Sezane store NYC Nolita

Sezane store NYC Nolita

We’ve loved answering 13 reader questions in the past (and hearing everyone weigh in). Here are five more, including a NYC shopping guide and how Caroline met her fiancé…

Q. My family will be visiting New York City soon, and I want to sneak away one morning for some shopping. What neighborhood should I go to? — Britt
A. The answer’s a no-brainer: Nolita. Start at the beautiful Sézane store for French clothes and pretty bags (fyi, mention CUPOFJO and you’ll get a little gift with purchase). Then walk down Elizabeth Street, which is peppered with indie shops (don’t miss Le Labo’s fragrances). After that, stroll around the neighborhood, and you’ll stumble across gems, including a fantastic chocolate shop and bookstore. If you’re hungry, locals go ape for Parm, where you can get the sandwich of a lifetime; or grab a coffee and croissant at Balthazar Bakery.

Q. What’s your aunt Lulu’s roast chicken recipe? — Deb
A. Yes! When we visit her in England, my aunt Lulu always makes a roast chicken the night we arrive. I texted her for the 411: “Hi darling, sooooo I love Jamie Oliver’s roast chicken recipes, especially the one with lemon, garlic and rosemary.” Take it from me, this chicken is VERY delicious and makes the whole house smell warm and cozy.

Q. This fall, I took a new job and moved 2000+ miles from my parents. How can I keep up a close relationship with them? — Monika
A. Congrats on the job! As for moving away, I’ve lived states (or countries) away from my parents my whole adult life, so we’ve had to muscle through the long-distance thing. My biggest tip: Embrace the genius of the five-minute phone call. There’s something so exhausting about a long “catch-up” call. (Honestly, even writing that sentence makes me tired.) So, don’t put that pressure on yourselves. Just call for five minutes here and there — when you’re driving to the grocery store or taking a quick walk at night. Tell them a funny anecdote from your workday, or ask, “Did you see the new West Side Story?” Just whatever random tidbit, it doesn’t matter! Those quick check-ins are what make me feel connected, day to day, with my parents. When in doubt: memes.

Q. Where should I start with makeup, as someone who’s never really worn makeup before? — Alison
A. To answer this, I turned to my friend Gemma, who is a makeup enthusiast x a gazillion. Her advice? “If you have two things — concealer and lipstick — you can get a pretty, bright face. Start by even-ing out your skin and toning down any blotchy bits with a concealer. (Common blotchy spots are the nostrils, the chin, and between your eyebrows.) Make sure to blend, blend, blend. Then find a lipstick you like, and use it as both blush and lip color.” My two cents: If you’re not sure what lipstick, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t look amazing in this $6 one.

Q. How did Caroline Donofrio meet her fiancé? — GAM
The wonderful Caroline — long-time Cup of Jo editor, now contributing writer — was happy to share her relationship’s origin story: “After years of unsuccessful dating — including apps, chance meetings, friend fix-ups, you name it — I was on a dating hiatus. Then, one night, over pizza, some engaged friends started making bets about who I would bring to their upcoming wedding. ‘Maybe this ex boyfriend!’ said one. ‘Maybe this platonic dude!’ said the other. ‘Maybe I’ll meet someone new!’ I said. I received skeptical looks. That night, I went home and, on a whim, downloaded the app Hinge. Teddy was the first (and only!) person I went out with. I sent the intro message, saying I admired his listed Halloween costumes (a giant Teddy Ruxpin doll and a boxed wine that actually dispensed wine). Three months later, he came with me to my friends’ wedding, and three years later, we’re planning our own.” Caroline still writes essays for Cup of Jo, but if you’d like to stay in closer touch, subscribe to her excellent weekly newsletter.

Thoughts? Do you agree with these? Any different answers? And are there other questions you’re mulling over these days? We’d love to hear…

P.S. More reader questions, and 12 readers share their meaningful tattoos. Also, why are dads’ texts so freaking cute?

(Photo by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)