Do you remember that Gillette ad that came out in January that criticized the phrase "boys will be boys?"
At the time, Gillette was praised for challenging traditional notions of masculinity and helping rewrite the narrative for young men. I was reminded of this advertisement the other day when I had to ask myself: If this is not the age of "boys will be boys," are we instead in the age of "girls will be boys?"
I asked myself this question in reference to a podcast my husband introduced to me called "How Did This Get Made?" I've always thought it was pretty hilarious. But one of their recent episodes got me thinking.
On the podcast, a group of comedians hosted by Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael, review terrible movies and ask the obvious question, how did this get made? In the past, Jacob and I had made it a fun date night to watch one of their suggested terrible movies and listen to the podcast afterward. But a few weeks ago, the hosts got into a heated discussion about a movie called "Drop Dead Fred."
The premise of the film is as follows: a young woman named Elizabeth discovers that her husband is cheating on her. When her mother brings her back to her childhood home to recover from the shock, Elizabeth's imaginary friend from her youth (Drop Dead Fred) returns to cause chaos. Jacob and I watched this movie on our cruise knowing it would be terrible but assuming it would be funny.
Boy, were we wrong.
What could be a funny premise - young woman gets into crazy antics as her imaginary friend leads her into comic situations - is horribly undone by what seems like a true display of mental illness. Her actions are irrational and dangerous and put people in danger constantly.
But here's what I found truly fascinating. Two of the hosts - June and Jason - defended a young Elizabeth and Drop Dead Fred as she acted in truly destructive and dangerous ways. In one particularly memorable scene, Elizabeth flashes back to a memory of her childhood in which she and Drop Dead Fred rob her parent's home, break their front window, begin to bury her mother's silver, and eventually cause her father's arrest by police.
Isn't that just too sweet? I hope you can detect my sarcasm.
But the response from June and Jason was just that. They described Drop Dead Fred as the manifestation of Elizabeth's Id; they posited that she needed to express her ability to be bad and that her mother's horror at her out-of-control behavior was truly "internalized misogyny"; and that little girls need to be able to break the rules. Essentially, she was being oppressed by the patriarchy and was beginning her journey toward becoming a "nasty woman." They brushed off any insane or dangerous behavior by saying that she was releasing her repressed intensity that had been strangled by her oppressive mother. Consequences to other women in the film? Who cares, Elizabeth was on her way to self-fulfillment.
Well, this got me thinking: What if this movie had been made about a little boy?
In a culture where things like Gillette ads tell us that the phrase "boys will be boys" really mean "boys should have permission to sexually harass or assault whomever they wish," a little boy acting in the same way as described above would be considered a menace. And rightfully so. So why should we encourage little girls to behave worse than the little boys we are teaching to be held to a higher standard?
Unfortunately, I don't believe that boys are only being raised to be held accountable for their actions. I think they're being taught to neglect all the masculine parts of themselves that teach them to guard and protect their values, their families, their communities, and their country. And all of this is happening as little girls are being taught to be rude, obnoxious, and confident in their own bad behavior. So, what will we end up with?
A society of men too afraid to embrace their masculinity and a society of women who are so overconfident in their own opinions that they hurt the people around them callously and without regret.
I understand that we, as women, are women are trying to embrace our strength. My only regret is that some people believe it has be done at the cost of our femininity. We can be confident and brave without being disrespectful, in the same way that men can be strong and robust without being domineering. The idea that women need to throw men and civility aside in their pursuit of true happiness is unfair to everyone.
So, is this the age of "girls will be boys?" I'll tell you one thing: in my household, it won't be.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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I figured it was time to give you guys a little life update - I haven't been posting as consistently as I would like, and I wanted to let you all know why. I am planning on getting back on schedule in the beginning/middle of September, but things have been absolutely crazy for about a month now!
In case you don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram, Jacob and I just made a huge move - we packed up all of our stuff and are now officially living in Nebraska (as of one week ago)! At the beginning of July, Jacob was studying for the bar exam, which is a huge task, so I made it my responsibility to pack up all of our belongings. For two weeks, I slowly packed away everything we owned. Turns out, as much as I love cleaning and organizing, packing is my WORST NIGHTMARE. I may be good at figuring out where to put your cereal in the pantry, but I have NO idea which box to put that sixteenth pair of shoes in! After the movers came to pick up our stuff, we slept in our empty apartment with one pot, one pan, and an air mattress. Let me tell you - you'll never know how much you appreciate chairs until you don't have a chair to sit on. The floor is surprisingly comfortable to hang out on, though!
After about a week of "roughing it" in our empty apartment, we stayed at a hotel near where Jacob was taking the bar exam - which of course meant that I didn't have any of my usual equipment to film! If you remember in my last video, I mentioned that my background was different and I wasn't using any of my professional quality lighting, which isn't ideal. But, it turns out that natural daylight isn't half-bad!
Then, the day Jacob took the bar, I flew to Nebraska with my amazing mother-in-law. Together, we looked at the new place and took care of a bunch of errands. It was so exciting to see our new home and our new city. My mother-in-law and I had the best time, too. We had some real quality time together, and I am so lucky that I have such a great relationship with her.
A day and a half later, though, when I picked up Jacob from the airport, things immediately started going awry! We got a call that our moving truck couldn't make it onto our street because it was too large for our residential neighborhood. Jacob was so incredible - he took control and worked with the movers to get the truck where it needed to go - but it took about two hours. Then the driver said that he couldn't find anyone to unload the truck, so he hired random people off of Craigslist - one of which was a woman in heels and a dress. The other guy that he hired off of Craigslist happened to have an extra pair of shorts that he lent to her. I guess we'd call that teamwork?
Thankfully, everything worked out just fine, but as you may have guessed, it was a comically stressful day. And then, just a couple of weeks after I had packed everything up, we had to unpack everything! My wonderful parents flew out and helped us, and it went by much faster than I ever could have hoped. But, as you can imagine, things have been far from normal in our household. So I've been a little less consistent with my posting...
And, for the next couple of weeks, that's going to remain the case.
Because, after this summer of absolute hectic craziness, Jacob and I are going on a cruise! To celebrate our anniversary, Jacob having taken the bar, and graduating law school, we are taking a trip together to see a whole other part of the world that I have never been to. But, as you might imagine, we won't have any internet or phone connection for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. Crazy, right? And then, about a week after we get back, we are visiting Jacob's family for a few days before he starts work. We are so blessed!
So, I wanted to hop on here and give you guys the update so you knew that I wasn't just ignoring my blog or my socials. Not at all! I am just taking a few weeks off while we travel - and then, hopefully, we can tell you all about it when we get back.
You guys are awesome, and I can't wait to share our travels with you soon! And in the meantime, stay classic!
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Let's talk about birth control.
I think this is a pretty touchy subject for a lot of people, so I'd like to preface this blog post with this: use what works for you. If traditional birth control pills work for you - GREAT! Continue to take and enjoy them. Honestly, I'm jealous! But if you, like me, had adverse reactions to "the pill," as it's called, then keep on reading.
I have tried the pill five times in my life. The first time, I was 22 and I was having real trouble with my skin and acne. My doctor recommended that I start the pill to regulate my hormones, so I was put on a generic pill at the basic starting dosage. About two weeks into taking the pill, I woke up in the middle of the night so nauseous that I couldn't move. I lay in bed for about an hour and a half, terrified of vomiting, and when I eventually ran to the bathroom, I did just that. I sat with my head on the toilet for about two hours at three o'clock in the morning, wondering if I had the flu, not putting two and two together that the pill was giving me "morning sickness" in the middle of the night. A few weeks after that, I had horrible panic attacks. In the past, I'd had some anxiety (thank God, I haven't dealt with that for a long, long time), but this was by far the worst. Then, on the way to visit a few friends with my family, I vomited in the car (another experience I had never had until the pill). So I decided to stop taking the pill.
I waited a couple of months, and then decided to try a different pill since my skin had still not cleared up. This time, they put me on the lowest dosage you can get: Lo Loestrin Fe. Thank God, I had no emotional reactions to this pill, but I did have some physical issues. I started bleeding in the middle of the month randomly and sometimes the bleeding would last for days. Again, I stopped the pill.
The next time I went on the pill was a few months before my now-husband and I got engaged. We had talked about getting married, so I knew it would be happening soon, and I wanted to have all of this birth control business sorted out before our wedding. I talked to my doctor about the adverse reactions I'd had in the past, and we decided that I would try a progestin-only pill. I thought if I didn't mess with my estrogen levels, I wouldn't have any anxiety issues. Well, no such luck! A week into taking this one, I had the worst panic attack I have ever had. I woke up in the middle of the night and had tunnel vision. It was terrifying. I went off the pill immediately but had to deal with aftereffects of that panic attack for months.
I decided to try the pill again after our wedding, because I didn't want our wedding day to be in any way tarnished by another anxiety attack. I tried Lo Loestrin Fe for a second time, because I liked that I hadn't had any emotional problems the last time I had used it, but the same issue of break-through bleeding stopped me from continuing with it. By this point, my doctors were recommending an IUD but I knew that wasn't for me. First, I have some moral issues with the way it prevents pregnancy. Second, I knew that if I ever had internal pain, I would probably assume something had gone wrong with the IUD and I would constantly be worrying about it. That stress definitely wasn't worth it for me. And third, if you do some digging, you can find in FDA documents that even though your doctors will tell you that there's no chance of altered mood on the IUD since the hormones are localized, women self-report depression about 5% of the time (depending on the specific IUD). So I did one last-ditch effort with the pill. And this time, I became depressed.
I was on this pill for about three months, waiting for my body to adjust to it. I gained a little bit of weight, which was frustrating. But what was more upsetting was that I didn't care about anything. My relationship with Jacob was really strained and I didn't want to spend time with anyone.
I knew I had to get off the pill for good, this time. But let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I honestly felt like a failure. I felt like I wasn't good at being a woman, in a way. You read all of these articles about how birth control empowers women to make decisions on their own timeline - and then you learn that you aren't one of those women.
It was at this point I spoke to one of my married friends. She was so encouraging. She told me that she had gone through the same thing and that her relationship with her husband had been so much harder when she had been on the pill. It made such a difference knowing that I wasn't alone.
So I'm here to tell you, if you're struggling with the pill: You're not alone. And you don't have to be on the pill if it's making you feel anxious, depressed, or crazy. There's nothing wrong with you. Some people can take birth control and are totally fine - but there are some of us whose hormones can't handle it. There are so many other options for birth control - I've researched all of them in my effort to understand what's available and how they all work - and hormones are NOT the only solution.
Of course, there are other important reasons not to take the birth control pill, even if it does work for your body. Studies have shown that women on hormonal birth control are attracted to different men than when they are not. Because the pill tricks your body into thinking that you're pregnant, you are attracted to the kind of man who will take care of a child, not help you make one. Therefore, women who were on the pill when they met the man they eventually married, then went off the pill when they were trying to get pregnant, found that they were less attracted to their partner.
As well, because the pill can cause anxiety and depression, putting young women on it before they know whether or not they struggle with those mental health issues inherently, doesn't allow them to make informed decisions. I knew that I didn't struggle with anxiety and depression, so when the pill started having those side effects, I immediately stopped taking it. But if you, as a young woman, think that's your normal, why would you go off the pill?
I was really pressured into using an IUD when I was speaking to my doctors about birth control options. Every alternative option I was presenting them with, they shunned. At some point, I started to believe that medical schools were in Big Pharmas' pocket - that students were being taught that women HAD to be on the IUD after the schools were being paid to say so. I honestly don't know if that was the case, but I had my suspicions. Now, because I'm married and in a place in my life where I can afford to get pregnant, even if it's not exactly when I had planned, I don't mind if my birth control method isn't 99.99% effective. So when I'd present other options to my doctor that were, say, 96% effective, they'd make me feel guilty. "Don't you want to take control of your life?"
The answer to that question is yes. And that's why I'm choosing not to be depressed or anxious, even at the cost of not having 99.99% efficacy with my birth control.
So here's my advice: try the pill if you want to, but do so with caution. And don't feel like a failure. You deserve to be happy and healthy - and if that means not taking the pill, then don't take the pill!
What do you think? Have you tried the pill? Are you on it now? Let me know in the comments below!
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*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. Thank you so much for your support!
Have you heard of Date Night In Boxes?
I asked my followers on Instagram if you'd be interested in a review, and the majority of you said yes! So I reached out to Night In Boxes and asked if I could be an affiliate, which would allow me to test out their products for you all.
What is NIB? Sometimes it's hard to find a babysitter when you want to go out for date night, or you don't want to spend a ton of money on activities and dinner. That's where Night In Boxes comes in. Their idea is that you sign up for a monthly subscription box, and they'll send you a box filled with activities, small treats, a menu for the evening, and other fun things. They create "date night" for you - all in the comfort of your home.
Now, I thought this was a great idea. Sometimes it can be hard to come up with something to do on a free evening, and maybe you're on a budget that month. So having a built-in subscription that sends you all of the accoutrements for a fun night together sounded like a lovely idea.
Here was our experience!
When we first got the box in the mail, I was really excited - I mean, look at the packaging! How pretty is that?
I didn't want to open the box itself until Jacob and I could do it together, on our actual date night, so instead I went onto the website. When you sign up for the box, you'll get login information so that you can access the monthly theme page. There, you'll find an invitation, a Spotify playlist, menus, grocery lists, and more of the printables that come in the box itself, but are online just in case you need them.
I started off by printing out the invitation and giving it to Jacob. He was very surprised, but thought it was really cute. I thought it was a sweet idea, too.
Then, I decided to look at the grocery list and the menu ahead of time so that I could go shopping and cook for our "date night" in advance! The menu was created to match the theme, and even though everything looked delicious, I think it would have been nice for them to include alternate menus for those who are vegan, vegetarian, or kosher, like us. We were still able to alter a few of the recipes to make them appropriate for our dinner, but something like the shrimp-based recipe we couldn't do much with. But the idea of having recipes laid out to match the theme of the evening was truly lovely.
And look how nicely my veggie burgers turned out! (That's ricotta cheese and tomato pesto, for those who are curious.)
Opening the Box
Our date night finally arrived! I took seriously the idea that we were having "date night," even if it was at home. I put on some makeup, took a little bit of time to prepare dinner, and mixed our drinks before Jacob came downstairs so that I could present it to him.
Then, Jacob and I opened the box together. It was kind of exciting! What would be in there? What would we be doing tonight? As you can see from the above picture, the box is chock-full of really adorable items.
After sitting down and eating our dinner, we cracked into some of the activities. The Date Night In Box comes with a booklet that walks you through your date, which is a nice touch. It also offers you some topics to discuss over dinner, which I think would be fun for some couples, but we didn't enjoy it as much. We tend to have a lot to talk about, so adding table topics wasn't as necessary for us.
Then we moved onto the chocolate fudge that they included in the box, which was delicious! I do hope that they will offer a couple of different options to those who purchase their boxes in case they have any food restrictions. I think that would be a great addition to their box selections.
After finishing up the food, we followed the booklet's guide. We learned how to play Mexican Train, which was a great game, and we played a Murder Mystery card game, which we also enjoyed. After that, we made a time capsule together that we are supposed to open in ten years - hopefully we remember!
So what did we think? I think it's a great idea, but you have to know your relationship. For us, this was fun, but there were definitely moments that were a little too geared toward a woman's perfect date night, which wasn't always my husband's cup of tea. There were other parts of the evening, like the menu, the added decor (with the candle cover), and the games, that we really enjoyed. All in all, I would recommend it! If you're interested in trying it, follow this link and get 2 months free with a 6-month subscription with code NIB2FREE!
Here are the pros and cons:
1. Forces you to make time for each other. If you have a hard time making plans for just the two of you, I think this is the perfect solution. After the kids go to bed or after a long day at work, you have everything you need right at home to have a fun evening to remember.
2. Plans everything for you. Do you hate figuring out what you're going to do together? This takes all the guesswork out of it - and puts all the responsibility on the box itself.
3. You can stay home and have a great time. Don't want to get a babysitter? Don't want to go out after having been at work all day? Don't want to get dressed up? Here's a great solution.
And here's a pro from Jacob!
4. They coordinate and bring across the monthly theme well. The box we received was 1920s themed. You can see from the pictures, everything has an art-deco look. There is a striking, Gatsby-esque black and gold design on the box, the candle shade, and all the other materials. The game was a speak-easy, prohibition themed mix up between Go Fish and Clue. NIB is strong with theme across all the materials, the menu, and the activities, and that is something to appreciate. If you're busy and harried by all else there is in life, "date night" may just be dinner at home with some wine you don't normally have. The Night In Box is really something different - because of the theme.
1. Can be geared more toward a woman's idea of a perfect date night. We've only tried one box, so this may not be true for all of NIB. But with NIB's Great Love theme, we did notice that some of the prompts were distinctly more fun for me than for Jacob. He was a good sport, but he doesn't always want to talk about our feelings and "favorite moments," which is totally fair! So if your guy isn't interested in that kind of thing at all, he might not like certain aspects of the box.
2. Room for improvement with some of the pieces included. This is basically only in reference to the dominoes. We noticed that some of the white dots that were supposed to be colored in simply weren't. Which made playing the game a bit more confusing!
3. More food options to appeal to different allergies or restrictions. As I mentioned above, I think it would be a really great addition to the boxes if they could offer different meal options for people with religious observances or allergies. That would take the box from good to great!
Have you tried NIB? Would you be interested in trying it? Are you going to purchase a subscription? Let me know in the comments down below :)
I must admit, I have a rather unpopular opinion.
I didn't like Mad Men.
Can you believe it? I know. Everyone and their mother was obsessed with that show. Well, after seeing that the entire series was available on Netflix, I decided to watch it - beginning to end. I liked the idea of the nostalgia, of seeing the fashions change through the 60s and 70s, of understanding these characters inside and out.
I was highly disappointed.
Here's why. WARNING: Major spoilers ahead!
1. The production value doesn't make up for the characters. Whenever I talk to someone about Mad Men, the first thing they'll comment on is the production value. They love the costumes, the sets, the idea that the story takes place in visually-distinctive eras that we currently have nostalgia for. And they're not wrong! The sets are well-done, the costumes are gorgeous, and it is interesting to observe the characters experience historical events in the past that we already know will happen. But let's be clear. None of this makes up for the show's negative qualities. It's cool to look at, but I'd rather flip through a book of old Sears catalogs than suffer through seven seasons of bad people doing bad things.
2. There are no redeemable characters. I cannot think of one main character on the show who doesn't take an action that is horribly irredeemable. Everyone does something awful. And here's the kicker: no one even feels guilty. Don sleeps with tens of women on the show and really only feels guilt when he's caught. Of course, that doesn't make him change his ways. He tells Stephanie, the niece of his first wife (a marriage of convenience), in the LAST EPISODE of the show that she shouldn't feel guilty for abandoning her child. I mean, if that's the last episode, he really hasn't grown an iota since the beginning of the series, has he? Joan sleeps with her ex-boyfriend while her husband is gone serving in the military and bears his child, never telling her husband the truth. (This isn't to excuse Joan's husband for his behaviors.) Betty sleeps with Don in the sixth season when she's happily married to Henry. Peggy sleeps with Pete, a married man, bears his child and gives it away, then sleeps with ANOTHER married man years later. I could go on and on about the different characters and the actions they take that they feel no guilt for, but that would take up too much space in this review - so I'll stop here. But the characters never grow, change, or repent for their actions.
3. Don Draper is an absolutely TERRIBLE person and the writers are obsessed with him. Don is suave, charming, debonair. And he is a horrible person. He acts terribly, betters himself briefly, and then becomes terrible again. The writers would have you believe that they know this, that they condemn him for it, but in truth - they adore him. The writers fetishize him. They give the audience flashbacks to explain Don's behavior, when, in fact, there is no justification for the way he treats the people around him. They give him moments of humanity to show that he's not a monster, but even the greatest monsters have some moments of sensitivity. Don is an entirely selfish character who doesn't grow or change and takes advantage of the women and people around him. And by season 7 that is a pretty exhausting main character to follow around.
4. Betty Draper is an unfair depiction of a woman in that era. Betty Draper has, in some ways, become the icon for the suffering 1960s housewife. I find this entirely unfair. First, she's married to Don, one of the worst characters on television. No woman, housewife or not, would be happy married to him. Second, I don't think that being a housewife made Betty "crazy" - I think Betty had issues all on her own. Look at her relationship with her children - look at her relationship with Glen. She's a mess. And let's be clear - until the very last episode, when everyone gets their happy ending, the writers generally show women as unhappy. They're at home raising children? Their husbands are cheating on them and they are unfulfilled. They're in the workplace? They can never get to where they want to go. I understand that they're trying to show that women of that era couldn't have it all. But Betty Draper's character is not a good example of a normal woman who is suffering because she's a housewife - she's an example of Dostoevsky-ian heroine with many emotional and mental struggles.
5. Peggy is basically irredeemable. Peggy gives away her child at the end of the first season. We see her at her mother's house with the child twice, I think, and both times she acts disgusted with him. We then don't learn what happens to this child until the fourth episode from the end of the series, in a passing conversation she has with Stan, the man she ends up with, where it becomes clear she gave him up to be raised by another family. And she doesn't express regret, or sadness, or any of those things. She expresses annoyance that men can leave their children with not so much as a thought, and women should have the same opportunity. Here's her response to Stan telling her he didn't have a great mother, and reflecting it back on herself: "Maybe she was very young! And followed her heart and got in trouble. And no one should have to make a mistake, just like a man does, and not be able to move on! She should be able to live the rest of her life, just like a man does." Yeah, that's the major lesson we as a society should learn. Not that men should take responsibility for their actions, but that women shouldn't have to take responsibility for theirs.
6. Sex never brings anyone happiness and is pursued for the worst reasons. Sex is an obsessive part of this show. Who will have sex with whom? Will everything fall apart? It's as much a part of Mad Men as the set-dressing is. But Mad Men is unique in one big way. There is no time where you're rooting for a couple that finally makes it official and consummates their relationship physically. You're not waiting for any two characters to get together, like Ross and Rachel, or Jim and Pam. People just kind of ... have sex. And they are never happy afterward. "I had sex with my secretary in a hotel room." "I slept with my daughter's school teacher." "I cheated on my husband in a bar bathroom." This might all be fine if, at some point, the show portrayed a counterpoint to this behavior - a more meaningful physical relationship that brought depth to a marriage, for example. But nope.
7. The ending wasn't satisfying because no one deserved a happy ending. I watched the entirety of Mad Men in about a month. I don't know about you, but when I've spent a lot of time with a show, getting to know the characters and the story, I usually find myself sad when it ends. I cannot stress enough - I did not feel sad AT ALL when I came to the end of Mad Men. This one fact blows my mind. I got to the last episode, wondering if I would miss watching Peggy, Roger, Betty and Don, and I did not. So why didn't the last episode make me cry? Why wasn't I moved by everyone's endings? Everyone ends up doing what they would have wanted - but no one deserved their happy ending. They lied, cheated, and stole and what do they get? Rewarded.
8. For a show that focuses on character development rather than plot, I didn't understand any of the characters' motivations. This was the biggest issue for me. The show is all about the characters. It's not plot-driven. The story surrounds the characters choices and decisions. So why didn't I understand anyone's motivations for anything? People act badly because they can, not because their characters actually would. And that is a real oversight in my eyes.
So, here's the big takeaway: No one learns. No one grows. No one changes into a better person. They act poorly and then continue to act poorly and then get a happy ending. One season of that? Okay. Seven seasons? Not so much. A progression is what makes a story interesting - and the progression can't simply be moving from era to era, costume to costume.
What do you think? What are your thoughts? Have you seen the show? Let me know in the comments below!
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Planning a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time can be overwhelming.
I planned both, and I know from experience! At the same time that you're on the top of the world, you're also looking at costs and prices that blow your mind and trying to make sure that everyone stays happy. And when it comes to planning the honeymoon, it's hard not to make it entirely secondary to the wedding day.
Now, when I was planning our honeymoon (in those rare moments of time I had between planning the wedding and finishing my Professional Studies Certificate), I had a lot of ideas for where we could go: Paris, Rome, Santorini, etc. And guess what? We didn't go to any of those places.
Because we didn't want to spend the first ten hours of our marriage and the bulk of our honeymoon budget on flights.
This is my number one piece of advice for couples planning their honeymoon. Save money on flights so that you can spend your money once you're there! We decided to go to Old Quebec, a historical area of Quebec City that is absolutely stunning. Both of our flights were under $200, and the trip was two, 1 1/2 hour flights, with a layover in between.
And once we were there, we had the BEST time. We didn't worry about spending money eating out for every meal, or buying each other gifts, or getting a couple's massage. We didn't have to spend two days recovering from jetlag. We didn't have to worry about the cost of our hotel. We had saved enough on flights that we could really enjoy ourselves once we were there.
So I figured I'd give you my top tips for planning your honeymoon. I also asked Jacob what his one tip would be, and I've included that below!
1. Save money on flights. Like I said above, don't spend your entire honeymoon budget on flights. Once you get there, you'll be stressed trying to save every dollar since you already spent all your money just getting to the dang place. Because here's the truth: this amazing place that you've spent so much money to visit won't be fun at all if you're constantly worried about your budget once you're there.
2. Don't fly somewhere you will have to take time to recover from jetlag. Now, some may disagree with me here, but if you're honeymooning right after your wedding, you probably don't want the first few days of blissful marriage to be filled with exhaustion-ridden bickering. It's just bound to happen - when you're tired, you're grumpy. And even if you're not bickering, you might just be too exhausted to fully enjoy each other's company as husband and wife. Instead, opt for somewhere in the a similar timezone so you can enjoy yourselves for the entirety of your honeymoon.
3. Book a few exciting things in advance. When we went to Old Quebec, I knew that I wanted to book two things in advance: a couple's massage and a dinner cruise. That gave us some sort of structure once we were there and also gave us something tangible to look forward to. I recommend doing the same for your honeymoon. It can be tricky to pull things together once you're already in a new place, especially if the language is different, so doing research beforehand is HUGELY helpful. I also find that not having any sort of a schedule can allow the day to get away from you, so having a few things planned can keep you on track for a really fun time.
4. Buy one thing that you'll wear and remember forever. I really enjoy jewelry - I usually tie up memories with my favorite pieces. If Jacob buys me something, every time I wear it I think of and am grateful for him. So I knew that I wanted to buy something when we were on our honeymoon so that every time I wore it, I would remember what a wonderful time we had. Jacob bought me a lovely set of pearls when we were on our honeymoon and I love wearing them because of the memories I have of him buying them for me. I think it's really nice to have something from your trip that will give you a little glow every time you wear it. And if you don't spend too much on flights, you can buy something really lovely that will last the entirety of your marriage!
5. Jacob's Tip: Only plan a couple of things a day (written by Jacob): "You are Newlyweds! You have no idea what that means. It is new, it is exciting. You will have moments where you stop in the middle of walking, stare at your spouse and think, 'We did it. It's done. We're married. Just like that.' You will feel awe, you will feel surprised, you will feel dumbstruck. It is unlike anything you have felt before, and now is the time to share your giddiness and wonder, and the well spring of joy that bubbles up that makes you want to throw your arms in the air and jump around with them.
"And you cannot do any of that or appreciate any of that like you should and like you deserve to if you are over-scheduled. Running around all day to check off a list of tourist attractions is not what you are on your honeymoon for. You go on vacation for that. This is your honeymoon. You get one, and its purpose is for you to bask in the warm, sunny glow of the amazing commitment you have made to one another. You will remember those moments and feelings more dearly than you will yet another appointment.
"Wherever you go, make the most of your unstructured time in a way that puts the focus on the two of you together. No distraction or obligations. When we were in Quebec City, we spent five days in the old city. Most of each day we walked the cobble stones, looking in shops, admiring the architecture and views, and enjoying goofy conversations or silliness. A tour here, a day trip there was fine. But center stage was the fun of us together with enough room to enjoy what that now meant to us on our terms.
"You just got married. Give yourselves the time to explore and enjoy what that means."
Jacob is totally right, of course, but can you tell which one of us likes to plan and schedule and which one of us likes to explore and adventure? It's a nice balance for us that we have each other to fill in the gaps.
Are you planning your honeymoon right now? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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Do you have a wall in your house that you simply don't know what to do with?
I did! It was too big for just one picture, and I didn't want to go out and get a giant mirror to fill the space. But after living with a blank wall for about eight months, I finally got up the courage to create something that I never thought I could do without professional help: a gallery wall.
What's a gallery wall? The idea is that you take a bunch of different sized pictures, plaques, paintings, etc. and put them on your wall in an aesthetically pleasing way. That doesn't mean perfectly symmetrical, although if that's your thing, go for it! But it usually means a somewhat eclectic mix of picture frames, styles, and sizes.
It turns out that creating a gallery wall is actually much easier than you might think! It took me all of an afternoon to put it together, and I had a great time doing it.
What made me decide to invest the time and effort into creating a gallery wall was that we had finally received the prints from our wedding photographer (I know, it only took a year!). They came in a few different sizes, and I didn't want to have them sitting on tables all around the house. Instead, I decided to get creative.
I think one of the sad things about using our phones to take pictures is that we don't often take the time to print our pictures and really look at them. Choosing pictures to put up, though, is like putting a photo album on your wall where you can look at it whenever you want.
So, without further ado, here are my tips for making your very own gallery wall!
1. Choose pictures that fit into a theme. When you're choosing pictures for your gallery wall, I think it's nice to have a theme. For us, we themed our gallery wall around our wedding and a few photos we took together about six months into our marriage. You could choose pictures with friends, your family, or even pictures with your dog! But having a theme will tie the whole wall together.
2. Order your prints in a bunch of different sizes. Once you've chosen your favorites, head to Walgreens or CVS and order your pictures in a variety of different sizes. 4x6, 5x7,and 8x10 are all great sizes, and having different size prints will add variety and spice to the frames you can choose and will add dimension to your gallery wall.
3. Head to T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. Now that you've got your prints in hand, you get to choose the frames you want! I love T.J. Maxx and Marshalls because they have a lot of great, cheaper options that are really unique and have so much depth and dimension. I highly recommend checking them out.
4. Look for different styles of frames, as well as a few word-art pieces. When I went to look for frames, I knew that I wanted variety, but I wanted them to fit into a certain theme, too. I was looking for something rustic, with muslin bows, metal clips, and weathered paint. You can choose whatever theme you want, or you can just go with a whole variety of different frames: modern, old-fashioned, rustic, or fancy. It's really up to you. But choose a few different types! As well, I liked the idea of incorporating a few word-art pieces to hang among our pictures to add more flair to our wall - I chose a few that said things that we believe in. You can choose whatever fits your theme and the pictures you've chosen. Have fun with it!
5. Lay out all your pictures on the floor to see what you want it to look like. When you get back home, put all of the pictures in your frames and lay them out on the floor. See what looks good to your eye and make adjustments. There, you can see what looks good to you and change things easily. Take a picture once you've figured out what you like so that you can replicate it on your wall.
6. Hang it on the wall and enjoy! Now that you know what you want it to look like, take some measurements and start hanging everything up! You'll love what you put together and you'll get to enjoy your pictures so much more frequently than when they're simply stored in your phone's memory.
I included some options from T.J. Maxx to try for your gallery wall at home - I hope you find something you like.
If you try this, please send me pictures on Twitter and Instagram! I'd love to see what you come up with. And let me know down in the comments too!
*Disclosure: This contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. Thank you so much for your support!
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There are some movie theaters that are truly awesome.
When I was living in Los Angeles, for example, there was the little theater right down the street that was easy and convenient to get to. And you know what? We never went there. The ArcLight was miles nicer, so we would drive the twenty minutes to get there, even though it was more expensive.
Well, ever since Jacob and I moved to Virginia, we've been loving one movie theater: the Alamo Drafthouse. The first time we visited, we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. We knew that they served dinner and that the seats were more comfortable than your average movie theater, but the experience at the Alamo Drafthouse is so much more than that.
We've now been more than ten times, I would say, and each time we have had a great experience.
The first thing you'll notice when you enter is the decor. Alamo Drafthouse Charlottesville is decorated in a kitschy, themed way that feels like a throwback. The light fixture looks like a spaceship, and you've got neon lights pointing you in the direction of each theater. Off to the side is the restaurant affiliated with the theater.
After you buy your tickets, either at the desk or at a kiosk, you proceed down the hallway, where you'll see old movie posters in different languages - again getting you into that throwback frame of mind! And that's really the thing about Alamo - you can tell that they take pride in their theater as an establishment, not just as a place to watch movies.
Once you're in the movie theater itself, you'll find out how the Alamo really stands out.
1. The Ordering System. As soon as you walk into the theater, you'll see some incredibly comfortable leather seats connected to a little table. Once you sit down, you'll notice that each table has a little pocket underneath it with a light and a menu. This is so that you can look at your menu during the movie and order whatever your heart desires. And how do you order, you may ask? Well, each table is also equipped with two pens, a pad of order cards, and a little bar to stick your order card into to get a server's attention. You simply write down what you want and a server will collect your order and bring it straight to your table!
2. The No-Disturb Policy. This has been one of our favorite features at the Alamo. You aren't allowed to talk, text, or generally be a disturbance in the theater. You get one warning - the second time you're kicked out of the theater without a refund. If someone is bothering you, you simply take an order card and write down who is bothering you. Then a server will come take your card, go back behind the scenes so as not to make it obvious who reported whom, and will return to admonish the disturber. This might sound strict, but honestly, it is such a great system and if you've ever had a loud talker next to you in a movie, you'll appreciate it.
3. The Food and Drinks. The menu is great and has a lot of wonderful options for vegetarians as well as regular meat-eaters. One of my favorites is their Impossible Burger and fries, although last night we enjoyed their pizzas. As you might have figured out, I couldn't take pictures of our food since we ate our food during the movie! In addition, for some films the Alamo will actually create new themed menus of food and cocktails to match the theme of the movie. They also have great beers (hence the name, Drafthouse) and really cool milkshakes.
Besides showing new films, the Alamo Drafthouse also does something they call their "signature series." They show old movies, be they cult classics or just great films, and do themed viewings. After the previews, the manager of the theater will come out and give you some info about the movie you're about to watch. It's a cool feature and we really appreciate it.
All in all, we highly recommend Alamo Drafthouse and, give it - you guessed it! - five stars.
Have you been to the Alamo Drafthouse? What's your favorite theater? Let me know in the comments below.
*Disclosure: Alamo Drafthouse Charlottesville generously gave us two complimentary dinner tickets in order to make this review possible. Jacob and I have been to this theater and eaten dinner there many times, so this did not influence our opinion! :)
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Housewife is kind of a loaded term, nowadays.
As someone who used to decry the notion of being a stay-at-home mom (for myself), I know how I pictured that lifestyle: surrounded by children, unable to have communication with adults for most of the day, probably hanging around in sweatpants and not caring what I looked like.
This isn't a very accurate depiction of being a housewife, but, nonetheless, it was the picture I had in my mind.
So, I devoted myself wholeheartedly to my operatic career. I said to myself, my husband will be the kind of man who is fine with me traveling for weeks at a time, or who will come with me so that I can go and perform and he can work remotely or watch the kids. I'll work and and be a mom, but I won't stay at home.
It wasn't until I met my husband that I realized that I was the one who didn't want to leave him for weeks at a time, and that the idea of creating my own schedule so that I could be around to see my children grow up as well as doing something that fulfilled me separately from them was incredibly attractive to me. I could be a wife and a mother and create my own business that offered me flexibility. Becoming a blogger and content creator would allow me to raise my children at home, while also find meaning in my work. But the question of being a housewife remained hanging in the air: wouldn't I get bored sitting with my children, not seeing anyone besides them and my husband for days on end?
It was then that I realized: being a housewife today isn't what it used to be.
The image I had of being a stay-at-home mom was incorrect, but not entirely: you do end up spending much of the day alone with your children removed from other adult contact.
But it wasn't always that way.
When women as a general rule stayed at home to raise the children, there was a built-in community of other women to spend time with during the day. You met up with your friends and your children played while you socialized. There was an element to being a housewife that isn't present now: an "office" of people to spend your day with, doing the same work. That work just happened to be raising a family.
Nowadays, we lack two things. We lack communities generally, and we lack housewives specifically (and I think it's partly because of this specific fear). In the religious Jewish world, and I believe in the religious world overall, these things both still exist. Many women stay home to raise their children while their husbands work. These women have a wonderful group to share their days with, and they can enjoy all the aspects of motherhood that housewives without a community can't.
As a woman who is ambitious and who wants to have a career, albeit of a more flexible sort, I think that it's totally normal to want to pursue something in addition to being a mother. So, when I say housewife, I mean women who are full-time stay-at-home moms, as well as women working from home or working remotely. Both are totally valid versions of the concept. But being a housewife in today's day and age is a totally different animal than it used to be, so of course it seems daunting.
What's the solution? Create a community for yourself. If being a stay-at-home mom is something you want to do, in any sense of the term, reach out to other mothers in your area. Find other women who share the same values that you do and who are looking for someone to spend their time with. Go shopping with a friend and bring the children along. And when you have a community, you also have a push to get up and leave the house; take pride in your appearance; and do all the things that prevent you from feeling lonely.
I say all this not being a mother, but looking forward to becoming one (not at the moment, of course!). And with that in mind, I think it's important to prepare mentally, emotionally, and practically so that I have a community I already love by the time I'm entering that stage of my life. I encourage you to do the same!
Do you have a community of mothers around you? Does the idea of being a housewife seem daunting? Let me know in the comments!
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Welcome to another Classically Abby Husband vs. Wife Movie Review!
This week we're doing Avengers: Endgame, a movie that everyone has been dying to see. Check out the video above to hear Jacob and my thoughts!
Have you seen Avengers: Endgame? If you have, what did you think? If you haven't, did this review make you want to? Leave it in the comments below!
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