Tag Archives: Hollywood

Three Benefits to Manage Stress: Better Health, Rejuvenation & Weight Loss


By Louisa Graves

Excerpted from ‘AGE-PROOF: Beauty Alternatives You Need to Know’

Our bodies respond to our thoughts and feelings. When we’re feeling down our bodies become tired and sometimes even sick. When we feel positive, our bodies are healthier; we become uplifted, more energized and enthusiastic about life. If you have a hectic lifestyle or occupation, here are life-changing tips that can help you feel less stressed, more energized and rejuvenated.

The Stress, Weight Gain & Brain Fog Connection

Living in a constant state of stress not only rapidly ages us, but it also affects our health and hormones, impairs memory, and causes weight gain. Continuous stress causes the body to naturally release a hormone called cortisol. As stress prolongs we experience brain fog, irritability and sadness as well as additional inches of fat on the waist, hips and thighs. This can be devastating for many women.

Our stress hormone Cortisol, provides energy. When produced in excess, cortisol blocks the thyroid hormone which regulates how quickly we burn calories. This hinders weight loss, increases belly fat, water retention and cravings for high-carbohydrate foods such as sweets and starchy foods. These high glycemic and caloric comfort foods stimulate our endorphins (feel-good transmitters) in the brain, providing a temporary high that calms us for a short time.

However, high-carb foods enter the blood stream quickly and cause blood sugar spikes that stimulate the production of insulin. When insulin levels rise, the body’s ability to burn fat slows down. As this cycle continues, the pancreas eventually stops producing the correct supply of insulin the body requires, which can lead to diabetes. In addition, sugar and high-carbohydrate foods cause inflammation and aged-looking skin, low energy, sore joints and even some diseases.

Continued stress exhausts the adrenal system, leading to a variety of health concerns such as depression, fatigue, thyroid issues, brain fog, panic attacks, irritability, low libido, restlessness, weight gain and more. Please visit your doctor if experiencing these symptoms.

Reading Emails Increases Stress and Our Waistlines

Did you know that reading emails increases stress? One study revealed that the anticipation of what’s in an email causes cortisol production to rise. In addition, those annoying unsolicited emailed advertisements prey on our fears, increasing anxiety even further.

Everywhere we look someone is texting, tweeting, emailing or phoning someone else. I’ve witnessed ‘texters’ causing traffic accidents and bumping into others. One gal even tripped and fell into a mall fountain while texting and walking!

Electronic Devices and the Weight Gain Connection

The reality is that to do our jobs many of us must rely on phones, computers and other electronic devices. But the sad truth is that when we’re ‘on’ for countless hours a day, our bodies spew out cortisol. This can drain the adrenal system, cause anxiety, sleeplessness, over eating, and cravings for junk food, which affects our wellbeing and increases our waistlines.

Given the ever-increasing rise in obesity rates I often wonder if using electronic devices are another cause of this skyrocketing phenomenon. Read the alarming obesity statistic below. It’s something to think about. Who doesn’t have a cell phone or computer?

FACT: In the USA, adult obesity rates increased in 16 states during the past year and none of the 50 states showed any decline in their rates of obesity.

If your job requires communicating via email or phone, take two moments each hour of the day to re-set your self back to calm mode. I also recommend that if you have a high-stress schedule to begin your day with meditation,

In addition, set boundaries while away from work. Turn your cell phone off during lunch. Take a quiet 10-15 minute walk by yourself. Walking is a scientifically proven stress buster and can be done easily.

Consider turning your computer and phones off after 7:00 p.m. Time away from work is your time. Calm your mind, nourish your body and just be. This will result in a more focused, healthier and rejuvenated you.


Louisa Graves has appeared on myriad national television shows including The Talk, Extra, and The Doctors, and has been a beauty expert on over 500 terrestrial radio interviews including on WGN, KIIS-FM, and Sirius XM Doctor Radio. Louisa has appeared on the cover of Woman’s World Magazine and is also featured regularly in their “Ask America’s Ultimate Expert” column. Her tips have been featured on MSNBC.com, WomansDay.com, AOL Health and SheKnows.com. Louisa’s YouTube page has had over 1,000,000 views and thousands of professionals and private individuals subscribe to her newsletter. Louisa is also the author of her bestselling book ‘Hollywood Beauty Secrets: Remedies to the Rescue‘. For more information visit www.hollywoodbeautysecrets.com

“Kill Your Darlings” and Confront Your Demons


SPOILER ALERT for those not familiar with the history of the Beat Poets (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac & William Burroughs) and the story of the Lucien Carr murder of David Kammerer. 

To be honest, the main reason I went to see Kill Your Darlings this weekend is because Arclight Hollywood was hosting a Q&A with actor Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, The Place Beyond the Pines) afterwards, and being in the same room with him would officially put me one degree away from the Hollywood love of my life – Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man). 

I had seen a few of Dane’s previous movies and was always impressed by his powerful and dark performances. However, at the end of Darlings I was spellbound. The movie follows poet Allen Ginsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe) during his freshman year at Columbia University – where he meets the rest of the beat poet generation, including the charismatic and troubled Lucien Carr (Dehaan). Together they set forth to ignite a literary revolution, but instead find themselves tangled in the web of Lucien’s identity crisis which leads to the murder of their friend and Lucien’s ex lover David Kammerer.

I had Googled the story before I went and I knew the details were horrible. The real Lucien Carr only spent two years in prison for the murder, though he stabbed David and weighed the body down with rocks before drowning him in the Hudson River. He was able to get less time because he convinced the court it was an honor killing. In 1944, if a heterosexual man kills a homosexual man making “unwanted advances” you serve a lesser time in prison. It’s disgusting and disturbing and in print there’s no sympathy for Lucien to be found.

As disturbed as I was by the circumstances of the story, Dehaan gave a performance that was haunting. I’ve been talking about the movie non-stop since I saw it. Starting with the title sequence (which you can see below) and the first time he says Allen, with his voice breaking like that, it chills to the bone. It’s only two syllables but you can hear the absolute terror in them. His life is over if Allen hands in that statement. Lucien will be forced not only to spend the rest of his life in prison but he’ll have to come to terms with who he really is – and the idea of that is so paralyzingly petrifying that he killed a man to stop it from happening.

I have absolutely no idea what it is like to be a closeted gay man, especially in the 1940s. But we are exploring fear this week on Intent, and this movie has made me think a lot about the power we give fear. Lucien is the most extreme example of what can happen if we let ourselves be controlled by fear. Even before the murder Lucien has to banish the things and people he loves most from his life because he’s scared of being honest with himself and the world (granted, coming out of the closet in 1944 was virtually impossible). But that is the great thing about movies, especially ones like this. They enable us to use the cinematic drama to examine ourselves – our flaws, our weaknesses and the state of our own human condition. Are we as deeply troubled as Lucien Carr? I very sincerely hope not, but it doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn from him and this story.

I’ve been asking myself since Saturday night what fear do I let control me? I’m afraid that as badly as I want to be a screenwriter that I don’t have the talent or the gumption to make it. I am afraid of being alone forever. I am afraid of being rejected or finding out the people I love and respect most honestly don’t like me. And these fears have a daily impact on my life. This weekend I spent more time playing Candy Crush Saga than I did working on my screenplay treatment outline. I absolutely refuse to fill out an OkCupid profile even though I’ve read a quarter of my generation now meets their significant other online. I sulked home alone eating chocolate chip cookies instead of going to a good friend’s improv show because the group didn’t invite me to join.

By themselves these seem like small meaningless choices. Confronting these fears that I harbor is the first step in making braver choices in my life. It’s the key to embracing the good things I have around me and going after the things I desire, after my passions and after dreams.

Take a moment today and think about the choices you’ve made in the past week. Which ones have you made out of fear and which ones have you made in spite of it? Pick one of the former and find a way to change it. I’ve made a pact with myself that there will be no Candy Crush Saga until I’ve outlined at least one scene or mapped a character for my movie. I’ve made a pact with myself to no longer be held back by fear.

Kill Your Darlings was released October 16.


Photo from Tumblr. 

Lamar Odom and His Reported Addiction to Cocaine

GTY_lamar_odom_serious_nt_130826_16x9_992The Kardashians aren’t strangers to headlines and media coverage. From Kim’s sex tape with Ray J to Kourtney’s son Mason not being Scott’s biological son to the media’s blatant insensitivity by continually calling Khloe the “ugly Kardashian.” The media has been as harsh to this family as they have been kind.

If we thought the headlines stating that O.J. Simpson is Khloe’s biological father was as bad as it could get, we were wrong. With an attitude of being able to roll with the punches, the latest headlines about Khloe’s husband, Lamar Odom, having a substance abuse problem is the type of attention this family does not want. Lamar was arrested for DUI and is reportedly addicted to crack cocaine.

He was arrested last week, and has a court date on September 27. He was lucky that he only spent 3 hours and 31 minutes in custody. The harshest consequence that Lamar faces is not a hefty fine or jail time, it’s the possible loss of his career and his marriage to Khloe.

Odom’s DUI came shortly after headlines surfaced stating that he had a substance abuse problem with cocaine. According to the LA Times, if Odom does sign with a team and is convicted of a DUI, he will face mandatory evaluation by the director of the NBA’s anti-drug program, according to terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Allegedly, Odom has an addiction to crack cocaine. Khloe has tried repeatedly to help get him clean and even arranged an intervention. Reports say the intervention took place last week and resulted in Odom storming out of the couple’s home. Drug addiction always ends with extreme consequences. In the case of Odom, seeking treatment would be the best thing that he could do at this time. He cannot be focused on saving his career or saving his marriage; he must be focused on learning about his addiction and embracing the tools necessary for a successful and healthy recovery.

I have worked with numerous couples and celebrities, and unfortunately they aren’t always ready to peel off their celebrity status and be humble enough to take their recovery seriously. My hope is that Lamar Odom takes these wake-up calls seriously. He still has time to recover.

* * *

Sherry Gaba LCSW, a psychotherapist and life, love and recovery coach, is featured on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of  The Law of Sobriety, which uses the Law of Attraction to help people recover from addiction; she is also a contributor to Conscious Entrepreneurs, and to several e-books: Empowerment Manual: Finding Purpose with Intention, Filling the Empty Heart: 5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction. The e-books Relapse Prevention and Eliminate Limiting Beliefs can be downloaded free of charge at www.sherrygaba.com. Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements.


Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Elephant in the Room: Inspiring You to Seize the Day

7f62488974a669b22b50c25272727cccDear Lovelies,

We don’t have a letter this week and I thought I’d try something a little different. Something sort of extraordinary has happened that has inspired me and I’d like to share it with all of you.

I’ve been a writer all my life. Not always professionally, but a good pen (preferably blue) with college ruled notebook paper has been where I’ve felt home since I was a child. I’ve gone through several evolutions with how writing would fit into my life – taking turns as a journalist, wannabe novelist, “hobby”-est – you name it and I tried it/thought about it/didn’t make it through. It was in a dark movie theater in Queens that it all sort of clicked into place – screenwriting. After all that time it was strange how easy it was to see that’s what I needed, that’s where home truly was. It just made sense.

So I packed up my bags and I moved west. It took a year to get my feet on the ground and off of generous family members and friends’ couches, but I finally found a job that would allow me to have my own place, afford to live and give me time to keep chasing the dream. I started taking classes and soon the dream started evolving. I developed a new-found confidence on stage and performing started edging its way in to my frequent success fantasies. I found the story I wanted to write, knew the part I wanted to play, all I had to do was get out my pen, put it to paper and write my way to where I truly felt I belonged.

Of course, especially in this town, self-doubt creeped in with the new desires. Do you know how many aspiring screenwriters there are in Los Angeles? More than you can count, and those are just the ones that managed to make it into city limits. And acting? I had no experience outside of high school drama. I sure as hell didn’t look like someone meant to be in front of a camera. The doubt made me bitter and negative. Even though I had a great job that afforded me so much I felt miserable because it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I hated myself for being so ungrateful, for not being more motivated, for not working harder. Maybe I didn’t want it as badly as I thought, and just that idea made me sick to my stomach.

I began bargaining with the ordering forces of the universe, begging for a sign that I was doing the right thing. I wanted it so badly but the obstacles seemed insurmountable. I just needed some help. I was already on the trail, I just needed a magic dose of courage to put on my shoes and really chase what I wanted.

Then I heard from a friend that she was leaving her steady job to pursue her passion project full-time (you’ll actually be hearing about it quite soon!). I was in awe of her courage – the journey she is about to embark on will be challenging and daunting and beautiful and will save lives. She said she knew it was what she wanted for a while but it took a few other things to push her into taking the plunge, and now that it was here she was terrified but invigorated. She hadn’t worked so hard on anything in a long time. The passion was evident – it radiated off of her. And while being so happy for her, I found myself feeling jealous. I wanted to feel that passion again, as I had when I was sitting in that movie theater, when I first moved to Los Angeles, so sure and so excited.

That’s when I remembered a scene from the Steve Carrell movie, “Evan Almighty.” It is mostly a physical comedy about a man who is tasked with building an ark by God himself. In the midst of the madness, Evan’s wife, played by Lauren Graham, gets some unsolicited advice from a kind stranger that has always stuck with me.

We are not just handed the answers, but given the opportunity to find them for ourselves. My friend was creating her own opportunity, and my envious feelings stemmed purely from me waiting around for someone to hand me my dreams with a bow wrapped around them. She stopped floundering or wondering and decided to just do it.

So this week I say let’s all take a page from her book. Let’s stop waiting for answers in signs or feeling sorry for ourselves when our lives don’t take the immediate direction we want them to. See each turn as an opportunity and take it. Find your passion and follow it.

Tell me how it goes lovelies. I’ll see you again in two weeks, but as for now I have to head out to get a box of red hair dye, a gym membership and new box of blue pens.

Best wishes,

Watch Russell Brand Give MSNBC Anchors a Piece of His Mind and Lesson in Manners

Russell Brand, comedian and star of such hits as Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, has been the brunt of many tasteless jokes since he rose to fame. Let’s face it: he’s an attractive guy, with a raunchy sense of humor, and a history of escapades. What many don’t realize, though, is that Brand is also a committed yogi, meditator, writer, activist, and more. His real interests and intents, though, are apparently too “serious” for this group of MSNBC news anchors to explore. So they decide to comment, instead, on his appearance, his accent, and what they see as his inherent silliness. Expecting Brand to dance and sing for them like a good celebrity puppet, the anchors get quite a shock when he turns the joke on them and gives them a piece of his mind.

The confrontation is subtle and never fully explodes, but there does appear to be some tension around that table. After Brand’s lengthy explanation of the examples and global situations informing his upcoming stand-up tour, “Messiah Complex,” one of the anchors can do nothing more than comment on the thickness of the comedian’s accent. More than once Brand has to remind the anchors that he is sitting right there and would prefer not to be referred to as “he” and “him.” Basic manners, people. In the final climactic moments, Brand shows them what real, relevant news-casting might look like, taking over reporting duties altogether.

Sex, drugs, and celebrity aside, there are some basic courtesies we would expect professional news-casters to show their guests. We’re glad Brand had the presence of mind to stand up to them, especially as playfully and endearingly as he did.

What do you think? Does Brand’s response seem reasonable to you?

“Suite Life of Zack & Cody” Star Dylan Sprouse Discusses His Decision to Leave Disney

enhanced-buzz-6400-1325188412-27The rhetoric surrounding fame and fortune in our culture tends to say: everyone wants to be rich, everyone secretly (or not so secretly) wants to be in the spotlight, and if you have the option to become a superstar, why wouldn’t you take it?

In some case, though, as with child stars, fame develops as a condition of life, and the individual has little say in the matter. In such a situation, stardom may actually turn out to be the last thing that person wants or needs. Case in point: the Sprouse twins.

Born August 4, 1992, Dylan and Cole Sprouse (a.k.a. Sprouse Bros) began acting at the age of 8 months. By the time they appeared in Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy in 1999, the brothers were no strangers to entertainment. You probably know them best, however, as the Disney stars from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, from which they became the fourth highest paid child actors in the world. That is, until the twins decided to walk out on Disney altogether, pursue college, and pave their own paths.

In this candid interview, Dylan Sprouse discusses his and Cole’s decision to leave Disney and the silver platter of child stardom behind:

Given what many child stars have to endure as a cost of fame and over-exposure, it makes sense the Sprouse brothers might want to leave that world behind. Now in their early 20’s, the challenge will be developing lives for themselves that transcend the tidy career and identity compartments child stars inhabit. What college, adult life, and future creative pursuits hold for Dylan and Cole stands to be seen. But we wish them the best of luck!

What do you think? Are you a “Zack & Cody” fan? Tell us your thoughts!

5 Ways to Find Peace in a Big City Like Los Angeles


By Bivás Biswas

The general idea about people living in big cities is that they’re mean, they don’t care, they aren’t as compassionate. They don’t have time for other people. They’re full of themselves and are superficial. Many adjectives! I spent my early childhood in Calcutta, one of the largest cities in India, and I now feel a strange connection to L.A.

Does L.A. change people? Fast life, not enough time, lots of dreams, so expensive! The poor, the middle class, and the rich co-exist. Living the contrast is a part of life. The dream of the middle class is to get to where the rich are, and their fear is the guy on the sidewalk, by the freeway, holding a sign. You can lose everything if you fail to keep up with the rat race.

Dating is a nightmare. Exposing vulnerability becomes a game of one step forward, two steps back. It is like some futuristic Japanese deadlock. The person who bowed first had their head chopped off, so now people are standoffish.

More people are into yoga. More people are into wellness. Juicing is a trend. Kale is selling out of the organic shelves. Vegetarianism. Love for animals sometimes exceeds love for people. There’s a raging war between the sexes. More people are into more of everything.

The system runs on a tightrope: you miss a beat and you miss a class, miss a show, miss a meeting, get fired, miss lunch, miss putting in an extra quarter and get a parking ticket.

What can you do? Here are five ways to find peace in the big city:

  1. Breathe! How is your breathing right now? Keep reminding yourself that smiling is still good for your health and psyche. Doing a little of what you love everyday is good for your mood. Splashing water on your face and letting the water soak into your pores. The towel pressed against your face smells good and feels warm – hold it there a little longer. Sing in the shower. Sing in your car. Don’t hum, belt it out. Join a comedy class. Learn something new, a new instrument. Pick up the guitar, strum a chord.
  2. Believe the best in people even when you can’t see it. Take the first step. Practice giving something to someone everyday! A bottle of water, a smile, a burger, an insight. Share knowledge. If you can’t help the energy drainers, get away from them until you know how to deal with them.
  3. Practice mindfulness. Look at the cars around you in traffic, their colors, if they got a wash lately. What are the plates saying? The good thing about traffic is that everyone is trying to move forward. No one gets on the road to just park their car and blast the radio and have a smoke. So there is a common goal. Albeit some people are in no particular hurry so they let the others in. If you’re stuck behind one of these kind, know that they’d let you in too, it’s not their fault you’re stuck behind them. And the ones who are cutting in…well, they’re idiots! Move on!
  4. Be vulnerable. Experience hurt. The best part of living in a big city is there are many different kinds of people. You’re going to run into the worst parts of yourself and the best parts of yourself. There is usually a lesson in every experience even if it is not the greatest. Annoying but true!  Pain is therapy. In every struggle there is an opportunity for growth. When there is no struggle there is no growth!
  5. Remind yourself to be aware of the little things! A big city has lots of little things! The florist hosing down the sidewalk in front of the store. The barista hanging little lanterns on the tree outside the coffee shop as the sun goes down. Little theaters where struggling artists put up their shows. Old couples walking down the sidewalk at quarter the normal pace of life around them. Sometimes they have to literally think about the next step. See yourself as part of the life around them from their point of view. Look at the different kinds of trees!

The smell of jasmine in the evening. The cracked pavements. The neon lights, the pools of lights and long shadows. And of course the wonderful southern California weather to walk down to the neighborhood grocery store just to enjoy the evening breeze. Hiking and the beach, the city from the mountain top and lessons from the ocean…that’s a whole other blog.

The bigger the city, the smaller it feels. Maybe I’ll see you in traffic! Stay well.

* * *

IMG_4352_warm_croppedBivás has had a successful career as a Software Engineer/Consultant for 13 years. He worked as a Computer Scientist on U.S. Defense projects through Honeywell Aerospace. Besides engineering, he is a filmmaker and an actor, has co-produced and directed a feature film called PARANOIA and has helped finance 3 others. As an actor, he has appeared in many independent features including a HBO mini-documentary and a series for the Discovery Channel. He is originally from Calcutta, India.

Originally published on Bivás’ blog, 24FramesLater.

Photo sourced http://jimmillersworld.com

8 Amazing Behind-The-Scenes Photos from Jeff Bridges’ New Book “Pictures”

Awed by movie stars’ onscreen talents, we often forget that they, like everyone, are multifaceted people with many interests.

Jeff Bridges is among the best of the best, nominated for 6 Academy Awards, the star of countless classics like The Fisher King, Crazy Heart, The Big Lebowski, True Grit and many others. Never one to fit in a box, Bridges has now come out with a book of photographyPictures, which he’s been shooting and developing from behind the scenes of most of the films he’s made since 1984.

His photographs give us a rare and alternative look into the world of these films, which most of us only get to see as polished final products. The book is nominated for the 29th annual Infinity Awards – and for good reason. Take a look at these beautiful photos and see if you can recognize which films they come from!









Photos via jeffbridges.com and NY Times.

The 5 Most Misguided Celebrity Weight-Loss Methods

We live in a society that scrutinizes body and weight at every turn. With billboards, reality tv, music videos, and red carpet events, we get bombarded by images of trim, glamorous celebrities, our supposed role models of beauty. Aesthetic preferences are bound to develop and vary from culture to culture, but this tendency becomes dangerous when people’s health and well being are put on the line due to feelings of shame and inadequacy. These celebrity diets and weight loss tricks are particularly troubling and should not be accepted or adopted just because the person behind it is a supposed “culture maker.”

The bottom line: Find the courage to love yourself; do what feels right for you and seems healthy and acceptable overall; and whatever you do, don’t take any tips from these celebs:


1. You’ll recognize the dewy and beautiful Jessica Alba from films like Sin City and Good Luck Chuck. She is naturally petite and small-boned, but there was much speculation over her speedy post-pregnancy weight loss. All was revealed, however, in a recent interview in which Alba confided her secret: She wore a double corset day and night for three months. Imagine how uncomfortable that would be after being pregnant for nine months!


2. Lady Gaga is the contemporary female icon for bizarre fashion and body manipulation. She has experienced considerable fluctuations in weight over her diva career, and has been vocally criticized for it by the media. Her latest diet? The so-called “Drunk Diet.” Labeled “drunkorexia” by critics, this party lifestyle is perhaps a ‘great’ way to loose weight and have liver failure at the same time.


3. Often in the case of shocking celebrity weight fluctuation, the person may be gaining or losing in order to fit a certain role. Perhaps for the sake of art extreme body alterations are acceptable? It seems hard to believe in the case of Christian Bale, normally a healthy 6′ and 185lbs. His disturbing loss of 63lbs for the lead role in The Machinist was apparently attained on an apple and a cup of coffee a day.


4. Similar to Bale’s situation, rapper 50 Cent lost nearly 55lbs in order to play the role of a dying cancer patient in Things Fall Apart. He reportedly achieved the weight loss in nine weeks by drinking only liquids and running on a treadmill for three hours a day. This kind of rapid loss can have a lethal effect on a person’s heart, which frankly doesn’t seem worth it in the name of art.

Anne Hathaway attends the 'Les Miserables' after party at the Camden Roundhouse in London

5. In most recent news, Anne Hathaway quickly lost 25lbs for her role at Fantine in Les Miserables. Normally lanky and curved, Hathaway is said to have eaten just two small squares of oatmeal paste a day, and she even confessed to starving herself for days at a time to achieve the right effect. In this case – in fact in Christiane Bale’s and 50 Cent’s as well – the effect is to look like someone miserable and on the verge of death, something no one should ever aspire to.

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