Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't Forget To Enjoy Your Summer!



Happy Friday, y'all! If there is any justice, you've already left your office and will be reading this...sometime in the future.

As you may have noticed, we've been a bit light on the posting the last couple of weeks. I think summer - and Big Things In Life - have eaten our brains a bit, and so we are going to officially take a brief summer vacation. We'll be off next week, recharging our creative juices (and mixing a whole bunch of other metaphors), and will be back Monday the 16th, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and as full of opinions as ever.

In the meantime, feel free to peruse our older posts and if you have questions, comments, post suggestions, or just a link to share, hit us up on Facebook or Twitter, or shoot us an email. (Links to all those fun things are to your right.) If you're really jonesing for new content, all our favorite blogs are also linked on the right, and they are all full of wit, wisdom and sometimes, if you're really lucky, poop jokes.

Thanks for being so awesome, and we'll see you in a week!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday Quickies: Hide your Wife edition

Don't try to pretend that Antoine Dodson isn't hilarious. Attempted rape is not funny, but his response is glorious. As is the remix, which made me laugh so hard actual tears came to my eyes. And please, follow the guy on Twitter.

All of us like biblical names here, but don't name your baby Job.

Don't go through life without knowing these things. Stuff no one told me.

Don't leave your office vulnerable to foil wielding students. Professor returns from vacation, gets "foiled."

Don't leave your glove vulnerable to zombie popstars. It's my glove now.

I have a number of friends who have coffee names but luckily they memorize it...and haven't had to deal with running into Starbucks employees outside of the shop and having to respond to the wrong name. Don't like dealing with spelling your name all the time? Use a coffee name. And please, make it an awesome one like Batman. But then, don't forget it, or your coffee will get cold.

Don't look at this if Darth Vader gave you nightmares as a child. But if you love Star Wars, you'll think that this is AWESOME.

And don't look at this if you're vegan. Charlotte's Web is my favorite, I think.

Don't look at this if you hate tattoos. You know, people like Daisy's mother. And, um, Brownie.

Have a good Tuesday, everyone. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Potluck of Don'ts



(Photo for the five of you who claimed to be interested in my rugs, bless your hearts.)

Well, I still have nothing to talk about besides the baby and the house. So have some miscellaneous Don'ts from my week:

  • Don't comment on my baby weight then hand me a plate of brownies, MOM. (aka "The sort of shit I spend hours praying I won't do to my daughter.")

  • Don't count a visit to your parents as a vacation. It really, really isn't.

  • Don't try to convince me that letting me take a shower counts as watching the baby. Especially when you hand her back to me while I'm still wearing a towel.

  • Don't get between the cat and a moth.

  • Don't think too much about how excited you are to find a new flavor of YoBaby. It will make you feel sad about your life.

  • Don't laugh at the baby when she sticks the spoon in her hair instead of her mouth.

  • Don't put the margarita glasses in the yard sale box. You will start craving margaritas even though you and Jose Cuervo haven't been on speaking terms since the Great Tequila Tuesday Experience of '00.

  • Don't go to the internet for advice. In this case it's something baby-related, but I once called my doctor and said, "So I was reading on the internet," and she cut me off to say, "Oh my god, DON'T DO THAT." Sorry, Dr. S. You were right; I didn't have Venezuelan Hemorrhagic Fever.

  • Don't watch PBS Kids while your child is napping. It will also make you feel sad about your life. (Even though Word Girl is awesome.)

  • Don't go browsing on Etsy unless you're okay with finding something you love so much you must have it immediately. (Ahem.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Don't like the heat? Come to San Francisco

Photobucket
A typical view of the Golden Gate bridge in July.

All of you out there dying in the summer heat should book a plane ticket to San Francisco, where it is currently 59 degrees and overcast. Most of you are wearing light summer dresses and drinking iced coffee, and sitting under the air conditioner and fan to cool off. I'm drinking hot coffee, wearing a jacket and scarf, and had my electric blanket on last night. We're in the middle of the coldest summer in 40 years here.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Okay, not that I'm complaining TOO much. I've lived through summers on the East Coast, including four summers in Washington DC and one in New York, so I know the pain of being drenched in sweat as soon as you walk out the door and just giving up on your hair ever looking attractive from July through Labor Day. Don't get me wrong, I don't miss that.

I do kind of miss the warm nights, though. And going to the beach with friends on the weekend and actually wearing a swimsuit and going in the water and not being huddled up in a blanket and praying for the sun to come out. And actually needing my sunglasses to shield my eyes from the sun and not as just an accessory. Those of you who need that for the summer? You probably shouldn't come to San Francisco.

Those of you who need a break from the heat, or are coming to visit to experience the great food, beautiful views, and fantastic wine of the Bay Area take note. Pack your jeans and bring a few sweaters, because otherwise you'll be some of those tourists that we all make fun of in their identical San Francisco sweatshirts (they make a killing on those because none of the tourists are prepared for needing a sweatshirt here).

And pssst, don't tell anyone, but the best time of year to come here is September and October, that's when the sun actually comes out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Don't Get Boring


Subtitle: No One Cares About Your Sconces.

And yet, I really, really want to tell you about my sconces. And my storage ottoman. And how I want to restore the inlaid table my husband's grandparents brought over from Damascus and put it in the dining room. Yes, I have a raging case of new-homowner-itis. I feel bad about my newfound obsession with interior decorating, because, really, it's not that interesting to anyone who doesn't live in my house. But I can't stop talking about it.

These days I feel like half of my brain is occupied by the house and the other half by the baby, making me the least interesting conversationalist in the world. Like, I'm pretty sure I used to have interests. I just can't remember what they were. For example, two years ago I was at ComicCon. Last year I kept up with all the news as it was posted. This year I'm like, Oh, there's an Avengers movie?

Being dull has its advantages, though. I'm completely unspoiled for Inception. Maybe I won't get upset about stupid beauty trends anymore because I won't know they exist. And I'm pleased to say that I still can't tell the Kardashian sisters apart.

Someday I'll renew my ability to make entertaining small talk. Probably around 2024. In the meantime, would you like to hear about my new rugs?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Don't Start Drinking Before Noon

The title is just a note to myself. You guys can start drinking whenever you want. Anyway, y'all may have noticed that we've been slacking a little bit this week. Roxy and Brownie have been slammed at work and Daisy moved at the same time Baby Razor was busy cutting her first tooth. Basically, we're having the crappiest summer vacation ever.

So in lieu of actual content, have an actual conversation between Daisy and Mister Razor from earlier this week:

"So I was reading an article in the New York times about the strain put on a marriage when a spouse has ADHD, and I thought, well, that's all well and good, but what about when both spouses have it?"

"That sounds interesting. What did it say you should do?"

"Um, I didn't finish reading it."

"Is that a joke?"

"Sadly, no. But I bookmarked it! I'll send you the link. Maybe between the two of us we can finish it."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday quickies: Hilarity edition

Things that made us laugh this week:

Don't have a good bar in your town? This guy could help: Homeless guy breaks into a closed bar and reopens it with beer from the supermarket.

Don't argue with a goat, you'll lose: Even in a language that I don't speak, this is delightful.

Don't forget the videocamera when you do funny things like this with your babies: Seriously, I could watch these babies making faces all day long.

Don't be that guy (or girl) in your fantasy football league: Guy goes to a fantasy draft with a list of players from 2005.

Don't forget about The Onion, people: People believe crazy video from 2007 about a zombie invasion. Seriously. We have to laugh or we'd cry at some of the racist comments here.

Don't think that here are a million things to do with peanut butter? Read this guy: The Peanut Butter Boy.

Don't like your hotel? You could stay here: The ugliest motel in the world.

Don't try this at home: The Swedish Chef makes popcorn shrimp (sort of).

Don't believe babies are brilliant? Well, first, you've obviously never met Daisy's baby. The superpowers we all had as babies.

I don't care that this has been everywhere, because it is fantastic: Star Wars reenacted on a subway car. I love the behind the scenes stuff too.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't Grow Up

While there are lots of great things about being an adult (wine, sex, no curfew, True Blood), there are also a lot of things about being an adult that, quite simply, blow.

Think it’s great to get a real paycheck? Too bad most of it goes to boring old bills.

You can drive now? Don’t forget that you also have to pay for insurance, instead of just raising the rate on your parents’.

You can drink legally? Have fun with that monster hangover.

And that job that gives you that real paycheck? Can often be way more of a pain in the ass than school used to be. I spent half my weekend preparing for about the most stressful thing my career can throw at me. I’ve also already been in my office for two hours this morning and I’m planning on completely losing my evenings this week...I don’t remember English being this much trouble.

So kids, I know that being a grown-up sounds excellent. But take it from me - and from Peter - and Don’t Grow Up.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Don't Be Lebron James


Back in April, Brownie taught us all how not to be Brett Favre. Short version? Don’t screw over your team in the offseason, just because you’re a little crazy and very selfish. The last line was the following:

And the next person out there who is thinking about acting like this? You don't be Brett Favre either.

Well, it would appear that a certain enormously famous basketball player has a short memory, as last week we found ourselves in the middle of what my Lebron-defending, Cavs-loving friend has called, “The worst thing in the history of professional sports.”

I’m not sure that’s quite true, but we’ve mentioned before that hyperbole and melodrama is part of the fun of being a sports fan, so we’ll let it slide. What I am sure about, however, is that it has been a complete disaster on so very many levels.

Lebronfires! Booing! One million words by Bill Simmons, even before The Decision!

And, of course, one of the most amazing Open Letters ever, complete with Comic Sans (the text is here - for the full effect, copy and paste it into Word and then change the font).

While all of this may be entertaining for those of us who are removed from it, it doesn't take away the bottom line: Lebron publically and elaborately screwed an organization that put seven years and countless millions of dollars behind him, not to mention his hometown, because he wanted something shiny and he wanted it now, and he did it in the ugliest way possible. What did he think that his actions were going to say to people? What kind of example does he think he's setting? And WHY did his advisors let him do this? Remember - Lebron is 25 years old and has been in the NBA since he was 18, so his view of reality is, shall we say, a bit skewed. But where were they? "They're all young, too!" is not an excuse - I am the same age as his oldest advisor, and I am well aware that this was a fuck-up of monumental proportions.

Believe me, the sports-trainwreck-lover in me is getting a huge kick out of this. I love the The Decision parody at the Espys (Steve Carell and Paul Rudd can basically do no wrong, and it redeemed ESPN a bit), and I love headlines like this. But Cavs fans are less amused, and with good reason.

My friend says this:

I was prepared for disappointment, but...just the way he handled it...if he had announced he was going to Chicago in a normal way, I would have understood. I would be sad, but not hateful. But going to Miami is so dumb, and a 1-hour special is the worst thing in the history of professional sports. Someone called it a cringefest, I can't remember who. Terribly accurate.

I think that's the point here. Even his staunchest defenders weren't really expecting him to stay in Cleveland. But they also weren't expecting to be dumped on national television, for Lebron to prove them all so very wrong so very loudly.

So hey, the next time you're thinking of fucking someone over - your boyfriend, your boss, your sports franchise - just stop. Think about a slightly less douchey way to do it, and don't be Lebron James.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ultimate Pantyhose Don'ts Edition

Chris Pine and NO
Chris Pine and a woman dressed as a Don't, via ONTD

Of the things that Daisy, Roxy and I thought would happen when we started this blog, I would say “Become internet source for pantyhose questions” would be far far down the list. And yet our two posts about hosiery we thought would be uncontroversial and obvious to the rest of the world, and they turned out to be anything but. And then, we started noticing with a mixture of amazement, horror, and hilarity that we were getting a whole lot of hosiery related searches bringing people to Don’t Do That. Below are just some of the actual searches that we got, with (because we are here to serve) our answers:

Can you wear pantyhose with open toed shoes?
How many times do we need to say this? NO.

Nice summer shoes that aren't open toed?
Excellent question! I am a big fan of the ballet flat, and I really love the ones from London Sole -- they’re a little pricey, but they fit great, they’re comfortable, they come in a lot of adorable styles, and they often have sales. But there are lots of other ballet flat options, like these darling Kate Spade ones, these cute star ones, and these embellished ones. You could also go with espadrilles, like these, some nice slingbacks like these, or something in a nice summery color, like these.

What do you do if you have ugly legs, can you wear pantyhose?
I don’t even know where to start with this one.
No, actually, I do: one disturbing theme that showed up in some of the pantyhose related comments and many of the searches is a big level of body hatred. People think their own legs are ugly, or someone else's legs are ugly, and are looking for ways to hide themselves (or other people) behind clothes. People, pantyhose may be your security blanket for facing the world, but there's really no difference between what your legs look like bare and what they look like encased in sheer nylon, except they're shinier. Put down the shiny and easily torn blanket, embrace an exfoliator, and learn to love your legs.

Can you wear open toed shoes to work?
Well, this depends on your workplace. I live and work in California, and even though I work in a relatively conservative industry, everyone I know wears open toed shoes to work except on a very formal occasion. In more conservatively dressed places in the US or the world, maybe not. The best rule of thumb here is to not wear them at first, and see what the other women in your office do. Don't wear them to court, don't wear them if you work in the Pentagon, don't wear them to a professional job interview. And when you do wear them to work, please make sure your toenails are well groomed.

Do you wear pantyhose to a summer wedding? (Note, we get versions of this one repeatedly)
Again, this depends on where you live -- I never would, especially if I'm wearing a summery wedding appropriate dress, but if you live in the South and your grandmother would swoon if you showed up without hose, then you might. But then again, if you live in the South, it’s probably in the 90s during any summer wedding, and so you may die from heat during the wedding and do you really want the bride to have to deal with your heatstroke during her wedding? I don’t think so.

Pantyhose feet wedding
Elephant nose commencement!
...dude, I don’t even know.

Why don't women wear white tights?
Because they make women look like they’re trying to look like a little girl on Easter Sunday. They also make your legs look stumpy, and make any shoes look ugly.

Where can I wear white pantyhose?
NOWHERE.

I get blisters when I don't wear hose, how do I solve that?
I am glad that you asked! Our commenter eee discussed this in the comments of the last pantyhose post, and we thank her for her wisdom. She told us of her great luck with the Band Aid Blister Block (you can get a coupon on their website right now!), and then while looking it up to try to buy some for myself a few weeks ago, I discovered that Dr. Scholl’s also makes a similar product, Dr. Scholl’s Blister Defense Stick. I bought the Dr. Scholl’s one in my locak drugstore, and in the interests of science, tested it out with some of my shoes that always give me blisters. And lo, it worked! I am a convert.

I hate white tights on women (so do we, so do we)
But how do you feel about them on men? We may have a fellow who'd like to meet you...

My husband wears pantyhoses
We're okay with this, as long as he isn't wearing them with open toed shoes.
(note, this searcher should get together with the searcher from this morning who was looking for something related to pantyhose husband "must wear".)

Do women like men who wear pantyhose?
We're sure some do. But while we believe there's someone out there for everyone, you probably shouldn't mention it on the first date.

Should you wear pantyhose with open toe booties in winter?
You should not wear either of these things in any season.

Can I wear opaque pantyhose with sandals?
NO. NO NO NO.

Do I wear pantyhose with peep toe shoes at my wedding?
NO.

Sarah Palin pantyhose
...

Fat pantyhose ladies
Daisy says: At first I thought this referred to ladies made of pantyhose, but maybe it's actually a search for plus-size hose? With the 'ladies' tacked on to differentiate form the men's pantyhose?

As for me, this search just makes me laugh and laugh. Sometimes I think of it in the middle of the day and laugh.

Are pantyhose and open toed shoes back in?
BACK in? THERE WAS NEVER AN IN TO BE BACK IN.

Should you wear hose with open toe shoes at weddings?
NO.

dirty pantyhose feet
Daisy likes this one, because her tights get discolored from the soles of my shoes, and she doesn't know how to fix it. Readers, any suggestions?

wearing pantyhose for running
Go for it, as long as your sneakers aren't open toed.

Do you wear white pantyhose with all white?
Not unless you are a nurse in the 1950s.

shrunken men lost in pantyhose
We don't want to know. No seriously. Please don't tell us.

Do professional women still wear pantyhose in Chicago?
Winner for most specific search ever! Though I think that the answer is yes to this, because I have a friend who worked in Chicago a few years ago where they were required to wear hose in the summer even when it was unbearably hot. Chicago readers, please tell us if that’s not true.

Women who wear pantyhose when it's hot outside
Was this supposed to end with “...are INSANE!”? Look, it is the middle of July, and in many places that means it's hot as hell. Why would anyone voluntarily wear pantyhose in the extreme heat? It doesn't make you look more put together, and it certainly doesn't make your legs look better, it just makes you look sadly behind the times and that you will need to stand under an air conditioner all day to recover from your brief time outside.

Readers, do you have any other hosiery related questions for us? Even if you don't tell us, we'll see your questions turn up in searches soon, so we're glad to help. We are not pantyhose (wow, that word has lost all meaning now) haters here, we just think that there is a distinct time and a place for them, and that time and place is never when wearing open toed shoes (or, for that matter, shorts -- another thing that we thought we'd never have to say).

Belated note to all of the creepy creepy pantyhose fetishists who keep commenting anonymously to this year+ old post: All of your creepy comments make it less, not more, likely that anyone will ever wear pantyhose again. So keep at it, creepy dudes who like pantyhose, you're doing our work for us!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Quickies, Big Geek Edition

We at Don't Do that Love geeks, and all of the smart smart things that they have brought to our lives. In honor of Embrace your Geekness Day today, here are some links that the geeks of us will love (with a little bit of soccer love to start):

Missing the World Cup? So are we! Don't mourn too much, though, at least we have these fantastic pictures:
The World Cup comes to a close. (The Big Picture)

Don't read this if you haven't read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books (but if you have, it's hilarious): The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut, a spoof on the books by Nora Ephron. (The New Yorker)

Don't want a little cuteness in your life? Then don't click this link:
Red Panda cub born at the National Zoo!

Don't avoid making a cherry pie because you don't have a cherry pitter:
How to pit cherries with an old fork and with a paper clip.

Don't read this if you're a headline writer, you'll die from jealousy.
Sports headlines are probably the most fun to write. (Reuters)

Don't believe that the guy who discovered Pluto went on a game show? Just watch:
Clyde Tombaugh on I've Got a Secret in 1956. (YouTube)

Don't make your bed? No problem!
Untidy beds may keep us healthy. (BBC)

Don't look at this if you really need a new bookshelf, you'll have lust in your heart:
BookShelfPorn.

Don't know that Jen from Cakewreck's has another blog? Well, you do now, and it's lots of geeky fun:
Epbot. And the top post right now is an awesome otter video.

And speaking of cakes: Threadless + cakes = geek love:
Cake contest! (Threadcakes)

Don't think that scientists can rock? Think again!:
Rockin' scientists: NYU brain researchers put down their data sets, and get down with their rock band. (Scientific American

Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't Tell Me Parenthood Sucks


(Baby Razor laughs at your Science.)

Of course on the morning that I want to write about how being a parent is not as miserable a prospect as the American media seem determined to make it out as, my daughter decides to be a total shit. She's teething, but does she want to chew on the many sanitary, environmentally sound, developmentally appropriate teethers we have for her? No. She wants to chew on the germ-hotbed remote control.

So look, I was going to compile a bunch of articles whose main thesis is Modern parenthood is so awful it will make those years where you were broke, perpetually hungover and living in an apartment where the heat didn't work so you had to sleep in your bathrobe look AWESOME, but I have no idea how long the mini-tyrant is going to nap. So just read this New York Magazine feature, which is the latest and scariest version of the meme that if you want to lead a happy life, you should probably avoid even speaking to children, never mind raising them.

The gist of the article is that the majority of studies show that despite what parents tell you, and even what they themselves believe, science proves that you're less happy after you have a kid than you were before.

I'm not going to call bullshit outright on these studies, but after a lifetime of "Caffeine is bad for you! No good for you! No bad for you!" and "Get mammograms after 40! No don't! No do!" I will admit that I am deeply suspicious of scientific research as reported by the mainstream media.

I mean, I read that whole article and never figured out how the studies defined "happiness," nor how they measured it. Those are things I would have liked to have known, because if you ask me, "Comparing motherhood to your last job, are you more or less happy now?" the answer would be very different compared to if you ask me, "How happy are you right now on a scale of 1 to 10?"

Because as far as I'm concerned, a shrieking, non-verbal boss who regularly poops her pants is preferable to one who calls me by the wrong name for an entire year or stares at my boobs when talking to me or spends six months passive-aggressively ruining my concentration because she wants me to quit so she can hire a friend of hers. And as a stay-at-home-mom I feel like the walls are closing in on me sometimes, sure, but I also felt that way when my days were spent in a six-by-six cubicle in a room with no windows. Actually, I felt that way a lot more in the windowless room.

So is parenthood the best job in the world? No. Anyone who tells you that is either bullshitting or in denial. (For the record, this is the best job in the world.) Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes the kid bites you, or destroys the couch, or bursts into tears and makes you take her to Dairy Queen after she nearly hits a jogger and fails her driver's test (sorry, Mom).

But I finished that New York article and wondered if I'm demonstrably less happy now than I was as a non-parent, should I act more miserable? Should my seemingly-happy friends with children act more miserable? Because we all really like being parents, and we like our kids too. (I took a poll. Very scientific.) Maybe there's a difference between liking your life and being happy. I don't know. All I know is that if you asked me if I was happy being a mother, I would say yes. And if, after rigorous scientific research of my life, you proved that I was not, in fact, as happy as I said I was, I wouldn't be like, "Oh, well, in that case I'd better start telling people I'm actually unhappy! Thank you, Science!"

Sometimes it's okay to believe you're happy and tell science and the media to go screw themselves. I think this is one of those times.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Don'ts For Air Travel


I’m out of town for a wedding this weekend, and decided earlier in the week that today’s post was going to be all about the idiot things that people do when they’re flying. I was planning on observing closely and taking copious notes so that I would be nicely prepared.

Instead, I spent yesterday morning tearing through the terminal, barefoot, like I was in some kind of “hilarious” scene in a “hilarious” movie. I looked…well, like I was one of those idiots. And why? I’m so glad you asked! That takes me right into the first Don’t.

Don’t Assume You Need Less Time Just Because You Live A Little Closer to the Airport Than You Used To
This was what killed us this morning. My husband – whom I love dearly, I promise – says that he had somehow gotten it into his head that our flight was a full hour later than it actually was, but I am less convinced. What I think is that he…well, he did that, up there. And so, instead of checking in an hour and fifteen minutes before our flight was supposed to leave, we tried to check in half an hour before. Because it was less than 45 minutes before flight time, we couldn’t check a bag, so we made our way to the security line, planning on carrying on our luggage. If we made the flight, which we did not have high hopes for.

Because we had been planning on checking our bag, we had some full-sized products with us and we ended up having to toss them (dumbest TSA rule ever, yes?). Along with various hair products and my husband’s deodorant, I lost an over-half-full bottle of Philosophy face wash. All told, it was probably nearly a hundred bucks worth of stuff – mostly mine.

I made it through security and, as mentioned, booked through the terminal, without putting my shoes back on, while my husband had to go through the whole shebang twice – he piled stuff on top of the laptop, which is frowned upon, and tried to sneak some other hair products through. Eventually, we both made it to the gate and, happily, the flight was running late and there had been two lovely humans who had volunteered to give up their seats, so we were able to get on the flight – though not together – and made it to our destination, mostly intact.

Next time? I’m in charge of when we leave.

Don’t Assume You Belong In The “Expert” Line
Speaking of going through security, you may have noticed that in some airports there are now three line options – Family/Medical, Casual and Expert. No one really wants to get stuck behind the high-maintenance folks in the Family/Medical line, but that does not mean that you should go through the Expert line. If you’re going to forget to take off your shoes, assume that “Remove your belt” doesn’t apply to you, or…well, pile stuff on top of your laptop (HUSBAND), then you need to move to the Casual Traveler line, and let the businessmen plow through. It doesn’t make you less of a person, but it does make people feel less murderous towards you.

Don’t Ignore Simple Directions
Which leads me to this very very easy Don’t. If the nice people in charge at the gate say it’s time for boarding rows 15-22, and you’re in row 12? Just wait your turn. If they say that people with one under-the-seat carryon can board – and they specify that people with roller bags should not board at this time? Don’t try to sneak your roller bag through. You are not that special, I promise.

Don’t Let Your Kids Run Rampant
This is my disclaimer: I do not have kids. I do not know what it is like to travel with kids, but I am well aware that it cannot be easy. I like kids a lot and I tend to give parents a lot of leeway when they’re having to deal with their kids in public. It is stressful and not easy and I admire them for doing it.

However. When you’re stuffed onto an airplane with a hundred people, all of whom are anxious and cranky? Don’t just Think Of The Children. Think of the rest of us, too. I was next to a kid once who screamed and kicked the seat in front of him the whole flight. THE WHOLE FLIGHT. His mom spent the flight with her eyes closed, smiling, pretending to sleep, I assume because she didn’t want to give him the attention he so clearly wanted. Not a bad parenting strategy at home, but a terrible choice on a four hour flight.

Don’t Smell
All that pressurized air is unforgiving. If you absolutely need to be perfumed or cologned, use a light touch. If you’ve been drinking coffee all morning, grab a mint. Wash your hands after your last pre-plane smoke. And please oh please, don’t rip every single perfume ad out of your magazine, open it, rub it on your arm, and then toss it on the floor next to you. Unless, of course, you’re dying to have the barf bag next to you deployed.

All told, air travel does not have to be an entirely unpleasant experience. Show up on time, follow the rules, and use some common sense and courtesy, and we’ll all fly happily together (really, you could just reread this - it all applies). And, come to think of it, those are excellent rules for life in general, aren't they?

(And, of course, please keep your motherfucking snakes off that motherfucking plane.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't Forget to Get Your AC Serviced


Otherwise you may find yourself standing in your living room in your underwear, holding the "Important Reminder!" postcard from the service company, asking if they can come as soon as possible, because your air conditioning has just died in the middle of the worst heat wave you can remember.

And then you have to spend the day at your in-laws so the baby doesn't melt, and when you get home there are five industrial fans in your 900 square foot apartment because your husband went a little insane at Home Depot, and you don't fall asleep until midnight, and the baby is up at 5 a.m. because she's thirsty, and you're sweating again by 6 a.m.

The real bitch of it is that we move in eleven days. A week and a half! The weather or the AC couldn't have waited until July 20?

All right, a little more advice before I go back to trying not to pass out from heat exhaustion: Don't wear white shorts and a hot pink thong. Not for your sake; for mine. I never need to know that much about someone's ass. I think I'll make that my slogan, in fact. Your ass: I don't need to know about it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don't Write Profanities On Your Fingernail in Court

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Picture courtesy of Gawker

God really? Really? We have to say this? Okay.

There are many bad things that people wear or do in court. Ripped clothing, shorts, tank tops, miniskirts (especially bad when you're the lawyer), very visible tattoos, we've seen them all. That picture up there? That takes the cake. Let me be clear: when you're the defendant, and you had a DUI charge, and you're on probation, repeatedly didn't do your court ordered alcohol classes, and you have a court date with a judge who is at the end of her rope, the very LAST thing that you should do is write "Fuck U" on your middle finger. DON'T DO THAT.

Among the many many other problems with this...I mean, GOD, she couldn't even spell out the YOU?

Lindsay, the three of us at Don't Do That have been some of your biggest fans, so every time you do something crazy, it just makes us even sadder than in this post. But good lord. Please, Lindsay, go to jail, then go to rehab, and make your hair red again, and stop making us feature pictures of you. Because you make us sad.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday Quickies: Back to Work Edition

We hope all of our American readers enjoyed the holiday weekend. Don't Do That's east coast headquarters is recovering from too much sun, food, and furniture shopping (we recently bought a house and just realized that it looks awfully empty since we own, like, three bookcases and a crib.) Frankly, we hope your holiday weekend involved more booze than ours.

Have some links to ease you into the work week.

Don't get caught daydreaming of a Roman holiday:
Panoramic tour of the Sistine Chapel (The resolution is amazing, and there are no Vatican guards shushing you like at the real thing.)

Don't forget to plan ahead if you want to rent a country:
Snoop Dogg tries to rent entire country of Liechtenstein

Don't put anything like this in your query letters:
Slush Pile Hell

I don't have any jokes better than the headline:
Chatroulette plans penis-recognition algorithm to ban pervy users

Sweet Jesus, don't eat this:
French fry coated bacon on a stick (The ads on the page are the piece de resistance)

Don't expect a reply:
Letters to Dead People

Don't sunbathe in the graveyard:
Really Extreme Makeovers

Don't forget to vote, baseball fans:
All-Star Game Final Vote (Top of the page. If you don't care, VOTE YOUKILIS and Daisy will send you cookies. For real.)

Christ, Nike, have you not been paying attention? Don't forget that women are fans too:
Where are all the female soccer fans? (Shoutout to our awesome reader Amanda, whose blog, Needs More Kittens is quoted in that post)

Don't judge me for laughing at this:
Hey, you: Bring back the handjob (I thought Daulerio's whole day at Jezebel was hysterical, to tell you the truth)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't Take Trash Talk Personally. Take Two.

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This was originally posted at the end of the Olympics, but it's been a crazy week over here at Don't Do That, so we're taking a look back to March. At that point, the three of us had spent two weeks immersing ourselves in sports that we totally did not understand - much like what we've done over the last month or so of the World Cup - and had also been doing some trash talk. If you're not a regular sports fan, this may come as a shock to you, and so we are here to tell you, if you're going to remain a sports fan outside of the feel-good-ness of global events like the Olympic Games and the World Cup, Don't Take Trash Personally

Back in March, we were - okay fine, I was - involved in a bit of an internet kerfuffle. To start with, emotions were already running high and there was some shit-talking going on (on both sides) about that USA - Canada gold medal hockey game. Some of the problem was that a few of the people involved in the conversations clearly weren't used to being on A Side in a sporting contest and were a bit taken aback by all the partisan noise. A hint for those folks? Cheering for your team and against their opponent is not bad sportsmanship. It's part of loving sports and, if you want to get all Olympic or World Cup about it, part of loving your country. And if you're going to love sports, you have to develop a thicker skin.

(Note: This is taking it a tad too far.)

Here's an example. I don't know where you're reading from, but if you're anywhere in the Midwest, you likely understand a little bit of the hatred between Wisconsin and Minnesota, specifically the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the University of Minnesota Gophers. I happened to go to my first Gopher hockey game at two months old, own a button that says "I Cheer For Minnesota And Anyone Playing Wisconsin," and my dad told my sister and I that we could attend college - which he would pay for - anywhere. Except Wisconsin, upon penalty of death and financial ruin. Even adding my name to the mailing list - jokingly - would have likely given my dear father heart failure. (As it was, he ended up with heart failure five years later, but I don't think it can be blamed on Wisconsin. If it could, it would be, trust me.) However! My grandparents, who I love fiercely, met while students at Wisconsin and my grandpa (who is almost 87) remains a Badger - and Packer, God forbid - fan. We talk shit to each other all the time - as much as you can talk shit with a grandparent, of course - but we don't take it seriously or personally. In fact, when I asked at Thanksgiving if my grandfather had a sweatshirt I could borrow, he gleefully told me he had "just the one!" and pulled out his red and grey Wisconsin hoodie.

But Roxy, you say. That is a family member! Of course you guys can tease each other with no hurt feelings! And that is true. But it's also true that, when Daisy told her Yankee-fan best friend that she was thinking of getting married at Fenway Park, her friend told her that was great, but that she was going to wear a pinstripe dress. And it's true that Brownie and a friend got into it when her team (Niners!) beat his in the playoffs, but that was many playoff seasons ago, and they're still pals. One of my best friends cheers for a different Big Ten school than I do, but since they suck at the sport I care about, and because my school sucks at the sports she cares about, it's generally not too big a deal. I have family members that are die-hard Cubs and Bears fans (I heart the Twins and the Vikings, but please don't ask me about Brett Favre), best friends who are Blackhawks fans, and a husband who lives and dies with the Broncos.

But when you're a fan of a team whose coach gets caught on camera making this gesture at the officials (if that's the coach, just imagine the players), a team whose linebacker gave his own tight end brain damage and crushed his eye socket (and that's just the beginning of that particular rap sheet), or even a team that is just obnoxious in all its "glory", you should probably be prepared to have some vitirol thrown at you. And really? Throw some back! I would be shocked and even disappointed if I was spouting my mouth off to Badger - or Sioux or Packer or Canadian hockey - fan and they didn't spout back with cracks about my team's goofy name, our inconsistency, the Mullet, or whatever other shit people are saying about Minnesota teams these days. (But hey, at least we can take some smack talk. Wisconsin.)

Just because we're not on the same side during the game doesn't mean that we hate each other as people. We can respect each other as fans, without loving - or even respecting - the team that the other person cheers for. That's part of the fun of loving sports! You can get overly emotional, hyperbolic and melodramatic about something that has nothing to do with you and that you have no control over. It's a wonderful respite from the real world, but only if you are able to tell yourself that at the end of the day, it's just a game - for you and for the fans on the other side of the field.

So if you've found a team that you've decided to follow (I recommend the Gophers, of course) but if in a week or a month or this weekend, depending on how the rest of the World Cup goes for you - you find yourself getting your feelings hurt by someone who's pointing out the cheap hits or crappy goaltending or nepotism of your team, just stop, think about what keeps you a fan of this team, and don't take it personally. (And talk some smack back!)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Don't Question My Love for Sports

Jerry Rice!

As you can see from our recent posts, we here at Don't Do That have gotten very into the World Cup, even though our beloved USA team went down to defeat by the better defense and better acting abilities of the Ghana team. We love it for the constant action, the crazy athletic abilities involved in running around a field continuously for 90 minutes with one short break, for the amazing goals and often even more amazing saves, and the crazy personalities involved. Currently, a popular feminist blog is running a World Cup feature that's all about how hot the players are, which is pretty much their sole discussion about the World Cup. Do we think that the players are hot? Oh, yes we do. Do we like it when they take their shirts off at the end of a match? Oh, we like that too! Is that why we watch the World Cup, or any other soccer game? No.

I've been watching football (the American version) since I was a little kid. I distinctly remember The Catch, I lost my voice yelling at the TV during a number of tight games, and I stood up and made the touchdown sign as the sole 49er fan in a Washington D.C. sports bar during the amazing Young to Owens moment during the playoffs (and still have kind of fond feelings towards Terrell Owens because of that, despite all of his crazy). I love sports for the amazing moments like those, the breakaway runs, the insane interceptions run back for touchdowns, the unpredictability, and the crazy personalities.

Sports has brought us Chad OchoCinco and his delightful twitter feed, that crazy 10+ hour long tennis match at Wimbledon last week, and the hilarious live blog that went along with it, the Miracle on Ice, and that completely impossible and unbelievable comeback by the Red Sox in 2004.

At awkward family moments, instead of talking about the weather, we talk about sports. My uncles and cousins and I argue 49ers vs. Raiders, my mom gets outraged every time a field goal kicker misses a kick and insists that she could do it better, my best friend's husband (who has very different political views than I do) and I bond over the NFL draft, our fantasy football teams, and how much we despise Ben Roethlisberger. I have met so many strangers in the past few weeks as we crowd around TVs at lunchtime and during coffee breaks to watch the World Cup, I high fived people on the street after the US victory last week, and I've had long conversations with random people in bars that started with "What's the score?"

Sports is pure fun (when it's not pure misery), it's built from incredible athleticism, and bold and distinct personalities, and it has this way of bringing people together. If you question that? Just watch the video below. Sports, we love you, in all of your forms, and for so many reasons.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Quickies: We Love Sports edition

Don't think this makes the Yankees any less lame. The Yankees had a mascot...for three seasons.

Don't leave your lipgloss at home when you go to a game, you never know what can happen. The Mariners bullpen catcher marries a woman he saw in the stands. Awwww!

Don't diss the vuvuzela. Classical music on a vuvuzela.

Don't forget that athletes can actually be amazing human beings. Great story about Didier Drogba.

Athletes as amazing human beings, part two: Mourning Manute Bol.

Don't hesitate to buy your phone at at thrift store, you never know what you might find: Man buys old phone filled with athletes numbers.

Don't love Benny? You will now: Mmmmmmm, Benny Feilhaber.

Don't pause this video if you don't want to crack up: Benny lip-syncs Jordan Sparks.

Don't forget that "nude" clothing comes in lots of colors: Venus Williams at the US Open.

Don't think that women can't do crazy stunts too: Seven women daredevils through history.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Don't Taunt Us

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We're all a little sad here at Don't Do That headquarters after the USA loss to Ghana on Saturday. That said, we're all about our love of sports this week, so stay tuned for posts all week about how sports are awesome. And Ghana fans, don't even start with us right now.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Be THAT Music Fan


I love music. Some of the music I love is great and some of it is cheerfully terrible. Some of it is better than you think it is (seriously, Miley Cyrus does have some redeeming musical qualities, and I know you think Hanson are just those weird kids from "MmmBop," but they're actually fantastic musicians - and hilarious, it turns out), and some of it is just as mindless and bad as it seems (Ke$ha, anyone?). I'm not hard to please, though, and when someone puts out music that I like, I tend to stick with them and see what comes next. I figure if they've gotten my attention, I can trust them enough to hang around for a bit.

This has paid off in dividends for me. I've gotten to get to know some wonderful artists and have been able to be genuinely surprised and pleased by the way that creativity evolves over the course of people's careers. Even someone like Cyndi Lauper, who I've been listening to since I was about four, managed to surprise me this month by putting out a blues album.

Am I weird? Am I the only one who appreciates change in the musicians that I listen to? Because the last few weeks, I've heard a lot of bitching about the new Christina Aguilera album, which is just the most recent example of this. Lots of, "But I LOOOOOOVED Back To Basics! She should have stuck with that!" I mean, y'all. That was four years ago. Four years ago, Christina was a newly-married 25-year-old. She's now been married almost five years and has a toddler. Her life has changed - why is it not okay that her music has changed? Were people this pissy when Back To Basics came out, four years and lightning years away from Stripped? I don't think so, and I'm not quite sure why. Is it because her Back To Basics "image" was so much less threatening? Are we burned out on blondes with great voices making electro-dance pop? Or do we just want to keep her in a nice little easy compartment where she makes sense and isn't challenging? Because I don't think we have a lot of room to say, "But it's so NOT HER." How on earth do we know that?

Is this a female thing? People complain all the time about how much Muse sucks now that they've gotten popular - without mentioning the fact that they've made the exact same album five times. (As Daisy says, "I mean, I like that album, but it's not like the quality can go down when it's the same thing every time.") Matt Nathanson makes the same album over and over, and I'm pretty sure that the last Dave Matthews Band studio album sounds just like their studio albums from the late 90s.

I just finished reading (for the second time) the book Girls Like Us, which chronicles the lives and careers of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon (it's fascinating and I highly recommend it). Even Carole King, who had a much more brilliant songwriting career than most of us realize, has spent the forty years following the release of Tapestry dealing with the fact that she's apparently supposed make...another one. Isn't that boring? Wouldn't we be BORED by another Tapestry? I'll take the Really Rosie soundtrack over a warmed-over Tapestry attempt any day, and stick with the original Tapestry, thank you very much.

(And yes, I realize that I'm leaving out the most obvious example of them all - Her Madgesty, Madonna. But there is so much to be said about her, and so many ways her career can be analyzed, that that's a post all by itself.)

So the next time you decide to throw a fit when a musician that you like makes a new album that sounds different than her last one? Just stop, think about how even-more-awesome Ani DiFranco got when she started writing about falling in love...with a dude (Dilate, anyone?), and don't forget to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't Question my Patriotism: USA USA USA

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I really really really hate getting up in the morning, as anyone who has ever known me or been my roommate will be able to tell you. I live on the West Coast, where World Cup games start at 4:30 am. The USA game going on right now started at 7, which is 30 minutes before my alarm goes off, and 45 minutes before I actually ever get out of bed. Also, it will end at approximately the time I should be arriving at work, which is about 35 minutes away. And yet, I pulled myself out of bed when my alarm went off today at 6:55, and am now sitting anxious on the couch yelling at the ref for that BULLSHIT call just now. And I will likely be late to work, because this damn game is stressful. But that is because I love America, so suck it, Sarah Palin, those of us on the coasts are patriots too.

And I can tell that my neighbors are all watching too, since the buzz of the vuvuzela is coming from the house next door.

45 more minutes. USA USA USA!

ETA: Now with updated picture of the GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Quickies: Our Favorite Things Edition


We wanted to do something special for our 100th post, so we decided to emulate the Queen of All Media, Oprah, and give you some of our favorite things, where "our favorite things" equal "stuff on the internet that makes us happy," because happiness is free and easy to share.

Which is good, because we're broke and (sadly) not queens of anything. But believe us, if this whole blog thing takes off? It's cars and cashmere track suits for all of you.

Staff favorites:

Twitter, for all its capacity and Beiber issues, is home to some brilliantly entertaining people. We love Busy Phillipps, Mindy Kaling, Chad OchoCinco, Roger Ebert (who is, like, King of Twitter at this point), Neil Patrick Harris, Nicole Richie, and noted astrophysicist (and Daisy's Science Boyfriend) Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Oh No They Didn't Yes, yes: it's a wretched hive of scum and villainy. But it also makes us laugh until we choke and brings us the best GIFs and marcos (see above) in addition to all the celeb gossip.

Our snark role models: Go Fug Yourself and Tom & Lorenzo

Daisy's favorites:

Silk Road to Nowhere. Louisa's travels in Central Asia, including Iran, Georgia, India, and many countries whose names end in -stan. Her writing and photography are amazing and evocative. It's the next best thing to visiting this gorgeous and often misunderstood part of the world.

Etsy. Nothing cheers me up on a gray day more than searching something like "Grace Kelly" and finding a handmade replica of her wedding dress. Oh sure, it's great for finding gifts and unique clothes and housewares, but it's also great fun just to browse the amazing things people make.

Elon James White, who makes race and politics funny, thank god, because I usually just find them depressing. Go watch his This Week in Blackness videos. I'll wait.

LegAndDairy I don't really know how to describe this one, partly because I am an old lady and don't actually understand how Tumblr works. It's the blog of Gingerslam2, who makes my favorite ONTD posts, and it's like she's posting directly from my Id. I guess if I had to sum it up, I'd say "Hot boys and caps lock."

Brownie's favorites:

Think Geek, for their brilliant April Fool's products and for publishing the best cease & desist letter ever.

Meg Cabot's blog is a total delight.

538.com for political pollish stuff and somehow making statistics entertaining. Right now he's doing World Cup odds, which is awesome.

David Lebovitz. I went to a fantastic chocolate store in Paris thanks to one of his posts and have made lots of his recipes. And his recipe for a tart shell where you melt the butter first is a revelation and works perfectly (and is so impressive).

I love Chowhound, where I get many restaurant and cooking tips.

Roxy's favorites:

THE VUVUZELA HORN Because that shit is amazing and makes me giggle every time.

Kate_Elizabeth's Flickr is fantastic. She's a gorgeous photographer, using lots of different types of film, and her descriptions are almost blog-like. (For example)

The Kim Hutt double feature of What Claudia Wore and What Chuck Wore makes me laugh all the time, although she hasn't updated Chuck in almost a year, WOE.

And speaking of things that make me laugh - Texts From Last Night, though it's not deep or meaningful, is always a riot.

I've been known to waste hours playing Penguin Baseball. And I just discovered that there's also Bloody Penguin Baseball, which I thought I was going to hate, but which is actually kind of awesome.

Thank you all so much for reading. We're excited to bring you 100 more rants on pop culture, parenthood, sports, food, fashion, and all sorts of other things you shouldn't do.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Don't Wear This!


So I've actually had a link to the above abomination for a while now. I was going to put it in the Quickies but figured there was no hurry, because honestly, it was so ridiculous that any horror over it would be purely academic. No one was actually going to wear something called half-pants, right?

Right?

Well, apparently I need to stop underestimating the bad taste of the masses, because I saw a woman wearing those suckers last week. Unfortunately, I was on the bus and didn't get a picture, so you'll just have to take my word for it. They had the miniscule improvement of being all black instead of multi-patterned, but were otherwise very clearly a terrifying shorts-pants hybrid.

I immediately emailed Brownie and Roxie with the question, "This is a sign of the apocalypse, right?"

Roxie responded, "At what point do 'Signs of the Apocalypse' just become THE APOCALYPSE? Because I think we're there."

That's right: forget the earthquakes, tornados and that pesky catastrophic oil spill. This unholy alliance of two forms of legwear is the true beginning of the end times.

(Brownie's response was succinct: "OH MY GOD. DON'T DO THAT DON'T DO THAT DON'T DO THAT.")

Look, I know none of our confident and stylish regular readers are going to make this grave sartorial mistake, but people sometimes find us through keyword searches, so for those of you surfing in: Do. Not. Wear. Half. Pants. Think of the tan lines! The potential for chafing! Strangers asking if you couldn't afford the whole pair of pants! The hideous wrongness of having one leg hanging out and the other covered! Just pick shorts or pants. It's not that difficult.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Don't Miss Game Seven


By the time you read this, the NBA Champion will have been crowned. Maybe it was the team you were rooting for and maybe it wasn’t (but you were rooting for the team without the rapist, right? RIGHT?), but one thing is for sure - Game Sevens are a treat, no matter what the outcome.

I could not possibly care less about basketball. I have no use for it during the regular season, I barely pay attention to it through the playoffs, and March Madness mostly just annoys me because it gets in the way of the college playoffs that actually matter (hockey, for those of you who are new).

But all bets are off during Game Seven - I’ve been watching this game all night, banishing my husband to the basement, and the first elimination episode of So You Think You Can Dance (one of the highlights of my summer) to the Tivo. Has this game been a highlight of offensive power? No. (I maybe only know that because the commentators have told me so.) Is it SO TENSE and EXCITING here at the end? You bet.

So no matter what the sport, even if its something that you don’t give even a tiny rat’s ass about, if you’re a sports fan? Don’t miss Game 7.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't be afraid to make a pie

Don't be afraid to make a pie

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I love pie. Just the word PIE sounds like it is full of cozy and satisfying promise. And do you know what is even better than regular pie? A pie that you made with your very own hands. So many people are afraid of making pie, but I promise you, if you keep a few techniques and tips in mind, it is not hard! And since it is now summer, the perfect time to make a fantastic fruit pie, I am here to tell you don't be afraid to make a pie! You can make something totally delicious and impressive, and everyone will be amazed that you made it all yourself, crust and all.

First, let's talk about the crust. Before talking about specific recipes, here are a few notes and techniques that you need to keep in mind before making any pie dough.

1. Give yourself enough time: making a pie crust isn't the kind of thing that you want to rush through. Actually putting together the dough takes only a little while, and just a few minutes if you have a food processor, but it is essential to give the dough time to rest and chill in the fridge after you put it together and before you try to do anything with it. If you want to test this out, try taking a little piece of your dough and try rolling it out immediately after it all comes together, and then try doing it after it has an hour in the fridge: you'll see a big difference.

2. Keep everything as cold as possible!: Start with cold (ideally frozen) butter and whatever other fat you're using, use ice water, and if you can, pop your flour in the freezer for a little while before putting everything together. You want the fat to melt in the oven (that's what makes everything nice and flaky), not before.

3. Parchment paper is your friend: If you lay down a sheet of parchment paper on top of whatever surface you're rolling on, you don't have to worry as much about the dough sticking, and you have to use less flour (though you should still use a little).

Second, let's talking about the filling. Peach pie is awesome, as is apple, but the easiest thing to start off with, especially at this time of year, is a berry pie. You can go with all of one berry (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, olallieberry, etc.) or you could do a mixed berry pie. The general recipe for any good berry pie is about 6 cups of berries to 1/2 cup of sugar (give or take a little sugar depending on the sweetness of the berries), the juice of half a lemon, and three tablespoons of cornstarch. Combine the berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl, toss gently and let it all sit for about ten minutes. Then add in the cornstarch, toss again, and add to the pie pan. Dot the berries with butter (about 2 tablespoons, cut into little pieces) Cover up the pie and bake! For specific baking instructions (or if you're using a purchased pie dough), jump to instruction 4. below.

Now for pie dough recipes!

A traditional all butter pie crust is usually the most recommended (and here's a standard recipe for one). But honestly, I find all butter crusts to be a pain in the ass to work with; they stick to everything, they're really hard to roll out, and they just end up getting me frustrated. Don't get me wrong, I love the taste of butter (oh, I really do), but for pie crusts, the all butter dough is enough to turn a virgin pie baker away from ever making a pie again.

But I do have a perfect pie dough recipe: it comes together in a few minutes, it's easy for even a brand new baker, it rolls out like you're demonstrating on the Martha Stewart show, and it tastes great and goes with just about every kind of fruit pie you can think of. It uses a combination of butter and cream cheese, and it's fantastic. You can also use more or less this same recipe but substitute lard for the cream cheese, but that depends how into lard you are. Thanks go to Rose Levy Beranbaum for this, and an adapted version of her recipe is below (from the Pie and Pastry Bible). However, mostly now when I make it, I use her same method, but the general measurements from Michael Ruhlman's Ratio, with about two thirds butter and one third cream cheese. Ratio was a book all about measuring by weight and the right ratios of cooking: he says that a pie dough is a 3/2/1 ratio, so three parts flour, two parts fat, and one part water (use your kitchen scale for this if you have one); you generally need a little less water than that, though, so for a 1 crust 9 inch pie it's about 210 grams flour, 140 grams fat (90 butter, 50 cream cheese), and 60 grams water. Double that for a double crust pie; it usually gives me a little dough leftover, but dough leftover is better than not enough!

Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust

For a 9 inch crust double crust pie
12 tablespoons or 6 ounces butter
2 cups or 10 oz flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
4.5 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoons cider vinegar

1. Cut the butter into small cubes, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it until frozen solid, at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a recloseable gallon size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour mixture in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Set the bag aside. If you don't have a food processor, shake the closed bag with the flour mixture in it, or you can pour it into a bowl and toss with your fingers.

2. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and add it to the flour. In the food processor, process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the butter is larger than the size of a pea. Remove the cover and add the water and vinegar. Pulse until most of the butter the size of small peas. At this point you can either process it for a few more seconds until it all holds together, or put about half of it into a bowl, knead with your hands until it forms a ball, put that ball to the side and do the rest with the rest of the dough. Then wrap each ball with plastic wrap, flatten into two discs and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

3. If you don't have a food processor, whisk the dry ingredients to combine, then add the cream cheese and rub between your fingers to blend into the flour. Then spoon it with the cold butter into the freezer bag, and close it, expelling any air. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into thin flakes. Then put it back into a bowl and sprinkle with the water and vinegar, and toss lightly with a rubber spatula, and do the kneading from above. This dough also freezes really well, so at this point you can wrap it well, and put it in the freezer, and just pull it out and defrost in the fridge whenever you want to make pie.

4. After the dough has rested, preheat your oven to 400, roll out each half to about a 12 inch circle (you want plenty of room around the edges). To transfer the circle into your pie pan, fold it gently into fourths, then put the point of the fold in the middle of the pan, and gently unfold and press it down. At this point, cover the pan and put it back in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Then add your filling, cover up the pie with the rolled out dough of your other disc of dough, press the edges of the pie together with your fingers, cut a few slashes in the top crust to let the hot air come out, and refrigerate again for about 30 minutes. You can also do pretty things with lattice crusts at this point, which I love.

5. Then put it in your hot oven (with aluminum foil underneath to catch any drips) and bake for 25 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350 F and bake for another 40 minutes. If your crust starts getting too brown on the edges, put aluminum foil around the top to keep it from browning more. Then let it cool, and you have a beautiful pie!

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You should also follow along on the Good Food blog this summer, as Evan Kleiman does the Pie A Day project again. I got a ton of ideas from all of the pies that she made last summer.

The pictures are from a rhubarb pie that I made last summer. Yay for pie!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Quickies: Just Plain Cool Edition

Good morning! Hey, you know how baby sign language is supposed to help you communicate with your baby before she can speak? Do any of you know the sign for "Please stop waking up every two hours; Mommy's caffeine intake is reaching toxic levels?" No? Bummer.

Anyway. Enjoy some links that defy categorization.

Don't look at this if cemeteries and/or caterpillar invasions creep you out:
Not just creepy...The cemetery that has gone all crawly too (Daily Mail)

Don't worry; you're not the only one who's sad that this festival lineup will never happen:
Wyckyd Sceptre Rocks Again! (Not A Real Thing)

Don't eat the throw pillows:
Hamburger Scatter Cushions (YumSugar)

Don't deny the Beckham Face:
David Beckham's Matchface: A Gallery (Yahoo Sports)

Don't read these before your shower. You will want to scrub for days:
The Dirty Secrets of Bathtime and The Dirty Half-Dozen: Six Filthy Aristocrats (Times Online)

Don't drink any of these things:
Harmful Drinks in America (World of Mysteries)

Don't mess with Gaga. Her underwear will electrocute you:
How often do you see this backstage at a popshow? (Lady Gaga's Twitter)

Don't buy all of these awesome movie posters. Save a few for me:
Nate Black's Shop (Etsy)

Don't put off that trip to the dentist:
Why it's so hard to tell which tooth has the ache (Wired)

Don't think Betty White is the first badass grandma:
7 Most Mind-Blowing She-Daredevils in History (Environmental Graffiti)

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Don't Care That It's Photoshopped...

This is the awesomest picture I've seen this year:



(It didn't even occur to me that this was 'shopped, by the way. Even though I was sitting there going, "Why were they watching soccer around a conference table? On a Saturday afternoon? In suits?" I finally decided maybe they were in the middle of a meeting about whether or not we're allowed to nuke BP headquarters and the Beckham!face was part of the Powerpoint presentation.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yes, Do that! Wedding Couple edition

Photobucket

And to close out Wedding Week, here are some things that the Wedding Couple should do! We're not going to get into the "Write thank you notes!" "Tip your caterers!" "Bustle your dress!" things, because everyone tells you that. These are the things that wedding couples have done that have made the weddings that we have attended and been a part of the most enjoyable and memorable (in the best ways).

Please, whatever you do, Do feed your guests. Not, you know, during the ceremony, but there is often a lot of standing and waiting around between the ceremony and when the wedding couple makes their grand entrance, and the best weddings that I've been to always make sure that there are some things to nosh on for guests then. It doesn't matter if you're having a super formal church wedding, or a relaxed backyard barbeque wedding -- people can get grumpy and impatient when they're waiting, but no one cares if someone is wandering around with a plate of bruschetta, or if there's a big pitcher of sangria and some delicious cheese, or a pile of samosas in the lobby (Indian weddings are the best). It may sound silly that you have to make sure that people have snacks at all times, but it's just practical: everyone is in a better mood when they're eating good food. Plus, it gives your guests something to do instead of just waiting for you to arrive, which means that you can relax, have that snack that we talked about for yourself, and take your pictures, and not stress about getting back to the reception asap. Especially if you have any elderly people or children around, they are much less likely to get tired and uncomfortable and therefore irritable if they can relax with a treat (and a cocktail at this point would be lovely too, because nothing is more fun than Grandma with a cocktail when she's already in a good mood). (The cocktail is obviously not for the kids).

And speaking of kids: while we told the wedding guests on Monday not to bring their kids if they aren't invited, one thing that the wedding couple should do is make it clear whether kids are invited or not. If you're not inviting kids, how do you do that in a nice way, you ask? Well, the standard is that whoever is on the invitation is invited, so if it's invited to Mr. and Mrs. Manners, then only those two are invited, but if it's invited to Mr. and Mrs. Manners and family, then the whole family is invited. But some people don't get that, so that's what the wedding website is good for; you can put a note saying that while you love children, it's an adults only event, and give names of babysitters that you know of for out of town guests who are visiting. And if you do invite kids, having a kid zone with some bubbles or not too noisy toys at the wedding is always a big hit.

One of the most important things for the wedding couple to do is Do remember the point of the day. People will try to make the wedding about your shoes, or if your hair should be up or down, or where you're registered, or who bought you the biggest present, or whether you should serve beef or salmon, etc. etc. Sure, it's a party, and you're wearing a great dress, or a fabulous new tux, and you're thinking about the food and the tablecloths and all of that, but the real point of your wedding is that you're in front of everyone you love, and you're pledging to marry your best friend. That is a wonderful and happy and joyful thing, and everyone who is there is there because they are thrilled for you and your new spouse.

And finally, Do have fun! The best weddings that I've been to are the ones where the wedding couple partied with us all night long, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Don't spend all of your time taking pictures -- how fun is it to look back at the pictures and say "Oh, that's when we stood there in the church...oh yeah, and that's when we stood there by the water...OH, that's where we stood by the FLOWERS!"? No, it's the most fun to look back at the time that you danced like a fool in your fabulous dress with your Uncle Leo, or saw the two flower girls spinning around in their dresses, or laughed when all of your friends from college made you sing that song that you always sang at 3 am in the dorms. Your goal should be to have an awesome time at your wedding, because if you do, we all will. Happy June, everyone!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don'ts for the Wedding Party


Wedding Week continues! Today, some Don'ts for the bridal party.

Being part of a bridal party can be stressful, especially on your wallet. You're dropping money on a dress that you might hate, shoes that kill your feet, plus travel and hotel costs, not to mention helping to throw a shower and/or a bachelor(ette) party (but not necessarily a gift). But at the end of it, you're standing next to someone you love while they get married, right? So.

Don't tell the bride her dress is ugly.
It's one thing if you're part of her entourage when she's dress shopping, and she puts on some insanely poofy montsrosity that is so not her. At that point, give her the thumbs down and help her get out of it as fast as possible. But if she's gone through the whole Say Yes To The Dress rigamarole, paid out the nose (or not), gotten it fitted - or had it handmade by a family member, ESPECIALLY if she's had it handmade by a family member - and you still don't like it? Don't say anything! She's made her choice, she loves the dress, and hearing from you that you think it's ugly or not flattering or too sparkly or not sparkly enough or totally tacky is just going to hurt her feelings and put a big giant damper on what is supposed to be one of the best days of her life. And maybe your friendship, too. Do you really want to risk that?

Don't make it all about you.
I know, I know. Yesterday we told the bride not to go running around, hollering about how TODAY IS HER DAY! But guess what? It kind of is. What it definitely is not is your day. So don't make it all about how you look in your dress, or how badly the makeup person screwed up your eyeliner, or your own personal drama with the bride or the groom or the maid of honor or the DJ. This isn't just true on the day of the wedding, by the way. I went to a shower once where we were all asked to give the bride a piece of advice, and one of the attendees wrote basically a paragraph about how she had no advice because she wasn't married and would never get married and was going to die an old spinster. NO. THAT IS NOT OKAY.

Don't be inappropriate in your toast.
There's an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Ted is working on his Best Man toast for Marshall and Lily's wedding. His first draft involves, among other things, drinking all night and Marshall and Lily having sex in a bathroom. When Marshall protests, Ted sarcastically writes another toast, wherein everyone takes shots of chocolate milk and Marshall and Lily...hold hands in a bathroom. Ted thinks his point is made - that it's impossible to write a good toast when someone "censoring [you]!" What Ted eventually figures out is that it's not about censorship, it's about being able to read a room and understand the occasion. You're speaking at an event that involves college drinking buddies, true, but also the groom's great-grandmother. And the bride's born-again uncle. And probably some kids (unless they're not invited - go read Monday's post again). So don't tell that story about the happy couple meeting while they were wasted at the bar, or about the stripper from the bachelor party, or about your own colorful sexual past with one - or both! - of the newlyweds. There are a lot of really lovely sentiments you can express without needing a Viewer Advisory Warning beforehand. Even Ted eventually figured this out. And the cliche of "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" is especially valid here - if you hate your friend's new partner, just sit there and drink your wine and keep your mouth shut. A passive-aggressive toast is fun for no one.

Also, keep it short.

And so, attempting to take my own advice (hah), that will wrap it up for today. But also, read Monday's post. Yes AGAIN. All of that goes double for you, members of the bridal party - keep a lid on your liquor consumption, don't talk shit and leave the kids at home.

Tomorrow: Crafty stuff and finally, some Dos!