Two Steps Back

Wednesday Advice Smackdown

A WORD OF ACTUAL ADVICE TO ALL RECIPIENTS OF FAKE ADVICE: My job has erupted with the crazy and the busy. Like a volcano of work. Boom! Also, I am fighting a cold that I absolutely positively must not come down with. There is no time to be sick. There is also no time for this column, but I’m not letting that stop me. You know why? Because I am a trooper.

Now what was I saying before? Right. This week’s advice will probably be even suckier and faker than usual. Because wah.

(Also, the Wednesday Advice Smackdown has officially reached full Cabbage Patch Kids proportions, with the number of questions far exceeding my wee brain’s ability to answer in one day. So if your question is not answered here, please check back next week because I keep them all forever until they are answered and also your call is very important to me, please stay on the line, etc.)

Hey Amy,

I want to thank you for your recent advice column where you recommended several haircare products for those of us who are unfortunate enough to have fine, oily, stringy hair.  I just got a haircut like two weeks ago and I couldn't justify the expense of getting another one right away, but I bought several of the products you recommended and my hair has been AMAZING.  Seriously, all my friends are like, "How is your hair so pretty?  What did you do?"  So, thank you for that.

Along those lines, do you have any other beauty products that you would like to pimp out?  Like, moisturizer, makeup, that kind of thing?  Help me look even more pretty, maybe even as pretty as you!


(HINT: Sucking up greatly increases your question’s chances of getting noticed.)

First of all, I am thrilled that I am making a difference to hair follicles across the nation. Second of all, I am pissed that the Bed Head people STILL have not sent me any money.

So no Bed Head pimpage today. (Except for After Party, for those of y’all who get the frizzy fly-away ends. Also because I find the packaging extremely amusing.)

Today I shall pimp Ahava, a line of moisturizers and skincare products from Israel. My parents visited Israel a few years ago (before it was QUITE as crazy to go there) and brought back samples for me. (My parents are only moderately crazy.)

(Also, you read that right. My parents went to Israel and brought me hotel toiletry samples as a present. Because they know me that well.)

ANYWAY. Ahava makes a mud mask from Dead Sea mud, which you know has to be good because it sounds holy and sacred. They also sell Dead Sea bath salts, which are just heaven for dry skin and eczema. (Which I do not have, but I have testimonials that Ahava Dead Sea Bath Salts are a gift from God for eczema.)

And they also make a bazillion other moisturizers for every other part of your body, because you CANNOT put the same moisturizer on your feet as you put on your elbows. You CANNOT.

I also use their facial moisturizer for oily skin (and good God I’m getting tired of typing out the word moisturizer), because my face gets very, very angry very, very easily. Also the mud mask (or masque rather, because this shit ain’t cheap) and hand crème.

Amy: Say my skin is kissably soft.
Jason: What?
Amy: I need a testimonial. Please say something nice about my skin.
Jason: It is as milky soft as the milk that flows directly from a cow’s udder.
Amy: Ew.

See? There you go.

So. Ahava. Available at Sephora, Snooty Department Stores and also

Dear Amalah,

Am confused. Brain is hurting. Help. How are there TWO "ramdom muses"? and Which one is good and which one is evil? If one random muse jumps off a bridge do all random muses jump off a bridge? What is your Queenly opinion?

Graneezy Speezy

(It is at this point I shall pretty much offend everybody and cross the line of uppity like I’ve never crossed it before.)

My dear Graneezy. Please to be typing into your Interweb browser the address of

Who’d you get?

If you have to type anything like blogspot/diaryland/typepad/diary-x when getting to your site, you are a tourist. Get your own damn domain. Unless you have wept bitter tears over the domain mapping/custom DNS process, you hold no title to your corner of cyberspace.

In other words: Martha wins.

(ATTENTION INTERNET: The above passage was what is known as a "JOKE." I may tell a few of these "JOKES" from time to time, so please chill out. Think of as South Park: if I haven't offended or insulted you already, just wait your damn turn. I'll get to ya sooner or later. Thank you.)

Dear Queen of Everything/ Pretty, Pretty Princess in a pretty pretty BridesMAID dress,

Hi.  I have three questions because I am a HOG.

(1) (This is more up Jason's alley, but I figure you'd have the inside scoop.)  Do you know where to get lovely Teriyaki Chicken in DC?  I've had some at Sushi (?) in Georgetown on Wisconsin, but I am looking to expand my stable of eateries and would like some more Japanese restaurants in there.  Very important point: I do not have a car, so the restaurant would need to be metro-accessible.

(2) I am having trouble with boyfriends.  Specifically, I still really miss my ex (together for 3 years, broke up 16 months ago) and so instead of moving on in any constructive way, I sometimes focus on my rebound (lovely boy, though lives in England, so sort of an impossible relationship).  Is there any way to move on faster?

(3) I moved to DC in July and still haven't made friends.  I came here after I graduated college in Ohio and I didn’t know anyone when I moved here and there are no potential friends in the office.  How do I make friends?  I've been going out to concerts (my favorite activity) alone, but not meeting anyone.  I volunteer at the Kerry campaign, and I don’t meet anyone.  Other than people in my office (again, no potential friends here), there are probably 3 people in the entire city who know my name.  What should I do, oh Miss Popular, to meet other young 20s ladies and gentlemen?

Thank you forever,
You have pretty hair,


Bah! Three questions! Am tired! Wah.

1)  First of all, teriyaki chicken is McNuggets of Japanese cuisine. You don’t want teriyaki chicken. If you want teriyaki chicken you make it at home with some chicken cutlets and a damn bottle of teriyaki sauce. If you want excellent, Metro-accessible Japanese food you go to Spices on Connecticut Ave. by the Cleveland Park Metro. You order tangerine peel beef and spicy crunchy tuna roll and other assorted sushi and edamame and the tempura ice cream for dessert that they set on fire at table. You eat and you enjoy and you tell Amy to stop talking like this because it is insulting.

2)  See question one. Eat eat eat. Especially the flaming ice cream. Then you move on and maybe meet cute sushi chef who will help you throw the most awesome parties because who doesn’t want a sushi chef in the family? That’s better than a doctor.

3)  Well, once you’ve bagged your sushi chef, this should help things. Also joining D.C. Society of Young Professionals.

Dear Amalah,

Is it at all possible, in your opinion, to find the perfect purse that would be suitable for a lifetime? If not, then how long could the perfect purse last? (my husband thinks my new purse every month habit is a bit



Although I have one purse that is very nearly close to perfect. It was the very first Coach bag I ever got—the symbol for how far Jason and I have come since the days where the cat ate first and whatever money was left over went to some tuna fish for us.

It’s close to perfect because it has brown leather trim, but was the dark red and black signature C fabric. See? Brown AND black. AND red. You can carry that with everything. Plus it was Coach and therefore classic and always in style and blah de freaking blah.

I carried it without complaint for over a year straight. Then I started messing with perfection by adding a brown suede hobo. Then a Soho tote with blue and green stripes. Then another suede one (it had FRINGE!) and seventy bazillion wristlets and clutches and crusher hats and scarves and now I am totally Coach’s bitch as I bought the $350 limited edition Most Beautiful Bag Ever That Will Only Go With This Season’s Colors.

(Once? After I organized all my purses on the rack in my closet all pretty? When no one was looking? I totally put my arms around the rack and gave them all a big hug.)


First of all, Hi.  Hope you and the husband and the mini-pooch are well, and I hope the crazy pills aren't getting you down.

Secondly, I have a question for your Advice Smackdown.  I thought that since you are both Queen of Everything as well as a stylish sort of chick you might be able to shed a little light on the subject of my nappy hair.

I am a natural blond who presently has jet-black hair with an inch or so of natural blond roots.  Needless to say, this looks yucky.

I cannot decide whether to strip the black from my hair (a painful undertaking) and go blond, take it one step further and attempt to go platinum blond, give up on the stripping and stay black, or attempt to dye my hair a nice dark brown with red highlights without stripping.

I have a pasty, albino-white complexion, but for some reason most haircolors work for me.

Your thoughts would be most appreciated, as I am not a big girl and cannot make huge decisions such as this for myself.

Your sister in psychiatric medication,

Oh my God, let me tell you a story.

I have always been a blond. Ever since I was wee I was very, very blond. Naturally, my hair started to darken as I got older but I always kept it blond.

Then remember the X-Files? Scully? Who for some reason became this huge sex symbol even though she was kind of down right weird looking?

I suddenly decided I wanted to become a redhead.

And by “suddenly” I mean I made this decision at 2 a.m. in a CVS while buying Cheez-Its and Chips Ahoy cookies. I’ll let you guess as to what made me come to this decision.

So I bought some red hair dye and went home and slept it off. Yet so great was my bender that the red hair dye still seemed like a good idea the next morning. Gah.

I ended up with magenta hair. Fuchsia. A horrible, not-Scully-in-the-slightest shade of red that does not exist in nature.

So yeah. I ended up having the color stripped out of my hair. Then re-dyed. And then cut off. And then stripped some more. The best I was able to get down to was a reddish brown with blond highlights and a really, really short haircut.

I cried. Oh, how I cried.

What does this have to do with your question? Well, nothing really. Except don’t strip your hair if you have to. Do the dark brown thing with red highlights.

Because I think you would look really nice as a redhead. Pass the Cheez-its.



Holy crap you guys. I just reread this for the very first time and I am such a BITCH today. I am sorry.

Would it help if I told you my hair looks like total crap today? Well, it does.


It's okay! Meredith Brooks, singer of the song Bitch, would like to remind you that we wouldn't want it any other way.

I also wish that you had dark, thick hair that refused to shine so that I too could benefit from your fantastic advice. Ah well.


am weeping bitter tears now. does that count?

also, shut up. you're hair looks great.


Dearest Amalah,

I too, am a natural blonde and yes, I made the same horrible mistake with my locks. I decided to go red... and it was awful. It was supposed to be temporary, and WASN'T. I spent like two years in the salon, going shorter and shorter and trying to get my hair back the way it was, and then going all Marilyn white, and then cutting it all off and shaving the back of it (i was in my punk faze then, so it was ok.)

Glad to know I wasn't the only one!


hey Rachael - I have that dark thick hair which you speak of.. The best thing? Biosilk Silk Therapy - Makes the hair shiny shiny and takes away the friz, and you can also use it on skin.

Sorry to pimp products in your comments Amy, but I felt qualified for that one. :) Sorry to hear that work is so nuts, hope it settles soon. You've totally sold me on Ahava! I am so cursed with oily skin on my face...


Hurray! Thanks for answering my question. Definitely going to have to invest in such products, as my skin looks terrible today.


I am skeeeeered of red. Also of highlights, because I suck at them. But I think I will try a nice rich dark brown and ask a highlighting friend to hook me up. Muchas gracias. ;)


Okay, so once I dyed my hair like you Amalah, cuz I wanted a nice red highlight, only it turned completely orange and I re=dyed it the same dye and it was STILL orange and so I dyed it AGAIN and at least made it so I could leave the house, not having the kind of job where I could wear a baseball cap and all. Then I went to the salon a week later and after showing me around to everyone there in amazement that all my hair had not fallen out my stylist (pretentious, but I can't think of anything else to call him right now) re-dyed again.

It has never been the same.


Before reading this I was hating myself and my life for a variety of reasons which seemed perfectly adequate, but now I also feel like a big loser for not having my own domain. Wah.


Mmmm, Ahava. My best friend went to Israel when we were in college and brought me back all sorts of Ahava goodness, and I had forgotten how fabulous they were. To I go! Also? I died my hair black a lifetime ago, and spen 9 hours in a salon having it stripped to the point where they could put a nice brown on it. It was awful. Am re-living it right now.


Just to set the record straight, I used to be (and you can still get to my site that way), but then I decided to shed the bitter domain mapping tears so that I could be as super cool as you and have my very own real live domain name, which serves no true purpose other than to make me feel special and to cost me like $15.99 per year or something.


$15.99 a year? Damn, girl, who you go to? Also, I'm wondering when I should be reupping my domain for it is almost out. I fear being or something.

Also, I am patting my naturally curly red hair right and soothing it. "Mama's never going to dye you black or do highlights on her own, ever. Don't worry, hair follicles preciouses."


Girl, I KNOW you did not just get all sanctimonious about having Your Very Own Domain. Damn!


See, my mom has red hair. So I should have been able to dye my hair. So I thought I would be able to dye my hair red, right?

Well, I was able, if you mean I could get the dye to go onto my hair. Then? It was bad. Badder than bad. So bad, that I was FORCED by a friend to keep a picture of how bad it was.

Sigh. I need chocolate.

Scarlett Cyn

Am I the ONLY natural dark honey blond with titan shades in it that has gone red and loved it? I've been red for more than half of my life now. I mean, it feels NATURAL and I love it. (and I've had my hair all the other colors too) Maybe it just goes real nice with my green eyes and Irish milky skin?

Could be. I think Amy and I should start a whole nother blog about Hair and Makeup advice.Who would read. Cause me? I'm totally qualified. I've been a makeup artist for longer than I've been red. Hah. Who'd be interested?

Scarlett Cyn

Holy mother of God. I just fucking admitted that I dye my hair.



I just ordered the BioSilk. I am counting the days until it arrives!! Thanks for the tip Sabine!


You are welcome Rachael - I can't live without that stuff....


I'm a natural blond who went red, but I'm scared to go RED-red (if I stick to the "light auburn" family I am OK, but nothing that says "copper" or the actual word "red") I had a Lucille Ball instance, which was not good, but not nearly as traumatic as my "dyed it black for a show I was doing, and even though the Clairol lady said that the only problem with the washes-out-in-5-shampoos-kind would be that it would only make my hair dark brown, not fully black, instead I ended up with a mossy greyish green color that caused me to need some major color correction and having to have 4 inches chopped off right before having my new driver's license picture taken" instance.


Wow! Someone else who can profess their love for AHAVA products! I got them from the in-laws after they went to Israel, got a gift pack for my mom and got her hooked. I LOAVE me their hand lotion. (And if there is anything I get hooked on more than lip glosses, it's hand lotion, you know, I can never quite find the perfect one, but Ahava seems to do the trick).

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