A DIY Hat for the Derby

So we all know that my first attempt at sourcing a hat for the Kentucky Derby was dispiriting at best.

Blessedly, last week, Jen was kind enough to reach out to me by e-mail with Louisville running trail suggestions and Most Importantly a Key Hat Tutorial ( you have to scroll down the page to locate the videos).

I can’t say that I have ever watched any craft tutorial ever.  So it only made sense for me to crack open a can of Coppola champagne on Friday night, hit the play button and proceed to be mesmerized for the next 20 minutes.  I cannot say that I have ever seen anything on this order in my life. As I watched this woman methodically attack a plain white hat with flowers and ribbons and netting and feathers, the idea of making my own hat seemed far less insane than I had originally thought.

Which is a real Godsend because I had already visited JoAnn Fabrics with mother earlier in the day.  Apparently we had managed to select all of the right things.


Excluding feathers, because the feather selection was essentially peacock and pheasant only.

Mom: When is the last time you came here (JoAnn’s)?

Me: Before Pamplona so we could buy sash material. You know, before I do something really expensive, I try to save money.   Even though we spent all of the money on Earth on Derby and Oaks tickets, I refuse to pay $200 for a hat.

But I mean really, can we talk about (crosses self) JoAnn’s for a second?  Because I swear to God that every time I darken that doorstep, time stops.  If I ever see anyone in that store (employee or customer) move with any sense of urgency, I will probably die of shock where I am standing.

We escaped with plunder in tow, I deposited it all at The House On The Hill and I informed Mom that our work would commence after we were done with egg coloring.  She had not watched either of the tutorials so I think that she was somewhat taken aback by my sudden zest for craft.  Me too.

Materials 2

Though I didn’t keep a real eye on the clock while I was busy hot gluing away, I want to say that the entire crafting process took approximately one hour from start to finish.  Had I incorporated More Flowers or Feathers or Color, I’m sure that there would have been more decisions to make.

The total haul (hat+ribbon/net) ended up being approximately $30.  I only used one spool of wired ribbon and even though we got a yard of black tulle, I probably only used a quarter yard.

Because I know y’all need to know, the finished product.


Next stop: Etsy shop. ;)

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Easter Weekend

Y’all, this weekend was just wonderful.  Billy came home from Texas (Spot once again was So Surprised he was still alive), the weather was on its best behavior and even though it wasn’t one of those weekends where we just kicked back and relaxed, it was so soothing.

On Saturday, we colored Easter Eggs.  In our family, some eggs are frivolous, but others take a more…political tone.  Billy and I both lead off with Kim Jong Un eggs.  Our efforts were not coordinated, but clearly our intentions were.  Other Easter Eggs that made an appearance were the MH 370 Sonar Egg, the Failed Sochi Olympic Ring Egg and the NIT Champions Egg.

They all became deviled eggs in short order.

Today, it was 70 degrees and cloudless, without a breeze.

I wore shorts and a tank top because the thought of anything more formal was unbearable.  Marcus had his outfit planned before mine, so I did my best to out-Easter him.


I then pledged to spend the entirety of the day post-brunch outside.  Which, after seven hours in the sun, I can say I did successfully.

We all took turns rotating in and out of the stadium seats that Billy rescued from the Metrodome.


Everyone took advantage of using the cup holders because, they were there.  I can’t believe that I am going to say this, but I think between the sun and the full body sunburn I’m sporting right now, I am a little bit dehydrated.  Considering how far we have come since 7.5 inches of snow on Wednesday January, I will take it.

As our final act of revolt against Winter, we ate Easter supper sitting in a circle outside.  We ran out of knives, so armed with only a fork, most everything on my plate (excluding mashed potatoes) became finger food.  I don’t know that Asparagus salad was really designed to be eaten that in that fashion, but you work with what you have.  I don’t think I could be part of a family that would do it any other way.

Friday Food Round-Up!

We will not whip out the matzo pizza until this weekend, which I count as a massive personal victory.  Not because matzo pizza is bad (actually it’s quite good in a Lunchable Pizza Kit sort of way), but because there are no leftovers where matzo pizza is concerned and it’s fairly nutritionally void.

Wednesday – Stacked Jalapeno-Cheese Enchiladas to The Homesick Texan’s Family Table


Cruel realities of Passover: My plate was the prettier of the two.  I can only imagine what sort of structural support this meal might enjoy if made properly with corn tortillas instead of…matzo sheets.

However, after two nights of roasted meat and potatoes, this was a bright way to change up our meals.  The salsa verde recipe made so much sauce, that I actually saved a small container to make more enchiladas if the mood strikes before the holiday is over.

Thursday – Pollo Asado with German Potato and Green Bean Salad from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table


Y’all know I cannot resist a recipe that involves roasting chicken.  Our only modification to the recipe (beyond using chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken) is that I browned the chicken thighs on both sides prior to popping them into the oven.  How nice.

The salad situation was just lovely.  I am a massive potato salad fan, and I don’t know that I’ve ever tried one that used green beans as well.  Throw in some dill and you have a substantial side dish that feels a bit lighter.

Derby Hats

Our tickets are being shipped, we leave for Kentucky in two weeks, my black dress has returned from the tailor.

Last weekend the hats arrived.  That gold hat was ordered from Nordstrom’s, the white hat my mother found in England for a garden wedding that she and Dad attended last summer.  The black woven straw hat was ordered from Target.com.

The makings of a new hobby?  Possibly.


Well, the gold hat was beautiful, but entirely disappointing.  I loved the ribbons, but the brim seemed…short?  If that is a thing that can be possible.  Looking at the hat on my head and comparing it to the photo of the hat on the model, I feel like a victim of egregious photoshopping.

The white hat had such a lovely wide brim and the net was sort of exciting but it did not work at all with my dress.  This probably should not have been shocking because my dress is black, but I thought maybe the color blocking thing could work for me.  Except when it failed.

Trials, I know.

You know that thing where you have a picture in your head of how something is supposed to look and nothing in real life actually translates?  This is that.  I don’t want to say that the concept I’m working off of is highly specific, but I certainly haven’t seen it in the pages and pages of hats I’ve pored through so far.

So one of my projects this weekend will be a trek to the craft store so that I can source ribbons and action the final version using that $15 black hat from Target as a base.  Because we all know how successful my life as a crafter is.

If there was ever a time to light a candle kittens, this is it.


Joining Up with the B+ Life Podcast.

I know.  I know y’all are wondering, Kat, where is this going.

Me too.  So please bear with me, kittens.

Approximately four years ago, I started reading Sarah’s blog.  Three or so years ago, when Lindsay still lived in D.C., I got to pop off for brunch with Sarah while I was out on a visit.  I feel like when you get picked up from a metro station by a complete stranger in suburban Virginia you are officially friends for life because you have both officially escaped murder/kidnapping/mugging/The Worst Case Scenario.

But, like I said, Sarah picked me up at the metro station and as we worked our way through mountains of breakfast potatoes and eggs (the best) we talked about EVERYTHING.  She is just as wonderful in person as she is on her blog, y’all.  Over the years, our friendship has grown as have our writing collaborations – she is the fearless ringleader of our little Project Reverb team.

I was so honored when Sarah asked me to join her stable of recovering perfectionists trying their hardest to live a B+ life by recording a podcast with her.  Prior to the first week of April, I had never even listened to a podcast, much less thought about whether or not I would ever appear on one!

I hope that you’ll click here to listen.  If for no other reason than the fact that you want to hear what I sound like in real life.  I mean, maybe you also want to know about the moment I first realized as an eight year old that if everything went perfectly, my life would be great!  Since you know how we would do this if WE were meeting in real life, pour yourself a glass of wine, crack open a LaCroix or brew yourself a mug of tea to drink while you listen!

Reverb 14 | April | Showers

#reverb14 is the opportunity for us to reflect and project throughout 2014.   Each month, Meredith, Sarah and I will be posting on a new prompt.  Join us by writing, or join us by reading. No matter what you choose, come with us.

April Showers Bring May Flowers: We’ve had a long, wet, cold winter here and we’re ready for spring.  Show us a photo of your “April showers” and tell us all about it.”

There are so many photos I should have taken this winter.  Of the glacier that formed on our patio table.  Of the snow banks at the edge of our driveway that towered above my head.  Of the solid sheets of ice that covered our roads.

In Minnesota, April showers don’t bring May flowers.  April showers mean OH HEY WINTER IS OVER.  YOU ONLY HAVE TO SPEND 120 DAYS BELOW 32 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT THERE IS NO 121st DAY.  THE SNOW HAS MELTED.


I think in most states, you would say something along the lines of THE SNOW IS NEVER COMING BACK.  Except for the part where we regularly get snow through the first week in May.  Case-in-point: the forecast is currently showing a 4″ snowfall this week.


But last week, we had a week of true spring.  The temperatures danced in the 50s and 60s.  I ran outside and then I rearranged my rest days so that I could run outside some more.  When the temperature crept up to 70, I sat on a West facing porch for two hours before sunset so I could get…more sun.

Woolly Bear

One day while I was out on my loop, I saw this Woolly Bear cruising across the pavement and we all know the sort of imminent doom that accompanies that.  That little buddy’s path was not moving toward success.

We all know that I am a recreational wildlife rescuer (turtles, caterpillars and dragonflies only), so of course I had to pluck him up and bring him to the least brown patch of grass I could locate along the route.  That right there friends, is my hope for the spring.  This is the first Woolly Bear.  These are the first buds on the trees.  These are the first sunny days.

There will be more of all of these glorious, warm, life-giving things and less of everything else.

Link Rodeo

This is easily the most eclectic potpourri of links I have managed to assemble.  Happy reading.

From NPR: Why Women Don’t Ask For More Money

From Popular Mechanics: How Many People Does It Take to Colonize Another Star System?

From Slate: You’re Not As Busy As You Say You Are

From The Atlantic: The Overprotected Kid

From the Washingtonian: How Not to Get Your Kid into Kindergarten

From PolicyMic: The Creepy Way Fathers Across the Country Are Controlling Their Daughters’ Virginity

From Wired: The Fierce Battle for the Soul of Bitcoin

From the NYT: With Positions to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection

From Grub Street: Hardcore Coddling: How Eleven Madison Park Modernized Elite, Old-School Service