Blog Posts by Reader s Digest Magazine

  • Founder of EHarmony’s Advice on Love

    Like every father, Neil Clark Warren worried about whether each of his three daughters would marry the right guy. But not every father turns that concern into a billion-dollar matchmaking business.

    As a clinical psychologist and theologian for nearly 40 years, Warren had counseled thousands of couples who couldn't get along. He was a front-row witness to what he calls the horror of divorce. Statistics painted a bleak picture for his girls.

    "Half the people who get married in America are ending up divorced, and of those who stay together, half say they're not very happy," Warren notes. How could he help them beat the odds? Warren launched eHarmony on August 22, 2000. By December, 20,000 people had signed up.

    So what is Warren's big dream? "I've often said that my dream is to get the divorce rate down to single digits. If we could ever do that, it would be the greatest single social revolution in the history of the human race."

    What exactly do single people want?

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  • 6 Natural Cleaning Boosters

    Cleaning your home doesn't have to cost a fortune in household cleaners. In fact, besides harmful fumes, store-bought cleaners can can aggravate sensitive skin and allergies. Save money and create a healthy, clean home with these natural cleaning boosters.

    Tea Tree Oil
    This essential oil has antiseptic ingredients making it a perfect disinfectant. Add a few drops to a small spray bottle of water for an environmentally-friendly disinfectant throughout your home.

    Though harmful to skin and eyes in concentrated form, ammonia is not harmful to the environment and very effective at cleaning windows and mirrors. Mix with water and use in a spray bottle for easy cleaning.

    Coarse salt
    Used with lemon, coarse salt works well to clean countertops and sinks. Also, coarse salt is great for scrubbing cast iron skillets. Scrub with a soft sponge and rinse off.

    White vinegar
    When mixed with a mild liquid soap, white vinegar tackles grease and shines floors and windows.

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  • 10 Golden Rules for Writing the Perfect Email

    Emails are key to communication in the office. Yet, as a rule, they are badly written. So by consistently sending sharp, well-composed electronic messages, you will make yourself stand out from the crowd. Take careful note of the following:

    1. Hone your subject line
    Try to be more specific. Instead of giving your email the name 'Byrne project', call it 'Byrne project: new deadline for phase 2'. Your email is already more interesting than most.

    2. Don't bury the lead
    If you want to annoy people, make them read three paragraphs before you get to the point. If you want to rise in the company, state your purpose in the first sentence or two and then get to the why and how of the matter.

    3. Request further action
    End emails with a suggestion or a request for action. An example would be: 'I will call you on Monday at 10am to discuss this' or 'When can we get this done?'. Otherwise, nothing is likely to happen.

    PLUS: 10 Best One-Liners

    4. Be human
    People who would never dream of being

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  • How to Sneak in Holiday Exercise

    Our mid-winter calendars sometimes begin filling up in the summer. And now that the holidays are upon us, we're often double- or triple-booked. Who has time for exercise when we're shopping for presents, running errands, and attending parties.

    The trick is to plan for this holiday madness and build in ways to be active. According to the National Institutes of Health, most Americans add a pound over the holidays from the sheer amount of food and inactivity. For some, though, it can be as much as six pounds. Along with the benefit of avoiding the holiday weight-gain, sneaking in holiday exercise can help you manage blood sugar. The best news? You can use that holiday running around to get in some exercise. Here's how.

    1. Skip shopping online. When you're being an online Santa, you're burning as many calories as watching television. Instead, get out there and shop the mall, parking far away from the entrance. Don't be one of those people waiting on a parking spot close to the store.

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  • Commonsense Advice for the Holidays

    Jeanne Marie Laskas is not a shrink, but she does have uncommon advice. Here, a collection of queries on giving gifts and getting along, just in time for the holidays.

    1. You sister does not thank you for a gift

    Rude people don't take well to scolding, so try something even better: the guilt trip! Tell her how it felt to have your generosity go unrecognized. It hurt, right? So say, "Ouch." Sometimes the gentlest cry can jolt the rudeness right out of a person.

    2. What's the appropriate amount to spend on family, friends, or the children of friends you rarely see?

    Sorry, there are no easy rules for giving other than this one: Don't forget the point of the whole deal. A gift is a symbol that shows someone you care. A symbol! As the giver, you get to choose what to give. Doling out more cash than you can afford, or because you think you have to, builds resentment and defeats the purpose. Give what you want (or can afford), to whomever you want, trusting that everybody knows

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  • What Would Make You Leave Your Spouse?

    In a global survey, domestic abuse is hands down the No. 1 choice in 10 of 15 countries. In the remaining five countries, respondents say that infidelity would drive them out the door. Across the world, the numbers show that men and women are more forgiving of their partner's personal problems-not one country offered up job loss or substantial weight gain as the main reason to call it quits. The top two results actually reflect what experts routinely cite as major reasons for divorce internationally.

    See the full results of the global poll.

    Domestic abuse was the top reason for leaving a partner in: France 67% Australia 57 Canada 57 Netherlands 55 U.S. 54 Russia 49 U.K. 49 Brazil 48 Malaysia 48 Germany 39

    In France, only 3% of those over 45 would leave if their partner had an affair. While in Mexico, 70% of older respondents gave infidelity as their top reason for saying adiós.

    Infidelity was the No. 1 response in: Mexico 64% China 57 Philippines 50 South Africa 49 India

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  • 4 Ways Your Brain is Playing Tricks on You

    1. It puts itself on autopilot.

    As I pulled into the office parking lot this morning, I realized I couldn't remember anything about the drive. How is the brain able to work on autopilot like this?

    The monarch butterfly has a brain smaller than a pinhead, and yet it can migrate more than 3,000 kilometres to a specific location. Your big brain can certainly allow you to drive to your office without conscious involvement-although I'm not advocating brain-dead driving. Repeated activities and behaviours create packages of information stored in the brain that, over time, become instructions when those activities are repeated. Under normal conditions, we call upon these instructions for familiar tasks and then make minor modifications moment to moment as our environment changes. If you had seen a large object in the road in front of you, your brain would click back on and you would consciously be able to steer around the hazard.
    -The memory doc is brain expert David Perlmutter, MD, FACN

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  • Time-Saving Tips for Hard-to-Clean Kitchen Tools

    Do you skip over a healthy smoothie because your blender is hard to clean? Read on for the easiest way to clean this and four other common kitchen tools.

    1. Blender
    Family physician and author Jill Grimes has a great tip to clean the blender. 'After you pour your drink, take the pitcher straight to the sink. Put in a little water and a drop of dish soap, put it back on the blender, and turn it on for 20 seconds. Rinse it out and you're done.' -- Best You

    2. Microwave
    The quickest way to clean a microwave oven is to place a handful of wet paper towels inside and run it on High for 3-5 minutes. You don't need a science lesson to know that the steam from the towels will soften the grime. Once the paper towels cool down, use them to wipe the oven's interior. -- Amazing Home Problem Solver

    To deodorize, combine 1 cup of water with ½ cup of lemon juice in a measuring cup or bowl and heat it on high for 3-5 minutes. Let it stand in the microwave for 5-10 minutes before removing. -- How to

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  • 4 Sunglass Mistakes to Avoid

    Get the most from your sunglasses by sidestepping these pitfalls.

    Skipping sunglasses in the winter. Snow reflects 80 percent of sunlight - three times more than water and five times more than beach sand.

    Relying only on contact lenses. Most contacts block less sunlight than UVB-protective sunglasses - but they do protect the sides of the eyes better than many sunglasses (except wraparound types). The best plan: contacts plus shades for more complete protection.

    Not wearing a hat. A wide-brimmed hat cuts eye exposure to UVB rays by a whopping 50 percent. A hat plus sunglasses reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration by 50 percent in one 10-year-long study of 2,764 people. And in a study of 900 Chesapeake Bay shellfish harvesters, those who wore sunglasses plus brimmed hats cut cataract risk by two-thirds.

    Wearing sunglasses only at midday. Japanese researchers say the sun's low angle in the morning and late afternoon is the reason study volunteers' eyes

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  • Childproof Your Home: A Room-by-Room Guide

    Will you have little house guests for the holidays? Here's how to get your home prepared for their arrival.

    Do not leave young children alone in the kitchen. Equip cabinets that contain cleaning products with easy-to-install childproof latches. In addition, consider the following:

    • Keep small appliances at the back of counters, and electric cords well out of reach. Unplug appliances when not in use so children can't operate them; this also avoids shocks in case a youngster pulls one into a water-filled sink.
    • Store plastic storage bags out of children's reach. Tie knots in used plastic bags before you throw them away. This will keep youngsters from playing with them and possibly suffering accidental suffocation.
    • Place sharp knives on the top rack of the dishwasher or in the silverware basket with blades down to reduce the risk of injury to a curious child.
    • Fill the detergent dispenser cup of your automatic dishwasher only when
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