The BEST 6 New Obsessions: From Lip Tar to Hoes

By Nora Zelevansky / February 14th, 2013

It’s been ages — ages I tell you! — since I last posted simply about my latest obsessions.  It’s about time, I say!  (Why am I talking weird and old timey?)

I know I actually neglected to post about The Bachelor this week too, but — you know — what was there to say besides Tierra is a pyschopath, who treats others terribly and then somehow manages to feel like a victim, Lesley and Catherine should get a room and Des’ hometown date looks potentially psychotic.  (The operative word is potentially, since the possible confrontation they teased may well have been a red herring, since she seems like the most likely final choice.)

SO!  Moving onto “real” life, here in Park Slope, Brooklyn and the my wee day-to-day pleasures:

1. LIP TAR from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (*pictured above)

I’m not much of a bright lipstick girl because I don’t really have the massive lips to support it.  However, I’m so damn pale from NYC winter that a burst of color seemed like the only solution, so — the other day — I channeled my inner Zooey Deschanel (or okay Jess) slathered on this neon pink stuff and discovered that it’s brilliant.  It’s so opaque and bright that it’s like painting your lips, but it goes on thin and shiny like lip gloss.  I may be walking around looking like a fool — who knows? — but I am loving this stuff because it’s unlike any other lip sitch I’ve tried before.  And at least I don’t look as much like a zombie.

PS Also, I’ve been known to like natural products.  I’ve also been known to like chemicals and lasers.  However, I was happy to learn that this company is totally cruelty-free & vegan.  Now I feel even more virtuous wearing the stuff!  Their store is LES, but their products are sold all over.


Generally, I stick with Spanx tights/stockings.  Actually, that’s a lie: Generally, I stick with the random and sad assortment of stockings that have someone landed in my closet over the years.  Stolen from my mom?  Left by my sister?  Borrowed from a friend?  Gifted at some party?  (That last one refers to a pair of neon green fishnets that blend into my skin and make me look like I have scales from far away.)

But I digress: Yesterday, I picked out a dress for the next day’s Nanette Lepore Fashion Week show and then realized that I had no intact, hole-less stockings left.  It was already evening and I was late for The Gin Lovers book party, where I was meeting my editor and another author.  What to do?  On the advice of one very generous salesperson at a store down the street, I stopped into this old school Park Slope dance shop on 5th Avenue.  It’s really no frills, but the owner was there and let me in, despite the late hour.  She explained to me that I was looking at the wrong size for my proportions (she says the size chart is useless).  And she sold me two pairs of tights.  That are amazing.  And fit perfectly.  And feel like they won’t run.  For $8 each.  I am never spending $40 on stockings again.  The End.  Try a dance store near you!


Locals will mostly know, but Drewser and I just happened upon this “pop up” spot that serves only soup and bread.  The menu is revolving — the man there said there are about 200 options — and range from Lobster Sweet Potato Bisque to Sausage & Eggplant (like red checkered tablecloth Italian food, as soup).  Bacon & Lima Bean soup AND Turkey Bacon & Vegetable have both been highlights for me.  The people who work there are lovely and you can sample any soups you choose — it’s so cozy and delicious during the cold winter.

Anyway, I am totally obsessed and I’m going as much as possible because they close, most likely, by March 1.  Then, they go back to being an Uncle Louie G. Italian Ices spot.  Which I sort of can’t complain about because I love that too.  Only, couldn’t we have both?  Couldn’t we?  Actually, I think it’s a totally brilliant idea; people should always split their shops by seasonal offerings.  Genius!

*They list what they have for the day on their site, but you should get their early if you have specific desires because they do run out of various kinds, especially if it’s snowy and cold!


It’s cheap.  It’s super cozy.  It’s thicker and more substantial than you expect.  In need to buy three more pairs.  Need I say more?  Also, have you tried the FLUFFY SOCKS?  OMG.  Don’t get me started.  Let’s just say, it’s surprising that I leave my house.  (And I often do — with them inside my rain boots!  What?  Yup.  Blow.  Your.  Mind.)


I have never been so thrilled (well, maybe at some point) than when I discovered that one of my favorite Nolita boutiques, Poppy, was opening up shop just blocks from my house.  I love their stuff, they have great sales.  It’s just reliable and good.  Anywaaay, actually the Manhattan store this week, I happened upon a Fine Collection sweater that was on sale — the price point is reasonable anyway — and just seemed like that item I’d been looking for all fall and winter without success.  It’s a completely simple, long-sleeves, non-itchy, over-sized but not without shape sweater in a color that sometimes looks slate and sometimes looks green.  It’s amazing.  And now I am super curious about the collection in general.  Eyes out!


I honestly can’t say enough about this product.  I am completely obsessed.  This is brilliant: A hand sanitizer that’s the consistency of a serum and acts both as an anti-bacterial agent AND an anti-aging product.  I mean.  If you aren’t intrigued in this flu season, with harsh colder weather, you’ve lost it!  Lost it, I tell you.  Anyway, I am a fan 4-EVA because it doesn’t smell like alcohol or strip your hands of moisture and it dries super quickly.  That’s it!

Anyway … That’s all for now!  More later, as I explore the challenging world of  … I dunno.  Not bare midriffs.

xo – N.



By Nora Zelevansky / February 6th, 2013

[Is this not such a good picture of Sean that you almost think it’s not him?]

Hello!  And welcome to another episode of Tierra Gets Injured.  Tonight’s chapter is entitled, “Ms. Munchausen Takes The Plunge.”

I mean, I know the editors are making Tierra look even more insane than she is, but she is creepsville, man.  What isn’t she capable of?  Either I’m remembering incorrectly or she’s one of the creepiest Bachelorettes in the history of the show.  Am I right?

But I’m getting ahead of myself … first things first:

Did you know that Sean loves Canada?  He thinks it’s really genuine and has a good heart (ahem, rack).  Just kidding.  He didn’t say that, but I did see him try to give a moose a rose.

Still, Lake Louise in Alberta looks insanely pretty.  I kinda want to go there now, so being featured on The Bachelor works evidently.

Meanwhile, I’m starting to think we should all hang out with Sean cause he’s magic!  Did you know that Catherine never gets cold when she’s with him?  Even though they’re playing during their one-on-one on a GLACIER.  He must be like a human force field.  Anyway, they go on a one-on-one and she’s all adorable and they giggle together in the freezing snow.  Apparently, that proves she’s fun.  (Um. No thanks.  That looks COLD.)

She tells him her traumatic story, which is about seeing a fellow camper get killed by a falling tree at 12-years-old.  It’s sad and you can tell it still really makes her upset.  Sean says “thank you” in response–I guess, for sharing?  But it makes no sense.  I kind of get the feeling he’d say “Thank you!” in response to almost anything:

Catherine: “Sometimes I stab myself in the eye, Sean, and that’s why I wanted to meet you.”

Sean: “Why, thank you!  I can tell you have a sweet heart.  I mean, rack.”

Anyway, that’s all well and good and then the group date happens.  For some reason (a.k.a. he don’t like the chick), Sean has skipped Daniella’s one-on-one, though she hasn’t had one yet, and chooses Des.  I’m guessing because they had a weird uncomfortable exchange at the last cocktail party?

And now … the group date is the moment we’ve all been waiting for thanks to the promo of Tierra on a stretcher!   Turns out they’re Polar Bear Plunging.  Lindsay (wedding dress girl) is excited.  Lesley (DC girl) is attached to Sean at the hip.  Selma, who I normally think is annoying, gets points in my book for saying, “HELL NO.”  But not in those words, of course.  AshLee F. is almost in tears, but does it anyway.  Daniella hopes they can get “hot and cold” together, whatever that means.  Poor girl.  She’s so obviously going home soon.

They jump in the water.  It’s sort of hard to see, but, from what I can tell, they all run out into towels except for Tierra, who opts to hop around freezing until she turns blue and needs a medic.  (Of course, there is a medic on hand because this season is not only about TheMostSincereBachelorEver, but also about how best to injure aspiring starlets, looking for love.)  Anyway, Tierra, who is “not a drama person,” creates drama as usual and needs to be rushed home for warmth, so she doesn’t get hypothermia.

All I can think is, this girl has it DOWN.  How does she always injure herself enough for emergency care and extra Sean time, but never enough for lasting damage?  I mean, there is a one armed girl CANOEING for goodness sake and all anyone can do is worry about Tierra???

Anyway, Sean visits her in bed while she’s recuperating and then tells her to stay home for the rest of the date because he feels secure in his feelings for her (which should be the feeling that she’s certifiable).  Anyway, as if that’s going to stop Ms. Munchausen.

Meanwhile, back at the group date, Sarah shows Sean pictures of her family and freaks him out.  Ruh roh.  The girls debrief on Tierra as a damsel in distress and have a good laugh about her concussion from falling UP the stairs.

Then, Tierra shows up like a psycho psycho psycho.  Brilliant Lesley calls her a Tierra-rist, which is GENIUS!!!  Love.

Lindsay says, “If Sean winds up with her, he’s going to exhausted.  Blegh.  That’s my nightmare.”  They also say that Tierra is too young to get married, which makes me want to check Tierra’s age … cause isn’t Lindsey only 24-years-old?  They’re the same age.

Lindsay makes out with Sean the whole time.  But Lesley gets the rose!

Later that evening or maybe the next day, Sean returns and pulls Sarah aside.  He’s not feeling it and, frankly, it’s a little heartbreaking, as she says guys always tell her that’s great … for someone else.  Cause I believe her.  Poor thing.

Next up is the one-on-one with Des.  They’re repelling down a mountain and that is apparently a big metaphor for relationships.  Only I think it’s a metaphor for doing something semi-dangerous in Canada.  Des says she has opened her heart (rack) to the experience.  Sean says she has a big heart (rack).  And so on from there.

During their bonding time in the evening by a fire, Des confides to Sean (and us) that she grew up with barely any money in tents and trailers and such.  She says it’s because her parents prioritized family and love.  Maybe?  But wouldn’t that kind of include not making your kids live in a tent?  Maybe not.

She also says that her upbringing is why she is “so humble” and again I am struck by the fact that people who are actually humble don’t say things like that.  If Tierra wasn’t around, I think we’d notice some bad behavior on Des’ part.  Just saying.

Anyway, she and Sean are lovey dovey.  He’ll probably pick her in the end and then she’ll dumb him four months later and become the next Bachelorette or like a host on E News.

Then, there’s the cocktail party and, honestly, Sean probably won’t pick Lindsay in the end, but he should, because the other girls are all about crying and their trauma and she just wants to make out and laugh.  Plus, she’s the nicest one at core, it seems.

He has to send two ladies home and this is the first time I’m not sure who he’ll send.  Daniella is a given (she is SO Bachelor Pad!), but who else?  He just blindfolded AshLee F. and kissed her, so she’s staying (despite the appalling spelling of her name).

In the end, it’s Selma who goes, despite having given him a pretty awkward and chaste peck earlier (and despite the fact that the kiss would shame her family).  Maybe it’s because she didn’t Polar Bear Plunge, but I doubt it.

And now is when it gets good because the remaining six girls are all contenders (well, expect Tierra).  Toasting with champagne and promises of tropical weather in St. Croix, Sean professes, “I’d developed feelings for both those girls, but I was just overwhelmed by a sense of clarity.  I know you six are the ones for me!”

If that’s not romance, then I don’t know what is.

xo – N.

THE BEST BACH QUOTE: My Wife Might Be On The Blue Team

By Nora Zelevansky / February 5th, 2013

This week on TheMostSincereBachelorEver, we learned some very important lessons:

1. When Tierra was a baby, an evil wizard (who must not be named) tried to destroy her after hearing a premonition that she would one day destroy him.  She was saved by her mother’s love.  The result was a scar in the shape of a lightning bolt that … wait.  No.  My bad.  That was Harry Potter.  I don’t know what her scar is from.  She probably walked into a wall.

2. Tierra has a tell when she’s lying or about to act insane: Her right eyebrow raises much higher than her left, as if it’s pointing to her and calling her crazy.  [See above Exhibit A.]

3. Girls be ganging up on bitches.  It’s true.  But let’s be honest: On The Bachelor and Bachelorette, the person who is most hated in the house is never a normal person.  Get it together, Sean!  Do you not remember Kalon and Ryan?

4. Sean thinks Lindsey (wedding dress girl) has a good heart and he can tell that Daniella is a genuine person.  That’s a surprise.  Seriously: Can we just agree that Sean thinks EVERYONE has a good heart and a sweet temperament and move on?

OR, better yet, I say we start a game where we replace the word “heart” with “rack” every time he says it.  That would actually be more accurate, as in: “Des has a really good rack!” or “I know your rack is in the right place.” or “I just don’t want my rack to get broken.”  I mean, we’d all relate to that more, right?  Because who would want their rack broken??

5. Tierra demonstrated that she’s “not a drama person” by cackling like crazy person (eyebrow alert! eyebrow alert!) at the news of her two-on-one date, showing up like a total stalker at the group date and then pulling the “Scorpio” card during an argument with Robyn at the cocktail party.  I feel that I can safely say as a Scorpio myself that it’s girls like her that give us a bad name Zodiac-wise.  (She’s probably also a Wiccan, who thinks she’s a “feminist” because she’s a “goddess” and thinks that being psycho and vengeful has something to do with harnessing her feminine power.)  Also, let it be known that anyone who proclaims things about themselves like “I have the biggest heart” and “I’m such a sweet girl” isn’t.  Don’t even get me started on third person talk.

6. Sean is beyond flummoxed by what’s going on in the house, although it’s pretty evident that he could just get rid of toxic Tierra and be drama-free.  For some reason, he seems to be blaming the other girls.  Is he afraid to go back on his First Impression Rose (or as I like to call it “FIR”)?  Is Tierra that skilled a manipulator?  Or is it just that he really connects with her “heart” (wink, wink — get it?  Rack!)?

7. Somehow Tierra is getting hypothermia or something tomorrow night, but we don’t know how.  I now officially believe that she threw herself down the stairs a few episodes back to get attention.  She’s such a Munchausen-er.  Thank goodness she’s not a drama person.  What would THAT look like?

8. Sean’s wife might be on the blue team.  And a more brilliant statement has never been made.  I know it’s been years, but THIS IS STILL AN INSANE WAY TO MEET YOUR SPOUSE!

9. I really think Sean was about to send Tierra home on the two-one-one date, but then she pulled the deceased boyfriend card.  I feel like she’s been saving that one.  Maybe that’s cynical of me.  I don’t know.  Either way, it worked.  I mean, I think that was also the first time we heard Jackie speak, so it wasn’t much competition.

10. There’s another episode tomorrow night!!!!

Anyway, that’s all for now, as Tuesday night will be another brilliant display, no doubt.  It’s an embarrassment of riches!

Literally.  I should be embarrassed to be so excited about a double dose of The Bachelor.  But I’m not.  Instead, I’m just sitting here on the couch in my new Uniqlo lounge wear, waiting to see who Sean chooses, “heart” in hand.

xo – N.

Shameless Self-Promotion: My Latest Articles

By Nora Zelevansky / January 17th, 2013

Well, folks, it’s been a while since I shared a slew of articles, so I guess I’ll just get down to it.  New Year.  Same me (and you!).  Yay!

But, seriously, it’s either this or ramble on for hours about The Bachelor and, honestly, it’s too early in the season for that.  Sean is the “Most Sincere Bachelor Ever.”  He’s falling for a trick who he thinks has a good heart.  She’s not there for the right reasons!  Whatever will he do?  (I mean, besides keep her until there are five girls left and then finally see her true colors.)  Why don’t the Bachelors and Bachelorettes ever believe the other contestants when they try to forewarn, when they themselves have seen, during their respective past seasons, that the other contestants have unique incite and are probably telling the truth?  But I digress.

Anywaaaaay … back to the articles.  Because we’re highbrow.  And we like to read.

1. In January’s Town & Country, I wrote a personal essay about the trials and tribulations of developing a big chest for their LOOKING GLASS section called: TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT.  (The story may or may not still be available on newsstands, as the February issue has likely already dropped.)  You may also want to check out the magazine’s new website, as it just launched in earnest and it looks fantastic.

BTW the personal essay includes snippets about growing up on the Upper West Side, which is partially what inspired parts of my still new novel, SEMI-CHARMED LIFE.  Not to be pushy (ahem, ahem), but if you haven’t yet grabbed a copy, now is the time!

2. In this month’s ELLE (that’s the February issue), I offer a sneak peek into Once Upon a Time actress Ginnifer Goodwin’s lifestyle and Hollywood Hills home.  (Hint: She loves tea!)  It’s both a profile and a design piece, so check it out.  It’s currently on newsstands.

3. For this past Sunday’s Los Angeles Times “Image” section, I wrote a story called Beckley Joins The Cool Kids about new shop Beckley opening on LA’s Third Street.  (The area is a local favorite, cool strip of independent boutiques and restaurants near West Hollywood and also where I used to live.)  The store’s owner Melissa Akkaway also launched her own clothing line last year, Beckley By Melissa, and those pieces are worth ogling online too.  I believe there’s a sale happening as we speak?  Also, look out for spring’s Beetle-Print Party Dress.  It’s on my “MUST HAVE” list.

4. Lastly, it hasn’t come out yet, but this Sunday’s “Image” section will likely include another story by me about a new cool, artsy store opening, helmed by a fabulous and interesting chick.  I can’t say more, but keep your eyes peeled!

xo – N.

The Most “Sincere” Bachelor EVER!

By Nora Zelevansky / January 8th, 2013

Hi Folks!

That’s right.  It’s our favorite time of year again: It’s BACHELOR TIME!  Time to greet Chris Harrison!  Scoff at tacky pageant gowns!  Marvel at multiple helicopter rides and picnics!  Watch someone who is afraid of heights bungee jump!  See one girl emerge as “the bitch”!

(Is my excitement a testament to how sad I am?)

If I’m honest, I have to admit that I was worried that this would be the “dullest” Bachelor ever as opposed to the “craziest” or “most romantic.”  Sean is, let’s just say, well-behaved (Is that a good euphemism?), at least judging by his role in Emily’s season.  And a strange “bro-mance” moment between him and Arie at the beginning of this season premiere made me (and the ladies I watched with) nervous about what was to come.

How naive we were!  How silly!  How wrong!  After all, The Bachelor is the greatest.  We must learn to trust in it.  Believe in the power.

Plus, we have made it through some pretty painful “main characters.”  Anyway, Sean is “sincere” as the promos keep reminding us — not the “most exciting” or the “most surprising.”  But at least he’s not annoying.  And it doesn’t seem like he’ll suddenly reveal himself to be psycho or angry like Jake or Ben F.

Well, lots happened on this episode, including the appearance of the requisite wasted girl, dubbed “50 Shades of Drunk.”  All the familiar types are in play.  I’d tell you who I bet on to stay, but I can’t remember their names.  Aren’t they all named AshLeeeee?

That former foster child/professional organizer seems like a decent bet for final three.  We shall see!

I’m too busy digesting to recap in depth, but let’s just say, this season seems promising.  I forgot how good it gets.

xo – N.


By Nora Zelevansky / November 9th, 2012

My friend S.D. and I have a tradition: On our birthdays, we send each other packages of either strange (but enticing) or indulgent foods from companies across the country.

The whole thing started during my sophomore year in college, when SD—with whom I’ve been friends since we were four—first sent me a candy bouquet.  Let’s just say I can’t believe how long its been since my 19th birthday and what we’ve sent each other in that time: We’ve exchanged everything from artisanal Baked marshmallows (support Red Hook!) and Zabar’s cheese crackers to salt and flavored popcorn, dark chocolate spreads and chili-infused brownie bites.

For a while, thanks to S.D., I was even a member of the Jelly Belly fan club (yup, I’m admitting that), which meant that I got advanced tasters of any new flavors that were coming out.  Yeah, I tasted the Dr. Pepper flavor waaaay before it came out.  No big deal.  I’m not bragging or anything.  Don’t hold it against me: It’s not my fault if that makes me cool.

Anyway, this Monday is my birthday yet again.  (They seem to come quicker as you get older, right?)  And today I was feeling a little blue.

This has been an amazing year, for sure.  My husband Drewser and I moved from LA back to NYC, my debut novel was published, I even just returned home from a great trip to LA, where I got to teach a Writing Workshop at Scripps College (my alma mater) and work on a feature for ELLE.

But, in the aftermath of Sandy, this is an odd time on the east coast.  Though, for me, the Obama news is happy as can be.  Writing my second book is turning out to be a slightly different process than the first time around, a bit more pressured, less carefree.  Also, I guess the passage of time always make us pensive.

Anyway, I was feeling melancholy.  But then I received S.D.’s gift for this year!  It was the above super adorable and well-designed box of Parisian Macarons from Macaron Café in NYC, from which I will most definitely sample while writing my NaNoWriMo words today.  Just the kind of writing motivation I needed and something cheerful to remind me that birthdays may be strange sometimes, but they also can be sweet.

xo – N.

PS Does anyone else think that this post should be read to the tune of That’s What Friend Are For?


The Best Review That I Missed

By Nora Zelevansky / August 15th, 2012

A picture from the window of Book Hampton in Southampton, NY taken by my friend Rachel Meis

As I’ve admitted time and time again (almost as if I have no impulse control—ahem), for the first few weeks after my book came out, I spent a psychotic amount of my time trolling the Internet for Semi-Charmed Life reviews.

Sad, but true, especially since I nodded so agreeably each time a kind friend told me not to pay attention to the reviews, as reviewers can sometimes forget that there’s a person on the other end feeling stung.  Totally.  I won’t even look.  Until five minutes from now.  When I will be huddled over my laptop, rocking and mumbling like a lunatic.

I read a lot of tweets recounting the lyrics of the 90’s song by the same name and I’m here to report that there are some very angsty people out there and some really big Third Eye Blind fans.  But I also came across some great write-ups, on top of the ones I was lucky enough to anticipate in advance from ELLE, Daily Candy, Flavorpill and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette (to name a few, if I MUST!).

Honestly, I would list every amazing blog write-up here, if I could without seeming like a total … I was going to say “crazy person” but I’ve sort of already established myself as that above.  And, in a way to me, they’re all amazing because you can’t possibly please everyone, but you just have to feel grateful that people are reading the book!

And then a couple days ago, I realized something: I’d missed one!  There are a few major publishing trade publications, who generally review books before they come out.  One is Publisher’s Weekly and they were kind enough to checkout and write-up SCL.  My publisher had mentioned that Booklist, another of these trades which largely targets librarians, was reviewing the novel.  Suddenly, I remembered that I’d never seen it.

I emailed my publicist at St. Martin’s Press, who sent it over right away.  And it was good!  And it kind of captured the book!  And it was from July 1!  And I was psyched!  And here it is:

[***SPOILER ALERT! Gives away a lot of plot!]

Semi-Charmed Life.
Zelevansky, Nora (Author) Jul 2012. 304 p. St. Martin’s/Griffin, paperback, $14.99. (9781250001184).
Chick lit takes a trip down the rabbit hole in this first novel. Twenty-one-year-old Beatrice Bernstein, of the Upper West Side artist Bernsteins, has never left New York City. A flu-induced wish on a mohawked pigeon starts a strange journey through her senior year in college. First, her student housing is a basement apartment full of cockroaches. Then, instead of studying Latin American literature, she finds herself ghost- writing a blog about the art world for socialite Veruca Pfeffernoose. She also gets a new wardrobe, travels around the world, alienates best friend Dolly, foils a plot by thieving hipster goons, and, of course, gets the guy. One thing she does not do is figure out how to navigate Veruca’s ever-changing loft, until she starts to follow disappearing clues found in her precious moleskin notebook. Beatrice is hard not to like, smart but just naive enough to get caught up in Veruca’s fabulous world. The narration is full of giddy pop-culture references, and the story is told with a sort of gleeful cynicism that only fails at the too-neat ending.
— Susan Maguire

There’s hardly ever such thing as a perfect review, but I think, even from the midst of my book insanity haze, that you have to walk away feeling good about the overwhelming positives because otherwise you really will lose your mind.

xo – N.

What’s The (Fashion) Story? “Sisterhoods of Style” in The LA Times

By Nora Zelevansky / August 12th, 2012

Meet the Smith sisters, the impossibly cool kats behind the clothing line you’re about to start hearing about constantly and seeing everywhere nonstop, Elkin.  Don’t they look like dolls here or some inexplicably updated Renaissance painting?  You might recognize their stuff from the recent cover of New York Magazine, featuring the cast of GIRLS largely dressed up in Elkin frocks.

This duo is just one of the sister designer teams—also including the Malakpour sisters behind coveted accessory line NewbarK and the Thornhill sisters-in-law behind drool-worthy new jewelry line Liv Haley—I wrote about for yesterday’s SISTERHOODS OF STYLE story in the Los Angeles Times “Image” section.

My editor gave me a heads up late last week that the story would be getting the cover, which is always amazing news, but I still get excited for the reveal of what it looks like; it’s a surprise.  I think it ended up looking beautiful!  Also, with all the book craziness lately, it’s kinda nice to focus on journalism for a sec!

Anyway, I may be in Brooklyn right now, but in spirit I’m still in LA too … only with a smaller apartment, better bagels and less Earth Bar nearby.

xo – N.

The Best Part of a Book Tour (& 2 Upcoming Readings!)

By Nora Zelevansky / August 9th, 2012

My Signing at Powell’s in Portland; Photo Compliments of Anna Lobell

Unless you’re a serious bigwig, publishers don’t organize and send you on lavish book tours these days.  They do help you organize, but ultimately you take yourself.  That’s why I chose to visit places—to read from Semi-Charmed Life—where I had friends and/or family who I got to see (an extra plus!).

I started in NYC (where I live), traveled to LA (where I used to live), headed to SF (where Hotel Palomar had ever so kindly offered to host an event), then to Portland (where I just love it—that alone, plus getting to see friends, was enough of a motivating factor) and onto Pittsburgh and the Hamptons from there.

Powell’s Bookstores, a Portland institution, were an Oregon draw too.  I had visited the original Powell’s years ago when my husband Andrew “Drewser” and I took the most unbelievable winter road trip up into Oregon from LA (through Northern Cali wine country too!) and then back down the coast.  I am a lover of bookstores and this one made an impact.  Also, the city is so proud of Powell’s and that’s rare in this online shopping filled world.

Anyway,  the trip from city to city gave me new found appreciation for real performers.  Though the feeling subsided a bit as I gained more experience, I still got nervous and nauseous before every reading or event, I’d be comfortable while reading (and trying to turn on the energy!), I’d have a rush afterward and then, finally, I’d crash.  Then, it was onto the next city.  That tuckers a person out!

Two parts of that basic repetitive cycle stood out for me as my favorite.  I LOVE the interaction with readers, so the Q & A and/or discussion portions are great.  There’s something so rewarding about having people ask you fantastic questions about a project that you pondered mostly alone for the longest time.  (That’s why I hope to make myself available to Book Clubs for author discussions via phone, Skype or iChat.)  The signing is an extension of that experience and, in some ways, that’s even better because you get to have one-on-one conversations with readers about your experience.  And every so often you even meet a young person, who wants to be a writer and says she is inspired to try in part by your book.  What could be better than that?  That slays me.

My second favorite part of the readings is the dinner and drinks afterward.  Ha!  That’s probably not considered ‘part of the book experience” per se.  But to be in a slightly random city and to spend time with a group of friends who I rarely get to see and to go to some awesome local restaurant (which I don’t have to pick because I’m clueless about the AREA!) and to eat delicious food and sip stiff drinks—I mean, that is not an everyday occurrence.  (I also lucked out because two of my amazing friends came with me to SF and Portland, just to be supportive and fun!)

Next up, I have a reading on Monday, August 20th at 5pm at Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston, SC.  After that, I have a reading in Rehoboth, DE at Browse About Books on Monday, August 27th at 7pm.  I don’t know a lot of people in either area, so—as usual—I’m just hoping (and worrying!) that a decent amount of people will show up.

I’m looking forward to the readings, of course, and I know I’ll see a couple familiar and hopefully some brand new faces at both!  And, in both of those delicious cities with specialties from fried grits to blue crabs, afterward I’ll likely stuff my face.

xo – N.


The Bestselling Paperback! (Well, One Week)

By Nora Zelevansky / August 9th, 2012

I don’t know in what romantic ways I imagined I might spend my time as a new author.  Maybe wistfully staring out at sea … from my Brooklyn apartment window.

In reality, I waste hours (between trips to bookstores to stare without purpose at copies of my novel on “New Paperbacks” tables) checking various websites to gauge how Semi-Charmed Life is fairing out in the world.  Occasionally, I’m rewarded with a new positive rating or review or a low Amazon Rank (which I recently wrote about authors obsessively checking for The Huffington Post), but most of the time I’m just staring at numbers, having no real sense of what they mean.

So, last week, when I awoke to find an email in my inbox with a link to the above from my friend L.T. (the blogger behind Hollywood Housewife and also the wonderfully generous person who threw me an amazing LA book party), I was thrilled.  Basically, Book Soup, which is one of LA’s treasured bookstores (yeah, people read there too—A LOT), posted their weekly top sellers on their site and my book topped the list!  Finally, a metric I could understand!

Of course, I was beyond excited.  So excited, in fact, that I stopped checking Amazon … for at least a few extra hours.

xo – N.