How happy are you -- really? If there's room for improvement, then Gretchen Rubin has some suggestions.
A few years ago, on a morning like any other, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a New York City bus, I saw that the years were slipping by.
"What do I want from life?" I asked myself. "Well…I want to be happy." I had many reasons to be happy: My husband was the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; we had two delightful girls, ages 1 and 7; I was a writer, living in my favorite city. I had friends; I had my health; I didn't have to color my hair. But too often I sniped at my husband or the drugstore clerk. I felt dejected after even a minor professional setback. I lost my temper easily. Is that how a happy person would act?
I decided on the spot to begin a systematic study of happiness. (A little intense, I know. But that's the kind of thing that appeals to me.) In the end, I spent a year test-driving the
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How happy are you -- really? If there's room for improvement, then Gretchen Rubin has some suggestions.Read More »from 10 Ways to Be Happier
Since the U.S. economy started its recent roller coaster ride, I've received a few e-mails asking for simple money-saving tips around the home. This list is thoroughly incomplete, but here are a handful of my suggestions for ways to save a little green:Unplug consumer electronics when they're not in use -- especially electronics that get their juice through AC/DC converters. (In my house, we call these big black boxes "wall warts.") A simple way to do this is to have all of them on a power strip separate from a power strip holding your essential items. Unplug the nonessentials in one single action. As your current light bulbs burn out, replace them with LED or compact fluorescent bulbs. The amount of energy to run these types of bulbs is significantly less than standard bulbs.Read More »from Simple money-saving tips for your home
Use ice cube trays or turn on your refrigerator's ice maker only as you need ice cubes.Make a meal plan and grocery list, and then stick to your grocery list when you're at the store. Avoid impulse buys like
Learn how to be plugged in without being impolite. (This is one user manual worth reading)Read More »from Tech etiquette
Illustration by Ross MacDonald/Photograph by Kang KimThe Experts
Joni Blecher is editorial director of LetsTalk.com. Her blog, Somethin' to Talk About, covers the latest technology.
Pier M. Forni is the author of The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude (St. Martins Press, $20, www.amazon.com) and a professor of Italian literature at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.
Sue Fox is the founder and president of EtiquetteSurvival.com, an etiquette consulting firm.
Judith Kallos oversees NetManners.com, a website dedicated to the topics of e-mail and Internet etiquette.
Anna Post is the resident technology-etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute, in Burlington, Vermont.
Will Schwalbe is a coauthor of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better (Knopf, $20, www.amazon.com).
Jodi R. R. Smith is the president of Manner-smith Consulting, in Boston, and the author of From Clueless to Class Act: Manners for the Modern Woman
Chances are you've experienced a few wardrobe malfunctions on occasion -- from the errant red sock that found its way into (and left its mark on) a load of whites to the wool sweater that came out of the washer small enough to fit a Bratz doll. You learned from these gaffes and moved on. Still, despite your years and years (and loads and loads) of experience, laundry can present vexing questions. Does a silk shirt absolutely require dry cleaning? Should lingerie always be hand washed? This compendium will help you sort through the frustrations -- and, of course, your darks and your whites. Find out What to Do when Your Laundry Turns Pink.Read More »from Your Laundry, Simplified
You sort your clothes for washing; you should do the same for drying, so you're not mixing slow- and quick-drying items. And wash your hands after transferring loads to the dryer. "People assume washed clothes are germ-free," says Sandra Phillips, a cleaning consultant and the author of A Clean Break (Live-Right Books, $10, www.amazon.com). "But the
Monica BuckDining out can get expensive -- especially when you have five mouths to feed. But a family's got to eat! Financial expert Farnoosh Torabi shares her advice for cutting that restaurant check in half.
BYOB: bring your own beverage. Pick up a bottle of wine at a liquor store before heading to dinner and you could save up to 100 percent of the restaurant's price on the bottle. Restaurants often mark up wine by over 100 percent. (Note: Some establishments may charge a "corkage fee," usually around $10-$15, for allowing you to bring in your own vino -- but in most cases, you'll still save.) Find the Perfect Bottle of Wine with these tips from Real Simple.
Order an appetizer. Even if appetizer portions of entrees aren't listed on the menu, restaurants may prepare them for customers. The bonus: These portions are sometimes nearly as large as the entrée plate, but a fraction of the price.Read More »from Save money on your dinner bill
Make your meal last. Get two dinners for one price. When ordering, ask your server to pack half
Amazon.comSure, movies are meant to help you unwind from work. But REAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE. motivation expert Nicole Williams finds career inspiration in these (highly entertaining) big-screen flicks.
Watch highlights from the show at RealSimpleRealLife.com.
Legally Blonde (2001)
Starring Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods and Selma Blair
Why Nicole suggests it: "When you begin to doubt your abilities, Elle is a reminder that no one can do you quite like you can. If you're trying to be like someone else, or pursuing a career that's really not for you, you'll never reach your full potential."
Working Girl (1988)
Starring Melanie Griffith as Tess McGill, Harrison Ford, and Sigourney Weaver
Why Nicole suggests it: "Tess's unique approach to climbing the corporate ladder speaks to everyone who's felt underutilized and overlooked. In some cases, it doesn't pay to play by the rules!"
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs, and
Here are five exercises that will help you get in shape in a mere five minutes.
What You Need
Resistance band, yoga mat, stability ball, light dumbbells (two to five pounds)
Follow These Five Easy Steps
Need a demo? Watch the Video at Real Simple.
Time Inc. Studios1. Perform squats with bicep curls for one minute
Hold one end of a resistance band in each hand. (If you have a band with handles, hold the handles.) With your arms straight down at your sides, stand with your feet on the band, a little more than hip-width apart. Bend your knees so that you're positioned as if you were almost sitting down in a chair. Keeping your back straight and your abdominal muscles tight, bend at the elbows, pulling the resistance band up toward your shoulders. Release slowly and repeat. Continue this exercise in a slow, controlled motion for one minute. Have more time? Try a 15-Minute Workout.
Time Inc. Studios2. Do lunges with shoulder raises for one minute
Hold one end of the resistance band inRead More »from How To: Do a 5-Minute Workout
Mom Emily struggles with overspending, hoarding, and -- in her words -- dressing "schlumpy."
Marc RoyceEmily Mencken was featured on the first episode of Real Simple's new lifestyle makeover series on TLC, "Real Simple, Real Life." Learn more about the show at RealSimpleRealLife.com and check your local listings for the show schedule.
Age: 35Read More »from Meet Emily Mencken
Home: Pasadena , California
Job: Stay-at-home mom
Family: Married to Scott, 41, with three children, daughter Katie, 3, and twins Josh and Nate, 1
My life is…
Happily chaotic; busy to slightly overwhelming with moments of sheer bliss.
I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. I love my life. I just wish I could get ahead of the mess.
Does changing a diaper on a squirming baby count? If not, then never. Can't fit it in, but, boy, do I need to!
I describe my style as…
Dinnertime at our house is…
Hectic, spread out,
James BaigrieIt helps to know just what you're getting into when you pound that plastic. Here, experts tell you how to use your credit wisely.Read More »from Credit cards 101
Q. I'm tempted to open a lot of store cards around the holidays to take advantage of discounts. Will that affect my credit score?
A. Yes. Every new application results in a credit-report inquiry. Each inquiry typically causes your score to drop by up to five points. And the lower your score, the less attractive you become to lenders when you apply for credit, a loan, or a mortgage. (Your score will rebound if your bill-paying record is good and you don't apply for more cards.) Be choosy about opening new cards. Consider how much the holiday discount will save and whether you'll be able to pay the bill in full. Store cards typically charge higher interest rates (sometimes more than 20 percent), so carrying a balance can eat up any initial savings. Get Tips for Saving Money All Year Long from Real Simple.
Q. How many credit cards are too many? And is there
Francesco LagneseCarve some fun into fall with a day of pumpkin picking, jack-o'-lanterns, and treats to get everyone in high spiritsRead More »from Pumpkin-Carving Party Essentials
Legends of the Fall
Grown on every continent but Antarctica, the pumpkin was once thought to be a cure-all for freckles and snakebites. But what this vine-grown fruit does best is symbolize everything magical and spooky about the season. If you don't believe that, just ask Ichabod Crane. (See How to Choose a Pumpkin)
How to Carve a Jack-o'-Lantern
1. With a serrated knife held at an angle, carefully cut an opening around the stem, making a small notch in the back (to guide you when replacing the lid).
2. Use a large spoon to remove the pulp and scrape the sides clean of stringy bits.
3. Draw on a face (washable markers allow kids to draw, rinse, and repeat).
4. Carve, then add a tealight.
Don't carve your jack-o'-lantern too early or it won't survive until Halloween night. Once cut, a pumpkin lasts about four to five days, then starts to rot.