APW Happy Hour!

How was your week? My week was all about working hard to accomplish grown-up things, in sometimes in fun ways. Like, I did something brave with my hair color for the first time in ever (ombre, I have to get a good picture), but we also wrote our wills. I committed myself to getting a good bra and actual hair product, and completed stacks of paperwork that had been haunting me. I bought a hammock, and I made serious progress on a huge business project. Weirdly, the hair seemed just as scary as the wills, if way prettier.

How was your week? Anything you want to chat about? It’s your Friday open thread, hop on it!



Highlights of APW this week 

The second half of Maddie’s motherhood interview with me. This time: vanity, identity, and the need for support. Plus cute striped maxi dresses.

What If It’s Not Forever? Hope is the thing with feathers… perhaps weddings are feathered too.

A mutual proposal (Adorable and feminist. High fives!)

How To Find A Bra That Fits You (With 250 comments full of tips and links… there goes the weekend.)

And I was interviewed in a smart and funny Wall Street Journal article, 10 Things The Wedding Industry Won’t Tell You

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  • Lauren

    What hammock did you get? I’m checking out options for my backyard this summer!

    • meg

      Funny, I just commented on Twitter that I always like the person who breaks the ice. <3 Lauren!

      I got this sucker (with a stand). SO GOOD. Also, it’s big enough to host a tickle pile of children, apparently.

      • Lauren

        That’s basically perfect. Holds 2 people no problem?

        • meg

          No problem. Unless together you weigh more than 500 pounds.

      • Samantha

        My family had that hammock for a while. My brothers and I liked to flip it when we were young. hahaha. Nice.

        • We called hammock flipping a “King Conbeller-beller” I have no idea where it came from, but it was a true contact sport and probably one of the best memories of my childhood.

      • Our 2-person hammock was THE best purchase I’ve ever made.

      • rys

        Did you get the stand they show or a different one?

      • *buys ticket*

    • jess

      designlovefest is doing a giveaway with a crazy, multicolored hammock that looks gorgeous.

      • thanks for tip!!

    • The hammock was what caught my attention too!

      Just this morning I was lamenting the fact that I have to paint a nursery when it’s such good hammock weather outside right now.

      I brought a hammock back with me from Brazil. I think that’s my favorite style of hammock.

  • Kris

    I have a strange question… I have been offered help (in general) from people for wedding stuff… but when it comes to things I could ask help for, I get kinda shy and end up doing it myself. I feel like if they haven’t said “I can help you with THIS specific thing”, I don’t want to ask them to help me … any advice from the community here?

    • Just ask! I am always honored when a friend asks me for help. It means they find me reliable and trustworthy.

      • meg

        I always get secretly sad when people don’t ask me. Don’t they know I’m HELPFUL????!!!!

        • Kris

          Really?? I never thought about it that way, I just thought of it as an imposition on people! That actually helps me a lot.

          • Seriously! I agree with Meg, I beg people to let me help. But you can also word things well, like SarahE & KC suggest, saying, “Hey, here’s a thing, but if it doesn’t fit well with your schedule or skillset, I’ve got other people wanting to help so no big deal!” and see if they jump on it. But you’ve also made it okay to say pass, so you know they don’t feel obligated as if it’s a 911 emergency plea.

          • If it’s an imposition to someone, hopefully they will be honest and say they can’t do it right now.

        • that’s basically my life. i don’t think i’m an unhelpful person or a bad advice giver… but no one *ever* asks…

    • If you can, ask a bunch of people at once. I think it’s easier to be casual with a group invitation. Via facebook or email or even a mass text: “Hey everybody, I’m going crazy with invitation-induced fever! Could one or any or all of you please come help bring my temperature down to normal by putting these together with me?”

      If a group invite won’t work, I always try to give someone an easy out, so I don’t feel like I’m pressuring them. “I’m looking for someone to man the iPod at the reception, and I wondered if you could help? I totally understand if you’d just like to groove with your hot date, though.”

      Those are my go-to strategies for asking for help without feeling like I’m really imposing on people.

      • Kris

        Oh good plan!

      • This is a good plan. I did a invitation assembling party for the wedding that didn’t happen. It was so fun to hang with everyone and get it done in one shot.

        I always offer an out, too. I never want someone to feel guilty if they want to say no. Cause “no” is a good and perfectly acceptable answer.

      • kc

        We also rely on the group-query thing for stuff like bringing in our mail while we’re gone or rides to the airport or party-setup help! So much easier to ask without feeling like an imposition when you know that people won’t feel like they’re your Only Hope. (sorry, Princess Leia)

      • KB

        I have TOTALLY encountered this problem!!! I get really flustered when someone asks me one on one, it’s like they’re expecting me to whip out a list right there and then. My solution (along with the mass email/text, that’s a great idea) is to tell them in the moment, “Thank you SO MUCH, I can’t think of anything right now, but when I do, I’ll be on the phone to you.” And then later I just remind myself that I sort of made that promise to think of something for them to do, so I feel better about it than being embarassed about asking.

    • kc

      I’d vote for giving people who have offered help a multiple-choice; have the list o’ things you need help with (and timelines), and call them up or email them and say “so, you said you were interested in helping, but I’m not sure what you’d be most interested in helping with – I’ve got these things going on so far, but if you’re busy or if none of them sound like you, no problem! It’d be great if you could think about it and call me back sometime” or something to that effect.

      This may seem shocking, but most people who offer to help do actually want to help – but giving them an “out” for any given helping-opportunity lets them weed out things that aren’t suitable for them. :-)

    • Moe

      Early in the planning stages I was overwelmed with the details of logistics. How will things get to where they need to be, who will do these small tasks? The host of our venue (my friend’s mom let us use her house) toldme that people will help get all the stuff done.

      “But I don’t have ‘people’!!” I was picturing a mass army of people who would be needed to doo all sorts of things.

      “yes you do, people will want to help.” She went on to explain that there will be some people who I didn’t think would care who would show up and help. They did!! One of my groomsmen who was absent for almost all of the planning phase suddenly showed up in spades on the wedding day, he ran around picked up stuff, helped out.

      You just have to ask for the help. Some people will say no. That’s ok though!! The people who will say yes will surprise you!

      Ask. Even if it feels uncomfortable. I had to finally just put it out there and openly admit that I needed help and friends showed up to help.

    • Oh I was/am really terrible at asking for help directly. For the wedding, Bryan basically made me ask people for help. Which was right of him, as I married him in part for his ability to make me stop being such a socially awkward weenie.

      I think my hesitationshyness in asking folks directly for help was a fear that they would not want to do that specific thing, and then they’d just flat out tell me no. So I ended up telling people, “I need help with x, y, and z, would you be interested in any of those?” and moving from there.

      Moral of story: I’m still a weenie, but giving specifics to people at least gets the helping conversation moving past the first ambiguous offer, which I found to be the hardest part.

    • Marie

      Ask! No one volunteers to help with wedding stuff unless they actually want to help.

    • Kara E

      A couple friends didn’t allow me to not-ask–they just informed me that they were doing x or y (for which I was very thankful), but other than that, I think I finally forced myself to see it as bonding time with friends I cared about. I also realized that since I loved being asked, chances were that people who offered help actually -meant- it!

    • I feel less uncomfortable if I ask someone to do something WITH me, rather than FOR me. I know it isn’t always perfect, but it cuts down on the time some things take to get done. And it is more enjoyable to run around with a passenger!

  • Jade

    Or how about those wanting WAY too much interaction in a very specific wedding thing! (My future aunt is making my dress and wants to MOVE IN from out of state to construct it. Not okay, we have a 1 bedroom)

    • Paranoid Libra

      Damn Jade that is definitely a little too much enthusiasm. In your case I would tell your aunt that you don’t think there is anyway a single bedroom is a good place to construct your wedding dress since 1. it will be much more difficult for your fiance to not see it (even if you don’t care if he sees the dress this is a time to use a tradition for your advantage) and 2. You really appreciate how excited she is but could we maybe just meet up and she can get your measurements if you do want her to make the dress or say I think logistically it might just be easier to purchase one, but maybe you can make me a veil.

      Congrats and good luck!

      • I made my dress in my 1 bedroom apartment, but I was the only person living there and it was SOOO much easier after we moved all my furniture down to his house so I could really spread everything out. The logistics of three people in a 1 bedroom making a wedding dress boggles my mind. Good luck!

  • Oooo Ombre is cute! Decorating my home has been my central theme this week. Framing photos I’ve taken in various countries and locales and framing and hanging antique photos of my uncle and my grandmother. Those were a HUGE deal. It feels so important to have a connection with my departed grandmother and create a place for her in my home. And gardening! Holy moly, the plot is tilled and I cannot wait to get thing planted next weekend.

    • Amy

      Gardening! My husband is building us a raised planter this week (we can’t tear up the grass at our rental) and I’m putting out as many window boxes as will fit on our balcony. I’m dreaming of herbs, tomatoes, squash…It’s finally warm here in Wisconsin.

      • It snowed here last Mon & Tues but I’m hoping our last storm has passed. You can never trust Colorado weather, though. If I have stuff in by Mother’s Day, then we’ll be on track.

        We did a balcony garden when we lived in a mid-rise last year and our biggest yield was TOMATOES! Our dill also did very well.

        • In all seriousness, it snowed in Fort Collins the day before my high school graduation. In May. And we were planning to have my graduation party outdoors. And then it was 60 and everything melted by the next day. Thank goodness. :)

      • Yea for pot gardens!!

        I could never call it a container garden when I gardened in apartments. They are pots. It’s a pot garden.

        But then I also like entendres.

        • Pot gardens are a whole different Oprah out here in Denver! he he.

          • You’ve kind of lost the entendre on that out in Denver, haven’t you?

    • meg

      We’ve been all gardening all the time for the last 6 weeks here. It’s our first time. SO AWESOME. Also, we’re already eating food we grew. Heyyyy California.

      • I start getting our garden out mid-February here. It’s taken me a while to realize you have to start that early as I’m used to just starting it now. But I love saying “I’ll go cut the lettuce” and head out the back door with some scissors for dinner.

    • jess

      Love it! Decorating comes after the boxes for us! Good luck with the garden!

      • Kara E

        oops, I accidentally reported instead of “liked” this!! Sorry.

    • Hooray for hanging up personal photos! I much prefer to use photos that mean something on my walls. I need to get more family history style photos up. You’ve inspired me.

    • AND holy moses, my boy http://www.twitter.com/thehoneyduncan turns two tomorrow!!!!!!

  • If people are interested, there’s a side project for APW that I could use people’s help on!

    I’m amassing a list of good advice/favorite quotes from the APW blog. If people can respond with some of their favorite quotes from posts, that would help me out a bunch. Without giving the project away, I’m looking for them to be no longer than a sentence or two. They can be from way back when, or brand new, or anywhere in between.

    Any help is appreciated!

    • The book ads are a good place to start- my personal favorite: “If they don’t like the chairs, Fuck ’em!”

    • “I think we can line our ducks up together, and it’ll be way easier with two people. ‘Cause, you know, ducks are wily.”

      This isn’t an APW original quote but it was used and sums up a lot: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

    • kc

      Ducks are wily. :-)

    • Emily

      ON IT.

      “The good kind of relationship work is like tending a lovely garden or putting in effort into a well-loved hobby. The bad kind is like, well, fixing a toilet that breaks every day or having to put in overtime at a telemarketing job.” (From an anon comment on this post.)

      “You know, I think it is possible to get married on your own terms, without buying into all that bullshit. I don’t think it’s an either/or choice. Either you have to force yourself to fit into society’s narrow-minded little definition of marriage, or else you have to take yourself out of the game altogether? No. So call bullshit and play by your own rules.” (From this post.)

      “Being married is scary. It’s about creating great dependence and great emotional vulnerability. Anyone who tells you this isn’t terrifying shit has no idea what they are talking about.” (From this post.)

      “Here’s what happened next for my grandmother. She got off the boat. She didn’t sweat the details, even gracefully accepting the (brown) wedding china that her mother-in-law foisted on her. A year later, World War II began. She and John were repeatedly bombed out of their early London apartments. Her marriage faced challenges that I can’t even imagine, but it thrived.” (From this post.)

      (These are all from my Pinterest board, by the way. I don’t have them memorized or anything.)

      • Slade

        I’m not sure which posts these are from. Sorry. I saved them, but not the links.

        We started our vows with “I choose you today to be my lifelong partner and I promise to choose you every day.” Because we believe that real, lasting love is a decision, not a feeling.
        –from Superfantastic, in a comment

        “Ducks are wily.”

        • I can’t tell you how happy it just made me to read that you used that!

          • Slade

            Because it’s brilliant! Thank YOU. :)

      • Rachel

        Because it’s become a touchphrase – “ducks are wily”

        Can’t remember the post, but think “a successful wedding is one where you are married at the end of it”

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Live the f*ck out of your life.
      (My mental restating of this post.)

    • Kater

      “you don’t have to be 100% sure that you’re going to be happy with your partner for the rest of your life, you just have to be sure that you want to try.” – a comment from another Kate from http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/02/open-thread-the-marriage-advice-i-wish-id-heard/

    • “Allow your wedding to be what it needs to be” and “Weddings are impossible to ruin.” Both are so F*CKING TRUE, and are on a stick in my “garden.”

    • KW

      I’m tempted to just link to whole posts but of course that isn’t what you need. Still, the posts that talk about our relationship to money and about name-changing were very important to me.

      “And repeat after me: sometimes women want it more. And that’s okay.”(http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/02/expectations-of-married-sex-women-wanting-it-more/#more-32624) Lightbulb moment, along with ugly crying. My first comment ever was on that post.

    • p.

      I save bits of APW wisdom in an email draft, and here’s some of what I’ve saved over the years –

      From the comments (but I can’t remember who said it):
      “Only take advice from people who are living a life you would want to live.”

      Meg: “Realize that when people say transformative, they don’t mean it was fun. In my experience changing is almost never fun, it’s just worth it and important.”
      (From this post: http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/09/wedding-graduates-kristen-cory/#more-5335)

      Meg on women’s choices: “I worry that we keep thinking that there is something profoundly wrong with us when these choices cause us stress and pain and heartache, because we believe we should be feeling joy.”

      Meg on parenthood: “There is no reason that you have to let go of all of your fundamental ideas and philosophies about living your life, just because you got knocked up. Unless you want to. Which I didn’t.”

    • From “Addressing Wedding Invitations, Part 2” I really loved this one:
      “Right. Address people as they wish to be addressed, or failing that, by their names. Glad that’s cleared up.”
      In fact, I referred someone to this quote/post yesterday.

    • Meg said something once that what people think of you isn’t any of your business.

      Love it.

    • Blimunda

      Apart from the wily ducks, my favorite is the book ad “finally a wedding book that is Actually a book (with actual words!)” I like it so much that I wanted to email Meg just to send a virtual fist bump. Hey, Meg, not emailing, but here’s a fist bump :)

    • Teresa

      Do more than your fair share and don’t keep score!

      From this post: http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/04/south-austin-musicians-wedding-featuring-meatwad-the-brideskitteh/

      This was literally a life changer for me!

    • k

      comment re. the concept that “love is work” from the thread on Manya’s “The Wedding I Should Have Called Off” post:

      “But it shouldn’t be work to enjoy your love’s company. It shouldn’t be work to want them on your team and trust that they’ve got your back. You shouldn’t feel like every day with them is a grim, teeth-gritting duty. You shouldn’t feel miserable all the time, and keep thinking if you just worked harder to solve the problems, you could stop feeling so miserable. That’s not part of the normal “work” that arises in relationships.”

      It took me way too long to learn that.

    • Ilora

      This is a brilliant idea (whatever exactly it is) I don’t have any off the top of my head but I have oodles saved, how would you like to receive these quotes?

      • Email me! lguest4 at gmail dot com

  • jess

    We’ve been in our new apartment for about a week and a half now!

    The fiance and I just moved in together (we were a grand total of two city blocks away from each other before) and it’s pretty great! He’s away for a few days now, which was bumming me out a bit, but I think its actually been pretty good.

    We moved into the apartment after weeks of traveling for family birthdays, his birthday, mine just days after we moved (I kept forgetting that it was my birthday and that we had invited people over for it), signed the lease while I was in the middle of an absolutely ridiculous freelance job, and also had my sister move in to live with me/us for 6 months for an internship. So, I feel like I hadn’t really processed anything, and I freaked out a bit, but now we’re in a good place.

    Also, in even more awesome news, looks like we’ll be adding a 4 legged member to our family at the end of the summer. Yaaaaaaaay puppy!!!!

    • Yay, Jess! That is wonderful. I hope you guys love your new place –and puppy!

      • jess

        Thanks! So excited!

        There’s some drama going on with work right now, so really just trying to focus on all the good that’s happening. :)

    • carrie

      Solidarity fist bump/yaaaaay! :-)

  • Stacie

    Hi all! How did you/are you negotiating with your vendors?

    Our budget is a pretty decent budget anywhere but the major metropolitan area we live in. Do you give your vendors a specific goal to hit? Do you lowball them, knowing you can really afford more? Or is that… icky?

    It would be nice to come out of this under budget, but again: major metropolitan area! And I really do think that if our relatives are going to travel here for our wedding, we shouldn’t then make them travel out of our city FOR the wedding.

    • carrie

      Take a look in the archives for posts by Maddie about being a wedding photographer. I believe in her posts or in comments there is talk about how best to negotiate. I think the general consensus is just talk to your person and tell them this is what you would really like to pay because of budget issues. But remember, it’s totally cool if they’re like, sorry dude. This is my price. because they have a cost of doing business.

      I remember some really thoughtful comments from vendors in the comments of vendor question posts.

      Also, sometimes just good old fashion searching can find you great people. I was just at a wedding where my friends paid a third of what I paid for photography and it was AMAZING.

      • Stacie

        You know, I guess after thinking about it, my real question is HOW CAN WE KNOW what X is really supposed to cost? How can we go to a vendor (be it venue, food, music, etc) with any kind of a ballpark figure when we don’t know how much the other elements are really going to cost? Obviously we’ve never done this before (and hopefully never will again!).

        We know how much the WHOLE SHEBANG can cost. but it seems like it’s such a minefield out there, with SO many hidden costs (some that we will not be partaking of, thank you). I’m afraid to offer any kind of a target number to prospective vendors, in case we end up having to pull back that number after more research. Or realize that we didn’t budget enough for dessert. Or something.

        Makes me feel squoodgy.

        • Carrie

          Hmmm. Understood! And I know how you feel. Did you check out the budget posts on APW? And in the book? They broke down costs realistically. And/or do you have friends who you feel like you could talk numbers with? It was also suggested to me that we build in a cushion so if something goes over, it’s not a huge blow.

        • Marina

          One way to think about it is putting your money towards your priorities. When you have a budget that you’re pretty sure won’t cover everything you want, you know you’ll need to compromise on lower priority things. So if your budget is $100 (just for easy math) maybe you want to put $50 towards feeding your guests, $30 towards photography, $10 towards clothes, and $10 towards music. Or $40 towards clothes, $30 towards decoration, $20 towards photography, and $10 towards food. Whatever your personal priorities are, aim that percentage of your budget at them.

    • Beth

      We handled this by usually saying something along the lines of, “We would love to keep our budget for this around X, but we do have a bit of flexibility depending on what’s included with your services.”

      This was especially difficult for catering as none of the caterers had any pricing available on their websites and we had NO IDEA just how expensive it would be. But, even so, we were able to weed out those who were absurdly overpriced because they would just tell us flat out they couldn’t work with the amount we quoted and we actually ended up finding someone who was under our budget.

      • Lauren

        We sort of circumvented this problem by only choosing to contact vendors that had their prices explicitly stated, or at least a mock-up of what it might turn out to be. But that may not be available in your area! In which case I second and third Beth.

        • Beth

          Agreed. We tried to do this for most things, too, but if we found someone who looked really good but didn’t have pricing, I contacted them anyway. I wouldn’t have found our photographer if I hadn’t done this and, even though the prices he then quoted were more than we wanted to pay, he ended up giving us a discount because our wedding is on a Sunday. I wasn’t even trying to bargain with him, I just told him, “Well, we were hoping to keep it below X, so it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to work with you,” and he came back with a “well hold on now, I think we can make this work. ” :) That is another approach, but kind of a risky one.

        • Laura C

          I initially emailed several caterers who were preferred vendors at sites we were interested in just asking for a ballpark, stressing that I knew it would depend on the menu, etc etc etc. The one that refused to even give me a ballpark number unless we met with the chef and worked up a menu, I crossed off the list immediately. I said up front I knew it wasn’t set in stone in five different ways; there’s no reason to not say “it usually starts around $X per person” and refusing to do so tells me you’re going to be a pain in the ass and probably an overpriced one.

    • Martha

      My biggest advice is to get a good idea of how flexible and costly the vendor is prior to booking. Don’t book someone who is wildly, fantastically out of your price range. Also, figure out with your SO what are the “BIG THINGS” for each of you and be willing to put more of the budget in to that than other items.

    • Kara E

      When interviewing caterers, I gave them the low end figure and asked whether they could do something for that, and what it would look like. We wound up with someone who couldn’t/wouldn’t do our lowest end, but seemed the most willing to work with us to find an affordable and realistic menu and set of options. It turned out great.

    • If they have a set price, for negotiating, you’ll need some give and take. For example: “Your estimate for catering is higher than we would like. Would you be able to hack it if we just served beer and wine, or cut down the cocktail hour a little bit?” or “We love your photography, but the price is out of our range. Would you be able to do X price if we cut down the amount of time we need you or do our own editing?”

    • Hi Stacie. As a vendor I personally cringe when I am lowballed by potential clients. It makes me feel awful for myself and for them; it can also be insulting. I much prefer when clients say “hey, I love your work but our budget is this and our guest count is that, can we make it work?” I just had client in that situation and I was happy to work with her because everyone has a budget. Sometimes it won’t work out because there is only so much I can discount.

      I also agree about posting prices online, so much easier to figure things out. We post our prices online for the exact reason you quoted above.

      Good luck!

  • anon for this

    My husband and I more or less decided to get divorced this morning. I am pretty sure this is the right choice, and that being REALLY miserable for awhile and then potentially happy again outside of our marriage is a better option than being halfway miserable for the foreseeable future, but it still sucks big time.

    • Wow, that is such a tough, tough, tough thing. All the internet hugs in the world to you, and many wishes for strength and support through the difficulty ahead!

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

      But. I swear that deciding is the worst part. The rest is just putting one foot in front of the other. It will get better. Much, much better.

      • anon for this

        I clicked over to your blog and read your posts on divorce. Thank you for sharing them.

        • You are more than welcome. That’s what APW and the interwebs are for, right? Finding solidarity and solace. Plus if even one person looks at my experience and goes “hey, she’s all walking around in one piece. I can do this”, then it was all worth it.

          PS. Even without all that, in the end it was still worth it. Happiness is hard enough to come by. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

    • Moe

      I’m really sorry. :(

    • carrie

      Huge hugs, lady. You are super brave. And I hope you find happiness again – and in fact, know you will – very soon. More hugs.

    • I’m so sorry that you are going through this. Everything you said is true – yes, from experience, yes, it IS better to go through a tougher time and come out happier, but that doesn’t make it suck less. And the admitting, deciding, and just having decided part is particularly painful. *supportive internet hugs*

    • Anon As Well

      My husband and I decided to get divorced last Sunday. It was difficult, but very clear cut. I needed more from him, and he wasn’t able or willing to give it to me. Leaving something behind that isn’t enough knowing you’ll have less while you look for something more is terrifying. But we can do it. We’re strong. I’m holding up an imaginary wine glass to you, lady (or gentleman). Cheers.

      • anon for this

        Cheers, thank you. Best of luck to you too.

        • Also Anon

          Hello my sister anons, I decided to break up with my partner this week too. It does truly suck, although I know it was the right choice.

          I have made a lot of plans with friends this week, to keep myself busy and not be alone. I hope you can also do things to take care of yourself during this transition time.

    • Paranoid Libra


    • jess

      Yes! Internet hugs here as well!

      • KB

        So many hugs!!!

    • kc

      So sorry to hear that. :-(

      (and a plug for counseling in case you haven’t tried it, since sometimes-sometimes-sometimes things can be resolved and at the very least, unless your counselor is terrible, you come away with a more concrete sense of things [useful to know what went awry, exactly] and hopefully tools or a better relationship with each other to get through the divorce process with?)(doing a single session would also shut up all the people like me who are like “have you tried counseling?”, which, um, sorry about that. But I’ve seen counseling have good effects even for unusually self-aware people, very helpful for life just to get an outside perspective on stuff.)

      (plus, lots of internet hugs, and hope you have plenty of in-person hug people, too!)

      • anon for this

        We have been in counseling on-and-off (with the same counselor) since before we got married. (PSA: Seriously, don’t be afraid to postpone your wedding if you’re still working through big issues. Marriage won’t fix them. I think this might be a lesson that needs to be learned the hard way, though.) We’re making an appointment for (probably) one last session next week. Thanks though.

        • kc

          On the learning-the-hard-way thing, in one of our batches o’ premarital counseling, the guy said that he doesn’t even bother telling people to not get married anymore, since they never, ever listen. That kind of freaked me out (because, like, I’d want to hear it if counselor thought we shouldn’t get married, or shouldn’t get married yet!), but it also sort of makes a cynical kind of sense.

          I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this, and hope your counselor is being supportive and helpful. (I felt unsure about even mentioning counseling as something to try before absolutely deciding divorce, but on the off-chance that you were one of the couples that hadn’t already done any counseling and, amongst those couples, one of those that could be helped by an outside party saying “wait, you’re not hearing each other properly”, it seemed worth it, maybe? I hope it wasn’t offensive, and hugs to you as you slog through the mess.)

    • Hugs to you. And all the strength. I hope and trust everything will work out in the end, you are brave for recognizing the path for you. One of my close friends is going through this and it is hard, as it was the first wedding of a friend I attended, and was also part of the wedding party.
      But realizing this as early as possible is better.

    • Hugs to both Anon for This and Anon as Well. Stay strong.

    • meg

      1) Much love.
      2) Please know you are not alone. Two people in my life right this second are going through this. The message is that This Doesn’t Happen To People, but that’s a damn lie. It happens to good people all the time. And then it gets better.

    • I’m so sorry. Lots of love and strength to you both.

  • Rough week this week. Earth Day involved a huge community event that I was very involved in, so this week has been chaos-hangover. I much prefer working in a busy, time-crunch atmosphere, and this week both my offices have been quiet and sleepy. Plus, my partner is finishing the semester (he gets his Master’s degree next Friday!) so he was working long hours at school. Too much quiet, alone time.

    I’m looking forward to Actual Warm Weather! this weekend (Spring in NE! finally!), and my partner’s parents coming to visit for graduation next weekend!

    • Martha

      Woo-Hoo! Kudos to finishing the degree!

  • I have ombre hair and it is the Best. Idea. Ever. New hair can be scary but I swear you’ll love it.

    So yay on new hair Meg!

  • Marina

    In the career arena… anyone have some favorite resources about negotiating salary?

    I’m up for a promotion and the rumor mill has the salary at “around” $50k. I’ve never negotiated for salary before and feel like I need to jump on this opportunity! I’m prepared to make a good case for why I’m super valuable to the organization, but how do I decide what number to ask for? Is $55k too low? Is $60k too high? As far as I can tell from basic online research, salaries for jobs like this are usually in the $40k-$65k range, but will I get laughed at if I ask for something at the top of the range…?

    How do YOU decide how much money to ask for? What do you research in advance? How do you stop yourself from thinking that you don’t deserve a high salary? Why is this so complicated???

    • Anna

      You should absolutely jump on the opportunity!!

      Negotiation can be totally scary but here are a couple of my favorite resources: http://www.levoleague.com/

      I think the best thing you can do is be prepared, do your research, you know the salary range so that’s a great start! I don’t think you’ll get laughed at at all for asking at the high end realizing that you might not end up there.

      Don’t sell yourself short! You absolutely deserve a high salary, and even if you can’t convince yourself of that, you just need to convince the HR folks that you deserve it!

    • Quinners

      You’ve made a good start by researching the range. The next step is to remember that what you’re doing is a negotiation – whatever you ask for, they WILL negotiate you down from. You only do yourself a disservice by low-balling yourself.

      If you are prepared to make a good case for your own value, then do start high! It’s okay! You can also negotiate for more benefits/flexibility/vacation time if your employer tells you that they can only do “X” salary. Also, you can negotiate to take a lower salary now with a contract that states that your salary will increase as your level of experience does, which may help with the “I don’t deserve this” feeling.

      Also, I would try to get something a little more substantive than “the rumour mill says”. Can you ask the person who is leaving the position what s/he makes? Are there other people currently working the same position? Don’t let your employer get away with paying you less than a man in the same position!

      • KB

        If you need help on figuring out the appropriate salary range and you don’t know anybody in a comparable role/profession/industry, put out a call to Facebook and ask people if THEY know anybody in that same position and then ask them what they make or would make if they had your experience/skills. Much less intimidating than asking a current employee who’s going to be your co-worker.

        Then part of it is also just screwing up the courage to ask – it’s kind of like ripping off a band-aid when you ask how much the salary is (even if you already might know), ask to take some time to think, call them back and say that you’d really like to start at X amount of money, wait for their reaction (that’s excruciating) and then backing it up. Also, I’d play out the scenarios in your head in which they say, “That’s not possible right now” and then ask them how pay increases work and see if you can fix that into your contract – you may end up getting more after your trial period.

        • kc

          (just a note, remember to geography-check numbers you get back via Facebook, since salary ranges vary with cost of living-y things)

    • jess

      Check out Ramit Sethi’s (of I Will Teach You To Be Rich fame) videos on negotiation. You should be able to find some links on his blog maybe. He has a very…gruff (?), abrupt (?), can’t find the right adjective….style to his writing and video work, but the content is pretty great if you’re not put off by that. I’d muscle through that and see what you can learn.

      • Anna

        I agree, Ramit’s approach can be off-putting but I think the advice is really good, especially for people with less confidence in their ability to negotiate.

        I think one of his best tips is to practice with someone and record yourself so you can go back and pinpoint your errors.

    • First, ack, I’m sorry, I reported this by accident!

      Second, Quinners hit a great point about more benefits than just money. Flex time, vacation days, work from home, all worth looking at.

      Also make sure you have a portfolio of reasons why you are awesome to pull out to justify the higher salary. Because X got it, because I deserve more or because I have another job offer are not justifications.

    • Sara

      My loose rules for negotiating anything is to know your basement right off the bat. They’re rarely going to accept your first offer, but knowing how much you’re actually willing to give into is key.
      The other girls here have way better resources, but in my personal experiences, being confident is the key part. Sell yourself! Come up with reasons why you deserve the high end. And if/when they say no, ask what the pay increase opportunities are. Maybe you can score the ‘average’ salary but with a few extra vacation days!

      My dad always told me “Ask for what you want, the worst they can say is no. Then at least you asked and know the answer!”

    • Check out the archives at Ask A Manager! Her advice is pretty much always on point, and she has some good stuff on salary negotiations (just search for entries tagged “salary” and “negotiating”, etc)

    • emma

      Negotiating a raise has been in the front/back of my mind for a few months now. In Oct I raised the desire for a new position and was given work for the new transition. Nov-Jan straddled two jobs, Jan “offically” promoted but was never given a raise. Our area was greatly restructured during the time and it was unclear if I was going to get the new position (HORRIBLE communication!). It was most imporant that I move out of my old role (bad boss) so I didn’t bring up a raise but our CFO (my new boss) said “We’ll talk compensation”….

      Now it’s 4 months later and we never have. He’s the type of boss that walks into my office, half on his phone, gives me 5 minutes and quickly leaves.

      How do I start the conversation? Email to set up a meeting? Mention it in the email? Try to squeeze it in to one of his drop by sessions?

      I also work in a rural area and earn less than my first job out of college and think I am grossly underpaid but don’t have much hope for a large raise…

      • Another Meg

        I’m not sure about this, as I’ve never done it, but Jezebel has tips for women specifically, about negotiating a pay raise.

        I think it sounds like you should set up a meeting. Get some full attention. And be specific about why you deserve it, and GO YOU!

    • jenn

      I read most of this book http://www.womendontask.com/more.html when I was negotiating for my current position. I found it pretty helpful, both on what to do, but also how to do it. Maybe your local library has a copy?

    • Jenny

      There is a really great book called “women don’t ask” by Linda Babcock. It talks a lot about why it’s important and also some tips. It’s a great read and opened my eyes to a lot of things and has helped me realize the importance of asking for what you want.

      I’ve never looked at the website, but it likely has info about the book. http://www.womendontask.com/

    • Claire

      Having hired a team of 8 people this past year, I can attest to the fact that women don’t ask. I hired 7 women and one man for similar positions and the man (first hire) came in with an asking salary that was about $10k over the salary range for this role. He clearly articulated why he would be worth it and negotiated from a position of strength and got very close to what he wanted. Every woman was equally well qualified for the role and came in with asking salaries ranging from the very bottom of the salary range to $15k BELOW the salary range! Look, I’m a feminist and really want pay equality, but I’m also a business manager and there’s only so much I can do to help you get a good deal for yourself. Even if I really want to, I can’t go to HR and justify offering a salary that’s $30k more than what you asked for!!

      Ask for the high end of the salary range and let your employer negotiate you down if necessary. Don’t cut yourself off at the knees by coming in low!

  • Kestrel

    I just had a meeting with my adviser (grad school) and I actually have a bit of hope now. Seriously, it’s amazing how much better I feel. I’ve been battling with depression and stress, and he is pretty much the best adviser ever – doesn’t scoff at mental issues and honestly tries to help.

    I’m feeling much better. I just hope that it stays this way, and if it doesn’t that I can remember it’s not completely hopeless.

    • Hurray for good advising! Glad you’re feeling on the up and up, and remember where to turn when you swing back low again.

    • steph

      Yay for feeling good! I hope your hope lingers for a long time.

    • Claire

      It’s great you have a supportive supervisor. I didn’t and I only got deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of depression. I decided to abandon my thesis (after two and a half years of work) and that was a very big decision that took a lot of courage. Now I’m studying again (something different) and am having therapy for the first time in my life, even though I’ve battled with depression since forever. Can I recommend that you do seek professional psychological help in addition to your help from your adviser. Your university should have free counselling services available. Even just a check in once a month helps immensely. I hope you recover soon. Hugs

  • Caroline

    In communal news: a bunch of APW ladies in the East Bay are meeting up on May 2 for drinks in Berkeley. Email Breck at
    breck at cbcondimentco dot com who’s coordinatin if you want details! Come join us!

    This has been a good week. My fiancé got a full time job!!! He’s been unemployed for a while and our savings were getting scary low, so this is good timing. Really good timing. That said, I’ve been getting up at 6:30 to drive him to BART (the subway/light rail), but we’ve been ping to bed at the same 1 or 2 am late nights. We desperately need to learn to get to bed early because oh my goodness I can’t function this tired.

    The bra post was exciting, and now I feel much more ready to do the bra shopping I really need to do.

    I’ve also been taking a really interesting class on deepening your Jewish experience, which has been great. I’m trying to start saying a bracha (blessing) before eating, which is awesome and challenging (to remember which one and just to do it at all.) My rabbi had an amazing teaching on saying a blessing before eating at my class and I decide it’s time to try.
    I’m really excited to participate in a study about adults raised in interfaith households (specifically, where one parent is Jewish).
    Also, I’m excited to meet a bunch of Bay Area APW ladies next week, and I’m getting nervous that I will have nothing to do this summer since most of my internship opportunities didn’t pan out, and I don’t have very long to search for a job. This makes me nervous because I collapse under lack of structure, plus I want a chance to keep gaining experience. (No chance anyone is looking for a smart math major intern in the Bay Area, right? Doesn’t have to be paid, or well paid, although that’s helpful.)

    Anyways, a good but exhausting week.

    • Oh how exciting. I live in The Netherlands but I would love to attend an East Bay APW meetup. I will be in San Francisco next week (so excited). California here we come. I’ll email you!

      Also, to the other members of team practical: Meg, Maddie… would you like to meet?

      • Caroline

        Breck is doing the coordinating, so please do email her (it’s her email above, which she posted on other threads about this event so I figured was ok to post hoping to be near the top of the comments). I look forward to meeting you.

    • kc

      I don’t know of anything specific at present, and this is maybe a crazy thought, but have you checked with tech startups in the Bay Area? There’s a huge need for certain types of math with different projects, and they may not have thought of advertising for someone but might recognize the need when it’s pointed out to them…

    • MarieKD

      Hi Caroline, sorry to respond to this comment so late, but I was wondering if you knew the location of the East Bay APW meet up in Berkeley tonight? I’ve emailed Breck a couple of times, but my messages don’t seem to be getting through. Would you mind emailing me at marie at donnelly dot to ? Thank you!

      • Caroline

        Done! Looking forward to meeting you.

  • Moe

    The wedding planning is over. Yay! I can sleep at night and I come home to enjoying my husband and dog. Yay!

    I’m a project-oriented person though. I always got something I’m working on and the wedding has left a big gaping hole in my Pinterest and planning activities.

    So my new venture is improving and decorating the apartment. Which is awesome because I don’t have to hire any vendors or have a deadline for it’s completion.

    I love ApartmentTherapy.com and DesignSponge.com. Who else do you like to follow for home decor and organizations advice? Who do you follow on Pinterest?

  • Anonymous

    This is kind of a weird question, but: how do you deal with someone who has called off their wedding?

    Some friends of ours recently called off their wedding and didn’t really give an explanation. Of course, they don’t owe us one, but we feel like we kind of don’t know how to approach them now, since we don’t know if it was a mutual thing, or there was some kind of drama…it’s also unclear whether they’re actually still together and just postponing the event, or whether they’ve separated. It’s really none of our business, especially because we’re not really that close, but at the same time, we’d also like to be of some help if possible, and we also feel like a *little* bit of a reason might be nice since a lot of our friends had already purchased plane tickets, hotel reservations, etc. Have you guys dealt with this?

    • meg

      SARA! Break it down.

      • Heh. So here is the safest way to approach this as an outsider (especially since you’re not a bestie). Call or shoot an email. Although here’s the deal with email/text/facebook/etc. – real friends call. But if you are totally not comfortable jumping down the rabbit hole that may be on the other side of the line, then email.

        Call Scenario one can go like this: You say: “hey, how are you doing?” They’ll probably take it from there. If they don’t feel like talking then that’s cool. You did your part. You called. That makes you an awesome friend. You can then let your other pals know that ain’t nobody sayin’ nuthin’ right now.

        Scenario two (the “fact-finding mission” call) can end up with a total and intense emotional unload on you and it can get toast cray uncomfortable. You need to remember one very important this on this call: you can always just hang up. Then text and say you lost reception and that you’ll call back, but don’t ever call again. So, obviously, this won’t work if you call from a landline <–don't set yourself up for failure by doing so.

        I'm being silly, I know. But really, just be nice. Give 'em a hollar with no strings attached. And if you do go on the fact-finding mission, be prepared.

        • When I called off my wedding one of my girls emailed (I explicitly asked not to be called) and she wrote this:

          “Sport, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through right now. I’m sure we all will say the same thing but you KNOW that we’re here for you, right? And if you need someone killed or just maimed beyond recognition just say the word. So so so so so sorry my friend.
          love you.”

          She’s a roller derby sister and from all the messages I got this one stuck with me. Probably because she offered to maim someone.

          • meg

            I love you. I love your friends. SISTERS.

          • Kara E

            Awesome friend.

    • Moe

      I’ve known two people who have called off a wedding. One was my closest friend when we were very young, she called off her wedding about 2-3 months before and they broke-up. She was crushed. I made myself availble to her and at first she just wanted to be left alone. After a week or two she let me know she was ready to talk it out and needed friends.

      Respect their space/privacy but also let them know you are supportive and ready to offer help if/when needed.

  • Marcela

    Ok, here’s a doozy. My fella just got into an extremely competitive professional program after three years of trying. Obvious I am over the goshdarn moon for him and incredibly happy that he can now move follow with his career and his passion.
    The only issue is we have to move to a teeny little college town that I have avoided like the plague since high school. I work in a relatively limited field (museum fundraising and development) and am finally start to move forward in my career path after years of entry-level drudgework (making contacts, building a reputation for myself). The place we’re moving to does not offer very good career prospects and I find myself torn between elatement that he’s getting everything he’s wanted and being just plain mad that I have to start all over again in this dumb town I never wanted to live in anyway.
    It doesn’t help that everyone around me (myself included) is so excited about his prospects and can’t see how I’m sacrificing pretty much everything I’ve worked hard for in the past 5 years.

    Grumble Grumble.

    • kc

      That is ROUGH. Especially rough with the being happy and the being sad and the wanting other people to be both happy and sad, which is complicated. Sorry. :-(

      Query: any way you can:
      a) work remotely
      b) travel
      c) commute (I don’t know how far the teeny place is from a place that would have opportunities) or
      d) side-shift into university fundraising and development (museums: way cooler, in my opinion, but it might allow you to put your career sort of on hold instead of slipping backwards, and then side-shift back when you’re in a better location?) (library or art museum or nonprofits or any other type of organization in town might also need this sort of thing)

      Sorry, and hugs to you.

      • Marcela

        It looks like side-shifting is my best bet because the new place is 2.5 hours from the nearest big city (where we live now) and that is too much of a commute and my field is not big on remote work. II considered living here part-time and going up on weekends to be with him but that would just stress me the heck out and I have some chronic health issues that are exacerbated by stress and long car trips.
        Right now I’m trying to find work within the university but they have this whole “you must already be a current university employee to apply” thing going on with the positions I’ve been interested in.

        Thanks for the hugs. I think that’s really what I looking for, some validation that I am allowed to feel crappy about giving up my career for his.

        • kc

          Totally allowed to feel crappy about it. Losing things sucks, even when you gain something else, and when the “you” that’s gaining is more the corporate “you” and the “you” that is losing is more the personal “you”, that adds an extra layer of stuff.

          Note, however, that you are not being a “bad feminist” or anything of the sort (pre-emptive shame-blasting, hopefully?) for deciding that your long-term corporate goals are going to be prioritized right now over your immediate career goals.

          (if possible, though, obviously, dodge long-term bitterness and tight scorekeeping, since they won’t make you or anyone else happy)(acknowledging the boat SUCKS is totally fine; what you then do with that fact long-term is the thing)

        • Another Meg

          I would contact the university where he’ll be going. I know that when they hire professors they’re usually contractually obligated to find employment/hire a spouse. Maybe that doesn’t fit your situation, but mayhap they can lend a hand anyway?

          • Marcela

            Unfortunately He’s going in as a student and they couldn’t care less what spousal/personal arrangements are. I’m spending a lot of time on the University website searching for positions but it feels like all the good require you to already have been working at the Uni to apply. Big old booface to that. I’m trying to see if they have a local chapter of a fundraising professionals group that I could get in touch with but I keep getting a busy number when I call. Life is weird lately.

    • Rebekah

      A few weeks ago there were some good posts about taking turns/sacrificing for your SO. I’m in a similar boat, so they were really soothing and supportive to read.

      • Marcela

        This boat stinks. Like Carnival Cruise stuck in the Gulf with no electricity stinks.

        Back when this whole process started (Four years ago!) we agreed that I would go with him for his schooling, and when he finishes his four year program, we move for my career.
        Much easier to swallow when we were not even out of college and my career was pretty non-existent. Now that I’m starting to establish myself in my area, it feels less fair. And makes me grumpy. And the fact that I’m grumpy when this is what we’ve worked so hard for and wished for and prayed for makes me even grumpier.

        • Rebekah

          For us it was about him in the beginning (and currently) because he’s going to be a doctor. It was always that we’d go where he was accepted for school and then residency/fellowship. Just so happens he got in at a school that was near a hub of the field I wanted to be in.

          Now, though, I moved away from my home state+family+friends to a state I never wanted to live in, can’t find a job in my field (have a nice other job right now though), can’t find friends, etc.

          So we have semi-frequent conversations about what we want to do/where to live once he’s able to get a JOB instead of just train for one. You know, once we have choices.

          I think it would be much, much harder if I had established myself in an upward-moving career in the field I trained for and then he matched somewhere else. Best to you as you navigate your poop cruise.

          • Marcela

            Thanks for the good wishes! It was definitely a lot easier to face this pending situation when we started this endeavor years and years ago as bright eyed almost college grads with no real job prospects, much less a semi established career. I am lucky that where we are moving is only two-three hours from where we live now/friends/my family. I can only imagine my how much more emotionally difficult this would be if, on top of everything else, I was also moving far from my people.
            I wonder if I can put Poop Cruise Navigator on all these resumes I’m sending out. :)

    • Amber

      I totally feel you on this one! I’m also in the museum field, but on the education side. I’m not quite where you are career wise (finishing up my M.A. currently), but will be soon. However, my fiance’s work is in a small-ish college town with very minimal museum opportunities, especially considering the type of museum work I want to do…combining theatre and science education. In the past he’s been able to work remotely, but is most likely up for a pretty good promotion that may not allow for him to work remotely. But, as I said, there’s not really work for me and I don’t want to just set aside all the hard work I’ve done in grad school to settle for some job that sort of, kind of, maybe fits my interests and long term goals. I totally get that him getting a promotion is a huge accomplishment and an amazing opportunity! But, I want an amazing opportunity too!! Which most likely will mean moving out of state and has potential to conflict with his work… Then, it gets even more complicated by wanting to have children in a couple of years and whether or not I want to work or be a stay at home mama. And, if we move out of state, then we move away from family, which means less of an immediate support system. Ugh. So many unknowns. It’s hard. But, I trust we will figure things out and it will all come together. Best of luck to you in your next journey, whatever that may be!!

      • Marcela

        Let’s be besties forever because, SERIOUSLY.

        I skipped the MA route and went straight into working so we’re probably not too far off from each other careerwise.
        It complicates things for us since my guy (I don’t like the word fiance) will be a fulltime student and so my salary will be supporting us while he’s in school. The salary I will no longer have since we are moving away from my job.

        It’s just tough becuase just like you said “I want an amazing opportunity too!” I was just offered an amazing opportunity here in a smaller museum where I would really get to grow the position, but the pay is not worth commuting for and I’m just grumpy at having to turn down my amazing opportunity for his.

        Good luck to both of us and all others in this conundrum. It almost makes me wish for the days of the man being the only worker and the wife being a homemaker. Trying to juggle two career paths is HARD.

        • Julianna

          For whatever it’s worth, I commute 2.5 hrs each way 4 days per week. A chunk of that is by train, which I acknowledge is a different animal from driving yourself, and transit options vary wildly in different parts of the country. So I’m not saying it’s a solution for everyone, but could be worth looking in to if it would help the two of you mutually pursue two great opportunities. We looked at week-at-a-time commuting options and they didn’t work for us; I’d rather have a long trek home daily & get to eat dinner and sleep together every night.
          When pondering a similar situation to what you’ve described (small college town = dream job for me, major metropolitan city for job for him), we were looking at midpoint options, for each person to have a 45-75min commute, or for the person with the shorter hours/more flexible schedule to take the longer commute. It very much helps ease any resentment factor when I remember that even with my commute, my husband and I get home at the same time most nights, and then he cooks dinner.
          Just wanted to add more detail to that type of option in case it might help you find a workable middle ground. Best of luck!

          • Marcela

            Thanks for the perspective! Here in Florida our transit options are pretty darn crappy. Even if we were to live at a midpoint, it would still be 75 minutes for either in no traffic. We actually went up yesterday to look for apartments and the drive up we made it in two hours, the drive down took three due to traffic. Ack!

  • I particularly loved that mutual proposal!

    My week was … many things. Started down, ended up. I turned 29 on Thursday and am going out to celebrate tonight. And my sweetheart is buying me a bicycle! Woo hoo! We also identified about half a dozen yard projects we need to do this spring, which is cool because the finished product will be great and is also daunting because, money, and also, trying to do yard projects with a four year old.

    Biggest turning point this week though was realizing two things:

    1. I have anxiety. I don’t have a diagnosis, but I definitely have anxiety. So admitting that was a big step.

    2. For whatever reason the birth control that worked well for me for 5 years no longer works well. During the off/period week I feel amazing, don’t bloat, have a sex drive, etc. The other 3 weeks a month I feel like hell, have a constant headache and no sex drive. So, finding an alternative is going to be a PITA but I need to do it.

    • jess

      Re: your second comment: I’ve heard rave reviews about the FloLiving program. The book, WomanCode, just came out and it SPEAKS TO ME. Idea is balancing hormones from the inside to fix pms, libido, fertility issues. (I fixed/cured/incredibly minimized my seasonal allergies through a change in my diet, so I totally believe in natural solutions based off diet and such.) I’ve heard reviews from friends and strangers, and the few small changes I’ve made based off the book have totally made me feel awesome. Could be worth checking out!

    • There’s a really good, long birth control discussion on one of the recent sex posts from a couple months ago. I’ve had an IUD for five months now, and I love it. Hormones really fucked with my head, but I have Paraguard, which is copper-based. A bit heavier periods, but no drug-induced crazy.

      And happy birthday!

      • Copper

        hm, I may have to go find that. I found out recently that I never should have been put on the pill (which I’ve now taken for 12 freaking years!) because people like me who get migraines with aura are at a seriously increased risk of having strokes when we take the pill. I’ve actually been thinking of getting the copper iud specifically, just have to wait for my health insurance to kick in next week…

        • http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/02/marriage-and-orgasms/comment-page-1/#comment-150300

          This is the first place in the comments that starts to talk about birth control, but there are further conversations down the thread. It takes a while to read through a few hundred comments, but there’s lots of good experiences/info shared!

        • Kate

          IANAD, but just to let you know I believe the Mirena IUD is also an option for people who get migraines with aura. I had to stop taking the pill last year for the same reason and got one put in. Talk to your doctor — my reading indicates that the manufacturer suggests “caution” when using Mirena with people who get migraines, but my doctor wasn’t concerned, and I was more into the Mirena than the copper IUD (less chance of failure, and irregular/absent periods instead of stronger ones. I barely get a period at all now, and it’s awesome.)

  • Angelina

    Hair is a huge deal. I just got engaged and my fiance and I are aiming for a wedding early next year. You’d think I’d be worried about the actual event itself but I’m petrified about what to do with my hair.

    See, I have trichotillomania. I’ve had it since I was 12 and it’s a behavioral anxiety thing that causes me to pull out my hair. So instead of anticipation and excitement at all the wedding hair Pinterest images, I only cower in fear thinking that I can either a) quit pulling and grow my hair out or b) work with a stylist to find a solution but feel guilty for not achieving my goal of quitting. It’s complicated.

    Anyone else have hair anxiety when it comes to events?

    • I was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, but before my wedding this past October, I had no diagnosis. One of my symptoms was that my (thick, coarse, mostly lovely) hair was falling out of my head in crazy amounts. I was SO bummed and I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to have anything close to what I wanted for a wedding day hairstyle.

      Fortunately, I found a stylist that was able to assuage my fears and together, we came up with a look that I loved. I also have started taking biotin to help grow and strengthen my hair.

      As someone who has an anxiety disorder/depression, I understand how difficult it can be to stop anxious-type behaviors. I know a lot of my friends with OCD and behavioral anxiety type issues have had a lot of success with cognitive-behavioral therapy and talk therapy, as well as mindfulness. Let me know if you’d like some more information on some books that I’ve used/my friends have used.

      I hope that you are able to find joy in the hair part of your wedding, or at the very least, peace. You will be beautiful because it will be you, and your wedding day! Good luck! <3

    • I am super anxious. I also pull my hair, I have been doing it since primary school. Not proud at all. Lately I am obsessed with white hairs and instead of letting them grow / dyeing I pull. I really have to stop.

    • Your wedding is not the “finish line,” so don’t put pressure on yourself to quit a behavior by then! I remember from some of the body image posts, the sage advice was to act like you normally do. Pursue better health for its own sake, in your own time, rather then thinking it must be conquered by the wedding.

      Also, the nice thing about weddings is that headpieces with cover your hair are completely acceptable and even expected! One part of your head doesn’t look ideal to you? Cover it with a veil or headband or birdcage or adorable hat!

      Best wishes for your wedding and for your health!

    • Kathy

      ME TOO. Mine is eyebrow-based, and computer-centric wedding planning leaves that one hand open to pull and pick. What has helped with mine a bit is Tangle Toys: http://www.tanglecreations.com/. I got one for work and one for home. I keep it in both of my hands while reading, and in my left while generally browsing. That way I don’t absentmindedly pull. Your mileage of course, may vary. But good luck! It is a struggle, but know that your fiance loves you and wants to marry you just as you are, patchy or no.

    • KB

      I do, but it’s just your run-of-the-mill kind because I decided to get bangs about a month ago and while they look great, I’m now kicking myself for doing something so drastic to my hair when the wedding is only a couple months away. I think I might have time to grow them out enough to pin them back, but I’m not sure – it would be REALLY close.

      • Hairspray hairspray hairspray can help if those suckers are juuuust a bit short to pin back. Plus, if you/your chosen hair-fixer has the skills, a tiny french braid is my go-to method for keeping bangs back. Or just embrace them and wear them down!

        I have bangs too, and love doing updos, and I’ve seen lots of options out there. Pinterest can be really helpful for getting ideas, even if you just pick elements of different styles to do together.

        • KB

          Oh GOOD CALL on the hairspray!! I also am having my hair trial at the very end of May, so I think it’ll be a sort of “fish-or-cut-bait” situation where I’ll just give my stylist a photo and be like “Is this doable or not?” If it can be done with the length they’re at right then, another month and a half of growing can only help.

          • Another Meg

            Also, backcomb! I had bangs for my first wedding, and my stylist backcombed them to keep them off my face. They looked great all day! (It looked like I had longer hair swept to the side.)

    • Anon

      I have a related condition, chronic skin picking. I put pressure on myself to stop at every major milestone (graduation, 25th birthday, wedding/honeymoon, etc.).that wasn’t the motivation I needed to really stop, because it caused more pressure. If you have a backup hairdo or hairpiece that you feel comfortable with, that could relieve the pressure of “needing” to be pull-free and give you some room for varying outcomes.

      Trich.org also has listings of support groups and tons of resources, if you haven’t looked at their site in a while.

    • LK

      I actually work in a trichotillomania/skin-picking specialty clinic (clinical psychology Ph.D. candidate here). The head of the clinic is one of the scientific advisory board members for the Trichotillomania Learning Center (trich.org), and he’s one of the experts in the field. So I have a few things I’ve learned that might help or reassure you.

      First, hair stylists see this type of thing all the time! There are way more people with trichotillomania than you might realize, and it is very under-reported because of the stigma attached. Many stylists are familiar with the condition, even if they don’t know the scientific details, and they can work with you to come up with solutions.

      Also, as someone else noted above, a wedding is a situation in which it’s socially acceptable to wear something on your head. Veils! Hair flowers! Hair pieces! Getting excited about a gorgeous hair accessory might make you feel less anxious about your hair.

      If you do decide that you’re at a point where you want to try therapy, I would encourage you to go for it. A type of therapy called habit-reversal training (it’s a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy) has empirical support and is highly effective in reducing pulling. If you can find a trich specialist in your area (trich.org has a list of good treatment providers), ask if he/she does habit reversal. A good therapist can also help you unpack that guilt you feel about wanting to change but maybe not being ready to completely stop pulling.

      BUT, putting pressure on yourself to “fix” this before the wedding might just stress you out unnecessarily. As with any other type of major change (weight loss comes to mind), you have to want to do it for you, not for your wedding or for anyone else. Your fiance fell in love with you because you are the way you are. And I guarantee that you will look gorgeous and happy on your wedding day, regardless of what you decide. Because that’s what weddings do — they just illuminate you with joy.

    • Kate

      I had trichotillomania as a kid, and still pull from time to time. I started compulsively applying hand lotion around the time I quit, so while my hands were five-fingered baby butts for a while, I can testify that keeping your hands busy can really help (though I’m sure you’ve heard it all before).

  • Breck

    Putting a fashion question out there:

    I have these printed jeans (http://gap.us/Z086pG) which are totally awesome. I’ve worn them once so far with a hot pink V-neck and flat sandals, but I’m trying to come up with some more outfits featuring them. I figure I could also do some kind of white or black blouse, but does anybody have any more fun/unique ideas than that?

    Also, my highlights are finally grown out enough to warrant the ombre label instead of just the too-poor-to-get-my-roots-touched-up one. Success?

    • carrie

      I’m seeing a lot with mint colors and big statement necklaces that look pretty awesome these days. Peplum would be a fun way to do something in black.

    • A fashion question, love!! (I’m assuming you got the “gray floral” pattern?)

      Pretty much any solid color is going to work for you, but to get a little more bold, go for a large print- something geometric or a big, bold floral would work, too. In the end, since the print on the leggings is small and in neutral colors, I would treat them like a neutral- as though you were wearing any old jeans.

      Without knowing your body type, my general recommendation with leggings is to go with a blousy, flowy top or tunic, and if you need more structure, add a jacket or a wide belt. You could even wear them under a sundress (with a cardigan, if it’s chilly).

      And for more edge, pick a fitted tee- maybe a concert tee or animal print, and pair with a black blazer with the sleeves rolled up or a leather jacket and aviators.

      . . .I really love fashion questions, people.

      • Breck

        Yes–gray floral print. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

        And DAMN GIRL. Wanna come to my house and pick out my outfits? My boyfriend will love your decisiveness forever.

        • YES I WOULD LOVE TO.

          I’ve been seriously considering going into business as a stylist when the current (grant-funded) job is done. Email me at saraherdlen at gmail. I will tell you what to wear ANY DAY. (or give feedback on pics!)

    • Marcela

      Damn girl. Those pants are awesome.

      Weekend daytime: Blousier shirt up top, maybe something in a bold color or with a big old graphic print. Bright accessories, maybe some chucks on your feet.

      Workwear: cute flats, simple solid color shirt and a fitted blazer or colorful cardigan.

      Night-time: I love a skinny ankle pant with heels, dramatic neckline to your top and maybe a leather moto jacket for a bit of a fun.

      If only gap pants fit me….

  • 1. I talked to my dad this week about becoming a “VP of Marketing” of sorts for the family business. It went really well, and it my talk with him Sunday pans out like I hope then I could have one very solid, constant freelance client as I leave my job. It’s like an outline of the invisible net.

    2. Unfortunately, our A/C unit definitely needs replacing and the quote is much higher than I anticipated. So today is kind of a downer for me. Womp.

    3. If anyone here is looking for wedding invitations, I would love to help. What I’m looking for:
    – You don’t need to send for at least another 25-30 days
    – You’re looking for an invite design, but planning to print yourself
    – You don’t mind being a guinea pig/1st client :)

    The invites I designed for our wedding are here, and you can email me at lguest4 at gmail dot com.

    • Rebekah

      I’m having trouble getting your invite link to work…

    • Brenda

      Damn, I was looking for someone to do this for me a month ago! It’s so hard to find someone who will do custom designs without printing, I think this is a great idea.

  • Husband I finally launched our blog this week! We’re focusing on geek-inspired cocktails, food, and homebrew. Gives us an excuse to make/eat lots of tasty things! I’m really happy with the amount of content we’ve gotten up in the first week (so our readers aren’t looking at a blog that’s only got one or two posts) but we’ll probably have to slow down a bit soon. One post daily between two people is a lot to keep up with.

    Plus, I’ll be leaving for a conference (AAI) in Hawaii a week from today, so that ought to be interesting. I hope I have enough time to relax while I’m there, and if anyone knows good restaurants around Waikiki, do share!

    • Moe

      geek-inspired cocktails?

      Where do I sign up?

    • carrie


      AAI is part of the group of societies I work for and I’m in the same building – they are stressing about everyone making the trek to HI. So thanks for taking the time/budget to do that! Meetings professionals love you! I starting working for my society two years after their HI meeting…(first world) womp womp…

      • Links are above.

        My lab got a grant so travel costs are going to be mostly reimbursed, which helps makes things a bit better. I wish we could have afforded for husband to come with me, but now this means I can eat things I normally can’t due to my husband’s food allergies, so I guess that’s a bright side.

    • Hi! I’m so excited that you’re heading to Honolulu. It’s one of my favorite places and my husband’s hometown. I don’t know what your transportation situation is like, but I have a few recommendations. First, the Hawaii bus system is one of the best in the world (seriously), so do use that if you need to get around. Second, if you have the opportunity to get out of Waikiki and over to Kailua one morning, DO IT! They have the most amazing breakfast places, namely (1) Boots and Kimo’s (http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/37/410257/restaurant/Hawaii/Boots-Kimos-Homestyle-Kitchen-Kailua), (2) Cinnamon’s (http://www.cinnamons808.com/), and (3) Moke’s (http://www.mokeskailua.com/). All highly recommended. Also, if you can make it on a sunrise hike up Kai’wa Ridge trail (locally known as Lanikai pillboxes) it is MORE than worth it.

      Closer to Waikiki, I would recommend Rainbow Drive-in (http://rainbowdrivein.com/) as one of the best places in town to get plate lunch (it’s delicious). Finally (this is a MUST!!!) Shimazu Shave Ice (http://www.yelp.com/biz/shimazu-store-honolulu) is the best shave ice in the world! You must try it. Basically, shave ice is like snow cones but better. Shimazu’s is family-run, kinda hole-in-the-wall, but they make all of their syrups from scratch in-house. It’s like heaven in your mouth. Lilikoi (passionfruit) is my personal favorite flavor.

      Hope this helps!

      • Heather L

        Thanks for the suggestions! I won’t have a car, and don’t think I’m going to be able to really go outside of the area between my hotel and convention center for breakfast as most of the major symposia are in the morning and I’m not really a morning person so getting up early than required pretty much turns me into a zombie.

        I will attempt to hunt down one of those ices, though.

      • I am bookmarking this! My husband and I are going to Hawaii along with my parents and brother in December. Love getting recommendations.

  • GREAT week!
    My first sponsored post about Rolling Elopements has been out of control awesome with the response!

    So cool/bittersweet moments–I’m a full-time English teacher (planning to go full-time in September with photography), so staying motivated to work super hard in the classroom is tough with the warmer weather finally showing up in Chicago. BUT, this week all our 11th grade students the ACT and then I created this rad 2 day lesson post-test where we started talking about the realities and pressures of test preparation, standardized testing and the test prep culture. The kids have SUCH awesome ideas and insights into their own education. We are also studying Allen Ginsberg’s Howl which is sort of about his generation and the conformity, so students are writing their own versions of a 2013 Howl about what they see in their own generation–moments like this make me realize how much I will miss teaching when I’m not in the classroom everyday–feeling a bit sad right about now.

    In other news, it’s going to be 70 this weekend in Chicago! And the sun is out! Things are looking up! :)
    Have a fab weekend all!

    • soleil

      Congratulations on a great reception to your post!

      I remember reading Howl in high school. One of my good friends carried it around all the time. He was a huge Ginsberg fan and introduced me to his work. It sounds like you are a fantastic teacher. Bonne chance with your new venture!! :) :) :)

    • Denzi

      Oh man, I would have killed to have a teacher like you. I had some awesome teachers, too, but that’s a great way to put standardized testing into perspective.

      I’ve been reading Stephen J. Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man” about how a lot of the science of intelligence was born out of a need to rank people from “smartest” to “dumbest” and prove racist crap like northern European white people are the smartest and everyone else is “savages.” He does a really good job of explaining things plainly, but there are so many racist quotes presented from scientists of the 1800s and early 1900s whom I’ve only been taught to respect. It’s disgusting. So I’ve been thinking a lot about standardized testing from that “fun” perspective, lately.

      • Interesting! Totally along the same lines as what we are talking about in my class. Have you seen the RSA video about public education? Amazing and so true: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U totally worth a watch!

        • Denzi

          I’ve seen this before, but watching it again is making me think about all sorts of things, like this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html which I link EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME. I’ve also had (in my fandom alter ego) discussions about educating kids on how to think critically and independently–perhaps by having elementary school units on theories that are wrong but believed, where the kids learn these models, and then learn what is currently believed instead, and how we got from here to there. Or a model on “troubleshooting” classes–how do you learn to step back and challenge the assumptions? (It might be better suited to middle school, but I think kids need to learn that everything they’re taught isn’t perfect, and that the system isn’t perfect, from an authority, fairly early in their education.)

  • Hello lovelies! I loved the mutual proposal post… so sweet! I am also obsessed with the bra post and have promised myself to go buy 3-5 *GOOD* bras soon.

    Highlights from my week:

    – Interviewed and was accepted into a post-bac program at U Penn!
    – Figured out how to blow dry my newly acquired bangs
    – Decided that I’m going to take part in the Blog Every Day in May challenge posted by another blogger I follow (http://storyofmylifetheblog.blogspot.com/)
    – Went to good/interesting talk on hypochondia (http://hypochondria.eventbrite.com/)

    Unrelated… I’m looking for a graphic designer-y inclined person to do some custom typography lettering for some art pieces (one vow art, one of a quote). Anyone in APW land interested? I’d rather pay someone I “know” than a random Etsy person! :)

    Happy weekend!

    • Paranoid Libra


      Also you just reminded me to read the bra post because well I know how important they can be.

    • Rebekah

      Maybe Liz of happy sighs or Lucy?

    • Totally interested! Email me at lguest4 at gmail dot com and we can chat about it. :)

  • Lauren

    Woop woop! Only two more hours of work and then it’s real happy hour ;)!

    My company is moving offices so I’m working from home for the next week and a half. Today I decided to sit on my porch all day and BOY was that a good choice! Birds singing, sun shining, flowers blooming – the only problem is I want to go play in the dirt and not work.

    I also cranked out some work on wedding stuff this week! I went into panic overdrive thinking I had NO TIME LEFT to do ANYTHING so I did some serious Buying And Ordering Of Stuff.

    We’re making tiny honey jars as favors/escort cards, so I picked up 12 pounds of honey today. Do you know how much 12 pounds of honey is? It’s a lot! the jars and tiny, adorable honey dippers are in transit. My latest attempt at under-dress frilly things are waiting to be tried on tomorrow, after the fiance’s gone back home. I also decided, kind of spur of the moment, to do paper bag luminaries as table numbers – any tips on those? I Googled them to death but I couldn’t find anyone else who had specifically used them as table numbers. And finally, I decided what to give to my bridal brigade: I do watercolors, so tiny tiny watercolor paintings of their birth flower in a pendant under glass. Cute, right!?!?!?!

    I am basically just pumped that I had this wave of decision making that went semi-well. Now to just craft these suckers and we’ll be in the clear for a week or two.

    • I know how much 12 lbs of honey is. That is a lot of yum.

      Man, Winnie-the-Pooh wants to be your friend.

    • Caroline

      Oh yeah, honey is so expensive! I just bought 15 pounds of pomegranate honey for mead, and what a splurge.

      • Heather L

        Fellow homebrewer, hello!

        May I ask what pomegranate honey tastes like (and where in seven hells you buy it?)

    • Rebecca

      I wonder if you could do white bags and some sort of clear oil/ shelac or something for translucent numbers (number stencils are pretty findable, I think). Maybe a thin line outline if it’s important that people actually read them. You could probably also etch glass candleholders if it’s the glow/ light you’re looking for.

      I’d probably go with LED tealights on the inside- our cheap ones faked people out, plus no one could accidentally light things on fire, which was a plus. I could probably find the brand we used, if you like.

  • morningglory

    My fiance and I are getting married in a month. We still need to craft the ceremony. We are having the mayor marry us and she gave us the boilerplate civil wedding ceremony. It’s nice, standard, but nice. My fiance was all for just going to the courthouse and getting a piece of paper stamped, but I let him know how much an actual ceremony and reception would mean to me and that I think it’s a a really powerful thing to have our friends and relatives witness our wedding ceremony. He’s not quite there. He’s really uncomfortable with the idea of professing our love in front of a large group of people, even if they are family and friends. Any thoughts on how to navigate this? We are at total odds on this one.

    • Friends of mine did formal vows out loud in front of everyone, then the minister said something like “A and K will now profess their own personal vows privately” and some instrumental music played while they stepped a few feet away and spoke to each other privately. We could see them, but not hear them at all.

      • Quinners

        SarahE, you may have just saved me, thank you!. My fiancee wants to do a big self-written profession of love before we do our self-written vows, and the idea of doing that in front of people makes me want to die. (I can handle the vows, just not the big profession of love) She knows it makes me want to die. She’s insisting anyway. This might be a good compromise.

        • Good luck! It worked beautifully in my friends’ service. I mean, I was insanely curious about what they said, but I’m a very nosy person. They had privacy and intimacy, kissed some (if I remember correctly), but it wasn’t a show, because they stepped behind the minister (they were outdoors) and it was only a few minutes.

    • as a pretty private person, i feel him – although i also was more of your mind about the wedding and importance of community aspect.

      practically, i think there are a few things you can do. mainly, it’s no less of a wedding if you keep the “professions of love” to a bare minimum. the very act of marrying you is a damn fine profession of love; there’s no reason everyone has to hear him say all the ways he loves you (or, really, anything more than “i do”). also, you don’t have to use a microphone. i mean, probably for some of it, but if it’s, say, the vows that make him nervous – turn the mic off. whisper. you’re saying them to each other, so that’s the only person who needs to hear you.

  • jess

    Another real life happy hour post:

    We have the start of a real life NYC happy hour forming!!

    A lovely lady named Sarah started up a conversation about it on the APW NYC board: https://www.facebook.com/groups/172566896095860/?fref=ts or you can email me at imafry30 at aim dot com if you want to add yourself to our little email chain. Someone is looking into happy hour specials and locations now.


    • Hooray! I somehow didn’t even realize there was an APW NYC board. Joining and emailing your RIGHT NOW.

      Thanks for posting.

  • Paranoid Libra

    My personal vent. I am tired of not being able to find a doctor that will actually LISTEN to me. I deal with so much fatigue, joint problems and digestive issues currently its ridiculous. I just want someone to finally at least test me for gluten/wheat allergies or sensitivities and instead all I get is a doctor who tried to have me take a pill that he didn’t explain at all that the side affects are some of the very issues I am trying to resolve.

    All I want is to make sure it isn’t a food allergy especially since kids are in the future in a year or so so I want to make sure my body acting weird isn’t a result of what I am eating that could cause me to not grow babies properly if my body isn’t processing what I am eating.

    Whatever happened to bed side manners?!

    • Oh my goodness, THIS. It took me over SEVEN years to get a diagnosis! I’ve gone through so many doctors who didn’t listen, or attributed everything I was having issues with to my diagnosis of depression/anxiety. What a pain.

      Have you looked into seeing an allergist? That was finally what got me sent in the right direction. The allergist sent me to a rheumatologist (for my autoimmune symptoms) and even though I had seen both an allergist and a rheumatologist before, I finally found ones that wouldn’t dismiss my joint pain, fatigue, fevers, rashes, and headaches.

      Also, you might want to look into ALCAT testing. It’s for food sensitivities, not allergies. Unfortunately, it’s VERY expensive and not all insurances cover it. At the very least, it sounds like you need a good allergist to do skin testing, and some bloodwork for things like Celiac’s. You can email me at alison.toback@gmail.com if you want to talk more.

      Good luck!

    • I know playing doctor on the internet is usually discouraged, but have you been tested for Crohn’s Disease?* Celiac is a possibility too, but Crohn’s fits your symptoms and is easier to diagnose or rule out. Other than that, just keep looking for new doctors. It took me two years to get a fairly basic diagnosis, and in that time I had to deal with medical professionals that were anywhere between dismissive and downright cruel.

      *Disclosure: I’m an immunologist PhD student who currently works in an IBD lab, and I suffer from ulcerative colitis myself.

      • Paranoid Libra

        Just had the camera up my butt on Tuesday. Nothing to the naked eye, but I had 7 biopsies plucked including managing to get to my small intestine so more than likely I don’t have it. I tried a gluten free diet in Dec. but didn’t realize my beloved Lindt truffles had that whole barley thing going on in there and that can still cause a reaction.

        I hate that I have been playing dr. google since I know it’s generally a bad path with the whole no med school training. I have at least fired that GI since I won’t even get to talk to him for 2 months asides someone will call next week about the biopsies. EFfff that noise I shouldn’t have to wait that long to talk to him.

        • No, you shouldn’t have to wait that long. Keep looking, hopefully you’ll find a competent doctor.

          If you’re in the NJ area, I can give you my old GI’s info (I had to move).

    • kc

      I’d note that 1) the blood test for celiac may not be effective if you haven’t been eating wheat (I think because the antibodies aren’t produced if there isn’t anything to provoke them, but I am not a medical professional at all), and 2) if you can’t get your (&*#$) doctor to do a simple blood test, you can do a wheat elimination diet and see if your symptoms decrease. Just, due to 1, don’t do 2 right before the blood test, yes?

      Also, obviously, find another doctor if you can pull it off. That one is not a winner.

    • There are websites that rate doctors – you could give that a try. Also, don’t shy away from complaining. I work in a hospital and luckily for our patients, our motto is that the patient is the most important person and we won’t rest if they aren’t happy. You’re a customer of your doctors, and they need to provide you with correct service. Be pushy, be bold, its your BODY lady, make them respect it like you do!

      Good luck!

    • Paranoid Libra – I am usually just a lurker here and never comment but I just wanted to throw out that I am a nutritionist and I highly recommend a paleo/Weston A. Price type diet for a lot of my clients that have the issues you’re talking about. I’d give a paleo approach a try to see if it helps some of your symptoms!!

      • And also to whoever mentioned that the celiac panel isn’t accurate when you’re off gluten – yes, you’re correct. Ideally someone is eating significant amounts of gluten for 6 weeks prior to having the test.

    • Laura C

      Ugh. So sorry! How can doctors still resist testing for celiac given the growing awareness (and growing prevalence)?

      I’m so lucky that I had a doctor who both figured out quickly that something was wrong with me and figured out what it was. Truly life-changing.

    • Kara E

      I hear you, I’m sorry and sympathize.

      I would point out that you can be sensitive to gluten without showing up positive for either celiac disease or wheat/gluten allergies, so don’t necessarily think that if a test is negative, it’s the right answer. I think the you got a lot of great answers below. After a lot of back/down around the track on unexplained allergy-esque symptoms, weight gain/swelling and general IBS, I’m doing much MUCH better with very low dose thyroid meds (which my normal docs didn’t think I needed) and a low FODMAPS diet. The gastroenterologist I finally wound up at (after 3 normal docs and a couple of allergists) did all the normal stuff and finally threw up his hands and suggested trying low FODMAPS (look it up), and it helped, even though we don’t fully understand why. I still do some gluten, but I just try to stay aware of my list. And if I’m feeling digestively weird, no sandwiches, apples or bananananans (or a couple of other serious triggers). ALSO, for all my worries about it, I’m 7.5 months pregnant and baby is doing great. The pregnant body is amazing about giving baby what it needs before Mom gets her share. Hang in there.

      • Paranoid Libra

        I’ve had a few thyroid tests over the years for various reasons and all came back normal.

        Holy crap to that FODMAPS diet…I honestly don’t know what I would eat on that diet other than meat and spinach maybe. I am a picky eater so having to cut out the some of the few fruits and veggies I actually eat would just really make my meals more repetitive. I feel like going gluten free would be easier lol.

        I am going to get copies of my blood work so I can also analyze it and see if anything is maybe on the low side but still considered normal.

        • CW

          You might want to seriously consider alternative medicine. The standard thyroid test is notoriously bad at catching low-moderate imbalances. Example, a family member of mine went 10 years of symptoms before testing positive on the TSH test, and though my TSH tests were normal, alternative medicine practitioners have caught and helped me deal with low-moderate symptoms for 13 years.

        • Kara E

          Honestly, once you figure out the principles, it’s not -that- bad. The “don’t eat” list is more important than the “eat” list – and it really depends on how your body responds (and how quickly you’re able to retrain your tastebuds!!) It’s a lot easier to exclude and reintroduce things once you have a good baseline. For example, I do fine with black beans or beans I prepare myself (from dry). Others, not so much.

          For me, I’ve found that the combination of what I eat is important. For example, I thought I was having problems with oats, but what I was really having trouble with was the combination of tiny bits of milk with the oats, so I switched to almond milk in my oatmeal and got some more protein from whole almonds).

    • Hang in there! That’s tough.

      My husband has Crohn’s, which he was diagnosed with as a teen, but it took 2 years of wrong treatments and misery to get there. Long story short, his doctor was convinced it was a growth hormone deficiency and kept prescribing different treatments that did nothing. After switching doctors, he was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s. I would definitely look into switching doctors. For several of my friends with Crohn’s or other GI issues, getting a new perspective and a clean slate with a new doctor has been key.

    • Sarah

      ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Not know what is going on with your body is totally the worst, and having medical professionals who lack care and concern makes the experience even more terrible.

      I know several friends who have digestive issues and after doing a lot of stuff with Western medicine (cameras up butts and down throats and pills, etc), just couldn’t get it under control. They all now rave about acupuncture–it’s cleared up all their systems. Might be worth a try? My fiance’s father is in acupuncture school right now and he says it is has a really big focus on digestive issues.

      Also love the term “camera up the butt.” Been there, too.

      • Paranoid Libra

        I need to find some humor in all of this garbage since I can’t find an answer so camera it is lol. I am also tired of hearing that c word. I kind of just wish I could black out parts of this week since it seemed completely futile.

  • soleil

    Today is my birthday, and this week has been pretty fantastic as birthday weeks are wont to do. Also, I love that I share my birthday month with some pretty spectacular people. I have the next four days off of work and I am looking forward to lots of girl time, hanging out, catching up on books, and some solitary introspective time. Life is good at this moment and I’m grateful for my slice of it.

    • Happy Birthday!

    • Happy birthday!!
      This is a great week/month for it! Mine was yesterday :) Enjoy your time off!

    • A-hem:

      Happy birthday to you!
      Happy birthday to you!
      Happy birthday, dear Soleil!!*
      Happy birthday to you!!!

      I hope that you have a fabulous day and a lovely weekend!

      *Sorry if your real name is not Soleil. Insert your real name there and pretend I sang that.

      • soleil

        thanks for the song!!! and yup, soleil is my actual name. :)

    • soleil

      thanks everyone for the birthday love! it is adding extra delight to an already delightful day. <3

    • Happy birthday. And your name is so happy :) and chic !

    • Happy Birthday! And Happy Friday! I love Friday birthdays.

  • Martha

    AAAAHHHHHHHH. 29 days and counting and I am freaking out about the idea of freaking out. It’s like, I know it’s coming. I almost want to force myself to freak out so I can get it behind me and move on.

    • Just keep a flask handy for the next month. Either you’ll need it and drink it, or just by remembering its there, you’ll laugh and freak-out-about-freak-out averted.

      Preparation is key ;-)

      • Londonsarah

        No! Sorry! I meant exactly not report! Fingers too big, screen too small… Any chance of those buttons moving farther apart?!?!

  • Shelly

    I’ve never done anything crazy with my hair, but I thought that writing our wills was more intense than the act of getting married. All of that figuring out how to *tangibly* care for one another should something terrible happen…it’s just huge stuff. We wrote ours without kids, so I’m sure that writing them up with a baby in mind adds a layer of complexity.

  • Anon for this

    I’m having a hard time sorting out some feelings…my Grandfather-in-Law has been dealing with some serious health issues for a while, and this week he’s back in the hospital for some stuff that sounds super scary. He’s in his late 80s, and until recently, he’s been doing really well despite the health challenges. Anyway, we’re still waiting for word on what’s going on with him, but I just have this feeling that it could be really serious (not helped by the Google searching I did). To add to that, my in-laws are not the most forthcoming about any health issues, and my MIL (who updates us on the Grandfather’s condition) deals with some anxiety, I think, that makes her freak out over *everything*. Point being, we’re never quite sure if he’s seriously ill or if she’s overstating or what. We had an episode a few months ago where she’d convinced my husband that his Grandfather was on death’s door, so we went to the hospital only to find him in good spirits and doing quite well. So we have the stress of Grandpa’s health issues on top of communication issues with the in-laws. Fun times.

    My husband and I are also literally weeks away from a trip of a lifetime to the UK. It’s taken us three years to save up for this, and scheduding it at all was really tricky because of some things at my work. If something bad happens with Grandpa, of course we would cancel the trip (we do have travel insurance so we’d get most of our money back, thank goodness), but I won’t lie, that would be really disappointing. Plus my own Grandma died a year ago, and I’m still dealing with my feelings around that (the anniversary of her death was just this week).

    I’m just feeling really unsettled right now, especially given the fact that my MIL is not a reliable source for Grandpa’s health information. Fingers crossed that we get some real info soon…

    (I should add that my husband has had multiple conversations with his mom about communication, because she is often vague, always pessimistic, and sometimes manipulative – her response is always “that’s just how women communicate and I’m not going to change” so we kind of feel stuck. I know how *I* would handle the situation, but this is my husband’s family, so I don’t want to butt in too much).

    Any thoughts?

    • Martha

      My sister dealt with something similar. Her husbands Grandfather passed the week of their wedding and they considered skipping their honeymoon in order to attend the funeral. His grandmother would not have that – neither would his Grandpa. He had been sick for quite some time and my sister and BIL had certainly said their goodbyes.

      Is your husband’s grandmother alive? Or another more communicative family member (like a cousin or uncle) who could provide you with more details? Perhaps try to squeeze a personal, short visit in before leaving for your trip.

      best of luck in this trying time!

  • This week has had its ups and downs.
    I was really excited to sell and deliver my first cake to a customer completely outside friends / family circles.
    We are going to San Francisco next week, so excited already, and we have been planning the things we want to see.
    But… we found out that we basically have to skip this month, as in, I most probably won’t be able to conceive (again…) because I was not monitored properly and we missed the ovulation and couldn’t proceed with treatment (the doctors wouldn’t give me an appointment on a Sunday, we went on Monday and it was too late). So… waiting to start a cycle again.

    • kc

      Congratulations! That is an awesome thing, when your baby business stretches its wings successfully! (also: octopus!)

      And sorry. :-( Hopefully next time?

    • That might be the most adorable cake ever!

  • Moe

    Not as funny as the cat videos posted last Friday, but pretty darm amusing:

    The philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard mashed with the tweets and observations of Kim Kardashian.


    • I’m impressed how well they mesh

    • Moe

      Oh wait, it gets better…or worse.

      Combining the pop stylings of Justin Bieber with the existential wisdom of philosopher Martin Buber: https://twitter.com/Justin_Buber

  • C

    Is anyone here married/engaged to someone with panic attacks? I’m getting married in October 2013 (yay!) to the love of my life and we are so perfect for each other. The only thing that causes any real problem is the fact that his life is run by panic and the fear of panic attacks. So there are some things that he just can’t do, like go to movies often or step inside a church for a wedding. He can’t take medication (he has a phobia and any meds he takes he reacts badly to), but is very proactive about keeping his panic at bay by talking with his counselor, meditating and journaling, so he does what he can. He has good days and bad days. I love him so much, and try my best to be as supportive as I can of how he deals with this illness, even when I don’t understand all of it, and at the same time try to take good care of myself so my entire life isn’t based around his condition. But it’s HARD, guys. It’s fucking hard sometimes.

    So how do other couples deal with panic and the repercussions of it? How has it affected you? Do you find yourself wondering about the future?

    • Anon for this one

      My wife doesn’t have panic issues, but she does have depression issues. And it’s hard. It’s SO hard. Because you see it coming and there’s not a lot you can do to stop it. Then once it happens, you watch how it unfolds and how it hurts them and you just want to scream that they are better than this and they can get over it and get off the damn couch and go do something… but you know that it is the worst possible thing you can say. So you try to swallow it (I do this really badly), but then you worry about squirreling away anger and how that will negatively impact your relationship and… sometimes it’s a lot.

      I would suggest you look into both couples counseling and therapy for yourself. Mental illness takes a toll of more than just the person suffering from the disorder. Plus, I think everyone should take couples counseling when heading into a marriage – I really got a lot from my experience with it.

    • In our marriage, I’m the one with the panic attacks. I’ve had a panic disorder for about eight years that really took a turn for the worse about two years ago. Breakdowns in public, blackouts, all sorts of fun stuff… It’s hard, for both of us. My husband’s support for me has been incredible, but I know it wears on him, especially when it can be so unpredictable at times. After six especially bad months, I finally decided (with my doctor) to go on an anti-anxiety medication, which has been such a help. The first three weeks were hell- terrible side effects, worsened anxiety, etc- but that’s pretty standard for SRIs. Since then, the panic has been much easier to manage. I know that meds aren’t the right choice for everyone, but I do know that for most anti-anxiety meds there is a 2-6 week adjustment period. It can be pretty awful, but the meds work great after that. I can say that after taking them for a few months, it feels like I finally have my life back. We still can’t go to the movies, but it’s gone from a panic attack every 1-2 days to 1 or 2 panic attacks a month. Which, after eight years, is AMAZING.

      Besides that, I definitely second the recommendation therapy/counseling. Mental disorders affect more than just one person. It’s hard. It’s hard for me knowing that my panic attacks are hard on my husband (and I’ve managed to have a panic attack about trying to not have a panic attack to not stress out my husband before…it’s a nasty cycle sometimes). I think having someone to talk through it with so that you’re not storing up resentment/anger is really key. It’s really good to have a plan to manage your own stress and plan for the future. I wish you all the best.

    • Kristen

      While I’m the one actively dealing with the issues ( which includes anxiety and depression) my guy and ex both have anxiety disorders. Although I’ve been panic attack free for about 10 years, I began having them at age eight and they continued for 20 years. All this to say, I’ve experienced both sides of this problem. My thought?

      Keep you – YOU. Take care of yourself. Step away when/if you can if it becomes overwhelming to you. Though as partners we want to support and personally I definitely cross too far over to caretaking as well, we still owe ourselves first right of refusal if you will. You have to be happy inside you before and beyond your relationship. Plus getting overwhelmed/fed up/ frustrated/ angry does neither of you any good. So make sure that you keep yourself healthy, happy and relaxed. It’s good for you and good for your partner. And hell, this all just good LIFE advice, far as I’m concerned.

      It sounds like your partner is on top of his stuff and please try occasionally (as a favor to all us guilt ridden partners with issues) try and be grateful he’s aware and trying. Because its not easy. For either of you.

      Finally, ask him what he needs, decide if you can or are willing to do it and live life. My husband and I are really conscious of how we influence each other. When one of us is in a bad place, the other (if they can/are willing to) tries to boost their mood. Actively gets cheerful or comforting or distracting, whatever might be appropriate. If it works, awesome. And if it doesn’t, we don’t take it personally. Sometimes you just can’t pull out of a bad spot easily. Letting each other feel the way we feel and not taking on each others problems or moods, has seriously made life a bajillion times better.

      Hope this was helpful and not too preachy!


    • Elissa

      My partner also has panic attacks, and has also been dealing with it for a long time. Dealing with it is a constant, every day thing – which can get hard when you’re having your own troubles and it feels like they don’t get noticed or don’t count.

      So I’ll second the advice to look after yourself. I’d also suggest trying to keep a bit of distance between you and his anxiety – don’t let yourself get dragged right in when he’s struggling. This is to protect yourself, but also to look after him – it doesn’t help if neither of you are able to think straight.. It’s a tricky line to walk, though, because obviously you also want to help and support him.

      I’d also say trust yourself and your insights. Sure, he knows how to deal with his panic, but /you/ know how to be a person who doesn’t panic – you can help! I say things like “I think your brain is running away with you there”, or remind him that worrying about not being relaxed is not the best way to get relaxed, or (gently) list reasons why he doesn’t need to worry about X (counter-arguments to the things his brain is telling him he does need to worry about X). His counsellor might be able to help you out with good/better ways you can help him to break out of his panicky thought patterns.

      I hope that helps! Look after yourself :)

      • Brenda

        Do any of you with panic/anxiety or partners with panic/anxiety have children or plan to have children? My husband has anxiety and OCD, and I relate to a lot of the things you’ve mentioned. He’s getting therapy and working on it, but it’s a long, hard process and we don’t always handle it well. I have a hard time with the difference between being supportive and making our house a calming environment, and taking on his anxiety by cleaning too much in a way that I know isn’t necessary and isn’t normal to me.

        I’m confident we can work through it together, but we both want children and will have to start thinking about it in a couple of years, and I’m concerned how he will handle the chaos and mess of children with his need to have everything in order. It scares me.

        • Kristen

          Brenda, I don’t know you and I don’t know your life, so it’s hard to know how strongly to phrase advice on such a big topic. I’ll say in general that its probably no great to adopt a partners bad habits about obsessive cleaning. Thats the wrong direction I think.

          But not knowing how clean you think is fine and how much more he expects/needs makes it hard to really answer the question. My husband and I both grew up in homes that were messy to hoarders levels so we have our own struggles with the Clean spectrum. I think you could ask your husband if you could talk to his therapist about how clean is clean enough or some of your concerns of how he will handle the mess of kids in your life. Or you could see someone together. This is the kind of problem that having a third, uninvesed party can be really helpful. Be it a counselor, religious advisor or any number of people not emotionally involved with you, getting perspective sounds like it could really help.

      • Kristen

        Yes, I love what you said about knowing how to live without panic and sharing that insight. That’s in my mind, one of my responsibilities to my husband and he to me. Help one another live happy, fulfilling lives by being a good influence, encouraging rational and calm thinking and decision making. Not every couple needs or wants this, but it works for us.

    • C

      Thank you SO much everyone! I am looking into finding someone to talk to, both with my fiance and separate from him. It helps so much to know that there are other people in the same boat, that are still making happy lives for themselves. Much love and hugs to you all going through the same types of thing! We’re not alone.

  • Nicole Marie

    This week I really questioned whether I want to/am cut out to have kids for the first time…well pretty much ever. I was babysitting a very adorable and generally well-behaved five year-old, but that day she managed to get sick all over herself, refuse to eat her dinner, splash bathwater ALL OVER the bathroom, and then after going “number two” spent the next fifteen minutes screaming “check my butthole to make sure all of the poop is out!!!! I need you to LOOK AT IT!!!”

    I’ve changed plenty of diapers and dealt with plenty of sick/whiny/cranky kids and it’s never made me question whether I want to have kids. But for some reason this day when I though about having kids, all I could see was a future full of crankiness and vomit and poopy buttholes.

    I know that with parenting (and everything else in life) there are good days and bad days, but now I can’t seem to figure out whether I even really want kids, or whether I feel like I want them because I’m supposed to want them.

    Not really even sure why I’m posting this here, I just feel like I need to talk to SOMEONE about this, and my boyfriend is SO EXCITED about the prospect of becoming a Dad that I don’t want to freak him out by suggesting that I might not want to have kids, when I don’t really even know how I feel about it yet.

    Hope your weeks were less poopy than mine. Have a great weekend everyone :)

    • It’s good to look at this questions *before* having kids.

      Perhaps, now that you are thinking about this, pro-actively do some more babysitting? Spending a good chunk of time around tiny people when you can still give them back might help you sort out your feelings on this.

    • kc

      A huge number of moms I have talked with have said, basically, “there are days when we would like to sell the kid(s) to anyone who knocked on our door”. You may have just accidentally hit one of those days as a babysitter.

      Whether that is a dealbreaker for you or not (that those days exist), who knows. Most parents also have more of an undercurrent of permanent love for the kid that helps out with dealing with the vomit et al, but seriously, there are generally still days (or hours or minutes or weeks) when you are tired/sick and your child is being a stinker and things are going badly and it is the exact opposite of fun. So… yeah. Good luck to you as you navigate the in-between space of wanting/not-wanting and figuring that out!

    • First of all, demanding you check the poopy butthole is friggin’ hilarious! That kid. Oh yeah.

      You know, somedays are really hard as a mom. With my punkin in his first 2 years I have changed jobs 4 times, had a cancer scare, fought off depression, chronic migraines, etc. He’s been through surgery once, in speech therapy for months now, and we just found out that a second surgical intervention wasn’t going to be needed…right now. Tough stuff, right?


      Then no matter how much the day has sucked. We snuggle before bed. And I don’t worry about how he keeps yelling “cock” when he’s trying to say “frog” and I don’t worry about the constant stream of snot that pours out of his nose for no apparent reason, and I certainly don’t worry about the bath water (that ish drives me nuts, too) because he came out of my vagione and that makes me love him more than anything. Sorry, that was gross.

      Maybe if your bf is so excited you should set the alarm to wake him up every two hours for a couple weeks and see how excited he is then. :)

      Otherwise, I wish to you peace in your decision making and hope you (in due time) find what’s right for you.

    • Marina

      In my vaaaaast experience as a parent, (16 whole months) parenting is a complete blind leap of faith. They come out of the womb with a surprisingly fully formed personality, and it kind of feels like Russian roulette whether you’ll get an easy kid or a hard kid. I mean, all kids are easy in some ways and hard in others (mine woke up six times every night for a solid year, but thinks cleaning up her toys is super fun) but you just don’t have any indication in advance exactly which buttons yours will press. My husband and I are talking about having another, and I don’t know if I could deal with another year of no sleep. But the next one might sleep great but be a holy terror during the day. You just don’t know.

      I think it’s smart to go into deciding whether to have a child knowing how bad it could get. Knowing there probably will be some days of vomit and buttholes and everybody being overwhelmingly cranky. Also days in the hospital and days where you can’t sleep because you’re watching them breathe. Probably those won’t be most of the days, but they’ll probably happen.

      Of course, the nice thing is that even after the worst day, once my daughter is finally asleep I look at her and feel the most overwhelming love. Never felt that when I babysat.

    • C

      I think about this ALL THE TIME. Part of me would love to have kids, but the part isn’t too sure about it. I mean, it’s a PERMANENT thing. And neither my fiance or I have a lot of experience with small children. My fiance is wonderful with kids, but is terrified of babies. It’s scary! But I think if you’re not a little scared, you’re probably not thinking it through or taking it as seriously as you should.

  • Karen

    I have a question that’s been driving me a crazy for a while now. My partner and I are still a while away from planning our wedding (we’re waiting for her house to sell, DOMA to be overturned, etc) but I like to dream anyway, that’s why I’m here, right?

    I am extremely involved at our church, i.e., everyone knows me even if I don’t know them due to a position I hold on the board. My partner has recently joined and is involved, too. The church has around 215 people. How in the heck do we invite some people but not everyone? People have a sense of “ownership” of the church. How do we *not* invite them to something that is happening at *their* church? When we send out invites, people will start talking. Word will get out.

    There are several issues. My partner is really shy and doesn’t want 200 people at the wedding. Also, we don’t necessarily like everyone at church. Just because I know them and they go to the same church doesn’t seem like a good reason to invite them to the wedding. There are people my partner doesn’t want to invite that are leaders in the church that I say we can’t leave out because I’ve worked with them for a while. This is making my brain hurt!


    • YetAnotherMegan

      We’re having our wedding in the church I grew up in. Literally. My mom brought me when she was pregnant, I was baptized there, had my confirmation there, and still go when I’m in the area to visit. Many think of me as a child or niece. Right now, we plan to invite the people who we have been closet to over the years. If it looks like there will be room in the church once we get RSVPs back (if we even have 90% say yes it will be pretty cozy, it’s a small church), we’ve talked about opening up the ceremony only to the rest of the church members. Which, as much as it doesn’t feel perfect, is the best compromise we’ve come up with so far.

      For perspective, we’re looking at an invite list of about 150 for a church that has about 80 people on a typical Sunday, but does stretch to around 200 for Christmas Eve. The reception hall has a cap of 165. Does this sound fair to anyone else or should we go back to the drawing board?

      • I have been to a few weddings where the entire congregation was invited in the bulletin. Generally speaking, I think that people “get it” when the announcement is made in the bulletin – it’s not the same as getting an invitation sent to your house. Think of it this way – unless someone cares about you and your partner/family deeply, they are probably not going to interrupt their day to be there. If they do care enough to respond that way, don’t you kind of want them there anyway?
        If it’s causing you stress, do what feels right. But a church family generally just wants the best for you and will celebrate you whether they are invited or not.
        I wouldn’t feel too nervous about a bulletin announcement resulting in a ton of extra guests, and if there are – they won’t mind being packed to the rafters to celebrate your joy.

    • kc

      That is a seriously tough one.

      1. can you have the wedding not in this church? That sounds like it would solve part of your problem, especially if you could have it in a space that did not physically *fit* more than you’re inviting.
      2. can you have the reception somewhere that only fits the number of people your partner is comfortable with having at the wedding? (ideally, someone’s home, or something of sentimental significance like a restaurant that’s a big deal to you?) Then send word via the grapevine that the reception is going to be small and the wedding will be small? (since there’s some sort of etiquette thing about inviting people to both?)
      3. or, say you’re having a small wedding, period. (and/or fess up to stage fright if you feel like you have to give reasons for not inviting people and filling the space)

    • Kara E

      Can you invite everyone to the ceremony (as an open invitation, maybe even in the church bulletin)? Maybe with post-ceremony punch and cake reception for “everyone” in the church hall to follow? And just invite the ones you’re closest to to the “real” reception? I’ve actually been to several weddings like that (sometimes invited to the real reception, sometimes not), and it’s always special. Just in a different way than other ones are.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      You do not need to invite the whole church.

      I repeat, you absolutely do not need to invite the whole church.

      I’ve attended multiple weddings where the couple was super visible in the congregation. Some due to smallness of the congregation and proximity of family. Some were working in the church. Maaaaaybe there was a wedding where the whole church was invited? But that’s never been a norm I’ve seen.

      You have worked with and will continue to work with lots of people. You don’t have to invite them. Even if they are also church members. I’d try to make sure it didn’t feel like you’re inviting everyone in the class/committee/what-have-you EXCEPT for one person, because that’s been bad form since preschool. Make the list of your favorite, must-have people. They get invites. And then what KC said–you’re having a small wedding.

    • Since you have some time, can you wait and see if you get invited to any other weddings of Church friends between now and inviting, and see what they do, and then panic? Maybe you will see, as other commenters have said, that thee is no cause for concern because either not everyone is invited or is only invited to the ceremony? And then you can decide what is right for you, which won’t necessarily be the exact same thing but could have overlap?

      • Karen

        Thanks everyone for your responses. This is great food for thought. I appreciate the feedback.

  • Sara

    This week I had two phone interviews for jobs that sound really interesting but both would require me to take a substantial pay cut – one about 10k, one about 5k. (I was not aware of the salaries prior to the interview) As a single gal who lives alone, I’m not sure I can swing that much of a budget cut but I’m planning on seeing these through to the end. The one that’s only 5k less is my ideal job in general, so I’m really really hoping I get an in-person interview!!

    Also, I’m totally jealous of Meg’s hammock. I love laying in my parent’s in their backyard. If I had an outdoor space, I would have one.

    • Yay, congrats! I wouldn’t get too done about the pay cut – depending on the size / scale of the organization, you could ask them to match your current salary or discuss increases.

      Don’t forget, salary is only part of the picture. Health insurance premiums and 401(k) matching can also affect your income. The job I got now, I negotiated $3,000 above their initial offer (which was in the middle of the posted salary range and $10,000 above my current salary, which they knew), because the health insurance cost that much more. (and it sucks, oh well)

      • Sara

        The position I like more has great benefits, and its closer to my house. But they told me up front that they top out starting salary at what they quoted me. The other job has a lot of places to go within the company – but the guy that I talked to was a screener, so I’m hoping if I got to a manager, we could negotiate.

    • Not Sarah

      Do they know you would be taking a pay cut? I would make that clear. Maybe they can throw in something else. Have you added up all of the following: base pay, bonuses, health insurance cost, life insurance benefits, vacation time, 401(k) matching, cost of living change (if you would be relocating)?

      I would state something like “That salary is not competitive with my current pay and I would be taking a pay cut to take this job. My current salary is $X. What can we do to meet or improve on my current pay?”

      • Sara

        I told both of the companies that it would be a pay cut for me, which they were sympathetic to. But not that much :)
        I think my major problem is that for my current position, the company I work for pays a little higher than normal but the job is a dead end. But because people don’t like taking a pay cut, they stay here for-ev-er. I’m willing to be paid less to do better work!

        • KW

          I took a pay cut when I left my former position in social work for my current one at a university, and was moving to a place with a slightly higher cost of living and where I would no longer have a roommate. But the job was worth the risk, as was the chance to change careers.

          It turned out I was paid more in the new position than some people who’d been there for years. Within 6 months, I ended up with a significant bump to my base salary (made across the board in my dept, with even larger equity adjustments for those longer tenured folks) because the positions in our dept were underpaid relative to comparable positions elsewhere in the university. That bump put me over what I had been earning at the prior job.

          This job and career has been so much better than my prior career ever was. There are a lot of intangibles that go with jobs, such as recognition of effort, benefits, supportive colleagues, positive work culture that can make a big different in job satisfaction. I gained all of those with the job change. It made a difference in my productivity and attitude, which led to me receiving a promotion a few years into the job.

          Anyway, my point is that taking the pay cut may not be an awful if other things improve. If your current job is dead-end and these other ones offer opportunities to grow, it may well worth the risk, especially if there is room in your budget to cut expenses on the “fun but not totally necessary” things so you aren’t spending as much.

    • Marina

      If you can’t negotiate for a higher starting salary, maybe you can negotiate for a planned raise after meeting certain goals?

  • I’ve been pretty down for a while and the joy I discovered and experienced for the first time a few years ago, hadn’t been repeated, through engagement, the wedding – my depression was just too bad. This week I felt joy again. I made some pretty major realizations about the direction I’m going to head in with my life and marriage and I even figured out what my next book is going to be about. All this stuff happened inside me, inside my brain where no one could see, but it feels nice to have somewhere other than therapy to give my tiny shout out to me. All I needed was to be able to see the big picture and now I can. Thanks for listening APW.

    • ROCK ON.

      (Seriously, all that inside work is TOUGH. So kudos to you!)

    • CW

      Big shout! It’s hard to do that work and to have those realizations about life, depression and joy. I totally understand how the things inside that no one can see sometimes feel weird to shout to the world, but also incredibly important.

  • This week has been pretty nice. Spring seems to finally have arrived here in Madison, but you never know… Work craziness has been winding down to more normal levels. Had my first major fall while bouldering this week, but only hurt myself a little bit.

    In the “bad news or good news” catagory, my fiance and I have a lease signed for 8/15 in a nice little place. Meanwhile, my sister, who has been living with me the past three years (with her young son) is looking for a place and has found an excellent possibility for them….only it is for 6/15!

    I don’t want to tell her she shouldn’t take it, because something just as good for a month or two later *might* come along, but that feels like a big gamble. But she wouldn’t be able to pay for her new place *and* for her share of our current/old place for those two months. And *I* don’t really want to pay for a big 3BR all on my own. (Nor can my fiance or anyone else move in for those two months.) It’s really a dilemma! I can *probably* cover the costs for those two months, but I’m also trying to pay for a wedding next year.

    So, over the course of this weekend I need to figure out whether to tell her to take it and eat an extra $300/month or if I ask her to hold out for the “maybe” of a matching lease date. Thoughts or advice?

    • kgoesgallivanting

      Could you arrange it so she would pay for half of the costs? Or maybe just the rent and not utilities? Or maybe just utilities and not rent? That’s frustrating that the dates don’t match up…

      • I don’t think she could pay much more than the rent at her new place, which will be about double what she pays now for the shared 3BR. And I make a *lot* more than she does and don’t have a kid to support.

    • Not Sarah

      What about splitting the difference? Asking her to pay for part of her portion to help you out with the costs? I mean, legally, you’re both on the lease until X date, so she’s *technically* also responsible for rent until then.

      • Honestly, while I find “maybe” to be scary, I’ve been considering it on my bike ride home, and I think the thing to do is trust the universe and wait to see if any apartments open up in July or August. I think “OMG, take the June place!” is operating from a position of panic, and panic doesn’t lead to healthy financial decisions.

        • Copper

          Do you live in a place that’s attracts a lot of visitors? Maybe you could put her room on airbnb to cover part of the difference?

          • Aside from that violating the terms of my lease, I’d be hugely uncomfortable with strangers staying in my home.

            Thank you for the suggestion, however.

          • Copper

            oh well, just thought I’d bring it up as a possibility. I hope you find a solution that works for you :)

  • Katherine

    Okay ladies –

    I have two wedding-related logistics issues I’m hoping you can help me with!
    Just some basic background info before I start asking:
    We’re getting married next year in at a little winery in Cape Cod, MA with about 50 guests (just very close friends & family). We don’t have a ton of $, but we want to do this right, so we’ve actually made it so that by the time we actually have the big day, we’ll have had close to 2 years to save up/pay for stuff. On to the questions:
    1) We’re trying to just do basics as much as we can, but we realize that no matter what, the day of the wedding itself is going to be a little logistically challenging. Everyone keeps saying that having a “day-of” coordinator is definitely worth it (to keep track of vendors, deal with guests, etc.), and I think I actually agree. There is a close friend of ours who we’ve both known since high school who would be perfect for the job personality-wise, and I know that if we ask her to, she’ll do it in a heartbeat. On the other hand, I keep thinking that all I want to do is have our guests enjoy the day, and not have to worry about anything except having a good time. So should I ask her to step in, so we don’t have to spend extra $, or do I just splurge on a coordinator for the day?

    2) Also, I’ve heard a lot about wedding insurance, but I’m not convinced we need it. It seems like a good idea, since we’re shelling out our own $ for most of the wedding, but IDK. Any wedding grads have any experience with it that they’d like to share, good or bad??

    Thx to everyone, and have a wonderful weekend!!

    • Okay, this year a bunch of my friends are getting married! Yay! And since I’m a photographer, I deal with #1 a LOT.

      #1. Here’s the deal. I’m shooting two friend weddings this year, and two not. It’s harder (for me) to be just a guest. Not because I doubt them, but because I am a helper and a giver. Because it’s my personal policy NOT to bring my camera when I’m a guest, out of respect for the person they hired (I’m all about the phone photography though). Because I’d rather give you my time and my gifts than a toaster. Because as a photographer, my job is to mingle and catch all those adorable faces of the people you love, I find weddings more fun (and more work) when I’m working. One of my friends put it this way, “We’d really love to have you shoot the wedding, but if you feel like you’d rather enjoy the party, then feel free to say no.” Basically this: you think friend would be great for the job, but if they want to cut loose and party, that’s cool too. For coordinating, they usually need to do lots of work before the ceremony, but after that, it’s fairly smooth. I always say I don’t want to work the whole dance party, I want to hang out with my friends. Also, maybe you can tag-team it? Usually a DJ can coordinate the reception, unless they’re bad. Ours was bad.

      #2. Where are you having the wedding? Here’s the thing. We had our wedding at a private residence, not a event center. In that case, my parents decided that event coverage for the day was important. But, if you’re not doing a backyard wedding, if you’re paying for a venue, they should have wedding insurance. I’m not sure if it’s changed now and wedding insurance means for the dress & deposits and all that, but when I got married, it was for liability and such.

      Oh, and Cape Cod? That sounds FAB. A friend got married there a few years back and it was dreamy looking.

      • Katherine

        Emily –

        As for #1, we’re not having a DJ. We’re doing the whole thing via iPod & some digital wireless speakers set up around the place. My FH was a lighting/sound techie before the job he has now, so we’re just working it that way. But I see your point about most of the coordinator work being prior to the whole thing…..maybe she can still help us out and enjoy the day at the same time.

        As for #2, it’s a small winery with a really neat outside pavilion that we’re using. And the insurance isn’t so much liability-related…it’s more to cover the financial losses if a vendor doesn’t show the day of, or if there’s a really bad storm and we have to cancel/postpone the whole thing…you get the idea.

        • 1. I had a friend do day-of-coordinating/stage managing, and we just took her out to lunch with the wedding party and gave her and her girlfriend a place to stay in NYC…now I am feeling like I should have done more. Although she did stay after with her gf for a couple days to get a vacation here. In any case, that was all we did and she did not seem resentful, but instead glad to have a role and be able to help. We basically considered her a member of our wedding party.

          2. Are you paying by credit card with the vendors/venue? It won’t help with a really bad storm but should cover you for no shows/failure to do the thing they promised. AmEx is particularly good for this.

    • Rachel

      I’ve been wondering about asking a friend to be a “day of” coordinator too (actually just in the morning for a couple hours) and I know I’d do it if someone asked me…but I’m still freezing up when it comes to asking her! I was thinking we could offer to pay for her hotel or flight or something to really show our appreciation…that way, it’s not just a huge favor, and that would still be less than hiring someone.

      • Or treat her to dinner or a gift card for the spa?

        • Katherine

          And ooooh, I like the idea of getting her a thank-you gift. Good idea, Emily!

      • I was a day-of coordinator and timeline planner last year for a friend’s destination wedding and it was a huge honor when she asked me. She paid to have my hair and makeup done that day, which was nice and I was really touched. Ask her, it’s ok!

      • That is awesome of you! I did it once as a favor to a friend who was getting married in Hawaii. I bought my own air and she put me up in her bridal suite the night before the wedding. I went and played roller derby for the rest of the trip.

        I would have been elated to have a ticket and hotel paid for too. Definitely ask her. I bet she’ll be super excited.

    • I asked a friend to be our day of “stage manager”, since she is an opera stage manager by trade, and we have a tight turn-around time for set-up at the venue. I made sure to emphasized that while I’d be honored if she would do it, I would also be perfectly happy to have her simply be a guest. She said she would be delighted (maybe paying it forward, since a friend stage managed her wedding).

      I also plan on getting her a really snazzy thank you gift.

    • Kristen

      You could just ask your friend to so it. With no big apology or explanation. Just, “hey, I was wondering if you’d be willing to be my day of coordinator. I think your talents at *fillintheblank* would make you great at this…” you can add something about how you can’t afford to pay her but would love to offer her plane fare, dinner, whatever. Or not and just ask and let him/her make the decision they want to make as an adult. Unless this is too fringe a friend to impose upon, try to shut off the guilt.

      This is of course the kind of advice I find terribly hard to take myself, so fully admitting this is hard.

      But if they are a friend, I think we’re supposed to assume they care about us and are also functioning adults who will honestly tell us if they don’t want to so something for us. Right? I mean seriously someone tell me if I’m crazy off track here but I think this is what I’ve learned about how adult friendships are supposed to work.

    • Marina

      A friend was my day of coordinator because she told me she would genuinely be happier managing logistics than being a guest. I still feel a little guilty, she put in a LOT of work, but she was genuinely happy to do it. I think it’s worth asking your friend, of course letting her know that you’d totally understand and be happy with her being there as a guest to have a good time. Maybe phrase it in a “We want you to be a part of our wedding in a way you’d enjoy and thought this might be it, but our priority is you enjoying yourself” sort of way?

  • kgoesgallivanting

    Along with a great group of volunteers, I just finished hosting a leadership conference for middle schoolers in my area. Usually we have around 150 students and their teachers, but this year, we had over 350 people (including about 40 volunteers). I was so nervous about how everything would go, especially since I wasn’t used to coordinating this many people, but it went so well!!!! I feel much more prepared for my wedding (which will also be over 300 people). The biggest thing for us today was timing. When things were running behind, we just adjusted the schedule a little and it all worked out in the end.

    Also, the weather is GORGEOUS today!! It’s turning out to be a great Friday. :)

    • Ellen

      Seconding the gorgeous weather! Yesterday it was BEAUTIFUL here. I played my music loud and was singing all of my favorite songs for my entire (hour long) drive home. It was fantastic.

  • My third wedding anniversary is May 1.

    The good: OMG!
    The so-so: My infertility HSG test is THAT SAME DAY. Way to go, doctor. Thanks? Bzuh, universe?
    The awesome: It costs a few hundred instead of a thousand as I feared could be the case without insurance coverage for the issue.

    To celebrate we bought some David Sedaris tickets. Because looking forward to dye shooting into my bits on our anniversary wasn’t the only thing I wanted on my calendar to look forward to, dammit.

    I am crossing every finger and bone in my body that we get good news for this test on our anniversary. Bad news that day would kind of MAJORLY BLOW.

    <3 Thanks, y'all.

    • LikelyLaura

      Crossing my fingers for you! Happy Anniversary!

    • Happy (early) anniversary! Also, good luck with the HSG! And excellent thinking booking something wonderful to look forward to as well. (I love David Sedaris.) I’ll bear this in mind for our future tests/procedures/whatnots.

    • Good luck with the HSG! Mine was quick, not entirely painless, and I was fine within an hour or so. Blue die leaking out of there in little bits the rest of the day was a bit weird though.

    • Congratulations in advance for your anniversary . It is great to hear that you are moving forward. I second everyone here, hoping you get some good news soon after your HSG.
      Mine was only painful during the moment, it felt like very acute menstrual cramps, but, the pain was over practically immediately after. Nothing exaggerated.
      Also, I was advised to take a painkiller 45 min before , to be covered (I took ibuprofen which is what works for me). All the best of luck.

  • APW Lurker

    Happy Friday!!

    After 6 months of designing (thanks to my AMAZING little sister), cutting out and gluing envelope liners (that no one will notice except for me but I really loved them!), handwriting RSVP return addresses, handwriting 150 addresses, designing the directions map (that like 5 people will use), packaging the invitations, stuffing all the envelopes, watching my fiancé contribute by licking all the envelopes (he is very proud), keeping the puppy from eating supplies and spending my lunch break hand canceling the invitations because the post office lady is a saint THE MOTHER EFFING INVITATIONS ARE OUT!

    Now all I have to do is fret about the final guest count.

    On the “bad” side, I just came back from my bachelorette party (full of penis straws and shots WARNING DO NOT EVER TAKE A FOUR HORSEMAN SHOT) and I realized how much I miss hanging out with people. Right now it’s me, the fiancé and the pup and I LOVE them to death, but I forgot how nice it is to go out with a bunch of girls and just shoot the breeze. Houston is definitely not New York City! It doesn’t help that I’m definitely the youngest person on my floor but I know I will figure something out.

    • I can’t help but laugh at your Four Horsemen warning. I mean, it’s completely legit, but I’ve heard other horror stories about nights that include that shot, and I know it probably wasn’t that funny when you took it (or the morning after), but it IS hilarious to hear about later :-)

      At least now you know!

    • Moe

      My planning process sounds a lot like yours, lonely. I had my husband and the dog is awesome but there were often times I felt very isolated.

      I was telling my bridesmaid that my estrogen levels were nicely charged from getting ready together in the bridal suite on my wedding day. I missed being around other women!! I think maybe that’s why I love these open threads so much. I feel like we’re all sitting around knitting and drinking coffee or something.

      We moved across town too. Close enough that I can still connect with frineds, but far enough that it requires some effort and planning. I know that I’m going to step up my friendship game if I’m going to keep the girls I got.

      PS: What’s in a 4 Horsemen?

      • APW Lurker


        It’s death. I went to the bathroom and came back and there was a shot for me bought by a bachelor party. I took it, almost gagged and then asked what it was and he said ” That is called a four horseman”. That is how I knew I was in for a rough morning!!

        • Caroline

          Why would you combine 4 mediocre whiskeys into a shot? That sounds terrible.

      • Jashshea

        Oh, a question I can help with!?

        Jose (Cuervo), Jack (Daniels), Jim (Beam) and Johnny (Walker). Vile.

    • Martha

      I just want to say how much I love your “name.” APWLURKER is hilarious.

  • MarieKD

    My husband and I had our first date four years ago today. He invited me out to dinner after I went to see him perform with the orchestra on campus and we got to eat outside in some very unseasonably warm April weather in Ithaca NY! Now we’re six months into our marriage, enjoying the year round warm weather in Berkeley, and things are good.

    Also, I had a job interview last week! I thought it went well, but I haven’t heard back from them one way or another yet. Does anyone have any tips on if or how I should get in touch? I would appreciate it!


    • Did you send them a thank-you card already? That’s always a good way to casually drop a line, though it’s really more one-sided. I’d wait a little longer before calling about the position’s status though, if you’ve already sent a card — maybe two weeks? What say the rest of ye?

      • MarieKD

        Thanks! I did send a card and I know from other people that have worked there or applied that this organization is kind of slow with responses, I’m just kind of excited, but in a nervous way. I’ll wait longer!

        • Based on my experience interviewing lately, what I’ve done is wait at least a week, longer if they said something like, “we will let you know in the next two weeks”

          Then I send a polite email saying, hey, having continued to think about it I still think that job sounds awesome, wanted to check in, and and wanted to see if I could supply any further info. (Only in formal polite language and sometimes with details relating to the job, same as thank you note).

          I actually did this recently, got an email shortly after asking for a second interview and got the job

    • Definitely follow up and thank them for interviewing you.

    • The Family Jules

      Yay for Ithaca, NY! I live right outside of Ithaca, so it’s nice to see someone on here who use to live there.

      Also, congrats on your (sort of) 4 year anniversary!

  • Amber

    So, my cat woke me up really early this morning because she was hungry, and instead of falling back asleep I started thinking about our wedding registry. We’re planning on having one, but I have no clue where to start really. We thought about doing a Honyfund (http://www.honeyfund.com/), but now that we’re staying more local for our honeymoon, I’m not sure if it’s appropriate. We’ve been sort of coming up with some ideas about what to put on a registry…a waffle maker, a food processor, maybe some matching bathroom towels, a decent wine opener, etc. But where to register? Is it better to do it on-line? In person? Can anyone recommend a particular site for organizing it all if we choose multiple stores to register with? (As I’m guessing that will be the case…) How many items did you include on the gift list? What was the range in cost? How did you decide/choose which items? What about asking for money instead? Or gift certificates? There’s a possibility we’ll be moving out of state not long after the wedding depending on what kind of work I can get, and if we get a bunch of new stuff to put in an apartment or house we’ve never seen before might not make a bunch of sense… I get it that the registry is really more for our guests than it is for us. I mean, we’ll probably be gifted some stuff we might not go out and buy for ourselves, at least not right now, so that’s cool and I’m stoked about that! And who doesn’t love fun, cool kitchen gadgets and fluffy towels? Anyway, would love some advice and suggestions and to hear a bit about how some of you have dealt with registerring gifts. Thanks!!

    • MarieKD

      We used Amazon’s wedding registry and their Universal Wishlist button for ours, and that worked out pretty well. We could add things from other websites easily and even though we weren’t seeing things in person, the reviews available on Amazon helped us pick out a lot of the items. Also, we moved across the country just before our wedding and I know my mother put the word out to guests that gift cards and cash would be very welcome, so maybe if you have someone do that?

    • C


      How / whether to register with multiple sites? What to ask for, especially if you have been living together for some time and are fortunate to have most of the kitchen gadgets / bedding a person would need? How / whether people actually donated to your Honeyfund if you did one, or whether they balked and bought regular gifts instead?

      • Copper

        We’re in this same situation. We’re using MyRegistry, which is one of the aggregator sites, and so far it seem fine. The only sucky thing is that we won’t qualify for the cool registry completion bonuses at places like Crate & Barrel, etc.

        So far the items we’ve put on it are stuff that we have already, but could def. use an upgrade. Like, we both have towels, but they’re ratty and somewhere between 5 and 10 years old. We have a really crummy IKEA knife set, so even though it’s supposed to be ‘bad luck’ we registered for a nice chef’s knife. We also are registering for artwork we like, because our walls are a little bare. In other words, a total conglomeration off random stuff that has no cohesive theme. And there probably won’t be “enough” stuff on there, so if anyone else has great suggestions for couples who aren’t straight out of college, I’d love to hear them!

        • We used MyRegistry and we were moving immediately after so we did note that on our invitations. As in, we’re going to GA straight from CO after this wedding so please don’t bring us stuff. Ship it to this address please. (And we ended up with mostly gift cards and money).

    • Amber

      We’re using myregistry.com. We can add things from anywhere on the internets that we like, sync up other registries with it (which is nice for the stores where there are like two things that we would like–Ikea, Crate and Barrel, Target, BBB, etc.), and have a honeymoon fund (you can add other cash gift funds too). It’s nice because then people just have to go to one website but they can see the stuff from ALL the places. As far as actual gifts on ours, we’ve been living together for 8 years, so we have lots of things already and really don’t need anything…but, people keep asking what we want and telling us we need a registry. So we put a few things (china, nice towels, nice sheets, a better tent that won’t leak, nice kitchen knives, and a couple nice pieces of cookware), and put up a honeymoon fund with details of where we want to go, things we’d like to do there, and approximate cost. If people want to donate towards the honeymoon fund they can just give whatever they want, there’s no set cost and it all gets lumped together in the end. It’s been pretty straightforward to set up, and I’m hoping it will stay that way once people actually start using it.

    • We used this one and it worked great for us! http://www.wishpot.com/

  • 7 months after quitting my day job for my photography business, I was working on my books today and realized I can pay myself this month. WHOA. It’s not a lot, but I no longer feel like a complete failure.

    Yesterday, I picked up my first set of watercolor paints and started painting again too. And it’s sunny.

    All in all, this has been a good week.

    • Rachel

      Congrats! That’s great news!

    • Grats!

      /showers you in glitter and confetti.

  • Rachel

    Ugh, this was a crappy week for me work-wise. Like, cried-at-my-desk crappy. (No one was around to see me.) Had a heart-to-heart with one of my bosses today and…sigh. He was supportive, but the situation is still crappy.

    In more positive news, our save-the-dates arrived yesterday and we’re using Postable to collect addresses! I also realized we can’t send them out until I finish our wedding website soooo….off to do that!

    Also, I decided to go with bridesmaids dresses from Banana Republic which all my friends bought already and all got great deals on! Wooo hooo for keeping it simple!

    • :( I’ve been there with a desk-cry. Sending you hugs and hopes that it gets better.

    • Crappy work-week hugs.

    • Me too (with the work stuff). I’m a grad student and half the time I think I just show up to screw things up and get yelled at for it.

    • Not Sarah

      I cried at work this week too. In a meeting with just my manager and then in the bathroom and then I went home. It sucks. I’m sorry you also cried at work :( :( It is SO not fun.

    • Not Sarah

      Oops, double-posted! Sending lots of hugs your way!!!

    • OMIGOSH I am so glad I am not the only one who had a cry-at-your desk week!!!

      Sending a solidarity fist-bump your way, sister.

    • THIS WEEK – UGH.
      I totally desk-cried, bathroom cried and home on the couch cried. and my husband and I haven’t been awake in the same room for a week and a half. Misery. Also – why does everyone have to be SO CRITICAL? I mean, I get it. I screwed up, I am trying my best, can we PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT IT?
      I feel like I just can’t do anything right this week.

  • KB

    Pretty good week – I FINALLY got caught up on sleep after being seriously jet-lagged for 10 days (thanks guys for the awesome suggestions, ZzzQuil worked like a charm!). And this weekend we’re getting our engagement photos taken, which is exciting – although I feel like I have nothing to wear despite a closet full of dresses…

    • Rebekah

      If your photographer allows for costume changes, you should do a set where your fiance picks out your outfit and you do the same for him/her. :)

      • KB

        That is an ADORABLE IDEA!!!!! Thanks!!

  • Kyle S

    My fiance was out of town this week so my week started off sad and just keeps getting worse. We are planning on moving across the country next month and his work was going to help us with the move. Except he just found out that that isn’t going to happen anymore! So now all that money we were going to put into the wedding will have to be put into the move. And since we are having to cut our wedding budget we are considering throwing all of our plans out the window and doing it completely differently.

    I am a little on the fence about this, but I think the new idea would be considerably less stressful in many ways. It is also probably more of the wedding I would want, and not so much the wedding his mom wants. But there are going to be hurt feelings all around because the new idea is immediate family only, while the old idea was about 50ish people.

    The wedding is about FOUR MONTHS away, and I am slightly losing it. =/

    • Not Sarah

      Wow :/ I would so completely lose it too.

      Try to remember that all your guests (well most of them) are grown ass adults. They may be upset, but it’s your wedding and your money.

      I’m so sorry that your fiance’s work is no longer paying for the move :( Moving is SO time consuming and stressful and expensive.

    • This SUCKS. Make sure you apply that same “cut, cut, cut” mentality to the move as well as the wedding. There are definitely places to cut costs on moving as well as marrying. POD movers were a great solution for us. We also slept on camping mats for a while until we saved enough to buy a new mattress.

      This is a setback, but I would advise you not to completely pitch your wedding because other circumstances have interfered. You deserve a wedding you feel good and happy about. If you can cut back and still feel great about it, wonderful! do that! but if you can’t, don’t panic! Sometimes setbacks happen and that is what credit/”sleeping on a futon mattress on the floor while you save for new furniture because you financed the move by selling your old stuff” is for. There’s a lot of life left to live and how you spend your money/use your credit collateral is up to you. Decide what’s important and go for it!

    • Moving expenses are a tax deduction! Keep all your receipts for renting a truck and gas and whathaveyou. It doesn’t help in the moment, but maybe you’ll be better able to afford a weekend getaway for your first anniversary or something.

      (Also, check with an accountant, I’m not a tax pro, I just remember my partner got to claim our expenses when we moved)

    • You can do it in four months. We planned our wedding in 3.5, so it’s possible. It certainly stinks to have to make changes in your plans, but the good thing about having only a short amount of time is that you just have to make decisions and move on. Which (despite the fact that I am normally indecisive)…I am super thankful amount. Good luck with the move and wedding!

      Edited to add: But I do want to encourage you to try to find a way to keep the parts that are most important to you as a couple…and to create a wedding that feels right to you.

  • My Dad is visiting this weekend! Hooray! We are going to work on baby’s room to make it look somewhat like a bedroom and not a dumping ground for baby stuff. Does anyone have experience in making curtains, especially blackout curtains? I could use some fabric recommendations and help.

    • I don’t, but I know the blog Young House Love has done black-out curtains before. You can usually find things pretty easily on their projects page. I think they rely mostly on iron-on hem tape and curtain clips to hang them.

      • Iron-on hem tape is the sh*t. Fo shizzle.

    • Michelle

      I just made curtains for our “hobby room” (aka the baby’s room in about a year. We are in the pre-pregnancy phase, similar to pre-engaged. Just getting prepared!) and it was super easy. I got a lightweight cotton fabric and cut it into two panels and hemmed all the edges. I got the same amount of a heavier canvas-y type material, made two panels, and hemmed the edges. I sewed them together a couple inches from the top and a couple inches below that to make a pocket for the curtain rod. I put two loops on the canvas layer so they can be pulled back and hooked to some of those command sticky hooks that I put on the wall. That way you can pull them back to let light into the room but still have the cotton layer for privacy (our window faces another house). Good luck!

  • Reader G

    It may be too late on the thread already – but I was wondering about APW in DC. Last week I saw a comment about a DC book club and I was wondering how I can get connected? I just relocated here and I am in the middle of planning a wedding here, and would love to meet people in the area. Thanks!

  • Kats

    So we found out this week that my dad has ALS. The change in past six months has been heartbreaking: he’s gone from totally functional to needing a walker most of the time and is now losing the ability to speak and to swallow. Our wedding is planned for this September – and we had just finished signing all of the contracts/paying deposits when Dad’s diagnosis was confirmed. I suspect that there’s a good chance he won’t be able to make it (they live on the opposite coast), and/or if he does, just being there will be really hard for him physically – in a wheelchair, hard to feed himself, etc. If things look they are continuing downward, I think we’ll fly out and do a quick ceremony with the family over the summer.

    Trying to sort through the good (got to fly out and spend time with him this month, am actually super excited about the wedding plans), and the not-so-much (diagnosis, losing my dad, being sad that even if is at the wedding, he won’t be able to walk me down the aisle). And, I feel like kind of a bad person to keep on being excited about getting married and girled out about the wedding planning, and kind of sort of secretly wanting to keep the September celebration even if we do have a small ceremony out there or if he doesn’t make it.

    • Hug!

    • Paranoid Libra

      I am so sorry. It’s ok to feel sad about the diagnosis and the more than likely fact he might not be physically there, but your wedding is also still something to be excited about. It might be a happy moment that that your family needs. I know there is a post about losing someone the week before their wedding. I know it’s a wedding grad post and everyone seemed to need that happy after the funeral.

    • Rebekah

      My condolences on your dad’s tough diagnosis. Hopefully you’ll have a few solid shoulders to cry on or talk to as you all process this.

      My two cents: Don’t feel guilty about being excited for your wedding. At funerals they often quote Ecclesiastes, to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. Although your dad’s diagnosis and his death will be sad, your wedding will be joyous, and you are allowed to feel excited. Your dad is excited as well, I’m sure.

      Perhaps he’ll be able to join you down the aisle in a different way. I’ve seen shoes with picture frame charms attached, and you could always push a wheelchair/walker/wheelbarrow or whatever he’s using at that stage.

      Best of luck.

    • Ali

      Not sure if you’re much of a reader but if you are ”Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom might be the book for you. It’s a worthy read for anybody really.

      I’m sure your Dad would want you to continue being excited and happy in your life.

      All the best to you and your family

  • Vanessa

    I am hoping people have some advice or encouragement for me? My wedding is at the end of July – 3 months away. We have the major stuff planned – food, dress, venue, who’s marrying us, std’s have been sent out. I am feeling major major wedding burnout. Like, I can’t even handle thinking about it let alone doing anything. And we still have to figure out all of the logistics – glassware, bartenders, sound system, lighting, who is going to do what the day of, ahhh. I am just finishing up the end of my degree – graduating in a few weeks – and I know that the stress of getting through that is contributing to my burnout.

    We have lot’s of offers of help but I can’t even figure out what to delegate – I’m so lost. The whole thing is making me feel panicky and depressed. I just want to make crafts and talk about bridesmaid dresses and fun fun things – the whole event planning aspect is making me freak out.

    I have to look for work soon and I’m worried that I won’t get a second wind. We are pretty behind on some major planning milestones and I don’t even care?


    • Take a planning vacation. Seriously. Your guests will be fed and you’ll be legally married with the stuff you have done. Take the weekend, grab a cocktail or three, and unwind.

      • That was going to be my suggestion too; just give yourself a weekend where you don’t think wedding at all. Also, check around for planners and day-of coordinators with consultant hours. Some of them are more affordable than you might think, and can give you a little focus and direction on handling the rest of the event planning. Good luck!

    • Kira

      I pretty much took a two-month break from wedding planning in between figuring out the big things (venue, date, etc.) and ironing out the little details. Even if you can’t afford that long, definitely take some time off. And yeah, look into a planner if you don’t get a second wind after a while!

  • I have officially moved from “Pass with Revisions” to “Pass” for my doctoral dissertation and defense!!

    I’ll be hooded 2 weeks from today!! Woohoo!!!

    • MarieKD


    • KEA1


      HUGE congrats, Doc!

    • Kate



    • Amber

      Yay!!! Congrats! I’m in the middle of writing my dissertation (fingers crossed for an August graduation), and I have several friends who have defended this past week so lots of celebrations are happening!

      • Good luck with yours!

        My defense and graduation was a wily duck. I first thought I’d graduate last August, and then December, and then January. I finally caught it though. Definitely worth it.

  • Not Sarah

    My boss gave me my performance review this week and I…cried. Like uncontrollably. The weaknesses just brought back so many bad memories, personal attacks, and days I’d gone home from work in tears last year. (Like, there was at least one a month.) That’s why I left my previous group. And the review brought back all of those memories. I promptly went home for the rest of the work day. Not my proudest moment. I did, however, get a way better than expected raise and bonus that I am super proud of! Silver lining!

    My ex also finally responded to my email to get my stuff back from him. (We broke up over a month ago and I followed up for the *second* time about getting it back.) So hopefully we’re doing that next week and then we’ll be done. I hope.

    The quote Emily found above really resonated with me on my last relationship:
    “The good kind of relationship work is like tending a lovely garden or putting in effort into a well-loved hobby. The bad kind is like, well, fixing a toilet that breaks every day or having to put in overtime at a telemarketing job.”
    I trust that some day, I will find that kind of good relationship. Some day.

    I’ve also been realizing a lot lately how much *we* are the only ones responsible for ourselves in this world. You can rant to people and look for guidance, but you have to figure out your life yourself, even somewhat if you’re part of a couple.

    And a job is just a job, regardless of pretty much anything. Though liking your coworkers and your work is kind of nice too, you don’t necessarily have to love it, you just have to do it. I think I’m finally, post-ex, finding motivation to be productive again and get through the frustrations of work and it feels good. Yay!

    • Londonsarah

      I hear you. I’m in a bit of an indecision rut at the moment – I can see ways that I’d like my life and my job to change, but I’m kinda waiting for someone to give me permission to do it. Or to tell me to just get on with it. And I know it’s really just down to me to step up and deal with it.

      • Not Sarah

        I know, ugh. I made a new life rule last year: only one big life change at a time.

        It is just up to you, but it is SO hard. Life changes are hard. Or at least, I seem to be terribly slow at making them. Good luck! I’ll send good thoughts your way!

        • Londonsarah

          I took two weeks of miserableness to come to the conclusion that I need a new job to get the experience and the recognition that I want. And then they gave me a 10% pay rise, unasked for. Gah. So either I separate liking job from liking life, or I still need a new job. But I need to finish my part time masters first, which delays me to September. And my office are paying my masters fees, which complicates it. Grrr.

          • Not Sarah

            Sigh, extra money to keep you is so frustrating. My job likes doing that too. Separating liking job from liking life is an important skill to have though :) I’m still working on that one myself!

            September is only 4 months away! Four months!

      • Not Sarah

        It won’t let me edit! I wanted to add that executing on a decision is sometimes even harder than making it. Wishy washy FTL. I spent months going back and forth on breaking up with my ex and there was one last kicker that made me make the final decision that we were done, but until then? So much back and forth. I needed to believe in my gut feeling better.

      • Sarah E

        Me too.

        • Sarah for this comment

          I heart that this is a convo between Not Sarah, London Sarah and Sarah E. It just made me smile.

          • And we’re all spelling it with an “H,” so bonus points for consistency :-)

          • Londonsarah

            And I’d be Sarah E were there not one already! Sarah’s of the world unite!

          • Not Sarah

            And that you are Sarah for this comment! :D

  • Liz

    Any other May 11th brides out there? What are you ladies up to?

  • Claire

    Calling out to Twin Cities Team Practical!

    Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkins, some of my favorite singer-songwriters and the adorable couple who played at my wedding, are playing a show in Lake City, MN this Sunday at 3pm (Oak Center General Store). It’s worth the drive.


    Hope to see you there!

    • Jessica B

      I wish I could make it, that looks like fun!

      We should for real do an APW Twin Cities meet up.

  • Copper

    I’m way late to the party here, but this week kicked ass. I got so much work done, and was so much more engaged in it, than I have been in years. Nobody at work was mean to me, and nobody at home chastised me for working too much! These sound like such basics, but damn does it feel good when the basics are finally working.

    • that sounds like a good week! Happy Friday :)

  • Good evening, all you lovely APW people. I know we haven’t had an Official APW book club for a *looong* time (ahem), but are there any of you in SF/Penninsula/Oakland/East Bay etc, etc that are doing it on your own? Or pretending to have a book club but are really getting together for drinks?

    • Caroline

      No pretending, just drinks (although I’m totally down to discuss books if it comes up, as I’m always happy to discuss books.) May 2nd in Berkeley, Breck is coordinating it. You can email her for details: breck at cbcondimentco dot com
      Hope to see you there!

      • thanks! I saw your original comment about this after I posted. I’ll email for details!

  • Amber

    Is there anyone from the South here? I recently moved to Mississippi from Maine to be with my partner (we’ve been together for 9 years, but 2 years ago she started a PhD program in MS and moved down here while I’ve been finishing up a PhD program in ME) and I’m feeling super homesick for Maine. I’m not originally from there, but after spending the past 8 years there it feels like home, and most of my amazing friends are there, and it’s just been hard. My sweetie’s been away for the past two months for her research, and I just moved down here a month before that..so ugh. And I can’t find a job in my field here. Sigh.

    • I currently live in Texas, having moved for a PhD program from NJ. Hubby didn’t move down and join me for about a year and a half after I moved here, so I know all about the loneliness thing. It’s pretty rough at first, but I promise, you will find amazing friends eventually. Are there any local groups that are relevant to your interests you can join?

      • I’m in Georgia. Husband and I moved here from my hometown in Colorado almost two years ago now. Still taking forever to meet people. I hear it gets better.

  • Not too much going on here in my corner of the world/bloggy world. I’m working this weekend, have had some food revelations (I like potato in my curry, I don’t like the texture or chalky aftertaste that oats leave in my smoothies, fried eggs are fantastic on leftover butter chicken and rice), got new work boots and it’s almost payday. Yay!

    I’m playing along with @ShaynnaBlaze’s #blazecolour game on twitter too. It’s interesting. And you should totally follow Shaynna. Totally.

  • Rachel

    Quote wise – “Only take advice from people who are living a life you would want to live.” seems good advice.

    Now I have to think – who are those people? Do they exist? Am I, in my life in this place, age, stage, even able to follow them (without having a time machine to go back and make different choices).

    Sometimes I feel like a square peg in a land built with round holes.

    • Copper

      I definitely follow a modified version of that guidance… I’d take work advice from someone whose work I admire, or relationship advice from someone whose relationship I admire, even if I don’t want their life overall.

    • Hmm, that’s a good quote. I’ve already been practicing it, but hadn’t articulated it, so it’s nice to read it that clearly…