APW Happy Hour


Living it up in our summer office

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

HEY APW!

How has your week been? We’ve (finally) been really settling into our new-ish office and are enjoying having a full staff on deck. A few of you may remember way back when APW was just me, or back when it was just two of us behind the scenes. But these days this is our full-time team in the office, with another two kick ass women working remotely. Maddie is back from maternity leave on Monday, and we’re all really enjoying summer… in our own damn offices.

In other news, this list is the funniest thing I’ve read all week, and I’m trying to decide if I should splurge on this bell sleeved top (you know… for fall?) even though I normally don’t like a high neck.

But whatever, Rosé time. It’s your open thread, so hit it.

XO,

MEG

Meg Keene

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

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  • anon

    going anon for this because I feel paranoid today, but it’s really only semi-anon because I’ve been talking about my job search fairly frequently here.

    I’ve been interviewing for a job I really want & heard on monday that the hiring manager had told two of my references I would be offered the job (had also previously heard that if it got to the place where my references were being checked, the offer was mine). YAY, right?

    except it’s now friday and I haven’t heard anything at all. I’m getting so anxious! I know things take a long time (it’s higher ed admin) but I really could use a win for a few reasons right now and I was really hoping to get some news this week. I’m also starting to worry that state budget things are getting in the way.

    I guess it’s apw happy hour, tv, and other distractions til monday!

    • Abby

      Fingers crossed for you! In a similar limbo but looking good boat so sending/sharing all the good vibes. Best of luck!

      • anon

        ah best of luck to you, too!

        • Abby

          Thanks!

    • Sarah

      I’ve been on the other side of this process and sometimes there’s someone who needs to sign off on paperwork who’s out of the office or people get busy with some work crisis. Don’t despair yet!

    • Call Me Penny

      I think I may have replied to you over on Ask a Manager as well?! Stay strong, my experience of this is that it’s part of the nature of the Higher Ed beast.

      • anon

        you totally did! apw is my happy place but I branched to to ask a manager this week because 1) it’s specifically career-focused and 2) the friday open thread starts earlier over there!

        and thanks! emotional roller coaster week for sure.

        • Call Me Penny

          How funny! Will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way – can you at least ride the rollercoaster with a mimosa or two in hand?

    • emmers

      That’s completely normal for higher ed! This is also a big vacation time, so it may that key people (like in HR or in your department) are away. Hang in there!

    • AmandaBee

      Aah, fingers crossed but it sounds like you’re in good shape! I bet someone who needs to sign the thing is on vacation. That always seemed to hold up summer job offers in my old workplace (also higher ed admin).

      • MC

        Yes – my nonprofit org is hiring and it is a logistical nightmare to try & coordinate everything with everyone’s different vacation schedules.

    • InTheBurbs

      Yep – it’s totally the higher-ed cycle…3/4 of every department is away at any given time in the summer.

    • Kat

      When I was applying to jobs it was so hard to remember that just because employment was MY #1 priority it probably wasn’t at the top of anyone else’s to-do list. Hang in there!

    • yellowbellpepper

      Crossing my fingers for you! My sister is having the same experience with a higher ed interview process right now — they’ve been behind on every step of the process, to the point where she had completely given up on the job by the time they called her to ask for references. Sounds like it’s pretty normal?

  • Hannah

    Our wedding is one week from tomorrow! We cannot believe family and friends will be arriving in just a few days. My lady and I still have lots on the to-do list, but we are on the same page about letting go if it means enjoying more quality time with our people. Any advice is welcome about staying present and soaking up these precious, fleeting moments!

    • Alissa

      Protect your sleep during these last fun-filled days (or spend your late-night hours enjoying yourself, rather than crafting!) I tried to balance my to-do list with enjoying people time by staying up late to work on those remaining items and definitely regret that. Also, make sure you and your people stay well fed, well hydrated, and with lots of sunscreen! Take care of yourself, and you’ll set yourself up to stay in the moment and enjoy all the loveliness as it comes. Have fun and enjoy!

      • NolaJael

        Yes! My husband can function on much less sleep than I can, so I went to bed before him every night the week leading up to the wedding. It’s not our normal routine, and he really wanted those extra precious minutes of late night conversation but I knew I’d be setting myself up for failure if I participated. It was worth it to be fresh and energized each day.

    • Megan

      date twin!

      Pls share your to-do list so I can make sure I’m not forgetting anything!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I ended up treating myself to Panera (and Happy Hour!) while on my way up to my summer camp venue the day before my wedding last year, and it remains one of my favorite quiet memories. It was just me and mac and cheese and my laptop, and was such a respite from all the hustle and bustle of the week.

    • Sarah Porter

      The day of your wedding, delegate someone else to answer all the questions. That way, you can say, “I don’t know” and direct their queries to someone else.

      • Alissa

        This x1000 for the day you have your rehearsal and/or decorate the venue ahead of time (if either of those are part of your wedding weekend). My mental exhaustion from answering questions during the rehearsal pushed me wayyyyyy too far into the red. I needed someone else to point people to. (Also, I wish my past self had taken in all the advice about the joys of having a coordinator or day-of planner! Doing it ourselves worked out pretty well, but the mental load was heavier than it needed to be).

  • penguin

    Maddie I love your shirt!! Off to search the internet for it, more Labyrinth references please.

  • Jessica

    Just popping in to once again thank the Rage Squad and say I’m doing well! I’m visiting a friend in D.C. and she is making sure I’m well plied with chocolate and delicious food (Blue Duck Tavern is to die for!)

    We saw Titus Burgess and Jane Krakowski perform with the National Sympthony Orchestra last night and it was amazing!

    Divorce update: my lawyer saw some emails exchanged between Ex and I and said he wants to file the paperwork ASAP since Ex was being such a douche canoe. I’m ok with that.

    • Lexipedia

      Yes Blue Duck! Good choice. It’s a million degrees this weekend, but there are a million delicious
      options in this city for getting DGAF-level drunk.

      • fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

        Collect 150 bucks /per day in time of your choice by performing work with this program I run into via the internet… Look it over, and start out on receiving profit from this moment!>>> http://smarturl.co/EAZNQgR

    • Jenny

      Glad you are doing well and the divorce proceedings are, well proceeding.

    • toomanybooks

      Yay D.C.!

    • Les

      Oh my gosh, that performance sounds AMAZING

    • Emily

      I continue to be ragey for you, and I’m so glad you’re doing well! Keep us posted!

    • Jess

      The lawyer pushing to get this done ASAP and identifying douche canoe-ness! Glad you have somebody who is truly on your side.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      *Rage Squad Fist Bump*

    • Mjh

      Glad you’re doing well and enjoying DC. Now the rural juror song is in my head :)

      I’ve been raging out loud (with my husband joining in on the rage) instead of in type, as I’ve caught up on the last two happy hours later in the week. So glad you’re getting love and support from friends and community. We’ll keep the internet vibes coming.

  • Cassy

    I’ve been avidly reading APW for 4/5 months now and wanted advice/thoughts/good vibes because things are Getting Real around here.

    BF and I are getting engaged within the next month but I don’t know any other details (which is hard as an overplanning ENTJ) but I’m tryyyying. Turns out this is difficult – couldn’t help but think it might happen on our peaceful bnb weekend coming up, but it isn’t (cue a disappointed meltdown). He’s assured me that his meticulous plans are worth waiting for but still I felt bad that I couldn’t be the chill girlfriend I thought I should be.

    The day after my meltdown we toured our dream venue which amazingly gave us a soft hold on our date in 2018, even though any wedding plans are contingent on BF getting one of the conditional job offers he has (his dream is to be a career firefighter). We’re very hopeful now because the venue is perfect and the owner adored us but we’re trying to make the smartest choice for our futures (we’re both under-employed right now and I want to enter grad/law school in 2018). Has anybody else had that one thing that HAD to work out for their wedding to be able to take place, or any advice for all these in-between waiting stages that I’m in right now? So many good things, but so much uncertainty! At least I bought and read both of Meg’s books so I’m prepared. 😉

    • penguin

      So are you actually OK with your engagement plans? It’s your life too, you don’t have to just sit back and wait for a proposal. Is this something you guys agreed on and you’re just anxious? Because I can relate to that – I had ZERO chill before getting engaged. My fiancé is the kind to put things off, so even though we’d agree that he would get to pick out my ring, I was a ball of stress. Had he even started shopping? I was half convinced he was going to put it off too long, and then wouldn’t get the ring in time for the deadline we agreed on (end of December 2016). I finally just told him that this was driving me nuts, and he confessed that he already had a ring but didn’t want to tell me because I’m awful at surprise gifts (this is very true). It made me feel a lot better, and he still got to do the (mostly) surprise proposal he wanted.

      • jem

        Hahaha yes similar for us. We had agreed on a timeline but I just AM NOT CHILL. Not as a girlfriend, not as a bride, not as an every-day-human.

      • AmandaBee

        “It’s your life too, you don’t have to just sit back and wait for a proposal.”

        Seriously, if you want to do this and the surprise is important to you personally, cool. But there is no requirement that you be “chill” and pretend to have no control over one of the biggest mutual agreements you’ll ever make with someone in your life, so if that’s not working for you, let him know that you need more information, even if the exact details remain a surprise.

        • Cassy

          He offered to give me a more exact date but I really didn’t want my momentary frustration on my part to spoil a surprise that I am totally fine with, and that he’s thrilled for.

          • AmandaBee

            Sounds like ya’ll are working it out then, and that’s great. Just don’t feel like you HAVE to be chill about it, because it’s a big deal and an exciting time! The “chill girlfriend waiting patiently to get engaged” is a trope I don’t think is particularly useful to anyone, though it’s super ingrained.

      • Cassy

        Oh I am — we’ve talked extensively about our timeline. I just am not chill, and he’s thrilled to bits about the whole planning and surprise proposal. I love the ideas in theory but it’s tough to be patient!

        • Angela’s Back

          Agreed. Six months before his birthday, my husband told me he’d propose by his birthday… cue the most anxious six months of my life. And of course he ran it down to the wire and I was absolutely convinced there was no proposal happening and that we were going to have to have A Talk, but then like three or four days out it finally happened. Solidarity, sister, you can make it!!

        • penguin

          Do you have an agreed upon deadline? For us that was end of December, so by the time the day after Christmas rolled around (the day he ended up proposing… at 12:30 at night lol) I was READY for it. The countdown sort of helped me – “well at least in a week, I know we’ll be engaged one way or another!”. Or is there anything you can plan? I enjoyed the process of finding him a ring, and making sure my nails were baller (because I like painting my nails).

          Best of luck from someone else who is not at all chill :)

    • emmers

      I cried after multiple steak dinners when I was waiting to get engaged. My now-husband finally took to pre-emptively telling me that we wouldn’t be getting engaged before fixing me a nice dinner. It’s a stressful time. You are completely normal. Hang in there!

      • Cassy

        Haha this is a genius idea!

    • Kalë

      Uhh, I knew my boyfriend was engaging on a certain trip… and may have cried after seven to ten beautiful, special, perfect days, because I was SURE the engagement would be coming that day, and then… nothing. It is such a difficult and anxious time! It sure was for me. He actually ended up proposing about ten days earlier than he’d planned, because he could tell how much it was affecting me.

      • Cassy

        Haha that sounds so familiar! Especially cause he even went to the bother of getting a haircut before we go on this trip because he really wanted to make sure he looked good. I thought that was the sure sign. :D

        • jem

          omggg there were so many fake outs that I actually just started resenting him for not proposing on a trip/romantic date/walk/whatever before it actually happened. I distinctly remember texting my friend a couple hours before my fiancé proposed and being like “you know it’s bullshit he’s not proposing to me this weekend, it would be perfect”

  • Lisa

    I haven’t been able to get on board with most of the bell sleeve trend, but I do like that shirt, Meg!

    I can’t stay long because husband is picking me up in five minutes! My sister and her husband are moving into the house they bought in my and my husband’s old college town tomorrow, and we’re driving over to help out. The plans we had with some friends in town fell through so now I think my husband and I are going to spend the night reliving all of our favorite college food and drink experiences (Thai, Irish, Greek food, local beers…). My stomach is not ready for this!! Any of you all have as much attachment to the food of Ye Olde College Days as we do?

    Hope everyone has a great weekend!

    • penguin

      Absolutely!! My fiancé’s college apartment was across a gas station parking lot from the best calzone place in town. Sometimes when I’m in town visiting my dad I still pick some up to bring home. That along with Ben & Jerry’s from that gas station was a staple for us on Friday nights.

      • Lisa

        We brought back pizza deals from each of our favorite places and the leftovers from my family’s dinner at the iconic local pizza place. There is soooooo much food at home right now!

    • jem

      Hahahaha yesss all we do when we go back to our college town is eat

  • anon

    sorry if i missed it, but what happened to stephanie?

    • Sarah

      Been off the site for a few weeks so assume she left

    • Violet

      I weirdly stalked her Linked In after Lisa pointed out her absence, and she has herself as leaving APW a few months ago.

      • K. is skittish about disqus

        A few months ago?? Wow, as someone who is on this site daily, I’m not particularly observant!

        • Violet

          I honestly didn’t notice until Lisa commented a little while back. Then I promptly felt like a jerk.

  • jem

    Ummm Maddie’s hair/shirt combo has rocketed her to the top of my list of fashion idols 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

  • SLG

    Throwing this out there: who’s got recommendations for go-to guidance & inspiration for those of us making a shift from mid-career to bigger leadership positions, particularly at big corporate places? And particularly on making that shift while staying the kind, shrewd, hustling, not-asshole person I want to be?

    Feels like the business books out there are all by White Dudes Who Maybe Used to Lead Uber, but I want to hear from more diverse and values-driven voices. What y’all got?

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I’ve got nothing, but this is relevant to my interests!

    • For free content, the Ask A Manager blog is really good, and she’s got a ton of resources. She also has an e-book available for purchase as well, about being a good manager. I can’t vouch for that e-book, but her e-book about resumes is fantastic.

    • Sarah E

      Get thee to Get Bullish. Tons of advice and articles on how to slay without assholery. Also, it’s a touch dated now, but I’ve recently been reading Ask For It (the follow up book to Women Don’t Ask), and I think it’s a really valuable resource.

    • Anon

      Have you read the Confidence Code? It was eye-opening to me and was super helpful for work.

  • savannnah

    So 7 weeks to go and I’ve reached the fuck it nail it stage, which has been wonderful and is only a slight shift from the ‘let me see if I can out-organize the crazy coming my way” stage. Had my shower, make-up and hair trial and 1st dress fitting all last weekend and it was all amazing. The shower got me really pumped for the wedding and it was great to be a room full of women (and a few men) who make up the village that raised me and my twin sister (almost exclusively abortion providing lesbians in their 60s for good reason) Here’s a shout out to fabulous FMIL’s that are actually amazing and drama free. Still having some bridesmaid drama but in a way unrelated to the wedding, which makes it hard and will continue after the wedding but I’m trying to focus on the positives.

    For anyone who is interested in what wedding planning looks like 7 weeks out, its realizing that all those details and super specific how to’s that you glossed over at 8-9 months out are now my bedtime reading (and to be honest, about an hour at work too) Here are some issues I’m tackling this week:

    Having a hard time looking for plus size wedding shapewear, specifically low back bras/bustier- after having my fitting I don’t understand why bridal shops try to sell any bride with a C cup or higher than “oh we’ll sew cups into your dress and you won’t need a bra” bullshit.

    I’m also looking for resources on how to shut down your social media on wedding day so that well-meaning friends and family don’t tag us in any photos day of.

    I’ve been going back and forth on the merits of buying or DIYing wedding signage or if its unnecessary. The equation looks something like do we need them – they are one time use + I want them – the cost + how nice I think they will look.

    Finally here’s a picture of me at my paper airplane themed shower my sister and her wife threw.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9bb6abb454a997048319081e72b0a5b6558fdbdd3a15bc2b54d9fb83675a6be0.jpg

    • penguin

      Love that sign! And I think wedding dresses can work on larger ladies without a bra, but that’s only if it’s not a low back dress. My strapless ballgown dress with a corset back wasn’t going ANYWHERE, no bra needed.

      If you’re looking for signs that are cute and low effort, I’d check on Etsy. Good luck! Fuck it, nail it has been our wedding planning motto.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        To add to this line of thought: One of the dresses on my short list is an illusion back that makes a bra impossible. The lady at the shop confirmed that sewing in extra cups does nothing but add fluff (which I don’t need), but she was confident that this dress would hold everything in place once properly fitted. I stressed that this was an issue of major concern.

        • savannnah

          Yeah I think the larger issue is that I don’t have a corset back to tie my boobs up and I have a low back (but not super low) so I might be able to get away with a low back bustier but all the ones I’ve found so far have either thongs attached (not my scene) or are not plus sized.

          • Jan

            My dress is backless and I’m v v concerned about m’boobs (I’m a 36D, braless is scary). Someone suggested to me sewing in the cups from an old push-up bra, then once the dress fits properly I’ll have some lift.

          • penguin

            Weird question, but if you found one you otherwise liked, could you like… cut the thong off? Not super practical if it’s expensive, but if you like everything else about it…

          • savannnah

            Maybe? I’m assuming the thong is what helps to hold it all in place?

          • AtHomeInWA

            That sounds structurally …. intimate…..

          • Ilora

            Loving the way you phrased that, I snorted!

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            Attached thongs. Jeeeee-zus, no thank you.

    • Abby

      For social media you could just deactivate your accounts day of or (at least on fb) you can set your privacy so you have to approve all tags before they show up on your wall, but I’ve also been to weddings where the website/programs just politely asked people not to post/tag and people seemed to comply. You could also have your mc/officiant make a similar announcement.

      • sofar

        Co-signing. I set my profile to that setting where you have to approve anything before it appears on your wall. It’s not perfect, because anyone who is friends with the poster will still see the photo (but you can’t prevent that anyway).

        A week after the wedding, I then sat down and approved/rejected all wedding posts I was tagged in.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        We had our officiant make an announcement to please wait til we posted a photo of ourselves before anyone else should. Due to lack of wifi/signal, it didn’t happen til the next day, and then a few people were confused as to whether they could actually do it or not.

      • Eenie

        I don’t understand how people don’t always have the “must approve tag before it shows” option enabled.

        • Not Sarah

          I did that after a bachelorette party in Vegas…

    • nosio

      Fuck it, nail it, is exactly the stage I’m at right now, too. And I feel you on the wedding signage stuff, I have no idea if I should make it or just pull the trigger and buy stuff because it’ll simplify things (we’re doing a semi-destination and I don’t want to make the stuff ahead of time and ship it to Chicago, but I also don’t want to leave all the signs to make for the 3 days we have in town before the actual wedding, because I’ll probably be stressed with other stuff).

      For low back/supportive stuff, I’m considering getting something from Ender Legard – it’s definitely pricey but I might just splurge on it just…because? I’ve tried being so cost conscious all throughout the planning process but these pieces are well made and exactly the kind of support I need: https://www.enderlegard.com/collections/backless

      • savannnah

        yeahhh my mom has been bugging me about my ‘foundations’ for weeks now and I was like mom, its not an issue I’ll have cups put in…but that was a very apparent issue at the fitting esp. cause everything else was great. She also mentioned the price, aka her reminding me that ‘if your foundations are stingy, you’ll be dingy’. kthanksmom. I’ll look at your link!

        • Amy March

          Dingy doesn’t even make sense in that context.

          • savannnah

            I agree. haha.

      • So those are pretty, but if you have to go to the bathroom….do you have to take the dress all the way off to take the foundation thing down, like you would a one-piece bathing suit?

    • overitatx

      My FSIL pointed me towards this site – https://www.herroom.com/ Might be worth checking out.

    • Lisa

      We made a lot of our signage on canva.com and printed it at Staples or at home, depending on the size. Pro tip: if you’re making a seating chart with a ton of tables (we had almost 200 people), list everyone in alphabetical order by last name (with the table # in a column next to the name). It’s so much easier to find your name than when it is organized by table. We got a lot of compliments.

    • I got my strapless bra from Nordstrom, and I’m a 34G. I wish I’d gone for a longline bra tho, which I think Nordstrom also sells in larger cup sizes.

    • Ilora

      My dress had great support (hook and eye closure under the zipper) so I just wanted cups to give a bit of lift (boob sweat is my enemy!). I got into an argument with the seamstress about the cup sizes that resulted in me pulling my shirt up to show her my bra… The largest they had was “D cup”…but cup sizes are based on band sizes! She was very insistent that the D cup would be plenty big enough for me…I was wearing a 32i bra that day and had to actually pull up my shirt and put the D cup insert against my bra to convince her of how completely inadequate it would be!

    • JR

      Nordstrom is great for undergarments. Ask for help (or book with a personal shopper ahead of time).

      • JR

        Oh, and just wanted to say the bridal shop didn’t sew cups into my dress, they sewed in a whole corset-type deal. (I was a b cup at the time, though.)

    • Kara E

      For foundations, go to nordstroms (or order on line if you don’t have access to a good one). I was a 36-38 DDD (with really wide ribs) at the time of my wedding and was able to find an awesome longline bra there. My dress probably wound have held me in, but I would have been self conscious about not having anything underneath in the event of disaster.

  • Abby

    Omg Maddie’s shirt. So much love!

  • Sarah

    We had the first two events of our Indian-American wedding this weekend and it was so. much. fun. There are four events total, which I still think is overkill, but I usually don’t like being the center of attention and it was just so lovely.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ff4edbd416ddb1c0d1aec45d9e9f45b08d078fe6993e5f5aa5905949906db82b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/384adf7fa67f41a2d5e2275541e2f2e6373d7f4db269c076e8725212bd9d8063.png

    • Kalë

      Wow, you look beautiful and so happy! I looove the yellow outfit!

      • Sarah

        oh thanks! I did, too. Also – the pants had an elastic waistband which was so comfortable. I’m rethinking my very fitted wedding dress.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      SWOOOOOOOOON!

    • Gaby

      Everything about this is beautiful!

    • Sarah Porter

      Holy crap you two are adorable!

    • Lisa

      Gorgeous! I can’t wait to hear all about it here, and also (hopefully) an APW wedding post.

    • Mjh

      Beautiful.

      Were the events you’ve had so far the sangeet and mendhi?

  • penguin

    We are killing it with wedding planning so far – we just ordered our ketubah today, and we’re both really pumped. We found text that we love and finally agreed on a design.

    Our invitations came in the mail! They look AWESOME and I can’t wait to send them out. I was going to bring my grandparents’ invitation up in person this weekend since I’m visiting anyway, then decided not to in case my grandpa got the idea to pester me about inviting my mom (I’m still not).

    We don’t have much left to do (at least it doesn’t feel like much). Invitations have to go out. We need to finalize the DJ (we have a meeting next week), decide on flowers, and decide if we want any other décor. We have to go back to the jewelry store now that I know what I want. Once his suit comes in he’ll get shoes/tie/belt/etc, and I need to shop for a bolero or something to wear over my strapless ballgown dress. I think that’s it? My aunt is making our chuppah, and all other major vendors are nailed down.

    Unfortunately my grandpa isn’t doing well overall. His cancer is spreading, and they are putting in a feeding tube on Monday. I’m sad that it seems like he won’t be around for my wedding in October. My brother and I managed to independently decide to go visit them on the same weekend, so that will be nice. Looking forward to spending some time together this weekend.

    • Abby

      Congrats on crushing all your planning, & big hugs for everything with your grandpa. Hope you get some good family time in.

    • AGCourtney

      I’m sorry about your grandpa, but glad you’ll be able to visit him and spend time with your brother. Congrats on the wedding planning progress!

    • Yael

      Yay ketubah and invitations!

      Also, I am so sorry to hear about your grandfather.

    • Lisa

      So excited for your ketubah and invitations! And sending well wishes for your grandfather. That’s so hard.

  • Lexipedia

    Question re: hotel room blocks. I had a dream last weekend that somehow everyone for our wedding thought they were supposed to stay with us, and dozens of people were showing up at our door because we had apparently agreed to host them all. Weird dream, but I figured I should follow The Kn*t’s (what I thought was crazy-early) advice and look into blocks for our OOT guests. Holy crap, they are way more expensive than I thought they would be. I mean, they are what FI and I would expect to pay if traveling to a city, and our U.S. guests will benefit from the low Canadian dollar, but I’m feeling super angsty as I write the prices on our website.

    So, I know that this is completely subjective, but do big-city hotel rooms sound exorbitant at $225 – $265 a night? For Americans that’s more like $180 – $210 a night, and that’s where most of our guests are coming from. We’re also considering putting a boutique option ($285 CAD / $225 USD) that we got an amazing block price on there, if people want to stay at a cool local hotel on there, but I feel like I will be judged for being bougie.

    There are a few moderately cheaper options in a sketchier neighborhood, and more of them if you want to stay far from the venue, but it looks like $225 – $265 is pretty much the standard. Do y’all think this is obscene? Help!

    • jem

      That seems like a totally reasonable price

    • emmers

      I feel like that’s completely normal for a big city. People will figure it out, and will independently research further out options if they need to. Do not worry!

    • Alex K

      I can’t remember where you are getting married but if it’s in a city, people can shop around for better prices if they want and the block then is only necessary for those who want to use it.

    • Sarah

      Is there any room for negotiation? I have no idea how my mother-in-law did it, but she managed to get hotel block prices down by over a hundred dollars a night. We’re hosting an event in the hotel, which I think was part of it. But worth asking?

      • Lexipedia

        They are cheaper than without a block, about $30/night cheaper and will guests will benefit from them not going up as we get closer to the date, but maybe I could negotiate more.

    • penguin

      Totally reasonable, not obscene at all. Our hotel rooms for the block were $195/night after the discount that our venue gave us. Staying at a nice hotel costs money, and people don’t have to stay there if they can’t afford it.

    • Natalie

      That sounds about what I’ve paid/expect to pay for a nice to decent hotel in a big city. I’ve found downtown big city hotels for less, but they’ve been not so great hotel rooms.

      • jem

        Agree! Or on the cheap side, actually. We were thinking about getting married in downtown Boston and found a great, affordable venue, but decided to get married outside of the city because the rates at the nearby hotels were all $350+

    • Jenny

      Are these blocks you are reserving and on the hook for paying if they don’t fill? Are many of your guests part of a larger group (families, groups of friends)? Those seems about right to me for a big city, but if I was in the position of knowing even 1 or 2 other couples or people that were going to the wedding, I would likely look into an airbnb, or rental house, as those are almost always cheaper (and more pleasant to stay in). I would certainly not judge you for those being the hotel rooms you’ve reserved, but I think I would likely try to find slightly cheaper accommodations, so I wouldn’t want you to get stuck paying for the price of rooms people might not use.

      • Lexipedia

        Not on the hook for paying for, thank goodness. I give them a number and then they cut off rooms at our price one month before the wedding. After that guests pay whatever is the going rate at that time. I’ve pitched AirBnB in the accommodations section, and I know that many of our guests have used it before.

        • Jenny

          Oh yeah, in that case, those are totally fine!

      • jazzygingery

        One of my best friends got married last year, and 8 of us got a house together for the weekend. It was such a blast, and sooo much cheaper.

    • Amy March

      Just put the hotels you like on- they cost what they cost. No one has to stay there, if it’s too much they can look for more options. Don’t actively recommend sketchy places.

      • janie

        Such good advice that I wish I had known – we ended up doing two blocks because I felt guilty about the cost of the nicer one, and only four people ended up staying at the cheap one. Lots of people found their own accommodations. People will not judge you (or should not, so you should not care) about the cost of the hotel room blocks.

        • Lexipedia

          Thank you! I’m definitely doing two, because one is more family/group friendly, the decision is whether to add on the expensive boutique one as a choice.

    • sofar

      The thing with blocks is that you’re not FORCING people to stay there. You’re just doing them the courtesy of giving them some good, vetted options near the venue if they don’t want to spend the time doing their own research.

      If it’s too much money, they can find a more affordable place, or not go at all.

      Lots of our guests found very affordable Airbnb houses, stayed in groups, and split the cost five or six ways to save money.

      • AmandaBee

        This! I am cheap, and probably wouldn’t spend that much, but I wouldn’t judge you in the least saying “these are the best options near our venue” which is essentially what you’re doing with a hotel block. And for a city, those aren’t crazy prices. Definitely only recommend places that you think most people would feel comfortable in.

    • Ella

      Based on other comments it sounds like this is pretty routine where you are, but if I saw this on an invitation I might think that we were expected to stay there? I.e. read it not as a recommendation but a request. In which case I would be uppity about the cost, but I would be fine with it if it was only a suggestion. So maybe consider how you word it? But please ignore me if this is common practice for your people.

      • Lexipedia

        Definitely not on the invite, just on the website. They are pretty common among our circle to make sure rooms are available and to lock in the lowest price:

        “(Wedding City) is full of great places to stay, but for your convenience we’ve reserved optional room blocks at a couple of hotels close to the venue. (Wedding City) accommodations fill up quickly, so we recommend that you book somewhere to stay quite early. If you are interested in staying a little further from the venue to explore the city, check out our “neighborhoods” section to learn more.”

        Then it has info on our hotel recs, then a section on AirBnB.

        • Ella

          Oh, that’s so clear! Super helpful and I don’t think you should feel bad at all if they’re not what your guests are after.

  • Natalie

    Does anyone have recommendations for finding a couples counselor?

    Have people done online couples therapy? If so, what did you do and do you recommend it?

    • Cellistec

      We found ours through Yelp… it’s a good way to window shop first, I guess. No experience with the online thing though.

    • Eve

      We’re doing it! I found a counselor who I see mostly solo for anxiety/depression, and fiancé tags along every few weeks for a couple’s session. We’ve only had two sessions together so far, but it’s been really good for honing in on how we communicate with each other. I’d recommend it, if only because it’s hella interesting to have someone else watch you talk to your partner. I’m not sure you could get that kind of information doing online therapy, although I could be completely wrong about that.

      I don’t have much advice for finding a counselor. The woman I’m seeing was my only option because of insurance reasons, so it’s really lucky that I clicked with her and she also offers couples sessions.

    • Mallory2

      First I’d look into if/what your insurance covers. Word of mouth from friends you trust is also a great way, if you feel comfortable asking around. There is also this website: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms Good luck to you! Shop around and find someone who feels like the right fit for both of you!

    • M

      We had to see a few counsellors before finding the right one. We found the absolute key things were asking how long they’d been practicing as a couples’ counsellor, and also how much of their practice is comprised of couples, rather than single people. I wouldn’t go for anyone who does less than 90% couples. My mum is a counsellor and confirms that the two types of practice are so different, you really want someone very experienced in working with marital issues and couples. We found those who did 50-50 or thereabouts, or hadn’t been working with couples for long simply weren’t good enough.

  • Meredith

    Meg – get that top.

  • AGCourtney

    Our production of Pirates of Penzance opens tonight! Tech week has gone so well and everything settled right into place. My daughter has already seen us run the show, but she’s coming to the Sunday matinee with my husband as well. I’m excited!

    • Kalë

      Break a leg!!!

    • Amandalikeshummus

      Toi toi toi!

    • Yael

      I love G&S! Break a leg!

    • yellowbellpepper

      Such a great show!! Have so much fun!

    • How did it go?

      • AGCourtney

        It went really well! We had a fantastic opening weekend; all three shows were sold out and the audiences were great. Thank you so much for asking!

  • Megan

    Hi all! I posted on HH a few months ago about being offered an awesome leadership program at work which will move me abroad for at least two years! Wanted to give y’all a quick update!

    I do not yet know where I will be posted but this year they are sourcing roles individually for each participant. This means that they know my preferences for type of job and location and will *try* to find something that fits both. But what they find is kind of it. No list to pick from, just a role which I will interview for to ensure it’s a mutually good fit. I’m sure it’s flexible if I absolutely hate what they pick but I kind of like this better, actually. The idea of getting a list of 70 roles to research and choose from is stressful and tiring to think about. I should know where I’ve been selected to go in the next week or two.

    NOW I am T-minus 8 days from my wedding and let me tell you – changing jobs at the same time as your wedding is the WORST idea. This program requires a lot of pre-work. I have to complete three very large financial accounting and credit analysis pre-tests before training starts. These tests are due the day I get back from my honeymoon so I have been busting my ass trying to complete them before we leave for the wedding venue on Weds.

    Thank god FH is almost as organized as I am and has taken over 98% of all wedding items at this point. It’s hard to be excited about the wedding when I’m spending all day going crosseyed and hunch backed trying to complete excel spreadsheets using concepts I don’t yet understand. It’s made me really testy and this is not how I wanted to spend the weeks leading up to the wedding. I’m not even excited for the wedding and don’t think I will be until this is off my plate. :(

    I’m feeling down and not sure how to pull myself out of it beyond just pushing through this crappy workload until it’s gone. Thoughts? Ideas?

    • Abby

      I’m always just a push through it person but maybe listen to a badass playlist as you’re working? It’ll all be worth it to have it off your plate so you can fully focus on the moment at your wedding. Good luck!

      • Jess

        I am a big supporter of using film scores to get through work stuff. They are very dramatic and long, which keeps me motivated, but usually don’t have lyrics or dance beats to distract me.

        Definitely just lots of deep breaths and push through it.

        • Abby

          Me too! I have a whole spotify playlist of them. My current fave is inside out.

        • Megan

          In college I used to study to the Harry Potter film soundtracks. I always felt like I was studying for my arithromacy or potions exams! :)

          • Kat

            Yesss this got me through a few all-nighters in the library trying to learn economics. That and excessive amounts of espresso

    • No advice, but that sounds hard. Good luck with the tests, and I hope you can shut off that part of your life, at least for your wedding day, so you can be fully present and enjoy it. I hope you can get enough done before the wedding so you can 100% enjoy your honeymoon too. Good luck!

  • AmandaBee

    You guise this has been such a whirlwind of a week, so imma bullet point it.

    – I have 1 paper revision, 2 conference proposals, and a conference poster to prep in the next few days and also no motivation to do any of this shit
    – We celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary, with just a low-key brunch because a) we love brunch and b) our delayed honeymoon has turned us into brokeasses
    – Speaking of being brokeasses, we bought a car?! We were planning to hold off (see afforementioned being broke) but the perfect car came along at the local Carmax at the right price and we just went for it. Nothing says “yay marriage” like shared debt, amiright?
    – Our big move is in < 2 weeks and every time I think about it I start hyperventilating because we still have so much shit in our house. This is also my first time moving with movers.

    Question of the week: What do I ACTUALLY need to prepare for movers? They're packing, so other than purging our junk and making sure the cats aren't accidentally packed up…what will make this as easy as possible on us?

    • Les

      Yay movers!!! For me I dusted, and packed my own valuables. Enjoy the movers!!

    • Amy March

      Inevitably there will be stuff you don’t want the movers to move- valuables, that weird fragile thing, clothes and supplies for the next few days, toiletries, cleaning products. Separate all of that out or the movers will have packed it before you can blink.

      • penguin

        Yep anything you don’t want movers to touch should get packed and put in your car before they arrive. I’d also recommend packing a suitcase like you were going away for a few days – just in case. Also, keep any ID and financial stuff with you. It took us forever to remember where our checkbooks ended up.

        • AmandaBee

          Ooh good point re: checkbooks.

        • I’d keep all official documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.) and all financial records (tax reports, etc.) too…
          ETA: And all computer backups and computers.

    • Jenny

      Cleaning, and packing 1 box of I just moved in stuff (a couple towels, a roll of toilet paper, 2 place settings, a small skillet, and small pan, coffee maker/frenchpress/tea pot, clean set of sheets, pillows, clean pair of bra and underwear). This way if things get lost or delayed, or you want to just be able to take some time unpacking stuff, you’ll have enough to live with for a couple days without having to unpack every single box just to find a bowl and spoon to eat some cereal)

      • AmandaBee

        This is do-able! Probably a lot less stressful than I’m making it.

        I’ve always moved myself places so I’m just in the mode of thinking I have to clean and pack everything ahead of time, which is silly because they explicitly told me they will re-pack anything I pack.

        *takes deep breaths*

        • Jenny

          I’ve never had packers myself, and I’m mostly familiar with it from friends in the military, so maybe they aren’t all like this, but throw away all your trash/empty the packet drawer etc. I had a friend who’s movers packed up the diaper pail, with the diaper trash still in in, and another who unpacked a box of ketchup packets/sweet and sour sauce things that had been the the catch/all junk drawer.

          • AmandaBee

            OMG good point. We have soooo many junk drawers full of stuff we don’t need. The purging never ends.

    • BSM

      Movers are THE BEST. We used them the last time we moved and did the full packing thing because I’d had surgery the day before we moved and there were about a million stairs involved.

      We honestly didn’t do… anything. We should have separated out *fragile* stuff in addition to *valuable* stuff. I took care to pack my jewelry and our important documents separately, and we both had weekend bags of clothes/toiletries packed so that we wouldn’t have to root around for that sort of thing while still in boxes, but they did end up breaking a Christmas ornament and two of our Hue lightbulbs (why they did not wrap lightbulbs in packing paper, I’ll never understand).

      Also, as with all work being done on/in your house, it’s always good to be watching like a hawk. I wasn’t paying attention when they brought our bed frame into our new bedroom, and they hit the light fixture with it, which resulted in shattered glass being everywhere. We have a dog, were in flip flops, and didn’t know where our vacuum was, so cleaning up all the shards was really difficult.

      Lastly, new car! What did you end up getting? We are broke as fuq as a result of this renovation, but we need a new car, so…..

      • AmandaBee

        Man, thanks for helping reduce some stress. It’s good knowing that we don’t need to organize much ahead of time and, worst case scenario, we end up with some stuff packed that we should’ve purged.

        But yeah, I’ve hear we should watch out while they’re moving stuff into the new place especially since we’re renting and if anything gets dinged, the landlord will be ticked.

        We got a Hyundai Elantra GT! We wanted a hatchback and liked this the best of the ones we drove. We also liked the regular Elantra and would’ve gone for that of we hadn’t been set on a hatchback.

        • BSM

          Oh good! I mean, I figured that that was why we hired them? So that we didn’t have to do hardly anything?

          Such a cute car! We are thinking about a Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid. We both have (older) sedans right now and have wanted more room for awhile. The baby is a good catalyst, but, ugh, not looking forward to going back to having car payments.

          • AmandaBee

            Aw, yeah we aren’t excited about having a car payment either but we’re hoping that post-move once husband gets a job, we can pay it down early. I like the Rav4 Hybrid a lot, if we were in the market for a small SUV I’d definitely consider that.

    • NW

      I echo these comments and 100% agree. I would also add, we weren’t sure about ettiquette when my husband’s company hired movers to relocate us, we took a guess and got a couple of pizzas at lunch time and then tipped what I thought was reasonable at the end of the day.

  • E.

    Wedding is finally here! All our people are arriving, I’m about to head over to making centerpieces and bouquets, then rehearsal, and we’re off to the races! I’ll be back next week or the week after with updates :)

    • Amy March

      Enjoy!!

    • Emily

      Yay congratulations and have fun!

  • Amy March

    Hosted my sister’s bridal shower last week and it went really well! 30 felt like a lot of people but it was so fun to meet her in-laws’ friends and connect with people from all over. Brunch was a perfect time of day for us- quiche, mimosas, have at it.

    • Jess

      Brunch showers are my favorite showers! So glad the event went well!

    • AmandaBee

      Yay to quiche and mimosas! Brunch showers are the best.

    • Call Me Penny

      I wanted to do a brunch hen do but we could only get everyone’s schedules to align for an evening. This sounds wonderful!

    • I don’t think I’ve ever been to a brunch shower, but it would be be favourite if I had! Sounds delicious and fun!

  • Alli

    Popping in to say hi and that my wedding is tomorrow! Yay! We’re 99% sure we have to move to our indoor plan (forecast is 92 degrees) which is a little sad but I’d really rather not have anyone pass out (including me). Our mini-moon starts Sunday with our drive to Shenandoah National Park and I’m so excited! Have a great weekend everyone!

    • Amy March

      Here’s to a wonderful wedding and a marriage that starts off with zero people getting heatstroke!

    • Yael

      Yay! Good luck!

    • Enjoy!!! And have fun in Virginia!

  • Laura C

    I just want to take a second to celebrate that I’ve (almost) survived this week. Starting work at 4:30am due to being on the west coast and a coworker being on vacation, while I have a cold, and the baby (toddler? babbler?) is teething. And we’re going for a super-quick trip to Yosemite this weekend so it’s not like I get to rest. And yes, there’s a fire near there, but it’s either smokey Yosemite or no Yosemite for us at this point, so…

    • Emily

      Babbler is such an accurate description.

    • BSM

      “Super-quick trip to Yosemite” – enjoy, and good luck!

  • Cellistec

    I finally got a standing desk today! It only took 3 years and 1 prescription (that isn’t entirely necessary, but my GP was more than willing to write it, because sitting is the new smoking). It’s a mechanical table that moves up and down at the push of a button so I can stand or sit as needed. You guys, this has been so long coming, and I’m geeking out about it big time.

    • ruth

      That’s so awesome! Would you mind sharing where you got it from? I’ve been looking into standing desks

      • Cellistec

        I just inherited it from someone who left, so I’m not sure. We’re a big organization; I imagine our facilities department got it as a module with our cubicle configurations? But for desktop setups, I like the Varidesk ones and was going to buy one for myself until the powers that be here told me it wasn’t allowed.

      • emmers

        I’m not sure what kind it is, but mine has a link to juststand.org. It sits on top of a regular desk, but it’s super adjustable.

        • TeeJay

          That’s Ergotron – I have one and highly recommend!

      • Lisa

        Ikea has a few that don’t cost a million dollars.

      • AmandaBee

        I had a Varidesk at my old job, and really loved it (though probably didn’t use it as often as I should’ve!). Being able to easily move it up and down meant that I could stand for brainless tasks, and sit when I really need to focus, because I found that I just can’t focus standing up.

      • BSM

        Varidesk also makes relatively affordable convertible standing desk solutions.

    • jem

      So. Jealous.

    • Gaby

      I think my husband might be getting me one for my birthday next week! I’m excited because I know it’ll be great for me, but I’m not excited about being able to see everyone over the cubicle walls all the time.

      • Cellistec

        Yeah that part is a little weird…luckily I’m short so I can’t see too much.

      • CP2011

        The cubicle wall issue is a big part of what held me back from getting a standing desk when my office got the option. I was so relieved that my cube mates didn’t get them either, because privacy goes from limited to non existent and I like at least some semblance of privacy.

    • InTheBurbs

      Our entire office has them now – it’s such a nice option!

    • Eenie

      Yes! I think I remember encouraging you to get one a while back! Congrats!!!

      • Cellistec

        Thank you! It was a ton of red tape but so worth it.

    • theteenygirl

      I am writing this while holding my lower back because I am the worst desk chair sloucher… I want a standing desk so bad!!

      • Cellistec

        Oh no, that sounds painful! I know, I slouch too, and hunch, and all the bad things. Standing is a huge help for that–my neck and spine are aligned almost instantly.

    • Violet

      Dumb question: so, do you now have to literally stand all day? Doesn’t that lead to Museum Feet? (Not a real term; just how my sister and I refer to that dead feeling you get in your feet when you’ve gone to too many museums on vacation.)

      • NolaJael

        Nope! Most models switch easily between a standing and sitting mode.

        • Violet

          Oh, whew!

      • Cellistec

        It’s a sit-stand station: I can adjust the height of the table to either position (and a continuous range including and beyond those two). Today I tried alternating a hour of standing with an hour of sitting, but by midafternoon I got Museum Feet (which I call Cashier Feet) after like 30 minutes. Maybe I need to build up my tolerance for standing again!

        • Violet

          Very cool! Sounds like you can customize and adjust as your legs get stronger.

        • I’ve heard some people say that a padded mat can help…

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            Yeah, I never pulled the trigger on a standing desk (because I worked for a nonprofit with zero money), but after doing a ton of research on it, a high quality shock absorbing mat seems to be key.

          • Cellistec

            Yup, that’s on my shopping list this week for sure!

  • ssha

    – thinking of all of you who have your weddings this weekend, wishing you Wedding Magic, full hearts, and minimal stress!
    -we got our photos back and I am alternating between tearing up/laughing/heart eyes while looking at them over and over!!! The only thing is that I know the photographer and she knows many of my friends- so many of the candids are heavily focused on my side/the people at her table. (I’m guessing that she sort of took these for fun- some of them were when she was technically off the clock anyway-but probably included them because she thought I’d like to see them.) I’m a little embarrassed to show them to husband’s family because of this (“where’s our side?”) but maybe I am overthinking and they’ll simply be overjoyed to see the gorgeous family/ceremony/wedding party photos.
    -applying for jobs this week, wish me luck!

    • penguin

      Can you just show husband’s family a more balanced set of photos? Also, did she not get any photos of your husband’s side, or just not as many?

      • ssha

        Yeah- we might be able to do that. Good idea. She did get some! The ceremony/family/toast ones are balanced. Also one of my uncles took pictures of absolutely everything and everybody, which helps. They’re not as good quality, but they actually have a wider variety of people in them. ILs have already seen those too.

  • Emily

    What is the deal with people not RSVPing? We’re a week from the RSVP due date, and I think we have a 19% response rate going right now. WHAT GIVES?!? It’s super duper annoying, because we’re going to have to call everyone and wedding planning is so easy and full of extra time (hard sarcasm).

    In other news, we started booking our Airbnb’s for our honeymoon, and I almost started happy crying I’m so freaking excited. Dublin, Paris, and a full week in Italy starting in Venice and working our way down to Rome! I can’t step staring at the map.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e0853a1b9ff87a3f43512d6c09b7cb5ca794ab003e5f2d4a4fb2c137cefb698c.png

    • Cellistec

      Did you see that episode of Friends From College where Marianne goes to a friend’s wedding without RSVPing because she thinks it’s NBD? I about broke out in hives at the thought.

      • Emily

        Haha no but I’ll have to look it up. Sounds nightmare inducing.

        • Cellistec

          Every episode induces a different kind of social nightmare…that one may be yours. ;) Good luck with the RSVPs!

      • Kat

        Friends From College is funny but I found it stressful in the same way as Curb Your Enthusiasm. Like “Arghhhh who behaves like this!?!?!”

        • Cellistec

          omg so true.

      • Not Sarah

        I had a love-hate relationship with that entire show, while it also being amazing all the way through. The internet seems to mostly disagree with me on this.

        • Cellistec

          I laugh about as much as I cringe, but my husband and I agree that the Ethan-Sam thing is getting old and they’re both being pathetic about it. Same issue?

      • S

        I immediately thought of APW when I saw that scene, haha.

        • Cellistec

          That whole episode is begging for an APW dissection. Mostly because of the constant judginess, but also for the cautionary tales.

    • ssha

      people are bad at RSVPing…sorry that you have this extra stress! but your trip sounds INCREDIBLE!

    • Alex K

      If you can, wait a few days after the deadline to make calls (and hopefully save yourself a few). A lot of people use the deadline as a mail by date so you may get a bunch a few days late.

      • Emily

        Ooh solid advice. Knowing me, I’d start sending passive aggressive texts the day after, but good to put some time on that. We’ll probably wait til at least mid-week, or even the weekend after.

        • Amy March

          Call!! People who ignored the reply envelope can easily ignore a text. Get their voices on the line to resolve it. And no passive aggressive stuff- “hey it’s Emily- are you coming to my wedding?”

    • Amy March

      I think there often is a bit of an uptick in responses at the deadline, but basically people are just the worst.

      • Emily

        Ugh, so it seems. We had self addressed stamped envelopes (SASE) AND a website RSVP, so I’m not sure how much more hand holding I could have done. But good to know about the last minute responses. We shall see!

        • savannnah

          People have responded 1000x faster to our post-wedding brunch paperless post invitation that my parents sent out than our wedding invites which were also paper and online- including many people who have not yet RSVP’d to the main event. #sideeye

        • jazzygingery

          It stinks, but just be prepared to have to reach out to people. We had about a 50% response at the deadline. The FH and I then waited a couple days and FB messaged all the non-responders, and had all the info within about 1-2 days.

          • Not Sarah

            I like this idea! We did all-online invitations. Our plan was to send a reminder email the morning after the deadline and then 2-3 days later, message/call everyone who hasn’t answered yet. We will likely outsource my partner’s extended family to his parents…

          • jazzygingery

            I know it’s not the miss manners way, but it was super easy, and most of the people who didn’t respond, use social media regularly. At least we knew we’d get to them quickly.
            We did online save the dates and a 1 page paper invite directing people to our website to rsvp. And if anyone gives you a hard time about using the internet, my 93 year old grandma was the 2nd person to rsvp online. 😁

        • Jess

          Allow me to make my favorite recommendation: If the bulk of people who have not replied are family or family friends, outsource that task to your parents or a responsible relative. This worked very well for us.

    • nosio

      Ahhh, you guys are doing my dream vacation! It sounds like it’s going to be AMAZING.

    • bee

      Ahh Italy has my heart… hope you can squeeze Florence in, it’s my favorite city!

      • Cassy

        Ditto! I’d give recommendations for my favorite hilltop town but that would take you off course. ;)

    • Jan

      I did the same Italy trip two years ago and loved it! If you can, stop in Siena on your way south. We did a wine tour and also had one of my favorit meals (like, ever) there.

    • Lisa

      Your honeymoon sounds amazing! My other favorite website (this one is tops, obviously) just posted about an Italy trip with recommendations and gorgeous photos to get you excited: https://cupofjo.com/2017/07/our-italy-vacation/

    • Not Sarah

      19%???? That is insanely low! I’m sorry people are not RSVP’ing :(

      Your honeymoon sounds really lovely!! We are also starting in Venice and then working our way down to the Amalfi Coast and I am so excited for it!

    • Leah

      Argh to the lack of RSVPs. People! That’s so frustrating!

      Your honeymoon route looks gorgeous! Florence is my absolute favourite city in Italy!

  • anonbecausebabbystillsekret

    Uhm, I got a positive pregnancy test last weekend (and ~6 more since, because I didn’t totally believe it the first 5 times). I am so, so [cautiously] excites, but also very afraid of wading into the world of pregnancy websites, which seems full of nonsense acronyms and fearmongering. Do y’all have recommendations for reasonable pregnancy sites/reading that are a) feminist, b) non-terrifying, and c) smart? I think I’m feeling the itch to read stuff because we don’t quite want to tell all the people yet!

    • Sarah

      Emily Oster’s book! And congratulations!

    • ART

      Expecting Better recommendation seconded, thirded, millionthed, that book has been so wonderful. I also like Pregnant Chicken as a website and weekly update, which is mostly going to be like “not a ton happening to you right now, chill” (assuming you found out fairly early!) That said, I worried about everything – still sort of do but it’s waning – so here is some commiseration that that initial secret phase is tough! I found myself getting weepy all the time and wanted so badly to call a mom-friend, but didn’t, and I kind of regret that I didn’t allow myself that communication with at least one person I knew that had been through it. Congratulations!

      • notquitecece

        Yes! I’ve read Expecting Better, and really liked it. Thank you for the congrats and commiseration!!!

      • anontoday

        On the note of wanting to talk to someone, I’ve really debated if it is worth telling someone earlier so that I do have a friend to chat with other than my husband. I understand the concerns for miscarriage but I think that I would want support from friends/family if that is too happen anyways so it may be worth sharing. Curious to hear others experiences of telling at least a few people earlier in order to have that extra bit of support.

        • Alissa

          Yes to having a confidant. I let in some close friends around week 4 when I had a miscarriage scare (in the end, pregnancy was fine). It meant the world to me to have a few trusted women by my side even before I was ready to announce things to the world.

        • BSM

          I think it really depends. We told our families around 10-11 weeks, but I honestly wish we’d waited as long as possible. I forgot that I hate dealing with other people’s expectations around these sorts of milestones, and I’ve found pressure from others re: pregnancy to be like 100x what wedding planning was like. YMMV, obviously.

        • ART

          I nearly immediately regretted sharing our news far and wide (i.e., facebook) when we did, around 13 weeks. I was so ready to do it, and then suddenly I went oh shit, this is what everyone’s going to talk to me about in every interaction through the end of the year, and what if something does go wrong, now I have to tell them all…I’m OK with it now, but what would have been really helpful is one friend that I knew wouldn’t share the news much earlier on (someone specifically that I was pretty sure wouldn’t mind knowing so early and talking about it) because yeah, my husband is amazing but doesn’t have any possible way of knowing what this feels like. All depends on your people!

          • BSM

            Thisssss.

        • Kaitlyn

          I was the first person my best friend told (even before her husband!) and it was literally the same day she found out haha And then she did tell her family very early (day after her husband haha) so no worries about telling people early!

        • emilyg25

          I told everyone right away and it was the best. I was really tired and sick during first tri and it was very helpful having my boss know. I’m not a secret keeper, so I just couldn’t keep it in.

        • Ilora

          We told the people we would have told in the event of miscarriage. We also told the people we wouldn’t have been able to hide it from, I was on prescription medication for my morning sickness for two months and even with it was a bit of a mess. For us that was my parents (we would have told them & couldn’t hide it), a couple of friends, and the two coworkers I worked directly with (I work in childcare with a ratio system, they legitimately had to cover for me so I could run to the bathroom to throw up).

          We also had extenuating circumstances that caused us to tell both of my sets of grandparents early, on one side my grandfather was very ill, my mom said it would be a good idea to tell him asap, I told him at 6 weeks and he passed away exactly a week later. On the other side, my grandma was planning to fly out to visit in October (winter baby), I told her at 9 weeks so that she could decide if she wanted to delay her trip so she could meet the baby instead, she did.

          We didn’t tell my husbands family until closer to 12 weeks, they’re a bit excitable and we knew they’d probably accidentally tell other people before we were ready to announce.

      • Cosign on Expecting Better! It is my Pregnancy Holy Grail.

    • Alissa

      First of all: CONGRATS!! I also second recommendations for Pregnant Chicken; I wish I had found it earlier in my pregnancy. “What to Expect” and “A Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” are both pretty good, too (I recommend just reading the chapters relevant to you and save the rest for later – for me, it was way too much to try to absorb all the info at once). When I first was pregnant, I felt similarly overwhelmed by all the info rushing at me (and wishing for an APW version of pregnancy websites because I was NOT on board with the tone of most of them). I also wish that I had realized that symptoms and experiences comes in phases with pregnancy. Swelling? Not something that happens until later. Nausea and fatigue? If you experience those, it will probably be early. In my experience, many women with children tend to collapse time when they remember their pregnancies–they remember how they felt in month 8 vividly, but that’s really different than how month 2 feels. Pregnant chicken’s weekly updates are a pretty good, low-key guide. Having a confidant other than your husband may be really helpful for feeling supported. Solidarity to you! You’ve got this.

    • BSM

      Congrats!!

      I was also worried about the insanity of the pregnant community, but, honestly, it’s been a lot less terrible than I’d imagined. I find people in real life to be way more annoying and problematic. I love the Reddit group I’m in for my due date, enjoyed Expecting Better, and really like my prenatal care team, so I think that all helps.

      Also, take it slow and do/learn/read a little at a time. I’m usually a feast-or-famine type of girl when it comes to getting shit done, but we’ve been so busy and there is sooo much to take in and consider, that I’ve been doing baby prep stuff in chunks, which has made it a lot less overwhelming.

    • emilyg25

      Congrats!! Pregnant Chicken! Science of Mom! And for later, Evidence Based Birth. I also really like Penny Simkins’ books.

    • JJ

      Congratulations!l I’m loving The Mama Natural week by week guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. Wishing you the best <3

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    We’ve only been engaged for about a year, and I’ve sent out feeler emails to 3 venues we’d like to tour. All of them replied the same day! Which seems crazy! (Back in the fall I tried to book a tour of the place we thought we wanted, and left three voicemails for two different people over the course of about a month, but nobody ever called me back.) Game on!Also, I’m low-level panicking about dresses. Whatever I pick, IT’LL BE FINE, right? Right.

    • Jess

      YES. Whatever dress you pick will be MORE THAN FINE. Pick one you are comfortable in and makes you feel like you.

    • norah_charles_ftw

      Of course right! And the coolest part is that you’ll be so happy day of that you will look unbelievably amazing in whatever dress

    • Emily

      Yay for venue options! Dress will be fab, no worries!

    • penguin

      Yay for responsive places! Responsive vendors are SO GREAT. And any dress you pick will be awesome! Just make sure it’s something you like, and can sit/stand/bend a bit in. Good luck!!

    • CP2011

      Go slow and enjoy dress searching! It’s the one thing about wedding planning I’ve ever missed and it’s been 3 years now.

  • K. is skittish about disqus

    Whoa, am I actually online for Happy Hour? It’s 2pm? It’s Friday? What are days? What is time? Who am I? The new mom conundrum. :p

    In all seriousness, I wish I had more to say! But turns out that the first few weeks with a newborn are actually pretty monotonous. The only thing that’s up in the air is the sleeping patterns. Otherwise, the cycle is eat-poop-eat-pee-cry-eat-eat-eat-listen to Raffi on sanity busting repeat because it actually puts her to sleep-poop-eat-eat. But it’s so incredible to watch her development every day; humans are amazing creatures.

    Oh! And if you’re a mom/mom-to-be/TTC and you’ve been as in love with Emily Oster’s Expecting Better for pregnancy as I was, the natural successor for the newborn phase I’ve found is “Science of Mom” by Alice Callahan (a PhD and fetal physiology researcher). It’s had the same calming/confidence-boosting effect on me for lots of contentious issues like breastfeeding, bed-sharing, etc. and even has a pull quote from Oster on the back. :)

    Hope everyone has been awesome!

    • Laura C

      Yes yes yes to Science of Mom. I wish I had found it earlier.

    • Trinity

      Oh man. Adding that to my Amazon cart now…

    • bee

      Thank you for this!!

    • Just bought this! I have a 5 month old, and loved Expecting Better- thanks for the recommendation

    • notquitecece

      OMG thank you

    • BSM

      Thanks for the tip!

    • Thanks for the rec! I’ve been trying to get into The Informed Parent but its so DRY…..sounds like Science of Mom is just what I need!

      Enjoy newborn snuggles!

  • nosio

    We’re six weeks out! HOLY CRAP. RSVPs have been coming in, people have been bugging us about plus ones, my future MIL has told us we need to plan the rehearsal dinner (because she doesn’t want to? idek.), and I’m doing my best not to get stressed out! I’m off today, so I’m spending it trying to plan the rehearsal dinner, as well as doing all the things I should’ve have done weeks ago (like renting chairs for the ceremony, because hi, I’m a dummy who FORGOT about chairs), and also some things that are purely gratuitous and fun and goofy (like browsing Etsy for an affordable portrait illustrator so we can make temporary tattoos of our faces because WHY NOT). I’m still a bit apprehensive about our country club reception, but all of the comments on my post from a couple weeks ago made me feel INFINITELY better, and I’ve gone back and read them any time I start feeling anxious about things. Seriously, this community has been a godsend throughout this engagement, and I love all of you. I hope you all have fabulous weekends!

    • penguin

      Good luck on everything!!

      We cared 0% about a rehearsal dinner, so we turfed that to my FMIL. If she ends up throwing a fit instead of a rehearsal dinner, we are fine with it and will just go out for burgers or something with whoever is around haha. We are planning on spending the afternoon before the wedding mini golfing with my family, looking forward to that.

      • Jan

        I wish my FMIL didn’t care about the rehearsal dinner. It’s now a Whole Big Thing and I’d so much rather grab tacos with a dozen family and friends, than attend what has no become
        a wedding-level event.

      • AtHomeInWA

        “If she ends up throwing a fit instead of a rehearsal dinner”

        Lolz.

    • reller

      We had to plan our own rehearsal dinner too. We went with a taco cart and 100% loved it. It was so fun and low stress.

      • nosio

        I think we’re going to go to a little family owned Italian restaurant and get nice pizzas. I am VERY excited.

  • Sarah Porter

    It’s been a good week! I scored a two-day awesome photo assignment for the Washington Post and we basically finished building our house which we did mostly ourselves, and I’m feeling good!

    • SLG

      Ooh post a link when the Post project comes out!

  • Eve

    I’m hoping this community can offer some advice on graduate school. I want to write about art and culture, so I’m researching programs in visual and cultural studies. My undergrad degree is in actual fine art, but I spent more of it writing than actually making. Writing about culture I find absolutely fascinating, especially with as fast as culture moves these days. But the whole going to school for it thing is daunting. I only know one person in my peer group who’s achieved such an advanced degree, and he did it in chemistry. I guess I’m just not sure where to start the process of truly looking at graduate school, what to expect, all that, and so much writing about higher ed these days tends towards it being completely useless given the cost.

    It feels like such a massive decision. So I guess I’m looking for words of advice, resources for choosing programs/what to expect/questions to ask. There seems to be so many people in this community who are pursuing/have successfully completed advanced degrees like this, and I haven’t come across many other spaces that are as honest and as open about making these major life decisions.

    For what it’s worth, my therapist actually got the degree I’m looking at before going back to school to be a therapist, and her advice is to try it.

    • Amy March

      I think for any grad school, unless you have unlimited funds, you need to be primarily thinking about what job you want, if grad school will help you get it, and whether it pays enough for you to pay off any loans you took out. So I’d ignore your therapist on this point because she isn’t using the degree. What are you doing now? How close can you get to your goal without grad school? Can you figure out people doing the job you want and see how they got there? Your undergrad school may be able to help with this too.

      • Jenny

        Co sign. The other thing, which I know greatly depends on field, but unless you can get someone/thing to defray the costs, I think it’s rarely worthwhile to front the full cost of grad school. Again, depends on the field a lot, but if no one is willing to pay you to go back to school, or give you some kind of break on tuition, it can be a sign that you’ll also have a hard time finding a job after grad school.

      • Eve

        The program I’m looking at most is, luckily, one that is free for all accepted students plus a stipend for the first four years. So that helps some of the financial stuff. I’m far less interested in going just to be in debt for the rest of my life.

        • sofar

          If the program is free, I say do it. I got a graduate degree that EVERYONE said would be useless. But I got a full ride, so no risk of debt. I worked part-time in grad school to pay the bills, lived lean and emerged with no debt.

          My advice would be to use grad school as much for networking as for classes. Utilize your professors and anyone running the program for connections. Use the excuse of being in school to do internships that get you more connections. Try to get your coursework published somewhere, anywhere (even if it’s just your own blog) so that you hit the ground running with a killer portfolio when you graduate. Your professors may know people at the publications you may want to get into and can help you do it. That’s what they’re there for. And if you have flexibility to choose courses, take courses that expand your skill set, not just ones that capitalize on what you’re already good at.

          Thinking about whether you *can* advance your career without grad school is good advice. But if you’re going for free and can use grad school to get more connections, experience, and published work in WAY less time than it would take otherwise, I say do it.

          • Yael

            Yes to all of this. PUBLISH EVERYTHING. And if you can, find an advisor who will push you and support you doing that. You need a good network to survive grad school and build a career after.

    • Cleo

      I’m not in the field at all, so genuine question:

      Do you NEED the degree to do the type of work you want to do?

      If so, I say do it.

      If not, think about what your career would be like if you didn’t and what it would be like if you did. What will you gain from this degree that you can’t get from work experience?

      Good luck with your decision!

    • AmandaBee

      I just finished my PhD (in educational research) and I’m on the tenure-track but I spent some time working in an alt-ac job before deciding to go that route. So my thoughts are:

      – Do you have a sense of what you want to do long-term with your life (career-wise) and whether this degree will get you there?
      – Do you have a career plan B that will also utilize your skills and degree, in the event that career plan A doesn’t work out or the job market is super competitive?
      – Do you LOVE the stuff you’ll be studying? Like, does it get you excited and make you want to stay up late reading about it? Do you enjoy writing about it? This is important, because you will definitely stay up late reading and writing about it.
      – Can you get funding from the schools you’re looking at guaranteed for the number of years you think it’ll take to pursue your degree? If not, what’s your plan for funding the degree with minimal-to-no debt?

      I think grad school has a bad rep because lots of people do it either without a solid reason (i.e., a clear career trajectory that requires grad school PLUS a clear passion for the subject), without realistic expectations (i.e., expecting the perfect tenure-track job and having no plan B), and/or with shaky funding situation (i.e., no guaranteed funding, planning to rely on loans).

      If you can square away those three things, I think it can absolutely be worth it, particularly if you’re someone who enjoys writing about things. Even if you decide that a PhD is not your thing and leave with a master’s, I think it can be fine, just be realistic about your career options, trying to gather up as much work experience as you can, and avoid taking on debt as much as possible.

      • Yael

        Co-sign. Grad school is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done (emotionally, intellectually) and if I had to start all over again, I’m not entirely certain I could make myself do it, despite knowing how important it is for my career (caveat, grad school for me also meant moving to a foreign country/city where English is not very widely spoken outside of the university, and leaving behind A for a year, but even without those things, it’s still hard). So to go into grad school not knowing for real if and how you’ll use your degree, is a recipe for disaster. You will resent the whole thing (you will resent things even if you WANT to be there – don’t add to the emotional/psychological burden).

        Also think about the fact that even if you love what you’re doing right now, you’ll need to be dedicated to it for the next 3-5 years for your dissertation. I would suggest picking a topic/idea that is not necessarily exactly what you want to work on for the rest of your life, so that you don’t burn out on it. Pick something related and relevant, but not the same. In my case, I study violence using survey methods. I have done a lot of work on one type of violence, but am studying another kind for my dissertation, because I do not want to be limited to just the one type – I want greater breadth – and also I would be bored to tears spending another 3 years studying it exclusively. Variety is good. Side projects are essential for your mental health.

        Finally, some of the highest praise you can get from a potential advisor is that your dissertation is doable. Getting to that point is difficult. Be prepared to cut things that seem absolutely essential. Learn to be ruthless.

        If I haven’t scared you off the idea, then you should definitely go for it!

      • Jenny

        Grad school can be worth it. But even if the upfront cost is minimal, consider what you lose in opportunity cost. I was in school for 5 years for my PhD, after a 2 year masters program. Even if you just consider what I’d make as a master level, it was 5 years of making less than what my market rate (and actual rate of pay) was. I ran the numbers when I was deciding to go, and with conservative numbers (assumming I would have killed it an gotten lots of promotions in my field before the PhD, and assumming I get a lower end of the salary for a right out of a postdoc job) it will take me 5 years to recoup the opportunity cost. In the an optimistic scenario (I stay in my old job with only COLA raises, and get a solid offer after my postdoc, it’ll take 4 years). For me it made it worth it (by 2040 it’ll be probably a million dollars more than not going to grad school). I applied for a few alt ac jobs, and one offered me one that I would have been qualified for by just having 5+ more years as a masters level worker. So it’s worth asking around and understanding what jobs truly require a PhD (tenure track jobs/ higher gov research jobs), and which ones you could conceivably work your way up in. This isn’t to discourage you from going, I love my PhD program. But I also love not being broke (or what I remember of that brief glimmer of time).

    • Jessica

      I’m currently a grad student in history, going for my PhD, and I got a master’s in cultural studies before starting the PhD program. Are you comfortable giving more information about what type of program you are considering and what your long-term goals are? That would shape my advice a lot. :) In general I would say my PhD program is worth it (I get a 22K/year stipend and it’s 100% necessary for teaching at the college level) and the master’s wasn’t (left with 30K in loans despite scholarships, maybe it helped me get into the PhD program but didn’t otherwise lead to more options).

      • Eve

        Yeah, of course. I’m looking mostly at the University of Rochester Visual and Cultural Studies program. My (only half joking) response to what I want to do with my life is get paid to write about Taylor Swift. It makes people laugh, but there does seem to be a need to engage with those sorts of pop culture icons in an actually scholarly, serious way.

        I think I’d be happy teaching cultural studies at the college level, which I realize is a highly likely outcome of getting this degree, but I’m more interested in actually spending my time researching and writing, for magazines or more scholarly publications, or developing museum/community programs. The Rochester program is free for all accepted students tuition-wise, and it offers an $18K stipend for the first four years and help getting funding for stuff after that.

        • Jessica

          Ok, cool! So here’s what I’d recommend for where you are at in the process:
          1) Go back and talk to any professors in undergrad that work on anything connected to your interests. Obviously it’s nice if you had a class with them or a personal connection but lots of schools are trying to increase their % of graduates who go on to advanced degrees, plus you’ll basically be writing to these people saying “I wanna be just like you” which is a highly flattering email to receive, so they should be happy to reply. Ask them for recommendations of good programs, suggested recent readings/publications in the field, and any connections they might have for you to talk with. (It’s generally not considered a good idea to get your PhD from the same place as your undergrad, so they’ll understand why you’re asking them for perspectives/connections at other places.)
          2) Think of applying to grad school (especially fully-funded programs) as a job application. My first draft of my application essay was like “I just love history!!!” which then got torn apart by my advisor haha. Obviously you are going to school to learn more, but you want to be able to convince the committee that you are reasonably knowledgeable with the field (theories, influential people, etc) and that you have an idea for a fresh angle.
          3) Just for context — I applied to 12 schools and got accepted at 3, and that was a pretty typical rate. Most PhD cohorts are small (our dept averages about 12 new students/year) and they have to match students with faculty advisors, so if they accepted 5 Taylor Swift specialists last year they might not accept you this year even if you have an awesome application. The funding package you described actually sounds on the low side to me (5 years of funding is more typical) but once you get accepted to multiple places you can compare funding, insurance, workload (teaching/grading responsibilities), etc.
          Hope this helps and isn’t too bossy!! Academia is its own special world haha…

          • Eve

            Thank you, that’s super helpful! Fortunately my undergrad institution doesn’t even offer this degree (undergrad or graduate, for that matter), but it’s also seeming like there are very few institutions anywhere that offer this particular focus. I’ve only found 4-5 so far, and only two I think go through PhD. So part of my wondering is also if the PhD is truly necessary, or if just doing the Master’s would be enough.

        • somanypseudonyms

          I just dropped out of my PhD (in history, after the MA stage of the program, at a top-5), and would be pretty hesitant to encourage you to do this.

          1) PhD programs in academic fields (rather than, e.g., PhDs affiliated with anything in medicine/education/business/law/social work/therapy/etc) — and it sounds like this is basically Rochester’s art history department? — are generally designed to train you to be a professor. This is admittedly more *intensely* true the further you go up the [somewhat-BS] hierarchy of academic prestige, but also true at medium-rank places. If you go into a program as someone not necessarily intending to be a professor, it’s highly likely that you’ll be considered an outsider / low-priority student from the beginning.
          2) Unfortunately, while getting a job as a professor is the encouraged outcome of these programs, it’s not in fact a *likely* outcome. The academic job market throughout the humanities is a horrifying, manipulative mess. So… despite the academic-cultural tendencies in #1, you should go into academia with the assumption that you will *not* get a job in academia.
          3) Also unfortunately, free tuition and an $18k/4yr stipend are… actually not a very good deal. If you’re in an academic field (as above), you should
          never
          ever
          ever
          be paying to do your PhD, unless you’ve hit, say, year 6 or 7, at which point most programs will require a nominal tuition. Free tuition is the absolute minimum requirement of a non-sketchy program. All programs will try to help you find funding throughout — it reflects well on them and it helps keep you focused on the PhD — but the sad truth is that there just *isn’t* much funding available for graduate students anywhere that hasn’t already been earmarked for stipends — so whatever you’re being offered as a guaranteed stipend is what you should assume you’ll be living on. In year 5 and further, it’s quite possible that you’ll be teaching 4-5 classes to make ends meet (which will slow down your progress on the PhD), or in an even worse situation. It typically takes a minimum of 6 years to complete a PhD in the humanities.
          4) Doing a[ny or all of a] PhD at a good program will *absolutely* build you up intellectually and prepare you to do really interesting critical work. But… there are a lot of extremely clever people out there doing critical & scholarly work on pop culture without PhDs. The credential doesn’t especially matter for what you want to do, just the education and intellectual training. You can do the same reading without putting yourself through the constraints of a PhD program; getting the intellectual community is much harder, but you’d have to seek one out in order to start getting published for criticism anyway.
          5) If you want to try to just get an MA instead, the best way to do that is… by starting a PhD and dropping out. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Paying for a terminal MA in an academic (as opposed to professional) field is usually a bad idea in the US: those programs (and I say this having just left a university with several well-regarded terminal MA programs) are used as cash cows by the university, and the students are seen pretty much solely as “couldn’t get into the PhD; pays tuition that covers my [salary/stipend]” by faculty and even some grad students. It is a bad, bad scene. (Lots of people make the best of it and have good academic experiences anyway! But — lots of people find it pretty disastrous. And they aren’t taken seriously intellectually by anybody in academia.) If you’re going that route, though, you should plan on concealing it from everyone you know at the university, for the reasons in #1.

          The caveat to all the bad stuff above is that, well, some aspects of doing a PhD are wonderful. It is *great* to have all of your time devoted to studying the things you love, and to be in a community of other people who are focused on that. It is *great* to have university resources to just be a scholar. But… I think that for most people, that doesn’t wind up outweighing all the other contingencies.

        • G.

          You might want to consider journalism school, at a school with a strong cultural criticism track.

        • SLG

          I write for a living and I don’t have a graduate degree, so I can’t give you advice on grad school, but I can weigh in on getting paid to write about pop culture icons in a serious way. The short version is, you definitely can get paid to write, but it’s worth thinking about who wants / needs what you write so badly that they will pay for it.

          My hunch is that a lot of people who write for scholarly publications are doing it as a way of furthering some other career that actually pays the bills (teaching, research, etc.), and aren’t getting paid much for individual pieces. I know that’s the case in my field (design & tech): plenty of us get published, but the pay for an article is minimal and the reason for doing it is to be seen contributing to thoughtful leadership in the field. My day job pays the bills (a thing called “product content strategy” — a lot of us work at tech companies, make mobile apps, etc.). I have no idea what more journalistic outlets like The Atlantic pay, but my hunch is that it pays more in prestige than in dollars.

          I’d encourage you to look at who is already doing this and how they support themselves (writing books? podcasts? is Roxanne Gay a model for you to follow? or is it Ann Friedman?
          etc.). Did their grad degree contribute to their success?

          I’d also say, if this is a thing you want to do, don’t let the lack of a grad degree stop you! Start your own Medium channel right now and write the heck out of Taylor Swift. Find the interesting people already doing this and start interesting conversations with them. Find the magic that you have to offer so you can confidently say “Here is my magic, it will change your life, and it will cost you $___ because IT’S WORTH IT.”

          You do have that magic — a grad degree might enhance it, but the degree won’t confer magic on you. You’ve got this. :)

        • AmandaBee

          You’re getting a ton of advice, so I’ll just add that I think everyone’s experience with grad school is different and if you’re interested in a particular program, your best bet is to connect with the current students and alumni in that program.

          Wanting to teach at the college level + research and write sounds like an appropriate goal for getting a PhD. Developing museum/community programs is something you may or may not need a PhD for. My recommendation would be to talk to people with these jobs and see what kind of education they have. If you do pursue this program, I would try to get experience teaching, publishing, and also see if there’s a way to do some kind of museum/community program internship/volunteering so you have a flexible resume.

          It’s also not uncommon for someone to start a PhD program, get their master’s, and then decide that they can achieve the goals they have with that master’s and decide not to pursue the rest of the PhD. And there’s nothing wrong with doing that!

    • Jenny

      Grad school can be worth it. But even if the upfront cost is minimal, consider what you lose in opportunity cost. I was in school for 5 years for my PhD, after a 2 year masters program. Even if you just consider what I’d make as a master level, it was 5 years of making less than what my market rate (and actual rate of pay) was. I ran the numbers when I was deciding to go, and with conservative numbers (assuming I would have killed it an gotten lots of promotions in my field before the PhD, and assuming I get a lower end of the salary for a right out of a postdoc job) it will take me 5 years to recoup the opportunity cost. In the an optimistic scenario (I stay in my old job with only COLA raises, and get a solid offer after my postdoc, it’ll take 4 years). For me it made it worth it (by 2040 it’ll be probably a million dollars more than not going to grad school). I applied for a few alt ac jobs, and one offered me one that I would have been qualified for by just having 5+ more years as a masters level worker. So it’s worth asking around and understanding what jobs truly require a PhD (tenure track jobs/ higher gov research jobs), and which ones you could conceivably work your way up in. This isn’t to discourage you from going, I love my PhD program. But I also love not being broke (or what I remember of that brief glimmer of time).

    • I agree with those that say to make sure that you can’t do what you want without going to graduate school (or to at least consider that option before making the decision to do grad school). I write/edit/translate for a living and my work is published regularly, and I have zero degrees related to that. (Well, I have a degree in French, but not translation at all.) I lucked into it as a day job (to go with my sporadic and low/no-paid arts-related work). When I was considering grad school for theatre years ago, someone whose career I admire told me that I didn’t need grad school to do what I want. At first I was not convinced, but as time has passed (about ten years now), I am glad that I did the non-grad-school route for my arts field. If I had done grad school, I am pretty confident I would be in great debt now and still not be working any more because of the circumstances of where I live. But like I said, I fell into the publishing work and have discovered I really enjoy it. I do think this job would have been impossible to get without significant experience if it had been in a different location (like somewhere with a large percentage of English speakers), but even so, I do think that the internet offers a lot of great ways to get your work out there and gain experience for free (or maybe even while getting paid, if you could get work writing for a blog?). And I often think about what a arts colleague said once about grad school…she said she wished that she had instead invested $100,000 into producing her own work. Whenever I think about training classes or things to advance my dream, I remind myself that I am doing a DIY education, and it’s way cheaper than a grad school degree would have been.

      All that said, if a degree had been free (truly free) and in my field and in a location I wanted, at a time much earlier in my life, etc., I might have taken that path. But from where I am now, I think I will just keep on pursuing opportunities that I can learn and grow from.

  • Kat

    We’ve been tentatively planning a Europe trip for a few months, but on Monday BF came home and announced he had made some spreadsheets and figured out our budget, so I should go ahead and decide where we were going. After narrowing my initial list of 15+ locations down and asking pretty much every stranger on the street what they would do, we’ve landed on London and Munich for 10 days in either late October or early November (waiting on some Delta miles to come through from a CC to make the final decision)! We’ll actually be missing out on Oktoberfest by a few weeks, which lots of people have tried to convince me is a mistake, but I don’t particularly love beer, I hate crowds, and I despise overpaying for hotels, so I’m thrilled with our choice. And London is my favorite city in the world. BF has never been out of the US so I’m excited to show him my favorite places and explore some new ones together.
    I love a good itinerary, and so I’d love to hear your recommendations for food/attractions/LODGING in both cities. Especially if anyone has any good AirBNB recs. Here’s a picture of Neuschwanstein castle in the fall that’s gonna be my new phone background to get me through the next few months! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ebb239547895a3af7a12e95c92d69b1e853f1a4533e1bc92581646ae19c9f6df.jpg

    • sofar

      Don’t worry about missing out on Oktoberfest. Yes, it’s an experience, but so is visiting Munich during just a normal time when it’s not over-run by out-of-towners. And you are going to save sooooo much money. The most fun I had was going to the Hoffbrauhaus NOT during Oktoberfest, because locals actually do drink there, and LOVE to interact with visitors, and you can actually get a good seat at a good table and enjoy the band without fighting through crowds of drunken tourists.

      I’m a pretty extreme budget-traveler, so I’ve mostly stayed in hostels in Munich. But I’m sure Airbnb would provide killer options. And then there are teh cool old traditional Gasthaus hotels, which I’ve splurged on and loved in various German cities.

      • Kat

        This is exactly my rationale too. It’s not like there will be a lack of beer, or beirgartens. Less people sounds ideal to me. Thanks so much for the advice!

        • LindseyM

          Also, I found the best thing about Oktoberfest was the food anyway. In college I really enjoyed when we just went to a neighborhood beer garden (took the train outside Munich). I also love the English Garden — nice place for a peaceful afternoon.

          • Kat

            How much time did you spend there in college? I’m also considering a day trip to Salzburg and a visit to Dachau, any input on those?

          • LindseyM

            I studied abroad in Prague, so I did only a weekend trip to Munich, but I’ve been back a few times since then because I love the city. I would probably recommend both of those—Salzburg is gorgeous, and a great easy trip from Munich if you want to see the Alps. I did not go to Dachau but had friends that did. I went to Auschwitz and it was extremely hard but very important.

          • I was a little disappointed by Salzburg, I’m not sure why…I think I thought it would be much smaller and quainter. So I got on a train and went to Hallstadt one day for the day and really enjoyed that. Dachau really impacted me.

        • Jess

          I mean, I’m purposefully looking to travel to Munich exclusively during Non-Oktoberfest times. I don’t think you’re doing it wrong.

          • Kat

            I’m mostly rolling my eyes at everyone telling me otherwise because we’ve discovered that the best part about traveling in our 20’s with no kids is that we’re totally in charge of what we do and we don’t have to do anything we don’t want.

      • Yael

        This was going to be my advise exactly. Munich is expensive at the best of times, and Oktoberfest is not the best of times.

    • bee

      Munich is amazing! If it’s not too cold, do a bike tour for sure

      • Kat

        I’m so excited to NOT be traveling in middle of summer like I always have. Can’t wait to tour Bavaria in chunky sweaters!

    • penguin

      Oh my god are you going to visit Neuschwanstein? It was my FAVORITE part of my Germany trip. We had lunch at the base of the mountain, and then took a carriage ride up to the castle. Walk to the rickety wooden bridge (Marianbrucke I believe, spelling isn’t right), and look at the castle from there. Take LOTS of pictures. Then walk back to the castle and do the tour! It was awesome. They don’t let you take pics inside the castle, but we took lots outside and from the balconies outside.

      And yeah, visit Munich when it’s not Oktoberfest. We had a great time (also, a liter of beer is like the size of my head and it’s great!). Have fun!!

      • Kat

        YES the castle was kind of the deciding factor for me. I had narrowed it down to Paris, Munich or Prague but every picture of Munich looks straight up like a picture from Sleeping Beauty and I am into it. We also (sort of jokingly, not really) decided that since Germany is now the leader of the free world, we should pay it a visit.
        So yes, absolutely 100% going to Neuschwanstein. I’d love to hear any other tips about what you enjoyed if you’ve got ’em!

        • penguin

          Ah yay!! So make sure you have train plans to Fussen (should have an umlaut), because that’s where the castle actually is. Also, German trains are very consistently on schedule, so that was great. We got a Eurail train pass that made it very easy to get around. I’ll try to think of any other tips! Mostly just take a ton of pictures that include you guys in them. Those are my most treasured photos from when I traveled around Germany with my dad.

    • EF

      yay london!

      if at all possible can I encourage you to not stay in airbnbs in london? we deal with some of the highest rents and property prices in the world, and airbnb has had an effect on pushing rents even higher. some legislation has come in about that but not a ton yet; it’s definitely still on the mayor’s agenda.
      there are loads of aparthotels that can be a more socially responsible option though! in some great areas!

      anyway I live in london so if you need any recommendations, toss questions my way.

      • LazyMountain

        I just read a great article about this in Outside Magazine about the same issues occurring in saturated housing markets in the US- specifically in mountain and ski towns where those who work and live there year round are being pushed out of rental properties since short term rentals are more lucrative for landlords. It made me feel sad and conflicted… sorry to hear this is the case in the UK as well.

      • Violet

        Thanks for pointing this out re. AirBNB. It certainly hurts high-rent areas, especially where gentrification/people being pushed out of their homes is already a huge issue.

      • Kat

        I’ll definitely look into other accommodation solutions! Thanks for the input!

  • jem

    I’m he here for baby ringbearer outfit inspo and assurances that having our friend’s 18-month-old do the job is going to be AWESOME (no horror stories, pls). I want to dress him up as a lobster but fiancé has vetoed it.

    • KPM

      It will be AWESOME. It may not be perfect. It will amuse you and make you feel a little less nervous and everyone will be delighted. It will be AWESOME.

    • Kaitlyn

      My niece and her cousin were flower girl/ring bearer in a wedding when they were 18 months and it was totally fine! And super cute obvs. PS I vote for the lobster outfit.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Babies and smol children can do pretty much whatever they want at weddings, and people will still think they’re cute. Especially if they’re wearing teeny dapper clothing. Or lobster outfits.

      • ZLMT

        Yep! I was at a wedding where the 3 y.o. bridesmaid took a sudden left and ran into the bushes she’d been playing in earlier, then the 5 y.o. ring bearer took off to get her back. :)

    • K. is skittish about disqus

      Our ring bearer was a little older than yours, but he was so adorable. He LOVED “ring bear” jokes, about how he was the tough little bear who was going to protect the rings! He definitely ended up lifting his hands in a little roaring motion down the aisle, which was SUPER adorable and also helped him feel excited about it (he was a little nervous right beforehand). And yes, he ran to his mom after the fact but we have an awesome photo of her giving him a big thumbs up. Everything was perfect :)

    • Amy March

      Fortunately he has no job except being cute, which he will excel at!

    • somanypseudonyms

      I think *not* dressing him up as a lobster is the real horror story here

    • overitatx

      We’re putting our nephews in slacks with a button down top, suspenders, and bow ties. It’s going to be FREAKING ADORABLE.

      • savannnah

        we are also doing this and I cannot wait

    • Lexipedia

      Hey, worst case scenario someone in the bridal party holds his hand or carries him. There are some pretty adorable pictures of me as a bridesmaid with a 2 year old flower girl on my hip and teaching her the “royal wave” which was way less scary than flowers. She was the daughter of the couple, so they really wanted her to participate if she could. It involved a last-minute carry and a run to her mom’s hand at the end of the aisle, but we made it work and everyone was happy.

      • penguin

        Aw I love that visual of teaching a tiny child the royal wave. So cute.

        • Lexipedia

          All I needed to say was “this is how princesses wave” and she was 100% ready to go down that aisle with me, without hiding her face in my shoulder the whole time.

    • LazyMountain

      Wait why was lobster vetoed!?? Small children dressed as lobsters (usually carried around in stock pots) is one of my favorite things!

    • emilyg25

      If you want him to actually walk down the aisle, plan on having one of his parents hold his hand or carry him. Or do that wagon thing. But he’s probably going to need a trusted adult nearby or he’ll be too overwhelmed.

    • Lisa

      It’s going to be amazing. My 3 year old nephew was our ring bearer, and he walked up together with both of his parents (who dropped him off in the first row with his grandparents before taking their places in our wedding party). He was super cute and carried his manta ray toy with him on top of the ring-pillow. Gotta have the manta. He wore an open-collar white dress shirt and black pants. I was also at a wedding recently where the flower girl was less than a year old and one of her parents just carried her up the aisle in a cute, frilly dress.

    • CMT

      OMG, baby lobster ring bearer is the best thing I’ve ever heard!

    • CP2011

      My nephew was about that age and was co ring bearer with my much-younger brother in law. They wore matching suits. My SIL got his online.

    • Eenie

      Just don’t give the real rings to him, and there’s no way this won’t go well! He’ll either do as expected, or he’ll do something else and everyone will find it adorable because he’s not even two. I vote for the lobster outfit.

    • theteenygirl

      If the lobster was vetoed.. what about a teddy bear outfit. He is the ring BEARer…

  • Sarah Jane Tinnelly-Williams

    I’m pregnant!!!!! I just found out on Wednesday. Ohhhhmyyyygoodness. It’s my second baby, but my husband’s first. We’ve been trying since November, had an early miscarriage in January, and now we are here. I’m almost afraid to get excited, because I’m only 5 weeks and it’s still super early days (and I’m nervous about having a repeat of January), but I’ve already got a new pinterest board for maternity outfits. Yayyy!

    • Jess

      Yay!! Congratulations

      • Sarah Jane Tinnelly-Williams

        thanks!!!

    • ART

      <3

    • MoiraBee

      Congrats! I am trying for #2 currently and it is so stressful, despite having already done it once.

    • BSM

      Congrats! I got super huffy in Gap today because apparently you can no longer return their maternity clothes to store, lol.

      • ART

        Haha customer service people are loving me the past couple of months. I’m either huffy or stupid *and* huffy. At least they have free returns by mail, right?

        • BSM

          Today was the last day to return! It’s not a big deal because it was a dress my mom bought for me, and I like it fine, but wtf??? I highly doubt their maternity clothes go to some special, separate pregnant-lady attire warehouse!

          And I have had SUCH nightmares with customer service in the last 24 hours. After the Gap thing, I texted my husband and was like, “Did all the stores get together and decide that now is the time to make things way more difficult on our customers?” Gah!

          • rg223

            I heard they are taking maternity out of all the stores and going all online, which is SUPER annoying for the pregnant customers! I really wanted to try things on in-store when I was pregnant. But anyway, I’m guessing your issue was related because they don’t want to be holding onto the maternity stock at all anymore.

          • BSM

            Yeah, I think you’re right. Grrr.

          • Ashlah

            After calling and driving around for days, I discovered that there are a total of two stores in my city where you can buy maternity clothes (Motherhood Maternity and Macy’s, which carries…Motherhood Maternity). Every single other store has put it all online. It drove me batty!

          • Ilora

            Ugh, same! We have Old Navy, and a high end baby boutique…The boutique has a fairly small selection and gets re-stocked so rarely that I just used it to figure out what size I wear and buy online anyway. Old Navy sizes are a bit weird (sized up in leggings but down in pants….) but the thing that really drives me nuts is that they don’t carry nursing clothes…at all!!

          • ART

            Oh, that does suck.

            We had our credit card number stolen a couple weeks ago, and I was actually really proud of myself for not having a flip-out when the bank reversed three of eight obviously fraudulent charges but put the other five through to our NEW credit card number. They were also all plane tickets, so I called all the airlines and gave them the transaction numbers and actually got the person’s name (same on all of them) that had made the purchases. So when I filled out the bank’s fraud charge paperwork, I was able to actually answer the “do you know who may have made these charges” part of the form – ha. This was a vast improvement over me bitching to someone on Amazon’s help chat that I wasn’t being offered free shipping, when in fact it was the second radio bullet on the page I was looking at. That was…user error!

    • Congratulations!

  • rg223

    Hi all! So I might not be able to respond right away to suggestions because my son should be getting up from his nap, but I could use some excellent APW travel advice!

    My two best friends from middle school and I want to do a best-friends-girl-trip next year. It’d be four days, and the budget is $500 total. Due to budget, we are thinking east coast or east mid-west, and we are open to cruising from New York or somewhere we can fly to cheaply (I’m thinking that’ll be out of budget). We already discussed the usual suspects (Chicago, Boston, Philly, Toronto, the lake areas in upstate New York), so I wanted to see if anyone had slightly more off-the-beaten track ideas. Plus, we all have pretty divergent interests, but I think we would agree on a bustling place with culture/art plus shopping, OR a calm retreat kind of place with a beach/lake and shopping. My two friends aren’t super big drinkers, and aren’t interested in Canada (both things I was interested in, haha). I could persuade them to do, like, ONE wine tour, but drinking and relaxing can’t be the only activity for the whole trip. Thanks in advance!

    • Kaitlyn

      Portland, Maine! It’s a great foodie location and right on the water but leans more towards beer than wine. If you’re interested in in day trips, it’s not too far south to Ogunquit, ME (where I got in the summer each year, super cute) and York, ME (home to Stonewall Kitchen makes delish food and they have samples all around haha). Little further south of that is Kittery, ME (outlets shopping) and Portsmouth, NH (super cute town).

      • rg223

        Oooooh this is a great suggestion! I think we all overlap on foodie stuff, and I LOVE Stonewall Kitchen! Would you suggest renting a house or doing a hotel or something else? With the house thing I’m worried about having to book a minimum of nights.

        • Kaitlyn

          What time of year are you thinking of going? For Portland, we’ve always booked a hotel via Hotwire and for Ogunquit, we always stay in B&Bs (Black Boar Inn is our favorite). I know summer will usually require a week’s stay for houses, but I don’t think that’s the case the rest of the year.

          • rg223

            We didn’t have a set time of year, just depends on the area, so this is helpful, thanks!

        • Kaitlyn

          Oh also for Stonewall Kitchen: you can book “cooking classes”. Basically, it’s you watching someone cook and then you get to eat delicious food. Their website includes a schedule so you can see what’s upcoming.

      • Jess

        Our first big vacation together was to Maine, starting in Portland. It is such a great place to visit!

      • jem

        Was going to suggest Portland, too!

      • RNLindsay

        Just got back from an anniversary weekend trip to Portland! Definitely feel like we had to roll home after all the good eating :)
        If you’re going in the summer – book early!! We decided on this in mid-late June and there were no hotels/B&Bs left but we lucked out with an air Bnb. Also almost all restaurants had no reservations left! Other times of year I’m sure are better

    • Knonymous

      Maybe Newport, RI? Cute town with history (mansions), beaches, shopping, etc.

      • rg223

        I got married very close to Newport (Bristol) and my husband and I looooove it there! Not sure if my friends will want to go back so relatively close to my wedding, but I’ll throw it out there!

    • emilyg25

      $500 for four days and three nights, including transportation, lodging and food? I’d do an AirBnB in the Hudson Valley. Then you can drive to artsy things and beautiful nature spots.

  • Eenie

    How do you find a person/company to redo your deck? We don’t know anyone in the area that has done deck work. We want to move where the stairs are and expand the footprint. It’s a full story above the ground so we don’t feel comfortable or desire to DIY. Project is slated for next spring pending finances.

    Angie’s list?

    • janie

      Do you use nextdoor? In my area people are BONKERS – posting multiple times a day but would have great suggestions for companies.

      • Eenie

        I just joined. This is insane!! But I think a good solution to my predicament! Thank you 😀

    • mocat

      I use Yelp to find companies with good reviews, then I contact a few for quotes.

    • BSM

      I usually check Yelp first. That sounds like a big job!

      • Eenie

        It is a big job. Our current deck looks like crap, and it just isn’t functional with how our house/outside is set up. If we redo this spring, we can enjoy it for two years before selling the house!

  • Kalë

    I GOT AN OFFER!!!!!! It has been a whirlwind, and super stressful because I desparately wanted this position, but here we are! It is contingent on references, but I can’t imagine my references could sway them (other than in the direction of they made the right choice). So happy and excited! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1b1b9721cd8dcb1a3b58a1ae578b1c9e189aca6478c5433092e3d3139da35056.gif

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!! Also, I could watch this gif all day. It’s perfect.

  • theteenygirl

    Just stopping by with good news… FH’s work permit came in this week so he can officially work in Canada! We’re so excited to be a dual income household again and he is relieved to finally be able to contribute financially. And now there is no need to worry about him having to go back to the States while his permanent residency is approved!!

    And also some frustrated news. I had acne and eczema as a kid/teen and it went away for so many years once I got on the right birth control and now.. just months before the wedding.. my eczema has been flaring constantly (on my eyelids!!!) and I have two cheeks full of acne and acne scars. I’m getting worried I won’t be able to cover it up with makeup. I am so upset that something that caused me so much distress and anxiety in the past has come back to me at the worst time.

    But.. I’m focusing on the FH working thing! Woohoo!

    • Cleo

      I have eczema on my eyelids (and my lips, ugh!). My doctor prescribed me a steroid gel (Fougera hydrocortisone ointment 2.5%). I used it twice daily for two weeks and it got rid of the flaking and itching and now I use it once a day before bed, supplementing with Aquaphor as needed.

      I know how painful and annoying it can be. Good luck!

      • theteenygirl

        I get it on my lips as well! And in various spots on my body, including the backs of my knees and insides of my elbows, and my shoulders, my fingers, between my toes.. gah! It’s the worst!

        I have been prescribed steroid creams (hydrocortisone) in the past but I won’t use them on my face (especially not my eyelids) because of how much it thins your skin. It also made me get perioral (might not be spelled correctly) dermatitis. So now I use a barrier cream on my face (like a prescription vaseline basically) after I shower and it seems to keep it at bay, without any of the nasty side effects.

        Now if only I can get the acne under control!!!

    • Yael

      Yay spouses working! A is looking for remote work to do while he adjusts to our new life. I’m surprised that a spousal visa doesn’t automatically grant a work visa though? That’s how it is in Germany.

      • theteenygirl

        It’s not GUARANTEED but.. it pretty much is. You have to be living in Canada and you can put in your open work permit paperwork with your spousal sponsorship paperwork and then it takes max 3 months for it to be approved or denied. It took 2 months from when we submitted it.. so definitely better than we thought!

        • Yael

          Ah. All these rules! The paperwork! I just filed my change of address paperwork, renewed my residency (2 years this time!) and am getting an official job (not just a stipend) and the amount of paperwork was insane. I am not looking forward to A’s paperwork, but at least we have a few months after he arrives to get it in order (Germany allows Americans to stay for up to 3 months without paperwork).

        • Lexipedia

          A magical thing I discovered about Canadian PR (I’m Canadian and we currently live in the U.S. and are going to apply for my Green Card next year.) American GC status requires residency physically in America, where as Canadian PR status requires residency physically with your Canadian partner – anywhere. Our house is like Canada, and I bring it with me wherever! It gets more complicated, and doesn’t establish residency for naturalization in Canada, but we can theoretically apply for both residencies simultaneously while living in the U.S. because we aren’t quite sure what next steps are.

          • I think you have to indicate your intent to reside in Canada, which could be tricky if you are applying for both at the same time? Maybe you don’t (it’s been a few years, and in any rate, they redid the application process and rules once or twice since), but I know at the Canadian citizenship level, you do have to say that your intent is to reside in Canada.

          • Lexipedia

            As far as I understand you are correct. Apparently if we do it in the Canada and then U.S. order it works and gives us the opportunity to both move to Canada and allow me to live and work in the U.S. – complicated, requires a good lawyer, and I don’t think we’ll do it, but I loved the idea that I “bring Canada with me.” It’s like one of my favorite Canadian history stories – https://todayinottawashistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/a-canadian-princess-2/.

          • Yes, that is a great concept, carrying Canada… And I like that story too. :)

    • Lexipedia

      Congrats on successfully navigating the Canadian immigration system! We may have to do it soon, depending on job prospects and green card woes. I’m sure it’s a huge relief – maybe go celebrate with something uniquely Canadian? Has he ever had a Caesar before?

      • theteenygirl

        He thinks the idea of a Caesar is disgusting so… no luck! But after dinner we walked to the LCBO and got him a nice bottle of Canadian whiskey and he poured himself a big glass while we cuddled on the couch.

        I’m actually impressed with how well the immigration has gone.. so far anyway. Everything has been FASTER than expected!

      • What is a Caesar? (I’m in Quebec and have never heard of it.)

        • Lexipedia

          It’s like a Bloody Mary with Mott’s Clamato juice instead of tomato. When I was working in an Embassy abroad we imported Clamato so we could make Caesars on Canada Day. Locals thought we were mental when we talked about shellfish juice mixed with vodka. Now that I live in the states I have to settle with just tomato.

    • Congrats on the work permit! That’s wonderful news, and I know it’s such a relief to know you won’t be separated now!

  • Arie

    How do you celebrate your wedding anniversaries? Do you have any yearly traditions? Did you and your partner make a decision about how to celebrate/if gifts were expected or just wing it?

    • rg223

      We’ve been together a long time so we kept the format of our dating anniversary celebration. Dinner out at a really nice place that we usually can’t afford, and medium-sized gifts. We don’t do big gifts… ever, haha (birthdays and the holidays are small for us, Valentines Day is Chipotle), so we go big for the anniversary. We try to go to a new restaurant each year.

    • ART

      We try to be camping somewhere that day/night (last year we were on the bank of Flathead Lake in Montana and there was a massive thunderstorm at 2am, very dramatic/romantic), but this year it did not work out and we did…nothing. I was OK with that, too :)

    • emilyg25

      Our anniversary is the week after my birthday, so we typically do a big fancy dinner for my birthday and then something more chill for the anniversary. Our tradition is to go the storefront of the butcher that catered our wedding and get our wedding menu for a picnic. We don’t do gifts.

    • Jenny

      We haven’t really landed on a tradition. We trade cooking for each other for Valentine’s and anniversary. I’m thinking of proposing that we alternate buying gifts for “us” for presents. Valentine’s comes soon after Christmas, and our anniversary comes in the middle of our birthdays. So instead of gifts for each other, one person would get a piece of art for the house, or a nice dinner out.

  • somanypseudonyms

    welp, I failed to take y’all’s advice to slow down and take a break from [imminent wedding | fire repairs | rest of stressful life all at once], and as you predicted, I do indeed feel way worse now. :( totally at a loss for what to do about it.

    • Amy March

      Try again! Start right now. Stop reading APW, put your phone down, and go walk for 20 minutes.

    • Emily

      Definitely not too late. Take some deep breaths. I love this gif when I’m feeling overwhelmed – breath along with it:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/351946de60c13a0b3f7482c368a6ddbabdd59a47b11567d01a9863275fa701ed.gif

      • Megan

        I use this all the time when I feel a panic attack rising.

        • Emily

          Me too. And it helps my sister’s panic attacks too. Just a simple, beautiful thing.

      • Jess

        This is beautiful and calming and I’m having a rough week and I really needed this.

      • Lisa

        I’m bookmarking this. Thank you.

    • Jess

      It is never too late to take a break. Even just 2 minutes of inhaling fragrant tea while closing your eyes (you don’t even have to drink it). Set a timer.

      Go for a walk around your office building or your block. Walk to a coffee shop and back. Sit in a bathroom stall and cry for a little while. Call a friend and say, “I need to a break from my life for a little while, can you talk to me about what you’re doing?”

      Look at photos of puppies. Read a silly article. (here’s a link that does both: https://thehairpin.com/good-dog-photos-available-for-free-4509b854131 )

      Do a few yoga sun salutations and really think about your breath and how your muscles are moving and massaging themselves and how strong your arms are to be able to hold you up.

      • somanypseudonyms

        I am a little afraid that if I do any of those things, I will lose the ability to keep dealing with stuff at all, since I’m barely holding it together. I have kind of hit the point where instead of feeling stressed because there’s stuff to do, it feels like none of it matters, and only inertia is keeping me from just hiding in bed for the rest of time?

        • Cdn icecube

          Just going to put it out there that if you keep trying to push yourself into not breaking down/taking a break there will likely come a time where you break down and it will take twice as long to put yourself back together. I’m not saying that you should go have a good cry (because sometimes that can be too much), but even just talking 5 minutes to close your eyes, breathe and listen to some music you like can stabilize you enough to feel like you’re 75% better.

          • somanypseudonyms

            Unfortunately the there-comes-a-time-where-you-break-down has been most of this past week. :(

          • Cdn icecube

            Then maybe try to allow yourself to break down? From the sounds of your comments you’ve had a really tough time lately. If breaking down and then pulling yourself back together is how you’re coping that’s ok. If you’re really worried about it maybe get in touch with a therapist. But if you think this is just a ‘crap month/3 weeks etc’ try focusing on the things that you enjoy or bring you peace and making time for one of those things every day. Other posters have suggested easy things such as breathing exercises, going for a walk, making some tea and holdings it. Sometimes popping bubble wrap helps because you get the tactile feedback plus most people generally have fond memories of doing it as a kid. The point that i’m trying to make is that it will get better and breaking down is ok. You just need to remember the things that you enjoy and allow yourself the time to enjoy them, even if its just for a few minutes.

        • Jess

          Sometimes, it’s really helpful to just kind of… let yourself stop holding it together. Give yourself permission to feel the full depth of your anger and fear and sadness and stress.

          Break. The. Fuck. Down.

          I sit on the floor sometimes when I come home from work and sob. Like great, big, tears-stopped-falling-because-I’m-crying-too-hard, gasping sob. Then I get up and make dinner.

          Tell a person (fiance? friend? parent?) that you need some time to be a mess, ask them to step in for a day on the major has-to-be-done-right-now stuff so you can sob, or scream, or buy cheap plates and throw them at the street outside, or whatever you really need to do.

          I promise, it will be cathartic and it will help.

        • Jess

          Also: I’m sending good thoughts to you right now, in whatever form that takes. If you like hugs, consider yourself hugged. If you like “You got this” Fist Bumps, YOU GOT THIS. If you really just need a shot of whiskey, girl, I’m pouring.

          Please be kind to yourself right now.

        • When I’m stressed I often feel the same way – that I don’t dare stop because I won’t start again and all the super incredibly important things that only I can do won’t get done and it will be the end of the world – but part of that is convincing myself that these things are super incredibly important, because if they’re not then I’m just hurting myself for no reason and that’s worse.

          So here’s the thing: if you went to bed tonight and woke up on the morning of your wedding, having sleeping beautied the interim away, it would still be okay. You’d still get married. You’d still have the people you love around you. If you missed an insurance related deadline around the house, and rang them up after your honeymoon, that would also be okay. They’d understand. Maybe you’d spend longer in a hotel that you want, but that’s okay too. That’s a minor inconvenience compared to wrecking your mental health.

          Right now it all feels like crises because you need it to be crises to justify what you’re doing to yourself. In the long run, yes, it does matter, because your happiness matters, (and feeling that kind of inertia about life for a long period is a sign you need more mental health support), but right now spending a day in bed not dealing with anything also matters, because your happiness matters. You can delegate insurance and florists and catering, but you can’t delegate your mental health.

        • LadyJanee

          This is how usually deal with stress and lately I have been working on a big project at work and it has been super stressful and with life stuff I have only just been keeping it together. I had a meeting with my boss about it and when she asked me how I was, I burst into tears and continued to cry for the rest of the meeting. It was weird,but it made me feel SO much better. And it reminded me that I always feel better after having a cry and letting out all of the pent up worry and frustration. So maybe let yourself cry about it, get it all out, and then think of a plan once your head is clear.

    • scw

      this all sounds so rough, I’m sorry! I’ll echo others below that when you feel like you can’t take a break is when you most need to take a break.

      another very quick trick that helps me sometimes (as long as you don’t find any of these ingredients disgusting) is eating a mix of coconut oil, honey and sea salt. just a spoonful or two. like I said, if that sounds gross to you it’s probably not your solution but there’s something about it that always calms me down. I read it as an insomnia tip once but it’s like natural ativan for me!

      good luck.

  • Jan

    We are six weeks out and I’m sort of anxious about how not-stressed I feel. We have a million things to do (we haven’t reserved chairs, I have no clue about flowers, we need to figure out parking because it’s at a home on a short cul-de-sac). But, I’m sort of like, “No matter what, this isn’t going to suck”. Which is good! But I feel like I should be more worried? I dunno, it’s weird, man.

    In addition to the impending wedding, I just launched a new organization I’ve been working on starting for several months! I feel like I just jumped off a cliff, and cried happy/anxiety tears after getting home from our launch party last night. EVERYTHING IS GREAT AND ALSO TERRIFYING.

    • Lisa

      If it helps: we used fiftyflowers.com, which is wholesale, and my aunts & cousins made the bouquets themselves. The customer service was awesome, every step of the way. I can’t recommend them enough if you’re looking to make your own bouquets. We also had a backyard wedding on a cul-de-sac and rented a bus from the school bus company for our region. It was way cheaper than any other transportation option. We also had neighborhood kids help direct parking and pick up people who parked further away in an ATV/golf-cart-thing as a courtesy, and our guests loved it. The neighbor kids dressed up and took their job really seriously, and several guests took selfies with the kids. I don’t even know the kids, which is the funny thing. My mom set it up.

      • Jan

        Thanks for the tips! I’m going to check out fiftyflowers.com– we are definitely going to do them ourselves as the only flowers will be my bouquet and some flowers in small vases for the tables. So, for the bus, did you guys just have people park at a certain location (church or whatever) and then hire someone to bus them over? Did the rental of the bus mean you also got one of their drivers for the day?

        • Lisa

          The driver came with the rental (I think it was the actual school bus driver for the kids in our neighborhood). It was $65 an hour with a minimum of 5 hours (so $330 in the end, which is super cheap) and it could be broken into chunks (so we went from 3-5 before the ceremony and 9:30-12:30 afterward). The driver just did circuits between two hotels and our house, which took about a half hour for the full circuit. We sent an email to everyone we could asking them to use the bus for safety & convenience and giving them the details (and recommended carpooling if driving), and a few of our guests who lived in town parked in the hotel’s parking lot and took the bus as well. Some opted to drive, of course, and that was fine too.

          Edited to add – we also included a little note about the bus in the welcome bags we distributed at the hotels.

          • Jan

            Helpful! Thanks!

    • Jan

      Also, does anyone have suggestions on what kinds of flowers to use if you want a wildflower-y feel? We don’t have wedding colors; we’re basically just using little pops of various colors here and there. I know I want some color in my bouquet, but don’t have a vision in my head for which ones. Centerpieces will just be (again, unknown) flowers in small, jewel-toned vases and a few candles. Haaallllp.

      • emilyg25

        Are you doing your own flowers? Daisies always look like wildflowers to me. And stock.

      • All kinds of asters, snap dragons, cornflowers, queen Ann’s lace and daisies are all lovely and wild-flower-y, I think! Maybe mini-carnations and spray roses? Most of those are fairly easy to find at flower shops and grocery stores and can come in lots of colours!

        • Lisa

          Seconding all of these. If you find a photo or two of bouquets you like, you can look at what flowers they use. I found that I had saved 5 different bouquet pictures and they all used really similar flowers, so then I bought those.

      • reller

        oooh! cosmos, asters, billy balls, thistle, allium, ranunculus, garden roses, yarrow, queen anne’s lace … I also love greenery like eucalyptus, pepper tree leaves, and berry vines with flowers/ unripe berries. Baby’s breath can work really well, and is super easy to find. Herbs can also be fun

        • Jane

          I love Queen Anne’s lace

      • Kelly

        We did basically this for our wedding and ordered some buckets of wildflowers from a local farm. My order was essentially “whatever is in season that has sprigs or tufty bits that will look nice in random little bottles.” I have no idea what the names of the flowers we got were but they looked great and made a lovely bouquet, too! That’s the nice thing about wildflowers-their randomness makes them easy to randomly put together.

  • overitatx

    Long time lurker here, but my mom and sister are heading with me to Dallas to go pick up my wedding dress tomorrow!! I still have to do alterations, but since I live in Austin I decided to find someone local. Also, getting up at 4 am to be in Dallas by 9:30 is NOT going to be fun.

    • Fiona

      Besides the early morning, I hope it’s fun!

    • Maggie

      If you don’t already have an alterations person/appointment, Kira Kouture (https://www.yelp.com/biz/kira-kouture-austin-5) was wonderful for my non-lace dress!

      • overitatx

        Thanks for the info! I actually booked Lillian Mae Bridal back in March since October is such a mad rush for alterations : )

  • bee

    Can I just say I can’t wait for the compact to start up? So excited, especially as a new mama.
    Speaking of… travel with a baby and/or leaving the baby with grandparents to go on a trip- thoughts? Baby would be about 7-8 months and is breastfed (will likely be eating foods then too- whole new world there too!). Any opinions or thoughts or advice?

    Also… which parenting / sleep books do you all like? My little love isn’t so consistent and fights naps. I have Weissbluth’s book for sleep, are there others people recommend (for general parenting as well)?

    Lastly… dairy free for the babe potentially- anybody feel me?

    • rg223

      At 7 or 8 months, solid food is definitely still for fun (and some babies aren’t into it at all until 9/10 months), so plan to provide the same amount of milk you would be producing at the time of your trip. Pumping and dumping was fairly easy while I was away. I didn’t try to bring milk home with me – maybe someone else has advice on that. The hotel I stayed at was VERY accommodating with my pumping, even letting me back in a room to pump after I had already checked out, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need (if staying at a hotel). Have fun!

      • Knonymous

        I only ever went away for a night or two while my son was nursing, but when he was young enough to need me to leave breastmilk, I looked up the average number of ounces a baby his age would need daily, multiplied by the number of days I’d be away, and divided by the number of days I had before the trip. This helped me figure out how many ounces I would need to pump daily in order to leave him enough, and helped me figure out if it would be feasible or if we’d need to buy formula as a backup. In my case, doing the math helped me figure out it was totally doable and helped me set up a good pumping schedule for the month or so before my trip. If you haven’t decided whether to take him or leave him yet, it could help you figure that out, too.

    • Laura C

      We know people who left their baby that age with grandparents for a trip and it went great, but I think what was important was that the grandparents in question were local and the baby saw them all the time. Since our parents haven’t been nearby we haven’t been able to try that. Dunno what we’d do about breastfeeding being away from baby for a trip — I think my first night away from him will come after he’s fully weaned.

      The thing we quickly learned about traveling with baby is if you’re in a hotel room and baby goes to bed at 7:30 or whatever, you spend the rest of the night sitting quietly in a dark hotel room hoping not to wake baby. Our best trips have been an AirBnB that was a little guest house with a separate bedroom, that sort of thing.

    • JSK

      We did 4 days away at 8 months or so, but he on formula & solids by then. Local grandparents watched him – he’s been a grandma’s boy since early on – and everything was fine. We went to Vegas and that was WAY too much for me. I was tired and not very much fun at all. Go somewhere easier :)

      Weissbluth devotee here, but also had 12 hours a night by 12 weeks recommended to us. Our son fought naps (and bedtime!) hard for the first 3-4 months, but started to be more predictable after that. He’s 14 months now and walks into his bedroom, trance-like, when my husband says “it’s night night time” or “it’s nap time.”

      • bee

        That sounds great! I’ll look forward to that!

    • Knonymous

      I was dairy free while nursing my son, for over 18 months. (Then I got pregnant again, and this pregnancy has made me somewhat lactose intolerant. I had no idea that having kids would mean no ice cream for years on end.)

      What I’ve learned: Oreos are dairy-free; alternative milks and Earth Balance “butter” substitute fine in all kinds of baking, even if the milks taste a little meh on their own; most pizza places will make you a pie without cheese, if that is something you think is worth having; most vegan “cheeses” are not worth it, but vegan cream cheese is not the worst on bagels; google “wacky cakes” or “depression cakes” for naturally dairy-free cake recipes, especially if you need something for a birthday party; Kosher bakeries are other good options; Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream is quite good, as is So Delicious cashew milk ice cream, which puts their almond milk and coconut milk varieties to shame.

      My son is 3.5 and finally seems to be tolerating milk products. I am SO EXCITED! I can make eggplant parm this summer! Serve tortellini and ravioli! Take him out for ice cream! And likely give myself a huge stomachache in the process, but I will probably not let that stop me. I spent 3 years figuring out workarounds for desserts, as you can tell, but we mostly just didn’t eat cheese-heavy meals, so I’ve missed them!

      • bee

        This is all helpful and backs up what I’ve heard.. so pizza with no cheese.. is that like bread? And toppings? Asking seriously because I miss pizza the most! Agreed on the ice creams listed and I’m intrigued by the wacky cakes.

        • Knonymous

          Bread and sauce and toppings. If you’re really missing pizza, I’m not sure it will satisfy that craving!

          Also, I just realized how insensitive my crowing in my last paragraph, above, would come off to someone getting used to avoiding dairy, and I’m sorry. It’s been a long haul for us, and I’m excited we’re coming to the end, but listing foods with cheese was perhaps not the most helpful thing to someone in you situation!

          • bee

            No worries I can only imagine!

        • jazzygingery

          A tomato pie!

        • AmandaBee

          A pesto pizza can be made dairy-free relatively easily and is pretty damn tasty! It’s just crust, pesto, and often toppings like sundried tomatoes.

        • It’s pretty common in Italy itself; only a few traditional pizzas come with cheese (equally, only a few come with tomato – only a handful with both!). Maybe have a poke around the websites of pizzerias in Naples to get some inspiration?

        • I make a really good non-cheese pizza. I put tomato sauce on the bottom, then spinach (from the freezer), then crumbled firm tofu, then basil and oregano, caramelized onions, dallops of plain yogurt, and sun-dried tomatos. I love cheese, and I don’t even miss it on this.

        • RNLindsay

          As someone who grew up lactose intolerant (and blessedly grew out of it a couple years ago!) pizza without cheese is really not that bad!! A pesto sauce helps to make it a little different, all sorts of toppings too. You can also put blobs of goat cheese on since it’s not cows milk.

    • ZLMT

      I’m a big fan of Janet Lansbury for general parenting. It was helpful when I had a newborn, and now with a toddler it is invaluable.

    • Call Me Penny

      No babies here, but I’ve had to go dairy free for health reasons for the last two years, and it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve avoided pasta or pizza because to me neither of them are anything without cheese, but there are some goodness milk and yoghurt alternatives out there that help with other things. Super dark chocolate is always safe!

    • ellabynight

      My daughter had a milk protein allergy until she was maybe 10 or 11 months old, so I feel ya on the dairy free! I didn’t find it too hard to be dairy free at home, but going out to eat was the worst. (So many things are cooked in butter!) Also, avoid dairy free cheese at all costs. The dairy free butter and milk options were pretty decent, but fake cheese ranged from “disappointing but I wish I were eating the real thing” at best to “OH DEAR GOD WHY WOULD ANYONE WILLINGLY EAT THIS RUBBER CALK LIKE CRAP?!?!” at worst. I was terrified she’d never outgrow it, but was thrilled when she finally did.

      Regarding travel, if your goal is a relaxing vacation, leave the baby with grandparents because traveling with a baby is a lot of work even when everything goes well. If you do travel with the baby, consider getting a suite with a bedroom in another room from the living area or an AirBnB with multiple rooms so you can put the baby to sleep and not have to worry about silently sitting in the dark like Laura C mentioned below. If you can’t swing that sort of accommodation, I’ve also had success bringing my monitor and leaving my daughter asleep in the hotel room while I sat and read in the lobby. Obviously, your room has to be close enough to the lobby for the monitor to still work, but once your kid is asleep, I’ve found this to be a good compromise.

      My other advice varies based on whether you’re flying or driving. Flying: if you’re sans baby and going to be in an airport for a long time, make sure you scout out places to pump or have a plan for pumping in public before your trip. If you’re flying with the baby, southwest will let a lap child have their own seat if the flight isn’t full (don’t count on it, but we were able to do it once and it was heaven). Driving: Someone might need to sit in back with the baby to keep them entertained, but otherwise just make sure you have lots of stops and try to arrange your drive time around naps if possible.

    • I say take the baby! But I think this boils down to your life philosophy – some people believe they should change their lives to accomodate their kids, while other think kids should just be integrated into the lives they had pre-kids. I tend to fall into the latter, and since my husband and I were big on travel pre-baby, our goal is to include her on our travels. Of course every trip isn’t baby-friendly, but I think if you guys can swing it and you wanna take baby, go for it!

      • bee

        I want to be the latter too! The sleep thing has forced me into the former as of late though. For example, we left a family gathering earlier than I would have liked because he was fussing and ready for bed, but he went down almost immediately… so that’s worth it. But the travel- he’s our first and I struggle with the expense of travel and the level of compromising. Like I would never go to wine country with a baby because I want to really drink some wine, you know? Or somewhere with a ton of sightseeing because baby has to nap…

        • AB

          Sleep is no joke! We try to be flexible and fit the kids into our lives generally, but the one thing we hold a hard line on is bedtime. We have learned the hard way that our kids need that routine and everyone is better off when they get decent sleep.

        • Jenny

          I think there is a middle ground between parents adapt to the kids, or kids adapt to the parents. It helped us to think about what we enjoyed about certain experiences. For a while we tried to go out to dinner, and it was fine til about a year old, then it became the worst. And we figured out that in general, what we liked about eating out, was good food we didn’t have to cook, and getting to chat over dinner. So we decided that when we wanted that we would have one person on bed time duty while the other went to get take out and we’d eat after our kiddo was asleep. Obviously if what you value, is service and plating, you’d come up with a different plan. How this has worked out for travel is that we don’t really do weekend get aways, they aren’t relaxing with a kid, we don’t really get a lot out of the experience, and it messes with the routine, but we still travel to see family, and to see new places because we really value both of those things. Also, depending on the length of the trip, you may find that it’s really hard to maintain a supply, so if breastfeeding is a major goal past 7/8 months, I think bringing the baby. We more or less weaned after my trip (2 nights away) at 7 months because even with pumping and saving the milk, my production just never really recovered (though it was never great to begin with).

          I feel you on sleep. Our kid was a horrible sleeper until about 5.5 months. I read every fucking book, and did every fucking thing and it at best made things like 10% better. It was so frustrating, but honestly he was just a bad sleeper. He’s still not a great sleeper, but he does sleep through the night most of the time (and naps ok).

    • emilyg25

      I wasn’t able to leave my child overnight until he was a little over two, when my parents came to stay with him for one night. And it was rough. I may have cried over dinner. I know lots of folks who enjoy traveling without their child. But for us, we love bringing him along. It’s easier than you might think!

      How old is your baby? We do a mini-sleep routine for naps.

      • bee

        Yeah haven’t even really started considering the emotional side. He’s 4.5 months. When he hit 3 months he stopped falling asleep as easily and we realized we needed a routine. It’s now nurse, change, book, Merlin, minimal rocking, bed. At naps I do the same but don’t always read a book. Screams in the crib (although lately he’s doing better) to the point I end up putting him in the swing. Not the best but sleep over everything…

        • emilyg25

          4 month sleep regression is a thing. Fun times. I dunno, I’d keep trying your routine and reverting to the swing when necessary. Because your last line is the truth.

    • AtHomeInWA

      Define “travel.” Who is the trip for? I have a huge sibling gap with my older bro and there were lots of trips baby me didn’t go on because they were about the older bro and his age and how he was relating to my parents at the time. But, there were also a bunch of family trips about being a family that I did go on.

      In other news, recently did an amusement park with a non-baby who was too short for roller coasters. The child wait area is the best. It allowed us to skip the lines in a lot of cases and because there were three adults in our party, someone got to ride twice.

    • Mini-head’s up, most dairy analogs (plant based “milks” & “cheeses) don’t have comparable nutrient profiles to dairy — Like they are wayyy lower in proteins, fats, etc. Which I know is kind of intuitive and probably isn’t really a problem if your babe eats meat, but just thought I’d mention since that tripped me up a little when I stopped eating dairy :)

  • Kate

    Does your partner have a pestering problem? Like, they ask you to do something and when you decline or express ambivalence they spend the next half hour asking you over and over? My partner physically pesters me too. Like I wake up and he wants to snuggle and I decline because I want a little space as I’m waking up. The new partner lays two inches away when “space” to me means “please move back to your side of the bed.” How did you get your partner to stop pestering you without yelling “PLEASE STOP PESTERING ME”?

    • Kate

      *dunno how “new” snuck in there, partner and I have been together for several years.

    • Amy March

      So, I think you’re calling this pestering to downplay what it really is- a partner who doesn’t respect your physical space and bullies you into submission when he doesn’t get what he wants. This shouldn’t be hard. If “hey, I said I don’t want to snuggle, move over” isn’t something he will respect or you feel comfortable saying? That’s a huge problem.

      • Kate

        Amy March, chill. Those are strong words to use about somebody’s partner. Nobody is “bullying me into submission.”

        • Amy March

          Hey, you take what you want from advice, and if that’s nothing, cool. I think a half hour of repeatedly asking you to do something when you already said no is bullying.

        • S

          I can see both sides of this – the pestering (as in, repeatedly asking you things) would be fairly harmless to me, though incredibly annoying. I grew up with a mother who gets an idea in her head then will ask the same question in a different way repeatedly even after you say no. i.e “Do you want to take a jacket?” No. “It’s going to be cold out, are you sure you don’t want to put something warmer on?” No. “I’m going to grab a jacket, are you sure you don’t want me to grab one for you?” NO! It drives me mental but it’s not malicious, it’s just who she is and has been for my entire life. I feel comfortable telling her (respectfully) that she’s pissing me off and to cool it with the badgering, and I would feel similarly comfortable doing the same with my partner. (He’s family, after all.) The touching in bed thing? Less harmless to me and the idea of it happening morning after morning after you’ve said no kind of makes my skin crawl. If my partner doesn’t have respect for my physical space, NOPE. This would honestly be one conversation in my house. “Hey, when I say I need space, I feel like you lying right there next to me is still being in my space bubble. I understand you’re a cuddler in the morning but I’m really not, and it makes me unhappy and uncomfortable.” In my house the conversation would never need to happen again.

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            …Is your mom also my mom?

    • Violet

      My partner doesn’t pester me, but if yours does anything you don’t like, try any of the below:
      “I said stop it.”
      “Cut it out. That’s not cute.”
      “I don’t like that. Stop.”

      • penguin

        You could also talk about it as a pattern – “When you do this, it really bothers me.”

    • Jess

      I would just yell “PLEASE STOP PESTERING ME” or “Could you go over to your side for like 10 more minutes!?!?!” or “Stop. Now.” but…

      If you want to approach this from a calm sensitive place, you could try saying, “When you keep asking after I say no, I feel annoyed and disrespected and uncomfortable. I am not trying to reject you as a whole when I say I need two feet of space in the morning, so could we find a solution of time that allows me to wake up and then snuggle?” (or other appropriate solution).

      If this is met with anything other than, “Oh, I didn’t realize I was making you feel disrespected and uncomfortable. I’m sorry for pestering you like that. When you say you’re not in for snuggling, I will remind myself that you need space, that you still love me, and [insert solution here].” this is a Thing and needs to be worked through.

    • BSM

      I’m honestly with Amy March; I think it’s a pretty big issue for someone to repeatedly do what you’re describing (that goes for anyone – partner, parent, coworker, etc.).

      Have you tried pointing out how disrespectful it is when it happens? Alternatively, have you tried discussing it at another time (i.e., bring up the pestering issue when he is not pestering you?). Have you tried yelling, “PLEASE STOP PESTERING ME?”

      • My partner and I both pester each other quite a lot. If one of us goes too far we either good-humouredly shout to STHAP! Or put on serious face and say no really, we don’t like this. Sometimes we do one then the other, to really get the point home.

    • emilyg25

      If my partner did this, I would absolutely yell, “STOP PESTERING ME!!” And if it was a regular thing, just no. He needs to grow up.

  • Fushigidane

    Emailed videographer last week since just realized we were supposed to get the highlight video a couple months ago. In the email I just asked for update with no mention of the highlight video. Got a reply today with a link. It’s cute but I get the impression he might have just slapped it together in the last few days. I feel like my friend’s was more encompassing of the day whereas the one he sent me was just us getting ready and the ceremony. Our wedding party isn’t even really in it except as background of us getting dressed. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

    • Kaitlyn

      Is there a clause in your contract about having them re-do it? If you’re not 100% happy about it, definitely reach out to them.

      • Fushigidane

        It’s a really short contract. As far as this part goes it just says creative aspects are at their discretion. I loved the video that my friend got and the other ones on their site were all really good so I didn’t have any qualms about them doing what they wanted as far as creative process. It wasn’t even like the ones I saw were just the best since it looks like they use the site to distribute the highlight videos to everyone.

        • penguin

          I think it would be worth asking about it. Try to be specific about what you want and hopefully they will work with you on it.

        • Yes, especially since it is several months late and you were the one who had to do the follow-up, I think it should be at least as equally good as the other one’s you’ve seen online! Is yours shorter in length? If you could talk about it in ways that are more concrete (i.e., shorter length, lack of moments from x, y, z parts of the day, lack of variety in x, y, z types of shots, etc.), maybe that would help the person know what parts you would like to see so that he could know what direction to go in. And maybe he felt bad about forgetting and rushed it, so you could maybe say that you would prefer to wait another week or so to have a video that is more representative of your whole day (or time that the videographer was there).

  • Eh

    It’s been a crazy busy week. My daughter (who wil be 2 in August) learned how to climb out of her crib, so it has been a challenging week trying to figure out how to get her to sleep without the contraints of a crib (she hates the toddler bed, she does not want the mattress on the floor, she just wants to sleep on the floor by the door). My brother’s family is coming this weekend (on Sunday) and staying a few days so we have been prepping the house for five extra people. And the project I am working on has a huge deadline next week so I have been working overtime (and will probably have to work tomorrow) to get things done (and so I can take Monday off to spend with my brother’s family). I will be so happy at the end of next week when this deadline is past.

    • rg223

      Ahh! My son is almost the exact same age (two is Sept) and we are going through the EXACT same thing (down to only wanting to sleep on the floor by the door, not the matress on the floor!). And the most frustrating thing is that he slept just fine in the toddler bed for a month, then all a sudden got separation-anxiety-y and was like, hard nope on a comfortable sleeping surface. Nothing we are doing is helping… so solidarity on that. Good luck on the work deadline! Just keep swimming.

      • Eh

        At daycare she sleeps on a mat. She hates it and screams when she sees it (she also screams if we suggest she go near her toddler bed). So today at pick up I asked how they get her to stay on her mat at nap time. They said that someone lies down next to her and pats her back until she sleeps. I don’t see that happening at home since she will usually settle in a few mins if we leave her in her room.

    • Knonymous

      My 3yo, who’s been happily in a toddler bed for months, has also suddenly started wanting to sleep on the floor. Several days in a row we woke up to find him asleep on the floor, and we just decided to let it go, and now we put him to “bed” on the floor if that’s what he wants. He says it’s cooler and more comfortable, and maybe it is? But he does roll around a lot and I think it takes him longer to fall asleep there, which is quite annoying, as bedtime is not exactly a quick process at our house anyway.

      • Eh

        We tried to put her to bed on her bed twice and then gave up and just put her to bed on the floor. Unfortunately she likes to sleep behind the door so we can’t get her sleeping area all set up for her so she has to move her pillow, blanket and stuffed animals so she has to move them all after we leave.

        Since switching to the toddler bed, my daughter likes to extend bedtime. She keeps asking for more books and then after we cut her off she asks us to sing-a-by-baby and rock her and she will keep saying ‘again’.

  • Em

    So in the midst of travelling the Balkans (so amazing!) I’ve dipped my toe back into wedding planning / venue hunting so that we can see a couple of places while we’re back in our home city in about 10 days (after a year away!) I’m hoping to see a couple of venues which I was in contact with last year when we thought we would get married about now, as well as some additions to the list. It’s exciting! But I am completely frustrated by how slow venues are to reply-especially because I’m not asking anything complicated! (Basically-have your prices changed, and can we come see the venue on x or y date?) I suspect it’s a industry specific thing or at least city specific thing… work in an industry where you would never not reply to a potential new client on the same day (even with just a holding email saying sorry, out of the office, will reply more fully on blah day, etc)…so no replies three or four business days later feel a bit frustrating :( when you combine that with not publishing prices online, it’s hard not to feel very aggrieved about how hard the wedding industry makes things!

    But-there are also two exciting things! One is that one of the ‘new’ venues I’m hoping we can see is a warehouse space not far from where we used to live, which has a cafe in it normally but also does weddings and events. It’s lovely, fairly blank-space-like BUT is committed to ‘ethical weddings’ and all profits from the venue go to fighting human trafficking/modern day slavery. So I think I’d feel really good about spending money there.

    The second exciting thing is that we’ve just landed in France (from Macedonia) and on our way to spend a week in Paris. Any great cheap eats or off the beaten path type things to do? (Have done most of the touristy things here already on previous trips!)

    • Brynna

      We weren’t even considering our hotel venue until they became the ONLY ones that would communicate consistently. We realized that as cool and beautiful as any other venue was, we couldn’t handle the stress of inconsistent communication. When our hotel venue responded to emails the same day and were on time with commitments, we knew they were IT and I fully believe we made the right decision!

      Go with whoever treats you best!

    • Lisa

      That warehouse space sounds amazing. We chose almost all of our vendors because they were in line with our values, gave a percentage to organizations we support, or were owned by immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, and people of color. We paid more in some cases, but I have zero regrets. They were all amazing, and I felt really good about how we prioritized our money, particularly because it is the most expensive event we will ever put on in our lives.

      • Em

        I completely hear you on this. I’m sad that my city doesn’t really seem to be as progressive on this front from what I can tell from my googling, so this was a very surprising find and I’m hoping that good things come of it (once I hopefully get a response to my enquiry!) Their website does have the details of some vendors they say have certified that their supply chain is modern slavery free so that is also potentially a good starting point for vendors even if the venue doesn’t work out. But fingers crossed!

    • penguin

      So this is a vague memory, but when I was in Paris we stumbled across some kind of modern art museum that was pretty cool. I don’t remember the name of it. The outside had a bunch of like hamster tunnels on it when we were there, and it had a lot of interesting interactive exhibits inside. And very good crêpes at a stand outside :) Have fun!

      • Em

        Oh interesting! Will have a Google :) definitely down for cool museums and crepes. Nom nom nom!

        • Orangie

          That’s Pompidou. It’s very cool.

          • penguin

            That’s it!! Thank you :)

    • Head for Belleville Em! We loved Parc des Buttes Chaumont and the wandering is great. La Fontaine de Belleville is one of my favourite (v low key) cafes in Paris. Ten Belles also has great coffee and I think they opened a bakery recently. Des Pains and Des Idees for pastries – they are the best. Holybelly has great brunch and coffee (Melb inspired obvs). I also love the 9th, kinda around Sacre Coeur. Dirty Dick has great cocktails. Buvette for dinner, KB for breakfast. We also loved Mabel for drinks, Frenchie Bar a Vins for dinner / wine, Spring for a very fancy meal and Sadaharu Aoki for the best macarons ever (we took 30 of them back to NY with us haha). Also, definitely touristy and I haven’t been in the height of summer so not sure about crowds but Musee de l’Orangerie is <3 <3

    • The warehouse place sounds great. And there is a small crepe kiosk (not a restaurant, just a kiosk sandwiched between two places, both restaurants I think) near the rues Lepic and Abessess, the the foot of Monmartre. They had the best crepes I have eaten in Paris. It is near a restaurant that is in a traiangular part where the streets V. Anyhow, if you find that teeny little kiosk (only big enough for maybe 2 crepe-making people at once), can you let me know it’s name and address? I haven’t had luck trying to find it on Google maps, though it’s been a while since I checked… I think it’s really close to 33 rue Lepic…

    • Oh, and Shakespeare and Co. and maybe a picnic in the Jardin du Luxembourg, if you haven’t been…

    • I also like the outdoor park area of the Musée Rodin (and the indoor part, but when I went years ago, it was cheaper just to go the outdoor part and I really like that part).

  • Jenny

    Has anyone ever done an exit interview? I’ve been invited to one for the fellowship I’ve been a part of for the last 3 years. I checked with other people who have left and they never got asked to do them. I’m trying to determine what exactly an exit interview might entail.

    • Violet

      I’ve never done them, but my spouse has. Generally they’re used so the company/organization can find out about how they’re doing from someone who will presumably be honest (because the thinking is that since you’re on your way out, you have nothing to lose). He said he was still very circumspect and cautious in his, because as long as you’re staying in the industry, you want to make sure you don’t close any doors/burn bridges, etc. So while it might be tempting to complain about something, its probably better for your career not to.

      • Jenny

        Thanks, this was my thinking. I mean I think it’s being done with the now chair of our department, who was also on my dissertation committee, who I have used as a reference (and would hope to in the future too). I don’t have any major complaints, so it’s not a huge deal, but I still need to maintain a positive professional relationship with him. I suppose I’ll spend some time thinking about constructive ways to voice the few areas that I think could really use an overhaul. I think I’m also a little wary because there are (at least) 4 people who left the fellowship before me and none of them were asked to do an exit interview, which I’m probably reading too much into.

        • Violet

          Yeah, my guess would be they decided they needed more info on the department’s functioning, and you’re either coincidentally the first person to be interviewed as they implement a new policy, or else they trust your judgment and think your insight would be valuable to have. I think those are the two most likely explanations, honestly.

        • Maybe they’ve decided to try to figure out why people keep leaving?

          • Jenny

            Normally I would think that’s true, but this is a fellowship for a PhD program. The only people who have left, did so because we graduated and got jobs (which is basically the goal).

          • Ah, hmm. I hope it goes well!

    • I’ve done 2 – I’ve worked at big companies so they have always been with my HR rep. Generally they ask you where you’re going, why you’re leaving, what they should know about your manager, what suggestions you have to retain people, etc. When I left my first job, I left because I hated where I lived, so it was easy to be honest. With my 2nd job, I wanted to do something different and the company wouldn’t allow me, so I had to be a bit more diplomatic in my responses. Overall I’ve tried to provide honest feedback that may help them someday while also not burning a bridge.

  • InTheBurbs

    We’re getting a puppy! Just heard today that we a go for a female goldendoodle. Now off to read everything I can about potty training!

    • Kaitlyn

      Ah I have a female goldendoodle! She’s 11 and I love her :) Congrats!

    • Lisa

      We’re in the final stages of deciding on a dog. I’ve never had a dog before, and I’d like a puppy without any major trauma/issues for my first dog (older shelter dogs are a definite option in the future, but not for my first). So we’re debating between getting a shelter puppy or getting a mini-aussie from a super reputable breeder (only has a few dogs a year, uses positive training for the first 8 weeks, tests for genetic diseases, etc). The breeder sounds amazing tbh, and the dogs are so sweet and well behaved, but it is $$$ and I know adopting is such a good thing to do. I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts.

      • InTheBurbs

        We had hoped to adopt – but were pretty specific on the breed we wanted – and shopped for breeders for a long time. I’m happy with where we landed.

        • Lisa

          That’s really helpful and good to hear. I’ve been guilt tripping myself a bit because I think I want the dog from the breeder so I know exactly what I’m getting, but I feel like I “should” adopt.

      • AmandaBee

        I can understand why people use breeders, but just a couple counterpoints and a vote for the shelter/rescue dog route.

        The nice thing about a shelter dog is that, particularly if you get a mixed breed, they’re less likely to have breed-specific health or behavioral problems in general. With any puppy, their behavior is going to be largely based on how diligently you work with them while they’re young. A puppy from a breeder isn’t going to be any better behaved than a puppy from the shelter, because it’s really going to be up to you to shape their behavior. Highly recommend finding a good trainer that uses positive reinforcement to learn some basic training skills and commands with your new dog if you go the puppy route, no matter where it comes from.

        Worth noting: many, many older dogs in the shelter have no trauma or behavioral issues whatsoever. Dogs are most often left at the shelters because their owners just move or because the owner has health/financial problems. Many of these dogs have been family dogs, and have just run into bad luck. A good rescue will also vet the personality and needs of a dog and make sure you have a good match, which is important.

        For first-time owners I would say that an adult dog from the shelter is MUCH easier than a puppy, because you can vet their personality and issues ahead of time. With puppies, you don’t always know what you’re getting, even if you know the breed. You can also often find shelter dogs that have some basic potty training, commands, crate training, etc. already done, which takes so much stress off as a first-time dog owner.

        I’m sure whatever dog you get, you’ll love it! Just tossing that last point out there, because we actually adopted an older rescue dog and he had no behavioral problems, was completely potty trained, and never destroyed our stuff (and was the sweetest/best dog ever who lived to be 15 years old). Our friends with puppies have had a much rougher go of it than we did with our rescue dog, so if your goal is ease of ownership I’d 100% recommend rescuing an adult dog instead.

        • Yes, I really second this idea. Puppies are great and adorable but also so much work and my adopted adult dog has been SO EASY (and same with everyone I know specifically). He was already housebroken and knew some basic manners and didn’t have that destructive teenage phase that all my parents’ (very well trained) dogs inevitably went through.

        • S

          Yes, thank you for this! How your puppy will behave depends largely on you yas the owner. We have a rescue pup we got at 3 months old, and while she’s a bit weird and skittish because she came from a terrible home, she’s lovely and (generally) well-behaved and social, and behaves better at the park than lots of purebreds! We also understand that getting a dog means signing up for providing for all of their needs, expected an unexpected, so if she ever needed a behavioural therapist down the line, we’d get her one. It’s also important to remember that you can’t predict the future – aside from the health problems they’re more likely to encounter, purebred puppies can also suffer trauma (dog attack, bad storm experience, etc) that will effect their behaviour for the rest of their life. Which is to say, you can’t guarantee anything, all you can really control is how much effort you’re willing to put into training. Personally I couldn’t live with myself if I bought from a breeder, and every time someone says they “know they shouldn’t but just really want a purebred” I want to bang my head against a wall because this is how breeding continues and it really is just so awful and cruel. I hate to be all militant animal-lover #adoptdontshop about it, but, please: #adoptdontshop. I would rather not have a dog if I couldn’t find the right fit for me at a shelter than buy from a breeder. I’m not owed a dog just because I want one and I don’t think my wanting a cute pug is more important than doing the right thing. They’re living beings and sharing our lives with them is a privilege and responsibility, not a right.

      • CP2011

        I am firmly in the shelter dog camp. I’ve only ever had rescues, but there’s absolutely no guarantee that any breeder dog is going to have fewer issues (medical or behavioral) than a second chance dog — if anything, purebreds are often more likely to have issues with inbreeding and genetics like hip dysphasia.
        Also, older dogs are so so so much easier than puppies. Puppies are like human babies in the amount of time and patience they require.
        I really hope you give an older dog a second chance at a good life rather than pay someone to impregnate an existing dog just because of its breed. And I know that sounds harsh but there is a LOT of ugliness and greediness in the breeder market.

      • Ella

        Go to a smaller rescue, or better yet, a foster home where you can really assess the dog’s temperament. Seeing how an adult dog behaves at home is a much better indication of how they’ll fit in with your family than their breed. Puppies are much much much more work than an already well-trained adult dog.

      • I don’t have any expertise about dogs, but I just adopted an almost two-year-old cat a month ago and we were expecting to have a challenging adjustment time, and the cat just moved in and made himself at home. He is still a little skittish with sudden noises, etc., but my former cat was too, so… And now, this week, Slinky has started coming TO the front door when we come home, instead of running away towards the bedroom! It’s so nice that he is so happy to see us come home! But it took a number of visits to various shelters before we found the right cat for us, and my boyfriend kept reminding me that we were just visiting kitties and not planning to come home with a cat, to remove the pressure of the situation. Even when we found Slinky, we did not get him that day because my bf wanted to wait a week. But three days later, we couldn’t wait any longer but we felt sure then…

      • LP

        I am late to the party, but I have one of each: a rescue dog and a responsibly bred dog. My rescue is 50% Bernese mountain dog 50% Australian shepherd and 1, and my responsibly bred dog is 100% golden retriever, and is eye, heart, and hip certified. I have to say, I hardcore disagree with a lot of commenters in saying that a rescue mixed breed is healthier. While a purebred golden is prone to hip dysplasia, if you mix him with another dog prone to hip dysplasia, the puppies are just as likely to be prone to it. And since a rescue typically comes from more questionable breeding (responsible breeders would take back a dog that needs rehomed), depending on the mix, the dog may be more likely to have health problems. It sounds as though you’ve done your research on your mini Aussie breeder. I don’t think you can go wrong with a responsibly bred dog, especially if you want to go the puppy route. In direct contrast to that, my rescue girl is the sweetest dog ever. She was an easy transition, we got her when she was a year, and I’ve never had to deal with housebreaking, chewing, etc. of crazy puppyhood. I personally believe there is a place for responsibly bred dogs as well as rescues. Generally speaking, you know what you’re getting with a purebred. You know typical breed traits and health issues. With a rescue, you may not know background, but that does not mean they can’t still be wonderful dogs. It’s really what challenges you prefer to take on. Do you want the challenges of puppyhood, or do you want the challenges of finding out the quirks of an adult dog? Neither choice is the wrong answer, it just depends on what’s important for you, your family, and your future dog.

    • Em

      Omg amazing. Pictures please. I looooove golden doodles (or groodles as they are often called in Australia). My dream dog.

      • InTheBurbs

        Pictures to come in 8 weeks!

      • LazyMountain

        groodles! I love it!

    • Jess

      PUPPY!!!!

    • scw

      so exciting! my in-laws have two golden doodles and they are such good dogs!

  • Lexipedia

    Another question, I’m feeling needy this HH! If you did long, rectangular tables, how did you manage a seating chart/assignments? The caterer asked us if we wanted long or round in our quote and FI is apparently very pro-long table, which is also cheaper because they have free ones at the venue. Long tables are pretty, but with 100 people and a plated menu how on earth do we organize seating?!

    Sorry, edit because I was unclear – I feel like we’d be ok at grouping people, it’s more how we would direct them to the seats they have been assigned.

    • Amy March

      I think you might need to consider seating cards at people’s seats if the tables are so huge that “table 1” isn’t going to help. And maybe put numbers down the table to show people which “zone” to look for their name in?

    • Em

      Just a guess but I’d say start by working out groups of people (ie your family, college friends etc) similar to how you’d do round seating and then work out which groups would blend well together and put them next to each other. I’m picturing a segue from college friends to similarly aged cousins, for example?

      • Lexipedia

        Good idea about transitions!

      • Jess

        This combined with seating cards from Amy March’s suggestion is how I’d approach it!

    • Lisa

      We had long tables and tried to put 8 people at each table (but some were as low as 6, some were 9 with a highchair on an end). Our meal was family style, so we didn’t assign seats – just tables. Anyone getting a vegan or children’s entree just told the server. I might not be understanding the issue.

      • Lexipedia

        End of a day and I should think before I write. I mean those trendy long tables where multiple tables are pushed together, so they are more like 24+ feet long, vs. 8 feet.

    • ssha

      We had a big chart at the front (painted on a big old window) with each table in a pane and who was there listed, and also name cards at each place. We had to be explicit. We had a buffet but I don’t think that would make a difference here. +1 to the transitions between people who might get along between tables.

      • Lexipedia

        Thank you! How many people were at the tables? In the proposal they suggested four total for us, which would equal 20-25 people at each. Pretty pictures, but logistical challenges. You just had a list of names on the chart and then they walked around the table to find their seats?

        • ssha

          so, ours was a lot like this photo and people could see it when they came in. do you mean 20-25 at each long ‘set’ of tables? when we did our seating chart, it was nice because if a family or friend group didn’t fit into the 6 person table they could spill over into the next one. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/fd/48/d2/fd48d203c2eefc45f294e71aeb14abb3–chalkboard-window-chalkboard-paint.jpg

          • Lexipedia

            Yes, three tables smushed together so they look like one long table, and then four sets like that. So I guess the sensible thing would be to put some numbers in the middle of the tables, write the seating chart up like yours, and then put place numbers for everyone. Thank you so much! I was going to push for round tables because I was just too concerned about the logistics, but FI really likes the idea of the long configuration.

          • ssha

            Do that! :) Yeah- logistics-wise it’s pretty much the same level as round tables, and you even have a little bit more flexibility with your seating chart!

          • ssha

            Also- we numbered each table, not each set of tables! that made it easier for people to find their spots I think.

    • ART

      We did this! Well, we had four long tables (each was 3 8-seaters pushed together) – three parallel to each other, and one perpendicular on one end that made up the wedding party table.

      We named each table, and made a poster that we had printed at Vistaprint (not super highly recommended, it was a little fuzzy in print quality, but it was cheap – I’d try FedEx/Kinkos). The poster showed the layout of the seating area, and then had numbers up and down the table sides representing seats. We put it on an easel behind the table with our escort cards. The cards had the person’s name and a little sticker (actually piece of paper I cut out and glue-sticked…) that had the name of the table and the seat number. The poster gave them a general sense of where that seat was in the larger arrangement (e.g., left side, further from the head table) so they knew where to head. Then we had little menu cards at each seat with a stamped number in the corner, so they could match up to their escort card. It all seemed to work really well.

      I actually super geeked out about our whole seating/escort card/welcome table thing (our welcome table with our mad-libs (yeah…), hankies, and guestbook had a secret presto-changeo design that our ushers quickly turned into a seating chart table in about 60 seconds) so if you want some pictures of any of these elements, I can dig them up this evening :)

    • emilyg25

      We did rectangular tables, but they were separated, just like folks do with round tables. So we did table numbers. I don’t think the really long tables are conducive to conversation.

  • Cdn icecube

    Did anyone ever go through a phase where they realized that the wedding that they want and the one they can afford are two very different things? We are starting to get the big items together (budget, venue etc) and have realized that we are essentially planning our wedding on one income and what we can afford is miles away from what we wanted. I guess I’m a bit bummed about the whole thing and I feel terrible about it because the reason that we are doing this on one income is because I’m going back to school. It’s just a weird feeling for me because I really want to get married to him and ‘officially’ start our lives together, but I can’t help feeling disappointed about the whole thing.

    • Jan

      I think EVERYONE has that moment, unless they’re a Kardashian or whatever. My suggestion is to prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Sit down with your fiance and discuss which parts of the wedding you have lots of feelings or opinions about. Then put them in order of importance.

      We both had a lot of feelings about a lot of things. We both care a lot about the food and being able to invite a ton of people. I cared about getting really good photos and not having to do a ton of work. My partner wanted an open bar. We just couldn’t do ALL those things the way we first envisioned, so we started to make compromises. Instead of the big, beautiful mansion I’d originally wanted as a venue (we would have had to do NOTHING, omg), we ended up going with a backyard wedding for cheaper, and my fiance is handling all our vendors so I don’t have to deal with that nightmare. We did away with things we don’t need but cost a lot of money, like cake, favors, and gifts for bridal party members (we’re not having one). We’ve got some really talented friends who volunteered to play at our ceremony and coordinate for us day-of. All these things have allowed us to focus our budget on those 4-5 things we REALLY cared about, and it’s all worked out nicely! Is it the wedding I envisioned when we started planning? No. But, it’s a nice blend of both our priorities AND our means.

      • Cdn icecube

        @lisa @jan thank you both for this. It makes me feel better knowing that I’m not completely losing my mind and that there is a way to have the wedding we want. I love this site for exactly this reason.

    • Lisa

      It might help to go back to the basics and have a conversation with your partner about what you want the wedding to “feel” like for you and, separately, for your guests; what sort of adjectives would you want someone to describe it as; what are your values; what are the minimal top priorities that would make it feel like “your” wedding. That really helped us. With those things written down, we could refer back to them and the wedding we put on was true to those values, feelings, etc. We felt like we captured what we wanted the wedding to be without it being about “things.” And if some of those things are important, you can shuffle money around and cut things or go cheap on things that aren’t important. But it can help you redefine the way you’re seeing things too. For example, you might identify your perfect wedding as essentially having a great dance party, delicious food, and a beautiful setting. And your adjectives might be “romantic” or “awesome, super-fun” etc. Then you can brainstorm what paths you can take to achieving those things.

  • Lisa

    It’s been a slightly rough week. One of my friends, who has been depressed, thankfully checked herself into a hospital. She lives across the country from our friend-group, and we couldn’t get ahold of her and didn’t know what happened for the first few days. I’m so relieved that she’s getting the help she needs, and I’m wondering how to support her when she gets back. Any thoughts on care package items or other things I can do? I want her to know I’m with her and give her some little pick-me-ups, but without making her feel self-conscious or adding anything to her load.

    • NolaJael

      Been there…especially on the worry and “what now?!” feeling. Keep your relationship real and as close to whatever your “normal” is as possible, don’t avoid talking about it (they know it happened, they were there) or focus only on that. Typically new admittees will receive counseling, so you might ask if there’s anything you can do now that they discussed as helpful (checking in at a certain time of day, planning fun friend-dates (even remote ones), etc.). But most of all I think it’s important to be there for the long haul. Better to call once a month for a year than to call every day for a week and then drop off to nothing.

      • Lisa

        This is so helpful. Thank you!

    • emilyg25

      I was hospitalized with depression as a teenager and I really appreciated all the care packages people sent. Little treats like tinted lip balm, nail polish, yummy chocolate, a good book.

      • Lisa

        Aren’t the little things the best? I love all of those simple, tiny things that are such treats.

    • ellabynight

      Offer to order dinner for her or Venmo her cash for delivery. I’ve done this for long distance friends who are going through hard times, and they’ve said it’s been a big help and a nice treat.

      • Lisa

        Such a good idea!

    • Lexipedia

      Care package items that were appreciated in a recent similar situation – she liked nail polish (especially the ones you are probably less likely to wear otherwise, like neon and lots of glitter), adult coloring books, magazines, fun snacks, fuzzy slippers or socks, real letters or funny cards that come in the mail, she really liked a one-day desk calendar of cute animals and she would tear off each day and give them out to friends. Her favorite thing, though not necessarily from you because it’s a bit spendy, she was admitted a week before her birthday and a few of us got her a Kindle for her to get library books on. But we knew she’d probably be in for 8 weeks, so this was a bit more long-term thinking.

      • Lisa

        I love these, and I know that coloring books really helped me when I was going through a rough few months a year or two ago.

  • LazyMountain

    Trying (failing) to have a productive work day and having minor twinges of fear because I not only have my hair and makeup trail tomorrow with the freelance artist we hired that has no internet presence, but also my first wedding dress fitting is directly after that. Normally I’m a no-makeup love-my-body-because-it-is-useful kind of gal… but I’m having all of the too-fat/ too-freckly and sun spotted/ this is going to be a waste of money feels right now. Like lipstick on a pig. Ugh. Words of practical advice/pretty makeup instagrams appreciated.

    • Kaitlyn

      I found Pinterest photos helpful to share for my makeup trial and I was super honest with the MUA about what I like/don’t like about my face. For example, I told her I wanted brown eyeshadow as it makes my blue eyes pop and needed to contour in a jawline (mine is non-existent haha). I also walked her through my general everyday make-up look so she knew what was me and what wasn’t (like I love those super dark, crazy Instagram makeup looks but that’s not me on a day-to-day basis and wouldn’t work on my wedding day haha).

      • LazyMountain

        Thank you! This is useful… I have some definite pins for hair but found more things I liked on insta for makeup. Mostly it’s my ineptitude on makeup as a whole that is making me nervous…I feel like the game has totally changed/gotten more complicated in the last few years and my skills from my early-20’s skills will no longer cut it. So I don’t know what I’m talking about (example- all of that contouring business). Mainly I’m hoping for lovely glowy skin and a gold/bronzy eye. But I’m sure I’m going to come across as “derp a derp idk make me pretty!”

        • Jess

          “glowy skin and a gold/bronzy eye” this wording is fine!

          Pinterest was really helpful for me too – you can do “please don’t do this” as well “would this work with my coloring” as well as “I love this, can I look just like this plz”

        • BSM

          Super late response, but, like many people mentioned in the question this week about makeup, it’s also fine if you try explaining what you want and she doesn’t get it right on the first try. Then you’ll have a jumping off point to use to explain what you’d like done differently.

          Also, it’s totally fine to use normal, non-makeup-y words to describe what you want; “glowy skin and a gold/bronzy eye” is perfect!

    • Jan

      OMG you are not alone. I’m doing my first fitting Monday and I’m suddenly like, “You idiot, you’ve had six months to work out more, you couldn’t do some goddamn crunches?!” Solidarity, friend. You’ll be beautiful.

      • LazyMountain

        Hah! I worked out today at lunch and was all “dear god do I usually sweat this much!? Why are push ups so harrrd!?” Thank you for the good vibes- right back atchya!

      • wannabee

        I had my fitting a few weeks ago, on a 90 degree day when my natural deodorant was…not pulling its weight. I too was like “couldn’t have done a few plank poses huh?” But it was so fun to see my dress on for the first time since I bought it.

    • Ilora

      Weddings have a crazy way of bringing out all of your insecurities, even the ones you thought weren’t really a thing anymore…
      I’m obviously too late for pre-makeup trial advice but I just wanted to add, don’t be afraid to be honest about what you liked/didn’t like about it! My hair and makeup artist told me to send her an email a couple of days after the trial (so I’d have time to think about it) with all of my thoughts. The trial makeup was beautiful but didn’t quite look like me, it felt awkward to “criticize” it because it was objectively a lovely look but…just not what I wanted. I was completely honest in my e-mail about what I wanted her to change and my wedding day look was perfect. She made exactly the changes I had wanted and was super professional about the whole thing.

      I hope your trial and fitting both went great!

  • AtHomeInWA

    I’m feeling very proud about something I can’t brag about in the real life world.

    I asked my dude to propose.

    We already have decided to get married, we decided that two years ago, have announced to my parents, are planning a trip to see his to announce, and have picked a time-of-year. But, with the very appropriate joint decision to get married, I didn’t get a proposal. And I was feeling disappointed about that. Dude is a wonderful, generous guy who will do whatever he can to make me happy and supported, but he isn’t a big gesture guy. So, I put on my feminist big girl pants and I asked him to do it. Because I had always wanted that moment and didn’t get to have it and because sometimes all you have to do to get what you want is ask.

    I’m proud of myself for asking. Now, time for the nervous excited pre-post-pre-engaged wait <3

    • Jess

      Go you for asking for a thing you want!!!

      • AtHomeInWA

        After that he asked “do you want a ring?” (not particularly) and “tell me what to do” (surprise me).

        I have faith in his ability to google “proposal ideas.”

    • Jan

      You get yours, girl!

    • Lisa

      So awesome! And totally manifesting APW’s article this week on manifesting change in your marriage. So many props to you for being direct, especially when society makes it so difficult in this situation.

  • ann

    Did we ever find out what happened to Stephanie? Most blogs say farewell when staff leave, but staff tend to just disappear from APW…

    • S

      I’ve definitely been wondering! I hope she’s ok :(

  • G.

    Has anyone thrown a book party before (or had one thrown for them)? A friend has a book coming out this fall and I offered to help throw her a book party, but neither one of us knows what it should entail other than a celebration for a huge accomplishment — do they tend to be wine & cheese-type things or something else? should there be a cake? does she talk about the book? Obviously there’s no one right way and a celebration is a celebration, but any tips would be welcome!

    • Amy March

      Wine, yes. Cheese, yes. Cake, always. Copies of the book (for sale) and she says a few brief and grateful things. Enjoy!

      • G.

        Love. We weren’t sure if selling the books there was acceptable or not, so this is good to know. She can sign books people purchase as well as ones they bring if they already have them!

    • Lexipedia

      If you want to sell the book, and don’t have a setup, when we do them at work we order a bunch on Amazon and then return the ones that don’t get sold. You can collect payment either with a Square dongle thing on a smartphone, or with cash.

      • G.

        Smart, thank you! Maybe we can set up a pre-order via the rsvp or something too? hmm.

    • Lisa

      So exciting! Congrats to your friend! What a great thing to celebrate.

      • G.

        Thanks! I’m super excited for her, as she’s been working on this for about a decade, so I want to make sure she feels all the good celebration vibes that should come with a huge accomplishment.

    • Jenny
      • G.

        :)

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I went to one that had cookies with the book cover printed on the icing.

  • Long time lurker, infrequent commenter, but its been a week? My cousin who is my age was just diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemo. I live across the country from my family, so it all feels so distant and kind of surreal. She’s so young! And has three small children! I think they caught it quickly, but all the details I get are from my mum who’s so emotional it’s hard to get anything out of her. Then yesterday my step-dad’s sister got into a head on collision, two years after my parents did. She’s going to be okay, but needed surgery on her leg and has a broken arm. Aaand it was my grandfather and my birthday on Tuesday and celebrating when he’s so far away is kind of strange. He’s turning 70 and they’re having the party this weekend.
    On the positive side, my husband completely spoiled me for my birthday. He got me an adorable dress I’ve wanted (and is casual enough I don’t need an event to wear it to!) And a comforter from Society6 from an artist I love! It’s amazing and perfect.
    Yeah, I should just be feeling a whirlwind of things, but I think I’m overcompensating and not feeling a whole lot. It’s all weird.

    • Jess

      That is quite the week.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, and hope for the best in her treatment. I’m relieved that your step-aunt is going to be mostly ok. Hooray for 70th birthdays! I hope you can arrange to call during the party to say hello. Also hooray for good birthday gifts! Always-wearable-dresses!

      Make sure you take the space you need to check in with yourself. That is a huge whirlwind and being numbed a bit makes sense.

    • Ella

      Totally get the “it’s all too much so my emotions just don’t know what to do so they’re gonna just do nothing” thing. Give yourself some fully distraction-free time and see if anything comes. If not, a sad movie can be good for a bit of emotional release.
      PS Happy Birthday!

  • Lawyerette510

    Well I’m finally back at APW Happy Hour! Things went from bad to worse but are looking to be improving. I had a series of panic attacks in late June, and asked for a leave from work. My boss denied my request, but we parted on good terms, and will talk about if there’s a role for me when I’m doing better.

    I’ve been working with my therapist weekly and the panic attacks have stopped and the anxiety is improving.

    My main focus right now is to be in the present, get a handle on my depression and anxiety and take care of myself. After that I’ll figure out where I want to go next in my career.

    • Jess

      Congratulations on taking steps to heal. That is so huge, and prioritizing yourself can be so hard!

    • Lisa

      That’s such good news, and a great direction. Sending positivity your way!

    • CP2011

      Wishing you all the best. That shit is awful to live through.

    • StevenPortland

      Glad to hear you are doing self care and it is getting better. You might consider adding either mindfulness meditation twice a day, or a set of visits with a hypnotherapist, to your routine. Both of those helped me a lot when I was going through anxiety attacks.

    • Lisa

      Glad you stopped by to post. I hope your mental health issues continue to improve. I’m sending lots of good thoughts to you!

  • savannnah

    Double posting today because I’m forgetful and I need advice. We invited about 240 and are looking at about 155 coming to the wedding. My sister had 147 at the same venue 3 years ago and forgo a seating chart. My mom and I flipped out saying it would be a big issue and we were totally wrong, it was actually great and lots of people commented how they got to move around and didn’t feel stuck in one seat or table. Now my mom is a big advocate of us not doing a seating/table chart and I’m hesitating making a decision either way.

    • emilyg25

      The only hitch with not having a seating chart is that you should have more seats than you have guests, to prevent awkwardness. We rented tables and chairs, so assigned tables to save $$.

    • Jess

      This came up in a post recently and I forget which one. My two cents…

      For a full-dinner-reception, whenever somebody does do a seating chart, I always really appreciate it. Having to ask groups of people I don’t know if maybe I can please sit at their table (while flashing back to years of being rejected by friends) is not a great time for me, personally. I will totally big-girl-panty it up & be fine if I’m at a wedding without one, I just always appreciate it.

      This said, many of the people at your sister’s wedding are also probably attending yours. If it worked great for her, it will probably work great for yours too.

      Agree with emilyg that you should plan extra chairs at each table so couples/friends don’t have to split up.

      • Ella

        Yes – introverts and the socially awkward and anxious (me) are much happier with a seating chart! Is there a part of the evening that could encourage people to move around and mingle if they want to? I find this often happens naturally anyway, especially once dancing starts.

        • RNLindsay

          Another introvert who gets really anxious with this idea! If it was a family wedding then ok fine, I’ll sit with my cousins. But if you have some people who won’t know large groups of other people, it can be really awkward to try and find an open spot amongst other groups

  • Anonfornow

    Longtime happy hour lurker here. Like for 5 years now when my wedding was featured on APW…eep! I have an email drafted to newly engaged friends and family encouraging them to make APW their first stop as they start their next adventure, it’s been THAT essential to my marriage. I’ve learned the joys of managing finances and YNAB, empathized with the hard work of shifting emotional labor, and shared in both the happy moments of new jobs, homes & babes, as well as loss and divorce with this amazing community. All from afar…until now. (And I hope this falls among the comment moderation guidelines!)

    Welp. After anxiously awaiting my period all week, I got a positive pregnancy test last night and I’ve made an appointment for a medical abortion for next week. Although my husband and I had planned to start trying in November, this feels too soon and I need to talk about it. (We had a long talk last night and he’s 100% behind my choice.)

    While we’re in a stable place financially, I had hoped to save a bit more for our RDF and pay off the last bit of his debt and get a car first. (I’m 31 and have never owned a car so that process terrifies me almost more than labor!) And I have several trips coming up and best friends’ (yes, plural) out-of-state weddings that will occur right around my due date, meaning I might not be able to attend.

    These reasons and more are on top of my initial, immediate, “not yet” reaction, which is already sufficient enough to move forward with my choice. I guess I’m just surprised at the regret I already feel and apprehension bringing this up with my people…. So thank you all for reading up until this point. It means so much to get this off my chest.

    Although, I understand the science (have I mentioned I work for Planned Parenthood? Yup, pretty clutch right now, but also makes things extra bizarre in other ways.), I just can’t help worrying that this might affect our chances later this year in a cosmic way that makes zero rational sense. Ugh.

    All of this to say, I thought I knew a lot about how this decision might make me feel given my line of work but until it’s yours to make, all bets are off. Here’s hoping this experience makes me a more empathetic, understanding, and overall better human because it’s impossible to know what people might be facing day-to-day health wise and battling for whatever reason in secret.

    So I guess, TGIF and Be excellent to each-other!

    • anon for this

      sending lots of love your way. if it helps, I’m also 31 and been married for a few years… and I can see making the same decision as you if I found out I were pregnant next week.

      … and I just logged out of my account to post this anonymously, so I completely understand why you’d be hesitant to share this with the world. please feel free to come back and share more/lean on us if you need it.

      • OP

        TY Anon for this! It’s bizarre but despite all the talking about kids with my partner over the last few months, I had not prepared myself AT ALL for how 31 y.o. me might respond to a positive pregnancy test vs. 20 y.o. me…so it’s good to know I’m not alone.

    • Lisa

      Just wanted to send my support. You know what’s right for you. Trust yourself. I think it’s perfectly natural to feel all sorts of feelings, and to feel apprehensive about bringing this up, and the choice of whether/how/who you share this with is yours to make every single time. So, just sending some love back your way.

      Also, this is so beautifully put. I hope that for all of us. “Here’s hoping this experience makes me a more empathetic, understanding, and overall better human because it’s impossible to know what people might be facing day-to-day health wise and battling for whatever reason in secret.”

      • OP

        Hugs and thanks Lisa. This situation is really “all the things” so being OK with having multiple, sometimes opposing feelings is such good advice.

    • Jess

      Thank you so much for sharing your story.

      I have thought a lot about what I would do were I to find myself pregnant right now (I am also financially stable, married, and looking at a future with kids but with a few things I’d like to have settled before stepping into the parenting life), and I believe I would be making the same choice you are now.

      Let yourself feel however you feel about it, and I’ll get your back against the cosmos.

      • OP

        TY Jess. And good luck with everything you’d like to accomplish pre-kiddo as well!

    • anonymous

      Thanks for sharing, and sending support your way. I’m relieved that you have access to a medical abortion, since you’ve decided that that’s the right choice for you right now.

      I had a surgical abortion 4 years ago because my boyfriend (now-husband) and I were not at all ready for kids. It was 100% the right call (I was sure then, too), and I’m glad I had no trouble going about getting one and have received zero flack about it from any medical providers since the procedure.

      It was a little tough given that I had it during the whole Wendy Davis filibuster period, and I imagine it might be the same for women right now given the current climate around abortion. But, for me, that was really the only negative.

      I haven’t kept it a secret, but I haven’t shared it broadly either. It’s not really anyone’s business, and I’m also somewhat hesitant to tell more people because I don’t want to deal with their negative reactions.

      Anyways, kind of rambling, but I hope everything goes smoothly, and feel free to come back for more support if you need it. If not, that’s fine too :)

    • CP2011

      Please know that at least one internet stranger fully supports whichever decision you make :)

      • rg223

        Seconded!

    • Jessica

      Thanks for sharing. I know happy hour is pretty much over now, so please forgive the late comment. Since having a kid last year and talking to more and more moms, I’ve come to realize that the whole divide between planned and unplanned pregnancies are not black-and-white, at all. My husband’s friend finally agreed to have one kid after being on the fence about having children for a long time…and then she had triplets. Another friend is 3 months into surprise pregnancy while her firstborn is 15 months old, and she’s really mourning the extra year or so that she had hoped to spend one-on-one with him. On the flip side, the timing of our pregnancy was exactly what we had hoped for, but I still spent nights laying awake wondering if we were really ready.
      All this to say…parenting (and really, life in general) doesn’t always line up perfectly. (Since you’re a long-time APWer, wasn’t there a saying around here for awhile, about ducks never quite lining up?) In the end, there are so many factors that shape what my family will be like, and I have so little control over many of them (single/multiples, gender/sex, premature, miscarriage, disabilities), so trying to cling to the one tiny factor of exact timing wasn’t really worth it, in my opinion.
      Be kind to yourself! <3

  • ART

    Oh, anatomy ultrasound advice? Ours is a week from Monday, and we do not want to find out the sex yet, but kind of want to ask the person doing the u/s to take a look and like, note it in our chart or something? I’d like the option to call later and find out if we decide to, and I feel like with all the weird “gender-reveal” requests they probably get, that wouldn’t be a huge ask, but I’m not sure.

    Complicating factor is that my mom is coming (picking my battles…actually but for this issue I’m happy to have her attend, she’s just sooo fucking excited) and we do not feel ready for anyone OTHER than us to know the sex (might wait till the birth). I know it’s a risk that they’ll start up and we’ll all immediately see a penis, so maybe our whole plan will go right out the window. But any thoughts on bending this experience to our will? :)

    • AB

      We found out for both of ours (a boy and a girl), but if they hadn’t told us… I would have had noooo idea. It all just looks like swirly clouds on the screen to me! I’ve also heard that if you tell the tech you don’t want to know, they will purposefully not linger on the places that could be more obvious! Good luck! I found that one to be such a fun experience, as the baby actually looks something like a baby.

      • ART

        Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it – our NT scan was fun and we did get a cute head(skull) shot that looks rather human, more fun than the picture of a bug I came home with after my 7-week vaginal u/s :D

    • BSM

      I knew baby had XY chromosomes going in, and I still would not have been able to point out his penis up until the ultrasound tech showed it to us.

      I also get the sense that everyone is very used to all sorts of weird requests re: finding out the sex, so I think you’re fine. I suspect that, even if you don’t want to know then, they note it in your chart anyways. Seems like sort of important info, right?

      • ART

        Thank you! That’s helpful, I think I’m way overthinking it!

        • BSM

          <— Queen of overthinking things, so I get it. Enjoy!

    • Jenny

      One risk of having it documented is that if it’s in the chart, it’s almost a certainty that someone will accidentally reveal it to you later. Our person specifically didn’t put it in the chart since there was no medical reason for anyone other than the tech and the doctor checking (they checked everything, so obviously there were pictures taken etc) because the tech said too many people had their surprises ruined this way.

    • Violet

      We (well, mainly I, but I’m carrying it, so I get my way) don’t want to know the sex, so we just told the tech at the 20 week u/s not to let us know. She had us look away when she checked the genital area. Honestly, I had the same fear that as soon as she put the thing on my abdomen the first image would be, like, “Genitals, there it is/isn’t!” but, no, it really is not that obvious.
      W/r/t your mom, if you eventually want to find out but don’t want to tell her, I’d probably fib and tell her you don’t know, even if you do. Otherwise she might end up hounding you for the next however many months.

      • ART

        Definitely – if we do find out, we don’t plan to tell anyone we know. I think we would wait until it was pretty close to go time, like if we are still having trouble thinking of names (aghhh) and want it to feel a little more concrete.

    • rg223

      Not to worry you, but to offer you a different experience than other commenters, it was VERY obvious my son was a boy as soon as the ultrasound started, so just have the tech warn you to look away, and maybe look away at the start just in case :)

    • Ilora

      A friend of mine didn’t want to know but did want the option to find out later, they took a card with them to the ultrasound and had the tech write it down in the card and then seal the envelope. That way they had the info at hand but couldn’t “accidentally” see it. They put the card in the very back of their filing cabinet and didn’t look until after baby was born.

      Our tech didn’t linger long on that area even though we did want to know. If the tech didn’t tell us what we were looking at I probably wouldn’t have noticed, our boy was super wiggly and wouldn’t hold still for long haha. That being said. I do recommend that you let them know that you don’t want to see so that they’re careful to let you know to look away at the appropriate times, you can also look away when they start it up and then look after they confirm that the initial view is ‘safe’.

    • Kara E

      Not sure what you decided, but the tech generally has said “now look away if you don’t want to know.” I’m sure they’d stick a note in your family. Also, my doc already knows our baby’s sex on this one — they just put a sticky cover over it in my file so that no one accidentally spills the beans. Ultrasound for us is today and we don’t plan to find out (again).

  • Adelle

    Y’all, this week has been an amazing gift from the wedding planning goddesses. I bought a $1,000 David’s Bridal dress from a stranger on a used wedding item Facebook group for only $75, took it in for alterations and found out it’ll only be an additional $100! Just over TEN PERCENT of the original price, for a gorgeous beaded dress! If you aren’t already in your local used wedding item Facebook group, highly highly recommended!

    Then went to a beverage vendor and he quoted me for product and a bartender at only HALF of the price I was budgeting! Plus, just got my wedding shoes in the mail and they are shiny and beautiful. Grateful, thank you, more please!

    • Jess

      Wedding magic!

  • bee

    Does anyone else use their phone to read comments and post? Disqus never holds my spot and I have to scroll, load more comments etc over and over. Am I missing something?

    • suchbrightlights

      Me toooooooo.

    • Yet another Meg

      Me,and it’s so irritating.

    • Ilora

      I’ve stopped reading happy hour on my phone because of it, it is so frustrating!

  • SuzieQ

    Looking for advice. My mom is making my dress *hystericalhappysobs.* But we still went to go dress shopping for 1) the experience and 2) to try on shapes and lines to make sure what I think I want is what I actually want. How do I approach that appointment with grace? I don’t think “I’m not buying a dress LolZ” is what a retail professional paid on commission wants to hear…..

    • AGCourtney

      Partial honesty – that you’re not ready to buy yet today – would be my route.

    • Jess

      “I’m not looking to buy today, I really just want to get an idea of what shapes and lines work best on me” is 100% perfect, and basically exactly what I said.

    • Amy March

      Make an appointment on a weekday when they aren’t likely to be turning other brides away to accommodate you.

  • BSM

    Posting a quick house update.

    Kitchen floors (😍😍😍) are in! They are even better than I’d imagined, even though I’ve been not-so-inwardly freaking out about anything bad happening to them as we’ve had work continue around/on top of them. They are what dreams are made of. Our countertop (😍) also got installed this week, as did our fridge and washer and dryer (!!!) this morning.

    Finally coming up on the homestretch. Our shower glass gets installed tomorrow. plumbing and electrical will wrap up on Tuesday (that means kitchen sink! and dishwasher! and range!!), and our backsplash will go in on Wednesday. After that, it’s just a lot of finish work that mostly my husband is taking care of, and I CANNOT wait to not be dealing with any of these people for a very, very long time. Also, I am going to make a gigantic batch of spaghetti bolognese because I have been craving it for weeks.

    Happy Friday, y’all!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/178a071b08639c09149fceaac9d3a8b482cb3dec71424e8148977a70175a5dc3.jpg

    • Lexipedia

      Such cool floors!!

      • BSM

        Thank you! I have seriously had this cement tile pinned for like 2 years in the hopes that I’d one day get to use it in my home. Can’t believe it actually happened!

    • AmandaBee

      Your floors are amazing. <3 <3 <3

      • BSM

        Thank you!!

    • Jess

      😍😍😍 about those floors!!!!!

      • BSM

        Thank you! I didn’t know it was possible to be in love with cement, but I definitely am.

        • rg223

          I just LOLed in a restaurant at this and people looked at me – worth it.

          • BSM

            I mean, I am just standing here staring at it so if this isn’t love I don’t know what is ❤️

        • Eenie

          I remember you posting a picture of them in a happy hour a while ago and I was hoping to see the finished product! They look great :)

          • BSM

            Thank you! I finally feel slightly more comfortable actually walking on them, lol.

    • Jane

      Also, love your sink.

    • StevenPortland

      Wow!! We are facing a kitchen remodel in 2 months and this gives me inspiration that it will be worth it in the end. Everything looks fantastic!!

      • BSM

        Thank you!! Below is a before photo of this same corner of the kitchen, so, yes, a lot of work and money but definitely worth it.

        If at all possible, I’d suggest not living in your house while it’s being remodeled. It might not be as difficult if you’re *just* doing a kitchen (we converted the open dining room into a master bedroom, a weird closet/pantry into a master bathroom, and redid the existing bedroom, too), but I’d imagine that washing dishes in the bathtub gets even harder with kids :)

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8f32a52de4fade55ce6d922f5f87e025e969f7b196e75257477b5cc8f4aa38c3.jpg

        • Amy March

          Wow you’ve done a great job with the transformation.

          • BSM

            Thank you! The previous owners were very into brown and orange-y beige (seriously, this whole flat was Barbie skin-colored), so even just paint has done amazing things for this place!

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            My entire house is shades of brown, tan, cream, and sky blue. COME SAVE ME I BEG YOU.

          • BSM

            Can you paint? It works miracles!

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            All but one room has cream walls, so it’s just that damned sky blue bedroom that needs a new color. The previous owner was a wood worker who seemingly specialized in laminate. Which is nice, on the oversized white windowsills! And less nice on the weirdly shaped custom bathroom medicine cabinet, that is some kind of strange blue-and-brown-on-cool white wood grain print…alongside the warm white similar-but-definitely-not-the-same print on all the bathroom trim. Whatchagunnado.

          • BSM

            Our previous owner was a cabinetmaker! And not a very thorough one, from what we can tell. He went through the trouble of salvaging and stripping a couple beautiful, antique doors but never got around to actually fixing/restoring them. So our bathroom door legit had a huge crack in the center of it – pretty wood but not much privacy…

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            Ha! Hahahaha. We looked at a ton of houses with DIYer previous owners, and some of them really shouldn’t have been. Fortunately we found one who had a pretty good idea of what he was doing. Shame about the doors not being completed, would have been a nice touch.

    • Beautiful!

      • BSM

        Thank you!

    • Those floors are seriously to die for!

    • theteenygirl

      THOSE FLOOR and THAT SINK are my DREAMMMMM! And that WINDOW! Wow I am obsessed!!

      • BSM

        Thank you! We’re on the 2nd floor, so some of our walls are slanted. I love that the previous owners put a couple of these weird, skylight-esque windows in (we have another in our new master bedroom) – they’re awesome!

    • suchbrightlights

      THOSE FLOORS. Wow. That is excellent. Well done on your picks and the transformation!

      • BSM

        Thank you!

  • So here’s the upset on the ring saga. For those who have not seen previous updates, my boyfriend and I got each other rings for our anniversary. I choose mine (a trio of vintage stacking rings) from Etsy, but it was not as advertised…missing stones and wrong sizes. So I have been trying to return them. I had to escalate it to involve Etsy. I shipped the rings and provided proof (as Etsy defined “proof”), and the Etsy representative said I had provided proof and now the seller had a week to reimburse me or her shop could be suspended and the money removed for my reimbursement. The seller then said she wouldn’t reimburse me until she had the rings in her hands in the same condition as they were sent. I don’t have the best feeling… I worry she will try to say she never got them back to avoid reimbursing me, but I am trying not to worry since Etsy had said I should be reimbursed when I provided proof (and that I needed to mail it in the way the vendor chose, which was normal mail without tracking, because tracking cost more than the supposed value of the rings, according to the seller…which was way, way less than what I paid for them). So I decided not to reply and wait for the Etsy person to respond. I guess that might happen Monday?

    My boyfriend has started wearing his ring (from Bario Neal), and he really loves it. He said he loves how it makes him think of me and that makes him very attached to the ring and makes him want to not take it off. And that makes me very happy. And I am waiting on Nice Jeweler to get back to me about the Ring 2.0 that I am having made.

    Not much else going on. I had a birthday earlier this month, and it turns out 41 is easier than 40. :) A week or so after the fact, my boyfriend surprised me with a pair of boots that I had tried on and decided to wait to buy until December or at least later on. (I had decided to buy a pair of gorgeous, unusual sandals that were more than half off instead.) And he came home the other day with the boots! Soooo sweet. Though I am having a hard time accepting such a generous gift…

    Oh, and I am reading The Curated Closet, which I think I mentioned last week, and I plan to go some spring cleaning this weekend! And I will work on thinking more about my style and wardrobe. I am so super excited to finally have free time after an intense couple of weeks with a freelance project (on top of regular work) that took up all my time. Ah….a weekend with no defined plans.

    Happy weekend everyone!

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Ahhhh, the Etsy seller thing sucks. If it helps in the future, PayPal offers some excellent customer protections. If you don’t receive something, or it’s not what you paid for, you can escalate the complaint. I’ve used this option with success, both to get refunds that vendors refused to issue, and to light a fire under the ass of a vendor who completely neglected his shop and didn’t bother sending anything after I sent in my order and payment. Good luck!

      • Etsy seems to be handling it… I am supposed to be reimbursed within two days by the seller, otherwise Etsy will do it and remove the funds from the seller’s account. It’s been a quite a pain… But all’s well that ends well? Hopefully!
        ETA: And yes, the PayPal thing is great to know; I wouldn’t have thought of that!

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          Glad Etsy is being great about it! I wonder if that’s what the Etsy Guarantee thing is that I’ve been seeing lately.

          • Huh, I haven’t seen that guarantee thing, but it’s reassuring for any future purchases I might make (since this one was so unpleasant)… And I actually received the reimbursement on my credit card, so I can officially breathe a sigh of relief! I didn’t quite come out even because I lost about $30 (plus the postage) because the exchange rate changed from the time I bought it and got reimbursed. Ah well. I am very thankful I got reimbursed and can close that chapter!

  • Also…any ideas where to get reasonably priced boy-short bathing suit bottoms in black? Like that I can by separately with or without a top? I am heading to a beach later on and I wore my ancient bikini the other day, and…yeah, I should probably break down and buy a new one even though most summers I don’t swim much.

    • In case anyone else is looking, I found some by Carve Designs at MEC. And the company is based in California and seems committed to sustainable and ethical manufacturing,

    • penguin

      I got mine at Swimsuits For All, and I like them a lot.

      • This is good to know for future reference. They had quite a variety of styles of bottoms! I ended up getting boyshorts from one place and two tops from another, all in black. I hope they’ll all look okay together!

    • Not Sarah

      I really like Nettle’s Tale – they’re based in Vancouver!

      • So wonderful it’s made in Vancouver! I actually ended up running across this company in my search, but they didn’t quite have what I was envisioning. But they are on my list to check when I buy my next swimsuit, which should be in about 2028, if I keep up the same frequency, ha!

  • NotMotherTheresa

    After what could only be defined as “one of those weeks”, I’m starting to accept that my husband and I have a mutually co-dependent relationship. Not in the healthy sense (that’s interdependency), but in the clinical “we need to stop enabling one another to death, lest we spend the rest of our lives muddling through without the basic competencies normally expected out of a couple of fourth graders” sense.

    I don’t know. I’m scared. I know we need counseling, but I’m so worried the counselor will tell us we need to throw in the towel and get divorced (the thing that happened when my own parents went to marriage counseling years ago).

    Ugh. I want us to get better. I want to us to quit essentially being two overgrown third graders who are working overtime to shield the other person from the natural consequences of being an overgrown third grader. But you know…obviously we wouldn’t have spent the last decade trapped in this dynamic if it wasn’t ~sort of~ working, and there’s a part of me that can’t bear to upset the apple cart. (Plus, the husband bristles at the idea that there’s anything at all wrong with our relationship, since after all, “we love each other so much”.)

    So yeah, that’s my life right now.

    • Henri

      That is *tough*.

      I’m not married, but when my now-fiancé and I first moved in together, it took about 4 months before I gave him an ultimatum about therapy: we go or I walk (he had a lot of the “but we love each other so this can’t be so bad and we can fix it ourselves,” going on). In our case, he had undiagnosed/untreated anxiety and depression and I come from a background of pretty hefty emotional abuse, so we were the worst kind of “made for each other”. Our therapist didn’t say anything to us about whether we should stay or go, he just walked us through the process of telling each other our full feelings about X topic or Y event, which always brought to light the kinda sad, gross, and otherwise undesirable attitudes and beliefs we were bringing in to places they didn’t belong. It was not an overnight change, but 2 years later we can usually catch ourselves before falling fully into those patterns again.

      All of which is to say, you’re in a really tough spot. If you feel like going to therapy, go. If your therapist tells you to split, split from that therapist. And otherwise, know an internet stranger hears you and gets it (if that’s at all comforting)?

      • NotMotherTheresa

        Thank you so much! You have no idea how much it means just to know that someone hears me and gets it!!!
        We…have a verrrrry similar dynamic going on (i.e. crippling anxiety on his end, parents who alternated between emotional abuse/neglect/enabling on my end), so it’s really good to hear that there are therapists out there who will actually work with us, rather than just pointing out that we have no business being together. Because yeah, like you two, we sort of are ~made for each other~ in all of the wrong ways, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t also have some real strengths that I’d like to see us capitalize on.

    • Ugh. Mutual co-dependency issues are definitely something my husband & I have had to deal with. It’s something that’s gotten a lot better — I’d say currently my worst life skills are at least at a highschool level ;) — But it’s rough because like you said, there are aspects of it that really do work, disrupting the balance is really scary &, for me at least, there was a lot of shame wrapped up in it that made it hard to deal with head-on.

      Of course I don’t know the specifics of your relationship, but I think it is very unlikely most competent marriage counselors would tell you to throw in the towel. This is really the *exact* type of thing that they are trained to help improve — And if you get the feeling that a therapist isn’t being a good advocate for your relationship you can always bounce and get a new one.

      Also, individual counseling might be something to consider. What really started to shift the dynamic in my relationship was a combination of my husband changing careers to one where we were forced to be more independent, and my starting therapy for my anxiety.

      I’m sorry that you are dealing with this, and in my experience this really is something that can get a lot better! Hang in there!

      • NotMotherTheresa

        Ahhh, thank you so much!!!
        You have no idea how much it means to hear that I’m not the only person in this situation, and that it really is something that can be worked on! And congratulations on the progress you and your husband have made!

        • **Internet solidarity fist bump**

    • LadyJanee

      The book ‘The Language of Letting Go’ is about co-dependency and I found it really helpful. It’s not a replacement for therapy but it might help you gain some perspective or help you think about things if you are scared of therapy right now.

      • NotMotherTheresa

        Thank you so much for the suggestion!!!! I think I’ll make a trip over to Amazon right now!

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    So we maybe accidentally found our venue yesterday?On Friday I was hanging out with a friend, telling her about how we’ve started looking, sent out some emails, and she goes, “I know a place you’ll love. Hold on, I’m going to call them.” And just like that, she made us an appointment to go see it on Saturday. We were utterly unprepared (I should have printed out that questions-to-ask post from the other day, but I didn’t know I’d need it!), but it’s this fine dining restaurant that’s open by appointment only. The chef is this woman from Venice who just goes, “What do you want? We can make anything.” The per-person cost doesn’t change, they just fit whatever you want into that amount. The building is this house that’s just room after room of marble floors, wall murals, stained glass, garden statues, candelabras, hand carved chairs… I would be perfectly content to just wander through for hours, soaking in all the eccentric details. When we arrived they had just started making a lobster stock and the whole place smelled AMAZEBALLS. It’s a comparable per-person cost to every place we already emailed, they make their own pasta, it’s BYOB and they have a vendor who will deliver and buy back unopened bottles, she just makes you a cake, they have a handful of rooms and a cottage available if we want to stay in one overnight, they’ll handle flowers at wholesale price if you want them to. They’re up for anything — previous weddings involved circus tents, and people arriving by helicopter. We made an appointment to go for dinner, just the two of us, and it’ll be a four hour multi-course affair. I’m still emailing back and forth with a couple places we want to go see but thb, at this point it feels like a formality, just to say we did it. The bar has been set rather high.The friend who suggested the place and went with us also offered, as a wedding gift to us, to be our planner. She’s spent years in both the restaurant world and in party planning, and she knows DJs, florists, printers, you name it. I’m pretty sure if I wanted to I could have this whole shebang planned by next month if I really wanted to.I’m overwhelmed. And I’m really excited!

    • suchbrightlights

      Wow- that sounds phenomenal.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        RIGHT?!?!?!?! It’s been two days and I’m still pretty sure this is exactly what we want.

    • PAnon

      Where is this incredible venue?! Are you in PA? We’re looking at venues now and that sounds amazing!

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        I am in PA! It’s in the Lehigh Valley, where are you? (Does Disqus have a PM system?)

  • JLily

    I missed happy hour friday since I was out of town, but in case anyone is still checking:

    I am attending a wedding of two guy friends in September. They are both classy dudes and the wedding will be medium-fancy at a winery with all the traditional wedding things (save for the two handsome grooms in tuxedos). Cocktail attire. My question is–would it be bad to wear and ivory cocktail dress? The one I have is not at all bride-y or bridesmaid-y, but it is still white.

    (Side note: I am trying to be very thoughtful about what’s in my closet, buying fewer items of clothing made from sustainable fabrics and from ethical companies, and have realized that I am a neutrals gal through and through. Unfortunately, both white and black dresses are kind of wedding no-goes. Anyone find a way to deal with this in their very wedding-heavy stage in life?)

    • Ilora

      Hmm, ask them? If you’d rather not ask then I personally would probably avoid the white in a ‘better safe than sorry’ kind of way, but the black is fine. Especially if you accessorize well. Aim for colourful or bright accessories and maybe throw on a cardigan i weather permits, just to ‘break up the black’ a bit. As far as neutrals go, I’ve worn both navy and tan to weddings before.

      • somanypseudonyms

        I agree with this — I’m pretty sure the no-black-at-weddings rule has officially died, *especially* for fancier affairs, but even in context you might want to avoid white.