!

But after moving in to my studio I began to unpack dress after dress that I wore once and hung back in my closet. I realized that it's difficult to wear the same dress twice, especially since facebook culture reminds everyone we're friends with that we've worn it already. Plus it's nice to show up in something fresh for a special occasion. But in keeping with my 24 Before 25 list I want to wear everything once. So this holiday season I'm going to try (try I said!) not to buy a new dress.

I don't want to make any promises here, some of this season's offerings are just too tempting. But I have some strategies to keep my paws off a new dress that will just end up sitting in my closet:

// 1. Update with a cute pair of tights / 2. Keep it fresh by trying a new beauty product / 
/ 3. Accessorize with new or different jewelry / 4. Step out in a festive pair of heels / 5. Top it off with a chic menswear inspired tux jacket / 6. Pick out a new hairstyle to give the seasoned dress some oomph! //

Let's see how long I last. I'll definitely post re-styles once I've worn them!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


This morning I woke up, ate breakfast, and promptly fell back asleep. Got up, took a shower, fell back asleep (not in the shower thankfully). The holiday weekend took a lot out of me it seems. Either that or I need to stop reading scary books before I go to sleep.

I had an energy spurt in the middle of the day which resulted in a Target run and an apartment re-organization. Again. The only likely conclusion to this day is Pandora radio's Queen station and a box glass of wine.

I hope everyone's Sunday was just as enthralling!


Friday, November 23, 2012

T-Day Turban

Thanksgiving was themed "turbans and caftans" this year. Despite my extreme admiration for Golden Girls I didn't have a caftan laying around the house, so one scarf and two seconds made a nice head wrap that did a decent job of looking turban-esque and keeping my hair out of my eyes. I actually really enjoyed wearing it, in a 1940s Hollywood starlet kind of way, but with a little more kitsch.

Would you try wearing a turban? Next step: one of these bad boys:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks and Thanks

Happy Turkey Day All! This is the first Thanksgiving ever that I didn't go back to Columbus for, so I kicked it off right last night with drinks and dancing in Wrigleyville, also known as "Black Wednesday" "Turkey Night" or "Thanksgiving Eve". Thank you clever marketing ploys. Today will be lounging around and making sweet potatoes for dinner tonight, and hopefully finding an open coffee place in the near future. 

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving full of parade watching/food cooking/family and friends or just sitting in your apartment eating chicken wings. Hey, to each their own. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Whatcha' Making?

Thanksgiving is mere hours away and although I can't run back to Columbus (I work Black Friday, ugh) I'm headed to Roommate's new place for an orphan Thanksgiving. I thought about bringing some sort of sweet potato dish but I'm having second thoughts. I only have tonight and tomorrow morning to make whatever it is I'm making, and I'm being a little indecisive. Tell me what you think sounds good...

/ Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe Here / Green Beans, Recipe Here / 
 /Apple and Onion Stuffing, Photo Via Recipe Here / Ginger Apple Bourbon, Recipe Here /

It's okay if you want to pick "all of the above". What are you cooking up this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mama I'm Coming Home

Friday night I called my Mom and asked what the possibility of me flying home for 48 hours was. She said they were great, especially for Christmas. Saturday during my lunch break I booked a plane ticket for right after the Sunday matinee of the Christmas show I'm working on, and now I'll be home for Christmas! We'll drive back to Chicago Christmas night so I can be back at work the day after, and then I'll get some quality time with Reid and Mom leading up to New Years. My fears of sitting alone in my apartment Christmas morning and shedding tears in to my oatmeal have all but vanished, and I'm super excited to see my family and get some Tim Horton's. How I miss Tim Horton's...and also my family.

Can't wait to see you C-bus, I'll be home for Christmas!