Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • Games for a Crowd

    Rob HowardRob HowardParlor Game: Celebrities

    Number of Players: 4 or more.
    Directions: Before the party, the host comes up with a list of celebrities, writing each name on an adhesive label. When the players are ready to begin, the host sticks a label on each player's back, making sure that he or she doesn't see what is written on it. Then each player mixes and mingles, asking yes or no questions to get clues as to whose name is affixed to his or her back. If a player gets a yes answer, he or she can ask a second question; if it's a no, he or she moves on to another player. The first person to figure out the name of the celebrity on his or her back wins; the last one to guess loses.

    Learn how to Throw the Easiest Dinner Party Ever.

    Board Game: The Chain Game

    Number of Players: 3 to 10.
    Synopsis: Use your creativity to link common idioms. A player draws a card with a phrase. He or she must use one of the words on the card to come up with a new phrase. The next player does the same with

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  • Pants Maintenance

    Kristina GrishKristina GrishHow to keep your trousers looking like new

    How to Wash Your Pants

    For Dry-Clean Only

    • Make sure your trousers are soft-pressed. Over-pressing creates unsightly shine marks and will shorten the life of the garment.
    • Inform the dry cleaner if you prefer a crease or not, since creases can be impossible to remove on some fabrics, particularly cotton.
    • If the pants contain spandex, notify your cleaner so that he knows to run them on a short cycle.
    • When you get home, remove the plastic, as it won't allow the fabric to breathe. But leave the paper shoulder cover on the hanger to keep the pants dust-free.

    For Machine-Washable

    • Turn them inside out to reduce fading and protect the buttons and hardware.
    • Follow the care label. In general, it's best to wash pants in cold on a gentle cycle and let them air-dry to prevent shrinking.

    How to Iron a Pair of Pants

    Note: Pleated pants are best left to a dry cleaner. To iron flat-front trousers:

    Step 1: Turn

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  • How to Organize Your Bills

    Time Inc. StudiosTime Inc. StudiosIt's safe to say that no one enjoys paying the bills, but having a solid system for tackling this task can take at least some of the sting out of it. Here's how to keep bills organized both before and after you pay them.

    What You Need
    13-pocket accordion file, paper shredder, bills, vertical letter rack

    Follow This Advice

    1. Sort and corral unpaid bills

    Designate a box, basket, or folder specifically for bills. As soon as the mail comes, separate the bills from everything else and open them, throwing away the outer envelope and any inserts. Corral them in your designated spot until you're ready to pay them.

    Tip: Instead of keeping bills in an office file, use a letter rack. As you open mail, stash the bills in order of their due dates. This way, you'll have a visual reminder that they're waiting to be paid.

    Learn How to Manage Your Bills from Real Simple.

    2. File paid bills in an accordion file

    Label a 13-pocket accordion file with tabs for each

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  • How do you save money during the holidays?

    Jordan ProvostJordan ProvostReal Simple readers reveal their money-saving holiday secrets

    These days, going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house can cost a small fortune. Throw in the expense of multiple gifts, elaborate meals, and endless rolls of shiny, pretty paper, and you may not be feeling so merry. But don't fret: Money-saving tips from Real Simple readers will help spread, if not the wealth, a generous helping of holiday cheer.

    Give Me Five
    Years ago, my six sisters and I agreed that we'd spend only $5 on one another. Once our gifts are opened, we have a secret ballot to decide who made or purchased the most creative gift -- things like thrift-shop knickknacks or a beautiful vintage towel. The sister with the most votes receives a small prize. It makes the holidays more interesting and fun.
    Joanne Chavanne
    La Quinta, California

    Learn How to Save on Seasonal Items at Real Simple.

    Dollars and Sense

    I put the money that I plan to spend on each family

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  • Relaxing Daytime Techniques

    Chris BakerChris BakerYou don't have to check into a spa to unwind. Weave these three mini-breaks into your day for stress relief

    Your brain, just like your body, needs downtime. "It performs best after you give it even just a little time to relax," Ann Pardo says. Try one of these quick boosts to reset your mind.

    In the Time It Takes to Cook a Bowl of Oatmeal, You Can...
    Turn your shower into a relaxing ritual.
    Keep your speedy suds-up-and-rinse routine, but add a small pampering element to upgrade an everyday shower into a spa experience. Trade your plain old soap for a rich body wash (pick a fragrance that reminds you of a favorite place). Or try a scented shower infuser. Toss a tablet on the tub floor; as it dissolves in the water, it will fill your bathroom with its aroma. "Take a few slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths to help calm your nervous system and ease stress," says Amit Sood, M.D., director of research for the Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,

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  • How to Fix 9 Fashion Emergencies With Just One Tool

    TopstickTopstickREAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE. style expert Sam Saboura swears by clear double-sided Topstick Fashion-Fix tape. He keeps a pack at home, a pack in his car, and a pack in his styling kit. Here are a few of his tape tricks.

    • Prevent the buttons on a shirt from pulling and gaping. Peel off the backing of a skinny piece of Topstick Fashion-Fix tape. Stick the tape onto the placket of the shirt between the two offending buttons. Peel off the remaining backing, making sure not to touch the tape, since the natural oils on your hands will reduce the stickiness. Button your shirt as usual and press the tape into place.
    • Keep a collar in place. Peel the back off a piece of Topstick Fashion-Fix tape, flip up your collar and place the tape in a diagonal line from the point of the collar down to the neckline. Peel off the remaining backing and fold your collar down. Give it a little press and your collar will stay put all day long.
    • Seal a broken zipper down into place by sticking
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  • How to Clean Cookware

    Steps to keep your pots and pans in top condition

    For starters, avoid the dishwasher, even if the manufacturer says it's OK. Temperature fluctuations and harsh detergents can dull and damage the finish of cookware over time. For all except cast-iron pans (which come clean with just hot water), experts recommend dishwashing liquid. Here, specifics on different materials.

    • Anodized Aluminum: High heat can leave unsightly scorch marks on this common metal. To tackle discoloration, even if it has been there a while, boil a mixture of 2 tablespoons cream of tartar and 1 quart water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. For the exterior, apply the solution with a sponge.
    • Copper: Wash it out with soap and hot water. To keep the exterior shiny, polish regularly using one of these home mixtures. Rub the exterior with lemon halves that have been dipped in salt. Or coat the surface with a thin layer of ketchup, let sit for 5 to 30 minutes, and rinse. The acids in the lemon or the
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  • Can These Bathrooms Be Saved?

    Bjorn WallanderBjorn WallanderIf 1950s tile or a 70s sink looks all too familiar, have hope. With a few simple upgrades -- no renovation necessary -- you can turn an eyesore into an eyeful

    From Beyond the Pale to Pretty in Pink
    The institutional feel of this Wayne, New Jersey, space was reminiscent of a grade-school bathroom (all that's missing is the wall-mounted soap dispenser). The toilet cozy and the hospital-grade shower curtain didn't help.

    The Fixes

    • Introduce a variety of color and pattern. The Real Simple team painted the light pink walls a bright, buttery yellow, then accessorized with an eye-popping floral bath mat and shower curtain that embraced the pink tile, instead of pretending it didn't exist.
    • Make every inch count. The closet door, painted a crisp white, now features a chrome hook for hanging robes. A tall wooden shelving unit keeps everyday bath needs close at hand.
    • Incorporate warmth. Real Simple framed the small window with striped cotton curtain panels to
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  • Best Materials for Pots and Pans

    Michele GastlMichele GastlFour standouts and some considerations for each

    • Anodized Aluminum: This material, strengthened by a coating of aluminum oxide, takes time to warm up, but it evenly disperses heat throughout the pan, says Daniel Choi, Ph.D., a professor of metallurgy at the University of Idaho, in Moscow. Anything that's meant to cook slowly will benefit from an anodized-aluminum pot.
    • Cast Iron: "No kitchen is complete without a cast-iron skillet," says Food Network host and cookbook author Paula Deen. "Mine has always worked just as hard as I work." Cast iron gives a terrific sear to meats. Even slower to heat up than anodized aluminum (you'll need to pre-heat it on a medium-low flame for a minute or two), it maintains steady heat long after the burner is turned off, which works well when you want to keep foods warm. Many are sold preseasoned (the surface has been treated with a layer of cooked-on vegetable oil), but you can also season a pan at home. Just follow the manufacturer's
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  • Smart Storage Solutions

    Nine double-duty organizing products, whether your bedroom acts as your office or you just need to hide your stray bills in a stylish way

    Hidden Cabinet
    Try hanging the ilnnovators Concealed Cabinet on a wall; stash private documents inside it.
    To Buy: From $299,

    Unexpected Safes
    Consider Spy Yard's Diversion safes. The 7UP can ($7), Barbasol shaving-cream can ($13), and pillar candle ($21) are hollow, perfect for storing jewelry or cash.
    To Buy:

    Read How to Burglarproof Your Home at Real Simple.

    Secret Passage
    You've dreamed about it; now you can get it: a revolving bookcase (you know, the type you see in old movie mysteries) that swings open to reveal a room beyond.
    To Buy: From $2,000,

    Covert Home Office
    When closed, the Cyril cabinet appears to be a modern armoire. When open, it features a writing area, two drawers for holding CDs, and upper cabinets for concealing files.
    To Buy: $199,

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