Wednesday Advice Smackdown Special Thursday Edition
February 16, 2006
Reason #47549234 Why IKEA Is Out To Destroy Me: This morning, as I went to retrieve my keys from our adorable PAVO cabinet (I painted it purple! I am so craftsy!), the little dowel-like knob thing went flying through the air and landed in places unknown. After crawling around on the floor for some time, cursing IKEA and dust bunnies and this job that makes me leaving the fucking house in the first place, like do they not understand what a damn challenge that is, I gave up and attempted to open the key cabinet without the knob.
MOTHER OF GOD, IT WOULD NOT OPEN. IT WOULD NOT SURRENDER MY KEYS. I used my fingers, a pen and a fork in an attempt to jar the stupid thing open, while thinking that hey! What I could really use to open this thing would be a nice, pointy key! Fuck you!
I finally yanked the whole cabinet off the wall and shook it violently until my keys came unhooked and blew the door open from the inside. My keys are Jack Bauer, apparently.
Then I collected my keys, baby and bag (more on THAT later, grr) and stepped outside, only to accidentally kick the rogue knob (which had rolled UNDER my front door and out onto the stairwell landing) down the stairs, where it bounced and bobbed down TWO FLIGHTS before I found it and stompily took it back upstairs, unlocked my front door and hurled it blindly into the living room, where I will deal with it LATER.
So. Who has a question for me? Preferably one that lets me yell a lot?
I'm in need of some really really good advice. Firstly, i have medium-length and layered hair. Naturally, my hair is frizzy and wavy. Put together 'layered' and 'frizzy', and what you get is volume. Now what i would like to have is frizz-free hair and soft, natural, separated waves. I think I want to use Bed Head, but I'm still not sure which product to use. Either Small Talk or Hard to Get...but which one of them will give me the desired result?
Now, Small Talk de-frizzes hair and also gives hold. But it also gives volume, and I don't want that. As for Hard to Get, it gives texture and separation, but I assume it does not de-frizz hair. So what do you think I should use? Team up Control Freak and Hard to get?? Thanks in advance.
P.S I don't want to use the Catwalk mousse coz i want 'soft, natural' curls.
You do not want Small Talk OR Hard to Get. Small Talk is mostly for thickifying and volumizing, and yes, "thickifying" is totally a word, shut up. Hard to Get is a finishing paste, more along the lines of a pomade, and is to be used very, very sparingly. It also does nothing for curls.
You do want to use a Catwalk product, but yay! It's not a mousse. It's the Curls Rock Curls Booster, and it's a lightweight spray that defrizzes and defines curls. Spray it on wet hair before using a diffuser, or spray it on dry hair and scrunch.
If you've got extra-stubborn frizz, add in the Curls Rock Leave-In Moisturizer, which further defrizzes and defines, but has the added benefit of a detangler. And if you're one of the curly-haired girls who doesn't like to shampoo your hair every day, but finds that your hair is a little dry on the second day, this is the stuff to use.
And while we're on the subject of curly hair, a lot of people asked me how I got my hair to do the thing it is doing in this entry, since I actually have very straight, fine hair. So I will tell you, because I am feeling chatty and helpy.
Two products that will change the life of every faux-wavy-hair girl out there: Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray and Catwalk Frisky Scrunching Gel. Oh, my lands.
First, I blow-dry my hair straight with a wide, flat paddle brush, lifting at the roots. Then I take a medium-sized and very hot curling iron and wrap small pieces of hair around the ENTIRE iron. Don't open up the...thing you usually open. You know. Wrap your hair and hold the ends as close to the iron as you can without burning your fingers. Let set for a bit and then pull the iron away. This creates, in the words of my beloved hairdresser, the "modern ringlet." Instead of fluffy poodle curls you get hair that's just kind of wavy and bent.
Do as many of these as your arms can stand and then lightly spray one of the two products I mentioned earlier all over. Scrunch. You're done.
The Bumble & Bumble product is better for this look, in my opinion, but it's pricey, and if you've got oily hair it probably adds more build-up and "grit" (the whole idea is that it makes your hair kind of beachy and salty) than you want. In that case, go with the gel.
Obviously? Not so much of an everyday look. I only attempt this when we're going out, and even then I usually end up with an abbreviated version because I sort of have a baby who may be more important than my hair. I know!
(Cagey? I so wanted to do my hair all pretty like this for our lunch, but I never got around to it because MY child threw his tantrum at home. But just so you know, you are Curling Iron Worthy, at least in theory.)
Amalah, love -
I am going nuts. A year ago I decided to stop playing Happy Hippie and started actually getting my hair cut and styled. I've kept it pretty short, shoulders or above, but I got very tired of that and so I have begin growing it out. This is not going well. I have thickish, wavy (I live in Texas, so translate "wavy" to "ball of frizz") hair that is now to my shoulders, more or less. It's gotten better since I started following your advice on shampooing roots, conditioning ends, but that kind of also points out that There Is More To Be Done. But what?
I think I need real bangs, but I'm not sure. I think I need better de-frizzing products. I know I need to trim off the ends. And for sure I need a new style while I'm growing it out that won't make me want to just pull this all into a ponytail (because I have heard awful stories about constant ponytails and one's hairline and oh my god I don't want to go bald heeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!). Can you guide a girl who doesn't know what to do with misbehaving hair that badly needs a great style? I enclose a picture that should never see the light of day because it is hiiiiiiiideeeeeous.
You will be my heroine forever if you can help me nail down the final steps to lovely hair.
(Am I still your heroine if I give you advice like, six months after you asked for it? No? Yeah, didn't think so.)
Part the first: As usual, you are being too hard on yourself. Your hair looks healthy and not frizzy at all. So yay for that.
Part the second: Um. I just poked around your site and your Flickr photos and saw that you got bangs. Which...well, that was kind of my advice. You needed bangs, and now you have them, and I like them very much. Also your rack, but that's another matter altogether and I am NOT bitching about breastfeeding today, no I am not.
Anyway, I have no idea if you still have any problems regarding frizz, but I will say this: anyone who has a problem with frizz should start by adding a weekly deep-conditioning treatment and a good leave-in conditioner before moving on to specific anti-frizz styling products. I like the Alterna Caviar and Bumble & Bumble Deeep conditioners and the Catwalk Fast-Fixx leave-in spray. You may still need something extra, or you may be like me, who used to goop lots of anti-frizz stuff in her hair before starting the deep conditioner/leave-in conditioner regimen and discovered that oh! Not so frizzy after all! Just thirsty.
My dear friend has been with her man for three years. I have never particularly cared for him, but of course, she doesn't know that. I liked him even less when he tried to pick up my roommate, not realizing that I knew her and heard all about the transgression. His girlfriend never found out. That was a year and a half ago, but last week, I found his profile on My Space, billing himself as "single," and I accessed several of his flirty and suggestive communications with semi-nude internet girlies. Like I said, I've never trusted this guy. I'd like to tell my best friend, but will she take my word over his? Also, she's been through a lot lately--when is the appropriate time to bring this up? Internet hookups are on the road to cheat-dom, am I correct? If you could help me out, that would sort of make my life complete. Many thanks.
Oh, the never-ending dilemma over Whether To Get Involved Or Not.
While it's entirely subjective and on a case-by-case basis, I am generally in favor of Getting Involved whenever cheating is, well, involved.
Because I would want to know. First, because I would be furious if my friends let me be made a fool of by some cheating dickweed, and secondly, because HELLO, diseases and shit.
Think about it: if she's been with this guy for three years, there's a good chance that they are no longer using condoms. And if he's out there trying to pick up random girls (in real life, not just online), there's also a good chance that he's succeeded. And while I may be making sweeping generalizations here, people who cheat don't usually have their partner's sexual health at the top of their priority list.
Plus, you're her friend. You did the right thing not going to her with the general "I just don't like him" business, because if that was all you had on this guy, I'd tell you to keep your mouth shut. But you have a MySpace profile and other online evidence, and dude, she needs to know. It sucks and she may shoot the messenger first, but you have to let her know.
Send her his profile and the stuff you found. Keep quiet about the roommate thing, for now anyway. Let her deal with one thing at a time.
Oh, and from my own personal experience with Getting Involved When Your Friend Is Dating A Lying Cheating Jerkwad, be prepared: She might forgive him. She might get mad at you. Be patient though, because six months later she might find some damning evidence of her own, like say, HIS STASH OF GLOW-IN-THE-DARK CONDOMS, belatedly kick his ass to the curb and then email you an apology, because damn.
Hey now! That story wasn't appropriate for children!
Last March I went to Texas with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for people who wanted houses. Saintly, right? Except I abused my body in the worst possible way by forgetting to apply sunscreen until the second day, and by that time, the damage had been done. To this day, both shoulders are pink and wrinkly-looking and bear brown spots.
(Here's a note to tell you that I just pulled on the collar of my turtleneck--without closing the door to my office--to verify that my shoulder description was on target. Also, I considered taking pictures in order to give you crystal-clear visual but realized that sending you images of my bare skin just might cause you to take back your original e-mail.)
On May 12 of this year, I will finally get myself married. I am wearing a strapless dress once again and have no intention of tanning. The shoulders, they need to look good for the close-ups. Can you recommend anything?
Okay, one day I am just going to write an advice column that reads like this:
Sephora.com. The end.
Sephora's website has semi-customized product recommendations to go with every goddamn problem you can think of.
Just click on your problem, answer some questions, and ta-da! A nice line-up of products appears, and yeah, I'm sure they're paid placements, but they really help narrow down the overwhelming list of skincare options out there, and in most cases, give you confidence to find a cheaper alternative.
I think the type of product you need is somewhere in the Body: Uneven Skintone & Texture section. (There's also the Body: Loss of Elasticity section if your shoulders are honest-to-God wrinkly, but I'm guessing that's probably just an illusion created by the sunspots.)
Unfortunately, I have not personally tried any of the products Sephora recommends there. I've never heard of the most expensive option (MD Skincare), the Dermadoctor product certainly SOUNDS promising, and the Peter Thomas Roth product contains jojoba beads, which I can vouch for: those suckers polish and moisturize like nobody's business. I think the Fresh and the Sephora products are load of nice-smelling crap and wouldn't do a thing for you.
So! I am getting very tired and kind of confused about what I was talking about!
If you feel like splurging, go for one of the Sephora recommendations. But I personally would recommend going here and buying a bottle of their ($10!!) Body & Face Spa Polish, and then making an appointment with a dermatologist.
That polish also contains jojoba beads, just like the expensive scrubs, and I've actually used it. The site is run by our own Amalah.com commenter LotionBarBunny, who totally sold me on their very cool $7 lotion bars and then sent me a slew of free samples along with my order, because she rocks and was probably hoping I'd plug her site. And I am, because it really, truly is great stuff, and you cannot beat the prices. The shea butter fucking CURED Noah's baby eczema in two applications, and the spa polish is the first scrub I've been able to use since Noah's birth that evened out my red, splotchy skin tone on my face and upper arms.
(Edited to add, because the link keeps going wonky, that her rep number is 7227.)
Highly recommended, although I am equally serious about the dermatologist appointment to see what advice he or she might be able to offer.
Here's some advice for you: How about you get me off the damn ground already?
And now, Dear Internet, I come to YOU with my own dilemma.
Since my fall, I've been trying to streamline the amount of crap I carry in every day. Behold, the shit I lug around:
Bag #1, the Daycare Bag: three or four bottles of formula, ice pack, container of cereal, spoon, some bibs and an extra outfit.
Bag #2, the Breastpump Bag: an Avent Isis pump and two containers.
Bag #3, the Purse: wallet, phone, hairbrush, powder, lipgloss, other assorted pursey things.
And on days when I run errands or meet friends after work? Bag #1 becomes a full-on diaper bag, with wipes and diapers and burp cloths and toys.
So here's my problem: I really, really only want to carry one bag. I know I can do it.
My regular diaper bag doesn't work because it only has one internal pocket for a bottle, and it's not even insulated. It's totally a nursing mother's bag, is what I've discovered. Also, it's impossible to keep shit organized in it. His bottles would sink to the bottom and probably leak, there's a key ring but no place for a wallet, and honestly, it's way bigger than what I need or feel like dragging into the office everyday.
Jason's diaper bag is super awesome and functional, but a backpack looks kind of dumb with my suits and heels and stuff.
Thus, I've been using this:
Y'all, I got that bag for FREE from the hospital. It is nylon. It is shapeless. It is from the makers of Similac and has a damn plastic bear dangling off a zipper. It offends me on many levels.
But the inside has a pocket for four bottles and an icepack. It's lined in plastic for easy clean-up. It has lots of pockets on the outside to keep my lipgloss and cellphone handy. It's not huge.
But God. It's ugly. And it makes me kind of sad.
So I need a bag. Yet I have no time to hunt for a bag. So I am asking the Internet to go shopping for me.
(I know y'all are bored! I see you refreshing!)
So, today's challenge: Try to find a cute, small-to-mid-sized diaper bag that does not really look like a diaper bag for under $100. Under $50 would be heaven. Under $25 might make me want to marry you. It must hold everything I've mentioned, bonus points if there's room for diapers and wipes and super-gonzo-bonus points if it has wicked organizational features. And I plan to carry this to WORK too, so nothing Winnie the Pooh or whatever the fuck else.
Although I don't care what kind of material it is or who makes it. Just...you know...cute.
And no plastic teddy bears. GAH.