Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • 25 Easy Instant Energy Boosters

    By Eleni Gage
    Images by
    Istvan Banyai

    Simple strategies for filling the tank when you're running on empty.

    Tackle a Dreary, Do-I-Have-to-Get-Out-of-Bed Day With a Burst of Color
    The Morton Salt Girl got it right in her yellow raincoat. "There are days we need a shot of adrenaline before we even get out of bed, and colors can help with that," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of More Alive With Color ($20, "By surrounding yourself with bright colors-something as simple as an orange bathrobe or a yellow umbrella-you can give yourself that needed energy boost to face the day." In general, saturated, warm colors (the red, orange, and yellow of ROY G BIV) are considered most energizing, while cool tones (like green, blue, indigo, and violet) are calming.
    Related: The Color of the Season: Red

    Rise and Seek Sunshine

    "You want to use light and stimulation to wake you up for the daytime, then use dark and quiet at night," says

    Read More »from 25 Easy Instant Energy Boosters
  • 24 Nutritious (and Tasty) Snacks

    By Eleni N. Gage

    Images by Sang An

    They're under 200 calories, healthy, satisfying, and pro-approved―what's not to love?

    Keep reading: More nutritious (and tasty) snacks

    Don't miss:

    8 Great Gluten-Free Goodies

    Busted! 10 Diet Myths

    How Health Savvy Are You?

    Read More »from 24 Nutritious (and Tasty) Snacks
  • Ways to Upgrade a Brown Bag Lunch

    Try a delicious, wallet-wise, grown-up lunch recipe.

    Jens MortensenJens Mortensen
    Cool Asian Noodles With Tofu, Cashews, and Sesame Vinaigrette

    Get the recipe.

    Related: Gear Up for Lunch

    Jens MortensenJens Mortensen
    Sliced-Egg Sandwich With Herb Mayonnaise

    Get the recipe.

    Related: Sandwiches to Spice Up a Back-to-School Lunch

    Charles MastersCharles Masters
    Southwestern Chicken Salad

    Get the recipe.

    Related: Quick Chicken Recipes

    Jens MortensenJens Mortensen
    Cool Cucumber Soup

    Get the recipe.

    Related: 26 Hearty, Satisfying Lunches

    Jens MortensenJens Mortensen
    Tuna Salad With Celery and Radishes

    Get the recipe.

    Related: Healthy Snack Foods

    Continue reading...more ways to upgrade a brown bag lunch

    And don't miss:
    Best Everyday Jeans
    Busted! 10 Diet Myths

    Read More »from Ways to Upgrade a Brown Bag Lunch
  • The best refreshing sodas without high-fructose corn syrup

    By Kelly Holechek
    Pop the top on one of these thirst-quenchers-all free of high-fructose corn syrup.

    Thomas Kemper Root Beer Handcrafted Soda

    This smooth, buttery concoction has delectable notes of burnt caramel and honey. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a dreamy root beer float.
    Related: 10 Recipe Ideas for Vanilla Ice Cream

    To buy: $1.60 for one 12-ounce bottle, at grocery stores.

    Fizzy Lizzy Pineapple

    This just-sweet-enough cooler is a refreshing combination of lush tropical fruit and bubbles.
    Related: 40 Cool Drinks for a Hot Day

    To buy: $1.75 for one 12-ounce bottle, at grocery stores.

    Lorina Blood Orange Premium French Soda

    Open this charming, vintage-inspired bottle and pour yourself a treat. The citrusy sunset-pink drink inside had us saying "Ooh-la-la."
    Related: The Best Fruit Juices

    To buy: $5 for one 25.4-ounce bottle, at grocery stores.

    Boylan Sugar Cane Cola

    Forget the heavy aftertaste of some brands: Pure cane sugar gives this winner a delicious freshness

    Read More »from The best refreshing sodas without high-fructose corn syrup
  • The new entertaining etiquette rules

    by Kate Chynoweth

    When you're the hostess, your perfectionism spikes like a fever, but meeting your own high expectations (and the lesser ones of your guests) is not impossible. And you can probably get away with a lot less work than you think―a little artfully arranged takeout here, a simple flower arrangement there, a bottle of red, a bottle of white, and you've got yourself a cocktail party. Here are the answers to your top questions.


    Should I mail invitations, or can I e-mail them?

    "Mailed invitations signal that an occasion is a special event, whereas an e-mail or a phone call is more casual," says Stephanie Belger, event manager at Jane Hammond Events, in San Francisco. (Guests are more likely to R.S.V.P. to a written invitation, says Belger.) Whatever your method, it's a good idea to extend invitations three to four weeks prior to the event. Remember that electronic invitations are appropriate only if your guest list consists of people who check e-mail frequently

    Read More »from The new entertaining etiquette rules
  • The best coffee

    By Suzanne Rust
    Images by Bob Hiemstra

    Whether you favor light, medium, or dark roast, these winners are all buzz-worthy.

    Light Roasts, Best Ground

    Allegro Coffee Organic Breakfast Blend
    Related: Cool Mugs for Hot Drinks

    Grown without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers, this fragrant mix has "delicious hints of blackberry," said a tester. "It wakes up your mouth," added Jonathan Rubinstein, owner of the Joe cafés, in New York City.

    To buy: $11 for 12 ounces.

    Light Roasts, Best Whole Bean

    Newman's Own Organics Nell's Breakfast Blend
    Related: Keeping Tabs on Your Caffeine Intake

    This delicious concoction "is smooth, mild, bright, and refreshing," said Rubinstein. Said a fan: "Love the citrus tang."

    To buy: $9 for 10 ounces.

    Medium Roasts, Best Ground

    The Organic Coffee Company Zen Blend
    Related: Organic Foods That Are Worth the Money

    "I adore the aroma," said a tester of the chocolate and nut notes. "And it's pleasant to drink from start to finish." Bonus: The

    Read More »from The best coffee
  • The 10 big rules of small talk

    Know what to say in a social situation―and when and how to say it.
    by Jennifer Tung

    Anyone who's been caught at a wedding reception or a cocktail party discussing recent precipitation knows that making small talk isn't as easy as it sounds. On the contrary, conversing with strangers can be awkward, stilted, even painful. But there is an art to it, and it can be mastered. "A golden rule is that you don't have to be brilliant―just nice," says Bernardo J. Carducci, Ph.D., director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, in New Albany, Indiana. "If you start with simple, even obvious comments, that makes it easier for others." Here are 10 rules―gleaned from communication specialists and women whose jobs require extensive networking and party-going―for navigating sticky small-talk situations with style and grace.
    Related: Easy Ways to Exit Awkward Situations

    1. Do a Little Homework
    If your conversational skills are more reminiscent of Oscar the Grouch than Oscar

    Read More »from The 10 big rules of small talk
  • Cajun Skirt Steak With Creamed Corn

    Sign up now!: Be part of Yahoo! Shine's What's for Dinner newsletter to get quick new dinner ideas, grilling tips, easy desserts, dips, drinks, and more.


    Serves 4
    | Hands-On Time: 20m | Total Time: 20m

    This recipe goes well with...
    Goat Cheese Bruschetta
    Raspberry S'mores


    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 8 ears)
    • 1 cup half-and-half
    • kosher salt and black pepper
    • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 2 pieces
    • 2 teaspoons blackening or Cajun seasoning
    • 4 cups mixed greens
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    Related: 10 Recipe Ideas for Flank Steak


    1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the corn, half-and-half, ½
    Read More »from Cajun Skirt Steak With Creamed Corn
  • Basil Pesto Pasta With Zucchini and Mint

    Serves 4
    | Hands-On Time: 20m | Total Time: 20m

    This recipe goes well with...
    Tomato Bruschetta
    Caesar Salad
    Irresistible Chocolate Chip Cookies


    • 1 pound dried pasta
    • 1 small clove garlic
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts
    • 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, washed
    • kosher salt and pepper
    • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan
    • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup fresh mint, torn
    Related: The Best Tools for Cooking Pasta

    1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
    2. Meanwhile, place the garlic, pine nuts, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. While the machine is running, drizzle in 2/3 cup of the oil through the feed tube, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
    3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the
    Read More »from Basil Pesto Pasta With Zucchini and Mint
  • The Best Veggie Burgers

    By Lindsay Funston
    RS staffers tasted 52 varieties and unearthed these six nutritious and delicious picks.

    Best Classic
    MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie

    Mom was right about eating your vegetables. This tasty brown-rice patty studded with carrots, bell peppers, and mushrooms will please both of you.

    To buy: $4.30 for 4 burgers.

    Related: 7 Tasty Toppers for Burgers

    Best Tofu

    Wildwood Organics Original

    No one wants to stir-fry in the summer. Get your pan-fried tofu fix (sans steamy kitchen) with this rich, velvety burger.

    To buy: $3.50 for 2 burgers; sold in the refrigerator case.

    Related: Healthy Snack Foods

    Best Southwestern Organic

    Sunshine South West

    Jalapeño, cumin, and cilantro give this patty a blast of heat. Bonus: Each burger packs in 9 grams of fiber (compared with about 3 grams in others).

    To buy: $4.50 for 3 burgers.

    Keep reading...Best High-Protein Veggie Burger

    Don't Miss:
    The Best Store-Bought Salsas
    7 Ways to Use Leftover Buns
    Healthy Fast Food and Takeout
    6 Meatless

    Read More »from The Best Veggie Burgers


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