I greatly enjoy making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow’s self-important lifestyle — in particular, her website, Goop. This week, Blake Lively debuted her own goop-ish website, Preserve. Naturally, I had to take a look.
First of all, the website domain is “preserve.us.” Not even a dot-com site. Already elitist.
As I open the website page, I’m greeted with a pop-up box requesting to “preserve our connection” by signing up for the email list. However, requesting my email address rather than my home address is a bit misleading, given the background image of Blake Lively hand writing a note. No thank you, I’ll take this opportunity another day.
On the main page, I read an excerpt from Blake Lively’s editor’s letter. It reads:
Sitting down to write this editor’s letter has been the hardest thing I’ve done yet on my Preserve journey. I’m more intimidated than I should probably admit. I’m no editor, no artisan, no expert. And certainly no arbiter of what you should buy, wear, or eat. I am hungry, though…and not just for enchiladas.
So basically, Blake discredits her ability to select the best items, clothes, and cuisine on her website about the best items, clothes, and cuisine. Why am I reading this again?
Blake, I’m no editor, artisan, or expert either. I’m currently at my desk wearing Target sandals and chipped nail polish, eating pretzels, and now thinking about enchiladas. I’m not goop-y like you are, which is why I write a self-deprecating blog with like 25 followers, rather than a lifestyle website. However, if I did write a lifestyle website, I probably wouldn’t make my first post about my shortcomings.
The letter continues:
The function of Preserve is part magazine, part e-commerce hub, part philanthropic endeavor and above all, a place to showcase the power of imagination, ingenuity, quality, and above all, people.
The website will have eight subcategories, known as “Preserve passions:” taste, style, projects, wellness, home, intimacy, culture, and celebration. Based on the current content of the new website, it looks like Lively has taken a Pinterest-meets-Humans of New York approach, where she’ll showcase some of her “necessities” (hint: none of her items are necessities) and delve into the background of everyone from the artisans that make her products to some random tattooed guy on the street (more on that later). Plus, recipes?
Below is my abbreviated walk-through of the website.
I click on a small, cameo-like image at the top of the page — its functionality is similar to that of the pin button on Pinterest. The website explains, “Whenever you find something special on PRESERVE, hold onto it by clicking the imprint. We’ll keep it safe for you in your own secret drawer.” Hoooookay.
I continue to the “shop” section. Offerings range from cute and expensive to expensive and pointless. Some highlights:
- Artisan salt collection — $40
- Noodle bowl (shown holding grapes because nobody who takes Preserve seriously actually eats carbs) — $34
- I+W Indigo bandana — $62
- “Twombly Crew” — this plain white t-shirt with a few black splotches will run you a cool $132
- “The Scouts are Out” t-shirt — for those who don’t want a Redskins jersey but still want to be culturally insensitive — $68
- Light up chalkboard Thought Bubble — versatile enough to serve as decor for both a mommy blogger and a Vegas hotel’s exterior — $300
While it’s clear that my take on this website is saltier than Lively’s black truffle salt ($14), I’ll throw her a bone. There are some cute items in this collection, like the $395 Clark Rose Wrap Dress (cut to me sobbing), some of the proceeds go to charity, and the artisans’ bios are a nice touch. Plus, it’s better than Goop. Small victories, right?
In an excerpt titled “The Tennessee Troubador,” we get a glimpse into the life of Caleb Owens, a guy that the editorial team literally found on the street. Okay, that was misleading, he’s not homeless (I think), but in my defense, the opening line here is “We saw him one day.” Owens, who models most of the male style collection at this point, looks like a ginger, tattooed version of Pornstache from Orange is the New Black. Naturally, Preserve is infatuated:
We saw him one day. A 6’5”, saffron haired, tatted biker sporting as many rings as Liberace, but worn with the masculinity of McQueen (Steve, that is). We were immediately Beliebers of Caleb Owens; a man on a one-way ticket from Nashville to L.A., taking a break from his day job to play guitar for hip hop artist Yelawolf. He spoke with jack and coke baritone smoothness, yet had the kindness, warmth, interest, and curiosity of Jack Skellington. We needed to be friends with this dude. The obvious next step in Caleb’s life as we saw it… he must be our Mark Vanderloo.
This entire description is trying too hard.
Other Style Segments include “Backwoods Barbie,” which opens with “What is it about little girls and dressing up dollies? We love it. It is our god given right. We get to wear tutus ‘til we’re 12 (or secretly ‘til 30) and we get to cry in public indefinitely, if the mood strikes.” Heads up, Carrie Bradshaw — the real world doesn’t work like this; if I showed up to work crying and wearing a tutu I’d be fired on the spot.
Like the other website sections, the “taste” section is excessively wordy and over-the-top:
When I build a sundae, I make it my own personal Candyland — a society of sweetness where denizens dance happily among sugary structures. Escaping into a rainbow of lusciousness, I care not a lick for the real world and its tiresome toothaches.
I’m going to ignore the fact that this was written by a middle schooler who just discovered alliteration. First of all, who includes an ice cream recipe on their lifestyle blog? Just go out for fro-yo like the rest of America. Nobody wants to sit around while you bake a cake of rainbows and smiles so everyone can eat and be happy. I’m not going to purchase One Madagascar Vanilla Bean, sorry. Also, there’s no way you consumed any food that contains heavy whipping cream.
Lively (sort of) redeems herself with her Chicken and Dumplings recipe that lacks obscure ingredients and offers an end product that I couldn’t have easily picked up at Trader Joe’s.
In sum, Lively’s website lacks the pretension of Goop (according to Lively), meaning it’s still pretty freaking pretentious. While her dialogue aims to show readers her self-awareness, the elitism is still there, as is the case for most lifestyle blogs (seriously, there’s a reason you never find “lifestyle blog” and “down to earth” in the same sentence). Best of luck on this endeavor, Blake. And if all else fails, at least you’re still married to Ryan Reynolds.