Thursday, July 7, 2016

Aging, Plastic Surgery, Hollywood, Life and Being Flawed Human Beings

Vanity Fair’s Owen Gleiberman wrote about Renée Zellweger’s looks in an article, and hell broke loose. Before pointing out what’s wrong there, let’s point out the obvious:

What is a publication’s chief movie critic doing discussing an actress’s looks?

Why is he not talking about the trailer (of Bridget Jones's Baby), or the expectations from the film? Why is he spending so much time on her looks? He is not a paparazzo, or a celebrity gossip writer. What he does goes beyond his job description in a ridiculous way, and whether he embraced her new looks or hated them (he seems stuck in a weird in-between place), he has no business writing that.

But forgeting who he is, and what he is supposed to be for a minute, and let’s talk about aging, plastic surgery and being human in an honest way.

Zellweger. Image via
We feel differently about different things. You might think a person’s face is their business alone (and I agree with you), but you might also not be able to help yourself empathize, question and critisize. Not necessarily (with) the action, but what led to the action.

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t see the big deal. She has always looked gorgeous, and yes, she does look a tad different from her Jerry Maguire self. You kno, like maybe a few years have passed? 

It doesn’t really matter why or if she had work done. I just hope she is happy with the result. It’s her face. We don’t have to like it. She does. If she is happy, then we can all bugger off. If she isn’t, we still have to bugger off, because there is nothing we can do about it.

That said, we are flawed creatures. We have opinions on things, and sometimes, we even have opinions on things we don’t have nearly enough business having an opinion on. Enlightning personal essays, reaction pieces, encouraging reactions might help, but we are still going to have those opinions.

I agree with a lot of what Rose McGowan stands for, but we don’t know if Gleiberman has any personal experience with plastic surgery. Maybe he considered it himself, but didn’t have the guts for it. Maybe, he is against it, and wants women to stop feeling pressured. Maybe, he is just superficial. Maybe, he just wanted all these reactions and having a ball. I don’t have a clue.

But....didn’t you have an opinion when Renee Zellweger supposedly got work done? Be honest with me. Was your mind completely blank? Or were you 
1)Oh, she was so pretty, she didn’t need to do that. I wish she hadn’t done that, 
2) You go girl, you look beautiful anyway, 
3)You look so much worse now! What have you done? 

And if you were a writer with an audience, would you be able to stop yourself from expressing your opinion, whether it was positive or negative?

Yes, three is admittedly worse. I was team 1 for a second, and 2 for the remainder, but I wasn’t minding my own business either way. I was happy she got what she wanted. I believed she was happy, and I thought if it was a cosmetic job, it was a job well-done.

I’m not an actress. But I’m in my 30s. And I worry about aging. Not constantly, but I do. I forget putting on my moisturizer, and I feel guilty afterward. I eat too much sugar, and freak about potentially growing cancer cells, and to a lesser extent, my upcoming wrinkles. I do.

It doesn’t mean I don’t worry about terrorism or hunger or wars. I do.
But we all have a set of serious, and relatively-speaking, not-so-serious issues.

I don’t want to age. I don’t want to die. I always want to be, look and feel healthy. I want to feel alive and as young as possible. Maybe Hollywood ruined me. Maybe I just love how Jane Fonda looks and want that as an example. I can’t help but admire if a man or a woman has had the discipline, luck, means and the genes to look 5, 10, 20 years younger. I like that Liam Neeson dyes his hair. I like that Dylan McDermott looks only hotter than he already did in his The Practice days.

See? It’s not just about the women. Yes, women have it harder in Hollywood, but men, if/when they refuse certain rules, or get out of shape or out of line, they don’t get hugs either. (This is my reaction to The Daily Dot piece.)

Do you know that there is an article somewhere online about Mel Gibson called The Man without a Face? I read it, and I felt awful.

Look, he is my favorite actor. I grew up with his movies. No matter what he does or doesn’t do in his real life, he will still be the actor who made me want to write movies. Be in movies. Live with movies. (I belong to the club that the more we ignore celebrity private lives, the happier we will all be.)

The Man Without a Face is my second favorite movie, second to Braveheart. (The third is The Crow, if you have to know.) And the writer wrote that maybe all the crises Mel Gibson had, from the extreme faith to anti-semitic slurs to alcoholism, is a reaction to how he lost his looks, and I felt so bad. About life and people in general.

Mel Gibson, from The Bounty. 1984. Image via knoji.

Yes, I think he is no longer the hunk he was in the 80s and 90s. Yes, I think he helped himself age badly with all the stress and the drinking but.... Comparing his apperance to a movie where he played a wrongly-accused guy with a disfigured face? Wow.

Mel Gibson, now. Also, he is 60. Image via

If Mel has really lost anything, then I am going to blame the industry. That’s harsh. It took what most people thought to a whole new level...

OK, so Colin Firth. Maybe he will get to play the lover to much younger women (and many younger women won’t mind because:

a) They had a crush on Firth at some point in their lives 
b) He is a fantastic actor – it’s an honor to share the lead or any screen time with him, really. (And yes, I’d be one of those women.) 

But Colin Firth looks, as handsome as he is, more appropriate to play Emily Blunt’s and Emma Stone’s dashing father then the man they end up with.

Firth might not be stuck playing fathers and grandfathers, but he will be playing more and more of those. He won’t be playing Mr. Darcy. He aged, and his roles will be reflecting that. Maybe not to the level MaggieGyylenhaal is feeling and facing, but he will, and he is. You don’t think people look at him and Dempsey, and wonder if Firth (born in 1960) is where Dempsey (born in 1966) is headed?

Dempsey, aka McDreamy, aka potential Bridget Jones baby daddy.

Colin Firth.Image via closerweekly.

Getting old is horrifying so many ways. You lose more than the elasticity of your face. You lose the momentum of your metabolism. You increasingly carry more risks for health issues, even though you take relatively okay care of yourself. You start looking different, even if it is not necessarily bad, it still is different. But most importantly, you become more aware of the passing time, the opportunities lost, the brave leaps not taken...and you start losing people. People you know. People you love. Sure, it could happen any time, but it becomes more frequent. You start worrying about the people you might lose...and you try really hard not to lose it, and enjoy what you have while you still can.

So, Owen G. wrote an essay he shouldn’t have written as a movie critic. As a non-actor. As a guy, to a certain extent.

But aging freaks out a lot of people, not just Hollywood stars. I wish I was over and above all this, but I am not. And yes, a starving child is so much more important and horrifying than a star’s looks or mine. So is a billion other things.

However, we all have our fears, problems, phobias, hang-ups and other issues. We are flawed. We often judge prematurely, attack fast and don’t stop to take a breath.

Men, it is a bad idea to write about a woman’s looks – especially if you are white, middle-aged, well-off and NOT a celebrity writer. (It’s still not very cool if you are a gossip columnist, but then, you have the excuse: It’s your job.)

Women, let’s embrace everyone’s choices, but let’s not forget no one of is perfect. We are not saints. We make mistakes. We have politically incorrect opinions. We have shallow fears as well as significant ones. I will be just as happy about an actor/actress who aged naturally about an actor/actress who went under whatever operation and came out the other end victorious. I feel feel bad about people who seem to have lost their gestures and genuine laughter lines completely.

I will fear about aging. But I still want world peace.

I’m superficial in some ways, and not superficial in others.

Let’s take a deep breath, help Hollywood against agism, but give a little breathing room to not-so-thoughtfully written fluff pieces. The writer might not always mean harm. He might not be aware of his own privilege. But we also don’t know if he wanted to be a star, and never could be. Or maybe his editors  told him to come up with something controversial, reaction- gathering, politically incorrect...

You don’t know. Neither do I.

By all means, let’s fight agism and sexism in Hollywood. But you know, without bullying, attacking or ignoring if possible.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Best Tools to Feel Fabulous at 30: WalkLogger App

I hit the dreaded “30” in December. It has mostly been a positive experience. Of course getting older, even though at these very young stages of adulthood, has its drawbacks. 

WalkLogger image via

One of the drawbacks is our slowing metabolism, which I handle with the WalkLogger app on my phone. It measures how much you have walked by how many steps you’ve taken on any given day. It also tells you how many calories you’ve burned. It resets at midnight and awards you with a bronze medal after 5000 steps, a silver after 8,000 and a gold one after 10,000. It’s often said that if you’re serious about losing weight, it’s better to aim for 10,000 steps every day. Which might be difficult, considering it’s something about 7,5 kilometres (around 4,35 miles), especially if you’re not very fit and/or have a sedentary job.

I’m proud to say that a couple of months after actively using the app, I finally hit (and passed) 10,000 on Friday. Granted, I didn’t do it all at once, and felt pretty tired the next morning. But the feeling was so worth it.

In theory, it should be easier for a freelancer to be more active physically, but in truth, not everything in my schedule is under my control. In between teaching ESL, freelance writing and screenwriting, I often realize time has passed before I could do a decent physical activity.

But because walking can be done anywhere and is free, the app has helped me a great deal and has proven to be a worthy challenger. I love seeing the numbers go up. And to make sure they do, I often take the stairs when I go down. I get off the bus a stop or two early. When I go to a café to do my work, I take a break after a session, leaving my not-so-valuable belongings behind (hence saving me from the turtle mode).

There are many other free applications for counting your steps. This is just the one I use.

For more fun tips on staying fit you can check out my other articles:

6 Fun Ways to Stay Fit for the GYM-Averse

How to Use Rock Music to Get Fitter

Stay Fit in Winter: Fun Winter Fitness Activities

To get the fun and practical on a regular basis, you can subscribe by email or follow me on Twitter. If Facebook is your thing, I’m there too.

In case you're wondering what my 30 looks like. It's me on the left. On the right is one of my best friends. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

6 Fast Morning Beauty Ideas for the Busy (College) Girl

The following is a guest post by Angelita Williams. Although the title includes the word college, the tips will appeal to all the fun-loving women out there who like to get more beautiful really fast.

6 Fast Morning Beauty Ideas for the Busy (College) Girl

Image via

Every college girl knows that mornings are not the easiest. With all-night study sessions, parties at all hours, and loud dorm halls, getting up in the morning and putting yourself together is something than many college girls just don't have time to do. But, instead of just throwing on a hoodie and some slippers to slink away to your morning classes, try some of these quick and easy tips to looking your best, even with no time:

1. Shower the night before.
Instead of waking up early, showering, blow-drying and then actually getting to your morning routine, try showering at night instead. It's great for your hair because it has the time to dry naturally, and it's great for your body because you can wake up much later. Simply shower late at night and put your hair up into a high pony tail or top knot. Then, take it down in the morning for relaxed waves, or run a straightener through quickly for a cool, boho messy look.

2. Splash cold water on your face pre-makeup. 
When you're out of time in the morning and suffering from a long night (or too many cocktails) the night before, it's almost inevitable that you will wake up with puffy eyes and an inflamed complexion. Instead of wasting time applying creams or oils, just splash your face with ice-cold water and gently towel dry. This will instantly wake you up and reduce puffiness so your makeup looks better.

3. Use a tinted SPF moisturizer, not foundation.
Don't waste time in the morning struggling with messy foundation that needs to be applied perfectly. It's much better for your skin to apply a light SPF moisturizer that has a bit of tint. This will add some glow to your complexion and cover ruddiness and discoloration. It will also protect your skin from morning rays as you hustle to class.

4. Focus on brows and lashes first.
Forget eyeliner, eye shadow and the like when you're in a morning rush. The best way to define your eyes quickly is to focus on your brows and lashes. It's also the easiest way to look great fast. Simply define your eye brows with an angled brush, some brow powder, and brow gel. Then put on a couple coats of mascara to make your lashes extra-long. Your eyes will pop without any time-consuming liner.

5. Use an SPF bronzer to sculpt and protect.
Another way to look good on the go is to focus on sculpting your face, rather than spending time on blush and highlighters. Grab a good bronzer, especially one with a mineral SPF, and use it to outline your face, under your cheek bones and down the sides of your nose.

6. Grab a lip gloss and go.
To finish off your look, you can simply do the final step as you walk out the door. Grab a sheer nude lip gloss and apply it as you walk to class or wait at a stop light. This will add that extra touch and give you a nice morning glow, without the mess of liner or lipstick.

Angelita Williams works as a freelance blogger covering hot topics in and college lifestyle. Feel free to contact her at

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Do a Salon Manicure at Home with Fun Spring Colors

Image via

We all want to have some flashy, stand-out nails every once in a while, and nothing is more popular this spring that a well-groomed set of nails in a hot coral, pink, blue or mint green. The only problem is, if you’re going to go for a pop of color, the finished result really needs to look professional to get the right look, and that can cost you big bucks. If you’re low on cash, or just burnt out with heading to the nail salon every time you want a change of color, try picking out your own favorite spring shades and learning how to do it yourself!

First, you need to select the perfect nail color. Check out collections from American Apparel or Sally Hansen for easy-to-find inspiration.

Next, get your supplies together:

Polish in a spring color
Nail file
Cuticle Sticks
Cuticle clippers
Mixing Bowl
Clean towel
Exfoliating scrub (like a sugar or salt scrub)
Cuticle cream
Nail polish remover
A flat soft-bristle makeup brush (for removing excess polish)

Finally, follow these steps for a perfect spring salon manicure, totally at home!

Step 1: File

Find a nail shape that you want to try from a magazine or online. Take a look at the shape and figure out how it will correspond with your natural nail. Make sure to contour everything to the shortest natural nail on your hands, so they will all be the same length. File inward with soft, short strokes until you get the shape you want.

Step 2: Moisturize Cuticles

Using your cuticle cream or oil, dab a good amount onto the cuticle of each hand. Then, use your fingers to rub it in.

Step 3: Soak Hands

Fill up your mixing bowl with warm water. You can add any sort of hand soak you like, such as bubble bath, bath beads, or body wash. Some people even use dish soap, and that works fine, too. Immerse your hands in the warm water, and let them soak for at least five minutes, preferably more.

Step 4: Exfoliate

After your hands have soaked for a while, take them out and slather them with your exfoliating scrub. Scrub your hands gently. Then rinse your hands thoroughly under tap water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Step 5: Shape Cuticles

The trick here is to push your cuticles as far back as they will go, so you can get the most bang for your polish. Using the cuticle stick, gently push your cuticles back, all the way around the nail. If you have hangnails or really thick cuticles, cut them (gently!) with your cuticle clippers. What you want is an effect that looks smooth, as if you have done nothing to your cuticles.

Step 6: Moisturize

Once your cuticles are smooth and groomed, you need to lock in the moisture with a nice lotion or oil. Pour a quarter-sized amount onto the palm of your hand and rub in, focusing on the cuticles. Once your hands are thoroughly moisturized, dry off the nail beds to prepare for polish.

Step 7: Polish

Before you start, use a cotton ball to dab some nail polish remover on your clean nails. This will get rid of any lotion you have left coating the nails. Then, start with a basecoat and paint a thin layer on both hands. Let dry. Now, you are ready for color! Paint two coats on each hand. After they have dried, finish with a high-shine top coat.

Step 8: Clean Excess Polish

This is the trick to getting that salon-quality look. Using your flat brush, dip the brush into the bottle of nail polish remover. Gently trace the outer corners of your nail bed to lift off polish that has gotten onto your cuticle area. Use the end of the brush to scrape of excess. Try to create a rounded effect that looks the same for each nail.

Once you’re done, let your nails dry fully, and you’re ready to go!

Author Bio:
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Smoothies with Even Better Benefits

(Guest post by Sasha Britton)

Image via

In this fast paced world, it is often hard to take some time out of your day and do something that would be healthy for your body. Now, with the help of healthy smoothies, you can do something beneficial for your body within just minutes. Smoothies are the biggest craze to hit the health and fitness world in recent months, and it is not hard to see just exactly why!

Adding a smoothie to your day can work wonders for your body, and there is no easier and simpler option around. Smoothies have been proven to both re-energize and refresh a person's body and mind, and can really make a difference in your day.

To demonstrate just how easy it is to create and benefit from a smoothie, here is a list of the things you'll need to make this process happen: a blender and the fruits and vegetables you'd like to put into the smoothie. That's it! There is no additional extra cost. Smoothies are simple, easy, and cheap to make!

If you can't decide on what type of smoothie you'd like to make, one of the most simple and enjoyable options is called the "full meal" smoothie. Packing the ingredients of an entire breakfast into a smoothie, this will be sure to both fill you up and get you ready for the day. The ingredients are simple, and all you'll need is: a full banana, a cup of grapes, half of an apple, 5 ounces of your favorite soy or coconut yogurt, and a 1/2 cup of spinach leaves.

Another way to find out smoothies that you may enjoy is to mix and match 2 or 3 fruits and at least one vegetable. These smoothies will allow you to replace full meals in your day by giving you the full nutrients you need. These smoothies are great for if you are on the go and do not have enough time to cook an entire meal.

If you'd prefer an alternative to a smoothie, a great thing to do is purchase a juicer. A juicer is a machine that that extracts all the nutrients and juices from a fruit or vegetable. These juicers helps create something known as, "Green smoothies." These green smoothies provide Phytochemicals, which are disease fighting chemicals. As time goes on, these green smoothies are gaining more and more popularity.

So whether you use a smoothie as a meal supplement or you use it as a rejuvenator after a workout at your home gym or run around the block, there is no better option out there today than to purchase a blender or juicer and start creating smoothies that you enjoy from cheap and healthy fruits and vegetables. The benefits are noticeable within mere days and will help you feel better and healthier than you ever have before. Don't wait to start changing your health, smoothies will help make a change for the better today!

Sasha Britton is a health and fitness buff with a love for beauty from this inside out and yoga and vegan living. Check out her personal blog  and soon to be contributor with Gymsource Treadmills and Home Gyms (@sashsabfit).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To Have Plastic Surgery or Not To Have Plastic Surgery? That is the question.

İmage via
Tom Cruise presenting at this year's Academy Awards. At age 50. Is it all natural?

No, I am not against it unless....
Call me shallow, but I don’t care. I am not against plastic surgery, when done right. I am all for it, if you won’t end up looking like a zombie, a blown-up doll or a transvestite. 

Image via
Courteney Cox. I can't be the only one who thinks she ruined her face.

I am also not against liposuction, lip injections, botox (as long as you still have expressions on your face) or whatever. As long as it works.

Pretty and young is not a bad thing. Unless you end up ruining a gorgeous face with too plump lips – e.g. Nicole Kidman. Meg Ryan’s lips are totally noticed before her any other feature too, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.

Meg Ryan.
Image via

It Is Only Human to Want to Be & Stay Attractive.
Again, calling me shallow is OK. I am just being honest. Because as much as feeling physically and mentally healthy are the most important things, we still want to like what we see in the morning. 

And yes, in an ideal world, we would always like what we saw. With or without make-up. During bad hair days and good hair days. With and without our extra pounds. We would feel good about ourselves all the time.

But maybe with the exception of the wise and the carefree (and the genetically blessed - my mom is 58, she didn’t have anything done-minor or major- and she still looks a lot younger than the Hollywood women in their late 30s and 40s), we do care about how we look. We want to look better. We want to look sexy, whether or not we are trying to attract someone or not.

Some People DO Win The Battle Against Time and Aging
The problem is it doesn’t last for many men and women. Tom Cruise is only what? 6 years younger than Mel Gibson, yet he could play his son. Brad Pitt is buddies with George Clooney, but in a few years he Clooney could just as very well pass as his dad in movies-and he is only 2 years younger than Pitt. 

Michelle Pfeiffer is beautiful, but not nearly as fresh-looking as Sharon Stone who is the same age. Demi Moore looks skinny, but she doesn’t look healthy or pretty.

You get my point.
What's My Plan?
At 28, I am 2 years away from starting to buy anti-aging products. Don’t worry, the age 30 was set by my dermatologist- who in her 40 s looks the same age as me, despite having a 15-year son. 

So I am in good hands and I will be doing some prevention stuff with the help of a professional who does practice what she preaches (Oh and don’t worry, it is all insured so she doesn’t make money by prescribing me anything).

I know that I am at a great age. I also believe that in this day and age, 50s are the new 40s, the 40s are the new 30s. And in your 30s, life really, truly begins. You know who you are, what you want and how to get it. Don’t worry, I already started on that path. I am just reminding you that 30s isn’t something to panic about. It is something to celebrate.

But all celebrations are a lot more fun if you look your absolute hottest. So I am not going to apologize for trying to look hot even in my 60s. Susan Sarandon is doing it. Why shouldn’t I?
So to have plastic surgery or not to have plastic surgery? That’s the question. 

Sorry, William. It is just that I solved my existential issues and I am dealing with the physical aspect of things now.  

And I am saying it is OK to get things done if...Yes, there are "if"s:
  • If you are not screwing up what you already have
  • If you are going to look better than you used to
  • If you can truly afford it.  
  • If you are not turning into your new favorite hobby
  • If you are combining it with a fairly healthy lifestyle (not drinking much, not smoking….)

Did Tom Cruise Have Plastic Surgery? 
I don’t know if or what Tom Cruise did. If he had things done, I want the number of his doctors. Because boy he might be crazy, but he is the prettiest and youngest-looking 50-year-old I have ever seen.

What about you? To have it? Or not to have it? What’s your answer?

P.S. Below is the link to the article that inspired this post: