The Best of APW 2015


Shit we're just proud of

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

bestofapw

Hey APW,

For me (and for the team) it’s been a downright crazy year. Wonderful, sad, and overwhelming, but truly a wild ride. Not only did I have a baby, but when we counted up the number of APW Team related folks that had babies or got pregnant, the number was seven. SEVEN. Down to and including our lawyer. Thankfully I was the only core staff member overworking my uterus, but that’s still a whole lot of babies for a tiny team. We also got an amazing new full-time staff member—Najva, our content manager—along with an equally excellent new part time staff member—Stephanie, our new staff writer. We launched a newsletter. I finished a super detailed and helpful wedding planning book (out January 5th but you can pre-order now, YAYYYY, EEEEEK).

And in between that, we produced a whole ton of content we were really damn proud of. I really enjoyed replaying the year in my head (with less miserable pregnancy symptoms, stress, and contractions), as I dug around on the site and found my favorite content of the year. So as we go on our annual holiday break, we’ll leave you with the best of the best. Dig around, read stuff you haven’t read… or just send this to your best girlfriend who just got engaged.

We’ll be back here Monday, January 4th, and in the meantime we wish you restful, peaceful holidays. We’ll raise a toast in your general direction, and also take a few naps.

Till then, everything calm everything bright.

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WEDDING PLANNING

5 Common Wedding Planning Mistakes You DON’T Have to Make: In which it’s revealed that the sweet non-traditional venue you’re eyeing might not have all the answers to your problems.

I Called Off My Wedding When I Found Out My Fiancé Didn’t Want to Have Kids: Five tips for getting through it when you call off your own wedding, because you might need them.

A People Pleaser’s Guide to Planning a Wedding: Wedding planning can get tricky when you always want to make everyone happy.

How to Avoid the Wedding Budget Surprise: Complete with a bonus wedding budget spreadsheet!

10 New York City Wedding Ideas That Haven’t Been Done to Death: The location list for portraits will make your heart siiiiiing!

12 Secrets Your Wedding Coordinator Forgot to Tell You: If you’re looking for a lot of Real Talk, you’ll get it.

A Perfect Wedding Ceremony Script for the 21st Century: Because an awesome ceremony almost always precedes an awesome reception, and we know you want to have both.

Cheap (Cute) Decoration Ideas for Your Big Empty Space: You’ve been meaning to check out Oh Happy Day’s online party shop, right? Right.

My Wedding Guests Were Terrible: How to deal when wedding guests aren’t on their best behavior (or aren’t trying at all).

Kelly Benvenuto

MARRIAGE

7 Tips for a More Equal Household: Is it impossible to break gender molds no matter how hard you try?

What It Feels Like to Be Legally Married After Seven Years: It might surprise you that not all the feels are joyous ones.

The Day My Husband Came Clean About His Porn Blog: Fear and faith, courage and vulnerability can make a potent potion.

Would You Give Up Everything to Live More Simply?: When getting rid of everything you own is a relief, life opens up in new ways.

What Does It Mean to Be Partners?: Is partnership an ongoing process or an end goal?

First Time Wedding Night Sex: Having sex for the first time is kind of a big deal (and also isn’t), and we have advice from others who have waited until their wedding night.

The 5 Most Important Things I Learned When My Marriage Sucked: Surprise! Communication really is everything.

Five Hacks That Help Keep Our Marriage Sane: Remembering to get flowers, and who gets a bicycle when, is key.

The 12 Commandments of Marriage: Lessons learned from a second marriage.

Can We Change Our Childhood Perspectives on Money?: Will there probably always be money to go around, or do you need to save everything?

I Used to Think That Merging Finances Made Me a Bad Feminist: Does keeping your money separate keep you protected, or can you have your cake and eat it, too?

Betty Clicker

STYLE

40 White-Hot Cocktail Dresses for All Your Wedding Needs: If “the little white dress” isn’t already a thing, we’re making it one.

50 Beautiful Small Diamond Engagement Rings That Prove Size Doesn’t Matter: Seriously, they slay.

This Pantsuit Will Make You Re-Think the Wedding Dress: Saying “no” to the dress never looked so good.

How To: A Modern Take on the Classic Bun: Heavy on the hairspray and hairpins, zero donuts and socks required.

This Is How You Work a Tuxedo Like You Mean It: One of the best things about 2015 is that #BridesInPants is a thing, and we love it.

Our Wedding Was Not Our “Happily Ever After.” It’s the Start of an Adventure: Flower girl in a suit? Check. Bride in the puffiest of puffy skirts? Double check. Seattle being Seattle? Yep, yep, it’s all here.

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DIY

How To Make a DIY Neon Sign with EL Wire: Neon signs are the new glitter and this version is… not a million dollars.

How To DIY a Floral Urn Centerpiece: Spoiler alert: the urn is plastic.

How To DIY Wedding Invitations: Happy printing, fewer tears.

Decorating with Ribbon? You Need to Know About Flagging Tape: It looks like ribbon, but it costs pennies a yard.

These Girl Gang Shirts Are the Best Thing to Happen to Bridesmaids Since Kristen Wiig: PLUS a how-to for making your own.

Betty Clicker Photography

KIDS / NO KIDS

10 Tips For Staying Friends After Someone Has Kids: For parents, child-free adults, and everyone in between.

My Hypothetical Baby Is Ruining Everything: Ever feel like you’re racing a baby you don’t even have?

First Time Motherhood: My Identity Crisis That Wasn’t: Because people love to tell you how hard it will be, but forget to tell you about the magic.

Secrets of Gay Parenting: Learning to ask for help while you’re expected to fail.

How Do You Raise Your Son to Be a Feminist?: To paraphrase Steinem… we raise our daughters like sons, but what about raising our sons like daughters?

Giving Up My Career to Be a Mother Wasn’t an Option: What goes down when you raise a child and a business at the same time.

Don’t Assume I Didn’t Consider an Abortion: When both decisions you’ve made were the right one.

Why You Need to Stop Telling Me to Have Kids: Your dreams are not my dreams.

Is Stay-at-Home Motherhood a Choice When You Didn’t Get to Choose It?: What if it’s not the choice we pretend that it is?

What To Do When People Offer You Sperm at Dinner Parties: Because… that… happens.

Desk with pencils, neon paper, laptop, and a darker-skinned hand typing | A Practical Wedding

SHIT WE’RE JUST PROUD OF

What Happened When I Gave Up Dating for a Year: No phone calls, hang outs, coffee dates, meet ups, or sex for 365 days.

How I Slayed My Secret Money Shame and Rescued Myself from Debt: You can figure your debt out… even if you really hate spreadsheets.

Pink Entrepreneurship, and Why I’m Happy to Work in a “Pink” Industry: What should you do when people underestimate you? Eat them for lunch.

Should We Be Upset That Millennial Women Are Sacrificing Careers More Easily?: Or is flexibility the way of the future?

When an Abuser Is at the Holiday Table: The dark side of family time.

What Happens When You Realize Your Office Is Racist?: Dark truths revealed by anonymous “performance” reviews.

15 Fictional Relationships That Give Us Hope: Zoe and Wash, Sandy and Kirsten, Jackson and Sookie… the list is good.

What Lean In Gets Wrong: How I Balance a Career, Marriage, and Parenthood: Don’t fuck someone who’s not a feminist. Certainly don’t marry someone who’s not a feminist. And for the love of unicorns, don’t coparent with someone who is not a feminist.

Millennials Aren’t Entitled, We’re Screwed: What does building a future look like for Gen Y?

How Cinderella Ruined My Love Life: The struggles of a feminist with a soft spot for fairytales.

Why Does Friendship Get So Much Harder When We’re Older?: And can we fix it?

On Confidence and the Kimye Effect: Do we expect less confidence from some people than from others?

Guide for Millennials with Grieving Friends: Illness and death is a painful part of being an adult, and learning to help grieving friends is invaluable.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

Staff Picks

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  • Ashlah

    My dad’s family decided to come to our big Christmas after all!! I’m so happy I could dance!!

    And on that note of celebration, happy holidays to APW and all my wonderful fellow commenters! My co-worker is in Hawaii for Christmas, leaving me slammed with end-of-year stuff, so I really shouldn’t hang around this open thread. But that won’t stop me from trying ;)

    • Eenie

      My fiance and I talked about all the crap we’re supposed to get done today (last official day of work, his goal is no computer over break!). Then we talked about how much stuff had to get done before end of year or we’d be in pretty big trouble. Turns out that list is only slightly shorter! I have to bring my computer home (telecommuting for 3 days in January before quitting!) so my motivation is gone.

  • Pingback: The Best of APW 2015 – Healthy Fit Mom on The Go()

  • Kara

    Thank you Meg, Maddie, Liz, and all the APW staff/contributors. Thank you for helping me find some sanity this year. You and the amazing community you’ve built give me hope and joy!

  • Lizzie

    Happy holidays APW! Thanks for all the cool stuff this year.

    Here are my contributions to the link roundup:

    The 2015 Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog http://adequateman.deadspin.com/the-2015-hater-s-guide-to-the-williams-sonoma-catalog-1746862116

    RIP Nellie, the Seattle Aquarium’s sassy otter http://seattlish.com/post/135327095756/rip-nellie

    Kids reminding us what the holidays are really about (I cried, no joke) http://cheezburger.com/76784385/christmas-parenting-video-children-choose-gifts-for-their-family-over-gifts-for-themselves

    Drake on Cake (someone please make this a 21st-century Dr. Seuss book http://joythebaker.com/2015/12/drake-on-cake/

    Goats singing holiday songs (I cried again, from laughing this time) http://cheezburger.com/76639489/goats-video-stop-everything-and-listen-to-these-goats-sing-christmas-tunes-for-a-good-cause

    Hope everyone has a joyful, relaxing last couple weeks of 2015.

  • Rachel

    I’m a huge fan of the year end link roundups. It’s always super helpful to read through and remember a piece I liked or some really helpful advice. Thank you APW!

    Oh man oh man…I can’t believe 2016 is almost here. We’re about 8 months out from our wedding date and we’re picking back up on our wedding planning in January. It’ll be strange to go from “oh our wedding is next year/summer” to “Our wedding is this summer!” but it’s so exciting!

    Happy Holidays everyone!! :)

  • Mary Jo TC

    Thanks for a great year APW! I ordered 2 planners for brides I know for Christmas!
    I posted a while ago about how my husband is going back to school to learn programming in the evenings and I was nervous about division of labor with our toddler and a baby on the way. Well, he finished one month-long boot camp this week and I have been surprised to realize it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. For the past month I was responsible for daycare pickup and feeding and caring for our 2-year-old and putting him to bed every weekday on my own. And it wasn’t terrible, and I didn’t feel put-upon and resentful like I feared. This was such a relief to me. He will keep taking classes in the new year, but it will be 2 nights a week plus Saturdays, instead of 5 nights a week, so in a way I feel like the most intense part is behind us.
    What I think worked for us:
    1) crockpot and frozen meals and mac and cheese
    2) a YMCA with babysitting = downtime + exercise for mom
    3) playing along with the kid instead of fighting him, whether that’s calling him by a character name or encouraging him to crawl like a baby to the bathtub or whatever
    4) giving myself a break from guilt for letting the boy watch more than a half hour of TV or skipping his bath every once in a while
    5) the one hour of evening time between husband’s arrival home and my bedtime spent talking and reconnecting the majority of the time
    Of course, this is all going to change a ton when I get increasingly uncomfortable with advancing pregnancy and when the new baby is here and when I go back to work again (I think that part will be hardest of all).
    Thanks for the support APW. And I’m definitely going to need you all in 2016!

    • emilyg25

      One step at a time. Glad to hear it’s working well for now!

  • My husband and I just booked our anniversary trip – we’re going to Peru! After months of debate, we saw a deal and booked it! Anyone ever been? I need all the tips!

    I’m amazed that it’s almost 2016! I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish next year and how I need to outline my goals and put together my new vision board. I really want to see some meaningful change in my life in 2016 so I want to be intentional and positive :-) Happy holidays everyone!

    • Jessica

      That sounds so exciting! Yay vacations!

    • Eenie

      I spent two months in Peru – ask away! (It was in 2010.)
      -Are you doing Machu Picchu? If so, it’s totally worth climbing Wayna Picchu. The view is breathtaking. I didn’t do the Inca trail or any of the other ones, but everyone who did said it was totally worth it.
      -If you’re not pressed for time, use their bus system to travel around. It’s amazing.
      -My absolute favorite part was going to Lake Titicaca, staying overnight on an island, and visiting the floating islands. It was super touristy but it was just so darn beautiful I didn’t care. I also got food poisoning while on the island and almost had to go to the hospital (I still recommend it even with this experience). Make sure to have some cipro on hand and the pill form of pepto bismal. I also regret not paying the stupid $50 visa fee to see the Bolivian side. I was the only American in my group and prevented all of us from going because that seemed like so much money.
      -If you’re spending any time in Lima, try to do some stuff outside of Mira Flores (unless you really like staying in touristy areas, that’s cool too). All the tourists stay there and there’s so many really cool parts of the city. The Barranco district was one of my favorites.
      -Foods I tried while there: cuy, Ceviche, alpaca. The food is amazing. It’s a lot of chicken and rice.
      -Traveling friends of mine had the Lonely Planet Guide to Peru and it was really helpful. I wish I got to see the northern part or the Amazon. The Amazon is expensive.
      -If you go on any tours and don’t know Spanish, they are varying degrees of good. While I was there I could understand the Spanish and English given on the tours and my English only speaking friends missed out on a lot of the details.

      Have so much fun! Peru is so amazing. It was really inexpensive when I visited as well (I remember I would divide whatever I thought something would cost in America by 3 and that was how much I paid for it in Peru).

      • YES, thank you! This is totally the kind of info I’m looking for! We’re flying in/out of Lima, but expect to only spend 1-2 days there, We definitely want to do Machu Piccu – should we do the other sites too? What about the Sacred Valley? How are flights from Lima to Cusco? And is the altitude sickness as bad as they say? My husband speaks Spanish and I don’t – should I try my hand at some Duolingo or Rosetta Stone before we go? And if we wanted to visit a neighboring country, which one should it be?

        • Eenie

          I did the Sacred Valley. It was cool, but it depends on how much you like ruins. I was kinda MEH cause we did MP, SV, plus some other things in this tourist group (you need these ticket things to access a lot of the stuff in Cusco).

          My flight from Lima to Cusco was 45 minutes. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO. Do not try to take the 24 hour busride. My flight was delayed four hours and we still got there fast and it was only $100ish round trip.

          I didn’t have any issues with altitude sickness. I’d been traveling up to the mountains for a while at that point (I did this towards the end of my 2 month trip).

          I heard really good things about Santiago and Sao Paulo but have no first hand experience. I believe both have direct flights from Lima.

          Duolingo or Rosetta Stone shouldn’t hurt! It’ll help you get a little bit more out of the trip even if you can just pick up on some random words. People in Peru overall loved to practices their English with me.

          • Good to know about Sacred Valley! My husband has mentioned going to another country, so the Lake Titicaca trip might be perfect. Thanks so much for the tips – I’m all ears if you think of anything else!

          • Eenie

            I’m thinking! It’s been a few years. I’m looking back at my blog now ;)
            Huancayo was actually really cool. It’s not as popular of a town, but we did an artisan tour of the Mataro Valley. We also climbed Torre Torre which is this cool rock formation.

      • Leah

        Peru is going to be amazing! Have so much much. Machu Picchu is one of the greatest places I’ve ever been – it totally blew me away. And if you have the chance to go up early before sun rise, DO IT! We hiked up about an hour before any of the buses got there, and had the place pretty much to ourselves while the sun rose over everything. Totally amazing. And I second Wayna Picchu, and all the cool old secluded ruins on the trail down the other side of it. I also hiked for few days in the Lares Valley, which was near to the Inca trail but slightly less spectacular and WAY less crowded. If you are flying from Lima to Cusco, the altitude will definitely knock you over your first day up there, so make sure to include a day or two to get acclimated before doing too much walking/hiking. Have fun!

        • Thanks! I’m super worried about altitude sickness, so I want to make sure we build in enough time to get acclimated.

          Can I buy tickets for Machu Piccu and Wayna Piccu together?

          • Eenie

            You have to wait in line to get your ticket stamped for Wayna Picchu. It’s like a race to be on one of the first busses or hike up like Leah :) We waited in line at 2am because we didn’t want to hike in the dark.

          • Leah

            At least when I was there the Machu Picchu ticket included Wayna Picchu. It’s been a while, but I’d imagine it’s the same. It’s not really a separate area, just a hike you can do from the main site.

          • Eenie

            Nope! They limit to a couple hundred a day, so there’s two hikes, one at 8am and one at 10am (I think). You need a stamp to get past the little gate shack. They record your name when you come in and back out (to make sure you don’t get lost).

          • Leah

            Sounds like it’s changed quite a bit since I was there, when you could just wander out whenever you wanted, so don’t listen to me! I’m outdated.

          • RMC

            If you go to Macchu Pichu with Alpaca Expeditions (see above for my fuller endorsement – we really loved them) they can get you a Wayna Pichu ticket with your Macchu Pichu ticket (this was as of last summer – May 2014).

          • Ahh, good to know! Thank you!

    • RMC

      We traveled through South America for our honeymoon, starting in Peru, and it was the best!! I really really highly recommend Alpaca Expeditions for whatever you end up doing in the Macchu Pichu area. We did the Lares trek which was amazing but I think anything with them will be wonderful. They’re also a locally-owned group that pays their staff fairly which is not the case for many of the cheaper outfits (which are often European-owned and pretty exploitative). So Alpaca is not the cheapest but we felt like it was the most responsible way to be a tourist.

      We flew into Cusco but went straight to Ollantaytambo (in the Sacred Valley) to start acclimatizing to the altitude, since it’s actually a little lower than Cusco. That was a nice, chill way to start our trip and then we spent a few days in Cusco before starting the trek.

      Bolivia is also a wonderful place to visit – we went to Copacabana, La Paz, and the salt flats in Uyuni, which were breathtaking but it’s pretty far from the Peruvian border. I might just stay in Peru if I were you and really explore a few different parts of the country. We didn’t have time to go to the jungle at all but friends who went really raved about their visit. Also Arequipa is supposed to be stunning and I’ve heard they have the best ceviche.

      Have fun planning!! It’s such a beautiful part of the world and there is so much to see and explore.

      • Eenie

        I did not like my travel agency in Macchu Pichu so I’m glad you could recommend one!

      • Thank you so much! I’m going to check out Alpaca Expeditions – I like the idea of a tour.

      • Eenie

        I did Arequipa, with a tour of Colca Canyon (so pretty) then bussed to Puno, and did Lake Titikaka from there. We managed to be in Arequipa for Arequipa day!

    • Aw yeah, Peru! I’ve always wanted to go there, I hope you tell us all about it when you get back :O

    • Laura

      My sister just moved back from a 3-year stint in Peru. I visited her in 2013 for a couple weeks. Would second the recommendation of Ollantaytambo (Sacred Valley) as a good base for Machu Picchu. If you can’t get tickets to hike Huayna Picchu, there is an equally good hike to the mountain on the opposite side (Machu Picchu Montana). That’s the one we did, and I’ve heard that it is less busy than Huayna Picchu for similarly fantastic views.

      My sister was in the north, so we went to her remote little village. On the way back to Lima, we stopped at Huanchaco (near Trujillo). Peaceful little fishing village, very relaxing, very pretty. Chan Chan UNESCO World Heritage Site nearby if you’re into ruins.

      Ask your doctor for an acetazolamide prescription to decrease risk of altitude sickness. My family of 9 met up in Cusco, and none of us got altitude sickness. Just take things slowly, drink plenty of water and coca tea, and build in at least one full day before heading to Machu Picchu.

      You’re going to have a great time!

      • Eenie

        Coca tea <3 I love/miss that stuff!

    • JC

      Ahhhh Peru is on our must-do list for sure! Enjoy, and I (we!) can’t wait to hear all about it!

    • Jess

      We are considering this for our honeymoon! When is the best time to go?!

  • Leah

    Sooo…I’m pregnant! I found out a week ago, after 8 months of trying. We are super excited, but mostly right now I am SO SCARED that it will go away. I know that happens a lot, especially since I’m ‘old’ as far as pregnancy is concerned. So I’m over-analyzing everything – my boobs were sore yesterday, but now they aren’t any more. Is that bad? I’m not nauseous yet, is that bad?

    Since we haven’t told anyone yet (only 5th week, will hopefully hold out another week or two at least before telling a few close friends), and since I’m going to be stressing about this to my hubs for the next 9 months to 18+ years and don’t want to max out too soon, I’m turning to (you!) strangers on the internet for some reassurance, words of wisdom, etc. How can I calm down, enjoy the excitement of this, and stop worrying about miscarrying?

    (and also, woohoo! I’m pregnant!!!)

    And happy holidays everyone!

    • Congratulations! :-)

    • Amy March

      How do you usually deal with stress and anxiety? Now if a good time to figure out a go to method and work at it- whether its meditation, exercise, music, journalling. Because, like you said, you’re going to have lots of things you can worry about for basically forever. May as well try and figure out how to do it healthfully now!

      • Leah

        Exactly – I think I need some new strategies! Normally I am completely a self-medication-through-exercise girl – a good long run solves everything. But the thing is that it usually solves everything by putting me in a mindset where I can sort things out and figure out what I want to or need to DO. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from friends who have embarked in the pregnancy/parenting adventure is that there are so many things over which you have little to no control. And that is the new facet to this particular stress that is getting to me (I’m not usually that much of a high stress person).

        • Amy March

          Then maybe the opposite? I like to repeat to myself as a mantra when I’m feeling stressed about something I can’t control: “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” I don’t know that its really anything to do with the text specifically, but its a good quick way to step out of a stressful moment.

          And, congrats!

        • Kara

          This may sound strange, but when I’m stressed, I read descriptions of massage/spa services. I guess, I picture what they must feel like, and it puts me in a calm(er) mood.

          I could also just be weird.

          • Leah

            I totally love this. Thanks :)

          • Kara

            No problem! And, CONGRATS :)

        • emmers

          Would it help to write down hopes, as you get stressed– like hopes for you, for your partner, for your baby, for your family, for your pregnancy? I’ve never been pregnant, but I feel like that might be calming for me. Perhaps in some kind of sparkly small journal you can tote around in a purse/bag if you have one, with a few pages for each thing, and then you can jot things down as you think of them? I’m thinking things like “My hopes for this pregnancy.. that I am healthy, that I deal with stress well, that I find a support network… etc.” Like actively responding to whatever stress you’re worried about, in the form of a hope.

    • Ashlah

      Congratulations!!!

    • Anya

      Congratulations! Words of wisdom is listen to what the docs say.

      My coping with stress? Show binging (The Good Wife is my jam right now) with some knitting. I found a very simple pattern and that’s what I’m doing to keep myself sane.

    • Sarah

      This is not for everyone, so maybe you won’t even click on it, but you’ll see this chart showing average miscarriage rates by week/day of pregnancy and for me, watching the numbers go down this summer was reassuring. Of course, it can go the other way! But I enjoy concrete numbers :)

      http://spacefem.com/pregnant/mc.php?m=08&d=10&y=12

      • Leah

        That is great! I’m all about numbers. I’ve seen the one by week in Expecting Better, but this lets you count down faster :)

        • Sarah

          Whew! I’ve wanted to post this a few times on “I’m pregnant! And scared!” posts but I know it could send many people into a tailspin. Best wishes!!

      • emilyg25

        Yes, I googled the rates pretty much every week till we heard the heartbeat around 13 weeks. It helped keep things in perspective.

      • Danielle Antosz

        I liked following this as well! After 20 weeks I followed the numbers on survival if they were born early, too. It helped me!.

    • Molly K.

      Congratulations!!!

    • Laura C

      FWIW, I’m old as far as pregnancy is concerned and I’ve been where you are, and I’ve had what you’re fearing happen to me, and then I got pregnant again and it stuck a little longer and it happened again (this time with bonus medical procedure), and it sucked. And now I’m 26 weeks pregnant, and all my tests have been clear, and there’s someone kicking me right this very minute. So I guess what I’d say is that while fear of miscarriage will probably be a factor in whether we decide to go for a second baby (assuming we go all the way with this one), you can have a miscarriage and it’s not the end of the road. It’s a thing that happens to so many people, probably more than you know about until it happens to you (though I was lucky that I did know about a lot of my friends’ experiences), and you get through it.

      But I never stopped worrying this time around. I spent my fair share of time looking at the graphs that show the likelihood of miscarriage going down week by week and after an ultrasound shows a heartbeat and I still worried. But I just decided I couldn’t let the worry be all I did and felt. Because that’s what I did on time number two and … I mean, where did that get me? And I haven’t stopped worrying. I worried about the screening tests, I worried the viewpoint ultrasound would show anencephaly, and right now I’m spending a lot of time thinking about premature birth statistics. Even though everything looks good! I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re a worrier, you’re going to worry. The trick is not letting it control you, so don’t let the fact that you’re worrying turn into another thing that’s stressing you out. If that makes even a lick of sense.

      • Leah

        Laura, thanks so much for sharing this. It’s honestly really helpful – As we were going through most of the past year trying to get pregnant, hearing people talk about and normalize how hard it can be was really important to me. Everything you say makes total sense, and it’s really helpful for me to start to normalize the struggles of this next stage of the game. And I’m so excited for your and your little soccer player in there!

    • M.

      Congrats to you! People have great advice below, but I just wanted to chime in and say that symptoms like nausea and sore breasts truly come and go, and it’s possible to have barely any!

      I am 32 weeks now and was nauseated… A handful of times? For a whopping 10 seconds each time, and never threw up. Most days I felt totally fine and normal, just tired, and anything I had got worse at the beginning of the second tri instead of waning then. So while you are not alone in worrying about the constancy/severity of symptoms, you can rest assured that they are as variable as the women who do or don’t have them.

      • Leah

        Thanks!

    • TeaforTwo

      Congratulations! Those early weeks can be so scary, and until you’ve seen a heartbeat there’s just no way to know what’s going on.

      Miscarriage is common, but I think women are done a disservice when the risk is all lumped together into “first trimester”. The truth is that every day you stay pregnant, the risk gets lower and lower. Good luck!

    • Right there with you. We tried for two years and I’m now 10 weeks. When we got the positive, my husband especially skipped entirely over happy and went straight to worried. We had an ultrasound last week and got to see that everything looked good, so we’re finally over the hump of more excited than scared, but I know 10 weeks doesn’t necessarily mean the risk is gone. I just try to tell myself that worrying now won’t make it any easier if I do miscarry, so I may as well be happy. My only advice would be to figure out which friends you’d tell if you had a miscarriage anyway and tell them you’re pregnant. I figured if I was going to share my sadness with those ladies anyway, I may as well share my happy. It’s nice to have someone celebrate for you!

      And also, woohoo, you’re pregnant! Happy holidays!

      • Leah

        Thanks! And congrats to you!!

    • Danielle Antosz

      How awesome! I am currently 37 weeks and know exactly what you mean about those first couple of weeks. We shared really early to parents and close friends, but waited until we saw the heart beat at I think 6 weeks. The only advice I have is to try not to over think it. There is nothing you can do, and facing that sorta sucks. Best wishes!

  • Tara Croy

    This year I moved cross country from Indiana to Vermont, got married, we got challenging new jobs and now we’re working on a baby. I wish people talked more about how hard it is, emotionally, trying for a baby each month only to be disappointed in a very crushing way. In any event, I just bought tickets to see The National at the gorgeous MASS MoCA in the Berkshires to cheer myself up.

    • ZRT

      It took us 5 months before I got pregnant and it was so disappointing each time, which I was definitely not prepared for. Sounds like a whirlwind of a year for you guys. Best wishes for 2016!

    • Ashlah

      We’re going to start trying in the latter half of 2016, and I try to keep reminding myself that it likely won’t happen right away. But I still know it’s going to be majorly disappointing each time it doesn’t happen, regardless of how much I try to prepare myself. Best of luck to you.

      • EllsUK

        Snap (timing wise). I can’t stop thinking about it now that we’ve made this decision. I want to start reading all the books etc. but I think it’s probably a bit early.

        • Ashlah

          Never! I’ve been reading parenting blogs and books for a few years now. I think about it constantly too. I make a conscious effort to be grateful for life as-is, but I also let myself be excited and interested in what’s to come :) If you’re ready to research, go for it!

  • Jessica

    So, a few months ago I posted about a board member who was bullying me and volunteers for the organization I worked for. I filed an official grievance, which was followed through on and found to have merit, and the board put a plan in place for mediation and improving communication. This board member has decided that the grievance filed was “false” and that everyone on the board (with some exception) is attacking her, with racism as the underlying motivation. This is also the person who thinks that anyone who has a differing opinion from her is attacking her, and anytime anyone has tried to coach her on process she interprets it as attacking. Several board members (the natural peacekeepers) have tried to talk with her about appropriate behavior (it’s not attacking, if you feel uncomfortable don’t just start ad hominem attacks, explaining that my job is not “personal secretary”), but it hasn’t worked. Now she has filed a grievance with one of our funders/governing organization.

    This is a terrible thing to go into the New Year dealing with. I’m not worried about the outcome, since we have plenty of emails with attacks, sarcasm, and strange accusations from her, but it’s draining on morale and time. Uffda.

    • emmers

      That’s really stressful. I’m glad you have a solid paper trail of her ridiculousness, but that is so hard. I hope your holiday times give you some rest and peace.

    • This whole situation sounds totally ridiculous. I really hope you get to stop dealing with it soon. It sounds super tough. :(

    • Bethany

      Ugh, that sucks that she’s kicking and screaming through the process. Good luck with this. You’ll be in my thoughts.

    • Jess

      1) I’m glad that the board found that your grievance was meaningful and created a mediation plan.
      2) I’m really sorry that the board member is hitting back. Best of luck, and I hope to see a good resolution soon.

  • Molly K.

    We got back from India on Sunday and after a crazy week back at work dealing with some INSANE jet lag, I’m finally feeling like myself again and getting back to a regular sleep schedule.

    The trip was awesome– we spent a lot of time meeting family and spending time with everyone. We had a function while we were there to celebrate our marriage which was very nice and got to go to a relative’s wedding as well.

    Things are so different over there that it was a lot to take in. With such a relatively short trip it’s like as soon as you start adjusting, it’s time to leave. That said it was great- a lot of pantomime on my part since no one in my husband’s family we stayed with spoke English, but I was fortunate to have an excellent translator. ;)

    They loved me and wanted me to stay or come back for longer, which was nice to see. One of my husband’s uncles really made me feel good when he said he didn’t think my husband could have done any better if he had married an Indian girl. Apparently people like it when you eat their food, wear their clothes, and participate in their events of cultural significance- who would’ve thought? :) But I wouldn’t even dream of doing anything differently. It’s a very different culture and there are aspects of it that I don’t 100% “agree” with but I am proud of where he’s from and so fortunate to get to share in that! We’ll be back soon, just not next year like they want. ;) We want to see other parts of the world, too! Maybe I’ll get some pictures posted next time we have a happy hour post :)

  • Alanna Cartier

    Hey APW,

    I just wanted to pop in and say I’m not engaged (YET!) and it is the best.

    What I mean is, last week my partner and I had one of those all-encompassing, deep and meaningful relationship talks. During the talk he told me that he had the ring, but he just wasn’t comfortable proposing right now because of stress (he’s finishing his final year of school) among other things. Everything about the conversation gave me so much confidence in our relationship, the life that we are building together, and our ability to be teammates, that I just wanted to share. I don’t think there’s a lot of space in the traditional wedding conversation for “I-don’t-want-to-marry-you-(yet!)”, but I thought yu guys would understand! For me, having that conversation has brought my partner and and I ever closer together. This has been the snuggliest, most affectionate, best week evah!

    • Jess

      Congrats! Clearing the air and being able to talk honestly about timelines and expectations can take so much stress out of the whole proposal situation. I just went through and similar thing with my (now) fiancé and keeping open lines of communication really allowed us to just chill out.

    • That’s awesome! Those conversations can be tough but feel so great once everyone is on the same page! :D

    • BrightLikeTheSun13

      Totally understand. Those conversations are both so wonderful and important! Congratulations!!!

  • RMC

    A question for doctor folks: I’m a medical student gearing up for my Step 1 board exams at the end of the academic year and feeling overwhelmed. Anyone have advice/mantras/resources to share?

    • emmers

      Can you ask for support from non-doctor friends? I have a friend who I’m planning to send a care package to, who’s doing her last stage of boards. I heard through her sister that she’s super stressed, so I’m happy to pitch in. Sometimes us non-medical folks don’t always realize how awful the various stages of being a doctor are, so if you have friends or family you can ask for support, try that (hey, I’m going to be having a really rough few months, would you mind checking in with me throughout that? I may not have time to talk, but supportive emails or notes are things I would appreciate!).

    • Rebekah

      My husband took Step 1 in 2012. He says: “Study all of USMLE world, assuming you’ve been keeping up with your studying. Do the whole bank of questions and repeat as necessary, but read every detail of every question’s explanation. Study the things you get wrong and find out why you get them wrong. Once you’re full time studying, sleep as much as you need to, exercise every day, eat well, and just do questions.”

  • Juliet

    PET STRESS. How do you deal with it? Or more specifically, has anyone wrestled with the idea of giving up a pet, done it, and in the end felt like it was the best for all involved?

    We got a second cat in September, and she is the sweetest thing, but our other cat desperately wants to kill her. After months of doing everything the internet and our vet has said, they still cannot be in the same room together. It’s just not working. The next step is putting both cats on prozac, which I am not on board with, but my husband is interested in doing. I think we gave it the old college try and these two cats just cant live together and as sad as it will be, Pizza (the newest) just needs a new home and everyone will be better off for it. It’s causing stress in our relationship and personal anxiety because I feel like every time I go home and have to use a broom to block one cat from getting into the room where the other is I’m reminded of how things cannot stay as they are and we have no solutions. Have you dealt with something similar?

    • Eenie

      Find the pet a new home. You’ve given it three months and seen no progress. Both cats and you two will be happier. Our cats initially did not get along at all, but by the end of month three we had seen progress. They have been separated for a while because of our LDR, but we’re hoping they pick back up quickly here at the end of December when I move. You can be a wonderful pet parent and decide you need to find a new home for Pizza.

      • Amy March

        But can you be a wonderful pet-co-parent by doing this? That’s the real issue I see- obviously rehoming is a great solution, but if the other owner of the pet isn’t on board, its more of a relationship issue between the two of them than a pet issue.

        • Eenie

          I actually really liked your compromise. I’ve had experience having to give cats medicine and decided against it (the medicine had a lot of side effects and the act of giving the cat medicine was absolute torture for the poor cat). It’s not to say that’s right for every cat. I’m not familiar enough with Prozac for cats, but if that’s something you’ll have to give to them for the rest of their life to get along, I agree with Juliet – they should rehome the cat.

          • Amy March

            I completely agree with your point about the division of labor. Nothing makes a cat convinced you are trying to kill it and it must repay you with claws of death like trying to give it a pill.

          • raccooncity

            My cat is currently EATING my artificial christmas tree, but she takes pills like a treat right out of my hand. Reading all your horror stories has made me not want to kill her every time I hear the sound of branches being chewed.

          • Ashlah

            God, I have a cat who chews on everything (to the point of electrocuting herself once), but the one time we had to give her a pill it was like torture.

          • Eenie

            My cat will eat the clear plastic window from envelopes. And then puke it up. Because he can’t digest plastic. My parents cat actually broke into the bottle of cat vitamins and ate them all.

          • My cat chews the tree too! The first couple years I tried to stop him, but last year I just decided I didn’t mind. Makes my life calmer, he likes it, and he actually isn’t hurting the tree either because he isn’t actually eating anything (thankfully).

    • Laura C

      I have my cat because of a situation exactly like that. My best friend tried to make it work with him and a cat she’d had for a while before she got him who just hated him and beat up on him all the time (despite being like half his size), but eventually she decided it wasn’t going to work. He and I had gotten along pretty well when I visited her (this was relative because he was a rescue who was terrified of people), and I took him, and seven years later it’s been great for all of us. He’s really come out of his shell and is incredibly bonded to me, and my friend doesn’t spend all her time moving two cats from room to room trying to keep them apart, which is extremely helpful since she had kids and has enough work wrangling them. So obviously you’ll want to find the best possible home for your cat, but that can definitely be the best thing to do, a kindness not a cruelty.

    • Amy March

      Can you do both at the same time? Try Prozac, because your husband wants to, and also start looking for a new home, because finding something suitable might take a while. And then you’ll get a chance to see if Prozac works without spinning your wheels for months if it doesn’t.

      • Eenie

        If you do try prozac, I vote the husband gets to give it to the cats! Trying to get cats to eat a pill is quite difficult.

    • JLK

      I don’t know if this helps, but I’m a vet and this situation is really common. First, it doesn’t make you a bad pet parent if you have to re-home one of your cats. From the cats’ perspective, this sounds like a really stressful situation for them. So if a better situation is available, then this benefits them too. On the other hand, I strongly recommend that you and your husband be on the same page with what you decide to do as others have mentioned. In other situations like this, I’ve had people be really resentful of their SOs to me which I imagine doesn’t help their relationship.

      If you go the Prozac route, it can sometimes be really helpful. A couple of things about it, which hopefully your vet already told you: 1. it takes up to 4-6 weeks to fully start working. 2. It’s not always necessary to have both cats on it – usually it’s the one that is more anxious (typically the aggressor but not always), although you and your vet know your cats best. 3. It can sometimes cause some personality changes – this is really variable. 4, If the pill part of it is worrisome, there are pill pockets which you can see if your cats like (they’re treats that you put the pills in). There’s also a liquid version or prozac, or you can have it compounded into chewable treats (although that’s more expensive).

      Sorry this was long! Hope it wasn’t too much! Good luck!

    • JDrives

      We tried adopting a dog a few years ago, and it needed so much more care and attention than we could provide, so we had to find him another home. I experienced huge amounts of stress and anxiety, and the dog picked up on that and was even more anxious, and it was just a poor situation all around. I still struggle with guilt (especially because I have friends who literally post things like “If you adopt a pet and then give it up you are a horrible fucking person and dead to me”…definitely unfollowed them, but still), but I know in my heart it was the 100% right thing to do for everyone involved. Solidarity and hugs to you if you choose to go that route.

  • Eenie

    I move in less than two weeks! I lost (and then found) my cat earlier this week and the stress and anxiety over that has made the whole packing up all my stuff and loading it into a truck seem like no big deal. I’ll survive, as long as my little kitty makes the 14 hour drive ok :)

    But I’m facing unemployment in January since I’m moving without a job. I’m kind of looking forward to it, but really scared that it will last longer than I want it too (two months).

    About to start the whirlwind process of seeing all the people I’m moving far away from!

    • AP

      SO glad you found your cat! What a stressful thing! I had a cat that ran away a few years ago and it was the saddest thing ever. Good luck on the move!!

      • Eenie

        I cried for two hours straight while looking for him, called out of work (using missing cat as the legit excuse <3 my boss), and searched in the dark and rain with a flashlight. Luckily it's been a warm week, and I found his wet little kitty self by another apartment that looked like mine. He looked prepared to dart in the door as soon as my unsuspecting neighbor opened it, lol. He is home and well rested now and still tries to sneak out the door every time I come home.

        • AP

          What an ordeal! I called out from work to look for mine too, shaking a pan of food for hours in the parking lot of a Walgreen’s near my house where he was last spotted. But no luck:( I used to joke that he heard he was getting neutered and took off. So glad you had a happy ending! I haven’t been brave enough to get another cat since then- my allergies are too bad to have one permanently indoors and I don’t trust drivers on my street to look out for kitties.

          • Eenie

            He’s so mischievous but so worth it! I’ve never had an outdoor cat, I think I would worry too much.

    • Bethany

      I’m so glad that you found your cat! For the drive, I found Feliaway from Comfort Zone along with Pet Naturals Calming Treats to be fantastic when I drove cats around for adoption events. They still had a little stress, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was when we didn’t have Feliaway or the Calming Treats. Both can be found on Amazon, usually Prime, and they’re life savers.

      Good luck with the job hunt!!

      • Eenie

        I bought a sentry calming collar and a similar spray! Thanks :) I’ll have to try the treats.

        • Bethany

          Awesome. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and your kitty!

      • Arie

        We did the combination of Pet Naturals Calming treats and the calming collar on our cross-country move and she was great. Plus I got her one of those duffle-bag type carriers that has a little “catio” mesh section that unzips, so she had more room to move around and could see. I totally thought we would have 24 hours of a yowling cat and she was chilled out the whole way, only let out a couple of “EXCUSE ME WHAT” sounds when we stopped for snacks.

        • Eenie

          He’s done a 10 hour trip and it was exhausting for all three of us. He mostly hides and loves to go behind the pedals. He also needs you to constantly touch him, which is awesome when he hides underneath your seat on the back side. He WILL NOT stay in a carrier for any amount of time, so we’ve had better success with him out of it. Our fingers are crossed for smooth ride. I got new tires just for him!

    • JC

      Solidarity in moving! Everything is going to work out!

      • Eenie

        Thanks! Good luck as well!

  • Amanda

    My partner & I painstakingly handcrafted our save the dates! After getting a quote from a printer, I decided to just DIT them. including the vintage stamps & postmarks. I’m super proud of how they came out, since I’m really not a graphic designer at all & just kind of figured it out as I went.

    • Gen

      These are awesome! I can’t believe you were able to do them yourself, it’s incredibly impressive :)

      • Amanda

        Thank you so much!! I did it in MS Word & downloaded some free fonts! The front was a high res scan of a postcard I downloaded from Google… I got a better photo printer on a Black Friday sale, then bought stamps & a postmark off of Etsy. That’s pretty much it! Also, I find that in general, everything looks sophisticated on a toothy paper stock.

    • Jenni

      I am doing something similar! I’m using vista print for them and having them sent out because I’m lazy. So the back of mine won’t look as nice as yours! Would you mind sharing what script font you used for the “save the date” text? I’m having trouble finding a good vintage-y one.

      • Amanda

        Thanks!! It’s the Jane Austen free font. It took a long time for J and I to agree on one :)

  • TeaforTwo

    I booked a week in Tulum in February. I know there are some folks here who have been there – any tips? I’ll be 20 weeks pregnant, and I’m so looking forward to a week of sunshine, good food, relaxing and connecting with my husband.

    • Jess

      Swim in a cenote!! I went to Tulum in 2007 and really enjoyed the beach and, most of all, the RUINS! Truly incredible – enjoy!

    • jspe

      yes! we did our honeymoon there and i’d been there before as well. definitely enjoy the beach. While Papaya Playa was a bit too much of a party scene (relatively speaking), the afternoons there were lovely. My favorite thing was to wander the beaches with a towel and when we got tired/hungry stop at the nearest beach front restaurant to have a beverage/snack. My biggest pro-tip is to bring some kind of tunic for said beach wandering – the sun is STRONG, and a little extra coverage while not getting overheated was mission critical. (I spent $15 at h&m – basically a cotton or poly lightweight shirt or long tank that will blow in the breeze).

      the cenote just a few miles out of town was great – I forget if that was grand cenote or crystal cenote. I did lots of research, but once we were there we pretty much couldn’t go wrong. DEFINITELY go to the town a mile or so inland to get some tacos. and to remind yourself that you are in mexico and not brooklyn.

  • ItsyBit

    Happy Friday and happy holidays!

    Today a friend sent me a link to a story about Vulvodynia and I wanted to shout it all from the rooftops (AKA post on FB) but won’t because I don’t want to have a Facebook discussion about vaginas. Especially my vagina. But I figured this safe space of super smart ladies might find this interesting/useful. While I’m not always a Vice fan, I think they did a pretty good job here. And I was mostly just really excited to see someone writing about this because it’s so real and thefuckingstruggleyouguys.

    If anyone’s interested:
    https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/vulvodynia-and-vulvovaginal-sexual-pain-disorders-treatment?utm_source=broadlyfbus

    • Anon

      Yes, thank you for sharing! So much of this rang true for me… REAL pain, no diagnosis forever, all avenues of treatment. I gave up for a few years… no tampons, no intercourse, no doctors. Then it just magically went away. It was so weird. I still have some pain flare ups, but not nearly as debilitating. Though I’m thankful it’s better, I’m a little frustrated that nothing I DID helped, and there is still no real explanation. I hope more mainstream coverage will let others know they’re not alone! That can be the worst part…

      • ItsyBit

        Wow, I’m so glad for you that it just went away!! Not that that makes the whole thing less frustrating, but small victories, eh? Mine is ever so present, but thankfully only (hah, “only”) the “provoked” kind. Before I lost my good insurance, I was finally treating mine with a topical med which seemed effective… but burned like hell for ~30 minutes post-application. How sad that even that seemed like a friggin breakthrough. But you’re so right, feeling alone is the worst. Before I realized it was an actual diagnosis that many other women lived with, I felt like such a freak. And trying to explain to even the greatest guy that sex is simultaneously pleasurable and hurts like a stabbing… not easy.

        • CP2011

          If you’re still looking for an affordable treatment, I reccomend topical lidocaine. I had to get a prescription for it but it’s only $15 at the pharmacy. I think I was technically diagnosed with vestibulitis, meaning the sensitivity is concentrated at the vaginal opening, but it makes a big difference.

          • ItsyBit

            Vestibulitis buddies! (Is it weird that I’m sitting here like OMG ME TOOO)

            Thanks for the tip. I’ve used topical lidocaine in the past as well, although for various reasons it wasn’t a great solution for me. But you’re right, it might be a good stopgap while I wait for circumstances to change.

  • Jess

    Love this collection of the best of APW in 2015. I have just pre-ordered my Planner and am super stoked to be planning an August wedding.

    Finding APW this year helped me get through the tail end of my pre-engaged state, get excited instead of overwhelmed about wedding planning, and exposed me to a whole new world of awesome writers and a kick ass community.
    I can’t wait to kick back in Mexico (one week countdown) and read the original “A Practical Wedding”, gear down, and get excited for 2016.
    All you folks rock. Happy holidays!!

  • My husband has been away on a long work trip and gets back tomorrow to spend the holidays together! Really excited to see him.

    On another note, (mods I’m not sure if this is allowed so please feel free to edit/delete) does anyone want to buy my gocco? Literally used it once. It’s the pg11 model!

  • Jenny

    I passed my dissertation proposal defense (oral exams) for my PhD!!!!!!!!! I’m officially a doctoral candidate (at 36 weeks pregnant no less)!! Go me!

    • SimpleMarine

      Hurray, congratulations! I had a baby in my 3rd year it was great. I graduated one year and one week after she was born. Good luck!

    • Bethany

      WOOHOO!! Congratulations!!

  • Bethany

    I finished chemo! I don’t find out until January 7 if it “worked” (the scan is Dec 30, but I don’t get the interpretation of the results until the 7th). I’m hoping I can keep my worries until control until I get the test results (statistically it should have worked and I should be cancer free now, I’m just paranoid).

    I just wanted to give another thank you to APW for helping me get a wig. It’s been really useful when I know I “should” look good and don’t want to look sick. Also, a thank you to the APW readers who helped with links and messages when I came to happy hour after being diagnosed trying to figure out how to deal with chemo and a wedding. I cannot state enough how much you all helped me get things under control. The wedding was glorious and wonderful, and being married to the love of my life has been fantastic. The APW staff should be proud of building such a fantastic community here.

    • emilyg25

      Sending you all the best wishes!

      • Bethany

        Thank you!

  • Meg

    We had our work christmas party last night and I actually wore my bridesmaid dress from my sister’s wedding and got so many compliments. :)

    • Bethany

      That’s awesome!

  • Lisa

    Just wanted to pop in on my way out of the office to wish everyone a great break and happy holidays! Husband and I are flying out to visit his family in the Bay Area on Sunday and will be gone through the New Year. I can’t wait to see everyone in 2016!

    • Bethany

      Have fun!

  • anon-o-tron

    Work advice anyone?

    About 6 months ago I moved into a new position and after 3 months of training several temps, I started training my permanent replacement(s). So far, I’ve been dealing with tons of push back from one of the trainees. She’s been complaining about not having time to do what I ask, trying to assign me her work, telling me I haven’t sent documentation that I have so she can’t do the task in question. I’m at my wits end. They moved my old position into another team and now I have their manager asking that I provide consistent feedback to them in weekly meetings because there is no one else with the knowledge to look over their work. The official training period was supposed to be 3 months and I did not get hired into a team lead position.

    I don’t have the authority to come down hard on the push back that I’ve been getting (all I can do is politely redirect) and I have no interest into providing ongoing leadership for their position.

    I’m not really sure where to go from here. Any advice on how to navigate this sticky situation? I’ve tried talking to my manager and he agrees when I talk to him but doesn’t seem to really have my back with the other team’s manager.

    • emilyg25

      I’d clarify your role with your current boss. Does s/he still want you training these people or focusing on your new job? If you should still be training them, then ask how s/he wants you to handle the problem employee, given that you’re not her manager.

    • Bethany

      In addition to @emilyg25:disqus’s awesome suggestion, you can also try copying the replacement’s manager on your emails so that she/he sees in real time that this person isn’t keeping track of documentation, instructions, etc.

  • Happy Holidays everyone! On Sunday we are heading to visit my future in-laws for Christmas and I can’t wait! I love their town so much and am so ready for a vacation this year. yaaaaay holidaysssss!

  • eating words

    Wow. It’s been such an awesome year (I got married, yay!!! We had a spectacular trip to Hawaii!!), until some really miserable work surprises last week. Long story short, I’m suddenly reporting to a young, inexperienced person with zero knowledge of what I do and zero senior management experience. It’s really, really difficult to handle. And just when I was getting ready to settle into my newly married life, I’m instead looking desperately for a new job. My wife is amazingly supportive, and I’ve been applying to some interesting things but… it’s hard, y’all.

    Here’s to better things in the new year.

    • With the new boss, is it possible to manage up? Are they trying to learn your job and also how to manage? You can try to “manage up” as they say and see how that works. Best of luck!

      • eating words

        Such a delayed reply, but yes. Definitely. I took a really good workshop on managing up a few months back. Never thought I’d use it in these circumstances, but glad it’s in my pocket. Thanks for the support!

  • Samantha

    I finally found a venue that makes me excited about wedding planning and I’m bouncing-off-the-walls excited to go see it tomorrow morning!!! The whole process so far has been a lot of negotiating with my mom– instead of saying to her, “Here’s what I want to do,” I’ve been mostly going with what she wants or hedging by saying, “Well, here’s what I’m maybe/kind of considering doing, but it can totally change if you want it to” because doing that is easier than trying to stand up for the things my fiance and I want. And you know what? That. Stops. Now.

    Our wedding is ours again! Thanks, APW, for playing a rather large role in getting us to this point :)

  • JC

    We’re moving!!! We have been waiting…so long. Just so long. Our apartment is perfect for us (with room to be more perfect next time), and we get to wake up in our new home on Christmas morning. I am over the moon with joy.

    Wish us luck with the packing/unpacking! So far, it’s been incredibly fun because we’re doing it together (and alone, no family help), and we’ve been fantasizing about this new place for so long (plus reminiscing as we finally pull things out of storage). I know that it will start to get frustrating and tedious, but for now, it’s just joy joy joy! (And a celebratory bottle of wine tonight!)

    • Eenie

      Hahahaha, I’ve been drinking celebratory bottles of wine since September (when we decided to make the move)! I’m packing by myself, but the two of us will handle everything else together. He gets here tomorrow!

      • JC

        Oh you’re brilliant. I should have been drinking celebratory bottles of wine in September too. My life would have been a lot easier hahaha.

  • raccooncity

    We had a mini-honeymoon this week and it was lovely. I didn’t think it was necessary, but we got a gift certificate to a fancy hotel about 1.5 hours away so we decided to use it for this.

    Anyway, honeymoons are great. We haven’t gone on vacation anywhere in quite some time and it was nice to have the decadence (so to speak) of the wedding but actually being able to enjoy it alone together. 10/10 would recommend.

  • lady brett

    guys! we got to go see star wars! (no spoilers, i promise!) i thought it was going to be next year, or when it came out on video, but at the last minute my honey didn’t have to work today *and* there was a 9am showing, which meant it wasn’t sold out (because who the fuck goes to a movie at 9am?) *and* it got out before early school release for the last day of school! so, chalk one up to things i don’t have to miss ’cause we have kids!

    • We went last night! Did you love it?

      • lady brett

        i loved it so much i have very nearly forgiven them for episodes i and ii! I am all aflutter of it.

    • Stacey Cuddhy

      We spontaneously went to a 12:30pm show yesterday and OMG ALL THE FEELS. Not gonna lie, I cried a little when those first few notes of the John William’s score blasted through the IMAX….

    • Jess

      I had friends wake up and go to a 5:00 show before work on Friday. We just waited until Saturday. Awesome. Just. Awesome.

    • StevenPortland

      Me, too! I squeezed in the movie on Saturday afternoon and I guess everyone else was busy with Christmas shopping because the theater was only 3/4 full. I’m glad I got to see it so soon.

  • Keeks

    Sooo this past week has been really frustrating for me for a really dumb reason – Christmas cards. I got married 2 months ago & was very clear that I wasn’t changing my name for the foreseeable future. Everything I’ve sent out has my name on it! My Facebook name is still the same! So why are 98% of our cards addressed to Mr & Mrs Hisname?!?! WHY??? His parents are the only people who have gotten it right (thank goodness). My husband won’t correct his people who get it wrong because he doesn’t want to rock the boat- but I’m so sad every day when I get the mail and it’s addressed wrong. I’m trying to let go and hope that people will learn but I’m typically a confrontational person so it’s killllling me to keep my mouth shut.

    • CMT

      I’m sorry. That would make me really upset, too. And I would totally expect my partner to correct people who got it wrong. Ugh.

    • Amy March

      But he’s fine with rocking your boat with sadness and the erasure of your identity? How thoughtful.

      Have you sent out “at home” cards? They’re an antiquated tradition, but a round of them in January might help:

      Ms. Muriel Murphy and Mr. Samuel Thatcher
      At Home
      House
      City

      printed on a pretty paper at Minted or something? Like, if people did it in 1823, it can’t possibly be rocking the boat!

      • Keeks

        After my husband told me to chill, I said almost verbatim what you said and it was like an epiphany. He’s just kind of a timid dude, aided by his male privilege.

        Funny you should mention at home cards, because I considered them. Instead sent out a short pre-wedding email to all our guests (we did online-only RSVPs and I required an email to RSVP, foreseeing this need) that after the wedding we could be addressed at “Ms. Keeks Keekson and Mr. Husband Husbandson, Address, City, etc”. Ugh.

        • chrissyc

          I’m surprised you’re having so many difficulties with people not using your correct name AFTER you sent an email announcing it! I mean, it’s not great but I don’t necessarily blame people for making assumptions about people’s last names after a wedding. But after you specifically tell them, and then they ignore it or don’t remember it? That must be so frustrating.

        • raccooncity

          “husband husbandson” is killing me. new nickname for Mr. RC

    • rg223

      I mean, you surely agree with this, but it’s not “rocking the boat” just to say, “Hey, next time around, it’s Ms Hername” (or whatever). People WANT to address you correctly, and your husband isn’t giving them the opportunity to do so. It is super frustrating though. I kept my name and have messed up on addressing my acquaintances correctly from time to time (#badfeminist), and I really appreciate it when people correct me so I know what they prefer!

      • chrissyc

        Yes, I completely agree! There’s nothing rude about telling people your correct name, and the people getting it wrong will (99.9% of the time) appreciate the correction if done politely. Here’s an example from the other side: My family has a master address list for all our extended relatives that we’re used for years for wedding, Christmas cards, etc, and some relative FINALLY told us that we’ve been spelling her name wrong this. entire. time. I felt embarrassed but mostly RELIEVED that we can finally send a correct card this year!

      • Jess

        YES. I’ve asked people a million times – “Hey, did you keep your names?” or “Did X Original-Last-Name change names?” I’m sure I’ve messed it up, but I tried to figure it out…

        And a quick “Oh, I saw that you addressed this to Mr. and Mrs. His Last. We actually went to Her Last!” would be super appreciated so I don’t screw it up again.

    • raccooncity

      I have been married for only a couple weeks and I’m astonished at how many people, even in the service industry who I would expect to not assume that anymore (esp. in toronto where there are a billion different cultural naming practices at work). I used to think that I’d be super chill about being called accidentally by my husband’s name because I love him and his family, but I had no idea how often it would happen and how much it would feel like having a piece of me erased. I’m pretty damn angry about it, and I think my chill doesn’t exist anymore.

      I’m hoping my husband’s family will only need to be told once each, but you’re not giving me much hope…

      ETA: go ahead and confront people. If they were pronouncing your name wrong you’d correct them, so just do it the same way you’d do that, if you can manage to keep your internal rage in check. I am having a hard time with it.

      • BSM

        Yes, the internal rage! I’m nervous to correct people because I’m worried it’ll come out like A;FSJD;LKFJA;SLDKJF;ASLKDJ.

        • Keeks

          It’s that internal rage part that’s a problem! My husband’s all, just do your thing and let’s get some Christmas cards with our names, and I’m like, “lemme call your aunt RIGHT NOW and get her straightened out.”

      • Keeks

        The sad part is that I WAS considering changing it down the road (far down the road) and I love the sound of my first + his last… but all this assumption has made me dig my heels in. Also, my first AND last names are mispronounced and misspelled all the time, so I guess I’m just used to bluntly correcting people?

        • MC

          Part of the reason that I kept my name is because, like you, it is so commonly mis-pronounced and mis-spelled that I’ve had to defend it and correct people my whole life, so I feel a LOT of ownership toward it. In middle school I hated that about my name but I was surprised when we got engaged to realize that I would never even consider dropping it since we’ve (me + my name) been through so much!

      • Emily

        “how much it would feel like having a piece of me erased.” Yes.

        YES.

      • G

        I just don’t react for about 5 seconds when someone uses my husband’s last name for me, and then do some variation of ‘oh you mean me? Sorry- I’m not used to that name, I’m actually still ……!’ Works really well.

        For print, I just correct it on the envelope or whatever and put it on the fridge for a few days. Somehow makes me feel better.

    • raccooncity

      ALSO (this super hit a nerve for me this week) – I got address labels with our correct names on them. Sounds like you’ve been doing this already, but for anyone who hasn’t…i’m hoping that helps.

    • Bethany

      I understand. I felt so weird when people just assumed I’d be “Mrs. HisLastName” even though we felt like we’d both been super vocal about “we’re both keeping our last names.” It’s almost odder when it’s my family. Like, Grandpa, I love you and I really love that you signed the card “Grandpa/First Name” because you wrote it to both of us, but addressing it to Mr. and Mrs. HisLastName” when I had your last name, plus you now my mom and sister both kept their last names? Like how do you just bring up in casual conversation “uh, hey, I’m actually still a Meissner” to someone older?

      Our compromise is that we’re going to tell anyone our parents generation or younger, but if they’re grandparents just sit with it because they’re meaning well, but make a point of still having my last name on anything we send back to them (we’re super late on our thank you notes from our September wedding, so we figure sending those will be a nice reminder to folks that we both kept our last names).

      • Hannah

        Our thank you notes very clearly had both of us with our last names, but I’ve discovered that people (especially in his family) appear to not have seen that. UGH. Thank goodness in the past few days we’ve gotten a few cards from friends of mine who know and did things right, because I’ve been getting so freaking annoyed.

        • Keeks

          I think subtlety just doesn’t work so it’s like – hit them over the head with it, repeat it over and over, make the font bigger, don’t guide them – PUSH them towards the answer. I work in UX design and I do this all day long at the office, but sometimes I forget it’s the everyday stuff that needs the most work, too.

    • BSM

      I was just loudly complaining about this yesterday. So fucking annoying. Every card we’ve gotten (from family, friends, distant relatives) has had his name, not mine. Solidarity, sister.

    • JC

      Ugh, I’m so sorry. This week, I received mail that was definitely for me (i.e. from my family) with a courtesy nod to the bf, but address to BF and JC, with his name first. This is small potatoes compared to someone not using the correct name in the first place, but even this small political act of putting his name first is really bothering me. I wish you much success in finding the best way (for you!) to navigate this!

      • Jen

        I am a little late on this- but my dad, who is an accountant and does my taxes- put my husband’s name first the first year we were together. I was like- you have gotta be kidding me!

    • Eh

      This is our third Christmas as a married couple. I knew that keeping my last name would result in people assuming that I had taken his since we are both from fairly conservative families (I am the only woman to keep her last name in either side). This year we had a baby and gave her both of our last names hyphenated. This has further confused some people and now we are receiving mail addressed to both Mr and Mrs HisLast and Mr and Mrs HisLast-MyLast. We mostly laugh about this but when required, like when my MIL/FIL erase my last name and call us Mr and Mrs HisLast, my husband does step up and confront his people.

    • AP

      Ugh, yep. Got my first one as a married couple yesterday from his cousin to Mr. and Mrs. His First and Last. Annoying. I don’t care enough to correct this cousin whom I’ve never met and probably won’t see more than a time or two in our lifetimes. Thankfully it was the only one.

    • Eenie

      The name discussion for us ended with: “We’ll both keep our names, but you have to correct anyone who calls me the wrong name by saying we both decided to keep our names.” He thought I was being ridiculous.

    • MC

      Just chiming in to say that I’ve been married for over a year and it still makes me bummed out to get e-mail addressed to Mr & Mrs. Husband’s Last Name. I try to joke about it – I think I got this for APW – and say that my husband got mail for him & his secret wife, which kind of breaks the tension on my end a bit. We/he agreed to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and send thank-yous after the wedding with return address labels with my full name first – we’ll see how it goes when we start getting more Christmas cards from family this year. I did have to have a talk with husband about how it was a big deal to me and I felt like he was being dismissive’ and that helped him understand more where I was coming from. But UGH, I feel you.

    • I totally feel you on this although we managed to do okay this year. We both hyphenated so it’s been weird to see how many people totally get on board with my name change and ignore his. So we get a lot of Addie MyLast-HisLast and Skully HisLast.

      Our solution? Every time someone asked for our address I included our new name. And then if they got it right I made a huge deal on Facebook (where our names are correct) about how much we appreciated how they got our names right. Every time someone mentioned how weird it was to make a huge point about getting our name right was a chance to point out how rude it was to call people by the wrong name. Education for everyone! Bonus points to his hilariously bewildered Aunt who was so pleased for getting praised for finally getting our names right (she spent all of 2015 getting it wrong).

  • You guys, I just want to find an effing venue why is that so hard?!?!?!?!?! Sorry, I am seriously about to go nuts over here. I just want to settle on a venue that doesn’t suck so I can get on with the rest of planning. I am so tired of combing through websites trying to find the information I need. Why why why do they make it so difficult? Ugh. Ok, deep breath, moving on, thanks for listening.

    • AGCourtney

      SOLIDARITY. Oh, the venue search drove me crazy~ it’s ridiculous how hard it can be. Something will turn up and it will all fall into place. But it’s frustrating to try and plan when you can’t get very far without knowing your venue!

    • Eenie

      Yup. If you need to, take a break for a little bit. I remember getting so fed up and taking a break for about a week. It helped and we found the venue the following week!

    • Where are you looking?! :)

      • We started our search in the Santa Barbara area (we are in LA), but we just found out that if we do that, fiance’s grandma won’t be able to travel to the wedding. Since she is the last grandparent either of us have, we’ve moved the search to Chicago (we used to live there and his family is close so G-ma can be driven). Just the shifting of focus and trying to keep within budget is driving me nuts. Chicago prices can get out of hand pretty quickly.

  • Eh

    I am so excited. It’s a week until my baby’s first Christmas and I am looking for plane tickets to visit my sister in February (she just had a baby too). (My vacation request was approved this week.)

    I am trying to ignore the holiday stress that I already feel starting to weigh down on me. My FIL has made it clear that my MIL has gone over board with gifts for our baby (gifts at their Christmas already give me anxiety). And my MIL is trying to pick a day for the extended family Christmas which will probably result in my husband not being able to go because he needs to give his manager notice ASAP (but that’s ok according to her since his cousin’s husband will be able to go).

  • Totch

    I commented for the first time this week! I got engaged in October and have just been lurking since.

    I’ve been nervous to post because I don’t actually want a wedding and I worry that I’m just going to barf negativity. But fiance can’t imagine not having one so we’ve been working overtime to figure out what that means. APW has helped a lot. I’d still prefer not to have a wedding, but we’ve decided to have one for a lot of really good reasons and now we’re planning something that I feel like is the best case scenario.

    Also, I got a job offer yesterday. My current funding is ending, and I’ve been offered a more senior position with a different funding source (with the goal that I’ll keep supporting my old project until it gets new funding). Basically I’ll still have my old full time job with only 20% time to do it, and a new (harder) full time job with only 80% time to do it. I’m actually pretty excited about it, scary as it sounds. I’ve been killing it lately and I really think this is crazy enough that it just might work! Plus, it means a raise, a union, better benefits, and a slightly shorter work day.

  • Hey Meg, I just read this and popped over here to share the link because I think you’d like it. I know you wrote something similar once. http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2010/09/21/bad-career-advice-do-what-you-love-and-youll-never-work-a-day/

  • Abbey

    Soooo…I have my partner’s engagement ring squirreled away in my sock drawer. How classic is that? I am definitely waiting until after the holidays to propose because we decided there will be too much noise and crazy and family stuff to add more things in. I thought it wouldn’t be that hard to wait, and that I might not do it until February or March because there’s not really any rush, but I picked the ring up from the jewelry store on Thursday night and I keep thinking about it all the time. Every time I’m alone in the house I go into the drawer and take it out and pet it like Gollum. It’s probably good we’re heading out of town tomorrow because I can remove myself from the temptation to propose every time he does something awesome (which is frequently).

    Early January, though, it’s happening. Anybody know of any good places to propose to a guy in New York City? He vetoed restaurants, so I’m looking for somewhere outdoors, pretty in the winter, and reasonably secluded. Bonus points if it’s weird/historical.

    • Amy March

      Fort Tryon Park should be pretty secluded in January!

      • Scalliwag

        We did our engagement photos there – it’s gorgeous. The Cloisters Museum is in the park and really neat. I haven’t found it to be packed, so if it’s so frigid you do need to be inside (not likely so far) that’s a good one.

    • ZRT

      Fun! Riverside Park is really pretty, especially up by Grant’s Tomb/Riverside Drive and the 120s — nice river views. Or Central Park has a bunch of nice spots. The Ladies Pavilion (people often get married there, but probably not in January). Or if you picked somewhere on the east side, you could go to the Neue Gallerie cafe afterwards and pretend you’re in turn of the century Vienna.

    • StevenPortland

      Why not do something crazy and pop the question over the holidays? It will definitely surprise him, and would be one more thing to celebrate with your family. Much more fun than calling/emailing the family when it would otherwise happen early in 2016. Your “pet it like Gollum” description made me laugh. Give that ring already to your partner so you don’t start acting more like Gollum!!

    • toomanybooks

      When I got the ring I was thinking I was still going to wait like a year to propose… But then once I had it I was like, “I have the ring, what am I waiting for?” and totally took it out too to pet it all the time. luckily there wasn’t too much time between when I decided to actually propose and when I did it, because I was getting totally nervous and probably acting weird like a dude in a rom com or something! I do wonder now if it would have been better to wait, though – because of various life events and financial situations it’s going to be a long engagement and I have the same answer anytime someone asks how wedding planning is going – “Slowly!”

  • anon for this

    Ok everyone, I hate to be anonymous for this, but I need to let something out. My mother-in-law shipped Christmas presents to us this year and included presents for “future grandchildren.” I am not pregnant and we are not planning to try for a few years at least and she knows that. Seeing presents under the tree for children that do not exist yet makes me feel pressured, it makes me think about potential infertility issues (what if we can’s get pregnant and we have baby stuff?!), and it annoys me that now I have to store these items somewhere for years until a baby arrives. She’s not a mean or passive aggressive person– but this is one of those times that she doesn’t understand boundaries and is oblivious to why this would be a weird thing. She means to be loving and helpful… but sheesh.

    • VKD_Vee

      Dude, that’s craaaaazy. Can your partner have a word with her?

      • emmers

        Yea, I feel like that’s the kind of thing I’d want my partner to gently tell his mom, “that’s not cool, thanks for the thought, but for many reasons never do that again,” while returning the gifts to her. So over the top!

        Because like you said, what if you end up not wanting kids or struggle with infertility! Def something for your partner to nip in the bud before it happens again.

      • anon for this

        Yes, he plans to call her in the next day or so and have a conversation with her about it to set the boundary now. He is completely on the same page as me and thinks is weird, so he’s completely willing to call her and have that conversation. Whew!

    • Ashlah

      Whoa. My mom knows we plan to start trying in a year, and that would still be inappropriate and weird. I second having your partner talk to her. Are you two on the same page about it?

      • anon for this

        Yes we are… he definitely understands. Establishing boundaries with her is not new for him (but new for me obvs) and so I’m so SO thankful that he gets it.

    • Amy March

      Don’t store them! Return them to her. Or you’re in for years more of bizarre gifts.

      How on earth does she mean to be “loving and helpful” by sending gifts to non-existant children? It’s creepy and offensive and you don’t have to talk yourself out of feeling like it is a bad thing.

      • anon for this

        I’m thinking that maybe the dogs might “accidentally” get into the stuffed animals (ha)… yeah it’s passive aggressive, but at least I don’t have to ship them, right?!

    • Oh man, that makes my heart hurt for you especially that point about potential infertility issues. I agree with everyone saying return and talk to her about it or have your partner do so if needed.

    • Marcela

      My MIL started buying gifts for our future children three years ago. My husband does not understand why this bothers me so so much.
      sympathy hugs

      • anon for this

        I think you deserve those hugs more than I do. *solidarity*

    • Bethany

      Your husband needs to return them to her. They should certainly not be under your tree! If she wants to store them for the future, that’s her prerogative and choice to potentially waste space and money. Set the boundary now.

    • JDrives

      What the actual…? That is super duper weird.

  • Meeeeeeee

    Help! I’ve been scouring the archives looking for a post about CBT that’s got an online/Skype counsellor option, which I desperately need because, well, I do.

    • Jess

      There was one – if not in a post in a happy hour. I’ll search around.

    • Ashlah

      Breakthrough.com and talkspace.com were the ones mentioned. Best of luck to you!

  • Ekta Sethi

    Wedding need to be such that everyone remembers it for lifetime, Get in touch with FNP destination wedding planners to make your wedding an everlasting dream.
    http://www.fnpweddings.com/

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