In Defense Of GOOP (And Other Celebrity Lifestyle Blogs)
So in the most exciting news about former Gossip Girl stars since Leighton Meester started dating Adam Brody, Blake Lively is now starting a “life curating” business. The Internet, weary of GOOP, is judging this intensely, but I’m thrilled about it. Blake, if you’re reading this, all you have to do is tell me what conditioner you use, and I’ll consider your website worthwhile. Truth be told, I’m actually pretty excited to see what products/experiences/whatever Blake thinks my life needs in order to be curated. The girl has the best headsuit in Hollywood and she’s married to Ryan Reynolds, so methinks she maybe knows a thing or two about things one’s life should have.
That said, I can see where the criticisms of celebrity “lifestyle blogs” come from. I get that the average American cannot afford the $550 sweaters that Gwyneth Paltrow believes we can’t live without. This makes $70 workout clothes designed by Kate Hudson seem downright affordable in comparison. (Seriously, GOOP is truly the gold standard of these websites; her prices make spending $10 for shampoo created by Jessica Alba seem like an okay life choice.) Sure, these people have not eaten a meal that wasn’t organic in years. Yes, they have personal trainers on-call while the rest of us debate whether or not our gym membership is really worth $30 a month. The majority of my wardrobe is $20 dresses from Target, not couture given to me by my good friend Valentino.
Despite the complete lack of realism and the sometimes crazy price tags, I absolutely adore celebrity lifestyle blogs. Because here’s the thing – these blogs are ridiculous, but they’re not in your face. These celebrities are selling products, sure, but they’re not on billboards or TV with the ubiquity of McDonald’s or Old Navy. They’re just quietly writing their blog posts about $200 throw blankets, and you can choose to read about them if you want to. And I want to! I don’t know why, but I really enjoy knowing that I can get salt freshly made from unicorn tears for the low, low price of $1000 per grain. I’m happy to read about that time you cooked with your good friend Mario Batali, and then immediately afterward worked out with your other good friend Tracy Anderson. I love reading about things so over the top they’re not even aspirational anymore, they’re just entertaining.
Of course, there’s a much more basic reason I love reading these sorts of websites: I have a pretty big fear of picking out stuff. Mostly, I don’t trust my own taste (and I shouldn’t; my mother and sister have repeatedly threatened to sign me up for What Not To Wear; now that I’m decorating my apartment friends have had to actively tell me that I’m no longer allowed to shop at PBTeen). Celebrities, on the other hand, can pay a whole bunch of people to tell them what’s nice, so if they’re recommending it, I tend to trust it.
So if you, like me, love reading about really nice stuff you may or not ever be able to afford, let me run down some of my favorite lifestyle websites (and some I’ve just discovered but am excited to start reading):
GOOP, by Gwyneth Paltrow: Like I said, this is the standard by which all other celeb lifestyle blogs should be judging themselves. The design of the site is clean, you can buy awesome stuff like $850 sweatshirts, the tagline used to be “nourish the inner aspect.” I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds like something I should be doing.
Things I’ve Bought That I Love, by Mindy Kaling: This is my all time favorite celebrity blog, ever. I started reading it back before Mindy got super famous and was still just that random girl on The Office, and I was like “This blog is hilarious! Someone should really give her her own show.” (Be careful what you wish for; now that she has a show she no longer blogs, and now I don’t know what stuff to buy.) She recommends really reasonable and awesome stuff – J. Crew shirts, sour candies, and places to get a good breakfast in NYC and LA. Sure, she’ll also loves Louboutins, and I love being able to pay my mortgage, but that’s basically the only difference between us.
Elizabeth Banks: So I just discovered this one, and I have to say, I’m looking forward to reading more. It’s Elizabeth’s website, but has sort of a bloggy format. There’s lots of info on The Hunger Games, which is great, but also recipes, book recommendations, and workouts.
The Kind Life, by Alicia Silverstone: If you’re into veganism, this is legitimately a great website to check out. While it is based on Alicia’s book The Kind Diet, there’s no hard sell; just delicious looking recipes, and info on animals and eco-friendly living. Who would have expected all this from Cher Horowitz?
BeyHive, by Beyonce: Want to know what Beyonce’s reading these days? You can find out on this site, which is fun and way more visual than a lot of others (think pictures instead of lengthy blog posts). Plus, no one’s trying to sell you anything, you’ll just get to see things like what artists or individuals are currently inspiring Beyonce.
Heidi Klum: Much of this blog is just generic “women’s lifestyle” content (nothing wrong with it, but also nothing special; I would really appreciate more Tim Gunn). I do enjoy the “I Love” section, which features products Heidi…loves. Sure, some of it is from her New Balance line, but some of it is lip gloss in a container shaped like a macaron, which I obviously need to get immediately.
So that’s what I’ll be reading while I wait with bated breath for Blake to launch her site. I will also be using this time to save up my money, as I’m guessing living the Lively life won’t come cheap.