OH MY GOD, IT'S THE WEDNESDAY ADVICE SMACKDOWN!
For the bazillion new readers who have joined us via The Washingtonian, davebarry.com or who are Just Here For The Baby Pictures, here's a little background:
Once upon a time I felt like being bossy and told my friends to invent fake questions that I would make up fake advice for on Wednesdays. Then people started sending in real questions. So I tried to start giving real advice, with dubious results. You can read every past Smackdown and/or Smackdownish entry by clicking here.
Translation: I am not very good at this and probably don't know what I'm talking about most of the time.
Passive-Aggressive Translation: Because I openly admit that, you are not allowed to tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about in the comments section. I may be full of shit, but it's uppity shit and I don't want to hear about it.
Today the Smackdown returns to its old school roots when I used to bang out questions one at a time throughout the whole day when I had free time at work. Now I will post questions whenever Noah is asleep or otherwise entertained.
(Don't get your hopes up, because yesterday? He did not nap but AT ALL and was a howling, cranky little turd all day long. We'll see if today is better.)
(It actually already kind of is, because Jason took the day off work and brought me breakfast in bed AND took the baby away so I could actually eat it.)
(No, you can't have him. He is all mine.)
Dear lovely, very pregnant Amalah, (Edited to add: HA! Obviously, the Smackdown is not known for its timeliness.)
I'm a 29 year old woman (from the Netherlands/Holland, where they speak and write Dutch, wear wooden shoes, abuse drugs and are allowed to, perform euthanasia and are allowed to so i have many excuses for lots of typos) with a problem. I've been regularly reading your site, and some other blogs that i like as well, for over a year now. I'm not pregnant and i'm not planning on becoming pregnant in the near future, but suddenly you got pregnant. And i liked it. I was happy for you. I thought about the nice post this would bring on and stuff. Baby talk etc. Then, in March at a party at our place, one couple announced that they were pregnant coming in. When the second befriended couple entered, they joined the cheering because well.. it was a little early to tell, but she also missed her last period. AND THEN? When the third couple walked onto our front porch? Couple number 1 commented on how
nice it would be if they were pregnant too. And well... of course... they were. There me and my boyfriend stood, very not screaming, very not pregnant, and very alone....
And now? I'm totally freaked out! I'm afraid this pregnancy thing and moreover the baby thing will totally ruin our friendship. We will be left all alone because, we cannot relate to them now and in a few years.. when we are screaming our heads off (as that is what pregnant mums do)... their children will have reached another "phase" and in my imagination i will be left with good advise about what they did when they were pregnant.. long.. long ago.. What should i do? Should we try to get pregnant also because we can share common interest and problems in ehm... breast feeding, not eating.. diaper changes.
Should i forget about the whole pregnancy thing in the future because well.. i'm to late to connect with my friends over this.. OR? Please very cute (and beautiful) pregnant woman, can you tell me what to do? Have you had similar experiences?
Best wishes...or (this one comes from my translation site) yours sincerely,
"Should we try to get pregnant also because we can share common interest and problems...?"
Umm...no. Although props for coming up with a very interesting solution for friendship-saving.
Most of our friends do not have kids. The only pregnant women I knew during my own pregnancy were the ones I knew online. Of our closest circle of friends, we're the first to be steering the conversation to diapers, floppy baby necks and the bazillion and one reasons Why Amy Thinks Breastfeeding Sucks.
We also occasionally shut up about Noah and talk about work, politics, gossip and all the other stuff we talked about in the pre-Noah days, and MY GOD, are we grateful.
While yeah, your friends are all moving on to a new stage in life and it sucks to feel like you're being left behind and to know that your friendships will change (and they will), there is no reason to feel like you will have absolutely nothing in common with them anymore.
They'll need and want breaks from the non-stop pregnancy and baby talk. When I was a bazillion months pregnant, all I wanted was for everybody to stop asking me how I was feeling all the time and instead talk about whether Tom Cruise was always this insane, or was the switch from bipolar meds to vitamins a recent occurrence.
And now we just want to know we won't piss our friends off if we bring Noah to brunch, or if they'd be okay with watching the football game at our house instead of the sports bar, or if they'd possibly be okay with babysitting so we could go see a movie. And for our real best friends? None of the above are a problem.
So while you certainly have to appreciate the major life change your friends are going through, they'll appreciate someone who lets them be the person they were pre-baby and ISN'T totally hung up on all the ways they've changed.
And if they don't, and they become one of those asshole couples who is All Baby, All the Time, and Oh My God, We Can't Go Anywhere With the Baby and What About the Baby and Let's All Talk About the Baby Some More -- well, I hate those couples and you have my blessing to dump them and find some new friends.
Oh, and when you DO decide to get pregnant, they will have all kinds of awesome hand-me-down maternity clothes for you. And tons of advice, because as I have learned, women NEVER EVER GET TIRED OF GIVING ADVICE TO PREGNANT WOMEN, ESPECIALLY IF IT INVOLVES A TERRIFYING STORY OF EPISOTOMIES AND 49 HOURS OF LABOR.
More questions to come, but now I must go change a poopy diaper. Because I am All Poop, All the Time.
Oh Great and Wonderful Amalah!
Do you clean your make-up brushes? I never have but I hear I'm supposed to. Oops!
If you do clean them, how do you do it?
I have a 4 year old son and all he wants to do is paint watercolors with them.
See what you have to look forward to.
Yes, you should clean your make-up brushes.
No, I am not very good about cleaning my make-up brushes.
Except for my precioussss foundation brush. That one I wash out everyday with a little warm soapy water (and I just use whatever pump hand soap we have in the bathroom). Once a week (or whenever I notice my foundation not going on as smoothly as it should), I wash it out with my Clinque make-up remover wash stuff.
I'm also pretty good about cleaning my little lipstick brush, since like the foundation brush, it's getting dipped in wet, goopy substances everyday.
(My NARS lip lacquer is my compromise for the whole "matte lipstick is back for fall" shit that Vogue and Sephora are pulling, by the way. It's a glossy color, but heavier on the color and lighter on the gloss, if that makes any damn sense. My point is: I am not drinking the matte lipstick Kool-Aid quite yet, because after five years of buying lipgloss I have finally found the perfect products and colors and unless Vogue personally sends me hundreds of dollars to begin the Great Color Search all over again, they can kiss my glossy ass.)
As for my other brushes, I'm a little less careful -- they just get dipped in the same neutral powders everyday and the wear and tear is minimal. You SHOULD wash them out occasionally because it will extend the life of your brush and keep your colors truer (i.e. less tinged with every other shade of eyeshadow you've ever dipped the brush in).
I'm sure there's also a bacteria concern in there somewhere. Eh.
Anyway, use warm soapy water on synthetic bristled brushes and shampoo on natural bristled brushes. For stubborn make-up like foundation or eyeliner, use make-up remover. Let the brushes air dry before putting them back in your make-up case or bag.
More questions to come, but right now I must go put on some damn make-up myself, because it feels wrong to do an Advice Smackdown while looking like warmed-over ass.
Dear Mama Amy,
I moved from my hometown a year and a half ago for a job. Since then I've been included on my parents' invitation for every family event. Fine, whatever. But my YOUNGER sister, who got married a couple months after I moved, gets an invitation at her home.
To get to the point, my younger cousin's baby shower is coming up. Again, I was included on my mom's invitation. I would like to give her a gift, because AW! A Baby! and it's a surprise shower so it's not her fault I didn't get my own invitation, but I want to receive the thank you note at my house, and I'd appreciate it if my family would start sending me my own invitation. Would it be uncouth to include my address in the card? My mother says I don't get my own invitation because they don't have my address but it wouldn't be that hard to get a hold of it.
Annnnndddd this is exactly why you should always, always send out those "change of address" announcements whenever you move.
Although those aren't failproof either, because people are really lazy and never, ever remember to erase your old address from their address book and then when they have to mail, say, some hypothetical birth announcements for their baby boy, they realize that everybody has moved and every address in their book is old and they may send the announcements anyway and then the announcements all come back a week later and this completely hypothetical new mom person then spends the next week emailing everybody like a moron to ask for their new addresses and no, this totally did not happen to me.
Anyway, it is not uncooth at all to include your address with your card and gift. I mean, one should ALWAYS include one's return address on the envelope or package. And the recipient should always use that address when sending a thank-you note.
But if you think the recipient may continue to be a lazy clueless person and send the thank-you to your parents, it certainly wouldn't hurt to include a little note that says, "By the way, I'm not sure I sent you my new address! Here it is!" This completely overlooks the fact that your "new" address is a year and a half old, but if these people are fine with using your parents as some kind of middleman mail delivery service, I'm sure they won't give it a second thought.
And take the hint your mom was trying to give you. These people don't have your address and are not going to pick up the phone and ask for it. But this is an easily fixable problem.
If the whole lumping you-with-your-parents thing is bothering you, then get proactive and send out some belated change-of-address cards. Or any kind of card. Or a phone call to say, "Hey, my mother said you don't have my address! Got a pen?"
Only after you've actually GIVEN these people your address do you earn the right to complain when your mail gets sent elsewhere.
More questions to come, but right now I must go mail some birth announcements for the second time. Hypothetically.
Hi to a wonderful & wise Amalah who loves Coach...
I recently splurged on a Coach Soho black leather small hobo as my "I'm in grad school and up to my eyeballs in debt but I am damn well going to have a nice bag" statement. I went on Ebay a few days later and managed to win an auction for the sold out limited edition light green optic signature hobo with ladybug appliques that I have been longing for since it came out. Now I have two hobos. Is that redundant? Should I exchange my beautiful classic black bag for another shape? Please advise me...I'm very much on the fence as I love the shape but am wondering if I will feel dumb in a year for spending so much on two almost identical bags...
Coach loving site lurker
OH GOOD LORDY NO.
The hobo is classic. And black leather vs. green optic signature? Could not be more different.
The way I see it, your real dilemma will surface next year when you fall in love with yet another hobo bag in a completely different color/fabric/leather option.
So I'll solve that one for you too. I have three hobos. You can totally buy another one and still not feel dumb about it.
More questions to come, but right now I must go tell each and every Coach bag I own how much I love it. This could take awhile.
Hi. I am writing to inquire about what type of dress would look good on my body type. I am very small-chested and need a flattering dress for a school dance. I have no idea what to look for or buy. I just want something that will look fashionable and flatter me well.
Hope you can help. Thanks.
I'm flat chested too. (Or I was, in my pre-breastfeeding days.) (Although I could probably count the minutes at this point until I will be flat chested once again.) And I am going to tell you the honest-to-God truth, and I want you to believe me, even though it took the better part of a decade and a fortune in push-up bras for me to believe this truth myself: flat-chested girls can wear anything they want. It's the big-chested girls who have the problems.
Seriously, we can wear all the styles that make wearing a bra impossible. We can get away with tiny spaghetti straps and plunging halters and backless little numbers.
Now that I have substantial boobs and need to wear a bra all the time (and oh my God, I have to wear a bra TO BED or else I'm in terrible pain and when I'm in the shower I'm dreaming of getting out just so I can put my bra back on), I am more convinced than ever that small boobs are the way to go.
So...um...yay for small boobs and all that. And my favorite personal styles are halter tops, which always seem to create the illusion of more boobs than actually exist, and strapless, only because I was convinced for YEARS that small-chested girls couldn't wear strapless dresses, but now I know that WE CAN and WE LOOK FABULOUS IN THEM.
Provided we have a decent padded strapless bra and possibly a good tailor to run an inch or two off the bodice so we don't spend the entire evening yanking up our dress, of course.
More questions to come, maybe, but right now I have to throw a tantrum, because I just realized that my gorgeous Thomas Pink shirt will not button over my magnificent, voluptuous cleavage.
I am delurking because you seem like a big enough rockstar/fashionista to answer my question. What is your opinion on belts?
Okay, maybe that was too large of a question because where do you even begin. So I will begin to explain my body type and then end by asking for your help. I am 5' and no longer have that nice toned belly...more like a non-pregnant bulge that doesn't want to be emphasized by a leather belt. In addition, I am so short that there is less than 1 inch between my rib cage and my hips; not necessarily flattering with a belt. With a shirt tucked in I swear I could pass for a short Ed Grimley/Steve Urkel. I recently entered the professional world and feel really dorky around my ultra cool and thin coworkers. How is it they can pull off belts without appearing to be fat asses?!?! Do I have to wear a belt ever? If so, when and what is appropriate?
Thanks so very, very much.
Bumpy Belly Bertha
Okay, let's attack the many layers of this question one at a time...
First, my overarching opinion on belts: God, I miss them. I just this week managed to get a belt on and buckled and okay, it was a belt that used to go with my super-low-rise jeans and now goes more around my waist and YES, it was on the very, very last hole but the point is THAT I GOT A BELT ON FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE MARCH. GOLF CLAPS FOR AMY.
Now, I'm sure there are Set In Stone rules regarding when one must wear a belt and what sort of belt is appropriate with what and blah blah blah, but here's my pared down rule: if your belt loops are visible, you should be wearing a belt. Double bonus mandatory belt points if your shirt is tucked in. Triple bonus mandatory belt points if your shirt and pants are business-y.
And of course, you should wear a belt if your damn pants will fall down without one.
(That one should be obvious, but you know, some people are dumb.)
So what to do if your body shape is not conducive to belts? Well, I see three options:
1) Buy pants without belt loops. This is easier for slacks and business-wear than jeans and casual pants, but it can be done.
2) Buy Alternative Belts. Sashes, scarves, old men's ties, ribbon and chain belts will give you the right look of having SOMETHING in the belt loops without really cinching you in or drawing tons of attention to your waist. (And yes, you CAN wear fabric tie belts in a professional environment -- I have a couple classic silk scarves from [where else?] Coach and simple velvet ribbon belts that I've worn with dress slacks and suits.)
3) Wear really low-rise pants and wear belts around your hips instead of your waist. Just, um, watch out for the muffin top.
No more questions to come, because I am sleepy and Noah is napping (!) and I'm thinking that napping sounds like a smashing idea right now. Will there be another Advice Smackdown next Wednesday? Who knows! I'm very flaky sometimes. But feel free to send any questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org and perhaps someday, somewhere, somehow, I will be awake enough to answer it.