The Many Faces of Watson

Watson Passed Out

It’s been a long week for everyone involved in the adventures of Watson the kitten. My hands are covered in scratches and needless to say his claws have given him plenty of entries in the “This Isn’t Cute At All” column. Thankfully his rampaging play sessions are done via quick and succinct bursts of energy. Then he disappears into the office and the cozy comfort of his new bed for marathon naps until he’s rested enough to emerge and terrorize CK and I again.

He looks so sweet and serene above but don’t be fooled. Below is a glimpse of Watson’s demanding “Play With Me Now Now Now!” personality.

Demanding Watson

Elementary My Dear Watson

Watson

Yesterday morning my mom forwarded an email to me from one of her co-workers. The woman was giving away free short-haired orange kittens. Growing up I had a fabulous orange cat named Lucy so I jumped at the chance to finally make one part of the family again. Over the last year CK has been completely supportive of my desire to have a kitten. His only caveat was that I had to find the cat myself. Honestly, I don’t think he truly thought I ever would. But here we are…CK and I actually had to drive to Maine and meet my mom in a parking lot in order to successfully transfer the kitten goods. Thankfully the kitty mission was successful.

Watson
Please meet my new furry sidekick: Watson. He’s only six weeks old and I find him absolutely precious. I’m completely in love even though he woke us up to play at 5 AM. Then he spent all afternoon sleeping on my chest while I watched Little Dorrit and now he’s attacking me as I attempt to type this post. I better go pay attention to him before he completely shreds my fingers with his itty bitty claws and teeth.

Watson

My Fake Fiance

Ladies and gentleman get your TiVos ready! This Sunday, April 19th at 8:00 PM everyone’s favorite teenage witch and the guy who only says, “woah!” are starring in a cheesy romantic comedy on ABC Family. I’ll be there dutifully sitting on the couch in my pajamas with a big bowl of popcorn or maybe some cookie dough ice cream. I absolutely love this stuff!

The Easter Bunny Commeth

Erin's Really Ugly Easter Eggs

CK and I spent Easter in Maine with my family. I started off the festivities earlier in the week with a box of nostalgic Paas Easter egg dye and a cheapo package of white eggs from CVS. The results were less than stellar. You’d think at the grand old age of 28 I could actually make Easter Eggs that looked better than this, but apparently not.

Rainbow Cakes

Once in Maine we decided to test our hand at decorating. My sister Nicole and I tried our hardest, but as evidenced below icing and the finesse that such a skill requires does not run in the family. Needless to say none of this will ever make an appearance on ErinCooks. Initially my mom and I thought we were out of red food coloring so our color scheme took on a life of its own, but then we found two more boxes in the pantry. Our rainbow looks more like a Dr. Suess puddle but the cake tasted awesome and the finished product was super vibrant on the plate. You can learn how to make your own rainbow cake at Om Nom Nom.

The Pink Easter Bunny

We ended the afternoon gorging ourselves on ham and roast beef. In case you haven’t figured it out yet all we do in Maine is eat. We also rock the Fiestaware and the paper napkins.

Rainbow Easter Dinner

Erin’s YA Addiction – The April Edition

I have a not-so-secret addiction to YA Novels. I used to be embarrassed to purchase books from the Young Adult section of bookstores, but not anymore. Over the last few years I’ve come to terms with my love of all things not rooted in the “grown-up” world. Besides, I live that reality every day of my life and I’d much rather escape with a narrator that houses a completely different set of issues and tribulations. A common misconception held by many readers is that YA novels are somehow lowbrow knockoffs of adult titles. This is so absolutely not the case. I can honestly say that many of the YA novels I’ve read over the years have been head and shoulders above some of the popular adult fiction that so often finds its way onto various bestseller lists and then become critical darlings. Just because 14 people in your subway car are reading the same book doesn’t mean that you have to. Below are some of the excellent YA titles I’ve read recently that I think will also serve to convince you that there’s nothing wrong with loving YA.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games is a brilliant character driven tale by Suzanne Collins that takes place in a distopian version of America called Panem in the not-so-distant future where a rather Shirley Jackson type lottery is held each year that forces two adolescents from each of the country’s twelve districts to compete on a vicious reality television program where only one survivor can win. And by survivor they mean you have to be alive at the end, none of this “silly” you’re voted off the island and go back to civilization and a segment on the Today Show business. These young men and women are expected to fight to their deaths under harsh conditions and artificially manufactured scenarios. In the story we follow, Katniss, a young woman from one of the poorest districts in Panem, who volunteers for the games after her younger sister’s name is drawn to be a participant. Katniss takes her sisters place and is then forced to participate in some of the most horrific mentally and physically challenging tasks one can imagine. The horrible irony of the novel is that there are several secondary characters that Katniss meets and interacts with that you will inevitably grow to love, including the endearing young baker’s son whom she grew up with, Peeta, and an intriguing young girl named Rue who will steal your heart, but The Hunger Games insist that there can be only one winner so please prepare yourself for a bit of heart wrenching grief. I found this novel to be incredibly addictive. I couldn’t put it down and honestly I’m beside myself with the thought that I have to wait until September to read the next title in the series.

Graceling by Kristin CashoreGraceling is hands down the best book I’ve read in the last 6 months. I’m not generally into fantasy novels. I’ve never really cared about magical worlds with mythical creatures and dastardly bad guys riding horses to storm cold stone castles but since reading Kristin Cashore’s amazingly plotted first novel I have to say my mind has been thoroughly changed. Graceling is the story of Lady Katsa who lives under the command of her not-so-nice uncle King Randa in the kingdom of the Middluns. In the world of this novel certain individuals are born with special abilities called graces. These “gifts” range from the mundane, such as being an amazing cook, to the extreme such as being able to read minds or, as in Katsa’s case, the ability to kill. Men and women who are graced are marked by having two color eyes. Suffice to say, her henchman-like reputation precedes her and Katsa, with her stunning green and blue eyes, is both revered and feared by the people she encounters. When Katsa meets Po, a fellow graceling with whom combat skills have been bestowed upon, things start to get very interesting. It appears that not everything is as it seems in the kingdom and Po and Katsa set out on an eventful journey to uncover the truth. Long days on horses and even longer nights by the fire allow for a burgeoning romance between the two which plays off nicely with the continuous swashbuckling adventure that ensues. You will not be disappointed with this story. The prequel to Graceling, Fire, is set to be published this fall. I suggest that you get it on your pre-order list immediately. In the meantime, you can keep up with all of the author’s going ons at her blog: This is My Secret.

The Luxe by Anna GodbersenFor all of my fellow Gossip Girl addicts I implore you to check out the Luxe novels by Anna Godbersen. The first novel opens with a quote from The Age of Innocence so I’ve always thought of these novels as Gossip Girl meets Edith Wharton, which is even more funny as Gossip Girl just recently aired an episode where our favorite Upper East Siders put on a play of The Age of Innocence. Truly escapist in nature and dripping in romance and intrigue these novels trace the daily activities of the beautiful Holland sisters, Elizabeth and Diana, and their eccentric circle of equally rich and troubled friends. Instead of chauffeured cars, Manolo Blahniks, and iPhones we have horse and buggies, Parisian seamstresses, and calling cards but the effect is still quote similar. The third title in the series, Envy, was just released in January and I’m impatiently waiting for my friend Anna to finish reading it so I can curl up in my favorite chair and devour it.

Some additional upcoming and currently available novels on my “to read” list include:
Jumping Off Swing by Jo Knowles (scheduled to be released on August 11, 2009) 

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Along for the Ride by Sarah Desen (scheduled to be released on June 16, 2009)

The Kings Rose by Alisa Libby

Lotuspad Eco Yoga Mats

Lotuspad

Completely unbeknown to me these amazing Lotuspad yoga mats have been for sale literally right down the street from me for years. I had a pretty avid yoga practice when I lived in Portland, usually doing a routine 5 days a week and alternating with weekly classes at The Yoga Center. I’ve never felt better in my life and more in shape. But when I moved to Boston in the late summer of 2005 the time I spent on yoga slowly dwindled until it became completely non-existent. My yoga mat sat in the closet collecting dust and I forced myself to try to get on the elliptical or go for a run a few times each week. Unfortunately neither of these exercises has ever made me feel the way that a vigorous yoga practice can.

Then a few weeks ago CK shared a story with me on Google Reader about how Lebron James uses yoga to give him an extra edge in his training. I took this as a not-so-subtle hint that my boyfriend was asking me to go to yoga with him. So we looked around online to find a studio we could check out. Yelp had quite a few recommendations and we finally decided to try out Om City Yoga. While perusing Yelp though we also came across some absolutely stellar reviews for a local company that makes eco-friendly yoga mats.

His and Her Lotuspad Mats
According to the website: Lotuspads are earth-friendly, biodegradable yoga mats with vivid saturated colors, organic dual surface patterns, and an amazing cushion and grip that will help you go deeper into your poses with comfort and style. Personally I’d like to curl up on mine and take a luxurious cat-nap all afternoon, but that would really defeat the purpose.

So far I’ve been very impressed with the mats I purchased. I picked up an “Earth” yoga mat in shades of green and brown for CK and a “Lotus” mat for myself. The Lotus mat is, of course, gorgeously bright pink. Apparently pink is said to encourage compassion. These mats are definitely thicker and much easier for me to use on our hardwood floors in the apartment. Part of the issue that I personally had with trying to start-up my home practice again was the awful wrist pain I would get from trying to hold various poses while using my old cheep mat. The quality of the Lotuspad seems to cut down on the sometimes harsh impact that I feel when I’m out of shape and hopefully this will encourage me to continue to ramp back up into a more frequent practice.

For all the moms out there you should also take note that Lotuspads makes mats for children as well. By the way, if you’re local to the Boston area you can place your order online and then have the option of picking up your mats and accessories in person at their location in Central Square. You can even connect with the founder of the company, Katy, on twitter.

I’m so incredibly excited to try to get back into yoga on a more consistent basis and I definitely owe a portion of this joy to my new Lotuspad mat. Thank you Katy!

Lotuspad Eco Yoga Mats