.
I've decided to take an indefinite break from Scathingly Brilliant, twitter and instagram. If you're interested in keeping up with my art & projects, I'll still be blogging regularly on my portfolio blog here. Otherwise, thank you for a super fun almost-five years!

xo Kate


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In Perfect









Anyone else miss the Walgreens "Perfect" commercials? I thought they were so enchanting.

Greetings from 1958!




scarf - I have no idea
dress - le bomb shop on ebay
glasses - forever 21
shoes - my grandmother's (the pink shoes I talked about here.)

I realized this afternoon that I've been spending the last two weeks suffering some of the pitfalls of 1950's life without any of the benefit. Our cook-top ignition has been broken for a few months now, so we use matches to light it when we want to cook. As I was standing over the stove today lighting the fire for my lunch, sweating (I'm sorry.. if I'm a 50's gal I should say glistening) in the muggy weather because we do not have air conditioning, I thought to myself -- if I have to live like a 1950's housewife, I'm going to dress like one too.

Granted, in a few weeks the weather will be cooler and a/c won't even be an issue (although our stove will still be broken) but for today I just made the best of a bad situation and dolled myself up to deal with a house without working modern perks. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to tend to my roast in the oven... ;-)

$5 fun


$5 pink wig from Target :)

I've actually wanted to dye my hair pink for a really long time, so when I saw this in the Halloween section I thought I'd get it and try the color on for size. I like it, but I think it might be TOO hot pink for me. If I dye it, I'll want a lighter shade of pink. In the mean time -- while I'm on the subject of hair color -- I'm quite unhappy with my current hue (mix of red and brown that's kind of splotchy) sooo I'm bleaching it next week. No, I'm not going blonde again, just prepping it for a lighter red color :)

my cat likes Frank Sinatra



My cat is a Sinatra fan. Ever since we adopted her almost 8 years ago, she comes over to listen when I play his music. We have a giant stereo system in our living room (ancient, from the days when you needed a 24" speaker to get the same quality sound that comes out of a 5" one today) and she literally camps out in front of the speakers on the floor whenever I put Sinatra on.

Today I was a little afraid she wanted to take a spin on the record, but she just sat there patiently, listening to her favorite singer croon some of her favorite tunes :)

Panera at home


I've been spending WAY too much of my hard-earned income lately on tomato & mozzarella (sans the cheese) on ciabatta paninis from Panera. I put up such a battle with myself spending $7 on something like a headband or much-needed art supplies, but I seem to have no problem dropping that much money on one single sandwich, the traces of which will disappear entirely within half an hour.

I decided I needed to do something to stop this habit, so I went to the grocery store and got the ingredients I'd need to make it at home. The total cost was just under $9, and I'll be getting at least four sandwiches out of it.

I purchased:

4 mini loaves of ciabatta bread
1 can of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
4 tomatoes
1 pack of fresh basil

I just cut a loaf in half and drizzled olive oil over it before layering on some tomato, sun-dried tomato and basil. Then I put it on my mini George Foreman grill and applied as much weight as I could muster to close the lid completely over my sandwich, thus turning the grill into a pseudo-panini-press. The results were almost exactly like the Panera sandwich! The only thing I'd change is adding less olive oil, since it made my bread a little soggy, and I'd definitely choose the ripe tomatoes over the cheap ones next time (hey, I was trying to save money, what can I say?)

I complimented my sandwich with my favorite tomato + chickpea recipe, and it was delicious! And if you're a cheese-eater then just add some mozzarella to the mix & it would be exactly like the one from Panera, without Kate editing :)

apple cinnamon wontons




I've had this recipe printed out from when I was on weight watchers in 2007, but I could never find the wonton wrappers at my grocery store! I let out a little squeal of glee yesterday when I found them, surprisingly, on the shelf all the way on the tip-top where nobody looks, in the organic vegetable department?

Anyway, I adapted the recipe a bit, substituting regular sugar for brown (not for any culinary reason.. my cat was parked in front of my baking cabinet, so I had to use the regular sugar on the shelf) granny smith for macintosh and I served mine with powdered sugar instead of a la mode.

You'll need:

1 granny smith apple
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar (brown or white works fine, lol)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
12 wonton wrappers
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350'. Peel and core the apple, then chop into teeny tiny pieces. Mix with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. Wet the edges of the wonton wrappers with water, and then place about a teaspoon-full of apple into the middle of each piece. Fold into a triangle and press the edges with a fork to seal it closed. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, and then cool. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy! :)

these flats were made for walking


dress - H&M
shoes - Target

I'm not big on exercise... I used to come up with every kind of reason to get out of gym class (think Mary & Rachel in The Trouble with Angels) and as an adult I've done maybe one sit up and half a push up before giving up on work outs altogether. So I'm pretty darn proud of myself for going walking almost every single night last week. I only missed one day, and that was because it was pouring outside! It's without a doubt the most exercise I've had in the last six years since I was able to walk out of high school gym forever. And hey, walking outside for a half hour is about 800 times better than getting dodge balls thrown at you and having to wear a bathing suit in front of all your classmates ;-)

My only complaint is that, since I don't own a single pair of sneakers, I've had to go walking in either my little black flats, flip flops or rainboots! I'm thinking of getting a pair of traditional converse sneakers but I'm not sure which color yet. I'm leaning towards purple...

ps. That's the dress I got in New York last week as an early birthday present from my mom!

sidewalk chalk



Along with playing with barbies, doodling, make believe and dancing, my favorite childhood activity was drawing with sidewalk chalk. My mom used to always tell me and my brother that she was her happiest when our driveway was a rainbow of chalky green, pink, blue and yellow. So today -- since she's been a little blue lately -- we rummaged through the garage and managed to find some old sticks leftover from our long lost youth, and covered the entire driveway with color! I drew a giant flower and Kyle wrote "nachos" (although you probably could have guessed who did which without me spelling it out for you..) Not only did this significantly brighten my mom's mood when she pulled up to the house this afternoon, but it brightened mine as well! I really enjoyed myself (and I think Kyle did too, even if he's a stubborn teenager who won't admit having fun chalking up a driveway with his sister..) and I almost can't wait for it to rain so that I can start all over again from scratch :-)

when I was blonde..


.. I was sixteen. School was starting in a couple weeks, and I had just been absolutely devastated by the rejection of a stupid-in-retrospect, but oh-so-important-back-then high school crush. Me and my best friend at the time went to the drugstore, and I told her to buy any hair color she wanted and to dye it without showing me. And that's how I ended up blonde! I only kept the color for about six months before I went back to being a brunette, but it was fun while it lasted!

This picture is from a few months later when my heart had significantly healed and I was about to see the Frank Sinatra tribute show at Radio City Music Hall for my 17th birthday :)

Hey, Red!


I'm officially a redhead as of last night! woo hoo! Everyone is always telling me how pale I am (This happens almost weekly: "Hi Grandmom, how are you!?" ... "You look so pale, Katie." .... "Thanks Grandmom.") so I thought it was about time I had a hair color that matched my skin better. The dark brown always seemed to amplify the fact that I rarely saw the light of day.

I tried dying it Sunday, but didn't realize that you can't just dye light red over dark brown and hope everything turns out hotsy totsy. I ended up with hot red roots and dark red bottoms! It was pretty awful. So I got a hair color removal kit, and tried again yesterday. There's still a teeny bit of brown peeking through on my sides, but I'm just going to let that grow out now. I pull my hair back most of the time anyway, so it shouldn't bother me too much :)

This is the first time I've ever dyed my hair red and I'm pretty happy with it! I've been blonde, dark purple and all shades of brown but red is new! I think I'll stick with it for a while :) And maybe I'll upload a blonde picture just to embarrass myself ;-D

as if I didn't procrastinate enough already...



Earlier today I saw Sarah tweet, "Looklet.com. Click 'create look.' Get nothing accomplished for 2 hours." As a dabbler in all things procrastination, I just had to check this out. Turns out, Sarah was right -- a perfectly marvelous new way to waste my time! Hooray!

You pick out a model and background and then you add clothing and accessories and/or little furry beings. It's kind of like a cross between paper dolls and polyvore. I love it!

ps. When people start asking me why I didn't get any work done, I'm blaming Sarah ;-)

It's mine, all mine!


I gushed about this coat a while back on Spiffy, and now thanks to a 4-hour-long 40% off sale* on Fred Flare last week, it's mine! They were out of my normal size but I just went ahead and ordered a size smaller since it would be 40% off. Luckily, it fits like a glove! Tight around the hips, but then that's true for almost everything I own anyway.

The fur collar is detachable so that I can just wear it like a normal trench when I want to -- but when I snap the collar in place it's glamour to the 4th degree! If you know me, you know that my dream-job is a spy, and nothing makes me feel more like I'm living the dream then wearing this coat straight out of a late 60's spy flick. Just throw in a lipstick container that doubles as a pistol and I'm set! ;-)

*I also purchased the uni-corn on the cob holders and heart-shaped sunglasses, but those are Christmas presents from my mom that I don't get to touch until December 25th :)

ice cream cups


I'm not a big fan of ice cream (shocker!) ... in fact, when we get those Blue Bunny cones from the grocery store, I eat the topping, then scoop out the ice cream and just eat the cone. However, I am a big fan of ice cream aesthetics. Ice cream shaped anything makes me weak at the knees, and this is no exception. It a cup and lid set! It combines two of my favorite things - ice cream shaped objects and cups with straws. Yup, I'm an exciting girl ;-)

These are available on one of my favorite websites (with one of the best website names ever) Perpetual Kid. I'll take one in each flavor, please!

coat weather!


Coat - F21
Sweatshirt - F21
Jeans - Old Navy
Shoes - Target
Bag - Urban Outfitters
Beret - F21

This was my first day wearing a coat this year! yay!! I love autumn more than any other season, and I'm absolutely tickled pink that the temperatures have fallen, the wind is blowing and the leaves are falling!

By the by, does anyone know of a good online tutorial for hemming jeans? Is it the same as hemming normal pants or is it different because they have stretch & that really huge lumpy seam on the side? Mine are all about 5" too long and I'd love to finally make them fit!

frozen hot chocolate


When I was in New York on Wednesday, I had the most amazing frozen hot chocolate drink! I'm not usually a big fan of chocolate or sweets (I know, I'm really weird) but this was seriously one of the most fantastic things I've ever tasted in my life.

So when I got home I started searching for a recipe to make this delicious confection on my own. I found a few recipes that sounded like they'd work, but most called for whole milk or cream (which I don't use) and made enough to feed an army. This is the best one I could find, and I just adapted it a bit so it would make less & be a little healthier.

Melt about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with a little less than 1/8 c. skim milk in the microwave. When it's melted, mix it with 2 tsp of hot chocolate mix (I like the Hershey's brand best) and 2 tbsp of sugar or sugar substitute. Mix with 1/4 c. of skim milk. Then combine in a blender with one tray of ice cubes, and yet another 1 cup of skim milk. Top with (fat free preferred!) whipped cream and drink up!

I'm sure the cafe I originally had this at used whole milk or cream and artery-clogging whipped cream, but my version tasted exactly the same and was much, much healthier! Most recipes that call for whole milk do come out really similar with skim, and you feel a lot less guilty indulging in them! :)

pink grapefruit marmalade


A ginormous thank you to Casey for sending me a surprise in the mail today! Pink grapefruit marmalade!!! It came at the perfect time, too -- I was downstairs opening and closing every cabinet door trying to find something to eat for lunch and not having much luck. Then the doorbell rang and the mailman dropped off this little jar of goodness! I put some on country white toast and made a glass of refreshing grapefruit ice water (water with a couple tablespoons of grapefruit juice and ice cubes) to go with it. YUM! Thank you Casey!!! :)

a perfect day














I recently won a giveaway on Classic Forever for two tickets to see The 39 Steps in New York City. The 39 Steps is my parents' all time favorite movie ever, and they'd been dying to see the show so they were overjoyed when I won the contest!! We went into the city yesterday and made a day of it while we were there.

It all started off terribly. We left the house two hours later then we had planned, and when we finally caught our train it seemed to be moving at 2 mph. It was the slowest train I've ever been on, ever. But once we made it to New York everything improved and we ended up having an absolutely lovely day!

While my parents were in the show, me and my brother went to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Lego store and the New York Public Library (which, by the way, is the most awe-inspiring building I think I've ever set foot in!) Along the way I snapped pictures of Radio City Music Hall and St. Patricks Cathedral, too. My mom & dad had a ball at the show, and they're both writing guest posts about the experience for my classic film blog, Silents & Talkies.

A day in New York wouldn't be complete without a little shopping, you know. So we stopped at H&M where I picked up the most perfectly-fitting dress I've ever slipped on (pictures soon) and a faux leopard winter coat that looks straight out of the 1960's. I died when I tried it on, it's so marvelous. And my mom bought me some early birthday presents -- white tights with black hearts (adorable!), striped leggings, an Oriental style black shirt, some headbands and a belt. And while on the subject of spending money, I got the most scrumptious frozen hot chocolate drink at a cafe off of 5th avenue. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever tasted. I'm recipe hunting online today so I can attempt to make one at home...

We planned to finish the day at the Olive Garden near our home, but because every single solitary taxi cab was occupied last night (or at least it seemed that way) we didn't end up catching a train back home until 8:30pm, which meant we didn't pull into our station until almost quarter to 10! My mom called the Olive Garden from the train and told the manager how desperately we were looking forward to eating there, and asked if they'd still serve us if we arrived close to closing time. We ended up getting there - no kidding - at 9:56pm, four minutes before closing. And they still served us! Our waitress was the sweetest person ever, the food was out of this world and I got a delicious vanilla Italian soda. It was the perfect end to a perfect day! :)

cuteness!


Aren't these the most adorable salt & pepper shakers EVER? I don't even put salt or pepper on any of my foods, and yet I have a feeling that my future kitchen will have about 30 sets, just because I'm constantly finding so many that I like :-)

my little black dress



dress - charlotte russe (new)
shoes - charlotte russe (really old)

I obviously never learned the lesson of saving my money, because with practically nothing in the bank, my wallet or the pantry, I purchased this dress. I'm rationalizing the purchase, though, because I've never had a "little black dress" and I've always wanted one. A dress that works perfectly in every situation, fits like a glove and hangs proudly in my closet as a reminder that I think I look good in at least one dress I own.

When I saw it online last week, I really just *had* to get it. It has the most darling sweetheart neckline, which (I think) is not only the prettiest neckline there is, but is the one that accentuates my figure the best. And the come-in-at-the-waist-flare-out-at-the-hip shape is my favorite. It makes me feel slimmer and not as body conscious as pencil-shaped dresses do. Best of all, it's cotton! Except for sweaters, coats and tights, all of my clothes are cotton and sometimes having that prerequisite makes it harder to find clothes I'll wear, especially pretty dresses.

So, to sum up, this is the absolute perfect dress in the universe, and I will not apologize for spending this week's food budget on it ;-)

ps. Please excuse the strange hair-do. This dress came in the mail today and I wanted to take pictures regardless of the fact that my hair is in an un-straightened mess on the top of my head :)