Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping

  • What's a QR Code?

    See that thing at the right there? You've probably noticed these around, mainly on advertisements. It's called a QR code, and marketers want you to use your smartphone's camera to "read" it. Here's what you should know about them... and how to make your own!

    QR (Quick Response) codes are a type of barcode - not unlike the vertically-lined ones on every product you buy - that provide information when read by a scanner equipped to interpret it. They were first used in the mid-90s by a Japanese car manufacturer as a way to keep track of parts, but marketers have begun using them as a fun way to encode and share additional information with consumers, beyond what they can squeeze into an advertisement. (The one shown here is Good Housekeeping's.)

    Related: Great Back-to-School Tech Deals

    After downloading an app (I like QuickMark, but there are a ton of options out there), you use your smartphone's camera to capture the code. You'll then immediately be asked if you'd like to see whatever

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  • Great Back-to-School Tech Deals

    The largest purchase for an off-to-college student is generally a new computer or other tech product. Luckily, manufacturers and retailers know this, and are offering some great deals and premiums to get students' business (for some of these deals, you'll need a valid .edu e-mail address and/or a student ID). Namely:

    PC Premiums Microsoft, Dell, and HP are throwing in a bonus 4G Xbox 360 (a $200 value) with the purchase of a qualifying $700-plus Windows 7 laptop. (I can't say I'm 100% supportive of sending kids off with a brand-new video-game console, but I suppose there are worse ways they could be spending their downtime...)

    Related: How to Buy a Backpack

    Mac Packages
    Apple is offering a $100 iTunes gift card with a purchase of an iMac or a MacBook Pro or Air. It's also giving an up-to-$100 rebate on printers (and not just for students) with the purchase of a new Mac - a few actually become free. The rumor is that Best Buy is matching Apple's iTunes offer with a $100 store gift card

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  • 3 Ways to Avoid Paying Retail

    Getting by on less has become the status quo in recent years. Now, there's a bonus to that: Smart penny-pinchers have figured out the twists on savings strategies that make a tight budget work in their favor, shaving up to 50% (and sometimes even more) off retail.
    Get set to benefit from their expertise: Here are some newfangled tricks that require only basic Web-surfing or smartphone skills. Use them not just on life's must-haves, but also on little rewards for your bargain-hunting expertise.

    Related: 7 Ways to Save More at Outlets

    1. Work Your Social-Networking Sites
    Even if you're not interested in tweeting random thoughts or "liking" other people's status updates, there's still reason to sign up for sites like Twitter and Facebook: Doing so will fatten your wallet. Some of your favorite brands and retailers offer coupons and discounts there that you won't find anywhere else, such as a recent 20% off American Eagle Outfitters apparel or a full-size pack of Tide laundry capsules

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  • Never Be Late Again

    I am a charming, extremely calm, completely sane woman who runs a lovely, tranquil home, and my husband, daughter, and dog utterly adore me - except on weekday mornings. That's when my evil twin emerges. Think Jekyll and Hyde, Jacob in Twilight. The rush (almost always fruitless) to get Daisy, 11, to school on time and get on with my day often has me screeching "Hurry up!" while pounding on the bathroom door and threatening "If you're not out the door in five minutes, no Xbox tonight!" with the worst of them.

    In hopes of undoing my ugliness, I've scoured mommy blogs and the parenting section of my local bookstore. And I swear I've tried all of the standard advice: I've set my alarm 10 minutes earlier, put the clock in the Siberian corner of my bedroom (so as not to be tempted by the snooze button), had my daughter lay out her clothes in the evening, and lodged her ready-to-go backpack by the front door.

    Still, every morning something stops our getting-to-school-on-time momentum cold.

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  • Your Computer Problems Solved

    Ah, the wonders of technology - from word processing to Web searching, computers have forever changed how we get things done. Less awe-inspiring: when software takes forever to load and cables and cords put a choke hold on your desk. Read on for simple (no, really!) fixes for these glitches and others

    Organize Your Desktop
    Clutter on a computer desktop actually slows down performance. Don't save unneeded files there. Take a second to put them into a hard-drive folder; a basic My Photos or My Documents label is fine.

    Related: You've Got (Too Much) Mail

    Speed Up Your Unit

    Does waiting out that little hourglass seem like it takes, well, hours? Try this:

    • "Defragment" your hard drive. As you save or modify files on a Windows-based PC, pieces are stored in different locations on the hard drive, so it takes the computer longer to reassemble them when you access the files. To fix, set the Disk Defragmenter (in the System Tools folder) to run once a week. (Note: Macs seldom get slowed down
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  • Revealed: 2nd Annual Anti-Aging Awards Winners

    Most of us only dream of banishing bad hair days, especially as we get older and strands go gray and lose their shine and fullness. But here at Good Housekeeping, we wondered if we could make that dream a reality...

    Last fall, we set out to discover, scientifically, whether anything could deliver lasting color and revive limp locks; in short, we focused our second annual awards on finding anti-aging hair products that really work. We enlisted 579 women, ages 35 to 81, and gave them shampoos, treatments, haircolor, and more to test for one to four weeks, depending on product directions. They filled out reams of questionnaires with their picks, pans, and comments. Back at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, our Beauty Lab spent months shampooing, conditioning, treating, and coloring almost nine pounds of human hair swatches, and then evaluated the results using our state-of-the-art equipment. The good news: The hair products you use can make a limp and lackluster head of hair look

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  • Does Your Husband Have a Different Definition of Clean?

    "Why do you always let this place get so %&$# cluttered!?" Sound familiar? Many people experience frequent arguments and frustration over clutter and cleanliness. In my opinion, many of these arguments could be prevented and many conversations would have more clarity if there was an understanding of the "Definition of Clean."

    People have various thresholds of discomfort around clutter... Some people can go to bed with dishes piled up in the sink, and for others, that is unbearable. My college roommate and I would often remark about how well we got along in our daily living, and we recognized that it was because we both had the same Definition of Clean.

    Related: What to Teach Kids About Organizing

    Think for each room in your home about what "clean" means, specifically and exactly. In the kitchen for example, my definition of clean is that the sink is not piled high with dishes (maybe there are one or two dishes or glasses waiting), the counters are wiped clean, and there is nothing on

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  • Make Married Sex Hotter

    People sometimes tell me they know a couple married 20 years whose sex life is still as good as it ever was. Here's what I tell them in return: "There are only three possibilities. One: This couple is lying. Two: They are telling the truth, because they didn't have good sex to begin with. Or three: Sex is all they really have together. They never connected emotionally."

    I've drawn that conclusion by listening to the many dozens of husbands and wives I've counseled, almost all of whom have admitted that after 10 or 20 years of marriage, passion became elusive.

    Sharing lives is different from sharing dinners and long walks and weekends away. When you were dating the man you ultimately married, you were both acting much of the time (consciously or not), putting your best feet forward in order to be attractive to each other. When you were sick or had a bad headache, you probably pretended it was no big deal. So did he. Now when your stomach is upset, you feel free to tell him you're

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  • 10 Health Food Myths Debunked

    Wasn't it mom who used to say, "Don't believe everything you read"? Once again, she was right! The wealth of information available pertaining to health and nutrition is pretty impressive and a wonderful resource for us all. Unfortunately, marketing gimmicks and unconfirmed sources to misunderstandings and falsities sneak in. Below, we've set the record straight on 10 common misconceptions about health and diet:

    1) Fresh is always better than frozen
    Freshly shelled peas contain more vitamins than a bag of frozen ones, right? Not exactly. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as good as fresh because they are harvested right at their nutritional peak and immediately frozen. The fresh variety often travel far distances and sit on grocery shelves and along the way heat, air, and water can lead to loss of nutrients. So what to do? Buy both. Keep bags of unseasoned veggies and unsweetened fruits in the freezer-they'll come in handy during a week when you don't make it to the market. But

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  • The Pros and Cons of Online-Only Banks

    Recently, several people I know made the switch from traditional brick-and-mortar banks to internet-only banks. Because online banks lack many (or any) physical branches, they have little overhead and can offer better interest rates and charge fewer fees. I do much of my banking on the web already, so what would be the difference? Here, some pros and cons.

    Pros of Internet Banks

    Higher interest rates (or even interest rates at all!) on savings A quick search of shows that a number of internet-based savings accounts pay around 1% interest - not a ton, but better than the piddling 0.08% (sadly, not a typo) my current large brick-and-mortar pays me. And the best rate I found for any bank with branches in New York City is 0.40%.

    Related: Save $100 (Or More) A Month

    Checking accounts with interest Internet banks with these types of accounts pay between 0.25% and 0.95%. Local NYC banks: 0.01% to 0.10% - and all require a hefty minimum balance to avoid account maintenance

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