APW Happy Hour


Bon voyage!

by Maddie Eisenhart, Managing Editor

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

Hey APW,

Maddie here! I wish I had interesting things to share with you in Meg’s absence today, but the reality is that it’s post relaunch and wedding season is over for me, so the really exciting things in my life right now are mostly about having cleaned my car and given my dog a bath, because they both smelled like a foot. Hurrah for normalcy! Next stop: laundry, or as I like to call it How To Get The Things From The Dryer To The Dresser Without A Pit Stop On The Floor For A Month.

And now, it’s your Friday open thread, hop on it.

Cheers,
Maddie

Highlights of APW This Week

#bridesinpants goes high fashion, with a little help from East Side Bride.

The Infertile Embryologist returned to share the story of her miscarriage, and, to quote the top comment, “the combination of giddiness, loss, and sass so poignantly encapsulated is incredible.”

Eric (yes, that Eric!) on marrying a feminist.

Need a last minute table decoration idea for Thanksgiving? Our super easy vellum candle centerpiece might do the trick.

For anyone who’s been seriously let down by a parent…again. This post is for you.

Kelley & Matt’s wedding proves that a school cafeteria pizza party can be super stylish (and also that bedazzled shoes go with everything.) And in case you missed it, check out how you can copy their rad vinyl wall quotes in our newest feature: See It, Do It.

Link Roundup

We know everyone already saw this on Facebook, but I’d like to shout that TODDLER AND PUPPY NAPS ARE EVERYTHING..

Making the viral rounds is the kickass new GoldieBlox commercial, which I am totally buying for my four-year-old niece for Christmas.

This body-positive burlesque tap dance is FIERCE. And do my eyes deceive me or are those combo tap AND pointe shoes?

From David’s favorite author Zadie Smith, Man vs. Corpse. Combine his love of Smith with his love of Hedwig and I don’t know what you get.

You don’t even need the audio for this new Google ad to make you cry. (No seriously, you will cry.)

Six women in this new documentary say no to the idea that style is meant only for the young.

This study on the “mean girl effect” is a bummer (and hello flashbacks), but really interesting.

Can we get three cheers for making baby showers co-ed? And speaking of children, I really enjoyed this article in the Times on how to raise successful children, particularly the bit about what it means to be an “authoritative” parent (hint: not what I would have expected.)

Jezebel thinks that selfies are a cry for help. I think they are the only way I know if my last haircut looked good, three months after the fact.

Interesting, and timely with Brides in Pants: The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook.

This is our new favorite Tumblr.

Thumbnail image by Gabriel Harber (APW Sponsor)

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • http://heartsvsbrains.tumblr.com/ HeartvsBrain

    Speaking of the Goldiblox, did anyone else think the toys themselves were pretty lame? I see no reason why I wouldn’t buy my daughter regular tinker toys, legos or similar. They aren’t made for boys and they’ve got more functions and options than the BS I saw on Goldiblox’s website.

    • KC

      I read on their website that (paraphrased) a lot of girls are more verbal/story-driven, so have more fun when they’re solving a problem that the person in the accompanying stories has. Basically, a way to get “play pretend” mixed together with “build something/fix something/solve something”, which is, interestingly, also what I think is the mix of skills needed when actually designing things (you need to not just come up with a cool concept, but figure out how it works for people *and* make it work).

      (that said: pastels, really?)

      • http://heartsvsbrains.tumblr.com/ HeartvsBrain

        Pastels and…a star spinner? Seriously? I was honestly insulted. I go to the toy store often (admittedly on dates with my husband not because we have kids) and I am up to date on the latest toys for boys and girls and there are plenty of building and engineering sets that don’t limit creativity like these Goldiblox seem to. The commercial was great and then the product was like, “same old, same old! Pink and purple blocks and sticks!” Ugh.

        • KC

          I agree partially, and yet, having nieces/nephews, if they’re over a certain age and you want to introduce them to a general field that you think is cool, it has to be palatable to them or the box doesn’t even get opened. (says, um, the aunt who bought circuitry kits for kids last year. I am maybe not the cool aunt.)

          So… I might think of Goldiblox as “gateway engineering toys” for kids who might otherwise think they, being girls, must only want Littlest Pet Shop or Bratz or whatever. :-)

      • EmLeMat

        There’s a great interview on the Atlantic. The idea is that by the time girls are 5 or 6 or 7, many are already uncomfortable violating gender norms. Leggos are great for girls who want them, but not all parents will buy “boy” toys for girls. The pastel colors are about meeting girls (and parents) where there are.

        • Kathleen

          I believe I read somewhere that they did focus groups with kids, and the colors and story lines helped attract girls who weren’t otherwise interested. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

          • Kathleen

            Given that, though, I’m not sure it’s constructive for them to keep advertising themselves as “disrupting the pink aisle.”

      • Lindsey d.

        I considered GoldieBlox for my 6-year-old niece’s Christmas gift this year. However, I rejected it because of a video clip that showed that the ribbon won’t work if not pulled exactly perfectly. I know my niece well enough to know that pulling the ribbon exactly parallel to the floor will drive her crazy. So I got her a set of Lego Friends (http://friends.lego.com/en-us/) instead.

        As to the pink thing — I agree with the idea of meeting girls where they are. My niece is a princess/unicorn/My Little Pony loving type of girl. She will be drawn to the girly Lego Friends. And the pinks and purples will probably keep her older brother from co-opting it, which is also good.

        As a sister of an older brother, I grew up playing with his Hot Wheels and Legos, as well as loving on my baby dolls. But it was always clear to me that those cars and blocks were his and I was only a guest in that world. Why not take Legos back with some girly themes?

        • KC

          I grew up with legos that were mine and it didn’t occur to me that they were a gendered toy – I’d be sad if the Lego Friends line accidentally communicated to girls that all the other legos were “boy” legos.

          But it sounds, from your experience, that this already happens. (and I have little girls I’m aunty to who definitely have boy vs. girl toy Opinions, waaay past the opinions I ever had, so I’d assume this is probably more normal than not) So. Hm. How to best fix an already kind of screwed-up situation?

          • MisterEHolmes

            Traditional Legos ARE marketed exclusively as “boy” toys, at least in the past 15 years or so. They are out of the “girl” aisle, the advertisements feature boys, and the Lego Friends are marketed exclusively at girls, making the other, by default, for boys. This wasn’t the case when we were kids.

            I’m surprised by the criticism of GoldieBlox. I don’t have any kids to give them to, but I LOVE the idea. And…while I appreciate the attempt, I dislike Lego Friends (for reasons above).

          • KC

            Last time I went toy-hunting in person [two years ago, I guess, since last year I caved and just went online], our Target had a Lego aisle, which wasn’t deeply marked either “boy” or “girl” (what’s with the magenta aisle backgrounds, people???) and I haven’t been paying attention to the advertising. I have been getting more and more annoyed, as we buy legos for niece and nephew, at how many “branded” and super-limited-reuse sets there are, though. Yes, it’s fun to build the thing-on-the-box once… and then you make giant creations from alllll the legos! But if a set mostly just has weird specialty pieces that are printed in specific ways and don’t repurpose well, that doesn’t really work.

            I guess I’m old enough to pre-date the strong gendering of lego (or I just missed the memo if it *was* around; see: blissfully clueless tomboy-style kid with really limited TV).

          • Kayjayoh

            It’s not the idea so much as the execution.

    • Jacky Speck

      I have to admit that while I like the company’s message, the toys themselves seem to be lacking. I loved Tinker Toys, Legos, Kinex, and Marble Works as a kid, and would buy those things for my daughter too.

      Snap Circuits are another one I’d probably get, even though I never had them as a kid. I just learned about them earlier this week, in a conversation about this very ad on Reddit’s /r/TwoXChromosomes where many people agreed that they liked the Goldiblox ad, but not the actual toys.

    • http://heartsvsbrains.tumblr.com/ HeartvsBrain

      I’m not a mom yet, so I can’t speak from any sense of rightness or expertise on “what kids want”.

      However, I was a kid and when I was a kid, if there were girl toys (beyond like, Barbies) I wasn’t aware of it. I already know there were problems with the way I was raised and my normal meter is definitely broken, but I’m pretty sure the part where we only got toys that challenged us creatively and were encouraged to imagine a lot, was better than if I’d been raised in an all pink princess world. At the very least, its caused me to be honestly flabbergasted at any little girl who would turn her nose up at a toy just because it isn’t pink or purple. That’s just not my world and I can’t imagine living in it.

    • Kayjayoh

      This article has some good critiques of Goldiblox, etc:

      http://blog.pigtailpals.com/2013/11/stop-using-stereotypes-to-sell-stem-to-girls/

      • http://heartsvsbrains.tumblr.com/ HeartvsBrain

        Thank you! This is like exactly what I was feeling!

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    Oh, man! I thought I was the only one who threw my clean laundry on the floor for way too long. Fist bump of solidarity, ladyfriend!

    • Lacey Williams

      Raise your hand if you keep the clean laundry on the floor, just pick from that pile… only to find out that the cats peed on the formerly-clean pile of laundry.

      *raises hand sadly*

      • Laura

        Shamefully raises hand… except it was cat poo…

        • Tamar

          I even went as far as folding all the clothes, then leaving them on the floor, which the cats figured meant “look at this neat pile of soft things we made for you to poop on.”

          • Laura

            It’s some sort of territory thing, I guess??

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        My dog likes to use my clean laundry as a bed. Actually, when the floor is TOTALLY clean she looks around like, “Where did my sleep spots go?”

        • Jacki

          Last night I woke up to the sound of my dog trying to dig himself a nest in my pile of laundry. *facepalm*

      • Lauren

        Were they trying to tell you something? lol

        • Laura

          Haha, yeah, like “PICK UP YOUR DAMN CLOTHES, crazy human!”

    • BreckW

      When we lived in a tiny studio apartment, 100% of the time we had a pile of clean laundry that rotated from the bed to the couch and back, depending on which we were using. We were always like, “When we have more space, this will never happen!” And we were right. Now, we do the same as you and leave it on the floor for a month :).

      • http://www.devabydefinition.com/ Deva C.

        We have 5 cats and if we leave clean laundry in the basket longer than the time it takes to fold it, we ge to rewash the first two layers because one or two of them make it into a bed. They can sleep in the dirties all they want, though!

        • BreckW

          This is the one thing I do not miss about being a pet owner. Leave any dark-colored clothing around, the white cat *will* find it and hair-orize it.

          • Winny the Elephant

            We like to call it ‘furberizing’ it :p

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Sometimes I’m like, “If it’s lying on a blanket, it’s technically not on the floor”

  • Lacey Williams

    That Google video! OMG, the tears. So gorgeous.

    • Sara

      In a related vein, the Skype Commercials are so cute too. This one made me cry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nRKyQ11494

      • ART

        oh my god – i didn’t even have the sound on and i’m totally crying. i’ll watch it for real when i get home…jeez!

      • SuzieQuzie

        Gah! So many happy tears!

      • socallmeshirley

        That was so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

      • Molly

        I cried! So beautiful.

  • Hey Nonny Nonymouse

    I’m struggling with whether to attend a wedding in a few months. The situation: my fiance is a groomsman. I like the couple. But I’m finding it depressing knowing that they’re having a wedding they can’t remotely afford — in the recent past they were considering canceling it for financial reasons. And spending a lot to travel to this wedding and potentially be a grumpy drag on my fiance feels like…why not send him without me, he can share a room with a friend, he might well have more fun without me, and we can give them a much bigger gift, which I know they could use? But on the other hand, given that they have made it clear that having *this* wedding is a priority for them, maybe I should just go out of respect for that.

    • Laura

      I would talk with your fiancé openly about it. Is it important to him that you attend the wedding? Does he really want you with him or is he ok on his own. That *could* help you decide.

      I understand it being difficult for you to go when you have a fundamental disagreement about the wedding. I’ve been to a few myself over the years. You look around and think, “WHAT?”

      But when it comes down to weddings, we go because you love and care for the people getting married (or one of the people). We support the marriage itself. Now if you don’t agree with them actually getting married, well that’s a different story.

      Even if it is too much for them to afford, it is their wedding. This may be a huge financial mistake for them, or they may surprise you and come out of it with an awesome budgeting plan for after the wedding. In the end, we all have be given the room to make grown up mistakes, often financial ones (see: credit card debt during grad school. Oops!). That’s how we learn and grow.

      • Hey Nonny Nonymouse

        Yeah, I need to figure it out. We just had a conversation about finding the whole thing a little depressing, which I find sad because my fiance had really been looking forward to this wedding for a bunch of reasons until it became clear what a financial problem it was going to be for the couple (and that fact has left all of us having to scramble to make travel arrangements later than we would have liked because things were so up in the air). I think I’m also responding to it feeling like a tipping point in their group of friends in some way that I can’t quite put my finger on.

    • LM

      If you like the couple and want to support them, then you might want to consider going to the wedding. Ultimately it’s on them if they are having a wedding that is outside their means; it might be uncomfortable knowing their financial situation but it doesn’t have much to do with you. The caveat is, can you go without being a grumpy drag? If not, then sure, your fiance might rather fly solo. Otherwise, he, and they, would probably love to have you there.

    • Rebekah

      This reminds me of the oft-quoted “The people who matter will be there” phrase from Meg’s book, while also reminding me of a sermon I recently heard. The pastor talked about a missions trip he recently returned from and how he felt guilty before going because he asked the church to raise his travel funds, the sum of which could have done a great deal of monetary good if just sent to them instead of spent on a plane ticket. When he arrived, the people said, “Many people send money, but you actually came.” He was struck by how much his presence made a difference to these people in a way that the money would not have.
      My point is, definitely discuss with your fiance whether your presence or your presents will mean more to this couple as a show of love and support.
      And I hope you enjoy whichever decision you make!

    • http://www.marbleryephotography.com/ Melissa

      To echo LM & Laura – if these are people who you care about and who will be in your life for years to come, I’d go (as long as attending is something that you feel you can afford, too). I bet they’d rather have you there with them than a more expensive gift. But if your hesitation is really a reflection of an underlying issue (non-”your wedding budget is giving me hives”-related), maybe it’s time to talk with your fiance about it.

  • Jacky Speck

    Can I just say I’m glad I’m not the only one who procrastinates endlessly before putting clean laundry away? Usually my fiance or I shovel it into a clean laundry bag when it comes out of the dryer and it sits there for WEEKS. I don’t know why folding everything once a week seems harder than dumping the entire bag out onto the bed daily as we search for clean clothes to wear… But we keep doing it.

    • Laura

      Oh yes… i have a system… dirty laundry basket, clean laundry basket, with the iron always set up, because the pants are always wrinkled.

      • a single sarah

        I need to get a medium laundry basket. Cause I can (eventually) fold clothes. And dirty ones hide in the closet hamper. But the jeans that have more wears in them should probably stop living on the floor…..

        • Meigh McPants

          My smartest organization idea: we got a towel rack from ikea and mounted it behind the bedroom door, so now all the jeans with more wears in them and whatnot can stay off the floor (or the foot of our bed) and I feel like a genius. It even has little hangy bits on the sides for bras. Why did it take me 13 years of adulthood to figure this out?

          • Laura

            GENUIS.

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

            Nice idea!

      • BreckW

        Are you me? This is totally our “system.”

        • Laura

          We could very well be the same soul linked across time and space.

    • lady brett

      hahaha – we had this conversation this morning:
      “do you know where that white blanket is?”
      “i think it’s on the couch, maybe?”
      “oh, huh, i thought i just washed it”
      “yeah.”
      “so. wouldn’t it be in the clean laundry pile?”
      at which point we realized we were talking about the *exact same thing* because “clean laundry” and “couch” are synonymous. ahem.

  • Kate White

    I love everything about that burlesque performance. As a former member of a dance company, and with all the body image issues that go with ballet, I identify with her so much. it gave me chills. I love her anger and her pride.

    (and those are totally combo pointe/tap shoes! ahh!)

  • Rachel102712

    You guys. I just have to share that as long as I have considered myself an ally to the LGBT community, and as important as I think marriage equality is, and as much I think this website rocks because of it’s devotion to the subject… I feel like I finally get it now.

    I had the pleasure of attending my first same-sex marriage celebration last Saturday. A former work colleague married her partner of 25 years in Washington, DC earlier this month, and my husband and I were invited to share in their celebration back home. It was one of the most beautiful, powerful, and inspiring celebrations of love that I have ever witnessed. It was like a combination of old and new: celebrating a relationship that has lasted for 25 years and also a brand new marriage. There was a lot of amazement expressed, as in “I never thought in my lifetime, we would be doing this…” I was moved to tears.

    Thank you APW for the important work you are doing in educating people on the significance of marriage equality. I look forward to the time when we can say “I can’t believe there was a time when this wasn’t possible.”

  • Crayfish Kate

    You guys you guys you guys! I just got an email back from the Office of Graduate Studies saying my final approval has gone through for my master’s thesis! I AM GRADUATING NEXT MONTH HOLY CRAP!

    I am an official Super-Nerd now :-D

    • a single sarah

      Squeee!!! Congratulations!

      • Crayfish Kate

        Thank you! It’s so nice to know that it’s DONE, haha!

    • Winny the Elephant

      WOOOT!

  • Kathleen

    I love the idea of Goldie Blox, though they’re a little young for the only kids I have to buy presents for this year, and I don’t exactly think I would have been that interested in them as a kid. But all the press has gotten me thinking about how to get kids (boys or girls) interested in other fields of science. I majored/work in the humanities, but I’m regularly astounded by how many adults I know don’t seem to have basic scientific literacy, or understand how their bodies work, or care to learn. It’s the not caring that really strikes me – Science is so COOL and interesting, and if I had college to do all over again, I might have done more than just that one “science for non-science majors” class I was required to take. (A basic microbiology course that still has more real-life applications than anything else I learned in college or grad school.)

    For those of you are are in the sciences (or not), how did you get interested at a young age? Are there toys, programs, or projects out there that you would recommend for kids? (Ages 9-13, if we’re talking about the gifts I need to buy this year, but I’m interested more generally, too). And I’m not necessarily talking about getting kids interested in careers, specifically, just sparking an interest in understanding and learning how the world works and not being afraid of science and math. (Confession: I’m a little afraid of math.)

    Thoughts?

    • Jacky Speck

      I’m an engineer and my dad is the reason I became interested in STEM. He was constantly asking me, “How do you think that works?” every time we did anything, which really shaped how I view the world. So it can be as simple as asking kids to think about stuff!

      I was also fortunate to grow up close to lots of museums, and my dad took me to Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences and Franklin Institute quite frequently. Visiting places like that is a GREAT way to get kids interested in science.

      Oh yeah, and my brother and I both watched lots of “Beakman’s World” and “Bill Nye The Science Guy.” I’m not familiar with any kids’ shows that are out today, but I REALLY hope there are similar programs for kids to get into.

      • Jess

        Minus the Philadelphia location, I’m pretty sure you’re me. Right down to the having to build all my presents.

    • Crayfish Kate

      Oh man I could go on all day about this! I have always ALWAYS loved marine biology, since I was about 3. My grandparents started taking us to the aquarium nearly every time we visited, and it went from there. Toy-wise, there were some great ones! My first memory of a science toy was when I got my first microscope in like, first or second grade. It doesn’t have to be fancy, mine was plastic & cost probably about $7. Later on, like middle school-ish, I got a much fancier microscope kit, with metal tools & slides & all sorts of stuff. But one of the best toys EVER was a Lobster Lab. It was so cool, you sent away for these baby blue lobsters, then you raised them in your tank, and when they got big enough, you sent them back so they could be released into the wild to help the natural stock.

      Really, any microscope, plant, or critter kit/toy would be awesome. And, as a complete science nerd, I am also very scared of math ;-)

      • MC

        This isn’t relevant to kids, but I was just thinking that my (male) fiance was never interested in any kind of science UNTIL he started brewing beer, and learning why it worked so he could make the beer taste better. So I think it helps to have some sort of reward/cool end result, like you saving lobsters or us drinking delicious beer :)

        We’ve both found the same to be true with cooking and gardening, and in fact, there is a nonprofit where I live that works with elementary school students to teach them to take care of a garden, harvest & cook food from it, and all of that is science! I think more interactive programs like that would help young kids in school in general, but especially for science, because it is way cooler in practice than it is when you’re sitting in a room reading about it.

        • Kayjayoh

          My sister is like that with perfumes. She’s not a chemistry whiz by any means, but she’s learned a lot more about it now that she is interested in the nitty gritty of fragrance than when she was in high school.

        • KC

          Having a specific goal/reason definitely can help introduce kids (or adults!). (says she who has let her foreign language skills lapse because there just isn’t a great “carrot” right now)

          It’s also helpful if you can demonstrate for kids how mapping scientific (or humanities!) skills into other areas can be done and how useful it is to have those skills.

          Once a kid starts recycling what they’ve learned and using it to explore the edges of new domains, the game is basically won… science is everywhere (in knitting! athletics! food!), and being nerdy is more fun than being apathetic. :-) At that point, the problem-solving skills (and the feeling-capable-to-solve-problems) can follow them around to wherever their interests migrate, more or less.

          But as long as science stays in “its box” (or at school), there’s a chance that they’ll outgrow that “box” and hence feel like science is irrelevant, too.

          Some kids also just plain *like* thinking in certain ways more than others; some are more artistically inclined, some are more socially inclined, some are more figure-out-the-tinkering inclined. So it’s important to let them be who they are, too (rather than “you personally must fix the gender imbalance in X field!”; but giving them the option/tools to do things they may not have considered doing, and then helping them if they want to go further, is really really great! :-)

    • KC

      I think introducing them to the real-life applications is huge, as is the “here are some job options in these directions” and “here are some problems that people are actually solving with this science/math” or “here are some cool grownups who do this”. (I only took the required physics courses for my [non-physics] degree, despite *loving* it, because, young idiot that I was, I didn’t realize that you could get a non-teaching job based on physics until later and I really didn’t want to teach. I was smart about some things and dumb as a brick about others…)

      I don’t know on toy recommendations, though – sorry!

    • Lindsey d.

      They’ve been around for a while, but I still think the Magic School Bus series is awesome. And I just recently found out they have chapter books for kids 7-10.

      • KC

        Ms. Frizzle! And her sartorial selections!

        (I, um, grew up on Square One and it was awesome, but appears to not be available at all anymore. Harrumph.)

        • april

          Square One! Wow, you are about the first person I’ve encountered who actually watched it. I was beginning to think it was just some sort of crazy 80s fever dream …

          • lildutchgrrl

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXp3AMgbG6k

            (Also: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Zoology — Science and Technology! It’s fun, you’ll see!)

          • KC

            Trying to explain Square One to people who have never seen it is… challenging. SNL with math? Er… plus an extended pun-jammed spin on Dragnet. Plus Weird-Al-style remixes of songs so they’re all about mathematical concepts… plus cartoon snippets… plus weird game shows, some fake, some “real”… plus a knock-off of Pac-Man… plus ping pong balls in stadiums?

            Yep, definitely a fever dream.

          • Kathleen

            Wow, I totally didn’t know what you were talking about until the video showed Mathnet – I apparently watched Square One, too, although I remember very little of it except a murder-mystery style episode of Mathnet that was “to be continued” and I never saw the second half . . . which has been bugging me for DECADES!

          • KC

            *All* the Mathnet snippets were “to be continued”, which could be very frustrating – however, some can be found on Youtube. (also, if you remember anything about it, I might remember the ending to that particular one, because that was my favoritest show)

      • Jess

        I’m totally seconding Magic School Bus. Bill Nye was also a big deal for me

        Do they have DVD versions of Ms. Frizzle? I’m totally getting them. For my… um…second cousin? who is 1? Yup, definitely for her and not for me at all.

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

          I believe there are. Also its streaming on Netflix. I only know that cuz of my niece. Yeah, that’s it.

    • april

      What a great question! I’m not a scientist, but I did spend several summers as a science educator with an outdoor school, and now (post-law school) I do policy analysis on environmental, natural resource, and energy issues for the state.

      With kids, I think the trick is finding something they already have some interest in and encouraging it. For example, I was always fascinated by bugs when I was little. Over the years, I acquired a butterfly net, a “fancy” bug jar with a magnifying lid, a low-powered microscope, and a beautiful wooden display box for my dead bug collection/neat rocks and seashells that I found/I think I had a bird skeleton in there for a while too. I think these were great gifts, because they really encouraged me to explore and engage with the world around me (which is pretty much what science is all about).

      The Eyewitness books make pretty awesome gifts too. My understanding of how weather works is still based largely on reading the Eyewitness Weather book.

  • http://www.marbleryephotography.com/ Melissa

    Ok. That google ad? Gave me all of the feelings.

  • Kait

    Our wedding was two weekends ago and it was THE BEST. This was my first week back to work and reality after an amazing hooneymoon and have found the tranisition back to a job I don’t love hard. Any one else experience this/have any suggesstions other than finding a new job?

    PS. Meaghan I want to hear how your wedding was!

    • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

      Totally with you! Our wedding was also two weekends ago and was amazing, which made saying goodbye to all our visiting friends and family as well as the return to “reality” — or a new reality — pretty tough. Perfect weather, perfect people, perfect groom. I’ve never felt so happy.

      I’m sure we all battle with the inevitable letdown that follows such a happy time . . . not the post-wedding blues, persay (definitely glad I’m not planning a freakin’ huge event anymore!), but the settling back into routine after such a joyous experience. Sigh.

      So glad your wedding was awesome!! Congrats, Kait!

    • HannahESmith

      I had a very similar experience. The only thing I can say is that going back to real life and a job you don’t love gets easier with time. In a few weeks it won’t suck as much.

      • Kait

        Glad to hear it gets easier :)

  • Marta

    So, here’s one for those of you with kids. I am a light sleeper. My husband could sleep through a bomb. I wake up ready for action. It takes him 5 minutes to open his eyes. Last night, our dog was sick. I got up each time with the dog because husband’a reaction time is SO SLOW. this is historically the pattern when anything happens at night.

    So. I’m concerned that if and when we have a baby, this pattern will continue. What are ways to make this work better?

    • lady brett

      most importantly, address it directly and come up with a solutions together – because without that, i doubt he will realize how overwhelmingly unfair it is in the midst of things (’cause with a baby, he’s going to be tired too, and in the moment “ugh, i got up an hour early” and “ugh, i got up 15 times” aren’t going to sound way different, but they are.)

      as someone who wakes up easily, but gets up slowly with a spouse who doesn’t wake up to anything, but gets up fine, i sometimes just resort to *shake, shake, push* “hey! the baby is screaming. it’s your turn.” but that’s usually borne of frustration, making it not the best solution.

      i have one friend whose nights had gotten so bad that they are taking turns sleeping on the couch: whoever is in bed is close to the baby and on 100% baby duty, and the person on the couch gets an uninterrupted nights sleep.

      but knowing this in advance, i feel like maybe your best bet is to do something like stagger your sleep. so maybe when you’re both asleep, you are always the one to get up, but he can give you a few hours late at night or in the morning where he stays up on baby duty and you get uninterrupted sleep. or you can trade for something else (he does all the diapers or your half of the household chores).

      • Marta

        I hear your on the shaking and pushing. Sometimes I just kick him, but then I’m still mad because I’m awake anyway.

        The couch thing sounds like a good idea, or one person just being up on duty. Thanks!

  • Kayjayoh

    Suggestion for a future how-to: mail merges for invitation address labels, which is what I am working on now. I haven’t found the best way to do it, since I have some Name, some Name and Name, some Name and Name and Family, some Name and Family, some non non-US addresses…. I’ve ended up having to do several sets of labels, because it is having a hard time reconciling them all.

    • ART

      That would be a helpful how-to! There are some great tools for excel/google spreadsheets, like setting up formulas to combine entries (concatenate) and other ways of manipulating columns/entries. i do a lot of mail merge at work and often have to combine mailing list that are provided in different formats, so i’ve tinkered with this a bit but would love to learn from a real expert. for our invites, we used mail merge to go from our google spreadsheet invite list to (IMHO) pretty sweet address/envelope templates (we’re printing onto the envelopes). each one needed some minor tweaking after the fact but all in all it was pretty quick! the easiest way i found to do it was to set up my address spreadsheet by label line but that took some thinking ahead. and some extra columns for sorting purposes and other tracking that don’t get pulled into the merge.

    • jashshea

      Not sure what skillsets we’re talking about here, but I did a few different things to keep the data clean.

      First, I emailed our mutual friend and my parents/family/friends a link to a google form so it was all standard format – google form saves it into a google spreadsheet. When several addresses came in non standard format from the other side of the fam, I used Textpad and a few regular expressions to normalize the data into the right columns.

      I didn’t mail merge or do labels (WHY DIDN’T I DO LABELS), but once the data is normalized, that should only be moderately painful.

      • Kayjayoh

        My big problem is that the labels kept turning out wrong unless I separated the combos to different lists:

        Name and Name
        (and Family)
        US address

        Name
        (and Family)
        US address

        Name and Name
        (and Family)
        Canadian address

        If I combined them, it would drop the “and Name” for the Canadian addresses and make the “Name (and Family)” into “The Name Family (and Family)” which was obnoxious.

        • jashshea

          That is extremely odd (and surely extremely frustrating!). Canadian addresses don’t have additional lines compared to US, right? I’m shaking my fist for you.

          • Kayjayoh

            “Canada” showed up as an additional line. However, there isn’t any good reason that another line at the bottom should change “Name and Name” in the first line to “Name”.

    • Laura

      Screw that noise, indeed. I haven’t even begun to think about how to organize and print labels yet. *sigh* That is not as fun as *all the pretty things.* Sadly, if I want *all the people* to see *all the pretty things* I have to send them an invitation. Email invites would be so much easier, except I have a large number of family members with no email, and I’ve been to weddings where the email RSVPS didn’t work out at all, and the food was miscalculated. Bummer.

    • YetAntherMegan

      Oh that would have been so helpful about 6 weeks ago when we were getting our save the dates out! I ended up applying a filter so I could have all the people with the same street address show up together on the spreadsheet, then manually combine “Name and Name” onto one field and “kids names” or “significant other with another last name” into the next field which would go on the next line down when I set up the merge. It took a little tweaking to take out the extra blank line for people who were just a couple and then Canadian and APO addresses took a little more tweaking. BUT I can just reprint more labels for the invites. Because fancy font + clear labels = way more legible than my handwriting by about envelope 10.

  • Class of 1980

    Oh boy. The toddler and puppy are so cute. Have you seen these? It’s called “When My Baby Dreams”.

    http://twentytwowords.com/2013/10/24/another-mom-turns-babys-naps-into-fantastical-scenes-with-everyday-items-laid-on-the-floor-24-pic/

  • Kayjayoh

    Also, if anyone would like to try eShakti.com for the first time, I have a referral code that can give you $30 off your first order (instead of their usual $25). If you do customization, the first time is also free (after that it is only $7.50). They can customize the size *and* the style.

    I freaking love their dresses, having bought three with customized measurements (I am hard to fit). They were all gorgeous, well-made, and come with functional pockets! Word!

    http://www.eshakti.com/GiftForYou.aspx?ReferralCode=47837

    Anyway, there is the link if you want it. Might be useful.

    • Kayjayoh

      (I kind of sound like an evangelist, but I freaking love them.)

  • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

    It’s my first Happy Hour post-wedding! We tied the knot on Nov. 10, but I was still on my honeymoon last week. :) The time has truly flown by — especially since I’m back at work. But we’re adjusting well to the married life and trying to wade through the general disaster that is our apartment.

    What I’m battling now is a serious impulse to spend all weekend finishing my thank-you notes. I have 60-ish more to go, and it’s killing me to have that hanging over my head. BUT. I’m also scared to finish them because . . . it’s the last of all nuptial-related activities. I haven’t gone into the post-wedding blues, but I’m afraid that having nothing related to the wedding left on my docket is going to make me sad.

    But maybe not. It’s time for the holidays, shopping, cocoa and lots of eating, after all . . . you’d think I planned it that way. :)

    • Kait

      I completely hear you! We were Nov. 9 and after getting home late Monday night and being out all week need to deal with the disaster of our house as well. Even though we have been living together for three years, I can’t get over how much I love being married – it’s like not much has changed but at the same time everything has. It’s exciting and wonderful. This weekend my goal is to finishing making the thank-yous and start filling them out, with my husband’s help of course (he has way nicer handwriting than I).

      • Kait

        PS. CONGRATULATIONS!

        • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

          Totally agree, Kait. Everything has changed but nothing has. So great! Good luck on your thank-yous . . . we can do it!

    • http://www.marbleryephotography.com/ Melissa

      Finish them, but plan a “WE FINISHED OUR WEDDING THANK YOU NOTES” date for Sunday night. Now your last-nuptial-related activity is a “We Did This Thing” date night instead. Magic!

      • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

        I love that idea, Melissa! And though I feel sad about it, I am also excited at the idea of tying up all the loose ends. (Plus, I really love “real” mail . . . like, too much.)

    • Violet

      Hi Meg! If you have any photos from the wedding, you can make an album. You can make one yourself if you’re crafty. I’m not, so I worked with awesome APW-approved Jane of A La Carte Albums. It was really fun, and another nice way to keep the fun of the day extended into “real life.”

      • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

        Love it, Violet! Can I admit I’ve been daydreaming about making our wedding photo album long before we even had the wedding . . . and therefore any pictures?! I was so in love with our photographers’ work that I just couldn’t stand it! They definitely lived up to our expectations.

    • KC

      Congratulations!

      May I suggest, if you do end up with I-don’t-want-the-wedding-to-be-over blues, doing some journaling about your wedding and/or working on doing something with the photos?

      Also, now is probably a good time for an emergency-kit “reasons I wanted to marry my spouse” list (to return to in times of frustration). And you can start thinking about whether you want to set up any new-married-couple traditions (just, like, not *too* many), or plan a party, or otherwise do, on a much smaller scale, your favorite part of wedding-ing.

      (none of these may be actually helpful; after my wedding, personally, all I desperately wanted was to sleep for a long time [I was a bit behind on rest by that point] . But I’ve found it helpful for other events/occasions/transitions I’ve been sad are over; review, record, then set it down and find something else, however much “smaller”, to look forward to.)

      • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

        Very good ideas, KC. I’m working on a photo book for my husband’s parents now, and will start on one for my grandparents, etc., very soon. But if I save my own for last, well — that much more to look forward to! :)

  • lady brett

    so, i had the weirdest feeling earlier this week: i’m super proud of my big brother. which, well, it feels all out of order, even though at 30 our age difference isn’t all that much anymore.
    anyway, this came about of him ranting about the way (some of) his coworkers treat their students, and their failure to understand the impacts of being raised in poverty, and further that they equated that with “african-american cuture.” it is not at all what i expected of him, and i’m super proud to hear my jackass big bro talking truthfully and intelligently about privilege, and it is awesome how much serious thought he is giving to how his kids’ backgrounds have to affect his teaching.

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

    Fancy wedding question! My husband and I have been invited to a black tie optional wedding. The ceremony is at 2pm at a roman catholic church, and the reception is at 6pm at a ballroom venue. Do we change in between the ceremony and reception? It doesn’t seem right to wear black tie attire at 2pm in a church, but having a costume change seems kind of weird too. I’ve never been to a black tie wedding (optional or not), so this is new territory for me.

    • april

      I’d say it’s pretty much up to you. We had a Catholic gap too, and although our wedding wasn’t particularly fancy, a lot of guests wound up changing into more cocktail/party-esque attire between the ceremony and the reception.

    • Laura C

      I feel you! Last summer we went to a black tie NOT optional wedding, and I was really stressed. And similar — afternoon Catholic church wedding, evening ballroom reception. In New York, if it matters. Anyway, I asked my friend who is my go-to on wedding fashion, and she said she’d been to a black tie New York wedding once and the women were really just in their fancy cocktail dresses, not their true evening gowns. So that’s what I did, and I was glad I did, because in a cocktail dress I was exactly right for this wedding and it felt less weird than parading into church in mid-afternoon in an evening gown.

    • TeaforTwo

      Do you have a convenient space to change in? If so, I say DO IT. No one will think it’s weird of you, and you get to fancy up TWICE. (If fancying up is fun for you. Otherwise do whatever you want.)

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

      Thanks! This helps a lot. I think we’ll be checking into our hotel between the ceremony and reception, so that would clearly be the time to change.

  • Lady

    It’s off-putting to me that you’ve correlated Brides in Pants to The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook. It just perpetuates the stereotype that all lesbian brides wear pants, and all brides in pants are lesbians. Unless it was supposed to be funny. Did I just totally miss the sarcasm?

    • Meg

      If you click the link there is a picture of a bride in pants, seems to be a fair correlation!

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Just the opposite, actually! The purpose of Brides In Pants is to open up a conversation that makes pants a viable option for all brides, not just those entering into same-sex marriages. The article itself is actually a first-person narrative about about choosing your wedding outfit if you are a lesbian and also identify as a bride, and is complementary to the greater conversation we’re having about clothing and identity and weddings. Both the article and Brides In Pants are about flipping the cultural expectation and making it so that people can just wear what feels right and authentic to them. I hope that clears it up a bit.

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        Though we should probably edit the post to add that while finding the article was timely, the article itself is pretty old! It was published in 2007, but sent to us this week in relation to BIP.

  • HannahESmith

    That Tumblr= amazing. And I was wondering what I was going to do with my afternoon.

  • MEM

    Is anyone else super excited because this weekend is both the opening of ‘catching fire’ AND the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode????

    • HannahESmith

      So excited about both! Have you seen the Google Doctor Who game?

      • MEM

        yes!!! so much fun! the weeping angle got me a few times…

        • Kate White

          I’m not sure I really understand how to get away from/fight that Weeping Angel, but I did it..

    • MEM

      Oh- and harry potter stamps came out on wednesday. it’s a good week for geeks!

      • Rebekah

        My local post office said they didn’t carry them, hadn’t even heard about them, so I left a ranting voicemail for my mom, and the next day she texted me that she’d bought a set for me (and one for her!) :)

    • http://www.nthdegreedesigns.com/blog Seshat

      OMG Thanks for reminding me! I don’t have cable so I don’t get a constant reminder of Dr Who air dates… now I just have to find a place to watch it!

  • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com/ Rachel Wilkerson

    Just popping in to say hi before I head off to Austin with Eric for our engagement photos, which are first thing tomorrow morning! The past couple weeks of wedding planning have seriously felt like herding cats, so I’m excited to just relax and enjoy tomorrow!

    • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

      hope you had fun :)

  • Ida

    I’m crowdsourcing ideas for a non-beach honeymoon for two ladies in late October/early November. Do you have any suggestions? Ideally we’d be out of the US, somewhere we can sit around and read but also explore. We like to spend vacations just like we spend our favorite weekends: good food, finding neat shops, long walks, etc.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com/ Rachel Wilkerson

      Not sure the weather in the fall, but I’d recommend Charleston, SC! We took a vacation there a couple of years ago and it was totally the lovely long weekend you described (with interesting historical sites thrown in too)!

      • Jennifer Lyn

        Oh yeah, Charleston (or try Savannah, GA for a similar vibe) are gorgeous in the fall. Nice weather without as much risk for snow. :)

      • Ellen

        I was just in Charleston at the end of October and it was absolutely perfect weather. We had a fantastic time and it would definitely be worth a honeymoon trip!

      • Ellen

        I’m ordinarily just a reader of comments, but I had to chime in on Charleston! It’s beautiful, and the Sunday Times actually features it in their 36 Hours piece this week. It’s not in the print paper until Sunday, but you can see it online here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/travel/36-hours-in-charleston-sc.html?_r=0

    • HannahESmith

      Montreal! We went there on our honeymoon, and it was perfect. The fact that everything is in French makes it feel international, but most people speak English as well, so it’s easy to get around. We rented a trendy apartment in the Plateau on Airbnb. The city is super walkable (or bike-able with its public bike system), and has so many great neighborhoods to explore. Also, the food was incredible.

      • TeaforTwo

        Or Quebec City! (Or both!) It’s two hours from Montreal, and there is still a wall around the old city. It feels very European, and there’s great food and it’s beautiful. It may be chilly that time of year, though.

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

          Yes, Quebec City! (Though it sometimes snows around that time of year, but not every year.)

    • TeaforTwo

      LISBON. Very, very cool city, having a bit of a fashion moment, good food, cheap cheap cheap, and won’t be hot but will be warm enough for pleasant wandering at this time of year.

      It’s beautiful – once a major imperial power, now one of the poorer (est?) countries in Western Europe, so it’s not as glitzy as, say, Paris, and is way more affordable, but still full of interesting history. A friend of mine described it as “full of crumbling sand castles” and I would say that’s about right.

      • M.

        A million votes for Lisbon! Two million! Sintra is a great day trip from there as well if you’re into hiking/walking and castles at the same time.

      • jashshea

        And the food! The food is really good – amazing wine & seafood.

    • Kait

      We got married Nov. 9 and just did a road trip from Niagara Falls Canada, (home to us) to the Finger Lakes wine region in NY, to Stowe Vermont then ended in Montreal. Loved the quietness of the various places and then ending in Montreal which is one of our favourite cities. Also love old quebec city – it’s such a great place to visit.

    • Ida

      Awesome ideas, thank you!

  • http://www.nthdegreedesigns.com/blog Seshat

    Whew… this week has been a whirlwind. Both me and my fiance had the week off, so we decided to Get Shit Done (Wedding Edition). We got engagement photos taken (and they turned out great!), found a DJ, a florist, a hotel to block, and probably a cake place. It’s shockingly about $200 cheaper to get a traditional cake than our original plan of getting a couple different cakes/cheesecakes from our favorite bakery that doesn’t do custom stuff… but they’re *really* good so I’m still on the fence. Is Super Yummy Cake worth paying $200 more than just Yummy Cake for?

    And I swear to god, the next time David’s Bridal calls I’m just going to tell them either that we’ve eloped or that the wedding has been cancelled.

    • Laura

      Confession: I told David’s bridal that the wedding was off. There was an awkward silence, the lady said she was sorry, and they’ve never called again. I feel small lies to well-meaning people are ok to prevent giant squid of anger to well meaning-meaning people.

      • http://www.nthdegreedesigns.com/blog Seshat

        I agree. Every time they I get more and more annoyed, so it’s probably better for everyone if they have a reason to just to stop (previous reasons that have not worked: I’ve already bought my dress, and My MOH is pregnant so no way are we dress shopping until she’s ready). I have gotten angry (firm angry, not screaming angry) with the telemarketers though, and told them flat out that I am on the Do Not Call list which means they have no business calling me (wedding or not) and I WILL be reporting them. Just because one jerk sold you my number doesn’t mean you get to use it.

        Pro Tip: Set up a Google Voice number prior to giving info to vendors. You can link it to multiple phones, it’s pretty easy to screen calls, and super easy to block numbers.

        • Laura

          You have just blown my mind!! Will research, thanks!

        • Laura

          Also, I took my “relationship status” off facebook, because I was tired of the wedding ads.

          • http://www.nthdegreedesigns.com/blog Seshat

            Smart! I’ve always left my relationship status off FB, but was on the fence about changing it after getting engaged. Glad I didn’t!

        • Laura

          You just blew my mind. Google voice number? Yes.

  • TeaforTwo

    Some very wonderful women threw me a bridal shower last weekend, and I am still glowing from how wonderful it was to spend the afternoon surrounded by My People, and all of the lovely ladies in my life. I have three brothers and my mom died many years ago, so I particularly appreciate female community when and where I can get it. And the shower was perfect. I can’t wait to get married! (3 weeks out!)

  • Claire

    Just venting here. Tonight was supposed to be the start of our road trip back home to New Orleans to spend Thanksgiving with our family and pick up our nieces. Yesterday our dog snuck into the basement and ate a whole bunch of paper (that had spray adhesive on it). She’s been at the vet’s office all day and will probably need extensive surgery to remove all the paper that’s impacted in her intestines. Which means we obviously can’t bring her on a 24hr drive (she has to be roofied under normal circumstances for her anxiety). And we can’t board her in a kennel while she recovers from surgery. Worried about the dog and about missing the holiday reunion. Sigh.

    • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

      Aw I am so sorry to hear that! I am thinking of you and your doggy and hoping for a very speedy recovery!!xx

  • sasparilla

    We’re 57 days out from our wedding! Hooray! This is crazy! When we hit the two month away mark I started emailing various friends and family individually to ask about their RSVP since many are traveling from far away and would need to book tickets ASAP if they’re coming. I’m feeling the usual mixed feelings of disappointment and sadness that a few old and close friends can’t come for financial reasons, and then the guilty relief that not everyone we invited is coming, so we might have a little leftover for an actual honeymoon. I’m really hoping that a few close girlfriends could FaceTime with me while I’m getting ready or at the rehearsal dinner or during some downtime and join in with the other friends who could be there. Has anyone tried this? Any suggestions?

    On a more sensitive note I’m having some mild anxiety and uneasiness about my FH’s father attending the wedding. His parents are divorced and haven’t spoken in about 15 years. My FH hasn’t even seen his dad in at least four years, longer than we’ve been together. He’s a three times a year phone call dad. No bad feelings, just… awkward. Anyway, he hasn’t RSVPd or given any inclination about coming or not. I think finances and time off of work are an issue and I think my FH would actually prefer he not come at this point. But I feel, I don’t know, weird about it? Like his dad should be there? And people will be asking/wondering why he’s not? But then again if he does come it might be super weird anyway. We tried to soften the awkwardness by inviting his dad’s siblings but none of them can make it. I don’t know, has anyone else dealt with the estranged parent thing?

    • YetAntherMegan

      Well, I haven’t made it all the way to the wedding yet, but my father is most definitely not invited. I’m not even sure if he knows I’m engaged. (He travels in some of the same circles as my mom and stepdad, and while I know they haven’t said anything, other people talk). I haven’t seen or heard from him in about 4 years, and things have been weird for 6. There are times that it bothers me more than others (an article on OBB about family dynamics really set me off a few days ago) but overall, I know it’s the right decision.

    • Violet

      Hi Sasparilla- I hear you on the estranged parent thing. My husband’s estranged father did not end up coming to our wedding. Much to our relief, yet I know it also sucked on a different level for my partner that he doesn’t have the kind of father who can be there for big moments.
      As for guests asking/wondering: IF they wonder at all (BIG if), they likely won’t ask. Reasons why they don’t wonder: a. they already know how your fiance’s dad is, so his absence won’t seem strange, b. they’re from your side of the guest list and they’ll assume some other older male relative is him, c. also from your side of the guest list, and they’ll assume he’s deceased. But for most people it won’t cross their minds, and at least in our case, no one was so rude as to ask. (Can you imagine? “Congratulations on your marriage!!! So which man here is your new father-in-law?” Weird.)
      Throughout the lead-up to the wedding (the “Will he or won’t he show up?” stage), I just tried to respect whatever feelings my husband was having, as they changed many times.

  • Winny the Elephant

    Oh my god I bawled at the Google ad.

    • Meaghan

      ugh me too. All I could manage to hiccup out when my husband asked what I was watching was “goooooooogle!”

  • KH_Tas

    Well, we’re officially and publicly engaged now. We went away and had some time to ourselves, and it was wonderful … and now we’re back in the real world and I’ve just opened a spreadsheet to start on the (almost certainly huge) guest list

    • MEM

      Congrats! It’s so exciting to make the step from pre-engaged to actually engaged- so happy for you!

  • Blind Irish Pirate

    That Tumblr made my effing morning. I have been so … depressed, or something … all week and this just… It’s my sunshine.