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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.

 

BEST BACHELOR QUOTE: “YOU ARE THE SIX FOR ME!”

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 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?

 

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.

THE LINT COLLECTOR’S TRASHY TUESDAYS: The Reunion (a.k.a. Freaks & Geeks)

By Nora Zelevansky / July 27th, 2010

Picture 3

I'm sorry, but is this not the MOST genius picture ever???  Ali "Poker Face" McGee strikes again during Kasey's serenade!

I almost don't want to write anything else because it could never be better than the image above.  And yet … I can't quite control myself.

So, at the reunion a.k.a. The Men (Who Were Willing to Show Up) Tell All: In the deleted scenes, Roberto almost takes Ali's eye out with a champagne cork, which I kind of liked because they sort of seemed like normal people … almost.

Then, Ali and Chris Harrison can't figure out why Ali can't remember putting on an astronaut's helmet at the museum.  Apparently they also can't remember that she was consuming barrels of alcohol and probably blacking out nightly.  She says when she jokingly called for "Houston," she was actually trying to reach Chris H. for help (presumably because she was scared of Kasey, who she proceeded to keep around for several more weeks–gee, I wonder if the producers made her do that?).

Chris "phantom" N. was apparently as much of a nonentity as he seemed and, as usual, Chris L. is super funny in the talking heads, when he does an imitation of the guy.  Why can't he seem to translate that funniness into conversations with Ali?

Then they introduced the boys and Craig R. looks totally cocky and like, "I get laid now."  Which he probably does.  It also says that he is 27-years-old.  Really?  He looks like 40.

ANYWAY … then some guy I have never seen before named John or something yells at "The Weather Man" about outing Craig M. as "dangerous."  Um.  Why do you weirdos care?  Then hot Jesse says he would have knocked Craig M. out in another situation and I believe him and now I think he's even cuter.  How could Ali send him home and keep Kasey???  PRODUCERS???  They could have at least left us with the eye candy.

Lots of Justin babble.  We get it.  He's an a-hole.  Moving on.  Kasey's crazy.  Justin sucks.  Frank's confused.  The Weather Man is crazy annoying.  Kirk's a great guy.  Roberto and Chris L. have integrity. Everyone else was there for the right reasons (except for that John guy, who I'm pretty sure wasn't even really on the show).  Blah, blah, blah.

Then they talk about Frank.  And Ali–in a clip–actually says, "I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with Frank."  So, that's that?  Do we think that she's going to pick no one cause he was the guy?  Some of you people in the "she's gonna pick no one" camp have started to sway me a little, but–at present–I still think she'll probably pick Roberto.

But that's just my opinion.

And, as a wise man named Kasey once said, "That's just my heart.  Jump in.  Stay a while."

xo – N.

COMMENTS: ADD YOUR TWO CENTS

By Nora Zelevansky / February 18th, 2009

FavoriteThings1FavoriteThings11FavoriteThings10FavoriteThings21FavoriteThings2FavoriteThings5FavoriteThings26FavoriteThings3FavoriteThings12FavoriteThings23FavoriteThings4FavoriteThings6FavoriteThings8FavoriteThings9FavoriteThings13FavoriteThings14FavoriteThings16FavoriteThings15FavoriteThings17FavoriteThings27FavoriteThings18FavoriteThings19FavoriteThings22FavoriteThings25FavoriteThings20FavoriteThings29FavoriteThings28


These are a few of my favorite things.

Now YOU.


While each post offers a red “Comments” link at the bottom, I also wanted to create a space for recommendations: a list of your “Best” places and must-visit spots, so I know of all the greatest places to check out.

So, feel free to share a few of your raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens and the world’s best burger . . . you get the pikcha.

xo – N.

LOOSE CHANGE: My Articles and Essays

By Nora Zelevansky / January 19th, 2009

A few samples of my work below . . .

C MAGAZINE:

California’s First Fortunes“–10/08

Lubov Azria–On Schedule“–04/08

Making A Scene“–08/06

Members Only“–10/08

Private Practice“–01/08

Skin Savior“–06/08

The Biodynamic Perspective“–10/09

Earth First“–10/09

DAILY CANDY (Just a few examples):

LA: Undesigned by Carol Young

LA (MINI-BREAKS): Wellness, Nearby Vacation Spots

NYC: Rima Dolgoff-Kaspar Hoodlets

SF: 86 Recipes

EVERYWHERE: Buddha Nose Girl Balm

TRAVEL:

Rio de Janeiro

Condesa, Mexico City

Bangkok, Thailand

Austin, Texas

Spas . . .

Home Grown Green Round-Up

DAME:

Labor Goes Luxurious“–05/08

Poli-Sci or Poli-Psycho?“–04/08

Oh, The Humanity!“–03/08

ELLE:

The New White House“–05/09

HOSPITALITY DESIGN:

Palm Springs Has Sprung“–11/08

JANE:

“Spaz Free Curls“–05/07

LA CONFIDENTIAL:

Animal House“–10/08

How Bazaar!“–09/08

LA TIMES:

The Local Flavor“–05/08

LA WEDDINGS (LA MAGAZINE):

Skin Training“–03/09

LA WEEKLY:

14 Hairstyles of the Pundits“–12/04

MEN’S JOURNAL:

South America’s Hot Spot“–10/08

RIVIERA (S.D.):

 “The Flower Brokers”–06/07

RIVIERA (O.C.):

Bag Check“–02/09

SALON.com:

 “May We Congratulate You On Your Divorce”–10/07

TOWN & COUNTRY:

VARIETY:

Stealing Beauty“–02/06

ASK LIFESTYLE QUESTIONS!

By Nora Zelevansky / January 19th, 2009

CRUMPLED TWENTIES AWAIT: ASK AWAY!

As a lifestyle writer for the last five plus years, I’ve amassed an almost encyclopedic knowledge (well, maybe more like a Wikipedic knowledge) of all things beauty, food, style and travel. And, in researching current stories, I am constantly collecting new information and sampling the goods.  In the interest of emptying my brain (ahem, pockets) to make room for new facts (like where I left my damn vintage Dior sunglasses), I’d love to share the knowledge.

So, please, ask for any suggestions/recommendations you might need for itineraries in and around LA!  If you’re looking for a great mellow birthday party bar (near a festive eatery), indie boutiques with unique local designers, the city’s best pickle-stuffed burger (thank you, GENIUS Barney’s Beanery), locally made french-milled soap (Mistral’s Wild Blackberry), the latest facial spot or even the best place to grab pretty recycled undies (yup), I’m your girl.  Of course, my advice is purely experiential (I’m definitely not an esthetician or doctor, for example), but maybe I’ve had a similar conundrum?

My sister, Claudia, refers to my obsession with these inane details as “my pocket of crazy.” Okay, one of my many pockets of crazy.  But she still comes to me with questions. Hence: POCKET LINT.  Seems like you might as well benefit too.

xo – N.