Though I don't live in NYC, if I did my spaniel Lucy would be either a Yorkie living on the upper west side or a Shih Tzu living in brooklyn. Not sure how I feel about that.
@queenofbithynia Yes and no. I work in DC too, and sometimes look at myself in the mirror in the morning and say "I have to change; I look like the intern." Usually that happens when I'm wearing a cardigan and a pleated/swing skirt and flats (less so the pencil skirt). I think it's an exercise in trial and error.
@breccia I'm 30 and skew about 5 years younger. It's not as much of a problem now, but when I was just starting out as a professional (with a graduate degree) I used to get asked if I was the intern. In fact, I went to a meeting early last summer and the girl next to me (bless her heart) asked if it was my first day as an intern too.
My trick is generally to wear neutrals or bold colors (e.g. black, grey, navy, purple, olive, red, etc.) and no pastels. I also wear bold patterns (stripes, etc.) but no ditsy florals. Wear heels if you can manage, and modern-ish statement jewelry. Sadly, anything with a "vintage" vibe is going to make you look a bit twee. Stay away from skater skirts. Pencil skirts, silk blouses/shells, and cardigans/blazers are your friend.
@leon s I always ask for pajamas and socks, on the assumption that even if they're ugly as all get-out, I will still wear them and thus be able to tell the giver that I use them all the time.
Re: elf on the shelf, I agree it is creepy as all get-out. I prefer my co-worker's strategy. She tells kids that all the security cameras you see in the grocery store, at the mall, in Target, etc., all send a private video feed to the north pole. Kids are most likely to act out in public, and you can tell them "Santa's watching!" without having to rely on a creepy magical elf that moves around the house by itself at night.
My mom hated strawberry shortcake too! And Cabbage Patch Kids were "too creepy."
@Springtime for Voldemort Same here. There weren't specific bans, but I lived in constant fear of my mom finding me watching anything on TV other than PBS. I distinctly remember getting in trouble once for watching "Home Improvement," which is pretty innocent as sitcoms go.
So I was the kid in first grade who knew who Gorbachev was, but didn't have a clue about the Power Rangers or Ninja Turtles.
Also: no barbies (unless they came as gifts), nothing religious (long story), no books with swear words or sex in them (which became really hard to regulate once I was past the Babysitters Club, and no pants (as in, dresses, always. Unless it was the weekend). I'm pretty sure my parents were convinced we lived in 1957.
@snuffleupagus (not that I'm bitter or anything...)
@Probs Mine was run moderately well, but the lines were ridiculous. I waited 2 hours (after waiting maybe half an hour in 2008). In DC! Where our votes really don't even count for anything!
@melis I get the "unh, that is a good looking dog" comment when I'm walking my cavalier spaniel who, while she looks more like a dog and less like a throw pillow than my last dog (a shih tzu) is still a teeny adorable puppy. She's not exactly a dog for which men can express manly appreciation, so it's hilarious to see them try.