APW Happy Hour


From #prayforparis to #prayforsanbernardino

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

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HEY APW,

I come to you today with a devastated heart, searching for words. As some of you may know, my husband David and I were both born and raised in San Bernardino. It was all I knew for half my life. And Wednesday, in some otherworldly turn of events, I started getting texts about a mass shooting at home, and suddenly… our impoverished city, that’s been ignored by the news media and the world at large for as long as I can remember, was the only thing anyone was talking about. In a few weeks, we’ve gone from #prayforparis to #prayforsanbernardino, and it’s been nearly impossible for those of us from home to wrap our heads around it.

On Wednesday, our wider community was paralyzed with shock and horror. On Thursday, we got the news that someone in our wider circle of friends had been killed, and I got to watch my Facebook feed be consumed with grief for yet another time this year. But there is nothing quite like violent death. And as the media debates the nuances and vocabulary—murder? terrorism?—I just want us to do something to stop it. Because of course it was murder. Of course it was terrorism. It was senseless and hopeless and violent and awful and a million other words. And it shouldn’t have been so easily possible.

All I can say today, is may their memories be a blessing. And prayers for all of us.

xo, 
MEG, #SanBernardinoStrong

HIGHLIGHTS OF APW THIS WEEK

 The true cost of a white dress, why sit-down dinner costs so much, and other wedding wisdom from the #APWPlanner.

This wedding had snow, pom-poms, a gondola ride, a school bus, hot chocolate, sequins, a carriage ride, and all the joy.

When family time means having to hang out with your abuser.

What are the best gifts you’ve found this year? What are you excited to give? Let’s discuss.

Should you accompany your boyfriend when he’s in some other girl’s wedding, but you don’t like her—at all?

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. #NASTY

Staff Picks

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  • AGCourtney

    Tragedy is terrible no matter what, but it hurts all the more when it’s from your hometown. Sending positive vibes your way, Meg.

    In good news, my husband and I had a very productive day yesterday: we got a ton of work done in the living room, cleaning up and rearranging furniture, setting up our new cube shelving unit, unpacking, and
    finally, we got our tree up! (Fake, pre-lit, but otherwise not decorated yet.) Our living room looks so delightful – like a home! I needed that progress.

    In what could be good or bad news, we should get our wedding photos soon! Our photographer finally got back to us at the beginning of the week and promised we’d get them this week. We didn’t know this when we booked her, but we have a notoriously flighty photographer (I was commiserating with another bride/client, and she put it best: “The price is cheap, the photos are good, but everything else…” We were pretty underwhelmed by our engagement photos, so I’m really nervous about our wedding ones. So, here’s hoping that I get the album link ten minutes after I post this and that there are plenty of photos and they’re wonderful.

    • Eenie

      Aw silly disq, reload for the picture! That looks so cozy :)

  • eating words

    A few days ago, a friend gave birth to a beautiful baby. I look at the pictures of her and feel joy and hope, and then I sit with the news and don’t know what kind of world she, or my nephew, or any tiny young person will grow up into.

    Meanwhile, it’s holiday party season. We’re going to my wife’s employer’s big corporate shindig tonight and another party on Sunday. Part of me is excited to dress up, use my newfound makeup skills, and go have a great time with my new wife. And part of me feels awful that I want to do that when the world around us is full of violence and fearmongering and pain.

  • Eenie

    I feel like I’ve said it too many times, but I hope this is the event that actually spurs changes to how we as an American society views guns and their regulation. There’s been too many horrific events in the news, and even more that don’t get news coverage because they aren’t uncommon. <3

    Thanks to everyone that gave me advice a couple weeks ago about giving my notice when leaving a company for the first time! It went really well this week, and I have a solid network of references to use for job hunting. Working on packing up my stuff, preparing for the move, and saying goodbye to my family for a really long time! December is going to be rough.

  • Can we talk about dress regret?

    I bought my dress online as soon as we got engaged, it came and it fit and I crossed dress shopping off my list. SO. Last week was Black Friday and I bought a gorgeous headpiece and pair of shoes and for some reason now I’m TOTALLY second guessing my dress. I have something just below knee length, but maybe I want a gown? Maybe I need something fancier? etc etc. The dress I bought was really inexpensive so I could afford a different dress but WHY? I’m usually super practical so I’m feeling a bit like a crazy person.

    Maybe it’s because I never went dress shopping or tried on any other dresses? idk.

    I have included a picture of my dress for reference. *sigh*

    • Amy March

      It’s not crazy to decide you would like a different dress! If you can afford it and you are thinking you want to, why not?

      • When I started thinking about it I was like “meh, it’s just a dress” but now that I’m well into planning I’m feeling like it maybe doesn’t need to be the BEST dress but should be a bit more than “just a dress”.

        Why not indeed, I suppose.

    • MC

      Woah, I LOVE that dress! If you are not feeling it for the wedding you could always use it as a rehearsal dinner dress or reception dress – or donate it or whatever, but using it for a different event around the wedding might alleviate some of the guilt about second-guessing yourself.

      • Thanks! I would definitely keep the dress if I decided to get a new one. It’s very pretty.

    • RoseTyler

      if you’re having second thoughts and can afford it … look around!

      That said … Your dress as pictured is perfection! if you choose to wear it, you can’t go wrong. But … you are the one who has to be at peace with your decision. Look around … maybe you’ll end up right back here.

      • I was thinking I might try on a dress in the other style I keep looking at just to see what it looks like. It might not even suit me, in which case, problem solved!

    • Eenie

      I totally thought I’d go for something simple and tea length/knee length, and then ended up buying a floor length gown that looks like it was bedazzled (but still below budget!). You can always go to a couple dress stores to try on what you’re thinking about. It may validate your original decision or help you decide that you do want a different dress even if you don’t find the right one during those appointments. Also, totally plugging BHLDN for a great experience if you’re near one of their stores and like their style.

      • I love BHLDN but I don’t have one near me. I’ve considered going down to Seattle to check out the one there just because I love them so much.

        My partner really likes my current dress and I know I won’t go wrong if I wear it, but when I started looking at dresses a lot of them were these kind of flowing kind of dresses that I didn’t think would suit me. After I tried on this dress and it fit and looked good, I just didn’t look at anything else.

        I guess the worst case scenario with looking at new dresses is I either like my original dress more, OR I find a different dress I like more.

        • Eenie

          Make your appointment now! They book up quick. They specialize in the flowy dresses ;)

          I never in a million years would have picked this one out online but their consultant pulled it for me after trying on some other stuff. I was so worried it would be more than the other dress I had in mind, but it was actually on sale!

          http://www.bhldn.com/product/avalon-gown

          My only suggestion would be to make sure you have the absolute limit of what you’d want to spend on a dress and don’t try on anything above that so you don’t find one you like more that you can’t afford!

          • Oooo it’s so beautiful! :D

            I definitely need to sit down and do up a real budget. I’m not too worried about going over because I’m not really a big spender usually but I think it would help me alleviate some of my guilt at spending money on myself if I can say “anything up to this reasonable limit is okay”.

    • eating words

      That dress is SO cute! But *you* are the one who is going to wear it, and you should feel good in it. My wife had major dress regret, and she struggled with it for weeks before deciding to look again. She ended up finding a dress she really loved, and she managed to convince the first store to let her return the original dress! It’s ok if you want to keep looking.

      • Thanks! I think I might do just a little bit more looking and try on some other styles. Just to see. Maybe it’ll make me fall in love with my current dress all fresh!

        • eating words

          You could even wear one for the ceremony and one for the reception, if you feel like it. Have fun!

          • That’s true! I never would have pictured myself doing that but honestly, if I have the dresses, why not!

          • Danielle

            I mean Solange Knowles wore 6 wedding outfits, so you would be keeping it pretty low-key with only 2 ;)

    • Natalie

      That dress is AMAZING!

      Maybe you would feel better if you went dress shopping and tried stuff on in person? That might help you by either alleviating dress regret, as you realize gowns aren’t for you or their costs are not worth it, or by letting you find an amazing gown you love that makes you willing to spend more money on.

      • Natalie

        Also, I totally wanted a knee- or tea-length dress for my garden wedding, but my mom and friends talked me into a full-length gown. I loved my wedding dress, but I think I would have been just as happy and looked just as gorgeous in a shorter dress that saved me several hundred dollars. Also, I probably would have been more comfortable and not so covered in sweat on the dance floor (gown + slip + extra tulle + bustle = hot).

        • raccooncity

          Yes – number one thing I learned and heard from my friends as brides was that when they gave into family/friends wants over their own, it went badly in one way or another.

          • Natalie

            Yeah. I mean, I was on board with the princess-y gown as soon as I tried it on, but I’m still bitter that I let my mom talk me into the train. For a garden wedding. That thing was gray with dirt within seconds of me starting to walk down the “aisle.” And it cost me $120 more than the dress without the train would have been.

      • I think I am going to do this. I tried just deciding not to look at other dresses any more and that didn’t work so maybe trying on some dresses in person will help me decide one way or another.

    • Jessica

      I saw this dress about a year after my wedding, and seriously wanted to go back in time to buy this one instead of my dress. It comes in pink, too.

      Are you doing an engagement photo shoot or anything?

      • We did our engagement shoot already but tbh, this dress is really cute and I like it a lot so I’m sure I would wear it another time. Honestly, my only issue with it is that I keep picturing myself in something long and flowing… which honestly might not even look good on me. I think I need to try the long flowing dress style and get it out of my brain.

        • Jessica

          Well, ASOS does free returns, so you could always order this and then decide. The only issue with wearing this dress to other events (for me, at least) is that most of my dress-up moments are weddings, and this dress is distinctly wedding-dress-like.

          • Oh yay! It’s nice to hear you say that it’s “distinctly wedding-dress-like” because I’ve been wondering if maybe it’s not “bridal” enough. Stupid WIC.

          • Jessica

            If it was less wedding dress-y I would have bought it awhile ago. If they made a black and light blue one, or ANY OTHER color combo I would own it.

        • Lisa

          If you can’t get it out of your head, then you definitely need to try it on!

          Story time: I had a dress that I loved so much during planning that I couldn’t stop obsessing over it even though it looked nothing like what we had agreed my mom would make for my wedding. When she came up to Chicago to go fabric shopping with me, the first thing she told me to do was make an appointment at a salon that carried the dress so I could see it in person. I tried it on; the dress was gorgeous, but it definitely didn’t feel like a wedding dress to me. I was able to then go shopping for fabrics even more confident in the design upon which we’d already agreed.

          All of that to say: it can’t hurt to try on those long, flowy dresses. Either you’ll fall in love with one in which case – hooray! Or you’ll confirm your love for the original dress in which case – hooray! Just get out there and do it sooner rather than later so you don’t waste too much brain space on the decision. :)

          • I think I’m going to go tomorrow by myself!

            I’m really thinking that the type of dress I keep thinking about won’t suit me and I think I just need the verification so I can move on and love my dress.

          • Lisa

            Good luck and let us know how it goes!

          • Amanda

            It’s hard to say “Long and flowy won’t look good on me.” Because, a dress cut in exactly the same shape as they one you have in a flowy chiffon or liquid silk would fit the bill…and be flattering. There’s usually something flattering in every “style” that little tweaks shift for every body shape and size. I realize this is expensive, but it’s immediately what came to mind when you said “long and flowy” but with a defined waist and bust, like your original dress. http://www.rebeccaschoneveld.com/shop-current-styles/sterling-sage-gown

          • OMG. That dress is beautiful!! Just… wow.

    • Amanda

      dress regret in the opposite direction: I saw that exact dress *after* i spent so much more money on a different one from JCrew that I ended up feeling meh about for my engagement party. i totally 100% wish i’d found that one first.

      the dress is amazing, and if it’s flattering & makes you feel great, keep it and be happy. it’s not a $10K custom Say Yes to the Dress number–you can wear it for not a wedding. if, after the wedding planning is going along–beyond as soon as you got engaged and knew nothing else about the wedding–the dress suddenly, doesn’t seem right? then go shopping! no foul. if you find something. fine! if you don’t, hey, you still have a beauty to wear.

      • Aw noo!

        It is pretty flattering and fits without any alterations if you can believe it! I bought this one back in May pretty soon after we got engaged, and now we are about 6 months out and I’m re-thinking.

        Agreed. I’m just going to take a tiny look, and there is no pressure to find something amazing because I already have a perfectly good dress.

    • Poppy

      I think it’s super cute! Are you having a rehearsal dinner?

      • We are! We got t-shirts with each others faces on them for our engagement photos and we’ll be wearing those at the dinner haha

        • Poppy

          first of all: AWESOME. Another possibility – if you’re having brunch the day after, you could always wear it for that? But honestly, I think it would make a gorgeous wedding dress so any way you decide to go will be great. So helpful, I know.

    • Nell

      So I literally wanted the exact dress you just posted – but friends talked me into something longer and more formal. You. Do. You.

      • Awwww really!? Did you at least like your more formal one?

    • Just Me

      Thats’s beautiful! I say kepp it and own it….you’ll look amazing! I have an alternative view from most other posters but I was in exactly your situation. I bought a beautiful knee length white dress online, it fit perfectly, and I started getting worried about it as the wedding came closer. I debated going shopping again but ultimately decided that 1: I loved the dress originally, its not like I had settled from the get go, it was a new worry based on my own WIC issues 2. That I had other wedding related decisions I could channel that nervous energy into and 3. I wore a true wedding ballgown for a few hours for an event when I was in high school and it was hot and constricting and I felt sweaty/gross. Then I remembered how hot/sweaty my cousin was about 2 min after we helped her into the dress. Ultimately, I’m so glad I stuck with my original dress even though I second guessed (slightly) it until it the day-of. Everyone complimented the dress, I felt like me, and I was extra proud for overcoming my desire to do it “right” with the long flowy gown.

    • Kayjayoh

      I don’t know that this helps, but I am *in love* with your dress up there. Hot damn.

      • Thanks! It actually does. lol

    • TeaforTwo

      That dress is gorgeous.

      Here is my perspective on my wedding dress: I had a custom-made tea-length dress, and it was beautiful and fun to wear.

      I had a few panicked moments before the wedding: should I wear something longer/more traditional? Did my shoes match my dress? Did it look like a vintage costume?

      On the day, it was perfect. I got lots of compliments. I felt beautiful. It was fun to wear. And then seven hours later, my husband was unzipping it in our hotel room, and I realized how fleeting it was and that I would never wear my wedding dress again.

      My takeaway from that moment was that the wedding dress…doesn’t matter that much. Whatever you wear, you will be so radiantly happy that it will look wonderful. You’ll look totally appropriate and formal enough because you are the bride.

      There are exceptions: wear a dress that isn’t going to cause a wardrobe malfunction. Wear a dress that fits, and that isn’t see-through. Wear a dress that can accommodate the kind of bra you need.

      I’m sure you would look beautiful and radiant and happy in a long and flowy wedding dress, and I’m sure you would look beautiful and radiant and happy in the dress you posted above.

      • Thanks, I always sort of suspected this. I think I might be having a WIC moment. I tried on a long flowing white dress tonight and it was very pretty but wasn’t me. I was going to keep looking a bit but I think i’m going to knock it off and keep my dress.

        It’ll be nice in the heat. I don’t need crazy undergarments. It isn’t strapless, it won’t fall down and I can move around on my own. FH loves it and I’ll like wearing it because I hate fussing with things. And it’s not totally white, which is a thing I wanted. SO THERE WIC.

  • Mary Jo TC
    • Eenie

      In regards to those articles, Grey’s Anatomy broke this down really well this season with Amelia and how she handles a situation with racism.

      • AP

        I’ve been watching this season and thought the same thing!

    • Lizzie

      Here’s another one for the link roundup, filed under “just for fun” (and “guess I better return your holiday present”): http://stuffmomnevertoldyou.tumblr.com/post/134297388786

  • Danielle

    The discussion on Wednesday about abuse led me to this TED talk by a woman who is a counselor for juvenile sex offenders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81hy3AZjkr4 She talks about myths about childhood offenders, and what to teach your children so they are more prepared and empowered to deal with potential abusers.

  • raccooncity

    I had all the feels this week about this article fro Jezebel about IUDs, so I thought I’d add it to the link roundup:

    http://jezebel.com/should-we-be-mourning-the-accidental-pregnancy-1744689087

    I’m a happy IUD-having lady, as it is one of the few reliable options for non-hormonal birth control, but it’s making the decision to have children far more weighty than I had expected. I guess that’s good…but…

    • Eenie

      Reminded me about the link I wanted to share. I almost passed out getting my IUD. Really sad to see there were other options:

      http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/11/getting_an_iud_can_be_insanely_painful_is_there_a_better_way.html

      • Natalie

        I was given prescription pain pills before my insertion, and it was still the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Worse than breaking an ankle while hiking and having to hop (with friends’ support) 3.5 miles over rough terrain back to my car. I had horrible cramping – so bad I was gasping for breath, crying, could not move – for hours afterwards.

      • raccooncity

        My Dr. said that initial shock pain was basically the same as getting kicked in the balls. I almost threw up.

        • Eenie

          I’m not sure how anyone came up with that, since the majority of people who have the procedure are lacking in the ball department.

          • raccooncity

            It was just that the reaction was the same, physiologically…like, acted on nerves and blood flow the same way

      • BSM

        I had mine inserted on a whim (I had a regular gyno appt scheduled and went for it right then), and I DID pass out. It was seriously excruciating.

      • Lisa

        My doctor told me I was “a champ” when I got mine. I credit the compliment entirely to the 800mg of ibuprofen I took shortly beforehand. I know someone who had such a difficult time with the insertion that she ended up having to schedule a new appointment for what essentially outpatient surgery — there was an IV drip and dilators and everything.

      • kate

        so, there are various options, but keep in mind none of them are a guarantee. my first insertion was very difficult, in fact, the doc called it off after trying and prescribed me misoprostol (mentioned in the article) and a new appt. i took a bunch of ibuprofen as well as the miso for that 2nd attempt and it was still very painful. i didn’t pass out or cry, but i had to stay lying down and take some sips of water immediately after to avoid puking/passing out. and i was still very crampy the rest of the afternoon (though i went back to work and toughed through it).

        i have an appt to get it replaced next week and my new doc proactively prescribed the miso again after i told her about the last insertion, but i am SO NERVOUS how bad it’s going to be, partly because of the added step of pulling the old one out (which i’ve heard is fairly bad on its own). so tl;dr – talk to your doctor about options and be informed, but don’t assume any of them will magically make it ok.

        i think the more interesting point is that although this procedure/device has been around for a while (thought the wider use/popularity is relatively recent), it doesn’t seem like there’s been a lot of research/effort into how to make the procedure less unpleasant. i might be reaching, but it seems to me like another symptom of how women’s pain is taken less seriously in medicine in general (see: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/emergency-room-wait-times-sexism/410515/) and the many gaps in medical knowledge for women’s issues.

        • Eenie

          I actually took the misooristol for mine as well. I had several other procedures that required it as well (I had a bad pap and ended up needing surgery to remove precancerous cells). I had a total of three Rx for that by the time everything was done.

          I really pushed for IV anesthesia during my LEEP procedure and got it, even got insurance to cover it (and requested a more experienced doctor perform the procedure). By the time I got back to my IUD, my fight for myself to get what I want tank was empty. The larger medical community doesn’t take woman’s pain management seriously. Why don’t we have nitrous oxide available for women during labor?

          Also a PSA to go get your pap smear scheduled if you haven’t already!

          • kate

            “it’s just some cramps, honey, you’ll be fine”
            >: |

        • AP

          YES, that article! Makes me FURIOUS. A few months ago, a close friend was in active labor, but was told to go home because she wasn’t showing physical signs of labor yet and “must just have a low pain tolerance.” Nurse’s words. So my friend went home, waited around her house having contractions in agony, but thinking it couldn’t be labor because the hospital told her it wasn’t. When she finally said screw it and went back to the hospital, she was crowning and had that baby in 12 minutes.

          • Eenie

            My mom loves telling my birth story where the doctor was called and claimed “You’re not in labor honey” (male Dr., my mom’s second kid). The nurse who was just walking by the room was called in and delivered me. She was so excited and congratulated my mom and asked if it was their first. My mom said no and thanked her and asked how many times she’d gotten to do this before. I was her first. My mom got a female midwife for her third kid. She doesn’t f*ck around with male OBGYNs anymore (not to say there aren’t some awesome ones out there).

      • Casey

        I got an IUD earlier this year and was SO nervous after reading all the stories about intense pain/cramping etc. I did get a shot to numb things, and between that and an apparently super skilled doctor, the pain was WAY less than I anticipated. The Dr. told me she was done and I couldn’t believe it.

        Didn’t have a ton of problems right after the insertion, but OMG, my first period after getting the IUD brought unbearable cramps. I honestly felt like I was having contractions (not that I would know what that feels like but it was some of the worst pain ever!).

        That said, it was totally worth it!

      • another lady

        my insertion was bad – I think my Dr. sucked and didn’t do them very often. I never went back to him. the removal was a breeze comparatively and I almost didn’t know it was happening. I was like – ‘oh, you’re done already?’ I had very minor cramping for a day or two after removal, but nothing compared to the insertion!

      • emilyg25

        I also almost passed out, but the pain was so brief and then I had damn good birth control for several years. But I chickened out when I went to get another one after I had my son. I still recommend them to folks!

      • Poppy

        This is my biggest beef with my healthcare providers, whom I otherwise really like. I hate that my OBGYN, GP, and dermatologist all treat hormonal birth control as if it were not a big deal, in spite of the side effects of the pill, the possible pain of insertion of Mirena or Paraguard for that matter, the fact that Nuvaring killed my sex drive, etc. Whenever I try to have discussions with my docs about contraception, or even treating acne, they seem to want to convince me that my concerns over hormonal birth control in particular are illegitimate and unwarranted and that I should just suck it up and pick one. Obviously hormonal birth control is an incredible blessing for many, many women and I’m very on board with the control it gives us over our fertility! I just can’t believe that I’m expected to nonchalantly make these decisions about my health without giving full weight to the risks and drawbacks the way I would with any other pharmaceutical.

        Sometimes I wonder if I’m the one who’s nuts though, since so many people seem to have great experiences with it…

        • Just Me

          Yes! I’ve been exploring new/other options for my ongoing adult acne and the Dr. made me feel like I was completely crazy for liking the mirena and being unwilling to go back on the pill because OBVIOUSLY having nice skin is worth it and birth control is birth control so why do so many women come into his office with bad skin and the mirena and refuse to put the pill back on the table as a treatment option?? Hormonal birth control makes me feel nauseous (nuvaring was 10x worse) and I have to think about my reproductive choices every 5 years rather than 1/day or 1/month…..that’s worth more to me that better skin. (I realize the Mirena has a small amount of hormones but for me it’s been a good choice)

        • A single Sarah

          I identify as a des granddaughter. And while I’m not as anti-hormonal birth control as my mom, there’s a different suspicion of what the options are when other peoples hormone treatments become part of your medical history.

          Not something I share often but yeah, share your frustration with assumed blessings of hormones.

      • Jessica

        I just want to chime in, for another perspective for those who are thinking about getting an IUD, that I did not experience pain beyond what amounted to a minute-long cramp. It wasn’t comfortable, but it wasn’t super-duper painful either (and I’m a huge pain wuss).

        This is not to detract from other’s experiences, but rather to add another voice to the experience of getting an IUD.

        • raccooncity

          Yeah, I had very bad pain, but it was literally for 2 seconds. like a flash. Then I had what was essentially period cramps for the rest of the night, which is nothing in exchange for gold standard BC.

          • kate

            yeah, it seems the experience varies rather widely and not necessarily in accordance with your usual pain tolerance.
            and i think it’s worth saying that even though my experience was on the moderately bad side, i’d STILL call it a fair exchange in the end.

            …though i think if we’re still not wanting kids when this 2nd one is due to be replaced, it’ll be time for hubs to get a vasectomy instead. :)

          • Eenie

            Hah! My limit is two: after this one comes out we’ll have kid 1, IUD #2 goes in, decide if we want kid #2, then vasectomy after getting pregnant of deciding one is enough!

          • Pickles

            Lucky you! Mine hurt so much I just about kicked my doctor in the head! I tried to get back to work but just walking to the car upright was too painful and I had to go home and wallow with a heating pad. I still once in a while get that sharp pain but nothing like when it was put in. Somewhat related, my periods disappeared for 9 months but now they seem to be back :( It was such a blissful 9 months, I thought I was going to be period free!

          • Eenie

            So apparently this is common, that as the amount of hormones in the IUD decrease, some people have their period come back. This is usually after 2 or 3 years though.

          • TeaforTwo

            That was my experience. I had a really painful moment and asked the doctor how much longer it would take, and her answer was that it was all done. In which case…fine! I couldn’t have handled 20 minutes of her poking around at that level of pain, but as soon as I spoke up it was over and I felt fine.

        • Natalie

          Yeah, several of my friends got IUDs placed within a few months of when I got mine, and they all report pain similar to yours. Most of them hopped off the table and walked back to the office for the rest of the day, no pain meds needed beyond an Advil.

        • MC

          I also had very little pain, and I really freaked myself out by reading all the accounts online from women who said it was the worst pain they had EVER experienced. Obviously the dismissal of women’s pain is a huge deal and women need to be able to share their experiences, but I also would have appreciated hearing a few stories of minor pain.

        • Lisa

          With the painkillers I took, I had a similar experience. I took the morning off work for the appointment and was back in the office around noon with no problems.

          However, I had an entire year of horrendous menstrual cramps so there’s that, too. They’ve gotten better since, but I think that more than made up for my lack of insertion pain.

      • Bsquillo

        Mine was pretty painful going in, but still quick. I just felt like 16-year-old me for the rest of the day with pretty bad cramps and gross stomach stuff- I spent the day on the couch napping with a heating pad. But the next day, I was more or less fine. I had some random cramping for the first two months, and now I never feel anything, and also barely get a period. So I think people’s experiences can vary wildly.

      • Katherine

        Since no one else has brought this up yet, I’m gonna put in a plug for the birth control implant, which I chose to get after hearing horror stories from friends that got IUDs. When I got mine put in, thanks to the local anesthetic, it just felt like I was getting a hard poke for about 5 seconds. Beyond a gigantic badass bruise, I’ve had literally no paid associated with it. Bonus (for me): I no longer get my period.

    • Jessica

      When I got my IUD I could finally enjoy having sex without anxiety. Pregnancy does terrify me, and while we do plan on having children, I’d feel much better about it when my friends are closer to having kids and when we are in a financially OK place.

      • raccooncity

        Yeah, I totally felt that as well. I wasn’t comfortable relying on condoms, which some nurses I know refer to as “a good way to have a family”…

        But now we are getting older and still aren’t in a financially comfortable place, and it turns out it might never be the perfect time for us, so we have to explicitly acknowledge that we are going to do it imperfectly. Not to mention having to have my family dr. remove it when i know she knows i’m unemployed. It feels a little embarrassing, even though I know she doesn’t care or judge.

        • Jessica

          I just had to have the timing-conversation with the Husband, since my IUD is due to be taken out next year. Before I got it put in, we researched it and found that some women experience difficulty getting preggers for 1 year after it’s taken out, so I had to talk to my doctor about a temporary solution (we plan on ‘pulling the goalie’ in 2 years). We basically chose an age to have kids, and are saving up to make that a possibility regardless of our jobs or location. It’s one of the luxuries of getting married at 25 and him not having any student loans.

          Pregnancy will still terrify me, probably up until my body has recovered from breastfeeding.

          • another lady

            time to get prego depends if you have the hormonal (merana) or non-hormonal (copper) IUD. with hormonal it statistically can take 3-6 months or more to get prego, the same as being on the pill before actively trying. with copper it statistically says that there is no difference from not using bc before trying and using the copper IUD – meaning it may take the ‘average’ time for people to get prego (3 months to a year). but, my doctor told me that it can and does happen right away! They even said to use condoms the first few months – we didn’t and got prego on month 1 after having the IUD removed! (oops / yea!)

    • Natalie

      Yes. I identify with this so much. My husband and I want kids, but I feel like it’s really not the right time for my career to have kids. But there’s never a great time career-wise, and I’m not sure I want to wait until my career’s in a more stable place to start trying (that’s at least 2 years down the road). I kind of wish I could leave it up to fate right now, and actively try in a year or two, but I’ve currently got an IUD. I won’t “accidentally” get pregnant right now, even if I kind of want to.

      • raccooncity

        Exactly. It’s hard to explain to people without sounding irresponsible.

        • Natalie

          Yes. I feel like planning to have a kid right now would feel irresponsible, career-wise, and saying I wish I could just have an accidental pregnancy sounds irresponsible, but it’s kind of what I want.

      • Amy March

        See, I think of “leaving it up to fate,” meaning “having sex without using birth control” as actively trying. You don’t have to do it upside down to get pregnant!

        I continue to be surprised by the number of friends who say “oh it was such a surprise” or “oh this one is an oops,” when in the same breath they admit that they were having lots of sex with their husbands without using birth control.

        • Natalie

          I agree that having lots of sex without birth control IS trying to get pregnant. I guess what I’m wishing is that I was using a slightly less reliable form of birth control. When I got my IUD, I really did not want and could not have handled getting pregnant, so that level of reliability was important. Now, however, taking out the IUD seems like a really big decision, whereas using condoms or being on the pill, with their greater chances of pregnancy, are kind of what I want.

          • Amy March

            I just don’t get it! When I’m relying on birth control, I take it 100% of the time on time. When I rely on condoms, I use them every single time I have sex. And if you do those things, you’re really dealing with a very very small chance of getting pregnant.

            To me, if you’re wishing you would accidentally get pregnant, then take the IUD out and get on it!

          • CMT

            Yeah, I’m with you. This seems like a black and white issue to me. Either you want your birth control to work as reliably as possible, or you don’t. Either you’re okay with getting pregnant now or you’re not. Maybe you’re too scared to admit that you’re okay with getting pregnant, and you use less reliable birth control as kind of a crutch to let it happen without admitting that? I dunno.

          • Eenie

            I think there’s a third stage/grey area in there though that this plays into. Stage 1: don’t want a baby at all, would get an abortion or put up for adoption. Stage 2: I don’t want a baby, but I’d make it work. Stage 3: I want a baby tomorrow if possible.

            To your point though, until your in stage 3 why wouldn’t you want birth control that works 100%?

            I’m in stage 2 but use an IUD. At some point I’ll probably roll the dice and have it removed before we get to stage 3 completely because I’m worried about infertility based on genetics and personal history.

          • raccooncity

            This helps me put my finger on what I’m talking about, basically. I don’t have a comfortable career position, in the big-picture sense, and I’m already past the age I’d planned on having kids.

            It’s totally ideal to want kids and be ready for them 100% in all areas and then have them, but my situation is that, for the forseeable future (which coincides with many of my fertile years), me and spouse won’t be anywhere past “we’d make it work” in terms of career path and money. Because of this, as well, putting it off moves us into potentially dicey fertility territory where we would have increased risks of WAY increased costs that we could never bear with our incomes.

            I guess saying YES WE WANT KIDS is something that would be, by most metrics of society, a terrible idea for us, but we are also realizing there also isn’t a better time. So, having some of the responsibility alleviated by chance is just maybe me wishing my life was better? I don’t know.

          • Eenie

            As Meg always says, there’s never a good time to have a kid, but there are REALLY REALLY SHITTY TIMES.

          • Natalie

            Yeah, this is totally my feeling. Having kids right now just might be career suicide for me, and I’m not sure how we would afford them, but if I got accidentally pregnant we’d find a way to make it work. My wishing I could just leave it up to chance goes along with wishing that we were in a place career-wise where we could afford to have kids, because we do want them.

          • Natalie

            While wanting to get pregnant or not may be black and white to you, it’s not for everyone. I really don’t know if I’m ok with getting pregnant now, and wish I didn’t have to make a choice. Which means I stick with my IUD, because it feels like I’m not making a choice, even though I know it’s choosing not to get pregnant. The above article really resonated with me because it made me feel not alone in knowing I want kids someday, but really know knowing if that “someday” is today.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I totally get you. I always thought I would be a person who would just know I wanted a baby and then we get to baby making. I never ever felt one hundred percent sure in my gut that’s what I wanted and the timing came about from a it’s now or never perspective. It’s a weird place to be.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Not so black and white. Many people are frankly ambivalent about getting pregnant. Some people wouldn’t mind getting pregnant but aren’t actively (as in, having sex for the purpose of procreation) trying to become pregnant. Some people aren’t sure if they want to be pregnant — not a firm yes, not a firm no. I think people do allow themselves to be in circumstances where they could become pregnant without the actual desire to become pregnant. But it doesn’t mean that all along they really wanted to be pregnant and just couldn’t admit it.

          • lady brett

            there was no pregnancy in my situation, but for me making the decision to have kids was harder than any other part of parenting. i spent a year wishing someone would just drop a damn baby on our stoop a la harry potter so that we didn’t have to keep *talking about it* – because i had no doubt i could take care of a kid (fairly well, even) and no doubt i could make myself happy there, but i couldn’t make it sound like a good idea.

            of course, making decisions is my least favorite activity, and i had a spouse who wanted kids.

          • ML

            For me, that’s what my fertility app did after I took the IUD out… there were relatively “safe” periods when we would we would do it, and feel pretty confident we were not going to get pregnant. But it was still a roll of the dice, as cycles change and such. That off-IUD-but-still-not-TRYING phase helped us transition to actually wanting to get pregnant and doing it during the fertile window. Maybe that kind of thing could work for you?

          • Natalie

            Oooh, that’s something I hadn’t considered. It seems like it would help make the mental transition easier. Thanks for the idea.

        • TeaforTwo

          I used to be surprised by how married people in their mid-thirties could be “accidentally” pregnant, because…we all know how it works, right?

          Now that I’m married and in my thirties, I get it. At 19, I always had two methods of birth control going. I was convinced that one slip-up didn’t just mean I could get pregnant, it meant I WOULD get pregnant.

          For one thing…plenty of married couples are only having sex a couple times a month. If half of THOSE times don’t necessarily involve or end in intercourse…the chances of getting pregnant by accident can feel pretty slim. And if you’re usually pretty good about whatever less-effective form of prevention you’re used to (fertility awareness, pulling out, etc.) and then one night things get a bit spicier and you say “f it”…I get it.

          It’s not a form of birth control I would teach to teenagers, but there really are only a few days a month when you can get pregnant, and so if you’re NOT having sex more than once a week (and lots of people aren’t) then I wouldn’t say that it’s actively trying.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Also pulling out isn’t as unreliable as we are taught in sex education, especially among married couples where this is their primary form of birth control. There’s some study about this. I’m gonna try to find it and link it. I suspect this has to do with sexual experience as well comfort between the established couple.

          • TeaforTwo

            That makes perfect sense to me. I completely understand why we teach teenagers that you might get pregnant if you even go near a drop of pre-ejaculate, but it’s not really true. I recently read something (that I can’t find) about how pre-ejaculate doesn’t even have sperm in it – the danger we’re teaching teenagers about is that it might flush out some sperm from the last time for-real ejaculated. (Which, with teenagers, was probably pretty recently.)

            Essentially, I think that even for lots of people who don’t want to get pregnant, the stakes are just different in your married thirties than they were at 19. When I started dating my husband we had a broken condom scare, and I definitely DID NOT want to get pregnant, but it still felt nothing like my high school pregnancy scare did. Once it’s no longer WORST DISASTER EVER, things like “I hate the smell of condoms” and “birth control pills wreck my skin” can start to feel more important, and…sure, pull out!

      • Mary Jo TC

        I think I know what you mean here. You want God or fate or biology to take the decision out of your hands. You know if you accidentally got pregnant you would deal with it and things would probably turn out ok, but it would be hard and you feel irresponsible doing it on purpose because circumstances aren’t just right. You wish circumstances were different so that you could be pregnant now, and you can’t necessarily change those circumstances easily, so you wish you could just be ‘irresponsible’ and say screw it. And you know if you did that, there is more social judgement on that because everyone knows reliable birth control exists and you probably either did it at least partly on purpose or were irresponsible.

        And yes, of course it’s a huge privilege to live in a time of human history when reliable birth control exists, and even more of a privilege to have a life that wouldn’t be completely derailed by an accidental (or ‘accidental’) pregnancy. I don’t think anyone wants to go back to a time when there was no birth control or no IUD. That doesn’t change the fact that with that privilege comes the burden of having to make a decision, and the pressure of that decision having to be just right, since after all you do have the ability to decide.

        • Lizzie

          That’s exactly how I’ve thought about it. If I got pregnant accidentally I could both be excited about it and mourn for my childfree life; but if I choose not to have a child, I feel like I’m not allowed to mourn for the child I would have had. Like I made that bed and now I have to lie in it, you know? But accidents absolve you of that because you can pretend you would have chosen differently but are making the best of the situation.

          • Mary Jo TC

            Yes. The fact that it’s a decision and not an accident or fact of life means there’s pressure to make it a whole-hearted decision with zero regrets or looking back or mourning, and I’m not sure that’s even possible for everyone. You’re always going to mourn something with a big choice or transition, no matter which way you go. And that mourning and adjustment feels more natural when it comes from something that ‘just happened.’ See Cheryl Strayed, “Ghost Ship.”

    • AGCourtney

      That is an interesting point. I got my IUD after having my first child – I was in college and grad school was/is a possibility in the near future, so guaranteed no-babies was a no-brainer for me. But when it’s time to take it out, it will be an interesting and, I’m sure, difficult decision. For the population of people who are in that grey area of ambivalence where having a pregnancy wouldn’t necessarily be unwelcome but they’re not necessarily trying, either…Wow. That is such an interesting perspective to consider.

    • I have an IUD and I LOVE never having to worry. We are still planning to have kids but I really, really like that it won’t be a surprise. I tend to be a bit more on the anxious side of this stuff though, and am waiting for the day when I can get true cyborg enhancements sooooo

    • Sparkles

      Interesting take on the IUD. I feel like the flip side of really effective birth control is the fertility question. Because once you stop using contraception that’s really effective, then you’re supposed to get pregnant, right? But it seems like there are more and more people I know that are having a hard time getting pregnant. And maybe I’m just aware of this because that’s my life stage so my peers are also feeling this way, but it also seems like the really effective birth control plays into the narrative that if you’re not in the camp of “not getting pregnant now”, you’re in the camp of “getting pregnant now”, which can lead to all sorts of expectations and the subsequent let down if it doesn’t work when you’re finally ready for it.

      • raccooncity

        good point!

    • emilyg25

      Interesting. It doesn’t resonate with me at all. I just don’t get the not-trying-but-not-preventing drifting into pregnancy thing. But I’m a definitive person with a distaste for in-betweens. I LOVED my IUD, and I’m going to love my husband’s impending vasectomy even more. :)

    • Rose

      That was really interesting to read. I know the kinds of feelings, although I’m coming from a somewhat different perspective where my “birth control” is the really absolute and involuntary one of being married to and monogamous with another woman. Which is awfully effective at preventing pregnancy. And we’re not at a point where we should really be having kids, I’m still in grad school, and her jobs recently have been a succession of temporary positions, and it would be very difficult. But some of the other grad students are having kids, we could make it work, somehow. It would be hard, and it wouldn’t be a choice I’d make right now if I were making a choice, but if one of us did end up accidentally pregnant through some seasonally-appropriate miracle, we could keep it and make it work. And there are times when I really, really want kids. And then I’m jealous of my barely-older cousin, who was in a worse position to become a parent than I am, but he and his girlfriend were careless, and there you are.

      Anyway, rambling a bit. I guess my point is that I really do understand that feeling of being jealous of the ability to have an unplanned pregnancy, even if you do recognize that logically it’s not the best of plans. Sometimes I really do envy couples for whom that’s a possibility, because as much as it’s not a choice I can responsibly make right now, it’s something I do kind of want.

    • TeaforTwo

      I felt that way about my IUD!

      My husband and I both come from big families and several of our siblings were accidents/surprises/”miracles” that our parents laugh about. It sounds crazy, but except for the times when it seemed like a very obviously Terrible Idea to get pregnant, that has always appealed to me.

      I love being from a family with four kids, but we would never in a million years have enough money/time/energy to purposely have a fourth child. I’m sure it would seem impossible and crazy, which is why I’m sure my mother was terrified when she found out that her husband’s vasectomy had failed. And yet, we are four incredibly close siblings, and now that we’re adults there are huge advantages to the big family. I can’t see myself choosing to have four kids on purpose, but I’m sure we’d make it work and that it would be a huge blessing if there were a few “Oops!” moments along the way.

    • anon

      I don’t know exactly what I thought about that article because I don’t have an IUD and don’t have any particular plans to get one. There were a lot of things I disagreed with, but I do understand the idea of not-the-most-effective birth control.
      We definitely are not using the most-effective-close-to-perfect of birth control. (We use a combination of condoms all the time and no PIV sex during fertile times [because I got my mental health nice and settled down and don’t want to mess around with hormones too much since what we are doing works well enough (also if you haven’t ever had sex without condoms, you can’t tell the difference. and it contains the mess.]). But we also are in a place that we could handle having a baby and before that, we dealt with it by not having pregnancy-inducible types of sex, because that worked for us.
      Because right now I definitely REALLY REALLY want a baby but also know that it is impractical at this point in time. We could afford it, although we’d have to rearrange some priorities. But we need to grow up a little and figure out being married a little more first and I need to get at least some of my research done that requires being in and out of lab at all hours of the night. And we married at 24, so we legitimately do have time to wait and figure things out before we even have to really worry too much about fertility, and have it planned out to a time that will work better in my Ph.D. So I would sort of be ok if something happened and we got a baby, even though we’re trying hard and effectively to prevent it.

  • Meg, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Sparkles

    I hate reading the news these days. Like hate it, hate it, hate it. It’s the combination of the content, and the way media outlets handle “breaking news” and capitalize on sensationalism about things that shouldn’t be made sensational (and don’t sensationalize things that should be), and the way my social media feed reacts to it.

    I’m not sure exactly how to explain it, but it makes me sick and it makes me want to stop reading it, but I can’t because I don’t know how to live without the internet anymore.

    Is anyone else feeling this way? Like they’re beset on all sides by this negativity and they don’t know how to get out from under it? I need to take a step back from it all and recharge before I wade back in and I don’t know how to do that without disconnecting entirely from the internet.

    • raccooncity

      The old Al Gore book “The Assault on Reason” had a great chapter about this. Basically about how videos stimulate a different part of your brain than text and how today’s media uses this in a pretty irresponsible fashion.

    • Amy March

      I unfollow people who post a lot on social media about the news. I can react myself, I don’t need a whole chorus also chiming in. I also don’t watch the news routinely. I find that reading the newspaper (online) gets me plenty of news without that constant fever pitch anxiety news as entertainment feeling creeping in.

      • AP

        Same.

      • Kayjayoh

        One of the big reasons that I try to purposely mix up what I am sharing on Facebook. I want to not just be hitting one bell over and over and driving my friends crazy.

        Something on racism, something on sexism, something weird I found on the net, something about Hamilton, cool photo, link to a short story, something about transphobia, funny news article, Nicki Minaj video…

    • Eenie

      I’ve been really enjoying cutting out reading news sites and only getting a daily email from The Skimm.

      http://www.theskimm.com/?r=09c896e3

      It’s factual, quick, they have links to more in depth explanations that you can choose to click on. It’s the best 5 minutes I give myself every morning to stay informed and not lose my mind.

      • chiming in to say I <3 the Skimm. I don't watch the news on tv or read the newspaper, so for me it's a great way to stay informed and knowledgeable about more than just what floats around on my facebook news feed.

      • RMC

        I’m glad the Skimm has been helpful for you but I find it so annoying!! I find their tone incredibly flippant and condescending – and, frankly, sexist, since they are clearly targeted at women. I think the idea is great but I wish they could just summarize the news rather than add their slightly snarky, somewhat offensive two cents to each item. Like this: “So whoever gets handed the presidency will also get handed this years-long legal battle and a meh economy. Good times. Meanwhile, yesterday was a big day for swiping V-cards in other countries too.”

        • Eenie

          Their tone matches my sense of humor so that’s probably why I like it!

    • AP

      Yep yep yep. I work in reproductive rights and have lots of colleagues with Planned Parenthood, and the social media response to the PP attack broke my heart over and over again. It’s like everyone has to have an opinion, and they’ll gleefully debate abortion, reproductive health, gun laws, rape, domestic violence, paid family leave, etc etc etc without any respect given to the fact that THERE ARE REAL LIVES AT STAKE HERE.

      My husband and I are taking a couple weeks at the end of the year to go camping in Big Bend, where there will be no service. I’m really looking forward to truly unplugging from it and hitting reset on my tech habits. Because some days I feel like my soul is dying.

    • emilyg25

      I only listen to the calm, cool tones of NPR. It’s like a balm to my soul.

    • Leela

      Yes, feeling the same way. I feel vaguely sick to my stomach all the time lately. One of my biggest frustrations sounds like this: “I am an empowered, educated person. Why can’t I HELP WITH ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD?”

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      I go through periods where I don’t watch the news and 2015 has been particularly rough. I avoid places where I might be exposed to it like Twitter and I don’t read the news bar on Facebook. I’ve actually taken days where I’ve completely unplugged from the internet as well and am planning to unplug this weekend. No news, no internet, just vegging on the couch watching The Wiz Live again, eating tasty appetizers, doing laundry and playing with my toddler. It’s necessary.

      • Lizzie

        Yup, I’ve become super selective about where I get my news and analysis. The Economist is my go-to thanks to its calm tone and tongue-in-cheek, dry British humor. It makes US news outlets look hysterical (in the Victorian sense of the word).

      • Danielle

        Unplugging was honestly one of my favorite parts of our honeymoon. It’s amazing what a difference it makes.

  • Rachel

    My stepdad went to his oncologist for his checkup last Friday. The bloodwork came back, his cancer markers are outside the normal range (which is 0 – 34, his was 99). He had a CT scan on Wednesday, he has enlarged lymph nodes near the resection site where he had part of his pancreas removed. PET scan has been scheduled for Monday, along with a biopsy. We’re hoping like crazy that the cancer isn’t back, but for now it’s a waiting game. Cancer is the fucking worst. We’re scared, and we’re hoping for the best, but there’s so much uncertainty right now. I will say that my stepdad has kept his sense of humor, and I’m so glad for that. All the dad jokes are driving my little sister crazy though. I told her that he was like this when I was a kid, and that’s probably never going to change (and I’m fine with that).

    • Emily

      Cancer sucks. Good vibes to your family!

    • BDubs

      I’m so sorry to hear that. Cancer really does suck, as Emily said.

    • JDrives

      Fuck cancer. My stepdad also battled cancer not too long ago, and it sucked. Adding my hopes that everything turns out OK.

    • I miss my dad’s terrible dad jokes so much. Here’s hoping you have years and years to roll your eyes at your stepdad’s jokes.

  • Jessica

    If anyone would like some delightful escapism from the shitstorm of this week/season/year/century, I highly suggest listening to the “Hamilton” original Broadway score. I have pretty much been listening to it nonstop. It’s amazing. I think it’s on Spotify, but I’ve been listening to it with Amazon Prime music.

    At the very least, it lets me work instead of stewing about how fucked up Minneapolis is right now, with the two weeks of protests wanting justice for Jamar Clark being broken up by the police at 4am yesterday, just a few days after 3 white supremacists shot into the crowd of protesters. Fortunately no one died, but 5 people were injured because of violently racist assholes.

    More personally in the “oh dear God” category, it turns out the Treasurer of my organization misunderstood our funding, and I may be job searching in the Spring/Summer.

    • eating words

      The Hamilton soundtrack is amazing! (And yes, it is on Spotify.) I really, really wish I could see it, but it’s become nearly impossible to get tickets.

      • rg223

        I convinced my husband to splurge and also buy way in advance! Hurray for October 2016 haha! If you can buy that far in advance, I imagine a new block of tickets will open up soon (because the current 2016 dates are selling out).

        • Jessica

          Uggghh, really? I hope they do one of those “screen it through AMC” or some such deal like the Met Opera and a few big theaters do. I would see every freaking screening of Hamilton.

        • Jessica

          Also, HOORAY YOU GOT TICKETS! that’s awesome!

    • JDrives

      Listening to “Hamilton” often helps me get through the day.

    • Lizzie

      Ohhhh man, Hamilton. I wake up with the songs stuck in my head. I walk to the beat of them on my way to work. The whole soundtrack is genius.

    • Kayjayoh

      I want tickets so bad, but planning out that far + the sheer cost is just not feasible at this time. :(

    • Rose

      I want to go so badly, and my inlaws live outside of the city, and my mother-in-law said she’d even buy the tickets, but I have no idea what I’ll be up to in, like, two years, and I just can’t figure out how to plan it.

    • E.

      I’m so obsessed with Hamilton! It is on Spotify, which is how I listen to it. Also, the lyrics are annotated on genius.com, including some annotations from Lin Manuel-Miranda and it’s super interesting to learn more about the context of the lyrics!

    • Caitlin

      hehehehe, “Nonstop” I see what you did there ;) And yes, Hamilton is the best! Although I may have binged too hard and already memorized most of the music, oops! New goal is to be able to rap along with the lyrics, which will keep me occupied for a while.

    • Oh my goodness, I just finally started listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. It’s amazing and made me cry and is so wonderful and I love it so much that I just wanted to come back to this thread and share it with you.

  • BrightLikeTheSun13

    WE’RE ENGAGED!!! It feels so strange to be so happy when there’s so much bad going on in the world but as my friend, who I was worried about tell because she’s struggling with some personal issues, told me, “this is happy news, it makes it me happy to hear and makes everything else a little less hard.”

    I’m a long time mostly lurker and I was going to draft a sappy note about how much APW has already helped me through this 2 year long pre-engaged period and life in general but work got crazy, so I’ll just say this. Thank you APW community for validating my feeling, helping me speak my mind and be heard, and for broadening to my view of weddings and the world. I don’t say much but I read everything and I appreciate all the of the wisdom you all have shared more then you’ll ever know. I look forward to learning so many more things from you amazing people.

    TL; DR Thank you

    • AGCourtney

      Congrats!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!!

    • Jenny

      Congratulations!! So excited for you!

    • BDubs

      YAY!!!!!

    • Congratulations! I’ve been lurking reading for years and it was so exciting when I got engaged in September to comment on the next happy hour and share the news.

      • BrightLikeTheSun13

        Thank you!!!

    • Jess

      Congratulations! We can always use more love and joy to share in the world.
      Your eloquent words precisely sum up how I also feel about APW and getting through the pre-engaged state and life in general. And I’m so excited to continue digging into this kick-ass wisdom now that we’re wedding planning ;) I got engaged this week too!!

      • BrightLikeTheSun13

        Congratulation to you too!!!! Thank you for the kind words :)

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  • StarryNight

    We said goodbye to our tiny baby, Lily, today at 15 weeks. I just want to encourage you all to donate to Planned Parenthood. Their services and support were immensely helpful this week.

    • JDrives

      Holding you and your family in my heart. I am so glad that PP was helpful to you.

    • AGCourtney

      Sending you internet hugs – I’ve been thinking about you. I wish you peace and comfort during this difficult time.

    • Lizzie

      I’m so sorry about your baby. Sending you spirit-hugs.

    • Lisa

      I’m so sorry to hear this. So many internet hugs to you and yours.

    • AP

      Holding you in the light. And thank you for sharing your positive experience with PP.

    • Jenny

      Sending you all the hugs. I’m so so sorry.

    • I’m so sorry. Internet hugs, coming your way. :(

    • MC

      Hugs and love. Glad PP was there for you during this hard time.

    • Poppy

      Sending love. Will donate a little extra today with your family in mind.

    • Natalie

      So sorry. *hugs*

    • Leela

      Oh, StarryNight. I’m so sorry. Sending you all the love.

    • E.

      So sorry, StarryNight! <3

    • I’m so sorry. Big internet hug.

  • MC

    Oof, this has been a rough week all around. My heart has been so heavy thinking about the Planned Parenthood shooting and the San Bernardino shooting and all those affected. And on Sunday my SIL had a miscarriage at 10.5 weeks – it was her first pregnancy and would have been the first grandbaby for in my in-laws and we were all so excited, so that’s been hard for the whole family. And then on the plus side, it looks like we are going to buy a house that we really like, pending any huge issues in an inspection, which is very exciting but also a very big deal. Even though I just had time off for Thanksgiving last week I feel like I could use a vacation – along with the rest of the world, probably.

  • occasional commenter

    Every time something like this happens I get so upset. It must be extra difficult when it is so close to home. I’m so sorry Meg.

    The bad this week: San Bernardino, of course. On a personal note, my place of employment, an arts organization, just spent what I assume is a huge amount of money on an extensive rebranding through a high-flying marketing firm, including a new website, logo, and “wordmark”. The press release had the company’s annual operating budget in the first few paragraphs, and when I saw it I thought “damnit, I need to get a bigger piece of that pie because hourly with no benefits or job security is not cutting it.” I’m trying to turn my grumpiness at capitalism into mojo to find ways to get people to pay me to do stuff besides undervalued sewing work.

    The good: the boyfriend is coming with me to visit the extended family at Christmas! He gets along with my parents and siblings, and now it’s time to meet the cousins, aunts, and uncles. Fingers crossed! Any suggestions to make introductions go smoothly as possible and stave off ” when are you getting married?” nosiness/pressure? I’m the oldest grandchild and no one else has ever brought a significant other to the holidays.

    • BDubs

      RE: the good
      Bravo, boyfriend, for being willing to be mobbed at a family holiday with your sweetie. He gets props for that.
      You guys are bringing in the first new wave of your family finding mates for now and perhaps for always.
      If it would go over with your family dynamic, I recommend humor.
      For example, the overload introduction, especially to a group:
      “Hey family, this is Sam. He’s 28, studying engineering at X university, loves pizza, and is definitely Team Edward.” Tailor it to fit you and make sure boyfriend is fully aware of the info beforehand. This tends to help family find something to talk about with the newcomer besides “So I see you like OccasionalCommenter, are you going to make it permanent?”
      I have no idea how to avoid the “so will we be hearing wedding bells soon?” questions. When it was my turn I just answered all those with “I don’t know, maybe” as a statement.
      Have a wonderful holiday!

    • When my younger sisters were being obnoxious about asking me questions about my then-boyfriend, I would just turn around and ask them the same question. (Only when they were being super obnoxious, though in the intentionally irritating way siblings can be.) (Also, me asking my 14 year old sister when she was going to get married usually just made people laugh.) Alternatively, for less obnoxious questions, I would sometimes say just super ridiculous things like, “Now. Do you have any plans? Do you want to come? We are going to be late if we don’t leave this very instant.” or “last week” or dramatically yell NEVER while slowly collapsing to the ground. Turning things to the ridiculous is my favorite method of avoiding questions I don’t want to answer. Usually it gets my point across without being too mean or having to specifically say “I don’t want to talk about that”. But that only works with a certain crowd, so that is certainly a know-your-audience thing and probably not the best to be used on your Nana’s sister who is visiting from out of the country and is 90 years old and doesn’t remember if you are 16 or 26 because there are a lot of grandchildren to remember and the last time she saw you was when you were an indistinguishable baby.

  • Baby boy figured out, accidentally, how to sit up on his own this week. It’s the funniest thing to watch. He gets up on his hands and knees and then accidentally flips one leg forward. Then he just pushes himself around until he either gets the other leg to flip forward and he’s sitting or the first leg flips backward and he’s back on his belly. And he doesn’t so much crawl as inchworm around the house. And he laughs at the slightest thing.

    Baby girl’s preferred method of sitting up is to lay on her belly with her hands and feet in the air and scream at me till I sit her up. She claps and laughs and judges strangers with the best baby judging eyes ever. And she could challenge any military person to an army crawl race and definitely hold her own.

    The toddler is in LOVE with Christmas. She makes sure the tree lights are turned on every day. We’ve listened to our Christmas music boxes all day long and she runs around the house wearing a fluffy Santa hat. We put popcorn on the tree last night (we just put it, no stringing involved) and she’d put two pieces on the tree for every three handfuls she ate. We’re expecting the popcorn to be gone from the bottom half of the tree before Christmas.

    The grown-up world is a lot of crap sometimes. Thank goodness for the tiny people who only know how to love.

  • Lizzie

    Last week I lost my beloved cello teacher, whom I’ve known since I was a shy, surly 10-year-old. She put up with me anyway and taught me to love the cello even though I’ll never be talented enough to play professionally. When I took up lessons with her for the second time, as an adult, she told me to just play what I enjoy, because I can. So now I do. She made me a better musician and became a good friend to me, and I feel adrift without her.

    • emilyg25

      I’m so sorry.

    • Lisa

      I am so, so sorry. I turn into a puddle thinking about losing one of my voice or piano teachers, and the first time my husband cried in front of me when he told me about his cello teacher dying from AIDS when he was a kid. There’s something so special about the relationship between music teacher and student, and I feel awful that you have to experience this.

    • Bsquillo

      I’m so sorry. Music teachers are special, because they’re often some of the first adult mentors we have. I’m sure she was proud of you.

    • Alice

      I’m so, so sorry. I had a similar experience with my piano teacher, who knew just how to get a grouchy kid to open up and enjoy music. On some levels, I didn’t know him as well as other adults in my life, but he had such a huge impact on me during some pretty insecure years.

  • Anon

    Help. We married just a couple months ago, and since coming home from our wedding day, things have not been okay. We realized just before going on our honeymoon that we accidentally went way over budget (on top of being overcharged by one of our vendors), he was pretty upset about it, and expressed a lot of regret (and blame). Since then, we’ve been fighting a lot, and I’m starting to feel invalidated and unwanted. We have a couples counselor, so we’re doing everything that (I think) we can, but in the meantime my flight response is in overdrive, and I worry that we made a mistake. I read a wonderful article here earlier this week about newlywed fighting, and many commenters agreed that fighting within marriage felt safer and more secure due to the commitment. Unfortunately, our fights just leave me feeling despair. What gives? Other than continuing in counseling, which we are both doing individually and together, what else can we do? Has anyone gone through this before?

    • Violet

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this! My experience has not been that being married has made fighting seem more secure. If anything, it feels higher stakes, so the big fights actually feel worse to me. The only thing that helps me, paradoxically, is having gotten through more and more of those fights. Each one then becomes less bad, because if we got through those other 11 fights, why not 12? Why not 13? We’ll get through 14 too. You and your new spouse are racking up major We Fought We Got Through It couple points right now. You just don’t get to cash them in til it’s over and you’re on your next fight.

      • Anon

        Thank you, I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. I’m hoping that if these next few fights don’t break us, they’ll make us stronger, like you say. It doesn’t help that with my vaginismus, we can’t even have good makeup sex! It feels like the societal message is that sure, you’ll fight, but you’ll also have lots of great sex, so it all evens out. Or, maybe that’s a false expectation to have.

        • raccooncity

          In my life, makeup sex as sex has been like, 10/10 awesome. Makeup sex as a way to make up? maybe 1/10.

        • Eenie

          I don’t think I’m ok with fights because we get to have sex. I’m ok with the fights because they do end and we survive. They make us better. When you have the fight (and it ends) you don’t have to have the same fight again. I hate makeup sex though. Just doesn’t do it for me.

        • kate

          for whatever it’s worth, i think makeup sex is overrated too. i need some mental time and space after a fight before really feeling into sex again anyway, soooo i guess what that means to you is, try to avoid piling on yourself, even if makeup sex is usually something that works for you, remember that the societal message that the sex is what makes fighting ok or “worth it” or that it’s a barometer of your relationship is mostly BS.

        • anonymooz

          btw as a fellow vaginismus sufferer, consider things you can do that feel good but aren’t typical “sex.” It can make a huge difference to connect physically, even if it isn’t the typical way.

          • BDubs

            Amen! P in V is certainly not the point or the purpose of intimacy, just one of many ways to please and enjoy one another!

        • Violet

          That is so interesting, I’d never considered makeup sex as a consolation prize for arguments. But you’re right, that message is out there. I don’t equate sex with arguing in any way (I know some people do, because they both involve passion, albeit one is negative and one is positive), so I wouldn’t even want sex after an argument. I’d want, probably some kind of chocolate treat and snuggling up on the couch. Maybe consider what your snuggling up on the couch equivalent is, and next time you’re arguing, remember that eventually, you’ll be back there. Sending so much support.

    • raccooncity

      Find something free/cheap (because more money issues are not what you want…i feel that) that you can do to soothe your flight response. Self-care. For me it’s like, dancing so hard I tire myself out, or having a bath with candles. It sounds cliche, but it’s so important. Physiologically getting yourself out of stress mode will help you.

      • Anon

        You are so right – I’ve definitely been lacking in that department. (Also, working through some intense pelvic floor therapy for my vaginismus, which is in of itself a giant relationship issue, so maybe I’ve just forgotten to balance the stressful physiological stuff with something more relaxing.) Thank you!

    • Juliet

      We had a rough patch after we got engaged that was motivated by a specific incident but was really about some major communication issues. The best advice we got when we did counseling that I use ALL THE TIME when it comes to fights about building tension and mistakes (because going over budget was a mistake you both made, not any sort of betrayal or lie) is to start from today and address what is happening now. It’s SO much easier to communicate about the dishes in the sink when you are talking about those specific dishes in the sink you are looking at, and not ALL OF THE DISHES that have EVER BEEN IN THE SINK. See if you can both agree to try this. Also, often in fights, I like to ask the question, out loud, “Why are we fighting about this and what needs to happen for this fight to end?”

      • Eenie

        THIS. I’ve had so many arguments end when we both realized we just wanted to be right.

        • Juliet

          YEP. or that someone just needs to hear “I’m sorry.”

          • Natalie

            This. I will stay angry at my husband until he apologizes, and his response to fighting is to dig in and lash out and refuse to admit any wrongdoing. We’re both learning to change this cycle, but it’s still hard.

          • AP

            My husband will say he’s sorry just to make the fight stop and I dig in and stay mad until he convinces me he’s sincere. He’ll also say he accepts my apology, but he doesn’t really and stews over it. We’re both working on changing that cycle, too- just being more intentional with solving the problem and not just ending the yelling. (Although sometimes you do have to just end the yelling and live to fight another day. Some problems need time and distance to solve. Or some problems won’t be solved and you just learn to live with that problem.)

          • My husband does this and it drives me nuts, and so I respond the same way which *also* drives me nuts. For me, I the answer tends to be a few deep breaths, and walking away until I feel better!

          • JDrives

            Same here. Just recognizing the pattern is really powerful, because we can hold ourselves and each other accountable.

      • Violet

        “What needs to happen for this fight to end?” is GENIUS. Can’t wait to use, thanks!

      • Lisa

        I absolutely love that last line! I’m totally stealing it.

      • Emily

        We also get stuck on the current dishes versus all of the dishes that have ever been. This is a really helpful tactic!

    • BDubs

      Hugs! The stress and expectations (that may or not have been met) are at an all-time high surrounding weddings and engagements. My suspicion is that you are feeling unhappy because hubs is expressing his regret and blame for the wedding cost and being skunked by a vendor. It might be helpful to speak to him about “Hon I know things were messed up financially, but I feel like maybe you regret marrying me based on how frustrated you have been.” Give him a chance to express how much he DOES love and want you, but only have this conversation when you and he are calm and not in the midst of a fight.
      My shiny brand-new husband has been snappy and depressed the last couple of months, and I found out a little afterwards that he is really upset about all the mass-shootings in the news, the Turkey/Russia conflict, and stuff at work. It wasn’t our relationship, it was just the tiny at-home irritations that were the last straw.
      I suggest trying to find things to compliment and thank him for. Be sincere, obviously. This might just be a season of friction, which sucks, but isn’t the end or the statement of value on your new marriage.
      Congrats, newlyweds, and I wish you all the best <3

      • Violet

        Good point about expectations. I was a resident assistant in college for freshmen, and they’d come to me, concerned they were defective, worrying that they weren’t making fast friends or having the time of their life. They were so ashamed that they spent some nights just crying and missing home. Once I was like, “Pssshht, that is SUPER common, college is not necessarily what you think it’s going to be,” they could settle down a little. Because really, after a long-awaited milestone like marriage or engagements or moving away from home, who isn’t feeling a little overwhelmed? It’s totally understandable to then pile on by then worrying there’s something wrong with you for being overwhelmed. And nice to know you can let that fear go.

    • Emily

      Just before and for a bit after my husband and I got married I sort of freaked out. We had serious (unexpected) bills and the more I felt trapped by being broke, the more we fought, which made me feel more trapped. It was pretty brutal, so I hope you guys keep with counseling! We got through it with counseling, and just forcing ourselves to spend more time together doing stuff that we did the last time we were really broke (junior year of college). It’s amazing what some long walks in the park will do. Sending you both love!

    • Christy

      I don’t know if this will be helpful, so if it’s not, tell me, and I’ll delete it.

      If you could go back in time to before the wedding and not get married at all, would you? Or would you still be here fighting? Because if you’d still be here fighting, then hold tight to that, and know that you want to get through it together. I really think that knowledge will help.

      Whenever I start to get despairing–the worst feeling–I exercise. Even if it’s just ten squats, I move my body. Nothing helps me manage my anxiety better than anxiety than moving my body. Regular exercise helps me manage my anxiety without therapy (anymore). I know it’s not a cure-all, but it definitely helps me.

      • kate

        exercising – me too! and you know, i don’t even *like* to exercise, i’m not one of those lucky people who enjoys it while i’m doing it, but i do know that it unknots my subconscious in a way very few things do and that endorphin push helps me relax and get productive rather than continue feeling stuck or despairing.

    • Natalie

      I have found that since getting married (or maybe ever since our engagement), when we have a fight that makes me really unhappy, I kind of panic, thinking “Is it going to be like this for the rest of our lives?!” It’s terrifying. I take comfort in the fact that the answer to that question is NO. People grow and change, and we are learning to fight in healthier, more productive ways. We’re learning what really upsets the other person and changing our habits to avoid doing those things. We’re learning not to get so upset about things that don’t really matter.

      • Rose

        I fell into a trap like this when we first moved in together, and I’ve been really, really trying not to now that we’re just recently married. It’s so easy to think that if I today just do the dishes again I will always end up doing ALL the dishes FOREVER, but that’s not true. You don’t have to set all the patterns perfectly right at the beginning. I know that doesn’t make the actual fights right now any more pleasant, but the fact that your marriage is starting with them doesn’t mean that they’re inevitable forever. Even if it lasts for a little while now, things really will keep changing for as long as you’re together, there’s not a limited time window to make everything the way you want it to stay.

    • Poppy

      Any chance you feel up to initiating an activity you both love to do together as a way to help you both remember what you value about your relationship? Sometimes going for a hike on a trail we love, or eating at a favorite restaurant, or having a drink together is enough to sort of reactivate the feelings of love and mutual appreciation that preceded a period of tension on our relationship, almost like muscle memory. Also acknowledging out loud, together, that things sucked right then and we both still loved each other could be oddly comforting.

      Also, I think differing judgement while you’re in counseling can be really important. It might not feel like it’s “working” for a while, and I found that constantly trying to analyze the situation to figure out if it was helping or if we were hopeless made everything a whole lot harder for me to deal with. It helped me to decide I wasn’t going to try to evaluate the therapy or the relationship for a while, like six months or even a year, because I just needed a way to stick with it. For us, there was no way out but through.

      • Natalie

        Doing fun activities together is a great recommendation! I’m kind of obsessed with reading about scientific studies of relationships, and so much recent research shows that doing things together greatly improves relationship satisfaction. Particularly: doing something new(1), working as a team to accomplish a task(2), and having adventures are supposed to improve satisfaction. I wonder if some of the problems are due to the fact that before the wedding, the couple had a task (wedding planning) that they were working together as a team to accomplish, and now, after the wedding, they don’t?

        (1)-in one study, couples assigned to a daily 30-minute walk on a new route each day had greater improvements in relationship satisfaction than couples assigned to daily 30-minute walks on the same route. Newness seems helpful as well as quality time together. (sorry that I don’t have links to these studies, I’ve read them over the past several years and don’t have references)

        (2)-e.g., in the studies I’ve read they’ve done things like solve simple puzzles together, but sociologists think that this can be generalized to bigger projects, like growing a backyard garden together, doing housework together, etc. The key seems to be working as a team. I know I feel happier and more connected to my husband after a Saturday working in our garden on different, complementary tasks to achieve our goal (homegrown veggies!).

    • you’re not alone

      Lots of great advice below. Only one thing to add – friends of ours have a great tactic for staying centered during the early/mid/late fight phase. They say “Same Team!” Also, our pastor gave us a similar tactic, which is that sometimes when words get in the way, and we just want to show each other that we’re still committed, either of us can walk up to the other, show our palm with the ring on it, and then the other responds by clicking rings together three times. It’s a tiny bit cheesy, but sometimes it’s the basic reminder we need that we’re in it together despite what fighting and words happen between us.

      Also, it took us 7 years to learn to fight well or fair. You’ll get there. Just keep swimming.

      • BDubs

        I like it!

  • I’m having a really tough week. My fiance and I flew home Monday morning to find our cat was very sick. He didn’t make it and we’re both having a really tough time with it. We feel guilty for leaving him alone over the weekend, but we had done it in the past and he was fine and the cost of boarding him was not an option. We made our choices and now we have to live with them, but I can’t help feeling like I killed him. He was almost eleven, I’ve had him since he was a tiny little kitten. Just trying to process my feelings and remember the good things. Our house is just really quiet now. He was a very talkative, vocal kitty and the silence is deafening. I’ll be alone in the house tomorrow for the first time and I’m really not looking forward to it. Sigh.

    • Eenie

      It sounds like he lived a really awesome 11 years with owners that cared for him and loved him as a family member. As someone who has two very vocal kitties – it just really isn’t the same without them. Good luck tomorrow. Please let go of as much of the guilt as you can. You cannot watch your pets 100% of the time.

    • kate

      oh hugs. i’m so sorry for your loss and i know you know this in your heart of hearts, but it truly isn’t your fault. things happen and it may not have even been any different even if you’d been there. it sounds like he lived a wonderful 11 years and that’s a beautiful thing.
      maybe get yourselves a nice christmas present to remember him by? an art print of your favorite photo or an ornament or something?

    • BDubs

      You 100% did not kill your kitty cat.
      You love him and in no way would have cause his demise. I’m so sorry for your grief.

    • raccooncity

      I’m so sorry your little sweetie died. I know it’s repetitive, but you didn’t do anything wrong. I just want you to be able to read that from as many people as possible.

    • emilyg25

      I had myself pretty well convinced that my cat died because I had a baby and was too stressed out to care for her as well as I had. My husband said, “That’s a pretty terrible way to think of things.”

      Your actions had nothing to do with your cat’s death. I’m so sorry for the loss of your furry friend and your heartache.

    • Natalie

      I’m sorry :-( It’s so hard losing beloved pets. It is not your fault. Your cat would have gotten sick whether you were there or not, and cats can be weird and not let you know they’re sick until they’re almost dying, so you being there wouldn’t have necessarily meant your cat got to a vet sooner. Boarding your cat would not have kept your cat from getting sick. Other care takers who don’t know your cat as well as you would not necessarily have recognized the signs of your cat being sick or would not have known it was bad enough to take your cat to an emergency vet until you were home anyways. At least your cat was at home, in a place he felt safe and comforted, while he was sick instead of in a potentially scary/stressful boarding place.

    • Thanks, all of you, for your really kind words and support. It means a lot. The rational side of my brain knows that there’s no way we could have known and no guarantee that things may have happened differently. Willoughby (my kitty) had a happy life with a lot of love. We are so upset because we loved him so much, and that will always be a good thing. Time will help, it’s just going to be hard for a while.

    • scw

      I’m so sorry about this. we leave our cat for a few days at a time fairly regularly and I can imagine how awful it must have been to come home to a sick cat. lots of love to you.
      if it helps, I have a feeling that if you had boarded your cat, this still would have happened and you would have been feeling guilty for different reasons (what if he got worse because he was exposed to something, what if he thought we were leaving him somewhere, etc.). honestly, it was probably best for him to be in your home where he felt comfortable and safe. and it sounds like you made it home in time to say goodbye.
      try to at least let go of the guilt so you can grieve. will be thinking about you this weekend.

  • Bsquillo

    The combo of dark world events plus stress in my personal life has been crazytown recently. I am not typically an emotional person, and I have felt on the brink of tears multiple times this past week. It’s too much.

    On a happier note, my mom booked us a girls weekend in Sonoma over MLK weekend in January! I’ve never been to that part of California, so if you have recommendations about things to see and do (besides drink wine, duh), let me know! It’s going to be a welcome break from a non-stop fall and winter so far.

    • BDubs

      You are not alone in feeling overwhelmed. I’m there too.
      Psst, stroll in the vineyards in Sonoma, and soak up the gorgeous sun :)

    • Ravenclawed

      Yay! Definitely check out Tomales Bay/Inverness/Marin headlands while you’re there, which are all an hour or less from Sonoma county! The Girl and the Fig in downtown Sonoma is one of my favorite restaurants. There’s some fun spas (think: mud bath) in Calistoga, the Culinary Institute of America has cool cooking classes, and a lot of fun restaurants/shops in Healdsburg

    • KPM

      I love the Guernsville/Healdsburg area because it’s laid back. Near the Culinary Institute that Ravensclawed mentioned is a great vineyard called Moshin.

      I’d second basically everything in this Guernsville guide (except skip Korbel, so crowded and more impersonal than other places): http://www.7×7.com/travel/modern-guide-guerneville

      If you are wanting to take a break from vineyards, Armstrong Woods is pretty awesome and very Nor-Cal.

  • Kayjayoh

    This Sunday/Monday I will be performing in my first ever dance recital, doing a solo aerial dance piece on single-point trapeze. I am trying not to be nervous. It is a short piece and I’ve been working on it for a while. Still… [breathing deeply and wishing I had more practice time]

    Then on Wednesday, some of the girls in my aerial choreography class and my trapeze class are going to go do a flying trapeze lesson with TSNY. I’ve never done flying trapeze (which is way difference than dance trapeze) and I’m afraid of height. Wee! It will be fun, because I’m not letting my phobic brain push me around. But still…

    I’ll let y’all know next week how it all went. Wish me luck! (don’t say break a leg, because that is all too real a possibility)

  • the wedding is when?

    I need some advice friends – I’m a bridesmaid in a large wedding happening late next year and the MOH is already very very opinionated on how “things should be”. She says she wants input on the shower and bachelorette party, but then shoots down every idea anyone has. On one hand I kind of get it since she’s really into party planning in general, but it really seems like she’s just recreating her own wedding events because that’s what she likes, not because it’s the best or even easiest way to do it. Any advice on how to deal with an overbearing MOH, especially for the next several months? I don’t really want to spend so much time listening to conversations about this wedding where I really have no say in what will eventually happen (and be asked to pay for). Seriously – I’ve had seven emails and one phone call today from this person and the wedding won’t happen for so long!

    • BDubs

      Yikes, sounds like you’re stuck without an opinion on anything with this particular MOH. Save your breath and let her set it up. Speak up if something won’t work, doesn’t fit, or will break the bank. Less work for you, right? Or something. I’ve been there and it sucks, but holding your peace and being a busy bee when the queen decides what you’re all going to do or buy.

    • Lulu

      Maybe just lay it all out, RACI chart style: I’m offering to be responsible for x, would like to be consulted on y, and can just be informed about z? If she balks at giving you responsibility, then at least you know you tried, and then you can feel empowered to use gmail’s “mute conversation” function liberally.

  • Goldilocks, apparently.

    A frivolous question: anyone have any tips for how to choose a wedding dress when everything I try on either feels like a costume or not special enough? I’ve tried BHLDN but no luck.

    • BDubs

      What did you wear to prom or any other fancy occasion? A poofy ball gown? A slinky dress? Short cocktail? Suit?
      Let that be a good starting place, something you already have tried and like, and work out from there :) And avoid bridal boutiques if you think standard wedding gowns look costume-y. Etsy is a good place to look for different things that are not mainstream.

      • Goldi again

        This is clever! I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to ask myself this question. Thanks!

    • LydiaB

      I felt the same in the “proper” wedding dresses so basically decided I would look at the designers and labels I could never in a million years afford for a “normal” dress but that were actually amazing value for a wedding dress – I started in the high end department stores like Selfridges (UK based here) and online at places like net-a-porter before just visiting the designers sites directly and ended up with a Temperley diffusion line dress that didn’t scream WEDDING but definitely felt insanely special and was around $500 – Google is your friend!

    • This is why I went with a J Crew dress. It felt much less like a bride costume than the more bridal dresses while still feeling special enough.

      • Goldilocks

        Thanks for the tip!

    • Sally

      I found some awesome ones that fit this bill at my local bridal store, Unbridaled: http://www.unbridaled.com/bride/. You might try some of their designers, I ended up with a very plain Jenny Yoo dress that probably didn’t look bridal to other people but was pefect for me.

      • Goldilocks

        Jenny Yoo looks gorgeous, I’ll see if I can find some to try one somewhere near me,

    • Lawyerette510

      I really enjoyed ordering lots of pretty dresses online from places like Bloomingdales and Nordstrom and a few designers directly who had decent return policies, then trying them on at home. I found so many dresses that I loved, and the lack of pressure and getting to try them on multiple times in various moods also was helpful.

    • Alynae

      I wore a red dress. Because trying on all of the wedding gown felt like “a bride playing dress up” to me. The woman at Vera Wang could tell I wasn’t all that happy and asked if we could try something different. First blush, then a deep wine red. I LOVED it. It wasn’t a generic wedding dress, it was the damn prettiest dress I had ever tried on. Me wearing it on my wedding day made it a wedding dress. Go find the most amazing dress you have ever laid eyes on. Then make it your wedding dress.

      • Goldilocks

        Love this!

    • emilyg25

      I bought a dress online that was a silhouette I know looks good on me and my favorite color (hot pink). Think about what you usually wear and bump it up a few notches.

  • Sarah

    After months of searching, I have a second interview for a job I really want and I’m pretty sure they want to offer it to me! Only problem is, while the salary I have in mind is pretty reasonable considering industry averages and what I could contribute to the business (and what they could probably afford to pay me), even the top of their range is below it. I think it might come up in the interview and I want to be ready for it, does anyone have any advice on negotiating a starting salary? I don’t want to sell myself short, but I do really want this position (also I kind of need it because my current contract is about to expire).

    • CMT

      Check out Ask A Manager!!! (Which is what I say to everyone I encounter with work-related questions.) You should definitely ask and try to negotiate, but if they’ve posted a range (which isn’t that common), I doubt they’re going to have much room for negotiation.

  • Leela

    I have often turned to crocheting and knitting in times of stress, and the world is really scary these days…so I’ve been hatting up a storm for a while now. I decided to turn my nervous habit into something positive: I’ve launched a project called Stitching For Syrians that provides Syrian refugees with warm winter hats and scarves. If you are interested in donating a handmade hat or scarf, please visit Stitchingforsyrians.wordpress.com for details. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Ravelry as well. I’m really excited about it. So far I’ve sent out 39 hats and scarves to Jordan, 24 to Lebanon, 21 to Germany, and 60 to Greece, and raised $450 for postage. I haven’t felt this proud in a long time.

    • Natalie

      WOW! That is fantastic. I’ve been thinking after my Christmas gift-knitting is finished that I wanted to knit hats to hand out to the homeless I pass on my bike ride to work, but all the homeless people I’ve seen lately already have warm-looking hats (which is good, because it’s Montana and frickin’ COLD out). Maybe I’ll knit hats for refugees instead. Thanks for sharing your project info with us.

      Also, +1 for knitting as fantastic stress relief. I often half-joke that I knit so that I don’t feel the urge to stab people with my knitting needles.

    • C_Gold

      This is wonderful! What a good idea. Hopefully I’ll have some stuff to contribute soon!

    • I love this idea. Maybe I’ll get back to crocheting so I can contribute. It would be nice to have some busywork for my hands that actually does something to help someone.

    • Sarah Shinyhelmet Stovetop

      I really love the book “Comfort.” It’s a memoir in which the author copes with the death of her child and pretty much talks about how knitting literally saved her life. Knitting is one of my go-to coping mechanisms and it’s an amazing book.

    • Alice

      This is great! I’m in the UK, so I suppose it doesn’t make sense for me to ship hats back to Brooklyn, but I’ll definitely see if there’s someone here with the same idea.

      • Leela

        You might check out the Starfish Foundation. They work in a lot of places, including Molyvos. I’ve sent them packages. I think they have a UK address where they are gathering winter things for shipment to Greece. And thank you!

  • My dog finally figured out the concept of fetch this morning. We’ve had him for a year and pretty much no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get it across to him that he needed to pick up the ball. He would run and chase it super happily, pick it up, maybe run in a circle, then drop the ball and run back to me. Without the ball. This morning something finally clicked and he realized if he brings the ball back to me then he can get to chase it again. (He’s not the smartest dog but we love him anyway.) That’s my little bit of happy to add into the world for today, because Chicago has been… not the best place this week and I need to hold onto all the happy.

    • C_Gold

      Thanks for the little bit of happy. And I, for one, would not object to seeing a photo of your “not the smartest” dog. Could use as many pictures of dogs as possible lately.

      • I love showing people my dog! He’s a very pretty dog when he wants to be but mostly spends his time being rather silly.

    • RoseTyler

      Thank you for the hope. I literally just came in from walking my dog and then attempting fetch. He will chase the ball and then just turn around and come back. Maybe one day it will click for him too.

      • Kayla

        We taught our fuzzy guy fetch just by trading the ball for a treat every time he brought it back. If he came back with no ball, he’d get no treat. He learned quickly! But he’s very, very food motivated.

        • RoseTyler

          we taught “down” in a similar way … our problem is … he has literally never picked up the ball nor brought it back.

          • Kayla

            Ha! That’s the opposite of ours. He loves his ball.

            Do you clicker train? You could give treats if he even goes near the ball, and eventually more treats if he touches the ball, picks it up, carries it a little bit toward you etc.

            Or, you know, you could be perfectly happy with a dog that won’t fetch. Also an option. :)

          • RoseTyler

            yeah … I WOULD be happy with a non-fetching dog, but i’m lazy. he weighs 81 pounds of solid muscle and needs exercise. As it is, I have to go with him to exercise him. I have hopes for sitting on my porch and throwing the ball while he runs back and forth :)

          • Kayla

            About 70 pounds of muscle dog for me. Fetch is a lifesaver for us. I hope yours is on his way to figuring it out! If he has no interest in balls at all maybe a hollow one with some peanut butter in it would spark his interest? We do that with my pup just for a treat. Of course, then he wants to eat the ball.

            Dogs are tricky little beasts.

          • Eenie

            Fun fact: my cat love to play fetch. I throw his toy down the stairs, he chases it, potentially throws it up in the air, gets bored, and brings it back to my lap while I sit on the couch. I’ll often wake up to a bed full of pipecleaners or mouse toys because CLEARLY I wasn’t playing with him because he didn’t bring me the right toy. Gotta love animals.

  • NatalieN

    Is anyone else tired that the MOMENT a tragedy like San Bernadino or any other awful shooting/mass murder/horrendous event, happens there is an immediate politicizing of the event? Like, people are hurt, and hurting and heartbroken, but let me use this opportunity to talk immediately about gun control, or talk immediately about how guns aren’t the problem, or talk immediately about how this should change our immigration policy. That along with how the media explodes with wanting to know why the perpetrators did what they did and does a deep dive into their lives and all of a sudden it’s like they’re celebrities and we’re giving mass murderers our time, energy, and attention. It just makes me sick.

    For example, a friend of mine, hours after the San Bernardino shooting posted “to those friend’s of mine who think that all terrorist attacks are from Muslim extremist, I show you this as proof that’s not true”. He wasn’t wrong, not all terrorist attacks are from Muslim extremists, far from it, but do we HAVE to make a statement about the event so soon after it happens that we don’t even know the facts, but we’re so quick to make a point turns out he was kinda wrong to use this as his example?

    TL;DR don’t give the perpetrators your time, or attention – give it to the victims.

    • Amy March

      My take on it is that deaths from mass shootings are a political outrage the minute they occur- they don’t need to be politicized, because they already are.

    • Kayjayoh

      In addition to what Amy March said, they happen with such frequency. By the time it stops being “too soon” for one, it becomes “too soon” for the next.

  • NatalieN

    My link round up today is for the victims of the San Bernardino shooting – these are the memorial funds I was able to find, if you’re aware of others please share.

    https://www.gofundme.com/y2d8bn7w/donate – Benneta Betbadal who fled from Iran to escape from Islamic extremism.
    https://www.youcaring.com/renee-wetzel-480644 – Michael Wetzel, father of 6
    https://www.gofundme.com/t3d3nb38 – Robert Adams, father of a 22 month old
    https://www.gofundme.com/apd6bz84 – Nicholas Thalasinos, A Jewish man who had discussions on religion with the shooter.
    https://www.gofundme.com/3wd9j8bw – Aurora Godoy, mother of a 2 year old boy

  • E.

    This week I I finally did something about the “winter tree” in the entrance to the public school where I teach (which is so obviously a Christmas tree). I worked up the courage and told the assistant principal it made me uncomfortable. He was very supportive and told me to bring up in a meeting the next day, which caused a much bigger shitstorm than I was expecting and was horrible. The principal ended having them take down the tree. I’m young (24), new to the school, and super shy so speaking up about it was really hard, but I’m glad I did. And the assistant principal was very supportive in the meeting and spoke a lot about the privilege of being part of the dominant culture. He later thanked me for opening his eyes to the issue and said it was a really big growth opportunity for him. It was a rough 24 hours, but I’m proud of myself for standing up for students and parents who don’t celebrate Christmas.

    • lady brett

      that is awesome, thanks.

    • As a child that did not celebrate Christmas and went to a public school in a rural area that didn’t even attempt to make me feel anything but excluded during this season, thank you so much for this. A million times thank you. It’s so great that you were willing to put yourself out there for yourself and on behalf of those kids.

      • E.

        Thank you for the validation! I had to keep reminding myself that the families and students hurt by the tree are likely less vocal than the ones who love it, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

        • Ilora

          Growing up my family has always celebrated the Winter Solstice though we did Christmas with our grandparents. Some of our Solstice traditions are very similar to Christmas; we do a tree and stockings and gifts.

          Other things are not; we don’t use any electric lights on the Solstice, only candles (we make an exception for the tree lights, and the fridge light!).

          Whenever I talk about the Winter Holidays to anyone who doesn’t and won’t know that I don’t celebrate Christmas I don’t bother making the distinction. If someone asks if I’m done my Christmas shopping I just say “almost” (or more likely “not even close!”) because I just don’t have it in me to get into the whole “actually I don’t do Christmas but I’m almost done Solstice Shopping”

          The stuff that sucks though is when the people who do know “forget” (deliberately or otherwise). My Grandma has complained to me about cashiers wishing her a “Happy Holidays” and why can’t they just say “Merry Christmas”. One of my coworkers, whom I work directly with for the past 4 years, was completely shocked that I dislike Christmas music! I’m an Atheist who doesn’t celebrate Christmas! Why would I like music that is a) often quite religious and b) about a holiday that I don’t celebrate!

          So yeah, the tide of Christmas everything, everywhere is so exhausting. Thank you so much for doing your part to make people think a little deeper.

          • Celebrating Winter Solstice is a great idea. I’m not Christian, but I love the ”holidays” because it makes the start of winter suck so much less. But how are songs about bells on a sled, a winter wonderland, or it being cold outside against celebrating Winter Solstice?

          • Amy March

            Because she said “quite often religious” not 100% of the time about Jesus, so picking out a handful of examples doesn’t change her overall views on a general category of music?

          • Ilora

            I don’t have any objection to them on that ground, they just irritate me due to being over played. Too many years working retail and hearing them non-stop from November to January.

            And it’s not that I think Christmas music is ‘against’ anything it’s for Christmas, which I happen to not celebrate. And I also don’t complain about it, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. But when I’m asked outright why I don’t enjoy listening (non-stop, for two months) to music about a holiday they know I don’t celebrate…that gets an eye roll.

    • A Christmas tree is more paegan than anything, and plenty of people aren’t Christian and still participate in the winter festivities. I don’t understand how a tree can possible make someone uncomfortable. Isn’t there another alternative to making everyone feel included, aside from ruining winter decorations?

      • E.

        Most 6 year olds (and probably adults) who don’t celebrate Christmas aren’t thinking about the origins of Christmas traditions, they are thinking about how it is a tradition they don’t participate in and feeling left out. We talked at the meeting about putting up more decorations from other winter celebrations, but we have a lot of students who are Jehovah’s Witnesses and would still be excluded with that, and the principal has had some legal battles in the past about trying to inclusive and missing some/some people getting upset with the different celebrations that were represented.
        Winter decorations are great and will probably go up to replace the tree, but that’s like a snowperson, snowflakes, etc.

      • Amy March

        A Christmas tree is about Christmas. It’s not a pagan symbol now. It’s not a generic winter festivity. The fact that many people who aren’t religious put up Christmas trees doesn’t remove their connection to Christmas, an inherently religious holiday.

        I find it disturbing that you can’t imagine how anyone could be offended by their public place of employment celebrating a religious holiday they don’t observe. Really? Disagree sure but can’t imagine this is true? Someone has just told you that she is offended and why. Saying you “can’t imagine” is a way of invalidating her and her experience. You don’t have to exercise your imagination, you just have to read and accept that her experience is valid even if it isn’t yours.

        If you want “winter festivity” decor, how about snowmen, and snowflakes, and penguins and igloos?

    • Danielle

      Thank you on behalf of all humans who don’t celebrate Christmas.

      Re: the shitstorm: isn’t it amazing how some fully grown adults throw temper tantrums when anything but devout love for their beloved Christmas is expressed?!?!

      Srsly people, grow the f*ck up.

    • Lisa

      The thread about the holidays really opened my eyes about how alienating “secular Christmas” could be to people of other traditions. I tried to speak up about including Christmas-y decorations in my new office, but living in a southern state, I was overruled because “it wasn’t like they were asking to put up baby Jesus or anything” and “Christmas trees are neutral.” (I did win out on the door decorations by suggesting a snow/snowman theme instead of Rudolph, etc.)

      I’m really happy for you that you were able to find support in your principal and that he stood up to all of the other staff members with you. You should be very proud of yourself.

  • ash

    i went to college and grad school in san bernardino and grew up visiting my grandmother there and my mom grew up in the inland empire and you are too right, it has been strange to see a place struggling to stay alive suddenly be thrust into such a nightmarish light. i’m so sorry for your (and so much) loss <3

    we got our wedding pictures back this week which has been a really awesome distraction from all the horror, at least

    deleted/reposted/edited for technical weirdness

    • MC

      This picture is soooo cute!!! I love the converse :)

      • ash

        thank you so so much!

  • Jennifer

    I have a job interview/audition on Monday! Long story is I trained at this yoga and barre studio back in May, went on my merry way teaching out of a basement for the summer. And just recently decided I wanted to teach as part of a studio now, where I could be around people more often. So… I asked and now I have an audition. Although I’ve been teaching for months now I’m kind of terrified. :0

  • Sarah Shinyhelmet Stovetop

    Happy Friday, bridal-hive-mind! I’ve had an insaaaanely sad week, and APW has been my ready escape. So thanks for that. Looks like I wasn’t the only one from these posts. Here’s a video of me and my fiance being dorks in love and singing together :3

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxVgSX3MmHQ

  • BenevolentSpaceDictator

    So, Mr. BenevolentSpaceDictator and I have a.) picked a wedding date, b.) booked a wedding venue, c.) booked a photographer, d.) found my dress (it’s purple!), e.) registered our ridiculously-named wedding URL and parked it with a silly wedding-themed image. What we have *not* done: gotten “officially” engaged. He has a plan, a big plan, apparently, and that’s good enough for me. I never really cared about the surprise of being asked, just about the surprise of HOW he asked.

    And now we can add: f.) picked out the sapphire that will go in my engagement ring. I love it so much, and I’m so excited. Cat-scaring dances of glee shall now commence.

    • Ilora

      Yay! Congrats on getting so many big things locked down!
      Pre-Congrats on the engagement ;)

      If you wanted to post a dress pic I wouldn’t tell you no ;)

    • Danielle

      Yay! I also had a purple wedding dress and blue engagement ring (blue topaz). Are we wedding color twins or what??

      Color brings life to the celebration and you will look awesome!

    • Eenie

      Love the sapphire! I sometimes wish mine wasn’t as deep of a blue so it showed more of it’s color. It looks black half the time when it’s not the right light.

  • L.

    A medium channels the San Bernardino shooters.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXHL542QFCE

  • I’m so, so sorry for your loss Meg. I’ve been glued to the TV all week and praying for an end to terrorism and crazy people

  • San Bernardino is the next best thing to a hometown neighbor and when they released that list of names, I see that someone from my hometown was killed. I don’t really have the words for the horror that keeps continuing, and this time coming to a hometown.

    Suffice to say, at some point, I had to resolve that until we can do something about THAT, we’re going to do our darnedest to help make the world a little bit better in any way we can.

    And admire our wonderful, cheerful, brightly engaged child for whom we hold our breath and [I don’t pray but what’s the word… something like that] hope that this won’t be an every day occurrence by the time ze grows up.

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