No wonder dogs-not to mention cats, birds, and bunnies-are man's best friend: These loyal, lovable creatures are also surprisingly wise. This month, readers share lessons from the animals who rule their roosts.
Christopher Silas Neal
My fat, cantankerous cat, Pasadena, often rolls off the couch accidentally while she's sleeping. Every time it happens, she gets back up and struts her stuff, as if to say, "Yeah, I fell down, but I'm still awesome." She reminds me not to take myself too seriously.
Also See: How Much Do Pets Really Cost?
When Jacques, my 12-pound silver poodle, got into a tussle with a mule deer, he lost an eye. For days afterward, I was devastated. But Jacques had a different reaction. His first morning home from the vet, he got up with his tail wagging, excited to greet a new day. By moving on so quickly, he showed me that you shouldn't hold on to sorrow when you can be happy. I've given him a new nickname-Jacques Sparrow-because he's the bravest little
Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine
No wonder dogs-not to mention cats, birds, and bunnies-are man's best friend: These loyal, lovable creatures are also surprisingly wise. This month, readers share lessons from the animals who rule their roosts.Read More »from What Has Your Pet Taught You About Life?
The main reasons why people can't seem to let go of their stuff and the smartest tricks for outwitting that hoarding instinct. Nato WeltonRead More »from Are You a Hoarder?
"If I get rid of this wedding vase, I'll feel guilty."
Solution: People feel a responsibility to be good stewards of things, says Randy Frost, a professor of psychology at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, and a coauthor of Buried in Treasures. Especially items they've been given by or inherited from a loved one. Getting rid of a present feels like disrespecting the giver. But remember the true meaning of gifts.
"When you receive a present," says Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, an interior designer in New York City and the founder of ApartmentTherapy.com, "your duty is to receive it and thank the giver―not to keep the gift forever." That goes for items you inherit. "Ask yourself, 'How many things do I really need to honor this person's memory?'" says Frost. Select a few objects with strong associations to your late grandmother, say, and keep
Fifteen-minute projects that won't put a dent in your weekend.Read More »from Quick Fixes to Make Around Your House
By Adam Bluestein
Squeaky Door Hinges
Spray a little WD-40 onto the hinges, moving the door back and forth to work in the lubricant. Or try rubbing the hinges with petroleum jelly. If these tricks don't work, lift the hinge pins about halfway and lubricate them with three-in-one oil, using a rag to catch drips.
Also See: Decorating With Door Accessories
For a temporary fix, sprinkle talcum powder over the noisy area and sweep it into the cracks. Be sure to remove any traces of powder if you're ever going to refinish the floor.
Also See: The Best Floor Cleaners
With a knife, smear wallpaper paste onto a piece of writing paper. Rub the paper against the underside of the peeling section. Press the wallpaper against the wall. Slide the writing paper out and smooth away bubbles with a clean cloth.
Also See: New Uses for Leftover Wallpaper
A little sagging over time is natural
22 unexpected items you can put in the dishwasher and 13 things you shouldn't. Plus, how to cook salmon in the dishwasher (seriously).Read More »from Surprising Uses for Your Dishwasher
by Sarah Stebbins
Related: The Secret Life of Your Dishwasher
Baseball caps can get bent in the washing machine but hold their shape in the dishwasher, especially inside a contraption like the Ball Cap Washer ($5, amazon.com). Don't wash them with dishes; food can get trapped in the cloth.
Action figures and other small toys can ride in a mesh lingerie bag on the top rack (but don't wash Barbie or she'll have a horrible hair day).
Rain boots should have the liners removed and lie horizontally. Hook flip-flops on tines in the top rack. (FYI, Crocs are not dishwasher-safe)
---Also See: New Uses for Clothing
Tools with metal or plastic handles will be fine.
Ceramic cabinet knobs do well in the silverware basket, so if you feel like embarking on the process (remove, wash, replace), go for it.
Hairbrushes and combs made of plastic can take a spin, but not
Surprising things you can do with your ice cream maker, rice cooker, waffle iron, and milkshake machine.Read More »from Repurpose Rarely Used Appliances
By Melinda Page
Your Ice Cream Maker
Andrew McCaul Make Cola slushies.
Set up the machine according to the manufacturer's directions. Pour in one 12-ounce can of cola and start the machine. When a thick slush has formed (after 10 to 15 minutes), scoop it into two glasses and serve.
Pour all the ingredients except the alcohol into the ice cream maker. When the liquid has frozen, add the tequila and triple sec.
Whip up a frozen lime rickey.
Pour 6 ounces of seltzer, 1 ounce of simple syrup (made by dissolving 2 parts sugar in 1 part boiling water), and 1 ounce of lime juice into the machine. Let freeze for 15 to 20 minutes.
Make frozen hot chocolate.
Prepare instant hot chocolate according to the package directions, then pour it into the machine and freeze for about 20 minutes.
Also See: Classic Margaritas
Your Rice Cooker
Andrew McCaulSteam towels to offer guests before dinner.
21 ideas to make the most of summer, from finding the ultimate beach reads to making a lobster roll.Read More »from Best Ways to Enjoy Summer
The Best Way to Catch Fireflies
How? With womanly wiles: "Fireflies blink to attract a mate," explains naturalist Lynn Havsall, director of programs at the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, in Bar Harbor, Maine. "Males fly around while females sit in trees, in shrubs, or on the ground. So find a female and watch her blinking pattern. Then imitate the pattern with a pen flashlight and the males will come to you."
A plus: The bugs move slowly, so they're easy to trap in a jar. Punch some holes in the lid and add a little grass and a piece of fruit for moisture. Admire your pretty night-lights till bedtime, then let them go.
Also See: Summer Party Planner
The Best Way to Get In and Out of a Hammock
Everyone looks good lazing in a hammock―it's getting in and out that's tricky. To make it less so, try these tips from Penny Waugh, a buyer for hammocks.com: Ditte Isager
-Position your backside
She said that eating your spinach would make you smarter and that carrots would improve your eyesight. Find out whether the scientific evidence supports Mom's 10 favorite food and diet credos.Read More »from Should You Follow Mom’s Nutrition Tips?
By Stacey Colino
Mom's Kitchen Wisdom
When you were a (well-behaved, respectful) kid, you listened. But now that you're feeding yourself, should you be following all the advice that Mom dished out? To learn the truth, Real Simple consulted a panel of nutrition pros. While they didn't always agree, their opinions will give you-and your mother-something to chew on.
Also See: What Ingenious Cleaning Tricks Did You Learn from Your Mom?
"Spinach Is Brain Food"
Tara Gidus, M.S., registered dietitian and nutrition consultant based in Orlando, Florida, and the author of the book Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition for Dummies ($20, amazon.com): Absolutely! Spinach is loaded with lutein, folate, and beta-carotene. These nutrients have been linked with preventing dementia. I know neurologists who recommend
The best ways to remove barbecue sauce, grass, and other tough seasonal stains.Read More »from Summer Stain-Busters
By Tamara Frankfort; reporting by Madaline Sparks and Yolanda Wikiel
Apply a paste made from an enzyme detergent, such as Wisk, and water, and let sit in a warm place for 30 minutes. Use an eyedropper to apply a solution of one part ammonia or white vinegar and two parts water to bleach any remaining stain. Rinse with cool water. Finish with a regular wash cycle.
Treat with a combination solvent, such as Shout, and let sit for 15 minutes. Use an eyedropper to apply a solution of one part ammonia or white vinegar and two parts water to bleach any remaining stain. Rinse with cold water.
Also See: Best Ways to Enjoy Summer
Let dry, then brush off as much as possible. Apply a gentle detergent, such as Woolite, and water. Rub to form suds, then rinse. Next, bleach any remaining stain with a combination of one part white vinegar and one part water.
It's a cruel, cruel summer when the grill gets gunky and your white jeans get funky. These strategies will help keep everything shipshape through Labor Day. By Julia Edelstein and Yolanda Wikiel
Midseason slump: The frame is starting to rust.
How to beat it: "Salt is one of the main causes of rust," says John Carmona, the owner of the Rust Store, in Madison, Wisconsin, a business devoted to getting rid of the brown stuff. Before you fold up your chairs at the end of a beach day, "give them a quick rinse with fresh water to remove the salt," says Carmona. At home, use a towel to wipe them down before storing. For preventive care, you can coat the frame base with car wax: The oil will repel salt and water.
Midseason slump: They're turning dingy and yellow.
How to beat it: One to two wears is the max you can get out of white jeans before cleaning them. "Unless a garment is 100 percent cotton, avoidRead More »from 5 Ways to Make Your Summer Items Last
What's worse? Being (a) trapped in an elevator, (b) stuck on a train, or (c) stranded in a tiresome-or contentious-cocktail-party discussion? If you answered (c), read below. Five savvy experts, including a former FBI special agent and a bar manager, divulge their finest conversational exit strategies.Read More »from Ways to (Subtly) Change the Topic of Conversation
By Michelle Crouch
1. Make a Pit Stop
Back when I worked as an undercover officer for the FBI, if someone started asking me a lot of questions, I had to throw him off so he wouldn't figure out who I was. I would excuse myself, head to the restroom, and remain there for a few minutes. When I returned, I would immediately ask him about something new. It's much easier and less awkward to change the subject after you've taken a short break than to stop a conversation midstream. I still do this when I want to switch topics if I'm stuck next to someone on an airplane or at a social event.
Joe Navarro, a former FBI special agent, is the author of What Every Body Is Saying ($20, amazon.com).