What The Royal Family's Homes Really Look Like
The 26 Things Elizabeth Banks Can't Live Without
Elizabeth Banks swears a lot. OK, maybe not a lot compared with, say, Chris Rock. But she definitely lets F-bombs fly more than most actresses would during an interview at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont. This is not a complaint, by the way. In fact, her potty mouth is pretty awesome.
Equally refreshing? How frank Elizabeth is. She'll tell you exactly what she thinks unless she doesn't want to discuss something. If that's the case, she lets you know straight up instead of offering a canned answer. Then there's her amazing sense of humor—no surprise, considering she's held her own alongside hilarious costars in everything from 30 Rock and Modern Family to the cult indie comedy Wet Hot American Summer.
Her schedule, however, is no joke. The 39-year-old is the mother of two boys (both under 3), runs a production company with her husband, Max Handelman, and in November will once again play Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. She shows up to lunch fresh from one meeting and afterward heads to another to pitch TV execs a show. So how does she deal with her crazy-hectic life? What products, indulgences, and people help keep her sane? Elizabeth wasn't shy about sharing—punctuated by the occasional expletive, of course.
1. Small Accomplishments
Like many women, Elizabeth has a to-do list that feels never-ending. So she focuses on things she can accomplish in the short term. "Sometimes I just think, I can make this dinner, eat it, and clean it up, and I accomplished something. I nurtured my family and myself. I like doing Mom shit."
2. Her Trainer
"She runs a gym called AlphaVenice, and she is fantastic," Elizabeth says of trainer Joselynne Boschen. "[My husband and] I have been working out with her for about five years now." These days, "he's more dedicated than I am," Elizabeth says with a laugh, then deadpans, "but he needs it more than I do. Just genetically."
3. Hiding Junk Food
"People ask me how I stay thin, and I'm like, 'When you go to the grocery store, buy more bananas than cookies.'" When she does spring for the latter, she tricks herself by putting them somewhere slightly unusual: the freezer. "That's where my Girl Scout Cookies are." That way, she forgets about them instead of eating them all.
4. Entertaining Her Kids with the iPad
Elizabeth often takes her children with her when she travels for work—which is a lot. Her secret? On the plane, "they have to stay in their car seats," she explains. Otherwise, "they'd want to be in the aisle running around. And my [older] son really only gets to watch the iPad when he's on a plane, so he associates flying with 'I get to watch movies!' He thinks it's amazing."
5. Accepting Her Age. . .Mostly
"I'm a fan of Photoshopping. But I always worry [photos are] going to be [retouched] too much. I don't need to look 20. I can look like I've lived a little life."
@ElizabethBanks has more than 1.2 million Twitter followers. That's due in large part to the fact that, instead of simply tweeting about every single thing that happens to her, she sends out news stories or funny links, or she asks her fans what they think about various topics. Who does she like to follow?
7. Vintage Clothes Shopping
When Elizabeth sits down to lunch, she's wearing a red Marc Jacobs dress with a heart print. But over that is an awesome blue sweater with white piping. . .which she got in her "really small" hometown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. "It has two great vintage shops. I go all the time when I'm home, and I always find something cute."
8. The No-White Diet
Elizabeth says she's a healthy eater who's thankfully been blessed with a fast metabolism. But if she's getting ready for a film role that might, say, require her to stand next to James Marsden in her undies—as she does in Walk of Shame, out next year—even she feels the need to buckle down. So she stops eating many things that are, you guessed it, white. "It's essentially a gluten-free diet: no rice, no bread, no pasta," she says. "I'll eat tons of protein and veggies. Also, I just drink water and tea. . .and alcohol."
9. Sun Protection
"I hate the sun," Elizabeth says. Her side of the family is extremely fair (half are redheads!), "and it's not really possible for me to tan. So I wear wide-brimmed hats." She also uses Mario Badescu sunscreen on her face and Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Lotion Sunscreen SPF 55 on her body.
10. The Half Order
This is Elizabeth's go-to strategy when she's watching her weight. "Portion control is a real problem. My husband and I always split one appetizer and one entree. I'm sure waiters hate us."
11. A Zit-Fighting Duo
"I had really bad skin growing up, but I thought you outgrew zits," Elizabeth admits. "Well, turns out you always get them!" To help prevent breakouts, she uses Murad Clarifying Cleanser and Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer.
12. Her Husband's Playlists
Elizabeth still sings along to songs by artists she was a fan of as a kid—Madonna, U2, Michael Jackson, Guns N' Roses. "I only know the lyrics to songs that I listened to between the ages of 11 and 15," she says. But that's not all that's on her stereo. "My favorite music is anything that my husband plays for me—I love it when he guesses what I'll like."
"Everyone I know feels as if they're working all the time. The boundaries are blurred. We have phones that send e-mail 24-7. But I don't check e-mail after 9 p.m."
14. The Settlers of Catan
"It's my favorite board game by far—I'm competitive," she says. On Friday nights, when she and Max don't have a babysitter, they'll invite friends over to play. "I can be social and feel like not just a mom and worker bee. I can actually feel like I have a social life."
15. Setting Goals
Free time isn't something Elizabeth has a ton of these days. But she knows that won't always be the case—and she's already planning for the future: "I want to play piano; I want to learn a second language; I want to learn how to fly a plane," she says. "That's not going to happen in the next five years, but when my kids go to school, I'll start attacking those things."
16. This Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote
"Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation." Why it resonates with Elizabeth? Like a lot of women, she juggles a busy career and family, and she thinks it's extremely important for both men and women to reconsider the way families are raised and how society supports people who are bringing up kids.
As a kid, vacations were car trips to visit family. "If they lived in Cleveland, that's where we went." Today, E Banks's top vacay spot is France. "I love the south of France. I also love Paris; my husband took me there for my 25th birthday."
18. Low-Key Date Nights
Elizabeth and her husband don't try to make elaborate plans in order to spend time alone together. "We steal little moments. We'll be like, 'Let's ask the nanny to stay late so we can run out and have sushi by ourselves.' And we spend Sunday night curled up on the couch together, watching Game of Thrones and Mad Men."
"Who doesn't love meatloaf?" Elizabeth asks. "My father always made an amazing meatloaf, and I've inherited his skill. Leftover meatloaf in a sandwich? Come on!"
20. Daring Fitness Activities
By the time Elizabeth became a mom (via surrogate), she was in her late thirties, but she's determined to keep up with her kids for years to come. "I have two boys; they're going to be physical. If I want to go skiing with them when they're teenagers, I have to stay fit."
She recently went on vacation with her extended family and had the opportunity to go tubing behind a speedboat on a lake. "I was like, 'I'm way too old to be doing this!' but I thought, I don't want my kids thinking their mother wouldn't get out on a tube." How did it go? "Well, I nearly died. I did a full cartwheel in the air as I went into the water. But it was totally fun and worth it."
21. Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery
"That sugary, sugary frosting—my god, I love them so much." Ironically, these treats have a waist-friendly purpose: "I like cupcakes because if I had a full cake, I would eat the full cake."
Elizabeth and her hubby have been together since she was 18. Their secret? Kindness. "One predictor for divorce is contempt, which to me is just another word for disrespect. Everybody finds out something mysterious or secret about their partner that embarrasses or is hurtful to them. And if you bring that up during a fight, you are fucked. Because you clearly don't respect your partner enough to leave those things alone."
23. Her Crock-Pot
"You can throw anything in there." One example: chicken with lemon, bay leaf, and garlic. "When it comes out, the chicken falls off the bone. Delicious."
A recent favorite: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, about the struggles faced by the country's working poor.
25. Secret Staycations
"Before we had our first son, we told everyone we knew we were going away, but we didn't go anywhere. It was awesome. We just enjoyed our house."
26. Being Informed
"I'm a fucking actress. I'm not going to come up with the next heart transplant or solar-energy battery. But I know those are important things, so I like to encourage young people—who right now want to be on reality shows—to educate themselves.
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