Dear Readers: When friends or family come to stay for a while, whether it’s for one night or several, are there certain things it would be NICE IF THEY DID? With the holidays over, the girls (yes, I call them my “girls,” and it’s okay with each of them) in Heloise Central were discussing overnight guests who are family or friends, etc. So, here are some of our favorite hints:

* Laura said: “If it is a close family member, like my mother-in-law, visiting, I ask if she would prepare a favorite meal of my husband’s from childhood one night. My mother-in-law loves having something to do, and it brings back memories for both her and my husband, while giving me a much-needed night off!”

* Shawna said: “After cooking meals, I love it when my guests offer to wash the dishes or load the dishwasher for me.”

* Kate said: “I always take my host/hostess out for a lunch/dinner (their choice), paid for by me when visiting, so it would be nice to be offered the same.”

* T.A. said: “I’ve had people stay over for more than a couple of nights and then offer to go grocery shopping for me and pay for all the groceries! It was a really nice surprise!”

* Heloise here: When my brother stayed a week or so, he always went into the office and kitchen and emptied the trash cans, plus took out the garbage, and loved feeding the dog, who loved having him feed her!

Ask your host if there is some way to help, and sometimes just a night off from entertaining is appreciated.

Many times, a host might not suggest something, but you should offer to walk the dog, make a grocery run, fill the car with gas or watch the kids for a while.

Readers, send your hints that make visits even better! E-mail:, or write to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: A favorite pair of jeans has an annoying zipper that will not stay up. I would use a safety pin, but I couldn’t find one. What I did was use a rubber band. I put the rubber band through the hole in the zipper and pulled the other side of it through the hole and tightened the knot. Then I looped the rest of the rubber band around the button till the zipper stayed up. Surprisingly, the rubber band is easier to use than the safety pin. -- Helena M. in Georgia


Dear Heloise: I went to a new hairdresser, and when she was styling my hair with a blow-dryer, she would run the backside of the dryer, or the part where the filter is, down the hair section that she had just gotten through styling. This was a new concept to me. She said it is a quick way to set the style instead of using the cool-shot method, because the filter sucks in the hot air. -- Erika in Los Angeles

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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