Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • How to Ripen Avocados

    Clayton Junior"I'm making guacamole, but the avocados are hard as rocks."

    Vivian Tran, via e-mail

    Originally appeared on

    The Fix: Place avocados in a brown paper bag with a banana, then leave the bag on a sunny windowsill for 18 to 24 hours, says Joe Quintana, the New York City-based regional executive chef for the Rosa Mexicano restaurants. Together, the banana and the avocados release a large amount of ethylene gas, which can hasten ripening. (The heat may help speed the process, too.) If you can't wait a day, try this trick from California avocado grower Carol Steed: Place 2 peeled, pitted avocados in a blender with 1 cup peas (fresh, or frozen and thawed); pulse until smooth. The peas will help soften the consistency of the unripe avocados but won't affect the flavor.

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  • Period Symptoms by Decade

    You change throughout your 20s, 30s, and 40s, so it should be no surprise that your cycles do, too. But are off-schedule, heavy, or otherwise weird periods normal? Here's how to know-and how to handle it if they're not.

    By Dana Hudepohl

    Originally appeared on
    Mark Allen Miller

    Four hundred fifty:
    That's about how many periods you can expect in your lifetime. This monthly event, in which the uterine lining is expelled if an egg is unfertilized, is a complicated business, involving numerous hormonal players that can affect your weight, your temper, and your sex drive.

    More from Which Health Shortcuts are OK?

    What Is a Period, Anyway? Your brain tells the pituitary gland to release two chemical messengers, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), about two weeks after your period starts. The hormones contact the ovaries, triggering a follicle, one of their microscopic egg-containing pouches, to develop and release the egg (a.k.a. ovulation). In the

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  • 7 Quick Tips and Shortcuts for Healthy Hair

    By Stacey Colino

    Does your hair take more time than it should? If you're reading this, the answer is probably yes. The experts are here to help, with seven styling shortcuts that will streamline your routine.

    More on The Best Hair Dryers

    Plamen PetkovCut Your Hair Time
    Some women are slaves to fashion. Even more are held hostage by their hair. They're constantly rushing to the colorist to beat back grays, fussing with rebellious bangs, waging war against their natural texture-and losing precious hours of their lives. But it doesn't have to be this way. Here are some common time-wasting traps into which you may have unwittingly fallen, along with hair care tips that will set you free.

    Time Drain:
    You Start Blow-Drying Too Soon In the morning rush, do you attack your hair with a brush and a dryer immediately after stepping out of the shower? "There's no upside to this," says Kristina Barricelli, a celebrity hairstylist and a co-owner of the Gemini 14 Salon, in New York City. "It

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  • How to Read Food Labels

    Mikey Burton
    How to Read Food Labels
    What do terms like "extra lean," "reduced fat," and "low sugar" really mean? Here's some healthy perspective on what you're actually putting in your grocery cart.

    By Stacey Colino

    More from
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    When it comes to food labels, any dietitian worth her salt will tell you to pay attention to them. But not all the words on those labels are created equal. Certain terms are backed up by law; others sound official but could mean anything-or nothing. Use this guide to translate the shelf talk and shop healthier with less hassle.

    "Extra Lean"

    Meat, poultry, or seafood labeled "extra lean" must meet strict requirements by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Every 100-gram serving (about 3.5 ounces) must have fewer than 5 grams of total fat, fewer than 2 grams of saturated fat, and fewer than 95 milligrams of cholesterol. That amounts to a pretty small dent in your total daily fat allowance, which is about 55 grams if you eat

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  • The Best Advice from Mom

    Real Simple staffers share the can't-miss advice we've learned from our own moms.

    Originally appeared on

    Melanie AcevedoMarty Munson: When my sister was picking out her wedding china, my mom encouraged me to select mine, too, even though I wasn't even dating anyone at the time. When she bought me a number of settings, she said, "You don't have to be married to have nice things." (BTW, I still love my china and use it all the time.)

    More on 8 Tips for Finding Work and Life Balance

    Joele Cuyler: Every time I called my mother to boohoo about something, she would remind me that things could be much worse and point out some real-life tragedies for perspective. It always made me reflect and feel grateful for what I had.

    Jenny Brown: Whatever dire situation I think I'm in, my mom finds a way to make me laugh about it. She teaches me to approach life with a light heart.

    Amy Maclin: Always be curious. Curiosity cures almost anything-boredom, sadness, awkward silences.

    Casey Tierney:

    Read More »from The Best Advice from Mom
  • Foolproof Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed

    Want to really pamper Mom this Mother's Day? These four easy steps will guarantee a perfect start to her day.
    By Julia Edelstein and Ashley Niedringhaus

    Make It Ahead
    Pick a dish you can whip up in advance and pop into the oven in the morning. (You don't want to wake Mom with your a.m. clattering.)
    Jose PicayoJose PicayoBaked Eggs With Asparagus, Ham, and Gruyère
    Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 20m |
    Total Time: 1hr 40m


    -1 tablespoon olive oil
    -1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
    -1 shallot, chopped
    -6 large eggs
    -1 1/2 cups half-and-half
    -kosher salt and black pepper
    -4 cups torn baguette
    -1 cup Gruyère, grated (4 ounces) -
    4 ounces ham, roughly chopped

    -Heat oven to 350° F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and shallot and cook until tender, 4 to 6 minutes; let cool.
    -In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Fold in the baguette, Gruyère, ham, and the asparagus mixture.
    -Transfer the egg mixture to four

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  • Mother's Day Gift Basket Ideas

    Make one of these for the woman who has everything and insists she wants nothing.

    For the Sentimental Mom
    A stylish file box to keep everything organized on her desk. RS pick: Semikolon Folder Box, $32,
    Grant CornettGrant Cornett

    Elegant stamp holder. Since she still sends a hand-written note, she'll need to keep her roll of stamps easily accessible.
    RS pick: Pewter Stamp Holder, $35,

    Personalized rubber stamp. Upgrade her correspondence with a custom return address stamp. RS pick: Pearl Border Custom Stamp, $30,

    Address book. To keep all her contacts organized and up to date. RS pick: Robin's Egg Blue Saffian Address Book, $31,

    Interview journal. Have her fill in this thought-provoking journal and see your mother in a whole new light. RS pick: My Mom: Her Stories, Her Words, $10,

    Monogrammed stationery. Whether for thank you notes, sympathy cards, or just-because, you can't go wrong with a personalized set. RS

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  • 6 Fast Hair Care Tips

    By Stacey Colino

    Learn how to remove static, boost volume, smooth frizz, and defeat more beauty nightmares with these quick hair-care tips.

    Mary RozziHow to: Fix Limp Hair

    To revive limp hair during the day, flip your head over, spray hair spray on the roots, then flip it back. You'll get instant volume that you can shape with your fingers.

    See more time-saving tips for healthy hair.

    How to: Banish Staticky Hair

    To stop static, smooth a dryer sheet down your strands from roots to ends (this really works) or lightly spritz hair spray onto your brush and run it through your hair. Sprinkling water on your hands and passing them over your hair can help stop static in a pinch, too, because static is a result of moisture loss.

    How to: Color-Correct Your Dye Job

    If you've colored your hair too dark, you can try to restore it to less of a shoe-polish hue by immediately shampooing with dish soap, such as Palmolive.

    More on Quick Tips for Knockout Hairstyles

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  • 6 New Gluten-Free Foods that Actually Taste Good

    By Lindsay Hunt Thankfully wheat-free doesn't mean flavor-free. Any of these new items are sure to please the gluten-averse.

  • 10 Eye Health Tips to Protect Your Vision

    Expert advice that will help you see clearly for years to come. Plus, common questions about eye health.

    By Amanda Pressner

    Originally appeared on

    Leandro CastelaoIn a 2012 survey from the American Optometric Association, more than half of the respondents reported that they valued their eyesight more than their memory or ability to walk. However, you may be making little decisions every day that could be compromising your most indispensable sense. "Constantly interacting with screens, missing out on essential nutrients, forgetting your sunglasses-these innocent-sounding habits can stealthily take a toll on healthy eyes," says optometrist Hilary L. Hawthorne, a trustee of the American Optometric Association. Also, we often skip yearly eye exams, which puts not only our eyes but also our overall health at risk. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to turn things around. Many of these expert-recommended tips can be done in the blink of a you-know-what.

    More on Why Does My Eye

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