Monthly Archives: August 2014

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. 

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 26 (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. I find myself dubious about its ability to both protect from the sun AND give me excellent skin, but I trust it. For now.


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. And warning no: 2: do NOT take this thing out of your bathroom. It does not travel well.)

Now, as I said: no eyeliner, no mascara, none of that right now. 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 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.) (Why do I always pretend-smoke when I’m talking about something shallow?)


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.