Love & Hate: People Have Strong Feelings for Gwyneth Paltrow…Ramble

As a Gwyneth fan I am glad that one of my most read posts to date has been “In Defense of Gwyneth…”. I was really excited when her new, healthy cook book It’s All Good came out April 9th and even more so, when I went to the book signing at William-Sonoma. There were no haters with bitchforks waiting to throw quinoa pies at the golden goddess, in fact it was the best dressed crowd I have ever seen at a book signing and there was so much love and appreciation for the Oscar winning actress I felt I had found my people.

It is kind of amusing just how polarizing the media is in their portrayal of Gwyneth. Last week she was named by Us Magazine the number one most hated celebrity – now this is  a list with Kim Kardashian at number ten and Chris Brown at number twenty. Should GP choose to assault someone with a large ass she will apparently slide off that list. Note: this was also two weeks after her new book made the NY Times Best Seller list.

Today People Magazine named Gwyneth “The Most Beautiful Woman In the World”. So is it because she is so beautiful that she is so hated? Wow even the ‘Mean Girls’ were less transparent! When Gwyneth visited Dr. Oz he asked her if it bothered her journalists had taken sentences out of her book to twist and call her a bad mother, the good natured health fanantic had to laugh and say no, because those people obviously don’t know her personally. That’s a pretty healthy outlook.

I view GOOP as GP’s outlet for sharing tidbits and giving insight and access to her contacts. I thanked her for sharing her recipes and yep, believe it or not folks there are items in the newsletter you can make yourself for under five dollars like a sugar scrub. Last week’s newsletter had tips from the butler at the Four Seasons who uses such dollar store products like ammonia and the Mr. Clean erasers to keep things shiny. You could say the elitist part is getting cleaning tips from him, but the solutions are quite cost effective.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletters filled with tips on clean eating and juiciing and recipes have helped me take a whole new outlook to food and the way I consume it. As a result I’ve lost thirty pounds. So thank you Gwyneth for your guidance. I needed someone to point me in the right direction.



Getting GOOP’y about Gwyneth…Ramble

Gwyneth Paltrow’s cook book is finally out and while foodie sites like are hating (ok to be fair the recipe for oatmeal – a cup of oats, add your favorite toppings is a bit of a no brainer), but the stories about her family life and how food allows them to gather and enjoy each other is charming.

I love me some Gwyneth so I was excited to have her sign a cook book for me. Kudos to Gwyneth for allowing the staff to take photos with people’s cameras, but holla, dude took photos just of Gwyneth, not me. Take a look:

It's my favorite Golden Goddess!

I’m happy to see that I got GP to smile. I gave her a CD since she enriches my life so even though I’m not “in the photo” she does have her hand on it. (Yes, I know I’m acting like a schoolgirl but who’s life doesn’t need a glamourous influence?) She was very sweet and it was like, wow, they were not rushing us along like happens with most of these types of events so thank you Gwyneth. You are a classy lady and I loved seeing the black sharpie on your hand as you autographed your beautiful book!

How sweet, she is petting the CD I gave her!

Fortunately my fabulous friend @brianistuft was able to capture how adorable I look from behind talking to GP.

Can you sign it to "my BFF"? Bwahaha.

Despite working in entertainment and having been exposed to tons of famous people, it was exciting for me to finally be talking directly to Gwyneth and have her attention for a minute. Here’s what I forgot to say to Gwyneth:
-Could you add “Watch out for the randoms!” to your signature?
-I’m going to Nashville and I’m testing your GOOP newsletters vs. a local!
-Could you adopt me? I know you have a fabulous Asian lady who is probably your PR person, but I’m more fun.

Four and Twenty Black Birds…Ramble

As children we often get fixated on one particular story, that perhaps shapes our lives without us even knowing it, until, as adults we rediscover it reading it to the young lives that surround us. Remember this one?

Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?

Imagine opening that pie for real! What if the blackbirds were just a delightful name of a pie shop that was delicious and lured you there with a slogan like:

Did you say PIE?!

Mmm. A certain pregnant person emailed me about the existence of this magical pie shop, Four and Twenty Blackbirds,  on the corner of 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn. I replied it looked good. She said I should go and retrieve such a pie for the holidays. The holiday pies could only be ordered online at a price of $35 plus tax, no delivery and no shipping. In order to commit to such a pie, it had to be deemed worthy. I rushed over last Sunday to sample the Salted Carmel Apple Pie only to find it had sold out from the time I called to my turn in for pie. A woman next to me confessed she and her daughter had driven up from South Carolina for that particular pie and were ready to cry. Um, hello you might get them to reserve you the pie and maybe you should order ahead before making that kind of a journey.

I opted instead for the Salted Honey Pie, which, upon first taste, had @jrjeffrey screaming “Shut the F#$ up!” It was like nothing either one of us had ever tasted before and at the point of purchase, I had a moment of doubt which evaporated into a cloud of instead addiction! We also split a piece of the Cranberry Sage Pie for a completely different savory taste. That Salted Honey Pie ruined me and when it was time to pick up the regular pie last Wednesday I decided to get a few slices to share at the office. Oh yeah, the pies at 24 Black Birds are seasonal and made to order. By the time we ordered Thursday and Friday (23rd & 24th) were already sold out so I got up on birthday at drove over to make my 8AM pick up time.

You had me at Chocolate Pecan Pie!

Salted Honey Pie, I said, hmm, you are divine but let me get a slice of the pie I’m picking up and add Chocolate Pecan Pie to as well. Oh my Lord! These two sisters, Emily and Melissa,  who own the shop are fantastic, friendly and talented.

As for that Salted Caramel Pie, it was a huge hit this week and I think there may be a new tradition at the table:

Salted Carmel Apple Pie, no blackbirds inside


5 Questions with @AmyBlogsChow…Ramble

Amy sipping on hot cocoa

Many of us were not born with the natural gift of being able to magically combine ingredients in a tasty way. We’re a modern world full of gadgetry where technology is now ubiquitous so skills like cooking are not always our first priority when it’s easy enough to eat on the go.

@AmyBlogsChow skips overwhelming instructions, caters to the urban dweller and make food easy and fun. She loves food but admittedly is not a chef so instead she created a video series where she gets those who are culinary masters to provide Stupidly Simple Snacks. Mmm! Delish.

Amy knows her food. She is tapped into food trends and provides the inside scoop with the most tantalizing photographs to accompany her words.

Location: Quito, Ecuador right now but usually New York City
Vocation: Freelance writer-food blogger
Sign: Aries

On the web:

1) Your blog has the most brilliant, colorful photographs that make the food come to life. What is your approach to capturing a good image?

I swear by natural light and my camera’s macro-focus. For every twenty photos, I love one, so I take many, many photos. Also, the type of camera makes a big difference. I use a Canon Powershot G10, which has some of the functions of an SLR camera, but is small enough to fit in a really big pocket.

2) What were two of your tips at the recent TechMunch during Internet Week (NYC) for Food Blogging?

There’s a lot of emphasis on attracting readers, but I talked about the importance of keeping readers engaged once they’re on your website. Linking to older posts and using tools like LinkWithin are good starts to prolonging a visitor’s stay. Also, I know that my Stupidly Simple Snack videos attract the most traffic, so I suggested that bloggers post (more) videos!

3) What are your favorite ingredients you picked up from your guests through your Stupidly Simple Snacks webisodes series?

I really love the boozy caramel sauce that I made with my friend Keavy Landreth who owns Kumquat Cupcakery. I use it on everything – sliced bananas, ice cream, cake, brownies, etc. You might want to keep it in a labeled jar though. My boyfriend thought it was apple butter and was pretty disappointed to find out it wasn’t once he slathered it on his biscuit and eggs.

(Grrlgenius note: Keavy has the best company photo headshot on her homepage! Cupcakes yum!)

4) What is your advice for people who are slightly intimidated by the kitchen?

Watch someone else do it first. I learn by example and then by doing, so cooking classes are great too. Maybe take several classes.

5) You’ve tweeted that you get nervous speaking in front of large crowds. Do you think it’s essential to be successful as a blogger to not only write, but develop in-person style for video/interviews/public speaking?

It’s not essential – I know some successful bloggers who are uncomfortable chatting with strangers and in groups. But, like in most jobs, it definitely helps to articulate yourself well, not only on the computer screen and on paper but in person too.

Chicago Has It Going On…Ramble

Spontaneous getaways can be the ideal pick me up! I decided last Wednesday to come to Chicago for the weekend. There was so much going on in New York- Fashion Week, The US Open, San Genaro Festival (yes we forgot all about it until we ran into folks with powdered sugar on their faces didn’t we?), and those MTV VMA’s which added to the frenzy. When it was suggested to get a change of scene in Chicago, I said why not?

Our weekend got off to a whimsical start with dinner in Andersonville at Hamburger Mary’s.

The shoe may not be 'this season' but it is a fun way to serve a bill.
The shoe may not be 'this season' but it is a fun way to serve a bill.

A friend of mine hooked me up, putting me on invite list to see the men of Snow Patrol spin on Friday night at Underground in Chicago from 12-4 A.M. There’s a restaurant in my hometown which has the slogan ‘where mountain men and debutantes meet.’ The slogan for Underground should be ‘where business man and dirty, dirty ho’s exchange bodily fluids.’ The club is poorly laid out with two bars on one side, VIP tables to the left and down the center (so basically all seating) It was seriously a disgusting display of boney hoochie mamas unabashedly thrusting their way in all directions.

Honey, this is why I’m not a fan of clubs so I haven’t been in one in ages but when did club fashion include blazers? Half the men were wearing blazers and one was suede. It was 78 degrees outside! One of the folks from the record label who is a local, was horrified. She put up a disclaimer of responsibility for the club choice. When conversation turned to some poser trying to claim he owned the bar, she was happy to confirm it is owned by a corporation.

Underground certainly did know how to treat the clients trying to charge guestlisters $20 a head. Seriously? The best part is their website claims every guest is a VIP. Right. We decided to have a little fun with the fiasco that we were in, all for the love of Snow Patrol!

Me: You co-own this with Oprah don’t you?
Coolchick: I am Oprah. That’s just a costume I wear on the show.
Me: That’s such a great plan. You can check up on your investments without anyone harassing you.
Coolchick: It ….

She was then abducted by a guy wearing a suit. Of course! He had the ‘Men In Black’ uniform on complete with sunglasses and a neon green string to give people something to talk about other then the drunkards playing bumper cars with the clientele.

Snow Patrol need liquid courage to deal with Underground's patrons.
Snow Patrol need liquid courage to deal with Underground's patrons.

My favorite club-goer kept trying to get Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol to high-five him from the DJ booth every time he was spinning. Gary was a good sport as is his nature, yet you can see for yourself, the fellas needed some drinks to get through the night.

We set out Saturday morning in search of a recovery breakfast to clear away all remanents of underground from our head.

My sunglasses protect me from the sun & you from my bags!
My sunglasses protect me from the sun & you from my bags!

My sister is a champion who knows how to get things done!

What's my style? FABULOUS!
What's my style? FABULOUS!

Shopping in Wicker Park (no, not inspired by the Josh Harnett film, as if!) to check out one of my favorite shoe stores, John Fluevog was first on the agenda. Hello! This store was full, as usual, of attractive salesman ready to service, um, serve us a helping of funky footwear. Unfortunately we missed the annual sale by a week but they always have items on their website.

Post a fierce white fall hat purchase at Niche, we headed to
Beta Boutique where *everyday is a sample sale. The * part refers to them only being open Thursday- Sunday. Either way, my sister and I both scored gorgeous tops and got the approval of the beta fish (Waffles and Janice) in the dressing rooms. I was happy to nab a copy of CS magazine at the entrance with Eric Bana on the cover in a suit. Bantastic!

We continued the afternoon indulging in High Tea Service at The Drake Hotel. For $29 a piece, it is a worthwhile retreat from the every day hub bub of life.

Why yes that is a cream puff in the form of a SWAN!
Why yes that is a cream puff in the form of a SWAN!

It was so stunning in the tea room with a harpist playing and the enormous fountain, with flowers at the center, we quickly turned our tea into a mini photo shoot.

cq's 2009 chitown visit 015

A night with Chicago friends means someone is cooking. And trust me, folks do not mess around. They use strainers to puree rasberries to cover your dessert. Foodie heaven.

Mmm, wanna be my personal chef?
Mmm, wanna be my personal chef?

We enjoyed a roof deck and a bottle of Le Volte wine ‘with a hint of diesel’ thus proving it to be concocted by he who shall not be named, Lord Voldemort.

Sunday is saved for the Church right? Art museums are where my prayers get answered and in this case The Art Institute of Chicago. My favorite modern artist is Cy Twombly. His exhibition Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Pieces 2000-2007 which closed today, not in October as the Art Institute’s website proclaimed and it was reason enough to hop on a plane. Was it worth it? Are you kidding me?

This is how I pray in the summer (to steal a line from Robbie Williams) and actually, every other time I’m in a museum. I seek out modern art hoping to catch some time with Mr. T (wombly.) Lucky me, eight of his sculptures are on display in New York beginning this week at the Gagosian Gallery!

Peony Blossom Painting
Peony based on Japanese Hiku

I felt so refreshed in joy after seeing the exhibit I had to go back by myself for a few minutes to take in the different themes, drinking it all. Chicago, just like Barcelona, is a city which truly supports art and music, dedicating so many spaces for the public to be exposed to it. The Target sponsored free hours are Thursday 5-8. I almost went bankrupt in the gift shop since I’ve never before found any books on Mr. Twombly and they were in abundance.

Sunday night we left for the preacher, BONO. These seats were made possible by some really amazing peeps. I have to admit, I was extremely excited to be able to take my sister to see Snow Patrol. I introduced her to their music and have seen them seven times. I can’t believe she has never seen them.

We got to Soldier Field very excited. It holds 61,500 people! The sensation of seeing it packed out and then the field covered with standing fans, filled us with awe. At 8:23 I even commented that I had never seen this many people arrive for the opening band. Snow Patrol was going to kill!

Me and Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol last time they toured. Sigh!
Me and Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol last time they toured. Sigh!

A few minutes later the lights went down, flashing of digital numbers commenced and Larry Mullen walks out much to our surprize. Um, he’s not in Snow Patrol! A look at the tickets revealed a 7 P.M. start time, not 8….oh no. We laughed and then enjoyed the incredible show that had begun.

Best Seats in Soldier Field!
Best Seats in Soldier Field!

Yeah, as in U2‘s lead singer. He’s quite the little showman if you get to see it. Jumping up and down to : Beautiful Day, Elevation, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For….the list goes on and on, was an incredible lift to my spirit. One of the highlights was when Bono leaned over a railing and scooped up a child in attendence. We could only imagine the parental units:
Mother: Bono stole my child!
Dad: Well, it’s worth it, it’s Bono!!!!

Stranger Danger?
Stranger Danger?
Hi, my name is Bono
Hi, my name is Bono

Let us live life in the City of Blinding Lights! Dancing commenced. The U2 spaceship provided a pathway to musical heaven!

U2 dreams big landing their 360 spaceship at our feet
U2 dreams big landing their 360 spaceship at our feet

Ah, lest we not forget the rest of the fellas! In fact, The Edge is my favorite member of U2. Larry and Adam you guys rock too.

Musical Church is in session!
Musical Church is in session!

The recipe for a perfect weekend? Sun, good company, art & music. Thank you Chicago, you are an absolutely charming destination!

Oh you look so beautiful tonight, why thank you U2!
Oh you look so beautiful tonight, why thank you U2!

Additional Random Items on Chicago:
1) The metro is $2.25 a ride, $2 for the bus
2) Don’t swim the beach water has some parasite in it left over from slaughterhouse days, go sailing instead!
3) There are sculptures everywhere so look out when you are walking around, you may miss a Picasso.
4) When we got to Damen station in Wicker Park, I made the SNL Da Bears joke as in Daaaa men. Don’t do that if asking for directions. It’s just a joke folks.

Two great brunch places:
Wishbone which has 3 locations. Brunch is delicious and they do believe in fantastic cocktails like the Mr. Funky. Open air seating with a really tremendous sense of fun.

Eleven City Diner an old school diner with subway tile decor. They serve up Junior’s Cheesecake (yeah Brooklyn!) and a fantastic cup of joe. It’s crazy on the weekends so save it for a weekday.

In Defense of Gwyneth Paltrow & Her GOOP…Ramble

“Fuck the haters!” Gwyneth Paltrow said in the March issue of British Elle. “I saw this blog of people writing horrible things about me and for a second your ego is so wounded … How could people hate me, my intentions or what I’m trying to do? I’m a good person and I’m trying to put good things into the world.”

Hey Gwynnie, that’s not exactly the motto of your lifestyle website, GOOP, “nourish the inner spirit.” Yet, I can’t help think that it is. Tell those haters to shove it because honey, you have an Oscar. Why are all these people hating on Gwyneth? Yes, she says high brow pretentious things all the time, but I take pure joy in hearing them. People often wonder is she in on the joke?  I think she is the mastermind of the joke. Perhaps, like one of my boyfriends you feel you need a dictionary to understand her.  We’re too damn sensitive all the time and she calls us, America out on it. Gwyneth has an opinion and she’s not afraid to speak her mind.

I get asked ad nauseum why exactly I like her. According to my sister, I’m the only one she knows who likes Gwyneth. She’s wrong, Dr. Mom likes her too! As I do seem to always like the esoteric aka ‘difficult’ ones, I’ll give you insights into why I get a kick out of Gwyneth.

Gwyneth had a number one hit for singing ‘Cruisin’ with Huey Lewis. Yes, it was in Australia, who also are the only country to release The Hoff ‘Get Into My Car’…..but also the home of INXS, Jimmy Barnes (his daughter Eliza is the muse of Liam Finn), John Farnham, and of course, hello the one and only Eric Bana. Eric deserves his own ramble so I’ll move on now.

Which she and hubbie, Chris Martin sang at a friend’s wedding. She sounds vocally better than CMartin on this one (vocal imperfections make me, yeah love Coldplay!)

She’s married to the aforementioned Chris Martin, another person people seem to think is far too serious. Ricky Gervais’ interview with Chris sheds some light on that one:

and her man beats up the paparazzi for her when she’s been in hospital for fasting too much:

Oh, you thought I was going to say he also wrote a number one hit “Fix You” that is now a Coldplay classic? Well, yeah that too. He proves in this bit, that he rushes home for Gwyneth’s cooking.

Which takes us to Gwyneth’s cooking videos on GOOP. Who doesn’t need to know how to properly debone a chicken?

Not only did I find that video useful and I want to make some yummy chicken, I dearly love to laugh just like Elizabeth Bennett in ‘Pride & Prejudice.’ GP’s first cooking video took a lot of heat and even sparked this hilarious send up on

and Little Britain

If you can inspire in song and laughter how bad can you be?

Still not convinced? She let’s her kids listen to Uncle Jay-Z “99 Problems.” No? How about GP went on Conan with actual GOOP all over her fabulous legs? Thanks Gwynnie for posting exercise videos from your personal trainer so we can all try to get our legs looking that fabulous.

Gwynnie is just an Oscar winner trying to give back. She was charming in ‘Emma’ and renewed my love for that book. I thought Miramax should’ve campaigned for Joseph Fiennes’ eyes to win for ‘Shakespeare in Love’ but GP made it up to him by getting him cast in ‘Running With Scissors.’ GP is good to her friends, who mostly happen to be famous. How could they not? She grew up with a father who was a director and Blythe Danner for a mother? Even her brother, Jake is now a director.

 (Photo: Jenny Gage & Tom Betterton)
(Photo: Jenny Gage & Tom Betterton)

I adore Gwyneth because a) her line in ‘A Perfect Murder’ delivered with disdain: “That’s not happiness to see me.” Response:”Try surprise.” b) dig the reading reccomendations and advice through GOOP, which lead me to ‘Drink, Pray, F@ck’ which sends up the horrid whine, whinge, whine and repeat boo hoo I’m the victim book being made into a movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ c) admire her for being able to wear those wonderful ankle breakers. She was the first one photographed in them and now I bet you have some version of that in your wardrobe as a must d) she gets to make babies with Chris Martin e) when she gets a mother-daughter photo, it’s taken by Annie Liebovitz

(Photo: Annie Liebovitz)
(Photo: Annie Liebovitz)

I’m also really glad that GP recently said she wasn’t going to start making kids films in lieu of accepting creative movie roles that speak to her. It’s annoying how parenthood has done that for some stars who used to be ‘edgy.’ People seriously want to bend the truth and take it out of context that she’s against kids’ films are seriously just haters. More press for Gwynnie, better movies for us! Go GP! (p.s. I picked that quote link since it links to an OLD! photo of Coldplay. Hahaha.)

Finally, I got a cheap thrill out of the fact I turned my friend Brian onto loving Gwyneth. He now goes around qualifying people with “she’s so not fabulous, she’s not being followed by GOOP on twitter.” In closing, it’s because GP is not Flawless, makes her appealing to me. I also have a few suggestions to give her for increasing GOOP’s traffic but it seems she’s already got Corporate America knocking on her door to partner with her so I’ll have to save that for the day when I either get to interview her or vice versa. GP let’s get together to do some cooking. I’ll introduce you to pre-marinated salmon from Trader Joe’s and help you deal with your reconstruction hassles in London. You can let me wear your accessories and do my Chris Martin dancing impression. It’s about perfect for a person who with one good ankle. Nourish that inner funnybone!

29 October update: Great quote from GP on the red carpet last night only proving my point Gwyneth is fabulousity personified with a great sense of humor.

“Oh we love movies at our house, and we get everything. Everything! Every children’s movie, every documentary, every drama, every indie, every porn–just kidding about the porn!” –Gwyneth Paltrow on her love of all film genres during the Valentino: The Last Emperor DVD launch party last night in New York. *from Fashion Week Daily