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APW Happy Hour


Yay hormones! NOT.

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

HEY, APW!

It’s been of those weird, shitty, hormonal weeks. You know the kind, don’t lie to me.

The best I can say about any of it is that I absolutely obliterated my Oscar Pool, only missing foreign short and film editing (what was I THINKING, not voting for Gravity?). That gave me a 47/50 on our weighted scoring system, and gives me bragging rights for a full year. We saw every contender except Wolf of Wall Street, and short story: I dare ANYONE to watch Twelve Years a Slave and still want to host a wedding on a plantation. Or walk near a plantation. Or think about a plantation. Or hell, just manage to sit through the movie without hurling. Also, probably everyone should see it. Also: American Hustle, Philomena, and Dallas Buyers Club. The rest I could mostly take or leave.

Other than that, special bonus karma points will be given to anyone who can cheer me up. Always in your service, I offer up this magic.

Oh! Oh! And on Instagram this month, our guest ‘grammer is Emily Alt, who happens to be traveling across country in her Airstream, which is doubling as a pop-up wedding chapel for APW weddings. RIGHT? Follow along. It’s almost enough to clear up the worst of moods.

XO
MEG

Highlights of APW This Week

Kicking off the month of March with a well of pure rage. I mean, where else to start, really?

Well, you could start with meeting our new interns (and new staffer!).

Our first intern post from Hayley. When changing your name shifts from “Why not?” to “Why?” you start a near endless string of smart comments.

What Elisabeth learned from a less-than-picturesque honeymoon.

Weekend listening: songs to honor your friends.

Waiting to be engaged, being counseled to enjoy the fleeting moment.

Deciding not to get married.

Who thought a dirt floor could look so classy?

Surprise wedding! Bring out the tissues.

Our non-floral wedding centerpieces, collected.

Link Roundup

Help APW staffer Liz go to the 2014 National Stationery Show! In return, she’ll give you fancy stationery, obviously.

Today’s Google doodle: Happy International Women’s Day!

Someone has made fake London Underground signage. DON’T MISS THIS. (“Parents with children” is my favorite.)

Kevin Spacey answers questions usually posed to actresses on the red carpet.

Anna Kendrick’s Oscar weekend diary. This is amazing, even if I thought the waist bit of her Oscar dress was dubious.

Jennifer Lawrence and the history of the “cool girl.” Mixed feelings on this one, but a smart read. Your thoughts?

For your entertainment, a kitty playing a theremin. Fun fact, David loves the theremin, and based the sound design show he directed and I produced around one.

What a liberal arts PhD gets you these days. Hint: not much.

Menstrual health for rural women in developing countries is being revolutionized by the invention of a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads.

This sweet three-year-old donates her hair to give to kids with cancer (just like you guys did, but smaller).

And then this happened.

Photo of Monogamy Wine by Eyes and Hart for APW

APW’s 2014 Happy Hours are sponsored by Monogamy Wine. Thank you Monogamy for helping make the APW mission possible! if you want to learn more about monogamy (and possibly win birthday treats), head over here and sign up for their newsletter.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Laura C

    Q: How many hotel rooms did you guys block for weddings of how many people? We’re having 250 people and it feels like we’ve blocked every hotel in town (not actually true, since the town is Boston/Cambridge, but ok, four hotels), and then my fiance’s mother went ahead and blocked at a fifth hotel because she for some reason preferred that one, and I’m suspecting this is overkill but not really sure?

    Also, got a detailed timeline from our venue this week and I looked at it, started hyperventilating over all the info we have to fill in, and then started cracking up at the massive rewrite of the procession we’re going to be doing. Like, no, an usher does not bring the bride’s mother in so that the bride’s father walks her in; either they both walk in with me or they both walk in together. Etc.

    • Stacie

      We booked 10 rooms each at 2 different hotels, but it seems like people are going rogue!

      If you need that many rooms, then reserve away, but in my experience, people don’t like TOO much choice. :)

      • Laura C

        Yeah, I’m thinking we should just tell my FMIL that if she wants to steer people toward the place she blocked, she can, but we’re not putting it on our website as a choice. That’s how it started — she was having rooms held for specific people and then when it got to like 6 rooms and she was going to be doing all this complicated stuff with giving people the confirmation numbers to have reservations switched from her to them, she went ahead and just blocked it. But to me, that one is sort of a misfit: otherwise we have the expensive place right by the venue, the relatively cheap place with free parking, and the two in-the-city, transit-accessible places that are priced in between and are unionized, which will matter to quite a few of our guests. Adding a non-union, relatively cheap but expensive parking, too far to walk but not convenient by public transit option…just seems complicated.

        • Laura

          Yeah it sounds like you’ve been thoughtful and thorough in your choices. I say let her do her own thing if she wants; it’s no big deal and that way she is happy. As long as the people are there.

    • Laura

      I say as long as the hotels are booked with no charge to you, better book more than less to be safe. We booked 20 rooms in 2 hotels for a wedding of 100 where 50% of them are coming from out of town and it is working out great. Some people did their own thing too, which is fine.

      Edit: Also, hilarious re-write of processional! :)

    • YetAntherMegan

      We blocked 20 rooms at the hotel where the reception is being held for 150 guests (about 60-70% out of town) and then listed 3 other hotels on our website that are between 1-10 miles away (none of them walkable or accessible via public transportation due to the area we’re getting married in). The options are more about showing people all possible options and the range of prices, with the most convenient being the one that has the block.

  • Lawyerette510

    I’m having a similarly hormonal and emotional week. I think partially because of tricky stuff at work and a quick trip home that is loaded with my mom and dad (who are divorced) each being really emotionally demanding while my Grandma just told me she changed her mind and won’t be traveling from Texas to NorCal for our wedding because she doesn’t want to be outside (which is ok, because she’s 95, so she can do what she wants but it makes me sad).

    On a positive note, I was talking to my sister about how we’d decided not to have a wedding party at all (originally it was going to be her, and my FH’s brother) and while I expected her response to be less-than-positive, instead it was “Well who is going to walk the dog in?” and when I said I didn’t know, she said “Can I walk him down the aisle to your FH before you come in?” Which evolved into the idea of her walking the dog (who will be wearing a tux bandana ‘natch) down the aisle just before I walk down, while carrying some sort of festive “here she comes!” flag/ sign. And just the image of that is making me really happy.

  • ART

    welp, this was the week i started to feel like i’d now imposed upon and/or insulted most of my guest list in one way or another, leading to two days of total anxiety, and then realizing i was freaking out for a stupid reason and let a lot of things go.

    i also am about to finish reading Pride and Prejudice, and hot damn is that book making me thankful for our “he just proposed one night in our living room and we hugged and cried in our jammies” story – no huge gesture and no drama, so easy :)

  • jashshea

    Anna Kendrick is awesome. So is Kevin Spacey.

  • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

    Hormones over here, too. Is it something in the water (… everywhere)? I’ve cried twice this week for essentially no reason.

    In other news, because we’re thoroughly insane, my boyfriend and I are trying to buy a home in the crazy Bay Area market at the same time as our move back to the country. Question: I am not on our loan (because no job + student loan debt = not really a good candidate for a home loan), but we’re trying to decide if I should go on the title. I could have sworn I read in a comment here awhile back that if we wanted to add me later (even after we got married), we might be subject to a transfer tax; does anyone know anything about this? My Google search is yielding a lot of mixed/non results.

  • AnonnyNonnyNo

    A question for the hive mind:

    After 3.5 years of employment, my employer has now decided that EVERYONE in the company needs to sign a non-compete agreement. It states that I cannot work for any other company in this industry (it’s a big sales industry with a wide definition) for six months after I leave this company, whether I leave of my own accord, or am fired. It’s an extremely one-sided document, and everything I’m reading says that if an employer asks an existing employee to sign one, they need to offer consideration in the form of money, a raise, or better benefits. My boss is famously cheap. :)

    I’m in NY, which is an at-will state, and has a mixed reputation with these things. I’ve been unhappy here for quite a while. There are no growth opportunities for me. I have been job-hunting for a while, but put it off due to wedding planning. I discussed with my fiance, and he supports me in thinking that I should go big by asking for more $$$ (Would it be too much to ask for the 6 months of salary I’d be losing?) and more clearly defined terms (ie: 5 or 6 specific competing companies, rather than the industry as a whole), or let the chips fall where they may (which probably means getting fired).

    Does anyone have any ideas as to how I should spin this negotiation? In the end, I would rather not sign it at all, since I plan on leaving sooner rather than later, but I guess I will if I get what I want. I am just notoriously bad during confrontations.

    • kcaudad

      suggestion: contact a lawyer. from past experience with a friend of mine, those type of broad, over-arching non-compete documents are hard to actually enforce. But, you would want to check with someone from your state who knows about those types of laws.

    • Incognito

      Regular commenter here commenting incognito because internet. My employer had us do this a few years back too. I talked with a couple of HR experts as well as a (friend) lawyer who said that most companies do this to give themselves the option to sue you if they believe you stole ideas from the company to use elsewhere. This can be difficult to prove in court and costly. Also, if you sign in and later can prove that signing that clause has impaired your ability to obtain gainful employment, you would have a case for a counter suit. So, I guess what you have to ask yourself is do you believe your company would pursue this and whether your willing to take that risk. I agree that it is worth asking for a raise (see… if you limit my ability to obtain gainful employment in the future you’d better compensate me so I can have a nest egg). Though it might be worth it to use this as your sign that it’s time to go, though more and more companies are having people sign those these days.

    • Kayjayoh

      I agree with kcaudad and your fiance: consult a lawyer (if possible) and try to negotiate for specific terms and compensation. And since you are prepared to leave anyway and your fiance backs you, this puts you in a good place, negotiation-wise. You have little to lose and much to gain.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I’m in California where such contracts are unenforceable, but from what I’ve read, a severance package of 6 months salary or that size bonus is way too much consideration for these kinds of things. Usually, employers offer some kind of non-cash benefit, like more flexible hours, or access to an ombudsman, to go with these kinds of changes.

      But, yeah, a NY lawyer is your best bet. If you contact local bar associations and lawyer referral services, sometimes you can get a substantive 30 min. consult for like $50. (This is different from the “free initial consultation” always offered; lawyers hardly ever give actual advice in those.)

    • Meg Keene

      Yeah, or fire you and rehire you with the noncompete as a term of employment. And usually you have to have limits on the noncompete that are very clear.

    • JSwen

      In my state, an employer has to give you a meaningful promotion in order to ask for a non-compete. There’s also a minimum salary and restrictions on the types of jobs. It could be ok… I’d actually recommend that you have a contract attorney review it or go in with your coworkers to pay for an attorney to review them. It happened to me but I negotiated the contract until I was comfortable with it. About eight revisions, I think. Goodluck.

  • http://twitter.com/mollyepollard Molly Pollard

    So, wedding stresses aside– it’s pretty much been decided that my fiancé is going to be offered the job in Denver. I’m so proud! We should hear back soon, and that would probably put him starting early-mid April. I would stay here until the wedding (in May) most likely, since it’s only a month and we have been long distance before. Now we just have to wait on the offer to come across his desk. It’s a very exciting time, but also stressful. I’m going to have to leave my job, so I’ll be unemployed for a while. Then there are repairs and renovations we are having done to my fiancé’s house– all of this while wedding planning.

    On the wedding side, I’m almost done assembling invitations. I still have to call a florist about a couple bouquets but I’m not losing sleep over that. I canceled our big fancy wedding cake order.my grandmother is going to put flowers on a grocery store cake. Works for me. We are still going with the priest, but she is being really flexible with us on how we do the ceremony, so it won’t be super religious. And we have our first premarital counseling session this weekend. I’m glad everything is coming together… and then, I’ll be moving to Denver with the dogs right after the wedding.. Assuming that’s not a dream. Lots to look forward to, lots to do…

    • Lisa

      That’s great to hear the priest is willing to be flexible with you! Now you get to have the special childhood connection, and hopefully your fiancé will feel more comfortable, too.

  • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

    Belated thanks!! for sharing our pre-wedding selfie (usie) on the APWteam instagram feed last week. It was exciting to be featured alongside some really great photos.

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

      I love that selfie!!!

  • Jenni Kissinger

    Yeah. Agreed. Not the best week. Finally heard back from the potential awesome job: they would love to hire me, but have no idea when that will be. It hit me pretty hard. Now I’m back to square-one-applying-to-jobs.

    Either way, it’s four months until my current position ends, and I’m moving down to finally live with my fiance, with or without a job. It won’t be so bad being a kept woman, right? Right??

    Ugh. Hoping to see some happier weeks from you ladies in the comments.

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

      You’ll be just fine. And you won’t be a “kept woman.” You’ll just start out into the marriage in the give and take stage. That’s okay because you’re there to help each other.
      Sorry about the job. I know all about how much that sucks.

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

    I started an Etsy shop about 7 months ago with very little confidence that it would actually go anywhere. It’s been a very slow start (as expected), but I got a fairly large custom order this week that was kind of a revelatory moment for me. It was just a sudden realization that other people like what I’m doing, and are even willing to pay a not insignificant amount of money for it. Total affirmation. Then coming out of that I’ve realized I should really put some more effort into this little endeavor. I really haven’t done a whole lot (there’s less than 10 unique items in my shop) and it was mostly because I was afraid it would just be a waste of time. So now I know I need to really give it my best shot and see where it takes me. I’m excited to find out!

    • Dani

      Very cool! Would you mind linking to your shop?

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

          Please keep reminding us of this as you add items? Because I looked at your page and said, and I quote, “hmm” and if later in the game I suddenly decide we need more STUFF, this is something I’m going to want to remember.

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

            I can definitely do that! It can add to my motivation to get more stuff up there :)

        • Stacie

          So cute! If we’d ended up with the bookstore wedding I’d envisioned, I’d be all over that stuff!!

        • KW

          I love your tagline, it is very catchy! I also love the book theme. :) Best of luck on your venture, I would totally order the seed packets if I weren’t already married (we basically eloped so no party favors but seed packets were tops on my list if we went the more traditional route).

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

      Yay! I love book stuff!!!

    • Caitlin_DD

      Congratulations, fellow Etsyian! I know that feeling. It’s so affirming to see people actually love what you do, and WANT TO BUY IT. MY GOSH.

    • Laura

      Ooooh this is super fun! Thanks for sharing and yay for your new venture.

  • MC

    I watched that Kevin Spacey video with my Fiance and his response was, “…they don’t really ask female celebrities those questions, right?” When I nodded, he said, “Even the question about Spanx?!” He couldn’t believe it.

  • Jessica

    This week feels like it either had really high highs and really low lows. Very little in-between stuff going on. I’m glad it’s over–it’s exhausting!

  • swarmofbees

    My father’s Stem Cell Transplant was scheduled this week, and his 100 day checkup to determine if he needs any further treatment will be two weeks before our wedding. I am terrified and excited about the transplant – it is the best thing for him but a scary prospect. But, in the wedding planning context, I am worried that if he finds out he needs further treatment in the weeks before my wedding it could mar his enjoyment of our wedding day. In the grand scheme it isn’t a huge thing, but I would love for my wedding to be a triumphant celebration of my father’s recovery. It will be such a great milestone for him to be able to attend a big social function. It is a fairly minor consideration compared to just wanting the stem cell transplant to work and having a father well enough to walk me down the aisle. But, you know, I am always one for finding something else to worry about ;)

    • Sara P

      Best wishes to you and your dad during/after the transplant! Depending on what he’s getting it for, he may know well before his 100 day checkup if he’ll need more treatment. I remember my dad having lots of appointments and checkups in that first 100 days.

      • swarmofbees

        I hadn’t thought of that. I just had this monolithic “100 days” in my mind. But, it is obvious now that he will have lots of follow up appointments before then.

        • Sara P

          Glad I could help :). It ended up working really well for my dad (so far!). I hope it goes well and your dad has a good and speedy recovery!

    • Lisa

      I hope all of the best for you and your family. Prayers (if you’re the praying kind) and lots of good thoughts (if you’re not)! :)

    • Laura

      I hope that this wish becomes reality! How cool would it be for him to be able to celebrate his recovery at your wedding! If it doesn’t, there is also the important point that is made on APW often, that weddings are a way to bring a lot of cheer and hope and happiness to families in the midst of hardships. Best wishes to you and your dad!

    • Stacie

      I get it. My dad has been dealing with Stage IV cancer for the past 18 months, but he’s just started to seriously deteriorate in the past month. Our wedding is May 3rd. I have no idea what kind of shape he will be in at that time.

      In your case, if the news isn’t what you hope it will be, I think the wedding will actually come at the PERFECT time. Life-affirming joy and All That Jazz.

      Hugs.

      • swarmofbees

        Hugs back at you. I hope your father is able to enjoy your wedding day, in whatever way is possible for him.

    • Kayakgirl73

      Swarmofbees — Good Luck to your dad. My dad has his Stem cell transplant on March 25th. I hope both of their transplants are a success. I feel really bad as I haven’t sen my dad since Christmas as we’ve been constantly sick with a baby in daycare. I also miss that my dad is missing getting to see so much of my daughter’s life, such as he missed her first birthday and hasn’t seen her walking except for a cell phone video clip.

      I hope your dad is doing great by the time your wedding rolls around.

  • Laura

    A quick rant that I cannot have anywhere else but here: Guys. My fiance informed me this week after a meeting with the caterer that he wants a wedding cake with pillars and a fountain. WHAT!? At first I thought he was joking because, uh, tacky (um… no offense intended to those who had or will have and who love this idea. just tacky in our particular situation). We are having a wedding in a police lodge with recycled wine bottles holding grocery store flowers. I do not see a tiered wedding cake on pillars with a fountain and fiber-optic lighting. I want to put grocery store wedding cakes on borrowed cake stands. He says “but everyone will say ‘those are from the grocery store'” I say, 1) who gives a f*ck, if they judge us for that then they can go home and 2) no they won’t. We’ll get through it, and in the grand scheme of things this is really no big deal. Don’t worry, I’m so much nicer and more considerate of his feelings in person and he can totally have the fountain if he wants it but… seriously. A FOUNTAIN? *facepalm*

    • swarmofbees

      I did not even know you could have fountains on wedding cakes, or any cake for that matter. You have to give him points for enthusiasm for the cake, I guess.

      • Laura

        God. You must do a google image search. And yes, he gets big points for enthusiasm. Plus, if this is what is important to him than we will have it. But… omg.

        • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

          Just did a Google image search, and it really brightened my week. So, I’m sorry, but thank you?

          • Laura

            You’re welcome!

          • swarmofbees

            Dude, you could put glitter in the fountain! You will awe all persons under the age of 9 at your wedding.

          • Laura

            YES. This a point I hadn’t considered.

        • swarmofbees

          ok, so, per Google they are a thing. I feel more educated. There also appears to be a market for the sale of these things after the fact, so at least you could pick one up cheap and/or sell it afterward? Now, I must know, does he also want the bridges between cakes that are the height of my 9 year old self’s wedding desires?

          • Laura

            I’m not sure, but if he does we can also apparently have tiny replicas of not only ourselves, but also the entire wedding party standing on those bridges, like in this picture:

          • Emmers

            LOL

          • Jessica

            Wonders never ever cease.

            I would take selfies with this cake.

          • Emily

            I have had the most ridiculously terrible day. And then this happened. I think you should rock it out, the more gold/glitter/tiers the better.
            Where the hell did he even come up with this?!

          • Laura

            Glad I could brighten your day. Well, he WAS born in the early 70s. So there’s that. Okay so, fall wedding… gold glitter everywhere and, the fountain will hold cake filling and/or chocolate. Anything else?

          • Emily

            A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR CAKE. I am a believer.

          • Laura

            This is why APW is my favorite. Take a facepalm planning moment ant turn it into my FAVORITE part of wedding planning.

          • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

            hahahahaha! I love it!

          • Moe

            My bridal shower cake came from Wal-Mart. It was ordered plain and my MOH added the gold ribbon. I bought the cake topper from Etsy because I wanted it to look vintage like your photo (minus all the extra contraptions)
            It was the best cake I ever had in my life and it cost about $24 total.

          • jashshea

            This is lovely!

          • Moe

            Thanks! I named the couple Bill & Edith. :)

          • jashshea

            They are SO Bill and Edith!

          • Laura

            This is awesome! I need to show this picture to fiancé, though I’m not sure I’ll deter him from THE CAKE.

          • Moe

            I think this cake was featured in The Godfather.

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

            Although honestly, they’re so awful (IMO) that they’re kind of fabulous in a very hipster sort of way.

          • Laura

            This is the statement I will hang on to. I guess we can have this in a serious way for him, and in an ironic way for me, right?

          • swarmofbees

            On a slightly more helpful note, I associate the pillars with the Safeway wedding cake catalog of my youth.(what a wonder it was!) So, to me that would look more grocery store cake than cakes on borrowed cake stands.

          • Laura

            This is also helpful to me, thank you. I knew I could count on my APW friends for support in this time of cake crisis.

          • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

            right! If it’s a little insane, you can own it!

          • Laura

            Oh the humanity!

          • Laura

            Hm… this was me, apparently posting as a guest as well as myself. Disqus, get a grip!

          • Laura

            Oh the humanity!!

          • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

            I gasped and then chuckled for a good five seconds. Oh my.
            Is that a strawberry cake-filling fountain for dipping your cake into, like a chocolate fountain?!

          • Laura

            I’m pretty sure it’s either lighting or colored water. But a strawberry cake filling fountain would actually be kind of awesome.

        • Lauren from NH

          It’s like a magical castle lol.

    • jashshea

      You slay me. I’m on a concall and had to mute b/c I was L’ing OL.

    • Lisa

      Has he been looking through his parents’ wedding album for inspiration?? My parents totally had one of those cakes when they got married in 1980!

      It’s weird the random details guys fixate on, isn’t it? I was planning to do e-mail save the dates, and my fiancé flipped out because he wanted to send postcards so people would have something to hang on their fridges. What the what?

      • Amanda

        Yep, doesn’t always make sense. Our reply cards must have pictures for the menu choices. Doesn’t care what the actual invite looks like, but a cartoon chicken, fish and cow needed to be there!

      • Laura

        The first thing that popped out of my mouth was, “Ha! You mean like from the 80s!?”

        It is hilarious what they fixate on. What the what is right. But hey, if he wants to spearhead that project I guess it’s fine but… a fountain? *sigh*

        • Lisa

          Yeeeeah… For your sake, I definitely hope the fountain and fiberoptics are done in all of your wedding colors. I’m sure you can get the ladders and columns to match those, too! /sarcasm

          • swarmofbees

            Or, as APW would say, spray paint it all gold!

          • Laura

            *sneaks into the venue in ninja outfit and spray paint in hand* GOLD everywhere. This will fix it.

          • Laura

            We’ll see if fiance can match the exact colors of autumn orange and yellow I have selected…

          • Lisa

            Pantone exact or it’s not worth it!

    • jashshea

      Oh, and to actually be helpful: My husband was obsessed with the paper. I had Moo postcards made for our STDs and he was said “I thought they’d have more texture.” I just said “texture costs money, do you want money spent here?”

      • Laura

        That’s the other thing I said, “honey — those are expensive” to which he replied, “we can get it super cheap on the internet and do it ourselves”

        • Lisa

          Does he have a good concept of how much time things take? Because that could get dangerous/stressful if you have tons of DIY at the last minute!

          • Laura

            Not at all. His planning style is “avoid…avoid…avoid… run around like a crazy person… freakout… anger… and tada(ish)!” I did bring this up, but he’s sure it will be no big deal. I advised ordering the stuff now and doing a practice run (like I did with the flowers, thanks to APW advice.) My planning style is “do All The Things way in advance and then prepare for fires to put out” so, I will have a plan B for sure (see: borrowed cake stands).

          • Lisa

            I typically am like your fiancé… which is why I’m trying to not overwhelm myself with too many DIY projects. We’re brewing beer as favors, which is already started, and there’s a 50/50 chance that I will make a sign thing for them. I also kind of desperately want to do the pumpkin non-floral centerpieces from here, and that will probably be my max on the projects. I am exceedingly crafty but also a major procrastinator.

            Plan B cake stands sound like a great idea!

          • KayVee

            Irrelevant to fountain cakes, but “I am exceedingly crafty but also a major procrastinator.”

            ME. TOO. And then when I’m done with procrastinating I get insanely focused on details and getting everything perfect…and then there’s frenzied anger and exhaustion. Somehow I always to try convince myself that that is not what will happen and then it is EXACTLY what happens.

          • Lisa

            EXACTLY. This is why I’m only allowing myself a couple of crafty projects for the wedding and am trying to hold myself to things that don’t matter too much/won’t be missed if they don’t happen. I really don’t want to have a meltdown 3 days before because my wedding dress isn’t finished yet. (Thankfully that is in my mom’s hands, and she is a *significantly* better planner than I am.)

          • Laura

            On a side note, it is my experience that the people in my life who are very crafty yet procrastinators always have the most creative brains and sometimes the best ideas that you think will never ever work but then turn out to be AWESOME.

          • Laura

            I’ve been thinking about doing the pumpkin non-floral centerpieces too! They’d be fun to intersperse with the wine bottle vases, but I can’t decide whether it’s too much. When are you getting married? You could let me know how they turn out!

          • Lisa

            October 11! How about you?

          • Alison O

            “avoid…avoid…avoid… run around like a crazy person… freakout… anger… and tada(ish)!”

            LOL

          • Laura

            It’s SO TRUE. The upside of this is that he is a very “stop and smell the roses” type of person which balances nicely with my to-do list personality.

        • KC

          As an amateur-but-repeated wedding cake maker, NO YOU CANNOT REASONABLY DO THAT ON THE CHEAP. I have done it, once, comparatively on the cheap (minus the fountain, thankfully), but it was completely and utterly insane (it did work, though). Other on-the-cheap options, like the little Wilton plastic columns, would have been really not “safe” from a “will the cake fall over?” point of view.

          If you do end up doing this, though:
          1. make sure your support structure for the pillars is inside the cake and goes alll the way down to whatever the cake is resting on; preferably securely attached to whatever the cake is resting on and securely attached to the pillars.
          2. pick something light to go on top of the pillars (sponge cake, not pound cake) and preferably something durable to go below the pillars (pound cake, not sponge cake) – something that’s unlikely to split or squash.
          3. only use highly-stable frostings/fillings. If the filling allows the layers to slide at all, nope. If the frosting lets anything sink into it (other than a fork), nope. So, firm buttercreams, sure; ganache, yes; fondant, absolutely. But no whipped cream or seven-minute icing or similar. This can be tested by resting, say, an empty juice glass on the cake and seeing what it does over the course of a period of time that is as long as your reception. (your structure will take most of the weight, but you don’t want to risk things)
          4. assemble it on-site as much as possible, with backup fix-it materials which go in a nice box under the table in case something *does* go wrong. (extra flowers which can cover up a crack that develops, a bit of extra frosting, some knives and paper towels, etc.)

          Good luck with the conversation!

          • KC

            (okay, I was assuming columns on top of cake tiers; if you solely have columns holding up cake layers [basically, cake stands that are columns instead of just one pillar in the middle?], then it’s easier to control stability, although keeping the cake light is still a good plan. And maybe you could compromise with cascading-height stands of cake circling a chocolate fondue dipping fountain? Or something? I repeat the good luck, anyway. :-) )

          • Laura

            Dear KC, I wish you lived in Topeka Kansas, because I would totally hire you to do this for him. Will copy/paste and email this to him. We shall see…

          • KC

            I can send semi-instructions, an in-progress photo that shows the sub-structure, and a photo of the insane finished homemade cake via email if desired. How good is he with a jigsaw?…

          • Laura

            He’s dynamite with power tools and small handiwork projects (i.e., electronics, model trains, miniatures, etc.). It would be amazing if you sent instructions. My email address is gilbow [dot] [my first name]. It’s a gmail account.

            I need to take a minute though, because I just discussed a jigsaw in relation to my wedding cake. Where’s my glass of wine?

    • Rebekah

      This conversation is the best part of HHF so far. Thank you.
      My reaction is: If he really cares about it (and you genuinely don’t care about people being mean and judgy) and it fits in your budget, totally let him be in charge of the cake. Not only will it be SO unbelievably awesome and unique, but it will be memorable and fun.

      • Laura

        THIS, Rebekah! I do stand by my, “if they judge they can go home” sentiment, and we could make it in the budget because we’ve already got money stashed for what we have designated as “the big things” and anything else we’ve agreed that we will do what we feel like spending money on.

        I am a little worried about his feelings though, because he sometimes worries more about what others will think than I do. Like, when we are in a hotel I will go down to breakfast in my jammies without hair combed or teeth brushed and he has to do a full-on morning routine before going down. It’s funny to me because “what will people think” is his main argument for wanting the fountain cake, and I can’t decide if I want to tell him that actually, “people” are likely to be mean and judgey about this than not, or to just let him fulfill his wedding cake dreams. Grooms are allowed to have wedding ideas too and I would like to support him in all of his just like he is supporting me in mine.

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

      This is hilarious! Pardon me while I laugh . . . I say put him in charge of it, with a deadline. If he can find a bakery to make something like that in 2014, more power to him! Then, when he doesn’t make the deadline or arrange anything (as lots of grooms tend to do) you can just pick the cake yourself.

      • KayVee

        I just had a wonderful time discovering the joy of cake fountains…Thank you! Then I came to post pretty much the same thing as Martha. Also, I’ve been to a few weddings that featured a smaller “groom’s cake,” so perhaps you could do something like that? He could be in charge of it and live out his fountain dreams…but if it doesn’t happen by a deadline, then too bad! I also agree with what someone else said about associating columns with grocery store cakes…

      • Laura

        This is a wonderful idea, thank you! And the plan B would likely be to go back to my original plan of grocery store cakes (or pie or cookies or whatever they happen to have in stock the day before) on borrowed cake stands.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Make him do a practice run, and another, until he gets it perfect (or gives up).

      My now-husband was SO EXCITED when he learned it was possible to make cake at home for just a few dollars. (His immigrant family never made cake; I guess he thought it took special equipment or ingredients.) I have some adorable pictures of his first attempt, which, at a single 9″ layer was just fine. But he doesn’t touch the simple layer cakes I make about once a year. Since I’m unpracticed, it takes all day. Can’t imagine doing a full wedding cake on my own wedding day.

      • Laura

        I know! I love to bake, but any kind of pretty cake takes all day. I din’t want to go through that on the day I already have to do All The Things. Plus, I’m selfish. If I bust my ass on a beautiful cake, I don’t like to share. :)

  • Lisa

    You didn’t like Nebraska?? Fiancé rented it from Redbox for me when I was sick last week, and we both loved it!

    • Lindsay Rae

      That’s the first one I thought was missing from Meg’s list!! Loved it!

      • Lisa

        It was just so beautiful and well done. I laughed, and I turned into a crying mess near the end. (The truck reminded me of my grandfather, who died last year from Alzheimer’s.)

        Have you seen any of the others? I’m planning to take my mom to see either Her, Philomena, or 12 Years a Slave for her birthday tomorrow.

        • Lindsay Rae

          YESS! I cried as well – a great representation of Alzheimer’s and dementia. My grandmother suffers and actually was admitted into a nursing home (yesterday).

          I have seen all others except Philomena and 12 Years a Slave. Eager to see those!! Happy birthday, Mom :)

          • Lisa

            Hugs to you. My paternal grandfather passed away a month ago, and my paternal grandmother is now starting to show early signs of Alzheimer’s so my father and his siblings are trying to figure out what’s best for her.

            I’ll have to let you know how it is if we see one of those! Thank you! :)

          • Lindsay Rae

            Thanks for the hugs! Hugs back to you and your family. It’s an awful disease.

    • Meg Keene

      Hated. I have an “artsy” limit.

  • Amy March

    I’ll dare! I will dare to say I think having weddings on plantations is fine ( to be clear, not antebellum themed weddings). Just like I think weddings on Ivy League campuses are fine, in English manor houses are fine, in Carribean resorts are fine, in national parks are fine, in churches are fine, at country clubs are fine. There are lots of places that have dark, horrible histories of exploitation and abuse in them. I find a call to avoid these places particularly for weddings a) trivializing ( really , in the scheme of things, your wedding does not matter to this cultural legacy, and b) anti-feminist (using Caitlin Moran’s formulation of “are the men worrying about this/being judged about this” and concluding that no, no they are not).

    • Meg Keene

      If your ancestors are slaves, cool, reclaim away. Otherwise it’s the same as a wedding at a concentration camp, as a German. Sorry, but it’s the truth. It has ZERO to do with feminism.

    • K.

      Shouldn’t the cultural legacy matter to your wedding?

      Partially asking as an argument, partially genuinely asking. I just can’t imagine thinking that a plantation is a romantic or an appropriate place to get married. And I also disagree that criticizing the choice of couples to get married in a place where slaves (many women) were historically abused and raped is anti-feminist just because the wedding industry tends to focus weddings as being women’s choices.

    • Claire

      Amen.
      There are tons of institutions, historical sites, even entire nations with very unpleasant, even horrific backgrounds, and I think it makes sense to be informed of the full history of these places, but a full on boycott seems unnecessary, even counter productive. Let’s not just avert our eyes and avoid the difficult parts of history. I think visiting these places can be a powerful experience.

      As someone from Louisiana, I encourage visitors to include a plantation visit during their stay. Not because they are beautiful, historic houses (they are), but because it is part of the local history and I think it’s important to face that and acknowledge it honestly and respectfully rather than just ignore the shameful parts of our past.

      • K.

        I absolutely believe that people should visit plantations – so long as the history of slavery presented there isn’t white-washed or downplayed. But someone would have to give me a really, reeeeaaally good argument to convince me that a) having a wedding on a plantation is the way to honestly and respectfully acknowledge that past and b) that most people who do have weddings on plantations have that acknowledgment as a goal, rather than a love of pretty houses/grounds.

        • MC

          Yes, I would say that unless you are up for having your wedding be primarily an educational event, it’s very different than people visiting plantations at other times. I had a similar conversation with my Fiance recently because he wanted to have a Native American flute player play music during our ceremony (neither of us are Native). We live in a town close to a lot of reservations and native culture is big here, and his argument was that he wanted people to know more about the culture where we live. My response was that having an element of someone else’s culture (particularly a culture that was oppressed, whitewashed, etc.) as part of our ceremony, as two white people, is weird at best.

          • swarmofbees

            This brings up a similar issue that I have been struggling with in my wedding. A family friend, basically an uncle, who I have known all my life, plays all sorts of flutes and recently put out a CD of songs played on a native american flute. Some original compositions, and a few European songs such as Amazing Grace. I would love for him to play Amazing Grace at my wedding, not specifically as a way to incorporate any native american traditions, but because I would love for him to be involved and his arrangement on the flute is hauntingly beautiful, and the song has personal meaning to me. But, none of us are native american. So, I worry that we would be co-opting native american culture because of his choice of instrument.

          • swarmofbees

            MC, perhaps you could have it as part of the rehearsal dinner or the reception? I somehow feel like that changes it a bit. Then it seems similar to having a mariachi band at your reception, which may also be problematic, but seems to be more a celebration of the music than co-copting the culture for your ceremony.

          • MC

            Yes, that was what I suggested. The point is kind of null because this particular musician is out of our price range anyway, but I do think that would theoretically be a good compromise.

      • guest.

        I am having a hard time seeing the distinction between having a wedding at a plantation (where seriously heinous acts were committed) or at a Catholic church in Greater Boston or Ireland (where seriously heinous acts were also committed).
        I feel like we talk a lot about putting your own spin on things, reclaiming words, and balking tradition. For example, it has been discussed right here in these comments that dresses made in factories could support unfair working conditions so some brides choose to get locally made, designer, or DIY dresses. However, the other side of that argument is generally honored as well because discount dresses from DB are good for the budget or good for the body shape or heck, just more quick to obtain. That discussion can be respectfully had with both sides noted. But when it comes to discussion of plantation weddings, it can’t even be discussed? How long should plantations live as shrines?

    • Guest

      There’s so much more to it than just being trivial or anti-feminist. It’s akin to participating in the tradition of jumping the broom or doing the hora (Jewish chair dance) just because you may think it’s cool or fun when it’s really not part of your culture. These traditions have so much historical meaning to them in the same sense that having a wedding on a plantation would – only suitable if it is part of your heritage.

  • Lian

    Oh man, yes, hormonal week. Especially last night, I was just crying. Here are some things on my mind, because open thread! and I need to spew:
    – Didn’t get an interview for a job I thought I’d be a good match for.
    – Haven’t heard back from the company where I REALLY want to work and for which I REALLY would be a good match and can’t they just hire me please?
    – Totally second guessing my decision to stop my PhD program because if nobody hires me am I not better off in grad school hell than in unemployment hell?
    – Am second guessing my dress decision. I’ve gone to four stores and there is one dress I definitely like best, but it’s not what I imagined. I love it, but do I love it enough? Is this the start of wedding stress?
    – There are several projects I need to work on but I’m having such trouble making myself do it! WHY don’t I just have grit? Hm? Where’s my grit?
    – I’m hungry all the time for no reason. Where are my grits? Hm? FOOD.

    • Jenni

      I have no answers, but I do have hugs. ::hugs::

      • Lian

        Thank you :)

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

      I also have no answers. Solidarity fist bump and hugs on the job front though. I don’t know about whether grad school is or was right for you, but many of my friends with Masters say that now they are even more unemployable than they were before, AND saddled with extra student debt.
      On all the other stuff: stop, breathe, go for a walk, take a break, do things slower and with more intention. Those are the words of advise from Jonathan Fields of Good Life Project that I always try to follow. That’s why I’m here instead of doing the laundry list of things that I should be doing. Sometimes you just need a break. And cry. Cry when you need to.

      • Lian

        Thank you, I appreciate it. I’m stopping my PhD, getting a Masters instead, and I feel like I now fall in that middle where your friends also are – more education, but not enough to get better jobs, and too educated to get the straight-out-of-undergrad jobs. I am very, very lucky though in that I do not have student debt. That actually put my frustration in perspective for me, so thank you :)
        Doing things slower and with more intention, that is a great idea. I will strive to do that today! Also, yes, crying. Sometimes it just helps.

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

    This week I was asked for the first time if I was expecting – by someone who definitely didn’t know. Guess that means I’m showing now – eek!

  • KayVee

    In need of some validation because I just made the most frivolous purchase for our (Very Practical) wedding this summer, which is these shoes: http://www.zappos.com/enzo-angiolini-christaz-white-natural-snake and now I’m nervous because they aren’t really me (I’ve never owned anything animal print or worn pointy toed shoes)…but I’m obsessed with them! I’m wearing this dress http://shop.tadashishoji.com/shop/chantilly-lace-drop-sleeve-gown-in-desert-bloom.html and needed something a little edgy (or at least less matronly) to balance out the lace. Now I’m having silly thoughts about what these shoes SAY about me! Someone tell my brain it’s okay to buy the shoes I like!

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

      Dude, those shoes are AWESOME and will look great with your dress. And skinny jeans. So, you basically still made a practical purchase since they’ll get a ton of wear post-wedding, right?

      • Carly

        Yes! I’d wear these daily. So awesome!

    • swarmofbees

      Dude, that dress is gorgeous, and I think it will look fabulous with those shoes. Those shoes say that you are you, wearing those shoes, on your wedding day (or any other day because you are totally going to wear those shoes again.)

    • Laura

      Those shoes SAY that you are awesome! I think they go perfectly. You will ROCK them.

    • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

      That is a beautiful dress. I think the shoes are perfect for it. I now can’t even imagine what other shoes you’d pair with it. Wonderful choices.

    • KayVee

      Thanks, everyone!

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

      love the shoes! love the dress! love love love!!!

    • JSwen

      I might wear a Tadashi gown too! I tried a green one on and felt so good in it that I might special order in a neutral! Yay! You’ll look beautiful. Also, I know what you mean about loving things that aren’t “you”. Eh. It’s hard to say what to do but pick them if you feel amazing in them. Zappos has a great return program if you decide to do something else.

    • Caitlin_DD

      Holy cow those are fabulous shoes! The only thing they say about you is that you have excellent taste!

  • RMC

    I was too late earlier this week to ask for honeymoon advice but I’ll give it a try now: my husband and I are planning our honeymoon for this summer (probably late May and early June) after getting married in December. Our tentative plan is three weeks, starting in Peru at Machu Picchu followed by a few days in the salt flats in Bolivia (perhaps with a stop in Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca). After that we would spend a day or two in Salta, fly down to Mendoza, drink a lot of wine over a few days, and then travel through the Andes to Santiago where we would spend our last days eating a lot of good food and maybe taking a day trip to Vina del Mar. I know it’s not as much time as would be ideal but apart from that feedback – which we have already received plenty of – we’d love any suggestions or thoughts from recent travelers! We’re pretty experienced travelers and are looking for a combination of adventure/hiking/natural beauty and urban good food and relaxation.

    • Jessica LK

      If you need help organizing tours/Estancia stay/drivers, anything really in Argentina I can’t recommend this company enough! http://www.mai10.com.ar/

    • MC

      My favorite things that I did around Vina/Valparaiso a few years ago were:
      – Visiting the sand dunes just outside of Vina – I don’t remember if they had a specific name, but everyone just calls them Las Dunas. Great view of the ocean.
      – Visiting Pablo Neruda’s house – I only saw the one in Valpo, but there’s one in Santiago, too
      – Walking the streets of Valpo is amazing – super colorful buildings with incredible street art, and Valpo is full of hills so it is basically urban hiking.
      – La Campana National Park – where Darwin hiked when he was in Chile! Super pretty.

      That trip sounds amazing!!

    • Mezza

      This is also kind of time-related, but please make sure to give yourself time for altitude adjustment in Peru before going to Machu Picchu. I am usually really adaptable when traveling, but altitude sickness almost kept me from getting to Machu Picchu at all. It is no joke. I’d recommend at least 3 days to really adjust.

      That said – Cusco is fantastic and everyone we encountered there was super friendly and helpful to travelers. Also, try one of the treks if you have time – not necessarily the Inca Trail, but there are lots of less-traveled treks or even just day hiking around the ruins closer to Cusco.

  • Meigh McPants

    OMG, those Tube signs made my life. I’d seen the sloths one, but the others are equally marvelous. Also, Iggy Azalea! Clueless! Yay! (BTW, she was 5 when Clueless came out, which makes me sad inside.)

  • Stephanie B.

    Team APW, I am struggling with something that, in the big picture, isn’t life-ruining, but is still upsetting to me.

    So, the blue dress in the roundup of non-white wedding dresses last year (http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/08/colorful-wedding-dresses/)? That was my dress. I got married in September, and it was really gorgeous. I felt really beautiful.

    I took it to the dry cleaner a couple of weeks ago, and when I picked it up, the entire dress was BLACK. Not spotted, not streaked, just…black. As if the blue just washed out, or fell off.

    I’ll skip the back-and-forth with the dry cleaner over Oh My God What Happened, and Well It’s Not OUR Fault, etc. Because ultimately, I can’t replace the dress because the website no longer sells it (and even if they did, I don’t know that I would want to replace it, because…I’ve already gotten married).

    So really, what I’m dealing with is just the sense of loss. It makes me really, really sad. It was so pretty. And it’s not fixable.

    Like I said, in the big picture, it’s not life-ruining. I know that. But it really, really sucks, and I was hoping for a little cheering up.

    • Amanda

      How does that happen?! Internet hugs for you.

    • La_Venus

      I am so sorry :( That is a big loss. And really hard not to just explode with anger. It might just be something that is a tender spot for a while (or forever?) I know that’s not really going to cheer you up, but that might be the case.

    • Kayjayoh

      Oh man, I’m so sorry!

    • Katelyn

      That sounds awful. I’m so, so sorry. Maybe put together a small shrine or memorial? You are allowed to mourn this! It is OK that you are sad.

      Maybe it’s a bit creepy, but I would do that for my wedding dress….
      (photo because I can, and maybe it will cheer you up?)

      • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

        I remember when you posted this before, and I have to reiterate: I LOVE your dress. Totally have it pinned to my secret wedding board.

      • Stephanie B.

        That is a fantastic dress! I have all our wedding pictures (and there are a TON), so I could make a shrine of sorts.

  • Ellen

    You guys- I bought my wedding dress a year ago for our wedding this upcoming July. I finally dug it out of my future MIL’s closet and unsurprisingly, based on the food I’ve eaten in the past year, it no longer fits. I know with some alterations it will look gorgeous again, but how do I come to grips with the fact that I’ve failed at this one thing? My mom AND my future MIL are already up in arms about the weight I’ve gained this year (gee, thanks, guys) and I don’t need me beating myself up over it too. :(

    • Laura C

      So the thing you’ve failed at is continuing to be the same size over a period of a year. I’m guessing there are other things you’ve succeeded at which are, all things considered, more important?

      For sure it feels crappy, and I know this pressure because while my weight is pretty steady, the fit of my dress is the kind of touch and go where 2-3 pounds will make a big difference and I’m trying it on tonight to think about sashes and I’m a little concerned. And if my mom and FMIL were on me about it? Yikes. That would get ugly in a hurry.

      But just…your body and your comfort in it are more important than one dress. Which you know, but we all know how hard it is to remember that at times like this. I’d say, before you grapple with the dress again, do what you can to feel good about how you look. I don’t mean crash diet, I mean, spend a few days wearing the things that make you feel best and most beautiful, or enlist your fiance or friends to boost you, something like that. And then when you’re feeling strong, circle back to the fit of this one particular dress.

      • KayVee

        I second Laura’s advice. It’s important to move from away from the “failure” mindset and re-frame the dress as something that needs to work for you, rather than you being something that needs to work for a dress. Get the pendulum to swing in the other direction by doing what you can to make yourself feel good/sexy/beautiful, then tackle the fitting and tailoring…just more tasks that need to be completed and by no means a failure.

        Is there anyone who can run interference or help shut down the negativity from your mom and FMIL? Can you keep the dress in your own space, or a friend’s closet, so you don’t have to deal with that?

    • jashshea

      Alterations can do wonders. WONDERS. So can time – when i tried my dress on about 4 months out, I felt horrible and overheated and fat. By the time the alterations were done, all was well in the world.

      I’m sorry the moms are all up in your bidness about weight gain. That’s not okay normally and extra super shitty given that this is your wedding dress. Wedding planning is stressful and you don’t need that noise. Internet hugs.

    • Meigh McPants

      Dude, you have not “failed”. Your body is a body, and consequently apt to change in size sometimes. Bodies do that. It’s not a moral issue or an issue of success or failure. Alterations will make your dress look gorgeous on the body you have, so tell your moms to STFU and rock how awesome and beautiful you’re going to feel on your wedding day.

    • Violet

      Oh no! Please try to be kind to yourself- body failure only happens when it ceases to function properly. Hugs hugs.

  • Natalie

    Anyone have any suggestions on an Engagement party playlist? :)

    • K.

      What kind of engagement party are you having/what are you hoping the general “vibe” will be?

      • Natalie

        Backyard, low key. maybe something toward the end that people could dance to? :)

        • K.

          My favorite go-to for the dance party part of a party (say that 5 times fast!) is actually APW’s Emergency Dance Party link: http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/08/playlist-for-an-emergency-dance-party/

          And I think most people can appreciate light jazzy standards for the beginning of a party (think Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, etc). They’re romantic and not overwhelmng, and they mix well with low-key indie and pop too, so you can have a nice generational mix.

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

      You can steal mine from Grooveshark if you want http://grooveshark.com/playlist/Engagement+Party/77336384 It’s basically low-key indie/folksy love songs.

      • Natalie

        ooo, thanks! This is awesome :)

  • PurpleHeather

    Hooray for hormones! Can I join the cranky club?

    On other topics, do any UK residents know the best way for the bride and groom to double barrel their names with the minimum of fuss and expense, when the bride doesn’t have a current passport?

    That’s what my partner and I want to do, and at the moment it seems he’ll need to change his name by deed poll over 3 months in advance, then start using the name, so we can have proof (bank statements, etc.) of his new name to get the marriage licence changed. Then I need to get a form from our marriage registrar’s office, get my passport application in, and my passport will become valid on the day of our wedding ceremony. Oh, and he’ll need to change his passport too so we can travel.

    This all just seems so complicated! If anyone has any insight into how they did it I would be grateful.

  • http://innercupcake.blogspot.com innercupcake

    I’m defending my PhD thesis in two weeks, which means my written thesis is due to my committee today, aaaand I still need to finishing writing my Discussion. But I’m so close to being done and have gotten through this crazy ass month that included a departmental retreat, no availability from my top choices for labs to short term postdoc in (two body problems suck), teaching a guest lecture, moving apartments, and then dealing with the aftermath of said move because they should not have moved people in before fixing a ton of things (we needed a new microwave, a new sink after the current one dumped a gallon of water on my bathroom stuff, fixed ice maker, leaking fridge, wonky cabinet hinges, glitchy stove burner, and poorly seated balcony door).
    TL:DR, almost done with my thesis/phd in spite of a month that would have been busy/stressful without a thesis to write -eff yeah!

    • Carly

      Go you! Finishing my Master’s thesis this semester and just scheduled my defense. So stressful and so exciting at the same time. Good luck!

    • swarmofbees

      Congrats on almost being there! You can do it!

  • Bsquillo

    I completed my recital for my master’s degree this past Wednesday- woohoo! That’s one giant thing to check off my list of things to get done before the wedding.

    If anyone is really bored and wants to watch/listen to some jazz music, the live stream is still up here: http://ustre.am/1b0Ld. (Fast forward to about 33 minutes in to get to the actual recital and not pre-recital set-up and rehearsal.) I’m the one lady on stage with the alto saxophone!

    • Lisa

      AWESOME! Another music major. Congratulations on your recital! I know what a load off that is. :)

      ETA: You sound great!!

    • Meigh McPants

      Hooray, congratulations! That’s not just a before-wedding ticky box; it’s a big deal! be proud of your awesome self!

    • NicoleT

      Yay! Another lady saxophonist! There are too few of us in this world. I majored in classical saxophone :)

    • ItsyBit

      Congrats!! My fiancé, a Berklee grad & fellow jazz musician, was also really happy to see a female saxophonist. He was always a little sad that most of the women at Berklee were sort of relegated to the voice department and not more spread out.

      Also, your thesis is our dinner soundtrack because it is so, so good.

  • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

    Also, solidarity fist bump to all the ladies out there applying to jobs! I’m getting to that fatigued, pissed off point where I’ve sent a ton of resumes out and haven’t really heard much back yet. Blech.

    • Lauren from NH

      My mister does the shortest crappiest cover letter/email ever and it seems to work for some people because no one ever has time to read that stuff. If your getting frustrated, it’s probably okay to take a few short cuts and see if something sticks via that method.

      • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

        I never re-wrote a entire cover letter from job-to-job when I was applying. It bit me a couple times, not updating my standard, but I would have only been able to write something genuine if it was short like your mister’s.

      • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

        I feel like I have a decent cover letter that I don’t change up too much from job to job, just highlight what they need, but it’s so dry and boring and unrepresentative of my “human” awesome qualities. What do they want to see in these things anyway????

    • Claire

      I was recently informed my position will be eliminated in June and I’m trying to work up the motivation to kick the job search into high gear.

      • ItsyBit

        Aw I’m sorry to hear that. Sending good vibes your way.

    • ItsyBit

      Dude. I am right there with you. My fiancé congratulated me on applying to another job today and my reply was, “yay, I just threw way another half hour!” Been applying in NYC for MONTHS with only three bites- and one was because I knew someone. Had my second interview 2 weeks ago for a job I want (the 1st int. was mid Jan) and haven’t heard a peep. No job offer, no “sorry but we’re going in another direction,”… Nothing. Taking a part time customer service job (that I got because I know someone) for less than I’ve been paid since college because I have bills, damnit.

      Sorry for the rant. Keep your head up, I’ll try to do the same.

      • Lauren from NH

        Rant away. This is why I have been avoiding job searching like the plague. The whole application process is training in self-loathing. But now the company I am at is feeling a bit shaky so I need to move on. Sign….sob!

      • Sarah

        Unfortunately I find the NYC job market really hard to break into unless you know someone :( So my biggest advice is to work all of your contacts! Good luck!

      • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

        I just read a CL ad where the employer stressed the importance (multiple times!) of attention to detail in applying. They misspelled about every eighth word in said ad.

        *Head to desk*

        • KC

          I would totally reply with a copyedited version of the ad. But that’s just me… :-)

          • ItsyBit

            You would be my hero, then. :)

        • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

          grrr. that kills me.

        • ItsyBit

          That stuff just drives me bananas. I’ve seen things like that, too, including hospital job ads, on hospital websites, that misspell “HIPAA.”

          • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

            LOL. Yeah, these people were spelling “ad” as “add.”

        • MC

          Before I applied to the job that I have now, I e-mailed them to clarify something in the CL ad because they had listed two different position titles which made it confusing. After I got the job my boss told me I was the only one out of tons of people that applied to notice/ask about it! Not sure how you work that many misspellings to your favor though…

      • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

        I took a part time customer service job for the meantime too. It’s been 8 months. I wonder sometimes if it takes away from my job search, but then again, as little as I make, it’s more than nothing.

        • ItsyBit

          The “something is better than nothing” mantra is one I’ve had on repeat for a while now, hah. I’m sorry it’s taking you so long. F*$^%*$* job market.

    • http://thevanillabride.blogspot.com/ Sonarisa

      Ugh, I’m right there. I’ve been doing internships and volunteering for months. I just got a contract job lined up for the next 3 months that will almost pay my rent, but it’s more than I’ve been earning for far too long. Still looking for something permanent and embarrassed to be going to my wedding in three weeks and have people asking me about my job situation.

    • Kendra D

      My morning started with a “you aren’t being considered for this position, we aren’t even reading your resume, do not reply to this” email. So yeah, I feel you. I guess the good news is I applied for another job with the same place and didn’t get the same email so hopefully I’m still being considered for that one.

      I find it crazy that people don’t even send acknowledgement emails that they’ve received applications. I mean, I know that some areas and jobs get a lot of applications, but my area is small, there’s no way it would take that long to email someone back and let them know that a) their application has been received and b) the status of the job. Oh well.

      Good luck to you.

      • ItsyBit

        Seriously, acknowledgement emails! So many companies now have these complex applications online where you basically have to re-write your entire resume in multiple text fields, it just boggles my mind that there can’t even be an automated, “We’re sorry, you’re not a good fit” email when they click “no” next to your name. My fiancé’s mother was horrified when I explained that no, usually I just glean that I haven’t been selected after no one calls or emails me for weeks. Even after interviews.

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

      Right there with you. I already did my rant so I’ll just give you the fist bump and hug of solidarity. It sucks spending so much time with nothing to show for it.

  • Natalie

    Anyone have recommendations for a playlist for an engagement party? Backyard, low key. (and my fiance isn’t really into pop)

    • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

      Home, Edward Shape and the Mag… anything by the Civil Wars or the Avett Bros. These are things that we couldn’t really do for our dance-focused reception but are my kind of music.

    • Lindsey d.

      Pandora’s Indie Love Songs station.

    • Sarah

      David Bowie Pandora station is the best station that exists. My friends and I have had many a drunken party/singalong to it.

  • K.

    Any advice for a first official call with a wedding planner? Or for working with a planner in general? We’re going the partial planning route, so she’ll be holding our hands through decisions, get the nitty-gritty stuff that we hate done for us and be pretty consistently involved, but she’s not doing full-scale event design for us or anything. We want to create an overall timeline with her, but otherwise working with an event planner is totally new territory for me! Is this where I should get all my weird/dumb questions out of the way? How proactive do you generally have to be to get your money’s worth? She seems fantastic with incredible and trusted recommendations, so I’m not worried…just not sure how to initially proceed!

    • Lindsey d.

      Our planner/coordinator has turned out to be a complete godsend. I wish I had hired her earlier. My advice would be to lay out exactly what you are looking for, as you detailed above. My guess is that you have a sense of what you want your wedding to look and feel like and just want her to facilitate that. So you describe what kind of food you want and she knows three caterers who would fit that style/budget and contacts them for you. And she’s been great for the weird questions (like what elements do you need to make your ceremony actually legal)!

  • Anon and fretting

    Any advice on how to deal with bachelor party plans? Our Best Man texted
    me yesterday to run the ideas he and the groomsmen have for my fiance’s
    bachelor party (and by “run the ideas” by me I mean — tell me what
    they are going to do) and it’s WAY over the top. I don’t mean OMG there
    will be strippers, I mean they are planning an international trip one of
    the best party cities in.the.world — Ibiza. OHHH and the trip is three
    weeks before the wedding. My fiance doesn’t know anything about this yet, I know this would be an amazing experience for him but I can’t help but be like WTF ARE YOU CRAZY.
    How do I become okay with this? Or should I put my foot down? I don’t
    want to be “that girl” / “that bride” but… it’s crazy. Right???

    • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

      If you think it’s something he’d like, can afford financially and vacation time wise, and he won’t be missing anything crucial wedding wise, I’d say let them have their crazy big party for your guy.

      If it were me, I’d be super jealous of an international adventure! It seems like a pretty extreme adventure three weeks out, but… I’m curious what your hesitations are? I can’t think of specific things that would want me to stop him from going.

      • Anon and fretting

        Thanks, kater. You bring up a good point. He can take the work days, afford it, and, let’s be real, I’ll have all my bridesmaids to help me out should anything need to be done that weekend. Like I wrote to Meigh, FH used to frequent these kind of party/music scenes without me, and it was a sore spot. But since we got engaged he’s been taking me along. I can’t blame him – and I’m trying not to live in the past. Obviously I was never going to attend his bachelor party, but I have to put aside the old feelings of being “left behind” and recognize that his friends are going to give him an amazing weekend.

        • KH_Tas

          I don’t know if this applies to you, but I was crazy resentful when my guy went on an international trip without me, as it used up days off that dramatically cut down our ‘together’ holiday time and meant that I was at home alone and unable to do anything (because all the money had gone to the trip) while he was off having fun

    • Lauren from NH

      As a general rule, I would always advised against boxing yourself in with the “that girl” bs. Your hubby to be is getting the whole package, including the “I’m having feelings all over the place” parts, so you should be able to talk about some of your concerns. I wouldn’t be cool with the traditional bachelor party or HANGOVER ideal personally, but everyone’s relationship is different.

      • Lauren from NH

        Sorry. I think I missed the “don’t” part of “I don’t mean strippers.” My bad. But I stand but the first half of my comment.

        • Anon and fretting

          Thank you! You’re right, Lauren. I guess I’m just thinking I would never want his (our) friends to be like “UGH we were going to go to Ibiza but SHE wouldn’t let us!!”

          Also I don’t think FH has any interest in strippers. I think he’d rather go to the music shows there and would be fine not even seeing a girl the whole weekend, as long as good DJs were playing!

    • Meigh McPants

      I think it’s kind of awesome. Can you explain more what you find crazy about it? Is it just the proximity to the wedding, or are you feeling threatened, or what? If it were me, I’d try to think how happy my partner would be to have such awesome friends (and casually mention it to my friends so maybe they’d do something that good too!) :)

      • Anon and fretting

        Thanks Meigh. Made me think. I guess I don’t really know what I find crazy. Probably just the idea of flying to Spain for the weekend. He’s going for the electric music scene which he frequents and has been to multiple music festivals. He used to go all the time without me, now I’ve started going along. I guess that’s been a sore spot for me which I am trying to get over. Trying not to live in the past :)

        He would LOVE this. His friends are awesome. I think I would be nervous if he went out even in our city (guess that’s just me!). Thanks for making me look at it differently.

        • Meigh McPants

          Happy it helped a little! I hope you and your fiance both feel awesome about whatever happens.

    • emilyg25

      Mother of god. I think my main concern would be if Best Man had truly consulted with other folks on their budgets, or if he’s generally one to talk out of his ass.

      • Meigh McPants

        Ha, I totally had that thought too, since in my early 20s I had to miss my bestie’s bachelorette when the other bridesmaids decided to have it in NYC without consulting me. Here’s hoping her fiance’s friends are better people.

      • Anon and fretting

        In his defense I know the group of guys can afford it. They’ve done trips like this before, and I know he’s found some deals. He compared the prices to other cities in the states they were considering and surprisingly it’s not far off price-wise.

        • emilyg25

          Hmm, well in that case, do you think this is something your fiance could really, genuinely enjoy? And you could handle without too much resentment? If so, maybe try to come to terms with it. If you’re really uncomfortable, then talk about it with your fiance. The chance to discuss things together and get on the same page (or closer pages) trumps the surprise element. Says the girl who’s not a huge surprise person.

          • Anon and fretting

            I think I will try to come to terms. He would really love this. I am going to ask the best man to have people check in with me (I know it’s a “boys weekend” but being international this is non-negotiable) and I know my fiance won’t have a problem with that. We’ve talked at least that far (I don’t want to spoil the fun of all the guys saying “We’re taking you to Ibiza!” but after talking with the Best Man last night I did throw a few “hypothetically….” questions at my fiance. I don’t think he suspected.) Thanks for your opinion :)

    • vegankitchendiaries

      For my own tastes, I think that sound crazy expensive and OTT but I lived in the UK for nearly a decade and it’s SO common there to fly to another country to do your bachelor or bachelorette. Are you in the UK?

      • Anon and fretting

        We are in NYC, so it is common for people to go on trips. Most commonly I’ve heard to Vegas, Miami or LA. When I was in Vegas for a friend’s bachelorette there were plenty of UK-ers there :)

    • Laura

      Hm… this could be the most terrible or the most wonderful idea of all time. My first reaction would also be WTF ARE YOU CRAZY. Many factors include cost, sanity of groom that close to the wedding, time off from school/work, and uh… cost.

      • Anon and fretting

        Haha – yes I’m going back and forth between terrible and wonderful myself!!!

        They can afford it, he can take the days off work, and as for his sanity, well, that’s not all there all the time anyway ;)

    • Kristie

      This is (kind of) what I’ve been going through, except I’m on the “OMG there will be strippers” side. And I totally feel you on being a little sore that he would be doing something with his friends that he usually does with you. Since your fiance has no idea about this yet, I think one of the best things to do is to try and rationalize it in your mind. Remind yourself how much fun you’ll have on your bachelorette party (if you’re having one) and how amazing your fiance is. That being said, if it still is bothering you, maybe you should talk to him. I’m getting ready to have a talk with mind about strippers this weekend and am so not ready to be “that girl” but I know it will be worth it. I plan to tell him how strippers (specifically lap dances) make me feel, and follow with I’m not going to tell him what to do and want him to make his own choices on his bachelor party,but I also need him to know how I feel. Good luck to you girl!

      • Anon and fretting

        Thanks Kristie! I think he will be open to talking about boundaries. I’ll probably wait until the reveal of his party when it’s booked, so as not to spoil the surprise. I’m sure he will want me to be safe and might have feelings of what would make him uncomfortable at my own bachelorette party and I definitely agree with you that we should talk to them if we’re uncomfortable. Good luck to you too! :)

    • Jessica LK

      My fiance is, at this moment on a very absurd/extravagant bachelor’s party in Amsterdam, and I’m at home… I struggled with it more than I thought I would. All of my bridesmaids are scattered all over the world, so I’m not sure we get to do anything at all (which I thought I was totally fine with), and he’s having at least two bachelor’s parties (one here and one stateside with a different group of guys and maybe a third right before the wedding-mildly absurd…to say the least) and I totally admit it was pure jealousy. I’m SO glad he gets this opportunity to do this, and that his friends want to do this for him. And I think I’m a bit frustrated with myself for feeling jealousy over something good, and a great opportunity for him to spend time with his friends. THEN one of his friends (a groomsmen) said “for your next marriage we should…” which seriously did not help, I know he was kidding…but… not cool.
      That’s not really helpful on the advice front…But I agree with the others, if it’s feasible, and he’d enjoy it, and it doesn’t really impact the wedding, why not?

      • Anon and fretting

        THIS THIS THIS. Exactly!! I feel shame that I could be jealous of his happiness. I already told my girls that we’re doing something together that weekend (most of their husbands and boyfriends will be on the trip too)! Glad I’m not the only one with a partying fiance and these feelings. Thanks :)

        Also why do boys think these kind of jokes are funny! When I was talking to our Best Man he said “And besides, if we come home without fiance, it will be a great story to tell!” UGHH.

    • Meg Keene

      If they can afford it why on earth would you stop them (real question). If my girls were gonna take me to Ibeza and David stopped them, he’d be dead.

    • Kendra D

      I don’t know what it would take for you to be okay with it. I think you’re making a good start in the other comments where you’re acknowledging that he has a history of leaving you at home while doing fun things. So acknowledge that you haven’t moved past that and that this is what is actually (apparently) causing the problem.

      My husband did some stupid, hurtful things early in our relationship and through the years I’ve had to pull back and acknowledge when it was still my own hurt over one of them that was causing a problem. He can’t change the past (my guy or yours) but I can change how I react to the future. It took a lot of self probing on my part to understand why I was hanging on to the hurt, because lets face it there is nothing healthy about staying angry about things that happened in the past and that have been course corrected in the present. I say this because it’s something I still struggle with myself. I have to stop myself and acknowledge that my reactions and emotions are not being fair to him.

      I think it’d be good for you to work through thoroughly why you feel the way you do about this trip and to take responsibility for how you feel. And to do this before you talk to your fiance. If it is leftover hurt from something he’s worked to resolve, remember that you’ve (hopefully) forgiven him, love him, and trust him.

      • Anon and fretting

        Thanks Kendra. You are spot on. Will have to repeat your mini-mantra “Cant change the past, but can change how I react to the future” Appreciate your opinion and glad to know someone else has seen been in my boat. :)

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

    2 months out!!!! We’re going to get our marriage license today, dress still fits beautifully, I convinced Fiance to let me do *something* for centerpieces, and I found the right color ribbon to finish my crinoline after nearly giving up (coral is HARD to match). Busy times.

    We also sent out the invites which brought up an unexpected disagreement. I actually sent this question in to Ask APW, but then belated realized that A) they very well may not answer everything single question they get since I’m sure they’re all popular and B) It’s actually potentially time sensitive so I could use some opinions ASAP.

    Should you send out Thank You notes right away for gifts received before the wedding, or should you wait until after the wedding? I said yes because I thought a prompt response was A) Polite and B) Lets the sender know that the gift was actually received. Fiance says no because the TY note should also include a mention of “thank you for coming to the wedding” (so obviously this does not apply to those who cannot attend). He also doesn’t know what you’d then do if someone sent a gift early and then brought one/sent one later, but I think *if* that were to happen then getting 2 TY’s is hardly going to offend anyone. Also, do you send TY’s to guests who attended, but did not bring a gift? My understanding was that the reception was basically the thank you for attending and the notes were to recognize any gifts given… but I’m new to this whole wedding thing so I could be wrong. I just want to be sure we properly thank our guests.

    • jashshea

      Someone else can handle the Emily Post part of this, but for me it was a process/sanity question. I kept track of everything we received during the 30-45 days prior to the wedding and fairly immediately wrote out a thank you, so that I wouldn’t be inundated after the event. Especially when I knew the people weren’t coming to the actual wedding (So sorry you won’t be able to make the big event – You’ll be missed!), so that they knew I’d received the item.

    • Meigh McPants

      Definitely do them right away. It will save your sanity later, and you’re right, it does let the giver know their gift was received. They already know they’re sending a gift before the wedding, so I don’t think they’d feel obligated to bring another to the wedding if they were thanked. Also, even if they did, more thanks = never wrong.

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

        Thanks. And I’m sure no one would feel obligated to send multiple gifts at all, that was purely a hypothetical of M’s. We certainly don’t feel that our guests are required to get us anything, but for anyone generous enough to get us something I just want to sure that we properly acknowledge it.

  • MC

    And yes, what a week. Both cars in the shop, one which needs a costly repair. and Fiance is leaving for a business trip on Sunday so there is an extra fun time crunch/stressor.

    He’ll be gone for a week, which is the longest we’ve been apart since we moved in together a year ago. We were long-distance for YEARS so it shouldn’t seem weird to me that I won’t see him for a week, but it does. I know I will be lonely, but I’m also excited for the excuse to have lots of me time and drink margaritas with my lady friends and watch a bunch of House of Cards.

    • Amanda

      Today ends the week mine has been gone! Also the longest since we moved in and also were long distance for a few years. Sounds like you’re prepared though, I do the same with making extra plans with friends. Enjoy having the bed to yourself!

  • Meigh McPants

    So, I have a big life event coming down the pipe, and consequently this week has been a real growth week for me. (Read: emotionally difficult, but ultimately rewarding.) I am fairly prone to anxiety and trying to change the universe with my brain (i.e. not thinking/saying anything too good about upcoming events for fear of some kind of divine retribution for…being happy? I guess? The phrase “don’t jinx me” comes out of my mouth A LOT.) and I finally acknowledged that this is disordered thinking. I don’t have control over how events are going to turn out, and being anxious about them does nothing but make me feel awful. I am not driving the bus, and that is okay. It’s hard to describe what a weight this is off of me. If I’m not solely responsible for worrying about things to make them go right, I can just focus on doing my best in any given situation. This is totally an on-going battle with my brain, and I’m sure I won’t keep this zen forever, but I feel like I’ve done some good work this week.

    I just thought this might be applicable to some of y’all planning your weddings. It seems like there’s so much to worry about with weddings, and so much that could go wrong without CONSTANT VIGILANCE, but you’re strong and fabulous and you will weather it. You’ll be married at the end, which is the only important part. Happy weekend!

    • Kina

      As another lady who struggles with anxiety, I just wanna give a fist bump and also say how impressed I am that you recognized your own disordered thinking!

      • Meigh McPants

        Fist bump back! I’ve been working on it for a while; it’s pretty low grade normally but when big stuff comes up (like, say, a WEDDING) then it’s like grappling with my crazypants all day long.

    • Lindsay Rae

      I’m a worrier myself. I think I might have read these little mantras somewhere on APW but two of my favorites are:

      “Worrying is meditating on a bad outcome.” & “Don’t borrow trouble from the future.”

      Also – controlling the universe with my brain is something I’ve tried too! However, it can be used in a positive way I’ve found – check out the book “Ask and It Is Given” (if that sounds like something you’re into)

      • Meigh McPants

        I definitely remind myself of those two things a lot. And I’ll check it out!

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

      It’s so hard to keep your thoughts in check. It’s a constant struggle for me. I just keep trying to slow down and reframe my thinking. And cry when I need to.

  • Ariel

    Happy Friday!!! I finally came to terms with the fact that my printer will never be able to print on my thick ass envelopes and designed pretty wrap around labels for them instead. I really like how they came out (on the comp), just need to get big sticky paper and print those bad boys.
    I had my first dress fitting earlier this week and the seamstress immediately cut off the giant bow that I hated and it looks fabulous. Yay!

    • Laura

      Goodbye giant bows!!

    • Lindsey d.

      We did those for our invites and I got great feedback on them! I LOVED them and nothing else really mattered, but it was nice that other people liked them too.

      • Ariel

        Ooh, good to hear!

  • http://www.emilyaltphotography.com/ emily alt

    Happy Friday!! What a week! We are on the road for our Pop Up weddings and currently in South Carolina (where you would think it would be warm, but it’s actually 40 degrees, ah well). Living in a 31 foot trailer with 2 dogs is definitely one of the most humbling and amazing experiences I can think of–we are all verrrrry close to each other allll the time. I am SO honored to be the guest Instagrammer for APW this month too! Hope all is fabulous with all of you out there and have a fantastic weekend!
    xoxo,
    Emily

    • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

      I wanted to ask you last night but didn’t feel like typing it out, were you making full on momofuku ramen or maruchan packet ramen in a 31 foot trailer?!

      • http://www.emilyaltphotography.com/ emily alt

        Oh…you best believe that was full on momfuku ramen (the broth was…out of this world. Like…I really cannot express how damn good it was. I will share the recipe I made up on my blog next week. We both were like…damn, this is better than a fancy noodle bar joint). THEN we watched Behind the Candelabra about Liberace. Lord in Haven. Amazing. Now our new goal is to cook all the way through this months Cook’s Illustrated in the Airstream–chicken thai curry, shredded beef tacos, lemon pudding–it’s all happening!

        • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

          BEHIND THE CANDELABRA!! So good! Also, I really need to see this ramen.

          • http://www.emilyaltphotography.com/ emily alt

            So good. I mean. I knew I loved Rob Lowe. But then I watched this. And I was like…..I LOVE ROB LOWE. And don’t even get me started on Damon or Douglas. Amaze.
            I will take photos of the next round of ramen. Last night I spent way too much time wrangling the dogs away from the chicken to adequately photograph it.

        • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

          nice!!!!

        • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

          …oddly belated, but major props on the momofuku ramen and all the cooking you planned to do in the Airstream. My husband made ramen over new year’s eve/new year’s day and it basically seemed like he was in the kitcher for all of 2013. ;)

  • emilyg25

    You guys! I know there are several of us here who are looking for the APW of pregnancy and parenting. Well I just stumbled on an awesome new (to me) blog that has a pretty similar tone: http://www.pregnantchicken.com/ . I started with the Is It Safe? section (http://www.pregnantchicken.com/the-list/) and just fell in.

    • La_Venus

      Thank you! I am heading over there right now to check it out.

  • La_Venus

    Hello APW! I am never around to be a timely contributor to Happy Hour but today I am not working because I have a relentless cold. So! Let me just tell you all that big changes are coming and wow is my brain space altering itself in preparation. For the past few months I had been applying to get a Montessori certification (I am a Montessori assistant and that had been something I wanted to do once my husband had a job), and slowly realizing that my reasons for doing that were flawed and actually coming from fear and an effort to conform/make my life more palatable to onlookers. Because! The thing that was actually true for us and for me is that now is the time to have a baby. Even though we are 27. Even though I haven’t made my career overwhelmingly impressive. But here we are, preparing to conceive with an open-ended timeframe (focused on specific goals and trusting that we will know when the time is right). So hello, opening that up and removing the roadblocks between now and baby-time has really brought on a meandering, slow-paced train ride of thoughts, anxieties, and feelings. Totally unexpected. I have been working with kids for years and am surrounded by a kid-friendly, kid-oriented community (at work), and am completely confident taking care of other peoples’ kids so I thought, you know, smooth sailing. I know what this is about and I mean it when I say I am ready. Now my brain has me convinced that our child will be the most difficult on the planet, we will epically fail at all the things I have successfully done with other children, we will be in way over our heads, or relationship will crumble, we will lose the will to live, and everyone will shake their heads in knowing dismay. How did that happen? How did a decade of child-yearning turn into questioning everything I know? Ahhhhhh!

  • NicoleT

    Happy Friday everyone! Fridays are super awesome now because it means my fiancé can sleep in past 5:30 the next day! (Ph.D.’s are no joke, y’all.)

    And I am ready to rip someone’s hair out. Venue hunting is destroying my happiness and sanity. For the SECOND TIME, my fiancé and I found a venue that we liked that got vetoed by his parents several weeks after I presented the budget numbers to them (I’m splitting the wedding cost with his parents) because it’s too expensive. Which fine, I get it, but tell me immediately before FH and I get attached to the place. And then his mom suggests we have the ceremony at the awesome place we found and drive *33 miles* in LA traffic to have a reception where she works. I spent 10 minutes telling her ‘no’ every way I knew how.

    So, long story short (too late), any LA-ers out there that can advise on decently priced wedding venues that are awesome/not in a bad part of town?

    • Kayjayoh

      Can you ask them what they would like to budget for the venue, and then contribute more than half from you end of things, just to have the venue you would like? If you have a “this is what we are willing to spend” number from them and can combine it with a “this is what *we* can spend” number from yourself, you might be able to get more leeway on this. Maybe a 40/60 or a 30/70 split and get your venue?

      • NicoleT

        Yeah, I need to get his mom to sit down with me and talk actual numbers, no beating around the bush. Some of the budgeting will have to stay the same. I’m inviting 15 people and she’s inviting 100-120, so we agreed that we each pay for the food/beverages for our own people and then split everything else in half. We could probably do something with the “everything else”.

        My issue is that she spent around $40,000-50,000 *each* for two other weddings. For one of them, she even invited 20 extra guests the week before the wedding. I’m asking her to spend significantly less than that and it’s too expensive. She’s known about this wedding for about two years now and, awhile ago, kept telling me I was unrealistic for trying to plan a wedding for less than 50 grand. So I’m just so over all of this. :/

        • Kayjayoh

          Oh man, that is crazy-making.

          I’m surprised (but not, because…people) that she hasn’t given you specific numbers for budget, especially after turning down two places. That’s a lot of guesswork on your side.

          • NicoleT

            THANK YOU. I feel like this is obvious, but apparently not.

      • Lindsay Rae

        Exactly what I was going to suggest. If they were comfortable contributing half if the venue cost $40,000 – would they be okay with just giving you the same amount if the venue cost $50,000, and you put it towards and cover the rest?

        Money + inlaws = not fun.

        • NicoleT

          Definitely not fun. I hope they’ll be comfortable with that! It seems reasonable to me, especially since I added up the total wedding cost (food, photography, everything- based on actual quotes) and it’s cheaper than $15,000 for them (could even be lower if we go with different options- but that depends on what FH wants).

          I already feel a lot better about this hearing suggestions and being able to talk about it with someone who doesn’t have super strong feelings on the matter! Thank you :)

  • vegankitchendiaries

    Hey… technical thing happening for me… anyone else?

    On pages like the ‘Real Weddings’ page or the ‘Logistics’ page the images don’t show titles anymore when my mouse hovers over the image… It just means that I dont know what article I’m bringing up until I click on the picture and open it up. Anyone else finding this?

    • emilyg25

      Yes! I use Chrome, btw.

    • MisterEHolmes

      Me too, in Chrome and Firefox.

  • Kayjayoh

    This weekend, the fiance and I are going to assemble and start sending our invitations. He is finally back in town and we are just over three months out. Woo!

    A issue that I just let him deal with, and I am glad I did: his parents gave us each a substantial “Christmas present” this year, in the form of large checks for helping with the wedding. Now his mom was asking about paying for the rehearsal dinner, which is probably going to be about $700.

    I totally didn’t want to be the one to turn the money down, but I also know we have already budgeted the dinner. So I let him deal with it. His parents, his comfort level. In the end, he wrote to her and told her that he considered the rehearsal dinner to be included in what they gave us for Christmas. I think that was reasonable, and I don’t think it will hurt any feelings.

  • Caroline

    We finally agreed on vows (umm or vow-ish things since Jewish weddings don’t have vows exactly). And we’re both really excited about them. It’s awesome because he has been “I don’t care about the ceremony, I jst care we get legaled, the ceremony is for you” and we were having some serious, heated discussions about religion, and sacred and religious language, but then the rabbi suggested something and my partner was like “Yes! I want to say that” with enthusiasm, and then proposed a translation and understanding of the traditional wording that left the rabbi and me both a little like “really? That’s less religious and therefore more comfortable for you? It’s way more religious to us.” (But since I’m the pro-religious language camp, it’s good for me). But that makes me happy because I wanted to say the traditional words but I didn’t want him to say words that didn’t mean anything to him. Now we have words that are very meaningful for us both! I’m gonna be sobbing I think.

    • Lindsey d.

      Congratulations! We are one week away and I continue to have a hard time sitting him down to work on the ceremony. He cares so much, but is also ADD and focusing on the ceremony usually leads us down a rabbit hole of Googling other options. MUST do it this weekend.

      • Violet

        Do you find breaking tasks down into manageable pieces and giving breaks after each piece is done helpful at all? It’s SO hard to stay on task for something as complicated as vows!

        • Lindsey d.

          That is pretty much how it has worked out…. We did one session and figured out the processional, one where we worked on music, one were we focused on readings. Now we’re a week away and still have to nail down the expression of intent, vows, exchange of rings, pronouncement of marriage and breaking of the glass… It’ll be a lot…

          • Violet

            Sounds like you’re doing everything you can! Hang in there!

  • Kelly

    Can I ask an opinion? How much does one pay a grad student to help with wedding things? I’m hiring two grads from my office to help with setup, do some DOC things (mostly just put out fires and press play on the ipod), and bartend. I don’t want to be a cheapskate… but I’m also hiring grad students because the budget is getting tight. I also assume, as our bartenders, they will make lots in tips.

    If its helpful: We’re in Wisconsin and the wedding is 2hrs from their home. Beer/wine/premixed specialty drinks only til 1030.

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

      Total shot in the dark, but I’d say $100-200 and a nice thank you card. And, if you go more towards the lower end, maybe a nice bottle of booze as well (so, $100 + $30 bottle of whiskey).

      • jashshea

        That’s roughly what we paid our bartenders – couple hundred and booze (all the beer and an open magnum of vodka).

        • Kelly

          Thanks, all! I think the hard part is whether or not to factor in tips. I’ve never not tipped, even at an open bar

    • Kayjayoh

      I’m going through a similar set of questions. We are going to be hiring some undergrads from the college where I work to keep an eye on some of the children. (First I need to find out how many kids are coming, to see how many students I need for a reasonable ratio.) I need to figure out a reasonable hourly rate for this. (Which I will combine into a lump sum for the night.)

      • Kelly

        I think $30-40 per person would make for a normal evening of babysitting where I live, assuming you’re not starting before 5. So, maybe just a little bit more given the special circumstances?

        • Kayjayoh

          Wedding starts at 6:30 and must be done by 11:30. I’d probably have the sitters/helpers arrive at 7.

      • KC

        Ask local parents (or groups who hire group babysitters to take care of kids while parents are at an event) what the rate would be – it can be super-geography-specific, oddly.

        Alternately, ask the students or browse “jobs offered” listings or bulletin boards to get a general range. :-)

      • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca/ Jules

        It may depend on if you know the students and the vibe of your wedding. Personally, I would babysit for free at a wedding for people that I kind of knew (but not enough to get invited obviously). But. “Professionally” babysitting a myriad of children that I don’t know and some are probably little hellions (I mean…totally adorable), I wouldn’t charge less than $10/hour.

        • Kayjayoh

          Oh totally. I can’t imagine paying less than $10. *That* feels like it’s on the cheap side.

    • Fiona

      you could pay $15 or $20 an hour for each hour they work, which is pretty nice. Also free food for them.

    • Caroline

      Mayb 15 an hour? I mean, it depends on the COL in your area. I wouldn’t assume they will make any money in tips unless you had a cash bar. As a wedding guest, I always assume the hosts of the wedding (the couple or their families) appropriately tip all staff, as it is a party not a night out. Unless it was a cash bar, it wouldn’t occur to me to tip them. (And we are tipping all out staff, and will not have any way for guests to tip the staff).

    • JSwen

      It’s Wisconsin, so can’t you just pay them in beer?!

      Heheh. I don’t have much to add to the previous but think about gas money and/or a hotel room as well.

  • Sara Goodwin

    My fiance and I just watched 12 Years A Slave and yeah, wow. What a brutal movie. (But very well done and I can see how it got Best Picture.)

  • AnonMegan this time

    Today we are officially 3 months out! That part is awesome. The not-awesome part is that I deleted a would-be bridesmaid from the guest list today. I’ve only heard from her once in the last four months (and it was a very non-committal answer to questions about plans that really need to be made) and pretty sporadically for the few months before that. I know the right thing to do would have been to talk to her in person about it, but I couldn’t get her to answer my calls, texts, or messages through various means. (And I was reaching out about things other than the wedding too). Eventually I sent a message explaining that as much as I would love to have her be a part of the wedding, I wanted to be surrounded by people I could count on for support and that I’d need to hear back from her today. It’s been almost two weeks since I sent that with no response.

    I can’t figure out what happened to get to this point. I’m hurt and confused but comfortable with my decision. It’s not the first time someone has vanished from my life with no explanation, but it never gets easier.

    • Felicity

      Hugs! No words of advice, just solidarity at the hard way relationships change. Sounds like you made the right decision in the best way possible.

      • YetAntherMegan

        Thanks

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

      woaaaa shit I just realized we are three months out too!!! ahhhh fuck, is it bad we are only just about to order our invites???

      • YetAntherMegan

        Well ours have been sitting in a box in the corner for two months so I don’t think you’re that far behind us!

    • JSwen

      Uff. Some people have their own baggage to get over when it comes to other people’s weddings. Maybe taking her off the list as a bridesmaid and moving her over to the list of “just a guest” will make things more comfortable for both of you. Goodluck.

      • YetAntherMegan

        Yeah, I’m not sure how ok I’d be with her being there. I really hate confrontation and majorly stepped outside my comfort zone to even send her the message I did. And I gave her two weeks to respond to it. The fact that she didn’t even send something back bowing out or saying that she’d been busy or offering some sort of excuse/apology just makes me really not thrilled about the relationship as a whole.

        ETA: Thanks for outing me Disqus.

        • JSwen

          If the thought of being around her causes anxiety, that’s a great reason to axe her from the guest list. That said, it’s probably worth asking yourself if she’s being a bad friend or just not meeting the wedding expectations you had for her. It’s possibly a mix of both. I’ve had to axe some friends but instead of asking who I don’t want there, I’ve asked myself who I REALLY want to be there. There are friends I love who I just don’t really need at the wedding and we are keeping it <90 guests so…

          Guest lists are hard. I bet bridal parties are even harder. I don't think anyone would blame you for excluding negativity from your wedding day!

  • Kayjayoh

    Dear Disqus: please display the comments in some sort of logical order. What would be especially nice if you would display the responses to other comment somewhere near the original, rather than halfway down the page. Thanks!

    • Laura

      I wrote to disqus about this and apparently they are “working on being more compatible with google chrome.”

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

        Disqus and I don’t get along. On happy hour threads where I have multiple conversations, I get notifications that people have replied, and then directed to the general 300+ comment thread of the whole post, not the thread where people are replying. And a few days ago, I’m pretty sure I posted at least 8 times because I was trying to add a picture, and every time it went up, there were anywhere from 3 to 8 of the one picture I wanted to share. I love talking to you guys! It shouldn’t be that hard!

        • Laura

          I call WIC conspiracy.

        • Meigh McPants

          Yeah, I just command+f my name if I see someone replied to me. Le sigh, Disqus. Le sigh.

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

            That’s a cool feature I didn’t know existed! (But it doesn’t do anythiong on my mac in google chrome.) Humbug.

          • Meigh McPants

            Really? I have a mac and chrome and it works. (Of course, I still have snow leopard, so maybe mine’s just old enough to do it?) Could be a setting stopping the box from popping up?

  • Felicity

    Afternoon all! I’ve been struggling with the religion questions this week as my finace and I have started to talk more about the ceremony. I’m a pretty religious ex-Catholic, but now I’m Episcopalian. I realize that I’m grieving this idea I had of being married in my “home church” in my home town and I’m not sure what to put in it’s place. My fiance is supportive, but he is coming from a very different Christian background and I think the pull the Catholic Church has is hard for him to grasp. Has anyone else worked through this? Advice?

    • jbryant6

      My fiance has a Catholic background, I have a Baptist/Pentecostal background. We started going to a somewhat non-traditional Episcopal church last year, and we were confirmed in the church last weekend and are marrying there 50 days from today! He loves the Catholic-like tradition of the church, I like that our priest is this short fiery African-American former Baptist turned Epsicopalian. We found that this particular Episcopal church was the perfect compromise for us, though our ceremony will actually be more traditional than I originally had in mind.
      Do you two go to a church together now?

    • Lisa

      That’s really tough. I never wanted to get married in my home church (it’s pretty hideous, and the priests aren’t particularly nice/inspiring), but as a Catholic who is technically still outwardly practicing but silently trying to figure out what she believes, I completely feel you. I went to Ash Wednesday service earlier this week, and though I’m still trying to sort out my personal beliefs, the cycle of the church calendar and the rituals it provides feel wonderfully homey.

    • Violet

      This is hard. My partner was raised Roman Catholic and was received into the Episcopal church because he has issues with the way Catholicism handles… the 21st century. I was raised Christian in a church where they spoke a different language, so I grew up quite literally tone-deaf to religion. It’s just not part of my life. Fortunately, I had no issue being married in an Episcopal church. I’ll go to services occasionally when I can tell my partner wants me to go. BUT. Find out what his specific concerns are. For me, it’s Communion. I can sit and listen to a mass and not feel like I’m pretending to have beliefs I really don’t have. But the act of Communion, to me, would imply I really believe the act has a meaning beyond a sip of wine. And I don’t, so we didn’t have a Eucharist service at our wedding. Everyone has their specifics, so definitely try to find out more about what he’s thinking in addition to communicating what you are thinking.

    • Felicity

      Thank you all for you support! I am about to be received into the Episcopal church as well! Although my fiance doesn’t feel ready for that step, he comes to church with me semi-regularly. I think the issue is to be married in the Episcopal church we are, you have to have a pretty traditional Episcopal wedding (read – no space for non-Biblical readings). I am fine with that personally, but my fiance doesn’t feel as if he could bring his whole-self to that type of ceremony. I understand that and believe we need to create something that works for both of us. I think I’m still just trying to figure out what that is and who will perform the ceremony. Currently we are considering asking pastors/priests we know from three different denominations!

  • lady brett

    tomorrow is the baby’s first birthday! partying with our family today and his family tomorrow. and i got him a t-shirt with a giant 1 on it…cause, you know, cute. and what else are you supposed to get someone whose favorite toys are socks and the dog? he does look notably older in a t-shirt instead of onesies, so there’s that.

    • Lisa

      I’m heading home tonight to celebrate my mother’s birthday tomorrow! Happy birthday to your little boy!!

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

      Happy birthday to him! He’s a lucky dude to get TWO parties for just one year of alive-ness.

    • swarmofbees

      socks ftw! My daughter really liked the exciting socks her aunt gave her when she was 1. may I also recommend plastic cups?

  • Sharon

    I take issue with the idea that a liberal arts PhD gets you “not much” these days. Sure, jobs are scarce. Those of us in the throes of liberal arts doctoral programs don’t need to be told that. We already know and have had to decide whether or not the degree is worthwhile to us regardless of whether or not we’ll “use it” in the traditional tenure-track fashion. We already contend with friends, family, and passing acquaintances who think we’re wasting our time.

    I’m probably not going to end up as a tenured professor at a top-ranked research university (since that’s not my career end goal anyhow). I may not ever get offered what I would consider my dream job — a tenured position at a small liberal arts college focused on teaching and mentoring undergrads. But even if those prospects never materialize for me, even if I end up in a career where my PhD is deemed unnecessary, I’ll still value the experience I’ve had in grad school. I’m ABD right now and can already see how much the past 4 years have shaped and honed my thinking, reading, and communication skills. I now have the tools to join a long conversation that has existed long before me and will continue long after me about what our humanity means and why it matters. We need humanities academics more than ever, to question and critique the directions our societies are headed in, to challenge assumptions, to help us think about art and literature. I defy anyone to say that those things don’t mean much simply because they might not pay or lead to a high-paying job.

    • Kayjayoh

      [stands on a chair and starts a slow clap]

    • http://twitter.com/mollyepollard Molly Pollard

      I was this [ ] close to applying for MA and PhD programs for French after undergrad. My fear of incurring more debt stopped me. I kind of regret that decision. Kudos to you for doing what you love, from someone who sometimes wishes she’d gone for it.

      • Sharon

        :) Thanks! Half the time I don’t love it or even like it. And I do experience a lot of anxiety about my earning potential (or lack thereof). But I still think it’s worthwhile, so I keep going.

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

      I had a similar experience when I chose to get my undergrad degree in studio art. I can’t tell you how many times people asked me if I was planning to be a “starving artist.” I chose that major because that’s what I wanted to study, and I had no delusions about the job market. I think the people that are really delusional (at least in my experience when I was at school) are people like the business majors who have chosen the “practical, career-friendly” degree thinking they are sure to get a great position right out of school. (totally not saying that’s what all business majors are thinking, just that it’s an idea in general that a lot of undergrads that I knew had)

      Truth is, in the current world, everyone has the same job-finding troubles, and no matter what your degree is, you aren’t guaranteed anything. The job market is over-saturated with highly qualified candidates.

      • NicoleT

        Let’s not forget the jokes about eating cat food (classical saxophone major here). I’m going in a different direction now (med school), but I will always love and appreciate my liberal arts degree. So, so important. It’s a different way of thinking and seeing the world and it made me a better person at the end of the day. If I didn’t major in classical saxophone, I know that I would not be able to even think about med school because I wouldn’t have the right perspective or work ethic. People assume that a music or art or whatever major is easy; it’s not. There’s a lot of work and heartache that goes into it. Sure, there aren’t any formulas to memorize, but you’re grappling with yourself and what your mind and body are capable of. There is no way that that’s easy.

        • Lindsey d.

          Dude, cat food is expensive. You’d think the joke would be ramen or similar…

      • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

        My father-in-law always said, “You go to school to get an education, not a job.” Of course there are exceptions, but that said, I don’t regret my English degree, but I do have to be realistic about what that will get me in a job market. However, many people have trouble with communication skills, so I think they need me, and others. That said, because I don’t have a desire to be a teacher, I am certainly not diving into more school debt despite my desire for more education. In fact, if i could afford it, I’d probably go back to school for a graphic design degree. Would that get me a job? I have no idea, but it would be fun!

    • ItsyBit

      On one hand I agree with you- education in the humanities IS important! I think the frustration is often that kids in college aren’t given realistic expectations about job prospects after a degree. I’m wrestling with the question of how I go about grad school because the reality is I simply cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars and upwards of 5 years out of the workforce if it’s not going to further my career in the long run, much as I wish I could.

      • Lauren from NH

        Sorry to stalk you, but Yes YES YES! I am an intellectual person and I loved school, but yeah, everything that you said…

      • Sharon

        I agree with you that there is absolutely a need for realistic conversations with college students regarding what the job landscape is currently like for humanities PhDs. (I’m honestly not sure I would have done it had someone sat me down and explained just how hard it can be for women to sustain an intellectual *and* a personal/family life in academia.) There’s definitely a conversation in academia currently re. the unsustainability of the current tenure-track model and I would argue that one (at least!) change that needs to be made is for both academics and industry folks to recognize the PhD program itself as a job. (I think science is ahead of us in this respect because industry is seen as an equally viable option there — so yeah, also creation of industry-equivalent jobs for the humanities PhD — important!) Most grad students I know work in a lab or teach on top of their own research, at a pittance of the price that the university would have to pay a full professor. (Let’s not even get into the snakepit of adjuncting…) Too often that labor gets effaced (either under the “do what you love” rubric or the “pay your dues” rubric) and that attitude definitely needs to be overhauled internally before academia will be treated seriously by external industry employers.

        • Allie

          Yes. Yes. Yes. The labor we do somehow doesn’t count as “real work”, even if it consists of teaching undergraduate classes, conducting and publishing research, and bringing in research dollars to the university through our own grants. Sure, we’re “in-training” for academic jobs, but we’re also working. And that gets overlooked by many (i.e. I’ve been told from outside academia that it looks bad that I’ve never had a “real job”). Of course the roots of the problem both within and outside the academic system.

    • Meg Keene

      Did you read the article? That’s what she’s saying. She’s also pointing out that this system is so broken it’s close to being a scam (one non tenure track job for every 100 PhDs in her field) which I think is SUPER important to air.

      • Sharon

        Of course I read the article. Those of us within the system know that the job portion of it is broken and are having lots of conversations about what we can change, how to fix it. As well as raging at the way the system pushes back against change. But there is a ton of writing re. the brokenness of the system that manages not to dismiss the entire endeavor completely. The jobs thing is a problem. The low wages of grad students is a problem. The lack of respect within our money-driven society toward academics is a problem. But that doesn’t mean that a liberal arts PhD isn’t worth anything.

        • Meg Keene

          My point is, I don’t think she was arguing that it wasn’t worth anything. In fact, she finished it even after she realized it wasn’t going to get her a job she wanted, because she thought it was worth something, which is part of the reason I liked the article.

          None of this is personal. I have a BFA in Experimental Theatre, for goodness sake, speaking of degrees no one respects. I’m still glad I got it, though it’s usually considered the punch line to a joke. (And there are ZERO jobs in Experimental Theatre. Not 1 in 100. ZERO.) I payed off a lot of debt for it, I hated getting it most of the time, and I proudly list it in my bio.

          • Sharon

            Thanks for clarifying. I agree that it’s important to have people in the discussion who have/had ambivalent feelings re. their degrees. I appreciate that part of her story (though I read her conclusion re. the worthwhileness of the degree differently than you did). I think the way the article was linked (“What does a liberal arts PhD get you? Not much”) just got my hackles up, because I have these conversations all the time with people who don’t see my degree as worthwhile from both the career-trajectory standpoint and the hard skills one.

          • Hope

            Yes, it would have been a lot better had it been framed more “it IS worth it for these reasons” instead of reinforcing yet again with the title that the career/financial possibilities are slim. It’s a jab that sure does get old. When my husband was first considering applying to his doctoral program in English, a prof asked him, “Well, if you end up being a bike mechanic, do you want to be a bike mechanic with a PhD in literature or without one?” Most of society places ultimate value in “climbing the ladder” and so it appears foolish to invest much in something that doesn’t help you do that. When I was just getting to know my now-spouse, he said to me once, “I want to dig deeper, not climb higher”—and that’s when I knew he was someone special. It’s a different value system. Deep understanding of the world, history, and humanity is something that you get from spending 6-8 years reading literature, and it is DESPERATELY needed today in our wisdom-starved public sphere, but has less value in the marketplace that writing internet memes.

  • Meg

    “Dubious”? The dress is perfectly fine

  • Erica

    This is my first time posting in Happy Hour! I have a question, so naturally I want to ask the smartest women on the Internet. (It’s lengthy, so there’s a tl;dr at the bottom.)

    This might be a shot in the dark, but does anyone know anything about/have any thoughts on Freemasonry? I’m looking at possibly beginning a relationship with a guy who’s a Freemason, and that’s really the only reason I’m hesitating. I can identify 3 primary reasons why his being a Mason makes me hesitate:

    1. A decent amount of people I know seem to think it’s a cult. I’m willing to overlook this, because people are typically scared of what they don’t know, so a secret society is practically begging to be considered a cult by those who aren’t in it.

    2. More importantly, in previous relationships, I’ve told pretty much everything that was on my mind to my partner, and vice versa. I don’t see how this can be done if he has a whole area of his life that he willfully keeps secret (particularly if it’s kept secret for stupid/silly/arbitrary reasons). I think the lack of communication there and the secretiveness would really bother me. Is that valid?

    3. Most importantly, it appears that any man can aspire/apply to become a Freemason, just by virtue of having male genitalia. However, for a woman to join the co-ed version of the Masons (which seems to be a non-official group created to pacify women), she has to have a male relative or spouse who is a Mason. Men can get in on the strength of their own character, while women can only get in on the strength of the character of a male in their lives. Their ability to become a member depends on their father’s, grandfather’s, or husband’s membership. This RANKLES. Especially since he gets special privileges from his membership – e.g. networking that leads to a four-star hotel in Tokyo for dirt cheap. These are privileges that he has access to because he has a penis. Basically, Freemasonry seems like a bastion of male privilege, which he is condoning just by being part of it. And for goodness’ sake, he was a gender studies major! HE SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

    Tl;dr – Is Freemasonry creepy and/or a barrier to communication and/or sexist? Or am I being overly concerned?

    Please help me out if you can!

    • Sarah

      My father is a Freemason. It’s really just a social group at this point with some rituals and traditions that date back hundreds of years, which is pretty cool!

      Seriously though, at my dad’s lodge, they have huge family dinners on Sundays where all the guys can bring their families. That’s pretty much it all he does with them, that and some minor networking. Like, my dad met our caterer through his lodge. I don’t think there’s much more to it.

      The way you become a Freemason is through getting sponsored by one (or possibly two? I can’t remember) members, and going through some initiation processes. It’s a fraternity. If fraternities bother you, I can see why this would as well, but if they don’t bother you, then this one really isn’t any different conceptually.

    • Meg Keene

      I don’t know enough about it, but. I like safe secrets in relationships, I tend to think they’re healthy. And. I don’t hve problems with same sex groups in a general sense. Again, it can be good for everyone to… Get away, have secrets. So the lodges are NUTS. In a short of awesome way. We have high holy days in one. NUTS.

    • StevenPortland

      My dad was a Mason and then became a Shriner (which requires you to first be a freemason). It is not a cult, it’s just a frat. If you were ever in a sorority you’ll remember the strange ceremonies that were intended to cement your bond with the other sisters. The masons have those types of ceremonies. But basically then after the meeting they have a drink, talk and play cards. The Shriners is just another fraternity as well. While I know most of their money goes into all of their social activities, I am still amazed by how much good the group does through its Shriner Hospitals. They offer 100% free hospital care for the kids who are patients. My dad helped drive kids from Iowa up to the hospital in Minneapolis once a month for many years.
      So don’t worry about it. I wonder if masons are coming back into style instead of dying out? A college friend just posted a photo of her husband on facebook because he had achieved some accomplishment in the masons.
      One personal story. My dad died in 2010. He never went to church. My sister and I knew that the masons often have a member who is a chaplain (to lead the Christian prayer or blessing at meetings). So I called up the Masons and they were happy to have a chaplain officiate my dad’s funeral. It was a little weird (again, like a frat ceremony) where all the masons had to take some greenery and place it in the casket, but it made a lot more sense to us than to have a minister handle the funeral.
      Sorry for the long posting here. In short, don’t worry about, it is no big deal in my opinion.

      • Mezza

        We had the Masons do my grandfather’s funeral too! I thought it was pretty cool, with the swords and greenery and stuff.

        My grandfather was quite a high-level Mason and my grandmother was in the Order of the Eastern Star, which may be the same co-ed group mentioned above? I thought it was all women, but I don’t really know. None of it ever seemed creepy or secretive to me, just an interesting hobby.

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

      My dad is a freemason, and it’s really just a social group. I remember going to the lodge for dinners when I was a kid. At the time, I imagined that it was a creepy cult because they weren’t allowed to speak about what happened behind closed doors. It was way more exciting to think of it that way. In reality, it’s just a fraternity for grown men.

    • KH_Tas

      As far as I can tell there’s not many actual secrets, but my FI recently ‘worked’ one of their functions and said he was freaked out by what percentage of the group was white (= way way above the percentage of our city). Don’t know how that pans out in other places though

  • MisterEHolmes

    Anyone breathlessly awaiting the Epic Conclusion to the Great Bridesmaid Dress Drama is…well, going to be disappointed. I’M disappointed.

    On the one hand, they picked a color. On the other “they” really means the acting MOH, and means instead of talking about it with anyone, she unilaterally made a decision without having even seen the swatch she’d requested (She canceled her appearance at the big Showdown Dinner, which means no dinner was had at all. Drama llama). I’m anticipating that they will not like the yellow either, but what can I do now?

    So I’m happy that a color is picked and hopefully they will all order by next week, which marks LBD’s 3-month deadline.

    But I’m also very upset that I didn’t get to talk to her about it and have an actual discussion–basically I was all geared up and ready for a fight I was sure I was going to win, only to have it skipped entirely. (Which also makes me want to say “why couldn’t you just do that THREE MONTHS AGO?!”)

    So, I dunno. We’ll see how it goes and how the relationship continues: as one lovely APW lady said, hopefully they’re better marriage friends than wedding friends.

    • lady brett

      whew. it’s exhausting just to read about. but i’m glad something progress-like happened, despite the disappointing lack of showdown!

    • http://thevanillabride.blogspot.com/ Sonarisa

      I hate it when people run away from a discussion I’ve prepared for. Even if I didn’t think I was going to win. It’s really the “Hey, look I put a lot of thought into this and have valid points and now you don’t want to talk? WTH?” gut reaction. Maybe I’m a bit of a drama queen though. Glad they choose a color- and it will be a wonderful wedding. Just think, most of the decisions are made, right?

      If you ever want to rant about people not living up to expectations, I seem to be the queen of that lately so I’ll listen with an understanding ear :) Keep going strong.

    • Laura C

      So, she unilaterally made a decision as MOH, but when you as bride tried to unilaterally make a decision she called you bridezilla? Speechless.

      • MisterEHolmes

        Um…you know, that does pretty much sum it up, yeah.

    • Laura

      Ohmygoodness well. She was obviously scared if the discussion which is why she canceled. I am so sorry for how horrible this has been. Are you going to have a designated day of coordinator, or, at the very a least, a person that will be there on your wedding day to buffer this girl? Because I feel like she might be horrible on your day, which would make me so mad for you. I hope this is the last of it though!

      • MisterEHolmes

        I think the bridesmaid who has not been involved in the kerfuffle is already amped up to be a buffer/throw-downer, if need be; I really hope it doesn’t come to that!

    • Caitlin_DD

      I have been following this story and must commend your patience. I would’ve cancelled the bridesmaids months ago. Honestly it doesn’t sound like you need her around on your wedding day… she is COMPLETELY missing the point… that it’s not HER day.

      • MisterEHolmes

        Thanks. I’m starting to wonder if you’re right and if I should cut my losses, but it’s tough when we’re talking about real people.

        • Caitlin_DD

          Of course. Just remember YOU are your number one real person.

  • Emily

    I bought a second-hand dress that is too small. Like, just about one size, and I really thought (when I bought it 6 months ago) that I’d be able to lose the weight no problem! It’s still a realistic goal. If I focused and all that, I could slim down enough to fit this dress, but the pressure to do it is messing with my head now and I can’t seem to get my self to DO it. We’re just over 5 months out, and I’m starting to kind of hate the dress just because of the pressure.

    So I ordered a new one! Just to try, and I’ve been shopping around to see what other options out there may be.

    I sheepishly told my fiance about all this this morning, since I will need to explain the package arriving and all. He doesn’t like it, he doesn’t get it, but he’ll go along with whatever. Because he’s awesome like that. I still feel like I really should just get it together though! How do I get out of my own way?

    • Caitlin_DD

      My advice would be: try to separate the goal of weight loss from the goal of fitting in your wedding dress. One of the hardest things about exercise is that unless you are doing it for *your* benefit, motivation is impossible. Of course it benefits you, but if your motivator is external (ie wedding/dress) it’s much harder to stick with it because it feels like an obligation rather than self-love.

      • Emily

        That is helpful, thanks!!

  • Fiona

    Hey! So I went to the non-floral centerpiece roundup and printed my fav and brought it home to show the relevant decision-making parties. (for reference: http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/01/non-floral-garland-centerpieces/) They loved it! We just have to make sure that we don’t make it look too Christmassy. Perhaps a very non-Christmas ribbon? What can I do to make this less holiday and more summer back yard?

    • emilyg25

      Different colored candles! Not white, green or red.

    • Sarah E

      Use different candle holders, maybe something brightly colored or non-shiny for less holiday-ness?

    • Alison O

      I would say maybe shorter candles, in addition to not white, green, or red, like emilyg25 said. The tall candles coming out of greenery is Christmasy in itself, to me. Though, I can see some shades of green actually being okay. And like Sarah E said, candle holders that look less like tree ornaments could help, too.

    • JSwen

      Get vines instead of evergreens so you don’t get the Christmas smell :)

  • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

    Uh, yeah. Job hunting sucks. And is even harder when you already have a job. I don’t know if it’s worse that I took a job I’m over qualified for or not.

    So today is my last day off for twelve days. I work both my part time grocery store job and my recurring temp job for the next twelve days, where I will then get one day off until, I don’t know. I also found out about, applied and interviewed for a transfer into the floral department of my grocery store. I want it for a lot of reasons including: even at it’s dullest, I will still be touching flowers; it has the potential to be a lot more creative; I can learn something; I get to work with other humans at the same time so people will talk to me; and, I get to be around flowers.

    I also got turned down for an interview for another job and have been completely ignored by countless others.

    I get to design a full brand just so that I can design a business card and a brochure for a burgeoning dog trainer. Hooray!

    I’ve decided to continue my selfies project beyond the 28 days because I still have more to learn from the process. I’ve written about it here: http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/2014/03/selfie-no-29.html

    And I’m super happy to be part of this community. I love you all!

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

      good luck with your job hunting and your florist upgrade :) Touching flowers all day sounds fun and pretty! And I’m following your blog now, too. Just this year I have really gotten into blogs other than this one (well now this is a website?? idk) It’s really fun to feel an online community, especially since I live so far away from all of my friends.

      • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

        Aw!! Thanks! I miss the online community. There is something here that I just don’t get in my real life. Too much real life getting in the way I guess.

      • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

        I do think the floral thing would be fun. And we do weddings too!!! Although the Seattle wedding show has passed for this year.

  • Kendra D

    We are finally in our new apartment! We moved last night in utter chaos because we realized we wouldn’t have time this morning because my husband had back to back meetings. We had to go shopping last night at 10pm to buy sleeping bags, shower curtains and rods, camping chairs, and toilet paper. We should be set until our stuff chooses to show up, hopefully somewhere in the next three weeks. Our car also finally made it through customs and is being shipped to our pick up point, maybe by April we can have some semblance of normalcy for a few months. Maybe I’ll even have a job by then, not that I’m getting my hopes up.

    On the ceremony planning front, we’ve decided to lift our ban on children over the age of 2. It just became too much of a hassle and we were having to loophole too many people. We didn’t want kids there, but we also didn’t want to draw a hard line. So now there will be more kids. Hopefully they’ll entertain each other.

    Anyone have any experience with renting a shuttle service? Our ceremony/reception site is somewhat remote and the two hotels that are close by don’t offer a shuttle service. We’re doing an open bar and I feel somewhat responsible for the safety of my guests. I just don’t know if I’d need one or two shuttles since we have two hotels or how many people would even use it.

    • Lindsay Rae

      Big fan of shuttle services – especially for guest safety. Plus it makes
      guests feel loved and taken care of. I don’t know where you are, but
      maybe the hotels or your venue can recommend a company? Maybe they’ve
      dealt with it before. If not, some limo companies also have buses. If you don’t need that many, maybe a cab company has a 15-passenger van. Good
      luck and congrats on the new home!!

    • Libby

      Check with shuttle companies – the one we’re using told us their experience was about 50% use the shuttle, I’m sure this could be vary depending on location. They also are letting us “hold” two busses, but said that summer is their slow season, so we can let them know close to the event how many we need, no problem. We are doing RSVP’s on the website and are going to add that as a part of the RSVP so we can get a rough estimate. Hopefully you can find a shuttle company that could be flexible like that.

    • Emma Klues

      We just Google and found an old yellow school bus shuttle service! It was super cheap and drunk people don’t care about being in the lap of luxury. I asked one trusted friend who was riding to do roll call with the list of people who had requested the shuttle with their RSVP. (Anyone could tag on if there was room, but that at least ensured that the people who had wanted it got home okay.)

  • JSwen

    Best realization this week: I want a party gown that says “bridal”, not a bridal gown that says “party”. Time to try on more dresses! Also, I was expecting a horror story at the bridal salons but all of the saleswomen I’ve dealt with have been very accommodating that I’ve got 5 months and a “special occasions” budget instead of 9 months and a “bridal” budget. Very pleased overall. Now I’ve just got to find a dress!

  • Brooke

    What should I look for in a videographer? Of course, I can tell the difference in the work that $500 videographers do and $2000 videographers do, but my real question is…does that difference really matter? It seems to me that they both record the events of the day with good sound and picture quality, the more expensive ones just do it all more artistically. Is there something that my uneducated eye just isn’t seeing? Is there something that we wouldn’t get with a cheap videographer that I’ll regret not having?

    • JSwen

      I would guess that the same rules apply for photographers and videographers. The quality of the finished product is one thing to consider but also getting an idea of their professionalism is important. This person is going to be hanging around all day. Do you want them to choreograph events of the day so they look good? Do you just want them to document? What if they miss a shot? A proven track record of professionalism may be worth the extra dough, if that’s where your priorities are. Personally, we’re just going to put a friend in charge of a camera for the ceremony and dances. Good luck!

  • June

    Guys! I went dress shopping last weekend with my sister and my mom. Not only was it such a special experience to share with them, but it was also the most body positive experience I’ve ever had while shopping. We went to a few different places, and I realized that it’s not about the size of your clothes- it’s about how they’re cut and what they emphasize. I tried on everything, and I was even able to have a good laugh when one of the women helping literally tried to shove my butt into the back of a too-small dress. It really made me appreciate my body, rather than worry about if my butt is too big or if my belly isn’t flat enough. I was like- this is my body, how can I accentuate what I love about it?

    The best part was I found what I think will be my dress. When I put it on, I said, “but wait! This is what I think I look like all the time!” and I kept doing a little happy dance. I think I’m going to go dress shopping once a month forever. ;)

  • Sarah S

    How do people deal with missing out on family events when living far from home? I’m about to accept a contract offer for a dream job more than 1000 miles from home, and just now my husband’s grandmother gets sick and it doesn’t look good and I’m realizing….we may not be able to feasibly get back for these big deal things. We’re missing out on time with our families while we can. Our grandparents are very old and our parents are aging. I’m kind of freaking out about the reality of living so far away, even though the job is awesome. Any advice?

    • JSwen

      Prepare yourself for using all of your vacation time to visit family. Oh and lots of frequent flier miles. :)

      Other than that, it really depends on how involved your family is in your life. Moving away is scary but it also makes for really fun visits from family once you get established wherever the new home is. It also depends on how much of a phone talker you are. I probably have better quality conversations with my parents and grandma who are 3000 miles away than my brother who sees them twice a month.

      • Sarah S

        I’ve already lived in the new city for about 6 months (we moved here for my husband’s fellowship and fully intended to return to old city before this dream job presented itself) but before that I saw my parents every week! It’s been weird because none of us are big phone talkers. And then sometimes talking to them on the phone makes me sad, so sometimes I go longer than I mean to without calling, and I recently found out that my mom avoids calling me because she’s afraid she’s bothering me! I told her not to worry about that at all. Obviously we have a ways to go, but I think we’ll figure out a way that works to maintain our relationship.

    • YetAntherMegan

      Basically, it sucks. After three years, I’m finally adjusting to having holidays with just my own mini-family-to-be. Luckily, we haven’t lost anyone yet, but I know that will be excruciatingly hard. The key is to plan maximize trips back home as best as you can and form your own traditions for while you’re away.

    • Eh

      I have been struggling with this for years. I used to go home at least four times a year but my husband’s family is here and he has very little vacation time so last year it was only twice and this year it probably will only be twice again. I totally agree – prepare to use your vacation time to visit family. I am still trying to get used to holidays without my family (my husband’s family has a lot of drama so there have been times where I have questioned why I didn’t just go home so I didn’t have to deal with it – the answer is usually because I want to support my husband). Last Christmas was my first Christmas without seeing my family. Since I haven’t seen them since October I am going back for Easter without my husband. I grew up far from my grandparents and extended family so I am used to having to change plans on a drop of a hat (my one grandfather died unexpectedly and my other grandfather declined suddenly – in both cases I had to hop on a plane). Even with that it’s hard for me to be away from my dad, siblings and niece and nephew.

  • Ann

    I’m looking for some first time home buyer advice!

    My husband and I are looking to buy in the Boston area (probably Medford). Between our savings and some help our parents are willing/able to offer, we should be able to pay cash (a HUGE privilege, I know), for a small, but reasonable place. My lease ends at the end of June, so we really want to have a place to move into by then.

    What’s a good timeline? When do we start looking seriously? (I was thinking April 1, but is that too early? Should we start ASAP?) Will people look super strangely at two people under 30 offering cash for a house? Any recommendation for Somerville/Medford realtors?

    I nearly fainted when I bought my first car, and buying a house is SO SCARY. Advice is much appreciated.

    • jashshea

      We’re not in MA (but I’m from there originally!), but we closed in June of 2013. We started looking in earnest in February, but don’t panic: Our area has an inventory problem, especially in our target neighborhoods. For us, it took 6 weeks between offer acceptance and closing, but I don’t know if paying cash would consolidate that timeline.

      We both own condos as well, so it wasn’t our first time running through the process. But it’s still a huge investment and permanent and scary. Good luck!

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

      We’re in CA (or, are trying to buy there), and it is a CRAZY competitive market right now, so YMMV (though, I suspect the Boston area is probably nuts, as well). Houses are basically on the market for 2 weeks (so they can fit in 2 open houses) before accepting offers. Standard offers with standard contingencies (inspection and financing) are 30 days. So, altogether it’s about 6 weeks from the time a house goes on the market until the keys are in your hands. This can vary slightly depending on how much negotiating happens with the offers, if there are a lot of bank holidays while trying to close, etc. With you being able to offer cash, 1. you will have a major leg up on other offers, and 2. you will probably be able to close much more quickly because you don’t have to wait for the bank to come through with a loan. Still, I think it’s a good idea to start looking ASAP so that you can get a feel for current inventory, list vs. sale price, speed of turnover, etc. Serious looking could probably start at the beginning of May if you want to be in by the end of June.

      Signed,
      Someone Who’s Been Monitoring the Market for Eleven Months

      • Shauna

        I’ve been looking in Boston area for the past year. It’s madness – typically a place goes on the market on Sat. or Sun., and then offers are due Monday morning. So while it’s great to look and get a sense of the market before looking in earnest, the process actually moves SUPER fast once you’re in the bidding phase.

    • Rowany

      1) I would start looking ASAP. There are a lot of steps between putting in an offer and move-in; the more crunched for time you are, the less leverage you have in negotiations (ie asking for things to be fixed, getting a good home inspector, lowering the price, etc). It’s generally easier to ask the sellers to give you an extra month until move-in for your lease to expire, much harder to ask them to move out earlier than they’d like.
      2) At the same time, I would do some research. Buying a house is scary, and too many people jump in with a real estate agent. Particularly in real estate with so many moving pieces, the more you understand about the process the less likely anyone will pull one over on you. There are a lot of resources on what kind of house and features to look for, but what really helped us was reading a book by a home inspector to check the integrity and upkeep of the house – saves you time and money to pass on a house before putting in the offer rather than right before closing!

      3) I think it’s great that you have the ability to have cash and I don’t know your situation, but I would also do a second look to make sure you have enough liquidity to commit so much money into the house. Be aware that the cost of buying a house isn’t just the selling price, but also closing costs, title fees, and home insurance. Mortgage rates are so low that it might make more sense to have some more cash on hand for emergencies, new home repairs (which WILL be needed) and purchases, retirement, etc. If you do change your mind and go with a mortgage (you could even have a higher down payment), I would read up on mortgages as well and find a stellar mortgage broker/loan officer even before finding a real estate agent.
      Don’t know much about the Boston area market other than that it’s pretty competitive! Good luck!

      • Winny the Elephant

        I totally agree I would keep some of that cash on hand, particularly when rates are so low in case of illness, loss of employment, house related emergencies. Better to lock in a low rate mortgage than end up racking up debt on a more expensive line of credit or credit card in 5 years time.

      • Crayfish Kate

        All of these! We’re first-time homebuyers too, and all of this is solid advice. We’re trying to buy a short-sale house, so the process is a little different, but for the most part all of this sounds spot-on. Happy hunting!

    • KW

      FWIW, we won’t be looking seriously for a house until next year (we want to save some more $ toward a down payment and have to decide whether to stay in this city or bit the bullet and move). My mom suggested we start going to open houses now, so that we get used to looking for the potential issues a home may have. This is good advice in particular because the neighborhoods in this town that would be my preferred location are older neighborhoods, with post-WWII construction being the youngest homes. Many of the homes are 90-100 yrs old.

  • Caitlin_DD

    I saw there was a discussion on this last week, but I don’t know that people always go back and check those threads, so I’ll ask here. Ladies who’ve had a breast reduction, if you had kids afterwards, and went the breastfeeding route, were there any side effects? I’m considering this surgery as well, but I’m not interested in waiting 7+ years to get my babymaking done with first… The only person I know in person who had it done was done having kids. I also here you can lose feeling in some cases? Any advice/thoughts on this?

    • MEM

      I’d love to hear people’s thoughts about this as well!

  • KH_Tas
  • Erica

    J.Law and the ‘cool girl’- I’d have to disagree. I think the ‘cool girl’ is a cultural phenomena that exists, but that J.Law doesn’t personify, or fit into that persona, as described by this article. She’d actually probably be upset by the association, which is what make her so amazing and actually (as the article describes at first) like an actual charismatic human- not a well-programmed machine.

    Then again, perhaps this is my mental reaction to those trying to make her a ‘cool girl’ by responding:”Stop ruining my mental affair with her by making her ‘cool’!”

    Thanks for the round-up, Meg, and for making me laugh- I enjoy reading your writing!

    ~Erica @ fulfillmentfromscratch.com

  • Cbrown

    Aack, perhaps too late for this week but in desperate need of music help. My fiance’s nieces are pretty talented violin and viola players and offered to do the music for our wedding (just some sit-your-butt down music and the processional). However, we’re struggling to find something we both like. I want something to set a positive, cheery, peppy tone and the original list the family came up with was very traditional wedding standards which I think makes it seem like the wedding is going to be much more formal than it is. We can’t have Ode to Joy and then a reading about dinosaurs!!

    Any music-y people have any suggestions for a viola / violin duet?

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com/ sera

      This is slightly different, but we had an accordionist and guitarist play songs from the Amelie soundtrack. It’s modern and sweet.

    • Crayfish Kate

      Oohh, The Lover’s Waltz by Jay Ungar & Molly Mason! Jay was the one who wrote Ashokan Farewell, from the Ken Burns Civil War series. I played Lover’s Waltz for several occasions (oddly, none of which were a wedding) & people always raved about it. It’s beautiful & not too slow/traditional. It’s written as a violin duet, but I played it with my sis (violist) & she didn’t have too much trouble transposing it. Hope that helps!

    • Cathi

      I don’t know if there’s arrangements for it, but the Lord of the Rings soundtrack has some pretty great, cheerful instrumental music that features strings–Concerning Hobbits springs immediately to mind. Classy, but doesn’t have that stuffiness to it (especially when people recognize the tune!).

    • InTheBurbs

      I’m likely too late…but look at Vivaldi’s Gloria – there’s a duet in there for 2 women that I think would translate well to an instrumental piece…it’s fun and bouncy…but from a classic piece of music.

  • Kayjayoh

    Totally late on this, so I may ask again on Friday: what do you do if your dearest is a complete butterfingers with fragile things? In just the past month or so, my fiance has broken two glass tumblers and a candy dish. Now, the tumblers and candy dish were nothing special and totally replaceable, but I find myself wanting to ask him not to use my nice vintage cocktail glasses, because I would be really upset if they got broken. (And he uses them fairly often.)

    I don’t want to insult him or make him feel bad…but I’m pretty sure he’s going to break some piece of glassware or china that I really love. I just have to suck it up and let it happen, don’t I?

    • Crayfish Kate

      Not necessarily. My stepdad is a lot like your fiancé – he’s a gentle giant, but sometimes just doesn’t realize he needs to be EXTRA careful with things (he broke a Waterford crystal wine bottle stopper before they had a chance to use it). My mom bought some very inexpensive, plastic dishes & cups & instructed EVERYONE in the house to use these for lunch, snacking, basically anything that wasn’t a sit-down family style dinner. It worked well for us, & gave the nice dishes more of a special association, since they were no longer in everyday, anything use.

    • Cathi

      Is he aware of his butterfinger…ness?

      Because I mean, if he is this shouldn’t be too hard or difficult of a thing to deal with. I’m a notoriously messy eater, so I just do damage control around that fact. I won’t wear my beautiful cream sweater when I knew I will be around food or drinks that aren’t consumed through straws. I try not to order things drenched in sauce at nice, white-linen restaurants. I carry a Tide To-Go with me everywhere.

      So like Crayfish Kate said, you can just live life around his clumsiness. Get plasticware for everyday use, and he’ll be extra super duper careful on special occasions when the vintage glasses are put out. It’s not insulting or rude to work around an unfortunate quirk. People with chronic sniffles carry tissues. Clumsy eaters carry Tide sticks. People who bump into things carry extra pantyhose. Pet owners put plastic on their furniture. And so on :)

      • Kayjayoh

        He is pretty aware that he breaks thing. (He also loses things.) I think it is something of a sore spot for him.

        As for the suggestions about plastic for everyday: it is just the two of us and *I* have no intention of switching my eating and drinking to plastic. There is no way I am going to keep two sets of dishes. I keep one set of dishes, which is nice but not fancy, and use it for everything.

        It’s annoying when he breaks something like a glass tumbler, but so far the things of mine he has broken have been super replaceable. It’s the actual *nice* things that I will be super sad about if/when he breaks them. I am just not entirely sure how to say “dear, don’t have your tea in my grandmothers’ cups and don’t have your evening sherry in my nice vintage glasses. Here’s a plastic cup for you.” without him feeling terrible (and a little insulted).

        I *am* learning not to give him material presents that aren’t consumable things.

  • Rebekah

    Update: Liz’s kickstarter is funded!