APW Happy Hour

Big things to come!

Dear APW,

As awful as this year has generally felt, the end of it seemed to come all at once. And as always, this is where we leave you. And we’ll see you again on January 4, 2018.

Ending this year at APW feels a little bittersweet. As I talked about earlier this week, it was a hard year professionally, and it didn’t feel like my most creatively fulfilling year either. (I doubt any of us do our best work when we’re struggling through what was often daily political terror.) So in many ways I leave this year with so much more that I wish I’d done. And also… I’m glad to be done with it. But while our publishing year ends now (though we’ll be back this weekend with a roundup of where to start for all the newly engaged that always join us just after Christmas), our professional year doesn’t.

What I didn’t mention in my huge gut wrenching essay on 2017 is that we’re nearing the end of a massive relaunch project that, frankly, we’ve been struggling to get done for a year and a half. Working with designers and web developers, we’ve been through just about everything at this point—from teams that were not good fits to people who tried to take money and run to good humans just in over their heads. That said, I learned a ton, and I am a much stronger businesswoman than I was before I had to threaten legal action for the first time. 😬 The constant in this whole project has been a tireless staff who is constantly trying to figure out the solution to the problem of being a big-in-our-industry-but-not-funded company (particularly, an extra thank you to our Brand Director Najva Sol for her work on this). But through sheer doggedness, in the middle of this slog of a year, we found an amazing team, and we are at this point just days away from the site that we’ve been dreaming of for years now.

On one hand, I don’t want to oversell the relaunch to y’all. The least sexy but most important part of this project is that we built the code from scratch, getting rid of piles and piles of outdated and broken code that date back to 2010. So site speeds will drastically improve, and this whole place should just work better. Flashy? No. Necessary? Absolutely yes. But on the other hand, I am happier with it than any work we’ve done in a long time. I finally put the time (and money) in with our amazing designer on this project to get the logo that I want to keep forever and ever amen. And the new site gives us a huge number of tools that make accessing all of our content easier. Plus, it’s pretty.

However, like any relaunch of a nearly ten-year-old website, it means practically endless grueling hours tweaking and fixing, and finding problems, and prioritizing fixes, and generally trying to make it all ready for prime time. And we signed up to do it right before the holidays, God help us all. But if this means we end the hardest year in our company’s history with a little bit of fireworks and champagne and a much clearer path ahead, well, I’m here for it.

So here is to 2018, and much more light to guide the way. Till then, everything calm, everything bright.

We’ll see you in the future.

xo,

Meg

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  • Hi friends – happy Friday! Here are your links:

    *#MeToo hijacked black women’s work on race and gender equality – https://work.qz.com/1147950/metoo-hijacked-black-womens-work-on-race-and-gender-equality/

    *Why Is Kesha Missing From Time’s “Silence Breakers” Person Of The Year Issue? – http://bust.com/feminism/193909-time-silence-breakers-kesha.html

    *The Work Edit lists their fave 2017 beauty picks – http://theworkedit.com/capitol/2017/12/13/best-beauty-picks-2017.html

    *RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 Is Coming in January, So 2017 Should Just End Right Now – http://www.vulture.com/2017/12/rupauls-drag-race-all-stars-3-premiere-date.html

    *You MUST read this piece about Social Security – https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/grandparents-raiding-grandchildren/548117/

    *How I learned to take my breasts to work – https://work.qz.com/1157063/how-i-learned-to-take-my-breasts-to-work/

    *Little Black Girls Are Killing Themselves. Does Anyone Care Enough to Figure Out Why? – https://www.theroot.com/little-black-girls-are-killing-themselves-does-anyone-1821311893

    *Fashion Nova is the millennial clothing brand googled more than Chanel – https://quartzy.qz.com/1158214/more-millennials-search-for-fashion-nova-than-chanel/

    *I Have a Bone to Pick With ‘The Holiday’ – https://www.manrepeller.com/2017/12/the-holiday-cameron-diaz-outfits.html

    • penguin

      I read that Kesha article! I was mad that they included Taylor Swift but left out Kesha from Time’s cover.

      • Kathleen

        I think I read that Kesha might not be legally allowed to talk openly about her case? Also, her case happened in 2016, not 2017. Also also, chances that she was approached and chose not to participate seem pretty high.

        • penguin

          All very logical and possible – I was still bummed she wasn’t on the cover, even if there are good reasons for it.

      • Listen, I hate Taylor Swift with a passion, and seeing her on the cover/in the article just burned me up. She had nothing to lose, she didn’t take on power, yet somehow she becomes a poster girl for the #MeToo movement? I don’t think so.

        • Zoya

          This.

        • penguin

          She gets way too much credit for the small things she does, and it’s so frustrating.

          • Laura

            small things she does? she reported a sex assault and then showed up, testified, withstood the media attention of doing so and held him accountable.

            i have a hard time understanding why anyone, particularly a woman, would be so dismissive of that as a ‘small thing’, and furthermore, be frustrated by her receiving positive recognition. if a man made that comment in my office i would be INCENSED – and i’m genuinely troubled by it here, and yet it’s been upvoted 4 times.

          • Yes, small thing. She didn’t sue her manager/producer/head of her record label, she countersued against a DJ who had lost his job. She wasn’t fighting against power, in fact she has probably the most power out of all the women who were included in the story. She wasn’t blackballed, shunned by those in her industry, etc the other victims have been. Good for her for doing something when that guy groped her, but her life and livelihood weren’t on the line the way the other women in the story were. And that’s why I object to her inclusion in the article.

            And for the record, throwing out the woman card on this is really disingenuous. Taylor Swift don’t give a fuck about Black women, or women of color in general, so why should I give a fuck about her? I’m tired of women of color being told that we need to revere white women who did the bare minimum while women of color are out here carrying everyone else on our backs.

          • Laura

            a) i do not think you need to ‘revere white women’ – nor did i ever say that. there’s a LOT of room between ‘revering’ taylor swift and openly saying you don’t think she should represent the #metoo movement – when she is literally a survivor of sexual assault.

            b) I am canadian. i follow american politics, and i have read your posts about alabama in particular, and it’s abundantly clear that black women showed up and saved the day.

            c) women challenging the patriarchy and standing up to be counted, even in smaller ways than other women, or when facing less backlash or danger than other women, is still progress. I agree that POC and women with disabilities, women without immigration status and other populations who have been disadvantaged shouldn’t face all the extra hurdles. I actively work in my job and in my community to ameliorate the situation for those women in particular. but the attitude of ‘a doesn’t care about me, so i don’t care about them’ is unproductive, unhelpful and you can bet men are the ones who benefit from that.

            d) it’s not the bare minimum to report and follow through with a sexual assault prosecution. it’s just not. i wish the average person could sit in with me while i go over the charging document, then victim meetings, the witness prep sessions and then the entire trial (not just the 20 second sound bite on the news) to see what it actually takes. i am a prosecutor – what the justice system demands of these women is overwhelming.

          • You’re never going to get me to change my feelings on Taylor Swift.

            Taylor Swift countersuing is not the same as a sexual assault victim pursuing prosecution and I’m surprised that you’re likening her actions to that. Did Taylor do something that a lot of women wouldn’t have? Yes. But a lot of women also don’t have the means to have attorneys countersue, go through discovery, take time off work to testify, etc and do it all for a symbolic judgement.

            As a sexual assault victim, I found the stories from women who were powerless, like the hotel workers, to be more powerful and meaningful for me. And I’d rather those women be the face of the #MeToo movement – a movement started by a Black woman btw, who couldn’t get on the cover, but Taylor Swift did. To me, that’s a slap in the face to Tarana Burke, the #MeToo founder. But hey, at least Taylor has another cover to add to her collection!

          • penguin

            Sure she did a good thing, no one is saying she didn’t. She absolutely should have reported it, and it’s good that she took him to trial. My point was that others risked more and lost more, and didn’t get on the cover. I don’t think Taylor Swift takes a strong enough stance on social issues to be getting on magazine covers for it.

        • Katharine Parker

          Luvvie’s piece on seeing Taylor on the cover was really good, if you haven’t seen it. https://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/2017/12/time-person-of-year-taylor-swift.html

        • penguin

          Gut reaction to seeing her on the cover: “She doesn’t even go here!”

        • Laura

          see i find this odd. i’m a prosecutor and in our office we regularly talk about how taylor swift a) rocked her testimony in a way that we could only dream of having all witnesses testify b) sued for 1$ to make her point c) witnesses/vics of sex assault (particularly young ones) can identify with her and feel like they too can show up and be heard. i do not understand the furor over her being included.
          she made the report, testified incredibly and held an older creepy guy accountable for his sexual assault. how does she not belong there?
          and to the whole ‘nothing to lose’ bit – i think we can all agree at this point that all women, everywhere have something to lose when reporting sex assaults?

      • Angela’s Back

        AND they ditched Rose McGowan, she 100% should have been on that cover as someone who spoke up early and suffered actual professional consequences.

    • savannnah

      Kesha’s song ‘praying’ is my personal vote for anthem of 2017 and it makes me cry in the car.

      • Amy March

        The first time I heard it I immediately turned the radio off because nothing was worthy following it.

      • MC

        I always cry when it comes on the radio, oof. So good.

      • penguin

        Definitely makes me cry every time.

      • Eenie

        This song is amazing. Most of the album really. I especially like progression from “Bastards” through “Rainbow”. The later songs are a little bit too country for me. But Hymn and Praying are seriously amazing.

    • Angela’s Back

      DRAG RACE!! Premiere date is on my calendar so I can count down… I just need there to be Drag Race on year round, it would make a huge difference to the amount of joy in my life day to day.

  • Elizabeth

    For the sanity of myself and my fiancé, I cancelled Christmas this year. But now my family is starting to make me feel like a jerk, and I’m wondering if I did the right thing, or if I over-reacted and should just suck it up and tolerate my family.

    My mom can be difficult (if you’ve seen my post history you know this) and last year she invited herself and her husband to fiancé’s and my house for a few days. To say they were terrible houseguests would be an understatement. They stressed my fiancé and I out so much we were literally dancing in the kitchen when their car left the driveway after three days.

    This year, it worked out that we wouldn’t be able to drive six hours to my mom’s hometown (also where my dad and stepmom live), to visit for a day, so we told my mom that we weren’t going to be able to make it. She in turn invited herself and her husband to our house again for four days spanning from the 23rd to the 27th. I gently told her that we’d really like to spend Christmas alone with each other, something we have never done, and have been getting passive aggressive grief about it since then. My brother also thinks she’s pretty devastated, and seems to feel like I should have just tolerated her and her husband because that’s what you do for family.

    I can’t think of anything more wonderful than spending Christmas just the two of us, but now I’m starting to doubt if I made the right choice. Especially with this year being the year we get married, I’m trying my best to not rock the boat with her but also maintain my sanity.

    • Sara

      Stay strong! Don’t let her guilt trip you into being miserable. And tell your brother to butt out of your relationship.
      I’m rooting for a quiet Christmas for you.

    • Amy March

      In no world did you cancel Christmas. It’s fine to not invite her, but also obviously yes she’ll be upset about it. You’ve prioritized your sanity over not rocking the boat (well done) but there are always consequences. Why can’t she hang with your brother?

      • Elizabeth

        He’s driving to her to spend two days with her and leaving her house the 23rd, but he’s a 2 hour drive from her and I’m 6.

        • Amy March

          Uh huh. So he’s also not spending Christmas with Mom but is comfortable guilt-tripping you about the same thing? Ignore.

    • Here’s my tip: learn to put your foot down now, before you even get married, or you will be dealing with guilt trips/doing thing you don’t want to do for a LONG TIME.

    • Cellistec

      Oh, I feel this so hard. I was just about to post my own dealing-with-the-in-laws thing. I’m finding that it’s really hard to balance the good of your own new family (you+fiance) with the good of your families of origin. So I don’t have any advice–man, I wish–just total solidarity.

    • sofar

      I have some challenging family members and in-laws, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that you CANNOT hold yourself responsible for their happiness, because they Never. Will. Be. Happy. no matter what you do.

      You didn’t cancel Christmas for them. They are more than welcome to celebrate in a manner of their choosing.

    • AmandaBee

      You didn’t “cancel Christmas.” Christmas is still happening, and you just put some reasonable boundaries in place to ensure that you can really celebrate it this year.

      Your brother is welcome to host them if he’s that worried about her emotional wellbeing. You aren’t obligated to host uninvited people just because they have feelings about it.

      • Elizabeth

        He’s driving to her hometown to spend two days with her and leaving her house the 23rd, but he’s a 2 hour drive from her and I’m 6.

    • penguin

      Stick to your guns! They sound like nightmare houseguests and you definitely do NOT have to have them stay at your house (ever again, but especially not when they invite themselves over Christmas)! You’re not overreacting, and I think it’s great that you are prioritizing yourself and your fiancé.

      • NolaJael

        Yep! There’s going to be a first time for everything and firsts require a little adjustment and getting used to. My husband and I spend the majority of major holidays together rather than traveling all over. Parents, step-parents, siblings and everyone else has gotten used to it. They are happy to see us when we plan to come but don’t push the matter if we say we won’t be there.

    • Jess

      CONGRATULATIONS on making this decision for yourself and your collective little family’s well being.

      The keeper of family peace is not a role you need to keep filling.

      Enjoy your Christmas.

    • AP

      Just here to support you- you made the right call!! My husband and I ditched the family and went to the Rocky Mountains just the two of us for Thanksgiving and called it our babymoon, and it was The. Best. Decision. Ever. Our families started giving us grief in the lead-up to our trip, and my resolve wavered a time or two, except our non-refundable plane tickets and Airbnb meant that we couldn’t change our minds. And I’m so glad we didn’t. It gave us a much needed time to reconnect after a very busy year and just be together and relax. We deserved that, and so do you. Like the others are saying, you didn’t cancel Christmas, you made your own plans, and now all the adults around you can make theirs.

  • AmandaBee

    Cheers to new code and setting APW up for what will hopefully be a much smoother 2018!

    Like a lot of people, 2017 was a giant dumpster fire for me: one of my best friends passed away, I had a severe (I now realize) work burnout situation that impacted my physical and emotional health, the US is imploding, and we had financial troubles that put us into debt that we’ve just gotten back out of. But I’m also trying to look back and remember that some of it was awesome – my husband and I did some real work on our relationship, had an amazing delayed honeymoon that was made 100% better by the fact that I finished my dissertation and quit my job beforehand, and we moved to a new state and starting to feel settled in with, you know, friends and everything.

    But I also fully understand that shell-shocked feeling of “WTF happened?” and am ready for a new, hopefully better year to begin. So, cheers to 2018!

  • Suzy

    I’ve had a couple of lovely early Christmas presents this week!
    #1 our wedding rings arrived and we loooove them, #2 I’ve been offered a permanent job as a Graphic Designer with the company I’ve been an intern with since March, in an amazing team of women I love. It feels like all the hard work and scrimping on minimum wage has been worth it- an almost £4K pay rise 3 months before our wedding will do nicely, thank you very much! So excited to continue in a career that I’ve finally realised is the one for me.

    Wishing a wonderful holiday season to all of you lovely ladies- bring on 2018!

    • suchbrightlights

      Congratulations!

  • AmandaBee

    Question for the APW hive mind: Has anyone tried period panties? (Thinx or similar)

    I’m thinking about investing in these as someone who despises tampons and hasn’t gotten up the courage to use the menstrual cup I purchased last year. Would love to hear some honest thoughts on these!

    • Arie

      I can’t help you on the period panties, but I’m here to say: try the cup! I’m totally converted and have been using one for 8 years. It’s easier than you might think, and waaaay easier than tampons+pads.

      • Angela’s Back

        I feel like a cup is my next period frontier now that I’ve had my Thinx experience, definitely considering it anyway. Can you just go buy one or does it have to be fitted or whatever?

        • Arie

          Nope you can just go buy one! They’re at natural grocery stores, whole foods, etc. They cost about $40. One size for no kids/under 30, another size for kids/over 30.

          • sage

            I’m pretty sure I’ve seen DivaCup sold at Walgreens!

        • flashphase

          I think I got mine on amazon or from the divacup site

        • Eve

          Fit does matter though, so if the first one you get isn’t comfortable and doesn’t get better, try a different brand. There are some videos on YouTube of people who buy, like, ten different brands and line them up so you can see the differences, and some of the differences are pretty substantial.

        • Lisa

          You can buy them from Amazon or most fancy grocery stores. I found this article that does a rundown of the different cups and the types of bodies they work best for. DivaCup is the best known, but it won’t work for everyone.

          • MC

            I especially love that article because they share their process for trying to find something to simulate a vagina and it’s really hard because vaginas are incredibly complex parts of our biology!!

      • L.

        @disqus_O3uvyucfVg:disqus @angelasback:disqus I agree with recommendations for a menstrual cup! I personally use the Lunette cup and am very happy with it. I tried the Diva cup in first, and while I used it for a year, I personally find the Lunette cup to be much more comfortable. Everybody’s different, though! Also, Angela’s Back, you’ll want to be sure to consider your flow. It seems that hormone imbalances impacted a lot of changes to my period this year, one of which was flow, and I now own both sizes of cups because my flow is too heavy for the smaller cup some days. :( (And I’m no kids, under 30.)

      • Eenie

        I’m pissed that no one told me a menstrual cup was available earlier in my life (22 years old at the time). DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TAMPONS AND PADS I SUFFERED THROUGH? I understand it doesn’t work well for everyone, but neither do tampons, pads, or special underwear. We should at least know our options.

      • macrain

        Ok, so- I tried the cup and I LOVED the way it felt and when it was working properly, I was in love with it. But- I can’t get the damn thing to work consistently without leaking. I tried and tried! For maybe, four complete cycles. And it was just stressing me out, so I went back to tampons, which I hate.
        Any suggestions here? Should I try a different cup? (For the record, I tried the Lena cup.) If someone can figure this out for me, I’d be so grateful!

        • Lisa

          I’d recommend checking the article I linked below. It gives a rundown of what types of cups work for different body types (cervix height, etc.), which could be part of the issue. Also, IIRC, you just had a baby right? I know many of them come in pre- and post-childbirth sizes, which might be part of the issue, too.

    • Angela’s Back

      I had a pair of Thinx for a while, I used them as my overnight pad replacement and was very happy with them–no leaks or anything, and my periods aren’t super heavy so it was never anything they couldn’t handle. My one complain and the reason I got rid of my pair is that post-wear, you have to both rinse them out in the sink and then run them through a cold water machine cycle. Those undies are like $38 a pop, I got one pair, and ain’t nobody got time to wash those in the machine every since day on their period. Or maybe people with their own washer/dryer do, but I am still a slave to the quarter feeders so that wasn’t really an option for me. Ergo, I went with thorough handwash and air dry after each wear, machine wash at the end of my cycle, but they started getting whiffy after a while and I just couldn’t keep them. I would say if you can afford to invest in two or three pairs, 100% worth it.

      • Olive

        Same.

        • Angela’s Back

          so glad I’m not the only one, I mean only I really knew but it was still so embarrassing.

          • Olive

            yea, SO embarrassing. I was worried I was washing them wrong, but I was careful! never going down that path again.

    • sage

      I recently bought a pair of Thinx and have used them for two or three cycles now. I wear them for one day when I know my period will start and (assuming I’m on top of laundry) one day at the end. I wear pads in the middle when my flow is heavier. They are supposedly meant to serve as a replacement for pantyliners, not to handle your full flow. But, my flow is really light so I could probably get away with Thinx for my whole period.

      I really like it! There’s no worry about changing things out during the day like with tampons, and they are better than pads because you don’t feel like you’re wearing a diaper / it feels drier. I’m sold and will probably buy a second pair soon!

      TLDR: I would say great if you have a light flow, maybe just at the end of your period if you have a heavy flow

    • Dear Kate undies. I have 5 pair that I have bought over the last couple years to have as period undies. I use them as back-up, not as my primary line of defense. In addition to cycle days, I also use them right before I start (on the “I’m supposed to start any moment now but haven’t yet” days) and at end of my cycle too. They’re doing some holiday specials too. My favorites (or the three I have tried) are the Jackie sport undies.
      ETA: I heard about them originally on here from various commenters over the years.

  • AGCourtney

    What a year! I love this place and am so, so grateful for all of the work you and the APW staff put in.

    My husband is actually probably going to take the new job after all. He met with the owner yesterday, and while there’s still going to be another meeting or two before everything gets finalized, it looks like it’s going to be A Thing. I am supportive but honestly a bit scared.

    I just want to split into two, three, hell, maybe six people and be multiple places at once. I like my job at the college library. I like the accounting firm I work at during tax season; they would love for me to come in as often as I can these next couple weeks to help out with some projects, but it’s honestly really hard for me to give up the little time I already have with my daughter. I’m far from the only one feels the work-life balance struggle, but it’s been particularly hard for me this month.

    We had our choir concert on Saturday and it was delightful. And on Wednesday, we did the MSP Hamiltunes event! It was really fun. Kiddo reprised her Angelica Schuyler solo during Reynolds Pamphlet (no gown this time – I suspect she’s quite outgrownt hat) and I did a few songs like Burn and That Would Be Enough. The photo has my daughter in the middle. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/366a6bdff9d91f1c3102e20e47c38b252959e414cb5dfb6fd878cc3b685c606d.jpg

  • savannnah

    We are heading out to our honeymoon on Tuesday!! 3 weeks in Morocco and a long layover in Paris on the way back (where we got engaged) I could not be looking forward to it more! We really tried saving up the cash for this vacation and will be splurging more than we are used to but so far I feel mostly really great about it. My husband travels for work as well so its weird but true to say that we’ve never spent 3 weeks together before. I feel a little nervous and overwhelmingly excited about that aspect of this trip. And also the rugs- we have a budget item just for the rugs. We signed our new lease in Portland and are moving a few weeks after we get back to NY and I’m excited to fill the place with rugs and pillows and pictures from this trip. Oh and also flying first class, even though it will ruin every flight I’m on after.

    In the meantime I’m bringing my travel Menorah into Manhattan with me tonight because my in-laws are in town to see Christmas in NYC and have not at all acknowledge that my husband and I don’t celebrate Christmas and that its actively Hanukkah right now so I’m going to make them watch me light the candles in protest.

    • Suzy

      Have an amazing time on your honeymoon- I love that you’ve budgeted specifically for rugs, just imagine all the wonderful memories that will be stored in your home for years to come <3

    • Cellistec

      Have a blast in Morocco!! I was there last November and it was incredible. Don’t be afraid to walk around the medinas (markets) during the day…we had zero hassles from anyone.

      • savannnah

        Good to know! Researching this trip made us a little nervous because of all the warnings but I’ve travelled extensively and am thinking we’ll be good!

    • Anna

      I appreciate your protest Chanukah-candle-lighting :-) What makes it a “travel menorah”?

      • savannnah

        It’s travel sized!

        • Jess

          The idea of a travel sized menorah is just bringing so much delight into my heart.

          • Yael

            Travel-sized menorahs are the best. Mine is from Israel and is hand-painted with the skyline of the old city. I love it.

          • savannnah

            Its got some miles on it too! My great grandfather gave it to my grandfather when he went to WWII and my dad had it in college and all my siblings at one point or another had it so its been to France, Indiana, Korea, Chicago and now lives on my bookshelf in NYC.

          • AGCourtney

            Ahhh, I love this! That’s fantastic.

          • Jess

            Oh, my heart.

    • theteenygirl

      Morocco is one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited. I cannot wait to go back with my husband! You will get so good at haggling during this trip!! Make sure you buy yourself a pashmina/scarf while you’re there.. I love mine. It makes me happy every time I wear it. Have fun!!

    • Angela’s Back

      I have a protest cubicle menorah that I made out of magazine pages and pin up on my cube walls every Hanukkah just to make the point that everyone in my office now actively knows someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I even add paper candles every day, it brings me great joy.

    • suchbrightlights

      Your honeymoon sounds amazing, and I hope you tell us all about it when you get back!

      I’m pretty sure that lighting the menorah is a mitzvah and there’s no commandment against LIGHTING THE MENORAH as a public statement.

  • Sara

    2017 was a quiet year for me and the dog, just fixing my finances and organizing my life again. I’m hoping 2018 brings some adventure and some peace from the terrible news from the world. .

    Happy holidays and Happy New Year everyone!

  • Katie

    My life has been a shitshow lately, thanks partially to retrograde Mercury. My wedding is about to be cancelled (the marriage still stays, however), because I feel like I just can’t give any more shit than I already do, but apparently that’s not enough.
    Ladies, stay awesome. Meg, this picture is EVERYTHING today, and I’m saving it to my Pinterest.

  • Did I tell yall that Miss Josephine met Santa Larry last Friday? There were no tears and we got the cutest photos! My kid is such a ham, LOL.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9be849fcfec56c8f7db5efe2c5457168060ff2f17d7d2da436f4ec01cd627e55.jpg

    • CMT

      OMG!!! So cute!!

    • MC

      THAT TOP RIGHT PICTURE, OMG!!!

    • Rose_C

      !!!!!! Upper right corner is a Forever Framed pic in my opinion!! Such a sweet, expressive kid!

    • Katie

      ADORBZ
      the top right photo? so awesome.

    • savannnah

      These are gold!

    • sofar

      Your kid is a pro at this.

      • She is officially a baby model so she’s showing off her professional talents!

    • AmandaBee

      Love the top right, though I’m torn on whether she’s saying “Ta-Da!” or “WTF?”

      • I guarantee it was a “wtf do yall want from me?” considering that she’d had a professional photo shoot earlier in the day, LOL.

        • AmandaBee

          It’s hard work being that adorable all the time, I can imagine.

    • Zoya

      LOOKA THAT FACE

    • Fiona

      This is incredible, but my favorite is the one where she’s holding out her hands like, “wtf do you want from me? I’m adorable no matter what I do.”

    • Cbrown

      I took my four month old and wasn’t sure it would be worth it but it was magical. Baby T was totally mesmerised and gave Santa a snuggle.

    • My heart!!! They’re all so good, esp. the top right!

    • Mrs H

      She is the cutest!

    • Mary Jo TC

      My twenty-month old says ‘Santa’ but it sounds like ‘Dada.’ Zero nervousness when he encountered the ‘real’ Santa at the library. He points to Santa ornaments and decorations (or indeed anything that pictures a man with a white beard, including some of the 7 dwarves) and says ‘Dada!’ So cute! But he doesn’t photograph nearly as well as baby Pi.

  • Also, white ladies of APW, we need to have a talk? Can we have a talk? Let’s talk. Specifically about how so many of you continue to make life harder for everyone else by the way you vote. 53% of you voted for President PussyGrabber, and 65% of Alabama white women voted for Judge Barely Legal for senator. Thankfully, Black women came out in droves and voted in their (and everybody else’s) best interest, helping to elect Jones.

    Serious question – why do so many white women vote against their own interests? And when are yall gonna get your shit together?

    I appreciate that so many women acknowledged that Black women continue to save America, but we are not yall mules/Mammys/Black saviors.

    Luvvie summed this up way better than I could, so I’ll just drop her link here – https://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/2017/12/white-women-shit-together-alabama.html
    This isn’t an attack, this is a serious “come to Jesus” request and hopefully the start of a true dialogue.

    • Zoya

      Thank you for posting this. As a white-identifying Jewish woman in a true-blue coastal state, I’ve been struggling with my complicity in this and what I personally can do (besides throwing a bunch of money at candidates of color, and signing every petition Kamala Harris sends around).

      I know I’ve let things (like my deep fear of phone/texting with strangers) keep me from being more active. I’ve done lots of shutting-up-and-listening to the POC in my social circle, but have struggled to translate that into action.

    • Katie

      In no way do I support Trump, yet I wonder whether it makes sense to ask this question on this website. I’m pretty sure literally none of the ladies here voted against their own interests. The dialogue started a long time ago and is still going.
      PS I’m a white female immigrant with no legal right to vote, which I hope will soon change, and my vote will not go to a sexist pig, be it a man or a woman or anyone against MY interests (not ALL WOMEN’s interests, because I’m pretty sure the interests of rich white ladies are quite different from mine.)

      • Jess

        I do think it makes sense to ask this question here. Because just as All Men are complicit in sexual harassment, All White Women have at some point been complicit in racism.

        We may do better ourselves, but we need to help other white women do better.

        I think of Jubilance’s comment less as an accusation and more as a plea for help. Because the work of teaching cannot keep falling solely onto the shoulders of those hurting the most.

        • Arie

          Yes. And also? She’s allowed to be angry. As a group, white women are letting ourselves down and we’re letting everyone else down. Her being angry doesn’t mean that we can’t be angry at the white women who are voting against their/our interests, but it does open up a discussion that we should all be having about how the eff to get our people in line.

          • Jess

            Honestly? She’s not only allowed to be angry, but I encourage her to be angry.

            I’m fucking angry, and as a white woman from an upper middle class family in a mostly white state, I’m pretty much the least affected by this nonsense.

            If we stop being angry, we have already lost.

          • Lexipedia

            “If we stop being angry, we have already lost.”

            ^ This is key.

          • LuckyLoveBug

            Yessssssss <3

        • Zoya

          Yup, this. On Meg’s “what do we do with the men?” post, I commented that my husband is uncomfortable feeling tarred with the #yesallmen brush, and I think he needs to sit with that discomfort. I feel roughly the same way about being lumped in with other white women. Yes, I personally did not support these repugnant candidates. But I benefit from the same privileges that they are playing on to win support. If someone from a marginalized group expresses anger or frustration about those privileges, then my job is to shut up and listen.

          • Lexipedia

            Yep if we are uncomfortable then we should do something about it.

      • I almost put in something about how I don’t think APW readers are Trump/Moore supporters, but I took it out. I don’t want to silence anyone, or shame anyone – at this point I’m looking to understand cause it makes zero sense to me to vote for either man.

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        Listen, I get that it’s frustrating when you feel like you’re doing the work and getting lumped in with people who are fine with voting a child predator into office. We all want to think we’re one of the good ones. But when a woman of color expresses her frustration with white women, it is our job to figure out of that includes us, and then deal with our feelings. By putting this back on Jubilance, and asking if her question makes sense, not only are we silencing her voice, but we’re assuming we know more about what we’re talking about than she does. We just #NotAllMen’d her. And I think the collective APW conscious is better than that. Didn’t vote for Trump? Then this comment isn’t for you, and that’s fine. But I can’t imagine there isn’t a single Trump voter inside these pages. (At least, that’s what I learned from the election. You don’t know who voted in what direction; so assume everyone is complicit.)

        Anyway, in general, I feel like our job as white women right now is to do a whole lot more listening and empowering women of color, and a lot less talking over and questioning the validity of their statements.

        • Katie

          Of course, it is not my place to silence Jubilance or anybody else, not is it my intention whatsoever. But if we vent (righteously!) only in safe places, it is not going to take us far. I am happy to see comments that explain personal actions women took to change the situation. I had my talks with Trump-voting white ladies in my (small) community, and I ended up alienating them from me. If one thing I learned is that I cannot beat my opinion into another person’s head, even using the most logical arguments and the gentlest persuasion. So maybe we should ask – “What are WE doing to change the world around us”, and not “How are we FORCING other people to change opinions”. And that, as Jubilance pointed out, includes some hard thinking about our actions.

    • LuckyLoveBug

      I agree with Katie, that the white women who frequent this website are probably not the ones who are voting against our own interests, and I’m not sure I’m qualified to speak about those who are, because frankly, I don’t get it either.

      That being said, I do know one of my very dear friends, whom I’ve known for nearly twenty years now, voted for Trump solely because she was a one-issue voter, and that issue was abortion. She absolutely, without remorse refused to vote for someone who was pro-choice.

      Literally, that’s it. Nothing else mattered. And, from reading the comments of some of her friends, that seems to be the case for many of those white women, in particular.

      • Katie

        This makes me even sadder. Alright, you don’t want an abortion – don’t get one. But forcing YOUR choice on OTHER people? But again… This platform is not the place to argue about this.

        • rg223

          And even if you are pro-life and don’t want people to get abortions, why does that outweigh EVERY OTHER THING IN THE WORLD? How is that more important than things that ACTUALLY affect you DIRECTLY?

          • LuckyLoveBug

            One of my friend’s friends literally had a post that went viral within her friend group along the lines of “I see so many people saying they’re so conflicted about this election and I’m like, what’s there to be conflicted about? One candidate is ok with killing unborn babies, the other isn’t. Seems pretty clear-cut to me!”

          • Mary Jo TC

            I’ve seen CATHOLIC PRIESTS make that argument FROM THE PULPIT.

          • flashphase

            same sentence but substitute “Israel” and “support a two-state solution” for a different kind of powder keg!!!

        • PAJane

          Because it’s not about live and let live, or personal liberty, or health care. It’s about innocent, unborn human beings who didn’t have a choice in the matter being murdered because their parents made poor choices.I’m vehemently pro-choice, but I grew up religious and conservative. If I had been able to vote for GW, I would have, because he was the pro-life candidate. Murder and sexual morality were pretty fucking important to me at the time. So I agree with you now, but I also understand that the two camps are arguing about the same thing, but for completely different reasons, so their arguments never line up and meet head-on. The argument that you just need to make the decision that is right for you and leave other people alone isn’t going to convince anybody who believes that women who get abortions are forcing their own agendas on other human beings, ie their unborn children./been there, done that, bought the t-shirt

          • AGCourtney

            Exactly. It’s incredibly difficult to have a dialogue with anti-choice people because for them, they often genuinely believe abortion is murdering a child. You can’t meet in the middle on that! If you genuinely believe hundreds of thousands of murders are happening each year, no other issue can hold a candle to stopping that.

          • rg223

            Yeah, this is where the very unfortunate “good abortion” narrative comes in, because you probably can’t convince anyone with the personal liberty argument, but you MIGHT be able to convince people that SOME women need abortion (we all know the “acceptable” cases), and so we have to protect the right for all women. To be honest, I think I’ve had the most luck with the “good abortion” argument in making pro-life people think and possibly start changing their minds, but I HATE resorting to it when I believe no abortions are “bad.” I was a lot more pro-life as a younger person and the “good abortion” narrative was what started me on the path to complete pro-choice, so I know it can change minds…

            Of course, there are people out there who don’t even believe the “acceptable” cases exist, so there’s that.

          • Mary Jo TC

            This is a brilliant argument that I have seen someone else make to address that argument head-on. Imagine you are in a fertility clinic waiting room. There is a cooler full of hundreds of fertilized eggs. And there is a crawling baby on the floor. A fire breaks out. You can only save one, the cooler or the baby. EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WOULD CHOOSE THE BABY AND LET THE HUNDREDS OF EMBRYOS BURN! Because even if you believe a fertilized egg is a child, and has a soul, it is NOT morally equivalent to a living child. So pro-choice votes recognize that reality and put the welfare of living children (who need health insurance and other social programs that Democrats promise to provide) above the ‘welfare’ of embryos–just as everyone in the world would do instinctively if forced to choose by a hypothetical fire.

      • rg223

        I said nearly the same exact thing as you at nearly the same exact time, haha!

      • Sarah E

        I think this is exactly it. Those who voted for Moore weren’t deciding between pedophile and reasonable human being, they were deciding between pedophile and “killing babies.” Meanwhile, the religious establishment of so-called Christians spent a LOT of time trying to throw doubt on Moore’s allegations. To me, without being on the ground in Alabama, I think stabbing through the heart of patriarchal religious power HAS to happen for white women to get out heads out of the sand and come into an intersection feminist understanding of our spirituality and whatever religion may hold it.

    • rg223

      Every white woman I know who voted for Trump are one-issue voters, and that issue is abortion. I have no idea how to go about changing minds on this when the response is “… but God!” and that’s the end of the discussion. Has anyone here made headway with someone who only (and I mean ONLY) cares about abortion? I’ve tried pointing out how their other views and interests line up with Democrats, but that has never worked. IT’S FRUSTRATING.

      • Jess

        I have not had success, but I think it’s worth continuing to talk about.

        They say the only method that works is to make an analogy with something that the person has experienced and then relating it back to the issue at hand… but I never have the patience for that.

      • flashphase

        This was interesting:
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/12/13/there-was-an-enormous-gap-between-black-evangelical-voters-and-white-evangelical-voters-in-alabama

        Basically, white evangelicals voted for Moore and white non-evangelicals voted for Jones. I think this is an important nuance (though plenty of white non-evangelicals voted for Moore). Although while we tend to think that evangelicals = conservative monolith, the fact that black evangelicals voted for Jones means that it doesn’t have to be this way. But I think it involves a shifting of priorities from the church.

      • AmandaBee

        This has been the case for some, not all, women I know who voted Trump or who (more commonly) sat out the election entirely. Abortion was a big issue, in large part because the Republican party knows that it’s an easy way to get votes.

        I think there are ways to change opinions about abortion on a personal level, but it’s hard when there is a whole political machine operating to mislead people about it. Personal stories and honest dialogue are a powerful way to start shifting minds, but it’s understandable that most women who’ve had abortions don’t want to go public about it for a whole range of reasons. I think it’s something that white women in particular need to start talking about, but it’s not going to be easy or a quick fix.

        • rg223

          Completely agree about the political machine – and I think there’s a religion machine as well that also misleads people. I don’t know how to deal with either of those things as an outsider to both. And the thing is, there is a lot of press about women who’ve gone public about abortions, but you’re only going to find it and take it seriously if you were looking for it. I try to amplify women’s stories (because I don’t have any personal ones), but so much of it depends on the person being open to listening.

      • Lexipedia

        I really respected that Doug Jones didn’t roll back his statements on abortion – even when he was given multiple opportunities, and it would’ve been politically beneficial, for him to do so,

      • MC

        I support my state’s Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and they have some good wording/resources on this topic; at the very least, it’s good to be able to show people that not every person of faith has the same interpretation on the abortion issue: http://rcrc.org/

        Oh, and my cousin posted this on FB last year – an article by a pro-life woman who talks about why she voted for Hillary: http://www.shannondingle.com/blog//im-pro-life-and-im-voting-for-hillary-heres-why

        Anecdotally, my friend’s mom is an immigrant and very Catholic and always swore she would never vote for a pro-choice candidate, until Trump’s hard line on immigration finally made her draw the line and she ended up voting for Clinton. But that wasn’t so much a persuasive argument as it was Trump just being the worst.

      • AP

        The former-evangelical Christian author Rachel Held Evans has written some really interesting things on voting for pro-choice candidates: https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/pro-life-voting-for-hillary-clinton
        Her framing might be helpful if you ever do get the chance to talk to someone who is open to listening.

        • rg223

          This is great – I’ve made some of these arguments to people, but next time I’m just going to send them this because they will hopefully respect the messenger more than they might respect me. Thanks!

        • ssha

          RHE FTW

      • RMC

        I posted this higher up but I think Dr. Willie Parker’s book “Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice” is really helpful because he is a born-again Christian who is an abortion provider and he frames it as part of his religious calling. I think it’s really powerful.

        • ssha

          That book is amazing. Until I read it I was pro-choice, but still personally had some hangups about abortion (Hi, grew up evangelical) and it really helped me come to new conclusions. I want to recommend it to all my Christian friends, but I’m worried they will be like “HOW COULD YOU” because abortion is such a huge deal and there will be many many unproductive and frustrating arguments. But I guess I need to.

    • Jess

      You’re right, and I’m sorry. There were a lot of articles on The Root, etc. this week about White Women putting their racial privilege above their gender.

      Reading about those stats after the 2016 election renewed my efforts to talk to the white women I know. We need to do better at talking to our families and our friends.

      • AmandaBee

        Talking to our family and friends is where I’m starting too. I’m still thinking of larger solutions, but this is one thing I can do right now. I know too many white women who just sat out this election, because they despised Trump but didn’t want to throw their weight behind Hillary, and frankly because I think they assumed that Trump would lose without them having to do anything. It’s really frustrating.

        • The sitting out thing is something I’ve been thinking a lot about… To be totally honest, I only started voting in midterms when my state switched over to sending all registered voters mail-in ballots. Meanwhile, in Alabama Black voters were fighting intense voter suppression tactics and STILL had that epic turnout. I there’s a big piece of this that is not just about having the “right” view point, but about showing up?

          • AmandaBee

            I grew up in a conservative area and I feel like conservatives – particularly older conservatives – are much more reliable voters than younger Democrats and that’s why they carry so much more political power. Getting (esp. young, white) people to reliably turn out – ESPECIALLY for midterm, state-level, and local-level elections – feels like the next big challenge for Democrats if we want to be able to turn this situation around. If there’s any silver lining in the shitshow that is national politics, it’s that it hopefully drives more of us progressive folks to pay attention and show up.

      • Zoya

        This is where I get stuck. I come from a very liberal family, and live in a very liberal area. I’m not actually sure I know anyone who voted for Trump, at least not anyone I’m on “serious political conversation” terms with. So I can continue talking about this stuff with people who fundamentally agree with me, but then it just feels like echoes in the chamber.

        • I have this too… Like, there’s a lot of conversations I can have with family and friends about marginalized groups etc. but in terms of actual voting patterns I’m not really sure what there is to nudge. I heard someone make a joke on a podcast about Gerrymandering & blue voters self-packing about how we need a Democrat resettlement program, and sometimes I think there’s some truth to that.

          • Jess

            I think fighting Gerrymandering is a great place to start, as is supporting organizations helping get marginalized communities into the polls.

          • PAJane

            Gerrymandering is seriously SUCH A BIG DEAL.

          • AmandaBee

            I was gonna say, I think Democrats have really underestimated how easily we can be completely overruled by gerrymandering, especially since Democrats tend to cluster up with other like-minded folks. We NEED to get cracking on addressing that. Working on making sure liberals turn out even for off-year and local elections, holding Democratic politicians accountable, expanding your circle to include more moderate people might all be other ways to take some action.

          • Zoya

            My friends were half-joking about a Democrat resettlement program last night! Some folks are considering escaping Bay Area cost of living in favor of Austin, and we were discussing the possibility of all carpetbagging to Texas and purpling the state.

          • MC

            Gerrymandering and voter suppression are, I think, the two biggest things that Dems & liberals need to fight against for 2018/2020 to be successful.

        • Yael

          I’m in the same position (well, used to be when I was actually in the States), and the thing that A and one of my best friends have landed on is canvassing/GOTV activities. He’s seriously thinking about volunteering when he’s back in the summer, and she works with the local DNC. Even in liberal areas, we still need to get people to SHOW UP. So that’s something.

          Now that A and I are in Germany, minus him canvassing when he’s visiting (I will not be visiting at an appropriate time, plus the thought of canvassing makes this introvert want to hide for days), we’re mostly stuck on what to do. Give money? Maybe, but we don’t have a lot of disposable income. I’m pretty active on Twitter and reminding my family (and A’s) to pay attention/vote, but that doesn’t feel like enough. What’s an expat to do?

          • Dess

            This is the position I’ve been in for the last couple years, and while I have a lot of feelings about un-expatting in January, I am looking forward to feeling/being more able to take action.

          • Yael

            At this point I honestly can’t imagine un-expatting. I briefly had a twinge of oh hey maybe everything won’t be terrible forever after Doug Jones was elected, but then I remembered the GOP Tax Scam. We really just can’t make it in the States anymore, partially because we’re spoiled from Europe and partially because we couldn’t afford to have any sort of life.

        • AP

          Have you heard of Sister District? https://www.sisterdistrict.com

          It’s a way to take that energy out of solidly blue districts and channel it toward swing districts.

          • Zoya

            I have not! Will check them out posthaste.

          • Jess

            Am in a “swing state” and I am very intrigued by this group!!

        • Anne

          Yep, me too. This election really drove home for me what a bubble I was raised in.
          I’m a white woman who grew up in a liberal, west coast city—I know maybe
          two republicans (and that’s “know” as in “went to middle school with”).
          I have no family members who are republican, no friends who voted for
          Trump; one of my close friends is a centrist but she was one of the
          loudest anti-Trump voices I heard during the election, likely because
          she *does* have so many republican relatives. Where I live now, there
          are definitely people who voted for Trump (thanks, Michigan), but even
          then they’re mostly outside the university town in which I live. I’m doing a fair amount of volunteering and donating to organizations I think are doing good work, but in terms of individual conversations? Not so much.

    • kayceeee

      I know that I didn’t vote for Trump myself nor did I vote for the embarrassment of a governor that many in Texas voted for either (off topic, but still). I am pretty sure my mother voted for Trump, but I think that has to do that she votes Republican no matter what. As long as they have that “R” behind their name that is all that matters. I know for a lot of folks I grew up with (rural, lower to middle class, farming community) abortion is a HUGE thing for them. I’m Pro-Choice and have been pretty much since I had an understanding as to what that meant. As for why white women continue to vote for the folks who only want to make life worse for them – I honestly don’t get it. It frustrates me to no end.
      And yes, Jones won, but what makes me sick is how small of a margin of victory that it was. That is unacceptable in my eyes.

    • Angela’s Back

      This will be a shortish answer to a question that really deserves something much more nuanced but my guesses would be, WRT all white women: white women might be women who get stuck with shitty woman stuff like sexual harassment and the wage gap and so forth, but we do get the whole white privilege thing, and when you’re inside the privilege, it’s a lot harder to see it. Ergo, I suspect that many women, especially older ones who don’t have places like APW to help them figure out that there are many many problems in the world, especially conservative evangelical women who are used to/have been told and/or conditioned to follow the lead of the men in their lives just don’t
      see voting for someone like Roy Moore as voting against their interests. They’re voting with the power structure they understand and believe to be theirs, which is white men. And that makes me really sad, but it’s something that I hope will change generationally, i.e., I don’t think any of the white women here would vote for a Moore-type candidate now or in 30 years because we know he’s only
      out for horrible things. WRT to the white women of Alabama: Moore has always been the Great Christian Defender, and I think a lot of white voters there, men and women, only ever saw this race as Great Christian Defender versus a baby killing Democrat. So if I’m a deeply religious woman in Alabama and I believe in my heart that I have a God-given duty to save the unborn, well, electing Doug Jones is killing a lot of unborn babies as opposed hurting the handful of women who came out with assault allegations that I’m not even sure I believe by electing Moore. I might not like that math, but for the kind of white religious voter AL has in droves—and I’ve lived in Mississippi, I know how it goes–it’s not a stretch either.

      • MC

        I did see a stat somewhere (I’ll try to find it) that when you broke down the white woman’s vote in AL into evangelical and non-evangelical, that evangelical WW voted for Moore 74ish-22ish, and non-evangelical WW voted for Jones along the same numbers. So clearly Big Religion is playing a HUGE role.

      • JLily

        Totally how I see it, too. Whiteness affords so much privilege, and white women cling to it. Abortion is just the easy sticking point, otherwise (and maybe I’m just not up to date on the theologies of different christian denominations) why wouldn’t black Christians be on the side of conservatives also, no matter what?

        • Jess

          Abortion provides such an easy excuse to make those decisions. “I want to keep my money” or “I’m afraid of people who don’t look like me” or “I like knowing that my white son will be more likely to get a job” just don’t have the same moral superiority anymore.

          • flashphase

            didn’t use to be the only topic but proved a handy wrangling hook to get people to vote for big business. I think I’ve recommended “what’s the matter with kansas” here before…

            Summary:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What%27s_the_Matter_with_Kansas%3F

          • Jess

            Aaaaaand adding that book to my goodreads list.

        • Angela’s Back

          I’m in no way qualified to speak for black Christians as a whole so I won’t, but one of the other things about Roy Moore in particular is that he’s publicly expressed nostalgia for slavery times sooo yeah. Not gonna win the black vote no matter what.

          • The whole “things were so much better during slavery!” strategy is insanely weird, but there are Black folks who identify with it! Basically their rationale is that Black familes were more intact (when they weren’t being sold off I suppose), Black folks had “jobs” and housing & whatnot….I don’t get it, but there are a few Black folks out there who are strangely invested in that narrative.

          • Angela’s Back

            That’s insane and I’ve never heard it before but I’m glad to know it, or rather increase the degree of my informed-ness.

            ETA: Actually, now that I think about it, it’s not unlike the ultra ultra ultra Orthodox Jews who are against the state of Israel because they think that God and only God should be the entity bringing Israel back existence.

          • ssha

            When I was college I spent a semester in Romania and a lot of people there were like “Things were better under Communism! At least everyone had jobs!” … I was blown away by that, but THIS I have never heard of. WTF

      • RMC

        I really highly recommend Dr. Willie Parker’s book which explicitly frames his identity as abortion provider as part of his religious calling (he is a born-again Christian who did not always provide abortions)… it’s called Life’s Work: a Moral Argument for Choice. He is truly amazing!!

      • Danielle

        I would not assume younger white women are naturally inclined towards liberal/progressive ideas, more than older white women. I don’t think this will just change over time, without considerable effort, work, and mobilization on the parts of many people and groups.

        Consider how many “alt-right” dudes are in their 20s-30s. There’s a resurgence of overtly white supremacist beliefs and movements happening at the moment, which seems to cut across age lines.

        It’s worrisome and I don’t completely understand it, as a progressive white woman (also Jewish, from NYC).

        • ItsyBit

          An upvote didn’t seem enough so: I really appreciate you pointing this out.

    • Collectively we (white women) need to get a grip… I live in a deep blue city, so I don’t actually know that many red voters, but I’ve been realizing I could be doing a lot more work to like, encourage my blue peers to actually turn out.

      But I think for a huge chunk of white women a lot of this it’s that it’s *not* against their own interest… We already get white privilege, and if we are in a traditional family structure we get a buy-in to our husbands’ male privilege. If you are also out of the workforce, and pro-choice there is kind of literally everything to gain from maintaining the status-quo?

      This obviously falls apart in the big picture – A just society is better for all of us, and electing malicious & unstable politicians has lots of potential for disaster for everyone. But I think we (white people) are verrrrry conditioned to see losing our white supremacy goodie-bag as like, an intense existential threat… Rather than a step toward a more stable and equal society for the long-term health of our species?

      • MC

        This is a really important point. And I think along with that, it’s important for us to talk about how Feminism has been branded by white women as an individualistic pursuit rather than a collective social justice movement. White middle/upper class women can say “Oh, feminism worked!” because they feel like they had all the choices and privileges they needed in their life. Or they can say, “Oh, I’m a feminist because I call out the sexism I personally experience!” without doing anything to help other women (looking at you, Megyn Kelly & Ivanka Trump). White women somehow need to learn that making the world better for women means making the world better for all women, not just white women. Unfortunately, like you said, white privilege is a hell of a drug.

        • Katharine Parker

          There is also a longstanding aspect of feminism that is intimately tied to white supremacy, dating to first wave suffragists and continuing through the white feminism of today. As an example, remember this piece by Mallory Ortberg: http://the-toast.net/2014/04/21/suffragettes-sucked-white-supremacy-womens-rights/

          • Jess

            Yes. Feminism has been failing women of color for a long time.

        • Reeeeally a good point. That individualistic “I got mine” approach is such a thing.

    • Anne

      I don’t have answers to this question of why or what our responsibilities should be, but I wanted to share one concrete idea from a friend of mine for a productive action to thank women of color for voting for Doug Jones:

      Support Emerge Alabama, a program that helps democratic female candidates running for office. The statistics for women and WOC in elected office in Alabama are terrible. The first cohort of women trained by Emerge in the state will be starting training in January and many of those women will likely run for office in 2018. 39% of Emerge America alumnae are women of color. In Alabama, this number will likely be considerably higher. https://emerge.ngpvanhost.com/emergeal

      • Lexipedia

        Thank you for the link! I also saw this one, which identified specific candidates to support as well as groups. Something to gift to your Republican relatives for Christmas?
        https://www.thecut.com/2017/12/black-women-turnout-roy-moore-doug-jones.html

        • Jess

          Loved The Cut’s list of organizations that got the Black Vote mobilized in Alabama. Definitely moved my donations around.

      • Anna

        Thanks! Concrete steps are so useful; otherwise I just end up stewing in a mixture of rage and guilt and it doesn’t go anywhere productive.

      • Thanks for this link!

      • suchbrightlights

        Thank you for this. I am lucky to be represented by politicians who represent my interests, which I would like to think are the interests of humanity in general, and I struggle to feel stuck in how to do something concrete when my letters to my congresspeople are along the lines of “thank you for supporting/proposing This Bill” and the people around me are also largely not terrible people.*

        *props to working for a company dominated by women with its arms open to diverse people of all kinds. We do that right.

    • Lexipedia

      Thank you Jubilance! I think it’s important that even the “progressive liberal” white ladies who consistently vote blue are part of the “WTF white ladies?” conversation. This can’t be a conversation where we pass the buck by saying that WE wouldn’t/didn’t vote for whatever awful candidate. People who look like us, who have some of the same privilege we do, are choosing to vote for these candidates and clearly haven’t been listening to the POC who have been shouting about these issues forever. Unless we give our all to these issues we are complicit in their decisions.

      How often does society ask different marginalized groups to deal with the shit of people who look like them/worship like them/come from the same place they do on behalf of privileged white people? We have a responsibility here.

    • I’m sorry, and I don’t know when we’re going to get our shit together. I grew up in a household and a community where abortion was the most important voting issue, to be Christian was to vote GOP, police were always trusted, etc, etc. It wasn’t until I moved away, found a new community, got some new sources of information, and eventually married someone who grew up with a lot less privilege than I did that I started realizing and unpacking all the ways that I benefit from the enormous amount of privilege I grew up with. I’m trying to have that conversation with other women who grew up like me. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes it really doesn’t.

      I think the hardest nut to crack at the moment in my circle is the abortion issue. As a person of faith and someone firmly in the pro-choice camp, I’ve tried the re-framing of pro-life, i.e. being for life means caring about the lives of women, the lives of refugees, the lives of migrants walking through the desert, the lives of young black men shot by police, the lives of those wrongly convicted in the justice system, the lives of those who can’t afford medical care in this country etc. But it is hard to try to reason with women who see abortion as the end-all-be-all faith voting issue.

      It is really frustrating, because while I and many of my close friend voted for Hilary, I know a number of women who voted for President Orange or some other 3rd party protest vote. Thanks for starting the conversation here though.

      • Thank you for this. I grew up as a liberal, and even though religion was in our home, it didn’t dominate our politics. I like the strategy you’re using regarding abortion.

        • I’ve found it works really well for folks who are on the fence, or even maybe lean a bit toward pro-choice but just can’t get around the abortion=murder indoctrination many Christian folks grow up with. With folks on a harder line, the conversations have not gone quite as well.

      • Angela’s Back

        That’s a really nice way of reframing pro-life, maybe you should run for office and get that out there… only joking a little bit.

      • Eenie

        I heard the term “pro forced pregnancy and child birth” the other day to describe the traditional anti-choice position. That is the extent to which the majority of that group cares about life.

      • rg223

        Your pro-life argument is the same my sister (a liberal Christian who occasionally runs in evangelical circles) makes. I’ve made the same argument to people – I’d LIKE to think it’s starting to change their minds, or at least make them think. But I’m also not sure they listen to me, not-really-a-Christian. Maybe part of my strategy should be to empower my sister to speak out more, as she might have more influence than me. Thanks for the food for thought!

      • Jess

        This is a good re-framing and that is exactly the narrative that two friends of mine who are anti-choice used to help justify voting for Hilary. That they couldn’t accept hurting so many more lives just for that one issue.

      • Capondoodle

        My experience as well.

      • Dess

        Yes. This.
        I want the re-framing you describe to have more visibility, and struggle to find the most effective ways of communicating it to Christians who treat abortion as their end-all-be-all voting issue.

      • SLG

        I am pro-life, and I agree with you that “being for life means caring about the lives of women, the lives of refugees, the lives of migrants walking through the desert, the lives of young black men shot by police, the lives of those wrongly convicted in the justice system, the lives of those who can’t afford medical care in this country.” It also means caring about the lives of teenage girls in Alabama – which I could rage about all day. These days, being pro-life and believing all that means there is no political group I fully fit in with.

        I also read that since the 1980s the abortion rate has gone down under Democrat presidents and gone up under Republican presidents. There are various hypotheses about why (for instance a better safety net may help remove economic reasons for abortions). Maybe this is a point to bring up with your friends – there are likely more strategic ways to accomplish what they care about than voting for just one party.

    • Fiona

      Honestly, I think deep down (or not that deep down with some of my family members) it’s racism based on the worthy/unworthy (who deserves welfare: basically nobody, but definitely not Puerto Ricans – the subject of their ire based on where they live.) and legal/illegal (immigration) archetypes.

      I’ve struggled with the immigrant narrative especially as these very family members immigrated here in their lifetimes and harbor so much vitriol for brown immigrants and assume that the resources for white immigrants in the 70s are somehow the same as for brown immigrants in the 2010s. They also cling furiously to these false stories of democrats as baby killers who would crush a fetus in its ninth month of gestation. Why? See racism above. It’s easier to use babies as their excuse than their own racism.

      That being said, the more successful conversations I’ve had involve making a plea to abandon the worthy/unworthy archetypes have been centered around the more dangerous existence for THEIR brown family members. My brother is Mayan, I have six Chinese cousins, and my husband is Haitian and Latino. The thing that swayed my grandfather on Eric Garner and police violence (“He was breaking the law, so he was asking for it!” was his argument) was: If my husband and I have a son, we will be having different conversations with him than my sister and her white fiance will be having with their future sons. That’s the issue. Period. Alas, in calling in racist family members, I have the advantage of being able to appeal to their personal and loving relationships with POC family members, and especially with my grandfather’s eventual genetic descendants in my future children.

    • Eenie

      @Jubilance:disqus – I hear you. I’m so disappointed. I will echo a lot of people below who mention abortion. I’ve tried having the conversations with my very catholic family members – it’s often a single issue for them. We’ve found a lot of common ground, and I’ve learned a lot. But that is the one issue that is a sticking point, and I haven’t found a productive way to change their mind away from a single issue voter.

      As far as voting against your own interests – I think it boils down to the fact that the 65% of white women who voted for a child molester believed that was in their best interest. And honestly, maybe it was? But it was not in the best interest of humanity as a whole. And their interests are truly abhorrent.

      I don’t have any answers, but I hope the conversation on APW today was productive. You aren’t blaming us, but honestly we deserve the blame. I’m so ashamed of how white women have been voting.

    • Anya

      I felt shame after the Alabama election, after the Trump election. I’m so aware of my skin-granted privilege that I’m not sure where to even begin. I’ve been doing small things: I got into a fight with the police one time because they were treating a Hispanic man asking for help as a criminal; speaking of privilege, they listened to me and changed their behavior. I’ve been involved with Indivisible, The Young Democrats club, and going in the neighboring swing district knocking on doors to help get voters registered and out to the polls (Jeff Denham, you are SO going down).

      However, as we think as to how to tackle this issue, I would be curious to break down the “white women” into at least two types: immigrants and not, or maybe Jewish and Christian? I’m guessing we’ll find different voting patterns (not defending- just trying to understand this phenomenon). Anyone have data on it? As mentioned in this thread: are we dealing with “saving unborn babies” phenomenon or something else?

      • Yael

        Yeah, as a Jew, I am having more and more trouble feeling white these days, even though I totally and will forever present as white. A and I talk about this a lot – we both “pass” both in looks and names (although he does have the most Jewish tattoo ever). Both of our families are basically totally white. But the Christian and white supremacist groups don’t think of us as white, and don’t respect our religious traditions the way we’re expected to respect their (Judeo-Christian tradition my ass. My religion doesn’t ban abortion).

        • Zoya

          Right there with you. I’ve waffled pretty much my entire life about whether I felt “white” based on my Jewish identity. Lately it feels like an escape hatch, a way to distance myself from the privilege I do have. And I don’t want to do that, so for now I identify as white even when it means aligning myself with stuff that goes against my cultural/religious identity. This stuff is STICKY.

          Also, I just got a very Jewish tattoo a couple months ago! So fistbump for that.

          • Angela’s Back

            High five for very Jewish tattoos! Got one and gestating a second :D

        • Anya

          Agreed. I grew up in Russia as a Jew by nationality, so I would be reminded that i was a “dirty Jew” every day since I was 6 years old. But I’ve accepted the privilege that my skin gives me in US, and all the burden that comes with it.

          • Yael

            I so agree we have privilege…. for now. I am scared for the day we lose it. And I’m sure black people would/are thinking “welcome to the club” but it’s still scary. I want to say it’s not the actual threat of loss of privilege that concerns me, it the fact that loss of privilege = the slippery slope to a potential genocide. I don’t think I’m saying this well.

          • Anya

            If it helps, I get you. I had to renew my passport at the time of Charleston events, and I seriously thought I’d get the new American passport with a Yellow star and a pink triangle in it.

          • Jess

            FWIW, I think that fear is justified by history. I am not Jewish, but I have a large portion of my family who are, and we are feeling it.

            As the rhetoric rails against Black people, and Brown people, and Muslim people, and LGBTQ people, it’s not so hard to follow the dots to “who could be next?”

        • flashphase

          I’m starting to understand this as Christian hegemony, which is different from white supremacy. We can certainly reap the benefits of white privilege while Jewish. At the same time, I feel “other” because I am part of a religious minority that is attacked as a race.

        • Sara

          Technically Jews are prohibited from getting tattoos, so a “Jewish tattoo” is an oxymoron.

      • Jess

        Washington Post has a pretty good round up of a few different categories in the Alabama election, including “evangelical/born-again” vs not, level of education, and belief in Roy Moore’s accusers: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/politics/alabama-exit-polls/?utm_term=.4e07b9ed4fc1

        (often broken out by the characteristic *and* race and gender)

        • Anya

          Thank you for sharing that! A trove of data. The fact that people don’t believe the victims still baffles me

          • Jess

            I am no longer surprised, but I am still confused about how.

          • Anya

            You just want to shake them and be like: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I got into an argument with my mother about whether or not I should report my superior at my previous job for inappropriate/sexist remarks. Her response? “But it’s just how men are. You don’t want to be whiny like these other women.”

            Yeah, we ended up having a 2 hour heart to heart about that.

          • Jess

            *sigh* If only shaking people worked. It doesn’t have to be how men are, we don’t have to let them get away with it.

          • Anya

            Amen. That was my response. And “this is how things always were” doesn’t mean they have to continue to be.

    • Lily

      While I personally can’t solve the problem of white women everywhere, as one of them, I hope to share a maybe unpopular view that hasn’t really been addressed yet. I know a lot of the comments are focused on the “one issue” that white women vote on against Democrats is abortion. Statistically, that’s probably true. But there’s a lot of other “one issue” people out there, especially white women.

      Personally, I’m an immigrant (a white one, but that’s another conversation), a woman, a person with student loans, and Jewish. None of these things are my “one issue” but I know for a lot of my friends and family, they are. My aunts and uncles voted for trump based on Israel as their one issue. Their children voted for Hilary because they are immigrants and had an opportunity to take advantage of this country. Other relatives voted on tax reform alone, others voted on net neutrality, border control, healthcare, whatever it is. My point is: abortion isn’t the one issue. And I think when people feel threatened, especially when they have privilege, they will always shield themselves first. In my experience (not speaking for all), a lot of white women will vote on their “one issue” first if it remotely threatens their privilege before looking at the greater good. I would like to think it’s unintentional, but I don’t know how to change that mentality. I think it’s important to recognize that going forward, and statistically it is the abortion issue, there’s a lot out there that can be used a defense to do the wrong thing. I don’t know how to fix that, but I think it’s important to think about when trying to have these conversations.

      • Jess

        “And I think when people feel threatened, especially when they have privilege, they will always shield themselves first.”

        I think this is really true. There are a lot of reasons people pick a candidate, or have a viewpoint. A lot of those “one issue” voters, for whatever their one issue it is, are able to look past all the other hurt being caused and say, “I want this.”

        We all do that, when we vote, because no person will hold all of our views and we determine that the things they do stand for matter more than where we differ.

        I don’t know how to fix a self-preserving vote. I don’t know how to fix the fear of people being faced with the dismantling of the system that has given them opportunities at the cost of other people. I don’t know how to fix the fact that acknowledging privilege makes people feel so uncomfortable and guilty, they would rather deny that there is a problem at all.

        But I hope that if I, a white woman, can keep talking about other points of view and can keep centering the stories and voices and the lifting up of people who are marginalized, white people can learn to listen. And they can learn to believe. And they can decide to choose differently when faced with the opportunity again.

    • itliterallyme

      My (white, in case it needs to be said) religious mother-in-law votes Republican, although she didn’t vote for Trump and she apparently told my husband she would have written in another Republican rather than vote for Moore if she lived in Alabama (great? I guess? Sigh). She votes on pretty much one issue: abortion. She will not budge on it. She will abstain from voting for Republicans she finds gross, but she will not vote for Democrats because the party position is pro-choice. I think this is true for a lot of religious white women. She’s a smart, cultured, educated person, which makes it even scarier to me. I have a lot of opinions of how women are socialized from a very early age to be all “BUT THE BABIES” and how religious groups use that socialization to mobilize women into acting against other women’s freedom and happiness. Anyway, white women in America are being very disgusting right now. I’m trying to wage the battle when the white women in my family say insane things. It’s exhausting, but I know it’s not 1/10th of what women of color deal with.

      • itliterallyme

        White women have been historically disgusting, I should say, not just right now. It’s just that it’s more visible then ever.

    • Jenny

      Uggh. I know. We need to do better. I’m just at a loss for what to do. All of my close friends are very politically involved and voted Hillz. I did have a formerly very conservative (like libertarianesque) friend text me on election day thanking me for all the hard work I’d done for Hillary, and stuff I’d been posting, that since having kids her perspective had really shifted and she was so proud to have voted for Hillary and knew I was a safe person to share that with (so it did give me hope that people can really change, and sometimes the best thing we can do is be proud to be democrats and progressives, and really authentically talk about why we care about our issues). The one republican woman my age I know is probably never going to vote dem (though based on her facebook posts and comments, she did a write in for president). I’ve struggled with this so much, because I do want to do something, but it seems so insurmountable.

  • Kaitlyn

    I haven’t had too many updates! We’re about 4 months from the wedding and most the big stuff is gone. We had one of those arguments that was written about a couple of weeks ago, where it basically all falls apart. J had taken 3 months to book wedding transportation and it was adding to my already severe anxiety (work has been getting to me and my foot was broken etc etc) so I finally just did it. I lost my shit when he said, “I didn’t know how much was on your plate”. We’d been engaged for over a year, he’s sat next to me doing other fun activities while I spent hours on spreadsheets, etc. It was baffling to hear. He got the point, but at this point, there’s not a lot to help with.

    Other than that, we’re everything is the status quo. Trying to figure out what to get my mom for Christmas (she gave me a list of things she DIDN’T want, thanks Mom) and luckily we have a weekend trip up to Freeport, ME this weekend to do some shopping (and go to the LL Bean Northern Lights Celebration). I’m pumped for the walk through the 600 (!!!) Christmas trees.

    Happy New Year!

    • Katie

      Sending you hugs. Getting my husband to help with the wedding was a TASK, and they’re no joking about emotional labor: ALL of the painful and cringing questions had to be raised by me, while he stayed away from problems, saying “I thought wedding planning is supposed to be fun”. HAHAHAHAHAHA

      • sofar

        I would never physically hurt my husband, but the day he said, “I thought this was supposed to be FUN” was the day that I glanced around the room for soft objects to launch at his head.

    • Sara

      Ha my mom does those types of Christmas lists too. This year, my parents planned a family trip to Disney, and said ‘no gifts’. Last week she said ‘well, you should get everyone just something to open’. Yesterday my dad told me that I should get her an Instant Pot, which is the opposite of ‘just something to open’ . So I feel that pain.

    • sofar

      All I can say is that there were several wedding tasks I also “just did” because my husband hadn’t touched them in months. It sucks because you want men to learn that they can’t just skate by like that, but, at the same time, you have a deadline for a huge event and you need food, chairs and other things for it.

  • Eve

    It’s been kind of a hard week. I’ve had acne for literally the last fifteen years of my life in varying degrees of severity with a few months of clear skin here and there. I’ve done two rounds of Accutane and all the other topical stuff and oral antibiotics and birth control etc possible. I’ve kind of given up for the last few years, but decided I’d really like to try to have clearer skin for the wedding. Not least because it’s not just on my face anymore; it’s on my neck, chest, shoulders, and all the way down my back and it’s hella painful (sorry for tmi).

    So I got the otc Differin cream. I used Differin as a teen but I don’t think I used it regularly (so obvi it didn’t work), so I have high hopes that it’ll help now if I use it daily like you’re supposed to. And I do have an appointment to get a referral for a dermatologist, but from what I can tell, I’ve missed my opportunity to get in before the April wedding.

    I guess I’m looking for reassurance that it’ll get better? And recommendations for lotion? It’s only been a week but my back especially has gotten way worse and super dry, which of course makes it hurt more (which is what it’s supposed to do for the first 2-3 weeks, so I guess it’s working?), and I’m willing to buy whatever super rich lotion I need to to get some relief.

    • AmandaBee

      I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this! Acne is a bitch and it’s extra frustrating when you’re an adult.

      I haven’t tried Differin but have had good experiences with retinoids (retin-A/tretinoin) in general. My favorite retinoid was Ziana, which also has clindamycin in it, and for whatever reason my skin loved it. It’s Rx only though. Also helpful to me were the right BCP (though lately that made my acne flare, so whatever) and spironolactone (for hormonal acne), which is what zapped my acne before my wedding though I went off of it later due to side effects.

      Diet has been a big factor to me. I’ve been reading Womancode which someone here recommended, and while I’m not 100% on board with all of it, there’s a bit on blood sugar and adrenal health that was eye-opening. Managing my blood sugar and stress do seem to keep my skin much calmer.

      If it’s any consolation, I had a bad acne flare during my makeup trial and the right makeup can still make your skin look fantastic. So while that’s obviously not a perfect solution, if all else fails you’ll still look great.

      • Eve

        Ha, and I’m well aware of the fact that I’m doing a horrible job of managing stress right now. Half of my doctor’s appointment is for the referral, the other half is to talk about new/better anxiety meds :)

        • AmandaBee

          I get it, trust me. At some point, knowing all the ways in which stress is screwing with your body is just another stressor. But it might help to think of small ways to reduce/manage it if you can, even if it’s just cutting some bullshit out of your life that you don’t really need. Womancode also talks a lot about “internal stressors” (over exercising, bad diet, etc.) in a way that helped me understand why I get stuck in a stess/sugar binge/acne cycle ever now and then. I hope you get it all figured out!

      • jem

        Womancode saved my skin. The diet/lifestyle changes I’ve adopted have helped soooo much.

        Also seconding how much a good makeup artist can help— my face looked really really bad the morning of my wedding and you would never know after my makeup lady did her thing.

      • Sara

        In regard to diet, I swear, when I quit dairy is when my acne finally started clearing up. I eat relatively healthy as I get a lot of nausea from prepackaged foods, but dairy was something I didn’t want to give up. I finally did this year and its made my skin so much better.

    • Angela’s Back

      Acne sucks and I’m so sorry you have to deal with this… I had it pretty bad as a teenager, eventually did Accutane in college and it worked for me but man did it ever fuck up my self esteem for literally years and years. Even now it’s really hard for me to go out with no makeup on my face because it’s really hard to see my natural skin as good enough. Solidarity, sister, it will get better eventually <3

    • theteenygirl

      I am so sorry to read this.. I posted something very similar a few months ago because I was dealing with the same thing. I started getting acne at 12 and I finally got it control at 15ish when I went on Diane (low level birth control). I had pretty darn clear skin for years. And then a year ago? Bad bad bad cystic acne that I tried desperately to get under control before the wedding. I did accutane and a steroid to bring down the inflammation as a quick fix two weeks before the wedding which brought down big cysts but the scarring is still a huge issue I’m dealing with. I ended up not doing a full course of accutane and have been using Tactupump (retinoid topical) which seems to be keeping things mostly at bay..

      What I will say to you is that I did my own makeup for the wedding. I used a primer, foundation, concealer, translucent powder, and blush and you could 100% still see acne scars under it. I still felt beautiful, and I felt like me. Looking at my photos you can see the dark spots where the concealer couldn’t hide the scars but I’ve come to terms with it. I look like me.. and that’s not so bad :)

      I hope you can get your skin cleared up to a place that you can be happy with how you look and feel on your wedding day. Your acne does not define you though! You will look beautiful no matter what.

      Also.. I’ve been using Eucerin’s face moisturizer for eczema prone skin (I also have eczema.. grr) and i find it really moisturizing and not too heavy. I use Drunk Elephant’s Glam Glow as an overnight cream every few days for extra hydration too.

    • Jess

      For reassurance it will get better, I’d check out reddit’s SkinCareAddiction or AsianBeauty (focused on K-Beauty and other asian skincare brands) pages. Many many many people have stories of their skin improving from Differin, and how they dealt with “tret-face” or the dryness that it causes.

      The super dry part:
      1) I really like hyuralonic acid for hydration. There are a bunch of different brands, but I like using a Japanese brand, Hada Labo’s Gokujyun Lotion, which is actually a watery toner. Many many people on the reddit lines like this as well when they are using Differin.
      2) I also like using plain old vaseline over it at night to prevent water loss.
      3) People also really like things with ceramides, like CeraVe Pm or Cream as a heavy moisturizer.

    • Katharine Parker

      I have a couple of suggestions, if you haven’t already tried them. Differin is good, but the OTC kind is only one option for a retinoid. I would still make the derm appointment, but see what your PCP can prescribe you in the meantime, too–there may be a different retinoid that works better that she can suggest. I’d also ask about spironolactone, which is an androgen inhibitor that should address hormonal acne. Topical clindamycin could also help, especially on your body as well as your face.

      For moisturizers, Cerave is good for hydrating cleanser and moisturizers with niacinamide and ceramides. More expensive but also good options for moisturizers are Drunk Elephant Lala cream and Belif Moisture Bomb. I really like Dr Jart’s Cicapair line, too, as kind of soothing and healing treatments. The Dr Jart Clean Skin Lover Rubber Mask is AMAZING. I’ve had good results with CosRX acne patches (hydrocolloid bandages) for healing individual blemishes, and my new favorite thing is Neutrogena’s light therapy pen.

      For your body, I’d suggest two possibilities. One is the Makeup Artists’ Choice Body Peel (https://www.makeupartistschoice.com/5-Acid-Body-Peel_p_212.html ). Use it once a week for great exfoliation. It’s not very expensive and it works so well. The other option is an exfoliating body lotion, like this one from Glytone (https://www.dermstore.com/product_Exfoliating+Body+Lotion_482.htm ). I’ve had good luck with both of these.

      In my experience, diet also affects my skin a lot, and adding in fish oil pills and eating more good fats (salmon, avocado) help it look its best. I’ve also been using collagen powder and drinking spearmint tea, which is sort of hippie-ish but my skin is honestly looking much better since I’ve been adding those things.

      Good luck!! I hope some of these things help and your skin starts to recover. I spent the six months before my wedding obsessing about my skin (drinking liters of water daily, getting hydrafacials, cutting out sugar and dairy and white flour), and in the end, my skin looked good but I had one blemish on my chin on my wedding day. My makeup artist was so sweet, and was like, “I’ve never seen a bride without a stress breakout” which may or may not be true but made it feel normal. She covered it, and I looked great. You will, too!!

      • Katharine Parker

        And lol at “a couple of suggestions”… clearly I have a LOT of thoughts.

      • Katharine Parker

        ALSO something that has helped me as I’ve been dealing with adult acne has been to embrace skincare as something indulgent and enjoyable. I luxuriate in the masks that I do, I enjoy the process of cleansing and moisturizing my skin, I get facials. It’s so upsetting to wake up and see blemishes, and only treating my skin as a problem to be solved was encouraging that sadness. So using skincare as a place to treat myself has been valuable.

        • suchbrightlights

          This is a really good call.

    • rebecca

      It does get better! If you’d like to talk to a pro, but can’t get into a derm, I recommend Curology it’s telemedicine, you take pics of your skin w/your phone and then they set you up with a PA who makes a custom prescription in one bottle for you. I have a combo of Tretinoin, Clindamyacin and Azelaic Acid. If you struggle w/redness at all I highly rec the Azelaic Acid–it just zaps it right away and you feel like you at least made *some* progress while waiting for the more slow and steady stuff to do it’s thing. They’ll also tell you if they suspect that you’ll have more luck treating your acne through hormonal or dietary methods–sometimes the topical stuff just does not treat what you have going on.

      Also rec K-beauty! If you’ve struggled with acne for a long time it’s pretty common to be terrified of oil which actually isn’t doing you any favors. When I was actively trying to clear my skin (as opposed to being in maintenance, yay!) I was all about a good oil cleanser, hyaluronic acid and Etude House Moistfull cream. Rio Viera-Newton has written some great K-Beauty guides for post-25ish acne prone skin for NYMag and her recs are pretty affordable. Good luck!

    • Eve

      And thanks everyone for your kindness and advice. I’ve been crying this week in frustration and because it hurts, and I’m gonna start again because all of you are so very kind and helpful to internet strangers <3

      • Ashlah

        Hugs <3

    • Eenie

      Depending on what state you’re in there’s quite a few dermatology video/picture apps that will prescribe without an appointment. You upload pictures and your history of what you’ve tried, which has worked, what hasn’t.

      I so feel you on the acne front though. It just sucks. If you haven’t tried adjusting your diet at all you may see some improvement from that as well. Diet didn’t affect my acne at all – it was 100% hormonal.

    • Jess

      OH ALSO, If your derm did not tell you to introduce it slowly, you can try backing off the number of days you’re using Differin right now, or putting it on after a moisturizer to make it less intense if your skin is raw and painful.

      Your skin will get worse before it gets better with Differin – they call it “purging” and basically it’s speeding up how quickly your clogged pores get to the surface and break out for the first couple of weeks of use. Hopefully you are getting to the end of that stage!

    • suchbrightlights

      This may or may not be appropriate for acneic skin, but whenever my skin is so dry it hurts, I skip over the lotion and go straight to beeswax or lanolin. Badger Balm and Bag Balm are two options. Cocoa butter is another thought, especially if you’re worried about scarring. For your face, a serum + moisturizer combo might be an option to get some more hydration without going to super thick “I am trying to clean out my pores and also I’ve put an inch of stuff on them” products.

  • Cellistec

    It was our anniversary this week, and we were surprised to get a card in the mail from my in-laws, who have been upset with us for months for things outside our control. In the past they’ve given us thoughtful anniversary gifts, so when I saw the envelope I was touched that they would put their feelings aside for the occasion.

    Inside the envelope: two gift cards to Subway. For $5 each. True story.

    • WHOA. OMG.

      ETA: I’d totally go the Sheldon Cooper route and spend the exact same amount on their gifts, as what they spent on me. But I’m petty like that.

    • penguin

      Well I think you have their Christmas gifts all sorted then.

      • AmandaBee

        I think you should use half of each card and gift them back to them, but I’m extra petty.

        • Cellistec

          Or buy ourselves each a $5 footlong and gift half of it to them?

          • penguin

            I support you mailing them half a soggy leftover sandwich. I’d include a card with lots of glitter.

          • Cellistec

            Oh god, the glitter is an amazing idea. Passive-aggression in concrete form.

          • Eenie

            $10 worth of glitter!

          • Zoya

            DYING.

    • Sara

      Good lord that is a new level of passive aggressiveness

      • Cellistec

        My thought exactly. I imagine it was a re-gifting situation. Let the record show that I texted my MIL afterwards, saying “Thank you for the anniversary gift! How thoughtful of you!” So depending on how you read that, I was either extremely gracious or matched her passive-aggression precisely.

        • Angela’s Back

          damn girl, color me impressed!

        • penguin

          That text is truly a work of art – bravo!

        • Mari

          w.t.f??? (this is in response to your first post about your in-laws’ gift. Your response = flawless.)

    • sage

      I’m speechless.

    • kayceeee

      wow.

    • Capondoodle

      Subway? Like, why bother?

      • Cellistec

        I know the traditional fifth anniversary gift is wood, so maybe the modern one is…sandwiches? Did I miss that memo?

    • Jess

      I am just in awe at the pettiness. In Awe. (please save them half a footlong and coat it glitter)

    • Whut. That’s… Unreal.

    • Transnonymous

      I’ll see you and raise you the xmas card we got from my husband’s aunt and uncle, addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Husbandslast.”

      • penguin

        My own grandmother has been sending us cards addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. HisFirst HisLast” and it’s like…no.

        • Ashlah

          My husband and I both hyphenated, and we recently received two cards addressed to both of us using our hyphenated name! …with my last name completely wrong. Just an entirely different name, starting with the same letter. Bless them, they tried. Kind of. -_- It’s amusing to me on a personal level, infuriating on a cultural one.

          • Eenie

            I agree very much. His family got my first name wrong in the newsletter last year, but got my last name correct. I try to find amusement in who figures it out, who tries, and who just completely ignores every piece of mail with the return address of “MyFirst MyLast and HisFirst HisLast”. That and we are the Mylasts during all hotel stays since the rewards number is in my name :)

        • Jess

          My mom did that to me. My mom who hyphenated her name. She wrote something addressed to me as “Mrs. R’s Full Name”

          I immediately texted her and said, “Hey, Is this for R or is it for me? We were confused.”

        • MC

          My husband’s aunt & uncle just sent us a holiday card addressed to “The HisFirst HisLast Family,” which… there are only TWO of us in our family, and we don’t have the same last name…

      • Jess

        UGGGGGH on so many counts. Seriously? How hard is it to just write Mr. X and Mr. Y? (Or Mr. and Mr. X if you share a last name – I do not recall).

        Like, you even get to save an extra letter by not writing the “S” this time!

        • Transnonymous

          We hyphenated when we got married, so we’re both “Mr. Mylast-hislast” now. We know it was done on purpose, so why bother sending a card at all? It went where it belonged – straight in the trash.

          • Jess

            The correct place for it!

      • Cellistec

        Oh, awkward.

      • Zoya

        OMG what is it with people. STAHP.

      • suchbrightlights

        What the sam hell is wrong with people?

        This applies to these whackjobs as well as @lizzie_c:disqus’s twit-in-laws.

  • penguin

    I PAID OFF MY STUDENT LOANS! I submitted the final payment this week and just confirmed that it was applied. I’m student debt free! I don’t know whether or not to tell my friends, since a lot of them still have student loan debt. My husband was happy for me, but since he never had student loans I don’t think he really “gets” it. Paying off ~$80,000 in debt in under 5 years is something I’m really proud of, and we got married! Now our next big thing would be a house, which seems impossible right now haha. Here’s to a debt-free 2018!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0cf536397c2f8966e6d3082623ce987ff4c1af4b79d8eb02dabe69ddc1ce7ed8.png

    • Cellistec

      I bow down to you. Congratulations!!

    • Sarah Jane

      Congratulations!!!! That’s such a huge accomplishment!

    • Amy March

      Congrats!! I had the same dilemma- I bragged here and to friends who had already paid off their loans. I’ve mentioned it to people who haven’t but in the context of conversations about finances not a big announcement. It’s a glorious feeling, hold onto it.

    • sofar

      YES! Savor this feeling.

    • MC

      CONGRATS, that is AMAZING!!! I also decided not to tell most of my friends when I paid them off, but I did feel amazing and Husband and I went to dinner to celebrate. And even two years later I sometimes randomly think, “Holy shit, I don’t have student loans anymore!!” and it feels awesome.

    • AmandaBee

      Yaaaay! Congrats lady, that’s huge!

    • kayceeee

      Congrats!! It’s such a feeling of relief… enjoy it! I paid off just over $14k in about 8 years, but still have about $28k left. It’ll be a while before I have that one paid off, but even the feeling of getting the small one paid off was amazing.

    • Fiona

      Three cheers to you!

    • kayceeee

      And tell your friends.. they should be happy for you!
      Or at least in my situation they were.

      • PAJane

        I’m really hoping Paid Off My Student Debt parties become a thing. I’ll be so excited to celebrate that with everybody who hits the goal.

        • Jess

          I would attend each and every one I was invited to.

        • Eenie

          I’m throwing one when it happens, but I’m branding it as “we just haven’t gotten together in a long time”.

        • penguin

          We do have a bottle of champagne leftover from our honeymoon…

          • Jessica

            put some iced cranberries and a sprig of rosemary and celebrate!

          • Jess

            Shoot, we have some champagne at home (when do we not?), and I think I know what I’m doing the night before we leave for R’s family.

          • Jessica

            I want to become a “when do I not have champagne on hand?” person

          • Yael

            I mostly managed this for a few years when I was living with my best friend. It is a good way to live.

          • Just… How do you do it without drinking all of the champagne?

          • Jessica

            That is why I’m NOT a “when do I not have champagne on hand?” person.

          • Jess

            It goes like this:

            Step 1 – “Oh hey! The wine store has champagne on sale, and I think we drank our last one”
            Step 2 – Buy 2+ bottles
            Step 3 – Chill both bottles, drink one
            Step 4 – Either drink the second bottle or forget about it in the fridge.
            Step 4 – REPEAT ENDLESSLY.

          • Jess

            To be fair, there is a very cheap liquor/wine store with an incredible selection who are always marking down their already lowered prices. When it’s $10 for some Chandon or $10 for some Pinot Gris, I know what I’m getting every time.

            I also have a “but it’s a good deal and it won’t go bad” problem with buying wine.

            We have at least 4 bottles of red, 3 of white, and 1 of sparkling at all times.

          • Jessica

            Oh, I stock up when I go to Trader Joe’s. For a many months this year I started the rule of “You can’t drink alone,” which led to me inviting friends over several nights/week and drinking all the wine I purchased (please remember how rough my year was, haters). So I’d buy 4 bottles of wine, and 3 would be gone in a week. It became very difficult to justify keeping bottles on hand, so I started only purchasing when I had plans already.

          • Jess

            I mean, if I had friends who would help there would be much less wine. But of my friends who drink, they always bring wine when they come (every. person. brings. a. bottle.) which helps… by which I mean it actually adds to my stockpile.

            I’m actually very impressed by your work around of the don’t drink alone rule! Drinking with friends is waaaay better.

    • Zoya

      Congratulations!! That’s such a good feeling. Definitely calls for a fizzy beverage of your choice!

    • rg223

      I say share with anyone you know who has paid them off already, and celebrate with your husband too! I feel awkward telling people I paid off mine too, because I’m sure my parents paid for more of my schooling upfront than my friend’s parents may have, plus I got scholarships, so I most likely started off in a more privileged position and had less to pay.

    • AGCourtney

      Congratulations!!!

    • flashphase

      WOW congrats!!! dreaming of the day!

    • Jess

      YES!!!! WAY TO GO!!

    • L.

      Congrats!!! You have to feel so FREE right now!

      • penguin

        Yes!! I got legit emotional at work when I saw it had gone through.

        • L.

          I believe it! I’m still a long way off from paying mine off, but I have paid off a couple of cars – SUCH an exciting feeling!

    • theteenygirl

      CONGRATS!!! I straight up cried when I paid off my student loans I was so proud of myself. You go celebrate!!!

    • PAJane

      FUCK YEAH!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!!! That is amazing! I understand the waffling between wanting to share the news with EVERYONE and feeling like it’s rubbing their faces in the fact that they still have debt. We paid off my husband’s student loan debt in January, and instead of making a post on my timeline, I’d posted to YNAB to thank them for their part in our success, which somehow populated to a bunch of friends’ news feeds, so I ended up deleting the post in a fit of anxiety once I realized what had happened. It’s difficult to walk that money tightrope.

    • Whoooooot, Congratulations!!! That’s so huge, I hope you are popping some champagne/fizzy apple cider/celebratory beverage of your choice!

    • CMT

      Fuck yeah!!

    • CP2011

      Congrats!!

    • Ashlah

      Woot woot!! Mega congrats! This is worth celebrating!

    • Transnonymous

      I am so impressed! Congrats!!!

    • suchbrightlights

      WAY TO FREAKING GO!

      If you can pay off your loan in under 5 years (HOLY COW) you can TOTALLY save for a house.

    • EF

      that is AMAZING! 80K IN 5 YEARS!?!? i need a post on how you did it!

      • penguin

        Thank you! It was a combination of things (and me being fortunate) – I got a job right out of college that paid pretty well, and then got raises. Any extra money (tax refunds, etc) went towards student loans. I only built up a small savings cushion before throwing everything else at loans (which could have backfired but thankfully did not). I eventually consolidated my loans so my interest rate went down (one of my original ones was like… 11%). My husband helped too (which I’m always a little ashamed to admit?) – he’d pay the entire amount of the rent, and I’d pay as much as possible into my student loans (we split other bills). We did save up and pay money towards our wedding, but we ended up getting a lot of help with that from my dad and (eventually) from my in-laws. I used Mint for budgeting and eventually switched over to YNAB about two years ago.

        • gracesface

          I’m debating making the switch to YNAB, I’m guessin you recommend it? And congrats!!! I’m slowly working at mine!

          • penguin

            Yep it’s worked well for me!

  • Amy March

    Just don’t bother. You don’t want to, you don’t like her, and you already don’t have a relationship.

  • MC

    Today is AOL Instant Messenger’s last day on the internet and I am having *feelings* because my husband and I first developed our friendship, flirted, and started our relationship on AIM in our teens – even though we met and were friends in real life, it’s where so many of our early important conversations happened. I honestly didn’t even know AIM still existed but now I’m feeling so nostalgic! I have a few of our chats saved on my computer but I tried to read them once and almost died of embarrassment Maybe I’ll be safe to look at them in 20 years…

    Also it is my BIRTHDAY tomorrow and I am so excited!!!

    • Ashlah

      This article made me tear up back when they first announced the death of AIM. I am also having feelings. D:

    • Jess

      AIM, such a seriously embarrassing but also beloved time of my life.

    • penguin

      Happy birthday! Also YES on old conversations being embarrassing – I have a bunch of old ones saved but I tried reading one from high school once and it was just so terrible. I can’t bring myself to delete them yet, but they are buried deep on a flash drive somewhere and I hope no one ever reads them lol. It’s like my old LiveJournal…

      • MC

        OMG I also have an old LiveJournal and I really need to go back and make all my entries private at some point.

    • CP2011

      Oh wow. I had no idea today was the final day…or that it was really still around. So many high school memories. I still reminder the screen names of all my crushes.

    • RNLindsay

      I loved AIM so so much. As a shy, introvert AIM was my existence middle school and high school and still a crucial party of college. I still often hear lyrics and think “those would be great AIM profile lyrics”. My friends and I put a lot of work into designing our profiles – wish you could go back and look at them!

  • sofar

    If you had her address on hand and a bunch of extra cards you printed with pre-printed greetings, I’d say send her the stupid card.

    But it sounds like it would involve a bit more effort to send her one. She’s already set the tone for your relationship (no effort). So you’re not a bad person for following her lead.

    • suchbrightlights

      Yup. Not sending a card is not a nuclear option. There’s nothing there to nuke.

  • Sarah Jane

    I have ALL of the Christmas gifts for family and friends purchased and wrapped. This is the first time I’ve been finished with this much time left, and I’m putting it down to hardcore nesting, because I feel like I need to redo the entire house this weekend.
    But all in all, this has been a crazy busy year, but a good one for us as a family. We’ve both done well at work, kiddo loves school, and we got a handle on our debt and have a plan to pay the majority of it off in 2018. Here’s to a new year!

  • Jess

    I say you do not need to send a card, unless you really really want to. It sounds like you don’t really really want to.

  • Fiona

    We bought a house! It’s little and has a separate casita office (pour moi!) in the back yard and in a delightful neighborhood, but within biking distance of work. Best part is: mortgage is about as much as rent, and we have twice the space!
    I also pulled this off while working full time and doing grad school full time, and throwing a bachelorette party for my older sister where I planned a Thanksgiving road trip to Mexico for 7 of us in two vehicles and with 6 long distance flights to get there. It was complete with a boozy pirate cruise in the Sea of Cortez, which everyone agreed was the best part. Everyone had a good time, nobody got sick, and nobody got hurt. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9b42ec8b592ca7c73a3985019dead22adb03c18eb1fc40d76cca4556cc0d4201.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0b2606d7aef7af029c9e6964524c277e9eca661610124b77fd942b0b1f7ae892.jpg

    • Ashlah

      Congrats on the house! That party looks and sounds like so much fun!

  • tggsm

    I just want to share this anonymously with someone because it’s driving me crazy not being able to talk about it – I’m pregnant! For the first time! Just 6 weeks, and my OB-GYN’s office doesn’t need to see me until 8 weeks, but my husband and I are so excited. We’re telling his parents this weekend and mine over Christmas. Any advice in general?

    • Jess

      Congratulations! No advice, just enthusiasm!

    • ZLMT

      congrats! currently 19 weekends w/ my second. No great advice, aside from be kind to yourself. I found the first tri especially to be especially anxiety-producing since it’s hard to know how things are going before you can feel the baby, etc.

      • ZLMT

        whoops, weeks. :)

    • Ashlah

      Congrats! Hard to give advice because pregnancies are all so different, but I’m so excited for you! If you like online communities, check out your month’s bumper group on Reddit! My August 2017 group has since transitioned to a private Facebook group, and it’s been such a wonderful experience to have a built in family of people raising babies the same age.

      • NolaJael

        So how do you get on to this? I was rejected by the admins (I think because I’m not a regular Reddit person). Is there a secret code?

        • Ashlah

          Oh no! My sub wasn’t private when I joined it, so I’m not sure… Can you message the admins?

    • Sarah Jane

      Congratulations!! That’s so exciting!
      Some advice, because these are the things that I am dealing with now and wish someone had told me:
      1. Trust yourself and your doctor – I’m at the point now where people are commenting “omg you’re so big, are you sure it isn’t twins?” one day and then “omg your so small are you eating enough?” the next. I’m fine, my doctor’s not worried about my weight gain, and baby is healthy. I think my point is just ignore the random comments (but if you go home and cry about them it’s totally ok, because people are thoughtless and pregnancy hormones are no joke.)
      2. Keep a list of questions as you think of them (and bring it to appointments), so when you go to dr. appointments you can get all of the answers you need.
      3. again, this applies mostly to further down the line – it’s totally ok to have a funny feeling and go to the doctor even if you aren’t sure what/if even anything is wrong. For example, I’m 26 weeks now, and a few weeks ago I had a day where I wasn’t feeling the baby kick quite as much as she usually does. And I was worried because I spent too much time reading horror stories on the internet, so I called my doctor and they brought me in, and everything was completely fine. I started to apologize for causing a fuss, and my doctor said “you did exactly the right thing. Even though there is nothing wrong, you are better off with the peace of mind knowing FOR SURE that nothing is wrong, instead of sitting at home worried about it.” So don’t be afraid to call and talk to your doctor, it’s what they are for.
      4. Finally (sorry I know this is a long post!) if you are working, start thinking about your maternity leave options now. I know it’s 9 months away, but I would recommend at least start researching stuff now, instead of leaving it till later.
      Again, congrats!!

      • Ashlah

        God, the unsolicited comments. Even the ostensibly positive ones made me (and continue to make me, 4 months postpartum) feel weird and uncomfortable. I’m not used to my body being up for public discussion.

      • Leah

        Ooh I’ll second #3. I had the same thing around 30 weeks, things just felt…different, and I was reading too much internet, and I called my Dr and starting being all apologetic to the nurse (I’m sure it’s fine…I feel silly…) she was like ‘of COURSE you could come in. That’s what we are here for.’ and I went in, and it was all fine, and they assured me that I should ALWAYS just come in to get checked out if I was worried for any reason at all.

        And I’ll repeat a common recommendation around here, which is to read Expecting Better by Emily Oster as soon as possible.

        And hang on and enjoy the ride!

    • Yay!

    • Congratulations! I’m 21 weeks along myself with my first (it’s a boy!). I recommend asking at the end of each doctor’s appointment what will happen at the next one, because they don’t always tell you, and if you are going to have to give a urine sample or get an ultrasound you need to drink a lot of water beforehand. Also, everyone’s going to want to tell you some horror story about their cousin’s sister’s best friend’s birthing experience – tune those out as much as you can.

  • Amy March

    Tomorrow is one of my favorite Christmas traditions- I get all dolled up in my cutest winter wear and go into the City to look at fancy Christmas ornaments and do my fun last minute shopping. It’s festive and bustling and delightful and I highly recommend it to anyone else who is single and perhaps feeling blah about it around the holidays.

    • Katie

      Although not single, I am seconding this advice! I’m doing pretty much the same! Except, it will be me and my husband, as it is the last weekend we spend together before my trip to visit my family over the holidays, so it’s gonna be our little Christmas.

      P.S. What is your cutest winter wear? Asking because I realize I don’t have any, period :( and I’m going to RUSSIA soon!

      • Amy March

        Oh, I do not have a strong winter wear game. But instead of schlubbing around in whatever’s warm, I go wool coat, Christmas scarf, hair and makeup done. Nothing crazy but fancier than I usually get for a day of shopping!

      • LindseyM

        We’re thinking of doing Russia at xmas next year!!

        • Katie

          As a native, I totally recommend it :) Hate Moscow, love Saint Petersburg, but it’s kinda love it or hate it kind of thing. Tourists usually try to visit both but spend more time in Moscow, which saddens me, because people and atmosphere in StP are so much cozier, tbh.

          • Seconding the St Petersburg recommendation– I spent a summer there during college and loved it. Moscow was a bit meh– there’s some cool stuff, but StP is a much more fun city. Also, while I’m sure Christmas is fun, I’d like to put in a plug for a summer visit. The White Nights (when the sun barely ever sets) are just wonderful.

          • Katie

            my birthday is in June, and it’s another reason I’m super sad not to be living in StP anymore – the White Nights season is just the best thing I’ve ever experienced. The city is magical then.

          • LindseyM

            Thanks! And any other tips appreciated! I’ve been to both, but about 17 years ago. We were thinking of popping over to Helsinki from St. Petersburg for a few days, as well. We’re doing winter because my husband is obsessed with going in the winter, and I’m a bit of a Russian lit lover and really want to see St. Petersburg in the snow the way it is in many of my favorite books.

          • Zoya

            If you’re a Russian lit lover, definitely go to Cafe Idiot and the Pushkin Apartment Museum in St. Petersburg! Also, go stand at the foot of the Bronze Horseman–it’ll make you feel very Pushkin-ish.

          • Katie

            Hey, Russian lit is the reason I’m married and live in America now, haha! My husband’s read more Dostoevsky than I have (although at the time it seemed pretty ludicrous to me).
            Hit me up when you’re ready to go, I can’t think of all the tips right now, and they’ll probably be lost later anyway, but omg I’m already excited for you and wish I could be a tourist with a fresh look! And yeah, go you, winter lovers, but honestly, winter in StP doesn’t suck only 10% of time when it’s snowing and not too cold :(

      • rebecca

        Idk if this applies to wherever you’re going in Russia, but I might consider doing some googling to see if you should buy while you’re there—we were just in Iceland and the outerwear shopping there was sooooooooo good!

        • Katie

          I’m going back to my family, and I’m pretty sure that the closet is still stuffed with Saint Petersburg-appropriate wear, but… it’s the clothes I wore, like, 5 years ago. So yeah. Probably gonna buy some new ones. Btw, shopping in America is much better than in Russia! America and Iceland might be a different story :)

          • rebecca

            That makes sense. Yeah we hypothesized that shopping in Iceland is absurdly expensive but really high-quality bc they’re culturally super focussed on sustainability. 66 North *does* ship to the US and it’s super worth it. I’ve lived in the Upper Midwest or New York my whole life and this is the first time I’ve had a coat where it’s like “Oh, winter? This is fine” and they’re still reasonably cute/I don’t feel like the Michelin man https://www.66north.com/us/women

    • rebecca

      Same! I’m in Chicago where they’ve done us the great favor of co-locating the art museum w/much of the good shopping (I legit judge all other cities on this btw) so mid shop I’m going to stop by to see the wreathed lions and the Thorne miniature rooms all decked out for Christmas.

      But tonight? STAR WARS

      • Sara

        I love the wreathed lions! I need to make a point of seeing them when I go downtown for the annual ‘drinks at the Walnut Room’ with my mother.

      • AGCourtney

        Thorne miniature rooms~<33

      • Olive

        I miss the hustle & bustle of Chicago! I hope I get downtown when I’m home for Christmas. Don’t forget about the Cultural Center across the street! One of my favorite spots!

      • Rose

        We were just visiting Chicago (for the first time) last week, and it was wonderful! The Art Institute was great (and we loved the holiday miniatures!), and the shopping and lights and all.

    • lex

      I did this yesterday! I live in a tiiiiiny, remote town, so I drove to the nearest city and went to a Christmas night market with my dog :) He was dolled up in a festive bandana and got lots of attention. We had a great time!

      • Transnonymous

        As someone who lives in a small city where everything except seedy bars shut down after 9 pm, I’m stealing this idea.

    • Dess

      This sounds GREAT, and I’m a little jealous that your last minute shopping is still so many days ahead of mine haha. One of these years I’m going to get organized way in advance, but this year is not that year!

    • Jess

      This sounds like a joy. I personally light a holiday candle, pour a big glass of red wine, and watch the cheesiest holiday movies around (why yes, I have already watched The Christmas Prince).

  • Zoya

    I am having a tough time getting into the holiday spirit this year. We’re going to my in-laws’ for Hanukkah this weekend, and it’s the first Hanukkah since my mother-in-law passed away. I think it’ll be fine, but no one really has the energy to be festive.

    I’m usually in charge of latke-making, so I was sort of assigned that task by default this year, without being asked. But I learned this year that onions make me sick (not allergic, just intolerant), and a latke isn’t a latke without onions! So I’m facing the prospect of making a whole bunch of latkes, maybe eating one latke myself for TRADITION! (and because I love them), then feeling gross for a day or two afterward. Which I will gladly do, but man. I miss less-fraught celebrations.

    • Rose_C

      Oh no! What about making a batch of traditional and a batch of something different? I made some latkes some years back that had a bit of parsnip mixed in and it was sweet and tasty and could be fun. If your sensitivity is so strong using the same oil would set it off maybe that’s not a great plan, but if you can add onions last and do a little something different to part of the batter for yourself I think it could be great!!

      • Zoya

        Yeah, I will probably make a few onion-less latkes for myself. Normally I’m all about adapting recipes and getting creative, but an old-school traditional latke is such huge part of my Hanukkah sense memory that it’ll be a little sad not to get to enjoy that like I usually do.

        • Rose_C

          Totally. The smell alone is so tempting too! Sounds very tough.

    • Anna

      I’m so sorry you can’t comfortably eat latkes :-( But the nice thing about Chanukah is that literally anything fried in oil is fair game as far as the symbolism goes, so I recommend making yourself something delicious and fried and onion-less – sufganiyot if you like sweets, or I’m making fried artichoke hearts that I’m reallllllly excited about from a recipe one of my cousins posted on Facebook :-)

      And if you just got assigned latke-making by default, see if you can at least rope someone else in as a helper. “Look, I won’t be able to eat these because of a food intolerance” is a totally fair reason to not want to be the sole contributor to latke creation.

    • Amy March

      Perhaps I’m incredibly dense, but perhaps make yourself a half dozen without onions? Like, this is a really easy thing to solve. You enjoy what you’re eating, you don’t feel gross, and fried potatoes are always good, onions or no. Don’t hold onto something that you used to like that doesn’t work for you now. Even if it’s not exactly the same it’s probably still pretty good!

      • Zoya

        Oh yeah, I will make onion-less latkes. But the traditional oniony ones are such a strong sense memory for me that I’m sad I can’t uncomplicatedly indulge in them this year. I guess I’m grieving my old body, in a way…

        • Yael

          The grief is real. I cried for a while (weeks) when I realized I couldn’t eat gluten anymore (there is good gluten free bread, but it’s not the same) and thus baking would probably never be the same for me. If possible, get your partner to help you explore new ways of cooking. A does most of our cooking anyway, but he really stepped up to figure out how to work around my food issues, and that plus time have brought me to a place where I am getting back in to baking – even trying to adapt recipes from the “old days.”

          • Eenie

            I don’t know if I’d be where I am today without a supportive partner with my food issues.

          • Zoya

            OMG seriously. Having a wildly supportive spouse has made ALL the difference.

        • penguin

          Also you know your situation best, but just in case you haven’t tried it yet – is it only onions that bother, or all onion-adjacent things? Just wondering if like, shallot latkes would work. Sorry about the new food intolerances either way, that sucks :(

          • Zoya

            FODMAPs are weird. The white parts of alliums are a problem, but the green parts are fine. So chives, scallion tops, leek tops are all A-okay. Also, as someone mentioned above, garlic- and onion-infused oil is dandy. I have been putting these things in literally EVERYTHING I cook these days. It’s just this one day where I’m sad I can’t comfortably have things “like mom used to make.” :P

    • Jess

      The first year after someone has passed is always hard. Maybe there will be space to talk about things she like to do at Hanukkah, which I’ve found can bring a little joy and laughter (because someone always has an embarrassing story).

    • Just Me

      If this is a FODMAP thing, you might be able to saute some onions, infuse oil with them, discard the onions and then use the oil for frying. That may be way more work than you are up for, but the small chain sugars are generally water soluble so you can get the flavor without the side effects. I do this with garlic from time to time and it’s not perfect, but the side effects are way less and sometimes a dish just needs garlic!

      • Zoya

        Yup, it’s a FODMAP thing! I do infused oil a lot, so good call to try that here.

  • I defended my masters thesis! I am finally just a couple of forms away from being done with grad school. I am so happy. And so tired. Plans for the weekend include mulled wine and lots and lots of naps.

    • AGCourtney

      Congrats!

    • Congrats!

    • Cellistec

      Way to go! You deserve all the wine and naps.

    • Jess

      100% wine and naps.

    • Dess

      Congratulations! A mulled wine occasion for sure (although really, I’ll take any excuse.)

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!!

    • suchbrightlights

      YOU ARE LEGIT!

  • Olive

    I feel like I became an adult in the chaos of 2017. It’s the first time I’ve accomplished new year’s resolutions. And I’m finally building my confidence and standing up for myself. I technically opened my etsy shop in 2016 but it’s taken off this year.

    I’m thankful for all of this, all of you, and my newly minted PhD husband. Happy Holidays, friends!

    • suchbrightlights

      Congrats and happy holidays!

  • jem

    I need a patience pep talk. I’m ready to make a baby and my husband is… years away from it. I have a steady job with excellent benefits and my hormones are just shouting at me that they want a baby. He’s still in school for another year, and we can’t afford the cost or distraction of a child right now. So *I* am ready but *we* are not, and it’s so frustrating and sad. I think part of my feeling of urgency is due to my dad not being well. It’s so important to me that he meet his grandchild and I’m really worried the timing won’t work out.

    • Rose_C

      Do you feel like your husband understands your readiness? I think the hormones can be tough to explain but your concerns about your dad are really important. Maybe there’s a compromise that could look like starting to try (cause that can be it’s own process!) after your husband finishes school? Having a timeframe for beginning to try could make you feel a bit more calm.

    • Eenie

      Having a set deadline always helps me. Maybe the deadline is you reopen talks re baby two weeks after his graduation. Have you had the birth-control-isn’t-perfect-what-would-we-do-talk? Because if you’re fully against terminating a pregnancy at this point, I think he should know that (unless of course that was your stance prior as well). We’re three years away from kids and I have an IUD, but we had the talk a while ago, that we would no longer terminate a surprise pregnancy.

      • Jess

        Yes to setting a “Re-opening the conversation” date together. It helps all of my anxious “Can we talk about this now?” issues.

        • penguin

          Yep, my husband and I did this for the kids conversation. I was really anxious thinking we had to decide RIGHT THEN (this was like a month pre-wedding), and my husband suggested talking about it again in a year (since we’re both on the fence) and for some reason that option had never occurred to me. Great for my anxiety though.

    • Olive

      I can relate. I’ve still got another year or so of school, then (probably) a post-doc, and looking for tenure-track positions. My baby fever treatment has been doting on nieces and nephews, babysitting them when I can, and working on myself/my relationship with my husband. I’m a big fan of self-improvement and am starting to see myself becoming the person I’ve wanted to be for awhile, so continuing that is my way of preparing for parenthood, when the time comes.

      • jem

        I really love the idea of self-improvement as a way of preparing for parenthood! That’s such a constructive way to reframe! Thank you!

        • Olive

          Thanks! Just be careful not to get too caught up in preparing that you think you’ll never be ready! My thoughts have spiraled to that place, and I’ve always heard that even if you think you’re ready for a kid, you’re not. So I’m hoping that I don’t let self improvement stop me from thinking I’m ready or not when that time comes.

      • My husband and I made a deal that we can have a baby when I finish grad school, both because of practical reasons and because it is an excellent incentive for actually finishing instead of just lingering (and my lab is one that would tolerate lingering for years, so I really do need some internal motivation). I just wish that I knew babies in real life to play with in the meantime, but no one I know well/locally has any, so instead I just make faces at the ones that sit in front of me at church.

    • macrain

      Omg, I so feel you on this. For me, I was just not willing to compromise a ton on the timing. I wanted a baby and I was worried my window to have one was shrinking. I made a HUGE fucking stink about it, basically. I made sure he knew how big a deal this was to me.
      We ended up visiting a counselor to talk things through, and came to a good understanding about what we both wanted and when. I was not easy, and to be honest, if this were any other issue I might have been willing to concede a bit more, but- I wanted it very badly, and he had to listen to that.

      • jem

        It’s really hard because when we talk about it, he feels really guilty for putting off going to school and delaying our milestones like babymaking. I’m really proud of him for finally going after what he wants… just frustrated that it means that what I want is on hold for now

    • Jessica

      I mean, just to play devil’s (baby’s) advocate here…do you have clear financial goals in place to help you define when you’ll be ready? Can you move towards those more quickly? Thousands of women have been able to have babies and then finish their degrees, so I don’t think that having one spouse in school necessarily precludes having a baby. There might be discounted childcare available through his school, or maybe you wouldn’t need 40 hour a week childcare while he has a more flexible schedule (for example, we have a toddler and I’m working on my PhD, so one of my “work” days is Saturdays when my husband is home). Financially, will he have to start paying back student loans once he graduates? Childcare usually gets cheaper at age 2, so it might be rough to have that + loan payments coinciding.
      Obviously you both need to be ready for a baby. I just think there’s a common perception that when both parents are working full time, there will be more resources (financial, time, mental space) to provide for a baby vs one spouse working and one in school, and I think it’s fair to really consider if that will be the case in your particular situation. Good luck!!

      • Jess

        I think it’s super important to define if it’s a “We are not financially able to care for a baby” or a “He is not emotionally prepared to care for a baby” – that shapes the whole concept of the discussion.

        Because financials? You can figure out what leave options there are, what amount you want to have saved up for baby-stuff and care, and how long it takes to save up that amount. You can work on getting there together.

        Emotions are harder to work on as a couple, because it’s one person who needs to do the growing and you have to just keep bringing it up at pre-scheduled times.

        • jem

          YEsss— it definitely feels like our pre-engagement angst

      • jem

        I’ve definitely thought about it. He’s in law school now and is just too consumed by it right now to even do the part where you make the baby, much less the parts where you raise one (he’s gone at least 12 hours per day, usually more like 14 or 15). I definitely want him to be in a place where he can parent before we become parents, and he does too. So waiting is necessary, but painful

        • Sarah

          Just putting this out there as food for thought. I am a full time 3L law student and I have a six month old. I was pregnant during my 2L year and had my daughter just after finals. Its hard, and not for the faint of heart, but I’m so glad I did it now that she’s here. I’m 28 and never wanted to be an older mother. My daughter has a babysitter for about 30 hours during the work week, I take care of her the rest of the time, and do school work when my husband is home on the weekends. My grades probably aren’t as good as they would otherwise be but I have an internship in the federal courts and a full time job lined up post-grad. I don’t need any more than that!

          My husband and I in no way had our ducks in a row because she is a surprise baby, but financially it just sort of works out… granted my husband has a job in management but he doesn’t make tons of money either. I dont really understand people who insist that they need $40k in the bank before baby or whatever.

          I know many men who have had babies in law school and frankly, its much easier for them than it is for me ;)

          • jem

            This is a really good point! Now that I think about it, when I was in law school myself, several of my classmates had babies (one of my male classmates had two kids while we were in school- one 1L year and one 3L year and his grades were definitely better than mine, so). Maybe we’re putting to much pressure on the perfect time/situation, which never really does come…

            And, congrats on your baby and on rocking law school!

          • jem

            Also… RBG had a baby in law school… (her daughter was 14mo when she started)

          • Sarah

            She did! I am constantly reminding myself of that. Is your husband a 1L? I worked 12 hour days when I was a 1L but 2nd and 3rd year I don’t have to work nearly that hard. The pressure really eased up. I can understand if he is so all consumed if its his first year, but that’s also not sustainable! I need other things in my life than law school. Granted now all I do is either law school or family. I have no social life to speak of. Also, the lawyer life is always going to have that pressure. My understanding is, it doesn’t get any easier to carve out time for family as a young associate.

            The its never a perfect time idea is what my husband and I landed on as we faced a surprise pregnancy at the start of my 2L year. It hasn’t been easy, but I dont know when it would have been easier, either.

  • LBWazi

    Also, I would love to hear if anyone else ever found a pregnancy website that has the same kind of supportive, honest community that we have here at APW. I looked and looked and never found it (the closest was Pregnant Chicken, but still not the same).

    • Anon

      I recommend the Facebook group for the One Bad Mother podcast. There are a million subgroups, including a pregnancy one, and one of the core tenets of the podcast is not judging. I’m also newly pregnant and I love the podcast and the fb groups.

  • Rose

    I had a phone interview this morning and it went really well, and I got invited for a campus visit at the end of it–which isn’t quite how it usually works (usually they interview a bunch of people and then pick a few to visit), which makes me feel like maybe they really want me? Anyway, super exciting! And I haven’t gotten anything else done today, and we’re leaving Sunday to visit my family and coming back the day before classes start, so there’s also that.

  • L.

    Just want to say thank you to Team APW for creating and sharing this wonderful space! I’m a new reader, as of this year, and I really enjoy the content and the community. I’ll be getting engaged sometime in the near future, and I’m really happy to have all of these many varied and different and eclectic real wedding examples to remind me that I don’t have to do shit “the way it’s always been done.” :) Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone! Cheers to getting out of this hell-hole of a year and starting 2018!

  • Ashley

    My first Happy Hour! I always miss it but today I’m glad I caught it because my best friend who was going to be planning her wedding alongside mine is shifting her wedding date (albeit actually closer to mine but she’ll be busy with growing a baby in the meantime) and beyond her, I don’t have anyone else to shamelessly talk about wedding stuff with — trying SO HARD not to be that person who only ever talks about her wedding that is forever away.

    We’re flying out to spend Christmas with my fiancee’s family on Tuesday and her mom has a bunch of ideas for our wedding (a bunch that we won’t love, a bunch that I’m happy to consider). My goal was that we go there confident in our plans, and open to hearing her ideas but not committing to anything (we’re not getting married until September 2019).

    That’s all. I love the holidays (I’m currently wearing my antlers, glitter eyeliner and glitter tights), can’t wait to spend them somewhere colder (SNOW!). And I’m so excited for what 2018 brings.

    Happy everything, friends!

    • Jess

      I have a girl’s night tonight, and I was not planning to wear glitter. But I am now reconsidering.

      • Ashley

        if I believe in anything, it’s glitter.

    • penguin

      Eyeliner is the next makeup thing I want to learn how to do/be better at, and glitter eyeliner sounds amazing.

      • Sephora makes their own glitter eyeliner and it’s only like $10 and it’s my fave!

        • Ashley

          Sephora make-up is such great quality and so underrated! I also love their matte lip stuff. My local sephora was out of the Kat Von D colour I wanted and the artist on the floor showed me the same colour in the sephora line — and I think it’s better (and smells like cake!).

        • penguin

          Thanks, I’m definitely going to try this!!

      • Ashley

        I always just kind of smear it on, and I’ve read a lot of tutorials but nothing ever stuck… but then I saw some listicle about Riverdale make up and they made Veronica’s eyeliner seem so easy (maybe because the wing is so short) and that was it, I was done for!

        • CP2011

          Riverdale!! I am enjoying that show so much!

  • PAJane

    I have a job development! I’ve been offered my manager’s job…in 2 years when she finishes her degree and switches careers. Originally the plan was for the boss to retire when Manager left, but her child is still in college, and she and her husband decided to keep on keepin’ on for a while. So she’s offered me the job, when the time comes. I’ve never been offered a job two years out before, and also I expected to be in need of a job somewhere other than this particular business by then (see: she was going to retire). PADude is itching to find a new job (which would likely mean a pay cut, as he has a lot of seniority and experience at his current place of employment, which would also mean I should find something that pays better around the same time), but we agreed to hold off on major financial changes until after our wedding next autumn. All of which is to say: Wow, I am not feeling super prepared to respond to this offer.Right now I’m leaning towards a tentative yes, which means working on additional licensing and training (which comes with pay increases anyway), with the goal of that happening, but also making it a soft yes, on account of 2 years being an awful long way off, in some ways.

    • Yael

      Anyway you can say yes now and then if something else comes up, not take it? Or is there a contract or something?

      • suchbrightlights

        Ditto this. If something else came up, btw, you would be 100% within your rights to take it completely guilt-free. When you said “in two years” my first thought was “don’t get too excited” because so much can change in two years. Unless there is a contract that is enforceable by both parties in your location, I’m still not sure I’d personally make plans around it.

        • SLG

          Exactly this. Anything could change in the next two years, and if they offered that job to a new candidate right now with the understanding it starts in two years, that person would be all “uh, what?” So say yes and keep looking for the right job. If you find it, tell them you found be an offer you just couldn’t turn down and they’ll understand (or if they don’t, you probably didn’t want to work for them anyway).

      • PAJane

        I’m pretty sure she’s just looking for a verbal agreement.

  • Lisa

    While 2017 sucked in terms of the world, it was a pretty good year for me and my husband personally. We paid off his student loans, did a ton of travelling, he graduated, I will (hopefully soon) have a new job on a career track, and we’re flying off to Germany next Thursday to spend a few weeks gallivanting around Europe at Christmas.

    Super scary/exciting/adult thing that we did this week: we had a tour and meet and greet with a midwife facility and ended up scheduling a pre-conception appointment for the first week of January! I love our life as a twosome, but I’m excited for us to make our hypotheticals a reality. If anyone has advice on going through this stage (preparing to conceive/conception), I’d love to hear it. I’ve read Expecting Better, which may need a reread now, and I’m open to any other resources or books that were particularly helpful to you.

    • flashphase

      congrats? What does a pre-conception appointment entail? I found Taking Charge of Your Fertility very informative.

      • For me, it was basically a physical, making sure that I was healthy enough to carry a pregnancy. Some doctors/midwifes may do more extensive testing.

      • Lisa

        Like @Jubilance:disqus said, it’s going to be going over medical histories, talking about our plans, and possibly getting prescriptions for prenatal vitamins. I’m also unsure if we’ll have to do a Zika blood test since we recently went to the Caribbean, and we’ll talk about IUD removal.

        I’ve actually recommended that book to several people who were looking for alternatives to BC, but I’ve never read it myself! Maybe it’s finally time.

        • Violet

          Prenatal vitamins are sold in the regular supplement aisle of your local drugstore. Start now and watch your hair get even fuller!

        • RNLindsay

          Just FYI – they probably will not do Zika testing for you. There’s a huge back log of testing so the CDC only recommends testing if you’re symptomatic and at risk (i.e. already pregnant). The waiting periods after possible exposure are 8 weeks for females, 6 months for males

          • Ashlah

            Yeah, we tried to get a Zika test when we got pregnant after a trip to Costa Rica (We waited the full waiting period for females but not for males), and they wouldn’t do it. Doctor basically said that even if they managed to force it through, the results wouldn’t come back in time to do anything useful with them.

      • Fiona

        Second the book recommendation, currently TTC. I had a pre-conception appointment because I have chronic health issues and fertility-related issues (though I’ve never tried to get pregnant), and my care provider was able to check some things and discuss what might happen with my chronic health issues and what I should consider given my possible difficulties getting pregnant.

    • Olive

      I’ve never heard of a pre-conception appointment! Is this a standard thing? In addition to an annual exam?

      Also, YAY! Congrats!

      • Lisa

        Thank you! Not sure if it’s standard, but I first heard about it from a doctor friend who did one with her OB/gyn and husband when they were talking about conceiving. It seems like a way for you to get on the same page as your doctor and have conversations about medical history or genetic testing prior to conception.

    • Yay! Making the switch to now trying to conceive is scary for a lot of folks – it was for me! Definitely use this time to talk to your partner a lot, share your feelings, ask questions, etc.

      Also I found “Bringing Up Bebe” to be a very enjoyable read and I adopted a lot of the practices with #BabyPi.

      • Lisa

        Yeah, I have all the feels about going from actively trying to prevent pregnancy for the past how many years to actively trying for it. It’s a big mental shift.

        Thanks for the recommendation! I’m adding it to the list.

        • AGCourtney

          Seconding the Bringing up Bebe rec.

        • Jess

          Big shift indeed. A number of us not-yet APW’ers have commented before about probably going into therapy when we get to that stage.

    • anon

      So exciting! We’ve been in pre-conception land. For us, it’s been nice to have a sort of enforced time period, but a great opportunity for me to know my cycle in a low pressure situation. I’ve been temperature charting and using the Fertility Friend app which is a bit clunky but super informative and I love data. Makes me feel like when we’re ready, we’re ready! In my pre-conception appointment, I learned what meds I take that I’d need to go off as soon as we start trying, so that might be something to think about if it applies to you. Part of the reason we’re waiting is because we were in a zika country, and from what I’ve read, 6 months is the longest exposure risk for males. They wouldn’t give either of us a blood test because we didn’t have symptoms, but we’ve been hanging out any way, since we’re not in a rush. Good luck!

      • RNLindsay

        Yep had to do the Zika waiting too! The CDC recommends 6 months for males. It sucks that they only do testing if you’re at risk/showing symptoms but I guess there’s a huge backlog of testing.

    • Sarah

      LOok into insurance coverage and budget for co pays deductible etc. probably missed deadline for 2018 FSA if employer offers one but you can do this up to 30 days after baby is born. I met with our HR at end of first tri before telling boss just to know it all before I went in.

    • Jess

      YAY for making the switch over to being ready for conception!

    • Dess

      So exciting!! Husband and I are not quite there yet, but it’s getting closer and I’m excited for it.
      Have a great Europe trip!

      • Lisa

        I think a major factor for both of us (beyond hitting the date milestones we’d initially discussed) was that some close friends had their daughter earlier this year, and it really opened our eyes (especially my husband’s) to what life with a kid might be like.

        And I’m super excited for Europe! I finally got my husband to watch The Sound of Music for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and we booked a SOM tour around Salzburg while we’re there. Lots of other great excursions are planned, but I’m also looking forward to chilling out in some beer halls and drinking gluewein at Christmas markets. We’re also considering a day/afternoon trip to Bratislava since it’s so close to Vienna. If we do that, we’ll round out the year with four new countries each!

        • Yael

          OMG A also hasn’t seen the Sound of Music yet and that may be what we do on Christmas while making Chinese food.

          • Lisa

            Doooooooo iiiiiiiiiiiit. Husband declared it “a good movie,” but that might have been influenced by my zealous queries asking if he really, REALLY liked it afterwards.

          • Yael

            Are you me? A and I have the exact same conversations (because it’s never just one) every time I do something or share something with him. He always assures me he does (not that I doubt him for any reason other than the voice in my head).

        • Dess

          Love the SOM Salzburg tour! It was one of our first tastes of Austria before we moved to Vienna (where we’re currently based.)
          If you’re hitting the Vienna Christmas markets, make sure you go to the Karlsplatz one–all the vendors are Austrian (mostly handmade) goods. Also, the opera has super cheap rush tickets for standing room, which is one of my favorite last-minute night out activities!

          • Lisa

            Thanks for the heads up! We’re both classical musicians so we already bought Christmas Day Boheme tickets in Munich and Magic Flute tickets in Vienna. I’m so excited about finally seeing the Staatsoper!

            And I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the tour. Husband is a bit skeptical, but he knew I was really excited about it. We decided to go with a full day one that also goes out to Hallstatt so we can see a little more of the countryside. I’m really looking forward to it!

    • Yael

      FYI (and apologies if you already know this), Christmas markets are amazing but most of the ones in Germanic states close before Christmas. Other W European ones close by New Years, but E Europe ones stay open till Epiphany. So depending on where you’re going and how much Christmas overload you want, plan for that. I highly recommend mulled wine (called Glühwein in Germany and parts of France).

      • Lisa

        Yup, we did this for our honeymoon a few years back so I checked the dates when planning our itinerary. We’re basically going to hit the last day of each market while we’re making our way around. :)

        • Yael

          I completely support planning your vacation around Christmas markets.

    • Katie

      Your 2017 sounds amazing, and high-five to deciding to have a baby. We’re nowhere near that, but I’m starting to think about it, vaguely, and it is a huge change, for me. Ironically, what changed my mind was the “Call the midwife” TV-show :D

      • Lisa

        I love Call the Midwife! It’s a great show.

        The going from talking about kids to actively working to make them a reality is a huge step. I kept thinking it was very surreal to be at the midwife’s office and wondering if I was doing this whole trying-to-have-kids thing correctly (asking the right questions, considering the right factors, etc.).

      • Jess

        Call the Midwife has greatly contributed to my sense of feeling like pregnancy is actually a thing I can do.

        (Which is big, considering I am still holding some emotions of “I am super grossed out by the idea that there is a thing growing inside of you, taking your nutrients and changing your body”)

    • macrain

      This might come up at your pre-conception appointment, but we ended up doing genetic testing before conceiving, and I was glad we did. It ended up being fully covered by insurance, and since some risks popped up with my test results, my husband was tested as well.
      Understand not all parents-to-be will want to go this route, but it was a good choice for us!

    • Ashlah

      I’m so excited for you, Lisa! It’s certainly a mind-fuck, but I hope you’re able to enjoy the transition and that conception is without struggle. May it take exactly the amount of time that lets you feel as ready as you can, without making you anxious about it taking too long (oh wait, that’s not a thing, you will feel all the feelings all the time, probably). Happy to hear you toured a midwife facility! My experience at mine was absolutely wonderful.

      I spent a lot of time pre-conception lurking on the Baby Bumps and Trying For A Baby subreddits. Gave me a lot of insight into what conceiving and pregnancy might be like (though TFAB obviously skews towards people having trouble and probably made me more anxious that was necessary, so YMMV on the helpfulness of that).

      • Lisa

        Thank you for your kind words, reassurances, and resources! Badtown U recently acquired a midwife clinic, and I was really excited that could be an option for me with my insurance. They also offer “whole woman care” so I can still use them for standard OB/gyn needs pre and post birth. Would you mind talking more about your experiences with a midwife? I’d love to hear more about it!

        How’s your little guy doing? :)

        • Ashlah

          A couple things I liked: 1) Our Birth Center does their best to make sure you meet all of the midwives on staff throughout your pregnancy so you don’t have to give birth with someone you haven’t met. If that’s not standard where you’re going, it’s something you could consider. 2) They’re affiliated with the nearby hospital, so even if I’d had to give birth there, I would still be under the care of a familiar midwife instead of a stranger OB.

          All the midwives were super friendly and eager to help (they almost seemed disappointed when I didn’t have questions or call between appointments!). I felt they struck the perfect balance between the “birth is natural” philosophy and health and safety above all else. My own experience was an amazing birth followed by significant blood loss. My caretakers were great at keeping everything calm and under control while making a thoughtful decision to eventually transfer me to the hospital. I was completely fine, and credit the midwives and nurses on staff with keeping it from being a negative or traumatic experience.

          Also! In addition to whole woman care, they also offer unlimited access to lactation consultants (absolutely invaluable for us) and a free weekly baby clinic. Overall it just felt/feels much more accessible and patient-friendly than (my perception of) the hospital, though I recognize that varies with the specific place. I hope your experience is a positive one!

          And Tobin is doing great, thanks for asking! He seems to be going through the four month sleep regression, which is rough for us, but he’s still generally a pretty happy guy! Getting chunkier and smilier and chattier every day. Despite the challenges, it’s a really fun experience. Two more weeks at home with his dad, then he starts daycare!

    • Mary Jo TC

      I did the midwife thing too and highly recommend it. I delivered in a hospital and had the chance to use nitrous oxide for pain relief and it was amazing. If it’s an option for you (not available everywhere in the US) it’s definitely worth looking into it.

      Someone else mentioned Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and it really is good for helping you conceive and know when you need to have sex. It can be kind of weird on your sex life to have such ‘goal-directed’ sex, to know that you need to have sex during a certain window of time, and the more exactly you can pinpoint that window, the easier that impact on your sex life might be.

      A couple more philosophical/sociological books about parenting that might be good: All Joy and No Fun and The Gardener and the Carpenter.

    • ART

      nth-ing Taking Charge of Your Fertility (or TCOYF as you may come to know it…) and they have an app that works well with what’s in the book. I started using it a few months before we officially started trying and that baseline data was really helpful! But then again, I had been on the pill and hadn’t had a period in literally years so I didn’t have any idea what my cycle was like. But still, doing a few months of taking temps and paying attention to other fertility signs was helpful and frankly pretty fascinating.

    • Aubry

      OK I am late the the party (as usual) but thank you and all the commenters for discussing this wild time! It is something many people don’t talk about and there are so many feelings that you’re supposed to be keeping to yourself but I am a talker and it is so hard! I ended up telling my three besties that I was TTC cause I just couldn’t not talk about it. I’ve also been experiencing some bad side effects to being off birth control (some familiar from my IUD days and some new) and I need them to help me stay on track and figure out what is normal and what isn’t.

      wow that reads like the ramble it was in my head. apologies. Thank you for the vest I feel better. But I will maybe find some groups and re-read some books to help me in this time.

      Good luck Lisa, and I hope it all goes well for you. I am also inspired to just call up some people and ask the questions I want to ask, and not wait to be pregnant. My big decision is where to deliver. My local hospital is OK, but not great, and old internet info had them having facilities that weren’t ideal (having to pay for a single room where many other hospitals are all single rooms, and not offering things like walking epidurals that I’d like to have available). But this was from a couple years ago so maybe not up to date. The next closest hospital is a Christian hospital, which is amazing and has such good facilities in every way – but I am fundamentally opposed to religion and medicine mixing and I don’t know if I can accept the improved care at the expense of my values. The other hospitals are great but further away. Any other option would require me to traverse my gridlocked city during labour, and probably travel for all the regular doctor’s appointments which sounds exhausting. I just have so little info on the finding of care providers and all that, and I hate it as a data-centric person.

    • Jenny

      Yay exciting/scary things! I second the recommendation of expecting better (though I still have my issues with it). I also found some of the your pregnacy week by week books interesting. The biggest help for me was a midwifery/doula preparing for childbirth class. We just took one through the hospital we were planning to deliver at and I liked it. The two activities that I think were most helpful were the stations of different laboring positions/pain relief positions (I didn’t do natural labor, but there was still a large portion of contraction time that was un medicated, and it also helped with 37 week+ aches and pains). The second was dividing a sheet of paper into 4 quadrants and having each partner fill them out separately (for the newborn phase). 1. Expectations of myself, 2.expectations of my partner 3. things I think my partner expects from me. 4. things my partner expects of themselves (I think those were the 4). We found comparing the top 2 the most helpful. They also did an activity with like a bunch of labor choices and then she read out a complication that happened. So you got to choose 9 “things” for your ideal birth (natural labor, not induced, health baby, blah blah blah), then turn one over (or multiple if your selections were tied together). Anyway it was designed to help people realize how quickly things change and that at the end what we all care about is a health baby, but I felt like I’d already done enough reading to realize that certain interventions make it more likely for others to happen, and I’d already accepted that I had not a ton of control over the proceedings (my mom was an ICU nurse and my husband a paramedic, so I was felt like I heard more “worst case” birth stories than most people”, but it seemed to be pretty powerful for others in the class.

      Unsolicited advice because it’s not a book, but it’s something we did and I’m so happy we did it. Spend some time really thinking about and talking about your priorities for newborn life. Other than basic health/safety stuff, and bare minimum hygiene for ourselves. We ended up deciding on sleep for ourselves, breastfeeding, getting outside once a day, cloth diapering, healthy eating for ourselves. It was a lot of talking and hashing out, but it made a lot of stuff in the fog of newborn life easier. Should we get Mcdonalds, or cook (knowing that cooking and cleaning will lead to a later bedtime for us). Easy, mcdonalds because sleep>health eating for us. Some days they could all happen, sometimes we were using bottles, not having left the house, with dirty diapers and taco bell wrappers in the trash, and we felt fucking great about it because we were still trading off sleeping hours for ourselves. Not saying those are your priorities, or that that’s the order you’d put them in, but for use, it just saved the angst over decisions. Not matter what you decide you’ll be doing a great job!

  • Capondoodle

    Ya’ll. The Royal wedding is the same day as mine!

    • Eenie

      But you can’t watch it! Are you excited or upset?!

      • Eve

        (prefacing by saying I have no idea what time of day royal weddings take place) but since it’s in the UK and presumably Capondoodle is in the US, I could totally see a livestream during hair/makeup if the timing allows?

        • Angela’s Back

          Live streaming during hair and makeup during which you can recreate in real time Megan Markle’s wedding look… just saying…

          • Jess

            YES.

        • Eenie

          Oh good call. I did not do the whole getting ready thing at my wedding so I forget that’s a thing. Hopefully her wedding is an afternoon one!

        • Lexipedia

          If it’s anything like the last one it will start at, like, 5am ET. So you could have lots of time for recaps over hair and makeup.

    • Lisa

      When they originally said Spring 2018, my friends and I were so hoping it would be the same day as one friend’s wedding so we could get up and watch it while doing hair and drinking mimosas. I think you need to do something similar!!

      • theteenygirl

        I think they usually do the weddings at like 10am in England so it might be too early for hair and makeup here in North America!! I remember waking up for the last one at 4am.
        But I love this idea. A friend is coming over to my place the night before for a sleep over and we’re going to wake up to watch the whole shebang. I’m so excited.

        • Lisa

          Depending on your level of dedication and ability to sleep, I can totally see getting up at 3-4 AM, especially if it’s an early afternoon/brunch wedding! I don’t think I’ll have anyone here in Badtown to watch it with me, but maybe I’m thinking about setting up a group Skype chat for my lady friends to view it “together.”

          That sleepover sounds like my ideal!

          • Amy March

            Sadly we aren’t neighbors, because I am definitely getting up pre-dawn to watch it.

          • Lisa

            That is truly sad because I would love to watch it with another royal family fan! I plan to bake some scones and have tea ready for a truly authentic experience.

          • That sounds fun!

          • theteenygirl

            Good point!

        • Lexipedia

          I did that when I lived in Canada! We will be in France on our honeymoon, so it won’t be super early and S will be there with me. But the early morning with a bunch of girlfriends was definitely fun last time.

      • Lexipedia

        I was hoping the same! We are getting married on the 5th and I was really hoping to watch while getting ready.

    • Katie

      *crawling from under a rock* What day is it?
      Edit: I remembered that Google exists. Sadly, the wedding is just 2 weeks from my own… :(

    • Yael

      It’s going to be on A’s birthday and he was cutely excited about it :)

      • Eh

        It’s on my birthday too! I am very excited.

  • Capondoodle

    please post favorite DIY wedding bouquet tutorials (besides the fab ones on APW) :)

  • Anna

    So. Husband and I have always had really excellent sex; the fact that he was the best lay I’d ever had (from a not-insignificant sample size) was a big factor in what convinced me to start dating him way back in college. And now like six months post wedding, our sex life pretty much sucks. Partly it’s the normal winter/wrestling season (he coaches) dip, but it seems worse. He can’t keep it up consistently, and then he’s frustrated about that, so he’s way too rough trying to get me off other ways, and then gets sulky when I tell him to stop.

    Advice? Solidarity? Really good porn or sex toy recommendations? [ETA: I actually have a pretty significant collection of sex toys, mostly Lelo, so that’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek ask. The problem is mostly that sometimes just getting off isn’t enough, I want to do so with an actual flesh-and-blood human partner xP]

    • Jess

      I have solidarity. Our sex life kind of dove when I hit some major depression issues over the last year, and it’s a struggle. And of course, when I’m not into it he picks up on it and it’s not fun for either of us.

      Sex toys: I’ve been looking into getting the Doxy vibrator. I need a wider surface instead of a concentrated point. OhJoySexToy has a “best of 2017” (and 2016, and…) that I highly recommend perusing to see what you’re into.

      Things we’re trying: Small acts of intimacy every day. Maybe that’s just some cuddling, or maybe I push him against a wall while we’re making dinner, or maybe we do a little bit of handsy-ness. We’re trying to go into those things without the intention of penetration, but we’re not against it if we both end up wanting to.

      • Anna

        Oh man I LOVE OhJoySexToy. I literally have to restrict how often I read it though because I end up buying something new every time I browse.

        The problem is that he’s somewhat resistant to real sexual advances when we’re doing mundane activities (cooking, watching TV, etc), while a smack on the ass, comments on how hot the other is, etc have become so common between us that the actual erotic content is somewhat bleached out of them – it’s just like a generic statement of appreciation, which is good for feeling loved, but it’s no longer especially sexy.

        The other issue is that his preferred form of foreplay is fairly silly, rolling around in bed and laughing and whatever, and that really, really doesn’t do it for me. When our sex life is otherwise good, this isn’t an issue, because we both get revved up pretty easy with a little of his version of foreplay and a little of mine, but when it’s half an hour of him trying to get hard while I’m actively getting less and less interested, it’s… not super functional.

        • Jess

          Ugh, yeah… having permission to interrupt mundane tasks with sex-things is really really key to making it work for us. Because it can be like a minute, but it gets enough energy back.

          Foreplay is tough… I am also not into the silly foreplay. I saw above that you’re doing a little bit of kink-play which is my preference (but does require planning, and is tough to set up if you’re not the one as into it).

          Would it work to have him do some of his own getting hard before coming to you? This works best if you kind of plan it ahead of time, but sometimes we have the best success when we do some masturbation on our own and then find the other person.

          I don’t have a whole lot of porn recommendations, because we’re still just trying to figure that out (why is the easy to find porn so crap, even when you pay?), but a while back APW did a “The time I watched porn” article by Rachel which had some great recommendations in the comments.

        • flashphase

          Esther Perel had something in her book where she suggested to a touchy but not sex-ing couple that they try NO touching AT ALL unless it was gonna lead to… a home run, if you get my drift. Maybe you could try abstaining from other touch to get you all hot and bothered?

    • Olive

      Solidarity. We also hit a rough patch when my desire plummeted with depression a few years ago. Now I want sex maybe once a week, which my husband thinks is literally the worst thing ever omg we never have sex. So yea, we’re working on communication and expectations. We bought some cards and “The Art and Science of Intimacy” from the Gottman website to work on together.

      • Anna

        Yeah I’d say we hover around once a week, although I haven’t been keeping strict track – I suspect sometimes it’s longer than that, but maybe it just feels that way to me :-P Right now it’s not the frequency that’s the problem, per se – although it definitely took some getting used to over the last few years, since when we started dating I’d feel like something was wrong if we only had sex once per DAY (typical was 2-4x/day)… but that was college and no way we’d have time for even once a day now – but the fact that even when we do have sex, it’s typically a mediocre quickie. Which, I’m all for a good quickie – especially when we’re supposed to be doing something else xD – but when that’s all I get, it’s really depressing.

    • Zoya

      We’ve run into similar slumps, and one thing that’s helped is broadening our definition of “sex.” We do a lot of stuff that doesn’t require either of us to sustain arousal for a period of time (since that’s a thing we both struggle with). Low-key intimate touch, playing around with toys, trying kink things that don’t involve genital contact. And if we start something and one of us isn’t feeling it, we have full leeway to say, “Hey, this isn’t happening, so how about we try X instead?” Basically, taking the pressure off of our bodies’ responses and just focusing on being with each other.

      • Anna

        Yeah, a little bit of leaning into some of his kinks (which I find sexy even if they’re not specifically my kinks) has helped, but it takes a lot more setup time and during wrestling season that’s really hard to come by. I still want penetration at the end of a scene, but all the kink stuff does actually reliably get him hard, so that’s not a problem at that point. I should definitely suggest that we do something in that realm this weekend; the timing is just kind of dicey :-/

        I really, really want to be chill and just like… do what we can to make each other feel good. But I’m also REALLY into penetration. Which I get like 80% of the satisfaction of from toys – especially when Husband can be convinced to use them on me, which is tough, and definitely a no-go once he’s already having trouble staying hard because it’s putting a little too fine a point on the issue :-P – but it’s still really, really disappointing to not get to have penetrative sex with my husband using his own body regularly, since that’s by far my favorite.

    • Transnonymous

      Have an honest conversation about this with him, using lots of “I” statements, in a setting where sex is absolutely out of the question (we’ve actually done this several times while hiking). Everyone can get their feelings out and after that, you can work towards a path forward together involving everyone’s needs. Just fyi, if he continues to struggle with ED, it’s worth him getting a blood test to check his hormone levels because the issue could be something beyond stress.

  • CW

    I’m just over 2 weeks out from wedding day! And still have a longer to-do list than I’d like. But I’m trying to stay calm, and be grateful for the APW community (I’ve been reading since 2010) and enjoy the wintery season. I am so ready for 2018. Family craziness starts in about a week, so I have that long to really finish projects. Big projects left: moveable backdrop, playlists, program. Totally do-able right? Does anyone have a good template for a single-page double-sided round program (think plate sized circle)?

  • Eenie

    The end of this year feels like it’s coming like a freight train. I’ve been working REALLY long hours at work trying to finish and launch a project by year end. I have time for happy hour cause I woke up at 1:30am this morning…

    This past week was when my other two teammates finally met in person to strategize for the rollout. I somehow feel both better and worse about the project? I’ve gotten nothing but super positive feedback from my manager since I started in September, but I also feel like I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING AT ALL! The other half of the company (not my half) is a lot less on board than I thought about the launch of the project. There were talks of completely scrapping the project (thousands of hours) or that the company as a whole was going to launch a similar initiative and would require redoing a lot of the work again – we are ahead of the curve and expected to standardize with the rest of the company in two or five years. I could not hide my displeasure at hearing this when my manager told me. He asked if it was a deal breaker and I told him yes, I would consider looking for a new job if I had to redo everything in the next 12 months.

    I decided last minute to travel all of next week instead of just three days to get better set up for the new year. January kicks off with three weeks of travel, the middle week being a trip to Europe, and I’m really worried about how well that’s going to go. The travel stuff is all new to me. I took the job because it’s a career changing job, but I’m so afraid I’m going to fail. My manager warned me this week that I should expect cuts to our team in the next couple years, and he wants to set me up so I’m not on that list. In this position the politics is so important and I’m not super good at navigating that stuff. I’ve never needed to care before.

    Has anyone else previously felt like such an imposter? Have you figured out how to make success feel positive? I’m really struggling with that right now.

    • Essssss

      Wow, this sounds like a lot! I have struggled with imposter feelings and the book Cracking the Confidence Code has been a helpful one. It sounds like there is a lot to anticipate and think ahead on right now, and maybe just thinking one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

      • Eenie

        Thank you – I’ll look into that for reading during plan rides in January!

    • AGCourtney

      No advice, but WOW, that’s a lot. You’re amazing.

    • Eenie

      I’m also here to commiserate with anyone who hasn’t had time to shop for gifts yet…amazon gift cards for everyone!!

      • Jess

        Oh, I tell you what, all gifts are being purchased over the next three days.

        • penguin

          Amazon Prime is my gift giving secret haha. One year I was already at my grandma’s house for the holidays, she mentioned something she really wanted but hadn’t asked anyone for. I found it for sale on Amazon and had it delivered to her house 2 days later – she was so happy and so surprised, it was great.

  • Jessica

    This last year has been insanely rough, and I want to thank all of you on #RageSquad for helping me through it. I am incredibly fortunate and unironically #blessed to have an amazing support system both digitally and around me. I will always credit getting through 2016 and 2017 to the amazing network of friends and family who shared in my rage, sadness, and (eventually) hope at what happened to derail my life plans, and then get them back on a new and more soundly laid track.

    • Jess

      To 2018! The year of having control again.

  • Dess

    Just want to throw out a big thanks to everyone here for being the best place on the internet. I never got to participate the way I wanted to this year thanks to crazy-making jobs and time differences, but APW was always my first check in when I got a minute to myself. Y’all are the best. And, having just quit Terrible Job, I’m looking forward to being more present here in 2018! Cheers!

    • SLG

      Congrats on quitting Terrible Job!

  • rg223

    Thank you APW staff and community for a wonderful year! 2017 was a bit much, to say the least, but APW was definitely a bright spot. Personally, I had the best year of my professional life, and my little family is doing awesome, but things were tough with extended family, friends, and the world at large. But I appreciate the community’s support through everything, especially when my college roommate passed away – I’m always going to remember you all for that and I thank you deeply. Hugs to all, enjoy the new year!

  • Yael

    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the suggestions about what to do for Hanukkah last week. I decided to go with ALL THE BAKING for our party tomorrow, but more importantly, I’m finding some things I can connect to about the holiday. Our synagogue apparently lights the menorah outside (we have a giant outdoor menorah that uses lanterns). First night of lighting was Tuesday and a large part of the community turned out to witness the lighting. We had neighbors peaking out through the windows, and people walking by on their way to wherever stopping and looking. Most of the synagogues in Germany were destroyed by the Nazis, and now a crowd of Jews – from all over – can gather safely to light the candles. The miracle is happening HERE. I feel so blessed to be able to take part in this return of Jews and Judaism to Germany. And if I may, I’d like the US Jews to think a bit about European Jewry today. I think that for most of us, European Jewry ends with the Shoah, and then everything after is Israel. But there are growing communities in Europe again, and they could really use help too. Most of the Jews in Germany are from Russia, and they know nothing about Judaism. German Jews are struggling to absorb and teach Russian Jews how to be Jewish, while simultaneously fighting against the secularism that afflicts all religious people. And at least in some places, they’re managing. So if supporting Israel/Israeli politics is problematic for you, consider Europe.

    • Jess

      The idea of a public lighting in Germany makes me feel so warm and glow-y.

      • Yael

        There was a tweet floating around of a side-by-side of Brandenburg Square hung with Nazi regalia in the 1930s and today with a large menorah lit. I cried when I saw it.

    • MC

      Thanks for sharing this – I’m not Jewish but my grandfather’s family were German Jews that fled Germany and came to America in the 1930’s, and I know he would be so touched to hear that Jewish communities in Europe are coming together again.

  • Jane

    Dog-walking service recommendations for Oakland? My husband and I got a dog last weekend and he’s the best and I love him. (Disqus isn’t letting me upload pics for some reason:( ) My husband has been going home at lunch to take him for a quick potty break walk but he can’t always do that.

    Anyone have a walker or service they love?

  • Transnonymous

    My husband started his new job this week and y’all, it is a perfect fit. Company culture is huge for him, and he reaps the following benefits:
    -He gets PTO and 401k contributions, even at part-time
    -Regularly scheduled performance reviews, which was a huge issue at his last job
    -If it’s impossible to take lunch that day, the company will buy your lunch and let you take a paid half-hour to eat
    -You earn “points” for giving compliments and constructive feedback, as well as doctor’s visits and working out, than can be cashed in for a number of things (extra PTO, gift cards, etc.)
    -Profit-sharing and regular bonuses, but absolutely no pressure to make sales

    Otherwise, I’m enjoying relaxing after going to a ridiculous number of stressful meetings this week and gearing up for my office’s holiday party tonight, where for once I will not get carded because I look like a seventeen year old wearing a suit. Happy New Year to all!

  • Mini-vent I’m in a very specific purgatory… I wear a size E or F cup bra and definitely need support, but as of this week any type of non-stretchy band (aka the only ones that give decent support) are causing some kind of painful muscle spasm that’s bad enough to constrict my breathing.

    I’m like, 99.999% sure that my bra fit is not the problem (I’m kinda intense about fit). Less supportive sports bras aren’t as bad but they still set it off, and going fully braless is terrible. Not really sure where I’m going with this but… Anyone want a pair of lightly used boobs? Free to a good home? Because I’m very very over it.

    • Zoya

      I. Feel. You. Right now I’m between band sizes, so stuff either pinches or sags. Love my big ol’ boobs, but sometimes I just want to take them off and put them in a drawer for a while.

    • Yael

      Boobs are the worst. I do enjoy having them sometimes (mostly sexy times) but today me thinks pubescent me was not at all wrong about wanting nothing to do with them.

      Another boob-related vent: I have sensitive nipples made more sensitive by some damage done during what I’m sort-of coming to terms with was assault a few years ago. They get even more sensitive in the cold. It is always f*cking cold these days because most German buildings have terrible insulation. A accidentally brushed his elbow against one *through my puffer jacket and multiple layers of clothing* and it started HURTING. Plus the cat steps on them at night. Anyone have a good trick to rapidly desensitize nipples so I can concentrate on work/get some sleep?

      • EllieS

        I don’t know about nipples, but I do know about working with scar tissue/post-surgical scars, and I imagine the same concepts apply. My doc recommended taking a rough wash cloth and rubbing the area x2 daily for five or so minutes (you might have to work up to that point). You just have to get the nerves to calm down and the more you avoid touching them the more they’ll be sensitive. It really sucks and I truly hated doing it after my most recent surgery, but it does work.

    • Anna

      Not sure if this would be stretchy enough to help, but with similar sized boobs (32-34E), I’ve had good experiences with some of the no-underwire options from Lively. Definitely more support than any other no-underwire bra I’ve tried, to the point that I can actually wear it for a day and not feel like my boobs are destroying my back.

      But ugh yes can totally relate to the please-someone-take-these-boobs feeling some of the time. In my case it’s partly intermittent gender dysphoria, which is very difficult with E cups.

    • suchbrightlights

      I am a smaller size than you so this may be laughable, but would taping them be an option until you get to the bottom of the muscular terribleness?

      • It’s probably worth a try! I wear a large cup size, but I’m also like, tall and have a bigger band size, so proportionally I’m not that big… Taping might be doable!

    • Rose_C

      Would layering possibly help? I have sometimes gotten away with some flimsy bra plus a couple of tight tank tops (for some low key times involving very few staircases). I don’t know if I understand exactly what is triggering the spasm, but thought it might be worth mentioning.

    • I’ve been annoyed with my bras for the last little bit (and I think I have the right fit because I have measured myself and been measured by a fancy-bra-place salesperson and studied abrathatfits, so…). I just bought this bra and am waiting for it to arrive. The reviews convinced me that maybe it will be supportive and comfortable??? And I guess if I can’t wear it as a regular bra, it will become a comfy at home bra? But I am crossing my fingers that it will work…
      ETA: Oops, here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/DKNY-Womens-Energy-Seamless-Bralette/dp/B01M4NBGD7/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

  • Anya

    Guys, I’m at week 3 of the new job and I’m barely surviving. I joined right after their “strategic planning process” which means that on day 3, my SVP was telling me that I’m responsible for putting together a budget for a public company. Yeah, it’s been crazy.

    The things that keep me sane (and I need to brag about): my husband. My husband took up all the household duties: he walks the dog both morning and evening (since I’ve been in the office by 7AM and back home by 9PM); he cleaned the litterboxes; he coordinated his parents visit as well as my best friend’s for my birthday; he packs me lunches and dinners; and he legit started solving a business problem with me while learning the necessary excel skills on the fly.

    And his response after I said “thank you” for doing everything? He is going: “I didn’t do anything that society doesn’t expect from women on a regular basis.” Guys… guys! it made me so happy that he realized it.

    Anyway, new job is awesome and I hope the craziness calms down. So let’s hope I get through this craziness soon. APW (site and community): You guys have been lifesavers this crazy year.

    • Yael

      Yay men stepping up! And yay you for hustling!

    • AWWW he realizes what our society expects from women. No sarcasm at all, that just makes me happy when there’s evidence that people are learning these things.

    • Jess

      AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. That’s so great.

      Way to step it up job wise, you totally got this.

  • wannabee

    I found out this week my best friend is pregnant. I’m really excited for her and her husband…and a little bummed for me. She was on the fence about having children and leaning toward not wanting them, and I was secretly hoping she and I would continue to have fun child-free travel and good times together for many years to come. I am obviously so happy for them, and I would never breathe a word of my disappointment to her. Just a little mixed emotioning happening…looks like my husband and I are going to be some of the only childless people in our social circles and it’s gonna be a little lonely for a few years.

    • Arie

      Oh, I feel you. Sometimes we look around our social circle and think, who is going to be parents? are we going to be the only ones who aren’t? It’s helped us a lot to make a few couple friends older than us, who can talk pretty openly about how/why they never had kids. It’s a weird time, even knowing that I’m not going to lose my friends and I have a role to play in their families.

    • suchbrightlights

      I feel you. Solidarity fist-bump.

    • MC

      I feel you. Of my two BFFs, one had a baby last fall and the other is having a baby any day now, and I am so happy for them but also sad that the phase of our friendships where we were all childless is over.

    • Not Sarah

      I feel you. One of my husband’s best friends who lives near us seems like him and his wife will also stay child-free, so I’m holding out hope for them while everyone else around us has kids.

  • Taking deep breaths for this holiday season as I started the process of financially cutting off my surviving (and also, as it turns out, manipulative, selfish, lying) parent. I’ve supported him half my life and it’s both an enormous emotional relief and a sad thing to work through. But mostly it’s good considering all the negative impacts that this responsibility has had on me. I’m all about removing toxicity from our lives and keeping only the good, so if I can accomplish most if not all of this disentanglement this year, it’ll be a real cap to 2017.

    • Yael

      All the hugs.

    • Anna

      That’s so hard but I’m so glad that you’re in a position where you’re able to start that process. I had one very close friend who turned out to be an extraordinarily toxic, manipulative, emotionally abusive person, and watching other mutual friends repeatedly try to cut him off and fall back into his orbit was extremely stressful and sad (he decided he wanted nothing to do with me after my own attempts to cut him off, so at least that made it somewhat easier on me to walk away :-P) – I can only imagine it would be that much more of an ordeal with a family member, and particularly so with a parent. I hope you have a good community of support in friends, partner(s), and hopefully other family members?

    • Jess

      I’m really proud of you for making that happen this year. Sending a big wave of strength your way as you get through all the emotions and steps to disentangle yourself.

    • emilyg25

      Rock on.

  • SarahRose472

    Late to the party this week…because I had my baby today! Meet Matilda. Labor was no walk in the park but we are so happy to have her with us in the world. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/79ab539d7b47a9fc614cfac5b9cc2c7800661497943c8fec1bd028d1dccb7452.jpg

    • CMT

      Happy birthday, Matilda!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!!

      Also I love her name! Matilda is the only name my husband and I have agreed on.

      • savannnah

        My husband and I had good luck using the babyname tinder app if you are struggling with names!

        • penguin

          I’d never heard of that! If it’s what I’m thinking of, it sounds like a really great idea.

    • Jessica

      Welcome to the world, darling Matilda!

    • Ashlah

      Today! Wow! Congratulations to you and your partner and Matilda! Beautiful name, beautiful baby.

    • Congratulations Sarah Rose, and welcome to the world, Matilda!

    • Zoya

      Congrats, and thanks for sharing her sweet face with us!

    • Jess

      Congratulations to you, and hello darling Matilda!

    • Congratulations and welcome Matilda! What a great name!

    • Congratulations!

    • AGCourtney

      Congratulations!

    • emilyg25

      Congrats!!

    • MC

      CONGRATS and I looooove the name!!!

    • Congratulations! Welcome, Matilda! (love love love the name)

  • Engaged Chicago

    Holy moly, when APW comes back I’ll be 10 days out! We have a little over half our guest list’s RSVPs back and its 170 yesses and 20 nos. It’s such a funny ratio, it makes me LOL. We knew it’d be big – any guesses or bets for total guest list? Feeling loved and stressed. Happy holidays!

  • My post may have been eaten so here goes again: Trying to power through this holiday season with deep breaths because I’ve started financially cutting off my surviving parent (who, as it turns out, is also manipulative, a user, and a liar). It’s going to be good for us in so many ways even if this is a difficult and painful process. If I can wrap most of this up in 2017, I’ll be so grateful even if it does feel like I’m losing the rest of my family all over again.

    • Anna

      Your previous post was not eaten, I see it! Going to put my real comment there rather than here to consolidate :-)

      • Thank you for letting me know! I have no idea where it is, my browser won’t show it to me! :)

        • Anna

          Try reloading or going through the Disqus site? Disqus does strange things sometimes, especially when there’s lots of comments in quick succession.

    • suchbrightlights

      That is a big step- I hope you’re proud of yourself for getting to the point in your own self where you feel strong enough to do this. It’s difficult to sever this kind of tie under any circumstances, but I imagine especially in yours. Wishing you the best!

    • MC

      Sending you lots of love <3 <3 <3

  • suchbrightlights

    A piece of etiquette advice, please.

    A cousin’s wedding is coming up next year and I’ve been told to expect an invitation soon. This cousin behaved so badly at and around my wedding that I am no longer interested in ever being in the same room as she is, but I do want to maintain civility for the sake of future family events- the rest of her side is great. Her mother, my aunt, would almost certainly hear an immediate “no” RSVP as “HELL no!” particularly as my aunt made a significant effort to attend our wedding, and I don’t want to insult anyone. All of that said, I also know from my uncle that capping the guest list was difficult and that some dear friends and other family members were not able to be invited. I genuinely want my cousin to have the people at her wedding who are important to her, and I want to respond from that place. Is it passive-aggressive if I RSVP’d “no” fairly immediately, with a note that said “We know that space is tight and you may have had to make some tough decisions around your guest list. Since we already know that it won’t be possible for us to join you [which is also true] we wanted to let you know promptly in hopes that someone else can celebrate with you in person while we celebrate with you from afar”? I don’t know if that mitigates the “hell no!” or just gets icky.

    (My sister agrees that an immediate RSVP “no” would come off as “hell no” without an added note, and feels that my cousin would appreciate the practicality; she thinks that this is not passive-aggressive but only because my cousin lacks the self-awareness to notice that it could be. That was not necessarily reassuring.)

    • Cellistec

      I think the added note comes off as gratuitously explanatory, but you know your family dynamics better than I do. So if a plain “no” would cause drama, I think you may as well go with the note. Do you plan to send a gift? If so, will that help alleviate some of the offense of the “no” RSVP?

      • suchbrightlights

        Not at this time, which (again, family dynamics) makes me want to tread softly.

        Thanks to the commentariat in general- if it feels “gratuitously explanatory” to three people, it probably is. I’ll send the RSVP later, and let her do the work of figuring out if it’s too late to invite a B list without those people feeling they’ve been B-listed. I felt like I owed my aunt and uncle better than that- my aunt as it’s most likely her extended family that’s been B-listed and my uncle because I don’t think that any of his nieces or nephews are going to be attending, for similar reasons as I am not- but they are not the ones getting married.

    • Eenie

      Eh… I think this is where a phone call comes in? Call your cousin. Putting it in a note just seems not as great as having a conversation. Then you can suss it out a bit too from her reaction to “I’m so sorry we can’t make it.” And follow up with – “we wanted to let you know right away since there may be others you could invite instead to celebrate in person. We know how stressful wedding planning can be!”

    • Jess

      Could you just reply with a no and a “Sorry we won’t be celebrating with you” or some other boiler plate but just like…. wait two weeks to send it? Two weeks is reasonable (not a “Hell No”) and with the holidays, it’s not going to delay them adding a second tier if there’s space?

      • Anne

        Agreed. Based on the sound of your family dynamics, I wouldn’t RSVP “no” the day you get the invitation – give it a week or two and then reply with fairly generic regrets. I don’t think you need an elaborate explanatory note – there are lots of reasons why people might know they are unable to attend a wedding far in advance. I think that would satisfy most of what you’re trying to do.

      • suchbrightlights

        I was originally thinking that in the time period that they have (invites would be going out late next month for a spring shindig) there might not be time for a second string that doesn’t feel like a second string, but that also might be because most of our people had job or school or travel “stuff” that meant we sent our invitations out earlier than the norm. Whereas the two months this would leave in between hearing “no” from us and inviting someone else might be very doable for her people.

    • Amy March

      I think you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill to appease weirdly dramatic people who will be upset either way. RSVP when you get the invite. That’s not an insulting thing to do. If you want, include a simple “we are so sorry we aren’t able to join you, wishing you all the best.” If Your Aunt wants to be mad about that the only option to appease her is to actually go, and you aren’t.

  • CMT

    Shoot, I totally forgot I had a good happy hour question and now I’m pretty late. What are your favorite alcoholic punch and/or mulled wine recipes? And easy party foods, although I’m probably just going to go buy frozen things from Costco.

    • Eenie

      Meat and cheese plate! Add honey and fancy mustard to really class it up.

      I like prossecco with a rosemary simple syrup.

      • CMT

        Meat and cheese plate definitely feels doable!

        • Eenie

          Adult lunchables. I’m going to go eat some of that for dinner right now.

          • suchbrightlights

            That was lunch for me.

      • Zoya

        Oooh, bookmarking that cocktail idea for later!

    • rebecca

      It’s kind of complicated but if you want a “wow” punch that will make frozen things from Costco look super fancy, this Planter’s Punch is p.great and looks super festive w/some fresh cranberries for garnish https://www.liquor.com/recipes/dales-rainbow-planters-punch/

      • CMT

        Ooooh that looks so good!

    • suchbrightlights

      Baked brie is less “cooking” than “assembly” and, if you run in the same crowds I do, will be the first thing eaten all up. Take a sheet of puff pastry. Put a wheel of brie on it. Slice some apples into thin slices and put them on top of the brie- or raspberry preserves, or a handful of sliced almonds, or nothing at all because it’s cheese and it will be fine. Fold the pastry over top of the brie and brush egg white over the whole affair to seal it. Bake until the pastry is light brown. Try not to eat the whole thing on the way over.

      • suchbrightlights

        Frozen things from Costco also = a completely legitimate option. It is a foodstuff and you brought it, therefore no one can criticize you.

      • MC

        10000% agree on baked brie – it’s so easy to make and SUCH a crowd-pleaser!

    • Mary Jo TC

      bourbon slush: bottle of cheap bourbon, can frozen orange juice, can frozen lemonade, 6 cups of water with 6 teabags brewed in it, all mixed up and frozen together. it takes a while to freeze, allow 12 hours or more. scoop it out and pour Sprite over it to serve.

    • Zoya

      Pigs in a blanket! I use Pillsbury crescents and those mini chicken-apple sausages. Cut crescents in half the long way, so you have two skinny triangles; wrap each triangle around a sausage and bake according to the package directions. People go bananas for them.

      Also, mulled wine is super-easy! My husband’s go-to ratio is 2 bottles of red wine, 1/2 cup brown sugar, a whole (small) jar of cinnamon sticks, and the juice of whatever citrus fruit you have around (usually one orange and one lemon, or one grapefruit). Cover and simmer for like 15 minutes, or put it in a slow cooker to keep warm. You can add strips of citrus peel and/or other mulling spices if you like, and a glug of port and/or brandy if you really want to get the party going. :)

    • This is probably a little late, but the frozen mini quiches are my favorite party food/frozen thing from Costco category.

  • m0nks

    due to a whole barrage of reasons (finances & mental wellness being the top two), we have decided to postpone our wedding for a year so we can better get a handle on life. this last year was really hard for the FH and this is the best course of action right now. i was admittedly upset about it but have come to terms that this isn’t the end of my world. refocusing my energies in other creative outlets and maybe furthering my career. i have confidence we are doing the right thing for us.

    i do have one small concern – and that is my wedding dress. my mom very kindly put down the deposit for it in august, ordering to arrive in february. with us now postponing for a while, i have a lot of concerns if i should just turn around and try to sell the dress to get back the deposit for my mom. part of me thinks that is really silly and i will be mad at myself later when i go to try to find a new one later. . . I guess i am worried that Dress Regret is going to hit at some point between now and 2019. Again, it feels kinda silly but – ack.

    thanks y’all for being steady voices of reason. <3

    • suchbrightlights

      I think you can wait on that dress decision. You’ll probably be able to sell it about as easily when it comes in as you would if you decided a year from now that it wasn’t your deal.

      Kudos on making a tough decision for what sounds like really good reasons.

    • AGCourtney

      I’d hang on to the dress. Like suchbrightlights said, you’ll likely be able to sell it just as easily later if you change your mind closer to the wedding date.

      Also, internet stranger giving you permission to feel the feelings. You can know something is the right decision but still have negative feelings while you process everything.

  • 35 days to go until the wedding! Had my hen night last weekend. It wasn’t what I asked for but it was what I wanted :) We did a twenties themed murder mystery at one of my bm’s houses, with lots of gin. Some of the nixed ideas might make it into some just hanging out sessions in future. Gin festival, anyone? My poor sister spent twelve hours on the train to get home after, because the South West of England is very confused by white stuff falling out of the sky.

    Wedding anxiety dreams are ramping up. Last night’s was that I forgot to tell the hairdresser and male up artist where we were getting ready, so I had only 45 minutes before the ceremony to sort myself out and I still had to pay both of them because it wasn’t their fault I screwed up. I am consistently gaining weight at the moment (which, okay, biscuits and mince pies, not a hard correlation to make) and I’ve suddenly got eczema on my face for the first time in a decade. My hair turned turquoise very quickly from the blue, so I’m redyeing it with a bit of purple today to see if I can balance it out before we see the in laws tomorrow and I have to hear my MIL repeatedly criticise my hair choices (because I’d rather do it with hair that actually represents my choice, than an otherwise nice mermaid blue-green that will clash with the other shades of blue at the wedding). And we need to sort readings and music out so we can submit it to the registrar to ensure it meets the secular criteria by the end of next week and thinking about the ceremony is hard (which is why I’m thinking about hair and makeup so much instead).

    Also I’ve decided this is a good time to come off the pill. I figure it might help with the skin and weight and anxiety, and we’re going to want to start ttc soon so no harm if it happens before the wedding at this point, but there’s basically a 0.01% chance of that happening because i have PCOS, so it’s more about not wasting time staying on the pill when I don’t have to so I can go to the doctor in a year’s time and meet their requirements for asking for help. Also, I figure five weeks is enough time for me to judge if coming off the pill makes me completely crazy, so I can go back on it for the wedding and honeymoon if I need to.

    • Amy March

      And now you’ve made me crave mince pies, which I shall have to bake myself since America is useless.

      • This is my first year making mincemeat from J’s great great grandmother’s recipe,complete with beef suet. You’re meant to leave it for six weeks to mature, but I’ve managed to wait two this year :)

    • suchbrightlights

      Your hen night sounds like a ton of fun!

      You have a lot going on and a lot of changes in the next month and a bit- best of luck and take time for yourself!

      It took me a hot two weeks off the pill to go totally bonkers. Your mileage may vary.

    • Zoya

      Murder. Mystery. Bachelorette. Party. Great idea, or greatest idea?

      Also, as a fellow PCOS-er, good luck with the pill experiment! Do you have a doctor you trust enough to give them a heads-up? They might be able to give you a sense of what to expect.

      • I’ve been on the pill (well, variou pills!) since I was 16, over 15 years now, so I’m not sure if doctor would be able to give me any more prediction than the internet in general. When I’ve asked previously about coming off the pill or changing bc method, they’ve all basically indicated it’d be a bit of a crapshoot, because I don’t really have a baseline to compare it with. Things have changed since puberty!

      • Jane

        I had an absolutely amazing bachelorette thrown by my sister and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But. Also. I would have loved to have a murder mystery bach. I have thrown two murder mystery parties and had so much fun but couldn’t really play because I had organized it and knew who dunnit.

  • Jess

    Hey APW – sending out the best of vibes for those going through family stuff this week and next week. I’ll be periodically checking in here, so if you need someone to tell you it’s ok to be upset about what’s happening, or someone to help you feel less alone at talking to your family about difficult politics, or to high five you for *not* punching someone in the face, feel free to reply to this comment.

    I got you.

    • Alli

      Me!!!

      So my dad is dumping the family dog on me after the new year because he’s moving in with his girlfriend and they just adopted another (equal in age and size) dog together and they can’t have two. Or something. Never mind that my husband is allergic to dogs! She’s super old, so we figured we’ll just deal with it and give her a comfortable home for her final years, but WOW I am mad at my dad, and I have to go to Christmas Eve at his mom’s house and give him his gifts and pretend I’m not mad for the sake of the holidays?? This will be rough.

      • Jess

        Ugh! Dogs are not like an old couch to be dumped on your children because it is no longer needed! It’s a relationship of sorts you’re abandoning, and A Lot of work and responsibility for the new caretaker, especially with an aging dog. And allergies are involved to boot.

        Way uncool, Alli’s dad. Way. Uncool.

        Good luck smiling and making nice. I would have a hard time not ignoring him.

      • suchbrightlights

        Your father deserves a box full of dog business for his gift. Thank you for stepping up and taking good care of the dog, who didn’t have a choice about this.

        • Alli

          Yeah that’s the thing that kills me, she’s just an innocent little dog, she doesn’t know what’s going on :(

      • Hi Alli, maybe reach out to a rescue for the dogs breed. You can give it a good home, but I’m worried about those allergies! Your dad seems in a rush, so maybe this might give him some perspective. (also what an ass thing to do!! ADOPTED a different dog knowing they can’t have two. ugh.)

    • NotMotherTheresa

      So, I’m suuuuper late to the happy hour, but I just feel like shouting into the abyss, so here it goes:

      I. AM. TIRED.

      Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. I just feel perpetually drained.

      Objectively, life is going better than it has in a long time: I have a decent job, and actual savings, and my marriage isn’t as rocky as it sometimes is, and my parents haven’t done anything too absurd lately, and I’m starting to make some awesome new adult friends, so really, there’s a lot to be happy about!

      But dang it, I need a break.

      I need a day off. I need for my husband to do something thoughtful. I need for someone to tell me that they appreciate me. I need time to write dorky fanfiction, and make bad art, and read a book, and sleep. I need to treat myself to a lunch that costs more than a dollar, and I need for my husband to actually listen when I say we should look into a new house with a shorter commute, and I need a window in my office so that I can actually see daylight again.

      My problems are all total first world problems, but that does’t change the fact that they wear on a person.

      • Jess

        I hear you!

        Winter is tough – it’s hard to get enough sunshine, to spend time outside, to feel refreshed.

        Making new friends and managing family is exhausting. It’s good and valuable, and it’s looking out for yourself in the long run, but it takes energy.

        It’s hard to feel appreciated and cared for when you aren’t being heard, or aren’t taken seriously, or even just have to ask to get affection.

        And it’s hard when you don’t have time to give yourself that same affection by making time for your hobbies and your physical needs.

        Sending you warmth and space and kindness through the internet. Hopefully this weekend you can pick up a good book, be brought some tea or coffee in bed by your husband, and relax.

      • Ashlah

        Here to say I hear you and I feel you. And I appreciate you! I hope you get the break you need and the attention and appreciation you deserve soon.

        Also, windowless office solidarity. I feel bad complaining because, I mean, I have my own office. But damn, being in a cave all day is depressing. It’s improved by decorating it more to my style and taking outdoor walks on my lunch break, and I’ve also considered getting a SAD light, but I’m holding out hope that someday we’ll change locations and I’ll be able to see outside again.

    • CW

      3 days until the wedding, and I’m so tired. I’m also moving, and working through today, and all the family is coming. I’m not sure which is the most exhausting part- the final wedding details, moving, or dealing with all the people. No drama, but it’s just a lot to have company (family) staying with me since the 23rd until I go to a hotel on Saturday (and even then, I think we’re all on the same floor in the hotel). Definitely need to find a way to get in some introvert time before I accidentally yell at people.

      • Jess

        That is *a lot* of people-time. I definitely understand the need to find some unoccupied air to breathe.

        My personal threshold is 2 consecutive days of concentrated people-time. After that, I need to get outside for a “run” (at a very slow walking pace), or retreat to my bedroom with some quiet music and a closed door, or… well, you get the idea.

        I hope you can get that kind of time in soon! Maybe it’s a good time to run out and pick up more packing boxes (that are located right next to a coffee shop) or go to the library to get some honeymoon books.

        I hope your family will be understanding about needing a little time to yourself. Moving and getting married are big life changes!

        Congratulations on being 3 days away!! (New Year’s Eve Wedding!? LOVE IT!!) At some point the moving and the details will come together, and whatever doesn’t get done now doesn’t have to be done or can be done later, and you can let go of it and let the Wedding Magic settle in.

        • CW

          Thank you guys! I was able to get some quiet moments, and by noon on Saturday to just relax and enjoy. I went out for a solo run on New Year’s Eve, which was totally worth it, even though the weather was freezing. And the wedding was wonderful- a few minor blips (like the sound went out during our ceremony, but that meant that pastor started everyone to sing our recessional for us)- but just so much happiness! I’ll post a picture and a little more at HH this week before heading out on honeymoon! Thanks for the Wedding Zen Magic calming vibes!

          • Jess

            Hooray and CONGRATULATIONS!!!! :D

      • Jess

        Sending out all the Wedding Magic Vibes as you head into the final stretch! Enjoy the next few days!

      • suchbrightlights

        Happy wedding day- you made it!

  • Ooh, APW, I really like your new logo!

    • suchbrightlights

      Look at this fancy styling! :D

    • Yes! was not expecting a new and fancy website today!

    • The site loads so quickly, but is still so APW. YAYYYY RELAUNCH
      The logo is :) :)

  • Is this a veiled explanation of why “The Compact” (launch summer 2017?) is MIA and what happened to Stephanie? I’m not trying to be snarky, just genuinely confused. I don’t follow the Instagram so maybe there are details I’ve missed. Anyone have insight?

    • Jess

      I think it’s definitely about why the compact wasn’t able to get launched, as well as why the team had a lot of Throwback posts. Meg made a comment on a few articles about Stephanie no longer working on the team, and while there weren’t any details, it didn’t seem like there was a big fall out to me. (Or at least not one that she was going to air on the internet, which I can respect. It’s tough managing people.)

  • Jenny

    Love the new site!!!!!

    • Eenie

      Was just coming on here to say this! It looks sooooo nice.

  • CMT

    Oooh, APW redesign! Pretty!

  • Anony mouse

    I thought I would post here in case anyone still uses this comment area— how do you approach a 6-year relationship (married for 2 of those years) if your partner struggles with insomnia, depression, and anxiety and refuses to get help? It’s causing me to question whether we can have kids and whether we are living our best lives in general. He’s gone to therapy which hasn’t really done anything, refuses medication, and agrees with my alternative ideas but won’t do them. How long can you wait for someone to get healthy before you realize they can’t?

    • Jess

      I’m so sorry that you are in this place right now. The answer for “When is enough enough” is going to be different for everyone, and only you can know what that is for you.

      When a partner will not help themself, when they will not let you help, when they are in a place where they aren’t making progress in therapy or are resistant to strategies offered there, it is difficult to see yourself as a partner instead of as a caregiver.

      It’s ok to wonder about children – now is clearly not the time. And I personally would want to at least wait until he is more stable.

      It’s ok to ask yourself hard questions like “If we are here in two years, with no change in between, would I be ok with that?” It’s ok for the answer to be yes. It’s ok for the answer to be no and to have an honest conversation about what progress you need to see with him and when.

      Take some time for yourself, active time, friends time, joyful time. Remind yourself what life is outside your relationship and your husband’s illness. This isn’t your fault, and I hope you have some outlets for your own emotions.

      There are some resources, thru orgs like NAMI, or just independent counseling of your own to think through this with someone else.

    • Violet

      Ooof, echoing Jess that this is a tough situation to be in. Marriage is a bizarre thing where we make a permanent commitment to a person who will naturally change. It’s standard to hear the advice not to marry someone on the hope that they’ll change. Which, it’s true—don’t marry someone expecting or hoping negative qualities of theirs will disappear. Yet the advice is not complete, because all people will change.
      Assuming your husband had anxiety, depression, and insomnia before you married, what other aspects about him/your relationship made you feel like you could marry him? For example, did he show a will to improve his life? Did he listen when you voiced your concerns and then act accordingly? Did he have a strong sense of faith that got him through hard times onto the other side? It could be any number of things that made you feel good about tying your life so closely to his. So now, if I were you, I’d reflect on the current state of those specific qualities. Are they still there, or have they changed? If they’ve changed, that’s not a good long-term sign. If they are still there, then it might make some sense to wait it out (that is, if you want to).
      The reason I’m focusing on these qualities is because the conditions of anxiety, depression, and insomnia themselves are unlikely to go away any time soon, if at all. Which presumably you knew when you married him. So I don’t think those in and of themselves are going to give you an answer.
      Or, you can take the easier way and ask yourself: when you posted your comment, were you hoping to get replies saying it’s time to cut your losses, or replies saying to ride it out? That’s probably your answer.

    • LuckyLoveBug

      I am so sorry you are at (are approaching? can see?) this crossroad. I went through an excruciating time with my husband during my pregnancy and a year postpartum. Over the course of the two hardest (at the point) years of my life, and certainly the two most difficult on our relationship, I had 3 epiphanies.

      The first, that I deserved to be loved. No matter what my husband was going through mentally, physically, or emotionally, at the end of the day I deserved to feel loved. And when I realized that I hadn’t felt loved in quite some time, I knew it was time for a conversation.

      The second, that there are limits to what I can endure, and that it is OK to recognize and embrace those limits (though it is incredibly helpful to communicate said limits to your partner).

      The third, that I knew I was desolately unhappy with my husband, and that I didn’t know if I would still be desolately unhappy without him, but at least without him, I could give myself the chance of happiness.

      I don’t know if it helps you at all, beyond a solidarity fistbump – “how long can you wait for someone to get healthy before you realize they can’t” just resonated with me so poignantly because I have so been there, and I guess I mostly just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone.

  • suchbrightlights

    Happy new year everybody! We made it- now heels down and kick on for this year.

  • CMT

    I thought there were two new posts yesterday and then they disappeared? Are they coming back?

    • Lexipedia

      Really? I haven’t seen anything yet and I’ve been checking! I was hoping there would be HH today.

      • CMT

        Maybe I hallucinated them?? And this post says they were returning on the 4th. *Thinking face emoji*

        • Lexipedia

          Seems not. But yes, supposedly returning on the 4th – fingers crossed!

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          They were there! You didn’t hallucinate! I’m assuming there was an accidental glitch.

      • Emily

        I was hoping for HH today too! Are anyone else’s comments threading in a bizarre order?

    • Violet

      I know, I read the AAPW about the money being stolen, but when I refreshed the page after about 7 comments, it had disappeared!

    • LBWazi

      I read the new post yesterday about money disappearing from a reception – it looks like they’re still working out a few glitches with the new website! Sad face, because I know they’ve been working so hard on it – I’m sure this is creating a big headache for them.

      • Jess

        Oh no! I was looking for some posts yesterday but didn’t see any. :( I hope they can get to a resolution soon – so they can stop worrying about it!

    • suchbrightlights

      I was also under the impression that content was returning yesterday, so I hope everything and everyone is OK.