Friday, January 29, 2010

Don't Tell Me I HAVE To Watch Your Favorite Show

True confession time: You know how they call television "the boob tube"? I'm the boob. Give me any list of the best shows on television, and the odds are that I don't watch any of them. Don't get me wrong; I love TV. I just don't love good TV. Is the plotting shoddy? The dialogue laughable? Is it on the CW? I'm there. Unfortunately, my poor taste in entertainment often leads to problems when I'm talking TV with friends and aquaintances. Inevitably, someone says something like, "You watch Lost, right?" And I go, "No, I watched a season and a half and it never really grabbed me."

Most of the time, the asker will pause and look at me like maybe I recently fell to Earth, then move on to another show. (We usually find common ground in reality shows, where my taste is less embarrassing.) But the other times are the topic of today's post: Don't tell me I HAVE to watch your favorite show.

"Oh it's so good! You can catch up on the DVDs." I know. No, I don't want to borrow them from you. Or Netflix them. Did you miss the part where I said I tried it and quit?

"But, listen, this is what happened..." Wow, that's amazing. A bunch of stuff I don't care about happened to a bunch of characters I didn't like. You're really winning me over.

I should point out here that it's not just Lost - that's just the current show I can't escape from. It's previously been Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, 24, Glee, and Heroes (remember how much you loved that first season?).

At least with Lost there are twenty billion other people the pimpers can talk to who actually watch the show. If it's a cult show on the verge of cancellation? Oh lord. Look, I didn't like Pushing Daisies! Stop trying to make me feel guilty that it got dropped! And Dollhouse held no interest for me and, apparently, 99.5% of the rest of the world, which is why it got cancelled - not because I can't recognize Joss Whedon's brilliance. I went to see Serenity on opening night, so step off.

Wow, I'm more annoyed by this topic than I thought. Which brings me to another point: pushing your favorite show too hard not only doesn't help your cause, it can actually hurt. So many people told me that if I didn't watch Veronica Mars I was a complete philistine that I switched over to contrary mode, embraced my, um, philistine-ism and started actively rooting for VM's cancelation.

I can see you thinking, Yeah, but I've never been annoying like that. Yes, you have. You know how I know? Because I've done it too. I harassed people about Alias like I was on Bad Robot's payroll. I made my now-husband watch it with me on our third date. And I too have known the pain of a show canceled before its time, having loved Freaks & Geeks beyond all rationality and reason. But here's the thing: no one has your exact same taste in television. Friends who watch all the same shows as me told me I would love Glee. I watched two episodes and wondered if they were playing an elaborate practical joke on me.

When my husband discovered Firefly (on his own; I lost all pimping credibility when Alias went to shit), I got all excited that we could now watch Buffy: The Vampire Slayer together. He said, "Yeah, I don't really like vampires." And while I could have given him the ten minute lecture about how Buffy isn't really about vampires, I realized that, actually, not liking vampires was a perfectly reasonable excuse. Especially when I considered that my reason for not watching Mad Men is, "I find my mother's stories about the 60's more entertaining."

So the next time you're about to launch into a ten minute treatise on Lost's brilliance to an unbeliever, please stop, think about that other show that everyone loves that you just don't get, and see if they share your love of Antiques Roadshow instead.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Don't tinker with the ingredients and then blame the recipe

Hello, domestic gods and goddesses of the world! The internet has been a boon to those of us who love to cook, what with all of the fabulous recipe sites, great food blogs, fantastic personal sites of chefs and cookbook authors, and other great ways to talk about food and cooking together online. The internet has also been a great thing for people just learning to cook; we have sites with lots of pictures that take you step by step through a recipe, great instructional videos, and encyclopedic information about how, when, and what you can use as a substitute. It's fantastic to share cooking ideas, triumphs, and sometimes, failures, with other food lovers, and I've gotten to the point where I look for the comments to see how other people liked it with every recipe, and get disappointed if there are none (sometimes I involuntarily do this even when looking through cookbooks). As great as all of those things are, it is about those comments that we need to have a little chat about today. The comments can be a source of great and useful advice, but unfortunately, they can also be both useless and ridiculous. In short, don't tinker with the ingredients and then blame your failure on the recipe.

Look, I understand -- sometimes you really want to make that quiche, but you have only onions, and not shallots. Or sometimes that scone recipe is calling to you, but you just have regular lemons, not Meyer lemons. Maybe you see a great looking recipe for pancakes, and you're all ready to make it on Sunday morning, and you realize that you don't have any eggs (use mayonnaise instead -- no really, I swear). Or there's that time you realize that your dinner guest is vegan, not just vegetarian, so you want to know if you can make that vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe work. I am absolutely not trying to tell you not to experiment, because playing with your food is the soul of cooking, and sometimes you discover something great! (Earth Balance for butter and Tofutti cream cheese for the cream in that shepherd's pie recipe, fyi, even the meat eaters loved it). A great way to learn about cooking is to make a recipe strictly as its written the first time, and then swap in and sub out different ingredients the next few times, it helps you to learn what does and doesn't work, and what you like the best.

However, sometimes you experiment, and it's a miserable failure. That's okay, it happens to all of us, and that's what your family pet is for (and hey, most failed desserts are fine piled in a bowl and topped with whipped cream or ice cream). If you used nonfat milk instead of cream to make caramels, and you had a sticky, sweet mess, chalk that one up to experience. If you used sushi rice instead of arborio to make risotto, make a note to yourself that that won't work so well, so you won't be tempted to do it again in the future. If you were trying to be a little healthy and used all whole wheat flour in that chocolate cake and it's dense and leaden, well, now you know. And in these instances, it can be helpful to share your experiments in the comments section for the next person who is in your situation, so that other people don't make the same mistake that you did.

But when this happens, please, don't rant and rave about the recipe online and then hit "post comment". It's not the recipe's fault that you used chicken thighs instead of pork (not to mention the "dusty" chiles). The recipe didn't tell you that you could use honey instead of corn syrup in that pecan pie, or replace the wine in your beef bourguignon with Welch's grape juice, or use margarine instead of butter in those chocolate croissants, or completely mess up that boiling water. There are two reasons why: it is completely unhelpful for anyone else looking to the recipe comments for help; and it makes you look like an idiot. If you didn't have the common sense to know that using American cheese instead of Gruyère in those cheese puffs was not going to work, you really should not let the rest of the world know about that. If you couldn't find a can of chipotle chiles to use in that enchilada sauce and instead used ketchup because you figured that the they were the same color, I want you to start following Rick Bayless on Twitter and do not tell anyone that you were using his recipe. There's nothing wrong with getting something wrong, but at least have the humility to recognize that you were the one who was wrong.

So, for all of our sakes, next time you use peanut butter instead of peanut oil to make those fish and chips, or ginger ale instead of grated ginger to make that stir fry, and your dish is a failure, do me a favor. Before angrily rating that recipe with one star and telling the world that you just made little change, and you don't know why your fish and chips were so sticky, just stop, think about how the fault lies with you and not the recipe, and don't do it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Don't Buy Shoes From Anthropologie

(Image via

So, if you have any kind of retail therapy issues - as we do - a store called Anthropologie is likely on your radar. While you may have issues with their politics, you must admit that they have pretty floaty blouses, sassy dresses, and fab accessories. None of it is cheap (though hint: their sales are amazing) and in store? Anthro can definitely come off as pretentious. (At least, according to my mother, who had to make a trip at Christmas.) But it's still a fun place to shop, and I'd still spend a lot more money there than I do if I, you know, had money.

Alas, they also sell shoes. It's easy to get sucked into the mindset that ANTHRO = PRETTY ALWAYS, but that? That is wrong.

It starts out kind of okay. Weird cutout oxfords are not totally off-trend, right? And it sometimes is fun to pretend you're Michael Jackson, even though you are most certainly...not.

But then things get confusing. I mean again with the oxfords. Not my fave, but sure, go for it. However, crazy brown woven oxfords? Those look like something John Locke would have whipped up, right after he finished the crib for Claire. And what about these very bizarre lace oxfords that look unnervingly like tap shoes but really really aren't? Let's not, shall we?

And then there are the hooves, a category that includes these. Laura Ashley wasn't cute when the girls from Stonybrook wore it, and is even less cute when it's on a pair of wackadoodle hooves.

If it were 1778 and you needed shoes that were appropriate for sidling up next to various founding fathers while working the annual Christmas party at a Williamsburg brothel, these would fit the bill nicely. Do you need some boots that are the equivalent of a handpainted acid trip? (Now at an excellent price!) Or what about the shoe version of elastic-waist pants? Hint: No. No you do NOT need them. No one does.

Nor do you need these boots. Not only do you not need them, but as of this writing, no one WANTS them - even for 99 cents.

Of course, there are the genuine classics, like the shoes that come with their own (very very ugly) socks and would be at home with the Wilder family on the prairie. And, finally, the thigh-high boots that include knee pads, laces, and a whoooole lotta ugly.

While there are always exceptions that prove the rule (I'm sorry, are you Peter Pan in the midst of a dramatic image shift?), don't be blinded by the excitement of your holiday bonus or the shopping goggles of a bad breakup. Just stop, think about the hundreds of dollars you're about to spend on something you'll wear once, shove to the back of your closet and never wear again, and - for all our sakes - don't buy ugly shoes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Don't Decorate Your Private Property

Oh, how I wish this post was about how you shouldn't put Christmas lights around your No Trespassing signs. Sadly, "private property" is a euphemism. For genitalia, in case you hadn't already figured that out. Not that I think you're too stupid to get it; you just might not have had your coffee yet.

Man, two sentences in and I'm already so embarrassed that I'm avoiding the topic. Okay, here we go. There's a new product available called (oh god) My New Pink Button which supposedly "restores the 'pink' back to a woman's genitals." I can't believe I just typed that sentence. I can't believe I'm writing this post. There is so much wrong with this whole situation, I don't even know where to start. So let's go with punctuation. Why is "pink" in quotation marks? When you have to qualify the entire purpose of the product with quotes, it does not inspire confidence in the consumer. Especially when it's something that's meant to be applied to an extremely sensitive area.

Wait, what am I talking about? Like someone who thinks dyeing her labia is a perfectly sensible idea is going to be worried about stray quotation marks. Look, my gut tells me that this is an entirely made up problem; that there aren't actually women out there who expend time and energy worrying about the color of their lady parts. But there are a lot of cosmetic procedures that women pay money for that I originally thought were practical jokes, including toe shortening, calf implants, and injecting the deadliest toxin known to man into their faces. So I'm going to treat this as an actual possibility and say: Don't do it.

To be serious for a moment, if you're embarrassed by the color of your genitalia? I suggest taking the $30 you might be thinking about spending on this product and put it towards a therapist who'll help you feel pretty on the inside.

Okay, I'm done, right? I don't have to write anymore about hoo-hoos? Oh, for goodness' sake. So Jennifer Love Hewitt for some reason decided to tell the world that her brilliant idea for getting over a breakup was to have a friend stick Swarovski crystals around her vagina. Except she didn't say vagina. She said "precious lady," which made me think of a Virgin Mary statue for some reason, which made it even more disturbing when I realized what she was actually talking about. Anyway. Sparkly bits on your girly bits: Don't do that.

There are so many reasons that "vagazzaling," as J. Love calls it, is a terrible idea. What if one gets loose? Think about how annoying it is when you have a pebble in your shoe. And I don't know about you, but at some point I'd get up in the middle of the night to pee, forget I've bedazzled myself, and end up accidentally blinded by the glow coming from my crotch. Then there's the big one: What if you get laid? Do you explain your nether region arts & crafts project or just get naked and risk having your hook up think you have the world's shiniest STD?

I know it's difficult to feel desirable when you've just gone through a break-up, or when advertising says you aren't. But if you start to feel down, just stop those negative thoughts, think about how wonderful you really are, and don't do anything wacky to your vagina.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Don't Settle for a Bad Doctor

So I switched jobs recently, and with that, I had to switch health insurance, and therefore had to get a new doctor (we'll address the nightmarish thing that is United States health care and insurance systems in a separate post, entitled "Don't You See how INSANE This Is?"). Now, I picked two doctors at the same time (my primary care doctor and my OB-GYN) a little randomly, as you do in situations like this -- they were both women of color who were currently taking new patients, so I signed up, since that has been a formula that has worked for me in the past. It worked out great with the OB-GYN: we exchanged friendly emails before I met her, I went in for my appointment and she was nice, asked all the right questions, answered all of mine, and I went home happy.

My primary care doctor was another story. When I first met her, she seemed kind of cold to me, but I thought that maybe I was just grumpy. The second time I met her, she gave me a blank, skeptical look when I described my symptoms, didn't ask me many questions, then turned to her computer and said "You can go" when she was done with me, which made me feel snubbed and uncomfortable. But worse, it made me hesitant to go to the doctor the next time, because I thought she would roll her eyes and scoff at me. Turned out that I had the swine flu. I recovered, thanks for asking after two weeks of feeling horrible, a week of feeling slightly less horrible, and two more weeks of a cough. That taught me a lesson: Don't settle for a bad doctor.

Now, this is not to malign the medical profession. There are lots of fantastic doctors out there, who will listen to you, diagnose you well, and genuinely care about how you're feeling, both physically and mentally. But if you have had the bad luck to get one of the bad ones, or one who isn't bad, but just bad for you, you can and should make a change, and it will make such a difference when you do.

I understand all of the excuses for sticking with a doctor that you don't like, because I used many of them. It's complicated to change, it's a family friend, you already know the way to the office and don't want to switch, you don't want to deal with that conversation about your medical history all over again. But the worst excuse was "Maybe it's all in my head." Don't let that be the excuse to keep you stuck with a doctor that you don't like and feel uncomfortable with, because even if it IS all in your head, that doesn't matter. What matters is that the doctor makes you uncomfortable, and therefore you're not going to be as honest with her, or you're going to avoid making an appointment with him when you need a new prescription, or you're in pain, or get dizzy for no reason, or you feel that lump. No one needs a doctor that makes her feel anxious, ashamed, or violated, and forcing yourself to deal with that is bad for both your physical and mental health.

Finding a new doctor really isn't as scary as it seems, but first, you need to know what you do and don't like in a doctor. I like doctors that are warm, friendly, and ask lots of questions, some people may like doctors who are businesslike and direct; know what you like, and then you can ask around for the doctor that will be the best for you. Also, many doctors say that they're not taking new patients, but they often will if you're a friend or family member of a current patient. Appeal to all of your friends and co-workers for doctors that they have and like, find out if their doctor seems like he's your kind of doctor, and then contact the doctor that sounds the best directly to say that your friend loves him, and can you please switch to his practice.

It is definitely more complicated in some situations -- you live in a small town and there are few doctors, or you don't have health insurance and so go to a clinic, or this is the only doctor in your area that treats your special condition. Even then, though, do what you can: go to one of the few other doctors when your doctor is on vacation to test them out and see if you can switch, take down the names of the doctors that you do and don't like at the clinic, and find out when the doctors work so that you can try to only go on the good doctor days and times, ask for second opinions. Not everyone is going to get a doctor that delights you, or makes you want to dance around in your underwear, but it is very possible to find a doctor that treats you well, and isn't that the goal?

My story ends happily: after going to my bad doctor at the beginning of the swine flu (where she tested me for strep, sent me away, and then sent me a snippy email telling me that I didn't have strep but nothing else), I ended up at urgent care later on that week, and saw a doctor that I immediately liked a million times better than mine. She asked questions, seemed concerned, gave me prescriptions and advice, and you know what? I completely listened to her advice, because I liked and respected her, and did just what she told me. I called the next week to see if I could switch to her as my primary care doctor, and it was as easy as that (even though her website said that she wasn't accepting new patients). This week I went in to see her, and she was asking me lots of those first visit questions, and then said "I'm sorry, I'm asking so many questions!" I said, with a big smile "That's okay, I like a doctor who asks a lot of questions."

So next time you think to yourself that you can settle for a bad doctor, and you should just get over it that your doctor didn't call you back when you called in a panic post surgery (this happened to me), or blamed you for your late term miscarriage (this happened to a friend of mine), or just makes you feel rushed and anxious, just stop, think about how your doctor should help to heal you, not damage you more, and don't settle.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't Wear Makeup To The Gym

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You guys, it's January! And with January comes the promise of a whole new year - mountains to climb, people to kiss, jobs and bad habits to quit, and weight to lose. Brownie's already covered our lack of interest in the boring details of your new diet, but what about your super-great new workout plan and your new membership at The Greatest Gym On Earth and your adorable new workout outfits and HOW CUTE are these new running shoes? Chances are, that will bore us too, but if you're dying to tell us, go for it. We'll tell you to shut it if it's necessary. (However, I'm the girl who's obsessed with Women's Health, so I just might actually be interested. Plus, cute anything usually gets my attention.) Because what I'm really here to discuss is very simple: Don't wear makeup to the gym.

We know. Gyms can be intimidating. There's a whole other post that could be written on just that subject. I, for one, had a gym membership for over two years before I had the nerve to actually run on the treadmill. (The fear of flying dramatically off the back of the thing was greater than the fear of not being able to wear my favorite jeans, it would seem.) And catching sight of yourself in the giant mirrors, whether it's in a class or while you're on a weight machine, can be a bit of an eye-opener. Yes, that is actually you, with the tomato-red face ("post-workout glow," my ass) and the crazy flyaways, sweating through your old drinking-related college t-shirt that, frankly, is probably fooling no one about your age. Plus, so many gyms right now are total meat markets, which can just up the intimidation factor. It's easy to talk yourself into the idea that everyone will be thinner, hotter, and more in shape than you are and that it is therefore necessary for you to compensate for what you perceive to be your flaws.

(We're all smart enough to stay away from these places, right? Just making sure.)

But. When you show up at the gym with a full face of makeup, perfect hair, and (oh my god, please don't, unless you're a Williams sister) major jewelry, it tells everyone else two things. One, you're here to be seen more than you're here to work out. And two, you're probably brand-new to the gym and the rest of us figure we won't see you post-Groundhog Day.

Now, I go the gym either at lunch or after work, and I generally put some makeup on in the morning, because it's just scary if I don't. I'm not harrassing you to scrub your face before sweating out last night's Happy Hour. But it really isn't necessary to get to the gym, change your clothes, and then stand at the mirror and apply eyeliner and lipgloss, before brushing your hair into the perkiest ponytail you can manage, thanks to tips from Glamour. (Eight ways to wear it? Really? It's a ponytail, not rocket science.) I know you want to look your best - which is why you're at the gym in the first place - and I know you want to make a good impression, but I promise. No one cares. We're all jamming out to our music that would be shameful and embarrassing in any other context, concentrating on lifting heavy things and not dropping them on our toes, and praying that this will be another successful day without falling off the treadmill. We know that it's exciting to have new goals and resolutions and we definitely know how fun it is to have new workout clothes, but we also know how silly you look when your face is rivaling that of the amazing Nina Flowers.

So rock on with the cardio, kick ass at the weight training, breathe deep and get flexible in yoga, and dance your ass off in Zumba. But do it as you. Not who you think you should be, not who you think the boys (or girls) want to see, not to compete with other people, and not to try out your new lip liner (hint: it won't be there in an hour). You're at the gym because you want to feel better and, yes, look better, but putting on powder before hitting the pool (seriously, I've seen this happen) is not going to help your case. Please, just stop at your locker, think about how silly it is to sweat through expensive makeup, and don't reapply.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Don't Fuss About The Playoffs

Hello, non-sports fans! Tomorrow begins the second weekend of the NFL playoffs, and we know you're frustrated. We know you think that it's stupid that people spend entire days sitting on their couches watching men throwing a ball, or hitting a ball, or knocking each other down in search of a ball, or kicking a ball, or hitting a frozen, flattened rubber ball with a stick. And yes, wow, those people get paid way too much money to do that, and yes, research has shown all of the dangers of playing those games, from concussions, to early arthritis, to frostbite when you're one of these crazies. We know all of this, and you can bitch about it all you want during the regular season. But, for the love of God, don't make a fuss when your significant other wants to watch the playoffs.

Football fans have four precious weekends of playoffs a year, and we look forward to them all year long. The amount of joy that I had in looking forward to this past Sunday, when I had no plans, a full fridge, and six hours of football about to come on my TV, could not be measured. Granted, three of the four actual games in the first playoff weekend were awful, but there was that fourth magical 51-45 Arizona vs Green Bay overtime game that more than made up for those. There was nowhere that I would rather have been during that game than snug in front of the TV on my couch, drink and snacks in hand, to appreciate every moment. I turned down a fun outing with some great friends just for that experience, and it was worth every moment. And my team wasn't even playing!

And those are just the football playoffs that I'm talking about -- For me, four of the greatest days in the entire calendar are the first four days of March Madness (aka "the reason at least a quarter of the office calls in sick at the end of the third week in March and everyone else frantically clicks to a fake Excel spreadsheet when anyone walks by their computer on those days"). Daisy lives for the baseball playoffs, when she's sleep deprived, frantically calculating pitching match-ups, and going through a nightly prayer ritual that could put nuns to shame. And by the end of the NCAA hockey tournament, Roxy recognizes by sight every team member, coach, and equipment manager involved. Because we love our teams and our sports with a pure, if irrational, love. It's the kind of love that leaves us in withdrawal when the season ends, so we binge on as much of the sport as we can before it leaves us for six months.

So please, don't get pissed when your boyfriend would rather watch the playoffs than go for a hike. Don't start a fight when your girlfriend would rather watch the playoffs than go out to that great new place for brunch. Don't be all huffy when your husband would rather watch the playoffs than see that hot new band. And don't get mad when your wife would rather watch the playoffs than go see that Oscar-worthy movie. Before you start complaining, stop and think about the last thing that you really looked forward to and how much joy it brought you, then don't begrudge us our small pleasures.

Written by Brownie

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't tell the world about your new diet

It's January 13th. Your new year's resolution was to eat well/exercise more/lose weight. You've been eating lots of kale and quinoa, grilling chicken breasts and having them with spinach and brown rice, and your feet hurt from breaking in those new running shoes. It's all very exciting right now, we know, but please don't tell the world about your new diet. Because you know what? The world doesn't care.

"No, no, but it is important for everyone to know!" you say to me. No. No it's not. We don't care that you're not eating carbs anymore, we don't care that you cut out gluten, we don't care that you're one of the many eating like a caveman (really, people? like a caveman???), we don't care that you're a raw foodist. We really don't care that you're doing the Master Cleanse (enjoy that cayenne pepper/lemon juice/maple syrup drink existence!), or the Cabbage Soup diet (your apartment is going to smell fantastic). We don't care that your special diet is going to clear up our skin, or get rid of our headaches, or make our hair grow.

We want you to stop talking about the obesity epidemic, or how Americans really eat too much protein, or too much salt, or too much processed food. We know that Michael Pollan has 64 rules for eating and you're following every one, you just don't need to list them all for us (we all already read The Omnivore's Dilemma, we got it). Stop telling us how many "points" you've eaten so far today, and really stop telling us many points are in this latte, or this tangerine, or this cupcake that I'm lovingly about to eat. Stop looking at my lunch hungrily, and then proceed to explain to me how horrible refined flour is for you.

Most of all, please spare us when you have the "I broke my diet!" panic because you had a few french fries from someone else's plate at lunch, or a cookie that someone brought into the office. Don't lament to us that you exercised only four times this week instead of six and your trainer is going to KILL you. We're just going to roll our eyes at you for spoiling the deliciousness that is a nice cookie with guilt, and wonder how quickly we can disengage ourselves from that conversation. Because do you know what all of that talk is? Boring, that's what it is.

Don't get me wrong, I love food, and I love talking about food. For part of your diet, did you find a great new recipe for roasted brussels sprouts? Please share, I'm all ears! (This is mine, though some bacon tossed in there is always excellent, and lemon juice makes a nice change from the vinegar). Did you discover a bakery that makes an amazing multi-grain bread? Lead me to it. Did you find the vendor at the farmer's market who has the very best grapefruits? I'd love it if you shared your secret! Did you find a fantastic new yoga class that makes you sweat and feel relaxed? Tell me all about it. Those things are all interesting! But a long discourse about your diet, and lists of things that you can't do and that you can't eat interest no one but yourself. So please, when you're opening your mouth to tell me that actually, celery has negative calories, just stop, think about how boring that is, and don't.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Don't Do That

When we were kids, we figured we heard enough "Don't!" for an entire lifetime. It came from parents, teachers, and even strangers at the pet store who weren't on board with our plan to make frogs fly. Back then, "Don't!" was about cutting off our fun at every turn. But as adults, we stopped to think about it and realized that what usually followed "Don't!" was good life advice: Don't touch the stove. Don't take rides from strangers. Don't put things up your nose.

Today, the self-help industry is devoted to telling you what you should do. We're here to tell you what you shouldn't. Don't have that sixth martini. Don't schedule your wedding on Superbowl Sunday. Don't go into debt for a pair of shoes (this one might be negotiable, but you'll need to provide us with pictures). But don't worry--we won't always steer you towards the safe, secure, and staid options. We are, in fact, happy to encourage the occasional recklessness and ridiculousness. Don't skip that party. Don't be embarrassed about not knowing the name of That Guy You Kissed. Don't worry about swearing in front of the baby. We want you to live life to the fullest. We don't want you to live with regrets.

So who are we to tell you what (not) to do? We're three women living in three different time zones with attention spans so short none of us remember how we met. Between us we have four degrees, three shopping addictions, two jobs, two husbands, one house, one baby, no money, and an infinite number of opinions. We've also done a world of stupid shit in our combined ninety-five years, and if we can keep just one person from looking back and thinking, "Why didn't anyone look at me and say, 'Don't do that!'?" then we will have accomplished our goal.

(Wondering if you shouldn't do something? Email us at