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


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


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!


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. 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?


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


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!


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


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!

Don't Deny Democracy: This week's poll

One of our favorite things about Don't Do That's reader stats is looking at the search terms that bring people here, even though many of them are about pantyhose. The best one so far has also been the most baffling:

Don't do that, then you have no pie and guilty neighbors.

That is amazing. It reads like the plot summary of a movie we would totally pay money to see.

We have no idea what it means, but that's where you come in. Vote in the poll to your right, and next Thursday we'll come up with a short story based on the winning scenario. OR if you have an idea that we didn't think of? Post it in the comments! We welcome all rational (and irrational) explanations.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Don'ts for the Wedding Couple

Don't let this be you.
Don't let this be you.

Welcome to the third day of Wedding week on Don't Do That! We started Monday with Don'ts for Wedding Guests, and I am here to give you Don'ts for the Wedding Couple. Though I am the unmarried member of the DDT team, I have been to many many weddings, and I will tell you from experience that the ones that are the most memorable in the bad way are because of something crazy that a member of the wedding couple (or bridal party) did.

The most important one is this: please, please, Don't get sloppy drunk. We all know why it happens, you're stressed all day, you're rushing around, you don't eat anything, and then people start handing you champagne. But a happy and nicely tipsy bride hugging everyone is one thing, a falling down drunk bride throwing up in the bathroom is another*. And your grandma doesn't need to see you and your bros icing each other and then stumbling around knocking down the ice sculpture by the end of the night. Do what you need to do -- assign one of your bridesmaids to be the one to make sure you eat at least one substantial meal before the wedding, get the caterer to put a bottle of Pellegrino at your table so that you can switch out toasts between that and champagne, have food in the limo in between the ceremony and the reception so that you can snack in peace with a big napkin over your dress and without Auntie Irma coming up to give you a hug, whatever. You just don't want everyone's memories of your wedding to be of how wasted you were.

Here's another one: Don't sweat the small stuff. Really. I know that you've been planning this for a while, but I promise, no one but you notices that the tablecloths are cream instead of the gold that they told you that they would be, or that the plates in the buffet are out of order, or that your bridesmaids toenail color clashes with her shoes. As long as you're not one of these couples, I think your wedding is going just fine.

And no matter how many people say it, Don't believe that it's YOUR day. I know, I know, when you're planning your wedding, people tell you over and over again "It's YOUR day! Do what you want!" And yes, you should have a wedding that you want and that reflects you, and not the one that your mother or mother in law wants for you. But when you use the MY DAY trope to have a rainbow wedding with your bridesmaids in all of the colors of the rainbow and then those colors assigned to different tables, down to telling the guests who will be sitting at those tables what color to wear to your wedding, you've gone too far. Remember, you're throwing a party here, and your main concern for the reception should be to make your guests comfortable and make sure they have a good time, like any other party. As Miss Manners (one of Don't Do That's heroes) says "[a] phrase you will be happier forgetting: 'It's your day.' The joining of two people involves two (or more) families and other relatives and friends, and you ignore their feelings and comfort at your peril."

That is a sentence that everyone should say over and over again while planning a wedding. Remember, it's not about how much everything costs (and please, don't tell us, we don't care), or what the pictures are like. It's about seeing all of your friends and family together to celebrate you and your new spouse's love for one another. And seeing Grandma get down on the dance floor with your new and very tall nephew to Lady Gaga. Happy Weddings, everyone!

So, dear readers, please tell us your biggest wedding couple don'ts, we're all ears.

*All stories in this post are from actual weddings. Seriously.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday Quickies: Weddings Edition

Google "weddings" and you get 57 million results. Here are five!

Don't read this wedding announcement unless you're prepared to go "Aww!"
Jane Lynch and Laura Embry (NY Times)

Don't go for looks over taste:
Why Fancy Cakes Can Taste So Crummy (Wall Street Journal)

I love unconventional weddings, but not this kind of unconventional. Don't do anything featured on this site:
Tacky Weddings

I don't have anything bad to say about this site. It's hilarious:

And one entertaining and useful site. Don't plan a wedding without it:
Manolo For The Brides

Monday, June 7, 2010

Don'ts for Wedding Guests

Summer is upon us, and you know what that means! Okay, it means a lot of things, but for the purposes of this blog post, it signifies wedding season. Welcome to Wedding Week at Don't Do That, because (shockingly) we have a lot of opinions to share about what you shouldn't do at a wedding. Today we'll be addressing guest behavior, with advice for the wedding couple and bridal party later in the week.

Let's start with the really obvious one: Don't Get Sloppy Drunk. Note I said not to get sloppy drunk. I'm never going to tell you not to get drunk at a wedding. I mean seriously, weddings are, like, the best places to get drunk. You don't have to, obviously, because drinking is not everyone's thing, but if you want to? Have that third glass of wine and tell everyone how much you love their hair. By all means, drink enough to wear your tie as a headband and belt out Don't Stop Believing with your great aunt.

BUT. Do not get crazy and have that fourth, or god forbid, that fifth glass of wine. Your tolerance may vary, but my point is that you should know your drink upper limit before you start drinking. (In my early 20s, mine was six drinks. Post baby, I think it's one and a half. My liver and wallet just high-fived.) Don't assume that "open bar" means "drink your weight!" That way lies many bad, bad things, including but not limited to:

  • Hitting on your second cousin

  • Setting yourself on fire via lit-candle centerpiece

  • Sleeping with Barney Stinson

  • Passing out under the buffet table

  • Puking on the cute usher's shoes

  • Soaking in the hotel hot tub in your only pair of underwear

  • Making your boyfriend call his parents and give up your ALCS tickets because you can't deal with seeing the Yankees inevitably eliminate the Red Sox. In 2004.

Not that any of those have happened to me, of course. (Call me, Barney!)

Next: Don't Upstage the Bride. I don't think any of our readers are uncouth enough to make a scene or anything soap-operatic like that (although if you know anyone who has, holy shit, you have GOT to tell us about it!), so this basically applies to clothing. Blah, blah, blah don't wear white, you're thinking. No one actually does that, Daisy. Not true! I went to a wedding where the bride's mother-in-law wore a white suit! The bride was gracious, but this was six years ago, and I know she's still a little bit pissed about it. (It was definitely not my mother-in-law, by the way. My mother-in-law would have punched out anyone who showed up to my wedding in white.)

I know we're sick of all the Bridezilla "IT'S MY DAY!" bullshit foisted upon us by the media, but look at it this way: She and her family are paying for a huge party that you're coming to voluntarily. Suck it up and defer to your hosts. This means no outfits that will have the guests talking about you instead of the wedding. No hot pink, no gold lame, no hats like this, no possible chance that your nipples will make an appearance. All that applies to the men, too. No one wants to see your nipples either, Uncle Jim.

Moving on from that disturbing mental image, we have our next rule: Don't Talk Shit (In Public). I know that we all secretly love dissecting every detail of a wedding, from the dress to the favors. But for god's sake, don't do it when you're at the wedding! You know that game Telephone? Yeah, you mention that the flowers look a little wilted, and by the time it gets back to the bride (and it WILL get back to her) you will have said her grandmother looks like a whore. So keep all shit-talk to yourself, at least until you get back to your room.

This last one is the Don't that inspired Wedding Week in the first place, so you know it's a big one. Don't Bring Your Kids Unless They're Invited. Look, I love kids. I have a pretty awesome one, in fact. But much like I wouldn't invite a random friend along to the reception, I won't bring my daughter unless she's welcome. If you're not sure? ASK.

And if you take nothing else from this post, please remember this: if the people throwing the wedding tell you they can't accommodate your children, don't bring them anyway. It's similar to wearing white to the wedding, where "white" equals "more people to seat and mouths to feed." Not to mention the potential for spectacular misbehavior, which in my opinion exempts the rest of the guests from the Don't Talk Shit rule. If the kids aren't supposed to be there, I decree that everyone is allowed to call them uncivilized little monsters.

All right, dear readers. Got any other big wedding Don'ts? Sound off in the comments!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't Take The Internet Seriously

So it seems that people have Very Strong feelings about things like wearing white tights and pantyhose with open-toed shoes. Could you have predicted that? We really could not have. True, some of those people also apparently have very strong feelings about us, but most of the terrible-legwear defenders are, as far as we can tell, just really committed to their cause.

Which is great, I suppose. I mean, everyone should have a passion. I am sorry that sometimes that passion takes the form of ugliness, but if that's what floats your boat, great. You know what floats our collective boat? Telling you that we disagree. That doesn't mean we're trying to brainwash you (if only we had such powers), or that we are the be-all, end-all of bossiness on the internet (but wouldn't it be great if we were? I wonder if it comes with a sash or three). So, you know. CHILL.

Speaking of chilling on the internet: Has your favorite pop star just come out of the closet? Chill. It really probably was not his evil twin. Do you find yourself typing a blog comment that includes the statement "This is ridiculous. Fix it." directed at the organizers of a fan convention? Chill. Do the writers of your favorite TV show craft an entire meta-filled episode around your totally crazy internet fandom? Chill! (But okay, also thank you, because that was a fantastic episode.) Every comment section on every online news article is an excellent example of this, as are the Facebook pages of a couple of Slate's podcasts.

I could go on and on here, and I'm sure you could too. (And if I've missed your favorite example of THE INTERNET IS SERIOUS, please oh please share in the comments.) But let's take a moment and remember the wonderful things that the internet has given us. Things like LOLCats. Sure, they're old news at this point, but that doesn't mean that they're any less funny. And, which always reminds me that things could be more annoying. And, as we've mentioned before, there's gingerslam2's hysterical Chris Pine/Zach Quinto posts on OhNoTheyDidnt - one of them needs to take a walk this weekend, as our lives have been tragically empty without her commentary. Not to mention every single site on our blogroll over there to the right.

So the next time you decide it's a good idea to insult the feet of a stranger on the internet, just stop. Think about the fact that the invention that gave us Lions in Kenya, Childrens' Hospital, and such Lost-related classics as this duel and Hurley's Dude montage is not a thing that people should consider to be SRS BZNS. And don't take the internet so damn seriously.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Don't Wear Pantyhose with Open Toed Shoes

Jimmy Choos

Ladies and gentlemen, it is now officially summer!* That means that in many parts of the globe, it is warm and sunny enough for us all to wear our sundresses, pink lipgloss, floppy straw sunhats, and oh yes, our fabulous summery sandals. (Sorry to our readers in the Southern Hemisphere, but you can think of this post next January when we're freezing and bitter and you're warm and tan). However, the problem with summer is that that scourge of the universe is upon us. You know it, we all know it. Pantyhose with open toed shoes, every May I have hope that we would have banished you from the universe, and every June you come flying back, stronger, reinforced, and with that seam bolder and bolder. Please let this post be one of the things that helps get rid of this nightmare forever. Don't, don't, wear pantyhose with open toed shoes.

In looking for a picture to illustrate this post, I google image searched "pantyhose with open toed shoes." The images that I saw will give me nightmares tonight, so to cleanse my spirit of those, I found that lovely picture up above. Do you see those fabulous shoes? Can't you think of the great outfit that you would wear to go with them, if your fairy godmother came and left them in your shoe size under your pillow tonight? And how you would make sure to have a perfect pedicure to go with them, to show the shoes off all the better? And can you think of what they would look like if instead, you had nylon stretching across your toes, in some weird "nude" color (or, God forbid, white). You just heard a record screech, didn't you?

I see this everywhere in the summer, though Washington D.C. was the worst town for it, even though in the summer there it is 95 degrees on a good day. (I hope that our new First Lady of Awesome will help get rid of this trend, but we all know that D.C. is very slow to change.) I have generally never understood why people feel this compulsion. For the one thing, it's just seasonally inappropriate. When it is 90 degrees outside or even hotter, why would anyone want to wear pantyhose? I sweat at the general idea. Here's a general rule: if it is hot enough for sandals, it's too hot to wear pantyhose. (A corollary to that rule: if it's cold enough for you to want to have pantyhose to keep your legs marginally warmer, it's too cold for you to wear open toed shoes.)**

And, okay, some jobs still make women wear pantyhose (still! In 2010!). If your job is so formal as to make you wear pantyhose, open toed shoes are usually forbidden. And even if they aren't, don't you want to save your pretty fun summer shoes for a time when you don't have to ruin their look with a sheer nylon horror?

Is it that your grandma told you that you have to wear hose when you dress up? Do you really want to dress like your grandma?

And I understand that sometimes we all want the control top power that a good pair of hose can provide. But you know, that's why Spanx were invented. Even men are wearing them now!

But you know, the worse thing is that people think that women must wear pantyhose, because the sight of a woman's bare leg is somehow classless and disgusting. Can someone explain this to me in a way that isn't pure misogyny and making women keep every part of their bodies covered? It's just another way of making women feel bad about themselves, and that their legs are too pale, or too scarred, or too dark, or too fat to be in the public view alone. Attention, ladies: having a sheer nylon cover over your legs does not change the way that they look.

Instead of covering yourself up, do your legs a favor. Moisturize well (I am a big fan of the Lush Buffy, myself, perfect for this time of year), shave (if you do shave, that is -- and if you do, I favor the Mach 3 Turbo blades with the Venus handle), do some self tanner if that makes you feel better, and slide into your awesome shoes with confidence.

*Yeah yeah, not officially until the end of June, but I count the beginning of June as summer.

**Not that I haven't worn open toed shoes when it's cold, I have; I just don't wear hose and don't complain about it. Also note: this is not about tights and peep toe shoes -- I have seen that done and awesomely, but it usually only works when they are very opaque tights and shoes of a different color so that they pop. It looks especially fun with brightly colored tights. But, again, this is just for peep toes, not strappy sandals.

P.S.: Right after posting this, I was in the elevator with a very smartly dressed woman...with the exception of her feet, where she was wearing open toe slingbacks with that pantyhose seam running right across her toes. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday Quickies: Apocalypse Edition

Boston is covered in a white haze and smells like charred wood thanks to wildfires 400 miles north of us, putting Don't Do That's east coast headquarters into an end-of-the-world type of mood. So we compiled some links to prove that the apocalypse is upon us. Enjoy (with the short time you have left)!

Plague of frogs? Check. Flood of frogs shuts down major Greek highway. (AOL News)

Bottomless pit? Check. Massive sinkhole in Guatemala (io9)

In other bad weather news, today is the first day of hurricane season. Watch what happened last year, in 4 minutes (NASA)

The Gulf oil spill is certainly catastrophic, but I think the participation of Kevin Costner bumps it up to apocalyptic. (The Independent)

Then there's Shirley Manson's refusal to age. I mean, I had this photo on my wall in 1996. She looks exactly the same! That's at least a sign of some sort of black magic. (ONTD)

Look, when Fleshbot says "no, we're not joking," you know the situation is dire. (Also: SIGH. I give up.) Vajazzling porn (Fleshbot, NSFW, duh)

I think anyone whose name appears on this chart would consider it apocalyptic. 6 Degrees of John Mayer's Manhood (GQ)

I have no idea what's going on here with Wil Wheaton and a flying kitten, but it's surely a sign of the end times (Whatever Scalzi)

Al and Tipper Gore split. Well jeez, how's he supposed to save the planet if he can't save his own marriage? (Politico)

Finally, while this graphic is zombie-specific, it's good to remember that in case of apocalypse, Montana is always a safe bet. (College Life)