Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I love to people watch and when I see someone — a woman, man, teen, even a child — if I think their outfit or shoes or accessories or even nail color is great, I tell them so. A friend who was with me recently told me that it's rude and "forward" to comment like that. Is it? Also, every once in awhile I spot someone wearing something special and inquire nicely, "I love your purse (or shoes or ...). Do you mind if I ask where you bought it?" My friend says that's even ruder. Is it? — Bella C.
Dear Bella: I'm on your side. What's wrong with giving a compliment, even to a stranger? I do it all the time and the recipients always seem flattered. I know it makes me happy when a stranger tells me they like something I'm wearing. And I see nothing wrong with asking politely where a person purchased something you admire. Just yesterday I was wearing a pair of shoes I bought after complimenting a woman on the bus on her footwear, learning where she bought the shoes and going online to order a pair for myself. (They're awfully cute!)
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: On a recent tour to Scandinavia, one of the women in my group commented on my jewelry (which I wear every day) and pointedly said she always leaves her "good jewelry" at home. She insinuated that it's dangerous to wear anything of value abroad and on tours. I was honestly shocked. I also had not considered for a moment that this could be an issue. Do you agree with her, and what do you think about wearing jewelry while traveling? — Frequent Traveler
Dear Traveler: There are two competing points of view on your question:
Why have "good" jewelry if you're afraid to wear it?
Why ask for trouble; leave the valuable stuff at home.
I gather from your question that you have a few good pieces you wear every day. If you'd feel undressed without them, wear them but don't take them off. Bear in mind that travel — even in the "safest" countries with the finest tours — takes you to unfamiliar places, neighborhoods, situations where obviously expensive jewelry could make you a target.
Travel by its very nature gets you out of your routine. In many ways, that's the point of going to new places. But, it is a lot easier to lose track of things — whether a gold necklace or an iPhone charger — when you're on the road. If you're constantly worrying about losing your jewelry, misplacing it, or having it stolen, leave it home. This is especially true of irreplaceable, sentimental or really valuable jewels.
If you do choose to take good jewelry with you while traveling, never, ever put it in checked luggage. That's how my friend Pamela lost her sapphire engagement ring. Fat chance getting the airline to reimburse you. If you do travel with good jewels that you aren't wearing, at the very least make sure they are in your carry-on luggage (and please don't leave that behind on the bus, train, plane!). Sure there are precautions you can take such as, before leaving home, insuring your jewelry (which is not cheap) and leaving it only in a locked hotel safe when you aren't wearing it.
There are so many things to think about when you're on a trip, whether in the U.S. or abroad — especially maximizing enjoyment and minimizing worries. My approach is to travel only with costume jewelry that is fun to wear but not tragic if it goes missing.
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ANGELIC READERS 1
Responding to Barbara M., who was looking for a longer lasting shine to her no-polish nail buffer, Joyce D. writes, "Because I am allergic to nail polish, the best buffer I have ever used is Sand Turtle Gleemer Soft Touch 4-way Buffer Block (amazon.com, $6). After applying the three steps with this buffer, the sparkle is equal to any clear nail polish on the market, plus, the shine lasts for days. I always have one in my purse, car and bedside table, for a quick touch-up when needed."
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ANGELIC READERS 2
Barb K. asks, "Do you want one more tip for not losing socks in the laundry? Never wash socks with sheets. Single socks like to hide in the corners of fitted sheets. I realized this by taking out sheets I hadn't used for some time, and out popped a single sock. I can't say that I NEVER lose socks in the wash, but I lose LESS by not washing them with the fitted sheets."
Susan S. chews me out about my answer to Claire W., who complained about the cost of attending a destination wedding: "My future daughter in-law is from Boston. My family and friends are not from anywhere near there, but the wedding will be there. So, although not a vacation/destination wedding per se, there will be costs involved. Your comment about wanting to pick your own vacation destination and not be pressured to go on an expensive journey to celebrate a wedding was pretty insensitive. You and Claire should just send your regrets if you're that irritated."
A DIFFERENT OPINION ...
Eleanor H.: "Thank you for saying that you'd rather choose your own vacation destination rather than being pressured to go to a destination wedding. You are so right. When so many young people have student loans, it is sad to see many marrying couples choosing a destination wedding."