Week in Review: 3/25-3/31

My Mom!

Let’s review all the juicy beauty discussions we had this week:

Come on Hollywood, the beauties of the silver screen don’t get uglier as they age! Weekend Observations: They Don’t Get Uglier

When objects of death become sculptures of beauty Pic of the Week: Beauty Created from Objects of Death

Karen has a new gig …yay!  But its been tough for her to post so we’ll hear from her another week.

To read or not to read?  That is the question.  What do we do with Fairy Tales and our girls? Should we Ban Fairy Tales?  Our Perspective

Check out more perspective on beauty More to Love: Additions to the Reading List

Happy Birthday mommy!

More to Love: Additions to the Reading List


Demi Moore in NEw Helena Rubenstein Campaign


Some really interesting beauty reading we found…take a look!

  • British invasion of beauty brands…why do you think that is?


  • WSJ recognizes the marketplace premium placed on beauty…we coulda told ya that!


  • Two women give up make-up to test their inner beauty


  • SXSW stand-out film on beauty


  • Demi Moore looks great in the new Helena Rubenstein ads.  And we want to cheer for her, right?  But they are so photo shopped, its more sad than beautiful


Anything else to add? Comment or tweet us @Beautyskew

Should We Ban Fairy Tales? Our Perspective

I just read a review of a new book, Princess Recovery: A How-To Guide to Raising, Strong Empowered Girls Who Can Create Their Own Happily Afters.  While this isn’t the first critical analysis of fairy tales, based on the review, I think the book gives a refreshing approach to how to deal with these stories in our children’s lives.

I, like this author, struggle a bit with reading fairy tales to my daughter.  Not only are they unrealistic about love, e.g., the prince meets the heroine, immediately falls madly in love, and they live happily ever; but the emphasis on beauty as the heroine’s main virtue is unsettling at best.  I’ve toyed with the idea of throwing the stories away. But either out of sheer laziness or some something deeper I can’t put my finger on, I’ve kept them and read them from time to time.

I haven’t yet read Princess Recovery, but based on the review, I sense that I’m going to dig the author’s approach. Why? Because while she recognizes the issues with fairy tales – and the modern day versions of them, e.g., Kim Kardashian’s life – she doesn’t think the answer is to ban them from our kids’ lives.  Rather we should explain the great aspects of these stories, as well as our problems with them to our kids.  Sure, we may scoff at the quickie nature of Cinderella’s marriage, but we may also applaud her desire to to get herself out of her crappy status in life.

I find this very refreshing.  No matter what we do to shelter our kids, they’re going to be exposed to things we don’t like.  So it’s worthless to ban them.  Instead we need to help our children understand what we like or don’t like about what they’re exposed to, in this case fairy tales.  Not only will we end up raising girls who value themselves based on more than their looks, but we’ll help turn them into critical thinkers too.

 Comment or tweet us @Beautyskew

Pic of the week: Beauty Created from Objects of Death

There’s something about the morbid and macabre …I  can’t turn away from it!  I wrote about this in a post last year (Weekend Observations: Death Becomes Me) after visiting an exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design called Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes Art.

What’s so interesting about this exhibit, is that the artist, Goncalo Mabunda, takes objects of war and pain and turns them into art!  He’s not so much finding beauty in death, than he is honoring the dead and taking these instruments of death out of deadly hands.  He in a CNN piece: “If we destroy the weapons, the same weapon’s not going to kill any more,”


Weekend Observations: They Don’t Get Uglier…

Catherine Deneuve

I was on the eliptical machine trying to burn off some energy (and, more importantly, pounds!) and trying to distract myself with whatever was on the TV.  I ended up watching TV Guide‘s top 50 Sexiest Women in Hollywood.

Total eye candy, even for a chick like me.

While a number of the celebs are still young, some are now in their 60’s and 70’s, e.g., Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda, Catherine Deneuve, etc.  What struck me was the fact that the show only featured the images of them in their younger years!  True, some didn’t continue to act past their 30’s or so, but that’s not the case with all of them!

You can’t argue that these ladies aren’t still gorgeous, even in their later years!

I have to say, it kinda pissed me off!  I get a lot of inspiration from these gals, especially when they age so well (plastic surgery and all).

There should be a beauty contest of the top sexiest women PAST the age of 50!

So there 🙂

Week in Review: 3/18-3/24


Spring has Sprung!

Take a look at what we shared this week @Beautyskew

My 3-month wake-up call Weekend Observations: Getting Into my Groove

The amazing beauty of the High Line buildings Pic of the Week: Behold the Beauty of Industrial NYC

Karen comes to terms with the fact that she’s temporarily fallen off the wagon 30in30 Week 17: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say

Our response to one woman’s year-long promise to avoid mirrors Mirrors Aren’t The Bad Guys

We’ve curated more beauty-in-culture reading for you! More to Love: Additions to the Reading List


More to Love: Additions to the Reading List

Here’s what we curated this week.  Enjoy!

  • Not only do young women feel they’re competing with celebs but with the gorgeous “everyday” women they see on Facebook (All part of the CNN series)


  • Women of color take the reigns on Fashion Star


  • Wow, Anna Wintour gets invited to the White House dinner…why?


  •  Plastic surgery ads may be banned in the U.K.


  • Does stress really “age” you?


Any more to add? Tweet or comment @Beautyskew

Mirrors Aren’t the Bad Guys

A while back I wrote a post about my utter shock that a style and beauty-conscious friend of mine doesn’t own a full length mirror (Weekend Observations: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall).  After delving into the power of mirrors in literature (Sleeping Beauty anyone?) and in our everyday lives, I realized that mirrors may not be the best tool for our self-esteem.  I applauded my friend for relying more on her own interpretation of her appearance than that of a reflection in a mirror staring back at her.

This complex relationship we have with mirrors is felt so strongly by one woman, Kjerstin Gruys, that she’s swearing them off for a year and blogging about it.  ( See “Local Blogger Swears off Mirrors for a Year“).  After writing my earlier post I would have congratulated her.  And I still think that what she’s attempting is no simple feat.

But my feelings about mirrors have altered again.

Why?  Because mirrors aren’t just scary devices that reflect how bad we look.  That’s just our insecurity taking over.

Instead, mirrors can serve as a barometer of our strength, power and potential.  Patti Davis said it best in a More Magazine article I sourced in an earlier post (Why She Posed in the Nude).  When Patti finally decided to change her dire life from that of a scrawny drug addict to a powerful, confident, fit woman, it was her mirror that became her source of inspiration.  It reflected how far she had come to turn herself around.  The healthfulness of her body was a signal of overall health, and every time she viewed it via the mirror, she was reminded and reinforced by it.  Her words:

We bear witness to ourselves in mirrors… Whether we’re clothed or not, the vulnerability is always there — as is the awareness that there is also, deep within us, an internal mirror. We are never completely finished with who we once were, and we meet that person every time we stare at our own reflection.

Over months and years, I did get strong. My body changed, and I took note of the transformations I saw in the mirror. There were anodyne moments of healing when I’d dispel my fears by looking at the musculature of my body. How dare you feel insecure, I told myself — look at the abdominal muscles centering your body; look at your legs, which can run miles and push heavy weights. Look at the power reflected there and feed off that. The body I had once dis-respected, that I had ruined with drugs, was now my therapist.

I’m not saying we should be slaves to mirrors and constantly be checking ourselves out every time we pass an image of ourselves.  That’s just a major waste of time.  But I do believe we shouldn’t shun a view of our physical selves.  We should view our bodies as reflections of our lives.  Our bodies and our internal selves aren’t separated but rather intertwined.  Yes, sometimes we don’t like what we see, but that’s OK, as long as we are prepared to do something about it or come to terms with it somehow.

And if you do like what you see, well, hell, live it up!

Comment or tweet me your thoughts @beautyskew

30IN30 WEEK 17: If you don’t have anything nice to say…

After noticing that I didn’t post last week, Abby emailed me and asked if I was quitting my 30 in 30 project. She was joking, but not that far form the truth. I wasn’t quitting, but I was failing. What better way to deal with my weight gain than complete denial?

 I was ignoring the problem to avoid feeling bad about it . I quit taking my weight,  quit restricting my calories, and quit trying. I almost convinced myself that my clothes were too tight because the dryer was too hot. And I am not alone. Search “weight gain” and “denial” and you find medical studies and blog posts on the subject.  But I knew, and it felt rotten. It is hard enough to look in the mirror, let alone put my issues into writing.

It’s not that I am entirely unwilling to face facts. I have tried to dissect and analyze why I fail, why I don’t want to talk about it. Do I have trouble taking ownership of my situation? Maybe. Have I take full accountability for my health? Maybe not. But the truth is, I really just don’t want to dwell on the negative. I am just not the boo hoo type and can’t stand hearing someone else do it. I mean, I love my Facebook friends, and I do care if you have a bad day, I just don’t want to read about it. I don’t want to hear you are tired, or hate Mondays. So, just as my mother taught me, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

So, this “failure” I keep referring to is the fact that I now weigh more than I have ever weighed. EVER. And, for the past three weeks, I have not had a job. I could have gone to the gym and cooked healthy meals, but I didn’t. Instead, I treated myself to lunches and dinners with drink(s) and indulged in my more sedentary hobbies. I realize, you can’t succeed without a plan. I am very good about this in other areas of my life. I make lists, schedules, goals. I make rules and think carefully before breaking them. I need to do the same for this.

Today, I spent the day thinking about what that plan is. I start a new job tomorrow, and it is going to be more difficult to find the time to work out and cook. I started by thinking of the questions I need to be able to answer.

  • What kind of exercise will you do? At home or gym? How often?
  • What will you eat? What do you need to buy/prepare in order to eat right?
  • Will you drink? How much and when?

Tonight I will answer these questions and schedule fitness, shopping and cooking the same way I schedule meetings. I will write down my “rules” and hopefully, be reporting next week that I have a clear way forward and am sticking to it. I was off to a good start today with an intense workout.

On another note, I stumbled on a blog of a woman who is charting her own journey to a healthier weight. She is inspiring and a much better writer than myself. I highly recommend checking her out at Skinny Emmie. I commend her for having the guts to be completely open. If she struggles with denial, it doesn’t show. And, she has been able to do something I haven’t – post photos. I always figured I’d show a “before” once I am at my “after,” but I just can’t bring myself to do it now. Go Emmie!


Karen Propp is an artsy-fartsy digital geek who sees beauty in a different way. She chronicles the pursuit of happiness and  her weight loss project, 30lbs in 30 weeks, in a weekly feature. You can read the introduction here and follow her journey here. You can also follow Karen on twitter @karen_propp.


Pic of the Week: Behold the Beauty of Industrial NYC

Building on 10th Ave and the 20's
Building adjacent to the High Line

I often sigh with contentment as I walk the long trek from my kids’ 59th St and 10th ave  bus stop to my office in Chelsea Market.  Not only do I get much needed exercise and “transition time” but I get to bask in the glory of industrial NYC…my favorite part of the city.  I love hearing the mail trucks loading and unloading, watching the cars cross over from N.J., and watching the bakeries send out their freshly baked breads, cakes and muffins.

What makes it even better is the amazing beauty of all the new construction near the High Line.  While my own photographs could never do justice to the architectural beauty of the area, I still wanted to capture my view.

Now go see for yourself!