Trump trial, 2016 election truthers

Former President Donald Trump and some Republicans famously rejected the results of the 2020 election. Trump called the election rigged. He encouraged the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol that turned into a riot. And he and his supporters filed dozens of lawsuits to challenge Joe Biden’s narrow victories in some key states. Trump lost them all; in the end, his legal effort to change the 2020 result was a resounding failure.

Engagement news leaves sister out in the cold

DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, I discovered that my sister had gotten engaged, but not from my sister directly. Instead, I had to find out from our mom, three weeks after the fact. As someone who shares a close bond with my sister, I couldn’t help but feel blindsided by her decision to keep such significant news from me. While I understand that everyone has their own way of sharing personal milestones, I can’t shake the feeling of disappointment and exclusion.

The power of the effect of the placebo

Dear Doctors: We use mints to help our 6-year-old with carsickness. When the mints came from the tin, they didn’t help at all. But when we started keeping them in a prescription pill bottle, the “medicine” made his symptoms go away. Is this the placebo effect? Why does it work?

Fledgling writer wants past to stay private

DEAR HARRIETTE: As an aspiring writer, I often wonder how one truly finds their voice in writing. I had a shaky childhood where I was exposed to alcohol and drug abuse, parental cheating issues and overall poverty. I am in a better place now, but every now and then, when the topic of the past is being discussed, I find myself crying randomly. Do writers need to be completely transparent about their own personal stories? I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to do that. – Aspiring Writer DEAR ASPIRING WRITER: To become an excellent writer, you must learn how to tell stories in vivid detail that are founded on facts and context. You do not have to share everything you write with the public, though. You may want to start writing a journal where you explore your past and how you feel about certain things that occurred as you were growing up. Give yourself permission to go deep into those stories. Be as honest and forthright as you can so that you get to the core of your truth. Password-protect your stories so that they are safe from unwelcome eyes.

The complacency trap is real

On Election Day 2016, staffers at Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters were popping champagne corks and celebrating what they assumed would be her victory over Donald Trump. The next day, after her narrow defeat was finalized, one of her key strategists, a former student of mine, called me in tears.

Photo editing app causes embarrassment

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend discovered that I edit my pictures, and now I feel ashamed to face him. A mutual friend showed me an editing app that allows me to remove eye bags, slim down my face and adjust my waist to appear slimmer. For the past two years, I have used this app on every photo I post. I’ve noticed increased engagement and compliments on social media as a result.