Dear Readers: We're well into summer; time to show off that beautiful bod! If you'd like to go hair-free, what are the various hair removal techniques that are out there, and what are the pros and cons? Let's take a look:

• Waxing involves a pro (please get this service professionally done), who spreads warm wax on the skin then yanks it off, and along with it the hair, root and all. The pain level is moderate; you'll develop a tolerance. Come back in six weeks or so. It can be costly; waxers should bundle services to save money. Allergic reactions are rare but can occur.

• Shaving is cheap and the results are quick but short-lived. Hair will re-grow immediately; razor burns and bumps are probable. Always use a sharp blade and lots of lubrication. Myth Busting: Shaving does not cause the hair to grow back thicker; the shaved hair has a blunt edge, which will feel coarse.

Both waxing and shaving exfoliate the skin, which is good for cell turnover.

• Laser hair removal is by far the most expensive method, but over time it can "kill" the hair at the root so it won't grow back. The procedure can be painful — like dozens of rubber bands snapping your skin.

Plucking, sugaring and threading are good for small areas on the face. Do your research and talk to folks at the salons; they are friendly and eager to help. Check your embarrassment at the door. — Heloise

Organization nation: Open shelving

Dear Heloise: This trend of open shelving — what gives? The reason I have cabinets is so I can hide stuff in there. With open shelving, there's no place to run to and no place to hide! — Catherine D. in New York

Catherine, I agree. You've got to be super-organized and not afraid to show family and friends all your glassware, plates and bowls in the kitchen, and books, office supplies and computer accessories in the office!

Oh, and those tomato-sauce-stained plastic storage containers that have held your lunch for years? They had better jump into the back of the pantry!

On the plus side, open shelving can, with careful planning, bring interesting design elements such as great texture and bright color into your kitchen. You might need a pro to determine how to hang the shelves and to lay out a pattern that will suit the look you are going for. Open your mind to open shelving; it might work! — Heloise

Pithy pieces

Dear Readers: Art is a great way to spend some time with family this summer, but what about all the little pieces? Here's what I mean:

Secure magic markers by laying them flat and running a piece of masking tape over the lids, front and back. All the colors will stay together as one unit, and no lids will roll under the couch.

After putting together a jigsaw puzzle, apply a coat or two of a sealant with either a matte or flat finish, and hang on the wall — a wonderful memory.

Always supervise little ones when they are playing with small things. Everything likes to go into the mouth or up the nose, and this is a choking and/or breathing hazard. — Heloise

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to

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