On… The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Fox was away the last two weeks, and I decided to jump into a new book.


The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

It’s an unputdownable coming-of-age novel – intelligent, emotionally honest, genuinely funny, and oh yes, some bits are scary as fuck. It’s so, so good. I loved it.

However, on Sunday night I was reading it in bed and was so freaked out by one part that I had to sleep with the light on. I have now slept with the light on for like, five nights. Yes, I am a grown-ass woman with a baby and a nearly-three-year-old. Yes, I really AM this lame. Thank God Fox is home Friday. I’m heading up to McNally Jackson to buy the rest of the trilogy today (buying books in person instead of online is part of my don’t-support-Amazon-killing-authors thing, but that’s another post entirely).

Something Lev Grossman wrote about writing. 

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On… summer make-up

I love getting emails from you guys.

I never know what to say when someone says they liked one of the books, though, it’s kind of like someone admiring your hair or your shoes or something. I want to reply ‘this old thing?’ or ‘I like your book too!’ Other times someone emails me about their life, or talks about something in particular they identified with, and that’s lovely, because I can reply and have a little chat (I might reply late but I always reply I swear, unless I missed the email entirely).

And then sometimes someone emails (or tweets or Instagrams) saying ‘WRITE MORE ON YOUR BLOG GEMMA DAMMIT’ and I always think, shit, yeah. I need to update the damn blog.

There’s been a few of them lately.

So this is for you guys. You know who you are.

Let’s talk about wearing make-up when it’s hotter than the surface of the sun, as it is in New York right now. Whether you’re on the subway to a work meeting (as I am sometimes) or walking your toddler and baby to the goddamn water park at Pier 25 (as I am at other times) or meeting someone in a bar for Negronis and people-watching (as I am at other-other times) you need make-up that will keep you from looking totally frazzled (as I am at all times).

(By the way. I have no qualifications to make me a make-up expert, like at all. All I have is years of pathetic obsession, I mean, dedicated experience. Actually, in general, if you think ‘why do you think you have any authority to write about anything Gemma?’ my answer is ‘I DON’T. That’s why I never blog.’) (And why writing books is, to be honest, exhausting and like having constant public speaking flopsweat. I assume other authors are all egomaniacs, because they just want to be the only person speaking, all of the time. I don’t want to be the only person speaking. I just want to sit here in the back with you guys and giggle at dumb shit.) (And I know that I am a bad writer by having two, no, three back-to-back parenthetical asides instead of an actual paragraph, but, well, whatevah.)

Obviously, your priority in the heat is to avoid anything that will run, droop or smear. So that means no eye makeup. No mascara, no eyeliner, none of that shit. (I’m totally anti-mascara in any weather lately, actually, it’s part of a personal lifestyle movement called ‘What Would The Kardashians Not Do’? They would never forgo mascara, ergo, I will forgo mascara. Ditto I will forgo eyelash extensions, heavy contouring, push up bras, Christian Louboutins, Herve Leger, and so on and so forth.)

Next, SPF. I have worn SPF50 every day, more or less since I was born, so I have many, many extremely boring opinions about SPF, and which ones are great and which ones are bullshit, and why all this worrying about an organic all-natural SPF is most particularly bullshit (you’re blocking the fucking SUN with CREAM, dude. You want an organic all-natural SPF, go sit under a damn tree).

La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF50 is the best. And in the middle of summer, I like the tinted one. It is a sheer, non-glittery, non-orange pale brown that makes me look less Casper-white, and sets semi-matte. The tinted one also works as a concealer/foundation/bronzer so you don’t need to worry about any of that shit, either.

Forget powder, and powder blush. That sort of thing doesn’t work in the heat: sweat makes it streaky and weird. Instead, use Benetint Cha Cha Tint, a corally-pink liquid blush. Cross the apples of your cheeks with a tiny X, blend quickly, and boom, done. (This seems to get stronger as it sets, by the way, so err on the side of caution or regret it, because it lasts FOREVER.)

Now, as I said: no eyeliner, no mascara, none of that. All I do is pencil in my eyebrows, just lightly. I have blonde eyebrows, and they are evil. (We’ve covered this in previous sessions.) A little bit of Shu Uemura Hard Drawing Pencil in 5 will make them look a little thicker and more substantial and yet still blonde and normal. Eyebrows are an art form. (Lights cigarette, takes a thoughtful, pretentious drag, exhales Frenchly.)

Next: highlighter. Because you’ll be glowing anyway, just a tiny bit of RMS Living Luminizer or similar (the key is something that gleams, not glitters) dotted on top of your cheekbones, temples and above (yes, above) your eyebrows.

Then for lips: more Cha Cha Tint with a neutral lipliner. (When it comes to nude lipliners, the cheaper the better, try Rimmel or NYX or Milano.) Add a smidge of RMS Living Luminizer to your cupid’s bow if you’re feeling totes wild.

Step back. Look at yourself. You gorgeous thing, you. Now get out there and enjoy the summer. And try not to let your thighs make that sticky sound when you get up off a leather bar stool.








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On… All About That Bass

Stupid video. Great song.

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On… Tulsa by Ghost Train Willy

This just makes me laugh so damn hard.

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On… Fifty Shades (again)

Oh, that trailer.

I can’t help it. It does it for me. Sorry. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Something else I wrote about Fifty Shades Of Grey. And something Dave Barry wrote about Fifty Shades Of Grey.

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On… Blackbird Tea Co


I like coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoons. Herbal tea. I never drink traditional morning breakfast PG Tips kind of tea (or Barrys tea, which is compulsory to have in the house if you are married to an Irishman, even though he has never touched the stuff). I used to, for hangovers, but if I am severely hungover these days I need an IV drip and a defibrillator just to get out of bed.


So, yes, I like tea. I am a shocking hoarder of teas, as though some kind of teapocalypse is coming, and a total tea snob. So when a lovely woman named Lindsey, who started a tiny tea company called Blackbird Tea Co, asked if I’d like to try some of her new teas, I said hell yes. (Actually, I said ‘yes please’, because I’m quite polite like that.)

She sent me Blu Blanc tea, which is described as:  ”high quality loose leaf white tea flavored with hints of blueberry and pomegranate. The perfect tea to sip while browsing record shops and bookstores on lazy Sundays. The best kind in our book.” (Damn, I love good copy.)

Blu Blanc is officially my new favorite tea. I make a giant pot and sip it all afternoon. Not too strong, with a soft sweetness. It’s lovely. I’ve been drinking it while I write, and feeling very sophisticated and calm. You can buy it at the Blackbird Tea Company. They have six different teas: Assam Breakfast, Chai Rojo, Marrakech Mint, Mocha Mate´, and Duke of Earl.



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On… Lucy

I love Luc Besson movies.

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On… two movies to watch

I can’t remember if I’ve posted about Bachelorette before, and I’m too lazy to check. Plus if I enter my name plus anything into Google then I might see something mean someone wrote, so I like to self-blinker. Like an old horse.


The point is, Bachelorette is one of my favorite movies ever. I’ve watched it over and over again (which is saying a lot these days, because I have a list of new things I want to watch as long as my johnson), and every time I get something new out of it and laugh my ass off. It’s just brilliant.

Some people vehemently dislike it. My sister and I had a ‘are you SERIOUS?’ ‘are YOU serious?’ discussion about it when I told her it was my favorite movie. The stuff she doesn’t like – some of the mean girl stuff at the start, the wedding speech by Adam Scott about banging Lizzy Caplan, instead about you know, the couple actually getting married – I kind of understand. But I STILL love it for a million reasons: the blowjob speech, the Isla Fisher character (best lines: ‘but I’m giving you what you want…’ and ‘you guys had an abortion without me?’), the way Kiki Dunst saves the day at the end, the dialogue, the relationships…. I love it. I would watch it right this second if I could. (NB Right this second I am actually lying on the playmat typing this while Ned thinks about crawling and drools.)

Next, For A Good Time Call… This movie is a classic romantic comedy, beat for beat, but it’s about platonic friendship between girls. By now, you KNOW how much that would ice my cake. I’m all about the womyn. (That was an ironic womyn.) (Probably.) Anyway. It’s very very funny.






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