APW Happy Hour


Wait, it's December?

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

megaphone

Hey APW,

Can we talk for a second about November? Because it felt like this to me. We lost my spitfire of a grandmother in late October, and between traveling home for her funeral, going to Lisbon with APW, then heading home again for Thanksgiving, I think I’ve seen my house a total of ten days since then. And it has made this pregnant lady all kinds of tired (physically, emotionally, etc.). So I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really nice to come home and settle into the routine of work this week. And because APW never fails to deliver, work this week meant putting together APW’s first ever holiday themed shoot in partnership with ModCloth. Normally my job involves a lot of sitting behind a computer and sending out emails, contracts, and invoices, so getting to spend two days inside the Oh Happy Day studio (who graciously hosted us) while playing dress up and watching Meg skate around on one foot while shouting into a megaphone was like getting a golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It was still exhausting (don’t let the GIFs fool you), but the kind of exhausting that involves playing with this giant candy cane and then getting donuts at the end of the day.

So here’s to December. May you be boring. But, like, with a side of roller skates.

And with that, it’s your happy hour. So get to it.

xo,

Maddie

LINK ROUND-UP

How the active many can overcome the ruthless few.

The revolution will not be staffed: how big organizing can take down Trump.

Sometimes Bernie Sanders is pretty funny.

Ten things you probably don’t know about Rosa Parks.

Attention blue states: we aren’t off the hook when it comes to racism.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • a single sarah

    My sister sent me to the #FuckThisShit Advent calendar yesterday and I
    am loving it. Given the posts earlier this week, wanted to share for
    other people who are frustrated with the way Christianity is being
    discussed in the current political climate.

    Favorite line from <a href="https://medium.com/fuckthisshit/fuckthisshit-day-five-129ec7179555#.yd2i1aqda"last night's devotion: Stop being so ballsy and grow a pussy.

    • Rebekah

      Oh, I didn’t know I needed this advent calendar. Bless you and your sister.

      • a single sarah

        I didn’t know I needed it either. But then I started reading on my laptop last night and bust out laughing. Ended up reading the whole post to my nonreligious roommate. She didn’t know she liked feminist Christian banter. Now she does. (My boyfriend, on the other hand,
        is religious and maybe needs the cleaned version from #rendtheheavens.)

        • anachronismsarah

          There’s a cleaned up version? How did I miss this?

    • AP

      This is so awesome, thanks for sharing!

    • AGCourtney

      I love this! Thank you.

    • Cellistec

      What a perfect idea. Gonna have to click the link later when I’m not at work! ;)

    • anachronismsarah

      I’m reading that one… It’s been really hitting the spot this year. Bonhoeffer just wasn’t quite cutting it.

  • Angela’s Back

    This is such a small thing but it gave me a little bit of post-election sunshine–I work for my state’s archives and today was the every-five-years election to the state hall of fame. The board voted in our first (and so far only) lady lieutenant governor as one of the five new inductees. She was a career civil servant and an all-around stand-up woman and it just made me so happy! I mean, it ain’t President Clinton, but it’s something…

  • Brooke

    Tomorrow we are doing our tasting to finalize our reception menu, but yesterday we got our engagement photos back! We played around with some long exposure and off camera flash (this was at like 5:30….boo winter) and I am so stoked about how this photo turned out. It is being printed huge and hung up in our home. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd9fb6e698e6e149fffded2ee0a6adae48e6dad5e62555aa934b9c37524d4a8a.jpg

    • idkmybffjill

      Umm as it should be. The sky looks like a painting!

    • Ashlah

      Gorgeous!

    • Lisa

      What a gorgeous photo! That is some serious art right there.

    • MC

      This is AMAZING!

    • Akes

      beautiful & unreal!

    • Brynna

      This is incredible!

    • Sara

      I LOVE this. I’m glad you already said you’re blowing it up and hanging it, it NEEDS to be hung.

      • Brooke

        Our photographers honestly made it so hard to make decisions…everything was so great. We are definitely not photograph people, so I’m really excited to have some great quality photos for the first time, well, ever!

    • Gaby

      *I* might blow this up and hang it in my home. Jk, but seriously it’s gorgeous.

    • Brooke

      Thank you everyone! I was blown away, couldn’t contain myself. Here is what we considered the “second” photo in that series. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4e482ee0bac5852b506247315138cbb077c993092d4ad2b2ae3d9a73e30d1b2e.jpg

      • Ashlah

        Ah, that’s great too! Looks like a page out of a (beautifully artful) children’s adventure book!

        • Tashawevers

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj376d:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive if you don’t check it
          !mj376d:
          ➽➽
          ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash376DigitalFindGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj376d:….,….

      • Jessica

        This gives me goosebumps!

      • Leah

        ooh! this one! this one!

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Love. To. Bits.

    • Oh my goodness, that’s incredible!! Much jaw drop <3

  • Jane

    My FH’s co-worker/friend volunteered to be our day of coordinator. Yay – so generous. Now my FH and I are deciding whether we should take her up on it. I’ve only met her once (my FH lives out-of-state) but she was really friendly and warm and I have no doubt she’d do a great job. My FH says she’s one of most organized people he’s ever known (and he works in a field full of Type A people). She got married not that long ago and I think had the kind of spreadsheets and schedules all of us APWers promise ourselves we will create. Overall, I’m leaning toward yes, let’s jump at the chance to have this kind of help. But I thought you guys might know things my FH and I should consider before embracing this generous offer.

    Here are the pros and cons as I currently see them:
    Pros: she would likely do a good job; she’s not in the wedding and isn’t family, so she won’t have any other wedding-related responsibilities that day; she doesn’t have kids or anyone that she’s responsible for at the wedding (we had thought about asking some of my significantly older siblings who don’t have as big roles in the wedding, but they’ve all got multiple kids who need to be looked after); she’s probably more organized than most of my family members; I’ll be moving to where she and my FH currently live, so it would be a fun way to get to know her beforehand; because she’s my FH’s friend rather than mine, it will definitely help keep him involved in all the minutiae (which can be a little difficult with geographic distance).

    Cons: Speaking of distance, since she lives in another state, she and I wouldn’t have a chance to do any planning in person together before the day; seems a little weird to have someone we kind of know (rather than a complete stranger or an intimate friend) be so involved day-of – what if I’m a complete wreck the day of my wedding and now this person I’m trying to be friends with thinks I’m X; slightly concerned that she may have really strong ideas about THE BEST or RIGHT way to do things that don’t match mine or FH’s (but maybe day-of that’s a plus? Because she’d be decisive and not need one of us to fix it?).

    I’d probably skype or at least chat with her before we go with this, so there will be a chance to ask her what all she means when she says day-of-coordinator and all that.

    Any advice?

    • Danielle

      I think the biggest requirement of a day-of-coordinator is that they’re organized, on top of things, can get sh*t done, and don’t worry about hurting feelings. I mean, they’re just trying to move the day along, so even if you wanna have one more kiss with your grandma, it’s time to line up for the procession.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about a DOC judging you because… well, it really doesn’t matter. Most anyone who’s been to a wedding knows the bride can get stressed out. And honestly, you’re not trying to be her friend. She’s getting a really practical job done, almost like an engineer or an airline pilot. I almost think it’s *better* if a DOC is not a close friend because her job is not necessarily to get all wrapped up in your feelings, but to make sure the day is progressing smoothly and close-ish to the schedule.

      If you’re worried that she may have different ideas than you: well, that’s probably best figured out over the phone or in a few simple email communications: Hey, this is the wedding we want to have, these are our goals. If she has different ideas, does she communicate them respectfully? Is she still listening to what you want?

      I also wouldn’t worry too much about not being able to plan in person. My DOC (my cousin, a wonderfully organized person) sat down with my and my husband once or twice before the wedding to discuss our issues and timeline. We didn’t visit the venue together or anything (although she did know the place.) I think Skype could be a good fill-in for that.

      Good luck! I think having a DOC is a really great idea – it helped us a lot!

      • Jane

        Thanks – that last paragraph especially was reassuring.

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      Having a day of coordinator was the BEST decision we made BY FAR. So no matter what, definitely get one. We made the decision about 3 weeks before the wedding, so for a day of coordinator role, they don’t necessarily need to be part of all of the planning. She would be coordinating, not planning (from the sound of it), which means you still have full control of your vision.

      We gave our coordinator the timeline, contact info for all of the other vendors, layout of the venue and where everything was supposed to take place, and the time of the rehearsal. They were there to facilitate what we wanted, and to make suggestions when asked. My advice would be to firm up what she’s volunteering to do compared to what you actually need and then to set expectations (i.e. we want coordination, but we have full reign of plans or we want your advice every step of the way).

      People like to feel like they’re a part of your big day. Unless there’s a reason you guys decide she’s not a good fit, I think you should probably take her up on her offer!

      • Jane

        Yes to the people like to feel like a part of things. A lot of my family and friends want to make creative contributions because that’s what they’re good at. This is what his friend is good at. So it’s her way to be involved.

    • Lisa

      To me the thing I would be most concerned about is, if you decide to accept her offer, making sure that you have very clear expectations/contracts of what she will be doing for you. My hesitation in accepting the offer would be how it would affect your fiancé’s working relationship with the co-worker if something bad happens or if something doesn’t turn out the way you want. She sounds like just the type of semi-close friendor who would work for a job like this, but I would make sure your visions align before accepting. It’s easy to be upset with people you paid and tell them what you disliked about their services, but it’s more difficult to do with someone you’ll see after the wedding.

      • Jane

        Yeah – super clear communication will be key. I probably feel more nerves about it because I don’t know her- so this offer took me totally by surprise. I would likely be fine with using someone I know and my FH doesn’t. But he’s the one who is in charge of his relationships with his co-workers, so, if he thinks they will be fine, then he’s probably right.
        Also – I love the implied expectation that my FH is involved in all the levels of planning that goes with one of his friends offering to take on a role that big (instead of assuming the bride and bride’s people are in charge of everything). He’s in the military so it’s easy for me to imagine his co-workers having really gendered ideas about his role. I guess I should give them more credit. So it’s pretty much all good things.

      • Amy March

        I think it only makes sense to accept if you aren’t going to have specific complicated needs. Random coworker can prob handle things pretty well. If you’re going to want perfection it’s not a good move.

        • Jane

          Yeah – perfection is not the goal. A million things went wrong at my sister’s wedding and it was still the best wedding she or I have ever been to because we just loved all the people.

          Good enough and not super stressful is the goal.

  • AGCourtney

    We are neck-deep in home projects right now and things are pretty chaotic, but they’re all good things.

    Kitchen remodel is a go. We tore down over the weekend and then painted on Sunday – my in-laws definitely speeded that process along and I’m very grateful. My husband and I did a paint touch-up Monday night, the IKEA truck arrived on Tuesday, and then the contractor started installation on Wednesday. We hit various snags and figured them out, but the biggest one is that the box of laminate flooring we ordered from Wayfair was damaged – every single piece in there is unusable. So, the project’s on halt until the replacement arrives. So, we get to experience the joys of not really having a kitchen for a while longer than we planned. The ones that are up look great, though!

    Now that my dad’s out of the basement, it’s going to be a playroom, so I’m having all kinds of fun searching Pinterest and finding ideas. I touched up the paint in there (…after accidentally dumping some on the carpet, OOPS, thank goodness it was water-based and we got it out) and we’re starting to finalize decisions about what to do with the space. (For example! There’s a huge closet down there, and the previous owners left a large hanging mirror at the end. We’re putting a stage down there for our theatrical kiddo. Fortuitously, the pallet that the IKEA kitchen arrived on is just the right size for the space. Woo!)

    We also got the playhouse/bunk bed combo I mentioned a couple of weeks ago – that was such a great Craiglist find. Our daughter is so excited to have it in her room. She keeps finding things to be enthusiastic about – there’s a light in the playhouse! She can touch the ceiling! – and we got the biggest tackle-hugs and “thankyouthankyouthankyou!”s when it was up.

    I just put in an application for my third job – an overnight shift at the newspaper printing plant in town. Not exactly glamorous, but we need the money while the college I work at is on break.

    Oh, and an update on my teeth – I got my second set of permanent crowns in last Friday! They look great.

    Attaching a little before and after-we-started of the kitchen, haha.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/879c09543c292d360a8790c4ae13b59eb6c4d7ed4ac8e33fd50c352a49ee17db.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae89d9358776a31f3f8d1031110634b64674f3e96318e9b193f2fc15596c9b87.jpg

    • Olive

      The kitchen looks great!!!

    • Ashlah

      Lots of good stuff here!! The kitchen is looking great. Good luck with all the ongoing remodels and with the job application! And yay teeth!

    • Lisa

      What a beautiful kitchen! Glad to see the remodel is going well. And congratulations on the new teeth!

    • AGCourtney
      • Angela’s Back

        I would have died of happiness with this bed at her age, good for you!

      • S

        THIS IS THE DREAM BED. For a kid, I mean. Not a grown woman in her late 20s…definitely just for a kid. *cough*

        • AGCourtney

          right?!

    • Jess

      Hooray teeth! The cabinets you put in are beautiful.

    • CP2011

      We’re gray Bobdyn twins! We opted to not do any cabinets with the glass fronts, but that one in the corner you have was a great idea!

      • AGCourtney

        Haha, yes! I love this design. I figured one accent cabinet in the corner would look great – I can scrounge up enough pretty-looking dishes to fill one cabinet. :P

    • Jessica

      I “oohed” at the difference!

    • emma

      Looks so great!

      We’re headed to IKEA to Finalize and bring home our kitchen on Sunday! Too far for delivery unfortunately so hoping it all fits in our 2 cars! Now the race is on to reno 1 kitchen and 3 bathrooms before baby arrives in April (eek!). Glad to see a fellow renovator in the midst of it! I’ve been excessively reading IKEA tips and tricks and am ready to rip the bandaid and jump in!!

  • idkmybffjill

    We got all our photos back a few weeks ago and I love them so so so much and they make me so elated! Also, after doing a ton of design and handlettering for our wedding, my husband and I are thinking of teaming up to start an etsy shop!

    Here’s our invitations (lettering on invite & envelope by me, design by the Mr.) – I’m really proud of them and excited to maybe make more! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/359f19401006581cbd69c04e1895b89ba02bb3f61c436115ca34a1ce3b69d20c.jpg

    • Lisa

      I wondered what watercolor envelopes would look like. Those are gorgeous!

      • idkmybffjill

        Thank you!!

    • Jane

      Those look really good. Is that ink? A marker? Watercolor?
      Also, damn that would be a lot of work to do for every envelope.

      • idkmybffjill

        Thank you so much!!!!!
        It’s water color with an aquash pen! (If you’re not familiar it’s like, a brush pen that you fill with water and dip into a pallet or however you like your water color pigment delivered to your brush).

        It was definitely a labor of love – we also had a fairly small wedding so I only had to do like 60 envelopes!

        • Jane

          Hmm. I did these watercolor birds and flowers for our table numbers and then attempted to draw the numbers with my paintbrush. They were terrible. So then I redid the birds without the numbers and have been thinking of cute ways to do the numbers. Sounds like an aquash pen might be just the thing.

          • idkmybffjill

            They’re incredible and WILDLY cheap. If you’re a painter you’ll be like…. a master. I am decidedly NOT a painter, so definitely needed the feel of a pen to make these happen.

          • Jane

            Lol – not really a painter. Definitely one of those skills I decided to try during wedding planning. But they turned out pretty well. But watching a little demo of the aquash pen, I think I would have done better with them. Just ordered some of the aquash pens! Maybe I’ll redo some of the sloppier ones.

            I’m trying to get a lot of my craft supplies ready for Christmas when my sister will be in town and we can do a bunch together!

          • idkmybffjill

            Yessss that sounds so fun! The hardest thing about water color for me was not being able to sketch anything in pencil first. I am also very obsessed with embossing/embossing powders & pens…. look into this if you haven’t before because a metallic number might look rad AF with your water color.

          • Jane

            Wow – that was exactly the earlier plan. We’ve got some copper accents elsewhere in the decorations so we were considering copper embossed numbers – I’m just not sure I want to buy / learn how to use a whole different set of crafting tools. My future SIL does some embossing stuff on her Christmas cards, so I know she’d help, but still. The aquash pen seems more like using the things I already know how to use.

          • idkmybffjill

            Totally fair. If you change your mind – the Ranger embossing products are EASY. Basically… there are “Embossing Pens” which are just straight up markers with embossing ink, you sprinkle the powder on top the same way you would glitter, and use a heat tool to melt it. I honestly think you could use a hair dryer, but the guns are maybe 15 bucks.

            They also work with all stamp ink. We stamped our return addresses and used clear embossing powder to make them look extra fancy. There was truly no trial and error phase. It was so easy.

          • idkmybffjill

            Also – if you care to share photos of those watercolor birds & flowers I would love to see them!

          • Jane

            These were some of the early ones, I don’t have finals on my phone for some reason. But the finals are pretty similar, just a little neater. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45c19101ebb1de520fcb188458730ec15ba67c2308c7bb3ba916117fd20ab1d2.jpg

          • idkmybffjill

            Nooo whyyy discuss, they won’t load for me!! :(

          • Remove the ‘W’ before the ‘http:’ and you might have some luck ;)

          • idkmybffjill

            Oh I really really like them!!

          • Jane

            Thanks!

          • Natalie

            Those are gorgeous!

    • Akes

      So beautiful! Did you learn hand lettering just to make your invitations? I have started doing it as a hobby and would love to be able to use it to design our invitations! Also, did you do each individual envelope by hand?? That must have taken forever!

      • idkmybffjill

        Kind of! To be honest I’d always sort of done it, I just didn’t actually know it had a name until we got engaged and I lived on Pinterest for a while. But I always enjoyed decorating birthday cards/making signs/etc.

        I DEFINITELY learned a lot of new specialty skills during our engagement. For the invites, I straight up just wrote our names with a Crayola and my husband scanned it in and designed from there. If you have a background in photoshop – it was incredibly easy from my observation and decidedly inexpensive. The envelopes definitely took a while… but less time than I’d expected! I did em all in like… a week I think? (We only had to send like 60)

        • Akes

          so cool! I don’t use much photoshop but my fiance is pretty familiar with it. I love that you guys teamed up to make them… maybe we will do something similar :) And I echo your sentiment about having always sort of done hand lettering… I never knew there was a name for it until a few weeks ago and now I am obsessed. I love drawing with pens and doodling and writing things in pretty ways, so it’s pretty neat that it can be considered an actual craft/hobby :)

          • idkmybffjill

            Yes! I totally agree. There is a HUGE lettering community on instagram. I learned basically everything by hounding the hashtag for styles that reflected our aesthetic.

      • idkmybffjill

        Also – if you’re into hand lettering I made a million signs for us (if you’re looking for a lettering project with more of an impact/less individual items) – that was harder because it took me forever to figure out what kind of pen to use, but IMO, really worth it. A LOT of people commented on them (definitely more than the envelopes which I was prepared for people to just throw away but some people even framed!). It’s a fair amount of work but IMO really worth it! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2104e0d71d9f031166ddd6f9be8d5c7f491335891f9033a869cf65865737254e.jpg it.

        • Arie

          HA! I love “This is a wedding”

          • idkmybffjill

            :) I tried a bunch of other stuff but it just didn’t feel right. Wrote this as a joke and was like… yup. Done.

        • Akes

          Hahaha that is both beautiful and hilarious :)

    • AP

      DEFINITELY start an Etsy shop! These are gorgeous!

      • idkmybffjill

        Oh thank you so much!!!

    • Jess

      Wow! This is amazing art!

      • idkmybffjill

        Oh that’s so nice! I’ve never thought of it as ‘art’ before really, thank you for the kind compliment!

        • Jess

          It is! Lettering and watercolor blending are intricate and difficult artwork! (And they are useful as a bonus!)

    • Gaby

      I will totally order birthday or holiday cards if you start an etsy shop :)

      • idkmybffjill

        heart eyes emoji – Yay!! Weekend’s task.

    • flashphase

      these are AWESOME

      • idkmybffjill

        guhhhh thank you!

  • LadyMe

    I’m gonna delete this in a little bit, but our photographer sent us some pics from our mid-October wedding.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/130e18af990ab1f29a08c06fe85e956acf0a67514ef888c424e3988518bfce28.jpg

    • idkmybffjill

      aksdjflakjdflkajsdlkfjlskdjlskdfj your HAIR. Both of your BEAUTY.

      • LadyMe

        lol thanks :)

    • MC

      Beautiful! Loooooooove the colors!!!

    • Ashlah

      Stunning!!

    • Lisa

      Gorgeous photos! I love your dress and hair.

    • Rebekah

      Submittttttttt itttttttttt

    • Jess

      These are just so sweet and beautiful! Congratulations!

    • Gaby

      As a fellow mid-October bride I am super jealous that you have real fall colors where you’re at. So beautiful! I agree that you should consider submitting :)

  • Mary Jo TC

    This afternoon I’m going to a real live happy hour with a bunch of other teachers in my district. We’re celebrating a successful vote to enter into collaborative conferencing with the district–that means the union is going to negotiate a contract for us! We’ve been working without a contract for as long as I’ve been teaching, and I’m excited about what might happen when we can make demands concerning our working conditions and salaries. We finally have a friendly board of education and superintendent (who has been under fire in the local media for bringing in experts from out of town to be his top level leaders and paying them really high salaries, while teachers haven’t had a real raise in years and students learn in portable classrooms). The collaborative conferencing vote was the week after the election, and I channeled some of my desperation into increased efforts to deliver fliers, email, and call teachers. If we’d lost it would have been unbearably bleak. But we didn’t lose, and now we drink!
    Sharing an easy Christmas present idea from an APW sponsor: I just ordered ornament cards from Shutterfly, not as the Christmas cards I’m sending everyone (a bit pricy for that), but as small presents. I slapped a baby pic on it and ordered 5–one for each set of grandparents, one for each godparent, and one for me to keep. $3 each. They have a sale until tomorrow.
    Christmas preparations are under way. We have the advent wreath out, and started the countdown calendar yesterday. This weekend we’ll be getting the tree out. Does anyone else celebrate St. Nick’s day? I’ll be shopping this weekend to put stockings together. Ideas for 3 year old boy and his dad? I’m thinking candy, socks, books, booze for the dad, anything else that hits me at Target…

    • MC

      That is awesome!! I am also diving headfirst into local political actions in the face of total despair at the federal government – glad to hear you’ve got something to celebrate!

      • Jenny

        Us too. We are going to our local democratic party’s Christmas party where they are revealing plans for the new year. Definitely looking to get even more involved.

    • I love the idea of the ornament cards!
      (PS Shutterfly, Picaboo, etc. often have ‘$35 for $100’ or whatnot offers available, for even after the sale ends…)

  • Katelyn

    Engaged! The moissanite was such a good decision, I love it so much!

    Oh and we decided that wasn’t stressful enough, put in an offer on a condo, and it was accepted. Inspection is in 2 hours – please wish us luck. We beat out two other offers after it was on the market for just one day. Chicago real estate is insane!!!

    We’ve already agreed to lay low in 2017 and enjoy all these life changes. So no puppy… yet ;)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2e0112cccd22fdb6c5068fe7e5e0f8a64addf640263b23ae46019050f746c69a.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1686ee556e9a45fca488030bd7f04183213c54bbd2fedff767ba02905a2dcd5f.jpg

    • idkmybffjill

      Omg gorgeous!! We are shopping in Chicago right NOW, seeing condos on Saturday and are so excited! Congratulations!

      • Katelyn

        We tried to keep in mind that we don’t have to compromise on much, but you have to be VERY sure about what you want so you can act quickly. Best of luck! What neighborhood(s)?

        • idkmybffjill

          Great advice, thank you!
          We’re looking in Bucktown (where we live now) & Lincoln Square for now… perhaps willing to expand later! Where is y’all’s place?

          • Katelyn

            Wicker Park! Howdy, hopefully future neighbor :)

            Lincoln Square is a spectacular neighborhood as well. My very good friend is there and it’s got so much going for it – if you’re into music/dance, the Old Town School of Folk Music is right there and a wonderful place to meet new friends and learn new skills!

          • Lisa

            I love Lincoln Square! It’s such a fun area. I never got much out to the west side much being a north-side dweller with a husband who lived in Boystown for several years, but I know it’s very popular.

          • idkmybffjill

            Yes!! I lived in Ravenswood for about a year before we moved in together and would jaunt over to Lincoln Square all the time! We’ve been in the city for 5 years (me) & 9 Years (him) and lived almost all over the North Side. Really pumped to purchase!

    • Ashlah

      Congratulations!! Both the ring and the condo are beautiful :) Good luck with the inspection!

    • Brooke

      Beautiful ring and congrats on the engagement as well as the condo!

    • Lisa

      Congratulations on both fronts!! Chicago holds a piece of my heart, and your new place looks lovely. In which neighborhood are you? My good friends bought a beautiful detached house up in Portage Park a couple of years ago.

      • Katelyn

        Wicker Park – a block and a half from the Division Blue Line stop. The place has its quirks but we love it all the more for it!

    • Kaitlyn

      That place is BEAUTIFUL. Congrats on both the home and the engagement!

    • LadyMe

      Congrats!

    • AGCourtney

      Congratulations!

    • Sara

      No wonder you had to beat people away, that place is gorgeous! Man! I live in the burbs and the market out here is just as bad.

      • Katelyn

        We were pretty flexible on timing so could have waited until April-ish to find a place but this showed up and it just felt right – our relationship kind of went the same way so it seems to be a trend.

        I’m hearing that it’s going to be a seller’s market soon and I’m like… wait, it isn’t already?

        • Sara

          Oh man I hope so. I hate my condo, I definitely got exhausted by the whole search and settled. I’ve been in it two years and the people around me are selling now and a higher price. I’m trying to hold out for three years before I turn it, so I’m hoping it goes up and up!

    • Her Lindsayship

      Wohoo! We did the same thing – got engaged back in May, are about to close on our condo on Monday! Except also my fiancé started a new job a little over a month ago. (insert laugh-cry emoji) We’re excited about everything but we’re both kind of like “why are we so intense?”

      Anyway CONGRATULATIONS! The condo looks gorgeous and so does your awesome ring!

      • Katelyn

        Yeah right now I need a supersize laugh-cry emoji. I think we’re running on pure adrenaline right now and will crash soon. Hooray for exciting things though!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      Whoa. Both of those things are gorgeous. Congrats!!!!

  • Lisa

    Where are my foodies?? My husband and I love going out to eat and discovering new places. It’s always been one of the things we do together, but we’ve become more intentional about it with our budgeting. It’s been a bucket list item for us to go to a three star Michelin restaurant, and we’re thinking we might finally make that happen in either London or Paris next year. I’ve been researching restaurants and started watching Chef’s Table on Netflix hence the food on my brain and in my dreams.

    So, foodies, what’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten and where was it? Bonus points if you’ve got anything in Seattle, Paris, or London that we might check out during our travels over the next few months. :)

    • Marcela

      Check out Chartier in Monmartre! Very traditional restaurant that’s been around over 100 years. The food was delicious and the prices were very affordable. Also Le Cardinal on le avenue de versailles. (caveat, I was in Paris 10 years ago) and check out the ice cube bar at the top of the galleries lafayette. Gorgeous views of the Parisian skyline and yummy snacks and drinks.

      • Lisa

        Thank you! Curious minds need to know: what is an ice cube bar?

        • Marcela

          oh it’s what it’s called. It’s a rooftop bar with igloo looking structures made of glass.
          http://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/cube-bar-le-bar-de-la-terrasse/
          I couldn’t get the images to show up :(

          • Marcela
          • Lisa

            Love it! I was sitting here thinking it was some kind of new-agey thing where all of the food is frozen or something. What a spectacular view from the bar!

          • Marcela

            I have seen those before, where you have to wear a parka and the bar and cups and everything are made of ice, but it’s always seemed completely uncomfortable to me. We have at least one in Orlando and I do not see the appeal.

          • Lisa

            It might be an experience to do it once, but I don’t think I’d go there to hang out regularly! We actually might be heading down to Orlando next year, too. Our childhood family vacation was always Disney, and we’re talking about recreating it for my dad’s 60th at the end of May.

          • Marcela

            Let me know if you need recommendations or tips for that too! I mostly grew up in Orlando and still visit often as my family is there. Lots of friends who work at disney so I can give you some tips there. :)

    • JC

      Best meal: Restaurant Trokay in Truckee, CA. We had a ten-course meal with wine pairings, and it included the single best bite of food I’ve ever had– a piece of shrimp grilled on a piece of super-heated granite. (Weird? Yes. Delicious. So delicious.) We also had the most memorable wine, a white with a really heavy vegetation flavor that I would have balked at if the sommalier hadn’t picked it, and it was perfect with a fish course. I’m drooling just thinking of that meal.

      I was definitely not a foodie when I lived in Seattle, BUT my little hometown of Issaquah has the Boehm’s candy factory just outside of the big city, and it’s delightful. I recommend an ice cream bar covered in chocolate and nuts, no matter the weather.

      • Lisa

        Mmmm, that all sounds divine! I’m trying to mix up our usual selection of red wines (my husband is from just south of Napa) with whites. I love the crispness a lot of them have.

    • Danielle

      Oh god, honestly, just eat anything in France. Seriously, while visiting with a friend I had a lemon sugar crepe from a little food truck outside some museum, and it was amazing. My friend called it a “crepe-gasm.” Also, they put fries in their sandwiches. Delicious fries inside a delicious gyro. The pastries from any random shop are delicious.

      Please, just eat things there!

      • Lisa

        I’m going with my husband’s quartet so we’ll be up in the north for a few days and will hopefully have at least 2-3 days for Paris. I keep joking that, while they’re in rehearsals, I’m going to be eating my way through every pastry shop within a ten mile radius.

        • Danielle

          You really can’t go wrong.

          • Alyssa

            Yes. Croissants here are a travesty.

          • Danielle

            Different country, but I ate the best gelato in my life in Italy. Couldn’t eat ice cream in the States for about 6 months afterward.

            It was like, why bother?

          • Alyssa

            Ha! I was the same way when I came home from studying abroad in Rome — nothing compares to Nutella Gelato in my book.

        • Jess

          This is an excellent plan.

      • Note: Avoid everything in Lonely Planet in Paris. Every random restaurant we ended up at was great, but I’ve never seen LP be so badly wrong so many times.

        • Lisa

          Good to know. I usually get the Rick Steves guides, but one of my friends is an editor at LP so I’ve been reading through some of their material as well.

    • Jess

      I mean, most enjoyable/best time/most delicious food on vacation was Miller’s Guild in Seattle. Definitely not in the same category as what you’re looking for, but it was great.

      Extra Fanciest Meal I ever ate was at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago (2 Star Michelin restaurant, 10 course tasting menu), which was incredible food & I felt the fanciest I have ever felt in my life. It closed before his death, but the experience definitely tells me that you should totally do this!

      • Lisa

        I remember when Charlie Trotter died while I was living in Chicago! It was such a loss for the community there, and all of these famous chefs wrote beautiful stories about how he’d influenced their careers.

        • Jess

          I grew up in the suburbs, and I remember hearing the same things. He’d had a really wide influence!

    • Kelly

      Haven’t been yet myself but Canlis in Seattle always gets rave reviews :)

      • AC

        Canlis is fantastic. Also I just tried MBar- opened a couple months ago- has amazing views and the food was exceptional! Not 3 Michelin star exceptional, but definitely worth a visit.

    • Eenie

      Being gluten free, the best meal I ate was at a certified gluten free restaurant! Being able to order anything on the menu was fantastic! Please report back on you delicious food adventures :)

      • Lisa

        Will do! That’s awesome you were able to find a restaurant that catered specifically to your needs. I’ve had friends with Celiac’s, and I know how challenging going out to eat can be.

      • Laura C

        Which one?

    • Lisa

      Since I didn’t share my favorite meal, here it is:

      I lived in Spain for a couple of months doing a study abroad program. My host parents insisted on taking me to their beach house in Cádiz, and on the way home, I fell asleep in the backseat, watching the hills of La Mancha roll by. When I awoke, we were pulling up to this small white house in the middle of nowhere. I got out of the car, and my host parents led me into what turned out to be a creamery, where they bought a large wheel of aged manchego. We drove back to their house and gathered the family around the kitchen table. My host dad shaved jamón ibérico off the stand they kept in the kitchen, and we ate jamón with the manchego, fresh bread from the panadería down the street, and a pitcher of sangría. It was a simple meal, but it was beautiful.

    • K.

      We did a foodie honeymoon! Le Meurice was our 3 star in our Paris leg. We opted for the lunch because the dinner would have been about $2k not including drinks (which more power to you if you can do it, but wasn’t in our range considering all the other places we went to as well). I’ve never had better vegetables in my entire life and the service was like a ballet.

      If you ever make your way to Spain though, our minds were totally blown in San Sebastian (Donostia). Everything from the pintxos (Basque tapas) to the Michelin starred places (Mugaritz for sheer innovation, Arzak for sheer indulgence, Akelarre for a combination) ruined all other food for us for the rest of our lives. It’s also much more affordable than Paris, on average!

      My favorite meal was at Akelarre, where they made a squid ink risotto where the pieces of rice were actually perfectly finely cut pieces of squid. And there was a butter and olive oil “rose” on top that you mixed into the meal. It was insane.

      (Oh, and everything was gluten free and celiac friendly at all of these places, if anyone cares about that!)

      • Lisa

        País Vasco is such a hotbed of incredible gastronomy! I’ve spent a good amount of time in Spain, but unfortunately I’ve never made it up there.

        The squid sounds divine. My mother and I had a squid ink pasta in Venice, and it was one of my favorite meals that I ate in Italy.

        I was trying to decide what our budget for the restaurant should be. I keep looking at the menus, which have been about £100-180/person before wine. (I haven’t started looking at Paris yet.) How much would you say your lunch ended up costing, if you don’t mind my asking? Did you do a tasting menu or order a la carte?

        • K.

          I believe it was around $400, but it doesn’t have to be that much…we splurged on the wine. We did the full tasting menu which was 2 amuse bouches, 4 courses, and 2 dessert surprises. And if I recall there were a few different pricing tiers as well (we did the most expensive). Right now, they’re advertising 130eu per person for the full lunch tasting menu.

          Le Meurice has apparently lost a star since we’ve been there, but overall getting lunch in Paris is a GREAT way to experience the fanciest Michelin starred places for a fraction of the cost. You won’t get the full huge experience, but we were still totally enchanted and it felt like a dream!

    • Alyssa

      Les Deux Amis in Paris — in the Oberkampf neighborhood. We stumbled upon there back in 2013 when my now fiance and I went to Paris and it was BY FAR the best food/wine I’ve ever had in my life (plus the owner was just awesome and was so kind and helpful). A close second is ordering the Chef’s Menu at The Publican in Chicago and letting them pair the wines for you.

      We went to Seattle a couple weekends ago and went to STOCK — which I think is in the Ballard neighborhood? Anyway it was awesome if you’re in the mood for pho or congee for breakfast. I keep daydreaming about it…

    • Sara

      Best meal I’ve ever had that I think of constantly was this gnocchi dish in Gorgonzola sauce in Rome, with a lot of red wine. It was all of my favorite things at the same time and the best gnocchi I have ever had. They were so soft and pillowy.
      Runner up is probably a super expensive meal I had on the company dime at Joe’s in Chicago where they ordered all the sides possible and I got lamb chops with delicious mint chimmichuri. SO good.

    • Laura C

      I don’t have a single best meal ever, but two that stand out in my mind are Kin Khao in San Francisco — Michelin-starred Thai that’s like nothing you’ve ever had at your typical American Thai restaurant — and Maysville in New York, which is sort of southern-inspired, where we were very much helped by the fact that a friend worked there and made sure we got all the best things on the menu and some of the best things that had recently been taken off the menu. Very different cuisines, but what they had in common was that each dish kept delivering surprises. Enough mix of textures and tastes that every bite was a little different, in a good way. Maysville may not be a big-name New York restaurant, but honestly in the same time frame I ate there I also ate at Craft and the cafe at Chez Panisse and Maysville was the best meal I had. Oh, also in New York, the Modern was outstanding.

      In London, we’ve eaten at two amazing Indian restaurants. Gymkhana has a Michelin star and has earned it, but Cafe Spice Namaste is also exceptional. And I LOVE high tea at Fortnum & Mason, but that’s largely because they do a gluten-free version. Not sure it would be worth it if you could have scones pretty much anywhere. If you’re into cocktails, 69 Colebrooke is really good, but definitely get a reservation.

      I found Paris underwhelming for food, since the old-school three-star-Michelin French experience is not really my thing. (It is very much my husband’s thing and he soldiered through at Guy Savoy despite having food poisoning that day. I was just glad him being sick meant he didn’t push for a full tasting menu.) Breakfasts at Laduree were pretty much my Paris food highlight — but they were a pretty great highlight.

    • Nicole

      If you’re going to be in Seattle and are willing to do a weekend away – go to the Willows Inn – if you want to really splurge! They do a many course tasting dinner that’s all super local and crazy good. If you want to do less of a splurge, go for breakfast or lunch since it’s much cheaper. We got a gift card for our wedding and used it for our 2nd anniversary. It was all amazing and fun. I had the juice pairing and my husband had the wine pairing and it was plenty of wine and juice for both of us.

      In Seattle, I also recommend Mamnoon, Island Soul, Humble Pie, and La Medusa. We organize basically all of our vacations around food.

    • Vanessa

      1. Go to Canlis in Seattle. It’s amazing. We went there when I passed the bar and it was one of the best meals of my life. But also if you are in Seattle go to Din Tai Fung and have xiao long bao and come back here and write about it so I can live vicariously through you.

      2. I toured Joel Robuchon in Paris when I was studying abroad there in college (uh like 10 years ago) and it was mind blowing. I couldn’t afford to eat there at the time but it was clear that it would have been an incredible meal if I had. Their attention to detail is beyond comprehension.

    • Jessica

      Honestly one of the best meals I ever had was at Eve in Seattle. We went for cocktails, then I asked the server about their bison burger and he told me how he orders it (paleo style). I have dreams about that meal.

      All of my other favorite meals have been greatly enhanced by the people around me, but this was a pure food love.

    • I really love David Lebovitz (his book Sweet Life in Paris is lovely!). I’ve also met him at a book signing and he was SO NICE. But I came here to say he has a list of Paris restaurants on his blog, and that’s the first place I’d start if I was going to Paris. He also lives there and updates it frequently, so its probably better than LP or other guides. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/paris/

    • Ellen

      It’s not in your preferred geography, but Little Serrow in Washington, DC is by far the best restaurant I’ve ever been to (also, though not cheap, the best value). 7 course prix fixe northern Thai food for ~$50 plus an optional and outstanding alcohol pairing for ~$40 more. Someone else mentioned Kin Khao in SF for Thai, and it’s good, but Little Serrow is a whole ‘nother level. It and the Passenger are the two things I miss most about DC.

    • emilyg25

      For my 30th birthday, we did the tasting menu at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in the Hudson Valley. It’s was crazy–the tip was more than all but our splashiest normal meals–but it was so worth it. The food was amazing and the service was impeccable. My other favorite meal was the tasting menu at Le Pigeon in Portland, OR, where we also did the wine tasting.

      My favorite restaurant in Seattle is the Walrus and the Carpenter. In Paris, I prefer to go to small neighborhood bistros, but also check David Lebovitz’s recommendations.

      • Lisa

        Uggggghhhhhhh, I’m watching the Dan Barber episode of Chef’s Table right now and drooling over Blue Hill’s food!

      • BSM

        Gah! We’re going to Blue Hill in NYC in a couple weeks. I’m so excited! But Stone Barns is the dream, fo sho.

    • BSM

      People say it’s overrated, but I honestly loved Lazy Bear in SF. It is hospitality at its finest as soon as you walk in the door. All the food, cocktails, and wines were DELICIOUS, and, like I said, the service was excellent. It’s especially fun if you’re a foodie bc the entire kitchen is open to the dining room, and they encourage you to come up, watch them cook, ask questions, etc., and everyone is so friendly. The only thing I did not like (although my husband did, so maybe just my palate) was the final dessert course. I believe they’ve changed pastry chefs since we were there, though. SUPER pricey, but a totally fun and special and nomtastic experience.

    • Call Me Penny

      I don’t have a Michelin star rec for London, but let me know if you want other recommendations for your time here and I’ll happily send some on. It’s such a great food city!

      • Lisa

        Yes, please! I’m making restaurant lists now. :)

        • Call Me Penny

          I’m so late, sorry! My number one pick is a small tapas style place called the Salt Yard. It’s on Goodge Street which is a little bit away from the hustle and bustle, but still really central. The food is excellent, they have an excellent wine list and the staff are so knowledgeable and helpful. It’s also right across the road from the beautiful Charlotte Street hotel so if you do go there definitely head for an after dinner drink in their gorgeous bar after. If you’re looking for a proper Sunday roast I’d suggest the Cutty Sark pub in Greenwich. Greenwich itself is gorgeous for a visit as well, and not as far as it seems – you can get there in 30 minutes from the centre of town on the Docklands Light Railway (full disclosure, this is our local pub but it really is delicious and Greenwich is always beautiful, local or not). There are some great spots in Chinatown if you’re in the mood for that, I’d recommend Plum Valley. It’s a bit more modern than some of the other places there but still great. An excellent wine bar is 40 Maltby Street. It’s in the London bridge area so lots to see and do, and perfect for an early bite some evening. They have a changing menu of small plates but whatever they serve up is always delicious, and the staff are all so lovely. We often just have them recommend a bottle and some small plates and have never been disappointed. If you’re out and about during the day and need something cheap and cheerful you can’t go wrong with Carluccios. It’s a chain of Italian places, but most of the central locations have a £5 takeaway deal at lunchtime for a hearty portion of pasta and a drink. Though I’m always of the opinion that if you’re in London the best thing to do is grab a few picnic bites and head to one of the parks! Afternoon tea is a must for some people when they visit. Not sure if that’s in your plans but I love a little place called Bea’s of Bloomsbury. They have three locations now I think, but the one by St Paul’s is my favourite. It’s quite a low key tea in comparison to some of the big department stores or hotels, but the location can’t be beaten in my book, and there’s something so lovely about indulging in a completely unnecessary meal in the middle of the afternoon.
          This has swiftly turned into an essay, but I hope some of it is helpful!

    • Em

      Make sure you try at least one of the Ottolenghi restaurants in London while you’re there – not starred, but so delicious. They do glorious things with vegetables, and the carrot cake is incredible :)

    • Bsquillo

      Super late to this party! But some of the best meals I’ve ever had were at this agriturismo in Tuscany called Il Rigo on a trip with my mom. The concept is sort of like a bed-and-breakfast in the Tuscan countryside, except they feed you elaborate dinners as well as breakfast. Pretty much all the food is locally sourced from the farm, and the dinners were multi-course, slow dining affairs. My mom and I also took a cooking class one afternoon there, and then ended up helping to prep the meal we ate that evening. Highly recommended as a foodie vacation!

    • Rebecca

      It’s not a restaurant, but if you go to Paris, go to the Isle St Louis (one of the islands in the Seine) and try ice cream from one of the places that carries Berthillon icecream (pretty sure I’m spelling that correctly). It is the best icecream of my life and is almost exclusively found on that island.

  • Kaitlyn

    I had the most bizarre interaction with a wedding DJ company yesterday and I’m still not over it haha I found this company in RI, it was right in our budget, had all 5 star reviews, and gave an extra 10% discount for working with our venue. Naturally I was STOKED. Their DJ package included music during cocktail hour, which we might not need. We need a piano player for the ceremony and were contemplating having him stay on for cocktail hour. So I emailed asking if that package was flexible and if so, would not having cocktail hour music affect the cost.

    I’ve asked this to at least 2 other DJ companies and have always gotten a pleasant response like, “Oh of course we can drop that, the price would be X amount”. So I was expecting that or a “Sorry, that package isn’t flexible, are you still interested?”. Easy peasey right?

    So she responds back that she doesn’t think I’d be a good fit for them. When I asked why, she went on this weird lecture about how me asking for to lower the price on an already low cocktail hour price was asking her DJs to take less pay and they would have to set up during cocktail hour which would make the guests uncomfortable, etc. etc. Now, my feelings are hurt cuz I certainly wasn’t trying to rip anyone off. It’s just a service we might not need. So I respond back saying basically that and that I was just trying to learn about the different packages. She responded with something weird like “You specifically asked if there would be an effect on the price so that’s what I was answering” and I responded with essentially the second paragraph.

    I forwarded the chain to a few people (fiance, MOH, college BFF, and mom) and they all agreed it so was so bizarrely aggressive. I’ve emailed a lot of vendors and have always gotten a pleasant response, even if it’s to tell me that my request/proposition isn’t possible. It’s extra weird cuz all the reviews mention how helpful and nice this woman is. Maybe I caught her on a bad day? I’m super bummed cuz the price was PERFECT. I would have paid for them to be there during cocktail hour if the package wasn’t possible, it wasn’t a huge deal. I’m just from the school of “it doesn’t hurt to ask”.

    Anyway, if anyone happens to know of a nice DJ company in RI/southeastern MA/the Mystic area of CT in the budget range of $1200 – $1500, let a girl know.

    • Ashlah

      If it were me, I might consider letting her know that you would have still hired them if she hadn’t come across as so unprofessional and rude. But I also get just wanting to let it go. Definitely bizarre! I can’t imagine you’re the first person to ask that question! I’m from the same “it doesn’t hurt to ask” school, and we saved $600 on our DJ that way, so. Good luck on your continued search!

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      It was astounding to me the kinds of responses (or lack thereof) I got from vendors during the planning process. You’re prepared to give someone hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You’d think that they would have better customer service! Best of luck!

      • Kaitlyn

        Right? I was would have probably been happy to have hired them and had let her know in the initial inquiry that we would be interested in adding uplights from them as well. Like this isn’t chump change haha And I’ve had a lot of customer service heavy jobs so I was just extra shocked by the attitude.

  • MayJune

    After initially planning a wedding in my hometown in the suburbs, with a ceremony in my parent’s backyard and a reception at their fancy-shmancy, so not “us” country club (where, ahem, America’s favorite Uncle Joe is also a member) we’ve decided to start from scratch.

    So this afternoon we’re looking at reception venues in the city where we live. They’re all bars/restaurants that will allow us to have the “night out on the town with our nearest and dearest” vibe we’re aiming for, with good food and booze and dancing. We have nothing set in stone yet, but I feel like I’m breathing easier just thinking about going in a different direction.

    Now to see if we can pull it off in less than 6 months! Anyone out there who also completely ditched their original wedding plan?

    • Lisa

      We didn’t ditch the wedding plan, but we did decide to do a restaurant wedding in Chicago, where we were living during wedding planning, instead of either of our hometowns. The restaurant wedding was a great option because everything was included, and we only had a food and beverage minimum we had to meet for the four hours we rented the place on a Saturday night. Best of luck with the new planning!

    • AGCourtney

      You can do it! I swear we planned like three weddings by the time everything was said and done.

      • sofar

        lol I still have our itemized “barn wedding” budget spreadsheet. We did not have a barn wedding.

    • Akes

      That sounds awesome. After a really long, stressful venue search process, we ended up deciding to have a destination-ish wedding (we live in the city; the wedding is 3 hours away at a resort in the country). I feel like we have too many sunk costs at this point to change things, but if I could do it over again I would push harder to have something in the city where we live. It just seems so much less stressful to do something local. I’m sure our wedding will be amazing but it’s a lot more planning and logistics to do something from far away. Kudos for doing something that is more “you”!

    • CP2011

      We didn’t have an original plan to ditch, but we did plan our entire wedding from a distance within 6 months and it was totally fine.

    • Lulu

      We ditched the hip, cavernous timber loft gallery space– where we would have spent $$$ and had to coordinate multiple vendors to bring in every. single. thing.– for a restaurant wedding where we basically just showed up and had a delightful time. Heartily recommend.

    • Brynna

      We just found out that our venue double-booked our April date, so we’re starting from scratch – out of necessity!

      The fact that you’re already breathing easier is a sign you’re making the absolute right decision.

    • sofar

      I hadn’t gotten *too* far along in the process, but originally I was planning for a rustic barn wedding out near my hometown. But with so many guests flying in from out of town, we decided we needed to have it downtown so nobody would *have* to rent a car and so there would be more hotels nearby and easy airport access.

      And we ended up LOVING the night-out-on-the-town vibe that gave us.

      And, while it was tough switching directions so abruptly and having to start researching from scratch, SO many things became easier and cheaper. Lots of our vendors were based near downtown, so that meant lower delivery fees. Being in the midst of the city meant everything was walking distance, so no need to rent shuttles for guests/bridal party. When the room block got completely booked, guests could just select another nearby hotel.

      Part of me still wishes my pictures had featured a barn and rolling fields, but we got skyline, busy streets, and cool old buildings in ours, so I’m not mourning that too much.

      Good luck!

    • Nell

      We didn’t ditch our wedding plans, but we did do a city wedding where we live — it is AWESOME. Vendor meetings were easier (and closer). Out of town guests got to take advantage of tourist attractions before and after the wedding. You’re going to have so much fun!

    • Nicole

      We didn’t ditch an original wedding plan, but we did plan a wedding in a city (yay! awesome!) in five months. You can do it and if you’re breathing easier, it must feel right!

    • emilyg25

      Didn’t ditch the plans, but did plan an all-diy wedding in 7 months. Six months is plenty of time! Your vibe sounds lovely.

  • stephanie

    Dear Happy Hour: if anyone wants to discuss their many sad feelings about how awful the Gilmore Girls revival was, I am 100% here for it.

    • Arie

      I just never really wanted to hate Rory. And now I do.

      • stephanie

        Right?! I’m most upset at the Palladinos, because I feel like they just used this as an excuse to write/produce the season 7 they would have, without really considering what fans expected, and the path Rory was likely on. Like… I feel like she would have had to willfully sabotage her life to end up where she is at 32. How do you go from graduating at Yale, being in the socio-economic circle she is (via Richard + Emily) and interning at the White House to sleeping with sources and having only one published article by 32? It seems… not true. I really, really wish the Palldinos would have watched season 7 (it still bothers me that they didn’t.).

        I was also AGHAST at the racism and body shaming, especially in Summer. It was awful. I know the show as like that in the past, but I assumed it was a product of its time. I was startled by it in the new episodes.

        Emily, however, was just about perfect (minus the maid plot).

        • Marcela

          The whole pool bit was awful! Flashbacks to Rory’s article about the ballerina.

        • Arie

          The ending also feels like such a huge betrayal to both main characters. As someone who grew up with a single mom, I loved this show for the parts I could relate to and also enjoyed laughing at some of the particularly unrealistic bits (hi, you probz can’t afford a house or to eat out for every meal, but 4-day old leftovers aren’t TV-ready, I get it). But I just don’t think there’s any way she would have ended up in that, ahem, situation.

          • stephanie

            Yep. 100% will agree forever and ever and ever. The ending ruined the entire thing—which is saying a lot.

          • Arie

            I angry-cried! My husband thought I was nuts, but I was like “IT CANNOT BE THE CIRCLE OF LIFE IT MEANS SHE DIDN’T LEARN ANYTHING.”

        • K.

          Yeah, Emily was phenomenal but the maid plot REALLY wasn’t good. What pissed me off is that not only were they were speaking this weird, offensive broken version of Spanish (it was more like, “You nice! Nice lady! Very good. No burn soup” but definitely SPANISH) and then on top of that, someone from the UN couldn’t understand them? Ugh.

          • stephanie

            YES! And to have Rose Abdoo (Gypsy) also play her, when Gypsy is also a problematic character that is built on stereotypes… it’s sickening.

          • Marcela

            There can only ever be one Latin@ person on set.

          • Marcela

            There seemed to be some Portuguese in there too though. I kept getting bits of things and thought maybe it was Basque, but that didn’t make any sense either. I did like the way the Berta’s (Gypsy in a wig, btw) clothing evolved over the course of the series as her relationship with Emily grew warmer.

          • K.

            Ah, we might have just been listening for the Spanish and were confused because we could understand her pretty well even when blocking the subtitles, so it didn’t make sense that anyone was THAT confused about the language. It definitely wasn’t incomprehensible to the point that someone from the *UN* or someone who speaks fluent Spanish like the gardener would be totally baffled by what they were saying.

          • AP

            Yeah, that was completely weird and offensive, as was the body-shaming. I feel like in this era where there is all this highly accessible/visible critique of media for its lack of inclusivity and even overt casual racism/sexism, there’s really no excuse for writers to be this lazy.

          • Marcela

            I read somewhere that Amy Palladio-Sherman went on this big rant about how her shows are not about a message and not for being PC and it was just everything that is wrong with White Feminism.

          • AP

            *head desk*

        • AP

          I agree, I felt like the Palladinos were more committed to their ideas for season 7 than to the actual characters and story arc as it would be 9 years later. I don’t know if this is true, but a friend told me Amy said in an interview that she never even watched season 7. Which makes NO SENSE at all to me.

          • stephanie

            Yes! She has never seen it. It’s baffling.

        • Gaby

          I might be alone but I actually liked the maid plot? I thought it was nice that Emily was finally letting someone in and didn’t even mind a language barrier. And I thought the Spanish-but-not-Spanish was like an ongoing joke that the family would switch up to not make themselves understandable on purpose.

          • S

            I was fine with the maid plot until I learned that the actress WAS GYPSY, THE MECHANIC. (I was wondering why she looked so familiar.) I mean, that’s the the point where the ref stops handing out racism yellow cards and finally pulls the red card out. If this was meant to be some sort of funny nod it was utterly lost of me.

        • Jessica

          I just finished Summer and am so down about this show.

        • toomanybooks

          I know, it really seems like she has been having an excellent career right up until the series starts, and then… nothing.

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          Rory’s arc definitely felt more like a 22-year-old finding her way, rather than someone a decade older. I was frustrated that she threw in the towel on her lifelong journalism dream after two shitty interviews. I realize many people (including myself) don’t end up doing what they thought they’d be doing, but it felt really half-assed on her part.

        • Laura

          i watched with my husband and when they were making ‘back fat’ jokes at the pool, he was horrified (as was i!) – it was awful, and so mean spirited. and then totally tone deaf because later they accuse luke of body shaming about what they’re eating…it just seemed so lazy and out of character.

      • MC

        I do have to say, I’m re-watching the series for the first time since I watched it as a teen and Rory has kind of always had a tendency to be terrible & make bad decisions. As a teen & college student that’s kind of expected, but I do think that since she has SUCH a big financial safety net that it’s plausible that she’d never be forced to learn from her mistakes.

        • AP

          I totally agree, although I sure wish the show would have incorporated this idea into the narrative and held her accountable in some way.

          • K.

            One of my friends (who binge-watched at 3am the night it came out) told me that the show finally let Rory be an anti-hero and I was actually excited about that! But I felt like it actually really *didn’t* and we were supposed to 100% empathize with her and still see her as the most perfect, precious tiny elven Princess who’s just getting a bum rap that she doesn’t deserve. :-/

          • stephanie

            Ooh I agree. I think they wanted us all to be like OMG RORY THAT’S MY LIFE TOO, except it just highlighted the wild difference between that class of people and everyone else.

          • AP

            Totally.

          • toomanybooks

            Yeah, I can never tell whether they want us to empathize with her or think that she’s terrible… in the older seasons she was younger (not to mention the stakes were not at a level of Finding out What Happens After Nine Years) so I didn’t care quite as much, but now? Same with her journalism – in the earlier seasons I couldn’t tell if she was supposed to seem like a bad journalist or if it was just hard to write a good budding journalist on the show (although, I guess Mitchum got it). But in the new series it’s just like, she is objectively a terrible journalist, despite having some good credits behind her.

          • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

            That’s a really good way of looking at it; I hadn’t thought of it that way. I realized while watching it that it was OK that Rory wasn’t perfect, even though I wanted her to be, but this puts my feelings into real words!

        • sofar

          I agree and, frankly, was NOT surprised with how Rory turned out. I know a lot of 30-somethings who are just like her from similar backgrounds.

        • Arie

          oh, definitely. I think the NYTimes review said something along the lines of – what was grating in a 20 year old is abhorrent in a 32 year old, and that’s how I feel! There were always parts of her character I didn’t like, but I never expected that she wouldn’t have grown or matured at all. Or, like, met any other men in her life? Did she get cryogenically frozen for 9 years? What happened there?

    • AP

      Ughhhhhh. I don’t know if my hopes were too high, or what. But yeah, did not love. I found a lot of it boring (helloo weird Life and Death shenanigans that went on forEVER) which surprised me. Everything with Emily was my favorite- I would watch a show just about her.

      • stephanie

        YES! Emily forever. I could watch Emily Gilmore Mourns: The Movie for hours.

      • stephanie

        AND THE MUSICAL THAT WOULD NEVER END OH MY GOD

        • Marcela

          That musical was completely unnecessary and while I love the Life and Death brigade, it didn’t really make sense.

          • stephanie

            Same! I love the Life and Death brigade but had no idea why… they were so present. It was fun to see them, but wildly ridiculous. I guess it was mostly to set up the pregnancy?

          • Marcela

            I appreciate their complete and utter commitment to bits. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I cosplay.

          • woodbourne

            Also, bizarrely the life and death brigade part was completely ripped from a scene in the movie Across the Universe. And I couldn’t figure out for the longest time whether it was supposed to be a dream sequence or not! Ugghh it was awful

          • AP

            I would have loved more Paris or Lane and done without the L&D stuff. I think for me it just kept reinforcing over and over how rich and out of touch Rory and her world are.

          • Arie

            What the show did with Lane is just flat out unacceptable. She deserved better.

          • AP

            YES

          • stephanie

            YES

          • Marcela

            Same for Paris! Paris should be running the world, not helping rich people have genetically “advantaged babies”

          • stephanie

            YESSSSSS THANK YOU. I was SO uncomfortable by that, and how Luke kept asking if he would be sleeping with the women. Like.. no. No. No. Stop. No.

          • Marcela

            They made Luke seem very dumb in this one and that does not stack with whole Luke is at all.

          • Lisa

            I get that the show was built on a sort of fantasy world, but there is no way that someone could get an MD, a JD, AND build up a highly prestigious medical practice in 10 years. Med school and an OB/gyn residency alone would have taken that amount of time!

          • Marcela

            Several schools have a combined MD/JD program, that’s what I assume she did. Getting the practice up and that established is really the stickler, I feel.

          • MC

            I did read an interview with ASP where she said she was bummed that Lane had gotten pregnant in Season 7 because it made her feel really limited in what she could with her character in the revival: http://tvline.com/2016/12/01/gilmore-girls-a-year-in-the-life-amy-sherman-palladino-interview-final-four-words/

            I still feel like they could have done more with her though.

          • stephanie

            I read that and was confused as to why it meant Lane and Zack would *have* to still be in Stars Hollow. They could absolutely raise the kids in a major city or even on tour.

          • Marcela

            Lane could totally have taken her kids on the road and continued to be a rock star. Why buy into the tired stereotype of how you put your dreams away once you have kids?

          • K.

            But that’s kind of slap in the face of mothers everywhere? ASP treats Lorelai and Rory like they’re sooooo special (see: The Thirtysomething Crowd or whatever, where lol of course RORY’S not one of THOSE losers). Apparently only Lorelai can get character development and growth after having a kid or getting pregnant too!

          • MC

            Oh I agree, definitely a lack of creativity on ASP’s part. I would have loved to see their band on tour with the kids!

          • rg223

            It’s not just a lack of creativity, it’s stereotyping mothers and the kinds of lives they can lead! ARG I’m sorry, ASP’s comment makes me SO angry!

          • AP

            Oh so she DID watch Season 7 when it suited her? ;)

          • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

            She could have done whatever the hell she wanted, kids in tow. Ugh. It made me so sad.

          • stephanie

            I was SOOOOO not into Paris’s meltdown over Tristan in the bathroom—there’s just no way she’d be that upset over him. It was awful.

            I also agree with you that it made it VERY obvious that Rory was tra-la-la-ing around the world on a trust fund and that we’re all supposed to find it charming. It was wretched.

          • Jessica

            Paris is better than that, and THEY should know better.

          • rg223

            Re: Paris meltdown – YEAH. What WAS that?!

          • JC

            This was posted post-GG revival, but is really about original GG Paris, and I found it really refreshing: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/11/28/in_praise_of_gilmore_girls_paris_geller.html

          • CII

            Oh, the Life and Death Brigade part – in Stars Hollow, land of magical realism, no less – was actually my favorite part (other than Emily) of the whole four episodes.

        • AP

          I literally walked away from the TV for like 10 minutes and did other stuff during that scene. I read afterward that the actress in the musical was the lead from Bunheads, but I never watched that show and it was totally lost on me.

      • MC

        Emily’s plot was the best!! Would definitely watch a show about her as a museum volunteer. And I loved that even after it alllll went down between her & Lorelei, she still pulled out her checkbook immediately when Lorelei asked for money to expand the inn.

        • stephanie

          YES the museum volunteering! I wish I could take my kid to that museum just for her. He loved it.

          As for Lorelai/Emily.. I love that Emily helped, but wish Lorelai wouldn’t have had to ask and could have just done it. I have mixed feelings on the full circle nature of that ending.

          • Jenny

            Right, like Lorelai is a smart hard working business lady who owns her own inn. Are you telling my she hasn’t been saving profits/can’t get a loan?

            For all their personality flaws and baggage, I always liked that Lorelai and Rory were both really hard workers/goal oriented when it came to career/work/school. And somehow they just weren’t for 9 years?!?!?!

      • Lisa

        Also, I get that you got Sutton Foster to do a cameo, but was taking up 20 minutes of Summer for Stars Hollow: The Musical really necessary?

        • AP

          Right?!

    • Marcela

      It was very upsetting and weird and really lingered on some of the worst things about the original series

      • stephanie

        100% agree! All of my least favorite things came roaring back to life.

    • AB

      Thematically, it felt like such a rehash of season 6 to me, which I also found to be a profoundly frustrating season. Rory doesn’t know what she is doing with her life and ends up making a series of terrible, incredibly sabotaging decisions that don’t align with the character we came to know. And we are to believe she was okay wandering around for 10 years not accomplishing much only to have a crisis at age 32? Ugh.

      • stephanie

        Yeah, I said it somewhere else here, but I think it’s 100% what the Palladinos would have written for season 7, with little regard to the fact that the season happened, and that it’s been 10 years.

        • AB

          That totally makes sense. And as someone close to age 32, her storyline struck me as way more appropriate for someone in their early to mid twenties. Also, don’t get me started on the Lorelei “Wild” plot. I didn’t imagine I’d think this, but maybe it would have benefit from being shorter and some of the odder bits edited out?

          • stephanie

            Oh totally, OR as a fleshed out, full season? But one that at least acknowledges what happened in season 7?

          • AB

            Yes, I think an hour and half per ‘episode’ was too long for them to manage effectively. Like, the really long production of the Stars Hollow musical? Why did we need to see all of that? I think there were faster, clearer ways to get across the message that Lorelei wasn’t being her usual self.

            I just finished the last one yesterday, so it is all still perhaps a little too fresh.. :)

          • Sara

            I was discussing this on a AV Club forum, but I felt bad for Logan’s character though this. I’m not his biggest fan, but he for sure TRIED in season 7. He tried to separate from his family and grow up a bunch, but the Palladinos definitely didn’t care and just reverted to their version of him.

          • stephanie

            That’s super true! When I rewatched it with my kid, I was confused as to why I remembered liking Logan because he’s awful for so long, but he is pretty great in season 7.

          • Marcela

            Logans grew so much in season 7 and he really did want what was best for Rory. This whole Rory as Logan’s mistress while he works for his dad thing was not fair to him. (Will admit to enjoying all the shirtless Logan scenes though)

          • stephanie

            or to her – there was a weird undercurrent of like, ownership in it when they made him more like pre-season 7 Logan. I hated the whole thing. :/

          • MC

            Thank goodness for sexy Logan and Jess – definite highlights of the series.

          • Marcela

            Jess’s arms *fans self*

          • Lisa

            Logan was my favorite boyfriend from the original series, and I was upset with what happened with him this season.

          • AB

            Glad to hear I wasn’t the only Logan booster from the original series! He definitely did his share of shitty things, but he had a redeeming arc and always had great chemistry with Rory (which I just never really got from her and Dean).

          • Lisa

            One of the things I loved about the Dean storyline was how wonderfully they wrote the dissolution of a teenage relationship. It seemed so true to life to me. I could see all of my peers’ relationships in it.

            Logan was well-redeemed in season 7 (despite the public proposal), and I thought he and Rory were ultimately good for each other. They were the right people at the right time, and I was glad she turned down his proposal to follow her dreams. Logan seemed like a good guy in that moment who knew what he wanted. I was honestly surprised at where they put him in the new story because it seemed like he was carving out a life for himself that would allow him to find his own way and settle down. He wasn’t in that place in the new episode.

          • CII

            This. By the end of the series, Logan was actually a pretty complex, well-developed character. And he loved Rory. In this re-boot, I kept screaming “Rory, if you want him to leave the French heiress and be with you forever, why don’t you…just ASK HIM TO?”

          • Lisa

            This was the impression I got, too. He didn’t seem at all invested in his fiancée, and I’m pretty sure, if Rory just used her words and told him she still wanted to be with him, he would have dumped the other woman in a heartbeat.

      • Marcela

        To be fair, she had been accomplishing some things. There were a few throwaway lines about her writing for Slate and other such publications. They didn’t really flesh it out though and it felt very unfocused.

    • K.

      My husband had never watched the original series, but sat through the revival with me. He was flabbergasted and was basically like, “So this is just a show about two white privileged assholes treating everyone around them like shit??” And he made me fast forward through the weird musical number (fair enough). He kept saying the whole thing felt like a weird, botched version of the American Dream, more like “the American Fever-Dream.”

      And I was sad that I couldn’t even really disagree with him or defend any of it. :-/

      He was very pro-Emily and pro-Paris though, so at least he “got it”…somewhat. So disappointing!

      • Laura

        my thoughts are so similar, and i also watched the revival with my husband – and the musical theatre thing was AWFUL and went on foreverrrrr. the other part that i really don’t get is that when rory cheated with dean, lorelai went nuts, but when she learns that rory (over 10 years later, so not a dumb 18 year old) is having an affair with logan, she….shrugs. like, what?!

    • K.

      Also, was Lorelai’s therapist the worst therapist in the world or the worst therapist of all time?

      • Katharine Parker

        I don’t expect realism from GG, but no therapist would ever approach you in public. It’s like the first thing they tell you when you start therapy–I’ll only acknowledge you if you initiate it, and I’ll follow your lead the whole time. Such a small thing, but it bothered me to no end.

        • K.

          Right? That was AWFUL. And I know that good therapists are supposed to let you talk and think and not be overly intrusive to the process, but no therapist would let them sit in silence like that for multiple sessions! And then to say that their silence was illuminating to her, but oh no, they couldn’t know anything about her “confidential” notes? They were trying to get therapy to move past their issues, not be observed like experiment subjects. She didn’t help them get *anywhere.* No wonder Emily decided it wasn’t worth her time.

          Again, also not expecting realism, but it very much annoyed me!

        • MC

          That part made me full-body CRINGE, if that is possible.

      • rg223

        Both. Definitely both.

    • JC

      I watched it all on Friday and felt the twinges of disappointment throughout, but I ignored them in favor of more hopeful thoughts. Now that it’s over, I’m a bit overwhelmed by how bad it was.

    • Lisa

      I feel like it was a tick better than the Full House reboot. I really don’t want to do a complete rehash of all of Lorelai’s storylines with Rory, Jess, and Logan.

      • Marcela

        I liked how they handled the Dean thing, though. It made sense that his character would have grown up and moved out of Stars Hollow and had a whole life that didn’t revolve around Rory.

        • stephanie

          Dean was my least favorite and his part in the revival was one of the few shining moments for me. Totally agree.

        • AP

          Absolutely, Dean’s arc was great and happily realistic.

        • Lisa

          I really liked that, too. The moment they had in the grocery where they acknowledged first loves have a place in people’s hearts but that they can change and move on was particularly nice.

      • Not Sarah

        I actually liked the Full House reboot better…

    • Sara

      I was super frustrated at it, but I’ve decided that if you look at it as taking place a year after Rory graduated, it isn’t as bad. Nine years is a long time for the issues Rory and Lorelai faced. Endlessly frustrating. And not enough Paris! Or Jess!

      Though, I had a great experience watching it with my college roommate and her husband, where we stayed up til 3am discussing it. I am glad I got to watch it and react with them. If I hadn’t, I’d probably be texting them throughout my viewing, annoying them to death.

    • Amy March

      Hideously awful. I hated all of it except Emily.

    • ART

      I have seen smatterings of the original series, enough to mostly know the characters but not the whole story arc, so I wasn’t really planning on watching the revival. But thanks to these comments I’m definitely going to watch it just for rubbernecking purposes…

    • Sarah

      Well, I didn’t LOVE it but had some good moments (Paris, loved the scenes with Lorelai and Emily) and kinda nice to see Rory struggling like many other millennials. Regarding the fat-shaming, racism, etc….it’s always been there but in 2016 reads differently than it did 2000-2007. And the three CT towns SH is loosely based on all have white pops about 90%. That’s how it is, and this is entertainment with characters which have always been outlandish and not realistic. Not a admirable view, but taking it as pure fluffy fun entertainment is OK. Not everything is a social justice thing.

    • LP

      Was anyone else by some of the musical-ly scenes? I have no issues with musicals but they just didn’t make sense.

      Lorelai’s whole “Wild” trip just annoyed me. I know she’s always been sort of selfish but she couldn’t tell Luke it was about her dad and not him? Just annoying.

      Emily was the only character who I genuinely thought made sense, except for the weird stuff about her maid’s family.

      I also hated the ending. I think it would’ve been more final when Rory was 22 when the series ended the first time, but now it just feels like a cheap cliffhanger to so Netflix can make more episodes if it goes over well.

      Also, the revival made me hate Logan even more which I didn’t think was possible.

  • Akes

    Has anyone had an all-vegetarian wedding? We are doing our tasting this weekend and I am so excited! I eat mostly vegetarian, as is my fiance. We will have around 200 people at our wedding, and while I don’t judge other people for eating meat, I love the idea of having our wedding reflect our values and not serving a lot of meat (or any meat). However I am nervous that this would cause “uproar” with some of our meat-loving relatives. I also want people to enjoy themselves and have a good time and enjoy the food. My mom, who is helping us pay for the wedding, is 100% behind the idea (she is also vegetarian). Has anyone else had an all-veggie wedding, and how did it go over?

    • Kaitlyn

      I haven’t, but I feel like meat wouldn’t be missed. There’s so many good pasta and veggie dishes that people won’t notice as long as they’re fed on time :)

      • Akes

        Agreed – being fed on time is key! I am crossing my fingers that our tasting includes some delicious veggie options.

    • Brynna

      We attended a vegan wedding and it was great! No one really seemed to notice. I think what made it great is that 1) everyone knew the bride was vegan, 2) the couple never apologized for it, 3) everyone knew what to expect and 4) the menu was still diverse, even though everything was 100% vegan

      You’ll be fine!

      • Akes

        That’s awesome to hear :) thanks! I hope so!

    • Eenie

      Unless you’re friends and family are horrible rude, make sure it’s known and then serve delicious food! Make sure there is enough food for everyone, and I doubt anyone will say anything. I’ve had horrible non vegetarian food, but I haven’t told the couple how horrible it was.

      • Akes

        I agree, that would be really rude to complain about the food no matter how bad it was, or whether it was something you were expecting or used to. My friend had a wedding guest tell her that her food was “just ok” – so rude!!! (also, the food at their wedding was awesome! they did a stations buffet of all of their favorite foods. they had Thanksgiving foods, Chinese food, and shrimp & grits. sounds strange but everything was sooo good and there were lots of options for all different dietary needs)

    • Sara

      Good luck! I’m all for that, just be ready for complaints. When people don’t get what they think is ‘standard’, I feel like they feel like they have the right to whine about it. You do you!

      • Akes

        That’s what I am nervous about! My family and my parents’ friends are definitely used to the standard country club “steak, chicken, or fish” type of wedding. This whole wedding planning process has been an exercise for me in not caring what other people think or say, since it is literally impossible to please everyone.

    • JC

      I have! It was a small backyard wedding, and we had salad, vegetarian tacos, and the couple’s son’s choice: bean and cheese burritos! No one said a word about it, except to say that it was delicious.

      • Akes

        That sounds awesome! I actually went to a similar wedding where the couple DIYed the food, and they had a huge make-your-own vegetarian taco bar. At the time I didn’t even notice that it was vegetarian, but I’m sure they saved a lot of money and the food was sooo good.

    • Lisa

      I haven’t been to one, but I don’t think I’d miss the meat if all of the food was amazing! :)

      • Akes

        I am hoping most people will feel that way. And I am hoping that we get to try some delicious vegetarian options at the tasting this weekend!

    • sofar

      Just don’t mention it’s a vegetarian wedding, and nobody will even have the chance to get worked up about it.

      I attended a veggie wedding once and I didn’t even notice at the time. They had tons of salads, breads, pasta, bountiful fruit and veggie platters, and mountains of desserts. Also a big selection of infused waters.

      • Ashlah

        This. If you don’t announce it, no one will notice. I honestly only just this moment realized that I have attended a vegetarian wedding (lasagna!). If the food is good, people will be happy.

      • Akes

        Sounds delicious! You’re making me hungry :)

    • idkmybffjill

      We did a half vegetarian wedding (brisket & veggie tamales, all veggie sides), no one noticed! I mean, we did have meat too… the only people who really noticed were vegetarians who thanked us all really intensely for having so much food for them to be able to eat!

      • Akes

        Yummm veggie tamales sound delicious! I definitely want to make sure we have at least one solid vegetarian option for dinner, and we are almost definitely going to do all vegetarian appetizers.

    • Lawyerette510

      I’ve attended two vegetarian weddings and as a guest I was entirely happy and didn’t even notice it was meatless. The food at both weddings was delicious and I didn’t hear anyone complain.

      If someone cannot cope with a new missing meat, that is their problem, not yours.

      • Akes

        That’s awesome :)

    • Nicole

      We had salmon as the only meat at ours and I was prepared for hunting uncles and others to be complainy-pants about it, our experience was just like everyone else said, if we didn’t mention there would no meat and there’s lots of good food, no one complained. We got lots of compliments on the food. Our families and friends knew we were pescatarian at the time and we’re in Seattle, but we had relatives coming from Montana, Arizona, and Michigan.

      Definitely go for it and do what you want!

      • Akes

        So glad you had a good experience with it and that nobody complained! Our venue/caterer requires us to have a sit down dinner, and that guests choose their menu choices in advance (on the RSVP) so I think people will be able to tell that they are not seeing the standard “chicken, fish, or steak” options and that it is all veggie. We are also considering doing a pescatarian wedding just to give people another option.

        • Nicole

          That does make it tougher. Honestly, in my experience the people most likely to complain about vegetarian would also not be into fish (know your people, of course), so I think you should just do what you want and if people uproar have someone who can handle telling them they’re rude so you don’t have to.

      • toomanybooks

        Oooooh. My fiancée is pescatarian, I eat everything but honestly am not that enthusiastic about meat/fish, and I’ve been thinking about the possiblility of just having a vegetarian entree and a fish entree. But I was thinking about doing like, a chicken option, in case people would be like “where’s the meat”

        • Nicole

          My vote is eat the things you love! You definitely don’t need a meat option, so I’d only get chicken if you go to the tasting and think, “wow, i really want to eat this chicken!” Otherwise, go with the food you’re more impressed with.

    • Rebekah

      Check the Happy Hour comment archives for Vegan Kitchen Diaries @VKD_Vee (Vanessa)who did a Canadian vegan wedding. Her How We Did It is here https://apracticalwedding.com/2015/03/at-home-wedding-under-7k/

      • Akes

        So beautiful! I love the vegan food truck idea :) Vegan food is the best.

    • G.

      The best wedding food I’ve ever had was at a vegetarian wedding. It was amazing.

      • Akes

        Same!

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I’m not a vegetarian, but I would be really excited to go to one. Also, you’ll blow people’s minds. “Woah, vegetarians eat something more than salad from a bar and rolls with butter?”

    • Arie

      We were all vegan/gluten free with the exception of salmon. Honestly, I don’t think anyone even noticed. The food was so good! All the chefs were vegan and were really excited to make the meal, and it showed. But I also think part of what made it okay for my traditional-ish family was that *everything* about my wedding was already weird to them, so the food being weird wasn’t really a big shock.

      • Akes

        Sounds delicious!!!

    • Violet

      Anyone causing an uproar over one meal without meat is gonna look a little silly. Rock on with your vegetarian meal!

      • Akes

        Thanks Violet! This whole wedding planning thing is definitely forcing me to let go some of my “must please everyone” tendencies… in a good way!

    • Natalie

      We both have meat-loving families but did a 100% vegetarian wedding, and it was great. My mom kept begging me in advance to have meat, to accommodate those guests who “don’t like vegetables,” and telling me it was “rude” to not consider my guests’ preferences by not giving them meat. I did my best to ignore her, but occasionally just told her to STFU (nicely, cuz while she’s an intense Southern Belle she’s generally a lovely mother). We lived in New Mexico, so served a giant New Mexican food feast, with spinach and mushroom enchiladas with creamy green chile sauce (plus 5 other varieties of chiles + salsa), rice, beans, chips & guac, sopapillas, quesadillas for the kids, etc. Everyone complimented the food. A friend who’s traditional Italian grandmother with a meat-loving husband (who, by virtue of their ages and large families, have been to MANY weddings), said her husband raved about the food and said it was the best he’d ever had at a wedding. So I think no one missed the meat.

      I think this ended up being one of the cheapest food options, because none of that is particularly expensive, and it’s best served buffet style in giant dishes, where it all stews in its own juices and gets tastier the long it sits, unlike, say, roasted chicken which just dries out when it has to sit for an hour before being served. I think it also helped that the style of food we chose to serve is really flavorful without meat, and is familiar to meat-lovers. I think the carnivores might have been less thrilled if we had done vegetable-based dishes & grilled tofu or tempeh or something too exotic for our midwestern and southern meat-and-potatoes families.

      • Ashlah

        That sounds amaaaaaaazing

      • lildutchgrrl

        So hungry now.

      • Amy March

        I think your point about tofu and tempeh is really good to keep in mind. Many meat eaters are just super hesitant about them.

    • S

      One weird thing to note: a lot of vegans and vegetarians still eat oysters and mussels! (Google it!) That could be a good “gap filler” for the meat eaters? I honestly think if you have an all vegetarian wedding but with some seafood, people genuinely won’t even notice it’s a vegetarian wedding.

    • emilyg25

      Do itttttt! Just don’t tell folks. A fair number of people probably won’t even notice and then you won’t have to listen to any complaints.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      We did!! We served salad, rolls, a scalloped potato dish, green beans and vegetarian white lasagna. It was all delicious, and while not super ‘classy’, it filled people up! We got tons of compliments on it.

      I think there’s an unconscious thought among non-veg people that vegetarian=salad.

      Also, as we kept in mind as we were planning, it’s one meal. People won’t die if they don’t eat chicken for one meal! There were a few concerns from some non-veg family members, and that’s basically what we told them, but in a nice tone :-)

  • Booknerd

    My husband and I are in a really awkward place right now, when we both know we want to start a family ASAP, but we have to sell our condo (hello adult only building) and buy a house, so I’m so terrified to get pregnant right away, and have to do all that while pregnant and feel the extra pressure.
    We know we are going to list in February which matches our financial goal to have enough to put towards the next house but part of me is so anxious to get started because it seems everyone I know has taken over a year to get pregnant. Plus we aren’t telling anyone because 1. My work is super weird about it, like my boss saw me looking at a cute baby that came into the room we were in and said loudly “NO” to me, which creeped the hell out of me, and 2. because I don’t want to have family pressure or anyone asking about how it’s going so we are keeping it quiet until there is a baby so I have nobody to vent to. Phew.. wall of text there

    • Lexipedia

      I’m sorry, but WTF?! That is a completely inappropriate response from anyone, let alone a coworker and manager!!!!

      • Booknerd

        Ok Thank you! I thought it was so out of line myself, but my husband didn’t get why I was so offended. I was so thrown off guard I just made up some bs about oh yeah that’s a long way’s away…

        • Lexipedia

          Yep. I’m sitting across the table from my partner, who manages six women. I told him what you said and he was shocked. If he did that someone would definitely call him on it, and he might’ve even ended up in front of HR. Really, so inappropriate.

          • Booknerd

            Yeah it’s a very weird dynamic here, the company is owned by a couple, and then one more male partner, all of whom have at some point commented on kids or pregnancy in a way it makes me super uncomfortable to bring it up. It’s a small company and I’ve JUST finally after years gotten the promotion and am doing the work I want to be doing, but I am not putting my family planning on hold because it will inconvenience the company. (Canada=1 yr mat leave)

          • Lexipedia

            Sigh, I abandoned that nice Canadian mat leave when I moved to the states, I get 16 fully paid weeks, which is great in comparison to other people here, but it isn’t a year.

            An argument I’ve heard re: longer mat leave is that they have enough of a time to onboard and train someone temporary for a one year contract? They should be able to hire someone for that period of time who can do good work while you’re out.

          • Booknerd

            There is already someone that works here that I know would be so thrilled to take over my duties, is currently a contract worker that could easily take on a 1 year contract, they already have the specialized training and license you require to do my job, so it would be a no brainer because they’ve talked about finding an oppertunity to get more into the work that I do.

          • LindseyDB

            16 weeks paid is great! I met with my HR this morning (due May 14) because there was confusing language in our employee handbook. I thought I was getting 16 weeks, although only partially paid, but it turns out, unless I have serious complications, I’ll only 12 weeks partially paid. I’m really bummed. 12 weeks is not long enough. And I checked the calendar; I’ll be due back at work the same week that daycare is closed for a week. Guess I’ll dig into my accrued PTO to take part or all of that week off too (husband can take some of that time too, of course).

          • Mary Jo TC

            Maybe your baby will be like mine and come a week late so that he’ll be going to daycare JUST when they come back from being closed–due dates are estimates! (Unless you’re scheduling a C-section or induction, of course) But yeah, 12 weeks is not enough. The US sucks on maternity leave.

          • LindseyDB

            Oh, don’t I know it! My first was due March 1 and arrived March 10! And that was after being induced! But my midwife and I have plans this time to ready my body for delivery. There are apparently a few things that can help, like evening primrose oil. We’all see! I still wish I would have more time!

        • Jess

          It is out of line! Way too common, but out of line!

        • Ashlah

          My boss has made similar comments (while my co-worker was pregnant, he said to me, “Now don’t you get any ideas!” Also “You hearing this?” when she talked about the difficult aspects of parenting), and it is completely inappropriate. He’s old and completely out of touch, lacking in any tact, and ignorant of…everything. He just thought he was being funny. He has no idea how wrong it is of him to say things like that. It’s a small office, so no HR department, but everyone else (including the other boss) knows it’s ridiculous and we just try not to take him seriously. But I know his attitude will probably influence my pay/bonus and that just sucks. Anyway, all that to say that I sympathize. :/

      • Jess

        Yeah, that’s absurd.

    • 1 – Wait – there are adult-only buildings? Wow!

      2 – You can always vent to us :-)

      3 – Everyone I knew also took a year or longer to get pregnant…and then I got pregnant on the 3rd month of trying. I totally get the desire to start trying RIGHT NOW once you’ve made the decision. No advice, just commiseration & support.

      • Booknerd

        Yes there’s lots of buildings with age bylaws. Nice for the seniors, not so much the younger people. I am also super conscious about my drinking, because whenever I’m not drinking in a situation where others are, people ask me why… luckily I’ve been known to go off booze for months at a time while training for marathons so I just say I’m in training but still I am really sick of people butting their noses into my uterus!!

        • You are more than welcome to use my line when people were being nosy – “stay out of my uterus”. I really hate that folks feel like it’s acceptable to ask why someone isn’t drinking!

        • K.

          I totally hi-jacked the cocktail/mocktail article the other day to complain about this! Do not freaking ask women why they aren’t drinking, especially with that little glowy wink-wink and “ooooooh,” omg.

          • emmers

            Yes. No quicker way to ensure you’re on the asshole friend list.

    • For family, I found the best response was “do you really want to know the details of my sex life?!”

      You may want to list your place now, I’m not sure where you’re at, but I know for my area, since fewer people list in the winter, sometimes places go more quickly. And, depending on a lot of factors, it could take a while to sell, or to get pregnant.

      • Booknerd

        Yeah I’ve considered that but there’s a fear that we would list and not have anywhere to buy so be homeless and or pregnant all at once. Renting is out of the question with our two cats so it’s a very delicate timing issue.

        • I don’t know if it varies by area, but I know around here, a lot of people list or make offers with contingencies, like “I’ll only buy if my place sells in 60 days” or “I’ll only close if I can sell in 90 days” or “I’ll sell you this house now, but can’t leave until XX days after the school year ends so my kids don’t get moved”

          We have a cat and dog, so I feel you on the can’t rent bit. :/

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        One of the leaders at work asked me if we were trying to get pregnant, and I asked her if she really wanted to know how we were doing it. She still didn’t get that it was inappropriate.

    • Booknerd

      Discuss ate a bunch of the comments here?? Anyway thanks for the support I at least feel like I’m not overreacting about the comment. And then today at lunch my other boss (her husband) tells me that he had 3 kids by the time he was my age and I better get going!! Soooo weird.

  • Her Lindsayship

    I haven’t had time to really do HH recently. Some updates: we’re closing on our new condo on Monday (!!), we’re basically done designing our Save the Dates, still don’t have a photographer but I’m still insisting that’s my fiancé’s job and I won’t touch it. Designing STDs has been a loooonnng process because we’re both opinionated perfectionists, but at least we only need to make 35 of them since most of our guests live with at least one other guest!

    Unfortunately December is going to be completely bonkers for me. We want to paint the condo before moving, then you know, move, and get our STDs made, and I’m finishing up a course, and then Christmas gifts?? Wow. Anybody else already SUPER ready for January?

  • Brynna

    Our wedding venue called us last night to let us know that they accidentally double-booked our April wedding date, so we’ve gotta move it. It’s been pretty stressful trying to figure out what to do next.

    However, coming here and seeing everyone’s beautiful engagement and wedding photos makes me so so happy and excited! Everything will work out :)

    • idkmybffjill

      Crap! I’m sorry. That would be so frustrating. Are they able to still do it in April at all? Have you already sent anything out?

      • Brynna

        Save the Dates went out about a month ago :/ We’re still working on the date details

        • idkmybffjill

          Ugh – I’m so sorry.
          Will be sending good vibes!

    • LadyMe

      Ouch, that’s awful. Best of luck finding a new venue!

    • Lexipedia

      Hold on, why do YOU need to be the ones moving YOURS? What about the other couple? I hope they reimburse you for STDs and any other costs.

      • Lisa

        This was honestly my first thought, too! Did the other couple book first or something?

        • Brynna

          They booked first AND they were at their tasting appointment when the venue realized their mistake. Luckily, we aren’t emotionally tied to our date!

          • …double booking myself is seriously my biggest nightmare. Over the summer, a planner emailed me “I’m so excited to see you on Saturday at Jane and John’s wedding at Big Local Venue!” …and I FREAKED OUT because while I had a wedding on Saturday, it was not at Big Local Venue, and not with Jane and John. Luckily, she mis-sent the email, but I spent a panicked 15 minutes looking through all my emails, thinking I’d somehow screwed up and only realized it days before the wedding.

          • Brynna

            Ugh totally – apparently they switched computer systems and lost a bunch of calendar information. The woman who called me from the venue seemed like she was near tears having to explain it to me… I felt awful for her!

      • Brynna

        They offered to reimburse for any costs that we’ve incurred, including Save the Dates; they’re pretty willing to work with us, which is nice. We’ve considered sending out jokey replacement Save the Dates with our sad faces on the front saying “Our April 29 wedding has been cancelled” implying that we called it off… with the new date information on the back. Just trying to make the best of it!

        • idkmybffjill

          That sounds funny and awesome. Way to embrace it – sounds like you’ll perhaps be able to save a bundle too! So while frustrating, possibly really worth it!

          • Brynna

            DEFINITELY a huge silver lining! We may be able to afford a really good honeymoon now :D

    • Lisa

      That’s crazy! Are they helping you at all to locate a new venue? Offering comparable suggestions in the area? I hope they’re doing something to make up for the situation they’ve put you in!

      • Brynna

        They offered us an evening plated reception for the same price as our brunch reception, but we actually wanted brunch – so we’re willing to move our date if they give us a pretty steep discount, whatever the price difference between the plated dinner reception and our brunch one would have been.

        • Lisa

          Hopefully they have another date open! I’m glad to hear they’re working with you to rectify the mistake and have offered steep discounts and other compensation. Clearly, they’re trying to turn the mess around.

  • Alyssa

    Hi Everyone! Headed off to Portland for the weekend for a girls’ weekend with my two oldest friends. I’m nervous and excited — it’s been so long since we’ve all hung out together. One of the other ladies and I are in the same area and have been dress shopping together (since we’re both engaged), and our Portland counterpart is mostly MIA and hard to get a hold of and the last time she and I really spoke on the phone, it was awkward (like we’ve considered each other best friends since we were 7, but we don’t really know each other anymore…) so we’ll see how it goes, but I’m also determined to have a good time!

    Has anyone made a wedding makeup appointment? I made an appointment with Sephora to help me select items for my wedding (since I’ll be doing my own makeup), but not really sure what to expect.

    In other news, my fiance and I are pretty set on moving to WA next summer (from CA), but I’m starting to have cold feet and am realizing how hard it will be to move away from both our families and our tight-knit community. Not sure how things will evolve, but we’ll just see how it goes I guess.

    And — okay, so I’m YEARS behind, but I JUST sat myself down to start Downton Abbey, and I’m completely obsessed. Like cheering in my living room by myself (much to my fiance’s amusement) when Matthew and Mary FINALLY got engaged kind of obsessed.

    • Sephora VIB Rouge member here! Sephora appts are super easy. The artist will ask you what you’re looking for, what you normally wear, what look you’re going for, etc. They will probably give you options of different things to try (2 different foundations for example), and then apply whatever item you select. Once everything is finished, they can help you purchase what you want and give you samples for things if you aren’t completely sure on it yet. And they can also give you tips on how to apply it yourself.

      • Alyssa

        Whew! Thank you. I wear makeup but don’t like my makeup to be obvious, so I was a little worried about getting too made up there. I’m glad at your comment though, since it sounds like they try to stick within your comfort zone.

        • Absolutely! Be clear about what you want, and they should be able to make that happen for you. And if the artist isn’t doing that, feel free to ask for someone else!

        • Jenn

          I also did a Sephora makeover and then did my own makeup for the wedding and I was very happy that I went that route. I wear makeup normally, but it is more natural looking and there are some things that I was adamant about (no false eyelashes, for example). My Sephora person really listened to what I wanted and produced exactly the effect I was going for!

          On the day of the wedding, I found that doing my own makeup made me feel more relaxed and more like myself. It was also great to have one less vendor to deal with. However, I don’t think that I saved any money going to DIY route – it turns out that having higher quality makeup did cost about $100, but I also got to wear for many more days than just one!

      • Danielle

        This has also been my experience with Sephora makeup appointments. Although I had just a regular makeover done, not a wedding-specific one.

        TBH I didn’t want a very made-up look (don’t wear much makeup usually and didn’t wanna be too different at the wedding), so I just got a regular-nice makeup look and was happy with that :)

        Also, LOVE their samples! <3

      • I also did this at Sephora before my wedding (did my own makeup) and they also gave good tips like, if you buy this kit you’ll get a way better deal, etc. I found it really helpful.

    • JC

      Did you decide to move to Seattle? Are you in the city proper, or thinking of one of the suburbs? Yay for moving to the PNW! You’re going to love it.

      • Alyssa

        Yes! Well we’re like 80% sure, so basically unless the Bay Area Housing Market completely tanks (which I think would be a fabulous 30th birthday present to me), we’ll be moving up there hopefully in July. We’re thinking north of Seattle — we really liked this little pocket where Edmonds, Mulkiteo and Everett seem to meet (and there’s lots of stuff in our price range there), but I think we’d jump if we got the opportunity to move to Ballard or Fremont…

        • JC

          Yes! I know that area a bit, and it’s so cute! I feel you on the Ballard/Fremont front, but it’s also so competitve. (Plus getting in an out of Fremont is such a pain. It’s wonderful when you’re there, so if you work there it’s totally worth it, but coming from out of town, driving into Fremont was not something I looked forward to.) Don’t forget to check out where the proposed light rail lines are going to be, to see if you can finagle yourselves some easy public transportation!

        • I lived on the Wallingford/Fremont border for a summer, near Gasworks Park. Oh man, I LOVED it. But I was only renting…

    • LadyMe

      Oh man I was hardcore in the Downton Abbey fandom, although I was Team Downstairs all the way (Mrs. Hughes for teh win.)

      • Alyssa

        I love her. And Anna too.

        • Lisa

          Mrs. Hughes and Anna are the best. I love Sybill, too.

    • Nell

      I had a really positive experience with a makeup appointment with MAC in advance of my wedding. Don’t feel the need to buy everything in one go, and it’s ok to buy 1 or 2 things, then see how the rest of it feels on your face all day. One thing you might want to consider – bring a friend with you so she can learn what it is that they’re telling you to do to your face. The day of your wedding, it’s good to have someone else with a slightly steadier hand!

      • Alyssa

        Oooh good tip! Our wedding’s in June so I figured I could get makeup now and practice weekly up until the wedding until the whole process feels more second-nature to me. But I’ll see if I can have a friend join me…

    • Lisa

      Downton Abbey is the best!! I love it so much. I put the entire collection on my Christmas list for this year. Wait until you get into the later seasons!

      • Alyssa

        Okay! Yeah I took a couple day break because I was SO excited over their engagement, I felt like I needed a few days to settle down before starting it again :)

    • Jess

      Love Sephora appointments! I did one for my engagement photos, and learned so much. She walked me through every product, application step and technique. She also asked a lot about what I was comfortable with and what I usually did for my make-up – she was totally ready to do very minimal and natural if that’s what I wanted (I didn’t, but it was comforting that she was ready to not do Super-Glam).

      I looked great and can now reproduce what she did! Just be aware that it may take longer than the one hour they say it will, especially if you ask questions.

      Also a good tip: if you’re generally good at some things (say, foundation and blush), but not good at another (eyebrows), you can try going in on a weeknight and asking for a little help with one product.

    • Katharine Parker

      For your Sephora appt, you also might want to show up in your usual makeup, so that the makeup artist can see what your day-to-day is, rather than relying on you telling her. They will remove your makeup, so it isn’t an issue for the appointment. Also, bringing photos is always good. People have different interpretations of “not too much” or “pretty but natural” or “smokey eye.” A photo is clearer.

    • anachronismsarah

      I lOVED my sephora appointment as soon as I made it clear that I wanted to use the time to get matched for a specific foundation and then get eyes done with steps. It was fun!

  • Vanessa

    Several things related to looking for a photographer:

    1. I want them to post availability calendar and starting prices on their websites. I get that pricing is a negotiation of what items you want and don’t want but I don’t want to waste anyone’s time if their packages start at $5k. Same with dates. Why am I writing this detailed introduction to myself & my fiance & the kind of wedding we’re having if you’re busy on Sept 16th??

    2. Why are so many photogs’ portfolios full of photos of people looking so serious? I’ve found several photogs whose work I like – good lighting, composition, beautiful images etc – but their entire portfolio or whole wedding posts on their blogs don’t include a single picture of the couple SMILING. Then I wonder, have they just had the misfortune of photographing weddings of truly somber people or is this their style, to make joyous events look like they were instead completely silent?

    3. Why do to the portfolios lean so heavily on the early parts of the day &decorative details? I assume you can take a picture of a not-moving table in good afternoon light, but what I really want to know is if you can take a good picture of people moving on the dance floor, hugging or playing lawn games or laughing.

    4. Does every single engagement shoot just have to be hugging awkwardly, or one person draping their arms over the others’ shoulders while looking in different directions, or sitting making out in a field? Does anyone just plan a fun normal thing they would do (hiking….in HIKING CLOTHES NOT HIGH HEELS) or bowling or cooking or playing board games etc etc etc?

    Sorry for the rant. But if there are any wedding photographers in the wings I would love some feedback!

    • Kelly

      For the most part I really liked our wedding photos, but there were definitely those awkward poses where you basically know you look ridiculous haha. I think it just comes with the territory

    • Greta

      I feel you on the dates and availability rant! I found it super frustrating not just for photographers but for everyone. I’m guessing the reason they don’t post availability is because that’s generally a lot of website maintenance to update, and they don’t want to scare away any potential customers by them assuming you are unavailable. I created a semi-personal email that I would send to every vendor, asking for them to send over their initial quote and information. Just copy and paste and it doesn’t take too long. Again, it’s annoying, but copy and paste is your friend here! The bulk of the email can all be the same. I guarantee that they are going to send back an already crafted copy and paste response with the pricing information, and then you go from there if you’re in the same range and they have availability. But I totally agree with you, super frustrating.

      • Greta

        Oh, I also want to add, ask for recommendations on photographers from friends/colleagues who have gotten married in the area. Chances are you’ve seen their full wedding album on facebook and that’ll give you a good idea if you liked the photos. It’s especially good if you were at the wedding, as you can see a photographer in action. An engaged couple I know attended 2 different weddings shot by the same photographer, and loved him so much that they booked him too. Now we have even another set of friends using him. Seriously – he’s amazing. And they’ve seen him in action so they know what they’re getting! Recommendations are HUGE!

    • idkmybffjill

      1. The struggle is REAL.
      2. Ask to see a full wedding if possible. Our photographer (who we LOVED) has really different aesthetic taste than I do. For example, the facebook album he posted of our wedding photos to his page was VERY different from the one we posted on our page.
      3. I think this may have to do with point 2.
      4. Ours were so awkward, I don’t even know, I honestly think my husband and I ACTED awkward that day for whatever reason – but our photographer did this AMAZING shoot with another couple where they pretended to hunt for dinosaurs and it was incredible. I think all your suggests sound rad AF and a photog would be psyched.

      • Yes, ALWAYS ask to see a full album. Look especially at their low-light photos. Notice whether they use any interesting angles/composition. Is it all details or more wide angle shots? What do you want?

    • We were super anti-awkward poses, which is one reason why we chose our photographer, as she didn’t have that stuff in her portfolio. When we did our engagement photos, she basically just followed us around and got these amazing shots of us just…being ourselves. So there are definitely photographers out there who can do that kind of thing for you!

      • Told a prospective photographer, “I really am not fond of the man-kissing-the-woman’s-forehead thing. It reeks of some patriarchal sentiment I’m not comfortable with.” (i.e., that post is antithetical to what we are as a couple, and I don’t like it).
        “Oh, you’ll be glad you have them some day. I’ve had brides tell me that.”
        Like…no.

    • sofar

      Yeah, not having price points was enough to make me not even contact a photographer. I know that packages are customizable and negotiable, but a listing of basic packages and prices (with notations that these aren’t set in stone) does wonders when you’re in that research phase. Also was totally fine with them saying, “My packages start at $1,500 for 6 hours of photography with the average customer spending $4,000” or something like that.

      As for somber photos. I really do think those are there for the mothers of the brides, who, arguably, may be footing the bill. Somber portraits are very traditional in many circles.

      And I HAAAAATE most engagement shoots. That’s why we skipped ours and asked for an extra hour of wedding day photography instead.

      • idkmybffjill

        yes! re: even just a starting point. There were a lot of photogs that were like “packages start at 4K” which was BRILLIANT because then I could move on and not waste their time/potentially insult them asking if they could do less.

        I actually had one of the first photogs I contacted sort of lecture me that there was no way I’d find someone for our budget (we did) and it hurt my feelings/made me feel so embarassed. I had to send an email with our budget because hers wasn’t listed anywhere!

        • sofar

          Auggghhhh the whole “You won’t find anything in your budget” was the worst during wedding planning. I proved them wrong every single time. There are literally hundreds of vendors out there who work at various price points!

          • idkmybffjill

            Yes! I was like… man Okay! I know she’s an artist and I very much had no intention of offending her, but she seemed to be offending by HEARING what my budget was. I was like… I’m sorry! If you listed your price points we wouldn’t have to be having this horrible conversation!

          • She was in the wrong. Why they don’t post their starting price points, I’ll never know.

          • suchbrightlights

            Right?! What an awful experience (and lousy customer service.) And totally avoidable by posting entry prices rather than the cachet of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

            I keep getting that “you won’t find anyone good for that price” from my FSIL, who’s an officiant by trade, or “you really want an industry XXX.” That might be true for her normal clientele, who have bigger budgets than we do, but it’s not really useful feedback when the budget is what it is.

            We found a great non-industry ;) photographer so we booked our first vendor last week! Good personality match, good style match, likely to get good shots of what we care about. Done.

        • Vanessa

          OMG that’s awful!! That’s what I’m worried about!

      • Daycare shopping right now, and I told my husband I heard good things about a place AND they had pricing online.

        As a photographer, I get that people don’t want their pricing out there (“people might copy it!” Who cares?) but I love having “starting at X, average is Y” on mine. Because if my packages start at $X, and your budget is only a quarter of that, and you want me there all day, it’s a waste of both our time for you to email me.

        • Ditto on the daycares that have pricing on their websites! I also really loved the places that clearly spelled out if they had availability or a waitlist, so I didn’t have to bother with contacting them.

          • Danielle

            It’s common to have a 1.5-2 year waitlist in my area! So annoying.

          • Same here! We got lucky & visited a place anyway, and learned that their “waitlist” was literally just people with their names on a list. The director said “if you pay the deposit you’ll get the spot”. Done!

      • toomanybooks

        Yup. My dad is a photographer and I’m an artist with lots of photo-taking friends. I’m lucky enough to just know photographers (because I got scared hearing how much they cost). A good friend took our engagement photos and we were super comfortable in them.

    • Lisa

      1. Copy and paste is your friend here. Just change out the names of the photographers.

      2. This is a style thing. If you don’t want stylized, serious photos, I’d look for someone else. We picked our photographer because we got along well with him, and it looked like people were having fun in most of his pictures.

      3. Because these are the easy things to photograph. You should look for portfolios that feature the situations you want photographed. Our ultimate photographer showed us lots of photos from different weddings with different lighting situations, which meant I felt comfortable he could handle the low-light in our reception space.

      4. Nope! We are horribly awkward at posed photos so we went to a bar and played pool and then went for a walk along the frozen lakefront. While I love our stylized shoot at the Lyric Opera in our fancy clothes, the pictures that look more like us are from the first half of the shoot.

    • Katharine Parker

      Engagement photo shoots are almost always embarrassing to look at. I hope the people getting those photos like them, but the photos of two people standing far apart in a field holding hands, as he looks at her while she looks at the camera… no thank you.

      • idkmybffjill

        agreed forever.

      • We called them ‘practice photos’ and it really made us feel more comfortable with photos on the day-of.

        But yeah, I don’t even really like looking at my own engagement photos because it just reminds me of how awkward it feels to be in public having photos taken of you…

        • idkmybffjill

          YES ours were so awkward. We did some casual ones at home that we love and then changed to weird fancier clothes which we don’t actually ever wear (like jeans with heels WHY DID I DO THAT) and all the shots from that portion look like promo shots from a crime drama I hate them.

          GREAT practice for the wedding day though, and empowered us to just pose like we wanted/not pose at all instead of waiting for instruction and looking like dumbos.

    • Photographer here!

      1. I post some pricing (although not all the details) on my website, but not a calendar. For me (and uh, my sanity and marriage), I don’t take weddings every weekend, so while I might be free on December 2nd, I’m not *really* free because I’ve already booked the number of weddings I’m taking in December.

      2. …I’ve got nothing. I love happy people too!

      3. We’re conditioned to show a lot of detail photos and things that are the “same” at each wedding, because we’re supposed to appeal to the masses. I’ve submitted AMAZING weddings to blogs, only to have them rejected (not APW) because there are too many photos of the reception and not enough table decor. WTH. And, sadly, a lot of the time, people are taking couples photos during cocktail hour (ie: lawn game time) or at sunset (ie: dancing time). Or they just take crappy dance photos? Or (the horror) don’t like a good dance party?! :(

      4. So fucking awkward. I hate it. Can I say that? I really hate when couples are like “should I just stand here and look at you?” NOOOOOO. I’ve gotten more couples who are wanted to do something “normal” like grab ice cream, or walk the dog.

      • Vanessa

        Your #3 is really good to know re timing, and definitely something I hadn’t thought of. Plus it confirms my thoughts about doing couples photos before the ceremony – because I want pictures of my people having fun! Thanks!!

        • Of course! I’m also a “shooting solo 90% of the time” photographer, since my couples tend to have smaller weddings and a second photographer just gets in the way (I have an assistant to carry stuff), but if there are two photographers, ask if one of them would be taking candid photos.

          And, as hard as it is, make sure when you talk to photographers, that you emphasize that photos of your people are important to you. Personally, I ask my couples what they want, because it matters. And I don’t want to take a million amazing photos of you two, only to have you be like “I really wish I had photos of the beanie baby cornhole toss game (true story — I have photos of this variation from a wedding) instead.”

          • Vanessa

            Ugh yes and thanks for the nudge on emphasizing that. I would be pretty bummed if we got our photos back and half of them were just the two of us.

        • idkmybffjill

          I can’t encourage this choice enough. We did ALL our photos pre-ceremony and I’m so so glad. By the end I was like, “Thank you I am done” and then I could focus ENTIRELY on getting married/having a blast.

    • Em

      Can we just say that 1) should be a given for all wedding vendors? At least in terms of publishing a starting price or range? I feel like a lot of this boils down to trying to make people love your venue or product or photography before they find out it’s not in budget, because I get the impression that a lot of budgets get blown by people making exceptions because they love something out of budget…

  • Anon again

    So… I’m not pregnant. I haven’t officially got my period but the pregnancy test that’s like 99% accurate or w/e was negative. It’s not devastating news, or even necessarily shocking news. It’s just disappointing. But it does mean that I wish the things my body is doing (getting tired really early, and my heart periodically beating really hard), would stop.

    Turns out my best friend from high school is pregnant which is awesome! I’m not yet at the stage that other people getting pregnant is hard, but there are. So. Many. Haha.

    It does help that my husband views it as an eventuality and not an “if” like I do…

    • Just a reminder that you may actually be pregnant but the test not be able to detect your levels yet. You can always visit your doctor for a blood test as well.

    • Danielle

      My husband was also optimistic and I was pessimistic. It really annoyed me at the time (“How do you know it will work? Maybe my body just can’t do this!”), but now I just love him all the more for it.

      FWIW after several tries I am now pregnant and we are both thrilled :)

    • K.

      Even the early response tests sometimes can’t detect until after your missed period; they’re really a misnomer. It’s actually about days past ovulation and what your specific hCG levels are – I didn’t get a positive test until 15 DPO, which was a full one day after my missed period. And if you ovulate late, it can sometimes be even longer after your missed period. You’re not out until you’re out!

      (And if you are out, I’m sorry! It’s frustrating and disappointing to go through that, even if it’s early on.)

    • Ashlah

      I don’t recall your details, so sorry if this doesn’t apply, but my body did a lot of weird stuff the first month off birth control, many of which were similar to pregnancy symptoms (including random increased heart rate, dizziness, changes in my breasts, etc). My period was also a week ‘late’ compared to the Pill schedule, so that was fun. None of those symptoms have happened again yet this month, so I’m hoping it was just part of my body adjusting. Doesn’t make it any easier when you think you might be pregnant and you aren’t, but just letting you know that those things will hopefully go away. If none of this is applicable to you, it might just be that you’re hyper-aware of your body in a way you weren’t before (which I’m also guilty of). Very best of luck.

      • anon again

        im a couple cycles off, but definitely hyper aware of my body I think. It was the first cycle when we did things “right” aka bought a kit, and got busy at the smiley face time etc. so I think I was just over analyzing everything. Like, i normally gain weight 5 days before my period… no weight gain this time, so I though, maybe! but test says no, so I’m going to go with no unless proven otherwise.

    • I’ll echo what everyone else is saying (although I don’t know your specific circumstances) re: lateness. I took 4(3?) tests before getting a positive one, and the first one was the day before my Pill period would have showed up (I was only a couple cycles off the pill, so I had NO clue what my cycle was like. I just tested every day or two, and my period was over a week later than I thought it would be, although I’d been on BC for more than decade, so all I could remember from pre-BC days was long cycles.

    • I have to agree with others here, and I hate to keep hopes up, but I also don’t want you to go home and immediately drown yourself in a bottle of wine (or maybe that was just something I’d do). A lot of those early response tests are kinda BS. I wouldn’t rule out pregnancy until you actually get your period.

      • Totally had a few jello shots and a glass of wine at a birthday party about 3 days before my positive test because I’d had a couple negatives and was 100% sure I wasn’t pregnant. Oops.

      • I was pregnant and didn’t know it on our Italy trip, so my baby was exposed to a lot of cheap Prosecco #whoops

      • anon again

        Lol, definitely not a big drinker in either case, but thanks for looking out ;)

      • LindseyDB

        I wouldn’t worry about anything you drink during the two week wait/before the test turns. The fertilized egg wouldn’t have implanted yet…

    • LindseyDB

      Are you doing Ovulation Predictor tests? Might be helpful, especially if you only recent went off birth control. They will help you determine best days for sex and let you know for sure how far past ovulation you are (and also that you are actually ovulating).

      • anon again

        yup, we did that this month. First one that we have done it, so it’s not like we’ve been trying for years or anything. just disappointing.

  • Anonymoose

    Hi folks, I need some FSIL help (that is, my brother’s fiancee).

    [MoH] I am in her bridal party, but the MoH, rather than making it seem an honor to be a member, seems to be using us as the funding source. She does not want any help with anything, she just wants the money. And she spends it without asking anyone for their budget beforehand. I don’t know if I can afford to split the bride’s airfare, and hotel, and drinks, and meals, on top of my own flights and hotel cost to get to the bachelorette party. Who do I talk to? What do I do? MoH has already booked the hotel for the bachelorette before asking me what I’m comfortable spending. I’m afraid of what else she’s just going to assume we’ll all be willing to pay. I wouldn’t mind doing work (i.e., crafting, purchasing drinks for the shower, etc.). But she doesn’t want that. She just wants money, which I don’t have too much of right now. And it feels awful.

    [FSiL] Secondly, FSIL is throwing a surprise 30th birthday party for my brother and she invited my two other siblings, but not me because I live far away. If I had known a week prior to the party, I could’ve arranged for a company to arrange for my interview to be out there that week, and I’d get free airfare home *and* be able to attend the party. Should I tell her that I want to be invited to my brother’s 40th birthday, regardless of where I live? Should I tell her that if she’s inviting all my other siblings to something, it hurts when I’m the only sibling not invited. What do I say?

    My feelings are hurt, and I know she didn’t do it on purpose. It just feels like FSIL and her friends were raised blissfully ignorantly inconsiderate and I don’t know how to protect my feelings from their future well-intentioned hurtful social blunders.

    • Marcela

      Could you talk to the other bridesmaids and see if maybe others are also feeling the pinch and would be willing to talk to her as a group about setting a budget?

    • Lawyerette510

      Let people know your needs and boundaries. For the MOH tell her what your max all in budget for yourself and chipping in because the bride is and that you cannot exceed it but can offer time/ effort.

      For your FSiL, tell her that you want to be invited to things even if you’re not there because you look over the family and sometimes can make things work if you have notice.

    • Katharine Parker

      As far as the birthday party, I think you should definitely tell her you want to be invited. It’s one thing not to invite you to a casual barbeque, but to a planned surprise party it feels like a slight. Is your FSIL an only child? One of my siblings-in-law is an only, and I find that it means they don’t understand the sibling relationship and (in our specific relationship) they can be threatened by it. It’s exhausting to navigate (not just because of the only child thing–there is a lot there), but as I want to maintain a relationship with my sibling, I keep working on maintaining a relationship with their spouse. Emphasizing that you want to be invited and you’re willing to make an effort to attend events like this, even when they seem logistically difficult, will hopefully help.

      • Anonymoose

        Yeah, FSiL is an only child and doesn’t understand the anything-but-leaving-only-one-sibling-out when there’s 3+ siblings. I *know* she’s not doing it to hurt me, I get that she needs someone to guide her through sibling relationships. But I’m just not sure the best way to do it.

        • Katharine Parker

          This is extra tough because you shouldn’t have to do this work. Your brother should be facilitating it, but for a surprise party it does fall on you. Is one of your siblings closest to her? I would maybe ask one of the invited ones to mention it. “Hey FSIL, it’s so great that you’re planning a party for brother! Have you invited anonymoose? I know she would want to be included!” That might not be possible, though (honestly, in my family the SIL would probably read it as “my in-laws are all talking about me and they don’t trust me to plan this party and they’re conspiring against me” so sometimes you can’t win, but hopefully your FSIL is just clueless, not paranoid).

        • Vanessa

          I’d assume good intentions and give her the benefit of the doubt that if you talk to her, she’ll handle it differently in the future. You could call to talk about wedding stuff and at the end say “Hey just for the future I’d love to be included in something like the surprise party. I’m sure I won’t always be able to make the travel work but this time I could have made it if I had known a week earlier. I appreciate that you were trying to be considerate but it’s tough being the only sibling out here in Far Away Place.”

    • Cleo

      For MOH… seconding Marcela’s advice.

      For FSIL…if it wasn’t a surprise party, I’d advocate for you having your brother talk to her. Because it is, I think the best course of action is to call her (emails can be misinterpreted) and tell her exactly what you wrote here – you love your brother, you’d love to be invited to a party celebrating him, it hurts your feelings to be excluded when the rest of your family isn’t, and that you can sometimes make travel work (and you WANT to!).

      Good luck! I know it’s tough to set boundaries and speak up for yourself (from personal experience), but you can do it, and you might be pleasantly surprised at how accommodating people will be, especially when your requests are reasonable!

    • sofar

      As for the MoH issues, this is NOT going to be easy, but here’s what I’d say: “I’m sorry, MoH, it’s a rough time for me financially right now, and I won’t be able to attend the bachelorette party.” That’s her fault for not planning collaboratively. I’ve been MoH, and I asked everyone what they were comfortable with in advance and worked my ass off to make sure everyone spent even LESS than that.

      It will suck for having to sit out the bachelorette party. But if the bride is a decent person, she won’t hold it against you. When my MoH (my sister) mentioned two of my bridesmaids wouldn’t be at mine, I was like, “OK no problem!”

      You may have to be cool with people being mad at you, though, which is hard.

      • Anonymoose

        Already purchased the plane tickets w. my parents’ help, but MoH waited too long to book the hotel, so the hotel is extra pricey. So I’m already signed up to go, but it’s the expenses she’s going to add onto this (like, she offered to pay for the bride’s airfare without asking any of us, and I’m not sure when that expense is going to drop on me). etc. etc.

        I already told her I won’t be at the bridal shower and gave her a budget for it, despite not being asked for one.

        • Amy March

          Call her and say no! “Hey, just so we are clear, I’m pretty tapped out for this. I don’t know what your plan is, but I am not contributing to the brides airfare.” Which, btw, is completely bonkers.

          • Violet

            Yeah, and unless MOH has access to Anonymoose’s checking account, it’s all fine.

        • sofar

          Ah, yeah, that’s a tricky situation. When she gives you an additional bill, maybe say, “Here’s how much I’m comfortable with putting toward this cost” and give her however much that is. And then add, “Also, let me know if you need any help with logistics and planning. Happy to help!”

          Do you think this is the MoH being insensitive? Or do you think the bride told her to plan a bachelorette trip with such-and-such specifications, and now the MoH is collecting from you guys? This is thoughtless regardless, but curious if the MoH is in a sticky situation herself with the bride being demanding.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      For the MOH, can you politely just tell her, “Hey, with all the travel expenses I have for the wedding, my budget’s pretty stretched. I’m happy to contribute $XXX, and I’d be happy to research some good drink recipes/restaurants/fun games we can play in the hotel”?

      I remember the first wedding I was in, the MOH did all kinds of things like this without checking with the rest of us, who were all 21 and broke. We spent so much more than we should have, and I definitely didn’t have the backbone to speak up like I wish I would have.

  • savannnah

    I’m having some frustrations with my venue and venue assigned coordinator and everyone around me keeps shrugging it off and I don’t know if it’s a big deal or not. We booked a venue 17 months out and got back in contact with them at 10 months out to reconnect and ask for more details on the catering costs, Inn rooms set up and rentals. After two weeks of not hearing back we got an email from another employee of the Inn who informed us that the wedding coordinator we had been working with was now focusing on Inn keeping and that he and another guy would be handling all of the events at the Inn from now on. I was annoyed at this point as I would have very much liked them to proactively reach out to us to let us know of this change and because it took them two weeks to get back to us. They followed up their email with a catering and invoice estimate which showed that they know nothing of any of the planning we had previously done with the original coordinator. I am worried that my assurances from the original coordinator that we didn’t need an outside coordinator are void as these two guys don’t have her wedding experience…are they going to know how long it takes to cut a cake or when something needs my attention or can be delegated to someone else day of? We picked this venue for many reasons, not the least of which was because this wedding coordinator worked with my twin sister and her wife for their wedding at the same place 3 years ago and we knew her well. Parentals and fiancé say its fine, and that this stuff happens but I’m feeling derpy about the whole thing when before I was feeling great.

    • Nell

      We had something similar happen with our caterer. The catering coordinator kept it a secret from us that she had already quit the company, even as she was asking us to send her the deposit check and was talking about planning our wedding menu with us. I wanted to dump them and find a different caterer then and there.

      BUT, in the end, everything was fine. It was rocky, it was frustrating, but going back to the drawing board would have taken more time and energy — and would have made us miserable. You’re still 10 months out – hire a day-of coordinator to deal with all the hiccups that may happen.

  • Trinity

    Husband and I finally scheduled a vacation for ourselves–we’re going to NYC the week before Christmas! Neither of us has ever been, and we thought we should do something that would be more difficult to pull off after we have this baby (23 weeks this week!).

    Any recommendations for sights we should see, food we should eat, etc? We’ll be staying in Brooklyn and Astoria with friends.

    • Danielle

      I personally love walking around the different neighborhoods. I recommend the different Chinatowns for food (Flushing is amazing!) and the museums for art/culture, and walking in the parks (Central or Prospect) if it’s not too cold.

      Also the windows will be up on 5th Avenue and they’re really touristy but pretty :)

      • Lisa

        This is what I was thinking, too. I liked MoMA, but my favorite parts about New York were just walking around in areas that were less touristy and seeing all of the little shops and restaurants. Times Square to me was just a challenge to get through. (I never spent any time there except for getting off the subway to go to my friend’s apartment. She lived in Hell’s Kitchen, and the neighborhood two avenues over was far more interesting than anything I saw in Times Square.)

        I remember seeing a Christmas Market downtown around mid-December. (Maybe near the library?) Something like that could be fun, too.

        • Danielle

          There’s one near Union Square, I wonder if that’s the one you saw.

          Time Out should have listings of all the fun events like that going on now. I no longer live there so am not very current!

        • rg223

          There’s one in Union Square and Bryant Park – the Bryant Park one is bigger, but the Union Square one is more magical!

    • Katharine Parker

      Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is fun. The Frick is my favorite museum in NY–great art, gorgeous house. I would listen to your friends’ recommendations on food. There are so many restaurants, and so many of them are good, and it’s nice to go to neighborhood places. That said, Pok Pok is amazing Thai food, and Sisters is a gorgeous bar in Clinton Hill, if either of those is convenient.

      • Danielle

        SriPraPhai in Woodside has DELISH Thai food!

        God I miss NY.

    • Also seconding the walking recommendation. We really enjoyed the High Line. Also, Russ & Daughters makes for a delish breakfast, and we found it wasn’t crazy busy on an early morning. Also, idk how big you are on natural history, but one of my favorite mornings was doing the Natural History museum and wandering Central Park.

    • NolaJael

      You can score day-of tickets to many Broadway & off Broadway shows by going to the TKTS ticket booth in Times Square (https://www.tdf.org/nyc/7/TKTS-ticket-booths) but go early in the day! They sell out by noon or so. And if you don’t see anything you like or there’s nothing left, you can just go out for a nice meal that night instead!

    • Violet

      If you want a Christmas overload experience, get dinner at Rolf’s. It’s absurd this time of year; so kitschy and fun.
      Consider the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden! Just a quick MetroNorth ride up.
      Plenty of little outdoor Christmas fairs at Bryant Park, Union Square, etc., but they get repetitive, so I’d just pick one.
      I love the Morgan Library, and I second the Frick as well. For something a little different, go to the Neue Galerie and then get a treat at Cafe Sabarsky.

    • rg223

      Astoria specific recommendations – Museum of the Moving Image (a movie museum), Queens Comfort (comfort food), Taverna Kyclades (Greek – though expect a wait), Singlecut (a brewery, if you’re okay with that while pregnant), Martha’s Country Bakery. Check out Astoria Park if the weather is nice! I think the others covered my top Manhattan places.

    • Trinity

      Thanks, all! I’m so excited for this trip, and I hadn’t heard of most of your recommendations.

  • flashphase

    We are 7 weeks out (eeeeeeeeeeeek). RSVPs are coming in! On the other hand, there is so much to do All The Time! I feel like I have the details under control but it’s still a lot. My parents have been helpful with small tasks, but his mom… well, let’s just say he had a conversation with his mom where he told her that her job was to not make anything worse/more stressful. Sigh. Trying to keep my eyes on the prize here!

    We are not at this stage, but for those of you trying to get pregnant or doing IVF, I’ve been loving this podcast (Doree is a buzzfeed writer)
    https://art19.com/shows/matt-and-dorees-eggcellent-adventure

  • lizzers

    Long time lurker, very infrequent commenter: We got married three weeks ago and are back from two weeks in Spain and Morocco! I feel like every piece of advice I read from all of you on this site turned out to be wise and honest and applicable and perfect, so THANK YOU. ALL OF YOU.

    I am happy to recommend: restaurant weddings, HIRING A DAY OF COORDINATOR, telling your band to play pretty much exclusively Motown, skipping having a bridal party, bachelorette party slap bracelets, making a price drop alert for BHLDN’s website, making your own bouquet and doing your own makeup (thanks APW tutorials!), taking Nyquil the night before (should have done this one), using Uber to get around, having a friend as the officiant, ordering three cake flavors and eating them all.

    • Marcela

      Congratulations! It sounds like you had a fantastic wedding :)

    • Jess

      Congrats!

    • Gaby

      dawww, congrats!

    • Yeah, our DJ played, like, 75% Motown. It’s really a good way to go.

      • idkmybffjill

        same! My husband made our playlists and was like, “Heads up I included a ton of Motown.” I was like… perfect I love you.

        • My husband made our do-not-play-list, and it included every wedding you ever hear at a wedding. The only two common ones that missed the list were ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ (husband is a PK) and ‘Shout’. So…non-wedding-related Motown made the rest of the filler, lol.

          • idkmybffjill

            Shout should be played at weddings. It just rules, the end. :)

          • I’ve never met a person more vehemently opposed to the electric slide. And ‘Shout’ barely passed muster.

          • idkmybffjill

            Ha!

    • Cellistec

      Bachelorette party slap bracelets! Yes!

    • BSM

      Hell yeah restaurant weddings and DOCs!! Congrats!

  • Jess

    Guys, I’m so not sure who I can even talk to about this, so I’m bringing it here. (I do know, it’s just I couldn’t get an appointment with my therapist until Thursday next week)

    Last week, I hit a deep emotional low just in time to be travelling for Thanksgiving to R’s family.

    After many situations where I felt like I wasn’t ____ enough (talkative/open/eating/enthusiastic/whatever), in part due to R’s mom’s many comments (not exclusively to me, but also not not to me), I broke.

    I had too many people trying to be to close to me (I don’t like being casually touched by literally anybody who isn’t R. Like… not my own mother or previous romantic partners). I had too many people trying to do things for me (I am capable of a wide variety of tasks, such as getting my own coat and carrying my own suitcase). I had too many times where people were looking at me to be enthusiastic or pleased and I just couldn’t. Not because they weren’t good enough, but because I was expending all my energy to be at a normal base level of socially acceptable happiness and didn’t have anything to spare for pretending to be very excited about something I don’t understand.

    I tried to fake it. I tried not to shudder so much when R’s mom one-arm hugged me in the middle of conversations or patted my arm. I tried to be agreeable, but when they threw out things we were going to do, I wasn’t enthusiastic enough and they called me on it (“We can do something else if you want… we already bought tickets and thought it would be a nice thing to do.”) I felt ashamed and got flustered and made things worse and accused R of not letting me know (I also hate surprises) (Except, I later remember he *did* let me know, and I just threw him under the bus without cause). I tried to let R’s mom buy me an expensive thing (that I didn’t dislike, but don’t particularly need) because she wanted to do something for me, only to have it backfire because it was broken and everyone crowded around me trying to fix it. I yelled at everybody to back off and stop touching me. I ended up retreating to the bedroom and sobbing.

    The whole time I was the person in the wrong, and even then, I knew it but I couldn’t stop myself. Why is letting people be kind to me so hard?!

    TLDR: I can’t family, and I’m the worst.

    • Cdn icecube

      Hey, you’re not the worst. You recognized when you had hit your limit. That’s ok, everyone has one and a lot of the time we don’t react the best when we hit it. So don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s ok.

    • Lisa

      That sounds like an awful lot! I like my ILs, and I was at a breaking point when we stayed with them for 10 days last Christmas. Do they know that you don’t like to be touched? Maybe R could communicate that to them if they don’t? I’m sure they wouldn’t want you to feel physically uncomfortable in their home!

      • Jess

        They do now (I may have sob-yelled it…). R didn’t even really know, because usually I’m good at just standing far away from other people. He was great, and when he came up after I ran out he said, “I would really like to give you a hug. Would it be ok?” and took my “No, not right now.” very well.

        It’s hard, because everything they’re doing is generally trying to be warm and welcoming, and I’m not sure how to ask R to tell his family not to do that?

        • Amy March

          I think maybe that’s where looking at it differently potentially could help, and hopefully your therapist might be able to reorient the strategy. “Please stop being so loving” isn’t going to work, but maybe other strategies would? Like planning ahead for solid alone time- if you start your day with a long solo walk to a coffee shop and meet up with people a bit later, you might be the mental reserves to handle them until post-lunch, when you’ll be taking a half hour in your room to rest, and maybe you’ll be emailing back and forth a bit more of a schedule before hand so you know what activities are on the agenda and be ready for the day.

          • Jess

            Planning ahead for alone time in a concrete way would be very effective.

            They tend to not be very planning oriented, but R and I are working to get a better idea of what we’d be doing. I may start having us use a google doc to keep track, even if it’s just to notify him that I want to run at X time and then he can empower me to go do that.

        • rg223

          Are you familiar with love languages? It seems like your husband’s family is very into physical touch as a sign of love, and you are not. Maybe your husband could talk to key family members and frame it as “Jess shows love in [whatever love language you’re cool with], and doesn’t like to be touched, so a better way to connect with her is _____.”

    • Amy March

      Wait, no. You weren’t in the wrong all the time. You were struggling! You were trying.

      • Jess

        Thank you. It really feels like I was shutting down people who were trying to care for me, which is kind of what was happening, but I was also not doing it on purpose!

    • Rosie

      I think you can be kinder to yourself here! Even if they mean well they weren’t being observant of when to give you space, checking if you were ok, or taking cues from you on how to behave. They could have been more considerate.

    • Gaby

      Be kind to yourself! I know you came to vent and aren’t looking for advice, but when you’re ready it might help to reach out to his mom? It sounds like his family has good intentions, so maybe explaining that you appreciate their efforts but were just overwhelmed. It might help both parties to feel understood.

      • Jess

        Advice is good! I would like to be able to say something to reach out, but I have no idea how to start with that.

        Like, how do you tell somebody, “Hey, thank you for being a warm and welcoming MIL. I really appreciated that you’re trying to make me feel like a part of the family. I’m actually made very uncomfortable by actions that are warm and welcoming, and families make me nervous, so could you maybe just ignore me? That would be great…”

        • Gaby

          Hahaha I can see how that can be hard to phrase. Idk, I think I wouldn’t even focus too much on explaining myself if I were in your shoes. I’d just try to really get across that I was grateful and don’t want them to feel unappreciated. I’d definitely mention that I’m very sensitive about personal space and touching, but I feel like the tone can just be “I appreciate your kindness and understand while I’m still adjusting to being welcomed so welcomed into a family.”

          This is probably easier said than done from someone totally removed from the situation, but there’s my unsolicited advice :)

        • Danielle

          Captain Awkward has some good scripts on not hugging and setting boundaries in general. Here is one: https://captainawkward.com/2013/02/08/444-do-we-hug-because-my-feeling-is-that-no-we-dont/

          I also wonder if it would be helpful to have your husband run interference and let key family members, like his mom, know in advance of the next gathering: “Hey, Jess doesn’t like too much hugging or personal contact, it’s just one of her preferences.” Like letting people know ahead of time you’re a vegetarian or something, and adjust accordingly.

    • Violet

      Awww, try not to beat yourself up about it! You did your best! I’m sure your therapist will help with specifics, but I think it’s less about asking them to act differently (though with physical touching I say you’re allowed to say “please don’t do that”) and more about setting expectations with them. “I know one of the ways you show affection is X, and while I appreciate it, I might not respond the way you’d expect or like. I care about you, but it’s just part of who I am. Maybe instead sometimes we could Y.” And then see where that goes.

  • Cdn icecube

    Eeek we are going ring shopping on Sunday! I had previously picked out a ring that I saw once and loved, but now we are making a full afternoon out of it to see if it’s actually THE ONE. Any tips, suggestions etc for shopping? Or conversely.. any places a person should 100% avoid? I’ve done some research but it’s still a little overwhelming to think about. Happy Friday!

    • Katharine Parker

      This is the comment I have been waiting my life to respond to (or at least the last 6 months as I’ve learned a ton about ring shopping). If you are interested in diamonds, I love the advice of the Diamond Pro (diamonds.pro). They have guides to diamonds, review jewelers, have a ton of experience in the diamond industry, and will give you suggestions for diamonds online if you write in asking with your budget and wants, for free, as they get paid by their affiliates. I found their advice helpful and legit.

      Generally, avoid chain jewelers–the prices are high, the quality is poor, the service is usually poor. The best prices on diamonds and rings are going to be online. James Allen and Blue Nile are usually good. Brian Garvey is good for round diamonds. If you want to go local, you will pay a premium on the ring, but hopefully you will get good service and good quality. Do your research ahead of time so you can evaluate whether the salesperson is legit or not (eg not all diamond certifications are alike). We bought a diamond online (james allen), then had a custom designed ring from a local place. The process has been great (my ring isn’t ready yet or I would include a photo :), and we saved big by getting the diamond online. I wanted initially to do everything locally but this felt like the best compromise, and now we’re going to get our wedding bands at the same local place.

      • Cdn icecube

        Would you suggest that we find a style I like instore and then order it online, or just buying the diamond online and getting it set in store? I’ve heard good things about James Allen and blue Nile, but unless I’m mistaken I think their prices are in usd which would make it more expensive to order online than Purchase in store?

        • Katharine Parker

          I’m in the US so I can’t speak to pricing across currencies or paying duty taxes, but generally the selection of diamonds is going to be better online, but the options for ring designs are going to be fewer. Going to a true custom jeweler is going to give you more options for ring design (they can do anything), but the diamond selection will be smaller and the prices higher (they’re paying for overhead that is avoided online). That said, you may love one of the online styles, and I think generally they are good quality and well priced from both those places.

          If you want to avoid duty taxes, here is someone who send their ring to a fedex in Maine and drove to get it: https://www.diamonds.pro/2009/09/08/canadian-needs-help-getting-diamond-under-budget-avoiding-canadian-vat-customs/ I’m not necessarily advocating for this, but it might be an option to consider?

          • Jenn

            I went to a local jeweler that my family has been using for years. Since he’s across state lines he told me to ship it to the house so that we wouldn’t have to pay taxes XD

        • Not Sarah

          We’re in the US, but we bought mine on James Allen and I love it! I really enjoyed not dealing with pressurey sales people too.

    • Hayley

      My number one suggestion is try everything on. Even the styles that you hate. I know so many people who hated particular styles until they tried them on and then loved them. Also, I suggest walking around the store, particularly over to the windows to see what it looks like when no being blasted with jewelry store light. Also, if they allow it, take a million pictures, when you go home it’s really hard to remember all the details.

      • Cdn icecube

        I wouldn’t have thought about looking at rings in different lights. That’s an excellent idea!

  • Laura C

    Is anyone else running into trouble with APW/Disqus running slowly this week? Every other site is fine for me but typing comments has been like mud. (Although now that I’m writing a comment about it, things are moving a little better. Of course.)

    • Jess

      I have had to refresh the site to load new comments for the last few weeks…

    • Ashlah

      For at least a week now, I’ve had trouble opening APW articles. The browser just spins and spins and won’t open the page. I can’t stop or refresh, I have to close the tab and try again. After a few times, it will eventually work. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I have Ad Block on or not. Once the page opens, though, it seems to run fine.

  • Alli

    Does anyone have any advice for how to host your family for Christmas without dropkicking everyone in the face?

    Okay I’m not that stressed, but I just found out my house might be the only viable option for Christmas this year, and I just moved into it a little over a month ago. I don’t know what I’m doing! It would be like 20 people. HALP.

    • idkmybffjill

      I don’t have good advice but when it’s at your house you’ll know all the good places to hide! Good luck!!!

      • Alli

        LOL I always say my cat and I are so similar because we both hide when there’s a lot of people over!

        • idkmybffjill

          I’ve cultivated a reputation as an “early to bed” person. Which is also just true… I like to go to bed early, but it has served me VERY well with stressful house guests. I just “go to bed” when I need to be alone!

    • Rosie

      Delegate like hell! For something like xmas you can get people to really muck in: cook food, lay the table, clear up, entertain kids, the lot!

    • Cdn icecube

      Can you ask people to help you? Ie. can you bring: potatoes, or salad, or a cheese plate? Also I’m a huge advocate of making things in advance and freezing them and/or outsourcing to Costco. That’s what I’ve done in the past and it’s helped. Plus the standby one glass of wine per hour of cooking.

      If you’re buzzed… you’re probably less stressed.

    • Gaby

      I recently hosted Friendsgiving for 15 and my advice is 1. Delegate! Don’t be shy to get the conversation started about who’s bringing what to make it clear that you’re not planning on providing all the food yourself. 2. Trader Joe’s has flowers and easy finger foods that you can put out to look like you’ve got life figured out. 3. Champagne + cranberry juice in a pitcher filled with fresh cranberries looks festive and also like you’ve got life figured out.

      • Jane

        Someone called that champagne and cranberry juice combo a poinsettia earlier this week – which I thought was a great name. And having a great name for your cocktail also makes it seem figures out.

        • Gaby

          Ooh that is a great name, I’m totally going to steal that.

    • emilyg25

      Decide what you want to make, print out your recipes and make a game plan so you can cook whatever possible ahead. I started prepped for Thanksgiving three weeks out. (I don’t delegate, haha.)

    • a single sarah

      If at all possible, have a few different spaces where people can hang out–kitchen vs den. But also, you just moved. No shame in boxes still hanging out if that’s where they are.

    • Kate

      I hope by hosting you mean just for events and they won’t be staying with you in the house? Because I know half my family is very in favor of staying with relatives even when it inconveniences everyone and is no longer fun. You can say “sorry, only have capacity for X number of people. Here are some hotels or Airbnbs nearby.” If you just mean hosting dinner (which yeah, stressful enough on it’s own)….
      -throw money at a cleaning service
      -ask local people to bring chairs or folding tables or even champagne glasses/plates/other dishware

      -assign side dishes to other people (or even the main course)

      -if you haven’t delegated them, make as many dishes ahead of time as possible
      -if you are hosting side events like Christmas Eve or Christmas breakfast, make a one-dish meal (like strata!) or buy tamales/pastries/sandwiches elsewhere. Don’t try to tackle TWO huge home cooked meals
      -if your people won’t be aghast, use compostable plates (the bamboo ones might feel fancy enough)
      -don’t assign anything important to people who are perpetually late

    • NolaJael

      I think an end time is really important when hosting a big group. Yes, there’s something lovely about lingering in deep meaningful conversation, but a lot of the time as the hostess I’m pooped and ready for people to leave! So I’d suggest having an “after party” plan, something like: “Dinner is from 1-5, then we’re all going to see the 6pm showing of X at the movie theater!” or “Dinner is from 5-9, then we have to put little Jonny to bed, but everyone can head over to X for an after dinner cocktail.” Your participation in the after party is totally optional. ;)

    • CP2011

      I’ve found that people give you a free pass on just about anything related to home decor and organization if you’ve moved in the last 6 months. I don’t know your family, but they might even be expecting to see things in boxes given how recently you’ve moved in.

  • toomanybooks

    We got our wedding rings and my fiancée’s wedding dress in the mail! The wedding rings look good, but the band is a bit “thicker” than the one on my engagement ring and the edges of the band are sharper. I wonder, if I took it to a jeweler could they sort of round out the inner edges for a more comfortable fit? (It feels just a bit tighter than my engagement ring too.)

    My fiancée tried on her dress last night and it’s goooooorgeous, like I’d probably steal it except the cut of the dress and the coverage are not what work for me – but look suuuuper good and flattering on her. She ordered the dress in the biggest size they had left in white, and it’s a little tight but will probably be fine by the time the wedding rolls around. And even with that you can tell it’s perfect on her! It’s from David’s Bridal (we didn’t go, just ordered online during a sale the past weekend) and even though I didn’t think we’d have any luck there, the dress just seems so luxurious and detailed.

    • emmers

      I feel like kr it doesn’t hurt to go to a jeweler and ask about your ring& the changes you want. And congratulations!!

    • Sparkles

      We had our rings made by a local jeweller and he’s been really happy to fiddle around with them so we’re happy with them. I had to get mine sized and now almost three years later I’m starting to develop a nickle allergy and he’d going to get my rings plated in platinum for me. It totally doesn’t hurt to ask!

  • Alexandra

    Hey APW-ers, a couple of weeks ago on Happy Hour there was a recommendation to read the series that Call the Midwives is based on by Jennifer Worth. I got the books from the library and devoured the first one. Wanted to say that it was GREAT, EXCEPT…

    Ok, there’s this horrible chapter about a prostitute with a pornographic sex scene described in graphic detail. I found it very triggering and it has been bothering me for several days. That’s just me; I tend to be squeamish around weird/traumatizing sex scenes, but my little PSA is that if you also find graphic scenes of not-so-nice sex to be triggering/difficult, skip that chapter. The rest of the book was great.

    Amy March, you were right: darker than the BBC series. But in some ways better.

    • Alexandra

      Oh, also: I tried to watch the new PBS Anne of Green Gables and it was pretty terrible. I didn’t make it past the first 30 minutes. Martin Sheen as Matthew? Really?

      • rg223

        Oh ugh, it was awful, you did not miss anything!!

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        Oh, it was bad. It was visually pretty, but a huge YAWN.

    • Amy March

      So much darker! But I’m glad you mostly liked it.

  • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

    How do you get exercise when you have no time and don’t like exercising? Since I stopped being a SAHM to start working at a desk full-time, only 4 months ago, I’ve gained weight, my clothes aren’t fitting as well, etc. If I keep this up my health is going to go downhill fast. But I’ve never been able to maintain an exercise routine, because I don’t like “getting exercise” (e.g. taking fitness classes, doing yoga, running). It hasn’t ever mattered, because my whole adult life until recently, I’ve lived in cities, commuted by public transit or biked to work, lived in walk-ups, etc. Staying reasonably fit just happened, because my activity was part of my lifestyle. Now I live in the suburbs, drive to work, climb a staircase maybe 2 days/week. When I was a SAHM, my toddler and would explore the neighborhood for hours at a time (just strolling, not walking for exercise), ran most of our errands on foot, and I was just on my feet with a toddler most of the day. Still worked to keep me reasonably fit. Now I can’t imagine taking the remaining 30 minutes of my time that is mine to enjoy (my lunch break, which I am able to spend on hobbies sometimes) and using it to do something I find as unpleasant as running. Or taking the 3 fragmented hours I get to spend with my kid and cutting it in half to go to the gym before or after work. Or getting up earlier to exercise after being up until midnight cooking, cleaning, etc. because that’s the only time it can get done. I literally can’t figure out a way to incorporate exercise into my life that I will enjoy. (And I enjoy so little of my time these days that I’m not willing to do more things that I don’t enjoy.) But I’m afraid if I don’t it will be bad for mental and physical health. I’m struggling overall with adjusting to working full-time again, because it makes everything else in my life suck.

    • What about getting a fitbit? I’m terrible about exercise, although I love my yoga, and even just remembering to get up from my desk every hour for a lap around the house (I work from home) helps.

      I know it’s winter and gross (where I am), but when the weather gets nicer, you could start taking the kiddo for walks after work and just chat together about your days and what you did? Fresh air + kid time + fitness?

      • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

        I am intrigued by a FitBit or pedometer. I had been thinking if that myself. As for walks after work, they’re not really feasible on a regular basis. Home by 5:30, need dinner on the table by 6 for a shot at starting bedtime by 7, which is when it needs to happen. It’s the whole “no time” thing.

        • Dang it, that is tight. :(

    • I know you said your lunch break is sometimes used for hobbies, but maybe that can happen in the evenings? I just ask because I use my lunch break to take a 30 min walk each day and its really great. Not just for “exercise” but to get my heart rate up and step away from the computer for a little break midday. It’s really enjoyable, and something I really miss when I don’t get it.

      • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

        No. I have a kid.

        • Amy March

          Does that kid go to bed? Can you do hobby then? If exercise is something you think your life needs, at some point something has to give. Walking during your lunch break three days a week and doing hobby 2 doesn’t sound like a terrible plan. Or, walk every Wednesday at lunch and get a long walk in Saturday and Sunday.

          • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

            Eventually, but bedtime is one of our current struggles, and typically takes one parent until pretty close our own bedtime, anyway (if only because we fall asleep in his room before he does half the time) while the other spends the whole night cleaning, prepping breakfast/lunch/dinner for tomorrow, picking up the house, occasional work, etc. until we both collapse into bed at the end. I know bedtime is something need to work on, but so is everything else (adjusting to daycare, weaning, potty training, etc.) and you can only change so many things on a kid at once.

    • Ashlah

      This depends on what your work area is like, but I always take a walk on my lunch break. When it’s nice enough, I walk at the park nearby. When it’s not, I walk around the indoor mall nearby. I often choose a meal I can eat while I walk, so I can spend more time walking.

      • Ashlah

        And/or would a sit/stand desk be an option at all? Less standing is good, and I sometimes walk in place to get my (FitBit-encouraged) steps in.

        • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

          I can walk, it’s just the issue of losing the only time I get to spend like I want to doing something I don’t want to do :/

        • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

          Oh, but I am intrigued by a standing desk. But how does that work? I don’t have my own office, I work in a cubicle. I’d have to buy or build one myself, and get my job to remove my current desk?

          • BSM

            We had these at my last office, which you just set on top of your existing desk: http://www.varidesk.com/

            They’re $175, so kinda pricey, but maybe your company would put a little towards it?

          • Ashlah

            I have one that sits on top of my existing desk (it’s a Varidesk brand), and I think there are a lot of options that work the same way. The tricky part will be whether your work will allow it. They might argue it’s a distraction to your co-workers or something. Definitely worth asking! I love mine.

    • Nicole

      Any chance you could bike commute? That’s where I get most of my exercise these days, though I know it is very dependent on what you need to do before/after work, how far work is, and the infrastructure in your town. I use an electric assist bike which helps me do it more frequently and overcome some challenges (I live pretty far away for bike commuting) and I still get a lot more exercise in my life than if I were driving/taking transit.

      • Lisa

        One of my favorite things about my current job was that it allowed me to walk or bike the two mile commute to work. If public transit is an option in the OP’s area, just walking to the train or bus station might be an option even if commuting the whole way by bike or foot isn’t.

      • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

        I could, if I could ever get my bike fixed, but I wouldn’t be comfortable biking with my toddler on those roads. I’d probably have to leave an extra 20-30 minutes early, dumping the hardest part of the day (getting the 2-year-old out the door and dropped off at daycare) on my husband. Currently we do it together, and it doesn’t seem right to bow out unilaterally.

        This is the idea I’m currently most attached to, but that’s because I get all the benefit and my husband gets all the burden.

        • Jenny

          Maybe you could do it 2x a week that way it’s not ditching your husband all the time, but there are probably at least 2x every week when the reverse is true.

        • Nicole

          Maybe a couple times a week you could bike and he could take care of things and then a couple times you could take care of the morning stuff and he could bike/walk/go to the gym so you both get some exercise in?

        • Lisa

          Have you asked your husband how he would feel about it and shared your concerns? I would have the same worry about keeping things egalitarian, but I have a feeling that he would tell me to put my health first or be willing to compromise on a certain number of times per week. Conversations are great because then you get to make decisions with all of the information instead of just half!

    • Gaby

      Do you get fifteen minute breaks during your shift, separately from the lunch break? I feel like the half hour goes by too fast to do anything but eat, but my coworkers and I go for walks around the building twice a day during the 15 minute breaks we’re allotted. I can’t relate to how hard it must be as a working mom, but I’ve recently burnt out on my usual 1.5 hour long sessions at the gym 3x a week. The cold weather makes me dread leaving the house, so I started slow with 15 minute yoga videos here and there and it’s been helping me get motivated again. Now sometimes when I get home I immediately find a 20 minute work out or get on the stationary bike for a few songs. I feel like the more I do it, the more motivation I’m finding.

    • Jessica

      This may not be the best answer for you & your life, but I would look at reducing caloric intake so you don’t have to feel guilty if you don’t get some exercise in. Obviously, moving your body is healthier, but if you cannot find the time or motivation, reducing how much you eat and drink can help manage the difference.

      Again, this is just a suggestion and by no means am I advocating any diet or lifestyle without exercise.

      • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

        That would probably be helpful, but I get so hungry all the time! I snack at least every 2 hours. I get very bad headaches if I let myself get hungry. I can’t tell if my appetite just hasn’t caught up with my reduced energy needs (from both working and weaning recently) or what. I’m out of commission all afternoon from killer headaches if I let myself get hungry and don’t eat. I eat reasonably healthy, though.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I have been feeling this frustration lately too and I don’t even have a kid, so kudos to you! I just wanted to make a plug for, yes health is important and exercise is good, but you sound like you’re being a little hard on yourself. Maybe you need some more time to adjust to working full-time again (which is a BIG DEAL and super impressive!) before you start worrying about working out?

      I do support the other suggestions here like going for walks or biking, and I also think that being more active might help you feel less stressed. Maybe you’ll find a type of exercise that doubles as fun at some point. But you sound like a superhero to me, so please give yourself some credit for how much you’ve already got going on. I really hope things improve for you soon!

      • anachronismsarah

        Right! In the grand scheme of things, 4 months is a *very* short adjustment period for something as big as the way your life works. Give yourself some grace!

    • p.

      You mention that you used to walk around with your kid and bike/walk
      to work, so it sounds to me like you DO know how to incorporate exercise into
      your life – and it seems like exercise works best for you when it’s part of
      your routine and not something that you have to find ‘extra’ time for.

      Given that, maybe you could use a part of your time off with your kid to walk
      around the neighborhood? Maybe even just once or twice a week? Or if you are
      making time to be with your spouse or meet up with a friend, could you suggest
      that the two of you go on a walk together?

      My two cents is to start small (ie, walking, not running), and look for ways
      for exercise to be rewarding and not punishing. Maybe you even have an
      “appointment” once a week or once a month that gives you a little more time (to
      use however you wish)?

    • AGCourtney

      How old is your kid? I’ve often taken walks with my daughter. When I was a single mom, she would do my workout videos with me – she had little jars of baby food for weights and did her best to follow along and/or coach me, haha. It sounds like finding enjoyable ways to incorporate physical activity into your time with your kid might be a good option for you.

      Edit: just read your response to someone, two years old. My suggestion would be taking a walk outside after dinner, that was a habit we had at that age that I should actually start up again!

      • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

        2.5. -P some of the problem is that we’ve transitioned from a toddler who runs full speed while I chase him to a toddler who moves so slow he’s practically going backwards. Which is paradoxically more exhausting, but definitely not as much of a workout. If I had 15 minutes to squeeze in a walk, we’d get as far as the neighbor’s driveway.

        • AGCourtney

          stroller?

    • emilyg25

      I don’t. I also have the 5:30 home-6 dinner-7 bed schedule. It just ain’t happening. I try to tell myself that this is a season of my life and I’ll get back to it.

      • Can’tRemembertheNameIUsedtoUse

        And we’re home by 5:30! Intellectually I know that my schedule is so much better than those of so many other parents who with longer hours, but I’m barely surviving and don’t know how anyone else does it.

    • emmers

      You said you take your lunch break for hobbies, so not sure that this would fit in. I’ve recently been taking brief walks in my lunch hour. It’s not perfect, but it is activity. And I’m not using it now, but there’s a 7 minute workout app I’ve used in the past (that’s the title). I think it was $5 or $3 or something, and it’s all simple stuff like squats- all stuff that have been researched to be good for you. Occasionally I’d do two cycles but typically I figured 7 minutes was better than nothing!

    • Couch bound

      I am a big fan of the 7 minute work out app. It’s hard to say you don’t have 7 minutes. And, I’ve gone through phases of cutting out sugar or alcohol just because I can’t fit in the exercise. Good luck!

  • joanna b.n.

    To a boring December! My goal for the month is to spend most of my non-working time at home, with my hubby and cats, getting my SHIT TOGETHER. Which looks like watching Netflix, sipping holiday cocktails, and the occasional house project, to be clear.

  • It’s officially the “month when I’m having a baby” and I finished up all my necessary work for 2016, so now I’m just hoping to get all those stuff I’ve neglected for the past 6-9 months off my plate before this baby arrives.

    Also: hospital bags. What do I pack? I haven’t done it yet (37+ weeks right now) and I probably should.

    • flashphase

      whoa – congrats!

      • Thanks! I’m still trying to figure out where the rest of this year went. It’s December??

    • LT

      Good luck! I did not use 3/4 of what I brought in my hospital bag. Things I DID use: drinking straws and gatorade, a lightweight robe and black lounge-y pants, lip balm, a way to play music and headphones. Things I really did NOT need: an extra pillow. It just took up space.

      • Are you normally a drinking out of a straw person? Because a friend mentioned a cup with a straw, and I never use them, but now I’m wondering if it’s something useful? Hmmm.

        Taking notes, thanks!!

        • LT

          Nope, not a straw person generally! But they are handy if you are reclining or if someone needs to hold a cup for you.

          • Nicole

            I was never a drinking straw person and then I had surgery and the cup with the straw was AMAZING. Since then I actually switched to a tumbler with a straw for by water by the bed because it’s just so much better when you’re laying down and thirsty. I still never use them when I’m upright but I agree, straws are awesome in cases where you’re in bed at all.

        • Gina

          They give you one at the hospital. Every inpatient hospital stay I’ve ever had, I get one. Haha! Also things they give you: mesh underwear, pads, cooling pads and spray, pretty much everything for down there–hoard that stuff and take it with you. Seriously, you’ve already paid for it.

        • emilyg25

          You drink way more when you use a straw and when you breastfeed, you’re thirsty as fuck, especially at first when your supply is setting up.

    • I also haven’t packed my bag (or installed the car seat) and I’m 36wks, so thanks for asking the question! I’m going to try to tackle both of those things this weekend.

      • We took advantage of a warm and dry Sunday to vacuum up all the insane amounts of dog fur that accumulated in our car and installed our seat. It’s the strangest thing, seeing it every time I get in there. O.o

      • Jenny

        My husband went out and installed ours the day we took our kiddo home from the hospital (and I delivered 1 day early) so I mean it’s not a huge deal if it’s not installed, we just kept it un installed in the car. So no worries if you feel like not doing that this weekend. Also when you pack your bag, make a list that goes in or on the bag of grab as we leave the house items (like phones and chargers and toiletries) that you can’t really just have in a bag for 3-5 weeks.

        • Thank you! Those are some great suggestions :-)

    • Sarah

      Body lotion and hair conditioner! Mine was differnent in that I used a free standing birth center so it was a shorter stay but they didn’t have the cafeteria, gift shop, etc. And do that car seat….I went into labor at 36.5 weeks thinking I had “plenty” of time.

      • Car seat is in! Got that in last weekend (at 36.5 weeks).

    • JSK

      You won’t need any underwear! That’s the good news ?

      Clothing Mom:
      I wore hospital gowns the whole time I was there and didn’t need the yoga pants, tanks, and nursing bras I’d packed until we left. I’d also purchased a fancy hospital gown but didn’t end up using that until I came home. I think I packed maternity jeans but def didn’t wear them. My “going-home” outfit was maternity yoga pants, nursing bra, tank, and a loose cardigan.
      Flip flops or loose shoes – my feet were swollen af for the 2 weeks post baby and I couldn’t wear anything besides my tevas.

      Clothing Baby:
      You know all those cute coordinated outfits everyone buys with matching hats? No. Get the kid a button- or zip-up infant gown or footie in both newborn and 3 month sizes. You can learn how to dress a newborn in the privacy of your own home.
      Bring 1-2 blankets.
      Make sure car seat is installed (properly).

      Bath:
      I brought all my normal toiletries and it was nice to feel like a real person during that first shower. I have travel sized everything from my road warrior days and those take up less space. Don’t forget fingernail clippers, moisturizers, and stuff like that.

      Devices/Tech:

      Bring your breast pump from home if you’ll have it by then (my insurance wouldn’t send me one until post-birth).

      We brought portable speakers for the delivery room. Extra phone chargers. Kindle/Ipad/Tablet. We brought our DSLR and didn’t take a single picture with it (YMMV since you’re a photog, right? :))

      Food:
      We had so many snacks – candy, chips, nuts, etc. The patient food at my hospital was actually really good, but they didn’t feed my husband, so he munched on the snacks when he couldn’t escape the hospital.

      Etc:
      My husband ended up using the extra pillow we packed, so it was good for something.

      Good luck over the next few weeks!

      • These are all fantastic things to remember, thank you!!

        We were just talking about the DSLR. I’m debating whether I’ll bring it (may have it in an extra bag that the husband can grab when he goes home to “introduce” baby to the pets with a blanket, because I feel like I’ll probably be too tired to want to grab it? I am the worst, I take tons of photos of my couples, but rarely pull it out at home. Maybe the baby will change that!

        My insurance also won’t send me a pump until after, but maybe I can call them now and get everything set up, so I just have to call and let them know I had the baby? Something to add to my to do list!

        • i brought the dslr but was too tired to contemplate taking photos at the hospital. which i regret. i didn’t have the energy for “good” photos until day 3 or day 5, and no one got any decent photos of me and the baby until two months. i kept telling myself “there’s time for this later,” but i so wish i had more photos of those first days!

    • Gina

      Snacks snacks snacks SNACKS. For you and everyone who will be supporting you haha. I got my favoritest things from Trader Joe’s and it was a lifesaver, both during labor and later when I was hungry but didn’t want anything from the hospital cafeteria. Also those Clif gummy things are so energizing when you are far enough in labor to not really want to eat.

      I didn’t worry too much about clothes and it was pretty much a non-issue because I decided I wanted to be totally naked for most of labor and just wore a zip-up sweatshirt (for nursing) and sweatpants the rest of the time. Oh, slippers are nice. Little nightgowns with the elastic skirt thing for baby make for easy diaper changes. Also a sign for the outside of your room that says “I’m sleeping, leave me the EFF alone” is really helpful.

      • “I’m sleeping leave me the EFF alone” <— YES.

        I love Trader Joe's for snacks in general, and I'm going to grab some of those Clif gummy things, I know my mom uses them when she runs races!

        • Jenny

          Our hospital had DND signs, but didn’t tell me until after! the nurse had come in and woken me up during my nap.

    • Jenny

      Here is what I brought (I’ve noted where I didn’t use stuff). I’ll also say we packed a hospital bag, and a car bag (which just stayed in the car with stuff in case I wanted it, like the nursing pillow), I would recommend that strategy as it’s generally easier to not have to bring a ton of stuff in when you are in labor. Also, if you know people who have given birth at your hospital it’s worth checking what they supply.

      Hospital bag

      Comfy Robe (didn’t use at hospital- I just lived in the hospital gown for delivery and the hospital breastfeeding gown post delivery, but we also didn’t have anyone visit us in the hospital)
      Laptop with movies (we watched during labor)
      Nursing tanks (didn’t use)
      Lifesavers (didn’t use)
      Non skid socks/(fuzzy) (YES! I mean they give hospital socks, but I loved my own non skid slippers)
      Lanolin/cream (Bring nipple cream to hospital!!)
      Ear plugs (yes! great for a day nap while partner watches baby or for partner if they are sleeping at hospital)
      Chapstick (didn’t use)
      Glasses/contact case/contact solution
      Toothbrush/toothpaste
      Phone
      Charger
      Shampoo conditioner and body wash (they provide this, but I was super happy to have my own)
      Deodorant
      Hair brush
      Snacks (YES!!!! SO needed! We left our labor nurse with a bag of chocolates because she was awesome!)
      hair dryer
      Camera
      eye mask
      Newborn sizes (we just left our kid in the hospital clothes and swaddle while he was there)
      0-3 mo sizes
      Baby book (for foot print/hand tracing/hospital bracelets)
      Empty shopping bag (keep all the diapers/wipes/pads/mesh undies etc/bulb suction thing)
      Going home outfits (if you want a picture of you all going home- I wore a maternity dress home and was glad I’d packed some make up, but you may or may not care)

      Car “bag”
      Nursing pillow (didn’t use at hospital)
      Yoga pants and zip up hoodie (didn’t use, but hoodie would have been nice if I was cold)
      underwear (I just used depends for the first 2 weeks, but they also give you mesh ones and pads)
      pads (they give these to you)
      Nursing jammies (just used the gowns they gave), but I also only had and my mom visiting in the hospital. I probably would have wanted something comfy, but nice if we had planned on visitors
      breast pads (didn’t need till I got home)
      Pillow for partner (sometimes hospitals are short on pillows)
      Car seat
      Warm blankets

    • Jennifer

      If you’re planning on having someone stay in your room, a sleeping bag for them is nice (hospital blankets are pretty thin). I loved having a robe and slippers. As for baby clothes-zippers are your friends, snaps and buttons are the enemy. The Aussies know what they are doing-check out bonds for really great zip onsies.

  • CP2011

    Can I tread into potentially contentious waters? (Trigger warning: campus sexual assault) I’m still working on crafting my opinions and wording on this, but does anyone else have opinions on whether it is detrimental to expect universities to be super involved in policing/punishing sex between students that may involve degrees of non-consent? I’m absolutely not talking about unconscious-behind-the-dumpster or disregarding-someone-saying-no situations — those are clearly egregious and need legal intervention. But with what I’ll call “only yes means yes” views on consent being relatively new to the larger cultural scene and still almost entirely absent from mainstream media depictions of casual sex, I wonder if we sometimes do more harm than good by equating a huge number of nuanced scenarios that happen on college campuses with rape. While I’m fortunate enough to never have experienced non-consensual intercourse, I have plenty of friends who in college had sex without really wanting to but without saying “no” – like “I was really tired and I thought it would be the fastest way to get him to leave” or “I felt bad about saying no again”. They don’t think of themselves as victims of sexual assault, but I know many women in those experiences in college settings do/would. What’s been on my mind is, to what extent should we as sex positive feminists want our institutions to judge and penalize sexual actions — even those that are ethically wrong but not necessarily illegal? Again, not talking about situations involving physical force or threats, or when one person is unconscious.

    • Amy March

      As a sex positive feminist, there is no over-reporting problem of rape, “non-consenual intercourse” is a made up term, and our institutions are only barely even acknowledging the reality of women’s experiences in this area. I think fretting about excessive involvement is a made up concern in light of the fact that what we actually need is a massive dose more of concern and involvement. Getting raped shouldn’t be a consequence of college. I want our colleges, which exercise a huge amount of discretion about who they admit as students, to hold their students to a higher level of conduct than “have you been convicted in a court of law of rape.” As long as “didn’t do enough extracurricular activities” is enough to keep you from getting in, levels of ethically wrong sexual actions that may or may not be illegal should certainly be enough to get you kicked out.

      • CP2011

        I see that. And I definitely agree that rape is under reported — and that anyone who does report it becomes victimized again by the onslaught of judgement and discrediting hey receive. But I think it becomes a slippery slope to make a school a moral arbiter of sexual behavior of a nonviolent nature. I just think that there is not yet enough focus on positive consent to necessarily assume nefarious intent, especially given that college is a time when many people experience sexual contact for the first time. And to reiterate, only speaking in terms of situations where neither (edit: enthusiastic) consent nor rebuff are clear.

        • Amy March

          I just don’t see how, of all the problems with sexual assault on campus, anyone could zero in on over-zealous prosecution as a legitimate feminist concern. And I say this as someone who is more of a “no-means-no” than “only-yes-means-yes” person.

          • CP2011

            I’m not concerned about over-zealous prosecution. I’m concerned that it seems to be a losing battle for women every time the issue comes up — that it is pretty much always bungled so terribly by colleges that it seems like maybe we should evaluate the extent to which we expect our colleges to intervene in matters that make someone who experiences something negative into even more of a victim by opening their lives up to such intimate scrutiny by their peers.
            This issue is currently a big problem in my community right now — as in, how far can/should an institution go in determining what happened behind closed doors between two people who weren’t sober and had a history of prior romantic interest. And yes I know those are trite excuses. I just feel like it has gotten so messy that maybe it would have been better for the victim to not bring it to the university to deal with at all.

          • MC

            I read an article by Jill Filipovic (feminist lawyer turned journalist) awhile back about how the way we prosecute rape & sexual assault is totally backward from how we prosecute most other crimes. If I were to accuse someone of stealing something from me, it would be on the alleged thief to prove that they didn’t do it; but if I were to accuse someone of sexually assaulting me, it would be on ME to prove that it happened. So the burden of proof is always on the victim in rape/sa cases, which can indeed be traumatizing. (At least that’s what I understood from the article, lawyers please correct if I’m wrong!)

            Colleges don’t have to follow the US legal system’s lead on this – they can place the burden of proof on the alleged rapist/assailant and believe the victim if there’s no compelling evidence. Or there could be another way to do it – but I think the focus should be on making the college’s review process less traumatizing for the victim and not changing the definition of consensual sex. Institutions like colleges should be helping change cultural norms by letting their students know that rape and consent are serious issues.

          • Nicole

            Using the metaphor of theft, if I saw someone steal my wallet, and I told the university. They’d investigate it and if they found evidence that my wallet had been stolen by that person, they’d be held accountable. If I was sexually assaulted and I told the university, and consent is NOT the standard, then they might say, “was there a weapon involved? Do you have injuries?” and if not, even if there was a clear case of non-consent, the university could not hold anyone responsible. With consent as the standard, the university can respond if someone comes to them and says, “I was assaulted and I’m traumatized, but I wasn’t physically injured.” It also allows it to be much more clear for everyone involved because if consent isn’t enthusiastic, you don’t do it. We need to do more education on this and rape culture won’t be changed overnight, but it’s a good practice.

            I agree with MC – if colleges aren’t doing this well, they need to do better, we don’t need to change the definition of consensual sex. I work at a university and I was involved in a previous job in changing from a traditional code of conduct regarding sexual assault and rape to a consent based one. It’s much more victim centered and less traumatizing than the old one. Typically colleges do better than law enforcement in being less traumatizing, but colleges can and must do better (along with our whole culture) but using consent as the standard is a step in the right direction.

            I’m sorry someone in your community is being hurt.

          • Amy March

            I wouldn’t say wrong, but maybe slightly off? The burden of proof is always on the state to prove a criminal case- there’s no legal difference between the burden of proof in theft and rape, although it certainly differs in how things are approached practically.

          • Nicole

            I think MC or the article might have meant the burden of proof that a crime occurred. We accept that if someone says they were robbed, they were robbed and didn’t give someone their money and then regret it, or spend more money than they meant to because they were drunk. However, if someone says, “I did not consent to have that sex,” society often says, “Are you sure? Prove it was assault.”

        • CP2011

          For what’s worth, really not trying to ruffle any feathers here. Given that this exact issue has rocked my community in the last 48 hours, I’m trying to determine my perspective on the whole issue, given that it wasn’t something that affected me personally as a college student.

          • Amy March

            Ruffle away! It’s an interesting topic.

    • Kate

      Here’s the thing…sex without consent IS rape/sexual assault. “Non-consensual” intercourse=rape/sexual assault. There’s this fallacy that consent is just soooo complicated and nuanced. It’s not. Both partners should give enthusiastic consent. It’s not a high standard to hold college students to, it’s a really low baseline of human decency. Just because the rest of the world is steeped in rape culture doesn’t mean we have to tolerate it on college campuses. You seemed to be very concerned that students will be confused. If they’re smart enough to get to college, they should have no problem absorbing a heads up at orientation that “Hey if you have sex with someone without getting their enthusiastic consent, that’s not okay and you’re making the choice to get kicked out.”

      • CP2011

        I really do agree with you from a personal standpoint. I just question how institutions can fairly enforce that standard if one party either doesn’t cop to not have gotten consent, or when there are multiple accounts. Of course, from a statistics and just general “yes, obviously” perspective, the vast majority of allegations are true. But I’m not sure the cultural guideposts that inform older generations of college decision makers have caught up.

    • emilyg25

      I work at a university with a yes means yes policy and we work really hard to educate students and give them the skills to talk about sex positively. It’s not just about sexual assault–it’s about learning to ask for what you want (and even to know what you want, which is new for a lot of people). It’s basically about good sex, which is healthy for everyone.

    • I think there’s an onus on institutions to push “yes means yes”, to encourage people to come forward even if they think the situation was not necessarily illegal but ethically wrong (after all, teacher/student relationships fall under that category, and we expect institutions to respond to those), and to investigate every report of sexual assault even if it doesn’t chime with the institution’s definitions of assault.

      However, I do think there are sticky waters on asking institutions to police morally acceptable sex – it’s not a long step away from college’s that define morally acceptable sex as ‘only within marriage’ and ‘between a and a woman’ (which is usually to the detriment of sexual assault victims). The institution shouldn’t decide on behalf of other people whether the sex was acceptable – they should let the participants decide, and have procedures to follow up from there. Our problem at the moment is institutions deciding whether or not something was sexual assault on behalf of a victim, and I don’t think reinforcing that is going to help. The process of reporting, investigating, and responding accordingly needs to be victim led.

  • EF

    Man, guys, adulting is tough. My partner’s mother died the weekend before last — as many of you know, she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, and it’s why we had our wedding when we did. But even though it was expected, it’s hard to watch your loved one grieve and know there’s really nothing you can do.

    but even more confusedly emotional, i started a new job the next day! in an industry i swore i’d never work in, but am digging. so that pledge 6 months ago of ‘i’m gonna learn coding and really do this data thing’ looks like it will pay off.

    but yeah. let’s have a way less eventful december.

    • NolaJael

      Oof, EF, I’m so sorry to hear that. My mother was a hospice social worker for many years and later a grief counselor, and her number one piece of advice for those who are experiencing profound personal loss like that of a mother’s death is this: Don’t make any major changes in the first year. Sometimes people will uproot their entire lives – quit their job, sell their house, move away, etc. – only to find later that that was an attempt to escape the hurting or emptiness produced by the death of a loved one. Obviously, YMMV, but it might be something to keep in mind as you help your partner through this.

      • EF

        i really appreciate this reply, thanks Nola! i have so much respect for hospice workers in general. so not a thing i could do, but such an important role.

    • Lisa

      I’m so sorry about your partner’s mother. Wishing you both love and healing.

      Out of curiousity, what did you use to teach yourself coding?

      • EF

        mostly codeschool and edX courses! with a very helpful ‘haaalp me’ whatsapp group of developer and data science friends!

    • Akes

      I am so sorry for your loss. No matter how much time you have to “prepare” for something like that, it doesn’t make it any easier. It may feel like there is nothing you can do, but I am sure that just by being there for him, you are making things a little bit easier. Sending healing thoughts your way.

      Congrats on your new job! I have been doing data analytics the past few years and just switched to a front-end coding role. It’s been soooooo fun, and although it’s challenging to learn how to code, I am so happy to be taking it on and actually doing something I enjoy What is your new job and what type of coding are you doing?

      • EF

        i’m in a data analysis role, using sql and python mostly. i’m also digging the chance to get more into data visualisation and really love d3. so here’s to developing new skills! congrats to you on the new challenges!

        • Akes

          That’s awesome! Maybe I’m a nerd but I think SQL is really fun :) Best of luck and enjoy! Hooray for women in tech!

    • BSM

      I am so sorry for your loss.

    • emmers

      I’m really sorry about your partner’s mom. It can be hard providing emotional support (at least I find it to be) so I hope you can seek counseling and self care as needed. And congratulations on your new job and new field! Very cool.

  • Oof, it’s finally Friday. Thought this might be just the place to crowd-source some broke-lady self care suggestions. To put it briefly, the past few weeks have been kicking my ass between chronic health issues, grad school finals, partner’s crazy med school schedule, post-election awfulness, etc.

    What have you all found to be some good self-care habits or practices that have been helpful when everything’s going to hell in a hand-basket? (Particularly low-cost things– finances are a little rough too).

    • The Headspace App for meditation. The first ten sessions are free, and very similar for the (paywall) next 20 sessions, so you can just do them forever on repeat.

      Do you live near anywhere that grows lavender? Like the PNW or California? Just walk around a place that smells nice ;) Heck, just go on wandering walks anyways.

      Also, some studies lately have shown that planning to buy things brings more happiness than actually buying them…so maybe do some serious Holiday window-shopping for yourself?

      • Well, I’m out in the desert so most of the plants here are quite prickly and smell like nothing. But perhaps shopping for some holiday greens might fill that niche a bit.

    • InTheBurbs

      How about a cosmetology school facial or massage? I’ve found them to be inexpensive and they tend to work slower…which is better for you!

      • I had never even thought of this– now I’ll have to see if there are any near me.

    • Cdn icecube

      Painting your nails, or getting them done cheaply. It’s a nice reason to ‘check out’ for an hour plus you have a pretty little reminder every time you see your hands. I had a terrible day yesterday so I took an hour, went to the cheap place by Munich house and $30 later I feel much more calm and put together. And I’m not generally a person who does this so it wasn’t a nice treat.

      • Jess

        Did this in the airport yesterday, can confirm efficacy!

    • Amy March

      Walking. I have found nothing better than walking. I also love losing myself in a good book, taking a bath, and talking to friends.

    • Jess

      My personal low-cost self-care goes like this: walk a mile to the library and borrow books (sometimes I pre-reserve them to save time), walk home and brew tea (walking optional if your chronic issues prevent that). Sit under a warm blanket with tea and book until my tea leaves have been exhausted from too many rebrewings. Alternatively, I will draw up a bubble bath with lavendar bubbles (<$5 at my local grocery store). If I'm extra motivated, I'll do a yoga class off youtube. Both mean that I have to take a time-out from all the other stuff (like studying), but sometimes that break is what I need.

      On times where I'm too agitated to sit still or focus on reading, I find cleaning and baking to be really good stress relief. Scones are my personal favorite, since cutting butter into flour is amazingly cathartic and they rely on no special (read: expensive) ingredients.

      I don't know if you're having trouble sleeping, but I tend to when I've got a lot of stress, and I listen to youtube/podcasts for meditation for quieting my brain before falling asleep.

      Good luck with the handbasket!

      • Thank you– I think some regular short breaks away from a computer may be quite helpful and necessary.

        • Jess

          :) Screen fatigue is real and there is something very comforting about being surrounded by tangible objects.

    • JC

      I stayed home from work on Tuesday (cramps/post-election haze/last possible day to take a sick day before the crazy holidays) and gulped down Tara Road by Maeve Binchy. Her books are a staple in my bookshelf. They’re not all warm and fuzzy, but they have complicated women with rich lives that are easy to get lost in (which I totally needed). If you haven’t already read Tara Road or Circle of Friends, I recommend a trip to the library and an afternoon with Trader Joe’s new Vanilla Cinnamon Black Tea.

      • Oh, that tea sounds delicious– may need to make a stop at TJ’s soon.

    • Violet

      Google image searches that follow this recipe: [breed of dog] wearing [ridiculous object]. Works every time for me.

      • MC

        Works with cats as well :) I also love searching for google images of just about any baby animal or just looking at zooborns.com

      • BSM

        @CuteEmergency on Twitter.

    • emilyg25

      Get thee to the woods. Or just walk around town if you don’t have easy access to woods. And baths are good too. I also like making something, be it a knitting project or a batch of cookies.

    • I like to bake when I’m stressed. Something about beating eggs or mixing flour calms my mind. One of my favorites for stress baking is banana bread (with chocolate chips if I’m feeling extra crappy) because it’s sweet but still kinda healthy.

      And a good chick flick cry my eyes out book or movie is sometimes cathartic.

    • anachronismsarah

      Used bookstore hunting? Baking? Walks are always good.

  • Any Pittsburgh brides out there?
    I have a Google Doc that reviews pretty much every photographer in the area, gives some sample prices on several bakers, florists, make up artists, etc. etc. It won’t be useful after another year or so, but it’s still relevant now.

    • idkmybffjill

      Oh brilliant thread starter – I have the same for Chicago, would delight in sharing.

      • nosio

        Ooh, really? I’d be so grateful for any info on Chicago vendors!

        • idkmybffjill

          Sure thing! Post your email real quick and I’ll send it over!

        • Lisa

          Anything in particular you want to know? We’re two years removed from our wedding, but I’d be happy to answer Chicago wedding planning questions!

    • hkk

      ahh! you are a life saver. would you mind sharing? began researching photographers the other day and feeling so overwhelmed!

      • Of course! If you can give me an email address, I’d be glad to share. (You can delete your post with your email address after I send you the link).

  • frequentlurker

    Hey, since there are a couple photographers posting today. I have a Q for you and for others who have recently dealt with photographers. We’re paying market rate/4 figures for 5 hours of photography at a small (30-35) wedding. Our photography contract states that, in addition to standard use clauses (fiancé works in the photog and film industry and the rest looks boilerplate based on our expertise), the photographer can use any of the photos for her own ads/to promote herself without notifying us.

    I am balking at this since we are paying full industry standard payment (this isn’t a service-for-exposure type situation with a student – this is an established photographer being paid a fair rate for her services). I want to scrub this clause entirely out of the contract [we just paid the deposit and haven’t signed the contract yet but have been liaising with her since June] as I am not comfortable with people I don’t know seeing my wedding photos if it’s reasonably preventable. My fiancé and I are quite private about our relationship (no facebook/insta/etc announcements of wedding or engagement, e.g.), our wedding ceremony itself will be phone/camera-free except for our paid photog, and I just chafe at the idea of our small, almost elopement-size wedding being shown to a large audience through marketing materials. It’s just such an intimate moment.

    Would it be reasonable to ask her to get our permission PER PHOTO if she wants to use them? How should I bring this up? I have plans to phone and discuss next week.

    • Yes. This is completely reasonable to ask (i.e., I had our contract modified to never use our full first names in any publicity). You just say, “We’re uncomfortable with photos of us being publicly accessible in the world. Would it be possible to modify the contract to say that the photographer will seek approval prior to publishing any photos from our wedding?”

      Something like that.
      I personally, gave some mumbo jumbo about becoming a professor and not wanting students to be able to easily find my wedding photos…

    • Violet

      Super reasonable. We removed that clause from our contract as well. I just explained that we are private people, and she totally got it, and that was that. There are pleeeeeenty of customers who *do* want their photos splashed all over every website; your photographer doesn’t need your pics, too.

    • emilyg25

      Yep, totally reasonable. This is a pretty standard part of photography contracts, but it’s also not weird to ask to have it removed.

    • Photog here.

      This is pretty similar to my contract. The theory is that posting your photos is a way for other couples to see our work with real people. Mine is pretty limited — my contract allows me to use your photos on my website and my social media feeds and in print (so for sample albums) but I don’t send it out to other blogs (think: APW, Style me Pretty, etc) or for online ads unless we’ve talked about me using your images. That said, each photographer is different, and each contract is different, so…YMMV.

      I completely understand the privacy issues. I’m all about putting myself and my work out there, but I married a fairly private person, and I’ve shot weddings for couples who ask for varied degrees of modification on the model release of my contract. I modify mine on a case by case basis, and I don’t charge extra for privacy (I’ve heard of photographers who will ask for an extra fee for lost income from marketing).

      I like to hash out exactly what you’re comfortable with from the beginning, so know before you call/email what you’d like to keep out or in. For example: no social media, no faces, no names, etc. This post (if I can share it) is something I wrote about privacy a while ago: http://www.emilywenzel.com/tips-for-clients-how-to-talk-about-privacy-emily-wenzel-photography/

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    I’m invited to a ladies’ white elephant right after Christmas. (It was supposed to be *for* Christmas, but a scheduling conflict pushed it to early January. Which is fine with me, it just kinda rules out Christmas-themed gifts.) They’re looking for a $20 gift.Think: Ladies who would fit right in here, but are not going through the engagement/marriage process. Who has a good idea for me?

  • emilyofnewmoon

    So we may have found our venue. It’s all inclusive in our budget and I love it. Only problem is, they only do wedding receptions in the afternoon/early evening, which means our ceremony would be noon on a Saturday. We’re having a semi destination wedding–it’s a longish drive for some, and a flight for others. Is noon on a Saturday a total bummer for travel? Should I not worry about this if I love everything else about the venue?

    • Amy March

      Nope! Noon on a Saturday is great! Flying people will fly in Friday anyway, driving people would prob spend one night overnight if it really is that long. Worry about it not at all.

      • emilyofnewmoon

        Yes! Okay great. Thank you.

    • Laura

      We did 10 a.m. on a Saturday. It worked great — driving people mostly came up the night before and still had enough time to get home after the reception to avoid paying another night in an expensive hotel.

      Added bonus: the whole thing wrapped up in the afternoon, which meant we could opt to retire into newlywed bliss or go to a bar to keep on partying with friends (we did the latter).

  • Jenn

    I’m starting to worry a little that we won’t have anything to talk about after we get married. The amount of time between our engagement and the wedding is twice as long as the time we were dating and it feels like longer since we were talking about getting married for months before that. We dated for seven months before he proposed. I was in the middle of planning for my best friend’s wedding when we met and another friend got married five months after hers so our whole relationship has had weddings going on.We do talk about other things but it’s mostly about his hobbies. For the past year and a half my life has been consumed by weddings and dealing with my parents’ reaction to those weddings and my significant other.

    • Amy March

      So, I hear that worry. But do you think its possible the problem is actually that you don’t feel you have a life outside weddings, not that you actually have nothing to talk about?

      • Jenn

        That’s a big part of it. If I’m not with him then I’m figuring out some sort of wedding things. When I’m with him we’re either talking about wedding stuff or something he’s trying to share with me which right now is pokemon cards. It’s fun enough but not something i would do by myself so it’s mostly him rambling adorably.
        Even at work all I talk about with my coworker friends is the wedding or food(we’re a bunch of foodies). Before I met him I was trying to figure out my friend’s wedding and shower. The other day I walked into a conversation that was already started and it was about when they wanted to get married and have babies. I need to get him to watch some of my shows so it doesn’t feel so one sided. When we’re just bumming in the apartment we’re usually watching something that he likes since most of my stuff is still at my parents.

    • Dude. Self-imposed no-wedding-talk weekdays. Or weekends. Or whatever you need. Just…don’t talk about it all the time. Or only talk about wedding stuff on Wednesdays and Sundays or something.

    • Jess

      What a wedding-centered series of years! You can always talk about how great your wedding was afterwards! (I joke, but also? it’s pretty fun.)

      I got three pieces of advice in getting married that I really agree with. One was to make sure you’re living your own adventures.

      It sounds like the weddings of your friends have been really consuming for you and your family, and in the process of wedding planning, it’s common to look at things and focus on life together. But making room for yourself and your interests are big. Think about what you did before you met your partner or were helping your friend with her wedding. Are you still doing some of those things? If not, start doing some of them again! Are they things you can talk about? If not, why not?

      Maybe try finding something you and he can connect on together, like a book you read separately or a podcast you listen to on the way to and from work?

      If you’re already doing all that, but find yourselves sitting in comfortable silence… some couples are talking couples, some couples aren’t. That’s ok, too.

      • Jenn

        This is good advice. When we first got together I joked that I never had time to read anymore because we’re always together. It’s still true though. I used to read a lot and sometimes knit sometimes sew. Both are not conducive to cuddling or doing together (he doesn’t like reading books and he wouldn’t have the inclination to knit since he doesn’t like hats, scarves, sweaters etc.) I might be able to start doing that after we start living together and we don’t feel guilty about doing things that aren’t together things. We see each other 5-6 days a week and he still feels guilty when he/we need to do chores while I’m at the apartment.

        • Amy March

          Ouff. You need to push past that. You’re getting married! You see each other all the time! Do not give up who you are for snuggles and wedding planning. There is no reason why Mondays cannot be reading/chores nights or why you can’t watch some of your shows (there are what, a dozen ways to get content now? Pick one).

        • Jess

          I liked the advice quite a bit!

          We sit on the same couch and do different things – I read, R plays a video game. We are still together, we look up at each other, I bury my chilly feet under his legs, but we don’t have to do the same thing. It’s great.

          Living together definitely helps, since you’re not feeling like you have to be ‘together’ quite as much.

          Another thing we shifted thinking about is chores and cooking being together time too. It’s not wasted time, it’s just something we are doing.

        • Just to sound a note of warning, depending on what sort of relationship you have, you may have less time for uncuddly hobbies than before you moved in together.

          The amount I write crashed when J and I moved in, because he’s a snuggler and a handholder. When I lived on my own, I had a lot of time in the evenings, and writing (or procrastinating!) filled it. Do I regret writing less? A little. Do I regret snuggling more? Not at all. if I wanted to write more, he would respect that and find something else to do with his time, the same way he does when I’m knitting. At the end of the day, though, his interests are snuggle friendly, and mine are less so, so when we’re on the sofa together compromise means he gets less cuddles than he’d like and I get less writing done than I want, but we both get some of each (and we watch a lot of good films and TV).

    • frequentlurker

      Sounds like pre-marital counseling would be a great fit here :) at seven months you probably don’t know each other super deeply – counseling will check for those deeper make or break issues and help prepare for the future. Everyone goes through ruts at some points, it’s natural. It’ll also help you figure out if this is paranoia/neurosis on your end or a legitimate concern.

  • BSM

    Much news to share!

    1. I mentioned in a previous HH post, but I had Lasik eye surgery at the end of October and then a week later was told by my doctor that the technician had entered the wrong prescription into the laser machine causing them to overcorrect my eyes. This means I went from being nearsighted with a -.75 rx to being farsighted with a +1.5 rx – a change that was incredibly jarring. They also told me I would need to wait about 3 months before they could fix it, which conflicted with our baby-making plan (originally this month) quite a bit, since you have to wait at least 1-2 months after surgery to start TTC (sad face). I sought a 2nd opinion from another surgeon, and he said I should have the enhancement done ASAP to prevent issues with scar tissue forming from multiple surgeries. He also found that the previous doctor did some other shoddy work, which meant that I had to have a more intense form of Lasik (called PRK) done in my left eye. The good news is that I had the enhancement on Wednesday! And despite a solid amount of pain in my left eye, everything went perfectly, I’m healing well, and my vision is going to be at least 20/20. I’m so glad to have my vision back :). I’m still sorting out how to get a refund from my original doctor and have them pay some kind of damages for all the hassle, discomfort, etc., so I’ll report back on how that goes…

    2. We are moved into our unit in our duplex! And we got a tenant for the other unit! I could write a whole novel about this, but I am so freaking excited that the move is finished, our home is beautiful, and we can really get down to doing some work on our new place. If you are looking for movers in the East Bay, I HIGHLY recommend West Coast Moving Systems. Everyone I spoke with there (customer service, dispatcher, movers) were so friendly and organized, and I think we paid a very fair price for a full pack service plus the move.

    3. An extension from #1 – since I was able to have my Lasik enhancement this week, we can sort of keep our baby timeline! I have an appointment with my gyn next week to pull the goalie (IUD – ouch) to try to get regular ovulation going ASAP. It’s so crazy that it’s happening!

    I’d love to hear any pain management suggestions on having an IUD removed and any input in general on the insanity of starting TTC!

    Happy Friday, y’all!!

    • JC

      I’m so glad moving is going well, that you love your new place, and you found a new tenant!!!

      • BSM

        Thank you! Moving was actually a little bit of a shitshow because closing was delayed then on time, plus we had my surgery in the middle of it. Then Comcast (holy shit, Comcast – that’s another story) plus all kinds of little speed bumps… But! We’re here, so is our stuff, the Comcast technician is installing internet as I type, it’s Friday, there is pizza and champagne… Much more to be happy about than not :)

        I appreciate your well wishes!

        • JC

          I can sympathize with your shitshow! I woke up this morning, ready to go to work, and realized all my shoes are at the old apartment!

          Hope you enjoyed your pizza and champagne; that’s pretty much what we had all weekend too!

    • Morgan D

      I am so happy for you about ALL of these things!

      Lasik/PRK gone wrong is one of my biggest nightmares, and I’m glad you were able to get at least the physical damage fixed. Best of luck with the financial bits!

      Also: hooray for baby making and home ownership in the East Bay! Those are both big moves, and I’ll be sure to follow your comments in future since it seems we’re just a little ways behind you in each of these realms :)

      • BSM

        Thank you! I feel really fortunate that we were able to get the medical/vision part fixed while still figuring out the financial pieces. Not being able to see (and it being so much worse and so much weirder than my eyesight originally was) plus the election had me sinking into a legitimate depression. Even though I’m in pain now (feels like I have a bad sunburn on my eyeball), I’m in much better spirits now.

        Also, so exciting that you’re getting close to embarking on home ownership and baby-making! It’s such a rollercoaster here in the EB :)

        • Morgan D

          I’ll take physical pain over depression any day. Glad you were able to make the transition :).

          And, yes, rollercoaster is exactly what it is! Partner and I weren’t sure for the longest time whether we’d be able to buy a home/stay here, but it looks like some planned risks/investments might enable that in early 2017 (fingers crossed). Don’t know how you did it, but congrats!

          The baby thing is a little further off for us, but I guess just feels closer since we talked yesterday about having a baby in our arms in two years. And, since we’d like to be married first… I’m guessing engagement soon? :D

          • BSM

            Congrats on your savvy investing! That is a seriously huge accomplishment; you two should be really proud.

            I think my main tips (not that you asked) are to know your limits (and yet be willing to go to your max for the right place) and to try not to get discouraged. We first bought in 2014 and got accepted on our 5th offer. We sold that house and had been looking for a multi-family for the past 6 months. We probably submitted a dozen offers this time around, which was exhausting, but makes it that much sweeter that we got a beautiful duplex in a great location for a bit of a deal (since we stuck to our guns).

            Best of luck! Home ownership is super fun :)

    • I remember your LASIK drama, and I’m so glad that you were able to get another opinion, get it fixed, and still start with the TTC soon. What a crazy couple of weeks you’ve had.

      I’ve been contemplating LASIK, but hadn’t considered it for a while yet (plus, I’m concerned about mistakes since my eyes = my income), but (hit enter too soon…) what have you heard about pregnancy hormones causing problems with eyes? I heard rumors that that’s a thing??

      • BSM

        Thanks for your kind words!

        Something that I think made a huge difference in my treatment: at the first doctor (UC Berkeley Eye Center) they have 2 surgeons coming in and out to do procedures every Thursday, so they have to reset the machines each time for each different surgeon. At my 2nd doctor (a private physician), he’s the only guy, it’s his practice, his machines, etc., so it’s always set up for him and they always do the surgeries the exact same way. I really think that not having identical processes every single time led to the 1st screw up.

    • Jessa

      I got Lasik done a few years ago, and I don’t think they corrected my right eye enough. Even from the beginning, the right eye has been slightly more blurry than the left, but I’m choosing to stick it out because I’m too afraid to do the surgery again. I just wanted to comment your bravery in what I can imagine was/is a frustrating and scary situation! You must have been so nervous the second time. Sending many thoughts of healing and recovery!

      • BSM

        Aw, thank you for saying that. It was scary going in the 2nd time, but not being able to see (and having worse vision than before!) was a pretty motivating factor.

        I’m sorry you didn’t have absolutely stellar results from your Lasik. It’s weird because it’s a medical science but also just a human figuring out your prescription.

    • Call Me Penny

      So sorry to hear about your lasik drama, but so glad you were able to have it rectified so soon.
      My only IUD experience was when mine expelled itself (!) and I didn’t even notice until it literally popped out. A very odd experience but hope it means the odds of a pain free removal are high for you! My doctor had warned me that getting it put in was far more painful than the removal, but have nothing to reference that against now. Keep your eyes on the baby making prize I guess, so exciting!

      • BSM

        That’s crazy that it expelled itself! Hopefully that means I won’t even notice it being removed, aside from being naked from the waist down with my butt hanging off the exam table and the stirrups and all that :)

        • Call Me Penny

          At least your day can only go up from there!

    • anachronismsarah

      My IUD didn’t hurt at all coming out. The general insanity is where we are right now too- not as crazy as I thought it would be.

      • BSM

        OK, that is very good to hear.

        When I had mine inserted, it wasn’t clear to the doctor beforehand that that was what my appointment was for, so I didn’t have any warning about the pain or suggestions to take ibuprofen or whatever. So insertion was extremely painful (I almost fainted from it) and have obviously been pretty nervous about removal based on that experience.

        Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Ilora

      Late to the party but I just wanted to share that having my IUD removed was easy peasy!

      My insertion was…rough, took super strength ibuprofen beforehand, the pain was really bad, and I got so nauseated after that I had to lay down in the office for an hour until I finally threw up and the nausea dissipated enough for me to leave….

      Removal on the other hand was one tiny little cramp that was over before it started! Barely felt it :)

  • DetectiveMunch

    Wanted–>Advice about coworkers & over-sharing! I love my officemates. I really lucked out with an amazing group of all-female, all-liberal, all-feminist coworkers. However, increasingly, one of my coworkers has started talking openly about her financial and family struggles. Perhaps its because we all inherently get along and enjoy our time in the office together? The occasional “Oof, glad we got paid yesterday!” statement I think is totally appropriate–camaraderie! But when someone is going on a diatribe about their ex-husband or getting into the nitty-gritty of their credit card debt, I think it’s crossing a bit of a line. Thoughts? Advice? Similar experiences?

    • Nicole

      I don’t have an answer handy for this, but I always search askamanager for the answer to coworker issues and advice and I’m sure she’s talked about this.

  • Tashawevers

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj376d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive if you don’t check it
    !mj376d:
    ➽➽
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash376DigitalFindGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj376d:….,….
    .

  • Legally Sparkly

    I got engaged like a month ago and have been obsessively reading APW ever since! Here’s my ring – admire the sparkly!

    • Ilora

      I see no sparkly but I want too! Did you remove the pic or did it just not post properly?