Gimme Some Oven

10 Things I’ve Learned: Kate

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10 Things I've Learned: Kate |

They say that you can’t do life alone. And I would argue that the same absolutely holds true for blogging.

Thankfully, I’ve had the chance to become friends — genuine friends — with many incredible bloggers over the past few years who can relate to all of the quirky ins and outs of this career. And one of the friends who has become especially important in my life over the past year is this girl — Kate, the creator and half of the namesake behind the popular vegetarian blog, Cookie & Kate.

Kate (or Kathryne, as her friends call her) is one of those girls who can basically do anything, and do it well. She’s a former magazine art director and has an incredible eye for all things artistic and beautiful, and stays on top of All The Trends in everything from food to fashion to interior design to WordPress plugins. She is a super techie and worked for months to create and design and code her entire blog (and trademark it herself), which most bloggers would kill to know how to do. She is probably the most meticulous and creative and passionate recipe developer I know. And she is one of the hardest working bloggers I know, running her blog entirely on her own. And, in a blogosphere where grammar is seemingly less and less important, I would like to especially point out that this girl knows how to write well.

But while her talent and incredible work ethic inspire me, I am most grateful to have Kathryne in my life as a friend. Make that an awesome friend. Our jobs have us both working from home alone for a good chunk of the day, and as such, Kathryne has become one of the friends I’m constantly iMessage-ing back and forth with all day long. Whether that be asking each other a zillion questions about blogging (she was a huge help with my new site design), swapping stories about dating (she’s one of the literal handful of other bloggers I know who is also single), or just checking in on some of the daily highs and lows of work, I so appreciate that she’s one of the people in my life who asks me about my day…and genuinely listens…and “gets it”, since much of our lives and work lives seem to overlap. I also appreciate that she’s one of the most honest people I know, and will tell it to you like it is, give you meaningful encouragement, and also vulnerably open up and share about her own life.

That said, I’m also stoked that she is game for adventure because we’re planning an epic friendcation to go spend this February in Austin together!!! Yep, neither of us like Kansas City winters, so we’re packing up our camera equipment and our dogs and flying driving south for the winter to work remotely in the land of tacos and techies and Tim Riggins. I cannot WAIT. More stories to come as we share a tiny kitchen together while food blogging for a month, but I’m thrilled to have a friend like her to travel with. It’s going to be fun!

Anyway, enough of me talking. Without further ado, here’s Kate sharing 10 things she has learned about life.

I’ve Learned…

Life doesn’t offer any guarantees.

To my parents’ credit, they’ve told me, “Life’s not fair,” over and over again. I just grew up making general assumptions about what adulthood would hold for me based on my parents’ experiences. Assumptions like, a solid education (check), good health (check, thankfully), a fulfilling career (hooray!), and some others that haven’t panned out, like marriage, and subsequently homeownership and kids. I’m not 100 percent sure that I want all of that, anyway, but it’s what I grew up assuming life would be. 

These days, rather than operating on the assumption that there is some guy out there for me, I’ve accepted the idea that maybe he’s just… not there. That way, if I do meet a great guy and feelings are mutual and all that jazz, I’ll be exceedingly grateful to have him in my life. And if I don’t find him, I won’t feel bitter and resentful that I’m not getting what this life is “supposed” to offer. I think it’s a healthier outlook, plus I’m not holding myself back based on any assumptions of what the future will hold. 

Welcome game changers.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I’d kept working at that awful job.” Have you? I’m so glad I quit that job. I’m also glad I dumped the guy who wasn’t right for me. I’m glad I moved to a new city when I heard it calling. Note to self: I only regret the chances I didn’t take. This isn’t the best example, but I’m still kicking myself for not taking that honors’ level college creative writing class. I was afraid of it. I would be a better writer now if I had stepped up to the plate then.

Buy a steamer.

No more ironing! I repeat, no more ironing! If you share my title for World’s Worst Ironer but still like to look put together, you really need a steamer. All you do is pour water into the contraption, plug it in and 60 seconds later, you can steam the wrinkles right out of your clothes. Amazing, right?! (P.s. The steamer will never tell if those pants came from the bottom of the hamper.) 

“Good enough” really is good enough.

I have been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. Perfectionism has served me well in some areas, but the level of self-imposed pressure that comes along with it can be utterly debilitating. I don’t know if I will ever shake the urge to get everything “just right,” but I’m trying to accept that good enough really is good enough… in most situations, at least. Better to pick my perfectionistic battles than try to meet an impossible ideal.

Dogs are essential.

Dogs make everything better! Getting a dog was a big decision but it also turned out to be the best decision I ever made. You see, my dog, Cookie, is as good for me as I am for her. She calms me down and takes me on walks. I feed her breakfast and dinner and snacks of cauliflower. It’s a win-win situation.

Birthdays deserve celebration.

My birthday falls on the most unfortunate day of the year (Christmas). It’s terrible. It’s not easy to get friends together around Christmas. Last year, I realized that I hadn’t had a proper birthday celebration with friends for eight years (eight!). I was honestly starting to question whether my friends actually liked me. A few weeks before Christmas last year, my friends surprised me with a birthday dinner! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy and loved.

That birthday experience reinforced my conviction that birthdays deserve proper celebration. They’re the one day of the year when friends and family make a cognizant effort to say, “Hey, you! We think you’re great and we’re glad you’re here!” If I were to start a non-profit tomorrow, it would be devoted to celebrating birthdays with marginalized individuals. One day of recognition really can make all the difference.

Schedule regular get-togethers with friends.

I always look forward to my regularly scheduled girls’ nights and Sunday evening potlucks. Since they usually fall on the same day and time, they’re easy to schedule around, which means that they actually happen. We usually plan them with Facebook group messages, which makes it easy to keep everyone in the loop. They’re just the best!

Yoga makes me a better person.

I’m not saying everyone should do yoga, but it’s just right for me. I loved gymnastics as a kid and yoga feels like a natural extension of my old gymnastics moves. I used to get all bent out of shape (pun intended) about my slightly crooked back and wobbly ankles, but now I look in the mirror during class and think, “Woah. Look at what those strong limbs can do.” Thanks to yoga, I stand up straighter, my mind is clearer and I feel ready and able to handle any physical challenge that comes my way.

Share the good and the bad.

I have a tendency to keep good and bad feelings to myself. Sometimes, when I hear promising news, I diminish how hopeful I am that the deal will pan out. Or I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging about good news, so I keep it to myself. When I’m embarrassed about something, I often let my cheeks burn instead of laughing about it with friends.

I recently listened to “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown on audiobook during a long drive. She stressed that in order to live a wholehearted life, it’s important to share the good and the bad with empathetic friends. Her point really hit home for me so I’ve been trying to be better about reaching out to friends lately. Ali is one of those friends for me, and I think she knows she can reach out to me any time, too.

Food doesn’t hold the answers.

I find it so ironic that I’m a healthy food blogger because I have really struggled with food in the past. In hindsight, I was literally trying to make my problems more palatable by swallowing them down. It was easier to despise myself for my own behavior than it was to confront the real issues at hand and accept that I was not in control of their outcomes. Fortunately, after years of self reflection, I’ve learned better habits. I slow down, go on walks, text a friend, snuggle up with Cookie… all of these options actually make me feel better about the situation that’s bringing me down.

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23 comments on “10 Things I’ve Learned: Kate”

  1. Just wanted to say that I LOVE this series Ali! (Like…really love it). And it was so fun to learn a little bit more about Kate! I’ve been a big fan of her blog for years, and her advice/life lessons are fantastic. 

    Also, that steamer advice is on point. 

  2. This is such a fun series! I agree whole-heartedly that birthdays deserve celebration. I would gladly volunteer for that non-profit spreading birthday cheer! 

    p.s. I am so excited to see/hear you both at ChoppedCon! 

  3. A month in Austin together — how fun!!!! Can’t wait to follow along with that adventure. Loved reading Kate’s tips – very wise!

  4. Aw, shucks. Thank you, Ali, for having me and for your incredibly kind intro. Blushing over here. I am so glad we’re friends!

  5. Absolutely love this series!  I completely agree that birthdays deserve celebrations!

  6. What a lovely post :) I’m happy to have learned a little more about Kate as a long time follower of her blog! Whoa, how impressive that she coded her entire site… I’m totally blown away. Have the best time in Austin- it’s a food lover’s dream.

  7. What a unique and inspiring post. As a fan of both Gimme Some Oven and Cookie & Kate (like both in my top 5 of all food blogs) it’s great to see you guys team up. Kate’s resources on how to start a food blog finally gave me enough courage to start my own. And Ali’s (as well as Kate’s) photography are a constant source or inspiration as a learn and develop my style. Thanks so much to both of you.

  8. This post made me happy…love your friendship!! (Really loving the idea of this impending friendcation too!)
    I recently picked up the same Brene Brown book. Looking forward to learning from it.
    Great 10 Things post – thanks for sharing your stuff Kate! <3

  9. So fun learning more about Kate and I love all of her tips!! Beyond that, I loved reading about your friendship and mutual admiration. There is nothing better than a dear friend. Great post!!

  10. Ali, and I look forward to every post in this, and I love Kathryne! You ladies are just fabulous. Kathryne, thanks for your openness too. Now, might I join your for a margarita or three in Austin? :)

  11. I LOVE reading these! Especially since I love Kate’s blog and am so jealous the two of you are fleeing the snowy Midwest, have fun! : )

  12. Love this post! Kate sounds like a fabulous friend, as do you. Ali! Enjoy Austin (as a fellow Kansan I’m super jealous) – can’t wait to see what comes of your collaboration. All the best to you both!

  13. This is such a great series!! Really cool. Kathryne is one awesome gal. And that steamer tip is a game-changer!

  14. What a terrific series! It’s great that you value your friendships so much and that you let your friends know that you do. Not having had a sister, I treasure my relationships with other women and with my sisters-in-law. What’s more important in this life than our relationships with others?

  15. Great post!  I really appreciate the opportunity to discover that there are some really sane people out there.  Kate is clearly one of them.

  16. KEEP GROWING!   The twenties are great!  The thirties are, also.  The eighties are great and even rewarding when you have a grandmother so very proud of YOUR ten things you have learned.   Much love to all your expressions!   

  17. Wow! Such a fantastic interview and questions you don’t typically hear people talk about. I’m also totally jealous + impressed by Kate’s badass computer skills. Beautiful post…from you both!

  18. This is such a beautiful, honest Q&A. Definitely typical of the beautiful Kate whom I’ve also come to treasure and be inspired by in the blogging world! Nice to meet you too Ali, you have a great blog and I don’t know how I didn’t discover you before now!!
    Back to Kate, you really are so, SO wise. I’ve learned quite a few of the same lessons as time has passed, I’m still working on life in general (aren’t we all?) and… well, I’ve won some and I’ve lost some. I’m definitely going to re-think quitting the awful job that I’ve wanted to be rid of for at least five years (being safe isn’t always the right thing!!). So glad that you’ve taken steps towards a fulfilling, joyful and creative life. P.S I want a dog. You’ve given me more ammo to convince the husband! xxx

  19. I absolutely adore this series! It’s so cool to learn more about the people I look up to as both a food blogger and as a person (and since I’m sixteen it’s so great to receive advice like this!). Cookie + Kate is one of my absolute favourite food blogs, and so is yours, so it was fantastic to see you pair up! 

  20. Yes to everything! I’ve yet to jump on the steamer train (mainly because I live and work out of a 600 square ft. apartment overflowing with food props haha) but yoga is so key in my life too. I guess if I can figure out how to do yoga in my shoebox I may be able to handle a steamer! New Sunday mission…Awesome collab ladies!

  21. I have been so blessed to spend some time with Kathryne this year on two different trips. She is such a peach, so kind and thoughtful and funny and honest. She has the best laugh and smile. What a lovely little feature you have here. Have so much fun in Austin together this winter!!

  22. very excellent, thanks Kate!

  23. Love it. “Good enough” really is good enough.  That really stuck with me! Great advice and great idea for a blog post!