Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No. Twenty-One

May 23, 2024

This week, the reader mail bag was full of little things. Pajama advice. Jewelry cleaning tips. Small things, but ones you might also be curious about, so let’s get started.

How do you clean your jewelry?

I have an ultrasonic cleaning device from Soaq.  They work well, dislodging tiny particles of dirt, oil and filth.  They also make great gifts.

Dear Abra,

My pajama drawer is a pile of rags.  Yesterday, I found a Christine O’Donnell t-shirt in there.  Please help me freshen it up.

SAJ

O’Donnell?  Talk about a throwback.  

First, throw all of those pieces into the recycling bin.  Next, think about your unique pajama desires.  Do you like nightgowns or separates?  Long pants or shorts?  Sleeves or sleeveless?  Don’t buy pajamas you won’t wear by thinking about what you like best.

Soma has a lovely selection of mix-and-match pieces.  Nordstrom still makes my favorite pajamas, but these lightweight pjs from J.Crew are a close second in summer.  Like a nightgown?  I highly recommend this one.

It’s been almost 10 years since I quit my horrible job and went into business for myself. I want to celebrate with a new necklace. Ideally gold and something with a pendant. Open to different budget ranges.

Steph

Mejuri is my favorite spot for jewelry right now.  In the under-$200 category, I love, love this two-tone necklace because it’s classic but feels current.  In the ~$500 range, this baguette emerald necklace is the winner.

Abra:

Do you have a fast acting self-tanner that doesn’t suck? 

Lisa

I like the Isle of Paradise drops.  You can mix them into any lotion.  I apply with a mitt for better coverage.

Hello.

I love the look of tennis dresses for summer but don’t think I can pull it off.  They’re always too short.  Tips, tricks?  Suggestions?

Katy R.

The country club chic look is back in a big way.  I also struggle with tennis dresses because I’m not the same size on top and bottom.  Instead, I bought this polo top and skort from Athleta (both on sale right now).  It’s a nice look and easier to wear.  Plus, the skort is a good, longer length.

I also have this dress from Old Navy (lots of colors).  I just buy it in a tall.

You mentioned on Instagram Sloane is a picky eater.  My son is too.  Do you have any tricks that work for you?

Sprinkles.  Both the rainbow kind and the cheese kind, which is just cheese powder in a shake jar.  That and dips.  And when all else fails, fun silverware.  Bluey only comes to help us eat if we actually eat.  I’d be curious to hear what other tips people have.

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  1. Audrey m says:

    I’m sure picky eating will open a whole thing. But I have seen wild success with Solid Starts recommendation to “go big”. Toddlers are so tickled by food they can grab and see and think of like a toy, that my daughter picked up a big piece of cooked cauliflower and gave it a try.

    • Belle says:

      What an interesting idea. Maybe I’ll give her a whole, giant carrot tonight and see what happens.

  2. 123 says:

    My 5 year-old likely has a sensory processing disorder that has the impact of limiting his preferred foods considerably. He eats about 5 foods, most of which are unhealthy/processed. We struggle intensely with this as he also is falling off the growth curve (he has NF1 so that impacts growth, too). All to say, any/all food ideas are wholly welcomed.

    • Allison says:

      Have you had him assessed for ARFID? (Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder). If his “picky eating” is impacting his growth, a diagnosis can help to get him the right care. I work for an eating disorder recovery provider, we treat young children. If it’s helpful to you look us up, it’s Equip Health. We’re virtual and take lots of different insurance plans.

  3. Sarah says:

    Trader Joes makes a cheesy seasoning that is basically powdered cheese. It’s sold with the spices. I now put it on everything. I don’t have kids, so no comment on what they think

  4. Crystal says:

    @Steph: Congratulations! If you’re looking for a gold chain at a higher price point/quality level, I suggest checking out Ashley Zhang and DidiRose, both of which also offer pendants. There are also some incredible vintage/antique gold sellers that sell through Instagram, but you’ll have to poke around.

  5. Chloe A Thompson says:

    For tennis-esque dresses, I recommend Halara! They have built-in shorts so you don’t worry about the shortness, and they are very flattering. Can you actually play tennis in ’em? I dunno, but I have it in three colors…

  6. TheLOOP says:

    May, my son has profound developmental needs and had major food issues when he was younger. When he was 3, his therapeutical preschool recommended food sensitivity therapy for him and it made a world of difference. He went from eating only bland, mushy foods to almost everything. And now at 10, he eats a range of food, including spicy stuff. All this to say, I recommend food sensitivity therapy – it was life changing for us.

  7. K says:

    Many toddlers and preschoolers become picky eaters as a power move. They have zero control over anything in their lives except food, so they try to exert total control over eating. I had plenty of struggles but when I learned that perspective it helped so much. I added choice into the process, and sometimes it was “fake” choice. Do you want to eat your cucumber first or your noodles first? Well, kid gets to “pick” but either way I won.

  8. Diane says:

    The Instagram account Kids Eat in Color is run by a relatable dietition and has lots of great tips for picky eating ranging from presentation ideas, vocabulary to discuss food, and gentle reminders that food exposures are valuable too even if the kid doesn’t eat it the first 20 times a food is served.

  9. Crockett says:

    For years I read books at the table during dinner, and I would only turn the page once each child took a big bite. Yes, dinner took a while, and I wasn’t always in the mood, but it always worked because they wanted to keep finishing the books. Now that my girls are older I miss those meals. Bonus, they now automatically read while waiting for dinner.

  10. E says:

    As an adult picky eater and mom to a super picky (potentially sensory processing disorder – we’re working on testing) eater, the best advice I have is grace, time and a supportive pediatrician. I cannot tell you the number of times I repeat to myself “food is not a battle” (or my husband reminds me when I start to lose my cool). Both my kid and I would starve rather than eat something we don’t like (most people are not this emphatic about food, you know if you have one). Keep offering, try not to engage in what will inevitably turn into trench warfare, ignore all the judgmental sighs and “I would nevers” and “they’ll eat when they’re hungry” and focus on keeping food a positive experience even when you want to pull your hair out or you’re worried about scurvy. At 6, my kid now eats probably 20 foods (some of them nutritious!) and she’s a happy, healthy, thriving kid. We will get through this. I didn’t really eat vegetables other than broccoli, corn or iceberg lettuce until I was in college, and while I am still a picky eater (for taste and texture reasons), I now eat enough variety (vegetables and otherwise) to exist in normal society, have social and work meals and maintain my current health, so sometimes it takes decades but the kids will get there. Our waitress last night about fell over when informed my kid eats zero condiments (she offered every sauce possible with the chicken tenders) but we ate together as a family, my kid has a positive relationship with food, and we are (slowly, so painfully slowly) adding new foods with each passing month and more importantly, trying new foods without meltdowns on the semi-regular.

  11. Annette says:

    Whole wheat crackers and Manchego. Then progress on to “just try one” : cocktail tomatoes and baby hummus. Spidey Mac n cheese with tofu and riced cauliflower. And all complemented with a favorite juice and some book about trucks

  12. Jenny says:

    Just my opinion but I think it’s really important to separate out run of the mill picky eating from picky eating that stems from a larger issue (sensory issues, developmental issues) or is causing a real problem (growth issues, poor health etc). My kids are definitely in the first category, as are probably most picky eaters. I wish I had learned to chill about their eating earlier. No one wants to fight about food. My two cents: If your kid eats any fruits or veggies, keep feeding them those. Try to get them to eat the least processed version of the foods they do like. Ask them to try one bite of something. And then just wait. My kids (early elementary age now) are surprising me all the time these days with how many new foods they like.

  13. Jill says:

    Aldi is selling a tennis dress with under shorts that’s getting a lot of attention in the Aldi Facebook groups. I bought espadrilles and floral knock-off Keds there recently. Some great stuff (and love the food, too, ha).

  14. JdHS says:

    I second Solid Starts. They have some good tips for getting kids to engage with food in different ways. For example, I use this one a lot, I will sometimes pick up something my kid isn’t eating and ask if they think it will make a loud crunch or not. Then I try it and when it does or doesn’t I make it a big fun deal and ask them to see if theirs is crunchy. We also cheers food a lot.

  15. Alexis says:

    I aspire to raise both my children to love food, and be adventurous eaters. That’s been a consistent priority for me. I absolutely credit luck here, but I also work with my kids each weekend to bake or cook, get them involved, and introduce the same food via different preparations (steamed zucchini, zucchini bread, zucchini in pasta). I also expand their palates using sauces – slowly adding more pesto to our pastas, umami BBQ sauces with miso paste, and I think that helps. I have more control now since they’re young (2 and 4), we will see how it goes as they age. But I agree with Jenny – be consistent and patient. Good luck!

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