Book review: ¨Beauty junkies. Inside our $15billion obsession with cosmetic surgery¨


Last month I read a book of Alex Kuczynski about plastic surgeries and the obsession with that. The author is a journalist, so she is not only giving her personal perspective towards cosmetic surgeries, but also provide some data and valuable information as well as introducing us to the history of plastic surgery. Author herself is a beauty junkie and she raised a question where is the line between being beauty junkie that can`t live without plastic surgeries and taking care of yourself. She even went that far once that offered her mom to get some botox, because she has too many wrinkles. Since when having wrinkles is a bad thing? There are so many different sides of cosmetic surgery: wrinkle fillers, such as botox is one of the most common ones, boob job, teeth job, nose job, fat removal, face lift, lip fillers and list goes on insanely. So, what is beautiful?  Quting the book:

¨There are so many ways to make beauty into political issue and a point of debate as there are definitions of what is beautiful. On a personal level, symmetrical faces, bright white teeth, good physical carriage are things that matter. Additionally, our lack of self-consciousness, an unawareness of our looks, plays a large role in other`s perception of our beauty and always was. In 1500s Baldassare Castiglione whore his etiquette manual Book of Courtier that a beautiful woman appears beautiful only if it is clear that she is not seeking approval for her beauty, if her ¨gestures are simple and natural, without working at being beautiful.¨ «…» We embrace the extreme procedures that we believe will make us beautiful, that will detonate desire in others. On long Island, New York, girls graduating from high school receive gifts of breast implants from their parents. In China, on the island of hainan, patients check into 12,000-square-foot plastic surgery hospital called Dreaming Girl`s Fantasy for extensive head-to-toe cosmetic reworking. In Beijing, women from all over China compete in the Miss Plastic Surgery competition¨.

So this is the world that we live in. The author herself had fat removal from her thights that she later on regretted because of all the pain and complication and  she admitted to herself that she just had to go for a running one hour every day for a month and all the fat would have been gone. So, maybe before making any enhancements to the body is simply better to think and stop of what can be done without laying on surgical table. And even if nothing can be done, maybe, just maybe it is just the way it is supposed to be, because we were born this way. I do not promote laziness and not taking care of yourself, I am just saying that there is no point of going into extremities with your body, because there always will be someone around looking better that you, no matter how hard you will try, because the grass is always greener on the other side.

So, for a conclusion, I do recommend reading this book, just because it is always useful to expand your point of view and it is an easy read that does not require too much attention.

God Bless America movie and What Would You Do

Yesterday Keven had some new ideas of what we could watch as we both were having our days off and simply wanted to spent time not doing that much outside but staying together. Well, we ended up going quite early in the morning for food shopping and then to check out the dog park with Nora as we try to socialize her as much as possible before she turns 5 months and the dog become more guided by habits than by exploration 🙂

Anyhow, when we came back, we were watching some episodes on youtube of what would you do that were touching different social situations and dilemmas whether someone should get engaged in the situation that took place. And it is shocking to see how many people are being ignorant of what is happening around them and at the same time we were really touched by other people sensitivity and good will. This raises a question where is the line between minding your own business and being a good citizen that cares about other human beings. The story that brought tears in my eyes was actually the situation where a lesbian couple comes to restaurant with two kids and the waitress is being very impolite and rude. One guy wrote to the couple such a touching note that it was impossible not to get touched by the sensitivity of this guy. It shows that sometimes we actually don’t know where we can get support and who will be the ones that will help us. To be honest, this guy did not look that much as he would be caring about other people and here you go, it only shows how judgemental anyone can be, including myself. I always try to overcome this stigma of being judgemental about other people, but from time to time I do fall into this gap. I definitely recommend checking all the different situations of What Would You do and reflect on how you would act yourself. I definitely helps to evaluate what are your values and what you consider to be important in your life.

Then at night we decided to watch some movie and Keven suggested to watch “God Bless America”, so we watched it. The beginning was really good and as I love sarcasm, I really enjoyed it, but then more and more my attention was drifting away from the movie. Why? Well, because all of us always think that we are better than others, by others I mean anyone. We are better than our neighbour, because he….(insert yourself), we are better than our relatives, because we (insert again 🙂 ). Don’t get me wrong, I am not judging, because I act like that sometimes, but you know what? Everyone, I mean everyone always think that they are better than someone else. Keven is working in a place where drunk people can come and spend a night and most of people that come there are really low class people, but even they think that they are better than their neighbour or relative, because….So, it was the same with this movie…The guy decides to kill the reality show star, because she reflects how degraded the society is and how shallow the values are and how much people are not able anymore to have an authentic conversation and because his own life is going downhill and he thinks that he is gonna die anyway from brain cancer. Eventually he did not kill himself and ended up killing all “empty and shallow and disrespectful” people together with teenage girl. What’s the moral? I don’t know. I just know that anyways, watching them exploding brains of other people was no fun and that this leads nowhere. So, then it got me back to the series of “What would you do” and got me thinking about society and about values. Yes, I do agree that our society is very materialistic and that I myself sometimes am very judgemental, because I don’t find value in cars and jewelry and any other signs of wealth. But, on the other hand, if it makes people happy, why should I care what values do they have, but then I start wondering if they were thinking about values that they have or they just accepted the value system offered them by mass media. If the values are not authentic and just copy cat of what fashion offers, shouldn’t I try to talk and see whether they can evoke their own thinking. So, the hero of the movie, chose simply to kill those that do not share the same value system with him and is rather opposite from his own. But then again, what is worse? Being shallow or being killer?

Books “Whining and Dinning” & “Vegetables”

I love taking books from library and checking them out to see if I find something that would interest me. I took book “Whining and Dinning” not so much for myself as for the family I work with as they have two girls and I wanted introduce them to a bit more healthy eating than Kraft dinner and frozen salmon pie. Don’t take me wrong but when people say that they eat not good food because they could not eat healthy because of the kids, it takes my breath away. Kids know nothing about food and they just experience different tastes and if you introduce them to artificial flavours just because you decide that you don’t want to spend time cooking, then don’t blame the kids afterwards, but blame yourself. Anyhow, since I started my Whole30 challenge I have been making sometimes dishes for them, but usually I can’t taste them, because they are all of the ingredients that are in my “NO” list, so I was glad that I could pick up some nice and easy recipes from this book and could actually taste it. By far my favourite would be:

Green beans with Pecans and brown butter 

  • 10 oz green beans, stem ends removed and halved
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (I replace it my whole30 friendly fat, such as ghee or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup pecan halves (slivered almonds work erectly though)
  • salt
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Boil salted water and blanch beans for 3 mins or until tender crisp. Drain. Heat fat in pan over medium-low heat until it begins to turn golden, 2-3 mins. Add pecans, stirring to coat in butter; sauté for 2 mins. or until fragrant and toasted. Add blanked beans to pan and toss to coat in butter. Season with salt and sprinkle with parsley (if using).

Super easy and delicious.

All in all this book is definitely worth to look at because they offer very easy to make and healthier versions of comfort food and not only. I especially like their recipes with vegetables. So, my plan to make from this book would be: Rack of Lamb, Broccoli Redux, Quick Dark Green Saute, Garlic Roasted Carrots, Confetti Power Slaw, Sesame Cucumber Salad, Mushroom and Spinach Frittata.

I also took from library this book called “Cook’s Own: Vegetables”. But I it wasn’t that good as most of the
recipes are made to be eaten with pasta or rice or some other carbs, rather than proteins, which would be my choice. But I did find some recipes on beet, spinach, carrots, some soups and few sauces that I plan to try and see if they are worth to be memorized. It is definitely not a book that I would be buying, so I am grateful of having an opportunity to check and take book from library before I decide to invest in them. I haven’t tried any of the recipes from that book yet as I did not get particularly excited about any of them so much that I could not wait to try it out.

My new books

yesterday I received my books from Amazon and already started digging into them…As my newest passions are nutrition and dog, so naturally books are about that. So, I got 4 books:

Gary Taubes “Good calories, Bad calories”. I read lots of good reviews about this book and decided that it is definitely worth to have at home and read it thoroughly, because I definitely can confirm that low fat diet is not working and actually high fat diet is much better option. But still I want to have as clear as possible picture of how my body works and what it is best for it. (even though I have to admit that Paleo diet and reading about it and taking Whole30 challenge helped a lot to get a picture). At the same time, I remember that lets say 5 years ago, for me it was too much even to understand what it is proteins, carbs and fats, I simply was saying that I have no idea what all these numbers in labels mean and I actually had no idea, so I am very proud that I evolved so much in my understanding about nutrition and what is what.

Julie and Charles Mayfield “Paleo Comfort foods”. Again, after going through many reviews, I decided that this would be book to have and it looks really promising. I am gonna try to make tomorrow some meatballs, though I will have to omit some ingredients as my Whole30 challenge is not over, so no sauce with red wine for me, even if it is only 2 tbsp. I have less than a week left for the challenge 🙂 The other book that I definitely want to have is by Melissa Joulwan “Well Fed”, as I love  her website and tried many recipes and she seems to be really good cook.




Bastin, Ashton and Nixon, D.V.M. “Better food for Dogs”

It took us a long time to choose the dog food that would satisfy our requirements and would be as healthy as possible. After reading a lot of labels and ingredient lists, checking online and etc. we decided to feed Nora with Orijen brand dog food. It is canadian and it seems to use whole food rather than protein by-products and is not full of preservatives. However,  I know that best would be to make food for dog ourselves and I don’t mind doing that, so I wanted to have book about dog nutrition. It is not as complete as I would like it to be and I would like to have more recipes in there simply because they make differentiation by dog weight and then provide recipes, but same recipes go for 15 lbs dog and 45 lbs dog just it calls for different quantities of ingredients which I would have adjusted by myself, so for me it is basically waste of paper. Instead I would have suggested simply to provide recipe for 10 lbs of dog weight and multiply according to actual weight. Apart from that book contains really useful information on dog nutrition, on supplements and vitamins and nutrient requirements according to adult dog weight. Anyhow, I still can’t use the recipes in there yet as Nora is a puppy and puppies need a lot of different elements to grow healthy and strong, so for a while I will stick with pre-made dog food. Still, I made for her today Carrot and Cinnamon Puppy Treats as to introduce different tread for training sessions.



Gerilyn J. Bielakiewicz “The Everything Dog Training and Tricks book”

Even though I have read fairly good amount of books about dog psychology and training, I still wanted to have one book that would be mine and not borrowed from the library and that would include a bit more of tricks for dogs and reviews seemed to favour this book. Time will show, I haven’t read it yet actually.

My romance with books and Jeffrey Archer “A prison diary”

Since I was little girl I was in love with books. If you would ask anyone from my elementary school how they remember me, they would answer that reading books during classes rather than listening to the teacher. Maybe because the book world was be much more interesting than what the teacher had to say. But it doesn’t mean that I was a bad student…I think that it bought me one very important skill: multitasking. To read book and at the same time listen to what the teacher is talking about so that I wouldn’t be caught making a crime. If you can answer what the teacher is talking about you can’t be accused of not listening 🙂 So, I would be reading books on my way to school, in school, back from school, at home. I read so many of them and I still love reading, but I try not to buy books. I still have tons of books back in Lithuania that I bought while I was studying in university. Guess what was my subject? Philosophy…So, whenever I tell people that I studied philosophy they all say, but it is so much reading…well, not if you like reading 🙂 So…I had to leave all my books…then the same happened when I decided to leave Spain…I donated my books to the library…now in canada, even though I try not to buy books, I still buy them. So, I just try to limit my visits in Amazon and increase my visits in local library that has pretty good variety of books.

Yesterday night I finished reading Jeffrey Archey “A prison diary”. I was glad that I finished reading this book, because there were many books before that I did not finish reading as they haven’t captured my attention enough before it would be time  to give them back to the library. The book is written in the diary form and it definitely captures an attention because there are so many things that you can learn from it. Did you know that heroine stays in blood only 24 hours if you drink lots of water after injection while weed, cocaine and other drugs show traces 30 days after? This is one of the reasons why many inmates become heroin addicts in prison even if before they haven’t touched hard drug in their lives, simply because you sentence can be prolonged in they find let’s say weed traces in your blood. I did not know that. Or for instance that lifers (the people sentenced for long time or for life) are much less likely to cause problems than other prisoners, because they want to have more relaxed life and more privileges? I though that they are the most dangerous one in prison. Did you know that on average in high security prison you spend 22 hours locked in your cell? Can you imagine being locked up for so long every day? The book also tells the stories of other prisoners and why they are hear, how they see their future and what are their perspectives…I learned a lot reading this book and can’t wait to start reading the second book, because I believe that there is a trilogy, because the author was sentenced for 4 years and “A prison diary” describes only the first prison where he spend 3 weeks while he was appointed to other prison. I know that this book received lots of discussions and UK prison authorities demanded it to be banned and I am sure that there are many critics out there that would criticize this book, but I enjoyed reading it and thats all that matters.

French canadian movies that I watched recently

Recently I have been watching some movies in french as I try to improve my french skills. Well, actually I watch french canadian movies, because I live in Quebec and because, actually there isn’t much of good french movies from France. Don’t get me wrong, they do have some, but somehow for me usually their movies has too much everyday unimportant drama, too much concentration in details and contains some kind of looser who eventually is not that big og a looser, but however he is bitter and angry and thinks that because of that he has right to insult others. And, of course, majority of french movies has the same main actor: unreplacable Gerard 🙂
So, back to quebecois movies… Recently they released two amazing movies: Incendies and Cafe de Flore. They are very touching and definitely making you to reflect upon your own life and values that we carry. They are about love, bigger than life, hardly conceivable and at the same time incredibly beautiful. They both contains mother’s for children and woman’s love for a man. It’s about love that doesn’t know limits of space and time and that carries the most incredible gift one person can give to the other: forgiveness.
Obviously, you can read description of movies online, that would give you better idea of plotline, my goal is simply to share my experience…