Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter has very fair skin, so I always caution her to stay out of the sun. This summer, she went away for the weekend with some of her high school friends, and when she returned, she had a severe sunburn. Her skin continues to peel, and she is uncomfortable.

I am worried about my daughter. Skin cancer has been an issue in our family, and I am scared that this could happen to her, probably not now but in the future. How can I get her to take this seriously? I know she wants to have fun with her friends, but lying out in the sun is like poison for her. -- Protect My Daughter

DEAR PROTECT MY DAUGHTER: Take your daughter to a dermatologist and have her skin examined carefully to learn what she should do to heal it and what damage has already occurred. Talk to the dermatologist about your family history so that all the details that you know are on the table. Ask the doctor to explain to your daughter how to care for her skin. This should include specific details on how she can be in the sun.

Chances are, your daughter will go back into the sun again, so she should practice whatever precautions the dermatologist gives her. I have an Irish friend, for example, who loves the beach but whose skin is far too sensitive to soak up the rays. She has head-to-toe caftans and big floppy hats that she wears -- along with sunscreen with high levels of zinc -- to make it possible for her to enjoy the beach. Help your daughter create a safe way of being out in the sun so that she doesn’t have to miss out on fun with her friends.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been collecting books and magazines for years. I didn’t realize how many I have until I recently began working with my husband to declutter our home. I’m embarrassed to say that I have not read most of the books that I own. As I have been rediscovering many of them, I find myself putting them aside to read later. But this strategy isn’t working. I now have a corner that has a huge pile of books to be read. The goal is to get the books out of my house. Can you recommend a strategy for getting rid of these books? -- Too Many Books

DEAR TOO MANY BOOKS: I love the approach that Marie Kondo has toward decluttering your space. I will paraphrase by saying that she recommends thanking each item for its presence in your life, then letting it go. You can adopt this practice with your books. If you have not looked at them, let alone read them, for months or years, it is time to say goodbye to them.

Consider making piles of books that will go to specific places or people. Categorize the books so that they are easy to distribute. Your local public library might be interested. Hospitals and senior centers sometimes want books. Used bookstores like the Strand or Half Price Books could be interested. Churches and community centers are great places to take books.

If that sorting ends up being too big a project, you can also find a Little Free Library to put them in, or just put them outside in boxes and write “TAKE ME” on the box. Someone will find a new home for them.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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