APW Happy Hour


Mini book club break, feminist edition!

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Happy Hour | A Practical WeddingAPW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

Left: Glamour, April 2014 (featuring Lena Dunham) | Right: New York Magazine, March 10-23, 2014 (featuring Elisabeth Moss)

HEY, APW!

I want to take a time out to talk about the book I’m currently reading, because it’s amazing. If, like me, you do things like read New York Magazine and listen to NPR, then you’ve already heard a lot about Jennifer Senior’s All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern ParenthoodAPW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding. (Or, if you’re Maddie, you’ve never heard of it, which is cool too.) It’s a super smart exploration into what it means to be a modern parent, specifically, children’s effect on their parents, not the other way around. It also contains some of the most beautifully written descriptions of the emotional depth and otherworldly joy of parenting. If you’re at all interested in the subject, read it. Seriously.

Otherwise, in a week where Lena Dunham is on one of my magazine covers and Elizabeth Moss is on another, let’s just meet in the link roundup, why don’t we?

Open thread below!

XO
MEG

Highlights of APW This Week

Bridal shows: they’re ACTUALLY shows! And a little bit scary to attend without a flask, honestly.

We introduced our pitcher cocktail series, and I’m fully in favor of having a brandy Sidecar this weekend. Or maybe a pitcher full.

We had some great on-theme conversations this week about being hungry for it (or not) in our careers, and they’re still going strong!

Choosing a wedding dress. Sometimes you have to admit that you you do, in fact give a fuck.

Mourning singledom. Will I miss my clawfoot tub? Spoiler: yes.

Remember when Lisa of Privilege did that killer roundup of dresses for your Mama? Now you can win the prettiest gold dress ever for yourself your mama, on Privilege. Do it.

Link Roundup

It takes courage to want something. This post on childhood vulnerability broke my heart (open).

New York Magazine’s photo essay of a day-in-the-life of Jemima Kirke really stuck with me, because it gives a not-usually-viewed image of motherhood that jives far more with who I am. Even if I don’t tattoo my shabbat guests.

You shouldn’t need a reason for not wanting to have kids.

Lena Dunham on feminism, body image, and women supporting women (watch the video!), plus badass pictures. (You have to buy the print magazine for the whole interview, which I for sure did.)

Elizabeth Moss, on how she needs to be friends with me. (Needing to be friends with Lena is too obvious to mention.)

My (now, actual, real life) friend Maggie on how to answer “What do you do?” when most descriptions of your job make people think you’re unemployed. (Me.)

Makeup that addresses the many shades of women.

Eternal Sunshine destroyed the idea of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl before it even existed.

L’Wren Scott never wanted to be identified as “Someone’s Girlfriend.”

“It might be that the greatest act of kindness on the Internet is to be quiet.”

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 the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • Ariel

    Happy Friday! Happy Spring! Happy Happy Hour!

  • Katarina

    Yay, I’ve been waiting all week for this! I’m engaged! So excited and honestly a little confused about my emotions. I consider myself a well informed viewer of romantic comedies, so I know what (not to) expect when it comes to romance, but I was pretty sure that everyone has the same reaction to getting engage: flashing their ring around and squealing and popping champagne. I certainly wasn’t expecting to feel scared, tired of being the center of attention, and overwhelmed. There was squealing involved, but not that much. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m me – being engaged doesn’t make me not a worrywort. As long as I look at my fiance and feel happy and excited, it doesn’t matter how I react around other people.

    On a different note, he also bought us tickets back to California for two weeks from today to start looking at venues and spend time with my family. He really is the sweetest!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!! That is so exciting!

      You have every right to whatever feelings you are feeling. I was kind of terrified when my fiancé proposed because I don’t do big life changes well in general, but now I’m happy and excited. I’m also a worrywart so I completely understand that feeling, too.

    • YOQ

      Congratulations! And good for you for letting yourself be real about how you’re feeling. Getting engaged is a big step–it’s natural to feel scared, tired, and overwhelmed.

    • Granola

      I totally felt weird and awkward and sort of embarrassed. I think that’s a bit normal.

    • Gina

      Congrats!!! Haha I love your comment so much. I, too, thought there was a script for how you feel afterwards. But to be honest, I just felt super-awkward and weird. I was also really sick, but we were going to Christmas dinner at his huge family’s house, so he wanted to tell everyone in the family. I wanted to be left alone in bed. Instead, we were the center of attention! It is exhausting, but it’s also a time you’ll look back on fondly. Enjoy it :)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      FWIW, I never flashed my ring, and I never squealed. We got engaged quietly and planned our wedding quietly. It was just the next, right step for us – kind of like paying off a big credit card bill.

    • Jennie

      I think anytime you have something as big as an engagement, there are going to be lots of complicated feelings. I was certainly tired of being the center of attention even though I was very happy about our engagement!

      Congrats on the engagement & give yourself space to feel whatever feelings you’re having about it!

    • Katarina

      Thanks everyone! I’m definitely taking time to think about how I’m feeling and talking them through with C. It turns out he’s feeling exactly the same way, which is nice.

      Any suggestions for woodsy venues in SoCal?

      • Gina

        I grew up in the mountains of SoCal, so I ended up getting married in Big Bear. Alpenhorn B&B allowed us to use their grounds and rent out the rooms (sleeps 16) for the weekend for about $3k (see pictures). A more pricey but beautiful option is Pine Rose Cabins (they quoted us $14k, with food/DJ/photographer included), and the Lake Arrowhead Resort also has weddings if you want a lake wedding.

        • Lawyerette510

          Gorgeous!!!!

        • Katarina

          Beautiful! We’re looking a Pine Rose and at Gold Mountain Manor. Did you just call Alpenhorn to figure it out? How many guests did you have?

          • Gina

            Nice! Yes, Alpenhorn is just run by one lady (who hires a friend for wedding weekends), so I just called them and set up a viewing. We invited 200, and 160 came. 160 *barely* fit in the ceremony area, but fit easily in the reception area. I will say, we had to humor her a bit and that was annoying. She didn’t tell us about the city’s decibel levels until the night of the wedding, and then she bugged my husband about it, repeatedly. Otherwise, she was wonderful.

            It ended up being more DIY at Alpenhorn, since we had to get rental chairs and tables, but we went with Graystone Catering so they handled all of it. Pine Rose is absolutely beautiful, I think I’ve been to 3 weddings there, but it *is* more cookie cutter since they only let you choose from their list of approved vendors. It ended up being a no-go for us because we wanted BBQ for dinner and a live band, which they don’t allow because they’re located in a neighborhood. Also, as a (former) local, I felt they charged WAY more than they should. This is Lake Arrowhead, for crying out loud, not Newport Beach ;)

            Let me know if you have any Qs at all, I have a lot of connections up there still!

          • Katarina

            Thank you so much! I’ll definitely let you know if we need help!

    • River

      Congratulations! If it makes you feel better, my initial reactions was to say “No! what are you doing?” and swipe the ring away – I was just suddenly TERRIFIED because we were in Grand Central Station and there were people watching us (never mind that I’m an actress and love being the center of attention). Then I kissed him, he calmed down me, so I let him propose… All this to say, your reaction to an emotional event can often surprise you.

      Sounds like you guys are gonna have a great trip!

      • Violet

        Aww, River, as a commuter through GCT every day, it’s proposals like that which make my day brighter. I wouldn’t be able to handle a public proposal (which my partner knew, thankfully) but I’m grateful others can stand it. All emotions during a proposal are valid!

  • YOQ

    This was a big week!

    With a few friends and our moms, we made, stuffed, sealed, stamped, and addressed (labeled) all (nearly 200) of our invitations last weekend. We sent a few out on Monday and Tuesday as test balloons and we’ve gotten a few RSVP cards back! Yay, they work!

    On Wednesday we picked up our rings. I mostly have to not think about them or I will want to go try them on all the time. They were custom-made for us by a local jeweler (for those in/near PDX: http://timothywgreen.com/ ) and we *really* like them.

    We also tested out the goat cheese cheesecake recipe at our invitation-making party and hoo, boy was it yummy! We are definitely having this at our reception. Here’s my question for you all–surely someone has a good answer for this–how do we go about hiring someone to make our reception food? We want cheesecake, shortcake, fresh berries, and whipped cream for ~250 people. Usually I would go try out bakeries, etc., but since we know what recipes we want (for both cheesecake and shortcake), it seems like we need a freelancer, no? Thoughts? Anyone from the restaurant/bakery industry out there who can guide me? How do I select a baker? (How do I even find one?)

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

      No idea the answer to your question, but I think I need your cheesecake recipe. :D

    • Maria

      PDX area – check out Decadent Creations in Beaverton (http://www.decadentcreations.com/). She’s an independent baker (recently remodeled to have a professional kitchen in her home) and does a lot of farmers markets and wedding cakes (including ours). I bet she would be open to experimenting with new recipes, and she definitely has the experience and kitchen to make all those desserts work.

      • YOQ

        Awesome. Thanks so much!!

    • Guest

      YOQ, when we started planning our reception I found a guy on PDX Craigslist who is a personal chef. I exchanged several emails with him about what he could offer and what the pricing would be. He seemed to be a really nice guy. However, I do not personally know him and have never tasted any of his food. With that in mind, if you want to contact him, his name is George and his gmail is gstumpmindspringcom.

    • StevenPortland

      YOQ, when we started planning our reception I found a guy on PDX
      Craigslist who is a personal chef. I exchanged several emails with him
      about what he could offer and what the pricing would be. He seemed to
      be a really nice guy. However, I do not personally know him and have
      never tasted any of his food. With that in mind, if you want to contact
      him, his name is George and his gmail is
      gstump[AT]mindspring[DOT]com

    • Lawyerette510

      Task rabbit might also be a solution, and as part of selecting someone you could ask them to do a test run of one of the recipes (maybe the hardest one)?

  • M.

    I just wanted to highlight this “deep track” from the APW archives that really was the antidote to all of my “one month out” stress about the simplicity of some parts of our wedding. In Praise of the Slow Wedding: http://apracticalwedding.com/2009/12/in-praise-of-slow-wedding-and-slow-life/

    A classic. A lifesaver.

    • Meg Keene

      Ooo, thanks. I feel like that one got lost at time of writing, so I’m glad it’s helping.

    • emilyg25

      This is wonderful. We, too, had a wedding that was exquisite in its simplicity. In fact, we believe that this simplicity allowed room for people to feel comfortable, to love openly, to come together as a community, and to celebrate freely. Good luck in your last month of engagement!

      • M.

        Thanks so much Emily! I think the loving openly and celebrating freely are going to be the hallmarks of the way we’re doing it. It’s nice to think of it not as emptiness or a lack, but of space to expand.

    • Lawyerette510

      Oh thanks for posting this! It really hit just the right note, and I’m going to send it to a few family members who seem to be struggling with our efforts to keep it simple.

      • M.

        Hurrah!

  • Lisa

    We sent almost all of our save the dates out this week, which means, as I keep joking with the fiancé, that we can’t back out now!

    Also my mom and one of my sisters are coming into town for the weekend to go fabric shopping for the wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses!

    On an unrelated note, one of my best friends got her match for her residency today, and she got her first choice school. I’m super excited for her, but she also told me a while ago that, if she got placed there, she most likely will end up missing the wedding. I want to be as happy for her as I can, but I’m also a little sad for myself, thinking this super special person in my life might not get to celebrate the wedding with us.

    • twofishgirl14

      We got our Save the Dates out too! The fiancé actually ended up running the show there because 1) his family is SO DISORGANIZED and so he is naturally in charge of wrangling them and 2) his handwriting is way nicer than mine.
      So he got them done and out the door. High fives for him, for you, for the world.

      • Lisa

        High five back atcha!

        My fiancé was similarly on the ball! I was working the day they came in the mail, and when I got home, he already had a bunch done and was waiting for his mother to get the rest of the addresses to him. I think they were in our possession for maybe 5 days tops!

  • Laura C

    I am tired. I have decision fatigue and a to-do list filled with phone calls, my most hated form of to-do. I have six different spreadsheets with my fiance’s mother’s guest list reordered in different ways and marked with her guesses, but not actual solid information, about who will come. I have an enormous credit card bill, though to be fair that’s because we’re prepaying our honeymoon hotels. I stubbed my toe the other night and it still hurts, and perhaps because I’ve been favoring it, an old injury on my other foot is sore. My cat got carried away with an affectionate nibble and gave me two little puncture wounds right on the knuckle of my index finger.

    So I have no major life problems or big things going wrong, but I am tired. On the plus side, my beautiful Printable Press invitations are at the printer right now and I’m expecting a call any minute from my mother, who was going to look at the proofs before they run the whole lot of them….and as I type this, I get the call, and both my parents are at the printer and they are having an argument over which color paper to go with. Fabulous.

    • Lisa

      Phone calls are the worst and my least favorite as well. I wish I could just e-mail everyone and that they would then reply in a timely manner.

      I’m hoping things get better soon!

    • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

      Can you delegate the phone calls? I had one of my MOHs do some of my calling because I HATE calling people. I still had to do some obviously, but it was a huge relief having help.

      • Laura C

        Unfortunately my MOH, who would under any other circumstances have been the best in the world at this, has her hands way, way too full with twins not quite a year old and a 4 1/2 year old. Half our emails to each other are her apologizing for not being able to help more and me being like “are you kidding? I feel guilty I can’t pick up and come help you with the kids for a couple weeks.” But actually, now that you say it, one of my other bridesmaids has been on me to let her help more and I haven’t known what to ask for since we’re not doing much if anything in the way of crafting.

        • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

          Yeah, it totally doesn’t have to be the MOH if that’s the case. If you have a bridesmaid (or anyone!) asking for something to do, then totally pass some of the work on. My MOH happens to love making phone calls, so it worked out perfectly for us!

        • Lawyerette510

          Yes! I bet your bridesmaid would be totally down to do this for you, plus I think this is the kind of call that is easier for the not-bride, as people are funny about telling one of the couple they can’t make it, but often have an easier time saying it to someone else (case-in-point, the number of people who have told my mom or sister they can’t make it, but who haven’t RSVP’ed to me yet).

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

      I HATE phone calls. I always hope I can get their voice mail and just bypass the whole conversation thing.

      Good luck!

  • disqus_RVEv45n79y

    Today is exactly one year until our wedding, or as we call it, our -1 anniversary (we obviously got each other gifts to mark the occasion, being always pro-opportunities for gifts). We’re still pretty early in the planning stages, other than a venue, and I had my first wedding freakout dream last night, but I woke up today and thought about this time next year and oh man! I think it’s going to be great.

    • Ellen

      Happy “unn”iversary!

    • Lindsay Rae

      Hooray!! My fiance and I celebrated our -1 anniversary too :) Now we’re about 6 months away. It’s amazing and fun to try to imagine one year from *this moment*. Don’t let the wedding “nightmares” freak you out. They’re (usually) funny in the morning. Cheers!!

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

      Yea for pro-opportunities for gifts! I’m the same way about gifts, ice cream, and Krispy Kremes. I love the negative anniversary.

    • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubi The Great

      My -1 anniversary was last Friday (I’m having a Pi Day wedding) and we totally wished each other a happy -1 anniversary :-)

      • ART

        We’re having a Tau Day wedding :) We sort of celebrated our -1 year anniversary last year – were pretty sure that was our date but hadn’t put it on paper yet. You’re having a SUPER Pi Day wedding – awesome!

        • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubi The Great

          We are and we picked it because we’re both nerds & in the sciences (him math, me chemistry). We’re super excited about our nerd wedding & we can’t wait. I love your idea of a Tau day wedding too! :-)

    • moonlitfractal

      My husband and I decided that the -1st is the ‘duct tape’ anniversary. I got him a wallet!

  • Carly

    I volunteer at a Women’s Health Clinic (akin to PP in the
    States) and I got a pretty great compliment/news from the coordinator this week
    - they have a spot open on the Board of Directors for a volunteer
    representative, and she immediately thought of me and called me up to make sure
    I was aware of the opening! It’s right up my alley in terms of interest and
    would provide such great networking opportunities; it’s a very feminist,
    pro-choice clinic, so these women are all brilliant, tough, and generally
    amazing. I’m so pumped!

    • Lian

      Yay, congratulations! It’s so nice when you realize other people can see your passion and commitment!

  • Jenny

    Hi all. I’m looking for some cute closed toe flats (hopefully with arch support). They can be in any color, but a neutral would be ideal! Thanks everyone!

  • macrain

    I have some really lovely news to share. I asked you all several weeks ago if I should have my mom walk me down the aisle, and of course you all said, enthusiastically, YES. (Also, seeing Rachel’s wedding post with her mom and grandmother walking with her sealed it for me). Well, I finally asked her and she burst into happy tears. She said she just couldn’t believe it, she was on cloud 9. My dad also embraced it and was emotional (in a good way). It’s funny how with wedding planning, sometimes stuff comes up that you never dreamed would be problem. Well, the reverse is true too- there is unexpected joy in this process.
    I’m so grateful this community gave me the confidence to do something less traditional. Fist bump, ladies.

    • Emily

      That’s awesome!

    • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

      Yay!!

    • sara g

      How lovely! I asked my mom if she would walk me down along with my dad and she was just ecstatic. I don’t think she ever expected to do that. I asked my dad if he was ok with it and he said he’s just happy to share that moment with his “two favorite ladies.” :)

  • Kayjayoh

    ERMERGERD. 3 months. Three. Month. RSVPs are coming in. We got our first present and sent our first thank you. I’m still not feeling stressed about wedding planning. (About my job? Yes. About looking for a new job when we move? Yes. About family shit? Yes. About find an apartment and getting rid of stuff and packing? Yes. Wedding? Nope.)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I think we control more about our weddings (at least the planning) than we do about work or moving or family. Totally normal feelings.

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

      I don’t know that I ever really stressed about wedding planning. There are too many other things to stress about in life.

  • Felicity

    Hi all! Next week we are meeting with our first round of wedding vendors, DOC/planners. Any recommendations for good questions to ask or good ways to compare besides price? I’ve basically just read all of the Lowe House Events website as a marker for what I’m looking for.

    • macrain

      Trust yourself. You’ll probably have a gut feeling about most of these folks.
      Good luck!

    • Emily

      Definitely pay attention to how the vendors make you feel. Are they listening, and actually HEARING you, open to your ideas? This can go a long way toward indicating how easy / difficult it might be to work with them and get what you want from them. I called a potential venue and got such a bad impression from our initial conversation that I never bothered to visit the place. If they can’t take the time to listen to a prospective client right from the start, there are certainly other vendors who will!

    • Meigh McPants

      Agreed with the others on trusting your gut; you’re going to be around this person a lot on your wedding day, so make sure you like them. Also, get a written proposal. Since DoC/Planners do lots of different things, that way you can compare apples to apples when you decide on one. Good luck!

  • Anon

    It’s been a crazy week. Our car got stolen last weekend, we got it back early Monday morning. I was part of a very successful major event for a fantastic organization run by women that serves women that’s been in planning stages for 5 months. AND we found out Thursday that we’re pregnant! Obviously it’s too early to share that with the whole world, so I’m here to share my excitement!

    • Emily

      Wow, what a week! CONGRATS on the baby! & on the event, too!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Blessings on the pregnancy and keep us posted.

    • macrain

      Wahoo!!! Congrats!

    • Lian

      Wooh, congratulations on the pregnancy and on the successful event!

  • Kayjayoh

    Also, my mom is going in for surgery on Tuesday, to remove some tumors from her spin and her pituitary. So…thoughts and prayers will be a good thing.

    • a single sarah

      Holding your family in the light. Keep taking care.

    • Sara P

      Hope it goes well! I’ll keep her in my thoughts.

    • Lian

      My thoughts are with you and your family.

    • Emily

      Thoughts of hope, healing and recovery for you and your mom.

    • swarmofbees

      I hope all goes well, and it is not too nerve wracking for you.

    • MisterEHolmes

      Best wishes. That must be frightening.

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

      hugs and love and I hope everything goes well!

  • a single sarah

    Feminist ladies, I need help. I’m re-entering the dating scene. Any advice for not being on a “subsidized meal plan” on early dates? I keep trying to split the check and running into a cultural script of, “No, I’ve got it.” “But really.” And then the guy plays the trump card, “But you’re a student.” And, well, I am. And I’m frugal. And this dinner was more expensive than what I’d normally choose on my own, so I’m not going to pay the whole bill. And we are both too tired to talk it over in the restaurant.

    But that was last week. I want a better approach for next time. What do ya’ll have?

    • swarmofbees

      I tried to go for drinks, not dinner, and have a drink in hand before the guy got there.

      • a single sarah

        I love suggesting a free activity for a first date. (Cultural Center in Chicago. Go there when you visit. It is amazing.) Doesn’t always happen. And then there’s still the trap three dates in…..

        • Jennie

          The other good thing about activities is that you can talk about what you’re doing, makes for less awkward first dates. If you’re both into hiking, go for a short hike. No one has to pay for that and you can talk about other nice hikes you’ve done.

      • swarmofbees

        You could also try the I have a gift certificate for this place route, then you have to pay to use up your gift certificate.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I tried to set up dates so he got something, and I got something. Maybe he bought the tickets and I got dinner, or vice versa.

      • a single sarah

        I like this in theory. Still working on how to make it happen.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          It helped that I mostly set up dates by email (hate the phone, never text). So, he’d suggest something (“Would you like to go to this play with me?”) and I’d add, “That sounds great, let me take you to dinner beforehand.” It does make dates pretty long, but after the first time I met my now-husband for coffee, that was never an issue.

          I personally didn’t sweat the man paying for a first, short date, since I figured after we knew each other better I could arrange to pay for any second date, like Lian’s suggesting.

    • Lian

      Figure it out beforehand. “Let’s go to this hole-in-the-wall restaurant that is awesome and affordable, because I want to split the check but I’m a student so I don’t want to go to an expensive place.” Make it clear and non-negotiable.
      Or don’t get dinner at all, but grab coffee instead. A dinner can be a bit too long if it doesn’t click anyway.

      Good luck!

      Edit: If you happen to be in the Twin Cities go to Fasika, an awesome Ethiopian restaurant. It’s where my fiance and I had our first date.

      • a single sarah

        Thanks! I’ve been doing the free date for the first one, but still have to negotiate the second or third date.

    • emilyg25

      How about, “No, I insist on paying my share.” Or grab the check as soon as it goes down. Have cash ready so you can pay before he even figures it out. You’ll know you’ve found a good dating candidate when he doesn’t have a problem with you saying it’s important to you.

    • Alison O

      I have basically no dating experience (serial (well, two) monogamist with ppl who started as great friends), but I see the guy-pays thing as sort of like other “you do it… no you” kinds of situations. Sometimes, when you’ve protested once and they still insist, it means they’re comfortable paying and you can graciously accept and the awkward back-and-forth can stop (I’m imagining people stammering about who’s going through the door first when one’s holding it open etc.). (Of course…to keep it feminist, you don’t think of it as now you ‘owe’ him something…and if he does, he’s an ass and it’s good you didn’t waste your own money on him. ;-))

    • MisterEHolmes

      Because of the trump card/frugality, I think it is perfectly fine for you to accept the paid-for meal, if you’ve politely offered to pay. In my opinion, it isn’t worth the fight. You can always say “Ok, I’ll get the tip” or, if the date went well, “Can I buy you an ice cream/drink/soda?”

      While I am totally 100% on board with the feminist ideal here (I did it on my dates, too), you wouldn’t refuse to let a friend buy you dinner, would you, if she were truly being earnest and kind? A lot of the guys you may be dating probably are doing it from a good place; I try to honor the intention (and even it out where I can).

    • Lawyerette510

      I really liked the free/ low cost dates early in the relationship like others here are discussing. I also was especially a fan of the coffee/ tea/ laid back place with wine and coffee for two reasons, it is just less pressure and I think you can be situated in a more enjoyable way and usually you pay when you order so it was easier to split. Additionally, it felt less loaded to have one person, whichever of us, pick up the tab. I also had to do some soul-searching about why it was important to me (and if it was at all) to flip the script. Good luck!

    • TeaforTwo

      I will say that I hate splitting the bill with anyone – friends, family, dates, anyone. I feel like it lacks camaraderie, and if at all possible, I prefer to take turns.

      Unfortunately there’s a lot of cultural baggage that means most men won’t let a woman pay for the whole first date. But I agree with other posters who suggested going out for drinks and buying alternate rounds, or buying concert tickets and having him pay for dinner. Or, if you’re interested in a second date, insisting on paying next time.

      In my mind, picking up the cheque is a nice way of saying “We are on a date and I am invested in getting to know you.” So I like to do it, and I like when other people do it. I’ve always been put way off by an insistence on splitting it.

      • TeaforTwo

        Also! I know that the student thing is tricky. I have been both the student who is dating someone with a well-paying job, and the person with the well-paying job who is dating a student. I still think it’s important for each party to treat whenever possible, but in my life it’s always worked like this: “Thanks for the opera tickets. Now I’m buying you an ice cream bar at intermission.”

        Everyone feels like they chipped in, everyone gets to feel treated, but according to ability to pay.

      • TeaforTwo

        Finally! If it’s still really important to you to split it, I would just say “I’m a feminist and I’m going to pay for half the bill. CAN YOU HANDLE IT?” and then make a scary ball-buster face.

        Disclaimer: I’m socially awkward and am 100% ok with foisting that off on other people. But this approach is pretty much guaranteed to weed out douches who aren’t down with feminism and/or direct women.

        • Lawyerette510

          Best Advice: “I’m a feminist and I’m going to pay for half the bill. CAN YOU HANDLE IT?” and then make a scary ball-buster face.

        • a single sarah

          I love this! Surveying male friends is suggesting that some guys need to be hit over the head with the feminism stick. I actually practiced the look over lunch with one of them yesterday, it felt like too much, but with the can you handle it line, I think it will be just right.

    • Not Sarah

      So I went on a date awhile ago and when I offered to pay, the guy said “This one is on me” and then I paid for the ice cream we went to after. We split the second date. I was okay with that because he asked me out.

      If the guy is really insistent on paying this time, how about you offer to pay the next time? That might help a bit and then you can pick the restaurant, so it would be more an amount that you want to spend. I’m sorry I’m no help – I hated this about dating too.

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

    It was a year ago this weekend I defended my dissertation. What a year it’s been. So glad that’s behind me.

    And tomorrow we are again participating in Resolve’s Walk of Hope to raise awareness about infertility. We’re hoping to win the best team t-shirt with our “The Embryo Who Lived” shirts that are all kinds of Harry Potter awesomeness.

  • Lian

    Abandoning academia is so, so the right choice for me! This week I received and accepted a job offer at a place I’m so excited to go work at the end of May. It’s a nonprofit, and the job will involve me using all the things I’m good at and that give me energy. I just need to survive two more months of graduate school and I can abandon this ship forever!

    Also, we received our first wedding gift this week. We’re eight months out from the wedding (the giver currently lives in our city but is moving away soon, so she figured it would make more sense to get us something now). Do we send a thank you note to her already… or in a year?

    Also! Somewhat related: a friend designed our save the dates and they’re amazing! We’ll probably ask her to design the invitations and thank you notes too. I feel so lucky to have such a talented friend! (and yes, we did pay her)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Send thank-yous as gifts come in so 1) givers know things arrived and 2) they don’t pile up. Keep a detailed spreadsheet of giver / gift / date received / date thank-you sent.

    • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

      Congrats on the new job! And I would send the thank you note now, no need to wait. Plus there’s always the chance that it could slip through the cracks down the road. I’ve just been sending notes as the gifts come in so I can be absolutely sure I don’t miss a single one!

      • Lian

        Thanks for the input everyone! jbryant6, do you just buy new cards when things come in or did you buy a large set of cards that you’re using? I mean, are thank you notes supposed to be a specific style? I’d like them to be in the same style as the rest of the stuff we’re sending out but obviously we don’t have a thank you design yet!
        Also, we got the gift in person, so at least she doesn’t need to worry whether it arrived or not.

        • M.

          We bought one large set of nice cards and pre-addressed and stamped them to make getting them out when we need them go much quicker.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          Most of our thank-yous matched our invitations, but the early ones were just on nice note cards I had because we didn’t have the wedding stationery yet. My husband sends out several thank-yous a week with his self-employment, so we ordered lots of extra thank-yous. They were just ivory note cards with “Thank You” on the front.

        • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

          I think we could’ve bought thank you cards that matched our invitations, but we bought a set from an Etsy shop. They go with the theme of the wedding, but aren’t an exact match, if that makes sense.
          If you are planning on buying thank you notes that match the style of your stuff, then I’d say that you should just buy her a cute thank you card that you think she’d like and go with that! I doubt think your friend would care if she got a thank you note that doesn’t match the rest of the ones you plan on sending out later :)

          • Lian

            Makes sense, and it seems like more people are doing that! We’ll get some early thank you’s and the rest will probably match the save the dates (or at least match the theme). Thanks everyone!

    • Emily

      I’d write the thank you now, before you forget. That way you don’t have to worry about tracking down their address after the move. Yay for amazing talented friends, and jumping the academia ship!

    • InTheBurbs

      I’m in the send the note now camp – and then another after the wedding to thank them for coming…

    • Lindsay Rae

      We just got our first wedding gift and we’re about 6 months away… guess it’s never too early to have to start working on thank yous!!

      • Lian

        It’s so insanely early right? I didn’t expect to need to think about thank you notes this far in advance! Oh well!

    • emilyg25

      Yep, send the note now. It lets the giver know it got to you okay, and it’s one less that you have to do after the wedding.

    • Kayjayoh

      We got our first gift in the mail yesterday, and sent out the note last night.

  • Emily

    We met with a day-of-coordinator on Monday, and signed a contract with her! Once the ink was on the page, I sat back in my chair, and involuntarily heaved a big old SIGH of relief! I am so happy we decided to do that, now there are answers / solutions for 97% of what was making me anxious about the execution of our plans. Thanks for all who answered my question last week, your thoughts helped me convey to my fiance how helpful she would be!

    • Felicity

      Congrats!

  • swarmofbees

    Despite having my FMIL in town, my Father going into the hospital for his stem cell transplant, and a two year old suddenly averse to day care this week, I have flippy hair again! I finally cut my hair and it is gloriously split end free. It is a nice little bright spot in an otherwise sub-par week.

    • Sara P

      I hope your Dad’s transplant goes well.

    • Kayjayoh

      Best wishes for your dad!

    • Laura

      Best best wishes to your dad on his transplant! Illness is scary, but do you at all think it’s exceptionally cool that such a thing as stem cell transplant exists as a treatment???

      • Sara P

        They are incredible, when you think about it. And so, so strange.

      • swarmofbees

        It blows my mind. And, they are using his own stem cells, which I didn’t even know was a possibility. I am overall so amazed at the treatment that is out there – it is as close to a miracle as I have ever seen. Without it I would have no Dad to walk me down the aisle. I am so incredibly thankful and appreciative of all the work that the doctors, researchers, caregivers, and patients have done over the years that allows my Dad to be getting better now.

        • Chop

          This is what I do for a living! Isolate stem cells for patients. So many people are afraid of stem cell treatment! It’s so gratifying to hear someone’s life was made better. Best of luck to your dad!

          • swarmofbees

            THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! You and your people are wonderful lifesavers :)

  • Katelyn

    I’m feeling cornered into wedding decisions that I’m not pleased with today. I thought I had solved the problem of my dissatisfaction with our ceremony venue by doing both the ceremony and reception at the same location – a lovely restaurant whose events coordinator is *the best*. But I just got off the phone to a disappointing conversation about how the garden we thought could make work is pretty close to impossible to turn into a serviceable ceremony space.

    I thought I would be able to save quite a bit of money plus simplify things for our guests – this is all happening in Las Vegas, and even though the ceremony and reception are both in the same resort, it’s still a fairly long and confusing walk. But now I’m back at square one, feeling frustrated with the investment in a company that has overcharged and under-delivered. Any other options are a lot of extra effort and coordination for very little or no benefit, so I know this is the *best* choice, it’s just not a particularly *good* one.

    I’ve run out of time to make this decision – invitations go out next week! – so it is what it is. It will be a beautiful wedding, and I just need to let go of the shady Vegas wedding business practices.

  • La’Marisa-Andrea

    Ha. LOVE the photo essay. I, too, hate mom groups and give my kid salmon and lox. Also: baths before dinner and we bathe together because it’s just easier for all involved. That was very cool.

    • Meg Keene

      I was like, “who wrote this? I want to be her friend.”

      OH, I AM HER FRIEND. Ah. Suddenly it makes sense.

  • MirandaVanZ

    Our photographer dropped us. She got a full time job with a magazine so I get it but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about trying to find a decent photographer in our limited budget 6 months out when I thought I was done with all that.
    Ok, just needed to rant, happy Friday everyone.

    • Kayjayoh

      Eek!

    • Lisa

      That’s ridiculous! Is there any kind of provision for this in your contract? Maybe she has someone with whom she routinely works that she could suggest? I feel like she should be doing her best to find you a replacement at a comparable price.

      • MirandaVanZ

        She sent us a few photographers that she thinks we will like and I’m going to contact one of them tonight. But yeah, ridiculous is right.

        • Lisa

          She should have contacted them on your behalf to find out who was available and done everything to make it right. That’s just absurd.

          I know it doesn’t help, but I always say that, if people are going to treat me poorly, it’s better that they aren’t around anyway.

          • MirandaVanZ

            I wouldn’t mind if she did that. Hopefully the person that she recommended will be available, he a definite consideration the first time around.

            Yeah, my first thought when I found out was she must HAVE to do it still, but maybe we will be better off finding someone else who will be more committed to the cause.

    • YOQ

      My first thought: she can DO that???

      My second thought: what does your contract say? She may have a contractual obligation to find a substitute.

    • macrain

      Her full time magazine job precludes her from shooting your wedding, which I’m assuming is on an evening or weekend? (Correct me if I’m wrong, I know that’s not always the case!)
      I agree that she at the very least owes you a replacement photographer. That is not cool.

      • MirandaVanZ

        It’s on a Saturday, I guess because she wont have time for all the editing or something? I’m not sure.

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

      You should see if you she would reach out to her community to see if anyone was available that day. They do that all the time when they’re already booked for a date or need a second. So… also check that contract!

    • Meg Keene

      Where are you?

      • MirandaVanZ

        Nova Scotia, Canada.

        • TeaforTwo

          How tied are you to having a wedding-specific photographer? If finding someone within your budget is the issue, I’ll bet you could find a NASCAD student who a) isn’t booked because they’re not a wedding pro and b) would be affordable.

  • ardenelise

    Was just reading about “All Joy and No Fun” in this awesome article in the Atlantic about childhood and playgrounds and the lack of unsupervised kid-time these days: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/

    The article made me think that I should prob read the books it mentioned, since my primary, knee-jerk reaction to it was, “I absolutely want my future kids to be independent and get to push rubber tires into a creek and learn from risky play, but OH MY GOSH the idea of them running off into the woods for hours at a time without chaperones fills me with terror and dread.” Maybe it will get better when I actually have non-hypothetical kids, but I think I might need to begin conditioning myself now to trust that kids are resillient creatures who deserve to have regular unsupervised time.

    • Sara P

      That article was a great read. Thanks for sharing!

      I’m very grateful for my unscheduled childhood (we were a local rarity). It wasn’t particularly adventurous, and my folks were pretty protective, but we got a lot of time to ourselves and I’m so glad.

    • Meg Keene

      They do, and it’s so hard to make that happen in the current culture, I think. Kids playing in the neighborhood together is great. One kid playing alone on an empty street is… a little less great. And we are not even in a particularly affluent neighborhood (where no kids would play outside ever) and it’s still crickets on our street. Finding a way to make this happen for him makes me sad to think about.

      We did go off into the mountains for hours at a time as kids, so that does not fill me with dread.

      • ardenelise

        It’s funny– I had lots of unsupervised time as a kid too. There were a couple of acres of undeveloped land behind our house (now it’s a housing development– sigh) and I would spend hours wandering the woods by myself, examining the plant and animal life in the creek. And it was great and I never felt scared. But for some reason the idea of not knowing where my future kids might be in the neighborhood or woods scares me. I hope when said kids aren’t imaginary this will pass (another one of those “you’ll never understand til you’re a mother” arguments we hear so much?). I do know that when I used to nanny I was always on high alert when we were out in the park or the zoo for fear that one of the kids would wander off (though I hope that was partly due to feeling like losing someone else’s kid would be way worse than losing my own).

        And you make a really great point– if you’re ready to send your kid off to play in the
        neighborhood but there are no neighborhood kids to play with, how can
        you recreate that experience? Maybe they’ll start opening up some adventure parks here in the U.S. too (and the other neighborhood moms won’t refuse to let their kids play there).

  • InTheBurbs

    We’ve been married 6 moths as of yesterday…and are house shopping. The process is quickly turning into a roller coaster, all of a sudden the neighborhoods we’re looking at are the hottest in the area. We aren’t working with any deadlines which helps – but I’m quickly realizing this process is not going to go as I expected.

    • scw

      it took us a full year of searching to find our house. we fell in love with a few other places and had them fall through, which felt terrible at the time but was the best thing that could have happened because our current place/neighborhood is our favorite of all that we saw (by the way, this didn’t keep me from getting major cold feet just before signing). I hope it doesn’t take you that long, but be patient if it does because you’ll find something great. hopefully you’ll be in your new place for a long time – it’s worth a little wait!

  • Guest

    This has been an odd, busy week that has me frustrated. Last night some jerk hit my parked car and then fled the scene. We found out about the hit-and-run when a very friendly police officer knocked on our door. The car is still driveable, but scraped up and I am really mad at the person who left, because WHO DOES THAT?

    • Emily

      That happened to us a few weeks ago! Jerks, that’s who does that!!

    • Not Sarah

      I’m so sorry! Someone broke into my car in my parking garage a few years ago and I was shaken up for weeks. It still weirds me out. Who does that indeed! :(

  • uhoh

    Hi all,

    long-time reader, here. My husband and I have been happily married for almost 4 months now. I have taken 2 home pregnancy tests in the last two days. Both are positive. Husband says we are not ready and thinks we should terminate. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Would love to hear any thoughts or advice from people who have been in similar situations… or from anyone who wants to add their 2 cents. Thanks!

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

      This is always a sensitive subject… I would just pose two questions. Do you think you would ever regret keeping the baby (in a year, in 18 years, in 40 years)? Do you think you would ever regret terminating the pregnancy?

      • uhoh

        No and maybe.

        We are both late 20s and had talked about starting to try for a baby after our first anniversary. We both moved to a new city and started new jobs in the last year, we got a puppy a month ago. My husband has a full-time, decent-paying job, but will not finish his graduate degree until the end of the summer. I know job security and finances are his biggest concern.

        • swarmofbees

          FWIW, job security and finances are totally legitimate reasons to want to wait to have a child. That shows that you are thinking about this responsibly. But, when I was faced with the prospect of a child before I felt ready, one thought that helped me was that you can lose a job anytime, tomorrow or in five years. You can wait forever for the right time. That being said, a child is a huge commitment, that can change so much about your finances and your careers. Sometimes I feel like I traded in my dream career in order to have a child. While that may or may not be true, it is a thought that I do live with. That you have talked about it with your husband is such a good start. Depending on your timeline and your access to a clinic, I think your best step is to find out exactly why either of you want to wait, when you think would be the right time, what would be different then than it is now, and how important those differences are. Also, what can you do to make those differences less important? Given that you were both thinking about trying for a child at the one year mark, you are talking about a possible difference of as little as nine months in when the child is born (if you got pregnant right at first anniversary.) Whatever you choose, it is important that you are both on the same page. No matter the decision, or what may happen before you have the chance to make a decision, you will both need the support of the other. As your own small family you are facing a serious decision. I hope your relationship stays strong through this hard time and that you make the right choice for both of you.

          • uhoh

            Thanks so much for your response. I’m going to have an ultrasound and speak with a counselor tomorrow at the local feminist and women’s health clinic. I am hoping that I might find some answers there that will help guide our course of action.

          • swarmofbees

            It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Just beware that first ultrasound. 1. They may use a transvaginal probe, which took me by surprise. 2. you might be able to hear the heartbeat, depending on how far along you are. That was a very powerful moment for me, perhaps even more so because I wasn’t expecting it. This is why some people want to make ultrasounds mandatory before an abortion – it can really get you. If you want to go forward with the pregnancy it could be a wonderful moment. If you do not, or you are unsure, it could be quite difficult. Maybe you could ask for them not do have the sound audible to you?

            I was very glad to have my FI there with me. That may not be right for you, but I was glad to have him there with me because this was something that we did together, from conception through everything else. Whatever you decide to do is now going to affect both of you. Legally, this is your choice. It may well be right for you to go alone. You know yourself and your relationship best. But, if you are making this choice together, it might be helpful for you to both have the same information. Also, sometimes it is helpful to have another set of ears in the room when you are dealing with an emotionally charged situation.

          • Meg Keene

            This. We had a layoff when I was 35 weeks pregnant. Shit happens, and will keep happening for the rest of your life. You’ll deal with it, because you have to deal with it, because that’s what family is.

        • Katie

          So he isn’t starting his job until the end of summer? Or is he doing both? It sounds like you are pregnant 8 months sooner than you planned? Looking at it long term that’s not that crazy, 8 months isn’t a long time if you look at your whole life. You’re married, you both want a baby, you are established and have good jobs. The question I have is why does your husband want you to terminate? I don’t know your situation, it seems like you need to need to think about what you want to do. You said he wants to terminate, but you are unsure. Before you talk to him think what you really want. I’m assuming if you wanted to terminate you’d agree with him and wouldn’t be asking for other opinions.

          • uhoh

            He is both in grad school (finishing diss.) and has a current full-time job/fellowship in his field. The fellowship will last until next summer, but he will need to have work lined up prior to that. In all honesty, i feel like 8 months before what we considered to be ideal isn’t that big of a deal. But, I know in his mind, money is the big issue. We make enough to live comfortably for now, but not enough to save very much. He came from a home where money was a struggle and wants our children to not have to deal with that growing up.

            And, you’re right about what I really want. If I wanted to terminate, I wouldn’t be here.

          • Meg Keene

            Please honor that, whatever that means.

            This is not the time to just go along. (Which doesn’t mean there are not sometimes where we have to make really hard compromises.) Doing something you don’t want to do here without serious discussion could have far bigger consequences for your marriage than 8 months of timing.

          • TeaforTwo

            Absolutely, this is not the time to just go along.

            I will say this about the comments on timing, though – I terminated a pregnancy a long time ago. I was the posterchild for the prochoice argument: I had been assaulted, and I was a teenager at the time. But what I remember about the experience was the overwhelming feeling that I just DID. NOT. WANT. to be pregnant. It suddenly felt crystal clear to me that nobody, whether 15 or 35, should have to continue an unwanted pregnancy, because the ask is just too big.

            So yes to speaking your truth instead of letting this decision be made for you, and yes to thinking hard about how this will play out in your marriage, and about whether the obstacles you’re considering are as big as they seem. But if it’s a strong gut feeling that screams “not now,” rather than just fear talking…there is no shame in that.

          • Lawyerette510

            I grew up in a family that had relatively stable but thin finances when I was little (time I was born til 8 or so) and then my dad’s business took off and things became much more comfortable. From the kid perspective, I didn’t really notice. I had clothes that were new-to-me and I got excited about, I had toys that were new-to-me (and sometimes new) and plenty of them but not so many I didn’t value the ones I had. We spent a lot of time doing creative and free things and low-cost things, and it was great. My mom and dad have both since voiced their perspective that being “broke” (they use the term very loosely, but basically meant paying bills with a little in savings and a few nice-to-haves) with little kids was easy because little kids just roll with it.

            I also think that one thing that made it not-a-big-deal to my sister and I, is it wasn’t something they fought about (at least not that we were aware of) so it never seemed like a negative to us.

          • uhoh

            Thanks — this is good to hear. Part of the issue is that we come from different financial, socio-economic, and racial backgrounds, so we are both bringing different experiences, expectations, and baggage to the table.

          • Lawyerette510

            Good luck, whatever decision you make, it will be the right decision for you. I know that’s circular but I feel like this is one of those times where what’s right is so personal to the two of you, and it won’t be an easy decision, but if you make it with open communication and respect and acknowledging where each of you are coming from, then what you reach will be the right one.

            Also, brava for recognizing that you are coming from places of very different lenses to view the same situation, that you’re going to have to process through to reach a decision.

            Sending you hugs and supportive thoughts.

          • uhoh

            Also, thanks for your response :-)

        • Meg Keene

          I don’t want to minimize that both options are valid options, and you should take a little time (GIVE YOURSELF A LITTLE TIME) and think this through.

          But. While there are definitely WRONG times, there is no right time. Eight months before you planned and a new puppy and finishing grad school? Those are not huge things, in the scope of a lifetime. Hell, he’d be done with grad school by the time a baby arrived.

          My point isn’t: pick this choice. My point is more, the things kids teach you more than anything is that you can’t plan, you have to roll with them. All your adult ideas of control over your life? Throw those out the window now. This may be your first lesson.

          Here is one thing I’d make SURE you ask yourselves: if you terminate, and in eight months you start trying, and you don’t get pregnant easily (because this is a thing that happens all the time) how would you feel about the decision? IE, playing into my above point, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have all the control. And that you can simply re-schedule this in eight months. Make sure you’re fine with that (which you may be. Because you may know that now is the WRONG time, and if that’s true, honor that if you need to.)

          • uhoh

            Thanks for your input, Meg. And you are absolutely right about giving myself some time. The question about having trouble conceiving in the future is really important, and we both need to talk about it and our lack of control in that.

          • Grace

            I agree with Meg’s advice but I just want to add my 2 cents from the healthcare side. Assuming the rules in the US are the same as the UK, before you have a termination you have to have a counselling session with a doctor. Their job is not to tell you what to do or to push you in any direction, but to give you the space to properly talk through all of your options and make the right decision. A huge number of couples who go for pre termination counselling ultimately go through with their pregnancy. If after a few days of talking one of you still wants to terminate, then get yourself a session booked. Have a conversation with a professional. I think there’s something about the psychology around the appointment that makes it easier for couples to make a decision, and to feel supported making it.

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

            Oh Meg how I love you – after reading uhoh’s initial post I wanted to say all of this and couldn’t figure out how to do so eloquently and with such love and grace.

        • Gina

          I think this makes a difference to your original question, right? If this is a year sooner than you wanted it, in the big scheme of things, that really isn’t going to make a huge difference–not even in the finances realm. I understand your position, because I know there are certain boxes you wanted to check BEFORE getting pregnant, and it didn’t happen that way. But for your particular situation, it just sounds like the timing isn’t perfect, but it’s still something you both wanted pretty soon. I would think about how you really feel about the situation, then once you know, talk to your husband and find out his feelings. Best wishes in making this decision together <3

          • uhoh

            Thanks for your response — we do need to have a more thorough discussion this evening!

      • uhoh

        I should also add that I am/was on the pill.

        • Carly

          This is always incredibly tough. I would figure out what your options are in your area, so you have that information in the back of your mind.

          Secondly, talking to your partner is a big one. If you’re worried that you might not be able to get all your concerns out to one another at once, perhaps consider writing each other letters… some people are much better at written communication rather than verbal.

          Another thing to consider is going through a day, three days, week (however much time you think is a good fit) as if you’ve made the decision to end the pregnancy. Then do the reverse – the same amount of time as if you’ve decided to continue. So, think about what plans you’d need to make, how you’re feeling, how you will feel, etc.

          Lastly, perhaps use a pie graph to measure how much of you wants to continue, how much wants to end, and how much of you is unsure. Have your partner do the same, and then compare and talk about it together.

          I’m really sorry you’re in this position – it’s so tough and you have my sympathy. If nothing is working out, see if there is a Planned Parenthood (or equivalent feminist health clinic) around you that you may be able to see for a pregnancy counselling session. (I would caveat to make sure that it is a PP and not a crisis pregnancy clinic, as I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.)

          Good luck and lots of internet hugs!

          • uhoh

            Thanks for your response and your support. I am going to PP-equivalent-feminist-clinic tomorrow for an ultrasound and to speak with a counselor.

          • Carly

            I hope I wasn’t too brusque – at work + trying (and failing) to multitask – whatever gives you the most peace is probably the path to take. I hope the counsellor can help with support and figuring this out :)

          • uhoh

            Not brusque at all! This is a sticky thing to talk about :)

    • uhoh

      Just wanted to say that you all kick serious butt and I am so appreciative and thankful to all of you for raising important questions to ask myself and discuss with my husband. I knew I could count on you all for support in a less-than-ideal situation. Thanks!!

  • Laura

    Y’all. Looking for comfortable but cute reasonably-priced (<$150) leather (or other natural materials) mid-heel (2-3") pointy-toe pumps in white or neutral (or maybe orange/coral orrrr maybe another fun color). Help??? Zappos fails me.

  • lady brett

    happy equinox, y’all! i know, it was yesterday, but we’re celebrating tomorrow ’cause that’s when we’ve got time.

    it’s our first celebration under our new holiday structure (where we make shit up that sounds like fun instead of doing what we think we’re supposed to). the plan was to attempt camping with kids, but i think we’re rained out. but my honey has put together “equinox baskets” for us (a “day” basket and a “night” basket, both for sharing with the whole family) – and we’ve jokingly christened the “equinox fox” as our celebration animal. so, i think we’re set anyhow.

    • YOQ

      This seriously sounds fantastic. Now I want you to write a guidebook for the new holidays–complete with crafts, recipes, origin myths, etc.

      • lady brett

        on it. by which i mean “i’ll tell my honey, who would have a blast doing that” ;)

        • YOQ

          YAY!!!

        • YOQ

          P.S. Can it puh-leeeez have pictures? Especially of the Equinox Fox?? Okay, thanks. :)

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

      We celebrate the solstices at our house. Now I’m thinking we need to add the equinoxes as well. I love the basket idea.

      We round our Pi Party to the nearest Saturday so I’m with you on celebrating when you can.

      • NicoleT

        I love celebrating the solstices! We’re actually getting married on the summer solstice (next year). I’m crossing my fingers that I can have some sort of bonfire.

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

          We got engaged at the summer solstice (he looked up the exact moment and proposed right at that minute). So they’re kind of big around our house. Bonfires are always good.

    • Meigh McPants

      Equinox. Fox. EQUINOXFOX! Oh, this is so happening. We were just talking the other day (in CVS, which looks like it’s been hit by a pastel chocolate bomb) about what we’d do around Easter time with our future kids, since we’re interfaith/not super religious. Now we have an answer. LOVE IT!

    • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

      I adore this!

  • KerryMarie

    On Monday, I emailed our venue manager to set up a time to go back and see the place, which we haven’t seen since we booked it, about a year ago. I was surprised to get a call back within two hours, as well as an introduction to the NEW venue manager. Guys, this is absolutely fantastic news! The old manager was a total flake (I’m talkin’ no email responses for weeks, 45 minutes late to meetings, etc.) and the new woman seems very sharp and saavy. And all of the sudden I am way more excited to wedding plan than I had been…I think I hadn’t realized how much the weight of dealing with this person had been affecting my fiance and I. She also informed us that tables and chairs are now included in the venue price, as well as parking attendants and set up and break down on tables/chairs. So basically she’s saved us a boat-load of money and is making our lives way easier! It’s a Wedding Miracle!

    • twofishgirl14

      :-O Your life is amazing.

  • ItsyBit

    So last night I had a dream that I was driving somewhere with one of my sisters and when she asked me how many people were going to be at the wedding I said, “Um, I think something like 2,000? Or no, maybe it was 1,500… I don’t know. Ask [fiancé].”

    Think I’m starting to freak out a little? Yeesh.

    • Meg Keene

      Ask me about the dream where Obama showed up to my wedding and I didn’t have a seating plan. (This was right after he was elected.)

      Weird wedding dreams are normal.

    • celinad6

      I had a dream that my dress was a large brown paper bag, clearly with no body structure. I was only slightly disappointed. Then during the ceremony, my mother, who in real life studies the Bible for spiritual and historical purposes, got into a discussion/debate with the pastor about certain parts of the Bible.

      I concur with Meg…weird wedding dreams are totally normal.

    • La_Venus

      I had a dream I had to deliver a baby in the middle of the ceremony and somehow everyone else was too distracted to help me. The baby looked a little sick or something when it came out so I just handed it to my cousin and said, “It’s not my fault”.

    • scw

      I had my first one this week. it was time to go to the ceremony and I didn’t have a dress and all my clothes were dirty.

  • Lindsay Rae

    I’m almost finished with my registry! It’s been so fun but definitely a little stressful in thinking “Will I want these particular pots and pans in 4 years?” and “I’ve never ever used or longed for a salad spinner, do I need one on my registry?” (Spoiler: NO, although I really think my FMIL will buy it for me anyway since she swears by hers…)

    I mentioned to my FMIL that I was registering, and I think she might have spread the word… even though my registry at that time was not even close to finished and the saleslady had me put a few things on there just to think about and remove later if I wanted to… and PEOPLE STARTED BUYING THINGS YOU GUYS. I know my shower invitations haven’t gone out yet (don’t even know if mom picked a date), but FMIL expects when people got my save the dates they *assumed* I was registered at BB&B and just searched it and started buying. I panicked – there was one thing that had a quantity error and ALL of it was purchased – and now it’s private. (BB&B had me spell my name backwards so its not searchable. GENIUS and what should have been done from the beginning!! Hope that advice helps someone else here) So now I feel pressure to finish it and make it public again, because FMIL told my mom her neighbor went to buy us something and couldn’t find it… Can’t wait for this to be done with!! Hopefully this weekend. Thanks for listening!! xo

    • Kayjayoh

      Seriously. I also swear by my salad spinner. I wash, spin, rewash, spin. And then I have clean greens that aren’t sopping wet and needing a town. Also, if you get loose greens, you can store them in the spinner.

      • Lindsay Rae

        Haha! Thanks Kay :)

      • TeaforTwo

        OH YES. I always thought it was a silly unitasker that would just take up space. But we eat a salad almost every night with dinner, and I get a bit of a thrill out of spinning it.

  • emilyg25

    Ugh. I just had an interaction that both scared and saddened me. I employ several college students who write articles for me. One girl just came in to let me know that she hadn’t been paid yet this semester. Actually, she hadn’t been paid for last semester either, but that’s totally okay to forget about.

    NO IT’S NOT. I insisted on getting her back pay, despite multiple protests from her, and explained why: You want to be a writer. You’re going to need to fight for what you deserve. You’ll need to set a fair price and ensure that your clients pay you, in full, on time.

    Girlfriend, no one cares about you but you. FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU DESERVE. FIND YOUR VOICE AND USE IT. Goddammit.

    • Meg Keene

      As someone who has now spent a reasonable amount of time employing women (in their 20s), this is a HUGE and regular problem. I’m pretty sure my staff would tell you what a hard-ass I am about this with them, about asking for and expecting what they’re worth, about not apologizing for it, etc. It’s my #1 mission as a feminist boss.

      It’s been an education for me, realizing what a widespread problem this is. And an education for the poor ladies who work for me, “WAS THAT AN APOLOGY I HEARD?” Poor things. Poor, far less frequently apologizing for themselves, things ;)

      • emilyg25

        Seriously though, how do you deal with this? This one woman has always had a real lack of confidence and she’s a huge apologizer. That’s actually part of why I hired her. I’ve tried modeling and gently correcting, but I think I need to sit down and have a come-to-Jesus talk about confidence.

        • Meg Keene

          If Maddie were not on the road, she could tell you what I do. But. I’m a big fan of the come to Jesus talk, and then I’m a pretty hard ass enforcer. “Did you just apologize?” “I’m refusing to respond to that.” “Re-phrase that if you’d like me to answer the question.” All with love, obviously.

          And it works! But it’s a really slow process, because it’s undoing a lifetime of teaching. THAT SAID. You can’t be a truly good employee until you are confident, and not apologetic. (Unless you fuck up, in which case of course you immediately apologize and own up, and then explain how you’re moving in. But you apologize for the fuck up, not for yourself.) But you know, that’s not what we’re taught. And what we’re taught is NOT helping women move up.

          Now, the team calls me on occasional apologizing, which is really nice. Clearly, I’ve done my job here.

          • lady brett

            guilty. i mostly got over it by…growing up. i’m sure that process can be sped up. but growing up made me more confident, which – surprise – makes you sound more confident. plus, it gave me lots of time to un-learn something that had essentially been reduced to muscle memory. and, also, now that i’m 30 i can look back and see that it’s hard to speak confidently when you feel like the “kid” in the room (at the time i would never have said that i felt that way, but i feel a *lot* different now, so…).

            frustration also helped, ha (it’s hard to sound apologetic when you’re pissed).

            not to say i’m fully reformed. sorry.

          • Caroline

            This! I had a boss do this for/to me, and I so appreciate it. It took a while to learn, but this method totally worked and was very helpful!

          • TeaforTwo

            But we are still all for apologizing when actually wrong, right?

            Because while it’s unprofessional and unnecessary to apologize all the time when you’re not wrong (see above: asking to be paid money you are owed), nothing outs people as being insecure and unprofessional (and kind of a dick!) more than a refusal to apologize when warranted.

            (Bonus bad boss story: a few days into my worst job ever, the boss called me into her office, FURIOUS. I sat down, she paced around her office and told me that she didn’t think it would work out, that she was certain that my brain didn’t work in the right way for this job, and that she was surprised I’d gotten as far as I had in my career with writing this incoherent. I asked her if she could tell me what she was talking about, and she threw down a document…that the SUMMER STUDENT had written. That I had never seen before. She didn’t apologize, and in retrospect that was such a huge red flag that I should have quit that day.)

      • twofishgirl14

        This sounds WONDERFUL. I had a boss tell me in college that the number one self-injuring female behavior was unnecessary apologies. One day she comes to me and says “Where is such-and-such assignment?” and it was something I’d never been asked to do. I said “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know about that project, I’ll get it done right now!” and she just stopped me and said “Why are you apologizing to ME for MY mistake? How could you know about something that I forgot to tell you?”
        *lightbulb*

      • Caroline

        I had a female boss who forbade me from apologizing to her for any reason at all. I apologized so much without any reason she wouldn’t let me apologize for anything, and when I did, hounded me about it (that makes her sound like a monster. She was actually a great supervisor).

        It didn’t take me long to stop being so apologetic all the time and it was an important lesson which stuck with me. I’m so grateful to her for it.

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

      Where I work we employ a ton of college students and when they inadvertently don’t get paid or lose their checks they wait so long to say anything! HELLO!? We will replace your checks! We can quickly and easily verify your paycheck was not cashed and re-issue it! It never fails to amaze me how long people go without speaking up about such a thing!

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Trying to figure out whether to keep or reschedule my annual gynecological exam set for Thursday. I was seeing her every few months because of painful intercourse. Then I stopped going because 1) the stress of the appointments wasn’t worth it to me, and 2) my husband needed some treatment before we could really address my issues.

    We had planned on intercourse this weekend, so I could at least give an update, but now my husband has a cold, so that’s out. I’m worried that “having” to go to the gynecologist will make me more bitter about the bum deal I’ve gotten regarding sex in my marriage*, and I’m not worried about delaying my pap smear a couple months, but since I’ll probably have to go back eventually for contraception renewal, maybe I should just get it over with, even if the appointment won’t be as productive as it could be.

    *I’m not bitter at my husband, just fate. We waited for sex until marriage, and then promptly ran into medical difficulties in both of us. We’ve been married less than 18 months and haven’t had sex in over two months.

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

      I say if you don’t want to go, push it off. You say it’s not going to do any harm to delay a bit, and it’s not going to be particularly productive to go now so… why bother? Give yourself a break and just reschedule.

    • DanSavageFan

      I’d say reschedule, if you really think that your situation will change in a couple of weeks. But is it possible that some of your sex issues aren’t entirely physical? I just get the sense from your post that (the “stress” of gynecological exams, the “bum deal” of your married sex life) that you and your husband may benefit from speaking with a sex-positive therapist or counselor. Just a thought, and I apologize if i’m overstepping …

      • ElisabethJoanne

        It’s not the gynecologist per se that stresses me, it’s appointments generally – teleconferences for work, the dentist, but especially appointments I can’t explain to co-workers. My husband and I have discussed talk therapy, but we’re content to live the catch-22 (need treatment, can’t get treatment because our need for treatment makes it too hard to make/attend the appointments) awhile longer.

        • MisterEHolmes

          If you’re worried about having to tell your coworkers: all you have to say is you have a doctor’s appointment. They probably won’t ask, but even if they did, that’s all you have to say. I sometimes make a lame joke, like “Don’t worry, they’ve assured me my heart is indeed still beating!”

    • Meg Keene

      GO TO THE DOCTOR. That’s what we call a roadblock. You’re not going to get better by thinking about it, and you deserve to work on getting better. Take the baby step.

      • TeaforTwo

        What Meg said. Also, it sounds like you’re stressed out and having a tough time, and self-care is the 100% best thing that for that. (Or, um, other-care, in this case, I guess.)

        Even if you need to go back for a follow-up, the appointment will give you some time to talk to a professional about the problem, and get her assurance that she is putting years of medical training and experience into finding a solution for you. If your gyno is worth her salt, you’ll feel better after the appointment. If you don’t, you need a new one.

    • Sarah

      This sounds a bit like what I do in regard to doctor’s appointments and gynecological issues I’ve been having for the past TWO YEARS. I constantly put off going to my (already scheduled) doctor’s appointments because of anxiety, and when they come around I always have a reason for why it won’t be productive. As a result, I have been experiencing the same issues for two years now because every time I try to go, I come up with a reason not to even though my issues really can’t resolve on their own. Yeah. It’s a big problem and I’m just starting to get to the bottom of it. My doctor had to implore me to call him if I’m having issues after my emergency appointment a couple weeks ago wherein I was at the breaking point because I should have addressed this particular issue oh…about six months ago. Not good!

      My advice is to just go, even if it won’t be the most productive ever. It’ll be SOMETHING, and you’ll feel better.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Thing is, this will be appointment #5 will little discernible improvement (no discernible improvement since appointment #2). The last appointment diagnosed a small infection that I had 0 symptoms for and probably would have resolved on its own, but knowing about the infection seriously bummed me out, and now I worry about recurrence.

        • Sarah

          I totally understand. I’ve had about a handful of appointments in the last two years as well, and things aren’t resolved either, and other things keep getting added into the mix and it’s all pretty confusing. However, I just went to the doctor two weeks ago, and there was really no reason why I should have been living the way I’ve been for the last six months (for this particular issue, issues at large have been happening for around two years), and I’ve seen an immediate improvement in the pain I was having because I actually decided to go. Before I went, I was fairly convinced that they couldn’t do anything for me and that going to my appointment wasn’t worth the stress. So really, I do suggest going. I know how stressful these appointments are, but at a certain point its worth it.

    • Grace

      Medic and Gynae sufferer over here. I don’t know your full history but here are some things I do know from what you’ve just said:
      1. This problem was bothering you enough to seek help once
      2. This problem is causing intimacy issues with your husband
      3. Whatever your doctor has suggested before has not worked

      Seeing a doctor is stressful. You have to explain very personal issues in a short period of time, you feel fairly powerless and you stand a good chance of leaving without any answers. My advice to you? GO! Please, go to your appointment. If you are tempted to reschedule now, you’ll reschedule again, 2 months will become 3, 4, 12 and this will start to become a real problem for you. Please do not feel that an inability to have sex is not a serious or worthy problem. It IS. You are not wasting anyone’s time. Not to mention that if there is an organic cause, things could get worse without treatment and more symptoms could develop.

      As for feeling powerless and like nothing is working, I would suggest sitting down before the appointment and writing down exactly what the problems are and what kind of outcome would make you feel it was worth going. It sounds to me like you need a diagnosis, a name for what this problem is so you can educate yourself and come up with a plan. Your doctor knows the medicine but you know your body, and you should feel like an active participant in your treatment.

      If despite all of this you are seeing a doctor who does not listen to you, is not helping and you don’t feel comfortable seeing them, then see a different gynaecologist. I’m serious about this part. I speak to too many women who have bad relationships with their doctors. You have the right to ask for a new doctor!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        I can’t describe the problems because I haven’t experienced them since my last appointment because we’ve only had intercourse once or twice in the intervening 5 months. And really, I don’t see any realistic outcome making me glad I went. If there were an easy fix, we’d have found it by now, and I’m not interested in more appointments. I’d rather not have sex for 9 months.

        [I have one of those decision-making personalities that likes to throw out all counter-arguments in weighing choices, so, everyone, I'm probably not as stubborn as I come across online.]

        • Grace

          I hear you, but actions speak louder than words, and I think you asked the question because you know you need to go.

    • Violet

      Hugs, this sounds really tough. The doctor-patient relationship is so important, I’m just wondering if switching docs might make you feel better about going? Mental health IS bodily health (uh, your brain is part of your body, amirite?), so if the visit stress is at all related to the doc or the fact that there hasn’t been much progress with this doc, maybe that’s something to consider. And possibly you already have, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

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

    Today is work day 14 of 14 in a row. I’m tired, flustered, grumpy, want to be creative, can’t really function and just want to crawl into bed. I have one day off tomorrow before working another 8 days straight and I’m already being pulled in at least 3 directions. I just want to drink, a lot, but if I do, I’ll be worthless on my one day off where I will be free to do, whatever I can do tomorrow. And whatever that is, I know I won’t feel like it’s enough.
    I’m behind on a lot of emails. I’m behind on a lot of job applications. I’m behind on a lot of creativity. I’m behind on a lot of self-care.
    And, Meg, your link list kind of killed me a little because I just got in a borderline emotional conversation with my hair stylist (because I got my hair cut yesterday, because I felt like if I couldn’t accomplish anything I might as well get my hair cut since it was a month overdue) about why I haven’t had kids/am not pregnant yet. And she meant to be supportive rather than pushy, and I appreciate it because I have three pregnant friends right now, so it’s a hard conversation for me to have, but, by the way, I’m stressed out about babies too.
    I don’t have a good job, or even a decent paying one, I don’t have a baby even close to my sights, and I don’t have any idea to get to where I want to be because I literally can’t even see through the fog of my head.
    This is day 14, and I’m almost in tears at my temp job. And I shouldn’t even post this but…

    • Pileofstix

      Yo! First off, good vibes your way. That’s just a shitty sitch and I’m bummed to hear about it. Secondly, I really hope you can make tomorrow a YOU day. Just do it. Take a bubble bath, eat something that’s gonna head straight for your thighs, have some amount of wine (not so much that you’ll regret it), read, play, do some self-run scream therapy. Whatever you gotta do. And for the rest of the days, even though I know you don’t have a moment for yourself, take 5. Do some breathing exercises, some medidtaion, whatever jibes with you. <3 You'll get to something better, but time is just one price you're going to have to pay for that. It sucks but there are people out there cheering you on, even if they're strange(r) people. :-)

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

        thank you so much for the pep talk. it means a lot!

    • uhoh

      sending good vibes your way!

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

        thank you!

    • lady brett

      day off! you’ve almost made it! do take care of yourself – it’s hard to prioritize when you’re behind on things, but really, really do.

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

        thanks!

    • Meg Keene

      First up, what you need is a day off and some sleep. Seriously. Seriously. Your head will be so much clearer after.

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

        thanks. thanks. thanks.

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

      And seriously, people keep making comments to me like “think of the paycheck!” and “your paycheck is going to be awesome!” No. NO. My paycheck isn’t even going to come close to what I made doing a “regular” job a year ago. And a year ago, I wasn’t highly paid, in fact I was underpaid there too.

      • Amanda

        Omg that is the worst thing to say to someone in your situation. Even IF the paycheck was going to be awesome, that is SO NOT THE POINT. I will be thinking of you tomorrow and hoping you are doing something fantastic that you really want to be doing!

    • Meigh McPants

      Hugs and a mental cocktail for you. I’ve so been there, and I know it sucks. The good news is it’s not forever, and you can get through it to something better, I promise. I wish you the best (and more days off!).

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

        thank you!

  • celinad6

    Wedding is in 7 weeks and I have been taking a break from ‘wedding planning stuff.’ Even though we have a planner (who is great btw), making decisions is exhausting. The major items have been decided though so I gave manfriend the controls for the next few weeks. I haven’t looked at wedding blogs (I haven’t been on APW in two weeks, which feels really weird) or pinterest and have unfollowed all the wedding pages I was following on Instagram. It’s quite liberating. While I’m looking forward to the wedding and the celebration, at the same time I’m ready for it to be over.

    One reason is that at least once a week, I get a request from people who aren’t invited asking if they can come or the people who are invited asking if they can bring a +1, even though our wedding website clearly addresses this issue. One incident that sticks out is that a friend of my oldest sister, who I don’t know, saw the wedding invitation and wanted to know if she could come becomes she wants to go to something where she can dress-up. What?! And my sister was actually going to ask me this. The only reason I found out is because my mother told me. People are ridiculous.

    • MisterEHolmes

      I mean, dressing up is fun and all, but WOAH, inappropriate request!

    • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

      I have been dealing with the same sh*t. I am stunned and amazed that people think it’s normal to bring someone we didn’t invite. Especially couples. One member of the couple isn’t coming so the other one who is thinks it’s just fine to replace one person with another (“your numbers are still the same, right?”). No, it’s not. One person did this and the only way I found out was because I saw the person she invited talking to her about it on facebook. I was furious. No single people has asked for a +1 but for whatever reason the couples (who are not both coming) have done this. What’s the deal? Craziness.

      • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

        We gave all singles a plus one, but one of the groomsmen took that to mean plus 3. He’s bringing his mom and two nieces…

        • celinad6

          +3? Wow!

        • Lawyerette510

          Did he at least ask, or was it a telling about three people?

          • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

            Sorry for the delay! He did not ask, just wrote down everybody on the RSVP card…

        • ART

          I had a dream that one of my fiance’s friends did this – wrote in about 4 people on his RSVP that I’d never heard of. I thought that only happened in crazy wedding stress dream land!?!

      • celinad6

        Ooh yeah, I’ve gotten a replacement request. It came from my MOH. Her mother was originally invited but can no longer come. So MOH asked if she could bring someone else so she could have some company. 1.) She and I have been friends since literal babyhood so she knows at least half the wedding guests. 2.) She’ll be so busy with actual wedding stuff that she won’t have time to be alone. I told her that we would wait and see until all the RSVPs have come in. Honestly, I’ll probably just tell her yes. I suppose the MOH can have a little leeway.

    • YetAntherMegan

      Oh man. Our invitations are going out either tomorrow or Monday and now I’m wondering what shenanigans our people are going to come up with. I mean, I love (most) of our people, but … we’ve got some nuts.

      • celinad6

        LOL. There will definitely be shenanigans. Good luck!

    • Michelle

      I like to dress up too, but to actually try to invite yourself to a wedding because of this? Yikes!

    • Hannah B

      Just curious, how did you word that on the wedding website? We are not being consistent about plus ones, because the relationships to the people invited are not all of the same caliber…ie bridal party can bring dates (most of them are married anyway) and cousins in serious relationships can bring their SO, for example, but otherwise, no dates. We can barely invite the friends we want, and if someone were to bring a date we don’t know instead of another friend we want there but can’t due to space limitations, it wouldn’t feel right. I’ve been wondering how to word the RSVP card. I’ve seen spots for # seats reserved and a second spot for # attending, so people have a clear indication, but I also feel as if I should rely on the “whoever the invite is addressed to is who is invited” tradition. Thoughts?

      • celinad6

        I certainly understand your frustration. I had the same concerns about friends/family I want there vs. +1s. I found a great response to this on an Offbeat Bride post in the comments section and took it word-for-word:

        “Well… see… here’s the thing… because we have large, close families and we’ve made so many wonderful friends, we’ve had to be creative in making sure that we can fit everyone in our venue, and there really is no room for unexpected extras. So please only the people whose names appear on the invite envelope are asked to RSVP. Sorry. But as just mentioned, we have wonderful friends and families – we’re certain you’ll to have a great time without a date!”

        Unfortunately, the people that this would apply to either haven’t seen it or have ignored it. Just yesterday, one of manfriend’s friends sent in their reply and indicated that his girlfriend of only a few months may come. I literally just met her last weekend.

        As far as the RSVP cards when doing physical invitations, I think you should do both: 1) # seats reserved and # attending and 2) put the invitees on the envelope. Just jam everyone’s name on the envelope (assuming you’re not doing an inner envelope). We did STDs via email and put all the invited names in the header. We only sent out a few snail mail invitations to those who aren’t computer savvy. Those invitations had only the invitees on the envelope. An e-mail was sent out to the rest with a link to the site so they could RSVP.

        Hope this helps.

  • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubi The Great

    Anybody else freak out over making wedding decisions relatively easily or feeling like they haven’t looked at enough vendors? This is my current worry. We’ve been making decisions pretty easily & I’m now second-guessing & wondering if we should have looked at more stuff. I did do a ton of Internet searching/bridal mag reading/review reading and visited a few bridal fairs to narrow down the lists for venue/photographer/DJ/etc. But we only visited 3 venues & picked the 3rd one. We only met with 1 photographer, loved her & booked her. I met with a day of coordinator that I love & as much as I want to book her, I feel like I *should* speak to more planners just because. Should I follow my first mind and stop questioning myself?

    • KerryMarie

      follow your first mind and stop questioning yourself!

    • emilyg25

      What Kerry said! We met with only one photographer, one florist, one caterer. I bought the first and only dress I tried on.

      Unless you’re really. truly doubting yourself, treat each decision as final and move on.

      • M.

        Same exact. One photog, one caterer, one venue, a few dresses but got the one I knew I’d want. One suit for the mister.

    • Kayjayoh

      I’m not exactly freaking out, but I keep having this feeling of “this is too easy…I must be forgetting something!”

      • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubi The Great

        Yes! This is exactly my worry – it’s feeling far too easy & granted we just started, but I’m not feeling any of the stress. We are pretty decisive people though so maybe it’s just easier for us because we’re ok with making decisions and sticking to them.

    • Lindsay Rae

      Definitely go with your gut! I did the same exact thing… only went dress shopping twice, booked the first photographer we saw, and the second venue. I’ve gotten teased about booking things early but I just say, I know what I want…I’m marrying my high school sweetheart after all!

      • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubi The Great

        We totally started booked early because we wanted to make sure we could get all the people we wanted on our date and the date was non-negotiable. I totally feel you on that one.

    • Sarah

      I feel like this too, but I’m pretty sure that we’re doing okay. Only met with one photographer, my mom went to a bunch of venues but I’ve never even been to the one we picked (but my parents love it and I love it based on the pictures??). So far we’ve only talked to one band and two caterers, and I don’t think we’ll talk to any more before we hire them. It’s too much work to do more research if we already love the people we’ve talked to. Totally get it though.

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

      I don’t know if this helpful, but we really didn’t have a lot of options. We looked at three-ish different photographers, one florist (Kroger-grocery store), three venues, one cake shop, one DJ, one guitarist, two ring shops… We did our best to make sure they stood with the APW mission and although we were never really super giddy about a decision everything turned out to be greats decisions!!

    • Ariel

      All. The. Time.

      We booked the only venue we saw, the only photographer we met with, the second (and last) caterer we met with…

  • Kayjayoh

    Oh! We also picked up my fiance’s wedding band on Tuesday.

    There has also been some tossing and turning about my own wedding band. I’d been offered several family bands from his grandmothers, but none of them fit my hand or really looked like what I wanted to wear. I’d recently brought up the idea of asking to see if we could use one of the old bands to make something new. However, a thing that has been weighing on me is that we had my engagement ring custom-made…and I don’t love it. Well, not true. I love it for what it represents. I don’t like it. (I’ve even started to consider having it remade someday.) So the idea of having a new ring specially made…no. I was looking at TurtleLove and see a nice basic 14k band for under $300. I think I am going to ask my fiance to get that for me.

    • Sarah

      My wedding band is about as simple as you can get and cost about $200. The saleslady tried to get me to try on super fancy ones with all kinds of diamonds, but this one is just perfect and didn’t break the bank. And if I want to wear something different someday, I won’t feel bad about putting it in a jewelry box.

    • YetAntherMegan

      My wedding band was right around $300 and pretty simple. I tried on a bunch of others, but nothing really looked right both with my engagement ring and by itself on my finger. Now, I’m not sure if it’s going to be the ring I actually use when we get married. I tried it on last weekend (because hey, my dress is out of state and a girl needs to play dressup once in a while) and my finger swelled while it was on and after two days of trying I had to go get it cut off. The jewelry store said they could solder it back together without having seen it in it’s cut form yet, but guys, it looks rough. They had to cut it and use forceps on both sides of it to pry it off my. So um, I may or may not be using a super sweet cheap(er) ring, or I may be going shopping again. Through this whole thing, I’ve realized that it’s not the ring itself that’s as important as what it means.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      After talking to a great jewelry-store owner, we learned that plain gold bands are practically commodities whose price just fluctuates with the price of gold. Then we went online and found a seemingly-reputable place that sold just that – plain bands, choose your metal, width, and size. Free inscription. We’ve only had them for about 18 months, and they haven’t turned green yet. That place was djjewelry.com

  • MC

    Woohoo! Just finished up a crazy work week and turned in a huge grant proposal and now I am ready for the WEEKEND. Even though I am exhausted, it felt damn good to finish up a huge project and I feel super successful. Happy Friday to all!

  • Diamond Solitaire

    I live with my boyfriend and his mother likes to video chat with us. In the nearly two years of dating I’ve only met his mother once, but we have a good e-mail/Facebook relationship. These video chat calls make me want to hide. Mostly they make me worry about what I look like. Half the time she catches me without make-up on and messy hair and I worry that she’s judging me even though nothing she has done or said implies judgement.

    • Katelyn

      Totally normal. I find myself judging my own appearances even when I’m just video chatting with my sister. I think it’s that mini-screen with my face that gives me the impulse to preen.

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

    The Thought Catalog piece on kids was written by my fiancé’s cousin! He sent to make other day after we finally (finally!) made the decision whether to have biological kids. We decided against it and it feels so good to be decided already (the decision has been a year in the making).

  • http://magicalunicorngestates.wordpress.com/ Magical Unicorn Lady

    Shameless self promotion: I’ve decided to start a blog, rather than just annoy the crap out of my wife constantly with my complaints. Feel free to read if you want, or not. I’m occasionally funny. Occasionally.

    http://magicalunicorngestates.wordpress.com/

  • Lawyerette510

    I just found out my boss is throwing a wedding shower for me here at work, and everyone on our team is helping and coming, and I’m feeling so loved and excited. I’ve been struggling with feeling unspecial because we are having a smallish and low key wedding that involves significant travel for most guests and doing it on a 70-day timeline, so there’s not a lot of opportunity to have showers etc with the guests. Then this week, a friend had the idea of a dress try-on party with a few girlfriends next weekend (I’ve ordered a variety of non-traditional dresses I like from Nordstroms) and then I find out about my boss, and it’s just great to have a reminder that we can create our own special moments with our various communities even if we’re not going a traditional route.

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

      These are really awesome things to make it feel even more special. Enjoy the love.

  • Alison O

    Inaugural life update post in a Happy Hour. It was a pretty big week so why not throw it out into the ether.

    Was validated by going to an allergist and having it confirmed that yes indeed I am QUITE ALLERGIC to some environmental things; it is not all in my head (well, the congestion and sinus headaches literally are, but aside from that).

    Fixed an awesome cheap retro chair we got on Craigslist and it is super comfy and stylish.

    Got a job on Thursday! Great temporary but stimulating position while I wait to hear back about grad school for next year.

    Partner matched at his #1 choice for medical residency in Los Angeles today! (We were 99% sure but it’s not official ’til it’s official, and now it is.) Cross country move on the horizon…so excited to return to the West Coast is the Best Coast.

    BEST OF ALL: New tradition for me & partner of fish and chips on Friday in our living room with a movie will continue tonight! YUM fried food. The place we get it is very Irish Catholic “fish on Friday” place only open from 10-8 on Fridays. Love the local flavor. And fried fatty salty flavor… And I will make delicious coleslaw…mmmm…

    OH and I learned I can submit refill requests for my bajillion prescriptions online now. Sweet. Even better, those prescriptions are working in all the ways they are supposed to now. That’s big.

    Go, life! Attitude of gratitude.

    PS I would love to hear what other folks are feeling excited/happy/thankful about this week, big and small. (Like big: fish and chips in my living room. Small: partner’s career success/cross-country move. :P)

    • Ali

      So many wonderful things! Fish and chips in a super comfy chair basically sounds like heaven.

      I’m feeling thankful to have the opportunity to experience wonderful live classical music concerts this week – the Los Angeles Philharmonic was on St. Patrick’s Day and the New York Philharmonic is tonight! What great ways to bookend the week :)

    • Lawyerette510

      I’m excited that tomorrow we are meeting with the potter who is making all the dishes and vases etc for our registry to see the test plate of the glaze we’re thinking about (it’s a new color-combo for him) actually looks good with the other things we’ve picked out.

    • Mezza

      I was sworn in as an attorney on Monday! I passed the bar 3 years ago but put off jumping through the rest of the hoops until now. Nice to have it off my back!

      Tomorrow I am borrowing my friend’s car to go to suburban Target! And BJs! Then my closet shelves will be replaced with ones that don’t fall down all the time, and we won’t be out of every possible grocery object anymore. (I live in Manhattan, which makes this pretty damn exciting.)

      Purposely not designating which of those is big and which is small, because I’m honestly not sure. :)

      • Lawyerette510

        Congrats on being sworn-in!

    • Rebekah

      Eff yes Match Day!
      We’re staying right where we are, which was his first choice and my second choice. It’s all too fresh to have real, coherent feelings about it, but CONGRATS to you and yours!

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

      Congrats!!

  • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

    We are 11 days away from our rsvp deadline and 22 days away from our wedding (but who’s counting). Can I say that I’m really disappointed in the people who haven’t rsvp’d? I’m actually kind of hurt that we went to a lot of trouble to send out save the dates and we still we have people saying, “let me check my calendar and see if I’m free that day.” WTF. You were supposed to put it on your calendar when I sent the STDs! We had one person say when we sent out the invites, “I don’t know if I can commit that far out (two months!). Something may come up.” I wanted to say, “Give me back the invitation! I’ll give it to someone who can commit to being there.” I’m surprised at people who we had to contact to get their physical addresses so we could send them an invitation who have yet to rsvp. Even with a reminder email. Didn’t they know when we asked for their address that they’d be getting an invitation that they’d need to rsvp to?
    So in all of this I’m learning that my love language is clearly commitment. I am very much into reliability and responsibility. To me actions speak louder than words. Do what you say you will. I’m amazed at the people who from the beginning were excited but have yet to follow through. The part of me that is always afraid of other people’s homophobia thinks, “Are they not responding because they don’t think it’s a real marriage therefore this is not a real wedding? (we live in a non-marriage equality state)” I know straight folks have the same issues with people not rsvp’ing and I also intellectually know that it’s not about us personally, but this is really pushing up some stuff for me. Weddings are so hard. There’s the cultural baggage that says we shouldn’t call attention to ourselves but weddings are the one time when we’re putting ourselves out there and saying “It would mean so much to me if you could come to my wedding and be a part of our fledgling relationship.”

    • TeaforTwo

      22 days – that’s wonderful!

      I remember hearing people complain about this issue before I was planning a wedding, and I never got it. (Full disclosure: I have had at least two brides have to hunt down an RSVP from me, although I was much younger and stupider back then.) I’ve always been a bit flaky about stuff like that, and I figured I could read other people’s behaviour with the same charity.

      And then I was planning MY wedding. My wedding with a huge “b-list,” because having huge families meant we only got to invite three friends each on the initial round of invitations. And I could not believe how many people (“grown-ups”, even! parents’ friends! aunties!) just didn’t respond. Or DID respond, and then backed out a few days beforehand.

      Then we had a huge snowstorm on the day of our wedding, and at least another four couples/families didn’t come. The good news is this: I didn’t care a bit on my wedding day, and I don’t care a bit now. On our wedding day, we hardly got to spend time with the people who WERE there – there was zero emotional energy or time in the day left to think about the ones who weren’t. I hope the same magic happens on your day.

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Yes, there are a few more people I’d like to invite but I can’t unless I know what’s happening with those we’ve already invited. And I’m sure there will be people who just decide not to come for whatever reason. I had no idea the invitations would be the hardest part of wedding planning.

    • macrain

      I am SO the same way. To me, friendship means you commit to doing something, and then you actually do it. I value that tremendously. People who need to go check their calendars can get the F out of here. They don’t deserve to be there.
      Also, this is not first time I’ve heard “Love Languages” referenced here. My sister lent me her copy and it’s been collecting dust on my book shelf. I think you guys are on to something.

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        I have not read the book yet but I know what the gist of it is about. It does help to know that I’m seeing something a particular way because it’s what’s important to me and other people don’t give the same importance to the same thing. And then I try to have patience with others because we see things differently. Try, anyway.

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

      what really got to me (and I hope doesn’t happen to you!) is that several of the people I had to hunt down RSVP’s from, then confirmed they would be attending, didn’t show up. And I was just like seriously?? Why couldn’t they just have the balls to say they weren’t coming!!

      • Alyssa M

        That is just. so. rude. The only thing I can think is that these people don’t get how weddings work. Like “I’m just one person in a crowd, they won’t notice if I’m there or not.” Maybe at a regular party… not at a wedding…

    • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

      I am so with you. We set the date over 12 months ago, sent save the dates out, and then sent invitations out. And one of my good friends told me last week that she forgot and scheduled a nose job two days before the wedding so she can’t make it. (I may have said this last week, but it clearly is bothering me.) And then there are the family members who I’ve been calling to ask if they are coming, and they act like I’m the crazy one because I was supposed to just assume they would be there.
      I cannot wait for the day to finally get here. Best wishes on your day!! I’m sure it will be great no matter who actually shows up :)

      • TeaforTwo

        “Scheduled a nose job”! I am very sorry, because I know how hurtful it is to have people reneg on their RSVPs (or at least I found it hurtful) but that is one that I hope you will be able to laugh about over cocktails after this whole business is over.

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Yeah, the people who think you should just assume they’re coming. That’s a minefield. No, we’re not mind readers. They’re offended that we don’t just know they’re coming. We’re offended that they didn’t respond. Weddings are ripe for misunderstandings and hurt feelings. And the nose job? Seriously! She can’t reschedule now that she’s been reminded when your wedding is. I would be hurt, too.

    • Sarah

      Hang in there! One of my husband’s friends didn’t rsvp and then when I made him call this guy the response was “oh I lost the invitation, what day is it again??” I could’ve screamed. If you forgot the day then call/text/email/facebook me and ask! We also had some problems with people committing to bringing a date or not (or even which date to bring!). I think people just don’t realize what it’s like or how important the nitty gritty details are. In the end, I asked our moms help in wrangling everyone and that seemed to help the best.

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        If only our moms were any help. They are absolutely not. There are both blessings and curses with having moms who are…I’ll stop there. I really understand feeling like you want to scream. Lost the invitation. Wow. I’m trying to be patient and understand that others don’t know how hard this is but it is wearing thin. I’m so glad I have APW to turn to.

    • Mezza

      All of the cousins on one side of my family failed to RSVP for my wedding. They are extremely conservative and I didn’t expect them to attend my same-sex wedding in a non-equality state, but it bugged the hell out of me that they didn’t even go on the website and click “no” next to their names.

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        I hear you. How hard is it to go to the website and click no. A response, of any kind, is appreciated.

    • Annie

      <3. Weddings are hard. They push up weird stuff. Also, NO ONE TELLS YOU THE RSVPs ARE SO HARD.

      My earth-shattering conclusion, after collecting RSVPs professionally, is people suck at RSVPing. In general. To everything. I'm not excusing it, but it seems to me just a fact of modern life, sort of like how people go to the bathroom at dinner and check their phones. Rude, but it's not really personal OR limited to weddings. It just has a lot of emotional / financial implications in the wedding world.

      Maybe this is just the former community organizer/current direct marketer in me, but it takes a lot of nudges to get people to respond to anything. A REALLY good mailing will have a response rate of 7%. I'm going to add 50 percentage points for our wedding invitations because I think people care and I DO WHAT I WANT, but I'm still shooting for well below 70% response.

      Maybe this is called pessimism. Or internalized homophobia. Maybe it's very weird to think of our wedding invitation as a direct response appeal. No idea. I get that it's a total pain to babysit guests and I'll be so annoyed when I'm there, but I'm hoping that setting the bar low and being reminded of people's total inability to RSVP to non-wedding things will help ease my frustration.

      I'm also reminded of a few of the rules of the "unconference" movement – 1. Whoever shows up are the right people. 2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. 3. Whenever it starts is the right time.

      Anyway, this is a very long way of saying…it's probably not you. I know it's so hard to grok that when you're in the midst of it, though, so instead I offer you an internet hug and beverage of your choice. <3

    • Ant

      As a way of giving you a solidarity RSVP fistbump I’m going to tell you that my husband’s brother, who lives right opposite of us with his “lovely” wife and four children, was not able to tell us who/if any of them would attend our wedding last year. So after having asked him again and again we reckoned him and one of the kids to be there for our smallish reception. What happened was that all six came over and took up the chairs that were set up for our other guests who had RSVPed. There’s a really nice bridal bitchface photo taken at that moment.

      And what happened at the day of the big celebration? First we were told that his wife would *probably* be at a political convention, but of course the day before the party we realised that she would *probably* come to our party! Yay! I mean, apparently committing to something or even just communicating across the street was too much to ask for.

      So, not trying to dishearten you, just saying that this happens all. the. time. People! For full disclosure: we had several hard-to-get RSVPs, one guest who didn’t turn up (didn’t surprise us) and one who left the party before dinner (whatever …).

      But to tell you the good part: while I still shake my head over those non-RSVPs, in the end it didn’t spoil our wedding/celebration, we had a great (or even better) time and those who came were happy to celebrate with us. Good luck to you!

    • jashshea

      Know I’m late for this, but wanted to share. I desperately wanted to make a seating chart. I LOVE things like that (I had people pre-categorized on my wedding xls and everything). We had probably 10-15% of people just not respond. I didn’t know most of them (friends of my partner’s family), so put that on my MIL. Several people responded back with “maybe.”

      The eff? Do people not know that nearly all caterers are per head?

      After some indignant rage (including fantasizing about not giving them seats), I fudged the catering & table numbers a bit (10 maybes = 5 yes?) and scraped the seating chart.

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

    HE GOT THE JOB IN DENVER, Y’ALL!!!
    He doesn’t know when he’ll be starting, because they won’t tell him that till he accepts the offer, but it’s definite now. We are going to fly out there in a few weeks to search for an apartment before he moves which means that I’ll have to call in sick on a Friday to my awful job and pretend like I have food poisoning or something, but WHATEVER. Time to start on the job hunt for me!

    We’ve already gotten a few RSVPs back to our wedding and I’m starting to get sooo excited!! I have not been a fan of wedding planning in general, but now that we’re almost there the excitement is building. I think the Denver thing helps. Also the fact that most of the big stuff is getting taken care of, so I’m about to just sit back and wait for the day to get here. And what comes next… :)

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

      Yay!!!! Yay!!! YAY!!! I’m jumping up and down for you!

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

        Thank youuuu! Ahhh!

  • Chop

    We made an offer on a house this week. After 4 days of house hunting. AND they accepted. Even though it was waaaaay less than the asking price. It needs a ton of work but it’s perfect for us. So perfect that I was ready to buy it based off the pictures. And the kitchen sink. The original, 1930 farmhouse sink just like I’ve always wanted. We just have to get it through the FHA inspection. Any one have experience with these? I feel like between the shock of how fast this happened and the worry that our adorable fixer upper won’t pass that inspection (even though we WANT to do this kind of work and couldn’t imagine buying a move in ready place) we haven’t even gotten to be giddy and dance on the tables with joy over this HUGE LIFE EVENT. Can anybody offer reassurance?

    • lady brett

      farmhouse sink! swoon.

      we did an fha loan, and the house had to have some repairs before we could go through with it – but it seemed kind of scattered what had to be fixed and what didn’t (rotten decking! danger, danger! hole to outside in corner of room? meh, someone stuffed something in it, i’m sure it’s fine.) it seemed like more of a “safety” inspection and not a structural inspection. i would expect at least some minor repairs, just because they’re going to want you to upgrade some things to modern safety standards (we had to add a bathroom vent fan and get the water heater off the ground), but i think other things are grandfathered in. the repairs were all covered by the seller in our case. our agent also said that a *lot* of the result is a matter of who does the inspection, and we got a fairly nit-picky guy. (clearly i don’t really know what i’m talking about, but thought i’d share our experience)

      • Chop

        Thanks. That makes me feel a little better. Our fabulous realtor offered to go over and make it show a little better right before they come. The house is part of an estate so it’s as is which is where the worry comes in. We MUST have. THIS house. It’s that perfect. And we wanted a long term project, you know? Yes the 70′s avocado carpet is gross… But the hardwoods underneath will be gorgeous refinished. Maybe I can sneak in and secret fix things.

  • HannahESmith

    I just shared “You shouldn’t need a reason for not wanting to have kids” on Facebook. While, I’m firmly in the camp of not sure, I really would like people to stop pressuring every woman everywhere to have kids.

    • HannahESmith

      Now there is an awesome FB discussion about the article with all my feminist friends. This makes me happy.

    • Caroline

      I would really like people to stop pressuring women about kids, period. Stop pressuring to have them at all. Stop pressuring not to have them yet. Stop pressuring them to be perfect parents if they decide to have children. Realize that women are grown adults who can decide whether and and if so, when, children are right for them without society’s input.

  • Sick and Tired

    Ugh, it’s been a little bit of a rough week. I’ve had annoying stomach issues for years, and I’ve finally been trying to figure out what’s going on with the motivation that I want to fix any health issues before the wedding (and while I’m still on my parents’ sweet government health insurance). I’ve been seeing a gastroenterologist to try and find the problem, and I feel like I’ve gone through SO many tests and still don’t really have any answers.

    People keep telling me things like, “well, you are getting married, and finishing grad school, and entering the workforce with no definite job prospects, and traveling internationally the month before your wedding, so of course you’re stressed and have stomach problems!” But I swear there’s more to it than just being stressed.

    I’m just ready for someone to tell me what’s wrong so I can fix it and move on with my life (and eat my damn wedding cake without worrying about it).

    • macrain

      You know your body better than anyone. Good for your for seeking out the help you need.
      Hope all goes well!

    • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison Toback

      First of all, I hope that you feel better soon! I totally feel your pain about medical issues being unresolved and having people blame them on stress. I had a woman in a bridal salon tell me that the rash I had on my face, the joint pain, the fevers, and the headaches would all go away after I got married. Well lady, thanks for your non-medical opinion, but hey, I actually have RA, so… you’re wrong.

      That being said, it took me 9 years (!!!) to get a diagnosis out of someone, and even now, it’s not even a solid diagnosis. We’re basically going with RA because we’re not sure what else it could be… except Lupus, but it looks more like RA at this point. My point is, you know your body best. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT let doctors brush you off and tell you that these are silly woman problems or stress or that you need an anti-depressant or to just chill out. It is far more common that I realized that when doctors can’t understand a medical problem, they toss it into the pile of “mental illness” and decide it’s no longer worth caring about or treating. Get a second opinion, a third opinion, however many opinions you want or need. The stress of your life isn’t helping, I’m sure, but it sounds as though this has been going on for awhile.

      I also had to learn that it’s okay to not have a “diagnosis” per se, as long as I was receiving treatment that helped. It sucks that I’m not sure what I actually have, but my doctor basically said that it doesn’t matter at this point what it is, the treatment is the treatment and there’s no reason to feel sick or be in pain when there are viable options. I hope that you are able to get relief, find physicians who listen to you and care for you, and that you DO get to enjoy that wedding cake!

    • YetAntherMegan

      I hate the “it’s just stress” blowoff. Because on top of the rest of life, ya know what else is stressful? Constant stomach issues! I first got noticeably sick when I was 17 and the testing started when I was 18. After endless tests, scopes, and an operation to remove my gallbladder (which made things worse for a while), I would up being diagnosed with IBS at 24. While it was nice to have validation that something was wrong, it was still really hard to not know what was really causing it or not have a way to fix it. I hope you get answers!

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

      My mom struggled with gastrointestinal issues for close to 20 years before seeking SERIOUS help. It’s not worth waiting. Have you seen a naturopath? My mom and you are different, obviously, but I watched her suffer so I have an idea of what it’s like. She got test after test done and no one could tell her what was wrong. She’s been seeing a naturopath since the fall (she finally listened to me!) and feels a lot better..it’s worth a shot? Best of luck!!

  • Grace

    Happy Friday all. A lot of the themes around ambition, work and different types of people have really got me thinking this week. I’m trying to figure out ways I can support my partner to achieve his goals and to feel fulfilled, when his goals are so different to mine. I know I’m asking huge questions here but I bet some of you ladies have some wisdom to share.

    He wants to get his philosophy PhD and eventually work in academia. He writes poems and short stories. He plays and writes music, solo and with a band. He draws pictures. He is so intelligent, talented and creative in so many ways and I love and admire that about him. Unfortunately, in post-recession England these wonderful talents are not rewarded well financially. There is no clear career path for an academic or an artist, and he is currently applying for entry-level jobs which are in very short supply. He is fully prepared to do work he won’t enjoy to bring home money, but I can’t help but feel like allowing him to do so long term would be failing him. He would prefer to live a simple life with few possessions if it allows him to feel fulfilled, and I want to support him in that.

    What I don’t know is how to do that when there are these huge social expectations that he will bring home money, that he will climb the ladder. It’s just about acceptable for me to out-earn him, but only if his earnings are significant, apparently. We’re both finding the social expectations tough to navigate and I know his lack of employability is depressing him. 

    I suppose what I’m asking is, how do I align his ambitions with social pressures, or at least find a compromise? How do I support him to live the kind of life that would be meaningful to him whilst preventing any resentment building from the gap between our incomes and our working patterns? 

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We’re in a similar boat, but in California, if it makes a difference. As long as the rent is paid and there’s grocery money, I try to be content, but, yes, the social pressures are hard.

      We have periodic, serious discussions about “what’s our story right now?” Like, what’s our plan in terms of work, bill-paying, housing. But, also, what do we say when friends, family, or colleagues ask about those or the dreaded, “what do you do?” To ourselves, we say that my husband is in training for a new career path. (He does tons of volunteer work with this goal.) To other people, we say that, or that with my excellent job right now, he’s taking some time off from paid employment for some creative pursuits.

      For me, having a narrative, and knowing the answers to the usual questions ahead of time, really helps.

      • Grace

        I think that’s probably a good idea and a likely source of some stress for us, we never really talk about what our line is about him. It’s sad that we even need one but hey, we do. I found the article about how to answer the “what do you do?” question helpful and will bring it up with him at some point. On a practical level though I am genuinely interested in what I can do to support his ambitions. I’m not a very creative person and neither are most of my family to be honest, it’s new territory for me, even after 5 years.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          The last serious discussion came up after a party for HIS university. In the course of 10 minutes, he’d answer professional questions differently. When we got home, I called him out on how that puts me in a tough spot when I come in in the middle of conversations, or when I’m asked these totally normal questions when he’s not around.

          I support my husband by paying all the bills, and by encouraging him to take time for his creative pursuits, even if it means his chores wait or I do them. I try to mean it when I say I’m content as long as there’s money for rent and groceries, but I’ve learned to avoid resentment by being honest about my material desires.

          For us, the hardest part is I’m totally a planner. I had an idea for what I wanted to do in retirement when I was still a teenager. He’s had so many set-backs, and also just doesn’t have that personality. So I temper my impulse to say, “What are you doing with your life?!” with what I hope are supportive offers of assistance to work out steps towards his greater happiness.

          • Grace

            You guys sound so much like us! What do you both do, if you don’t mind me asking? I am also the planner. It’s hard-wired into my personality to think ahead about everything. Including a wedding/marriage when I’m not even engaged yet. My partner is more spontaneous, and it has its pros and cons. Sometimes I think he’d have a better shot at his goals if he could define them better, and I encourage him to do that. On the other hand, when things don’t exactly work out or there are setbacks he seems to cope with that well, he has realistic expectations. What makes him anxious is worrying about rent and bills, I guess that’s probably the biggest thing I can do for him, take away that stress. That just isn’t the boat we’ve been in until now, we’ve both been dirt poor our entire relationship.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            I’m a barrister. He worked in finance (brokerages, hedge funds). His volunteer work is fundraising for charities. Ideally, he’d do that as a paid position. He’s considering getting back into finance (venture capital). He’s also writing a couple pieces of fiction.

          • Grace

            .. So (to my partner) what do you do?” … “Oh, right… (Immediate loss do interest/some comment about how he’s lucky I’ll make money)”. Ugh, I hate it. He’s writing at the moment, making music, waiting to hear back about a phd and trying to make ends meet in the meantime. After a long shift, coming home to my partner is wonderful, I look forward to it all day. I suppose what really bothers me is this idea that he’s won the lottery and I’m selling. Like he doesn’t give me just as much as I give him, emotionally.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            I know my husband just doesn’t get how hard those “What does your husband do?” questions are for me. Part of it is how women are judged in our society by their husbands. If he’s a lay-about, she has a bad sense of character. Part of it is he just doesn’t care about others’ opinions like I do, and the life stories we present to our social circles.

            I tell him, “I need to know what to say when x,y,z is asked about you,” and “When you do/say a,b,c here’s what they’re thinking [or I'm afraid they're thinking] about me.” Maybe I care too much, and I try to be up-front about that, but I guess part of the “deal” of me paying all the bills and doing half the chores, though he doesn’t work in any normal sense of the word, is him helping me with both accepting the situation in my own heart, and explaining it to the world. Otherwise, he’s getting a lifestyle that’s everything he wants, and I’m not getting what I need emotionally within that lifestyle.

            And, honestly, I can hold over his head that he has mental health issues that he doesn’t want me to disclose even to my closest family. Not in a punitive sense, but in the sense that it’s a big part of why our situation is hard and unusual. If he’s asking me to hide that from those closest to me, it’s fair for him to put in extra effort in figuring out what he is comfortable with me saying.

          • Kayjayoh

            I’m just going to go ahead and say I hate small talk questions the revolve around asking someone what they do for a living. I find it boring at best and rude at worst, and have been working on getting the question out of my own repertoire.

          • mere…

            I completely agree. I can understand that in a lot of situations the “what do you do” question can be a useful segue into getting to know someone or to get a conversation going. However, I just loathe that question. I’m at a point in my life where I work at a job just to pay the bills – I’m not passionate about, I’m not interested in it at all, and I prefer not thinking about it when I’m not in the office. Thinking about my job bores ME and the last thing I want to do is steer conversations that direction.

    • Rosie

      Hi Grace, I know I’m late with this but what you said struck a chord with me. Me and my husband live in England too, I have a degree in Music, and when I started looking for work I couldn’t find anything and I only had about 2 interviews in 4 months. The genders are reversed in our situation but I still found it difficult not contributing financially to our household. One practical thing your partner might want to consider with all his skills is tutoring. I do that now and I’m really enjoying it, but even if it’s not what he wants to do long term, it brings in some money and gives an easy answer if people are asking about jobs. Saying ‘I’m a guitar/drawing/writing tutor and I’m working on xyz’ might help and he wouldn’t need to have loads of pupils. Hope that helps :)

  • celinad6

    I was just about to do an online RSVP to a manfriend’s cousin’s wedding, which will take place a few months after ours. When I searched for our names, they already have me listed with my last name changed to his. I really don’t know how I feel about that. I may or may not change my name. I haven’t really decided. But they’ve already made the assumption that I would…in permanent internet ink.

    What is really freaking me out is this though: When you RSVP, you have to put in your e-mail address. I just noticed that if I change my last name, I guess I’ll have to change my e-mail address since it’s firstnamelastname@gmail.com! Nooo!! I like my e-mail address!

    • Lindsay Rae

      I always knew I would change my name – but it was changing my email address that actually made step back and go WOAH I have to change THAT too??

      • celinad6

        Right?! It gave me a little jolt. Driver’s license, the tax info, banking info? Ok. My e-mail address? I’ll have to think about that one.

      • Anon

        I have a super common first-last name combo. A friend was working for Google in 2003, so I am CommonName @ gmail.com. Sure, I get email for dozens of other Common Name’s out there in the world, but I am THE Common Name @ gmail! It’s mine! I’ll never give it up!

        I had other reasons for not changing my name upon marriage, but I think the email address stubbornness played a part, too :) I also have the benefit of a very unusual middle name, so I go by all three professionally. Otherwise the Google turns up some…uh… interesting people with my name.

        I know many people who keep a personal email address under a maiden name, given if they’ve been married for quite some time. I don’t think anyone gives it a second thought.

    • Lawyerette510

      Ugh! The assumption bothers me so much. I’m telling everyone that I’m not changing, and some of our friends have started a joke that he is changing to mine, so that makes up for the people who are assuming I’m changing (I’m dreading receiving something with a monogram with his last initial, because given that lots of the guests are from Texas, I know it’s coming).

      Also, if you do decide to change, you totally don’t have to change your email if you don’t want. I have numerous friends who changed their name but not their email, because it’s just so hard to get another good one lots of the time, so they just change the name that appears, but not the actual email. With that said, you might want to see if you can grab what would be your new email address, in case you do decide to change at some point in the future and wish you had it.

      • celinad6

        Our last initials are the same so no problem there. Silver lining!

        Also since the spelling of my first name is unusual and his last name is rare, I doubt I’ll have a problem getting a new email. Buuuuuut, I’ll probably just keep mine. My e-mail history is quite long since I use it professionally, granted I’m a grad student, and personally.

    • Emily

      We got an irksome wedding invitation from my fiance’s friend addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Hisfirst Hislastname. Our wedding is 2 weeks after theirs, and people pretending to be married drive me nuts!

      • celinad6

        Puke! I mean if you’re going to assume the woman loses arguably her most important identifier when she gets married, that’s one thing. But at least let it be AFTER she actually gets married.

      • YetAntherMegan

        RUDE.

      • Rebekah

        Devil’s advocate here: Some people (like my sister) would be thrilled to be addressed that way and really look forward to sharing a name with their spouse. They probably weren’t trying to be rude, rather, they were trying to show you that they are excited for you two and your marriage.

        • Winny the Elephant

          Ya I don’t understand at all why a woman would be ok with being addressed as Mrs. Tom Haverford. To me that’s so blatantly misogynistic there are no words

        • ElisabethJoanne

          I kept my maiden name for all purposes but formal social situations. My cousin is getting married this summer, and to make things easy, when she asked for our address, I included “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” above it, so she doesn’t have to guess or ask how I want the invitation addressed. And if addressing me as “Mrs. John Smith” is against her values, I won’t be offended.

          I don’t have a good reason for why I choose the “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” form. It’s simpler than alternatives, and as someone who’s been through the process of addressing formal invitations, I like simplicity. I don’t like “Ms” socially; I prefer for my marital status to be acknowledged in social settings.

          But I work hard to address other people how they want to be addressed.

          • YOQ

            Y’know, I generally prefer “Ms.” because I *don’t* want my marital status to dictate how people address me–particularly in work situations. I teach–I don’t want my students to call me “Miss YOQ” now, and I won’t want them to call me “Mrs. YOQ” next year after I’m married. But it occurs to me that maybe I’m going at this wrong. Maybe we should invent a title (is it a title? Nouns are apparently escaping me) for men, so that when they get married they go from being “Mr.” to being something else that acknowledges their new married status…

            (To each their own, for sure–I am just enjoying this little mental game, so I thought I’d invite others to join in.)

          • Kayjayoh

            I don’t know why, but I have always hated the sound of Ms, and I never let people call me by it. When I was teaching, I was always “Miss Lastname.”

          • ElisabethJoanne

            Also not a fan of the sound, though I know at least two men (one was my husband) who didn’t realize there was a difference in pronunciation between “Ms” and “Miss.”

          • ElisabethJoanne

            I do feel that it’d be nice if men’s honorifics also indicated marital status, but I’m fine with “Ms” at work, where, again, it’s simpler, ’cause you’re writing to and speaking with people you’ve never met, and don’t know their marital status.

            But when my cousin writes to me, she knows I’m married, and I like that there’s a way to express that on the envelope. Part of my distaste for “Ms” used socially is, to me, it’s professional, and I don’t mix my social and professional lives.

          • Hope

            I replied to an enquiry for our address in a similar way, except my reply was to make it clear that I kept my name

        • Emily

          Honestly, I think it was laziness on the addresser’s part, they probably didn’t know my last name.

      • Winny the Elephant

        I would be really offended if someone invited me as Mrs. hisfirst histlast even if I was married. I would ask my hubby to call and ask if I was invited because the invitation was only addressed to him

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

      I’m keeping my email address for now. I like that Rees kind of sounds like a middle name, which I considered but didn’t do.

      We recently received a save the date to Mr & Mrs Matt Rees which is just about as wrong as it could be. This is my cousin and his fiancé was at our wedding too. I think it irks me the most because we were so diligent about respecting last peoples last names.

    • Winny the Elephant

      I know a lot of people who use a married name for some things but have other things (like facebook profiles/email addresses) in their maiden name. Lots of people keep using their maiden name for work and just change it for personal stuff. I wouldn’t sweat it.

    • Not Sarah

      What I would probably do if I did change my last name would be to get firstnamenewname@gmail.com and forward it to my current email. Best of both worlds!

  • River

    Ahhh I am late to the Happy Hour as usual, but I had to say thanks again to Sabrina, for posting some gorgeous man-rings last month. Z’s engagement ring has come in the mail!! I let him try it on (it fits!) but now he’ll have to wait (as I did, cough) until I find the right moment to give it to him. I’m pretty sure he knows I’m planning to give it to him under the blue whale at the history museum (because that was his original plan, hehe)…and we’re already engaged, but I’m finding myself nervous to say all the things and give him this ring. I’m planning to drag him there after we go on a wedding venue expedition outside the city this Wednesday. Just typing that made my heart skip a beat.

    Fingers crossed that this time next week, I’ll have an actual wedding date and venue locked down!! And that Z enjoys my re-proposal :-)

  • Michelle

    I have to thank Rachel for writing the Avoiding Burnout post and all of the commenters. I sent it to my two best friends with an e-mail that basically said “Everything in this!!” It’s turned into quite an interesting e-mail exchange between the three of us with a lot of discussion about what it means to be a modern feminist & what we all really want for our futures. And it made me admit things that I wasn’t quite ready to admit to myself. (Like the fact that I somehow feel like a failure because I don’t know “what’s next” even though I achieved my career goals far earlier than I expected in life.)

    In the next few months, I’m planning to move south to be with my boyfriend. I’ve decided that this is going to be my chance to redefine success. It may be that my definition of success is reaching the “dream job” at 26 and starting a new career at 29 when I realized that the “dream job” didn’t fit with my idea of a “dream life.” It may be that I take a semi-step backwards in my career to take a job that is more flexible to the things that are important to me. It may be something that I haven’t even considered to be a possibility yet. But it’s going to be my decision to figure out what success means to me, my partner, and my future even if others don’t understand it.

    So thank you ladies, you have no idea how much that has meant to me.

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

    You guys!!!! The judge in Michigan just ruled the current ban on gay marriage UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!

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

      One of the few things that will get Ohioans to cheer for Michigan!

    • Kayjayoh

      Wisconsin is now surrounded.

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

      Four counties opened their offices this morning and couples are getting married! <3

  • Sabrina

    I need your help APW! We got married on Monday(YAY!!), but about the only thing that could have gone wrong, did go wrong and we don’t know what to do about it. We hired a photographer for our October wedding, but a few weeks ago we decided to get married at the courthouse just the two of us. We had paid for an engagement shoot and had asked him if he would be willing to shoot the courthouse ceremony instead of the engagement shoot and he was kind enough to agree. Except on the day of the ceremony (which was about 2 weeks after we had agreed that he would be there) he just didn’t show up. When I got him on the phone he was very apologetic and said he had just forgotten. He offered to rush down to the courthouse but we where already past the time we where scheduled to start so we told him not to and that we would figure things out later. The next day he sent an email apologizing and offering a free 16×20 print, extra shooting time for the October celebration, and possibly a few extra pages in the wedding album that we had put in our contract.

    We don’t know what to do. I bought a new dress, got my makeup professionally done , and got my nails done all because we where expecting professional pictures to be taken. So now we don’t know if we should ask for our deposit back and try to find another photographer, accept his offer, or ask for something else to make up for it.

    What do you think APW?

    • Sabrina

      Our friends found out what happened and took pictures for us that day, this is my favorite. They know we are both whovians and that I am a mega Tenant fan girl so to cheer me up they included this in the photos they gave us.

    • emilyg25

      Oof, that sucks. I’m so sorry. As for what to do next, that’s really up to you. I could see taking him up on the freebies, watching his communication closely over the coming months and really listening hard to your gut to see if you feel he’s reliable. But personally, I’d ask for my deposit back, or even eat it, and go with a more reliable photog. Have you read any online reviews? They might reveal that this is either an anomaly, totally out of character (in which case, carry on), or hint at a pattern of behavior.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      The ball is totally in your court, and you can take some time to think about it. In a way, you’re better off than you were before this (admittedly, really disheartening) problem. Before, you were contractually obligated to stick with this photographer. Now, you’re free to switch. Why did you choose this photographer? Was his work exceptional? Price? Personality? How stressful was choosing a photographer?

      I’d probably switch, because we chose our photographer based on price, and more money would have been worth not having to get over any grudges for the wedding. But you probably had different reasons for hiring this person, so take a couple weeks to weigh those – or spend 20 minutes researching other photographers. If you go, UGH, probably best to give this guy another chance. If something in you sings, you probably have your answer.

  • Kayjayoh

    Gender stereotype schmender sterotype! I am having one attendant, my sister, and I told her that she could wear whatever she wanted, so long as it wasn’t blue (which I am wearing). Fiance is having seven attendants, including his sister. He has been talking about having all the groomsmen wear matching vests.

    My response has been that I really don’t like it, but they are his groomsmen and he can do what he wants. Just now he confirmed that he is going to go ahead with that plan, but wasn’t sure what to do about his sister. He started to suggest that she can wear something to match my sister, which I vetoed immediately. I told her she didn’t have to match anyone and can wear what she wants. What she will want is not likely to suit Matt’s sister very well *and* it will mean that someone is wearing my sister’s dress. No. No. No.

    Argh. I really hate the matching groomsmen thing, and would have everyone just wear their own clothes if it were up to me. It isn’t. But while I am not going to prevent it, I’m not going to facilitate it either.

    I suppose the good communication/relationship thing to do would be to talk to him and get to the heart of why he wants everyone to match so I understand. And likewise, let him know the heart of why I don’t. We might not agree at the end, but it might be helpful.

    • Kayjayoh

      Seriously, though dude. Let them wear their own clothes!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      FWIW, we had our groomsmen rent formal clothes. We gave them some options at the rental place (ties, shirt, vest), and they both chose to dress exactly like the groom. They didn’t want to have to choose. My mother was similar. I gave her the usual line (“I’m sure whatever you choose will be lovely…”), but she wanted more direction. I think she was very happy when I told her which 1 of the dresses she owned I’d like for her to wear.

      Sometimes people like direction.

      • Kayjayoh

        Here’s direction: wear a vest instead of a suit jacket and nice trousers. Bam! Done. Easy.

      • Kayjayoh

        I wouldn’t be telling them what to wear if they were guests, other than explain the level of formality, and I trust that they would all be able to dress themselves. Ya know?

  • Caroline

    I didn’t get the internship I was hoping to get. But they called me up and said that while I didn’t yet have the skills they need, they really liked me, could see I was really smart and learn fast, and they’d like me to apply again next year for an internship or post-graduation job after some more classes and experience. At first I was really bummed (I had gotten my hopes up too much when they wanted to talk on the phone again instead of emailing a rejection), but I’m realizing this is awesome, really. Yes, the internship would have been great, but this is a top choice company for after I graduate next year, and they are interested in fostering my growth to help me become a good fit. (The recruiter said either of the two people I interviewed with would be happy to discuss which classes to take next semester to get the skills I need).

    It was also my first technical interview, and I learned a LOT about the preparation needed. I think they are probably right that I need more skills before I am what they are looking for, as I have less experience in their area, but I also am pretty sure that if I had started preparing for the technical interview for weeks before I even applied, I would have done much better, and may have even gotten the job (based on the feedback I got about my performance.)

    So overall, I was very bummed this morning but actually? Awesome learning opportunity AND an in at an exciting company when I go to apply to post-graduation jobs. Not so terrible.

  • Emilywearshats

    Just a reminder that the lovely and talented Liz is still funding her kickstarter.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1115363907/betsy-ann-paper-takes-ny

    3 more days!

  • moonlitfractal

    My struggle with Hyperemesis Gravidarum has finally landed me in the hospital for an indefinite amount of time. The good news is that they are able to give me medicines that they couldn’t give me at home and those meds seem to be working (so far). I’m missing a fun book signing, but after a great deal of thought I’ve decided that I’d rather be here and feeling healthy than there and feeling terrible.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Blessings for a recovery that gives you peace of mind and body

  • MEM

    as the article on not having kids says, “My husband and I have had the talk and agree that having kids is not a priority for us. Not now, not in six months, and if we so choose, not ever.” two months ago it was a definite part of “the plan” and then we started actually thinking about it and decided to change the plan. everyone i talk to about it keeps brushing me off because of the “you’ll change your minds” attitude. that may be true, but it still feels like a really really big decision that feels really really right to me (but also makes me a bit sad).

  • Kayjayoh

    My dismay at fiancé’s insistence on matching groomsmen have grown exponentially since he shows me the outfits he wants for them all: these awful paisley things with ascots. It was bad enough when it was just matching. This is agressively matching and ugly. I truly hate them, to the point of being awake at 6 in the morning thinking about how very much I do.

    Combine the degree to which I hate the damn matching paisley things…they will all match and look completely ridiculous next to what my sister and I are wearing. It’s a combo of agressively matching *and* agressively clashing. (And a tiny part of me thinks, “And of course people will think these terrible outfits are the bride’s idea.” Petty, but there you go.)

    Having talked to him about it, he says that one of the pleasures of being a groomsman is the uniform. I guess. I don’t know. Not a dude myself. One of the non-pleasures of being a bridesmaid has always been the bride making you wear hideous taffeta monstrosities, so I can’t relate.

    I know I won’t care about this on the day itself, but at the moment it makes me want to cry.

    • Violet

      I can tell how much this is tormenting you, I’m so sorry! The knowledge that some people are going to assume it was your choice is definitely a bummer. For me, it was that my partner decided (in winter, when we were planning) that he wanted hot buttered rum passed around during cocktail hour (still the bar with other options, but this was what was passed). I knew that this would be odd when our wedding occurred IN APRIL, but he wanted it and I let it go. Sure enough, wedding came, it was funny, no one wants hot buttered rum in April. Haha. And I’m sure some people thought it was my idea.
      Your issue is aesthetics *and* what the aesthetics mean. From a pure visual standpoint, you have objections. But it also sounds like you think the visual thing will MEAN something to other people (eg, that you, the bride, think his men can’t dress themseves, so you assigned paisley. Or you, the bride, thinks this looks good. etc.). When really it MEANS your man thinks this is cool. He can’t wait to have a “team” of guys wearing a uniform, being his team, his army, his gang. I get his reasoning, and I get yours. Truly. And I think that’s why this is so hard. There’s no real right or wrong, but you’re absolutely right there may be some perceptions about it. That definitely stings, and it’s so hard to keep in focus that your partner’s happiness with his choice matters more than other people’s judgment.
      (From a visual standpoint, you can definitely have pictures of just you and your gal(s), you+partner+gals, etc. So you needn’t see paisley all the time.)
      ((Also, cry if you need to, it’s okay.))

      • Kayjayoh

        I feel annoyed at myself for being upset about this, but there it is.

        We also seem to have gotten to the point that I can’t say anything at all about the topic without hurting his feelings. And I’ve already been walking on eggshells.

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

    why the hell is it so hard to find dresses for my bridesmaids that i like?? does anyone have any experience with modcloth?? we were all going to get them there but im a little worried about the quality after reading some reviews? i wanted them all to be different, but ya know, look good together and make sense. one of my bridesmaids ordered her dress from there and it just came in the mail and sent me a pic and i mean, of course it needs to be steamed and all that and with heels and make up and it will look more bridesmaidy but im afraid of them looking too forever 21 ish?? ALSO our ceremony is at 5:30 in the afternoon (after we got double booked that day so another ceremony is happening at 4, right before ours!) and now im worried that the idea for springtime-y knee length dresses wont look right at that time? but the sunset isnt supposed to be till later since its June…sheesh, the stress is coming. Am i okay?? anyone have advice? will short, springtimey dresses be okay at 5:30?? (and if you read this jumbled mess, thank you from the bottom of my burnt-coffee overdosing heart)

    • TeaforTwo

      It will definitely be fine at that time of day – the sun goes down pretty late in June (longest days of the year!). Think about all how it feels when you leave work in June on a warm sunny day…perfect for a few hours having cocktails on a patio. In a springtimey outfit. Won’t be a problem.

      As to Modcloth, in my experience the main issue with Modcloth is that the dresses are often WAY TOO SHORT for grown women. (Or at least this grown woman.) They have a “longer lengths” section that would help you weed out the problem dresses. And my bridesmaid ordered a Modcloth dress that she decided was too short, in the end, and had a seamstress sew on another 4 inches of coordinating lace. It looked great.

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

        thank you SO much for your reply! I too wondered about the length- in the picture they all look like babydoll dresses! My bridesmaid that already ordered hers, however, is pretty short and she said it’s to her knees. yay! and yeah, about the sunset thing, I think I all of the sudden got panicked about it all- feeling like it was all on me and what if x,y, and z go wrong and I was wrong about them all??? Thank you for your reassurance :)

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

      I shop Modcloth ALL the time. The reviews are your friend. Search for people with similar measurements to your girls. I am short so I find most of their dresses a little long… but I like mini dresses so knee length is long for me. Bonus: best return policy in the business. No questions and a real person answers your emails. I had a return backed up by bad weather and they were awesome about the late return. I have bought lots of dresses, shoes, and tunics and I’ve been super happy with them (returns mostly due to size, not quality issues).

  • Eh

    I really don’t like opening gifts in front of people. (I understand that gift giving/opening is generally part of showers – but in that case the person receiving the gifts is generally not the person hosting the party.) I also don’t really enjoy watching people open gifts – I don’t really find it that entertaining, not even when the person opens the gift I gave them. At my family’s Christmas we don’t get many gifts so it’s not bad. On the other hand, my husband’s family is obsessed with giving gifts and having them opened in front of a big group (they go crazy with presents at Christmas).

    Today we had a housewarming party. (We moved into our house two months ago Yea!) I seriously debated putting “No Gifts” on the invitations but my in-laws would have been insulted and they would have brought gifts anyways. Anyways as people arrived we set aside all of the gifts (I didn’t want them in the main areas where we were entertaining so they were not the focus of the party). Then part way through the party, while I was talking to some of my guests my husband mentioned that his mother and grandmother were asking when we were opening the gifts. I said we weren’t (I’m hosting a party – I’m trying to entertain people, make sure everyone has drinks, making sure there is enough found out, answering the door, giving tours of the house and mingling – opening gifts is not high on my priority list). A little while later they asked again. I said that a housewarming party is about showing off the house and interacting with guests and not opening presents. I also mentioned that I’ve been to tons of house warming parties where the hosts did not open the presents in front of the guests. His grandmother pointed out that the party was winding down (most of my friends had left and it was mostly just his family left) so I didn’t need to entertain the guests as much. My husband more or less told me that since his grandmother wanted us to open the gifts that we should; especially since we had opened one of the gifts already before one of our friends left. I gave in and we opened the gifts.

    I didn’t feel like I had any good response in the moment as to why we shouldn’t open them right then (I was a little exhausted from hosting – I had been cleaning and prepping food for the last two days). His grandmother was right, the party was winding down so I wasn’t as busy, and my husband was right we had already opened one of the gifts. I also felt that my husband wasn’t really supporting me since he knows that I don’t like opening gifts in front of people. He grew up in a family where they are very materialistic and giving gifts is how they show their affection (I’m not saying that my family wouldn’t have brought gifts, but they would have brought wine or food and they wouldn’t have expected us to open it in front of them), and he wants to please his mother and grandmother.

    In the future I would like to handle the situation better. I also hope my husband is more supportive in the future (he had to go to work right after the party but we will be talking about this tomorrow).

    • mere…

      Just wanted to empathize with you a little. I absolutely hate opening gifts in front of people – even gifts I sincerely love or am excited about! I was talking to my hairstylist about this once and she mentioned she has a friend who requests that none of her friends wrap presents to her (for birthdays, showers, etc.). This is both more eco-friendly AND allows her friend the opportunity to avoid opening gifts in front of people. I haven’t quite figured out how to word this on future invitations, but I LOVE the idea.
      It sounds a little like his grandmother may be a bit more old-fashioned and she wanted to “share” in the gift giving experience. My husband’s father loves giving gifts though and takes great pride in the research and thought he puts into gifts. It has always been a very hard situation balancing meeting his emotional needs of giving thoughtful presents AND my emotional needs of avoiding the anxiety-ridden situation of opening gifts. At first I would often try and use an excuse: “we don’t have many presents this year b/c of our budget and really wanted to save some presents to open ON Christmas morning”. However, this past year he pulled me aside and near begged me to open a present from him before I left his home. I finally just had to explain to him that opening presents causes me great anxiety and being the center of attention takes away from my ability to appreciate the very kind gesture. I explained that if he REALLY wanted me to open a present, I would because I loved him and was thankful, but ultimately it was just out of my comfort zone. I don’t think he understood at all (I mean, how hard is tearing off some wrapping paper?), but being able to give him a concrete reason did stop him from repeatedly asking me to open his gift. And because I know how important gifts are to him I made sure to communicate after I had opened his gift how much I loved it, how thoughtful it was, etc.
      So I guess all this to say, what has worked best for me is that going into a situation where gifts will be exchanged I try to have the conversation with the people who I suspect WILL care or want me to open their presents before the event or in private during it. It’s never fun to fess up to some of my crazy anxiety issues, but I prefer that to actually opening presents. And then I just make sure they know after the fact how much I loved (even if I didn’t) the gift.

      • Eh

        Thanks! His grandmother and mother are both very old fashioned. I can see their point – they want to share in it. I have to prepare for Christmas (their Christmases make me very anxious because it’s a free for all – everyone is opening gifts at the same time and there are so many gifts so I’m worrying about who is watching me and if my reaction is appropriate while there is an insane amount of stimulation), I had to prepare for my bridal shower (that was super awkward since there were people I didn’t know), and at our gift opening after our wedding (which I agreed to because my family was coming from out of town and I wanted to spend more time with them) I had my husband open the gifts (which helped a lot). I didn’t have time to prepare for gift opening at our housewarming. I spent two days getting ready for the housewarming while being kept up to date about a family emergency and then my husband deciding that he needed help doing electrical work on our house before the party (I was a bit stressed). I was first hoping that it wouldn’t come up and then I was hoping that they would respect my decision to not open the gifts. The event was intended as a come-and-go event and pretty much they weren’t going to leave until I opened the gifts.

        From an environmental perspective I would prefer unwrapped gifts and I think that would help as people could give me the gift and I could thank them on the spot and I don’t need to sit in front of a whole group of people while being the centre of attention unwrapping the gifts and be worried about if my reaction to the gift was appropriate. My in-laws would not go for it though. His relatives are big on gift bags and hording gift bags. His aunt made a comment about how she put her gift in a “neutral” designed gift bag so it could be used for many different occasions.

        I talked to my husband this morning, and he agreed that he was out of line and that he should have supported me. I don’t think my in-laws will understand (as you said, “how hard is tearing off some wrapping paper?”). I do want to talk to them about it because I don’t want them to think that my refusal was me being rude. If my husband had talked to me in a separate room I would also have felt better (we have repeatedly discussed not having those types of discussions in front of people). He could have probably talked me into it (since it means a lot to his mother and grandmother and his mother is very much about appearances so me making a “scene” by saying no would not go over well) and it would have given me time to prepare a little bit but he would have had to open the gifts (we split them – his thinking is that it would be over faster but it makes my anxiety worse because of the over stimulation and having to react excite for two gifts at the same time).

        I think one way to get around it is to open the gifts as people arrive. The problem yesterday is that seven people (with four gifts) arrived all at once so I don’t know how that would have worked. I have less of an issue with opening gifts in one-on-one situations (or even like in front of a couple – though I do worry about if my reaction is appropriate it’s not as intense as in front of a big group) so it might be a way around it. The one gift that we had opened was because my friend wanted us to open the gift in front of her but she had to leave early so we went into another room and my husband and I opened the gift with her and her husband there. It wasn’t really what I wanted to do but it bothered me less than being bullied by my in-laws into opening gifts and then being thrown under the bus by my husband.

        • mere…

          Well, I’m glad you have a partner who tries to help you out and who you can talk through things like this with. My husband is the same way, but we can get caught off guard to: sometimes I forget to warn him going into situations to remember my social anxiety and he sometimes forgets I have those issues since the concept is so foreign to him. Now we are still working on our telepathy since we try not to have “those types of discussions” in front of people, ha.
          I actually didn’t have any wedding showers because of my gift opening avoidance. I figured guests would instead bring gifts to the ceremony & I would get to open them at home… but actually a lot of guests just opted to not give gifts at all. And of course that’s so not the point of a wedding, but I’ll confess I was disappointed. So, I try to remind myself of that too when I need to open gifts. It’s a little more selfish of a reasoning for powering through my anxiety, but I mean, I do like presents.

          • Eh

            My husband has social anxiety too it just manifests itself in different ways. For example, he shuts down in stressful situations or he will do anything (without thinking) to get out of the stressful situation faster (so agreeing with his grandmother was an fast way to resolve the conflict and opening two gifts at a time meant the focus was on us for the shortest period of time, forgetting that I have an issue with over stimulation and forgetting how my feelings would be hurt that he didn’t support me). And he frequently speaks before thinking (yesterday he asked if we needed to put up the baby gate and I said not because none of the toddlers were coming – then a few minutes later when I mentioned that our friends had arrived he got really excited about seeing their toddler.) He’s also pretty new to the whole partnership thing – he didn’t really date anyone before me so sometimes he forgets that he needs to take me and my feelings into consideration. For most of his life he had to please his mother and grandmother (who are much alike so it’s pretty easy) and now he has a hard time dealing with the fact that I might not agree with his mother/grandmother.

            I’m not going to lie, I do like presents but presents in my family were something special and generally a nice surprise (i.e., they weren’t anticipated – other than on birthdays and Christmas but even then we didn’t get very many but we didn’t know any different). Gifts in my husband’s family are thrown around like candy. I’ve noticed that people in his family expect gifts and that some family members are always giving out gifts (as I previously mentioned it’s how they show their affection). We didn’t have the house warming party for gifts. We really wanted to have people over. We knew people were going to bring them but we wanted the focus to be on the house and not the gifts.

            My husband would be so into telepathy. lol Most of the time when we are having one of those conversations in front of people it’s when his parents call him and ask him if we can do something with them. He will turn to me and ask me if we are free (he doesn’t actually tell me what they want to do). And my response is that we will discuss it when he gets off the phone and he can call them back. Then he remembers that he’s not supposed to ask me while he’s on the phone, he’s supposed to tell his father that when he gets off the phone he’ll ask me and call him back.