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Early last week, owner of a cursed vagina and mother of Gwyneth Paltrow, Blythe Danner, said that she felt criticism of her daughter was unfair and fueled by jealousy. Speaking to something called Naughty But Nice Rob, Blythe said, "I feel she's just extraordinarily accomplished in every area and people don't like that, some people don't like that, people who are bored and sit on their asses all day and just tap away. I mean I don't read any of it, I just find it so disgusting."
My gut feeling was that Blythe's words were bullshit, and any animosity toward Gwyneth is justified. But I couldn't think of any specific reasons that I disliked her.
As Einstein or Shakespeare or someone once said, "don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes." So, in order to better understand Gwyneth and whether or not my feelings of pure hatred toward her were warranted or not, I decided to spend a day walking in hers. Not literally, obviously. A pair of her shoes probably costs more than I will spend on clothing over the course of my entire life.
Luckily, Gwyneth recently launched something called the Goop City Guides app. Goop, for the unfamiliar, is a lifestyle brand Gwyneth made, seemingly with the intention of rubbing her own charmed existence into the face of anyone who signed up for her weekly mailing lists in the hopes that it would be ridiculous enough to be funny. It never is.
The most recent edition to the Goop empire is the app, which lists all of Gwyn's favorite spots in Los Angeles, London, and New York. As I'm currently in Los Angeles, I decided to see what she'd recommended here.
The LA section of the app has an introductory video, narrated by Gwyneth, welcoming you to Los Angeles, a place she refers to as, "the city of my birth, the city I always return to and will forever hold a special place in my heart." As she says this, we see dreamy, sun-bleached shots of the palm trees, florists and markets that populate Gwyneth's Los Angeles, and none of the homeless people, garbage, and wall-poops that populate mine and everybody else's.
The app is divided into different neighborhoods—or as Goop calls them, "hoods." I decided to start my day in Silver Lake, because that's the area Goop said was the "coolest."
First stop was a store called Yolk. A place which describes itself as a "free range design" store, which, after thinking about it for a solid 10 minutes, I can confidently say means nothing.
Gwyneth recommended it as it's where she likes to pick up her "adorable accessories and gifts for kids."
It sold lots of stuff like you see in the above picture. Toys that appear like they were made to be photographed for a Regina Spektor album cover.
The kind of toys that are purchased by people who are more invested in how their house looks than how their kids feel. Old time-y stuff like wooden blocks and those wheeled animals that you pull along on a string. The purchase of which is, really, a very mild, very twee form of child abuse. As if literally endagering their lives and giving them names stupid enough to guarantee they spent the first few years on this planet as little more than Leno punchlines wasn't enough, they're having to play with this garbage.
In the app, Gwyneth, who is the multimillionaire star of Disney's Iron Man series, also says she's a fan of the "toy store experience the way it was in the good old days before super stores and chains." Can someone start a Kickstarter to buy her kids a PS4 or something? Poor guys.
There was also a part of the store aimed at adults that sold partially-practical, entirely-whimsical stuff. Mostly products that were one thing, but made in the shape of another thing. Like coasters in the shape of states ($36), necklaces in the shape of dogs ($140), and tiny boxes in the shape of butterflies ($16). Everything seemed to be made by brands that write their names all in lower case.
Next I headed to a coffee shop called Intelligentsia that the app recommends.
Do you know what "intelligentsia" means? According to Merriam-Webster, it's "a group of intelligent and well-educated people who guide or try to guide the political, artistic, or social development of their society." Which means that whoever owns this place must have been looking at their list of potential name ideas, googled "intelligentsia," saw what it meant, and thought, perfect!
Anyway, this is how long the line was for a coffee. After waiting for a couple of minutes, I left.
As I was walking away, a man stopped me on the street to completely unironically ask me to sign a petition aimed at "stopping the gentrification of the neighborhood."
Needing a caffeine fix, I decided to hit up a restaurant across the street called Forage.
What makes Forage special is that customers are able to bring in their own homegrown vegetables for use in the restaurant's dishes. According to the list of "foragers" written on a blackboard behind the counter, that day's food had been provided by people with names like Rupert, Ethel, and Una.
The decor was exactly how you'd imagine somewhere Gwyneth eats to be decored: bare concrete floors, (literal) old school chairs and superfluous arrangements of miniature pumpkins.
I bought a coffee and a cookie. The cookie tasted kinda sawdust-y. Which is how I imagine most sweet treats that Gwyneth consumes to taste.
Next door was a Goop-recommended music store called Vacation. I don't even need to tell you this, as you've already guessed: It only sold vinyl.
Fascinating Gwyneth Paltrow music-related fact: She once wrote a list of her "summer jams" for Jay-Z's lifestyle website (remember that?) where she named "Don't Like" by Chief Keef as one of her favorites. She wrote,“I’m waiting for a clean version to be released. Until then I’ll just play it in my car.” Not sure if you're familiar with the song, but it contains the word "nigga" 24 times. A fact which, if you're anything like me, will force you to think of Gwyneth merrily dropping the N-word 24 times while cruising around the city in her car.
Next I headed down the street to Mohawk General Store. Which, disappointingly, turned out to not be a general store at all. It's actually a high-end clothing store with a kooky name.
I'd been hoping to buy candy or something, but inside the store I found a vintage film playing on a vintage TV on a vintage shelf surrounded by fake vintage scarves that cost $200.
The store, like all spaces Gwyneth frequents, smelled like the kind of scented candles rich people buy. Quince berries, cade, vermeil, and other things that may or may not actually exist/have scents. Being allergic to scented candles, the constant deluge of posh smells was starting to give me a headache. As I was reaching for an ibuprofen, I thought to myself WWGD? And checked the Goop app's "health" section.
Amongst the recommendations for weed dispensaries (Gwyneth!), "gentle colonics," and holistic dentists (ouch), was a place that specializes in "mixing Eastern and Western healing for holistic health." I gave them a call. A receptionist told me that, rather than using medication, they prefer to look at people's histories and lifestyles to figure out root causes but, if I wanted to come in for a $400 consultation, they could advise on how best to move forward. I hung up the phone and took an ibuprofen.
Next, I headed to West Hollywood, home of Tweak, a store that bills itself as "the original giftery." Which, presumably, means it's been there for at least a thousand years.
It gave a fascinating insight into the kind of things I'd be getting as gifts if I was friends with Gwyneth: More un-fun toys and wacky books with names like Haikus For Jews.
They also sold novelty mugs that, instead of saying traditional, funny things like, "My job is top secret: I don't even know what I'm doing myself!" or "Future Mrs. Brad Pitt" or whatever, said stuff like "Just between him & me, or you & her, or her & me, or us & them." The kinds of things that people who think they're above humor pretend to find funny.
Looking at them forced me to imagine Gwyneth gripping one and chuckling to herself.
Next, I attempted to visit a store called Feal Mor, which, according to its website sells, "A curated collection of French and Japanese Menswear, Vintage Military, Housewares, and more." Goop either has the address wrong, or it no longer exists, because I was unable to find it. Which is a shame as I'm currently in the market for some vintage Japanese military housewares.
Instead, I went to a store that sells "casual clothes with indie roots" called American Rag. Don't let the name fool you, the goods on sale are neither "American" nor "rags." A more accurate name for the shop would be "$500 Jeans That Were Manufactured in Asia." I moved on.
I headed to a West Hollywood stationery store called Jonathan Wright. All you need to know about this place is that they call themselves a "shoppe," and pride themselves on their "whimsy" and "civility."
And also that they sell greetings cards so disgustingly tasteful it's genuinely a little shocking.
Next, I went over to Venice, which Goop likes because of its "old school beach vibe."
I went to a coffee-and-snack place called GTA. I was in the mood for something sweet, so I tried to order a mocha. "I can't really do that. I'm afraid," the barrista told me.
"How about an iced latte?" I asked. He then offered me an Italian word I didn't quite understand. I asked him to repeat it, and it was something I'd never heard of. "Carbanzo" or "cortina" or something.
I panicked and ended up ordering his second recommendation: a matcha latte. Like the cookie I'd had earlier, it tasted of sawdust.
And that pretty much ate up a whole day. I finished my Goopventure by checking into one of the hotels the app said I might like, a place in Hollywood called Andaz. It was fairly unremarkable. Though there was no check-in desk, just beautiful, plainclothes staff members milling around the lobby holding iPads. Which was pretty annoying.
There was a silhouetted bird motif running throughout the building. Presumably whoever decorated it had never seen this Portlandia sketch.
At this point, it hit me that of all the things Gwyneth recommended, almost all of them involved buying something expensive and non-essential. Which made me feel a little sad for her.
I awoke the next morning to see this. An inspirational quote printed on my hotel room window, which was in the process of becoming unreadable due to people picking at it. Which, if you think about it, is kind of a perfect visual metaphor for Gwyneth and everything she stands for.