APW Happy Hour

Dress shopping edition!

Hey APW,

WHADDAWEEK. Relaunch plans continue apace (more on the timing of that soon), and the staff and I are trying to figure out how to not drown in work. Remember that time I wrote a book? Yeah, this is more overwhelming than that, even. But that’s okay, because yesterday, Maddie, Christina Richards, and I spent all day at a wedding dress store, trying to answer all of your questions about wedding dress shopping, and trying on some hotttt dresses. Do you know wedding dresses can make your ass look good? True. Fact.

And with that, it’s blessedly Friday. It’s your open thread, hop on it!


Highlights of APW This Week

Elisabeth got married! And then made us all cry, again.

I talked about postpartum body changes, or really, postpartum life changes.

This How We Did It is less notable for its $10K budget, then its adorable photos and wise words.

Rachel opened up about her first time watching porn, and you guys responded with your own experiences and some very excellent recommendations.

True story: Our feminist books roundup was a big hit on Pinterest. Sometimes I love the internet.

We give you permission to have another office chair dance party with our mama-centered playlist. And by “have another office chair dance party,” we mean: sob. (REALLY: Kanye West made brought me to tears?)

Link Roundup

The best thing that happened to me this week (other than the babysitter putting the baby to bed with no diaper, which, hilarious), was the Miley Cyrus “We Did Stop” parody. I think I’ve listened to it fiftysevenbilliontimes. It’s all fun and games till you default on the national debt.

Speaking of Ms. Cyrus, here is the second best thing to come of Sinead O’Conner’s open letter to Miley Cyrus. The first best thing is Amanda Palmer’s open letter back to Sinead, which is everything I think about being a female artist, and an absolute must read.

On the other side of the conversation, why “sex-positive” feminism may not always be a positive thing for every woman.

Speaking of, this interview with founder Anna Holmes about Jezebel smashing the patriarchy one click at a time is great. Jezebel is a complex, complex, site, about which I have many (conflicting) feelings, but I loved this read.

See The Five Kick-Ass Women This Mom Dressed Her Daughter As Instead Of A Disney Princess, which Maddie loved. I loved halloween fashion icons for children, in two parts. (So apparently Maddie and I switched bodies, and I’m the one who wants to dress a kid as Grace Coddington.)

A survey of literature’s non-traditional marriage proposals.

Let’s end the week with Brides throwing cats. Enough said.

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  • Hintzy

    You guys! I got a job offer on my birthday this week and I totally just accepted it! I’m so excited! I will not be trying to pay for (our part of) the wedding unemployed! squeeeeeee!

    And we totally lined up ceremony music, reception dj, and an officient this week – We are on a roll!

    • anon

      I hit ‘exactly’ but what I really meant was congratulations!

    • Lindsay

      congratulations!!! i got the offer for my current job on my birthday, it’s an amazingly lucky feeling!!

  • CeeBeeUK

    I’m getting married one year from today! So excited. I’m abroad at the moment and received a lovely flower delivery. One of my friends dropped off a bottle of champagne for the other half.

    • Kait

      Congratulations! Your year will go by so fast so enjoy every moment!

      • ART

        Happy -1 year anniversary!

        • ART

          whoops meant to reply to ceebeeuk :)

    • Grace

      ME TOOOOOOO. October 11 twins!

      We finally managed to book a photographer this week, which I was super thrilled about, after having two others snatched up by other couples right from underneath our noses.

      The other half and I are celebrating the negative anniversary with Jimmy Johns sandwiches, buffalo chicken dip, and board games with our best couple friends. We party pretty hard.

      • CeeBeeUK

        Oh good! I had to tell a photographer no (he was wonderful but probably a bit too artsy and way too expensive for us) and am still debating this. Your night sounds awesome, I’m in bed with a cold.

    • Heather

      Congratulations! Fiance and I have started referring to it as our inverse-ary :D

  • Kait

    We’re just under a month from our wedding and I’m so excited but now getting overwhelmed with all of the little things that need to get done.

    Are we the only ones who’ve procrastinated finishing our ceremony/vows (which to me is the part that matters the most)? It’s our thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, so we are going to use the extra day off to hopefully finish that part off completely.

    Happy friday everyone!

    • We did the ceremony and vows last, which seemed odd to me to, but worked out marvelously nonetheless.

      Also, I would say the 4-6 weeks out (where you’re at now) was super stressful for me too, but when we got inside the 2 week zone I was prepared and calm and in a place where I could totally enjoy the experience. The work you do now will pay off big time! Enjoy!

  • Sara

    Today I’m going to look at a condo that I like in a really nice neighborhood. It’ll be my first time ever stepping into a real estate situation with any sense of “yeah, I can afford this place”. I’m super nervous about making a big investment. That’s why I’m bringing my dad. :) He’s been on my case about ‘wasting my money’ paying rent but alternately pointing out all the reality of owning. Its a little confusing!

    • That’s super exciting. Be sure to ask about HOA fees, and what benefits you will get for them. They can be a major hidden cost of condo ownership.

      • Rebecca

        And if you get serious about it, get someone all over that thing to inspect it. The thing I find truly terrifying about condos is that you’re on the hook for communal property repairs (fun, expensive things like roofs! and exterior cladding!), but you’re not directly responsible for maintenance of those items. Any info you can get about past/ future assessments (how much, what they were for) is good stuff to know.

        • Sara

          Oh this condo has a fireplace, and I asked the last it was serviced. The relator had no clue and said “we’ll find out in the inspection’. So yeah, I’m all over that.
          A condo I considered had a 5k assessment for redoing all the balconies. I’m terrified of that happening to me. Definitely can’t afford that.

      • Also, be sure to use this calculator from the NYT. It will help you determine how long you need to live in the condo for it to be cheaper than renting: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rent-calculator.html?_r=0. Hint, don’t forget to plug in the HOA fees into the calculator.

        • Sara

          Thanks! The HOA fees are what keep scaring me away from places. At least this place has a pool. For the same rate, my friend pays for a fountain that doesn’t work, water, trash and a lawn the size of a postage stamp.

        • Anon

          ug, that is depressing. Stupid Vancouver housing market. *whines* but i wanna own a home! i don’t care if it’s a bad financial decision! */endwhine*

    • jashshea

      Home ownership is awful and wonderful.

      Don’t buy something because your dad chides you for throwing money away, as ownership will eat an ever increasing amount of your money. I bought my first place in 07, b/c that’s what I thought you were supposed to do. I don’t regret it, as I learned many many lessons from purchasing and living there alone. But now that I’m married and we bought a house together, I am an accidental landlord and that has a whole host of other problems attached. I’d love to feel slightly less ENCUMBERED by my previous purchases, I suppose.

      BUT: very few experiences since have ever really compared to the first night I spent in the place *I* owned all by myself. Getting married was awesome, buying a house together was awesome, but the thing I did all by myself was pretty un-freaking real.

      Enjoy the search!

      • Sara

        I’m excited but scared of that day when I have to sell (which hopefully isn’t any time soon). My parents bought a townhouse when I was a baby and got hosed trying to sell it. We ended up stay there for 10 years (three kids, two bedrooms…) and they still took a loss. So I’ve got that in the back of my mind as well.

        Adulthood is always equal parts scary and exciting isn’t it?

        • Do you plan on staying in the area long-term?

    • Not Sarah

      Cool! This is super exciting! I had so much fun looking at places. (I bought a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo last year by myself!) Another thing to watch out for with condos is that the HOA could have rental caps. For example, my building has a rental cap so low that I plan on selling when I want to move out and made sure that I could no matter how much of a loss I would need to take on the place.

      I’m definitely scared about how this will affect my life going forward, but I absolutely love living in the condo I own. It’s such a nice place! And way more affordable than rent in my area.

      • RJ

        What’s a rental cap?

        A maximum amount of rent you can charge?
        Or a maximum number of units that can be rented at any one time?
        Or a maximum length that you can rent the unit?

        • The most you can charge someone to rent your condo. They don’t want you to use it as a profit gaining method and have lots of tenants in and out. HOA want stability.

        • Anon as well

          I guess every HOA is different because I have a different answer than Bhoka!

          My HOA only allows a certain number of units to be rented at any given time. They don’t actually care about how much you charge for rent (I think), but they do require to keep a copy of the lease on file and all leases must be at least 12 months long. And there can be a waitlist to rent out your unit.

    • Miriam

      We bought a place a few months ago, and here’s the best advice I got:

      Your minimum denomination for home expenses is going to jump from the hundreds to the thousands. Expect that when something breaks or needs to be replaced, it’ll cost at least $1,000.

      She was absolutely right. Being prepared for that saved me HUGE sticker shock.

  • Ali S

    Haven’t been around for happy hour for like a month! In good news, less than 8 months until the wedding woo!! In not-so-good news, I’m at the point where I’m starting to have dreams where its the wedding day and very important things have been forgotten. It varies as to what the Very Important Thing is, but two nights ago I dreamed we forgot my grandmother. Heavens.

    • I had so many wedding nightmares. Funny story, things were forgotten on my actual wedding day (including a large portion of the beer and the microphone for the ceremony). Fortunately, these things were at the rental house less than two miles away, but our ceremony was not amplified, and it was just fine. :)

    • Hintzy

      oh man, we’re at 5 months and I’ve had the dream where the dress didn’t fit and we still didn’t know who was officiating? it was weird… dreams are weird…

      • Sara

        I’m a year out and I just had a dream that we were in a rush and I ended up walking up the aisle without realizing I still had my coat on, so all the ceremony photos were of me in a bright green coat.


    I just sent out e-mail Save-the-Dates yesterday! I was a little anxious about hitting the send button though- partly because I spent so much time on the website that I didn’t want to fuck anything up and partly because sending the e-mail makes it real (exciting, but real). Anyway, I got so many responses. Folk are so excited!

    In other news, I’ve decided that I need one more semester of graduate school. Ugh! That means that I will graduate exactly one week after my wedding. May is going to be cray-cray!

    • Sending out our invites was big for me because we were officially including other people in our preparations with them in ways we hadn’t before. It definitely makes it all more real.

      Good luck with graduation!! What better way to celebrate your post grad-school life than with a new married life as well!

  • Got married on Saturday. And as much as I never wanted to admit it because I thought it was cool to be all cynical and be all “It’s just one day with a party,” you know what? It was the best day of my life. The best.

    • CeeBeeUK

      That’s fantastic!

    • Congratulations!

    • Tania

      Snap! Wedding twins. Still blissed out by how much fun it was to get married! Congrats!

    • Yay! And there’s nothing wrong with embracing joy, even if people think of pooh pooh what a cliche, but seriously, only a grinch would think that, so pooh pooh to cynicism!

  • Jenny

    You guys. It’s happy hour. Just sayin’

  • Lea

    My wedding is tomorrow, you guys!!!!! I will definitely be wanting to give some wisdom back to all you amazing people who came before me. PS, thanks.

  • Rachel

    I have a question about etiquette (well, really, just about common courtesy which I believe is what etiquette should be about) and I know I’m in the right place for smart and thoughtful opinions:

    We are getting married in the UK in about 2 1/2 months and sent out save the dates 6 months ago and a first batch of invitations to our A list a month and a half ago. We have heard back from almost everyone and now have room for about 10 B-list invitees (sadly, this is due to many of my friends in the US – where I am from and where we currently live – not being able to make the trek). The B-list is all Americans who we would desperately love to have there but just couldn’t fit in the A-list. My fear is that it will seem obvious that they are on the B-list since we are inviting them to a trans-Atlantic wedding at relatively short notice. Do you think it’s appropriate/courteous to acknowledge that we didn’t send a save the date and are inviting them on short notice or does that go unsaid and the invitation means that we want them there and that’s most important….?

    Would love to hear any thoughts!

    • Emmers

      If you send out invites soon, I wouldn’t worry about special notice. If I were invited to an international wedding in a couple months, I’d think either “wow, how exciting!” or “wow, how exciting, but can’t afford the flight.” I don’t even think I’d think you were last minute, and I wouldn’t think I was on the B list, unless I knew that another of my friends had previously received an invite.

      I think if you “apologize” or otherwise explain no save-the-date it will draw more attention to the fact that they were the B list. Whereas if you just invite them, that’s what their focus will be on. They’ll probably just assume you chose not to send a save the date. And depending on their schedule/budget, then they’ll attend or not.

      But how exciting, international wedding!

    • Emily H

      It is a little last minute for an out of country trip, but not SO much so that it needs to be explained. I’m sure no one will think too much of it, especially since these people are not your immediate family, or BFFs presumably.

    • Don’t say anything. If they figure it out on their own, I’m sure they’ll understand. If you go out of your way to point out that they are B-list and thus didn’t get a save-the-date? I personally think that would feel more awkward. Getting an invite will make it clear to them that you want them there, and what else do they really need to know?

    • Brenda

      I think you might find that if the reason you have space is that people couldn’t do the transatlantic journey, your B-list might have the same issue. I’m not sure how I would proceed ….. I’m not sure it would be obvious they were B-list, but I would be slightly annoyed if I were invited to a wedding that I really wanted to go to that required transatlantic travel and hadn’t been given more notice.

      I might personally call them, say there’s an invitation in the mail for them and I know it’s short notice for this kind of trip butI’d love to have them there, and see what the reaction is. You just don’t want them to get the invitation and think oh, she doesn’t really want me there, otherwise they would have given me more time to plan.

      • Brenda

        Hmm, looks like other people disagree with me. I’d go with them!

      • Starting with a phone call is a great idea- definitely alleviates “B-list worries” by making a special connection.

    • CeeBeeUK

      No real advice although I think you invite them nonetheless. I suspect this will be me in a year. Any chance in sharing your yes / no rate for American guests? My family (or those with passports) is small so my side is largely American friends. Hey, everyone wants to come to Scotland, right?

      • Rachel

        Thank you everyone for the advice! I really appreciate it and it makes me feel much better sending out those invitations now. We are crossing our fingers now that some of them will magically be able to come… International weddings are super fun (we met in England when I studied abroad, at my fiance’s university) but it really hurts to look at the guest list and see that none of my friends from high school/home are making it and 100% of my fiance’s friends will be there. Lots of our joint friends from over the years will be there, which we’re thrilled about, but I have had a few teary moments.

        Ceebeeuk, our response rate for American friends is about 66% (friends our age – 25 – and family friends replied at the same rate). I will say that we are lucky to have a friend group in which everyone has passports, and many people are comfortable enough financially that they can swing the trip. I can give an update closer to the time! And yes, I had the same thought about England – who doesn’t want to visit London on New Year’s?!

        • CeeBeeUk

          That’s super helpful, thanks! I was stressing about being over our numbers and then realized that having too many people who love us and want to celebrate is a blessing rather than a problem, even if I have to buy a dress off the monsoon sale rack.

          • Anne

            Just want to say I got married in the UK in July in a dress off the Monsoon sales rack and it was beautiful and perfect! We also were incredibly lucky with the weather for our outdoor wedding … 32 degrees and HOT … in England?! Most of our guests were from overseas and so many more than we expected came which was incredible. Out of the 16 high school friends from Australia that I invited, 10 were able to come!

        • CeeBeeUK

          And I’m a pest today, but I was working on admin stuff and realised I have no idea how to get a certificate of no impediment to marriage from the States? Do we even do those?

          • Rachel

            Hi – sorry I didn’t see this until just now! To be perfectly honest, we are not doing our research on that front because we’re actually only having a religious ceremony in England and we are doing the civil ceremony back in the US. Good luck though – I know there is a little bit of admin to sort through so best of luck!

    • Sarah

      Bottom line – if they are excited to come and want to, they will. If they have their noses out of joint for not being first choice then they won’t come. If they have their noses out of joint but come anyway, then that’s their problem, not yours! If it were me I would not mention they weren’t first choice. Just invite them and let them decide.

  • Sara

    Hey everyone!

    So, I was supposed to get engaged last weekend, and we had to cancel.

    My boy and I ended up deciding to propose to each other (long story) and have been planning our proposal for months now. We choose our rings together and planned a trip to Niagara Falls which was sort of the place we first met (even longer story). We drove 11 hours to be there on our 7th anniversary… and woke up in the morning to the news that my grandfather had passed away.

    Now that we’re past the worst of the emotions of his passing and funeral, boy and I are totally at a loss for how to proceed from here. We spent months and months building up emotions for this moment, planning it, spending a ton of money and using vacation time… and now we have to plan all over again? Just the idea is exhausting. Half of me just wants to sit on the couch with him and get the proposal over with… and the other half of me hates that I’m even capable of thinking of “proposal” and “get it over with” in the same sentence.

    What I’m saying is that we’re super burnt out and we have so little media context for how to go about this. It’s damn hard to find examples of happy, romantic joint proposals in the first place, let alone look for examples of joint proposal second tries…


    • I think it’s totally fine to scale it down to a level that doesn’t make you exhausted just thinking about it. My husband and I did what I’d call a collaborative proposal. I also was having the feeling of just wanting to be engaged already, and I knew the idea of planning a big proposal that was also supposed to be a surprise was paralyzing him. So I suggested we pick a day and decide that at the end of that day we would be engaged. I let him plan the day. It was perfect and very us.

      So if sitting down on the couch and having an honest conversation that you love each and want to get married is how you want to get engaged that’s totally fine. It can be super personal and romantic. Don’t get wrapped up too much in what you think the proposal should be. Whatever works best for the two of you is what you should do.

      • Sara

        Thanks. It sounds like the way you got into your proposal is very similar to the way we got into ours. The idea of planning some viral-youtibe-worthy surprise was paralyzing boy, and we finally agreed that if we did it together it would be easier for him. But for the sake of his pride he felt like he still had to make some big spectacle out of it.

        I would have been fine just coming home one night to him with a bouquet and take out. I’ve never needed anything big, but it’s what he wanted so we made the big Niagara plan.

        I tried telling him this week that I would be fine with something simple but after all this build up it just sounds like I’m trying to make him feel better, rather than telling him what I really want.

        • Proposals are so complicated, especially with all the cultural pressures. Oh and YouTube proposals have up’d the level of pressure so much. Although, I also found that working together through the whole proposal process really helps prepare you for the whole wedding planning process. There will be a lot of things where you will both have to speak up and listen to each other about what you really want (which is also why wedding planning helps prepare you for marriage). So speak up, and tell him what you really want. Explain how you’re feeling.

          Also, that whole story proposal story thing, you only have to tell people the parts of the story that you want to. Trust me, it’s all in the delivery. You can make whatever you guys end up doing sound super romantic to whoever asks. My advice, light some candles, buy some champagne (if that’s you guys). It really doesn’t have to be complicated to make a great story.

          • Sara

            Word up.

            I’m actually already building up a tragi-comic delivery for telling (certain appropriate) people about our botched proposal. By the time we hit our 25th anniversary I want that shit to be family legend!

          • And also, nobody asks about your proposal story after you’re married. I say do what makes you comfortable, and don’t worry too much about having a good story to tell. (This sounds chiding but I mean it just as a hey nobody cares about our proposal or even wedding now we’ve been married three years…it’s ok to just be low key sort of way!)

    • Lindsay

      first off, i’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. and sorry to hear your proposal plans got botched! when my fiance and i were planning to propose to each other, i also looked to the internet for ideas and didn’t find much. we ended up going to the park nearest our apartment on a saturday morning, finding a somewhat secluded spot, and proposing there. then sat on a nearby bench and called everyone we knew, then went to brunch. when we tell the story, we always mention the dude doing tai chi nearby in the park, and the awesome bacon at brunch afterward, and the fact that we followed brunch with a oh-so-romantic trip to home depot for gardening supplies. my advice from all of that – it doesn’t have to be a big production! our simple, casual, close-to-home proposal was very “us” and i wouldn’t have it any other way.

      • Sara

        That sounds like an awesome proposal.

    • Oh my word, Sara. I am so sorry for your loss and this emotional time. Hugs, hugs and more hugs. I wonder if a special night out would feel good for your guys? You know, not exactly the couch, but not a vacation either. But I’m curious, what is your heart and gut telling you? Maybe version 2.0 can be awesome too?

      • Sara

        Thanks for the hugs!

        My heart and gut are confused, to put it mildly. Boy has struggled a bit with the idea of a joint proposal, because I think he feels like – even though I’ve told him how happy I am to be a part of this plan – he should have got his act together and surprised me a long time ago before I worked up the nerve to bring it up on my own (read: got impatient). Planning a big fancy proposal seemed to soothe his manly instincts.

        I was fine with the big plan, but doing it twice sounds exhausting. I am truly okay with doing something simple, but my worry is that he feels like he’d be letting me down.

        It’s very weird to have these conversations together – like I said, we just don’t really have a template for this. I don’t even feel very comfortable giving input for how I want the proposal to be at all, because there’s a patriarchal voice in the back of my head going “you sound a shrewish controlling harpy! ooOOoo!”

        • LOL! First, you’re not a shrewish controlling harpy. Secondly, I got super impatient and ruined my proposal. So whatever. Not all of us are the patient sort. In all honesty, here is what I would do (not that you should also do this, but): I’d tell him exactly what you just wrote. When the husband and I first got together I would just write things down to tell him, because I get all weird and in my head when I try to talk about serious things w/o a script. Because I’m a nutball. That’s just me.

          I really hope this works out for you two in a special way.

          • Sara

            Haha, are you me? Because I think you might be me.

            This past summer we started planning the proposal because I wrote him a long letter explaining that I love him and want to be with him forever and nothing can change that but can we PLEASE GET ENGAGED ALREADY?!?

          • KC

            You are so not a nutball. Writing the things-you-need-to-cover down is genius. :-)

        • You’re not a harpy! Everybody is different, and what matters is that the two of you are comfortable and on the same page.

    • Can you scale back your plans and just have pick a day and make it special? Like, pick next Saturday and make the whole day special, but low key. Cook a fancy breakfast together, go for a morning walk/hike/bike ride, pick up lunch at the neat little place you’ve been meaning to check out forever, go somewhere that has special meaning for the two of you (first kiss location, place where you met…) and do your proposal. Then head out for a fancy dinner afterwards to celebrate! That’s just an example… make the day special in lots of little ways and it will turn into one big special amazing day.

      • Emmers

        Yes! Specialness! But without making it stressful. And if you even want to do a nod to your Niagara plans, you could do some tongue in cheek Niagara things (like watching the Pam & Jim Niagara wedding on the Office or drinking NY beer). Or you could just do something kind of slightly special, like pick a new cheese to try together. Or get burgers from your favorite takeout place. Or watch an episode of your favorite series. Just something stay-cation-ish but not stressy.

        • Sara

          Okay, I am kind of in love with the idea of doing a scaled-down-Niagara proposal. We can drink Niagara wine and either find a small waterfall or maybe just a fountain or something and put on ponchos and be silly.

          We could turn this disappointment into a self-deprecating moment.

          • Emmers

            If you can’t find any real water, you can put on a waterfall screensaver or something :) Or maybe there’s a Niagara cam somewhere?

    • Emily H

      I’m sorry this happened! It seems to me you shouldn’t give up entirely on having a special proposal because it sounds like you need something nice and happy in your life right now. Maybe just one night away at a B&B close by, or a specially planned day recreating memories you have together would be nice, and not require so much planning. Just think about the things that will without fail be fun for you two. Engagement aside, you deserve that after this tough time, and adding the proposal at the end will only make it better. Whatever you plan, congratulations on your upcoming engagement :)

      • Sara

        Thank you! I do want it to be special, and I don’t want either of us to get caught up in spiral of comparing proposal #2 with our plan for #1. A level of fanciness/specialness/interestingness needs to be reached to do that, I think.

    • LM

      My condolences about your grandfather. And that sucks that your plans got turned upside-down. It sounds like you guys had put so much love and energy into planning something really meaningful. Even though you are past the worst of the emotions around the loss of your grandfather, it doesn’t mean you are over that loss, or the loss of your awesome engagement plan. You might need a little more time so you can feel ready to revisit a proposal plan, or you might want to move on and put your energy towards being engaged and planning a wedding. Neither way is wrong.

      There’s also a lot of space between “spending months and months putting together a second joint proposal” and “getting it over with.” It won’t be the same as the proposal you planned, but it sounds like the two of you will be able to create a meaningful experience that really honors your relationship.

      • Sara

        Thank you! We do need a little time, and we’ve actually agreed to take a proposal-break until we’re a bit more recovered. I’m just trying to figure out what I want so that at the end of the break I can articulate it to him.

    • Rebecca

      We way over-thought our joint proposal, but ultimately wound up doing something pretty simple. I find the story kind of hilarious, so I’ll share the whole thing, but you can skip to the bottom for a summary if you want.

      So, we knew we’d get married after I graduated (and when that was). I spent 3 months studying abroad in India and then we met in Amsterdam for my spring break (oh, quarter system). He had actually thought about proposing in Amsterdam, since it seemed like an obvious moment, but had zero luck finding an engagement ring he’d thought I’d like. Since I ultimately went without one, he was 100% correct on that count. So this comes out while we’re there and we talk about what we want in a mutual proposal/ symbol of engagement (he didn’t want a ring), and then we spend the entire week brainstorming about potential mutual symbols of engagement. We settled on piggy banks (Amsterdam is full of them for some reason, plus they had good “building the future” connotations).

      So, the plan was we’d each find a piggy bank for each other and propose in our own time. No dice. Months pass. I find a really cool modular piggy bank online. More months pass. We hit the “really should get this done” timeframe for engagement things. I propose that we each buy a modular piggy bank and swap sections so that they’re blended. He likes that plan, we order them online.

      I wait impatiently for them to get there (he worked from home but I’d usually see packages first on my way in the door), knowing the day they’d show up but wanting them to be earlier. We assemble them, sit on the couch, and formally proposed to each other. Which is awesome. Then we make dinner. Now they live in our living room.

      The best part is, you can add sections, so we have a section to add for our first wedding anniversary to make extra big piggies.

      TL;DR: Could have proposed on vacation in Amsterdam, wound up discussing proposals instead, ultimately proposed at home on the couch, still special.

      • Rebecca

        And for the curious, the piggy bank is here: http://www.module-r.com/shop/piiiig-modular-piggy-bank-1.html. We got them in black and white.

        • lady brett

          modular piggy bank!!!! so cute, and great!

      • Sara

        Thanks for the story! I really love the piggy banks, what a wonderful idea. I’m glad that it worked out in the end.

        It sure didn’t seem like it at the time, but in retrospect I guess we did over-plan it. I guess you only realize you’ve over-planned when the plan gets pulled out from under you.

    • M.

      I’m so sorry for your loss. You’ve gotten so many amazing ideas here, and I just wanted to chime in to say I *was* proposed to on the couch — fresh out of the shower and wearing my best mismatched pajamas. He said he just couldn’t wait another second to not be engaged to me :) Couch or no couch, Niagara or not, it will be perfect and I wish you so much luck and happiness.

    • Laura C

      It’s like all the weddings where people start planning a huge perfect wedding, realize it’s stressing them out more than anything, and just elope. Which is really easy in the proposal context: at the most basic level, if you’ve said “we’re getting married” to each other, you’re engaged. The rest is theater.

      Now, maybe one or both of you want the theater for Reasons. But if it’s exhausting and stressful and miserable for one or both of you, are those Reasons big enough?

  • Jessica B

    We got married four weeks ago tomorrow, and yesterday I had to say good bye to my husband for the next 11 months. It was really hard, I cried a hell of a lot, and I don’t really know how I’m going to go almost a year without being able to hug him or kiss him, or have those little shared moments together. This really sucks.

    So, this weekend my friends and family are throwing me a Pity Party. My room mate/ best friend ordered pizza and made cookie dough last night, and we watched Legally Blonde while drinking a bottle of wine each. Tonight my brother is taking me out and a bunch of friends are joining me. I wish my husband could have the same sort of party, but alas, that is military life.

    So anyway, we are going to have an odd first year of marriage. I already really appreciate all the advice I’ve got from the APW community!

    • jashshea

      Think I saw your post last week – Internet hugs, sister. Sounds like you have a support system – ask for help when you need it and it’s okay to be sad.

      • Jessica B

        Thanks for the internet hugs! I have a good support system, it’s just spread far and wide across the country. Road trips are bound to happen.

    • Jess

      Big hug!! I love the idea of your friends throwing a Pity Party – the name alone is too funny to be sad.

      It’s definitely a tough sounding first year, but I bet there will be ways you have your own special moments – totally different from other peoples and unique to the two of you! Good luck.

      P.S. Legally Blonde, Pizza, and Cookie Dough are the exact same things I use to feel better.

      • Jessica B

        I decided to call it that, my friends are not as receptive to it as I thought they’d be!

    • Hugs to you.

      And immense gratitude for you and your husband. Thank you!!

      • Jessica B


    • Oh hon, I lived apart from my husband for several months, and it is Rough And Tough and just plain shitty. Clinking a glass of Pity Party wine with you! *hugs*. Just know that even though this seems horrible (BECAUSE IT IS) that it can also strengthen your communication and also know that you can do it one day at a time.

      I feel like Leslie Knope here, wanting to say oh lovely beautiful Jessica B Ann Perkins, you can do anything.

      • Jessica B

        Thanks! Have you seen this website? http://www.knopecompliments.com/

        • That is amazing! I’m going to use it often. Calling someone a “trancendent little seahorse” is sublime.

  • QuietlyAnon

    We’re planning to get married next summer (probably late June), so around 8 months from now. We’re not officially engaged (that will probably happen, with a ring, and facebook fanfare) in the next 2.5 months or so, so we’ll have around 5.5-6 months to plan, sort of.

    We’ve been making some preparations– I already have my dress and shoes, and we’ve gotten some things for centerpieces. But we don’t have any of the big things (like venue, photog, food, etc) booked, and for a number of reasons we probably won’t do this until things are “official.”

    For venue we may get married & have the reception at our church, so that part may be fine. But there’s also a possibility we’d need to do both elsewhere, since our wedding size may be too big for this.

    Has anyone else experienced this weird engagement twilight? Any thoughts on how to proceed? And is a 5.5-6 month planning period for the big things insane? Or can we make it?

    Not going to lie, I get a little quietly stressed anytime I hear friends (& other commenters) talk about the lovely aquarium they’re getting married in this June, or how they just got an awesome band locked down for June. And then I feel sheepish & silly.

    • lady brett

      i imagine this depends on, well, everything, but especially location, money and flexibility.

      but we were engaged for about 15 months…but in all honesty we planned our wedding in about 4. mostly due to procrastination and not knowing where to start, but overall it wasn’t a problem at all. (funny story, we were seriously considering an october wedding, but that was only 4 months away and we didn’t think we’d be able to do it so we moved it back 6 months so we could…do nothing for 6 months and plan the wedding in 4 anyway =)

    • anon

      you’re not alone in the weird engagement twilight. we’ve been planning (discussing) a (northern hemisphere) fall 2014 wedding for almost a year but aren’t getting engaged until around (us) thanksgiving because we’re still waiting for the engagement ring to arrive. at first, fall of 2014 seemed ages away but now that I’m starting to see venue calendars filling up I’m getting a little anxious to start booking. I don’t have any practical advice for you, but I hope it helps to know you’ve got company!

    • KC

      We did engaged->married in less than 6 months, which was fine (although we did set the date within a month of getting engaged, if I recall correctly; only one date had a chance of working with all immediate family members, so that was that).

      Yes, there are things/people/services that will have been booked out on specific dates waaay in advance, especially during “wedding season”, so there might be a few things that don’t work together, but I generally wouldn’t worry about it unless you have a One True Wedding set of ideas, which it honestly doesn’t really sound like you have. (but do start to line up any important things ASAP once you know the date)

    • That is a very challenging timeline, and it will be stressful. However, as someone who had a year and nine month engagement, I can say wedding planning is stressful no matter what, but I did enjoy having breaks between highly stressful decisions.

      One thing that you might want to consider is the parts of getting ready to be married that have nothing to do with planning a wedding. It’s nice to have at least a few weeks to just enjoy being engaged, and it’s also important to have some big conversations about planning how the two of you will build your life together.

      If you haven’t already, I would get the APW book. It’s so helpful. You could even read it in your pre-engaged state. It will help you get a feel for the things you need to think about with planning a wedding. Then you can decide whether or not that timeline will give you enough time to plan the type of wedding you want.

    • Sara

      Word to the engagement twilight.

      We picked out my ring in June. We turned it into a joint proposal a couple months ago, so we picked out his ring then.

      We’re actively saving for and planning the wedding, but not “engaged.”

      Is weird.

      • I’m genuinely curious — is there a reason you don’t consider yourselves engaged?

    • Teafortwo

      We did it, or at least are in the process of doing it. My partner and I decided last Christmas to get married this Christmas, but didn’t get officially ring-and-family-and-facebook-fanfare engaged until June. So we’ll have a 5.5 month engagement. We didn’t book anything before the engagement, but did get to have a lot of conversations about what kind of wedding we wanted, how many people we would invite, where we would want to have it, etc. It meant that as soon as we did get engaged, I was calling venues for quotes and stuff, pretty much that week. And a few places were booked out, but lots weren’t. We do have the advantage of not getting married during wedding season, but it can definitely be done.

      A friend who had a similar length of engagement said (and I agree) that wedding planning should take every bit of six months. Obviously different strokes, etc., but while it has been a big and busy few months, I am very happy that it will be over soon, and I just get to show up at our wedding! I’ve enjoyed how focussed I am on the wedding, and I will enjoy not having to think about it anymore. In fact, if I could do it over again I would have opted for a 3 or 4 month engagement.

    • Laura C

      I’d be a little worried about venue availability. When we started looking at venues in March 2013 and asked about a June 2014 wedding date, a couple places we looked at were already booked three or more weekends in June. One of them was one of the few venues in my hometown, so it may just always be booked early, but the other was a sort of non-obvious venue in a big city. I’m not sure if that’s representative or not.

    • Beth

      We got married 6 months after getting engaged (with no twilight period, sorry), and it was…stressful, but totally doable. I think it depends on where you live, but we’re in the bay area and the only time I ran into a vendor we wanted already being booked was with a venue we were looking at. And the only reason we looked at it is because they messed up their calendar and didn’t realize it had just gotten booked. It was 6 months of thinking about little else and always having a to-do list a mile long, but we did it and it was lovely! Everyone has their own timeline and you will make it work with the time you have. I like to say that we probably spent less money by planning it in a shorter time frame because we didn’t have time to second guess ourselves or focus on a ton of small details that weren’t as important to us.

    • Laura

      We had a very similar timeline — November proposal and June wedding, giving us a few weeks over 6 months. Oh, and we lived in a large city (Chicago) at the time, so it’s not like all the “good stuff” was taken already. And you know what? It was perfectly fine.

      I will say, however, that it depends partially on your expectations. You won’t be able to book that “classic” wedding venue for your area, because those things do get reserved years in advance. And you won’t have tons of time for lovingly hand-crafted details, unless you’re a very crafty person already or have fabulous crafty friends.

      Our priorities were food/wine, family, and having a meaningful ceremony. So we booked a church, found a great wine bar for the reception, chose readings/ceremony stuff, and half-assed the rest. Which turned out fabulously! With a shorter timeline, you’ll likely have to become comfortable with half-assing at least a few things from your “to do” list.

      The most obnoxious thing about a < 1 yr. engagement period is people thinking that we were speeding things up because I was pregnant. Yep, guys, we found out I was pregnant, he proposed, and now we're planning a wedding to correspond with me being enormously pregnant and/or giving birth at the reception, because that sounds comfortable and non-stressful. Sigh.

  • KH

    I started my new job this week, after a month of unemployment. I’m still in the training phase but it felt so good to get up and go to work again. I feel like I have purpose once more and my whole life is back on track.

  • Yay! SoKind altenativ registry officially launches next week, and I am getting to beta-test it. I really love the idea of a registry that isn’t just tied to one store or idea. I like the idea of being able to register for art or used/vintage things or intangibles or whatever, and leave it to the giver to decide not just what to give but where to get it.

    I know guests like registries (I do. While I don’t always buy off them, I use them more guidance on their tastes and desires) but this way it doesn’t feel like an ad for one particular store.

    • Alison O

      I’m so glad to see these registries popping up.

      I just read about another one, thankfulregistry.com The article with the founder makes some interesting points: http://thebillfold.com/2013/10/tell-us-about-your-new-kind-of-wedding-registry-kathy-cheng/ I love that you can write a blurb about why you want a particular item.

      • I am particularly happy that you can use it to ask for things like day-of help. I will probably still be asking specific people to do this, but if it is on the registry, someone I might not have thought of can volunteer.

  • Also, in the world of getting things checked off my list, I have now ordered my shoes and my invitations.

    Next up, gently reminding M to start asking his friends and family for their addresses.

    • I highly recommend a google doc for collecting all the addresses. I created one, and I shared it with my Mom, my husband’s mom and my husband so we could all fill in the addresses. It really helped keep things straight.

      • We are using Postable for the gathering, and it is working well. Only, he actually needs to *ask* the people on his list. I sent out a cheerful mass email with the link and giving out our new address, and a good chunk of my list has now responded.

        But they can’t respond if you don’t ask. Hence the gentle prodding.

        • And this is definitely not a chore I am taking on. You want to have them at the wedding, you need to contact them for their addresses.

          He doesn’t even have that many to do. One of his good friends got married this summer, and they kindly shared their mailing list for the mutual friends. And his mom gave him some parental addresses.

          It is basically down to his college friends.

        • Yeah, my husband did very little of the actual address collecting. Would it be appropriate for you to ask his mom for help? Parents are usually really good at that sort of thing.

          • Nope. Nope. Nope. It is mostly down to his college friends, many of whom he hasn’t been in close touch with in years. If he wants them to be there it is down to him to get in touch with them and find out where to send the invite. He’s a grown-ass adult. :)

      • That’s exactly what we did. Then we repurposed it to be our Christmas card mailing list and just keep updating it each year.

      • ART

        I second that, and we used a google spreadsheet, so it triples as our tracking sheet (sent STD, sent invite, got RSVP, sent thank-you, etc) and mail merge source for invite envelopes – SO HANDY! <3 spreadsheets

    • Not Sarah

      Google Forms would be magical for this! You send out a link via email, they don’t see the data, but it magically gets into your spreadsheet without you entering it. Then you have a spreadsheet, which you can share with whoever you want!

  • We just replaced our whole roof because a storm blew a lot of the shingles off. Today we discovered termite damage in our garage. Our baby has decided she needs to scream at my breast every time she’s hungry before getting down to the business of eating.

    But we were able to open the windows and turn off the AC for the first time yesterday. Yea!!

  • MC

    We officially made the decision to get married late next September, in less than a year!! Now that a tentative date is set (won’t be official until January 1st due to wonky reservation policies at our venue) I am feeling much less anxious and crazed and realized the other day that I am actually feeling… excited!

    Our first order of business is to make an invite list and I am feeling SO grateful for the APW spreadsheets. Also ordered the APW book and it is on its way to me!

    Also wanted to share that my mom – who is divorced, very vocally against the WIC, and encouraged us to elope because her wedding was so stressful – is getting excited, too, which is really adorable and funny to witness. We’re even going dress shopping, which is something I never would’ve expected her to be into.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    I negotiated last week’s job offer, and they didn’t budge. After looking at similar government jobs and a study conducted by a large, reputable head-hunter, I said the salary was a low-ball for the region. The owner said it wasn’t. I considered of the offer for a couple more days, but ultimately I declined the offer.

    For people in the Bay Area: I was reading about BART management, and learned that even though there are six BART stations on the Peninsula, there is no BART Board of Directors representation for those stations. I don’t understand this. Does anyone have any insight into this?

    • I just want to say kudos to you for sticking to your guns and not accepting less than you deserve. It sucks they didn’t change their minds, but well done nonetheless.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Thanks. I had hoped/assumed that the owner just didn’t know that aspect of his business. (It happens.) I was glad I did my homework.


      I also turned down a lowball job offer this week!

      Well, they lowballed me by offering “x” (where x= no more money than I’m making now at a competing firm, for a job with a LOT less responsibility) , I said I was really thinking more along the lines of “x times 1.7” (which is still a bargain for the position in this industry and this city). The HR contact (after stammering a bit) said she’d talk to the owners and get back to me.

      I got an email yesterday saying that they just couldn’t support anything like what I was looking for, and wishing me luck. It now makes sense why they have such a huge amount of turnover in that department. NO ONE who knows what the job requires and has the skill to do it would take it for that salary, and those they do get to take it won’t last long.

      Kinda bummy, but in the end, I think I dodged a bullet! I think you did, too! Just think about working for a company that so clearly doesn’t value the work you’d do, starting from the very beginning? Ugh. Not a good way to go.

      Cheers. Onwards and upwards.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Glad to hear someone else who counter-offered at a significantly higher level. Mine was x times 1.4, when I would have taken the job for x times 1.2. It felt astronomical to say the number out loud, but I knew it was in the high-mid for the job, for the region, and 1.2 was actually the very low end for the region.

        It’s a mystery to me what people with more student loans DO. (My job requires a graduate degree.) If I had the average amount of loans for someone entering this profession, 1.2 wouldn’t be enough to make the payments, maybe not even 1.4.

        • QUEENOMOMO

          ” It felt astronomical to say the number out loud”: THIS.

          When she named the number, I almost felt myself wavering on my counter-number, just so she wouldn’t think I was “crazy”. I had to quickly remind myself that I didn’t pull my number out of a hat– I’d done research and vetted it with a few respected colleagues in my field.

          Negotiating is such a psychological minefield.

          • itsy bitsy

            “Negotiating is such a psychological minefield.” YES.

            And that, my friends, is why I want/need to learn how to do it better. Because currently my strategy is “just accept what they offer and suck it up.” This has not worked well for me thus far.

    • ART

      I live in San Mateo County and use Daly City BART every day, and I didn’t even know that SMC wasn’t a BART member or covered by a district – that’s so weird. It looks like SMC withdrew from BART before it was built to avoid paying taxes, which might be why there is a SMC surcharge on fares, but it’s really weird not to have any station-specific governance for those…now I’m really curious! and check out the awesome BART employee photo from the 70s!

      I really hope they don’t have to strike…I hate Caltrain!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Thanks for that link! I’ll do more homework.

        I can’t remember what the Caltrain hit was to our budget in July, but we definitely felt the higher commute costs during that strike.

        I emailed both my representatives in Sacramento about this today and already have an on-point “please call our office to discuss this issue” response from my state senator. Democracy might still work!

        If it’s a no taxation = no representation thing, that might be a harder issue than some historical bureaucratic artifact, but I’ll keep pushing.

  • Katelyn

    Just wanted to thank Liz and everyone who commented for the wonderful, kind responses to my ATP submission yesterday. I know it was a bit ‘heavy’ but thanks for tackling it! I feel so much better and prepared for the holidays.

    • itsy bitsy

      Psh, “heavy” is what we DO. ;-)

      On a more serious note, I’m glad you feel a bit better and am sending you positive thoughts for the holiday season!


    Help me with fashion!

    I’m trying to figure out if this veil: http://www.unveiledbridaldesigns.com/index.php?page=item&ItemID=41

    Works with this dress: http://www.camillelavie.com/dress/Lace-and-Chiffon-V-Neck-Wedding-Dress_41770-8296W

    Plus some sort of statement necklace TBD.

    Also, do I have to wear my hair totally up to rock the birdcage? Every picture I see has total updos, and I don’t know if I want to go that far…

    Thanks guys! :)

    • Brenda

      1. Yes and 2. No. I think that dress with the veil and hair down (I’m seeing a sort of 1940s Veronica Lake wave) would look great.

    • Rosie

      I think they’d look great together and a statement necklace would go well :) If you have any chance to try the veil on with your hair down, maybe in a bridal shop or an accessory shop? that might be reassuring.

  • Remy

    This week at work has been SLAMMED. Like 3 things are broken, which results in delays in the usual work as well as the need to repair the immediate fallout from the brokenness, so customers are up in arms. I’ve spent a lot of time soothing. I also spent yesterday feeling absolutely wretched (thankful for paid sick days!) and checking work email at home between bouts of ick. Now that I’m not quite ready to pass out when faced with a staircase, I’m wrapping up the week at work and I’d already arranged to leave early this afternoon for family time. We have plans to see a movie that was made from a book that I loved as a kid — Roald Dahl’s “The Witches”. Spooky for Halloween! Tomorrow I get to hang out with a couple of little kids and their mom, which is a good time for me.

    On the home front, my wife and met with our once-and-hopefully-future housemate to check out a new place we might be renting together. It’s HUGE — room for kids, cooking, container gardening — and somehow still affordable (I’m thinking the property next door with the razor wire on the fence may have something to do with that). We all love it, and hope that we’ll be approved when the current tenants’ lease runs out at the end of the year. This place is the top floor of a duplex, too, and the market estimates for the whole building are within our house-buying budget in the next couple years. In my dreamiest of dreams, we would buy the building and rent out the bottom floor; when my mother-in-law reaches a point where her apartment is no longer feasible, we could make room for her downstairs and the kids would get to spend more time with their abuela. ALL HYPOTHETICAL, but I’m reading “All In the family: A Practical Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living” and thinking the big thinks.

  • Kate

    I am feeling all the feelings. Mostly wedding zen I’m telling myself. Sometimes wedding giddy! We’re headed to setup and rehearsal- for our wedding tomorrow!!!!! Matt: “I feel like I have a big in my sock or I’m having a stroke.” I LOVE THIS MAN.

  • Mary

    Has anyone else seen this? Free vibrators for frustrated furloughed workers:


    • itsy bitsy


  • Ariel

    I’m going to a wedding tomorrow and it’s the last one I’m attending before mine! :-)

    I also have massive bruises on my arms and legs from an obstacle course 5k I ran last weekend, and am kinda freaking out about the sleeveless dress I’m wearing. Changing dresses is not an option as I LOVE the dress I have picked out. Any tips on hiding bruises?

    • My only suggestion is a sweater. I got a large, ugly bruise last year right before a wedding and tried covering it up with concealer/mineral powder foundation. It really did not work. It actually made it look much worse. You might have different results, but for me it was just bad.

      • Ariel

        Yeah I tried some concealer and it just looked bad. I plan on wearing a short sweater for the outdoor ceremony, but I plan on dancing like a fool during the reception. Sweater + my “dancing” = sweaty hot mess (without the sweater, I’d just be a regular hot mess).

    • KC

      Obstacle course: awesome. :-)

      Hiding bruises, maybe:
      1. concealer/makeup/stage-makeup (although probably different shades from what your face takes, unfortunately, and also watch out on the hugs; but makeup counter ladies might be able to help you with samples of the right colors for your arms to make the bruises look less… bruise-y, especially if you can go there not too long before the wedding [since bruises do that gradual color change thing])
      2. long-sleeve gloves, either fingerless or otherwise? (there are some *gorgeous* lace/netting fingerless full-arm gloves in history, although I have no idea where one would find them. Full-on fake tattoo sleeves or fake tattoos strategically placed over the bruises would also potentially be hilarious, depending on who you are and who the bride+groom are. :-) )
      3. cardigan/shrug (depending on weather) or carefully-arranged shawl/pashmina or giant pile of stacking bracelets (depending on where the bruises are and your personal style)

      If the bride and groom et al have the exact particular sort of sense of humor that this would not bug them in wedding photos, you could just wear them as badges of honor and take a pen (not a sharpie unless you want to be marked up for a long time…) and label each bruise with a little arrow and cause, like “zip line + tree = ouch” and “me vs. the climbing wall – you should see what *it* looks like” and “Failed to dodge one dodgeball” and “so I got a bruise, but I won!” and whatnot.

      Good luck! :-)

      • Ariel

        Hahaha, I love your pen idea! I would totally do that if it was a different couple. This is a family wedding (fiance’s cousin’s wedding) and there will be some family that haven’t seen my fiance and I since we got engaged and there might be some attention on us because we’re “next”. Or maybe no one will pay attention to us and I’m just crazy? I have no idea.

        The biggest bruise is right above my elbow on the inside of my arm (where I’m super pasty!) and concealer is making me look crazy orange. The bruise is in that annoying mostly dark purple with a lovely greenish ring around it :-)

        Right now I’m thinking of just wearing a short sweater (sleeves immediately above my elbow) until the reception and then hopefully people will be too drunk to care?

        • Trust, people will not. care. You will all be too busy catching up, eating, drinking, dancing, and congratulating the newlyweds!

          • Alison O

            Yeah, I mean if you imagine it’s somebody else there who has the bruises…I’m guessing you wouldn’t care any more than momentarily, were you to notice it consciously in the first place. People tend to think about and judge each other a lot less than they imagine others might do about them, at least when it comes to the superficial stuff. My zit? A catastrophe nobody can look away from. Somebody else’s zit? What zit? :-)

        • KC

          Sweater or similar ’til the reception sounds great. Receptions are usually a lot more casual. Definitely no one should be offended that you’re bruised.

          (note: there is a chance someone may imply/ask/joke re: domestic violence and/or bruise-causing cancer; the best way to deflect is probably to laugh it off and talk super-enthusiastically about the 5K but bemoan how the wall beat you up, rather than “getting defensive” in a more standard sense. If it’s a family wedding (and it sounds like it is…), it might be helpful to have a few key people know the Real Story Of Why You Are Bruised beforehand so they can correct any behind-the-hand concerns; it’s faster to get ahead of rumors than to catch up with them.)(maybe your family does not have an easily-confused grapevine that is likely to conclude it Has Concerns about your relationship [or health, or whatever][some of my people: if you blink four times in a row, you’re pregnant! Augh.]. But if a grapevine exists, populate the most prolific branches with the interesting truth ahead of time and there won’t be as much room for rumor…)

          And yes, in general, any given person’s concealer-or-makeup-for-face looks ridiculous on their arms, so you’re not alone! Generally people have very different skin colors between their face and arms (and, actually, different parts of your arms are also different colors… oy.) although it doesn’t come up/isn’t obvious until you’re doing this sort of thing (or doing age-increasing stage makeup or, um, trying to cover up Sharpie tattoos…), and since it’s not your wedding, I don’t think it’s worth going out and hunting down the perfect makeup to complement the skin on your arms to cover up the bruise. :-)

          (and also: I love that it was, in fact, the wall that got you. :-) But you beat it, right? :-) )

      • Ariel

        and it was totally the wall I had to climb over that did this to me!

    • Rebecca

      Personally I’d probably just be rooting for them to change into the appropriate colors to match my dress. But I’m weird like that.

      Rubbing/ massaging (assuming it’s not painful) can help bruises heal more quickly. I would probably manage to get makeup all over everything if I tried to conceal things, so I’d probably go with a cover-up for formal photos and just being my bad-ass bruised self in the other ones. Reception lighting tends to be pretty forgiving, anyhow.

      • True, true! I was taught to rub the bruise like I was gently brushing water off of myself.

      • Ariel

        bright orange bruises would be interesting…

        • Rebecca

          So clearly you want to shoot for the yellow ones and avoid the really spectacular yellow-purple-green gradient ones :P

          (between youth soccer and adult judo I’ve had far too much time to develop knowledge of bruise colors….although the gradients are always fun)

    • LittleBear09

      You might try a color correcting concealer. I think a really yellow and really peachy-pink might do it to cancel out the blueish purpleyness of a bruise.


    • Few things I did back in the derby days:

      -Arnica! Sometime you get amazing results.

      -Vinegar. Because you know, vinegar can be used in nearly every application in life.

      Good luck!

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        Vinegar? Really? Vinegar cleans everything!

        • I know! Crazy.

    • itsy bitsy

      1) Congratson running a 5k obstacle course!!

      2) I’ve heard really good things about Dermablend: http://www.dermablend.com/ It’s usually used to cover up tattoos, so in theory bruises should be easy-peasy. Not sure if it’s something you could pick up at a dept store but it’s worth a look?

    • Ariel

      Thanks, all! You’re awesome!

    • Jess

      Our obstacle course race got canceled by the shutdown, of all things. Didn’t see that one coming. Good luck with the bruises…I say go with the sweater and then let them fly free.

      I say this as someone with a 5 inch bruise on my leg right now. The lady giving me my pedicure laughed at me. :(

  • lady brett

    proud of my wife! not only did she get herself transferred out of her heinous prof’s class, but she’s gotten the offer to transfer extended to every student in the class! yay – the rest of the semester should be much calmer.

  • Cee

    I came to happy hour just to link the sex-positivity article. Glad that you guys are on the same page with Important Feminist Links! I found it really thought-provoking and brave. It reminded me of the backlash against Slutwalk. Anyone else?

  • AR

    Hello! My fiancé and I are planning our wedding for next July, and have most of the big things all sorted out. Now we’re trying to decide whether to hire a DOC or not. Neither one of us is entirely sure what benefit they’d bring, given that we’ve never had a wedding before. We met with one planner already, and although nice, she definitely didn’t convince us we need her. We are both very organized and have a lot of practice with detailed planning (although not weddings per se) and keeping track of a lot of balls in the air. My questions for the APW community are:

    1a. If you hired a DOC, did you think it was worth it?
    1b. And what did they DO for you, anyway?

    2. If you didn’t hire a DOC, do you wish you had?

    I really appreciate any opinions or suggestions you all can offer. Thanks so much!

    • I hired a two-person DOC team, and it was one of the best decisions we made. On the day of your wedding, the last thing you want to be worrying about is did the caterer remember the appetizers (ours didn’t, but our DOC got them to make new ones and got us a refund for the appetizers they didn’t bring).

      Basically our coordinators were there to execute the planning we spent almost two years doing. They also solved problems as they came up, and acted as the point of contact for everyone. It’s a highly stressful, emotion-filled day, and being able to hand your plans to someone else is very important to insure you’re actually able to focus on getting married. It doesn’t have to be a paid person, but there needs to be someone.

      • Rowany

        First, I didn’t hire a coordinator because we had a 2 day DIT wedding in the mountains. But, we did have 2 friends coordinating as well as many more helping with setting up and cleaning up. I don’t regret my choice but it did make me really appreciate the value of a DOC if we had had a ‘normal’ wedding.

        If you are organized, the next question is if you have people among your cadre who, when given a well-organized detailed plan of the day, can execute it and deal with unexpected disasters/contingencies. Preferably someone not in your wedding party who already had a wedding or who has a background in logistics and planning. Because on the day of, it doesn’t matter if YOU are organized; you will be too busy getting married!

        Also, are there any logistics or details that need to be taken care of at the wedding, that aren’t covered by any of the vendors or assigned helpers that would help you out a lot (setting up/cleaning up)? That can help you get an idea of the ‘value’ you’d get from a DOC.

    • LM

      I hired a DOC and thought it was totally worth it. I hired her about a month out after getting stressed out about all the little remaining details. I am really organized but it was nice to not have to think about the annoying things. Before I hired her, I sent her a list of what was left to be done (arranging catering details for rehearsal dinner, finalizing orders, making decisions about the space, etc) and we agreed on which ones she would assist with. It was nice to have her when doing some final vendor meetings/walk through because she was better about clearly stating what we wanted when I felt awkward saying it. She was incredibly helpful on the actual day as well, smoothly facilitating everything and making sure everything got set up as specified. She even brought static spray stuff which I absolutely needed after getting out of the car. I felt like I didn’t have to remember anything and could just focus on getting married and being with my family and friends.

    • I think it depends on the kind of wedding you’re having, the number of moving parts there are to deal with and your expectations for how much you’re going to want to be involved in the logistics on the day, vs. floating around in a blissful we’re-getting-married/we-got-married! cloud. We did not hire a DOC because our wedding was small and we made a lot of choices along the way to keep it simple. We had the ceremony and reception in the same site, so no need to coordinate travel arrangements from place to place. The venue did its own catering, including table/chair/linen rentals, so that was off our shoulders. We didn’t have a wedding party, so didn’t have a complicated timeline for day-of activities/photos/etc; did our own ipod playlist, so didn’t need to wrangle a DJ; the venue was so pretty that we basically just had tealights on the tables for decor, so that took like … fifteen minutes before the ceremony started. I totally agree that you don’t want to be stressing over details on the day of, but if your wedding is anything like mine, there just won’t be much to stress about, because you’ll have set it up that way.

    • AR

      Thanks Hannah, Rowany, LM, and Liz for these comments! Your experiences have helped to clarify my thinking quite a lot. I don’t know for sure what we’ll do yet, but I feel better prepared to make a decision now.

  • Alix

    I’ve been married for 3 weeks tomorrow, and I fly home from my honeymoon in less than 48 hours. MASSIVE SAD FACE. We’ve had 2+ weeks traipsing around Scandinavia and it has been the best trip I’ve ever had. I mean, part of me is excited to get back to our “real” married life back home but most of me is pretty damn sad.

    If you have any tips for easing the end of awesome vacation blues I would love to hear them.

    • Casey

      I was in a similar situation about a month ago! I don’t have a ton of advice, just that it will take time to adjust back to real life, and it’s ok to be cranky about it. We have been trying to plan little things to look forward to, just to keep it exciting: get-togethers with friends, date nights, etc. Hang in there!!

      • Alix

        Thank you! That is a great idea to keep in mind.

    • For me, filling up my social calendar for the few weeks right after I got back from my honeymoon was important. One of the things I loved most about the wedding was having all my favorite people around, and I felt lonely when it was all over.

    • jashshea

      Get the trip pictures online asap so you can share them w/people. When we came back from NZ we were exhausted, but went out for drinks with friends w/in 48 hours just so we could start to feel normal again.

      (this wasn’t our best financial moment, but we also had a Xmas trip planned after our 3-week November honeymoon – took the edge off a little)

  • My week has been great–so busy, but great! I have a ton of sessions that I’m trying to wrap up with families and couples before we head out on the road for our winter trip in the Airstream trailer.

    So a few things–first, I shot 3 awesome engagement sessions this week (2 APW couples, who, of course, were the best ones!) and a boudoir session. Let me just say–OMG, I LOVE shooting boudoir! It is SO fun. If you’re thinking of getting a boudoir session, but haven’t done it yet, book one IMMEDIATELY. Seriously. I actually really want to have one done of myself, and was thinking of asking Maddie to do it when we are in CA in the Airstream this Spring…we shall see if I’m brave enough!

    Now I have a cold, though, I think I’m burning the candle at too many ends. We’re shooting a wedding tomorrow (another APW couple) and it’s right down the street form my house, so we could even walk!

    Also, we are doing a promo film this weekend–so like a friend of a friend who makes films is coming to meet with us, shoot us while we shoot the wedding and some other sessions and then interview us. The idea is that this video can go on my website to introduce couples to us, blah blah blah. But I’m sort of freaking out because I’m totally used to being on the OTHER side of the camera and now I have to figure out what to wear! I am not feeling totally confident about my looks/body lately (which is ridic, I know, but it’s true)–so any suggestions on what will look great or what will look horrible? Please help!

    • MK

      Do you have recommendations for finding a reputable and respectable boudoir photographer, or is it the standard “google and reviews” approach? (Sadly I live too far away from you!)

    • I’ve been married for all of five minutes (it seems like, ha) but am already toying with the idea of a boudoir session for a first anniversary gift! But it feels so intimidating – our home is not the most beautiful setting, and I don’t have the most creative wardrobe, and I guess I’m just not confident I can make it pretty and special. Are there any common threads between your favorite boudoir shoots?

      • Cee

        You know what APW should do sometime? A post with tips for a boudoir shoot! And then maybe a post written by someone grappling with body image issues, to represent the spectrum. I would loooove something like this.

    • Jess

      Sounds like fun! I would just make sure you don’t wear anything you have to pull at: pants that needs to get tugged up, shirts that ride up, bra straps that fall down, shirts that fall open too far when you lean over, cardigans that fall off your shoulders, skirts that blow too much. Even hair, if you have some that normally falls in your face, twist it in a cute way and pin it back. You can always tell when someone looks uncomfortable in a video if they’re tugging or pulling on their clothes. Plus, I think most people do those things more than they realize in real life.

      Good luck!!

  • Rachel

    I just wanted to share an article I read the other day, in response to the link you shared about sex-positive feminism. It’s called 8 Ways to be Positive You’re Sex-Positive – and it gives a much broader definition of sex-positive feminism than the Huffington Post article does (and a definition I agree with a lot more than the ideas referenced in HuffPost). Worth reading! http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-05-09/8-ways-to-be-positive-youre-sex-positive/

  • Jen

    Ladies, in honour of feminism month, a great article by activist Laurie Pennie



  • The new APW Nashville group is meeting at Sip Cafe tomorrow afternoon! Find our group on facebook if you’re in the area!

  • Last night I threw a wake for Keyword Data. (So sorry, this is nerdiest thing ever.) Through our collective efforts as a company, we ended up with 10 satellite wakes to compliment ours in Denver. Beirut, Milan, London, Panama and then some scattered across the US. It was hilarious and I am so proud. You can see our site that got some traction at http://www.keywordwake.com Also, the SEO community can be hilarious when making fun of themselves. :) Happy weekend!

  • LittleBear09

    We have an appointment to get our engagement pictures taken (with an APW vendor!) on Tuesday! Yaaaaaay. :)

  • This week has been a mixed bag.

    The good: I met my goal of doing 90 minutes of yoga every day, so I’m 5 days into my 30 day personal challenge. I feel way better already! I also am shooting a wedding tomorrow with people who are really, really wonderful.

    The bad: I drove 8 hours last weekend right after shooting all day to get to one of my best friend’s wedding. We were too exhausted to drive straight through and stopped over for the night, and we missed the ceremony by 30 minutes. I felt like a giant tool, and suddenly worried that everyone there would think we were jerks who didn’t care about the wedding and just came for the party. (Even though I knew on a logical level that made no sense. The bride and I lived together for 2 years in college and had the same major. We lived in Germany together. We have a long history together, and she knew how badly we wanted to be there. She also wasn’t able to make our wedding because of circumstances outside their control.) After getting to the ceremony late, we got back into our car where I burst into tears. Then, our car broke down and we had to wait 4 hours for the rental company to bring us a new one. Although it all ended well, with lots of hugs, tears, and kind of bad dance moves, it was trying.

    Also, 3rd Ward in Brooklyn shut down this week. We were huge, huge, huge fans of them, and we gave them a lot of money and told a lot of people to use them. They shut down a workshop/studio/coworking/class space with hundreds of members, and they didn’t even tell people it was happening until 3 hours after they locked the doors. They also were selling year long, pre-paid memberships right up until they closed, and they refuse to refund anyone’s money. They had been expanding in crazy ways for a while (opening a swanky restaurant in their building, plus a culinary school AND a Philly location.) There was no hint anything was amiss, and they even started offering “investment opportunities” to accredited investors just a few weeks ago. (Not mentioning that if they didn’t hit their fundraising mark, the whole thing would be shut down.) The whole situation was really shady and really badly managed, and we both were angry and hurt. We felt betrayed. There are very few companies I’ll evangelize about (basically the list is 3rd Ward and APW), so this came as a real shock.

  • Alix

    My best friend didn’t make my wedding(which was out of town for her). It wasn’t because of emergency/crisis type reasons. More personality/I didn’t plan ahead/whoops now I can’t afford it even though I knew your wedding date for a year type reasons.

    I managed to put it out of my mind for my wedding day and had an amazing time, but now that things have slowed down, I can’t help dwelling on it. It’s especially rough because three weeks before that I got to her wedding which was out of town and not easy to get to for me and helped her have a wonderful day. I know friendship is totally not a competition, but it still hurts because of this in particular.

    I guess I’m just hoping for some advice on how to get past this. I don’t think yelling at her will help. I sort of think it will be hard for our friendship to go back to what it was before. But I also don’t want to cut her out my life completely as well, you know?

    • jashshea

      Didn’t happen to me, but happened to a guy friend of mine. He had a small destination wedding and a close friend of his from grade school super flaked and didn’t make it. Friend was PISSED, but waited a bit and then sat the guy down and real-talked him (You’re a grown up and this was an important event for someone you say you care about and you should have a) been there or b) told me beforehand). I thought he handled it well, but the directness is something that may scare off some audiences.

      But you have to talk to her about it. Can’t let it fester. Good luck!

  • Heather

    After a panicky moment of calling a nearby hotel and finding out that the convention center a block away from our venue has booked a ton of rooms there for our initial wedding date, we switched to the following weekend and have an actual wedding date! (woo)

    Now we just need to take care of all of the other wedding things- next on our list is finding a photographer. I wish there were more APW vendors that work in Houston- anyone have recommendations for good photographers in the Houston area that charge less than $2500? I definitely understand why good photographers charge so much for their work, and it is one of the things that’s important to me, but I also understand that my budget would not work well going with someone more expensive than that.

    Unrelated, but I know there are a fair amount of science/ grad students ladies on here, so I’m offering up this article I read recently on women in science: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/magazine/why-are-there-still-so-few-women-in-science.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    In some ways, many of the stories were not things I could relate to (in a good way), since I can only recall one person in hs or college telling me I shouldn’t be a doctor because I’m a girl, but really don’t remember any discouragement from going into science as a kid, and have never felt ashamed or weird about telling folks that I was going into science. Or that it kept me from getting dates, although maybe all this is how I’ve rewritten my history in my head. However, I do find myself often feeling that I’m not good enough or that I don’t have what it takes to be successful in science, and I’m probably doing much better than I perceive myself to be. And yes, I do think that I need to work on being less emotional and am pretty embarrassed about the number of times I’ve cried in front of my boss/labmates (stereotypical feminine behavior = unprofessional). Also, I feel like the article/interviewees glosses over issues with work-life balance and that that is a huge detriment to many women in grad school/postdocs looking forwards to what faculty positions require these days and deciding its not for us.

    • Julia Canuck

      Thanks for sharing this article. I work in a male dominated field, and I’m also part time student- just starting to work on my thesis on this very topic.

  • Jessica

    Hi! A little late to the party today but…next weekend my parents and L’s parents are meeting for the first time (they don’t live in the same country). It will also be the best chance that L and I have to discuss budget, guest list, venue, and all those major decisions that shape a wedding. So…what should L and I talk about before the parents arrive? What should we talk about with my parents? What should we talk about with all the parents? And maybe just as important: what DOESN’T need to be discussed with all the parents? :)

    • Emily H

      I would recommend talking about budget separately so either set doesn’t feel pressured or one-upped by the other if they plan on contributing financially. In general, I would probably discuss most of the wedding stuff with the sets of parents separately so that they can freely voice what they feel are really important traditions, how they’d like to be included, etc. I could imagine awkward or tense situations if your parents had really opposing visions. I’d focus the first meeting on getting to know each other in a low-pressure way.

      • KC

        I totally agree with this, and would add that it’d be good for the two of you to be on the same page on whatever you each consider the most important before talking with parents – if there are things that Will Be Done This Way (church wedding vs. outdoor wedding) and are not up for compromise, you want to both be aware of that so you can present a united “this is what we’re going to do” front if those come up.

        But this is only important on issues where a) one of you feels very strongly and b) some parents are likely to disagree. (small wedding means that the 30 cousins are not invited; religious components; we’re having pie instead of cake, and that’s final; whatever is non-negotiable for you) These things don’t have to be brought up at this time – it’s just if they do come up, it’s easier if you’re both sending the same “this is already decided” message instead of accidentally agreeing to something the other isn’t okay with.

    • scw

      get the APW book! it discusses this subject.

  • amy

    We got our engagement pictures taken about a month ago and when we got the preview back, I burst into tears and emphatically stated to FH that I hated the photos.

    Some soul searching led us to have a conversation with our photographer who graciously welcomed our feedback and made some edits to the photos. Although I like them now, I’m not like WOW when I look at them. I don’t know how much of this is just my own insecurity and self-consciousness about seeing photos of myself OR how much of it is actually HM, these photos? Also, I wore some new things that did not fit well and were not the right color for me – maybe that’s influencing my opinion of the pics. To be fair, there are like 8 or so of them that I really do like a great deal.

    We both ADORE our photographer and like quite a bit of her other work as it’s natural and genuine without feeling super posed or glam.

    Just lingering feelings of uncertainty here.

    Is this normal? Help…

    • Libby

      So you like 8 of them? Great! That’s really all you need. Print and frame those, use them on your STD’s, wedding website, social media, etc. No need to show off the photos you didn’t love.

      I had a very similar experience with my clothing choice, photographer taking feedback, and our poses. Think of it as a trial run. There were still a handful that I LOVED, and looking back- that’s all that I needed. What really, could I do with 80+ photos of me and my husband in different lovey-dovey poses wearing the same set of clothes? Also, looking at them a few months later, I liked them much better than I did when I received them.

      Help your photographer by giving her feedback on what you really do like, things that you are insecure about/would like her assistance on (for me, poor posture and double chins are unfortunately present in many of my photos).

  • Libby

    I’m so curious about your feelings towards Jezebel. I used to have that site bookmarked on my toolbar, and read it every day for over a year. Then one day I made a conscious decision to stop. I realized that reading it daily made me feel bitter, angry, and even more sarcastic than normal (which is saying something). Also there were harsh things going on in the comments. (Maybe the culture has changed, I stopped visiting regularly 2 years ago).

    I don’t say this to diss the site or because I dislike it or the writers. I read articles that are linked to, and I’ll very occasionally visit.

    I’ve wondered if I’m the only one who’s had this reaction.

    • Jessica B

      I definitely have that feeling, and don’t read all the articles like I used to. This summer they had a lot of wedding hate, too. I started reading about 3 years ago, and feel that the writing quality has gone way down.

      • Libby

        I think when you’re highlighting injustice, it’s easy to get angry and down on the world. I believe that if they could focus on being a positive force for change, they’d win me back. (Which, coincidentally, is why I love APW).

  • My sister in law’s baby shower is today. My husband and I leave for our IVF trip in less than two weeks. I’m trying very hard tone excited about this shower for me future nephew, but it’s so conflicting, because playing games about babies s just so so so no no no. And now I’m feeling guilty and wondering if we should have bought her more stuff from her registry as proactive penance for any weirdness on our part. Except we’re broke (see: IVF).

    But if I throw in a Sophie the Giraffe she will love me and forgive me, whereas if I stick with the dinosaur booties the cleaning supplies the lion toy and the safari sheets she might not, right?

    Gift giving love language me is having a hard time here. Blah.

    • That’ll teach me to type on my (work) iPad! Eyeshadow.


      Yeesh, my iPad autocorrects yeesh to eyeshadow apparently.

      • KC

        Autocorrect is amazing. Not necessarily good amazing.

  • Apples

    I quit on “our” house renovations yesterday. The fiance and I are moving in in 7 weeks, and all of the trim and windowsills need to be sanded and painted. He lives 500 miles away and is visiting this weekend. I’ve been trying to handle all of the DIY painting (which I have no natural talent at, though I’ve now painted the walls and ceilings of an entire house), and choosing all those random things like color of outlets and cabinet hardware. Done. So I had a mild panic attack, which my fiance was a wonderful help with, and then told my father and the contractor that I couldn’t handle it, and I am burnt out. I usually avoid conflict (which I’m working on), and at the ripe age of 22 and just out of college it was a huge deal for me. Phew!