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Truth! This post has been in draft since December 1, 2011. As soon as all of those Hallmark movies started playing round the clock on November 1st the holiday bug bit me hard and it probably won’t let go until sometime in January when CK forces me to finally toss out our badly shedding Christmas tree while I kick and scream and protest loudly.

Anyway, you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t posted on either of my blogs since last December. To make a long story short I’ll simply provide you with two words: burnt out. But after my year long hiatus I feel like I may be able to string 4 or 5 sentences together from time to time and at the request of Sara Rosso I now present to you my personal Top 11 Must Watch Christmas TV Episodes. Also, No. That Seinfeld episode and the O.C. Christmukka series are not included. Neither is the episode where Ross dresses up like an armadillo.

PS: If there’s a legal way to watch an episode online I’ve done my best to link to it otherwise you’re probably going to have to do some sort of TiVo search or buy/rent the DVDs.

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Beverly Hills, 90210: A Walsh Family Christmas (1991)

The spray painted tree. Tori Spelling’s plaid shorteralls. Brenda and the stray Santa. Not to mention, that Emily Valentine finally gets the shirt off Brandon’s back. Then snow and a sing-a-long with a Casio keyboard. I miss the 90s.

How Can You Watch It? Looks like DVD only

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Sisters: Egg Nog (1991)

How Can You Watch It? You can’t. (I know. I’m such a jerk). Unless you have a VHS copy lying around somewhere. Which I used to have with the words “CHRISTMAS” in red marker written on the side. I’ve enlisted my little sister with the task of scouring the family basement to see if she can find it. Otherwise, we’ll just have to wait until the DVDs are released. Trust me. This one is great. Needless to say everyone gets sick from egg nog, Teddy is visited by Charles Dickens and Frankie punches out Mitch. Total dysfunction junction. Love it! 

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Veronica Mars: An Echolls Family Christmas (2004)

A poker game gone awry makes Veronica put her Nancy Drew cap back on. Not that she ever takes it off…The Echolls house is decked to the nines and Aaron gets what he deserves. God bless us, everyone!

How Can You Watch It? Amazon Streaming

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Supernatural: A Very Supernatural Christmas (2007)

A freaky pagan God drags holiday revelers up the chimney never to be seen again. Don’t worry Dean and Sam are on the case! Bonus: little Winchester kid flashback scene. Don’t you love those?

How Can You Watch It? Netflix or Amazon Streaming

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My So-Called Life: So-Called Angels (1994)

It’s not just Claire Danes’s making an ugly cry face. You’ll be joining her. Tears. Tears. Tears. OMG. More Tears. Ricky is homeless! Juliana Hatfield is a guitar playing street urchin. More tissues please.

How Can You Watch It? Hulu or Amazon Streaming

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Gilmore Girls: Forgiveness and Stuff (2000)

Gilmore family drama at its finest. Mom is still mad about Rory shacking up with that Winchester kid (OK Dean — whatever) in Miss Patty’s Dance studio and not coming home until the wee hours of the morning. Are we sure she wasn’t hanging out with the other Dean? Also, admit it, who else isn’t weirdly satisfied when Lorelai and Rory fight? No one is that perfect, ladies. Come on.

How Can You Watch It? Amazon Streaming

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Ugly Betty: Fake Plastic Snow (2006)
How Can You Watch It? Hulu or Netflix or Amazon Streaming

I just really miss Becki Newton. Like. A lot. And she’s such a pretty, pretty, princess snow angel in this special. I heart her so much. Betty has a nice storyline too. But Becky/Amanda is really where it’s at. Also, Mode is flush with sparkly things. So much eye candy!

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Arthur’s Perfect Christmas (2000)

Thanks to my little sister and I being 14 years apart in age I can recite this entire movie as she watched it approximately 300 times. Also, I wish Muffy was my best friend. I know that makes me a bad person.

How Can You Watch It? Amazon Streaming or YouTube and probably on PBS at Christmas time.

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Community: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas (2010)

One word: CLAYMATION!!!!!

How Can You Watch It? Hulu or Amazon Streaming

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The Office: Christmas Party (2005)

*Sigh* Remember when you used to love Jim and Pam and you wanted them to get together so much? This will give you serious nostalgia for the brilliance of Office episodes from the past. Also, Michael buys like 15 bottle of vodka for the office party. Guess what happens next?!

How Can You Watch It? Netflix or Amazon Streaming

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Being Erica: Fa-La Erica (2010)

How Can You Watch It? DVD only. Unless you live in Canada. I’m pretty devastated that they took Being Erica down from Hulu. I’m hoping that Santa will bring me the DVDs. It’s seriously one of my all-time favorite TV shows ever and I’m obsessed with Erin Karpluk. Amazon Streaming does offer seasons 1 & 2 but it doesn’t include this episode. Bummer.

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Bonus: (Since I do realize that we need to get through “Turkey Day” first) you should definitely queue up New Girl: Thanksgiving (2011). There’s a turkey banging around in the dryer. Cece touching all of the food and grossed out Schmidt and the gang even takes a seasonally appropriate trip to Best Buy. How Can You Watch It? Amazon Streaming or Netflix.

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!

So…we moved back to Massachusetts. And everyone is very relieved to be home. Even the cats are ecstatic about having sunshine spots on the floor and oodles of room to run about. Take it from me, if anyone ever tries to convince you to live in 680 square feet with another human and two furry devils run the other way. Which brings me now to my new apartment issue.

Let’s politely say we live in a “garden level” apartment. That’s the kind way of essentially saying that we live in what would be, in a normal home, probably the equivalent of a basement. However, unlike the basement we have oodles of windows. Too many actually. I’m generally a fairly terrible homemaker in that I don’t usually care if I have curtains or not. Most of my apartments have had really nice blinds in the living room and I pretty much call that good enough, but I’m getting a little tired of blinds. Unfortunately this dislike has coincided with our moving into an apartment that has six silly, oddly shaped windows as well as a patio door in the living room.

Do I invest in hardware and curtains for all of these bizarre half windows? And if so, what would look best? I should point out that puffy window valances are not my style at all and I would never have them in my home, but would long so-called “normal” curtains look weird? Or perhaps make things too dark? And then I’d also have to figure out what color curtains to buy. I should probably just leave well enough alone but I’m curious to see if anyone has some hot interior decorating tips.

The Christmas Ornament of 2011

Dec 22, 2011 Author: Erin | Filed under: Holidays, Shopaholic
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Every year I buy one new ornament for our hodgepodge Christmas tree. Well this year we moved across the country so I figured the glass bauble probably should have something to do with San Francisco, but I was having a hard time finding that perfect something something. And no, I definitely didn’t want a Giants ornament.

Then I happened to find this ornament online and it was very shiny and featured multiple big important landmarks and the Golden Gate Bridge. Score one for me! But then it arrived and it was absolutely enormous. Minus one for not reading the dimensions on the site. So yes, this Christmas ornament is the biggest thing on the tree by far (aside from the star). It looks ridiculous but at least I’ll obviously remember the back story behind that one without having to rack my brain from year to year.

In addition, here are the bonus 2011 ornaments that my mom mailed to us. Aren’t CK and I cute as snowmen?

Below you’ll find the fantastic Christmas Crackers that I impulse shopped and CAN’T WAIT TO PULL OPEN ON CHRISTMAS! Yes, all in caps definitely illustrates my level of excitement over these nutcracker themed tchotchkes. Pop!

The Palace

Sep 19, 2011 Author: Erin | Filed under: Entertaining Erin
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If you’re feeling a bit royally lost post wedding and Kate and Will do North America then I have the perfect guilty pleasure to tide you over until the next made for TV movie and/or delicious scandal hits.

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Apparently back in 2008 ITV aired an 8 episode series called The Palace that presented a fictionalized version of the royal family doing their best Dynasty impression. I happened upon the show while scrolling through Hulu willy-nilly one night and had a serious eureka[!] moment. I’ve since been dolling the episodes out to myself as “treats” to watch at the gym. I’m on episode 5 right now and it’s so bad it’s good. Here are my top five reasons to ride this crazy train all the way to Tower Bridge:

  1. Prince Harry…I mean Prince George is seriously channeling Chuck Bass. I keep waiting for Blair to pop-up in one of the scenes sporting a headband and tights.
  2. Princess Eleanor is literally seething her perfectly coiffed head-off over the fact that her brother is crowned king after their father’s death. She dresses just like Kate Middleton and has a creepy “Cruel Intentions” like relationship with her personal secretary. She rocks the pastels hard. She’s evil and I dig her.
  3. The servants are all bumbling caricatures that I’m certain really pissed off anyone who actually has or does work at the palace in real life. They drink like fishes too, although I doubt they could drink Queen Charlotte under the table. She’s into the gin, you know….
  4. The king is the kid from Hellboy!
  5. The sets seem really authentic, or at least they do to me — a mere American mortal.

All in all it’s spectacular. If you’ve seen the episodes what’s your favorite part or nutty character? And more importantly, what else have I been missing on British television? The trashier the better!

The Sixes by Kate White

Aug 11, 2011 Author: Erin | Filed under: Bookshelf
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I loved this book! I stayed up late two nights in a row, absolutely freaking myself out to the point that even though CK was asleep next to me I still had to get out of bed and go in the living room to watch TV so my mind would stop racing with thoughts of serial killers. I couldn’t get enough of the take charge main character, the college setting, the Fall season, and the bitchy co-eds. I’m so glad that I’m taking a trip home to Maine in October because this novel (while taking place in Pennsylvania) made me seriously want to go sit under a tree in a wool sweater letting bright red leaves fall on my head and then go have four beers at a townie bar. Afterwards I’d have to check to see that all of the windows and doors were locked at my house and that nothing had crawled under the bed but that’s the fun part, right?

The Sixes takes place at Lyle College and opens with the murder of a perky young female student. Author Phoebe Hall is hiding out at the Lyle post professional scandal and teaching a few sections of non-fiction writing at the urging of her old boarding school roomie who is now the president of the college. Having worked with faculty for many years I definitely got a huge kick out of the descriptions of some of the more colorful members of the community.

Anyway, Phoebe puts her stellar research skills to good use when her old school chum asks her to look into the possibility that there’s a secret society on campus and the members might have something to do with the mounting local body count. And then all hell breaks lose and the super creepy rains down hence my lack of aforementioned sleep. Definitely pick-up or download this book to your Kindle. It is the perfect end of summer read. No beach required but you might want to invest in a nightlight…just in case.

Pretty: A Novel

Aug 7, 2011 Author: Erin | Filed under: Bookshelf
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A drug and boozed soaked evening leads to an inevitable tragedy and just like that we’re following Bebe’s adventures in post-rehab halfway house land with a side of beauty school fumes. I really didn’t want to like Bebe Baker but she made it impossible for me to stay angry with her. Besides I’m a sucker for a good “I’ve hit rock bottom” story and the inevitable feelings that tag along with a read like this which are generally of the “my life is looking pretty good right now” variety.

The characters Bebe befriends in Serenity house are fantastically unconscious about flying their freak flags. There’s Jake, the schizophrenic who believes he’s Jesus, Buck, real name Becky and self-defined “Republican Dyke from Alabama” and all-around super sweetheart (honestly I kept picturing Toni Colette’s character from The United States of Tara) and Violet, goth girl and self-mutilator who is known to sport her mother’s official Snow White Disneyland costume on occasion. Group therapy never gets old with this crew.

When Bebe isn’t stealing her house-mate’s peanut butter by the spoonful in midnight snack binges (a girl after my own heart) she’s listing her diagnosed initials in a litany like manner: ADD, MDD, CD, PTSD (aka Attention Deficit Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Chemical Dependency, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder respectively). If that isn’t enough she’s also coasting on fumes towards beauty school graduation (528 hours down. 72 hours left to go) and still has fifteen wet sets to create before she completes the required two-hundred hairdos.

Bebe is a mess but somehow Jillian Lauren makes you love her, root for her to succeed and grip the book just a bit more tightly when she starts to slip.  At times I wished that I could physically drag Bebe towards the right path — the one that would finally get her to San Francisco and the fresh start she wished for and frankly deserved. In my imagination I frantically stood on the sideline waving her toward the Yellow Brick road, but honestly I felt a little guilty for not warning her that it’s always 66 degrees here and at least in LA you can be ADD, MDD, SD, and PTSD with a tan.


Last week we finally unpacked, with the exception of one small box which is full of pieces of mail that need to be shredded. Yes, we packed a box of junk mail and paid to have it moved across the country. Don’t ask…

It definitely feels good to be settled in, however, even after giving away half of our things we still have too much. I honestly can’t buy a single additional item. There is literally no where to put anything at this point. There’s barely room for us. For the last 4 years we’ve lived in at least 1200 square feet of space and at one time (that horrible loft) we even had as much as 1700 square feet. We now reside in 680 square feet with two cats and have tiny paths to walk through. I suppose I’ll get used to it. In the interest of remaining positive here are the top 10 good things (in no particular order) about our small abode:

1. It takes no time at all to clean and I don’t even have to unplug the vacuum. Yes, you can reach all of the rooms via one outlet.
2. The trash shoot is down the hall as opposed to across the community. No need to get wet, cold, or even get out of your pajamas to take out the garbage.
3. There are zip cars right downstairs.
4. The grocery store is across the street
5. The mani-pedi place on my block is pretty good and when you get a mani/pedi two people work on you at once. It makes me uncomfortable but you get out of there a lot faster. They also have a no cell phone policy which rocks my world. Everyone has to be quiet. Mwha ha ha ha
6. It’s quiet. Knock on wood but I don’t hear my neighbors at all and therefore this is the quietest apartment I’ve ever lived in.
7. We get free Giants tickets.
8. Four words: Mint-Mojito-Iced-Coffee
9. The concierge emails me when I get a package. I love those emails.
10. The gym. We have two gyms. They are clean, bright, and I go almost every day.

BluePrint Cleanse: Mission Complete

Jun 10, 2011 Author: Erin | Filed under: Personal
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Mission accomplished! I somehow managed to complete my 3-day cleanse without cheating. I broke the cleanse officially this morning. You’re supposed to eat fruit but I was seriously starving so I asked CK to pick me up an Egg white, spinach, and feta wrap from Starbucks. You cannot even begin to imagine how amazing it tasted. Everything is enhanced and supercharged. It’s wild.

Participating in the BluePrint cleanse really identified how bad my cravings get in the evenings so hopefully I can be a bit more mindful about that effect. In the end I lost 5 pounds, not a particularly big deal considering how much I actually need to lose but it was a great reminder that I really do have the ability to exercise some semblance of self-control over my abundant love of food.

BluePrint Cleanse Wrap-Up Day 2

Jun 9, 2011 Author: Erin | Filed under: Personal
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Wow. Yesterday was plain awful. I’m posting the above video from Annie in hopes that today will end on a high note. The catalyst which kicked off the horror that was my Wednesday began when the movers finally brought our furniture (22 days later). I was so excited and happy and then I started opening boxes. I soon learned that if I wrote “fragile” or “glass” on anything it was completely ignored. So many lovely items were smashed to bits. It was really devastating. Some of the items that were broken were irreplaceable.  So my good mood went sour very quickly and then the overwhelming reality of unpacking set in.

We literally gave away more than half of our possessions when we moved here and it seems that we should have parted with three-quarters instead. I have no idea how our things are going to fit in this apartment and as the day progressed I became more and more frustrated and the OMG MUST EMOTIONAL EAT RIGHT NOW mood set in.


Obviously it wasn’t the fault of the cleanse for my ever increasing insanity over the day but I don’t think it helped. I ended up taking out and putting back an Amy’s Rice Bowl from the freezer four times. Somehow I managed to keep my willpower in check and not eat food but it was ridiculously difficult. My advice to you is not to do a cleanse when you will experience any kind of major stresses in your life.

Anyway, my apartment is still filled to the ceiling with boxes and I’m just getting ready to drink juice #4 for today (spicy lemonade in case you were wondering). Day #3 on a whole has been a much easier experience but I’m very much looking forward to eating tomorrow. I’m craving avocado, which is a good thing. At least I’m not craving cheesecake.

BluePrint Cleanse Wrap-Up Day 1

Jun 8, 2011 Author: Erin | Filed under: Personal
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The second juice of the day was labeled PAM (aka pineapple, apple, and mint). The mellow yellow color was a bit off-putting but it smelled like a tropical paradise — a mixture of fruity and ginger. It tasted even better than it smelled. Heavenly actually, and I thought more than once that it would lend itself well to being shaken and poured into a pretty martini glass. Definitely my favorite juice.

Next on the docket was yet another Green juice. I was starving post workout and sipping this concoction when CK checked in at some new burger place on Foursquare and I felt a wee bit jealous. First craving of the day at 2:00 PM.


Juice #4, Spicy Lemonade, felt a little harsh going down but tasted OK. Afterwards I spent 15 minutes staring at the entry for Biscoff Spread on Amazon before deciding it was probably a good idea to take a nap instead of looking at creamy graham cracker tasting things online. At this point all of my feeds on google reader were taunting me and I was dying to eat this Polenta and Poached Egg dish.

The CAB was up next. A bright pinky-red bottle of carrots, apples and beets. Now I love beets.  I eat them all the time, but this was definitely the hardest to drink yet. Yikes! I was definitely hitting the juice wall.

The final juice in the cycle was a Nut Milk that tastes exactly like rice pudding. CK gave it two thumbs up. I hate, hate, hate rice pudding, bread pudding, pudding in general really so this was just a big turn off. I know a lot of people say they love this juice the best but it was so not palatable to me. After drinking this milky “feast” I proceeded to obsessively point out just how many commercials on TV were about food. I was definitely in full OMG craving swing at this point. Eventually I drank some more water though and made myself go to bed.

Day 1 without solid food was complete and I didn’t cheat. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever not eaten solid food for a day in my life. Looking back on the past 24 hours this morning it really seems like it wasn’t a big deal at all. I’m confident that day 2 will be a cinch. We’ll see…

Flickr PhotoStream

  • I can't wait to eat all of the things! #Brooklynbrewerymash #foodgiftlove
  • Amazing Haunted Gingerbread House @wilsonfarm #halloween #spooky
  • Dexter only likes me when @ckelly isn't home.
  • Cracking up over the images in @usablelearning's book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321768434/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0321768434&linkCode=as2&tag=erincooks-20&linkId=664RCSALYHWZKV37 Thanks @ksbourgault for the rec
  • I'm going to follow this guy to Wonderland.
  • Breakfast of Champions: Fresh Picked Strawberries, Whipped Cream and Shortcake from @wilsonfarm

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