APW Happy Hour!


APW Happy Hour! | A Practical Wedding

Hello All,

What a week! We took the baby up to his first cabin getaway this weekend, which we realized was our first ever non-working vacation trip as a family of three. (Kid has been on eight flights, but no actual vacations till now. Aiii.) It was bliss, pure and simple. Then we came back to lack of sleep from teething, and me getting a bizarre allergic reaction (?) that made it look like my eyes were puffed up from hours of crying. THAT, my friends, is socially awkward. But it didn’t even matter, because this week on APW was so damn fun for the staff that I managed to ignore the fact that I looked like I’d been punched in the face. Plus, the teething let up, so everyone wins!

But how was your week? It’s your Friday open thread, hop on it!

xo
Meg

Highlights of APW This Week

APW sponsor Corey Torpie had a Brooklyn rooftop wedding that is possibly my ultimate dream wedding ever-ever-ever. And then there was it’s West Coast soul sister’s wedding, the one in Palm Springs where people jumped in the pool FROM THE ROOF.

My reality check that no wedding is timeless, so you might as well take that style risk you’ve been wanting to take anyway.

A roundup of wedding poems, for those of you just now putting your ceremonies together.

And speaking of last minute projects, our tutorial on to put together a (hip) single flower bouquet.

Penguins. ‘Nuff said.

The friendship conversation continues, with learning to say no to friends, loving your judgmental friends anyway (or not?), and our step-by-step guide to making friends as an adult.

Link Roundup

All you need to know is MERMAIDS AND FEMINISM. Real life mermaids. I was obsessed with this article the second I read it in the New York Times Magazine, only to find out that it was written by Virginia Sole-Smith, long time friend of APW (and one of the original readers. I know her because she recognized me at a wedding once. And lucky me, because she’s a fabulous feminist writer). Also, holy hell, please look at the slideshow and watch the video. I cried over the beauty, the mermaids, the feminism, how this is such a reflection of the friendships I’ve had through performance life. Virginia’s behind the scenes story of this assignment is on her blog. MERMAIDS.

Also, the New York Times ran a cover story on women called “Coveting Not a Corner Office, But Time At Home.” This is a debate I’m always going to come in somewhere in the middle on. Ambition is in my blood stream, but working at home nets me a few extra baby snuggles while I aim for world domination, which is nice. (Baby snuggles and world domination. That’s… me…?)

Also, Thursday’s NYTimes style section’s article about fashion for those that are masculine of center made me feel ahead of the curve with our Butch Style Roundup.

I don’t particularly identify as a Millennial (fist bump to Generation Catalano), but most of the rest of the staff does, and Maddie loves this editorial comic Stop Trashing Millennials. Personally, I’m just surprised we’ve moved on from trashing Gen X, with our Dr. Martens and lazy, lazy ways.

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  • ANOTHER MEG

    Happy happy hour!

  • Margi

    I was late to the thread on styling help, but I need help finding flat gold shoes/sandals for my bridesmaid dress. The wedding is dressy and most flat gold sandals look too casual. Maybe a pair of cute gold open toed flats? Closed toed shoes wouldn’t go with the dress. Thanks so much!!!

  • MM

    We’re in double digits, people…99 days to go! That is all. Oh yeah, and I’m totally identifying as Generation Catalano from now on.

    • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

      ME TOO. I’m glad someone wrote an article about our micro generation. Being born in ’81 some sites say I’m Gen X and others say Millennial. I have never felt a part of either. I think this article sums it up perfectly.

      • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

        it won’t allow me to edit:

        I have always felt on the fringe as an ’81 baby. Some sites state I’m part of Gen X and others state I’m part of the Millennials. I definitely don’t identify as part of the Millennial generation. While I feel more akin to the Gen X, I’ve never felt I belonged in Gen X due to a fifth grade class on generations that talked about Gen X as being the one before us and we were part of Gen Y. At that age, none of it made sense, but I suppose it instilled a sense of confusion because as an adult I feel misplaced. So yes to Generation Catalano! I think it fits perfectly.

        • meg

          Yeah. Same. I feel way more Gen X than millennial (which… I just don’t identify as a millennial in any way shape or form, and as a early 1980 kid, I’m really not anyway). But I’m really Gen X’s baby sister always tagging along behind.

          We’re just in low birthrate years, so everyone forgot to care about us….

          • Amy Hawkins

            1980-1981 babies unite!!

    • Beth

      Heck yeah Generation Catalano! I was born in 1981 too and feel a little left out, though I definitely relate more to Gen X than Millenials. I recently rewatched both My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks and could not for the life of me figure out why they only lasted one season, but what that article says kind of makes sense. I think those of us in the in-between generation could probably relate better to those stories than anyone else, but with the low number of us, they were not meant to last. :(

      • meg

        It was only till I started reading this stuff that I realized why we know so many people a few years older than us, and so many people a few years younger than us, but other than the obvious HS and College friends… so few people our own age.

        Oh! SCIENCE!

        So weird, right?

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        I’m going to claim Generation Catalano for 1976ers as well. I staunchly insist that we don’t fit in with either Gen X or Millennials as a group.

  • ANOTHER MEG

    So I am my sister’s matron of honor (can we just sack that term, please? I’m not old! Just married!) and I and my team are throwing two showers for Pie and Smarty tomorrow. Two. A family friendly shower in the morning and a friend shower with lots (more) boozes in the evening. The first shower will have lots of lovely fresh flowers, and there might be a bouquet or two at the second shower.

    Pie has just informed us that Smarty told her flowers are picked by slave labor and only fair trade will do. Can’t find the flowers we need in Whole Foods or Sam’s.

    Any ideas? Also, any information on his theory? As far as the internet tells me, it’s bad but slightly better than clothing made in Bangladesh. Anyone have more information on that?

    • Catherine McK

      Oh goodness! Good luck! I don’t know too much, but my little sister lives in Uganda and her stories about the flower trade there made me rethink my flower purchases (those flowers end up in Europe, but I think the concerns are similar, poor conditions and terrible for the environment). Is there a farmer’s marker that opens early tomorrow? That would be my bet. Do you really really need a specific type of flower? That might be one variable too many…

      • Laura C

        Second the farmers market idea. Or similar — farm stand, etc.

        On matron of honor — when I wrote to my best friend asking her, I was like “will you be my maid of honor? I know technically it’s matron, but I just can’t apply that word to you.”

      • Catherine McK

        Edit to add: You’re throwing them a shower! Tomorrow! If it’s not possible to get the right flowers, the ones you can find will be beautiful and it will be fine.

        (I’m really looking forward to when the editor is fixed)

        • Kara E

          I’m with you in this. It’s too late now to change up stuff for the shower(s). Leave well enough alone and apply your new found knowledge to the next event.

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

      This link is about eco picking of flowers: http://www.justmeans.com/Five-Companies-That-Sell-Eco-Friendly-Flowers/44309.html

      And this link lists various certifications: http://www.laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/fairness-in-flowers/what-can-you-do-to-support-flower-workers It looks like Fair Trade might be the easiest way to tell? I know Whole Foods sells lots of things that are Fair Trade.

    • Martha

      Tell Smarty to throw his own party! Or just tell him a little white lie . . .

      Okay, but in all seriousness, what if you did small potted plants from a local nursery or something? They could also function as small favors to guests or Pie and Smarty can take them all afterwards and plant them in their yard – then their shower flowers are with them forever!

    • Ellen

      Do you have any farm stands near you that have flowers out in the field? The one near me has a pick-your-own option, with flowers by the pound! It could be a great option for you. The potted plant idea is also a fabulous one! And no matter what, it will be lovely.

      • ANOTHER MEG

        Unfortunately, I am in a city and short on time. My mom is now picking some flowers from her garden and my (other) sister is adjusting floral expectations and just getting whatever is around at Sam’s that’s fair trade.

        • Lindsay

          just a reminder that the soulard farmers market opens at 7am tomorrow…

    • LikelyLaura

      I could be very, very wrong, but I feel like I’ve seen some sort of Fair Trade marking on some of the flowers at Costco.

    • SamiSidewinder

      If the timing works, farmers markets are a great way to get local flowers, which haven’t been shipped long distances and hopefully pay their workers a decent wage…

  • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

    I just want to thank everyone who helped sooth my panicky ways during the fashion open thread, when I felt an urgent need for a bolero/shrug. My google-master bff found this for me: http://www.elleandjae.com/collections/jackets-covers/16632463 and the owner of the company could not have been nicer! She’s doing a custom, rush job at no extra charge so I can have it buy the wedding! Supporting a lovely small business, a little extra coverage, AND sequins? Wins all around.

    In other news, my wedding is in 16 days and I am so excited!! We’re having a weekend of festivities (because everyone other than my bro and cousin are traveling anywhere from 2-12 hours to get to the wedding and we’re extroverts) and we’ve been blown away by the people a) willing to make the trip and b) coming early to join in on all the festivities. In the meantime, I’m having a hell of a time concentrating on work.

    • Susie

      Oh those boleros are fabulous! They don’t sell them in NC, are you saying they do online orders? Happy Friday to everyone!

      • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

        I live in Boston, and so there’s no store font around here either. But I called the number on the website and she could not have been sweeter or more helpful! She ran around her office, measuring the samples she had there, and when none of those would do the trick, she looked up her pattern to share measurements that way. And then we finalized the order with an emailed form!

        • Susie

          Awesome, can I ask how much your custom order will cost?

          • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

            The bolero in that picture is $340. The one I’m actually ordering isn’t pictures online, but it’s curved back in the front and has different sleeves (overall it’s fewer fabric/sequins) and it is $275. (If I’m being completely honest, I do feel a little guilty about this extra cost at the last minute, but my bff pointed out that feeling comfortable on the day is worth an investment, and I do believe that is true.)

            I don’t know what her prices are for her other items, though. I’m sure there is a range; I suspect this glittery disco-ball number is on the higher end.

          • meg

            DON’T FEEL GUILTY. I could write pages on why this is true, but you’ll figure them all out in 17 days, so I won’t bother.

          • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

            Thank you! It’s true. Also, I am always feeling guilty about something, so I learned a long time ago that I should try to listen to my guilt as little as possible.

            I asked myself: What will you regret more, spending the money or passing up on the opportunity to look a little like a Christmas ornament dipped in loads of glitter? I think we all know the answer to that question.

    • http://pinterest.com/katerees711 kate

      that is a beautiful bolero! I also felt the need for a jacket and my mum found one in a mail order catalog. I’ll have to get the name.

      A wedding weekend sounds like a total blast! love it. I definitely don’t think I’d be getting much done either.

      • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

        Thank you!! It’s good to have other people help us shop for this stuff. :)

      • mira

        Also check out Alisa Benay on Etsy. She was amazing to work with and my jacket turned out amazing!

    • meg

      HOTT.

    • Tamar

      LOVE THAT BOLERO. Two thumbs up on that choice! Totally worth it!

      • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

        Aww, thanks!!

  • Anon

    Ah, happy hour. I’m three weeks out and I thought I would be posting about advice for seating charts or tracking down RSVPs at this point, but instead, it’s the emotional stuff (what APW does best!) that’s got me down.

    Any advice out there about supporting your partner through a really difficult professional time right before your wedding? Mine just got some very very sad news on the professional-front that he is taking really hard. We’ve been through tough times before and if this were a normal time I would be all hugs and patience and just let us be sad for a while and let it out. And I want to do that for him but also…we are getting married. In three weeks. How do I balance wanting to be supportive while also needing to run around and get everything done while also wanting to just squee and get pumped? It feels like a tough balance right now.

    • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

      I think right now would be a great time to focus on how you’re both in this together. Those kinds of conversations and comments will give him the reassurance and support he can use while also giving a nudge to your “yay we’re getting married!” feelings. Life doesn’t always throw lemons at the best times, but you make of it what you can – if you don’t have time to squeeze them for lemonade, use them to garnish your cocktail.

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

      My wedding is in 2 weeks and my partner is also having a rough time with work. Up until recently, I was having a very rough time because I was mourning my grandmother’s death. So we’ve been on something of a rollercoaster.

      I think that acknowledging that there is no way you are “supposed to feel” is important. There’s this idea that leading up to your wedding you should be basking in the glow of your upcoming wedding, but sometimes life happens and one or both of you feels down in the dumps and that just has to be okay, you know? So I think let him be sad & give him lots of hugs. If he feels pressure to “move on” quickly, it might just get buried and wind up making everything more complicated. And then once you’ve hugged it out, run around the house and squee! I imagine, having the chance to process the sadness, the giddiness will be a welcome relief.

      It’s really confusing when sadness and happiness coexist, especially when both are particularly strong, as they’ve been for me leading up to this wedding. Taking turns comforting one another and then getting giddy about the wedding has worked wonders for us, but of course it’s still hard. Good luck!! You’re wedding will be amazing & joyous; I’m sure of it!

      • catherine

        love this reply Kyley. exactly! There is both shadow and light, and there is no one way you are supposed to feel. there’s beauty in the feeling itself.

    • http://writemeg.com Megan

      Sorry to hear your partner is going through this — and so close to the wedding. That is certainly hard on both of you . . . and feeling less-than-sparkly during what’s “supposed to be the happiest time EV-AH!” can really just pile on the sadness and anxiety.

      Instead of offering advice I wish I had, I offer a hug and tons of good vibes! My sister, who is also planning her wedding, unexpectedly lost her mother-in-law in the midst of their planning (today would have been her birthday, actually. Gah). It was a tough time and an awful time and, for sure, there were days she felt awful and weird about moving forward with planning a happy event with so much grief around them . . . but once they decided they were moving forward, the wedding has become a beacon, if you’ll pardon the cheesiness: a symbol of hope.

      Your wedding will be wonderful, and you will find the balance. I’m sure that, as the days inch closer, your partner will begin to feel the squee! vibes and get there with you. Hold on!

    • Darcy

      Oh, sending internet hugs your way. My sweetie hit a bump during planning too and it sucked. Then I got laid off 4 weeks after the wedding. We handled it the way we always do and went for a walk. We can talk better when we are moving and not looking at each other. Then we went home and opened a bottle of wine and took time to acknowledge how much it sucked and how hurt/pissed off/scared/confused we were. Then we embraced the good that was happening. So yeah, it’s tough but you can totally find balance if you dig into the suck as hard as you dance around to the squee.

      And for seating charts I found Martha Stewart’s online tool invaluable. Not sure if it’s still there after three years but you import your excel spreadsheet and then you drag and drop people or groups onto tables.

      • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca Juels

        Can I just second the “walk and talk”? I’m super bad at talking about feelings and emotions and stuff and going for a walk makes those talks so much easier. Having something to do (walking) and look at (the sky, the ground, the cracks in the sidewalk) gives me time to process without feeling on the spot. The best part of it is that you can just keep on walking as long as need to in order to get everything hashed out.

        • Sarah

          Hello with the walking. FH and I solve most of our problems on our regular 10K loop. No phones, work, TV, it’s amazing what comes up in conversation when you have nothing to do but walk and talk. I love our together time like that, especially because I know it’s someone we can do for the rest of our lives.

    • Anon

      Thanks for all the support and internet hugs, really helpful as always to hear other shave been through the same stuff. Means a lot.

      • Ali S

        Going through a similar situation. Our wedding is a little farther out, but sending good vibes and solidarity to you!
        Just try to continue to be there for him as much as you usually are, and the wedding happiness will come and overshadow the bad! Hugs!!

  • Anon for this

    I have been waiting for this thread to vent! We are visiting my FMIL, and it’s gone pretty well all in all, but there was this one conversation… My fiance is about to enter a part of his career where he should really do a couple one-year fellowships. The type of fellowship exists all over the place, but of course it’s most competitive in the places you’d most want to live. When he said something about applying in the places we’re willing to live, his mother started trying to persuade him apply everywhere. He said it wouldn’t be fair to me, she said “take it as an adventure, it’s just a year!” I was like “but it’s a year where I have no opportunity for an independent life. I work from home so I can move, but it also means I wouldn’t know anyone and would be really isolated.” “But you’ll meet people!” “How? No, I won’t.” Fiance chimes in that it was one of the challenges of me having moved to our current city to be with him, that he had such a big network of friends and I only had a few. The conversation ended more or less there, but she was visibly unhappy and I’m fairly certain she’ll circle back to it, and she has a talent for bringing up difficult topics in a way that’s just different enough from what you expected that the answer you had ready doesn’t apply. What I want to say, of course, is that I moved once for him. We’re looking at moving another 2-3 times over the next three years. I’m willing to live anywhere I have at least one friend, which means at least half a dozen cities. THIS IS NOT OUTRAGEOUSLY LIMITING! But I’m pretty sure it feeds into her existing view that I’m going to stand in the way of his career success (because I am more supportive of him doing work that pays decently and is in line with our shared values than I am of him doing work that pays very highly and does not line up with our values).

    But! Ray of sunshine in that conversation of him unequivocally backing me up, without hesitation, in his own words.

    • Catherine McK

      Hooray for a supportive partner! The best moment in my own awful in-law situation was when my partner explained our joint perspective and owned our decisions and identity as a unit.

      Good luck with the next go round.

    • never.the.same

      I have a really hard time taking this kind of advice from parental figures. Your FMIL is probably coming from good intentions, but there is an implication there that she doesn’t trust you to make your own reasonable adult decisions. Which is so irritating! Sometimes I wish there was a nice way to explain, “Me telling you our plans is not an invitation for you to make judgements about them. You’ll know when I need advice because I’ll say WHAT DO YOU THINK?” It must be really hard for parents to stop telling their children what to do, since so much of parenting (children) is about guidance. But it does have to happen.

    • meg

      Sad news for her, good news for you: It’s no longer her business. It’s that simple. She doesn’t get to decide how you raise your kid, she no longer gets a vote on where her son/your husband takes a job.

      She (and you) might not realize that yet, so it might be an interesting navigation through these waters, but you guys need to get on the same page and learn how to shut down this conversation when she brings it up.

      Also, you might need a therapist to back you up emotionally at some point. But… probably not yet :)

    • Copper

      This is when he needs to say, “Mom we hear your concern, and will take that into consideration.” in a tone that says “and this is the end of the conversation.”

      • KC

        And then keep repeating that. (You may ask, do we have people who keep bringing up and repeating *completely* irrelevant advice? Why, yes! But the good news is that most of them stop or at least taper off eventually if you keep your response consistent.)

      • meg

        Copper. You win all the things. That’s perfect. Are you secretly a therapist? I bet so.

        • Copper

          lol, oh no! I am on the patient side of the couch for sure. I just have a lot of practice with shutting down family intrusion. It’s actually become apparent to me just how much now that I see the liberties that Mr Copperbeard’s family takes that my family never would, because they’re just so used to me shutting it down.

      • Stella

        I literally could no agree more with this. In the nicest possible way — shut it down.

  • puffyeyes

    Oh guys, it’s been a really tough couple of days. We’ve been trying to organize our thoughts on joint finances, and so far we’re very far apart. I’m very much in the one-pot-nearly-all-shared camp, while he’s in favor of keeping things much more separate. And on top of all the logical discussion, he said he didn’t think I was very driven, so I probably won’t ever be rolling in dough or accomplishing career goals.

    I don’t know where this leaves us; can you compromise on something like this?

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

      Oh, dear, we had that conversation and the divide was much the same as yours. I wish I had an answer for you, but we decided to kind of put the whole thing on hold for a while. We’re going to keep things as they currently are, and once things have settled down after the wedding we’ll revisit the topic. We both just felt like we needed more time to process everything and, dealing with the wedding felt like it was big enough for now.

      So I guess I don’t have anything to offer except for empathy !

    • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

      As far as compromising on how finances are arranged, I certainly think that can be done. You can set something up that’s a hybrid of joint and separate with a joint account for household expenses and separate accounts for individual expenses as a trial run. What stands out to me though, is that you say he didn’t think you were very driven or would accomplish goals. Is that an assessment you agree with? Some people are content to do what’s expected without pushing for more, and that’s fair, but others are not. Are the two of you on the same page? I think you two should sit down for a few more conversations and talk it all through. Good luck!

      • AnonThisTime

        There are lots of logistical options for handling the finances question (past APW posts highlight some of them). You actually have a lot of choices that fall in between the One-Pot and What’s-Mine-Is Mine extremes.

        When we first started living together, I wanted separate finances (safety first!) and my partner thought a combined account sounded romantic and committed. We compromised by setting up a joint account for shared household expenses (mortgage, utilities, etc.) and each contributing to it as a fair percentage of our income (not 50/50 since one person made more). All other income was managed separately and we each handled our personal expenses (e.g. student loans, car payments, etc.) individually.

        After much conversation and time to build trust, we switched to having both our paychecks direct deposited into a joint account that handled all of our expenses. We agreed on a weekly allowance of “play money” for each of us that was automatically transferred into our individual accounts and could be used for anything without judgement.

        Then! When we agreed he would foreclose on his house, we had to separate our finances yet again so my income wouldn’t be counted as his.

        • Kcaudad

          Sorry for the report…
          This sounds like what we did. We started out living together with separate everything. then, gotva joint account and out money in for shared bills. then, deposited checks into shared accounts and split the fun money. it’s been a process. Finally, after 9 months of marriage, our finances are all joined!

          • Kcaudad

            We started out living together with separate everything. then, got a joint account and put money in for shared bills. then, deposited checks into the shared account and split the fun money. Finally, after 9 months of marriage, our finances are all joined! It’s been a slow process for us with many conversations. Now, it’s much easier and we can have civil budget discussions.

    • Catherine McK

      First: hugs. That sucks, and it’s okay to feel hurt.

      On the finances, I don’t really have much to say, to me, when you get married, it’s all joint money, regardless of whose account it’s in, and anything other than that is pretending. There are exceptions and different state laws, etc, but that’s just how I see it. So, not helpful, sorry.

      On the second point. Ouch. Do you feel like you’re driven? Do you have goals career or otherwise? Not every one does, or not every one does all the time, and that’s okay! And even if they do, they’re not often not monetary goals. Regardless, it seems like such a harsh thing to say. What was he trying to prove? That he didn’t want to share money with you because you won’t be making as much as him? See my above thoughts on family income. I guess I don’t have anything helpful here either, just that I hurt for you and wish you the best as you navigate this.

    • californienne

      Hmmm, I don’t know what to say about that last point. That seems like a different issue entirely. My fiance and I have a shared checking account and credit card that we use toward all things “shared.” Then we each have separate accounts for personal use. It means I don’t have to ask his permission to use money I earn to buy clothes and he doesn’t have to ask my permission to go to a concert (hello stereotypes!). We both love this situation. Recently, however, we did a lot of research into what exactly changes once we get married. These are difficult conversations because, while we make about the same amount of money now, this may not always be the case and we had to talk a lot about what our finances will mean in the event one of us stops earning as much (or one of us hits the paycheck lottery). It also meant we had to talk a lot about our current assets, and what happens to those after we marry. Like you, I had just assumed it’d all be communal, more or less. He was more hesitant on that front. Lucky for us, we live in a communal property state so what we have now remains ours, individually, and what we make going forward becomes ours, collectively. This was a compromise that we were comfortable with, so we’re just defaulting to state law. (A lawyer also advised us that there was really no reason to do otherwise, which helped convince my FH).

      We have also discussed possibly needing to rethink our arrangement in the future if circumstances change (like we decide he stays home with the kids).

      This is all to say, without knowing more about your conversations, that I think you can come through the other side of these very uncomfortable (but necessary) conversations alright.

    • Martha

      We’re doing what Kyley is doing. We discussed it initially and always thought we would combine once we got married. However, having separate finances worked so well while we were just living together and we are very hesitant to change it an then possibly argue about money . . .

      We’re thinking once we finish graduate school and pay off more of our college loans (which we both have but unbalance amounts) then we will combine.

    • gossamer

      Yikes. I’m sorry puffyeyes, it sounds like he hurt your feelings. Those are some difficult decisions and conversations to have with anyone. My friend offered me advice that seemed wise and I think we’ll take. We’ll pool our money into a common fund to pay for expenses and life, then each month we’ll automatically draw out $100 each that we can spend (or save) however we like, no questions asked.

      Maybe if you can better understand why he wants to keep it separate you can help put his feelings at ease? Do you understand his fears about shared finances? I think logistically it would be very difficult to pay for a home, a child, travel, college, retirement, etc. if you’re finances are always split. Then you’ll feel like you have to owe each other. Marriage is about equal partnership and shared responsibilities and commitments to support each other.

      Also, being driven does not equal having to make a lot of money! You can have dreams and be ambitious and never be a millionaire and that’s okay! Trust me, I’m in a much less lucrative career than my fiance but he understands that I work hard and do what I can in a field that is underpaid and underappreciated. We balance out the business of “work” in other ways, like I make travel arrangements, do most of the household chores, book the social calendar, etc.

      On a side note… we’re also going to talk to an attorney about making a living will and pre-nup because we both own houses and I have a lot of student loan debt. On the prenup subject, I was sort of put off at first, but after reading on APW and elsewhere, it makes logical sense. It’s like a fire extinguisher. You hope you never need it, you certainly don’t intend on burning down your house, but just in case you’re glad you have it.

      Good luck.

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      *Hugs*

      David and I went through a really similar things. When we got engaged we were living together like roommates–we split everything 50/50, regardless of how much either of us made. I wanted to go all in, he emphatically did not. (Also, he is the ambitious one, I am not super career driven. He makes more than I do, and probably always will).

      We had a lot of long, hard talks. Eventually he agreed to meet me halfway. We opened a joint account to save for the wedding. Into that account we both contributed according to earner percentage to cover savings and bills. Our split was more complicated than 60/40, but let’s go with that for simplicity. So we each put our share into the joint account, and then kept the rest ourselves. This was not what I wanted to do, and it’s not what he wanted to do. But it was really, really, really valuable.

      We did this for about 6 months, all the while having regular (pre-planned and scheduled–no one likes surprise talks about Money and Values) discussions about the situation. Eventually we became a one-pot family. Everything goes into the joint account. All money is our money.

      It took us a long time to get there, and we did it in baby steps. But it facilitated a lot of hard, important discussions about the things we value, and the ways in which we want to direct our financial life. When we made the final switch, my husband was just as on-board as I was. It was something we both wanted; neither person was compromising.

      • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

        When my husband and I first had these talks, he was the one who wanted to do the one-pot money system as that is what his parents did and he saw how successful it worked. His parents earned modest incomes, but were avid savers and are now really enjoying their retirement years. I, on the other hand, had divorced parents, saw the effed up ways my dad and stepmom handled money. I may not have always been great at budgeting, but it had always felt scary to me to hand over any financial autonomy whatsoever. I felt like I would be putting myself at a disadvantage. However, once we got to discussing values, I had a beter understanding of why he wanted to do this, and he had a better understanding of my fears. We are now a one-pot family and have been one for the past four years, but like you Kelly, it took us many baby steps to get there. I have to say that I am fully converted and I really love this system now.

      • never.the.same

        I am pretty sure the one-pot issue is what broke up my parents marriage. They threw it all into one pot from the beginning and over the years as it became apparent that my mom was more ambitious and working harder for more and more money it also become apparent that my dad was less so and wanted to work less in order to enjoy his hobbies and family. My mom was unhappy because she didn’t feel like she had an equitable (financial) partner. My dad didn’t understand what the issue was because they still had enough in the pot to cover everything.

        Neither of them were wrong. But they could never see eye-to-eye and it built resentment. So it is definitely a serious issue.

        I think there is compromise to be made on the one-pot vs totally-separate issue, with lots of middle ground. But careers? There is less compromise when it comes to that. Your fiance might have been expressing a fear that he’s had and didn’t know how to bring up. He might have chosen his words poorly. In any case, it has to be addressed. What are your expectations for money? For careers? How would he feel if he got raises at a more rapid pace than you did? Is he a scorekeeper? Can you live with that?

        It’s all big and ugly and vital.

        • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

          You bring up some really great points, which is why it is really necessary to have so many conversations and dig at what is lying beneat the fears and hesitations. For us, we are very much in accord that it doesn’t really matter who makes what, as long as the total is X (based off what our total was when we first met). As we’ve moved twice since we’ve been married, our salaries have changed individually, but the overall number roughly stays the same. We have supported each other in leaving jobs we hate, one of us working and the other not and vice versa until we both found places that felt like a good fit. Absolutely, it is important to suss out what the underlying fears/values are. Best of luck to you, PuffyEyes! xo

        • Alison

          Obviously you know your parents better than I, and maybe this is what you’re already saying toward the end of your comment, but it seems like it’s not the one-pot money structure that was the problem but rather it illuminated the problem which was divergent values about careers, ambition, and money. Perhaps the divergence would have somehow been obscured or smoothed over by separate money structures, but it seems unlikely since each person should still have a pretty good idea of what the other person does for a living, makes, and spends and how. Totally agree you have to get to the underlying issues before or at least as you navigate the practical matters of earning, sharing, and spending money.

          • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

            The thing with money is that it’s all so tied to values and carries so much emotional weight that part of successful money management in a relationship is understanding how money works into the rest of your life. If two people are coming at the same system with different values and goals it can definitely bring to light other issues and compound them.

      • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

        I should also add: read the previous APW posts about Money. And read all the comments. I used these posts to help frame our discussions, and to help articulate why I felt the way I did about money.

        (Funnily enough “I want us to combine all of our money because I just really want us to combine all of our money.” was not a good enough reason for my husband. Figuring out what I ACTUALLY wanted and why I wanted it was hugely important to the conversation).

        I sent him all the posts ahead of time (we always scheduled these talks, so that neither of us felt ambushed. It was a touchy subject, y’all) and they served as a really great jumping off point for us.

        http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/06/ask-meg-marriage-and-money-part-i/

        http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/06/ask-meg-marriage-and-money-part-ii/

        http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/03/combining-finances-marriage-wedding/

    • anon for this

      I think that the bottom line is that you have to be both on board with whatever you decide. Yes, there is middle ground and plenty of it, but not if you don’t respect each other on the issue and what you each bring to the partnership. I know a lot of people who have mine/yours/ours pots who make it work well. It doesn’t work if if you’re going to be keeping score all the time. Is he willing to “share” his largess? If not, that seems pretty hard to get around. I found this article fairly helpful when we discussed the why’s and wherefores of finances: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/business/businessspecial3/10WED.html

      And here’s my story (sorry for the novel).

      While my husband and I have nominally agreed to a one pot system, our finances are still pretty separate (mainly due to inertia and being “older” and a bit more established). Basically, right now, we pay for what we pay for and don’t worry about it. However, my husband makes roughly 2x what I do – and unless he moves to a new career always will–so it’s always a bit uneven and we haven’t done a good job budgeting at ALL (mainly because we haven’t had to). I have a good / career job and I’m pretty decently well-compensated too–but now we’re facing a rearing issue of seriously declining pay (maternity leave + part time work for me). My panicking about not having “my” money lead to a discussion where my husband basically said that he didn’t “count” on my money. Which hurt, a lot. But…what he meant was that he saw this as a partnership and that we’d be ok on just his salary–and particularly that he saw real value in what I’m bringing to the table, even though it’s not much $$ for now.

      We’re doing some serious work right now trying to figure out how to combine things in a way that lets us acknowledge the changing circumstances and NOT result in bean counting or resentment. It’s hard work for both of us since we’re both so used to being independent financially and have different tolerances for financial risk, but because it’s based in mutual respect and a common focus on the end goals (financial security in retirement, paying for the kiddo’s college, paying down our mortgage faster), I trust that it will work out.

      Best of luck to you as you navigate this really difficult topic.

      • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

        I love that NYT article, thanks for sharing it!

    • AnonThisTime

      Yeah, you can totally compromise on the financial logistics. What would be more concerning to me is the comment that you’re not very driven and probably won’t ever be rolling in dough or accomplishing career goals. My feelings would be hurt by that character judgement.

      To me there’s a few parts here that need to be separated. First the “you’re not driven” part. Do you agree with his assessment or do you feel he’s misjudged you? Your level of ambition or drive doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how much money you’ll make. Maybe you’re driven and maybe you’re not. I don’t know your life. Maybe you’re super driven to acheive goals that aren’t financially rewarded by our society. Maybe you really aren’t driven to achieve career goals. In either case, I’d want to know my partner understood me and accepted me as I am, and wasn’t going to spend our lives judging me or looking down on me or telling me I’m never gonna reach my goals. This is an important issue that deserves some additional conversation.

      Next, the dough rolling. Maybe he cares more about making money than you do – that’s not a bad thing, but something that can cause tension down the road if values differ and expectations aren’t shared.

      I care more about earning a “good” salary and my partner would rather have a lower paying job and flexibility to go kiteboarding whenever the wind is good. That was something we had to talk about. I had to realize he wasn’t gonna change, and I would probably always be the more “driven” partner and the higher earner. I had to really think about whether I was truly okay with that, or whether I would resent him for dragging me down or not carrying his weight. I had to come to terms with what his values and priorities meant for our shared lifestyle. I decided I love that he is driven to pursue his athletic passions, and makes fitness and fun a priority. I decided I would not resent him but fully support his endeavors. I decided I would appreciate what he does bring to the relationship and not compare us to my friends who get to take international trips several times a year because they chose partners dedicated to lucrative careers. If having a partner who would be rolling in the dough was more important to me, I would have resented the hell out of him and that would have choked us out.

      Basically, talk it out some more. Beyond the bank account stuff.

    • puffyeyes

      Thanks for the kind words and advice, everyone, especially considering my comment was sort of all over the place.

      I think many of you are right in noting that there are a few different issues going on. For one thing, this was not a planned conversation, so I was kind of blindsided by the whole thing. I much prefer, like Kelly said, to set up a specific time to discuss these difficult topics.

      Also, I certainly consider myself a driven and motivated person, so I was kind of doubly blindsided when he mischaracterized me as not. It really hurt my feelings.

      Lastly, we do have a joint checking account and a joint savings account. Right now our individual paychecks go into our personal checking accounts, then we deposit a proportional amount into both the joint checking and savings. When we get married, I want to transition to the “Marriage as Mini-Socialism” method, and he wants to keep things the same. I can see where he’s coming from to a point: he’s older and more established, has more savings and less debt, makes more than me, etc. The problem I had was his reasoning with the not driven thing, meaning it wouldn’t be fair for me to get to enjoy his hard earned money because, according to him, it’s unlikely he’d get to enjoy that much of mine.

      We definitely have a lot more to talk about, but hopefully we can get to a place where we both feel respected for our efforts and happy with the system.

      xoxox

      • Rebecca

        This is a different viewpoint (and not directed at you specifically! I just have many strong feelings on the subject), but I really hate when we value what we bring to a relationship with money. Money is not what makes a relationship work or what makes it valuable to the people in the relationship. Time, love, attention, and effort are what you bring to a relationship, and what you get out of a relationship.

        Money is something that gives you room to have a relationship. As long as there’s enough of it, does it really matter where it comes from? Does anyone really believe that our economy actually compensates people commensurately with what they contribute to society? Why do people who make less money feel the need to work more at home? If you’re both working full time, you’re both working, and the work of making a home is additional to that- and ideally, shared.

        /steps off soapbox

      • http://Rippingback.wordpress.com Amber

        “it wouldn’t be fair for me to get to enjoy his hard earned money because, according to him, it’s unlikely he’d get to enjoy that much of mine”

        That… would be a major red flag for me. Full stop, back the truck up, WHAT DID YOU SAY?? kind of red flag. You’re getting *married.* To me, that suggests joining your fortunes (financial and otherwise), sharing and enjoying the different things you each bring into the relationship. I make more money than my husband, and when we have a child, he’s staying home with her – and I’m happy about that, and happy to bring home a paycheck for him.

        When my parents were divorcing, my dad brought up the fact that Mom stayed home with my youngest brother for a couple of years as some sort of argument that he should end up with a larger percentage of the house. This kind of attitude strikes me as related.

        I’d really, really suggest you look into couples’ counseling about this issue before you tie the knot.

        • Kara E

          Whoa. I had the same reaction to the ““it wouldn’t be fair for me to get to enjoy his hard earned money because, according to him, it’s unlikely he’d get to enjoy that much of mine” comment as Amber did. Brakes = on! This, to me, articulates a lack of respect to what you’re both bringing to the relationship. The comment just breathes “bean-counting” to me and that’s no way to start a marriage. Please please please get some counseling to discuss/investigate this together.

  • L

    Yay! I am finally at a computer to participate in Happy Hour!

    I am sitting in our nearly empty apartment “watching” the packers box all our stuff and roll it out the door on gigantic dollies. Really I am sitting on the computer trying to drag myself out of an exhausted fog to make some progress on our partially planned reception. Umm how did I get so far behind on all of that? And how is it that I am going to be planing everything in like 3 weeks while unpacking from our sudden move? What happened?

    Please tell me I will be able to get it all done. I haven’t even taken a pass at most of the logistics (like timing of things and delivering of stuff, etc). We have the equipment rented, the caterers are set, the photographer and musician are at the ready. It’s just pulling everything together and pleading with my surprisingly uncommunicative friends to just make a fucking decision and rsvp because “maybe” doesn’t help!

    Anyway, it’s going to work itself out, right? We’ll be ok, right? APW I need your encouragement/savvy tips/funny stories.

    • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

      It will get done. Reach out to your people for backup. They just might surprise you. If you find yourself living out of boxes for a while and even after the wedding, it’s fine. It’s a busy time in your life. It doesn’t need to look like a Martha Stewart catalog. In the meantime, just breathe.

    • Paige

      Oh girl. Our wedding logistics came together two days before the big event. TWO DAYS. You can most definitely do it. It’s crazy and stressful and anxiety-inducing, but it will happen!

      It helped me to walk through our wedding, beginning to end, from the perspective of the guest. Then, decide what NEEDS to be done, what CAN be done (but doesn’t have to), and what can be tossed. (Hint: most details, at this point, can be forgotten about. No one cares if you have table runners or where the bridesmaids should put their bouquets after the ceremony.)

      Then – delegate! To your responsible family and friends, of course. And drink lots of wine and take a lot of naps – that definitely helped me!

      • L

        I like the idea of going through it as a guest. Right now a guest would just see me and my entire family running around partially dressed trying to make sure there are chairs and water for people. It would not be a pleasant experience.

        • KC

          But at least it would be memorable?… Um… yeah.

          • L

            ha! Totally memorable!

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

      You will most definitely be okay! People plan ENTIRE weddings in 3 weeks. You’re already far more than half way there.

      If it were me, I’d make a list of everything that needs to happen. Then I would go through and make an A-priority, B-priority, and C-priority.
      A being “things that absolutely have to happen or the day will be a disaster” (ex. sending a headcount and food choices to the venue, deciding on a rough timeline for the day, writing your vows, etc.)
      B being “things that will have a big influence and make the day better if they are done, but will not make or break the entire event” (ex. a seating chart, having a list of desired photos for your photographer, etc.)
      C being”thing that I would like, but won’t have the hugest of impacts” (ex. favors, crafts of any kind, programs, etc.)

      What you put in A, B, and C will of course depend on your priorities, but from there you can tackle the most important items first, and know that you are making progress on the key items.

      • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

        Also: once you have your list delegate like a mo fo. I suggest delegating A items to more reliable people and C items to less reliable loved ones.

      • L

        Prioritizing the list is a good idea! I know it says that in Meg’s book, it’s just that at this point it seems I’ve already whittled everything down to the bare essentials I didn’t think it would still work. But just from your examples I can think of things I can forget about. Although getting clothing to wear probably is something I should also devote some spare brain cells to, now that I think about it.

      • Claire

        Girl, you’ve totally got this. It’s doable. I planned my entire wedding from start to finish in about four weeks, and never bothered with timelines or schedules or seating charts. And it was fine! I promise. Anyway, you’ve already got a huge headstart with your photographer/catering/musicians/rentals all lined up! Those are all the big pieces, anyway.

        Repeat after me: everything else is just details.

        Now, pour yourself a whisky (or beverage of your choice), put your feet up, and give yourself a well-deserved break.

        (and if you still find yourself stressing over the details, do what they said and delegate the heck out of your list. Also, if you’ve got a bitchy friend, have him/her call for rsvps – yes or no, people, those are your only options in this multiple choice quiz.)

        • L

          thanks! I am appreciating all the advice to pass the rsvp frustration on to someone else. I was just trying to plan another email that involved a lot of “it’s ok if you can’t come, we know you love us, we just really need to know” balanced with “if you don’t rsvp in the next week then our friendship is over and you are banned from all future guest lists”.

          so it’s definitely time to pass it on to someone a little less frustrated. they will probably send less mixed signals.

      • Stella

        I couldn’t agree more — at this stage, it’s all about the triage (then delegate like mad).

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      People keep saying this, but it’s true: hunting down RSVPs is truly the worst thing ever. True for pretty much every event, though weddings are more expensive than most when it comes to no-shows or having too much food. My husband and I throw parties fairly often, and I get sick of people not even responding to our invites. So rude and frustrating.

      Look on the bright side: you’ve got all the major stuff worked out. People are going to be fed, you’ll have pictures, you’ll have everything you need there. Most of the stuff you’re gonna have to worry about is the icing, not the cake.

    • LMN

      You’re doing a fantastic job, and you will get everything done that needs doing! A thought about RSVPs–do you have a super-reliable friend or relative you could delegate this task to? My mom was a champ on this front, and it really helped out in terms of hearing back from her (large, non-communicative) family. Sometimes I think it’s easier for guests to give a quick & honest answer to someone who’s not the bride or groom. Then they don’t need to make excuses, explain themselves, etc.

      Sending good thoughts your way! You can do it. :)

    • Heather

      To help encourage you I present my good friend’s recent wedding (last Sunday!)- She planned it within about a month or so, and while it was stressful to plan it was still something she enjoyed way more than grad school (most things are more fun than grad school :) and there were some things that were done at the last minute (I helped finish hemming her severely altered dress the day of while she ran around directing the families with set up over at the venue and her now husband put together the seating assignments), and there were some things that went wrong (the seating assignments didn’t reflect well who was actually coming to the wedding and there were last minute switches at the venue, we all arrived late so there was no rehearsal and the ceremony started late). But I think those sorts of things happen at even the most organized weddings and in the end they didn’t matter. The dress looked great (and didn’t fall apart to my great relief as a very very amateur seamstress), everyone had a seat and plenty of delicious food, and she had organized it so that the servers were serving drinks before the ceremony started so no one cared that it started a little late. Tips: Don’t rely on people who are known to be flakey, but let your friends and family help. There are people who want to help you and surround you with love and will do what they can to make your day run smoothly (although clear directions that you’ve written out beforehand and including pictures and diagrams will help), hand you that mimosa, and hold bobby pins at the ready. And in the end you’ll be okay even if the small details or the logistics don’t go totally to plan.

      • L

        That definitely helps! As a fellow amateur seamstress (who has only had about 30% success on projects and maintains extremely low standards), I can imagine you were holding your breath the whole time.

        I do have a great group of far-flung helpers who will do what I ask them to as soon as I figure out what that is. Thanks for the reminder to call them…

  • Ellen

    Random thought for this happy hour: is there any chance that the “Reply” and “Report this comment” buttons could be switched? I hate it when I accidentally report people when I meant to say Exactly! I’d much rather accidentally reply to them.

    *note: I know very little about HTML so I don’t even know if this is feasible!

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Or maybe add a “click OK to confirm” after you hit “Report this comment” so that accidental reports wouldn’t get submitted? Though switching positions might be easier than adding functionality…

  • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

    I’ve been officially admitted to candidacy for my PhD! Whoohoo!

    Also, ten days out til our one year marriage anniversary!

    The article on careers is interesting to me. I enjoy working and am ambitious, but at the same time, I find it very hard nowadays to find things I can do with my degree that won’t take over my entire life. Especially in the field I’m in, where 40 hour workweeks are practically part time. and 60 or 70 hour weeks are pretty typical. Sometimes it seems a 9 to 5 and adequate compensation are things that will never happen for me. Also, I’m one of those people who are not a great fit for working from home-I generally find it hard to separate ‘me time’ and ‘job time’ that way.

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

      CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

      Yay for Candidacy!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay for impending anniversary!!!!! :) :) :)

    • Heather

      Congratulations! From one Heather grad student to another, that’s an awesome and amazing accomplishment! Also the anniversary is great too :D

    • Smelliott

      CONGRATS! I’m writing my dissertation right now, so I feel where you’re coming from. Take some time to enjoy this awesome accomplishment!!

    • MarieKD

      Congrats on both accounts!

  • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

    I LOVED that mermaid article! First of all, I love reading about women who work at women-majority jobs. Second, MERMAIDS! The video is great bc it really captures their beautiful swimming and solidarity.

    Kinda reminds me of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, which is one of my favorite NYC events. This year there was a fabulous unicorn mermaid who was prancing around! She is my new spirit animal.

  • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

    I’ve caught up on the friendship commentary in the various posts from this week. I have to say that I had no idea that so many people felt similarly about making friends as an adult. I have never lacked in friendships, local and far flung. And I’m always open to making new friends. Also, I moved around a lot as a kid and never had trouble making friends. I’m pretty outgoing and friendly. All this to say that I *sorely* underestimated how hard it would be to make friends when moving as an adult. I moved as a kid and have lived abroad as an adult, but moving to another state?* Yeah. . . it turned out that one wasn’t so easy. I was really hard on myself about it for a long time because it had never been this difficult so I thought it was me. And I went on many friend dates where the first one was pretty awesome but the second one was NOT. It definitely felt like dating trying to find new friends. All that to say that it was a relief to discover I’m not alone in this adult friendship thing. :)

    *I lived in that state for three years, made a few friends, then ended up moving back to my home state, plan to stay here for another two years, then we’ll be moving states again. I’ll be much prepared the next time around!

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      It took me about 2 years to really make close friends when I started my PhD program, despite the fact all the people in my year were forced to spend lots of time together due to classes and such.

      • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

        One of my oldest and dearest friends moved to Baltimore for her Masters in 2005. She was pretty lonely there her first couple of years. I remember her saying that it takes at least one and a half to two years to get settled in a new place. But I just didn’t believe it. I was misguided in my thinking that because she had lived all her life in one city and that was her first move, that is why it was so difficult. Turns out, it’s pretty much a universal experience. I wanted to believe that having experience uprooting many times would make it easy. Not so. ;)

        • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

          I moved for undergrad, too, but the move wasn’t so far (40 minutes) so I still had my old support structure to ease me into the new place. With my grad degree I moved halfway across the country and had to deal with a long distance relationship, making for a pretty rough time.

          • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

            Yup, she moved cross country for her grad degree too, and negotiated a long distance relationship until her partner moved there to be with her. That ish is hard.

  • Katelyn

    We’re going to Vegas in 3 weeks to book our ceremony and reception locations! Squee!

    In the meantime… have any of you made a bouquet out of paper, fabric, brooches, etc? What was your experience?

    • http://www.lulamaespecialevents.com Meigh McPants

      Yay, congrats! On the crafty bouquet front, it’s going to take lots longer than you think it will, so plan for that. Otherwise, if you’re a comfortable crafter, go for it!

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      Not my bouquet, but I made all my centerpiece flowers out of paper. I gave myself about a year to get it done. I did end up scrambling a bit at the end, and occasionally I had some help from friends. I loved the end result, and I’d say it was worth the time and effort, but that’s because I genuinely enjoyed doing it.

      • http://www.alittletouch.wordpress.com Kait

        Hi Katelyn,

        I’m an avid paper crafter and am making bouquets of paper hydrangeas for myself and my two bridesmaids (Purple for me ivory for the girls). It’s been pretty easy and I plan on getting everything done this weekend (minus the ribbon to wrap them with which I’m still looking for).

        The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want realistic looking flowers (which is what I’m going for) or if you want it to be clear that they are paper or another medium and that will really get you started and give you a place to start looking.

        I found a lot of inspiration from looking online and then decided what I wanted and then for my sanity’s sake figured out a method and way to do this in the most painless way possible.

        If you have any questions or would like to chat more email me kait dot alittletouch at gmail.com

        Good luck!!!

  • http://www.lulamaespecialevents.com Meigh McPants

    You guys, this week. Ugh. This week. You know that fantasy world where everything goes right the first time, and you kick all of the ass, and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts? Yeah, this was not that week. This was the popping-that-dream-bubble-and-sobbing-in-frustration-in-the-shower week. So, somebody please give me a Poor Baby and an It Gets Better? I know with my brainparts that things are really pretty great, but setbacks just get tiring. Luckily it’s always inspiring to see how this comm is doing fabulous things all the time, so I’m pretty confident my mood will improve.

    • meg

      Poor baby, it gets better and… lots of good things take awhile, they really really do.

    • Kara E

      You can have a poor baby + it gets better + a big hug. If you were here, you’d also get a glass of lemonade on the back deck and the big box of Kleenex. Set backs suck and everyone needs a cry in the shower sometimes.

    • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com Addie

      Aww that sounds like a terrible week. Here’s what cheered me up a few weeks ago:

      Whenever something in your life goes terribly awry yell “PLOT TWIST!” and keep going. The movie of your life would be pretty boring if everything went right all the time.

      Or maybe that just works for me. Also, internet hugs and tissues to dry your tears.

      • http://www.lulamaespecialevents.com Meigh McPants

        That is completely genius, and I will commence doing it forthwith. PLOT TWIST! It reminds me of what Christina McPants yells at me when something I make turns out imperfectly: HUMILITY SQUARE! (http://everything2.com/title/humility+square)

        Thanks for the love y’all; that, combined with finally eating lunch, has made my outlook lots brighter.

      • meg

        <3

      • Sarah

        Meant exactly, not report. As much as it annoys me everywhere else, could we get an “Are you sure?” on the report button?

    • carrie

      ALL THE HUGS. It gets better. :-)

    • Claire

      Pobrecita. That sounds like a super sucky week. I hate those.
      I know you’ll show those stupid setbacks who’s boss. They can kiss your ass, cause you will win this.

  • Paranoid Libra

    So I actually got back in blood tests that I shouldn’t be eating gluten. Any SIMPLE resources of those pesky secretly wheat ingredients.

    And tips about the whole ability to still potentially have dinners out. There really is not much out here of gluten free places. I know of 1 italian place, apparently there is a bakery that is ALL gluten free as the owner has issues and the one sushi place is awesome for it just bye bye soy sauce :(

    • Catherine McK

      I know very little, but I think that Thai soy sauce is GF, so you should be okay at least on that front if you byoss.

      Good luck!

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      This should help: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09375.html

      Mostly, you’ll have to read labels a lot. Also, check your makeup! Some makeups do contain gluten.

      As for eating out, try to find places that point out gluten free items on their menus and are conscious about cross-contamination. Watch for sauces, especially. Don’t be shy about asking waiters if items contain gluten, or about food prep. Ordering items that are naturally gluten free and unlikely to be prepared near glutenous foods might help too. I know some people will bring their own GF soy sauce/tamari to places, too.

      • SamiSidewinder

        Also salad dressings can have gluten.

    • KRIS10

      Well, luckily for you gluten-free is becoming ever more popular, so it will be easier to find! For doing it yourself, my mom has a cookbook called “Cooking For Isaiah” that is chock full of delicious gluten-free recipes (not an oxymoron).

    • Ariel
    • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

      the simplest (not easy, but simple) first step is to drastically cut down on processed and packaged foods. i don’t know a lot about gluten free specifically, but that goes for any form of food need where you actually need to know what you’re eating. also, you might try asking smaller/local restaurants if they’ll work with you – there was a pizza place in town that would let my friend bring in her own (sealed, new!) package of vegan cheese to make her pizzas with – maybe someone would do the same for you with a store-bought gluten-free crust. good luck! food transitions are hard.

    • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

      I’m pretty sure tamari is gluten free. You might try that. :)

    • Sarah

      Paleo is a little more than just gluten free, but these recipes are easy, and now this couple even has a cookbook out about throwing parties!

      http://www.amazon.com/Make-Paleo-Grain-Recipes-Occasion/dp/1936608863/ref=pd_sim_b_5

      http://www.amazon.com/Gather-Paleo-Entertaining-Bill-Staley/dp/1936608480/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373661635&sr=8-1&keywords=gather

      And Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are both usually pretty good about labeling gluten free. I think Trader Joe’s is a little blue star. And they’re stuff tends to be less pricey than Whole Foods.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      http://www.allergyeats.com/

      My mother is allergic to wheat; she doesn’t have celiac. She mostly eats in chain restaurants where she can review the menus online and check the dishes against websites like this one.

    • http://turningtoward.blogspot.com Kara H.

      This is the best resource I’ve found for gluten free:

      http://glutenfreegirl.com/how-to-live-gluten-free/
      (This whole site will be your friend)

      And, I feel you. Eating out is tough with diet restrictions. It can be done, however– it just often requires more ahead-of-time research, calling restaurants, and being very up front with your needs. Oh, and in case you haven’t discovered it yet, they do make gluten free beer. It’s a little different, but pretty good overall. In short, it’ll take a bit of adjusting, but you can do it!

    • Kcaudad

      Check this out: http://offbeathome.com/2013/07/low-budget-gluten-free-soy-free-party

      The comments have some good suggestions and links

      • Paranoid Libra

        Haha! I was just reading over there this AM!

    • Tamar

      Buddy, I feel you!!! I’ve been gluten-free for about two years, after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

      Tips for eating out- ask for gluten free options!!!!!! This is the hardest thing for me to do, because, like Eeyore, I don’t want to be a bother. But, you never know where gluten is going to sneak in if the restaurant doesn’t have a gluten free menu. I’ve had a chef prepare me something off the menu just because I asked the server if he could recommend something gluten free. People really like to be accommodating, especially if you go forward and post a little Yelp review saying that they’re gluten-free-friendly!

      Unhelpful note- I seriously hate asking. I’d almost rather risk getting accidental gluten, but my fiance seems to care more about my health than I do and he’s given himself the “ask the server what she can eat” role. When I’m on my own, I suck it up, but it’s nice to get a break from the vigilance.

      Also, not eating out related, but seriously Gluten Free on a Shoestring is the best thing ever. She’s hilarious and great and posts everything you could ever hope for in gluten free form. And, she has a few books out!

      • Paranoid Libra

        I guess I will just have to be brave and ask too. I am like Eeyore too and hate to be a bother.

        • Tamar

          For what it’s worth, I have not had a bad experience yet. I’ve had over-the-top good (like the chef that made up a meal without gluten), pretty darn good (when someone subs you a plate for toast, free of charge), and just good (they let me know what was gluten free and what wasn’t, either before or after checking with the chef).

          Dealing with sensitivities/allergies is probably something most restaurants are used to, and everyone seems like they genuinely want to be accommodating.

          Good luck! I’m sure it all seems pretty overwhelming right now. (I seriously ugly-cried when I realized I’d never have another Krispy Kreme.) But you’ll grow used to it, and it’ll just become second nature.

          • Tamar

            *fruit plate, not just a plate. ;)

          • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

            We went to a fancy place in Vegas (Aureole, if anyone is curious) for a tasting menu for our honeymoon, and it was really amazing how well they accommodated my husbands allergies (milk, fish, peanut) down to making the sauces from scratch and changing his dessert. It was really awesome.

        • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

          I’m the same way: I will try to order the easiest thing on the menu to deal with my condiment pickiness, I almost never send food back or complain, et cetera. However, this is a non-issue when it comes to asking about my husband’s food allergies. When it comes to your health, it’s really important to not think of it as a bother.

        • Margaret

          Totally late to this thread but I have to say this as a server, please, please, please tell your server about any food allergies up front. We are always happy to help out and keep you from getting sick. What we do not like is finding out after the order is in and food is already started. Or worse, when you realize it’s got whatever you are allergic to all over it and you send it back and then your dining experience is ruined because everyone else has already eaten by the time you get your food. We seriously want people to be happy and enjoy their meal. Please don’t make it harder by guessing about what is safe. All of the ingredients are not on the menu and you are certainly not bothering us by asking upfront. Also, a lot of restaurants have separate menus for gluten free.

    • Jenny

      One of my good friends is gluten free and we usually stuck to eating at mexican/asian places because she could almost always find something- corn tortillas sub easy and sweet and sour sauce/ other non soy sauces. Also “nice” restaurants tend to be easy- meat, potato/rice, veggie. Also lots of places are doing gluten free now, so it’s been easier. If you have a Mellow Mushroom pizza chain around they have gluten free crusts, as do a lot of other “upscale” pizza joints.

    • Rebecca

      When you start missing bread, King Arthur Flour has a ton of gluten free recipes and mixes (and a hotline and an email contact if you need help with baking). I’ve never had one of their recipes fail me (well, except that time I forgot the salt in my bread…but that would be user error)

    • The Family Jules

      I have a gluten/wheat sensitivity so I feel your pain. If there are Indian food places around you that is always an option.

      And for at home use, Bisquick has a gluten free version! They make it in a special gluten free factory and it is pretty good. Also King Arthur has a ton of stuff.

      http://www.schar.com/us/ <– This company has so many delicious gluten free goodies. Their chocolate hazelnut bars are divine.

    • http://seasofgales.wordpress.com/ KH_Tas

      My sister uses Lacke flour, not sure if that is available stateside though. Makes a good pizza. Also meringue, rice crumbs (often available boxed/bagged) as opposed to breadcrumbs, and lots of rice and potato as starches. If you have no other intolerances lots of fruit and veggies (my sister has 3 other major group intorerences on top of celiac so she eats mostly steak, chicken breast, rice, potatoes and apples).

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      Oh, and I know I commented earlier, but I felt I had to add: cooking, once you figure out where stuff is hiding, isn’t too hard. Just focus on recipes using stuff that’s normally GF-rice, quinoa, potatoes, meats, beans, fruits, veggies. Focusing on things you CAN eat, rather than what you cannot, makes cooking easier and less stressful. Indian and East Asian recipes are particularly celiac friendly, as are things like stuffed peppers, polenta, and risotto. Your grocery bill will thank you as gluten free versions of gluteny items tend to be pricy. Husband’s dad has celiac so we’ve gotten very used to cooking for him, plus husband has food allergies and we have lots of friends who are veg or on medical diets. It’s gotten to the point where when we’re hosting people with different food needs we see it as a fun challenge!

    • Rebekah

      http://glutenismybitch.wordpress.com/

      Her new book is hilarious and even though I am not gluten intolerant or a celiac, I want to try some recipes.

      Good luck!

  • Laura Lee

    Hi ladies! This was my first week back at work after our honeymoon last week and getting MARRIED 13 days ago. I’m married you guys, and it’s awesome. The wedding was beautiful and full of joy. There was plenty of stressing out and craziness the day before, but with the help of some amazing friends and family we got everything done and it went off beautifully. I’m so thankful to have found APW during my planning because I learned so many things that helped get me through the weekend of the wedding.

    So now I’m trying very hard to be patient while waiting for the pro photos, adjusting to married life in a new house (that we didn’t quite finish renovating or getting fully moved into yet), and working my way through the long process of changing my name (is it just me or is the social security office one of the most horrible waiting rooms anywhere?). And most of all, I’m very very happy to be married to my soul mate. My husband told me on our honeymoon what an amazing concept it is to him that we are family now. And it is. :)

    • KC

      Congratulations!

    • Tamar

      Woohoo! Congratulations!!!

    • Kerry

      congratulations!!

  • LT

    You guys, finding a wedding venue is HARD. I am leaning towards doing a brunch wedding reception now in NYC (mainly in Brooklyn). Any suggestions for good restaurants that have that rustic, intimate vibe? With an outdoor garden/patio where we could have the ceremony beforehand? There will be around 75 guests. Oh, and some place that won’t break the bank (I’m thinking like $7K). I did find one venue that I loved within the budget but their brunch menu was pretty limited. Help!

    • Laura Lee

      I can’t help with suggestions for specific places, but I would recommend asking the venue with the limited menu if they can be flexible with their menu. They might be willing to make other things if you ask.

      • LT

        Yes, I’ve reached out to them to see if the menu is customizable and am waiting to hear back. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

      I have no idea about the cost, and am thinking the brunch menu would be limited (since it’s mostly a pizza place), but I went to a wedding recently at Roberta’s in Brooklyn and they had a lovely outdoor space. They have also been featured on APW — it’s the Brooklyn rooftop wedding featured at the top of this post.

    • Moxie

      ICI http://www.icirestaurant.com/
      (I’m getting married here in Sept., so I’m biased ;-) We’re having an evening reception though.
      Flatbush Farm http://www.flatbushfarm.com/
      The Farm on Adderley http://thefarmonadderley.com/

      • LT

        ICI is the one I love and had the limited brunch menu! Do you know if they’re open to customize the menu? Have you had a good experience planning with them?

        • Moxie

          So far I’ve had a wonderful experience working with ICI! My hunch is that they would be flexible (can I ask what you found limited about the brunch menu? I never saw their brunch menu for receptions, only the dinner menus).

    • Laura

      Good luck! We looked at restaurants in Brooklyn for our rehearsal dinner and everything was so expensive since you were taking over the restaurant for the night. The brunch places that would fit 75 and have outdoor spaces that come to mind would probably not fall within your price range (Frankies, Flatbush Farm, the Farm on Adderly). Have you considered looking for an inexpensive event space or bar and then hiring caterers? We ended up at Littlefield in Gowanus which was very reasonable price-wise.

      • LT

        I did look at event spaces but with the costs of tables, linens, chairs, decor and bringing in caterers and servers, it seemed that it quickly adds up! Plus most of the event spaces have a pretty hefty rental fee just to use the space. I’m also trying to go with the approach that requires the least amount of logistics and planning (and stress!). I’ll take a look at your suggestion though, thanks!

  • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

    I had my first therapist appointment this morning (not first ever–I was in therapy years ago, in another state, for a different reason). This was my firs appointment with this therapist, to help me work through the extreme emotions I’m having with regard to my pregnancy.

    I think it went really well. I’m looking forward to our next session, and I’m glad that I’ve taken action on this.

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      I’m glad that it is helping, thus far. Hopefully your therapy sessions continue to be productive.

    • Emmy

      Congratulations! I wish you luck in your journey.

    • Claire

      Cheers, Kelly! We’re rooting for you. And kudos for taking that step in self-care.

    • catherine

      Therapy is the BEST.

  • CandiCane

    Just wanted to say that I put in my 2 weeks notice this week with no other jobs lined up. Time to go home, get healthy, and hopeful move past infertility and onto baby. I am so excited to start this new chapter in my life!

    • Laura Lee

      Congrats on making changes and good luck!

  • Aileen

    Shameless plug…It’s my birthday today! :)

    I’m 28. :)

    Hope everyone is having a great day!

    • http://www.katemuehe.com/blog Kate

      Oh birthdays are the best days! Hope yours is going so fabulous!

    • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

      Happy Birthday!

    • p.

      Happy birthday!

    • carrie

      Happy birthday!

    • MarieKD

      Happy birthday! I hope you have plans for a fabulous evening!

      Mine’s on Monday and I’ll be 29. Here’s to the July birthdays!

    • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com soleil

      Happy birthday!! Birthdays are awesome!!

  • http://pinterest.com/katerees711 kate

    So it’s been a pretty great long weekend for me so far. Yesterday was mah BIRTHDAY!!! and I love birthdays! My fiance and both were able to take the day off of work and he made pour over coffee and I made a healthy breakfast (rare!), then it was off to watch the Tall Ships pull into Bay City, under full sail!, so cool, and we had planned to go out to dinner but we decided to stay in and get a pizza and have some drinks – a great birthday! Today I played candy crush, watched Gilmore Girls and went for a bike ride with my mom. 4.4 miles! Now I’ve been catching up on some computer things.

    On the wedding front: the moms and I met with the coordinator at the country club, she’s awesome – they love it. We’re wrapping plaid valances in a more neutral fabric, want to make bunches of pom poms for pops of color and character. Matt and I stopped at our local farm stand and sounds like there are flowers available in October for our bouquets and centerpieces.

    The weather is beautiful and we’re headed off for that lazy-checked birthday dinner tonight. Tomorrow, growler hunting down-state, they’re our centerpieces!

    • Ariel

      Growler centerpieces is such a fantastic idea!

    • Not Sarah

      Happy belated birthday!!

    • LMN

      Just had to share that I read that as “we’re wrapping plaid VOLCANOES in a more neutral color” and I was like, “What?! Are they doing a dinosaur-themed reception?” and I immediately spun off into a crazy vision of what that would look like.

    • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

      Happy Belated Birthday!

    • MarieKD

      Happy belated birthday! Growler centerpieces sound amazing.

    • catherine

      well that just sounds like the best damn two days ever.

  • Class of 1980

    Oh, Weeki Wachee and the mermaids. I grew up in Florida and Weeki Wachee is very “Old Florida”. The mermaids have always been beautiful.

    Central Florida is full of these fresh water springs. We swam in them on vacations. There is one where you can float down a crystal clear river that gushes from a rock into a large natural pool. The water in the springs are always clear as glass and cold and blue-green.

    It’s a slice of paradise.

    • Tamar

      I had never heard of them before, but, oh! How beautiful!

      Side note: one of my younger brothers used to date a gal who went to school in Weeki Wachee, and I just used to giggle at the name. Now I’m totally jealous.

      • Class of 1980

        Kissimmee, FL is even funnier. ;)

    • Kirsten

      I lived in Florida (Tallahassee area) for a short time, and just found out this week when a facebook friend posted that article that one of the elderly ladies from the church I went to was a mermaid back in the day. And I love that, because she’s still so sweet (not to mention sharp as a tack) and a total role model of what elderly ladies should be.

    • Mary

      Thanks so much for the Weeki Wachee article. I remember going there as a little girl, and asked my grandmother to take me back a couple years ago (in my mid-20s) – still loved it. What a great place!

  • Cass

    I’ve never had the nerve to say how much I’ve loved watching and participating (small and slowly!) in the APW community. You ladies with your wonderful advice and insight has been a godsend through my engagement and wedding planning. We got married 2 months ago (yay for 2 month anniversaries) and it was amazing!

    I was hoping some of you wonderful and wise people could give some insight/advice/perspective to my 24 year old self. Its been a downright crazy and stressful year, with no end in sight. In the past three months, I have got married, started a new short term job, graduated from university, and am hunting for something more permnanant post-graduation. And we maybe moving on short notice in the next couple of months depending on where my hubby or I finds work (I kid you not when I say we’ve been applying all over the country. Which is impressive considering I live in Canada!). I may be facing a situation where I have to move with my hubby to a really remote place where I know no one and may be unemployed.

    I’m so freaking scared right now. The uncertainty of what to do next and dealing with all of the things is slowly killing my mental health,. I have an anxiety disorder and am feeling burnout by everything that is going on and trying to figure out what to do next. Or even where to go. The only thing that is certain is that I love my hubby, chosen family, biological family, and friends so very much. And the idea of having to move away from my best friends (my chosen family) for better job prospects is breaking my heart.

    So, here’s my question. How did you keep your sanity through major transitions in your life? (Especially post graduation and marriage)? How do you cope with uncertainty in your life?

    Hope your weekend is wonderful and happy friday!

    • carrie

      You just take things one day at a time. All the things seem to happen at once, or when the really big thing fills every waking space, it’s normal. It sucks, but so normal. I find it better when I can keep somewhat busy, because it helps me from spiraling. However. I am extremely lazy and I want to put the brakes on everything when I am stressed, which then makes me more stress. So I try to find a couple of things that I’ll feel good if I do them. And try to just have FUN with your new husband. Even if it’s watching something silly or getting ice cream. Try to laugh as much as you can. Things will turn out, maybe not the way you planned, but sometimes the best things turn out that way. :-) Good luck! And happy two months!

    • Laura Lee

      “This too shall pass.” Through the times in my life when I’ve had all the craziness in all the areas all at once, that’s helped me get through, just knowing that it will eventually end and things will be better. And like you’ve said, you’ve got your hubby to see you through it.
      As far as a little more practical, right now type advice, find something you can accomplish right away that will improve your life, even if it’s just in a small way. Like cleaning out your closet, or re-arranging the living room furniture. It seems silly, but stuff like that that effects your every day life can really boost your spirits and give you that sense of accomplishment you’re probably missing out on now with so much in your life up in the air.
      Oh, and have a date night with your husband with a promise not to talk about any of the stuff you guys are stressing out about. Cook dinner together, get out some candles, rent a movie. It’s ok to relax.
      Good luck with everything!

    • Emmy

      I … didn’t? Seriously, I don’t handle transition well. But now I know that and give myself room to feel my feels. And it will work itself out. It just will. That’s how life works. What often helps me is to look back at other times that I felt lost or confused (where am I going to go to college? what the hell am I going to study?) and remember that it worked out then. So a mix of loving self-care and cultivated patience. It’s not easy, but you’ll get there.

    • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

      What helps me most is making lists. To-do lists of all the things I need to do, big and small. And thencreating a schedule/calendar of when I’m gonna do them all.

      Being organized helps me ’cause I’m a Type A person, so I find it soothing :) It also is helpful to break big things down into smaller, more manageable chunks. This may or may not work for you — but it’s my suggestion.

      Fist-bump in solidarity for anxiety and major life changes. You can do it!

    • http://turningtoward.blogspot.com Kara H.

      I just came out of the same kind of “year of losing my mind” that you’re having: got married, wrote a thesis, graduated, hunted for jobs in a terrible economy, moved, bought a house…etc. The bad news: I don’t think there’s any easy way to do it. I also have an anxiety disorder, and honestly most of the year felt like a slow descent into madness. But, there are a few ways to make it better:

      1. Check up on your mental health. For me, it meant going back to therapy for a sort-of “check-up” and talking to my doctor again. I ended up on a new anti-anxiety med which has helped tremendously.

      2. Make a routine. You don’t have to do “all the things” at once. It helped to set small goals for each day and to make weekly plans that I could focus on while waiting for the other shoe to drop.

      3. Take “mental health”/”fun” days. It helped a lot to declare one day a week an internet-free, job-hunting-free, stress-free day. My new husband and I would go hiking, or work on planting our garden, or something along those lines.

      4. One day at a time. Really, that’s all you can do. Take some deep breaths, do some yoga, repeat to yourself that you are doing all you can do.

      I wish you all the best in this crazy time!

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      Yup, that sounds like pretty classic age 24 stuff. (Said the wise 25 yr old.) I’m nearing the end of my third full-time job since college, all of which have been temporary from the get go. I finally have a prospect for something more solid, and I’m keeping every available appendage crossed that I get the job (also, working for it).

      . . .I didn’t necessarily cope well with all my life transition stuff. BUT if you would like to avoid my mistakes, definitely make time to get outside every. single. day. Even if the weather sucks, go for a walk. In your own apt, all your problems fill the space. Out in the world, things fall back into perspective, and you feel more connected to reality. Even if reality is pouring down rain or bitter cold (actually, *especially* then). Also, write, write, write. Writing it out always helps me. Or find another creative outlet (sketch? dance? craft?).

      I’ll echo that is does get better, but it also gets worse, and stays the same, and everything else. Your path (career-wise, life-wise) is not straight. No one’s is. It winds and loops and goes up and down and through swamps. Find the little things to enjoy even when the big things suck, as best you can. Good luck!

    • Tamar

      Hugs your way! That all sounds incredibly stressful. But also awesome! Congrats on two months!

      My fiance and I were in a similar situation a few months ago (minus wedding-planning, we weren’t that far along yet). Looking forward at the prospect at uprooting and leaving the city we had just grown comfortable in and the friends we’ve grown to love was terrifying. My stomach was constantly in knots, and I was pretty much solely to be found drowning it out, watching Grey’s Anatomy and eating gross amounts of chocolate.

      It may be cheesy, but there was one specific quote from C.S. Lewis that grounded me when I got too deep. I actually got out paper and a pen and wrote it out, framed it, and put it on the wall to remind myself that it was true:

      “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

      Every stage of my life has seemed like the best, and I never would have the experiences I do without giving up on some elements of the past.

    • http://www.lulamaespecialevents.com Meigh McPants

      What helps me is acknowledging the anxious thoughts, but not letting them control my emotions. Like, “okay, thank you Worst Case Scenario Voice, now I’m going to move onto things that are likely to actually happen.” Also, I keep telling myself my favorite piece of advice my father ever gave me “It’s not an ordeal; it’s an adventure”. It helps me reframe difficult situations, since while I can’t control what happens, I can control how I react to it. Good luck with all of your changes, I know you’re going to handle them beautifully.

    • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca Juels

      To do lists help me keep me sanity during big change moments. There’s something about taking all the things you need to do and organizing them that helps me see the big picture and minimizes my anxiety.

      Also, self-care. This is a good time to remind yourself how important it is. Whether that means making sure you see your therapist or making sure that you schedule time to de-stress, taking care of yourself is really important when you’re feeling anxious. If you don’t already have one, I would recommend making a list of calming things to do when you feel stressed or anxious. For example, baking is my big stress reliever but making a cup of tea and reading is also on there and so is sleep. I really hope everything goes well for you!

      • Smelliott

        To-do lists! I second that. I’m kinda Type-A so that kind of tangible organization really helps ground me. A couple friends and I actually email our lists and what we’ve finished every day (we call it a list of “goals,” which I think sounds more aspirational and positive and takes a little bit of the stress out of it). We also respond to each others goals, encouraging each other to accomplish what we want, congratulating when we can check things off the list, reminding each other that taking a break and taking time for yourself is important (“so many goals! Good luck, but take care of yourself!”), and commiserating on rough days. If you have some supportive people (sibling? Friend? That hunky partner of yours?) maybe this can help?

    • Alison

      On a practical level, one piece of advice I have in these kind of liminal spaces in life is to not let the feeling of uncertainty or transience prevent you from putting down roots in a given place (this is in particular if you do move somewhere, and you’re not sure how long you’ll be there, etc.). In my experience ‘following’ my boyfriend to medical school in a city I’m not crazy about and where I was relatively unlikely to find work, in some ways I dragged my feet getting involved in the community by volunteering and the like while I was job-hunting because the organizations asked for certain lengths of commitment and I wasn’t sure how long I’d be around, anticipating I might need to move away for work. However, now I’m going into my fourth year here. Same goes for getting involved in a church community, taking community college classes or tests to prepare for grad school, etc… Don’t rush in to anything, but don’t equivocate too, too much, either.

      The other of my two cents is related to the mental health piece, and that is that I highly recommend learning more about mindfulness and adopting a meditation routine. This has made a huge change in how I deal with anxiety and depression. It can sound spiritual/quirky, but more than anything I think it’s a really valuable self-calming and conflict-resolution technique. If you google “mindfulness Canada” it looks like you’ll find various centers around the country that have this focus where you could take classes. There are also lots of books out there. Here are two of my favs:
      - The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
      - The Mindful Way through Depression by Mark G. Williams, John D. Teasdale, Zindel V. Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn

      Good luck to you!

    • Sarah

      I was there this time last year. Shudder. I have a serious tendency to conjure paper tigers in the face of uncertainty. It helped to remind myself that we could always change our minds. Instead of agreeing to a Permanent Move, I agreed to give our new location (where I had no friends, no job, and didn’t speak the language) a trial period. If, after a year or two, I was still really unhappy, we could move again.

      When I get caught in a thought spiral of doom, writing down my thoughts/fears always helps me. It’s how I process things. Uncertain things loom large when they’re on jumbled repeat in my head. When I can see them and count them and manhandle them on paper, I can better figure out how to tame them.

      Good luck!

    • catherine

      Aw, dear! well, you mentioned transitions and anxiety..www.conscious-transitions.com – Sheryl Paul’s work has changed my life. I suffer from anxiety too. I totally understand what you are feeling. Transitions are rites of passages and follow this pattern: separation (from what is / a death experience/letting go) –> liminal stage (in between…groundlessness)—-> rebirth.

      If you ever want to chat, feel free to email me – I am 23 myself and just got engaged and going through a lot as well! I get notified of replies via email on here so if you want my email just let me know :)

      You can do this! This is a growth opportunity :)

    • catherine

      oh my God Cass and I totally forgot to mention the book I am almost finished with right now that is CHANGING MY LIFE!! It’s called “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. Seriously. Wow.

    • Sarah

      Hey girl hey. Just wanted to say that I’m 24, Canadian, and also finished school and moved with my boyfriend-now-fiance to a remote area. Toronto to Alberta is no joke and it sucked for a bit, but we’ve made it livable.

      Neither of us deal with anxiety in a clinical way- he’s diagnosed OCD but has been off his meds for a few years without issue- but like the suggestions above, taking ownership and being gentle with ourselves helped us get through the transition time.

      Going from university to a remote, small town was the hardest part and is something I still struggle with sometimes. Thankfully, so many of our generation is doing exactly that right now that we found ourselves amongst a small group of like-minded newbies who we could hang out and commiserate with. I hope that’ll happen for you! And you can count me as part of your virtual circle if you like.

  • http://www.katemuehe.com/blog Kate

    This week marked the change from planning the “big” things (dress, flowers, venue, invites, etc) to planning the small, detail-laden little things. Oh these little things… much more irksome.

    I need some advice on the post-Saturday wedding Sunday morning brunch. We are not doing a gift opening because we kind of think they’re awkward and my FH does not like to be the center of attention AT ALL. But we would like to thank family and friends who traveled and we don’t see often with a little extra time on Sunday. But when we added up the wedding party (who are all married/dating someone) and just our closest out of town friends and family, it ended up being 46 people. Which gets expensive in a hurry. Most of these people will also be at the rehearsal dinner, so now I am feeling like the brunch is somewhat redundant and just another “thing” (courtesy of the WIC?). What can/should we do?

    • Laura

      I don’t think there’s a wrong decision. As a wedding guest, I always like when there’s a brunch since I get to see my friends again. Also, if I’ve traveled and there’s not a Friday night event, then it’s nice to feel like there’s an acknowledgement that I came a long way to see them and celebrate with them. But, I’ve been to plenty of weddings without them and had just as nice a time.

      As a bride, I found the planning element stressful since it was one more thing to do, but on the actual day I really appreciated getting to have some deeper conversations and facetime with some friends who don’t live nearby (we did bagels at my parents house for about 40 people).

    • Shauna

      I also really wanted to do this, because I’ve gone to a few post-wedding brunches and really enjoyed them (hosted at people’s homes open-house style, with catered–but fairly simple–pastries and coffee).

      However, we couldn’t figure out the right venue for this, and decided to scrap the idea, and I am SOOOOO grateful. The day after the wedding we were able to sleep in, and then we met immediate family for a low-key lunch at a restaurant. No planning, invitations, prep, or clean-up, or the need to be “on” for another crowd.

      An in-between option is to let everyone know that the newly wedded couple will be at a coffeeshop between certain hours the morning after the wedding, and that everyone is welcome to stop by and say hi. That way you have the extra bonding time, but you’re not paying for anything, nor dealing with RSVPs and so on.

      • http://www.katemuehe.com/blog Kate

        Oh I love the coffeeshop idea!

      • http://www.lulamaespecialevents.com Meigh McPants

        Thirding the coffee shop. We did similar and had lunch at Nando’s, since the inside looks nice, but you order at the counter, so it was pretty clear everybody was paying for their own thing (if they wanted to eat, some people just came to hang out.) It was really nice to get to see everybody again before they left town.

    • Cass

      I also hated the idea of opening presents in front of other people (its a family tradition) but wanted to hang out with people more on Sunday and find a way to comprise with my parents who really wanted one. We ended up telling people we would be going for brunch at the hotel brunch from 10-12, and come join us if they wanted for as long as they wanted (aka we didn’t pay for it!). It worked out really well, people dropped in to say hi and came and went as they pleased. We were relaxed and paid for brunch for our wedding party as a thank you for coming out. Turned out to be one of my favourite parts of the weekend and I’m really glad we did it!

      • http://www.katemuehe.com/blog Kate

        Was it difficult to work out with the restaurant how payment would work with people coming and going? I have this terrible fear of making things difficult for other people, including (but not limited to) restaurant staff whom I have never met. It’s a curse, really.

    • LMN

      For us, the guest list for the wedding was easier than the guest lists for the rehearsal dinner and the day after brunch! We were going crazy at the thought of the added expense/stress of the brunch, so we decided to make it just immediate family–that whittled it down to 15. Then we opted to have it in the restaurant where we were all staying, and we let people know that it was informal and everyone was paying their own way. No one minded a bit. We got in extra visiting time with out-of-town family, and it worked for us. Best of luck finding a solution that works well for you!

    • Sarah

      We did exactly what Cass did and it was GENIUS! The hotel brunch was already included in the room block we got, so it didn’t require people to spend any more money, and it was a nice way to get one more chance to see everyone who traveled, without planning another event and spending more money.

    • MM

      My sister brought in pastries, breakfast sandwiches, juice and coffee from a local place (http://www.wildflowerbread.com/menu/catering/breakfast-brunch/) for her brunch. She invited everyone who was at the wedding, the hotel where her block of rooms was let them use the room for no cost, and it ending up only being a few hundred dollars for 40ish people.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      I think I’ve only ONCE been to a wedding where the couple arranged for brunch the next day. Generally, no matter who I traveled with (friends or family), our group would make brunch plans (with friends, usually finding the closest coffee shop or diner, with family sometimes meeting at the bride’s or groom’s parents’ house) and then let the couple know about it, and go about our business. Sometimes the couple can join, sometimes not.

      The one time the bride’s parents arranged brunch that was more or less open to all guests, they hosted it at home and had it catered by Panera I think. The couple looked absolutely exhausted the whole time. Everyone else looked like zombies, too, though.

      I’d say tell people to show up at a coffee shop if they’d like (because all those out-of-town folks probably want to get on the road fairly quickly, too, so may only want to grab a quick cup before heading out) OR scrap it and plan ahead for some visits during your first married year.

    • Molly

      One thing to consider is that close friends and family will likely want to say goodbye to you on Sunday (especially if you all are staying in the same hotel). It may be easier for you to be in a designated place on Sunday for a two-hour block of time so people can do some more visiting, tell you how much they enjoyed the wedding, and say goodbye, than to spend the whole day with people texting and calling to track you down for a last hug. I love the coffeeshop idea and hotel brunch drop-in. Another low-key option is to say that you are going to be in your hotel room from 10-12 and people are welcome to come in and say hi–if you want to get some coffee and fruit or donuts or bagels that is fine, but there is no expectation that will happen unless you specifically call it a brunch.

  • Caroline

    I can’t tell you how glad I am to be here at apw happy hour because 1 hour ago, my computer was dying a horrible, tragic, call the manufacturer because we can’t save you death, and now, magically, it’s working. I don’t know how, which is freaking me out, but whatevs. It’s alive!

    • carrie

      Hooray!

    • JessPeebs

      BACK UP YOUR FILES!! :)

  • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

    It’s my birthday tomorrow! I have never really made a big deal of birthdays before, and I don’t really feel older, but for some reason I feel like since it’s 30, I have more license to be birthday-y. And it’s still not like we’re doing anything outrageous, but I got us tickets to a local TEDx event. In retrospect, though, not sleeping in on my birthday… I didn’t really think that one through!

    • Not Sarah

      I’m turning 25 next week and I feel like I need to make a big deal out of it! I’m still debating taking the day off of work. I have no meetings planned, so perhaps I will. Enjoy your day tomorrow!

    • MarieKD

      Happy birthday-eve! Go ahead and be as birthday-y as you please! (Says the one who’s been celebrating birthday month…)

    • KEA1

      Why sleep in on your birthday? If you get up early, you get to start enjoying your birthday SOONER! %) Happy birthday!

  • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

    I feel like this is the perfect place to say that I just scheduled our cake tasting, and after hearing her describe what she’s setting up for us, I’m drooling and can’t wait for next Saturday. We’ve already booked the bakery based on recommendations and the fact that they’re the only shop around really. I didn’t feel comfortable asking the family friend who made my high school graduation cake if she would be willing without adding her and her husband to the guest list. But everyone from the florist to the reception venue coordinator has been raving about this shop’s cakes and now I get to try them! (I’m a cake person, what can I say?)

  • znna

    So, my guy and I have both done some contacting of potential vendors, and I’ve noticed a strange trend. Vendors usually get back to me right away (all the photographers I contacted responded within 24 hours), but his experience has been more mixed — longer response times and in one case no response at all. I have a traditionally female name and he has a traditionally male name. Anyone else having a similar experience? (His emails/contact messages look good to me, by the way!)

    • http://www.katemuehe.com/blog Kate

      I have found that all of our vendors are more responsive with me than my FH. It does seem odd.

    • SamiSidewinder

      Well, I did most of the contacting and had a hell of a time getting people to respond. I had multiple times where people flat out didn’t respond. Then again, I often sign with Sam so it’s not obvious that I’m a woman. Maybe that was my problem all along!

      But I have my doubts. I think some people are just overwhelmed and/or flighty.

      I’m not gonna complain, that’s how I ended up convincing Maddie to visit Oregon!

      • znna

        Sorry you had trouble getting responses back, Sami, but glad it worked out! I haven’t had trouble getting responses (we’re in a decent size city, so that might be a factor), but it’s made it a bit harder to divide up that initial work more evenly, just because it’s so easy for the first person in the couple to make contact to remain the main point person. If it is a guys name thing, I wonder how it affects men in same-sex couples. . .

    • Angie

      We definitely had issues getting vendors to respond – caterers were the worst. One caterer met with us, we talked and got along wonderfully (or so we thought) and they seemed to really get our vision for the wedding. They said they would put together a menu and some pricing information and get back to us in a week or so, and we never heard back, even after we followed up with 2 emails and a phone call. Another caterer returned my call but told me that my wedding was far too complicated, and he would consider it but if he got a better, more traditional offer for the same weekend, he would ditch ours. Nice, right?

      Strangely our requirements for choosing vendors shifted to include “returns our calls and emails” – we didn’t think decent communication was going to be an issue, but it really was! And I don’t know about the gender thing, I guess I was the one doing the majority of the calling for many of the vendors so we didn’t have much to compare with each other.

      Good luck with your search! Once we got the vendors all nailed down it really became far less frustrating.

  • Ali S

    I am moving forward on wedding dress shopping! I have been crazy picky, and tried on somewhere around 30 dresses (hey, I get to be picky for this!!) and I’m finally ready to make some decisions.
    Question though: There’s a dress I like that is one size too big (the sample). If I buy the sample, they’ll give me a pretty generous discount, but I’d have to get it taken in a size. And really, if I bought it in the smaller size, there’s no guarantee that it won’t need to be altered anyway. Would this actually save me money? Its about a $450 discount.

    PS this is it yayyyy
    http://www.essensedesigns.com/essense-of-australia/dresses/detail/D1291

    • MM

      OMG the back of that dress!

    • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

      I would try to talk to someone who does alterations to get a sense of the cost of taking it in a size. Generally, I’d say the discount would be worth it, but the back of that dress looks like it might be difficult to alter and difficult = expensive. I guess that’s the trade-off with gorgeous, because that dress is fabulous.

    • Sara

      Such a pretty dress. I’d price out alterations and if it’s still cheaper to buy the sample than do it. Keep in mind you’ll probably need a good cleaning too. Good luck.

    • Kcaudad

      Buy the dress…. The alterations people are great and can change the size for you, no problem! Most wedding dresses need some alterations anyways. Just my 2 cents.

    • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca Juels

      That is such a lovely dress! I’m all about discounts so I say go for it! You would probably end up getting alterations on any size anyways.

    • Darcy

      I second the advice to get some quotes on the alteration. From the looks of it there are side seams that can be taken in meaning you shouldn’t have to touch the back. Some adjustments might need to be made at the shoulder. Depending on the seamstress you might be paying somewhere in the $300 to $400 range to get it taken in and hemmed.

    • SamiSidewinder

      I know a lot of seamstresses have told me that the farther you have to take it in, the more likely the proportions will get wonky. That isn’t to say it’s impossible or will look weird when it’s done, but it will likely take more work and time. I agree with the others, get a professional opinion before you make a move.

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/179626212196077/203217753170256/ Hannah

    We had our first APW Portland meetup this week, and it was amazing! I’m really looking forward to doing more of these. Also, if there are any more Portland, Oregon people who haven’t joined, you should! Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/179626212196077/

  • Claire

    In the process of buying our first house as a couple, and we are almost there! I’m done emailing the underwriters every scrap of paper I’ve ever written on, and we finally, finally have final approval on our financing details.

    I’m so happy to be fleeing the suburbs and moving back to the city. We’ll finally have a proper setup for the nieces and I think having a house that was chosen by both of us together will be huge. Happy dancing over here :)

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      YAY! Fingers crossed that the rest is smooth sailing!

    • http://turningtoward.blogspot.com Kara H.

      Congrats! We just bought our first house a month ago and wish you happy buying and moving process! (I so feel you on the paperwork part. I don’t think I’ve ever signed so much paperwork in my life before!)

    • http://www.lulamaespecialevents.com Meigh McPants

      Yaaaay, congratulations!!! Enjoy it. We bought our first home in February (moved in in April) and while it’s a lot of work, it’s totally worth it.

  • MOE

    My husband just invited me to have The Talk. Sex? Babies? No, money.

    We’ve had discussions before especially during planning the wedding we just had in April but this is a bigger, more detailed, long-term discussion. He’s asked me to make a list of all my debts and expenses. He’s very good with these things and is an avid reader of all things Economics. I, however am totally afraid of these talks and not very good at them. I do make a kickass spreadsheet though.

    Anyone have experience going through The Talk?

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      Have a drink. Be just as honest with money as you would about sex. Remember, you’re both in this for the long haul so you have plenty of time to work towards the ideal. Just like sex, if you don’t say what you want, you won’t get it, and if you don’t say you’re uncomfortable, you’ll end up with a lot of resentment and hurt. (You seem like a pretty comfortable with sex kinda gal, so that’s the metaphor I went with!)

      It’ll be fine! You’re partners!

    • Lindsay

      oh man…THAT talk. we put if off for a year after our wedding….and then it finally happened and there were tears (mine) and logical words (his) and frustration (mine and his) but we got it figured out. my husband is also of the very-good-with-all-things-money camp and i finally trusted that no one was getting screwed (i was more worried i was the big winner in the whole thing since i’m the one w/the most debt….stupid law school…and i felt really really guilty about it). it’s been a year of joint checking where most of our respective paychecks end up and so far, so good. it was definitely tough getting over the hump though.

    • Kara E

      See above – I think a lot of people had some great comments in response to the puffy-eyed poster above.

      My advice (such as it is) is to be open minded to what you’re hearing and feeling, don’t get defensive (or offensive, if that’s the way you react), and don’t try to solve everything in one conversation. Good luck!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I initiated those conversations in our relationship. It wasn’t about right/wrong or good/bad. It was just to get the picture. For example, if/when we have kids, each pregnancy will mean at least several months without my income (not everyone’s plan/priority, but it’s mine). When can we afford that? Well, we can’t know until we have the numbers from both partners.

      Also, since everything I have is his, too (legally, in this state, but morally even if not legally), I wanted to be honest and upfront about what I was doing with our money. Did he have a problem with my latte habit? My super-conservative retirement investments?

      He withheld some information – not out of malice, but shame. I was really hurt. I felt I’d been lied to. We got past it, of course, but it was a rough patch I feel we could have avoided if he’d just been up-front before. Again, I only cared about the numbers in terms of planning for our joint future. It wasn’t about the spending he kept from me; it was about keeping it from me and telling me a different amount.

    • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

      We go through the money talk every couple of months and it’s one of those things where yes, it’s hard the first couple times you get into the nitty gritties but it gets easier with time. Being on the same page with money is huge – knowing what your assets and liabilities and regular obligations allows either of you to completely take over the reigns if ever necessary.

      Talking about money teaches you a LOT about each other. It’s super vulnerable, in a way that we aren’t often open with people.

    • Rebecca

      We had a whole series of talks, starting when I was unemployed and in grad school one supper and totally freaking out about money, and ending (as much as such things do) with a conversation mediated by a financial planner who asked really smart questions and was super helpful. A few things to think about:

      How do you both feel about risk? (in the monetary sense) Are you a put all your retirement savings in penny stocks or a stuff it all under the mattress person? How do your feelings about risk vary?

      How much money is “enough”? Homes in seven countries and a butler? As long as we’re not starving it’s fine? What lifestyle do you have now? Can you afford it? What lifestyle do you want to have in the future?

      What are your short term money goals? What are your short term spending plans- vacations, whatever?

      What are big things you want to save for in the future? Vacations, cars, houses, retirement- what are your priorities and how are you going to meet your goals? What are you willing to sacrifice/ do to reach them? Give up your clothes spending? Ask for that raise? How can you help each other meet those goals?

      Who will do the financial chores? Short term stuff like paying bills and long term stuff like budgeting and planning. How will the person doing a chore keep the other person in the loop?

      The best part about talking finances is dreaming about the future- but to do that you need to know where you stand in the present. You can do it!

      The have a drink advice is also quite good.

  • Anonymous Coward

    So, putting this under a pseudonym because I hate to have my angst out on the internet attached to my name. I hope this can be discussed without shaming anyone’s body/size/shape/weight.

    I am feeling very uncomfortable in my body. Over the last 2-3 years, which includes a wedding and graduate school, I have been very busy and pretty much glued to my computer. While my partner feeds me homecooked meals. And I have gained somewhere upwards of 30 pounds. I hate how I look in pictures. It doesn’t match my mental image of myself. I am used to being a plus size, but this might be the heaviest I have been in my life, and it is physically uncomfortable, as well as mentally and emotionally very difficult for me. I’m in recovery for disordered eating behaviors and I have a chronic illness that affects weight gain/loss.

    I would like to make some space in my life to change a few behaviors, but I have a real problem (philosophically, psychologically) with dieting to lose weight. That pushes a lot of my buttons, especially since I have become aware of the Health At Every Size movement. However, taking care of myself and improving my health would probably result in at least a little weight loss. Unless it doesn’t, and I find myself feeling like a failure for admitting that this isn’t working for me and making the effort to change what I eat and how I exercise, without seeing “results”. Yargh. It’s all very complicated.

    • http://www.lulamaespecialevents.com Meigh McPants

      ::hug:: It’s never a good feeling when you’re uncomfortable with your body for whatever reason. Have you considered/are you talking with a therapist that specializes in ED? If not, I’d definitely encourage that. If you’re not up for a like, therapy journey, they probably at least have some good resources for next steps on getting your body and brain working together to be healthy. I’m totally struggling with this right now myself, so I’m throwing lots of good mental energy in your direction.

      • Anonymous Coward

        Thank you. I’m going to try asking around to find a therapist (who’s local, covered by my insurance, and doesn’t make me want to scratch my eyes out) after having some pretty negative experiences in therapy as a teen. I did have a good relationship like that with a personal trainer a few years ago, and worked on all sorts of stuff other than body image and physical fitness… but I can’t support the cost at this time. Post-graduation,. I have a little mental space to breathe and get started on this.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      I’m not an expert, but my mom is, and I have this to offer:

      If you can, hire a nutritionist or a registered dietician. Doctors, health care centers, and even the local YMCA might be able to recommend a good one. And if you find a good one, he/she will not tell you to diet, but be able to analyze your current habits and give you the tools and knowledge to make positive changes.

      Secondly, find an activity to do that reconnects you with your body, as it is right now. Personally, yoga is this for me. Every yoga class depends on the teacher, so you may need to try a few different classes/videos to find one that you enjoy. No matter the activity you like doing (tai chi, dance, walking, physical housework, gardening, whatever), it helps to re-connect more strongly with what your body IS capable of, to own it at whatever size you are, rather than feeling like it’s foreign to you.

      Best of luck, this is a really tough journey, and I know from my partner how much energy grad school requires, while allowing little time for taking care of yourself. You will find your peace though! Go for it!

      • Anonymous Coward

        Physically I am fairly capable; the illness mostly manifests in fatigue, but my range of motion and flexibility and strength are within expected limits. Only recently has my weight/inactivity begun to affect my joints and cause some pain. Finding an activity that I like is a tough one. Most of the time, I would be happy if I got to curl up in bed with a book and never move. Even when I’m not depressed. So it’s all about equally as challenging/annoying, or so I’ve found so far. I have not tried tai chi, though, and I know there are groups near my house. Thank you for the encouragement!

        • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

          Maybe think about using an elliptical or stationary bike for cardio-you can totally read while using those. Or, go for a walk/run with some music or an audio book. Or walk/bike as transportation if you live in a place that allows it.

    • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca Juels

      To reiterate what Meigh said, if you have seen a therapist for your ED then that might be a good starting point. Also, perhaps just a change in the way you’re viewing things? You said you have a problem with dieting to lose weight, but what if you shift your focus to just getting healthy? Take a chunk of time where you don’t step on the scale and don’t think about the pounds but instead think about getting active (as much as you can – I don’t know how your chronic illness affects you) and getting your daily servings of fruits and veggies. Is that something that might work for you? It sounds like your partner is great in the kitchen so getting them on board could help you both out with getting nutrition back on track.

      • Class of 1980

        Agree.

        Think of losing weight for health reasons; not to become more “pretty”. It’s not healthy to think of it being tied to your looks.

        Any side effects of becoming prettier are just because you’ll be healthier.

      • Anonymous Coward

        Haven’t stepped on a scale in many years. Sticking with that! :) (It’s how I know this is an extreme, but am not really sure how much I weigh; I’m basing it on how I feel physically and how I move rather than the number the scale says.)

        I have been working on getting more fruits and veggies. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I eat regularly and have some variety in my diet. I’ve found the Satter model helpful as I’ve been adjusting to having a live-in partner (who cooks!). Up to planning untried recipes in hopes that they’ll turn out all right and perhaps even successfully.

        http://www.ellynsatter.com/resources/Foodneeds.pdf

        • Rebecca

          On the fruits and veggies front we’ve had really good experience with going CSA-lite- really just organic produce delivery, but it’s seasonal and they pick it out for you, so you get a lot of variety without having to think about it. And then the house is full of fruits and veggies and I have to eat them first because I’ve already spent good money on these delicious things, darn it. I will not lie, it is spendy ($40/ week in our area), but we eat sooo many more fruits and veggies and so much more variety in our fruits and veggies that it’s worth it to us.

    • Heather

      Oh hun, I’m so sorry- these are complicated tough issue to deal with- I don’t have anything magical to tell you, since I’m in a fairly similar situation, except that you’re not alone and I’m sending good thoughts your way. What might help as well is if you’re able to expand what you consider as a positive result of making lifestyle changes- I went from fairly sedentary (a couple flirtations with running, which was only satisfying in that I was forcing myself to do something I didn’t want to do) to being very active by taking some pretty high intensity dance classes and sweating my butt of 3-9 hrs a week. With pretty much no visible weight loss even though my diet, while still problematic, has probably at least improved. …. And it’s insanely frustrating. But. But! The truth is that even while I haven’t seen the results that I expected and wanted (I am also at a weight where I feel uncomfortable), I feel much healthier, stronger, and more capable than I did before I started- including a weird abdominal pain that stopped happening (and I know I should probably get checked out, but it can be very hard to prioritize the normal things like taking care of your health when you’re a grad student and feel overwhelmed with the busyness and make about $3/hr). So, even though you might not end up losing weight (and that’s okay!) I would totally second the idea of taking up something that makes you happy and appreciate your body- I had a hard time forcing myself to “exercise” on a regular basis, but knowing that I’m paying a big chunk of my paycheck towards dance classes means I will drag my butt there even when I’m not in the mood or I’m feeling really busy. And it can be tough to put myself out there (god help the people who have to see me in a leotard and pink tights), but ultimately I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made as an adult.

      • Anonymous Coward

        Thanks! I’m glad you’re feeling better — healthy, strong, and capable are all good things! I know there are a lot of dance classes in my area, although the timing could be difficult (they like to start in the early evening while I’m still at work). Barring the pink tights — and probably a jazz or African dance class instead of ballet — it might be something to pick up again.

    • Pamela

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this – I’ve been there too and it’s really hard.

      Regarding exercise and “results”, maybe see if you can change your definition of “results” – did you enjoy the movement, can you lift heavier things than a week/month ago, can you walk further, are you sleeping better, can you stretch a little more, etc. Try to focus on how you *feel* rather than how you look (trust me, I know how hard this is!), but if you feel good, it will help.

      I know you mentioned the HAES approach, which I love, and I’d recommend the book Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch.They cover all aspects of heatlhy eating, living, and self-care – recovering from chronic dieting as well as eating disorders and things like nutrition and stress management. It’s a really gentle approach to honoring your hunger and your nutritional needs while respecting your body. It was a life-changing read for me.

      Best of luck to you!

      • Anonymous Coward

        I think “Did I enjoy myself?” is a good point of evaluation, and one I don’t think I’ve ever used. Gradual incremental improvement is also helpful, rather than aiming for big goals all at once.

        Intuitive Eating is a great book — thank you for mentioning it. I could stand to read it over (it’s been a while) and be more mindful.

    • K

      Hey Anon,

      It’s not your fault.

      There’s been a lot of progress made in understanding metabolism, and disordered eating behaviors are often linked to underlying metabolic issues, which can cause weight to sky rocket. There are a few important pathways in the brain, and if they are off kilter, it throws the whole metabolic system off. A diet triggers a cascade of hormonal and metabolic changes, which can lead to more weight gain.
      http://www.king5.com/health/get-fit/Dieting-can-hurt-not-help-weight-loss-203636221.html

      Katy

    • Anon for This

      You may have already done this, but I didn’t see a mention of it, so I’m going to suggest it just in case. Have a really honest talk with your partner about your struggles, concerns, feelings, etc. Your partner can not only support you emotionally, but can also help you make some of the lifestyle changes that you are contemplating. Can you achieve your goal of healthy eating by going grocery shopping and/or choosing recipes together? Is there an activity that the two of you enjoy (or could learn together) that might make it more fun or possible to be active? Even just having an accountability partner can be a great help (we use a spreadsheet to track whether each of us has completed certain goals each day, which includes healthy eating and exercising). And never underestimate the power of having someone who supports your goals but at the same time will tell you that they will love you regardless of your body. I’ve been struggling for the past two years with being 20 pounds underweight (due to a combination of illness and metabolism), very insecure about my body and appearance, and constantly frustrated with the lack of progress I’ve made, and I can’t tell you how much difference it’s made to know that my partner has really made an effort to understand and support me in whatever way he can.

    • Ericka

      Just to add on to what other people have said about reframing how you think of goals and results — my goals were/are as follows:

      I’d like to be capable of lifting heavy objects, running for fun or from danger, feeling balanced and at home in my own body, having more stamina for woman-on-top sex positions, having stronger back muscles to keep joints from slipping out of alignment all the time, and, bonus goal if possible, fitting mass-produced clothing a little better so shopping isn’t such a struggle.

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      Body issues are always complicated, and there are so few safe places to talk about how we feel about our bodies openly and honestly without being shamed in one way or another.

      If you are physically uncomfortable with your size, I see no problem with changing your eating and exercise habits to ones that will make you feel comfortable in your body again. And it’s really no one’s place, IMO, to tell you how to feel about your body. As long as you’re not doing some stupid fad diet, and generally eating healthy things in appropriate portions, I don’t see a problem with changing your eating. And exercise is good for you in general. Counseling is also an option to talk you through your feelings, as long as you can find a good therapist.

      My own story for perspective: I also have an illness that can affect weight gain and loss (ulcerative colitis). So, I’m terrified of not only being on the high side of normal for me, meaning if I got sick and didn’t lose weight I’d just gain a lot rapidly, but am also terrified of being too skinny in the event that I get sick, lose weight, and turn into a bag of bones. Plus I’m a grad student to boot, meaning finding time to eat and exercise properly doesn’t always happen.

      Sending hugs your way.

  • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

    Ladies, I finally, FINALLY have some hope for a long-term (as in, longer than a year) career option. This was my first week “auditioning” to be a full-time ballroom dance instructor at a local, independent studio. This is a job I think I could reasonably hold for the next three years here in NE. Three years!! I haven’t held a job that long since college. My current position is my longest held post-graduation and it will expire at just about the 13-month mark of employment.

    I’m super jazzed to have even the chance to do something I love that I already know I can do well (I taught beginner dance lessons in college), plus the style of work just suits me better. Discrete, tangible tasks, firm routine, lots of personal interaction, talking out loud in front of people, active work on my feet, a schedule I can work around, the list goes on.

    So far, I know 90% of the material I’m learning, so it’s a matter of learning how my (potential) boss wants things done, and keeping my mouth shut like a good worker bee. The only other person in the running for this position (that I know of) has solo dance experience- things like ballet, jazz, modern- but nearly zero partner dance experience. I’m working hard to earn the position, but I also can’t help thinking I’m a total shoo-in, as long as I can prove I’m a good person to work with. I have no idea if a decision will be made in two weeks or in eight weeks, but I’m hoping sooner rather than later. Send good vibes my way!

    • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca Juels

      That sounds amazing!

    • MarieKD

      Oh that sounds so awesome! I am definitely sending you all the good vibes I can! I did some ballroom dancing in college and it was the best. Just the best. Here’s to you!

    • Kirsten

      That is fantastic! I’m super excited for you!! And now I’m curious about which studio, but won’t jinx you by asking you to tell before it’s a sure thing. :)

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      Good luck!

  • Sara

    Editz: And then THEIR was IT’S West Coast soul sister’s wedding –> And then THERE was ITS West Coast soul sister’s wedding

  • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca Juels

    My roommate just started watching Game of Thrones (she’s halfway across the country for work right now) and she’s getting really into it. It’s almost heartbreaking to read her texts when you know what happens in the end…

    This has been a generally bad week for me in terms of being pretty sick all week (chronic illness flare up) but things are starting to look up just in time for the weekend! I happened to be at the doctor’s today when my specialist referral came back with an appointment so I should hopefully get some answers in 2 months.

    Also, heading out to an engagement party tonight and then heading out with some friends to see Despicable Me 2 tomorrow night! Here’s to hoping my body keeps it together for long enough that I can enjoy this weekend!

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      Haha, one of my friends is live-blogging his reads of the books, and I feel exactly the same way.

      Sorry about your illness being a pain, I sympathize there. Are you still trying to figure out a diagnosis, or are you looking for better treatment options?

      • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca Juels

        Right now it’s mostly along the lines of, I know what’s wrong with me, I just need to get a doctor to make the diagnosis. I’m medically qualified enough to look at the diagnostic criteria and be like, “Hmmm…yup. That’s it. Check marks all around.” but for some reason that’s not quite good enough for everybody else :)

        P.S. Your blog is the coolest! Let me know when you come up with a Doctor Who cocktail.

        • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

          We actually have a set of sonic screwdriver recipes (one for 10 and one for 11) that we’ve tested and photographed, my husband just needs to finish writing his post on it! I’m hoping it’ll be up in the next few days, but we’ll see. Maybe once they announce who the next Doctor is. =P

  • Smelliott

    Wooooot happy hour!

    I’m going to go off topic a bit here and talk about my new obsession – learning French! We’re thinking of honeymooning in Europe after the wedding next year (side note – honeymoon registries for the win) and I’d love to brush up on my high school French enough to really get by without English. I’ve been listening to podcasts, practicing on free apps like duolingo and babbel, and generally mumbling to myself for a while… I was wondering if anyone else had free/inexpensive ideas for how to keep it up? I live in DC – anyone know of French groups? Or other online resources? Has anyone tried Rosetta Stone, and is it worth the expense?

    Merci beaucoup, mes amis! ;)

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      I don’t know specific resources but, if you can find a language buddy (either to meet in person or over Skype), absolutely do it. When you’re with them, try not to speak any English. If you don’t know a word, explain around it instead of going straight for a dictionary. I’m learning Mandarin right now in a summer program where we’re not allowed to speak any English. It’s hard (and sometimes painful, since I’m still pretty beginner) but it’s been amazing for my ability to actually converse with people.

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      I would focus on the stuff you’ll need to know most: Ordering food, directions, interactions with hotel staff, et cetera. As for resources, I recommend taking classes at a community college if you can find them. And be sure to have someone to practice with. I personally don’t like the way Rosetta stone works, but I know it works well for some people. Also, articles are about the worst part of learning the language. So specific.

      When I went to France a few years ago, most people, especially in Paris, spoke English. Less so in Dinard and Tour.

      I’m a bit rusty, but: France es tres belle, j’adore. La langue francaise n’es pas facile, mais n’es pas difficile, et es tres belle aussie! Bonne chance!

    • CW

      Have you checked Meetup.com? Or the Global Language Network which offers super-affordable conversation classes? And, if you’re in DC, contact the embassy to see if they have conversation groups or can put you in touch with a cultural organization who does that sort of thing.

  • anonny non

    My new hubs and I are fighting. Or rather, *disagreeing.*

    A lot.

    They’re not big fights — they’re over stupid little things like how we clean the kitchen (never an issue before) and the amount of time we spend consuming electronic media, or the number of power cords that remain stretched across the living room at any one time.

    Usually, it boils down to “I’m not feeling heard on this!” or “we actually have to make this decision together!” or “this affects both of us!!!”

    But I feel like I’m picking fights all the time. Every third thing is just setting me off.

    Could this be a somewhat belated oh-shit-this-is-forever reaction? Did anyone else have a spate of near-constant disagreement a couple of months after the wedding? Big picture, I’m not worried — this all feels like stuff we can navigate our way through. But oy, am I so emotionally exhausted!

    • BT

      I kind of feel like I’m going through that as well. Nothing huge, just feeling kind of “AH!” over stupid stuff a lot more lately (we’ve been married a couple months as well). I think it may kind of be a reaction to now being solidly an “us” but still wanting to hold on to my independence and then overreacting when I feel like that is threatened. It keeps showing up as strong opinions on stupid stuff. :\

    • L

      My husband and I went through a rough couple months after living together for a while (we weren’t married yet). I think two things got us through. First, time. After a while whatever it was just tapered off and we were ok again. But while it was going on it was pretty crappy and scary so we met with a therapist a few times and read “Five Love Languages”. And I really credit that book for helping us turn things around. It was straight forward, practical, and logical. We review it every year now and try to keep those lessons in mind in how we treat each other. It might really help you out. It basically short circuits all those arguments and gets out of that therapeutic space where you need to find the deep reason for every fight.

      Anyway, good luck! I am sure it is temporary.

    • catherine

      Totally normal. Yes, it seems like belated oh shit this is forever stuff. Along with the power struggle of merging your identities. “If i budge this time then ill get walked all over forever!!!: ahhhhh !!!! type stuff. It’s obviously not about the dish in the sink, it seems to be your wounded self struggling to hold onto some power as you are learning how to navigate merging into one family. one unit.

      breathe through it, allow your feelings to surface. it’s not about partner, it’s about you. take good care of yourself and give yourself lots of hugs and cradling through this transition. and congrats on your new marriage :)

    • Molly

      Sorry that you are bumming! I went through a lot of post-wedding letdown that manifested in me picking fights. I had so much fun at the wedding and was so happy to have my friends together that it was hard for me to go back to normal life without a big, fun event to look forward to. It helped me to plan some little special things–mid-week dates, a trip a few months later, exercising, etc. Maybe that will be a help for you, too.

    • http://dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      I’m pretty sure this is normal when you’re trying to figure out how to function as a unit in a way that works for both of you. We’re about a year married and still do this sometimes. I don’t really see it as a problem, I see it as a way to figure out communication skills and habits and increase our efficiency.

  • K

    Anybody work with their partner? R and I are working together for the first time, and sometimes I want to remind him that his is first and foremost my husband, not my business partner. While it’s awesome that he did xyz, he still has to walk the dog and take out the trash and talk about non-work-stuff on dates.

  • Beth

    I got my wedding pictures back today and am (mostly) super thrilled with them eeeeeeeeeeeyaaah!

  • Sarah

    Searching for a bit of love and advice…

    My partner and I are recently engaged and just went to two wedding of our friends – both helped us to realize how much more important the people and joy are than the stuff – BUT these weddings also had ALL THE THINGS. Trying to not go to a place of comparison, but it’s hard to not go to that place.

    Major planning is coming along – venue, date, caterer, photographer, DJ, cake. I bought a dress! Surprisingly on our first shopping trip! But, I can’t even feel excited about it because all of these wonderful things are currently over shadowed by the fact that it recently came out that my FFIL is not a fan of me. I’ve had a feeling that he didn’t like me for years, but had no real concrete reason. FFIL said he believes I said something very offensive to him four years ago (a thing I absolutely did not say) also (FOUR YEARS AGO!) He’s drafted a narrative for himself that I’m manipulative and trying to make his son choose me instead. None of these things are true and he keeps saying he wants to move past it and “get to know me.” Comical, given that his son and I have been together for almost six years. I’m sad, hurt, frustrated, and a bit angry. My feelings are complicated by the fact that we’ve asked FFIL to be our wedding officiant. I feel the need FIX this, but part of me knows it’s not my fault and is due to FFIL’s abandonment issues. However, I feel so uncomfortable with the idea of someone marrying us who doesn’t approve of our marriage.

    FH has been incredibly supportive and the whole ordeal has shifted his loyalty from his family of origin to our new baby family.

    It still hurts.

    On top of that, work has gone to shit.

    • Mira

      Sarah, I’m not sure that I’m qualified to offer advice, but I wanted to send you some virtual hugs. This sounds so very very hard.

      Reading through this, it seems like there are two different issues at play — one is that this is going to be your FIL, and you’ve got many years of being family ahead of you. The second is more immediate — he’s going to be your officiant, which is understandably making you uncomfortable.

      Based on the fact that you asked him to officiate, I’m guessing that FFIL is not a known, certifiable crazy person — but rather a somewhat-unreasonable ordinary person who’s got his own isht to deal with. If I’m wrong about that, ignore everything I say below.

      I think you should start by talking with your FFIL (and FMIL, if they’re still together) one-on-one. Tell them that you’d like a fresh start. Do it over a cup of coffee, or go for a walk together — something brief but private. And this is the hard part: do it without fiance. Tell them how very much you love their son, and say that you don’t want a misunderstanding from the past to poison your relationship with them going forward. This is about establishing yourself as a self-possessed adult in your new in-laws’ eyes — like when my husband called up my parents and asked for their blessing (though explicitly not their permission) before he proposed. You are giving them an opportunity to see you being graceful, open, inclusive, and mature. They may not see it. That’s okay.

      Second, I think you and your fiance need to find a different officiant. You want to feel comfortable as you say your vows, and you don’t want that to be contingent upon repairing four years worth of misunderstanding. In addition, you are putting your FFIL in an incredibly difficult situation, if he’s feeling conflicted about the marriage to begin with. Officiating is a really big job. You can tell him (together with your fiance this time!) simply that you’ve been thinking a lot about the ceremony, and you’ve decided that it makes the most sense to have an outside officiant because you don’t want to burden the family with logistics on this big day. Or tell him flat out that you want to focus on repairing your relationship with him, and you think asking him to officiate puts to much pressure on things. Be ready to offer him a specific role in the ceremony as an alternative — perhaps selecting and/or reading a key poem of bit of scripture — because you need to be clear from the beginning that this is not about pushing him out of his son’s life.

      In addition, one of your jobs in wedding planning is going to br thinking of other ways that you can honor all your parents at the wedding. Maybe you can ask for their help putting together baby pictures of fiance and his family for reception decor — or a rehearsal night slideshow. Maybe you do something symbolic, like a unity candle with families. Or maybe it’s as simple as a special spot for the parents to sit during the ceremony (we set up seats just outside our chuppah for our parents so they were physically close and had a great view). Do it all, or pick what you’re comfortable with. This is not guaranteed to prevent awkwardness at the wedding — there might be some — but it’s the right gesture to make.

      Finally, make sure you’ve surrounded yourself with a good support crew. Because even if there are difficult moments, being that surrounded by love makes it easy to let the tough stuff roll off your back . Your wedding is going to be lovely, and you’re well on your way to planned. Get excited, lady!!!

  • Magical Unicorn Mama to Be (we hope)

    Last month’s IUI didn’t take. I was way more upset by it than I thought I would be, like tearing up three times in three days. And then convincing myself that I actually *was* pregnant and this was hormones. And then bargaining with my uterus, being firmly in denial and taking online quizzes debating implantation bleeding vs. menstruation. It was a little crazy, especially since I was relatively sure I wasn’t knocked up before blood starting spewing from my crotch.

    I’m feeling a little guilty about not being pregnant, like I can just will a sperm to penetrate an egg and then implant in my uterus. BECAUSE I SAY IT WILL BE SO. Or that because I had a glass of wine the night before an IUI, or did a couple of long runs and went to weight lifting class, the zygote was like ‘Screw this, I’m out!’ and gave up. That is ridiculous. The doctors didn’t tell me to make any modifications to my daily life aside from painkillers and booze, so trying to otherwise this early was ridiculous.

    I knew what the odds are (20% per try x 2 tries, which, I just spent 10 minutes on google and couldn’t figure out so, whatever, but it’s not great), but I also had decided I was also a magical unicorn and I would be one of those first try success stories. Because reasons. I’m also disappointed just because the timing of getting knocked up last month would have been really convenient for various schedules, as if babies ever care about such things, and the finances of it all.

    Oh well. Carry on and we’ll try again next month! (Which is hard to say when each month is $1400 a try, but still.)

    • Christa

      It’s rough. I’m sorry.

      The numbers for your chance of not yet being pregnant are:
      1 month: .8. (80% chance of NOT being pregnant, 20% chance of being pregnant)
      2 months: .64 (64% chance of NOT being pregnant, 36% chance of being pregnant)
      3 months: .51 (about 50/50 each way)
      4 months: .41 (41% chance of NOT being pregnant, 59% chance of being pregnant)
      5 months: .33. etc
      6 months: .26

      This is assuming all the tries are completely independent, which is a good assumption early on, and gets less good after the first several months. Good luck. It’s a tough (and expensive!) time period.

      • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.nl/ Amanda

        I read somewhere (I can’t find the scientific article), where, for IUIs, the first 3 attempts have the highest chances of success (16-20%) The next 3 attempts have lower chances of success. Once you have been through 6 IUIs, the chances of IUI working are a lot lower, and it is most probable IVF / ICSI will work.

        I wish you all the luck in the world for your magical unicorn baby. I hope it will come fast.

        And don’t beat yourself up, this has nothing to do with you doing or not doing things (just take our folic acid).
        But, life is a miracle and we really can not will it to happen, and there seem to be no explanation in many cases, even to science a lot of it is mystery.

  • Blimunda

    When I read about the mermaids I remembered that a few years ago I read this (Surprisingly I found it in no time):
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1155922/Pictured-Woman-mermaid-Lord-Rings-special-effects-shop-gives-new-prosthetic.html
    It’s about a lady who lost her legs and had a mermaid tail custom made by a special effect company so she could swim again.
    It makes me wanna cry and giggle at the same time.

  • Blimunda

    And since I’m here, I have a question (hopefully it’s not too late?)
    What do you give as a birthday gift to a man that doesn’t think he needs anything, and has trouble defining what he wants?
    My man is turning forty at the end of the month. We’re probably having a fancy dinner just the two of us on the day-of (yay!) and a barbecue with friends on the following weekend.
    I wanted to buy/make something special because I love giving gifts and this is a milestone birthday.
    He doesn’t wear jewelry, doesn’t care about clothes, has no time for a weekend off. Oh, and no electronics.
    All I could come up with is a Harry Potter themed gift (as I have done before, his birthday is on July 31 :))) and we are big fans) or a year of dates, but I have a feeling it would be more fun for me to make than for him to use. I wouldn’t feel anything homemade related to cooking or baking would qualify as gift since I do it on a daily basis for our little family of two.
    Any ideas? :( sorry, and thank you.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      I have trouble shopping for my guy, because he generally buys himself anything he wants. So the past two gifts I’ve given him were art, and they were things I really liked too.

      Maybe a massage? Or a couples’ massage? Is there something he already has that you could upgrade for him? I think Harry Potter-themed gifts sound awesome. I know gift certificates sometimes seem lame, but maybe a bookstore shopping spree, or a new, sturdy shelf for his books?

      Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to come up with an epic gift just because he’s turning 40. The gift is special because you make it so. Good luck!

      • Blimunda

        Thank you! A massage would actually be a good idea :)
        and because yes, I need to remember that “the gift is special because you make it so”

    • Kirsten

      How about an experience rather than something tangible? Is there a short get-away he and/or you as a couple has always wanted to go on? How about lessons, such as at a golf course or something? Maybe an adventurous type of thing like skydiving or getting to drive a race car (which I’m pretty sure is a thing, but couldn’t tell you how that works)? I know you said he doesn’t have time for a weekend off, but maybe you can find something that would fit into the time he does have free, or give an IOU for a weekend he might have off in the future.

      • Blimunda

        Thank you for answering! Yes maybe I could plot a surprise day off, if not a whole weekend :)

        • Molly

          If I had more disposable income, this would be my go-to gift for cocktail drinkers: http://www.julibox.com/
          Basically, they send you two cocktail recipes + all of the stuff, including the booze, every month.

  • http://blindirishpirate.blogspot.com Blind Irish Pirate

    Man, that op-cartoon about Millennials was pretty awesome. I sometimes feel on the cusp, with this wicked ego that comes from having some sort of success and being surrounded by the affluent society that my social circle peeks into, but then it is very, very obvious that the game has changed immensely, but the rules haven’t, and so to win, well… you don’t win if you don’t have a stroke of luck or privilege in some way to get you there.

    Maybe it is too late for a discussion, but I have several friends that I think ended up being a bit adrift based on lack of self-direction. As in, “I want to change the world.” “How are you going to do that?” “Not sure, I guess I will study film.” So then some end up with degrees in which time and patience and serious scrounging must happen to make anything happen in the great ol’ Midwest. Or, maybe there are no jobs. Whatever. But then end up just treading water, waiting or at least passively seeking this opportunity to change the world. So then what do you do? Is it too much to say, “You know, it is ok that you work at a mediocre, entry level grunt job to pay the bills so that at least you are contributing to society so that when your dream opportunity is found, you aren’t too depressed and broke to snatch it up?” How degrading is too degrading?

    Sometimes I’m really bad at being an adult.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      My brother is little bit like this. It worries my mom a lot. I’d really like him to find a passion and go for it, too- but I really just want him to be happy. I think that’s about the most you can say to a friend- “I really want you to be happy, so if there’s anything you need, let me know.” Maybe you can suggest a book that helped you out, but in the end, they have to pick their own direction and they have to have control over their own lives. If they tell you they’re looking for a new gig- great! send opportunities their way. But they have the choice (and I do understand the limited choices in the job market) to live their life and take the steps they want.

    • Blimunda

      Degrading, to mee, was too degrading when the shitty, bad paid job I had ruined all my free time because it drained my happiness (think Dementors, since I already mentioned Harry Potter previously). There was no happiness and no perspective, and not even big money. It was not what I had studied for (thoug studing foreign languages and literatures does not get you to a defined job area, normally you just do *a* job in another language.).
      I left (with a payoff since I sort of agreed to be fired) and at the age of 32 I started a school to become a professional baker. I’ve enjoyed baking for the past 20 years and I’m loving it. Not sure if I’ll be able to work in this area, but at least I’m trying to do it instead of thinking “what if”.
      I must say I would not have been able to make this choice without the support of my partner, because I was so emotionally drained that I was scared of taking any new path (a bit like not being able to leave an abusive partner). I’m all for paying the bills, but if you feel this is affecting your friend’s life on the long run, I’d say talk to him and see if he needs an outer perspective.
      Good luck!

    • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

      Based on when I was born (89), I am a milllennial. I also really loved the infographic because I am so sick of the stereotypes. I waitressed for a year right out of college because a job offer got pulled right after I relocated to the new city for budget reasons. During that year, at times I worked two jobs between waitressing and temping in call center for a few months. Eventually, I got a full-time job in a call center (not even close to what I went to school for or what I wanted to do), but it turned out to be a terrible fit. I kept trying to push through for a little longer, but the verbal abuse from customers and the strict policies and micromanaging from upper management pushed me to the point where my mental health was severely impacted. That’s where I drew the line. At least during that job, I was able to build up some savings, and the few months since gave me time to rethink my job priorities while I searched for a new position. I realized that I work best when I’m working with the same core group of people every day with only a few other people moving in and out. I also thrived in college when I was tasked with researching, processing information, and writing about it. I’m now getting ready to start a team lead position in a small office and go back to school (community college part time, so no more loans) for a paralegal certificate to go with my criminal justice degree. I’ve taken a beating these past few years, but it hasn’t been an entirely negative experience in the end.

  • catherine

    Hi, so I am late to the party as usual – but does anyone know of any good bridal shops/APW-approved-ish bridal stores in the San Diego area?

  • A Smaller Sarah

    Don’t know if anyone is hanging out here on Sunday, but.

    Bought my wedding dress yesterday! During our first shopping trip. It was at the very end of our 90 minute appointment with the lady, and, um, well. i’m kind of freaking out that I made a bad decision. I had always thought I would get a silk, tip of should gown, no train, sheath. sort of like this: http://www.legendsbyromonakeveza.com/legends/runway/current6/pages/lookbook3/04b.html

    Instead, i tried that on and told the stylist it was too much skirt, too full, too fancy. I’m getting married literally in the middle of the woods. the aisle has tree roots running across it.

    So what do i end up buying?
    http://www.legendsbyromonakeveza.com/legends/runway/current6/pages/lookbook3/01a.html

    A lace dress with as much skirt, and a lace train.

    And to top it off, it’s ivory, and all I knew i wanted in terms of decorations was all white flowers. they had to order it, so i don’t even have the dress somewhere i could try it on again and reassure myself.

    1. Is it normal to not have the fairy-tale misty-eyed “this is it” moment with a dress, and just sort of feel, gradually, “this is pretty close to what i want,” and also to maybe have some second thoughts?
    1a: if not, and these are all signs that i made the wrong decisions, what do i do?
    2. anyone have experience with ivory dress/white flowers?

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      That dress is gorgeous- you will be the fairy princess of the forest :-) Everything will look great!