APW Happy Hour


Adventures in new puppy ownership

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

Hey APW,

Maddie here, writing from the hazy banks of new puppy ownership. Y’all, I heard it was hard work getting a puppy. But holy crap, I was not prepared for how difficult these first few weeks would be. (My mom says that when it comes to babies and puppies, she’ll take new babies every day of the week. Which is probably how I ended up with so many siblings.) Thank god for an understanding work environment, a good co-puppy parent, and this stuff. Oh and a really cute puppy. Cute puppy doesn’t hurt. Seriously, look at this face:

english mastiff puppy

In addition to the regular stresses of new puppy ownership (chewing on everything, energy for days, general floppiness of body), I spent a few days with the new puppy in the city when a friend was in town, and was amazed at how frequently I was on the receiving end of some really intense mansplaining about how to raise a dog. While most people I talk to are glad to offer helpful and reassuring advice, there’s a weird subsect of people who are very into giving unsolicited soliloquies about how amazing they are at dog training and how you could be doing better. Is this what having kids is like? Because yeesh.

However, if you are considering new puppy ownership, I found this e-book super comforting. I don’t know how verified the information is, but a few chapters of “this is normal” will do wonders for a girl’s spirit. And if you’re an old pro, please share your best knowledge, advice, and resources in the comments for me? I’d rather hear it from you than random dudes in Bernal Heights.

And with that, I should go, because the puppy is probably eating the wall right now. (WHY PUPPY WHY?!) But it’s your happy hour anyway, so get to it.

Cheers,

Maddie

link roundup

Best news of the week: two new Harry Potter movies, y’all.

How three fierce female Supreme Court justices are changing the rules while hearing the Texas abortion case.

When you “should” settle down with someone, according to science.

Victorian era drag queens. BOOM.

For all the writers: writing is a valid contribution to the revolution.

Get ready to cry (Najva did) over this laundry detergent commercial.

The woman who started #OscarsSoWhite.

If Hillary Clinton became president, who would be the first lady?

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

Staff Picks

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  • anon for this

    Sorry for the first comment being kind of a bummer advice request, but I’ve been refreshing all afternoon, hoping to get some wisdom from the compassionate, intelligent APW crowd on this for awhile now…

    Does anyone have advice regarding a grieving mother-in-law? Vaguely speaking, what is the line between “Grief takes many different forms, I am stronger than her right now, and I need to be the one to take her slings/arrows” and “She is unfairly lashing out at and targeting me, becoming borderline abusive, and I need my husband to set some boundaries again.”

    When is it fair and/or appropriate to ask your also grieving husband to do something like this? Is it ever in the months following a death? Do I need to continue sucking up being aggressively reminded all the ways in which I am not and never will be “family”? Is this part of the For Worse or is this an example of where being my husband’s ultimate priority should come into play? I am being genuine in these questions, for the record. I really don’t know.

    For additional context, my MIL has a history of reactive behavior after life upheavals, which have resulted in multiple estrangements (4 of her 7 living siblings, her late husband’s entire family—they had to have a separate memorial service for him). So everyone is on eggshells in addition to being genuinely compassionate after her husband’s death. If anyone follows Captain Awkward, I think her behavior in grief is a bit of a “missing stair,” but I do feel that the grief element complicates it. When life is stable, she is generally stable and loving, if a bit guarded and occasionally touchy.

    • Violet

      Oh, I am so sorry you’re in this predicament. Not to answer your question with another question, but is there any reason why you’re asking if the solution is for your husband to set the boundaries? I don’t know how he’s processing his grief right now, but it might be a really hard time for him to do this. Can you set the boundaries for yourself, yourself? If she starts ranting how you’re not family, look her in the eye, stand up, and leave the room? If she’s on the phone ranting, say (whether she stops to listen or not) “I don’t allow people to speak like this to me, so I’m going to hang up.” and then do it? And then repeat, repeat, repeat, until your husband is present enough to observe this is happening and support?

      • anon for this

        No, that’s very fair. I guess I’m still operating under our usual Diplomats To Our Family model, but sometimes models need to be adjusted for circumstances. This is an important reminder!

        My main concern with setting my own boundaries is that she really *is* a grudge-holder (even after things settle down) and I feel like she’s focusing all of her anger and frustration at me, which is how all of the other estrangements began. I really don’t think it’s beyond her to stop talking to her son’s wife, for good, if I step ‘out of line’ at a time like this. So I guess I’m hoping (maybe unfairly building on what you said, maybe naively in general) that if my husband takes a united front with me, that it would make it harder for her to completely cut me out. :-/

        • Violet

          Yikes, I am so sorry! If she does cut you out, I’m assuming it would later down the line, when your husband would be emotionally present again. And he’d, in that case, have your back, right?

          • anon for this

            Oh yes, 100%. We’re partners through and through. But dealing with something like his mother refusing to acknowledge me would hurt my husband a lot, especially in these circumstances, so I’d [obviously] like to avoid it if possible. It might not be–it could end up being that no matter what I do, this is building to that point based on historical patterns. But I really hope not.

        • Eenie

          Is it going to be easier for your husband to set boundaries now or tell her to drop the grudge later? That situation sucks I’m sorry.

        • Lawyerette510

          You can’t control her reactions, only your own actions. Your primary duty is to take care of yourself, even before you take care of your spouse, because if you’re not well/safe/etc, you can’t be there for him.

          • jb123

            Yes! Put on your oxygen mask before helping others.

    • Emily

      This is so hard. Having a “guarded and occasionally touchy” MIL myself I am trying to think what I would do in this situation. I think, that your duty is first and foremost to your partner–if he is also grieving I would focus on HIS needs… does he need his mother now? In which case I think I would maybe just back-off the situation entirely and let your partner spend time with his mother while you spend time in the background, out of her way. If your husband would prefer to grieve away from her or with other family, then that’s your back-out excuse “we have to spend some time alone to process” and also gets you out of being her target practice. Once things calm down a bit (say, 6-9 months) perhaps have a general discussion with your partner about how she has treated you and how you would like to handle family emergencies in the future. Hope things get better soon.

    • rg223

      So, this obviously isn’t the full story, but from what you’ve said here, I think it’s totally appropriate for you to ask your husband to set boundaries! Because frankly, targeting and lashing out at you because you “aren’t family” are completely separate issues from her grief. It might be worse because she’s grieving, but that doesn’t make it okay. It’s not being insensitive to her grief to enforce that boundary. If you were saying, “she keeps talking about her husband and I’m sick of hearing about it” or “she’s being really clingy and needy with my husband and i want it to stop”, then I would say give her time, she’s grieving. But this situation doesn’t sound like that. And your husband can and I think should stick up for you. I know you want to put his needs first, but that doesn’t mean putting up with abuse. That’s not a fair trade-off. Gosh, this stuff is so hard though. Good luck!

    • Laura C

      Oof. The husband part of the question is the hard one for me. Usually I’m all for each partner being the one to set boundaries with their own family, but maybe not under these circumstances. But it is so tough to do that with an in-law, never mind a grieving one who’s prone to estrangements.

      How is she treating your husband? Is it all aimed at you? Is there a way to simply take yourself out of these situations without abandoning him? And what’s your comfort level with what Violet suggested as far as just very calmly and quietly saying no, not matching her tone or dwelling on the abstract boundaries, just saying no to that particular moment?

    • Essssss

      I’m the grieving spouse with the grieving mom in this situation, and I’d just say, grief is no reason to be abusive, and you don’t deserve to be treated badly. But there might be choices between “just take it” and “make husband fix it.” I’d encourage you to really focus on self care, and physically remove yourself from her behavior as much as possible order to be healthy and care for yourself, which will allow you to better support your husband and get through the way that this loss is hurting you too. And I’d encourage you to do what you can to care for yourself while not expecting your husband to fix everything with the MIL boundaries. While his role with his mom is generally going to be to set boundaries, I would say from my personal experience it becomes a lot harder to set boundaries with a parent when you are both in shock/hurting. It took me a good 6 months to be able to feel like I had some emotional space to tell my mom “no” when needed. For us, this was mostly around time and how much of it I had to give her. And my husband’s self care reaction was to plan time away on his own when I couldn’t say no. Have you seen the circles of grief diagram? It could be helpful to you in this situation in just responding to this stress by leaning out- on your family and friends for support- rather than leaning in, on your husband: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/opinion/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407. Grief support groups are also incredibly helpful. Good luck! Grief changes everyone, and I hope that your MIL can create space for gratitude and grace towards you.

      • anon for this

        Thank you, this is an enlightening perspective. This triggered the thought that it seems like a lot of her anger is due to my sheer presence, when she wants exclusive time alone with my husband. In a way, she might even resent that I live with him, cry with him, and always have access to him that she doesn’t have, and wishes I would just…not be around. That’s at odds with my husbands’ stated needs at this time, but it’s still something to consider in how I move forward and my interactions with her.

        I’m so sorry for your loss.

        • Essssss

          Thank you, anon. That might be what’s going through her head. And it doesn’t mean that’s right or OK. But its definitely true that loss shakes up all the family of origin/new spouse family identities in weird ways whether or not you’re dealing with someone who already has a pattern of estrangements. Wishing you and your spouse compassion towards yourselves and each other as you navigate all this. And again I can’t recommend some kind of couples or individual counseling, or a support group enough.

        • Amy March

          Also consider your needs in this equation. She needs alone time with your husband. He needs you there. But you need to not be the subject of abuse, and that’s also important. So her need is not getting met all the time, but he might not get his need met all the time either. If right now his need of having you there is getting met all the time, maybe it can’t be, because you also have needs.

          If you not being around helps her and helps you –> more of you not being around.

          I don’t think now is necessarily a great time for setting boundaries and having discussions, but that doesn’t mean you just need to be there suffering all of this.

          • Lawyerette510

            I think you make a good point, about anon not sacrificing her wellness and emotional safety (that is at risk when with the MIL) in order to 100 meet spouse’s needs of not being alone with the mother.

            Like they say on the airplane announcement, put your air-mask on before helping someone else.

          • Essssss

            Yup! Even though it was incredibly comforting to have my spouse by my side continually during what was a complete blur of events, when he did step away to do nice things to take care of himself, it was very comforting to me. I knew that this loss was going to be a marathon recovery and that if he was able to care for himself, he’d be more able to care for me. I tried to express this, and he tried to communicate his needs respectfully. I think communication is just so much the key. And continues to be months afterward. It was especially kind when he would say, “I just need to get away and go on a bike ride right now.” AND “And what are you going to do for yourself in the mean time? Do you want a friend to come over? Do you need a shower? etc.”

          • anon for this

            Just as a quick point of clarification, it’s not that he doesn’t want to be alone with his mom, it’s that he wants me with him. Semantical maybe, but I just want to be clear that he doesn’t feel emotionally unsafe, unhappy, and/or uncomfortable being with his mom. It’s more that he has asked me to be with him whenever possible because he feels a yearning to be with me, probably in a similar way his mom feels a yearning to be with him.

            So it seems like “whenever possible” maybe needs to have not such a literal interpretation, which is very practical advice.

          • Lawyerette510

            I think you’ve hit the nail on the head: just because something is physically possible (like you being with him every time he’s with his mom) doesn’t mean it’s emotionally possible (or even if possible, not emotionally sustainable). Good luck and sending thoughts of healing to everyone involved in this situation.

    • jb123

      This is such a hard question, and I’m so sorry it’s something you and your family (because you definitely ARE family) are going through right now. I have a few ideas for ways you can handle this, but I think first and foremost is self-care and self-love. These are in the order that seems most important to me, but may not be most important to you:

      1) Do your best to avoid situations where she is prone to lashing out (maybe that’s in-person visits or on the phone?) and try to schedule something self-loving right after you have to be in those situations: a trip to the gym, ice cream with a friend, a massage etc.

      2) Tell your husband gently that this is getting hard. “Husband, I’m doing my best to be supportive of you and of your mother right now. Her grief is coloring a lot of our conversations and she’s been very unkind. I can handle it for now [until you can’t] but I wanted you to know so that it doesn’t come out of left field if I can’t handle it later or if I need extra support from you [alone time, trips to the gym, ice cream, etc…]. I love both of you and I’m here for you.”

      3) Respond calmly when you can to her. “That was a very unkind thing to say and it hurts my feelings to think that’s how you feel about me. I know I can’t understand your grief, but I do empathize with how you’re feeling. I’m trying to help as much as I can. I’m going [elsewhere, for a walk, home, just away from you] for a little while to give you some time by yourself.”

      4) Do a few kind things from afar. Send over or drop off a meal for her. Send her a season of a tv show or a book she might like. While your’e there and giving her space, do the dishes or change a lightbulb or take out the trash. Do this out of love for your husband and respect for the relationship he has with his mother, but also out of respect for the person she usually is and the relationship that I’m sure you’ve had to work hard to build with her. Do these things without expecting her to notice or say thank you.

      5) Give yourself more self love.

      After this is over, start with some of the Captain’s missing stair advice. If it helps to give yourself a countdown for how long you can handle it, do that. If that makes it more stressful, don’t do that but also don’t be afraid to admit when it’s crossed to the other side.

      Jedi hugs.

  • Kalë

    Wow puppy yes! Just wanted to take a moment to commiserate. I love puppy, all puppies, but puppies are hard, yall. They are messy and drive you crazy and steal your sleep and your favorite (dirty) underwear. But with lots of treats and an equal amount of accidents, they turn into dogs! Dogs that understand “no” and “come” and don’t eat socks anymore and will cuddle without wiggling and jumping too much on those lazy Friday mornings when you absolutely must stay in bed until 7:27. Thanks for sharing your puppy pics and love… here’s some love from my (XL) puppy. *(Disclaimer: photo is from Christmas card photoshoot… for the Christmas cards that are still, yes still, sitting on my dresser, waiting to be addressed and sent out. Is March too late?)*

    • Eenie

      I’d love to get that card tomorrow.

      • Totch

        Seconded. If you want to be cheeky about it, wait a bit longer and send them for Christmas in July!

        • Eenie

          Yeah, who thinks “someone I love sent me mail, ugh it’s a cute dog too.”

          • Kalë

            Haha, “gross, they were thinking of me…”. You ladies have inspired me! I’ll push past my shame baby of “didn’t get them out in time” and just freakin’ send em out. And I’m framing this picture. I love my furry guy.

    • Ashlah

      So cuuuute! I’d accept that card anytime.

      • Jessica

        Seriously! Can I get that card?

    • MC

      Send ’em! We snoozed on doing Christmas cards, and then also snoozed on doing New Year’s cards, so we just ordered moving announcements (after moving almost 2 months ago…) that we will hopefully send out in a couple weeks. Better late than never, especially when a cute furry friend is in the mix!

    • Ms. Yes

      Totally send them! I think one year I sent my cards out in June and people still enjoyed them. Laughed a bit and now I have a bit of a reputation, but hey… if they are receiving a card, well they probably know and love you just the same :-)

    • A.

      We have a 7 month old puppy and while he’s a total cutie lovebug, he is also a terror demon from heck and the reason why we haven’t had our (gorgeous, room-pulling-together, *sigh*) rugs out since the day he came home. And I don’t think there’s anyone in our household who is looking forward to him becoming a capital-D-Dog than our patient, rock-solid, sweetie pie 4-year-old spaniel.

      Also, natch, your pup = <3 <3 <3 GOOGLY EYES <3 <3 <3 …Send them!!

      • Kalë

        Total solidarity, lady. That age is HORRIBLE. For our guy, he was just big enough (60 lbs maybe?) to be too big to easily wrangle, and would get into these running FITS. And biting! So much nipping and biting that like, actually hurts. But with age comes peace, I can promise you that. And rugs, beautiful, wonderous, room-pulling-together rugs. Sending patience to ya!

        • J. Budd

          PUPPY IS SO ADORABLE! Did the puppy thing a little less than two years ago. My husband and I learned that I am really terrible with no sleep and he is quite functional (thank goodness one of us is), some dogs just will never like their crates despite trying every single tactic on the web (clock, warm water bottle, kongs), but all of a sudden the crazy puppy is a well trained dog. In the middle of it, we said we would never get another puppy . . now two years out with this great dog,we are already planning our for our second. They are surprisingly hard though! Also, we have an older dog and he really appreciates his younger “sister” now.

          Stay patient and always have treats on you. Best way to train for sure is with bribes . . I mean treats.

          Mona before and on her first birthday. Good luck!

          • Jessica

            The ears!

    • April

      Awwww look at this little guy. :D!!!

    • CMT

      I would be happy to get that card at any time of the year. It actually would really make me smile to get it some other time than the holidays.

    • NotMarried!

      March is absolutely not too late … I would love to receive this in the mail any time of year!

  • savannnah

    Adorable puppy!
    Guys. I need some help navigating different families/cultures feelings about spending money and the idea of saving vs. spending money on something that is deemed worth it. My and I live in the NYC metro area and make decent money. Enough so that we are planning on saving and spending about $20,000 of our own on a wedding weekend in New England in 18 months. We have already saved up $8,000 towards this. We are both on board with this budget and had a lot of discussions about why we are spending that much money and how it meets our goals of creating a family of choice while also honoring the families we were born into (biggest line item is the 200 guest list)
    My parents, who live in New England are supportive of this plan and are helping us out with some additional cash. My fiance’s family comes from the Midwest and are probably unable to help us with any costs besides getting to New England and we have told them a few times that their presence is all we need and we mean it. They live a very frugal life, partially out of necessity, but also part of out of tradition and habit. They used to be a family of farmers until really recently and now live in a rural city of 35,000 off of the farms. My fiance has taught me how to value savings more and I’ve taught him that spending $9 on a really really good sandwich or beer is sometimes worth it. My fiance told his mom yesterday how much money we were planning on spending (and that number will only rise, lets be real) on the wedding and she was shocked and upset. She cautioned him that it was a down payment on a house or all of his student loans for 5 hours of our life and how could we be thinking about doing that.
    My fiance’s two older brothers both recently got married in the Midwest and she told him they did it for 3-5K and why did we think we need to do anything more than that. My fiance did explain to her that we are looking a wedding weekend and prices are different in the east coast vs. Midwest but mostly he just said that we haven’t signed anything yet and we would think about what she said.
    We both know it is his job to deal with his families issues during the wedding but I have a great relationship with his mom and I don’t want this to get in between us. I also want her to enjoy the wedding without looking at everything and just seeing wasted money, which is something my fiance’ said was likely but that she would get over it. I am just not sure how to explain the idea that while yes, we could get coors light for a dollar a bottle like his brothers both did, we want the local craft beer at a higher price because it’s important to us and…I’m just not sure how to say that without coming across as your things are not good enough for me or your son anymore. I am also stressing the idea that she will probably tell her other children and family members about this and it will become a thing. Any advice?

    • Violet

      Sigh, money is never just about money, is it?

      This sounds like your fiance’s parents are realizing that he has evolved his values over time, without their full awareness. Hearing the sticker price probably just opened their eyes to a reality that has been present all along, and for some time, in a really abrupt way. It can feel really jarring to suddenly realize your loved one has changed (particularly if it now makes them less like you). Unless you’re truly planning on changing your values or compromising them to make his parents feel more comfortable, I say you let him handle their acclimatization process. He at least started off where they are now, so I think he’s a better translator for what you guys are doing than you would be.

      • another lady

        also, sounds like mid-west small-town parents may not realize just how much it costs to get married where you want. they probably also don’t realize just how much houses and cost of living is in your area (probably WAY more than they are used to!) would they recommend that you only spend $X on rent because that is now much brother in Midwest pays?

        • savannnah

          Yes. Both these points are totally part of the whole issue. When his parents come out to visit us and we go to a bar we frequent, they mostly talk about how overpriced all the beer and food is, even though we always treat, and it makes me feel so deflated. Its a lot of culture around the worth or value of something and different cost of living issues.

        • BSM

          I had the same thought when they said $20k is a down payment–not in NYC or the Bay Area (where I live), unfortunately.

    • another lady

      an a related note – ask the brother’s / SIL’s how much was actually spent on their wedding in total, because I’m guessing that it was more than $3-5K. My dad was also surprised at how much we spent ($13-15K+) on our wedding because he thought that my brother only spent $7K on his. But, when talking to brother, we found out that, nope, $10-12K was actually spent on their wedding in total, just my brother and wife PERSONALLY only spent $7K and only told my dad that amount, for now obvious reasons. Most people we know who had a ‘traditional’ wedding in the mid-west spent $10-15K+. So, $20K on the east coast seems reasonable if not modest! You might just have to not talk about it with that side of the family from now on, or fudge the numbers a bit. Do they REALLY need to know how much you spent on things?

      • rg223

        Second the last sentence. You guys are adults using your own money (or at least, not theirs), and you don’t have to tell them what you’re spending on what.

        • savannnah

          I agree, but my fiance had a strong reaction to my question of ‘why did you tell her if you knew it was gonna be an issue?” He thinks it would be like keeping a secret and not fair especially since my mother knows the amount since my parents are given a percentage of the total cost. From now on, we are planning on keeping things vague but hes not great at deferring direct questions from her. errgh.

          • Danielle

            This could be a good learning opportunity for you both: This is how MIL responds when she learns the specifics of your finances. Do you both want to deal with the fallout for future purchases/investments? Could be a good time to have some interesting (read: possibly difficult) discussions about your future communication, sharing etc.

            Also: I’m from NYC and my hubby is from a small Midwestern town; we live in a mid-sized Midwestern city. Cost of living is so much different here, expectations about weddings and saving and spending and earning are different too. In terms of regional and class differences, we come from really different backgrounds. Sounds like that might be the case with you and your fiance as well. My advice is try to be gentle with yourselves during this process. It’s not easy to negotiate differences regarding money, class and the emotions that go along with it. So you may need to have difficult talks, but treat yourself to ice cream (or whatever) afterward.

            That was literally our strategy.

          • rg223

            Yeah, I suspected that might be the case when you said fiance told her. I’m glad you have a plan to keep things vague. I feel for your fiance. He’s in a tough spot and he might feel like he’s stuck in the middle. Good luck to you both!

      • Keeks

        It sounds like the mother can be gossipy about money, so the brothers very well may have fudged some of the numbers to be more ‘palatable’ for public knowledge! I have a nosy SIL who was dyyyyying to know how much things cost, if my dad (her ex-stepfather-in-law) paid for it since he “didn’t give them a dime for their wedding,” etc. I was very vague and even a little misleading about costs on that entire side of the family since I knew she was nosing around.

        I’m a little evil, though – I enjoyed seeing her ask really rude questions and get shut down. Also, our relatively modest yet traditional Midwestern wedding cost $20k, so I think you’re getting a great deal!

        • savannnah

          I’m not sure its gossipy as much as it feels like a morality thing if that makes sense. Like we are irresponsible and that is not how she raised her son to value work/money/life goals. It just feels really big but the APW fam is being super helpful!

          • Keeks

            Totally makes sense, I come from a frugal family and there’s a “moral” component to it. Wedding planning is just one of the first times where your baby family’s values are set out for all to see, so there’s bound to be some growing pains. You’ll get it worked out!

          • Alex

            things are not wide open spaces in the northeast so property and everything associated with it (be that an event hall or food from caterers who have to pay more rent for their kitchens where they cook their food or higher taxes and higher rents for brewers) is more expensive. i’m in the northeast too (parents are in the south) and they’re shocked at how much stuff costs so i’ve completely stopped discussing all things money related because they just have no comprehension of it.

            …and craft beer >>>>> coors lite

          • savannnah

            YES about the coors lite. My initial instinct is to side eye that hard…but then I have to remember my mantra of “not better or worse, just different”

          • Ashlah

            It’s amazing how touchy the topic of beer can be! My dad, and a big part of my family, are hardcore cheap, domestic, light beer drinkers (Coor’s, Keystone), while other family and friends are big into the local brewery scene and brew their own beer. People are really attached to “their” beer! We decided to compromise by having a keg of each.

          • Lisa

            We are definitely craft beer enthusiasts, and I really don’t care for the light domestics. My husband’s best friend and his wife helped us move into our Badtown apartment, and we bought pizza and beer to thank them for their help. When I saw the 6 pack of Bud Light as we were walking up the steps to our new apartment, I asked why in the world he bought it, and he said the friend’s wife liked it. The wife and I have a strained relationship, and I made a joke to my husband, “Oh, I guess X and I can never be friends now–our tastes in beers are too incompatible!” And then we rounded the corner to the top of the stairs to see the couple sitting on our doorstep.

            Foot meet mouth.

          • Amy March

            You also get to have morals here. And your morals can be “in my family we don’t gossip about each other’s money or put other people down about how they choose to spend it.”

          • BSM

            Absolutely. That is why I definitely don’t think OP should AT ALL go down the road of trying to justify her and her fiance’s choices–spending your money however you see fit does not require any explanation of the differences in the cost of living in across the country. Rather, it is a choice (many choices) that adults make everyday. End of story.

      • LJ

        This! My mom was taken aback by our original budget (about $17k… Ended up about $20k) and said “but your sister’s wedding was less than $10k!” Nope! Sister’s wedding was $15k. Not that it really matters, but I was able to call that. Luckily my parents are super awesome and just gave us an amount they felt like they could contribute and left the rest up to us to be as expensive or cheap as we could afford.

      • Lisa

        So much this. My husband was dead certain when we started wedding planning that his sister only paid $10k for her Bay Area hotel wedding and didn’t understand why we would need more money than that for downtown Chicago. I honestly still don’t know the exact figure of SIL’s wedding, but once husband started looking at prices for things with me, he gave up the idea that she’d spent that amount very quickly.

    • Eenie

      Stop talking budget with family. If your self funding they don’t need to know. Just say we have a budget and we are sticking with it! If they offer money towards it thank them. This is our approach. We were upfront that we didn’t need any money from our parents, but if felt compelled to give us a cash gift we absolutely appreciated it.

    • BSM

      I would quickly get on the same page with your partner about what is/is not OK to share with families. For us, this absolutely encompassed what we were spending on our wedding (we paid for it all ourselves) because I’m positive we would have had a conflict like this with my in-laws (ohhhh, in-laws :)).

      Given that your FMIL already knows the dollar amount, I would try not to worry about what she thinks too much. Much easier said than done, of course, but if she’s not contributing financially, it’s not really any of her business. I would follow your partner’s lead and tell her you appreciate her concern and you’ve thought about what she said, but this is what you’re choosing to spend your money on.

      • Eh

        “I would quickly get on the same page with your partner about what is/is not OK to share with families” THIS!!!

        We learned early on that some things (especially when it comes to money) need to be kept between the two of us or it will be used against us. Every time we spend money my in-laws comment on how expensive things are or how we don’t need it. My in-laws don’t know how much money we have (I make considerably more than my husband and have been working a lot longer than him so when we met I already had savings, and he was still in college). My in-laws constantly commented when we bought our house that it was too expensive or that we should move to the small town where they live (and commute an hour and have two cars). The only way to get them to respect our decision in the end was to tell them we put 20% down. Just last spring we did some renos on our house. We had the cash to do the work and months after the work was done we were still hearing about how it didn’t need to get done. We were told that central air is a luxury (my in-laws have central air, and even with me being pregnant and due in the middle of the summer they thought me and the baby should boil in our house) and that we didn’t need new lights in our kitchen (we actually found out that our kitchen lights were wired wrong and could have started an electrical fire – that got them to drop that topic).

        It doesn’t just cover money/spending though. My husband has to be reminded sometimes that how we come to decisions doesn’t need to be shared with his family. For example, just the other day my FIL made a comment that one weeknight evening my husband and him could go out to a movie (note: my FIL does not work and my husband is on parental leave). We discussed it and decided that my husband could not go on a weeknight evening since we have supper together as a family and then put our daughter to bed and then spend time together as a couple (and we have to get up before 6am so him staying out late is also not an option). My husband was about to tell his dad why we decided he could not go out for an evening when I reminded him that he doesn’t need to justify why we decided something.

        • BSM

          “It doesn’t just cover money/spending though.” YUP. It’s definitely a learning experience, and both my husband and I make mistakes about what is OK to share with our families of origin because it’s hard to understand where that line is.

          Sorry that your in-laws seem to be very vocal in their disagreements with you, especially about stuff that affect them not at all! It happens frequently enough with us that I can totally sympathize.

          • Eh

            My family is great so I feel a bit guilty that we can talk to them about decisions we make because they aren’t judgmental (i.e., that my family knows stuff his family doesn’t). My in-laws didn’t teach their sons any money management skills and they feel that their adult sons should consult them when they make big purchases or other life decisions(but then they make judgey comments). After both of their sons got married my in-laws decided to sign over the life insurance policies my in-laws had on their sons. Then they proceeded to tell their sons what they should do with the policy. Their opinion was that it should remain as a life insurance policy and that payments could either be put on hold or that their sons could continue to contribute. We already had life insurance so we took the cash and put it on my husband’s student loan. My in-laws were making comments about my brother taking the cash and I flat out told them that once they signed it over it was no longer their decision what happens to the policy. Since then they have found out that my husband used it to pay down his student loan and they did agree that was a good use of the money since we already have live insurance.

      • April

        “I would quickly get on the same page with your partner about what is/is not OK to share with families.” – I feel like this statement solves a significant number of family issues in relationships.

    • lady brett

      being from the south, every time i hear about *anything* that costs money in new york, i get sticker shock. but, really, cost of living differences are no joke. like, $20k is a solid down payment on a house where i live, but i suspect that it is…not even remotely a useful down payment where y’all live. so i would push back a little on that (and maybe even overstate the cost differences to turn the judgement from “why would you spend money on _____?” to “well, why didn’t you get married in the midwest?” which is easier to answer – “this is our home!”).

      • Alex

        haha yeah $20k is definitely NOT a solid downpayment on even a 1 bedroom condo in some parts of the northeast! Grew up in the south, moved to the midwest for grad school and now jobs have brought my husband and me to the northeast (damn this economy!) and i can not WAIT until we can relocate further south where buying a house to raise a family in isn’t just a dream :)

      • anon

        Eh, I think it depends. I’m from the south and $20k is nowhere near 20% down in most southern cities. I think it’s really a city vs. rural thing.

      • MC

        We’ve been watching the show Fixer Upper ever since we bought a house and seeing the house prices on that show, which taxes place in Waco, TX, drive us bonkers. They’ll be like, “We want 4 bedrooms, a huge yard, a mudroom, all in a good location… and our budget is $100,000.” Which is more than half of what our tiny house cost us, and we’re in a *relatively* affordable housing market!

    • MC

      And just a reminder that you can’t control how she feels on the day of your wedding – that’s up to her! She can choose to enjoy it or she can choose to focus on being judgmental/incredulous. I spent waaaay too much time while I was wedding planning worrying about how my parents would feel at the wedding and I wish I could have stressed way less about that. (Obviously easier said than done!)

      • Lawyerette510

        Such a valuable reminder.

    • emilyg25

      Stop talking about budget and don’t explain it. Repeat after me: “We made the choice that’s right for us.” Or if you don’t even want to get into it, “Thanks, I’ll consider that.” That’s it. No more.

      • Lawyerette510

        Yes, I was just going to type “Don’t explain it! It’s not any of her business.” Your language (like always) is a really nice way of saying that.

      • Sosuli

        This! And I’ve found the most effective response to specific budget questions is a firm “that’s been taken care of.” E.g. FMIL: “how much is venue X charging you for prosecco?” “That’s been taken care of… back to the budget you’re contributing…”

        ETA: that’s the conversation I have with my in-laws, original poster already said they’Re not contributing to the budget, in which case, not their business. But it might help to deflect by changing the topic to some aspect of the wedding they are involved in so they don’t feel totally shut out.

    • EllaByNight

      Whenever I make a budget choice my mother doesn’t agree with, I usually revert to the line, “[Husband] and I talked it over and decided that this is what we value spending our money on. We know there are other ways this money could be put to use, but this is what we want, it is within our means, and we aren’t compromising our retirement savings, debt repayment plan, or other goals to do it.”

      I can understand parents being concerned if their child is going into major debt to pay for a wedding/a fancy new car/a big house, but if that’s not the case is just a value call and everyone can use their own judgment.

    • AGCourtney

      Oh, I sympathize so much. I AM the “frugality is a virtue”, cheapskate Midwesterner with a 3-4k wedding, and my husband and I had to have to several serious talks over the years before we got married until I finally got it through my skull that spending money isn’t actually a bad thing and that frugality isn’t necessarily always morally superior. (I accidentally initially wrote “is” – Freudian slip?) And I believe I saw you say in another comment that it’s a morality thing – and I think you hit the nail on the head, your in-laws probably genuinely believe they have the moral high ground on this and that you both are doing something wrong. *But they’re wrong.* Their belief systems do not have to be yours, and your values are every bit as legitimate.

      So, of course, go for the kind of wedding you want. I’m sure you know this, but just to back you up. And from there, I think others are giving really solid advice. You expressed concern about your relationship with them, and that’s definitely valid. When people hold such strong values about money, things can get…interesting. You would know if this would work for your situation, but if you want to try to talk to them, could you directly talk about the values clash in general, not just the wedding? For example, saying that you completely respect and understand their values about thrift – you’re marrying your fiance, after all! You wrote about how the two of you are complementary – but in return, you guys need your values respected, too. Perhaps that could clear the air a little bit. But you know your situation – maybe that will explode and you’re better off just letting it go. You’re not going to change their worldviews, and after that, I think others’ suggestions of don’t share and you don’t owe them explanations is on point. If they can’t refrain from judging, then they get only vague answers and no explanations. It’s hard, but now you know this about your in-laws. It’s a learning experience, and one of those fun things that always crop up during wedding planning. Sorry for such a long post, brevity is not my strong point, haha.

    • TeaforTwo

      Huge kudos to you for being on the same page as your partner about this. As to your in-laws…I wouldn’t discuss it with them any further. You’re not asking them for $20K, and you’re not spending $20K on heroin, so you have nothing to defend to them.

      Trying to justify it just won’t work. You risk coming off as snobby if you start explaining why craft beer > Coors Light, and it’s not important, anyway. You probably won’t get on the same page about the appropriate pricetag for a wedding, but you can try to get on the same page about appropriate boundaries when talking about money. If they bring it up again, I would just say “we just really wanted it this way” and change the subject.

      If they’re weighing in on other people’s cost issues (i.e. it will cost everyone in the family $5K to get to your destination wedding and stay at the only hotel in town and no one in the family can afford that etc.) it might be worth listening to (not necessarily obeying, just considering) but if they have an opinion about how you are spending your own money that you already have? Nah. Don’t engage.

      (But also, $20K for a wedding with 200 people is not unreasonable, and it’s also not a New England down payment, so I wouldn’t worry about that too much.)

    • emmers

      I feel like $20K is nothing. I’ve heard that New England is waay expensive. We’re in a less expensive east-coast area, and we spent $18K on what I feel was a not-very-extravagant wedding for ~130. I totally echo TeaforTwo’s advice– it’s such a cultural difference that she probably just won’t be able to understand that sometimes, things just cost money. You continuing to talk about this is probably not going to help, so maybe some gentle “Oh, thanks for letting us know how you feel, we’re so glad you’ll be joining us to celebrate”, and as TeaforTwo suggests, “We really wanted it this way,” + changing of subject will make it go away.

    • Cellistec

      There’s always the blanket statement for when someone disagrees with your wedding choices: “This is what’s right for us.”

  • Ashlah

    Puppyyyy! I’ve wanted to get a dog for so long (I grew up with them, but haven’t had one of my own yet), but it’s been put off for various reasons. Now we’re planning to have a baby within in the year, so dog ownership will probably be a number of years in the future :(

    A few months ago, you wonderful people reassured me and encouraged me to go for the buzzcut I wanted, and I finally did it! After that last conversation, I had decided I wasn’t done with the faux hawk quite yet, but last week my husband shaved my head and I LOVE IT! My bosses have pretended not to notice, and most people do the “Oh you got a haircut” thing, but IDGAF! It’s so freeing, and I feel like a total badass. I don’t have to style it and the wind doesn’t matter! (I might come delete these pics later for privacy reasons, but I promised I’d share!)

    • Eenie

      You are my hero. I want to do this so bad.

      • Ashlah

        Dooooo iiiiiit

        • Eenie

          One day. I need to build up my stash of dangly earrings first!

          • Ashlah

            Yeah, I just started a Pinterest board for that very purpose, haha!

          • Anna

            Yes! (Well, I mean, you absolutely don’t “have to”, obviously, but dangly earrings + buzz cut = amazing.) I had so many pairs of dangly earrings that I barely ever wore before buzzing my hair because they’d get tangled in my extremely curly hair (even when it was only chin-length). After I buzzed my hair, I started wearing them on basically all my feminine-presenting days and it was AWESOME. I haven’t grown my hair out more than an inch or two since then, and lots and lots of dangly earrings have continued to be a standard part of my attire :-)

          • Shawna

            I loved discovering that dark colored earrings that previously got lost in my dark hair became quite striking with short hair. They don’t have to be dangly to be seen now, but I do love a good statement earring! I’ve been wearing more studs lately, though. Fun to still go through phases.

        • Shawna

          You look AMAZING. I haven’t wanted the buzz cut yet, but chopping off 15 inches of hair 3 years ago was the best feeling in the world (pixie cuts rule and I have kept it short since). There are so many great articles about how freeing it is, but I love this one in particular about how it reveals your face in a startling way: http://thehairpin.com/2012/01/it-grows-back/

          “First it’s so strange and unfamiliar that you have trouble recognizing the face as your own. Then, as the disorientation wears off, you start to notice things you’ve never noticed about yourself before. Your features are more prominent, more striking. Your eyes are suddenly enormous. They are the brightest shade of whatever color they are you’ve ever seen. Your cheekbones are higher, your jaw more defined. You’re still you, but several shades more intensely.”

          • Ashlah

            That’s a great write-up! I can totally relate. It’s actually surprised me how much I relate to that feeling just after going from faux hawk (with shaved sides and back) to the full buzzcut. My pixie has been slowly getting shorter for a year and a half, so I didn’t think my face could still look so different, but it does.

          • lady brett

            whoa, that is a really interesting thing to think about, especially as someone whose hair has always been their most defining feature. alarming. and fascinating.

          • Mary Jo TC

            Now that’s what scares me the most about the thought of cutting off all my hair and going with a pixie cut, as much as I would LOVE the low maintenance. What if the things that I suddenly notice about my face, I don’t like? What if the things that are revealed by the lack of hair are indeed striking, but in a bad way? What if the skull that’s revealed isn’t perfectly round, but kind of lopsided and and covered in dandruff?

            Also, I had a big dramatic haircut at 14 that I’m convinced ruined the first half of high school for me (at least). I’m nowhere near as gutsy as the girl in the article. I regretted it instantly. And it was hellishly awkward to grow back out. That’s some baggage I’d have to work through before I even consider going short.

          • Shawna

            I had a TERRIBLE bob with bangs that my mother forced me into at age 7. I vowed no bangs or short hair for most of my life, but something about 30 around the corner made me long to do some serious changing. I by no means advocate cutting off all your hair because you “should”. My whole idea is just that it is so worth it it if it’s something you want to do and are scared to try. Plus, no stylist is going to give me that nightmare haircut. It was a bad idea then and it’s a worse idea now!

            I’ve been amazed at the number of people who say they could never pull off a pixie because their head is shaped weirdly. You don’t have to go to half an inch or an inch of hair to get the pixie effect. And that slightly longer cut hides your head bumps pretty well. A good stylist will not give you a cut that won’t flatter your hair type or face shape. One of my favorite things about this cut is that I always thought I had annoying fine hair that was neither stick straight nor delightfully wavy. In this style, it looks full and has the kind of wave I always wanted (I just need a tiny bit of product to keep it from flying everywhere). I just had to go short to find it and work with a good stylist who listens to me!

            Part of the reason I’m still short-haired is my love for this style and part of it is complete impatience with the idea of growing it out again. So, yeah, if you aren’t in love with the idea, I wouldn’t push anyone into it.

    • Jess

      That buzz cut is SO FIERCE!!!! YES!

      • Ashlah

        I feel fierce! Thank you :D

    • Kalë

      YAAAAAS! Love it! You look capital-A Amazing!

      • Ashlah

        Thank youuuu!

    • another lady

      About the dog/baby situation: we got a dog knowing that we were trying to have a baby, but thought it would take a while. Turns out, we were probably already prego when we got the dog. I say DOG, because he is 7 years old and pretty chill, already mostly trained, but still spunky and fun! We went to the Humane Society and made sure to only consider ones that were are few years old+ and had great personality/behavior ratings and that would be good with kids. We made sure that the write up did not say that they should be ‘the only dog in the house’ or ‘only good around older kids’ or something like that. Because, we knew we were planning on having kids eventually and the dog would need to be flexible and good with young kids. Also, we have lots of nieces and nephews and didn’t want to have to worry about the dog being around them, either. I don’t know that we would have done it if we realized we were pregnant at the time, but it has really been great to have his for the last 6+ months and I’m excited to see the dog interact with the baby eventually. But, I would also not recommend getting a puppy or really young dog if you are considering having a baby soon-ish, because they are just a lot of work at first!

      • Ashlah

        Thank you! If it ends up taking a while to get pregnant, we might reconsider our dog timing. We’ve definitely been considering getting an older dog too! We do have two cats we adore, so we’re at least not completely pet-less :) Glad to hear things are going well for you, and good luck when baby arrives!

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      WHO NEEDS PUPPIES WHEN YOU HAVE THAT HAIRCUT.

      • Ashlah

        I mean, I can and do pet my own head, so.

        • Nancywcharlebois2


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        • Crystalsanderson4


          “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….


          two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereoo!525➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsBook/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::oo!525…….

    • Lawyerette510

      Yes yes yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So gorgeous! So kick ass!

    • eating words

      LOVE the haircut. I’m remembering the awesome feeling of rubbing my head when my hair was that short.

      • Ashlah

        It’s irresistible!

    • Lisa

      This looks AWESOME!!! I love it so much.

    • Lizzie

      HELL YEAH

    • Katherine

      Yesssss love it. Now you’re making me miss my shaved head.

    • Anna

      Aw FUCK yes. Buzzing my hair a few years ago was one of the best physical things I have ever done for myself. So excited for you :D

      • Ashlah

        It feels so great to just not think about my hair, ya know? It wasn’t until I got rid of all of it that I realized how constantly my hair was on my mind. It’s so nice to just forget that there’s anything going on up there! And it somehow simultaneously feels androgynous and super feminine, so that’s been really cool!

        • Anna

          Yes exactly! Even though I’ve always identified as female, I periodically get really uncomfortable with presenting as feminine, so I REALLY like having a haircut that works both ways (not buzzed these days, although I might go back – currently in the 1-2 inch range, so it starts to get visibly wavy again). And when I do feel feminine, it’s the best possible haircut for awesome dangly earrings, as mentioned downthread :-)

  • Totch

    Big week for us! We finalized a date, have a hold on the venue, and a reservation for the restaurant reception location. (Small wedding ftw, booking the restaurant’s private room is just considered a normal reservation with no minimum food buy!)

    We also had to make some decisions about travel vs wedding costs in the next year, which we were worried might be hard. Instead, it somehow turned into this amazing thing where we scrapped our planned anniversary trip next month and are booking a new one for the same weekend. And new one is based around going to make our own wedding bands! My fiance is so into it, and honestly his strong ideas about metalworking are just really… attractive.

    • Lizzie

      “his strong ideas about metalworking are just really… attractive.”

      PREACH

  • another lady

    I have heard that dogs chew because they are bored/stressed and need a way to get out their anxiety and energy. We got dog a bone (and replace it about once a month or so) and it has done wonders for his chewing habit (paper products, napkins, cards, trash, tissue boxes, etc. were never safe!) now, he has only chewed a few things very infrequently (like less than once a month – instead of almost daily!) We buy the natural beef shanks or legs bones that are flavored. My brother buys their puppy the kong brand of toy bones for ‘aggressive chewers’ and also rope toys. Also, if he has a problem with getting into things, get trash cans with lids and don’t put anything within his reach that you don’t want chewed up!

    • Totch

      My dog is soooo into antlers, which is nice because I kinda think they’re more fun than bones.

      She isn’t a very mouthy dog. Her energy comes out in fits of bouncing. Either way, a nice challenging antler or bone is a great way to get their energy down.

      • Keri

        My PSA on antlers – it’s worth discussing with your vet if they are a good fit for your dog. My guy chipped two molars chewing on hard bones and had to have them removed. They told me no bones harder than something you could leave an indent in with your thumbnail! I had no idea.

        • Totch

          True! Softer bones and rawhide didn’t work great for us, so the solution we were recommended was to use antlers but not to leave them out. She gets it for maybe 20 minutes a day, which has been OK so far.

          • another lady

            our dog is an ‘aggressive chewer’ and will actually chew off parts and eat the other bones! we tried to give him those rawhide sticks that are supposed to make their breath better and he downed it in like 2 minutes! The only ones he won’t chew up in mere minutes or actually eat chunks of are the ones for aggressive chewers or the really hard bones. ymmv

      • My dog likes chewing on antlers too! Although it’s more of a delicate nibble every few weeks when he notices it–he doesn’t seem to be much of a chewer… the only reason he will destroy things is to reach the food within bags or pockets or tupperware so we have to keep all things that ever contained food out of reach.

    • Jessica

      My dog has a plethora of bones scattered around, but if she feels neglected (omg, haven’t gone to the dog park in TWO DAYS!) she’ll chew on something more expensive. The last casualty was my vibrator =(

  • Eenie

    Reading about the supreme court this week made me so happy. I still don’t understand how people think that law should be upheld.

    • Keeks

      YASSSS. I don’t know how any of them can vote to uphold it after RBG’s massive, massive burn.

      • Eenie

        I love her so much. I read an article about how they just blew past all the time limits and rules and I just thought yes. This is more important than that shit.

      • MC

        Straight-up NOTORIOUS.

      • Shawna

        Have to hope it’s going to die a much-needed death. I needed that article so badly! I just keep reading it and grinning. So glad it made it on the link list this week because everyone needs to read it and love it and hold it close because the power and wit and rightness is just SO WONDERFUL. We don’t get enough of it so when it appears and is so amazing it just feels all the sweeter.

    • Ashlah

      Seriously, those women are so good. At least there are a few people in our government who I not only respect an enormous amount, but who I feel are on my side. I hope that law is crushed.

      • Eenie

        This is the reason RBG hasn’t retired yet. Because who is going to fight this fight better than her?

    • jb123

      Has anyone printed the Notorious RBG Coloring Book yet? http://www.sheknows.com/living/slideshow/5123/ruth-bader-ginsburg-coloring-book

      • Eenie

        I can only say no because I’m travelling and not at home with my printer. Sunday afternoon it’s happening!

      • Danielle

        Ummm, that’s amazing.

        I just got the Notorious RBG book from the library! http://notoriousrbg.tumblr.com/book

  • MC

    In slight relation to the Hillary article, this week I finished reading Big Girls Don’t Cry by Rebecca Traister, which is about gender, politics, and the 08 election. HIGHLY RECOMMED. It is so good and really crystallized a lot of the frustrations around this campaign that I’ve been feeling.

    Also, this has been a WEEK. My mom broke up with her long-time boyfriend (sad but okay), my BFF found out she is pregnant (a surprise but very happy!), and my husband was hit by a car on his bike this morning :( :( He said it was going very slowly and his knee got scraped but he’s otherwise okay, although I know the adrenaline might wear off and he might hurt more. Not sure what to do about it – will the insurance of the person who hit him cover his bike repairs or chiropractor visits or something like that? Any lawyers in the house know about these things?

    • another lady

      if he is injured more than just some scrapes and bruises, the other guy’s insurance should cover medical bills or chiro visits. depends on your state laws, but that’s how it generally works where I live.

    • AGCourtney

      So, I work at a library, and I was fetching the requests, and guess what was a few books down from one of the requests? It’s on my desk now and I’m looking forward to checking it out.

  • I missed happy hour last week because I was out dress shopping with my mom! We had so much fun and I got a bridal skirt which I am obsessed with! I didn’t want to take it off, and every time I walked by a mirror just had to stop and admire myself. It’s the Almira skirt from BHLDN. It is so light and floaty and even though I didn’t expect to love something so ballgown-y it is just SO FUN!

    http://www.bhldn.com/bride/almira-skirt-ivory

    So I have the skirt, but wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on the top – I liked the corset that is pictured with it, but never pictured getting something so beaded and embellished, or strapless. So I’m taking my time and investigating other options. It’s been a while since the bridal separates article here on APW, so I thought I would throw it out you guys and see what suggestions/resources you might have for me! Ceremony is outside in August, so no sweaters or long sleeves. What do you guys think?

    • Eenie

      Love the skirt. No suggestions for you on tops. There is another apw sponsor that sells separates, check them out lace and liberty. I personally did the same thing, thought I wanted lace with a little embellishment and ended up with the entire back of the dress covered in crystals and sequins.

    • Poppy

      I’m also going the separates route after finding a floaty skirt I really liked. There are a lot of great tops on etsy that aren’t beaded, embellished, or strapless – this was my list as well! Good luck!

    • Marcela

      I lean towards a nice structural crop top and then some bang up amazing necklace.

    • Shawna

      Now that I’m seeing more bridal separates, I kind of wish it had been more talked about a year ago. I probably would have ended up going that route. Looks like a gorgeous skirt and one that will be fun to re-wear!

      I would suggest looking at your favorite dresses and tops and taking elements from those. Is there a neckline you feel badass in? A color you love? Is there jewelry you already know you want to wear? Start there and the answer will come. The nice thing is that you don’t have to go specifically bridal with a top. You can shop pretty much anywhere for something sparkly or lacy or whatever once you know what you’re looking for (but figure that part out first is my suggestion).

    • Lizzie

      I allllmost ended up going the separates way myself (found a floral dress that I lurhve at the last minute at Bloomie’s) – and my plan, though I never got to the top part, was to do a floaty awesome skirt like yours, and a beautiful simple cream (or ivory or white… or floral or red or whatever!) silk tank that would tuck in and blouse out and drape really beautifully. (I, like you, didn’t really envision anything beaded or embellished or strapless, and I love simple styles.) Since it’s just a top portion, it’s easier (comparatively) to spring for a beautiful luxe fabric – a silk tank is so much cheaper than a silk maxi dress!

      Maybe something like these?

      http://bit.ly/1VWIXKt
      http://bit.ly/1TVkgjI
      http://bit.ly/24GIxhu
      or hell http://bit.ly/21ckKRV !

      • Lizzie

        I also was thinking about getting an awesome gold belt, too, so even with a blousey top, there’d still have some nice waist definition. Ugh YOU’RE GONNA LOOK SO FLY

      • ooooh, that high necked one with the bow in the back is so gorgeous!

  • I asked my husband for a puppy when he moved in, and I have yet to get to said puppy. That’s probably a good thing though :-) Best of luck with the puppy Maddie!

    • another lady

      ask for a dog who is a few years old and not a super young and challenging puppy – worked for me/us!

      • I tried that, but sadly my husband thinks that any dog that isn’t a puppy is “old”, so no adopted dog for us unless it’s a puppy *sigh*

        • Jessica

          Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if it’s wrong.

          HOWEVER, there is a website I found a couple weeks ago where you are matched to an adoptable dog through a personality quiz! http://pawslikeme.com/

          • another lady

            I also did one of those that asked out your lifestyle choices and where you live, etc. It said we should get a dog that is a few years old.

        • Annalise

          You could get one that’s a few months old maybe! We just got ours from secondhand hounds, very positive experience.
          http://secondhandhounds.org/adoption-information/dogs/

          Sorry just wanted to plug a local shelter :)

  • Jessica

    I just came back to work from lunch with my dog in tow! Or rather, I was in tow because she is a leash puller. Anyway, I gave her a squeaky ball and she is now entertaining herself fully.

    I don’t know what owning a super young puppy is like, we got Derby when she was ~9months. We enrolled in a good dog training class. It turned out that the class was as much a lesson in communicating with each other as it was with the dog. Very helpful.

    • emmers

      Our dog a is a leash puller, too! Totally offering unsolicited advice– we got him a Holt dog harness, and it def cuts down on the pulling. It’s mainly made vet visits and petsmart nail trim visits still annoying, but a little less hellish. I’m also interested in trying one of the chest no-pull harnesses.

      • lady brett

        yes to these! our brain damaged obsessive dog is walkable because of snoot harnesses.

      • Cellistec

        Yes, we got a Holt-like headstall for our crazy-pulling terrier mix, and she’s a totally different dog when she wears it. The best part is she doesn’t choke herself trying to pull with a regular collar…that was awful.

      • Jules

        The chest no-pull harnesses are great! That was what made the switch from being dragged on walks to having enjoyable walks. Also great for safety reasons, my dog is very strong (and large) and I physically can’t hold him back on a regular collar or harness, with the front attaching harness I still have control in those rare moments when he sees a squirrel across the street.

  • lady brett

    maddie! your puppy makes me want to go get *all the dogs!* even though i am overwhelmed with the two i’ve got. i think this is how other people feel about babies?

    also, in my experience people are worse about unsolicited advice about raising dogs than kids – perhaps because there is a *little bit* of understanding that it’s rude as hell to tell someone how to parent? and does it make me an asshole that one of my favorite parts of being really good at something is being able to shut down the mansplaining (or, in my puppy experience, adult-splaining to teenage me, who was a fucking dog *expert*)? like, it’s almost as gratifying as the being good at stuff.

    • Danielle

      Yes. I was mansplained to at the gym several years ago (some dude wanted to show me how to use the equipment). I was like, “A trainer showed me how to do this.” Stare.

      Didn’t get mansplained to at the gym again.

    • I had the funniest experience where this old white man cornered us in the pet store to tell us about how his German Shepherds were so perfectly trained in German and anything less was just heresy. I could barely hold in my laughter because during this whole exchange, my (plain old English-trained) shepherd puppy was sitting politely while his two dogs were misbehaving all over the place. Oh the irony.

      • Ashlah

        Some people seem to confuse a dog who can do tricks on command with a dog who is well-trained. Tricks are great, but there’s so much more to it than that!

  • NEW PUPPY here too! And goodness, even though I’ve had two other dogs, neither were puppies and I was so. not. prepared.

    This book has been a lifesaver this week: http://www.amazon.com/30-Days-Well-Mannered-Dog-Method/dp/1439177708

    • Keri

      All the puppy pictures, please!! When I am feeling particularly maudlin, I explain to my dog, who I adopted when he was 1.5, how sad I am that I will never get to see him as a puppy, and then compare him to his “cousin” (my old roommate’s cat…), and how she was such a good kitten. Puppums and kittums!

      • THAT’S SO SWEET :) Here’s what his ears have been doing the last two days. SO FUNNY. I’m glad to have him around (I work from home, so it’s nice to not be alone all day!), even when he’s barking barking barking…

        • Keri

          I CAN’T EVEN

      • Jessica

        I feel your pain on the never seeing them as a puppy

      • Sara

        I posted my pup somewhere else in this thread. While I’m thrilled not to do the housetraining work, I am sad that i’ll never see his ‘baby’ pictures. He was probably so cute when he was small! I bet fluffy too.
        Also – my parents adopted my cat when she was a year old (19 now), and she looks exactly the same as the day we got her. My brothers are convinced she’s secretly immortal.

    • Lawyerette510

      **Grabby hands** LOOK AT THAT FACE!!!!!!

    • Lizzie

      PUPPY!!!! Those EARS!!!

  • Hooray for the new puppy. Our toddler went through a stage where she’d go bite the wall whenever she was mad at us. We’d just look at her funny. Why?

    Tomorrow we’re doing our third Resolve Walk of Hope to raise awareness for the infertility community and to raise money to fight the idiocy that is government people thinking they know anything about infertility. If you’re in the Scottsdale area come say hi. We’ll be the two adults and three amazingly cute kids wearing these shirts.

    You can donate on behalf of me here: http://familybuilding.resolve.org/goto/LisaMGDennis
    Or for my husband here: http://familybuilding.resolve.org/goto/bldennis

    • afew

      best shirt ever!

  • I haven’t commented on Fridays in a while– life had felt too much, and it’s only these past weeks that I feel like I’ve stepped out of the bog. Turns out counselling grad school is a LOT, and in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. I was feeling lonely, and cerebral, and learning amidst folks that were shiny and smart and professional and it made me feel like anytime I wasn’t those things, I was failing. My skin and eczema took the brunt of trapped feelings, and came out again to tell me their messages. I resisted.

    Happy to say I’ve been listening, and looking lovingly at all the feelings, and telling myself I’m worthy whether I have perfect skin or not; whether I am kicking ass in grad school or not. I’ve been practicing being authentic with others and showing up with vulnerability.

    Picking up hobbies that are not brain based, helped. Modern calligraphy, sketching with brush pens, and writing on the blog. These next two years are devoted to school, and I guess I am making peace with that. I’ve been watching this little video I made of our time in the South of France last summer, to soothe my wanderlust.

    http://thebeejays.blogspot.ca/2016/02/a-little-film-south-of-france.html

    Hope you’ve all been well <3

    • Grad school is when I started therapy, and my therapist told me so many women struggle in grad school because its so lonely and stressful. This is also when I took a knitting class and took that up as a non-school related stress relief. So good for you! And hugs! It will get better.

      • Thanks for this. I just read your entry about grad school, and so many things resonate. xo

    • ItsyBit

      Dude. Grad school solidarity, for real. I may or may not have (definitely) spent last Sunday evening hysterically sobbing on my living room floor because school is fucking hard. Good for you for listening to your body/mind and finding ways to cope. Sending lots of hugs and reminders that we can definitely do this.

      • It really is so hard! Solidarity <3<3<3

        • Shawna

          You’ll make it through! You can do it! Knitting is a great thing. Also seriously making time for whatever things keep you YOU. That might be making time to see friends who aren’t in school or reading books for fun even if only right before bed or while commuting, etc. There are ways. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you have to give all of that up. And do keep some kind of joyful movement (exercise can just be a walk around the block enjoying the look of the trees) in your life. Moving is important.

          The best advice I got in grad school was in the last week from an alum and I’m still holding it close while I study for the board exam (paraphrasing): We can’t forget why we started this school in the first place. It’s all about love. You wanted to become something. Don’t lose the person who wanted to do that thing in the process of becoming.

          That advice is also, incidentally, getting me through wedding planning. It’s all about love.

    • Cellistec

      Your Iceland and Scandinavia photos from last year helped soothe MY wanderlust! So thanks for that. Keep up the self-care and the cool hobbies and grad school will get its act together.

  • Sara

    OMG puppies! I volunteer at an animal shelter and puppies are cutest while being the absolute worst. They can’t walk on leash well, they don’t know how to hold it and they really don’t care about walking through their own messes. When its puppy season, the smell…well you can imagine. I will be sticking with older dogs for my near future :) I recently (in Dec) adopted a 4ish year old dog ( the vet said he’s between 3 – 5, with a microchip that’s about 3.5 years old, so we’re guessing 4). He’s got some barking and control issues we have to work out, but my boy is a camel when it comes to housetraining!

    • Sara

      Also, look how cute he is :)

      • Bsquillo

        LOOK AT HIS FACE IT’S SO SOFT

    • another lady

      I love my older dog! And, he is so great that he is convincing other people who want pets to consider getting an older dog! plus, he was 1/2 price at the shelter cause he was a ‘senior dog’ (6 years old or older). he also has had 0 house training issue (trying not to jinx it).

    • Totch

      More support for adopting older here! Ours is 6, 5 when we got her.

  • lady brett

    y’all! my honey has pants that are sexy and flattering! the 8-year search is up!

    my honey are genderqueer and fat and wears mens’ clothes, which just don’t fit quite right – even the custom suit we got for the wedding ended up kind of saggy looking, because that’s just how pants for fat guys are made – like sacks to cover everything up (and my honey has some curves that complicate things, too). my honey *feels good* in pants (dress pants, even)!

    and their butt is really cute in them (no saggy butt!), so that’s a win for me ;) the pants are bonobos and they’re totally worth being like 5x the cost of old navy pants. i never thought this day would come, ha.

    • Lawyerette510

      Yay for pants that make your honey feel great! Everyone deserves clothes that make them feel good, but sadly for so many it’s hard to find.

    • Ashlah

      Nothing feels as good as clothes that fit and flatter! I’m glad they found something great! (Now buy them in as many colors as you can afford!)

      • lady brett

        ha, yes! they’re getting ready to graduate (and currently doing an internship) so we’ve been talking/thinking a lot about how to create a good professional wardrobe that is still solidly *queer* (not “woman in a suit” or pantsuits, etc.) i think we’ve settled that pants in all the colors are the key there. =)

        (also, thanks for y’all’s comments – the whole thing is making me a bit teary, which is not generally my thing.)

        • Totch

          I recently found those perfect pants for myself, and bought them in 3 colors. It’s amazing what that does for your wardrobe!

          So glad they’re making it work!

        • Emily

          Bonobos are great. And they do a 15% student discount, get it in before graduation!

          • lady brett

            ooh, thanks! wish i’d known, but we’ll definitely use that for the next ones!

        • EF

          yeahhhh working on the genderless profession wardrobe is…hard. whenever I buy a blazer, I sit down and briefly nearly-thank my super religious upbringing for teaching me how to sew, because at least I can do my own alterations!

          For me, a couple years ago I nearly cried in relief at a pair of chinos that fit AMAZINGLY from jcrew. and perfect professional-casual wear. Of course, they discontinued that fit. OF COURSE. Sigh.

          I also hope they get to a supportive workplace! My boss, after I was hired, awkwardly said, ‘you know, when I’m meeting with (x type of client) I’ll wear chinos and a button down, but with (y type of client) I’ll wear a suit and tie. So, uh, that’s what the levels are, and you just figure out how to fit into that.’ Whenever I want to bitch about my job, I remember that, and that I showed up to the work christmas (not holiday…sigh, england) party wearing a damn great blazer, chambray shirt, and whimsical tie. And no one batted an eye. So here’s to your honey, finding something/somewhere great!

          • Danielle

            +100 for alterations. In general, and especially for genderqueer/trans people.

    • afew

      tell her she looks great whenever she wears them and be a little extra sexy, too! also, buy like 5 pairs of those despite the cost! worth it!

    • MC

      My husband SWEARS by Bonobos pants – wore them for our wedding and I think has 2 or 3 more. If he could have a whole closet of Bonobos clothes he would be very content. Glad they work well for your honey too!

    • Violet

      Omg, finding pants that fit. The struggle is REAL. So glad they’re happy with them!!

    • Lizzie

      YAYAYAY hell yeah hell yeah hell yeah!! Serious, huge congratulations to you both!! I have a lot of trouble with clothes shopping and always feeling that I have to compromise something – way too tight across the chest but fits everywhere else, good in the tush but cuts painfully into my round belly, fits the tits but is otherwise a tent, etc etc. It can be tough to feel your otherness with every dressing room encounter.

      But when you find the magical items? HOLY SMOKES, it feels like such a win, and such a validation of your self! It’s really meaningful and affirming in a way that I think can be hard to understand for people who can pop into a store and just… find something they like. So, so happy for your honey!! I hope they feel the magic every time the pants go on. : )

      • Lizzie

        (I mean, who doesn’t have trouble in fitting rooms? But, as my sister said after a holiday shopping excursion last winter in which we shared a dressing room and she saw the endless string of rejects: I finally understand why this is so hard, and I’m sorry that shopping is shitty for you. Ugh, she’s the best.)

        • lady brett

          yeah, it’s been a real struggle, logistically of course, but also because i am a fairly “typical” size/shape/gender (and, yes, clothes are still a pain, but differently) *and* i think my honey is hot as hell, so it is really hard to *be there* for all the struggle in a way that is both supportive and not dismissive (like “shut up, you’re sexy, stop being sad!” isn’t exactly kind or helpful).

          • Lizzie

            I hear you on that! It’s so hard when someone is all hot n sexy, and they’re like “right but can we please talk objectively about how I’m struggling with the fit of the crotch here” and you’re like “I LOVE THE FIT OF YOUR CROTCH” and they’re like yes hello, thank you but not actually helpful. (hah. not a verbatim convo I’ve had, but not so far off!)

            Once when we first started dating, my now-fiance and I had to go to a black tie wedding, and I bought a dress that just didn’t feel right, but he insisted that it was gorgeous. I felt so *wrong* in it, and so overwhelmed (lots of tears were involved), but I couldn’t explain why and couldn’t deal with the thought of going shopping any longer, so I just wore it (and of course felt terrible the whole time). He’s since learned, which I’m sure you are a rockstar at, that the questions to ask are always: how do you feel in it? do you feel like yourself? do you feel good? what about it don’t you like? and if he can see doubt on my face, he urges me to go back / return it / don’t cut the tags off yet. The “hey sexy” stuff has to wait until we can confirm that I feel like a mill$$.

            All that said – it sounds like you and your honey are able to talk about it, and strategize together, and work together to find clothes that they feel awesome and authentic in – which is so important!! AND THE PANTS! Wahoo!!!

          • Lizzie

            I also just want to acknowledge that I see the additional struggle of your honey being genderqueer, and the difficulty that must present when going shopping in normative stores (which is what, like 99.9999% of all stores?). Don’t mean to do the whole “oh I understanding everything you’re feeling because I can sympathize with part of it!” thing. You two totally rock for being able to work this complex situation out together!

          • lady brett

            i appreciate you saying so! though i didn’t see it that way at all, i think your comments have been lovely =)

          • lady brett

            “I LOVE THE FIT OF YOUR CROTCH” made me laugh so hard there are tears.

            and, yes to allll of this. clothes are hard. (clothes and, you know, people. ha.)

          • Lizzie

            wink wink, nudge nudge, heh heh : )

    • Meg

      Old navy pants are usually just unflattering anyway, something about the fabric they use. That’s awesome that they found some awesome cute pants!!

  • Rachel

    PUPPY!! Such a cute puppy!! :) My fiance has major puppy fever, but we both work long hours and we’re gone for about 10 hours so we wouldn’t be able to give a dog the attention it deserves. Eventually, but not yet.

    My bridesmaids and family came in last weekend and we got so much done! The bridesmaids got their dresses, my fiance picked out the groomsmen attire, and we managed to delegate a few things out and we decided to forgo a rehearsal dinner and have a welcome party. We booked a pavilion at a local park and just put down a deposit for a local food truck. We’re planning to have lawn games, and the park has a splash pad for added fun! I’m so stoked :D On top of that, we’re taking our engagement pictures on Sunday!! So much going on right now, it’s exciting. Five months to go!!!

    • I Don’t Knowww, Margo!

      That sounds like the most fun party!! I’m hoping to do something similar instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner- we’ll already be at our summer camp, so I want to make sure there are fun things to do!

      I also feel you on the puppy. We’ve been talking about getting a pet, and I just don’t think we could do that to an animal, even something a little more easy to maintain than a dog. We both are gone so much. We’re dog-sitting for a few weeks, and that’s only cementing our decision. It’s delightful, but I have so much guilt that the pup is home all day while we’re working!

      • Rachel

        Talk to your bridal party and guests! One of my bridesmaids has a cornhole set she’s bringing, a groomsman is bringing bocce, and I have some little plastic water guns leftover from a party. Someone’s got to have something :D I’m super duper excited!

        aww, I definitely understand that. I always feel terrible when I visit my mom and we go shopping or something and leave the dog at home for a while. I loooove dogs, and we can’t have a cat since fiance is allergic :( someday, when things are less crazy!

    • AGCourtney

      Congratulations on making so much progress! That welcome party sounds like the BEST. Enjoy taking your engagement photos!

      • Rachel

        Thank you! I’m SO glad to be checking things off the list. :) I’ll be sharing photos at a later happy hour, I’m sure :D

    • another lady

      I probably sound like a crazy person on this thread, but consider getting a slightly older dog – they may be crate or potty trained or slightly trained out of bad habits already, and they can be left alone longer than a puppy. maybe a 2-4 year old dog would work for you guys. and, I swear my dog sleeps 90% of the day when we are both gone, so they will be okay without you. also, give them lots of toys and kongs to keep them entertained.

      • Rachel

        I’m thinking an older dog would be better for us, honestly. I think my hangup right now is the fact we’re gone so long and our hours are unpredictable – fiance doesn’t really have a set schedule and sometimes comes home at 3, other times after I do (but usually somewhere in between). My hours are usually set unless we have a big project or something is going on, then I’m working pretty late. For sure after the wedding we’ll give it some serious thought though :)

        • Kalë

          Do you work in a place that would maybe be open to an office dog? This was something I never even considered, but during the hiring process my now-current boss mentioned that the office is dog friendly. Pup only comes to work sometimes, since SO and I only work 5 minutes from our home, but it would be a huge deal if we lived any further. Might be worth bringing up – can’t hurt, after all

          • Rachel

            Oh I wish I did! The people who own the building don’t allow it unfortunately :(

          • Office dogs = happiness. I have loved every office I’ve worked in that has an office dog or two (usually the boss’s pups.) They are a total stress-reliever and team bonding member…

        • Yes, my 4 year old dog is pretty fine being home alone for 10ish hours a day (and sometimes longer when things in lab stop working!) And he’s an apartment dog, so it isn’t like my family dogs where they have a nice big yard to roam in /bathroom break by himself (and where I wouldn’t worry about them being home alone for 10+ hours, because they would just chill and do whatever).

    • toomanybooks

      Ooh I’m thinking about going the park pavilion route too! Still haven’t booked my venue…

  • Lisa

    I’ve been saving this link all week for this!Has anyone else been following the Victoria’s Secret lawsuit regarding on-call shifts? As someone who has worked in retail (specifically one of the other companies cited), I can speak to how on-call shifts can really affect your quality of life and income levels. I worked as a grad student, and it was super frustrating to be told that I was technically being given all of the hours I requested (15-20/week) when in reality I only worked 5-10 because my on-call or regular shifts were frequently cancelled. There was a week when I had just started working full time after grad school but still kept my retail job (because hell, yes, 50% discounts) where my manager scheduled me on-call shifts 6-10 PM every night of the week and never used a single one. I haaaaate on-calls and am so glad to see this getting the attention it should.

    • Laura C

      I follow the issue some — it’s so hard to explain to people who it’s never affected (which includes me, actually, but I still try to explain why it’s terrible when I get the chance)! New York’s attorney general has done a good job cracking down, but obviously the more places where chains come under fire for it, the better.

      • Lisa

        After the NY attorney general incident, the retail company for which I worked stopped using on-calls as much, and I was really thankful. I’ve seen one or two pop up on my schedules in the years since, but it’s not often enough to be prohibitive like the full damn week of on-calls two years ago.

    • Lulu

      Ooh, I am super late to this, but I worked on a research study of retail workers in grad school, and 1) watched how these practices destroyed any semblance of ability to cobble together child care and 2) were actually objectively bad for business. The findings got a lot of press, and I’m hopeful the tide is turning: https://medium.com/the-wtf-economy/a-new-paradigm-for-today-s-hourly-workweek-e7dc7980261f#.5mr5x9xf7

      • Lisa

        Thank you for sharing this! This was fascinating. One of the products in development mentioned in the article is something for which I’ve been begging FOREVER (on-line portal availability/scheduling), and it’s something I put on every employer evaluation I’ve completed for the past four years at my side gig. My old store allowed us to e-mail in requests off or changes in availability, but my new store requires us to put it into the time clock. As someone who works once every 1-2 weeks with our schedules now being distributed three weeks in advance, it’s sometimes difficult for me to find time to make the 30 minute round trip to the mall just to put in a request off for something that’s 3 weeks away. (Don’t get me wrong though–it’s much nicer to have the schedule two weeks in advance instead of the Friday before now! Just different challenges.)

    • I’m glad to see it getting some attention. I worked at one of the retailers cited for the summer between high school and undergrad and they never scheduled us for on-call shifts,but we got sent home early all the time based on how many dollars in sales the store was at for the day. They would try to make it seem like they where doing you a favor, but really I needed the hours and the <10 hours per week they were giving me (as opposed to the 15 I was scheduled) where not cutting it.

      • Lisa

        Yup yup yup. My first store did that quite a bit too. I didn’t care as much when I was working a full time job, but it was so frustrating to show up for work, be on the floor for one hour, and then be told to go home because they weren’t busy enough to justify having me there. Either call out the shift before I show up or keep me for the entire time! Your “optimism” isn’t doing me any favors.

  • Christina McPants

    Don’t get me wrong, YAY MORE HARRY POTTERS, but WHY CAN’T THINGS JUST BE ONE MOVIE?

    Harry Potter 7 did not need to be two movies. Breaking goddamn Dawn did not need to be two movies. Mockingjay did not need to be two movies (I mean, I don’t think, I still haven’t seen part 2, since it’s in the out of theater, not VOD’ limbo)

    ONE MOVIE. I have a toddler and babysitters are god damn expensive, don’t make me go to the movies twice in 6 months!

    • Lisa

      Agree so much. HP I let slide because it kiiiiind of needed to be 2 movies if they wanted to maintain all of the plot elements, but Breaking Dawn and Mockingjay DEFINITELY didn’t need to be.

      • Christina McPants

        I mean, if we’re going to talk about maintaining all of the plot elements, can we go back to the part where Lupin magically knew everything about the map in HP4 with no visits to the department of backstory? That seemed like that might have been more important than dancing in the giant tent.

        • lady brett

          “department of backstory.” you are the best.

          • Christina McPants

            I can’t even claim that one, it’s a Cleolinda creation.

    • Agreed! This trend of splitting the last book into 2 movies is so annoying and an obvious money grab. I can’t stand it.

    • Ashlah

      Don’t get me started on the three Hobbit movies.

      • Violet

        Omg, you’re funny. (But serious, trust me, I get it!)

      • Christina McPants

        THE BOOK IS 100 PAGES LONG, HOW IS THAT 9 HOURS OF FILM?!

        • Alanna Cartier

          EXACTLY! It shouldn’t be FASTER to read the book.

    • Rebekah Jane

      I like to call the final two movies “Harry Potter and How Camping Still Sucks, Even With Magic” and “Harry Potter and The Actual Storyline From the 7th Book.”

      • lady brett

        i love camping. and harry potter. but that is hilarious.

        • Lisa

          My friends and I refer to DH as “Harry Potter and the Neverending Camping Trip.”

  • AGCourtney

    You guys, I’m doing it – in a few hours, I’m getting my first permanent crown! I did the prep appointment and paid for it last week, and it felt so weird but gratifying to be in a place where I can start doing that. (before this year, every time yet another tooth got added to the treatment plan as needing a crown, I laughed.) I’m on state insurance, and while I’m grateful to be covered at all, of course, I do find it frustrating that permanent crowns aren’t covered at all. I know they’re expensive, but it’s a permanent solution. Even a percentage would be helpful. I could break the same tooth every year, and every year they’d pay to fix it. But a permanent solution? Noooo… ASDFJKL: broken medical system. At any rate, at this point, I think can afford to do about 3-4 teeth a year, and that’s way better than nothing. I’m excited!

    Loved that Slate article – I read it last night at work and told the two student workers about it and we had a great discussion about it. Part of me feels triumphant about the verbal ass-kicking, but then part of me is sad that this case has to be happening at all.

    • Bsquillo

      Woohoo, permanent dental work! It’s SO frustrating that “cosmetic” dentistry is largely uncovered by insurance. I have two permanent dental implants near the front of my smile that were crazy expensive, but it was such an improvement in my self-confidence to get them that I think it’s definitely worth it. Hope all goes well!

      • AGCourtney

        Yesss. It looks and feels wonderful and I’m excited and just want to get them all done…all in time, I suppose, all in time. Yeah, I’m really self-conscious about my teeth, and while I’ve definitely mastered the closed-mouth smile, it’s definitely the one thing that reveals my class background. So it’ll be worth it, if such a thing can be quantified. A single crown isn’t much less than our mortgage payment. In fact, it would be more without the 15% pay-in-advance discount. Yay dental work! Thanks, though, it did go well.

    • MER

      Oh how I feel you on this. About 2 years ago I broke a tooth in half and it wasn’t salvageable. That lead to minor oral surgery which was over $1000 dollars with insurance. I was also unemployed at this time because I had quit my job to travel the world. Thank goodness I elected to stay on COBRA for dental coverage. And thank goodness this was near the back of my mouth and was not really visible because for 1.5 years I just didn’t have a tooth there.

      Anyway. Once I finished my trip, I still waited over a year to get a permanent implant because it was like $3500. Again with insurance. Yeah. Freaking dental work. So gd expensive.

  • NatalieN

    Best Puppy training advice:

    Exercise – because a puppy that is too tired to chew is a great puppy to have
    “Leave it” – our cease and desist command, pretty easy to teach, you just say leave it and then immediately clap or make a startling noise – puppy will be startled and stop what they’re doing and then you praise them. Teaching our pup leave it was seriously the best thing we ever did.
    Crate training for potty training – so our pup at first was not a big fan of her kennel, I was kind of obnoxious about making it a fun place for her, I’d hide treats in the blankets I’d put in there, play music for her at night so she wouldn’t feel alone, and we fed her all her meals in the beginning in the crate. The crate was never used for punishment, only food and sleep. The benefit was that when we were gone, or not able to watch her, we would crate her, and then immediately after take her outside to do business. if she did, praise reward, if not, she could only play if she had supervision, otherwise back in crate. if she did business, she got to have free play time.
    And the play biting thing that puppies do – we would over react any time she ‘bit’ us, or was mouthy, even if it didn’t really hurt. We would never hurt her, just say “OW!” loudly, and turn away for a small amount of time. She learned then that biting people is not how we play, which several of our friends actually commented on that they were impressed she didn’t do.

    And nature’s miracle stain remover. Godsend.

    • Sara

      I love these! I’ll only add that at the shelter I work at, instead of saying ‘ow’ we are told to almost yelp or make a high pitched ow. When they play with each other, they tend to yelp when their playmates go too far so they think they hurt you when you make a similar sound.

      • Totch

        Yeah, I took to whimpering/yelping. It certainly sounds funny though…

    • Totch

      Ow! is great. We got our dog when she was five, but even with an older dog it worked well. Since it’s a sudden/direct reaction, it’s was easier for her to internalize. Regardless of how she was used to playing, being mouthy did not work in our context.

    • Ashlah

      This is great advice I’m going to store in my brain for future dogs!

    • gonzalesbeach

      another vote for nature’s miracle!

  • Katie

    PUPPY!!!!! SO STINKING CUTE!!! My partner and I got a 12 week old rescue pup over three years ago, and I love her so much it’s hard to think how I’m going to love our baby (to be born in 6 weeks eek!) any more. BUT, it TOTALLY didn’t start that way while we learned how to parent a puppy! It was kind of mind boggling to realize that her problems really had to do with us.

    The first thing I would highly recommend is crate training. For the first little while, the puppy basically lives in the crate unless you are directly interacting with it. While that sounds horrible in theory, it’s actually not, unless you never spend time playing and walking and feeding and snuggling your puppy. Also, everytime you feed the puppy, you take it out after. Everytime you have a play session, you take it out to pee after. Etc. Once we read up on all that and followed it, we had no more accidents in the house at all. And we also spent a lot of time playing with her which was good for our souls!

    After two or three weeks, we started to let her roam a little bit in the evenings around the house after a play/potty session while we made and ate dinner, etc. After a couple weeks of that, she graduated to only being crated while we were gone and at night. After a couple months of that, she graduated to being free in the house during the day. (ALTHOUGH she did eat a remote control and a red marker during the beginning of that time period, and therefore lost her privileges for a bit. It looked like she had killed a small creature on the couch.) The nighttime crating shortly followed. It’s pretty amazing how quickly they learn! (in hindsight, of course. WHILE she was peeing in the house it seemed like a freaking eternity!) GOOD LUCK!!

    • MC

      My boss has 2 adorable dogs that are crate trained, and they call the crates their “Princess Palaces” which I think is super cute! The dogs do seem to love their crates because it’s a safe, familiar space for them.

    • We never crate trained our dogs growing up, because we could just stick them outside when they were annoying (SoCal weather). But it was definitely necessary with my dogs now because we have an apartment and you sometimes just need to make the dog go away while you set things out on the living room floor or when people come to fix things in your apartment. It’s definitely a big improvement. And Rocket likes his house and willingly sleeps there every night (it’s open unless he is being particularly annoying so he usually has the option to sleep other places on the floor if he wants).

  • Lisa

    Oh, and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who wished me luck on the show last week! It went pretty well, and we’ve got a cast party tonight to celebrate. Then my mom and sisters are coming into town for a girls’ weekend to celebrate my mom’s birthday! I’m super looking forward going to the craft fair with them and eating far too much of my husband’s from-scratch key lime pie (the requested birthday cake).

  • ktmarie

    Pretty irked right now and just wanted to vent. I work in a satellite office from my HQ and I found out there’s ‘suspicion’ that I’m pregnant. (I’m not). I’m in my 30s and married and apparently ‘seemed’ like I was pregnant (??) when I recently visited there. I’m so tired of telling people I’m not pregnant all the time, just in general.

    • Ashlah

      Bleh, how annoying. Sorry you’re dealing with that.

    • Alex

      gross. how does one “seem” like they are pregnant on a one-day visit? people… sorry you’re having to deal with that!

      • ktmarie

        apparently a 30 yr old married female without kids can’t wear loose clothing… unless they are obviously trying to hide a baby bump

        • Totch

          Well then, we’re pretty much all screwed aren’t we?

          Sorry that you had to deal with that.

        • April

          HOLY SHIT I MUST BE PREGS.

          ugh, so sorry. What an annoying situation to be in. :(

        • Alex

          Ah right, because obviously that makes the most sense for loose clothing. sigh.
          Although I do tend to like the empire waist things when I want to hide a food baby…

        • Jess

          I must be pregnant! All I wear is loose clothing. Helloooooo comfort.

        • Cellistec

          Yup. That’s why I wear only form-fitting clothing around gossipy people. And always have a drink in my hand. Which helps with the situation in multiple ways.

    • afew

      that is super annoying – come up with some witty responses, if you can muster it. I used the following:
      nope- just had my period- thanks for asking!
      just because I’m 30+ and took a sick day does not mean I’m pregnant
      nope – you’ll know when I know! (better for family or people you would actually tell right away)
      are you saying I look fat today?!

      • ktmarie

        haha thank you for these suggestions! I responded to the person who thought I should know the conversation was happening that they should take a look at my fb page in which i was Clearly.Not.Sober. at my birthday party last weekend. Maybe not the best path for a coworker but i was so shocked it was all i could think of at the time!

    • Keeks

      Ugh, who are these people who are so fascinated by the occupancy status of other people’s wombs?! I’m always like, thanks for the interest but I’m not Kate Middleton (poor woman) and the future of this country does not rest on knowing if there’s an heir in there, so cram it.

      • afew

        also, if you were her, would you have any more kids/pregnancies! No way! That woman had some rough pregnancies!

    • Meg

      that’s really inappropriate of them

    • Jess

      Just WTF.

    • emmers

      I’m really sorry. I second others’ suggestions of working on witty comebacks, even if they’re only something you use in your mind at the moment, but at least having them mentally ready for the next time. I’m one of those people who is often so taken aback when people are rude like that, and can’t think straight enough in the moment to shut them down verbally. I really feel for you. That sucks.

  • CP2011

    Took a mental health today to plan and reflect on how I can find more meaning in my life, especially as it relates to work. Thanks to those who brought up the Passion Planner on Navja’s forum earlier this week– I sat down with it today. One of my tasks to overcome the feeling that I will never find work that I enjoy is to learn from others what they find enjoyable about their jobs. My apologies if this is too similar to the thread about finding happiness at work, but I figure most people have moved on from those comments.

    • Violet

      Ooo, I’ll bite! I find lots of aspects about my job enjoyable- I have control in how I do things (for the most part). I definitely set my own schedule. I determine how many clients I see and which kinds. I get to explore new opportunities as they arise, but I am also allowed to stick with things long enough to feel really competent in them. I also like being a resource for others in my department who are newer, new to a specific kind of project, or don’t straddle mission areas, and therefore are missing pieces of the puzzle. Hope that helps!

    • Lawyerette510

      Oh fun topic! The things I find enjoyable about my job are the high level of self-direction and personal responsibility, my ability to find additional ways to contribute to my team and the company and initiate those projects or changes, that I work with clients but am not responsible for maintaining long-term relationships with them, and that my work is a mix of discrete projects (workplace investigations) and long-term initiatives.

    • CP2011

      Thanks for the comments so far. I also meant to ask if people have any input about creating personal websites to showcase your work portfolio. I just have a regular full time office job so I’m not necessarily trying to promote myself as a freelancer or consultant, but I have a hunch that I should have more of a professional presence online.

      • April

        I’m not nearly in a place where I even have time to be taking on freelance jobs but I set up a portfolio website for myself anyways figuring that I should have one set up and that as my work gets better I can update the site.

        I just set on up with wordpress and customized and existing theme. Now if I want to have a business card I can point it to a place, same for if anyone just happens to ask what kind of work I do.

    • guest

      I like having a job without a formal boss. I work when and where I want (with the exception of classes and meetings that I have to attend) and no one questions or notices where I am. I am judged as competent enough to handle myself which means that I work MUCH harder and MUCH better than I did when I had people doling out tasks and instructions to me. I actually respect the people I work with, and they never question my authority or knowledge. But my job is still a salaried position so the only risk involved is if I am kept year to year and if I can find extra money to pay myself in the summer. This is so much more fun than listing what I don’t like about my job :)

    • Bsquillo

      This is fun! What I like about my (day) job is the balance of all kinds: structure vs. not every day is quite the same, clear direction from my boss + putting trust in me to autonomously make decisions, being considered the expert in my area + the opportunity to try things I’ve never tried before, working with a large team of colleagues + having alone time in my day where I can buckle down and get stuff done. A huge part of why I enjoy my job is validation: anyone at any level can contribute a great idea and get it put into action, and also my boss is very good at recognizing and giving credit when I do good work.

      Even though I work for myself on some freelance projects, I don’t think it would be ideal for me to work from home full time. I actually thrive with a bit of outside pressure, and sort of medium-stress, deadline-based environments. If someone tells me to think about a project, but attaches no schedule or deadline to it, it’s unlikely I’ll ever get it done. This fits my college habit of procrastinating big assignments but then cranking out excellent work; that’s the kind of thrill-seeking I do, haha.

  • eating words

    Puppies! I’m about to start a new job where I’ll be working from home, and one of my wife’s very first reactions was, “We can get a puppy!!!” I said, “Oh, so I can take care of it all day, and you can come home and play with it?” She: “Yup.”

    I love puppies, but I feel the same way about them and children: love them, love playing with them, love giving them back. Maybe we’ll adopt an older dog one day, but for now, I’m a happy lesbian cat parent.

    Also, it is SO. WEIRD. to be in my very last day of a job I’ve had for almost a decade. Let’s raise a glass to new things.

    • CP2011

      What about getting an older dog? They won’t require the same intensity that a puppy would, less energy to manage and there are so many adult dogs that need good homes.

      • Violet

        This is always what I think (whenever we eventually get a dog, I want an older one), but then you read so much about older dogs having lots of separation anxiety from their past experiences. So I think they can be labor-intensive too, but in a different way.

        • CP2011

          Each dog is going to be different. I’ve always only had adult rescues and they have been wonderful dogs — only improved by the fact that I am giving them a second chance. I don’t think I could ever go the puppy route.

          • Violet

            No, I’m totally for it! (Only ever had a rescue myself, never a puppy… except that it turned out our rescue was pregnant… THAT was an adventure.) I just mean that if the concern around getting a dog is the time/effort required, older dogs can still need lots of that, too!

          • CP2011

            Definitely! My 9 year old rescue woke us up twice last night and then when we tried to let her out she just sat and stared at us. She has also begun the annoying habit of picking each piece of kibble out of her bowl, running backwards with it in her mouth and then leaving it on the rug. So our floor is covered in dog food for the next few hours while she eats piece at her leisure. But she has always been a weird dog.

          • Bsquillo

            I second this- I have always had young adult rescue dogs (one around 1.5 years, another around 3 years when we adopted). Both were basically potty trained and had minimal discipline issues when we got them, and it was a pretty short time before we could trust them enough to leave them at home alone. We’ll probably always have dogs, but might never get a puppy. But every dog is different!

          • eating words

            I love the idea of an adult rescue. When the time feels right. Which is… not yet.

          • Cassidy

            And being a cat parent is awesome! Just a little love from the cat camp ;)

        • I got a grown-up dog, and he is super low-key. He was 3ish, so mostly over all the puppy craziness but still enough energy to be willing to go on runs with me (but not so much energy that he requires going on runs when I don’t feel like it–walking is fine). I was very surprised by how chill he was, since we had aways started off with puppies growing up. He didn’t really have any seperation anxiety, besides a little barking the first few days I left him alone, and he doesn’t like getting shut in rooms (but is fine with being put in a crate, so that’s fine, he just doesn’t get to move as much when I need him out of the way). He was also being fostered, so the people at the rescue org I think did a good job of finding a grad-student-lifestyle-chill-dog since they knew the personalities of all the dogs they had (I was interested in another dog first, but they said that one probably wouldn’t like my life and recommended my dog instead).

          Although one day I will get a tiny baby puppy and I will love it so much, but that day will not come until after I stop living in a giant tall apartment building with unreliable elevators.

  • Oh, I just remembered I have a question! Anyone got tips for Rome, Florence, Venice & Milan, Italy? My husband and I are going in 6 weeks for our anniversary! We have an Airbnb booked in Rome, but nothing booked for the other cities. Also any tips on comfy shoes? Cause I know we’ll be walking a lot.

    • Alex

      I have some Walking Cradle sandals which are a bit old ladyish (my now-husband found them after reading a slew of foot realted literature via google so i humored him to try them out) and they’re actually quite comfortable… i walked many miles through Greece and Spain in them a few summers ago :) I’d honestly buy a bunch from Zappos (they have a “comfort” tag), walk around your home (or on a treadmill) for a bit in them, send back all the ones you don’t want and go from there :) have fun!!! OH! tip – buy museum tickets for the Uffizi and Accademia online early if you can/want to go there. I think Venice is solidly a two day/one night place (but I also went in undergrad and not with anyone romantic so maybe now i’d be totally on board for gondola rides ;) ), and Rome/Florence have a lot more stuff to see/do/eat

      • Alex

        …actually i have another tip: in between venice/milan, try to see if you can squeeze in lake como. I personally haven’t been, but some folks I studied abroad with (in Turin, years ago) went and it is GORGEOUS. and a girl i used to work with just went there with her husband last summer and said it was wonderful.

        • Lisa

          Oh, man, YES! We stayed in Varenna on Lake Como, and it was gorgeous with great pottery shops and seafood.

          Some of my absolute favorite places from my two weeks in Italy were the Alps outside of Bolzano and the Cinque Terre, but it sounds like @Jubilance:disqus has already got a pretty full schedule!

          • Susan

            While we are just throwing out other amazing places in Italy, I wanted to suggest Sirmione on Lago di Garda — it’s literally one of the most surreal and beautiful places I’ve ever been. It includes a partially underwater castle and the ruins of the summer estate of Catullus (if anyone here is a Latin nerd).

          • Alex

            I’m on board with throwing out more amazing places, I’m looking into summer/fall trips with my husband and love all the off-the-beaten-path places, so keep ’em coming! (Let’s just open this up to all amazing places ;) )

          • Lisa

            Definitely look into the Cinque Terre or areas around the Alps if you’re at all outdoorsy! I wish we could have spent more time in those places because the hiking was so amazing, but it felt like we didn’t get to explore the towns as much. There is actually a path that connects all five of the Cinque Terre towns together, and it runs right along the coastline so everything is breathtaking. I know it’s become more touristy in recent years, but it was so gorgeous that it doesn’t even matter.

            For off the beaten path that I’m dying to visit: Croatia. We ran into a couple at one point who said their flight out of northern Italy had been cancelled so they rented a car and drove over for a few days. They said the cities and beaches and countryside were gorgeous and super cheap and not as run over by tourists as some of the other European destinations.

          • Alex

            Ahh Cinque Terre for SURE. I was there in 2008 (and it was touristy but when I told people I had gone most people had no idea where it was, in contrast to today’s “gorgeous places you must travel” lists where it hits on every one of them). Croatia is on my list, too! Driving around the countryside sounds pretty delightful as well :)

      • Yeah we’re only doing 1 night in Venice, cause really we just want to see the canals & do a gondola ride. Thanks for the shoe suggestions!

    • Ravenclawed

      Something with a really solid sole, since a lot of the streets will be cobblestone. I wore my ballet flats because they were my comfiest shoes, but they were so thin my feet hurt after like 4 hours.

    • StevenPortland

      In addition to the regular tour, the Vatican has a special one called a “Garden Tour”. It is actually just a tour around the grounds of Vatican city. I thought it was really interesting.

    • Bsquillo

      Out of that list, I’ve only REALLY been to Rome- but I’m so excited for you, because it’s going to be awesome!!! Besides doing the big touristy stuff, which you should definitely do, take some time to explore side streets, sip espresso, and eat everything.

      I highly recommend Merrell sandals or shoes- I was super comfy walking all over Europe in those, and they have some pairs that don’t necessarily scream “I’m a sloppy American tourist.”

    • Amy March

      I’ve started wearing sneakers in the day time in Europe. I’m not passing as a local anyway! For a day of walking 10 miles on cobblestones, its what I need. And then having sandals or flats to change into at night or if we’re doing something especially nice.

      • I really want to wear sneakers but I didn’t want to be a corny American. But I know we’re going to do a ton of walking so I want to be prepared. I don’t even think my Chucks are going to get me through, since they are so flat on the bottom and don’t have any support.

        • Amy March

          Europeans wear sneakers too! I see them doing it. Chucks are terrible for me for that kind of walking. I’m currently plotting shoes for Greece and thinking:

          http://www.zappos.com/product/8631701/color/595753

        • Katherine

          If you’re really concerned about being corny, non-white sneakers are key. When I was living in France, plenty of people wore sneakers, but they were either darker colors or “street shoes” designed not to look like sneakers.

          Alternative: buy yourself a pair of these fabulous things and wear whatever shoes you want. I’ve got a pair of hiking boots with these insoles and they’re amazing.

          http://www.amazon.com/Ortholite-OrthoLite-Fusion-Insole-Womens/dp/B003P5JVPM/ref=pd_sim_309_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51UeeeApizL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR120%2C160_&refRID=1C344J9BTMGVMQXAH4BD

        • ART

          I was so happy to find last summer that I could put foam insoles in my chucks and get some arch support, and it actually made them nearly all-day comfortable. Since you have to put them on top of the built in-insoles, that did make them a little bit tight in the toes for me, but I found that the foam squished down enough that it was OK after a couple minutes. That was a huge vacation revelation for me. I wasn’t doing walking-all-day type walking, so that still might not get you through. I’m just on a mission to share this with fellow converse fans. I don’t know, maybe this is super obvious to others? It was just a big discovery for me because I didn’t think they would fit :)

        • Alex

          Hoodies and shorts and any sort of “athleisure” wear are a giveaway, too, for American tourists ;) You can always tell who is a tourist by so much more than their shoes anyways, so just wear it proudly and be a respectful tourist :)

      • Keeks

        Yes, this! I’ve given myself plantar fasciitis from poor footwear and now IDGAF. Black colored Nikes/New Balance/Adidas all the way! I also have a pair of Ecco mary janes like this pair and they were good for long walks and going out to dinner afterwards: http://www.zappos.com/product/8656205/color/183092

        • Danielle

          I <3 Eccos! They are great walking shoes.

      • emilyg25

        This. Just be a tourist. And be comfortable. It’s okay!

    • Poppy

      In Rome, you can get Vatican Museum tickets on line ahead of time and skip the humongous queue outside the box office!

      • Thanks! I’m assuming I go to the Vatican Museum website to do that?

        • Lindsay

          I would suggest booking a tour through a tour website! (we used viator.com). The vatican museums are so massive that you will never be able to see everything in a day – tours show you the important stuff (like The Last Supper, Sistine Chapel etc). Even if you’re not a tour person, the Vatican is the one place its pretty necessary. The tours also usually include admission into St. Peters – that would be another line to stand in if you did everything separately!
          If you are a history nerd – I recommend the Scavi tour!! My husband and I thought this was the coolest part of our entire Rome experience. It’s a limited tour (only 250 people a day) into the excavations down below St. Peter’s. Super interesting. Here’s info on that: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/uffscavi/documents/rc_ic_uffscavi_doc_gen-information_20090216_en.html

    • Keeks

      Venice was just *hearts in the eyes emoji* for me. I thought my feet were going to fall off but we couldn’t stop wandering around the tiny little alleys. There was all this TEXTURE everywhere.

      If you can find an Airbnb in the center of the city, I totally recommend that! Everything was a lot quieter & more romantic at night (until you see a canal rat…) and we had some simple meals at the apartment. Also, we skipped the gondola ride and I don’t feel like we missed much, if you’re being price conscious.

      Florence was really nice in a different way, a little more ‘local’ feeling. Get advance tickets for the Accademia Gallery to see David! Go to a really nice restaurant! EAT ALL THE GELATO!

      • Danielle

        YES to gelato and David in Florence. Eat everything!!!! Omg, the pizza, the pasta, drooling just thinking about it. Walk over the bridges. And there are markets in some of the small squares/plazas that sell great leather goods (at least there were 10 years ago when I went). I ended up buying leather bags for my mom and sister that they still use :)

    • InTheBurbs

      We stayed at a monastery in Rome and loved it – you might explore that for the other cities – there are plenty without curfews and breakfast is often included. We focused on churches in Rome – my recommendations if you’re interested are Santa Cecila in Trastevere and Santa Prassede – both are off the beaten path with art that has a feminist feel to it.

      I’ll echo the Merrill suggestion – I’d also look at Keens. Both of them will have the support you’ll want but be cute too. I lived in my Birkenstocks most of the time we were there – even when it got into the high 40’s – everyone else was bundled up by that point – but the temperature was perfect for us.

      Decide when you want to go to the Vatican Museum and buy your tickets now – it makes it so much easier. I’d partner the Vatican museums with something where you don’t have to really concentrate – we were on overload after we finished.

      Finally – never be afraid to enter if you see an open door, you never know what you might encounter…and stop randomly for gelato/capuccino – you can’t get enough!

    • Lisa

      Check out the Rick Steves Italy books; they are the absolute best and are what I used to plan my two week trip with my mom.

      Rome: the Vatican and just walking around downtown were my favorites. As a bit of a history nerd, I liked seeing the landmarks (Colosseum, ruins, the baths, etc.), but just sitting with a glass of wine or cafe and people watching is all kinds of fun.

      Florence: We stayed in a cute B&B right by the Duomo (found through the Rick Steves book). Make sure to visit the markets and see all of the gorgeous leather jackets and scarves. (And the art museums are all right, too. ;) ) Apparently the best gelato in the world is here so I made it my goal to taste all of them (for science obvs). If you’re a wine drinker, it might be worth it to take a bus ride out into Tuscany to explore the wines. We went from Siena to Montepulciano, where Brunello is made, and had so much fun selecting souvenirs for family and friends at the wineries there!

      Venice: My voice teacher from undergrad told me about this pasta he ate for the first time while he was there after a performance that was made from squid ink. It is absolutely AMAZING, and I’d highly recommend it. Also, go see the glass blowers and buy some gorgeous jewelry. Most of them are kind of far away, but if you get the Rick Steves book, there’s one on the Plaza San Marco that will admit you with his book. Also gondola ride is a must.

      Milan: If you’re planning to see The Last Supper, book your tickets on-line yesterday. We got super lucky because they were sold out, but someone was selling her extra tickets at the door so we were still able to get in. Also check out the Duomo and eat some osso bucco.

      I may come back and reply to this later if I think of anything else!

      • Lisa

        As for shoes, I wore a pair Naturalizers everywhere except for days we were hiking, and then it was tennis shoes.

      • Rachel

        This comment reminds me that Rick Steves also has a free app with walking tours that are great! I recall the Colosseum one for Rome being especially good. The content is similar to the written walking tours in his books, but I think with more detail, and it can be more convenient to listen while you look around than to stop to read. You can download the tours (and other stories/guides that are interesting) before you leave, so it even works offline/if you don’t have mobile service abroad.

    • sage

      I wore these shoes all over Europe for two full weeks (walking 6-18 miles a day). They were so comfortable I never wore the other shoes I had brought with me (including my sneakers). They have since worn out but I intend to buy another 2-3 pairs of them in different colors for my future travels.
      http://www.zappos.com/ahnu-karma

      • C_Gold

        OK I need those shoes. I walk all over Europe in the summer (I take college students on trips there), and I’m ALWAYS struggling to find comfy but cute shoes. And I see they make a vegan version! Did you buy them online or did you get them in a store? (I have weird feet and I’d love to try them on first.) If so, what store?

        • sage

          I read about them online, but actually found my pair in a Dillards. Went back to said Dillards for a new pair, but could not find them. Online the reviews seem to indicate they run large. Mine stretched out lengthwise over about a year, so I guess I agree with that. The part that covers your toes is nice and wide, which made them perfect for me and very comfortable. Hope this helps!

    • Teresa

      Black Nikes or birks have served me well everywhere we’ve traveled in the past few years. Buy tickets in advance for as much as you can–check online now, I think most of the larger tourist spots let you and it saves a lot of waiting in line time. I’d recommend the Guiggenheim in Venice to visit and Ai Mercanti to eat–also, Harry’s Bar, but that’s $$$. In Rome, Old Bridge for gelato, roam around the neighborhood of Trastavere–eat cacio e pepe (we had a great meal at Osteria Cacio e Pepe) and go some place for apertivo! I don’t remember much about Florence bc I was there only a short time, but I spent time in the town of Cortona (where they filmed under the Tuscan sun) and it is lovely! Have the best time ever! Oh, and buy/borrow Rick Steve’s travel guides!

    • Susan

      I recommend, if your schedule allows, stopping in between Florence and Venice in Bologna. I studied abroad there and it is just such a lovely city and a refreshing break from the non-stop flow of tourists (which hopefully won’t be too bad given that you’re going in spring and not summer).

    • emilyg25

      We splurged and got tickets for a guided tour of the Vatican that started before it officially opened from Walks of Italy. It was awesome and so worth it. We also really loved the Rick Steves Rome guidebook. He has a bunch of walking tours in there that are super useful and I love his voice.

    • C_Gold

      We stayed in Florence at a place right near the train station, restaurants, and shops–a very nice location–and it was a very good price. Hotel Mia Cara. They had a great breakfast buffet.

    • C_Gold

      Also, I plan trips to Europe as part of my job (My husband and I take college kids on short term study abroads every year, and plan everything ourselves), and last year we did both Rome and Florence. So if you have ANY planning questions, feel free to email me: holden.elizabethann@gmail.com I love to help with this sort of thing.

      • Thank you so much! I will totally take you up on this :-)

    • Florence, I love Florence! I really liked the Galileo museum in Florence, but I really like looking at old models of the universe and old scientific instruments. It probably was my favorite museum on my whole Europe trip (I like art, but not as much as science museums). Florence was also so walkable, which was great because we could just wander everywhere and eat gelato every few hours. Our favorite was La Carraia, which was conveniently a 5 minute walk from our hotel, and where you could then eat the gelato on the bridge outside. Mostly gelato. That was most of what I remember from Florence. But I loved it.

      • OMG I had no idea this was a thing! My husband and I are both scientists so this will be right up our alley. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

    • HCampGust

      Check out ‘Spotted by Locals’. My sister has lived in Rome for two years, and for the two years before that she lived in Milan. When in Milan she wrote for the website, and while I can’t vouch for everything, I think it is a good way to find some places that are off of the touristy track. Also, in Rome, if you’re like my family (my parents talked about death and mortality all the time when I was growing up, and still do), you might love the Capuchin Crypt. It is incredible.

  • Becky

    Yay for cute puppies!

    I could use some advice/opinions. My fiance and I are touring a venue next Saturday, and my question is: did any of you take your parents on venue tours? My parents have been relatively hands-off while we figure things out and are super helpful with advice when asked, but don’t butt in, whereas my fiance’s mother wants to be involved with everything and tends to offer unwanted and unasked-for opinions. Fiance said she wanted to come with us on the tour and asked my thoughts; I said I would rather she not, because we’re just seeing if we even like the place, and I also don’t want any of her opinions affecting ours. I figure if we like it and are serious about it we can do a follow-up meeting with the coordinator, his mom, and my parents to discuss contacts and whatnot. He agreed, which is great, but now I’m curious if it’s common for parents to go to that stuff.

    I’d love other opinions/advice/experiences!

    • Meg

      I would only take them if they are paying, otherwise just go on your own.

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        Yep, this. My parents were paying for the venue but live far away, so we sent them pictures and weighed pros and cons about different options in an email thread. If we’d had the money to pay ourselves, I’d have loved to keep them on the margins a little more.

    • Emily

      Follow-up meeting sounds great. We toured a bunch of places and then when we had narrowed it down to two options we took both of our mommas for the BRIEFEST of tours. It was way easier to just give in on this then fight it even though I thought it was silly.

    • Lawyerette510

      We did not take our parents. The only time a parent was involved in any decision making for us was my dad coming to the wine tasting, because he was paying for the booze. More generally speaking, like Meg said, I think it’s really only common to take parents for decision making visits when they are paying or you are otherwise wanting them to participate in the decision making. If you don’t want her to feel like she has a significant vote in the venue, I would not take her, as it could give her that impression.

      • AGCourtney

        ^^^^ this. Because if you’re already concerned that she wants to be involved with everything and offers unwanted opinions, taking her along on the venue tour is going to open the floodgates, and it’s very, very hard to close them. Trust me. x_x

        • Becky

          YES. It’s already started, unfortunately. We made the mistake of drafting a tentative guest list when she was around, and she started telling us all the people we “have” to invite – certain friends/coworkers of hers, distant cousins, etc. Ugh.

          • AGCourtney

            Oh no! Variants on “Thanks for the suggestion, we’ll think about it” are your friend. A follow-up venue visit with the parents once you’ve decided is a great idea. Other small-but-still-keeping-her-involved gestures will help, and I’d also suggest delegating tasks to keep her genuinely involved – but in ways that don’t drive you crazy. Solidarity~

          • Becky

            Thank you! It’s going to be tough, but that’s some great advice I’ll definitely use.

          • Laura C

            We gave my MIL a number of people that she could allocate however she wanted. It put the choices on her, so rather than “why isn’t so and so invited” being a question we had to answer to her, we just had to hold the line on her number. And while I was pretty uncomfortable with the fact that she invited some people’s kids and not others, I was able to write it off as Not My Problem. Guest list was the worst part of wedding planning, but that definitely helped.

    • Amy March

      Is she paying for it? In my experience parents who are paying often expect to go, and I think that is very fair. If she’s not, then no.

    • Becky

      Thanks for the advice so far! I probably should’ve mentioned that she’s not paying for it. (I kiiind of think she just wants to see it because it’s a newly-renovated country club and she wants a “first look” or something.) At least now I don’t feel as bad about saying no. I don’t mind keeping parents in the loop, but ultimately it’s about what my fiance and I are happy with.

    • Ashlah

      We didn’t do any formal venue visits (because we didn’t use a formal venue), but when we first visited the park where we ended up having our wedding, we didn’t bring anyone else. Once we finalized our decision, we brought my mom to see it because she was helping with the logistics of the wedding.

    • Laura C

      We took our parents. Specifically, the venue in my parents’ area was one they were curious to see, and my MIL wanted to be as involved as possible (which, yes, often involved unwanted and unasked-for opinions). And since most of the venues we were looking at were in her area, I got my parents to come out for some of the tours to help counteract her tendency to try to seize control.

      In our case, it felt like one of the less loaded ways to let her be involved, which we felt would reduce later conflict of the “you’ve shut me out” variety. It was easier for me, anyway, to have some distance on my feelings about venues than it would have been for, say, my dress. Venue just wasn’t something where I was going to get emotional over disagreements and it was something where I felt relatively comfortable enforcing our priorities.

    • Jess

      We did not take our parents while we were sorting out where to go. What we DID do (and are now preparing for) is to say, “Once we find a venue and have signed the contract, we will set up a day for you to come in and tour it with us!” I will follow up with how that weekend goes.

      Follow-up meetings are the way to go.

      • Sosuli

        This is exactly what we did with both sets of parents and it went really well! It made them feel involved and knowing the place was already booked deflected unasked for opinions and criticisms, just got them focused on what we could do in that space. Hope it goes as well for you!

      • I Don’t Knowww, Margo!

        This is our plan as well! We went and looked at our camp and made the decision ourselves, but I’m going to try to schedule a visit when the weather is nicer so we can get measurements and take pictures, and we’ll bring my mom. She’s artistic and logical, so I know she’ll have decent advice.

    • emmers

      If people come, then they will have opinions. It sounds like that may stress you out, so I’d say no. I’m sure my family (who paid for the wedding) would have LOVED to come on our venue tour, but that would have stressed me out. Especially since she’s not paying, it’s perfectly OK to tell her you’d like to do this yourself, but you’re happy to have her join you (or go on her own!) in the future if you decide to select the venue.

    • TeaforTwo

      Does she have good taste?

      You say you’re worried that her opinion will affect yours, but that’s only really an issue if her opinion isn’t a good one. As someone who has moved into enough “great” new apartments only to realize all of the flaws, I think getting another opinion (if its from someone whose agenda is making sure your wedding is great, rather than trying to twist your arm to do it somewhere she loves that you hate) isn’t a bad idea.

      I think “common” varies. We had our venue in mind before we even got engaged, and it was one block from our house, so we didn’t take anyone on a tour. But I did take my inlaws to our menu tasting because it was a fun thing to do.

    • EF

      We included fiance’s mother in a tour once we were pretty sure we wanted to book the place. She was supportive, and I think, liked being included there. It also made her a bit more hands off on other things, as she ended up really liking the venue (and i think appreciated it being 20 minutes from her house!)

  • Mary Jo TC

    I’m having a great day. My coworkers surprised me with a baby shower at lunch! And my mom and dad are driving in to visit and will arrive late tonight. I’m 37 weeks pregnant and for some reason, the last month of pregnancy seems easier than the second last, which was super uncomfortable all the time. I have no clue what changed, but I’m thrilled to no longer be in constant low-level pain!
    There are a couple other people complaining about MILs today, so I guess I’ll join in. My MIL has been interfering in setting up our new house (well, we moved in September, but there’s still a room full of boxes, so we still don’t feel settled). Since the move she has:
    -bought us a rug for Christmas (we picked it out)
    -gave us kid-size table and chairs for the toddler’s play area (saved from husband’s childhood I think)
    -her neighbor was getting rid of a pair of loveseats so she made sure we got them.
    -gave us 3 old lamps that aren’t my style
    -had two rooms painted at her expense, with hired painter and color she picked out
    -bought these jungle animal wall decals for the baby’s room that I don’t like (too cutesy). She showed them to me ahead of time, but I don’t know how to say I don’t like things like that.
    -said she’ll refinish an old dresser she has for our toddler’s room but not come through yet
    -bought a rug for the baby’s room (I haven’t seen it but I heard it’s blue)
    -offered her husband’s truck to us this weekend to haul stuff away. I don’t even know what it is we have that she thinks needs to be hauled away.
    Am I right to think this is a bit much interference with OUR house? I know all of this is just generosity on her part, and maybe a kind of nesting instinct, but it’s getting to be a bit much. And since we’ve gone along with it this far, and it’s been genuinely helpful, I don’t know how to stop it or where to draw the line. Part of it is definitely that I don’t like or care about home décor type stuff as much as she does. The truth is that if it were left up to me, the rooms would never get painted, and I would be fine. My husband cares a bit more, and would prefer the rooms to be painted, and if it weren’t for that, then I probably wouldn’t have let her paint the rooms. I think she looks at our house and it feels unfinished to her, and that makes her anxious, especially with the baby on the way, so she starts doing stuff to get it (her version of) ready on her timeline. My husband would totally be the one to make a boundary and run interference, but he’s not tactful at all and would probably just blow up at her because she unconsciously pushes his buttons, and she doesn’t deserve that. Ugh. Just wanted to complain a little to people who I know will understand.

    • Amy March

      I think it is well past time to start saying no!

      “Oh, I think I will hire a painter and this is the color”

      “No thanks, we will take care of it ourselves.”

      “I bought you these jungle decals.”

      “Thanks, but not really our style.”

      I don’t actually think she is overstepping at all here! She is doing nice things for you, and you are letting her. You can’t expect her to just magically sense that it is a bit much. She’s spending a lot of time and money on you, doing stuff that your husband cares about, that you don’t care about. If you want her to stop you need to start using words instead of quietly resenting her. It just seems like you want it both ways- you are overwhelmed by the stuff, but also annoyed she hasn’t gotten to the dresser yet. You don’t want her taking care of the painting, but you also don’t want to do it.

      • Mary Jo TC

        That’s fair. I shouldn’t build up resentment unless she’s trampled expressed wishes, and we haven’t expressed anything. She is definitely being super generous, and we haven’t told her to stop, so she’s kind of following our lead in a way, or you could argue that. I guess part of it is I don’t even know my own mind about home décor stuff enough to know what my own preferences are until I see something I don’t like, and since I don’t care much about it, I’m content to leave things as they are (box-filled, unpainted rooms probably until we move out), and she’s got this sense of urgency that just bowls me over. It’s hard for me to communicate when I don’t even know my own mind about what I want, and I also don’t have the energy or interest to figure out what I want.

        • Amy March

          It just seems like actually pretty awesome to me. You’ve said before that your husband does care about this stuff, and you’ve lucked into a situation where a.) the stuff is getting done, b.) you don’t have to do it, and c.) someone else is paying for it. And in the process you get to learn about what you want for the next house. Taking a stand in favor of unpainted unfinished rooms full of boxes is just maybe not really worth it? Or maybe it totally is, but it’s also fine to kinda hate the jungle details but not make this something you care about.

          • Mary Jo TC

            Thanks for this shift in perspective!

    • Sosuli

      She picked the paint color herself? That does seem a bit much to me. I can totally relate to the MIL who is way into home decor and perfectionist about the house. Maybe just try a gentle “not really our style” about the decals? Got to draw a line somewhere, and if you don’t like them and don’t say anything, you will be stuck.

    • Jess

      Came here to say what Amy March said, as the daughter of a mom who likes to express love through STUFF.

      All of these are things my mom would do. You need to say, “Oh, thank you so much for thinking of us! These lamps don’t really go with our style, but we appreciate the thought” (then donate or return lamps to her) more often.

      As a perk, being more upfront about what you’re not down with makes you feel more grateful for the stuff that you do actually find to be nice to have AND gives her feedback on what is ok to supply in the future.

      It took me a lot of practice of saying, “No, but thank you so much!” to stop feeling like I was refusing her love, and it is still taking a lot of doing it for her to understand that I’m not rejecting her when I don’t want more stuff. It is work – but worth it.

    • Meg

      that sounds like my mom

    • Sosuli

      I really relate to having a MIL who finds interior design very important while not finding it a top priority myself. I do feel like picking out the color for your rooms herself is a bit much… but if that’s how you feel you do need to express that somehow. How about just starting with a gentle “not really our style” about the jungle decal? Might open up a conversation between the two of you where you can get to know each other’s tastes a bit better – she sounds very caring and has put a lot of effort into doing this stuff, chances are she is interested in having an end product that you actually like! It could also be something to encourage you to think a bit more about what you and your husband actually want your house to be like. Not that you have to become passionate about decorating, but if it feels like your MIL is getting a bit too involved it would be helpful to come up with something so it’s not a situation of either having nothing or having what your MIL has planned.

    • MC

      Yeah, this sounds exactly like my MIL – we live 7ish hours away from her so we have not had this issue (yet) – but when we moved into our house two months ago they drove down to help us move, and she was so intent on unpacking & organizing everything right away when all I wanted to do was move everything, make it livable, and relax. What made me stressed was that one of the things I like about owning a house is that there is TIME to live in it and make decorating and organizing decisions with my husband that we are both happy with. Since we’re living there long-term, there’s no rush to organize everything just for the sake of having it organized. Maybe this is part of it for you? I am also not really inclined to decorate too much but I am enjoying the slow nesting process that comes with being a homeowner.

    • Laura C

      Sympathy fist bump. My MIL has been getting ready to sell her house for a substantial downsizing. This involved trying to get us to say we wanted all sorts of her stuff, much of which is valuable art and antiques that she’d be storing for us until we had the kind of living situation that would accommodate it. But honestly it was so much stuff that the largest house we’d ever have would still be swamped by art and antiques chosen by someone else, and a lot of the time she did not want to hear no because she was really looking to avoid entirely getting rid of things she treasures but won’t have room for.

      During that time, she was also trying to get my husband to spend hours over there every weekend deciding what should be kept and gotten rid of in her house, when we needed to be doing that in our apartment (and can’t afford to hire professional organizers as she’d done), and anytime she heard that we were doing something for fun (because we know we won’t have a lot of opportunities to go to the movies for a while), she would get mad about how we said my husband didn’t have time to be working on her house and here we were going to the movies. Also, she kept smuggling things into our house. One of our suitcases was broken and she offered us an extra she had … but it arrived filled with baby blankets from my husband’s childhood — sentimental, not useful, objects. Something else useful that we said we’d take arrived in a bag on top of some old baseball gloves.

      Now her house is ready to go on the market and she’s turned her attention to being worried by why we aren’t yet 100% organized and constantly asking what she can get us (then not liking the answer of “this dull practical thing we need” when she wants to get us something cute and fun we don’t have room for) or what she can do to help us when having her in our house trying to take control of our organizing and cleaning process would be a surefire recipe for either a huge fight or simmering resentments.

      All of which is to say, I feel you. And it’s so hard to say no again and again and again — eventually you feel like you have to say yes to something, even if you don’t really want it, to show that you’re not just saying no reflexively.

  • Anon

    Y’all, we might be moving to Boston! My husband got into Boston College for a Masters in Psychology program, and we’re touring campus next weekend. Tell me all the reasons we want to move there instead of staying in Minnesota.

    Anon, because I don’t know when to break the news to my work – for a cross-country move, it seems like I should give more than two week’s notice. There’s also the chance I could go from FTE to a short-term contract and work remotely for a few months as I get settled. Any experience with that?

    • Meg

      I did my undergrad there in Psych! I loved Boston College

      I’m not going to convince you to move here though. I’ve been kind of jaded lately about Boston. Our Public transit infrastructure is crumbling and the city is becoming more and more expensive to live in or near.

      • Anon

        That’s great to hear about the college. Public transit is important to me, and my current suburban living doesn’t allow it really at all… and apartment-searching has the potential to be really awful. There’s a bit of sticker shock with rent prices. We’ll definitely be downsizing in living space and number of belongings.

        • EF

          The T is crumbling in places, it’s true, but some parts of it are really excellent (the blue line was updated a few years back and is AWESOME). The bus system is superb. Yes, snow will hold things up. This happens.

          I’m from Boston so very obviously biased. But a couple things: consider rental price vs cost of getting around. You really don’t need a car, and the T/buses cost the same no matter the stop (not like in DC, for instance!) so you can save a lot of money there.

          BC/Newtown is one of the most expensive areas of town. It’s probably worth it to look further afield — either Dedham, other side of newtown from boston/much cheaper rent, but not as good public transport, or somewhere like watertown (super under-rated part of town!) which is just across the river and has some of the most reliable bus service, along with great bike lanes.

          But downsizing, yep. It’s an old city. The apartments are smaller. People make do :-)

          If you end up with any specific questions about neighbourhoods etc, feel free to give me a shout, here or on twitter.

        • Alex

          Yeah, I moved from Ann Arbor where my husband and I met/went to grad school and after finishing found a job in Boston. Definitely understand the sticker shock and waaaay less space. I do quite miss my patio and detached garage and 1200 sq ft 2bd/1.5 bath townhouse much more than the 700 sq ft 1 bedroom …in the suburbs (near where I work). I had a friend who post-doc’d at MIT and his quality of life didn’t change at all from PhD stipend at Michigan to post doc salary at MIT. I don’t want to be a total debbie downer, but it really is a pretty big thing to be aware of. In general, I advocate for moving and trying out new cities though :)

    • Jsk

      Ooh, my homeland! The BC campus looks like the platonic ideal of a college campus (go eagles!). Normally I’d tell you how terrible the weather is but you’re probably used to snow drifts and chilly temps. Boston is awesome but quite expensive. The people can be a little insular but if you work at it you can find a tribe.

    • jb123

      I love living in Boston. I won’t compare it to Minnesota where I’ve never been, but here are a few great things in Boston:
      – It’s a city so there are great city things to do like walk to anything you want to, people watch, museums, try a dozen different kinds of food in a day, etc
      – There is a fun and eclectic theater and music scene, with a bunch of small box locations to check out.
      – Lots of outdoor spaces- great parks that basically ring the city, short hikes that are t-accessible and longer beautiful outdoor New England hikes in the fall if you’re willing to drive.
      – Speaking of: Fall in New England! Leaves, trees, apple picking, cider doughnuts, fall is beautiful!
      – I’ve actually found it fairly easy to meet people. The city is somewhat transient (plus and minus) so there are always new people looking for new people.
      – Great local beer selection.
      – Every neighborhood does it’s own neighborhoody things like open studio tours, restaurant tastings, etc. Neighborhood communities in Boston are really strong despite the biggerish city feel.

      There are down sides too, like anywhere, but I moved to Boston almost a decade ago planning to just stay just for undergrad and found that I just really like it and am so glad FH and I have decided to plan roots here. Hope to see you here!

      • eating words

        Seconding all of these things are true! Boston is wonderful, and I’d love to live there.

    • Mallory2

      Another BC alum here! Woo! BC is big on building community and the campus is gorgeous. There are great neighborhoods close to campus and its easily accessible by public transit.

      Other great non-BC things: cannolis from the North End, bar hopping the freedom trail, lobster rolls, majah American historical sites, the Fall, sports teams that win… it’s a great city to live in – particularly since you’re already accustomed to the winters!!

      • Anon

        Thank you – we want to feel excited about the adventure and new experiences to help combat the overwhelm of the move.

    • Diana

      I just finished my PhD at Boston College! It’s an amazing school with such a supportive community. I really feel like I’m leaving a wonderful and quirky family behind as I settle into living in Michigan. I have other friends who have gotten various Masters at BC and also really enjoyed their time. Boston is my favorite city in the U.S. by a pretty wide margin. Of course it’s gorgeous and has so much history, and absolutely amazing food + beer, but mostly I really, really love the people. There are just so many interesting, smart, and passionate people living there. Whatever hobbies you have, you’ll find other people who share those interests. It’s a big college town, of course, but it also has a big population of young professionals who do all kinds of interesting things. (I did a lot of singing in choirs, musical theater, being in book clubs, and aerials + trapeze.) If jobs allowed, we would love to live there again at some point.

      I should also say that I was really heartbroken about leaving Boston, and scared out of my mind about moving to a new city + state. But yet…I’m so glad I did it. It’s been really empowering to find out that I CAN do it, and that I can make new friends, and that I can find a different set of things to enjoy here. Not always easy, but definitely empowering.

  • Bethany

    If you reach out to the shelter or rescue where you adopted the puppy, they should have good advice on trainers in the area and possibly even offer classes themselves. I’m a huge fan of Victoria Stillwell. Not only does she have good advice, but she also explains it really well: https://positively.com/

    Essentially, be positive, be consistent, and figure out what motivates your dog.

    Best of luck! He’s adorable!!

  • Heythat’smydress

    That drag family portrait with the baby is KILLING ME. My husband enjoys some at-home dress up, some of it is not my favorite for various reasons having to do with reinforcing gender roles that I’m uncomfortable with,* but most of it is fun and hot. I think I will share that page with him tonight :)

    *finding ways to talk about this with him without being unsupportive gives me all the EL feels…

  • Laura C

    I have the afternoon off and instead of enjoying it, right off the bat I managed to make myself feel even more thwarted and frustrated than usual lately. I thought I’d assemble the urban assault stroller we got as a hand-me-down. This did not go well. It didn’t go at all, actually, and now I’m wondering if it isn’t just too big for our life even if I could get it assembled, but obviously it was given with love and saying “uh, no, actually we don’t want it after all” doesn’t feel very viable. Then I cleared out the herbs at the end of their lives in our aerogrow and now my hands smell like cilantro, which I hate.

    Currently practicing some self-care by 1) eating cheese and crackers, 2) ordering some of the stuff left on our baby registry myself rather than leaving open the possibility that we will repeat (another three times) the conversation wherein my MIL asks what we need and we tell her and then she doesn’t get it because we weren’t supposed to tell her the practical stuff we really need, we were supposed to tell her the fun stuff she wants to buy that we don’t have room for, 3) planning to wash my hands another couple times until the cilantro is gone, and 4) planning to go to the bakery that’s just inside my comfortable walking radius and get myself a damn cookie. (Or, let’s face it, three.) And tonight we’re going to Myers + Chang, which is exciting. And tomorrow having a good brunch and making a good dinner and in between making progress on our apartment where if the stroller thwarts me, my husband is there to help and/or distract. And Sunday going to the movies.

    • TeaforTwo

      This may be incredibly obvious, but have you tried youtube tutorials for the stroller?

      Even though I’m a millenial, I think the first thing I looked up “how to” on youtube was how to put together our stroller because the wordless instructions were doing nothing for me, and it really helped, and showed me some features I might not have known about.

      • Laura C

        That’s a great idea. My husband claims he knows how to do it so I’m waiting for him to be home, but it’s so complex that I think even so, youtube could be super helpful.

        • TeaforTwo

          One thing I really appreciated was being able to see how much force everything seemed to require. For example, our stroller is an uppababy and the design is genius, so it really is just a light touch on everything. (Meaning that if it’s not working as a light touch, I’m doing it wrong.)

          The last step for installing our carseat, on the other hand was to “close the clicktight.” It wasn’t until I watched the video and saw that it took a large man two pushes with lots of lean-in-with-your-bodyweight to close it that I realized what I’d been doing wrong.

          • Laura C

            The instructions for our carseat were hilarious — only when we found instructions online did we find the secret compartment inside the seat where the paper instructions lived…

  • Bsquillo

    POLITICAL NERD MOMENT: did anyone else caucus for the first time this week? This is my first election cycle living in a caucus state, so I went to my democratic caucus on Tuesday night. Now, putting aside the fact that caucuses are WAY more inefficient and exclusionary than a primary…it was a pretty cool experience. I literally got to meet my neighbors and hear ordinary people stand up and make very impassioned speeches for their candidates, and everyone was surprisingly reasonable and civil and kind. It painted a very different picture than the national news media about the presidential race. Anyways, a primary (particularly on a mail-in ballot) would be preferable for a number of reasons, but I’m glad I got to experience the caucus.

    Also, Colorado votes on a state-wide universal healthcare ballot measure in November!!!!!!!!!

    • Ashlah

      I’ve always been curious about the caucus experience, so thanks for sharing! If I’m 100% honest, I’m not sure I’d ever be not-lazy enough to go to one, unless I was super passionate about a candidate. BUT I’ve only ever voted by mail-in ballot, so I’m used to peak lazy voting :)

    • Jessica

      I caucused for the first time and was EXTREMELY unhappy with the process. It was poorly run, in a space that was far too small to hold the 800 people who showed up, there was some unethical practice from supporters of one local politician going on, and then illegal practices by the chair of the precinct. I left before I started yelling at the chair since he is on the board of the organization I work for.

      • Bsquillo

        Aw, bummer- yeah, it seems pretty hit or miss because it’s so tied to who is volunteering to run the caucus in your location. My biggest complaint was that our location was so packed, we could barely hear our precinct captain explain the rules. I was like, really, the democratic party can’t afford having some microphones or megaphones? Our best solution is to just have people yell loudly to a group of hundreds of people?

    • AGCourtney

      Yes! I had such a positive experience.

    • Anon

      I caucused in 2008 and it was similar to this year – the polling locations couldn’t really handle the turnout, and many people left after hearing the presidential candidate results and didn’t stay for the platform part of the evening. In Minnesota, they’re going to introduce a bill to change from a caucus to a primary.

    • I get to caucus for the first time in a few weeks, and I’m starting to feel a little like this.

    • Jenn

      I also caucused for the first time last week! In Colorado! I was surprised what a cool experience it was. I mean, yes, there was a lot of waiting in line and sitting in a crowded and hot classroom, but I don’t know if I’ve every felt so patriotic! It definitely had more of an impact on me than my typical mail-in ballot.

  • Lindsay

    omg is that a bullmastiff?? my family had one named sam while i was growing up and he was THE BEST. he seriously spoiled me for other dogs. they are such a calm, loyal, loving breed. also i cried when i watched “king kong” and they shot at him because his face reminded me so much of sam’s. my stepdad currently has two bullmastiff puppies and they are growing insanely fast, so get ready to have a dog the size of a small horse very soon!

  • Danielle

    Thanks to everyone for your encouragement at HH a few months ago when I was complaining about my horrible living room decor, specifically 2 really mismatched couches. The conversation encouraged me to sit down and talk with my husband about what I wanted, and I realized saving enough $$$ was really important to him. We set our savings goals, wrote it down and put it on the fridge.

    Fast forward: By last month we had saved enough and last weekend we went couch shopping. It was incredible! We tried out a few places and (after getting angry at my beloved for rejecting one too many couches at the Macy’s outlet — not my proudest moment) found our beautiful comfy couch and 2 recliners at LaZBoy! And we bought them in full because we totally can!

    We were both thrilled and shocked at this major adulting moment. Being able to spend four figures on furniture we chose ourselves after thoughtful consideration is like… a totally new experience and major big deal to us. We’re both in our mid-late 30s but kinda late bloomers in the money part of life.

    Anyway, adulting win! And thank you for your support :)

    • AGCourtney

      Congrats!

    • Totch

      Great job! We bought a real, adult bed that’s was larger than a double and had a frame last fall. These things are major.

    • Ashlah

      Awesome work! Couches are on our to-do list and I’m not super excited about the shopping experience. But I am excited to have more than one couch, and none that will stab you when you accidentally walk up against the staples sticking out the back…

      • Danielle

        Shopping wasn’t actually that bad, except for my frustrated Macy’s moment. It helped that we were pretty clear on what we wanted and had a general price we were comfortable with spending. Husband was really clear on getting something *quality* that would last a long time.

        Yes to no stabbing!

    • emmers

      I’m so happy for you! I remember when you posted about that. I’m glad you both found something you love, and saved and spent money on a great purchase for your life together. Very cool!

      • Danielle

        Thank you emmers :)

        And we will be giving away one of our couches (the massive, comfortable and well-constructed yet green-yellow-red brocade one) to my MIL, who needs a better couch. It really suits a 60-something-woman’s sensibility better than ours :D So we feel good about that too!

    • Lawyerette510

      Yay! Congratulations on this success! Our saving for a couch was derailed by my husband now being unemployed, but I’m so looking forward to this experience!

      • Danielle

        Ugh, sorry to hear that! I hope he finds something good soon!
        The experience will SO be worth the wait :)

    • AP

      Ahhhh we are in the same boat with a new mattress. The one we’re sleeping on now is a million years old and possibly came from a yard sale (I try not to think about it- it belonged to my husband before we got together) and we wake up every morning with neck issues. But the process of buying a new one is so intimidating! We’re still saving and doing research, but it feels like such an adult thing to do. Yay for new living room furniture!!

      • Danielle

        Yay! I hope you can find a good mattress soon.

        I’ve seen research that says people are happier when they spend money on experiences rather than things — except when it comes to good, comfortable beds! The experience of having a good night sleep (no creaking neck) can be hard to beat: http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/when-money-buys-happiness/comment-page-1/?_r=0

        • AP

          Omg this article is awesome.

          • Danielle

            I know, right?!

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        My fiance and I just blew a ton of money on a Casper mattress, and it is the least regrettable big purchase I’ve ever made. I highly recommend it!

        • Ashlah

          We’ve been considering one of those! I’m worried it’ll be too firm for me, but they supposedly have a really good trial period, so we might give it a try. I’m fine with our current bed, but it hurts husband’s back. I’m worried he needs a much firmer mattress than I’ll be comfortable on, but we can’t afford a Sleep Number!

          • Amy March

            Entry level Sleep Number queen sized bed is 799.99, Casper is $850, and SleepNumber has decent sales.

          • Ashlah

            Hey, well there you go! I guess I had it in my mind that Sleep Number was outrageous. Thanks for the correction!

          • Amy March

            I love mine soooooooo much!

          • Tried a Casper and a Tuft & Needle mattress. Both were way too firm, but the flexible return policy really is awesome. We ended up with a ‘soft Love Bed’ : http://byov.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/moving-mattresses-in-boxes.html?m=1

      • mattresses are super intimidating.

    • MC

      We bought a new couch last week that financially we could afford but emotionally made me very nervous – but having it for over a week I LOVE it. Makes our house so much comfier and looks great. Yay couches!

      • Danielle

        I hear you on the emotions. It was actually a really emotional moment for us, afterwards, in the car. Husband especially bc he comes from a poor family that probably never had good new furniture. For me the excitement won out over nervousness, though we haven’t gotten our credit card bill yet!

        We will get it in 6-8 weeks and I’m actually enjoying the anticipation :) It also gives husband time to say goodbye to his ugly couch (he really loves this thing).

  • Shawna

    *sniff* that ad! I can’t handle it!

    Trying not to just be more annoyed at my dad that he wouldn’t go there, though.

  • Bsquillo

    I know I already commented, but since everyone is sharing pictures of their dogs…here is mine. In a sweater.

    • Cha

      Just had to comment that your adorable pup looks a lot like my cattledog/basset hound (?) :-)

      • Bsquillo

        OMG! Your dog does happy and sad ears too! (Or alert and sleepy ears.) Yeah, the shelter’s best guess at our dog was Jack Russell- she’s smaller than she looks in the pic, about 14 lbs. And she has super pointy ears like a Rat Terrier. But she looks an awful lot like your pup too, so who knows! Maybe they are dog cousins :)

      • Ahh! I have a similarly mixed cattledog/beagle!

      • Ahh I have a very similarly mixed cattledog/beagle!

  • InTheBurbs

    No puppy for us yet – although we’re getting closer. In other animal news, I’m currently geeked out over the MN Department of Natural Resources EagleCam – it’s amazing to watch the life cycle of these majestic birds…

  • AnonBecauseWork

    Has anyone here ever had the problem where they just don’t feel entitled to be unhappy with their job? I know I’m totally failing to take the excellent advice from earlier this week (http://apracticalwedding.com/2016/03/career-change-happy-job/), but it’s very hard for me. I don’t have a terrible boss, I’m working in the field I want to work in, there are just a bunch of little things that all add up to me wishing I could just give 2 weeks notice now. (I am waaay too cautious to do that without another job lined up though.)

    I’m actively looking for work that I’m better suited to, but meanwhile I feel SO guilty, mostly because I’m making a salary that’s way more than I ever thought I’d make so I think should be able to suck it up and deal with the job without hating it so much.

    Even worse, one of the things I’m looking for is a less-technical (not un-technical, but less) position because that’s one of the things I’m not enjoying. Given my Silicon Valley environment that prizes technical skills that’s another guilty failure (and a woman avoiding technical work, sigh). Mix all that up with the fear that no one will hire me and generally not feeling great at this job and it’s been rough (and I feel guilty that it’s rough!).

    • Ashlah

      Absolutely. I feel guilty any time I complain to people about my job because I get paid well and have a lot of downtime at work. It can be tough, and I stick to venting to my husband mostly. Even then, I try not to be too annoying because he works harder for less money.

      But! That doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to dislike your job and want to leave for whatever reason.

    • Amy March

      By and large, most of us here aren’t working as coal miners, and objectively don’t have it that bad. I don’t think in any way that means you can’t feel your feelings. You show up, you do the work, you don’t owe anyone your feelings about it.

    • Just Me

      I am right there with you…..living in the bay area, left my super technical job for something slightly less technical last year, and feeling guilty about how much I dislike this well paying job. I’m brushing up my resume and submitted an application for a job last week that I’m convinced would be a 50% paycut and am trying to decide how much I care about the money. My goal is to apply to 1-2 jobs a month, just to see if I can even get some interviews and then take it from there. I’m trying to remind myself that until I try, I don’t actually k ow what’s out there or how much it pays. Good luck to you!

      • Just Me

        I forgot to add….one of the reasons I’m struggling is that I’m on a promotion track within my large corporation and can totally see a (long) path towards becoming a kick-ass executive. BUT, I don’t care that much about the product and I dislike the company culture. My husband likes to tease me when I say I can’t leave because I’d be letting down “all women, everywhere” but it’s still how I feel. So I feel you on the feminist struggle of staying technical or not. Blah…..

        • AnonBecauseWork

          Oh man – can you tell him to cut that out, even if it’s meant in fun?

          I can’t speak for you, but I already have that voice in my head and I would not be able to handle it coming externally too.

          • Just me

            Most often I’m the one who says I’d be failing as a feminists and he’s trying to gently poke at the fact that I need to make choice that are good for me, and not just my gender…..but it’s such a hard balance!

    • Sparkles

      I quit my job I was super unhappy in, even though I still have a hard time justifying to myself what was wrong with it. I can list the reasons for everybody else, and people are generally understanding, but it still feels like I copped out, or wasn’t strong enough to deal with the pressure or something. I woke up the morning after I handed in my last case file and felt a million times lighter. I was looking around at all of the people I graduated with and wondering how they kept it going when I couldn’t and I still can’t quite figure it out. I don’t know how to help you feel less weird about it, but I felt pretty weird about it too .

    • Danielle

      There’s things you want, and then there’s things you *think* you want. Then you get them, and they kinda suck. It’s ok to edit, revise and update your ideas and preferences. Because, learning :)

      As an objective bystander, I would say, Let go of the guilt and try to go forward with what really speaks to you.

      Worst case scenario, you make a change, you don’t like it, then you learn something else and can move onto the next thing.

      Good luck!

  • Rebekah Jane

    Y’all, first of week of new job is nearly complete and boy, oh boy, is it awesome. I have honestly never felt so organized, so qualified or so supported in such a short period of time. I’m currently contract-to-hire and my boss is already talking about “when” I got full time (YAY BENEFITS). I have to say, after 7-8 years in the job market, I feel like I’ve finally found what I was looking for!

  • Sosuli

    Ugh. I would like to take a brief mom-rant moment. I’m currently visiting my mom, which I get to do about 2-3 times a year, because the journey involves a minimum of 12 hours travel, two flights and at least two trains… and my mom has spent the last two evenings checking her online dating site every five minutes. Like I get that she’s lonely and still finding it hard less than two years after the split from my dad…but really?!?! I don’t really feel like I can say anything, because I don’t want her to think I have anything against her dating, and it’s not like she’s ignoring me… just needed to vent a bit. I’m here for another week, so plan is to put my smart phone away, get out to the movies and shopping together and just lead by example of being SUPER PRESENT ALL WEEK.

    • TeaforTwo

      Ugh, I’m sorry that’s happening. I found after my mother died, my dad wanted us around all the time. And then when I would go visit, he’d go out and run errands, or take a nap or watch golf.

      I hated it, and didn’t understand why he’d been so eager for me to visit if he wasn’t going to hang out with me, but I realized later on that what he actually wanted was just to have me AROUND. In the same way that my husband and I each do our own thing in the evenings, I guess, but still like to have the other person around to check in with or just sit next to while doing totally separate things.

      Your situation sounds tougher, though, with the long flights and travel. I hope you do manage to get some really good time in together!

      • Sosuli

        Thank you for this – honestly I hadn’t thought of that, but now that you’ve said it it makes so much sense. And I say that without the slightest hint of sarcasm! I totally get that difference between having someone around and wanting someone to interact with all the time.

  • Val

    We got married! February 19, to be exact. I’ve missed a few APW Happy Hour sessions due to getting married, and we’re still honeymooning, but we recently got a few pics back from our photographer. I won’t post them all, but this is my favorite of the bunch! Ash from Ash Carr Photography is one magical lady. :)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Stop with your stunningness, both of you.

      • Val

        Haha! I feel like a million bucks whenever I look at that pic. Just, oh so happy!

    • eating words

      You two. Look. Amazing.

      • Val

        Thanks!

    • Jess

      The pocket square!!!

      • Val

        The wife is all sorts of happy with your comment, so thank you!

        • Jess

          Of course! It’s wonderful! Tiny details like that on suits just make my day, and that is one awesome pocket square!

  • TeaforTwo

    24 weeks pregnant here and DONE with unsolicited opinions and advice. (Although I doubt they are done with me.)

    I had heard other women talk about this, but I don’t think I fully appreciated the extent to which people seem to think pregnancy is a totally public topic. Sometimes it’s nice – I like that in a big team meeting where there aren’t enough chairs, someone will make sure I get a seat. I don’t like being asked if I’m “allowed” to be drinking my coffee, being asked by my boss’s boss how many lbs I have gained, or being told incessantly how it’s going to be (awful, if my colleagues are to be believed.)

    This is really putting my blank-stare-change-the-subject to the test.

    • Violet

      I literally do not acknowledge my colleagues’ pregnancies, unless and until I am invited to their office baby showers. In which case, I of course say congratulations while there (and on the card). I am aware it’s extreme, but I can’t figure out a way to do this that isn’t just kind of adding to the deluge of comments and questions they’re probably already experiencing. Also, it’s not like I discussed their health with them before, so I’m not going to start now. I am really hoping that I’m not only helping them, but generating some karma for if I am ever pregnant down the line, but who knows?

      • another lady

        that seems a little extreme – you obviously know that are pregnant. I think a simple, ‘how’s the pregnancy going?’ or ‘how have you been feeling recently?’ is welcome and polite to ask a co-worker. It also leaves it open to a basic answer, like; ‘everything’s going well so far!,’ or a more complex answer if they want to share more.

        • Violet

          Oh, like I said, it’s totally extreme! Specifically, these are colleagues that I don’t do more than weather chit chat with on any kind of regular basis even when they weren’t pregnant. I just personally can’t find a bridge from “I see you in the hall and nod ‘hey'” to “I see you in the hall and ask how you’re feeling because your abdomen is looking rotund.” So far no one is saying I’m rude, and there are LOTS of other people around the office who do ask, so I’ve just decided not to contribute unless said pregnant woman directly involves me!

          • Ashlah

            As someone who gets irrationally annoyed when co-workers say good morning to me sometimes, I support your decision ;)

          • Mary Jo TC

            I’d rather people take your approach than assuming it’s perfectly ok to comment on other people’s bodies. Weight gain/loss, looking ill or better, more/less makeup–none of it is my business. The most personal I get with most people is ‘nice haircut’ or ‘i like that shirt,’ and I think unless you’re BFF or family, that’s appropriate.

          • I agree with this A LOT. I’m pregnant, and I get sick of people asking me how the pregnancy’s going. I get sick of talking about the baby and thinking about the baby and other pregnancy related things all the time. Being pregnant can be very stressful for multiple reasons, but with most people you’re expected to politely say “oh, it’s great, i’m excited.” there are only a few pregnancy symptoms that are socially acceptable to discuss — nausea, swollen feet. everything else is either private (pelvic pain, changes to your sex drive) or an invitation for unsolicited advice. so unless we’re close and i can be completely honest about how the pregnancy’s going, I’d much rather talk about something else, thank you.

          • Laura C

            The worst for me was, unrelated to pregnancy, just a poorly timed illness, I had a terrible, terrible cough for about a month of my second trimester, and people would ask me how I was doing and I’d say “oh, this cough is really making life miserable” and they’d go “but how are you doing” as if I was being evasive because the only thing that could possibly influence how I felt was pregnancy. When, no, really, the cough was the major thing going on in my physical life at that point.

        • gonzalesbeach

          I see violet’s point and err on the side of caution about assumptions too- unless you know for sure – it’s either very common knowledge or the person tells you themselves – going up to people and saying congrats or asking personal q can be iffy. whether they just gained a little weight or otherwise (health conditions etc)

      • emilyg25

        I love this. I told my immediate team right away, but I didn’t tell the rest of my colleagues till it was incredibly obvious. I’d have been perfectly happy to not talk about it at all, disappear for a few months, and come back like normal. :)

    • Ashlah

      Ugh, my sympathies. I haven’t been there yet, but I’ve been dreading it since I decided I wanted to have a kid. I witnessed my co-worker deal with it in our office, and it makes me want to go into hiding for my entire future pregnancy. And the gender comments, oh lord. Firmly planning to tell no one what we’re having.

      • another lady

        there is a benefit to not finding out or not telling people the gender! but, they will still ask you 10,000 times.

        • i decided not to find out because i was getting asked 10,000 times. why is gender such a big deal? why does society want to define this baby by their gender, before we’ve even met the baby? it’s always the first question when i tell someone i’m pregnant, and they respond with “congrats! do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?” and i just want to answer “no, who f*cking cares? why does it matter?”

    • Ugh, I hate people for you. Policing what other people consume and inquiring about their weight? How rude!

      • another lady

        if you are still seriously trying – get used to it! And have some comebacks at the ready!

        • Oh I’m so ready. I have a ton of attitude and I don’t mind telling people how rude they are.

    • another lady

      30+ weeks over here – I refuse to answer questions ‘like how much weight have you gained’?! When is that ever an appropriate question to ask!? I just say, “the doctor says baby and I are doing great!” Or, “the baby is right on track!” then I move on with other conversation. My boss told me she only gained 20 lbs. with both of her pregnancies (good for her – I had gained 15+ at that point.) She is also like 5’2″ and 110lbs at 55 years old, so we are not comparable! good luck with the super nosy questions! They don’t stop. I had a coworker ask me if I was gonna breast feed – when did it become okay to talk about my boobs at works?! Check out pregnantchicken.com
      they have some great posts with witty comebacks for stupid stuff people say to pregnant women!

    • another lady

      also- doctor trumps all stupid comments / thoughts from previous generations of women. ‘should you be drinking that coffee / carrying that/ doing something besides sitting around and gestating a baby?!?” “My doctor said it was fine. So, yes.”

      • TeaforTwo

        Yeah, I’m willing to tell my husband and immediate family members that my midwife says x/y/z is fine.

        The problem with saying it to anyone else is that it lends some credence to the idea that they aren’t out of their ever-loving minds for thinking that there is anything at all that pregnant women aren’t “allowed” to do, aside from the normal laws of the land.

        I don’t want the issue to be whether I’m making good choices and according to what source, because the real issue is I’M the one making them.

        (For example: if I asked a coworker, “are you allowed to eat a muffin for breakfast? That’s a lot of sugar and carbs, and aren’t you pre-diabetic?” her response shouldn’t be “I had some protein earlier, this is a rare treat, and my nutritionist said it’s fine”; her response should be “what the fuck?!”

        Same goes for pregnant women.)

        • Chris

          Yes!!! This distinction is so important, and why I never use “my doctor said” as an excuse.

        • Laura C

          I basically lecture people on how messed up the medical advice is and how many things you’re told not to do on extremely flimsy evidence. If I could get up on a soapbox and read excerpts of Expecting Better I would, but I have definitely given the Reader’s Digest version of several of the points on a few occasions.

    • Laura C

      It’s funny — I’d heard so many stories like yours that I was prepared to get so much more of that than I have (combination of working from home and being just intimidating enough that some people think twice before saying anything), so when I do get comments, I’m like “eh, it hasn’t been as bad as I expected.” But my husband didn’t know that body comments are a thing that happens and he is appalled whenever he hears it. He knows all about street harassment, but I think realizing that people feel free to comment on women’s bodies in not just sexual harassing ways was a revelation. Probably not a bad one to have!

      • body comments… my husband didn’t get this one and thought it was normal and funny that my coworkers all love to discuss how they can/can’t/barely can see a bump yet, and also thought it was okay for him to make jokes about my belly. i love the way you phrased it, that for people to publicly discuss my body is a form of harassment.

    • Mary Jo TC

      Ugh. 37 weeks here and I totally understand. Pregnancy makes you feel so conspicuous sometimes, like your belly is a lit up billboard pointing to yourself. The worst for me is an older male coworker who has a big beer belly who has joked several times about me trying to ‘catch up with him’ or get bigger than him’ or something. And saying I look ‘about to pop’ or wondering if I’m sure I’m not having twins.

    • Sparkles

      Oh goodness. I absolutely hated people telling me the baby was going to be awful. As if them telling you it’s going to suck is going to make the process any easier? Or like you are about to join their sad, sad club. Hooray!! Congrats!! For the record, both my partner and I thought having a newborn was pretty cool. Tiring, but cool. And I would describe about one month of the first year as awful, and the rest of it as really entertaining. So, good luck on an entertaining future.

    • i also hate being told how i won’t have time for this and that (especially by folks who haven’t had kids, so it’s all hearsay.) i mention a book i want to read and someone will go “but you won’t have time to read after the baby’s born.” i’m starting seedlings for my garden this weekend and it’s “but how will you have time to take care of the garden when you have a baby?” i have a few knitting projects bookmarked for the baby “but i’m worried you won’t have time to do it if you don’t get it done now?” hello, knitting tiny baby boots take me less than about an hour. i know my own abilities and don’t need my competence questioned. sure, it’ll take some readjusting to find a new schedule with a baby, but i enjoy all of the above hobbies and can’t see myself being a slave to the baby all day without taking time to do the things i love. thanks for questioning my interests that are not exclusively baby-focused, and shutting them down with negativity and doubt.

      • AGCourtney

        Ugh, people are awful. I think I got the MOST reading done when I had a baby – I always read while we nursed, and sometimes she’d take her naps on me and I’d read the whole time.

        Really, what do people think babies need all day? Yes, they’re life-changing, of course, but they don’t need constant, active care to the point of abandoning all hobbies.

        • that is encouraging! it sounds blissful to read and nurse.

          i think the issue isn’t just that people don’t know what babies are like (i don’t know what babies are like, and every baby’s different) but that it’s an assumption about what the important things in my life are. if i decide my hobbies are important to me, i will find a way to make time for them. assuming that i won’t be able to handle reading a book or gardening because i have a new priority in my life is sort of like how, in the past, other people decided that women had to leave the workforce once they had kids because they can’t handle/won’t have time for anything else.

          • AGCourtney

            it is so blissful~

            Oh yeah, for sure. The issue is that people think it’s perfectly acceptable to make ignorant comments making extreme judgements about your life based on cultural narratives surrounding pregnancy and parenting. It’s okay if a childless coworker doesn’t have a clue how having a baby will affect your day-to-day, but that doesn’t give them a free pass to make comments implying that now you are just a baby-making/raising machine.

          • Laura C

            On the narrower point of having time to read, one of my husband’s friends with a toddler actually encouraged him to get a Kindle, going “you’ll want something you can hold in one hand and read while you’re holding the baby in the other arm.”

          • Danielle

            My friend got an iPad before having her baby and it helped her read the NYT and other things.

    • ML

      I am way late to this happy hour but I was most surprised by people asking me if the pregnancy was planned. Like WTF??? I honestly never knew how to reply. It seemed especially weird since I’m a 30 year old married woman, the exact demo people would expect to have a baby… so I’m not sure why people would ask or wonder. Not that it would be any more appropriate if I were younger, older, or unmarried!

  • Angela

    I bought my wedding dress and it is great and was such an easy process! I had done lots of research online and had a fair idea of what I wanted but thought I was going to get something made but wanted to try on a few off the rack dresses. It was the first one I tried on and while it wasn’t quite as I had imagined, I love it, it makes me feel beautiful and comfortable (tea length dresses for the win), and hits all the things that were important for me. And under budget! The shop staff were so nice and friendly as well and no body shaming! I did try on a few other dresses and look at a couple of other shops and think about it for a week, but overall so much more fun and easier than I had anticipated – I was kind of not looking forward to it due to being very apple shaped and missing my mum (she died when I was a kid). So yay!!!

    • gonzalesbeach

      your dress sounds lovely and glad to hear it was a positive experience!

  • Chris

    I FOUGHT FOR, AND GOT! PAID MATERNITY LEAVE!!

    I’m on kid 2 (both at this same job) and for the first kid I wasn’t even entitled to sick leave, so I got nooottthhing. My contract was ended, and rewritten two weeks later when I went back to work. It was awful and brutal and terrible in every way. I was *literally* still wearing diapers because of pelvic floor damage when I came back to work. When I asked for somewhere to pump for my two week old baby, they said they weren’t obligated to provide anything because I was only a contractor, not an employee.

    So, this time around, I wrote a long letter and explained all the financial benefits for providing me with paid family leave (not sick or vacation), and the leave request was approved today! (Yes, it’s all of 6 weeks, but its paid and its 3 times more than the 2 weeks I took off last time.)

    • Ashlah

      Good for you!!! It’s shitty that you even have to fight for that (and I’m appalled at your previous experience), but it’s amazing that they listened to you! High five!

      • Danielle

        It makes me angry that this is even a situation in the US (assuming it’s the US, ugh, what is wrong with our country). But yes for advocating!

    • emilyg25

      Good for you for advocating for yourself!

    • “When I asked for somewhere to pump for my two week old baby, they said they weren’t obligated to provide anything because I was only a contractor, not an employee.”

      If anyone ever said that to me, 2 weeks postpartum or not, I wwould definitely them punch in the face.

      • TeaforTwo

        Yeah, that is shameful. Even if it’s true that they aren’t legally obligated to provide it, good employers/good people sometimes do more than the absolute minimum legal requirement.

        There’s a clear business case for having a pumping space (i.e. “women with babies are going to be more likely to do work for us, and won’t resent the hell out of us while they do) but there is also just a case for being a decent human.

        I have a colleague with a bad hip and while I’m not legally obligated to offer her a seat when a hallway “hello” turns into a longer conversation about work, I always do. Because…she needs to sit down.

  • Kayjayoh

    I saw this sign today, and it made me laugh. While I understand what they mean, the sign is hilarious. The jokes are writing themselves. Seriously, ponder all the “lady stuff” that might be a problem in the toilet bowl.

    • Kayjayoh

      Conversations about feelings. All the housework.

      • ART

        But no pockets.

  • Nancywcharlebois2


    “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….


    two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month .,3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereo!o752➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsMedia/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::o!o752……

  • Rebecca Chadwick

    A veterinarian’s two cents:
    1) Nature’s Miracle is an enzymatic cleaner that will remove the sent of urine forever. http://www.amazon.com/Natures-Miracle/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_3036555011?ie=UTF8&node=3036555011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Nature%27s+Miracle
    2) Animal behaviorist and amazing veterinarian Sofia Yin wrote Perfect Puppy. Highly recommended. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005FR0OEA/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1
    3) If you are ever worried about something medical, check out VeterinaryPartner.com – All of the articles have been written by vets and is the info I give to my clients on a daily basis. This article may be particularly helpful: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2421

  • Aubry

    OMG yay puppies!! I am not-so-sightly obsessed with dogs! I have wanted one since I can remember, and finally got my own at 22 (I told my husband that a French Bulldog is a non-negotiable part of my package. Thankfully he was cool with it).

    So, I’m totally game to chat dog stuff with you at any time. Just email! aubry.osborne at gmail dot com
    A few gems to get you through:

    1. She will forget everything you taught her. At least twice. And cause she has some bully/mastiff in there, It’ll be about 3 times. Probably about 5/6 months and then again around 10 months. This is totally normal, and I promise you won’t need to take as much time teaching her it all again, it goes very quickly the next times :)

    2. Do not take her off leash until she has a solid recall!! Enclosed dog parks are fine, after her appropriate shots, in small doses. Off leash is something that must be earned. You will thank yourself for taking the time. And teaching recall outdoors should be super fun! Take her out and let her off, then in a few minutes get super excited and call her back (you can run away in a “come chase me!” way if she doesn’t come right away) and giver her a treat and a really excited pet. You could also put the leash on her here, but at least grab the collar. Then give your release word (like go play, or whatever) and she goes off. Do this again and again and again. You should only leave the park or have a negative thing happen every 20 times you call her at first. Then she won’t avoid coming to you! Same deal on trails, and good upkeep to do regularly.

    3. She will eventually figure out how to pee outside. Keep on keeping on.

    4.working with your dog and teaching her new things (even silly tricks and stuff later) or taking a class (obedience, agility, tricks for movies, whatever) is a super fun and rewarding thing to do, and really gets the bond and respect formed.

    5. Teach her not to jump up now! she is gonna be big and it’s not cute when she is 100 lbs ;)

    And now for your viewing pleasure, my super cute pup from our wedding!

  • RageFace

    Aww what a cute puppy! It looks like a boerboel, a uniquely South African breed! :)

  • Crystalsanderson4


    “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….


    two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereoo!525➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsBook/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::oo!525……

  • Heather Hammel

    English Mastiff or Bullmastiff? I had a female Bullmastiff that passed over the rainbow bridge almost 2 years ago. Mastiffs are amazing and my 2nd favorite breed- tied with French Bulldogs. English Bulldogs will always be number 1 though. I have 1 English Bulldog and 1 English Bulldog/ American Bulldog mix and just love them to death.

    If you ever need any advice or have questions, especially specifically related to mastiffs, feel free to email me at askaytche@gmail.com My Stepfather was a well known Bullmastiff breeder and handler.

    http://dogmomchic.blogspot.com/

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