(Work, y'all. WORK. I may never take a vacation again. I may never take a lunch break again. I may never write an advice column during the workday, the way God intended, again. Am banging this tripe out while watching Lost, so you know, shut up Shannon.)
Dear Amalah -
My company is tanking and I'm about to lose my job. My boss said so. Actually, everyone BUT my boss is about to lose their job. I just bought a house and am having a baby. What the FUCK should I do? Do you think anyone is going to hire a pregnant lady only to give her maternity leave in six months? I think not.
I want to say FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK a whole lot but my son reads my site and I don't want him to know that Momma says such things when she's not driving. Can I use your advice column to say FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK?
So, in conclusion, I would like your "cheap list" of cosmetics for those of us having to make the transition from middle class to HOLY FUCK WE CANT PAY OUR MORTGAGE. Everything from moisturizer to mascara. Thanks.
Soon to be Fired and Therefore FUCKED
My advice column is always open to anyone who needs a forum for screaming the F-word. In fact, let's all get it out of our systems together.
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK! And also, FUCK!
(I do so love that word. And this site just hasn't seen enough of it lately, what with all the baby talk and belly photos and goddamn crapping NICENESS that's been going down lately.)
Anyway. You need to start sending out resumes now, and you need to start interviewing now, and you need to start practicing interviews with your stomach all sucked in and shit. They can't discriminate against you even if they suspect you're pregnant, and you can just smile and ignore their suspicions. And if someone asks about it, then BOOM, lawsuit, and all the money you need to buy all the expensive make-up and Juicy Couture baby clothes your heart desires.
However, in case the lawsuit gets mired in red tape or something and you need to downsize temporarily, here's my scattershot list of inexpensive-yet-somewhat-acceptable cosmetics. (I mentioned Lost is currently on, right? Right.)
For oily skin, try Aveeno's Clear Complexion Bar or Burt's Bees Garden Tomato Soap, followed with Burt's Bees blemish stick. For dry skin, there's nothing better than Cetaphil for both cleansing and moisturizing.
Physician's Formula makes fun stuff too, and Neutrogena makes several lovely pressed powder compacts. And in fact, when presented with the choice of tossing my cheap-ass Neutrogena compact or my rich-ass Shiseido compact into my purse, I tend to choose the Neutrogena, as the mirror fell out of the Shiseido compact about two days after I bought it.
L'Oreal makes the best mascaras. Except for the volumizing ones. I am not friends with the volumizing ones.
Stay away from any cheap lipstick that claims to last "all day," as they have the consistency of house paint. And unfortunately, all cheap lip glosses are as sticky as rubber cement and your husband will hate it. Save the change from your couch cushions and splurge on a Clinique lipstick and a Chanel gloss.
Because FUCK, haven't you given up enough already?
You probably won't have much advice for me. Because, well, I have Freak Hair. No, really, I do. I am the Proud (or Un-proud owner, depending on what time of the month it is and whether or not I want to rip my hair out, follicle by follicle because I hate it and then some stranger on the street tells me: "ohmygod you're hair is soooooo beautiful" and then I stand in front of the mirror and admire my hair for hours....anyway.) What was I saying?
Ahh, yes. I have a head of very thick (yes, it IS VERY thick), coarse, curly hair....Which I have just recently (like, within the past two years) have grown out to renaissance lengths (i.e. down to my ass). Everyone "ooohss" and "aahhhs" over The Hair, but I've got Problems.
Problem Number One: About four months ago, I decided to go to an unknown salon and get an itty-bitty trim and also - a FULL-BLOWN hair color-thingy-ma-jig. My hair, at that point, was all blond - you know - to go with my summer tan. So, Stupid Hair Salon Idiot People decided to STRIP my prone-to-dryness, coarse hair and put in a god-awful what-the-hell, light-brown-red-blond (ugly as sin) color in. I mean, really. What the hell? My complexion (at this point) was very pale. And. Bee-jeezus. Totally washed me out. So, now, I've been going to my regular salon. And they've been giving me temporary dye treatments (at $90 a pop) on a monthly basis. But, about 5 days after the monthly ($90) treatment? It starts to wash out. And I've got The Red. The Brassy Red. That washes me all out. So. I've got an appoinment scheduled (next Thursday!!!) at another salon with a more experienced woman. What should I ask for?
Also - Problem Number Two: Should I *shudder* cut The Hair? Even though everytime it's given a substantial cut it shrinks about 4 inches for every inch that it's cut and I end up (usually) looking like Ronald McDonald? What do you think? Problem Number Three: How should I wear The Hair? It's starting to look ridiculous in a clip, but if I wear it all down and out, I look, well, very....weird. And very "Cousin It" like. Know what I mean? What SHOULD I DO???? HELP!!!! By the way, I'm a grad student. I'm 27. I want to look younger (which I usually do), but not matronly, know what I mean?
My Hair Is Hip and Then It Isn't and Then It Is and Then, You Know....
(Note From the Management: My Hair Is Hip sent me several photos of her hair to accompany her question, and I would like to formally request that everyone seeking hair advice do the same. While I'm sure y'all can weave a vivid tapestry with your words and find many interesting adjectives to describe your hair, I just can't really help you based on an email that contains a dozen synonyms for "rat's nest." Send a picture, please. I won't post it, I promise.)
(Unless, you know, your name is Mariah Carey.)
Anyway, back to your question, My Hair Is Hip. You do not have freak hair. At all. Your hair is pretty, like Sayid's hair is pretty. You just have way, way, WAY too much of it. You've let it grown to freak-like Crystal-Gayle proportions. Super-extra-long hair is indeed striking, but really, so is that guy who got a jigsaw puzzle tattooed on his entire body.
So first, I recommend you cut at least four or five inches off. This should still be long enough to keep your (gorgeous, you bitch) corkscrew curls from 'fro-ing up and getting out of control, but get rid of the extra length that takes you from, "Wow, her hair is really long" to "Wow, she could take someone's eye out with a casual over-the-shoulder hair flip."
(A cut will also make your life easier when you attempt the flat-iron, which OH MY GOD, PLEASE BE USING A CERAMIC AND VERY EXPENSIVE ONE, OTHERWISE YOU MIGHT AS WELL JUST IRON YOUR HAIR WITH THE "LINEN" SETTING OF YOUR CLOTHES IRON AND WHY DON'T YOU JUST BREAK MY HEART ALREADY.)
Okay, color. First, those temporary treatments? Pffft. Useless and a great big suck of money you could be spending on shoes. You need a good corrective color specialist. Call up a salon and ask if they have someone who specializes in corrective color. Say it with me: Corrective. Color.
So this one time? I was drunk? And stumbling around CVS at one in the morning? Because we were out of club soda and potato chips?
I chose this moment to say, "HEY, I WANT TO BE A REDHEAD" and bought a box of hair dye. And then went home and used it before sobering up.
Blond highlighted hair + cheap red dye = fuschia hair. Make a note of this equation. There may be a quiz.
Anyway, it was horrific. My hair was a terrible, angry shade of reddish purple. Blah blah blah, enter corrective colorist, toner was applied, highlights were done and redone, and ta da, I was left with a blondish reddish brown color that was not nearly as pretty as the blond I'd had before, but still. It was NOT PURPLE.
So if a corrective colorist can undo a cheap-ass drunken purple dye job, I'm sure someone can permanently cover up that coppery red and restore the blond.
And on that note, the blond makes you look younger. Get it back, is so pretty! With the curls! I hate you!
I am a new reader and I am smitten with you and your pregnant belly. This is a question for the Wednesday advice smackdown. I know it's Friday but I have to ask now before I forget my question so here it goes...
After 4 years in the stylish "real world", I am going back to school, back to the world of sweats to class and *gasp* backpacks. In '01 I adored my cute yellow and black North Face backpack with all of it's mesh compartments for holding water bottles and clips to make me look outdoorsy. But I just can't see an old lady like me (by college campus standards) walking to class with a rugged looking sack adorned with patches. I need a stylish looking vessel in which to tarry my books and other learning materials. However, it also needs to be comfortable as I don't want to aggrevate my scoliosis. Any suggestions oh wise Amalah?
Old and Busted
I remain a fan of the utilitarian backpack. Nothing looks sillier than some girl trying to shove schoolbooks into some twee little bag like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless.
I carried an ancient black L.L. Bean backpack all through college, including the courses I took last year. Besides being absolutely indestructible, it was simple, non-twee, and it made a convenient seat for when the benches at the quad were all taken and I had to spread out on the grass. They now make it in a convertible messenger-bag-slash-backpack version too. Oy, the kids today.
Or, you know, fuck functionality. Go Burberry. How gorgeous is that?
Dearest Queen of all things beach,
I'm trying to plan my honeymoon, which will take me to a pretty place with lots and lots of sun. While the fiance figures out the passport details and plane tickets, I need to figure out the really important parts of our trip. Like what I should pack (and when I say "pack" I clearly mean "shop for"). Since you just returned from a sun-filled vacation, perhaps you can help? Exactly how many fabulously cute bathing suits would you say I should bring, if I was going somewhere for, say...10 days? Also, what is the appropriate ratio of cute sundresses to cute shoes? And how many purses is too damn many? And last but not least, what is the proper defense against those who might accuse me of bringing "too much" (especially if one is travelling with said accuser)? Thanks, as always!
Soon to be freckled,
WHAT TO PACK:
If you are going somewhere for 10 days, you bring at least 11 fabulously cute bathing suits.
HOW TO DEFEND:
Bathing suits NEVER dry properly in a hotel room. That stupid little clothesline in the tub doesn't work, and hanging suits off the balcony is white trash, and when you act white trash in a different country you are making America look bad, which is totally un-American and totally not supporting our troops.
Also, re-wearing a damp swimsuit can lead to a yeast infection. And does your accuser want you to come down with a yeast infection on your honeymoon? I bet he doesn't, and I'll bet he'll shut up at the mere mention of a yeast infection.
WHAT TO PACK:
One pair of sneakers, one pair of beach-appropriate flip-flops, one pair of comfortable casual sandals (like Borns), and five pairs of just plain cute shoes that coordinate with various other outfits.
HOW TO DEFEND:
Sand and saltwater make your feet more vulnerable to blisters, so you have to rotate shoes as much as possible, lest you get horrible blisters and cuts on your feet from the one pair of shoes you brought and then you'll have to buy new shoes while on your trip and does your accuser want to go shoe shopping on your honeymoon? I bet he doesn't, and I'll bet he'll shut up at the mere mention of shoe shopping.
WHAT TO TAKE:
HOW TO DEFEND:
What, he expects you to be going out in a strange country without carrying proper ID at all times? What if you get separated and the country gets invaded and the last helicopter is leaving the American embassy RIGHT NOW but you can't get on without at least two forms of identification and a lip balm bribe for the pilot? Does he really want that?
I bet he'll just do the smart thing and shut up about how much you're taking.
GOOD GOD. It's 11 p.m. now. This took HOURS to write. I never realized just how much time I waste at work on Wednesdays until now. Huh. They should fire me. And then I could do this full-time! And charge for it! Brilliant! So hurry, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org now. While it's still free. Bwa ha ha.