The Season of Coco/a

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for both Coco and cocoa; one being a person, although not Chanel. Side note: don’t Google Image “Coco” if you’re trying to find Conan O’Brien. Learned that the hard way.

As I was saying, I am a huge fan of the brilliant Conan O’Brien. The other is actual cocoa, but more specifically, hot chocolate.

First things first.

I can’t state enough how happy I am to see the return of Conan to television, where he belongs. When he left NBC, there was this vacuous feeling from his absence. He did me a real solid by returning to television as soon as he could. Thanks, man.

As most people in the given universe are aware of by now, he earned the nickname “Coco,” bestowed upon him by Tom Hanks – and it stuck but good. He probably hates it but it made him even more recognizable, if that is at all possible.

His humor is a breath of fresh air to what I consider the stale, flaccid format of late-night television. He’s a big goofball but he makes it sharp and witty. Plus, the guy’s got heart.

He’s not on nearly as late as he used to be but if I were still living in New York, even his coming on at 11pm is earlier than when he was broadcasting after most people were asleep. I don’t have to worry about staying up, though, since I can DVR the comedy and watch it the next morning or after work.

His incessant mocking of TBS is hysterical. One long-running joke is this whole bit about the Conan Blimp. I also adore that Andy is back and in my opinion, better than ever. There seems to be a more relaxed format to the show now, where Conan and Andy can take more liberties with improv and Conan can do what he does best, which is take a joke, make fun of it, then drag it out (à la Family Guy). Love! Andy even acknowledges this point in this article, stating, “You know what, let’s just have some fun. Let’s just do a show now that we’re not replacing anybody. We’re not replacing David Letterman. We’re not replacing Jay Leno. We’re just startin’ up a show from scratch, which we’ve never gotten to do before. There’s no precedent. There’s no shoes to fill. We just get to do what we want.”

Amen. I have no doubt that Conan will succeed, even if we have trouble finding the actual channel on which it resides.

What’s just as good, if not better, than Coco? Cocoa. Especially hot cocoa, as seen by this delectable cup. Or watching Coco whilst drinking hot cocoa. Mmmmmm. There’s a thought. (Yep, that’s my idea of a good fantasy right there. Conan would do a great job of making fun of that.)

I personally make kickass hot chocolate and in college, we would put Bailey’s in it, dubbing it “adult hot chocolate.” There’s one recipe there, should you care to be adventurous.

However, THE BEST hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life was at Angelina in Paris. Yes, you’d have to go to Paris to drink it but it is hands down the best stuff you will ever drink. It’s served with ice water to help you counteract its richness and costs over 6 Euros per person (at least it did in 2004). It is a creamier version of a melted chocolate bar in a cup, topped with homemade chantilly (a.k.a, whipped cream) and makes you full for hours. Delectable.

If I could have that while watching Conan, I’d have the best of both worlds. Coco/a bliss.

Now that I’m making myself salivate…I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, with or without coco/a. Preferably with.

❤ ❤ ❤

2015 Update: I ended up going to Paris during my honeymoon and we definitely hit up Angelina! Below are some photos. Just as blissfully divine as I remembered it.

Angelina 3_Zoe Says Angelina 2_Zoe Says Angelina 1_Zoe Says


Bottom line, these are awesome

After taking a ten day break from posting to the blog, I’m making my efforts to get back in the game with one or two posts this weekend. I checked my drafts and notes I’ve made to myself to see what sparked my interest. Some material just begs to be written, ya know?

Anyhow, one post I’ve mulled over quite a bit is giving props to some of my favorite things as of late. They don’t really run together in a thematic way, but that’s just how I roll. Even when I journal, I’ll interrupt my own thoughts to write about something completely off topic and then go back to finish writing on the first subject. Re-reading my journals definitely cracks me up and absolutely gives credence to the term “stream of consciousness.” (I don’t usually go back and reread, though. I have a weird thing about that.)

But let’s get to the awesome stuff, shall we? A couple of weeks ago, I was at my local grocery store and I came to the cereal aisle. I don’t purchase cereal too often, since I’m hardly ever home to eat it. I get to the weekends and usually want it but to me, it doesn’t make sense to run to the store to get a box for two whole days. But this time, I specifically went to the cereal aisle to see if they had something in stock that I’d been secretly wanting to try for quite some time: Chocolate Lucky Charms. Oh yeah. None of this grown-up, 20g-of-fiber-per-serving crap. “Whole grain,” chocolate and marshmallow infused, sugary goodness. I could practically hear my inner 5 year-old shrieking with delight.

I put the box in my basket, made sure I bought fresh milk, and proceeded to jam home so I could dig in. I poured a huge bowl immediately, let the cereal sit in the milk for about a minute and dug in. I love this closeup I found of the stuff:

I love the rainbows!

 

 

If you have had any remote inkling within you to try a kids’ cereal, try this one. Sure, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Frosted Flakes are all fine and dandy, but this one tops it all, guys. Trust me on this one. It’s a close race but the only other kids’ cereal I would eat with regularity (but don’t allow myself to) is Reese’s Puffs. reeses-puffs-cereal-box

OOOOOMMMMMGGGGG they are so good! But since they don’t have marshmallows, they make #2 on Zoe’s List of Awesome Cereals. Have you ever had whole milk or dare I suggest it, half ‘n half on cereal? The quality of milk is very important. Don’t even try to tell me that cereal is good with skim milk on it, because we all know it’s not. It’s blue water. Remember the movie Friday where the mom tells Ice Cube’s character, “Use water. Won’t hurt.” when there’s no milk for his cereal? Yeah. That’s disgusting. (Incidentally, I think my dad suggested that to me once when I was a kid. Water on cereal tastes like you’re eating it out of the toilet. I’m just saying.) Creamy, delicious milk on Chocolate Lucky Charms absolutely makes the weekend. Try it for yourself.

Moving on. Something else that has been at the forefront of awesomeness for me is Lancome. (Jennifer, I know you hear me on this one!) Ladies, this is not just crappy, American slop with a fancy French label. This is the real stuff from Paris and their skincare and makeup is hard to beat. If you only buy one thing ever from Lancome, make it their mascara. For a very long time, their Definicils was my favorite but then…they came out with L’Extreme. My fellow Lancome lover Jennifer told me to try it and I’ve never looked back. Does it cost $24 for a tube of mascara that, worn faithfully, will only last you three months? Yes. But is it worth every superbly lengthened eyelash? You bet.

In fact, if you go to Lancome’s website and click on Best Sellers, the first five things that grace the page are their Bi-Facil eye makeup remover (which totally rocks, I can attest) and four of their mascaras, including Definicils. Their new one is Oscillation. I don’t know a thing about “vibrating” mascara but it’s selling well, obviously. You can watch the demo video. It’s ten bucks more but if you want those fabulous eyes framed by longass lashes, it could be worth it. For those of us who live in New York, we have access to Lancome through more than one outlet: Sephora, the Lancome store and any number of department store makeup counters. I have a little of everything in Lancome, but I have also tried their Pure Focus skincare line and it’s nothing short of fabulous. For those like me who have oily skin, a MUST HAVE in your regiment is their Tonique Pure Focus. It has mattifying powders in it that keep your face from getting nasty greasy throghout the day. Worth every cent and photographs without a shiny T-zone. I won’t even get into Juicy Tubes or their eyeliners, but the point is obviously to try some Lancome. You’ll never go back. The reason I can say this so emphatically is that due to budget constraints, I bought some L’Oreal Bare Naturale mascara and I gotta say, I’m not impressed. I do like that it boasts more natural ingredients, yes. And I have tried and really love the whole natural makeup thing – I have Bare Escentuals powder foundation and it’s the only thing I’ll use. But what I don’t like about this particular mascara is that not only does it take much more time to try to get the same effect as Lancome’s L’Extreme, but my lashes harden very stiffly. I’ve also noticed that my eyes get irritated at the end of the day and so while I saved $20 by trying it out, I will not be repurchasing. That having been said, I have read reviews where women swear by this stuff, but it’s not for me. What can I say, my lashes demand more. They have expensive taste.

The last thing I’m writing in-depth about is autumn. I love this season. I really enjoy the transitional seasons more than the extremes. I was born in the spring so maybe that makes me biased. There are even parts of winter I enjoy (like Christmas) but after awhile, the extreme cold gets to me and I’m ready for warmer days. After spring, summer hits and I tire quickly of the blistering heat and sweating constantly with a million other people sweating in the NYC subway. Blech.

What I love about autumn is the transition from hot to cold, progressively, over its three months. The leaves change color and gives us these gorgeous views. My mom took some photos and sent them – I thought these two were particularly grand:

autumn-leaves-2yellow-leaves

The leaves fall, getting nice and crunchy. They coat our sidewalks, streets and homes. A chill begins to permeate the air. Is there anything better than smelling wood smoke on a crisp, autumn evening? The heaters begin to come on and at least in New York apartments, the sound and smell of steam from the radiators becomes a part of the apartment atmosphere (unless your landlord is a dick and keeps the heat at some ridiculously low temperature and you freeze).

Road trips in autumn are my favorite. Back in college, my friends and I would go up to my old roommate’s house in Lake Placid, New York, where the scenery just stole your breath. Plenty of wood smoke smell there! Listening to music and driving whilst sipping on something like pumpkin spice coffee or hot chocolate….mmmmm…..it’s like all my troubles melt away. Damn, it just reminds me I don’t own a car anymore. To Do: buy a car in the future.

Then after the road trip when you get to your destination or back home, the cold night air makes you want to curl up and watch a favorite movie under a toasty blanket. I recently purchased Good Will Hunting, a movie I’ve been wanting to add to my collection for a long time. (My book club debated on who was hotter in that movie, Matt Damon or Ben Affleck. I’m in the Matt Damon club.) There’s nothing about autumn I don’t love – Halloween, Thanksgiving, the lead-up to Christmas….mmmm. I’ll have to write about the holiday season in another post – I love it. I’m one of those annoying people who can listen to Christmas music the start of November. Uh huh.

All of this makes me want to go unwrap the new movie and give it a spin. I even have the perfect blanket in which to wrap myself. All I need now is some Chocolate Lucky Charms and extended eyelashes care of Lancome.