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APW Happy Hour


Relaunch Tuesday! Viral posts! Ahhh!

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

Hey APW,

Maddie here! Greetings from hell week! (For the non-theater folks in the crowd, that’s what we used to call tech week, right before a show went up, because, well, it was.) This week has certainly been living up to its name (sick baby for Meg, on top of last week’s burglary, on top of flying into LAX right after the awful shooting, plus all the normal fun of trying to relaunch a website, which is COMING SO SOON OMG.) But none of that matters, because on Wednesday the ladies over at Jezebel said some really nice things about our Flower Girl Outfits for Tomboys roundup and then on Thursday the folks at Refinery 29 did the same thing AND called it a trend,  and I died and went to heaven. So even though it’s hell week, I think I’ll spend a good chunk of today doing a happy dance that looks a little like this (actually very close to my real happy dance, except I’m less coordinated) because we’re almost there you guys, and I can feel the tide turning.

So how about you guys? It’s your Friday open thread, hop on it. We’ll see you on Tuesday after the Veterans Day Holiday with a shiny new site and a new lease on life!

Cheers,
Maddie

Highlights of APW This Week

When does your baby family become just…your family?

Tomboy flower girl outfits and a pair of glitter high tops that would sell a zillion pairs if they made them in grown up sizes.

Not going home for the holidays can be really tough, but it can also be kind of awesome. (Sh, don’t tell my family I said that.)

When none of the standard wedding rituals fit, make your own.

How do you build your guest list in the middle of family conflicts?

And finally, we’re aiming to collect 1,000 Brides in Pants. Who’s in?

Link Roundup

Illionois lawmakers approve same sex marriage!

Forget It’s A Wonderful Life. The Hairpin’s 10 Years, Actually celebrates the tenth anniversary of the only* holiday movie to make me weep openly (*that I can remember). However, the same author’s post from 2011 actually gets closer to my feelings about this film.

Honey Boo Boo and her family dressed as the Kardashians for Halloween, and basically win at everything forever.

Nurses are kind of the best people on the planet, but Sara Bareilles runs a close second. #UglyCryWarning

“If we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.”

David Trumble’s “princessification” of ten inspiring women from history has sparked equal parts admiration and anger, but we love his reasons for doing it.

I have always admired the candidness with which  Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half writes about her struggle with depression. Here’s hoping that stories like hers and other’s can help lift the stigma surrounding living with anxiety and depression.

A slow clap for this post on why we’re not here for #WhiteGirlsRock. Now I know how to articulate myself when these conversations inevitably come up over holiday gatherings (why, oh why, they do is another conversation altogether).

I’ve been wearing pumps since I was old enough to have an opinion, but are stilletos feminist? We have two takes on this for you this afternoon. Discuss. (I just liked how loud they were when I walked.)

Twitter is weird, and other lessons from fatherhood.

And now, it’s off to the weekend with this awesome timelapse of the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

More in Open Thread Recent Posts Staff Picks

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  • Eenie

    Illinois passing same sex marriage laws was the highlight of my week! Yay home state.

  • Anonymous Today

    So, I need some women’s health advice, and where better to go than the APW community? Sometime around two years ago I started having really bad cramps that would leave me lying in fetal position on the couch for a couple of hours until the painkillers kicked in. About a year ago I finally admitted that this wasn’t normal and broke down and went to see a gynecologist about it. My partner and I are waiting to have sex until we’re married, so I had never had all of the fun female exams since I did some research and had decided that they weren’t necessary yet, being young and sexually inactive. Even though my symptoms sounded like endometriosis, the gynecologist said she couldn’t give me that diagnosis since the pain only happened right before my period instead of all the time, I can’t attest to any pain during sex (obviously), my mom does not have a history of it, and she couldn’t feel anything during the pelvic exam (she said “you’re so tiny I’d be able to feel it”). She suggested preemptively treating it with 800 mg of ibuprofen around the time the cramps should be showing up, and if that didn’t work trying birth control. So far the ibuprofen works fine as long as I catch it on time, and I haven’t gone with the birth control option because I worry about negative effects on my moods and just don’t want to have to take it at this point in my life. But the fact that I know it’s still an issue (which has been painfully obvious – literally – when I don’t take the ibuprofen early enough) concerns me. I feel like I’m just masking the issue with the drugs.

    This week I got a postcard from the clinic reminding me to make my yearly appointment, and I’m torn on whether to go back there. On the one hand, I was very comfortable with the gynecologist and felt like she really listened and didn’t judge my choices about sex or birth control, but on the other hand, I feel like there is an issue with my body other than “some women just have crappy periods” (what she told me) because I didn’t used to have this problem. I also have kind of a lame health insurance policy right now and would have to figure out where to go instead. Any recommendations on what to do?

    • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

      Ok so I’m from the uk so can’t comment on the insurance issue but I say either go back and make a fuss or go somewhere else. What’s worse, having a half hour exam with someone you feel slightly less comfortable with but could diagnose/fix it or another year of having to catch it in time?

      Am I being strident? Maybe but you’re paying for the damn thing, you should get better service :-)

    • em

      #1, You need a new doctor. Period.

      #2, While there are, I’m sure, a few docs out there who might inadvertently make you feel uncomfortable about your sex life, I don’t think this is as common as you’re worrying.

      #3, Planned Parenthood! I think there’s a pretty pervasive idea that PP is for poor women who need an abortion, but that’s just not the case at all — they are wonderful, nonjudgemental, and really really great listeners for all manner of womens health issues.

      I once took a friend to our local PP for her first Gyn exam. She was about to get married, had never had sex, and was SO SCARED about everything –about the speculum, about being judged for her choice to wait until marriage, about what sex was going to be like, about how to communicate her fears and needs to her partner. The idea of PP made her nervous at first, but it was the only place she could afford.

      I sat in the waiting room while she had her appointment, and when she came back from the exam room with her little goody-bag, she was practically skipping with joy and relief. Seriously, PP. They’re the bestest.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        Amen to #2! People can be impressively not judgey sometimes :)

      • Glen

        I’ll second that you should see another doctor, at least for a second opinion.

        My periods had been gradually getting heavier, so about 4 years ago, I asked my gyno about it. She told me that it was because I was getting older. I accepted that for 2 more years, but the bleeding kept getting worse. I finally went to my regular doctor and asked her about it. She sent me for an abdominal ultrasound, and it turned out that I had fibroids. Now I have a new gyno that is helping me deal with it.

        Because this pain is new and not your usual, I really encourage you to get a second opinion.

    • Elle

      I’ve had the same problem as you, and my doctor gave me the same talk and recommendations. It sounds very normal (from her). If you are serious about looking into getting diagnosed, you should be direct about it and have her test for it. But at the same time, some women do just have awful period pain and there’s not much you can do about it.

      I did go on BC to treat the cramps when I was younger and it did work. They went away. I had other issues from the pill and decided to stop taking it, and would rather deal with the cramps than what I went though. On the day I am supposed to get my period (try a period tracking app) I take 800 mg in the morning and it usually nips it in the bud.

      You aren’t going to find many gynos who are going to be alarmed about painful period cramps, sorry to say. Don’t take it as her being short or judgemental. It’s just a very common thing and it’s usually not an underlying condition if you don’t have other symptoms (though she definitely should check you out to make sure! Which is seems like she did).

      • Sarah NCtoPA

        Try Vitex (agnus castus, chaste berry) as an herbal remedy for cramps. It can take a few months to work into your system fully, but I just started it and saw a difference after one month.

    • ART

      I totally feel you on the somewhat dismissive attitude of the gyn, and if that felt wrong to you, it’s surely worth talking to someone else before you make any decision. If the clinic you’ve been to does not have another doctor you can see (and it’s absolutely OK to ask), I think it could be wise to find another one, and explain that you’ve gotten the “crappy period” talk and are looking for more information and a second opinion if there’s one to be had, especially since this just started in the last two years. You’re due for an exam anyway, so it’s a good time to ask questions.

      That being said, I won’t call this a recommendation because decisions about using any kind of birth control, and in particular hormonal, are super personal, and there are different kinds and people react differently from one another and from one kind to the next.

      However, for what it’s worth, I will share my personal experience, which is that hormonal birth control has been a huge, huge help for me. I started taking it when I was 14 or 15 and started getting terrible, fall on the floor, go pale and clammy, gonna barf-style cramps a few years into menstruating. I started off taking a graduated cycle pill (each week you get a bigger dose, till week 4 when you get a placebo and have a period, then start again). After some trial and error, I now take a steady dose version, and skip all of the placebo pills (so I take an active pill every day of the year, and never have a fake pill withdrawal period, and it is heaven). Over the last 12-ish years (oh wow, that’s a lot of pills) I’ve gone off them a couple times and not liked the experience. The actual birth control aspect, while handy at times, has always been a secondary benefit – the control over my periods and cramping has been the #1 reason I take them. YMMV, of course, but I like to speak in their favor since they’ve made such a major positive difference for me.

      • Brenda

        I want to second this. Contraception has been my main reason for BC, because I only ever had normal cramping, but the side effect of not having periods (same pill every day, no placebos) is absolutely glorious. And I don’t have any side effects.

        This is only my experience, but sometimes I feel that everyone says they hate being on birth control, so wanted to add something to say that though it varies for everyone it can be a very good thing.

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

      Definitely go again, and make sure you get checked. I got endometriosis diagnosed when I was 19, and sexually inactive, only based on the bad cramps I had. Depending on how severe it is, they might probably be able to clear a lot of it with laser during the laparoscopy that would diagnose it, so that is 2 birds with 1 shot. Otherwise there is also treatment / can be handled (though the treatment is quite severe… as in, it consists of high doses of hormones that would induce a “menopause” so as to make the lesions dry).
      I do not know where you are, but , a pregnancy can also make the lesions dry out.
      And, the biggest scare I got then, is that endometriosis lesions might (or might not) cause infertlity. And even when it’s all cleared up, it can come back. But in that case, they would treat you (either by laparoscopy/ medically) or through fertility treatments.
      So, yes get checked.
      Oh and I also never used the pill, I did not want to use all those extra hormones in my body and was mostly not sexually active either. So I just dealt with the pain with ibuprofen, and it actually got better / disappeared with time. (When I had a second laparoscopy, 10 years after the first one, my lesions were gone, almost miraculously as I never did the GnRH menopause-induced treatment)

    • never.the.same

      I am assuming you mean that you’ve never had a pap smear (“fun female exams”?). While the Mayo Clinic does that you don’t need one if you haven’t been sexually active, they also say that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say every woman over 21 should have one, regardless of sexual activity.

      If you really are comfortable with your current doctor, go back and explain that you still have concerns, even after following her previous recommendations. Ask for a pap smear. That won’t answer the endometriosis question, but will eliminate other possibilities.

      Also, do talk to her about birth control. I sympathize with not wanting to go on it, because it does affect your hormones and isn’t something that is for everyone. But it also might be for you. I know a lot of women who have had painful periods eased with hormonal birth control. Ask about all your options and stay open-minded to the solutions, even if they weren’t what you were considering before.

      Good luck!

      • Anonymous Today

        Thanks! Just wanted to clarify that I DID have both the pelvic exam and pap smear last year at my appointment, but had just not had them previously. Now that I’ve started I’ll continue getting them both regularly.

        • Rachel

          I was experiencing extreme pain just like you. It would hurt like hell for a few days then I would go back to normal. There were two times where the pain got so bad I thought I was dying- went to the hospital the first time, they gave me some demerol and did an ultrasound, a cyst had burst. The second time I knew it was the same pain so I didn’t go to the hospital, just curled into the fetal position on the bed, screamed and vomited. There was no doubt in my mind that the amount of pain I was going through was abnormal. Went to my doctor, described what I was going through and she said I had PCOS and put me on the pill. I was 14 and did not want to be on the pill because I didn’t want the stigma but my mother convinced me to go on it. It’s been a decade and I haven’t had the pain since then. It took a few tries to find the right pill for me (kept having breakthrough bleeding, nausea etc) but I’ve been on the same one for about 8 years now and no side effects. I love, love, love the pill. I take it continuously so I only have 4 periods a year (yes, it’s possible ask your doctor) and those periods are way shorter and less painful then they were before.

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      Gah! No! Pain is not something you just live with because you are a woman. Discomfort is one thing, pain is something else. Just because women have crappy periods doesn’t mean they have to.

      I have extensive endo. My mom has no history of it, and it’s never been felt on a pelvic exam.

      Get a new doctor. A lot of times we put doctors on a pedestal and we shouldn’t. They work for us. If they aren’t providing the service you require then they aren’t being a good employee. Fire them. Get a new one.

    • ANON

      I also had really horrible (I mean, horrible as in “cannot walk upright even though I am in public” “blacking out”, etc. horrible) cramps one period part of the way through college (after years of cramp-free menstruation) and from then onward. This was after a ludicrously stressful time in my life, so that may have triggered some sort of hormonal or physical change or something. Who knows?

      Ibuprofen helped enormously. Birth control personally didn’t help the cramps, except insofar as you can skip periods and hence have pain less frequently and also schedule it for days when you can just stay home, which *is* nice. I did not have endometriosis. Some doctors were ridiculous at various pre-sex points (as I’m changing colors and clammy and curled up in a fetal position due to cramp pain, they’re *totally* convinced I’ve got a ectopic pregnancy going on and in some cases refused to believe that I hadn’t actually had sex yet.), but other doctors were not ridiculous/dismissive (and, to be fair, they probably have some people who claim to not have had sex but who are pregnant anyway, and ectopic pregnancies can kill you, so it makes some sense to just pregnancy-test everyone, but their patronizing “we know what’s going on – you can tell us the truth” attitudes were annoying to say the least). It’s a mixed bag, so you have to throw back the doctors who don’t work out and try again. They also don’t all know about all pain relief techniques, so it’s worth re-asking questions whenever you get a new doctor rather than just saying “this is the best we can do”. (it may be; it may not be)

      Which, by the way: heat is nice for cramps, and the pain of cramps can be at least slightly reduced by being fully hydrated, having reduced stress, and having enough electrolytes [esp. potassium?] going on. Also, the pre-loading thing is true on ibuprofen. Better to stay on top of it if you can than try to “catch up” later. Also, try to take ibuprofen with even just a small amount of food (saltines are fine!) to be kind to your stomach lining.

      I don’t think “you’re so small, I would be able to feel it” is necessarily proof of not having endometriosis, but I’m also not a doctor.

    • Kathleen

      If you’re not happy with the care you’re getting elsewhere, you can try to find a NaPro Technology-trained doctor in your area: http://www.fertilitycare.org. They’re Catholic, so it isn’t for everyone, but you absolutely don’t have to be Catholic to use them. Because of the things that are considered off the table to many Catholics (birth control, IVF, etc.), the whole approach is to really delve deep into figuring out what’s wrong and why, and fix it if possible, which it sounds like is what you want. At the very least, I believe they always start by having you chart your cycles, which may make it easier to start your ibuprofen on time.

      There can be a lot of testing involved, which might be an issue with your insurance – but if your concern is figuring out the cause of your symptoms, it may take a lot of testing to do that, no matter what kind of doctor you see.

      (If anything, I found my doctor overdid it a bit, wanting tests to get the bottom of symptoms that didn’t bother or worry me. On the other hand, my previous doctor didn’t appear interested in whether I had PCOS (turns out I do!), and I’m not sure whether the “meh, don’t worry about it until you’re trying to conceive” attitude is better or worse than the “let’s test for everything!” attitude.)

    • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/ Martha

      Don’t be afraid to try the pill. Some could make you moody, and it might take some time to find the right fit, but that’s okay. Everyone’s hormones are naturally different, so that’s why there are so many different pill options. I had to try a few to find one that fit and didn’t have any adverse effects.

      (If you have a moral or religious reason not to use the pill, I totally understand. Just don’t want you to hate it if you’ve never tried it. My mom was so against the pill because she claimed it made her pissy, but she used it in the 80’s! The Pill has some a long way since then!)

      • KC

        The pill has come a long way since then, but it’s still not great for everyone. (Says someone who hasn’t found any kind that does not personally cause side effects but for whom it is worth it to be able to tri-cycle to avoid Really Terrible Cramps 2 out of every 3 months [that's about three week's worth of major pain I'm personally dodging *every year* - is that worth a few side effects? Yes!] and to be able to “schedule” when I am going to have the days of misery so that it’s neither a surprise nor landing on Important Dates of whatever kind.)

    • Heather L

      I would get another opinion. Even if it’s not endometriosis, you could have ovarian cysts.

      Also, unless you have personal or medical reasons to avoid it, hormonal birth control in my experience has been very helpful in reducing reproductive organ related pain and is generally how endometriosis/PCOS are treated anyhow. Some versions are pretty cheap, too, even without good insurance.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I also waited for sex until marriage, and waited to see a gynecologist until then. In addition, my mother is a fellow of the American College of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and I worked for her for 7 years.

      My not seeing a gynecologist until I married was with my mother’s ok. I did go on hormonal birth control while dating my now-husband to regulate my mood swings (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder). I think it helped.

      Obviously, I’m not Dr. Mom, but the care you received sounds like the standard of care. The only way to definitively diagnose endometriosis is with surgery, and doctors are reluctant to put patients through that before trying other treatments. An ultrasound can help the diagnosis. You should ask for one, as that’s an in-office procedure.

      Hormonal birth control can also stop endometriosis from getting worse, because it thins the uterine lining. Stopping it from getting worse can preserve a woman’s fertility that would otherwise decline as the inflammation in and around her uterus worsens month after month. It took me about 5 trials of 2 to 3 months to get a pill I’m happy with, but my cramps were much less my very first month on any pill.

      If you want a doctor who is familiar with patients making your decisions about sex and marriage, I suggest looking at the NaPro sites and the American College of Pro-life OB-GYNs. All those doctors tend to be religious conservatives. (Dr. Mom only brings up religion if patients do first.)

    • Anonymous Today

      Thank you all so much! This is a lot of great information to think about, and I really appreciate ALL of your perspectives.

    • Class of 1980

      I wrote about this in the comments of the “How To Make A Baby” post.

      If you check it out, it’s got some info on when killer cramps happen not because of endometriosis, but because of a hormonal imbalance. That’s what caused it for me.

      If the cramps are due to hormonal imbalance, the choices for someone of child-bearing age are birth control pills or ibuprofen.

    • Sarah

      I know everyone has already provided a lot of great advice here already (seriously, how awesme is the APW community?!) but I thought I’d add a different perspective which you may not have considered.

      I experienced severe pain in my abdomen/pelvis for years before finally going to my doctor about it. For along time I just thought it was part of being a woman and dealt with it with painkillers and heatpacks, and was too embarrassed to tell anyone about it. My doctor sent me off to get an x-ray and ultrasound. Because of the location of the pain, I assumed the problem was gynocological. In actual fact, the ultrasound came back clear, but the x-ray showed that I was very badly constipated (and yes, without going into details, I actually didn’t realise this). Further testing by a gastroenterologist revealed that I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

      IBS is apparently quite common but a lot of people don’t know that they have it. Also, symptoms vary a lot between individuals (e.g. some people get diarrhoea, constipation, gas, extreme tiredness…). Although the pain that I experience occurs at random times throughout the month, I know some women with IBS get it right before their period and find it goes away once their period starts. Unfortunately there isn’t a cure for IBS, but it can be managed by diet, and am happy to say I finally feel like I’m getting my life back :)

      When you go back to your doctor, it may be worth asking for both an ultrasound and an x-ray. This might help to rule out other non-gynocological issues that you may not have considered (not necessarily just IBS).

      Good luck. I hope you find out the cause of your pain and start to feel better soon!

    • http://Www.marbleryephotography.com Melissa

      I don’t have any advice to add, but I want to fist pump to the fact that the APW community has become a place where we feel safe and sane asking for health advice and emotional support outside of the realm of weddings/relationships. Because, yes.

    • Helen

      On top of all this awesome (and totally correct) advice, it’s also good to remember that your diet throughout the month can have a huge impact on your menstrual cramps and heaviness. For me, if I’m too indulgent with alcohol, sugar and refined carbohydrates throughout the month, I get mega PMS, cramps and heaviness. By contrast, If I’ve made healthier food choices, exercised regularly and had enough sleep I get what I like to call “ghost period” – did it even happen at all?

      x

  • Jenni

    I have an interview on Monday!!! The company sounds really awesome with interesting work and a great culture, and it would mean the END to 6+ years of long distance!!! I’m really nervous and scared to tell my current and former advisors that I’m planning to leave science though.

    Also, why is it so hard to find a pale blue poofy ballgown with sleeves that isn’t crazy expensive. Sigh.

    • M.

      Good luck to you! It’s hard, and can feel weird in a society that seems to value sticking to your original plan (i.e. But you were supposed to be a ____!) and career-as-life-definition, but sometimes you gotta focus on one part of life over another, or make adjustments to get what you want. I say GO YOU and good vibes for the end of your LDR. I’m not a teacher any more, but I am getting married to the love of my life, which meant I had to shake up my career plan to make a move to our current city. But I am more than that, and part of me is him, so it’s all good.

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      Good luck on your interview!

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      Ooh, good luck on the pale blue ball gown! This reminds me of my elementary school days playing MASH and adding all kinds of wedding dress categories. I always wanted to end up with ice blue, like Cinderella. Because seriously- CINDERELLA.

      • KC

        Ah, one of the women-who-could-do-it-all; fancy singing, high fashion for small animals, in-house politics, translation from and into mouse-ese, dancing, and not falling on her butt even when she’s running down a flight of stairs in a giant poufy dress on marble in *glass* heels. :-) That’s some serious dexterity there.

    • Granola

      Good luck! So exciting! Fingers crossed for you!

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com SarahHoppes

    From one theatre kid to many, break a leg on the launch next week.

    Also, I know I’m in the minority here, but I can’t stand “Love, Actually.”

    • Shiri

      My brain hates it, my heart loves it.

      • MC

        YEP. The Hairpin’s 2011 post on it sums it up exactly for me, particularly their thoughts on Colin Firth’s character. “Jamie doesn’t think writing on a typewriter near a body of water is a problem when one doesn’t back up one’s work.” Seriously, dude. Poor grasp of reality right there.

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      I AM WITH YOU on the “Love, Actually” hate.

      I’ve seen it just once, once was too much, and I despise it.

    • http://werewritingabook.com Breck

      I don’t really like “Love, Actually,” either. For me, it falls into the same category as those claymation Christmas movies–I might not change the channel if I come across it during the holiday season, but I won’t really be paying attention to it.

    • Rachel

      I hated it SO much the first time I saw it but it’s actually totally grown on me! I feel like it’s a movie that gets better with additional watchings.

      • http://www.smittenchickens.com SarahHoppes

        I actually LOVED it the first several times I watched it. I own it. Then, I married a writer and listened to him talk about story and structure constantly. Some of it sunk it, and I started looking at these movies I’d loved and watched over and over with a more critical eye. “Love, Actually” and “Runaway Bride” were big ones that didn’t hold up for me.

        • Rachel

          gah those are like my two favourite romantic movies. Don’t spoil them for me though, I’m sure there are a ton of inaccuracies but my heart doesn’t care!

  • M

    So many wedding happenings this week! I am so excited for the wedding, but have almost 6 months to wait…almost all our planning is done and now I want to PARTY.

    My dress came in the mail! It fits like a glove but is about 2 miles too long (tall ladies – J. Crew’s got your back!) – BUT I found a dress maker/designer not far from me who I have a gut feeling about (marriage equality, beautiful dressmaking work, and Sir Patrick Stewart on her Facebook!) and the price for hemming is totally fair and WAY less than traditional tailors are asking for any dress in white. If it goes well, and I think it will, I will sing her praises allllll over this place for NYC brides :) This has been my most (only?) stressful part of planning. I just don’t trust anyone.

    And our rings came from Bario-Neal yesterday and they are gorgeous. We went to their NYC showroom about a month ago and worked with Anna, and it has been top to bottom a great experience. Recommended x1000.

    What would I do without APW? My fiance’s cousin just got engaged and we’re close to the couple. They are getting THE BOOK at their party in 2 weeks. My second gifting to a couple. Hooray!

    • Jess

      oh yay! hope you come back with a great recommendation for NYC hemming. Though me and my tall self are worried that there won’t be a dress out there long enough, let alone one that needs to be hemmed ;)

      • Magdalena

        Hi Jess and M! I also bought my dress at JCrew (I’m in love!), I am 5’8′ and it was VERY long for me, so you might want to check them out!
        Also my wedding is on November 30th and I couldn’t be more excited!!!!!

    • scw

      yay for bario-neal! our engagement ring will be in sometime in the next two weeks (partner wants the exact date to be a surprise) and I can’t wait to see it!

    • ann

      I also got an EPICALLY long J. Crew dress. I had the seamstress save the extra fabric and I made a hairpiece out of some of it that I wore for the wedding. Not sure what I’ll do with the rest, though–18 inches was cut off in total!

  • K.

    People who have been bridesmaids in the past…what is the most you have ever spent on a dress? What is the most you would ever spend in the future? And what do you think is a reasonable cost? If a bride offered to help subsidize the cost of more expensive dress, would you feel insulted or grateful or just wish she would pick cheaper dresses?

    (And yes, I do know that I could just give them a color or color scheme and let them choose a dress in their price range. I’m considering that. But just crowdsourcing in case I do end up going a more traditional route — I would still let them choose styles for their body type, etc, but I’m leaning towards exactly matching colors and lengths, so would have to come from the same designer. Hopefully that doesn’t make me the worst person/bride ever!)

    • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

      Can’t comment on the price thing but I would just say, as someone who’s just purchased dresses for her bm’s, sometimes they want to be matching (I know, surprised me too!!).

      So don’t think you’re the worst person ever (which, even if they didn’t, you still wouldn’t be!)

    • Anonymouse

      I spent almost $300 on a dress (when alterations were taken into account) and even though the bride’s mom helped us out, I just wished she would have picked something else. I would spend up to $200 without complaining if I felt good in the dress and would wear it again. Alterations are what really get me, as a busty girl, about bridesmaids dresses.

      • Rachel

        I agree, anything above $200 including alterations starts to look really expensive. I still think that the people having the wedding should pay for their bridal party’s attire but I know that’s still a minority view.

    • Shiri

      I did the non-matching and while my bms looked amazing, comfortable, and like themselves, the process was much more complicated than I thought it would have been, and I think half of them would have preferred being given a dress to wear (or a choice of specific dresses to wear).

      • TeaforTwo

        OH YES. I only have one bridesmaid, but I gave her a colour (my fiance has two women in his wedding party, and it will be the same colour). Finding a non-bridesmaid dress in that colour for a bridesmaid turned out to be a huge ordeal. It took months of online shopping, and I was stressed out she wouldn’t find anything, and it just took way more space up in my mind than if I’d just said “one of these J. Crew dresses, GO.”

        Her dress was $47 on Modcloth and looks great, but in hindsight I would pay the money myself to have skipped the search.

      • Granola

        I had that issue too. My bridesmaids weren’t comfortable shopping and I didn’t want to have to field lots of questions. To get around it, I went to shop Joielle and picked a color and fabric and then told them to go for it. There were something like 30 style options, so everyone found one they liked, and they all “matched” without being the same dress. It was a good compromise for everyone’s decision-making sanity.

      • Hannah

        I felt the same way about my bridesmaid dresses. It turned out to be a lot of stress and work to let them each pick their own. If I could do it over, I would the rental dresses APW features.

    • Ellen

      The most expensive bridesmaid dress I have had was one of the J.Crew ones. It was $250, plus shipping, plus another $50 in alterations (and it still looked awful on me after that). The hard part for me was that the wedding I was in was one year after graduating from college, I was in one other wedding that summer and attending three more, and funds were extremely tight. Now that I am a few years past that situation, I would likely be more okay with a dress in that same price range, though I certainly wouldn’t consider it reasonable. Reasonable as a bridesmaid to me is around $150 but that number is obviously going to be very different for each person and their own particular circumstances.

      If the bride was offering to subsidize the cost of the dress, I’d want for her to do it up front- literally, pay for part of the cost of the dress at the store. One of my friends was incredibly offended when the bride for a wedding she’s in offered to reimburse the girls for part of the cost of the dress. My friend believed that if the bride knew up front that the dresses were going to be a tough cost for the girls (around $300), she should be willing to pay for that additional cost up front.

      You are caring about your friends and what is going to work for them, both for their body and for their budget. That makes you far from being the worst person/bride ever! I would love to have the sort of guidelines that you suggest in your post. If costs are a concern for some members of your party, just make sure that there are dresses in your guidelines that would be in a range that you consider to be reasonable.

      • Kelly

        For any brides considering J.Crew bridesmaid dresses, you can help alleviate the cost for your bridesmaids.

        My bridesmaids wore J.Crew dresses. I waited for a 30% coupon that comes around every month or so, and by then the styles in the desired color were on sale, so we got the dresses for around $150, including tax and shipping. I made one large order, and then my bridesmaids paid me back. It worked out well, and I know at least several of the girls have worn their dresses again. Something to think about.

        • Ellen

          2008-me is super envious of your cost-saving prowess!!

        • M.

          Yes, we did J.Crew as well. I only have 1 attendant, and she just wanted me to pick, which was easiest. I also paid for hers, because I was uncomfortable asking her to, and picked a darker color that seemed more rewearable, because even if it’s free, she still has the dress, you know? I wanted her to like it and use it. I waited for a 25% off plus free shipping offer. Majorly helpful.

          Would have been harder with more girls; I considered once buying all of them (my hypothetical more than 1 dress) and then just asking “them” to chip in $100 instead of paying back for the whole thing…

    • Kelly

      I believe the most I have spent on a dress, including alterations, is $200.

      Could you pay for hair/makeup rather than offer to subsidize part of the dress? That way you’re still helping to alleviate costs without the “I’ll help you buy your dress” feel?

    • p.

      I spent over $350 for a bridesmaid dress + $70 shoes. I thought it was way too much.

    • TeaforTwo

      I think that this is a “know your crowd” situation.

      I spent $170 on a bridesmaid’s dress to be in my brother’s wedding when I was in university, and it felt like a whole lot of money. I think I bought a gift for the shower for that wedding, but no wedding gift. (What can I say? I was a 19 year old flaky little sister.) At the time, I don’t think I owned a single piece of clothing that cost more than $50, so buy a dress I was never going to wear again for three times that felt outrageous.

      With a more adult wedding party, I think the considerations are:

      1. How much do they typically spend on clothing for themselves? If they’ve only ever bought dresses on clearance from H&M, asking them to spend $300 isn’t going to go over very well. If they wear a lot of J.Crew every day, a J. Crew bridesmaid’s dress won’t have the same kind of sticker shock.

      2. How “wedding” are they? Do you remember the Kate Carraway essay about dividing people into “wedding” and “non-wedding”? If they’re really “wedding,” they’re likely to be more down with spending money on a matching dress they will never wear again. If they think weddings are ridiculous, then asking them to buy a pricey dress they didn’t choose will probably confirm that for them.

      • Rachel

        I love this advice!

      • Vee

        Absolutely agree with this!!

        I was asked by a very good friend to be a bridesmaid and all 4 of us bought our own dresses to the tune of $300 each. My first time being a bridesmaid, and I didn’t know anything different than that I was supposed to buy my own dress! Even though it was literally the most expensive item of clothing I ever bought, and even though I’m ALWAYS on a tight budget, it didn’t bother me too much – I was just so excited to be part of my friend’s wedding party!

        The other thing is that she gave all of us a lot of say in which dresses we got in the end. She showed us a few styles she liked and asked us for our input.

        That being said… please do offer to help if you can! I would never take that the wrong way, but that’s coming from a poor person. :) The wedding costs for a BM are already a tiny bit steep before you even factor in the dress.

    • Casey

      Have you looked into Little Borrowed Dress?? I had considered J Crew bridesmaid dresses for my wedding and ultimately decided I didn’t want to ask my ladies to spend that much. Little Borrowed Dress has some colors and styles that are similar to J Crew dresses. I swear this isn’t a paid promotion, they were just awesome to work with and the dresses were gorgeous.

      • MK

        I desperately want my girls to go with LBD, but we live nowhere near NYC and they’re too afraid they won’t look good in them to do it. It seems like a complete no-brainer to me! Arg.

        • Casey

          Ohh, I totally get that. I’m in California and it totally freaked me out to not see the dresses until 2 weeks before the wedding…amazingly it did work out well, but it’s definitely a leap of faith!

        • Jen

          My bridesmaids had similar concerns about LBD so I called them this time last year and rented one for last Thanksgiving weekend when we were all going to be in the same place. They ended up sending me three dresses so that we could see the size, color and styles we wanted. The dresses were great, the rental made everyone feel better about the way the dresses fit (wonderfully!), and LBD sent me a personal promo code after the ‘trial run’ that saved everyone a few bucks!

          The wedding was a little over a month ago and the dresses worked out great! LBD has the most fantastic customer service! One of my bridesmaids was confident she knew her size, but couldn’t decide on a dress, so they sent her two styles instead of two sizes. Another one of my bridesmaids was pregnant at the time we had to order the dresses and didn’t know what size she’d be by the time of the wedding, and they were super accommodating- promising to send the dress, the back-up size, and assuring us that they could rush a third size in the even neither of the first two fit. They’re great! I highly highly recommend them!

    • april

      I think what’s “reasonable” really depends on your bridesmaids’ circumstances. Are they just-out-of-school/drowning-in-student-debt? Or are they in a pretty comfortable place financially? Also, factor in the other expenses of the wedding – are they going to need to book flights and hotel rooms to attend your wedding? What about hair and make-up? Personally, I wouldn’t mind buying a more expensive dress ($200+) for a local wedding. But if I was already spending hundreds of dollars to attend a wedding in another state, I would hope the dress wasn’t more than $150.

    • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/ Martha

      I spent $140 for my sister, $99 for a cousin. Both of those were through David’s Bridal, one was on sale (the $99 dress).

      The dresses for my own bridesmaids were $132, which I thought was pretty reasonable, but because it was long many of them needed some alterations for the length.

      I was recently in a wedding and the dresses were originally over $200. The brides comes from a fairly wealthy family and they paid for half of every bridesmaid dress, so it was appreciated by all.

    • Seshat

      Honestly, the best people to ask are probably your bridesmaids. Everyone is going to be in a different place budget-wise, so going with what seems to be the average could potentially put someone in a tough spot. I had a super crappy job for a while and my $100 dress at the time was a HUGE stretch. I think if you ask your BMs for their budgets but find a dress that’s over, you can definitely say “hey, I know we decided on x amount and I want to respect that so I would be happy to pay the difference.”

      And no, matchy dresses doesn’t make you a bad person :)

    • http://theaftercath.blogspot.com Cathi

      Most was $199 + alterations. It was a David’s Bridal dress that I don’t particularly like very much. I keep trying to find excuses to wear it just because I can’t stand the fact that the most expensive piece of clothing I own was a one-shot item. I wore it for my own rehearsal/dinner, which I sort of regret because it isn’t the most comfortable.

    • K.

      Wow! Thanks to everyone for all the awesome advice!! I’m going to mull over it for awhile, but seriously – so, so helpful. I think part of the issue is that two of my bridesmaids are SUPER “wedding” including my lovely, wonderful, awesome MOH who, I say very lovingly, is borderline inapprorpiately excited about my wedding haha (which is awesome! It’s fun when people care!) But she would probably spend $500 on a BM dress without blinking an eye (note: I would never do that) and then be appalled that the other ladies wouldn’t want to do that (“But it’s her WEDDING!!!”). Then on the other end of the spectrum is my (also awesome) FSIL, who is also so very excited for us, but is not all that “wedding”, lives abroad and is barely scrounging together a living after finishing grad school there, so I think she’s stressed having just been asked to be in the wedding at all, let alone thinking about having to buy a dress for the shindig. So lots of different personalities and circumstances to balance! But the advice here offers a lot of different angles and ways to think about that balance.

      And yes, I suppose I was being dramatic thinking that I’m a bad person for wanting the matchy dresses. I had my first wedding nightmare last night where everyone was pointing at me saying, “YOU’RE THE WORST” so some of these decisions miiiiiight be getting to me a little. ;)

      • Eenie

        When I was in my brother’s wedding I was prepared to spend about $200 on a BM dress. Turned out they didn’t want the wedding party (mostly poor college/just out of college/just had babies) to spend money on the apparel so they paid for it. It was a huge relief and meant that I could afford to actually get them a nice gift. I would definitely suggest asking each person. If they had asked me what kind of budget for the wedding dress wouldn’t stress me, I would have said $200 and appreciated that they thought about my particular situation.
        I just really appreciated that they understood that money doesn’t grow on trees. We ended up with Target BM dresses and they have a fantastic shipping and returning policy if you register there as well.

  • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

    Wise people of APW

    Please help with the right words to use to explain to my intelligent but typical 18 year old sister who just started college why she shouldn’t hashtag herself ‘slut’ on Instagram.

    I’m not sure ‘because feminism’ is really going to cut it as a persuasive argument.

    • Shiri

      Perhaps if she isn’t open to the “feminism” discussion, the one about Insta being searchable on the Internet and the whole “future employers” thing might meet the same ends for a very different reason?

      I’m curious to hear what others say about how to get through to her from a feminist perspective.

      • Jess

        My 20 year old sister just…doesn’t “get” the whole searchable thing. She knows that that’s a thing, and a possible consequence, but it just doesn’t seem to faze her. I think she thinks the olds are just saying that cause they’re freaking out and no employer would ever REALLLLLLY google her…or something. It makes me crazy. She also doesn’t get that deleting things doesn’t necessarily mean they go away. Way too much personal info on facebook too. Sigh.

    • KEA1

      …because sarcasm does not translate well electronically and she therefore cannot count on people “getting the joke.”
      …because the more that term is used, *especially* as a joke, the more desensitized people are to it, and therefore the less likely to see the problem when it’s used as a derogatory term.
      …because I would hope that she wouldn’t call anyone that even in jest, but especially if there was any chance that they wouldn’t know she was “joking,” and therefore should not trust it to a hashtag either.

    • http://www.etsy.com/shop/DIYIDo Laura Lee

      I’m gonna sound just like my mom, but I would say because it’s sending the wrong message to anyone who reads it. Calling yourself a slut isn’t going to get you taken seriously, and it’s focusing on sexuality as a defining characteristic instead of personality. Your sister is selling herself short. I don’t know her, but I’m sure she has a lot more going for her than what calling herself a slut would imply. And you want to surround yourselves in life with people that appreciate your intelligence, courage, kindness, etc, not people who think hanging out with you will get them laid. Those aren’t real friends. And as has been discussed on APW before, you’ve got to court friends just as much as you would a significant other. Whether she realizes it or not, you sister is courting the wrong kind of friends with the slut hashtag.

    • Kate

      Hey Little Sis, I hope you’re having a lot of awesome sex with a lot of awesome people, but you might want to keep it between you and all the hearts you’re breaking, not your future employers/your creepy statistics professor. Love you, you little slut.

      ^Sense of humor may be necessary

      • lady brett

        exactly!

        because the conversation about why she should or should not call herself/identify as/be a slut is a *totally different one* than why she shouldn’t throw the hashtag around online (where it will never go away). and she might have a legitimate disagreement with you about the behavior/identity/feminist aspect, which in this case i wouldn’t want to derail the conversation about the problems with handling online identity. (or, if it’s the first half you’re more concerned about, i would ask “why do you call yourself that” and listen to what she has to say.)

    • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

      I knew you guys would come up with the good stuff!

      Thank you

      And just to be clear, i think it’s totally up to her if she wants to ACT ‘slutty’, it’s the public self-titling that gets me riled

  • Anonforthis

    An extended family member (who I’m not sure if I’ve ever met) was going to officiate my interfaith Saturday night wedding. My mom had asked her and she said she would, but when I asked her she said it would be challenging for her (but she’d be honored). She’s a rabbi – and it’s an interfaith wedding on a Saturday night. I asked her again if she was sure she was comfortable with it – neither myself nor the future hubs want someone there officiating who isn’t in it for us – and she hasn’t gotten back to me.

    Should I book a different officiant (not related to me)?

    HAPPY FRIDAY!

    • Shiri

      When is your wedding? Because if you’re coming up on it, then yes, you definitely should ask someone else. And if you think she’s flaking at all, then also yes. Or if you just want someone else, also yes.

      If you want a rabbi, there are Reform rabbis who will do interfaith ceremonies.

      • Anonforthis

        The wedding is in June, so we have some time but things book early around here. A rabbi isn’t necessary – it would have just been a nice bonus.

        • Shiri

          I’d think its chancy to work with any vendor or service provider that you’re not sure is on-board completely. Unless you can reach her soon and confirm this really is ok (and also, independently, that it is what you and your fiance want), you should try to get someone else.

          • anonforthis

            Yeah, I think we should get someone else. Thanks for your help!

        • LM

          It’s so hard to wait to hear back from people on stuff like this. Aside from the convenience, if there aren’t other aspects that make you feel like she’s a good fit, then go for someone else. It’s also fine to reach out again to say that you’re trying to firm up your plans and that it feels important to you to have an officiant who supports your relationship and if she can’t do that, that’s not a problem but it would be helpful to know as soon as possible.

          • anonforthis

            That’s almost exactly what I said about a week ago, and we haven’t heard anything from her.

            I think it’s time to find someone else.

          • LM

            Agreed — sounds like she might not be your woman. Good luck figuring it all out!

    • rys

      How long has it been? I’m usually speedy in returning emails but every so often a crazy week comes around, and it takes me longer, especially to emails/phone calls that require thought. A rabbi (or any clergy) could unexpectedly have 4 funerals to deal with, so I’d give her at least a week to respond (especially since the wedding is in June).

      • anonforthis

        I emailed her about a week ago.

  • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

    On heels – is there some magical style of heels I’ve never heard of that are possible to wear for more than 40 minutes without becoming excruciating, or are all other women just tougher than me?

    • http://www.smittenchickens.com SarahHoppes

      Naturalizer makes sturdy heels that you can wear for longer without pain. I wore them for my wedding, and I pull them out whenever I want to be fancy. They aren’t pain free (for a very infrequent heel-wearer like myself at least), but they are the most comfortable heels I’ve ever had. Also, the heel inserts you can buy at the drug store help a lot.

      Here are the shoes I liked: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/131028425637?lpid=82

    • http://katelynswartz.weebly.com Katelyn

      Oh, I know that feel. I don’t know how other women do it. I manage it by spending a LONG time breaking in heels and never wearing anything more than 3 inches. I’m pretty stumped for the wedding though. I bought a pair that I love but they are honestly excruciating and I think I need to send them on their way.

      My next avenue to pursue is ballroom dancing shoes. Maybe take a look for yourself? If I can’t find anything, flats it is.

      • KEA1

        Ballroom shoes = WIN. You might want insoles, because the ones I always wore were typically not super-cushioned (so you can feel the floor better). But they are designed to be both supportive and flexible. And the satin ones are dyeable. And there are a lot of styles out now that have sparkly things on them, if that’s your jam. %)

    • M.

      I have never ever found one, not even the most comfiest, ergonomic, whatever. I think it’s just an anatomy thing, not a toughness thing! I long ago declared myself HEELS FREE when I decided that suffering for shoes wasn’t worth it to me, and my feet are so happy now. And gold glitter flats (my wedding shoes) are HOT anyways.

      That said I hear people recommend Hey Lady shoes (I die, so pretty) and Fluevogs and also character/dance shoes.

    • Emmy

      In a word, no. But I’ve had good luck with Clarks, Aerosoles, Sofft, and Seychelles. Those brands seem to be more comfortable, but there are no high heels I’ve ever worn that don’t hurt a little if I’m on my feet for an hour+.

      • rys

        I’ll second Sofft and Seychelles. I have a pair of Sofft heels (not stilettoes, but not pumps or wedges) and they’re amazing.

    • ART

      I was heels free for a long time, but recently discovered the magical magic of wedges, and now own like 6 pairs and wear them all the time. Your weight gets distributed differently and I find that makes alllll the difference. Tried ‘em?

      • http://www.etsy.com/shop/DIYIDo Laura Lee

        YES! I was just about to comment the same thing. Wedges are magic. Your mileage (lol) will vary by shoe quality just like any other shoe, but they are infinitely more comfortable for extended periods of time than heels. Wedges are my go-to anytime I need to be in heels and on my feet for an extended period of time.

        • Laura C

          It’s not just wedges, either. Back when I could wear heels with normal amounts of discomfort as opposed to “you won’t be able to walk for three days” pain, I had two pairs of boots with what I would have said were identical height heels, but one of them, something about how my weight was distributed they’d start hurting very quickly, while the others I could wear all day.

          But that gets to the other thing: there’s normal pain from heels being painful and then there’s what I developed, which is the pain of problem feet combined with heels. Knowing what you’re dealing with is good.

    • Rachel

      Hey Lady shoes! They are pretty pricey but I asked for a sample pair and got a deep discount and they are truly so comfortable. I haven’t gotten married in them yet but I got all my alterations done and stood for over an hour getting pinned into place without any pain…

      • Don’t hassle the Haf

        ZOMG loved my Hey Lady shoes for my wedding!!! Even though they are pale blue I still wear them to work like everyday because they are super comfy!!

    • InTheBurbs

      Dansko makes heels – expensive – but worth it. I got married in these: http://www.zappos.com/dansko-nigella-brown-full-grain-leather but in purple – with a strap and did ok.

    • http://werewritingabook.com Breck

      You might want to try a few different brands and styles. For me, it really helps if the shoe has some kind of ankle strap keeping it in place. I find that if my foot isn’t sliding around in a classic pump or slingback, my feet feel much better. I have these in a blue patent leather (I swear they look less intense in person), and they are the most comfortable heels I’ve ever worn, including some super low (2.5 inch) ones I wore to a wedding one time.

      • KC

        YES to trying different brands and styles. Everyone’s feet are shaped differently.

        I was really anti-high-heel until I found two pairs that work *with* instead of *against* my feet. In my particular case, both are slide sandals with block-ish heels – I don’t know what they’re called in Shoe-ese, but the shape of the heels mean I’m not tipping sideways on them, and the bones of the shoe mean that the weight is better distributed for the shape of my foot. I can wear them for hours, although various “wearing high-heeled shoe” muscles are tired afterwards (something in the arch and something in the calf?).

        There’s also the option of padding of various kinds. But first check out several styles each of a few brands reputed for being comparatively kind to women’s feet, pick the best if one qualifies both visually and comfort-wise (I solo-charleston in the shoe section to verify whether or not they’ll work), wear them at home for progressively longer periods of time spaced apart and then, after wearing, pinpoint anything that’s still wrong with either stick-on suede thingies or padding (maybe called shoe petals?). (my two go-to pairs didn’t need any “treatment” but some bridesmaiding shoes have)

        And then there’s the frequently-used option of “show shoes” and “comfy shoes” where you swap from the pretty shoes to either sneakers or comfy flats. (one advantage of sneakers here is that some have soles thick enough to keep your dress from dragging on the floor, if that’s a concern)

        • http://werewritingabook.com Breck

          Yes on working *with* your feet. Not sure why, but all the strappy Vince Camutos are super comfy for me!

        • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

          I usually take a few short sprints. Can I catch a bus in these, if needed, without breaking an ankle?

          • KC

            That probably results in fewer people cracking up at you in shoe stores than the charleston. :-)

            But good criteria, yes: can I run to the sidewalk if I’m in the middle of a crosswalk and a driver’s not paying attention? can I catch a bus? can I do what I wanna do without these shoes getting in the way? :-)

          • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

            Hahaha, I do the same thing! I just bought booties at DSW a few weeks ago, and was running back and forth along the aisle.

    • Amanda

      Yes there are magical heels! They are sold by Cole Haan and have the Nike Air technology in them. Basketball runners in the form of a heel? Yespleasegiveittome.

      There are on the pricey side, but worth the money (in my opinion). Good luck!

    • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

      I recommend 3″ heels with a 1″ platform. I can do heels that are 2″ or lower without breaking a sweat (though after a while, they suck, but that’s true for all shoes). The thicker the heel, the more comfortable you’ll be. Also, wedges.

    • april

      Two words: kitten heels.

      A few more words, actually. Look for a good quality leather shoe, because it will mold to your foot a little. Try on shoes after you’ve already been on your feet for a while – your feet swell over the course of the day, so something that fit really well first thing in the morning is going to be hella painful by the end fo the day. And expect to pay a good amount of money for a good quality shoe. My favorite heels are from seychelles, anne klein iflex, and kenneth cole reaction. I tend to shope discount stores (DSW, Nordstrom Rack, etc.) but any of these shoes at full price would easily be about $100. Cheap plastic heels from Target may look cute, but they will never be comfortable.

    • Granola

      There’s a lot of good advice and suggests on this comment thread, but I just wanted to be the contrarian and say that the answer is kind of no.

      I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I’ve basically given up on heels. I’m only 26, but I have the beginnings of bunions and really flat feel and I like to play sports. When I wear heel, even small ones, my feet feel bruised for days, and it’s just not worth it to me. Even heels I think are comfortable when I try them on get worse over time.

      So for me, this may be the hill on which my feminist flag is planted – flats and boots FTW.

      Not that these other wise ladies aren’t also correct, but there may just not be a magical comfortable heel *for you*.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        I can wear cheap shoes and be fine. By “cheap,” I mean most of my shoes cost less than $20. I wear heels up to 3″. My mother just can’t wear cheap shoes, even flats and sneakers. She’s on her feet more than I am, so that’s part of it, but some people just have more sensitive feet than other people.

        • KC

          Also, some peoples’ feet conform to the normal expectation more than others’, so that plays into this, too. (like clothes, some people are literally never going to find a button-up-the-front shirt that fits them perfectly off the rack, whereas others can work with at least half of them, and most of us feel like it’s a pretty lucky day when we find one that fits off the rack.) (and if you can’t find high-heeled shoes that are comfy, then good on you for *not* wearing high-heeled shoes!)

    • Kristin

      Meagan, let me introduce you to wedges. I got a pair of nude Aldo wedges for my wedding (not the crazy high ones, but mine were something like 3 inches) and they were so awesome that I wore them probably 25 times before the wedding. On the wedding day, I had them on for 12 plus hours and felt awesome. And I would willingly wear them every single day (although I don’t ….) Seriously, look into wedges, they are amazing.

    • ms c

      I have former dancer’s “problem feet,” (falling arches, bunion surgery scar tissue), but still really like wearing heels. It’s good to know what your problems are. Do you always get blisters? (Go leather). Do the balls of your feet ache (Add an insole).

      My tips are the same as many of the above comments: buy leather or at least avoid pleather (too sweaty and blistery), stick to a heel height of 3″ max (though 2 1/2 seems infinitely more comfortable to me), avoid spiky heels, look for heels set further forward/wedges/kitten heels, and buy comfort brands like Naturalizer or make sure the shoe can take a Dr Scholl’s arch support or at least a gel support for the ball of the foot.

    • Emily H

      Late to this thread, but moleskin is the only thing that can help me! I buy comfort brand heels and stick to 2 1/2 inches max (or the equivalent in platform), but that will only take me so far. Moleskin prevents chafing and blistering, which is my big problem. I wear the new heels around the house for 20 minutes or so, and then I can see where my feet are getting red and wrap that part in the moleskin padding. I could never be a daily heels girl, but this helps me get through special occasions.

  • Laura C

    Does anyone have pointers for engagement photos? We’re having some done tomorrow and I’m a little nervous I won’t be able to relax and they’ll all come out looking stiff and weird and forced. You know, it’s not like the wedding where I’ll be talking to people and doing stuff that the pictures are of — having my picture taken will be the only thing going on.

    Hoping my fiance will be able to keep me relaxed and laughing, but nervous. Any other pointers welcome, too. We’re doing it around our neighborhood — in the park, on some nearby brick walkways, in front of a couple of the more impressive local buildings. And our photographer used to be my fiance’s housemate, so it’s someone we know (though I don’t know him super well). But a few years ago when I had headshots done I was stiff city and there were only a couple that were decent, hence my nerves.

    • Kelly

      A shot or two of whiskey beforehand to loosen you up?

      • Laura C

        Since we’re starting first thing in the morning, maybe mimosas are the answer!

    • http://www.etsy.com/shop/DIYIDo Laura Lee

      Mainly, just don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You have to fully commit. Our photographer recommends making yourself laugh silently to get a more authentic smile. Feel free to do goofy things out of the blue and joke around during the shoot. Acting naturally is the best way to look your best in photos.

      • Laura C

        I may be bad at putting myself out there…

    • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

      Make jokes. Forget the photographer is there. Funny faces at each other in between shots. Act like it’s fun!

    • Amanda

      Do you have any props to take? Balloons? Large paper mache letters? A pet? Picnic supplies? Including a prop or two may allow you to focus on the those with your fiance, rather than on the photog. Also, if the photog is happy to just snap away while the two of you *do something* (walk, dance, swing, etc.) rather than have each shot posed, you might be more comfortable because it will seem more natural. Have fun!

    • KC

      Sometimes pulling in an extra friend-behind-the-photographer can help, if the photographer is okay with it – they can talk to you while the photographer is focusing on getting the light right, etc. (some photographers can do the talk while doing all the rest of it, some can’t) I had “posed” business shots done with a crazy-good professional, and he really nailed it in terms of having me interact with him and getting shots in between. Ham it up, then relapse into acting more naturally, and if you get 100 photos, it’s okay if 98 of them are stiff or ridiculous or blinky as long as 2 are good/acceptable. :-)

    • Kate

      Bring bubble wrap, it’s fun and if you’re not into props it gives you something to do with your hands. You could also play a thumb war with your fiance.

    • CoastalCreature

      Does your photographer know that you’re going to be a little nervous about having your photo taken? It might give him/her the chance to frame the way he/she decides to interact with you during the shoot.

      My fiance was pretty nervous about not looking good, not standing correctly, etc. but our photographer was great at just “posing” us in positions and I think that made him feel more comfortable, like he couldn’t really get it wrong because she would make sure his arm didn’t look dead.

      We had our engagement photos taken about two weeks ago and I just took the time every 10-15 minutes or so to shake it out, make a crazy face with my cheeks puffed out or have a big sigh to just force my body to change it up a bit. I think it helped, although haven’t seen the photos yet!

    • Ellen

      When you get the chance, let us know if you were relaxed at the shoot! I was super nervous going into ours but we ended up having a ball- and the photos show it.

  • http://katelynswartz.weebly.com Katelyn

    I bought a wedding dress last weekend! And it is totally out of left field. I thought I was just going “for fun” and so my mom and grandmother could have the traditional bridal shopping experience, but then I found a dress in the “off the rack” section that I loved, but was very different from all the others. My mom was running late so we decided to try it on just for kicks.

    And it was just.. stunning. I have no other words. Trying on all the traditional white dresses afterwards was like a light went out in the room. So, I bought it. I never thought I’d have an emotional connection to my wedding dress, but here I am with a love-at-first-sight story.

    http://i.imgur.com/mUvtZO8.jpg

    (Please note: the leopard print at the bottom is a pedestal I was standing on, not a part of the dress!)

    Now I have no idea what to do about flowers. Maybe a small bundle of calla lilies?

    • Ariel

      Gorgeous!

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      OMG you and the dress and you in the dress = gorgeous.

    • Shiri

      Woah, SO pretty!! Love it. Slightly jealous.

    • Laura C

      That is gorgeous! Calla lilies could be really pretty. I might also suggest a bouquet with a high proportion of greenery? You could also think of doing something like a brooch bouquet…

    • CII

      Holy heck, you look stunning, and SO happy, and that dress is beautiful. Calla lillies would be beautiful. I would also suggest white anemones to pick up the dark tones in the dress (I had them in my bouquet, so I’m partial).

      • Katelyn

        I love anemones! So pretty but modern. I’ll look into them, thanks!

    • Kelly

      You rock. That is an awesome choice.

    • kate

      WOW. mouth-dropping wow. I love your dress!!!

      I like the flower idea you have, to go off that a bit, maybe a single long stemmed one?

      • LondonSarah

        Oh yes, this. 1 or 3 ivory roses with a little greenery, and very long stems.

    • jashshea

      YEEHAW. That’s smoking hot.

    • LondonSarah

      Oh, beautiful dress!

      I think bouquet-wise you could use something not too tiny – it’s a dress with quite a strong character and I think you need to balance that somehow. A bouquet with a bit of oomph, but that doesn’t compete with it. I feel like calla lilies might be a bit shy for the dress? Sorry, without any specific recommendations for flowers that might not be the most helpful comment you receive…!

      Actually, roses might go very well, they have a (visually) more complex structure than calla lilies, but still elegant. In ivory, with some purpliness (maybe sprigs of lavender or a slightly larger than lavender purple flower, and greenery..?

    • KEA1

      um, who needs flowers? HOLY GORGEOUS BATMAN. Oh, and the dress is amazing too. %)

    • http://werewritingabook.com Breck

      OMG that is a GORGEOUS dress, and you look STUNNING in it!!

      (Yes, the caps were totally necessary.)

      • http://werewritingabook.com Breck

        Also, who’s the designer? Asking for a friend…

        • Katelyn

          It’s Enzoani, although it’s nowhere to be found on their website. If you Google “Enzoani Black Label” it’s one of the first images to pop up.

          Also, I did not pay anything close to retail for it. So please push your eyeballs back in if you find a price tag anywhere.

    • Rachel

      omg!

    • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

      HELLO LOVELY!

      Bouquet in a complementary bright color to stand out, I say. No pastels!

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      Beautiful!

    • Stacie

      YOWZA! I freaking love it!

    • catherine

      So freaking beautiful! Wow!! Congrats!

    • Granola

      holy. shit. I literally gasped when that picture loaded.

      And lilies could work. Or perhaps something leafy and green as a contrast? or a big graphic flower like peonies.

    • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

      Woweeee!

      That dress is totes amaze (as my sister would say)

      Go for a kick ass teardrop shaped bouquet in something über glamorous. Roses maybe

    • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

      Also, your hair is gorgeous

      Now I’m done fan-girling on you

    • Vee

      WERK!

    • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

      WOW! Just wow!

    • Rachel

      OH MY GOD ITS STUNNING.

    • Hannah

      Incredible!

    • kyley

      My jaw literally dropped when I saw this picture. You look absolutely amazing. Congratulations!

  • AnonforTTCtalk

    Anyone who has been through the trying to conceive madness, how do you keep your sanity about it? We’re still well within the “normal” time period, but I’m having a hard time with the lack of control and the fear, as I have other health problems and am having some trouble believing I could be healthy at this. Any coping mechanisms? I already figured out that I needed to stay away from message boards – lesson learned there!

    • Emmy

      In it now. Also still in the normal range, but feeling a lot of stress and hurt. I try not to think about it. And I swing back and forth between monitoring everything (charting, taking ovulation tests) and just taking it easy. Sometimes, doing all the monitoring makes me feel better, sometimes worse, so I try to listen to myself.

      Recently, we’ve been making a point of really luxuriating in all those things that will be difficult once I’m pregnant: lazy Sunday mornings, going out to nice meals, spontaneous vacations, sleeping late, eating sushi, drinking wine, etc. I just dyed my hair for the first time. It helps a lot.

      But honestly, most of the time, I just will myself to be sane. It works sometimes.

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

      It is hard… but try to stay positive, and just keep hoping. No matter how difficult some days can be, a new cycle means a new chance. There is a lot of random and a lot of chance in the equation, so just keep your faith, and yes, focus on the “fun stuff”, on special things , even if they are simple, like taking a walk, going for ice-cream, cooking a special dish… doing something together. And if you are worried definitely talk to your doctor, just to make sure everything is fine.

    • Magical Unicorn Mama (no, not yet)

      Oh how I feel you. On month 5 of IUIs with no good results. It SUCKS. Find things you really like to do after your cycle starts so you have something to look forward to if it doesn’t take. For me, I’ve gone off weightlifting and jogging during the two week wait after insemination per their recommendation, so amid the heartbreak and the crying, I have a ‘well, I can jog and drink three cups of coffee a day now!’ It helps a little.

      Honestly, one of the other things that help? Writing my mental blog post about how terrible the process was and how I made it through. Being able to visualize success like that helps me think it’s possible.

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      You find another large project to help occupy your time.

      You realize you are going through the grieving process every month and identifying it as such makes you feel less crazy.

      And you be okay with losing your sanity from time to time as well.

      Really connecting with your partner helps too. We go for a walk around the neighborhood every Monday night and talk. Those walks helped us stay on the same page throughout all of it.

    • ANONFORTTCTALK

      Oh you guys, thank you. It felt so indulgent to think of it as grieving, but it is, and it hurts every time. It’s sad and stressful and painful, and I somehow so thought I could be calm and collected about this. Which, some days I am, and some days I just can’t be (especially when I have a chemical pregnancy that then causes a totally crazy next cycle).

      Thanks for the reassurance to talk to my dr if I’m worried. I think I should, just to feel better. I had to talk to a high-risk person before I even started, and he expressed some concern about my short cycles, but not enough to really make me nervous (until I got really nervous… 5 months later, aka NOW). I feel like a walking internet stereotype… but I guess it’s a stereotype for a reason?

    • elle

      I strongly, strongly recommend “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” At the end of the day, I thought it was very enlightening, and if you are the charting type, it might help you feel a little more in control? It might empower you to know that there’s really only something like a 25% a woman will get pregnant in any given cycle, and bonus – the science behind that is explained.

      I’m not saying it’s the be-all, end-all, but holy cow – I can’t believe we don’t learn this stuff in 6th grade sex ed. Some of it, some of the stuff I never knew, makes me really angry that I never knew it, so it was worth it for that at the least.

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        Ditto this. Even knowing that we’ll always need help to get pregnant, I love tracking my cycles. The knowledge empowers me. And I’ll be buying the teenager version of the book for my daughter when the time comes. I wish I would’ve known that stuff years ago.

      • moonlitfractal

        For me, charting and TCYF has helped me (and my husband) feel more in control, at least after we got past the initial raised hopes from the tons of stories of couples who chart who got pregnant on their first cycle charting that are out there. It helps that I can tell that I’m probably *not* pregnant earlier, so that I don’t have to go through the week of PMS induced breast tenderness wondering and stressing out, only to have my hopes crushed again and again.

        Another thing that has helped some has been sharing my charts with my husband. Even though it was kind of embarrassing at first, this has helped put us on the same page, and reduced some of the strain that our fertility struggle has put on our relationship.

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh
    • Jessica B

      Please tell me that Game of Thrones cake is red velvet!

      Too soon?

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        [cackling]

  • Kat91314

    I know this isn’t related to anything on APW this week, but I need some feedback from the APW community. I’m having major issues w/my BC pill, and as a result FH & I went & talked to my gyn this week to figure out an alternative course of action. Because we’re not having kids, but I do have serious PMDD, she suggested the Mirena IUD, as well as a couple other options. I’m interested in the Mirena, and I’ve done my research, but I wanted to see if anyone on here uses it & could give me their impressions, good, bad or indifferent. I know everyone’s different, and ultimately I have to just try it & see if it’s right for me, but it would be great to see what others in the community have experienced. Thx to all, and TGIF!

    • Katelyn

      I have Mirena! Overall, it’s been worth it, from a cost-benefit analysis (it’s overall cheaper than the pill *and* more effective), but there are a few common problems I’ve experienced.

      First, getting it inserted can range from extremely uncomfortable to mildly uncomfortable. Many women receive a prescription medication to help with this. I did not and fell into the “extremely uncomfortable” category.

      Second, I have much worse cramping than when I was on the pill. This is what my body also did without hormonal birth control, so YMMV.

      The really awesome part though – I don’t really have a period. More like a bit of spotting for a few days. I use a pantyliner, that’s it. It’s a very common ‘side effect’.

    • Jessica B

      I have Mirena and like it a lot. There are times where I can kind of feel it (mostly after a run), but overall it has worked out really well. The insertion was pretty uncomfortable, but for me it wasn’t as bad as others said it was for them–my husband was there holding my hand through the whole thing (which took all of 2 minutes). My cramps are also worse, but they aren’t a constant pain like KAT91314’s might be–just flashes of pain/discomfort, like someone squeezing hard and then letting go.

      My period is super light, and lasts 3-4 days (my BC pill period usually lasted 6).

    • http://werewritingabook.com Breck

      I have Mirena, too! Overall, I’m really glad that I got it. Here’s my slightly more nuanced thoughts on it:

      Pros: I don’t have to remember to take/refill/carry around a little set of pills. I have basically no cramps these days probably because I basically have no period now (5 days of regular flow vs. 2 days of spotting, if that), which I LOVE. This freaks some people out, but I think it’s awesome.

      Cons: Like Katelyn mentioned, I was one of those people who experienced EXCRUCIATING pain when it was inserted. Like, I passed out when I tried to stand up afterwards. I kind of did it on a whim, so I didn’t take any ibuprofin or anything beforehand (something a lot of doctors suggest). Also, my skin is a little worse than when I was on the pill, but I’m not sure if that’s just the result of switching to Mirena or if it’s Mirena + moving to a new country (with new, awful water) + changing my routine, etc.

      Even with the cons, I definitely still recommend it.

    • Rachel

      Getting an IUD inserted was truly the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced…you can read more about my insertion experience here: http://www.rachelwilkerson.com/2010/12/13/getting-an-iud-mirena/. It was also the best birth control I had ever been on…until I started having a bunch of problems. I actually had to have mine removed about 18 months after I had it inserted because I was having major pain in my Fallopian tube (diagnosed as a hydrosalapinx) and we thought it was because of the IUD. They took it out, the pain continued, and I had to have surgery. Turns out I actually had cysts…which I’ve since read can be caused by the Mirena. (I got invited to fill out more info for lawsuit a month or so ago actually.) They removed the cysts, the Mirena is gone…and yet the pain has returned and I’m pretty sure the cysts are back. At this point, I can’t say for certain whether or not the IUD caused all this. And I know a lot of women love it and were fine with the insertion so…there ya go!

      • Kat91314

        Rachel, thanks so much for this! That blog post was *very* thorough, and the responses to it were pretty interesting too!

    • Hazel

      I’ve had a Mirena for the better part of a year, and so far I’m pretty satisfied with it. The insertion wasn’t too painful, although my OB made a point of inserting it during my period and I don’t know if that is standard practice or not. I think I also took some advil before the procedure.

      I had heavy bleeding at the beginning, and my period is starting to lighten but is still a little erratic. I still get cramps randomly sometimes but mostly of the time they are relatively mild. I’m terrible at remembering to take pills at a regular time and I love not having to worry about it.

      After I had my IUD inserted I heard about another long-term implant option that is inserted in your arm. I have no idea what it costs but it sounded kind of awesome. Here is an article from Medline Plus that talks about it as well as some of the other slow release hormone birth control options: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007555.htm

      I guess in the US it is called Implanon or Nexplanon and it is effective for 3 years. I’m keeping my IUD as long as it doesn’t cause problems but I’m checking this option out next. Does anyone have any experience with this bc option?

    • Katie

      I’ve had the Mirena since August and I love it! I had a light spotty period that first month and since then nothing, including no cramps (but I will say that I wasn’t a big cramper before, either.) I love not having to think about the pill. It was fully covered under my insurance, too, so I just had to pay the doctor’s visit co-pay for the insertion and follow up ultrasound a few weeks later to make sure it was in the right place.

      As for the insertion, a few tips – my gyn gave me a prescription for one pill of misprostol to take a few hours beforehand to soften my cervix and she said it looked like it really worked. Also she said it’s easier to insert when you’re on your period, so that’s when I scheduled mine. I also took 4 Advil about an hour before my appointment per her advice. The insertion for me was like the worst cramp I’ve ever had – painful but not horrific, and the painful part only lasted for a few seconds. I was really freaked out about it being very painful, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had thought it would be going in. I had some cramping for the rest of that day and then was good as new the next morning.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Insertion during menstruation is standard for 2 reasons: First, the doctor is absolutely sure you’re not pregnant. Second, the cervix and uterus are more “open,” which makes it easier.

      • Kat91314

        Thanks ladies! Still got a lot to think about, but I’m taking this long weekend to talk it out with my FH & see where the whole thing leads me. My only fear with the Mirena (and again, I know, MMMV from others), but I’ve heard one or two horror stories about people losing hair while it was implanted, and with my wedding coming up in September, I’m not sure I want to risk it. But I can’t stay on the BC I’m on, that’s for sure, and who knows, my body may not react like that anyway. The only way I’ll know is if I try, right?

    • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

      I have one and I LOVE it.

      Insertion was painful but not awful, I didn’t get recommended to take anything beforehand but it would have helped. Periods are 1-2 days of very light spotting. Some cramps but nothing like before I was on BC at all (3 days of vomiting and pain anyone?).

      I was on the pill for 15 years before this and spent that whole time with very dry skin, since stopping that and having the IUD inserted, it’s definitely oilier but nothing drastic.

  • Seshat

    Just booked some flower consults and cake tasting! I feel like I’m actually planning something and it’s awesome!

    Work week has still been hellish and I’m sick to death of explaining the same things to the same people over and over again. Thankfully it sounds like I should be getting a job offer any day now. The hiring manger asked me for some additional info but I having heard anything official so I’m trying to act like a rational individual instead of a giant stressball but it’s tough.

    Super psyched for the site though! I’ll be looking forward to it all weekend :)

    • Seshat

      Just got home to find my kitty sick :( Hopefully it’s just a cold but I have worry when he doesn’t eat. Thankfully I have a 3 day weekend to snuggle with him though…. And recuperate from the last 2 weeks of work.

  • Stacie

    NYC Brides of 2014!

    I’m putting out an APB on APW (see what I did there?) to see if anyone would be interested in swapping day-of-coordination duties with me.

    Our date is May 3, so I’m guessing I could work an event no later than early March, then picking up in June on the other side would work, timing-wise.

    I don’t (think we) have anything crazy planned, I really just want someone to help things run as close to schedule as possible (ha ha). I’m a hard worker, and I have catering and stage-management experience, if that helps! :)

    • Kat91314

      2014 bride virtual fist-bump :-) Wish we could swap, because then you’d get to come DOC my awesome wedding on Cape Cod in September, but I’m actually a bridesmaid in a wedding in Panama City Beach the weekend of yours! Good luck, Stacie!

    • TeaforTwo

      Not in NYC, but I LOVE THIS WEBSITE. This is brilliant!

    • http://werewritingabook.com Breck

      I can’t help, but this is a great idea! APW FTW (following your lead on the acronyms).

      • Stacie

        Thanks guys!

        I can’t take credit for the idea. I got it from a friend, who got married two months ago. It just seems like a smart solution. Said friend even offered to help me, but since she’s a guest at my wedding, I don’t want her to work it! :)

    • Granola

      This may sound crazy, but if you can’t find anyone to swap with you, we should talk. I live in CT, but I’m in NYC all the time and I love logistics, am killer with organizing things, and love to be in charge. I’ll do it for free. APW karma.

      • Stacie

        Wow, thank you so much for offering!

        I may definitely be in touch, looks like I haven’t had much luck here! :)

        How can you be reached?

        Happy weekend!

        • granola

          You’re welcome!

          Email me at alexandrahazlett {at} gmail.com! Have a great weekend yourself.

    • Jess

      This sounds awesome! But our date is May 16th, so I think the timing is a little too close! Sads. :(

      Anyone else out there in NY/Brooklyn interested in doing a little swap with me? I also have some stage managing experience (yay!) and am a designer so aesthetics and making sure things look good are my thing. :)

  • Anonymous Coward

    I had an interview at the end of last week and missed out on Happy Hour. Actually, it was an oral exam. (And then I had an oral exam at my dentist’s, lol.) Oral exams are way less friendly than interviews, I found out. Because the panel is trying their best to standardize the experience for all candidates, they can’t make small talk, give encouragement or assistance or any type of feedback, or answer questions. There’s no way to build rapport as one usually might. They even looked at me askance when I offered my hand to shake. Eeep.

    So it was half an hour of them reading aloud questions from a sheet of paper I had in front of me, and me attempting to sound intelligent, poised, and remotely qualified for the position. With their poker faces across the table. I could see them taking notes, so I know I made a few interesting points, but if I had it to do over again, I would have memorized HR-friendly chunks of my resume — oh! they also hadn’t seen my resume or cover letter! — and found better ways to end paragraphs than “…so I think that makes me a strong candidate.” AUGH. At least it’s an entry-level position that doesn’t involve presentations. I’ll find out in a couple of weeks.

    • jashshea

      Ouch, that sounds horrid. Fingers crossed for you on the job, hopefully this can just become a hilarious anecdote sometime in the near future :)

  • ART

    Big week – we ordered a proof for our invitation that ended up being a big collaboration. I designed it (it’s like a concert/festival poster style) and then we tweaked it together for months and finally came up with something we both love. We did have one little argument about it but it was because we weren’t able to articulate quite what we each wanted to one another, so it was good communication practice. And it’s super pretty.

    Also, we booked our honeymoon last night, and that made everything get really real, and we’re both getting more excited by the week. We have done a lot already, but have much to do in the next 8 months!

  • Dom

    Last weekend I found a wedding dress that hit 90% of my wants (material, style, price) but I’m afraid of continuing searching for that 10% that is missing. The 10% is mostly a self-esteem issue as the dress showcases my belly, the one part of my body I have the most issues with and bloats very easily. However, I love the way it looks on me in all other places, and it feels like my style.

    So. I’m kinda torn. Should I buy this dress which is 90% what I want, then layer myself in shape wear to control/hide the belly (or just do belly exercises)? Or should I keep looking for that 100% love, which I’m not even sure exists in my price range and patience for shopping?

    It isn’t a big deal, but all I hear is “If you don’t love it 100%, then don’t buy it!”. Is it okay to not love a dress 100%?

    • Jessica B

      I did not love my dress 100%, but I liked it well enough to buy it. If it’s a dress that you feel comfortable in, I’d say go for it. Or keep looking for a couple more weeks and then go back to get that one if you can’t find anything else.

    • Katelyn

      I think it’s totally fine to go with 90% but it depends on that 90%. In your case, it seems like that last 10% is kind of a big deal – a body part you have issues with.

      Spanx are great and all, but even if they help, will you still be self-conscious? If the answer is “yes” then I think you should keep looking and always have this dress as your backup.

    • TeaforTwo

      I would steer clear of anything that becomes a comfort/confidence issue. Think about a dress that’s too short. Your legs may actually look great in it, but if you’re tugging it down every opportunity, you’re going to look a bit silly, and won’t enjoy yourself. Same for brides/anyone hiking up strapless dresses at every opportunity.

      If it’s tight in your belly in a way that you’ll be tugging at the dress and sucking in your stomach in front of the mirror all night, you’ll regret it. I’m sure I am not the only one who has ever convinced myself that something fit and looked great just as long as I stood “just so” in the fitting room and lived to regret it. There are going to be lots of candid photos of you on your wedding day, probably taken over the span of 12 hours. If you didn’t like the shade of white, or the weight of the lace, you might not notice. But being self-conscious can take over a lot of things.

      As to shapewear/exercises: if you’re used to wearing shapewear, then by all means go ahead. But please please don’t buy a dress hoping that your body will change between now and your wedding day. SO MUCH unnecessary pressure on yourself, and so much scope creep from the actual focus of getting married. This is a great time to love the body you’ve got, because if you’re spending wedding dress kind of money, the dress should make you look hot as is.

      • Shiri

        I want to “exactly” this all over the place.

    • jashshea

      My $.02:

      What size did you try it on in and what size will you buy? Do you mind having alterations done? It’s entirely possible that your “problem area” could be worked around.

      My personal nit-picky area was my chest (giant boobs that make me feel like I look trampy in many dress styles) and the dress I bought was essentially strapless – something I said I’d never wear because, you know, boobs. My dress shop has an inhouse seamstress who came out while I was trying on the (very very small) sample dress and told me all the ways the look would change when it was the right size and altered to fit me. I’ll skip the tale of the first fitting, but by the time she was done with the dress, I looked like a b cup and I didn’t have to fuss with the top of the dress once during the night.

    • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

      I think the other responders have pretty much hit the various nails on the head, but I wanted to add one more possibility – a giant bouquet to hold in front of your belly during pictures and ceremony? And then change into something more comfy for the reception?

      Perhaps not the best of options, and I definitely second what everyone else said about comfort/confidence, shapewear and ordering it in a different size, etc.

    • JessPeebs

      My opinion: Shapewear sucks. I chose a dress that I new wouldn’t need any, and I’m a plus size girl. And it was a July outdoor wedding, so I new shapewear would be HOT!

      I think it sounds like it’s missing the wrong 10%, to me.

  • MC

    I have a pair of boots with heels that are SO LOUD when I walk, and when I was in college and walking across a campus with mostly brick sidewalks, I always felt super embarrassed. But I love the shoes! So I recently decided to just own it – who cares if people hear me from a mile away and turn to see why it sounds like a horse is walking near them? At least they will see me looking awesome in my boots.

    • ART

      Yeah! I love my loud clicky shoes. Watch out world.

    • KC

      I think your solution (own it) is awesome, but wanted to note for people who really gotta be quiet, like library staff, you can glue or tack heavy-duty felt (like, door-insulation felt) to the heels (or take it to a cobbler to get the heels rubberized if you are not so much on the crafty side). You still get a bit of noise, but it’s dampened significantly (also, nicer to wood floors!). Depending on what kind of glue you use and what material the heels are, you may have to re-glue, but two square inches of felt cut to the right shapes and a squeeze of glue are pretty cheap and easy. :-)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I once had a jerk of opposing counsel complain that my high heels on the courthouse’s marble floors woke him up from his nap outside the courtroom.

      • KC

        Because, clearly, the opposing counsel has a right to his wittle naps outside the courtroom?

        (that is so very strange on so very many levels.)

  • MC

    Also, the heels article reminded me of another blog post I read this week, about how wearing make-up is the norm for many professional women, apparently, some think, WNBA players:
    http://fitandfeminist.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/wnba-rookie-makeup-class-proves-old-norms-die-hard/

    • Kate

      I loved Brittney Griner’s response- “I don’t need that shit.”

  • Magical Unicorn Mama (no, not yet)

    You guys, this week, I just…

    A) Found out that our fifth round of IUIs was unsuccessful. This time, my uterus decided to be a real asshole and waited until Day 13 to start spotting instead of Day 12, leaving me for a really excited 24 hours. Appointment with the doctor in a few weeks to discuss the situation, which I expect will end with me going on Clomid for December. Yay.

    B) Family emergency. Incredibly stressful family emergency. I am home with the dog while the wife is out of town providing emotional support and will be for a few more days.

    C) Today I have terrible stomach trouble.

    D) Did you know that work doesn’t stop being work when you have all of the above?

    • jashshea

      Internet hugs and internet warm mug of tea to you. What a week.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Awww. I’m so sorry. For everything.

    • ANONFORTTCTALK

      Oh lady, so sorry for all of it. And for D… at least it’s Friday?

  • Jessica B

    I bought a car today (NEVER AGAIN!) and I have done some accounting work to realize I will not be able to buy any shoes for the next year. This makes me really sad.

    It was the insurance that did it. Why is it so much money? The insurance on the car could pay off the car in 2 years. I have never been in an accident. Whhyyy?

    Ok, done whining!

    • http://werewritingabook.com Breck

      I feel your pain! My insurance payments were through the roof (and are still pretty high, even though I’ve switched agents). The only way I feel even slightly better about it is thinking that:

      1. I like the new agent I have (as much as you can like your insurance person). They’re office assistant is super helpful and patient with me (like, she answered every single question I had about coverage and why they suggest what they do, etc.), and she responds to emails right away. If I have to shell out $155/month, at least it’s going to someone who provides excellent customer service.

      2. If, god forbid, I got into a terrible accident or something, I have pretty good coverage and wouldn’t have to be super worried about that aspect of things.

      Still trying to figure out a rationale for the student loan payments… Those I DESPISE.

    • Not Sarah

      Don’t forget to shop around for car insurance every 1-3 years and when you turn 25, 30, get married, buy a house/condo, or move zip codes! I shaved $500/year off my total insurance (car+condo) cost by doing that this year. Also, bundle your renter’s/homeowner’s insurance with your auto insurance.

      Your car insurance should go down each year too (hopefully!) since the cost of replacing the car is lower when it’s worth less.

      • Hannah

        I’m so glad you mentioned this. I just called my insurance to let them know I got married a month and a half ago, and my six month premium went down by $28 (not huge, but every little bit helps).

  • elle

    So…I know we’ve discussed this here and there, but I feel like it’s been mostly scattered and also, I haven’t kept track >_> So apologies, friends, but it would be super wonderful if you’d link me to your favorite sane (dare I say, practical?) TTC/Pregnancy/Parenting sites. Because it was totally serendipitous that, when I typed “alternative weddings” into Google two years ago, I stumbled headfirst into APW and never looked back. Alas, I’ve not had such luck with the bebe sites.

    • ANONFORTTCTALK

      I like Alphamom (the calendar is great), though I wish there were more TTC content.

    • Emmy

      I read:

      Alphamom
      Amalah (funny writing about being a parent)
      Ask Your Dad (also funny writing about being a parent)
      Mothering (sometimes too crunchy for me, the forums vary in sanity)
      Mommyish (not exactly sane, but usually entertaining, nice commentariat)
      Mutha (long-form essays)

      But I’ve never been able to find the APW of parenting blogs.

      • Rachel

        he he he I love that “sometimes too crunchy for me, the forums vary in sanity” I think we have all experienced this type of “crunchy earth mother” righteousness.

        Can the APW team please start the APW of parenting blog? I love all of the LGBTQ and feminist content, a lot of us are also moving down the road to parenthood, where are we going to go to discuss it? I love APW but sometimes I mention it to people and they’re like ummmm…this a wedding blog? So hard to explain that it’s so much more than that!

        • elle

          We suggested this a couple months ago; I think Meg commented and alluded to the re-launch (this was way before they announced it officially) but I think too she’s said something along the lines of not having the intention of being a parenting spokesperson, and that there are others out there who she sought advice and inspiration from, but that she wasn’t planning on becoming one of those people herself (all of which is totally fair).

          This was over the course of several different and unrelated conversations, so I could be completely off here. But TL;DR – I am DYING for a resource like that. I’ve thought of starting something up, but I have no idea what I’m doing, don’t really know anything about marketing a blog, and often second guess myself to the point of non-action.

          • elle

            On second thought…if, hypothetically, I wanted to give it a go, how, hypothetically, would I start??

          • Caroline

            A really strong commenting/moderation policy (Check out whatever.scalzi.com for John Scalzi’s awesome, strong moderation policy). For some reason, mothering sites seem to devolve into flamewars quite quickly, and a good commenting and moderation policy to keep it supportive is essential.

    • meg

      Ask Moxie (it’s mostly practical)

  • Kathleen

    Non-wedding photography question:

    My husband and I are expecting our first child in April. He suggested that we either invest in a better camera or ask for one from our parents for Christmas, so that we could have really good pictures of the baby, future kids, etc. We currently have a point-and-shoot camera that’s several years old but works fine, and an iPhone 4S. I’m worried that we’ll spend a lot of money and still not get great pictures, because we’re just not great photographers, in which case, I’d rather get our not-great pictures with the cameras we already have, for no additional cost!

    Questions: would a lower-end or mid-range DSLR make a difference all by itself? Would we also need to take at least basic photography lessons to make the investment in the camera worth it? Can we learn to take better pictures with our point-and-shoot camera so we don’t need a better, fancier one?

    Personally, I’m not much of a picture-taker myself – I tend to carry the camera around without using it – so I’m more concerned with the cost at this point. He is more likely to take more pictures, so I would be happy to leave it up to him, except that I’m afraid that his relentless faith in technology (which I do not share) may be leading him to expect miracles from a camera when it’s actually the photographer who has to deliver. And also, that a purchase that could cost thousands should be jointly agreed-upon and, most of all, worth it!

    • Jessica B

      Good cameras can make a big difference in some photos, but you don’t need to spend several hundred dollars on a fancy camera you don’t know how to use. There are lots of deals out there on some nice cameras (like great black friday deals or a slightly used camera on ebay), so definitely set a budget and find a camera that fits within that. If you’re planning on a baby shower being thrown for you, you could ask for gift cards to go to a new camera instead of a lot of onesies.

    • lady brett

      two things:

      a good camera isn’t going to help if you don’t pair it with some info about how to take good pictures (the easiest photo advice for your first step towards improved photos is go close-up or wide-shot, mid-range photos are boring).

      and digital cameras have improved a *lot* recently. the new point-and-shoots take better photos than my 6-year-old dslr, so you might find a middle ground in a new, higher quality point-and-shoot. (bonus question here: will you take the dslr with you places or leave it at home ’cause it doesn’t fit in your pocket?)

      okay, one more thing: what do you want the pictures *for*? are you looking for a pretty picture of your kiddo to look back on when it was tiny and sigh? a photo for holiday cards? or something to put on a 3-foot canvas on the wall. the first two are more about knowing how to frame/light a nice picture – the latter is probably going to require a really nice camera.

    • elle

      I love love LOVE my Sony Alpha Nex. It’s a DSLR HYBRID and it is delicious. APW Rachel (it felt way too formal to use her full name!) does an excellent write-up on her personal blog, and that’s actually what turned me on to the line in the first place. She also suggested to me trying to find the pieces individually (and not getting the full start-up kit) and used on sites like Amazon and Ebay, and man was that the best totally obvious and yet mindblowingly useful advice ever.

      http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com/2013/06/theunedited-recap-sony-nex-5r-review/

    • KC

      As an amateur who is maybe a little farther along the road (not baby-wise, but photography-wise), there are a few things that make a *really* big difference with photos, in no particular order:
      1. framing (knowing how to position the shot)
      2. light
      3. focus/depth of field (which you can sometimes use to conveniently blur out the stuff that you don’t want to be the focus of the photo)

      Your point and shoot may already have enough for you to do 3; 1 and 2 are mostly the photographer’s problem (and can be mitigated a bit by after-the-fact image editing), although 1 can be helped by getting Really Big Photos that you then have space to crop afterwards.

      With kids, I’d add:
      4. photo burst mode (this is called different things different places, but basically you click once and it captures a bunch of photos in quick or very quick succession instead of making you wait a few seconds between photos)(cameras that just let you take photos as quickly as you want to without delay would also work to some degree)

      Because, seriously, being able to painlessly and quickly get a chunk of photos, in which even just *one* catches a baby’s smile, is awesome. Obviously, you’d still have “argh, just missed it” moments, but if the kid is repeatedly doing something cute, if your camera can capture a bunch of photos in quick succession, you have a better chance of “catching” the typical facial expressions, etc. (this is also awesome for getting group photos in which no one is blinking, hallelujah, and for making really funny gifs, but you do need to edit the images mercilessly or you’ll end up with waaay too many photos…)

      Maybe having your spouse yawn, and try to catch the “best part” of that yawn, photo-wise, would help show what I’m talking about? Maybe?

      A DSLR is going to change the look of things, yes, and give you more capability for control over specific things, yes, but the camera you don’t really know how to use is going to give you worse photos, not better, than the camera you are comfortable with and know how to use. So: learn if you want to, but if you don’t want to, either upgrade to a better point-and-shoot if you decide it’ll give you better results, or just stick with what you have. You can also rent equipment from many local gear shops, which might give you an idea of whether it’s sane or not for you personally to use this stuff before shelling out (and also give you a sense for what fits best in your hands, etc.).

      Also, for comparing cameras, I love http://www.dpreview.com/ – you can select what you want in a camera and it narrows down the list of results, or you can read reviews, or you can just read the full specs for a specific camera. Way more info than Amazon. :-)

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      I can highly recommend the Canon digital Rebels as really nice, low-end DSLRs. They are user friendly, great to learn on, and not that expensive.

    • Darcy

      Think about when you will be taking the photos. I have a point and shoot for the diaper bag. If my friends who have older kids are any indication, I’ll be using this camera more as the kid gets more mobile.

      Also, test out how easy it is to switch between snapping a photo and capturing some video. My camera sucks at this and Santa will be getting me a better one soon.

      My DSLR is great and I love it. I do in home improv photo shoots with it every few weeks for the family and it takes far better photos than my point and shoot. But I leave it at home 90% of the time. It’s too bulky to lug with me everywhere with the car seat and the diaper bag.

    • http://alacartealbums.com Jane

      I have a *lot* of cameras, especially since I used to be a studio photographer. The only time I actually haul out one of the DSLRs and it’s associated bag of stuff is if we are going to be at a full-on event where I will not also be the taking-care-of-kids point person. My camera phone gets the most kid pictures, followed by a reasonable quality but also small point and shoot that can fit into a pocket or purse. The DSLR requires more attention, takes up more space, and is heavier. And I don’t usually want to print 24x20s of the kids.

      I think the big difference between a point-and-shoot in automatic mode and a DSLR in automatic-mode (if you don’t want to take photography classes) is going to be the quality of the lens optics; I would really suggest something along the lines of the Canon G series, which he can actually operate in manual mode if he really wants to.

    • Michelle

      A little late to the game but – I LOVE my camera and recommend it to everyone. It’s a Panasonic Lumix GF1 (I think they are up to GF6 currently). It’s the same style as the Sony Alpha Nex that Elle mentioned… basically it’s a DSLR but without the viewfinder, which makes it about half as big and a lot lighter. Unfortunately it’s around the same price as a DSLR (I paid $800) but I love the fact that it takes awesome photos and I can throw it in my purse without breaking my back.
      Here’s the exact one I have (I highly recommend the 20mm non-zoom pancake lens too):
      http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-GF1-Four-Thirds-Interchangeable-Aspherical/dp/B002MUAEX4

    • http://whereyoucamefrom.blogspot.com/ Kathleen

      Thanks so much for all of the advice and suggestions! I copied all of your responses and sent them to my husband for his consideration, and maybe we’ll figure out what we’re looking for by the holidays!

  • Anon

    I just have to echo that this has indeed been a hell week. My father, who is a chronic alcoholic, was found by the police after he passed out in the street yesterday on a cold, rainy night. He has recently gotten his sixth DUI (two in the last month) over a 20 year period. He is up for a felony conviction with a court date that is rapidly approaching, and more than likely will be in jail by the holidays. Decades of alcoholism and my father’s inability to stay sober have torn my family apart, and I am having a hard time balancing this with my new “baby family” with my husband.

    I will definitely be reading the stories all month dealing with the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to all things “all in the family.” It’s helped me just to write about this, send it off into cyberspace, and feel the support from this lovely APW community.

    • catherine

      Oh my goodness! That’s so much to deal with. :( Sending you a big hug! xxxx

    • MEM

      Sending you lots of support!!! I don’t have advice or anything, just a big hug sent in your direction!

    • (al)anon

      big hugs and solidarity fist bump. alcohol abuse is so hard on families.

    • LM

      Ugh, that is a lot to deal with. I hope that even as you’re juggling this newest family drama and the needs of your relationship that your ‘baby family’ can also be a refuge. Sending lots of support!

    • Katie

      No idea if you’re still reading this Anon, but *hugs.* Your father’s situation sounds very similar to my father’s, who just got out of rehab (for the second time) and started drinking again the next day. I’m also struggling with balancing that part of my life with the wonderful part of my life that is my fiance. It’s so, so hard. I hope you are able to find a balance soon.

  • lady brett

    so, much to my alarm i am actually kind of…enjoying…having a baby. (i’m not supposed to say that because everyone loves babies and babies are the best, except that has not been me.)

    i think what it comes down to is: he is *hilarious*. like, how many people do you know who think that you’re the funniest shit on earth ’cause you can make animal noises and screwy faces? and he’s so excited by his arms that it’s a serious danger to everyone around him. and, not least, was *instantly* put to sleep (from raging fart-noise and dance-party mode) by the beastie boys’ “sabotage” earlier this week.

    i find it freeing to be able to unleash all of my ridiculousness to an appreciative audience. (also, from what i understand, he is an easy baby, so there’s that.)

    • KC

      As a I-don’t-like-babies-and-babies-don’t-like-me (except I can do the “baby bounce” half-stand-half-jog thing to soothe them and I do like them when they’re asleep/snuggled up to you), it’s reassuring that another non-baby person can like a baby! Yay!

      (also, that sounds like a just-plain-awesome baby. :-) )

    • Shiri

      This kind of accessible, non lost-self sounding positivity is SO nice to hear.

      Also, your baby sounds like he kicks ass.

    • meg

      I LOVE BABIES. Mine is the funniest. And the sassiest. And the talkyest. I guess as you would expect, right?

      I love older kids even more, but I love babies.

  • Don’t hassle the Haf

    Questions for those that have done any remodeling (super duper specifically adding a half bathroom)! Are there any useful blogs or websites out there? All I can ever find is like HGTV stuff but let’s not kid ourselves, that isn’t real life !

    • http://www.etsy.com/shop/DIYIDo Laura Lee

      YouTube can actually be a really good resource for DIY remodeling. It’s best when you have a really specific question, like “how do I install a toilet.”

    • Rachel

      You have to check out younghouselove.com

      Amazing writing, great ideas! You’ll fall in love with Sherry and John. I now talk like I know them which freaks the hubby out

    • http://www.stitch-witch.net/ Christina McPants

      Ditto the YouTube comment. We figured out a lot from googling what we needed, though we paid for a plumber for big stuff like plumbing a dishwasher and ice maker.

  • Granola

    Jumping on the thread here with a hope for some practical smart-APW-lady advice.

    My husband and I moved to a new place because I got a new job. I was nervous about it, but it seemed to go OK and he got some freelance work at a local company. Well 7 months later I got fired, and now his company has a full-time opening that he’s interested in. Basically, it’s a good opportunity and great timing.

    But I’m feeling conflicted. I’m mad that my job went so poorly and I just feel like a failure and it’s hard for me to be excited about his opportunity. And then there’s the Weight of Historical Feminism whispering in my ear that if I look for a job in a new industry near where we live now, I’m “sacrificing my dreams.” Does anyone have any advice for how to just take it one day at a time, make the best of the situation, and silence that shitty annoying voices that make me feel insecure and crappy?

    • M.

      Granola, I’m busy at work but want to respond. I put “notify of replies” on this so ping me if I forget! It will be okay!

      • Granola

        Will do. Thanks!! Have a great day/evening at work.

    • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

      You realise it’s perfectly ok to be ultra mad that your job didn’t go to plan right? It would be weird if you weren’t!

      Maybe one way of looking at it is to think of the team rather than you and him. So the team has a really good opportunity open up to it.

      Good luck with it babycakes

      • Granola

        Thanks for the advice.

        And for using the word babycakes, which made my week.

    • KC

      It’s hard, since different people are more attached to their specific fields or locations than others (and some fields require more continuity than others, in terms of “once you’re out, you’re out” vs. “you can take time out and then come back in without any eyebrows raised”).

      You guys have moved once for your job, so if it brings you any feminist comfort, that “would we ever move for my career?” check-box has been checked; yes, when it made sense to do it, you guys did! Only the two of you can figure out what’s best for the both of you at this point, whether to move again (which, to me, wouldn’t make much sense unless you had something definite lined up, but I’m a bird-in-the-hand person when it comes to jobs), or whether to stay put. But at this point, whatever you sort out is obviously not because “his career is always more important” or something like that. :-)

      Either way, it’s okay to be upset because the job didn’t work out, and upset because your expected trajectory has gotten more complicated. This does definitely suck, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. (just try to avoid pointing your emotions in a negative way at your husband or at yourself; it’s surprisingly easy to do, and neither productive nor fair)

      So, yes, you’re a team, you can figure it out, and your well-reasoned, sensible choice about what is best for the two of you is not a failure. :-)

    • Not Sarah

      Wow, I’m really sorry that your job went so poorly :( The fact that you got fired sucks. The fact that your job didn’t turn out well, ignoring the getting fired part, also really, really sucks. It doesn’t matter what your husband’s job prospects look like, you can still be upset for yourself. That takes time to deal with sometimes. And then you have this person next to you whose job doesn’t currently suck, which makes it even harder. That is totally normal.

      What you need to do is find something to occupy yourself. Can you take up a new sport? Go running? Find a yoga studio? Make some new friends in your new area? Work on your book queue? What do you usually do to help build your confidence back up? That will be super important when you do look for another job and to help keep your happiness up now. Getting out of the house probably helps too.

      It might help if you get up and shower and eat breakfast when your husband does. Perhaps you could go for a half hour walk when he goes to work to get out of the house for a bit?

      You’re not sacrificing your dreams. You took a risk on a new job and it didn’t pan out. It’s taking you a bit to find a new job, so it’s super awesome that your husband has a job for you to fall back on.

      Good luck!! Sending you lots of virtual hugs.

      • Granola

        Great advice. Thank you! I’ve been working through my list of hobbies lately, and new conversations always help me feel more normal. I joined a sit-and-snit class the other day, which was really great, and thinking about joining a book club. You’re spot on about how important it is to get out of the house.

    • M.

      Hey Granola! So first, just all I have is solidarity fist bumps and big hugs, because I am in a similar situation and oooof, hard.

      My story: I had gone back to school following my MA and got together with my now-fiancee, an old friend, just as I was about to graduate. He’d been transferred to NYC for a magical unicorn job, so since I was more flexible I came out here to be with him. My idea of what my life was going to look like was annihilated. I looked and looked and looked for work in my field and anything sort of related (and many things not at all). I had two part time jobs for awhile, and finally got promoted and came on full time at one of them — which still has me terribly underemployed and not enjoying work. Nowhere close to my field. But you know…money and loans and insurance and stuff. Stability.

      He LOVES his job, and is so talented and appreciated. Great pay, interesting work, lots of room for advancement. He like going to work. This job will support us. I am so proud of him, and so happy because he’s got it gooood and damn he’s smart. And I know I’m lucky that we have it to fall back on.

      I also resent his job. And mine. Kind of a lot sometimes. It’s hard to be happy for him when I struggle. I’m at the point of not wanting to work at all (if this becomes feasible) because I’m so disenchanted with my job-search experience over the last few years, and I also don’t even know what I love to do or want to do anymore. Everything seems terrible and not worth it.

      Plus, you know, the Weight of Historical Feminism. When I moved out here, I dealt with a lot of high-achiever guilt from myself and other people. “Giving up my dreams,” not using my degrees or languages, jettisoning the “plan” and worst of all moving for A MAN?! HOW UNFEMINIST. And my line became, I have my whole life to have a career, but the timing window on getting this relationship off the ground is very small. Sometimes you have to prioritize personal over professional. I really believe that, and getting married to my person is the most important thing in my life, my new little family. But, unfortunately, our world is one where you meet someone and immediately ask, “What do you do?” It’s hard to validate yourself by saying, “Well I was in a PhD program but I hated it, so I quit, moved to Germany, came home, studied to be a teacher, moved to NYC for my fiance, couldn’t find work, and now do X after trying Y and Z.” I feel like I need to validate my smarts, my worldliness, my experience, my hard work…but it’s not feasible. So now I just drop my job title and let them think what they want. It’s so hard not to care, but with practice….

      The only thing so far that has saved me a little is volunteering for something that I am crazy, crazy passionate about (shelter dogs!). I always say that, some people can’t miss yoga, or need their coffee…if I don’t go to the shelter at least once a week, I go crazy. It’s hard work (and takes time away from our weekends together, a whole other issue to navigate), but I WANT to do it and I feel GOOD doing it, which is something I’m not getting from my work life.

      The advice I have is:
      1) You are not your job. 2) You are worth enough on your own, without a job or money or status or anything. Your husband knows this. Even if you gave up on your dreams ( you didn’t/won’t. Life changes, your needs and wants change). He values you (so do we!) just as you are. 3) Try so hard to forget what other people think when they hear your story. They don’t know your life. You are still as worthy in a new field as the old one. can’t know your whole journey. 4) Sometimes, things in service of the relationship are more weighted to one person or the other, but ultimately they are for both of you. I deal with this city and job I don’t like for him, but his job supports us and lets us do a lot of great things — like attack our debt so we can change our situation in a year or two to be better for both of us. 5) Be kind to yourself and if you can’t get paid to do what you really want, try to do a little bit of it for free.

      This is long and rambling… But, babycakes :), you are not alone, and are worthy as a partner and woman, regardless of your job status. Lean on your husband, talk to us here, and keep on trucking. It doesn’t have to be forever.

      • Granola

        This is why APW is the best. Solidarity fist bump and hug right back at you! Let me know if you ever want to email/chat. NYC can be an overwhelming and lonely place sometimes. And man do I HATE the “so what do you do?” cocktail party line. RAWR.

        Also I’m super jealous of your shelter volunteering. That sounds awesome.

    • Violet

      Hey Granola!
      I feel you on this one. I saw earlier up the page that you live in CT but are in NYC often. Well, my husband and I lived in NYC for the past 7-8 years, but have recently moved to CT temporarily for his grad program. I still commute to my job in NYC. It’s hard because every aspect of my life is now harder because of the grad school decision/move. I know it’s the right thing (for him and for us) in the long-term, but short-term, I only see the downsides. We’ve both been trying to be more more positive, which helps. But it’s hard, and I think it’s totally fair to let yourself feel disappointed! Let me know if you ever want to chat- I’d be happy to email/meet up sometime.

      • Granola

        Let’s definitely chat! I’m looking into trying to find a job in NYC and I’m a little nervous that the commute is going to be terrible. What’s the best way to get in touch with you?

  • Not Sarah

    So I transferred teams last December within my company and…it’s gone terribly. I have spent the last (almost!) year mostly hating my job. So many days crying at my desk after feedback from my manager. I came back from a two week vacation in September and almost cried the first day back at work because I didn’t want to be here.

    I spent the last half of September and most of October talking to old managers, managers and teams other people recommended and it started to feel like a wild goose chase. But, last week, I finally applied to a job! The first manager I talked to! Who reports to one of my old managers who was awesome and thought/thinks I am awesome!

    I thought there weren’t going to interviews (internal transfer), so of course I freaked out earlier this week when I got an email from the recruiter to schedule interviews. And then they just got scheduled for next week. Cue more freaking out. But by the end of next week, I’ll know whether I got this new job or not and when I can leave where I am now! I am so excited!!! And also, I’ll know what’s wrong with my knee injury early next week too. So next week should be great for news!!

    My boyfriend has been amazingly supportive through all of this. I’ve been freaking out and sad and complainy a lot, but he is so incredibly understanding and that has made this so much easier to handle :)

    WOO! Just had to exclaim/mini-freak out :)

    • Granola

      Good luck! So exciting!

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    My new wedding project is figuring out whether I want to pay $17 a piece to rent twenty five 120″ round tablecloths, or buy them. And if I buy them, what I need to get the price down to for the storage and laundering and such to be worth it.

    (Also, trying to figure out what you do when you are washing and transporting big round tablecloths…fold them? roll them?)

    • Granola

      I remember hearing an anecdote (possibly on APW) of several brides going in on tablecloths and other linens like you’re suggesting. They just split the costs and everyone used them. Not sure if you have friends/family getting married or maybe you could post on a forum to find others getting married near you around the same time.

    • KC

      I’ve done the fold-them-in-quarters-then-roll-into-a-cone thing, and it’s worked okay for short-distance transport (each cone is still 5′ long that way, though, so, um, take that into account? But you can reverse half of them in storage.). When working with rented ones, they usually come more folded, but then you have more creases sometimes (no big deal if you don’t care or if you’ve got tons of stuff you’re putting on the tables; more of a problem if you’re envisioning a fleet of smooth, naked tablecloths).

      It’s an awkward shape in any event, and having an ironing board and iron on hand to touch things up can, unfortunately, be advantageous if you’re doing a huge room of tables and you do want them to look “just right”. (but make sure you know what material you’re working with)

      One possibility, if you’re affiliated with a community center or church or other organization that does a lot of events on the cheap, is to ask them if they have some you can borrow (if you don’t need a specific color), since there’s sometimes a closet-full of this sort of thing, usually in white. (if they don’t, you can potentially ask them if they’d like yours after your wedding!)

    • ART

      I am doing that same kind of tablecloth math :) For round tablecloths, I would stack them flat and roll them up together. It will be a big log, but it’s the best way I’ve found to avoid creases (I am using the same technique for my cloth napkins). Maybe you would need more than one log since you’re doing 25, though – that’s probably a lot to roll together. You can tape around them with painter’s tape (the blue or green kind that comes off and doesn’t leave any tacky stuff).

      • KC

        Query: for 120″ tablecloths, do you fold them once, then roll them (for a 5″ long log) or do you just deal with the log being 10″ long and solid in the middle but floppy on the ends?

        Also: Painter’s tape is genius as a keep-them-in-place-for-the-short-term idea! If someone was storing, though, I might suggest wrapping your stuff in a last layer of butcher’s paper or similar, because tape eventually starts to break down, and nobody wants to try to clean that off the outermost tablecloth…

    • Hannah

      Rent! Trust me. Rent them. I was in a laundry mat on a super hot day three days before my wedding, with both my best friend and I rolling table cloths on to paper rolls to get the wrinkles out, (which only sort-of worked btw). It was miserable. Please rent them. You will not regret it.

      • Sarah NCtoPA

        We bought poly-blend (or maybe all poly) 60×120 inch cloths for $10/apiece. Running them in the dryer a few at a time with a wet towel did the trick. MIL then carted them down a 2-hoiur drive in her car hanging up and they looked fine. But they are now sitting in our attic, not sure I’ll ever eBay them. Anyone out there need some navy blue cloths?

        • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

          As I’ve been asking others, did you wash them when you got them (before using) or just take care of the wrinkles?

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        I hear you, but it’s over a $200 difference. That is worth a few hours of work in a laundromat for me.

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      Has anyone had any experience with linentablecloth.com? Their current prices for tablecloths is about 1/2 of what I’d pay to rent. Tempting…

      • Enon

        Yes! I had a great experience with linentablecloth.com. Fantastic prices, good quality linens, no problems with shipping/delivery, and I’m hoping to resell them for (hopefully) around 1/2 the price I bought them for. I would definitely recommend them.

        • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

          Good to know. They have a 25% off and free shipping deal this weekend.

        • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

          Enon, did you need to wash them all before using them, or just take care of the wrinkles?

      • http://breadandcheeseplease.com Charise

        Late to the game here, but I also used them w/ great results. I ended up selling them on Craigslist after for only like $3 less per tablecloth than I paid, so it definitely worked out cost-wise, too!

        • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

          Charise, same question as for Enon: did you need to wash them all before using them, or just take care of the wrinkles?

  • Rachel

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/11/07/happy-marriage-secrets_n_4235162.html?ref=topbar

    Just saw this lovely article on HuffPost entitled: Happy Marriage Secrets: It’s all about the Wife. It seems that when women forgive their husbands quickly and don’t argue that the marriage is more successful. WHAT THE F**K?

    • KC

      I’m avoiding reading the article so as to not raise my blood pressure, but wondering if the argument can be turned around to be “when husbands don’t do things that are difficult to quickly forgive and when husbands aren’t jerks who instigate or inspire arguments, marriages are more successful”. (if not, never mind. I just find that many “successful” things, either work-wise or marriage-wise, that seem at first glance to rely on one person being a doormat are actually indicative of two people working together successfully in such a way that *neither* has to be a doormat.)

      • Rachel

        My blood pressure went through the roof. It basically says that marriages last longer when women don’t show anger or contempt and forgive their husbands quickly. I am so, so disturbed that the media is still pumping out articles like this that tell women to suppress their own emotions in order to make men happy. What happens if a 14 year old girl reads this?

        • KC

          I’d like to read the study in question. I’m wondering how to reconcile sentences 1 and 3 of the following:
          “Findings showed that the length of time each member of a couple spent being upset strongly correlated with their long-term marital happiness. When wives calmed down quickly, the couple was likely to be happier in both the long and short term. The cooling down period for the husbands didn’t have the same effect.”

          Because sentence 1 seems to imply that the amount of time spent upset by both does make a difference? (also: I’m personally more likely to stay upset longer about things if I don’t feel respected/loved. That’s also a marriage happiness predictor right there, I think, but interaction styles may be gender-affected.)

          Anyway, it may just be another “blueberries cure cancer!” hyperbolizing-for-more-clicks research mangling. (tries to soothe blood pressure…)

          • Rachel

            Ya I agree it’s contradictory. And to me, that is just another reason why it is so offensive. The “findings” don’t even seem to be linked properly to the “conclusions” but yet they make the conclusions anyways. I have seen so many abusive relationships where the women have actually been counselled by friends and family to do just what the article suggests- don’t display negative emotions and forgive your husband quickly. The perfect recipe for a toxic relationship.

            I tend to yell and really display my anger in the moment but I very quickly let go of my anger and forgive (when necessary, not all fights require forgiveness IMO). I can go from red hot angry to snuggling in about 30 minutes. Hubby is the opposite, a quiet, non-confrontational grudge holder. Not sure what that says about our longevity.

          • KC

            If I recall correctly from premarital counseling, if you *don’t* understand and accommodate for each others’ “conflict styles”, you’re more likely to get into trouble. But if you understand and work towards compromise (or in some way negotiate a method) in how you deal with conflict together, then it’s not a problem (and, maybe, but I’m not as sure I’m remembering this correctly, you’re actually better off if you succeed at doing this, since you’ve got a more established base from which to “do” conflict and hence are less likely to get blindsided?).

            (I’m a “leave me alone and let me cool down a bit so I can separate out the logical part of this from the ouch and so I don’t say things I’ll regret” person whereas my husband is on the “deal with the conflict immediately or it’s a catastrophe!” side. So it’s taken some adjustment. But we’ve got a lot of the wrinkles ironed out now, mostly. :-) )

  • catherine

    Well thank god for this happy hour. I’m on my second day sick at home with a throat that’s killing me and so freaking bored. so im loving reading all of your comments – my ounce of the real world for today. :) hope everyone has a great weekend !

    • Not Sarah

      I somewhat feel your pain! I worked from home on Tuesday and Wednesday and the only person I talked to all day was the doctor since I did self check-out at the grocery store, so I eventually called my mother so that I had some human interaction.

      Hope you get better soon!!

  • Kerry

    Hey ladies of APW!

    So, I am headed to LA tomorrow for a dress-hunting excursion, and I find myself in need of a pep talk.

    Guys, I’m so anxious. I’m anxious that I’m not going to find anything that I like. Anxious that my already fragile body image is going to crumble in front of the mirror. Anxious about the pressure I’m putting on myself to find a dress that magically fixes said body issues (obviously, I know this isn’t going to happen, and yet I’m stressing about it anyway…)

    I’ve been reading the “wedding dress shopping fears and concerns” open thread on repeat, and there is some awesome stuff in there. Does anyone have any additional tips (for those of us who are less than enthusiastic about shopping) on making the most of my appointment? Maybe just a virtual hug?

    • Rachel

      Bring someone along who loves you unconditionally and truly thinks you are beautiful. If that’s your fiancé, your mom, your bff, your cousin- whoever. They are the people who will be honest but also help you see how beautiful you look in the right dress. I brought my mom and only my mom, best decision I made.

      I’m also super self conscious about my arms (I have narrow shoulders which makes them look disproportionally large). I knew I had found the dress when I loved it so much and the rest of my body looked so amazing that I didn’t even look at my arms. Find a dress that makes you feel so good you don’t even notice the stuff you are normally self conscious about. Keep looking until you find it.

    • catherine

      Aww I live in LA and will be starting my dress search in December! Good luck with everything, and I love Rachel’s advice :)

  • Liz

    I just wanted to say that I’m having a week, and I really needed that ugly cry from watching that video. I’m normally a talker about my feelings, but have found it hard this week, so that release felt lovely.

  • Liz

    I know this is the internet, and that means you never can/should appeal to every person everywhere, and I try to never, ever whine about things….but…. I have this job that requires me to work full-time on the weekends and the Friday Happy Hour posts are making me feel a little down that I don’t get to be on the same schedule as everyone else. :-(

    • KC

      If it makes you feel any better, there are lots of readers in Very Different Time Zones (along with many people with non 9-5 work schedules), so you’re very much not alone in being left out? (that sounds weird. Hopefully you get what I mean?)

      • Liz

        I think I get what you’re saying – yeah – I just wish I could sigh with relief along with the rest of the world on Friday night that the weekend is here.

        • KC

          Yeah, even little tiny community rituals can be awesome to be a part of. Sorry. :-(

          (if it’s any consolation, I’m also not a M-F 9-5-er)

    • scw

      I get to work from home because I’m a student, but I do a huge chunk of work on the weekends so I kind of know how you feel (a little. being at home is way better than being at work). I like when happy hour rolls around but I’m also disappointed because it means no apw for me for a few days!

      • Liz

        I do a lot of work at home too – but when I’m not at home, I’m running public events. Work at home is pretty great, except when it isn’t. Lately I’ve been getting super lonely, since I only go into the office 1 day a week. Not by choice, but necessity. I run programs that are an hour away from my actual office desk.

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

    Well, yesterday I signed the divorce paperwork. It was the saddest thing I have ever had to do.

    • peabody_bites

      I am so so sorry. Wishing you strength and time to heal and sending you love, and blueberry pancakes with bacon and maple syrup.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        Thank you, Peabody_Bites. I really appreciate it, and those pancakes sound delicious…

    • KEA1

      *huge hugs*

      I hope it will be the saddest thing you ever have to do, and that the journey ahead will include plenty of healing and love and joy. Lots of wishes your way for comfort and strength.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        Kea1, thank you for your good wishes…

  • http://www.thankyouredball.com Alyssa

    I had to double-check what blog I was on when I read this post:

    http://nishweiseth.com/blog/2013/11/what-do-i-know-about-marriage

    “But, what I’m learning more than anything is that your marriage is yours. It’s your own chapter in your own story that only you and your lover can write. There are times when others can speak truth and wisdom into your union, and thank God for the gift of a good community that bravely does so. But, your marriage is your own. You have to make it your own, take the advice that works for you and ignore the rest. There’s no one way to have a great marriage, and thank God for that, too. ”

    Hmm, this doesn’t LOOK like APW … but she’d fit.

  • August

    I’m wondering if anyone here reads any blogs (or writes one) about building your own home–from scratch. I’m looking for one person, a couple, or family who decided to build their own home from the ground up. I’m not looking for blogs about hiring the job out to a contractor–I’m looking for some blogs about the ultimate DIY.

    • KC

      The only things I’ve read have been on building Tiny Homes (a friend was considering one), but those are almost universally fascinating. That sort of thing might also give you a sense, on a smaller scale, of many of the bits and pieces that would go into building a more normal home (like baking a layer cake vs. baking a tiered cake – there’s more structural support and a sturdier foundation needed for the wedding cake, and a few other extra requirements, but baking a normal cake is going to give you a lot of the basic skills and give you a good start, anyway?)

      I’m not advocating that you build a tiny house first, necessarily [although I suppose it might make sense to build a tiny house first, then live in it while building the "normal" house, to give your skills and such a bit of a workout on easier material?]. Mostly that reading those blogs might give you a sort of short form of what many of the different aspects of building a house would look like on a more circumscribed scale.

      I would note that in most places, homes have to be built “to code”, and some aspects of that (most frequently electrical work, I think?) have to be done or supervised or checked-off-on-in-some-way by someone with certification to do so. So that’s worth considering, if you do find a blog – are these people already certified in home building in specific areas? (I think most tiny houses get to trade a lot of code complications by being technically trailers.)

    • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/ Martha Smith

      Check out Ana White! http://ana-white.com/

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    Oh right, long weekend happy hour.

    Meanwhile, here’s hoping everything goes well in Hawaii on Tuesday:
    http://www.keennewsservice.com/2013/11/09/hawaii-house-clears-marriage-bill-senate-concurrence-vote-tuesday/

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      Hello destination weddings. :)

  • http://onwingingit.wordpress.com/ elle

    OMG THE NEW SITE!!! <3

  • J. Driver

    LOVING the new site! It looks amazing! Well done, APW team!

  • emmers

    I’m having such a blast poking around the new site and reading tons of things I’ve never read before. It’s so accessible! Well done, ya’ll!

  • klick

    The new design kind of sucks. Logo takes up way too much of my little laptop screen.

  • EarlyEuropeanRiser

    Love the new site – somehow makes it easier to appreciate the beautiful images and definitely simple to navigate. Congratulations!

  • M.

    Sooo pretty! :) Congrats!

  • Sarah

    YES! I didn’t see a place to comment on the new site but AHHHHHHHHH! So AWESOME!!!!!