Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • Are Generic Medicines as Good as Name Brands?

    by Dimity McDowell

    Brand-name products inevitably cost more. Are they worth the extra money?

    Perhaps the best example of a minimal performance difference despite a massive price discrepancy is the case of over-the-counter generic medications versus brand-name versions. To wit: You can get 150 200-milligram Advil tablets for about $11 or 500 tablets of Walgreens-brand ibuprofen for $13. The difference between the two? Not much.

    Related: Medicine Cabinet Makeover

    "A generic is the same in dosage, safety, strength, quality, and performance as a brand name," a U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokesperson based in Silver Spring, Maryland. And that goes for prescription medications. The generic may look or taste a little different (federal law prohibits duplicating every last detail), but the medicine works in your body just as the brand name would. In fact, according to the FDA, about 50 percent of generic drugs are manufactured by the brand-name companies. What's the difference between

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  • 8 Easy No-Carve Pumpkins

    Transform this classic fall gourd with quick and creative decorating ideas. Sound suspicious? You're in for a treat.

    Photographs by Don Penny, Styling by Vanessa Boer

    *Special thanks to Farmer Roger Allen at Coy Brook Farm ( in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, for handpicking our pumpkins this year.

    More Halloween tricks & treats from Real Simple:
    Scary-Good Halloween Treats

    How to Host a Pumpkin-Carving Party
    10 Recipe Ideas for Halloween Candy

    Read More »from 8 Easy No-Carve Pumpkins
  • Scams Even You Could Fall For—And How to Avoid Them

    Learn how to avoid the most common swindles-from high-tech password theft to low-tech door-to-door hustles.

    by Susan Stellin

    • Social-Networking Rackets

    The rip-off: Websites like Facebook have become fertile ground for scam artists who hijack members' accounts to spread viruses and spam. Via news feeds and messages, they distribute videos or phony gift certificates that appear to be from friends but, when downloaded, install damaging software on your computer. Two cons going around Facebook this year: a page offering a $1,000 Ikea gift card in exchange for your personal information; and messages asking for money, supposedly from friends in trouble who are traveling overseas. These scams can spread through e-mail, too. A recent one, a bogus coupon for a free bag of Doritos, did not harbor a virus, but it did cause Frito-Lay a big headache.

    The tip-off: Although lots of legitimate companies send customers special offers by e-mail and use Facebook to market promotions, these deals Read More »from Scams Even You Could Fall For—And How to Avoid Them
  • The 10 Secrets of One Unflappable Working Mother

    Chances are, work-life balance is your most elusive goal. But it's not impossible.

    by Michelle Slatalla

    Last Thursday, as I walked into the house after a business meeting followed by a 30-mile round-trip car pool, I smelled something delicious wafting from the Crock-Pot. On my way to the kitchen, I looked in the mirror, gave a thumbs-up to my dependable black pants, and thought, There now, being a working mother isn't so hard. That day, like most, involved a lot of working and a lot of mothering, often at the same time. Ever since giving birth to my first daughter, 20 years ago, I have intentionally blurred the lines between work and home. That's just what the experts tell you not to do. But I credit the overlap with helping me stay reasonably calm. Here are my tried-and-true ways to keep domestic (and professional) chaos at bay.

    Related: What I Wish Parents Knew

    1. Do work at home; do home at work. You need to accomplish a certain number of things during a 24-hour period. Where you

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  • 11 Sticky Money Situations

  • What’s your body trying to tell you?

    By Stacey ColinoEvery pop, ping, ache, and pain has a meaning. Here's when to take action.

  • 5 Everyday Dangers NOT to Worry About

    By Anne-Marie O'Neill

    Real Simple asked a host of experts-from an arachnid specialist to a meteorologist-to put your worst nightmares to bed.

    1. That Nasty, Hairy Spider on the Wall is Going to Jump On You Any Second Now

    In the United States, there is only one family of spider, called Salticidae, that is capable of jumping, and these spiders are not commonly found in houses (they prefer forests). Generally, spiders do not seek people out and attack them. It's not in their nature. Spiders are only going to crawl across you if they're headed somewhere and you're in the way. As for the hairiness-what can I say? They are indeed hairy. But personally I find them to be quite darling.
    Related: Bug-Repelling Basics

    Jonathan Coddington is the curator of arachnids and myriapods at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C.

    2. Some Crazy Person Will Push You Onto the Subway or Railroad Tracks

    In old movies, "falling" onto the train tracks is a

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  • How to Select, Store, and Cook Fall’s Best Produce

  • Which Food Containers Are Safe for the Microwave?

    Tom SchierlitzTom SchierlitzFind out which materials are microwave-friendly, and which ones you should avoid.

    Some materials are fine in the microwave and some aren't (see below). And then there's plastic. You'll find experts who say no plastic containers should be used in the microwave-ever. "The material contains chemicals that may leach into food when it's heated," says Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., a scientist with the Environmental Working Group, a health-research organization. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed that plastics labeled "microwave-safe" are suitable for microwave use. "No studies have shown short- or long-term health consequences from heating microwave-safe plastics," says Michael Herndon, an FDA spokesman. The bottom line? Right now, there isn't one. If you choose to use plastics, stick with those labeled "microwave-safe" (but don't allow plastic wrap to touch your food during heating). If you're wary, use glass or ceramic dishes marked "heatproof" or "microwave-safe."

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  • The Best Jams and Jellies

    By Lindsay Funston

    After 112 jars of sticky goodness were sampled by Real Simple staffers,* these emerged as the true bread winners.


    In this category, you'll find preserves, spreads, marmalades-and jams, of course. What they have in common: They're made with fruit. Preserves usually have a chunkier, more home-style texture (and whole fruit, if you're lucky). Those containing citrus peel are labeled marmalade.


    Some are sweet, some more savory. All are smooth, translucent, and made with juice-not fruit.

    *All products tested were free of high-fructose corn syrup.

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    23 Cooking Uses for Your Microwave

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