This Is Not An Entry About Ashlee Simpson
Advice Smackdown, Part II

Real & Actual Wednesday Advice Smackdown

Oh my god. The Wednesday Advice Smackdown is actually happenings on a Wednesday, and in true Smackdown format. Is miracle.

You may remember the drill (but I don't blame you if you don't, since I have been a huge ass slacker about this for weeks). Questions will get posted throughout the day, all day, as I have slack-off time from work, which really means whenever I decide to cut-and-paste a question from the document that I wrote last night, from home, on my own free time, because I am a good worker who does not slack.

In other news, I had a therapy appointment this morning so I am feeling very balanced and healthy and qualified to boss you around. No progress is being made on the compulsive, relentless lying, however.

I have tons of questions for today, but I might like yours better. Or I might answer it next week and go for the world record of Keeping Up With My Own Damn Regular Features. So send them to, suckah.



So, I am making plans to go home for Christmas on leave, but I realize that means I will have to deal with my semi-psychotic family.  Usually I manage by drinking in excess, but I was wondering if you had any other little tricks to keep myself sane.



Let me give you a little glance into Christmas with the Corbetts (which, in movie form, would probably be slated for a Halloween release instead of December).

My parents used to not drink. And by “not drink,” I mean “nobody drinks in our house, you bunch of degenerates, so pass the damn sparkling cider.” Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter. Booze-free.

So every year, seven grown children with families and serious chemical dependency problems would descend on my parent’s house for the holidays with more smuggled booty stashed in their luggage than on a flight from Columbia. Mini liquor bottles, cigarettes, flasks, travel cups, rolling papers and bottle openers.

Every Christmas eve, my sister and I would claim that we had a lot of presents left to wrap. Which we did. On purpose. We’d wrap gifts and chug wine using my niece’s little cartoon Dixie cups that would disintegrate if you left the alcohol sitting in them too long. My niece called these little cups her “Rinse & Spit Cups,” which was adorable, and even more adorable when her alcoholic mother and aunt used them for cheap wine and/or Tequila shots.

(I later bought my sister a lovely silver hip flask and had it engraved “R & S.”)

My other sister and I would make a big show of having some “sister time,” since you know, we missed each other SO DAMN MUCH, and would insist on getting out of the house together for a couple hours to “talk.” And of course, that was adorable too, since we would talk at the bar while we slammed as many beers as possible...usually about how much the holidays sucked ass. It was a great bonding experience.

(Once? Around Thanksgiving? We weren’t able to swing the sister time since my parents wanted to order a pizza and watch movies with us, which was fine, since we just offered to pick up the pizza from the place that was right next to a bar. We did shots and came home with a complicated story about how we had to wait because they’d put anchovies on our pizza.)

Anyway, my parents drink now. A vacation in Europe reawakened their love of getting hammered and now we all argue over whose turn it is to bring the alcohol to dinner.

But you know? It doesn’t make as much of a difference like we always thought it would. My family is still my family, drunk or sober or high or otherwise medicated. And my family is absolutely batshitfucking crazy. Jason and I are planning to take a vacation this Christmas. To anywhere that my family is not going to be. I advise you to do the same.



Dearest Queen of Everything,

My husband gave me a gift certificate to a fancy shmancy day spa for my birthday a few weeks ago. He told me to go and pamper myself, but I am unsure exactly of how to go about this.  Sad but true, I have never been to a day spa.  One time I got a massage, but it sucked.  I've had a few manicures, but never a pedicure.  I've never had a facial nor have I had any sort of mud wrap.  I get my eye brows waxed regularly if that counts for anything.

I was hoping that you could give me some pointers as to how I can pretend that I have some class and money when I finally end up going to the spa.  (Since you are the Queen of Everything, I assume that you get these sort of things done to you as regular up keep and that they would be a common occurance for you.)  You have impecable taste when it comes to handbags, makeup, hair products and puppies, so I figured that you would know how to best use my gift certificate.


You send gift certificate to me. I will try all services at the spa and then tell you which ones are the best. Then you get those. Problem solved.

Y’all, I would KILL for a decent massage right now. Especially one from a strapping young masseuse named Todd, to whom I have pledged my eternal love. (Mir: "Honey, Todd is a masseur.") He rubs my temples with oil and gives the world’s best scalp massage and when he has me flip over onto my stomach he puts hot towels all across my back which is like, GAH. The best thing ever. My fingers are getting all squooshy just thinking about it. Plus he is hot and has very, very strong hands and he is very, very concerned about my stress level and recommends I take more vacations. And once I get dressed and leave he’s always waiting outside the door with a glass of water and another gentle reminder to take more vacations.

Sigh. Get a massage and request a male masseuse. (Mir: "Masseur!") You will feel pampered and beautiful and twee and petite. Don’t forget to shave your legs and tip 20%.


If a person leaves her bed at 6:45am and heads into a 20 hour day very day for 11 weeks, at which point she will have 3 weeks of 17 hour days (plus Christmas!  the parties!  the shopping!  the family figh...get togethers!) before she repeats the cycle 4 more times, how long will it be before said person self-explodes?  Because, uh... a friend of mine was wondering...

You're a peach.


B, are you supporting a cocaine habit? Are you a hooker? Have you been sold into white slavery? Do you not feel “safe” at home?

Because seriously, what the blooming fuck?

You quit that job. You come work for me as my assistant. I may throw the occasional pen at your head but I will not make you work 20 hour days. At first.

Because I might be working 20 hour days soon if I don’t hire someone pronto, as I just got out of a meeting where I proposed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR gimungous projects for myself that are all smashingly good ideas, but will involve so much extra work my head is spinning. I am obviously not well. Please go get me a skim pumpkin spice latte and a cookie while I curse my stupid industrious self.


(Holy merciful crap, people! Work! Everywhere with the work! Why do I try to sound smart in front of important people? Why do I open my mouth and talk about fabulous ideas instead of staying quiet and status quo? WHY?)



I feel bad you lost all your advice emails so here's an easy question that is STILL super important and will probably help tons of people who live/visit DC and read your site.  Anyhoo, I have to go to DC all the time for training and I'm starting to get tired of ALWAYS eating at Maggianos and then going to ... don't laugh this wasn't my idea... Coyote Ugly.  I was able to get our group out to Adams Morgan last time and we hit some of those bars, but I want to know what fun places locals go to eat and drink!   I mean, I can go to the damned Cheesecake Factory in a dozen different cities!  (Not that I am disrespecting the cheesecake, by any means).  So where do you recommend a group of mid-20-somethings go to eat, drink and be merry?


P.S.  That totally wasn't me dancing on the bar last August, I SWEAR.




*smack smack smack smack smack*

This is really a question for my husband, the rock star food critic, who has not only been interviewed as a “best D.C. blog” for a prominent D.C. magazine, but was actually RECOGNIZED at a RESTAURANT this weekend and given FREE WINE because of it. THAT is a reason to blog, people. Free wine. Press. Prestige. Etc. I mean, I won’t bash the occasional wish list purchase and whatever, but wah. My traffic runs circles around him and yet HE’S the fucking celebrity.

(Oh, while I was typing that? The receptionist just called to tell me some flowers had just arrived for me. Am SUCH. A. BITCH.)

Anyway. Yeah. You’re going to some craptastic places there. Seriously, you might as well just wear matching red t-shirts that say, “Mrs. Mark’s Third Grade Class Goes To D.C. ’04.”

Instead, try one of the following Patented Amalah & Friends D.C. Nites Experiences:


Dinner: Spices for sushi & Japanese food
Dessert: Bardeo for wine and cheese
Drinkables: Aroma, in the back on the funky couches


Dinner: Afghan Grill
After-Dinner-Dinner: Meskerem
After-Dinner-Dinner-Tapas-Drinkables-Crossover: LeftBank (Be sure to try the tea-infused martinis for eleventy hundred dollars. Are worth it.
Drinkables: Felix
Post-Drinkables: Reef
Post-Drinkables-Place-To-Sleep-It-Off: Tryst
Morning-After Breakfast: The Diner


Dinner: Heritage India
Dessert: Homemade donuts & Mexican chocolate at Komi
Drinkables: Wine bar at Sette Osteria
Dancing/Post-Drinkables: Red


Dinner: Capital Q
Drinkables: Jaleo for sangria
Dancing/Drinkables: Home


Dinner: Kuna
Post-Dinner-Dinner: Dukem
Drinkables: Chi Cha Lounge
Post-Drinkables: Local 16
Nightclub/Concert/Drinkables: 9:30 Club
3 a.m. Post-Drinkables: Ben’s Chili Bowl

(For anyone who is buying the booze I would be happy to give a guided tour of any of the above Amalah Experiences.)



Gah! Have question! Forgot to send! Kicking self! The agony!


Industrious but pretty self!


You may want to consider the Pumpkin Spice Crack Latte. Working wonders for me!


If you'll match my salary and let me work from home I'll be your assistant!


Y'all step off that assistant job. It's MINE. All MINE.

Also someone tell me how to suck up to a VP at AnnTaylor, because I suddenly want to work there and make millions of dollars.

Scarlett Cyn

Ok, after reading your suggestions for places to hit in DC, I had to let you know that I went straight to my husband, got down on my knees, and.................



begged him to figure a way for me to get my sweeet ass to DC for the real AMALAH EXPERIENCE ASAP. I'm waiting for a response, still.

Amy, you fucking ROCK. I loave you with all my widdle heart. SMOOCHY.


And another thing...I couldnt help but notice the "skim pumpkin spice latte and a cookie"...what? does the lack of fat in the skim latte make up for the fat in the cookie? do the cancel each other out? Cause if that's how it works I'm all about that!



Nightclub/Concert/Drinkables: 9:30 Club

I also recommend the Black Cat. Drinks are larger and cheaper than the 9.30 and the jukebox is awesome.


Now I want to go out for a night on the town with you! Woo-hoo!


Oh my. You are killing me. It's been five years since I left DC, but oh, the memories. Chi Cha Lounge? Felix? Meskerem (we have NO Ethiopian restaurants in Santa Barbara)??
Am sad now.


Oooh, also? I used to work next door to Jaleo. Many, many a happy hour was had there (so now you totally know where I used to work, or you will the next time you go and look next door).


I get the occasional free drink, but you get the occasional gift in the mail from your Amazon wishlist? Which is better?


Silly husband. Booze always wins over books.

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