APW Happy Hour


Shopping for a wedding (guest) dress

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

Hey APW,

Tonight is the start of Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of Atonement, and the end of our High Holidays), and that makes it feel pretty official that fall is here and summer is over (sniff). Of course, fall in the Bay Area is the equivalent of our summer, so we are enjoying the last of the warm weather.

On that note, we’re taking a bit of a break the next two weeks… though it’s one you probably won’t even notice. I’ve gone through our almost ten years of content and dug up some of my favorite posts and essays for a rework to republish over the next two weeks. Many of the essays seemed newly important in the painful political era that we’re living through. Discussions of diversity, privilege, and casual racism seem even more worthy of discussion today than during the Obama era when we published the work originally. So I hope you enjoy reading some of our best over the next two weeks while our team gets to spend some time focused on bigger projects that have been on the back burner for too long.

But, let’s talk fun stuff. We have a family wedding coming up in a week where I’m walking down the aisle (my kids are too little to manage flower girl and flower boy duties alone), so after the last dress I wore at a wedding (which #SlayedAllDay), I decided to rent again. While I think I’m settled on a dress, and am deep in the land of researching stick-on bras, these are the dresses I would have worn if I could have had a few quick changes. This dress is perfect for fall, with a beautiful surprise back (but failed only on full range of motion, since I have to manage a wriggling toddler). And anyone who remembers my wedding dress knows that vintage styles work for me… and the dress above is maybe a thousand times more beautiful in person than you can imagine. And finally, this $3,000 number (bless you rentals), which is without a doubt one of the prettiest dresses I’ve ever put on.

And with that, it’s your open thread. Here is to fall!

XO,

Meg

Meg Keene

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

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  • Hi friends! Here’s this week’s list of links:

    We Expect Too Much From Our Romantic Relationships (this is an interesting interview) – https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/09/we-expect-way-too-much-from-our-romantic-partners/541353/?utm_source=feed

    IL Governor (A Republican!) expands Medicaid abortion coverage in his state – https://theslot.jezebel.com/gov-bruce-rauner-signs-bill-expanding-medicaid-abortio-1818972210

    This Mom Missed Connection is funny cause it’s true – https://www.romper.com/p/this-mom-wrote-a-missed-connection-after-seeing-a-potential-mom-bff-in-target-2464710

    EMOTIONAL LABOR IS BULLSHIT, AMIRITE??? – http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a12063822/emotional-labor-gender-equality/

    I love this clickable tool from Racked showing what to buy for fall, and it includes plus size! – https://www.racked.com/2017/9/27/16098582/fall-shopping-best-buys

    Period Related Food Myths – http://www.thekitchn.com/7-period-related-food-myths-from-around-the-world-250598

    Remember The Guy Who “Ghosted” His GF And Then She Became His Boss? Well, There’s An Update – https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/ask-a-manager-guy-who-ghosted-ex-became-his-boss?utm_term=.un3g21KxW#.poqrmAde8

    Also I wrote this for The Billfold – Why I Left My STEM Career – https://www.thebillfold.com/2017/09/why-i-left-my-stem-career/

    • rg223

      I literally jumped out of my seat and squealed when I saw the “ghosted” guy responded! Holy crap.

      And thank you for sharing your Billfold article! I love hearing about how people end up where they are in their careers, and yours was especially interesting. I work in educational media, in a STEM area at the moment, and I love stories about how those skills are applicable in other fields (helps with marketing our product, and is just very intriguing to me!).

      • AAM teased that she had an update on Twitter, so I was waiting on the edge of my seat for the update. The comment section was so entertaining!

      • Jess

        Same on the AAM follow-up. I am *so* gobsmacked by the sheer selfishness of this dude.

        • rg223

          Yes! Especially that on top of everything else, he blamed ALLISON for all the negative attention, as if he was somehow the wronged party for willingly sending a letter to a website that publishes letters.

          • Rose

            Right? What else was he expecting? And if he didn’t know what the website was, why the hell would he write in a letter?

          • Henri

            He definitely comes off looking like someone wholly unaccustomed to actual consequences for his behavior.

          • That he’s decided to quit the job and leave the country (including his new girlfriend) in the process suggests the ghosting was part of a whole pattern of never wanting to deal with consequences. Its a whole “oh no, I got a splinter, better amputate the arm” approach to negative emotions.

        • Her Lindsayship

          Oh man, the update made him seem even worse than the original! Honestly after his first letter I was a bit shaken up. I was ghosted on once (as a teenager, so WAY less traumatic than the scenario he described, but it still kinda screwed me up for a while), and I couldn’t imagine what Sylvia must’ve gone through.

          Then IT GOT WORSE. I can’t even.

      • Agreed, your Billfold article was such an interesting read! I love reading about the different roads careers take.

    • Trinity

      I’ve been avoiding reading the Harper’s Bazaar article on emotional labor because I knew it would just remind me of how frustrated this problem makes me. But I read it. And I’m frustrated. *sigh*

      • ruth

        One of the things I’d like to see brought up in the emotional labor discussions is the concept of emotional labor for other people in one’s life, not just spouses. I’m lucky that my husband is fairly good at emotional labor, but as the adult only-child of parents currently in the midst of a messy divorce, I find myself being asked to do a TON of emotional labor by my parents. I think so many adult children of divorce deal with this, being expected to relay basic information about family events, finances, grandchildren etc… between parents who refuse to speak to each other. And it’s exhausting. I haven’t finished the article yet – so maybe there’s something there – but I’d love to see this aspect brought into the discussion too

        • SarahRose472

          Not divorced parents, but I’ve already dealt with this dynamic in my family…my mom has a legit hoarding issue that she won’t confront. My parents decided they wanted to move (out of state, basically pre-retirement), but it was not going to happen until the house got cleaned, and my mom was unwilling to hire specialists to help her clean and/or a therapist to help her manage it.

          I could see that my dad was not going to be capable of helping her/getting her to do it (which I understand; it’s hard enough to live around all her stuff) so I took on a huge amount of this work over Christmas, and then actually flew home later in the spring (trans-atlantic) to spend take a week off work to help her finish so they could finally get it on the market.

          An ENORMOUS amount of this work was just literal, exhausting emotional management of my mother — coaxing, nagging, insisting, demanding that she get rid of one thing after the next until it was all gone, putting up with her emotional rollercoaster of anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, much of it directed at me. My brother, who I generally think is a wonderful person, thought he was being supportive/appreciative by saying, “You’re doing such a great job with Mom, I could not handle doing all that with her.”

          Which, to his surprise, I found enraging. I was basically like “NO that’s exactly that thing, you COULD handle it if you just DECIDED to — I find this completely draining and exhausting but no one else was going to do it so I am.”

          And the hard part, in the end, is I love my parents and really want to help them, so I don’t want to deny them that help based on a principle that it should be more fairly divided between me and my brother…

          • Henri

            Huh. This really made me think about an interaction between my brother and I. One of the last major conversations we’ve had was him being SO angry with me for having left home at 18 and “not being mom and dad’s friend”. Because now *he* feels like he has to do it and feels it is so unfair.

            I hadn’t really thought of his anger being partially motivated by gender roles, but it would be a really likely explanation to the edge his anger had.

      • Henri

        My fiancé sent me this article with “I feel like the husband from that. I know I do the “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it” thing. a lot for me to think about,” which has me *really stoked.*

        But I read it and just felt tired and overwhelmed and frustrated the rest of the day when I kept running into things fiancé didn’t do, half-assed, or just generally need to be done (and I will likely do myself).

        • SarahRose472

          Don’t have much to say except…I feel you.

        • Kat

          I think my boyfriend must have read this article on his own because I came home to dinner made the other night without me texting him midday about what to cook. Then he told me he’d learned about emotional labor and household management that day and he was trying to do better.
          It’s very sweet and I’m happy to have a partner that sees these things and makes the change, but it is so GD annoying that he was 28 years old before he came to this realization! WTF, society? Let’s do better.

      • CMT

        I haven’t read it for exactly that reason. I am not the person who needs to read and I’m not going to go out of my way to make myself frustrated.

      • SarahRose472

        Yeah, same.

        One particularly frustrating version of the emotional labor discussion we’ve been having lately is my husband insisting it’s just that he just doesn’t “like” making/sharing lists/organizational/planning/researching as much as I do, and/or that if I didn’t “like” all that stuff — and so end up doing most of it — then he would naturally do more of it, because it would be “needed”.

        Which…I “like” it in the sense that I like to be as efficient as possible about having control over basic shit in our lives, like making sure the various types of garbage get put out at the right times so it’s not stinking outside the door and that our dogs get their annual vaccinations on time so they don’t have to get an extra booster shot and so that there’s another bottle of shampoo available when it runs out — but I don’t think it’s fun in and of itself. And I don’t like assigning and then reminding him about tasks or when things need to happen, simply because I have systems to remember things and he doesn’t.

        He does genuinely seem to care less about things kind of being a disorganized mess if it allows him to still be spontaneous and not have to plan/organize/prepare so much…but I also feel like he doesn’t certainly mind that a lot of things just happen really smoothly because of my planning, and at the same time that he doesn’t really appreciate/value it.

        It’s hard to convincingly argue that this is a gender/socialization difference (which I believe), and not just a personality difference (which is how he sees it). And like the writer of this article points out, even trying to muster up the energy to talk about how this might be a gender issue feels like a huge amount of emotional labor in itself.

        • Violet

          Okay, confession time: I recently tried a little experiment on my partner. I saw he’d spilled a bit of something on the stovetop and didn’t clean it up. Now, I don’t “like” cleaning things, but it’s easier to do when the mess is small rather than wait for it to accumulate, yes? But instead of cleaning it, I got out what had spilled and made the mess a bit bigger. When I went back half an hour later, he’d cleaned it up. I think he literally didn’t see it when it was small. I don’t know where to go from there, but it was an eye-opener for me.

          • ART

            I like your style! My husband likes to make sandwiches using our really small salad plates, so the bread flops over the edge and gets crumbs all over the counter while he’s making them, and it’s totally true that he just doesn’t see it. Even though we’ve had chats about…how…there are bigger plates he can use? Can he please use those? Hah.

          • SarahRose472

            This made me laugh out loud but is also kind of fascinating. I’ve got to think about how this could be applicable to other areas…

          • Violet

            I know, I feel pure evil about it, but there you have it! I guess it makes me wonder if he really does actually appreciate or tangibly benefit from the things I do, since it appears he doesn’t actually notice?

    • Gaby

      I follow you on twitter and loved your comments on the emotional labor article! My husband is actually very good at seeing what needs to get done and doing half (or more) of the household stuff. I do get stuck with birthdays and vacation planning but I enjoy that stuff. It does make me give more thought to the explicit conversations I want to have about this before we start trying for a baby though.

    • ruth

      Hi Jubilance, I just wanted to say thank you SO much for bringing back the “Happy Hour” links! This has always been one of my favorite parts of APW and I was so excited to see it back. I often feel completely overwhelmed by all the content on the internet i feel like I should be reading, so to have it thoughtfully curated by APWers, pointing me to the best of the best, is so helpful! Thank you again ♡

      • YW! I read a ton of stuff so I’m happy to share with the community :-)

    • flashphase

      Yes! If I may add, have people been following Ashley C. Ford’s wedding/engagement blog?
      http://www.refinery29.com/2017/09/174045/engagement-party-blues

      • Jess

        Well, I AM NOW!

    • toomanybooks

      Omg I sent the emotional Labor article to my family group chat because I was like “my dad is so guilty of the dude side of this” and it went completely over his head – his takeaway after reading it was “did you think our house was messy when you were here yesterday?”

      I found this out through my mom and I was like “what!!!” and she was like “Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone” (so jsyk my mom and I are exactly the same person).

    • I saw your article in the billfold today and got super excited when I realized who it was by! But also because STEM careers and possibly leaving STEM careers is a topic of interest to my life right now.

    • Jess

      I really like that “Are we asking too much” article. It doesn’t add in, but maybe talks about in the book, the community of friends, neighbors, family, and religious groups that other generations were able to rely on. They seem to be harder to create as we move further away from where and how we grew up. I think that has probably played a large role in the reliance on a romantic partner to fulfill us.

  • Oy Vey

    So the boy I’ve been seeing is my boyfriend! I went to his place to watch a movie and after the movie, I leaned over to him and said, “So am I your girlfriend?” And he said, “Hmm. I think so. As long as I get the reciprocal title.”

    It was nerdy and adorable. Thanks everyone for your insistence on talking it out prior to High Holidays dinner (which went well – his parents are very sweet and his family reminds me of mine except less rambunctious).

    • Jess

      Yaaaaaaaay!!! (Flailing Kermit arms)

    • A single sarah

      Yay nerdy and adorable and bringing up the hard conversations!!!! Yay!!!

    • toomanybooks

      Yayyyyy!!! That’s so cute!!!!

    • Cellistec

      That IS nerdy and adorable! Love it!

  • Katie

    Hi ladies! (and gents, if you’re here). Hope everyone had a great week and about to have a great weekend!

    I finally received and started sending out our save-the-dates!!! I love that it looks DIY-ish, becaus https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4beff42686624caff9a4ed45971e921615ed6b1c4c8cfe0bae62fb59ee7e96dc.jpg e we wanted a less “professional” and polished look – I’m attaching a crappy quality picture for now but might remove later :)

    I feel like it’s already time to start working on invitations, because I know for a fact I can obsess over them for weeks on end. One thing I’m not sure about is whether I can include some info on the back of the invitation, because I don’t want to order a thousand pieces of paper. For example, where to RSVP (we’re probably not gonna do traditional printed RSVPs) and also info about children (we’re not inviting them, but people are probably gonna assume we are). And just to stress “no kids” rule, do you think it’s worth it to include an additional card with random info about the wedding? Because I’m afraid people will throw away the envelope with their names and will not think to look at the back of the invitation :( A wedding website might help, but honestly, I just don’t wanna make one :( And same question goes for registry. We are not having a registry, and putting any kind of info about that on the invite is a kinda tacky, imo. So how do we go about it?

    Also, the venue is finally booked! It comes with their own caterer, and we chose a buffet reception to cut some costs (turns out, having a seated dinner is WAY more expensive… Duh). However, we haven’t decided on the food yet – and if we choose to have 2 main course options, the costs per person goes up 30%. Do you think it will be okay to just have one option? My head says “yes”, because there will be appetizers before dinner and plenty of sides/bread rolls (and let’s be honest, for the price difference between one and two kinds of entrees we can order a second full set of appetizers). But my heart whispers things like “people want options” and whatnot. Especially considering there might be vegetarians attending (I’m not really sure, but you never know). Maybe we should pick one neutral entree like chicken or brisket but order more sides for vegetarians? Please help!!!

    • Amy March

      I think it’s inappropriate to include “no kids” anywhere on the invite. You invite who you want to come, you don’t list out the people you do not want there.

      For both kids and registry I’d say nothing at all on the invite and go by word of mouth. List each invited guest by name, play around with the format of what sounds like an online RSVP, and anyone who asks tell them no kids.

      For registry, if people want to know they will ask or google it.

      For dinner, I think you should ask the caterer what to do about vegetarians. They should have ideas!

      • Katie

        So, I feel the same way (it’s inappropriate), but honestly, I have no idea how to do it by word of mouth. Probably half of our guests have kids, if they come, they’re gonna be a third of our total headcount. Do we call them all? Do we ask somebody to call them? Or how is it don, I am at my wits end…

        • Amy March

          You send an invite with their names on it. If they RSVP for more people than invited, you call them and tell them no. And tell your outspoken/gossipy family members or friends.

          You can also play around with how you do RSVPs, like a lot of people specify on them how many people are invited, or set it up online so you have to select by name.

        • Jess

          Wedding website!

          • Katie

            trying my hardest not to make one, so wondering if there’re other options.

          • Jess

            Wait, are you doing RSVP on email or phone? If you’re not doing cards?

          • Katie

            precisely. I’m not yet decided if I should do the printed RSVPs (mostly because people are terrible at sending them), leaning towards email/phone or online!

        • So we handled the no kids thing by clearly noting who was invited both on the invitation as well as the RSVP cards (I literally wrote in the names so that people couldn’t be tricky and try to add a plus 1). And we also covered it on our wedding website. Because 90% of our guests had to travel, we weren’t expecting many kids anyway and we didn’t get any pushback.

          • Katie

            well, guess I’ll have to include RSVP cards, too… Oh well, if it does the job, I’ll be happy to! Thanks for the tip!

          • Jess

            Some internet RSVP services allow you to limit to already-entered names. I know APW’ers have used that before, maybe someone can point you to one!

          • Katie

            that sounds like the best option so far, thank you!

          • Anne

            We used this one and it was great: anrsvp.com
            It was the free one with the most flexibility for how you list and limit guest choices.

          • Not Sarah

            We used rileygrey.com It wasn’t free but we were really happy with it!

          • Katie

            Follow-up: could you please clarify how you “literally wrote in the names”? What I picture is, on each RSVP you wrote a person’s name with a space to put a tick, and the other person’s name in the same way? I’m having a hard time picturing it, but I like the overall idea!

        • rg223

          You could also do a response card with something like “_____ of 2 guests are attending” to make it more clear that only two people (the parents) are invited. That might help with the “threw out the envelope without reading it” problem.

          • Violet

            Oh yeah, I forgot about this strategy– we did this (not because of the kids thing, just to make things really clear). It definitely worked for us.

          • Jan

            Yeah, we did this– RSVPs came in on our website, and we restricted the number each party could respond for. Pretty simple, but some people still brought dates with them (our reception was kid-friendly so that wasn’t an issue for us).

            Still, though, I’d rather be clearly told if my kid wasn’t allowed at an event, than try to remember if they were listed on the envelope that I promptly threw in the recycling bin upon receipt of the invitation. (Shrug.)

      • Kaitlyn

        I’ve seen a lot with the ceremony listed and underneath “Adult only reception to follow” which I figured always got the point across.

        • Amy March

          Eh I think that’s just as bad as “no kids.”

    • overitatx

      I’m local to Austin too – which venue did you go with?

      We’re getting married in THREE WEEKS (!!!!) here http://www.vistawestranch.com/

      Also, not much helpful advice on the invitations as I did traditional RSVP and direction/information cards.

      • Katie

        I’ve heard so many good thing about Vista West ranch! Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

        We’ve booked Peached Social House cuz we wanted an indoor space that will not cost a leg and arm.

        • overitatx

          Thank you!
          That location is super cute! I love that it’s a blank space and you can make it feel however you want.

        • sofar

          I had no idea the Peached Social House existed, and it’s practically in my neighborhood. I may crash. J/K

          • Katie

            it’s only the best and most affordable wedding venue I’ve ever come across. They also have a restaurant, Peached Tortilla, so I’m looking forward to checking it out soon!

          • sofar

            OMG they are the same people as Peached Tortilla?????????? Yum Yum Yum definitely crashing.

        • alexis

          Oh fun!!! We were just at Peached Social House three weeks ago for our tasting! Their brisket is bomb!

          • Katie

            I so want to go to their tasting, but they schedule them for Mondays, and we don’t live in Austin! But one day, one day… :)

    • Alex K

      I don’t think you can write “no kids” on your invites (or the back of the invites). Some online rsvp platforms will let you list out who was invited and then the person can yes/no for the people in their party. This should make it clear that kids aren’t invited to people that lost the envelope.

      I do think you could print info (addresses, hotel info, etc) on the back of the invite though, depending on the type of paper/printing method of course.

    • Jess

      Re menu: one option and many sides is fine! It’s especially thoughtful if there are vegetarians, because it gives them a little more to eat.

    • Cleo

      For the entree thing, I don’t think it’s about options so much as about making sure your guests are fed. Do you have any people who don’t eat red meat? If so, chicken is easiest and always a good solution. But BRISKET omg (I would be so pumped to have brisket at a wedding).

      Can one of your sides be a more hearty pasta – like a pasta primavera – that vegetarians can load up on? Or could your venue provide a limited number of vegetarian entrees for the few vegetarians who RSVP as such?

      As long as you have plenty of food on the buffet table that vegetarians can eat (assuming people can load up on appetizers is always risky) though, I wouldn’t worry about it. Do your one entree. You aren’t inviting people to a pop-up restaurant you’re putting on, you’re inviting them to your wedding. As long as they can eat, they’ll be fine.

      • Katie

        That’s it, even a vegetarian option will affect the per head cost – precisely because it’s still a second option :( I’ll just order more sides, but I’m not sure there’s a pasta one. Thanks for the tip!

        • Amy March

          I think though for vegetarians you need a real meal. Idk what your sides are, maybe put together they are, but if not you gotta take on the cost.

          • Katie

            the thing is, it will literally be $500 more. Maybe I’m a terrible person for not putting vegetarian people’s needs above budget, but I think I should find first if it’s 1 person or, say, 10-20. It the latter case it will definitely be worth it, but in the former I’d prefer to order more sides (just checked the sides menu – there’s mac’n’cheese, cilantro lime rice, Belgian fries… Ugh now I’m hungry!)

          • Amy March

            Oh I meant more maybe ask the caterer if they can just make/bring a single vegetarian meal to supplement the buffet if you have one! But also I’d call mac’n’cheese a meal any day so actually I think you’re totally fine.

          • CMT

            The problem with a buffet is the sides could all be gone by the time the vegetarian(s) get there. I have been in that situation and it really sucks to be hangry AND feel left out and not thought about.

          • Katie

            maybe I should ask the caterer to make sure vegetarians will be fed first. I totally get your frustration, and it really sucks, and I’m sorry! But I also have to think of my budget. And it sucks to put a price tag on people’s comfort, so I’ll try to do my best in this situation.

          • Amy March

            If the sides are all gone at any point, that caterer is terrible and their buffet is bad! And it’s a good question to be asking- who is in charge of replenishing?

          • Katie

            now, here’s a question I should be asking my caterer: if we pay per head but do a buffet style reception, what happens when they run out of food before everyone is fed? I hope they’re not gonna say “well, your guests ate more than were supposed to” :(

          • Amy March

            Any good caterer should be saying “we have literally never ever not once had that happen.” Like, if you are serving pieces of chicken, and you have 75 guests, the caterer should know to bring like 125 pieces not 75.

          • The problem is portioning though… The caterer might be eye-palling the line and seeing that there is the correct portion for everyone in line to have a side, not realizing that one of the guests needs to take like, four times the amount.

          • Jan

            She could invite the vegetarians to go through the buffet first (or immediately after the bridal party, etc).

          • This has honestly happened to me at every single event buffet I’ve been to in the last 3 years. I’m mostly vegan now so I pre-game anyway, but in my experience the sides ALWAYS run out.

          • Whoops missed in my earlier response that you had mac’n’cheese… You’re probably good assuming that they make, like, a lot of it!

        • If you only have non-pasta sides for vegetarians I’d really suggest you try to warn them about it in advance so they can pre-game. The sides-for-dinner thing works for me if it’s like, a 2 hour dinner with family friends where I’m sitting the whole time and can escape to get Chipotle afterwards. But weddings are long, involve a quite a bit of moving around, and booze… Doing that on like, a scoop of mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables is honestly kind of the pits.

          Also! If you are feeding your vegetarians with sides and there is anyway of swinging it, you might want to try to find a way to let the vegetarians go up 1st. I’ve had a lot of events where by the time I got the buffet there was not a lot of sides left because it didn’t occur to anyone else there that it would be some of the guests’ entire meal

    • Jan

      I would strongly suggest reconsidering making a wedding website. It wasn’t super time-intensive for us (we use Minted and paid the one-time fee to get a customized URL– worth it) and people actually used the thing. That’s where we put our registry info, and I’d say 90-95% of our gifts came from our registry so obviously people got the info. The site would also, I think, be the perfect place to note outright the “no kids” rule.

      As for your menu, I think one entree is fine provided that you are also offering a good variety of substantial sides for your vegetarian guests. Or you could do a vegetarian entree (we had shepherd’s pie as one of ours and it was honestly the best thing on my plate). As long as people are FED, I think they’re happy.

      • Katie

        I’m trying to be as minimalistic about this wedding as I can. But now I’m thinking if it’s worth the effort and time. Thanks for the advice!

        • Jan

          Totally! Minimal was my aim as well. I figured, I can either put this time in and get it done, OR field a thousand questions in the weeks before the wedding. I still got questions, but it was easier to just say, “Check out our site, here’s the link!” than answer their five questions that all were already answered online.

          • CW

            One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten- just do the website and do it early. Yes, it took me a day to do it so it looked nice (I did mine through Zola). But with 2/3 of my guests being out of town, I really didn’t want to have a discussion about airport and hotels with that many people. And, it gave me a place to put in the kids question (FAQ- “Is this a kid-friendly wedding? Answer- Not really… and here’s why. Email me if you want sitter recommendations!”

        • AmandaBee

          There are some pretty good site templates, so it doesn’t need to take much time.
          It can also save you a lot of time answering questions that you could’ve answered on the website.

    • louise danger

      invitation questions:
      – RSVPs: if you’re not doing a traditional mail-it-back scheme, maybe include a “please RSVP to [email address] or [phone number]” line at the bottom of the invitation, on the front where it’s easy to find
      – no kids, registry info, etc: you sort of have two options: include an insert card, or set up a wedding website (and refer to it with a “for more information” insert card or line-at-the-bottom) to avoid having extra paper. or rely on the unreliable and easy-to-misconstrue grapevine and word of mouth for both things.

      our invitations included the invitation itself, a postcard-size RSVP card with front/back printing (front: the RSVP and menu choice; back, our address and a stamp – i hand-wrote the names of the invitees at the top, like a letter: Mom and Dad, [all the printed info] both so that people could at-a-glance ID who’s invited and so that i could update my records when the card came back), and a business card-size insert “for more information about the wedding and $town, please visit [website].” the website got all the miscellaneous info – directions, hotel and registry stuff, things to do in town, ceremony and reception FAQs (including asking people with kids or special dietary needs to contact us so we can communicate those needs to the restaurant). it took me about an hour to set up the website and it’s been worth its weight in gold so far.

      food/menu questions:
      – have something that a vegetarian can eat, other than bread and a veggie platter.
      – brisket sounds DELICIOUS
      – maybe there’s a hearty side, like mac and cheese, that could go with it so that the veggies on your list could at least go through the buffet line like everyone else?
      IDK i’d feel left out in the cold if i were a vegetarian and the only non-meat options were in the snack line, or the bread basket :(

      • Katie

        Thank you for all your input! It all sounds reasonable and helpful.
        Now I’m thinking I should just ask people if they’re vegetarian or not. We don’t have a ton of people invited, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’m looking at my guest list and don’t think that any of them are vegetarian, so maybe its not even worth obsessing over it so much? If somebody is, of course we’ll include some delicious options!

        • louise danger

          that’d be a good choice! we have ~50 people coming, so it was easy (or else we knew already) that so-and-so eats fish but not poultry/meat, and so-and-so can’t have any nut products at all. if your guest list is small, word of mouth about the menu is probably easiest/best, but i still would be leery of relying on it for the detailed info about kids, registries, etc.

    • Anna

      As far as having info on the back of the invitation, I included a “TURN OVER –>” on one corner of our invitation, and had some info on the back (including our wedding website URL).

    • Not Sarah

      Our venue allowed us to order special one off items for anyone with dietary restrictions, which included vegetarians. Have you asked them about this?

      • Katie

        no, but now I will! thanks for the tip!

  • overitatx

    We’re getting married in three weeks and I’m super excited for the wedding and to see all our people, but if my mom’s family doesn’t stop imposing their ideas on me I might lose it. They are seriously obsessed with having another dessert other than the wedding cake and hate that we’re doing table seating amongst other things.
    Also, rsvp’s are due by tomorrow and we’ve only received about a third of them back which is completely bumming me out.

    • Katie

      Jeez, obsessing over dessert? Kudos to you, and good luck!

    • Jess

      Hold strong against other people’s opinions! Table seating is lovely and cake is delicious!

    • When I got unsolicited requests/ideas, I’d always ask the person if they were going to pay for whatever they were telling me to do. I never got a “yes” and people learned to STFU about their preferences for my wedding.

      • overitatx

        That’s been my dad’s opinion on it as well. It’s just hard when they’re hitting me from every angle with stuff and I’m already stressed to the max dealing with work and last minute wedding details. But I’m standing up to them and not allowing them to bully me into what they want me to do.

        • Violet

          Good for you. At this point I think it’s fair to just say on repeat, “We’re 3 weeks out. Nothing new is being adding to my to do list at this point.”

          • BSM

            Yes. If you want to be overly effusive/somewhat petty about it, you can say, “I wish you had suggested that 6 months ago! It’s too late now, unfortunately.”

        • Jan

          I don’t know what youre relationship with family is like, but can you not say to them, “I appreciate that you care, but at this point the decisions are set and we’re just in carry-it-all-out mode”? Sorry you’re dealing with that stuff!

          • overitatx

            Unfortunately I’ve tried taking that route and it doesn’t seem to work. It’s like they don’t get I have enough on my plate. This is why I was asking for input 6 months ago not once everything has already been finalized. It’s definitely frustrating since I’ve never had issues with my mom’s family like this before and I was under the wrong impression that they would be the more helpful bunch. Whereas my dad’s side of the family is like what can we do to help? You tell us and we’ll do it. My mom’s not so much they’re just more into giving opinions when they think we’re doing something wrong. Which BTW, we’re not doing a traditional wedding – we’re doing what is important to us and our relationship while also trying to have a fun party with all of our favorite people!

          • Jan

            Oof, that sounds rough, I’m sorry you have to deal with it.

          • overitatx

            Thank goodness for a FH who lets me get my frustrations out with him.. and the gym. Otherwise my stress levels would be off the charts.

          • Jan

            Praise hands emoji for fiances who will just let you ramble-vent. Here’s to hoping these next three weeks go by quickly and calmly!

    • sofar

      My go-to reply to “helpful” suggestions was always, “Thanks for the feedback, I’ll keep that in mind.” Dead-pan it.

      As for late RSVPs, I’m a fan of sending emails/voicemails/texts to the late folks saying, “We have to let our caterer know final headcount by [date]. If you’re unable to commit by then, we totally understand and will miss you!”

      • Jan

        I put a thing on Facebook and told people that “the deadline to RSVP is tomorrow” and that got nearly everyone to send theirs in pretty quickly. I still never got a single RSVP from my mom’s side of the family, but whatever.

  • Lily

    One of my closest friends from college (Annie) had her other best friend (from childhood) get engaged last weekend, and the friend picked the same date as me for her wedding. I knew it would be a popular date (Labor Day Weekend), but it sucks that Annie is in this situation. Our weddings are in different cities so she definitely has to choose one and I’m definitely upset about it, even though I know there’s nothing I can really do. A isn’t a bridesmaid in my wedding, because I’m only having family, but I even checked with her for conflicts before I booked a date. Anyone else had something similar or had to be the one in that situation? I want to tell her that I understand and I’ll be happy with whatever she does, but let’s be real, I’m not happy about it.

    • emmers

      Oof, that sucks. I would operate on the assumption that she’s not going to choose your wedding, and then just be happily surprised if she does. Your instinct on telling her that you understand is a good one. I definitely cried in advance over some guests who couldn’t make it to my wedding. I would have loved to have them there, but looking back on it, it was still a lovely day, and though I definitely felt their absence, it was OK. I hope that it works out well for you. Hang in there. It’s so many feelings!

      • Lily

        Thanks, it is a lot of feelings haha. Love the advice of not getting my hopes up and being pleasantly surprised if she is able to come. It will be easier to deal with that way.

    • Cleo

      I can’t relate, but from the outside, I know what it’s like to be Annie and… it sucks for her too.

      My mom’s two best friends’ daughters got engaged within two weeks of each other and revealed pretty much one after the other that “surprise!” they’d both booked venues before they got engaged. It turned out they were on the same date in different cities (also Labor Day weekend, weirdly).

      My mom had to choose which wedding to attend and ended up choosing the one in town. It sucked for her other friend/daughter – a lot of their mutual friends didn’t go to the out of town wedding – but my mom made sure to send a nice gift and card ahead of time and called her friend on the wedding day and made sure to let her know she was thinking of them.

      But it wasn’t the same and my mom felt guilty the whole time leading up to the weddings.

      Anyway, hugs and if it helps — know that no one is happy about this scenario.

    • ART

      One of my best friends (and I don’t have many) was unable to attend my wedding because her sister planned hers for the same day. I mean, in my case, OBVIOUSLY she was going to sister’s wedding, and I knew that before I even sent the invitations and made it clear that I knew the only possible answer was going to her sister’s wedding, so it wasn’t much of a “she chose the other friend” situation. We are still both kind of sad that she missed it, but it really was OK. She came to my bridal shower and bachelorette wine country weekend, and that really helped with the feeling of at least including her in it all.

      • Lily

        Thanks so much. I also wasn’t 100% on whether I was having a bachelorette/ shower, but maybe its worth it so that friend can participate and feel like shes a part of my wedding too.

        • JLC

          Yes! Having her be able to attend a bachelorette/shower will go a long ways towards overcoming the disappointment, I think.

        • Nicole

          Two of my closest friends couldn’t attend my wedding because they were in Peace Corps! They wrote a really nice note that went along with their gift, sent a message the day of that they were thinking of me, and did help with some of the planning before leaving. It felt like they were there in a lot of ways. Not a perfect substitute, but not as bad as I would have thought it would feel.

  • Mary Jo TC

    Is anyone else getting in facebook battles over the NFL protests? I stuck my head into two of them, making the same basic argument: “Historically, white people have disapproved of EVERY way that black people protest racial injustice. We have no right to judge the way they protest because we don’t share their experience.” In one, my comment won the internet and shut it down and seemed to change the mind of the white friend who was indignant on behalf of veterans. In the other, my cousin doubled down with “I wish we could move past this as a country. We have made great progress over the years and I’m proud of that.” So I got sarcastic about what I think about the “progress” we’ve made as a country and she said I should unfriend her because obviously I think she’s a terrible person. OMG FML. I’m glad I stepped in because I would have felt worse letting that BS stand, but still–ugh. I feel like it’s our job as white people to educate other white people, as a way of taking responsibility for causing this mess, and so that POCs don’t have to do it. But damn some people just refuse to learn.

    • Katie

      the thing that pisses me off the most is that conservative folks always say “oh, those liberals are always offended by everything”… and then they lose their shit over NFL. *smh*

    • BSM

      FIL put up something similar to your cousin’s “let’s move past all this” sentiment, with the addition of “everyone needs to calm down,” which made me decidedly un-calm.

      • Jess

        This is decidedly not a time for being calm.

      • Also, in the grand-scheme of things peaceful protest and public discourse ARE calm. People who bust out that line don’t want “calm down” they want “shut up” which, nooope.

        • BSM

          IDK about him, but trying to silence those peacefully protesting the extrajudicial murders of black people by the state seem like a perfectly reasonable issue to be “not calm” about.

          • Right like, literally no one anywhere needs to “calm down” about the institutionally sanctioned murder of black people? If that doesn’t call for anger, what the eff does?

    • Thank you for jumping into those conversations. I no longer have the energy for it, or the desire to try to change the minds of people.

      • Mary Jo TC

        It’s the least we can do to be decent human beings. You should not have to take on my bigoted cousin. Of course you shouldn’t. I’m sorry that people like her have got you so exhausted. If I’m tired of this kind of ignorance, I can’t even imagine how you must feel. Your gratitude means a lot, but it’s more about upholding a vision of real equality (hint, cousin, we’re not there yet) than winning ally points.

    • Jess

      Few FB battles (I just don’t live much of my life there), but lots of real life battles. It’s an interesting flashpoint cause.

      The biggest thing I’m sick of is the “this isn’t about race, it’s about respect for the flag/vets/country” crap. It’s 100% about race and a country that doesn’t value all its citizens. Citizens who are over represented in our armed forces.

    • Jan

      Yes, and it’s exhausting. I got full-body-shaking-mad the other night and had to log off FB for a few hours.

    • Cdn icecube

      I had a proud FI moment with those. Future Mr. IceCube is generally less outspoken on Facebook and in real life about social issues and current events. But recently he has been getting more vocal about things and this week had two public and thought out ‘battles’ with two of his relatives about the protests. I was so incredibly proud to see him have that conversation with people he loves in a way that was mostly respectful but also honest about why those protests needed to happen.

    • Anna

      I was watching the Packers-Bears game last night and was kind of disgusted to hear one of the reporters say something about how all the players were linking arms to represent “team unity” and some other generic feel-good bullshit (with absolutely no mention of race or even so much as a nod to “equality”), and then in the same sentence be like “it’s so important that these players have brought attention to this critical issue” and I’m like YOU LITERALLY JUST FAILED TO GIVE ANY ATTENTION WHATSOEVER TO THE ACTUAL ISSUE AT HAND. “Team unity” my ass. Sure, maybe that’s why some of the (white) players are participating – primarily because they care about their teammates rather than because they feel strongly about our nation’s history of deadly racism – but that is not the point.

      It’s depressing, but not surprising, that as more white players/owners/etc get involved in these protests, the message seems to be getting more and more diluted.

      • CMT

        Linking arms is such a wishy-washy, half-assed response. It’s worse than if they just stood there like normal.

        • ssha

          Someone I was arguing with online said something like “idk why they kneeled instead of locked arms to show unity between the races.” TALK ABOUT MISSING THE POINT.

        • Anna

          Especially the players who link arms but then still have one hand over their heart, like, “look, I care about my teammates but I also still think America is the best!”

          That said, if more white NFL players and owners were actually TALKING ABOUT RACE IN CONSTRUCTIVE WAYS, I could get behind linking arms as a way of representing that during the anthem. But you’re 100% right that in the absence of having a real conversation, all the linking arms is doing is making this whole protest about sticking it to Trump rather than about making things less shitty for people of color.

      • Mary Jo TC

        The hypocrisy of the owners especially, most of whom gave money to 45’s campaign, is absolutely stunning. There was some commentator who had a good rant about how they only care about the protest now because rich white guys don’t like it when someone tells them what to do, so when 45 tells them to fire their players, they’re just being contrary to assert their own independence, not to sincerely show solidarity with the men whose bodies they wreck for sport and profit.

        Did anyone else think about the South Park episode where they made a baby fighting league and Cartman dressed up like Col Sanders? I think that one was mostly about college sports not paying their players, but it was kind of on point this week.

    • RNLindsay

      I tried with one person. She said something pretty hateful and I said something along the lines of “you might want to do some more research before saying such hateful things” and posted a few links to articles. I think people forget that the internet lives forever? I mean people have been fired over bigoted fb comments. Anyway, a couple people jumped on me but never responded to my rebuttal. THe original poster just did a general comment to everyone saying “whatever guys, I believe what I believe”. Ok dear. Good luck with that

    • CP2011

      I haven’t been getting into battles, but I commend you for speaking up! I get so ragey and sad and emotionally drained by how ignorant people are and then I just turn inward. I’m glad that the country is engaging more in racial dialogue but it makes me so frustrated about how far we still have to go.

    • Cellistec

      Yes, and I need some new talking points, because my current ones (you know, logic and human decency and historical discourse) aren’t working. I’m trying to think of middle ground as a starting point…we can all agree that peaceful protest is an American value? Too soft?

  • savannnah

    Post wedding life is good! The cardboard graveyard that is my apt is not but tackling that this weekend. Some reflections now that I have some distance: 1. we put out a little less than half as much favors as guests that we had and it worked like a charm- we were left with 5 smores kits at the end of the night and not the 100 I feared. 2. Husband and I winged the first dance and it was a little more awk than I anticipated- so at least practice once with the song! 3. Everyone loved our pickle bar but I never saw it and that is perhaps my biggest wedding regret (I did get a sampler plate thrown at me though by my sisters wife (MVP of the wedding) and finally I was so worried about the DIY aspects we did do but they pretty much were great and our gallery wall of old family and friend weddings was the hit of the night and well worth the hours tracking down the old pics.
    Now we are turning our attention to the big move to Portland and I’m job searching and life is about to get way more crazy- which I didn’t think possible after these last few months.

    • overitatx

      Pickle bar? That sounds awesome!!

    • Rose

      Aww, I meant to do a display of old photos and never got around to it, now I regret that. Glad yours came out so well!

  • Engaged Chicago

    Etiquette question: My wedding is 3.5 months away and we’re beginning to get gifts (yay!)! Is it OK to send thank you notes as we receive the gifts, before the wedding, and not send another one to them after the wedding thanking them for their presence? I’ve already ordered thank you notes in advance of things like showers and I’d rather not leave my guests wondering whether or not their gift arrived. Is it rude to send only a thank you note for their gift before the wedding? Then not send another thank you note after (thanking them for coming to the wedding)?

    • Amy March

      Yes!!! It’s better. You’re supposed to send thank you’s for the gift, not attendance, and the sooner the better.

      • BSM

        And it lets them know it arrived safely and cuts down on the number you have to write after the wedding. Win-win-win!

      • guest

        plus not everyone who sends a gift goes to the wedding

    • Violet

      I’m pretty sure that’s what we did. The thank you note right away so they know you got the gift, but then you don’t need to thank them in writing for coming.

    • Alex K

      You can definitely send them ahead of time. We did and it saved us from having to do 100+ after the wedding.

    • Jess

      Yes! Send ’em when you get ’em. That way you have less to do at once!

    • sofar

      As @amy@amymarch:disqus has already pointed out, etiquette dictates you’re supposed to send the thank you note as soon as possible after the gift was received. No thank-you notes are required for showing up.

      When a gift arrived at our apartment, I had thank-you note supplies on a desk by the door. I jotted one off the second I opened the gift and mailed it off.

      In addition to following etiquette, this makes Thank-You-Note Mountain WAY less high after the wedding. If you’re inviting lots of people, many will bring money and gift cards to the wedding itself, so you’ll have tons of notes to write when you get home. You don’t want to have to write those PLUS the leftovers from before the wedding.

      And! All those gifts sitting around for three months may get separated from their packing slips and cards, leaving an organizational nightmare — ESPECIALLY if you’re using them. :)

    • Engaged Chicago

      Thank you everyone! I was proud of myself for actually sending thank you notes on time – for once! But I was starting to second guess it. Thanks for the affirmation that this is courteous and time saving!

  • sage

    Any recommendations out there for decent fake rose petals to be tossed as we exit the reception? Just wondering if someone can point me to some good ones before I dive into obsessive internet research.

    • LadyJanee

      I bought some reasonably cheap ones from etsy to mark the edge of our aisle – some were definitely better quality than others but once they were on the ground they looked fine and you couldn’t really tell.

  • Lexipedia

    Yay that my week and a half of wedding planning/other people’s weddings is OVER and that we’re home with our kitties!

    For all of those who said that engagement pics would be no big deal, you were totally right. We did them on Tuesday and I can’t wait to get them back! Two questions that came up during our many other wedding meetings.

    1. We’re having a non-church reception but with a few religious elements. I’m probably categorized as “spiritual, but not religious” and FI would identify as Christian but isn’t really practicing or super committed to church on anything but holidays. After discussing the ceremony we envision FI has said that he would like to include a hymn in the service. I’m ok with this (the APW post was very helpful!) but have two concerns:

    First, we were planning on having recorded music during the ceremony, but this seems weird to do as background for a hymn. Does anyone have any tips? There is a piano we could use, but I’m not sure.

    Second, FI is under the impression that people will sing. We’re not getting married in a church, and many of our guests are of different faiths, so I don’t think people will know the words/feel comfortable singing. Do we learn it and try and get a critical mass of friends to sing? Do we get a family member who sings to lead? Do we just play a recorded version?

    2. FI is reaaaaaally interested in long tables, but I really would like them to look “fully” decorated. We are getting floral arrangements but I’m concerned that they will look sparse unless we spend a bunch more money. Attending a wedding on Sunday confirmed that I want more “stuff” on the table, so I’m trying to figure out ways to augment what the florist is giving us to make decorations a little more substantial. Any ideas? We will have one centerpiece for every eight people, which means three over a long table. I’ve thought of DIY-ing smaller arrangements for the gaps, using something growing like succulents, using a whole bunch of candles…

    • CW

      To supplement long tables- what about greenery (depending on season), candles, or bud vases (I feel like there was an APW post on minimal flowers which you could incorporate into the bigger arrangements). Or carafes of water- which are helpful and a space filler.

    • Violet

      I’d try to gently disabuse your FI as soon as possible of the notion that people will sing along to the hymn. Unless it’s in a church where at least, oh, 80% of people are that specific faith, I don’t think it’s gonna work out like he thinks it will.

      • Lexipedia

        Agreed. He has been to a lot of church weddings, and also grew up in a heavily church-going community. Also, many people don’t like singing. Although I worry it would be awkward, I worry more that he will be disappointed.

        • Anne

          We had a very similar ceremony that included a hymn that worked fairly well. It was great to have that moment of whole-community participation, since we didn’t really have anything else like that in our ceremony. That said, I’m pretty sure the only reasons that it turned out for us were:

          1) we both have giant extended families composed of people who are by and large more religious and also more musical than either of us, and they made up about 70% of the wedding guests
          2) my brother played the accompaniment and our officiant had everyone stand for it.
          3) it was outdoors so it was hard to tell how much anyone was singing anyway.

          We printed the hymn in the programs. We did not have a cantor because husband reassured me that Lutherans don’t need one and everyone else would follow, and he was right. Also, the photos the photographer got from the hymn did turn out a little awkward.

          All of this is to say that is it is possible to do a hymn as part of a lightly religious non-church ceremony, but it’s definitely a know-your-people thing, and I would try to gently get the message to him that a lot of the singing will be a little tentative or half-hearted.

        • At our Jewish wedding, the rabbi got a little confused and said ‘And we’ll all say together the last prayer’ which was supposed to only be said by the wedding party– and everyone (who had NO IDEA what the words were) quickly shuffled through their programs (where the words were NOT printed) and then dutifully made mouth sounds that seemed like they might possibly have been saying the things they were supposed to say. It was hilarious because everyone thought their neighbor must somehow know what was being said and faked it. That is to say that people will play along if instructed to, even if it’s not totally easy. Also if it’s on purpose it will be less ridiculous.

    • Amy March

      I think you are right, people will probably not sing, especially without someone leading them and live music. You can try! For sure, print the hymn with the music in the programs, pick an easy well known one, but it’ll be an uphill battle.

      • Violet

        I just find most people are pretty embarrassed by singing even Happy Birthday. You can give me the words, but I can’t read sheet music, so I really won’t know what the hell to do other than mumble and try to look like I’m singing.

        • Amy March

          Yup I completely agree! People in church every Sunday aren’t even necessarily game for it!

      • Lexipedia

        Thoughts on getting a family friend who sings to sing it as part of the ceremony? Like, people who know it could sing along but there is no expectation that they do so.

        • Amy March

          I think most people will sit back and enjoy listening to that person, and it sounds lovely.

        • ssha

          we had some of my husband’s childhood friends do this, it was very lovely.

    • Jess

      Unless you print the music/lyrics in a program or provide a hymnal, people probably won’t sing unless they are members of a church that uses that hymn. Even if they are, I know next-to-no hymns by heart.

      Re filling a table: our venue actually had chargers for free after another wedding left then all. They helped fill out a table without more flowers – you could look into renting/adding them to your rental for the table?

      • Lexipedia

        Alas – I spoke to the caterer and chargers are significantly more expensive. I could buy my own, but I don’t care that much. I’ve seen centerpieces set on a gold charger, with candles and things so it gives them a bit more of a footprint. Perhaps I could alternate floral arrangement, then candle arrangement…

        • Alex K

          If you can do candles, maybe add a few tea lights (you can buy them in bulk no problem)? But also keep in mind that tables tend to look a little empty when there aren’t people at them, because by nature of their purpose they need some space for people!

          • Jess

            Candles are my next suggestion!

        • Jess

          We had candles w some greenery on a full third of our tables. It does a great job filling space!!

        • Katharine Parker

          Have you contacted a rental company directly? Gold chargers for my wedding were a dollar each.

    • anon

      People will not sing if they are not familiar with a church/place-of-worship culture of singing/in choir themselves secular or otherwise/karaoke fans. Delegate 4-10 people as your “song leaders” and get them to sing loud and proud (no such thing as being too much of a ham) and other people will realize they can follow suit. Immediate family works fine for this, as well as your friend who is often refered to as “oh, THAT guy” who’s always loud and outspoken.

      For the tables, just harvest a bunch of seasonally appropriate greenery the day before.

    • savannnah

      We used a bunch of candles to make more embellished tables and the trick for us was to use different types of candles and holders to create depth and a style. We priced out doing garlands or something more lush but candles were the quickest and cheapest.

      • Lexipedia

        Holy crap were garlands expensive! A by the foot price, plus five 20+ foot tables…

        • savannnah

          Yes! I was a little heartbroken about it so my florist surprised us with one on our sweetheart table but the candles worked great and I kinda like having the holders around now in our apt so think about post wedding use!

          • ssha

            we did a bunch of different length candles too and now we have like dozens of candles in our apartment and it is GREAT.

    • emmers
    • emilyg25

      Can you talk to your florist about different options? We did 8′ rectangular tables, each with a craft paper runner and a line of mixed jars and bottles, some with small flower arrangements and some with candles, so it was designed to be linear instead of something more centered.

    • Rose

      We had two hymns in our (church) ceremony. Some people definitely did sing, I’m sure not all. What we did was copy the hymns from the hymnal and include them in the program–otherwise, I don’t think many people would be likely to sing, if they didn’t have a copy. I really liked having them as part of the service, although I know it is something that people tend to have opinions about. We did choose two that were “lightly religious”, if that makes sense, which I think probably helped people be comfortable with it.

      • Lexipedia

        Can I ask which hymns you picked?

        • Rose

          Sure! We were married in a UCC church (where I grew up), so used the UCC versions of two hymns: Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant and For the Beauty of the Earth.

    • Katharine Parker

      1. I had a church wedding with live music so this is slightly different, but my priest asks for every wedding to include a congregational hymn, sung after the processional. It was lovely, but we definitely needed a cantor. We chose a hymn that is well known and easily sung (All Creatures of Our God and King) and had hymnals in the pews, and people did sing. I would definitely have a cantor, spread the word among people you know as much as possible (can you make sure the wedding party and your immediate families are singing), and accept that everyone won’t sing.

      2. Candles are always great. I’d also ask your florist about ideas–can they do clusters of arrangements in julep cups or different vases or jars instead of one large centerpiece so you can spread them along the table? What are their prices on floral garlands or loose branches or vines? Are you doing a runner or tablecloth overlay?

  • Anonymous

    I’m getting my makeup done at the local MAC, since it’s just a couple of blocks from our wedding site. When I go in for my trial and then the day of, do I tip the make-up artists there? I have tried to tip before at Sephora and have been politely rebuffed – I think they have some kind of policy or something there, I guess. I’m not sure what’s standard at MAC, though. Any advice on this would be appreciated. I’m a big make-up person so this is really a new world to me. Thanks!

    • Kara

      I’ve used MAC for my wedding and other weddings I was participating in. They didn’t let me tip, but I did have to spend $50 on products (rather than pay a fee to have makeup done, they make you buy something–it’s easy to hit the $50).

      Have fun!

      • Anonymous

        Thank you! I think my local MAC might be a little different, as I’m in NYC. Their service menu on their website says it’s $90 for a bridal consultation and then $60 for the day of, so I wonder if it’s a little pricier here because of the location. (Or maybe I’m not looking at the right thing? I don’t know, I am a little stressed out about all of this and have no idea what I’m doing.)

        • Kara

          That’s probably correct then. I had mine done 8 years ago in the Dallas area, so your prices seem appropriate for NYC and 2017 :).

          Good luck! Take examples of what you’d like. They definitely know how to go all out or keep it natural.

  • Spam me with your housebuying tips – we’ve finally made the decision that we’re for sure buying a house!
    Also has anyone used RedFin and can tell me about their experience?

    • Brigid

      Visit tons of houses. Tons. Make Sundays an open house tour every week. It’s a major seller’s market here, and by the time we found our place we’d visited SO STINKING MANY that we could make an offer on the spot and feel secure that we knew what we wanted and needed.

      Also, hire a really stellar realtor. It matters.

      • We’re doing some open houses tomorrow and I’m freaking out!

        • CW

          It’ll be great! Take pictures of things you like. We did pro/con summaries in the car immediately after each house. Once you find one you think you like- drive by it again on a regular weekday/weeknight.

        • flashphase

          Just remember – it’s like dating. You want the right one, not the first one!

          (Also, I had a “oh, this is our home” feeling when we finally found our place that was very similar to the “oh, this is it” feeling I had when I realized the dude I was dating was going to be my husband. I don’t know if this is reassuring but it worked for me!)

          • rg223

            I had that feeling about our home too! Not my husband though.

        • Brigid

          It’s gonna be so great! There’s zero pressure and often cookies, and you can just walk around being quietly snarky if that’s how you’re feeling, and it’s 100% okay to visit ones you KNOW you don’t want just to daydream and learn from it.

          • regular old me

            Totally. We are both super nosy and just interested in houses in general, so this part was way fun and interesting (even though actually I spotted my house on Zillow, got a realtor just to take us to see it, made ourselves look at other houses just to make sure we really wanted the first one and then bought the first one…but the looking at other houses part was still fun

      • ScoutAbout

        Can you explain in what ways a realtor matters? We’re starting to look/think about buying a house (for the first time) and my husband is SURE he can do this himself. To me, this is frustrating and not how I’d like to make our biggest purchase ever, but I have also never bought a house before and can’t articulate how a realtor will help, other than that it’s their job and they know what they’re doing.

        • Mary Jo TC

          They understand the market. They know what’s a fair price and what’s not. They know how to help you negotiate. They know people who can help with the process (mortgage brokers, contractors, selling agents, inspectors, the list goes on). They know what’s a red flag for a lemon house. I could not have done it without our agent.

          • ScoutAbout

            These are excellent points. He’s hung up on the fact that realtors get paid closing costs and he thinks he can negotiate better than they can/use the fact that we don’t have a realtor to pay to lower the cost. He’s pretty good at money and moderately handy but has no connections in this area and this argument is driving me nuts!

          • rg223

            I mean, this depends on your region and how much you are spending (and we bought a co-op, which I think has different closing costs than a house), but the closing costs are not really all that much in the grand scheme of things, considering how much you are putting down as a down payment – and the benefit is that you’d have a professional walking you through everything and making sure nothing gets messed up and you don’t get screwed.

          • ART

            In my area, the closing costs are pretty substantial, but only a relatively small portion of that is the buyer’s realtor’s cut and the rest are various lender fees, taxes, etc (they are bundled into what’s described as “closing costs”) so you are totally right that it’s not really a huge savings, especially considering the value of having someone to help you through that. I just wanted to offer this to anyone who sees a closing costs estimate of like $14k and thinks “holy shit, can I get away with not paying all that?!” (like I have wished would be the case, lol)

          • rg223

            Right, that’s a good clarification – a lot of that cost you are going to be paying regardless of whether you have a realtor or not.

          • NolaJael

            Maybe if you were buying a house for cash that might not be the worst idea I’ve ever heard, but if you are taking out a mortgage please use a realtor. Some costs can be negotiated and some can’t and a realtor (and your mortgage lender) can help you make those deals better. Also, realtors have connections to affordable and trust worthy inspectors and contractors. Having bought two houses in three years, I would say trying to DIY this would be the definition penny wise but pound foolish.

          • Kelly

            In our area both agents are paid out of the seller’s closing costs. Buyers closing costs cover a bunch of fees and costs that are unavoidable/can’t be negotiated.

        • CW

          Help with the process is just so important! Also, ours was helpful during and after the inspection with estimating some costs, helping us decide what to ask to be fixed, doing all of the contract stuff.

        • Brigid

          Oh, man. Yeah. I highly doubt that a newbie (even a skillful one) can negotiate better than an experienced realtor, and also if he screws it up and costs you the house (because they can back out if you tick them off, and our sellers almost did) you’re gonna bury his smart-aleck corpse in the woods, since you won’t own a backyard.

          The best thing the realtor did was tell us which ones to walk away from and what not to do. “No, you cannot fix smoke damage. No, you cannot fix that much water damage. No, these floors are warped and I see signs of foundation damage. No, don’t go see the house that requires a mold waiver just to visit, Brigid’s pregnant! No, you don’t want a busted-up in-ground pool. No, this seller isn’t being reasonable. No, that’s not a fair price to pay. No, in this market you don’t want to offer high/low because….”

          Plus, the contract. In NYC you want your realtor AND a lawyer to review it, in the Midwest just a realtor will do, but either way you want someone experienced. We chose a young hungry guy who works on a team full of experienced realtors, and it was perfect. If you’re in Indy, look up the Tumbarello Group.

          • NolaJael

            Yes, my realtor helped us walk away from a house we had under contract that ended up having a sizable undisclosed lien on it. I was invested in the house (we’d won the bidding war) but she helped us get our money back and understand that it was in our best interest to start over.

        • Sara

          For me, as a first time buyer, the realtor helped with connecting me with people I didn’t even know I needed to get on my own (like the inspector and lawyer) and pointed out things that would help (school system was poor in one house I liked which is important for resale) or things that were worth fighting for in the inspection.

        • Kelly

          We’re in the process of buying our first house and I have no idea how we would have gotten as far as we are without out our realtor. Unforeseen complications have come up at pretty much every step and she’s done a bunch of work to help sort things out, negotiate, connect us with other players, communicate with our loan officer and help us protect ourselves and our earnest money. There are weird timelines and contracts, then those contracts get amended and require a specific form and a whole bunch of other complications that it’s good to have an expert handle. Its a process that can drag on and involve a ton of work and it’s been great to have someone do a lot of that work for us and make sure things keep moving on track.

      • Just Me

        How do you find a good realtor? We are starting to think about buying sometime next year and all of our friends in the area are still renters. We also don’t have any family. I keep hearing about the importance of a good realtor but am not sure how to go about it. Is there a place with reviews? Do you interview people? What do you ask them? Help?? :-)

        • Brigid

          Start going to open houses, and see who you click with. Ask their advice, and see how thorough/condescending/excited they are. You’re gonna be great!

    • Trinity

      Make sure you have all the money you’ll need for closing in your account as you’re approaching the closing date. We were anticipating receiving some bonuses right before closing, so we paid off some debt–but then our lender told us they needed to examine all our accounts, and we almost didn’t have what we needed for our final approval.

      • ART

        Yes, this was a huge one for us when we put in an offer last year (didn’t get it, still renting, but glad we went through that learning experience!) Also, we were originally told that screenshots of our accounts would be OK, but then it turned out they wanted the actual statements, which had closed prior to us getting a substantial chunk deposited into one account. So I had to scramble to get my bank to fax me a letter saying “yes there is $X in this account” and it was kind of weak looking!

        • Trinity

          Oh gosh! If we hadn’t been allowed to do screenshots, we wouldn’t have made it. We actually had a pending withdrawal that my lender had me minimize in the screenshot so it would look like we had more in the account than we actually did….

      • Sara

        oh yes! I thought I was going to be short and asked my parents for a small loan to cover (like 1k) and my god, what a freaking nightmare that was to explain to the bank. Ended up not being short anyway, so it was all for nothing.

      • sofar

        THIS! And have it in as early as possible. I moved some money over from a money market account and only then realized it could take up to 5 business days to move! Glad I did it super early.

    • BSM

      So exciting – congrats on getting started!! I love my house.

      I think really useful tips can depend on the market, but probably the most useful thing we did was use a mortgage broker rather than just getting pre-approved and getting financing through a regular bank. We’re in a very competitive market (SF Bay Area), so our broker was able to be more flexible with different financing options to help us make our downpayment go further.

      I’ve only used Redfin to look at houses, not for agents. It doesn’t really have a benefit on the buying side, because you don’t pay any agents’ fees (unless Redfin has a new prop value I’m missing). I’d recommend getting some suggestions for agents from people you trust; you can end up spending A LOT of time with them, so it’s important to find someone you can tolerate and is on the same page as you.

      Good luck! Happy hunting!

      • Nicole

        I used redfin agents for both buying and selling a house, although we passed on one of the first ones we met. In the case of buying, we were just casually going to tons of open houses and found THE ONE and needed to put an offer together THAT weekend. Called Redfin and they hooked us up. The guy was knowledgeable and helped us get the house, and they have a whole team helping them that’s super communicative, with an online dashboard to see progress. We didn’t click great with him and he didn’t totally understand what was important to us but we didn’t spend any time looking at homes with him since we’d already picked it out. I highly recommend Redfin.

        I also highly recommend going to tons of stuff and talking a lot about what you like/don’t like about each thing. When we found the house we bought, we knew how it compared to what was out there and that it checked off a bunch of boxes that were hard to check off and we knew how much we felt it was worth.

        • BSM

          Yeah, I think Redfin agents efficacy and usefulness varies a ton on your market. Where we are, I don’t think I’ve met any homeowners who had an experience like you (casually looking, found the perfect place, were able to buy it). It’s more like a multi-month slog where you’re back and forth with your agent via multiple avenues multiple times/week.

          I personally have been very unimpressed with their customer service wrt to correcting details about your house. When we were selling ours, they had a bunch of stats listed wrong online, and it was a nightmare to try to get them to fix it. So I wouldn’t give them my money just based on that.

    • CW

      Lots of looking at RedFin/Zillow. Lots of driving by houses and discussions about what we liked/disliked from the apps and seeing the outside in person (wanting a greenbelt behind the house became an apparent priority only after looking at 10 houses on our own). Getting a feel for neighborhoods and streets (unless you’re looking right where you are now). Also, reading all of the homebuying posts and books has been helpful. And even then, there are surprises and confusion. For example, we still don’t have exact closing costs and we close next week.

      • sofar

        Speaking of drive-bys, one thing my husband did was to “practice” his commute from houses during rush hour, if time allowed.

    • Jessica

      I’m very curious at the locations you’re looking to buy a house….

      In MN or out of MN???

      ETA: I’m selling my house, if you’d like to take a look.

      • In MN – I just interviewed for another corporate job and we decided that if I get it, we’re for sure staying. We really need more space and we cant keep putting it on hold.

        • StevenPortland

          We just moved to Golden Valley. My first ever experience in a suburb. It is a culture shock from living in cities for so many years, but has lots of advantages.

          • InTheBurbs

            You came back!

          • You’re back in MN? I had no idea! We live in St Louis Park so we’re looking there and in Hopkins.

          • Jan

            Uh, you’re in St. Louis Park? I live like a block from SLP.

          • Yup! Off Hwy 100 and 36th street :-)

          • Jan

            Small world! I live three blocks from the Linden Hills co-op.

          • ssha

            holy crap you both live in/near SLP? My parents live there and I grew up there. <3 SLP and Hopkins.

          • AGCourtney

            Oh, I love SLP. I really thought about moving there before I got this job in my hometown.

          • AGCourtney

            Whoa, I didn’t know you were moving! Welcome back.

    • emilyg25

      I second the mortgage broker. A friend recommended one to me and no bank could match his rate.

      Yes to checking out closing costs in your area. I couldn’t believe how much that was!

      I look at houses on Zillow, but asked friends for recommendations for an agent. We ended up buying a house that my husband had seen FSBO a few months earlier. It cost us more, but I’m glad we went with an agent, especially as a first-time buyer.

      Think hard about what you want. I went back and forth between a place with more privacy and land where I’d have to drive to anything or a place in town with a tiny lot. Ended up with the latter and love it. When we were first looking, we wanted a fixer upper, but then we acknowledged that with two jobs and a young child, that’s really more than we can handle right now. So be honest with yourself and think through your options.

      • BSM

        Yeah, mortgage broker was so key for us.

        On our first house, he was able to orchestrate a 10-10-80 loan where we put 10% down, got a HELOC for the second 10%, and financed 80% of the house. This allowed our down payment to go a lot further, we avoided paying PMI (since we had less than 20% down), and it also gave us access to credit in case something catastrophic happened to the house.

        Better rates and way more flexibility.

    • chop

      Find an agent that works with the kind of place you want to buy, aka don’t use an agent that sells mostly townhouses if you’re looking for single family or one that sells mostly new(ish) construction if you’re looking for a historic house. Really different locations and expectations depending on what exactly you’re interested in.

    • ART

      We are still shopping for a house, but I have learned to be really on top of our credit scores. We use Credit Karma to monitor them, and it’s amazing how much ours change as our business-related debt fluctuates (overall we don’t carry much debt, but if we’ve fronted a big purchase on our rewards card and the monthly cycle closes before we are able to pay it down, our scores can dip by 30-40 points easily!) That part in particular may not be a big factor for others, but we also learned a lot about other ways to massage them, like getting my husband on my credit card to extend his average age of accounts, NOT opening any new accounts till after we buy, etc. When we started looking last year, we couldn’t qualify for the best mortgage deals even though our finances are pretty solid, because of my husband’s score. Now we’re comfortably in the range that should open up the best deals for us.

    • Sara

      I used an agent from RedFin and got a rebate, which was amazing after all the money I put into buying. However, my agent was a real dummy and I wish I had crowdsourced recommendations rather than blindly going off reviews on Redfin. Especially after she pushed me to give her a good one and we did not like each other. I didn’t leave a review.

    • sofar

      Many, many assorted musings (we just bought, first-time homebuyers):

      -We did a bunch of open houses before we were ready to buy, just to get a feel. I felt like that helped us develop our check-list. Because there are so many things you don’t think to look for when you have, like, 10 minutes to check out a house. We fell in love with an open-house that didn’t have a dishwasher OR space for one. We fell in love with a house (fooled by the staging decor) that wouldn’t fit a kitchen table AND livingroom sofa. The table was against the exit door to the garage! By the time we started looking for real, we could identify most of the staging tricks.

      -Print a check-list so you can tick items off. If you see six houses in a day, they bleed together, and those checklists are your lifeline. Our realtors also suggested we give houses catchy nicknames (“The house with lots of trees,” “The ugly-bathroom house.”) so that you have a short-hand way to discuss and compare them later.

      -Maybe consider a realtor recommended by friends, coworkers and family, if the market is hot and you hate paperwork? Even just having someone we could ask, “OK what’s next?” was SUPER helpful. For houses that looked great on paper, one of them took us to tour while the other one drew up the offer paperwork so we could act quickly. They also hooked us up with an inspector because we couldn’t find one that would come before the end of our option period.

      – If you get an agent, try to find one with flipping/remodeling experience? We are NOT savvy with house stuff, so we loved that our agents could spot cover-up jobs on serious issues during the walk-throughs and give us a dollar quote on the spot of what it might cost to repair stuff. THAT is how we ended up not buying a house we loved (because fixing it up would have cost $90K).

      -Even if you get preapproved, know that the seller may require you to use one of *their* approved lenders for your actual mortgage. For that reason, I suggest having a bug-out folder with ALL your required financials in it so that, when you find out you have to use a certain lender, you can rush out the door to that lender’s office. This happened to us.

      -Be OK with putting multiple offers in at once and being back-up offers at a couple places, if you’re in a hot market. We got our dream house because we put in a back up offer on a place we NEVER thought we’d get and the other potential buyer fell through.

      – Be willing to do lease-backs if your renting situation is flexible. We went month-to-month on our current lease for this very reason. Houses listed with “Lease-back desired” have less competition because people don’t want to buy a house and then have the seller live in it for a few more months. It’s a nice bargaining chip because, instead of saying, “We’ll offer $10 k above listing price” you can say, “We’re willing to give you three months to move you and your family out while you pay OUR mortgage.”

      • NolaJael

        “If you get an agent, try to find one with flipping/remodeling experience.” This. We just bought in a hot market where flipped houses sell for 10-20% over asking in less than 48 hours. You get one chance to look for those band-aid cover ups and then you have to put in a bid.

    • StevenPortland

      Just my 2 cents. Get pre-approved. Most buyers won’t take you seriously unless your offer includes a letter from your lender stating that you are already pre-approved for that amount. I haven’t used Redfin, but there is enough that can go wrong that I liked having an agent on hand to represent us, to ask various questions to the seller via her agent, etc. Look a the bones of the house and not how it is staged. The staged furniture all goes away before you move in. You can get a contractor to fix the small/medium things that you don’t love, plus paint and other DIY can really transform a house. So focus on location, size/layout, and yard.

    • flashphase

      -We spent a couple Saturdays just looking; going to different neighborhoods and hitting up 3-4 open houses. It helped us understand the types of places and what we would get for our money. Then when we saw listings, we could very easily figure out if they made sense for us.
      -There’s a difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification; one is more rigorous – we did the less rigorous one. It was sufficient for us
      -We did not use a real estate broker or a mortgage broker – a little extra legwork but I am very pleased with the result
      -Get used to putting out offers – even if they are accepted, there’s no real commitment until money changes hands, and it’s worth getting comfortable on
      -Don’t make a lot of large purchases – keep your spending at a normal/steady rate (says someone who was paying off her wedding during the homebuying process)
      -Research your bank’s rules on bank checks and how long they take. You do not want to be surprised if it takes like 7 days and you need to close
      -Get your papers in order. We had to have bank statements, paychecks (updated every time you get paid!), tax returns, W2s, letters from previous landlords, my husband had to have a letter explaining why he was at his job less than a year, we even had to have a written explanation for a time he wrote me a check for several thousand (because it was the easiest way to transfer money from one account to another!)
      -IT WILL BE AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER, JUST STRAP IN

    • NolaJael

      Note that mortgage lenders look at outside gifts (like from family) very closely and really scrutinize family loans. If you are expecting to receive these, the best thing to do is get the money transferred to your account at least three months prior to applying for the mortgage, so it will look like the money has always been there. If not, you may end up having to sign extra paperwork.

      • BSM

        And you may want to get a gift letter, as well (something stating that this money is a gift and you are not expected to pay it back). This is something a good lender should walk you through.

        • Sara

          My dad gave me a share of his inheritance from my grandmother’s estate and the mortgage lender made me get one of these. They walked me through step by step though, so it wasn’t as much of a headache when borrowed money in a panic and then had to explain it.

    • NolaJael

      Have a must-have versus wish list, and be really honest about the minimum amount of house you need. Something that was really helpful emotionally was that we actively referred to our house as a “starter home” (when we were DIY remodeling we would cheerfully call it our “practice house”) and we told our agent repeatedly that we were NOT looking for our dream home or “forever” home. Your situation may be different, but for us it was important to remember that we weren’t going to strain our budget to it’s absolute limit for the be-all-end-all house. We just needed a place to live with a couple amenities (dog friendly, for example) and we could be flexible about a lot of other stuff.

    • Her Lindsayship

      We used Redfin. We didn’t *love* our agent, mostly because of this one weird thing that happened where she suggested a few inspectors, we went with a different inspector that had excellent Yelp reviews, and she was rather unnecessarily defensive asking why we didn’t go with the ones she recommended?? The reason was because my colleague had JUST gotten seriously screwed by taking her agent’s rec for an inspector, and the guy just didn’t do a good job, and there was a bunch of stuff they would’ve needed to fix that he just didn’t mention and they caught it after they had put down a deposit. The buyer’s agent is representing you, sure, but they still only get paid if you buy the property, so it felt safer to us to just find an inspector that didn’t have a relationship with them.

      ANYWAY, that said, the rest of the process was made pretty easy because Redfin does have a lot of relationships that are actually useful to you as the buyer, and like someone else mentioned, we got a rebate. That was the main reason we used the Redfin agent ;) and also we didn’t have any good recs from friends, so if we were going to pick blindly, we might as well get a rebate out of it! Good luck!

      • Jennifer

        I had a similar experience with the inspector. We didn’t know better so we went with the agent’s recommendation and when we got into the house realized there were a LOT of discrepancies in the inspection. (So much work. We had to re wire all the electrical. Redo an exterior wall. AND re-roof. Just recently we replaced the whole A/C system! Fun!) So yeah. Agreeing with you.

    • regular old me

      Get a structural inspection!! Maybe this doesn’t matter as much in different parts of the country or with newer builds (I’m actually from MN but have never bought a house there), but we were looking at older houses and this was great advice from a friend. Also if you do an escrow account take a good look at how they are estimating your property taxes, because I had a big ($120/month) escrow increase at my 2-year houseiversary even though my taxes hadn’t actually gone up just because my bank calculated them weirdly low at first.

      • NolaJael

        And a sewer inspection.

      • NolaJael

        We ran all our own numbers because of this, and found a $5000 discrepancy in the closing docs that had to be corrected!

    • SL

      When you’re looking at houses, turn things on and off, open and close bedroom doors, etc. I didn’t even think about closing the bedroom doors on the house we bought, and the night we moved in, discovered that NEITHER bedroom door was functional. Stuff like that isn’t a big deal, but is also easy to have them fix if you know about it beforehand.

    • CP2011

      We used Redfin as our main online tool and did some tours with them, which were great bc it’s all booked online. If I did it again I would use them as our realtor, partly because they have low fees (presumably because they have alternate revenue coming in from all their data and web traffic).
      I know you like data mining and I used Redfin to put together tons of comps and data when my parents were selling their house, to help them figure out pricing, time on market, etc and segment it out.

    • suchbrightlights

      We used Redfin! It worked great for us because we knew exactly what we were looking for. I had been watching the market for 9 months and when we were ready to pull the trigger we were prepared with pre-approval etc. If we were looking for a realtor to go shop with and discuss, the person we had maybe wouldn’t have been the right one. But we bought the second house we looked at and she was a champ at handling logistics and negotiation. Also we got a little back at closing from the Redfin rebate… which was mostly why we went with them.

  • Brigid

    All these discussions about emotional labor and money are hitting home this week. Actual conversation:

    Me: Hey, I signed us up for YNAB and figured out why the first of the month is so hard–there’s $(2/3 of our monthly income) due then. It’s gonna be tight but we’ll probably be okay.
    Him: Whoa! That’s great, honey. *goes and does non-urgent home improvement projects that require us to spend money to complete and cannot be left half-done*
    Me: That was maybe not the right call. Also I liked those bushes you cut down.
    Him: I’m sorry, I thought we’d talked about it. But honey, you’ve heard of the overmonitored child? Maybe the problem with our budget is it’s overmonitored.
    Me: We have literally $48 wiggle room to last us two weeks.
    Him: Oh. That may not be the problem, then.

    YNAB. It’s gonna be great.

    • Jess

      Oh man… “maybe that’s not the problem then” REALLY?! Color me shocked. :D

      • Brigid

        He really, really hates to see me stress. It’s so sweet. But for me to stress less, he’s gonna have to stress more.

        • Violet

          This is a key thing so many people don’t understand. If I’m already stressed/worried, telling me to calm down has the opposite effect. But if you show me how seriously you’re taking my stress, I immediately start to feel better.

        • Jess

          Aw, bless his little heart.

    • Pickle

      You could probably read every sentence of advice that has ever been written about the best way to manage your money, and ‘make sure not to pay too much attention to it’ would never, ever appear.

      • Amy March

        The opposite in some ways though! Apparently the best way to save for retirement is to set it and forget it and rarely check your balances.

      • NolaJael

        It’s supposedly true for long term stocks, but, no, not for monthly budgets. /smacks head

    • GCDC

      OMG can we talk about the frustration of having a partner that does non-urgent things when there are things that DO need to be done urgently! Like, every time we are trying to leave the house by a set time, my husband will decide that the car needs to be washed. And then he will want congratulations and credit for how nice the car looks, even though I’ve been tripping all over myself to get the kiddo out the door at the necessary time.

      All that being said, this is basically year two in my war to get my husband to take on more emotional labor. We’ve had our ups and downs but it’s definitely getting better. Recently, we were out with his longtime friend and friend’s wife, and a discussion about grocery shopping versus grocery planning came up. My husband took his friend aside and told him that he shouldn’t assume that his wife wants to handle all the emotional labor of planning for groceries and meals. This is a twofold win, because (1) it means he’s actually listening to and I’m getting through to him and (2) “remember what you told [friend]” has now become shorthand for “i need you to pick up the slack”

      • Eileen

        Yes, I’ve had this exact experience with getting the kid out the door. Glad to know I’m not alone!!

      • Brigid

        He’s better than I am about that in so many ways (I cannot do just ONE task, I have to do all the related ones / whatever I pass on the way) but yeeeeeah. Yeah.

    • uggggh

      honestly I feel so bad for straight women.

  • BSM

    We’re going to buy a new car tomorrow!!!!!

    Our cars are from ’05 and ’08, so we are both very, very excited, although we both felt semi-inept during a test drive earlier this week where the sales guy kept telling us different buttons to push, and it took forever for us to figure out he was talking about the touchscreen #techfail

    • emilyg25

      Whatcha getting?

      • BSM

        2018 Subaru Outback! It’s the first new car for either of us, and I’m slightly ashamed to admit that we were totally swayed by the Apple Carplay that they have in the 2018s. And we have visions of getting a little camper to hitch to it for weekend trips, a la these people: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/84/d6/48/84d648b26379163155ec0b50fa4bb6bb.jpg

        • BSM
          • ART

            I think this is basically my husband’s dream except he wants to build a teardrop from a kit…which hopefully we will never feel like we have time to start on! Because that sounds like so much effing work.

          • BSM

            That does sound like a lot of work, but I bet it would be awesome! I think these 13′ Scamps are so fucking cute, and they’re not that expensive, either.

          • ART

            It would be pretty cool, we just need more projects like a hole in the head :) But that is a pretty cute camper, will have to check them out. The thought of towing anything makes me tense up, but my husband grew up towing boats all over the place so he’s a pro, luckily!

          • BSM

            “We just need more projects like a hole in the head”

            Me, as I look around my house that is scattered with tools and trim pieces of various lengths.

          • ART

            Do you need any shrink tubing? Because I have yards and yards of it leaning up against my kitchen corner ;)

          • regular old me

            Hahaha my fiance is also obsessed with teardrops (or more specifically, similar and/or DIY options that are way less expensive… because damn, those are expensive). I’m kinda into it except first we have to sell my sailboat because we live on a small city lot and only have room for one semi-trashy towable in our driveway

        • JSK

          You will love it! We got the 2014 for my husband and since then friends and family have gotten the 2015, 2016, and 2017 versions. I got the Forrester as my “mom car.”

          *i feel the need to say this: We were driving a 98 and an 03 prior to the new cars and plan to drive these into the ground.

          • JSK

            Oh! And it’s amazing to get a kid into/out of the Outback. Back seat is SO roomy.

          • BSM

            Eeeeee, I’m so excited!!

            And I (obviously) totally get your qualifier. I hope this is the car we teach our kid (still baking) to drive in!

    • overitatx

      YAY!! We just bought FH a used 2016 Hyundai Sonata two weeks ago – he had an ’05 VW Passat that was starting to require more and more maintenance so it just made sense at this point to find something else. New and new-ish cars are so much fun, but man is the buying process such a thing.

      • BSM

        Congrats!! And same here with the old cars/reliability issues. My husband’s ’05 Nissan Altima has about 130,000 miles and just, uh, stopped working really a couple weeks ago? We were planning on getting a new car before our kiddo is born, but that kind of thing was also a concern on its own.

        • overitatx

          Yeah FH’s evaporator went out so no ac which when we live in Texas just does not work plus then there was a possible gas leak in addition to a long list of other items and that was essentially the last straw! We planned to trade him up eventually not a month before the wedding, but you can’t control everything unfortunately.

  • rg223

    I’ve mostly missed the last couple Happy Hours, so I wanted to say thanks to everyone who commented with support a couple weeks ago when my friend passed away. It’s been a rough couple weeks, but I’ve been remembering your comments and it’s helped. It’s hard to know what else to say, honestly, but just know I appreciate you guys.

    Perhaps related? I was going in for a haircut and just feeling like, stressed about everything (work has been insane too, feeling like I might have to leave my job), and feeling like I wanted a BIG change. And my hairdresser convinced me to get a VERY asymmetrical cut, which I have never had before, and for like, days afterwards it’s felt like a shock when I look in the mirror. But it’s growing on me! I didn’t put it together until later that I might have done it because of my mental state and not fashion, haha. I feel like it’s a big movie trope for a lady to cut off all her hair as a symbol, but has anyone else done this in real life?

    • Brigid

      Yes, but for me it ended badly, and now I’m not allowed to get my hair cut when I’m angry.

      • rg223

        I’m sorry it ended badly! But I have to say, this comment made me laugh out loud.

        • Brigid

          Scene: Des Moines, IA, in the early 2000s. Hairdresser: Very flamboyant, with very few people who walked in and said “do whatever you want.” He gave me a Beatles-style mop top that I did not keep brushing forward from the crown, and thus what I got was a middleaged mullet.
          I was 15. My crush asked why I looked like his mom.

          • GCDC

            Just wanted to say hello from a fellow Iowan (who coincidentally also had a terrible, asymmetrical hair cut)

          • Henri

            OMG, that is precious and terrible and amazing.

    • Jess

      I am toying with the idea of a shag haircut. It’ll probably only happen after a major life event. Will update, along with my leather jacket motif.

    • Violet

      Sounds like you’re hanging in there as best you can, which is all you can ask of yourself.
      I think there’s a quote attributed to Coco Chanel: “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”

      • rg223

        <3

    • I definitely cut off a large group chunk of my hair one morning when very stressed about upcoming meetings. Maybe not the best decision but honestly my hair is long enough to be pretty forgiving and as impulsive decisions go, it’s a pretty safe one since it’s 100% reversible with time.

      • rg223

        Exactly! It’ll grow back!

        • Yup, like the timing wasn’t the best–maybe I shouldn’t have cut like 8 inches off myself in the bathroom immediately before work… but at least I didn’t do bangs or something where a sloppy job would be harder to hide (the unevenness was pretty invisible in a ponytail).

    • BSM

      Congrats on your chop! It sounds awesome.

      I’ve said it here before, but for my birthday in January/post-childbirth I have been planning to cut my medium-length hair into some kind of textured bob/lob and go completely platinum (this kind of color: http://bit.ly/2xDyC3D). But then I saw this photo of Olivia Munn (http://bit.ly/2kc30gi) and was like, should I go dark instead???

      Big decisions happening over here.

      • rg223

        I personally vote for platinum!

      • Lisa

        Both of those look awesome. I loved the article that first photo came from, and I still think it would be so much fun to try a similar experiment (testing a bunch of hair colors to find which one you love).

    • I always do shiz to my hair when I’m feeling stressed and antsy… Now that I’m mature and shit I mostly just dye it and try to leave it to a professional, in my wayward youth there were a lot of DIY/shaved head/undercut/etc. incidents.

  • Gaby

    We’re back from Japan! And leaving to Mexico for one night tomorrow! Haha, not the ideal timing, but we’re going to my niece’s quinceañera and I know it’ll be a lot of fun. I am beyond excited for a weekend at home next week and doing all the fall things in October, though. Our first anniversary is also coming up in two weeks and we are thinking of low-key but *special* things to do since Japan was part of the celebration. So far we’ve agreed on hiring a cleaning service as a special treat to us both but don’t have many ideas beyond that. Oh, and it goes without saying, but Japan was beautiful and amazing and we felt incredibly lucky to be there the entire duration of the trip.

    • sofar

      Love Japan. Gained 7 lbs in two weeks in Japan. Would do it again.

      • Gaby

        Same here! We ate noodles and fried chicken so often, and only had sushi once! I keep getting targeted ads for 7-eleven in the states and it makes me miss their delicious options so much haha.

        • sofar

          Ate my weight in sushi. And all the other stuff you mentioned. And all their diabolical chocolate desserts.

          And we walked SO MUCH. And still … we both gained weight.

  • Trinity

    Any feminist thoughts on baby dolls? Pros? Cons? My daughter’s grandmas are asking me if I want her to have dolls, and I haven’t had a chance to give it any deep thought yet.

    • Violet

      I’d be fine with dolls for a kid if that kid also had equal opportunity to play with basic legos and such. I would not be cool with dolls only going to female children and trucks going to male children. My sister and I had equal options of things growing up, so we played with everything. And it was great.

      • Trinity

        Agreed! I always loved that my parents had no problem with my brother playing Barbies with me, or me playing blocks and Legos with him. And the best was when we combined toys, like when his Tonka truck became Barbie and Ken’s ride to the ball.

        • Kaitlyn

          HA we did things like that too, it wasn’t unusual for my Barbies to be living in the construction zones my brother created with his Tonka trucks. And we played each other’s computer games all the time (still Barbie and Tonka haha)

    • Just my feminist thoughts – not based on any theory:
      *I think baby dolls are cool, provided they are presented along with other toys
      *I’d like to see more white parents buying their kids dolls of color – typically dolls are color are marketed towards people of color, and while that’s great, part of teaching our kids about race is giving them toys/books focused on people that don’t look like them.

      • rg223

        I was going to respond with both of these points!

      • Trinity

        Yes! My mom actually just texted me a picture of a Baby Stella doll of color, and I told her that’s definitely the direction I want to go in if my daughter has dolls.

      • Jess

        I will not stop thanking my mom for purchasing a wide variety of ethnic dolls for her daughter who didn’t want dolls that looked like her. It was as if she said “No blondes? No problem!!” and rolled with it.

    • emilyg25

      Dolls are an important toy for all kids who like to mimic adults and practice care giving.

    • GCDC

      My daughter received a baby doll as a gift and I shrugged it off. For one thing, it’s not the battle I’m choosing. I just can’t get that worked up about it. For another, I asked myself if my daughter had been a son would my response be any different, and I decided no. All people – male and female – should be encouraged to nurture other people. While women/girls get that encouragement more, I don’t think they should be discouraged from doing so.

    • Eileen

      I am impressed by this child’s grandmas who are thinking to ask that.

    • I loved dolls as a kid (and kind of love them now) but I have to say baby dolls were my least favorite kind? I feel like all the play around baby dolls is taking care of them, they don’t have a lot of creative potential/inner life the way adult or kid dolls do (a la Barbie or American Girl style). I also agree equal access to dolls for kids of all genders!

      • Violet

        Oh yeah, that’s a good distinction. My sister and I enjoyed dolls where we could act out stories, but not baby dolls where you’re supposed to, I guess, just cuddle and pretend to feed them? We were never into it. Though now with a kiddo coming in about a month, at this point I wish I’d grown to like to babies more. Oh well.

        • Trinity

          I had dolls when I was little, but I barely played with them. I definitely preferred my Legos and blocks.

          • Violet

            One of our ongoing engineering missions was to create a two-story lego construction, which is harder than it sounds when you only had the basic traditional blocks (not the thin plank-like pieces they make now that can act as floors).

        • Cleo

          When I was a kid, I was the same way and also, as a teenager I hated babysitting. I lamented to my mom that I’d probably be a terrible parent because of that. My mom told me that she was the same way and it’s different when the kids are yours and also real kids (and not facsimiles).

          My mom is an amazing mom, so don’t sweat about not liking baby dolls. As far as I can tell, there’s no correlation.

          • Violet

            Thank you! This is exactly what my mom tells me too- she’s not a baby person, but she sure loved hers. : )

      • Hmm, I think this is an interesting point. I might have had one baby doll, but the dolls I remember playing with were my Cabbage Patch and Barbies. And also My Little Ponies, and little figurines (Smurfs, Care Bears, etc.) And my Care Bears played with the Care Bears and GI Joes of my best friend (a boy). I was also a big fan of Matchbox cars. But my teddy bear was my favorite companion as a kid…. So I guess I preferred imagining things with non-baby dolls. And Skipper was my favorite Barbie because she felt the most relatable…

    • JLC

      My 17-month-old son was fascinated when I put a diaper on his teddy bear, and now enjoys randomly picking up the bear, sniffing its butt, and proclaiming that the bear is stinky. So there’s that. :)
      So I agree with the other commenters below — it’s never a bad thing to practice caring for a tiny human, just try to pick dolls that will help teach your daughters your own values in terms of gender, race, family structure, etc.

    • Sara

      I’m pro dolls in general, anti American Girl Doll type of materialism. My goddaughter has basically gotten an entire store into her playroom and it drives me crazy. If she was reading the old school books or learning something, I’d be on board, but she just has the new ‘cool’ kid of the year and their insane accessories (yes, she is spoiled rotten).
      But dolls as something to play with are cool, I used to make my brother’s play dolls with me. I think they’re a good spark for imagination.

    • emmers

      I feel like you could accomplish similar caregiving stuff with stuffed animals without the loaded gender component. But I like others’ thoughts on having dolls of different races. That’s cool!

  • Kaitlyn

    We took our engagement photos on Monday and I found it to be the most stressful event ever. I think I’m going to be completely zen on the wedding day because I have no more stress to give haha To start, my period was due on Monday and the Saturday before is always a shitshow hormone wise. I spent HOURS looking for a new dress (one I ordered fit weird) to no avail. We went to Providence the next day as a part of our getaway and spent hours in the mall there. I finally found a dress and made J take pics of me in it which I hated and made my cry (related to body image issues). My mom luckily calmed me down via Facetime (poor J tried, but sometimes you need your mom haha). I had appointments to get my hair and makeup done the next day and was feeling pretty good. BUT my makeup did not come out how I envisioned (I asked for natural, it came out pretty glam, partially my fault for saying shimmery eyeshadow instead of matte) so I was bummed about that and we didn’t have time to re-do it. The hair appointment was a friggen disaster though. All I wanted was a nice little blow-out and ended up with something again, I didn’t want, frankly could have some myself, fell out pretty quickly, AND cost $55 (this was just an extra blow haha). Oh and since she took so long we were late for photos.

    As for the actual photos themselves, it was a wicked fun experience. I can see why they suggest engagement shoots (we were super comfortable and pros by the end of it). We shot for almost three hours, all through downtown Newport and then up by the water. Unfortunately, this weird haze rolled in which made the water shots SUPER foggy, but I’m hoping they turn out artsy haha Our photographer had us play some “games” to keep it fun and natural (tell her our proposal story line by line, what’s an embarrassing thing about J, etc etc).

    She usually does a sneak peek of her shoots on social media and it’s KILLING me that I haven’t gotten any yet haha She turns around the whole thing (50 photos) in two weeks, but obviously I want them now ;)

    • Lexipedia

      My last week engagement photo makeup turned out awful too! I sent FI increasingly panicked texts throughout the whole process and then ran to the bathroom to de-shimmer my face the minute she was done. Way, way too much highlighter and a weird color of lipstick. I think I figured it out on my own, but only the pictures will tell. Also waiting on the sneak peek with excitement!

      • Kaitlyn

        Ah it’s so nerve-wracking when that happens! My make-up was beautiful, it just was the complete opposite of natural hahaha Part of it is probably my fault, I was so emotionally exhausted from trying to find something to wear, I just vaguely described what I was looking for haha I have the same feeling about the pictures. Gahhh why won’t they send us our sneak peeks? haha

  • Jessica

    HI everyone!! I’ve missed a few happy hours (like, so many), so here is a quick list of updates:

    1. I have an apartment! My friend bought a condo but doesn’t live in the area, so she is renting to me. I was going to AirBnB it (and had a full 2months booked out), but then was told THE DAY MY FIRST GUEST ARRIVED that there was a policy banning Airbnb in the building. And then the neighbor 1 floor down was rude to my second guest that weekend (threatening to tow them from my spot, emailing the Condo board that they were parked in her spot). So I’m moving to the apartment this upcoming week and AirBnbing my house to make some extra cash.

    2. Met with the ex, a judge, and our lawyers (didn’t have to talk to Assface, thank goodness), and we have a pretty good split of assets. He has a disgusting pornstache thing going on and looked terrible. My parents took me out afterwards and got me hella drunk. It turned out ok.

    3. Part of the asset splitting is me selling the house, pretty much by myself. Deep breaths required.

    4. I had a huge event on Monday for work, and now that it’s done I feel OK again.

    5. I have a dude-friend! I’ve been calling him Not-Boyfriend, because I’m not ready for all the couples stuff, but he is also going through the divorce process (though much slower and amicably with his ex) and has just been a huge support. My dog even likes him.

    Speaking of, here is a picture of my dog and I after the vet yesterday. She’s doing great.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f170b029bf5c9ff8c7ad43b79a0febbedeaab12ccf20ceb00338fc07a6f58b3b.jpg

    • Love the update! See your face tomorrow night?

      • Jessica

        yes!! Can’t wait!

    • Violet

      Excellent update! Dude friend isn’t guy from the gym… is it?

      • Jessica

        Good memory, and yes.

        • Violet

          Heehee, I was hoping… : ) Glad you guys found a pace that’s right for you.

      • flashphase

        omg I thought the same thing :) congrats!!

        • Violet

          I can’t help it, I just want good things for Jessica!!

          • flashphase

            Yup, she deserves all good things!

          • Jessica

            omg, I love all of you

    • ART

      Cuuuuute dog! This sounds like a good update. Yuck on the facial hair thing. I remember my asshole ex went with a fauxhawk thing that made me roll my eyes very, very hard.

      • MINE DID TOO! When @Jessica made her comment, I remembered how I showed up at the mediator to meet my ex and work out the divorce details and he had a faux hawk. And new, stylistically pretty different clothes. He’d never been too interested in style, so I assumed that his new girlfriend had suggested/implemented some changes. I internally rolled my eyes hard too…

    • Jan

      Yay for you! What is it with dickhead ex-husbands growing mustaches? Mine did, too, and I was like, really? Why? That is so terrible.

      • Jessica

        I think it would be like me getting bangs–something to change, but not too drastic, though overall a bad idea.

        • Jan

          Except your bangs wouldn’t make you look like you’re being featured on an episode of Dateline.

          • Jess

            Am. Dead. From. Laughter.

          • Jan

            YA WELCOME

          • Jessica

            Not with that attitude!

      • butwhy

        Do guys just do that when they want a divorce? My husband had one when he wanted to divorce his previous wife

        • Jan

          Hahahaha it must be a thing!

    • Omg your doggo is adorable. Glad to hear that things are moving in a positive direction.

    • Oy Vey

      It seems like everything is moving in a positive direction. So excited for you!!!

      You and your dog look so chill and happy. And your parents sound pretty great too!

    • Transnonymous

      It sounds like things are really going your way. Congrats!

    • Her Lindsayship

      I’m loving that your parents took you out and got you drunk after the meeting. Glad your support network is solid!

    • Jess

      Hooray for your apartment! Hooray for lawyers! Hooray for dude friend.

      Most of all, WELL DONE PARENTS!!!

    • sofar

      Auughhh condo busy-bodies.

    • toomanybooks

      Ummm, is it super satisfying that you look AMAZING in that photo and your ex is basically growing a mustache with the hair shaping the words “creep”??

      So with the asset splitting and the house – do you have to sell it and then split the money? Or do you get to keep the house money? (I don’t know how things work but I’ve gotten really investing in this house issue now)

      Also speaking of housing, ugggghhh, neighbors who have nothing better to do than complain about the other people in their building are the worst. I’ve only ever rented apartments but currently we rent a condo from the owner so we live in a condo building where people actually do own their units, and they can be very finicky. We got yelled at for using our balcony (faces the courtyard, not the outside of the building/street-facing) as “storage” because for literally less than 24 hours I had stacked one of our balcony chairs onto the other one. Siiigh. As Mallory Ortberg might say, it makes me want to move to the MOON.

      • Jessica

        YEP. I’m not a fan.

        He gave me equity of the house BUT if things don’t go exactly perfectly, all that will happen is that I break even on it due to listing and realtor fees. Currently trying to get a local person to buy…

      • CMT

        OMG, I’m in the same situation — renting a condo — and condo owners are insane is what I’ve learned.

    • SL

      I love your dog

    • I am so happy to hear this update! It sounds like things are going well so far! (Aside from the annoying condo neighbors.) And I hope the house-selling goes smoothly. And too funny about your ex and the mustache. I said in a different comment that mine showed up at divorce mediation with a faux hawk. It was a pretty unexpected change for him. Which was par for the course, I guess, since everything he did around that time was so expected? Hmm, that makes me wonder if he still has it now that he has left that girlfriend for someone else…?

      Anyhow, good for you! And I am glad you have a new friend to support you in this process. And taking it slow sounds like a wise choice since you both are going through tumultuous life changes. But I totally get how nice it is to discover that there are other nice men out there in the world, perhaps even ones you might find attractive! :)

  • ssha

    Okay guys. HOW DO PEOPLE GET THEIR THANK YOU NOTES DONE? We’re a few months out from our wedding and I’ve written… 20? (Husband has written a few to his people/family as well, I don’t know how many) only 100 to go! It’s so overwhelming and for a while I was doing okay but then life got overwhelming and the ADD/Anxiety/I’m a horrible person! spiral got real. Any tips?

    • Anne

      We got married a few weeks ago, and husband and I have had a goal of writing 5 notes per day. I just finished mine last night! He has about 6 left because he slacked off the last couple days. We definitely just bribed ourselves with no evening dessert or TV until the 5 for the day got done.

      • Anne

        As for a “formula”, I mostly used: 1) Thanks for the gift, 2) Joke about gift (we had a few with funny stories)/nice thing about gift/something about their presence or not at the wedding, 3) Well wishes about something about their lives or when we’ll see them next.

    • savannnah

      I haven’t started this process yet because I am afraid but I’m also kinda looking forward to doing them as a way of remembering each person/family who was at the wedding? I feel like after all the people coming and going we never said hi or bye to a lot of family or friends. I think a ration, like 5-7 a day is the way to go- so its not overwhelming.

      • ssha

        I actually do kind of like writing them because of this! I think the sheer mass is just really scary to me.

        • savannnah

          I totally get that! This might not be your thing too but when we got home we realized we were up 21 bottles of champagne from when we left for the wedding and we can’t drink any unless we are gonna tackle the thank you cards. We’ll probably start this weekend…

          • ssha

            haha, I like this!

    • emmers

      I did them whenever I watched TV. Usually with wine. It took awhile, but it was the only way I could get them done. Settle down with some ‘flix and booze and crank those puppies out! Someone (I think on APW?) suggested some kind of formula, and I followed that for all.

      It was something like “So great to see you at the wedding + fun memory if I had one with them from the day + wow thanks for X thing it’s super cool + love you lots thanks again for coming.” Maybe someone else will have a better formula :).

      • ssha

        great british baking show it is!

      • That’s pretty similar to mine. “Lovely to see you + memory + looking forward to using thing X Love Us.” We had a slightly different formula for the money ones, where we just specified something along the lines of, “we will be sure to put it to good use” (or if it was someone who explicitly said it was for fun money, which also happened), we said something along the lines of “looking forward to having a nice dinner/date night with the money.”

    • Amy March

      Focus on making progress, not on finishing. Do 5 a night, each of you, every night. Keep them simple! Dear SoandSo, Thank you so much for the [insert gift here.] It was so thoughtful of you and we will think of you every time we use it. We [loved seeing you/thought of you] at the wedding, thank you so much for your good wishes. xoxo by.

      • Basically all of this. Also enlist your husband to write more as well! Make the goal 5 Thank you notes a night for each of you.

      • ssha

        I’m bad at the focusing on making progress part…tend to jump to “If I don’t write 50 in the next hour I’m awful” part. good reminder.

        • Amy March

          If you each do 5 a night you’ll be done in two weeks! You can even skip a couple nights!

          • ssha

            whoa! my mind is blown!

    • Anon

      We only had 35 guests at our wedding but receiving gifts from around 50 people. Two months after the wedding I went out and bought a few dozen cards (like 3-4 of those packages of 10-12 from Indigo/Chapters) and dug out the list of “who got us what’. Anyone that was primarily his friend or his relative, he initiated and was responsible for (basically he wrote the “body” of the note and I signed my name at the end next to his). Anyone that was primarily my friend or my relative, I was responsible for (vice versa0. We each got a pen and a big glass of wine and took over the kitchen table and it took us 2 hours.

      Harassing people for their mailing addresses took a week. But the writing them was best done as a binge.

    • lamarsh

      UGHHHH, just here to commiserate. We got back from the honeymoon and I worked two consecutive months of 80 hour weeks, so I got very behind. I have written like 60 and have 30 more to go, but it is so much. And my mom telling me that people are asking about whether I got their gifts is not helping…

      • ssha

        Commiseration welcomed! I know, I was happily sailing along and then MIL was like “how are your notes coming? I know (family member) got theirs!” sending me into a spiral of OH NO does other family who hasn’t got theirs/in laws’ church people/my uncles and aunts think we are the most ungrateful millenials ever?!

        • lamarsh

          Yes, the shame spiral is real. Hoping to finish this weekend, but I have said that for the last three weekends in a row, so who knows. Best of luck to you!

          • ssha

            thank you! you too! *solidarity fistbump*

    • flashphase

      Hi, 9 months out and my husband still has 20 to send!!!

    • We sat down and wrote 4 or 5 (I don’t quite remember the number) a night until we were done. Husband wrote his people, I wrote mine. This meant I had more to write after our wedding, but he had a lot more to write after our Chicago reception for his side of the family/local friends. We kept track on our address google doc.
      Also, though, since husband’s family is apparently weird about things like people getting mail first, we saved up batches of notes to his family to send based on some set of tiers that he made so that one uncle wouldn’t get mad that aunt 1 got her thank you notes and he didn’t, even if we wrote them not quite on the same day. (I just sent mine as I wrote them).

    • Her Lindsayship

      We just sent ours out (our wedding was two months ago). I didn’t spend very much time on most of them – my mom and sisters got longer more personalized ones, along with a couple others that helped us out a lot, but for a lot of the others I literally copy/pasted a good amount. Oh, that’s one thing that helped me: I drafted them all in a text editor on the computer before physically writing them, so I could write it out (or uh paste it) and tweak stuff first, then get to pen and paper. Also I would reward myself for getting through x number of notes in a sitting because I operate well on treats. :) You can do it!

      • Yes, I often type up thank yous and edit them, then just hand-write it once I’ve decided on the text. And that does help with copying+pasting+adapting for the next person…

    • Jess

      Watch bad movies, drink wine, and write five to ten per movie. Nobody will know that you ended all of them with the same line, so reuse your “Thank you so much for helping us start our new life together!” or whatever.

    • Transnonymous

      The way we got through them was making a commitment to writing 3-5 (each) every night. That broke it down into manageable chunks that didn’t take up too much of our time, but didn’t delay getting them done for too long. Worked very well for us!

    • Jan

      We just started ours, almost a month out, and I’ve decided to break it down by task. I’m first working on addressing all the envelopes, because addressing things feels more straight-forward (read: reasier) than coming up with what to say in the cards. I’m about halfway done addressing. Then we’re going to spend a few nights together with each of us writing a handful each night until they’re finished. The task feels daunting but I also hate having this item on every freaking to-do list I write for myself, so I’m dedicated to getting it done.

    • NolaJael

      Giant “Thank You” stamp in the middle = way less room to write.

    • emilyg25

      Form letter!

      Dear So and So,

      Thank you for the thing. We look forward to … with it. (Or We so love that it…) Can’t wait to see you at the wedding/next Christmas/whatever!

      Love,
      Ssha

    • JSK

      I did the Unfuck Your Habitat method: Put on good music. Start a timer for X mins for those minutes, you aren’t allowed to do anything else but write TU notes. Timer goes off and you get a break.

      Described here: http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/welcome-packet/ but I did longer sessions (40/20 or whatever)

      Once I got into the rhythm, I often just kept working through the break. Something about knowing I could take a break made me not play with my phone or try to multi task or whatever.

      • ssha

        Oh this is very helpful, thank you! I use timers a lot or else I would never get anything done in my daily life, so I think this is a good idea for me. I also have the Forest app on my phone which helps me not to pick it up out of boredom, so I’ll utilize that.

  • Rose

    My shopping skills are kind of failing me, and I thought this might be the place to get help. We moved recently, and I’m looking for a wall clock (or possibly two for different rooms) that are interesting/attractive, not too expensive, and hopefully quieter than the cheap one I have from Target, which ticks really loudly. As far as design, I don’t have specific ideas, I just kind of want something that’s more interesting than a plain black rim. The living room furniture (where we really need one) is mostly shades of brown/gold/red, and the kitchen (which could also use one) is dark green tile–but colors that can be versatile would be great, since we’ll definitely be moving again in about a year. Anyone have any suggestions or favorite places to go looking?

    • Kaitlyn

      Wayfair!

      • Violet

        I’ve basically decided I’m only shopping there from now on.

    • Jennifer

      I obsessed about wall clocks for years before buying a Lemnos one. It’s a japanese brand, but amazon carries them. https://www.amazon.com/Lemnos/b/ref=w_bl_hsx_s_ho_web_7596998011?ie=UTF8&node=7596998011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Lemnos

      • Rose

        Oh, those are gorgeous! Possibly more than I’m looking to spend right now, but future goals. . .

    • Alynae

      I love World Market for home decor stuff!

      • Rose

        Oh, good thought, I do too! I’ll have to see where the closest one is and how soon we might be in that direction (there are a few larger cities about an hour from us, I bet one of them has one).

  • anon

    I have a dilemma that I brought on myself honestly. Apologies in advance for the ramblings.
    So my mom’s friend is throwing me a bridal shower- they’ve been friends for decades and we see their family once a year or so. When my mom called to “ask” me about the bridal shower, she said that it would be rude to not want one and said they were already planning the shower, so we had to accept their generous offer. We’re having a small wedding (45 guests) so I’d already told my mom I didn’t want a shower when we first started planning the wedding. I reminded her that I was uncomfortable having a shower, and she dismissed me and said we couldn’t say no to her friend.
    Fast forward to now and I’m totally regretting being bowled over by my mom. Now, instead of one person throwing the bridal shower, FIVE families are throwing it–none of whom I was planning on inviting to our intimate wedding. Of course we will invite the people throwing the shower, because it would be crazy rude not to. The shower is starting to feel like another wedding. My mom keeps adding to the guest list, but luckily now I’m a little better at saying “no, mom, we aren’t inviting more people to the shower.” By now our wedding has 20 more people invited (and because the original number was so low, this is a huge addition). My mom doesn’t understand my angst about the shower. I’m trying to be as gracious as I can, because I know this wouldn’t have happened if I stood my ground in the first place. Plus, the families care about me (well, they care about me because they care about my mom) and having more people to celebrate with should be a good thing. Still, this whole thing is frustrating because it feels like my mom doesn’t like the small wedding I planned and wants to throw me another wedding the way she wants it done.
    I guess I just want to get the whole situation off my chest because it’s been a huge source of stress for me in the past few weeks.

    • Alynae

      If possible. Take a deep breath and accept that this shower is happening and these people are coming to your wedding. I think you are absolutely right that this shower led to your mom having too much of a say in your wedding. It absolutely stinks that it is affecting the wedding you wanted, but its done. Accept it for what it is, say no where you can now, but enjoy the shower and at your wedding (at least for me) I was in such a happy bubble that pretty much anyone friendly could have shown up and it would have been fine. Its a crappy time to learn what boundaries you need, but if at all possible let go of the stress and just flow with it since its done now. (I say this as a totally type A person that never “just rolls with it”. But I’m working on it. And during my wedding planning, it was a life saver).

      • anon

        Thank you! I’m slowly (verrrrry slowly) teaching myself to go with the flow, especially when the flow isn’t what I planned! As a fellow type-A person, it’s definitely been a challenge!

    • Jess

      Events can be really stressful. Even when it’s “a thing” for families or it’s a loving gesture from family friends or what have you.

      You already know to take a deep breath and attend and be gracious.

      So, I’m just going to tell you it’s ok to be not super excited in advance, to feel like you’re putting people out who wouldn’t otherwise be at your wedding, and to feel steamrolled by your mom.

      Keep being strong about the people attending.

      • anon

        The guilt about not being super excited is getting to me for sure. Thank you for your kind words <3

        • Jess

          <3 I constantly need reminders that it's ok to feel what I'm feeling. Be kind to yourself!

    • Jan

      I’m sorry, that’s stressful! But, do you really have to invite all those extra people to your wedding? I mean, did they offer to throw the shower with or without knowing they wouldn’t be invited to the wedding itself? Some people are happy to throw or attend events even if they aren’t on the actual guest list, and I think this can be especially true for friends of parents that might not have a super close relationship with the couple. Could you ask your mom what she thinks they’d be okay with? If it were just a handful of people I’d say whatever, but they almost double your guest list!

      FWIW, my MIL insisted on throwing a “rehearsal dinner” (we didn’t have a wedding party or rehearsal, so it was really just a random pre-wedding party) that ended up with a 96 attendees. NINETY-SIX. I was so mortified by the entire idea leading up to it. Our actual wedding only had 130 guests, for god’s sake! My MIL really wanted to be able to celebrate with her friends who weren’t invited to the actual wedding, and this was her way of getting that. I felt very weird and stressed, but in the end it was fine. People were delighted to be able to celebrate with us, no one (that I know of at least) had bad feelings about not being on the wedding guest list, and there was booze there so all I had to do was smile and drink my sangria for a couple hours.

      • My mom’s friends were going to throw me a shower with a bunch of people who wouldn’t have been invited to the wedding. They just wanted a chance to have a party with my mom before the wedding and talk about weddings and see how grown-up I was (since a lot of them hadn’t seen me in years). It never ended up working out because of travel, but I think there definitely are plenty of people who would be ok with going to showers but not weddings, especially if it is a parent-friend thing, but probably also SUPER dependent on your circles.

  • flashphase

    Thanks to the ladies who recommended Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It is SO eye-opening! I started charting my cycle which is kind of amazing – wish I knew more about this as a teenager instead of thinking my cycle was gross.

    I do worry that charting will make me more nervous if we don’t get pregnant right away. Did anyone who used this find it more or less nervewracking for TTC?

    • Violet

      I didn’t find that being generally aware of when I was ovulating was nerve-wracking. However, the two months I tried the damn ovulation strips I was way more annoyed when I didn’t get pregnant those months. So I think if you look at it as more information can be good but nothing is guaranteed, you’ll be alright.

    • Mary Jo TC

      It made TTC less nervewracking for me because it was made our efforts more effective. We got pregnant in one cycle for the first kid, in 2 cycles for the second. Probably wouldn’t have happened that way if we didn’t understand my cycle. Also, if you do end up having trouble, you will already have completed the work that a fertility specialist would have asked you to do in the first visit.

    • I’m a data person so it was more reassuring to me to see how regular my cycle was, how often I ovulated, etc. However, we got pregnant on our 3rd try.

    • ART

      “wish I knew more about this as a teenager” RIGHT?! I feel like they really downplayed the amazingness of the body in health/anatomy/etc classes.

      I used it in the several months leading up to TTC after going off the pill, and found it extremely valuable. I did end up getting pregnant pretty much right away (the one month we tried but didn’t, we both had the flu the day I ovulated…or I think anyway, I had a terrible fever.) I used the TCOYF app to chart, and I really liked it, but I will just warn that it gives you access to some discussion forums that may up the nervewracking quotient if you start poking around when you don’t need to. They are there for good reason, but I am a born worrier and it just fueled my tendency to overthink and freak out long before I have a reason to.

      • flashphase

        The app is great! I am also a born worrier and I’m already worrying about this stuff :)

    • ssha

      this sounds interesting- is it just for people TTC?

      • Nope! Charting is a great way to learn your body & your cycle if you want to prevent pregnancy.

        • ART

          Agreed, it made my periods more…fun? I am also a data person though…so the dots and lines were really satisfying.

          • A single sarah

            Yes!

            Also, I have an irregular cycle and love being able to predict when my period will arrive. Data wins!!!!!

          • ssha

            I have a period tracker app but I don’t think it knows what’s going on with my semi irregular cycle. echoing sentiments above that I’d love to learn more about my body and cycle (maybe this is part of trying to internalize that my body isn’t scary or gross). Thanks!

      • Rebekah

        Nope! Using it as birth control, along with a barrier method, until we decide otherwise.

      • I love charting! And I use the app Ovia (which IS geared to people TTC, but I ignore that!).

    • Anonforthis

      At first, I found it empowering! Then, I found it a bit nerve wracking while I was trying to overanalyze and wondering about whether my temp was climbing high enough or I was spotting too much or whatnot. Once I let go of trying to have control over it, it was really helpful again. We got pregnant after 5 months.

      • flashphase

        Kind of where I am… I think I figured out when I ovulated but then I got my period 6 days later (which is not a long enough luteal phase) and now I’m stressing. I’m like, did I mess up the chart, is my cycle still coming back from the pill, or is my cycle messed up?

    • Nicole

      I started charting a few months before starting trying to conceive. I did find that it made TTC nerve-wracking. It took me a year to get pregnant. I actually stopped doing the temping thing after 7 or 8 months because I found I was fixating on my chart in a way that really wasn’t helpful. On the other hand, I really appreciated all the info I DID have about my cycle thanks to charting, and it made me more confident reaching out for help after several months of trying, since I was pretty sure I was ovulating and having sex at the right time of month.

    • Anoa

      I have a super-irregular cycle/often very long, and I’ve used test strips/apps in the past (but haven’t temped). After talking to my OBGYN, apparently if your cycles are really long, it probably means you’re not ovulating or are only ovulating sometimes. So I guess my advice is, I’m sure it works for a lot of people, but it’s also OK if it doesn’t! And consult with your gyno sooner rather than later if you have long/highly irregular cycles, since there are simple things they can do to help get your ovulation going.

      • flashphase

        This is SO helpful! I think my cycles are long? What do you consider long and irregular?

      • What I like is that charting helps you figure out whether or not you’re ovulating, especially if a cycle is irregular.
        ETA: Charting with the temps.

    • SarahRose472

      I didn’t chart but I did ovulation tests. It made me feel better in the sense that I was doing something active to increase my chances, but I also tried to manage my stress by reminding myself that even knowing exactly when I ovulated and having sex at the exact right time still only gives somewhere between 30-60% chance of getting pregnant in a given month — so it was still a coin toss.

  • Elizabeth

    We officially announced our engagement Labor Day weekend and the planning we’ve done can be out in the open now!!!

    I need some advice on crafty projects I can give to my Mom that won’t be a disaster if she doesn’t follow through (I posted some of my troubles with her on a different thread). She really REALLY wants to help and be included, but we are paying for everything ourselves and have most of it planned specifically to head off family interference (mom is very unreliable, but thinks she can handle anything), so I need ways to make her feel involved that won’t matter if she falls through.

    • Amy March

      Welcome bags, favors, place cards, menus, signage.

      • Jess

        We had my mom do all of these except favors (did not have). She nailed it and it kept her super busy!

    • louise danger

      MOM SOLIDARITY oh my god are you my sister

      i asked my mom to help source mismatched but coordinating table cloths, recommending thrift stores (she wound up going to kohl’s/home goods, but i can’t control that) as a way to save money. she found some lovely stuff.

      pick something that you want to do but won’t care if it’s not zomg perfect. for some people, that’s flowers, a cake, printed material (invitations/programs/whatever), table decorations, etc. give her some parameters – don’t let her break the bank, oh my god my mother would have spent a thousand dollars on tablecloths with the best intentions in the world “mom no;” colors to feature or avoid; a general style you’re going for; the things you loathe – and let her run from there.

      i also gave her completely free rein on the shower, which helped to satisfy her “i am the mother of the bride!” crafting itch in a way that had absolutely zero impact on the way the day itself went.

    • Jan

      My mom also wanted to be involved, but I knew if I put too much on her she would start to get overwhelmed and resentful. She’s pretty crafty, so I asked her to make the small signs to put around the venue that displayed our wedding hashtag, and to make a standing sign with the program on it (we chose to forego printed programs). The one big thing we gave to her was the flowers: she made my bouquet and put together the flowers to go in vases on the dinner tables. (And, as predicted, she nearly cracked from the pressure. But, the flowers were gorgeous.)

    • emilyg25

      Favors?

    • Guest book, card box, flower girl/ring bearer accessories like a basket or pillow, a photo display, coordinating a table with paper and envelopes for people to write you notes to open on various anniversaries. Just be ready with a simple back-up plan in case it doesn’t work out (i.e., being ready to buy a black hardcover blank sketch book to use for your guestbook). :)

  • Jan
    • alexis

      These are beautiful! Those earrings! Your dress! The flowers! So gorgeous. You both look so happy.

      • Jan

        Thank you!!

    • rg223

      Gorgeous! I love your dress!

      • Jan

        Amazon, girl!

      • Katie

        yes, there’s some wildly beautiful draping thing going on!

        • Jan

          I had a whole different dress picked out and altered originally, and found this online about a month before the wedding. It just felt so romantic!

    • ssha

      these are gorgeous!! your flowers, your dress, the lake! You look beautiful <3

      • Jan

        Thanks! My mom did my flowers, I was v v grateful.

    • Anna

      Those are gorgeous! I had the same reaction to my wedding photos (and engagement photos before that, for that matter) – my first time through them, I was super unhappy with how I looked in the vast majority of them, with a ton of weird body image issues coming up. After that I fucking adored them. (With the exception of this one sequence of photos from the wedding where there’s these nicely posed photos of each of my bridesmaids and then me, and they all look model-y and just the right amount posed vs. natural, and I look incredibly awkward and I’m just like HOW DID I NEVER LEARN HOW TO POSE SEMI-NATURALLY FOR A PHOTO ON MY OWN? I look fine in all the group/couple/candid shots…)

      • Jan

        Thank you! Yeah, I kind of still dislike the portraits we did with family. It was like I forgot how to stand like a person, And it’s so. very. obvious. I had had a smile plastered on my face for like an hour, and I just look like a reject mannequin. A

        • Anna

          I have legitimately practiced standing with a group of people for a photo without looking awkward (I think in every non-candid group photo taken of me during high school, I’m leaning awkwardly away from the person next to me because I somehow didn’t realize how big the gap was?), so I kind of have that one down, after many years of failing at it. But somehow when I don’t have someone else in the photo, I’m incapable of taking it seriously and just smiling nicely? Like, one of the photos I look SUPER skeptical, like I’m trying to be ironic about this whole “having photos of me taken” thing.

          • Jan

            hahaha I hear you. Maybe I should practice! I’m really tall and group photos usually involve me leaning over awkwardly to be closer to the shorties in my life. Also, if I’m not actively smiling I look either pissed off or grossed out. It’s just how my face is. Some of the candids from the wedding are hilaaaaaarious for this reason.

          • Anna

            I’m 5’1″ and have the opposite problem – whoever I’m being photographed with tends to tower over me…

          • Jennifer

            I’m 5’0 and I married into a family of giants (husbeast is 6’6 and both his sisters are 6′). So the portrait with that side of the family? Added: (for the moment) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a86bf9e4bfbb41a107ca6d211960038636db7796ae82145fa479e4711688575e.jpg

          • ssha

            omg at this picture. amazing.

          • A single sarah

            I love that his sisters are wearing heels

          • Jennifer

            lol! I am too, not that it helps. Yes. I love that the whole family has confidence.

          • anony

            As someone in the 97th percentile for height, it really ticks me off when people comment on how I “don’t need to wear heels”….. b– I don’t wear heels for your enjoyment, I wear them because they make my butt look GORG and make my legs (which are long because I’m tall) look like super slender model legs and ffs don’t blame your being short on my having the “nerve'” to be both tall and into gender-normative footwear.

            /rant

            regardless of what you meant by your comment, just a perspective from the other side. Being tall, we’re already told that we come off as non-feminine more often than not. To get shit for wearing heels is SUCH a catch 22.

          • suchbrightlights

            My sister is super tall and felt self conscious about wearing heels for years- she would slump in pictures to try to be shorter. I’m so happy she feels better about herself now and rocks her 5-inchers. It’s her body, and she can’t change this part of it; she might as well be comfortable in her own skin.

    • Mary Jo TC

      I love your dress and earrings! Every time I see an off-the-shoulder dress I have regret that I didn’t have one too.

      • Jan

        Thank you! I bought the supplies off Etsy to make my earrings. My partner’s ring has a sapphire in the center (he loves sapphires) so I surprised him with my earrings.

    • Katie

      you look so gorgeous and happy and amazing!!!

      • Jan

        Thank you!

        • Katie

          also, LOVE your earrings :)

    • Kaitlyn

      These are stunning!

      • Jan

        Thank you! I loved our photographer.

    • Jess

      I, for one (of clearly many), live your photos and thing you look beautiful and contended and in love!

      • Jan

        Thank you, that’s sweet!

  • louise danger

    two weeks from now, i will be married and all this wedding stuff will be OVER. (except the just-us dinner that evening at a swanky place in town.)

    this week’s highlights:
    – i mentioned it in a different post this week, but mr danger and his mom had a screaming match about the rehearsal dinner. apparently “i will handle everything about the dinner, tell me where you want it to be and send a list of people you’d like to invite” means “send me the list of people who are definitely coming, tell me the menu you want, and also every other detail about it.” so we’ve been half-planning the rehearsal dinner in addition to everything else that’s going on in these last few weeks.
    – i planned our itinerary for the roadtrip we’re doing to shenandoah (and have been staring at the foliage reports, which are currently Very Favorable!). a few days meandering around in the park, a side trip to shenandoah caverns, visiting the place where Rte 11 chips are made, but oh gosh the best part: Dinosaur Land. (look it up. i’ll wait.) i’m excited to pack some cute things to wear for wandering through the park – my general physical fitness will keep us from some of the more challenging/longer hikes, but for our easy woodland walks, i’m planning to bring my hiking boots. i wish we could do horseback riding but i’ll have to save that for another trip. :(
    — RELATED: the best thing that no one tells you about doing a “boring” or “local” type honeymoon? it’s easy to go back! STUPID easy. we’ll be in the general area on sunday, in fact. no scrimping for airfare, no panicking about hotels or whatever – “wanna do a day trip?” “sure” #winning
    – finally figured out an inexpensive and easy placecard solution: washi tape! gonna get some plain tent cards and some washi tape to visually distinguish each person’s entree choice

    not wedding-related directly, but something big/exciting that’s happening in my life outside of all this and it’s a nice story: i get confirmed next weekend on the 8th! when you get confirmed into the Catholic church, you can pick a saint to be your patron – someone who will help you to be the best Catholic possible. I picked a really old Welsh lady saint named Melangell (pronounced ‘Mel-en-geth’), who fled her arranged marriage and lived in solitude in a remote Welsh valley. the local prince was hunting one day, and his dogs chased a hare into a thicket, but wouldn’t go in after it, even when he hollered at them to do so. so he crawled in and found the hare staring down the dogs from the folds of Melangell’s dress. the prince listened to her story – how she’d fled her marriage to pursue her devotion – and, being a prince and also impressed by her beauty, asked her to marry him instead. she said no and (this is the best part) he said “okay.” dude listened! and accepted that she didn’t want to be bothered! he gave her land on which to found a religious community for other women seeking refuge from the world, and forbade the hunting of hares in the valley, too, in honor of the little rabbit who’d found refuge with her. she died at a ripe old age as the abbess of her little community. apparently, even today, no one will hunt hares there. she’s the patron of wild places and small beasts. :)

    • ssha

      I love this saint story so much.

      • louise danger

        right? it includes tiny animals, a respectful bro, and the medieval equivalent of the “GO AWAY” doormat i cherish

    • lamarsh

      This list is a little dated at this point, but my now husband and I drove Skyline drive a few years ago and went to many of the places in this article: http://www.saveur.com/article/travels/best-of-the-blue-ridge-skyline-drive-virginia#page-4

      Definitely recommend Red Truck Bakery and Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie!

      • louise danger

        thanks!

        • lamarsh

          Also it will be soooo beautiful in October! I used to live in that area and the fall was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

          • louise danger

            the leaf forecasts are very promising :B

    • Jess

      I love the idea of a saint whose story involves a man respecting her no and letting her live in the forest in peace!

      • louise danger

        right??? and bunnies!

    • That is an amazing patron saint. I wish I had delved deeper when I was choosing mine, but I was a surly teen and not happy about being confirmed. So I picked the patron saint of grave diggers (Anthony the Abbot) because you know, edgy.

      • Lain

        I wanted to be confirmed but was super annoyed by the visiting priest who told us the reason why only men could be priests is because Jesus and disciples were all men and since the priest pseudo-became and/or represented Jesus during the consecration of the Eucharist, a woman couldn’t represent Jesus. So I picked Joan of Arc as my patron because I managed to find some (probably non-legitimate) internet research that claimed her as the patron saint of those struggling against church leadership, or something like that. I wrote up a great essay about it that I handed in to my confirmation teacher who politely said nothing. #AlsoEdgy

    • Love the saint story. And your wasabi tape placecard idea is excellent! And your honeymoon sounds wonderful! If you go into Roanoke, it’s got a cute little downtown area. And an Indian restaurant I’d love to go back to…Nawab. There was also a good coffee place beside it. But I think I’ve mentioned this before? Anyhow, hang in there! I hope all goes smoothly the next two weeks and you have a fabulous honeymoon!

  • BSM

    Does anyone here do NFP? Curious to hear your experience/challenges/successes with it.

    We are pretty sure that’s our plan post-baby since I don’t want to deal with taking the pill everyday and have had horrific IUD insertions/removal experiences in the past. Planning on a 2nd kid not too long after #1, so, if we got pregnant, we’d probably just go with it.

    Then vasectomy. For sure.

    • Mary Jo TC

      I have done it. No regrets. No scares or accidents. My period is regular and we supplement with condoms. We have 2 kids, conceived easily and with no drama. I would not advise it to anyone who’s not prepared to “just go with it” if there’s a surprise pregnancy, but it sounds like you’re in the perfect position to try it.

      • BSM

        We’ll also supplement with condoms. I’ve been on hormonal birth control for like 10+ years until we started TTC, and then that was only for 2 months (3 periods). It was pretty regular for that brief period, but I guess it will take a little time to figure out what it’s really like postpartum.

        • Mary Jo TC

          The most important part is to be careful before your first postpartum period. You can ovulate and get pregnant before you even know you’re fertile again. We used condoms every time until I got my period–and I nursed so it was almost a year. NaturalLamb are his favorite. They’re expensive, but worth it. Good luck!

          • BSM

            Thank you!!

          • Ilora

            Seconding the advice to be careful before your first postpartum period. I am still nursing (7.5 months) but got my period back at 3 months postpartum! I was shocked since so many women who nurse don’t get it back until later.

        • Jess

          I am planning on moving toward NFP + condoms before going into the TTC stages, so I’d be comfortable there.

          ETA: condoms work, and we use them with my HBC now, so it’s not a big change. I also used them exclusively for a long time, so I’m pretty comfortable with that strategy.

      • That is what we have done NFP+condoms for 2ish years just fine, although not the longest time period as a control. We don’t do super excellent/accurate tracking because I’m lazy and think condoms work pretty efficiently, and also if we had a kid, it would be a year or so earlier than intended, but would also be FINE.

    • savannnah

      Ugh- getting my IUD “not really surgically removed” in Jan and I am not looking forward to any of it…

      • BSM

        Sending all of the good vibes your way for that. My removal was awfullllll. I think due to the fact that my cervix is slightly tilted, so the damn gynecologist kept pulling on it in the wrong direction. It ended up getting stuck, and they had to give me an anesthetic to numb my cervix, dilate it, and pull it out.

        Apparently my experience is very uncommon, but I don’t think an IUD is for me going forward lol.

        • savannnah

          So sorry to hear that! I’ve loved mine so far- insertion was not the best day but it was ok- but I had a heinous colposcopy experience where the only male OB/GYN I’ve ever been to ripped the IUD out with the biopsy. He blamed the long strings so when he put in the new one, he cut them super short so now I have to take a trip to the OR for removal- and my new awesome ob says she always puts people down to artificially dilate.

          • BSM

            Fuuuuuuuck.

          • ART

            WHAT THE FUCK ughhhhhh colposcopies are bad enough on their own!

    • We’re doing it now after I had a bad experience with the mini-pill after I had #BabyPi. So far, so good *knocks on wood* I am EXTREMELY regular though.

      • BSM

        Good point on being regular. I’m not really sure if I am. I guess we’ll see after baby!

    • AnoNFP

      Very happy with the 2 methods we’ve tried! It’s been tough at times, but it’s worked well for us. We used the symptothermal method (learned from Taking Charge of Your Fertility/Kindara) to get pregnant with my daughter. We started working with a Creighton instructor ~8 weeks postpartum. It’s been nice to work with someone very knowledgeable since postpartum can be tricky. We abstain during potentially fertile days, so we have a high incentive to chart as clearly as possible haha. I’m 9 months postpartum now, breastfeeding ~half the time, and still waiting for cycles to return, but this varies a lot.

    • JLC

      Yes! I highly recommend the Marquette Method using the ClearBlue monitor. The tough thing about doing NFP postpartum is that it’s very difficult to predict when your fertility will return. With the ClearBlue monitor, you just pee on a stick every day and it tests your hormone levels to identify when fertility might be coming back. It sounds like you’re okay with using condoms too, so Marquette would be really great at telling you which days you need to use condoms and when there’s a super-low risk of conceiving.
      There’s a Marquette Method facebook group that is very helpful, and they have lists of instructors too. An instructor is really helpful if you’re going to use any NFP method correctly. (How much do you know about your cycle in general? Like, does “temperature shift” or “fertile mucus” or “phase 2” mean anything to you? If so it’ll be a lot easier to start charting in any method.)
      I have disqus set to send me an e-mail when people reply to my comments, so if you want to comment any real-life ways to get ahold of you (so I can invite you to the fb group, for example), you can do that and then delete it and I’ll still see it. :)

      • BSM

        Innnteresting. I used a ClearBlue monitor to track ovulation when we were TTC; would I use the same one?

        • JLC

          Yes! Basically, in the post-partum period you “hack” the monitor by telling it that you’ve had your period, so that it starts asking for tests. L days are considered infertile, H days are considered fertile, obviously P (and four days after P) are fertile. After you test for 10 days in a row, you reset by inputting another cycle (to avoid getting some of the auto-highs and because the monitor will stop asking for tests after a certain number of days), and then you keep testing. Repeat until you get a P and your real period.
          Once you get your cycles back, there are rules that an instructor could tell you about which days are considered fertile (basically, they calculate the earliest possible cycle day for fertility for you based on their algorithms and consider that day the start of fertility, even if your tests say L. Fertility lasts until 4 days after P.)
          Marquette people are kind of protective of their method, because they have like a 98% success rate at preventing fertility (for users who abstain on fertile days, IDK if they have statistics for people who use condoms), but only for people under the guidance of an instructor. So I probably gave you just enough information to create some false confidence for you haha…talk to a real instructor if you’re going to actually use the method. :) But at least your start-up costs will be lower since you have the monitor!

    • emilyg25

      It’s a little tricky if you’re breastfeeding because you won’t get your period right away and then it might be irregular. I’d just use condoms as your backup till things get more predictable. (Or do what we did, which was a combo of pull and pray, crossing fingers, and frankly, abstinence, until my husband got snipped.)

    • We don’t *exactly* use NFP, but I’m not on any kind of HBC/IUD/etc and even with somewhat irregular periods, I’ve never had any scares or accidents. The most interesting thing for me is how at this point it’s fairly easy for me to tell where I am in my cycle… Like I actually usually have a better idea of when I’m about to ovulate then when I’m about to get my period.

      I know that isn’t necessarily totally relevant to your situation/full-on NFP, but it’s definitely been my experience that other methods besides HBC or 100% condom use can be fairly reliable birth control.

    • JSK

      Sort of? But then I got re-pregnant, so maybe take this with a grain of salt.

      (CW/TW miscarriage)

      I’m super duper regular, 28-31 days, with ovulation 2 weeks before the start (I very much feel ovulation). Took us 5-6 months of trying to get pg the first time, but that ended in miscarriage. We started trying again straight away. I was charting and peeing on all the things and it wasn’t working. Too many things about my/our lifestyle were impacting accuracy and timing (my job is stressful and involves travel; I end up drinking frequently to entertain clients which can throw off the temping part, etc), so I stopped doing that after about 3-4 months. Instead I just used knowledge of my cycle to determine sexytime. Worked, eventually, had healthy baby.

      After healthy baby, cycle returns and is exactly the same as prior. We have one wild night and I ovulated the next day. Re-pregnant.

      I’m getting a repeat c-section and a tubal ligation post #2.

  • Alex K

    Any advice about when to go of the pill if you want to get pregnant? My husband and I are planning on starting to try in 6ish months. I’ve been on the pill for 15 years so I honeslty have no idea what my real cycle is like. But, in my ideal world I would be off birth control for as short of a time as possible as I get awful hormonal migraines without it (and I’m not sure how successful we will be in using condoms diligently while I’m off bc, but not quite ready to start trying).

    • ART

      From all I have read (with disclaimer for everyone being different) it probably mostly depends on how exact you want your timing to be. I was also on the pill for about that long, and my cycles didn’t change much at all from the first month off to the seventh or so when I got pregnant (we were trying not to for the first 5 or so, and I’m fairly certain I started ovulating again right away based on charting). But I wanted to know what was happening, like, to the day when we did start trying, so my goal was to have those several months of baseline data. It was super helpful, but if you’re not looking for that kind of Exact Day of Conception Experience, you may not have to get off the pill so early. Migraines SUCK so I don’t blame you for trying to minimize the risk!

    • Amy March

      If you definitely aren’t ready yet, and you think you won’t use condoms right, then I’d wait until right before you start trying!

    • Jess

      I’m planning on going off about 3-6 months before we start trying (while still using condoms – we double up right now, because I’m paranoid). Because it’s been a while and I have no idea how my emotions are going to react, and I’d like to settle in a bit before adding the stress of “did it happen yet?!” But I know lots of people without different strategies that have worked for them!

    • Violet

      I’m sure you’ll end up doing what’s right for you. I know someone who gets those migraines as well, and they’re quite debilitating when she’s not on BC. They managed to have one kid, but going off it again for a try at a second is proving really challenging, and she had to go back on for a while to save her sanity. So you might end up finding that you want to TTC almost immediately after you go off.

    • Ashlah

      Given the migraines, I would definitely just stop when you’re ready to start trying. There’s a chance your cycles are wonky, but there’s also just as much (or better?) chance that they’re normal. Non-scientific anecdote: I got pregnant the second month off the Pill.

    • SL

      So I was on the pill for like.. 13 years? I figured it would likely take at least 6 months or so to get a normal cycle and get pregnant (I’m 29, he’s 34). I got knocked up in like a month and it totally threw of my planning! :D I mean we are super fortunate and lucky it was so easy, but just know it can happen really fast.

  • Eh

    So after we couldn’t go to the family reunion last week, my MIL contacted us well in advance about plans for Canadian Thanksgiving (which is next weekend). I’m not getting my hopes up that she will continue this. She usually gives us lots of notice for the first event after we turn down an invitation because she didn’t give us enough notice.

    In other news, I applied for a promotion in my department back in August. Before I applied my manager more or less told me that I wasn’t getting the job (when we were talking about my career development he suggested positions in other departments that might interest me). I was interviewed over two weeks ago. I still haven’t heard anything. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the job.

    • Jess

      At this rate, maybe you’ll get advance notice for 50% of events in the next decade!

      Sorry to hear about the job.

    • Ugh, that stinks about the job…

  • toomanybooks

    my big crowdsourcing question today is: what shampoo and conditioner should I use?? Also what else should I be doing to my hair???

    Ok so I have very thick/coarse? hair, mostly straight with a little wave, I always have an embarrassing amount of flyaways etc no matter what, my hair always feels as crunchy as straw, and yet also greasy like if I miss one day of showering I feel like a disgusting monster and I’m miserable. It’s been fairly long but I compulsively comb my hands through it or tug at any loose ends, I just got it cut to shoulder length which I think will help me be less crazy. But still, how do I make my hair not a nightmare??? What shampoo and conditioner do I use??? Is there another type of product I’m missing altogether? Sometimes I spray Perfect 10 Leave in Conditioner on the ends a bit but I can’t even tell if that makes a difference anymore when I do it.

    Brands I have tried:
    -The suave “naturals” or whatever that come in “scents” like shea butter (this is what I use most often because I love how easy the shampoo lathers and conditioner sticks to my hair when I’m in the shower, but worried it’s not Fancy Enough to help me??)
    -Shea Moisture (idk how to feel about how it’s worked for me, it’s probably not my favorite experience?? Who could say)
    -Lush (unfortunately is totally off-limits now as I’ve realized all their products cause my eczema to go wild)

    Please helppppp thank you!!!!!

    • BSM

      Your hair sounds a little like mine (crazy thick, kinda straight-kinda wavy), but only like 1/4 of my hair is coarse (near the nape of my neck) and the rest of it is fine/smooth – there’s just a ton of it. I also don’t get greasy very quickly and my hair is color-treated. So, take my suggestion with grains of salt, but I use this fucking huge pack of Joico: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006SOWC1M/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      I like that it still lathers a bit and makes my hair feel clean, my hair texture is generally better, my color stays pretty fresh with this (I also supplement with a little purple shampoo, too), and it’s relatively affordable given how much comes in the bottles. I bought this pack in the beginning of March and am nowhere near empty (although I only wash my hair like 1-2x/week).

    • https://www.target.com/p/pantene-pro-v-smooth-sleek-shampoo-conditioner-set-24-6-fl-oz/-/A-50943030?lnk=rec|adaptpdph1|related_prods_vv|adaptpdph1|50943030|1

      This is not fancy, but this shampoo/conditioner are the only ones that made my long hair look silky, not dreadful. This shit works. I would do an unpaid testimonial for this conditioner.

    • Jan

      I really love Clairol’s Hair Food, which you can get at Target. I’ve tried a bunch from that line and my favorites are the deep root-cleansing shampoo (it’s red and smells like ginger and strawberries) and the apple berry conditioner. It makes my hair feel super smooth, and bonus: it smells great.

      I have really long, thick, semi-wavy hair. I’m also terrible at keeping it trimmed so it can get kinda frizzy and, well, terrible. I stay away from products with sulfates and parabens, on the advice of a stylist friend. I also use a heat protectant spray from Umberto (also available at Target) since I heat style just about every day.

    • sofar

      I am going to be tuning into this thread for my own benefit lol

      But I have *similar* problematic hair, and basically I’ve realized … I have to buy nice shampoo.

      My hair stylist (and I don’t know if she’s just trying to sell me pricey shampoo) says that a lot of the cheaper brands have stuff in them that gunks up your hair. It’s not oil … it’s the crappy shampoo/conditioner leaving gunk on your scalp. Since switching to better products, I only have to wash twice a week. And when I go visit someone and have to use their Suave/Herbal essences or whatever, I notice a HUGE difference in how bad my hair is.

      I love Fekkai (but it’s too expensive to justify buying it so I steal it from my mom sometimes). Nexxus is a pretty good substitute, I’ve found. I use their sea-minerals version of shampoo/conditioner. Aveda has served me well in the past, but they just raised their prices, sooooo… no more.

      And then I apply “It’s a 10” leave in spray to the ends and wrap it up in a towel until dry. Prevents the poofiness and flyaways. Once a week (I wash my hair twice a week), I do a deep-conditioning hair mask on my mids and ends.

      Also, I’ve noticed my hair looks nicer when I wash it in a place where the water is being softened. We do not have a water softener. They sell water-softening shower heads, and I’d love it if anyone can share their experience with those.

      • toomanybooks

        I’ve considered getting a water softening shower head because it’s supposed to be better for eczema too! We are in a rental (though it’s a condo we are renting from an extremely chill landlord) so the idea of “installing” something (??) makes me nervous but idk. The existing shower head isn’t in the best shape anyway!

        I’ll look into those! My “treat” shampoo used to be Aveda’s rosemary mint and it was my first thought when I was advised to use a more expensive conditioner, so I’m thinking about it? But I might have to go to an actual store to get it because the Amazon reviews are like “this is not the authentic product.”

        • sofar

          That is Aveda’s best smelling shampoo/conditioner. I love rosemary mint.

      • I’ve added a water softening element to my shower, and it’s not really made a difference to my OH’s eczema (nor has it slowed how quickly my hair dye fades, one of the other advertised benefits). A bit of poking around reviews has given me the impression that most softening shower heads don’t actually effect the hardness of the water to any significant extent. The advertising usually focuses on the benefits of removing hard metals and purifying chemicals like chlorine from the water, but living in an area where the water actually smells of chlorine as it comes out the tap, I don’t think the one we’ve bought is having any effect on that, either! I think softening water requires more time and effort than forcing hot water at high speed through charcoal and oxidised mesh can actually provide.

        Having said all that, both me and my OH find our skin gets much worse visiting my parents who live in a soft water area, so it might be the wrong solution for our pronlem anyway.

    • wannabee

      I am of the possibly unpopular opinion that one should spend a little more on shampoo/conditioner, because cheaper stuff like Pantene/etc. is usually filled with garbage that’s bad for most people’s hair–sometimes super expensive stuff is filled with it too, don’t get me wrong. I’d look into silicone-free but rich conditioners like DevaCurl (which you can use even if your hair is not curly!) or HairFood, which I see got rec’d by someone else and is less expensive. Also L’Oreal’s EverPure has good shampoos, although I think their conditioners do have silicones.

      Also sorry to hair-splain but it’s not necessarily good if shampoo/cleanser lathers, it doesn’t actually clean your hair better, it’s a placebo effect. I like DevaCurl’s low-poo which is good for scalp cleaning, and is easy to spread onto roots.

      I have fine, wavy hair and I find that using stuff without materials that coat the hair shaft means I can go longer without shampooing, which evens out the amount of product I use/ameliorates the price.

      Hope this is helpful, I love talking about haircare :)

      • toomanybooks

        lol don’t worry about hairsplaining! I have heard that about lathering but only pretty recently! So I know that it doesn’t clean my hair better but I just find it physically difficult to use shampoos that don’t lather lol. (Is it actually bad for your hair or just not beneficial?)

        It’s good to know what to look out for (no silicone) and have some recs! I’ll look into these. I’ve been hearing “get more expensive hair products” as advice so idk how unpopular it even is, I’m just like “so… any? Or, specific ones?” Lol

        • wannabee

          I don’t know if it’s necessarily “bad” for your hair, but I know sulfates strip/dull dyed color a lot quicker and also can dry out hair/scalp so that it actually gets oilier, because the scalp is like “whoa I’m so dry, I need some oil!” (very scientific explanation…) If you don’t color your hair it might not matter as much. I definitely use shampoo occasionally even though I try to avoid it every time I wash my hair, and I use the HairFood for that. It doesn’t exactly lather like crazy but it’s sort of a happy medium between super lather-y and nothing.
          I also have a plastic scalp brush that I love because I feel like it’s moving any cleanser around and getting rid of buildup. You can find them on Amazon for like 3-5 bucks. I use that probably every third wash. I am constantly walking the line between “I want my hair to feel/look clean” and “I don’t want my color to fade or my hair to get all dull and tangled.” It’s a process.

    • Katharine Parker

      They’re not cheap, but I love Davines hair products. Their Love shampoo and conditioner are great. I also like Ouai finishing creme and Living Proof primer.

      • Violet

        I miss Davines Wizard texturizing spray so much…..

    • toomanybooks

      TBH I just remembered I could use a good face moisturizer rec too because the one I’ve landed on for a while (Vanicream – again, sensitive skin/eczema, lol) somehow seems like it’s leaving me both greasy and flaky dry at the same time so I’m lost, hah. MY ENTIRE BEING IS PARCHED AND COVERED IN AN ANXIOUS SHEEN I GUESS LOL

      • Lexipedia

        Cerave is my favorite!

        • Jess

          Seconding Cerave, “in the tub” as they say, is extra thick and hydrating. You can get a small trial tube “travel size” at target.

          The Ordinary has a “squalane” product, which is an oil, but has lots of good reviews across the web. Another APWer started using it and recommended it. I just ordered some so I’ll let you know how it goes, but it’s like $8 and I’ll probably use it under my Cerave.

      • Fushigidane

        when that happened to me, I discovered that moisturizing more helped. The skin is actually dry and is trying to compensate. I used Curel Advanced Healing and that cleared it up. It’s marketed as a body lotion but the description used to say to use on the face too. The “daily” lotion might still say that.

      • I’ve had a lot of success with Eminance’s Stone Crop Hydrating Mist. At my esthetician’s suggestion, I pump a few sprays into my hand after washing my face and rub it in before I put any other moisturizer/sun protection on (I use a few other Eminance products). It has helped calm my skin down a lot. I had some red flakey patches near my nose that are pretty well gone now after using this stuff diligently. Plus it makes my face feel soft. I know that the description says “toning” but I promise it’s not drying at all. I get mine directly through her, but it looks like it’s available through dermstore. The bottle also lasts FOREVER if you spray into your hands rather than straight onto your face, saves a ton of product.

        https://www.dermstore.com/product_Stone+Crop+Hydrating+Mist_8534.htm?gclid=CjwKCAjw3rfOBRBJEiwAam-GsF1pY-AIMr4N-MNEFpbuM_xmvKikAafgMZ8xX-vzxQQ_Gu5bm02A_xoCsPwQAvD_BwE&utm_source=google&utm_medium=paid_search&utm_term=stone+crop+hydrating+mist&utm_campaign=500221

      • Henri

        If you’re in for a little DIY, I started “making” my own moisturizer a year and a half ago and you couldn’t pay me to go back. I have somehow both dry and greasy skin really prone to breakouts, so I was worried, but my skin’s gotten BETTER!

        All I do is put ~15g (3 tsp?) of aloe vera gel in a jar, pour in ~5g (1 tsp) of jojoba oil, and stir them until they start to thicken. Then I add another 2.5g (1/2 tsp) of aloe vera and stir until it’s like a cream. All told, it takes about 6 minutes every 3 months. And I still haven’t finished the big container of aloe vera I bought when I started this. :)

        • toomanybooks

          Sadly (because it’s in nearly every natural beauty product) I’m allergic to aloe lol

          • Henri

            Oooo, rough. :(

          • toomanybooks

            Yeah lol it’s so annoying when I’m like “ooh! This looks perfect!” And I check the ingredients and then… the most trendy ingredient of all… :/ I’m glad you have found a successful face moisturizing strategy though!!

            This isn’t a cream but in general I highly recommend doing a Greek yogurt face mask :) it makes my skin feel amazing! That’s my DIY face thing

      • Coconut oil. My face used to be very very dry, but then it would get oily too (on the T zone). It was a horrible cycle of SUPER PAINFUL DRY then i’D moisturize and re-moisture, sometimes a second time minutes after the first, after washing. Anyhow, I eventually started “washing” with with coconut oil and I no longer need a moisturizer at all, and my face is always pretty evenly stable. Not any oilier than before, and it does not get dry or painful like before either. Though sometimes in January, I do have to reapply coconut oil a second time, but that’s because the winters are super harsh in Quebec and my apartment stays very dry in winter…

    • KATE

      I love Trader Joe’s shampoo and conditioner in the bottles with the green caps. The conditioner is on the lightweight side but you can supplement with a masque every now and then. The shampoo is just thorough enough, but not so drying that your scalp has to overcompensate with oil. On the less budget-friendly side, I love Unite’s detangler. It’s on the pricey side but very worth it. Totally helps with straw texture. The many flyaways makes me wonder if you’re always pulling your hair back or brushing a little too vigorously?

    • GCDC

      It sounds like we have similar hair. I am also of the opinion that spending more money on shampoo and conditioner can be worth it. BUT, then I found L’Oreal Paris EverSleek sulfate free shampoo/conditioner and am a convert. It’s cheap and just as good as the expensive shampoos I was using. Highly recommend!

      • Em

        Agree re looking for drugstore / “cheap” low or no sulfate / silicone shampoos! I’ve found them pretty good.

    • SL

      I also have thick, sort of wavy/puffy hair that plagued me for most of my life. When my sister became a stylist, she started buying me fancy hair products as gifts. OMG they make SUCH a difference. Because I am a cheap, miserly sort, I keep the fancy stuff on hand for special occasions when I know I will want good hair, and then use my cheapo Pantene for days I know my hair is just going up in a bun.

      Also, check out a good sea-salt spray.

    • Have you tried just using conditioner to “wash” your hair? I used to do that with the Suave Naturals coconut one and that worked well. I currently use a Marc Anthony Coconut/Shea Butter conditioner. I can’t remember the last time I used shampoo. I think it’s been over a year… (And my hair is thick, wavy/sorta curly, and pretty dry normally.)

  • mui

    I know it’s not really *cold* here in LA, but even the sun going down earlier and the cooler weather in the morning makes me WANT TO EAT EVERYTHING. AND WANT TO STAY INSIDE. I’m trying not to fall into this bad habit of overeating=( does anyone else experience this with the turn in seasons? otherwise everything’s going well, hubby and I are two weeks away from celebrating out one year anniversary! I’m so excited and happy.

    • CMT

      Oh, absolutely. I live in Southeast Alaska, so fall is cold and dark and rainy and miserable and I freaking hate it and all I want to do is sit on my couch and eat cheesy carbs. I have to work pretty hard to not do that from October – March every year.

      • mui

        Brazilian cheese bread is my favorite ::nomnomnom:: Also Alaska is so beautiful!

    • emilyg25

      +1 to cheesy carbs. Also booze. In the summer, I want a lot of grilled stuff and vegetables. In the winter, I basically want to dive into mac and cheese.

    • Yes!! It’s still mega warm in the Bay Area but the earlier sunsets and sudden tiredness from school starting has pushed me to buy *all* the cookies, and I never ever normally snack. (I wouldn’t normally care, but I just did my first ASOS USA order and nothing fitted :| )

    • Autumn is for stews and roasts and big fruit and toffee desserts! I try and ward some of it off by getting lots of tasty hot drinks in (apple and cinnamon tea, salted caramel hot chocolate, and so on). Still autumnal, but slightly healthier than sticky toffee pudding!

  • Rant, but I’ve been feeling so head-bang-wall-y about the mainstream response to the aid crises in Puerto Rico. Like evidently almost half of Americans don’t know that Puerto Ricans are fellow citizens? And this is important because once they learn they are, they are much more likely to agree that… They actually need a bunch of aid right now. And the extent to which Puerto Rico has gotten a fraction of the news coverage that TX & FL did, especially when it evidently would have been really freaking useful for the news to be pointing out that this is happening to U.S. citizens… Like COME THE FUCK ON Y’ALL. To crib a phrase, the colonial past isn’t dead, it’s not even past.

    • Also, to be clear I personally don’t think that the U.S. is inherently more deserving of aid than non-U.S. places that have been hit by Maria and other hurricanes, and I wish that as a rich, powerful country we provided leadership on providing better international aid across the board. Just even within a nationalist pro-America paradigm, this is a horrifying way to respond to a crisis on a U.S. territory.

    • huh

      I was at a funeral once where the priest acted like the deceased immigrated from an exotic foreign land because she was born in puerto rico.

    • Cellistec

      Upvoted +10000. My mom and baby boomer relatives have been apoplectic over the Trump administration (which is fair) and can recite the latest scandals in granular detail. But have they said a word about Puerto Rico? Are they donating money or time to helping residents who lost everything? No? Then sorry Mom, don’t tell me what Rachel Maddow said last night. /end rant

      • Right, like I’m definitely in the “it’s all important & people can pay attention to more than one thing at a time” camp of discourse. But honestly, a lot of people simply haven’t been paying attention to this, which is shocking for an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe of this size on a U.S. territory.

  • Lisa

    Stopping by between my yoga practice and massage to say hello before MY GOLDEN 30TH BIRTHDAY! I spent the last day of my twenties on an 11 mile hike, followed by craft beer and food at our favorite backwoods restaurant. Tonight, I’m getting a second wear out of my RTR dress by going to a late night happy hour for $5 flutes of champagne. Also, there’s a chocolate shop next to the massage school so I might have to swing in for a box of seconds…

    Tomorrow the family is coming into town, and I’m so excited for fancy birthday dinner! They should be here by early afternoon so there might be a trip to the apple orchard for cider and doughnuts. It’s my baby sister’s birthday, too, so we’re having nice brunch on Sunday morning before they take off to celebrate her as well.

    Hope you all have a great, glittery, fabulous weekend!

    • Amy March

      Happiest of Birthdays!! The 30s are a wonderful decade.

    • Happy Birthday! Your weekend plans sound so fun… Welcome to the 30 club! ;)

    • Lisa

      That sounds so fabulous, Lisa! Happy Birthday!

    • Jess

      Yay for family birthday dinner! Happy birthday and I hope you have a blast this weekend!!

    • Eh

      Happy birthday!

    • CMT

      HBD!!

    • Happy birthday!

    • mui

      happy birthday! I loved turning 30! Have so much fun!

    • emilyg25

      Happy birthday!

    • Cellistec

      Happy golden birthday!! I vote for the champagne AND the chocolates.

    • overitatx

      Happy Birthday! BTW my 30’s have been my favorite decade thus far!

    • emmers

      That’s so fun! Happy 30th!

    • RNLindsay

      Welcome to 30! It will be fabulous

    • Ah, I hope your birthday is going fabulously! ENJOY! And so happy you got the gold dress for your golden 30th birthday!

    • nosio

      Happy Birthday! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

    • AGCourtney

      Happy belated birthday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

  • Anonononnononon

    I’m starting my first cycle of Femara right now, in trying to have a kid. I’m nervous, but here’s to seeing what happens!

    Femara is a drug that’s similar to Clomid that can sometimes help with fertility (we’ve been trying on our own for awhile now). We’ll see!

    • Jess

      Good luck! 🤞

    • emilyg25

      Good luck!!

  • topscallop

    My wedding was last Saturday and it was amazeballs! Everyone kept saying how “us” it was, and my favorite unexpected compliment was how many people told me they cried during the ceremony (which I wrote with a LOT of help from APW). We had the most glorious weather, my skin cooperated (the two things out of my control I was most worried about) and I got my beautiful secular/Jew-ish ceremony under a big tree. My bouquet turned out stunning, and our maple syrup favors were beautiful, with etched maple leaves on the round glass bottles and syrup from our officiant’s farm, bottled with love by my parents. Our families were excellent, by which I mean they spoke civilly to each other. My dad’s toast was slightly awkward as he talked about how handsy my husband was with me the first time I brought him home, which was news to us, but he meant well and otherwise it was a great toast.

    The microphones had some issues so my sister and my husband’s brother sidled up to my husband for a side-hug as they each read their poem so his lapel mic would pick them up, which was great for a laugh. We had an unexpected sing-a-long when we cut the (small, just for cutting) cake to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” which was amazing and so fun. The farm house on the property was a small B&B and we stayed there, and my husband made great friends with the enormous grey cat, for whom my mom sewed a special bow tie (and he didn’t mind wearing it!). My stepmother-in-law crafted everything I admired on Pinterest and my new brother-in-law schlepped custom cornhole boards all the way from Indiana for us. Just an amazing day and I can’t wait for the rest of the pictures to come back. Here are a few if you’d like to see:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7e9a4a14d162c84f0e64cacf7374e1e95207791f6a81a5feccc26f8d27c14bbc.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/842df987e3f53b46af520edbee95e7b58e065ae979404b7b74a4a51727c3edf5.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a60378be02a365e174721eb9a90a773887e3175d1f339cae7462a6abca01b549.jpg Week 1 of wedded life is bliss!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a6ee08e543b6c28e7fc06c643346c00da9f22c6d70ab6c23542665bbea1441e.jpg

    • Jan

      Beeaaauuutiful pictures, and I LOVE your flowers! The colors in your bouquet are giving me life.

      Also, unrelated, but I LOVE YOUR HANDLE OMG

      • topscallop

        Haha thank you! I miss the good old days of Top Chef. At least now there’s Master Chef Jr to fill the void. And the florist did a great job! We have some Scots in my family so the thistle was a huge hit, and I loved those deep deep reds and the berries!

        • Jan

          My partner and I constantly quote Fabio to each other. “Eets Top-a Chef, not Top-a Scalloop!” and, “I thirty-fie year old, I sleepin’ in a bunky-bed” are most common.

    • emilyg25

      It sounds lovely and your flowers are AMAZEBALLS. Congrats!!

    • I love the clothes!!

  • SL

    So I’m due to have a baby in a couple months here, and I’m mostly concerned about navigating responsibilities with my husband. Currently, we have a super egalitarian relationship and I am very happy about the splitting of duties, his mindfulness of the narrative around women and marriage, etc etc. But, we will be having an infant, and he is working and going to school full time during the first several months of infancy. We are fortunate that when I go back to work about about 4 months, he will get to take the remainder of the year (we are teachers) off to stay home and just be going to night classes. My concern though, is how do we manage that 4 month span where I am staying home and he is either not home or has to do homework? I am worried about getting stuck into specific roles (ie. start how you mean to go on, etc). I am worried that because I know he will need to sleep to get through the day, I will be up all night every night by myself. I am worried that even though my rational mind knows this is temporary and he is not chauvinist slacker man, my emotional brain will freak out and I will get resentful. We’ve talked about all these things and I’ve shared my fears with him. I would just maybe like some perspective from people who have lived through this?

    • Amy March

      I guess I just don’t see why you’ll be doing all the night wake ups. You both need sleep, because you both have a full time day job. His, teaching. Yours, keeping the infant alive. Yeah, he’ll be exhausted. And so will you. Because newborns are exhausting and demanding.

      • SL

        I won’t be doing it all for sure, but I do feel some responsibility to take on more of the night stuff because I don’t have to go out the next day. We’ve talked about doing shifts so I can at least get several hours of sleep in a chunk.

        • lurker

          You’ll be recovering from a severe physical ordeal (whether the surgery of a csection or the trauma of vaginal delivery, you’ll have wounds) that generally takes 1-3 months to come back from. Not going to the grocery store is not relevant – you have to recover from a substantial physical stress while (presumably?) biologically creating litres of baby food. You will be under at least as much stress as him.

    • NolaJael

      Make sure he takes turns learning to do things right from the get go. Yes, by virtue of taking the first shift, so to speak, you will know more about the baby’s cries, habits, etc. But remember you are both learning. He needs to do things his way and learn on his own. You both need to make space for that, even if your first instinct is to jump up and say, ‘I know that cry, give her to me!’

      • SL

        I definitely need to be mindful of this!

    • In the very early beginning, a lot is going to be on you as the mom especially if you exclusively breastfeed, because you will be baby’s source of food. But dad absolutely should be doing things around the house – cooking, groceries, laundry, cleaning, etc so that you don’t have to. And he should be taking time to get to know his kid, learn how to soothe baby, etc.

      Honestly…you’re being too nice about this. It’s his kid too. Yes he will be going to school and working, but lots of people also do those things and are single parents. You both need to get up, you both need to spend time with baby person when they are little, and I say that as someone who has been slogging through this for the first time this year.

      BOTH of you will need sleep. Trust me when you’re home on maternity leave, you won’t just be chilling. It’s way harder to take care of a baby all day than people make it seem.

      • SL

        This is what I’m worried about – I know it’s going to be really taxing on me and I’m worried about being resentful even if he’s not out gallivanting but rather working and going to school.

        • Honestly, you’re going to have moments of resentment. I remember one day where the baby wanted to be held all day, and my husband came home, and I had to beg him to hold the baby. And I was so pissed! You will have so many emotions and hormones and be sleep deprived. What’s important is to not act like you’re a married single mother – taking care of your child is a shared responsibility, despite all the stuff your husband has going on, and you both have to approach it that way.

    • JLC

      It’ll be fine! My husband works full-time and I’m a part-time grad student, and we have a 17-month-old son. If you end up breastfeeding, a LOT of the work is going to fall on your shoulders in the first few months, and that’s okay. Just know that you’ll get through it. Try not to shift your housekeeping patterns too much, and don’t start putting pressure on yourself to cook or clean any more than usual because you’re “just” home all day with the baby. It is absolutely true that caring for an infant is a full-time job…but it also comes with breaks most days when the baby naps, so take advantage of those for you-time and not household-time!
      Because I was breastfeeding, I handled 95% of night wakings with my son. But now that he’s weaned, my husband probably actually handles more nighttime wakings. We have some childcare so I can get things done on my schoolwork, but I also discovered that I needed daily writing time, and so I get up early and write until my husband has to get ready for work, and he handles the toddler from wake-up time until 7:30ish. (This often ends up being an hour or more of him with the toddler.)
      I honestly don’t think that the adage “start how you mean to go on” applies to child-raising, especially in those early months. You’ll both adjust to being parents and figure out your new normal over time, and in the meantime you’ll survive. :) I know some people do try to alternate nights or have the dad deal with nighttime wake-ups from the start, but it honestly wasn’t worth the hassle to me to have bottles ready, etc. And your hormones will help you deal with the sleep deprivation, I promise!
      Two specific newborn tips: Even if you’re breastfeeding, try pumping once a day and have your husband give the baby a bottle once a day starting at around 3 weeks. If you wait too long to start this your baby might never accept a bottle. Also, lots of babies “cluster-feed” in the evening, meaning they just nurse and nurse and nurse. Pick out some enjoyable entertainment for those times and don’t plan on getting off of the couch haha. Cluster-feeding is way more annoying when you’re hoping to get a shower in or do something else with your evening…and it’s much better when you just expect and plan for it. (Plus that means your husband might have to do more household chores because you’ll be stuck nursing!)

    • HTO

      I’m currently living through this! Our baby is nine weeks old, and I worried/worry that our egalitarian relationship would fall into traditional gender roles. My husband works full time, while I work part time, and from home. So, two days per week, I’m taking care of the baby, and of course during maternity leave, I was home full-time with the baby.

      I worried a ton about the sleep thing, because lack of sleep kills me. This partially depends on how you’re doing the feeding – we do a combination of pumped breastmilk and formula, so this allows my husband to get up for night feedings. I know bottles aren’t for everyone, but that’s one way we share the sleeplessness. We also realized certain hours of the night are the worst for each of us (I don’t know if it’s our REM cycles or what, but he hates getting up at 4 a.m., while I have a hard time staying up later than 10:30 or so), and so we’ve figured out a natural pattern for ‘easier’ timeslots for each of us. I do sometimes feel guilty because I often feel my job is “easier” (that’s what guilt-brain tells me) but like Amy March said, you both have jobs! The guilt subsides when I find out my husband is going to a nice sushi lunch with colleagues or something and I still haven’t been able to boil water for coffee by noon – there’s ups and downs to both types of jobs!

      In terms of other childcare activities – baths, dishes, laundry, tummy time – we try to trade off weeknights during which one or the other does more of the chores, so the other can have a bit of a break or work on some of our freelance projects. When I’m home with the baby all day, and my husband was missing him all day at work, he’s often thrilled to come home and spend all evening doing baby stuff, and it doesn’t seem so much like work because he’s been looking forward to it all day (absence makes the heart grow fonder!). Another bonus of trading off the main childcare responsibilities is that we both know how to do everything. It’s not like I always get stuck doing bath time, for example, because I’m the only one who knows how warm the baby likes the water, where the baby shampoo is, etc…

      Finally, you mentioned your relationship is very egalitarian. That’s something I really take pride in in my marriage too, and I found that my husband’s just as egalitarian after the baby as he was before! You may be pleased to find, as I did, that my gender role concerns were more abstract worries than something that actually occurred.

      Sorry for the ramble – you can tell I’m deep in the land of motherhood right now!

      • Jess

        Hearing that the gender roles were more abstract for you was really comforting! Thanks!

    • emilyg25

      In the first month or two, my husband did everything except breastfeed. He cooked, cleaned, did laundry, changed diapers, ran errands, rocked and comforted, etc. It was our experience that he had a much, much easier time falling back to sleep in the middle of the night, so if our son needed anything beyond milk, he handled it, even when he was working. Infancy is hard on everyone–no one gets to be well rested.

    • Georgia

      The book “How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids” by Jancee Dunn is fabulous. It addresses all the issues that arise when becoming parents. And it is well written and engaging.

    • Mary Jo TC

      I had my second kid while my husband was working full time and taking night and Saturday classes, so I think I understand some of your anxiety here. I agree with how others have said that just because you start one way doesn’t mean you can’t ever change it or that you will be doomed to be an inegalitarian couple because he worked extra hard while you were on maternity leave. Your roles can shift and change multiple times and it will be ok.

      One thing I will say that hasn’t been covered here is to make time for yourselves as a couple. That year was hard on us because the thing we never had time for was each other, and I built up some resentment about that that I’m only just now getting over. You should have a conversation about specifically what he will do to make sure you feel appreciated while you do so much on your own to care for your baby and the home, even as he has so much less time to devote to you.

  • Jennifer

    This week in big events: We celebrated our 6 year anniversary on Monday! We got approved to adopt a kitten on Monday. I taught my best yoga class so far in my internship. We met said adoptee last night. He’s 8 weeks and barely 2 lbs so he has to wait a little while for his surgery before we can bring him home. Some photos below: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9ccb7bfa4ab0d4104d1a8a4d6a167ffc4d421d1911c1ec8e7e6a5c73020ba0a8.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/286ce477bd99c6a493a176a4e1b96431c584497909234808939890f4d079bb17.jpg

    • ssha

      Omg, precious baby kitten!

    • Kara

      Yay for black kitties!!! Congrats!

    • CMT

      Kitten!!!!

    • Cellistec

      Those eyes!

    • emilyg25

      What’s his name????????

      • Jennifer

        Safari. He’s with a crew of kittens that the fosters named for browsers. (Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Mosaic). But we like the name and it’s kind of in our wheelhouse as far as being a very tech-y Deaf couple so we’re keeping it.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          I note that there’s no IE in the bunch.

          • Jennifer

            Yes. Apparently the fosters were concerned that naming a baby ‘Explorer’ might make it harder to adopt because of assumptions around that name. Either with people not liking IE as a browser or with people being concerned the cat would try to run away and ‘explore.’

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            “This kitten explores the internet, not your house. Where do you think all those cat memes come from? Looking to adopt him out to a home with a strong, secure wifi signal.”

    • Lexipedia

      LITTLE MEOWY FAAAAACE!

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    I ordered my dress last weekend, and this Sunday we’re meeting with our venue to make things official! Wish us luck!

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      UPDATE: We have a date! Let’s get this party started planned!

  • Jennifer

    So this is kind of late to bring up, but last week a Deaf and disabled Latino was shot by police in Oklahoma. I’m bringing it up now because about 64% of the people incarcerated in our country are Deaf or otherwise Disabled. Also, this happened during the week of #DeafAwarenessWeek. #MadgielSanchez Neighbors yelled at the police that Madgiel was DEAF and not to shoot, but one shot him fatally anyway.

    • CMT

      I think that number is a little high, but not by much (HALF of female jail inmates are disabled according to this: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/criminal-justice/reports/2016/07/18/141447/disabled-behind-bars/ )

      • Jennifer

        I’m not an expert. I follow @DeafAccesstoJustice @TaliaLewis and @BeHEARDDC for most of the info I get. You’d be surprised by how many people ARE disabled and don’t disclose though.

        • Jennifer

          however, I AM Deaf. And as a Deaf person I know that a lot of us fall through the cracks and aren’t even identified in general much less as part of the prison population.

    • Cellistec

      Yes, thanks for bringing this up. My jaw about hit the floor as I read the coverage last week. And yet it’s been swept under the rug to make room for less chilling but more soundbite-able news.

      • Jennifer

        Well, there is a LOT on our news plates lately. But the fact that it wasn’t addressed hardly at all in able news media is because Madgiel Sanchez was a) Latino and b) Deaf and c) Disabled. So unfortunately it falls into the realm of ableist thought where disabled lives aren’t worth living so killing them is kind of sort of ok or at least not news.

    • Jess

      Thank you. I’ve seen only a small mention of Madgiel Sanchez in the news, and it’s heartbreaking.

    • Thanks for bringing this up. My brother has intense disabilities (though he is not deaf and we are white) and this story really got to me. Not that it should matter, but this was also yet another case of police brutality where the escalation to lethal force made no sense, even if he had been able to hear them.

      • Jennifer

        Yeah. It is definitely a case where the escalation to lethal force was ridiculous. Also, he was far away from the cops at the time of shooting (15 feet? I don’t remember). He was a) either trying to sign in home sign or b) doing some sort of self-soothing motion and it looked threatening supposedly. But that’s SOP for police with ANYBODY who doesn’t react appropriately/fit the norm/comply immediately and it is a travesty.

    • Henri

      Thank you for mentioning this. I had missed it/not heard about it.

    • Jennifer

      I have to add Madgiel Sanchez was not really an anomaly as indicated by HEARD logs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HZ6YLtXzRNiEsu2RCfEUb1WmsCwM4Pn89ikpAwE4b-Q/htmlview

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  • Alice

    Hi! I want to make a photo book and I want to use my iPad. The websites I used before are not compatible with iPads. Does anyone have any recommendations?

  • Emily

    6 cycles later, I’m still not pregnant (I think – more on that later). I know that’s not *that* long in the grand scheme of things, but:
    1. I foolishly told myself (and my husband) for years that I wanted to be pregnant or have a baby by the time I turn 30, without ever thinking about the insane pressure I’d feel as the birthday loomed, and now I only have one more cycle left to go.
    2. I’ve always worried that I’m infertile because I have crazy light periods (doctors have assured me that has no bearing on fertility, but being low on woman juice feels significant somehow). My husband is Type 1 diabetic, and despite there being no data confirming any correlation, he’s scared that he’s infertile, too.
    3. We might be moving out of state soon, and to be totally honest, I’m really proud of finally making friends in this city and I’ve been daydreaming about having a baby shower here. When I got married i didn’t have any local friends and it was hard to not feel sorry for myself.
    4. Tomorrow is our friends’ baby shower. Today I spotted a little; if I’m not pregnant, my period should start Sunday. Rather than risk getting my period (aka getting my heart broken) while AT A FREAKING BABY SHOWER, I’m going to take a test tomorrow morning, and might skip the shower depending on how I feel. I’m a crier; my eyes are already swollen to fight at the *thought* of not being pregnant.

    So here’s where I ask for advice:
    – Would it be totally selfish for me to not go to the shower tomorrow if the test result is negative? It’s a big couples shower with lots of family.
    – Do you have any reading recommendations for me? I need to figure out how to be stronger through this process. I had no idea what an emotional roller coaster this would be.
    – Has anyone gotten fertility testing done before the standard year mark? Does it bring clarity and purpose, or just heartache and bills?

    Thank you for any kind words and wisdom – and thanks for reading my sad saga.

    • Emily

      *eyes are already swollen tonight, not “to fight”

    • JSK

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I found the TTC process really frustrating and isolating. And sad. So so sad.

      Took me about 8 months to get pregnant (see other posts from today for the longer saga & tw pregnancy and tw living child). I really struggled with wanting to rush to the doctors office for a referral and also wanting to “do it on my own.” Whatever that means, right?

      Make an appointment with your regular GYN and have the conversation. I met with my GYN in July, talked it out, and decided to wait a few more months before going to the specialist.

      Reading recos: The reddit ttc message boards were a godsend for me for information and commiseration. r/TTCafterloss was a more sensitive crowd.

      Re: the baby shower. If you don’t think you can handle it, make up an illness that you don’t want to give to a pregnant woman (strep, whatever). Don’t force yourself to go if you don’t think you can plaster on a happy face.

      • Emily

        Thanks so much for sharing about your experience, it really helps to hear from someone who’s been through this. I’ll check out Reddit for sure.

    • emmers

      Skip the baby shower if you’re feeling off! If you really want, you can give them a gift another time. But don’t put yourself through hell just to do it. I’m sorry about the pressure:/. Hang in there.

      • A single sarah

        “Sorry. I’m not feeling well and won’t be able to make it. Hope y’all have fun.”

    • suchbrightlights

      No, if you are not feeling well enough to celebrate with someone, for whatever reason is driving not feeling well, there is no reason to go (and no reason not to say “I’m not feeling well.”) Wishing you the best whatever happens.

      • Emily

        Thank you for articulating this in such a clear cut way.

      • Jess

        I have done that during acute depressive episodes “I’m not feeling well” is perfectly acceptable to say.

    • emilyg25

      I don’t know what you decided, but yes, it’s totally okay to skip the shower. Just send a note and your gift later and make plans to hang out with the guest of honor another time if you can manage that.

      It’s very, very hard. The only things that helped me were trying to view TTC as the beginning practice for learning to let go of control (mixed success there) and finding other things to focus on, like planning a big trip. Something to distract myself. You should make an appointment with your PCP or gyno to get more info, but it was my experience that they really aren’t interested until you’ve tried for a year. It took us 11 months. Hang in there!!

  • Ugh okay I said IN JANUARY that my resolution was to actually STOP LURKING for a change. And then promptly failed, and kept failing, for the following ten months.

    Aaaanyway. I’m. So. Tired. I moved to the Bay Area this month for grad school, and I just had my first week of classes, and oh my god. I came from a research masters where I met with my advisor once a fortnight and then did my own stuff the rest of the time, and I am so not used to getting up for class every. single. morning and spending all day rushing around campus. I think I’m going to drop one of my reading-intensive classes and work independently with a professor I really dig, on a topic I suggested and want to pursue. It’ll hopefully make me feel less like a school child and more like a researcher again.

    I’m also tired because it’s been oddly isolating?! Everyone’s either really busy, or people who were really welcoming and warm previously have now become weirdly standoffish. People also seem strangely non-committal when you suggest hanging out, and I know everyone’s tired, but I’ve come from a really strong support network in my home environment and I miss being able to just grab dinner with people without it becoming a business transaction.

    I was meant to be moving over with my boyfriend, but he’s stuck back home due to visa issues, and it doesn’t look likely he’ll be able to come until the spring, which is a long time to spend by yourself when you’re used to living together. Moving countries, starting grad school and making friends are all challenging enough already without having to deal with a really long-distance relationship…!

    So I’ve been reading all your lovely comments and conversations to put some cheer into my quiet Friday evening <3

    • Em

      Be kind to yourself! (Have just moved country, started new job + am trying to make friends. It’s one of the most exhausting things you’ll ever do!) And also – would strongly advise going along to events with other international students (who should be in exactly the same boat as you and also looking to make new friends at the start of the year!)

    • Moving countries and making new friends is really hard! And the fact that you are now long-distance with your boyfriend and also doing a super intense program, well, that’s a whole lot on your plate. I think Em is right about being kind to yourself in this time. And maybe there is some sort of group/club you could join…like I dunno an on campus yoga or dance class? It could maybe help relieve some stress and at the same time meet some new people? And if you are relieving stress, exercising and meeting people…that’s super efficient. :) And I wonder if you could do a standing lunch or coffee time at some spot and email or tell friends,”Hey, on Tuesdays I get lunch at X place on campus, come join!” And then maybe over time, people might just stop by and it’d be a great way to see people. And maybe socializing while on campus might fit better into all the too-busy-for-spontaneous-dinner people’s schedules? (I have never tried this type of thing, but it’d be cool to know if it worked!)

      • These are all really awesome ideas, thank you!

    • emilyg25

      Grad school is for sure isolating. Does your school have a graduate life office or office of international students and scholars? Both of those tend to host events that can be a nice way to socialize and meet new people, and many of them will probably be feeling the same things you are. Hang in there!

      • I will definitely check out some of the events!

  • suchbrightlights

    A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was having a big meeting with my boss and her boss about reconfiguring my job and compensation. The conversation was deferred three times, and I had Feelings, but happened last week and went really well. Monday I find out the verdict on how we are moving forward after I left my proposal and analysis with my boss to put together for her boss’s review. So fingers crossed…

  • Very late to the party, but guess who’s honeymoon flights were booked with Monarch? Booked through paypal, so we may or may not get a refund. It’s pretty symptomatic of the whole week in terms of wedding planning, so I’m not even really disappointed, just resigned to another task being added back on the end of the to do list.

    Went to see my parents last week. Mum and sister are willing to come up earlier than the night before the wedding (sister clearly wasn’t on board with the plan to in the first place) but my parents’ new dog is a handful. It can’t be left alone, it can’t be brought with them, it can’t be dog sat by a stranger, and it can’t go in kennels. Plus there’s the other dog, the two cats, the chickens, the ducks, and the semi-wild heron and pheasants (actually, the heron has disappeared for a while, leaving my parents with a freezer full of sprats that I’m sure the cats will appreciate). I’m entirely leaving the logistics of that up to them, and have resigned myself to hearing about it every time the wedding has been brought up, and probably during the wedding as well.

    We also talked centrepieces. I said “we need some sturdy twigs, sprayed gold, to stand in vases and hang candles off”. My mum said “that sounds nice. We can spray them lots of colours”. And later “this plant is nice, it’s green and red and orange.” And again, after reiterating that we want gold centerpieces, “we can spray them gold and silver and so on.” So my sister is also in charge of ensuring mum sticks to the brief there. I am braced to receive a large number of gold, silver, bronze, natural and glittery twigs, in various lengths, a lot of turquoise glassware (leftover from my sister’s wedding) and probably a lot of pine cones as well. Sister has been charged with keeping mum in check. Sister will be well rewarded!