Lifestyle Showdown | Blake Vs. Gwyneth

Gwyneth Paltrow and Blake Lively

In a Kill Bill inspired battle to the death, two leggy blonde queens will fight for the title of lifestyle guru.

Well, not really, but I must admit, the thought of these two going at it with custom Hattori Hanzo swords is enough to save me from a mid-week funk. It’s hard to imagine anyone having the ability to out shine Gwen at her own posh game, anyone except Blake Lively, who for all intensive purposes may be her genetic clone.

I took it upon myself to go through the arduous task of reviewing both sites in a head to head showdown. First up, her Lord and savior, the inventor of concious uncoupling and lover of $1200 jewelry boxes, Gwyneth Paltrow and her goop.

Web Design |

goop

Goop wins major brownie points for it’s clean and accessible site. If you have been on the internet for more than 5 minutes at a time, you may have noticed that simplicity is all the rage, proving that sometimes trends are the way to go. The website feels effortless, allowing the content to be the primary source of interest.

Fashion |

goop

It’s easy to get sidetracked by some of the ultra expensive clothing suggested on the site, although in the recent past there has been a shift with more reasonable brands such as J.Crew and Zara. Don’t get excited just yet, Paltrow hasn’t moved too far away from unattainable luxury items, such as a $245 Robot Sweatshirt that is only appropriate for a kindergartner. Still, I have to give credit where credit is due, the woman knows clothes, and it looks like somebody out there is buying this stuff because half of it is sold out- reveal yourselves!

Food |

goop

White Pear Kimichi aside, the recipes featured on the site are not as absurd as one might expect. Sure, some of the ingredients may be a little out there ( I’m looking at you dandelion greens) but who can be mad at fried chicken? Overall the dishes are relatively easy to follow, even for the novice chef.

Commerce |

goop

My goodness, the woman loves to monogram stuff. Before you ask yourself what one would do with a five-hundred dollar wooden longboard, please remember that this is goop, and while she will sometimes throw in a Zara coat, most of the items offered are pricey pricey. There is a reason the mere mention of it causes exaggerate eye movement.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Next up, everybody’s favorite Gossip Girl, the envy of Teenagers everywhere, Blake Lively’s Preserve.

Web Design |

Preserve

Preserve takes a different turn with a darker, moodier layout. It’s definitely a departure from the whitewashed websites that seems to be popping up everywhere, although I’m not sure if that is a benefit or a hindrance. There is a mystical new-age feel, which may or may not have been done on purpose, it’s hard to tell. I’m also perplexed as to why these people are wearing shoes in 3 inches of water?

Fashion |

Preserve

Continuing on with the strange-ness, there is an entire post dedicated to why it’s ok to wear black during the day, black, as if this is a foreign concept. (Side note: Do people really need to be told this? Yes, wear black, it’s the best non-color color ever. Bury me in it.) Oh, you can buy an artisan apron for a hundred bucks. There doesn’t seem to be too much of an emphasis on clothing here, but that may also be because the site is fairly new.

Food |

Preserve

The big difference between goop and Preserve is editorial, where Paltrow’s site is straight to the point, Preserve likes to tell a story. Which is the case with the donuts, oh, the donuts. Here contributor Ransom Weaver gives a peek inside of L.A.’s Donut Friend, where apparently magic is preformed with flour and sugar. The short story was adorable and the images, mouthwatering.

Commerce |

Preserve

The prices in the Shop may vary, but they are a far cry from that $1200 jewelry box. Actually, that sold-out all natural hot fudge looks like something I could get behind. A $600 crystal bowl being the exception, most of the products offered are splurge items that won’t break the bank completely. Who needs to eat more than bread, and water, and Artisan hot fudge any way?

Winner |

Gwyneth Paltrow

I have to give this one to Gwyneth. Yes, she is pretentious and way too into herself, but the site is welcoming and easily navigated. That’s not to say Blake is far behind, with a little polish I’m sure we will be scoffing at the insanity of Artisan deodorant in no time. Until then, please enjoy both these sites in whatever way you see fit.

Happy Lifestylin.

Xx

*All images where grabbed from their respected sources.

The 5 sites all bloggers should visit today.

1| Canva

Canva

Canva guides the graphically challenged and helps you create custom designs. The site is user friendly and the high quality images are not the usual cringe-worthy stock photos some of us bloggers fall victim to.

2 | Death to Stock Photo

Death to Stock Photos

Speaking of those heinous stock photos, Death to Stock Photos is the exact opposite. Subscribers receive a free zip file of photos every month with varying themes. Sure, you never know what you’re going to get ( cue Forest Gump reference) but over time you will build an arsenal of beautiful pictures you can display on you site with pride.

3 | Photjojo

Photo JoJo

Photojojo is perfect for both the aspiring photographer and the well-worn filmmaker. This site a virtual candy store for anyone looking to enhance their iPhone capabilities, or the on-the-go blogger who may need a perfectly lit fold-up studio on hand.

I present to you, the Foldio.

Get inspired and create beautiful images of your own.

4 | The Ink Nest

The Ink Nest

With topics like “Sweet Folks” The Ink Nest caters to all of our whimsical needs with their lovingly crafted graphic images. Packages are around $8, which is usually less than a buck an illustration. It’s also a great way to help promote talented artists.

5 | Nicole’s Classes

Nicole's Classes

If you are serious about perfecting your blogging abilities, Nicole’s Classes cover everything from Photoshop to Food Styling. The 4 week long program could set you back $125, but the knowledge is invaluable. They also offer a few free tutorials for those of us a little light on cash this month.

Happy Creating.

Xx

Special thanks to Mollie Makes Blogging: The Big Guide to Creative Content for all the info.

Greetings from Asbury Park.

Asbury Park

Sunday was a soulful mix of sun, saltwater and Mexican food. I spent the better part of the day at my favorite stretch of beach on the Jersey Shore, Asbury Park, with my brother who was visiting from New Brunswick. Just that morning we had sent our parents off on the first vacation they were taking alone since 1987, I think it was bitter-sweet for them not to be bringing us along. I adore my brudder so spending some time alone with him was a true treat, I have really learned to appreciate those little “time gifts” the universe sometimes gives you. As you can tell from my previous post I was having a Summer slump, turns out, all I really needed was a good swim and some good food.

Asbury Park

“The cure for anything is saltwater- sweat, tears, or the sea.”

It’s been a long held tradition in my family to waste away Summer Sunday’s on the beach, they usually involve my mother toting a magic cooler filled with fruit salads, various chips, and a variety of cold beverages. Since neither one of us were willing to step it up to that level, we “settled” for tacos and enchiladas at Pop’s Garage on the boardwalk. It was stifling hot anywhere except right by the water, the boardwalk was sweltering, our only salvation was $5 Ginger Beers which were absolutely amazing and will be highly recommended once I remember the name of the place I bought them from. Yikes.

Asbury Park

In spite of the heat we ended up walking the distance of the boardwalk until we hit the next town over, Ocean Grove. Asbury Park has had a long, ever changing history in New Jersey, I can’t help but think about all the people who had passed through this very building.

Asbury Park

The ocean had finally warmed after a fews months of the Summer sun beating down. I was able to get more than just my feet in and really enjoy the water for the first time this year.

Asbury park

When we got home I got started on a batch of tomato sauce made from our home-grown tomatoes (recipe to come), it’s a long arduous task but I needed to distract myself from the upcoming week. My brother headed back to his apartment, sunburned and hungry. I settled into the evening feeling a little melancholy about the Summer coming to an end in the next few weeks. It never seems to be long enough. Here’s hoping I get one last swim in before the Fall.

Happy final days of Summer.

Xx

How to save yourself from a mid-Summer slump.

Summertime Sadness| Lana Del Rey

At the risk of sounding like the most dramatic human on Earth, I’m suffering from Summer woes. It happens every August, suddenly my desire to not wear pants is greater than my desire to leave the house. So for the last two weeks it has been the mind-numbing work, home, work, home, work routine. Maybe it’s my aging bones talking, but these sweaty months are just not what they used to be.

So in an attempt to revive myself just enough to squeeze some good vibes out of August, I’ve complied a to-do list for anyone else suffering from the summer slump. Try not to slit your wrists until the end.

1| Make tomato sauce from scratch.

Tomato Sauce

For me, cooking has always provided some cheap therapy, and what better way to fully immerse
yourself in the season of fresh produce than by making a delicious meal. Tomato sauce requires little skill, yet the outcome is insanely delicious, plus, you can brag to all your friends about it on your chosen social media platform. Luckily for us, August is the prime month for the Tomato, making them extremely affordable and availale anywhere produce it found.

I love this easy-peasy recipe from Food and Wine| Basic Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

If you are looking for a less time-comsuming recipe, Giada De Laurentiis has got you covered with her Simple Tomato Sauce using canned crushed Tomatoes.

In a few minutes your home will smell better than you ever even imagined, boil your favorite pasta and invite some friends over to share in the feast.

2| Make one “kooky” online purchase.

Let me just stress that this “kooky” purchase should not break the bank, just a little something you have always wanted but couldn’t justify it to you boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad etc. For example, I trolled through Amazon until I found this perfect molded plastic armchair rocker at a basement price of $85. It’s something I know I will have and love until it’s pried from my cold dead hands, and it’s just whimsey enough to brighten my space.

Amazon $85

LexMod Molded Plastic Rocker

3| Read a comedic memoir

What better way to step out of your own life then by stepping into someone else’s? My suggestion is to stick with the tried and true winners of the genre.

As far as hilarity goes, it’s a toss-up between any of Chelsea Handler’s literary achievements. If I had to suggest one, I’d most certainly go with My Horizontal Life. The focus is solely on her various one-night stands, which involve everything from barely legal teenagers to little people. If nothing else, it will make you feel exponentially better about your own love life, or lack there of.

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands $6.35 at bn.com

Chelsea Handler

Honorable Mentions:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) By Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling

Bossypants by Tina Fey
Tina Fey

I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People By Jenny Mollen
I like you just the way I am

4| Thirty minutes of 90’s music on Spotify

Whether you pay for this God’s gift to music lovers or not, you can easily access their 90’s playlist through the “Genre Station” option. With musicians like R.E.M, Blues Traveler, The Gin Blossoms, Tom Petty and Pearl Jam, you can’t help but have a good time. Add some wine and a lonesome underwear-dance party to the mix and you have yourself an enviable night in. Please note: anyone 35+ could also find salvation in the 80’s.

Download Spotify for free here

Here’s just a taste of what your ears can be enjoying:

5| Plan a one-night-only park and camp trip

Camp Vibes

Park and camp is the least rugged of all camping adventures and usually requires minimum prep. Gather a few friends and try to find a location that provides both bathroom facilities and a grill, both are important but only one is crucial. The one-night-only component makes it friendly to everyone, no matter what their wilderness tolerance level is. Bring hot dogs, marshmallows and an acoustic guitar for a truly authentic experience. A night under the stars should be enough to cure you of the sad Summer feels, and if that doesn’t work, there’s always copious amounts of alcohol.

Cheers to August.

Xx

I can’t resist a little Lana, it’s too perfect.

Why Annie Hall is still my favorite.

Annie Hall

There are few things I love in this world more than New York City, and I mean few things. There are some family members I love less than my heels clicking on that well-worn pavement, the smell of burning street food, or even that very specific garbage-like aroma which seems to only exist in Manhattan. So, naturally I’m attracted to movies that display NYC in all her gritty glory.

“Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.”

From the moment I started watching Annie Hall I knew I had a favorite. Sure, New York was her shining self, but this had something so much more. Annie Hall reflected back all the (neurotic) feelings I live with on a daily basis. I was Woody Allen, albeit female and free of any suspicious behavior involving young children.

“There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.”

I mean, I’m the girl who walks out of coffee shops to avoid semi-awkward encounters with other peoples ex’s, and filling my tank with gas causes so much anxiety, I usually wait until I’m driving on nothing but fumes and a prayer.

Let’s also please discuss the invaluable relationship advice, because this movie is filled to the brim. I’m convinced I’ve changed the course of peoples lives with the shark analogy, and the concept of love fading? That was depressing even for Woody Allen, even if it was one of the most honest lines ever to be spoken out loud. Yes, love fades and it sucks.

I’m also convinced that Christopher Walken is as terrifying in real life as he is in this scene. Try not to think about this every single time you are driving on the highway during a down pour. Also, haven’t we all had that fantasy at one point or another, ADMIT IT!

Duane: Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist, I think you’ll understand. Sometimes when I’m driving. . .on the road at night. . .I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The. . .flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.

Alvy Singer: Right. Well, I have to – I have to go now, Duane, because I, I’m due back on the planet Earth.

I myself have never been to LA, but I’m still pretty sure this vapid portrayal is spot on, plus it provides for a very special cameo from Jeff Goldblum. My God, can a human man be sexier?

Please note that this scene sparked my ongoing attraction to tall Jewish nerds.

“I don’t want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.”

Last, but certainly not least, that final scene, my God, that final scene.

“After that it got pretty late, and we both had to go, but it was great seeing Annie again. I… I realized what a terrific person she was, and… and how much fun it was just knowing her; and I… I, I thought of that old joke, y’know, the, this… this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken.” And, uh, the doctor says, “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y’know, they’re totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and… but, uh, I guess we keep goin’ through it because, uh, most of us… need the eggs.”

I guess Annie Hall is still my favorite because it’s honesty still rings true decades later. A relationship is not always the sum of it’s parts. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of really beautiful moments you will one day reflect back on and be grateful it ever happened to begin with.

Happy Annie Hall watching.

Xx

Blake Lively prepares to launch lifestyle brand, the world yawns with anticipation.

Blake Lively

In an attempt to give the hailing queen of snobbery a run for her money,the former Gossip Girl is dipping her hand in the “life style” branding we have seen so many celebrities attempt. Most notably, Gwyneth Paltrow’s cringe inducing goop, your go-to place for $250 sweat shirts.

According to E!News, Lively’s site “Preserve” will focus on “Artisan and hand-made products” along with visual guidance through videos, some of which the starlet will appear in herself. This is already beginning to sound a lot like our beloved Leaf.tv which heavily relies on short spunky visuals to get their point across.

While I welcome the opportunity to roll my eyes at Blake’s attempt at a Martha-sized takeover, I can’t help but be intrigued. Albeit, I’m outta there the minute she suggests I buy a $146 scented candle.

Ellen DeGeneres

On the heels of Mrs. Reynolds recent endeavors, Ellen DeGeneres also announced a lifestyle brand featuring house decor, fashion and pet accessories set to be available just in time for the holidays. Ellen is working with entrepreneur and brand developer J.Christopher Burch, who also happens to be the co-founder of Tory Burch LLC, one of the biggest luxury brands in the world.

Who will reign Supreme-Queen of Lifestyle? The world will soon find out.

Happy Lifestyle.

50 of the most fashion-forward Pinterest accounts VIA StyleCaster

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.57.18 PM

If you’re following me on Pinterest then you already know things have gotten out of hand, I just can’t help myself. There is something oh so satisfying about categorizing clothing you can never wear, projects you will never do and food you will NEVER make into colorful little squares. You feel like an accomplished homemaker without ever lifting a DIY hand-dipped olive oil infused wooden spoon.

So clearly this morning’s StyleCaster article listing 50 of the Most Fashion Forward Pinterest Accounts to Follow Now caught my eye. I love getting an, albeit small and stylized, glimpse into the lives of bloggers and other creatives. One of my most favorite is Eat.Sleep.Wear her fun California fresh approach to fashion and life is exhilarating for a girl on the east coast.

Eat.Sleep.Wear

Follow Eat.Sleep.Wear

An honorable mention goes to Carrie Hampton of Life Styles Files Blog her blog, like her Pinterest, is simple, colorful and informative. With over 100 boards she is no stranger to the late-night pinning we have all succumb to at one point or another.

Carrie Hampton

Follow Carrie Hampton|Life Style Files Blog

Now I’m going back to obsessing over other peoples DIY decorated East Village lofts *pin * pin *pin.

Follow me here

Happy Pinning.