Friday, July 29, 2011

Female Beauty is an Abomination

(Guardian Article forwarded to me)

L'Oréal's pulled adverts: This ideal of female beauty is an abomination
The lengths the beauty industry and its ugly sister, the fashion industry, go to sell their products are repellent. - by Tanya Gold 

When curves were fashionable - Marilyn Monroe.
Photograph: SAM SHAW / Rex Features
The advertising slogan of L'Oréal is "Because we're worth it". But it doesn't really mean it. If it did, it might include people who look like people in its marketing campaigns. And so the Advertising Standards Authority's decision this week to ban two L'Oréal adverts for deviousness could be the start of something wondrous.

The adverts featured the actress Julia Roberts and the model Christy Turlington promoting Lancôme's Teint Miracle foundation and Maybelline's the Eraser foundation. (Note the use of the word "erase". It means "annihilate".) Roberts is 43; Turlington 42. In the fashion and beauty world, they are as old as Yoda. So beauty did what beauty does; it examined the photographs, observed the flaws and eliminated them. The women emerged improbably radiant and extremely beige. They looked weird and alien and faintly radioactive, like the Ready Brek kids, but with smaller stomachs and longer necks. L'Oréal, the largest and most profitable beauty company in the world, was pleased.

L'Oréal's ad campaign for Lancôme with Julia Roberts

But after a campaign by Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP, who emerges from this saga like Joan of Arc with a Wet One, the ASA ruled that the adverts misrepresented what the products could do to a normal face. The claims literally had no foundation. Roberts and Turlington had been digitally altered, Turlington to the extent that a piece of skin appeared to be shooting out of her cheek, possibly heaven-bound. L'Oréal pronounced itself "disappointed," which presumably means that if it had a face, its mascara would run on to its chin. The company has form in this. It has received complaints for promoting Telescopic mascara with Penelope Cruz in eyelash extensions and Elvive shampoo with Cheryl Cole in hair extensions, because there is no woman so beautiful, her hairs cannot be extended beyond their human capabilities. The Cruz complaint was upheld; the Cole one thrown out.

I am not against foundation. I take no such political position. To have a face like the bastard child of E.T. and Chewbacca is not my goal, even as I await the emails suggesting my opinions about the beauty and fashion industries stem from my own essential ugliness. A No Grooming Whatsoever manifesto is a straw man I would not touch with a blusher brush. But the lengths the beauty industry and its ugly sister, the fashion industry, run to sell their products are repellent and dangerous. In search of profit, they have created a homogenous ideal of female beauty that has nothing to do with what women actually look like. She is an abomination – starved and plucked and ironed and shrunk; she is the doll that looks like no one. Her goal is to sell dissatisfaction because liking your body sells nothing. Surveys say the majority of women are unhappy with their appearance and I blame the doll for almost all of it.

It has been a slow crawl for the doll. In the 50s and even the 70s – the 60s were a tentative audition for today – a size 12, with hips and breasts, could make it on to a billboard or into a movie. Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Ava Gardner – all had flesh and interesting faces and imperfections. Russell's eyebrows looked like draft excluders and Gardner had a cleft chin you could topple into. They looked like individuals. No more. Models and actresses are tiny now, and curiously similar, with every trace of fat melted off, every shadow painted out. This is not just boring and offensive and a nightmare for people who like to see actresses who can act, rather than pout. It is a mass psychosis, where what is real is despised and what is non-existent is desirable. The camera lies, like never before. I await the first Franken-actress, composed of itinerant body parts glued together with CGI. I hope they don't forget the eyes.

When I attended couture week in Paris last year – an event of such monstrous self-delusion and inanity I will never go again – I stared at the girls because their upper arms were thinner than their lower ones. They looked sick in their hobbling heels and, therefore, as remote as ghosts. They were sallow and spotty; they had created the need for airbrushing themselves, for a want of toast and butter. Even so, very thin hands clapped. I thought the audience was mad to applaud such screaming symptoms of starvation, but no. They are simply immune. They have forgotten what normal people look like. In kinder moments, I can see that fashion people are also victims of their own cracked dreamland. Galliano is daft, McQueen is dead and both Valentino and Lagerfeld look as if they've have had enough plastic surgery to suggest they don't like the mirror, either. They look like unhappy, ageing women: they look like their customers.

Valentino (L) - Lagerfeld (R)
When a model leaves the catwalk and dies of heart failure, or dies of anorexia with the whispered death-bed testimony of what the industry requires on her lips, there is always some chat about banning size-zero women from the shows and a suggestion that fat women (size six?) should be allowed to stagger up and down the catwalks in the stupid shoes. Giorgio Armani said in 2006: "The time has now come for clarity. We all need to work together against anorexia." But watch the fall/winter 2011-12 shows online and see if you think anything has changed. The status quo is re-established as the model goes cold.

Sometimes a product such as Dove will use "Real Women" – that means fat, with non-regular features – in its advertising, but this is gimmickry, a shove for the latest campaign. A normal-looking person in a beauty advert equals a global news story; what else do you need to know? In what you might call corporate altruism, although I call it something else, Dove (property of Unilever) has established a Self-Esteem Fund to help women combat advertising and the eating disorders even Unilever admits advertising creates, because "the average person sees between 400 and 600 advertisements per day," some of which are, presumably, Dove's. But go to their website. You will soon see young, thin models as well as "Real Women". Normal abnormality is re-established, even as the Self-Esteem Fund counts the teenage anorexics on its fingers.

The September Issue, the documentary about US Vogue, included a brilliant scene where the cameraman was photographed for the magazine. Well, not his head. He was presumably too ugly to appear with his head, but his body, all in black, was OK if his paunch was rubbed out. That was Vogue's revenge on the truth-teller: make him thinner, remove his head.

When women, and increasingly men, who are, poor things, the latest victims, see the gulf between the ideal and their own nasty reflections, what happens? Their hatred of their own selves grows – read the innumerable statistics – and vomit rises in the throat of yet more consumers. You can ignore the argument that growing obesity is a sign fashion advertising and beauty advertising has no impact. Anorexia and compulsive eating are twins, not opposites, and both, I think, a response to the doll.

I am thrilled Swinson and the ASA stood up to the doll and knocked her down. It could be the start of something beautiful. Or it could be a scream in the night, because she will be back. She is made of flesh and pixels – and money. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


As you know, I rejoined the dating world for when I became "single" again that's up for debate...but the point is I hoped back on the dating wagon.   And I'm wondering has anyone ever found themselves repeating a dating pattern?

I'm not talking about always dating brunettes or people with blue eyes; I'm talking about patterns of behavior, of choice, and of consequences. 

CBS News had a segment back in 09 about "Breaking Your Disastrous Dating Patterns" with Dr. Diana Kirschner, author of "Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love," and the they list the "Most Common Deadly Dating Patterns"(why is the news always so over dramatic?).  Of these "Deadly Dating Patterns" I suppose I fall into all four....

"Every woman falls into terrible patterns, Kirschner observes, adding that, if any woman looks at past relationships, she would fall into one or more of these categories: "The Hermit," "The Flameout," the "I Will Make You Love Me," and the "Not Perfect, I Will Pass."....well now, I do not believe that every woman falls into terrible patterns.I do believe that lately I'm starting to see patterns in my own dating.

Not necessarily "bad" patterns...unless I think too long on it and then I see them as self-destructive and they take on the form of giant brick walls guarding me...keeping me from being "really" hurt (whatever the hell that means). 

They're possibly patterns of avoidance, falling for men thousands of miles away, patterns of men who fall hard and quick for me as I them, patterns of falling for Mr. (Feels) Right too quick. 

I'm trying to keep my options open....not deleting my dating site account, not snubbing anyone who might email me, or those who I have been emailing with....but I have met someone. Someone who stirs things in me I haven't felt since Mr. Hong Kong and I first started dating. 

I know that these could very easily be because Mr. Connecticut is playing to my more traditional sides by asking permission to call me....Sickening sweet I know but I'm a sucker for sweet and traditional. (Also, can I just interject here that Mr. CT has called me every day for the past five days? More than Mr. Hong Kong ever did...not that I'm here to compare men/relationships)

My concern is that he's nearly 3,000 miles away. I feel that I'm developing a pattern of falling for non-local men so that I don't have to worry about the person-to-person closeness/intimacy. 

Yes, I found him on a website for people who are and prefer plus size folks....
Yes, he's expressed the fact that I am very much his type (both mentally and physically)....
Yes, he is very much my type (mentally and physically -  within the limitations of what we know about each other at this point)....but that's just my point! 

Why couldn't I find a man "my type" here in Portland? 
Why am I repulsed, time and time again,
by the men who express interest in me locally? 

Am I being too picky? 
Am I being not picky enough?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To an Amazing Woman

She can deal with stress and carry heavy burdens. 

She smiles when she feels like screaming, and she sings when she feels like crying. 

She cries when she's happy and laughs when she's afraid. 

Her love is unconditional. 

 There's only one thing wrong with her...She forgets what she's worth! 

Today is 'love u day.' 

Pass this to every beautiful woman you know. 
Remind her that she's unique. 

I love you girl. 

Tell ten crazy girlfriends you love them, thinking of you! 


Monday, July 18, 2011

Love of My Life - Runner Up

I came across a blog the other day - thanks to one of my readers - and it's definitely lit something inside of me. 

The topic is having a "Backup-Husband"

Now let me clarify. This is not in the if my marriage fails I have someone to fall back on and jump right into another relationship. This is more in the sense that "I become an old spinster and to make sure I don't die alone" backup spouse.

Maybe because I'm 1 1/2 hears from being thirty and recently finding myself single (again). 

Maybe because more and more of my friends are getting married and having babies (in many cases baby #2 and #3). 

But the idea of never meeting "the one" (or worse having let "the one" get away) and needing/wanting a "back up" scares me.

Not so much I lose sleep at night. Or am going to be calling my ex-boyfriends and single guy friends asking them to be my backup husband. (Although, yes, I have thought about and know who I'd ask if I ever find myself in need of back up sperm...but that's a different blog).

Something about having a back up husband just makes me feel worse (about myself) than thinking I'll never meet "Mr Right". I want to spend my life with my best friend but I don't want that best friend to be coerced into being with me.

I don't think I would ever want to be someones back up any more than ask someone to be mine. I'd feel second hand. Like your permanent doormat. If we don't want to be together now why would we want to be together in ten or twenty years?

However, my best friend (of about 20 years) and I have had a plan for years that when we're old and tired of our husbands we'll "suddenly become widowed" (*wink wink*) and then move in together to raise pug dogs. 

Now that's my idea of a "backup spouse"!!

But I'd like to know what other people think of this idea. Am I alone in feeling that I'd be settling for 2nd best (or that I'd be someones 2nd best).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Dinners

I was raised with predetermining the weeks menus prior to going out and grocery shopping. Even now as an adult come Wednesday/Thursday it's time to sit down, plot out the weeks menus and create the shopping list from there. 

Today is Thursday.
Time for another batch of menus.

After a while I feel like I'm eating the same 7-10 meals in rotation. So I'm always looking for new menu ideas (and then crossing my fingers I can get the family to even toy with the idea let alone eat it).

Here are two dishes I just feel in love with, when reading the recipe. Now to try and subject the family to them. 

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Food Photography

Carnitas de Pollo

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Food Photography

Homemade bbq pork (boneless) ribs, salad & naan.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

365 day food challene

Farmer's Markets are a great place to find a super yummy lunch!

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Friday, July 8, 2011

365 Day Photo Challenge

I've been feeling a tad stagnant in my artistic side lately and have been toying around with the idea of a 365 day photo challenge. I recently completed a 30 day challenge on facebook and found it difficult to post a picture based off the assigned "theme" as it were. But leaving it as open ended as "just take a picture" wasn't what I was looking for either.

So why not combine my fascination with food and this idea of a 365 day photo challenge? So I thought I'd use this blog as a basis for posting the pictures.

Don't worry. I still plan on posting reviews, photos, recipes, etc. But will now (also) be taking a picture every day of a meal, beverage, food at the store, etc. And posting it here. Understandably there will be (for a while) some gaps in days. Since my only computer (with photo editing options) is at work the weekend pictures won't be edited and posted until Mondays.

So here's my first day photo challenge. I was running late this morning so instead of my normal Starbucks run I grabbed an Adina organics iced coffee from the bookstore (it was better than yesterdays other organic coffee drink I had from them).

Since this is the only thing I've consumed today (that was around for me to take a picture of) here we go:

photo editing done on

First Date - Revisited

Okay. So upon reflection maybe I was a little harsh and rash in the blog I wrote last night and just recently posted. 

It was a first date and on the grand scheme of first dates it wasn't that bad. 

He wasn't creepy. He didn't try to stiff me for his part of the bill. He didn't ask me to fart on/for him. It could have been much worse. 

But in the end I felt like I was on a date with my high school math teacher. Okay so my high school math teachers were a woman and a 60 year old man with long nails and shirts made of table maybe I wasn't on a date w/ my high school math teacher... 

Anyway, despite the conversation having few awkward silences, him having a not-so-bad personality or just wasn't what I was looking for. 

I don't expect prince charming or a knight in shinning armour...but I do expect a clean shirt, some level of chivalry and a few (small) sparks.

First Date - Mission Accomplished?

The following was written my my way home last night from my first "first date" in forever. 

*           *            *

For anyone reading this who may have a first date in their future, I have a few of my own "do nots" for you....
  • Do not be afraid to be over dressed. 
  • Do not interrupt her while she's talking. 
  • Do not make her buy her own drinks if YOU asked HER out. (This goes the other way around too!).
  • Do not talk about dying relatives.
  • Do not ask your date if she wants kids some day (its too early in the "relationship"). 
  • Do not ask if you've caught her on the rebound. 
  • And most of all do not leave the house without brushing your teeth.

Now let me start off by saying it was good to "get back on the horse". The first time after a break up is the hardest. And while I'm glad I got it done and over with on some level it was a complete BUST! 

So where to start? 

Maybe I'm a little old fashioned but I feel like when I ask you "Where do you want to go?" you should have an opinion

He asked me out and just kept saying "wherever you want to go" but even after I narrowed it down to two locations STILL couldn't tell me which he preferred. I even recommended he check out the websites - this might have also helped him realize old faded jeans, stained t-shirt and running shoes was going to make him look under dressed. It was a first date, I didn't pick a place (and yes, I eventually picked where we went) with a dress code but wear a button down shirt or at least one that fits and isn't stained! 

Before I left for my date I mentioned being so nervous I could throw up - a friend recommended hitting my date's shoes and not his tie (because a tie is harder to clean). Well there was no tie and his sneakers looked like someone else had beat me to the vomiting. 

Okay, attire aside (because we didn't discuss clothing quality/expectations before the date)...can we talk about bad breath and yellow stained teeth? Can we talk about not using the word "prick" or the phrase "like know not African American but real Africa" when describing stretched earlobes, using air quotes while talking about his sister's Life Partner or talking about his dying brother in a flippant "he's a smoker" manner.

Gentleman (and Ladies) let me insert this - sometimes when people (i.e., me) are nervous they talk.  Talking doesn't equal "not nervous" and thus do not interrupt your date to say "You aren't nervous". 

It is also natural for a conversation to flow from topic to topic and change direction. It is not okay to cut the other person off and say "Well back to what you asked me a few minutes ago..." It's rude and makes the person (me) feel like what they (I'm) saying is unimportant and not worth hearing. 

Yes, I have my first "first date" under my belt. However if it did anything it reaffirmed my belief in:

1) Long Distance Relationships can and are a good thing
2) Meeting single Portland men online isn't for me.
3) Breaking up with my ex might have been the worse thing I could have ever done.

I'm going to bed now regretting the past few months and wishing I could wash the date out of my mind.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First Date

I haven't been on a "first date" in I don't even know how many years. If I thought I was rusty at "dating" in general the "first date" is a catastrophe waiting to happen....and here's my chance (to either prove myself right or wrong). Tonight I have a "first date". 

I'm not even sure how or when I was asked. I was emailing with a local guy back and forth a tad and then next thing I knew we were talking about where to meet up after work. I even asked "are you asking me out?" 

I of course did it in a fun and flirtatious manner to hid the fact I was perplexed beyond belief.

But he did. And we're going out...tonight. 

In the past 24 hours I have been trying to absorb as much "dating advice" and "first date tips" from friends as I can. Of course the answer is usually the same "Just be yourself."

Yea, yea. I get it. Be myself. Who do you think I'm going to be? Have I ever come across as someone to show up for dinner in a big floppy hat and giant sunglasses pretending to be someone I'm not? Do I seem the type to suddenly develop a split personality and the "other" is allowed to come out and play at drinks tonight?

Luckily one of my bff's has my best interest at heart. I was given a list of do's and don'ts. 

Do show up early so he's looking for me not vice verse.
Don't have more than one drink.
Do wear something cute but not revealing.
Don't talk about yourself all night long - make him talk some too.
Do make him pick a few options on where to go but get the final word.
Don't worry if he's late showing up, doesn't mean you were stood up.

I think I got it....hopefully....I mean I've gotten past the feeling like a giant leper....there's no longer a giant knot in my stomach (although I'm sure that feeling will it is now that I've said that). 

I want people to take note. Women can be a bumbling mess before a date. We may saunter in on our heels, swinging our hips in our new black dress with a big smile on our faces but we're just as nervous, just as frightened of rejection. 

My hands are already sweating.....

I'm not going into this with any expectations or hope...but I'm also trying to not go into it full of self doubt and doom. 

I made reservations at a tavern in downtown - classy atmosphere (no sports bars thank you) and a cheap happy hour (I may be a high class broad but I don't need to ask for too much $$$ on the first date...wait until the second or third). 

We've exchanged numbers. 

I've reapplied my face (and deodorant)....I think I'm ready to go.

Here's hoping I don't break a heel on my way through the door.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wizards, Mug shots & Fetishes

Dear Men-Online (Ladies, you can benefit from these lessons too),

I have no problems with online dating; my last relationship started online and I've started the online dating process again. What I do have a problem with is you not understanding that basic human social skills are still needed even if you are picking me up on the internet and not a downtown bar. I understand that you can be anyone or anything you want to be online - however, this doesn't mean you should to be obnoxious, repugnant and downright sleazy!

*          *           *

Tip #1 - when selecting your handle realize what you think is humorous and playful might come across as desperate and slimy. 

Love69yes ...all I see is GetMy#Not Thank you for being open and upfront, however, this handle does not make me warm for your form

Titanic73  makes me think giant mistake and freezing to death in the middle of the Atlantic, not that you have a large penis.

Having the word Wizard in your handle conjures images of a Wolowitz man-child living in his mother's basement.

Tip #2 - Drivers Licenses and mug shots should not be your profile picture.

Please remember you're on these sites to ATTRACT someone not repulse them. Try to smile. Even if you think it's the worst smile ever and you have spinach between your teeth - at least you're smiling. Looking angry and/or constipated is not sexy. 

Oh and a little side tip, don't have all the pictures be of your "guns" and asking me to "look at these pythons".

Tip #3 - Keep your fetishes to yourself until at least our second or third email. There needs to be some element of surprise between us doesn't there?

Asking me "would you fart for me?" is not a pick up line I'm accustomed too....Telling me you consider yourself an "Encourager" and not a "Feeder" and then saying "We'll see" when I tell you I'm not interested in gaining weight for your sexual pleasure..... 

These are perhaps not openers.

However, these are just my personal preferences and if they've worked for you up to this point well than perhaps I'm the one who needs to rethink online dating. 

PS. When a woman asks you "What's your name?" the proper response is not "Nice rack."

Expired Membership?

It feels like forever since I've been on the "dating scene" and I'm feeling a tad rusty.

It is certainly not like riding a bicycle!

...Although perhaps it is, I never could keep my balance and ride further than a few feet without either crashing into a fence or going head over heels into a bush.

But here I am back on the horse (how many analogies can I put into one blog?); having recently signed onto a dating site (more on that later)

The friends I have talked to about me rejoining the world of singles have all been supportive in their own ways. Some tell me not to rush things (Mr. Hong Kong and I have only been split up a month) while others are eager to play wing(wo)man and devil on my shoulder. The one thing they all have in common is wanting to make sure I do what I need to do for myself.

And I am.

Part of me is wanting to just connect with someone on some level.

Get a drink after work...
Cuddle while watching a movie...
Hold hands while walking down by the river...

I need to remind myself that Mr. Hong Kong wasn't/isn't my last chance for happiness.

...I know that sounds self-deprecating and awful but we all have those moments of doubt after a break up. When we worry that we just let "the one" slip through our fingers.

So here I am, a month later, trying to figure out how to be 'single'.

I don't mean the "be happy being alone" type of single. I mean the not in a long term, serious, monogamous relationship type single.

I'm just not sure I know how....?

You know what it feels like. It's like that scene in MIB2 where Tommy Lee Jones character goes to the video rental place to find out he never used his membership card, put a video on hold but never check it out....


Except I feel like my membership card has expired and I'm pretty sure I never put anything on hold.