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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.

2. LA ROSE DANCE WEAR & HOSIERY

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!

3. THE SOUP BOWL

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!

4. UNIQLO LOUNGE WEAR

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.)

5. FINE COLLECTION Sweaters

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!

6. RENOUVE

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.

 

THE BEST BIRTHDAY TRADITION

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?

 

NYC (& BEYOND): The Best Things To Pine Over As 2011 Comes To a Close

By Nora Zelevansky / December 27th, 2011

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I know that right now I should be waxing poetic about a holiday season in the city.  And, since I relocated back to NYC about a month ago, I have been romanced by the crisp weather, the smell of pine wafting from Christmas trees for sale in bushels on the sidewalk, meandering walks with hot apple cider through Prospect Park and a close proximity to Bergen Bagels.  But here's what I'm really obsessed with: boots!

What??  You can take the girl out of LA or NY, but you can't take LA, NYC and 30+ years of fashion grooming out of the girl!

Here are the boots I want badly right now and yet may have to forgo in exchange for … a couch:

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These Isabel Marant Dicker Boots (above!) are AMAZING and the taller version is beautiful too.  My pal Z. says they're comfy too.  So comfy I could slip them off her feet and steal them maybe?  I wonder.  But she's kind of quick.

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These Rag & Bone Newbury mofos are must-have (only for me they're S.O.L.) and I know they'll still be perfect come springtime.  And there are even versions on sale right now.  Boo hoo.  Where is Santa when you need him and you're a JEW?  I could steal them off the tootsies of my friend C.C.R., but we don't wear the same size.

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But, hey.  I'm an artist (ahem), right?  My suffering sans these boots is only fodder for my deeply introspective writing about … more boots.  And beauty products.

Still, I can at least drown my sorrows in vegan brownies from 'sNice nearby and the adorable monogrammed Lucky Bee cards by sent to me (sweetly) by one of my editors for the holidays, pictured above.  You know how you're supposed to write letters to people you're upset with and then never send them?  Maybe I should use my new cards to write notes to the boots about how I feel abandoned.

Dear boots. How could you?  Sigh.

Anyhoo, happy holidays!  May you get all the boots (and love and other truly good stuff!) that your heart desires.  And may you then send them to me.

xo – N.

BROOKLYN (& BEYOND): Shameless Self-Promotion & a New Type of Sushi Roll

By Nora Zelevansky / December 17th, 2011

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This is very exciting for me.  This isn't just some regular old shamless self-promotion.  This is my book … on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles!  And the cover above!  SEMI-CHARMED LIFE actually doesn't come out until this summer when I'll be doing all sorts of readings and such (July!), but it's available for pre-order as of last week.

Also, I learned via a Google Alert yesterday that it's up on Good Reads too!  I have no clue at all how that happens, which is the case for me with most of what goes on in publishing, but I'm totally pysched.  This might seem silly, all these small details, but each public announcement or step makes the whole thing seem a little more real.

Anywaaaay, what else is happening?

Well, during my first month back in NYC (Park Slope to be exact), I've discovered a new ingenius sushi roll invention: The Tempura Sweet Potato Roll.  Yup.  It's become a regular thing for me.  Well, as regular as something can be after 28 days.  Or, actually, more like 21.  Time flies when you're  … unpacking boxes.  Whatever.  The roll is amazing.  What else can I say?

Also, I went without TV for four weeks and then wrote a story about it called "In Defense of The Boob Tube" for Huffington Post's new HuffPost TV section.  If you love TV like I do (and you all know I do), then I think you'll be nodding along with this one.

Some other highlights over the last few weeks?  An interview with my favorite pair of designer sisters from ELKIN on elle.com and a write-up of new antioxidant-rich line of beauty products, Radical Skincare, for Vital Juice.

Otherwise, I've mostly been on the road and all that implies (a.k.a. slightly broken out skin and a few extra fast food pounds).  Oh, and also the freedom of the open road.  That too.

Happy happy holidays to you all!  May the New Year bring you happiness, health, money and YES! a new season of THE BACHELOR.  It's baaaaaaaaack.

xo – N.

BROOKLYN (& BEYOND): Great Green Gobs of Coconut Cake

By Nora Zelevansky / October 1st, 2011

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I've been a very very bad blogger.  Here I am posting about my inaugural experience with the whole "Cake Man" Cakeville phenomenon in Fort Greene and I've obviously stolen the above picture.  I mean, that is CLEARLY not my thumb.

To make matters worse, while we did try the above red velvet/cream cheese icing flavor, it was a bright green Coconut Cake (the color of toxic venom!) with white icing that rocked my world.

But I didn't take a picture.  Because I'm lazy.  And because sometimes I have impulse control: Eat first.  Think later.  You would too, if you tasted this stuff.

If you haven't been or aren't aware of this whole sitch, basically this is an amazing cake-specific bakery — the kind of place where they remain open daily until they run out of cake (and they usually do) and where slices weigh more than a small guinea pig.

Back in the day at my elementary school's Spring Fair, I used to always participate in the "Cake Walk" to get a free cake.  For hours upon hours, I would buy tickets and walk in circles until the music stopped, just hoping to feel the elation of winning.  I never did.  Tragic story, I know.

That's the good news about being an adult and about the existence of "Cake Man."  Sometimes money does buy (at least culinary) happiness.

xo – N.

NYC (AND BEYOND): SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION

By Nora Zelevansky / June 24th, 2011

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So, in addition to "Fit Like Us" for self.com, I've been working on a thing or two about a thing or two.  (I don't even know what that means.)

But anyway, I wanted to share this link to my recent essay about H&H Bagels closing its Upper West Side location.  If you've already seen it, my apologies.

Also, check out this story about brand new amazing clothing line ELKIN out of Downtown LA in C Magazine.

Happy weekend!

xo – N.

LA (THIRD STREET): Roasted Peeps Revealed!

By Nora Zelevansky / April 22nd, 2011

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I'll start out by apologizing: The above is obviously not an image of a roasted Peep.

The problem is that Peeps are cute and, once I started roasting one, it seemed a little twisted like I was melting a little smiling bird.  So, I decided to spare you all that and just describe the experience.

In a word: Awesome.  It turns out that roasted Peeps are just like elevated regular marshmallows.  The inside is all good and mushy like normal, but the sugary outside turns into this crispy shell a bit like the  top of creme brulee.

SIGN. ME. UP.

I totally recommend.  Jesus Christ, that's good.  (Get it?  Cause it's Easter.  Is that wrong?)

xo – N.

LA (THIRD STREET): EASTER CANDY INNOVATION [What happens when you roast a Peep?]

By Nora Zelevansky / April 21st, 2011

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Okay, so here I was seconds from telling you all about my most amazing find: Chocolate-covered Peeps at Joan's on Third.  I was going to talk about being a Cadbury Cream Egg devotee with an occasional penchant for Peeps (only when stale).

But, then, I went in search of an image for this post because, per usual, I ate the entire delicious package before I remembered to take a picture and I discovered that Peeps themselves have had the same brilliant thought as my local gourmet market (though surely in a less upscale incarnation).

The whole investigation provoked some serious contemplation: If Peeps could be successfully dipped in chocolate than how else could we innovate them?  Their website posits recipes for Peeps macaroons (for the Jews!) and rice crispy treats, but those seem just to entail tacking the yellow and pink marshmallows on at the end.

Let's get serious and ask the hard questions: What in fact happens if you roast a Peep?

The bad news is that I have no idea.  The good news is that I plan to find out tomorrow and then tell you all about it.  Because that's the spirit of Easter, you know?  It's all about sharing!  (Or, not really, but that's a good message too, right?)

xo – N.

BROOKLYN (RED HOOK): GETTING BAKED [VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS BY BAKED]

By Nora Zelevansky / December 14th, 2010

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I probably shouldn't even admit this, but last night I watched First Daughter, which is that fiasco where Katie Holmes plays the President's daughter and the Commander in Chief is Beetlejuice.

Personally, I recommend you spare yourself that experience.  Don't even get me started on Katie Holmes' weird mouth. Yup.  I took one for the team and, I should mention, that it was only because of the above marshmallows.  My friend S. sends me yummy food baskets for every birthday and this year's included brownies and marshmallows (yup, chocolate flavored ones too!) made by a company out of Red Hook called Baked.

The Drewser and I have been roasting them on chopsticks over our old school gas stove, which is – I realize – a little college dorm room and a little low-end, but SO YUUUUUUMMMMY!

Just take a gander for yourself:

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They're good.  So good, in fact, that I watched all of First Daughter in a contented stupor.  Isn't life grand?  Sad sad state of affairs.

xo – N.

LA/SF/NYC/EVERYWHERE: CHEAP EATS (& STUFF)

By Nora Zelevansky / November 10th, 2010

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So, I was having lunch at Toast with some PR buds and some very interesting factoids came up.  You guys know I'm a fan of Lifebooker for beauty discounts.

Did you know that in addition to Groupon, you can sign up at BlackboardEats.com and get discounts on meals at restaurants all over town.  And not just lamo places.  Real spots. One girl said she got 30%-off at Street last week.  They even offer suggestions on what to eat and reviews.

Yup.

I just signed up.  I mean, for reals.  So, if you aren't quite sure, I'll try to keep you posted on any meal discount successes!

xo – N.

P.S. Speaking of discounts, starting today on Gilt HOME, D.L. & Co. goods are more than 50%-off (and I am obsessed with these, but they are usually SO out of the price range) and Gilt is having a sale on H2Pro flat irons too.

It's true what George Bush said.  The Internets are a crazy thing.

xo – N.