APW Happy Hour


RIOOOOOOOO

by Stephanie Kaloi, Content Manager

2016 rio olympics women's gold medalists

Hey APW!

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Olympics started last week and I am so excited about it. Yes, I know the Olympics wreak havoc and destruction on every city they’re hosted in, and I know that this is a very real, terrible thing… but I also really love the Olympics and I can’t help myself.

NBC has more or less royally fucked up coverage this go-around (I’ve been streaming it online with my sister’s cable login, so prime time hasn’t been a concern), but I think we can all agree that the network (or the IOC) did one thing right: scheduling gymnastics right at the very beginning. Because seriously, they know why we’re watching. Yes, I love diving and swimming and track-and-field (also curling? Because it’s nuts) and maybe weight-lifting (though truth: I’m only interested because Kendrick Farris is vegan and I think that’s hardcore!)… but gymnastics (specifically women’s) is what I’m all in for.

This year’s team is a true anomaly. They are so profoundly strong, talented, and straight-up good that the competition was almost boring to watch. Unless you reminded yourself that you were witnessing a first in American gymnastics—a team that is so on top of their game that no one can touch them—it was like “Oh! Flips! Cool!” Except, of course, when Simone Biles did this. And Gabby Douglas did this (and also this, which makes me love her even more). And Aly Raisman killed it on the floor (while her parents probably freaked out), while Madison Kocian slayed on the uneven bars and Laurie Hernandez reminded us all that she’s definitely going to be around in 2020.

Now that gymnastics is over, I guess it’s time to watch some other sport. What events are you guys looking forward to?

RIO!

Stephanie

P.S. NBC, if Mustafina graces us with her presence one more time four years from now… can we get some more of her in 2020? Because she’s my fave.

Link Roundup

Casting for Ocean’s 8 is happening and it’s the best.

Do He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s politics reflect what’s really going on in a lot of American homes?

Don’t give a compliment if you don’t really mean it.

The Rock and Lin-Manuel Miranda sang “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast and you need to just love it.

Goth never went anywhere: “Female-Fronted Goth Bands Subvert Gender Norms.”

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! 😊 🎉 🎉).

Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Amy March
    • JC

      Happy, happy tears.

    • louise danger

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rio-olympics-favela-photos_us_57a8a007e4b021fd987947dc and how locals watched the opening ceremonies the other night. having a lot of trouble getting into the pip-pip spirit of the games this time around, maybe it’s an election year thing and i’m just sick of hearing about USA USA all the time?

      /curmudgeon

      • MC

        I think you can be super critical of the Olympics and the IOC and compulsory patriotism and still recognize that having a black woman win a gold medal for swimming is a huge, important milestone, considering the loooooong history of excluding black people from pools in the US. The fact that our Olympic teams are more diverse than ever is something that actually gives me pride as a US citizen, despite the fact that I also have very mixed feelings about the Olympics. We contain multitudes!

        • Eenie

          Yes, this. My criticisms are with the organization, not the athletes.

          • Alanna Cartier

            Exactly!

        • louise danger

          yes, absolutely! i am incredibly proud of those achievements, and i’m sorry that my initial comment seemed to belittle simone manuel’s extraordinary race the other night. that could not be further from the truth, and i apologize if i hurt anyone with my comment.

    • I probably should say this…but I’m actually more excited about Manual’s win than Biles’s. I’ve been watching Biles for awhile and it’s so clear that she’s just way ahead of everyone else in gymnastics right now. Manuel kinda, came outta nowhere? She definitely wasn’t getting press like Ledecky & Lily King and I think that part makes it more amazing.

      Also, I still hate that its 2016 and Black folks are still achieving “firsts”. Like when are we gonna be done with that part???

      • Laura C

        I read a quote from her that this was her first individual win in international competition, which blew me away. Now that’s an impressive first!

        I also read a quote from the first African-American MAN to medal in Olympic swimming (who did it in 2000 and is back this year(!) which is why I was looking him up on Wikipedia). From Wikipedia:

        After the gold medal race, reporter Jim Gray asked Ervin what it felt like to be the first swimmer of African American descent to win gold. Referring to this moment in a 2012 interview, Ervin stated, “I didn’t know a thing about what it was like to be part of the black experience. But now I do. It’s like winning gold and having a bunch of old white people ask you what it’s like to be black. That is my black experience.”

        • That quote is GOLD. I hate when interviewers do stuff like that to women or people of color…like sometimes, it’s not always about my race/sex.

          • Jessica

            It also feels like it should be a question for an interview in 6 months (or a later time). Like “you just accomplished this amazing thing and now please comment on how historically significant it is immediately!” Who can process stuff like that?

          • MC

            I always feel so bad for the athletes who are interviewed IMMEDIATELY after completing their event – the swimmers especially seem so out-of-breath, and everyone is adrenalized and trying to deal with all their emotions so their answers are pretty much all the same so it doesn’t even really make for good TV!

          • Ashlah

            Seriously! Sports interviews are pretty much always useless. My “favorite” is football coaches at halftime. “What is your plan for the second half?” “Play football well.”

            But did you see the interview with the Chinese swimmer who didn’t realize she’d gotten a medal until her interviewer told her? A weird way to find out, and it is a little strange that she had to process that on live television, but it was charming.

          • MC

            YES – her facial expressions were so funny! I mean, can you imagine?!

          • Kalë

            It was SO CUTE! She was so thrilled!

          • Alanna Cartier

            OMG I had not seen this. Day made. Pure Joy.

          • Natalie

            LOVED that! Her reaction was the best.

          • Laura C

            And Anthony Ervin wins the 50m again, at 35 years old, 16 years after he first won it! So this time the questions are all basically “um, so, 35 years old?!?” and nothing about race, at least in the preliminary NBC interview.

      • Laura C

        Also, important reminder on why swimming is late to have this particular first: http://www.vox.com/2016/8/12/12449174/rio-2016-simone-manuel-olympic-gold-swimming-racist

        Which reminded me of a woman I met in a water aerobics class, who had only learned to swim in her 50s or so. I expressed surprise and she said when she was growing up in the South, black people weren’t allowed in the pools so where would they learn to swim? And the boys would go to swimming holes and every summer a boy would drown because they hadn’t been taught to swim.

        • It’s not even the South! Lots of Northern places closed their public pools entirely, or only the ones in Black neighborhoods, leaving the White neighborhoods with pools. To this day I have friends who never learned how to swim, but they are determined to do it in their 30’s & 40’s.

          My parents sent me to swimming lessons as a kid but I’m still not a good swimmer, so my goal is to take lessons again so I can be ready when my LO is ready to start swimming.

          • Danielle

            As a former swim teacher, may I say that Mommy & Me swim classes are the best thing ever. I can’t tell you how full my heart was after those lessons <3

        • Natalie

          Ugh. Our history has so much awful in it.

          I think an important thing to remember about why it took so many decades after desegregation before African American swimmers began making the US team regularly is that swimming, unlike most other sports, is something kids tend to learn from their parents. Kids often learn baseball or soccer or basketball from other kids in their neighborhood or in school. But everyone I know who grew up swimming regularly learned from their parents. Most of us also took swim lessons. But we learned to swim well because our parents taught us. With racism preventing entire generations of African Americans from ever learning to swim, how can they teach their kids to be comfortable in the water, much less swim at a competitive level? It takes a long time to recover from that.

        • Michela

          Had to explain why her win was so historic to my Dutch husband, who didn’t know this country’s history on the subject. Thanks for linking the article so I can forward it to him!

      • I feel like every single medal that I’ve read about has been reported as a first in some way “first Canadian women to win swimming” “first Canadian to win four medals in a row” “first Canadian to win gold at two consecutive Olympics”.

        • Aubry

          The media does like firsts. Can I take a moment to just appreciate how Canadian women have been slaying these Olympics? Love.

        • Grace

          Those are way more legit than the American announcers trying to make every gold Michael Phelps wins a “first.” If he doesn’t retire for real this time, the next Olympics are going to sound like this, “This is Michael Phelps’s first time winning a gold medal on July 17th.” “This is the first time Michael Phelps won a gold medal at exactly 6:47pm.”

  • Eenie

    Bad news: Came in second for a job after an interview last week :( Hard to beat someone with 5 years experience when the post only asked for 1-2. HR hinted that that the offer might fall through and they’d follow up with me if that happens. Trying not to get my hopes up.

    Good news: Our wedding album came! It’s amazing, our photographer’s software was so easy to use (it was a “virtual” album and we clicked to make comment to switch photos and they layout and such), and it didn’t even seem like work. And we are off to fly to see my family and meet my new nephew! <3

    • Ashlah

      Boo on the interview results, although it’s at least got to feel good knowing you made it to the top two? Fingers crossed that you’ll end up getting it, but if not, hopefully it’s leaving the door open to an even better job down the road. My mom was recently laid off, had multiple interviews that didn’t pan out, and just started a brand new job that is better than she expected to find in a number of ways. Wishing the same for you <3

    • Jessica

      Yay for wedding albums and new babies! Have fun!

      Try not to sweat the interview stuff. It sucks, though.

  • JC

    I highly recommend Katy Tur’s article in Marie Claire this week, about her experience covering the Trump campaign: http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a21997/donald-trump-katy-tur/

    • Jessica

      I just read that this morning. She seems to have a good attitude, but it continues the WTF thought process on that whole steaming pile of a campaign.

      • JC

        Agreed. She seems to be the perfect person to be covering it, actually. Level-headed and calm, ambitious, and unafraid to say, “This is not normal. This flies against what is acceptable.”

  • louise danger

    y’all would fish sandwiches (Harp-battered fish, tartar sauce, LTO) and a variety of specialty chips (poutine chips, cottage pie chips) be tooooo heavy for a mid-morning outdoor venue wedding menu in a mid-Atlantic October?

    • Leah

      um, yum? If mid-morning meant sandwiches happened any time after, oh, 10:45ish, I would eat the sh*t out of that… Earlier than that might seem a little odd, but I’d pretty much eat a ton of it anyway. But fish and chips are pretty much my fave, so maybe this needs another opinion.

    • Ashlah

      I don’t know, but it sounds delicious. I’m someone who will eat a cheeseburger for breakfast, so I might not be the right person to ask. But I think you should do it.

      • CMT

        Same.

    • CMT

      I would eat that at any hour of the day.

    • Kalë

      Sounds delicious. Mayyybe offer a lighter couple sides or options (vinegar-based slaw, apple slaw, kale slaw – I feel like coleslaw pairs perfectly with fish & chips), but honestly, it sounds wonderous.

      • louise danger

        yeah, the venue/food truck lady is on vacation but promised she’d be in touch when she gets back about possible Other Stuff, so we’ll see!

    • Eenie

      If I could eat gluten that sounds amazing! I think it’s the October part that makes it sound super good. I wouldn’t necessarily want that if it’s super hot out.

      • louise danger

        yeah i’m right there with you, definitely not ‘summer food’ lol

        • Eenie

          I’d also keep in mind your guest list – anyone with fish allergies? Anyone vegetarian (true vegetarians won’t eat fish)? Food choices are one of the toughest things, there’s just so many factors.

          • louise danger

            not sure on the allergies angle, but i’m asking the lady for veggie-friendly options already (even the soup has bacon bits in it, or is made with chicken stock, ugh come on lady throw me a [vegan-sourced non-animal] bone, here! will have more info soon :)

          • Eenie

            Haha! We ended up including something on our RSVP about allergies and dietary restrictions. A high priority for us was having food everyone could eat and enjoy. I know it’s not everyone’s priority (and why I pack snacks!).

    • JC

      You had me at chips.

    • Amy March

      I don’t think fish sandwiches are a) a crowd pleaser, or b) something people are necessarily looking to eat at mid-morning, and a “variety” of chips is basically just a whole lot of one food item- potatoes, fried.

      Are there other options? This just seems really narrow and not necessarily of broad appeal. So many people don’t even eat fish!

      • Lisa

        As someone who organizes a lot of events, I have to agree with this. The menu sounds awesome to me, but unless you know that every single one of your guests (and their plus ones) loves this meal, I’d try and incorporate some more variety into the meal.

      • honeycomehome

        Agreed. And I love the sound of this meal, but if I was attending a mid-morning wedding I’d definitely consider this my breakfast/brunch/first meal of the day, and it would be too heavy for that.

      • Agreed. I like fish & chips but I’d be upset if that was my only option – what if I wasn’t in a fish mood that day? And I know a ton of folks who don’t eat fish, so they’d just have chips and nothing else.

      • louise danger

        the venue coordinator lady is on vacation, but i’m looking for a vegetarian/non-fish option from her when she gets back. these choices were off the food truck’s normal menu but she implied that there might be something more crowd-friendly available. we’ll see! thanks for the feedback.

        • Amy March

          Awesome! I think they’re fine as an option, but mid-morning still reads strongly as brunch to me. I think they make sense as one of several choices, just not a the highlighted main food, if that distinction makes sense.

          • louise danger

            absolutely. this was the kind of feedback i was hoping for (“YES DELICIOUS but maybe hmmmm”), so thank you! :D i have a tendency to get wrapped up in my head a lot, heh

    • laddibugg

      I hope those aren’t the only options. I personally don’t like battered fish, and not too fond of chips either. I’d be surprised if I was the only one

    • Sosuli

      All the noms!

    • sofar

      Um… can I come????? I would eat the HELL out of that. The thing I miss most from back home in WI is being able to get a proper fish fry.

    • raccooncity

      So, my friends had a poutine bar and it was the bomb. But please don’t call them “poutine chips” – poutine is its own dish.

      Sincerely,
      A Canadian

    • emilyg25

      I love fish sandwiches, but it’s a bit of an odd choice for morning, and like others said, not a crowd pleaser.

  • Ashlah

    Y’all, our trip to Costa Rica was the BEST. I can’t even count the ways, but it was everything I’d hoped for and more. We had sloths, you guys. And capuchin monkeys. And toucans. All of which were hanging out in the trees surrounding our pool, and the patio where we ate breakfast. We were hoping for a few wildlife sightings, and our week was packed with them. I also went whitewater rafting for the first time while we were there, and it was a total blast. You know how you’re often ready to be home by the end of a trip? Not even close with this one. A week later, and I’m still dreaming of being back there.

    If any of you are considering Costa Rica for your honeymoon or for your next vacation, absolutely check out Prana Rainforest Retreat. I promise you will not regret it. I mean, it’s in the middle of the rainforest. And the hosts are absolutely wonderful–all the privacy you want, along with gourmet breakfasts, and superb recommendations for outings and activities. Oh, and they’re fantastic masseuses too!

    Just maybe shake out your clothes before you leave so you don’t bring home a scorpion in your luggage.

    • louise danger

      oh man i was right there with you until the last sentence. noped hard.

      • Ashlah

        Ha, yeah, it was not an awesome discovery. It survived three flights in a ziploc in a checked bag and a trip through the washing machine. I still can’t believe how much I must have handled that thing. They aren’t deadly (unless you’re allergic), but they’re still creepy, and I’m very glad I wasn’t stung.

        Makes for a good story after the fact, at least!

        • louise danger

          nope nope nope nope nope

          points to the little bugger for tenacity, though, i guess!

        • ALIVE? If so, that’s incredible and I am very impressed.

          • Lisa

            It’s going to be cockroaches and scorpions at the end of the world, isn’t it?

          • Ashlah

            Yep. We’re doomed.

          • Ashlah

            Oh yes, very much alive.

      • Laura C

        RIGHT? I was like “well, I already had my honeymoon and like our next three vacations are planned but maybe I’ll put this in my fantasy fi — NOPE.” But then I reread everything that preceded it, and …

        • Ashlah

          It is the middle of the rainforest, so you’ll definitely encounter critters! If you’re deathly afraid of that kind of thing, it might not be the place for you, but if you can handle a bit of exciting terror (hah) it’s seriously so worth it. My husband is pretty arachnophobic, and we had a couple big spiders end up inside, but he absolutely loved it.

          There are also adorable little geckos with a laughing chirp, and cute green tree frogs who hang around the pool when it rains, and the sound of howler monkeys every morning, and koatis in the branches, and a nearby beach, and incredible fresh seafood, and did I mention sloths and monkeys? Because sloths and monkeys.

          • Kalë

            omg, the giant, hand sized grasshoppers were my big NOPE when we were there. but then sloths and monkeys and the cutest little froggies!

    • Lawyerette510

      So glad you had a great trip! On the scorpion note, my husband was stung by a scorpion that was in his boxers when we were traveling through Costa Rica about 8 years ago. I was already in bed, and next thing I know he’s jumping around, hitting his crotch and pulling his boxers off. I felt sorry for him, but we’ve been laughing about it for years.

      • Ashlah

        Yikes, ouch! The image is a pretty funny one, though… Glad he can laugh about it now :)

    • Whitney S.

      So glad you had a great time! Felt the same way after our trip…when can we go back?! ?

    • Lexipedia

      I just read that entire website out loud for my SO. Though I left out the scorpion part.

  • Jessica

    Things that happened this week:
    1. My mom got fired (for “gossiping.”) But she is such a BAMF in her field she already had two interviews by the end of the week. She forwarded an email from one of her customers that just *glowed* with praise for her, and suggested she may be the foremost knowledgable woman in her field in the WORLD. I’m so proud of her, and am glad she is out of the toxic company that started off good when she started, but is a total pile of dog poo now.

    2. My grandfather has been in hospice for awhile, and after his wife died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago, we don’t think he’s going to live much longer. He has pneumonia right now, and it’s G-Pa Watch 2016. My mom reviewed his after-life plans, and all he wants is a reception with cookies, coffee and milk.

    3. Husband and I had a discussion about the division of labor and expectations, wherein I had to make him realize that while he built a fence, I covered EVERYTHING else because he was burning the candle at both ends to get it done. He didn’t see that. It felt shitty, but good to be like “you haven’t had to worry about food, dishes, laundry, mail, bills, the dog, presents for your nieces and nephews, or cleaning at all. I’ve only asked you to do things when I’m absolutely in the corner. I’d like a little recognition for that.” And he gave me the recognition, then mowed the lawn like I asked him.

    • NotMarried!

      Ohh …. labor and expectations …. Fiance stopped caring about the lawn sometime in the past month. I can typically mow it, but the mower is on the fritz and he has to keep that running. It’s currently … NOT. SO … my accomplishment of the week … I hired someone to mow and as of this morning … I am no longer growing a small jungle in the backyard!

      • Jessica

        Yeah. This particular fight/discussion started when he was doing something (having finished said fence) that wasn’t pressing, so I asked “Could you mow the lawn today?” and instead of responding “no, would Sunday be OK?” he responded “Why can’t you do it??”

        Like I didn’t just clean the house and prep all the food and wasn’t going to take the dog on an hour long walk.

    • Lisa

      I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather. I’m sending good thoughts your family’s way.

      • Jessica

        Thank you. He has said several times that he is ready to go, and he’s frustrated and sad at the state of his life right now. It will be a hard blessing when he passes.

        • Cellistec

          “Hard blessing” is so apt. Sending peaceful thoughts to your family.

        • Dess

          My family went through that recently with my grandmother. “Hard blessing” is exactly how I would describe it. Hoping you can create space to take care of yourself, too, in this process.

    • Lolauren

      Sorry to hear about your grandfather, but it sounds like he’s lived a good life if his reception includes milk, cookies, and coffee :) Regarding division of labor, this is so tough. I’m currently working full time and in my first trimester (which just means I have zero energy and I feel sick a lot) and my husband is starting a new job but has had 60 days off (paid) as a non-compete period. So he’s been hanging out at home all summer. With dishes and some laundry he’s been stepping up, but he just doesn’t *see* a lot of the mess that bothers me. Or he’ll do laundry which is lovely, but never fold it and put it away. It’s frustrating because I appreciate his help, but I still find myself nagging him. Basically, I wrote all of this to say that dividing up labor is really hard.

      • Jessica

        The NAGGING! That’s what gets me. I don’t want to be a nagging wife, but ffs, how can you not see the dog hair collecting on the stairs? Or why can you go grab a shirt from the dryer, but not bring up the whole load? The list goes on and on. I hate that I have to be the one to draw his attention to it, that he can’t just see it needs to be done and do it (like I do).

        • Amy March

          Why would you bring up a whole load when you only need one shirt?!?
          Sometimes I think clean people just have a fundamentally different view of the world. There’s nearly always clothes in my dryer- why not? It’s as good a place to store clean clothes as any!

          • Jessica

            Efficiency. Why go to the basement more than once? If you bring up all the clothes to where you get dressed, that’s just one trip.

            To be fair, I have done the “just grab one shirt” thing, but usually when I’m running late and have to run out the door.

          • anon

            LOL, I’m like you (I’m a hetero cis-female married to a hetero cis-male). It’s never bothered me to leave clean clothes in the dryer or some dirty dishes piled in the sink (we’re just gonna make more tonight, anyway). I think a lot of women could lower their stress levels by learning not to care so hard about keeping a clean house – most men don’t seem to have a problem with, so why should we?

          • Jessica

            Dear God, if only I could learn to care less.

          • LJ

            Yeah, the answer is compromise in a lot of places. Those of you who know your myers-briggs…. I am a J and my common law partner is a P. This is where this kind of stuff often comes into play. If you are different J/P then you will very likely have this as a “major minor thing”….. I have learned to tolerate more mess (his 100% clean is my 80% clean… he is lovely at wiping down the counter every time he shaves in the bathroom, but I ALWAYS find stray hairs that I know I would have caught if I cleaned it myself. However, I just tolerate those few flecks unless we have company coming in which case he has different tasks to help clean for their arrival like dishes or organizing clutter, while I go around turning 80%s into 100%s) and he has learned to ask about what needs being done as he legitimately doesn’t see some things…. empathy for personality differences goes a long way.

          • emmers

            Me too! :)

        • Lolauren

          Yes, exactly. I always think back to a study I heard on NPR, which I just googled for and couldn’t find. Basically, they had a messy room and they measured the cortisol levels of men and women as they walked into that room. The women got stressed out and the men didn’t (I’m super over-generalizing, but that was the main take-away). They concluded that for some reason, seeing the dog hair/mess/clutter and the resulting stress tends to fall along gender lines. Perhaps because women are socialized to care more. But it does help me be less annoyed at him because…science?

          • Lulu

            Somebody here suggested something along the lines of asking, “What do you see here that would benefit from your attention?” as a way of training the well-intended but oblivious to be more attuned. I still need to try it!

        • Eenie

          Yes. Ugh. My husband actually really enjoys check lists for cleaning stuff. He likes it because that unchecked box is something he can see needs doing, I can recognize him for doing something, and it takes the burden off recognizing mess/dirt.

          • Michela

            This worked well for my guy too. I felt squicky about writing him a list, but he insisted on it because it helped him see what needed to be done. Bonus- it also solved the whole “how can you not see the filth in this apartment?!” conundrum because no one had to see it- it was written on the list. Bonus bonus- using an objective list helped us communicate expectations without words, which can sometimes be said full of attitude (me) and frustration (him).

            Good luck! This stuff is tough.

        • Marianne

          My husband and I like using apps and tracking our habits, so we’ve been trying out some chore apps. I like to have a to-do list and I need reminders for chores that are done infrequently. First we had to decide what chores we need to do, which ones we each like or despise, and what is/isn’t worth tracking. We claim the chores ourselves and can see what the other person has completed and what’s left to be done. I think this will be helpful because some of the chores that we each do consistently do are fairly invisible to the other person.

          • Her Lindsayship

            That sounds awesome, what’s the app? Tbh my fiancé and I are both pretty well on the clean side of the spectrum as is, so I like idea of an app more because of my love of organization than for division of labor. With tracking it will probably come to light that I do less cleaning than him!

          • Marianne

            I use an iPhone and the app I’ve liked the most is Chorma (http://www.chorma.com). It’s simple to use and you can add members of your household. A lot of the other chore apps were either for a single user or were geared toward kids. I loved the idea of Chore Wars (http://www.chorewars.com) which is like a role-playing game where you get XP for completing chores, but it doesn’t have a phone app so we didn’t use it consistently.

      • CHORE CHART. Or at least a checklist of things that need to be looked at regularly. My FI just does not notice stuff, and so we’re hoping a chore chart might help. A spiral-bound chore notebook is also supposed to be useful, but I feel a bit like that is nagging through paper.

        Think of yourself as mission control, and spouse as the astronaut doing the hands-on work, maybe?

      • Nicole

        I missed HH because we were traveling but I’m home sick today and thought I’d catch up in between naps. I recommended the book Overwhelmed a week or so ago on happy hour and heard about it here too. Both my husband and I read it and it seems to have opened his eyes to the gender dynamic and invisible work that tends to fall on women’s shoulders in a way that articles and discussions hadn’t in the past. It has changed the way we talk about division of labor and the way it’s playing out. There’s a lot more of him suggesting things he should do, or just doing them.

    • cml

      So sorry to hear about your grandparents – that’s a hard thing. :(
      Happy for your mom, though!

      And OMG on division of labor! My fiancé and I got engaged in March, then almost immediately bought a house and moved in together. He is so perfect for me and we are so meant to be together, but I am SO going to harm him over the housework one day. I just know it. He’s trying, and improving a little, but man.
      I finally think I worded it in a way that made an impact – I told him I feel unloved and stressed when I’m the only one who cares about our living environment.

    • Michela

      Sending warm thoughts your way as you embark on the difficult end of a loved one’s life. Crassly put- it sucks, and I’m sorry you’re in the thick of it.xo

  • yofi’s human

    New(ish) commenter. Long time lurker :) We got our wedding photos and I’m in love–shout out to APW vendor Justine Bursoni. I started putting an album together myself (because who wants to pay someone else thousands for that?). I’m using “My Publisher” Does anyone have any other user-friendly suggestions for photo book software?

    • Lolauren

      also interested in this! APW has done some sponsored posts, but I’m wondering about photo books people have actually used and liked (also, we got married 2 years ago, but you know….never got around to an album)

      • MC

        We used Blurb (found out about them from an APW post!) and were really really happy with them. If you sign up for their e-mails they send discount codes out ALL THE TIME. And their desktop editing software is pretty intuitive to use.

        • Rose

          Ditto on this! I’ve been quite happy with Blurb (although I do need to finish *our* album sometime soon).

          • MC

            Same – we made albums for our parents a year and a half ago and still haven’t made ours…

          • Rose

            Yeah, I thought I’d have our album done by now too. Well, the first anniversary’s supposed to be paper, right? If I made that happen soon, I could probably get it in time. . .

        • Lolauren

          Thank you! Just signed up for their emails!

    • Eenie

      We just got our photo album. It came with our photography package, and I must say I think it was definitely worth it having a professional lay it out (I did our engagement photo guest book, and that was a frustrating process). Our photographer used http://www.qtalbums.com/fineartbooks.php and I’m super impressed with the quality.

    • Rose

      I had family albums printed by Blurb, and used their software–I found it took a little figuring out but wasn’t too difficult, and I was quite pleased by the results.

    • Annie

      We used Artifact Uprising (http://www.artifactuprising.com) because their aesthetic is very much our aesthetic. I thought it was very user friendly, except that you can’t save galleries for some reason. But otherwise, we’ve been thrilled with the quality and ease of building really beautiful/interesting albums. We’re planning on using them for all our family albums, especially once we have kids.

    • emilyg25

      I love Artifact Uprising and Kolo.

    • Carolyn S

      ha we gladly paid someone else $1,000’s for it because we had no desire to do it…

    • emmers

      I used Costco’s software, which was pretty user friendly. I mainly used it for family albums, since I could make a ton of those for about $20 each. We’ll use something else for our own stuff probably, but it was good for making many albums!

    • EF

      also used blurb as recommended here! and it was awesome.

    • Mari

      Yes! I’m so interested in what APW readers recommend for this. I just got married this past Saturday (!) and can’t wait to see the photos and put together an album for us and our families.

  • Laura C

    Welp, here I am in San Francisco. After freakouts on both ends about parking for our moving pods (thank you, new apartment building, for telling me to use your “loading area” that didn’t require a permit when the “loading area” is a tiny wider spot in a narrow one-way street directly across from parking for city vehicles, and definitely not someplace pods can be left overnight), things were ok on the moving front.

    HUGE shout out to the TSA, by the way, for being marvelous about getting our cat through the airport security process. We’d been told they’d give us a private screening room but I was still nervous that they’d give us a hassle over it. (My Indian-American husband’s like “it’s no problem, I just won’t shave for a few days and they’ll be all too happy to pull us off into a private room.”) But everyone was SO reassuring and they made the process as easy as possible — put me and the cat in the private room and waited patiently while I took him out, then I held him down on the ground while they screened the carrier in about two minutes. And while two of my bags got extra screening, my bearded brown husband sailed right through.

    And now we’re working out interim childcare while we wait to get off the daycare wait list we’ve been on since October. I think I’ve found someone I’m happy with as a part-time nanny, though I’m battling guilt because, out of three candidates I met with, my immediate preference was for the one with the BA… (Though she’s also the one with a reference from a non-profit where she does part-time childcare, so it’s not like pure snobbery! And it’s not about the degree, per se, but about all the class and cultural reasons she has the degree to begin with.Which I’m still uncomfortable about, you understand.)

    • Jessica

      After hearing about Judge Wolf (the one who raised an appropriate fuss about a defendent not being given pants, then let temporarily lifted a no touching ban so another defendant could hold his newborn child), and now a decent TSA experience, I’m thinking there are everyday heroes in bureaucracy. I kind of want a comic book about the unlikely heroes having justice meetings to make the world a better place by just not being assholes.

      Your immediate preference = gut. Trust your gut.

    • Eenie

      Yay for the kitty!

      It seems like you’re in a tough situation with the childcare situation, cut yourself some slack!

    • Lawyerette510

      Welcome to the bay! Glad the cat-travel went well. I agree with Eenie and Jessica as to being kind to yourself about your choices with childcare.

    • MC

      Glad you made it and all worked out in the end!!

  • honeycomehome

    You all ROCKED it when I asked to see your jewelry a few weeks ago. Now, can I ask to see your wedding SHOES?

    I’m thinking of getting a beautiful pair of classic pumps, so I’m excited to see those, but I want to see them all.

    • Leah

      Oooh fun! Cheap from modcloth and super comfy

    • I REALLY wanted to wear blue shoes for my wedding, and I lucked up on these pair on Enzo’s from Nordstrom, they are blue peeptoe heels with a slight platform. And then for the reception, I switched to my royal blue Nine West flats.

      • Lulu

        Team Blue Shoes, woot woot! (I changed into hot pink Modcloth flats.)

        • Ooh those are so pretty!

        • Lisa

          These are so pretty!

    • Eenie

      Go for comfy! I wore the beige ones for family portraits and some of our couple ones, and then switched into Toms that matched my husband’s shirt color for the ceremony and reception. He remarked one day that he wished he could just wear his puma’s for the wedding. I convinced him it was a great idea, and we both got to have super comfy shoes. It was one of the best decisions we made.

    • Lisa

      Found these on a resale site! Our colors were eggplant, orange, and light green so these fit in nicely. :)

    • Laura C
    • Rose

      We both went with pink, although in somewhat different styles. Mine (on the left, in the dress) started to rub early on in the dancing, which was when I switched to an older pair of very comfy beige sandals. I really liked having the fun new fancier shoes, but also the knowledge that I could change at any time.

    • Ashlah

      I had the hardest time finding shoes because of my shoe size. I wanted green ones, but I ended up getting these white lace ones, and replacing the ribbon with a green one. Partway through the reception, I went barefoot, then put on flat white sandals when I realized my feet were getting bruised.

      https://photos.smugmug.com/Weddings/Ashley–Justin/i-WjqfqSh/1/X3/IMG_5847-X3.jpg

    • Sosuli

      Our wedding involved a garden and a procession between venues, so it was flats all the way for me.

    • emilyg25

      I got robin’s egg blue suede peep toes with a chunky GLITTER heel. From Modcloth.

    • AGCourtney

      Yes, you can! Oh, I loved my shoes. Our photographer was also slightly obsessed with them, haha.

      I wanted a classic style of heels, but in *purple*.

      I got them on Amazon for about $20.

    • toomanybooks

      These kitten heels. What really got me to order them was that all the reviews were from older women with knee problems saying they could never wear heels except for these (that’s a true comfort test). I was looking at flats initially but these seemed perfect!

    • KPM

      Definitely didn’t go for pumps, but…

    • Love these “show us your wedding….” posts!

    • Lena SK

      BCBG Paris Annya Metallic Flat from DSW. Loved them!

  • CMT

    USA! USA! I am all about the swimming (I was a competitive swimmer forever and still do masters swimming.) I was so excited about Simone Manuel’s 100 free! Going in, I really wanted her to win, but I knew realistically it would be very tough given the Campbell sisters and the incredible meet Penny Oleksiak is having. I was so happy when she won! And the tie was pretty cool. I do feel a little bad for the Australians; they’re having kind of a bummer Olympics. I’m almost looking forward to swimming being over so I can pay more attention to those obscure sports that are only ever on TV every 4 years. I just love the Olympics so much!

    • Rhie

      My parents’ dog in her Australian Olympic wig!

      • CMT

        OMG cute!!!

    • Jess

      I love the Olympics. And I am here for SO MUCH MORE than gymnastics.

      SO excited about Simone Manuel last night. I was slapping the couch and yelling when she won I was so excited.

      Yes, I love gymnastics, I love that the women on the US team are confident as hell. But I LOVE watching hurdles, and field hockey, and hand ball, and water polo, and sprinting, and swimming, and literally watching everybody on the top of their game.

  • Kaitlyn

    I’ve been waiting ALL DAY for this. This morning, my Permanent Guy asked me my opinions on lab created diamonds. I didn’t have an opinion (besides the default, “it’s not real”) so he said to get back to him “soon”. I did a LOT of research this morning and it seems like lab diamonds and mined diamonds are the same thing, minus the eco and ethical issues with mined diamonds. I already wanted an ethically sourced diamond and lab created diamonds seem to be a little less expensive.

    Does anyone have a lab created diamond? Does it sparkle (this is literally my only concern haha)? I decided I was okay with it, but I’d love to hear what APW has to say!

    Also, during our email conversation about it, he asked if I wanted to go look at diamonds/bands this weekend and that he has a diamond lady (!!!). Still trying to figure out how/when he picked up a diamond lady, but I’m impressed haha I told him I didn’t think I wanted to go, since I think that would take away some of the fun when he actually proposes, plus my BFF sent him a ring from Brilliant Earth at the end of last year, so he knows what I’m looking for.

    Ahhh exciting stuff!

    • Chemist here – lab created diamonds are exactly the same as mined diamonds, same chemical formula, same crystalline structure. Fun fact: lab created diamonds will actually sparkle more because of the way their carbon atoms are stacked and they are engineered to be flawless, unlike mined diamonds which have natural impurities. In fact, the only way you can tell a lab created diamond from a mined diamond is using a specific type of spectroscopy.

      I don’t have a lab created diamond but I did want one, my husband just chose not to go that route. I’d LOVE to hear about it if you pick one!

      • Kaitlyn

        I didn’t know this fun fact, this is great to know, thank you!

      • Olive

        Another chemist here! :) I have a lab-created stone called moissanite, super sparkly, and also structurally extremely similar to diamond (Silicon & Carbon instead of just carbon). We bought it from Rosado’s Box on Etsy. I enjoy the extra nerding out because I work with silicon :)

        • ART

          I LOVE my moissanite engagement ring! I didn’t want a diamond, but didn’t want a colored stone because I wear a lot of different, bright colors all the time and wanted something neutral.

      • laddibugg

        “lab created diamonds will actually sparkle more because of the way their carbon atoms are stacked and they are engineered to be flawless, unlike mined diamonds which have natural impurities”

        This is exactly why I didn’t want one now. The ones we looked at were almost too perfect and sparkly, and I kinda felt they looked too ‘expensive’ for our current financial situation. If I ever decided to upgrade from my little cluster ring, I’d still consider a lab created stone.

    • Eenie

      Don’t let anyone diamond shame you! I found quite a few who really tried to push buying a “good” diamond now that I could upgrade the setting with later. That was not cool, and we left those stores. I went with a sapphire personally.

      • Rebecca

        Yay sapphires! I’ve never really been into diamonds (or jewelry – tbh) but I loooove my sapphire engagement ring. And when I started looking around to see what other jewelry I might wear at my wedding, I realized that people sell gorgeous jewelry with lab-created sapphires and it’s all so much cheaper than I would have thought. Which is great because if I’m not going to wear it that often, it makes sense not to spend a fortune on it. So, lab-created for the win!

        Also, I’ve been engaged for about 6 months now and have gotten many comments on how people like my “non-traditional” ring, which is fine because it’s always said with a compliment. But, are sapphire engagement rings even that unusual anymore? Didn’t Princess Diana (and likely others before her and Kate Middleton after her) show off gorgeous sapphire engagement rings?

        • Eenie

          I think it’s still very uncommon to go with a colored stone of any sort. I absolutely love mine, and wear it way more than I thought I would. I also enjoy the fact that it automatically takes me out of the “engagement ring olympics” since no one usually know how to price sapphires.

        • JC

          Whenever I hear people’s surprise at non-diamond engagement rings, I always remember Anne Shirley-Blythe’s disappointment that diamonds aren’t purple. Who wouldn’t want a big, beautiful colored stone?? I have a sapphire ring from my parents that I adore, and while I might still go for a diamond, I’m also inclined towards a pearl ring, a la Anne ;D

          • Eenie

            I wanted pearl or opal, but those stones are so fragile.

          • JC

            Yeah I definitely haven’t done research into longevity or care. He has a family friend who is a jeweler, so we’ll get great advice when the time comes.

            Funny story, the jeweler repairs all the family watches (which have been gifts for recent graduations), and when I go in there, it’s always with boyfriend’s dad, who is ready for us to get married RIGHT THIS MINUTE. I have to very pointedly only look at earrings, necklaces, and watches. I will not not even glance at the rings for fear of the hounding that is to come.

          • Rebecca

            I initially really wanted a pearl but we had the same concerns. Well, mostly my fiancé did. Likely because I drop everything all the time. Now I appreciate knowing my sapphire ring is unlikely to chip or get scratched when I knock it into things.
            Maybe a pearl would survive too, but I would worry about it more.

          • Angela

            My ring is a heart shaped amethyst with some teeny shoulder diamonds. I love my big, beautiful coloured stone and get plenty of sparkle from the little diamonds.

          • Dess

            Thanks to Anne-with-an-e, I’ve always loved pearl rings and pendants. My engagement ring is a family ring, but we’ve decided to appease those childhood dreams by marking some future milestone with a pearl ring.
            (Also, I love that you hyphenated her name.)

        • AGCourtney

          My engagement ring is green tourmaline (looks like emerald) with little diamonds on the sides and I LOVE it.

    • Laura C

      I believe my best friend has lab-created diamond earrings she’s very happy with, and she is someone whose taste is not to be trifled with.

    • Cellistec

      I chose a lab-created sapphire for my ring because I love the idea that human beings could make something as beautiful as we find in nature. I know the sparkly factor is different from diamonds, but mine is all the sparkles I wanted. No regrets here.

    • Kalë

      Yay! This makes me so happy! Sounds like our boyfriends/relationships are developing in the same timeframe – mine is also looking at rings for ideas/talking (????) to his grandma who’s a jewler/maybe getting something made or already has something bought??????, which is so exciting!

      • Kaitlyn

        Whoo whoo! He brought it up this morning like, “Oh I read this article on CNN about lab created diamonds” and I was like “oooh you smooth” haha But I literally have no idea where he found the time to go develop a relationship with a diamond lady hahaha We’re pretty much always together except for a couple of hours after work sometimes, so I’m impressed with his stealthiness (or maybe I should be worried hahaha). I don’t want to be too overly involved now cuz I still want the surprise factor :)

        Also, VERY handy he has a grandma who’s a jeweler haha My brother’s mother-in-law is also a jeweler and he totally lucked out when it came to getting a ring for my sister-in-law haha

        • Kalë

          What a smooth talker, haha. I’m excited to find someone on APW who seems to be at a similar relationship-stage as I am. Maybe we will be here on HH together in 6 months or a year, planning our weddings :)

          • Kaitlyn

            Fingers crossed! :) :)

    • sofar

      I have a lab-created diamond engagement ring! And, girl, it sparkles. My husband deliberately chose a smaller diamond with a LOT of fire. I had a coworker confess to staring at it in a meeting, and I had a lady grab my hand on an airplane to get a closer look. It cost less than natural diamonds of the same size. And, yes: Ethics, etc., if that’s a concern.

      And here’s an unexpected plus: with lab-created diamonds becoming more popular (and me being at an age where a ton of my friends are getting engaged), I’ve found myself in a few conversations where people are like, “Have you heard of lab-created diamonds? I don’t know if I could EVER get one. They’re just less real, you know?”

      … and I’m able to hold out my hand and be like, “Hey, MY RING is a lab-created diamond, biotch! Feast your eyes on how RILL it is.”

      Confession: I’d always envisioned another gemstone on my engagement ring and was “meh” about diamonds. But my husband really wanted to get me a diamond and was OBSESSED with the technology behind lab-made ones. And now I love my ring so much, because it looks like sparkly ice in the sunlight and is all the colors at once.

      • Kaitlyn

        This is really reassuring! I don’t want to go look at them in person, cuz I think that would take away some of the magic if I’m like “ooh yes do that” haha and a lot of the research I’ve come across is that they really are becoming more popular, especially for our generation. And if we can save a little cash there and put it towards the wedding or our down payment, I think I’d feel a lot better and not have my Irish Catholic guilt eat at me every time I looked at my pricey engagement ring haha

      • Carolyn S

        I have a sapphire solitaire with a bunch of tiny diamonds on the band, and we wanted the tiny diamonds to be lab diamonds but they don’t make them that small. I love the idea of them, and both my husband and I love the SCIENCE of them as well!

    • Alex K

      My BFF just (like 5 days ago) gut engaged with a lab diamond…and man does that thing sparkle. It is gorgeous. My diamond is mined and I am a little jealous of how sparkly it is (I kid…sort of).

  • Booknerd

    First HO as a Mrs! I have been a sometimes poster and a longtime lurker and this site has taught me so much about relationships, and life I can’t even believe how much a group of internet strangers has changed my life.
    Our wedding day started out pouring buckets. Went from forecast of sunny and clear to thunderstorms for the whole weekend. I don’t know who came into my normally anxiety ridden mind, but there was so much calm I called my future BIL and he had the rain cover handled for our outdoor venue, and miraculously an hour before the ceremony the clouds cleared and it was sunny and perfect.
    I have had so much anxiety and doubt about this whole wedding, and I can say it was perfect. Even the minor hiccups weren’t a big deal. I know how lucky I am that everything worked out, from my dad who had a possible cancer scare last week and wasn’t even sure if he could make it, he was grooving on the dance floor and making us all cry with his speech, the bridal party did an amazing job decorating the reception venue the day before and the groomsmen did an amazing job setting up the ceremony the day of. We got discounted service for hair and makeup as my girl quit and was replaced (by someone better!), and we came under budget for food and drinks!!
    We took all our cards on our honeymoon and the amount of support and well wishes we received was amazing to read I pretty much cry every time I see it, and our photographer got a slideshow together for us within two days to see some of the best photos.
    Thanks for reading this novel I am just so happy and relieved with how everything worked out!!

    • Congratulations!

    • Lolauren

      It looks like a gorgeous wedding! Congratulations!!!

    • Kalë

      You both look so happy! Mazel tov!

      • Barbarajtanksley1

        <<fb. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!il713r:….,…..

    • Alex K

      You look so happy! Congrats!

      • Sarahmjones

        <<hp. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!ir127m:….,…..

      • Alvinartapia2

        <<fb. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!il569r:….,….

    • Dess

      Congrats!!

  • CATL

    You know, I really haven’t kept up with the Olympics this year, I’m not sure why because I really do love the gymnastics and diving portions.

    On the other hand, maybe it’s because I’m distracted with BABY MAKING!!! This is our first try at it, and it’s been so fun (as it should be, right). I’m in the waiting period now to see if our work paid off, but for now, i’m just enjoying how much closer I feel to my husband.

    Also, I got a cavity filled last night (ugh, i hate the dentist so much) and while the laughing gas did help with my anxiety, it certainly didn’t prevent the jaw pain today. Ouch!

  • NotMarried!

    Update in the “I thought it was a good idea to plan my wedding in 4 weeks” saga.

    I have a venue, photog and florist booked. Dress bought, tux rented. Logistics are coming together. Fiance and I are driving each other up the walls as family-of-origin cultural norms are coming into conflict and high visibility. We’re not handling things particularly well tbh.

    We have slightly expanded our honeymoon route and decided to fly into Paris before going over to w.Germany. Hotel recommendations anyone? Tour companies? We’ll only be in town for a couple of days so i’m thinking something touristy and fast – ya know hit all the high points in a day? i’m pretty excited about that and am just hoping to survive the next 2 weeks, 1.5 days.

    • Lisa

      I know that renting a taxi for an entire day is something you can do. I’d really recommend the Rick Steves guidebook. He gives breakdowns of suggested activities based on how many days you’ll be in the city and includes information like museum hours and prices. I planned my two days in Paris/Versailles exclusively using his information.

      • NotMarried!

        Awesome! Thank you!

        • Lisa

          You’re welcome! I think my mom and I covered Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, a walk down the Champs Elysées, climbing the Eiffel Tower (fair warning: don’t accidentally get in the stairs line instead of the elevator one…), Notre Dame, and the Louvre. I’m pretty sure that was everything for the 1.5-2 days we were there… I would probably skip Notre Dame if I could go back because it honestly wasn’t my favorite of the cathedrals we saw.

          • NotMarried!

            We plan to do Eiffel Tower (and climbing it sounds awesome! if you know what you’re in for); Notre Dame, and the Louvre. I’m a big museum person so that could take a bit of our time.

          • Annie

            If you’re a museum person, try to check out the Cluny Museum (Museum of the Middle Ages)! It’s fascinating and gorgeous and *feels* like Paris, at least to me. It’s lesser known, but pretty close to Notre Dame IIRC and easy to do in an hour or two.

          • NotMarried!

            Thanks!

          • Lisa

            It was actually kind of fun, but it was the last thing we did after Versailles, climbing to the top of the Arc, walking the Champs Elysées, and then hoofing it over to the Eiffel Tower. (It looked so close from the river!) We walked something like 50,000 steps that day, and climbing the Tower, trying to make it to the top before all of the city lights went on was a bit much. One of my best memories is being in line for the elevator for a ride up to the top. We were at the end by the railing, and all of a sudden every light on the tower went on and sparkled around us. It was a magical moment.

            I don’t know if you saw my edit up top, but Notre Dame was probably the one activity that didn’t live up to the hype. It wasn’t the best cathedral we saw, and I would probably swap out that activity in hindsight.

    • Notreallytrevor

      I absolutely love Paris. We did a moped tour that was amazing the first time we went. Also there is a restaurant in the Latin quarter called BISTROTTERS which is sooooooo good. What kind of budget are you thinking hotel wise?

      • NotMarried!

        I have no idea … probably should discuss budget, eh? We didn’t budget for the wedding, either, but are ending up around $8K … so not too horrible. I’ll put that on today’s things to discuss.

    • Hannah

      Paris!

      Stay at the Hotel Luxembourg if you can swing it – having picnic breakfast in the Lux. Gardens! What I always love to do is get on a city bus to go wherever I’m going. You can use Google Maps to plan your route. If you do stay by Luxembourg, you could take the 85 all the way up to Montmartre, seeing a good slice of the city out of the bus windows (including great views of Notre Dame) before you get to enjoy walking around Sacre Coeur and the other sights of Montmartre.

      Have lunch at Buvette near Pigalle and head to Notre Dame, etc in the center of the city — whatever you take and leave out of this missive, don’t miss the Sainte-Chapelle, on the Ile de la Cité.

      On day 2 you could hit the Eiffel Tower, maybe picnic like the Parisians on the Champ de Mars (the lawn by the tower).

      Dinner suggestions:
      Bistrot le Cap – métro Vaugirard – you may want a reservation. This is my “local” where I take everyone!
      Le Comptoir – métro Odéon – you need a reservation
      Le Bistrot d’Henri – métro Odéon – reservation wouldn’t hurt, but you can probably get by with wandering in
      Chez Gladines – cheap, cheery, fun Basque food

      Have fun!!

  • opaqueokapi

    So I am a mum now. My son is two weeks tomorrow and he’s so freaking cute that postpartum me can hardly look at him without bursting into tears. He’s so tiny! So fragile! And that’s where it gets tough: I suppose worrying is an intrinsic part of parenthood, but it is getting a bit out of hand in our house. Normally, my husband is the chilled one, but he has a very good friend and an acquaintance whose babies died and he is freaking out, mostly about SIDS. We follow all the advice and I know it is rare but it is hard to logic your way out of the horror of close personal experience. He bought one of these baby sensors which check the baby’s breathing but the damn thing went off with six (!!) false alarms in the two nights we used it, which is no way to live (or sleep). Now he bought a second one. I just hope time will make this a bit easier. Does anyone have any good advice how to deal with excessive worrying and achieve some peace of mind (and get some sleep without having to check if the baby is still breathing every 30 minutes)?

    • Eenie

      Oh my. That sounds so rough. Has your husband had a chance to actually talk through the risk factors with a medical professional? It seems like this might be a good time to discuss the things you can control, and how sleep is important part of being able to function as a parent. I think you are right though that time will make it easier. Sending good thoughts to you and your friends!

    • emilyg25

      I think your husband needs to see a therapist for his anxiety. Or at least talk through the risks with the pediatrician so he can get a better balance of worry.

      • opaqueokapi

        Good point. It’s funny how before the baby arrived we born decided we wouldn’t buy any of these monitors but as soon as btw was there we were like “let’s invest all our savings into baby monitors NOW”.

        • emilyg25

          Like it bothers me so much that they even market those monitors. Those first few weeks with a newborn are SO NERVEWRACKING. And they’re totally trying to make money off that.

          I think as a parent, it’s really important to learn to listen to yourself and your child, to cut through the noise, and to try to evaluate risk as factually as you can. I do A LOT of self-talk to walk myself back from the anxious edge. It’s tough!

    • Ashlah

      I’m not a parent yet, so I might not be personally qualified to say what level of worrying is normal. I know new parents tend worry a lot about their fragile newborns. But if it seems to you like your husband is worried and anxious to an extent that it’s causing problems (and it seems from this outsider’s perspective that it is), he should consider seeing a therapist.

    • Jessica

      Ugh, the existence of SIDS does terrible things to a parent’s mindset — it makes all your potential fears seem justifiable. My son is 3.5 months and I will be so happy once we are out of the biggest danger zone (after 4 months, I’ve heard). My emotions stabilized after about 2-3 weeks, so keep tabs on your own feelings — obviously everyone is different but if you’re still feeling like you want to cry all the time by your 6-week check-up or so, you probably want to follow up with a professional. As for your husband’s fears…I don’t have advice, just solidarity. I hope the second monitor gives you some peace of mind without waking you up all the time! Maybe you can try to switch off nights in which you’re the designated worrier/monitor checker? Practicing giving yourselves a break from worrying might help decrease your anxiety levels overall.

      • opaqueokapi

        Thanks for your solidarity. I assume that this might all indeed get easier once I am not so damn hormonal and emotional myself anymore. I do feel I am slowly getting back to being myself, emotionally. Thanks for the reminder to take care of myself! And all the best to you and your baby!

    • Laura C

      I decided against those monitors exactly because I read they’re prone to false positives. But in my recent experience, the anxiety just abated over the first few weeks. The first time my son slept three hours I jumped up and checked his breathing. The first time he slept five hours I was just thrilled as my first response without the panic first.

      But like you say, tough to logic out of what you’ve witnessed, and the first couple weeks with a new baby are terrifying enough without that. I guess I’d advise against social media as much as possible? I’ve become so aware of how many stories people share about awful things happening to babies and I just don’t need to be reading that…

    • Hope

      We would worry when the baby made noises and worry when he wasn’t making noises! I woke up to find my husband leaning over the crib shining his cell phone on the baby to make sure he was still breathing.
      Mostly the anxiety went away as we learned the baby’s noises. Sometimes I forced myself to stay in bed and think, “If he has died, he was greatly loved.” So morbid but it did help me.

    • TeaforTwo

      Does your husband have much experience with babies?

      When we brought our son home, my husband probably took his temperature every day for the first month, and worried about all kinds of other things. He hadn’t spent any time with infants (let alone newborns) before our son was born, and so to be suddenly in charge of keeping one alive seemed to make him very nervous about all of the ways that it could go wrong.

      In our experience, that anxiety abated as time went on. He got to know our son better and have a better idea of what was normal for him, and started to worry less.

    • rg223

      Along with what other posters have said, it might help you and your husband to read some statistics on SIDS. Despite all the warnings everywhere, SIDS is a very rare occurrance. Knowing that SIDS is more rare than (something rare that you don’t even worry about) really helped me in the fear stage.

    • Gina

      It sounds like your husband is having some issues with the fact that he has absolutely no control over this big scary thing… so yea, he might need to see a therapist. I was similarly freaked out by SIDS but the one thing that really helped me was researching some concrete risk factors (like baby sleeping in a separate room), avoiding those risk factors, and then telling myself that I was doing everything I could and had to let go after that. SIDS is in large part unavoidable, but there has been some good research done about risk factors and all you can do is mitigate that risk and then move on.

  • Mary Jo TC

    So I’ve been back to work after maternity leave for 2 weeks now. And I am sooo tired. All the time. Zero energy. And I have no time to myself all day, unless you count my commute (which seems to have lengthened by 5-10 minutes each way over the four months I was out). If I’m really lucky and the baby doesn’t wake up extra early, I might get a half hour to myself in the morning to get myself ready and scroll facebook on my phone while eating cereal. I used to take 45 minutes to an hour to myself at home in the afternoon before daycare pickup, but the commute and the baby’s nursing schedule have taken that time away from me. By the time both kids are asleep at night, I need to go to sleep myself, and have no energy for chores or time with my husband or personal writing. I just hit a wall.

    The baby is waking up twice at night, usually. He’s not that bad, comparatively. My first child was awake every 2-3 hours every night for like 18 months. I felt borderline psychotic and was afraid I’d fall asleep at the wheel every day. I survived that, so I thought I’d be fine with this, and I certainly know I am better than I was then, but I’m still not great.

    And the whole day seems to be determined by whether or not the 3 year old has a tantrum on the way out the door.

    The good thing is that pumping at work is going well and I’m producing enough milk to satisfy the baby so far. (That didn’t happen for my first child; we had to supplement for him after about 3 months of child care.) We were really nervous because for the last few weeks of my maternity leave he started refusing the bottle, but our awesome caregiver got him to take it again.
    Another unrelated good thing is that 4 of the 5 candidates I supported in the local school board election won, and now we will have a board that is very skeptical of bids to start new charter schools. The candidates who lost were supported by obscene amounts of dark money from out of state, and the election is being hailed as a sign that our schools can’t be bought!

    So does anyone have any tricks for getting an extra burst of energy, or ideas for getting more time to yourself as a parent?

    • Laura C

      I have no tips, but lots of sympathy because I’m intensely feeling the lack of time to do what I want — the Olympics are making it worse because there’s all this stuff I’m actively missing that I can’t say I’ll catch sometime later. And sleep … four-month sleep regression plus the upheaval of moving him across the country means I would LOVE to get to where he’s only waking up every 2-3 hours.

      Also, thanks for the reminder that I need to pump again before I get the baby back from the (potential) nanny!

    • emilyg25

      What do your weekends look like? Can you take time then? Also, early bedtime for kids is awesome. Our guy goes down at 7.

      • Mary Jo TC

        Saturdays I’m all alone with the baby usually because my husband is taking a class and awesome mother in law takes the 3 year old to her house for fun times. This past Saturday was kind of nice because it was like being on maternity leave again. But still not much time to relax or time for myself. Baby wants to be held every minute.
        The best strategy seems to be going to the gym, where there’s child care. I just read or Netflix on the elliptical or bike. But I can’t write there.
        Bedtime routine for the toddler starts at 7:30, and is finished by 8:30, but then he’s been resisting actually falling asleep. Like we leave the room and then 10 minutes later we hear sounds and check on him and he’s out of bed. We’re wondering if he might be ready to drop his nap, and so he’s not tired? But ugh, weekends without that nap as a break!

  • Danielle

    I’m sorry to be a Debbie Downer here, but one of my friends died last week and her family wrote a wonderful obituary that I wanted to share with this community: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thetimes-tribune/obituary.aspx?pid=180989005

    Katie had bipolar disorder and TBH I was not incredibly shocked that she committed suicide because she had been hospitalized for similar thoughts in the past. What I like about her obituary is the compassionate way her family wrote about her mental illness. It has been shared on social media and I hope will bring more understanding and less stigmatization of mental illness.

    • Jessica

      I’m sorry for your loss–it’s always hard to lose a friend.

      An alumni of my college completed suicide a few months ago, and a lot of people found out for the first time about his struggle with depression. He covered it well, and it’s good to see more awareness being raised about the struggle with mental illness so many people go through.

      • Danielle

        Ugh, I’m sorry about your fellow alumnus :(

        Katie was actually really honest about her problem! It’s something I really appreciated, since I also struggle with mental health issues (not as severe, thankfully) and in fact we had seen each other checking in at the same behavioral health clinic :) Because she was so open, it made it feel less shameful. I am very grateful to her for that.

        • honeycomehome

          You should write about your experience with Katie and send a card to her parents. I bet that even if you’ve told them about that part of your friendship before it would be wonderful for them to read your words. Maybe you’re already planning on this. But what a beautiful testament to her life: she made you feel less shameful. Wonderful.

          I’m so sorry for your loss.

          • Danielle

            That’s a good idea, honeycomehome. I went to Katie’s funeral and got to meet her parents and say how sorry I was then, but did not share that particular story because… shame?

            Writing it in a card may be easier. Thanks for the suggestion <3

          • Eenie

            I think reaching out in a couple weeks/months will be nice too – so much of the sympathy and kindness comes so close to the passing. They may appreciate/understand/be more thankful for a card from you then. Especially since you were able to see them at the funeral. I hope that makes sense. But I’d definitely encourage you to share your story with them.

          • Danielle

            That does make sense.

            I’m actually planning to see them next week too, since they will be cleaning out her apartment and invited friends to come over and take anything they want. Part of me is not sure I can deal with more grief like this, but I also know that they will want any extra logistical/emotional support.

    • That’s a really beautiful and meaningful obituary. Thank you for sharing and I’m sorry for your loss.

      • Danielle

        Thank you, Rachel <3

    • Beautiful. I lost my aunt (one that I was close with) to suicide 4 years ago and it was a very confusing grieving process for me, especially since she didn’t really have a [well-known] history of mental illness (although she had some skeletons in her closet) and I had never been affected by suicide before.

      I’m glad that we’re moving in a direction where we can destigmatize these things, but I’m not happy with the speed at which we seem to be accomplishing that.

      • Danielle

        I’m very sorry to hear about your aunt. That does seem confusing.

        Suicide brings up so many questions, that you can’t necessarily have answered… It does make the grieving process more complex.

    • Laura

      What a lovely, sensitive obituary. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Lindsay

    gymnastics isn’t over! event finals are sunday and monday and i cannot wait for my girl laurie to slayyyyyy on beam again!
    also, APW would probably love sarah robles, a weightlifter who is a JOY to follow on instagram, in part because of her body-positive takedown of underarmour’s “one size fits all athletes” underwear a few months ago. I can’t wait to watch her on sunday!

    • macrain

      Laurie Hernandez for life.

      • Kalë

        She’s got charisma

        • Lisa

          She is so stinking cute, too. Her eyes are so big and bright. And her athleticism isn’t too shabby either!

          • Kalë

            Yes, the cutest! She does her routines not only perfectly and with such athletic prowess (100 emoji) but with such sass, I love it.

      • CMT
  • Brynna

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter: we’re engaged as of last week!

    I’ve already gained so much wisdom from this site (and from all of you, commenters!), so I’m excited to start planning. Of course, I bought both APW books months ago…

    • JC

      Congratulations!

    • Lolauren

      Congrats and have fun!

  • Lesley

    I quit my job in order to stay home with my daughter since I couldn’t make the standard 12 weeks work. The head of another department at my office emailed me asking to come back and work for him. I’m excited about the position and am going to go back in a few months. We met last week and he asked me what I wanted for salary. My response, “I don’t know, what am I worth?” Doh! Then I threw out a number that I thought was reasonable. He said I was waaaaaay under valuing myself and to come back to him with a new number. I looked up what I should be making and I’m shocked! Part of me is mad because I was being underpaid before I quit, but the other part of me is nervous to ask for what I’m worth. Ugh. This shouldn’t be this hard!

    • Eenie

      Um, that sounds like a really awesome boss!

      • MC

        Yeah, the fact that he asked you to come back with a new number should ease some nerves!

      • Emily

        I agree– sounds like someone who is honest and supportive. I wish there were more hiring officials out there like this.

    • Olive

      Congratulations!!! That’s so awesome!

    • Lolauren

      A smart friend told me to imagine they were also offering the same job to a married man who had kids and they knew he was supporting a family. Now ask for what you think they’d offer him. Because you deserve every penny of what he would earn.

      • Lesley

        Thank you! This helps a lot! I’m annoyed at myself for being so weird about this.

        • Lolauren

          Don’t be annoyed! It’s a hard thing we aren’t often taught. Definitely practice what you’ll ask for. I role played with my friend and that helped a lot, because a lot of people (including me) are uncomfortable with it. But it’s definitely a skill worth learning and practicing.

      • They’ve done research on this nonsense. Women negotiate better if they’re primed with “negotiate on behalf of your family” kinda wording. Rather than just negotiating for yourself. Your smart friend really is smart ;)

  • lamarsh

    Has anyone else listened to Note to Self’s 4 part series “Taking the Lead” about entrepreneurship, working mothers, and work-life balance? (http://www.wnyc.org/shows/notetoself) We are a long way from having kids but I sent the bonus episode with Andrew Moravcsik (Anne Marie Slaughter’s husband) to my FH and was like, please listen to now, I need to discuss all of this. Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by how hard it is to be a woman and have a career and children.At the same time, I’m just really impressed that my mom did exactly that and did an amazing job on both fronts, so it is apparently possible. Just, probably really difficult? Oof.

    • Ashlah

      I meant to listen to this last week and forgot. Thanks for the reminder!

    • emilyg25

      It really, really, really helps to have a partner who’s totally in it with you. My husband does the bulk of the housework, daycare pick-up, and is definitely an equal parent. (He’s actually been the preferred parent for more than a year now.)

    • Marianne

      My husband and I listen to podcasts together during our commute, including Note to Self. These topics come up a lot on the podcasts that I like, and they have prompted a lot of discussions between us. On the one hand, I’m very glad that we’re talking about this before we have kids. On the other hand, he keeps asking me questions that I can’t answer, like how much maternity leave I would want to take and whether I’d want to do the school drop off or the pick up. Talk about planning ahead!

  • Eh

    We’ve had a big (just over a) week: our daughter turned 1 year old, she started daycare, and then she gave us the biggest scare – she had a febrile seizure (actually two). She is now fine, and we knew it was a possibility since I had febrile seizures around the same age (and so did my nephew). We were at the family BBQ at the time. My daughter had a runny nose and a slight fever but she was in a good mood so we decided to go (after giving her some Tylenol). At the BBQ we tried to keep her in the shade and brought her inside to cool down for a bit. To give me a break, my FIL had been playing with her and when she was starting to get grumpy he handed her off to my MIL. I noticed that she was grumpy from across the front lawn and was going to check her out before giving her a dose of Advil. When I got to my MIL, my daughter did not look good at all (grey and unresponsive when I said her name) and then her eyes rolled back in her head so I grabbed her and yelled she was having a seizure and needed to go to the hospital. My SIL ran to me and helped me get her on a blanket on the ground. Her sister followed us and called 911. My niece ran and got my husband from the backyard. My SIL did first aid, a family friend managed the rest of the people, and another person went to the main road to direct the ambulance. My husband and I just had to worry about our daughter. She was taken to the local hospital (in the town where my in-laws live) and then was transferred to the children’s hospital an hour away (where we live). By the time she got to the children’s hospital she was back to her happy self, so after seeing the ER doctor we were sent home. Her birthday party was scheduled for the next day. We decided to still have it since she was feeling better. We also felt that my in-laws needed to see that our daughter was ok. My MIL was pretty upset with everything (especially since she had been holding her), and my FIL couldn’t sleep that night so he started Googling to see if we could have done anything “differently”. He came to the conclusion that febrile seizures can’t be prevented (true) and that the first aid (monitoring breathing, lying in recovery position, timing seizures) that was provided was correct (he wanted us to drive her to the hospital). He was also impressed that I recognized that she was having a febrile seizure right away (he thought she had heat stroke). They sure do love her. They appreciated that we didn’t cancel the party so they could see her (I’m not sure that we could have kept them away), and were respectful enough to not drag out the party so we could get some much needed rest.

    • Laura C

      That’s terrifying, but what a wonderful family response all around.

    • Ashlah

      Oh my god, how scary. But how fortunate that you knew exactly what was happening and what to do. I’m glad you had so many supportive, quick-to-act folks around you too. Glad your daughter is feeling better!

      • Eh

        I know we would have been fine if we were at home, but having everyone else do everything made a stressful situation a little bit easier.

    • Lisa

      Oh my goodness!! What a terrifying event. I’m so glad your daughter is ok.

    • MC

      That sounds super scary and intense – glad everything worked out and that your daughter is okay! Hope you all continue to get some rest this weekend.

      • Eh

        I have been dragging all week so I am looking forward to getting rest this weekend!

    • Sosuli

      What a stressful weekend! But sounds like you all handled it really well.

    • Jessica

      I had seizures as a little kid, although I don’t think they were febrile (I was on anti-seizure meds for awhile, then got weaned off of them and didn’t have the seizures return, so I avoided a diagnosis of epilepsy). What kid of first aid did your SIL administer? From what my mom says, there wasn’t much to do during my seizures except for watching and trying to make sure I didn’t hurt myself (catching me if I was standing, moving away hard objects if I was flailing, comforting me after the seizure ended). I had two other siblings who have had seizures (although only 1-2 times each, whereas mine were more frequent over a period of six months) so there’s probably some kind of genetic component that my kiddo might have inherited. If there’s a specific first aid response that’s helpful, I’d like to know!

      • Eh

        I was on anti-seizure meds as a kid too because I had a few seizures. They generally do not medicate kids for febrile seizures now a days.

        There isn’t much that can be done during the seizure. The main things are to time the seizures, monitor breathing (she was turning blue), make sure they don’t hurt them self, and to have them lie on their side (recovery position) in case they vomit. While they are having the seizure you might not be able to have them on their side. My daughter is small enough and her seizure was mostly twitching so my SIL was able to keep her on her side. After the seizure we kept her in recovery position and covered her with a blanket while still monitoring her breathing.

        • Eh

          My doctor had warned me that there was probably a genetic component to my seizures so I knew my kids might have them. My husband and I took a first aid course before our daughter was born (in case of seizures and other things that happen to kids). I talked to a nurse about febrile seizures when our local parent resource centre had a session on caring for sick babies. Whenever my daughter has felt warm we have checked her temperature and most of those times she has had a fever. We would medicate it and monitor it (checking her an hour or two later to see if the fever had decreased) – as I previously said, medicating fevers does not prevent febrile seizures.

  • Ashlah

    Since there are so many parents and soon-to-be parents and hope-to-be parents around here, does anyone want to share which pre-natal vitamin they use(d)? The choices are overwhelming! I usually like researching products, but I just don’t even know where to begin. Plus it’s hard to get excited about horse pills.

    • A2

      I take the Target house brand (Up & Up) gummy prenatal. I found that the gummy ones were easier on my stomach during the first trimester, but they don’t contain iron, so if you’re anemic they might not be the product for you.

    • macrain
    • Lolauren

      If you don’t like “horse pills” (and it gets worse if you feel nauseous at all) I would recommend these Rainbow Light mini-tabs. They cost a bit more dosage, but after throwing up the bigger version a few times, this is worth it. You will need a DHA supplement as well though (I use Nordic Naturals). My best piece of advice is to take the prenatals before bed. If I take them in the morning, they really upset my stomach, but I don’t notice it before bed.
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002CPRLH6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    • laddibugg

      Another vote for target brand gummies. I still hated the taste, but they were better than the big pills.

    • Eh

      My doctor just said to make sure it had enough folic acid, so I just took One-A-Day or the store brand.

      I saw this article recently:
      http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/community/chi-ugc-article-are-prenatal-vitamins-worth-it-2016-07-20-story.html

    • CATL

      I’ve been taking the “Trying to get pregnant” gummies from First Response. They don’t taste bad at all and don’t upset my stomach.

    • Lulu

      I actually dislike the sugary taste of the gummies, but do fine with the horse pills (and fishy burps, if you go with one with DHA) if I take them before bed. I don’t know if this source is reputable, but it is at least a source: https://labdoor.com/rankings/prenatal-vitamins/

    • emmers

      I do the NatureMade prenatal from Costco. I just looked for something with DHA, and they had pretty good ratings. I think they’re like $17 for a 3 month supply.

    • I’m on my 2nd bottle of the Vitafusion prenatal gummies, which are pretty good. Definitely need to take with food though, especially in the first trimester.

    • Laura C

      I was told take basically anything labeled prenatal. The grocery store had one-a-day so I got those and it was fine. Once I tried Trader Joe’s and they turned my pee neon yellow-green, which I wasn’t a fan of.

    • emilyg25

      Gummies don’t typically have calcium or iron. I did those during first tri when I literally could not swallow the big pills, but then switched to regular ones. I did a combo that had a DHA capsule, whatever brand gets DHA not from fish oil. I hate the fish burps.

    • Ashlah

      Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the suggestions!!

  • MC

    Hard covno with Husband about finances this week – turns out having a budget does not solve all our financial differences or rid me of my financial anxiety. The long story short is that he’s a spender, I’m a saver, and I’m starting to see a small trend that a lot of our budget goes to things that are his priorities, rather than my or our priorities – like, in our “Home Improvement” budget, he is generally the one who decides what home improvement projects to prioritize this month and spends money at the beginning of each month accordingly. I’m the kind of person who would always wait until the end of the month to spend ANY money on non-necessities, so by the time I think of things I want to prioritize, the money is already spent. Even though our conversation was long & hard I think we are moving in the right direction, but dang, combined finances are tough!

    Another factor is that I got a big raise in March which means that I am making more money than Husband for the first time since we combined finances, and there is part of me that wants to be able to spend more money on myself/my priorities. And I feel super guilty about it because Husband out-earned me for two years and never once asked me to change my spending habits – but then I think, well of course he didn’t have to, I am super thrifty! I desperately want to think of our finances as OURS and not what I make vs. what he makes, but it’s hard. Any advice from spender/saver couples? Or from savers on how to be assertive with spending money?

    • Jessica

      We’re similarly matched (I’m the saver & he’s the spender as well). 2 thoughts:
      1) We pretty much run our finances exactly as Meg describes here – https://apracticalwedding.com/2014/10/personal-budgeting-youre-longer-broke/

      2) We met with a financial planner from Learn Vest – https://www.learnvest.com/. They did a financial plan for us. It was pretty low cost ($250 maybe). While the financial plan has not blown me away (it’s a lot of stuff I already did for us anyway) — it was helpful in facilitating conversations about our values & different approaches to spending money. And hugely important – it made us think through these decisions as a team, rather than a me vs. my husband scenario.

      • AGCourtney

        Seconding the link to Meg’s post.

        And the sentiment that combining money is *hard*. I’m the saver, my husband’s the spender, and YNAB and separate “allowances” each month will likely save our marriage.

    • LittleOwl

      This is so tough. We are working through this too- we are both savers with me leaning a bit to the spendy side. Since he’s spendy and you’re a saver, perhaps the budget isn’t soothing your anxiety because now you know EXACTLY how much you’re spending together and it stresses you out more, without having the same impact on him.
      I’ve heard of some couples giving themselves a mutually agreed upon amount of “spending money” per month that seems fair to both parties, but may not be the same amount. That way you can budget yourself a healthy amount of your hard earned money without guilt, and you can relax knowing that your partner won’t be spending more than X amount per month.

    • emmers

      I’m also a saver, paired with a spender. We just talk about this stuff a lot. There have been tears at times, but I think it just takes talking and talking and talking again until you find something that works for you. We’ve had to adjust a few times how we do things. I think we’re finally somewhere that works for us. We meet semi regularly about priorities (things like which home improvement projects to prioritize). He still makes some decisions on his own, and I do too, but talking about priorities, especially when they’re more expensive, helps a lot. I literally have a google doc of both big and small priorities (with things anywhere from replacing a toilet paper holder to getting a hot tub). I wouldn’t say we stick to it always, but it helps me feel like we’re on the same page.

      We’ve also talked a lot this week about how our spender/saver dichotomy has set us up pretty well. We have flexibility because of me, and he helps me spend money on stuff (like going out to eat and booze!) that I honestly wouldn’t allow myself to do if it were all on me.

    • Cellistec

      I’m the spender AND the higher earner in our house, and I struggle with this too. It’s the emotional side of money that all the spreadsheets in the world can’t help with. My only advice so far is that not all the money is “ours”–a “yours, mine, ours” mentality might be more helpful, so you each feel like you have something to spend on anything you want, in addition to the shared expenses. My hiccup with that so far is that we allot the same amount for each of our “fun money” budgets, but I overspend mine every month and my husband often has some left over. So we may need to have the conversation about unequal fun money budgets and whether that’s fair, considering I make more than he does but don’t want to emphasize that.

      tl;dr Money is hard.

    • AP

      We have this dynamic as well. I’m the saver, he’s the spender AND the higher-earner. We’ve been using YNAB since January, and I made similar observations in the first few months of budgeting- we each had our separate monthly “fun money” allotments, but then on top of that we’d also budget money for his hobbies/priorities. I banked most of my spending money each month, while he spent his out. He also has a ton of *stuff* that predates me (boat, motorcycle, etc.) that has caused no small amount of resentment on my part when I saw our money flying out the door every month to maintain it all. We’ve had to just talk through that, and it’s taken a few years to be able to do it without all the emotions. (His motorcycle is up for sale as we speak!)

      Lately though we’ve been getting more on the same page, I think as the result of a few things:
      1. We sit down at the end of each month and budget next month’s money together using YNAB. Over time, he’s definitely noticed how much he spends compared to me, and how much we spend on his hobbies vs mine. (Especially when we run reports to show how much he’s spent over several months!) It’s also allowed us to have conversations like, “Is replacing the headliner in the car a need that comes from the Car Maintenance category, or a want that comes out of your spending money?” Sometimes we decide, yes, it is a need, but at least it feels more like we’re deciding together.
      2. This spring I wanted to start some raised garden beds, and I was firm about budgeting for it outside of my spending money since it would benefit both of us and I rarely ask for things like that. It was the first home improvement project that was my idea and execution, start to finish. It felt weirdly good to say, “We’re spending x on my project this month” without apology. Maybe it’s childish, but could you just try calling “First!” at budget time, and see where that lands you? Think of something that’s important to you (even if it’s a long-term goal that would require saving a certain amount each month) and just plant your flag on it?
      3. We started aggressively saving for retirement, and this has caused the biggest visible shift in his spending. A few months ago he was bugging me about the $300 coffee pot that he SWORE was a need because all other coffee pots are INFERIOR GARBAGE, but I haven’t heard a peep about it since he’s started realizing that every dollar spent means it’ll be longer before we can retire. (I realize this is not everyone’s goal, but I think where this is applicable is that some shared long-term spending goals can help drive the day-to-day spending decisions.)

      About the disproportionate incomes: my husband makes double what I earn, but we consider everything that comes in “ours.” Everything goes into the same pot and we each get the same amount of spending money every month. We are working hard to reduce our spending to just one income so that we have more choices, like taking time off to have a kid or having enough in savings that we can travel or work less.

      Honestly, I think I’d have a hard time if my husband asked for more spending money because he earns more, because what I’d hear is “my work is more valuable, therefore I deserve more spending money” and I can’t help that nonprofit work is paid way less than corporate work. I also do a shit ton more house work than he does, but that doesn’t pay a salary. I think the more important conversation for you to have is one about your shared goals and priorities for your money (and your discomfort with how it’s currently being spent every month) as opposed to one about earning power. Just feels like a risky way to frame it.

      Good luck! This stuff is hard!!

      • emmers

        Plus one to this: “I think I’d have a hard time if my husband asked for more spending money because he earns more, because what I’d hear is “my work is more valuable, therefore I deserve more spending money” and I can’t help that nonprofit work is paid way less than corporate work. I also do a shit ton more house work than he does, but that doesn’t pay a salary. I think the more important conversation for you to have is one about your shared goals and priorities for your money (and your discomfort with how it’s currently being spent every month) as opposed to one about earning power. Just feels like a risky way to frame it.”

        I will always earn less than my partner, but he works hard to make me feel equal. I’ve always been a saver, and just last night he was talking about how we’re perfectly matched, and how I’ve contributed to our partnership by bringing my pre-marriage savings. It wasn’t much (probably less than $5k cash, and significantly more than that in retirement), but he’s talked about how he loves how it’s given us so much more flexibility, and also given him freedom to take advantage of financial opportunities.

        In any case, if he told me I could spend less because I earn less, I’d be hurt, and it would be a Thing. Like maybe eventually a counseling Thing.

        • MC

          I totally agree with all of this, and feel lots of guilt for suddenly feeling possessive of *my* money now that I’m making more money. I think part of it is that I’m resentful because when I was the one who made less money, he spent more money than I did, and my raise came right after we started actually budgeting our money. So there was a part of me that felt like, “Oh, once I make more money I can spend more money on myself,” since that’s what’d we’d been doing before, but that did not happen. Obviously this is more of my issue than his, and I need to figure out a way to deal with those feelings, but for a couple months I was trying to pretend that there was no resentment or that nothing had changed when I started to make more. Trying to acknowledge it and be more generous in thinking about our money.

          • NolaJael

            I absolutely understand where you are coming from, but I can speak to the other side of this. I’ve always made more money than my FH – like 2x or more. He recently got a job that is promising a big raise and started talking up some of the “fun” things he might get to do with the “extra” money and my blood pressure would go instantly up. All I could think about were the bills I’d been covering for years (mortgage, utilities, pets, to name a few). It helped us both for me to let him be excited for a while, and then gently introduce renegotiating the amounts we pooled into those shared expenses.

          • This is why I like the set allowance approach. We each get the same personal allowance, no matter who makes more (it switches off). If someone gets a raise, both people could get a small bump to the personal allowance…or more money can start going toward the car payment. Fun times.

          • Michela

            We don’t do the allowance thing (in large part because we’re lazy and don’t want to moderate another transfer) but I was thinking this might work really well for their situation. As the spender, I can totally see how burning through my monthly allowance in the first week of the month would be really instructive.

          • emmers

            I totally hear you. Sometimes I do feel resentful when I feel like he spends more than me. Maybe can you talk with him and mention that you would like to do something to celebrate getting your raise. Maybe there’s something you’ve been wanting to buy & can do that to celebrate, kind of as a reframing. Just a thought!

      • Michela

        YES TO ALL OF THIS!!!

    • JC

      A different but related (because I am also the saver in our relationship) question: How do you prioritize your money when it’s an unexpected windfall, like a gift or a larger than average tax return? “Windfall” is perhaps hyperbole, but I did just learn that I’m getting a bit of unexpected cash! I know what my tendencies are for using the money, but I’m curious how others would go about it.

      • Anon

        I’ve always been told: Save for an emergency fund first, pay off debt second, invest third, put into general savings fourth, and purchase any “wants” last. Not the sexiest way to go about it, admittedly! :p

        We had about an $80k windfall not too long ago and while I wanted to take a fabulous vacation, I begrudgingly understood that using half to pay off student debt and putting half in a portfolio fund was smarter for our longterm/overall goals. But we’re on the young(er) side and we were still trying to get our financial grounding, so others that are more established might have a more nuanced way of going about it.

      • Ashlah

        Usually we already have some long-term savings goals, so we’ll discuss how much to put towards those versus treating ourselves to something special now. I definitely lean towards putting a bigger chunk in savings, whereas he’d love to buy a new guitar or set of tires. I usually win out because he does appreciate what my saving habits have done for us, but I like to make sure we treat ourselves too, so that budgeting doesn’t become a wholly negative or boring experience. There’s no exact percentage split, just depends on our goals and desires at the time we get said cash. I have spreadsheets of our savings goals and our loans, so it’s easy to plug in and play around with different scenarios.

      • emmers

        We look at where we are financially at the moment. Right now we’re paying off debt, so when my husband got a bonus, that’s where it went! But future bonuses I’m sure will go to other stuff, like maybe a car downpayment, or beefing up savings, or even something fun like a household project or trip. We’ve also talked about taking a tiny bit to address an immediate small need/want and then use the bulk of it for debt/financial obligation. Like, this time we bought steaks and wine and beer and had a nice dinner. We’re also religious church people, so we’ve been tithing out of the bonuses, too, or at least trying to head in that direction.

        • NotMarried!

          yep – tithing

      • emilyg25

        We have shared long-term financial goals, so we’d put most of a windfall toward that. But we’re also spenders, so we’d probably go out to a really nice dinner too! :)

      • JC

        Yep yep yep. I should have known that APWers would have similar financial plans to me. I do like knowing that I’m not the only one whose first reaction is, “Oh good, more money for savings!”

        I am here to publicly, state, though, that some of this money is going towards watercolor classes. My grandfather was a professional watercolorist, this money is from his estate, and I’ve always had a dream of learning his craft. So, I declare, I’m going to do it!

        • Ashlah

          That sounds like a fantastic use for those funds!

          • JC

            Thank you! I had the idea a while ago, but evening classes (for those of us who aren’t retired and can’t make it to Wednesdays at 11am) don’t come cheap. I’m even more excited about them now!

        • Lisa

          What a great way to do something fun and honor his memory!

        • Michela

          My parents received a windfall after my grandmother’s death. Most of it went to savings, but we’re planning a big Grand Canyon trip next year in her memory with some of the funds. She loved travel, especially state parks out west, so it’s a lovely way to celebrate her. I think both our grandparents would be happy with these plans!xo

      • AGCourtney

        I’m a really thrifty, savings/goal-oriented person, but with unexpected windfalls, I like to do something special, something extra. Last year’s tax return was our wedding budget. Property tax return this year is for new counters. The money from this garage sale we’re having this weekend will probably go toward our trip to Chicago this January to see Hamilton.

        • JC

          HAMILTON.

          • AGCourtney

            I KNOW I’M SO EXCITED.

      • FH spent his on a priiiiiiiicey wide monitor. I put my direct into the random-bits-of-personal-travel/f***-you fund. Because that’s how I like to spend my money ;)

      • NolaJael

        This is a struggle! We’re going to be in debt for decades (student loans!) so putting all bonus money towards that forever would be sad. So I’ve suggested trying to put some percentage towards savings and some percentage towards “fun” but FH thinks that’s too stuffy. Needless to say, I’m the saver, too. :)

      • Amy March

        Last time I had a windfall I put 100% of it to my student loans within the hour, before I got attached. I know my grandfather wanted future me to be better off, not have fun luxuries, so that’s what I did.

        • NotMarried!

          It took me about 5 years to pay off my stu. loans. During that timeframe … every extra cent went directly there. After fiance and I marry at the end of the month … we are planning to start on “pay off mortgage” efforts.

        • JC

          Yeah that’s what’s so interesting about this money (for me but also all of my family who are now managing it). My grandparents lived frugally to the point of self-induced poverty. While I believe they were happy, I don’t believe they were ever comfortable or had a healthy attitude about taking care of themselves. We are all now seeking to be responsible with their legacy, but also not to inherit their tendencies of self-denial and deprivation. It’s an interesting lesson.

      • Michela

        We talked about this recently, but absent a windfall; we received a $100 check in the mail as a delayed wedding gift and it spurred a conversation about what to do with it. I’m the spender, he’s the saver. I thought it would be a good idea to have a pre-determined “rule” about these things so that, in the event such a thing happens, we’ve already decided what we’ll do with the money. This helps us avoid conflict in the moment and clarifies priorities.

        We decided:
        -To my student loans, until those are paid off
        -To retirement
        -Partially to travel if we have a trip coming up and want $50 for a fancy dinner or something

        Also- as the spender in our relationship, it is much more gratifying for me to see that $100 (or $5000) going to a specific cause rather than just adding zeros to our savings account balance. This was a huge realization for both of us and helped determine our priority list above. While putting that $100 or $5000 towards student loans or retirement isn’t directly increasing our savings account, it’s still a savings goal and not a spendings goal. Thought this concept might be helpful to those savers who are partnered with spenders!xo

    • Michela

      I’m the spender, he’s the saver. It’s taken us about a year of near-daily conversation to get on the same page, but we’re there now and it’s wonderful. A few tips below that I hope you’ll find helpful!

      1. Putting together a detailed, agreed upon budget in YNAB helped me spend less when I was met with the painful reality of logging that $75 Target trip where I essentially bought nothing. As Gretchen Rubin says, you can’t modify what you don’t know.
      2. For long-term purchases that aren’t necessary but would be nice (i.e.- blackout material for our bedroom curtains) I started making a list throughout the month. When we did our budget reconciliation on the first of the month, we’d review the list and have a conversation about what our priorities were for that month from the list. It also helped me, the spender, learn to prioritize and come to terms with the fact that I can’t have everything all at once.
      3. My husband never nagged me or made me feel badly about my spending tendencies. In fact, he was so supportive of me and so happy we were sticking with YNAB that I was able to curb my spending simply by wanting to make him proud. Had he bagged me, I would’ve felt resentful. This isn’t to say you’re nagging your partner, only to say that it really helped me learn and make mistakes in a supportive environment.
      4. Modify your budget if you have to and as needs change. We increased or eating out budget in the two months prior to our wedding because I was also finishing up my graduate school thesis and just didn’t have the energy to cook. Caveat- now that the wedding/grad school is over, we lowered the budget back to its prior rate.
      5. Continually celebrate the milestones! When you’re a spender, it can be difficult to see the benefits of saving. We both made an effort to celebrate extra payments to student loans, increased savings account balances, and even small things like when my powder compact broke and I reassembled it with a Pinterest hack to save $40 in replacing it. Celebrate the small wins consistently to help your partner see why saving and budgeting is valuable.

      Hope this proves useful!! This can be such a difficult thing. Ultimately, though, I love that we have different spending habits. He helps me save for the future and I help him spend to have fun in the present. Finding the balance was difficult at first, but so lovely now that we’ve found it.

  • Sosuli

    Both of husband’s groomsmen got engaged within a month of our wedding. One has already asked him to be best man. Both are getting married in 2018. We’ve been vaguely planning having a child before the end of that year, and on Monday I’ve got a meeting at a university here in [home country] about applying for a 3 year post-doc which would mean moving there in a year. Oooh man. Busy times ahead!

  • macrain

    I just got back from maternity leave and am heading into the busiest week of my professional life all year. I’m nervous about finding time to pump, being away from my son so much, and about my husband caring for the baby without me there to help. He is on leave with our son right now, and usually he could really use a break by time I walk in that door! I don’t doubt his abilities, I just know it will be exhausting for him. (And, oh yea- on ME since our son still wakes up 2-3 times a night, and waking up for work on a normal day is hard.) I keep reminding myself it’s just one week, we can manage anything for one week. Still- it will probably be tough on all of us. If anyone has tips for managing a busy time at work with a little baby, I’m all ears!

    • emmers

      Good luck! I hope it goes wonderfully. You’re so true– it’s just one week. You can totally do this. You’ve done way harder stuff for longer before. Kick ass, lady! You can do it!

    • LittleOwl

      Congratulations!! I do not have children yet, but on crazy work weeks I try to do something fun/self-care related on Wednesday or Thursday, to give me a something to look forward to and give me a little oomph to finish the week. For new parents I’m not sure what that looks like. Friday will come (yay!) and then you should treat.yo.self, in whatever way you can. Good luck!!

    • emilyg25

      This week will be so good for your son and husband, and ultimately for you. My husband spent a few days caring for our guy solo when I went back to work and it really bonded them and made my husband realize how hard it is. It confirmed both our decisions to return to work. A little hard work is good for all!

      For you, focus on the stuff you *have* to do and let the rest slide. So laundry piles up and your floors get a little grody. No big. When I went back to work, I spent like 15-20 minutes right when I got home cuddling in bed with my baby and doing skin to skin. That was awesome.

      Schedule your pumping sessions on your calendar like you schedule your meetings. That will reinforce it with your colleagues and keep you from forgetting.

      Good luck! You got this!!

    • Hope

      I agree with letting housework things slide for the week. If it’s not possible to prep meals ahead, try to be ok with more take out than usual. Even though it’s hard to not have grown-up time, this week you may benefit from earlier nights.
      Both of you can do this!

  • Cellistec

    I just started reading Lindy West’s memoir “Shrill” on the bus this morning, and holy hell was I hooked from page 1. The commentary is as every bit sharp as the wit. It didn’t hurt that the first chapter includes a takedown of movie tropes from my childhood and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Doctor Who reference.

    • JC

      Ah love Lindy West! Thanks for the reminder to pick up her new book!

    • MC

      That’s on my list because I love everything she writes! Did you see her article on how to talk about female athletes? Made me go YESSSS all the way through:
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/09/female-olympians-guide-gaffes-athletes-sports-makeup-shorts-marital-status-lindy-west

      • Cellistec

        Right?? The last line FTW.

      • anonymousforthis

        I’m sorry, but her stuff feels a little too Michael Moore for me and this article is a great example. Obviously a lot of the Olympic coverage has been sexist (the wife of a bears player thing was a great example). But some of the things she mentions are just how the Olympics is covered. As an example, sure Simone Biles was called the Michael Jordan of gymnastics, but Michael Phelps was also called the Michael Jordan of swimming. And Michael Phelps fiancé and son are mentioned and shown constantly, so why can’t we see female athletes family members? There is so much sexism in the world that we don’t need to go inventing more. And I think it turns people off of feminism. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    • Leah

      Yes! Loved it. Also, if you are an audiobook person, she narrates the audio version it was great to hear her telling it all in her own voice – highly recommended in the audio format if that’s your thing.

      • Cellistec

        I didn’t even know it was available in audiobook yet. Good call!

    • AP

      Did you catch the This American Life episode recently that featured her talking about her book? I thought it was excellent.

      • Cellistec

        I did! Her story of being trolled made my jaw drop.

      • I really liked the episode where she comes out as ‘fat’ – and tears Dan Savage a new @$$hole for his fat-shaming.

    • Michela

      I devoured “Shrill” in a few hours by the pool on our honeymoon. So happy to hear you’re loving it, too!

  • Kalë

    Like I mentioned during HH last week, the boyfriend and I have been looking at/talking about rings together (!!!). I think I’ve given him a pretty good idea of what I like (vintagey, art-deco inspired, thin band), but he asked me what size of stone I wanted the other day and I was like ?_? I don’t think cost is too much of a factor, but when trying on rings with stones of different sizes, I had trouble deciding because apparently there are feelings around this issue that I didn’t know I had. I THINK I want something around the 1 carat mark, but I’ve got some unexpected anxiety around that – is 1 carat a “big ask” – asking too much? what if I wanted bigger? what if he was thinking smaller? what if other people think it’s too small/big? Obviously some of my feelings are rooted in societal issues that are bigger than the stone size, but did anyone else deal with this type of weirdness during this period? Would anyone be comfortable sharing their engagement rings, and the stats on carat size vs. ring finger size, if you have them?

    • raccooncity

      Even if it’s a whole surprise thing you have planned, GO TRY SOME ON (even if only by yourself). You’ll never know for your hands, and frankly, your tastes, until you try them on. I have what feels like a huge diamond to me, but I loved pictures of big diamonds on hands. I also loved pictures of tiny diamonds on hands. I realized trying them on that my in-person idea of what was huge on me was actually much smaller than I thought, and as a social worker I still don’t wear the engagement ring to work often out of feeling like it’s “big”

      FTR: i got a .87ish carat centre diamond, but since it’s old european cut it looks somewhat smaller than i think a perfect circle would.

      • raccooncity

        Worth noting: I have skinny long piano-playing fingers.

    • toomanybooks

      Mine is also Art Deco with a thin band! It was originally my grandmother’s so I didn’t really have much of a choice in size – and we might not have been able to afford anything bigger anyway. I want to say it’s a .25 carat diamond in the center? But I’m actually not sure because I just inherited it so I didn’t really get stats. My ring finger size is 6.25.

      FWIW, I would have loved a bigger diamond if cost wasn’t an issue (& I didn’t have this one) and now that I know how much diamonds cost by their size, I’m very impressed when I see a big one (and what I think of as big now that I know about pricing is far different from what I thought of as big before – like before I would think “if the stone is literally bigger than the width of your finger it’s big” or something because I was just thinking about costume jewelry).

      With many Art Deco designs, you can get a lot of size without a lot of diamond, the way mine is. I like that because I feel like it makes it very visible that I’m engaged (which deters unwanted male attention) but it doesn’t feel so much like a target for theft (no idea of that’s a thing at all, I just have anxiety lol).

      I’ll note the larger shape of the ring has made wedding band shopping a little worrisome because I couldn’t really wear a band with this that doesn’t have some curve to it but I didn’t want one with a designated cut-out for the engagement ring.

    • emilyg25

      Yes to going to try some on. I always had that one-carat idea in my head, but I have small hands and that looked bigger than I liked. My ring size is 4.75 and I like around 0.5 to 0.75 carat stones. Of course, then I ended up with no engagement ring at all!

    • KK

      My stone is under a carat, I think in the 0.8 range, but because my finger is so slim and the cut is good/the setting shows off the size, people usually assume it is (significantly) larger than a carat. At which point I feel self conscious and immediately feel like I have to explain how it really isn’t that big and he didn’t really spend that much. Man rings have a lot of baggage haha! Note I think my ring size is 4.75. My sister in law has the exact same setting/style, but a larger finger. On our hands, our rings look exactly the same size… but hers is probably 1.2 carats. My husband and I joke that my skinny fingers saved him a lot of money!
      My understanding is that the 1 carat mark is the arbitrary mark that a lot of people want to hit, so stones just under in the 0.9 range can often be a really good deal financially. Only you and your partner would know the actual carats, so try not to think about an arbitrary carat number… instead just find what size you like and think is affordable!

      • KK

        Also wanted to add that since carats just measure the weight, the cut can have a lot to do about how big the stone actually looks. And by cut, I mean both the type of cut as well as the quality/grade of cut for that type.
        Another reason to look at actual stones and try on actual rings!

        • Kalë

          This is all very helpful, thank you! I didn’t realize that cut could make such a difference. I think my guy is looking at vintage/lab created diamonds for ethical reasons, but I’m not sure if this affects the cut much or not – I know there are cuts that are more “traditional” and seen in older diamonds but not much anymore.

    • Jess

      So… I’ve got a stone that’s a bit < 1 carat (I want to say like .8-.9?) but looks pretty big upon my rather slender hand (It's about 6mm diameter, my ring size is 3.75)

      I found a bunch of charts on carat size vs diamond size, but I don't see much about appropriate diamond size for ring size. I think if he's asking, it's ok to say, "I'd like something to take up x amount of my finger" and have a conversation around it?

      Regarding emotions, I have some weirdness about size/design because my ring is a bit larger/more eye catching than my friends more modest rings, and I feel weird about people spending money on me in general. But you know what? I really like the ring and the stone.

      • Kalë

        The weirdness is what’s really getting me, more than the size. I didn’t realize I would have EMOTIONS (specifically shame/guilt weirdness) about this. Thanks for the input!

    • Ashlah

      I’d definitely try some on, just to get an idea of what you like. My ring size is 5/5.5, and my stone is a third carat. I didn’t want anything super flashy (and it catches on enough stuff as it is!), so it’s a great size for me. Here’s a pic, if it helps.
      https://s10.postimg.org/nbz7rmp2x/2016_08_12_12_12_27_1.jpg

      • Ashlah

        I realized that “flashy” might have some negative connotations that I totally did not intend to include in my comment, so I changed it to big. I personally wanted a relatively not-very-large stone, but that was strictly my preference, not a judgement. I can definitely appreciate bigger stones on other people’s hands! Phew, now I can relax. This stuff is fraught, I understand your internal struggle with the weirdness!

    • cml

      Mine is 0.75, and I THINK my ring size is 5. (I’m really not good at paying attention to this sort of thing, I just know it’s shiny and has cool engravings on the side LOL.)
      I have long, thing fingers, if that helps at all.

    • I have a 0.85 oval diamond as my center stone, and my rings are sized at 5.5 (I have tiny fingers).

      When we went ring shopping, I fell in love with the oval cut, especially since it appears bigger than a traditional round diamond, so you can go smaller and get the same effect.

      • Kalë

        This is super helpful! Our stats are exactly the same – 5.5 finger, preference for oval cut – I like that the oval cut diamonds I’ve tried make my stubby fingers somewhat elongated, whereas the square and round cuts seem to make them look… squat.

    • Jsk

      I have tiny hands (ring size 4-4.25 with short fingers). My stone is roughly 1c with a diamond band on the ering and a diamond eternity wedding band. Both bands are quite thin because I don’t have much space before the first knuckle. Lots of sparkle on tiny hands so it appears fairly bling-y, which I love.

      Try things on! You’ll never know what you like until you try various options.

    • I’m going to point you to the estate jeweler where we bought my 1940s ring: https://www.marleneharriscol.com/
      Because her in-store and online collection are AMAZING. And real vintage is shockingly affordable, at least when you buy it from this renovated chicken coop outside of Pittsburgh. Her online reviews are pretty good, but Marlene herself can be a bit WIC-y. ‘Good to know that beforehand, if you’ll see her in person.

      Anyways! I’ve a 6.75 finger, 0.16 carat ring, but as other said…antique settings will have all sorts of additional adornment. I like that it’s low profile and looks like an Aztec temple, lol.

      • Kalë

        Totally get the Aztec-temple vibe, too! I checked out the store you mentioned – beautiful stuff! I think what I’m leaning towards is a contemporary, vintage-inspired design. I’ve totally been lusting over the rings at Heidi Gibson Designs on Etsy:

        • Ah, yes. I’ve seen her work. It is lovely!

    • Rebekah

      Mine’s a 5.5 and the stone is 1/3 carat. I found it on Etsy and I love it as much after 3 years as I did when I found it.

    • Amy March

      Please just tell him which one you like? And then actually discuss your feelings about it? Guarantee he wants to know what you think, not random internet strangers. Since he asked you

      • I think she’s trying to figure out what carat she likes, by looking at the size of other people’s hands with varying carats. But…the best bet is to go to a store and try some on, to find out what she likes. Lotsa people walk into and out of jewelry stores without buying any, so don’t respond to any pressure to purchase!

    • Marianne

      I definitely felt the weirdness during the entire ring shopping experience. My husband and I went ring shopping together because I’m crazy picky. Since my hands are small, I wanted a simple ring with a small stone. Since he had already decided how much we should spend, he wanted an elaborate ring with a bigger stone. The poor jewelry store guy was so confused. In the end, I picked the ring and the size of the stone, and he picked the quality of the stone (and hence the actual price). I picked out an engagement/wedding band set because I wanted to just make the decision once.

      I don’t know what size I ended up with, but it’s definitely under a carat and I’m perfectly happy with it. People love to share their opinions about all things wedding-related, and some of them will tell you what they think about your ring. Feel free to ignore them, it’s not their hand!

    • Notreallytrevor

      I’m not yet engaged but we have been looking at rings. I have SO many feelings about the size thing. I specifically did not want a solitaire as I think it can end up as a rock off. We earn more than many of our friends and my side of the family, so the likelihood is that I would have the larger stone than most of my friends who are already engaged. Especially since he would feel the need to live up to his family’s expectations (FMIL bought herself a divorce ring that has Victoria Beckham old stone as the main stone and her new engagement ring is over 3 carats). In his mind though an engagement ring is a solitaire or similar. I don’t want to wear a symbol of our wealth, it’s not what I think it should mean.

      We have come to the decision that a vintage ring where the worth isn’t immediately obvious is the way forward for us. I still have a lot of apprehension about what he will choose and how other people will feel about it. I know it shouldn’t matter and it will be the first of many things wedding wise where our families different outlook will come to the fore but I’m still worried.

      Sorry to be of no help at all but just to say your not alone in your confusion!

    • Booknerd

      Mine center stone is .3 carot and I picked it out myself and it wasn’t until I got it I started looking at others and getting size envy, because I could have gone bigger (fiancé had a bigger budget) but personally I felt the bigger rings in the style I liked were too expensive for where we are in life. I just couldn’t feel right about that amount of money spent on me, and that is of course relative to income and lifestyle. I also didn’t feel that bad about picking the most expensive band in the store because it was the only one that matches my ring and I knew we didn’t go overboard with the ering and now I get to wear both nobody has once commented on how small my ring is

  • Brittany

    You guys…. I got married! (Two months ago… little slacking on the happy hour update.)

    The day went by so so fast but (mostly) everything went smoothly. It was strange experiencing a wedding from the perspective of a bride and not a guest… If I could go back and be a guest at my own wedding I would in a heartbeat!

    Favorite photo from right after the ceremony where we were like ‘omg’

    • Ashlah

      Aw, congratulations :)

  • cml

    So, I just posted for the first time on another discussion thread, and now I’m so excited to no longer be an APW lurker that I have a question for you all here. :)

    Do I need ushers? We’ve got 6 bridesmaids and 6 groomsmen, and that is already MORE than a big enough bridal party for my tastes. What’s the benefit to ushers, and will our wedding crash and burn without them? Will a grandparent go rogue if someone isn’t there to…ush?

    We’re planning to invite 150 guests, most of whom will probably show up – if that makes a difference.

    • Lisa

      We didn’t have ushers, and the world did not end. Everything was fine!

    • Eh

      No you do not need ushers! We only had a MOH and that was it (well and a witness).

    • Jess

      We’re at about the same number as you, and we’re having R’s BIL and my brother’s GF be “greeters,” where they will basically hand out programs and make sure anybody who needs assistance gets it (pointing to the gifts/cards table, bathrooms, etc).

      They aren’t really going to be “ushing”. So… I hope not?

    • emmers

      We had about this many guests, no ushers. We had a couple of the groomsmen seat VIPs (grandmas, etc), but everyone else sat themselves, and it was fine.

    • emilyg25

      No ushers here either.

    • raccooncity

      No ushers – some people ended up standing at the back rather than awkwardly sitting next to strangers but a) they were late so screw those people and b) it made it look like the event of the century, so it wasn’t a big deal at all.

      • cml

        Haha, love it.

    • We had ushers but only because we had a lot of family members that we wanted to involve in the wedding and we couldn’t fit them all in the wedding party/readings/etc. But it definitely could have been done with either groomsmen helping people or handing out programs (or probably even just programs in an obvious place because in my experience most people who go to weddings can figure out how to sit down in a seat and usually don’t sit in the front row because they know that’s a family/parents row.)

    • Ashlah

      No ushers for us either. The only possible downside, if you care, is that people tended not to sit in the chairs closest to the aisle for some reason.

    • We didn’t use ushers for our 85 guest wedding and it was totally fine. People figured it out. My brother escorted my mom in & 1 of the groomsmen escorted my MIL in. No need for extra folks IMO.

    • KPM

      We didn’t and I had just assumed the groomsmen could hand out the programs and seat people who really wanted to be officially seated, and once everyone was seated they could go stand at the front (they weren’t processing.) I think that’s how it played out but I was hidden away so am not sure.

    • If it makes you feel any better, super proper etiquette states that ushers are a bit of a no-no: you do not honor someone by giving them a job. Take that for what you will.

      • cml

        That DOES make me feel better. I’m actually a huge etiquette lover! :)

    • Rebekah

      130 invited, 85 attended, and we had our 2 groomsmen be ushers.

  • Alex K

    So I got married nearly three weeks ago!! It was amazing (albeit with some small pop up problems, my MIL was well, my MIL) but we had a really great time. Thank you to everyone here that gave advice (knowingly or unknowing) :)! We don’t have the “official” pictures back yet (can’t wait….) but here is one a friend snapped…

    • Ashlah

      Beautiful! Congrats!

  • Olive

    Monday is supposed to be my last appointment with the therapist I’ve been seeing for two years about (mainly) family issues that really got out of hand when my husband & I got engaged. She’s helped me through a lot, and we’ve grown really close, but it’s pretty clear at this point that things with my family have improved enough where we don’t need to maintain a clinical relationship.

    I’m kind of torn about what to do at this point, because I’ve been really burnt out from work (starting my 5th year of a PhD program) and can’t seem to get out of my rut. These issues took a back seat to family for awhile and I kept promising myself that I’d do better at work after the wedding, but that didn’t really happen and here I am feeling like I’ve wasted several valuable years of my life/education because of insecurity/depression.
    My anxiety is getting worse, and tends to give me really bad abdominal pain, so I’m also planning to make an appointment with my doctor to make sure there’s nothing else going on. The problem is, whenever I bring my work concerns up in therapy, I really don’t see how she could help me. I feel like it might be time to break from my current therapist and try to go it alone for awhile, and “try harder” to be a better me at work and at home. If worst comes to worst, there’s an employee assistance program at work I can use to get short term therapy while I look for a new person.

    I think the root of my issues with school is that my advisor and I aren’t a good match in terms of our managing/learning styles. He’s much more hands off, and my project is an orphan from my first advisor who unexpectedly passed away my first year, so he’s not really as invested in it as he is other projects in the lab. And then I start to blame myself for not standing up and saying that I need more help from him, and it’s all just a really terrible cycle.

    On the plus side, my husband and I took a 6 day vacation visiting my in-laws and going to our friends’ wedding, which was absolutely lovely. But I came back to work and didn’t feel at all refreshed or ready to tackle the last few weeks of summer.

    I know there’s a few folks here who have gone through higher ed, does anyone have any tips?

    • emilyg25

      Have you mentioned your concerns to your therapist (you’re still having a lot of anxiety about work and feel like you’re not making headway)? Maybe she has different techniques she can use. Or maybe you need a different therapist.

      You could also try talking through some of your concerns with your advisor.

      • Olive

        I’ve tried to mention them to her, but I might not have been very effective. In preparation for Monday I’ve been gathering my thoughts and will probably mention it again.

        My advisor’s not a terribly supportive person, I’ve debated talking to him over the past year (i.e. I haven’t made significant progress on this project because I’ve been kind of depressed) but was advised by older students that it would be better to just do it than to explain all of that to him because he probably doesn’t care. So great, I know. Since I’m getting closer to graduating I’ve been trying to get things in order to have one of those “I think I’ll be graduating ___ 2018, what do you think?” conversations.

        • Not only does he not care, he probably doesn’t notice ;) But YES to the “I’d like to graduate in ___, what steps do I need to do now to make that happen” conversation.

        • Amy March

          “My anxiety is making it difficult for me to accomplish my work and I believe I’m suffering physical symptoms from it. I’ve gotten lost in my marriage fulfilling my husbands needs but not always mine. Can we work on a plan for that?”

          Nothing you described sounds like an awesome no need for therapy anymore situation to me – which is fine, but don’t cut yourself off from support without a plan.

          • Olive

            That’s a good suggestion. My husband and I talked about it a lot when we got home from work yesterday. He was really upset that my needs weren’t getting met, something we’ve talked about before but always ended in “we need to work on this” which inevitably wasn’t enough to make us actually work on it. I’ve been chalking it up to that newlywed stage of figuring out what works for both individuals, but at this point I seriously need to make changes.

            I don’t think he realized until yesterday that while I love spending time with him, I need to have alone time/exercise/hang out with my friends to be able to handle my work well. He’s finishing his PhD as well, but has a dramatically different relationship with his advisor which makes the situation a lot different for each of us (his advisor said he was happy we were taking a week of vacation this summer instead of just a weekend, whereas when I asked mine for time off he smiled and said “you’re not asking me, you’re telling me”).

    • raccooncity

      If you’re in higher ed maybe take advantage of your school’s therapy programs or benefits? Perhaps your current therapist just isn’t great at dealing with things in a concrete, planned fashion which seems to be what you’re looking for right now. Often school therapists work this way because it’s faster.

      Also: don’t try to “try harder” at anything except self-care for a while. That’s KEY to grad school. Make sure you have some form of stress release available like yoga, massage, running, punching things in a constructive fashion, etc. “Try harder” is such a non-specific goal that it is designed to make you fail and then feel bad about your abilities. Make your first goals all about making your life easier on yourself and make them achievable and measurable. Get some wins under your belt.

      • Olive

        When I started therapy it was through student services at my university, but I used all of my sessions and had to go off campus to continue. But I just found out about the EAP, which a friend of mine tried, so I think I will try that next. It’s still only 8 sessions, but it might be more what I need, like you said.

        Self care got a lot harder after I got married…and I’m sure it doesn’t get any easier as time goes by and small humans are added, etc. We are down to one car to save money, so after work yoga got shifted for carpooling home, making dinner with my honey, and renovating our house, which fulfills his needs to be happy, but not always mine. Thanks for the reminder that I probably need to prioritize my mental health a little better than I have been. I’ll be writing out some actionable goals this weekend.

        • raccooncity

          Yeah, the real classic self-care things are so hard to prioritize. Sometimes I find (although I haven’t ever had any major anxiety issues before) that even the small things I do during the day help if I actually TELL myself “this is self care, enjoy this thing”.

          So honestly for me self-care includes coffee that I didn’t make and watching the very drunk people leave the bar under my house friday nights. I just make sure I remember to enjoy the moment as it’s happening and think of it as taking time for myself. Maybe that’s a naive way of thinking about self-care, and obviously it doesn’t do me good all the time (I still try to do yoga and get a massage now and then) but it makes a difference.

        • emilyg25

          Can you get a yoga DVD and find a spot to do it alone in the evenings? Not the same as class, but better than nothing.

          • Olive

            I should look around for one I like…another friend recommended looking for youtube channels. In the past I haven’t been good at maintaining my own yoga practice at home, but maybe I just need some more help to start out.

          • JC

            If you find (a) yoga channel(s) you like, do share!

          • Olive

            I will! :)

          • Lisa

            There’s a great web-site called Do Yoga With Me. You can do individual videos or sign up for classes through there. I’ve really enjoyed it.

          • Olive

            thanks for the recommendation!

    • Sosuli

      I recently finished my PhD with a not always available advisor (different reasons to yours, but same end result)… and I definitely agree with some of the comments below that “trying harder” is just going to make you feel bad about yourself, because you’ll never live up to such intangible goals. I say this from experience. What helped me get through that end stint was setting really clear small goals per week and then rewarding myself for them. E.g. “If I get thus chapter’s edits done this week I can buy myself a new top.” Or even simpler “I can stop for the day once I’ve finished task X” rather than aiming to work for a set time. To get myself started I would also use the Pomodoro technique, setting a timer to work for 25 minutes solid and then have a 5 minute tea/whatsapp/Facebook/APW break. That really cut down my procrastination time. And once I got into a flow I didn’t need it in the afternoon.

      And accepting that some days you just get nothing useful done is really really important. It’s a PhD! It is supposed to be really hard. For everyone. Sometimes you’re just not in the right mind-set and that’s OK.

      • Sosuli

        Don’t know if these were really the sort of tips you were looking for – if not, sorry! I’ve been helping a friend get through writing up her dissertation so this is just what I’ve been telling her. Also just know that there are a lot of people in the same boat as you and you’re doing pretty awesome to be where you are (5 years in a PhD program is nothing to scoff at) considering the lack of support and other challenges you’ve been dealing with.

        • Olive

          Thank you so much! I’m still about 1 to 1.5 years from writing my dissertation (at least that’s what I think, I need to sit down with my advisor to figure that out). Your advice is still helpful, I’ve been thinking “I’m the worst at this!” a lot lately and not realizing that getting this far in my program is an accomplishment in itself.

          I used Pomodoro when I was working on qualifiers early in my program, it was definitely helpful to me then, I should try to modify it for what I’m working on now. Thanks again :) I’m so impatient to be done with this phase of my life and move on!

          • Sosuli

            I’m glad I could be of some help! Graduate school is an emotional rollercoaster and academics (in any field) are trained to be so critical we become our own worst critics. I think rewards, routine and being kind to yourself works at all stages, I just have writing up so fresh in mind my examples came from there. You can do it! :)

          • Olive

            sending you a big internet hug. thanks :)

      • Rose

        Ok, I’m starting my last year of my PhD, writing up very soon, and this was exactly what I needed to read. Thanks! I’ve done a bit of Pomodoro before, I should get back into that. (but. . . surely if I’m just better, I can get everything done? I know better than that, but it’s just so easy to think it).

    • I had some seeeeeeeeeeerious issues with procrastination during my PhD. Therapist helped me realize that I’m most productive when I’m at the coffee shop with a matcha latte. To this day, if I ever feel blah about my work, I drag myself to the coffee shop and drink a matcha latte. ‘Get 4 solid hours of work in every time. Usually stretches a bit, lasts a few days.

      So, depending on your work issue, how you frame it and how important you find it…your current therapist might still be the way to go.

      • Olive

        Thanks for the perspective. I work in a lab, so I can’t leave the lab for a lot of things, but there’s a good amount of stuff I can do elsewhere.

  • Jessica

    You guys. I earned a new job offer this week. And for the first time in my life, I successfully negotiated more money! I am SO excited.

    • Cellistec

      Way to go!! Any tips from your negotiation experience? Did you use a script you found or just freestyle it?

      • Lolauren

        I’ve successfully negotiated up in my last two jobs and I would definitely recommend a script, or at least a loose outline of how you begin the discussion. Do research beforehand for your industry so that you’re knowledgeable and select a range that you think is on the higher end. Ranges are usually better than a specific number. When they provide a number I usually say something similar to “with someone with my experience and education, I was hoping for $xx-$xxx” I’ve found that approach to work, and managers usually seem impressed. Good luck!

        • Michela

          The website Comparably is really great for researching what ranges can be expected in your given field/experience level. It took me ages to find it, so thought I’d share here in case anyone else is in a similar position.

      • Jessica

        Hi! Original poster here. I thought it through & did:
        1) Started with some easy to negotiate things to warm up (days off etc.)
        2) Signing Bonus: I am expecting a bonus of X at my current employer this year, but will leave before I receive it. Therefore I am really looking for X as the signing bonus.
        3) Salary: I’m going to hit the ground running and have delivered A, B and C in the past. So I want to make sure the compensation is in line with the value I’ll add from day 1. I am looking for $X.

    • Michela

      Congrats!! What a huge victory.

  • Alyssa Andrews

    Currently reading this while on break from my new job (!!!) as an MFT Intern with a school district just south of Santa Cruz (where I live). It’s been an exhausting week because on top of trying to figure out how to be at two elementary schools and juggle getting staff and student’s names right (plus a CPS report and various family tragedies to manage among the kiddos), my fiance came home from work Monday and announced he had just quit his job, which was our predominant source of income. He’s looking into Museum Education (anyone with connections to Oakland Museum, please contact me!) Meanwhile, I’m… wrapping my head around it. I’m happy that he’s going after something that will bring him more joy but terrified because… money. And living. In the Bay Area.

    • honeycomehome

      Wait. Did he quit his job without discussing it with you?

      • Alyssa Andrews

        What I thought were “hypothetical” discussions about him leaving, he interpreted as “actual” discussions about him leaving… We’ve been hashing the issue out all week and I was able to tell him how un-considered I was in this whole situation. I also come to the relationship with hefty amounts of anxiety around money anyways, so it feels like a perfect storm of situations.

        • emilyg25

          Whoa. Sounds like you guys have a lot to discuss.

          • Alyssa Andrews

            We do, and I think at this point, we know how we’re going to approach not only this issue, but the surrounding/related issues too. We spent all week hashing it out and this afternoon got to a place where we have a plan going forward that we’re BOTH on board with, and he understands the problem I had around how it was handled (and how we can handle it differently in the future), so I’m considering it “resolved”.

    • Amy March

      WTF. And you aren’t at level 74 rage?!? Who just up and quits a job without being perfectly clear with their partner and having a solid plan? Snaps to you if you’re being understanding but that’s ridiculous

      • Alyssa Andrews

        Level 74 Rage — I love that! I’m pretty sure it’s situations like this where I’m glad to be trained as a therapist actually, because I’m doing everything I can to hold my own experience and also try to see where he’s coming from, and find that middle ground where we can come together. We resolved it this afternoon (turns out the decision was not as rash and emotional as I initially thought) but I made it VERY clear that if we are going to be building a life together, both parties need to be clear on what’s happening in these situations!

  • Hustle

    I asked for more responsibility at work. And, while my company is bringing in experts to do the tasks I was asking to do, I get to perform those tasks until the experts arrive in about a month’s time. I’m hoping to learn a lot in the month, make some noticeable improvements for the company, and build my portfolio–because I’m not taking on additional work for the fun of it.

    • Michela

      Good for you!!

  • AGCourtney

    Well, I was in the middle of holding our first garage sale ever when it began to sprinkle….and soon, pour. Luckily, we got just about everything inside before that, so hopefully everything’s okay. But I realized the silver lining to this is that now I can do HH!

    When we bought the house last year and moved in, we were consolidating stuff from my apartment, Dad’s apartment, and my husband’s things from his childhood home. My dad is a HUGE packrat, ridiculous amounts of collections and just stuff galore. So, we decided, garage sale in the spring. Well, it’s August, and it finally happened. We ended up just selling Dad’s stuff this time around because there wasn’t room for anything else. (He got a bit pissy last night and said, “I don’t have that much stuff!” …it filled the garage AND several tables on the driveway.)

    We’re avid garage salers and I’ve gone to hundreds this summer alone, but I’ve never had one before. I was nervous, but it came together and it’s fun! …now I’m just waiting for the rain to let up. We might just call it a day and try again tomorrow.

    • Ashlah

      Too bad you got rained out! I enjoy throwing a garage sale once in a while, but I’m always debating between the extra cash or the tax deduction for donating.

  • Sosuli

    Oih sorry for two posts this week peeps, but I have an in-law thing that’s been bugging me. I’m having a very very much needed in-law break at the moment, spending a couple weeks with my family at home. But now I’m trying to prep for returning to land of the in-laws. My MIL (yes, of the multiple white dresses to our wedding fame) has been really bugging me recently and I’m not sure if it’s me being unreasonable or if I need to set some boundaries… and how? For instance, she seems to have taken me as her confidante in talking about her sister’s divorce, going on and on about it as though it’s the end of the world and saying she just wishes they could be like my parents who still get along… which really upsets me because I have recently again been struggling with my parent’s divorce since my mum has bought a flat and is moving out of our family home in a couple months.

    I also feel like she’s asking me invasive questions. Like I was telling her about some charity work I’m doing this autumn, and she immediately asked whether that was going to effect my unemployment benefit and when I was going to sign on for that. I have never ever mentioned applying for jobseeker’s to her and was so surprised I didn’t know what to say and just said I didnt know. But now I’m thinking… kind of not her business? Am I being unreasonable? And how do I tactfully set a boundary without hurting her feelings before she drives me totally mad and I snap?

    • raccooncity

      Even if you’re being unreasonable, setting boundaries will help you become less so.

      You should just go binge-read captain awkward for ideas. SO many great scripts and discussions about boundaries.

      • Sosuli

        That is my night’s pre-sleep reading sorted! Thanks!

        • raccooncity

          Also: i feel like I should add that on at least some level you’re not being unreasonable. That stuff is not something you need to hear about. I just get that sometimes if you’re already in a bad place with someone (hello white dresses) you might feel yourself giving them less patience and time than you would with others and boundaries can help build that back up a little. I don’t think you’re being 100% unreasonable at all.

          • Sosuli

            Thank you – and you’re totally right. At the moment I have very very little patience with her and am finding myself dreading even seeing her – which helps no one.

    • Laura C

      It sounds a little like one of my issues with my MIL: because she wants us to have a good relationship, she sort of tries to proceed as if we’re closer than we are, as if acting on her wish will make it so. But that involves ignoring a lot of baggage not unlike your white dress and then I end up resenting that I’m being called on to bury my feelings and pretend. Unfortunately I don’t have answers beyond boundaries, reminding yourself she means well (when she does), and focusing on anything positive between you that you can.

      • Sosuli

        I definitely relate to that feeling – it’s like (as the mother of sons) she wants me to be the daughter she never had, whereas I definitely see myself as daughter-in-law.

    • Dess

      You’re not being unreasonable. Boundaries are healthy and important (and I don’t happen to think that what you’re describing is her business.) Set the boundary (seconding raccooncity’s rec for Captain Awkward,) and use it!

      Also: My very-soon-to-be stepMIL mentioned very casually the other day that she’ll be wearing “a lovely white dress to the wedding,” and as soon as I had rearranged my face my first thought was “I am not the only person who has had to deal with this, Sosuli did it!”

  • raccooncity

    So shoutout to team Canada’s women who are the only reason we have medals in the summer games so far. Special mention to Rosie MacLennan (who JUST WON) and Penny Oleksiak, our gold medal winners. Penny is only 16 and has won 4 medals in her first six olympic DAYS and is probably going to be better than Michael Phelps at swimming or something. *Canadian brag*

    Anyway, all the heart-eyes emojis for my Canadian women.

    ETA: I went to uni with our rugby 7s captain and they are also AWESOME AND FIERCE.

    • Carolyn S

      all of the internet chatter about frustration with NBC is making me real appreciative of the CBC. And Canada in general AS USUAL ;)

      • LJ

        SERIOUSLY! Whenever I read American news I feel grateful for how good CBC has been.

        • Grace

          These are my first Olympics since I moved to Washington state, and I get CBC!Watching the Olympics has been awesome! You don’t have to wait until midnight to watch the gymnastics finals, you’re not single mindedly focused on watching only the sports the Americans are winning, and you all have the BEST commercials. #iceinourveins

    • Penny is just amazing, I can’t believe that in 2 weeks she has to go back to being a regular highschool student, talking with friends who went camping this summer instead of, you know, winning 4 Olympic medals in Brazil.

      But seriously, where are the men? DId we forget to bring them? :P

  • Her Lindsayship

    At this point I’ve made a few HH comments about the venue search and how much it sucks. Update: it still seriously sucks. We’ve been engaged for three months, we’d like to have our wedding next Summer, and we can’t find anything in our area (Boston) that works with our budget.

    We are now low-key considering a much smaller wedding celebration in France.

    It sounds so lavish to me but the amount of money we’d have to throw down to make a Boston wedding happen is absolutely lavish too, so why not?? Also, four women in my family have recently separately told me ‘you don’t have to have a traditional wedding – you should do a small destination wedding!’ Honestly the fourth time I was almost in tears like, isn’t anyone excited to come to my regular wedding? But then fiancé and I kept talking about it and France is the first wedding idea I’ve seen him get giddy about. I mean, aside from marrying me.

    If anyone here has done this or knows someone who did, PLEASE ADVISE!

    • Lizzers

      Independent of the France v. Boston decision, I just wanted to say that we are also planning a budget affair in a big city (Washington, DC). It ended up being substantially less expensive (almost reasonable, even) to rent out a restaurant for the night. It was MUCH cheaper than looking at venues + catering, and nearly every Saturday night was open since they don’t do that many weddings. I also thought that it would seem “less special” since it was an ordinary restaurant in the city that is ordinary to us, but people do get excited as it gets closer. Just food for thought!

      • yofi’s human

        OOOH! Where in DC are you having your wedding? I lived there for the past few years. Huge foodie right here. We thought about renting out Zaytinya (my favorite) but ultimately had the wedding in Chicago.

        • Lizzers

          We are doing it at Roofers Union (in Adams Morgan; it used to be the Reef…legendary in its own way). Our second pick was Chez Billy – which just announced that they are closing down, so I’m so glad we didn’t pick them!

          • yofi’s human

            That’s going to be amazing! Very cool!

          • toomanybooks

            Wow – I actually considered doing my wedding at Roofers Union! And I have never been there, I just googled restaurants that looked cool and thought it would be a great venue.

          • KPM

            Former DC resident and this is the first I’m hearing of the Reef’s demise… ah, memories!

      • Lulu

        Yes, big love for restaurant weddings. While they may not do a lot of weddings, they do a lot of events, and everything was so incredibly easy (like, they already have centerpieces, and sound systems, and cake stands)– and, yes, relatively affordable.

      • Her Lindsayship

        Thanks for the suggestion! I’m kind of into that idea as a possibly cheaper alternative, but we’ve contacted a handful of restaurants in Boston and they were cheaper but still PRETTY expensive, you know? The main thing that will keep us from doing that, I think, is that my fiancé is pretty decidedly not thrilled with that idea. And I want us both to be thrilled!

        Anyway, your wedding sounds amazing and city-chic and will totally be special!! Congrats :)

    • Alyssa Andrews

      HEY! We are doing a “pop-up” style wedding in France in the Versailles gardens next year, for almost identical reasons. We threw it in the mix as a joke but it was the only idea we were both excited about and seriously, it is waaay cheaper (like we’re only spending $6,000 on the whole shebang, vs. $16,000 base rate for places in our area). Do it!

      • Her Lindsayship

        WHAAaaaat?? That sounds incredible! By “pop-up” do you mean you just sort of show up to the site and don’t have to pay a ceremony fee? Or is that my wishful thinking…

        • Alyssa Andrews

          Yes! Or that’s what we’re trying for. Basically we are doing a “Parisian Picnic” on the grounds in the Versailles property because it’s free to get in to the general grounds and we can mark the place on the map for our guests. Our plan is to have a bunch of picnic blankets and chairs for some people (who don’t want to sit on the ground), and my aunt will do a symbolic ceremony for us. We’re hoping that if we can make it be more “picnic” than “wedding” that it won’t bother security (or other people). We’re also doing this on the Summer Solstice (June 21), and France has a country-wide music festival in the streets that day, so that will be our “reception”. We are so excited!

          • KPM

            Oooh, that sounds amazing! The grounds are so huge, I’m sure you can claim some space toward to the back and be out of everyone’s ways/not bother the guards. There is also a fantastic lake to the side.

          • Alyssa Andrews

            Yes, that’s what we are hoping for! We found some awesomely beautiful hidden paths, etc. that weren’t crowded at all when we were there 3 years ago. Glad to have some support on this — we are super excited about it, but have a little twinge of worry about how to announce it to our extended family (mostly mine because it’s HUGE) and whether or not security will be a problem. Fingers Crossed!

      • french wedding

        I married a frenchman and got back on Monday from our second reception. We did a full on wedding in San Francisco in April and had our second reception coincide with our honeymoon and French vacations. It was still small (about 35 people), and not in Paris, but the whole thing cost us about 3000 euro. We had a private dining room at a chateau/country club, with a photographer for a portion of the evening, and a bus transporting people back and forth from the city. So even if you don’t do pop-up you can still do something cheap and really really lovely.

    • Alex K

      I am also in the Boston area and looked pretty seriously at Commander’s Mansion because the rental price was almost reasonable especially if you did not want a Saturday in high season (and they offered a discount if you were a Watertown resident) and they had basically no restrictions so you could get BBQ or Tacos for catering at a much more reasonable rate than a “typical” caterer.

    • Laura C

      Not knowing what you’re looking for in Boston, a couple of options I only found by pure chance that might be worth checking into: Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology and Arts at the Armory in Somerville.

      • Marie

        Similarly, I love the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center – a great deal for a pretty fancy space.

        • Hannah

          This is my venue! It is definitely budget-friendly considering the vibe.

    • Kalë

      Um, no experience here, but LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of an intimate, destination wedding in France! Especially since it seems like the only option you are both thrilled about. You can also host a larger, casual reception at home after – to include everyone that won’t be able to make it to France.

    • anon

      Hi! I’ve totally been there (wedding planning in Boston). Highly recommend the Whittemore Robbins House in Arlington. The rental fee is very reasonable and if you know anyone who lives in Arlington, they can sponsor your application to get a discount. Plus, Blue Ribbon BBQ, also in Arlington, is a great option for delicious, affordable food (although, we ended up going with a more traditional caterer)

      • Her Lindsayship

        Thanks for the recommendation! We were actually looking into Whittemore Robbins house. I tried contacting them but never heard back. We also sort of stopped pursuing it because it seemed like it might be surrounded by busy roads. Maybe we should look into it again…

    • bostonanon

      Boston venues are THE WORST. Even the ones suggested below are pretty $$ for what you get. We ended up looking at a ton of the VFWs and Sons-of-Nationalities halls, which were… actually in budget, but not pretty…. and found http://www.thayerhomestead.com/ which was all the way out in Medway but DIRT CHEAP for a nice looking venue. Plus, BYOB.

  • KK

    For all the #NeverTrump Harry Potter fans out there:
    https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/i-was-the-one-who-bought-george-zimmermans-gun
    [credit to Ann Friedman’s newsletter for pointing me to it]

  • Bsquillo

    Since there was a conversation recently about caring for aging parents, I thought I would share this personal story: this past weekend my brother and I traveled to our hometown, and it was the first time we’ve gotten a chance to visit my dad in his memory care facility (since he was moved there a few months ago). My dad is only 56, but his early-onset Alzheimer’s has progressed to a stage where he really needed around the clock care and supervision.

    I know care facilities often bring up a lot of emotional reactions, but this past weekend proved that they are sometimes a huge blessing (and the best option out of several not-so-great options in tough situations). His facility is very nice, clean, safe, and provides WAY better care and peace of mind than when he was living alone in his house- and better care than any family member would be able to provide him were he living in their house. I’m forever grateful that he had the foresight to invest in an excellent long-term care policy at work (and I wish everyone had access to great healthcare as they age). I’m also super thankful for healthcare professionals and caregivers who have the training to handle memory care.

    Anyways, it’s still not an easy situation, but hugs and support to anyone who is navigating similar issues with aging parents. It’s a very strange thing to navigate that comes with a host of complex feelings.

    • KK

      I am currently learning all about long term care insurance because I am thinking my husband and I should take out a policy for his parents… After meeting with them and their financial advisor, the advisor recommended considering it. They probably can’t afford the insurance, which means they probably need really need the insurance. I wasn’t exactly hoping to have to learn about this stuff haha, but I’m glad we are starting these discussions now, (hopefully) many years before they need any long term care.

      Man, getting old is expensive :(

      • Bsquillo

        I’m sorry to hear about your in-laws’ situation; I hope they find a solution that works and that they can afford.

        The cost of care as you age is something that’s been weighing heavily on my mind recently. The one bright spot with my dad’s condition is that he worked a steady government job with excellent benefits for 30+ years, so he ended up with great insurance, a long-term care plan, and a pension (!), even with early retirement. So fortunately, the financial side of his care has not been as big of a concern.

        My heart breaks for the millions of aging Americans who can’t really afford quality healthcare- especially for those who need memory care, which is often needed for years. It’s definitely motivation to fight for better social safety nets, because we’re all going to get older.

    • Sosuli

      What a way to find the positive in a difficult situation. So glad to hear your dad is doing okay and hope he is also happy and enjoying his new home.

    • Anon

      Solidarity and hugs to you! I had a similar experience with a family member with early-onset Alzheimer’s. There was so much relief when he got into a facility (similar to your experience – safe, clean, and so, so nice), but also a lot of guilt. And guilt about the sense of relief. In retrospect, it’s clear that it was a much safer place for him than at home, but there were still complicated feelings. You’re not alone, and thank you for sharing.

    • MommaCat

      Early Onset Alzheimer’s is the pits. I’m within a very similar experience to yours, but with my 58 year old mother. Hugs and solidarity right back at you. My sisters and I just were not equipped to handle her needs, so the memory care facility really is the best place for her right now.

  • Alanna Cartier

    Many moons ago I ordered calligraphy supplies in the hopes of addressing my own invites.

    Well, my invites arrived this week. I only just started practicing, but I am having the absolute best time. I’ve been practicing for hours every day and I have to stop myself from practicing even more. I’m nearly at the point I like to think of as: doesn’t look like a drunk toddler wrote this. Now back to work #practicemakesprogress

    • NICE!
      If you chicken out, you can always just do the first letter in calligraphy, but I think your progress looks lovely! (We did first letter in traced calligraphy, the rest in block letters: http://byov.blogspot.com/2016/02/how-to-minimal-fuss-calligraphy-for.html )

      Have you tried The Postman’s Knock calligraphy worksheets? They’re really the best!

      • Alanna Cartier

        I’ve been doing all the skillshare classes on calligraphy. They’re quite lovely, and great to listen to while I write.

    • NotMarried!

      That looks amazing to me!

    • Ashlah

      That looks awesome!!

      • Alanna Cartier

        Thanks!

    • emmers

      This looks like you could sell it! Hello, sidehustle on etsy or some such!

      • Alanna Cartier

        I’m thinking I might do that after this :) Once I’m a little more confident.

        • emmers

          Well, I think you’re talented, from what I see here!

      • Michela

        FWIW- I would totally buy your stuff on Etsy.

  • Giselle

    5 weeks out from my wedding and feel like there are 10 weeks worth of things to figure out (even keeping things simple requires a lot of research and organizing, it turns out). Decision fatigue has set in.

    But FH taking on the honeymoon registry has been the best thing ever. We’d been waffling and finally decided not to go to South America (wanted to do Ecuador & Galapagos for years, but thinking about family planning and who knows what the Zika situation will be in December = one less thing to worry about if we go elsewhere). So New Zealand, our other big wish list trip, it is! Really excited! Anyone been recently?

    • Yes! But just the north island to see Hobbiton and Rotorua. Both were amaaaaaazing!
      I wrote about ’em a bit here: http://byov.blogspot.com/2016/04/new-zealand-hobbiton.html Auckland is a nice walkable city, too.

    • Angela

      I live in Auckland. Auckland is a great city to spend a few days in. Really great restaurants. If you go to the zoo in Auckland, Western Springs, the park next door is lovely. Then I’d recommend Rotorua, Taupo and Queenstown/Wanaka. Weather is pretty changeable even in December. There’s not really a lot of public transport outside of Auckland/Wellington.

    • Jsk

      Not recently, but we did 2.5 weeks there in 2012. Auckland and Rotorua on the north island, and Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch, franz josef glacier, and queenstown. NZ is amazing. We drove between cities for the most part (did the train btwn chch and Greymouth: do that) and after getting used to the wrong side of the road and car it was a breeze.

      We registered for lots of our tours/experiences and people seemed to really like being a part of the trip. We did all sorts of different activities (hiking/kayaking/biking/wine tasting) and loved every second.

      • Giselle

        That sounds exactly like what we have in mind, 2.5 weeks and lots of outdoorsy stuff with wine (liberally) sprinkled in. Already registered for the train too! Thanks Jsk. :)

        • Jsk

          If you’ll be in Blenheim, we did bubbly grape wine tour and it was awesome!

    • clairekfromtheuk

      Yes! Manperson and I spent a month there this year and IT WAS AWESOME. Email me clairekneller at yahoo dot co dot uk if you wanna chat. We did a ton of stuff.

  • Laura

    I got my first research grant this week! I was awarded an NIH predoctoral fellowship for my dissertation research on brain connectivity in people with genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Pumped for the science itself, but also because this is going to be a great line on my CV.

    • Sosuli

      Congratulations! And what an awesome project.

  • doublegus

    We moved to Seattle! We are so excited. And exhausted. I count myself lucky if I get one box unpacked each day, because the baby isn’t napping. HOW DO I GET HER TO NAP? She’s four months tomorrow and hella overtired.

    • Cellistec

      Welcome to town! Apologies in advance for the unseasonable heat and the traffic.

      • doublegus

        Thanks, Cellistec! I’m originally from SC, soooo the summer temps here are fucking glorious to me (winter, too, as we moved from RI). Traffic? Not so much.

        • Cellistec

          Ha, good point- it’s all relative! Though I bet AC is more common in SC than in western WA.

    • Hope

      We have a 4 month old and we say he has FOMO because he doesn’t want to nap. What works for us- a pacifier, napping on his tummy (while we’re in the room), or holding him for the entire nap. Sadly, many of these are not conducive with getting stuff done! Good luck with the unpacking.

  • KK

    I posted several months ago about the trip my husband I were taking to Italy to see Venice and then hiking in the Alps for 10 days. Venice actually exceeded our admittedly low expectations (it wasn’t miserably hot or crowded, just regularly hot and crowded!) and the first couple days of hiking were spectacular. But then things didn’t go quite as planned. Husband got sick (food poisoning of some sort) after only 4 days of hiking, so we left the trail for him to recover. But he didn’t and instead ended up spending 5.5 days in an Italian hospital where hardly anyone spoke English and delayed our trip home by 4 days.
    Moral of the story for me was: so glad we had trip insurance! It wouldn’t have been financial ruin for us, but it was definitely nice not to pay anything out of pocket for rescheduling our flight home. And I just filed claims and expect to get another few thousand dollars back for extra hotel accommodations etc as well as medical costs not covered by our primary health insurance. This was the first time I’ve ever gotten trip insurance (I actually got it in case we broke and ankle and needed to be helicoptered out of the Alps) – I will definitely be getting it again for international trips, best $178 I’ve ever spent.
    Fun fact: 5.5 days in an Italian hospital only cost $2000. Even knowing a bit about European healthcare, that blew my mind. Since we obviously don’t pay anything into their healthcare system as Americans, I figured it would still be crazy expensive.
    Now back to mourning the the fact that our big vacation of the year and potentially last major trip before we think about having kids turned into the worst experience of my husband’s life (and one of the worst of mine too, it’s hard seeing a loved one suffer!)

    • Ashlah

      Oh no, I’m so sorry that happened! What a serious bummer. Good job getting trip insurance, jeez!

    • BSM

      I went to Italy with my family when I was younger (about 15 years ago), and my mom tripped and tore all the ligaments in her foot. It was towards the end of our trip, so we ended up just going to the hospital in Florence to get her some pain meds, bandages, and crutches before we headed home. I distinctly remember both my parents being SO CONFUSED because everything was completely free.

      • KK

        Yeah, I knew we were going to have to pay something because they made me sign something, but when he first was released I was trying to ask where to go and what papers we need to pay… and the nurses were so confused… like ‘you’re released, you can just leave!’ Finally it clicked for them that we are American and did need to pay something.
        It took the hospital a couple hours to get the bill together, clearly they don’t have to do it very often!

    • CMT

      Hell yes to trip insurance! I’m a pretty risk averse person, so I like insurance anyway, but it seems like such a good deal because if something goes wrong when you’re traveling internationally, it’s probably gonna go really wrong.

    • Kalë

      Ugh, definitely feel you on this one. My boyfriend and I went to Costa Rica last year, and he ended up getting stung by a stingray and I had to rush him to the hospital, while he was bleeding profusely. SO MUCH BLOOD. It nicked an artery in his foot and was just gushing. Definitely put a damper on our first big trip (alone) together. It was really hard watching him in that much pain, not to mention how bad he felt for “ruining” the rest of our vacation. But, similarly, we were SHOCKED at how inexpensive the healthcare was! 95 bucks for an all day hospital stay, stitches, aftercare, prescriptions – wtf are we doing here, America!?

  • Carolyn S

    I tried to sell my dress through a consigner, and they will keep it for 9 months, which is almost up. It had a small defect on the bust (which I didn’t notice until I had already had it professionally cleaned and dropped off), but since I had gone to all the effort to get it cleaned and drop it off at the store, I decided to try to sell it anyway. Well it’s been 8 months, and it still hasn’t sold, and now I don’t know what to do with it. If we don’t pick it up, they donate it, which is what I’m leaning towards. I don’t really need a dress that’s been tried on by strangers for a year sitting in my closet, and I really don’t need to spend another 300 bucks to have it cleaned. I can cut my losses on this right? The dress was for the day. I don’t need it sitting in my closet, right?

    • Ashlah

      Right.

    • KK

      Right! You wore it that day, you have pictures of yourself to help remember it, now it’s time to let it go to a much better cause than sitting forgotten in your closet, apt to give you more guilt down the line when you see it there and still don’t know what to do with it.
      [This from the girl who’s wedding dress is in the back of the closet, stuffed in the same gym bag it’s been in since the day after the wedding, guilting me every time I infrequently open that closet]

    • Olive

      I completely agree! There’s a store in Ann Arbor called the Brides Project…It’s a bridal store full of secondhand dresses. There may be more of them around the country. I like the idea of sending it to a shop like that, makes me think it has a higher chance of making someone else happy :)

    • emmers

      It’s OK to let it go. It sounds like that’s what you want it to do. Marie Kondo it! Acknowledge what a wonderful time you had it, and now let it go to its next phase.

    • toomanybooks

      Also, I might try selling it on eBay. I never looked at eBay before wedding planning much but I’ve found its a great place to look for used wedding dresses. Or if you have a photo of the dress/designer and style, maybe someone here wants it?

      • Rebecca

        I bought my dress on eBay! It was a little intimidating because the seller didn’t offer returns but such a good deal. Mine was from a bridal shop that was getting rid of stock, so it was new, but I would have just as soon bought it from a bride.

    • Alynae

      Another option, although it does mean storing it for a short whlie, is selling on something like PreOwnedWeddingdresses. I bought and sold my dress there and as both a buyer and a seller it was really easy. I think it depends on your dress, designer, size etc but mine sold the second day I was on my honeymoon.

  • Katherine

    Almost done with my first week on the new job! I’ve had a surprising amount to do for a first week, which is fantastic. My coworkers and my division in particular are a fun bunch, and despite working in government, the focus seems to be on collaboration rather than strictly following the pecking order.

    Also, I’m really getting bummed out at the NBC coverage of the games. I know that they’re catering to an American audience, but the Olympics is partially about nations coming together, and I’d love to see highlights of sports that the U.S. isn’t strong in or even necessarily a part of. Like weightlifting (for certain weight classes)! Or badminton!

  • I found my wedding dress at the BHLDN in New York this Monday! Finally, after visiting 4 different stores and trying on so many dresses that didn’t feel like me, I found a very simple, classic and stunning dress. And it’s already arrived at my house. Now I just have to resist the urge to show my fiancé for 10 whole months until the wedding…

    • Rebecca

      Good luck! Keeping fun secrets is so difficult – I’m rarely able to. In fact, I was too excited and showed mine to my fiancé, but he’s forgotten what it looks like now.

      And yay for finding a dress you love!!!

  • Natalie

    Can we talk about the amazing girl power friendships we’re watching unfold at the Olympics? Some of the teams are just these shining bright spots of love and affection for each other.

    Simone Manuel’s teammates crying happy tears with her after her win.

    Missy Franklin not making into the finals for her last event, swimming to her teammate in the next lane who did make it and wrapping her in a big hug of congratulations and then crying for herself. You have to really love your teammate to go to them for comfort when you’re sad about losing a race they did well in.

    Simone Biles almost crying when congratulating Aly Raisman after Aly’s medal-winning floor routine – just before Simone had to compete. Late Simone said she was more excited that Aly medaled than she was for her own gold.

    The US women’s swim relay team (I forget which one) hamming it up taking selfies in the ready room just before winning gold. Afterwards, when asked about it, they were shocked anyone had noticed, then said “A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.” When they think no one’s watching, they’re being each others’ besties. It’s just so damn heartwarming.

    • Natalie

      Also, is anyone else obsessed with watching Leslie Jones watch the Olympics on twitter? Her commentary is hilarious.

    • Ashlah

      Yes, I love it! And I hate the commentators trying to force us to see rivalries that just aren’t there.

      • Natalie

        Yes. Like NBC spent DAYS hyping the Phelps-Lochte “rivalry,” going so far as to call it one of the greatest rivalries in swimming. Acting as if they only cared about beating each other. But they’re close friends, they’ve trained together for years. They both say the love racing each other because they’ll go faster than they would alone. That’s not a rivalry, that’s a healthy team and friendship.

  • driftless

    I’ve been reading for a year, and have rarely if ever posted (though thought about it a lot).
    Today I just need to celebrate the good things that the weekend has in store for us after a reaaaalllly long week. Of course, my husband the pastor will be working Sunday, but still.

    Tonight we’re going out to eat with another couple (we rarely go out to eat due to budgeting constraints) and then tomorrow….. we’re learning how to can tomatoes! Some friends have a farm and planted too many tomatoes, plus we had already decided we wanted to teach ourselves to can and to can enough tomatoes to get us through the winter (as part of our attempt to only eat local produce, year round, in the upper Midwest)… so they’re teaching us to can, and they have an outdoor stove for canning. It is going to be sweaty and absolutely awesome! I can’t wait. (And there will even be tasks for me to do even while I’m non-weight bearing on crutches with a stupid stress fracture, and tasks that I can do have felt frustratingly few lately.)

    So yay for friends and for learning new things!

    • emilyg25

      Canning is fun! With tomatoes, I’m to lazy to peel by hand, so I do sauce or ketchup with my food mill. Once you make your own ketchup, you’ll never go back to Heinz!

      • emmers

        That ketchup sounds amazing!

    • Hot water bath canning is tons of fun and can be done anywhere (check out dilly beans, and fruit butters in particular…maybe strawberry apple butter). It’s just such a shame it has to be so hot during produce season!!

  • emilyg25

    Y’all, having a toddler is so much fun. A lot of work—big emotions! so much energy!—but FUN. And thank you to everyone here who supported me in requesting 80% time at work. It’s been a bit tough to see the drop in income, but Fridays are the best. This morning, we made biscuits (I measured, he poured, mixed and cut) and then wandered around Target and then got burritos and danced at the restaurant. He’s so capable and just a little goofball.

    • Ashlah

      Thank you for sharing this! I like hearing stories about the enjoyable parts of parenthood. We get a lot of “It’s hard, but it’s worth it!” and not enough actual specifics about the fun parts. Your day sounds like a blast.

      • emilyg25

        Oh, I forgot to say: he kisses now too. Toddler kisses are the best.

        • Ashlah

          Aw, yay! My niece will be two in just a few days, and I can agree that toddler kisses are the greatest, second only to head-resting-on-your-shoulder toddler hugs.

      • Michela

        Seconding this! As someone who is terrified of parenting, hearing experiences like this helps me see the positive side, too.

    • Gina

      OMG so much this. Having a toddler is the most fun. I love the sense of humor, the oddball physical feats, the affection, the absolute focus and enthusiasm about everything.

  • Maggie Dragon

    So far, in the past month, we’re down a flower girl (father broke his wrist and now can’t take time off work; mother will be too pregnant to travel) and a groomsman (his father is having major surgery that day) and I may not be able to dance with my dad (frozen shoulder makes moving hard). Someone please tell me that I’m using up all my bad luck and the wedding itself will go fine?

    • KPM

      Yup, after all don’t they say bad luck comes in threes. Sounds like your wedding will be easy-peasy now!

    • emmers

      The wedding will be fine. There may be even more stuff that goes awry. BUT- people who love you are coming from far and wide to celebrate your marriage. Also?? You’re getting married! This is the beginning of your life together- just the first day of many, married, a drop in the bucket. Hang in there! I’m sorry all that crap is going wrong. It does suck. But my hope is that it will pale in comparison to your life together.

  • LJ

    I’m going to premarital counseling tomorrow. First time. Fiance and I both excited and optimistic. We’ve been together for 6 years and common law for 4, and my libido has been dumb and weird due to anxiety, and I am so happy that we can address it properly. Yay! it was even his idea. Anyways, any stories of good or bad premarital counseling? Tips?

    • EF

      I found it excellent, even though we didn’t have anything in particular we wanted to cover in it (we did one 3 hour session). Like, to me, just having a sort of referee for a few discussions, and being like ‘yup you’ve thought this out well’, was really helpful and reassuring. so my only tip would be: be honest! And, if the person isn’t working for you, if you don’t click, it’s ok to ask for someone else.

    • guesty guest

      Hello, are you me?
      We started going to couples counseling a few weeks ago for chore-division, wedding planning, and libido issues. The therapist is crazy into Enneagram which is sort of funny/suspicious, but also a bit useful at the same time. It helps us understand one another a little better, and the issues are improving.

      That being said, if you don’t like the counselor, feel free to switch. Find one that works for you both. And after the first session, we like to have a bit of a focus for each session. The trick is to find something that is specific enough.

    • NotMarried!

      We started premarital counseling last Sunday and are going weekly. Our first session was good, but honestly too perfect. We presented ourselves as a prefect couple of sorts, which we are far from. I’ve started taking notes of our stressors and argument triggers this week and how I see ourselves in the book we’re reading as part of the counseling process. I feel like especially to begin with, its so easy to want to portray yourself well even though you know that to benefit from the process you need beneath the surface. So i’d say – think ahead of time what some of Y’alls issues are so they can be addressed.

  • NolaJael

    Gift Registry Woes: Guys, I’m REALLY struggling with the registry/wedding gifts concept. My love language is just not gift giving or receiving. Early on, we signed up for two charities we love and put an option for monetary gift to us, and patted ourselves on the back. Then my BOSS said she was organizing an office shower and wants me to think of things for everyone to get me. And the ladies at church started making noises. Ugh. The wedding is in six weeks and the family reception in three months. I know this is just the beginning.

    We own a very small house (700 sq ft). So we not only don’t need household goods, we have nowhere to put extra “stuff.” And part of me feels like a registry is supposed to be aspirational. Who do you want to be going forward? Emotionally, I don’t want to play that game. I’m a JD in a not-law job and FH is a PhD forced out of academia. Aspirational didn’t work for us in the past. I kind of want to keep my shabby stuff. I feel like it’s honest. Because if I started switching out my plates for nicer ones, I feel like then I’d start thinking of the other things I can’t have…like a bigger house with a pretty Ikea decked-out nursery like my facebook friends for my still-just-an-idea future babies.

    I feel like the whole registry is an exercise that makes me feel horrible so that other people can feel good. Advise?

    • Allow your church to throw you a bridal LUNCHEON. If it’s a luncheon, there shouldn’t be gifts.

      If you absolutely are unable to refuse a bridal shower, and fail to convert to bridal luncheon, maybe have everyone bring their favorite family recipe? Or have the office hold a ‘date-night’ themed shower, where they give you stuff like popcorn and a DVD or a small gift card to a masseuse or something else related to date nights.

      Or register for spices and some new kitchen utensils. Spices get older after a year or so…

      • NolaJael

        I like the date night idea! Thanks!

    • emilyg25

      You don’t have to do it! If people still really want to get you something, they’ll either give you cash or get you a gift of their choosing. At my work, everyone pooled their money and they gave me a Visa giftcard. My husband’s work just gave cash.

      That said, do you really not need new dishes? Wine glasses? Napkins? Top notch knives? Our registry was not aspirational. It was stuff we like *now* and will use immediately.

      • I’m seriously using the new potato masher to make refried beans…and the garlic press to replace the one I beast-moded a month ago. It’s not greatttt to use wedding gifts before the wedding itself, but this stuff is so non-aspirational I legit need it *now*, lol.

        • Jess

          I took some of my shower stuff and started using it right away, and told people that in the thank yous! I was like, “Hey, we’re excited. This is great stuff!” Nice wine glasses? Used to try a bottle of potential wedding wine. New grill set? Used to make our -2 monthiversary dinner.

    • Amy March

      Just get new plates? I don’t see the big deal. You think your stuff is shabby, people expressly want to buy you stuff, why not be open to it?

      Think about why you’re attached to the idea of not having nice things. What are you gaining from it? Does it need to be a source of pride? Because you didn’t, apparently, get the jobs you wanted does that mean you need never try for anything again?

      If you really just love what you have and want for nothing, that’s one thing. But honestly sounds like you would actually love some nice stuff but have a chip on your shoulder it might be worth trying to remove.

      • “If you really just love what you have and want for nothing, that’s one thing. But honestly sounds like you would actually love some nice stuff but have a chip on your shoulder it might be worth trying to remove.”
        Yes. This exactly.

    • emmers

      I mean, if you really don’t want to register, don’t register. But it sounds like you do have people excited to buy you stuff. It doesn’t necessarily have to be aspirational. Maybe you could use comfy sheets or a nice blanket, or maybe a unscratched nonstick pan would make your life easier, or would just be … nice. As someone who loves buying registry gifts for people I love, I just want to buy them stuff they want, and can use in their lives now- be it in a huge new house, or a tiny apartment. I had shitty plates and mismatched silverware for years, and I so appreciate the upgrades we got. I do think about the people that did that for us. I think about a lot of them when I use those daily things.

    • Marianne

      We were not very excited about registering for physical stuff either, but we wanted to appease certain folks who didn’t like the donation/cash/gift card options. We registered at a major department store so that we could return whatever we didn’t want or couldn’t use. We focused on things that felt practical to us and were just a little nicer than what we had (but not so nice we would never use them) – towels, blankets, a tupperware set (no more missing lids!), luggage, art work, picture frames for wedding photos. We ended up returning some stuff for store credit, which we now use whenever we need to buy a gift off someone else’s registry. It’s the circle of wedding registry life.

      • NolaJael

        Too funny. “Circle wedding registry life.” LOL

    • NolaJael

      Thanks everyone for the comments. I came across as grumpier than I was really. I just didn’t like the idea of assessing every item in my house to see if it could be better (answer, “yes”). I appreciate those who maintained that they stuck with the no registry thing and those who suggested diverting people’s attention towards a theme if not exact items. It gave me some ideas. I appreciate everyone’s input!

  • Cdn icecube

    I’ve been waiting for Happy Hour all week! The manfriend let it slip that he’ll be buying me an engagement ring in about three months as that’s when all his ducks will be in a row!! Eeeek! I’m so excited and don’t want to tell anyone and jinx it in case he decides to wait a while. But MAN ALIVE I am pumped to be starting this next chapter soon.

    • Notreallytrevor

      So exciting! You guys know, enjoy that before you need to go round telling everyone. Xxx

  • Dess

    This time next week our guests will all have arrived to our spot in the mountains, and we’ll be finishing up the Welcome contra dance. Surreal!! Equally surreal (but less exciting) is how many people have decided to email me in the past two weeks to request a +1, OR change their rsvp from “regrets” to “can’t wait!” UM. *rage eats Oreos* Still, I’m feeling super grateful for my awesome posse and wonderful man….I can feel the glimmers of wedding zen approaching, and oh boy am I ready for it! It’s coming soon, right?

  • emilyofnewmoon

    Hey guys! A bit late to the party, and bit of a lurker. My boyfriend and I have picked out/purchased my engagement ring and it’s only a matter of time til we make it official. But we’ve starting the whole planning and discussion thing, and one of the things I’m looking for are books/resources for couples finance that aren’t…how shall I say…religious/Christian? We are just the most secular people on earth, and for some reason Amazon is flooded with financial planning for couples by pastors, religious laypeople, etc. Totally fine but not our vibe. Any suggestions?

    • Lisa

      A book that I really enjoyed that’s not necessarily couples-oriented but just a good finance book in general was Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth. She and her daughter, who co-authored the book, use a lot of case studies to demonstrate their points, and many of the case studies are couples. Maybe that would be helpful? I’m starting JL Collins’s The Simple Path to Wealth here shortly, which I’ve heard good things about. I also really like YNAB’s (You Need A Budget) resources like their webinars and White Board Wednesdays.

      I hope these resources help! YNAB in particular really changed the way my husband and I discussed money and helped us to clarify what our long-term goals should be as a couple.

      • emilyofnewmoon

        This is incredibly helpful, thanks! I’ll check out this book…have been eyeing YNAB so I will check that out as well!

        • Lisa

          Definitely give it a try! I haven’t tried new YNAB (we’re still on YNAB4), but it keeps getting better. If either of you still has a valid student ID, it’s free for students. My husband is still in a doctorate program so we’ve been able to avoid the subscription fees thus far.

  • Barbarajtanksley1

    <<fb. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!il713r:….,……

  • Michela

    I missed Happy Hour because we were visiting Mackinac Island, MI for a weekend getaway. Mackinac banned cars in the 1890s, so its 3.5 square miles are traversed by horse, bike, and foot. It was like stepping back in time, you guys. We toured the fort, wandered the island’s hilly streets full of historic homes, ate at several of the twelve (!) fudge shops, drank coffee on the upper deck of our inn with views of the harbor, and biked around the island- twice! It was such a great opportunity to reconnect after T’s summer season in which we rarely see each other. It also helped me realize that sometimes the best vacations are not the most expensive ones. On our 8-hour drive home yesterday, we talked a lot about our financial goals and our travel goals. T mentioned purchasing an RV sometime in the future and touring the California coast for a summer. I laughed at first, but now I’m seriously considering it. Nothing like travel to broaden the mind, eh?

    Hoping everyone’s week is off to a fantastic start.xo

    • Lisa

      So fun! I’ve wanted to get up to Mackinac for years and haven’t been able to make it happen. I’m trying to convince my husband that what we want to do next year when his doctorate is done is have me quit my job so that we can go backpacking around Europe for several months. We’ll see how that pans out!

      • Michela

        Gosh that sounds like a dream!!! If you ever want Mackinac tips, let me know! We loved our inn and managed to avoid spending much money.

        In similar dreams, we’ve talked about traveling Europe for a year with future kiddos. Have you read Courtney Adamo’s blog “Somewhere Slower”? That’s what her family is doing. Sometimes I just look at the photos in my cubicle and lust after them. Anyway, if you guys make that dream come true, she’d be a great resource!xo

        • Lisa

          Thanks for the blog suggestion! I’m going to have to look into it. I’ve always wanted to do a big trip through Europe, and it seems like next summer would be the perfect time. (Husband will be done with his program, our lease will be up, etc.) We’ve even kicked around the idea of moving there if we fall in love with a place. There’s a better market for husband’s skills (classical music) over there, too, which is a bonus.

          I’m impressed that you managed to get around spending too much. We looked at doing a long weekend in Mackinac a few years ago, and the lodging prices are what really got me.

  • Alvinartapia2

    <<fb. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!il569r:….,…..