March Magic

by Liz Heather in , , , , , , , , , ,

Forgive the lateness of this post, but March was a busy month so LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.

  • So after leaving Ipsy last year (for various reasons), I’ve missed receiving a little package every month full of makeup samples. I was all set to try Birchbox, but they wouldn’t accept a Canadian billing address so that didn’t work out. Instead I opted to give PLAY! By Sephora a chance. I was a member for three months before cancelling last week. My reason for ending it was mainly because I barely got any lipsticks or highlighters or anything FUN. I don’t know if it’s because they know that I’m in my mid-thirties or because they just have an influx of specific products, but a bitch doesn’t need twenty sample size cleansers. Not this bitch, anyway. Also, sending out a foundation sample (no matter the luxuriousness of the brand) makes ZERO sense because finding the right shade makes all the difference in the world for foundations. Also, I barely wear foundation. So I ended it. Also, am I the only one who hates getting tiny perfume samples? I feel like I have so many that I feel bad about throwing out, so I just keep them in the washroom and then use them instead of air-freshener if someone (or myself) stinks up the room (#lizadvice).

  • I was briefly intrigued by Frank & Oak’s clothing subscription box but decided after an hour of research that it’s probably too expensive for what you’re getting, even if the clothes are gorgeous.

  • Of course it was upsetting to hear that Luke Perry passed away. He was definitely one of the first men that I loved on television (god, I remember every single detail of that 90210 when his wife Rebecca Gayheart was killed). Such a good actor. So wildly attractive. And man, he was one of the best parts of Riverdale. I hate thinking about that show without him.

  • I absolutely love spring peas, so I made this Lemon-Basil Orzotto and it was really good.

  • I tried this charcoal that’s supposed to clean your makeup sponge and it was kind of annoying to use. It just takes too long to get a good lathering, and my foaming hand soap does the job much better and quicker.

  • I’ve only used it once so far, but I think I’m really into this Bliss Jelly Glow Peel Exfoliator that I got at Target for $10. No irritation at all and my face felt crazy smooth afterward.

  • I have a mini version of Sunday Riley’s Lactic Acid and it’s kind of really good, too. Only a million dollars more expensive than other good facial products! Sweet! Also, you’d think having “acid” in the name would frighten people away but I guess not. Obviously never going to buy the full size because it’s not magical or anything, but happy to have tried it.

  • Ate at this Mexican place Pulqueria in Chinatown that was pretty good. The location is pretty cool (very NYC out of a movie) and the inside is gorgeous. The food? Pretty decent! All in all, nothing to write home about but definitely worth remembering if you’re in the neighborhood.

  • Got some ice cream at Taiyaki and it was the definition of plain-as-a-dick. Nothing special here.

  • Finally ate at Lilia in Brooklyn! Honestly, it was really great and I can’t wait to go back. I made Nathan get the spicy lamb fettuccine so that I could try it and I got the mafaldini with pink peppercorns. His was fantastic, but mine was only so-so (it was way too al dente) - I think I just ordered badly because everything else we had was incredible. They had this herbed focaccia with ramp butter special that blew our faces off. I’ve never heard of a bread special before and it’s a brilliant idea, more restaurants should do this, people go nuts for fancy bread (myself included). The cauliflower appetizer (with spicy soppressata, sicilian pesto & majoram) was amazing and the dessert soft-serve swirl was wild. I already know what I’m ordering next time: the sheeps milk cheese filled agnolotti with saffron, dried tomato & honey. The service was of course great, and the space itself is gorgeous. No idea it used to be an auto-repair shop. Is the pasta better at L’Artusi? I’ll have to order the agnolotti before I answer that question. One must be well informed before making such declarations.

  • On my birthday, I took advantage of a free-facial offered from Smith & Brit in the city and it was beyond lovely. Claire (the owner) is such a fantastic woman who really knows what she’s doing and she made it such a wonderful experience.

  • I also took advantage of the free birthday brow arch they offer at all Benefit locations and whoa. I almost exclusively thread my eyebrows every few months, so I was excited to have them waxed for a change. I have pretty sensitive forehead skin, so I did have tiny bumps around my eyebrows for a few days afterward, but it still was worth it. They do an “eyebrow map” of how your eyebrows would best look and then wax them accordingly. And then they follow that with filling them in with Benefit products. I usually use a combination of Colourpop’s brow pencil and Milani’s waxier eyebrow pencil, but when she used the Benefit eyebrow gel wand, I was floored at how much fuller they looked. Really considering buying the mini and seeing if I can achieve that same look. Look how full!

Excuse the horrifying closeness of the above photo

  • I tried both 2019 birthday gifts from Sephora and Ulta, and talked about both of them here.

  • I watched all of Shrill in one evening and I can’t imagine not watching it that way. It’s perfect. I can’t stop playing this song on repeat, WHY IS IT ONLY ONE MINUTE? Other thoughts: I had no idea that the morning-after pill doesn’t work for women over 175 pounds, that’s insane!? The mother/daughter storyline is so well done it hurts. ALL of the outfits on pretty much every single woman are so fucking lovely. I rewatched that one part with the woman in red walking and buying flowers over and over it just made me so happy, I can’t describe why. And the pool party episode? I may have sobbed through some of it, and not in a sad way but in a cathartic way. It just made me feel so many things at once. Mostly about how sometimes you feel invisible if you’re self conscious or self-loathing about your body, and you feel like you don’t matter unless you fit into this idea of what you think people expect you to look like and how if you don’t fit into that, then you’re essentially a worthless piece of garbage, so you treat yourself that way on a daily basis. And how this type of thinking can last you a lifetime because it’s all you’ve allowed yourself to believe for years and years. There are so many ways that a person can feel inadequate or less than, and it’s so internally normalized because you truly believe that you’re not good enough and you never will be. It’s a depressing way to live and so many women especially live this way, myself included obviously. So that whole episode really just felt like a fucking dream of a reality. I really hope there will be more episodes of the series, I’ve never related to a television show more in my life.

  • I tried the watermelon makeup wipes from Sephora and even though they smell amazing, they don’t take off all of your makeup. Pass. The Avon one is still my all-time favourite.

  • I tried the cleansing pads from First Aid Beauty and they’re tingly, fun and great. Perfect alternative for when you don’t feel like washing your face. I don’t know if that’s their intent, but that’s how I’m using them.

  • Nathan’s second album came out on iTunes! Buy it! Love it! Or not! Do you!

  • I’ve been having trouble sleeping and one thing that has helped? Taking a hot shower before bed. Is this such common knowledge that I’m a moron? Maybe. In any case, very happy to have learned this.

  • Started and finished watching the final season of Broad City and it was really, really good. I always forget how good this show is. I wish it existed when I was a teenager.

  • Practically in LUST with Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning. I’m so late to this party, but at least I finally got there. I’ve only even tried it on top of some buttered bread and I was floored at how good it is.

  • Can’t stop rewatching all the old Ready or Not episodes on YouTube. Also, Degrassi Junior High.

  • You know how sometimes you have irrationally dumb opinions on things you know nothing about? That was me with dry shampoo. I didn’t really understand it. Also, I thought it was exclusively for white women, I don’t know why? Obviously I tried some (this Amika one) and I mean… it’s kind of spectacular. I maybe shouldn’t have discovered it because I might never wash my hair again.

  • I visited the Everlane store in Soho (because apparently YouTube ads really do work on me) and even though it’s beautifully minimalist, it’s way too overpriced.

  • Tried the pizza at Lions & Tigers & Squares Detroit Pizza and it was really good. They don’t offer single slices, but it’s the perfect place to go with someone to split one. So in love with Detroit style lately. (Also, can I accept world-wide-credit for the massive amounts of pepperoni pieces you’re seeing on pizzas these days?! I’ve been ordering triple-pepperoni-well-done pizzas for DECADES and I’ve been harshly judged endlessly because of it and LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE NOW! Full credit.)

Pepperoni pizza from Lions & Tigers & Squares, NYC

  • The penultimate episode of this season of This Is Us was wildly good. There was so much relatable couple stuff, it’s so hard to even get into if you didn’t see the episode/don’t care about the show, but if you did? Email me. I could talk about it for an hour, it was so well done. It’s essentially about the give and take in a relationship and about how it’s rarely equal, and man… so, so well done. Loved every minute.

  • Remember how I tried and liked Bumble & Bumble’s Thickening Spray? Well, I still do but definitely don’t spray it on your roots, it works much better if you use it sparsely on the rest of your hair when damp. Maybe that’s already obvious but I’m very new to using any hair products, so forgive my stupidity.

  • SO excited for Jenny Slate’s new book.

  • I went to Beacon’s Closet for the first time and whoa. I didn’t find anything I loved, but it’s definitely one of those places you should stop in every once in awhile to see what’s there. The space is a little overwhelming, but the things that I’ve seen people get from there are gorgeous and so inexpensive.

  • I tried to find my colour in the Fenty collection of concealers and nothing matched, but it’s not a huge deal since I’m happy with the NARS one I’ve been using. And speaking of concealers, Colourpop just released their own and they were kind of good?? Again, I still prefer the NARS one, but the Colourpop one is actually kind of good, especially for being $6.

  • Finally ate at Raclette and I don’t think I’ll be returning. There are basic rules for making a good grilled cheese. I mean, I’m no scientist but you should be able to hold up the sandwich. And that just didn’t happen here. I had to use a knife and fork, which is… sad. Astoria Bier & Cheese understands these rules and still remains the best place to go if you’re in the mood for one.

  • I accidentally tried smoked salmon for the first time and it was really good, who the hell knew? Apparently everyone but me. I’ve never ordered it because I really only fake-like cooked salmon, so why the hell would I like it uncooked or *shudder* smoked? Also, it looks so gross! I should’ve known better though because it’s almost always true that if something looks gross, it probably tastes amazing. That’s a thing, yeah?

  • I tried samples (because I own a million fucking samples of every cream on planet earth) of Kiehl’s avocado eye cream and passssssss. It left my under eyes crazy red and zombie-like, so never again.

  • Bought a new white living room carpet from Carpet Factory Outlet on the Upper East Side and it was so cheap and great, have to keep this place in mind.

  • Absolutely hate this Tarte mascara, it stays on your lashes for days after you think you’ve washed it off and I don’t know why anyone would want that.

  • Since I’ll forever love Trader Joe’s, we tried the new broccoli and kale pizza crust and it’s even better than the cauliflower crust that we love. This one also doesn’t burn as easily in the oven as the cauliflower one, so I think this is the new favourite.

  • There’s a new flavour of banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery: chocolate hazelnut. It was sold out when I tried to get it, but I did get a sample and yikes. Obviously it’s the greatest.

  • Ate at Al Di La in Brooklyn and it was not fantastic. Their version of “gnocchi” was confusing and 1000% too spinachy. The tagliatelle al ragu (below) was obviously good, but, like, it’s so hard to fuck that up.

Tagliatelle Al Ragu at Al Di La, Brookyn, New York

  • Found this lovely-as-hell store in Park Slope, Habit. Literally everything felt and looked beautiful. In love with this one specific brand they had.

  • Went to a Mortified show with Harmeet who was visiting me, and it was good! We only stayed for the first half because honestly my feet hurt and we were standing and I think we both just decided, “Yeah, we get it… we’re good” and then went to Ample Hills Creamery around the corner. Love it when friends decide to leave an event early together for something more fun, not enough people do this.

  • FINALLY made it to Daily Provisions. Maple cruller? Heavenly. Everything-bagel-flavoured croissant injected with cream cheese? Delightful. Danny Meyer continues to do no wrong. Favourite breakfast place in Union Square.

Maple Cruller from Daily Provisions, Union Square, New York City

  • Still very much in love with this song, and as I was listening to it one day I started reading the comments as I was listening and this one YouTube comment… my god. So sweet. Maybe parts of it are definitely corny or too much or something, but my god, in the moment, I loved it:

I heard this song when I woke up un-groggy for the first time after an abortion. It was the first time I heard it. And riding in the car beside my Mom, who had been pro-choice her entire life until the moment she was staring that decision right in the face, both of us were silent the entire song. Through every lyric, it was as if Sara had written a eulogy of my life. Everything we had been through, everything I had suffered. Everything I had seen. Every time I had to grow up sooner than I should have. Everything I had to push to the back of my mind so I didn’t lose myself completely. Everything surfaced through these lyrics. This will just be another comment lost among this thread. But if someone happens to read it - if someone who NEEDS to see this comment see’s it - know that things will always be better. TIME HEALS ALL. Even if it seems as though no one would care if you were gone. Even if it seems as though you have no purpose in this world. YOU MATTER. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you have made. It doesn’t matter how many times you have sworn to God “you’d change” if he just forgave you for this one mistake. Hell. Even if you don’t believe in God. If you don’t know what to believe, if you’re lost, if you don’t know what to do - just keep going. Keep doing. Keep moving in any direction that is away from the heartache and pain that keeps you tied down. Let go of the past. Let go of the fear and hurt your heart endures on a daily basis. Just keep living. Keep going. Forgive. Never forget. Learn from your mistakes. Better yourself. Live for you. Find your happiness. Love unconditionally. Live.
— Shelby Grimm
  • Went to Momofuku Noodle Bar for the second time and it was so much better than the first time. I also ordered better. The chilled spicy noodles with sichuan sausage, thai basil & cashews (shown below) were incredible and I tried some of the broth of the spicy beef ramen that Harmeet ordered and holy shit, it was good. I’m still too… not into the idea of ramen, but that broth was fucking nuts. ALSO, their dessert special (caramelized white chocolate pie with hazelnut and puffed rice was F-U-C-K-I-N-G memorable (also below). Christ.

Chilled Spicy Noodles from Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC

Caramelized White Chocolate Pie from Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC

  • A few months ago I got dinner at Pil Pil on the Upper East Side and since it was good, I stopped in there for lunch recently and it’s probably the best lunch I’ve had in that area for sure. There’s a $4 happy hour sangria special and their lamb sliders are incredible. The fries are maybe my favourite restaurant fries in the city, they’re so crispy and drizzled with this spicy aioli and they also have a chocolate-hazelnut dessert cake that is unbelievable. I know it sounds like I love everything everywhere, but I swear I don’t.

  • There is a place in NYC where you can rent out really nice digital cameras for 24 hours FOR FREE and no one knows about it (the only hiccup is that you need to have state-issued ID). Sony Square is a “public space committed to showcasing innovations in products, music, movies and gaming” - which essentially means that every few weeks they change up their aesthetic to showcase new Sony products, but the camera-rental service is an always-available option. Insanely cool thing to offer.

  • Found amazingly soft and comfortable leggings (cheap too!) at Aerie (thank you Marla!) that I will exclusively buy from now on. (No more trash Aritzia leggings that disintegrate every three months!) Bought some of their workout pants too that have pockets (!) that were incredibly soft, too.

  • I saw the movie Us and really liked it. Mostly because yeah, it’s a good movie. But also because IT’S AN ORIGINAL MOVIE. I’m so sick of remakes and superhero movies that I love it when movies like this get made. I know it’s classified as a horror movie, but it’s not really, in my opinion. Plus I love when you finish watching a movie and you want to come home immediately and research as much about it as possible. It’s good, go see it!

  • Harmeet and I went to Manhatta for lunch (because apparently I have a Danny Meyer obsession) and it exceeded all expectations. First of all, it’s not crazy expensive despite the fact that it’s in the fucking sky (60th floor). We got the mushroom soup, the scotch snails with pork sausage in garlic butter and the French onion burger and everything was amazing. Service was perfect. Views are insane. Perfect place to take someone who’s visiting, especially for lunch. Will definitely go back.

View from Manhatta, NYC

Harmeet! In all her beauty!

French Onion Burger from Manhatta, NYC

  • Lastly, I watched the Leaving Neverland documentary on HBO. I also watched all the episodes of Surviving R. Kelly. I watched both of these within a few days and I don’t recommend anyone viewing all of these things in such a short amount of time unless you want to cry endlessly and (irrationally? Or understandably?) loathe an entire gender for a few days. And look, if you know anything about me, you know what a huge fan I am of Michael Jackson. From his music to the connection of meeting Nathan, I’ve forever loved this man in the way that all of his fans love him. For years I would think (and sometimes, ugh, say) “I don’t know that man personally. I don’t want to know about his personal life. I can’t judge him if I don’t know him.” And I’d say these things as a way of deflecting from the fact that I didn’t want those beautiful songs tarnished in my mind, as dumb as that sounds. And in an extremely similar way, I acted the same with R. Kelly. I didn’t WANT to take “When A Woman Loves” off of my iPod for years because I didn’t want to believe someone who could sing so beautifully could be some kind of monster, which makes zero sense but seems like a rational thought to people who still don’t believe these victims. The way that we worship these artists/abusers, without actually knowing anything about them (or sometimes knowing complete details of their abuse), wanting them to continue to achieve success no matter what the cost, is so unhealthy and odd and is part of a larger culture that is already designed to idolize anyone with status or more money than us. I didn’t want to watch Neverland. I knew it’d be bad. I only took down my Woody Allen poster in my childhood bedroom last year (to be fair, I don’t live there, but this should’ve happened years ago). I rarely spoke up in favor of these men, but I did stay silent when they were discussed because that was easier to do and basically what most everyone else was doing and made it feel acceptable, which is awful. I feel horrible that it took this many years for victims to be believed and it makes me sick that I’m apart of the group of people who made it impossible for victims to be heard. As hard as these things were to watch, I think they’re wildly important to see.

  • This one part from Surviving R. Kelly sums up one of the problems so well.

Our society tends to compartmentalize the things we don’t want to look at, and magnifies and glorifies the things that we do. For example, if an individual is providing something to the society as music, cinema, politics - we’re more likely to compartmentalize the negative behavior and minimize it, as a way of accepting what they’re contributing.

Jesus, a lot happened in March. Excited for April! Some upcoming things that you can expect in next month’s post: I’m going to start taking collagen (I’ve heard it helps hair growth), a family trip to Niagara Falls, a Best of Astoria post & thoughts on the new Twilight Zone. Hello, April!

(If you have any interest in past monthly roundups, they can be found here: February 2019, January 2019, December 2018, November 2018, October 2018, September 2018, August 2018, July 2018, June 2018 & May 2018.)

by Liz Heather in

I can lament for hours with female friends about bodies and insecurities and the ways we’ve been socialized to make ourselves small and what bullshit it is that our value increases the smaller we get, as though we would be priceless if we didn’t exist at all.
— Lindy West

by Liz Heather in ,

There was a time when I would have ordered a watery nest of zoodles without a moment’s hesitation. There was also a time when I couldn’t write or participate in life because I was so hungry and unsatisfied and obsessed with foods I didn’t allow myself to eat. I finally sought help last year, and now I see how problematic it is, this movement to pass off “healthy” foods as “unhealthy” foods. It sends the message — that lands particularly hard with women — that our hunger and appetites are things that must be controlled and manipulated and tricked by vegetable-shaped noodles and liters of water. I’ve used my voice as a writer to reclaim my dignity and self-respect, and one day it just clicked that the way I talked about myself to myself, and the way I ate in response to that nasty and unforgiving voice in my head, was about as far from empowered as it gets. I will no longer participate in a system that tells women we should eat less and weigh less and be less, and it is my dream for all of us to stop doing penance for eating pizza and to stop berating our perfectly fine bodies because it just makes it okay for guys to berate our perfectly fine bodies. You know the Bechdel test for movies and books? I want to create my own test that challenges women to have conversations about anything but our bodies. All this to say, fuck you, zucchini noodles. And you, too, cauliflower rice.
— Jessica Knoll

by Liz Heather in

It’s probably too big a statement to say it’s made us smarter, but The Simpsons doesn’t ever promise to do anything more than make you laugh. There’s social satire in it, social commentary, deeper themes in it, but what’s great about The Simpsons is it says upfront, “All we’re gonna do is make you laugh.” That’s a purely noble cause, I think. It somehow doesn’t make you totally dumber by doing that. Most things that promise just to make you laugh don’t have any other redeeming qualities, and The Simpsons seems to.
— Matt Stone

by Liz Heather in

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating, there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
— John Ruskin