Love Series {1}: Dating + Irrational Deal Breakers

We aren’t going to lie, we’re a little sad that our Wedding Week is coming to a close. From dreaming up fantasy fashion editorials to making our floral wishes a reality, we’ve had a blast diving into all things bridal! But to end all of this wedding talk, we thought it’d be nice to shake things up a bit and launch a brand new column: on love, sex, dating, marriage and relationships!

That’s right, we want to start talking about the “untalked about” {not a word, we know!} in an honest and exciting way. Thankfully, the talented Megan McCarty {you may have spotted her piece in the new Rue Magazine!}  is on a quest to discuss everything gushy, mushy, terrifying and hillariously real about this thing called “love”, and she’s willing to help us dive into topics never before talked about on Apartment 34. We hope you’ll find something that you’ve been dying to talk about with your bestie or recognize the silver lining in your current situation that’ll make you laugh, whether you’re newly single, happily married or proudly “bed surfing.” So let’s chat dating and those annoying, totally irrational, deal breakers! Megan, take it away…

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Dating these days is rough. Think Tinder, think noncommittals {wait, maybe that’s me}, think your ex’s Instagram account just waiting for you to stalk it. So let’s laugh our way through this rough landscape that is dating and that “L” word I sometimes stutter over – and the often blurry line between the two – in this new, exciting series, shall we?

Though yes, I’m writing a love column, I’m admittedly no expert on the topic. For as much as I do know about dating, there’s just as much I don’t – hence why I’m writing this alone, in my yoga pants, unwashed hair piled atop my head, obsessively wondering if the new guy I’m dating {or are we? we haven’t discussed it yet!} has lost interest. Here’s what I do know: reveal empathy early; be straightforward about your wants and needs; and show kindness to yourself, as sometimes there’s a lag time between what your head knows and heart feels. Here’s what I don’t know: nearly everything else.

There’s one thing I’m newly adamant about though, and that’s when to listen to those magical, mystical feelings in my belly that tell me whether or not a relationship is right for me. Deal breakers. How petty, I tell myself, in regards to most of them. So he doesn’t know how to pick out a bottle of wine for dinner; who cares? But with each passing year and each passing date, I realize deal breakers stem from missing a more substantial quality I crave in a partner. Take the case of picking a wine. It shows confidence and ability to roll-with-the-tipsy-punches when the Sancerre is a little too acidic for our tastes. My deal breakers aren’t because I’m in any sort of Darwinian rush to weed out the duds who won’t father my future children {although, that’s a perfectly rational reason}, but because I’m a grown woman, dammit!

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Let’s rewind a few months, when I found myself in the company of a genuinely nice guy. He checked all the Mom-approved boxes: kind, educated, employed, easily amused by my jokes. We’d occasionally go out to dinner or see an art exhibit, but it never went much further than that. There were no sleepovers, no meeting of friends, no talks about the future – because those aforementioned magical, mystical feelings were telling me something was off. And suddenly, one otherwise forgettable weeknight that we decided to go dancing, I uncovered every irrational deal breaker so I could to tell myself: no more.

The way he futzed with the heat settings in my car. Irrational deal breaker #1. The way he continued to do so after I asked him to stop. Irrational deal breaker #2. The way he used childish words in the place of swear words. The way he couldn’t make up his mind about where to park. The way he carelessly elbowed people on the dance floor. These were all the straws that broke the dating camel’s back.

Ultimately it wasn’t about his grabby hands blasting my heat too high. {Though really, don’t do that.} My absurdly strong reactions to every little thing he did was simply my subconscious poking at me, saying this relationship wasn’t right and that I needed to be the grown up I keep telling myself I am and end it. Breakups, at least in my heart-on-sleeve experience, aren’t graceful or gratifying, but they are easier when you listen to your instincts early on, before feelings and Thanksgiving dinners and weekends away together just complicate things further.

Irrational deal breakers are just the beginning in this love series. There’s how to keep your chin up through a bad breakup, for instance. Or the ins and outs of dating in a world where we can check up on our ex’s – pick a social site, any social site – at any vulnerable moment.

And, like Salt-N-Pepa said, let’s talk about sex, ba-by! So follow along. We have a lot to talk about. xo – Megan

We’d love for this series to be a conversation. Spill. What things drive you NUTS about your current fling. We’re also dying to know what girl talk you want to dive into with this series…

original photography + art for apartment 34 by athena pelton // quote by bianca sotelo

Wedding Week: {Backstage Access}

With coverage of New York Fashion Week {and now London!} swarming our feeds over the past couple of weeks, it would have felt wrong NOT to share this stunning backstage look at a bridal fashion show. We’re suckers for good behind the scenes moments afterall. And a backstage peek at a fashion show is certainly in a class of its own. While the runaway appears perfect, the frenzy behind the sceens is a raw and beautifully brutal part of the fashion world. We love the perspective backstage access brings to seemingly perfectly executed shows where models just float down the runway. Not to mention, we had to practically pick our jaws off the floor after drooling over Houghton’s Bridal Fall 2015 looks!

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Houghton, like our dream editorial we shared earlier this week, nails bridal separates so wearable you really don’t even need to be a bride to rock em! From collared jumpsuits to midi-length tulle skirts, textured short-sleeve sweaters and white leather jackets, there wasn’t one thing we wouldn’t love to wear on our wedding day, or the days post/prior, for that matter. We’ve come to the conclusion that if anyone knows how to master the look of minimally chic silhouettes and risk-takingly, cool gowns for the edgy, fashion-forward bride, it’s Houghton’s designer, Katherine Polk, a.k.a. our Wedding Week unicorn.

For all our top bridal inspiration, including a modern twist on something blue, innovative bouquet ideas and our favorite real weddings, Click HERE!

images via The Lane // photography by Abby Ross

3 Wedding Instagram Accounts Every Bride Should Follow

Instagram is one of our best cyber friends and it most definitely should be a bride’s best friend when she’s in the throws of planning her big day! Event planners, florists, wedding stylists and photographers are posting so much wedding day inspiration, we can hardly keep up! From bridal editorials to gorgeous engagement shoot locations- it makes a gal’s dream wedding just a “heart” away. So to do all our current brides-to-be out there a solid – and let’s be real – indulge in some of our own wedding fantasies, we rooted around for the creme de la creme of wedding-related Instagram feeds. We promise, these three wedding focused accounts will blow any bride-to-be’s socks off! Get ready to swoon, ladies!!

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Jose Villa is a wedding photographer extraordinaire. This man captures some of the most stunning weddings on the planet and pours out his wealth of knowledge by always sharing vendor info for brides looking to recreate the same dream. He will fill your feed with everything from gorgeous tabletops to idyllic locations and editorials. If there’s one person to follow, it’s him {and we’re totally not biased, even though he did shoot Erin’s wedding!} Unreal.

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A completely different aesthetic, but a master just the same is wedding and lifestyle photographer, James Frost. If you react the same way we do, “Holy crap, how does he do that?!” is likely the first thing that’ll come out of your jaw-dropped mouth when scrolling through his feed. With breathtaking vistas in the background, his engagement photos, no doubt, top the cake!

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We first fell in love with LOHO Bride, a local San Francisco bridal boutique, because of its name – LOHO standing for a bride who is in a League of Her Own. Artfully curated, this feed is for the badass bride- full of edgy style, the latest bridal trends, behind the scenes looks and downright beautiful inspiration. There’s a little bit of a boho vibe, mixed in with a touch of minimalistic chic and we’re just obsessed with the mood of this account!

We’re curious – are there any bridal accounts you’re obsessed with? We’d love to add a few more to our must-follow list.

Addicted to Instagram and on the hunt for more inspiring people to follow? Click HERE for our past top picks.