Friday, August 26, 2005

Trade Your Barber for a Stylist

Men, this article is for you. Most women know that men are an excellent accessory, but in order to look your best, a good haircut is Step One. It doesn't matter what your outfit looks like, whether or not you tweeze your eyebrows (still hotly debated at Las F) or if you've been working out - if you have bad hair, you will always look like a fool. Bearing in mind that most men are not metrosexuals, we're here to help.

The first step to getting a good haircut is saying goodbye to your barber. I know, you've been going to him for years and he's always been very nice to you, but it's time to cut the umbilical cord. A friend of mine recently complained of a bad haircut from his barber. When I suggested a stylist to him, he replied, "I trust my barber - he's a family friend." Apparently there's a lot of love between a man and his barber. Of course, I can't fathom why you'd trust the bad haircut giver, but what I can promise you is you can find that trust in a stylist, too. There are a few major differences between the two that will mean the difference between a cut and a cut. The barber is most likely a self-employed entrepreneur who, although licensed, doesn't need to update his skills as trends dictate. How antiquated. Your stylist is not just a scissor-wielder; he will have undergone trainings throughout his career to make sure that he can not only keep himself sharp, but also know how to cut hair into the in-demand styles. Think about it - if you sit in the barber chair and ask for a fauxhawk, he will not know what your talking about and you will walk out unfulfilled. While I don't advocate the fauxhawk, I do advocate going to someone who can not only style your hair right, but also show you products you can use to keep it looking nice for months. In the end, it's the worth the money - you will look better more days out of the week.

Step Two on the road to bad-hair recovery is becoming familiar with putting something in your hair other than a comb. I can tell I'm losing some of you already. You're thinking, "It's a miracle I use shampoo regularly." You need to step out of the comfort zone you've so readily ensconced yourself in and dare to look good on a regular basis. I'm not suggesting a lot of product - most guys get away with one well-used product, and this is where your stylist comes in. Once you get the haircut you want, he can tell you how to maintain it, and take his suggestions! However, it might get pricey to ring up your products at the salon. Ask your stylist what kind of product it is (mousse, volumizer, gel, etc) and what it's meant to do. Then go to the drugstore and find the much cheaper equivalent - it often does the same job. Of course, a truly excellent stylist won't need to be asked what products he's using; he will tell you as he goes along to keep you well informed.

Now that you're familiar with the process, it's time to get a new haircut. The blank stare I'm sure you're reading this paragraph with means you have no idea what cut to get. Again, there is no better place to turn for this advice than - that's right - your stylist. A barber will just give you a crew cut and maybe trim your ear hair. Your stylist will suggest a cut that's not only cutting edge (groan at that terrible pun, will you?) but also suits your face and personal style. I bashed the fauxhawk before, but some men actually look good in one, such as David Beckham, at left. It depends on who you are, and what look you're trying to accomplish. It works for Becks because he's a footballer, for crying out loud, and Real Madrid's star athlete is certainly no shrinking violet. Failing that, look through magazines, or see what TV personalities are doing with their hair to get some ideas. The boldest of you might even try creating a brand new style, a one of a kind, like Jennifer Aniston's signature shag. You never know - you may start a brand new trend.

Ashlee gets it right

Dear Ashlee,

We want to congratulate you, babe. Not only did you take us up on our idea for that movie idea we suggested,but you also showed up for the premiere of the event dressed like the nice, sweet little girl that the optimists at Las F would like to believe you are, underneath it all.

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Darling, you look marvelous! The dress! It fits perfectly and is delightfully devoid of tasteless pins, rips, neon colors, and ill-fitting seams. It flatters your cute little figure remarkably. Your hair, although a little blonder than perhaps we might find in nature, looks decent pulled back. We're not crazy about the shoes (did you steal them from some unsuspecting bride?), and your makeup is a little summer 2003, but we'll cut you some slack on that. Why, you might ask? Because, Ashlee, you've remembered the two most important accessories an aspiring movie maven can carry-two fawning friends who aren't as famous as her and whose names no one really can remember.

Good work, sweetie!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Fall is the Season for Colors

Las Fashionistas are more than just snazzy dressers. We're also here for your makeup needs, and since Labor Day is just around the corner, it's time to trade your bronzer for some sparkly fall colors. Below are some of the up and coming trends, but as usual, pick what works best on your face, and add some personality!

Cherry red lips have been talked about toward the end of the summer, so you know it's going to hit it big in the autumn. Las F favorites like It girl Gwen Stefani are lovers of the fiery red lip, and she really knows how to rock it. Fire engine red, however, is not for everyone. Some might do well with a pinker hue, while others might find better success with a browner shade. Whichever you choose, red is where it's at. You'll notice that Gwen has followed Makeup Rule #1: only one feature should stand out at a time. If she had been wearing a loud eye color as well, she'd have stood a good chance of looking like Mimi Bobek, but she went with a subtler eye, which not only tones down her look, but draws more attention to her lips. And as an added bonus, the red lipstick will make your teeth look whiter.

If you loved the smoky look of previous seasons, you'll be sad to know that it's no longer chic, but a subtler brown version hit the runways in style over the summer. Of course, I personally hate boring eyes, and plain brown can easily become librarian brown, so Las F recommend making your eyes pop a bit. Sharp black eyeliner (hold the smudger!) makes the grade this fall, or you might consider getting a little shimmer in your eyeshadow. The duo pictured at left, available at Estee Lauder, is a great example, and it's enough to qualify you for the bonus gift - a real steal. Not only do you get the makeup bag and matching tote, but your choice of lip gloss and matte, a mascara and two age fighters! Do yourself the favor and go to Macy's this weekend.

Finally, we arrive at cheeks. Previous autumns have required a barely-there cheek, but now we're looking at a sweeter side. A sandy pink, such as the one Keira is wearing (and how we do love her) gives her an adorable glow. Also, dewy skin is now out - clear, matte skin is the word on the street, so make sure you banish the sun damage from summer before you move on to fall. Of course, just because it's no longer sun season doesn't mean you can skip the sunscreen. Especially in winter, the sun reflecting off of natural surfaces can be just as damaging as a day at the beach. Instead of reaching for the Coppertone, find a moisturizer with built-in SPF, so it becomes a part of your daily routine. Now go out there and make fall's styles your own!

What's in a Name?

Today's elite seem to have the impression that the stranger the name, the better it is. Many thought it was strange when Cher named her daughter Chastity (especially considering the source), but that seems quite tame now compared to what some celebrities are coming up with. It's really getting out of hand. Below are a sampling of the most offensive.

We start out with Jason Lee, a longtime favorite actor of Las F, who's projects included most of the View Askew films, romantic comedy A Guy Thing and lent his voice to a villain in The Incredibles. Recently separated from wife Carmen and reattached to current fiancee Beth Riesgraf, the two celebrated the birth of their son, upon whom they've thoughtlessly bestowed the name - and I'm not kidding here - Pilot Inspektor. That would make his entire name Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf Lee. Give the kid a fighting chance, would you??? While most of his cohort will be ignorant of and therefore ignore the obvious Inspector Gadget references, Pilot most definitely has a few bloody noses coming his way. I can only imagine the befuddlement on the faces of the nurses who, when asking what the name was, the mother looked at them with the glow of a new parent and lovingly replied, "Pilot Inspektor." They even spelled Inspektor the German way, leaving an entire other avenue of teasing that I won't get into here. It's just not right, folks. As an aside, if you happen to rent A Guy Thing (which you really ought to, it's hilarious), be sure to watch the blooper reel and watch carefully after James Brolin says, "You have your orders!" I promise you it will make you scream with laughter. A group of us had to rewind and rewatch a few times, and even months later we occasionally go back and rewatch it. Jason Lee is incomparable. I'm still laughing about it as I type this.

Moving down the pantheon of hideous actor-offspring names, we arrive at magician Penn Gillette, the vocal half of Penn and Teller. After I got over the idea that he would be considered attractive by any female (looks aside - the man is an embarassment), I started to absorb that he and his wife had a baby girl and named her Moxie CrimeFighter. Let's examine - the first name is not so bad; at least it sounds feminine. But CrimeFighter? There's no rhyme or reason to that. She's going to have to put that on her SATs. It's almost as if he wanted her to be mortified in front of her peers. According to the father, it would give her a way to get out of a future speeding ticket, by telling the officer they were both on the same team of CrimeFighter. Not only would this not get her out of the ticket, but I'm pretty sure if she tried to use it she'd be arrested. Not to mention the appaling grammatical gymnastics required to make two proper nouns into one compound, dual-capitaled noun. For shame, Penn Gillette. Although I really can't blame him - he's not exactly a well-monikered role model.

Lastly and ghastly, we come to the Jackson family. While the patriarch of the clan gave the children somewhat reasonable names, the children didn't seem to enjoy that privelage. Rebbie (short for Maureen Reillette) had three children: Austin, Stacee and (gasp) Yashi, which sounds just like a high-fiber cereal. Jackie, who had to suffer life named Jackie Jackson, mind you, named his two children Brandi, a normal name, and Siggy, a name that should have died with Freud. Tito named his three sons Taj, Taryll and TJ - not too bad. Marlon, the sole undivorced Jackson, had three normal children named Brittny, Valencia and Marlon, Jr. Jermaine had the audacity to name his son Jermajesty, which is a near guarantee of a god complex. Randy, LaToya and Janet, mercifully, have no children to date. Of course, the King of Bad Taste, Michael, named his children Prince Michael and Paris. When his third child arrived he named him Prince Michael II, which makes me recall George Foreman's egotistical nomenclature, and of course, bearing that in mind, Michael had the grace to give his son a nickname - Blanket. God bless that poor child. He's already been dangled off a balcony - who knows what he'll deal with next.

So there you have it, the hall of fame of bad names. Take this as a lesson, folks. The next time you and your significant other are arguing over whether or not a little girl named "Olivia" will be made fun of by her schoolmates, remember - it could be worse. You could name her Reign Beau, like Ving Rhames did. God help us all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Must See TV

If you've never watched the Gilmore Girls, you've done yourself a disservice, especially since the previous season was their best ever by far. Now that the new season is beginning, you should be glued to the WB on Tuesday, September 13th at 8:00. Those of us who watch the show every week have a lot to look forward to, and the speculation is rampant.

When we last left the Girls, Rory had just come back from jail, thanks to her boyfriend, the incredibly dreamy Logan Huntsberger. They stole a yacht, just for fun, and Rory had been recommended by Logan's father, Mitchum Huntsberger, to pursue a career other than journalism. This has prompted Rory not to return to Yale for her junior year, much to her mother's discontent. Now living in her grandparents' poolhouse, Lorelai now only has one ally left: her longtime love Luke. As Luke paces back and forth, trying to decide how to get Rory back on track, Lorelai stuns the world and pops the question. Of course, Luke had just torn up the buyer's contract on the Twickham house, after finding out that Lorelai met with a business associate to discuss consulting on a number of worldwide hotels. Roll credits, let the waiting begin. This leaves us viewers hanging for a full four months, wondering if Rory and her mother will be speaking, and if Lorelai will be engaged (again).

As I see it, there are two possibilities for what will be going on when the first episode of the sixth season begins. The good people at the WB were kind enough to spill the beans that since the last episode ended with a question, the next would begin with an answer. If Luke says no, Lorelai will have to take at least a few days to get over the rejection, meaning she will be effectively estranged from everyone in her life. If Luke says yes, then he will have to go through the trouble of trying to get the Twickham house back, snatching it out of the grip of rival buyer Kirk. The two will start planning the wedding and not tell either her parents or Rory, widening the gap between the mother and daughter. Another opinion is that Lorelai was just saying something to shut Luke up, a trick he pulled during the first season, but I disagree with the idea. Back then, they were barely friends, but now there is so much more on the line now that a joke proposal wouldn't go down so easy.

Of course, no matter what Luke's answer is, the rift between Lorelai and her parents, Richard and Emily, can probably be considered permanent. While it was thoughtful of them to give Rory a shot at what she wanted to do, it was a stab in the back that they made the arrangements outside of Lorelai's presence or permission. Whether or not Rory should return to Yale is no longer the question, but rather it should be the parent's place to deal with her child. That breach of trust will be too much for Lorelai to ever go back, unless something astounding comes to light.

Either way, the tension is killling the faithful Gilmore Girls watchers! Be sure to tune in, and if you want to get caught up, you can rent the dvd's of previous seasons in your local video store. It's not necessary, though - it's easy to get caught up in the girls without knowing everything that came before. Jump in and give it a chance!

Be my groupie, I hate groupies and sellouts

We at Las F pride ourselves on the quality of all the pieces published here. Therefore, we are pleased to inform you, dear readers, that Ashlee Simpson has her eyes turned yet again towards that mecca of stardom, SNL. The pop tart has announced she'd love to reappear on Saturday Night Live.

Why? Is it to make up for her fiasco last fall, when she had that awful acid reflux?

While embarrassing, that gaffe (and subsequent halftime humiliation at the Orange Bowl) did little to slow Simpson's album sales or to detract from her status as a rising entertainer.

Now, with a movie hitting theaters this month and a new album ready for a fall release, Simpson is hoping to make a "Saturday Night Live" return.

"I would love to do it," Simpson tells reporters covering "Undiscovered," her first shot at big screen stardom. "It's not been confirmed, but I'd love to go back and do `Saturday Night Live.'"

"I would want to perform, but I'd love to act and make fun of myself as well," she laughs.

When prompted by potential motivations, she continues, "It's not necessarily about revenge on the world. It would just be fun for me to do it, just for myself."

No, the ever-original and inventive Ashlee would never come up with such a sellout reason. She's a very unique singer! She has unique songs! With music! And words! And waify boys who play guitars! Why don't you all recognize her for what she is: a truly undiscovered talent who is just waiting to get around her sister, Big Texas Barbie, and make a name for herself?

Ashlee would never, ever lip sync. We'd like to state for the record that we at Las F believe you, Ashlee! We will use all of our influential powers for good to turn the world back to you! Who cares that 10,000 people nationwide signed a petition saying something like "get the eff off the public scene"?!?! We don't care!

Ashlee is the best. She is so great that even her fashion is unique! Never mind all those dumb little copycats you see at the mall. They'll NEVER come close to being as cool as her. I mean, just look at that amazing black leather shrug coat! Now THAT'S style!

Clearly, Ashlee is the next great thing to happen to music. It's just that so far she's really undiscovered, except by discerning and discriminating ears like those belonging to the talented writers at Las F. There is no sellout sauce at this barbeque! We're HEARTFELT! We can see talent! Why, it was just the other day that we were saying how talented Avril Lavigne is.

You know, I think they need to make a movie that has Ashlee Simpson in it. It could be all about kids who haven't been discovered yet! And who aren't upset about it all, because they're soooooooooo true to themselves! They're SOOOOOOOOOOO real, you know? Ashlee would be SO great in that movie, as the unattached best friend of the star whose name no one knows, so SHE'S really the star! We could call it Undiscovered, since that's JUST what she is!

Let this be a warning to you all. Never, ever, ever set your alarm clock to Sarcastic.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Television You're Embarassed to Watch

When you were a teenager, did you watch Dawson's Creek? Did you watch something that you're even more embarassed to admit? I'm sure you did. For me, it was the Monkees. I watched every episode of that show, and it's still a source of embarassment. Why not sublimate that embarassment with shows that you're ashamed of now?

For your viewing pleasure, I submit to you The Surreal Life, which comes on Sunday nights at 9:00 on VH1. After having enjoyed the previous four seasons, number five comes back with all the spice of the last four rolled in one. The truly good part about the show is that it takes C-list celebrities who have A-list egos and slowly break them down by forcing them to live together. Hilarity ensues. Omarosa, the woman who needs no last name, is the reality star I love to hate, so it's truly enjoyable to watch her love on the camera, thinking she's being revered for her celebrity, when really we just can't stop watching the train wreck. For example, in the first episode, she let us know that she is "more brighter than Donald Trump." Can't make this up, folks. And that exactly VH1's tack - why write a script when the stars do a pretty good job themselves. Janice Dickinson is another example of the train wreck syndrome. I've seen four of the five episodes that have aired so far, and at some point during each one, she has quit the show, locked herself in a room and waited for someone to indulge her childish tantrums. But for the record, Janice > Omarosa. At least Janice is real all the time, she's (unfortunately) not faking any of her moments. Omarosa fakes almost everything, so who does she hate? Janice. Seeing a pattern? Best of all, there's a woman named after a car on this show - Caprice. Caprice has what I call Keirsten Montgomery Syndrome. Keirsten, a high school classmate, was born during her parents' vacation to England, and according to her, that's why she has a lisp. KMS has also struck Caprice, who uses British slang and just barely has a British accent, which she blames on her career spent modeling in London. Her birthplace? Texas.

And so, for celebrity dysfunction and more, do yourself the favor of watching The Surreal Life. For more hilarity, stay tuned afterwards for Celebrity Fit Club 2. I won't tell you about this one - it's truly indescribable.

To Salvo or Not to Salvo?

The answer is, it depends. While some of us would not be caught dead in a Salvation Army store (although we are more than happy to donate, of course), there are a few looks that can jive with the bargain basement look. The key, as always, is moderation.

Take Chris Martin, for example. Musicians were the original purveyors of the sloppy look. As legend has it, the musicians were more interested in spending their hard-earned cash on CDs and tickets, not clothes, so they had to do their shopping in the cheapest places possible. That M.O. has turned into a full-fledged trend, but like any trend, it needs to be tempered with common sense. What Chris has done is a reflection of that. He's followed the first two rules of the casual male: 1) random tee shirt, 2) no-work haircut. Most importantly, his no-care wear is not well worn, not messy. Casual does not equal sloppy.

Someone forgot to tell Mary Kate Olsen. Now I know a lot of people pick on poor Mary Kate, but let's be honest here - she has blurred the line between casual and bag lady. Here's what's wrong with this outfit. Firstly, too much of any one quality in an outfit can ruin it. If you wear an all-orange outfit, you will be sure to draw some pumpkin comments. So what her problem here is that everything she's wearing is too big: the bag, the scarf, the sweater - not to mention that in addition to the huge sweater she's wearing she's carrying yet another, so you know she's not done being sloppy. If you're going to wear a big sweater, wear fitted jeans. If you're going to wear baggy cargo pants, pair it with a camisole. In addition, no matter how sloppy you are feeling, fix your hair. I don't mean blowout and style, a nice chignon is a great way to hide a bad hair day and not look like you are. As a final note, Mary Kate, I know you struggle with your weight, but don't hide it. Own it. Wear clothes that fit appropriately, and if you are truly unsatisfied with how you look, eat a sandwich and be proud when you get to a place where you are happy with how you look.

Now let's look at Ashley. No, not MK's sister - Ashley Judd. Ashley's at a sporting event, no better place for a casual outfit. She's already following casual rule #1, but the shirt fits very flatteringly on her body, so she doesn't look frumpy, she looks cute. She's also put a barrette in her hair so there's a little girly-girl underneath that tomboy exterior. She's also adhered to an important maxim of the casual female - she's wearing makeup, but it's not overpoweringly obvious. She's well put together, but she's avoided looking high maintenance, which is key when you're going to something like a basketball game with your sweetie. It's the Something-About-Mary rule: a girl who's fun to hang out with is a girl men like. It's like gaining a friend, not losing the opportunity to hang out with his friends. But remember - all in moderation. Don't hesitate to whip out that little black dress when the proper occasion calls for it!

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Concave Loveliness that is Nicole Richie

Nicole, sweetie, I know that you must be famous for something. I think it's mostly that you used to be friends with that girl Paris, right? And now you're not even speaking to her, darling. I do love a good intrigue, we'll simply HAVE to chat about it sometime. You're engaged, too! That's hot. Your ring is lovely. But darling, I have to tell you: that whole "oh-I-have-to-work-out-I-just-ate-a-Lifesaver" look really isn't working for you.

It's a funny thing about fans: they tend to like you more when you weigh a little more. (If you need proof of this fact, see Lohan, Lindsey. Everyone liked her way better when she was fresh, young, and dewy, instead of bleached, pinched, dieted, and shrink-wrapped into size C for Crack Addict.)

Your oversized bag, limp locks, and lack of color are also doing you no favors. What's in that bag-an portable liposuction machine, in case of requisite atonement for that oh-so-sinful sip of diet soda?

If you had been looking slightly more, ahem, curvaceous in that lovely silk tank, this picture would have never ended up on this website. You know how ridiculous I am about not posting anything that anybody might consider 'revealing'. But, as you see, I posted this picture, despite your dangerously low silk tank, because THERE'S NOTHING THERE TO REVEAL.

And Nichole, that's not hot at all.

The Return of the Greatest First Lady

The greatest for fashion, anyway. The gorgeous Jackie O always had the perfect outfit for the occasion, and always turned heads. Fortunately for all of us, the look is on its way back in, and there are a few pieces you can grab now that will pull you into her era.

If you have wide feet, you probably got sick of the pointy-toe trend real quick. Fortunately for you, the round toe is back and better than ever. This black heel, found at Banana Republic, has a retro feel with the bow and low heel, but has been given a modern feel with the shiny black faux-skin material. And of course, for the perfect bag to go with that shoe, you need look no further than Macy's, where you can find this Alfani leather bag. Not only does it have the faux skin to match your shoes, but it also includes a couple of metallic touches, which are very big this season.

The last word in outerwear this fall will be the belted trench, such as the one shown here. The beauty of a trench is that it can go with jeans for a casual look, or with a skirt or dress for a dressier look. As an aside, if you are a short-waisted woman, you might look into a shorter trenchcoat so you don't end up looking like a roly poly. In any event, if you do choose to dress up your trench, try adding a scarf to give it a modern look. As a beauty bonus, if you get an unpatterned coat, you have a lot more options for a scarf pattern, from the plain to the whimsical. And of course, a great addition to any scarf is the very now brooch to secure it to your coat - fashion meets function! For all these looks, just go to your local Gap.

Of course the return of the 60's has been a boon for your work wardrobe as well. Old Navy has some fantastic deals that will let you get suit pieces for about $30 each and create your perfect work couture. You can start with a jacket like the one on the left, available in champagne as well, and match it to the skirt in the same pattern and color. Instant suit! With a crisp white button down you can't miss, and the price is extremely reasonable. Jackie would be proud.

Music You Must Hear

The past week was a bit of a music renaissance for me, after having become disgusted with the lack of good music on the radio lately. I discovered that there are a few good songs out there, and to fill in the gaps I downloaded a few oldies I had forgotten about.

Firstly, if you haven't heard Crazy Frog's remix of Axel F (the theme from Beverly Hills Cop) you should dowload it immediately. It began it's life as a ringtone, then grew in popularity to the point where it charted on Billboard. The first time I heard this song I had two reactions. During the first half of the song I thought to myself, "This is probably the dumbest song I ever heard." Then, as I continued to listen, I couldn't stop laughing at it, so I downloaded it. It's worth a listen.

A few years ago when I picked up a Rhett Miller CD, I had no idea who the gangly fellow on the front was. When I heard he was the former frontman of the Old 97s, I decided to give it a try, and I was not disappointed. He gives a good mix of heartfelt ballads and fun rock, and not one of his songs is derivative or boring, so go pick up The Instigator and you won't be disappointed. May I particularly recommend "Our Love" and "Terrible Vision".

I went through a little phase of downloading songs I hadn't heard since the 90's, and I've included a few here. I had White Town's "Your Woman" stuck in my head a couple of days ago, so that made it on my list. Also noteworthy was the Meat Puppets' "Backwater," which is the kind of rock we haven't heard since we were teenagers. May I also recommend anything by Collective Soul - I hear they may be coming back soon.

And let me just take a moment to say I advocate legal downloading - I don't want to get sued here.