Picking beautiful roses for your Valentine

Dear Readers: VALENTINE’S DAY will soon be here. Roses are a popular gift, but do you know how to purchase roses, and what to look for? Here are some hints:

* Neighborhood flower shops, online florists, grocery stores and large discount retailers are all good sources for fresh flowers.

* Closed buds are best. They will open over the next several hours.

* That little food packet that comes with the roses is seriously good — use it!

* If you’re not happy with your purchase, don’t hesitate to ask for a replacement.

Oh, and which color of rose is best? Here are what the colors mean:

Orange: passion and enthusiasm; white: purity or sympathy; pink: fondness or gratitude; lavender: love at first sight and grace; yellow: cheerfulness and friendship; and, of course, red: romance and love. Happy Valentine’s Day! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Please remind your readers: When eating out for breakfast, providing that the service is friendly, prompt and attentive, tipping a little bit extra is a good idea.

The server most likely will be checking on you quite a bit, refilling coffee cups and clearing lots of dishes (if the meal is buffet-style).

Breakfast typically is the cheapest meal on the menu, but the servers still work really hard. Reward them! — Ronald M., Tulsa, Okla.


Dear Heloise: When I’m at the gym three times a week, I don’t bring valuable jewelry, etc., but I store any small items I don’t want to lose in a designated stray sock.

I’ve stitched this sock into my gym bag so it won’t get tossed into the laundry by mistake, and it works as a little storage pouch for my keys and wallet. — Helen D., Erie, Pa.


Dear Heloise: I save some “junk mail” I receive, and I let my grandkids open the mail when they come to visit.

They feel important, having mail to open, and they can practice reading. Some of the mail comes with stickers or pretend credit cards, bookmarks and even coins from time to time!

The kids get a kick out of opening the mail; it’s a fun thing for them to do. — Celeste G., Helena, Mont.


Dear Heloise: When I receive an invoice in my email, I take a picture of it (a screenshot). The email can get lost or forgotten, but the picture on my phone is handy.

Also, our bank will not take coins unless they are rolled. I roll any spare quarters I may have, and take the other coins to a commercial counter. — Carol in Fort Wayne, Ind.

By the way, you can get gift cards at those commercial counters, and there is no fee charged for one of these. — Heloise


Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.