May 2010

Imagine having a well–connected friend who shared everything she knew about fashion and shopping, cooking, health, travel, etc., and inspired and motivated you with her occasional emails. The lifestyle site and weekly newsletter GOOP is like that, and the “friend” is none other than actress Gwyneth Paltrow. She is surprisingly candid, self–deprecating, and funny. She often writes while her children are sleeping, so her entries are concise, quick reads.

On the surface it might seem that GOOP promotes a lifestyle fit for a famous award–winning actress and wife of a rock star – world travel, fancy restaurants, and designer clothes – but really, the site celebrates health, family, and simple pleasures. There is advice for roasting a chicken in half the time, sustaining a happy marriage, books to read to kids, sleeping better, etc. Although she is health–conscious, she also knows how to indulge, including recipes for cookies and cocktails in the MAKE section of GOOP. Paltrow strikes that balance with her fashion advice, too. In her spring fashion entry, she features pieces from Chloe, Balenciaga, and Stella McCartney, but includes affordable pieces from Zara, Gap, and H&M. She, like many working moms, wants clothes that are “comfortable, chic, and versatile.”

Paltrow’s famous friends and acquaintances contribute favorite recipes, books, web sites, “party jams,” and films (one of Sofia Coppola’s faves is Tootsie!), so it’s not all Paltrow, all the time. GOOP contributors also include authorities in their fields, including mind–body healer Deepak Chopra, Dr. Frank Lipman, chef Jamie Oliver, and finance expert, Lynnette Khalfani–Cox. GOOP has its critics, but I appreciate Paltrow’s mission to “nourish the inner aspect.” You don’t have to be beautiful, rich, and famous to have a well–balanced, happy life.

Reviewer: Kirstie Harless, FIDM Library Staff Member, San Francisco