Posts Tagged ‘Real Simple’

This month’s Real Simple issue has had me thinking quite a bit about how best to sum it up. Because this issue, unlike any other, is a bit more special. It’s the mother of all RS chronicles – the 10th year anniversary issue. Now, when this gem popped up in my mail box, I gasped at the number 10 on the cover. 10 years!? How many issues does that mean I’ve missed!? Obviously I haven’t been reading this since I was 16 (come on, I’m not THAT lame) but if I would have had the foresight or wisdom in my teen years, I just may have been devouring the early issues of RS and learning tons of tricks for my more sophisticated future self (ahem). Nonetheless, this issue does a great job of summing up the last ten years for me – and I’ll do just the same for you.

This issue focuses on TIME. The time that RS saves all of us by their little tricks and tips. The time that is more organized and efficient thanks the articles within. So for this round-up, I’ll forgo the standard summation of my 3 favorite articles and give the 10 best tips that are scattered throughout this huge issue, so all you lovely people can save some time on reading the whole magazine. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for anyways?

Sidenote: Real Simple commissioned some well-known designers to design custom clocks for their time-centered issue. Pretty neato, huh?

1. Apply nail polish on the bottom of your metal shaving cream bottle to avoid any rust stains forming on the ledge of your tub.

2. Use an old toothbrush to remove those pesky pieces of corn silk from your corn on the cob.

3. Use hair conditioner as your shaving cream. You’ll eliminate the extra bottle in your shower and save a little chedda’ as well.

4. Hate hand washing your fancy sweaters and waiting days for them to dry? Pop them into a large salad spinner and pull that extra water out in seconds.

5. A brightly colored wallet is easier to spot in a messy handbag, saving you precious moments on searching for the darn thing.

6. Not only is green tea packed with anti-oxidants, but it also freshens your breath. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!

7. Store each sheet set in one of the pillow cases. This will make your linen closet look neater and make finding things a lot quicker.

8. Light hard to reach candles with raw spaghetti strands.

9. To keep brown sugar from getting hard as a rock, throw a few marshmallows in the bag.

10. Use your lemon zester to mince garlic. A heck of a lot easier than using a knife.

All tips courtesy of Real Simple – like I’m really that clever myself. :P

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Can you believe that March is already upon us? It’ll be November before you know it and we’ll be pulling out the holiday decorations again. Blaah. Time flies. In that same thought, let’s get this roundup completed before the month of March passes us by. Enjoy!

1. Fit Lab: Trench Coats. I love Real Simples fashion posts. RS is not a predominately fashion magazine, but it uses it’s great comparative columns and applies it to fashion items, which makes me uber happy. I’ve always wanted a trench coat because it’s such a classic staple – but at 5′-2″, I felt like the proportions were just not quite right for my stature. Well, watch out petite ladies, RS says “hey shorty, do we have a trench for you!” And one from Target none the less? Sign me up, please.

2. What’s Your Decorating Style? Who doesn’t love a quiz? It’s so satisfying to have a simple quiz tell you something about yourself that you just quite couldn’t define on your own. This decorating style quiz relies on a quick, visual test where you circle the items your drawn to (furniture, jewelry, puppies, etc), which then tells you the decorating style you’re most drawn to. Luckily, it doesn’t pin point you into one specific style and also gives you tips of retailers that will cater to both sides of your personality (hello, Room and Board). Turns out I’m one part “Sophisticated Classic”, one part “Modern Graphic” and one part “Cozy Casual”. Indecisive much? Sorry, Vintage Eclectic, seems like you and I aren’t quite on the same page.

3. The Amazing Race. Real Simple is great for cleaning, decorating and overall life tips, but it’s also good for a great story every once in a while. This one definitely did not disappoint. This story follows a few weeks in the life of Stephanie Andrews, a woman just like anyone else who was given a potentially detrimental medical prognosis. Rather than plummeting into despair and shying away from everyone, Stephanie decided to use this as an opportunity to do something she had always wanted to accomplish – running a marathon. There wasn’t an organized race in the timeframe that she needed (before her test results came back) so she gathered friends, neighbors and fellow townsmen to run legs of the race with her throughout her town. Her mom drove a truck to provide water stops, a friend donated an official race time clock, and people from all over – friends and strangers included – joined in to help Stephanie reach her goal of running a marathon. Stephanie ended up having a negative result on her test (yay!), but her outlook on life was truly inspiring. It shouldn’t take a terminal disease to push us to reach the goals we so desire – we should live everyday like Stephanie did after that scary news. Stephanie definitely listened to the clique of “live everyday like it’s your last” – shouldn’t we all follow suite?

Stay tuned for next month’s round up, y’all. I know you’re all on the edge of your seats with anticipation!

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Deja vu? Yeah, so I’m a bit behind on my Real Simple Roundups, but I’m here to squeeze this month’s in so I can get back on the right track. It’s amazing how out of it I’ve been since my Twilight induced stupor. A world of vampires and monster babies can really take it out of you, right? I’m proud to announce that I’m not the only one, though – thanks for all the comments reassuring me that I’m not clinically insane. Oh, and Dusty’s account of Life After Twilight is pretty much dead on. Anyways, on to the Roundup!

1. Solutions: 8 New Uses for a Tennis Ball. With a house full of life-long tennis junkies and a dog who is obsessed with his fluffy green friends, we have our fair share of tennis balls. We basically use them until they’re beat to a pulp (or sufficiently soaked with slobber) but this little article gave me a few more ideas for our lovable, chartreuse ball. I’ve heard of using half of a ball to remove warm light bulbs from the socket, but did you that a few of these bad boys in the dryer can speed up the drying time of bulky bedding? Or that you can make a small slit and fill a tennis ball up with pennies to create an easy arm weight? No, of course you didn’t. Only RS would think of something so brilliant. Of course, I can’t guarantee that the neighbors won’t scoff when you’re struggling to lift a simple tennis ball on your morning power walk… just sayin’. Real arm weights might save you some embarrassment.

2. Keeping it Real (Neat). Oh goodness gracious. The neat freak that’s bottled up inside my less than perfect organizational body is just dying with envy. Can we say custom wrapping station? RS has delved into the minds of 4 obsessive awesome organizational whizzes to see how they keep things so incredibly tidy. Not only does RS show you pictures of the pristine order that would make even Martha swoon, but they give you some simple tips on how you can be on your way to anal retentive heaven. And because I’m feeling uber generous today, here are the pictures that are inside the article so you can drool along with me. How do people actually keep things this organized, especially with a husband in the house? Must be some sort of vampire magic.

My favorite is the digital file storage for photographs to keep your iPhoto library to a minimum. Oh, and the little plastic bags for all of those pesky wires. Oh, I DIE! You know how I loathe wires

Closet and paper heaven. My kind of article.

3. 10 Ideas for: Cheese Ravioli. I said it once, I’ll say it again – Real Simple’s recipes make my heart flutter. We recently tried a recipe from my friend Evelyn’s blog that used store-bought tortellini, but kicked it up a notch with a few simple ingredients. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? Just because they sell the pre-made tortellini and sauce doesn’t mean you can’t add something else to it. Real Simple gave me a big dose of “duh” and showed me 10 simple ways to spice up the familiar standard: cheese ravioli. Some favorites include creamy ravioli with pesto gratin, and ravioli with fontina and walnut sauce. There goes the drool again… twice in one issue? It must be a winner!

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Guess what I got in my mailbox yesterday? The February issue of Real Simple. Guess what I’m blogging about today? The January issue of Real Simple. Whoopsie. I’m going to pull out my holiday card and say that the holidays kept me so busy that I neglected my beloved Real Simple. Oh, the shame! Looks like you’ll be having a double dose of RS roundup in the coming days – get excited!

1. Shortcut to Better Google Results. Are you AT ALL shocked that I included an article about Google in this month’s roundup? If you’re new to the blog, welcome to my love affair with all things Google. I’ve always been amazed with Google’s ability to find something, even when I put the most vague words into a search box (ie. pretty dress with blue squiggles and boom! they find it), but this article takes it to another level. For instance, if you’re looking for Jaguar, but want to cut results that don’t pertain to the actual animal, you can put “-cars” or “-football” after the word “Jaguar” to do just that. Genius, right? Or, one that I’ll be using quite often, is the “intitle” command. You can simply list this before your search words if you remember the name of something you like, but don’t remember where you found it. The marriage of RS and Google just makes my heart melt into a gooey puddle of nerdiness. I heart you, Real Soogle.

2. How to Save $5,000 a Year. No matter what Uncle Sam is telling us, the recession is still in effect for most Americans, including yours truly. So of course RS serves up just what the doctor ordered and gives us a heavy dose of ways to save money in all facets of our lives. The categories include food, health care, entertainment, home, transportation, and apparel – basically all the parts of life that suck money out of our wallets. Not only are these tips helpful for the right now, but we should always be thinking about ways to pare down our lives and live more within our means (am I sounding more like my Dad everyday, or what?). Some of my favorite tips included sticking to a grocery list, and spending your money on more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods (also including heads of lettuce, rather than the pre-packaged bags). It’s amazing how much money you can save over time if you forgo a little extra convenience and lean towards a little healthier food options. RS also suggested going to a dental school for bi-yearly cleanings (half the price) or boosting your home owner’s insurance deductible to save you as much as 25% on your bill each year. Also, your AAA membership can save you up to 15% at retailers like Target, etc. Pick up the article to see how you can save your precious, hard-earned dough and bulk up that nest egg!

3. Road Test: Chopping Gadgets. Ah, road test. Real Simple takes the guess-work out of shopping for a variety of products by telling you which product is the best, and for what kind of results. Could they make our lives any easier? They show a nifty device for mincing garlic (so your hands won’t stink for days) and even a corn zipper, to remove kernels from the cob. Did you even know something like that existed? Not included in this road test, but elsewhere in the issue (under Solutions), RS also answered my prayers and included a link to a pant strap. This little bugger acts like a stirrup and keeps your pant legs secure when they’re stuffed in that winter essential, a knee-high boot. Without a doubt, RS will jump into my brain, find out what I don’t know I need, and put it right in front of my face. Pretty creepy if you think about it.

Stick around for the roundup from this month’s February issue in the coming days. Happy reading!

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Better late than never, right? December’s Real Simple is almost always my favorite because it’s jammed packed with great gift, food and decorating ideas for the holidays. And since Christmas time is the one time of year that those 3 items are put into overdrive, I’ll get right to the goodies they had in store!

1. 50 Gifts under $50. Every year RS puts forth a stellar gift guide for all walks of life, and this year certainly doesn’t disappoint. They break things down into easy to navigate groups, such as gifts for everyone, the women in your life (mom, sister, aunt), men in your life and the kiddos. RS seems to do a great job of spotting a trend or finding something really interesting before you’ve even heard of it – how do they do that? I, for one, would love almost everything on this list, which includes ceramic nuts, framed alphabet prints, The Sartorialist book, bacon jam and Pantone luggage tags (among many others). If you’re in a rut and want something out of the ordinary to give to your gift list-ees, check this article out!

2. Recipes for a Good Time. I have to admit I’m a bit of a glutton and look forward to the food around the holidays more than anything else. I’m such a sucker for a good hors d’oeuvres, but my burgeoning belly does not thank me for this. Alas, Real Simple has come to my rescue. They’ve whipped up a menu of yummy bite-sized treats, perfect for parties, that are a bit more on the healthy side and look seriously delicious. Can you say caramelized apple and onion tarts? And no, they’re not all health conscious, but isn’t gorging yourself part of the holiday spirit?

3. Decorating with Brown. Why yes, I managed to find the one decorating article in this holiday issue, thankyouverymuch. Some people might not think of brown as a great color to fill your home with (ie. makes people think of poo, dirt, and other nasty things) but I love it. There are so many shades of brown, and it can either be a perfect neutral or a rich accent. I have a lot of brown accents in my home, but only one room that sports a bold, dark brown wall. This article almost made me reconsider my color choices…. almost. I can’t get away from my beloved green now, can I? This piece also shows some great combos with brown, such as brown + yellow (my personal fav), brown + blue, and brown + lavender (which I thought screamed my friend Jen when I flipped to the page – how weird am I for thinking a room screams of a person?). Forget the bad connotations you’ve had with brown and jump on the brown bandwagon!

Who can’t wait for a new year of Real Simples issues? Only me? Ok… well, here’s to 2010!

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Would you believe that my dog took out his anger on another issue of Real Simple? Well, you better believe it, baby. This dog has a personal vendetta on my favorite mag. Maybe he’s jealous of the time I spend pouring over every inch of printed prose – but watch out, December issue. You’re next on the doggie hit list.

Luckily for me (and you, of course) Charlie managed to only destroy the very beginnings and the back cover of this month’s Real Simple. So, without further ado, my favorite parts of this month’s issue (that are still intact) for your viewing pleasure:

1. Transform a Corner. First off, I have to address the new look to my beloved Real Simple. In the editor’s note, that I’ve featured in the past, she mentioned that they’ve hired a guru of sorts to make the great RS layouts even better. I don’t typically take well to change in something that I’ve become so accustomed to, but after completing this issue, I can’t help but give two cheers for the new look to RS. If it’s even possible, the issue is more organized and easier to navigate, with a cleaner and sleeker look to boot. Perfection.

One of my fav features this month was a little piece on transforming a corner in your home. I’m constantly trying to create interesting little vignettes in my house (and failing miserably, I might add) so this was right up my alley. RS layed out just the right way to dress up a corner in your living room, create a mini dressing area in your bedroom, or plop a perfect game spot in your den. Most of these ideas incorporate items that are already present in your house, but just developed in a different way. Easy, right?

2. Money Conversations Everyone Should Have. I lean more toward dunce than doyen when it comes to finances, but Real Simple is always there to lead me in the right direction. This article lists some awkward, but necessary, conversations that we should all think about having when it comes to our finances. Talking with your spouse about who pays what and where your investments are allocated are just some of the issues this article brings up. It also touches on approaching your parents on their nest eggs (and if it’s enough to keep them afloat in the future) and sharing the responsibility with your children on saving for college. Each scenario is broken out by why it’s important, when to talk about it and how – a perfect little list to guide me through the uncharted territory of financial land.

3. The Hectic Holiday Handbook. Nevermind the incredible Thanksgiving recipes that are in this issue (seriously, there is drool all over my issue; not a pretty site) RS also included this handy dandy guide to the holiday season. One of the things I love about Real Simple is their vast array of seemingly useless knowledge that they throw at you, and this article is no exception. Did you know that miniature quiches are one of the worst things you can eat at a buffet spread? And that an opened can of cranberry sauce is good for up to two weeks? Or that you should splurge on club soda and bourbon, and but can skimp on gin and vodka when stocking a bar? Now that RS has given me tons of knowledge like this, I can keep this in the bank and pull them out at any time to sound like a smarty. And what’s better than sounding like a smarty pants? Not much else in my book. Thanks Real Simple, for making me look good.

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This month’s Real Simple had me itching to open it, thanks to the yummy food on the cover and promises of a month’s worth of recipes inside. Score! There were some other gems hidden in the mag, as always, so join me for a recap of the goods!

1. Real Simple Paper Artist. This isn’t an article, but there is quite a cult following of RS’s amazing paper sculptures that appear in every issue. I can’t wait to flip through my monthly issue to see what crazy object they’ve decided to make out of paper this month. The artist is Matthew Sporzynski, and he’s a friggin genius who also happens to be on the faculty for Parsons the new school for design. Google his name and enjoy the smorgasbord of goodness that he creates – you won’t be sorry!

2. Home Office How-To. Since my husband works from home on a semi-regular basis, I may leave this article strategically placed around the house so he can read all of the great information it has to share. This article not only touches on the importance of ergonomics during your workday (good posture = less problems/less fatigue) but it also gives some interesting tips on how to set up your work space and how to properly stay focused if you aren’t working in a typical office environment. Some of my favorites tidbits were that people are more productive in blue-green environments as opposed to red, and that your computer screen should be brighter than the ambient light in the room. Oh, and this article also points out that the typical Facebook visitor spends 4 hours and 33 minutes on the site a day. Talk about loss of productivity.

3. Fall Shopping Made Easy. Once again, Real Simple has camped out in my brain and made an article directly from my brain cells. It’s starting to freak me out. This article polled RS readers to find the 5 retailers they frequented most often, and researched all of the best finds at each one so we didn’t have to. Talk about making it easy for a girl! 4 of the 5 stores were my favorite mall stops, so I was happy to find the sweetest deals without having to spend so much time in the stores (new boots at the Loft – yay!). They also pointed out that the average mall visit takes 77.9 minutes, which is a lot of time in a busy girl’s schedule. Thanks for giving me an hour back, RS. I owe ya one.

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Thanks to my post about Charlie mangling my issue of Real Simple, a generous coworker lent me her copy so I didn’t have to try and salvage a post from the shredded remains of my mag. Score! So without further ado (and without dog drool), here’s this month’s roundup:

1. Home: Wait, that was a closet? In honor of all things DIY around these parts, and of my love for small spaces, I’m sharing Real Simple’s article about small spaces turned fabulous. These redesigns show cramped and inefficient spaces that have been re-purposed to not only function better, but look better as well. I love this piece because I have quite the affection for small spaces. I think my fascination started when my parents were designing a house when I was in high school and purchased a book called The Not-so Big House. I became enamored with the pictures of great interiors, all perfectly efficient and beautiful. It was so refreshing to see a space that wasn’t in-your-face enormous like most of the new construction homes we see built today. That book started my love affair for interior design and small spaces, and this article is another notch in my love affair’s belt.

2. Editor’s Note. Now, this isn’t an article per say, but I have to point out how wonderful Real Simple’s editor is. I love her. I want us to be best friends and discuss design and organizational techniques over coffee. And I don’t even drink coffee. She writes little snippets of loveliness in every issue that probably go unnoticed by the typical reader. This month’s is a recap of her search for the perfect work bag – nothing extraordinary, but the way she writes makes her stories so relate-able and poignant. She often touches on her life, her children, the world today, etc. Every piece puts a smile on my face and makes me love her that much more… in a non-stalker kind of way, of course.

3. 4 Ways to Remake your Space. Why another article on home design? Oh, because I can, gosh darn it! I really have to applaud RS for showcasing great design for a non-design magazine. I love that they aren’t afraid of color (spoken by one true color lover) and can put out some really beautiful, eclectic room scenes. This article is no exception. They call out 4 basic ways to spruce up your space and then delve into the nitty gritty of how to make them a reality. The four topics are: Use color creatively, Perk up a neutral palette, Embrace black & white, and Aim for playfulness, not perfection. If these 4 points weren’t so wordy, I might just make them my personal mantra. I love all of the points they listed for everyday homeowners to try. Seriously, check this one out and take some of the tips to heart. You’ll be loving your space in no time. Here’s to another issue of RS in the future, assuming the pup isn’t on the warpath that day. Fingers crossed!

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This month’s Real Simple just came in the mail and I was, of course, overly excited. I got the chance to do a quick browse and get some ideas brewing for my monthly post, but planned on developing everything further this afternoon. That is, until I came home to this.

You may recall how we’ve started to trust Charlie a bit more while alone in the house, by making the big move of taking the crate out of the house. Ladies and gentlemen, I eat my words. Our little pup decided to have a battle of epic proportions with my beloved magazine and the destruction was a sight to behold. Not only did the massacre take place in front of our entry door, but he also carried the remains throughout the house. From our lovely white rug in the living room…

…all the way back to our den.

It was quite the literary bloodbath. Le sigh. So, my monthly RS roundup may be postponed until the next go round, unless I can get my hands on a non-mangled copy before then. Charlie was very regretful of his episode, complete with lowered tail and the saddest little face you could imagine. I bet he had a grand ol’ time ripping my mag to shreds, so I can’t really blame him too much. At least it’s only paper, right? I think I’m going to eat my words again…

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First off, can we just talk about how it’s almost AUGUST? Geesh. Where has this year gone? In honor of this year blowing past way too fast, let’s take a moment to slow down and revisit one of your favorite the[artful]abode posts, the Real Simple roundup. Get excited, people!

1. How to Snack Smarter. For as long as I can remember, my big brother has to lovingly referred to me as “snackie”. Sure, it’s not the best nickname, but it’s nothing if not accurate. I’m a bonafide small-meal snack-a-holic. I schedule my work day around my morning and afternoon snacks and always have to be sure I have a snackie in my purse if I’ll be away from the house for more than a few hours. Blame it on hypoglycemia or low blood sugar… or pure insanity. This article is the perfect one for me – and all of you as well! RS points out the pros to snacking, or eating small meals throughout the day (keeps your metabolism running, puts you in a good mood, etc). Plus, it gives some great suggestions for healthy, yummy snacks that provide a good combo of protein, good fats and carbs. Chow down!

2. Do It Yourself and Save Big. In honor of how we do things around these parts, I figured I’d feature RS’s article on all things DIY. Although there are some things in this piece that I never considered paying someone to do for me (changing a burned out headlight bulb or installing new windshield wipers) I did find some incredibly awesome things that I can’t wait to tackle on my own. I’ve been known to wear my high heels down until they’re mush, and then repair them to wear for another 5 years (hey, once you find a good pair of black heels, you gotta stick with ’em right?). Well, RS opened my eyes and saved my wallet by showing me how to repair them on my own! I’m also exciting about how to replace a dead spot in our lawn, and an amazing grout cleaner they’ve sold me on. Stay tuned to how I turn my nasty-kitchen-tile-that-I-loathe into a gleaming, ceramic masterpiece (assuming RS hasn’t led me astray).

3. Home Pages. Because this is a blog, I gotta give a shout out to my fellow bloggers and website masters, right? This article lists the best online resources for anything under the sun – art, renovation tips, furnishings, lighting- you name it, Real Simple has you covered. I love that they mentioned 20×200, a great site for cheap but amazing, original art pieces. They also give shout outs to etsy and overstock.com, among many other interesting sounding sites. Maybe next year this little blog will be featured in glossy print- one can dream, right?

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