Ask the Experts

Soothing Soaks

I like to think of myself as a pretty practical person, and I’m certainly not someone who is obsessed with skin-deep beauty stuff or girly-girl things. But I have a secret: I love going to the spa. Most of my friends would never guess, but I go at least once a semester (by myself, or with my mother when she is visiting). Maybe it’s all in my head, but I think it helps me focus more and perform better in school when I’ve had a nice break in the spa. Is that possible? It would be nice to tell my friends that I’m hitting the spa for health reasons. I know it shouldn’t matter, but my friends and I are just not really the sort of people you’d expect to see in a spa, and I think they’d think I was spoiled or something if they found out and I didn’t have a good way to explain it.

For someone who denies being concerned with “skin-deep” appearances, you sure seem worried about what your friends might think! Relax, lots of people go to the spa; and true friends won’t begrudge you a little pampering from time to time, no matter what your campus persona is like. Surround yourself with people who will like you for you– and remember that the friends you have now may well be those people, but that you won’t know until you are honest with them!

Ask the Experts

Spare Style

I’ve always liked design and decorating–just one look at my dorm room or my room back home would tell you that–but I have to confess that I don’t understand the appeal of the “industrial” look. You know: minimalist decor, exposed brick, exposed rafters and pipes…what’s with that? Where did it come from? I’m genuinely curious about why my generation seems to like apartments, bars, and gathering spaces that look like warehouses or factories. What’s beautiful about those spaces? What’s comfortable about them?

How you feel about industrial and minimalist spaces is, of course, entirely up to you. But you are quite right that they’re popular. The “warehouse aesthetic” that you’re confused by is often called “industrial style,” and it rose to prominence in the 2000s and 2010s. These days, the look is so popular among home buyers that one study showed it pushed the prices of homes in Australia up by 20 percent! That’s a lot to pay to live in a home that makes some people feel like they’re in a space under construction.

Ask the Experts

Cash (In)consideration

My sister and my (soon-to-be) brother-in-law are getting married soon–but they don’t have a gift registry. Instead, they’ve chosen to ask everyone for cash. Worse yet, the groom is busy telling people that he plans to use the money to invest in his business (he owns several small convenience stores). My parents wanted to get something like a nice china set or a set of fine silverware, so they’re beside themselves to hear that their future son-in-law is telling everyone their cash will help him buy new drink coolers. I’m not usually much for etiquette, but I’m not thrilled either, to tell the truth. To the extent that we’ve talked about it (not much), my sister seems to think it’s a normal, modern thing. Settle this for us: is this rude, or not?

While your future brother-in-law would no doubt like to get a display cooler as a wedding gift (experts do say that display coolers improve sales!!), you are correct that it would make a pretty uncommon choice for a wedding gift. But, of course, your sister and her future husband are not asking for a walk-in cooler (at least not in so many words); they’re asking for cash. So how common is that?

Ask the Experts

Proper Painting

I just moved into an apartment off-campus and want to spruce it up a bit. I’d like to at least repaint it, but I also want to avoid making mistakes or doing anything that could cause me any trouble later. Any tips?

You are not alone in your enthusiasm for a “do it yourself” solution. In fact, statistics suggest that young people like yourself are more likely to opt for a DIY option than their parents are – particularly when savings are involved. Statistics portal Statista reports that, in a 2012 poll, an incredible 84 percent of respondents said they would tackle a DIY project to avoid spending too much cash. Enthusiasm waned with each successive age group, suggesting that you are at the perfect time in your life to take on a project like this.