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15 posts from July 2008

July 11, 2008

Kids in childcare weigh more

     A new report found that toddlers in child care weighed a little more, on average, than those who stayed home during the day with their parents, Time reports in Babies Gain More Weight in Day Care.

   Researcher Juhee Kim acknowledges that it's still not clear what causes weight gain in babies in day care, but she speculates that it may have something to do with their irregular eating patterns and caregivers' different feeding habits. Infants who are cared for at home, for example, can expect a constant and consistent feeding pattern. But a baby who spends her days in day care may get fed every time she cries, as a soothing mechanism.

    On Paul Nyhan's Working Dad blog he has written about research on the benefits and fallout of child care. Paul feels Time sums it up well in the article.

"Past studies have shown that day care can enhance or accelerate babies' cognitive development; it may even boost their academic performance later in life. But eating habits established during this same time may also have long-lasting -- and unhealthy -- effects."

Based on personal observations, I think many chubby toddlers often become healthy/fit grade schoolers. So working parents, is this research cause for concern or insignificant information?

July 09, 2008

Women: living longer and staying married

    Some interesting new stats out this week. Women are living longer, saving less, staying married and dating their spouses.

    Yesterday, The Miami Herald reports fewer South Florida couples are divorcing. The drop comes after five years in which the number of divorces each year was relatively constant. Miami magistrate Robert Jones attributes it to the economy, which could make it difficult for a couple to sell their home and divide the proceeds. And, some couples may not be able to afford legal costs. Marriage counselor Susan Scholoz-Rubin says stopping to reconsider a divorce could be helpful.

   Meanwhile, a new Hewitt Associates survey found women are living longer -- an average of 22 years after retirement versus 19 years for men. The bottom line: women need to save more because medical costs are rising. They should sock away 2 percent of pay each year. Most important, women need to get confident about saving and investing: 90 percent say they're insecure about managing their finances.

     So ladies, we're hanging on to our spouse longer, we're living longer...what can we do to enjoy living our longer lives with our men? Date night. The Today Show did a great piece on date night on a dime. It's worth squeezing date night into your busy schedules. Guidelines: date night is with your partner, no one else; devote the whole night to date night; no housework and no children; keep up with date nights. Now with those guidelines in mind, here are some ways to do date night on the cheap: create a romantic candlelight meal at home, rent a movie, check out a museum or local exhibit, take a class together, take a personal day together.

     What do you think about couples staying married because they can't afford to divorce? Is it too late for date night?


July 07, 2008

Visible Undergarments not acceptable

          This weekend, I joked with friends about letting my bra straps hang out of my tank top. I noticed it's the big craze. Whenever I'm around teen girls, many have their bra straps visible, a fashion statement. But while the trend may be okay at the mall or movies, it's a problem in the workplace.

    Monster’s latest homepage poll asked, “Which is the worst summer workplace fashion offense?”  The top answer was visible undergarments and tank tops: 61%  (4,328 votes), followed by flip-flops: 29 percent (2,009 votes).

     What is appropriate summer dress? Monster’s Dress for Success site says Chino trousers, pencil skirts, relaxed button-down shirts and linen, polo or knitted shirts. These clothes are generally made out of breathable fabrics – perfect for warmer weather. 


     Is ditching the pantyhose a workplace offense? Depends whom you ask. Etiquette expert Barbara Pachter says nylons are a must. Time blogger Lisa Cullen says no way would she wear pantyhose to work in 100 degree weather.  Here in South Florida, I think it's okay to skip the stockings, especially in the summer. But I agree with Pachter who says the real question is: Is my clothing appropriate for my workplace?

     What do you consider inappropriate dress in the workplace? Does hot weather open the door to more casual dress?


July 03, 2008

Would you want a four-day workweek?

   Would you want a four-day work week if it means four L-O-N-G days? Public employers are leading the way in the trend toward four-day workweeks. Governments see it as a way to save money by shutting down buildings one day a week. Workers see it as a way to say money on gas. In my Miami Herald column this week, I wrote about the pros and cons for businesses and employees. I happen to work a four-day week and I think it's great. But it's a huge effort to protect my day off (Friday) I have a tendency of checking my e-mail, making follow up phone calls and even checking in with editors on Fridays.

    I'm not sure whether corporate employers are going to buy into the trend. One CEO told me, "I already get five 10-hour days out of my employees. Why would I want to give one day of productivity.'' He has a point. Does anyone work an 8-hour day anymore?

    I spoke about the trend on CBS. Click here for the link. Matt Lauer did an interesting piece on the topic as well.

    Do you think the having a day off during the week would be worth leaving at dawn and returning at dusk?   

July 01, 2008

Denise Richards Has What I Want!

     I admit that I want what actress Denise Richards has -- a personal assistant. (At one point she had a personal assistant for her personal assistant). How great would it be to have someone to do those time-consuming tasks for you!

     Today, I read an article about the growing number of websites that make it easier to have a personal assistants -- virtually. Virtual assistants can take your calls, prepare documents, manage databases, handle sales and Internet marketing projects, manage your mail flow, book your travel arrangements and keep your schedule. Sounds great doesn't it?

   The article says most people are hesitant to consider having a personal assistant because they don't think they can afford it. The good news, the article says, is that it is becoming easier to outsource virtual errands and affordable to anyone who makes more than $30,000 a year. With that income, a day of your time would be valued at more than $100 - making outsourcing worth the investment. Fees typically range from $15 to $40 an hour.

      One woman who travels often uses a site called AskSunday.com to deal with lost luggage, security issues with credit cards and reservation problems. Users pay $29 a month for 15 requests. Another guy mentioned in the article uses virtual assistants to check his e-mail, screen his phone calls, send gifts to family  and friends, even schedule dates. Some sites mentioned were YourManInIndia.com, Elance.com and Guru.com. Another way to find an experienced virtual assistant is through AssistU or the International Virtual Assistant Association 

    Apparently, demand for virtual assistants is climbing. Have you ever thought of using one? Would you feel uncomfortable having someone in another city or country taking care of your personal tasks?