In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should know…
24. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.
Actress and model Portia de Rossi provides this week’s perspective on something all women should know — hopefully well before 30. It’s primarily about body acceptance, given de Rossi’s personal experience with body image, an eating disorder and being scrutinized endlessly about what she “should fix.”
While I’m positive every single human being has poked and prodded themselves, finding flaws and wishing they looked different, I agree that women in particular are taught at a young age how they “should look.”
The best example I can recall is from Tina Fey’s Bossypants: “Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”
The beauty standard is, obviously, impossible. Even if you possess one or more of these “ideal” features, you can’t possibly have them all without some extreme alterations. And isn’t perfection boring? If we all looked the same, what on earth would we read about in women’s magazines? 😉
In all seriousness, I’m grateful to have had parents who didn’t define my self-worth on my appearance. Maybe it’s because they knew it’d be hopeless for a fair-skinned, freckled, chubby, redheaded, clumsy, big-chested, four-eyed, brace-faced adolescent to find much to adore in the mirror. (At least I had the blue eyes going for me, hidden behind those glasses.)
Instead, they focused on work ethic, affirmations and kindness… although that last one took awhile, as I figured if I could bully others, they wouldn’t bully me.
The flip side of all of that positive parenting is that I haven’t always embraced what’s in the mirror. I have friends who can’t pass a mirror without stopping and “fixing” something, but I’ve also envied at times how comfortable they are staring themselves in the face.
So the past few years, I’ve been working on a balance of both: I smile at my reflection and might have some negative thoughts, but I’ll push those away to focus on what I love.
The nose I hated for years and years has a “sparkle” (my niece’s wording) and calls attention to how similar it is to my mom’s and brother’s.
The freckles i loathed provide texture and stories of sun-filled days I’m fortunate to enjoy.
The stomach I still don’t love shows I’m not shy about embracing different cuisines — and carbs— and no workout regimen can hide it.
I spend my energy focusing on a balance of nutrition and physical activity, indulging when I want and not beating myself up too much when I go overboard. I’d rather just live and accept my features, rather than worry about what magazines and pop culture tell me are flaws. The skin I’m in is mine alone — and I wouldn’t change it, even if I could.
This one’s for the ladies! Side note: Every time I say that, I think of Tina Fey’s scene in “Baby Mama” where she gets on the turntables and plays “Lady in Red” at a Manhattan nightclub.
OK, back to business:
- International Women’s Day: Yesterday’s worldwide celebration of women was, simply put, awesome. Whether you shared inspirational quotes, sentimental stories or simply a smile to the ladies in your life, I hope you had a lovely day 🙂
- Saraswati’s Hijab Transformations: Talk about talent — this Malaysian makeup artist uses her hijab and makeup to transform into pop culture icons, from Disney personalities to comic book characters. Check out more of her work on Instagram @queenofluna.
- Ipsy: My brother and sister-in-law gifted me this beauty bag subscription service for Christmas, and “obsessed” is an understatement. The bags are super cute and reusable, and I’ve already fallen for a few of the products. It’s better than Birchbox, in my humble opinion.
- Spotify’s Women in Music & Culture Playlists: My fave music service also got in on the International Women’s Day festivities. Spotify released 15 playlists from various genres, highlighting decades of iconic females. I’m really digging the Women of Pop and Women of Country compilations… what about you?
This one’s for the ladies! (If you didn’t immediately think of Tina Fey DJing in “Baby Mama,” then I don’t know if we can continue this relationship.
Anyway, this week is dedicated to some pretty awesome — if not just plain entertaining — women. Before we begin: Don’t you dare forget to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday! Now let’s continue …
- Birthday Girls: It’s my aunt Lori’s and cousin Kelly’s birthdays (today and Saturday, respectively). One’s a teacher, the other a nurse — I wasn’t kidding the other day — so they deserve as much cake and presents as they can carry.
- Dear Girls Above Me: Charlie McDowell’s ultra-entertaining commentary is on pre-order in book form! A recent fave? “I got another ticket for parking in front of a fire hydrant when there wasn’t a fire!” –At least you have an airtight court case.
- Skinnygirl Margaritas: Bethenny Frankel, notably of RHONY fame, is the mastermind behind the Skinnygirl brand. So go on and keep raising a glass for Cinco de Drinko (minus the guilt)!
- “Girl on Fire” – Alicia Keys: If ever there was a women-kick-ass anthem, it’s this one. I prefer the Nicki Minaj “Inferno” version, but either way, it’s a powerhouse hit.
You can try but you’ll never forget her name.
My weekends have been great here. So great that I haven’t had the chance to write as much as I’d like. So, one of this weekend’s goals is to get a new Moleskine notebook and fill it with the ideas swimming ’round my head. Till then, here’s what I can write about:
- “Heathers”: I’d never seen this cult classic because, well, it was released when I was a year old. But thank the TV gods for putting it on HBO this past weekend. Delightfully dark and completely crazy — it’s added to my ever-growing list of favorites.
- Charles Esten: I enjoyed his appearances on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” but didn’t follow his career. #pre-IMDb problems. Then Josh, Stanford branch manager from “The Office” was hot in a familiar way. He’s now Deacon on “Nashville” — marry me, please?
- Herald Square: We have a training at the Macy’s on 34th Street tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. This is what being in NYC is all about: Running frantically through a sea of people just to make it to work on time. I love it.
- “It Happens” – Sugarland: In true graceful fashion, I ripped my tights yesterday (right before tripping down the stairs). Wouldn’t you know it? This song comes on my iPod next and I’m suddenly not so hostile. Essential to remember about life: Pssh … it happens.
P.S.: Did you guys watch “New Girl” last night?! Happy happy, joy joy.
I split my pants today.
So that happened … and though it was thankfully in a spot where most wouldn’t notice, it was really the cherry on top of an accident-prone week. Oh, yeah — it’s WEDNESDAY. What disasters will the next few days bring? Only time will tell. Let’s focus on something happy, instead:
- Name that ‘Stache Calendar: Now that I’m all set up with a real live desk, I’ve got this daily laugh to keep me entertained. Many thanks to Santa for the excellent stocking stuffer.
- My Shows Return: From “GIRLS” to “Nashville” to “Workaholics,” I couldn’t be more pumped for this week’s winter premieres. Thank you, cable gods.
- This someecard: I have an ever-growing love for these guys, but maybe no other has been as true as this one. I pinned it yesterday and it’s since gotten 100 repins — so I know I’m not the only one feeling that way.
- The 70th Annual Golden Globes: How is it I’m still enthralled with recaps of the awards show I watched three days ago? Simple: Tina, Amy and Jennifer killed it. Enjoy.