5 things I cannot do

Before we begin, the following should explain a little more about the post below. To start, I debated using one of these four titles:

1. Some more things you’ll never need to know about me.
2. If you’re not bored yet, you will be.
3. Hey, want to know something? I’m sorry.
4. Thoughts to be recycled from your brain immediately.

I went with something simpler, so here we go.

Things I cannot do.

eggs (2)

Peel hard boiled eggs: one of life’s more challenging tasks. Though I’ve learned the perfect technique to hard boiling eggs several dozen times, I still manage to make the eggs look like craterous moons. Every.last.time.

See if you can do better: Place eggs in a pot, cover with water, bring to boil. Once boiling, cover the pot, remove from heat, and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain and place eggs in a bowl of ice water to cool them rapidly. This forces the white to pull away from the shell, making them easier to peel.


iPhoneograhy 035

Return a library book. I probably should not share this self-deficiency since it makes me a borderline bad person, what with essentially robbing the sweet, sweet innocent and good-natured public library and all. The truth is, I can’t say for certain that I’ve ever returned a library book on time or at all. I have been blacklisted at nearly every library in New England and therefore denied a library card many times. True story. And yes, I am a soon-to-be published author.

Also, oh hey karma. iPhoneograhy 041

Stick to any sort of specialty coffee budget. Ideally I’d limit myself to an iced coffee a few times a week, but that’s a fantasy I haven’t actualized in 27 years. The reality is I’m on a first name basis with every barista this side of the Mississippi. I make at least *one trip to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts per day.

*and by one I mean two


Avoid buying each and every magazine on newsstands without ever opting for subscriptions- an act which would undoubtedly save me hundreds of dollars.

Favorites in order: US Weekly, People, O Magazine, Self, Shape, Psychology Today, InStyle

mexico belize camille iphone 466

Swim. In any manner more dignified than an advanced doggy paddle.



74 thoughts on “5 things I cannot do

  1. Suzanne

    Put your hard-boiled egg in the microwave for 10 seconds. Then remove and peel. I just learned this trick and it’s worked perfectly EVERY TIME!
    Great post!

  2. sweet sloan

    I had the same problems with peeling eggs. I started doing this and I peel a perfect egg every time!! Adding a half teaspoon of salt to help both with the preventing of cracking and making the eggs easier to peel. Good Luck!

  3. LG

    Andrea! If you’re looking for some unsolicited advice…with the boiled eggs procedure, try boiling the water first, THEN dropping the eggs in carefully with a slotted spoon. Boil for 15 minutes and then do the ice water thing. I was having a horrible time with peeling eggs until I tried boiling the water first and then adding the eggs. It’s magic! Now we make them every week sans swearing.

    (If it doesn’t work for you, then it might be only me who has magic egg-boiling powers.)

    1. d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo

      I was about to say the same thing! My aunt always taught me to boil the water first and I never had any issue peeling them. My uncle then tried to tell me to put them in cold water before I boil and I almost lost my mind trying to peel them! It isn’t just you, LG – that’s the trick!!

    2. Cindy

      I do this but tap the big end so the air will come out and keep them from cracking and losing whites. I only boil for 10 minutes and then let sit with lid on for 10 more and it makes gorgeous boiled eggs that are never overcooked and peel like a dream as soon as they cool down in some cold water. My grandchildren love deviled eggs and get them often for lunch because of this tip.

  4. Susan Stocking

    About the eggs…Try adding a tablespoon of vinegar to the water when you boil eggs. It makes them easier to peel. I have no idea why this works, but it does. Now I’m off to the library to return the books that are due today. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Meghan

    I really really hate to admit that I also have a problem with coffee. It’s actually any type of liquid beverage that is not water or booze. I drink about 60oz of water a day and still I cannot help myself from getting coffee/tea/fruited drink every-single-day-that-I-breathe. I love agua frescas, bubble tea, horchata, soy lattes, americanos, Starbucks dark…. I’m pretty sure if I bought an espresso machine it would still not save me from spending upwards of $1,000 a year on coffee+

    We need to start Coffee drinkers anonymous

  6. Nellie

    I add a bit of salt and vinegar to the water when I hard boil eggs to get them to peel easier. I also cannot swim beyond a doggy paddle. Sad.

  7. Mimi

    OMG – I’ve had better success than you with peeling the eggs…but I’m equally as horrible regarding returning library books. My senior year of high school I had my library card revoked due to so many overdue books. Hey…if that’s our “only” vice…:)

  8. Emina

    1. The easiness of the peeling process is depending on the freshness of the egg. And it is chemically true that vinegar helps, and salt helps to to prevent cracking. Better to spike the egg before putting into the boiling water. Ice or cooling the egg doesn’t help, it just cutting off the after-boiling effect. And afterwards the egg isn’t as durable as it would be without cooling it.
    2. Always paying fees for giving books back too late.
    3. Coffee- and Coffeshop addicted. I just drive into town for a coffeshop break and I am the proud owner of a Nespressomachine! But I lso love to watch people while sipping coffee…
    4. I hate myself for buying so many gossip-magazines. And I usually hide them from my friends/ family. Too embarassing…

    But I can swim. :o)

  9. Tee

    I just started reading your blog last week, love it, totally inspiring :-)

    Anyway, just wanted to say I get so irritated when my hard boiled eggs don’t come out perfectly. I have developed a method that works for me, and gives me perfect easy-to-peel eggs every time.

    1. put eggs in pot with water covering them.
    2. bring to boil.
    3. let stay on boil for 9 minutes.
    4. once the 9 minutes are up, I pour out the boiling water and run the cold water tap over them for a LONG time, we’re talking like leaving them while I blow dry my hair long time (4 minutes or so?).

    if you can get over the environmental repercussions of letting the water run for that long, you will have perfect eggs.

    you may have to adjust the boiling time from 9 minutes – I have an old not-so-good stove.

    ~Tee :-)

    P.S. It took me about 10 years to finally get to the point where I have Starbucks once weekly only and rarely buy a magazine. Kills me, but I can do it now!

  10. Melissa

    I honestly googled “hard boiled eggs” less than two hours ago because mine always stick and I tried again and still can’t peel them!! Of course….that’s because I forgot the salt. :-) Cute post.

  11. Lisa Mary

    Just a tip – eggs can be very hard to peel when they are very very fresh. Older ones are easier. So, I make poached eggs with a batch I have just purchased – and I leave boiling for ones that I have had in the fridge for a week or longer.
    I’d be interested to try the vinegar and salt methods though.

    I love this post – I have very similar quirks – including the library books! Oops!

  12. Sonal

    You know when you take out a book from the library, you are entering risky business. haha! We don’t actually have Starbucks here, but you can bet when i’m in a country that does, i must have it every day! :)

  13. Tatiana Benaglia

    One thing that I learned and works for me every single time is to roll the boiled egg on a hard surface so the peel cracks all over. And it’s totally cracked, remove the peel… it comes all out at once.

  14. pat

    LOL! I swear Dunkin puts something in their iced coffee that makes you have to go back…I, too, am looking for a 12-step program for kicking the coffee habit. My reasoning – I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t gamble…this is my vice! Nice reading!!

  15. tara

    exact same with magazines and coffee (except soda, not coffee). also library books. till i learned that lots of libraries these days send overdue fines to collections now, to regain some of their lost money back, and it can really effect your credit score??? crazy! was that copy of breaking dawn really worth it? =)

  16. Elisabeth

    I PROMISE this is the best way to peel eggs.

    1. Put eggs in enough water to cover. Add about 1.5 tsp (I eyeball) of baking soda to the water. The baking soda raises the PH in the water and helps dissolve that film thats under the shell and on top of the egg itself. This is the thing that is making your eggs hard to peel.

    2. Once water has come to a boil, cover eggs… take off burner and let sit for 16 minutes.

    3. After time has passed, dump water out and shake pot to break the egg shells. Fill pot back with cold water and let the eggs cool. Doing this allows the water to get under the shells to help in peeling.

    This has NEVER failed me.

    ((In my head, I feel like this is some kind of contest to give the best egg advice. If so, I hope you pick mine and I’m the winner!)))

  17. Kathy White

    I don’t like hardboiling eggs, or frying eggs, or scrambling eggs, or making omelettes…..if somebody else does it, I’m OK. Handling eggs makes me cringe. I used to be a real wuss at Easter. And my husband has to order egg salad sandwiches at a restaurant.

  18. Halley

    I have that problem with libraries. They keep wanting their books back!

    … ridiculous!

    I am really glad to know I’m not the only one.

  19. Jen

    I had a heck of a time peeling eggs too until I started salting the water before boiling. I add about 1-2 tsp and they peel perfectly every time!

    Good luck.

  20. Kiki

    The only think your boiled egg process is missing is 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Tried it this past week – worked like magic! FINALLY.

  21. Amy B @ Second City Randomness

    I’m good at returning books late. The last one was 3 weeks late and I didn’t even enjoy it! Probably why it took me so long to read…

    I also think I have a balance on the library card from the last city I lived in. I assume there will be a Seinfeld moment 20 years from now where I owe the library like $5000 or something.

  22. Mandy

    Yessss to the magazine thing! I do this all the time. It’s just not as fun if it comes in the mail. I’d much rather buy it as a “treat” to myself…and end up spending so much more money!

  23. Andrea

    I only hard-boil eggs that are a week old. The really fresh ones are hard to peel.

    Here’s another egg tip for everyone: The night before you plan on hard-boiling your eggs turn them up side down (pointy side down) in the carton. Then when you boil them the yolks will be perfectly centered (great for deviled or sliced eggs).

  24. Sarah W

    Okay, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring for best egg peeling advice too. :) I always boil my eggs exactly like you do, and don’t add anything to the water. America’s Test Kitchen told me that if you start peeling from the large end of the egg (which seemed counter intuitive to me so I always did it the other way), your peeling would come off in a long strip and to my surprise, it worked! But then, I was watching Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, and she said to crack it all over by lightly tapping it on the counter so there are little cracks over the entire surface, then, as someone else mentioned, you roll it on the counter like you would a lemon before you juice it but obviously without as much force, and to my amazement, the peeling literally fell off the egg. It was incredible. Hope that helps!

  25. Amy

    Oh man, I have two library books burning a hole in my backseat right now. I need to return them ASAP. It’s such a problem.

  26. Sarah

    Foolproof tip for helping peel hard-boiled eggs: A splash or two of white vinegar into the water just as it starts to boil.

  27. Tarsha!

    Best method to peeling hard boiled eggs…add two cap fulls (ormore depending on how many eggs you are boiling) of vinegar to your water before boiling…peels like butta!

  28. Nancy

    Ironic that you cannot swim considering how well you are floating in your picture. I’ve been teaching for 10 years and the key to leaning is a good float and staying relaxed. Too many people tense up, so you end up sinking. You look utterly relaxed in the pic above! And tan too ;)

  29. Kaitlyn

    HAHHA this is hilarious and one of my favorite posts of yours EVER. as much as I love cooking, the tasks of hard boiling eggs completely daunts me too! anddd considering i am driving around A LOT for my job–i was starting to feel alone in my MULTIPLE, daily coffee bar trips. thank you for making me feel less absurd.
    and lastly, i had that exact same thought tonight about magazines while reading one at the gym. i incessantly buy them yet refuse to subscribe? too funny.
    also– really had a random hankering for your egg white oatmeal today and cooked some right up. mmmm. :)

  30. Trisha

    Boy do I hear you on the magazines. My husband rolls his eyes at me each time I pick up an US Weekly while in line at the store. He reminds me that I should just subscribe since I buy one nearly every week. The worst part? I hardly ever take the time to read them.

    …but I always recycle!

    1. KAthy White

      My problem with subscribing to magazines is that frequently they are on the shelves before they are in my mailbox. I live in Ontario, Canada. I used to subscribe to a magazine that I avidly looked forward to reading each month. I belonged to an e-group of fellow readers who would begin discussing the new magazine’s content at least ten days before the issue appeared on the shelves here. My issue might turn up a week to two weeks later. On a couple of occasions I went and bought the magazine on the shelf because I just couldn’t wait any longer.
      So boo sucks to subscriptions and hello Chapters (that’s the big box book store up here in the north.)!

  31. Colleen

    I’m a doggy paddler too!!!! So embarrassing. I’ve thought about taking actual swimming lessons…

  32. Susan

    I don’t put anything but water in the pot when I boil eggs. However, when I am ready to peel them I crack the large end then roll the egg with pressure to crack the shell all the way around then it all peels off at once. This works 99.9% of the time.
    BTW, this is my first visit to your blog and I am loving everything I am reading! At my lowest emotional point in my life I weighed about 245, then I went through more emotional stuff and eventually got down to about 174. Then back up to about 208 and strugglied to get under 200 for a very long time. I am now 45 and am at 185 (10bls more than about 2 months ago). I am in a ggod place in my life emotionally, but I need to figure out what to do to shed about 20+ pounds so I can feel better about myself. I think your blog will help! Thanks!

  33. jess

    For the eggs: I also boil the water first, then drop them in with a spoon. Salt the water first so they don’t crack. Forget the cold water. They’ll peel! :) For the coffee… I just can’t stop either…

  34. Mindy

    1) Boiled eggs – sometimes I’m a pro, most times not. I have heard the fresh vs. older eggs advice – I think there is something to that.

    2) I CANNOT return all books on time – at least one of them always, always has a fine due.

    3) I’ve gotten a People subscription for the past 12 years – I try to feel guilty about it, but can’t ;)

    4) I’ve learned to make a fabulous ice coffee – though I think I will treat myself to a McDonald’s one today since I haven’t had one in weeks!

  35. Cat

    Wow, there’s a lot of egg-peeling advice here! I might as well join in… I’m a chef at a big steakhouse in town, and we serve upscale hard-boiled eggs as an appetizer, so I boil and peel a lot of eggs weekly.
    A few people have already touched on it, but stay clear of super fresh eggs for boiling. I know using older eggs doesn’t sound appetizing, but the membranes cling so tightly to the shells of fresh eggs, making them practically impossible to peel neatly. As they get older, air cells expand in the egg, the membrane becomes looser, and the eggs peel so much easier.
    If you add baking soda, it can help (a little), but you run the risk of increasing that sulfur, or rotten egg smell. As for salt and vinegar in the cooking water, there’s no measurable difference. I’ve done it both ways, and neither batch of eggs peeled any easier.
    I do recommend the cracking and gently rolling of a hard-boiled egg though. And then I hold it under gently running water, and the shells come off easily and smoothly.

    Oh, and I can’t swim either! My 5 year old son can do all sorts of strokes and I’m barely able to doggy paddle to the side. No shame!!

  36. Marianne

    Just came across your blog last week. We could totally be friends…
    Anyway…about all the hard boiled eggs? I just wish I had all the empty shells from you all. Slugs are eating my hostas and crushed egg shells around the base of the plant cures that problem!!!

  37. Tabitha

    I was hoping someone else would have asked but what kind of coffee do you drink/can you suggest to keep calories low?

  38. carolann

    I am with you on the whole eggs thing! the library books I am completely anal on, they have to go back on time. I hate coffee but will drink excessive amounts of diet cola, and magazines I miss like hell ( i live in rural france no decent one to be had for 50 miles :(
    DOGGY PADDLE rocks

  39. Cori

    Oddly enough, your eggs may be too fresh. The same properties of fresh eggs that give you a nice tight fried egg (w/out a spread white) keeps you from being able to peel them. The longer an egg sits (in the fridge, of course), the runnier it will be if you crack it to fry it. The best eggs for hard boiled eggs are older eggs. Try letting yours sit int he fridge for a week before boiling. If it’s hard to just let them sit there, buy too many and only boil half at first.

    Once you have boiled them using whatever method you prefer, wrap an egg gently in a paper towel. It only really needs to be covered enough keep you hands off it. Then tap lightly on the counter and roll to break up the shell. Peel with your fingers from there, under running water if it’s particularly difficult.

  40. Sharon C

    I have to second adding vinegar to the boiling water for both poaching eggs and preparing hard boiled eggs. Works like a charm!

    I am guessing that you may live in the Seattle area- the King County library system is my saving grace. You can renew books twice online and download books onto most readers (Nook/ Kindle) which may save a few extra trips to the library.

  41. Jillian

    Forget peeling the eggs, I can’t even hard boil them! They always crack, no matter which “foolproof” method I try.

    And, please oh please return your books! I promise, most libraries are much more understanding and lenient with overdue items than you think. Many have options to renew online or over the phone, and some will waive fines in certain cases. We *want* you to come back, not be afraid of fines! (And of course, we would also like our books back, but it’s the patron we care most about :) )

  42. Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit

    Can we be friends hahah? I cannot peel a hard boiled egg to save my life. I’ve consulted many friends who all come to parties/work/etc with perfect eggs. Recently someone told me to add a little vinegar to the water…thinking I might try that next time.

  43. Kasey

    try adding just a tiny splash of olive oil to your water before you boil. the shells will literally just slide off once you crack it

  44. Chelsie

    Ok – I’m so glad I’m not the only one. Growing up I had this horrible habit of stealing books – from everywhere. One day my mom cleaned out my room and found my stash and forced me to return each one. I had to haul BOXES of books to 3 libraries and 5 former teachers. Not the best day of my life.

  45. Roseanne

    Ha, I can’t peel an egg to save my life either! Good thing there’s e-books now so you should be able to get a book.

  46. Kate

    Also a writer, also blacklisted from the Library. I’m pretty sure they’ll arrest me if I show up there. I returned the books so late, I think my fines are at like $80………….. I should just change my name.

  47. Sherri

    I was the same with peeling hard boiled eggs until recently when I read to add some baking soda to the water. Voila, even fresh farm organic eggs peel easily.

  48. Susan

    I have trouble peeling eggs too! I will definitely try these tips posted on here :-)
    I enjoy reading your blog and I wish you continued success in all you do!

  49. Ginger

    I know how frustrating it is to peel hard-boiled eggs when they just won’t peel, so here’s a tip…

    Remove the eggs from the pot with a spoon to put them in the ice-cold water, leaving the hot water in the pot. After you’ve put them in the ice water (and it should be ICE, with water in it) let them sit there for 1 minute or until they’re cool to the touch, and then remove the eggs from the ice-water and put them BACK into the hot water in the pot for another minute or until they are hot (or at least warm) to the touch again. Then BACK into the ice water for a second time. THEN try to peel them. Its putting them back into the hot water that really makes the difference. I only put them back into ice water so that I can actually touch them to peel them!

  50. Chris C

    I am with you when it comes to library books. I always return them…but almost always have an overdue fee. My last overdue fee was $15…which I avoided paying for about 5 years!!! I had to pay it out of desperation….my daughter need to get a book! LOL! :)

    My cannot…..I absolutely cannot return a Redbox movie in one day. I am forever forgetting them. Even when I sit them next to my purse so I will remember…I inevitably pick up my purse, and the movies, and then set both down because I forgot to do something….which in turn makes me run late…so I quick grab my purse…out the door…in my car down the road….then SH@#! I forgot the (bleep) movies!!!

  51. Tiffany

    I have been reading your bog for a while now and I absolutely love it! I just wanted to give a suggestion on how I peel my hard boiled eggs (even though I see you have had a million other suggestions already). I use the same cooking method you do but I peel mine under the water. I crack the shell on one or 2 sides, roll the egg (like you are rolling dough)on the side of the pan, under water, then remove the shell while it is still under the water. It might sound a little difficult but it is super east and they come out perfect 99% of the time.


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