Articles Written By: Ilana

Midnight in Paris, and a Look at Sublime Beauty and Style.

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I have never enjoyed reading movie reviews, and for this reason I seldom do so. I’ve always felt somewhat disturbed by the critics’ ability to decide for everyone else what’s worth watching, and what should be avoided at all costs. Can other people really decide what I’m going to enjoy watching, and what I might find boring, offensive, or even stupid? Definitely not! When it comes to Woody Allen, the movie critics in America, have never been overly kind from the little that I’ve read, and for this reason I have not read the reviews for his latest film for that matter. But nevertheless, I went on a limb as I usually do, I saw the film— and fell in love. This, by no means is a review of Woody’s film; I think that if the title of a movie intrigues you enough, then you should definitely judge it for yourself.

I’ve chosen to mention his film not only because I was truly entertained and mesmerized by the story, as well as the setting, but I got the chance to see characters whom I adore from the literary world come to life in the most bizarre of circumstances. What’s not to like about the 1920s? In America it was a decade that embodied so much elegance and creativity, despite prohibition and mob violence, and the rest of the negative, boring stuff Read More

Bombs and Bloodshed, but Also Great Skin Products!

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My husband Greg enjoying a bit of therapeutic Dead Sea Mud.

Okay, for those of you wondering what kind of a twisted caption I’ve chosen for this entry, what can I say, it’s a fact that Israel still deals with the sporadic bombing of its civilians—a tragic reality. But there is another reality in Israel that is seldom the focus when discussing this region. I have already expounded on the culinary attributes of Israeli food, and the laizess faire attitude toward aging, but recently I have also discovered that the very country, which others might describe as the hotbed for war and political unrest, is one which has slowly taken center stage as a world leader in the revival of ancient beauty and healing practices. It’s a contradictory notion if you ask me, but also one that stems from an inexorable necessity. Where there is so much tragedy, it is necessary to develop and thrive, and prove that politics and tragedy do not define the region, or its people.

Have you ever wondered what King David’s Skin looked like? After reading about the growing popularity of new age beauty and health solutions, based on ancient Hebrew remedies, I believe that David, although a red head, might have had really good skin nonetheless. Read More

The Harvard Experts Talk Skincare

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The Dead Sea, excellent for your skin.

There is so much to read about when it comes to skincare—so many experts—so much advice that it becomes an overwhelming task, most times. In the same way that I feel bombarded by the plethora of products for our skin, unsure of what’s good, what’s bad; I feel just as confused and unsure about skincare information. Never quite sure what I should be reading, what’s reliable and what’s really worth my while. However, I decided to rely on a proven institution when I read The new Harvard guide to women’s health. This book was published in 1996 and I’m sure there have been many advances in medicine and knowledge since then, but some of the information which I read I found enlightening all the same, and now I’m going to share it with you. Read More

Aging the French Way

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French chic.

I have girlfriends that come from many different backgrounds, all special in their own way, but my girlfriend Solange stands out from all the rest with her unique sense of style and fashion. She would probably cringe if she read this description of her, because she’d rather be known for her other, more profound qualities. But I continue to write about her in this light, because there’s nothing wrong with focusing on style and fashion even though there are plenty, more important things to write about. Solange, after all, is the epitome of a French woman who knows how to keep up her good looks, regardless of her age. Read More

As Long as There’s Hummus, Who Cares About Wrinkles?

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Hmmm, you have no idea what this plate of hummus tastes like unless you’ve been to Israel.

Recently I spent three weeks in Israel and apart from enjoying good weather, and good food, I also enjoyed a good dose of healthy views concerning wrinkles or anything to do with a woman’s withering looks. First though I must emphasize that Israel has some of the best food that I have ever eaten. I think that this fact goes unrecognized for the most part, because they are not known for weird and unconventional foods that normally induce all food experts, and critics, to come in droves for a taste and analysis of this type of cuisine. Read More

What Are You Willing to Do in Order to Look Young?

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A Kashmiri woman undergoes leech therapy, a practice now adopted in the U.S.

We know this already, some people will go out of their way to achieve a flawless and perfect look, even taking extreme measures to do so. It’s become so difficult to keep up with all the options out there. Things like Botox and Restylane have become such household names that they’ve almost become obsolete in terms of what’s being used these days for a more youthful appearance. But how common is it to use a hyberbaric oxygen chamber that sprays atomized moisturizers onto the skin, and leaves you with a plump and smooth appearance after spending anywhere between $100-$1000 per session? Read More

“Stay a Girl – Cultivate Your Beauty and Retain Your Youth.”

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Edna Wallace Hopper in 1910.

The quote that I used for the title of this article was taken from a press advertisement in 1926. It featured Edna Hopper Wallas, an actress who would end up gaining more fame and notoriety for her cosmetics, because of her unique ability to maintain a youthful appearance even well into her sixtieth decade. Read More

Wrinkles in Ancient Egypt

I have sometimes wondered what women long ago thought when noticing their changing looks; whether it mattered to them, whether it was something that anyone would pay attention to, or maybe just a natural phase of life that would go unnoticed for the most part. Read More

The Perfect Bride Makes for Perfect Entertainment

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Married in front of my students once school was out for the day.

When I first learned of a new reality show about brides, it peaked my interest and I couldn’t wait to see what the creative television minds had concocted for our viewing pleasure. We already have brides agonizing over dresses they cannot afford  in the show titled, “Say Yes to The Dress,” we also  have “Four Weddings,” where the brides gossip about each other while secretly vying to pull off the best wedding reception ever and thus snag the prize, which consists of an all paid for honeymoon. “Bridezillas,” is another show that captures every single stage leading up to the wedding, but it espouses to focus on more meltdowns and shocking confrontations between the brides and their family members—all the necessary ingredients for a captivating, successful show. Then comes the newly anticipated show, “Bridalplasty,” and in this program the brides are pitted against each other during a string of challenges, ranging from best wedding vows writer to best honeymoon planner. And then the raison d’être—the motive—the rational and justification for it all is the chance to win extensive cosmetic surgery, and the chance to be the “most perfect bride!”

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My lovely students.

Oy, was the one and only word that I uttered when reading abut this show. I’m no snob when it comes to entertainment; I make no apologies for the crap that I allow myself to watch on television, I feel totally confident with my intelligence that I don’t have to say that I don’t watch TV ever . . . I understand individual taste and preferences that don’t mirror mine, therein lies some of the entertainment value, when you get to see how the other half lives. Voyeurism is a human trait after all. Also, one can always switch off the TV if not interested in watching a show, nobody forces us to watch anything. But for me, those types of shows represent such a blunder of values and morals—the opposite of everything or anything that I stand for. Take for example my own wedding to Greg: we decided to keep it small, extremely small for that matter and for this reason only my students were invited to take part in the ceremony, which took place at the end of our school day. I happened to own the dress you see in the photos, and the head piece I sewed the night before after popping over to Jo-Anne Fabrics and paying a couple of bucks for the material, one hour later I had my whole wedding attire. My students prepared a special song for us that they performed, they also held up the chuppa (part of the Jewish wedding ceremony) after the rabbi officiated over the ceremony, we all ate cake and carried on with our life. For many people this would not make any sense whatsoever, but for us it made a lot of sense.

The Hollywood Reporter has quoted the network saying that the show gave women “the chance to be the most perfect bride” for their groom. Seriously? I have yet to see the show once it airs, but I guess the climax of the show will be when the bride reveals her new and extreme makeover—when she unveils herself before her future husband for the first time–and he expresses his surprise at his bride’s perfect new looks. I can envision the scene in my head, as the camera pans on the face of the groom focusing on him for a good few moments, unsure of whether he will love it or hate it. Hmm, not exactly because that would be real reality TV, which defeats the purpose of reality TV.

Once again, I feel terribly puzzled—practically left out in a culture that continuously promotes the idea of perfection through surgical standards of beauty. If someone is so bothered by a certain feature on their face or body, and feel that altering it will bring them happiness, fine, I’m not judging. But the idea that if they don’t change their appearance, they can’t be loved or are not marriage worthy—that I find terribly disturbing.

I thought back at the different boyfriends I had over the years, certainly not all of them represented a look that could be deemed classically appealing, but then again they were appealing to me for many other reasons. Looks have plenty to do with attraction, but they’re also subjective;however, shows of this nature presume that looks are the mitigating factor when two people are attracted to one another. And to think that those brides had spent the day leading up to their wedding suffering terrible pain while recovering from multiple surgeries, and concentrating on something so trivial in the grand scale of things. I don’t know whether to laugh or feel sorry for them.

Defying the aging process?

What? He’s how old? I think that was my initial reaction when first reading the article about Cliff Richard and viewing a current photo of him where he looks absolutely wonderful. It’s true, I could not believe my eyes when I looked at the photo and saw a healthy looking body, one that also looked natural as far as I could tell, and one that would cause all of those who have attempted to gain a similar look through plastic surgeries, to breath in deeply and take a seat as they sigh in despair. Cliff’s face has also defied the usual aging process because although there are lines here and there, those look appropriate, albeit they are definitely not age appropriate in this unique case. To further upset those who stare at him with envy, he is as healthy as an ox, and enjoys playing tennis on a daily basis. Did I mention that he will be seventy-years-old this coming October? Read More

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