APW Happy Hour

Dear APW,

Maddie here! This was unexpectedly a really good week. I say unexpectedly because I started it by falling off a sidewalk and spraining my ankle (a photographer’s nightmare), which overall sucked. But the result of this klutzy catastrophe was that I then spent the rest of the week being forced to slow down, take better care of myself, and appreciate my support group in a way I haven’t done in a while (insert a hat tip to Meg here, who yelled at me for driving my stick-shift to a staff meeting with my bum foot and then took me to the doctor herself to get it checked out). And since I was really stuck at my desk all week (icing, elevating, and compressing) I got to spend a bunch of extra time editing photos, which gave me an excuse to finally watch (read: obsess over) Orange Is The New Black. (Can we play guess the APW staff’s favorite characters? Mine is… Taystee. Meg’s is… Niki. You can probably read a lot into that, actually.) So while the earlier parts of this week may have been a wee bit stressful, the tradeoff has been, altogether, not so bad. And now I look forward to a weekend of excusable laziness. Uh, I mean R&R.

So tell me, how was your week? (Injury-free, I hope.) It’s your Friday open thread, so hop on it!


Highlights from APW

Going viral this week: Rachel’s IDGAF attitude on wedding planning.

Making your own dress does not have to break you.

All of my favorite things came together on Tuesday when we got to talk about women entrepreneurs and the diverse awesomeness of APW reader career paths. One of my favorite conversations to pop up in these posts was about the importance of second bananas (entrepreneurial henchmen, if you will). It reminded me of this great video on starting a movement and why the role of “first follower” is as just important in creating a movement as the person who started it. Though I may be biased. As APW’s #1 henchlady. So to speak.

We finally answered the call for hip ceremony music, APW style. A little Prince, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash. NBD.

Liz knocked Ask Team Practical so far out of the park this week that it landed on Friday.

Highlights from Around the Web

On the crushing costs of daycare, and what the “motherhood penalty” is doing to middle-class families. You can see Meg’s own thoughts on daycare here. (Meg’s Note: My favorite part of my favorite line of the piece was weirdly cut from the online edition, “Professor Gerson and other sociologists saw something I had seen as well among my middle class acquaintances: a discomfort with center-based day care and even the term “day care,” preferring terms like “educational enrichment” and, yes, preschool. (I try to buck this trend by referring to my daughter’s excellent day care as “day care” every chance I get.”)

This Al Jazeera story (Meg’s note: have you guys been watching Al Jazeera America? It’s the kind of TV news I’ve otherwise only seen overseas. Intense.) Mothers are not ‘Opting Out’—They are Out of Options is the important conversation that we really need to be having. Motherhood, not framed by trend stories about the wealthy.

When he returned home he called her for their first telephone conversation. “I say to her, ‘I’m falling in love with you,’ ” he said. “And I say, ‘Well, I’ve loved you my whole life,’ ” she said. This New York Times love story 35-years in the making is heart wrenching and romantic and makes me yearn hard for the beach.

I’m curious what you guys think about this article in the Huffington Post about a couple that decided to have sex every day for a year.

A sisterhood of the traveling dress story that wasn’t born on APW.

This post on living in New York by Michelle Edgemont simply nails it.

And in painfully obvious news, high heels are really bad for your feet. Wedding flats anyone? (You’ll pry platforms from my cold dead feet.)

These guys are totally pulling off fancy lady hair. Actually, some of these updos are really cute.

From reader Shiri: The New Mexico Supreme Court has held that a photographer who refused to photograph a lesbian wedding violated the N.M. Human Rights Act, and enforcing the N.M. Human Rights Act against the photographer in this way does not violate the photographer’s First Amendment rights.

Kelly Clarkson is so over wedding planning, y’all. Can you blame her? I find it sort of charming. (Side note: Kelly Clarkson is one of my guilty pleasures. I have two Kelly Clarkson Pandora stations. I have also seen her in concert. She was awesome.)

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  • I loved Britney’s article about having sex every day for a year. I think she really hit the nail on the head by laying out the lessons: confidence doesn’t come from other people telling you you’re sexy, you have to be able to ask for what you want, taking care of your own self (in her case, buying pretty underwear) totally makes naked-time more fun.

    I thought a lot of the things she said are some of the same pieces of wisdom that come from the sex open threads here.

    • Kess

      I really liked the article as well! But I also appreciated the top comment on it, which points out that a plan like this could EASILY backfire. It’s good that she was able to push through the sex feeling-like-a-chore thing and end up in sexyville, but I’m not sure it would work that way for me. To me, sex feeling like an obligation is about the least sexy thing in the world.

      • That’s very true. I think Britney did a great job of framing her experience around the lessons she had to learn about herself and the things she and her husband had to learn together. In the hands of a more sensationalist writer, I think the main take-away could very easily be misconstrued as “this is what you HAVE to do for more intimacy!” Rather than Brit’s well-rounded “this was a crazy idea, but it worked for us.”

        To me, it seems what makes crazy ideas work (this or any other) is that all parties have to be invested. Maybe traveling the country in a pick-up truck will stop being fun after six weeks, but all parties have to open and willing to get past the inconveniences or obvious adjustment period to give it a solid chance. And ideally, each person has veto power to say “Look, I get car sick just driving across town, this is NOT a good idea.” But I think even introducing the crazy idea has power- it shows that you’re thinking outside the box and even if the solution is crazy, it’s important that the issue be resolved.

        • ruth

          I second the comments above.
          I was also really happy to see this piece featured, because it’s one of the few sex-positive pieces I’ve ever read on life after kids. As my hubby and I contemplate having children in the near future, I think one of the things that scares me the most (on top of the obvious – omg, we’re going to parents!) is what will happen to our sex life? I feel lucky that, for the most part, our sex life to date has been amazing, and I have a pretty healthy relationship with my body – but I’ve heard so many awful stories about kids killing a couples sex life and motherhood de-eroticizing women’s bodies – and it was so refreshing to read an alternative. Yes, the writer acknowledges, it can get more challenging to feel sexy after reading Fancy Nancy (I snorted at that one) but it’s still possible to have a rich, erotically fulfilling relationship with your husband, even after you’re parents. I’ve never felt the need to try an experiment like this, mostly because our sex life is pretty regular and frequent, but it’s nice to know such options exist. This article gave me hope, and less fear, about sex in the future :)

  • Emmers

    Hey ya’ll!

    My guy and I are probably going to have a large wedding (we’ve bandied around numbers without yet doing a guest list and are thinking 300 would be the upper end. I’m hopeful we can pare it down to 200 or less, but we’ll see). This is for a variety of reasons– one is that we have a large community who has supported us through some tough stuff.

    We’re not of crazy means, so this will probably look like an outdoor bbq (with a family member doing at least some of the bbq), probably with a tent, and maybe some diy centerpieces (which I know will be a ton of centerpieces), and maybe some homemade pies.

    has anyone else done a large wedding like this and lived to tell the tale? Any words of advice?

    • Emmers

      PS, totes not trying to be anonymous for this! o

    • ART

      Our wedding will probably look similar to what you’re describing, though closer to just 80 people, but I have recently been re-reading this awesome post by my apparent wedding planning/life philosophy doppelganger (Britta, if you’re out there, THANK YOU!): http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/09/wedding-graduates-britta-adam/ … in which the couple made all of the food for their 200-person wedding.

      We are planning to do grilled stuff and salads that can be made the day (or two) beforehand. I believe it is doable. My mom is not necessarily convinced (but is willing to help, as are MANY of our family and friends). It can be done!

    • Kess

      We are planning a pretty big wedding too, although not as big as yours. One surprising realization to me was that the backyard tent rental thing was going to be a LOT more expensive than just renting a hall. Tent rental prices in our area are nuts. We ended up getting a cute looking community centre type place that allows us to bring in our own food and drinks etc and the facility rental ended up being about about 1/4 the cost of renting a tent.

      However it may be different if you don’t live in a climate that really requires a tent that can fit everyone for dinner and dancing! It’s something to price out.

      • Laura C

        Yes, and in addition to the tent, think about if you’d need to rent portapotties or something, and all that other stuff that you usually get with a venue.

      • ZoeEllen

        This was my experience! We found that hiring a tent was going to be really expensive (near London, UK), so we started looking at village/community halls. We found one that has worked out pretty cheap and has amazing facilities (good disabled access, proper kitchen, separate bar area etc), meaning we don’t need to worry about things like hiring portaloos or kitchen equipment. Plus it’s really nice to be supporting a community centre.

    • KC

      I think if you’re on a budget, a good step would be pricing out tables, since table-seating for 200-300 is both a lot, money-wise and a lot space-wise. (like, a *lot* space-wise; look at the how-far-apart-should-the-tables-be bit from the place settings post on here and combine with the size of tables to figure out a square-footage-per-person for different table types) I’m not sure how well that will fit in a tent. You can do little U formations of chairs (where it ends up looking like you wrote a ton of cursive lower-case u letters without a break, except not slanty, against each wall and then rows of the same sort back-to-back in the middle) and fit in a lot more people-plus-seats without tables because the getting-to-your-chair space is where the table would otherwise have been in the U, if that makes sense? Or some chairs and tables and some chairs, or some chairs and some picnic blankets. Anyway, so there’s that; figure out how to fit them in the space.

      200-300 people is also just a lot of people, which is awesome, but you’re also not necessarily going to get to see everyone there unless you have a receiving line, and that takes a while with that many people. You could do something like hand out the plates at the BBQ line? It’s also okay for people to just be there to witness your wedding with you; just be prepared that you most likely won’t see everyone unless you have something formal structured and can sort of “require” it (like, people have to flow past you to exit the room, or to get to the food) – if you have something formal structured that is not “required” and people choose to not wait in line, then that’s their choice. :-)

      Anyway, I strongly suggest that everyone have their photographer get a few photos from different angles of the “audience” seated or standing at weddings, because not everyone will be caught in reception or incidental photos, but this goes double-triple-quadruple for big weddings. There are some people where we only know they were at our wedding because they’re half-hidden in the background of a photo of someone heading down the aisle (and there are probably some people who were at our wedding that we’ll never actually know were there…). It won’t be a “pretty” or “artistic” photo (if people are artistically blurred or stretched, it is not useful, frankly), and someone somewhere will probably be picking their nose or making a “somethings smells horrid” face or whatever, but it is awesome for memories and for photo-id-ing people that are important in your history who your spouse hasn’t met and vice versa.

      • Catherine McK

        We did a backyard tent wedding with about 200 guests. It was amazing and I would do it again, but….. if I were trying to save money I do not think I would.
        I pulled up my budget spreadsheet and modified it to give you an idea,
        300 basic chairs, 30 tables and table cloths was about $1200 in Chicago. Adding in the tent, lights, dance floor, and every thing else that needed to be rented is what really added up. (I’d be happy to provide more info if that’s helpful, but there are some good estimating websites, this one looks okay: http://www.asaprental.com/asap/sizewizard.html) although it’s in Canada)

        I’m not saying it’s not doable! Or wonderful! Just that it’s something to go into with the awareness that other options may be more affordable.

        • Emmers

          so helpful! thank you!

    • Amber

      A friend of mine is getting married this fall with a similar guest count to you. They’re planning to hold the ceremony at her church and then go to a reception site and have a luau. It’s been a while since I’ve talked details with her, but I’m pretty sure she said the luau was more affordable than some of the other catering options she looked at for that many people. Good luck to you!!

      • Allison

        We’re having a large indoor/outdoor wedding similar in 8 days. I’d be pleased to do a “how did they do that” post when we get back from our honeymoon if any one is interested. I’d say don’t worry too much about your numbers with this big of a group, especially if there’ s any travel involved. We invited 485 people from 5 provinces, two states, and 4 countries and ended up getting 235 yes rsvps. YMMV.

        • Emmers

          awesome! yes, do that post. and most of all, so many best wishes for your wedding!

    • april

      Maybe look into a state or local park? You could rent a pavilion or two (bonus – they come with picnic tables and restroom facilities, so no dealing with rentals) then just hire a caterer to handle the BBQ. If you wanted to go really low-budget, you could even make it a pot luck …

    • Cat

      I had a very similar wedding to what you’re describing. Instead of a tent, we found an outdoor picnic venue with tables and benches enough, along with four attached grills. I conned four people into cooking hamburgers, my in-laws were our wedding stage managers, and my husband and I used all the theatre contacts we possibly could. My costumer friend fitted my grandmother’s dress for me, my makeup artist friend did makeup and hair, my photographer buddy shot the wedding… We splurged a little on cake, but we still got a deal on it. Our “favors” were actually candy from Costco, and the flowers were made from old law book pages (we gutted the books for the theatre I work at, no books were harmed in the making of my wedding). Our “table cloths” were white butcher-paper, and my sister bought crayons for people to draw on it; she then donated the crayons to her son’s preschool. With all our cost cutting and pulling in favors, our wedding still cost around $5,000. We spread the cost out pretty well over 18 months, and our folks helped out as they could. So basically, if you want to have an economical wedding for a lot of folks, pull in every favor you can, and find a venue that will allow you to rent as little as possible. :)

    • Emmers

      Thank you all for such fabulous thoughts and suggestions! I knew I could count on the ladies of APW. And thanks for not judging me for possibly having a ginormous wedding. I kinda always thought I’d have a small wedding, but this, for the circumstances, feels like the right thing.

      Happy weekend!

  • So I have been having one of those weeks and came across Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability. I’ve seen it before but I really needed to here it this week. I find that if I need to hear something, then someone else does too. Hope it finds the right ears


    • I just bought her book on Daring Greatly, but haven’t started yet. I’m looking forward to it though….

    • Julia Canuck

      Wow. Thanks for sharing this. It made me laugh and cry at the same time, which is something to appreciate.

  • Anon

    So, I’ve been searching for gold kitten heel sandals (I can’t wear high heels because of a back injury) for a wedding that I’m in (the bride has mandated gold sandals) and I can’t find any. I do have a pair of gold peep toed flats that I can wear. The bride has been ignoring all my emails and the bridal party,too so I don’t have a second opinion. What do you guys think?

    • ART

      you tried. i think i’d say wear them and if you get any flak, say sweetly, oh, i figured since no one responded to my emails, it just wasn’t that big a deal (especially since i have a medical excuse).

      OR, and i have totally done this before and it works like a charm: find a pair of sandals you like and can wear comfortably, stuff them with wadded up newspaper, and spray paint them gold. I’m not even kidding! It won’t last forever, but mine lasted through at least 10 wears.

    • Sara

      Have you tried Zappos.com? They have free returns, so you can order a couple contenders and send them back if you don’t like them. Plus they let you search by color or heel height.

      If you really, truly can’t find anything else – I’d assume the peep toes are fine. That’s like halfway to a sandal.

    • Jessica B

      The bride ignoring you is the bigger problem here.

      I’d say wear them if you got them.

      • Definitely wear what you already have.

    • Seconding Zappos! Below should give you a list of gold sandals they have with less than 1′ heel. You can narrow further from there.


      Also, GH Bass has some really, really ergonomic shoes, so if you have outlets near you I’d see if you can find some sandals there.

    • Amber

      I just got these in the the pewter color for my rehearsal dinner. Wore them to a wedding last weekend. Got a little blister on the back of my heel, but with a blister bandaid that should avoid the problem. Other than that they were very comfortable and looked great! In the pictures it shows the shoe in gold, but the only available colors look like the pewter and champagne. Might be able to find the same shoe at a different store. Good luck!! http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/report-shoes-felecia-t-strap-flat-sandals?ID=741842&CategoryID=17570#fn=SANDAL_TYPE%3DFlat%20Sandals%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D417%26ruleId%3D67%26slotId%3D7

    • KC

      Just wear the flats. Peep toe is close enough to sandals to not stick out like a sore thumb in photos (unless everyone else is wearing teeny-tiny strapped sandals), you already know you can wear them without misery, the bride has abdicated on this issue, we’re good.

      (or find sandals in some other color that do work for you and go for the spray paint, fabric paint, or spray-adhesive-plus-glitter-plus-mod-podge shoe mod options. But seriously, I’d just go with the shoes you already have.)

  • Anon

    I have been married for two months, and I’m coming up on a week of living apart from my husband. We don’t know exactly how long we’ll be apart for–I’m starting grad school and he’s fighting the mythical beast of his “last” year on his PhD. In the ideal world, we can live together again in May.

    It could be worse–we’re in the same time zone, though too far apart to drive. We’ve lived together for years, pre-wedding, and built a life together. And as I sit surrounded by boxes in *my* new apartment, I’m building a life separate from him.

    Guys, this is HARD. Really, really hard. Advice? Hugs?

    • No advice but all the internet hugs you need.

    • Rebekah

      *hugs* (and *drinks*)

    • Jenni

      Talk every day. It meant the world to me when my now-fiance called, from military training, for the 30 seconds he was allowed to talk. Every day that we can, we talk once on the phone.

      Try to find something you two can do together, apart. My best friend and I used to watch movies over the phone; my guy isn’t so much into that, so we play World of Warcraft instead (don’t judge).

      Plan your next trip before or very soon after the next one ends. Not knowing how long it will be until you see each other SUCKS. Knowing it’s only four months/two weeks just … helps when you’re leaving.

      When you do talk, try to focus on that person. We’re both guilty of looking at the computer or TV while on the phone with each other. Try to give one another your undivided attention, since it’s only a small part of your day.

      Every day takes you closer to the time when the long distance will end. Grad school is this HUGE monster and looking at X number of years apart is too daunting. Realize that every homework/class/test is bringing you closer to being together again. Fight to finish early, if you can–I finished my grad program a year earlier than most, because I knew we wouldn’t be together until I finished. Keep setting deadlines: X number of pages by Christmas, or this test by May, etc.

      Don’t be afraid to go out and live life without your husband. Meet friends, go out to dinner. Step away to take that phone call from your beloved, but then come back and have a great time, and then tell him all about it later. Feel sad, but don’t let a year go by just staring at the phone and waiting.


      • Anon

        We’re already planning to do a fair amount of stuff “together, but apart” and we have plenty of visits planned (on average, once per month).

        Our time apart is based in *his* timeline, not mine–he will move to my city when he finishes. And the problem with the physical sciences is that sometimes, you just don’t get results. You have to try over and over and over again to make an experiment or equation work out right. And there’s not necessarily any “pushing through to just write more” when there’s nothing to write about! That’s part of what makes it so frustrating–he’s been on two dead end projects and the timeline for his finishing feels completely out of his control (now that he is making progress, it seems like his adviser is doing the terrible thing of refusing to schedule prelims because he wants to get more research out of my husband than what’s necessary for my husband to finish. The adviser is up for tenure soon and WILL NOT take any time to actually, you know, advise. It’s too late to switch advisers, too). All of his trouble finishing is part of why he told me to go and get started on my program–at least *we’d* be making progress to our goals overall, even if he feels stagnated in his work.

        I’m hoping that things will be better when the semester starts in earnest for me, and I’m much busier. Right now, I’m just sitting in my new apartment, with a cat who is SO NOT HAPPY about having moved (anyone have advice for getting a kitty used to a new home? I want him to stop trying to bury his food all the time.). His semester has started, he’s teaching and doing research, so he’s busy and doesn’t have much time to talk. It’s rough.

        I am lucky to have moved to a city where I have a friend network already in place, but none of my friends seem really up for offering significant support. Most of them have never been in a serious relationship (I’m pretty young) and struggle to get how being apart from someone can hurt so damn much, and the one who *does* get that is in the thick of planning a MAJOR PRODUCTION wedding on top of her normal job, so she’s busy. Blarg.

        • Jenni

          I hear your frustrations lady :( I was in a physical sciences PhD and the one “responsible” for keeping is apart–it can be so disheartening when that data doesn’t correlate like you hoped it would, etc. I’m sorry to hear about the troubles with his advisor. That seems like such a crapshoot whether you get a good one or not. Is there another professor he can use for a mentor, someone who’s on his committee or taught a class he really enjoyed? The mentor could provide advice on what amount of research is reasonable to finish, or advice on how to deal with the advisor.

          I had frequent conversations throughout my PhD with my advisor discussing the timeline I was aiming for. Maybe it would help to work backwards… “I plan to defend by this date, which means I need to do my proposal one year before that. How can we make that work?” “This is the work you want me to do, let’s make a timeline that we can agree on for me to complete that work.” His advisor may want more research, but if your husband is depressed and feels like he’ll never be ‘set free’ then his work might suffer. Also, I’ve seen several cases where the student is allowed to finish writing the dissertation away from the institution. Maybe this kind of arrangement could get your husband to you quicker.

          Also–even if your friends are busy, try to keep reaching out to them. Everyone has issues and just because we haven’t experienced them personally doesn’t mean we can’t emphasize and support, and I hope your friends understand this.

          But I guess all you need right now is hugs. Right now it just sucks. Plain and simple. Everything is wrong and nothing is right, and I’m sorry. Get some ice cream, watch that movie, and just wallow, because its okay to be sad.

          • Anon

            Unfortunately, the way they do things at his school, you don’t get a committee until you go through prelims. And you don’t go through prelims until you’re at the writing phase (~1 semester for most people), so unfortunately, he doesn’t have those sorts of back up people.

            I’ll encourage him to reach out to professors who have helped him out in the past. Timetable discussions with his advisor end with his advisor saying “If you want to be certain you’ll be out by such and such date, you should just quit.” And that’s totally unhelpful. But reaching out to other people is good advice that I’ll pass along.

            (In other news, my advisor kicks butt. I came to my program just to work with him, and he’s known in the field as the best advisor in the world. He worked to switch my TA assignment because I didn’t want to commute late at night in my new city. Apparently he caused a minor kerfuffle, but he has my back and I’ve just started. I’ve learned a lot about what *not* to do from my husband’s experience).

            My friends… don’t get why my husband and I are doing this. They sort of have the attitude that if this was going to be that hard, I just shouldn’t have done it. I guess it’s the difference between viewing marriage as something that ties you down, rather than providing you with extra support while you follow your dreams. Some of his friends (who are on average 4-5 years older than mine–we’re talking the difference between early-mid twenties for my friends and late twenties/30ish for his), DO get it, and I’m trying to reach out to them. I have plans to hang out with one of his friends who is also doing a long distance marriage. I’m hoping we can commiserate.

        • MK

          I can’t help with the distance, but you can introduce your shy kitty to the new space one room at a time, generally starting with a small one first. If it’s too late and she’s already got run of the house, you can buy kitty anti-stress pheromone things that are *supposed* to help calm them. I’ve never used them personally, but a friend swears by them.

          • Elissa

            I’d second the pheromones. We used them when introducing a new kitten to our household, because our older cat is a bit of a stressmonkey. Our vet uses them in their office and a friend uses them to help his cat with stress-related overgrooming. Good luck!

        • Audrey

          Unfortunately for our sensitive kitty the only thing that helped with the move, honestly, was time.

          She spent the first week (almost) refusing to come out from under a blanket fort we constructed for her because she was afraid of the new ceiling light fixture! (We had to put her litter box and food and water all there so she could hide.

          A few months later and she was fine. 10 months later you’d think she’d lived here her whole life.

          • Anon

            I’m hoping that time will fix his problems. Since I got a bed, he spends most of his time under it. He does come out to eat and he’ll come looking for me if I’m not in my room. My roommate also said that he prowls some at night. So he’s not totally traumatized, but he’s still unhappy. I may try the pheromones.

            I honestly think that part of his problem is that he’s lost one of his people. We had to live somewhere temporarily before I moved and he was 100% fine with that move–even though it involved staying somewhere with an existing cat. He didn’t show any of these signs of stress. Besides the long drive here, this move *should* have been easier on him than the last. The only thing that’s different is that my husband isn’t here.

        • Heather

          It’s awesome that you already have people in the place you’ve moved, even if they don’t quite get what/why you’re doing it. I think also you’ll find some kindred spirits when you start your program-I’m hoping to avoid the two body problem since we’re in a big city where there is lots of science and (hopefully) good opportunities, but I’ve met a lot of people who are, or have been, in a long term ldr for a couple years for postdocs, school, faculty jobs (and have been able to be successful as far as I know). It’s hard, but doable. Good luck with everything, and it’s awesome that you have a good mentor! That’s so important.

        • Kestrel

          Oh, I totally get you. I’m in my ‘last year’ of grad school as well, and I’m in engineering, so sometimes you also just don’t get results. Granted, I’m working mostly theoretically, so I don’t have to rely on experiments (just massive simulations), but because it’s research, I’ve gone down quite a few roads where I realize that the trail just stops.

          My SO is 500 miles south. Thankfully that’s close enough to drive if we get a three day weekend, but especially now that the summer’s nearly over, there won’t be any for me until Thanksgiving. But I’m visiting him over labor day!

          Honestly, I’m just so sick and tired of being long distance. We’ve been long distance for over 50% of our 5 year relationship and our current stretch of long distance has been 1.5 years, our longest stretch yet (mostly we were apart for 4 or 8 months due to internships and school).

          Honestly, the best thing is just to get busy, but to make sure you still have time for calls and skype with your SO. Join clubs, make new friends, try and do all the fun things in your area.

    • Jessica

      This is hard stuff. An aquaintance of mine started a blog with her husband while he was doing his residency and she was at a job in another state. I feel a litttle awkward giving this link, but oh well, this is the internet. http://alsoiloveyou.wordpress.com/

      • Um, that blog is totally adorable!

    • Amber

      Ugh, I’ve totally been there and am about to embark on us living in two households in different time zones yet again. Before it was me in the last year of my Phd (which turned into 2 years) while she started her own PhD program, and now it’s me leaving for a good job while she is in her last 2 years of the PhD program). We lived together for several years before any of the distance stuff, so I totally understand how hard it is to have this life that you’ve built together and now figuring out how to navigate this different, separate version. Hugs. It’s not easy. For sure. But it can be done, and you can survive it. I second the idea of talking every day. Or at least communicating every day. We were apart for two years, and we always communicated daily in some way, shape, or form, even if it was just a text to say “good morning.” For us, the hardest part was not knowing how long it would be before we saw each other in person. We were always too poor to plan ahead and purchase plane tickets too early (and both being PhD students with crazy schedules and last-minute research deadlines we could never really plan more than two weeks ahead of time anyways). But we made sure to not make each other feel bad about how often we did get to see each other (every 3 months or so for us was all we could do–it was a 2000 mile separation.). Living apart sucks, it really does, but we always remind ourselves that it’s a necessary evil to make our lives better in the future (ie neither one of us will feel like we missed amazing opportunities professionally, and mostly that it will make finding two *decent* jobs in the same town sometime in our future much easier–in theory…). As the person who was first “left behind” to finish my PhD (in the sciences, not sure what your husband is in), it was also really hard to have to admit that it was actually taking longer to finish up than planned, which is pretty typical, but I felt incredibly guilty about. Like I felt like every little disagreement or money issue was all my fault because I was taking too long. My partner didn’t make me feel this way, but it was something that I was super sensitive about, so that might be something to watch out for. I felt like I was the one who caused all the misery and was holding back our relationship.

      On the up side, while living alone, I got really close to a group of friends that I had been only been sort of loose acquaintances with before. I hadn’t really had a good close group of friends since college ten years prior, and that group of friends really helped me get through the long distance thing (lots of wine, hiking, and crafting were involved!). I miss them like crazy now that I’ve moved away. I also started running, pretty seriously, and as someone who thought running was ridiculous before it was a good way to relax and get my mind off things.

      So I guess my advice is to keep the communication lines WAY open, visit each other as much as possible, and find ways to help you make it through, either by meeting new people, taking up new hobbies, or whatever. And more hugs to you.

    • Gina

      I dealt with 2 years long distance while dating, so not quite the same, but it IS hard and I second the commenter who said “talk every day.” Also, it helped for me to think of the time apart as time to focus on friendships, myself, and (I was going to school too) my work. I spent more time at the gym and said yes to every dinner/climbing/hike invitation friends offered me. And now that we live together but he is sometimes gone for work for a month at a time, I truly believe that long-distance period helped me become more independent and self-sufficient. Hell, I actually like it for the first week or so. Having a dog to snuggle with at night helps this too :)

      Of course it’s not fun, and I don’t mean to downplay the suckiness, but hopefully there are some advantages you can focus on. Hugs!

    • Fermi

      I have to agree with the other commenters. I did long distance for 2 years and we were not lucky enough to see each other every month. We were not even in the same time zone. What saved us, was facetiming every single night before we went to bed (or well before I went to bed because I was ahead of him timewise). Some days it might be 30 mins, some days longer. On days we knew we might not be able to facetime at night, we’d make an effort to do it in the morning.

      Also, reading book or watching similar shows will give you something to talk about as well.

      Good luck, long distance just plain ol sucks, regardless of married or not. Just know there will be an end.

    • Lily

      I agree with talking every day! And for me, Skyping/ Google hangouts/ any video chat was for some reason much much much much better than the phone.

    • Anon

      Thanks, all. What’s hard is that this sucks even more than when we did long distance four years ago. And that WAS worse. He was 10 time zones away, literally on the other size of the earth (I took a globe and it did look like if I dug a hole straight down through the center of the earth, I’d come out the other side within 500 miles of him). But there was something different about being so far from the person who I wanted to share my life with, compared to now, when I’m separated from the person who I’ve built my life with for years. We had a home. We made it our home for four years. And we packed it up, divided our things, and moved to different places (him just down the road–we couldn’t afford for him to stay in our old place). I don’t just miss him, I miss the life we had. Even though the cat is freaking out, I am happy to have the little ball of fur to cuddle.

  • Sara

    That NYT story was so lovely, but I really, really love this line from it: “So, the vows began, “I offer you not the summer of my life but the autumn, brisk and vibrant.”” Gorgeous.

    In personal news, I’m going to a masquerade murder mystery party this weekend, and I’m wearing the bridesmaid dress from my college roommate’s wedding. See, you CAN wear them again! :) (Even when they’re ‘jade’ strapless tea length dresses from David’s Bridal that the bridal only decided on because they were heavily discounted/about to be discontinued. )

    • Alix

      Oooh I love that line. Especially because my favourite season by far is autumn :)

  • Carolyn Hax (advice columnist over at Washington Post) has a wedding themed chat today. http://live.washingtonpost.com/carolyn-hax-live-130823.html I was a little worried it was going to be hate on brides, but true to Carolyn’s style it is pretty fair. Can you imagine if Emily Yoffe (Dear Prudence) at Slate did one? Any time anyone has a wedding question she says stop being a bridezilla/don’t marry the bridezilla/stop being friends with the bridezilla. She never looks to the heart of the relationship issues they way that Carolyn and APW does.

    Are advice columns anyone else’s secret indulgence?

    • Ellen

      Yes, absolutely! Reading Carolyn Hax, Dear Prudence, etc, etc- my secret vice.

    • Copper

      um, YES. You can regularly find me in the comments sections on Dear Prudence (on Slate) under this same name. I do often find myself defending the bride against a hoard of angry commenters.

      • I stopped reading the comments/contributing (as RowenaC for awhile) because the amount of bile spewed. People can be really mean when they are anonymous. And judgmental.

        • Copper

          I remember you! There are definitely times I need to take a step back, but I love that community, similarly to how I love this one. Though that one is definitely a bit more… colorful.

          • Copper

            oh, and I also used to be “rationalist” on there, but gave it up after the bannings.

  • lady brett


    vacation! i mean, we went on a week-long vacation last week. it was awesome and so lovely and productive and relaxing. (even the 14 hour drive each way was relaxing, somehow. like enforced hang-out time.) except for the part where my stupidpaws lost my glasses in the ocean within 5 minutes of arrival at the beach. so i spent the next three days in perscription sunglasses, which really throws of your sense of normal (also wearing sunglasses indoors at night makes you look *so fucked up* no matter what you are wearing or doing.) but i did not let it ruin the relaxingness. and now i have new glasses (and a bonus pair of clark kent glasses that make me unreasonably happy).

    now i am back at work, which is less exciting. to say the least. but it is friday and i get to spend the weekend replacing our unsettlingly squishy bathroom floor. if it works it will be fun. i really hope it works; i like having a toilet quite a bit.

    • Jennifer Lyn

      If it helps you feel better — my first Christmas meeting my husband’s family he left his glasses in the car on the way to the airport. He spent the week wearing sunglasses. To top it off, we are both Deaf and rely heavily on eye contact to communicate and I didn’t have any though the sunglasses all week. :( Hopefully, we won’t have that mistake again!

      • oh, dear! that is rough.

        not making that mistake again is why i decided to get a second pair this time – i will be packing them on trips =)

    • I get really frequent migraines so I wear my prescription sunglasses indoors all the time. People who don’t know me think I’m a total diva. They save me from so many headaches so I don’t mind what people think :-)

      But I totally understand needing backups. I currently have 2 pairs of sunglasses and 3 pairs of regular–cause I clearly never lose things.

  • Beth

    Just made my appointment to get a haircut on Sept. 7th! Will be donating 8 inches!

    • Paranoid Libra

      Holy crap I just realized how close it was! My hair just now got to the crazy long length I adore without it being at level obnoxious to brush out. Like it’s my ideal length and now I am afraid to cut and donate it. Then again I do want to try having bangs again…or fringe if I want to pretend about a British invasion which probably would work well with my hair at shoulder length.

      Oh the problems for beauty. Also anyone know of a way to kind of preview what style bangs might work on my face.

      • KC

        I know this is not what your sentence actually said, but I love the idea of a British invasion being more feasible with your hair at shoulder length. It gave me the giggles – thank you! :-)

      • meg

        Same as I said to Beth, email us! Secret project! Fist bumps!

    • Emily

      Me toooooo!

      • InStyle has an AWESOME tool where you can upload a picture of you and then try on celebrity hair styles. It’s what made me realize that straight bangs are not so good for me, but side-swept are perfect. It’s fun to use, though it can be a bit slow.

    • meg

      Beth! Can you email us? We’re working on a secret project.

  • moe

    When I read about Kelly Clarkson’s plans ditch the wedding planning and elope I wanted to high-five her to infinity. So awesome!

  • Alyssa

    I have a question for everyone. I’m going to a wedding in October but the rooms at the hotel the couple picked are all reserved (my fault for not booking sooner). Is it okay to stay at a different nearby hotel but use the shuttles going from the other hotel to the wedding venue? Or totally not okay? It’s in Berkeley and I’d really like to avoid renting a car.

    • ART

      Cool, where in Berkeley? I’m a former Berkeleyan! I don’t have much insight on the shuttle issue, but there may be other easy ways to get around.

    • Catherine McK

      Totally okay! Our wedding was in the suburbs, our hotel blocks were in a ‘burb close to the metro. We had info on our website about getting to the hotel, shuttle times, etc, and had a bunch of guests come to the hotel from the city to catch it. (If the shuttle is the hotel’s it might be a little more challenging, but I bet it would still work out just fine.)

    • Totally okay – just cab it over to the other hotel if they don’t have free parking.

  • I watched this video of Meg Jay’s TED talk – Why 30 is Not the New 20 http://bit.ly/12dWFg1 this week. It’s 15 minutes long, but if you have the time, definitely watch it, especially if you’re in your twenties. For me it was challenging as well as really empowering.

    Also, I discovered this last week sometime, and it has been a guilty pleasure ever since http://fortydaysofdating.com/dates/. Basically these two artist friends for whatever crazy reason decide to date each other for 40 days and document the whole experience. It’s not really inspiring or super insightful or anything, but it is totally fascinating.

    For me this past week has been a little shitty, but the weekend is here :)

    • Paranoid Libra

      I enjoyed the TED talk it is a empowering.

  • ART

    In other New Mexico news, same sex marriage licenses are being issued in at least one county, and another may have to start soon after a court decision: http://www.sfgate.com/news/texas/article/NM-clerk-ordered-to-give-gay-marriage-licenses-4755898.php

    And the state AG said he would not fight the first (Dona Ana County) on giving out licenses, which reads a little similar to California’s AG not defending Prop 8 in court (different, but still). EXCITING.

  • Emily H

    Getting married next week. I had only my second cry of this whole wedding planning thing (and I am a BIG crier), so I’m going to consider that a success! I’m with Kelly Clarkson… I’m so over it, and can’t wait to get to the marriage part!

    • Woohoo! You’re in the home stretch — I’m sure you’ll have a lovely day and, even better, an awesome marriage!

    • LILY

      Also getting married next week! Big congratulations to you on holding it together! But remember, you don’t always HAVE to hold it together–sometimes, a good cry (alone or with company) can be such a great release. And I’m with you (and Kelly)…so over the planning, can’t wait ’til the marriage!

    • Almost Amber P

      Me too! So excited!!!

  • As of Wednesday, I’m just .4 lbs. shy of a 30-lb. weight loss! I had my first dress fitting two weeks ago and was nervous about how it would fit now that my body shape has drastically changed, but the seamstress pinned that baby like nobody’s business — and even in a different size, I’m still in love with the dress. It’s just so my dress, and I’m so relieved.

    I brought my future mother-in-law and my mom with me — and loved that experience more than when I actually had that initial “Say Yes to the Dress” moment (which felt awkward and kind of forced). Trying the dress on now, just two months from the wedding, felt more “real” than when I bought it shortly after getting engaged.

    I thought, “I’m getting married in this dress.” Then: “I’m getting married.” Then: “I’m getting married to S.” And I just felt happy and grateful and . . . so, so good.

    • C-Lee

      That’s SO awesome, congrats! I’ve recently lost 30 lbs too! What a great feeling!

    • Hannah

      Congrats on everything! <3

  • C-Lee

    My first bridal shower party is this weekend AND it’s on my birthday!! Yay!

    And also, my fiance and I made the decision to have a cash bar at our wedding. We did this for 2 reasons… half of the people there probably won’t drink alcohol, and the venue has been really sketchy about their alcohol policy. Instead of telling me up front (or having it in writing in their policies) that they don’t do bar on consumption, or telling me that we’re not allowed to bring our own alcohol or use our own bartenders to save some money, we would be forced to pay the extra money per head for partial/open bar, plus pay for their bartenders, plus pay for a police officer to be on duty like we’re a bunch of heathens. So, that said, I’m paying for the bridal parties/parents drinks and everyone else is cash bar… I tried to work it out so that we could at least pay for everyone’s beer/wine, but the venue made it impossible for me to do that in an affordable way. The thing is tho, I kind of feel like a dick that I’m not able to pay for wine/beer for everyone I can’t afford it the way the venue has it set up. And I’m wondering how do I let them know ahead of them if it’s a cash bar?

    • We went ’round and ’round about the bar but, in the end, just straight-up could not afford to pay for an open bar. I know opinions on this differ wildly, but I’m not a big drinker and don’t have many big drinkers in my family — so I’m not really giving any heads-up. I thought about putting a line about it on our wedding website, but friends have kindly informed me that “no one really looks at the wedding website” (is this true?! But all the hours of . . .).

      By some stroke of luck, I actually won a free round of signature cocktails from my venue — so those will be provided to adult guests. But everything else is cash bar. Right now we’re planning to put up a cute sign on the bar like, “First round of cocktails on us, next round on you!”

      Friends I know will want wine, beer, etc., are being told quietly about the cash bar ahead of time. In fact, it’s become a running gag with my coworkers . . . they’ve all told me to bear in mind they’ll be sneaking sips from a flask all evening. :) (Hopefully not but, you know, whatever!)

      • anon

        I would feel extremely uncomfortable making wedding guests pay for their drinks.
        Would it be possible to have just 1 round of beer / wine / champaigne and that’s it? Or homemade Sangria or other cocktail?
        Otherwise I think I would just go without the alcohol… people will be there for you and they will have fun regardless.
        And if it is a day -reception you can all go to a bar together later.

        • I see where you’re coming from, but I’m really not worried about it. Even with providing just beer and wine, the extra expense for 150+ adults was money I simply do not have. I don’t expect many people to be drinking, and we will have the signature cocktails and champagne for all.

        • Anon also

          I would much rather pay for a drink than not even have the option. I think it’s one of those things that totally varies by crowd and location. It’s very common in my area to have a cash bar.

    • This is *such* a hot button issue. You have to just do what works best for you and your partner, and ignore anything else.

      We wound up with an open bar for cocktail hour, 2 bottles of wine on each table, and then a cash bar after that. I was very worried that people would be upset or leave early or complain or not dance or whatever. It was a complete non-issue. All my stressing was wasted energy. Decide what works best for you and then don’t give it a second thought.

      If it’s a cash bar that only accepts cash (rather than also taking credit cards) then I would spread the word. Tell your wedding party/family and ask them to share the info, too.

    • Amy March

      Word of mouth and spread it widely. Leaving aside all the other issues with cash bars, you don’t want guests showing up with no cash/cards! Which prob sounds ridic to many, but I hardly ever have any money on me, and often don’t bring more than ID, lipstick, and a phone to a wedding.

  • Yay!

    First off, I’m glad to see the Al-Jazeera article, because it really resonated with me.

    Second, I wanted to share a ridiulously unlikely/delightful thing that happened yesterday: I found a dozen four-leaf clovers. (actually 11 four-leaf and 1 six-leaf.)


    They were all in the same patch of grass, so I imagine it makes sense that the mutant gene might be widely shared, but it was crazy just the same. I’d actually beem joking about the bride with the bouquet of 4-leaf clovers, never thinking I’d ever see one.

    Sadly, I didn’t get around to buying a lottery ticket.

    • (I’m sure there were more in that patch, but it seemed prudent to stop at 12.)

  • InTheBurbs

    Getting married one month from today. Have accomplished the big DIT projects. Now have to decide what I’m going to do with my hair – after trying to heed all the opinions I said enough and am going to do what I want – but deciding what THAT looks like is challenging! And a huge thank you to all you ladies on the encouragement on jam making – we made 134 half pints as favors. Not only does it taste good – it looks gorgeous!

  • Alix

    My wedding is in 4 weeks this Saturday oh my gosh.

    Currently in that annoying stage of tracking down the last RVSPs from people that missed our deadline. I would have thought email RSVPs were easy as all get out but I guess it’s just one of those wedding planning THINGS no matter what you do.

    Excited to have my final dress fitting tomorrow and see my entire “look” for the first time!

    I am going to map out our reception music this weekend. Any tips on making an iPod/lap top playlist as easy/awesome as possible?

    • Stephanie

      My wedding is 4 weeks from tomorrow, too! And I also could use some tips on reception music playlists.

      Our only renegade RSVP card is from my brother, who is our officiant, so I’m pretty sure he’s coming. (And I know how lucky we are that our guests actually RSVPed! Our guest list is only 50 people, so I think that’s a big part of it.)

      • Alix

        Date twins! Awesome! Good luck with your last wedding tasks.

        Our guest list is about 50 as well. A shade over. Luckily there’s just a few more to wrangle. I know it could be a lot worse with a bigger guest list for sure.

    • Meg

      I put my husband in charge of the music, but one of the things we did that I loved was including a song from each of the movies/video games/TV shows we love most. So, obviously Star War and Harry Potter made it on there, but he also had a piece from StarCraft, and we had The Final Countdown as an homage to Arrested Development, the Friends theme, the Buffy theme, etc. If you’re as addicted to Netflix as we are, you’ll get a bunch of song ideas quickly.

      • Alix

        I love that! Sharing TV shows is definitely a big part of our relationship. Netflix is one of the greatest things ever invented IMO.

    • Emily H

      I had online RSVP, listed our phone numbers, and basically just told people to let us know in person, on FB, text, email, gchat, a handwritten note, whatever you want! And STILL a lot of people didn’t reply until asked. Sigh…

      • Alix

        Sigh indeed!

    • i don’t know if this counts as easy (it’s time consuming, but fun if musing is a thing for you), and i’m certain it’s not efficient, but here was my basic process for creating our wedding playlist (for the reception). it was not the least bit planned out, but it’s basically how i make mix cds for folks and it was a lot of fun for me (except for the part where i didn’t really finish it ’till wedding-eve).

      1) create a “wedding” playlist

      2) scroll through your whole music library – 13 days of music according to itunes and play snippets of any song you can’t sing (badly) based on the title. put anything that you could imagine having at your wedding in the playlist (my criteria was basically “awesome love songs”).

      2b) create an “unwedding” playlist for songs you can’t bear scrolling by without acknowledging, but which are decidedly inappropriate for your wedding (this list is now one of my favorite collections of music, and is almost entirely beautiful love songs of a depressing bent).

      2c) consult anyone whose opinion you care about for “must have” music. this can be no-one. also, i didn’t do this, and ended up making some last-minute additions that would have been easier up-front (i did consult my wife, who doesn’t have opinions about music, so. i did not consult my mother, who told me that you cannot have a wedding without louis armstrong’s “it’s a wonderful world”. which i, clearly, added.)

      3) create four more playlists: rock, slow music, dance music, and i don’t know how to categorize this. i did this mostly by gut – the dance category was entirely populated by “does this make me want to dance with someone now?”

      4) create two more playlists: reception (at fancier shindigs this could be called cocktail hour music) and dancing.

      5) figure out how much time you think you need for each part of the reception. i ended up with about 1 hour of hang-out music and 3 hours of dancing music. (that was an over-estimate by a long shot for ours, but better overshoot than under. although, don’t panic about that either, no one but whoever made the playlist will notice if you re-start it – a dear 10-year-old got ahold of ours and played “kiss” by prince 5 times throughout the night, and my wife even didn’t know until i made a joke about it last week…)

      6) move things from your 4 playlists to your 2 playlists by priority. stop when full. that’s the hard part. my initial “wedding” list had almost 8 hours of music, and the final 2 lists were 4 hours, so there was a lot of *spectacular* music left out.

      7) order. this part is totally subjective. my technique is to *only* listen to the last and first 10-or-so seconds of a song and see how they mesh so the transitions are nice – with some consideration for not putting all the fast songs together so there’s some up and down to the big rhythm of the party. if you’re not ocd like me, this may be mostly unnecessary – just remember to put your first dance, parent dance, whatever you want to start the dancing off with first on the dancing list.

      8) change your itunes settings to a 2-second overlap between songs. it sounds bad if you’re just listening, but it very helpful to not having weird lulls in your party music.


      good god, this is more of a post than a comment. sorry, hope it is helpfulish.

      don’t be like me: i had the forethought to make sure someone not getting married was in charge of the music, and that they knew how the ceremony music worked. and totally forgot to tell him about which of my now 7 “wedding” playlists were supposed to start the reception (thanks, friend elf, sorry for my stupidity!)

      the music at our wedding was awesome – and putting it together was fun – but my favorite part about it is that i can listen to our awesome wedding music any time i feel! the dance mix makes awesome driving music for road trips.

      • Joy

        And have a back up Ipod/thingy-that-can-play-music if the first decides to stop working for no reason! Ours did and all the hours of making that playlist were wasted. (Except I rock out to it in my kitchen now and then.) I’m almost over it a year later. However, a few wonderful lovely friends used their phones to make playlists on the fly so, literally, no one noticed the very short lulls. And happily, we had a lot more Michael Jackson than originally planned.

  • Kelly

    I’m getting married in two weeks, and I think I have finally found my wedding zen. The last week has felt completely insane and I’ve been busting my ass to get things ready, but suddenly it all seems… manageable. And real. And exciting!

    I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s too late to change things – after an incredibly stressful year, I am the heaviest I’ve ever been, and that’s okay. I will not learn to stop slouching before then. I will be me and he will be him, and we will be perfect and beautiful anyway.

    The distance between here and there still seems long and challenging, but in just 15 days I’ll be married! And on my way to an amazing honeymoon in Japan, blissfully wedded and planning on never planning a wedding ever again. I can’t wait!

  • Lauren

    Wondering if anyone has had any experience they can share with regard altering/wearing a very vintage wedding gown? My mom has her grandmother’s (so my great-grandmother) wedding dress that she wore in 1919!! It is really simple cotton/linen/lace combination but beautiful and in much better shape than I expected considering its age.

    I tried it on last weekend and it is too small on top (won’t button), but for some reason there is lots of material in the bust area. (A 1919 style? Or maybe I didn’t inherit her boobs.) Anyway, I have SO MANY questions, but first, I don’t even know if it is possible for this thing to fit me. I’m unsure how to find a great vintage seamstress (in Chicago). Also, what happens if I spend time and money and I don’t love it? I still wonder if I will want a new dress, despite how beautiful it is.

    It would need some serious work, to make it bigger for one (which might be impossible without completely redo-ing the back), and there are some stains on the sleeves that might make a total sleeve removal the only option.

    Anyone have any experience with vintage dresses they can share? I am NOT a sewer, so my knowledge is very limited. Did anyone wear a dress like this?

    • Catherine McK

      I don’t have any experience, but my WONDERFUL dressmaker in Chicago works with vintage dresses a lot. She’s pretty fantastic:
      (oddly, my shoulder is in the most recent post…)

      Her store is lovely 1747 W Belmont Avenue, I’d probably call ahead, as she gets booked up, but she’s super friendly, helpful, and easy to talk to.

    • Dresses in the 1910s are a different silhouette from today. Foundations garments created a different shape to the body, which is probably one of the reasons you’re having such trouble fitting into it. Secondly, the chest of dresses in the late teens were a bit large in front and droopy. See here: http://pinterest.com/pin/21181060718749347/ + http://pinterest.com/pin/21181060718152008/. Women didn’t necessarily fill out the front of their dresses.

      Also, I am curious whether the dress was really made in 1919 or if it was made at an earlier period when the monobossom was at its height. Does it look closer to this and this this?

      My suggestion is to have a consult with Crafty Broads. Both Cindy and Julia can advise if they think alterations could be done. It’ll depend on how much seam allowance there is that can be let out or if a panel could be put in without being too obvious. Of course the fashion historian in me shutters a little to suggest such a thing to a dress in such good condition. I’ve been looking for a dress like the one you are describing for the fashion history collection I manage in Chicago (in case you decide not to alter it and want to donate it, email me. I can give it a great home).

  • Stephanie

    One month from tomorrow! I feel like there’s not enough time to get everything done that needs to be finalized (it’s all the little things — programs, favors [my mom is adamant that we have them, and it’s not a hill I’m willing to die on, plus they’re chocolate and I love chocolate], table decoration assembly, etc.), but at the same time it feels like it is SO FAR AWAY.

    I’m also job-hunting because my company was sold and my last day of work was July 18. I’ll tell you, finalizing wedding plans AND job-hunting is a special kind of stress. I’m trying to not let it get to me, but I keep getting seized with anxiety and hyperventilating for a while.

    I know that 13 months from now, on my 1-year anniversary, the odds are good that I will look back fondly at my wedding (and say “Favors? Did we even HAVE favors?”) and be settled in a new job. But getting from here to that point has turned my stomach into one big knot.

    But still — only one more month, and I get to marry the best person I have ever known. I am so damned lucky.

    • Jessica B

      I hear you man. About 3 weeks ago I was feeling that stress (3 weeks to the wedding now), because I was apartment hunting by myself, sans car, wedding planning, honeymoon planning, working extra to be able to go on said honeymoon, and trying to manage my mother’s expectations.

      Now, apartment has been found, there are more people to help handle the details, and I don’t feel at all bad about throwing the detaily things at my FH or mom and dad.

      I really hope you find a job in the next couple of weeks! Wouldn’t that just make everything else seem rosier? Good luck!

    • Almost Amber P

      You’ve got this! Take one thing at a time. Keep to do lists. Don’t let it stress you out too much. I’m one week out and still assembling favors and seating cards and center pieces, and, and, and! The list goes on. I finished my M.A. in June. Moved in July. Started a new job. I know what it’s like to juggle a lot at once. But, like I said, you’ve got this. Even when it feels like you don’t have that much time, you do. You’ll get there. Promise. Take deep breaths and have fun with it!! Even though I’m sure there will be certain things that drive you crazy.

    • melise

      Yup. Definitely a special kind of stress. We were both job hunting leading up to our wedding last month, and I kind of just stopped looking a couple weeks before because I couldn’t handle it. Still job hunting now and living in my parents basement, but we’re together and happy and I know we’ll find something soon! Good luck to you! If the hunt is too draining in the weeks before the wedding, consider dropping it for a bit. I don’t have a job yet, but I’m glad I let myself relax and enjoy my wedding!

  • Smitty

    I liked both of the articles on childcare costs, but then when I read the comments I get so depressed. Even if these commenters only represent 10% of Americans, it explains a lot about why we may never have truly family-friendly policies. It also made me even less excited about paying for daycare in Massachusetts where the average cost is $19,000/year, but where I live (Boston metro area) most full-time infant care (at a center) is $30,000+. So after the little guy arrives in the next week or two I will not be having another child until he’s at least in full-time grade school.

    This also got me thinking about the marriage tax penalty — why haven’t I seen an APW discussion of this? About a month ago I was talking with a friend who was considering getting married (now that DOMA is gone!) for “the tax benefits.” And all I could do was stare at him blankly. “What tax benefits?” Because for me (and for him/his partner) who pulls in a nearly identical salary as my husband it seems we will only be paying the government more than if we were unmarried until one of us dies. Let’s discuss.

    • ART

      I think it depends on the difference between the two incomes more than the total amount of the income. My fiance and I make wildly different incomes and we think we will experience the “marriage bonus” because my top tier of income gets dragged down a bracket by sharing it with him. I think the “marriage penalty” tends to occur in cases where the two earners’ incomes are similar. That’s not to say I think either is fair.

    • Caroline

      Ugg, the childcare article is just SO terrifying!!! I want kids someday, several of them (2, 3, 4? Could we ever afford 3 or 4?), and I feel like we’ll NEVER have enough money to pay for daycare. I do not want to be a stay at home parent. Not at all. At the very least, I want to work part time, and you can’t really have a career part time right now, it seems, so I would rather work full time.

      In terms of the marriage tax, I’ve always understood it helps when there is a big difference in your incomes and hurts when your incomes are similar.

    • meg

      I actually have no idea if we’re paying a marriage penalty or not. I think my general opinion is that we get so many rights and benefits with marriage, that the tax issue isn’t a huge one to me. Also, hey, we don’t have to worry about what happens with money if one of us dies (hey, Edie and Thea).

      The daycare thing is rough. What gets us is how on earth to pay for multiple children in daycare (or any kind of childcare, but we love our daycare). It hurts my head.

      • that al jazeera article was great.

        also, as foster parents, we get free daycare, but if we were paying for that out of pocket, it would cost us over 3/4 of my salary (our only salary) to send the 3 kids. and you wonder why these kids’ folks have a hard time parenting? clearly, it’s more complicated than that, but it’s a damn relevant consideration.

      • Smitty


        I commented down below as to why I think we should care about the marriage tax penalty even if it doesn’t affect us personally (or is a benefit to us). Basically, it reflects institutional bias against couples that both work and are paid at similar levels and could be easily fixed to split evenly so that no couple is penalized (and some couples still receive benefits). This bias is a result of the anti-feminist views that were pervasive when the laws were written (basically, we want women to be homemakers not equal earners). While there are other rights to getting married, this penalty can become very relevant when marriage is considered by some couples, for example my friend who was already in a domestic partnership with his long-term partner (giving them access to each other’s medical benefits, etc).

    • Remy

      Being able to file jointly in CA (we were domestic partners this past tax season, before Prop 8 was finally struck down) made a HUGE and beneficial difference to me and my (now) wife. If we’d been able to file jointly at the federal level, too, it would have been even better. Even split in half, it was the largest refund I’ve ever gotten. For us, it’s definitely a marriage benefit, not a tax; our incomes are moderate and disparate enough that we fall into a joint tax bracket with a smaller marginal rate for the greater earner and the same rate for the lesser (as if we’d filed singly).

      Having said that, I know it’s not the same for other couples, especially if they both make about the same amount. Someone I know jokingly “congratulated” us on becoming eligible for the marriage penalty… but they live differently than I do. Does filing separately avoid those penalties?

    • Scout Finch

      The tax structure was designed with the assumption that one partner earns significantly more than the other. The incentives are in your favor if that’s true for you. If it’s not, you may want to consider the “married filing separately” option.

      • Smitty

        I know that the for couples with widely different incomes there is a marriage tax benefit, not a penalty, but I think it is unjust that the tax laws were set up so that they only favor couples who make very different incomes — which seems antifeminist to me as women traditionally and still tend to have the lower income in a couple (a problem in itself), and thus our tax laws are more likely to push women out of the work force. For my husband and I, we have the exact same job and the exact same salary so by being married we are paying extra than if we were single and living together. We could file “married filing separately” but there are other horrible consequences to that choice, such as the fact that we couldn’t contribute to an IRA (which for us is important as we have no work place savings; with this filing status you can only contribute if you make less than $10,000 annually). Last year when we filed taxes we also found that we were penalized on the state level in terms of rent deduction — if we weren’t married we could consider ourselves roommates and each claim the full rent deduction (which is still less than 20% of what we pay in rent annually), but since we were married we could each only claim half.

        Honestly I don’t make enough money that any of these things are a huge deal and make up for the fact that I enjoy being legally married, but I do think they reflect institutional biases against women and married couples that we should be rallying against. It would be quite easy to make it that the marriage tax is only a benefit for couples with very different incomes and doesn’t really affect couples with the same income, but that isn’t the way it was set up back when it was established and the government was trying to push women out of the workforce and back into homemaker roles.

  • Paranoid Libra

    I was kind of late to the career open thread so question for here. I can’t figure out if I got out of where I worked what the heck I would do that would actually provide enough of an income. It would just be awesome if my husband could get a job where I work and we both work there for a bit then I really would be free to go do whatever I wanted for work that would fulfill me. I am an animal lover and I know the money at any of the local shelters would be dismal. I would love to become a trainer, but I am not sure how I could do that and not step on any toes of those local to the area? How can I turn an love of animals into something profitable?

    • KC

      I think if you’d like to be a trainer, then asking the locals is probably the way to go (someone might need an assistant or partner – you never know). They’d also have a better idea of how saturated the market is (or of which areas of the market they specialize in) – if you look at their advertising and think it’s better than what you could manage, and they’re not getting enough clients out of it, then that’s useful data, potentially?

      Otherwise, no helpful advice, just good luck!

    • AnonDogLover

      I volunteer at an animal shelter that really runs mostly on volunteers (there are maybe 10-15 staff and hundred of vols), because that’s how the money is at shelters. We couldn’t save as many animals otherwise. We have a trainer who is in-house 2 days a week to work with and assess the dogs, and the rest of the time she has private clients/group classes through a local training company. That’s what I imagine a lot of trainers’ lives are like.

      My advice for entering the market (something I too have considered) is to first start volunteering with the dogs. Our shelter has a step up program where you get trained to work with the “easy” dogs, then then ones that need more work, and then individual dogs that are more challenging. It’s 1) the most amazing work I’ve ever done and 2) a real reality check into the type of work/what’s required to be a professional (lots of hands on dirty work and knowledge through experience).

      By volunteering you’d be on an inside track for a job if it opened up, and it would give you connections to trainers/shelter workers in the area who could give you tips and maybe eventually let you apprentice.

      • Paranoid Libra

        Oh I already volunteer and have dealt with the large array of dog behaviors and personalities. It helps to reinforce the fact I would love to work with them.

        • AnonDogLover

          Oh! Rad! I’d def contact your shelter’s trainers or local trainers, then, and just flat out ask about how to get started, or apprenticing. I don’t think I’d worry about stepping on toes? I think a real professional would be glad to offer a helping hand.

          I’ve also considered starting dog-walking/pet sitting services that are individual (one-on-one walks v. group walks, individual play, more time with each animal). Where I am, most dog walking/doggy daycare is big groups and it makes me a little sad. I know that, depending on how large your area is, there could be a lot of people willing to pay for quality, experienced one-on-one pet care.

  • M.

    I’m so happy for Michelle that she has made a life she loves in NYC! It’s always interesting for me to read what people think about living here – the narratives surrounding this place are generally so extreme (Anyone living elsewhere must be joking vs. If you don’t like it, get out you transplant weakling).

    This line, tho: “This place kicks the sh*t out of you.” (Also the crying on the street. And in the train. And in the laundry room and the bodega.)

    I’ve been here a year+, came for fiance who has a wonderful job he loves, and.. I super hate it. Yes, there are things I really like (certain restaurants, bars, museums, running into Robert Krulwich in Pret), but mostly, it’s a daily struggle. And it’s hard to talk about because so many people truly love it (or fall on the more love than hate side of NYC ambivalence), and so many people who don’t live here think it must be The Dream. (Pro tip: Don’t go home to Michigan and tell people you don’t like NYC.)

    This is just to say, *sigh* NYC. What the hell.

    • Violet

      Ooof, it is a struggle, isn’t it? Like you, I also dislike the “If you don’t like it, you’re a weakling” rhetoric you hear about NYC. To me, there is a difference between handling something and liking (or even loving) something. Someone can handle a place without necessarily enjoying living there (as you are!). Anyway, just one gal saying, I do love it here, but I 100% respect your right to SUPER HATE it here (and I mean, hatehatehate), without judging you to be weak in any way.
      As the nightmare that is Friday subway rush-hour begins…

      • M.

        This is much more meaningful than I can express! Thanks for sharing your city with someone who is just… dealing.

    • LM

      Reading this made me kind of sad. It’s so hard to live in a place you don’t like. I love NYC because I think it’s a great city and also because it’s my home. I grew up here and so it’s always been my “normal”. That said, I definitely sometimes have less loving feelings towards it sometimes. I hope your experience here improves or you get to move somewhere that suits you better!

      • M.

        Thanks, LM. It is so hard, I never expected. I’ve lived several different types of towns and cities (and countries) and had spent quite a bit of time in NY. I thought, I am cosmopolitan and flexible! No problemo! Adventure time! Which, it was briefly. But now it’s just not my thing. Moving on the horizon next year if I’m lucky, or two years. Until then….dealing. I am glad that you love it!

        • Ruth

          Thank you so much for all the comments above. As a fellow New Yorker, I really relate (I find some days I oscillate from loving to dealing on a moment to moment basis.) Is there an APW meetup group in NYC? Because you guys are awesome, and I’d love to meet you :)

          • M.

            I don’t know if there is? I’d be up for it!

    • Shiri

      Oh, I so feel you. I feel like all my friends are in that place, where we all think we’re supposed to love it here and sometimes really do (lying in Prospect Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon where people have actually called you for once to tell you they’re hanging out and someone’s dog or baby is being adorable) but mostly just feel like its too*damn*hard. I’m grateful my friends don’t all feel like you have to love it here or are a weakling if you don’t, because sometimes you just want a place where all your pots and pans fit in your kitchen, or it doesn’t take an hour and a half to get to the outdoors, or where an order of turkey bacon doesn’t cost you $5.99 (true story! yesterday.).

      I live here, it’s my home for now, but I think I could be happier other places, and less happy many other places, too. New York isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t that “some people can’t hack it here”. It’s that not everyone wants to. It just isn’t right for everyone.

      Oh, and when I say “all my friends”? I sometimes feel like I only have two here. Effing New York.

      • M.

        Shiri, my soul sister. THIS to everything. The friends, the money, the getting out, the everything (and so many things not mentioned here). I am glad your friends are supportive because mine, few though they are, are mostly on a campaign to *make* me love it which is…not helpful? I want it to be OK to not like it, which is why I came here. Thanks for this… Effing New York indeed.

        • Shiri

          Ugh, I know that campaign. I’m on it with my little sister. She HATES it here, is totally miserable, and I want her to be happier in New York because I want her to stay near me. It doesn’t help. I can survive here, I’m fine, but I don’t love it. All I want in the place I live is to not have to drive everywhere and to live near my friends (and, you know, not in a crazy conservative place). This clearly isn’t the place for that…

          Where in the city do you live?

          • M.

            Nowhere Brooklyn. It’s a real place, I swear…. You can email me at msse627 (at) yahoo (dot) com if you want to commiserate, meet up, etc! More friends always welcome.

    • meg

      Oh, GURL. I hated New York for two years. Like HATED. At year four I decided I liked it enough to stay (9/11 happened at the same time, and that made a New Yorker out of me right quick). I was there nine years, and missed it every single day since we left… till the day I gave birth. Literally. Then I was too tired to think about it. If we move back, I think I’d need kids that can walk. Or maybe just sleep through the night…

      New York takes TIME. If you were not hating it right now, I’d… be wondering about you ;) But once it gets in your blood, it never gets out. I mean, all New Yorkers love it and hate it at once, that’s the deal, but there is no place like it in the world, that’s for sure.

  • Almost Amber P

    Can’t focus on work today. Wedding is next Saturday. Keep thinking about all the crafty things I’m working on and just want to go home and continue assembling my favors and center pieces! And, we had to take our kitty to the vet yesterday for a UTI. Poor little thing. So I want to give her cuddles. Is it time to go home yet?

  • KC

    I’m actually… not sure how I feel about the court decision.

    I guess: I want people who make art (which I class most wedding photographers in) to be allowed to only make art they agree with or flow with or feel they can celebrate, even if they’re businesses. If I knew something in a ceremony was going to be offensive to me (racist jokes? faking another religion? – in the court case, the fact of lesbian marriage), then I’d want the freedom to not make art out of it, the freedom to not make something I ethically or religiously or philosophically disagree with look beautiful.

    Passport-photo stuff [stand here, camera is here, lighting is standard] would be different, which is where I see a squishy line between art-providing and cookie-cutter (or recipient-doesn’t-generally-matter) stuff. If I composed music, I would HATE to be forced to compose good music for, say, most political campaigns, or for Monsanto ads. If I did logos, I would want the right to refuse tobacco companies as customers. If I made chocolate-chip cookies, then if Monsanto bought a bunch out of a storefront for an employee party, then, well, fine. I don’t want to be associated with them, but whatever. If [insert religion here] people buy gum from a gas station, the gas station is not supporting [religion] in the same way that creating advertising materials or painting a giant mural or writing paid essays for them would be.

    I’m not sure how that would work in a small market, though (and obviously there shouldn’t ever be any bait-and-switch where someone agrees to shoot a wedding and then backs out last-minute in order to cause the couple problems; I wouldn’t even do that to tobacco companies). But the wording seems to imply that the same could be used to force creative professionals with public businesses to accept pro-Scientology jobs if their primary reason for rejecting the job is the religion and… that seems bad?

    • meg

      I haven’t sorted out how I feel about it either. Which isn’t to say I feel a particular way, but the way I feel is not yet obvious to me. It seems pretty complicated.

    • Tamar

      KC, I’m so glad you wrote this comment. I’ve been following this story for a while now and just sort of uncomfortable with the way it’s playing out. I’ve made the mistake of reading the comments section on a couple articles and just got blown away with the black/white nature of the discussion that basically broke down into either “Yeah, good, down on all the religious people who obviously hate all the gays,” or “Boo, hiss, this is obviously a plan by the gays to take over the world and end religion.” And I’m just over here in front of my computer feeling like they’ve all completely missed the heart of the matter and all the grey area/confusion that this is really swamped in (and then I’m banging my head against my monitor wondering why I thought reading comments on an internet news article was a good idea).

      I think the root of my discomfort is the implication that something like wedding photography, which is really a form of artistic expression, is labelled as a public service. I don’t really understand that interpretation of the law, and so it’s really difficult to determine whether or not the court made a fair decision.

      As to the emotional feelings that this elicits in me- all turmoil. So complicated.

    • Tamar

      On another note, I actually do know why I thought that reading comments on an online article was a good idea. This was something that the internet taught me to avoid at a young age, and it’s only been changed in the last few months by a certain marriage-centric website that is full of rational comment writers that actually add further depth to the articles they discuss. THANKS APW.

  • I really liked Rachel’s post this week. Perspective is so important in this sort of stuff. Yeah, you want people to like it because you like it. But they don’t always like it. Sometimes they are even snarky in their dislike. So f*ck ’em. I’m not really a people pleaser, so that’s easy for me to say.

    And for real, what is up with the “wedding snark?” Oh my word. Stop being a bunch of fuckhouses to each other. It’s not like this is The Wire and you’re Bodie making his last stand. I mean for crying out loud, it’s a wedding. It’s tulle. Calm down.

    By the way, isn’t fuckhouse a great word? My 2-year-old taught it to me. That kid has a way with words. And he is quickly developing a flat butt from sitting on the naughty square.

    Happy wedding weekend to anyone getting hitched this weekend. I hope it’s wonderful. And big happy internet hugs to everyone else.

    • Aaaaaannnnnd those sorts of fun words are just a bonus of the daycare you pay for. :)

      • KC

        I would just note: kids will pick up unwanted words even in the most sanitized environments (walking along the street and a driver yells something or blasts uncensored music? kid says swear word entirely accidentally [oh, I have such a story on this one] and gets a reaction? The radio/tv/etc.? other people in the grocery store or doctor’s waiting room or whatever?), so while the level of available profanity at some daycares may be higher than others, you’re *always* going to have at least trace levels if your kid can talk.

        That said, yes, some daycare environments have more profanity options served up on a regular basis than others. :-) Out of curiosity, is the naughty square at home or at daycare…?

        • He he. So true. The naughty square is at home. They use “refocus” at his daycare. Basically the same thing. I’m pretty strict, but we don’t hold grudges, so he knows as soon as he does his time it’s all good.

          The daycare remark was more tongue in cheek. I honestly think he just blurted out something and it ended up being that hilarious word. Bless his little heart. We seriously need a place to exchange the hilarious stories of accidental cursing. I bed we’d be on the floor for days.

          • *bet

            Sorry the comment editor wasn’t working for me. :)

          • for my two cents: when the kid started saying “shit!” when he dropped stuff, i figured it was time to make a concerted effort on my language. and i did! and then one day, a few months without untoward cursing, he was having a hard time with his car seat buckle and i hear *grumblegrumble* “jesus! christ!” oops. i don’t think his fundamentalist family is going to appreciate that…

    • Jessica B

      The Jezebel wedding snark is driving me insane. For every nice article they have about awfulness in the news or whatever, they have a vapid, self absorbed article that makes me want to vomit. (As we here know) wedding planning is hard and there are so many moving parts–when single people shit on them I just want to slap something.

      Fuckhouse is good. Douchecanoe is my favorite underutilized insult, though it came from a college student and not a 2 year old.

    • Breck

      Loooooove that you dropped a reference from The Wire. We’re currently rewatching the series right now, and it’s just as good, maybe even better, the second time through.

      P.S. I’m going to start calling everyone a fuckhouse, but I’ll be sure to credit your kiddo for its conception.

      • Woot! Breck, I suppose if he would have called me shitbird, there would have been no naughty square. Just a high five. (kidding)

        • Breck


          Ok, Friday: made. You rule.

    • meg

      <3 to you and Duncan.

  • Jo

    Not wedding related, but life related and you guys are always providing such soft nice places to land:
    This week I came back to mountains of work after a wonderful vacation that we added on to a trip to support a friend getting married last weekend… as well as dealing with my hubby reaching the end of his rope dealing with the cast from his broken ankle coming off and having to do pt that is very painful… and then I found out my 82 year old but looks and acts 65 yo dad is probably going to have to have triple bypass heart surgery. And now I’m that awesome combo of freaked out and worried and glad we moved closer so I can drive down there easily and a million other emotions. So, any positive thoughts on older folks having bypass surgery and it going well? Definitely not interested in hearing any horror stories, if you don’t mind.

    • KC

      So, I don’t have any anecdotes on bypass surgeries at all, but in general, while some health stuff is age-related (or, say, menopause-related), there’s also a heavy-duty lifestyle health component. So if your dad is as active and otherwise healthy as a 65 year old and is generally chipper, then the surgery is probably, yes, going to be hard to recover from, but not as hard as a normal 82 year old?

      I hope all goes well! Sorry you’re having to deal with a whirlwind of stuff-all-at-once.

    • MK

      I don’t know the ages involved necessarily, but science is amazing: my fiance’s dad had a quadruple bypass (!) sometime before we met, and you would never ever know it now. He’s healthier than a really healthy horse.

      Best wishes.

  • Gina

    Two weeks til wedding! And I just got off the phone with our caterer (we got a package), and am so happy to have such a reasonable, professional, zen guy handling everything. Also, day-of coordinator–SO worth the $$! I’m so happy to have someone taking things out of my mom’s hands and hope that mommy dearest can sit back and enjoy all the hard work she’s done.

    I’ve made a list of things to buy/do before the big day, but I’m ok if some of them don’t get done. Example: Do kids attending the wedding need crayons and bubbles to keep them entertained? Probably not.

    Also, my caterer told me this tip that I HAD to pass along, although I’m sure there’s very few of you that this will apply to: If you have kegs, and you’re taking them up a mountain (5,000 feet elevation change in my case) they have to get there at least 2 days ahead of time or they won’t work!! Who’d have thunk it?

    • Beth

      How many kids are you having at your wedding? We had about 12 kids at ours and the best money I spent was on a pair of kid-sitters. They didn’t watch babies, the babies stayed with their parents, but they had a blast entertaining the kiddos, especially during cocktail hour and dinner. We had an outdoor wedding, so they had a lot of room to run around, but also a picnic table where they did some crafts and coloring. I would definitely have something on hand to offer the kiddos – even if you just ask one of the parents to take care of it.

      We also had a lot of infants on hand (6 under a year old), and provided a changing station and a room in the house where they could nurse or just have some quiet time away from the party. The parents were so appreciative of all of these accommodations and said they had never felt more comfortable bringing their kids to a wedding. And the kiddos gave it a huge thumbs up, even though, (or because) they all had grass stains by the end of the night. And once dinner was over and dancing was in full swing, most of them were on the dance floor.

      Some people think I’m crazy for having so many kids at the wedding, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. They’re part of my tribe as much as their parents are.

      • Gina

        You know, that’s a really smart idea. My sisters are still in high school in the town we’re getting married in so I’m sure they have a couple teenager friends that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg!

        I agree, kids are a huge part of my life too! We have 20 under 10 :-o I also feel that I should “pay it forward” for all the times someone invited my parents and all 5 of us kids to their weddings in the past. Those were very formative memories for me and I want to do the same.

        Thanks for the suggestions! I’m definitely going to have a little “activities station” for the kiddos.

        • Beth

          The kid-sitters we hired were a pair of teenage brothers (17 and 19) who were camp counselors and lived in the town where we got married. I think it’s a great idea to look into some high school kids as long as they have some experience with kids. Ours did just what we wanted and were very reasonably priced. Good luck!

  • Sarah S

    My husband had surgery this morning to remove a tumor. He’s only 25 and we’ve only been married for 10 months. We had thought it would likely be benign but they learned during surgery that it was attached to his lower spine so we don’t know anymore. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by our families but I just feel like telling the world that I’m dealing with this huge thing. This is the hard stuff for sure. And the love I have for him has never been fiercer.

    • Sending internet hugs and best wishes for a smooth recovery!

    • Catherine McK

      Internet hugs lady. It is the hard stuff. And it’s okay to acknowledge the suck. Glad you have lots of supportive real people around for real hugs.

  • One more thing before I flee the office:


    Happy Friday everyone!

  • Kathleen

    Update: I was here last week announcing I was pregnant, worrying about whether to take metformin to reduce the risk of miscarriage, and then discovering I was spotting. The spotting was very minor, didn’t continue, and hasn’t come back. My dr. ordered a blood test that showed my numbers were still good the next day, and that will be repeated tomorrow, to see if they’ve stayed good. The event scared me into beginning to take the metformin immediately, although I was afraid at the time that I was closing the barn after the horse had run away, so to speak. At this point, though, I’m cautiously optimistic that it will be ok. It will be another week or so before I can get in for an early sonogram, and I feel like I’ll be on pins and needles until then. I did start experiencing some nausea this week, which makes it seem more real (although metformin can definitely have gastrointestinal side effects, so it’s hard to know what to attribute it to).

    I do wish I had been able to make the decision about taking the medicine based on a dispassionate evaluation of the evidence (study that shows metformin substantially reduces the high miscarriage rate in PCOS patients vs study that shows that the high miscarriage rate disappears when you control for obesity, so as a thin woman with PCOS, I probably have nothing to worry about). Instead, I did it purely out of fear (which bothers me on a philosophical level) and now I’m just hoping for the best.

    • ART

      just hugs!

    • Caroline

      Sending you good vibes and internet hugs!

    • KC

      Hoping all goes well!

      (And, yes, it’s nicer to make evidence-based rather than fear-based decisions, but it sounded like the evidence isn’t really all there, so flipping a coin to make the decision – or letting gut-reaction fear make that decision – isn’t going against the evidence or being particularly irrational, if that makes sense? Sometimes the decision just has to happen even in the face of insufficient data, and you do the best you can, and move on as well as you can?)

      And again, rooting for everything to go well for you! Thank you for updating. :-)

    • So many hugs.

    • meg

      Fist bumps. I had to get my numbers run a lot early too, and it’s effing stressful (to say the least. I don’t even want to get into it here…). Good numbers and nausea though… good signs.

    • Ellen


      Also- I took metformin for a few years to help with my diabetes treatment and the GI side effects were… severe. It took a couple of months for my system to figure itself out. Other than that I had no other negative side effects and was actually kind of sad when my treatment regimen changed and I went off the metformin. Good luck with it!

  • Anonymous Coward

    I took a civil service exam this morning. It was a total cattle call. Except there was less dancing, yay! We had 90 minutes; it took me about 20. Only that was after the hour of queueing and presenting ID and being instructed by the proctor. Oh, the rituals of standardized testing.

    (I kid, but I actually asked my wife if she had ideas for tests to take every morning, ’cause I was so amped afterward. I am wildly competitive sometimes. Instead I played the daily Set puzzle.)

    • KC

      I find filling in the little bubbles with a pencil to be a really soothing ritual after finding the answer, which makes me tend to go “what kind of a weirdo likes standardized testing?”. But that’s a different kind of weird than competitive. :-)

      Re: possible multiple-choice replacements: I assume you’ve encountered freerice.com?

  • Copper

    So a while back I was on here talking dress crisis, then for a bit getting mugged sort of blew that out of the water. But dress crisis came back, and is being handled. I found an amazing bridal shop that said they had someone that could make me a custom corset to go with my skirt, and my mom came to visit and we worked on the lace top for over that and it got loads better.

    Also in the midst of it all I hired a day-of coordinator. I looked around a lot but could not find anybody that looked like they provided better value than the person I’d read about hear (pop the champagne). Apparently it’s not just Allie anymore though, so I’m working with a newish hire of hers. Excited to see how that goes, and so relieved when we looked at my schedule and they crossed off all the things that I didn’t need to be worried about anymore!

  • Breck

    Anyone reading anything good right now? I just finished Kelly Oxford’s Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar (which I thought was pretty funny), so I need some recs!

    • Emmers

      loving the game of thrones books. addictive for me!

    • I just finished “The Summer Prince” by Alaya Dawn Johnson, and it was amazing. I highly recommend it.

    • Charis

      I just finished ‘Where’d you go, Bernadette?’ by Maria Semple and absolutely loved it.

  • Kestrel

    I’m almost 100% certain that my birth control was causing my depression. I got switched to a new birth control last year (to the generic) and since then have been feeling down. With the added stress of finishing my undergrad, starting graduate school, and being 500 miles apart from my fiance, I spiralled into a deep depression.

    My mom had always been supportive, but really confused because she felt like this wasn’t how my brain normally worked (she knows me really well), same with my fiance.

    The most annoying part is that when I was in the deepest throes of depression and not even eating, I obviously didn’t take my pills. But as soon as I started to feel a tiny bit better, I made certain to go back on the pills because I have PCOS and need birth control to battle all the weird hormones I have going on. And then I’d feel horrible again.

    I didn’t order my refills in time and therefore stopped taking them and started to feel better than I had in a while. I haven’t been taking them for about 1.5 months now and I’m feeling more and more like my old self – and everyone is noticing. I’m really glad to have more or less found the cause, but I’m still really kind of angry. I wasted an entire year of my life because of stupid birth control. I messed up things that will have an effect on my future career.

    I’ve got a gyno appointment next Friday so hopefully they’ll be able to suggest something that will help with PCOS, acne, and won’t make me depressed.

    • Good luck! Fortunately, there are quite a few varieties of hormonal birth control, and different people have different reactions to them, so maybe this one caused you problems but a different variety would not.

      I haven’t had bad reactions to anything I’ve been on, but I can tell you that I love LOVE the nuvaring, and I have heard that some folks who react badly to the pill have a better time with the ring, since there is a lower dose. Again, not going to be the case for everyone, but maybe…

      • Jen

        I also suffered awful depression on a generic form of The Pill…and wasn’t taken seriously by my campus health doctor (WTF?! aarrgh, anyway). I switched to the Nuvaring after meeting with an awesome OBGYN and it was seriously life-changing. Once I stopped taking the pill I immediately noticed a difference in my mood. Kestrel I do hope you find something that works for you!

    • KC

      Argh! When the thing that’s supposed to be making you feel better is actually making you feel worse… but in a non-obvious way… it’s so frustrating. I hope you find something that works well for you soon.

    • Hormonal birth control fucked with my head a lot, too. When I first started taking it, it was three months before I realized my awful moods directly correlated to the pills- during the off week, I was all over the place, soaring one minute and crashing into depression the next, followed by three weeks of just low level, static depressive moods. My moods are fairly mercurial to begin with, so I was pissed to just constantly be down and not be able to bounce back.

      When I switched to a different pill, things got better, and my moods evened out, though I still felt the three weeks of pills kept me feeling lower than normal. After I moved and switched pharmacies, the pharmacist gave me the generic of my prescription, and I felt awful all over again. Then I got mad and said “fuck it,” went off the pill completely until I finally decided to get an IUD without hormones. It sounds like hormone-free may not be your best option, but fwiw, I love my Paragard.

      Best of luck on getting it figured out! Sometimes it just takes trial and error, which is really frustrating. If that’s what you need to do, I highly recommend tracking your moods on a daily basis so you can recognize symptoms earlier and show your doctor.

  • LadyBP


    I’m so happy to see there is a way to build community here. I wanted to limit myself to only this blog as I get ready for my wedding next fall (I am very type a, so I want do anything to avoid my bridezilla potential being tapped into, lol). A friend who is very similar to me said this site kept her from crossing over to the dark side, but I was worried that I would be lonely in the process without a forum. I’m 35 and my friends live all over the world, but none of them are near me and they’ve all been married for years.

    My fiance and I are waiting to tell our families and friends until the holidays, since he will not meet my family until they visit for Thanksgiving. All of this has me confused about when I should actually start planning and without anyone to talk to about ideas or to get advice from. Wedding will likely be in October 2014 in/near Milwaukee, WI.

    All of this is just to say, I’m happy to be here and see the amazing community. I ordered the book today and will start reading the blogs and such.


    • KC

      Congratulations! And hooray!

      I’d suggest starting the super-theoretical planning *with* your fiance, and waiting on all the details until later. So, super-theoretical would be things like:
      1. which peoples’ schedules do we need to work around in regards to wedding date (if applicable; we had a sister who couldn’t get to the country before time X and a nephew being born at time Y, so that created enough time restriction to pin down a weekend. Unfortunately, a weekend when an extended family member was going to be out of the country, who was still kind of mad at us for not planning our wedding around their trip. But, sorry, siblings first!)
      2. what is most important to you in a general sense (many people there; meaningful location; intimate wedding; giant party)
      3. are there any non-negotiables on the “wedding traditions” list? (there *must* be roses in the bouquets; it isn’t a wedding if we don’t have a [bouquet toss/cake cutting/toast/whatever]; it has to be in a church/not in a church)(the non-negotiables list should be short for both of you, but it’s good to get an idea of what’s Really Important to the other person, and then what they’d Really Like But Will Not Cry If It Doesn’t Work, and then what they’d Kind Of Like If It’s Not Too Much Bother, because that helps prioritize the details and budget later)

      (odds are good that things like this are in the book, actually. I got married before the book existed, and haven’t read it yet. But Meg’s general sanity and what’s-important-to-you-should-come-before-what’s-less-important-to-you are probably in there in spades!)

      Personally, I would suggest trying to avoid having the finer-grained wedding details planned out before your fiance meets your family. Some of them will probably need a wee bit of adjustment time (which is not to say that the first thing out of some peoples’ mouths will not be “what’s the date” and “what are your colors” – but I’d rather say “we don’t know yet” to those people than make other people who are really important in your life feel left-behind and gasping for air and trying to mentally get from no-marriage-on-the-horizon to the-wedding-castle-is-all-built-all-the-way-down-to-the-leaf-shaped-place-cards-which-will-be-in-this-specific-shade-of-orange-surprise!). I mean, you can also just not dump wedding details on them during their first stage of adjustment to getting to know him and getting used to you being engaged, but it can be surprisingly hard not to share what you’re excited about.

      Email is great for quick polls of far-away friends/relatives on things you actually want opinions on (Do not ask for opinions on things you do not want opinions on. Just do them [as a couple, obviously, wherever you both care about something; “your” wedding should be a plural “your” not a singular “your”].). Pinterest is deceptive (things will not come out looking that perfect from *all* angles) and also can be a massive rabbit-hole, but can be useful for collecting and sharing ideas/colors/themes.

      Hope it all goes well!