The Growing Insanity

Wednesday Advice Smackdown

All right, enough with the song and dance. It's Advice Smackdown time, and let's not waste valuable bossing-around time and just get right down to it.


My fiancé and I are planning a trip to Aruba this May so that we can finally make it legal. What were your impressions (or drunk, hazy memories) of the island? Any suggestions on where to stay or what to do? I saw your pictures, and I understand that the “what to do” involves a whole lot of drinking, and I’m fine with that, but what to do WITH the drinking? We’re hoping for a lot of laying around on the beach, but I realize that I will fry to a crispy finish within 5 minutes of setting foot on the island, so we need some options here. Thanks!

The Soon-To-Be-Mrs.

Wellllll, what excellent timing on this question. (Which I did not make up, as all questions DO come from actual live people. I'm not sure why but apparently everybody thinks I make Advice Smackdown questions up. I really don't, unless the signature is "Amalah," which yes, that's just me talking to myself, pay no mind.)

Guess what! We're going BACK to Aruba. In a MONTH. We just booked it and dude, ARUBA.

Never mind that we need to buy baby furniture and baby gadgets and furniture for all the stuff currently cluttering up the baby's room and new flooring for the upstairs because the pets have destroyed the carpet with their wicked excrement and filth and a new mattress because of my aching pregnant back and oh my God, we're going to have to pay for daycare too. Is that expensive or something?


Yep, we're going to Aruba instead of getting all that stuff. The baby can sleep in a dresser drawer or something. We have priorities.

I also have lots of opinions about Aruba, most of them having to do with how fantastic it is. We'll see if those opinions hold, however, after a visit where I cannot drink or do about half of the activities I did last time.


1) Horseback riding.
2) Party bussing.
3) Swim-up barring.
4) Drinking + Watersports = Awesomeness.
5) Parasailing and other assorted dangerous things.

And drinking. It was really all about the drinking.

We stayed at the Marriott resort last time (this time we'll be a couple doors down at the Radisson), where you should be sure to mention it's your honeymoon on every possible occasion so you get free things, like bottles of champagne delivered to your room. I recommend sticking to the big resorts for your first visit, as EVERY POSSIBLE THING you'd want to do can be arranged from 1) your room, 2) the concierge desk or 3) from just wandering out to the beach and mentioning to someone that hey, you'd like to rent a jetski today, and boom, there will be a jetski waiting for you within 15 minutes and don't worry about it, we'll charge it to your room.

Everything can be charged to your room, from banana daquiris to sunset dinner cruises

Definitely try to do a horseback riding tour (don't fall off), one of those half-day sail-and-snorkel cruises with the open bar, the party bus thing (don't forget your stupid camera, like we did), a dinner at El Gaucho's and a dinner right on the beach at sunset (most big hotels offer this).

Anything NOT to do? Well, renting a car ended up being kind of a waste, as driving to the famous Baby Beach was kind of boring and there was no bar and four frillion children. If you do rent a Jeep or something, remember that gas prices are in the Aruban currency (everything else is dollars) so you don't get totally ripped off like...some friends...of ours...did...they said.

The casinos sort of suck, too.

And for the love of crispy fried bacon, get up early to secure a palupa hut or umbrella or whatever your resort offers for shade on the beach. And don't even bother with whatever strength of sunscreen you use in the States. We went down there with SPF 30 and were chicken-fried by day two. Don't let your fiancé say he doesn't burn or just wants a "nice base tan" or will "be fine" with SPF 15. He will die.

The sun down there is vicious, and we pasty Americans are no match for it. Buy the highest damn SPF you can find. Jason and I were unable to stop the scorching carnage until we bought a bottle of SPF fucking 70 and four gallons of aloe vera gel.

Also, pack as many bottles of sunblock as you think you'll need, and then go out and buy about five more.

And have fun! I'll report back in late April with how we liked the Radisson and also what Aruba looks like when you're sober.

Hello, Amalah!

First off, congratulations on the long-awaited pregnancy! Yay you! And Jason! Yays all around!!

I guess I'll just get to the advice question thingy.

This is my question. (That has taken me weeks and weeks to get up the nerve to ask, and is probably stupid anyway, but here goes.) I am a very pale girlie. Very pale. To demonstrate: Remember the Snarkywoods where Nicole Kidman's and Renee Zellweger's milky vampire whiteness was mentioned? Had I been standing next to either of them in those shots, they would have looked like bronzed swimsuit models from the 80's. Really. A dermatologist once called my skin "truly translucent". Anyway, while reading your past posts, I was shocked to discover that nude pantyhose have at some point become gauche, perhaps while I was at the grocery store. I have always donned nude pantyhose when I wear a dress or a skirt, just to, you know, cut down on the glare. A little. But now I can't. Amalah deems them icky, and I bow before her superior knowledge. So...what do I do now? Do I only wear pants, forever? Do I really just go au-naturale and blind the populace? I can't do self-tanners. I have tried. Many times. They don't work. They turn me orange. (A problem I also have with most make-up.) And I don't get brown in the sun or tanning beds. I burn, I turn red, I peel, and that's the end of that. Please help?

Thank you very very much for even reading this far, because I know you have things you would much rather be doing than possibly answering questions about my legs. But maybe it will take your mind off of puking for a minute. Maybe.

Yours Truly,

Wait. Did I deem nude pantyhose icky? Are they out? I had no idea.

Did I sound drunk when I said that? Because I totally can't remember. I'm certainly no great fan of nude pantyhose, but I wear them. To work anyway, as I am a Professional Woman and my office has an "Appropriate Hosiery" clause in our company dress code.

(And I totally buy the cheap ones from the grocery store. Yes. I destroy hose like nobody's damn bizness, so until my paycheck starts including an "appropriate hosiery stipend", I refuse to spend more than a few bucks on something that will mostly likely be ruined by my pinky toe within five minutes.)

But while I see nude hose as a necessary evil of Corporate America, I can't get behind the wearing of them in a non-office setting. (I've been known to shed my stockings on my way to lunch, wad them up in my purse, and then put them back on in the lobby restroom.)

So your options are to 1) Embrace your whiteness and just try to avoid the black-hair-red-lipstick-Goth-look that Renee Squintweger is currently sporting, or 2) Buy some fun hosiery instead, like nude fishnets.

On second thought, those options really aren't an either/or scenario. Do both. And take it a step farther and try to avoid anything having to do with that Zellweger chick. She scares me now. With the bones and the visible tendons and cartilage. Natural weight MY BIG FAT ASS.

Dear Queen Of Everything And Boss Of Me,

I just came across your blog and have to tell you, I haven't laughed this hard in YEARS! Your Anna Nicole snark almost made me soil myself in front of several co-workers.

I have a hair dilemma, and feel that only you can help. I have had the same hairstyle since 1989, and there is photographic evidence to prove it. Remember when Lady Diana was introduced to the world as Prince Charles's financeè? and she had that adorable layered haircut?! I, like everyone else in my freshman dorm, ran out & got my growing-out-shag cut into the Princess Di. Here it is, sixteen years later, Princess Di dead & buried, and I STILL WEAR HER HAIR. Oh I've tried to change it a few times .. permed it once (never again). Tried it with no bangs. Nope. Tried growing it long & down my back (nope nope). It actually looks good on me, and my hair's the right texture for the layers, and my hairdresser gives me a flattering cut & highlight. I just haven't changed my look since 1980!! Should I stick with it or try to get on one of those "extreme makeover" shows?? Be honest, Amy. *sigh*

Your new friend and convert,
Jennifer in Podunk, Kentucky, USA

(After receiving Jennifer's question, I asked for said photographic evidence of said hair so I could best assist her hair-related needs. Do see how much I care? And how hard I work?)

(After receiving Jennifer's pictures, I realized that I may be in a bit over my head. So I consulted with several other experts from the blogging universe, each chosen for their impeccable taste, style and pretty hair. And also because I was desperate to pawn this sucker off on somebody else.)

Jennifer, you probably aren't going to be surprised that the unanimous consensus is that yes, you need a new hairstyle. Immediately. STAT. ASAP. Etc.

You are a very pretty woman with delicate features, but you have Mall Hair. 80's Mall Hair with big bangs and too many layers. This must go away.

Now before I get to the comments from our very own Fab Five, please imagine this as the beginning of a makeover reality show when all the stylists say harsh things that might be hard to hear but really, they are only being harsh because they CARE and you know by the end of the show you're totally going to be hugging them and making toasts about how they unlocked your inner self and yada yada yada.

Here's what the Team America Hair Police had to say...

Martha: Her hair is a pretty color, it's just so BIG.  And she's got a pretty face. The bangs and tons of layers that she's got rule out a lot of options unless she wants to embark upon some serious growing-out, though.  Her face is a nice shape -- I think she could really pull off a short-ish haircut.

Dawnie: The bangs need to go.  If she insists on still having them, they should be thinned out, and a bit longer. Like, longer and sweepier? And put the curling iron down, for one thing.  Experiment with the blow-out, everyone's doing it!

Real Girl: Ok, so first of all? That round brush she's using with her hair dryer every morning? The one that curls the bangs and lifts the shortest layers at the top? (And then pulls the hair away from her ears?) Yeah, that brush needs a vacation. In Siberia. The easiest way to de-80's-ify your hair is to let it actually touch your face. Or at least let it reside in the same zip code.

Your Devoted Reader will need a hairstylist who either specializes in or is known for great layers. Because right now her layer-proportions are not super. The ones at the top are too short (and pulled too high), and she's got too much weight at the bottom, and so the overall effect accentuates the length of the face--and usually people with bangs want to de-emphasize the length of the face. About the bangs? You've given great advice about sweeping them to the side. Which will look great when we get a side part in there. As for length, given her face shape, the best idea is to keep the hair no longer than chin-length, using layers rather than that overused round brush to create volume. Did I mention the side part?

As for color, she'd definitely benefit from some softening highlights that would give depth to her brunette--a lighter shade of brown eased in there as naturally as possible.

Granola: The answer to this is not one that perhaps she wants to hear. For it requires a cut. A pretty big cut. A cut which will leave our subject with little residue of the over-layered fiasco going on here. And plenty of smoothing serum (but that comes later). The cut will rid her of the number one mullet-defining characteristic; long in the back. For once she's done, her hair will be a party all over!  I'd also suggest lots of pretty chestnutty highlights to display the short hair as chunky and give it more body and movement.

Miss Doxie: Where does she live?  Is she close enough to the Atlanta area that I can send a team of gay men to kidnap her and make it all better?

Real Girl, Again: She lives in Kentucky? Uh-oh. I overlooked the obvious advice. Get in the car and drive, woman. Drive to the nearest slightly cosmopolitan location near you. If you look left and right and see even one mullet, you have not driven far enough.

So. The consensus is that an over-layered, out-of-date hairstyle can certainly be fixed, but that it will require some patience, a new stylist, a somewhat drastic cut (at first) and a lot less hairspray.  But you can do it! We're all here for you, sipping martinis in our big ass loft while watching you on a plasma TV and cheering you on.

Be sure to send us an updated photo to guarantee your spot on the reunion show, tentatively titled, "After the Smackdown: Bruised But Beautiful."

Okay, that's enough for one day. If your question wasn't answered this week, don't worry, it's in the queue and will be answered in the order I feel like answering it in. Or maybe it's because you didn't actually ask me your question. If that's the case, just email it to and tune in next week for my always-perfect advice. Unless you're that damn spammer who keeps posting the tranny porn links. Then my advice is to GO TO HELL, ASSHOLE.



I hope everything works out for Jennifer. My college is in a Podunk town, and people here actually get their hair cut at the salon inside of WAL-MART!! Wal. Mart. It makes me want to get down on my knees and thank the good Lord above that I have found a stylist (who works in a salon that is not in a Wal-Mart) that I would take a bullet for.


I swear to God I am not shitting you when I say that LilZoot slept in a LAUNDRY BASKET his first 6 months on this planet.

We didnt have a basinet and it didnt matter because we had not bedframe and our bed was on the floor so a basinet would have been too tall but a LAUNDRY BASKET was perfect because it kepts LilZ at my level so all I had to do when he woke up at night was grab him, latch him on the boob and go back to sleep. No moving required.

Signed, Zoot, the future author of "Lazy Moms"

p.s. We have to put our fetus on a daycare waiting list in the next few weeks. So that fetus whose arms and legs are still flippers will be held a spot at the best daycare in town. We are snobs.


You should totally do a follow-up on the hair girl to see where she's And then post before-after shots.

That is, of course, if she takes your advice. Which, by the sound of it? SOunds like she SHOULD.

You can do it Kentucky Jennifer!!!


I work with a woman who is proud of the fact that she hasn't entered a salon since 1987. Yes, she cuts her own hair, she washes it with dish detergent, and it's more awful than I know what to do with. And she is not open to opinions, she thinks it's awesome. Of course, I also overheard her bragging that the appliqued sweater she was wearing the other day costs 25 cents. Sigh.


Yesterday my husband told me he liked my hair and I almost started crying. It's a sure sign my hair looked like something straight out of 1985, since that was the year his fashion sense stopped progressing.

Also? Fabulous idea to take a vacation now! Be sure you enjoy every. single. second. of it - especially the seconds when you sit on the plane ALONE or when you eat at nice restaurants or when you have sex without waiting for naptime or when no one craps in the hotel pool. I could go on here, but I think you get my point. Have fun!


delurking to say three things:

1. congratulations on your pregnancy! so happy for you
2. the radisson kicks so much ass. we've stayed there 3 times.
3. i love reading your site everyday. oh, and you're pretty

I guess that's four things


Okay, so I was in Aruba, it is absolute PARADISE. I stayed at the Wyndham - beautiful. I would go horse-back riding again, but I was galloping through the desert, when an eager ass of a man galloped his little horsey beside me and he kicked me in the shin. Sure did. Still have the scar to this day. I advise you to see the sunset, so gorgeous and stick with Amalah's advice of lots and lots of sunscreen. Laguna Joe's is also awesome. And get your hair "did," by those cute little ladies on the beach. And I believe that there is a man-made jacuzzi and some part of the island. Anyone know what I am talking about? Oh and you can not beat the wind there. Perfect! Because you are never really sweating because of the breeze!
-Career Woman

Real Girl

Just to add constructive comments too--your Kentucky-based devoted reader has aged extraordinarily well. I tried to figure out her approximate agen given the photos of hair through the decades, and boy I wish I had skin like that.


Am I the only one who wants to see the picture of Jennifer? Maybe with her face blurred out to protect the innocent?


Yes. I want to see the picture too!


De lurking to tell Jennifer there is hope for those of us who thought the Princess Diana was our only hair option.

Fine, straight hair? Go short, lots of layers but long ones on top to avoid looking butch, bangs off to the side, side or zig-zag part, blow dry to lay normally (ie not directed upwards), use spray volumizer and then make it piecey with balm.

Also, funniest blog ever!

Real Girl

Forgive me for posting twice! But a possible suggestion for your pale-legged reader: Sally Hansen has this new product that's "spray-on hose."

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little scared of this product...and I personally haven't used it...but maybe if someone else has, they can expound on its virtues and evils? (Otherwise, my personal feeling on hose is the lighter the nude, the more attractive the look.)


Yay! I am so happy! Thank you! I never get anything chosen for anything!

Now I must run out and find fishnets. Because I can't do the bare thing. I just can't.

Wait. Did I deem nude pantyhose icky? Are they out? I had no idea.

November 17, 2004 Advice Smackdown. Third question and answer down. (And no, I didn't just spend half an hour looking for it because I was worried about my sanity. I was just re-reading your entries. Yup. That's all. Now I can worry about your sanity. Should I really be taking your advice? I kid! I kid! Don't hurt me.)


No comments on the hose or the hair. Just take me with you to ARUBA puhleeeeeze. I'll even carry the bag with the sunscreen (it sounds heavy) or any other trivial duties you can come up with, just please let me go. can i, huh, can i.


It's me, Jennifer, popping in to say YEE HAH, would you look at that! I made the Wednesday Advice Smackdown! Thank you thank you to Amalah & the Team America Hair Police for their advice. I shall follow it to the letter!

Yes we say YEE HAH in Kentucky all the time. I figured you would notice that. I live in KY but drive 45 minutes into the city to work (Cincinnati). So I'm not that far removed from civilization, electricity, running water ... and shoes. And tranny porn.

Once my hair renovation gets underway I will send another pic. You can see my current hair, if you really want to, by clicking on my Kentucky_Kitty moniker.

Thanks again Amalah! I knew you would come through for me! And thanks for your kind words, Real Girl .. I was born in '62. I owe everything to Estèe Lauder and excellent genes. Squeeeeeeee!


I am in Cinci and have a GREAT hair girl. I love her because she will refuse to do things to my hair that she thinks will look bad. Every 2 years or so when I decide I should have bangs ( I shouldn't) she talks me down. Her cut with color is about $140, but totally worth it. Email me and I'll give you her number.


You are absolutely BRILLIANT. Not only because of you exceptional taste and beauty know-how, but because YOU ARE TAKING A VACATION BEFORE YOU HAVE A CHILD. You will not be able to fully appreciate what an fan-fucking-tabulous idea this is until after the baby gets here. And? you are so right to say that babies do not need a truck load of crap because they are babies, whereas you do need to see the beach.


Amalah and others--thanks for the advice! I'm going to find the highest SPF known to man for my pasty pale white-girl skin. And lots of it!

I am SO looking forward to this trip! Too bad you won't be there at the same time..I'd TOTALLY make you spend time with me. But I'm looking forward to seeing new pics, so take lots!


Oh my goodness, RealGirl blew my freakin' socks off. My hero, she is.


kentucky kitty - you have goregeous eyes and you were born in 62? aggh. I'm running to estee lauder right now.

love this and the snark blog!

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