Can a new mascara change your life?

Zsofi Writes

photo-3 copy

“This new mascara routine will change your life,” the salesgirl assures me as she slips a couple of shiny tubes into pink tissue paper and into a tiny glossy shopping bag.

I had just spent the past 45 minutes with her, applying, removing, and then reapplying lipstick until we found the shade and texture that made it look and feel like I had no lipstick on at all. After all that she also sells me a tube of mascara and this magic mascara foundation that will not only separate and lengthen my lashes, but apparently also change my life.

I am a latecomer to makeup. My mother never wore makeup — not even face lotion. I don’t think she ever used any product on her skin, yet even now, in her 60s, her face is plump and smooth and rosy like a peach. When I was a young girl she…

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In Which I Meet Benedict Cumberbatch…But Not Really

Zsofi Writes

My crappy picture of Benedict My crappy picture of Benedict

I am sure that you, too, have fantasized about what “The Meeting” would be like. Perhaps there is a small crowd of fans outside an event, with you at the front. Your fingers brush his as you hand him a Sharpie to sign his name and you exchange meaningful looks and maybe a “hello” or “thank you.” Or you pass him on the street and you manage to both acknowledge his presence and respect his privacy with a quick wink and nod of the head. Or he saves your life on a busy London street by pulling you out of the way of a speeding car. Or he comes up to you at the launch party for your new book to tell you how much he wants to play the main character in the movie version. I am just saying — it could happen.


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Math Problem

Zsofi Writes

Sheets crumpled at the foot of the bed,
the white, silky ones.
Pillows thrown here and there,
mismatched, warm, sleepy.

A foot across my chest
toes twitching from dreams of running

One arm tucked under his chest
rising, rising.
Another arm twisted,
chubby palm on my thigh.

A soft snore
breath of lemon and honey and milk
sweaty curls on his forehead
like baby hair.

This is how we nap,
all curves and lines spread on the sheets,
like a complicated math problem.

What is the angle of the body
as it grows away from yours
if time is twice as likely to
speed up and rush away?

What is the slope of the belly
once you are unfamiliar
with its intake and output?
What is the distance these feet travel,
when they no longer fit into your palm?

Does the plane of the back change

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Happy boobday

Zsofi Writes

It’s actually tomorrow, but tomorrow is supposed to be crazy since I have taken up this other little part-time gig, plus the kid, plus Christmas party, plus my regular job… But I wanted to stop and talk about my boobs for a little bit.

Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of my breast-reduction surgery. A year ago on this day, the day before my surgery, I looked completely different. Well, maybe not completely. But different enough. I took a picture of myself that night a year ago, just in my bra, so that I can look back on it and see the difference. I will spare you—and me—the embarrassment of posting that picture right here, but I still do look at it from time to time. I mean, I am still chubby and thanks to my smaller boobs now my stomach looks bigger… But still, I feel so much… lighter. More free…

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Wondering about other writers

Zsofi Writes

Just when I needed a little kick in the butt to get writing again, I saw this awesome post by Nina Badzin that was inspired by another post by Kristen M. Ploetz. I love being nosy like this, getting a brief glimpse into other writers’ lives and habits. And to get my writing juices flowing, I am going to post my own answers—just in case you were wondering about me as a writer.

1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet? 

This is a toughie in my house. Drew is very supportive of my writing, but he is also a sensitive soul. Of course, I have never written—and I never will write—anything that might be hurtful to him, I have no reason to write such things. Strangely, what upset Drew in the past is exactly this, that I…

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Zsofi Writes

I had to do a quick calculation in my head to figure out how old you are in months. We have long ago stopped talking about you in terms of months—it’s been a long time since those were the big milestones: three months, six months, twelve months, eighteen… It’s also been a long time since we stopped referring to you in terms of vegetable sizes. When you were in my belly I got those e-mails every week reminding me that this week you were the size of a pea. A kumquat. A tomato. A pear. An eggplant. I loved those e-mails.

Maybe that is why it’s been hard not to refer to you as “my baby” lately. You correct me, and you are right, but still. You are my baby. It’s a cliche that you will always be mama’s baby, but there it is. Our lives are cliches, one after…

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How do you make 13?

Zsofi Writes

This has been a frequent question in our house lately, now that Sam is suddenly interested in letters and numbers: “How do you spell mama?” “What is 5 and 5?” “How do you make 13?”

Easy answers.

But today is our 13th anniversary and suddenly, I am not sure how one makes 13. It’s not just a matter of simply writing one number after the other — is it?

I spent the morning sending my husband calendar appointments for various trips and plans that I have so that he can take all of that into consideration when he makes his travel plans for work. It all seems very official and clinical, like we are running a business together.

Before you get married, or even when you are first married, you do not think of your relationship in cold business terms. And I still don’t — but somehow it’s all necessary…

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The Married Couple’s 36 Questions for Staying in Love

Zsofi Writes

love Photo by Dennis Skley, flickr

I am sure that by now you have probably read the recent Modern Love column in The New York Times by Mandy Len Catron. In “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” Mandy unpacks the 36 questions that can help two people fall in love. The exercise suggests that both parties answer the questions and then, as a bonus, stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes.

The questions, based on the work of psychologist Arthur Aron, become more and more probing as they go: “For what in your life do you feel most grateful?” “What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?” “What roles do love and affection play in your life?” “How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?” “When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?”

Reading the questions I can see how…

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Snow day

Zsofi Writes


By early afternoon both boys are restless. Sam refuses to nap or snuggle on the couch with me. Drew has finished working and is pacing up and down. He has already cleaned off his car and shoveled our steps. I am drifting off as the two of them bicker about going outside to play in the snow. Drew wants to go. Sam wants to stay. He complains that it’s too cold for playing outside. We’ve been in this house together for three days now—the weekend and now this stormy Monday. We left briefly for swim class and a birthday party and then kept busy with Legos and movies. Getting some fresh air is now a must.

The oven beeps. I promised apple crumble this afternoon.

I help Drew wrestle Sam into his snow gear: we start with the scarf—a Hungarian soccer club’s green and white colors—and snow pants. Then it’s…

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What Are We Allowed to Talk About Anymore?

Zsofi Writes


We gathered in the center of our cubicle farm—the four women I share the space with stood around my desk. I am new in the office and they were asking me about my son. They wanted to see pictures and asked me about his age, his height, and told me that he has my eyes and my nose.

Then came the inevitable question: “When are you having another one? You are having another one, right?”

This happened just the day after I read an article about what not to say to first-time mothers. That article came on the heels of several others with a similar angle: What not to ask pregnant women. The 10 worst things to say to parents of twins. What no mother of boys ever wants to hear. Even something about what not to say to people who are going through dietary changes around the holidays. I…

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