cats

A Genius Way to Learn Spanish (It Involves Cats!)

Over the years, I’ve used many methods to boost my Spanish proficiency. I took group lessons and attended Meet-ups, here in NYC. I spent two weeks getting one-on-one tutoring at a language school in Guatemala. I went through an entire Spanish podcast series while riding the subway.В (A sporadic task that took years to complete.)

Now that it’s summer, I’m feeling the need to brush up on my Spanish again. I’m considering another Latin America trip for the fall, and I’ve barely used Spanish since my trip to Argentina.

This time, in addition to using podcasts, I’ll also try to watch Spanish TV shows—I’m a sucker for reality competitions, so I’m thinking Telemundo’s Top Chef Estrellas or La Voz Kids.

I’ve also downloaded an app that I’m admittedly addicted to. (Dog-lovers may want to stop reading now.)

It’s called “Cat Spanish.” And it’s exactly how it sounds. Photos of cats—often, really funny ones—illustrate Spanish phrases.

hablo espanol

The pictures are so ridiculous that it makes me want to keep going to the app to see what it’ll serve up next.

no me gusta

photo 3

What has helped you learn another language? Please let me know—I can use all the ayuda I can get when it comes to espanol!

(PS – I had a fantastic week at the beach. I pretty much completely unplugged—which explains my lack of posts—but I’m looking forward to sharing some pics from my trip soon!)

Cat Cafes

This morning, I awoke to a link in my inbox, from Mal, that made my day: “8 Purrfect Destinations For Any Cat Lover.” (From Buzzfeed, of course!)

It mentions Cat Island; Cat City, Borneo (duly added to my list of places to visit); Belgium’s Kattenstoet Cat Festival (who knew?!) and others.

All those cat-centric places reminded me of Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, London’s new cat cafe, which opened earlier this month.

cat cafe 5

I’m thrilled to see cat cafes, which started in Japan more than 10 years ago, opening in more countries.

cat cafe 1

Um, why couldn’t Lady Dinah’s have opened a few months earlier when I was in London?

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So how long until NYC gets a cat cafe?

cat cafe 4

Have a wonderful weekend!

cat cafe 3

(Images via Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium)

Skycats

This week has been pretty crazy (in a good way, though!), so I was thrilled to stumble across Gemma Correll’s genius “Skycats” series in the midst of all the madness. Her comics are so cute and witty—I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and smile at her illustrations.

Some of my favorites:

how long is this flight again? how long were you in africa for, exactly? who are you waving at? awkward

Check out Correll’s complete “Skycats” seriesВ and be sure to follow her Tumblr for more awesome illos!

(Images via Gemma Correll’s Tumblr)

You’re Gonna Hear Me…

the serengeti lion

Sorry, couldn’t resist! And it doesn’t help that I’ve been listening to that song nonstop, for weeks.

But in all seriousness, definitely check out National Geographic‘s “The Serengeti Lion.” During several trips to the Serengeti between July 2011 and January 2013, photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols and videographer Nathan Williamson used cameras mounted on remote control cars to get super up close to lions. The result: amazing access to the big cats. (And their cubs!)

The footage is truly amazing, as is the portal they built to display it. You really feel like you can reach out and pet the majestic felines!

Enjoy—and happy Friday!

(Image via WNYC)

Subway Kitties Have a (Temporary) Home

Okay, this is really just an excuse to post cute cat photos—but there’s a legit NYC angle!

Last week, while I was sunning myself on the beach two kittens were spotted on the B/Q tracks near theВ Church Avenue stop in Brooklyn.

subway kitten

And then—in what I think was a pretty astounding move—the MTA shut down power to large swaths of the two lines as workers tried to catch the kitties. After an hour and a half of futile attempts, the MTA restored service to both lines. They eventuallyВ rounded up the catsВ later in the evening.

subway kitties 2

In the days that followed, numerousВ mayoral candidates weighed in on whether they would have shut the subway for the kitties. (Quinn, Thompson, Weiner, Catsimatidis, McDonald [who?]: Yes. Former MTA boss Lhota: No.)

And the cats, named August and Arthur, found themselves in comfy new digs. Bushwick resident Steven Liu, who regularly fosters cats, has taken them in.В Liu posted some photos of them on his Tumblr,В Scratching Pad, and they’re too cute!

subway kitties 3

subway kitties 4

subway kitties 5

(Top two photos by Marc A. Hermann/MTA via the Daily News; bottom three photos via Scratching Pad)

Which Cat Island Would You Prefer?

Even though it’s kind of last-minute, Mal, Peter and I are planning a quick getaway for mid-May. Since we’re only going for 4-5 days, we’re thinking of somewhere pretty close—like the Caribbean. While researching destinations, I stumbled upon Cat Island, one of the Bahamas’ Out Islands. Besides its appealing name, it’s also home to gorgeous, white sand beaches. Like this:

cat island beach

But this discovery also led me to another Cat Island—which is appealing in a very different way!

Tashirojima is a tinyВ Japanese island that’s better known as Cat Island. It reputedly only has about 100 human residents—but hundreds of feline dwellers. Apparently, in the 1800s, the fishermen who lived on the island believed the cats would bring them good luck and fortune, and cared for them accordingly. Hence their population!

Today, the island has a number of cat-shaped buildings…

cat building

cat building

…in addition to their many real cats!

cat island 1
cat island 3
cat island 4
cat island 5
cat island 6
cat island 7

For me, a trip to that Cat Island would be an allergy attack waiting to happen…but I’d still want to go, if only for a few hours!

Which Cat Island would you prefer?

(Top photo via My Out Islands, middle photos via Tofugu; bottom photos by Fubirai via Buzzfeed)

Ballet, Cats and Other Things

First, Second and Fourth Positions

First, Second and Fourth Positions

Of all the things I came across on the internet this week, this was by far my fave: the Tumblr “Ballet, Cats and Other Things” from New York City Ballet principals Wendy Whelan and Janie Taylor. (Both, whom I’m a huge fan of.) It’s basically the dancers’ arty iPhone snapshots of, well, ballet, cats and some other things. And you know how I feel about ballet and cats. (Is required that if you’re a dancer, you also love small, furry animals?)

It’s cool to get a peek into Whelan and Taylor’s lives—especially the up-close looks at recent NYCB productions, like “Sleeping Beauty,”В “Diamonds”В and “Swan Lake.”

And, of course, the cat photos are pretty irresistible, too. I laughed out loud when I saw the one above with Whelan’s astute caption!

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Image via Ballet, Cats and Other Things)