APW Happy Hour

Happy Hour Brought to you by Monogamy Wine | APW

Hey APW,

Is anyone else feeling a bit like January is a bit of a… grind thus far? Thankfully, it’s a long weekend. Join us Monday for what we’re considering APW Brunch… a Beyonce & Feminism link roundup from Rachel, to celebrate MLK day. But otherwise, let’s all take naps, yeah? Maddie and I are gearing up for Alt Summit next week, and we’re ready for the part where we get to put on our cute clothes, learn things, give talks, meet up with friends old and new… and yes, take a few meetings. But we’re hoping the sparkles will light up a gloomy January. (If you’re going to be at Alt please let us know in the comments. And come see me! I’m moderating a big talk on the business of blogging.) Till then we’ve got APW Happy Hour, hosted by the lovely Monogamy Wine, to cheer us up.

It’s your open thread, hop on it!


Highlights of APW This Week

Hate wedding planning? Join our support group in comments.

When the first pictures of this wedding hit Instagram, I found out petting zoos at weddings are oddly controversial. I’m on the pro-fuzzy animal bandwagon, in case you were wondering.

You know the BEST EVER TV WEDDING from Season One of HBO’s Girls? This tutorial will get you started if you want to make an amazing wedding arch like Jessa’s. Please someone go fully-decorated-whole-hog and send pictures?

A glittery Catholic wedding with a Virgin Mary cameo. What more could you want?

And don’t forget the tutorial for glittery welcome signs!

An honest post about doubts within marriage and the possibility of divorce.

This amazing kid-friendly wedding, where two gay dads were finally able to legally get hitched. Sob alert.

Rent a wedding dress. As someone in comments put it, “It’s the Rent-A-Swag of evening gowns! Awesome.”

Engaged and noticing sexism? Check and check.

The post spawned a comment thread on sexism that is eye opening (and saddening).

We had a great time rolling around in material goods with you this week, figuring out what you should add to your registry. And now I have Madonna stuck in my head.

Lessons from the urban clambake, courtesy of Elisabeth.

Link Roundup

There has been a lot of staff discussion behind the scenes this week about the fact that young talented (feminist) women are treated particularly badly by our culture, and a good portion of it is women-on-women violence. Jezebel’s galling $10K offer for un-re-touched photos of Lena Dunham’s stunning Vogue shoot (because she can’t really look that good, right? WRONG.) and their receipt of photos showing them only appropriately re-touched (Fixing an unflattering neckline? Check.), was an interesting example of it.

Also, Vogue drops the mic on Jezebel.

In most hilarious articles, “I regret to inform you that my wedding to Captain Von Trapp has been cancelled.”

A frivolous video that you probably don’t need in your life—the Ross Sisters’ crazy breakdance from 1944. You’re welcome.

How has Bust magazine survived? (Barely, is the answer. Support women’s media… making money, y’all.)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt on being a feminist. (I expected this video to be fluffy. It’s not. He’s really a feminist.)

Meryl Streep’s speech to Emma Thompson, “a rabid, man-eating feminist, like I am.”

The Woody Allen story we need to stop forgetting. (Trigger warning.)

Is copying other cultures a bad parenting strategy?

Catching Fire is the first film with a female lead to top the box office in forty years. The last one? The Exorcist.

There have been several excellent articles detailing the issues on all sides of Bill and Emma Keller’s twin columns about cancer patient Lisa Adams. And a suggestion that the wonder of the internet is the unfollow feature. Don’t read stuff you don’t like, maybe.

A fascinating rabbit hole of mothers’ schedules from around the world.

Thumbnail image by Meg for APW

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

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  • Moe

    I’m ready for a nap right now.

    Just a general shout out to the APW team for continually posting such thoughtful and insightful work. Many of the things I read here helped me get through my wedding but now they’re very helpful navigating all things baby and answering the question “Should we?”

    • Yes! This! My husband and I were discussing how we don’t know if we don’t want kids last weekend and I shared The Visitors post by Rachel. Once he finished we had a far more interesting conversation about Ideals around babies and Actualities. I’m the oldest of four and have a LOT of experience around the actualities and the ideas. He totally loved the “but babies and cute hats and sweaters” aspect of the post, and it’s been a HUGE conversation-extender/furthering post for us because it helped us get out what we would expect of each other if we have a baby one day.

      • Moe

        Oh yes, I shared that one too!! We went to see a counselor who facilitated the conversation even further for us. It helped us get some clarity but also revealed some areas we need to work on as a couple, because as the counselor so aptly said, “this will happen everytime you need to make a big decision.” So what we decide is just as important as HOW we arrive at the decision. Good to luck you!

  • kmlc

    I was big fan of Jezebel for a while, especially the Photoshop of Horrors, but this one just clinched it for me. They made their point, they’ve gotten their publicity–now it just seems like a gross tabloid-style click bait.

    I know what the point was when the series started, but they’ve made it now. And Lena Dunham has taken so much sh*t for showing what a non-celebrity body looks like — paying for photos of her just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    • Meg Keene

      “And Lena Dunham has taken so much sh*t for showing what a non-celebrity body looks like — paying for photos of her just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.” THIS.

  • celinad6

    I just found out that I’m going to have a pregnant bridesmaid! Is it weird that I’m excited? She finally told me the other day after avoiding me for like 2 months. For some reason she thought that I would be upset and wouldn’t want her to be in the wedding anymore because she would mess up the pictures. I was a little taken aback that she would think that I would be so shallow. Anyway, I talked to Little Borrowed Dress about it and they told me the best style for her (Cheryl or Cheryl Leigh if anyone needs to know). Now, I’m thinking about all the cute poses we can do:


    In other news, quitting graduate school after 5 years is probably dumb, right?

    • rys

      On grad school, if you’re serious: Depends why you want to quit (passing moment v. long-held desire; dissertation is annoying me this week v. I can’t get started on this research even after 6 months). It’s not the right thing for everyone, and sometimes it takes trying to figure that out. It might be helpful to put on the economist’s hat for a moment: the past 5 years are a sunk cost, the question is about your future and the opportunities/costs there. Thinking ahead, rather than thinking back (about time/money/etc), what do you want to do?

      • celinad6

        Well the precipitant to today’s mood was another failed instrumental analysis. While I know that is temporary, since I can just fix the problem, there’s always another problem to fix. And I don’t care enough about my project to keep fixing things and figuring things out. My brain is beyond exhausted. I think my plan will be to go balls to the wall this semester to get this thing done and if I’m unsuccessful by May…adios.

    • M.

      No one knows if quitting is right except for you! I quit after two years of a PhD program…because I hated it and was miserable from the beginning, and it took me that long to admit that it was valid and fine to feel that way, and that I wasn’t letting anyone down, and that it’s just not for everyone. There are lots of thoughts for you to think, but it doesn’t make it dumb! Good luck to you.

    • malkavian

      I’m asking myself the same question regarding grad school-I’m currently in my fourth year of my PhD program and am pretty miserable. I’m currently trying to evaluate if 1) I can master out and 2) what careers might fit me and if I actually need the PhD for them.

      • M.

        I mastered out (humanities) – I don’t know how your school is, but mine was incredibly understanding. It was like it was a never-talked-about secret option, that once I said I wanted to leave, they really helped me get the MA.

        • malkavian

          I’m in biomedical sciences, and from what I’ve told mastering out requires either a first-author paper or a thesis, despite the fact that I’ve completed my qualifying exam. The problem is, my data is absolute crap and I don’t have enough consistent data to publish ANYTHING.

          • M.

            Ugghh, I’m so sorry! If you passed your “Q’s” as we called them, then what the what? My option was to write a thesis in lieu of Q’s, which actually allowed me to leave the school physically and move on to other things while writing. I really hope you are able to work something out to make yourself happier! Good luck (hug)

          • Anu

            I mastered out after >5 years, despite the fact that somehow my field forgot to even register a Masters degree with the state (but still advertised it prominently on their website — but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms). I did it by transferring to another field. You could look into whether that’s an option for you.

          • celinad6

            I feel the same way about my data. It is absolute crap. Analytical instruments are always breaking or something is always wrong with my experiments. Ugh! The problem is I don’t know if I give a f$%@ to figure stuff out anymore and continue. I feel like my brain and spirit cannot go through another semester of this.

          • Anon

            I’m sitting in lab watching another experiment plummet down the tubes….which is to say, yeah. I hear ya. This has been my phd experience thus far:


          • celinad6

            whatshouldwecallgradschool makes me laugh until I cry and cry until I laugh

      • Lian

        I’m in my third year and I am mastering out. I still feel bad about it sometimes but it definitely helped to talk to my adviser – he was great about it, reassuring me that he had seen the same thing happen so many times and that he’d sort of been expecting me (not in a ‘You can’t handle it’ way but in a ‘You seem unhappy, maybe this isn’t for you?’ way). Talking to him helped release a lot of built up pressure.
        I found it difficult to talk to my parents and while they reassure me that I have not disappointed them I do think they’re partially disappointed. But that’s okay! Because I am doing what is right for me. I’m actually really excited about the type of job I hope to be able to get with a master + some years of experience. Now I have to start looking for those jobs to get that experience and it freaks me out because I also tried in September and never even heard back anything positive (either no response or generic ‘We went with someone else’ email) and I’m really stressed about it already when I haven’t even started and there’s a couple jobs that I would love and for which I technically sort of meet the requirements but I know I won’t even hear back and so I’m just putting applying off, but that’s not going to help because then I definitely won’t get it! But I want it, and I do genuinely think I’d be good at it, but how can I ever show that when all my resume shows is grad student researcher and three years to get a master? I know how that reads to HR people! And because I’ve been hitting my head against the wall trying to do research rather than focusing on stuff like internships which pure master students do I really feel like I don’t stand a chance… Argh.
        *takes a deep breath*
        OK, uh, so mastering out isn’t without stress, especially because it means entering the job market sooner than if you keep trying for a PhD. But I still know it’s the right decision for me, even if I need to work through this job market stress for a bit!

        • malkavian

          Yeah, re-entering the job market kind of scares the crap out of me, I can’t afford to be unemployed particularly once I have to start paying back my loans from undergrad. That being said, the whole ‘you must be constantly working and cannot have a life’ attitude from academia in general and my mentor (who seems particularly bad in this way) coupled with repeatedly crappy experimental results and intense boredom is just making me hate going into my lab.

          • Lian

            I’m international and thus can’t stick around if I don’t have a job, which adds to the stress (although if my fiance and I move doing the wedding paperwork up a month or two I’d actually be fine because they give a grace period after graduating, and he’s American, so once we do that I should be fine).
            My program isn’t even that terrible in terms of expecting us to be constantly working. The problem for me is that we don’t have a lab, we do all our research individually in front of a computer, with the only beneficiary being ourselves. And I just don’t function that way, I need other people. I can work on things by myself just fine if they are part of a shared project, but not when literally the only person who cares is me. I don’t care enough…

          • Lian, I don’t know where you are, but I just wanted to encourage you to be really, really sure about the immigration side of things before you make decisions that could affect your right to stay in the country you are in. Where I am, just being married doesn’t mean anything regarding whether or not you can stay in the country (and there is no grace period here). It’s about the paperwork (which takes a long time to prepare)….and then there is a long wait for processing. And before you are a permanent resident here (even if you are married to a citizen), every time you leave the country, you take the risk of maybe not getting back in. (Which meant I stayed in the country without leaving for a long time because I did not want to be separated from my then-husband.) Anyhow! I wish you the best with whatever path you end up taking and with marriage and immigration too!

          • Emmers

            Yes! I’d recommend talking with an immigration attorney (hopefully the one who will help you file your paperwork when you get married/do a fiancé visa). Also talk to your international advisor at your school to see if they have anything to contribute. And be careful if you travel, because if you’re in a non-immigrant status, if you express the intent to get married (ie have an engagement ring), they could not let you back in the US. Paranoid, maybe, but better safe than sorry, because it can vary a lot, depending on which visa/border officers you encounter, and how grumpy they are that day!

          • Lian

            Thanks for caring, both of you :-) I definitely intend to just find a job rather than play with grace periods. But it’s good to make sure I understand the rules regardless, so I’ll look into finding an immigration attorney!

      • Crayfish Kate

        Oh, smart, hardworking academic ladies, I am SO here for you! My FH is going on his twelfth – TWELFTH – year of his PhD. It has been a long, ridiculous, beyond-frustrating road for him. I hear you. The data-makes-no-sense, the instruments breaking, the lack of direction/meaning, I hear you. While I am not in your position myself, I am more than happy to sympathize, be a sounding board, or offer advice. For anyone who’s wondering what it’s like to complete a Masters (me), or what it’s like to have slogged through and stayed in a PhD program (him), I’d love to offer you a virtual hug & attentive ear. Good vibes to all of you – that is such a hard choice.

    • Lindsay Rae

      Congrats to your bridesmaid! And high-five for being excited for her. My future sister-in-law/bridesmaid has asked me many times what color I want her to dye her hair for the wedding … and every time I look at her like she has 2 heads. She doesn’t even normally color her hair which makes it more strange. Why does everyone automatically assume we’ll go bridezilla if someone looks a little different as a bridesmaid?!?!

      • celinad6

        I have no idea! And she knows I’m a pretty even-tempered, practical, down-to-earth person so it’s like she thinks me getting married changes my personality. Huh?

    • Winny the Elephant

      Cause nothing messes pictures up like a pregnant woman?? Who would ever think that??

  • Dear Ladies of APW. If you used a wedding planner, how did you decide which one to go with? Was cost the ultimate factor? What kinds of things were you hoping they’d help you with? What if you “click” with more than one? Ugh, this wedding vendor thing is worse than dating.

    • macrain

      I hired a Day of Coordinator after talking to her on the phone and looking at reviews from other brides on Wedding Wire (as an aside- anyone else starting to notice on wedding wire that ALL the reviews are five stars? Should we be worried about this? Everyone can’t be five stars can they?). The reason I hired her was that we hit it off immediately and I was impressed with the services she offered for what she was asking. It seemed like an excellent value. Also, she really listened to me when I told her we don’t want or need a bunch of crap and we’re keeping it simple. She seemed to understand and share our values, which was huge! My advice? If you click with more than one, just choose something really arbitrary, like you like how she signs off her emails. Ultimately you could make yourself nuts agonizing over it! Trust me as someone who is in the throes of decision fatigue.

      • K.

        So I noticed this too and it turns out that Wedding Wire automatically sorts reviews from highest rating to lowest, so you always see the highest ratings first. If you switch to “newest to oldest” you sometimes get a better sense of how people’s more recent experiences really went.

        Otherwise, I think some vendors just persuade their happiest customers to review and not everyone knows about it. It’s not quite the Yelp of weddings yet!

    • Jenni Kissinger

      I found my wedding planner’s website and absolutely loved all of the weddings she had posted on her blog that she was involved in. I kept going back to her website and staring at the pretty. I was looking for either partial or full planning. After talking to her on the phone with my mom, we decided to go with full planning. For context, I’m in Maryland/South Carolina and planning a wedding in New Hampshire. I’m not familiar with the area, vendors, etc. It’s a good chunk of our budget ($2500) but it’s so helpful for my sanity. I didn’t really look at other planners, but if you have two (or more) good choices, then there’s no wrong choice–you’ll get a great person either way!

  • AGrace

    Just wanted to say that though APW is always awesome, I found the content to be extra fantastic this week. Way to go, ladies!

    • Jess

      This week and last week hit me hard. Great job on content selection!

  • anon

    Hey Pregnant ladies and moms out there – any thoughts on the MaterniT21 test? I’m 35 and considering getting it done. Would love to know if anyone has experience with it, did your insurance cover it, did you also have an ultrasound or just the blood test? I know this is a wedding site, but you graduates like me that still read are some of the smartest ladies on the internet.

    • Catherine McK

      I ended up going with the NT scan,as the MaterniT21 wouldn’t have included an ultrasound and I really wanted to get to see our little guy more than get blood work. It was my understanding that my insurance would cover either, but it’s probably worth a call. My husband and I had some good/hard conversations beforehand, definitely important. Good luck!

  • Shiri

    The Jezebel thing really makes me angry. The Cut had a great piece on it (with a slightly misleading title – http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/01/what-can-we-learn-from-unretouched-dunham-pics.html). It has stopped seeming like its about media and the portrayal of women, and because the request was about the photos of one particular woman, more anti-woman, and really about the more prurient side of celebrity culture.

    In awesome things to read this week, I took a lot away from this piece, the Myth of the Absent Black Father: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/01/16/3175831/myth-absent-black-father/, especially given the combination of a discussion I had last weekend with some APWers about how male parenting is viewed and this awesome blog post about parenting as a black dad: http://daddydoinwork.com/dreamin/.

  • Jennifer

    I want to just say thanks for the registry post this week! I was able to take several things off my registry and just go with a Cuisinart Griddler (no separate waffle maker/griddle/George Foreman, hooray!), and for that I will be eternally grateful.

    • macrain

      I also read the shit out of that thread and made a tentative list of things we want. I also consulted some friends on what they liked/didn’t like, and where they registered. Feeling much less intimidated by registering, so hooray for that!

  • Bad Week

    Just found out this week I will be laid off soon… It’s a shock and I am not excited to be back in hunting mode. One of my main thoughts is how thankful I am I just got married a few months ago. First, I don’t have to worry about health insurance. And second, it would have been tough to get excited about a wedding (and spending money) if this had happened earlier.

    • MisterEHolmes

      *hugs* to you. That’s tough news.

    • macrain

      Ugh, I’m so sorry. This sounds awful. I admire you for focusing on the positive!
      Here’s hoping it gets better!

  • Audrey

    I so hear you on January being a slog. I had a work trip across the country this week, we’re thinking of buying a house this year (super stressful), my mom is getting more serious about attempting to move near us (stressful, especially since it’s hard to work out financially for her) and she’s being super pushy about wanting to see us soon. (This year was the year we stay home and do his family during the holidays so I last saw her in September.)

    We have a weeklong vacation coming up at the end of February, but with everything else happening thinking about it just makes me feel more stressed!

  • Jo

    Hear hear on the grind-feeling. What the heck is that mess about?

    Anyway, I wanted to also highlight a great thing that happened this week: The Atlantic and The Shriver Report got together to talk about women and poverty and why our country has some work to do, viewable through a livestream all day long. Thank goodness for a telework day where I could listen in the background while I worked! Get more info here: http://shriverreport.org/ (Totally thought APW would have been on this one, but I’m happy to be able to contribute!)

    And, did you know Beyonce wrote a piece about gender equality being a myth? http://shriverreport.org/gender-equality-is-a-myth-beyonce/

  • Alyssa M

    Love the JGL video. Reminds me of the APW piece on raising your son as a feminist.

  • Kate

    To the people who have actually submitted pieces to APW, any tips? How does one summon the guts? Whisky?

    • Sarah E

      Yeah, if you’re looking for guts, definitely submit when drinking. Or when you’re just mad about it already. Then remember that APW is run by nice people :-)

      • In the past I’ve done it before coffee, so my brain isn’t fully processing that I’m clicking “submit.”

    • Jacky Speck

      I just thought, “What’s the worst that could happen: they don’t publish it?” (but they did! Yay!!)

    • lady brett

      whisky =)

    • HannahESmith

      Whisky definitely can’t hurt, but maybe thinking about how past APW posts made an impact for you. Those posts were probably scary for the person writing them to submit.

    • Anon

      I just submitted something really personal a few days ago. It was scary. I just had to tell myself, I’ve never done anything like this, so if it’s not “good enough” oh well. It means I need more practice writing, a different venue, or a different way to express myself. It doesn’t take away from what I KNOW to be true, which is that it took guts to press send. That alone is an accomplishment.

    • emilyg25

      Write it for yourself. Obviously, you have to keep the wider audience in mind. But mostly write it because you want to get it out there. I wrote two submissions. One was posted; one wasn’t. But I’m glad I wrote both of them because they helped me work through my feelings. Also, whiskey! :)

  • Em

    Ok guys, you have such impeccable taste and good connections, hopefully you can help a girl out…
    My partner (female) rocks the androgynous look and we are having difficulty finding a wedding outfit for her. Basically, she loves men’s style for clothing and shoes but she is tiny – as in 5 feet tall tiny – and so obviously can’t fit any of it. We’re envisioning a nice pair of skinny chinos or something similar, with a nice, slim fitted shirt. She’s not sure if she wants to go the bow tie and suspenders or skinny tie route. So far everything we’ve found in our hometown is too “female” for her… too curvy, or with feminine touches that she doesn’t identify with. And we have no idea where to start online. Any recommendations for quality women’s wear that looks like menswear or at least is fairly androgynous and simple???

    • Kate

      A long shot but she might have luck shopping in the boys section, if that’d work with her body type?


      And since I’m a big Levi’s fan, here’s some fancy turquoise chinos (women’s):

    • BreckW

      This sounds a little weird, but maybe look at J.Crew’s Crewcuts line for boys. Here’s a pair of their slim chinos:


      If she’s about 5 ft and petite, I’m pretty sure a size 12 or 14 will fit her. They also look like they have a few pairs of nice dress pants. I oftentimes will buy the boys button downs if I’m going for a less fitted look because they’re WAY cheaper and the colors/patterns are more timeless.

    • lady brett

      i would definitely go with boys’ clothes – that’s what at least 1/2 of my drag outfits were (and all the dress clothes). the main secret about boys’ clothes is that their quality and price are both lower than what you find in mens’, so you’re probably going to want to look somewhere higher end than you would shop if you were shopping for menswear.

    • Caroline

      Saint Harriden sells menswear for people with female shaped bodies. If you are in the Bay Area, Tomboy Tailors sells suits for people with female shaped bodies also. I think there are one or two other companies that do likewise…?

    • Caitlin_DD

      My go-to source for this would actually be Offbeat Bride. They do some fantastic outfit roundups, and have sources as well. I can’t get the search to work right now, so I can’t share any specifics, but give them a look! http://offbeatbride.com

    • Em

      thanks, women!

  • This Jezebel thing makes me so mad. I used to be the studio manager at a retouching studio, and there’s a LOT of insidious photoshopping going on in the world. BUT, the retouching for Lena’s shoot was very, very, very basic. Retouching can obviously go way too far, but a lot of retouching is just taking 22 + megapixel files, which show every single hair and pore a person has in hyper detail, and toning that down to be closer (albeit usually more polished version) to what we see in real life.

    Also, what “reality” were they hoping to see in the unretouched photos? They aren’t reality any more than the retouched photos, or the show for that matte. Before the retouching, there’s an art director, hair stylist, makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, and commercial photographer all collaborating with anyone being photographed to get the look they want.

    All my photoshop thoughts aside, this whole thing just seems like click fodder.

    • I totally agree. I feel like they were hoping for some sort of hyper-reality altered images so they could say “see! told you!!!” When I look at the retouched pictures I see classic Annie Liebowitz pictures – just enhanced. the un-retouched images aren’t that different, and there seems to be a lot of reaching within the Jezebel article to make them seem less mean as they try to explain why and what was done.

      Either way, I thought the photos pre-retouch were good, and after were good, too. I feel like if those were pictures of me, I would be happy with how they were retouched and styled.

    • jashshea

      That whole thing was insane. I don’t read Jezebel, but I do read other Gawker sites (really just deadspin) and they cross posted this one. Hard to tell if they were being anti-Lena or anti-Vogue as well. What a bunch of click bait junk

      When I post a picture on FB or IG, I pick the filter that I feel makes me look the best. I might even crop something out if my arm is weird or my gut is showing. Sometimes I even wear makeup and flatiron my hair and POSE for a picture. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make me a monster. What’s so different here?

      • Meg Keene

        “When I post a picture on FB or IG, I pick the filter that I feel makes me look the best. I might even crop something out if my arm is weird or my gut is showing. Sometimes I even wear makeup and flatiron my hair and POSE for a picture. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make me a monster”

        This is so interesting. It’s the idea that no, it’s not ok for magazines to photoshop 30% of women’s bodies away, but YES, it’s ok for Lena Dunham to get photos where she looks hot. Or really, yes, it’s ok to give a shit.

        That’s our unofficial theme for APW in 2014, by the way, no joke. “It’s ok to give a shit.”

    • Meg Keene

      Just. So. Pissed.

      What was that? “We know Lena can’t look this good in real life.” Well. Actually. It looked just like her, abet on a fancy photo shoot. And if I had Annie Leibovitz shoot me for the cover of Vogue, and someone didn’t clean up the unflattering way my boobs were being smooshed, I’d be pissed. I mean, I had a cut on my leg in our New Years card photo (which was allll legs) and I asked Maddie to erase it, and since she’s very nice to me she did. That’s not exactly taking 30% of someone’s body away, that’s wanting a important picture to look flattering.

      Bullshit, all of it. If you ask me.

      • I’m hugely body positive, and I also love photoshop.

        At 24, I got hit with adult acne. It’s like my body started paying me back for getting through my teen years with my face relatively unscathed. I don’t feel good about myself when I see pictures of my face all red and welty. So I retouch most of my photos before I share them, and then I feel good. And I don’t feel guilt about doing it. At all.

        If Annie were shooting me for a Vouge cover and left my acne or my smushed boobs, I’d be annoyed. If she shot me and made me look like I lost 50 pounds, that’s a totally different story.

      • I’m hugely body positive, and I also love photoshop.

        At 24, I got hit with adult acne. It’s like my body started paying me back for getting through my teen years with my face relatively unscathed. I don’t feel good about myself when I see pictures of my face all red and welty. So I retouch most of my photos before I share them, and then I feel good. And I don’t feel guilt about doing it. At all.

        If Annie were shooting me for a Vouge cover and left my acne or my smushed boobs, I’d be annoyed. If she shot me and made me look like I lost 50 pounds, that’s a totally different story.

      • Katelyn

        In our engagement photos I photoshopped our sleepy eye bags and the wrinkles in my sweater. I was a little pissed that the photographer hadn’t done this already, maybe he didn’t want to offend us?

        • EF

          Our photographer played with the lighting and colours, but didn’t smooth anything. I was glad about it — I don’t wear makeup, am pretty outspoken about how women shouldn’t have to face all sorts of double standards when it comes to looks, my fiance is incredibly calm and confident when it comes to body views, and it just wouldn’t have been us to clean them up that much. So I’m glad that he didn’t.
          That isn’t to say no one should use photoshop, though! It should be up to the individual, rather than an expectation, is all.

      • Louise

        YES. It would be one thing if Vogue did MORE retouching than they typically do, which they clearly did not. I think if they did LESS retouching than normal, it would almost (to me) fee like they are punishing Lena or making fun of her for her show or views on naked bodies.

        I also think that people have to consider that Annie Leibowitz is an artist and has a process, and retouching is part of that process. Its confusing because photography is seen as being objective, but it really is just as subjective as a painting sometimes, especially in the context of a publication like Vogue. If the NYtimes did that much retouching to a photo, this would be a different story, as the expectations from a newspaper are objectivity and accuracy. It’s the difference between entertainment and news.

    • The more I think about this Lena Dunham thing, the angrier I get. Because Jezebel’s defense was “We know what she looks like because we see her naked in Girls” (i.e. “we know she’s fat”) and “body acceptance through nudity is Lena’s whole thing” but…I kind of think that maybe we don’t know exactly what Lena Dunham looks like because we’ve seen Hannah Horvath naked in Girls, and I don’t know that she’s pushing us to accept HER body so much as Hannah’s body. Like, Hannah’s whole look is kind of unkempt and that feels like part of the joke a lot of times…she’s a woman-child and she’s a little awkward and she’s naked a lot, sometimes in ways that are funnier than sexy (and sometimes in perfectly sexy ways). But Lena on the red carpet is pretty classy and cleaned-up and not showing her boobs, so I guess I assumed the real Lena was a bit more posh than Hannah because, I dunno, she’s a showrunner adult woman with a bunch of money? So…comparing saying “Vogue didn’t let her look like herself!” isn’t really true. Vogue didn’t let her look like Hannah Horvath, which makes a great deal of sense.

      Also, I LOVE the cover shot; I feel like it’s clever, pretty, age-appropriate, and spot on with her whole clown feel.

      I feel like Jezebel invented a controversy where there wasn’t one. Instead of everyone being like, “Lena looks great, good job for once Vogue, let’s move on!” they’ve turned this into a HUGE issue and been assholes in the process. They offered to pay $10K for photos…that it seems like no one really cares about seeing?

      • Anna

        I was thinking a lot about this over the weekend and I think that a good litmus test for photoshop use is does it get you to look like your best self in real life? Like presumably there are days you don’t have a huge pimple on your face or a scar on your leg and presumably there are pose or dress adjustments that will prevent smushed boobs and the like. So it seems like it’s fair to have a little help there. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, you should be able to have your very best self on the cover of Vogue (or your wedding photos or your Christmas card)

        But substantially changing things to the point where it’s no longer your best physical self but your best imaginary self is where it becomes a problem, in my opinion.

        [Also, as if funny men never get prettified for their media appearances – just because you make people laugh for a living, doesn’t mean you can’t be beautiful/handsome]

    • Anon

      Here is Lena’s response. I’m with slate on this one (and thus apparently in the vast minority on APW). http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/01/17/lena_dunham_response_to_vogue_photoshop_criticism_fashion_magazines_are.html

      • KC

        I’m not impressed with Jezebel on this one. At all.

        That said, I think Vogue missed a huge chance to actually show, y’know, really un-retouched pictures (yeah, adjust the white balance or whatever, but leave her chin and shoulders where they are rather than giving her pretend posture and slimming her down?). The retouching isn’t appalling, but the photos were so close to being real that I feel like they could have just said “okay, we’re going to not photoshop-conform you to the normal standard of beauty, even a little bit” and that would have been So Incredibly Cool.

        (yes, she’s in makeup and posed and lighting is adjusted and all the rest of it, but I think trimming a fairly large amount of her shoulders is substantively different?)

    • artfulword

      I’ve found that this article summarizes how I feel about it quite well – http://bitchmagazine.org/post/why-jezebel-was-wrong-to-put-a-bounty-on-those-lena-dunham-photos

      “Offering a queen’s ransom for unaltered images of someone who is consistently shamed and policed simply for being okay with her body does nothing more than reinforce the notion that Dunham is abnormal and worth gawking at.”

      “Jezebel singled out Dunham for the same reason her other detractors do: Because they don’t think she belongs in a fashion magazine.”

  • Kait

    Hi ladies,
    I’m looking for advice on dealing with difficult vendors. It’s been a rough month so far and I was really looking forward to finally getting my wedding pictures. In our contract with our photographer it did say a max 10 week period after the wedding (we aren’t getting anything printed just digital copies) but our photographer had said that it never takes that long and we would have our images by Christmas. Before the holidays we called to get an update and she said it would be longer than usual and closer to the full time in the contract.

    Today’s the end of the 10 week mark so we called again to follow up and were told that we would have to wait to the end of next week as she is sick (she sounded like she had a bad cold) which is a week longer than our contract. I don’t really know if there is anything I can do, but it’s so frustrating. It’s been a rough month and I was really looking forward to finally having a date night with my husband to look through them.

    Has anyone else worked with a vendor who has gon past their contractual date? What did you do/can you do. really i just want my photos, properly edited. We picked her because we loved her work even though she was slightly above our budget.

    Any advice?

    • Lindsey d.

      Nothing that is going to get your photos any sooner, but let her know that you are upset that it is taking longer than the stipulated time. Ask her if there is anything she can do to help make up for the delay. I find asking what they suggest is more tactful than demanding something and often you get even more than you wanted. You may get a free print out of the deal or similar.

      • Winny the Elephant

        Ya I agree. If you enjoyed working with her but she’s way overdue with the photos then she should throw in something like a gift certificate for a future shoot- all it would cost her is her time and it would help repair the relationship.

  • Wedding planning update: we have seven out of nine of our oversized paper flowers completed and our piñata arrived this week!

    • Moe

      There are not enough occasions in life that call for a pinata. I’m glad they’re involved in weddings now, and yours is so GLAM!!!

    • Kate

      How does one even find candy worthy of that pinata?

      • Sarah E

        That’s the kind of pinata that should sport temporary tattoos, condoms, and mini bottles of liquor.

        • Dude, they make a BLACK version. That’s the one where you stash the condoms.

          As for everything else you mentioned, this piñata will have ’em!

      • We aren’t limiting ourselves to just candy! We’re including mini bottles of booze, temporary tattoos…and any other fun suggestions would be welcome!

        • that sounds so awesome.

        • KC

          Bouncy balls (partly just because of the complete insanity that then ensues when it opens)! Mini rubber ducks! Glow sticks/bracelets! Balsa-wood airplanes! Mini koosh balls!

        • malkavian

          Just make sure any mini booze bottles aren’t glass, that could be disastrous!

        • Lindsey d.

          – A couple of $5 coffee shop gift cards (like the big prizes)

          – Champagne party poppers with the confetti in them
          – Lotto scratch offs
          – Guitar picks
          – Drink Coozies
          – Noise makers

          You might want to wrap the booze up in bubble wrap. I’ve seen them break when the pinata busts, even the plastic ones.

        • BreckW

          Huge fake diamond rings!

        • Moe

          A stack of single bills, make it rain!!!

    • MC

      We signed the contract for our venue this past week, and they specified that we cannot have a pinata (state park policy, apparently). I wasn’t even thinking about having one, but now that we can’t, of course I want it desperately. So thank you for having one at your wedding! It is awesome.

      • Moe

        But you can have one at a bachleorette or rehearsal dinner though!

        • Winny the Elephant

          I love the idea of a bachelorette piñata

          • Kayjayoh

            I have heard of a bachelorette party in days gone by with a penis piñata.

            (Frankly, that imagery is kind of icky, but apparently everyone loved it.)

    • swarmofbees

      That reminds me, I need to talk to my venue about having a piñata. I had one at all of my childhood birthday parties, so it only makes sense!

    • Kayjayoh

      I’m so looking forward to our piñata. We’re getting a star-shaped one, and while I don’t know if I’m doing a bouquet toss, I’m totally hitting something with a stick.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      You’re really not going to tell us who sent this to you?

  • Sara

    The letter from that Baroness is hilarious. Her disdain for Maria’s curtain dresses – priceless. I would also like to see one from the other woman from the Parent Trap (Meredith I think?).

    • ardenelise

      I love the Baroness’ letter! “You’ll also be glad to know I have retained custody of the Captian’s hard-drinking gay friend, Max.” During my years of watching the Sound of Music at least once a day, Max was always one of my favorite characters. A follow-up from the other woman in Parent Trap would be amazing; I can only imagine how she would describe the camping trip.

  • Kathleen

    I’m ~7 months pregnant with our first child, and it’s looking increasingly likely that the baby will have to go into daycare at around 3 months old, when I return to work – we had we’d be able to have my husband stay home for a couple months thereafter, but while it depends on a lot of factors, at this point I think we’d both prefer if he had a new job by then, even though it would mean that he wouldn’t be eligible for FMLA leave like he would if he stayed put. So, I have a few questions:

    1. Generally, any advice about what to look for in a daycare?
    2. Do visits to prospective daycares need to be scheduled? Is it permissible to just drop in? I feel like we’d get a better sense of what really happens in the latter case, but can understand from a security perspective that strangers dropping by unannounced might be frowned upon, and that staff might not be available to talk to us/show us around unless they had notice.
    3. What do babies (especially really little babies, like 3-6 months) actually DO in daycare? Plenty of eating and sleeping, I’m sure, but is the rest just lying around? It’s not like they can really play (or even sit up, etc.). I’m not even sure what to expect for babies this young in a daycare setting, so I don’t know what I should be looking for!

    • Jennifer

      I don’t know about daycare, but I was a nanny to two different families and cared for babies in that age range. It was a lot of tummy time play, singing songs, reading, and then basically eating and sleeping. I have no idea what daycare costs, but as a nanny I was paid around $10 an hour and worked in their home. (I live in Oklahoma for reference.) I was just out of college and was freelance writing, so being a nanny worked great with my schedule. I have lots of friends just out of or still in college that do it too, mostly finding work through care.com. I don’t know if that is an option for you, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

    • Meg Keene

      My baby was in part time daycare at 8 weeks, and full time care at 3 months (voluntarily, well, kinda. I had to get back to work, but I also wanted to.) It was good for both of us. It’s actually harder to leave him now, that he’s a walking babbling little person (though it’s still good for us). Look at my daycare post here: http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/05/feminism-daycare/

      1. You may not have a lot of options. There is WAY less daycare in this country than you’d think. We had two viable options (had openings, were the general type of daycare we wanted, we could afford it), and we just liked one better. You’ll really see how it goes once you start, and if you don’t love it, you move. I wanted a place that respected the providers, and I love that most people at our place have a AA in child development or are working on it (my mom has an AA in CD, among other things). I like that it’s a career for these women. Now that we’re there though, I like that they love my child. He has a second mom relationship with one of his providers now, it’s heart melting.
      2. Yes, the interview visit needs to be scheduled, in that you can’t just walk in to someone’s work place and demand that they give you a tour, while they’re supposed to be watching a bunch of babies. However, licensing regulations stipulate that parents can drop in to daycare centers at any time, to observe unscheduled. (I drop in all the time, because I have flex hours… it always looks just the same.)
      3. Well, the do exactly what they would do at home. Which is: sleep, eat, get cuddled.

    • Lindsey d.

      I don’t have kids, but I do work for the agency that licenses day cares in my state and spent a summer in the infant room of a day care during college, so I can share a few tips.

      – General – Consider licensed facilities. You know there is at least some amount of oversight that way. Figure out what agency licenses day cares (either social services, health and human services or education, generally)

      – Check to see if your state puts Deficiency Reports online. Deficiency Reports will tell you some information. Make sure you are comfortable with anything on them. I mostly see things like student to teacher ratios are off because one teacher left to get something, the closet the chemicals are in was left unlocked, paperwork issues, etc.

      – Do both a scheduled tour and drop in unannounced later if it’s a place you are interested in.

      – Talk to parents (and even kids, if possible) who use the center you are looking at.

      – Not as big of a deal for infants, but find out what the center focuses on. Some are religious, some focus on the social aspect of childhood, some have more an educational focus. Make sure that lines up to your parenting goals.

      – There may be something call a Resource and Referral agency you can work with for recommendations.

      As for that summer I spent in the baby room with 3-6 months old — We spent a lot of time interacting with the kids. We talked to them a lot when they were awake. We had tummy time and boppy time, read and sang to a group of them in swings, walked around carrying one or two, it was more than just watching them be lumps.

  • Nope.

    This is a plea for Northeast Ohio brides — I’m a displaced Clevelander thinking about getting married in my hometown. My perusal of wedding photographers’ blogs isn’t yielding a lot of variation in venues — does anyone have any suggestions of off-beat or creative venues downtown/University Circle/near West Side? We’re aiming to hold around 120-150 people, and our number one priority is the ability to have or bring in great food.

    • Disclaimer: I live in Cleveland, but am not married. However, I AM pre-engaged and have done a little research (plus my mother has been an event planner here for about 15 years). :o) My recommendations based off what you stated would be to check out Nighttown jazz club/restaurant on Cedar Hill, The Wooltex Gallery on Superior, just east of downtown, The Spaces Gallery, 78th Street Studios, and The Glidden House. These are all very unique venues. There is also House of Blues downtown, but I can’t attest to their food, and The new Aloft Hotel in the flats, which I’ve heard is cool but haven’t been in yet.

      Catering: Both the Glidden House and 78th Street Studios use Spice Catering, which I can personally attest is amazing (they use local ingredients, seasonal menus). Driftwood Catering is also awesome (locally sourced ingredients), though I don’t think they are affiliated with a location yet (minus my office, The Calfee Building, which would also be a fantastic event space, assuming they allow contracts for non-employee private events). I would also highly recommend Marigold Catering for very delicious and innovative food options. On Marigold’s site they list their affiliated venues, many of which are very unique, but could be pricey.

      On another note, if you haven’t found a photographer yet, I HIGHLY recommend Jessica Love Photography. She lives in Columbus, but has family in Cleveland and shoots tons of Cleveland weddings. She has shot a mini-session of my boyfriend and I, as well as three of my friends’ weddings, is fabulous to work with and has an amazing eye. Although she isn’t an APW sponsor, her values definitely align with APW’s sanity pledge and she is transparent about them on her blog.

      Sorry if this was a lot, but I’m just so excited to see a Northeast Ohio bride on APW!

  • Anon

    Yes – open thread time!

    I’m having a huge stress mess right now in life. My future husband left a good job to chase some money, and that job was not as advertised. It was emotionally horrible on him and the hours combined with that made the money not worth it. So he quit. Now, I completely support this action because his health is worth more than money in the bank. We can survive on my income, but this means my saving goals for the wedding (which we have already put a deposit down on the venue) might not be realized. I’m okay with adjusting my own expectations of the event, as flowers and decor will always be the details I don’t mind sacrificing.

    The problem is he has entered a big depression. I’m used to these moods as he has a history of depression and this isn’t the first time or the last. This depression has a big effect right now though, as he won’t work on the guestlist which the next thing that needs to be set up, as I want to send out the invites before postage costs go up at then end of Feb. He won’t think about the wedding at all, he won’t contribute anything.

    And the worst thing is that even though he knows I want kids one day, he flat out told me in one of the bad moments that he wouldn’t want to bring children into a world like this. I know this is the depression talking, but the combination of being the only one working, the only one planning our future and now my dream of being a mother with the man I love looking further away than ever is really hard.

    I would never leave him for this, as his depression is an illness that is only temperary but I feel like I can’t talk to any of my friends and family. All they will see is the stress this is putting on me and wonder if our marriage will even work out.

    So – APW friends: ideas on how to cope when everything looks at its bleakest? My current trend of stuffing my face in chocolate has only made me break out in zits so that’s no good.

    • Ann On

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this! My husband to be is also depressed and it’s really hard, particularly because he doesn’t really have the support of family and friends (we live far from family and he doesn’t have a lot of close friends) and I feel like I’m bearing the entire burden. In fact, his family and friends don’t even KNOW.

      My advice? Find someone you can talk to. If you feel you can’t talk to your own family or a close friend, talk to a professional. Being able to vent helps a LOT, and getting it out is usually what I need to do to be able to go back to being supportive again.

      Also, this sounds SO cliche, but make time for yourself to just be alone doing things that make you happy. A lot of times depressed people are around a lot but not terribly motivated to do stuff, and that can be…well, kind of a downer. Last month, I gave myself permission to just go do stuff on my own or be in another room working on stuff I care about, and it’s helped a lot with my overall feelings of just being sort of frustrated and bummed and afraid.

      And I don’t know if your guy is on meds or is talking to anyone, but making sure he’s getting the professional help he needs is also crucial…this isn’t something he (or you) can fix on your own!

    • Anon2

      You sound like me! My fiance also struggles with bouts of depression and hates his job, which can make it so much worse. I really don’t have much advice, only understanding, as I find it a struggle to manage during the worst times and don’t have any one thing that works all the time. I will say, though, that my guy has medications and a great therapist that he trusts and sees a couple times a month. Those things seem to help and take the edge off. All the best!

    • MisterEHolmes

      I can’t help with the rest, but guestimate the postage and go ahead and buy it now. Overdo it a little; you can always use those Forever stamps later.

      • Kayjayoh

        This is what I did. Even if we don’t use all the stamps for the wedding, forever is forever.

    • Jennifer

      And this is a tiny point to the post: postage is actually going up January 26, so I would buy the postage asap if that is a concern for you. (I just spoke to the post office today about this.)
      I have no advice for the rest, except to say that I’m sorry you are going through this and I hope things turn around soon.

      • YetAntherMegan

        AH thanks for the reminder about postage going up. The man and I have decided we’re going to get our invitations weighed tomorrow so we can get our stamps (I think a normal stamp will do it, but we upgraded the paper so …..idk)

    • macrain

      Hi. I struggle with anxiety and depression and what I can tell you is true but a bit of a cliche- it will get better. These things always ebb and flow and it sounds like he is in a pretty dark place at the moment. That will not always be the case. It sounds like his professional life is affecting him tremendously. It could be that once he gets that part sorted out, he will feel better.
      I would also suggest that you find someone to talk to, a therapist if that is possible. It’s true that you are not the one with the depression, but this is affecting you and a therapist could help you figure out some healthy coping strategies so that his depression is more manageable for you.
      As someone on the other side of things, know that the support you provide your partner is invaluable, and that the best thing you can do is take care of yourself before him. That might seem counterintuitive, but I firmly believe it’s true- to help others you must first help yourself.
      Big Big hugs. XOXO.

    • Kate

      Big ol’ hug for you Anon. My relationship is going through slightly similar stuff. My partner is also going through some serious depression, paralyzing apathy, and like you, its fallen to me to support him in multiple ways. (I’ve heard the exact same line about kids!) I also understand not wanting to tell friends and family, and worrying that they’ll only express doubt when you need support.
      Putting my needs out there for other people, and working to address them myself has helped me tread water (For me, that means spending time with friends, working out, and trying ALL the gelato flavors). Your partner may be depressed and you’re clearly being a very understanding and supportive partner but you have emotional needs too. Because of his depression he may not realize what this has been putting you through. And who knows? Maybe focusing on helping you out with this stress will help pull him out of his depression a little.
      Also it is totally okay to preface a vent session with: “I just need to get this stuff off my chest, and it’d be great if I could have you listen without anyone freaking out about the future of my relationship.”

      • Jess

        Seconding how OK it is to say, “Hey friends, things are rough. They’ll be ok. I need some temporary help while we try to get back on track. Can you listen/come with me to this vendor meeting/look at inspiration pictures with me so I can smile about the wedding for a minute/ignore the fact that I’m getting married and come over and just eat chocolate with me?” People step up in the best ways.

        I feel worse and more hopeless when I know I am dragging someone down with me when I’m in a depressive spell. I can’t figure out how to help them, but I don’t want them to drown with me. As important as it seems to take care of your partner, it’s that important to also take care of yourself when your partner cannot. Make the time to go out and do something by yourself or with friends or family. Continue to live your life.

        Hopefully he is taking steps to address the Big Depression right now – for both of your sakes. Even if it isn’t going to solve the big problems and eliminate the dark place, seeing the apathy and saying, “Apathy, you belong to my depression and not to me. I will work through you.” helps me a lot to continue living during those times.

    • Anon today

      My husband also suffers from anxiety and depression and recently lost his job. It’s been a hard couple of weeks for sure. We’ve been together for 7 1/2 years, so he’s had lots of ups and downs when in that time. Around the time we got engaged we had a major extended family crisis that effected him deeply. We spent more time thinking about that than our wedding. It was hard and scary. Eventually it I realized that although he had support from both me and his side of the family, it wasn’t enough. I encouraged him to seek more regular counseling because I couldn’t support him through everything on my own. Eventually he did start seeing someone which lifted some of the stress from me of being the only one supporting him.

      Other things that help us both cope in the depressive fazes include getting regular exercise, even if it is only a walk. Making plans that get us out of the house. Finding ways to keep him busy – he may take a mindless part time job as he’s looking for a new job in his field so that he has something to do and is pulling in some income.

      Like others have said, it’s hard, but it does get better.

      • Anon

        been there. still there, really. hugs to you both.

    • Winny the Elephant

      I would try and make sure he’s seeing someone (a therapist, a psychiatrist) who is helping him manage his depression. How you go about doing that I haven’t a clue…

      My dad has suffered from depression on and off and I’ve always just said “Dad, you need to go back to the doctor”. Sometimes he goes, sometimes he doesn’t.

    • Ann

      My husband struggles with depression, too, though he did really well during our engagement. That said, I made it a precondition of marrying him that he would agree to see a therapist if he ever got worse again. That was something *I* needed–I needed to know that if he got worse again, I would not be carrying the burden alone. I needed him to acknowledge that he needs to take care of his mental health in order to be a good partner to me. I never phrased it as “I need you to not be depressed” but instead as “I need to know that you will seek out help.”

      Things got worse again. He’s in therapy, which he had been deeply skeptical of, and he’s making baby steps. But I feel SO much better knowing that he’ll seek out help outside of me… which is not something I had confidence of earlier in our relationship. Telling someone with a mental illness that they MUST do something or you might leave is… not great. But it was something I had to tell my husband to protect myself. Boundaries can be hard and painful, but I’ve found it this one to be ultimately good for both of us. And, in some ways, it’s easier for him to seek out help when it’s something that he’s doing for *me* instead of something that he’s doing for himself. Which is also not great, but finding the motivation to seek out help is huge.

      So my recommendation is to line up a therapist for yourself, one for you as a couple, and give him the information for one for himself. You can’t make him go. You can’t make the appointment for him. But you can say “As your partner, I need X” where X can be “to see you seeking support from someone other than me” or “for us both to have someone else to talk to” or anything else that you need to get through this. Because your needs are real and don’t deserve to be swept under the rug because he’s depressed.

  • Lauren from NH

    Can any APW ladies or the wonderful staff direct me to one of those awesome posts on topics to discuss before/during engagement/marriage? I found one this fall on the old site and now on the new site I can’t figure out where it is kept. Is there a search I can do? I would love to dive into this list with the mister.
    Also got my 401K set up today! Whoop whoop!

  • macrain

    Guys, I’m having some early onset decision fatigue, big time. All of the vendors I’ve spoken to seem exactly the same, and I though they would try to woo me more! Don’t they want my business? What is up with this? It seems like they could just take it or leave it. Struggling especially with caterers- I can’t think of a compelling reason to hire any caterer I’ve spoken to, and this strikes me as a fairly important decision. We are planning from afar, so doing a lot of tastings is out. Plus I just want this done! I’m a little freaked that our wedding is in October and we have no caterer!
    On a happier note, I’m visiting the Little Borrowed Dress showroom this weekend with three of of my bridesmaids! I’ve narrowed it down to LBD or a lovely frock from Beholden which is on sale. At least with BM dresses I can steel myself with some mimosas over brunch first.

    Happy weekend, ladies!

    • HannahESmith

      Can you read reviews on the quality of service the caterers provide? Perhaps ask them for past customers. At our wedding, the food was amazing, but the service left a little something to be desired (fortunately I had amazing coordinators who helped), but if the food seems similar, try finding out about how good the service is.

    • Lindsey d.

      “Don’t they want our money?” was my refrain in early stages… I felt like NO ONE was interested in our business. I’d say try to get recommendations to help narrow down the caterer search.

      • macrain

        I KNOW. I’m so glad someone else has experienced this! I’ve been so baffled by it.

        • Lindsey d.

          I’ve got no advice though… We just pushed through and eventually made decisions. Our catering decision was easy since the venue we chose had catering on site.

      • Jennifer

        I experienced this too – so frustrating!

    • Lindsay Rae

      I was surprised to experience this with some vendors too! Some of them I just dealt with because I had to hire them or I liked their work/product, but I’m very type-A, and I want vendors that are going to email me back promptly and at least say “looking forward to working with you” (especially when you hand them a big check as a deposit….). I felt this most with the wedding coordinator assigned to me by the hall, who rushed through our tour of the place and sent me convoluted emails – it took maybe 6 exchanges to get one fact correct. Once I called the hall to switch to another available coordinator, I felt MUCH better. My new coordinator even introduced herself via email and wrote “WOOOO HOOOOO!”

      It might be worth asking for a different point person if that’s an option! Makes all the difference :)

      • macrain

        I am also not pleased with our venue coordinator. I need to call in help to decipher her emails and she’s sporadic with communication. I wish we could switch (it’s just her), but we do have an awesome day of coordinator which makes me feel better!
        Part of me wonders if my worries are partly due to cultural differences. I live in NYC and my wedding is in Charlotte. Things move more slowly down south, no?

        • Lindsay Rae

          It’s great that you have a Day of Coordinator that you love! And YES things are much sloooower down south. I’m an NYC girl too, where instant isn’t fast enough!! I planned an event in Charlotte for work and was constantly waiting on e-mail replies and call backs. You’ll get there! Will you be able to travel to her to have a meeting weeks before the wedding? If so, be sure to have all your questions laid out while you can take advantage of her in person! Good luck!!

  • I Hate My Job

    I was notified this week that I’m not being considered for a job I applied for 2 weeks ago. I’m bummed. I hate getting rejected before even getting a chance to interview. I’m all “WAIT!, No, you’ll love me. I promise!” But I did find another opportunity this week and just submitted my application for that today. Fingers crossed. :)

    • Jacky Speck

      Good to hear you found another opportunity. Try not to take the rejection personally… A lot of times, especially at larger companies, applicants get rejected by automated systems looking for certain key phrases in your resume or application. This has frustrated a lot of my friends in the past, especially when their resume included a synonym or abbreviation of the search phrase that just wasn’t in the system.

    • Emmers

      As someone who’s been on various search committees, sometimes we literally have dozens of applicants. You may be awesome, but sometimes there are lots of awesome people!
      Ways to help showcase your awesomeness: In your resume and cover letter, make sure you’re clearly covering whatever skills & aspects that are listed in the job description and really spelling it out. (ie if “technology skills” are listed as being required, make a heading on your resume where you list out your technology skills, skills with MS word, etc). Literally go through the job description, and go through your materials (almost like a checklist), and check where you mention each one.
      A lot of times when I’m reviewing applications, we have a spreadsheet where we’re making Xs in columns to show where candidates have particular skills. If a skill is listed as “required” in the job description, even if I like a candidate, I can’t phone interview them if they haven’t clearly demonstrated it!
      Hope that helps. Good luck! Job hunting is so hard, but keep going!

      • Crayfish Kate

        As someone who is also job searching, that was really interesting! Thanks for sharing! :-D

    • Ariel

      Good luck!

    • Kayjayoh

      Oh god, I know that feeling. Worse yet, the people who did get hired instead is my new boss. So that’s a little icky.

      ((hugs)) Something better will come along.

  • emilyg25

    Hey APW, I’d like to crowd source some travel info. I’m planning to visit San Francisco for a few days in September. What should I do! Where should I stay? What should I eat?

    • Ali

      Without question, you must to to Ike’s Place and get a sandwich. It’s near Dolores Park (which is in the Castro? I think? Maybe?) and has the best sandwiches in the entire world. When I went to SF a few years ago, my friend who had lived there said (only sort of joking) that if I didn’t get a sandwich there she would never speak to me again and it lived up to the hype!! I also went with a vegan friend and a gluten-free friend and there were entire MENUS for each of them that catered to their needs, so no matter what you like to eat there are lots of delicious options. Plus you can get mozzarella sticks or jalapeno poppers on any sandwich. It’s basically warm toasty sandwich heaven.

    • ML

      I have a list I’ve made that I send to all my friends that visit SF. If you’re comfortable posting your email address, I’ll send it to you!

      • HannahESmith

        Can I have the list? I’m planning a trip in April with a friend who has never been before. I’ve been a handful of times, but mostly to visit friends. hannahelainesmith at gmail dot com.

        • ML

          Sent! To you and Carly.

      • Carly

        Ooh! Me too?? Partner and I have just made a semi-freaky decision of “maybe, rather than attempting to plan a wedding from 3500km away, instead we sort-of elope-ish?” and lo and behold we decided to do a 180 (geographically speaking) and are looking at San Francisco. Some insider must-go/do info would be sweet! Email is carly.d.nicholson [at] gmail [dot] com

      • emilyg25

        Awesomesauce! Can you please send it to thinkingoftony(at)gmail.com?

    • KerryMarie

      I’ll second Ike’s Place! And while you in the neighborhood, get some ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery…it’s some of the best I’ve ever had!

    • NicoleT

      A lot of the restaurants you’ll want to go to are probably already in ML’s list, but if you want any extras, definitely check out Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate! There’s a website somewhere that sorts them by city and even includes a map showing where the restaurants are. Have fun!

      • ML

        I wrote the list a few years ago, and the restaurant scene changes so fast! So I’m sure this is a great resource. Also, Yelp pretty much never lets me down here.

    • Caroline

      Walking along the shore from Fort Mason to Chrissy Field is great (great golden gate views). Or actually walk across the golden gate, or go to the Marin headlands (need a car). If you have a car, Muir woods for the redwoods. There are so many amazing restaurants in the mission and SF, but they often open and close fast so it’s a little early if you want the latest restaurant (Greens, an amazing vegetarian place that’s good for omnivores too, has been around forever though so will still be here.)
      Tons of great culture if you like it: the opera, the San Francisco Ballet, the symphony, The DiYoung museum, the Legion of Honor (awesome huge museum.) I think Moma (modern art museum) will still be doing renovations in Sept…
      Walking around golden gate park (where the DiYoung is, also the lovely Japanese Tea Gardens), a great flower conservatory and lots of walking paths. The marina (walking distance/near the walk along the water near fort mason and greens) is fun to visit, sort of bars and restaurants but a little less hip and crowded than the mission. If you want to come over to the East Bay (Berkeley and Oakland), I have more suggestions there.

    • Kayjayoh
    • Stephanie B.

      We spent 3 days of our honeymoon in San Francisco in October. The best secret I can tell you is to look at Vacation Rentals By Owner (vrbo.com; I am in no way affiliated with them, just had a great experience renting through them) for a rental apartment/flat rather than a hotel. Because it’s San Francisco, the only hotels priced within our budget (about $160-ish) were either down by the airport or had reviews that said things like “Blood on carpet!” (I am not kidding about that.)

      But on vrbo.com, we found a spacious apartment near Golden Gate park, with a full kitchen AND a hot tub in the backyard for about $150 a night. It was large enough that we were able to entertain guests while we were there, and we were half a block away from public transportation. I HIGHLY recommend looking into that option.

      If you like sushi, I had the best sushi of my LIFE at Nara Sushi on Polk St.

  • M.

    I had a long, impassioned feminist conversation about street harassment, victim blaming, and female promiscuity in the lunch room today with three female coworkers. Without “discovering” my feminism through APW, that never would have happened, and I feel super badass for having informed myself, thought about issues, and now for the first time in a “non-safe” (i.e. not at home or my feminist book club) being able to articulate and stand up for thinking about/changing the system. BOOM!

    • BreckW

      Go you! Also, I’m really jealous that you have a feminist book club.

      • M.

        Thanks! All it takes is one email to a few friends!!!

  • Carly

    I’m supposed to be going to a drinks/reunion of middle-school friends thingie tonight, and I just cannot muster any desire to do this. The only reason I agreed in the first place was that I couldn’t figure out a way of getting out of it and the one person who is all gung-ho on this shebang is someone who I actually wouldn’t mind catching up with – the rest? Well, that’s best left in the past (and that’s perfectly okay!). So – should I go, or should I bail?? I would think that lack of interest in doing a catch-up thing with people I rather deliberately didn’t keep in touch with is a decent reason to cancel (albeit last minute), on the other hand – is two hours and a couple glasses of wine going to kill me?

    • BreckW

      I would go. I actually had a high school reunion in December that I absolutely did not want to go to–I have some wonderful friends from that time (my best friends, to this day), but everyone else… meh. Well, my best friends kind of talked/guilted me into going with them, and I had a really good time. I imagined it was going to be some kind of humble brag-off, which I can’t stand, but people actually were incredibly friendly, and there was just a general sense of mutual interest in what everyone was up to. I mean, know your crowd, but I’m really glad I went.

    • Ellen

      I tend to try and back out of things last minute, and have notoriously done that on many things in the past. My fiance has gotten me better about actually going to things, and lo and behold, once I show up, I actually have a good time! A couple of hours from your evening isn’t going to be the end of you. At the very least, you’ll figure out why you haven’t talked to the others in however long it’s been!

    • Jennifer

      I’m going to a planning meeting for my high school reunion tonight, so I feel your pain. I say go! You may actually enjoy it…I’m hoping I do.

  • enfp

    I’m looking for some reading list suggestions to help us plan our ceremony. We’re having a secular ceremony but I hope we can infuse it with the weight and meaning of some of the more traditional/religious wedding ceremonies. I’m starting to work my way through the great posts in the archives on this, but wondered if you guys had any recommendations for great reads about wedding ceremonies or the meaning of marriage more generally? I recently had an anxiety dream that I procrastinated/forgot to write a ceremony and improvised it quite badly on the spot, and felt like I ruined my wedding! Ha. Wedding is in five months, time to start reading up!

    Last week I finished the week with a broken computer and broken phone, covered in slush from a bus driving by, and then picked a fight with my partner when I got home. Sigh. Today I’m finishing my work day at home, on my repaired computer, listening to soul records, and shortly will go to pick up my honey and take him away to the woods for the weekend. Feeling some major TGIF!!!! A very happy weekend to you all.

    • Catherine McK

      I really enjoyed reading the New Jewish Wedding. I am not in favor of appropriating traditions etc, but it helped me to read about a non-Christian ceremony to help me figure out our own non-Christian ceremony. People did look at me a little askance when they saw it on my bookshelf though.

    • Kaitlin

      Oh my gosh, I’m also a 5-months-to-go bride who has been dreaming about “the ceremony that we forgot”. We are also having a secular ceremony, but we’re also infusing various cultural elements (my fiancé is Indian), so that makes it seem a bit weightier to me. Are you planning on using an officiant? We just booked ours this past week, and I’ll admit, I went in with the attitude of “No one is going to understand what I want”, and happily I was wrong. They had some great ideas about where to add small things to the ceremony to make it a reflection of us, and they were very flexible to leave out the things I was uncomfortable with (no one is going to “give me” away, and I sure as hell won’t be promising to obey). Sorry I don’t have any suggestions for readings.

    • Ariel

      I also have five months to go, but my most recent wedding-anxiety dream was about forgetting to buy booze. Oops.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Meigh McPants

      I recommend The Wedding Ceremony Planner by Judith Johnson to my clients a lot, and we used it when we got married as well. It has examples of lots of different ceremony styles and basic info about structure. The library usually has it. Good luck!

  • I’d never heard of this “alt summit” thing until Meg kept talking about it. I’m jealous I can’t go – it sounds so fun and empowering and I’d love to go to that talk about the business of blogging, sigh.

  • Sara P

    So I’m not even exactly “pre-engaged”, but this is the friendliest place on the internet, and I’m not sure what to do, so here goes:
    I had a huge fight with my mom last week while I was home for a visit. I mentioned one night that my SO and I had been talking about marriage a lot lately and were thinking about maybe getting hitched later this year. Everything seemed fine for a couple days, and then the night before I left we got into this very high-school-style screaming thing (that was fortunately very brief) before I had to leave the house. The upside was that my brothers really pulled through, and were super awesome. I guess, there’s a lot of specific family stuff that I don’t want to go into, but I think the idea of me getting married at all really freaks her out (I’m the oldest, and only daughter), and I’m not sure that it has all that much to do with my boyfriend (she’s also only met him once, which has to do with where we all live most of the time, and I think he’s really pretty great, I’m in my mid-twenties and this isn’t my first “serious” relationship, for what those things are worth). We’re usually really close, and we left it on a good note, for the most part, because I let her say what she wanted to. But I don’t know what to do if it comes up again – my SO and I talked about it some, and I’m not hoping for this year anymore (mostly my own timeline, anyway). Any tips? I love my mom, I want to be able to talk to her without fighting, but I can’t just dance around all of this stuff forever… just an internet hug would help, it’s been a roller-coaster couple of weeks.

    • KC

      So sorry you had a scream-down. That’s miserable.

      Sometimes people need time to adjust to the idea; sometimes they’re not going to adjust no matter how much time you give them, and you just have to jump. But additional exposure to your SO (and, therefore, also to “you as a couple”) would probably be helpful, and additional time to get used to the idea in general will probably also be helpful.

      Internet hug!

      • Sara P

        Thanks :). More exposure is the plan, thanks for the confirmation.

    • Audrey

      Nothing specific here, just internet hugs from someone else who loves her mother but finds the relationship more complicated and emotionally time-consuming than she’d prefer…

  • MC

    So, not wedding related at all, but since y’all are smart ladies, I have to ask. Pet owners – How do you not have hair on your clothes ALL THE TIME? Fiance and I have a maine coon mix kitty that we love, but lately he has been shedding a lot and we have been wearing fancier clothes that seem to permanently attract cat hair. Even when we wash & dry them and use a dryer sheet, they still come out with cat hair on them. Is there some adult secret? Should we use two dryer sheets? Invest in a hundred lint rollers?

    • malkavian

      Lint rollers and putting your clothes on right before you leave are about all you can do to avoid looking like your cat.

    • KC

      There are washable lint rollers (which are kind of like those sticky hand things from childhood, except in lint-roller format). They’re not as good, generally, as buying a hundred lint rollers, but they’re an option.

      I also have a friend whose cat loves to be vacuumed. (???!) So there’s potential for reduction on that side as well. But I’m pretty sure that’s a Very Rare Trait.

      • MC

        Ha! Wouldn’t that be nice. My cat is TERRIFIED of the vacuum, so I don’t think he would like that too much :)

      • This is really funny: “I also have a friend whose cat loves to be vacuumed. (???!) So there’s
        potential for reduction on that side as well. But I’m pretty sure
        that’s a Very Rare Trait.”

    • Lian

      If you don’t have one of these yet, get it: http://www.furgopet.com. It gets so much fur off my ragdoll that I could make a sweater out of it if I were so inclined (I am not).

      • M.

        Agreed! I got mine at Target (labrador necessity)

      • Lauren from NH

        Oh yes! I have an awesome one called the furminator lol! It does wonders for my long haired maine coon and his short haired sister. A regular grooming routine I am sure helps! Especially the animals with long coats, it’s tough for them to maintain all on their own. My kitties definitely like being more clean and it makes them smell wonderful and feel super silky.

        • Ariel

          I love the furminator!

        • The furminator is awesome, as is a really powerful vacuum. We have hardwood floors, and I vacuum pretty much every day, because we have 4 cats.

          • Lian

            I want a Roomba to do all the vacuuming for me, because ideally I’d vacuum every day too. I just put one on my wedding registry actually!

          • Emmers

            Ha! How amazing would it be if there were a Roomba-furminator combo? (ie auto groom the kitty)?

        • Winny the Elephant

          He he he…we use the furminator with an Arnold Schwarzenneger (spelling?) voice…Louie, the FURMINATOR is coming for you….

    • Casey

      We have a cat who I suspect is part Maine Coon so I feel your pain with the shedding! I’ve kind of had to come to terms with the fact that nothing will ever be totally hair-free even after being washed. I got a pet hair lint roller from
      Target that is pretty heavy duty, so we just keep it handy and try to lint roll before leaving the house :)

    • Winny the Elephant

      I have hair on all of my clothes. Eventually you stop noticing it until your mother comes over and attacks you with a lint brush.

    • Chop

      I have a sign hung over our closet door that says no outfit is complete without dog hair, as we have 2 and one of them shoots long blonde hairs everywhere. I don’t even see it anymore but I do keep a lint roller in my car (to use in the parking lot of nice events/interviews) and have one of the nice, velour mitt types in the house for coats and such. I recommend them because you can wash and reuse.

    • meeliebee

      Haha – I just asked my friends this the other day! We have a kitty that constantly wants to be in a lap so we’re pretty covered most of the time. Sticky rollers work okay, but I just pretend I don’t see all of the hair they leave behind – ignorance is bliss, right?

  • BreckW

    It was my birthday this week! I went to the beach today! We’re moving home in March! Life is good.

    • Carly

      Happy belated!!

    • M.

      Happy birthday!!!

  • lady brett

    on the somewhat past subject of winter holiday traditions – i think we’ve come up with something that actually feels meaningful to us, which is a huge relief! the holidays were very near to actually bad this year (as a combo of 4 christmasses is *too many!*, i don’t like the religious aspect, i feel weird about santa, and it was just stressful and in-authentic).

    but! we have invented a solstice celebration that i am genuinely stoked about. i’m sure it will change as we do it, but the current concept is that for the winter solstice, the animals come to our house for the darkest days of the year. for the week leading up to the solstice, an animal (stuffed, figurine, etc) arrives every day bearing snacks for the solstice dinner/party, and stays in our lit and garlanded decorated foresty area, and the week after the solstice the animals leave and leave “thank you”gifts for hosting them. i’m stoked – it feels so right for us (goofy and sciencey), and includes the fun parts of christmas (decorating with lights and greenery) and the socially “required” part of christmas (stuff!).

    i am so relieved. also, we haven’t worked out the details, but we may have a summer solstice celebration too (it may involve birds, but we’re not sure. also, way better time to gift a bicycle than december).

    • Catherine McK

      I love this! Kudos to you for finding celebrations that work for your family! (And I want to hear about the summer one once you sort it out)

    • BreckW

      This sounds awesome! While our holiday turned out better than expected (note: I was expecting terrible), it felt incredibly in-authentic, too. We are really hoping to have enough room to do the hosting next year so that we can start figuring out our own traditions. Also, I love the idea of adding the summer solstice celebration!

  • swarmofbees

    I found a wedding photographer that I really liked, then found out they don’t have liability insurance. Now I am trying to decide if it is worth trying to convince myself that this is okay. Anyone else go with a photographer without insurance?

    • Winny the Elephant

      I didn’t even ask…gulp?

    • Winny the Elephant

      Can I ask what the liability insurance does?

      • swarmofbees

        I have been doing a little research and it covers them if they injure anyone while shooting (camera bag hits a guest etc.). They can also get insurance to cover their own losses if they lose their camera before your event and have to buy another one. It seems like a prudent thing to have, and some vendors require it.

        • Winny the Elephant

          That does sound like a good idea. I’m surprised that any professional photographer wouldn’t carry insurance of some kind. Oh well too late for us.

  • Kayjayoh

    Wow. Work has kept me too busy to even peek here until now. What’s up with that, work?

  • Diamond Solitaire

    I lost my job today. I got it two weeks ago and only worked about 50 hours (it was billed as full time) in those two weeks. My boss said I just wasn’t picking it up fast enough. I honestly can’t see how he expected someone to learn to be an office assistant in under 50 hours.

    • Sara P

      That is awful. Internet hugs.

    • Meigh McPants

      If the boss is that impatient, you’re probably better off not working for them. (Trust me, I wasted a long time working for a horrible, impossible to please boss. It’s not worth it.) Hugs and crossed fingers for you to find something better.

    • Kayjayoh


      I am so sorry. Here’s hoping for something much, much better for you.

  • Winny the Elephant

    Like I wasn’t hot for JGL enough already….

  • Ariel

    Do any of the NJ/NYC ladies know of awesome, but not crazy expensive, DOC’s?

  • Amen, January has been a grind, but thanks for the awesome links to help me get to a happy place for the weekend.

  • MC

    Also, Meryl Streep is a goddess. As is Emma Thompson, of course.

  • NicoleT

    I *love* the Captain Von Trapp wedding letter. There’s some great stuff on that site.

    On a different note, I’m taking the MCAT a week from tomorrow and am in the middle of a giant panic attack. Any internet hugs/encouragement would be super appreciated! Especially since my score dropped over the last two practice tests…

    • Anon

      Hang in there! All the medical school-y tests are partly about the mind game. Right now, you’re learning to keep your head when you have a little panicky blip during the test. That’s normal, if it happens — you just have to keep moving.

      If you’re feeling down, try repeating some of the problem sets you’ve already done. It’s a totally legit way to boost your ego a bit — and controlling your head is part of the process. Get to it, lady!

      • NicoleT

        Thank you! I will definitely be doing that. It was really, really comforting to hear this. I’m going to do my best to recover and get back on that horse. Still slightly depressed and scared, but I’ll just do my best.

    • Ariel

      You got this! Breathe! I’ll be rooting you on and waiting for your update in 2 happy hours :-)

    • meeliebee

      Good luck! My fiance was in the same boat a few months ago. You’re almost there! Just breathe and believe in your knowledge and ability!!!

    • NicoleT

      Thank you everyone! I’m definitely coming back to see this throughout the week for a boost of love and encouragement. :)

  • Caroline

    Does anyone have affordable Bay Area catering suggestions? We were going to do our local Indian restaurant but my mom really wants a traditional caterer (who will send someone to be in charge of cleanup and such), but I’m having trouble finding a traditional caterer we can afford. Unfortunately, what seemed like a huge budget to me is nowhere near. We have 55-60 budgeted per person (70 people). Any catering suggestions even close to that (for Sunday lunch)? We’re mostly getting quotes 90+ per person. The wedding is in Marin.

    • meeliebee

      Have you tried looking into restaurant catering? We’re going with Armadillo Willy’s BBQ and it’s very cost effective. Don’t know if it would fit with your venue/personalities, but the food is great!

      • Caroline

        Thanks. Our original plan was restaurant catering, and it was comfortably under budget, but my mom really wants a more traditional caterer, who will provide staff and a catering manager who can supervise moving tables around and cleaning up. Maybe a restaurant with a catering division might work for her though.

    • Remy

      Would it be better priced if you didn’t do a sit-down plated dinner? My SF workplace regularly has buffet lunches for MUCH less than that (often with a few staff to set new food out or serve from behind the buffet). Once you add in the trappings (linens, nice dishes and serving platters, bussing, etc.) it might be reasonable for a wedding. One that we have used repeatedly is La Mediterranee — everyone is always stuffed. I have also heard good things (from budget-conscious couples planning weddings as well as event planners) about Are You Being Served catering.

      • Caroline

        Thanks. A buffet luncheon is definitely the plan. It’s a better fit for our budget (although aparently still not a great fit) and the vibe we want (casual, family focused, like thanksgiving but upgraded) than a plated meal. I’ll check out la mediterranee and Are You Being Served.

    • Audrey

      Are you looking specifically at Marin caterers, or are you also looking in East Bay? It’s been 3-4 years, but when we did our wedding (Saturday night buffet) we saw some prices similar to that — then again, we were looking at 140 – 150 people so maybe that was just economy of scale. (We used http://www.wildthymecatering.com/wedding.html )

      • Caroline

        Our venue is in Marin but if the caterer will travel from the East Bay, that’s fine. Thanks, I’ll look at Wild Thyme Catering.

  • Caitlin

    Hey all. This is my first time at the Friday happy hour. So my husband and I (today is our 4 year anniversary!) have been looking to buy a house in the East Bay. We have put in three offers, came in second twice. It has been rather stressful. So we found a house we love in Oakland in our price range. BUT (there is always a but), it is next to a 10 unit public housing complex. This complex seems all right, but it is not full at the moment. I hate to be classist, because I honestly am not that worried about it, except that it might kill the resale value. Should we put an offer in? What would you do?

    • jashshea

      How long do you think you’d stay there? If it’s shorter term, then I’d be concerned about resale value for sure. If this is going to be a long term house, well, a lot can change over time.

      What’s the rest of the neighborhood like?

    • BreckW

      We are about to jump back into the insane world of East Bay real estate (we looked for a bit last spring until we quickly realized that we could afford, um, nothing), so you have my sympathies. I think I would go for the house if it was in a neighborhood I loved, even with the housing complex nearby. We actually looked at two houses in Berkeley that were down the street from a similar kind of complex, and both ended up selling for a butt load of money. What are the other houses like on the street? How’s the rest of the neighborhood overall? Honestly, the Bay Area is just so nuts, I don’t think you have much to worry about in terms of resale value.

    • Sarah

      Your home/auto insurance values might be quite a bit higher there if crime rates are high. And if you have/will have kids the public school system might suffer if there are a lot of complexes around.

  • Kayjayoh

    Still working my way through the comment thread, but I wanted to share this article I found today.

    In the Name of Love
    Elites embrace the “do what you love” mantra. But it devalues work and hurts workers.

    It really made me think. I’ve had jobs that I would also do for free (and started as a volunteer) and I’ve also had jobs that I had because I needed a job. Right now I have a job that isn’t my dream job, but it pays well and has a good atmosphere, people-wise. Sure, I’d love to get paid for “doing what I love” but in the meantime, I do what I do, and use the money to do things I love when I’m not at work. I don’t live to work, but I definitely work to live.

    A friend of mine once told me that she majored in business and went into finance because she wanted to make enough money to be able to pay for her awesome hobbies. “My job isn’t my life. My life is my life.”

    That stuck with me. I think there is some value in looking for work that you find enjoyable and meaningful, but the article made great points about the exploitive cultures that can spring up around this. I mean, I work in academia (as support staff) and I see all those minimum-wage adjunct instructors, barely making ends meet. I just have a B.Sc. in art, and I have better pay and benefits and job security than they do. I have developed some incredible, crazy hobbies. It’s a balancing act.

    The article also made some great points about the millions of people stuck working terrible jobs that *someone* has to do because they need to be done.

    Anyway, I’d love some discussion on this, if anyone is up for it and still around this weekend.

    • YetAntherMegan

      I saw that article earlier today too. I’ve had jobs that I’ve hated and jobs that I’ve tolerated. Right now I’m in a job that, well, I wouldn’t do it for free, but it’s not half bad. I’m not sure I know anyone who would say they LOVE working in logistics or running an office attached to a crossdock, but it really isn’t a bad gig. It’s also one of those things that has to get done. If you walk into a certain major store and buy something that came from a distributor in the northeast, it probably came through my facility.

      The crew out on our dock have what most people would consider crappy jobs moving freight, but I’d say over half of them are reasonably satisfied. Not enough to work for free, but they’ve been known to drive their forklifts up and down the dock singing.

      • KC

        Singing forklift drivers are pretty high up there on the Natural Wonders Of The Working World list, I think.

        There are a lot of things that we wouldn’t do without extrinsic reasons. (for instance, I would generally postpone doing laundry until I have run out [or almost run out] of something, which suggests to me that I don’t really like doing laundry) We still do them, and that’s okay. I mean, the more your life can be made meaningful and enjoyable, the better, but you’re still going to have things that don’t, all by themselves, really hit the spot. Or even that just sometimes suck.

        (although reframing things can help *more* of our things-to-do be meaningful/enjoyable, i.e. recasting tech support from “having to deal with idiots all day long” to “helping people who are having problems and don’t have as much experience or skill with computers” or focusing on the satisfaction of having a full selection of clean clothes to choose from rather than the hauling-laundry-augh nature of the task itself).

        • Kayjayoh

          At this time of year I love doing laundry because I get to hold/dig through a pile of warm, just-out-of-the-dryer clothes, and the extra warmth is perfect. (I also do the dishes in the winter for the warm water.) I’m a little weird that way, but hey…

    • Class of 1980

      Kayjayoh, thank you for that article. It’s brilliant and articulates something I’ve been thinking about for ages.

      I was dumbfounded once when a very privileged lady simply said that “work is fun” when explaining why she chose to work. It spoke volumes about not only her privilege, but her blindness to the millions upon millions whose work is not “fun”, and might even be physically dangerous.

    • Meaghan

      Yeah, I read this article yesterday and thought it was really interesting… then I posted it on Facebook and a bunch of my highly educated “friends” argued about how important it was to love what you do and that if you don’t, you should just find a new job!

      • Kayjayoh

        Because it’s so easy to just find a new job! And of course it will pay you enough to live.

    • Sarah E

      I definitely need to go ahead and read that article, but this is an issue I’ve struggled with for the past three years. I’ve done jobs that aren’t necessarily my “calling,” but I refuse to do a job that’s actually in a toxic work environment, and I constantly struggle to find jobs that fit my skills, strengths, and goals all at once. I will grant, that I grew up in a middle class household with two parents who worked in industries and jobs they really loved. I don’t want my job to be my life, but I do want it to integrate with everything else reasonably well.

      On the other hand, I can’t wait to argue this with my coworker, whose passion is positivity and well-being research to hear what he has to say about it. He spends most of his free time reading and thinking about how people are happy, what makes them happy, and particularly, how workplace culture can affect that. I think I can distill his thoughts down to “good intention + meaningful action = happiness in your job,” but that’s largely an oversimplification. I think those who find satisfaction in jobs that are more necessary than desired probably see a large correlation between value and “doing what has to be done.” That’s conjecture on my part, also based on the satisfaction I feel when I do chores that I don’t like but must be done. I guess that’s the “meaningful action” part of the equation.

    • Leslie

      Thank you for sharing this! I worked in one of the DWYL industries (journalism) at the beginning of my career life and was faced with this over and over again, being expected to work overtime for free, and not being allowed to work any other jobs (I was “on call” 24/7) while my wage was not enough to pay for heat at times. While I think if a person can derive satisfaction for their job, it should not be condemned and should be celebrated, I also think it is destructive to essentially devalue work because there is an expectation that an intrinsic value would be derived. Now, I work in a place I thought I never would want to (finance) and I am the happiest I have ever been. While not wealthy by any means, I live comfortably enough to pay my basic bills and have enough (both time and money) leftover for hobbies and interests. Unfortunately, I found that the destructive side DWYL mantra was propagated by those hurting most from it (low-wage workers in those industries). When I decided to leave journalism in favor of a more stable and lucrative job, reactions mixed from condemnation to downright venomous, being called a “sell out” and told that my life was now ordinary and boring. In nearly all of those cases, those who remained in the field and criticized me for leaving were receiving financial help from parents or had a spouse who earned enough to support both people. And while pointing out those things would be considered untouchable, it has remained fair game to remark about my job choices and suggest that they were driven by materialistic values.

      I also found it thoughtful to examine the many roles that go into making a certain job work (using the example of Apple in the story). Most people I know don’t hesitate to extol the virtues of working for a non-profit or university or in health care (I don’t necessarily disagree), but will wrinkle their nose about working for a financial consultant. Ironically, those non-profits only continue to exist because a financial consultant is managing their endowments. That reflects my experience, but could apply to the construction worker who built their office, the person who cleans their bathroom, the factory worker who assembled their computer, the person who fixes phone lines after a storm, etc.

      • Kayjayoh

        I also had a DWYL job for a while, a job that I had been doing as a volunteer for a few years in an NPO before the paid person left and I got their job. I found out *why* they left–their boss was toxic as hell. Problems from above, in how my department was organized, caused me heartache the entire time I was there, but I loved the work so much that I stayed through it until budget cuts eliminated my job. At first I was like “Oh, I should start volunteering for then again!” until I realized that this was still going to cause me heartache, and it certainly wasn’t likely to get them to hire me again when the budget had an upswing. After all, I was doing the job for free. :(

  • SabbaDabba

    Hey, Friends- I got engaged last February, married in October, and APW was the first wedding-related thing my best friend shared with me when I got engaged, and it made all the difference. I’m a straight lady feminist working in the LGBT equality movement and the posts on APW just really fit me, my hopes, and what I wanted for my marriage and my wedding. We found out a few weeks after our wedding that I’m pregnant (woohoo!), and I know that APW does some pregnancy/parenting posts, but I’m wondering what other pregnancy, parenting resources y’all have found online that fit a similar void as APW. Favorite blogs, etc? What I’m finding is generally gender-obsessed or in other ways frustrating/not identifiable for me, and I’d love to hear what you all who have been through pregnancy or parenting found. Thanks!

    • Michelle

      girlsgonechild.net is basically one of my favorite places on the internet!

  • Hey yall. So maybe someone will see this but :Bridesmaid Dresses. That’s where I’m at now, and I have lots of pins and saved pictures of things I like but I can’t actually *find* them anywhere?!? Like, to buy. I’ve always liked mismatched ones, I’m not afraid of patterns…vintagey…I love the ones on APW’s pinterest. It’s an outdoor wedding in the mountains in June, so country/vintage/southern (but in boulder)/….any great sites? I’ve been looking at Modcloth which I quite like, but having trouble finding anything else. And my bridesmaids are all over the country so it’s hard to go hunting together here in LA.

    • Kayjayoh

      My sister is probably picking out her dress from eShakti. Very much like Modcloth, but I like them better.

      • Wow thank you so much! Looking through it now! When is your wedding? Mine is June 7 !

        • YetAntherMegan

          I’m not a ton of help on the dress front since we went the DB route (sizes, bridesmaids spread all over the place, their fear of buying online) though I left it up to them as to whether they would all match or not. In the end, there will be two different dresses in the same fabric and color, but different cuts. Options were somewhat limited, but they all seem to like what they picked.

          Also – June 7 here too!

        • Kayjayoh

          June 21! :)

          -Katherine with a K

    • macrain

      I’m doing bridesmaids dresses right now too!
      This may not be the vibe you are going for, but if all else fails- Little Borrowed Dress. I visited the showroom on Saturday and was blown away by how pretty those dresses are! (And as you’ve probably seen, they have the APW stamp of approval.) It strikes me as the most stress free of all the options I’ve seen, and could work for you since your maids are spread out. You could always do a combo of colors and styles to get the look you are going for.
      I’ve narrowed it down to either LBD or a combination of two dresses from Beholden that my bridesmaids lost their minds over, they loved them so much. I know they will happily wear whatever I ask, but it’s still tricky to figure out what YOU want in the face of so many opinions. I’m taking a few days to figure it out.
      Good luck!

  • Travel/Name Change Question!: We’re ready to book our honeymoon (thanks for all the suggestions! we’re going May, California, more details in a future Happy Hour!) but I haven’t changed my name yet. I plan to and realized I don’t want to wait until nearly June.

    Can I go ahead and book the ticket under soon to be new name?
    If not how long does the name change process take?


    • Catherine McK

      How long do you have between the wedding and the honeymoon? Once you get your marriage cert you can go to the SS office and the DMV to update your name. For me, in the lovely city of Chicago, the cert didn’t arrive for 3 weeks after the wedding. I got my new license the day I went to the DMV, so 3 weeks after the wedding. The SS card took 2 weeks, but all you need for domestic travel is the license.If you’re going right after the wedding, book in your old name, if you have the cert already or have more than 4 weeks or so between the wedding and the trip, your new name should be fine. Hope that helps!

      • Whoops, I was unclear. Our wedding was in October, waiting to honeymoon til May.

    • blimunda

      This may come late, but I’d suggest you to check with your airline if they can change your name on the ticket once it is purchased. Maybe, since it’s a common thing in the States, they will be able to, but at the airline I used to work for it was literally impossible to change a name on a ticket, and passport and ticket MUST match (unless you have, say, double nationality, carry both passports with you, and have a paper from the court which states that both names refer to the same person – and even this normally applies to mere differences in spelling). In my country people do not change names when they get married, it was hard to explain to an American passenger that because of this she had to throw away her ticket and buy a new one.

      • Guest

        Thanks blimunda. I think I figured it out. I’m going to delete my comment…. but thanks!