APW Happy Hour

The one with the DIY photoshoot!

Hey APW,

Five and a half years ago (the mind boggles) I started this blog as a little blogspot site. I’d do things like troll the internet for pictures of centerpieces that seemed both do-able and affordable, and then post pictures. So it felt like a huge deal that we spent the first three days of this week doing a photo-shoot of non-floral centerpieces to bring you guys. Instead of collecting pictures, we were MAKING pictures. Better yet, I was doing it with three women who started reading the site right when I started it. We obviously had a blast.

Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding (11)

On Tuesday, at lunch, I was reminiscing about how I met each of the ladies. Maddie (now APW Managing Editor), didn’t have any friends getting married, so she decided she would just be friends with me. She’d send me emails that said things like, “I know you just took the leap to ask for help, so you’re probably not looking for anybody new just yet, but if you ever just get tired of looking at angry e-mails, I’d totally be your lady. In other news, I just realized you went to NYU too.” Then one day she sent me her wedding, and she led with, “But that’s the thing that I love about APW. Just when I feel like maybe I don’t belong in the wedding blog community because my wedding didn’t include enough details and pretty things (not a type A), you go and post about lazy, yet blogworthy weddings.” (Side note: Maddie is so type A she makes me look downright lazy, so who knows what the hell she was talking about.) Michelle Edgemont, who flew in from Brooklyn just to play with us, is now a wedding designer and florist. But back in the day, she sent me an email about her wedding where she told me that her pastor faced AWAY from the congregation, and she was still mildly annoyed. And then there is Allison Andres, our now-DIY-photographer, who I met for the first time at the first APW book club, and I remember being gushingly nice to me.

So it was pretty amazing to get all of those women together in a studio, and learn a bunch of new things. (How to take photos on a backdrop! Prop styling! More!) And in case you’re wondering what behind the scenes at an APW photo-shoot looks like, it’s more or less like this:

Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding (5)

With a week like that, the four of us have climbed into our pajamas, and might not get out of them till Monday. Except, I get to take the baby to his first ever Halloween party (last year I was having contractions), so I guess I’ll get out of bed after all.

In the meantime, it’s your open thread, hop on it!


P.S. I’m looking for blogs to help me sort out my fashion. Like, what’s a good way to think about shopping? How should I store my clothes so I see them easily? Real world questions like that. When you haven’t seen your winter clothes in two years, and you threw a bunch of them that you always hated out, these are the questions you’re left with. Suggestions?? (I love street style blogs, but I think we can all agree most of us don’t dress like fashion editors on the day to day.) Help a girl out!


Highlights of APW This Week

We talked about how to talk about sex (baby).

That time when I spent a whole afternoon shopping for hip flower girl dresses.

Aly’s thoughts on DOMA and her marriage legalization gave me chills. Aly’s writing always gives me chills. She’s my favorite. (You’re my other favorite, don’t worry.)

At the end of our shoot this week we had a happy little feminist playlist dance party.

Who hasn’t woken up from a dream and looked at their partner and been like… damn. I love you, but just one minute ago…

Being religiously conservative and feminist.

Pretty pictures of Maddie alert! Also, the best wedding dress shop in the Bay Area.

Link Roundup

A super smart story by The New York Times about, of all things, the selfie.

My favorite article of the week is this The New York Times piece about the new female authenticity. But I don’t just like it for what it says about being pretty. “Women are allowed to do big things, but must do them fully leaned-in, hands raised, having it all. What remains impregnable to them are those refuges that shelter so many men: ordinariness and muddling through.” You guys? I’m can’t even wrap my head around how much intensive mothering I’m supposed to do, when I also have a (very) full time job. I’m really happy with my mothering. And then I realize I can’t even sign up for a baby music class in December, because they are SEMESTER LONG CLASSES ONLY. What?

And speaking of the domestic arts, where I could clearly currently use some help: the case for the revival of the most retro class in school: home economics. (While my cooking is sadly rusty right now, I learned how to sew as soon as I could reach the machine, and I’m glad.)

Of course Maddie submitted this unironically. Of course Lucy knew it was a spoof. Of course the baby will be listening to it at bedtime from now on.

Can the Ms. Veteran America pageant just replace…. every other pageant ever?

Oh god, the Men’s Rights Movement. For the past decade I keep trying to pretend it doesn’t exist, or isn’t horrifying. And then I remember that the awesome men I know who are working to loosen gender expectations and make the world a better place for men… often call themselves feminists.

“You’re too pretty to be gay” is never a compliment. And in that same vein, an (ironically) beautiful article asks, will women ever have the freedom to be ugly?

Photos from the shoot by Allison Andres and Maddie

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  • Allie

    Hey y’all – on the tail-end of feminism month (and following that great post re: square pegs earlier this week), I have a quandry that I’d like to crowd-source…

    A good friend recently had a baby in May (adorable as all get out) and went back to work last month. Recently, she dropped this “difference feminism” bombshell on me, saying that there are some roles that women are better situated for then men, and vice versa, and that we as a society have become two income households, but at what cost to the family and children… I have so many issues with this viewpoint (heteronormative, classist, plain-ol’ sexist – I suspect it’s not her partner who’s first in line to stay home for the good of the children) because feminism should be about choices – making them according to what works for you and your family, and not assigning expectations or stereotypes to an entire gender.

    Now, practically – I suspect she’s having internal struggles with always having assumed she’d want to go back to work when she had children, but now that she’s in that position, all she wants is to stay home with her baby. And that’s okay! (My issue is the same expectations for all thing.) So, half of this spiel was definitely to vent my frustration, but half is to honestly crowd-source thoughts on how I can support her (while pointing out that it’s totally feminist for her to stay home with her kid, if that’s what works for them, but arguing that all women are better suited than men to be caregivers is bogus)?


    • meg

      I wanna point out that there are probably hormones at play, which are crazy insane during the early months (and still, nearing the one year mark). I actually, literally, truly, respond differently to the kid than David does, because we have a hormonal loop going on. (Nursing babies can smell their mom’s at some huge difference and vice versa.) So there is some crazy science at play.

      The trick, I think, is to maybe help her sort out what’s biological, what’s cultural, and what’s plain old personal, with the knowledge that these things shift and change over time. And of course re-affirm that it’s totally feminist for her to stay home with her kid. But I think you can do that and still challenge her on the assertion that “there are some roles that women are better situated for then men,” etc. Which I honestly think is as damaging to men as to women. (Poor dads get cut out of so much caregiving.)

    • Elena

      Gah! I am pretty much your friend, except kinda the opposite. I figured I’d love staying at home with Littles, but in fact, my mind is all like, GO GET A JOB. Part of that impulse for me is the crazy-talk voice in my head that says that I am not contributing to the family if I am not earning money, which we all know is some crazy, probably sexist, bullshit that I’ve internalized from a culture that really doesn’t support, you know, human connection in general, particularly if fostering that human connection has been the historic responsibility of women. But part of it is that I am kinda going a bit crazy in the full-time Mom role, and I sure wouldn’t mind if Littles spent some time yelling at someone else for part of the day.

      I am really struggling with how differently I feel about being a new mom versus how I *thought* I’d feel, though. It sounds like your friend may also be struggling with that worst of comparisons: how I actually feel vs. how I thought I’d feel. Lots of crazy thoughts can occur to a person when those two things are far apart.

      I second Meg’s advice to try to help her sort out what’s going on for her in terms of cultural/biological/personal, then to give her a big hug (and probably some coffee, too, ’cause she’s tired, yo), and to reiterate to her that doing what works for her and her family is fine and feminist. You can do all that while still gently challenging the idea that women are generally better at being care-givers, but I would spend most of that conversation just trying to help your friend unravel her thoughts and feelings. If, as you suspect, she’s primarily having an internal struggle about wanting to stay with her kiddo, then she may just be reaching for a framework to support that decision. If you can give her another, different, feminist framework that supports her desire to stay at home, then she may change her rhetoric.

      • meg

        This is all really good advice. I’m a lot like you Elena. I’ve done daycare my whole life, you’d think I’d LOVVVVVEEEEE being home all day with the baby. But I really need him to go to another set of hands for part of the day. Luckily, he needs that too, but it can be a bit of a mind fuck, particularly because it changes all the time. Right now I’m working too much, and really missing seeing him more. You know. All over the place. Hopefully next month I’ll see him more, and then maybe I’ll miss more daycare. WHO KNOWS.

        • Elena

          Yay for just effing figuring it out as you go along. My husband and I regularly drink to Making Changes Until It Works. Side note: when I was pregnant, someone once asked me if I had a parenting philosophy in mind; I said, “Winging it.” Most prescient thing I’ve ever said regarding parenting. (I mean, really winging it is my *life* strategy, so it was a no-brainer that it would also be my parenting “philosophy.” P.S. Ask me how I feel about having a “philosophy” for navigating a relationship with a person I hadn’t even met yet. Never mind. I’ll just go ahead and tell you that I think it’s a little silly.)

          • meg

            Yeah. Mine too.

          • Kate

            I saw this quote go by on tumblr the other day and found it pretty hilarious:

            “Raising a child is like taking care of someone who’s on way too many shrooms, while you yourself are on a moderate amount of shrooms. I am not confident in my decisions, but I know you should not be eating a mousepad.”

            It’s apparently Ron Finches, I don’t know who that is, but it sounds a lot like “winging it.” :)

          • I may not have kids, but I totally think winging it is a sound life philosophy. :)

      • never.the.same

        Maybe remind her that feminism is about making the best choice for you (who happens to be a woman), not every woman (one of which just happens to be you).

        Also, remind her that she can be a feminist and make a non-feminist choice for herself and we won’t revoke her card. Her card only gets revoked when she makes choices for other women (just because they are women).

        And coffee!

        • Allie

          Thanks gals – all wonderful input. I think a supportive re-framing, perhaps over a coffee, is just the ticket.

          Never.The.Same – excellent point re: revoking feminist credentials – love it!

          Meg – I could not agree more that the women as better caregivers is SO damaging, and demeaning, to Dads.

          On a similar note to the Dad thing, and to the MRA link above, Jaclyn Friedman wrote a great piece in the American Prospect this week on how the MRA movement is actually MORE damaging to men and boys: http://prospect.org/node/218989

    • Rachel

      I have to say that as a Canadian who will receive a full year of mat leave supplemented by my government (no where near what I would normally earn but enough to buy groceries with) I really believe that American women face this dilemma so much earlier than they should have to. A four or five month old baby is probably best taken care of by a parent at home (if that’s the biological mother or an adoptive mother), not so much for the health of the baby but for their mental health too! Going back to work with an infant at home seems like such a difficult choice (lots of women here have to go back early as well but at least employers here expect mothers to take a full year). I can only imagine the physical and emotional side effects of having to drop your infant off at daycare when you really would rather be home. At least here your job, a portion of your income and all of your benefits are protected for a full year- whether you decide to take that full year is up to you (and here dad’s and adoptive parents are equally entitled to take 37 of those 52 weeks- I think they should be entitled to the full 52 but that’s another argument for another day).

      I am all for parents determining who out of the two (if that is the scenario) has the desire and ability to stay home with a toddler. But I think deciding who should stay home with an infant is a totally different discussion. At 1 year old or even 8 months old, I can happily leave my child with my hubby (who will make an awesome SAHD) knowing that I pumped or breastfed or oversaw formula feeding for a full year.

      American feminists need to rally together and increase mat leave for families. Deciding to leave your infant in someone else’s care is an impossible choice and isn’t very liberating to anyone. If it works for you, great. But if it doesn’t, you aren’t really left with many choices- give up your career or leave an infant in someone else’s care? Not fair.

    • J

      “Recently, she dropped this “difference feminism” bombshell on me, saying that there are some roles that women are better situated for then men, and vice versa, and that we as a society have become two income households, but at what cost to the family and children…”

      In response to perspectives like that one, I find it really helpful to remember a statement I learned somewhere along the way, probably in a science class: Differences within (human) populations are almost always more significant that differences between populations. So for instance, men, as a population, are, on average, taller than women. But the height difference between men, on average, and women, on average, is probably something like 5 inches, while the difference in height between the tallest man and the shortest man is several feet. As such, if someone asked you to guess whether Random Man is taller or shorter than Random Woman, it might be perfectly reasonable to guess taller, but you certainly wouldn’t want to make public policy based on the assumption that all men are tall and all women are short.

      In your friend’s case, it *might* be reasonable to say that women, on average, are more interested in/better suited to the role of primary caretaker for small children. However, that means nothing about the particular man and particular woman involved in any single heterosexual parenting relationship, and so we certainly shouldn’t make public policy (or sweeping statements) based on that assumption. On the other hand, if it’s true in her particular family, then they should absolutely make family decisions based on that reality! But they should be making those decisions because it’s what’s right for them as individuals, not what’s right for them as a man and a woman.

      (Note: I’d argue that, if it’s true that the average woman is better suited to child-raising than the average man, a lot of that is due to socialization, not innate differences, but I certainly acknowledge and hormones and such do play into this, and I also think you don’t necessarily have to go there with her to make the point that just because something is right for her, or even for many women, doesn’t mean it’s Right for Women as a group.)

  • I got married a little bit over a month ago, and I’m debating on what to do with my wedding dress. I have no desire to keep it (it’s enormous!), but since I only paid $500 for it, I don’t think I could get much for it. I’d like to give it to someone. Any APW ladies know someone in the Pacific Northwest looking for a dress? Here are a few pics of it: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/238831586462502261/

    It’s a size 12, but due to the corseted style, it would fit someone slightly larger or slightly smaller.

    Also, I would love to hear what other APW readers did with their dresses.

    • MC

      Not in the market for a dress, BUT I wanted to say that I LOVE Hood River and I bet it would be a beauuuuutiful place to get married. Congrats! I’m a former PNW resident, and today is an unseasonably rainy day here in the southwest so I am full of PNW nostalgia.

      • Hood River was the perfect place to get married! We live in Portland, and it was so nice to have a semi-destination wedding.

        • K.

          Seconded on the location love! I moved away from Portland 2+ years ago and I’m always so jealous/admiring of all PNW weddings. But Hood River in particular sends a pang to my heart! Your photos are beautiful – what a lovely wedding!

          • Hannah

            Thank you!

    • First of all, congrats on getting married!! My husband and I recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary and I still have both of my wedding dresses in my hall closet. (Yes, I have two. No, I only wore one. The first one was… a long story.)

      Anyway, I am in a similar situation. I bought Dress #1 on PreownedWeddingDresses.com for $300 and it’s in near perfect condition, but I didn’t wear it b/c I had some crazy health stuff happen and it didn’t fit. I bought dress #2 for around $550 from DB and it’s been altered within an inch of its life because again, crazy health stuff happened and it didn’t fit.

      Now, I have two dresses and I struggle with what to do with them. I definitely want to get Dress #1 back on PreownedWeddingDresses.com to at least see if I can get back the $300 I paid for it (it’s a Maggie Sottero and they’re still making the style, so I think someone will want it). I really love my gown that I wore and even though it’s completely impractical to keep it, I can’t give it up yet.

      So, I would at least recommend putting it up on PreownedWeddingDresses just to see if anyone is interested in it, and you can maybe get a little cash for it. I also did a quick search to see what could come up for people who wanted to donate their gowns:

      http://www.donatemyweddingdress.org/ has a bunch of organizations that take donated gowns, ranging from military brides to cancer patients.

      Huffington Post also ran a short article:


      I’d love to hear what you chose to do with it!

      • Yeah, I thought about this. Although, I’m not really committed to getting any money back. I could donate it to an organization, but it would be so great to give it to an individual. There are also local consignment places, but I think by the time I paid to have it cleaned and repaired (a small snap broke) that it would be so little money. It just seems better to find someone to give it to.

    • Sarah NCtoPA

      My dress was a $500 special at a discount store. Many “charity” donation groups skim about 50% of the top, charge some kind of processing fee (which they ask you to chip in for), and also encourage you to clean the dress. For the cost and time of me to mail it, didn’t seem worth it. I donated it to a non-profit theater group and got a very nice letter (tax donation too!) and the specific Gilbert and Sullivan production they plan to use it in.

    • Vee

      I’m in the P N DUBZ! Planning our Vancouver (BC) wedding next summer which takes place in our front yard.

      I’m now certain that I’m too tall (cursed!) to wear 99% of the pre-owned gowns out there but your pics are STUNNING! I just wanted to say that I think it’s so cool you’re willing to give the dress away!! You’re awesome!

      • Hannah

        That’s so awesome! I love BC. If you hear about anyone looking for a dress, be sure to let me know!

      • Aubry

        side comment to say I am also a tall woman getting married in (north) Vancouver BC next summer in a back yard! Fist bump :)

    • Liz

      In Ann Arbor there is a great organization called The Brides Project, which accepts donated wedding gowns. All proceeds from their sales support the cancer community in Ann Arbor. Maybe there’s something similar near you!

    • Rachel

      Here in Toronto there is an awesome charity that accepts the donations of wedding dresses and resells them to other brides to raise money for charity. It may have only cost $500 but I’ll bet it was beautiful and there may be someone out there who would love to have it.

  • Magdalena

    I think Cupcakes and Cashmere has pretty good tips when it comes to fashion. She shops some expensive brands but she has very good tips on what is worth it to splurge in or not, and about organization. Check it out, it might be useful!


    • Jenny

      I like http://www.puttingmetogether.com/
      specifically some of the how to sections like building a remixable wardrobe and wardrobe from scratch (which are on tabs at the top of her site).
      I also like the archives of academic chic especially their color wheel stuff http://www.academichic.com/
      and the greatest hits from are nice. http://www.alreadypretty.com/greatest-hits

      I also follow the casual chic board on pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/rosefrey/casual-chic/), but there are tons of “niche” fashion pin boards that are more about wearable fashion and I found poking around in them and following ones that I liked to be helpful when I was trying to refind/redefine my style.

      I’ve had friends who tried and liked
      http://gochicorgohome.com/pub/about (I joined it it wasn’t really for me, but ymmv)
      and https://stitchfix.com/ (which is sort of like a birch box of clothes, only they send you stuff and you send back what you don’t want?) I haven’t done it but friends have had rave reviews.

      • I second both Putting Me Together, and gcogh. I don’t always fall under her style preferences (hate pencil skirts ect), but she gives lots of great ideas for casual workwear.

      • CeeBeeUK

        I miss academichic so much, I wish they’d come back. Or find new bloggers or something.

  • I’m not even engaged but I am making the wedding cakes for my friends’ wedding this weekend! It’s my first time doing it and I’m super nervous! The cakes are all baked and in my freezer and tomorrow is frost/fill day. I’m confident I’ve made something SUPER tasty, but less confident I can put everything together and transport it properly.

    So, just sending out a random internet excited/scared AAAAH!

    (PS if anyone is interested in some delicious cake recipes(especially chocolate and pumpkin spice), I’ve linked all of them from here: http://marisaenplace.com/baking-wedding-cakes-the-tasting/)

    • Congrats to you!! I bet it’ll turn out amazing. I just got paid for the first time this week for a batch of cupcakes I made and I’ve been super squeally all week.

      • Marisa

        Congrats on your first official cupcake sale! What kind did you make?

        • Addie

          Mojito Cupcakes with Rum Buttercream. Chock full of alcohol. They were delicious.

    • Emmy

      It’ll be awesome! I made our wedding cake. Just take your time and go slow. Also, I had really good luck dipping the offset spatula in warm water to finish the frosting. It’s makes it smooth like Barry White!

      • Marisa

        Yeah, That definitely works with the cream cheese frosting for the pumpkin spice, but I tried it with the swiss buttercream and it was less successful. I think the swiss buttercream just can’t handle tons of extra moisture!

    • Kelli B

      Yay for making your first wedding cake! What a fantastic gift for your friends. I made my own and people though I was crazy. I did a dark chocolate chipotle cinnamon cake with mouseline buttercream. It was a little touch and go with the icing the day before but it came out fine.

  • Laura C

    You guys, I cannot even tell you what a long week this has been. We had a “retreat” at work which involved spending a week in a house with six of my coworkers (well, five after one went to sleep on a friend’s couch), and the house was…not ideal. It had like these odor microclimates where there was one spot that smelled like cat pee and one spot that smelled like mold and so on and so forth. And for a shower, you had your choice of one where the water could come out strong or hot but if it was hot, it was kind of a trickle and a shower that involved going through the entire house past all your coworkers in your robe. Also we’re in California but those of us from the east coast still had to work our east coast hours, so the meetings that were at a reasonable time for west coasters came when we’d already worked a full day. Long week, is what I’m saying, and I still have all day tomorrow on a plane.

    But! One of our meetings was about company vacation policy and how they want us to take more vacation and are looking for a policy that will encourage us to do that, and I mentioned I’m hoarding vacation days for my wedding and honeymoon next year and then probable trip to India the following year, and my boss was really upset, no way I should feel I had to hoard time for that, definitely take the time I need without feeling like I can’t also take a couple days off if I’m burning out, etc. So that makes me feel so, so much more relaxed about having time for wedding planning and for life in general.

    • Oh yay! What a great boss.

    • Kate

      Being encouraged to take vacation time? Sounds awesome. Weeklong retreat with coworkers? Downright terrifying.

    • Alison O

      The vacation policy that encouraged people to use their vacation regularly at my last workplace was that you could only carry over a certain amount of days into the next fiscal year. Any unused days above that amount went bye-bye. I think it’s good motivation, but in instances where you wanted to hoard days for a big long special trip, it would be less ideal.

      • Laura C

        Yeah, that’s what they’d been trying at my job — you could carry over some, but not a ton. But people still weren’t using enough for their taste.

  • Ellen

    You guys! We put in an offer on a great house that we could potentially see spending the next 30+ years in, and we find out super soon if we get it or they counteroffer, etc etc! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

    • That’s so exciting! We’ve been starting to think about a house too. Good luck!

    • SO!! exciting! Fingers and toes crossed for you!

    • Yay! I just bought a house earlier this year and the more I live in it, the more I can see myself living in it for a long time!

    • Ellen

      Update- we accepted their counter!!!!!! Whoa adult moment. Whoa excited!

  • ashlee

    Can I crowdsource some ideas on how to include a friend in our wedding? I know this has been discussed a lot, but it’s a somewhat complex situation, and we’re not sure what to do.

    This guy is a very good friend to both of us, is one of my fiancee’s best friends, and they were roommates when we started dating. We had the idea of having him officiate, actually, because he’s so awesome and so important to us and was important to our relationship when we were just a baby couple. The problem is that his family is not American — not Western — and they have very strong ideas of religion and family and culture, and two ladies getting married is very much not a part of that. He’s also very close to his family, and, while fairly progressive himself, also does his best to keep that side of his life away from his family, as it would (and has) upset them (they are all in his home country, so that’s not too hard to do, but they do use facebook). I asked his girlfriend (who is similarly important and in the wedding herself) to feel out the idea of if he were to officiate, would he be able to deal with the risk of inevitable pictures on Facebook or just slip of the tongue getting word to his family. Her assessment was that it would, in fact, be problematic. So, especially considering that the girlfriend/my bridesmaid is also a Westerner and not an arranged wife from the same country and culture he is expected to marry, we’re certainly not wanting to rock the boat any more and potentially risk *that* current semi-negotiation with his parents, since that’s way more important.

    So, we’re bummed that we can’t have him as our officiant, but we’re starting to come up with other candidates. The real question now is how do we have this friend still involved? Again, still super important to both of us and the fact that we are together, so it would mean a lot to us — and, I hope, to him — to have him honored and a part of our wedding day. Does anyone have any ideas that would be unlikely to lead to awkward questions or pictures for his family to freak out over?

    • What about an emcee for the reception? If he’s they type of personality that would work well as an officiant, an emcee could be a less-formal version of that.

    • Ellen

      Definitely a tricky situation, but something where you need to have him involved! Maybe you could have him do a reading at the wedding? People seem less likely (in my experience) to take pictures of the person doing the reading. If you’re concerned about that, even- are you doing a rehearsal dinner? Could you involve him in that, and have him do a toast or something of the sort? Sounds like if your bridesmaid/his girlfriend is already going to be there it wouldn’t be odd to have him at the rehearsal dinner anyway (if you are indeed doing one).

    • Jessica

      Ask him! I think a lot of these questions about including friends/family members are because there’s some (innate) characteristic of the friend/family member that would make it difficult for them to participate, so it would be hard to have a conversation with them and honestly say “we’re trying to figure out how to include you in our wedding but we’re not sure how” could potentially hurt their feelings.
      In your case, however, I can’t imagine that your friend would be hurt by your honesty: “Hey, we love you and we want you to be in our wedding, in fact we’d love it if you could officiate. However, we also know that it could put you in an awkward spot with your family if you show public support for a gay relationship. Would you feel more comfortable [MCing, giving a toast at the rehearsal, driving us between the ceremony and reception, etc]?”
      Maybe he’s looking for a chance to publicly break away from his family’s views. Maybe his family isn’t ok with gay marriage in general but is ok with your particular relationship. Maybe none of them are on facebook, etc., etc… I just don’t see the downside of having a direct conversation with him about it and knowing his exactly feelings on the matter before you decide on his role.

  • M.

    Made a HUUUUGGE payment on my (evil evil) credit card debt today and our combined-finances-debt-attack-wedding-and-future-savings plan is going swimmingly! We are budgeting hard, working together, and seeing results. No extra debt for the wedding and tons paid off during the planning. Hoooooooray!

    • Robyn

      Yay for budgeting and paying off debt!!!

    • Congrats!! We are currently in the midst of this, too! Boyfriend is getting a pay bump for working out of the country, so he is putting a bunch away each month for our future down payment; I get a little stipend this year (because we’re spouses in terms of his company’s HR dept) with which I payed off my one evil, private student loan (the federal ones will be with me for.ev.errrr.); I get a medium-sized stipend next year and will pay off the rest of my credit card debt in January (that I’ve been working on it for like 18 months)–SO EXCITED!!

      Isn’t it just the best feeling when you and your partner are working like a well-oiled machine to KILL IT on the finances (or chores or sexy-time or really any) front??

      • M.

        Go you!!!! Eff student loans!!!

        Yes we are killing it and it feels AMAZING! We’re going after my credit card first (has been with me for YEARS), then my federal student loans (smaller than his), and then his. At this rate we’ll be debt-free way before the 10 year schedule, and saving for a house. I only wish we didn’t live in NYC (unavoidable for now if we want the $ that’s letting us do this – Catch-22!) because if we could cut our living expenses more, we’d be killing it even better.

        I feel so badass when we log into Mint and categorize things and stay under budget and make huge payments. We’re not making any more money than we were 6 months ago, but we have a plan and are dedicated. Being intentional, 100% combined, and talking about it All The Time changed everything.

        • “Being intentional, 100% combined, and talking about it All The Time changed everything.”

          This x 1000000!!

          Nothing gets me going so much as a good plan in place and following through on it. It makes me feel so YES-we-are-an-awesome-team and we-can-do-anything-together–I love it!

          You’ve got a semi-anonymous cheerleader for debt-annihilation over here! You rule!

          • M.

            DEBT ANNIHILATION (read in that “In a world…” movie trailer voice.)

            Cheerleading right back at you!

      • M.

        I 100% support the idea of using “extra” money (bonuses, stipends, stock payouts, gifts, etc) to help get yourself out of debt, if you’re in a position to do so. It goes so far so fast. We live below our means and are used to our budget, so extra money (or months like this one in which the fall of the calendar makes me get 3 checks in one month) goes toward debt. I truly truly thought I’d be crushed by debt foreeevverr, that it was “normal” and ok to have some. I feel so empowered that I’ve decided to do whatever I can to change my situation, which wasn’t pretty.

      • SP

        Hey ladies! I’m curious, and this might make a good “Ask Team Practical,” But as a relatively newly engaged couple, we’re struggling a bit with the finances. We have a joint account that we and both our parents have contributed to for the wedding itself. But when it comes to household expenses, it’s just…. murky. I have my money, he has his. I buy most of the groceries, he buys food and entertainment out. I pay heat and electric, he pays cable and internet. I make way less than he does, but he has student loans and I don’t. Today, I brought up that we should sit down with out employer insurance information this year and look at if it makes sense to combine onto one policy. My company will likely have way shittier coverage at a way shittier price, so that probably means adding me to his. And he was all, it’s way more money out of the paycheck that way. And I was all, we have to start looking at thigns as a team, as household income. I definitely don’t expect him to provide the sole income, and i definitely do expect us to maintain separate savings accounts, justincase, but how do you go about the sit down and talking about money thing, when he just doens’t seem to want to do it? (ETA: I don’t even know how much his student loans are for, but he has been open about how much savings he has managed to build even while paying it off. so its not that i’m worried, it’s mostly just annoying, like a thing on the to-do list he doesnt want to do.)

        • First of all, hugs to you and your fiance. This is a really difficult topic for most people to discuss, so 1. good job, you, for trying to get things going and 2. be kind to yourself and him while you figure this out.

          Secondly, I really, REALLY think this is something that needs to be fully discussed, all cards on the table, before you get married. You’re joining your lives together, including your finances (YMMV if you’re doing a prenup), so you need to know where you each stand. Also, it is excellent practice for the next million difficult conversations you’ll have.

          Have you thought about how you want to structure your household finances when you get married? Has he? It really helped me to read through the APW archives on joint finances to come to a conclusion about how I thought we should do things. Those posts also helped me feel confident in my philosophy on finances so that when my partner and I talked and he… thought things should be done differently (euphemism!), I was able to give some really well-though out, rational reasons for my beliefs. Almost a year, MANY conversations, and a couple compromises later, we’re on the same page (and that page is basically my initial idea :)).

          Schedule a time when you both have gotten plenty of sleep, aren’t hungry, aren’t extra stressed, don’t have anywhere to be, sit down with your full credit reports (Credit Karma is a great resource), and start asking and answering some questions. What kind of debt do you guys have? When will it be paid off? What kind of income? What are your regular expenses? What are you saving for? You don’t have to do it all in one sitting. I get really emotional when talking about money (the idea of money = self worth really did a number on me!), so when it got to be too much, we would take a break and come back to it later.

          Lastly, it may be helpful to see a couples’ counselor and/or a financial advisor about this. We didn’t do this, so I don’t have any firsthand knowledge about professional resources, but I’m guessing a counselor would be able to help you understand why your fiance is hesitant to discuss this and give you guys some good strategies on how to communicate about money. A financial advisor might be able to outline some ideas on what you can do to improve your financial health.

          Best of luck to you! It’s a difficult but very important conversation(s) to have!

          P.S. I noticed you mentioned maintaining separate savings accounts “just in case,” and I assume you’re talking about in the event of divorce. Make sure to thoroughly check your state’s marriage laws–in community property states (like CA, where I am), it is very difficult to maintain a separate “just in case” account without a prenup.

    • Aubry

      I posted below, but a YAY for both of us ’cause I paid off my credit cards today! So empowering! Next up – C’s student loans. Those are much larger! But, if we can put all the extra money I have been spending to beat my debt into submission onto his debt that gets his paid off in 4 years, not 8! and if we keep saving for the rest of those 4 more years we get almost $40k saved! Maybe a house down payment? Silly Vancouver housing market is silly, but it is still super exciting! (I feel you M.) And that is assuming neither one of us will make any more money than we are now, which is hopefully not true.

      • M.

        Woooo! GO YOU!!! That’s so amazing, and fistbump for snowballing the former cc money into the loans. That’s our plan too. I love this!!!! You two are killing it.

  • Anonny-non

    Yesterday I got a huge stash of maternity clothes from my super stylish bosslady and now I’m so excited to rock pregnancy in style and no longer worried about my sister and I having to share our maternity clothes stash since we’re both expecting within 2 months of each other.

    • Anonny-non

      Also, currently talking to some former bosses about joining their start up, and it’s like the first time I’ve been excited about work in for-freakin-ever. It would just be so cool to work for them again. And it sounds like they have an awesome awesome maternity leave plan in place too!

    • Yea! My sister gave me her whole stash, not planning on getting pregnant till after I was done. And then needed half of it back. But at least my kid got a cousin two months younger than her out of the deal.

  • I thought I’d trade some of my text books back to Amazon to get some Christmas money and of the 4 I pulled out they’re only interested in 2, I’d only get $4 total, and in one of the ones they’d take I discovered I’d written a lot of pretty scathing comments to the author in the margins. So I’m thinking I’ll keep the one I hated because the marginalia makes me laugh and I love reading books my grandparents wrote in and getting a better sense of who they were. Maybe some day my kid or grandkid will pick up this book and get a better sense of who I am.

    • Glad I’m not the only one who writes hilarious (to me) comments in the margins.

    • Elena

      That’s maybe the best reason ever to save a book. Marginalia FTW!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        I once sent a couple of guy friends to my ex-fiance’s house to get my books back after he delayed returning them. I let the ex keep the money and CDs I lent him, but I couldn’t replace my notes in the books.

    • LondonSarah

      I found (at least on amazon.co.uk) that the other way is to start a seller account and list the books you want rid of there. It may take a while for someone to want to buy them but I’ve got rid of 3 or 4 random architectural theory books that I never had and was never going to read that way and got £10 – £20 for each. You do have to be able to commit to posting them to the buyer within a couple of days but I’ve not had a problem.

  • MK

    Meg and Maddie, Sesame Street has you covered on What Does The Fox Say.


    • meg

      That IS what the monster says. Even the baby knows that.

  • Today while driving I heard about October 26 Driving for Women, in Saudi Arabia, where women have lost their jobs for driving… it’s so hard to imagine not being able to drive, something I completely take for granted. Here’s an article in The Guardian:

    • Emmers

      Yes! I heard about it on the radio recently, and it’s wild to me as well. But the lady who they interviewed who was driving illegally was awesome. She even drove by the police station, to see if they’d give her problems.

  • Impatient

    So… this Monday was my 2 yr anniversary with my man. We designed a ring, and I knew it was being made and I have to say, I thought he was going to propose. We were on the warf at sunset, and I thought he was going to ask… alas, he did not. I found out later (after I accidentally cried during dinner, because. Emotions.) that the ring wasn’t done yet. (it is now).

    But now man wants to do a big proposal, which is sweet, but I honestly just want to marry him! We’ve been talking about getting married for a long time and are doing research on caterers, and venues etc (we’re both engineers – we like our research), and I just want to tell people!

    The other major problem is his parents. They have problems. His parents have problems with each other, and problems with manfriend, and so we’ve never had a great relationship with them. He talked with them last night about our engagement and they were less than happy. Our big dilemma right now is: do we hold off on engagement, and try to work on relationships with his parents? Or do we get engaged, and continue to try and work on the relationships, but not wait for that to announce to everyone else that we’re getting married?

    • I’d say option two. Your engagement is about the two of you. Yes, other people are involved in your lives, but you can’t put your lives on hold waiting for approval from others that might never fully arrive.

    • LM

      I don’t think your engagement needs to wait while you work on your relationship with his parents — I am guessing those issues were a long time coming and might take some time to be resolved. Of course, wedding planning can bring up all sorts of family issues, so you and boyfriend get to figure out how you two will best approach any parents issue thing that comes up.

    • First off, congrats! That’s so exciting.

      I say don’t let your parents’ problems hold back/postpone your own happiness. If there was a specific date at which these problems would be fixed (I too am an engineer) the situation might be different. But who knows how long this process will take, or are even open to ‘let’ the relationship be fixed? Their actions are outside your control.

    • Laura C

      Don’t wait for them. You can’t give them veto power over your lives.

    • While family is important, you are creating, as APW put it, a baby family. Put your relationship at the front here. There will always, I think, be times when you have to choose which family comes first in a lineup of priorities, but I think in this case, go for it. This decision is yours as a couple, and yours alone to move on with in terms of engagement. While I not religious, there’s this verse somewhere are getting married, and cleaving not to one’s parents anymore as a direct result. Pretty solid stuff.

  • One of the most helpful reads I’ve found with regard to practical fashion issues is Alison on xoJane. She is a stylist for TV shows, so she really knows her stuff. Her articles always have great, in-depth info about all those little questions you feel like everyone else must know the answers to. This week she did an awesome write-up about waterproofing and caring for leather and suede boots:


    I’d also love suggestions for more fashion-advice/tips-type blogs vs. just women-in-amazing-outfits blogs (which are fun, but not always useful!).

    • meg

      Oooh! Excited to check her out.

    • AliPali

      I love http://caphillstyle.com/. She has great outfit and advice posts with really reasonable price ranges.

      • H

        I actually really like this middle aged lady who posts on her own blog, using powerpoint. It’s called http://www.theviviennefiles.com. It’s not the most technologically savvy website, and the clothes she features are not necessarily fashionable or trendy, but she is fantastic, and illustrates all of her points soooo well with examples. And honestly, she’s taught me a lot.

    • SLG

      I enjoy You Look Fab: http://youlookfab.com/blog. It seems the lady who runs it is a former fashion insider (purchaser, maybe?) and a current personal stylist. I like it because she’s not tied to any one trend or style — her trend predictions are usually right on, but she’s also very knowledgeable and practical about body types, personal style, how to adapt your favorite trend to your shape/age/preferences, and how to combine pieces into an outfit. Some of it seems aimed for middle-aged women but I’m quite a bit younger than that and I still find it useful.

  • Kelly

    Happy birthday to the little guy, and happy remembering to you. Mine is just six months and I feel like one year will be here tomorrow. On the fashion thing, Kendi Everday blog has a working closet series, http://www.kendieveryday.com/p/working-closet.html, thats pretty good. Her blog appealed to me probably because she’s unpretentious and self deprecating, and funny. I find myself checking her blog regularly for fresh ways to style basics too.

    • I love Kendi! I also, really love Susan Wagner at http://workingcloset.com/. She tries to keep things easy, simple, and customizable.

    • meg

      Oh, it’s not his birthday. I was in labor for six weeks!

      I will, however, check out the blog.

      • Kelly

        Oh right! Well maybe not happy remembering then either!

  • LL

    Does anyone here have any experience with re-usable glasses at a reception? I’ve seen lots of pictures and posts on the internet where people had their guests put name tags or other identifiers on their cups and then use the same one all night for different drinks. But I’m wondering how feasible that is…

    We’re planning a super low budget wedding, and our venue is a natural history museum so there’s no kitchen/dishwasher/waitstaff/etc. I hate the idea of spending tons of money to rent and transport a million glasses so each of our 100+ guests can have 4 or 5 different drinks. My partner feels very strongly that she doesn’t want to use disposable or even compostable paper cups. Ideally we’d find a bunch of thrift store glasses or borrow from family and assign one per person but I’m worried that will result in all sorts of difficulties. Any thoughts?

    • meg

      Phew. Washing a bunch of glasses on your own is a total bitch. Seriously, be prepared for that. Honestly, packing up a bunch of rental glasses on your own at the end of the night is a better plan, but still annoying.

      I’d REALLY STRONGLY recommend that you use compostable cups. You will be so glad you did. If that’s totally totally out, please consider doing yourself a favor and renting. It’s going to cost about the same (or less) than thrifting. It’s greener anyway, and you won’t have to wash them.

      • LL

        This is what I have been trying to convey to my dear partner. It’s so nice when an internet stranger saves you from having to say “I told you so”

        Thanks :)

    • Jess

      It’s pretty labor intensive for 100+ guests, but maybe you could find some super cheap at a restaurant supply store and use them as namecards/takehomes? Not sure if you’re doing assigned seating or seat yourself, but it could probably work as either a way to claim their seat or tell them where to sit.

      All my dishware/glasses are from restaurant supply stores – Schweppe in Chicagoland has hi-ball glasses at 72 for $81.62 (search around here: http://schweppeinc.com/products/dining-room/glassware-beverage). They’re crazy durable and pretty sleek looking, and you can buy cheaper in bulk!

      Maybe you could use some printable labels like they use for canning jars? I’ve seen really nifty ones with a craft paper look and some that are clear (depending on how modern your space is).

      • Jenny

        We rented and put all of people’s glassware on the table (we also had a mostly serve yourself bar). I guess it went fine? No one complained to me and seemingly everyone got enough to drink. but we also got to just return our dishes dirty, so it was totally worth the rental prices (which were pretty cheap)

    • N

      100 glasses is still a lot to wash! But if you really want to go that route, there are many options for stemware identifiers.

      Plain but functional: http://www.amazon.com/Stemware-Wine-Glass-Identification-Units/dp/B002L4WG3C

      More fun: http://www.amazon.com/Fred-Wine-Line-Reviews-Set/dp/B000I1X4X6/ref=pd_sim_k_4

      I did get the second set as a gift and I use it for house parties.

    • Hannah

      We did this. Well, rather my Mom took this on. She collected all the glasses over the course of a year. She had tons of friends looking for them too. She also took them home and cleaned them (she was able to put them in the dishwasher). I honestly don’t know if it was that much cheaper than renting, but it was a fun project for her.

      We did the whole tag your glass thing. I took shipping tags: (like these ones: http://www.amazon.com/Avery-Shipping-inches-Manila-12301/dp/B00485MJG6/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1382733770&sr=8-6&keywords=shipping+tags) and I removed the strings and replaced with cute red and white string. We put up the tag your glass sign, and I think overall it worked out well. People were able to reuse their glasses. You can see a pic of our sign and beverage display here: http://crimsonandcloverphotos.com/2013/10/crag-rat-hut-summer-wedding-oregon/

      Honestly, as many people used the mason jars we rented as used wine glasses, so I might just simplify it by doing all mason jars. We also did bottled beer, and most people drank that straight out of the bottle.

      • LL


        I’m also so excited to see that you got married in Hood River!! We are also getting married in the gorge – on the Washington side though, where it will be legal for us.

        • Hannah

          That will be lovely. Here’s hoping Oregon can catch up in terms of equality. :) If you’re getting married anywhere near White Salmon, this place has AMAZING pizza: http://solsticewoodfirecafe.com/. We would always stop there when traveling to Hood River for various wedding-related errands.

    • mimi

      We bought mason jar mugs for all of our guests (like these http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000V4J560/?tag=vglnk-c880-20) and used them as escort cards (so each had a string with their name tag attached) and as their favor. No one complained (to me, anyway) about having to use the same glass all night. Our wedding was outside, so if they didn’t like their drink, they could just dump it on the ground, which probably isn’t the case for your guests!

  • This week is fired.

    A few months ago, my boos left for another job. The members of my mini-department were generally encouraged to apply, as was I specifically by my boss’ boss. I talked about it a bit on here when I was debating applying. Ultimately I did, as did one other (newer) member of the department.

    I wasn’t sure I would get the job, but I knew I’d at least get an interview.

    Or so I thought. On Monday, boss’ boss called me it to let me know that the search committee was not going to be putting me in the phone interview group. Newer girl would be, however. Wait what?

    I guess there was a huge pool of applicants and they have weeded it down to 6, but would not be including me. I took it ok at first, to in shock to do anything but smile politely and nod. I (possibly foolishly) sent him a follow-up email telling him that the news was very surprising.

    But seriously, WTF is not at least granting a courtesy email to all the internal candidates. There were not that many of the internal ones. Christ, even if you know you aren’t planning on hiring, it is a slap in the face, especially when you freaking encouraged them to apply in the first place. The fact that new girl (who I helped train and is a bit of a PITA) gets one ads to the sting.

    So, I have basically checked out, as far as caring about this place goes. If I could, I’d quit now. But I am moving to a new city in August. Doesn’t make sense to make any job changes before then, as much as I want to.

    Funny, I used to love this place. Way to kill my loyalty, guys.

    (Fiance is also out of town for three weeks, so can’t give me in-person sympathy hugs.)

    • M.

      Oooooh nooo :( Major sympathy hugs to you. That’s all I’ve got. A close friend of mine who is amazing at her work went through not getting an interview when her own job went from a renewed visiting prof to tenured. So sad, so mean. ((hugs))

      • I might have even been relieved to not get the job. It’s not getting an interview that has me steamed. It has also changed my perspective on my eventual new boss. It went from “hey maybe me or maybe someone else, it’s all good” to “fuck em.”

        • Ali

          I went through the exact same situation and lasted about a year more at that company, so you can make it until August! I don’t think it was a mistake telling them you were surprised. I wrote a letter to HR explaining why I thought it was a mistake that they didn’t consider me, and it went in my official file. It would have been great negotiating ammo if there was any chance I was willing to stay on after I got another offer (but there was no chance, because fuck that).

          • He offered to have a longer meeting with me the next day. I thanked him for the offer, but I really didn’t want to risk the chance that I would get upset and cry in front of him. I told him that the only think I really had left to say on the matter was that it was a poor thing to do, in terms of morale.

        • J

          Kayjayoh, I can’t respond to your last comment, so I’m responding here. I totally relate to being concerned about a conversation with your boss because you’re worried about getting emotional. That said, there might be real value in having the conversation with the prospective boss. You might have said everything that you want to say to him, but he might be able to provide you with feedback that could be valuable to you – not necessarily in your current role, since you’re feeling ready to move on, but feedback that could help you present yourself effectively when you start applying to jobs in anticipation of your move (or to navigate effectively in those future jobs).

          I had a situation recently where I was worried about getting emotional in front of my boss after she gave me a surprising update, so I told her that, while I did have questions for her, I preferred to discuss them in a meeting we had planned for the next day. I was indeed pretty emotional about it the rest of that day and when I spoke to my husband about it, but for me, talking through everything with him took some of the sting out of it and also kept the emotions from being quite so close to the surface when I did meet with my boss. After that, I was able to be totally in control when I spoke to her.

          Of course, this is dependent on you having the sense that this guy will actually give you valuable feedback – I know some people are much better at that than others. I’d just encourage you to think about whether you can get anything out of the conversation that would benefit you in future roles, as opposed to just thinking about how it impacts your relationship with your current employer (which isn’t very valuable to you right now).

          • I’m not sure how much useful feedback I can get. Right before my actual boss left, she gave me my very positive annual review. The folks who decided not to grant me an interview are a committee. The person I would be talking to is the person who was all “I wish I could give you an interview, but the committee…”

            Frankly, I’m not interested.

          • J

            If that’s all you’d get out of it, and you feel like you’ve gotten plenty of (great!) feedback on your current role, that totally makes sense. And I’m glad you already told him your perspective on how the committee handled this.

    • Elena

      This is some serious BS. How do you ask an internal to apply then not even grant an interview? Serious serious BS. So sorry that happened to you, and I hope you’re able to salvage your remaining time there, at least so that going to work each day doesn’t totally kill your soul. *Internet Hugs*

      • “How do you ask an internal to apply then not even grant an interview?”

        Exactly. Boss’ boss was apologetic and all “this is what the search committee did” but seriously, dude, your hands are not tied by the search committee. You’re the freaking dean. I’m not going to sympathize with you.

      • And thank you for the support.

        I hate to say it, but I now really hope they go with an outside candidate. It will really kill me to have former co-worker as my new boss in this context.

        • Elena

          Don’t blame you at all on hoping for an outside candidate. I would hope for the same, and I would also hope for the rockingest of rock stars, so that at least you won’t have someone lame as your boss. Le sigh. Workplace politics can suck so hard sometimes.

          • Summers

            Yes, agreed!
            Workplace politics do suck. And any searches where the internal candidate doesn’t get picked (for whatever reason) really do suck for the internal candidate. I was once encouraged to apply for an internal job, and ended up coming in 2nd. It sucked SO badly, especially since I think I do just as good of a job as who they eventually hired.

            It’s been a long time (3 years) since this happened, and I’ve mostly been able to move on. But even now, I’ll still occasionally feel angry at my boss/the candidate (even though it’s not really her fault she got chosen). It’s been an experience in humility.

            I definitely think it’s so important to go with internal employees if it makes sense, because you’re right, morale is really hard to repair (I mean, seriously, 3 years and I’m still a bit sore!).

            I’ve been on search committees, and it’s true that it sometimes feels like strictly business when choosing people. So I get that part. I just think it’s reaaaaaaallly important to factor in the feelings of your current staff. Because it has such a long ranging impact!

            But hang in! It sucks, but you can make it through!

    • Thank you to everyone for the words of support. It is helping.

      • Minor upside: zero guilt now for any slacking off. I will do the job as required, but I will give only the amount of work asked. No more above and beyond. And if there is nothing to do at any given moment, I am not going to bust a hump trying to find something.

    • Kirsten

      Wow, that really, really stinks. (Sorry, late to the party.)

      There’s not much to say to make it less sucky, but maybe some solidarity would help? My week also included job rejection while the boyfriend was out of the country. My first job was a 9 month temporary position filling in for someone who had been there for 30 years (the first and only person to hold the position). I loved it, and was called by the supervisor and asked to apply when the person retired this summer. HR is outsourced to a different location (it’s government) and to make a long story short, the position was posted twice in the last three months- the first time I was told that I wasn’t among the most highly qualified and my name would not be passed on for interviews, they didn’t hire someone and reposted it, and this week told me that I am ineligible for the position. (Keeping in mind that I am the ONLY other person to have held the position, and am the one my supervisor wants to hire but has no control over the HR process…) So now I’m back to the drawing board while demoralized and stuck in a job that I is great except that it barely pays the bills.

      If you haven’t run across it before, I totally recommend http://www.askamanager.org/ for tips on job searching and navigating tricky workplace stuff. I thought I was pretty job savvy, but have learned SO much from that blog.

      • I’ll check it out. Thank you for the tip.

      • J

        Can your manager intervene at all in the hiring process? When I hired someone awhile back, one of the candidates approached me to do an informational interview about the role, and it was clear from our conversation that she was a really promising candidate. A week or so later, she got back in touch with me because the HR screener had turned her down for an interview, and she wanted to know if I had any feedback for her. (HR screened resumes and only sent me ones they thought were a fit, and then I picked interviewees from that group.) I had no idea that she’d been screened out, and when I spoke to the recruiter, it was clear that the recruiter didn’t really understand her resume (as her job history was a little unusual, and, for that matter, so was the job I was hiring for). I ended up interviewing her, and she got the job. That taught me that hiring is often such a process that good people can get lost, and it’s well worth following up for more information when you think that might be happening to you. (In some companies, I think a computer plays that screening role, and so really dumb things can get you eliminated right off the bat!) It also taught me that the hiring manager really has to be an advocate, and not just let the HR department do all the work up until the last couple of steps.

        Of course, in a government role, all of this might be totally different, in which case, I’m sorry that red tape is ruining everything! Have they explained why you’re now ineligible? Would it be worth asking them if there’s anything you can do to make yourself eligible?

        • Kirsten

          Thanks for the tips. My supervisor/hiring manager did try to work some magic, but unfortunately was not able to bypass their rules. The ineligibility was caused because a mix-up with transcripts, which unfortunately was technically my fault even though it was an unusual requirement and the application wasn’t very clear. And because of their very strict procedures, they won’t allow me to submit it after the fact either. It’s disappointing, but so many things have gone wrong in the process that I’m taking it as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be and I should move on and find something that will be even better. :)

  • Elena

    OK, working parents with small children: please tell me all your best how-to-make-it-work tips. I have a 5 month old baby, and I’m looking at becoming employed again soon. Both my husband and I will be working full time, and he also has a pretty demanding (and non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned) writing schedule on top of his day job. We’re planning on day care, and we’ll hire someone to help with the household cleaning that neither of us enjoys. I’m also working on some serious meal-planning to help with getting good food on the table for us. What else do you recommend? What makes it work for you?

    I want your wisdom!

    • Amanda

      I’ll be watching this thread for suggestions! Husband and I both work, also with a 5 month old. Luckily (and I know we are totally fortunate to be in this position), my Mom (whom we all love and are very close with) has moved in to provide Nana care for our babe. That said, by the end of the year, she will be returning to her own home (and I will be leaving my employer for a short stint at home with babe). Once I return to work, it will be difficult to juggle life without Nana! So bring on the wisdom of those who are doing/have done this :) I need some mama trix up my sleeve.

    • meg

      That’s more than we have! Seriously though, we have daycare, and wish we had someone for cleaning but feel like we can’t justify it. And, we have friends (paid and unpaid) who will babysit now and then for a night out. We’re honestly mostly pretty fine. The laundry situation is not what I might wish for, but it’s… ok. Ok enough, at least.

      Neither of us have huge commutes though. The baby actually has the longest commute of the three of us ;) Adding that on top of it would really put a kink in things.

      Curious what other people say :)

    • For daycare, my husband drops off M/W/F while I work out, and I drop off Tues/Thurs. We’ve had my MIL picking her up 3x/wk which is now down to 1/wk, so there’s some re-juggling to do. We’ll probably figure out an every other day type system with some flexibility if one of us has a late meeting. We already talked to our daycare provider about keeping H an extra half hour 3 days a week (the other days she has class), which is super helpful already.

      I still need to figure out meal planning. We’ve been leaning on my MIL so much the last 2 years. She’s been cooking around 2x a week, and then we’d purchase tamales and a whole chicken at the farmer’s market most weekends, so those and leftovers we were covered for the week. BUT she just got promoted, so weeknight cooking by her will be very rare for quite some time. We went to Trader Joe’s this week and literally filled our freezer with frozen deliciousness. So we need to eat those, and then like, get good at the slow cooker and stuff.

      • Elena

        Ooh! Good call on getting help picking up Littles from daycare. Husband will probably be on pick-up duty most days, but it’ll be good to have an extra hand available.

        • meg

          Oh, daycare pickup and drop off. We don’t have help, and it’s pretty much all on me for various reasons. You wouldn’t think something so simple would become a drain over time, but it does. That said, I do like the cuddles.

  • copper

    just back from my honeymoon this week, married almost 2 weeks ago now!

    In sorting through a lot of thoughts about the wedding, I’ve realized that one of my vendors just didn’t really do all the things they said they’d do, and I have a fair bit of annoyance about it. Without divulging who it is/what they do (they were an APW vendor), the person we actually got was a recent hire of someone who used to be a one-person show, and I am wondering if it’s worth mentioning it to the company’s owner that I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how things ended up. Overall, it was an awesome day, all the warm fuzzies, but the thing that got to me is that my bridesmaids would up not being able to enjoy the day as much as I’d like because they were running around filling in the gaps for this person, and it sucks that I paid someone to do something but wound up with my friends having to do it anyways. So, is it ever worth it to complain? Or is it better to just let it go? The goal of complaining wouldn’t be to get the person fired or anything, it’d be to point out areas that need improvement and make sure that other brides don’t wind up with the same disappointment because those areas had been addressed or that person got assigned to events more in line with their talents.

    • LM

      I think it’s totally worth it, and I’m sure she would rather hear it directly from you rather than see a negative review online, for example. Plus, if it’s still upsetting you, being up front with her that you were dissatisfied might make you feel better.

    • Aside from the smart things LM said, if the person is a recent hire, this can serve as a training moment. Not something to get them into trouble, but a “here are ways that you can improve and become a better employee”. Everyone has those moments, but if the moment isn’t called out, the training opportunity is missed.

  • Amanda

    My husband just found out last week he is getting a raise! Hooray and very exciting for us – now we can really start to save some cash like badasses. The problem is this – when I finish grad school at the end of the year, our baby family has to jump onto his employer-offered medical insurance. Which will be $1300 PER MONTH. PER MONTH!! Goodness, how do families afford medical insurance at all?! (We are currently on my grad school-offered family plan which costs us $175/month. Yes, I should be a grad student forever, the plan is THAT awesome.) This new insurance cost will essentially negate the entire amount of his raise (save for maybe a couple hundred). How do I navigate this without punching babies in the face and kicking puppies in the knees (Not really. Do puppies have knees?!)? I am so LIVID. How do you and your family accept the cost of healthcare, and move on with life? I realize with the new laws that purchasing privately, etc. etc. might be a valid option. But websites are down, I’m writing my PhD thesis, we have a 5 month old… there is very little time to do all the research now. So perhaps we’ll find a better (read: cheaper) option out there. But good gravy, this makes me sick to my stomach.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I need some real (read: practical!) advice to help reduce my rage.

    • Jeeeeeeeez $1300/month sounds crazy to me! I don’t know where you’re located, but I had a Kaiser plan that was $125/month including dental, so I’d imagine they’d have similar cost-effective ones for families. Some people hate Kaiser, but I actually thought it was a pretty good deal–all your costs are basically up front. Perhaps the new exchanges would be worth checking out?

      • meg

        God bless Kaiser. (Though, full disclosure, that’s not any kind of plan you can get with a baby, let alone one you’d want. Babies end up in ER and Urgent Care and sometimes the hospital all the time, high deductibles will kill you.)

        Everyone who lives in this house was born in a Kaiser hospital, and I will sing it’s praises (and offer advice on how to work the system) to anyone anytime. I’ve been on other plans. I wanted to claw out my own eyes. No one should have to approve care my doctor asked for, damn it. I should be able to walk down the hall, and get it.

        • Yes, this. I love how you can just get. stuff. done. there. Need blood drawn? Just walk downstairs, no waiting necessary. Oh, and did I mention that’s FREE?

      • Amanda

        Um, holy crap that sounds like a nice price! Not sure they have Kaiser here (WA state). At that rate, I would be getting my teeth checked 2x year and to the doc as many times as allowed!

        • I don’t even really know how my plan worked, but seriously everything was free. I used to have Blue Shield, and they didn’t cover any cost of getting an IUD (TMI?) so it would have been $700-$1k out of pocket for me. At Kaiser–FREE. Blood tests used to be like $300, but at Kaiser, ALSO FREE.

          I would definitely look into it, especially if you’re generally healthy and mostly just visit the doctor for regular check ups.

          • meg

            Ohhhh. It just clicked. This is through your employer. It has to be. Kaiser doesn’t have plans that you can buy that are like that. I grew up with Kaiser through the teacher’s union, and everything was $5, except the hospital or surgery which was free. It was pretty awesome. The best you can buy (for like $300 for one person, not so much couples or kids) is a $25/ copay on all the main stuff, and $150 or so on the big stuff.

            It is, however, the only plan you can buy out of pocket for less than a zillion dollars, that’s actually totally comprehensive. If I get cancer, or something terrible, Kaiser will totally totally cover my everything, for pretty minimal co-pays.

            They’re a non profit. Which helps.

          • @Meg, this was out-of-pocket while I was an unemployed college student! I got one free physical and one free “Women’s Health” visit/year, and after that it was $30/visit. Also, all tests ordered by your doctor were free. No one could figure out why the IUD was totally free, including my doctor–when I asked her, she shrugged and said, “Obamacare?” I didn’t want to delve too deeply in case there actually was some fee I owed…

          • meg

            Oh yeah. The other stuff is always free! Also: pre natal care, well baby visits. Always free. And we just got a free nebulizer, so yay.

          • happyfeminist

            definitely Obamacare — birth control should be free now, no matter your plan

        • AliPali

          I’m in WA too and have been playing around with the calculator. It seems like you should be able to find something less expensive! Good luck! http://www.wahbexchange.org/index.php?cID=472

          • LBD

            Yep, we’re lucky enough to live in a state that decided to do its own exchange, and I’ve heard good things from my friends regarding using WA’s website.

            I have heard many lovely things about Group Health, who are a non-profit, and do have plans on the exchange.

    • meg

      YUPPPP. The baby and I are on our own plan (soon to be an affordable care act plan, yay) because David’s employer offered plan is so insanely expensive, even for about the same thing.

      Go look at the exchanges. If the website isn’t working: CALL.

      • Amanda

        Meg, do you mind if I ask – does David purchase his own medical insurance from his employer at a subsidized rate? Is it just the added family insurance that is not subsidized (and thus very expensive)?

        I am trying to work out some common themes on how this all (insurance) works, as I am not American, and have very little experience with all the options. (Move to US –> start grad school –> grad school hands out cheap and unbeknownst-to-me-at-the-time AWESOME health insurance –> add husband once eligible –> add baby –> finish grad school –> SCREWED.)

        I need a little more information on what I am even looking for/not looking for before I call. I feel like that old commercial says – “I don’t even know enough to know what I DON’T know!”

        • meg

          His is paid for, ours is unsubsidized. That’s not uncommon. However, that lets me buy into a group plan, which used to be necessary if you had ANY pre-existing condition (and is now not, thanks to the affordable care act).

          When I worked at a bank, partner care was subsidized. But they had approximately one zillion people working for them in the US, so they were able to get better rates.

          It’s a fucked up system. Welcome.

        • meg

          Also, if you’re used to socialized medicine, you should see if there is Kaiser in your area. It’s the only american health care system that works a little like socialized medicine (internally), and it will make you less bonkers.

    • Danielle

      You should probably look into this more, but the way my HR department explained the new health care exchanges is that, for at least another year or two, Americans who have insurance provided by their employers can buy health care on the exchanges, but employers are not required to provide a health insurance subsidy (as they do for the employer-provided insurance) at this stage. It sounds that that will be a future phase of the law that will be incorporated, however.

      Edited to add: Our HR rep was unsure if this applied to adult children or spouses, however.

      • meg

        If YOU are not provided health care by your employer (ie, me), then you can get on an exchange!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Step 1: Find out what your husband’s employer offers and how much it costs. They may not know exactly what will be available when you’ll be making your switch. Ask for whatever information they have.

      First special term: The annual time when employees can change health insurance plans is called “open enrollment.” Have your husband ask for all the information from the last open enrollment period.

      Step 2: Learn to understand the information. This will involve reading the hand-outs and probably spending some time on the insurance companies’ websites. The goal is to figure out what kind of healthcare you think you’ll need in the next year, and what kind of payment situation you’re comfortable with.

      More special terms: If your husband’s employer is like mine, there are various HMO and PPO options. “HMO” and “PPO” are other special terms. They stand for “Health Maintenance Organization” and “Preferred Provider Organization.” Kaiser is an HMO, with an HMO, you get consistent pricing, but you can only use providers in the HMO. With a PPO, you have less consistent pricing, but you have a greater choice of providers.

      Payment involves 3 more special terms. “Premium” is what you pay monthly to maintain health insurance. The “Deductible” is how much you have to pay out-of-pocket before the health insurance starts paying. It might be 0.

      Under the ACA, vaccinations, contraception, and check-ups are generally paid by the health insurance regardless of the deductible arrangement. For example, I can get my flu shot, birth control pills, and annual well-woman gynecologist visit just for paying my premiums, but if I break my arm, I’ll have to pay for that treatment, in addition to the premiums, up to the amount of the deductible.

      “Co-pays” are what you have to pay even when your insurance is paying most of the cost. If getting the X-rays and cast for my broken arm cost all the deductible, I still have a $30 co-pay for the follow-up appointment.

      Step 3: Go to healthcare.gov or the appropriate phone number, and do the same thing regarding the exchanges. It’ll be easier because you’re already familiar with the terminology and pricing structure.

      Step 4: Figure out the tax consequences. For my family, employer-provided insurance cost about the same as insurance through the California exchange, for comparable coverage, but paying into the employer-provided plan was better tax-wise. Getting tax info was the hardest part of the process for us.

      • Pamela

        Great advice.

        Also, look at the out-of-pocket maximum, and ask if that includes the deductible. The out of pocket maximum is not the same as the deductible. What you want to know is the total amount you would have to pay if you have a really bad year. For example, my plan has a $1000 deductible, but a $3000 out of pocket max. So, if I happen to have a baby this year (which, it’s October and our plan runs on a calendar year, and I’m not pregnant, but anyway) or get in a bad car accident, I’d have to pay a total of $3000. Which is not chump change, but (fortunately) wouldn’t bankrupt me either.

        Because of the ACA/Obamacare, most plans/employers are required to provide you with a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) at your request. This is a standard document for each plan that will help you compare co-pays, deductibles, etc etc. and can be a really handy decision making tool.

  • Shiri

    I went down the internet rabbit hole yesterday of sexual harassment with these links (I can’t remember how it started! Something I saw on here, probably?) and sort of can’t turn it off now. I don’t have anything particularly cogent to say to start, but would love to be able to discuss all of this.

    http://monicacatherine.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/this-happened, his response: http://blog.coturnix.org, and http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/10/a-ripple-of-voices-against-sexism.html?utm_source=www&utm_medium=tw&utm_campaign=20131018, and http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/.

  • Kait

    Hi All,

    Our wedding is two weeks tomorrow! (Yay!) However over this last week when we had planned to do all of the things that were still outstanding we ended up buying a house (aparently everything happens at once for us).

    I’ve been waking up freaking out that all the things might not get done and if they don’t I’ll regret it forever (since this marriage thing is a one time deal, hopefully).

    Any tips, for plowing through and finding wedding zen? This community has got me this far in the planning process relatively sane. I’m going away with my best ladies for my bacholorette this weekend and then it will be all hands on deck.

    • Meg

      We’re living parallel lives! My wedding is two weeks from Sunday and I’m headed out with my ladies for my bachelorette tomorrow morning. As we get closer and closer, everyone keeps asking me good-natured questions like, “Are you ready? Are you freaking out yet?!” And I just smile because, well, they’ve all been where I am — and we all know what an exciting/nerve-wracking/crazy time this is.

      And you bought a house. Congrats! Also a huge, exciting step . . . but I can see where your freaking-out-ness would be sky-high right now.

      In terms of wedding zen, I’ve found it through endless list-making — and finally delegating to friends and family. I’m so obsessive and Type A that I’ve found “letting” people help me with the smallest details to be anxiety-producing, mostly because life has taught me that no one cares about my nonsense the way I do. And that might be true, but I’m just letting go and letting everyone else take over.

      If folks in your life are offering help, let them. Let them in. If they’re not, ask. Don’t go it alone. My zen is coming through the realization that I’ve planned (most all of) what I can plan, have the tools and people in place, and now I get to selfishly sit back and watch it all come to fruition. We have some physical labor left to do, but the hardest parts are over. It’s all going to be awesome.

      Enjoy your bachelorette! Woo!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      As I approach our one-year anniversary, I can say there are no wedding-planning tasks or projects I have regrets about. It really is true that the wedding is one day that starts a lifetime of days.

  • Amy March

    For fashion, I like You Look Fab (she has a bunch of posts on stylish mom clothes that this non-mom loves) Caphillstyle (one of the few bloggers I know who includes plus-size and petite options whenever she can, lots of good ways to mix it up), and Extra-Petite (I’m not petite at all, but her organization tips are great.

  • Danielle

    Regarding fashion advice, I have a love/hate relationship with the female fashion advice area of Reddit (www.reddit.com/r/femalefashionadvice). There is some great advice about organizing clothes and good brands, but I feel like there’s a bit of a hivemind for certain kinds of fashion (brogues, desert boots, goth ninja, etc.).

  • MM

    We have been married 6 whole days, people! This time last week we were getting ready for the rehearsal and the all-around love fest that was our wedding. I was able to let go Tuesday night, right before we left, because my dress was not destroyed by SIL’s cat trying to climb up it and puking all over it (thank goodness we took the time to put it in the plastic before putting it in the garment bag after picking it up from the final fitting). After that incident, everything else seemed very minor. Made for a good story though! Ohmygoodness I cannot believe how amazing it was to have everyone together in one place. We had so much fun, and by all accounts, so did everyone else… yay!!

  • esee

    Anyone have any easy, last-minute, work-party appropriate Halloween costume ideas?

    • Ellen

      Vanna White! Now is the time to put that old bridesmaids dress to work! If you’re not blonde, get a wig, and make your own letter on a piece of cardboard (minimal craft skillz involved) and you are set!

    • I went as Hipster Ariel last year; wig, memefont sign pinned to my shirt, big glasses, PBR which you can substitute with, say, Foucault.

    • Also, if you happen to have a lot of one color, Clue characters are always fun, and generally just wear normal clothes.

  • I loved reading the huffpo article on “you’re too pretty to be gay.”

    I spent 28 years of my life under the image-assumptions radar (as a lean, long haired, average lookkng white American chick). In February, I cut all my hair off and was shocked to find that people immediately felt I had given them permission to talk to me about my sexuality. I worked at a cafe at the time, and remember one customer straight up say “. You’re gay, right? I had no idea.” As if the haircut was the equivalent of a wedding announcement or sex tape.

    I didn’t and still don’t and never will understand why any one thing, or two things, or twenty things, about the way you dress or look or hold yourself makes some strangers feel they now know All of the Things about Who You Are.

  • Anon for this

    A bit of a rant but last night me and my husband were flipping between Grey’s Anatomy and the World Series( Go Sox!!!!) and right after Grey’s I got sucked into Scandal. He starting complaining about the acting in the show and asked me why I found it interesting and I realized it’s because I really just admire Kerry Washington. And then I asked him, well what other high rated shows have a strong black female lead and he couldn’t really answer me back. For reference he is white and I am African American (first generation) so I understand why he didn’t realize why that mattered right away but I got really sad all of a sudden because I just felt kind of alone. And I feel like I can only somewhat relate to high profile black women because I generally have a much much darker skin tone than what I feel we as a society call “women of color”. I think it also didn’t help that when I went to Ulta yesterday to buy a liquid to powder foundation recommended to me by a friend they didn’t have one dark enough for my complexion. Oh and did I mention that when we got married 3 months ago the salon that did my wedding makeup (even after I told them that I was black with a dark complexion) didn’t have a foundation on hand dark enough so I was the only one of the bridal party that didn’t get their makeup done? Clearly still bitter about that one but I dunno just needed to get that off my chest

    Thanks APW for letting me rant

    • Elena

      And bitter you should be! I can’t believe your *salon* didn’t have the right foundation for you on your freaking wedding day. We, um, clearly still have a long, long way to go toward racial parity in this country, and supposedly little things like a salon not having the right make-up for dark-skinned folks and the extremely limited portrayals of non-white people on TV and in film are all part of the problem.

      • copper

        this happens on the other side of the coin too, I remember ranting a couple weeks before my wedding about how my makeup artist made me look like I was dying of liver failure during my makeup trial because she didn’t understand that it was ok for my skin to be a bit pink (I’m a pale one).

        • meg

          It does, but it’s a different problem. I mean, I’m super fair, but that’s still on the culturally idealized side of things. This has to do with racism, othering, and really making people feel isolated and alone.


    • Jessica B

      I’m sorry you felt alone. Hopefully the rise of Scandal’s popularity will make studios realize that a diverse cast with a minority female lead is NOT RATINGS POISON! Gah!

      I’m also really angry about the make up thing! How awful of the salon to not have a wide range of makeup, or to ask you if you could find a nice brand that carried a shade that matched your skin tone they could begin to carry. It was your wedding! Argh!

      I don’t really have anything to make you feel better, except to say that really sucks.

    • I haven’t watched it yet, but I have been hearing good things about “Sleepy Hollow,” in terms of a black, female co-lead.

  • Hannah K

    Meg, you need alreadypretty.com–clothes, shopping, style, organization, feminism, Sal does it all.

    • Jessica B

      I like J’s Everyday Fashion, Hello Gorgeous, and Gabi Fresh, who blogs plus sized looks and is amazing! She crosses the line between normal person and street fashion blogger.

  • Elizabeth

    Today’s our pre-versary – we’re getting married one year from today! Hooray!

    Also, y’all, getting gay-married in the south is bewildering. Sometimes, beautiful things happen and there are rainbows and puppies and unicorns everywhere and I think, “See, people who think this region is intolerant are SO WRONG.”

    And sometimes a vendor tells you they don’t feel comfortable working with you, because two ladies are getting married. Oof. Super glad we sidestepped that potential sh*tshow.

    I’m all about small business owners having the freedom to choose who they work with. And I’m grateful this person was upfront with me.

    But still. It feels a little weird. Like people can just opt-out of recognizing our commitment, and that’s totally cool and a valid choice.

    Most of the time, I’m grateful to be in a place where I’m changing people’s hearts and minds. Sometimes, though, I get a glimpse of how far we have to come. Grateful for this community as we trudge through…

    • emily

      Ooofs, that’s crazy. Or, as I was sitting here reading this, I had myself thinking, “What’s really crazy is that that isn’t that crazy.”–meaning that there are vendors out there who for some reason feel it’s ok to discriminate against a couple based on their sexual orientation?

      As an APW vendor myself, I can only shake my head in disappointment that you experienced this. And then I will also say–Ugg. Yuck. Sad and create a huge frown face.

      I agree that I’m glad they were up front with you but….still…I mean…come ON!

      You’ll find your right people for your big day, ladies. Never fear. And your wedding will be lovely in every sense of the word–because, at the end of the day, you’ll be married and partnered for life–and that is WAY cooler than anything a vendor could ever do for you.

    • I’m sorry you had to go through that. Living in Brooklyn, I forget that there are people getting married in places that don’t fully accept gay marriage yet and it makes me sad. Any vendor should be HONORED to work on your wedding.

  • I have 2 fashion blogs I really like.




    They are both simple/edgy/ totally shop at the gap. :)


    Just a totally unnecessary note on the baby music classes: Lots of them now, are run by companies that want to make money, and so you have to do things like sign up for semesters so that the company gets their $$$. One of them, a wonderful amazing program called Music Together, is super awesome but nobody is really making $$ except the “headquarters”.

    I teach baby music classes (because, cutest! and funnest) but I stopped teaching for those big organizations because a) I couldn’t be very creative in my lesson planning, b) they wouldn’t let me teach any outside classes with my own curriculum, and c) they don’t allow drop-ins. So! Maybe look for an independent class with a great teacher at a community centre, etc instead.

    • meg

      Yup. It’s Music Together. That seems to be the big thing here. What’s a good way to find someone independent that might let me pay for classes for just a month or two? Yelp?

      • SLG

        OK, I feel dumb, but what’s the advantage of baby music classes? I don’t have kids and my friends who do haven’t mentioned them. Really not trying to be rude — I genuinely want to know. What are they for?

        • KC

          So, I don’t have an infant, and I also can’t say why Meg is interested, but from what I’ve heard, the biggest advantage in “baby and me” classes in general is meeting other moms and kids in a semi-structured environment that provides a non-polarizing topic of conversation. Kids get other-kid time and early exposure to [topic of interest], but the biggest thing is getting to meet peers in a potentially less-judgy atmosphere, who you can then either extend coffee-date sort of friendship feelers to… or not, as you want to. (I say potentially because sometimes the pressure to “keep up” with ridiculous ahead-of-all-child-development-guidelines standards can be harsh among some “high achievers”.)

          Also, with music-ish classes in specific, it can be a lot of fun to watch a bunch of very small kiddos bouncing to music and figuring out clapping and stuff. :-) That I *do* know from experience. :-)

        • ANDREA

          There are lots of reasons!

          All the ones mentioned above, plus:

          -It’s a great excuse to be silly and make music in an informal environment, which parent’s aren’t really willing to make happen for themselves, but are much more willing when it’s a baby class.

          -Learning through music is pretty established in early childhood education — it’s a fun thing that kids tend to like, and you sneak in lots of concept learning like hi and low, fast and slow, keeping a beat, loud and soft, and early language and numeracy.

          -You learn really useful songs to sing with your baby/toddler – songs about bedtime, playtime, washing, getting in the car, transitions in general. Parents report that this is super useful.

          -Making music in groups is something we all used to do as a culture (many cultures still do), but it’s kinda fallen by the wayside. And again, music with babies is a pretty cute excuse.

          -It can be great for early brain development. I used to be in education research and we did a study on one of these baby-parent programs, and found that the kids were nicer to other kids, better communicators, etc after participation in a music class vs. a typical drop-in class with play stations etc. Actual randomized scientific study.

          -SO CUTE

        • meg

          Oh! Well, I’m actually being sloppy with my language. We got invited a lot to do BABY music classes and I always turned it down with total confusion. Well, ok, not total confusion. It made sense that the stay at home moms and babies did it, kids need socialization. But mine has gotten tons of socialization at daycare from the beginning, and I sing to him all the time (stuff, you know, I write for him ;)

          However, I now have an almost one year old (gasp, ack, freak out). And he’s really really into dancing to music (sitting down, obvs) and banging on things, and quality time with mom. So it now seems like it would make a lot of sense.

          AND, I’m working more limited hours in December, after working very long hours for months :) So, trying to schedule some quality baby time :)

      • ANDREA

        Not sure. I’m in Canada, BC specifically, where the culture of Community Centres is so big (and high quality) that parents get all the centre program lists, or look them up, based on what they need. Yelp might work, or ask at your local library, etc?

      • Kirsten

        I’m late to Happy Hour (my Friday afternoon work schedule changed recently… sadness), but wanted to chime in here because I’m a music therapist. There are a lot of music therapists who also teach baby music classes, some in Music Together type programs and some in independent programs, and you may be able to find someone who goes by a monthly basis. At musictherapy.org there is a “find a music therapist” button that will give you an email address where you can send a request to our national office and the super helpful office staff can help you find some names. Just specify what you’re looking for. I know there are tons of music therapists in the Bay area. Hope that helps!

  • Kestrel

    It’s such a good thing that I worked for this company before as an intern, or I’d think they were completely inept.

    Called me two weeks ago and said that I’d gotten the job (YAY!!!!). I was thrilled – good job, kind of job I was looking for, company that I think will be good to work for. They said I’d be getting the paperwork last Thursday.

    Well, they keep emailing me about every 2 days saying that they’re really, for sure really going to have the papers two days later. They’ve delayed 4 times now. I was supposed to get the papers today. Still don’t have them.

    Ugh. The really annoying thing is I’m holding off on some interviews for other companies right now as I don’t know the salary they’ll be offering.

    I’m really hoping there isn’t something wrong with me, and they’re reneging or something.

    • Kestrel

      Ha! They must have somehow known. Just got the call and papers! Looks like I know where I’ll be working for the next few years at least!

      • Catherine McK


  • Sara P

    That MRA article was well-written, thoughtful, and brought up important issues. And I wanted to punch my computer screen.

    I don’t even know.

  • Caroline

    Two big peices of news. One: We’re moving. (Only one town over) Next Weekend, in the middle of midterms for us both. OMG. No idea how we will manage. But the new place is lovely. It’s 5 minutes from the library on foot and has doors! Doors you guys! Not just a studio with a bathroom curtain but an actual bedroom door so we can have me time! I’m sad to leave our beloved apartment and moving is hard but you guys, doors! And no gunshot sounds! And doors.

    Also, I came out as bi two weeks ago. I totally thought I didn’t care about being closeted and came out (on Facebook lol, maybe not the best way) because I realized being bi, in a long term hetero relationship and closeted contributes to bi erasure and wanted to be out to increase bi visibility for kids who might be bi and told that isn’t a thing. Turns out, coming out more widely was awesome for me. I have next to no dating history besides my partner, and have been with him longer than I have known all my friends so they assumed I was straight. Coming out… I can’t explain it but I didn’t feel closeted until I felt free.

    • Congratulations!

    • catherine

      Congrats on all of that!

      And I am happy you did come out as bi, and love your reasoning. I’m sure it wasn’t just for other people, but what you said is so true. It really bothers me when someone that is in a long hetero relationship followed by a homo relationship was “hiding their gayness” or something, or that if someone was in a homo relationship before a hetero one, that it was “just a phase” – what the hell!! Makes me furious. I’m engaged to a woman, my only real relationship, but I grew up having crushes on boys – in my small town in the South it’s not like there were cool butch girls ha, and I’ve kind of felt uncomfortable with the extremes of the labels. My mother (who has a ton of issues with herself and me) is so hung up on the “not believing im gay” thing, which is so frustrating, because I’m like, it doesnt matter if I’ve had 20 boyfriends before! I am in love with someone who’s a woman – that’s it!! Geez.

  • Stephanie

    I’m coming out of my more than two year lurking shadow to see if anyone has recommendations for feminist baby blogs. We just celebrated our one year anniversary and I can think of nothing but babies. The baby blogs I’ve found are nowhere near as awesome as APW. Anyone have a recommendation?

    • Catherine McK

      Yay first comment!

      I don’t have any good baby ones, I’m hoping others do! I read PregnantChicken for a sane (but not necessarily feminist?) pregnancy blog. I find her weekly emails vastly superior and more amusing than the weekly updates on thebump, etc.

    • Two that I love: offbeatfamilies.com, which recently stopped posting new content, sadly, but there are amazing archives; also girlsgonechild.net; Meg has referenced her before and she’s awesome.

    • Amanda

      I’ve mentioned before, but I loved the reddit sub babybumps during pregnancy. Sadly, I don’t find their beyondthebump sub quite as good.

      • Amanda

        Also, I second offbeatfamilies.com :)

    • mira

      Ms magazine has a great list:
      Not alk my cup of tea, but interesting to poke around on

    • Girlsgonechild

  • ElisabethJoanne

    I got slammed at work and didn’t return a call about an interview for more than 2 days, but I still got the interview! That one is with a small company.

    And I set up a phone interview with one of the world’s largest companies. I told them to call my direct line at work, but now I’m wondering if I should figure out a way to take the call out of the office. My present employer doesn’t know I’m looking, and our walls are so thin. But it would mean taking half a day off from work – again – and on short notice.

    And my in-laws offered to pay for a weekend away for our first anniversary (in 2 weeks).

  • Elena

    Ooh! Good call on getting help picking up Littles from daycare. Looks like due to work schedules, I’ll mostly be dropping her and husband will be picking her up, but it’s a good idea to have some extra help for the afternoon if things get nutty, and possibly to help with covering husband’s writing schedule.

  • Jenny

    Thought I posted the earlier but didn’t see it.
    I like http://www.puttingmetogether.com/
    specifically some of the how to sections like building a remixable wardrobe and wardrobe from scratch (which are on tabs at the top of her site).
    I also like the archives of academic chic especially their color wheel stuff http://www.academichic.com/
    and the greatest hits from are nice. http://www.alreadypretty.com/greatest-hits

    I also follow the casual chic board on pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/rosefrey/casual-chic/), but there are tons of “niche” fashion pin boards that are more about wearable fashion and I found poking around in them and following ones that I liked to be helpful when I was trying to refind/redefine my style.

    I’ve had friends who tried and liked
    http://gochicorgohome.com/pub/about (I joined it it wasn’t really for me, but ymmv)
    and https://stitchfix.com/ (which is sort of like a birch box of clothes, only they send you stuff and you send back what you don’t want?) I haven’t done it but friends have had rave reviews.

  • Alix

    Thanks for your advice last week on getting over the post honeymoon/back to real world blues. We had enough going on socially that it wasn’t too bad!

    Husband and I had some awesome discussions about finances this week and are opening a joint account in the next few days. He got a raise at work and we’re on the same page for short term and long term saving goals. It’s really exciting!

    On the flip side my career/job situation is at a bit of a stand still and I’m having a hard time feeling motivated and confident in my job search. Any tips or online resources on job searching/writing a bad ass cover letter/prepping a resume/etc?

    • Emmy

      I always use Quint Careers for my cover letter and to prepare for interviews. It has tons of templates and questions.

      • Alix

        This looks awesome! Thanks!

  • amy

    premarital preparation/counseling?

    I’ve read everything on APW about the topic and am still feeling confused. I’ve had a lot of experience with being in personal counseling for my own stuff but my partner is a bit more (ok, a lot more) apprehensive about the whole thing.

    He thinks I’m trying to “fix” him by doing this and that he can’t indicate any MONUMENTAL issues we have. I’ve tried explaining that I just wanted to talk about (insert all APW listed premarital topics here), but he’s still got some hang-up. Generally, he’s not super comfortable talking about feelings in general, so this is definitely out of his comfort zone.

    thoughts on how to move forward? any recommendations for bay area marriage prep folks?

    • p.

      Could you ask your husband to go to one session to ‘see how it is’ before making up his mind about it?

      This approach (kind of) worked for me: my husband was also very resistant to counseling. But I was seeing a therapist individually and my therapist suggested my husband come in for a single joint session with me. He came with me (although grudgingly), and he liked it. He still admits that he actually got a lot out of it.

      We aren’t currently in counseling together (which is why I consider this approach to have only partially worked) but I think he’d be far more open to it after having this initial session and getting a better understanding of it.

    • Jessica B

      We both got a lot out of it, I think. The kind of counseling our Pastor did was to have us take a test and see what our strengths and weaknesses are as a couple–what to keep doing and what we need to talk about more. It’s not so much a “you’re doing it wrong,” as “let’s figure out how to do this better.”

      Hope that helps.

    • meg

      I’d say this is why you should do it. Him being not super comfortable talking about feelings means you guys need to establish patterns NOW, to give you tools to talk when you need to. And you will need to. This gives you a chance to do it with low stakes: you’re usually in a pretty happy place together (gettin’ married n’ stuff), so it’s just practice.

      That way, when the first really big thing comes down the pike (kids, death, huge fight, money, whatever), you’ll have some skills. But mostly, you’ll just have practice going to therapy. And being able to go to therapy EARLY, when you first start having a major problem, saves marriages.

      • L

        I can’t exactly Meg’s comment enough. I’m married to a little-to- no-talking about feelings guy and starting therapy after almost divorcing. Rolling a boulder up a hill after its fallen is HARRRRD. My only regret, of which I could have many, is that I didn’t see his habits as the flag they were when things were good.

  • Marisa-Andrea

    Oh the Men’s Rights Movement. That is like the biggest lesson in irony ever since the shit they are supposedly fighting for is because of PATRIARCHY. See, guys, it sucks for you too afterall. Sigh.

  • Jenny

    Also, regarding the fox song. Me and my friends recently learned the dance to surprise one of our friends at her wedding (who loved the song). While we were practicing one of our guy friends decided he would be the fox -complete with a fox hat and mittens. She said that other than getting married it was the best thing that happened that day. I don’t say this a lot, but it was EPIC!

  • June

    My boyfriend and I went ring shopping last weekend (yay!) and it was a really interesting experience. We are planning to buy a ring from a conflict-free jeweler that we really like, but we went to another jeweler in the mall just to get an idea of what things look like. I’m really glad to have found APW a way long time ago so that when the jeweler told us that my boyfriend “owed” me 6 carats worth of diamonds and that he should spend an obscene amount of money in a ring since we’ve been dating for six years, I knew she was bonkers.

    • Jessica B

      That just made me super glad to have ordered our rings off of Etsy.

    • meg

      Sanity break: SIX CARATS WORTH OF DIAMONDS? Who is he supposed to be? Brad Pitt? Because that’s the kind of earnings you need for that, sweetbabyjesus.

      • June


        I also really enjoyed analyzing her sales tactics. My favorite line: “notice how the light reflects off of the diamond. It reminds me of the way the sun reflects off of the pond when you’re fishing early in the morning. Do you fish?” I don’t know what made her think she would appeal to our emotions through fishing, but we don’t. :)

  • Emmy

    So I’m trying to submit my Wedding Graduate post (yay!) but I keep getting a page that just says “502 Bad Gateway” after I click the SUBMIT button. Any advice? (And my apologies to the APW crew if you now have 5 submissions from me.)

    • meg

      Aiyiyi. Hosting moving issues. Email us at team at apracticalwedding dot com, with the submission itself, and a note about the issue.

  • lady brett

    holy shit y’all. we have a baby. like, they called us for two kids, one of them was a little younger than ideal, but that’s okay. only they *gave us the wrong YEAR in his birthday!* we have a 7-month old baby. holy shit y’all. it’s crazy. also, it’s fine, alarmingly. also, holy shit y’all – a for-real baby.

    • Amanda

      Oh my, congrats! Can we hear a little more about this journey-to-baby?

    • KC

      Any gear needs?

      (you’d think birth year would be something they’d consider… important… in placement!)

      • lady brett

        amanda – short story, we’re foster parents =)

        kc – one of the advantages of getting babies this way is that they pay for their *stuff* (that and we had a friend with an unneeded crib!), so we’re more or less set. and, well, we learned with our last placement (which was also our first) that you can’t *buy* your way out of being overwhelmed!

        also, yes, one would think. but it’s a side effect of being part of a *system* – i think the person recording the info was not the same person who had contact with the kids, and in the end some papers said he was born in 2012 and some in 2013. (ugh. situations in which no one is at fault are sort of infuriating =)

        but i have now bottle-fed a child for the first time in my life. we’ll add this to the list where our last placement was my first diaper change.

        • KC

          You definitely can’t buy your way out of being overwhelmed, but there are a lot of people who can’t foster who *can* buy diapers, etc. :-) But yes, I was forgetting about the foster stipend (or whatever it’s called) part.

          Right, when a kid is represented by a bunch of pieces of paper (or an entry in a database) being passed from person to person, it’s a lot easier to mess info up that would be obvious if, y’know, they saw the kid. That makes sense.

          Hope it goes well!

    • meg

      BABIESSSSSSS (are the best). Also you missed all of the kinda boring bits, and jumped right into the good part where things are about to happen. I’m so excited for you guys!

  • Aubry

    YOU GUYS! I just paid off all of my debt! No more credit card payments for meeeeeeeee *sings*
    I am pretty excited.

    • Jessica B

      Congrats! That’s a good feeling!

  • catherine

    I can’t wait to look through all the comments…but don’t have time right now!

    My fiance (who is also female) and I are going to a Halloween party tonight as Piper and Larry from Orange is the New Black :) I haven’t done anything for Halloween in….forever. I feel like a real adult that has something to “go to” and smile and nod and drink alcohol. hehe.

  • Winter

    So thursday for lunch, the Mister and I applied for our marriage license! (getting married next Friday) Huzzah! When we finished the paperwork, we realized we hadn’t talked about who would pay for it, so we Rock Paper Scissored in front of the county clerk and I won. He thanked me and then paid for lunch. I feel confident that our marriage is starting out pretty egalitarian. That’s my contribution for this month’s wonderful theme…Y’all have a wonderful weekend!

  • ACK. You need to throw an anniversary party thread. The fact I’m still following this blog 5+ years out is pretty bad ass. It’s not the pretty dresses, it’s the reclaiming awesome bit that keeps me here (somewhat sporadically).

    Any other long time readers out there?

    • Peabody_Bites

      I’ve been reading (and sporadically commenting, but mostly just reading) since late 2009. Its the only blog I have read that long, and virtually the only other blogs I read regularly are blogs I learnt about from here.

      There should DEFINITELY be an anniversary party thread, where we can all reminisce about our favourite post / themes / comments. Sisterhood of the Travelling Dress? That always made me cry. Book clubs? Awesome.

      In fact, I just went back through the archives to work out when I first started reading, and got lost in there for about an hour, remembering how it was back when I used to read APW in my lunchhours and late at night at desk in my BigLaw job – and how much I credit Meg with giving me the courage to jump from what I knew I could succeed in to something new and challenging and successful and sane.

    • Hey BIP! Yay for longtime readers! I’ve been reading since 2008. wrapping my mind around 5+ years. wow.

    • Darcy

      Mid 2009 here. Got married, changed careers, changed provinces and had a baby since then. Awesome APW peeps have saved my sanity every time.

  • SP

    If you’re still looking for closet organization inspiration, check out What I Wore. She literally wrote the book on organizing your closet and buying basics to build a wardrobe around. Her outfit posts of late on the blog have beene repetitive and boring, but she’s been at it a long time, so, you know, whatevs. Still worth checking out.

  • In weirder news, I think our pre-marital counselor may have broken up with us? Or something.

    Last month she called and asked if we could reschedule or appointment for the next week, so we did. Then we got out to the office at the appointed time and no one was there. At all. So we left a message and no one got back to us. Left another, same result.

    Finally got a person, but our counsellor was in another appointment and could she have her call us back? And then no call. Odd as hell.

    • Emmy

      That’s unprofessional as hell. If she actually wanted to break up with you, the way to do it is to say she doesn’t think you’re a good match for each other and give you some suggestions for other therapists. This is just … weird and sketchy. :(

      • Yeah, I truly don’t know what is up. We’d been seeing her for several months. I guess I will try to call one more time just to see about getting a hold of her, but I’m not sure I want to schedule an appointment with her. Perhaps it is time to just see if I can find someone (maybe even closer to our neighborhood) who does Prepare and Enrich and go to them for a bit.

        • Hmm, finding someone non-religious is tough. Most of the ones I can find are in her same practice.

      • Makes me wonder how she can counsel you on good relationship behavior when her own is so terrible!

  • Hope

    So I know I’m late but…. Did anyone watch Grey’s Anatomy this week?
    With this being feminist month on APW I was encouraged to see a married couple (Meredith and Derek) discuss how they’re both struggling going back to work as surgeons after being on maternity/paternity leave. Their solution was for Derek to cut back on work, focus on research and be home more with their 2 kids. He even put it this way (I’m paraphrasing) “I’m not losing by getting to stay home with our kids. It’s your turn to focus on your career.”

  • I may be too late to the thread, but with the clothing thing I wanted to mention Project 333. I just discovered it a couple weeks ago and it’s been super liberating.

    The idea is that you pick 33 wardrobe items (including shoes and accessories, though not wedding jewelry or underwear or gym clothes) and put all your other clothes away for three months.

    You do that every three months and it’s a way to always be delighted with your clothes and makes getting dressed a whole lot easier because you’re facing a well-edited closet without an infinity of choices!

  • I love you.

  • As far as real life fashion, check out my new blog if you like! I’m writing about-and doing-personal styling for (extra)ordinary women. I offer a sliding scale for pricing and virtual sessions, too!