Friday Fun: Worst Fashion Decade

by Honolulu Mother

Guardian fashion writer Hadley Freeman recently decried the revival of 1990s fashion, arguing that the 1990s was the worst decade for fashion.  Jezebel then opened up the argument to its readers, asking for their thoughts (and supporting images) about which decade should take the worst-fashion crown.  Totebaggers, I’m sure we too have thoughts to contribute on this important subject!

Not surprisingly, the decade most frequently cited by the Jezebel readers was the 1970s.  And who can deny that the 1970s is a strong candidate?  But Freeman has a good point that 1970s fashions were at least about making an effort to achieve a deliberate look — a terrible look, in many instances, but a distinctive one.  The 1990s she views as more marked by an I-don’t-care absence of fashion.

For myself, despite the strong claims of the 1970s, I might have to pick the late 1990s/early 2000s era, an era that insisted on selling me low rise pants and crop tops during my pregnancy years. I’m still retrospectively fond of the 1980s, although it is funny to see what the decade looks like as viewed from today.  A flashback I saw in a kids show (Mr. Young, about a teenaged high school science teacher) showed the now-middle-aged characters back in their own high school days, with everyone break-dancing in neon, parachute pants, and mullets.  All of which was around, but we also had Laura Ashley and those pastel sweaters and jeans and t-shirts to mute the effect a bit.  (Does this mean that the 1950s did not really look like Grease?)

Totebaggers, what’s your candidate for worst fashion decade, in the 20th century or ever?  And why?

Coffee Talk: A Three-Day Work Week

By Grace Nunez aka costofcollege

Carlos Slim calls for a three-day working week

We’ve got it all wrong, says Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms tycoon and world’s second-richest man: we should be working only three days a week.

Attending a business conference in Paraguay, Mr Slim said it was time for a “radical overhaul” of people’s working lives. Instead of being able to retire at 50 or 60, he says, we should work until we are older – but take more time off as we do so.

“People are going to have to work for more years, until they are 70 or 75, and just work three days a week – perhaps 11 hours a day,” he told the conference, according to news agency.

“With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life. Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”

Since the above linked article requires registration, here’s another link that does not. Billionaire Carlos Slim argues for a 3-day work week

Perhaps related:  How to Get All Your Work Done in Half the Time

Ask The Totebag: Systems To Manage Our Lives

by saacnmama

Totebaggers, to run your busy lives, what systems do you find most helpful? I operate best when many things like laundry and food are done by rote, and do not react well when those “systems” are interrupted. I have recently realized that I need to “automatize” our home paper handling and the way I approach work every day (whether I’m being paid or not, if it’s career-related, it’s work). I’m not sure if setting alarms for everything–wake up, leave the house, go pick up child, activities, get ready for bed, etc.–is a system, but it sure is helpful.

What systems do you use? Did you set them up intentionally, or did you fall into natural patterns that work well for you? How do you get back on track when your usual rhythms and systems are interrupted?

Coffee Talk: Water, Water, Everywhere . . .

by WCE

Given our ongoing discussions about environmental regulations and personal conservation, I thought this article on water system losses would be interesting to discuss. Why are “glamorous” environmental projects (electric cars, for example, and sustainable power) more widely supported than analysis, pipe repair  and data systems to improve the efficiency of municipal water systems? I was especially interested in the possible improvements in efficiency in California (discussed about 75% of the way through), a state where desalination projects are under consideration. I suspect there are legal, regulatory and cultural hurdles to what seem like obvious opportunities for improvement in municipal water systems.

The Vocational Path

by Louise

This Way Up: Mobility in America
Economic mobility is alive and well for Americans who pursue technical or practical training

I have thought of this subject, in context of our discussions on the Totebag. Posters have mentioned kids who show little interest in the college path and jobs beyond that.

Franchises seem to be a popular choice for many families and this article mentions how to gain that experience. I happened to meet the owner of two nail salons in my area – an immigrant woman who has done well enough to send her three kids to a very good school. These may not be the typical Totebagger paths  but still valid ways to a successful life.

Friday Fun: Bath Time!

by saacnmama

It’s bathtime! My favorite trick — turning off the lights (and fan on the same switch) and bathing by candlelight — didn’t make the cut, but here are quite a few tips for how to chill in the tub:

Totebaggers, what do you like to do to relax? Do you have any favorite recipes for soothing tub times?

Coffee Talk: Is a summer job for your teen a good idea?

By Honolulu Mother

We’ve talked before on the Totebag about whether the value of a summer job for a teen outweighs the potential benefits from other uses of that teen’s time.  On that topic, a recent study of Canadian teens found that “teenagers who work at summer or evening jobs gain a competitive advantage later in life,” as summarized here: .  However, another recent article notes that teens are having a harder time finding summer work, so the advantage of having or not having a summer job may be a moot question: