Don't do drugs!


WHITNEY'S MAKEOVER TIPS

By Danica Lo

October 31, 2006 -- THE haggard drug addict look is soooo 2005.

Whitney Houston stepped out Sunday night looking radiant and better than ever after her stint in rehab and ditching bad-news hubby Bobby Brown. How did Whitney go from strung-out to sexy? We cracked her secret:

1. Stop doing drugs. Ever seen a drug addict with really great skin? Even coked-up supermodels have to pile on the pancake makeup.

2. Stop hanging out with people who like drugs, or are like drugs. Like, say, nothing-but-trouble husbands.

3. Drink water instead of doing drugs. "Whitney looks hydrated, with a healthy look," says Mzia Shiman, an aesthetician at OC61 salon. "She's taking care of her skin with the right treatments - her skin appears poreless, and the only way to achieve poreless skin, despite makeup tricks, is through continuous microdermabrasion facials.

4. Don't stay up all night doing drugs. "She's clearly not losing sleep over Bobby Brown, since her eye area is smooth and de-puffed," Shiman says.

5. Don't have druggie hair. "Whitney has embraced her new life as a strong single woman with a fresh and updated shorter do," says Louise O'Connor, owner and creative director of OC61 salon. "The heavy swept bangs keep it sexy and young while the lightened color and gold highlights brighten her face."

6. Work out instead of doing drugs. Houston's always had a killer body, and wearing a form-fitting dress - not body-engulfing baggy clothes - shows off her fab physique to its utmost.

7. Use warm makeup, not drugs. "Whitney Houston is about women taking control and empowering their lives," says celebrity makeup artist Napoleon Perdis. "The lips are feminine with a warm copper lipstick and hydrating lacquer for shine and sparkle - she's ready to tell her story!"

8. And, finally, stop doing drugs. It helps you get another record contract.

Go team!


In case you haven't heard: yesterday, semi-annual national publishing stats were released and they show that for the first time, the New York Post has overtaken the Daily News in New York's tabloid wars. Now we're the fifth most-read paper in the country!

(I'm a little proud.)

news003news002


Lippy


Everybody always asks me about this, and Sandra says I should blog about this, so here it is.

I've tried almost every lip gloss on the market. No, seriously, I have -- I've been sent samples at work from nearly every major cosmetics brand in the world. And, truth be told, there are so many great lip glosses and plumpers and colors on the market right now. Some of my friends swear by DuWop's Lip Venom, some adore Freeze 24/7's lip plumping glosses, others live and die for Stila (one of my friends told me how she was so up the creek for Stila lip gloss, she paid $60 for just one tube in Australia!). And if you haven't tried the fruity smelling glosses from The Balm, you're definitely missing out.

But for me, for everyday and photographic purposes, nothing tops -- wait for it -- Maybelline's Wet Shine Diamonds lip gloss. Seriously. Maybelline. It kicks every other lip gloss's ass as far as I'm concerned.

The combination of color and gloss and shimmer and glitter in Maybelline's Wet Shine Diamonds gloss has the power to transform my face. My friend R at work always comments on how "different" I look with makeup on -- when all I do is slick on some Wet Shine Diamonds.

No other lip gloss photographs as well. No other lip gloss gives me instant Angelina Jolie lips. No other lipgloss stays on as long. No other lip gloss costs so little for so much! I buy it in bulk and live in mortal fear that they'll discontinue my color.

Still, different strokes for different folks. But give Maybelline Wet Shine Diamonds a shot -- it's hot stuff.

How NOT to not look fat


This daylight savings time is really messing with me. Yesterday I had a poke around the Soho shops and before I knew it, it was super-dark outside and I decided to head home, have an early night. When I got home, it was pitch black outdoors and I was exhausted, so I thought I'd go to bed... until I looked at my clock and saw it was only 8:00 p.m.! Thanks, DST.

Anyway, I popped by some of my favorite stores yesterday -- Seven New York, APC, Via Bus Stop, and Kiki de Montparnasse -- and I haven't been shopping in ages, so it was super-nice to see all the new fall-winter merch in stock.

There are so many nice things in shops for fall! But, unfortunately, a lot of the things I loved loved loved are definitely not slimming! Like this empire-waisted deep-V plunge mini from Kiki (top right) -- sooooo cute, but not for girls with boobs or anyone with big thighs!

Picture 2


I also love this dress from APC, which is available, in store, in more colors than just pink and black. The super-light fabric and subtle ladylike not-at-all fussy pleating vertically down the entire length of the dress ought to be slimming, but because it's cut straight up-and-down, it's not really made for anyone who has boobs or hips. Gorgeous, though.

Sweater


I also love this Jean-Pierre Braganza chunky woolly sweater wrap top, which can be worn as a traditional belted cardigan (bulky but so nice!) or wrapped around your neck (hot!). It's not the geometry of the origami -- I have that great Rick Owens wrap cardi that can be worn in similar ways. It's just that since this particular knit is so bulky in and of itself, wrapping it makes it look rather cocoon-like. Who knows, maybe I'll buy it anyway, it's so gorgeous. Anyway, I always think it's a good idea to invest good money in knitwear -- I tend to wear my favorite sweaters and cardigans year after year, since good shapes never really go out of style.

On Faith Hill hair


Dreams do come true, people!!

A PRETTY PENNY


By Danica Lo

October 26, 2006 -- FOR less than $50, you can fill your bathroom with all the beauty tools you need - nail file, eyelash curler, hairbrush and a hair dryer.

Or you can spend $900 on a diamond nickel-coated fiberglass nail file, brushes made from boar bristles, and a blow-dryer that not only dries your hair, it also makes it smell good.

This bathroom bling - including a $65 makeup brush and $35 tweezers - promises to make ordinary beauty tools extraordinary. But are they really worth the extra bucks? We put these little bits of luxury to the test, seeing how well a $900 morning routine stands up against a $50 primping.

FHI Heat Nano-Fuzeion Salon Pro 2000

At fhiheat.com in early December

Regular hair dryers: About $20

Besides the "nano silver technology" that extends the life of this hair dryer to 1,500 hours (compared to the typical 800 hours), the coolest thing about this machine is that using it will eliminate bacteria, toxins, static and - wait for it - smells from your hair. No time to shampoo? A quick blast from this baby will kill any hint of smoky nights. And the diffuser is powerful enough to get my stick-straight Asian hair to hold a curl.

Verdict: It isn't just hot air; we're sold.

Jonathan Beauty Water

Price: $95 at sephora.com

Brita filter: $19.50

Screw this eyesore contraption onto your showerhead, and instead of heavily chlorinated New York City water, you'll be bathing in reality-TV hairstylist-approved purified water. While some testers lamented that their hair and skin behaved out of character when deprived of their regular diet of waterborne chemicals, others found that, with long-term use, their hair and skin became softer and colored-treated locks retained their hues far longer.

Verdict: Eh. We can definitely live without it, especially since it clashes with our chrome fixtures.

Talika heated eyelash curler

Price: $33 at sephora.com

Generic eyelash curler: $1.99

"If I use a regular lash curler, I end up curling my eyelid," says our tester. If you're afraid of pinching your delicate bits, this gently heated (99 degrees) curler will infuse your lashes with just the right bit of non-kinky curly-wurly. Won't pinch or pull like normal lash-curlers, and the curl will last all day.

Verdict: Perfect for the faint of heart, delicate of eye and unsteady of hand.

Mason Pearson Pure Bristle brush

Price: $146 at beauty.com

Plastic drugstore brush: $1.99

Pure boar bristles leave hair as silky and smooth as silk - no joke! Eliminates static and calms even the severest case of the frizzies. Plus, it promises to last a whole lifetime. Verdict: Makes our hair gleam like black ice - worth every penny.

Rubis Slant Colani tweezer

Price: $35 at beauty.com

Generic tweezer: $1.99 at drugstores

Made from non-acidic, non-magnetic stainless steel, each pair of these Swiss tweezers undergoes a 40-step hand-finishing procedure - including a final, microscopic adjustment - that guarantees that you'll be able to grab even the tiniest hair. Bonus: comes with a cap!

Verdict: Obessive eyebrow-tweezers - you know who you are! - will love these.

Clarisonic skin care brush

Price: $195 at Henri Bendel (712 Fifth Ave.)

Regular facial exfoliator: from $1 at drugstores

If this "sonic oscillation face brush" looks suspiciously similar to something else that lives in your bathroom - hint, it's your Sonicare toothbrush - that's because they share the same daddy, the Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, who invented both. Waterproof for in- and out-shower usage, the brush deep-cleanses, massages and exfoliates the skin, oscillating at 300 movements per second. "I have really oily skin and never use moisturizer," says our tester. "But when I use the Clarisonic, the moisturizer absorbs and I don't feel like there's an oily slick on my face."

Verdict: Good for problem skin, but clear complexions can stick to the old-fashioned washcloth.

Diamancel nail and foot files

Price: $28-$48 at blissworld.com

Regular nail files: 99 cents for, like, ten

These industrial-grade diamond nickel-coated fiberglass files don't come cheap, but then again, they sure beat fake $2.99 pumice stones and dime-a-dozen nail-destroying emery boards from your local drugstore. Each one is designated for a specific purpose: No. 5 buffs away the hardened skin on the sides of the nail, No. 10 is great for getting the corns at the top of your toes, and No. 1 is great for re-edging weak nails that are prone to breakage from regular files.

Verdict: Strictly for special-needs nails, perfectionists and the very rich.

Kevyn Aucoin large makeup brush

Price: $65 at kevynaucoin.com

Generic brush: Free with blush purchase

Made with all-natural bristles and topped with a signature burgundy acrylic handle, this easy-to-use, luxuriously soft brush won the Allure Magazine "Best of Beauty" award. It applies blush evenly and doesn't shed - but what makes it worth the money is its sheer aesthetic beauty.

Verdict: Definitely a luxury, not a necessity.

On patrol


I know I've been slacking on this blog a little lately, but it's because I've just started a couple of new projects -- one of which... ta-da! I'm the newest addition to US Weekly's Fashion Police roster!

Check out the November 6th issue of the magazine or check out some of the funny outfits online at US Weekly Magazine. Hurrah!

Reminiscent of the West Coast




Tonight I had dinner with some college friends, including G, who's this super-talented actress I went to school with -- she currently lives in LA and she's going to be big one day. Big star on the rise, people!

Anyway, we were eating burgers and fries and drinking red wine and champagne at one of my favorite local restaurants, Le Gamin, and we were reminiscing about how, when I was in Hollywood for a week, she and I went to a friend's birthday party. It was a party for a screenwriter, lots of aspiring screenwriters, actors, and other industry folk. And I remember, most of all, more than anyone I met or anything about the bar, that no one drank anything... and no one ate any birthday cake.

I mean, how sad is that? Not eating birthday cake at a birthday party because you're frightened of gaining an ounce? And then G told me a story about a party she went to which had a full spread of amazing Chinese food from one of the best restaurants in town -- and no one ate a thing. Actually, an actress actually walked up to G and said to her (she was eating), "It must be nice, you know, to be able to eat in public."

Seriously.

Turning GAP-anese


TURNING GAP-ANESE

By Danica Lo

October 21, 2006 -- CALL it Trader Joe's for clothes. UNIQLO, a k a "the Japanese Gap," which is set to open its 36,000-square-foot American flagship store in SoHo mid-November, has been teasing the palates of cheap-but-chic in-the-know New Yorkers since early September with pop-up and traveling "container" shops all over the city.

This Sunday, the traveling trailer of Japanese basics - denims, wools and cashmeres in every color of the rainbow - visits the Columbia University campus, it's third-to-last stop before the downtown store opens to the masses.

In the land of the rising sun - where die-hard water aficionados consume 80,000 bottles of $2,000-per-gallon spring water daily, a steak dinner-for-one can easily run upwards of $350, and an elaborate kimono can go for as much as $200,000 - UNIQLO is a cultural anomaly. But just as the Japanese raised the West's deep-frying bar to a whole new level (tempura), they've also perfected the practice of selling wardrobe basics at bargain prices.

In the market for a simple winter hat? You can pay $18 for an acrylic pompom cap at American Apparel - or just $10.50 for UNIQLO's knitted lamb's wool. How about a warm winter parka? Gap's $168 men's hooded utility coat is 100 percent unfilled cotton; UNIQLO's down-filled coat with detachable hood is just $98.

Founded in 1984, UNIQLO has expanded far beyond its Hiroshima roots. Today, the company has 730 wildly successful stores all over the world owing, largely, to word-of-mouth and inconspicuous branding - none of the clothes bear logos, and the minimalist nature of the corporate aesthetic is a subtle trademark in and of itself.

Where else can you buy true Japanese denim for just $39.50 a pop? And cashmere gloves for $19.50?

Basic doesn't have to mean boring, either. UNIQLO has commissioned Japanese artists to create limited-edition pop culture T-shirts for the traveling container stores and the pending flagship - for $15, you can purchase a true collectors' item, a little piece of authentic Japanese streetwear.


Container store dates and locations:

Tomorrow: Columbia University, 110th Street and Broadway

Oct. 28: Astor Place at Lafayette Street

Nov. 5: 17th Street and Broadway

Nov. 6-10: UNIQLO flagship store location, 546 Broadway, between Prince and Spring streets

Pop-up shop locations:

Rockefeller Center: 30 Rockefeller Plaza on the Concourse shopping level; Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Upper West Side: Broadway between 79th and 80th streets; Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Team Sebelia!


DSCN0365


Super-super-super happy that Jeffrey Sebelia won Project Runway season 3!

Last night I dropped by the official Project Runway season finale screening and party hosted by HRH Tim Gunn where I watched the finale in a room full of P.R. stars past and present -- like Jay McCarroll, Austin Scarlett, all the contestants from this season, their family and friends. Sure beats watching the finale alone on my sofa, huh?

Highlight of the evening? Meeting and talking with Malan Breton, a real stand-out fellow from this season, the one with the laugh and funny accent. He's super-nice, outgoing, charismatic, and ultra-down-to-earth. Loves it!

Today's obsession


Tonight on MTV: "True Life: I'm a Staten Island Girl"

TV doesn't get any better than this.

STATEN ISLAND FOR DUMMIES

By Danica Lo

October 17, 2006 -- 'STATEN Island girls stand out wherever they are," says Danielle, 21, an aspiring actress who's desperate to shake her hard-core New York-ese accent. "People know. They look at us and they say, 'Staten Island,' because we have that we're-too-good-for-the-rest-of-the-world attitude."

"True Life: I'm a Staten Island Girl," which airs tonight at 10, is the latest installment of MTV's documentary series - following in the footsteps of past series gems like "I Have Tourette's," "I'm Addicted to Crystal Meth," "I'm a Competitive Eater" and "I'm on Steroids."

It may be hard to believe that living across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge ranks right up there with drug addiction and neurological disorders, but the trials and tribulations of dialectically challenged Danielle, terrified-of-dying-alone Angela, and mall-addict Lauren are nothing to sneeze at, either. "Girls are vicious on this island," Danielle says. "If you don't know a girl, you don't like her."

As MTV follows them to the promised land - uh, Manhattan - to pursue their respective dreams, the girls all fret that they won't "be accepted because I'm from Staten Island," as Lauren puts it. They way they make it sound, S.I. might as well be a foreign country.

"Nobody in my family has really left," Danielle says. "I have everything I've ever wanted here. I drive a Lexus truck."

Other pearls of wisdom from the forgotten borough:

"If a girl is pretty, she's automatically a bitch," Danielle says.

If an S.I. girl goes to Boston, everyone will think she's a gangster. This happened to Danielle.

Staten Island guys - Angela's type - have spiky hair and big muscles. They go to the tanning salon, and drink protein shakes.

When you're 35, no guy will want you anymore. "These looks won't last forever," Angela says.

While living in Manhattan would be a "wonderful life," staying on Staten Island gives you "stability," Lauren's friends counsel her when she declares she's moving there.

How to look fat


How not to cut calories: Have Sardinian Ice Teas at 4:30 p.m. with your friend Emmy at Otto, eat two slices of pizza at Ray's, then walk down to the automat on St. Mark's and eat corn dogs for no reason other than for the novelty of buying food out of a 1960s-era machine. Deee-lish!

Spray can saints


SPRAY-CAN SAINTS

By Danica Lo

October 15, 2006 -- 'My mom still thinks I'm the biggest loser and the worst- dressed person ever," says legendary graffiti artist Claw, who has an eponymous clothing line and works as the fashion director of Swindle magazine. "But if I ever marry a doctor? Then I'll be a success."

Born and raised in Queens, Claw's signature "claw" throw-up (graffiti that falls, in scale, between a small "tag" and a giant "piece") was one of the most dominant visual street images of the mid-'90s.

"There was something in my life that I felt like I was missing," she says. "I didn't feel like I was here. Graffiti made me feel like I could do anything.

"You're walking, there's no one around - it's just this private little world," she adds. "It's a wild feeling of really being connected to your surroundings - you can just take a little piece, and it's yours."

These days, her trademark claw adorns T-shirts, bomber jackets, jewelry, hats and handbags sold at some of the most exclusive boutiques in the world - like shrine-to-cool Colette in Paris.

What about her work on the street?

"Do I really need to bomb the streets if people are wearing a claw on their chest?" she asks. "I don't know."

Since Claw has stopped bombing (writing illegal graffiti), she's reluctant to divulge many details about her prior pursuits. But with this week's pending DVD release of documentary "Infamy," which features her as one of six of America's most prolific graffiti writers, she may not be able to put her shadowy past that far behind her.

"I was really honored to be part of the film," Claw says. "It was time for me to tell my story - and I wanted to step up for the girls."

The documentary, directed by Doug Pray, who's previously made films about the Seattle grunge scene and hip-hop DJ culture, offers a voyeuristic peek into the worlds of six graffiti writers: Claw, Saber, Toomer, Jase, Earsnot and Enem - street legends from New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

The film follows its subjects as they scale walls, climb fences, and spray-paint walls, bridges, doorways and trains. The writers are well aware that their art is considered by many to be a blight and an eyesore, but they are mostly unapologetic.

"Graffiti belongs illegally," says L.A.-based Toomer, "TKO [his crew] is not a gang and it's not a Boy Scout troop - it's a bunch of vandals hanging out together."

"I don't want anybody telling me what to do," says New York's Earsnot, who's filmed openly tagging all over the East Village. "You want to take that chance of getting caught. And I'm going to do it again and again and again. You can make laws, but that doesn't mean that anyone's going to follow them."

Graffiti is ultimately a form of self-expression that's akin to marking territory - a public, in-your-face subversive, illegal assertion of street cred and the desire to leave a lasting mark somewhere, anywhere.

Toomer compares it to the monument at Mount Rushmore, where sculptor Gutzon Borglum dynamited a mountain sacred to the Lakota Sioux - they called it Six Grandfathers - in order to promote tourism to South Dakota.

"Why did people carve the rocks? Did they get a big kick out of doing big faces or did they want to leave a mark?" Toomer asks. "Who gave them permission to mark that s-- t up?"

Well, in this case, it was President Calvin Coolidge and a decree from Congress. But we get his point, anyway.

Clothe your eyes


Sometimes my inner drag queen rears its head and I must have bling.

Of course, one of my favorite How Not to Look Fat tips is to wear bling on your skinny extremities -- a good dose of diamonds on your skinny wrists and a good tiara will make your limbs look longer and your hair look taller (Or, at the very least, will distract attention away from your back fat).

I picked up these vintage Cazal sunglasses last night at i heart nyc.

I wonder if blinging out my temples will make me look thinner.

Downtown on St Marks

There are vending machines full of Chinese snacks and corn dogs.

Get thinner


How to cut calories: Stop drinking, like my friend Tom Sykes. His new book, "What did I do last night?" will be your inspiration. Call it a reality check.

Lily Allen


Saw Lily Allen's first-ever American gig at the Hiro Ballroom tonight. She's so cute!

Here's a little ditty -- taped especially for Chris, who loves this song...

New season new me


Sooooo this blog has been a bit light on the How Not to Look Fat tips recently since I've been veering more into the How to Have Fun and Here is What I do Everyday territory, but don't worry! How Not to Look Fat is coming back, slowly but surely.

See, recently I realize that I don't do a whole lot. (Yeah, my mom is reading this right now and is thinking to herself, "I told you so!" Ok, mom, you're always right, I know.) My co-worker, R, is, on the other hand, super-busy and super-motivated. Like, she takes language classes, goes on field trips, spends loads of quality time with her immediate and extended family, travels constantly, volunteers 12-20 hours a week, is involved with a thousand charities, goes to screenings, legitimately and semi-scientifically tests out new products, runs with her dog twice a day, goes to the gym, shops like a fiend -- AND she gets a solid 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.

What.

It's taken me a long time to realize she does so much.
Me? I go to work (late) and sit around, write a story, answer a few hundred emails and field a few dozen phone calls a day and I'm pooped. Then I come home and make a mess in my apartment, avoid answering the phone all night, shoot off a few emails, watch some primetime TV, read a couple of chapters in whatever book is by my bedside (there are, like, 8 books I'm in the middle of right now... I haven't finished a book in months!), and pass out. Not so productive.

So as of this afternoon I've made an autumn resolution.

My resolution: I am going to stop dicking around and wasting time. I am going to do stuff.

So there are going to be many adventures on the horizon (lots of which, I am sure, will be advertantly or inadvertantly geared to Not Looking Fat).

Like, I'm going to start actually going to the gym. I am so embarrassed that I joined the gym across the street from my apartment in January and I have been there a total of -- wait for it -- once. It's October now. That will help me not look fat.

And I'm going to start taking outside classes. Like yoga and stuff. That will also help me not look fat.

I haven't really lined up other activities yet, because, let's be honest, my interest level in most things is quite low (I'm not jaded, I'm just boring), so I guess I'll try to rev up my enthusiasm for stuff like taking roadtrips, going to shows, and generally being an active, productive human being. Maybe I'll even go to stores to buy clothes instead of shopping online. Wow. One tiny step for woman, one giant leap for Danica-kind.

In the meantime, while I decide what to do, I'm going to watch this music video on loop. It's Lee Ryan and his song, "How Do I" -- and I'm going to see Lily Allen play Hiro tomorrow night. So excited!

Planet Rock


The Rasmus' new album Hide From the Sun is out today in America. If you haven't got one already, definitely pick one of up at your local store or order one online.

I mean the following statement in the best possible way (because it applies to me too): If you (like me) love 80s and early-90s rock -- like Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Warrant, early Nirvana -- if you like good, solid driving music you can sing at the top of your lungs to as you're tearing down the highway. If you are tired of all the bizarre new hipster dipster teens pretending to play rock music? You'll love this album.

For a sampling, check out The Rasmus Myspace.

If you can get somewhere to see them live, even better.

Happy Victims


For years I've been obsessed with photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki's ongoing project, "Happy Victims," wherein Tsuzuki documents people's obsessions with specific designers.

On the left here is the apartment of a buddhist monk who keeps a small pied a terre in Tokyo which he visits once a month to shop and stow his purchases -- which, for the most part, are Comme des Garcons. When out of monk's robes, he wears only Comme. He is a Garconiste.

Here, on the right, is the apartment of a woman who is obsessed with and compulsively collects Anna Sui. She also admits to owning a slew of Anna Sui cosmetics.

Anyway, I am obsessed with this photo documentary project, and have been for some time. So I got to thinking, and I always like to ask people, "If you had to choose one designer to wear, fill your home with, and live the aesthetic of, which designer would you choose?"

Me, hands down, I'd choose Martin Margiela. It baffles me how every season, whether totally wacked out or completely subtle and understated, Margiela can predict exactly what I want to look like. Here are some of my favorite looks from his Spring 2007 collection, which he just showed during Paris fashion week this October.

MARG_SS07_0423MARG_SS07_0366MARG_SS07_0310


MARG_SS07_0250MARG_SS07_0223MARG_SS07_0190


MARG_SS07_0127MARG_SS07_0089MARG_SS07_0072


Which designer would you choose?

Almost famous



PLANET ROCK

By Danica Lo

October 8, 2006 -- IF you can make it here, you'll make it anywhere - unless you're from over there, like Europe or China.

Just because a band hits big in their home country, they've got no guarantee American audiences will ever want to hear them croon their latest single. While big-time American artists are usually well-received abroad, their fame seems to be rolling down a one-way street - that stops at the border.

Because for every artist that's become a major star in the rest of the world before finding success on our shores - Sean Paul, Kelis, Shakira and the Spice Girls - there are countless musical casualties by the wayside. Just think of British superstars like soul crooner Robbie Williams and boy band Westlife, both of whom topped charts across the pond, but barely leaked into pop-culture consciousness here.

While there's no secret formula to getting made in America, here are five acts poised to take a shot in the next few months - and despite the long odds, they have a damn good chance at sticking.

* THE RASMUS

If you came of rock consciousness in the '80s or '90s, it's likely this Tuesday's release - "Hide From the Sun," the first big American album from Finland's The Rasmus - will knock your socks off with its play-to-the-masses anthems and just-polished-enough power-rock refrains. The band has already attained superstar status in Europe and Latin America with six albums under its belt. The quartet's last, "Dead Letters," sold nearly 2 million copies - its first single, "In the Shadows," became the No.1 most-played video on MTV Europe.

Download: Wistful breakup song of the year "Sail Away" or "Immortal," the album's darkest, most visceral track

* LILY ALLEN

Like Gwen Stefani, but far more street and oh-so-London in her chav-lite doorknocker earrings, Lily Allen burst onto the scene this summer when her first album, "Alright, Still," debuted at No.2 on the U.K. charts. There's nothing generic about Allen's twisted lyrics (delivered in an innocent sing-song falsetto) set to reggae beats. Though her album isn't set to drop till February, Allen's generated enough buzz to sell out her first New York show, Tuesday night at Hiro Ballroom.

Download: "LDN," a snarky sing-along guide to London, or ode to reality, and "Everything's Just Wonderful" wherein Allen rhymes "Kate Moss" with "weight loss"

* LEE RYAN

Blue was one of the most successful U.K. boy bands of the '90s, selling more than 12 million albums and 5 million singles in Europe and Asia. Never heard of them? It's not too late for a sampling - Lee Ryan, just 23, the now-defunct group's lead singer and songwriter, who previously collaborated with the likes of Elton John and Stevie Wonder, lands in the United States next week to cut an American solo debut slated for release sometime next year. We're betting on success - I mean, not only is Ryan really, really cute, but he's got style and soul - like a boy Joss Stone.

Download: The video for "How Do I?" at officialleeryan.com - a real tear jerker

* THE LIVING END

Punk-pop trio the Living End have enlisted star producer Nick Launay (INXS, Gang of Four, Midnight Oil, Silverchair) to produce "State of Emergency," the band's latest full-length release, which debuted at No.1 and is about to go platinum in their native Australia. The band's eponymous debut album has gone quintuple platinum since its 1999 release, and its "Second Solution/Prisoner of Society" EP is the highest-selling Australian single of the past decade.

Download: Wildly catchy Generation-Next anthem "Wake Up"

* EDISON CHEN

Credited for bringing hip-hop culture to Asia, Chen designs streetwear, owns the biggest youth clothing store in Hong Kong and has a worldwide cult of clothes freaks who gobble up every garment he makes for Nike, Levis and Lacoste. Pepsi cans all over Asia have his face on them.

Rapping in Chinese, he's released 11 full-length albums and won 23 music awards, including MTV Asia's 2004 "Best Male Artist of the Year." Oh, and in the last year he managed to star in his first English feature film, Friday's "The Grudge 2," opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar and Amber Tamblyn.

Go See: "The Grudge 2"

Rasmuksen


Emmy Lauri Danica October 2006


If you've spoken to me in the last couple months you know my favorite band of the mo' is Finnish quartet The Rasmus. Not only do I love listening to their album, Hide From the Sun as much as possible (especially the tracks "Sail Away" and "Immortal"), but they are also four of the coolest, funniest, most charismatic guys I know.

So I headed to Detroit this week to hang out with them on the last leg of their American tour (they headed down to Mexico this morning and I headed back to New York). We partied like rockstars (okay, they were actual, real-live partying rockstars, I was just a wannabe), they played a gig at the Blue Martini in Michigan, and we did a whole bunch of other fun stuff (like eat hot dogs and hang out at the hotel's Jacuzzi).

Anyway, I guess I never realized this before, but the "rockstar lifestyle" really is conducive to weight loss. I guess performers tend to jump around on stage a lot, especially if they're in a rock band. But another aspect of being a rockstar is that you're almost always having fun -- and when you're having tons of fun 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you're not eating yourself into a tizzy (like I usually do).

This week, despite being exhausted, losing my voice, staying up all night, eating only junk food (aforementioned Coney Island hot dogs, nachos, fried breakfast delicacies, birthday cake, Red Bull, champagne, and vodka), I managed to lose a few pounds with no exercise whatsoever. I think it was because I was just having the best time, laughing a whole lot, totally cutting loose and doing whatever I felt like doing, and staying active running around finding fun non-stop.

Here's my friend Emmy, Lauri the lead singer of The Rasmus, and me late at night vamping for the camera.

Long live our week at Camp Rasmus, Detroit. Cheers.

Pack Panic


As if packing for short trips wasn't hard enough before, now we have the liquid regulations to contend with.

Almost all my liquid products are under 3 oz., which is the maximum amount of any single "vanity product" that seems to be allowed carry-on per airline regulations -- almost all of them, that is, except my hair conditioner. I mean, I must use 3 oz. of hair conditioner every day. I've decanted some into a travel tube, but it's definitely more than 3 oz. Does that mean that just because one product is over 3 oz., I have to now check my whole bag? That's crazy.

What if I decant the decanted product -- like, divvy up the hair conditioner into single dose containers?

Honestly.

It's just me, huh?


This is really annoying, but it's so just me.

American Eagle Outfitters has so many amazing slimming clothes -- perfect hip-length V-neck tees, sweaters, henleys, solid colors perfect for layering, great fitted-but-rugged hoodies... I could go on and on. So go there.

Here's what's annoying: the store near me? Doesn't have ANY black items. Not one. I like black clothes, especially basics. So this drove me totally crazy today. I walked in, got super-excited about all the great stretchy shapes and sizes they have. After trawling through endless rails and shelves of amazing tank-tops, V-necks, and long henleys and discovering there was not one black item in the store? I had a minor meltdown.

Freak out.

Anyway, for all you color-lovers out there, go crazy. Love ya.

Instead of clothes I bought this




Instead of buying basic black tees today, I bought this, Comme des Garcon's Guerilla 1 fragrance.

Its top note is a mixture of odd spices and fruit. Other notes? Saffron, clove, black pepper, jasmine, and leather.

This fragrance might make me smell weirder, but won't make me smell 12 pounds thinner. If you want to know how to blend a fragrance that will make people around you believe you've lost 12 pounds, you'll have to consult my book.
"Observe Everything. Always think for yourself. Never let other people make important decisions for you." — from Bad News by Edward St. Aubyn