Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • Get the Best Seat at a Football Stadium

    Elvis SwiftElvis SwiftFootball is one sport where nosebleed isn't a dirty word. The game is full of elaborate plays, and having a bird's-eye view helps you see them all. But aim to sit as close as possible to the 50-yard line, where you'll have a good view of the action on both sides of the field. Avoid sitting near an end zone, where you might spend half the game watching the other team score, while your beloved Bulldogs' touchdown is a mere speck in the distance. You'll also lose perspective there. "When you sit in an end zone, an 80-yard pass can look like 18 yards because you can't judge the distance as well," says Lee Jenkins, a sportswriter for the New York Times.

    More from Real Simple:
    Tailgating 101
    Organizing Your Garage's Sports Area
    Garage Organizing Checklist
    Best Ways to Store Sports Equipment

    Read More »from Get the Best Seat at a Football Stadium
  • How to: Set an informal table

    Setting a proper table is a perfect way to elevate even the most casual meal.

    What You Need
    Table, placemats, dinner plates, salad plates, napkins, flatware, glasses, salt and pepper shakers, casual centerpiece

    Follow These Four Easy Steps

    Time Inc. StudiosTime Inc. Studios1. Set placemats, plates, and napkins

    Lay one placemat at each person's place, so that the mat's bottom edge rests an inch or two from the edge of the table. To create the first place setting, rest a dinner plate on top of the placemat. Center a salad plate on top of the dinner plate. Fold a square napkin in half lengthwise, creating a rectangle, and place it directly to the left of the dinner plate.

    Time Inc. StudiosTime Inc. Studios2. Place flatware on both sides of the plate

    Begin on the left side of the plate, laying the salad fork on top of the napkin, toward its outer edge. Place the dinner fork to the right of the salad fork. Place the knife to the right of the dinner plate. The teaspoon goes to the right of the knife. The bottom of each

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  • Savory Thyme Tart

    Michael PaulMichael PaulThis recipe serves 4

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 40 minutes

    1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
    1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
    1 sheet puff pastry
    1 small onion, very thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons pine nuts


    1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and thyme and mix well.
    2. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 9-by-13-inch rectangle and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
    3. Spread the ricotta mixture on top of the pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Fold over the sides. Place the onions on top and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
    4. Bake until the pastry is light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the remaining oil.
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  • Turn clutter into storage and decorating solutions

    How to refresh a room using boxes, jars, and other household items

    Antonis Achilleos Antonis Achilleos 3 Clutter-Busting Concepts
    These three key steps will get you on your way to making order in your home using basic everyday items:

    1. Contain
    Enough storage space is, of course, the Holy Grail of any household. But solutions to the problem are probably littering your closets and cupboards right now. Use monochromatic boxes, wooden crates, berry baskets, and empty jars to stash anything from mementos to old files, paper clips to dried spices.

    2. Repeat
    Transform stray containers or collectibles into a decorative tableau by clustering like objects. Consistency produces a neater look than a random assembly does -- and while one or two may look arbitrary, a group looks like art.

    3. Repurpose
    Although your lidless sugar bowl and your wobbly chair no longer serve their original purposes, they're far from useless. You can eke a second life out of idle treasures by assigning them new functions

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  • How to carve a jack-o'-lantern

    Francesco Lagnese Francesco Lagnese

    1. With a serrated knife held at an angle, carefully cut an opening around the stem, making a small notch in the back (to guide you when replacing the lid).
    2. Use a large spoon to remove the pulp and scrape the sides clean of stringy bits.
    3. Draw on a face (washable markers allow kids to draw, rinse, and repeat).
    4. Carve, then add a tealight.

    More from Real Simple:
    Make Centerpieces from Pumpkins
    Pumpkin Recipe Ideas
    How To: Organize Kids' Schoolwork

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  • All About Candy Corn

    Kate SearsKate SearsWith Halloween approaching, what better time to learn a few kernels of truth about a favorite fall treat? Candy corn has been made with the same recipe -- containing sugar, corn syrup, and marshmallow -- by the Jelly Belly Candy Company since around 1900. (View recipes containing sugar.) One serving (about 30 pieces) has 140 calories, the equivalent of three miniature Hershey bars. The National Confectioners Association reports that more than 35 million pounds were manufactured in 2005, amounting to almost 9 billion kernels.

    More from Real Simple:
    Last-Minute Halloween Costumes
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  • Real Simple Recipe: Dinner Calzones

    Jim FrancoJim Franco1 1-pound ball of dough
    1/2 cup tomato sauce
    1 cup of any 2 of the following: sliced (cooked) Italian sausage, pitted olives, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed bell pepper, sauteed spinach
    2 1/2 cup grated mozzarella

    Preheat oven to 400° F.

    Roll the dough into a 10-by-14-inch shape. Leaving a 1-inch border, cover half the dough, lengthwise, with the tomato sauce and 1 cup of any 2 of the following: sliced (cooked) Italian sausage, pitted olives, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed bell pepper, sauteed spinach. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella. Brush the edge of the dough with water. Fold the 2 sides together, pinch the edge to seal, and roll the edge slightly. Prick the top several times with a fork. Transfer to a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet. Let rest 10 minutes.

    Sprinkle with another cup of mozzarella. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

    Yield: Makes 1 calzone (serves 4 to 5)

    More from Real Simple:
    Pizza Dough Pointers
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  • Cheryl's Style Makeover

    This successful executive copped to trying on umpteen outfits in the morning before settling on a winner. Here's what happened when style expert Sam Saboura showed her how to put together a look in three minutes -- and stick with it. Watch show highlights from Real Simple Real Life.

    Mark RoyceMark RoyceBefore

    Cheryl's ensemble -- khakis and a dark top, both of which hid her figure -- needed a shot of color and personality.


    A punch-colored dress amped up with multicolored beads works for the office, a weekend brunch. The v-neck elongates her upper body and draws attention to her decolletage.

    A lesson in mixing and matching, this outfit incorporates four different, but complementary, colors: white, yellow, teal, and blue.

    This bold dress has a subtle pattern and a flattering A-line shape. A patent-leather belt and metallic sandals completes the look.

    More from Real Simple:
    Did Cheryl's Makeover Work?
    How To: Organize Your Closet
    How To: Wash Cashmere

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  • How to save on clothing basics

    Smart strategies for finding deals on everything from tights to tees

    • Tara DonneTara DonneSearch clearance sections. Type "clearance" into the search field of a retailer's website. and, for instance, regularly offer discounts of 50 percent on bras, panties, and tights., known for its legwear and lingerie, has a clearance section that offers many items for nearly half price.
    • Register with Check off your size, favorite brands (choose from 537 labels, such as Ann Taylor and Levi's), and clothing preferences (dresses, denim) and you'll receive a weekly or daily e-mail alerting you to online sales.
    • Get a store credit card. Certain big retailers give special discounts to cardholders. Kohl's sends out 30 percent off coupons four times a year, Gap cardholders get 10 percent off the first Tuesday of the month, and American Eagle gives 20 percent off on your birthday. (See Credit Cards 101.)
    • Log on before you hit the stores. About
    Read More »from How to save on clothing basics
  • Instant decorating upgrades with old linens

    These 10 projects are fuss-free, add stylish touches to your home, and keep your favorite old linens out of the rag bin a little while longer

    Recycle Pillow Shams into Place Mats

    David PrinceDavid PrinceThe mod stripes were, perhaps, visual overload as an entire bedroom scheme. Repurpose the smaller shams from this forgotten set -- while peppering your home with manageable pieces of op art -- by using them as place mats.

    What You Need: Boudoir-size pillow shams (usually 12 by 16 inches). (Related: How to Create the Ideal Bed)

    What You Do: Nothing -- the simplest project ever. Boudoir shams will cover much of the table when used this way, so you can skip a tablecloth.

    Also Works With: Napkins and dish towels. For a French-bistro effect, use a king-size sham draped across the table, with place settings at opposite ends of the sham.

    Recycle a Tablecloth into a Seat Cover

    The tablecloth's floral pattern is not quite bold enough to mask the wine stains, testaments to happy times spent around the Read More »from Instant decorating upgrades with old linens


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