Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • 10 Ways to Enhance an Entryway


    Looking to add vigor to your vestibule, fizz to your foyer? Try these easy ideas.


    1. Define the space with a bold color like the red above, which exudes a warm welcome.

    2. A runner draws guests into your home. Keep it clear of the furniture so the space has a feeling of openness. And don't let it extend the entire length of the hallway: You want to be sure that the front door can open freely.

    3. Here's a clever trick if you don't want the hassle of cleaning a runner: Paint one on the floor instead (a simple, creative way to mask wear and tear, too).

    See More: 16 Before-and-After Room Makeovers

    4. Engage visitors immediately by creating an eye-catching wall display. Here, unused pieces of wallpaper are framed eclectically.

    5. The same principle works beautifully with a grouping of ornamental mirrors, which has an especially dramatic effect on a dark wall.

    6. For a more pared-down version of the idea, try filling a series of shadow boxes with

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  • Mother-daughter relationships--which one fits your connection?

    Whether you act like sisters or sparring partners, you can improve your connection. By Sara Reistad-Long

    The Relationship: Best Friends

    You have the kind of "favorite dinner date," "first on speed dial" relationship that others envy.

    Why it's good: Operating on a level playing field reflects self-confidence on the part of both mother and daughter. "In terms of healthy communication, having this kind of relationship is a big positive," says Deborah Tannen, Ph.D., a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., and the author of You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation ($15, amazon.com).

    Why it's challenging: Sometimes a daughter needs a parent, not a partner in crime. Studies have confirmed what a lot of women know: When daughters face big life changes, such as becoming parents themselves, they rely on their moms to be experienced advisers, not buddies. This dynamic can be tough for moms, too. They can

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  • 7 recipe ideas for rotisserie chicken

  • Best granolas

    Real Simple staffers tasted 91 varieties and picked these winners for their breakfast- and family-friendly flavors. By Lindsay Funston


    Best Low-Fat and Low-Sugar

    Galaxy Granola Raspberry
    Wholesome oats, plump dried raspberries, and crispy rice make this a gateway granola for cereal lovers. And with just 1.4 grams of fat and 5 grams of sugar per serving, it's a good choice for dieters, too.

    To buy: $5.50 for 12 ounces.

    See More: 9 Fast, Healthy Breakfast Ideas



    Best Oats and Honey

    Cascadian Farm Organic
    A classic flavor combo with jumbo, extra-crunchy clusters. It's sweet enough for the kids without putting them into sugar shock.

    To buy: $6 for 17 ounces.


    Best Fruit and Nut

    Kashi Mountain Medley
    Like trail mix, but with even healthier mix-ins. You'll find raisins, cranberries, almonds, and pecans here, along with a fiber-rich blend of seven whole grains.

    To buy: $5 for 14 ounces.

    See More:Better

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  • Nutritious snacking choices on the go

    Eat smartly in an airport, at a rest stop, or even from a vending machine. By Madonna Behen

    Vending Machines

    Best picks: A small bag of plain pretzels―not honey-mustard or any other flavor, which can add fat. "Pretzels are a satisfying, low-fat crunch without any trans fats or added sugar, and the single-serving-size bag means you get built-in portion control," says Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of The Snack Factor Diet (Crown, $13, amazon.com). A close second is a small bag of peanuts or almonds, which is packed with protein that will fill you up, says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian in St. Petersburg, Florida. And the petite package prevents mindless eating from a big jar, which can be a danger at home.

    Another good option: Whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter. While these little sandwiches can be higher in fat or calories than a serving of pretzels, "they have good fat and a little fiber," says Krieger, which will keep

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  • 7 healthy predinner snacks

    Dinner's at eight, but you just can't wait. A healthy snack will tide you over. By Maureen Callahan


    Cashew-Strawberry Crunch
    Think of this as a gourmet cook's PB & J. Spread 1 tablespoon of cashew butter on a slice of Ryvita Fruit Crunch. (Or substitute peanut butter and Triscuits.) Drizzle with ½ tablespoon honey and top with sliced strawberries.

    Health bonus: Nut butters are full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

    See More: How to Keep Things in Moderation

    One-Minute Antipasto Plate
    Roll a thin slice of prosciutto or ham around a part-skim mozzarella string cheese. Eat with a few olives and grapes, or add roasted bell peppers (from a jar) drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

    Health bonus: Contains almost a quarter of a woman's 1,000-milligram recommended daily allowance for calcium.

    Pineapple and Pistachios

    Combine about ¼ cup dried pineapple pieces with about 25 pistachio nuts. (For a treat, use chile-lime pistachio nuts, available at

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  • 6 castles you can sleep in

    Stay overnight in a historic European castle that has been converted into a hotel.



    Ashford Castle
    Once owned by the Guinness family, Ashford Castle of County Mayo, Ireland, whose oldest parts date to 1228, was home base for director John Ford while he was filming The Quiet Man; ashford.ie.




    Castello di Ripa d'Orcia

    Estimated to have been built in the early Middle Ages, Castello di Ripa d'Orcia stands on a Tuscan hilltop less than 30 miles from Siena, in Italy; castelloripadorcia.com.

    See More: 20 Tips from Air-Travel Insiders


    Château de Salettes

    The walls are ancient, but inside them, the decor is modern and minimalistic at Château de Salettes, in Cahuzac-sur-Vère, France; chateaudesalettes.com.



    Inverlochy Castle

    Queen Victoria was once a guest at Scotland's Inverlochy Castle (as she wrote in her diary: "I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot"), in the foothills of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in

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  • 4 ways to stay cool under pressure

    Real Simple asked five professionals with (unusually) stressful jobs to share their best secrets for keeping a level head.

    Before a Stressful Event, Stage a Mental Dress Rehearsal
    In surgery, you don't have the luxury of wondering, What if this doesn't work? It has to work. That's why, the night before a big procedure, I run through the entire thing like a movie in my head. I also visualize what I'll do in the event of major complications-which can make a huge difference. During a recent operation, my team encountered a problem when a hole opened in the vena cava, the largest vein in the body, during the removal of an attached tumor. It's a terrifying situation: The person could bleed to death in minutes. But I had considered this possibility beforehand. So when the vein ruptured, I knew exactly what to do and quickly restored control. And I'm happy to report, the patient is doing fine.

    Thomas Heffernan is a cancer surgeon in Dallas

    See More: How to Make Positive

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  • Stain-busters that really work

    At home or on the go, these products will help you get the spot out.


    Bleach Pen

    Problem: There's a spot on your white shirt, but you don't want to douse it with bleach and risk damaging the garment.
    Solution: The new Clorox Bleach Pen lets you pinpoint stains with a fine-point applicator. (Bonus: It works on mildewed tile, too.)
    To buy: $3, at supermarkets, Costco, Target, and Wal-Mart.

    See More: Problem-Solving Laundry Products


    Stain Eliminator

    Problem: Fruitless attempts at stain removal make your garments pucker.
    Solution: Tide Buzz, created by Tide and Black & Decker, is a kind of Water Pik for clothes. It's equipped with an electrically charged wand that injects the stain with cleaning fluid.
    To buy: $30, amazon.com.

    See More: The Best Spot Removers


    Powder Bleach

    Problem: You've got a striped shirt with a stain on the white part―but you can't add bleach to a washer full of multicolored clothes.
    Solution: Biz is a

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  • How to solve 13 kitchen cleanup conundrums  

    Milk scum? Cooked-on egg? No problem.

    See More: How to Speed Clean Your Kitchen

    Conundrum: Cheese Stuck to a Grater
    Solution: To make grater cleanup a breeze, spritz with nonstick cooking spray before grating cheese and the residue will wipe right off.

    Conundrum: Spotty Porcelain Pieces (Including Kitchen Sinks)
    Solution: Fill a stained porcelain serving dish or sink with warm water, then drop in several denture-cleaning tablets and watch the stains dissolve like magic.

    Conundrum: Grease Splatters on Walls and Backsplashes
    Solution: Try an all-purpose cleaner that has the word degreaser on the label: Spray it directly on the spot and wipe clean with a paper towel. This is effective on walls painted with semigloss or high-gloss paint. Beware, though: Flat paint is not as forgiving―it will absorb every splash.

    See More: How to Fake a Clean House

    Conundrum: A Deep Fryer Full of Leftover Oil
    Solution: Let the oil cool completely, then empty it into

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