Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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The Silent Patient

This is going to be a difficult one to review without giving away too much information. So fair warning. I’ll go ahead and say this was a great book and I definitely recommend it. Keep reading if you don’t care about reading a few details.

I would say The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a mystery/psychological thriller. Theo is a psychotherapist and has the opportunity to work with a notorious criminal, Alicia Berenson. Alicia, a renowned artist, was found having brutally killed her husband. But she never speaks again. Not to defend herself, not to give an explanation, not to give an apology.

She lives at a residential home for criminals with mental illnesses and a position opens up. Theo has dreamed of working with Alicia and takes the job because he thinks he can get her to talk. You don’t find out why he is so obsessed with her until the end of the book but he has very personal and egotistical motivations to try to get her to talk. However, it almost backfires.

The format of the story is interesting and jumps in time between present and the days leading up to the murder of Alicia’s husband. But I never would have guessed the twist that the story takes towards the end of the book. Though there is a feeling of something being slightly off throughout the book, it’s pretty much impossible to put your finger on until the end.

This was a quick read (I finished in less than a week), which I appreciate and it definitely keeps your attention. You won’t want to put it down. Enjoy!


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DC

We’ve been talking since before our wedding (yes, over a year ago) about getting to DC because we both have friends there. I really wanted it to be during baseball season so we could hit up one of the nearby stadiums. We finally made it happen a few weeks ago and it was perfect timing.

We stayed with friends in the Capital Hill area, which was beautiful and close to so many things. Flying in on Thursday night gave us the whole days Friday, just the two of us, to explore. We walked almost everywhere (with the exception of one Lyft ride towards the end of the day because our legs were wore OUT). We had both been to DC before, but I hadn’t been since elementary school. One completely free day obviously isn’t a whole lot for DC, but I feel like we made the most of it.

We hit up Bullfrog Bagels for a quick, delicious breakfast, then continued walking towards the mall. We made tentative plans the night before and it was actually nice to not be on a strict schedule. We just talked and took in the sites. The weather was beautiful too, albeit a little too windy for my liking, especially coming from the summer weather in Atlanta. We saw the Capital and made our way down the mall.

Our first official stop was the National Museum of American History. It’s so great that the Smithsonian museums are free because we didn’t even make a dent in all there was to see in just one of them. But we got to see some great stuff, mainly covering all of the wars. It sounds depressing but it’s really interesting seeing how men and women have fought for our country to make it what it is today.

We then made our way to the National Portrait Gallery, which was top of my list. They had a really cool women’s suffrage installation and then of course, the presidential portraits. Each president’s portrait is so unique, especially seeing them all together. I definitely recommend it.

On Saturday we hit up the International Spy Museum. I failed and took no pictures, but I definitely recommend it. It’s a private museum, so it’s not free, but it’s worth it. It’s great for families and very interactive. The only downside was that it’s so new (only opened a few months ago) that it was very crowded. So we didn’t do a lot of the interactive things because we didn’t want to wait and fight for space. But it was fascinating to hear and see stories of international espionage, techniques used in specific cases, and just how long spies have been used for various things.

Our final stop was, of course, a Nationals game and like I said earlier, it was perfect not only because they were playing the Braves, but it was the DC Vanderbilt alumni chapter game for the summer (go ‘Dores!). We added another new stadium to our lists (that makes 7 for me…8 if you include just a stadium tour for one). The stadium reminded me a lot of the Braves new(ish) stadium and it was a great time seeing lots of friends!


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Artisan Custom Closets

My husband and I bought our first house together a few months ago. We pretty much instantly fell in love with this house. It was built in 1965, had the same owner until 2018 when it was sold to someone who completely renovated it, who then sold it to us. So we are the second family to live in it!

The renovation was beautiful but there were still a couple things left for us to do. And at the top of that list was the closets. Of the 3 bedrooms, only one has closets with any kind of hanging or shelving system. The laundry room was a blank slate as well. And of course we needed to hang clothes when we moved in, so we were luckily able to get going on this project even before we closed on the house.

We asked my brother-in-law who they had used for their closets. They loved who they used but it had a been a while, so they had actually merged with another company (or something). So we ended up at Artisan Custom Closets with Andrea as our Design Consultant.

She came out to the house and talked about what we wanted. She took a look at the spaces and took measurements. A couple weeks later she came back and showed us designs, including a photo mock up. Everything looked great. We picked out our finishes and other options (drawer fronts, pulls, hanging bar finishes, soft close, etc.) and put half down.

Then came the only downside. We had to wait. It took about 5 weeks for production, so we had to go a few weeks just having clothes in piles and on beds. Which was fine. First world problem, right? They produce everything in house and have their own installation staff, which was comforting. Then came installation day. It took a whole day to do 3 closets and the guy who did the installation was great. He was efficient, polite, and cleaned up well after.

We were very impressed by the whole process and very pleased with the result. And the best part was that it was VERY affordable. And the initial consultation is free, so why wouldn’t you at least check it out if you’re considering custom closets? Check out Artisan if you’re in the Atlanta area.

Our closets and laundry aren’t huge, so ours were fairly simple. They work perfectly in our house and are already being used well. The master closet was the largest project and we were able to easily do his and hers sides, with slight differences to meet each of our needs. My side has a long hanging bar (dresses) and more shelves to shoes. Not the greatest pictures due to lighting and small spaces, but it should give you an idea. Definitely an added bonus to our new house!

Laundry room is a long, narrow walk-in room with washer and dryer on each end
Shelves, cabinets, & a hanging bar!
Guest bedroom reach in closet
Long, narrow walk-in master closet
His and her sides – love it!


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Faithful Place

This is the third book in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French and this was probably my least favorite of the three. Maybe it was the fact that the female lead from the first two was not in this book or maybe it was because French wrote in the local dialect, which even reading made it a little difficult to follow at times. I don’t remember the first two books being that way but I may just be misremembering as it’s been a little while since I read them. The book was still good though!

Faithful Place jumps between times in Detective Mackey’s life from present time to when he was a teenager in love, living at home with his family. His love, Rosie, disappears the night they are supposed to run away together and now, 22 years later, her suitcase is found in the abandoned house on their street. Mackey is quickly sucked back into the life of his family, most of whom he hasn’t seen or spoken to in those 22 years. He works in undercover, not murder, so is instructed to stay away from the investigation. But of course he can’t – and who can blame him – and things just keep going downhill.

I wouldn’t call it a page-turner, as it was a little slow at times, but it kept my attention and I still got through it pretty quickly. And the outcome was definitely a surprise. It’s a good whodunit mystery of lost loves and quirky families. And you don’t necessarily need to have read the first two before reading this one as most of the characters from the first two are not in this story. Enjoy!


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Ponko

Many years ago, when I was in high school (yes, that was many years ago), there was a little restaurant called Food Ease. It was in a little strip behind the Applebees and it was delicious. Asian-inspired chicken fingers, fried in panko crumbs, that were sweet and savory at the same time. And how in the world did they get their rice so perfectly sticky? And omg the sauce.

But sadly, they closed. For years friends talked about Food Ease and the chicken and many tried to replicate. I even took a stab at a recipe. But it was no where near the same.

Then one day, there was news. The family was returning to Atlanta. And was going to re-open. And it was going to be near my house!!! I really can’t explain the excitement and I don’t think I will ever be as excited about a restaurant opening than I was then. It took a while to get open, but they were kind enough to do tray sales on certain days, so we could get our fix of chicken while anxiously awaiting the grand opening.

And grand it was. Ponko Chicken opened and it lives up to every memory and expectation. You can find it in the Chamblee area and Midtown because, yes, someone quickly opened a franchise location because, yes, it is that good. And the best is that there are so many options! Finger plates, sandwiches, tacos, hot dogs salads. OG, spicy, bbq. Numerous side options. Delicious flavored teas, beer on tap, and wine. Desserts.

My go-to is a finger plate, OG, with white rice and Ponko fries. But the tacos are also delicious. my husband likes the spicy fingers. And of course you cannot forget the extra Ponko sauce and ranch. And no, it’s not just any asian-style sauce or ranch. We always have a bottle of the Ponko sauce in our fridge at home because of course they sell it. They’d be dumb not to!

Anyway – if you can’t tell, I love this chicken. And the restaurant. And I am so happy they returned and re-opened to build their Japanese American chicken tender empire. If you haven’t checked it out – what are you waiting for?!


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The Great Alone

Kristin Hannah is an excellent writer. And although The Great Alone is not at all happy – to be honest, it’s pretty darn depressing – I still wanted to keep reading. After returning from the Vietnam War, Leni’s dad inherits land in Alaska. So Leni and her parents load up in a VW bus and make the trek from Seattle to Alaska to live off the land. The story covers their adventures in learning to live on their own in the wilderness, making friends, and starting a new life. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. In fact, it’s very little rainbows and sunshine.

Leni’s dad returned from the war a different man, which affected every person around him. The characters in the story deal with PTSD, alcoholism, domestic violence, death, and heartbreak. But there is also redemption and joy found in relationships. As a child, Leni deals with things no child should ever have to deal with. But she’s a survivor. And Hannah’s telling of her survival is poetic. I definitely recommend this book but be warned – it is a little intense and probably not a good beach read. Enjoy!


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I’m Glad About You

We are 5 months into the year and I am halfway through my 2019 reading challenge! 17 down, 17 to go. The book I just finished was a breath of fresh air. Theresa Rebeck was the creator of the tv show Smash, which apparently wasn’t a smash but I loved it. All 2 seasons of it. I’m Glad About You definitely had a feeling of Smash and I thought about the show as I read it, even though I didn’t Rebeck was the creator of both until I read her bio at the end of the book.

This was a quick and entertaining read, but fair warning – it’s not happy. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it there are very few happy moments in the book. But that makes it feel real. Not that life is full of unhappy moments, but it’s refreshing to sometimes read a book where not everything goes right and is wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end. It feels more real.

Alison and Kyle were “the” couple in high school. They were that on again, off again couple that everyone knew would end up together. Except they didn’t. Alison went off to pursue acting while Kyle became a doctor and returned to their hometown to practice medicine. But somehow their lives kept crossing paths. Neither is happy with their life and they both always wonder what could have been. But I give them props for not acting on it. Kyle, with a wife and 3 children by the end of the story, is a devout Catholic. So even when is marriage is crumbling, he doesn’t give up. Alison, who puts up with a lot of stuff as an actress just doesn’t have the heart for it anymore but continues to chug along anyway. On one hand, I give them props for not just throwing in the towel and giving up. But on the other hand, if you’re miserable, make a change!

This book evoked all sorts of emotions which is why I loved it. My only complaint is that the writing would change perspectives between paragraphs with no warning or pause or anything. So that was a little confusing at times. But other than that, great writing, great story, great book. Definitely recommend it. Enjoy!