APW Happy Hour


Come hang with us at the Phenomenal Woman Pop Up!

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

HM2_7807Hey APW,

Some of you in the Bay Area have been dying to see our new office space for The Compact and APW (we’ve been showing you pictures under the hashtag #compactclubhouse on Instagram, where you should TOTALLY be hanging with us @the_compact). WELL! While we’re not anywhere near fully decorated and open for business, we’re opening our doors for the first time next weekend for a good cause, and you can (and should) come hang with us. Here are the details:

We’re hosting the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign photo pop-up next weekend in Oakland March 18–19. Proceeds benefit seven fearless women’s organizations, and you’ll join badass women like Issa RaeLuvvie, America Ferrera and you know… me, modeling this shirt.

This is how it’s going down

  1. Purchase a Maya Angelou–inspired shirt (from $32)
  2. At checkout, enter the code APRACTICALWEDDING (this is how we know you want a photo!)
  3. Watch for an email to schedule your shoot time
  4. Show up and get your photo taken by an amazing local female photographer like: Jamie ThrowerNicole CrossLaurie WilsonStephanie HallerKatelyn Tucker, or Jennifer Graham
  5. Plus, you get to hang out with the APW and The Compact teams in our new digs!⠀

KIDS WELCOME! If you want your kids in a few of your photos, we recommend that you dress them in solid colors. If you want to just have some me-time in front of the camera 🙋🏽💆🏻👄, we’ll have a kids’ play area set up, and our staff will be able to keep an eye on them for you. NON-BINARY FOLKS WELCOME! We’ll have markers and you can modify the hell out of your shirt, with all due love and respect to Maya Angelou. Also, if you’re not in the area, you can still participate by posting a selfie in your shirt on social.

Can’t wait to see some of you in real life!

xoxo,

Meg

LINK ROUND-UP

How the European Union turned Greece into a refugee prison.

Falling in love with a water buffalo is wonderful but gays are an abomination, according to Beauty and the Beast protestors.

Shell knew about global warming in the ’90s, and this movie proves it.

These women are actual superheroes.

Women’s March organizers (ALSO SUPERHEROES) bravely got arrested for nonviolent resistance on #daywithoutawoman.

“Illegal” migration is down because of 45, but it has dire consequences.

This experiment proves how women are treated differently than men—because people still need convincing 🙄

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

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • scw

    I successfully defended my dissertation yesterday! I have all the feelings!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!! What a major accomplishment!

    • Ashlah

      Way to go!!

    • AGCourtney

      Congrats!!!

    • Gaby

      Congratulations!

    • Cleo

      Yay! Congrats!! I hope you’re treating yourself this weekend (nice meal, quality drink, bubble bath, a night out, whatever)!

    • Anya

      Congratulations!

    • CMT

      That’s so awesome! Congratulations!

    • Yael

      YAY!

    • Natalie

      Yay! Congrats!

    • Green

      You sound like a phenomenal woman – way to go!

    • Shirley Schmidt

      Congratulations!! Amazing achievement.

    • zana

      YAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
      Although, it’s also okay if you don’t have all the feelings ;) Defending can also be a bit of a let down after all the hype.

    • Banane

      Congrats!!

    • mjh

      Congratulations!

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  • Anon single

    Not sure if this is the right forum to ask this, but I don’t quite know where to go.

    My fiance and I broke up about 4 months ago. This is the first time I’ve been single in my adult life. I have had two long-term relationships that piggy-backed on one another (literally got out of one 6 year relationship and my supposed-to-be rebound the following month turned into the 7 year relationship I just exited).

    I’m excited to be single. I’m not yet ready to date. However, I need to have sex (my ex and I didn’t have sex for the last 4 months of our relationship). And I say need because it feels like a physical need. My only problem is that I’ve never had nor sought out casual sex before.

    I’ve downloaded Tinder, but I’m too scared to sign up and start swiping and talking. There’s something that squicks me about it, but I’d like to get over that.

    And I have no idea how to go about meeting a random guy in person at a bar/bookstore/etc. (my preference).

    Help please!

    • Nic.

      Go into a bar/bookstore/… and talk to groups with single guys, flirt with the one you find cute, have a great night (also: have a friend warned about you going out and send an empty text if you need a call to get you out of there).
      I totally understand the need for sex (and the rebound turning into 7 years too).

    • Katharine Parker

      Something I see in a lot of friends who haven’t been single in the past 5+ years is that they missed out on the time when dating apps became totally mainstream. Everyone I know who is single is on Tinder, or Bumble, or Hinge, etc etc (or on many of them). Meeting people at a bar or a bookstore is hard–is that person single? Are they interested in me? Are they interested in the same kind of relationship I am? An app lets you bypass that–if you match with someone, you know at least that he/she is interested in you. Be clear in your profile that you’re looking for something casual.

      If you want to go home with someone you meet at a bar, do it! But not being on any dating apps is going to limit you in 2017.

      • lamarsh

        This is exactly right. My bff was in back-to-back relationships for 10 consecutive years. When she first became single, she was very opposed to meeting anyone on the apps, but she came around to it because it is so much easier to set up dates and it also takes the pressure off of going out with the intent to meet someone. (I think when you are only relying on meeting people when you’re out, you can feel like your whole night is ruined if you don’t exchange numbers with someone.)

        That being said, her first post-relationship hook-up was with a dude she met at a bar, so obviously that plan can work too.

        • Katharine Parker

          “I think when you are only relying on meeting people when you’re out, you can feel like your whole night is ruined if you don’t exchange numbers with someone.” This is so true! It’s nice to be open to meeting someone out, and it does happen, but being intent on it just leads to disappointment.

    • Anon for this

      When I was single after my divorce, I had good luck “reuniting” with old guy friends on FB;)

      I also recommend tapping your most outgoing/flirty lady friend to be your wingwoman. I found it was much easier to approach guys when I had the confidence of being on a “girls night out,” plus the extra conversational support helps. Just make sure you have a plan for communicating when she should make an excuse to leave, safety, etc.

    • Kate

      If the thought of accidentally boning a trump supporter squicks you out more than online dating, may I recommend getting on OkCupid? Through their match questions you can sort out some obvious stinkers and still have plenty of boneable dudes.

    • EF

      i think it’s a completely different mindset, casual sex vs relationship sex (i’m a fan of both…and miss casual sex sometimes). so if you’re a person who’s never done it, definitely be aware for how you might feel. it’s one thing to go for a one-night stand (which can be awesome), it’s a different thing to go for a casual friends-with-benefits thing. so definitely interrogate yourself a little bit on preferences and emotions, to be prepared.

      i can’t say a whole lot about tinder etc, but okcupid worked well for me back in the day and i have many friends still on it (it’s less binary than tinder). it always seemed like a place where people were more or less honest about what they wanted, and willing to meet up sooner rather than later.

      finally — you’ve got yourself a vibrator, right? stop-gap measures, as it were ;-)

      good luck and have fun!

      • Anna

        Seconding OKCupid. It does tend to skew young, though.

        If you’re at all into data/algorithm stuff, they used to have a great blog called OKTrends that explained behind-the-scenes data stuff – how they would actually verify if changes to their system were “working” (i.e., causing more people to find what they’re looking for on the site, or reduce harassment, or whatever) and interesting tidbits based on anonymized, aggregated profile data.

      • Katharine Parker

        This is why it is good to try different apps–I hated OKcupid (so many harassing messages), but I went on some good Tinder dates. So it’s worth trying different stuff out to see what works for you!

    • Anna

      My mom recently started dating again, something like five years after she and my dad separated. Tinder has actually worked really well for her, because evidently a non-negligible fraction of the men over ~40 on most dating sites are scammers, but because Tinder requires a Facebook profile, that’s way less of an issue. She also said that the men she met via Tinder were generally a pretty pleasant group relative to men she met via other dating options (even putting aside the scammers). She was specifically looking for someone to date, so not exactly your situation, but I just wanted to share that Tinder doesn’t have to be squicky :-)

  • Lisa

    I’m so jealous of all the local people who can take advantage of this deal! It sounds like such a fun time.

    It’s been a 90% good week here. Wednesday was my mother’s birthday, I successfully ran a major college-wide event at work, and our friends’ daughter was born! A good International Women’s Day for most, but another one of our dear friends also texted my husband and me to cancel our evening plans because she was having a miscarriage. Any advice on being supportive of her during this rough time? We only see her once every week or so when she comes to town for a class and stays overnight with us, but I’m not sure how to be helpful right now.

    Also! We’re hopping across the pond and spending my husband’s spring break in LONDON! I’m sooooo excited, and I’ve almost finished my re-read of Harry Potter that I started in honor of the studio tour we’re doing. We also have our three-star Michelin restaurant experience lined up for the first day, and I couldn’t be more excited for everything else we’ve got planned!

    • Gaby

      Ah so jealous of the studio tour! I need to finally make a trip to LA for Universal Studios this year. I don’t have any advice for assisting your friend but I know it’s come up in other HHs so I’m sure you’ll get lots of great responses today.

      • Lisa

        I’ve been to Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando, and we’re going back there in June to see Diagon Alley finally. It’s definitely a Harry Potter couple of months!

        • AGCourtney

          Oh, that sounds wonderful. Goals!

    • emmers

      Congrats on your good week! And how excellent about your London trip! The Michelin restaurant sounds awesome– that’s one of my bucket list things :).

      For your friend, I would send her an email or text or something like that saying how sorry you are, and how you’ll be thinking of her. If you can mail something like flowers, that would also be sweet. I’m about 8 months out from my miscarriage, and the sweetest has been the one person who keeps occasionally checking in with me and asking how I’m coping. Everyone else was sweet at first but kinda forgot, which is normal, but you get extra points if you occasionally check in about it. She may not be sure what would be helpful to her right now, but just kind of making her know that you know that it sucks and you’re rooting for her, is helpful in itself. These cards are also great: http://shop.drjessicazucker.com/. And if you can keep track of what would have been her original due date, and can check in with her then too, that would be super sweet, since that may be a rough time for her.

      • Cellistec

        That’s a really good thought about checking in periodically, assuming the person is ok with it. It’s easy to forget that compassion isn’t a one-and-done.

      • Lisa

        Thank you for your perspective. Both my husband and I responded with condolence texts and told her to let us know if she needs anything. Maybe we’ll do a nice dinner for her with a special cocktail or something next time she stays with us. I know her due date was supposed to be in November, but I’m not sure of the exact time. I’m making a note on my calendar to get in touch with her in the beginning of the month.

        • emmers

          Even if you don’t know the exact date, just letting her know that you’re thinking of her in November would be super sweet.

      • Natalie

        I think this is true and great advice for people trying to support someone through any kind of loss, not only miscarriage.

    • Sara

      I’d try to reach out and send something, even a card, to know you’re thinking of her. And try to follow up later on.
      Example: My friend had a miscarriage and I dropped off a box at her house full of non-food meal things I knew she’d like (a romance novel, bubble bath, chocolate, sappy movie). She said she appreciated it because everyone had been bringing large amounts of food over and she feeling guilty that she wasn’t in an eating mood. She’s also a dark humor person so I wrote in her card to tell me when she’s ready to drink again and I’d be her DD and she said she laughed ridiculously hard. I followed up with her a month or so later and went out for girls night.

      • Lisa

        I like these. Maybe husband and I can find a fun souvenir to bring back from the UK as a little pick-me-up for her. Also, husband is an excellent cocktail maker so there might need to be a special drink on the menu the next time she stays over.

    • EF

      i’m a londoner, so if you want any local recommendations or insight (like…the HP studio is *not* in london. it is outside the city and takes aaaages to get to. so plan in that bus commute time!) give me a shout. and have a fantastic time!

      • Lisa

        Thank you so much! We were charting out our public transit last week, and I did notice the studios are like an hour away from our host’s home. (We also spent a bunch of time trying to figure out exactly how much we were going to end up paying because of some weird zone rules.) If I think of any questions before we fly out tomorrow, I’ll reply back here! Thanks again! :)

        • EF

          just as a heads up — get an oyster card (£5 – you can refund that on your last day by returning the card) and put a bunch of money on it rather than getting tube passes. it’s cheaper that way, even when traveling to zone 17 or whatever HP studios is in :-D

          • Lisa

            My ILs had some leftover oyster cards that they sent us to reload so I’m glad to hear we’ve gone the right route! We’re planning to buy a one day pass at some point, too, because we were able to get BOGO tickets for the London Eye and Tower of London by showing the transit tickets. The rest will be pass-as-we-go, I think.

          • Anne

            Not sure if you’re still checking this but the oyster card will top you up to a day pass automatically, so no need to add the pass. It’ll do this for a week pass as well (if you use it enough), so the only passes ever worth buying are the monthly ones.

    • I agree that long term check-in texts and emails are a good way to go. Those kept me going (and I reread them too) during a long season of grief/loss.

  • penguin

    We’re visiting venue locations (two) this weekend, so hopefully we can get a venue booked soon!

    Downer/cw/tw alert.

    In the meantime, I have invite list/family drama to ask you all about. I’m going back and forth on whether or not to invite my mom. We’re pretty much estranged at this point. We used to do obligatory phone calls on birthdays and Christmas, but even those dropped off in the last year or two. There is some abuse history there (not from her, but from her boyfriend-then-husband at the time). She knew about it, and married him anyway (now divorced and married to someone else), and I’ve never really forgiven her for it. I moved out of her house in middle school, and never went back. She came to a week-long extended family reunion last summer, and was perfectly nice and acted like we were 100% ok and buddies for that week. I was polite and nice back to not cause a scene/keep the peace. Since then I’ve heard nothing from her, including when I got engaged (although she “liked” my engagement post on FB).

    My dilemma – I have a younger half-brother who still lives with her. He is in his early teens. I want the chance to invite him/have him come to the wedding, so he can spend time with extended family. She lives multiple states away from the rest of the family, and rarely visits anyone, so this would be one of his only chances to see family. If I invite her, she may not bring little brother anyway, and she may bring her new husband (who is annoying and a jerk, but not abusive as far as I know). If I don’t invite her, little brother won’t be able to come, since he is too young to travel alone.

    When I think of her being there, I feel a little sick to my stomach. I’m afraid that since she’s the “mother of the bride” technically that people will think we’re close, or she’ll try to make a speech, or who the hell knows.

    Any thoughts? Sorry if this is TMI, I’ve just been going back and forth on this since even before I got engaged. I talked to my fiancé and he 100% supports my decision either way, although he thinks I shouldn’t invite her. That’s the way I’m leaning, but wanted to ask for advice.

    • Cleo

      I’m so sorry. This is such a conundrum.

      First, it’s so kind of you to want to include your little brother even though it puts you in a tough spot emotionally.

      It sounds like you’re unsure whether your mom would even take your younger brother with her if you were to invite her. Is there a way you can ensure that her coming means your brother comes? Can you call her and explain to her it’s important that he be there and will she listen? If not, maybe you don’t invite her if the purpose of this invite is only to allow your brother to come.

      Is there a way you can communicate your love/care to your brother on your wedding day if he’s not there? Skype/Facetime him in maybe? Have a family member in charge of passing a phone around the room so he can say hi to everyone?

      If you decide that there is a way you can get your mom to bring your brother, maybe explore this question:

      With respect to your mom’s behavior and in your mom’s mind, how is/was the family reunion different from your wedding? Is your mom someone who likes/feels entitled to hog the spotlight when she can? Do you think she’ll just try to keep up appearances again?

      Either way, do you have someone you can trust to keep her on a leash and away from you during the day? Someone who can be on Mom duty? Can your vendors know not to put her in posed photos or to give her the microphone?

      And would having to set any of that up make you more stressed and upset than having your brother there would make you happy? If so, that is totally cool and maybe in service of having a peaceful wedding day, you don’t invite her.

      Good luck and hope these questions help!

      • penguin

        Thank you so much for all of this – it was beyond helpful. I’m definitely going to have someone (or several someones) on mom duty if she’s there. I’ve already tapped my maid of honor for this and she’s 100% on board.

        I’ll have to figure out some of these other questions – once we have a date/venue nailed down I think it’ll be easier to suss out whether or not she’d be bringing him, since the date would probably make a difference. The overall stress factor of having her there may outweigh the benefits (her relationship with my older brother is even worse than with me, so I may talk to him about this).

        I think I’d be a lot more comfortable/relaxed not having her there, but I may be willing to sacrifice that for family reasons. I just read through the first APW book and it brought up (over and over) how the people who attend your wedding are the ones who matter, and they’re the ones who love and support you, and lots of other statements in that same vein. After reading that and knowing that none of those are true for my mom, thinking about having her there just made me… sad.

        I’m very thankful for APW tonight. Thanks so much again Cleo <3

    • Jessica

      For what it’s worth, if you do end up deciding to invite your mom — I think the “traditional” role of the mother of the bride is very behind-the-scenes at the wedding itself. I’ve never been to a wedding where the Mother otb has offered a toast on her own (maaaaaybe with her husband/the father otb) and there’s no traditional “first dance” with the mom or anything. Often there’s a picture of the mom helping the bride put on her dress, but nobody except your wedding party (and photographer) would skip that, and presumably they would know about your relationship with your mom anyway.
      (The lack of a role for moms stood out to me in an amusing way at my cousin’s wedding — my cousin’s two brothers were groomsmen and her dad, a minister, officiated the wedding. This meant that the first pew of the church, which was reserved for “immediate family” was mostly just my aunt sitting alone.)
      All this to say that I don’t think that many people at your wedding would be inclined to make assumptions about your relationship with your mom either way. Maybe it’s still not worth the emotional risk to you, but I think you could take that part away from your worries.

    • Natalie

      Are you sure there’s no way for your brother to come alone? Since he’s in his early teens, he’d be able to fly as an unaccompanied minor (look into airlines’ rules on this, I assume it costs more but I’ve seen pretty young kids flying by themselves). Could you get other relatives to host him in their hotel room, or friends to let him stay at their house, so he’s not on his own in a strange town/left to his own devices?

      • penguin

        He might be able to, although it would make me nervous (he’s a young 13/14). I guess my conundrum was more that I couldn’t just invite him and not my mother, and if I did I’m assuming she would keep him home out of spite. I’ll keep this in mind though if I do invite them, and she says that she can’t come for some reason. This could work as a counter offer. Thanks for the advice!

        • Natalie

          That’s a tough position you’re in. I’m sorry.

    • NolaJael

      I think I would invite them both. Even though it makes your stomach turn, you said that she was perfectly behaved at the reunion, even if overly presumptuous in her relationship status. Not inviting her opens a whole other can of worms, beyond just your sibling. You’d have to figure out an answer every time someone asks about her, etc.

      If you can stomach it, I’d just invite her and treat her like a distant relative, no special treatment. Send a STD and an invite, give her a seat with your brother and say hi at the reception. That’s it.

      • CMT

        I don’t think having to to answer for her missing mother should factor into this at all. It’s not anybody’s business and a breezy “Oh, she’s not here” or something similar would suffice to anybody rude enough to ask.

      • penguin

        If I do end up inviting her I think I will go the distant relative route, that will probably make it easier to deal with.

    • BSM

      Oy, this sounds kind of familiar to my relationship with my mom and younger brother (who was 17 when we got married).

      First, I’m sorry you’re in this situation. It’s very tough, especially when you’re both sorting through your own feelings about it while being worried about other people’s expectations around your family. The good news on the latter is that your guests generally take their cue from you, so if you don’t make a big deal about her, I highly doubt anyone else will.

      Depending on how large your wedding will be, it might not be that bad to have your mom attend. We had 75 people attend, my mom and I were not speaking at the time (she was being AWFUL in the months leading up to the wedding, including the morning of), and I barely noticed her.

      I would suggest maybe sending separate STDs/invitations to your mom and your half-brother, so that it’s very clear who’s invited. You could then follow up with a phone call to explicitly ask if he can come, and possibly even offer to pay for his flight and accommodations, if that’s manageable for you.

      Take care of yourself! Family shit is so tough, and wedding planning completely amplifies it. Try your best not to let it consume you or your planning experience because it *will* work out. Easier said than done, I know :)

      • penguin

        Thanks so much! Our max invite list is about 85 right now, which includes a lot of older relatives that probably can’t/won’t make it. I’m thinking the actual number of guests may be around 50 or less, but that’s hard to judge. It won’t be tiny at least, which will help.

        I like the idea of separate invitations, and I could put a note in hers about asking for him to come too. The phone call would also help, and thankfully those are always short.

        Thanks again, you guys are great <3

  • CMT

    I posted a couple of months ago that I was looking into doing a balance transfer of my credit card debt to a new card with no interest for a year and a half. At the time I was feeling so on top of my finances and feeling really good about paying off my credit cards! And then life happened and irresponsible spending happened and now I’m feeling guilty and ashamed again. I did not end up doing that balance transfer, which was probably a good thing because I don’t think for the month or two I would have been able to stay diligent about paying it down. My handle on my finances ebbs and flows so much! I think it’s all in a generally positive trend over time, but it can be so frustrating when I let myself give in to bad habits. Ugh. On a related note, I am soo ready for that personal finance blog, Lisa!

    • Amy March

      But good for you for trying, recognizing you got off track, and trying again! I follow a similar pattern with weight loss- really great at sticking to the calorie budget for a long time, and then stuff happens and I get completely derailed. Idk if this is applicable to your situation, but I find automation and aiming low to really help. For me, that means breakfast everyday is yogurt because life is not too hard to buy yogurt, and keeping a few Lean Cuisines in the freezer just in case. For budgeting with money, maybe it looks like setting up as many automatic transfers as possible or putting your credit card physically someplace inconvenient so you have to stop and think before making purchases. The more you can move past the guilt and shame to focus on today and the next day and see, honestly, what tripped you up and how to fix it, the easier it will get. It sounds cheesy, but it’s not failing. It’s learning.

      • gonzalesbeach

        this is very helpful advice for any set backs to our goals – thanks! edit to add that sometimes I get mad at myself for eating one cookie then get upset about the set back then eat five and feel sick. so this is honestly really good way to look at it!

      • Same

        My staple is Greek Yogurt with blueberries and walnuts, which are considered super foods. A study just came out that said neglecting to eat nuts is one of the correlations to early death, so I’m gonna eat the walnuts!

        I also stock healthier frozen foods for when cooking isn’t happening.

    • AGCourtney

      Don’t beat up on yourself too much, you’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got. Money is tough and positive trends are good.

      I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you, but thank you so much for posting that day! It was the catalyst for me looking into it for myself and really helped me out with my dental work.

    • Lisa

      I’m in total agreement with @Amy March:disqus here. It’s important to focus on where you’re succeeding and look to see if there are ways to apply those habits to areas where you don’t feel you’re doing as well. On one of the YNAB Whiteboard Wednesdays, the founder also talked about creating micro-habits, which I think is what Amy was getting at. You don’t say, “I’m never going to use my credit card again.” Instead, you pick something that makes you reconsider what you’re doing. So if you’re going to use your credit card, maybe the resolution is, “Before I make this purchase, I’m going to grab my phone.” Grabbing the phone triggers you to look at your budget or check the card’s balance before you buy anything. It’s about building in something small to change up the routine you’ve already created for yourself.

      Maybe you could think of your financial journey like the American stock market — there are a lot of highs and lows with some major outliers on either end, but overall, the general trend is up. Focus on the progress you’re making instead of the setbacks! Otherwise, it’s tempting to go head-in-the-sand mode and get back to where you started.

    • CMT

      I love this place so much. Thank you for the supportive advice! <3

    • emmers

      I’m sorry that it’s tough.:/ General positive trend is good though!

    • emmers

      I find having a budget app helpful, so I can see how much I have left in various categories. I use goodbudget, since it’s free up to a certain # of categories. But life just so does happen sometimes. We had some unexpected stuff come up this past week. We’re also paying off some debt, and it’s discouraging to see something additional being added. But I’m trying not to get too weighed down, and like you, noting that the overall trend is positive. I also keep thinking of how much more spending money we’ll have when this stuff is done. And one thing that helps me is to still budget in some fun money for myself, so I can buy fun office supplies or a coffee or something occasionally, since it helps me feel like I’m splurging, but it’s within limits.

  • Fushigidane

    My bridal shower was last weekend and it was awesome and way less stressful than I thought it would be. What helped was that my bridesmaids and I had our own table so I didn’t have to continuously interact with everyone. Also they made opening presents into a BINGO game so it didn’t feel super weird announcing what I got to everyone.

    • Brynna

      We played that game at my sister’s shower and it was super fun!

  • Gaby

    Yet another reason to be envious of Bay Area residents! I’m having a pretty good Friday because I finally took the plunge and got a new (to me) car last night. My payments are very reasonable and I was complimented on my good credit several times so I’m a little high on life right now haha. The husband and I are attending an ACLU training event tomorrow and hiking with friends on Sunday. Thank you to everyone for the kind words last week, my friends and I continue to support each other endlessly and are handling the grief together pretty dang well. Happy weekend everyone!

    • Gaby

      hoo boy, I just read that last link about men and women being treated differently in the work place and this line is hitting me hard: “Nicole had the most productive week of her career. I realized the reason she took longer is bc she had to convince clients to respect her.”

  • AGCourtney

    I had my appointment at the burn clinic in Minneapolis on Monday. …it’s not good. (for anyone who missed last week: my hand was caught in a conveyor belt at one of my jobs.) It’s a third degree burn that goes from the back of my hand across the side to a bit of the front of my wrist. The reason it hadn’t really been hurting at all is because it’s so bad. The PA I saw at the burn clinic clearly knew her stuff, so that was comforting. She prescribed me a new ointment that will basically help disintegrate the dead skin and aid the healing. I go back on Monday afternoon to see if it’s working enough…and if it’s not, I’ll have to talk to a surgeon about my options. I hadn’t cried at all through this whole ordeal, but I was screaming and crying in my car after I left the burn clinic. In the meantime, my best bet is to slather on this ointment and consume a lot of protein. My husband recently started selling Herbalife (for anyone who remembers the credit card fiasco, that’s his way out, haha) so he’s been giving me various drinks and snack bars and whatnot to help with the protein.

    I’ve actually been really glad to be married this week. While I could certainly wash it out and wrap it on my own, it’s hard to force yourself to do something painful and it’s my dominant hand, so it’s been nice to have someone to do it for me each morning, haha. And my body completely shut down on me last night – I slept from 6:30pm-9:30pm and could not force myself up for the life of me – so it was nice to have a co-parent and someone to help me downstairs and make me some protein-filled meal shake (which I said tasted like mint chocolate and lies, but drank anyway).

    The accountants at the firm I work at in the mornings have told me there’s always plenty of scanning to do, so I’m more than welcome to pick up hours. So, I’ve been staying later this week. I love it there, but I also feel guilty. As always, I wish I had a time turner: I could work and then go back and be with my daughter. But this job is just for tax season. Today, though, I left right on time – I wanted to get to HH!

    • penguin

      Oh no! I hope you heal quickly. Out of curiosity, have you looked into filing a worker’s comp claim of some kind? Since you were injured at work, they should help pay your medical expenses. I’m not a lawyer but wanted to suggest it. Hoping the best for you.

      • AGCourtney

        Yes, it’s all being covered, thank goodness.

        • Eenie

          I forget what state you’re in (Minnesota?), but knowing what your injury is, you could be eligible for some kind of disability payment if you are not able to work the same hours as before. I’ve handled the employer side of Workers Comp before, and it is SOOOOOOOOOO confusing. Ask your WC case rep all the questions you need to, make sure you’re happy with your level of care (they can do additional things such as adding a nurse case manager), and don’t be afraid to talk with a lawyer to advocate for you. The really good ones don’t cause issues, they just advocate on behalf of their client so you don’t have to deal with everything. I’ve dealt with it all, and one of my best friends works for an insurance company doing WC case management. She has handled some burn cases, and they are just the worst for everyone – I’m so sorry you have to deal with all this. Let me know if you have any specific questions that I can help you with – at one point 50% of my job was dealing with injured workers and the paperwork and emotional work.

          • AGCourtney

            Minnesota, yes. Yeah, I’m honestly pretty lost with all the WC stuff. It’s not something I’ve ever had (or planned) to deal with and I’ve been so utterly exhausted that I can barely accomplish the day-to-day, let alone add more research – so thank you! I’ll keep that in mind, particularly if it comes to surgery. >_< This job was just a couple nights a week and my other jobs are administrative, so hopefully it won't need to come to that. But thanks again! I may need to take you up on that.

    • Cellistec

      Wow, that’s scary, but I’m glad you have a good support system and competent docs. Sending healing thoughts to your hand!

    • Ashlah

      Oh no, that’s awful! I’m so sorry to hear it’s that much worse than it seemed. I’m glad you’ve got a supportive partner, and I hope the healing happens faster than expected.

    • Lisa

      Oh, my goodness! I hope you have a speedy recovery and that the ointment and protein do their jobs.

    • Jessica

      Oh that’s scary! I’m glad you got a good PA (PA’s are my favorite caregivers, btw). I hope you have a speedy recovery and that the protein shakes stop tasting like lies soon.

    • rg223

      Oh gosh, I’m so bummed you got this news. I hope you have a fast recovery!

  • Trinity

    Husband’s car is in the shop today, but that just gave us an excuse to have him come with me to my (37-week!) prenatal appointment. First time he’s heard the heartbeat in 4 months. Baby showed off by being SUPER active.

    In other news, this made me smile this week: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/feminists-dont-have-a-sense-of-humour-right (“29 Times Feminists Were Fucking Hilarious On Tumblr”)

    • Green

      That was amazing – literally laugh out loud funny. Wishing you the best for your final weeks of pregnancy.

    • Awesome link!

  • Julia

    It’s almost tax time – which means it’s top-off-our-ROTH IRAs – time. And my spouse and I might not be maxing them out this year. Which feels, irrationally, like a major moral failing to me! You max our IRAs, that’s *what you do.* I logically realize that’s not the case (it’s not, right?), but it feels like that. I’ve initiated multiple conversations about this, and am fully aware of what a privileged ‘problem’ this is (my student loan is almost paid off, new baby in daycare, still have good emergency savings, etc.). Anyone else struggle with this kind of thing?

    • Amy March

      It’s certainly not that. Most people don’t even have Roth IRAs.

      • Natalie

        Yup, 33 years old here and don’t have a Roth IRA, or a 401K (ah, the joys of academia and just starting the well-paid portion of my career at 33).

        • zana

          Yup. Academics all in the same boat. We’ll be on super tight personal allowances for the next several years. That, and we’d like to buy a house at some point.

        • Kelly

          Yep. Same here.

      • Mary Jo TC

        Whew. Julia was making me anxious about the fact that I’ve never maxed out my Roth IRA. We’re lucky if we can contribute $2k each in a year. I don’t have a 401k either (no match at all offered at my job). I blame the 2 A/C units we’ve had to replace in our 2 houses in the past 5 years.

        • Julia

          Please don’t take on anxiety! I’m pretty sure the moral of the story is that ANY savings is better than no savings :) We’ve been really fortunate being able to max our the IRAs the last few years, so now that we can’t, I’m spiraling a bit. FWIW, spouse is not concerned at all. The whole point is that we have 30+ years to keep saving and accruing interest.

    • flashphase

      Not a moral failing! But maybe the difference between what you think you “ought” to do and what you can do right now. Many people, for better or worse, don’t save for retirement at all when they have young children. Thanks, cost of childcare!

      • Julia

        Childcare, right?! I’ve been trying to figure out how we’ll afford two kids in daycare, and…do people just NOT save money, retirement or otherwise, for these years?

        I’m aware of the privileged position my spouse and I are in (privileged in a financial way, and also in a financially-educated way), where the default is that we can afford all of the necessities + loan payment + savings + retirement. I think that’s why it freaks me out so much to not be ‘able’ to do what we “ought” to do, as you said!

        • Trinity

          We’re expecting our first, and I can’t imagine paying for childcare for two! Just paying for one is going to be like adding an extra mortgage payment (plus PMI, property taxes, etc.) to our budget.

    • savannnah

      We had to back off maxing out our Roth IRA’s for the 2 years we are saving up for our wedding and I felt the same ughhh about it too!

    • GotMarried!

      I max my 401K, but not my Roth. Not sure if that helps or not.

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      I don’t even know what “max our IRAs” means….so at least you’re not failing at adulting that much lol

      • penguin

        That was me when reading this too… “should I have one of those??”

      • Lisa

        If you’re under 50-something years old, you are allowed to contribute a maximum of $5500 to your Roth IRA each year. You can also do personal contributions (separate from your employer’s matching) into your 401k/403b of up to $18k annually.

        • penguin

          Looking forward to that finance blog if you decide to do that :)

    • Alli

      I get a little money hoard-y sometimes so I understand your feelings. I just try to remind myself that as long as I’m putting away decent money for retirement and emergencies, I’m already way ahead of the game and it’s in no way bad to use it! Especially on paying down debt or childcare.

      • Julia

        This is a great point! You are exactly right. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Gaby

      My husband and I have consistently said that we should use our roommates portion of rent as a way to pay down the principal on our house and pay the full mortgage ourselves… but we still haven’t gotten around to doing it haha. Not the same but eh! Life happens. We do round up about $20 each month though, so that’s something I guess.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        We’ve been tacking on some more to our mortgage payment to pay off the principal, and now we just pretend that extra amount, plus the regular payment, is our true payment!

    • Not Sarah

      I’ve been struggling with a similar, but not quite the same feeling recently. I’ve always seen personal finance as a bit of a hobby for me. I was laid off last fall and then switched to working on my Master’s degree more full-time and I have struggled with the fact that my finances simply aren’t interesting in the same way as before.

      It sounds like you and your spouse have a lot going on right now! And that you can’t save as much as you could before you had the baby. I struggled with reducing my savings when I took a lower paying job. It’s totally normal to adjust your savings level in different seasons of life – but it can still be hard psychologically to adjust. I’m sorry I don’t have any helpful words of wisdom – the only way I got through it was time and eventually liking the new job more. If you’re anything like me, it’s easier to struggle with not maxing the Roth IRAs (something specific and measurable) than to struggle with the feelings about all of the life changes that are happening!

    • JLily

      Just think about all the money you already put in there, and now its just doing its thing and making you more money with time? Even if you aren’t contributing as much now, its great that you have contributed!

    • Eenie

      I’m so debating that right now. I really want to pay off my student loans this year ($22k left, lived last year on one income, and we have a second income starting on Monday, so we are trippling the current payment). But I only contributed $1200 to retirement last year via Roth IRA since I was out of work. So do we put our tax return into my Roth IRA? Or put it towards going to Spain? Or put it towards student loans? And if we already filed our taxes, how will this affect that? Ugh, we probably won’t cap up last year, but will max out this years. But I feel like we may regret that. IDK. UGH. Adulting.

      • Julia

        In case you check back: I hear you! It is HARD to decide which great, responsible way to use that money :) First off, my understanding is that your 2016 ROTH contributions are dunzo once you’ve filed 2016 taxes. So if you’ve already done 2016 taxes, then you can start adding in for 2017. Personally, I would weigh the student loan interest rate vs expected retirement interest (6-7% is ‘standard’ prediction over time). If you’ve got 2-3k, throwing that at a loan with 8% interest can save you a lot (I love the loan payoff calculators online, for telling me exactly how much interest I’m saving). You could always spread it around to all three destinations – and definitely put some towards that Spain vacation! :) You probably won’t regret putting the money in any of these places, but you could also consider which choice takes the most stress off your mind (vacation paid for upfront = not putting it on a card/buying tickets earlier?). Good luck!

  • Alli

    Has anyone added straps to their wedding dress? I’m the idiot who hates strapless dresses (having my whole chest exposed, feeling like someone might trip and fall and grab onto my dress and rip it down, etc) but bought one anyway. It was comfortable, I looked hella cute and the dress was cheap so I thought “Eh, I’ll just get some straps added!” I’ve started panicking about it the past couple of days though. My dress is this: http://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_lace-ball-gown-with-intricate-embroidered-details-wg3512

    I was thinking I’d either add flat spaghetti straps (fettuccine straps?) or have the seamstress make thicker straps that are almost cap sleeve-y out of the leftover fabric when we hem it. I’m just so nervous it’ll look weird or like an afterthought no matter what we do and the dress will be a waste of money :/ Does anyone have advice or good pictures of added on straps?

    • Alex K

      I’d ask if they could give you some of that extra lace. I think it would be pretty easy to make pretty straps (that would match) with it.

    • Essssss

      Changed my dress from straps that tied behind the neck in a sort of halter into plain old straps. It can be done! I worked with a seamstress and would recommend you do the same. I think wide (like 1-2 inch) ribbon straps would look beautiful. Also, that dress is amazing!!

    • Natalie

      David’s Bridal can add lacey cap sleeves to their strapless dresses. My sister did this with her dress and it looked great, plus added a little extra structure for her large girls.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        Lace cap sleeves would look great with this dress!

      • ellabynight

        I had David’s Bridal add cap sleeves to my strapless gown and it turned out great, too.

    • Ashlah

      Oh, I tried on that dress and I LOVED it! I had my heart set on a short dress, though, so it wasn’t the one. Sometimes I wish I’d bought that one still! Adding straps is pretty common, so if you go to a tailor you trust, I don’t think you should worry too much about them looking like an afterthought. Mostly likely, anyone who didn’t see the dress pre-strapped won’t have a clue they were added later.

      • Ashlah

        Also total lol at fettuccine straps

        • Alli

          Ha thanks! I hate calling them spaghetti straps because I think of the super round ones that were on all my fancy dresses as a kid and those hurt my shoulders so bad!

    • LOR

      I added on straps, if you want, I can send you some pictures. Well actually I added on one shoulder, hard to explain.

      • Alli

        I’d love to see some pics!

    • LadyJanee

      I added straps to my dress and it totally made the dress! I got some lace from the place I bought my dress that was almost identical to the lace on the bodice and then my MIL stitched it onto the same tulle as my veil (that I had matched to my dress). I was so worried about it looking like an after-thought as well but I had pictures of exactly what I wanted and my MIL worked her magic. I can send you pics if you like. As long as the material matches the dress, it won’t look weird at all.

  • flashphase

    We’ve been listening to Matt and Doree’s Eggsellent Adventure podcast and I *LOVE* the rapport between the two of them. I was looking around for other podcasts with couples, or podcasts about marriage, and all the ones I saw were Christian! Am I missing some podcasts with married/partnered couples? Do y’all have ones you love?

    We talked about it and… had the idea that maybe we should start a marriage/relationship podcast? Kind of crazy but might be fun.

    • Gaby

      Hm the only one I know of is Chescaleigh’s podcast with her husband, it’s called “Last Name Basis.” I have honestly only listened to it a couple of times because I’m a podcast addict and have 7 others that are higher priority, but it’s good! They have great rapport and I honestly just love anything she touches.

    • Jessica

      A few months ago I made a comment to my husband that there doesn’t seem to be a secular place for dudes to go talk about marriage (in the same vein as APW). This leads to the whole emotional labor conundrum, but if there are non-faith focused places for guys to talk about relationships I’d love to hear them too!

    • Megan

      I listen to Totally Married for my relationship/marriage quota for the week.

    • Elaine

      These aren’t podcasts about marriage or relationships but the Sawbones medical history podcast is hosted by a married couple: http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/sawbones The McElroy brothers have a ton of podcasts and I think a few more might be hosted married couples, maybe Shmanners or Rose Buddies? I only listen to Sawbones so I’m not sure!

      I love podcasts so I say go for it and start one! :)

    • The Black Guy Who Tips podcast is done by a husband and wife but its not really a podcast about marriage.

    • Eenie

      I like young house love has a podcast. It’s about home DIY stuff, but they’re married and talk a little about their relationship. Their rapport is super cute.

  • BSM

    Any tips on how to say no/set boundaries with your family of origin?

    More details: I have a two problems: I told my mom over the holidays I would try to visit in the spring to help her go through her storage unit and also my 19yo brother recently (like, yesterday) has asked to come stay with us for 4 nights during his spring break at the end of March.

    Regarding the former, I could conceivably make this happen… maybe-ish. Our schedule has tightened up a bit during April due to Easter, some protests we want to attend in our area, and doctors appointments due to now being pregnant. And also, I’ve been so exhausted the last week (probs due to the whole growing an embryo thing) that I’m hesitant to book a trip to spend time with my mom which I know will be mentally exhausting. And not sure going through an old storage unit is the best thing to do while pregnant (though I’m def kind of using that as an excuse).

    And the latter… ugh, we just don’t really have space to have a houseguest for more than maybe a night. Our flat is a 1 bed/1 bath with 800 square feet. I don’t know where we’d put my giant baby brother. He also has a habit (as 19yo are wont to do) of not making any plans, so I’m a little concerned he’ll spend the entire 5 days sitting on our couch. And lastly, I’ll still be pretty early in my pregnancy at that point, we’ll be going to our first couple prenatal appointments during that week, and I don’t want to have to censor myself in my own home while all that’s happening.

    I feel like I’m being pretty selfish… should I just suck it up and visit my mom and host my bro? Or how can I decline either or both these trips kindly but firmly?

    • penguin

      It’s not selfish to prioritize your own needs! I think it would be reasonable to decline both. You don’t have the space for a houseguest, and you’re busy. Hopefully they’ll understand, but even if they don’t, you need to take care of you.

    • Ava

      I think it’s a little selfish not to let your brother stay with you for at least a couple nights (maybe not the entire 5). Let him know what you need i.e. not to be on your couch for the entire time, but don’t shut down the visit. I could be projecting here, I wish my brothers would come visit me in my 700 sqft apartment!

      • BSM

        My best friend said the same thing, and she also cited how her brother (who’s a few years older than mine) never wants to visit her as part of her bias!

        I obviously love him and want to see him, but I’m just like, ugh, timing! It’s so bad! I think we will try to have him split the time between our house and one of his friends’ houses. I also like that that will prompt him to get the ball rolling on making plans with his friends.

        • Ashlah

          For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s selfish. I think it’s totally acceptable for people to have different feelings about hosting visitors in their homes. I would have a really, really hard time opening my up my home (and giving up my privacy, my comfortable sanctuary) to anyone for four nights. But I’m a socially anxious introvert. For other people, it’s a common occurrence. Letting him know a shorter time frame would work better, or telling him now just isn’t a good time for him to stay, are both okay. Either way, I’m sure you can find time to visit with him while he’s in town!

          • rg223

            Yeah, seconding that four nights is a lot. My grandma made up a saying about visitors: “Three days is fine, four days it’s time” (aka for the visitors to leave, haha!).

          • Lisa

            After spending ten days at my ILs house for Christmas 2015, my co-worker introduced me to the phrase “Fish and family go bad in three days.” It describes the situation perfectly.

      • EF

        and i’m sitting here thinking, that’s so much space! (my flat is 575 sq feet, we moved here from 320 sq feet)

        • BSM

          We first lived together in 400 and our last place before this one was 600, so I totally feel you! 850 feels SO SPACIOUS in comparison. Once we finish moving some walls around, the space will be much better for visitors, too.

    • Amy March

      Can you ask brother to come for just a couple nights instead of four? I don’t really see why you’d need to censor yourself in your own home because he’s there or what prenatal appointments have to do with anything- close the door to your bedroom and turn on a TV if you need to talk. Air mattress in the living room and tell him that you want him to make plans for some of the time. You can decline, easily, but you can also say yes easily, and if you want an adult relationship with you bro this is a good way to do it.

      For your mom, again, I vote go. Go for Easter? And then it isn’t tying up your schedule. There are always more protests. If you don’t have the energy to go, don’t, but those are some pretty weak excuses to me

      • K.

        So obviously YMMV, but the first prenatal appointments can be really anxiety inducing, since beforehand you don’t really know if all is progressing as normal. Hearing the heartbeat for the first time is incredible, but in my experience it’s a rare pregnant woman who doesn’t worry even a little beforehand. Even though it’s more likely than not that all is well, I could see wanting some space around those appointments to be able to fully decompress and process. I was definitely not myself emotionally the days beforehand, especially with lots of new hormones acting up (I cried *a lot* and I’m not a crier generally).

        • Amy March

          Yeah, I get that. But those decisions have consequences. You want all the privacy and say no to requests to visit? Sure. But you’ll get fewer and fewer requests to connect the more often you turn them down. I think you need to weigh that as well.

          • K.

            I would hope that one time under often emotionally and physically taxing circumstances like early pregnancy wouldn’t cause a rift that quickly with people who love you! But for sure, keep an eye on whether it’s a pattern or not and whether you need to rally. Definitely sometimes you have to; I attended my in-laws’ Christmas while in the throes of hyperemesis gravidarum because it would’ve been worse for the overall relationships to stay home (we only see them once a year, max). I was miserable, but I survived and I think it was the right choice looking back, since it helped my MIL feel more involved.

          • emmers

            I mean– I can see both sides. But my thought is also that as time goes on, life will continue to get more complicated, since in 9 months there will be an actual kid around. (ETA– for purposes of the original comment re: someone’s brother visiting).

          • K.

            Oh yeah, definitely. My husband and I have a pact to say yes to social invitations until I’m full-term for that reason, since we know things won’t be the same. We’re traveling to see more people in my travel-safe time than we did all of last year combined! But I also know that I was a complete physical and emotional wreck from weeks 6-13 in my pregnancy (severe vomiting and nausea, plus some scary stuff that made the emotional side of things difficult too). My early pregnancy was unusually physically difficult and I’m happily on the other side now, but my empathy immediately goes to how tough that time can be.

          • BSM

            Yeah, we are totally not shying away from getting together with friends and family for as long as we can, I’m just feeling very stressed, anxious, and exhausted right now. I already have a visit to my hometown planned for Memorial Day, my husband and I are thinking about going in July, and we’ve invited my mom and brother to come stay with us in August/September (on our dime) once some renovations on our house are done and we have a 2nd bedroom for them to use.

            I also just have a difficult/weird relationship with my mom, so it’s a lot of work and expense to “visit” her. I won’t stay in her house or use her car, so airfare + housing + rental car really adds up, and that doesn’t even touch the emotional prep involved (I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it).

            I’m trying to force myself to just do it because it seems like the “right” thing to do, but I’m also questioning if I’m really up for it right now. I think that’s the overwhelming feeling I have about both visiting her and having my brother stay with us.

          • Amy March

            I know you’re annoyed at me (sorry!) but I gotta say, this description? I would have said from the get go say no and don’t feel guilty!

          • BSM

            Thanks, Amy.

            I appreciate your push back because there *is* a large part of me that is like, stop thinking so much about it and just do the visit and the hosting because I think in the end it will probably turn out fine. But I also do sincerely feel pretty stressed about both situations, so much so that I am having a hard time writing it off.

            And then of course the guilt for even trying to recognize those feelings is pretty raw, so, even though this is essentially anonymous on the Internet, and I know that we’re all working off of incomplete information, it does hurt to have people be so forceful in their responses. I’m really trying to do my best here.

            Anyways, it’s not a huge deal. I’m sure we’ll be able to figure out something that works.

          • K.

            Oh man! Yes, I’m *definitely* on Team “Put Yourself and Your Needs First” then. Seriously…do what works for you and try not to feel guilty about it, which is easier said than done I know. The only reason my trip to my in-law’s worked for me was because I had no doubt they’d be awesome and supportive. And even then, it wasn’t easy.

          • Amy March

            I don’t think at all it’s a one time you said no now I hate you goodbye forever situation! I just think it’s worth asking yourself whether you’re making excuses or whether it really doesn’t work, because there will always be something.

          • K.

            Fair!

          • NolaJael

            Exactly. Right now it’s pregnancy, later it will be a newborn learning to sleep, then a toddler on a schedule…

        • BSM

          I have been crying so. much. Been watching a lot of Parks and Rec, which is both helping and not helping. It’s very weird lol.

          • K.

            Parks and Rec is my favorite show of all time. Awesome but also definitely tear-inducing! What worked for me were totally unemotional comedies like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (though when they’d be TOO awful, I couldn’t take it either) or totally dumb shows with like Workaholics (100% lack of intellectual redeemability). Not my usual style at all, but they kept me distracted at my most overwhelmed!

          • BSM

            I love It’s Always Sunny! I’ll try that next. I did a lot of Project Runway while my husband was out of town this week, which I think struck a good balance haha.

      • BSM

        I think I may ask my brother if he can spend half the time at his friends’ house, since that’s the reason he told me he wanted to come up anyways; to see his friends who live here, not to see us. Which I don’t mind at all (he’s a college freshman, of course he wants to see his friends), but I do want to be clear that our house is more a vehicle for him to visit others than it is to see us.

        The thing I’ve found with early pregnancy is that coming home and downloading on everything going with my husband has been a huge stress-reliever, particularly since I have to censor myself with everyone else all the time in every other situation (work, friends, family, etc.). We are also literally having our first appointment that same week.

        Lastly, my family doesn’t celebrate Easter. My in-laws do, so we obviously try to get together with them. I also have a complicated relationship with my mom, so I’m weighing the stress and expense of going down there right now while I’m already stressed. I don’t think that’s weak, but whatever.

        • penguin

          I don’t think it’s weak either. You take care of you, and good luck at your appointment!

        • Amy March

          I think that’s a great solution for your brother. And I don’t think deciding that not to go visit your mom because you’re stressed, tired, and its expensive is weak. I think that not trying to follow through on a semi-promise because there are some protests you wanted to attend or life is busy is a weak reason — not that you don’t or can’t have very good ones.

          • BSM

            It was not a semi-promise; it was an idea we had before circumstances changed. I’m going to bow out of this discussion now because I’m feeling quite attacked.

            I think it’s fine to say you disagree or use the language I used to describe myself (i.e. I called myself selfish and someone else agreed), but to call me weak for trying to work through the priorities of my family, family of origin, health, and other commitments and try to determine how to draw boundaries, I find kind of offensive and unnecessarily rude.

          • Amy March

            Sorry! Was not trying to attack you.

        • emmers

          FWIW, I posted earlier about how sometimes you need to push thru & have ppl over, but I was feeling grumpy & stressed cuz of other life reasons so I phrased it not the most delicately. Family stress is awful, so please take care of yourself. If it means not seeing them right now, that is ok. Wishing you good thoughts for this time.

    • Natalie

      I think it’s completely reasonable not to travel to clean out a storage unit when you’re in the early stages of pregnancy and might be dealing with morning sickness. That seems reason enough to me to decline the trip.

      I personally would open up even a tiny apartment to any family member who wanted to visit. But I can see how 5 days with your brother on the couch would be annoying. Could you ask him to visit for a shorter period, or to make firm plans ahead of time so he’s not on your couch all the time?

    • K.

      Early pregnancy can be such a tough time emotionally and physically! We had houseguests stay with us when I was about 8 weeks along and I was a Vomiting Zombie. We had to reveal my pregnancy to them earlier than we wanted because I couldn’t eat much, I was throwing up, and I was going to sleep around 8pm every night and sleeping in. I was not even a bad hostess, I wasn’t a hostess AT ALL. And all of this was before we’d heard the baby’s heartbeat, so there was a ton of anxiety to go around too.

      Things might be/will hopefully be easier for you, but just to keep in mind.

    • jem

      Can you pay your brother’s fare to visit your mom and clean out the storage unit over his spring break? Kill two birds with one stone?

    • Eileen

      Hey, do whatever you need to take care of yourself while you’re pregnant. It may feel like it’s an excuse but it’s not, it gives you real new needs, and you may need that couch for your own exhausted crashing.

    • Lawyerette510

      Do what you need to in order to take care of yourself and your embryo. You don’t need the pregnancy as a reason to say no to your mom, you can say no because you don’t have the energy to give. You have to put on your oxygen mask before you put on anyone else’s, and going to help clean out a storage unit when you know it will deplete you emotionally and also maybe physically is definitely putting on her mask before you put on your own.

      As for your brother, same rule applies. Take care of yourself first. You know your brother and your dynamic. If you think he’s going to show up, be in your space most of the time and you’ll end up having to give time and energy to entertaining and taking care of him, then you’re probably right. If you don’t have the bandwidth to deal with what you think will happen, then say “not right now.” Maybe there’s a long weekend this summer that would work better for you? But maybe there’s not and you can still say no.

    • p.

      Assuming your mom knows about the pregnancy, I think the honest answer to mom is that you’d
      really hoped to make a trip to see her, but being pregnant has been a bigger change than you’d expected and you can’t take it on right now.

      As for your brother, i think you can say no for the same reasons, or just say that it’s just not a good time. You’ve got too much going on that week and the place is just too small to have visitors.

      I have a very hard time saying no outright, so if you want to take this in baby steps, you could tell your brother that he can visit for 2 days, but not 4. This way, you get to start to set a boundary — 4 nights is too long to have visitors in your place — without having to say no to the whole visit.

      • BSM

        Neither of them know, and I’m stressed about telling them, too! My mom was Not Excited when I called to tell her we got engaged and was an enormous terror throughout wedding planning/the actual wedding (like, we didn’t speak for 9 months before the wedding and then she was texting me threatening stuff on the morning of – she has since apologized and done some work on herself), so I think I’m also having like flashbacks to all that.

        • NolaJael

          Damn. That sucks.

          • BSM

            Yeah, she has def gotten better, and we had a really nice visit over the holidays, but I think the whole Another Big Event thing has me stressed. Maybe I’m not giving her enough credit for her progress though. That’s the thing that’s hard; I won’t know until I tell her. Unless someone has a suggestion for like a test run, lol?

        • Olive

          My mom acted similarly during our engagement/wedding planning. Things are getting a lot better. Wishing you the best!

          • BSM

            That’s great! Things have been much better over the past year, but IDK, that shit messes you up. I’m cautiously optimistic she’ll react better this time around.

          • Olive

            Yea, I hear you. I’ve been cautiously optimistic that she’s going to keep this good behavior up, but I’m anxious for when we have kids and all those old opinions start popping up again. Hopefully your mom will be excited and leave it at that for awhile!

    • Antonia

      Early pregnancy is soooo exhausting. I remember when I was maybe 8-ish weeks nearly having to pull over on a 45-minute drive back to town because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I’d tell little brother a firm but polite “no” and postpone the trip to visit your mom when you’re comfortably past your first trimester — weeks 14-28 tend to be a good time for most women, if that time frame works for you and your mom.

  • Natalie

    My husband and I put on offer on a house, and the sellers accepted it, and now we’re buying a house! Wow, it’s kinda terrifying to spend so much money on a single item. But also exhilarating. Thanks to all those who offered home-buying advice several weeks ago. We chose this house based on location, location, location. It’s less than a mile from my new job, and only a couple blocks from the local elementary school, library, coffee shop, and gym. It’s got large yard for dog plus garden, big beautiful wrap-around porch, big kitchen, lots of windows for tons of natural light…

    • Trinity

      Congratulations!

    • flashphase

      Congrats! In the same boat – crazy and exhilerating and frustrating and scary

    • Ashlah

      That sounds amazing! Congrats!

    • Gaby

      Congratulations! I still have moments of sudden appreciation for the convenience and location of our house two years later, so you made the right choice :)

      • Natalie

        Yeah, I currently live 3-5 miles from work and regularly miss the halcyon days of living within walking distance of work and restaurants and coffee shops. I’m really looking forward to going back to a lifestyle of walking most places I want to go.

    • BSM

      Wraparound porch – my dream! Congratulations!!

      I’m not sure what kind of shape your house is in, but one thing that immediately brightens up a house for very little $$ is fresh paint! After a few moves, we now do this every time we get to a new place.

      • Natalie

        Thanks :-) Yeah, this house is in great shape and everything’s recently painted, but I kinda hate the colors – lots of yellow-toned beige. Which I get for selling a house – neutral sells better – but which I’m going to change right after moving in. I’m thinking lots of blues, some bright & bold, some subtle & light, with sandy neutrals. It’ll play off the oak counters in the kitchen and light hardwood floors nicely.

        • BSM

          Sounds so pretty!! And much better than yellow-beige. Blech. Ours was an orange-beige with BROWN (not wood, brown) trim.

          • Natalie

            o_O

        • Eenie

          Hah. We just painted our 12 foot tall living room a nice plain white because we plan to sell in the next three years! Young House Love has some awesome painting tips. I highly recommend the Handy Paint Pail – it makes doing trim and edging soooooo much easier. And it has a magnet to keep your brush out of the paint when you pause! Best $3 we spent on paint supplies (we spent over $500 painting our whole house because we needed a 10 foot ladder).

          • Natalie

            :-) If I were trying to sell a house in the near future, I’d go with white or neutral beige paint, too.

            Thanks for the tips! I had not heard of the Handy Paint Pail before, but it sounds like I need one.

    • AGCourtney

      Congratulations!

    • Lisa

      Sounds like a dream! Congratulations!

    • Sara

      Congrats!!! I use Wayfair and Joss & Main for the sales, though they don’t have easy returns if you don’t like it. I don’t know where you are, but Hobby Lobby near me has a lot of knickknacks for decoration, and Home Goods is good for things too.

    • StevenPortland

      This is kind of a splurge, but when we repainted our house, we hired a color consultant. I think it was about $300 and that included them coming out to see our house and yard, then they came back two weeks later with three color schemes. They also showed up the day painting started to make sure the scheme worked. It was a really nice way to choose, but only from a limited number of choices. And it looks so much better than if we tried it ourselves. Color consultants do it for interior painting as well.

      • Natalie

        Ooh, I had no idea that was even a thing. It sounds like a nice way to reduce time & stress of decision-making.

    • penguin

      It’s not fancy, but I’ve gotten some good furniture at secondhand stores like Savers. You just need to inspect them and be realistic about what you’re getting. We got a beautiful coffee table, although there is a chunk missing out of one leg. And a purple leather recliner with gold rivet things that has a little damage on one corner that I keep meaning to fix (but it was only $60!).

      And before buying any secondhand furniture we always flip it over (not always easy) and check inside and along the edges/seams to make sure we’re not bringing home any unexpected friends.

    • StevenPortland

      For curtains, sew them yourself. A curtain is just two squares on top of each other (the curtain panel and the lining), you pin a piece of buckram between the two panels at the top, and then you double-fold a hem on all four sides. Just sew them regularly and don’t worry about doing a blind stitch. Then poke in drapery hooks into the buckram and there you go. I was really hesitant on my first pair of curtains, but went on to make curtains for nearly every room in our house. I have a cheat sheet with instructions if you want it.

      • penguin

        +1 on this. I sewed our living room curtains with the help of my FMIL who is a crafting wizard. One fun thing I learned from her – you can buy plastic rings for the curtain rod to go through (going to try to explain this, apologies if I fail). You sew the curtain completely. Then you use the circles to trace out the circular area to be cut out, and cut it. Then you snap the plastic circles onto the front and back, and repeat for as many as you want (I forget how many we had per curtain – at least 5).

      • Natalie

        Oooh, I hadn’t thought of that. I’ve never sewed, but it sounds like curtains would be a decent place to start learning.

        • penguin

          If you can sew a straight line you can sew curtains! I think it’s a great project to start learning sewing.

        • zana

          Sewing curtains are a great first sewing project. It’s like sewing a drawstring bag, or a pillowcase. Rectangles make great sewing projects.

          I’ve also written stuff up on this, but there’s some great Youtube videos around: http://byov.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-make-simple-curtains.html

          • Natalie

            Thanks!

      • StevenPortland

        http://bennettplanet.com/archives/237
        Here are my old instructions I wrote up a few years ago.

        • Natalie

          Thanks!!! I’m excited to try this.

        • Natalie

          Also, your blog rocks. It’s giving me so many ideas for cool DIY decor.

    • sofar

      CONGRATS!!!! We are house hunting now and hope to be in your shoes soon.

      I am hopeless at decorating, but the best tip I got when decorating our apartment is “make people look up.” That means attention-grabbing art on the walls, racks on the ceiling for pots & pans and wine glasses, a pop of color (like a bright vase) on the upper shelves (if you have shelves) and strategically-placed mirrors. Outside, hanging plants. Stuff like that. I always get bogged down in rugs and furniture and stuff, but having things high up on the walls and ceiling helps make our place look less cluttered and “nicer”, if that makes sense.

      My sister, when she bought a home, walked into a paint store and asked “What are your best-sellers?” And that led her to colors she wouldn’t have thought of, but that look awesome and that people in your area tend to buy. That’s important because a midwest audience (with cold winters) might buy a lot of warm, toasty colors, while people in a hot climate might buy cooler colors. So, if you ask for popular colors, you’re getting colors that aren’t “basic” and boring, but that go with EVERYTHING and suit the local climate. She ended up with a nice gray, a “sand” color, a light sage color, and, of all things, tangerine for an accent wall.

      • Natalie

        Good luck with the house hunting! It can be an overwhelming process.

        Thanks for the tips! One of the things I love about the rental house we’re in now is that the owners painted the ceilings in each room the same color as the walls. It extends the walls upward and makes the (small) rooms feel more spacious. I can see how putting attention-grabbing decor near the ceilings would likewise distract from the floor-level clutter (in my house, dog toys, laptop cords, etc.).

        I hadn’t thought about how color warmth vs. coolness interacts with local climate before. Perhaps because I’ve lived most of my life in either Florida or the Southwest, both hot places where people use lots of cool colors in their homes. That aesthetic isn’t going to work in my new home in the midwest, though.

        • sofar

          Yep, definitely one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life. And kinda “different” from other overwhelming experiences because so much of it is pure luck and timing.

          I grew up in the midwest, so lots of mocha, caramel and red on the walls. And just the idea of those colors in Texas makes me start to sweat.

          Have fun decorating!

    • Wow, that sounds great! How fabulous to find a place in such a great location and close to work!

    • And a wrap around porch! I missed that part…that sounds amazing!

      • Natalie

        I cannot wait to fill it with a porch swing and rocking chairs and tubs of flowers.

        • That sounds soooo nice. Enjoy it some for me too! :) I’ll likely be a life-long renter so I’ll have to imagine myself in another parallel universe with a house with a wrap-around porch and a swing and rocking chairs. :)

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Paint before you move in, or there’s a good chance you’ll never do it. /stillhaven’tpainted

  • savannnah

    Someone tell me where I can order just customizable colored envelopes with printed addressing included without buying a invitation package and I’ll make out with you.

  • MrsRalphWaldo

    My baby brother is getting married! He proposed to his now fiancee on the beach at sunset and it was So. Beautiful. I’m so excited to help them plan their big day!

  • Cellistec

    My husband left for a camping trip this morning, so instead of our weekly Friday date night, I’m taking myself out to dinner and the opera. And then tomorrow I’m burning through my Netflix queue on the couch with some cheap wine. It’s going to be amazeballs. If you love your spouse, and you also love some quality time away from your spouse, you know where I’m coming from.

    • Olive

      100%. Enjoy your me time!

    • BSM

      Haha, I completelyyyy feel you on this. My husband has been gone this week, and it hasn’t been as fun because I can’t imbibe, but I have watched an inordinate amount of Project Runway and eaten avocados for like every meal. Oh, and my dog and I have snuggled in bed every night!

      Enjoy!

    • Lisa

      Oooooh, love it! That sounds like my perfect weekend. Are you seeing the Janacek at Seattle Opera?

      • Cellistec

        I am! A friend works in marketing and talks up all the productions…this is only my second time going, but I’m so glad she got me into it. Seattle Opera does a fantastic job.

        • Lisa

          That’s awesome! I’ve never heard of this work, and it looks super interesting. We were sad that the opera didn’t have any productions up when we were there over NY’s. I miss living in a city with a major company in it! We were thinking of going to Covent Garden to see Bryn Terfel while we’re on vacation next week, but tickets were £200+ each so that didn’t end up happening.

          • Cellistec

            Yeah, the $25 price point for the cheap seats is the only reason I can make this work! I suppose you could build a road trip around an opera you want to see in a nearby city?

          • Lisa

            We’ve talked about doing it for Chicago but haven’t made it happen yet. I went and saw Badtown U’s production of Barber a couple of weeks ago, and it made me definitely long to go see a good production. We are planning to Wozzeck at the Paris Opera next month so at least I’ve got that to look forward to!

    • JC

      Omg when I get to eat the food that only I like, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        Or food we both love, but I don’t have to share. Does that make me a bad wife? Lol

        • Lisa

          Yep, being able to order the sushi rolls and sashimi that only I want is the best thing ever.

        • BSM

          YES. We often get that dried mango from WF for a treat, but I love that I can eat ALL OF IT myself when he’s gone. Lol.

      • Olive

        My husband hates mac & cheese…last time he went out of town I ate a whole box for dinner with white wine and it was fabulous.

        • Cellistec

          That’s literally my dream.

        • Lisa

          My husband was at a summer orchestra festival last year, and every Saturday morning I’d turn on NPR, make myself a mimosa (or three), and clean the house. It was my favorite thing ever.

          • Olive

            I get jealous of him sometimes…I go out with my friends a lot and leave him at home, but his good friends all live far away and I never get that privilege!

          • AP

            I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who likes to drink adult beverages while cleaning!

          • Lisa

            It makes the time pass more quickly, and the task is much more enjoyable!

      • Vanessa

        YES when my fiance was overseas for a month earlier this year I was kiiinda bummed but mostly “BRUSSEL SPROUTS ARTICHOKE CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH TIIIIIIIIIIIME*”

        *not all at the same time

        • BSM

          Are you me? Last time my husband was gone for a week, I ate steamed broccoli with olive oil, parm, and S&P like every night for dinner supplemented with Frosted Mini Wheats. It was awesome.

          • Vanessa

            Hahaha yes veggies + cereal = fully balanced diet

          • BSM

            I mean all those cereals are somehow made with “whole grains” now, right?

          • Cellistec

            Lots of vitamins too. They’re practically health food. ;)

    • zana

      My husband plans to get on a 5-month long hike. So I’m interested to see what 5 months of this approach will be like.

      • Lisa

        My husband was gone for 2.5 months, and I eventually came up with the NPR-cleaning-mimosa combo below. Also a lot of grilling random meats and vegetables for easy dinners with rosé, crisp white wine, or delicious beer. It was really a fun summer.

        • Ashlah

          I’m starting to think I need to convince my husband to take a solo vacation… We’ve talked about being okay with the idea of taking separate vacations, but have never done it. You’re all convincing me we need to re-visit the idea.

          • Lisa

            I love my husband, etc., but I will say that I was very mildly bummed when he ended up deciding not to apply to the festival again this summer! I’m excited for the fun we’ll have once he’s not in school anymore, but…solo mimosa time…

          • Natalie

            I LOVE solo vacationing. I do more of it than my husband, but we both travel for work, so we both get to enjoy periods of alone time and miss each other. It makes us really appreciate each other when we’re reunited. Plus, it means I can do the kind of travel I love but he’s not into (extremely remote tropical regions, up at dawn to watch wildlife, no comforts).

          • Ella

            I’m so happy to hear people spruiking solo travel. My parents find it surprising that my partner and I want to take trips separately (and are a bit judgey about it.)

          • Natalie

            We started doing it because we both travel for work a fair amount, and if I’m going to be traveling to amazing places for work, I might as well do some vacation traveling while I’m there. At this point it just feels normal to us both to travel without each other. I have received lots of surprised reactions, and sometimes judgey responses. I resist the urge to respond with a snarky “what, I’m incapable of being an independent human being now that I’m married?”

            I do wish we had more time to travel together. All my work travel means that I don’t have much time in my schedule or emotional energy left for vacation travel with my husband.

          • Cellistec

            Work conferences that require travel are also great for that.

          • suchbrightlights

            Yeah, can I be quietly honest that I was disappointed my fiance’s annual male bonding trip to baseball spring training was aborted a day early when his brother unfortunately fell ill? (His brother is fine- it was a passing thing that, also quietly honest, was completely self-inflicted.) I was disappointed on their behalves because I knew they were both looking forward to it, but also, I was totally going to veg out on the couch with the dog, watch Say Yes to the Dress or something else ridiculous, and eat mushrooms and artichokes and anchovies and Stuff Only I Like.

      • Cellistec

        Wow, no kidding. Is he hiking a transcontinental trail somewhere? I’ve read memoirs by people who have through-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, for example, and it sounds INTENSE.

        • zana

          Yeah, he plans to do the PCT, since we’re moving across the country for my job the timing works out well. I’ll just be in a new town by myself with no friends. THAT’S ALL.

          lol.

          • Cellistec

            Whoa, yeah. Talk about a crash landing in a new place.

    • Natalie

      My husband just got back from a week away, and while I’m thrilled he’s home, I’m also kinda like, “can you leave again so I can clean the house and have it stay clean? And watch my favorite trashy shows without you commenting on how much they suck?”

      • NolaJael

        Are you me?

      • BSM

        Yes! The having it stay clean part is also wonderful.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        The worst part is when he watches them with me, asks me all kinds of probing questions, and then pretends that that didn’t happen and mentions how much they suck. UGH. Just let me enjoy my version of junk food!

        • Natalie

          OMG, yes! My husband does that.
          Him: “This show’s so awful, I don’t know how you watch it ………. Wait, who is he again? Is he the other dude’s brother?”
          Me (growls): “Shut up and stop ruining my show.”

        • penguin

          Haha yep. My fiancé does this while I’m watching Grey’s. “Ugh it’s her again, they are not good together, omg they’re fighting again, are they married still? Oh they divorced?” lol.

          • Cellistec

            To be fair, that’s usually my train of thought watching Grey’s too, but I keep it to myself.

          • penguin

            Totally valid, that show is a hot mess and I still love it.

          • Cellistec

            It’s been a hotter mess…I actually think it’s calmed down a little. But every time I watch it, I spend 90% of the time thinking WHERE ARE THEIR KIDS? Don’t these docs have like 6 kids between them? Whom we only see for the purposes of an emergency C-section, and then they’re useless for advancing the plot, so bye.

    • Katie

      My husband is going on a ski trip next week, looking forward to eating all vegetarian (he’s a burger kind of guy) and late night binge watching!

    • Anna

      Ohhh yeah. When fiance is out of town, I get to get drinks at fancy bars on the other side of the city without him complaining about the distance, eat my seaweed snacks without him complaining about the smell, cook eggplant and mushrooms (!!!), and play all the video games I want without him getting frustrated watching because I’m bad at them xD He doesn’t travel much, though, so mostly I just get little snatches of this every few months if he has work on a day and I don’t.

    • Rose

      Oh, yes. There was a stretch at one point when my wife hadn’t been anywhere for like a year and a half, and when she went to visit her parents for a week, I was SO HAPPY. I can’t even really figure out what I did differently when she wasn’t there, but it was still so nice to be on my own for a few days.

    • Jennifer

      Ahhh yes. Also, it’s kind of the best thing to NOT wake up to find he’s rolled himself in a blanket burrito and I am freezing to death.

      • penguin

        Each of us having our own set of blankets and sheets in bed was the bed move we made for our relationship haha. We are both burrito sleepers.

        • Jennifer

          I actually read about that idea. He is unconvinced (also not the one being inconvenienced ha), but I’m working on it. Right now we have california king blankets on a queen bed but they barely help.

          • penguin

            Maybe you guys could give it a try at some point, and say it isn’t permanent? We’re never going back. It’s nice cause if you want to cuddle or whatever you just lift up the blankets, but then when you want to sleep, burrito roll. I think we have each have double/full size blankets, with maybe a queen thrown in on our queen bed.

          • Eenie

            Omg, we just bought two duvets and duvet covers on sale at BB&B and it’s the best. To try it out, just grab a blanket from somewhere else and use it for yourself. We did this for a while before splurging on new bedding. The nice thing about the duvets is that two twin duvet covers are WAY easier to manage getting on and off vs a King. Plus it fits in the washer and dryer better.

          • Alli

            Our strategy is each having a second blanket under our duvet. So we can both burrito roll with our own blanket, but are still under the big blanket together. It’s especially nice for winter!

      • Alyssa

        OMG Story of my life. I (sometimes) affectionately refer to my fiance as My Little Burrito, especially when he wonders aloud why I go to bed covered in 2 layers head to toe!

        • Jennifer

          Thank you! You are making me feel much less alone in my predicament. :)

    • mjh

      Enjoy!

      I am all about that life when the chance comes up. Husband enjoys the perks that come with my introvert battery being recharged when we next see each other. Win/win

  • Green

    Any book recommendations for starting your own business? And/or running your own non-profit? Thanks!

    • Jessica

      I don’t have a book recommendation, but if you get to the point of setting up your website definitely check out the tutorial on APW from 2014 with Squarespace. I’m helping a friend set up her consulting website and told her to read that first–she thought it was really helpful since she doesn’t know where to start.

      • Green

        Thanks for the tip, and also, any website recs would be greatly appreciated.

    • Yael

      My sister is a personal trainer. I think she read “The Small Business Bible.”

      • Green

        Thank you!

    • NolaJael

      My general advice for starting your own non-profit would be don’t. There are so many NGOs out there, there’s a good chance that you’d be reinventing the wheel. Also, fundraising is a HUGE part of non-profit work, so if you don’t have a steady / obvious funding stream be prepared to spend tons of time on that instead of spending time on *that thing you love.*

      Alternately, I would advise researching NGOs in your area that are already established and do similar work to see if you can sell them your idea as an off-shoot or trial project. Do some informational interviewing about what they like about your idea versus what road blocks they foresee. They will know generally about funding streams and others who are working towards a similar effort. Finding an existing 501(c)(3) that you can piggy back or work under saves huge amounts of time and money, and if your idea doesn’t catch on, you won’t have spend all of your time and energy on getting legal documents together that you don’t end up needing.

      • Green

        Those are great points. My question was really two part. I’m already with an organization, but always looking for tips on how to do it better. And my sister has been thinking about a business idea for a while and I want to encourage her. So, I’m putting together a little gift box and wanted to include some additional resources.

    • K.

      If the business is product-based in any way, I love “The Lean Start Up” (it’s VERY business school and jargon-y, but the ideas are solid).

      I used it for my consulting business too and it really helped my partner and I streamline our offerings and approach. We just had to modify some of the specific language for our purposes. We also used The Lean Canvas ( https://leanstack.com/leancanvas ) for our business model and it’s been hugely helpful for brainstorming in a structured way.

      • Agreed… Even for non-products, I think a lot of the core ideas can be useful.

  • Hannah

    I have three friends from college coming into town for the weekend and then my boyfriend and I head to St. Martin bright and early Sunday morning (totally forgot that it was Daylight Savings that day when we bought the tickets haha). These last couple hours at work are DRAGGING!

  • Kaitlyn

    Any recommendations for inexpensive flower girl dresses? We have a squad (3 sisters) so I’m trying to find dresses less than $100/each. I want the older girl to have a navy with white stripes dress and the two younger ones (twins) to have white with navy stripes.

    I found one on Etsy I love, but it looks like the listing is gone :( Also, has anyone used Princessly.com? It’s full of flower girl dresses that would be perfect, but I’m not sure if it’s a scam or not haha

    • MrsRalphWaldo
      • Kaitlyn

        Thank you! There’s a real cute one on here that might work :)

    • Alli

      My plan is to wait until we’re a little closer to easter and take my flower girls shopping in just regular department stores. white and navy stripes might be a little harder to find, but if any stores have that “preppy boating” look then you might have some success?

      • Kaitlyn

        I had the same thought actually haha I’ve been scouring Macy’s, Nordstrom, Carter’s, etc but no luck with my stripes haha

        • Amy March

          I guess this is unhelpful, but my advice would be don’t design a dress in your head and try to find it, look at the dresses that live in stores and pick what you like most of what you see.

          • Mary Jo TC

            I think you just named the reason we all have so much trouble buying dresses for special occasions, especially weddings. You design the dress in your head, and can’t ever find the same dress in a store. Of course the dress in your head is perfect, it’s not real!

          • Amy March

            Yup. I’m currently searching for a black tie dress that is flowy and drapy from the waist down, has straps, is low cut, has some sort of geometric beading detail, and is a color between purple and red, and under $250. Spoiler alert: am failing.

          • Jessica

            Is Rent the Runway in your field of vision?

          • Amy March

            No, I don’t trust the fit for a gown without trying it on in advance. Love them for cocktail dresses though!

          • Jessica

            Fair enough! I haven’t used them, but occasionally go drool.

          • Vanessa

            I have used them about a dozen times and have always been super pleased with the results. Even a couple times when the dress I ordered wasn’t going to work, they overnighted me a different one – they have excellent customer service!

          • JC

            When you find it, can I also have it?

          • Gaby

            I wish I had an excuse to shop for a black tie dress! There is a drag yard sale coming up (I love you, Las Vegas) and my friends and I were daydreaming buying some of their beautiful beaded gowns and having them tailored for our own gala in the backyard.

          • Amy March

            Co-worker’s wedding. I love a good gown, but you want me to buy one to sit at a table with my old male bosses and their wives, and you didn’t give me a plus one? Dampens the enthusiasm for sure.

          • Gaby

            Oh shoot, I hope you find a reason to re-wear it without any work people around.

          • Essssss
          • Amy March

            Oh this looks very interesting.

          • Essssss

            They’ve been on point with the beaded geometric. I seriously considered getting a similar one in light green. I might still do it at some point. I need more black tie occasions.

          • Amy March

            And I ordered this:

            http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/adrianna-papell-cold-shoulder-gown/4540639?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=POMEGRANATE

            Srsly thank you so much. I thought I was doomed to yet again wear navy.

          • Essssss

            YAY! That’s gorgeous. I hope it works out!

          • Lisa

            Ooooo, so pretty!

          • My recent experience looking for a black dressy dress convinced me that next time I just need to sew what I want. But not enough time this time around…and I finally found something that is okay. Though I am raising the hemline about 5.5 inches, ha! But I totally get very specific ideas in my head and usually have trouble finding anything in reality that meets my criteria…

          • penguin

            Yep that’s been my problem with searching for a wedding dress.

          • Kaitlyn

            This is my fear with wedding dress shopping haha but I did find the most precious dresses on Etsy but it looks like the shop was deleted :( Def have some options and just came across a few non-striped that is making me also re-think this plan haha Too many options!

      • Alli

        I have to share the adorable dress I found that I think we’re going to get for flower girl dresses! https://www.macys.com/shop/product/bonnie-jean-sequin-top-tulle-dress-little-girls-2-6x?ID=3676248&CategoryID=71398&LinkType=&selectedSize=#fn=COLOR%3DYellow%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D19%26ruleId%3D105%7CBS%26slotId%3D12 I decided I might just buy them in the girls’ sizes and see if they fit because I’m so excited!

    • Jessica

      I found one at target for my niece around Easter/Memorial Day. It was less than $20 and just required a little alteration for the straps.

    • Alex Eichler

      My cousin had us buy our daughter one from Pink Princesses I think. There was another site but it was shut down by the Chinese government or something like that. I’m just scouring the clearance section at nordstrom to find a cute colorful one. Also, H&M has ADORABLE easter dresses, so depending on your look/feel/kids ages those could work.

    • Kalë

      http://www.hm.com/us/products/kids/girls/dresses

      There are a couple navy striped little girls’ dresses on H&M for under $20 each! Might not work with your exact vision, but they’re pretty cute.

    • LOR

      We found my niece a cute, off white dress with flowers (it was probably an Easter dress) at SEARS! Crazy but it was $15 and totally worked.

    • Fushigidane

      I just saw a navy dress with white stripes on the skirt at Marshalls this afternoon

    • S

      This 100% depends on season, but would something like this work if you got them navy cardigans to wear over the top to hide the red? Obviously a big no in summer! https://www.macys.com/shop/kids-clothes/girls-dresses?id=71398&edge=hybrid&cm_sp=intl_hdr-_-kids-_-71398_girls%27-dresses_COL1

    • S
  • Shirley Schmidt

    Happy hour! We booked both our weddings this week! Booked a lovely small period room in the town hall for our civil ceremony this year and the date with the registrar, and then booked our country hotel for the big wedding next year! Oh, and I emailed my dress designer to confirm the date for my wedding dress so she can plan fittings (having it for the 2018 wedding) and her assistant is so lovely and is dealing with my wobbles about what I want so well! Aaaand we désigned invitations for this year, decided we wanted a first look before the civil ceremony and picked our first dance song (Etta James, At Last). We’re talking to our photographers for both weddings in the next couple of weeks too. Everything is just falling into place! We’re both so excited, which is a nice change from a few weeks ago when we’d just had enough and welcome when we’ve both had really busy weeks at work (and are in London studying all weekend).

    • Hannah

      What a perfect first dance song!

  • Yael

    This week has been an emotional roller coaster. We had our first wedding related expense (bought my wedding band because the Etsy shop disappeared and then came back and we didn’t want to miss it!) and I’ve been debating (loudly and emotionally) whether or not I should contact some newspapers/write some op-eds. I research a very niche topic that has been pushed into the news lately, and there is a lot of incorrect/harmful information floating around about it that plays into stereotypes… the kind that are written about on Breitbart (in fact, Breitbart wrote an article about some work my team did for a client). As a data scientist, I was taught to let my work speak for myself, because if I speak for it, it becomes advocacy, and advocacy delegitimizes the work. But in this case, the work is being mis-used. I feel an obligation to say something, but I’m dreading going up against the Breitbart crowd, and also I am not authorized to speak on the client’s behalf. But the client won’t say anything either (politics). So I keep going round and round. I’ve mostly come to the conclusion that I need to speak out, and just make it clear that I’m not speaking on behalf of the client but as an expert on the subject, but it could also make it difficult for my previous employers (who hold the contract for the work we did). I know a few of you are researchers and such. Have you ever been in a situation like this? What did you do?

    • Natalie

      Can you talk about the issue in general terms, rather than in specifics for this particular client and employer? Can you bring in data from other studies on related topics? I would not speak out on specifics of this case if your employer and client haven’t ok-ed it. But if there’s any way to talk about the truth using other studies and in more general terms, you could try that.

      • Yael

        Yes, I can do that, and have some data from other sources. Mostly I just really wish people weren’t terrible.

        • Natalie

          “Mostly I just really wish people weren’t terrible.”

          A thousand times this.

          • Yael

            I know right? Of course, if they weren’t I wouldn’t have a job….

    • BSM

      I have zero experience with this, but I hope you can find a way to write about it!

      • Yael

        Thanks! I wish I could give more details but I’d like to keep APW anonymous-ish and safe.

    • Yael

      Part of the stress is also that I am a super introvert, and this is a topic about which death threats are not unheard of (altho, being a Jewish woman and speaking out about any topic can earn death threats). And then you mix in the politics of the situation, and it’s a potential powder keg. But no one knows who I am yet (my name is on my work, but I personally haven’t been in the news), but if I want to actually be productive, I will need to make waves. And I am just completely unprepared to be someone with a “public” reputation (by temperament and training).

    • p.

      Could you reach out to a journalist so you aren’t the one writing the story but maybe you’re quoted or your data is cited?

      • rg223

        Yeah, it sounds to me like this would be the best way to go – reach out to a journalist, if you’re allowed to be interviewed about your work.

    • Charley

      One thing to consider might be if you company has a media person or media team? I work for a research institute and some of my colleagues are working on newsy/controversial topics (specifically GM crops). I know that we’re not allowed to give interviews without going through our media communications team so that they can make sure everything said is “on brand”.

  • Kate

    I’m getting bangs today y’all! My mother is horrified, having been tipped off by one of my sisters. My guy is smart and says only “it’s your hair, do what you want with it.” Plus I learned how to “do” my eyebrows yesterday and it’s very exciting. SELF CARE SELF CARE SELF CARE

  • Baby Making Anon

    I’m getting my IUD out in a few weeks since we think we’re almost ready for baby-making. I picked up Taking Charge of Your Fertility at the library not realizing that it is focused on charting with the Fertility Awareness Method. The book says that this method is not accurate for several months after going off any hormonal birth control so I’m trying to decide if I want to give it a try or not worth the effort. Anybody else tried this out and any advice? How about other suggested reading to learn more about my fertility and getting pregnant specifically?

    • Anon Today for Reasons

      I really liked TCOYF and I have been enjoying charting – it’s been interesting to see how my cycles act after getting off HBC. I think if it sounds like it might be worth the effort to you, it’s worth a shot. I learned a lot about my body that just wasn’t happening or wasn’t obvious to me while on the pill. I don’t have perfect charts by a long shot, so when we get serious about TTC (maybe next month? we started a couple weeks ago but then both got the flu) I will also use OPKs I bought on Amazon, but I have been happy that I gave charting a try. I can definitely imagine a time that I will need a break from it if it takes us a while to get pregnant. Hope that helps!

    • NolaJael

      It never hurts to track. There are lots of apps available. And starting right after you get off of bc will help form the habit so when you’re cycle evens out, you’ll be ready. Good luck!

    • BSM

      Eh, I kind of dropped that book once I started reading it because it felt a little… dense? IDK, just wasn’t really feeling it.

      I started using the Clue app a few months before I had my IUD removed so I had a general idea of what my cycles were like, which ended up holding fairly accurate once I was off BC. I also bought one of those ovulation test kits so that I could check the tracking I’d done and *know* when we should be making things happen.

      The tracking and the testing were the things that helped us the most.

    • Jessica

      I use FAM exclusively for avoiding pregnancy — the Marquette method, which uses charting + the ClearBlue fertility monitor for tracking hormone levels. I think when they say that the method isn’t “accurate” for the first few months after going off birth control, it’s a warning more for people that are using these methods to avoid pregnancy, because the signs of ovulation might be muddied. I don’t think it would be telling you that you *had* ovulated when you really hadn’t. Like others are saying, I don’t think there’s a disadvantage to charting right away, because maybe your cycles will become stable very quickly. Just maybe don’t put as much weight on the charts for the first few months? (Like, don’t panic if you have sex when you think you’re ovulating and don’t get pregnant until you’re sure that your charts are consistent enough to trust their accuracy.)

    • Natalie

      Me, too!

      I’m wondering if I should start reading pregnancy books before TTC. Apparently there are all sorts of things pregnant women shouldn’t do (hot tubs! I had no idea until my pregnant friend mentioned it this week), and I’m guessing one shouldn’t do them in the early stages of pregnancy before one knows one is pregnant…. Which means I should figure out what they are. Who starting reading pregnancy books before actually being pregnant, and which ones were most useful at that stage?

      • BSM

        I’m like 6 weeks along and recently started Expecting Better, which I totally wish I’d read before getting pregnant.

      • Baby Making Anon

        This is what I’ve been wondering too! I have a friend that stopped drinking completely while TTC which I hadn’t really considered but what happens if you get pregnant and don’t realize it and are still drinking? Also since I haven’t had a period in years while on BC, I’m worried that it will take a while for it to come back and what happens if I get pregnant without realizing it. This is one reason I liked the idea of taking temps but hard to tell how much it works after BC.

        • Natalie

          Yeah. I have friends who stopped drinking entirely while TTC. I have others who still drank, but much more moderately, which is likely what I’ll do. If it takes a year of TTC before getting pregnant, that’s a long time to go without alcohol, and a *long* time of people assuming you’re pregnant because you’re not drinking and/or having to pretend to drink so people don’t make that assumption.

        • K.

          I drank moderately until I had a positive test. My OB said that women realizing they were pregnant and panicking about a few glasses of wine was the #1 question she saw in early pregnancy, but that it’s mostly much ado about nothing. Basically, it could harm conception if you went totally nuts, but moderate drinking wouldn’t harm a very new implanted embryo.

          (Disclaimer: Not a doctor!)

        • LOR

          I was off of BC for 6 months then got pregs. I got pregnant in December, didn’t find out until January and def drank for Christmas and NYE. Dr said it was fine due the early stage of pregnancy. But that’s just my 2 cents that I got from my Dr. I miss beer/wine so much, I can’t imagine giving it up while trying.

        • Amy March

          If you drink before you miss a period, nothing happens to your clump of future-baby-cells. There is absolutely no medical reason to stop drinking all together while trying to conceive, assuming your drinking is not at a level that is causing health problems un-pregnant.

      • K.

        I read my now-personal bible “Expecting Better” by Emily Oster for details about hot tubs, caffeine, alcohol, etc as soon as we started TTC. It’s been the most helpful book of both that stage and my now pregnancy (21 weeks), bar none. I totally evangelize it, but it’s seriously so good.

      • Just read Expecting Better – I read it before TTC and it helped so much!

        Also if you’re actively trying, youll know if youre pregnant super early. I didnt refrain from things like drinking during that time between ovulation and testing cause I dont like depriving myself, but I know some women do.

    • macrain

      I charted my cycle for three months on Glow after I got off bc before we really started trying. That gave me a pretty good idea of timing. Maybe hang out for a little bit and chart your cycle without worrying about pregnancy (and also enjoy all the things you can’t enjoy when you get pregnant!).
      I would also recommend “Mayo Clinic’s Guide to Pregnancy,” as there are chapters about preparing to conceive, conceiving, early pregnancy, all the way up through childbirth and after.

    • LOR

      I got the Ovia app after I got off of BC because I wanted to keep track of my periods. It also was helpful because it gave you an idea of when you might be ovulating (fertile period or something). For me, I was able to feel my ovulation days because it hurt for me. Which evidently happens with some people. But it was nice to know when your period *should* be, because when January came and I noticed my period hadn’t started (thanks to the app) I knew I probably should take a test. Good luck with everything.

    • Baby Making Anon

      Thanks all for convincing me that I should start reading Expecting Better now! I had been waiting until we got pregnant but sounds like it would be helpful even while trying to conceive.

    • None

      I went off the Pill in December and borrowed TCOYF a month before that, so there was overlap in my charting. We aren’t actively TTC right now, using condoms during fertile days, but those two things are our current BC. I never experienced drastic side effects from the Pill but definitely feel more like myself without it, even if it comes with more emotions. Month 1 was 31 days, month 2 was 25 days, month 3 29 days, and I felt ovulation month 2 and 3, so for me I had an almost immediate return to fertility.
      I’d recommend starting tracking now, just because it’s a habit you want to get into. YMMV.

    • ellabynight

      I used TCOYF immediately after going off the pill after ten years of use, and I got pregnant the second month of trying. I was actually super worried about whether I would be able to get pregnant because I had stopped having my period while on the pill and it wasn’t clear if it was due to the hormones or some significant weight gain. TCOYF helped me ID when I was ovulating and helped me spot that I might be pregnant before I got a positive test.

      I think the reason it might not be accurate right away is because it often takes your body a while to adjust to its natural (i.e. non-hormone influenced) cycle, so your cycles can be pretty irregular at first. My first month cycle was 40 days and then my second looked like it was shaping up to be closer to my pre-hormonal birth control average length.

      I also want to second the recommendations for Expecting Better and the Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy. Expecting Better addresses some pre-pregnancy issues too so itll be valuable even before you get pregnant. The Mayo Clinic Guide is a level headed week by week look at pregnancy and I liked it as a sane alternative to What to Expect, which I heard had a tendency toward scare mongering.

    • I love tracking! And I use the Ovia app and like it. Also tried Glow for about a year before thatand then downloaded several others to look at before deciding Ovia was my favourite, Been using it for two years I think.

    • And I loved TCOYF.

    • emmers

      Like others, I like Ovia too, and have found it maybe more accurate than glo? But still not perfect, especially if you have irregular cycles. Test strips can be helpful, since they help me confirm whatever I’m thinking based on whatever symptoms.

      And it’s also totally ok to take a break from data keeping if it gets stressful. I currently only track my period in Ovia, with the occasional test strip result.

  • JC

    I am officially student loan free! I bought myself brand new clothes and a bottle of wine to celebrate. And now I’m going to wear my Phenomenal Woman shirt and go to the APW photoshoot and enjoy my now fully paid for graduate degree.

    • Ashlah

      Whoop whoop!!

    • Gaby

      Perfect! Congrats :)

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!! It’s such an awesome feeling. :)

    • macrain

      Yea!! It’s the best feeling!! When I paid mine off I felt like Superwoman.

    • CP2011

      congrats!

    • Yael

      As a current grad student, I am SUPER jealous!

    • penguin

      So jealous and happy for you! I’m staring down my last $12k or so right now.

    • Vanessa

      Oh god so jelly. T-minus 7 years and counting…

    • BSM

      That is amazing!! Congratulations. I think I’m like… $15k away? Lol, someday.

      • Eenie

        I’m $22k away for my undergrad degree and we decided THIS IS THE YEAR!

    • Natalie

      YAY!!! Congrats! Any special strategies you used to get yourself there or tips to offer?

      • JC

        Well the biggest reason I was able to pay them off so quickly is that I lived with my in-laws for a year and a half rent free. I used the money I would have been paying for rent to pay down the loan hella hard. YMMV. Living with my in-laws was incredibly challenging, although I think I have a fabulous relationship with them now and I know that I’m meant to be part of their family. I wouldn’t recommend moving in with the folks if it’s only for the purposes of paying down debt, because it’s a stressful living situation. But we had other factors too, so I just capitalized on the fact that I had a rent free home for a while.

        After that, I just made sure that the loan was the priority every single month. It also ate up a portion of my tax returns every year, plus a small sum I was given after my grandfather passed. I liked the strategy of only using part of these big lump sums for debt payment, because I felt responsible and I also got to treat myself. I am a very thrifty saver, but I like to take advantage of lump sums like tax returns, so this met both of those needs.

    • MC

      CONGRATS!!!!!!! Such an amazing feeling. Way to treat yo’self!

    • Yay! We’ve been working hard on ours the last few months, and hope to be done with them by the end of 2017. #debtishard

  • Katharine Parker

    I went to the rental showroom this week, and it was surprisingly fun to look at different combinations of tablecloths and napkins. We also scheduled the menu tasting, which involved picking the menu, and my finance is researching transportation options.

    I am realizing it would have been easier to pick my bridesmaids’ dresses for them, instead of giving them a color palette and pinterest board of things I like and letting them choose. One bridesmaid told me she tried on every dress at BHLDN and liked none of them. Which is fine, she doesn’t need to get a BHLDN dress and I want her to have a dress she likes, but now I’m worried that she won’t find any dress that she likes anywhere. I’m sure they will all look lovely in the end, but just picking something would have been much simpler.

    • Brynna

      Weird – I love every dress ever from BHLDN…

      It sounds like you’ve done as much as you need to for this bridesmaid (provided guidance, etc), so I’m sure she’ll figure it out. You have bigger fish to fry.

    • zana

      Yes. This is true. Not enough people tell you this.

      But at the same time, I’ve got some David’s Bridal throwaway gown that was picked out for me, and I think I would’ve much rather been given a color palette. At least it’s not strapless.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for putting “illegal” in quotes. It made me bristle less. Signed, an immigration attorney.

  • Kalë

    Wish me luck! I’m moments away from telling my amazing, killer, #girlboss boss I’m applying for another position. Will report back…

    • Jessica

      Good luck! Those conversations are so hard!

  • Lawyerette510

    Just dropping by while I’m on vacation because this little get away marks a shift in how I feel in my body. During the winter I generally don’t shave my legs or bikini line or get pedicures, but when we go to the beach I’ll get waxed and a pedicure.

    Well life had been such a dumpster fire in the two weeks before vacation it just didn’t happen. And I was too tired to be stressed it wasn’t happening. I packed my razor, shave cream and nail polish and figured I’d deal with it once we got here. Well our flight landed around noon Wednesday and despite a forecast or rain the sun was out. I didn’t want to spend time grooming and instead we just headed to the beach. And guess what? It didn’t matter and I’m wearing my fatkini and shorts and skirts and my legs are still hairy and my toes are still flecked with the chips of polish from 3 months ago. In a lot of ways I feel more authentic because Ive realized I don’t actually care about those things at all. And no one else is really looking.

  • Katherine

    It’s vasectomy day! We’re prepping now, leaving in about an hour and a half, so not much time to hang out today. Just wanted to pop in and say happy Friday to all.

    • Cellistec

      Happy vasectomy day! I imagine there’s a card for that now…right?

    • BSM

      Congrats! I saw this article on Buzzfeed yesterday on friends getting vasectomies together, which you might enjoy: https://www.buzzfeed.com/caseygueren/these-three-friends-got-vasectomies-together

    • MC

      Congrats! Husband & I just had the talk last night where I said, “When my IUD comes out in 5 years, if we still don’t want kids, it would be really great if you would get a vasectomy so I don’t have to be on birth control for 10-15 more years…” and he agreed that was a completely reasonable timeline. So hopefully I’ll be where you are in 5ish years!

    • Margret

      Congratulations! Are you going to watch? I got to watch my husband’s, but I like that sort of thing. Sending wishes for a speedy recovery! I made him basically stay seated on an ice pack for 3 days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and he was more or less good to do everything but run or ride a bike by Monday morning.

  • Olive

    Last weekend I left my husband at home and took the train to sweet home Chicago to spend some time with my family and it. was. wonderful. I felt really compelled to go, and I’m glad I did. I rode the L all around the city, had some one on one time with my sister, with whom I don’t have the best relationship (it has gotten a lot better recently), took walks with my grandma, had a sleepover and lots of playtime with my two little nieces, saw lots of friends and cousins, and lounged on the couch watching The Crown and Victoria with my mom (another relationship that’s been improving since it reached a low around the time of my wedding).

    I’m so glad I went. I don’t get the opportunity to have one on one time with my family and friends when my husband’s there with me, I’m always worried about ditching him. But it was great.

    Today, I’m toying with the idea of getting a haircut and a chic new wardrobe(ha! from TJ Maxx probably) this weekend. I’m ready for a change. Happy weekend, all!

    • EF

      ohhh really feel you on needing to visit home (family/friends/place/whatever) without the partner. my BFF just announced that he’s coming to my part of the world over the summer, and without hesitation partner was like ‘you two should travel together. you need the bro time.’ and he’s right. it can be absolutely refreshing to see your [other] people without your person.

      • Olive

        YES. First time since we’ve been married that I’ve gone home by myself and all those strained family relationships I’m working on need alone time!! Props to your partner for recognizing that!

      • JC

        Oooh I am the opposite, I do NOT like visiting home without my boyfriend. I get cornered into a lot of emotional/manipulative conversations because he’s not around. When they see us together, they just…lighten up. This isn’t true of my home friends, I’d gladly be alone with them, but it is true of both my nuclear and extended families. I think I have very, very loving family, but I like the distance he provides.

        • Olive

          That’s fair. There have been times I wasn’t getting along with my family and definitely wouldn’t go home without him. They weren’t exactly nicer because of it, but for awhile they still saw him as an outsider and were slightly nicer because of it.

      • mjh

        I live in the same area as my parents, but +1 on the idea of enjoying seeing your other people without your person. Trips to visit close friends, siblings, etc, and even a visit to my mother’s house or father’s house (both are local to me) solo are just a great, totally different thing from if I did them with my partner. I’m also a big fan of occasional solo travel, period, though I love trips with him as their own wonderful thing.

        My husband is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s an only child and has a hard time being around his parents. They live in another state, but we visit them for a few weekends each year and he just isn’t up for going there on his own, like ever.

    • mjh

      Chi represent! Sounds like a great time.

  • Vanessa

    I booked hair & makeup this week! And I got my wedding shoes and they are perfect!! And we met with a possible DOC, and have two more meetings scheduled Sunday. And we started researching food trucks..and as with everything else the first few we’ve contacted are booked, which makes me anxious.

    I also signed up for a wheel throwing pottery class and an oil painting class. I’m someone who tends to go down the internet research rabbit hole pretty easily (also I am a policy researcher so it is part of my job) and I’ve gone too far towards ALL WEDDING RESEARCH ALL THE TIME. I need some more active pursuits that aren’t focused on wedding. Plus we’re in the midst of possibly selling an investment house we bought a couple of years ago (a fixer that we ultimately decided we didn’t want to live in after some neighborhood changes came to light) and I just need some distraction. Messy, painty, muddy distraction.

    I am so so so excited – I started as an art major in college (before switching to poli sci and French and ultimately going to law school) and in retrospect I think a lot of the reason I stopped making art was related to poor self-esteem, external pressure, and related bullshit. I’m so excited to get back in to the studio!!

    • Her Lindsayship

      Ooh, where did you get wedding shoes from if you don’t mind sharing? :) Also, yay for art classes! What a great way to make yourself back away from wedding planning. Sounds like a lot of fun!

      • Vanessa

        I got these (http://www.stuartweitzman.com/products/nearlynude/jean-blue-suede/?DepartmentId=360&DepartmentGroupId=1) in velvet scarlet at 50% off. They have pretty limited sizes left on their sale ones but it’s worth keeping an eye out. I needed a block heel because we’ll be out on uneven pebbly ground, but I still wanted a little pizzazz :)

        • Alex Eichler

          those are sooooo great

          • Vanessa

            Thank you!!! Every day since I’ve gotten them when I get home from work I immediately put them on and dance around to the song I’m lobbying for as our first dance song :) (Talking Heads Nothing but Flowers)

          • THOSE SHOES ARE SO GORGEOUS! And then I had to google your song and listen to it – #awesome. Don’t worry about vendors that are already booked, you’ll find just what you need.

          • Vanessa

            Thank you!!

        • Her Lindsayship

          omg the scarlet velvet is so drool-worthy! I’m looking for fancy flats which is turning out harder than expected. I want to be comfy for one, but also I’m too tall and my dress would be too short (without alterations!) if I have a heel. *insert laugh/cry emoji* I feel sorry for women taller than me!

          • Vanessa

            Comfort is key! Hopefully with spring stuff coming out there will be more flats options for you soon!

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            So these may not be at all what you were looking for, but I stumbled upon this etsy page while I thought I was looking for some ivory lace flats for dancing shoes. I bought some beautiful red beaded shoes and LOVED them. Just a thought
            https://www.etsy.com/shop/Magicstring

    • Shirley Schmidt

      Hurray for finding a creative and non-wedding outlet! It really helps stop your brain from falling down those research rabbit holes (I too have a “must research all the things IMMEDIATELY” brain).

    • zana

      I’m still looking for a good calligraphy class around town. Bay Area is…pricey.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        I bought a kit to teach myself…I learned that I am not great at teaching myself things. The kit was used all of one time.

        • penguin

          I got a kit too and used it once, proceeded to get ink everywhere, and haven’t opened it again. I made some sweet looking lower case L’s though haha.

        • Kalë

          are you me? this is my MO with all “learn how to do x artsy thing” stuff

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            It always seems so straightforward! Me: “why would I spend all that money on classes with this kit is $30 dollars” Also me” *cries 3 months out from wedding because I never learned calligraphy and now my invitations will be ugly* Spoiler alert, no one noticed.

          • lamarsh

            This is me right now. I just ordered clear labels, so I am least entering some phase of acceptance. However, I am still telling myself I will get it together in two months and do calligraphy for the place cards…

          • Kalë

            EVERY TIME. My FH had to stop me from buying a calligraphy kit + classes, because “be honest with yourself, you’ll just try it once, get frustrated and pretend like you never wanted to do calligraphy anyways, lets just cut out the middle step” ouch. but so, so true.

        • Lmba

          Classes are definitely the shortcut to success! Although my (very, very patient) sister has actually taught herself to do hand-lettering, from zero experience to starting a side business. So it can be done!

        • zana

          You guys, I love my Fudenosuke firm brush pen. I use it all the time to write the headers in my notebooks when I’m taking class notes. Calligraphy is my jam. I’d probably actually practice, if I paid for a skillshare class or two on it. Or, like, $300 on 8 hours of in-person instruction (but it’s in El Cerrito, so I’d probably need an AirBnB since that’s an hour away, womp womppppppppppppp)

    • JC

      Oooh congrats on getting back into art; I’m doing the same! (Slowly, more slowly than I would like, but I need time to adjust to things.) Tell us how the classes go!

  • Not Sarah

    This has been a week. Slightly off topic, but what do I wear to a funeral? I’m not family – it’s a friend’s parent. Should I wear black? Or dark burgundy? They’re both perfectly respectable knee length on me. If it was my family member, I would definitely wear the black dress, but it’s not, so could I wear either? Thank your for any help!!
    http://www.bodenimages.com/productimages/productLarge/15WAUT_WH889_BLK.jpg https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/9f/25/e4/9f25e4d06ad2f3b384540555f3b2badc.jpg

    • Jessica

      I’ve generally seen dark colors at funerals. Sometimes black dresses can look a little slinky if over-accessorized (I wouldn’t fret too much about that), but burgundy and gray can work well too.

      • Not Sarah

        Hah. Me accessorize?! I would just wear the black dress plain. Maybe I’ll go with that one since I would need to wear a cardigan with the burgundy one and I don’t have a black cardigan, just a grey one and a bright green one. Thanks!!

    • emmers

      I think either color is fine.

    • Last time I went to a funeral, I wore all black with a grey blazer. I usually wear black to funerals, but I also usually wear tons of black all the time too.

      • Not Sarah

        I don’t usually wear that much black, but considering some of the strange colours other people were wearing at the funeral, I’m really glad I ended up going with all black.

  • emmers

    If we don’t have kids I’ve been thinking recently about being foster parents. The timeline for this would be at least a year or two, so it’s purely theoretical right now. We both work full time, so I’m wondering logistically if it’s even possible. Does anyone have any experience with this? Is there a way to be foster parents if both people work full time, or does one person need to work part time or something?

    • Kalë

      Not a foster parent, but I work extensively with the foster care system and can try to answer questions. At least in our state, both parents can work if the kids are school-aged, and now that I say that, I’m pretty sure if they are littles, too… kiddo just goes to a daycare that is paid for by a voucher.

    • AGCourtney

      I haven’t seen @ladybrett around here in a while, but I know they have fostered kids and have a lot of experience with this.

    • Leah

      Not a foster parent, but have friends who were, and in our state one of them had to be with him at almost all times at least for a good while at the beginning (I think they could only leave him with someone else for 2-3 hours at a time or something like that). So one of them had to take a leave of absence from work. He was daycare age at the time (3 when they started), so I don’t know the story for school-aged kids.. (Also they’ve since adopted him and they are a rocking awesome family).

    • Natalie

      I have a friend who’s single and adopted an older child and had to go through all the stuff foster parents do, too. I don’t know details, but she kept working full time after she brought her daughter home, so at least in her state a parent doesn’t need to be stay-at-home.

      • Cellistec

        Yes, a colleague of mine is a single foster mom, and she works full time. Granted, we have a family-friendly workplace with decent parental leave, so YMMV.

    • Trinity

      I’m curious about this, too. My husband and I have talked about this for years, but we haven’t been sure how feasible it is since we both work full time.

      • E.

        You might be interested in respite foster care, I wrote a bit more about my sister’s experience in response to emmers above

    • EF

      hiiiiii former foster kid here. i don’t know rules everywhere and don’t know all the rules on the parent side, but i can say that as a teenager, i had placements where both parents worked. um, do be prepared to take time off though, foster kids really really need to be shown that you’re willing to take time for them.

      also, as always, let me emphasize: please don’t become a foster parent for ‘practice’ for your own kids.

      • emmers

        Thanks, this is helpful. I would definitely be able to take some time off, I’m just not sure either of us could fully go part time. And mentally I kind of view fostering as a difficult but positive thing to do, but not as some kind of bridge to having kids. Who knows how things will turn out, but the tentative plan would be to focus on fostering instead of adopting.

    • E.

      My sister and her husband have done respite foster care for the past year and loved it. They basically have the kids for short term (usually the weekend). They both work full time, but with respite care you have the flexibility to say “sorry, we can’t take anyone these days” to make it work for your schedule.

      • emmers

        This might be a good way to ease in! Thanks!

    • Louise

      We’ve been thinking about that too! We have even taken the class, but in taking it realized that we cannot handle it now, while i’m in grad school and working full time (not sure why i thought it was feasible in the first place). We’re going to revisit when I’m done. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and the not getting pregnant thing has made it feel like it could be the right path to parenthood for us. All to say, great question and I’ll be interested to hear what people say! You might want to also try to reach out to local foster parent support groups to learn more.

      • emmers

        Thanks, Louise. I hope that your path to parenthood goes well, too!

  • Eh

    I was hoping that my in-laws would take us up on our offer to join us (and my BIL, SIL and nieces) at the sugar bush this weekend. I was really hoping we could talk to them in person about them trying to make plans with us last minute when they know we need more notice. I don’t think we need to justify the boundaries more than we have, but since they don’t respect them we were going to explain why we will say “no” to last minute requests all of the time (e.g., husband who works weekends, toddler who needs a schedule, life with only one car, my anxiety issues). Instead of coming with us they are taking my husband’s grandparents to visit distant relatives who I have never heard them talk about (my husband’s second cousins).

    I’m going to a Bridal shower (for my husband’s cousin) the second weekend of April so I will see my MIL there, but other than that we probably won’t see them until Easter at this rate.

    • Lisa

      Ugh, I’m sorry, I know how hard you guys have tried to put up those boundaries with them. I’m sure it sucks to keep saying “no” all of the time, but it sounds like that’s your best option at this rate. When you tell them you can’t come, do you also include a line like “No, we can’t make that. As we’ve told you repeatedly, we can’t accommodate schedule changes less than X weeks in advance”? Then you can always default back to that same text message or copy/paste.

      • Eh

        A month ago they suggested to my husband that they were going to surprise us by coming over and my husband said that wasn’t a good idea because he probably wouldn’t be home because he works weekends, and he reminded his father that we need two weeks notice. Then last last weekend his dad sent a text asking when a good time to come over was, my husband’s response was that he had to work all weekend and that me and my daughter had plans but that they could join us this weekend at the sugar bush. His father didn’t get back to him so on Wednesday my husband was confirming plans with my BIL so he followed up with his father. He didn’t remind him about the notice that time since he was attempting to be accommodating by letting them tag along (he was going to ask them when he made the plans with my BIL but my in-laws were away).

    • Amy March

      Nothing wrong with saying no to last minute requests all the time! You’ve told them, repeatedly and at length, why you do it. I don’t think further justification is necessary and they’ve made it clear they won’t listen.

      • Eh

        I totally agree, my preference is not to give them any more justification; my husband thinks it will help them understand. They are used to dropping by people’s houses and if they are home they are home, if they aren’t it’s not a big deal (they live in a small town). To me, someone coming to my house without notice is a huge deal. The main justification so far has been that my husband needs the notice to get time off work. So they seem to be trying to get around that by asking when is good for us (answer: two weeks from the day you make plans with us). And it seems like they just want to visit our daughter (with me), which is also a no-go. Also, my husband was on parental leave for 6 months last year and they may have dropped by once or twice (always while I was at work, never on the weekend), and they barely ever tried to make plans with us on the weekend even though we had more flexibility.

        • CMT

          I have a friend who similarly inconveniences people and uses “aren’t small towns great?” as an excuse. I want to shake her and yell at her that no, crashing on my couch for a weekend with no notice is not okay because we’re from a small town, it’s her being completely rude and inconsiderate. I don’t think the message would get through to her, though. She’s pretty much decided to live by her own rules.

          • Eh

            Other family members (from the same small town) complain about having to make ‘appointments’ to visit people from my generation (some of my husband’s cousins who are the same age as us also don’t want people just dropping by either). My FIL will drive 15 mins to see if my husband’s grandparents are home, or half an hour to drop in to see his brother. This seems like a massive waste of gas if they aren’t home. If he was doing something in the area then fine, but he just decides he wants to visit someone and leaves his house and doesn’t see if they are home first. My in-laws use us saying no all the time as a way to guilt us. They use it as an example of them making an effort to visit us and us not letting them see our daughter. The thing is, they know how to make plans with us and choose not to. My FIL posted on FB this morning about how much he misses seeing my daughter and one of his other granddaughters (BTW he lives five minutes from them and barely makes an effort to see his other son’s family). It is probably true that he misses them, but they need to make an effort.

  • Alex Eichler

    just hit ORDER on my invites. cue the palpitations.

    • Yael

      yay!

  • Jessica

    What a week! I got a kitten on Saturday (named her Maybe this morning!), had work stuff two nights, went to see a Hitchcock movie with my dad last night, and have a full weekend planned. My husband has been having a mixed reaction to the therapy program he is in–talking about all of his stuff is hard for him, but he’s getting there. He asked me out on a coffee date for Sunday, so that is an exciting development (planning ahead! Expressing an interest in doing something! With me! Yay!)

    I had my second appointment with a therapist this week and just cried a bunch. I don’t know if I want to stick with her long term or find someone who knows more about PTSD and the relationships affected by that. Because I pretty much have my shit together, I’m only going to see her once a month for now just to check in and unload a little, as well as make plans for self care and better decision making (aka stop being petty).

    Also, my mom is doing well recovering from surgery and a friend/volunteer bought me lunch today for helping her set up her Squarespace website and assist in clarifying her vision for the consulting business she is starting.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d0f3212de9df812e03d6d92a60b5410c0eba20eb337607da95130de014aa79f3.jpg

    • penguin

      Kitty!!! So adorable and fluffy.

    • Kalë

      LOVE KITTY! Also, love that your husband has gotten it together enough to ask you on a date! That is great for all parties!

      • Jessica

        right!!!?!!

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      SO CUTE. Like seriously one of the cutest kittens ever.

      • Jessica

        Everyone at the shelter was nearly crying when I came to adopt her. At the vet this morning all the techs came in to see her. She is prettier than me, and I’m ok with it.

        • Kalë

          as someone whose dog is infinitely prettier and more photogenic than me, at least we have an endless supply of cute pictures to instagram!

    • Vanessa

      Omg kitten! The cutest :)

    • Yael

      kitties are the best!

    • AGCourtney

      My daughter walked by and announced “That’s a cute cat.” I second this. :)

    • NolaJael

      Hi, Maybe!!!!!!

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        OMG I just thought of that song “call me, maybe”

        • Jessica

          I sent out a snapchat video of her in the vet this morning and captioned it “Maybe at the vet!” A friend immediately responded “I would think you’d know if you were at the vet or not–thanks for all the jokes with this name!”

      • NolaJael

        Also, congrats on your coffee date!

        • Jessica

          It’s such a small, but significant thing–thank you!

    • Jennifer

      Kitty! Your new baby looks like she will be a delightful distraction.

    • emmers

      Your kitten is adorable. And my common reaction to therapy is crying, too! I’m glad that your husband asked you on a date!

    • BSM

      Kitten! So adorable, and I love her name.

      I could never stick it out with therapy because I always just cried for the entirety of my appointments and didn’t ever feel better. But I think you’re right in that I may not have been seeing the right person and/or I just needed to push through and get past that phase.

      Good luck!

    • Olive

      Maybe is so precious. I have two kitties at home and would seriously adopt all the kitties if I could. I hope she brings so much joy to you both! My husband is the best cat dad and loves them so much! It brings me so much joy (and maybe a bit of baby fever).

    • zana

      AHHHHHHHHH SUPER FUZZ.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits
      • Alyssa

        This was all I could think of when I read that her name was Maybe! I love it.

  • Anna

    Just donated blood :D A local blood center runs a drive at my office every eight weeks, so as soon as everyone who donated last time is eligible again, there’s another drive. I thought I was going to have to stop donating for a year because I just got a new tattoo a month and a half ago (specifically, I got the Clinton campaign logo tattooed on my side the day after Inauguration Day/day of the Women’s March), but apparently New Jersey has sufficiently strict regulations on tattoo shops that there’s no waiting period if you got your tattoo in NJ (as opposed to literally any other state).

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      Fun fact: you’re pretty much always good to give blood after getting a tattoo as long as you saw them open the needle. It’s a common misconception, but answering “yes” to having a tattoo just requires followup questions, it’s not an automatic disqualification.

      • Anna

        The blood center that runs this drive says on their webpage that getting a tattoo is a 12 month deferral unless the tattoo was done in New Jersey :-/ And I believe I recall from when I was living in Boston that there’s a Massachusetts state law that also says one year deferral after a tattoo. I’ve seen the needle opened for every tattoo I’ve gotten (all two of them), and I’m sure that nothing was transmitted to me either time, but like… blood donation deferrals aren’t always about actual medical fact (cf. men who have sex with men deferral…).

        • MrsRalphWaldo

          I’ve given in NC, SC, RI, and FL and none of them have had a hard 12 month deferral. Certain blood centers may have their own rules, but the Red Cross, Community Blood Center (NC/SC), and Rhone Island Blood Center all allow you to give after getting a tattoo.

    • Ashlah

      Yay! I miss donating blood. (Permanently deferred after two false positive Hep tests). I really encourage anyone who’s able to do it! It’s such an easy (for most people) way to make a big difference in people’s lives.

      • Anna

        Wait, if it was verified that the tests were false positives, why is it still a permanent deferral? Are false positive hep tests a sign of something else (like, does your blood come up positive every time even though you don’t have hep, or were you just really unlucky)?

        (ETA: rereading it occurs to me that this is a potentially invasive personal medical question… obviously no answer required! I’m just curious, if you know the answer and are comfortable sharing)

        • Ashlah

          I think I’m just really unlucky! I donated like 4 or 5 times and it came up positive twice. If I remember correctly (this was years ago now), they use a more sensitive (or just different?) test than you get at the doctor’s office. I keep hoping they’ll change the rules because “if it’s verifiably false, why am I deferred?” is a question I always mildly rage about! I’m guessing part of it is just the hassle/time wasted if they have to trash my blood every time they get a positive test, and their tendency to be overly cautious with blood donations. Which, I mean, that’s a good thing. But boo for me!

          • Anna

            That’s too bad :-/ but yeah, if I think about it in terms of designing an administratively and medically reasonable blood donation system, I can see why they just don’t want to deal with it. You can still do a lot of good by encouraging others who might not think of it to donate blood :-)

          • I’m actually in the same boat. I think for most donation centers they permanently defer repeat reactive donors because it wouldn’t be worth the whole song and dance of verifying that you’re actually Hep free every time you donate. Additionally, (I actually happen to work on HBs Screening products) you occasionally you get false positives where we just can’t understand the mechanism, and for the donation center, it’s not worth the risk. Moral of the story, we’re both just unlucky :/

          • Ashlah

            High five? :(

    • CMT

      I thought about getting that as a tattoo! I ended up going with GRL PWR as my Processing-Election-Feelings-By-Getting-A-Tattoo tattoo, but I’ve got a lot of open skin left, so maybe someday.

      • Anna

        Glad to know I wasn’t the only one processing post-election feelings this way :-) My friends all seemed to have REALLY strong feelings about me getting this particular tattoo – some positive, some negative. Fiance wasn’t thrilled (although he was 100% “it’s your body” so that’s fine), one of my best friends (staunch conservative who held his nose and voted for Clinton) got really angry about it and told me I should “wait for a better female candidate” (I was like THIS CONVERSATION IS OVER NOW), but on the other end, one of my college roommates was like “I wish I were badass enough to get that tattoo”.

        • BSM

          I kinda want Hillary’s signature… Gotta start working on my husband for that one because he haaaaates tattoos.

          • Anna

            That would also be super cool. Fiance also has a tattoo (and is getting his second this weekend!), but politics makes him deeply uncomfortable and he’s like “I just don’t get why you’d want to put your politics on your BODY”… but like as a woman my body is already political, so…

          • BSM

            Lol, YES. Too true.

        • CMT

          I think I do want a HRC tattoo in some way, shape, or form because a large part of my election feelings have to do with how much I fucking love *her* specifically. But I don’t know what exactly. I like @BreckW:disqus ‘s signature idea!

          • Anna

            Yes, exactly. When I was pretty much inconsolable after most of the election results had come in, several people tried to tell me “Trump is terrible, but we will have a female president, probably sooner than you think” and I was like sure, but presumably Hillary Clinton will now never be the President of the United States, and I wanted to live in a world where she was president maybe more than I’ve ever wanted anything else in my life.

          • CMT

            Same to all of that :(

      • Olive

        Ahhhh I was thinking about GRL PWR. I’m still processing my processing-election-feelings-by-getting-a-tattoo feelings. #takingsuggestions

  • Katie

    Hi, all amazing women (and men) of APW! Just popping in real quick to say hi.
    Hopefully everyone had an amazing INternational Women’s Day and has been slaying all week long. We neutered our puppy, he’s pretty sad about having to wear a cone. ALSO I finally paid my car taxes and got it registered! Now I’m a completely legit driver. My favorite hobby now is cruising Dallas downtown in a convertible with the top down.

  • Not Sarah

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed wedding planning and how much I am looking forward to our reception coming up in September. Also, I would way rather people ask me about the wedding than “What are your plans for after grad school?” OMG that question is way too difficult to answer at the moment…so let’s please talk about the delicious cake instead!

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      That’s such an interesting situation to me, because I was dying to have anyone talk to me about things other than the wedding, but I can see where future plans are way more stressful!

    • Katharine Parker

      Yes, planning a wedding is so good for small talk!

  • Em

    Off to Rome, Naples and Sorrento for 10 days tomorrow – can’t wait to relax and have some quality time with my FH! And so so so ready for some (comparative) warmth and sun after a very grey English winter – anyone got any tips (especially food or wine) for any of the above places?

    • Did you get your tickets in advance for things like the Colosseum? The walk-up line is always way longer.

    • Oooh, I loved Naples! My favourite pizza was at De Matteo’s. There was a yummy donut shop on Via Duomo. Hmm, and a couple amazine gelato places, but I don’t know where. So, clearly, you should just try ALL the gelato places.

    • And I’ve been to Rome (years ago) and Sorrento (a day trip on the same trip as Naples). We did Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii in the same day, I think. Both were fun. And Capri, Capri was beautiful! We walked around the nature paths and stayed away from the shops. (And I write about Naples on my blog, if you want to see some photos, etc. I think all the posts are in June 2010.) Enjoy!

  • lildutchgrrl

    5th anniversary (wood) coming up in the fall. I was thinking I might get our front stairs replaced. We’ve been discussing that it needs to be done within a few years, with cost being the major factor holding it back… only I don’t actually know whether it’s a $500 thing or a $1000 or $5000 or $10000 thing. New homeowners. Anyone in the Bay Area have an idea for what it might run to replace one flight of exterior wooden steps with wooden railings? I mean, before I start combing Yelp for contractors.

    • Sara

      I don’t know the answer to this, but I would also check out Angie’s List for reviews and possible deals. You used to have to pay, but its free to sign up and they always have random deals popping up. At the very least, they have a great review system.

    • BSM

      Ugh, I feel like replacing those stairs is always stupid expensive (at least from what I’ve seen in disclosure reports). I’d peg it around the $5k mark, but I think it varies a ton based on slope, how many stairs, intricacy, etc.

      I would definitely start bugging contractors about it now because I’ve noticed they’re starting to get busy as we get into spring.

      (in the Bay Area, as well)

    • emmers

      I like that this is for your anniversary. Wooden stairs! How cool.

  • E.

    I need advice from all the smart, diplomatic people here! I mentioned awhile ago that my dad asked I not invite his ex-wife, who is also my godmother to the wedding. In trying to keep my cool on the phone while simultaneously freaking out, I told him I’d think about. I’m thinking at some point I should probably tell him that we are ignoring his wishes and inviting her, but how to say it without saying,”we are ignoring your ridiculous and insulting request. please grow up”??

    • JC

      Oof, this is tough, but good for you for sticking to your guns! I go with a formula along the lines of, “You requested {that we not invite ex-wife/godmother}, and although we’ve given it a lot of thought, we’ve decided that it’s important that she be present. I understand that you will have concerns about this, so we will do our best to {not seat you together, limit pictures together, etc.}. If you have specific concerns about your interactions with her, I can consider those too. However, she is a member of my family on my wedding day, and you need to {treat her with respect, not make snide comments, never mention the original request to reject her, etc.}

  • My wedding gantt chart has got bigger and more elaborate. If anyone wants a very geeky spreadsheet with gantt to do list, colour coded budget and linked form for collecting addresses, shout! :) Also, google drive now includes websites, which integrate with maps and forms and so on (forms could be better, but it’s very new so I suspect that’ll get better), so I’ve been building my wedsite there.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0517e62c87b0fb0bf8dffa9d5e310231b60d6a3a6eb21d5e8505d7d5a6d05318.jpg

    The shop we got J’s engagement ring has been an absolute trial. We’ve been trying to exchange it for a better fit since December, and the manager (only man in the shop) has failed to keep every single promise to call us over four months, and now the original is damaged so either we pay for the fitting one or give up and go buy a ring elsewhere. There’s a limit as to how much money I’m willing to give them after so much of my time. J wants the ring I picked out for him, but the whole experience has soured us both on the shop.

    Going to see Casanova at the ballet tomorrow, which another newly engaged friend and a mid-divorce friend. T (the divorcee) moved back up north last year and her husband was meant to follow (but didn’t) and she’s been reaching out to everyone to rekindle old friendships. She’s really inspired me to make more of an effort with my other friendships – I get very complacent in my friendships and tend to let J take the lead socially (as a kid I always made one close friend then let them make more friends for us) but I realise I’ve definitely let people go that I didn’t have to.

    (I feel like there was something I needed advice on, but I can’t remember any more. Can’t have been a big deal!)

    • suchbrightlights

      All the high fives on your spreadsheet wizardry. I have found wedding planning to be super non-stressful for two reasons. The first is that anything I don’t care about, my mother cares about AND finds it enjoyable to think about, so I’ve outsourced those things to her. The second is that I GET TO MAKE ALL THE SPREADSHEETS, GUYS. I also have a Gantt chart. I am deep in the spreadsheets at work, and they are stressful spreadsheets. Then I come home and I have my nice non-stressful spreadsheets, and it makes me so happy to think about.

      • one of my also engaged friends is doing everything in a notebook, and though rationally I know that’s what works for her and she wouldn’t be doing it that way if it didn’t (she’s a teacher, so she’s awesome at planning and organising stuff anyway) the irrational part of my brain just breaks down at the idea of trying to do all this on paper. Having to calculate my own overspend? Having to figure out how overdue something is by looking at my calendar? Having to remember which near-identically named vendor is which without links to their websites (oh god, why are all the photographers of both genders around here called Steph)? Makes me so twitchy!

  • E.

    I’m leaving right this minute for a wedding in Atlanta! Anyone have any recommendations for food/fun things to do for the day tomorrow?

    • If youve got time, hit the aquarium!

      • Jennifer

        Weather permitting, Piedmont Park, Park Bar, The Skyview Flyer, 10th & Piedmont, Octane Coffee, we really love Game-X if you like games and drinks, and Mary Mac’s Teahouse for the quintessential southern comfort meal.

    • Jennifer

      Oops replied to Jubilance – see below.

    • Jennifer

      Weather permitting, Piedmont Park, Park Bar, The Skyview Flyer, 10th & Piedmont, Octane Coffee, we really love Game-X if you like games and drinks, and Mary Mac’s Teahouse for the quintessential southern comfort meal.

    • Eenie

      Ah! I just saw this! Jennifer has some good suggestions! Where in ATL? Downtown or Northern burbs? I really enjoy Ponce City Market – it’s a great place to grab food because it’s a food court and shopping. It’s connected to the Beltline which is a nice place to walk. Krog St Market is similar but finding parking is a lot harder there. The touristy stuff around Olympic Park and the Botanical Gardens are also highly recommended! We actually got married at 10th and Piedmont and loved seeing our guests doing so many things in the city during the day.

  • CP2011

    I thought I had anticipated all the ways the election might impact my person relationships, but I got a new one yesterday! A friend who also voted for Clinton shared with me that he has felt a rift with me since the election and the inauguration because he’s not as upset as I am about it. Which, ok, I guess I get that, but I’m really able to function pretty normally without constantly bringing it up or being angry all the time? But basically, he said he couldn’t relate to me because he doesn’t really care that much about what’s going on.
    Honestly I feel like I don’t have a lot of room in my life who aren’t upset about the state of American politics. This affects us all.

    • rg223

      Ugh, this was a super jerky thing for him to do! What exactly are you supposed to do about him feeling a rift? Stop caring about our country? Stop talking about it? How frustrating!

  • applescruffs_23

    Officially coming out of lurker status to say that wedding invites should be waiting in the mailbox! The addresses are printed on there already, which led to an irritating conversation with my mother in which she insisted they should be addressed “Mr and Mrs John Smith” and I said no way in hell will I ever address anything that way. But the invites are adorable!

    • penguin

      Welcome! I lurked for a long time before officially joining haha. I also had that same discussion with my FMIL – my thought was that I’ll address her invite that way since she wants it addressed that way, and then do the rest in a way that makes me less rage-y.

    • zana

      Yeah. That addressing style is just the worst. Like an endorsement of patriarchal society.

  • Pingback: APW Happy Hour | Wedding Adviser()

  • Louisemheilman

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj175d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !mj175d:
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  • Laura

    So my in laws live far away, and are constantly asking us to visit etc and we do our best (which i think is pretty good!). my husband and i haven’t been on a trip without them being part of it in some way since our honeymoon nearly two years ago – so it’s not like we’re jetting all over the place and never to see them. other than our honeymoon, every trip has involved them in some way – so i’m a bit annoyed that they don’t seem to see our effort, and acknowledge that it is totally reasonable that a married couple would have travel plans that don’t involve them. especially since we love to travel, but now have jobs that don’t allow a ton of vacation, so when we visit them, it necessarily takes something else (for just us) off the table.

    however – now they have offered to include us on a short (4 day) long weekend to florida to see my husband’s elderly grandfather who we are both very fond of. we don’t really have a reason to say no (we won’t be paying etc) – but I’m worried about it reinforcing the idea that we will see them this often and that our travel plans will always include them. when we mentioned that we had been thinking of going somewhere just us, it went immediately to ‘don’t you miss us/want to see us?’ – sigh. on top of that, they are insistent that we visit this summer, which my husband really wants to do, but i’m not sure how it will work with my work schedule. it’s easy to say that he should go alone, but then i think that sets a situation in motion where we spend our limited time/$ for vacations separately, and i don’t like that. also – to visit them is $$$, it’s not a quick or cheap trip.

    I think we’re going to florida with the caveat that my husband mention all of the above and that we guard some time for just the two of us that weekend. anyone have tips/recs for creating understanding with far off in laws?

    • Eenie

      Be firm! I visited my family alone and with my husband SOOOOOO much last year. This year, we are seeing them twice total. I think framing it as “I’m so glad we’ve been able to take advantage of circumstances this year and see you so much since that’s not going to be true every year!” Focus on the increase of frequency being an awesome and unusual circumstance so that when you back off from visits it’s viewed as normal. And yes, they’ll be sad to not see you as much. I think you need to stop worrying about what they think. Let your husband manage their feelings and start doing what you want.

      How I deal with my inlaws is not speaking to them at all between in person visits and letting my husband handle them. I love spending time with my side of our family, and they really are understanding of our time and money, but it still doesn’t make it much easier when we don’t see them as frequently as my siblings (though they will take the time/money to visit us which makes a huge difference).

      And I think you should book your next vacation for just you and your husband right now :)

      • Laura

        yes! that’s SO how i feel. it WAS great that we could go to nyc with them, and then it was great that we could tack on a visit to see them in mexico etc but those were the exception, not the rule. and i just really want them to be grateful for the frequency we have seen them, without holding us to that forever.

    • emmers

      Seconding everything Eenie said. It’s ok to visit them to see grandpa. It’s also ok to cut back on visiting them. It sounds like you’ve been extremely nice to them. They’ll be disappointed/upset if you don’t visit as much, but it sounds like you do need time to yourself. Like Eenie said, maybe start also planning your next just you-two vacay. It might give you something to look forward to and remind you that though you’re visiting the in laws soon, soon you get to do your own thing. I also really like the plan of doing something on your own during the family visit, like going out to a nice meal or something.

    • Amy March

      Just go. And, let your husband go without you to see them. They are his family and he really wants to! I don’t think this is something you really need to discuss with them, its something you need to work through with your husband. Talk to him about how you feel about family finance allocation with regards to travel, about the importance of balance, about how much you need to get something just for the two of you on the calendar. I don’t think its particularly important that they be on board with your plans. Let them whine about don’t you misses us, suggest that they visit you, and carry on with your plans. The only problem with the whining is if it gets your husband to change his mind, and that’s again a you and him convo.

      • Laura

        i think a solo trip in the summer may be the answer :) thanks! the guilt does wear him down, he feels very responsible for his parents in a way, and feels guilty that he lives so far from them now, and i think they play on that a bit. BUT it’s a process, and we’ve talked a lot about expectations of parents vs. we’re adults now and those same expectations don’t work for us. so … progress i hope!

    • Katharine Parker

      “my husband and i haven’t been on a trip without them being part of it in some way since our honeymoon nearly two years ago”– If you’re concerned about setting a precedent, you’ve already set it. That’s a long time to go without doing any non-family related travel (if you are people who enjoy traveling). Whether or not you go on these trips won’t make much of a difference, and telling them you won’t always be doing this is probably not going to matter that much. You need to have a plan of action for changing that precedent.

      You and your husband should figure out how many trips each year and how much money you want to spend visiting his family (and, although you don’t mention your family, figuring out visiting your family, too, if appropriate). What does your ideal family visit schedule look like? Going to them twice a year? Going to them once, and them coming to you once? Going to them once, and going on a trip with them once? Going to visit them as a couple once, and your husband taking a solo trip once a year (or less frequently, but occasionally)? Figure it out, then put it in action. They don’t need to know this. They probably shouldn’t know this–why introduce their opinions into it? But have a plan moving forward and be a united front to them about it.

      And talk about what kind of travel you want to do as a couple! All your vacation time doesn’t have to go to visiting family, and you don’t owe them any explanation for taking a vacation. If his parents whine after you announce you’re going to Spain for a week, respond with “of course we love visiting you–we’re planning on coming to see you at X time (X is your next planned visit, which you know because you’ve discussed this already and it’s on your long-term family visit plan)! But right now we’re so excited about Spain! I’ve been making tortilla all week out of excitement!”

      • Laura

        you are right – after i wrote this, it got me thinking, so we sat down (my husband and i) and had this discussion again, and i think we’re closer to finding a balance. it sounds like we haven’t travelled at all since our honeymoon, when we’ve gone to new york city (with them to celebrate a milestone of ours) and mexico (where we tacked on some time for just us) plus their city as well. so i can’t complain too much, but we definitely need to plan something for just us and then move in that direction. part of it is guilt – we live in my hometown very near my family and my husband moved here to be with me, so i always want to accommodate him seeing his family.

  • Juliedreyes

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj109d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !mj109d:
    ➽➽
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash109HomeLinkGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!mj109d:……..

  • weary

    APW has always said that weddings don’t change family relationships they just make everything more extreme. Well this year and a half has just emphasized how selfish and controlling my mother is while thinking that she’s doing everything for her children.
    As an example, I can’t even look at my engagement sometimes since she helped me pick it out. It wasn’t until afterward we got it that I fully realized that she has never wanted me to have nicer things than her. When I was younger she would say to the jeweler “why would I give this pipsqueak something that big” so all my pendants are about the size of my pinky nail. Now that I’m older she still says that larger things are too big for me. In the meantime she keeps telling me how broad my shoulders are, how large and fat I am. The only time I’m small is when it comes to jewelry. She kept saying that I should get something under a carat, anything larger would be too big on my finger. She has a carat engagement ring, and this was straight out of college so that was the largest my dad could afford. My fiance has career, and I insisted on him giving me a budget. We could have afforded something larger if I wanted to. My mother kept telling me that a carat is too big for my fingers. In the meantime during the same visit to the jeweler my mom goes on about how nice my aunt’s 1.5 carat ring is and how much it suits her. Then when we were sizing my finger she says how my aunt’s hands are smaller than “even” mine. Later in the year when we were picking wedding jewelry she still wants to get me tiny things to fit my “tiny size”.
    We had a huge fight over the cake. From the beginning she said that my fiance can pick the flavor and we (her and I) pick the outside since he’s more of a sweet eater. I went to the bakery with him and she went ballistic when we got back over the flavor. “Nobody is going to want to eat that!” We both picked it together. He picked his favorite, I agreed it tasted good and wasn’t too sweet, it was perfect. She wanted me to go change the cake flavor to suit “everybody else” which meant her.
    There’s a lot of other things but these are the ones that pain me the most wedding wise. It says something when the only fights I have had with my fiance were because of my mother.He thinks she has too much influence over me. It’s true, but how do I not listen to my mother? It took so much out of me just to date him while I’m still living with my parents. If they had complete control like he says they do, I wouldn’t even be with him.

  • LadyJanee

    I used to work for a Member or Parliament and absolutely loved the work I got to do with her; she is a total powerhouse and is dedicated to social justice. When I found out she was running again, and after being inspired by a number of recent HH posts about people exploring new career options and applying for exciting new jobs, I contacted her to wish her luck and ask to be considered for a vacancy in her office if she is elected. She confirmed my mobile number and it looks like she has won her seat so I am hoping to hear from her soon!
    Putting myself out there like that is a huge challenge for me (even though it sounds so minor) so I’m pretty proud of myself for the fact that I even did it at all, and the fact that it might pay off is very exciting.