Dear Readers: Essential oils are oils reduced (concentrated) from and containing the essence of plants such as lavender, juniper and eucalyptus, citrus trees and rose bushes. These oils are used in alternative medicine, for aromatherapy and for meditation.

While therapies involving essential oils may not be science-backed, essential oils are popular today. But what about our pets and essential oils? Let’s exercise some caution.

Essential oils can be poisonous to dogs and especially cats if ingested. Licking the oils can result in tummy trouble. Some people have found success using essential oils for flea and tick abatement, but let’s leave flea and tick remediation to the professional veterinarian.

It’s smart to keep essential oils up and away from your pets. — Heloise

Pet pal

Hi Heloise: This is our rescue, Molly, who has been a wonderful addition to our family! She is 3 years old and has taken a liking to reading in the window with her “friend” (a wonderful ceramic cat statue! — Heloise). We’ve been so happy to have her with us for the past six months.

I enjoy your column every day in the Times Herald-Record in Newburgh, New York — Debby H., via email

Thank you, Debby! Readers, would you like to see Molly and our other Pet Pals? Visit www.Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.” Do you have a funny and furry friend to share? Email a picture and description to Heloise@Heloise.com. — Heloise

What’s going under?

Dear Heloise: I’m on board with the new makeup trend of applying blush first and then foundation over. This gives a more blended and natural look, and if you overdo the blush, the foundation will calm it down. — Kaitlyn R. in Texas

Kaitlyn, this is a neat technique. You can also blend colors gently with a makeup sponge or your ring finger. — Heloise

I’m better than you...

Dear Heloise: People who always have to have the upper hand really annoy me. If I want to excitedly share with a group of people that I just got back from Paris, there’s always one person who chimes in with, “I’ve been to Paris and Nice and Marseille and Lyon ...”

Let’s try something new. You don’t always have to one-up everybody. Just be happy for me with my trip to Paris. I’ll celebrate you, but not inside of my moment. — Helene A. in New York

Pick a pickle

Dear Heloise: A delicious snack for the weight-conscious person: Instead of chips, I slice a cucumber, put the slices in a bowl and add two parts white vinegar and one part water, along with salt and pepper. Stir and refrigerate for two hours. Yum! — Janice B., via email

Janice, who doesn’t love an almost pickle? Delicious! Vinegar is a workhorse in the home. Safe, cheap and readily available, I’ve reached for it time and time again. I’ve compiled my favorite vinegar hints, helps and hacks into a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one?

It’s easy! Visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send a long, stamped (75 cents), self-addressed envelope together with $5 to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001. Stock up on white vinegar; it’s a perfect add-in to dressings and dips. — Heloise

Loose label

Dear Readers: To loosen a gummy price tag from a glass or ceramic piece, try a warm hair dryer. This should loosen the adhesive enough to peel off the sticker. — Heloise

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