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Ask Lisi: How can I talk to sister-in-law about her makeup?

Advice: For a fun outing one day, you two could go to a store and get your makeup done. Hopefully, she’ll get a better idea of what looks good.

Dear Lisi: My sister-in-law wears the worst makeup. She’s an attractive woman with lovely features that get overpowered by her palette choice. It’s almost shocking each time I see her dressed up.

I don’t wear a lot of makeup myself so I feel she wouldn’t take me seriously and would be offended if I said anything.

But she really needs help. Other people have commented to me, and I don’t know what to say.

I love my sister-in-law, we’re quite close, but this is a boundary I don’t think I can cross. I’m also surprised her husband doesn’t say anything to her. He’s a very down-to-earth guy.

What’s my next step?

Colour crazy

This is tricky. If her husband hasn’t said anything, he clearly doesn’t notice or care. And most [happily] married women dress to impress their husbands, their friends and themselves. If she likes what she sees in the mirror, then that’s two out of three wins.

I’m wondering if, for a fun outing one day, you two could go to a store and get your makeup done. To get it done through a makeup artist can be expensive, and would seem odd without an event to attend. But plopping down in a chair at a cosmetic counter usually just costs the price of whatever makeup you then purchase.

Hopefully they’ll do her makeup in a more suitable palette and she’ll see for herself how much better she can look with the right colours and styles.

Dear Lisi: My son has a friend who thinks he rules the roost. I don’t know how else to put it. He thinks he can call the shots on what all the kids do. He’s always deciding where they go at lunch or after school, and what they do on the weekends.

My son likes this boy but doesn’t always want to do what he says. He doesn’t like feeling like anyone’s puppet (his words) and sometimes he just doesn’t want to do what this boy is suggesting.

The problem arises when he says no. The other boy can’t take it and then spends the rest of the day making fun of him, trying to rally the other kids to gang up on my son. It’s very awkward and uncomfortable for my son.

This boy is also very polite, funny, and nice to be with whenever I’m with him in a group. But my son is feeling a bit beaten up by it all.

How can I help him handle this situation? They are 11 years old.

King of the castle

Unfortunately, this boy sounds like a bully and that’s just not tolerated. If you’re friends with his mom, do you feel comfortable speaking with her? If you do, try that route first.

If you don’t, or it doesn’t go well, you may have to speak to the principal or head of your school, since it’s often happening at school. Sometimes parents need someone other than another parent to help them see their children’s actions outside of their own love-lens.

Reader’s Commentary regarding the international online relationship (Jan. 6):

“I had an awful experience in my family. A few years ago, my daughter met and married a man from a country with culture, customs and traditions very different from ours. The marriage is long over. She is still suffering from PTSD.

“What many people lack is the knowledge of a culture that is often deeply different from the one we know. Research his country, their thoughts on women’s rights, violence in the home, etc. Think about the idea that one day he may want to return to his home. And look carefully into your relationship to make sure this person isn’t just looking for citizenship.”

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: or

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