Monthly Archives: October 2017


The other day I saw a girl reading My Lady Jane on the subway. She was so very, very enthralled in it that despite never having heard of it, I immediately ordered it, dived (dove?) in, and OH. You guys. This book. It is a FREAKING DELIGHT. So charming and funny and smart. If you liked The Princess Bride, you’ll love this, and EVERYONE likes the Princess Bride. Enjoy.




On… natural-but-not lipstick

When you work from home (as I do) and have small children who need frequent kisses (as I also do) but also have lips that left to their natural devices are the color and texture of dried-up oatmeal (as I totally do), you become quite obsessed with the subject of the perfect natural-but-not-because-natural-isn’t-that-good lips (which brings us to today’s topic of conversation and the end of my scintillating parenthesis series, I swear).

Here’s the thing: nude lips are hard for me, because it’s awfully easy for me to look worse, and that’s hardly the fucking point. I don’t want flat greige lips that look like I’m emulating some awful Kardashiperson. I don’t want sticky glossy lips that look like I just blew a jellyfish. I don’t want thick fake grandma lipstick that will rub off on my children and coffee mugs and everything else that crosses my path. I don’t want anything that will make me look older, yellow-teethed, sick, or bimbo-ish. And I don’t want to look like I made too much effort. Even though effort is my middle name. Gemma Effort Burgess. That’s me.

I want pouty perfect lips that look smooth and over-kissed and flush and delicious. (NOT puffy, there are way too many over-filled sloppy trout-pouts flopping around NYC.) Shiny or matte is fine, as long as they’re not sticky or dry. The color can be rose-ish or brown-ish or peach-ish. It just has to make me look BETTER. That is not too much to ask in this day and age, surely? If we can put a man on the MOON oh wait, that adage is a little old. If we can… okay, whatever, let’s just get on with it, shall we?


Boots No7 Lip Balm in Deep Raspberry is something you can throw on, without looking, on your way out the door, while forcing scooter helmets on the heads of very small boys. It is that unfuckupable. Swipe it on like Chapstick, run your pinkie around the edges of your lips in case you were a titch messy, and go about your day. Insanely flattering. My sister discovered this first – she has it in Poppy Petal, an orangey-red shade, and it looks amazing on her. I like the pink. I’m sure the others are gnarly too.


Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Baby. DUDES. First, I am not wild for Bobbi Brown, on the whole. I think the skincare is whack (RIP Whitney) and the supposedly amazing gel eyeliners are a boring nightmare to apply, the Shimmer Bricks have turned into glitter bombs and the lipsticks are very, very drying (I had a fling with Raisin, it’s a great 90s-ish color but just too damn dry). I do like her Skin Foundation v much indeed, which I wear in Porcelain in the depths of winter. ANYWAY. She just launched this Crushed Lips product and OH MY GOD. It’s lipstick for people who hate lipstick. It feels like a balm, very smooth and light, looks like a lipstick that has sheered out perfectly evenly and matte-ly, and it’s only one swipe. It’s like God painted your lips with watercolor and then blessed them. (Is that sacrilegious? I can never tell, and I’m married to a nice lapsed Catholic boy from Ireland – one time we were at a wedding in Dingle and I was like, I might take the communion just because I’m starving, and he was shocked. Apparently you do NOT JOKE about bread that, although bought in Tesco, represents Himself. Sorry, back to lipstick.) Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color is everything that the Glossier matte lip balm promised to be and wasn’t (my Leo broke from the base within a week and dried out within a month, and the same thing happened to all my girlfriends, too, seriously f’king irritating). Get it in Baby or Angel – I couldn’t decide, got Baby, and will probably go back for Angel because, well, you know me.


Orlane No.97 lipstick with Milani Nude lipliner. No, it hasn’t got a name, just a number, and yes, that’s the best image I could find. Orlane doesn’t seem to even make lipstick anymore. I have a feeling that they’re selling old, old, old discontinued stock on eBay. It’s a baked apricot color, it’s hydrating in a slightly waxy kind of way but not thick, and (yes, I take make-up way too seriously) I have never seen its equal anywhere. I bought it in a funny little make-up store in Melbourne Plaza on Queens Road in Hong Kong in… oh man, probably the mid-2000s, at least. (I can date my lipsticks based on the guy I was dating when I bought them. How appallingly tragic.) I trot it out when I’m going out for dinner and want a my-lips-but-better shade that complements-but-not-competes with slightly dramatic eye make-up and oh, how I like slightly dramatic eye make-up. Recently I realized that I was running out of it so I went looking for more. You can buy it here. Thank me later. While you’re at it, get three of the Milani lipliners and you will never have to worry about the perfect nude lipliner ever again. I cannot say it too many times.


Laura Mercier Lip Glace Black Cherry with Mac Hot Gossip lipstick on top for an insanely delightful lilac-pink pearly sheen that, through some trickery, lasts ALL DAY. Am I the very very first person to put lip gloss on first and THEN lipstick OVER THE TOP!? I THINK I AM! IT’S A REVOLUTION! Why the hell am I writing, I should patent this idea and retire.

Okay, enough from me. I must get back to work.





On… crazy skin

If you are here to read about writing or movies or TV shows, scroll past, darling.

If you’re here to read about lovely shallow things, come on in! Take a seat. Let me get you a drink and tell you a story about how my skin went batshit crazy.

[Dramatic pause, while we all sip our drinks.]

You guys, I over-exfoliated.

I woke up one morning and boom, my face was in a weird perma-goosebump, skin-of-a-lemon, shiny-and-hypersensitive mode. I’m talking about the strangest skin you’ve ever seen: scratchy, painful, red and dull yet puffy and shiny… terrible. It was like my skin was scared of me. And it had good reason to be: I damaged it, like a moron, by using REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask followed by a nice firm swipe of Biologique Recherche P50 followed by Korres Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. I don’t know what I was thinking, I guess I was just playing with all the pretty shit in my bathroom cabinet one night, the way you do when you’re thinking about a story but your ass hurts from sitting at your laptop.

All of those products are, by the way, really good – the best! – at making your skin look like angels-in-a-fresco-perfection when used properly. But when you use them all together, it’s like… it’s like… okay, I can’t think of a good metaphor. Pretend I did and smile knowingly. It’s like a thing on a thing that does the same thing on another thing that also does the exact same thing. It’s like stabbing someone to death and then shooting them and then running them over with a truck. There we go. Metaphor, accomplished.

Anyway, so my skin was bad. And I was pissed. My entire personality is like 90% good skin and 10% skirts that are too short.

But, like the intrepid amateur dermatologist that I am, I decided to fix myself.


I tried my usual standbys: Trilogy Roseship Oil. Nope.


I tried the best moisturizer ever La Roche Posay Hydraphase Riche. Nope.


I tried the workhorse. Nope. Nothing. The internet didn’t help. Nothing helped. Then I tried this and this and this, none of them helped and I returned each with a long-suffering sigh. My face looked and felt like one of those jute rugs.



That is a jute rug.


I tried Avene Skin Recovery Cream, and it helped a tiny bit.


I tried First Aid Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration (that name seems a little off, doesn’t it? I think I would have put ‘cream’ last but WHATever). It helped a little.



I tried Mario Badescu Healing and Soothing Mask. Again, it helped a tiny bit. As with all things Mario Badescu, what I like most about it is the price. (Though this stuff is delightful, btw.)

It was (pause to gather emotional strength and add drama) hard, my loves. Not just the having scared skin part, and looking like a jute rug every day (which was bad even though I’m not THAT vain, I just act like it). What was hard was just finding something to help. I was the Goldilocks of skin creams: stomping around New York while the bears were out, and everything I found was too hot/cold/hard/soft. Almost all skincare has some kind of acid in these days, or is riddled with silicones that make things FEEL smooth but really just exacerbate problems. I didn’t want anything with radiance, or glow, or renew, or anything like that in the title, as that indicates some kind of exfoliation, and that’s what got me into such a pickle. I wanted names like repair and heal and soothe. If there was a cream called ‘Happiest Skin On The Block’ that promised to swaddle, shush and rock my skin into normalcy, I would have bought it immediately. (That’s a little joke for everyone with a baby out there.)


Then I unearthed an ancient tube of Biafine, bought on a trip to France years ago, and hello miracle lover let me lick your feet with joy. This stuff was formulated for burn victims or people recovering from chemical peels, and though I have nfi about those specific problems, if your skin is scared of you, this is the answer. I put on a big thick mask one night, woke up and my skin was significantly better. Another day of wearing it as a mask (this is the best thing about writing from home: you can literally work all day wearing a unicorn horn on each boob and a face mask made of pink frosting and crushed goji berries and no one would know) and my skin was almost normal.


I also got this Ceramide Gel Rosette stuff, just because some Reddit post raved about it for healing and soothing skin and at $13, who cares if it ends up elbow salve, and I kind of love it. It absorbs faster than the Biafine, which means you can put it on before SPF and your skin feels poreless and lovely all day.

So then life was perfect again and when I woke up birds chirped happy songs to me and bunnies hopped up to wrinkle their noses at me and I was like, whoa, wtf is a bunny doing in New York City, whatever man, it’s all good, just like Gwyneth says, and so on.

Enough about skin. This happened a month ago, I’ve just been too nuts with writing scripts (yay!) to sit down and properly write about it. But I figured this is a PSA: if you over-exfoliate your skin, GemGem has the answer, and it is French.

Let’s talk about Harvey, huh? What a fucking monster. Have you read this?






On… from Samantha Bee via Medium

Workplace Etiquette FAQ for Harvey Weinstein or Any Other Giant Piece of Shit

The modern workplace can be confusing what with our seemingly ever-changing norms and customs. At Full Frontal, we know you want to do a good job and get along with your coworkers, even the ones of a different gender. So we put together the following list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you successfully navigate even the trickiest office interactions.

Where is an appropriate place for a meeting?
Meetings can be conducted in many places, for example: conference rooms, offices, and coffeeshops. Meetings should NOT be conducted in places where there are showers.

How should I refer to my female worker?
By her name.

But what if I want to call her “honey” or “sugartits”?
Do not do that.

When can I rub a woman’s back?
1. If the woman has said “Can you please give me a massage?” and you are not at work.
2. If you are a massage therapist who has been paid in exchange for a massage.

What clothing is work appropriate?
Professional work clothes. Never a bathrobe.

Should I touch my coworkers?

Not even a little bit?

What about just a butt tap?

How do you give a woman a promotion?
Tell her she has earned a promotion without any physical contact whatsoever.

Even if the woman I want to give a promotion to is hot?
Yes, even then.

My coworker is a celebrity, can I touch her?

My coworker is a nobody, can I touch her?

Where and when can I place my hands on my coworker?
You may not.

When should I show my female coworker my penis?
Never. Unless you are a doctor and your female coworker is a Urologist and you have made an appointment to see her as a patient because she has the best ZocDoc rating, and while in her examination room she very specifically tells you to let her examine your penis. Only then.

Women always complain about men NOT performing oral sex on them, so I should just do it whenever the mood strikes me, right?

I am a big-name producer and Sweaty Beef Boy.
That’s not a question.

What if I’m dumb as absolute ever-living fuck?
That’s fine, just don’t fucking touch women.

What if my wife and I don’t have sex enough and men have “needs”?
Have a frank and open discussion with your wife and come up with a solution that is acceptable to both of you that does not involve you preying on other women. You could also jerk off. Your wife probably does.

Oh, cool, I can jerk off. When’s the best time to jerk off in front of my coworker?
Do NOT jerk off in front of your coworker. Jerk off in private or with a consenting adult who you haven’t trapped in your hotel room.

What if my dogs are barkin’? May I ask my coworker to rub my feet?
It is always inappropriate to have a coworker rub your feet.

What if I am naked? Can the coworker touch my feet when I am naked?No.

Ok, we will both be naked then. For equality.
Never be naked with a coworker. Please do not take your shoes off.

What if I want to tell a joke about how a hot dog looks like my penis?
We’ve heard the joke and it is not funny. Also, not work appropriate.

If I have a meeting alone with a woman is it sexual harassment?
Depends on what you do and say in the meeting.

OK, say I’m just talking about, like, business stuff.
That’s fine.

And then I very professionally compliment her boobs…
Yes, that’s harassment.

What if I don’t have daughters and therefore have no way of knowing that women are people?
Good news, all women are people all the time, not just when assholes have daughters.

But I was born in a different time.
We just did a quick check and there is no scientific or philosophical definition of “time” that reads, “A thing that stopped happening the moment you first ejaculated and decided you should be able to do that whenever and however you wanted no matter what.” Time is ongoing, your career is not. Fuck you, you stubble-crusted swamp orc.