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Answer Angel: Great gifts for little kids

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel: I am totally stumped. I want to give a really successful birthday gift to my sweet little nephew who, though he is only 2 years old, has everything — in triplicate. Really, his parents (my sister and her wife) and their friends and other relatives seem to have provided him with all the clothes, toys, games, books, videos etc. that he wants or needs. There’s a party coming up and I’d love to come up with something for him to share and play with the other kids. But what? Cost isn’t the issue, but I have no idea if there is such a present.

— Derek C.

Dear Derek: Trust me on this one: a ball. He’ll be kicking it around with his little chums as soon as he opens it. The ones the size of a basketball but lighter in weight (for easy kicking) are everywhere for a couple dollars. Or splurge on a regulation soccer ball that he and his friends will play with for years.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I was eating dinner out and nearby was a table of six women clearly celebrating an upcoming wedding with the bride-to-be (who was wearing a tiara and a sash). Two of the young women were wearing virtually identical leopard print dresses. Is that a thing?

— Synthia C.

Dear Synthia: Leopard prints never go out of style. They’re a wardrobe basic. Look-alike dressing at dinner parties, however, is not a fashion trend. At least not yet.

Angelic Readers

Paulette H. was not happy with my recommendation of Maybelline Great Lash Mascara (drugstores, $7.99). “I went back to my old tried and true, which I would highly recommend, L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original (drugstores, $9.99), which comes in many shades. Give it a try and let me know what you think, please!”

From Ellen: I bought some at your recommendation, Paulette, and will let you know if it works for me.


Reader Rave

From Michele B.: “Not to be an annoying fan, but I have to share this amazing find! A dear relative torched my favorite pot for making chili. Like it had a 1/2-inch layer of burned chili stuck to it and no chiseling by my husband was fixing that. I tried a Dawn and Cascade dishwashing liquid soak. Nothing. Add in rubbing alcohol … still pot was ruined. Up pops my brother-in-law who said soak it overnight with a dryer sheet! It is a deep pot so I used two. OMG. It worked. It looks brand new! Every cinder came off! Wow.”

Reader Rants

I got some scolding from readers who think I’m So Very Wrong for contending capri pants are not flattering. Donna S. was quite firm: “Please quit ragging about capri pants! You’re probably wearing the wrong length or cut for the shape of your legs. So stop blaming the capris and blame the people who wear the wrong style for them, which is true for most any piece of clothing. Long live capri pants!”

Liz K. writes, “Capri pants are much cooler than ankle-length pants, something about the air circulating around the ankle and lower leg. I see them as a comfortable casual alternative when the weather is warm.” From Barbara F.: “Regarding the unflattering nature of capri pants. I am surprised that you seem unaware of the reason for their popularity. I’m sure you have noticed the increase in daily temperatures all over the world and capris (or cropped pants) offer a cooler alternative to long pants. I hope you will reconsider. I hope that all capri wearers enjoy them in comfort and I for one think they can look good too.”

From Ellen: I still don’t think a few inches of length makes capris any cooler that loose-fitting ankle-length pants in lightweight fabrics. Let’s shake hands (virtually) and agree to disagree.

Now it’s your turn

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