By Ellen Warren

Chicago Tribune

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am tired of seeing myself in photos displaying what I have come to think of as a demonic smile. I’m just trying to look happy, but I look crazy, like the Joker in the “Batman” series. Is there a trick to looking merely pleasant (and, preferably, younger) that I can use for future photo ops?

— Melissa S.

Dear Melissa: Yes, there is. When the photographer directs you to “say cheese,” place your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Seriously, it works. This forces you to close your mouth just enough to eradicate the lunatic look.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I worry about “age appropriateness,” but I love the hair-color trend of “long roots” leading to blond ends. My hair is (colored) dark brown and naturally wavy with a few blond streaks that are growing out. I’m tempted to try this look, but I’m afraid it may look more silly than stylish. What do you think?

— Mickie A.

Dear Mickie: No matter what your age, I think it’s always worth considering if your style is just not flattering. I’ve noticed a lot of celebrities and blond newsreaders on television with dark roots 2 or 3 inches long. To me, it looks as if they are in desperate need of a root touch-up to cover that new (dark) growth. Clearly these women have enough money to see a colorist whenever they want to, so this is now a fashion statement. I don’t think it works for them, and I’m not a fan. To answer your question, I think it’s more silly than stylish.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have been doing Jazzercise for several years, but I am now not able to find “training” athletic shoes in narrow. Have checked all the major manufacturers who only make running shoes or walking shoes. I was told running shoes are not appropriate — so what do I buy? Walking shoes?

— Bobbie R.

Dear Bobbie: I don’t see why you rule out running shoes. I’m confident that they’d work for Jazzercise. Running shoes are not just for running. They’re for all kinds of sports activities or just walking around in comfort. You definitely don’t want to work out in footwear sold strictly for walking.

At the end of the day, you should be comfortable, and if you are comfortable working out in a running shoe, go for it. The popularity of CrossFit and circuit training programs has created numerous new training shoes from Brooks, Nike, Reebok, Under Armour and others that are worth looking into.

An internet search for women’s narrow running shoes turns up a number of options and ratings. The amount of information is staggering and a little overwhelming. If you’re buying online, be sure to choose a site that boasts of easy returns!

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am surprised that I have this yearning to wear some colorful mascaras. I stumbled across a Marc Jacobs sample in peacock (bergdorfgoodman.com, $26) and loved it. Is this just for teenagers or what?

— Beth A.

Dear Beth: Your question inspired me to try the mascara you mention, which is actually a gorgeous shade of turquoise and overpriced. I found it utterly captivating. I first tried it over traditional (cheap, Maybelline black) mascara, and nobody noticed. But when I applied it directly to my lashes, I got two compliments in the same day from total strangers. The Marc Jacobs container is poorly designed, and the mascara glops all around the twist-off wand opening which is unacceptable at that price! But I can’t help it. I love the stuff. In search of other colors at better prices, I stopped by Ulta (ulta.com) and picked up a more subtle NYX deep purple for under $7 and highly recommend it. You are onto something with colorful mascara. Thanks for the tip.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My doctor has prescribed a cream for a rash on my back. I live alone, and the rash is in a spot I cannot reach. Any (frugal) application suggestions?

— Joe J.

Dear Joe: There are a crazy number of lotion applicators on amazon.com starting at under $6. If you don’t need a long applicator, you can buy a wedge-shaped paint applicator sponge on a stick for $1 at a craft store. If the handle on that gizmo is too short for your needs, tape the sponge handle to a wooden kitchen spoon with some duct tape. Save yourself a few bucks. Every dollar counts, right?

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Your recent column regarding “some styles are classic” made me smile. I personally am not a fan of those peekaboo tops (and thanks for giving them a name). When you mentioned that some styles, like those tops, have their moments and then look hopelessly dated, I really smiled because I had just finished watching a 1934 movie in which the woman was wearing one of those tops. With that date in mind, those tops nowadays are hopelessly dated. Every time my husband sees one of those tops on someone on TV, he just says, “I don’t get them.” Now don’t get me wrong — some good things have come around from the “olden days,” but not them!

— Kathi A.

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