Because Baby Snot Isn’t Good for Your Decolletage

By Amalah

Dear Amy,
Whenever my bottle of foundation gets about halfway empty (or halfway full, but let’s be pessimistic) I get compelled to throw the rest away. I can only explain this by saying that I think of it as a half way used up bottle of water. There is probably more backwash in it than actual water. So there would probably be loads of crap floating around in my foundation, yes? Which I am then smothering onto my face? I’m wondering if this is, as I suspect, a huge waste of money, foundation etc. and would like you to tell me to STOP THE MADNESS already, or perhaps, do you agree with my tossing of the makeup?

Okay, yes, you are kind of crazy. Yet also kind of smart!
(How is that for some solid, practical advice?)
Certain types of makeup should be thrown out before you get down to the last dregs. Like mascara, for example. Or nail polish. Or pressed powder compacts. Mascara and nail polish dry out after time and a few hundred dips and re-dips of the applicator brush, while pressed powder can absorb your face’s oils. (Although you can prolong the life of pressed powder by replacing the puff occasionally, or even just rinsing the existing one.)
But that stuff lets you know when it’s time to chuck it. Mascara clumps, nail polish goops and pressed powder gets those weird little lumps in it or may even start irritating your skin. Your half-empty bottle of foundation is probably not doing any of these things.
If your foundation is still going on smoothly (read: is not dried out and crusty and bleeegh), KEEP IT. IS LIQUID MONEY.
Use a foundation brush to cut down on the backwash-hand-germs heebie jeebies, or switch to a brand that uses a pump top instead of a screw top. Wash all your makeup brushes regularly with soap or makeup remover to prevent oil building up in your powders and shadows, and store your makeup in a dry, cool place.
(Says the girl who stores all her makeup in her warm, steamy bathroom and throws out compacts the minute she sees the metal bottom showing through because she’s so flipping bored of that color she could scream, oh my God, and cannot remember the time she properly washed out her foundation brush. So you know, I am kind of with you on the Crazy.)

Dearest Amalah:
I have recently found out that I am six weeks pregnant. My first doctor’s appointment is over a month away, when I will be 11 weeks along. I have taken four pregnancy tests to help my paranoid self through this, as well as poked my breasts repeatedly to make sure they are still tender. I am currently not experiencing any morning sickness or nausea of any kind. While many people tell me to be excited about this, it makes me worried that it is a sign of a miscarriage. My question is, how can I settle down and enjoy this time instead of being completely paranoid and Googling “avoiding a miscarriage” daily?

First of all, congratulations. Second of all, welcome to THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
The minute I saw that elusive second line on the pregnancy test, I went from being a fairly confident and secure individual to being a crazy paranoid freak who WOULD NEVER CALM DOWN ABOUT ANYTHING, EVER.
First I was convinced that the pee stick was lying to me, out of spite, so I took seven more. Then I was convinced I was having a miscarriage. Then I moved on to fears of genetic abnormalities and birth defects. Then I thought he was dead. Oh wait, he just moved, okay, not dead, but maybe he’s tangled in his cord and that last kick was a frantic plea for help and I will never go into labor and I will die on the delivery table and I will never breastfeed and he’ll starve and he’s deaf/blind/delayed and how can I just settle down and enjoy his childhood instead of Googling “first tooth crooked infant braces” daily?
I haven’t figured that last part out yet, but I can tell you how I made it through my pregnancy without completely losing it altogether. While it’s nothing earth-shatteringly brilliant and borders on DUH, OBVIOUS, it’s all I’ve got.
Early pregnancy sucks and you will be nervous and terrified the entire time. I guess there are women who buy cribs and maternity clothes the day after they miss their period, but we are not those women. We are the Realists, or possibly just the Paranoid with Too Much Access to the Internet. So we need to break pregnancy into a series of close-together milestones that we can reach one at a time. The positive test. The first doctor’s appointment. The first ultrasound. Hearing the heartbeat. The 12-week mark.
In between these milestones, do whatever it takes to soothe your nerves, even if that means spending a small fortune on pregnancy tests or retail-outlet ultrasounds. Rent one of those heartbeat dopplers. And step awaaaay from Google University and find yourself a good pregnancy buddy. (I had three, all women I’ve “met” online, which allowed us to be completely honest [translation: SCREAMINGLY INSANE] with each other.) Get regular pedicures and treat yourself to a massage, if only for the thrill of specifying a “prenatal” massage when making the appointment.
Also, I recommend lots of macaroni & cheese. It is very soothing and also calcium-fortified. You know, for the baby.
To the most admirable Amalah,
I am a huge fan of your website. Your wit and wisdom help me get through some tough days as a stay-at-home mom. When I can’t take anymore cartoons I turn to your website for some entertainment, you never fail to make me laugh!
Now that you’ve had some time out of the workplace, I was wondering what wardrobe staples you would recommend for us stay-at-home moms that have lost all sense of style to sweats and t-shirts. I’m looking for a suggestion for something comfortable to wear around the house that doesn’t give that I-don’t-own-anything-that-hasn’t-been-used-as-a-Kleenex look when I go out in public. I love your style and feel like you are our “internet fashion icon” for all women our age.

Internet? fashion? Icon?
Am I reading someone else’s email? Because: honestly.
Anyway, it’s that sort of crazy talk that gets me hate mail. (“you think you are so hot but you are ugly and what, do you comb your hair with a side of bacon or something?”) So let’s just stop that right now.
I am a huge fan of the Great Pair of Jeans. And I’m not talking about those dowdy Mom Jeans with the nine-inch zipper and the tapered legs. I’m talking about those jeans — the ones that make your legs look long and your butt look great and maybe it’s all in your head but la la la, I love my boy-cut Levis and will wear them until they disintegrate off my body. Maybe yours were a splurge from or maybe you found them on the sale rack at the Gap. Pair them with some cute flip-flops and a funny t-shirt that makes you laugh but your kids don’t understand. And you can throw them in the wash with a load of bibs and burp clothes and they just get better the more you wash them. It’s not haute couture, but it works.
But on the days when the yoga pants or Juicy tracksuit are the only things clean, and we all have those days, this is the best advice I can give you: it’s my friend Diana’s guiding principle for good grooming and it changed my life. Wear your sweats and ponytails and skip the mascara, but pluck your eyebrows.
Think about it: your clothes can look sloppy, but if you have taken the time to pluck or wax your eyebrows, then CLEARLY, you are the type of woman who is wearing sloppy clothes ON PURPOSE. Possibly you are wearing them IRONICALLY. A Britney homage, if you will. You do care about your personal style, I mean hello! Look at those perfectly arched brows! The spit-up on your shirt? Is actually leftover from the night before when some famous rock star threw up on you while partying backstage.
If you keep your eyebrows neatly groomed, you can get away with anything. Including combing your hair with a side of bacon.
Readers? what do you like wearing around the house? How do you avoid that sinking feeling of horror when the UPS guy rings the doorbell? And does anybody else wear lipgloss to the pediatrician? Just me? Okay then.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Since you asked, I ALWAYS track packages online so I know when to expect UPS, USPS, or Fed-Ex. It really helps to eliminate those controllable moments of embarrassment. If I can, I jump in the shower on those days. Otherwise, I pull my hair into a ponytail, put on a bra, find a shirt with no holes and apply a light dusting of makeup (foundation and a bronzer usually will cover it all). I possibly even brush my teeth and put on lip gloss. I do were lip gloss to the DR’s office, heck, I wear it to the grocery… Read more »


My philosophy is “get dressed everyday like you are going to work, because you ARE going to work.” That said, I take a shower every single day, put on foundation (at least) and do my hair (at least a barrette). If I didn’t, I would definitely be hitchin’ ride on the Depression highway. The days that I do decide to Slug It (like today, actually) end up being more like “treats”. Although, maybe not so much for my husband. Ironically, I actually dress better casual-wise NOW, than I did when I “worked”. I found that I no longer need to… Read more »


I am so bad about dressing decently when I know I’m not leaving the house. But I do wear lip gloss to the pediatrician. And the grocery store. And to drive my kid to preschool. Don’t ask what ELSE I have on, but by God I have on lip gloss. I have NEVER tweezed my eye brows. What? The Brooke Shields thing went out of fashion?

Deborah Svoboda

My “New-mommy uniform” is all about dark “curvy”-cut Gap jeans and a low-cut knit t-shirt. I figure, if they’re looking at my rack, they’re not looking at my I-didn’t-do-enough-crunches belly. Hair up, not ponytailed,and definitely the brows are tweezed. Hey,I’m Sicilian, I would have a monobrow otherwise! Lip gloss to the pede’s office? Heck, I wear it to the dentist’s! But then, I have a cute dentist! (I’m a mom, but I’m not dead..)


I think you might be right about the eyebrows. Earlier this week someone said to me “if you did your eyebrows, you might have a pretty face.” (I don’t have a unibrow, so insert curse word.)
I wear lip gloss everywhere, even when I’m home in my PJs.


Well, I answered the door for the sprinkler guy this morning wearing my husband’s sweatshirt, flannel PJ bottoms, bare feet, uncombed hair, wire-rimmed glasses, and holding a half-naked toddler. No lip gloss. But my eyebrows are impeccable.
And if my pediatrician was hot, you can bet I’d wear gloss to every appointment.


Eyebrows. Bah. I’ll never understand how to make them pretty. I get them waxed periodically but I never EVER like the shape so I wait another six months and try someone else.
P.S. Glad to see alphamom uses Movable Type.


The other day I was schlepping it, and decided to skip the shower, and getting dressed. I answered the door to a friend I hadn’t seen in 6 months (since before the baby was born) in blue-and-white pj bottoms with little bears on them and an orange-and-white striped shirt sans bra. Ugh. Now I put at least a bra on every day and try and wear a nicer shirt.
And I’ve never done my eyebrows or had them done. I’m too scared to do it myself and don’t know anyone good to go to!


Who cares what the UPS guy thinks? If I’m not going into town I don’t usually bother putting on real clothes (as opposed to fake clothes, you know, the cozy ones). However, I do make a point to brush my hair every day and change out of whatever I slept in, even if it’s into more sweats, otherwise I don’t feel human.


I seriously live in my victoria’s secret PINK sweats. I am using this pregnancy as an excuse to be comfy… so i was staying home every day and living comfy, but one day i decided to go for the make up thing again and fixed my hair and my husband came home and said “you look nice today” I realized that If not for myself i should as least try to be presentable for my husband- after all he’s one of the good ones who has indulged every single one of my cravings… So I still wear sweats, but from… Read more »


thanks so much, i just came across your blog yesterday and am finding it sooo therapeutic!
I actually burst into tears reading your answer to the paranoia question.
I TOTALLY identify and am just glad to know that there are people out there who understand 🙂