I’m so excited to introduce you to my long- time friend, Kat! We have been friends since the fourth grade and I know y’all are just going to LOVE her as much as I do! Kat is such a unique human being, throughout our friendship, she has always been the one you can count on to be one hundred percent original, authentic and genuine. One of the greatest things I love about her is that she is unapologetically herself- and is ALWAYS the one willing to get a little wild and crazy with me! When I first approached her to be a part of this series, her immediate response was, “Thank you for thinking of me!! I really needed this today! It’s been a struggle” and I think that’s such an important reminder that we all have ‘those days’ and we need to be lifted up by our friends once in a while. As a true testimate to her personality- when we sat down to do this interview, she showed up with her purple hair and a ‘Rose made me do it’ T- shirt. I haven’t seen Kat since September and it was like no time had gone by at all.
*Pictured (above) Kat and I in fourth grade… we still look the exact same.
BG: Just to start off- please tell me your name, where you’re from, what you do and a fun fact!
KD: My name is Katherine DeCrescenzo, Kat for short.
BG: I could introduce her by her confirmation name… How much time do you have? She also did not take her husband’s last name, Kinzey, after they got married. She is proud of her last name, her family and their legacy. The inspiration actually came from her Mother In Law who also did not take her husband’s last name, Kinzey, and made a pact with her sisters to give their children Baker (their maiden name) as their middle name. I think its beautiful that she plans to do the same, although, her children’s names will be a million syllables long.
KD: I’m from Bangor, Pennsylvania and I’m the Assistant Wine Maker at Franklin Hill Vineyards (Y’all two of my favorite things, Kat and Wine!) Fun Fact: We both share a fear of the dentist and neither of us got out 12 year old molars.
BG: What is something you’re passionate about?
KD: Evan and cats. Evan is the ying to my yang. Evan stockpiles for the future. I spend money now on experiences, I struggle with saving. In our marriage, we are trying to find a happy medium, we’re both beginning to see each other’s side.
BG: What is your favorite quote?
KD: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself , the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn
(Kat has the most BEAUTIFUL tattoo of Audrey Hepburn, I knew her favorite quote was going to be from her!)
BG: Have you experienced a difficult season; how has that helped shape who you are today?
KD: Yeah. Many. It’s all about how you handle every situation. You’re gonna overcome it. I’ve overcome a lot in life, but I don’t regret anything because its made me who I am. I learned about death from a very young age and how fragile life is; my Dad first, then my Aunt who was my best friend and Luke. You need to live everyday like its your last. You need to be right with God. You need to make sure the people you love, know you love them, everyday.
BG: I absolutely love that advice.
KD: Angie has been through so much. She used her heart aches and all the bad times and came out like a Phoenix. I look to her a lot.
BG: She seems like she has become such a positive and uplifting person.
KD: She has become one of the rocks in my life. She went through hell and back, she is a very strong woman.
Kat began to talk about the “religious walk about” they have been on recently. *P.S. Evan came home in the middle of this conversation and announced he fell in the river today (LOL, so look for some added commentary from him, Y’all Girl Power is not just for the girls!)
KD: I have faith in God, but really lost my faith in the Catholic Church after certain events transpired. (The priest that was supposed to marry them left the priesthood just before their wedding). I struggled with it for so long. Evan and I try a new church every Sunday- of all denominations. Angie actually recommended a church online, Elevation Church, which is like a mega church without the monetary aspect. Evan and I also went to Guyana in January and I kind of got “woken up” again. My cousin Keith is a self funded missionary, his church and other Baptist churches in New York support his mission. He is very good friends and a mentor to the pastor of a church there. While in Guyana we went to church twice on Sunday, bible study daily, bible studies on Wednesday and even taught a bible study! I‘ve never really been to churches other than the Catholic Church and I felt at home in the Baptist Church. These people were so kind, they have nothing and would give you the shirt off their back.
BG: When you came back from this mission, did you feel guilt or gratitude?
KD: Guilty. I feel so guilty for everything I have. They have nothing and they’re happy. This is definitely where Ying and Yang come out. It‘s just “stuff” and I’m realizing I don’t want stuff, I want experiences. And Evan is starting to realize that while saving for the future is important, its also important to spend the time you have with the people around you. I see it so much in my family, my sisters work so hard! You need to enjoy your life!
KD: College is where I really blossomed, I became my own person. I look back and think, ‘Oh honey, you have so much to learn.’
BG: Don’t you feel like people didn’t allow you to do that in high school, like we needed college to do that. High school was too focused on “hearing the sheep” and following the rules. I think about the woman you are today and I’m just like, man, if we had this solid group of women back then, we could have just kicked ass- not in a clique- but in a positive and powerful way.
KD: I was actually bullied in high school… you’ll never guess what for.
BG: I had no idea.
KD: Having a big butt. (Evan smiling and nodding in the background)
BG: GIRL. My friend seriously tells me I have a big butt everyday…
KD: I KNOW! That’s not a bad thing, but the worst part is I WAS SKINNY THEN! This really could have developed an eating disorder, I was so self conscious about it.
BG: We were friends the whole time and I didn’t even know you were dealing with that. I wish we would have talked about it.
KD: I’ve always put my whole heart into relationships and that’s also who I am now because of it. But I became so self conscious and it ate away at me. I just never talked about it.
*Cue Queen, Fat Bottom Girls*
BG: Oh my gosh, we could talk about question number three forever. Before we move on, is there anything else you would like to talk about?
KD: I’d just like to touch on relationships real quick. I dated a guy who I thought was really the end all, but actually, he really treated me like shit. Made me question who I was… all that “good” stuff. So with that I decided to become a peer mentor and that’s how I met Evan.
BG: OHHHHH that’s right, you wouldn’t date him at first because you were his mentor! Thats amazing, I forgot about that! Evan, how did you win her over?!
KD: Persistence, I got tired of him asking me out. It was a really rough season with my previous boyfriend, I just felt like I wasn’t good enough.
BG: Why didn’t we ever talk to each other about our struggles, that’s ridiculous, we really could have helped one another.
Evan: Y’all need Jesus.
KD: So after all of that happened, I went on the best, last, first date ever. Evan turned out to be my night in shining armor. Now we’re happily married two years!
BG: Awwww, that’s gross.
BG: What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received? (Besides Y’all need Jesus)
KD: You always have to keep working on yourself. The day you stop working on yourself is the day you die. You need to learn something new everyday. You have to challenge yourself, or else you’ll go soft. You need to set goals, crush them, do better and push yourself to want more. Never settle.
BG: I agree 100%
BG: The next question is- what would you go back and tell your younger self- and I think that answer above takes the cake.
KD: Hang in there girl, it gets better. (As she eats Theresa’s on the floor with Evan).
BG: What is something you’re happy you did for yourself?
KD: Bubble baths. Boiling hot water, lights out, candles, a glitter bath bomb (glitter is a must) and the biggest glass of wine ever- while playing 90’s Girl Power music.
BG: Oooooh, do you have a recommendations?!
KD: “Nobody’s Angel” Pandora Station, you’re welcome.
BG: Did we just find our Girl Power Series musical mantra?!
BG: How do you want to make a difference in the world; what is the legacy you wish to leave behind?
KD: Some traditions are meant to be kept, but making your own traditions are really fun!
BG: Do you have an example?
KD: Women at home with their children. I agree that children should be raised in home, but it doesn’t have to mean the woman needs to stay home. It’s important to have the means for a mother or father or grandparent to care for your children. Daycare is expensive. Don’t have kids unless you’re ready for that… “wrap it before you tap it.”
Evan: “Send foods, not nudes.”
BG: Evan, I tried to tell my boyfriend that the Girl Power Series isn’t just for girls- and you’re breaking barriers right now!
KD: Ying and Yang.
KD: Wait, what was the question again???
BG: What legacy do you want to leave behind? We got a little off the rails there…
KD: I want to leave the world a better place than when I was in it, even if I change one person’s life for the better. Also, do things in your own time, there’s no play book in life- you’re the VIP of your own life. Get to know yourself, how else can you care for someone else?
BG: Girl, preach.
BG: What advice would you give to a younger female?
KD: You do you, girl. Do what’s best for you. If you think you need a man to do something, you don’t. But you can choose to do it with a man. Marriage is like- you can do it yourself, but you choose to go through it with someone who makes your life better and helps you. If you find the right one who loves you for who you are, that’s the person you should be with.
Evan: You’re pouring wine.
Me: OH, wait you can hear that? I purposely wasn’t doing it on camera, you caught me!
BG: My last question is, who is a woman inspiring you today?
KD: In one hand, my mom. On the other hand; Audrey Hepburn. I love Audrey Hepburn and who she was as a person. She grew up during the war and actually ran letters to the troops. She was taking ballet at the time and had to quit because her parents couldn’t afford it. After the war she moved to America to become a prima ballerina and they basically told her she was no good. She was discovered by a friend of a friend who was a director, she got her start as an extra as a “cigarette girl.” She was the most humble person, so down to earth and always helping people. Even until her dying day, she was always giving back. The Nun Story, one of her most underrated movies, is probably the closest to who she actually was.
BG: I love that quote from her! Let’s talk about your mom, she’s resilient.
KD: Aside from Evan, she’s the light of my life. She had me at forty-one. Then my dad passed when I was three. My mom had to deal with that, she kept going after losing the love of her life. She could not spend any time on herself, she raised me as a single mom. Because of that I learned life is too short, I learned how to be a strong woman from her. I remember the struggles growing up. I remember having to quit Irish dancing because I knew it cost money and my mom needed that for other things- and I couldn’t be that burden. I didn’t do certain things because I knew it cost money and I knew we didn’t have it. I never felt sad for having to help her out because I knew how much she gave up for me. She’s a woman who has overcome so much and still to this day overcoming so much- I only wish to be half as strong as she is.
KD: Ladies, find a man who loves your mom as much as you do!
Isn’t Kat just the best? I told you, she’s always down to get crazy with me!! But seriously, she embodies everything I want to be; strong willed, kind and an inspiration to continue to help others. I can’t believe that we have been friends for this long and I’m just now hearing about her struggles with bullying and toxic relationships. If only we had talked about it, we really could have helped each other years ago. Ladies, I encourage you to talk about your struggles, because you never know who has or is currently experiencing a similar situation. I love how important it is to her to give back, the outlook she has on life in general is truly inspiring. She is surrounded by some of the greatest people who shine faith and love upon her and she just turns around and gives it to others. I’m so proud of the woman she has become and proud to have her in my girl gang!
P.S. I know we mentioned Kat is a winemaker, you didn’t forget did you?! That is a WHOLE other conversation we had, so keep an eye out for that in a separate post… its too good not to share!
If you have any comments, questions for Kat or suggestions on other questions you would like to hear my girl gang answer- please leave them below!