Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else

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2017 Book Challenge

I love the book challenge through Goodreads – you just set your goal for the year and update what books you’ve read. The site keeps track of your progress! I read 30 books last year (after setting a random goal of 20), so I thought I’d challenge myself just slightly this year to read 35. Of course I set this before realizing I have one more class to take this semester which will take up a lot of my reading time, but we’ll see how it goes. I may have to throw in some short books. 😉

My first book of this year was The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin. I enjoyed it overall, but I thought it was a little dragged out at times and had more detail than I really cared about. The story chronicles the lives of a group of society’s elite women in 1950s New York City and their relationship with a writer, Truman Capote, who infiltrates their circle. From what I can gather, the characters are real people and some of the events are actual events, but I had to do some research to figure this out and it’s still not completely clear. I think I may have enjoyed it more had I know those details before reading the book. It was good – a little like Gossip Girl but more sophisticated – but be prepared to maybe skim some parts that just get too bogged down in detail.


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So Long, 2016

2016 is coming to a close and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind year. Like most years, it had some high and lows, but overall I’d say that for me, 2016 has been great. Here are the highlights, in no particular order.

Weddings, babies and graduations, oh my!

I was lucky enough to celebrate a cousin and 4 different friends getting married, 2 of which I was honored to stand along side. Well, that ended  up being standing beside just one, but more on that later. I also had one dear friend have her first baby and one complete her PhD. It brought me such joy to celebrate these people with showers, bachelorettes, parties, and gifts. I wish them all the best of marriages, new families, and new jobs. All of this alone was enough to make 2016 a great one!


Moving Friends

A good friend moving away is not a good thing for anyone. It’s sad and difficult to come to terms with. But if it has to happen, you might as well make the best of it with a 7 state road trip in a car packed to the ceiling, complete with an overnight stay at a bed and breakfast. Definitely a highlight of the year, albeit a sad long term outcome.


Disney & Universal

My nephew is 2 ½ and you have to pay for children to get into Disney at age 3, so of course my Disney-loving sister-in-law had to plan a big family trip this year. Best. idea. ever. I didn’t get around to doing a whole post on this trip as the end of the year got away from me, but I feel like a Disney expert now. Although I’m sure I still know nothing compared to people who go all the time. This was my first time there since I was 8. And it was magical. The week after Thanksgiving is a great time to go if you can take time off. And I was really surprised at how much stuff there was for my nephew to do! It was an awesome trip and definitely a highlight of the year.



2016 was a year of many travels. In addition to the trips already mentioned, I made it to cities, states, and another country! Locations included two trips to Nashville, TN; multiple trips to Daphne, AL; Denver (plus south of Denver for work); State College, PA; Nicaragua; Austin, TX; Chattanooga, TN; Asheville, NC; McCormick, SC; Orlando, FL; Helen, GA; St. Augustine, FL

So many places, so little time!



The downfall of social media is that all you see is the wonderful, happy pieces of everyone’s life. Although a lot of great things happened this year, it wasn’t all sugar and spice. The night before my friend’s wedding – one I was supposed to be in – I landed myself in the ER, which turned into the ICU, with some kind of infection. And yes, that’s the most diagnosis I ever got. Needless to say, I missed my friend’s wedding and was devastated. It was also a miserable two weeks being in the hospital for 3 ½ days then recovering. But it was made tolerable and I made it out stronger because of my incredible family and friends. It was a reminder of how lucky I am to have the people who are in my life.



This guy

As incredible as everything was this year,  this guy takes the cake. We met in our condo complex with the dogs out on the lawn [cue the AWs]. Adorable, right? We grabbed dinner and drinks for our first date on a nearby patio and we hit it off. But little did I know how amazing this year would be together. He is kind, funny, thoughtful and caring. He made it through a stay, by my side, in the ER and ICU just 6 months in. I can go on and on about how much I love this guy, but I’ll spare you. He is easily THE highlight of this year and I can’t wait for the year to come.



I completed my book challenge by 10 books and had some great ones of the 30 I read! I think I’m going to up my challenge to beat my 30 next year.


I know not everyone had a great year. I am ignoring some major events that happened in our country this year to focus on my little insignificant life. If it wasn’t a great year for you, I hope for everything and more for you in 2017. Happy New Year!

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For Women Only

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn has been on my list since we watched a short series based on the book in my church small group. I read it in one day in about 6 hours (yay holiday travel) so there’s really no excuse for anyone to not read it. It’s a quick but deep insight into men’s thoughts and actions. Surveys were given to thousands of men age 21 to 75, along with informal follow up surveys to specific groups of men. 

Many women might read this as rules to pleasing men, but it’s actual facts to know about the men in your life to make your relationship better. And these apply to husbands, boyfriends, friends, and sons. Not everything was surprising to me but I definitely learned some things about men’s brains. And the best part is the suggestions on what to do with the information you learn. 

I definitely recommend this book to women and I’m sure the alternate, For Men Only, is just as great for men to read. Nothing better than a quick, informative read!

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Scrappy Little Nobody

With Thanksgiving break I took a little break from reading. But I had Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick ready to go. And once I started it was a quick read. I love Anna Kendrick – I’ve always thought she was very talented, funny, and seemed down to earth. Her book was not my favorite though. It was too scattered and random – stories that didn’t really connect. And she really drove into the ground that she’s still just a normal person. I can appreciate that she’s no Jennifer Aniston or Sandra Bullock or whoever is your favorite big name actress, but sorry, Anna, you’re certainly not a nobody. It was a little bit of a turn off. Overall, the stories were funny and entertaining, albeit a little disjointed and following abrupt or no transitions at times.

If you’ve enjoyed reading other women’s books – Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler – you may not enjoy this book. If you really like Anna Kendrick just know going into it that it’s not my top recommendation.


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The Woman in Cabin 10

Ruth Ware is a great mystery/thriller writer. She went from a secluded cabin in the first book of hers that I read to the open water of a boutique cruise ship. The Woman in Cabin 10 keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first page.  Lo is the main character and has a personally terrifying experience before leaving on a work trip to review the newest European boutique cruise ship. But her terrifying experiences continue on board. I won’t give anything away, but I highly recommend this book as well as Ruth Ware as an author.


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Killing Jesus

I realize I’m way behind the times on reading the Bill O’Reilly books and they have been on my list for a while. I snagged a few from the boxes of books my mom handed off to sell/donate and decided to start with Killing Jesus. I really had no idea what to expect but it was fascinating. It focuses on the historical facts surrounding the life of Jesus. If you dislike historical books, movies, etc. you may not like this book.

Every detail even remotely related to the life and death of Jesus is included in this account. The lives of rulers at the time and the times before and after Jesus’ life on Earth are discussed. Jewish traditions and ways of life at the time are explained. This is not the Biblical account of Jesus’s life but the historical one. And I cannot imagine this was an easy one to research and write given the known conflicting accounts of events. The timeline was a little hard to follow sometimes, but I was very impressed with the details and really enjoyed this book.


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I needed a light, mindless book to read after the last, so I dug into the pile that my friend left when she moved. Psychos by Babe Walker was definitely that. Perhaps a little too mindless, but I won’t be too picky. It ended up being perfect for being in recovery at home! It was absolutely ridiculous, completely over the top, and entertaining for what is was. Think Gossip Girl on steroids. The other confusing thing is that Babe Walker is the author but also the character in the book, so I have no idea if she is real or if it’s a fictitious. Either way, it was a great beach read (yes, it’s October) and it’s light and easy.

Enjoy with a grain of salt and fairly low expectations! Perhaps reading her first book would have shed some light on these confusing matters, but I took what I got!