realsimple LIFE MADE EASIER
TRIED & TESTED SECRETS TO SMOOTHER SKIN ALL OVER
FIND MORE TIME FOR THE THINGS YOU LOVE
Your Happiest Year Ever! SLEEP BET TER FEEL CONFIDENT AT WORK
CREATE A SMARTER TO-DO LIST ( ) JANUARY 2017
E M I LY B RO N T Ë , “O F T E N R E B U K E D, Y E T A LWAY S B AC K R E T U R N I N G ”
Photograph by Hellen van Meene
YA N C E Y R I C H A R D S O N G A L L E R Y
“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.”
Introducing the new Golf Alltrack with 4MOTION® all-wheel drive. Soon to be everywhere. Let’s rethink dirt. Because with dirt also comes green grass, tall trees, and roads far less traveled. That’s why we equipped the Golf Alltrack with 4MOTION all-wheel drive and an Off-Road Mode*, so you can go out there and seize the beauty of this dirt-covered world, get your wheels muddy, and wash off all that civilization. After all, dirt is the greatest of cleansers.
*Optional accessories shown. Always ensure that your vehicle is equipped with appropriate tires and equipment and always adjust your speed and driving style to the road, terrain, trafﬁc, and weather conditions. See Owner’s Manual for further details and important limitations. ©2016 Volkswagen of America, Inc.
YO UR MONTHLY D OSE OF USEFUL TIDBIT S, TIMELY T RIVIA, AND C ATCHY CONVER S ATION STARTER S
11.7 MILLION How many cubic feet of snow and ice were used during the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, in China, in 2016. It was a new record for the event, one of the biggest ice festivals in the world, along with celebrations held in Sapporo, Japan; Geilo, Norway; and Quebec. Each year, an estimated 10,000 artisans cut thick blocks of ice from the frozen Songhua River and transform 8 million square feet of the area into a magnificent ice city with sculptures of people and animals and replicas of buildings. Bundle up if you visit the 2017 festival (January 5 to February 25). The temperature can get as low as minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit— cold that might bother even Queen Elsa.
Liz Loerke Illustration by
11% 2,844 The number of performances that Hello, Dolly! played at Broadway’s St. James Theatre. The musical opened on January 16, 1964, to rave reviews (it was the Hamilton of its day) and remained a hot ticket for years. The show, which tells the story of an outspoken matchmaker who attempts to marry a wealthy merchant, took home a then record 10 Tony Awards, and the original-cast album reached number one on the Billboard chart during the height of the Beatles’ fame. Propelled by the success of the show, star Carol Channing was the first celebrity to perform during a halftime show at a Super Bowl, in 1970. The iconic musical will spring back to life on March 15, when Bette Midler puts on her Sunday clothes and hits the Great White Way.
The percentage of people asked who reported having eaten an entire jar of peanut butter in a single sitting, according to a survey conducted by Peter Pan Simply Ground. Of the 1,000plus subjects, 12 percent claimed that they had hidden while eating peanut butter or lied about how much they ate. Whether you opt for chunky or smooth, eat with abandon on National Peanut Butter Day (January 24). While you celebrate, chew on these nutty facts: While George Washington Carver promoted peanuts as a cash crop in the United States, John Harvey Kellogg, M.D. (yes, of cereal fame), is credited with patenting a process for turning raw peanuts into a butterlike spread in 1895. The protein-packed food was ideal for delivering nutrients to patients and didn’t need to be chewed. Today the average American eats seven pounds of peanuts each year!
1 in 3 How many young people will grow up without a mentor, according to Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership. That means 9 million at-risk youths will turn 19 without ever having had a mentor, leaving them less likely to reach important milestones, like graduating from high school and college. Studies have shown that at-risk youths who have mentors are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college and 78 percent more likely to volunteer in their communities. Mentor was founded in 1990 to unite youthmentoring groups around the country. Honor National Mentoring Month this January and find mentoring opportunities in your area by visiting mentoring.org.
The percentage of people who reported going to work with a cold in order to save their sick days for something fun. Nearly half of the 2,000 adults who participated in a Crowdtap survey conducted by Robitussin said that they were unlikely to stay home when they felt sick because they had limited sick or vacation days. And when sick employees go to work, so do their germs. A single cough can contain as many as 200 million virus particles and can travel out of the lungs at a speed of up to 500 miles per hour. That means a cough is faster than both a bullet train (375 miles per hour) and a NASCAR racer (200 miles per hour). Once they are out in the world, germs can survive for several hours on paper and a few days on plastic or steel. Now your coworker with the Clorox wipes doesn’t seem so paranoid, does she?
FOR 10 PEANUT-BUTTERLOVER–APPROVED RECIPES, visit realsimple.
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T H E A R T O F F I N I S H I N G W H A T W E S T A R T. . . . . . . . . 1 2 6 01. 2017
ON THE COVER Say yes to saying no 106 Tried and tested secrets to smoother skin all over 55 Your happiest year ever! Sleep better 65 Feel confident at work 99 Create a smarter to-do list (finally!) 92
Cover Photograph by
Levi Brown Set Design by ROAD TE ST: BE AUT Y BALMS .................... 55
Jeffrey W. Miller
5 D E L I C I O U S ( A N D E A SY ) D I N N E R S..........................135
A C T I V E W E A R F O R E V E RY RO U T I N E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 7
O N T H E C OV E R : K U D U C H A I R BY P O W E L L & B O N N E L L , S H O W N I N R O M O K I N T O R E /C AY E N N E 7 6 2 0/4 5 , D E N N I S M I L L E R .C O M FO R I N FO R M AT I O N . P I L LO W A N D E M B R O I D E R Y BY S A R A H L A S KO W, S A R A H L A S KO W D E S I G N S .C O M .
WORKOUT PAYOUTS The added health benefits of walking, weights, and more. PAGE 65
Writer Angela Brown shares the critical ingredient in her beloved grandmother’s secret cake recipe . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 5 MODERN MANNERS
Inviting friends over sans children, apologizing for a decade-old incident, and other etiquette dilemmas . . .
THOUGHTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 THE SIMPLE LIST . . . . . . . . 6
5 things to do to spark creativity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NEW ON REALSIMPLE.COM . . . . . . 1 2
EDITOR’S NOTE . . . . . . . . . 1 4
Your Words Fill in the blank: In 2017, I will finally...
PRETTY SMART . . . . . . . . . 5 1
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF
Strategies for the good and bad times . . . . . . . . . 8 6
THE MORNING AFTER
Balms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
JANUARY AT A GLANCE
GET IN GEAR
The origins of giving a toast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Activewear that goes with any routine . . . . . . .
Earbud cords . . . . . . . . . . 2 0
SECRET PERKS OF EVERY
TREND TO TRY
Embroidery . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cocoa powder . . . . . . . . . 2 8 LITTLE HELPERS . . . . . . . . 3 1
Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, executive vice president at CBS Entertainment 9 5
The healthful benefits behind five exercises . .
Decadent mac and cheese . . . . . . 1 4 2 THINGS COOKS KNOW 1 4 4
Getting your boss to finally hear you . . . . . . . .
HOW TO FIX (ALMOST)
Smart solutions for life’s little disasters . . . . . . . . . 2 4
WHY NOT TRY…?
Turnips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4 0
WORKOUT DRUGSTORE CHEAT SHEET
THE JANUARY TO-DO LIST
30 little tasks that will make 2017 easier . . . . . .
NEW USES FOR OLD THINGS
Picks from dermatologist Dendy Engleman . . . . . . 2 2
5 EASY DINNERS . . . . . . . 1 3 5
WORK & MONEY 57
7 repairs that you can do on your own . . . . . . . . . . . 6 8
Conquering the impostor syndrome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 9
ASK THE ORGANIZER
Clutter conundrums, solved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Your photos of the good, the bad, and the funny . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4 8
MASTERING THE JOURNEY
One woman’s cancer battle helped her love the skin she’s in . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 0
WHAT’S THE RIGHT TYPE OF PET FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Tips for making the ideal choice for your home . . 7 8
BREATHE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 5
Features THIS IS THE YEAR TO GET BETTER AT SAYING NO
Learn to turn down requests firmly—and with tact . . .
GO ON, INDULGE!
6 comforting recipe faves get a healthy makeover. . . . . 1 1 2 FASHIONITIS
Avoiding common closet (and shopping) pitfalls PAGE 78
Experts weigh in on why some tasks get only half-done
TREAT YOURSELF! Cookies (and more) get a wholesome upgrade. PAGE 112
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SATURDAYS at the farmers’ market, we try to get our daughter, a.k.a. Batgirl, excited about eating healthy. (Are doughnuts healthy?) FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @LYAZEL
RECENTLY REFUSED to bake a pie for a fund-raiser at my daughter’s school. And it felt great. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for helping the school raise money. But I also want to read with my daughter, hang out with my husband, and have some quality me time. (Sheet masks and Netﬂix, I hear you calling my name.) Really, the best way, perhaps the only way, for a busy woman to spend her free time as meaningfully as possible is to keep a no or two in her pocket. Easier said than done. It wasn’t always this way. I come from a long line of chronic yessayers. On her way to take a roast out of the oven, my mother would stop to admire my weird Play-Doh sculpture, sweep up my brother’s guitar picks from the ﬂoor, and hand
my dad a Pepsi, all while relaying a phone prayer-chain request from a fellow churchgoer. When I was in my 20s, colleagues routinely dumped work on my desk because they knew I would do it with a smile (while seething inside). We all understand the value of time well spent. That’s why we’re bringing you “This Is the Year to Get Better at Saying No” (page 106) to help you pick your battles, ﬁnd the right phrasing, and take back some of your free time in the New Year. This issue marks my ﬁrst as editor of Real Simple. I’ve been a reader and a fan for many years, and I’m excited to be a part of a great tradition at Real Simple of helping to make life easier and more joyful. (And saying no when needed!)
I’M FROM IOWA, and my husband is from Texas (cheers to the Cowboys!). We sometimes freak out that we’re raising a big-city kid.
P H O T O G R A P H S BY R O B H O WA R D ; FA S H I O N S T Y L I N G BY A LY S S A D I N E E N ; H A I R BY M AT T H E W M O N Z O N FO R J E D R O O T; M A K E U P BY K AT I E J A N E H U G H E S
In 2017, I will finally…
Start cutting myself some slack and stop setting ridiculously high expectations (that I would never expect anyone else to live up to). I’ll no longer feel guilty about things that are out of my control. And when I slip up and judge myself too harshly, I’ll remind myself that I’m only human.
( R E S O LU T I O N H E R E )
MANDY FLEEGER, Tulsa, Oklahoma
S I LV E R J O H N / I S T O C K /G E T T Y I M A G E S
READER OF THE MONTH
Find a workout routine that works for me.
ROBYN CHILCOAT HER ANSWER: I will
Convince my two-yearold foster daughter to sleep in her own bed! CHRISTINE KOLCZAK, Missoula, Montana
Visit another country. STATS: 36; married, with two boys; Dallas; senior executive assistant at a global consulting firm. I also give myself the title of “Master of Chaos,” as it fits all areas of my life (at times).
I am a first-year teacher and have always dreamed of traveling the world. Now that I will have a full two months of vacation, I plan on crossing at least one country off my bucket list.
HOW WOULD YOU SPEND AN EXTRA HOUR?
I have a gratitude journal that I keep on my nightstand. But with life as crazy as it gets, I find that I’m writing something in there only once a week if I’m lucky. If I had an extra hour in the day, I would keep a daily journal filled with memories that I could pass on to my kids and hopefully my grandkids one day.
BROOKE FACCIANI, Jacksonville, Florida
Prioritize date night. Even if it’s just eating dinner and watching a movie at home, my husband and I need to make more time for just us. JAMIE MARQUARDT, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Back up, organize, and edit the family videos. In their current state, they’re much too long to watch and fully enjoy. My goal this year is to edit, edit, edit—keeping only my family’s best sound bites and most visually interesting footage.
I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO THROW A DINNER PARTY WITH MY CLOSEST FRIENDS AND FEATURE SOME OF THE FRENCH CHEF’S MOST ICONIC RECIPES. GOOD FRIENDS, GOOD FOOD—IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER. AMANDA CAMPBELL, Columbus, Ohio
WHAT’S THE LAST BOOK THAT YOU READ AND LOVED?
I’ll say no to letting social media affect how I feel about myself. (It’s OK that I don’t run 5Ks, or run at all; brag how smart my children are; or go on exotic trips.) No to extending myself at work longer than I’m getting paid for and no to volunteering for yet another school event. No to beating myself up because we don’t have family dinners every week, I don’t keep a Pinterest-worthy house, and I don’t closely regulate my children’s screen time. Best of all? I will finally say yes to just being me.
Dear Mr. You, by Mary-Louise Parker. I loved how it wasn’t a typical memoir but rather a series of unsent letters to men in her life—boyfriends, father figures, and friends.
Take up a new hobby. I will tap into my inner rock star and finally treat myself to an electric guitar and lessons. LISA KIMMEL, Milford, Connecticut
Write down all my recipes so my children will always have them. It’s going to be difficult, since I tend not to measure, but so worth it! MARLENE GREENBERG, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
What beauty product or service do you gladly splurge on?
TR ACIE SEED, Saunderstown, Rhode Island
Dinner Made Simple 35 Everyday Ingredients, 350 Easy Recipes
DOROTHY MANCUSO, Denville, New Jersey
by the Editors of
I will finally see more of this great country. @LIZHATFI
Prepare Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon.
Go to realsimple.com/ yourwords and let us know your answer. It could appear on these pages. And the writer of our favorite response will receive a copy of Dinner Made Simple.
YO U R W O R D S
hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it’s not perfection that my loved ones want—it’s me and all my wonderful flaws and imperfections!
HEMNES glass-door cabinet
©Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2016
You deserve a home that you love, where you can live comfortably with loved ones. A sustainable home that looks good, works well and is friendly to your wallet. Because no matter what you do, who you are, or how much you make, you deserve to make the dream yours. See IKEA store for country of origin information. Valid in US IKEA stores. HEMNES glass-door cabinet with three drawers $399/ea. Stained, clear lacquered solid pine. Requires assembly. W35Ƙ×D14ƙ×H77½". Black-brown 502.135.89
UNCOMMON KNOWLED GE FOR MODERN TIME S
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY E L I Z A B E T H P R E S S . S P E C I A L T H A N K S T O A L A N TA R D I , A U T H O R O F C H A M PAG N E , U N C O R K E D, A N D M A U R E E N Z A P PA L A , D I S T I N G U I S H E D T O A S T M A S T E R A N D M E M B E R O F T H E A E R O S PA C E T O A S T M A S T E R S C L U B , I N C L E V E L A N D.
TOASTING: THE BACKSTORY
Approximate number of bubbles in a glass of Champagne, according to a study published in American Scientist.
Like so many of the good things in life, raising a glass in tribute goes back to the ancient Greeks (and probably before that), who often offered up goblets to the gods. (Odysseus drinks to Achilles in The Odyssey.) But, says Paul Dickson, the author of Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings and Graces, back then the custom wasn’t called toasting. That word came to be in the 17th century and was, believe it or not, a reference to actual browned bread. What’s the connection? Around that time, people dropped toasted bread into vats as a flavor enhancer— and to provide a little nosh. (Really!) The practice of drinking the infused libation while giving a little speech at banquets became so popular—and sometimes rowdy—that referees, or “toastmasters,” were employed to keep order. And, of course, to ensure that no one got too toasted.
Written by Brandi Broxson Photograph by Yasu + Junko
N EW U S E S FOR
Need to bundle slippery items, like curtain rods or wooden pencils, for storage? Wrap three times with these cords. The rubber coating holds everything tight and secure. T H E R E A L I ST
Glue short pieces of cord to the bottoms of decorative bowls, lamps, and vases to prevent scraping or slippage. The cord curves to accommodate any shape base.
For custom statement jewelry, snip off the headphones and jack, slip on beautiful beads, and fasten the ends with a bit of matching electrical tape.
Written by Brandi Broxson Photograph by Yasu + Junko
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY E L I Z A B E T H P R E S S ; I L L U S T R AT I O N S BY P E T E R O U M A N S K I
A length of earbud cord works as well as wire on the back of a frame or piece of art. Cut the cord to the approximate length, then adjust as you tie the ends to D-rings on the artworkâ€™s back.
T H I S M O N T H’S E X P E R T
D ER M ATO LO G I ST D E N DY E N G E L M A N Based in New York City, Dendy Engelman is a boardcertified dermatologic surgeon and an associate at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. Actress Sofia Vergara is among her regular clients.
4 ROC RETINOL CORREXION SENSITIVE NIGHT CREAM
“Retinol speeds up skin-cell turnover, boosts collagen production, and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a powerhouse ingredient for treating wrinkles and acne.” TO BUY: $23, ulta.com. 5 YES TO COCONUT ULTRA HYDRATING OVERNIGHT CRÈME MASK
The best beauty products in the aisles, handpicked by a pro
“This formula is rich with coconut and avocado oils, plus cocoa-seed butter to quench dry skin. It absorbs quickly, so it doesn’t get on your pillowcase, and it smells like a vacation.” TO BUY: $20, walmart.com.
“While I was pregnant, I used this oil all over my body to help prevent stretch marks. The more pliable your skin is, the more easily it can stretch without scarring.” TO BUY: $20, walmart.com. 1 DICKINSON’S WITCH HAZEL ON THE GO TOWELETTES
“I use these little wipes to clean a scrape, take the itch out of a bug bite, or remove makeup. Witch hazel is a natural antiseptic and antiinflammatory. Just a dab does the trick.” TO BUY: $6, cvs.com.
3 FLOWER GLISTEN UP! HIGHLIGHTER CHUBBY 2 SALLY HANSEN AIRBRUSH SUN
“I tell patients to use this self-tanning mousse all over their bodies, not just on legs. It’s great for covering up scars, veins, redness, or other imperfections.” TO BUY: $12, target.com.
“On early mornings, I swipe this stick on my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose to help me look well rested, even when I’m not. It gives you a glowy look.” TO BUY: $10, walmart.com.
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY L I N D E N E L S T R A N
T H E R E A L I ST
Drugstore cheat sheet
©2016 Kao USA Inc.
Soft, luminous, radiant skin. Down to your toes.
TREAT YOUR BODY TO THE GOOD STUFF. Jergens Moisturizers delight your skin with unforgettable radiance, surprising luminosity, and the tropical feeling of...ahhh. Moisture never looked so good. ®
Jergens is more than a moisturizer. You’re more than just a pretty face.
Smart solutions for life’s little disasters My yoga mat has lost its stickiness. It won’t stay in place on the floor, and my hands keep slipping. Help! D. C., via e-mail
Soak your mat for five minutes in a tub of warm, soapy water (use a couple of drops of dish soap), then rinse, says Katelin Schiller, a product-education manager for Lululemon Athletica. (Check the manufacturer’s site first for care warnings.) Then air-dry. This should remove buildup that might be interfering with the layer that grips. “Depending on the material, mats can lose their grip from sweat, incorrect washing, or long exposure to direct sunlight,” says Joanne Sessler, a vice president of product and design at the yoga-accessory company Manduka. Pros agree that wiping down a mat with a damp cloth after each use can prolong its life. THE FIX:
Written by N.Jamiyla Chisholm Illustration by Peter Oumanski
Whenever I make muffins, the insides are undercooked and the outsides are overcooked. L. MALLERY, via e-mail
THE FIX: Try reducing the baking temperature by 25 degrees. Some ovens get hotter than others (no matter what the temperature reads), explains Linda Stahl, the manager of Hershey’s Kitchens. If that doesn’t solve the problem, the culprit could be the muffin pan. Dark or nonstick pans absorb more heat than shiny aluminum ones do. Switching to a lighter muffin pan (like Nordic Ware, $28, nordicware.com) could be the solution.
Now that microbeads have been banned, how can I responsibly dispose of products that contain them? F. G., via e-mail
THE FIX: The Environmental Protection Agency currently has no guidelines for their disposal. All you can do is seal the lid and put the item in the trash, says Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry and a microplastics researcher at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Trashing the product, rather than pouring it down a drain, keeps the beads out of waterways, where they can damage marine life. Some companies, such as Procter & Gamble, have pledged to stop using microbeads in their cleansers and toothpastes as early as 2017. (Unilever has already done so.) For now, before you make a beauty purchase, check the ingredient label for “polyethylene” or “polypropylene.” Or go to beatthemicro bead.com for a list of affected products. HAVE A DISASTER
that needs solving? E-mail your problem to askreal email@example.com.
SPECIAL THANKS TO BOB SCHILDGEN, THE ASK MR. GREEN C O L U M N I S T FO R T H E S I E R R A C L U B ’ S S I E R R A M A G A Z I N E .
T H E R E A L I ST
T R E N D TO T RY
Bright and beautiful needlework—especially in fresh-feeling florals—is the common thread.
Both whimsical (butterflies, flowers, and stars, oh my!) and functional (fits phone, keys, and wallet), it can skew formal or brunch casual. $44, us. accessorize.com.
5 V-NECK TOP
Perfect for layering. Imagine this pretty pattern peeking out from beneath a blazer. $50, nyandcompany.com. 6 ANKLE STRAPS
Thanks to chunky heels and rounded toes, these embroidered pumps are full of retro appeal. $425, lkbennett.com. 7 STATEMENT EARRINGS
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COCOA POWDER You know it can be sweet—brownies, chocolate cake, truffles. But cocoa powder has a savory side, too. Take our cocoa and espresso rub: It adds a smoky depth to your average grocery-store steak, so the meat tastes practically dry-aged when grilled (no chocolate flavor at all). Go for natural unsweetened cocoa powder, which is just pulverized roasted cocoa beans. (Dutch process is altered to be mellower, but it’s less versatile.) Cocoa powder will last up to 18 months in a cool, dark place, but why not use it up?
Written by Heath Goldman Recipes by Emily Nabors Hall Photograph by Yasu + Junko
3 QUICK IDEAS Cocoa and espresso steak rub
T H E R E A L I ST
Combine 1 Tbsp. each natural unsweetened cocoa powder, finely ground espresso powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. Rub 1 to 2 tsp. of the cocoa mixture on each side of a 12 oz. steak before grilling or searing. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Makes ¼ cup.
Easy mole sauce Heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil in a skillet over high. Add 1 small sliced onion and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add 1 (28-oz.) can drained plum tomatoes, 2 Tbsp. natural unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tsp. each kosher salt and chipotle chile powder. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Serve over roast pork or grilled chicken. Makes about 2½ cups.
Cocoa powder works magic in our rocky road crepes: realsimple.com/rockyroad.
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY E L I Z A B E T H P R E S S
Mexican hot cocoa mix Whisk together 1½ cups sugar, 1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp. each kosher salt and ground cinnamon, and ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. For each serving of cocoa, heat 1 cup whole milk just until hot; whisk in 2 Tbsp. of the hot cocoa mix until smooth. Makes 2½ cups of mix.
Panko Sausage Stuffing Panko-topped Mac & Cheese
Sweet Potato Casserole
Panko Crusted Prime Rib Brined Cornish Hens Green Bean Casserole Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
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MEET THE BLOGGER: ALYSSA BRANTLEY
SAVE 60% ON AWARDWINNING WINES Alyssa has always been interested in food and healthy cooking. She was taught early by her mother, a classically trained chef, to appreciate fresh and local offerings and the love of food preparation. Learning how to cook, season, and properly treat every ingredient was a welcome education. After the birth of her first son, on a journey to lose the baby weight using clean, whole, organic foods and products, Alyssa began creating recipes and sharing them on her website. Everyday Maven—everydaymaven.com—is the culmination of all the things that have meant the most in Alyssa’s life and career—her family, her love of food, and her desire to share knowledge and help others.
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Taking the cake
Sometimes family recipes are even more mysterious than they seem. Writer Angela Brown recalls her grandmother’s famous dessert—and the moment it became hers to carry on. Photograph by Lydia Whitmore
M Y G R A N DM O T H E R WA S a woman of closely held secrets. Her jewelry collection was kept under lock and key. The serums that preserved her smooth skin were shared only with her medicine cabinet. But the mystery she protected more than any other was a recipe for a family favorite: her strawberry-frosted layer cake. By the time I was in my late 20s, I was a dedicated home baker and had tried repeatedly to duplicate my grandmother’s fabled dessert without much success. Occasionally, I’d complain to her (“Nanny, my cake turns out too dense”; “Nanny, my batter sticks to the pan”), hoping she’d offer assistance or inadvertently reveal a clue. But she remained reticent, the door to her kitchen forever closed while she created her confections.
L I F E L E SS O N S
Five years ago, at the start of Easter week, my 87-year-old grandmother was admitted to the hospital. What seemed at first to be a bad stomachache turned out to be an intestinal injury caused by an inadequate blood supply. For a woman of her age, the doctors informed us, surgery was not an option: The damage was past repair. We spent the week shuffling through hospital corridors, where the nurses’ stations were decked out with garlands and colored paper eggs. My grandmother lay in bed, a labyrinth of plastic tubes and a thin cotton gown where one of her chic blouses should be. On Wednesday, when my mother suggested that we cancel Easter, my grandmother swatted her hand, bruised from IVs, in my mother’s direction. Cancel the holiday? Pfft. About the author “But who will make your cake?” I Angela Brown is a asked. freelance writer My grandmother and mother whose work has exchanged a smile. Without a word, appeared in Saveur it became clear: The task had been and the New York bequeathed to me. Times. She lives in “But I’ve never baked your cake,” New Jersey with her I said. family and is at work “Trust me,” my mother said. “You’ll on her first novel. be fine.” Nanny patted my hand and told me to save her a slice.
Nanny rarely ate cake herself, blaming her waistline or her medications. Instead, she sat back and watched the scene unfold. Laughing and talking, the family consumed slice after slice until all that remained was crumbs.
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In spite of the circumstances, the prospect of learning the recipe thrilled me. I envisioned my mother carefully handing over my grandmother’s tattered recipe card. Perhaps I’d learn that the secret to the airy batter was an artisanal cream cheese. Or that an expensive organic vanilla extract was what gave it that magical aroma. Instead, the next day, when my mother and I went to Nanny’s home to retrieve her slippers, something entirely undramatic occurred. My mother unceremoniously swung open the pantry doors. And there, occupying two shelves, were rows of Betty Crocker SuperMoist Yellow cake mix. (Later I learned that if there was a sale at the supermarket, she would settle for Pillsbury.) Nearby were tubs of frosting—the same brand, in a flavor called Whipped Strawberry. My mother smiled, noting my confusion. “What? You didn’t think she baked all those cakes from scratch, did you?” But, of course, I did. My Nanny had always made such a fuss about her baking efforts. I’d always pictured a mess of sugar and eggshells, streaks of flour across her rouged cheeks. But that scene only existed in my head. “I’m certain she didn’t just rely on boxed mixes,” I said, still in denial as I rummaged through the shelves for other ingredients. “She must have added something.” “You’re right,” my mother said with a laugh, pointing to a plastic bottle filled with pale yellow vegetable oil. “She added this.” Turns out, the rest of my family had always known the source of our favorite dessert. After all, the signs had always been there: picture-perfect punch-colored layers, too-good-tobe-true consistency every year. No one else was fazed, but the revelation left me with a sense of disappointment and moral conflict. I bake my
As far back as I can remember, she’d show up on my parents’ suburban New Jersey doorstep on holidays and birthdays with a giant pastel cake balanced in her delicate hands. Everyone dipped a finger in the thick swirls of pink frosting, creating sugary familial hieroglyphics that multiplied until the dinner plates were cleared. After supper, we watched my mother’s serrated knife slide down to create the first slice, revealing moist layers of a cake as simple and classic as my grandmother’s pearls. Nanny rarely ate cake herself, blaming her waistline or her medications. Instead, she sat back and watched the scene unfold: her great-granddaughter tucked in a high chair squeezing bits of frosting through her tiny fingers like clay; her full-grown grandkids savoring each bite; her son-in-law sneaking a second, then a third piece. Laughing and talking, we ate slice after slice until all that remained was crumbs.
I added the required ingredients and waited while my kitchen filled with the familiar scent. Although we had never baked together, in that moment it felt as though my grandmother were right there beside me.
own bread. I can my own jams. I pride myself on my weekly visits to a nearby organic farm stand. How could I make a cake from a box? A few days later, I sat in my kitchen staring at glass jars full of whole-wheat flours and flaxseed and contemplated ways to make the cake less manufactured. Perhaps I could swap applesauce for the vegetable oil. Or mix up some homemade berry frosting. I continued to brainstorm clever ways to manipulate my grandmother’s method. However, I couldn’t ignore the iconic red cake box that rested before me. I studied it and thought about my Nanny whisking together her signature store-bought mix for all the celebrations of my life. As I did, I began to accept that my healthful modifications were beside the point. What mattered was honoring the decades of memories my grandmother’s cakes had inspired for our family. So I swallowed my pride. I peeled apart the thin cardboard, cut open the plastic bag, and poured the dry mix into a large bowl. I added the required ingredients—eggs, some water, a bit of oil—and waited while my kitchen filled with the familiar scent. Although we had never baked together, in that moment it felt as though my grandmother were right there beside me. On Easter, our family gathered around my mother’s table. After dinner, I plated the cake. The room was quiet, the only sound fork tines on china. Everyone expressed enthusiasm for my efforts. But their faces revealed the truth: Something was off. Technically, my cake tasted like my grandmother’s, but it still lacked something. I thought that maybe I hadn’t used the right amount of frosting between the layers. Or maybe I didn’t sprinkle in enough coconut or jelly beans. Soon enough, I realized this sense of lack had nothing to do with ingredients or ratios; what was just missing from the cake was my grandmother. Before the last piece was gone, the phone rang. My grandmother had taken a turn for the worse. We left the plates on the table and hurried to the hospital. In Nanny’s room, we gathered close, held hands, and said a prayer. One by one, we each said our good-byes to Nanny. When my turn came, I kissed my Nanny and whispered that I had made her cake. “It was good,” I said. “But it wasn’t the same.” Q
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Modern Manners RE AL SIMPLE’S E TIQUE T T E E XPERT, C ATHERINE NE WMAN, OFFER S HER BE ST ADVICE
I recently had some friends over for a roast chicken dinner. Everything was delicious, but after they left, I began to feel quite ill. I was so sick that night that I had to miss work the next day. I wondered if my guests had also gotten sick. Did I have an obligation to check on them? Conversely, if the guests had gotten sick, should they have contacted me? How do guests and hosts broach this subject delicately? C. K.
I would try to err on the side of kindness and concern over the stricter rules of etiquette. If you fear that someone might have gotten sick at your house, call and ask. “This is so awkward, but I’m calling to make sure you’re feeling OK. I was sick after you left, and I’m worried it might have been something I served last night.” The call will probably put your mind at ease. Food-borne illnesses are notoriously tricky to diagnose, and many of them have symptoms that show up hours, even days, after exposure, so you’re more likely to have gotten sick from something that you ate earlier—or from a virus. (Symptoms of salmonella, for example, develop from 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food.) And as mortifying as it is to imagine, if it turns out that your friends were ill after leaving, or if they got sick later from your undiagnosed-but-contagious virus, you would want an opportunity to apologize and send
About Catherine The author of Catastrophic Happiness and Waiting for Birdy, Catherine Newman has shared her wisdom on matters ranging from family and friends to happiness and pickling in numerous publications. She gets advice from her husband and two opinionated children in Amherst, Massachusetts.
over ginger ale and magazines. (But maybe not chicken soup.) As for your question on the reverse situation, given the uncertainty of food-borne illnesses, I would not call a host if I became sick after eating her salmon mousse. This feels too speculative and accusatory to me. But I confess that I might troll for information about the other guests’ well-being just to satisfy my own curiosity. My husband and I are in our mid-40s. We have no children. “Child-free by choice,” we like to say. Most of our friends do, however. We have gotten stuck in tricky situations a few times when we’ve made a plan and then our friends say, “You don’t mind if our kids come, do you?” If it’s a casual weeknight dinner at a local pizza joint, that’s one thing. But a date-night dinner or a vacation is a different story. It puts us in an uncomfortable position to voice that we don’t want to be with their kids. We feel that it is tacky that they even ask, but how should we respond? K. D.
I can imagine that it can be annoying to choose childlessness and then have children thrust upon you. (I have been annoyed to have children thrust upon me, and they’re my own children.) However, as a parent, I must add that my assumption is that
P O R T R A I T BY S A R A H M AY C O C K
L I F E L E SS O N S
ON YO U R S O CI AL QUANDAR I E S.
I’ve been wanting to apologize to a former roommate I treated unfairly when I was younger. But that was almost 10 years ago, and I’m afraid she’ll think it’s silly to reach out to her after such a long time over something she has probably forgotten about. L. M.
Do apologize. On the one hand, you’ll be giving yourself a rare opportunity to take responsibility for something bad that you did and to strengthen your character in the process. On the other hand, you’ll give your former roommate the validation that she might need— It wasn’t me; I wasn’t crazy—to put
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approach this. She is very sensitive and shy, so I don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable.
the incident to rest. Ideally, she hasn’t been losing sleep over it, but that’s not really for you to guess at. And either way, it’s right to make amends. The only caveat I would offer is that you might pour your heart out and get back crickets (or worse) rather than forgiveness. She might respond gratefully, stingingly, or not at all. A girl who bullied me in high school reached out in a letter when we were young adults, and while I was happy for her that she had grown up and grown kinder, I never wrote her back. For better or worse, I simply didn’t want to expend any more energy on this person. But I bet that it helped to lighten her load a little, to relieve her of the heavy burdens of her past. At least, I hope that it did. And I hope that it does for you, too.
I think that many housemate issues fall into the category of “pet peeves” and should be approached as such. If this is a battle that you’re picking (and I think you can pick only one or two in this genre), then put a dustpan and broom in the bathroom and approach your roommate. Or if you think that she would be less embarrassed, post a note: “Hair on the bathroom floor turns out to be a pet peeve of mine. Who knew? But if you would please sweep yours up, I would be so grateful!” Use this as an opportunity to find out what, if anything, you’re doing that drives her crazy. She might be grateful for the chance to speak up. Even 20 years later, my old housemates like to tease me about how revolted I was—cough, am—by a sopping sponge left in the sink. “Guys, please, can we all try to remember to wring out the sponge?” But I’m still glad that I told them.
I have a roommate who leaves hair all over the bathroom floor. I always make sure to wipe the floor and swipe clean any of my fallen hairs, and then I get home later that day to find hers everywhere. I’m not sure how to
I have become the host for my family’s get-togethers and holidays since my parents passed away. I have three older brothers, and with their growing families of spouses and children, the cost of hosting is stretching my budget. My brothers think that they are helping by bringing a side dish, but that is the least of our needs. How do I politely ask for a monetary donation for hosting these events without sounding cheap or insulting? P. D.
Hosting holidays and get-togethers is an enormous expense, to say nothing of the work involved—most of which still seems to fall to wives and daughters. Sometimes I wonder if people who don’t host big gatherings imagine that hams and turkeys fall from the sky, thanks to the Holiday Meat Fairy. All of this to say: Starting a conversation is a great idea. “We love seeing everyone,” you can begin, “but hosting is taking a toll on our family budget. Should we consider rotating the holidays, so that everyone gets a turn?” If that’s not a probable scenario, raise the money issue more directly by asking if everyone can chip in to defray costs. (You will seem cheap only if you’re actually being cheap—like, if you’re writing me from your huge mansion, where the help is scurrying around preparing the New Year’s feast for your guests.) But if neither of those ideas feels right, then consider requesting more rigorous contributions to the meal. Ask your siblings to be in charge of a larger element of the event. For example, you make the main dish and they handle everything else. Then let them delegate among themselves if they need to.
L I F E L E SS O N S
our children are included, unless somebody specifies otherwise. Especially since, when the kids were little, someone had to offer an extraordinarily good time (caviar and Champagne in a hot-air balloon, say, their treat) for me to go to the trouble and expense of hiring a sitter. So for the sake of your sanity and everybody’s clarity, get into the habit of qualifying invitations: “Do you and Michael want to meet us for a grownup dinner out?” Or “We’re thinking of going to Vegas for the weekend. Would the two of you like to join us?” Or even “Can we persuade the four of you to come over for mac and cheese?” These are complete family units—like yours is—and it’s not tacky for your friends to assume that inclusiveness is the default. If you’d like it to be otherwise, the burden falls on you to specify that.
Launched her fashion line (Her daughter drew the cat)
Met her husband at an improv class in LA
Studied fashion in Illinois
Baked her way to stardom on Gilmore Girls
Grew up in a farm town
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E X P E RT I S E
5 things to do to spark creativity Feel as if you get in your own way when it comes to being inventive? Five smart thinkers—including an economist and a memoirist—offer their ideas for breaking free from the routine and making the magic more available.
1 TIM HARFORD
Invite randomness. So often we’re on autopilot. Mix things up by writing down six different options for your day—some that you might normally do, like having coffee with a friend, and others that make you a bit nervous, such as performing at an open-mic night. Number the items. Then roll a die and whatever comes up, take on that activity. The idea is inspired by the composer and producer Brian Eno. Knowing that bands would get stuck following the same patterns day after day, he would keep a deck of cards with ideas that he called “oblique strategies”—tasks like “swap instruments” or “work at a different speed.” The amazing thing about this type of randomness is that it forces us to do things that make us uncomfortable. And that’s when we discover new ways of thinking.
Written by Sarah J. Robbins Illustration by Ben Wiseman
C A R A B RO O K I N S
Commit, then figure it out.
2 E R I N ST U T L A N D
L I F E L E SS O N S
Get moving. Whenever I’m feeling trapped in a creative cul-de-sac or I’m stuck in a negative thinking pattern, I go outside, put on a playlist, and start walking. Some of history’s greatest thinkers, from Charles Dickens to Steve Jobs, have used walking to tap into their creativity. Even if it’s just 10 minutes away from your house and 10 minutes back, walking helps you get out of your head and connect more to your body and intuition. I call them “soul strolls.” Music helps because the rhythm jolts your brain into a different thought pattern. Try going out with no set destination. Learning to trust yourself to lead the way will help you build your creativity.
When I decided to build a house with my kids, everyone thought I was crazy. But I don’t believe much in plans. My philosophy instead was “I don’t know how to build a wall, but I do know how to pound a nail.” In my writing career, it’s been the same: In the beginning, I thought, I don’t know how to plot out and write a whole book, but I do know how to tell my kids a bedtime story. I do know how to write a grammatically correct sentence. And, really, isn’t a book just a lot of grammatically correct sentences put together? Creativity is about living in the moment, rather than being lost in despair, thinking about the million steps between here and there.
DAV I D G R E E N F I E L D
Cut yourself off from technology.
4 J O S H UA W O L F S H E N K
Find someone you connect with. There are a lot of people who think that artistic craft is entirely solitary, but the hidden story behind most innovation is extraordinary partnerships. It’s just often underplayed, because editors, producers, and coaches tend to be offstage. While there is a place for solitude in the creative process, most people will benefit from taking a social risk—whether it’s seeking feedback or going for drinks. Because when you find someone that you have chemistry with, it shakes the foundation of your psychological house. The pictures fall from the walls, and you become open to new views.
With our relationship to smartphones, we’ve lost our ability to tolerate boredom—to the point where we can’t even wait in a line for coffee without using our phones as a distraction. The problem is, new ideas and energy toward change and social connection can come from boredom. So experiment with untethering: Leave the phone in the car for the day, or even just for an hour, while you run an errand; eat a meal without it on the table. I recently turned my phone off while I waited for an appointment. At ﬁrst my heart rate increased and I felt anxious, but then I settled in. It was a little like meditation.
THE EXPERTS ERIN STUTLAND is a mind-body life coach and a fitness expert. She lives in New York City.
CARA BROOKINS is the author of seven novels. Her memoir, Rise: How a House Built a Family, details her escape from an abusive marriage.
TIM HARFORD (opening page) is the author of Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives and a columnist for the Financial Times. He lives in Oxford, England.
J O S H UA WO L F S H E N K , the author of Powers of Two: How Relationships Drive Creativity, leads the Black Mountain Institute, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
DAV I D G R E E N F I E L D is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and the founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction.
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PRETTY SMART The latest beauty products and tips that save time, money, and— best of all—your sanity.
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UNSCREW THE CAP TO REVEAL THE BRUSH, THEN SNAP IT ONTO THE STEM TO CREATE A LONG HANDLE.
FAC E T H E DAY
A stroke of good pluck
Next in line
BROAD-SPECTRUM SPF 50 THAT WON’T LEAVE YOU LOOKING PASTY PLUS AN SPF 30 LIP BALM HOUSED IN THE LID MAKE PRACTICING SAFE SUN EASY. POP SUPERGOOP PERFECT DAY 2-IN-1 FACE + LIP SPF ($19, SEPHORA.COM) IN YOUR BEACH, SKI, AND EVERYDAY BAGS.
A fix for tiny rogue brow hairs that you can see but can’t pluck: Bbrowbar Brow Exfoliator ($25, net-a-porter.com). Massage it around your brows, then wipe off. Sugar crystals lift dry skin, revealing more of the hairs so you can remove them.
Jane Iredale Mystikol Powdered Eyeliner ($24, janeiredale.com) is a creamy, water-resistant liner (in gray, purple, black, or brown) with a built-in fine-tipped brush, so you can easily apply a crisp cateye using only one product.
How to master a cat-eye: Starting at the outer corner of your lid, etch out a wing. Draw connected dashes at the lash line until you reach the inner corner. Clean up any mistakes with a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover. Watch a video at realsimple.com/cateye.
Here’s the scoop
The upper hand
Now you can reach that last drop of skin-care product without slicing the jar or setting it upside down overnight. Slide Beautiscoop ($10, livebeautility .com) into the bottle using whichever end fits the jar’s opening to retrieve the remaining goods.
A surefire recipe to beat the winter blues: Add one to four drops of Tan-Luxe The Face Anti-Age ($56, tan-luxe.com) to your moisturizer, mix, and apply. Within a few hours, DHA, a self-tanning agent, will give your skin a subtle sun-kissed glow.
With Tokyo Milk Light Awaken Within Handcreme ($22, tokyo-milk.com), you can start swiping without waiting for it to soak in. Oh, and its jasmine, orange-blossom, and neroli scent had strangers stopping us.
In shades such as Spilled Wine and Beet Jam (shown above), Too Cool for School Dinoplatz Lip Balm ($15 each, sephora .com) offers a juicy tint and a jellylike texture that melts into lips, dissolving flakes with argan, rose-hip, and evening-primrose oils.
Your one-and-done antiager for morning and night—La Roche-Posay Activ C10 ($53, CVS) has a stable, pure form of vitamin C and a high dose of hyaluronic acid to help soften fine lines, brighten dull skin, and smooth texture. You’re welcome.
S U P E R G O O P, J A N E I R E D A L E , TA N - L U X E , T O K Y O M I L K , A N D T O O C O O L FO R S C H O O L : P H O T O G R A P H S BY P H I L I P F R I E D M A N ; P R O P S T Y L I N G BY M A I T R A N
THE GUIDE beauty
FLIP THE CAP TO USE THE BUILT-IN MIRROR FOR TOUCH-UPS.
ROA D T E ST
For renewing lifeless locks or smoothing flaky lips, these five salves (we tested 50!) are the balm.com.
3 BEST FOR BODY
Josie Maran Divine Drip Honey Butter Balm Arguably the most decadent body moisturizer, this balm—with argan oil, clover honey, and mango butter—melts into skin (even scruffy elbows and knees) for a silky finish. Apply to damp skin for best results. TO BUY: $42, josiemaran cosmetics.com.
Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle Glow Rub onto dry skin, then wipe off, to remove stubborn makeup; wear it overnight as a mask; or use it as a daily moisturizer. Vitamins A, C, and E help firm and plump, and fight free radicals, too. TO BUY: $60, charlotte tilbury.com.
1 BEST FOR HAIR
Davines Authentic Moisturizing Balm Packed with organic safflower, sesame, and sunflower oils, this formula treats dull, overprocessed hair. Slather on damp strands, let sit for five minutes, then rinse. Bonus: A pea-size drop on wiry ends fights frizz. TO BUY: $26.50, davines.com.
5 BEST FOR LIPS
Jurlique Rose Love Balm Made with good-for-yourskin ingredients, such as olive oil, beeswax, and vitamin E, this little pot comforts and protects lips and other dry-prone areas, like cuticles, without any residue. “I use it for everything, even taming my brows,” said one tester. TO BUY: $12, jurlique.com.
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY J U L I E F LY N N FO R H A L L E Y R E S O U R C E S I N C .
2 BEST FOR EYES
Boscia Super-Cool De-Puffing Eye Balm Peptides help reduce bags and circles, while menthol helps you fake that wide-awake look. The lightweight formula dries quickly, letting makeup go on smoothly. “I store it in the fridge so it’s extra refreshing,” one tester said. TO BUY: $26, sephora.com.
CHAPPED LIPS GOT YOU DOWN?
Read how to solve the problem for good at realsimple .com/chappedlips.
Written by Chelsea Traber Burns Photograph by Ralph Smith
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4 BEST FOR FACE
GET IN GEAR
T H E C U T B R A , $ 7 5 , A L A L A S T Y L E .C O M ; LO T U S L E G G I N G , $ 7 5 , N O L I Y O G A .C O M .
THE GUIDE fashion
Just in time to help you keep your New Year’s resolution, the latest crop of sporting essentials mixes style and performance so you can bring your A game.
Rebecca Daly Photographs by
THESE STRAPS CONVERT FROM RACER-BACK TO OPEN BACK FOR A CUSTOMIZED RANGE OF MOTION.
4 SPORTS BRA
Designed for high impact, with a flawless fit by cup size. TO BUY: FineForm sports bra, $50, brooksrunning.com.
RUNNING Whether you’re a morning jogger or you’re training for your next marathon, these new gadgets and gear will help improve your routine.
5 BACKPACK 1 SMART WATCH
This watch tracks it all, including heart rate and how far you run. TO BUY: Garmin Forerunner 35 watch, $200, garmin.com. 2 PULLOVER
Fully reflective fabric is a must for outdoor jaunts. The flattering color blocking is a bonus. TO BUY: Lands’ End speed-running pullover, $75, lands end.com; shown with Lite-Show Winter tights, $80, asicsamerica.com.
Tuck LEDs into the specialized pockets for safer night runs. TO BUY: RunLites, $20 (lights sold separately), gorunlites.com.
No need to switch out your favorite shoes when the weather turns icy—just strap on these cleats.
Removable padding, pockets for water, and stability straps—this pack has your back. TO BUY: Karadon backpack, $60, highsierra.com. 6 CRAMPON CLEATS
Like snow chains for your feet. TO BUY: NANOspikes, $50, kahtoola.com; shown with APL Techloom Pro shoes, $140, athletic propulsionlabs.com. 7 DOWN VEST
A layer that keeps your core warm, weatherproofed so it won’t deflate in rain or snow. TO BUY: Super down vest, $179, trewgear.com.
M A R K E T E D I T O R : F L AV I A N U N E Z
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Big enough for all the essentials, with a compartment for a laptop. TO BUY: Luxe wool run backpack, $145, sweatybetty.com.
4 FOAM ROLLER
The soft spikes knead more deeply than a smooth surface does. TO BUY: Gaiam tissue roller, $35, kohls.com. 5 JOGGERS
Stretchy, waterproof, and, yes, breathable. TO BUY: Sweeper pants, $160, koral.com. 6 STOPWATCH
1 BRA TOP
TRAINING For high-intensity interval training, weight routines, or CrossFit, here’s everything you need to hit the gym—and look good doing it.
WEAR THEM OUT
Sports bra–type support, for equal parts form and function. TO BUY: High-neck crop, $20, cotton onbody.com. 2 HEADPHONES
Onboard control buttons let you focus on your reps without missing a beat. TO BUY: Kickback headphones, $50, alteclansing.com.
Lightly padded soles provide stability and sensitivity. TO BUY: Adidas Yvori cross-trainers, $90, amazon.com/ fashion; shown with Balega Silver socks, $15, balega.com.
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Time your intervals down to the second. TO BUY: Unit 40 watch, $100, nixon.com.
NOT JUST FOR THE GYM, THESE LEATHERLIKE JOGGERS WILL AMP UP YOUR STREET STYLE, TOO.
G R O O M I N G BY S P R I N G S U P E R FO R E N N I S , I N C .
ON A ROLL
Think of this tool as a deep-tissue massage, sans the hefty price tag.
KEEP YOUR COOL
THE OPENING OF THIS COLORFUL CANTEEN IS WIDE ENOUGH FOR ICE CUBES.
1 WATER BOTTLE
2 TANK TOP
STUDIO Low-impact exercises—like barre, Pilates, and yoga— don’t require a lot of restrictive support, which means more flexibility for you (and your look). 4
Tie this tank up so that it stays stylishly in place (ideal for inversions in yoga), or drape it loosely and flat if you’ll be on your back. TO BUY: Rally tank, $42, carbon38.com; shown with Kristen pants from Motion by Coalition, $68, acrossatlas.com.
A gym bag pretty and sturdy enough to tote from the barre to the bar. TO BUY: Neoprene dome satchel, $395, torysport.com. 4 SPORTS BRA
Low-impact support that won’t cramp your style—or your crow pose. TO BUY: GapFit mesh sports bra, $40, gap.com. 5 LEG WARMERS
An elastic band keeps the tops of these knee-highs securely in place. TO BUY: Shavasana leg warmers, $46, vimmia.com. 6 YOGA MAT
Made of all-natural, eco-friendly materials that are as easy on the eyes as they are on the environment. TO BUY: Eko mat, $94, manduka.com.
Stirrups keep these leg warmers in place, whether in class or a pair of boots.
A L L S T I L L L I F E S C O U R T E S Y O F T H E M A N U FA C T U R E R S
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Stainless-steel construction keeps water fresh and cool. TO BUY: 12-ounce standard-mouth bottle, $22, hydroflask.com.
4 WATER BOTTLE
Features include squeezable grip areas for quick gulps, an antileak valve, and see-through plastic, so you’ll know when you’re running low. TO BUY: Nike Hyperfuel bottle, $12, kohls.com.
Hue-optimizing technology delivers greater visibility at faster speeds.
For comfort and peak performance indoors and out, SoulCycle devotees and road racers alike will want to take this new gear for a spin.
Ultra lightweight, with adjustable nose pads and UV protection. TO BUY: PivLock Asana sunglasses, $189, smithoptics.com.
The reflective graphic print is eye-catching in more ways than one. TO BUY: Shape element tights, $68, vonmaur.com. 6 CYCLING SHOES
Just right for inbetween seasons and temps, these gloves offer wind and water resistance without bulk, and they don’t have to be taken off to use a touch screen. TO BUY: Softshell gel gloves, $60, pearlizumi.com. 3 BRA TOP
With a built-in bra and moisture-wicking ability, this top can be worn on its own or as a layer. TO BUY: Studio support tank, $55, landsend.com.
Performance insoles conform to your feet to eliminate stretched or unsupported spots. TO BUY: Race RD IV shoes, $150, pearlizumi.com. 7 WINDBREAKER
Water-resistant but air permeable, it lets sweat evaporate while keeping rain out. TO BUY: Sprint anorak jacket, $150, newbalance.com.
CLIP-IN CYCLING SHOES PROVIDE OPTIMAL STABILITY.
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THE GUIDE health
SECRET PERKS OF EVERY WORKOUT No matter what form of exercise you love, chances are you’re getting even more benefits than you thought. Here’s proof.
T H E W O R KO U T
a brisk morning walk
THE GUIDE health
Maybe you don’t need another reason to hit the gym, but if you do… Did you know that exercising three times a week can lower your chance of depression? And that getting the recommended 150 minutes of weekly activity (even just energetic walking) can cut your risk of heart disease by 25 percent? We’ve gathered research on the lesser-known payoffs of all types of workouts so you can pat yourself on the back for the perks that you didn’t realize you were getting—or tweak your regimen to reap extra rewards!
T H E W O R KO U T
lifting light weights ADDED BENEFIT
BUILDS BONE DENSIT Y Feel like you’re being a bit lazy when you reach for those five-pounders? Let that go. Lighter weights may be more effective than heavy ones at strengthening bones, says a 2015 study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. “We’re not sure why, but the high-
repetition, low-weighttraining approach stimulates osteoblast activity [the laying down of new bone],” explains Bryce Hastings, a study investigator and the head of research at Les Mills International, a fitness company in Auckland, New Zealand. “The latest research on muscle conditioning suggests that it’s not the amount of weight used but the level of fatigue a person encounters that generates changes.” Adults who did low-weight, high-rep strength-training workouts (in 60-minute classes) two or three times a week for 27 weeks increased bone density 4 percent more in their spines and 8 percent
FIND YOUR FITNESS GROOVE
at realsimple.com/ startmoving.
more in their legs than did a group that did indoor cycling and core building. For postmenopausal women, the gains were even greater, as high as 22 percent (largely because they started with much lower bone density when the study began). DOING LIGHT RIGHT. Pick weights just heavy enough that your muscles start to tire at the end of each set. After several weeks, rather than increasing the repetitions, increase the load a pound at a time so that improvements continue.
I M P ROV E S S L E E P Start your day with a cardio workout and kiss restless nights good-bye. Researchers asked men and women age 30 to 60 to walk on a treadmill for a half hour, three times a week, at three different set times: 7 A.M., 1 P.M., and 7 P.M. Turns out, when the group did their walk at 7 A.M., they slept better and more efficiently, according to a 2014 study published in Vascular Health and Risk Management. What does that mean? “They had longer deep sleep, which is reparative, and less light sleep,” says Scott R. Collier, Ph.D., a study investigator and an associate professor of exercise science at Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina. Morning exercise clears out stress hormones, so your day feels less stressful, and that leads to better sleep at night. As a bonus, morning exercise lowered blood pressure by 10 percent. TIMING IS EVERYTHING. Keep that morning walk a part of your daily routine. But know that this A.M. magic does not apply to all workouts. For example, strength training improves sleep best if it’s done in the afternoon or evening, according to another of Collier’s studies, published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2015.
B O O ST S M E M O RY While aerobic exercise is often celebrated for improving memory, strength training also offers a significant power-up. A 2014 study in the journal Acta Psychologica found that after men and women did leg extensions (on a machine similar to those at gyms), they were able to recall 60 percent of images they had seen before exercising, versus a 50 percent recall rate for the control group. (This group sat in the machine but had their legs moved for them.) Why?
T H E W O R KO U T
interval cycling ADDED BENEFIT
RELIEVES A RT H R I T I C PA I N A 2015 study published in European Journal of Applied Physiology found that when women age 20 to 50 who had either rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis completed two 35-minute indoor-cycling
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends two or three strength-training workouts a week to improve overall memory and cognition.
Learning something new? Exercising immediately before or after a study session may help you better retain the info.
interval workouts a week for 10 weeks, it reduced markers of pain-inducing inflammation in their blood. They also lost weight and body fat and saw improvements in stamina, which is relevant, since people with rheumatic disease have an increased risk for heart disease. Best part? Unlike corticosteroids or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, which are often used to treat these conditions, interval training is all natural, with no negative side effects. BY THE NUMBERS. Model a twicea-week stationary-bike workout after the one in this study: Push hard for four minutes, then take an active recovery for three minutes. Repeat four times.
In addition to relieving arthritis pain, interval cycling lowered biomarkers of heart disease by 24 percent.
H E L P S YO U L I V E LO N G E R When you plan your week of yoga classes, Pilates, kickboxing, and Spinning, you’re probably not thinking much about the caps on the ends of your chromosomes, called telomeres. Telomere shortening is a normal process of aging, but varying your exercise routine can help slow it. Researchers evaluated data from more than 6,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 84 on their workout habits. For every different activity they reported (say, strength training, running, and cycling to work), their odds of having shortened telomeres decreased. According to a study published in a 2015 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, study participants who did four activities reduced their odds of having the shortest telomere length by 52 percent; those who did three activities, by 29 percent; those who did two activities, by 24 percent; and those who did one activity, by 3 percent. MORE IS MORE. Why not add at least one more activity to your weekly routine? If yoga is your primary activity, find time for some strength training. If you’re a runner, mix it up with some cycling. And if you haven’t had time to be active at all lately, let this information motivate you to try different offerings at the gym and fall in love with a few types of movement.
THE GUIDE health
T H E W O R KO U T
T H E W O R KO U T
“Strength training acts like a stressor, which enhances the release of neurotransmitters, like norepinephrine, and hormones, like cortisol, that promote memory storage,” says Audrey Duarte, Ph.D., a study coauthor and an associate professor of psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta. (Unfortunately, chronic stressors, like an unhappy marriage and unemployment, are harmful to memory.)
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Thereâ€™s no shame in calling in a pro. But if you like rolling up your sleeves, there are lots of small repairs that you can take care of on your own.
Jessica Dodd Photograph by Danny Kim
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY L I N D E N E L S T R A N
HOW TO FIX (ALMOST) ANYTHING
ingredients you can
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no artificial FLAVORS, COLORS OR PRESERVATIVES
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Clear gutters WHAT YOU NEED •
• • • •
Unclog a sink WHAT YOU NEED
bucket rubber gloves adjustable pliers or pipe wrench
• • •
extension ladder with stabilizer attachment (so the ladder doesn’t have to rest against the gutters, which could cause damage) work gloves hand trowel hose with sprayer rake plastic garbage bags (or, ideally, compostable paper leaf bags) rubber-soled shoes (to prevent slipping) patience (this job can take several hours if your house is large).
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WHAT TO DO
Place the bucket under the curved part of the pipe, known as the P-trap. Wearing rubber gloves, grip the round, ridged metal parts on either end of the trap (called slip nuts) and turn to loosen. If these don’t come loose easily, use the pliers. Wiggle the P-trap free. 2. Hold the trap over the bucket to catch any spills. Clean out the trap by hand. Warning: This will be gross! 3. Reattach the trap. Tighten the slip nuts by hand. (Don’t use the pliers, which could overtighten and crack the pipe.) 1.
Loud thumping, rocking, and moving across the floor are all signs of this simple-tosolve issue.
Brown Bird Design
WHAT TO DO 1. Place the ladder at one
end of the roof so you can reach into the gutter without much leaning or straining; climb up. Wearing gloves and using the trowel, scoop the leaves and debris from the gutter and drop them onto the ground. Keep going until you’ve gotten out all the gunk that you can. 2. Move the ladder a few feet and repeat on the next stretch of gutter. Continue until the whole gutter is clear. 3. Use the sprayer to flush out the gutter, directing the stream toward the downspout. 4. Rake up the debris on the ground and place in the garbage bags.
Tackle this task twice a year—once in the spring and once in the fall, when your yard gets the heaviest rain and leaf accumulation.
Silence squeaky floorboards WHAT YOU NEED • • •
Level a wobbly washing machine WHAT YOU NEED • • •
helper adjustable wrench level
WHAT TO DO 1. Have your helper lift the front of the machine
slightly so that you can reach the two front legs. Use the wrench to loosen the hexagon nuts (a.k.a. locking nuts) on each leg, then twist the legs so that they are even. Set the machine back down. Place the level on top to check your work. 2. Lift the machine again and tighten the locking nuts, then set the machine down. NOTE: Most washers have two self-leveling legs in the rear that automatically adjust to the height of the front legs. To reset them, tip the machine up slightly, then place it back down.
talcum powder soft mallet (at hardware stores) or hammer towel
WHAT TO DO 1. Generously sprinkle the
talc on the creaky areas. 2. Fold the towel several times; place it over a squeaky spot. Pound lightly with the mallet, working the powder into the cracks. 3. Remove the towel. Vacuum up the excess powder.
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© 2017 Home Depot Product Authority, LLC. All rights reserved.
It sounds like the beginning of a phone prank, but a running toilet is often an easy repair. The probable culprit: a faulty flapper.
THE HOMEREPAIR PROS
Fix a running toilet WHAT YOU NEED •
host of DIY Network’s Million Dollar Contractor and coauthor of What’s a Homeowner to Do? CHARLES WHITE,
vice president of regulating affairs for the PlumbingHeating-Cooling Contractors National Association.
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technicalservices supervisor at repair clinic.com, an appliance fix-it resource in Canton, Michigan.
most likely, a new flapper (the rubber stopper inside the tank)
WHAT TO DO 1. Open the tank, reach in (the water is
clean), and push down on the flapper with your hands. If this stops the running, it means the flapper has lost its seal. 2. Shut the water-supply valve under the toilet. Flush to drain the remaining water. 3. Remove the old flapper (and take it to the hardware store, to ensure that you get the right size). Follow the installation instructions on the new flapper, adjusting the chain that connects flapper and flusher so that the flapper lies flat, without much slack in the chain. NOTE: If, during step 1, the running doesn’t stop, the problem may be that the water level is too high and is draining down the overflow pipe (the plastic tube in the tank). The water level should be ½ to 1 inch below the tube’s top; if it’s higher, adjust the float (the plastic piece that looks like a ball or a cup). For a ball float, bend the arm down; for a cup float, squeeze the clip to slide it down. If the running still doesn’t stop, call in a pro.
Patch small holes in drywall WHAT YOU NEED Use these steps for any hole that’s ½ inch or smaller. Bigger gaps require more work, including cutting a drywall patch to fit, and may require a pro.
Replace wornout caulk WHAT YOU NEED • • • • • •
utility knife or plastic caulk-removal tool sponge or cloth all-purpose cleaner painter’s tape tube of silicone caulk caulk gun (necessary for a good seal, to keep water from getting behind the tub)
FRIDGE ON THE FRITZ?
Find tips for troubleshooting all your appliances at real simple.com/handy.
the gap it’s filling and press the trigger. Move at a steady pace, filling the gap with caulk and releasing an even amount as you go. 5. Wet your finger and run it along the caulk to create a smooth seal. Peel off the tape while the caulk is still wet. Wait out the drying time given on the tube’s instructions before using the tub.
• • • •
1-inch putty knife tack cloth (a sticky cloth designed to pick up loose particles, like dust and lint; sold at hardware stores) lightweight Spackle 220-grit sandpaper and fine sanding block paint (same color as the wall) small paint roller
WHAT TO DO
1. With the putty knife, lightly scrape
WHAT TO DO
Slice through the old caulk so that it loses its seal and is easy to pull off. 2. Wipe the area clean with the sponge and allpurpose cleaner. Let dry. 3. Apply a strip of painter’s tape slightly above and below the gap, where the new caulk will go. 4. Fit the tube of caulk inside the caulk gun. Use the utility knife to cut the tip off the tube. Starting at one end of the tub, hold the gun at a 45-degree angle to
around the hole to smooth out the surface. Wipe the wall and knife clean with the tack cloth. 2. Use the putty knife to spread Spackle over the hole in a crisscross pattern for even coverage. Let dry according to the package instructions. 3. Wrap the sandpaper around the block and sand smooth, then wipe clean with the tack cloth. 4. Paint the area with the roller, feathering the edges so that the patch blends in with the rest of the wall.
Ask the Organizer Kid-lounge layout
What’s a neat way to set up a playroom for a boy and a girl who are close in age but who have different interests?
Wardrobe refresh My husband’s clothes from the past 20 years fill practically all the closets in our house. How do I get him to purge?
P H O T O G R A P H BY S T U D I O G R A N D Q U E S T/G E T T Y I M A G E S ; P O R T R A I T BY S A R A H M AY C O C K
S. S. , v ia Fa c e b o o k
Section off the space: His stuff goes on one wall, hers on another, and shared toys, games, and craft supplies on a third one. Use the fourth wall for a sofa. To give the room a cohesive look, choose a uniform storage system. I like shelves filled with clear plastic tubs (translucent medium drawers, $17 each, containerstore.com). Skip the lids to make cleanup easier. Don’t have the wall space for this setup? Consider storing shared items in the center of the room on an openshelf divider that’s accessible from both sides (Kallax shelf unit, $65, ikea.com—turned on its side so that it’s low and safe for kids). GOT A QUESTION?
Submit it at realsimple .com/organizing.
Hectic household Keeping track of our family’s practices, appointments, and errands is an impossible feat. Help! G. B ., v i a Fa c e b o o k
It’s tough to stay on task without a system. I tell clients to choose an electronic calendar using an e-mail program (Outlook, Google) or a household-
management app, like Cozi (free, cozi.com; Cozi is owned by Time Inc.). Set up a calendar for each family member; you can sync them to see all commitments at a glance. Enter to-do list items, too—trip to the post office, gifts to
buy. Seeing those on your calendar will prompt you to get them done. (For efficiency, try tackling errands farthest away first, then work your way back home.) Give your calendar a onceover at the same time every day—say, before bed or over coffee each morning.
N E W YO R K C I T Y–BA S E D O RGA N I Z E R A N D R E W M E L L E N TAC K L E S YO U R T R I C K I E ST D EC LU T T E R I N G D I L E M M A S.
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W. R . , vi a Fa c e b o o k
Instead of looking at it as his issue, loop yourself in. You could say, “Hey, we’re running out of closet space. Let’s both find time to get rid of old clothes.” Put a date on the calendar, and make a nice breakfast that morning to start off on a positive note. Go closet to closet together, pulling out anything torn or stained that can be tossed. Accomplishing that pile may motivate him to finish the rest. A little flattery helps, too: If he tries on a shirt that looks good, point it out. Having a comparison benchmark will make it easier to convince him that the ill-fitting pieces need to go.
“Play my ‘Sweet Lullabies’ playlist.” “Add diapers to my shopping list.”
“How much protein is in six ounces of milk?”
“How do you make a baby laugh?”
Happy baby by you. Help by
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“ARE YOU MY MOTHER?”
WHAT’S THE RIGHT TYPE OF PET FOR YOUR FAMILY? Written by
When it comes to care and feeding, obviously not all creatures are created equal. How much animal can you handle? Here, the experts help you decide—before the kids corner you with specific requests!
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CONSIDER THIS Also pricey, especially if you don’t have pet insurance: the ER. Sometimes life lands you there, and the fees are due at the time of service.
C A N YO U H A N D L E T H E C O ST S ?
1 WHAT’S YOUR SCHEDULE?
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Independent animals, like cats and reptiles, may be fine on their own for long periods. But a dog needs to
Man’s best friend—and many others—come with big expenses beyond food, grooming, and gear. There’s routine medical care (regular exams and vaccinations, plus specific needs, like flea medicine); dental visits; pet insurance (recommended by most vets); training; and boarding or care when you travel.
be let out at least every eight hours; otherwise you’ll need to outsource the job. (A walker generally costs $15 to $30 per walk.)
W H AT’ S YO U R G Q ( G RO SS N E SS Q U OT I E N T ) ?
Poop scooping, tank or cage cleaning— no matter the animal, you’ll need to be comfortable with some level of mess. But only certain folks can handle feeding a reptile whose preferred cuisine is live cockroaches, meal worms, or small rodents (ick).
You know this is your pet, don’t you? Yes, the kids are usually the ones begging for an animal. But once you’ve committed, the responsibility comes down on the parents, and no amount of nagging or guilt-tripping can fully change that. Prepare to be the sole feeder, bather, bed or cage cleaner, exerciser, and vet-goer. So the real question here is, are you 200 percent onboard?
Are allergies an issue?
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If anyone at home is sensitive to irritants, a nonfurry friend is usually a better bet. But some pets that are considered hypoallergenic (turtles, lizards) pose a problem because their habitats can contain materials that trigger reactions. Test out the family member’s tolerance at the shelter or the pet store beforehand.
R E A DY F O R A LO N G -T E R M COMMITMENT?
How long? Well, parrots can live up to 60 years! Cats can stay with you for up to 20 years, and
“I SMELL A CRICKET!”
for a pro-and-con breakdown to help you pick your ideal pet.
dogs for about 16 years. (The smaller the breed, the longer the average life span.) A hamster has a life span of only three years or so.
O P E N I N G PA G E , C LO C KW I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: G A N D E E VA S A N /G E T T Y I M A G E S ; M I C H E L G U N T H E R /G E T T Y I M A G E S ; L I F E O N W H I T E /G E T T Y I M A G E S ; K I D S A D A M A N C H I N D A /G E T T Y I M A G E S ; D A N E G E R /G E T T Y I M A G E S ; M A R K TAY LO R /G E T T Y I M A G E S ; L I F E O N W H I T E /G E T T Y I M A G E S ; A L B E R T L L E A L / M I N D E N P I C T U R E S /G E T T Y I M A G E S . T H I S PA G E : G E R R Y P E A R C E /G E T T Y I M A G E S
Perhaps you’re already acquainted with your pet proclivities. If not, these vet-inspired starter questions (discuss!) will put you on the path toward your new nonhuman housemate.
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DOGS L A RG E D O G S
AVERAGE SIZE: 70 pounds AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: 10 years
NEED A MINIMAL SHEDDER?
Consider a Labradoodle, a Scottish terrier, a Maltese, or a Shih Tzu.
Breeds such as retrievers can be gentle and even-keeled with young kids and are highly intelligent and trainable within a year. Some breeds, like Labradors, tend to chew things when left unsupervised. Their constantly wagging tails are not great around delicate objects.
GOOD TO KNOW
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN:
Sporting breeds, like retrievers, are athletic. They love to swim, fetch, and run around, so access to a yard is ideal. At a minimum, most big dogs require two walks a day.
MEDIUM-SIZE D O GS
AVERAGE SIZE: 30 to 50 pounds AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: 13 years
They are active and playful but may not require as much exercise as bigger breeds. Their size means they’re comfortable living in most spaces. Some medium-size dogs, such as border collies, were bred for herding, so they can chase and nip when playing with children.
Fish are a great first pet, if you’re looking to test the waters (heh, heh). They usually require feeding only once a day, so kids as young as five can handle them. Also, they present no allergy issues.
GOOD TO KNOW GOOD TO KNOW
French bulldogs, a popular midsize breed, are cuddly and easy to groom, thanks to a short coat. But they (and some other breeds) are also prone to health issues: The smooshed face can lead to eye infections and breathing difficulty. The wrinkly folds need regular wipe-downs to avoid irritation. SMALL D O GS
AVERAGE SIZE: 5 to 15 pounds AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: 15 years
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: STATS
Most of these easy-to-tote toy breeds—like the Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, and Yorkie—are spunky (read: noisy) and affectionate. Their small size means there’s less fur to shed around the house. Toy breeds’ small frames are fragile and prone to injury—a risk that’s heightened in a house with small kids.
Depending on the species, 6 to 60 years TRAITS
They don’t shed, but they can molt several times a year. Many birds are social. Parrots, in particular, can learn tricks and language skills. (It’s true!) They need your attention here and there throughout the day. If birds, especially parrots, are left unattended for too long, they may scream or pluck feathers due to anxiety.
GOOD TO KNOW
Grooming needs vary by breed. The Chihuahua’s coat requires only the occasional brushing. A longer-haired Yorkie needs a daily brushing and a grooming every month or two.
GOOD TO KNOW
Since they’re prey to some animals, birds instinctively hide illnesses, so it’s important to keep up routine medical checkups. Finding an avian vet can be difficult in some regions.
Tanks generally require a deep-cleaning (a grown-up job) at least every two weeks. Many species can live in the same tank. Betta fish, however, need separate homes or they will fight (and may even kill) one another.
T H I S PA G E : G LO B A L P/G E T T Y I M A G E S . O P P O S I T E PA G E : B A R R Y L E W I S /G E T T Y I M A G E S
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Depending on species, 18 months to 10 years or more.
C AT S C O M M O N H O U S E C AT S
AVERAGE SIZE: 10 to 15 pounds AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: 16 years
Domestic shorthairs (another name for regular old house cats) are hardy and generally require only an annual checkup. They’re also typically affectionate with young kids and compatible with other animals. This type of cat loves to eat, so you need to monitor its diet to avoid obesity.
H A M ST E R S AVERAGE SIZE:
GOOD TO KNOW STATS
The domestic shorthair is a combination of a variety of breeds. It’s essentially the mutt of the cat world, so it doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all descriptor. Some are skittish; others are ultra outgoing.
AVERAGE SIZE: 10 to 15 pounds AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: 12 to 15 years
Each breed has distinctive traits, so if you do some research, you’ll know what you’re getting when you sign on. Siamese, for example, are vocal; their meowing can sound like a crying baby. Bengals are friendly and playful. Both these breeds are on the low end of the shedding scale. Long-haired Ragdoll cats need daily brushing to prevent matted fur. GOOD TO KNOW
Some purebreds are prone to certain genetic diseases. (For example, Ragdoll cats frequently have a congenital heart condition.) So they may rack up medical fees.
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN:
2 to 3 years
P U R E B R E D C AT S
about 5 inches long
Hamsters are low-cost and relatively self-sufficient. They are also notoriously crabby and even bite on occasion, so you may need a look-but-don’t-touch policy with little ones. GOOD TO KNOW
They are nocturnal. If the cage is in your kid’s room, late-night wheel runs could disturb his sleep. Each year, about 7.6 million cats and other animals need homes, according to the ASPCA. Start your pet search at a shelter. Go to petfinder.com to one o find do e in n your area.. y
GUINEA PIGS AVERAGE SIZE:
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: 5 to 8 years
WANT A PLAYFUL CAT?
Bengals are fun and frisky. They need toys that are stimulating or they may wreak havoc on your couch. They also love water. They might follow you into the shower or drink from the tap when allowed.
Energetic and cuddly (they make a catlike purring sound when petted), guinea pigs are also hardier than their hamster cousins. They rarely bite but will chew on power cords and other objects if left out of the cage unsupervised.
GOOD TO KNOW
Gu uinea pigs jump up in the air when they’re excited.
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Find info on more types of dogs, cats, and critters at realsimple.com/petpicks.
It only takes a second...
T URTLE S, LIZ ARDS, AND SNAKE S
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: Varies widely, from 12 years (for a bearded dragon) to 80 years (for a Russian tortoise)
They’re hypoallergenic and generally need little maintenance, aside from a weekly cage cleaning. Some, like snakes, need to be fed only once a week. Reptiles, however, are known carriers of salmonella, so you need to be a stickler about hand washing after handling, especially with kids under five, who are most susceptible.
THE ANIMAL EXPERTS MIKKEL BECKER,
Seattle-based certified animal trainer for Vetstreet.com. MARY GARDNER, D.V.M.,
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, Los Angeles. ANN HOHENHAUS, D.V.M.,
GOOD TO KNOW
Animal Medical Center, New York City.
Pros recommend the bearded dragon lizard for its calm temperament and willingness to be held. Their go-to pet snake is the corn snake, which has beautiful coloring and is usually captive-bred (meaning it’s not taken from the wild, disrupting an ecosystem). But be prepared: A corn snake starts off worm-sized but can grow to six feet. Top turtle pick: the Russian tortoise, which is OK with being handled by curious kids. It starts off the size of a silver dollar and can grow to nearly a foot in length.
JIM LOWE, D.V.M.,
technicalservices veterinarian, Tomlyn Veterinary Science, in Fort Worth.
cofounder of Adopt-aPet.com and author of For Dog’s Sake!, Los Angeles. ALICIA MCLAUGHLIN, D.V.M.,
the Center for Bird & Exotic Animal Medicine, Bothell, Washington. GAYLE O’KONSKI, D.V.M.,
Morris Animal Hospital, Granger, Indiana. DOUG PALMA, D.V.M.,
R ABBITS AVERAGE SIZE:
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN:
8 years Bunnies are fairly social and intelligent. They can be trained to use a litter box and taught tricks. They will also gnaw anything in their paths—wires, baseboards. And they’re messy: To be frank, rabbits are poop machines. Daily cleaning and bedding changes are a must.
GOOD TO KNOW
Rabbits are herbivores (they eat fresh vegetables and hay pellets) and need to be handled with care. They can be injured trying to escape a little one’s hug or squeeze.
Animal Medical Center, New York City. LISA RADOSTA, D.V.M.,
Florida Veterinary Behavior Service, West Palm Beach, Florida. ANDY ROARK, D.V.M.,
Cleveland Park Animal Hospital, Greenville, South Carolina. MICHAEL SHIKASHIO,
based in Mystic, Connecticut; board president, International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Everyday items can become dangerous in little hands
Keep laundry pacs away from children
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HOW TO MAKE THE BE ST OF
…a big fight. Or a day of parenting fails. Or maybe (yay!) an engagement. No matter the high or low from the day before, it can be hard to wake up and carry on as usual. So don’t. Here is some expert advice on how to react, restart, or return to earth after an emotional event. Ready? Let’s rise—and shine. Written by Ingela Ratledge
Photographs by Katherine Wolkoff
the morning after…
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1 THE MORNING AF TER
…the absolute worst day with your kids F I R S T T H I N G : Go for goofy. Lightening the mood is good for you and them. “When my kids were younger, it was a smiley face on their waffle made with chocolate chips. Now that they’re older, I might text them ﬁrst thing with a silly selﬁe of my epic bedhead,” says Rachael Pavlik, a parenting blogger and a coauthor of I Just Want to Pee Alone. Then, if you lost your cool during the Great Cheesecake Factory Meltdown of 2017, initiate the repair. “Say that you’re sorry for your part and that you didn’t like how you acted,” says Janet Lansbury, the author of No Bad Kids and the host of Unruffled, a parenting podcast. (P.S. Give back
any toys that you conﬁscated in the heat of battle.) It can help to psych yourself up for another full day of mothering by pondering the Circle of Life. “Not the tear-jerking, Lion King–iﬁed one,” says Johanna Stein, the author of How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane. “I think about the numerous horrors that I inﬂicted on my parents as a child and remind myself that my daughter will ultimately get her comeuppance when she becomes a parent. Revenge will be sweet!” K E E P I N M I N D : “As parents, it’s so easy to take it personally when we see our children do something rebellious,” says Lansbury. But if you zoom out, yesterday’s miserable behavior could have been a perfect storm of circumstances: You tried to go shoe shopping late in the afternoon, when everyone was tired. Your toddler was overstimulated. Your teenager is stressed-out about a project.
No one had a snack. For greater insight into how it all went so pear shaped, solicit input from your kids. “Don’t be accusatory, which puts them on the defensive. Instead be curious,” says Jerry Weichman, Ph.D., an adolescent psychologist and the author of How to Deal: A Teen Survival Guide. “Say, ‘I’m wondering about the [insert shenanigans here] that went on. What upset you, and why did it upset you so much?’ The more that a parent can understand how their kid operates, the better.” And while you may want to rethink schedules or discipline if every day is a whopper, don’t make any dramatic changes until the dust settles.
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THE MORNING AF TER
THE MORNING AF TER
THE MORNING AF TER
…the best news
…the worst news
…a huge fight with your spouse
F I R S T T H I NG : Whee! You’re engaged! Were promoted! Got your dream house! Enjoy it. “Do a mental or physical happy dance—life’s victories don’t come by often enough,” says Susan S. Raines, Ph.D., a mediation trainer and a professor of conﬂict management at Kennesaw State University, in Kennesaw, Georgia. Call your nearest and dearest who would want to know, and then— because you still have to go to the office/take the kids to school—gently reenter reality with a short to-do list. For example: one work deadline you must meet, crucial paperwork that needs to be signed, or a few household chores that you can’t put off. K E E P I N M I N D : The only thing more delicious than receiving good news is spreading it. “But before you blast off and tell the world on social media, tell important people directly,” says Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and the author of the forthcoming Modern Etiquette for a Better Life. That means your close family and friends (see above). But work superiors, too, are entitled to an early heads-up, before the news makes the rounds. “It’s a courtesy, and you should let them know how your plans might affect your job,” says Gottsman. And be mindful that there’s a ﬁne line between enthusiasm and bragging. “It becomes annoying if your good news is all you want to talk about. Ask about the other person. Move the conversation along,” says Gottsman. Worth noting: Not every single accomplishment needs to be broadcast. “We live in a world of stream-of-consciousness sharing, where that’s the norm,” says Raines. If most people won’t care or be affected, then skip the social post— or just keep it short.
F I R S T T H I N G : You’re under no obligation to start making lemonade immediately. Know yourself: “I’m not good at emotional multitasking, so when I try to soldier on like nothing’s wrong, things start to fall apart,” says Stein. Stay put beneath that duvet, and wallow if you need to. That said, many people beneﬁt from staying in motion (rallying friends, organizing meals). “Meditation or exercise, when followed up with concrete action, can help shake the brain out of its threat mode— when we’re primed to anticipate future negative events and remember past ones,” says Ian Robertson, Ph.D., a scientist at the Center for BrainHealth, at the University of Texas at Dallas, and the author of The Stress Test. Or try this lighthearted (and temporary) distraction: “I call it ‘rando Bay-ing,’” says Stein. “I enter three random words into the eBay search bar, and when I hit a combo with a single result under $10, I buy it. It sounds crazy, but it’s a reminder that life can be totally random. Sometimes it’s horrible, life-changing news, and sometimes it’s ‘blue,’ ‘chili,’ ‘ﬁshhook’ earrings.” K E E P I N M I N D : When the show absolutely must go on, even with bad news weighing you down, name the elephant in the room. “I was once scheduled to give a speech at a conference, and right before that I got word that my daughter had been hospitalized,” says Marti Erickson, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and a cohost of the podcast Mom Enough. “I couldn’t get a ﬂight home until a few hours later, so I went ahead with the event. I began by telling the audience very brieﬂy what I was facing. Just naming it helped me shift my focus to my topic and give a good speech.”
F I R S T T H I N G : Evaluate your frame of mind before saying anything. Even if you did manage to kiss and make up last night, there may be lingering resentment. Go for a jog, visit the farmers’ market—anything that helps you decompress. “I have a one-sided, angrily whispered argument in the shower,” to deliver all the missed retorts, says Stein. Once you’re composed(ish), apologize, even if you are convinced that nothing was your fault. “Take responsibility for your speciﬁc failures—losing your temper, acting insensitively, whatever it was,” says Raines. “You could be surprised by the result. We teach in negotiation theory that making an unexpected concession can change the course of the discussion.” You might receive an apology in return or simply defuse the bomb. K E E P I N M I N D : There will probably be unﬁnished business. To assess how much digging is warranted, ask yourself, “Will this matter in one week, one month, one year?” For example, were you annoyed that your partner forgot to tell you that his mom is coming to visit—or is this really about how he doesn’t value your own family? “Let the small things go. Save your attention for bigger issues,” says Pavlik.
…O R YO U R T E E N AG E R Start in exploratory mode, says psychologist Jerry Weichman: “Say hello like nothing happened, to gauge where things stand.” If the waters seem warm, wade in. Confess your own mistakes, and ask how he feels about what happened. If he grunts and storms past? Let him go. He may need a few minutes or a few days; the duration will correlate with the intensity of the incident. And don’t worry if there’s no resolution. “Rest assured— he heard you. Parents shouldn’t get bogged down by one fight, even when it’s a biggie,” says Weichman.
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5 THE MORNING AF TER
…a great vacation F I R S T T H I N G : Nothing is going to smooth the harsh reminder that you’re no longer snorkeling in Hawaii, drinking mimosas all day, or simply waking up in a bed that someone else is going to make. But you can ﬁnd ways to ease the transition, starting with your outﬁt. “Put on extra-comfy clothes and shoes that make you feel pampered and relaxed,” says Erickson. Take a peek at your schedule, and if it’s shaping up to be a bear, rearrange or cancel what you can so that you’ll have a chunk of time to wade through e-mails. (Or, OK, to procrastinate by gazing at your favorite vacation photos and marking the ones that you’re
turning into a coffee-table book.) Would a stop at your favorite bagel shop on the way in to work, an 8 A.M. Spin class, or calling in a housekeeping crew make the day seem less daunting? Do it. Even the mere planning of a future activity could give you a more positive outlook on the day. “Have something new to look forward to,” says Lansbury. Buy concert tickets, schedule a Bill Murray movie marathon with the family, or brainstorm about the next trip, however far off. “Most of us get as much joy out of the planning as out of the experience itself,” notes Raines. “The event is nice, but the anticipation is a lot of it.” K E E P I N M I N D : If all else fails, take heart knowing that, as wonderful as it is to collect seashells with the kids or explore a new city, there’s an indisputable ease to being on home turf. “On vacation, we’re eating and drinking with abandon, our kids
are sleeping wherever and whenever, and by the end everyone is cranky and starting to crave the usual routine,” says Pavlik. “It’s always good to pick up your dog, be in your own bed, and go back to normal.” Hey, if vacations weren’t temporary, then we wouldn’t hold them so dear. “They have a beginning and an end, and that’s why we savor them,” says Pavlik. “You don’t want too much of a good thing. If I had to have sand in my bra and listen to Jimmy Buffett for 365 days a year, I’d go crazy.” GET MORE TIPS
for making all mornings more bearable at realsimple.com/goodmorning.
The January To-Do List No matter how much (or how little!) time you have, there are plenty of ways to get that done-and-done feeling.
THINGS PILING UP? Get this checklist in the palm of your hand with Cozi, the free family organizing app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Go to cozi.com or download from your mobileapp store. (Cozi and Real Simple are both owned by Time Inc.)
unsubscribe from one e-mail list that drives you nuts jot down a fix-it list post on Facebook for a handyman/ dog walker/Saturday-night sitter book a date with that friend you never see enough of change or clean at least one household filter (central air/Brita/ stove vent)
clean under the oven or behind the refrigerator order batteries online set up mail-order delivery for regular prescriptions write that thank-you note you’ve been meaning to get to book hair-color appointments for the year download a meditation app
UNDER AN HOUR make doctor and dentist appointments for the family for the whole year clean out the freezer
organize filing cabinet; shred old documents (um…locate shredder)
set a timer and delete e-mails that you don’t need anymore
buy a year’s worth of birthday cards (and stamps!)
dump out makeup bag: edit, clean, restock
untangle necklaces; hang on hooks
order one-size-fits-most birthday gifts for the kids’ friends (gift cards for teens); store them where you won’t forget them purge 10 things from your worst closet
identify three new meals that you’re excited to put in your regular cooking rotation pick one of those boxes of “stuff” in the closet/basement/attic; sort it clean out the car
A WEEKEND take care of all the holiday returns paint that room (you know the one) create some space in the garage start prepping for tax time reoutfit a closet with shelves and bins so that it actually works do three things just for you— including using that meditation app
P H O T O G R A P H BY S T E P H E N L E W I S
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order new socks for everyone!
I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with “S.” Who knows what you’ll see in the backup camera1 of your new 2017 Corolla, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? That’s why it comes standard, along with Toyota Safety Sense™ P.2 Because, even though you might see almost anything, one thing we think you should definitely see is safety. How many things can you spy that start with the letter “S”?
Toyota Safety Sense™ Standard
Work & Money A M E R I C A N VO I C E S
What’s an important life lesson you learned early on? I had an academic scholarship to Howard University. All I had to do was maintain a 3.0 GPA, but I wasn’t taking things seriously enough. At the end of my first year, I had a 2.9 and lost my scholarship. I’ll never forget, my mother said to me, “You took someone’s spot.” It broke my heart, and I knew, from that moment on, I was never going to squander [an opportunity] again.
© C B S /C AVA N A U G H
Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i spent two years pitching the higher-ups at CBS Entertainment a diversity and inclusion department and convincing them that she was the one to oversee it. Now she focuses on making sure that the network’s shows reflect the real world. Smith-Anoa’i, 46, spoke with Real Simple about bold proposals and sweet victories.
What were your dreams as a kid? I was mesmerized by the sports broadcaster Jayne Kennedy. She was a woman of color who looked like me, and I didn’t see that often. I said, “That’s what I want to do.” I went to college for broadcast journalism and got an internship in a newsroom. But that made me realize that I didn’t want to be in front of the camera. I wanted to be behind it.
So what did you do? I enrolled in community college at home in Whittier, California, in 1989. My parents said, “If you want to go back to Howard, you pay for it.” I worked and was able to save $17,000. I went back and graduated with honors. You worked for Nike for a while. Then what? I worked for Sinbad, the comedian, doing publicity. Then I got a publicity job at CBS.
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TIFFANY SMITH-ANOA’I • Executive vice president of entertainment diversity, inclusion, and communications at CBS Entertainment • Based in Los Angeles
What made this so important to you? Every network around that time had a corporate diversity executive. But it wasn’t rooted in entertainment—the people responsible for casting, directing, writing, and developing shows. Most people hire people they know or people who look like them. I wanted to connect executives to a group of talent they might not normally come into contact with. How did that go? It took two years. But I kept at it, and eventually I was able to present my PowerPoint to our then chairman, Nina Tassler. Two weeks
later, I was promoted to vice president and was able to create the department.
What is life outside work like for you? I have a daughter who’s 12. I’m really involved as a parent at her school. My husband is a professional wrestler, and he owns and operates his own wrestling academy in Los Angeles. He does live shows once a month, and my daughter and I work the concession stand. That’s part of our family tradition.
How does the job play out? I introduce writers, directors, and young executives into this pipeline, and then it’s on the executives to hire them. I’m not the “diversity police.”
Thoughts on work-life balance? There is no balance. I refuse to feel guilty for it. I have a great support system at home with my husband. We are able to really divide and conquer.
What type of leader are you? Before we start staff meetings, I’m always asking, “How are you doing?” and “How do you feel? Anything going on?” You never know what’s going on in someone’s life. Also, I empower my team to use their voices. When we meet, I don’t talk first—they talk first.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self? Not to worry so damn much. I worried about what people thought. That’s such a waste of time. Another lesson I’ve learned as an adult is the value of the word no and how to really use it as a complete sentence. Parting advice? Always reach for something you feel is unattainable, because that’s when victory is sweetest.
ASK BUCKY TIME INC.’S* ALL-KNOWING, STRAIGHTSHOOTING SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF TALENT MANAGEMENT, BUCKY KEADY, TACKLES YOUR WORKPLACE CONUNDRUMS.
I often point out what the company needs to do to operate better, but it falls on deaf ears. Then, when things go poorly, I’m the one who gets blamed. Sounds like you’re bruised. I think the first thing is to step back. Take yourself for an hour-long hike on the weekend and think about why your dynamic in the workplace is like this. Map out how people engage with you, and see if there are some common threads. If there’s a pattern, maybe your communication style is contributing to the fact that you’re feeling blamed. Next time around, you may want to bundle problems together rather than talking about them one at a time. Make an appointment with your boss and say, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about these five or six problems that we have, and I have some serious solves here.” Then you won’t be vulnerable to being blamed, because you’ve gotten ahead of the trouble. *TIME INC. IS THE PARENT COMPANY OF REAL SIMPLE.
P O R T R A I T BY S A R A H M AY C O C K
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You eventually pushed the network to create a new department. After I had been there for six years, I created a PowerPoint on why we needed a diversity and inclusion executive for entertainment. I went into my boss’s office one day and said, “This is where television is going, and this is the role we need.” I was nervous, but I felt so passionate about it that I wasn’t going to leave that office without being heard.
“I went into my boss’s office and said, ‘This is the role we need.’ I was nervous, but I felt so passionate about it that I wasn’t going to leave that office without being heard.”
C A R E E R C OAC H
Conquering the impostor syndrome Ever feel like a fraud at work? You’re not alone, says Valerie Young, the author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women. She offers tools for upending this mind-set to beat insecurity and own your achievements.
See it, name it Normalize self-doubt by calling it out. “When you’re vocal about the phenomenon, that makes it less personal and takes the power out of the feelings,” says Young. Telling a trusted coworker something like “I felt like such an impostor in that room” in a normal, no-big-deal tone creates a sense of relief. It also opens up a dialogue. When you see that those close to you have aspects of the same insecurity, your perspective begins to change.
If you’re in a meeting and you’re stumped by a question, what do you say? “There’s a quiet power in confidently stating that you don’t know something,” says Young. Don’t apologize; just use the right tone. If you’re at a junior level, you should say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out!” If you’re in a leadership role, you can say, “I don’t know. What do others think?” Either way, it’s not a defeat.
5 Watch your words
2 Have postgame debriefs You’re entitled to make a mistake at work. Take time to learn from it rather than berating yourself. Young says to think like an athlete: “When a team loses a game, they don’t drop out of the league. Instead, they’ll say, ‘We weren’t at our best today.’ Then they watch the tape and figure out how to do better.”
Ask for specific feedback from your boss or a colleague with whom you’ve collaborated. “What do I need to work on?” is a great way to phrase it, says Young. Then, instead of ruminating, take action. Find a coach, practice, take a class. “Learn what you don’t know,” says Young. “If you flip the negative event into an opportunity, you’ll combat that uncomfortable, nagging feeling of inferiority.”
Humanize your critics
Maybe your boss is just having a bad day and is taking it out on your work. Perhaps your client sees things through a different lens (profits) from the one that you presented (future ideas). “Realize that criticism isn’t always a question of you or your ability—it’s a challenge of how you chose to do something,” says Young. “When you begin to look at those around you— your coworkers, your manager—as people, with strengths and weaknesses and various priorities, you will learn to accept the complexity in yourself, too.”
Kathleen Murray Harris Illustration by Tomi Um
“There are certain verbal tics that instantly diminish what comes after them and chip away at your confidence,” says Young. She is referring to phrases like “I feel” and “You’ve probably already thought of this.” To combat this habit, Young suggests, “speak slowly— don’t be afraid of silence. It gives you more time to choose your words.” She also suggests jotting down a reminder at the top of your meeting notes: “Don’t use negative disclaimers!” The visual cue will help to retrain your brain.
THE GUIDE work & money
Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”
M A ST E R I N G T H E J O U R N E Y
THE GUIDE work & money
Body and soul After beating cancer, Rosaliz Jimenez gained a new appreciation for the body she was born with— and a passion for helping women embrace their curves.
R O SA L I Z J I M E N E Z is at an event hall in downtown New York City, about to walk the runway for the plus-size shopping site Full Beauty. She takes a last look at her outfit—black jumpsuit, turquoise platforms, citron jacket—draws a deep breath, and struts onstage, in step with the music (the Robert Palmer tune “Simply Irresistible,” blasting from the sound system). The lights are incredibly bright, and the crowd—celebs, stylists, models, and media folk—enthusiastic. Rosaliz reaches the end of the runway, strikes a pose, pivots gracefully, and strides offstage. The thrill is intense.
“I felt like a superstar,” recalls Rosaliz, 42, the photo director at the celebrity fashion magazine StyleWatch (a Time Inc. publication). She was one of only three non-pro models in that April 2015 show—a far cry from the shy teen who was teased about her weight. After the show, Ashley Graham—the plus-size model who made headlines as the cover girl for last year’s Sports
Written by Nicole Sforza Photograph by Lydia Hudgens
M A ST E R I N G T H E J O U R N E Y
MORE THAN HER SHARE In 2011, when she hadn’t been feeling well and was mysteriously gaining weight, Rosaliz went to an endocrinologist, thinking that it was a thyroid issue. “My blood levels were normal,” she says, “so the doctor just told me to lose weight. In my experience, when you’re heavier, there’s an assumption that you’re not well because of your weight.” Second and third opinions yielded no further insight. Then one day Rosaliz noticed a lump on her neck. A sonogram showed that her thyroid was covered with nodules. When the gland was removed, it was revealed that “every single nodule was cancerous,” says Rosaliz. She went through radiation, but this was only the beginning of a harrowing health odyssey. In early 2012, doctors found a tumor on her pancreas. During the surgery, in which half of Rosaliz’s pancreas was removed, her spleen ruptured. She began bleeding out. The doctors cut through abdominal muscles to take out the spleen. In December 2012, in an episode unrelated to the cancer, Rosaliz was hit with excruciating gallstones, and her gallbladder had to be removed. This string of setbacks forced Rosaliz to take a leave from work. “It was like my body was imploding,” she says. But somehow she kept her cool: “I think it was the universe trying to be funny.” Her outlook wasn’t always so sunny. “When I was little, I used to
pray I would die, because I thought it would be easier than living as a fat person,” says Rosaliz. She was on medically supervised diets, and in school, kids called her “Miss Piggy.” But, admits Rosaliz, “no one bullied me the way I bullied myself.” Her agony led to an eating disorder in her 20s. “I lost a lot of weight, but I still didn’t feel pretty,” she says. Rosaliz would cloak herself in black and pull her hair into a tight bun. “I wanted to be invisible,” she says. “If no one could see me, no one could make fun of me.” Getting sick changed all that. In January 2014, feeling better, Rosaliz made a vow to remain grateful and to present herself differently: “I used to make fun of my body. But when my body broke down, I realized how lucky I always was to have it.” Her new openness came out in prints and colors, high heels, and loose hair. “I started getting excited about getting dressed,” she says.
“I want women to realize how blessed they are. It’s about changing the conversation you have with yourself.”
PA SS I O N A N D P U R P O S E Rosaliz feels that her medical challenges were meant to give her a mission: to inspire others to love their bodies. “It took cancer to transform my body image, but people shouldn’t have to endure hardship to get to that point,” she says. “I hear my friends say their butts look big, and it makes me so sad. I want women to realize how blessed they are. To be like, ‘OK, this is what I have to work with, so let’s look as cute as possible!’ It’s about changing the conversation you have with yourself.” Rosaliz spreads her message in various ways, including a Facebook page (a self-empowerment forum with almost 10,000 followers called “xoxo, Curvy Girl”) and sitting on a panel for TheCurvyCon, an annual event in New York City. “One
woman came up to me afterward and was really emotional,” says Rosaliz. “It felt great to know that my story inspired her.” Life now is not all leopard prints and hugs, though. There is still medical fallout: Not having a spleen makes Rosaliz prone to infection. And though she’s cancer-free, the disease is with her in a certain way. “Cancer leaves you living in terror,” she says. “It’s like having a restraining order against a crazy boyfriend. You’re always wondering when he’s going to show up again.” She copes with the uncertainty by focusing on the present and letting go of destructive habits. “I’m learning to take care of myself better,” says Rosaliz, who used to be the type to push through, going to work with a fever. “Once I even came to the office with an IV in my arm. Now if I’m not feeling well, I call in sick.” Still, there are days when selfdoubt creeps in. “But then I remind myself,” she says. “I’ve survived cancer, radiation, and several surgeries and have lost 4½ organs.” Occasionally Rosaliz stands in front of the mirror and looks at her stomach. “I hate those Frankenstein scars, but I also love them,” she says, “because they remind me that I’ve been given a new life.” And she knows just what she wants to do with it.
Get to know Rosaliz (and her mission) better in our video. Go to realsimple.com/rosaliz.
THE GUIDE work & money
Illustrated Swimsuit issue—gave Rosaliz compliments and a hug. “It was surreal,” says Rosaliz, “like if Einstein said you’re smart.” Killing it on the catwalk that day was especially magical because of what Rosaliz had been through a few years before.
Homa enjoys the process of making yogurt and the support of her team (bottom).
MASTER THE UNEXPECTED
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THE POWER OF PLAN B When she lost her job in law, Homa Dashtaki found something even more valuable: an opportunity to rethink her relationship with work and money and redeďŹ ne her version of the American Dream.
oma always had a plan. â€œIâ€™m a hyperplanner,â€? she says, â€œI knew I wanted to be a lawyer when I was nine years old.â€? But things didnâ€™t go as planned. Five years in to her legal career, the Č´QDQFLDOFULVLVKLWDQG+RPDZDVRXWRIDMRE %XWVKHZDVQČ‡WRXWRIRSWLRQV â€œIâ€™m also a hyper-saver,â€? she explains. Early in her career, sheâ€™d met with an advisor to invest in a retirement account she decided not to touch, and she had enough savings to buy some time. â€œKeep some savings segregated; know what you canâ€™t touch,â€? she advises. â€œAlso, know what you donâ€™t NQRZDQGWXUQWRH[SHUWVIRUKHOSÎ–DFWXDOO\WXUQ
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WRSHRSOHDOODURXQGPHIRUKHOSÎ–VRPHWLPHVIHHO OLNHDUHFHSWDFOHIRUDGYLFHÎ–WIHHOVJRRGČ‹ â€œAs a lawyer, I was living the dream,â€? she says, â€œbut the moment I lost it, I realized it wasnâ€™t giving P\OLIHPHDQLQJČ‹6RRQVKHZDVVSHQGLQJWLPHLQ WKHNLWFKHQZLWKKHUIDWKHUIROORZLQJDEHORYHG =RURDVWULDQWUDGLWLRQRIPDNLQJ\RJXUW1RZLWČ‡VD thriving business called The White Moustache with VL[HPSOR\HHVVKHUHJDUGVDVDQH[WHQGHGIDPLO\ ČŠÎ–KDGLQWHUQDOL]HGRQHLGHDRIWKH$PHULFDQ Dream, let that go, and now Iâ€™m living another. My savings helped me let go,â€? she explains. â€œOne thing Iâ€™ve learned: the best plan is to know that nothing really goes as planned.â€?
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOMA AND HOW YOU CAN MASTER THE UNEXPECTED AT WWW.REALSIMPLE.COM/MASTERUNEXPECTED
This article is for general information purposes only. JPMorgan Chase & Co. shall not be liable for any use of the information contained in this article and such information may not be relied upon by you in evaluating the merits of participating in any transaction.
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B R E AT H E
When your energy is low, chances are your breath is shallow. Sometimes your body will yawn as a natural response. And it feels good. A yawn is just a big inhale that opens the throat and brings in more oxygen, and it leaves the body feeling relaxed as you exhale. You can actually conjure a series of yawns to get this sense of release and renewal anytime. Itâ€™s a great practice for relieving stress and sparking energy. Start by taking a few natural breaths with your hands resting in your lap (so youâ€™re not doing anything but breathing). Now think about that place in the back of your throat that opens when you yawn. Inhale through your mouth, and open your jaw really wide. Let that stretch go all the way back to your ears, as if you were trying to clear them, like when they become clogged on a plane. Inhale even more, and let the yawn take over. It may take a few tries to get this. Be patient. Between each try, rest with a soft, open jaw and wait until the next yawn comes. Give yourself five good yawns. Your eyes may water. Let that happen. Notice how your breath begins to stretch and fill your body naturally, no matter how tight your breathing was before. You may feel an impulse to stretch your ams, your sides, your legs. Go ahead and follow that. Then just feel your body settle, and be aware of your energy level. Better? Enjoy that feeling. BY M A RGA R E T TO W N S E N D, T H E L I V I N G B R E AT H .C O M
Photograph by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott
THIS IS THE YE AR TO G E T B E T TE R AT S AYIN G
It’s rarely easy, and it’s not always popular, but it’s necessary for your sanity—not to mention your overpacked schedule. Do you need help? Yes? Here it is. Written by Jennifer King Lindley Illustrations by Jessica Hische
A REQUEST TO HOST the swimteam party. Coffee with a young colleague who wants to “pick your brain.” Drinks with the new neighbors. Every day, we are peppered with requests—for our help, for our time, for a caterer’s quantity of our famous meatballs. They fill our brimming in-boxes and arrive through our bleating phones, and our usually kneejerk response to the deluge? Yes! Yes! You got it! Yes! Of course, there’s much to be said for saying yes. We want to
help friends in need, to put ourselves out there. (Television producer Shonda Rhimes’s 2015 best seller, Year of Yes, was a celebration of this open-arms approach to life.) But too often we agree without thinking, take on way too much, or, when cornered by a coworker in the break room, say yes only because it feels too awkward to refuse. The result is that too many of us have serious yes hangovers. We now dread hosting the potluck (What was I thinking?) or become exhausted meeting everyone else’s needs. “We all have limited resources,” says Sheila Heen, a coauthor of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, who teaches negotiation at Harvard Law School. “That means that
every time you say yes to something, you are automatically saying no to something else.” And it’s not hard to guess what that is: most likely, time with your loved ones or time for yourself. The solution, say experts, is to master the delicate art of declining. Let this be your guide: how to—at last!—set boundaries and rebuff those nonessential, burdensome requests that we all ﬁeld daily. Then you will have room in your no-longer-maxed-out life for what’s really important.
W H Y S AY I N G NO IS HARD It’s such a little word, but wow is it tough to choke out in certain moments. “We have an instinctive need for connection to other people—it’s essential to our survival. We worry that saying no will break these bonds,” says Vanessa Bohns, Ph.D., a professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University. Specifically, we fear that the other person, whether a child or a coworker, will feel rejected or take it as a personal affront. “Saying no stirs up intensely negative emotions—embarrassment and guilt,” says Bohns. To avoid those feelings, we often say yes even when it goes against our ethics. In one of Bohns’s studies, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, more than half the subjects agreed to deface a library book (by writing the word pickle in pen) when asked to by an interviewer in the library. “The subjects voiced objections like ‘It’s not right to hurt property’ but complied anyway, because saying no to another person felt so difficult,” says Bohns. Also at stake: our own self-image. “We all have identity stories we tell ourselves. ‘I’m someone who lends a hand.’ ‘I’m a very involved mom,’” says Heen. Refusing a request calls this rosy bio into question. And women—who, it seems, are called on more often than men to pitch in—seem to have a harder time saying no. “We are socialized to feel responsible for the feelings and well-being of those around us,” says Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D., a licensed clinical social worker in Salt Lake City and the author of The Assertiveness Guide for Women.
P R AC T I C A L A DV I C E So you say yes. To too much. And while that approach may help you avoid immediate discomfort, there’s a long-term toll. Instead of protecting relationships, it can build resentment. (Is she just using me as a free babysitting service?) It’s also a major source of burnout. “I see lots of women who come in depressed, anxious, and depleted,” says Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Fairﬁeld County, Connecticut. Block out regular time on your calendar for the things that sustain you—exercising, meditating, talking to your sister—and stick to those commitments. If someone asks you to post bake-sale ﬂyers during that time: Sorry, you’re already booked. “I tell clients, ‘Pay yourself ﬁrst.’ Self-care is what allows you to show up and say your yeses later,” says Melissa McCreery, Ph.D., a psychologist and the founder of toomuchon herplate.com. Decide on your priorities and make them Official Personal Policies. I’m out only two nights a week so I can eat dinner with my kids. Or, I budget for these ﬁve charities, so I can’t give to other pledge drives this year. Write them down and post them where you ﬁeld requests (by your computer perhaps), says Maralee McKee, an etiquette coach in Orlando and the founder of mannersmentor.com. Still lying awake at 3 A.M. imagining your book club assembling with pitchforks because you declined to host? Know this: “Humans have a harshness bias. We believe others judge us a lot more critically than they actually do,” says Bohns. “Most people have completely forgotten about your answer and have moved on to ask someone else,” says Susan Newman, Ph.D., a social psychologist and the author of The Book of No.
Chances are, you’ll find common ground— and useful lessons—in the following scenarios from Real Simple readers and staff. HOW TO DO IT WELL: A CHE AT SHEET The goal is to convey two things: I can’t accommodate that request and I still value this relationship. These seven tips will help you master a good no.
1 STA RT S M A L L
If you are a people-pleaser by nature, practice in lowstakes settings, suggests psychologist Melissa McCreery. Set a goal that you are going to say no three times a day. No, I don’t want to apply for your store credit card. “Like any skill, it gets easier with practice,” she says.
2 H AV E A G O -TO PHR ASE
A rehearsed script can head off panic when you are put on the spot. “Thank you so much for thinking of me. I’m sorry, but I have other commitments then, so I’m not available” will dispatch many of the requests thrown your way.
My friend constantly sends me invitations and e-mails for a product line that she sells from home. I feel so much pressure to buy, and I want to help her, but I don’t want to be guilted into spending money on stuff I don’t want. WHY IT’S HARD: These pitches rely on the fact that it’s difficult to refuse friends and family. Her relentless drumbeat adds to the pressure: “If someone says no to a first request, research shows that person is more likely to say yes to a second out of guilt,” says Bohns. HOW TO SAY NO: Be supportive but direct. “I’m so glad you’ve found a passion you can use your great skills in!” suggests Hanks. “But I’m just not interested in buying any candles right now.” Humor can help. Maybe, “I have enough candles for the rest of my life even if the power went out forever.” End it there or, if you’re close, offer to support her in a way that doesn’t involve your credit card: “I’m happy to help you set up for your open house.” If her invitations keep flowing, ignore them. You are not obligated to keep answering, says McKee.
I work part-time and volunteer at my child’s school when I can. One parent asked me to take on a weekly job that would suck up my only free day. Instead of saying no, I’ve ignored her e-mails. I see her at school, and I hide. WHY IT’S HARD: Ignoring a difficult request can seem like the path of least resistance. But it’s ineffective and impolite to leave people guessing, says McKee. Over time, this tack can be more anxiety-producing for you than being direct. HOW TO SAY NO: Send an apologetic e-mail. “I’m so sorry that I never got back to you. This year has totally gotten away from me, and I realize I’m not able to swing it. But I could make a little time to help with publicity next month.” She will probably be sympathetic— everyone can relate to being overwhelmed—and you won’t have to spend the Spring Sing hiding behind your program. We have couple friends whom we enjoy seeing but don’t feel super close to. Yet they are always asking us to drinks and dinner. We need to take a break without hurting their feelings. WHY IT’S HARD: Clearly they seem to value your company more than you do theirs. Still, accepting more than you wish to will make you resentful of the time you do spend together. HOW TO SAY NO: Resist the urge to let them down gently by being vague.
TA K E A PAU S E
“With a ‘That sounds fun…maybe’ you give the other person false hope, and it just puts you in the position of having to have more conversations,” says McKee. Again, be direct but kind: “We love seeing you, but the next few months are so busy for us. Can we check in with you in early March?” My boss wants me to take on a new project. My plate is full. I know that I’ll be spread too thin to do a good job. But I am afraid that if I say no, she won’t think I’m a team player. WHY IT’S HARD: Your boss wields power over your annual review, your salary, and your career trajectory. “But if you say yes to everything, your work may suffer,” says Newman. HOW TO SAY NO: This is not your problem to solve alone, says Heen: “Say to your boss, ‘I would love to do it, but I’m not sure I can add this while still giving my other projects the attention they deserve. I would appreciate your thoughts on how to prioritize.’ ” That way, allotting your time becomes a mutual yes or no.
Some decisions are easy. Yes: Watching a friend’s kid during a family emergency. No: Pet-sitting the neighbor’s corn snake. On the fence? “It’s OK to say you’ll get back to someone and take 24 hours,” says etiquette coach Maralee McKee.
4 T RY “ Y E S, N O, Y E S ”
Negotiation expert Sheila Heen recommends sandwiching the no: Yes to the relationship (Tim is such a fun kid!); no to the request (I’m sorry we can’t host him all weekend while you’re away); and then yes to something that you can offer instead (I’m happy to give him a ride to hockey on Sunday, if that helps).
My sister is going through a divorce and asked to move in with us until she can get back on her feet. My own marriage is strained, and having her in the house would ratchet up the pressure even more. WHY IT’S HARD: It’s hardest to refuse those we are closest to. “But think of your priorities as concentric circles. In the center is you, then your spouse and kids, then your extended family, then friends, then acquaintances,” says Hanks. “Reframe how you think about the decision. You are saying no to save your marriage, not because you are a bad sister.” HOW TO SAY NO: First, be empathetic. “What people most want is to feel understood,” says Hanks. Say,
SAY “I D ON’T,” NOT “I C AN’ T”
It’s a simple shift, but it suggests that your refusal is based on your strongly held position and is nothing personal. I have a policy that I don’t lend money to friends.
6 KEEP IT BRIEF
“Long answers give the asker more loopholes to come back at you,” says social psychologist Susan Newman. “Your brother can say, ‘If you can’t help me move on Saturday because of your hair appointment, let’s do it Sunday!’ ” After you’ve said no—this is crucial—don’t start waffling. (Are you OK about this? Ask me again if you can’t find anyone else.)
7 D ON’T WHITE-LIE
We often think that we’re protecting people’s feelings by concocting an excuse. (I would love to come to your party, but my in-laws are in town.) “There’s no need to be that specific. And because you lied, you now do have something to feel guilty about,” says Heen. Plus, you set yourself up to have to lie again. (How was that visit?) It’s likely, in our Instagram age, that you’ll be busted anyway.
“I love you, and I know you’re in a tough spot.” Briefly let her know why it wouldn’t work to have her stay with you now. Then pivot to offer some other kind of support. Can you help her apartment hunt for something reasonable? Buy her groceries for a while? If she comes back with “You’re my sister! You would if you loved me!” repeat your position as calmly as you can. Don’t get caught up in the emotional maelstrom. “You have set your boundary, and now she is manipulating you,” says Hanks. My teenage son is embarrassed by our old car. One day he got a little teary over it, and I said I would trade it in. I now realize I can’t afford that. WHY IT’S HARD: Even if we are able to say a stalwart no to the rest of the planet, we wither at disappointing our kids. “It hurts to see them upset,” says Greenberg. “But by being so sensitive to their grievances, we miss out on opportunities to teach them resilience.” HOW TO SAY NO: “I tell parents of teenagers not to use the word no directly—it shuts down conversation,” tricky at this age under the best of circumstances, says Greenberg. Instead, say, “I spoke too quickly, and I’m sorry. I don’t have the money for a new car, but maybe we can get a slight upgrade if you get a job to help with payments.” That teaches independence—even better (really) than that new-car smell. Q
NIX THE PRESERVATIVES This (easy!) DIY crust is made from wholewheat flour plus flaxseed, so it is packed with omega-3â€™s and has none of the additives in many store-bought doughs and crusts.
INDULGE! ITâ€™S OK, REALLY. OUR TEST KITCHEN TOOK SIX AMERICAN FAVORITES AND SWAPPED IN A FEW HEALTHY INGREDIENTS. SO YOU CAN ENJOY, GUILT-FREE.
GO LEAN Cut the fat in half by using sirloin instead of ground chuck. A bit of bacon in the mix adds flavor with a fraction of the calories.
Written by Heath Goldman 6 Photographs by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Victoria Granof 6 Set Design by Jeffrey W. Miller
PILE IT ON This gooey homemade queso is rich and melty, but itâ€™s made with lowfat milk.
UP YOUR VEG It’s not all zucchini noodles—just half. You get the comfort of spaghetti with a healthy dose of green.
M E AT B A L L S
DARK CHOCOLATEâ€“ WALNUT
USE WHOLE GRAINS White wholewheat flour has the texture and the flavor of all-purpose and four times the fiber.
SKIP SYRUPS The ice cream is healthier and so are the toppings: pomegranate seeds, popcorn, goji berries, cocoa nibs, and toasted coconut.
DECADENT (NOT DEADLY) CHOCOLATE
ACTIVE 20 MINUTES TOTAL 30 MINUTES SERVES 6
ACTIVE 15 MINUTES TOTAL 15 MINUTES SERVES 4
ACTIVE 10 MINUTES TOTAL 45 MINUTES SERVES 4
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 cup hot tap water 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 thick-cut, center-cut bacon slices, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1½ cups 1% milk, divided
1 large poblano chile, chopped 8 oz. pepper Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. chili powder 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken 1 (11-oz.) bag tortilla chips 1 cup drained and rinsed canned black beans 1½ cups thinly shredded purple cabbage ½ cup drained fresh pico de gallo ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems WHISK together the cornstarch and ¼ cup milk in a small bowl; set aside. HEAT 1 teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium high. Add the onion and poblano; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1¼ cups of milk. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Stir in the cheese, lime juice, and ½ teaspoon salt; stir until the cheese melts. Cover and keep warm. HEAT the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the cumin, chili powder, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. SPREAD the chips on a platter and top with the chicken and beans. Drizzle the nachos with the cheese mixture and top with the cabbage, pico de gallo, and cilantro. Serve immediately.
SHREDDED CABBAGE, PICO DE GALLO, AND CILANTRO? THINK OF IT AS A SALAD ON A BED OF CHEESY CHIPS.
1 tsp. black pepper, divided 2 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about ½ cup) 4 thick red onion slices
1 (¼-oz.) envelope rapid-rise yeast 2¾ cups white whole-wheat flour, plus more for work surface 2 Tbsp. flaxseed 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split ¼ cup mayonnaise (preferably olive oil–based)
1 cup crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
1 Tbsp. Sriracha chile sauce
8 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach, stems removed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Sliced pickles, for serving
1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves 1 cup loosely packed baby arugula
grill to medium high. Gently mix together the sirloin, bacon, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape the mixture into 4 (½-inchthick) patties. Press your thumb gently into the center of each patty to make an indentation. PREHEAT
the patties with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Grill until nicely charred on 1 side, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes. Divide the Cheddar among the patties, cover, and cook until melted, about 2 minutes more. SEASON
MEANWHILE, grill the onion slices,
flipping once, until lightly charred and tender, about 4 minutes. Grill the buns, cut-side down, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. STIR together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and Sriracha in a small bowl. Top the bun bottoms with the patties, onion slices, spinach, and pickles. Divide the mayonnaise mixture among the bun tops and place on the burgers.
A spicy special sauce made with olive-oil mayo has healthier fats and less sugar than a big smear of regular mayonnaise or ketchup alone.
¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper PREHEAT oven to 475°F with a rack in the upper third. Stir the water, sugar, yeast, and 2 tablespoons oil in a measuring cup. Let stand until frothy, about 5 minutes. MEANWHILE, pulse the flour, flaxseed, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. With the processor running, pour the yeast mixture through the chute and process until a shaggy dough forms, about 30 seconds. TURN the dough out onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and shape each into a ball. Place each ball in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. PLACE the dough balls on a lightly floured surface. Roll each into a 12-inch round. Place on 2 lightly greased baking sheets. Brush each round with 1 teaspoon oil. BAKE the dough rounds on the upper oven rack, 4 minutes. Top each crust with ½ cup tomatoes, half the mozzarella, and half the Feta. Bake until the crusts are golden and the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, 14 to 16 minutes. SERVE the pizzas topped with the basil, parsley, and arugula and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
PIZZA IS THE PLACE FOR FULL-FAT CHEESE. MOZZARELLA AND FETA ADD SALTY PUNCH WITHOUT BEING TOO HEAVY.
D ECA D E N T ( N OT D E A D LY ) CHOCOLATE
“ZOODLES” & TURKEY
M E AT B A L L S
No heavy cream means less fat than most ice creams contain. Gelatin and sweetened condensed milk help thicken the base.
ACTIVE 20 MINUTES TOTAL 35 MINUTES SERVES 4
1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed ½ cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin ¼ cup unsweetened dark cocoa (such as Hershey’s Cocoa Special Dark)
⅓ cup 1% milk 1 large egg
2 oz. dark chocolate baking bar, chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1½ Tbsp. olive oil 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped ½ yellow onion, chopped
ACTIVE 25 MINUTES TOTAL 40 MINUTES MAKES 28 COOKIES
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup rye flour
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. baking powder
8 oz. spaghetti
½ tsp. baking soda
2 lb. zucchini, shaved with a vegetable peeler or Spiralizer to form “noodles”
½ tsp. kosher salt
MEANWHILE, heat the oil in a medium
saucepan over medium high. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the marinara sauce; reduce heat to medium low and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. WHILE the sauce simmers, cook the spaghetti until al dente, about 1 minute less than the package directions. Remove from heat (do not drain). Add the zucchini noodles and let stand 1 minute; drain.
1 (14-oz.) can nonfat sweetened condensed milk 3 large egg yolks 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups white whole-wheat flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
COMBINE the sausage, panko, and parsley in a medium bowl. Whisk together the milk, egg, cumin, and coriander in a small bowl and pour over the sausage mixture. Using your hands, gently mix until just combined. Shape the mixture into 12 (2-inch) meatballs. Place on the rack and bake until cooked through and lightly browned, 18 to 20 minutes. Keep warm.
3 cups whole milk, divided
⅛ tsp. kosher salt
1 (24-oz.) jar reduced-sodium marinara sauce
PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a lightly greased wire rack on the baking sheet.
ACTIVE 15 MINUTES TOTAL 3 HOURS, 15 MINUTES (INCLUDES CHILLING AND FREEZING) MAKES 5 CUPS
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup)
THESE TURKEY MEATBALLS BAKE ON A RACK, SO ANY EXCESS FAT DRAINS OFF DURING COOKING.
¾ cup extra-virgin coconut oil, in solid form ¾ cup granulated sugar ½ cup packed light brown sugar 1 large egg 1½ tsp. vanilla extract 1 cup chopped dark chocolate (about 6 oz.) ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the whole-wheat flour, rye flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. BEAT the coconut oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Fold in the chocolate pieces and walnuts. Using damp hands, shape the mixture into 28 balls and place on the prepared sheets.
PLACE the water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand while you make the ice cream base. COMBINE the cocoa, dark chocolate, and 1½ cups milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Continue to cook, whisking, until the cocoa and chocolate are dissolved. WHISK together the condensed milk, egg yolks, and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually add the hot cocoa mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly and briskly. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, 3 to 5 minutes. (Be careful not to boil or the mixture will curdle.) Stir in the salt. Whisk in the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Stir in the remaining 1½ cups of milk. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. UNCOVER and whisk to reblend the ingredients. Pour the mixture into the freezer container of a 4-quart electric ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.) Transfer to a container and freeze until firm.
BAKE until the edges are lightly brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
Thanks to coconut oil, these cookies are moist and chewy on the inside and crispy around the edges. The best of both worlds!
the “zoodles” and spaghetti topped with the sauce, meatballs, and Parmesan. SERVE
Written by Deb Schwartz Illustrations by Carolina Melis
…AND HOW TO CURE IT Nearly everyone experiences some form of this silent epidemic, which may express itself in overspending, questionable styling, premature destruction of wardrobe items, and extreme eye-rolling by loved ones. Don’t despair! This condition is totally treatable. Here, our guide to understanding its manifestations—and expert advice on how to make a full recovery.
DESPERATION SHOPPING A big event—a wedding, a Bar Mitzvah, a special birthday— looms on the calendar. Instead of heading to a store you can count on, with plenty of lead time, you refine a list of reasons not to shop: I don’t know what to get. I don’t have the time/ money/energy. Maybe there’s something in my closet I can wear! At the last minute, you panic and race to make a purchase, perhaps plunking down extra cash for express shipping—to end up with something pricey that you don’t love and may never wear again. You don’t look your best, and you feel like a ding-dong for overspending. THE SYMPTOMS:
T H E C U R E : As soon as you get an invitation, schedule time on your calendar to figure out what to wear. When assessing your own clothes, bear in mind that with the addition of borrowed, thrifted, or rented accessories, your problem-solving dress or outfit might be right in front of your face. If you’re certain that you have nothing that’s right, consider a site like Rent the Runway, where you can borrow from an extensive library of new-season designer clothes at reasonable prices. (An evening dress for a wedding can rent for as little as $30.) Make sure to leave yourself at least four days before the event—a minimum of one for shipping and three to exchange (just in case). If you would rather own, you might want to sign up for a service like Keaton Row (keatonrow.com), which pairs you with a personal stylist who can help you pick out items or put together a head-to-toe look. Meanwhile,
Thin rubber soles applied by a good cobbler can make leather-bottomed shoes last much longer. But don’t drag your feet (heh). Bring them in for care while they’re newish.
Do I need it? Imagine what you’ll wear it with and for what occasion. Ask yourself what else in your closet serves the same purpose. Then think about how many hours you work to earn the money that you are about to blow on this item. And take a second to consider what else you could spend that cash on if you didn’t spend it here. If you’re good with the answers you come up with, then proceed with confidence. (And, by the way, congratulations on money well spent.)
COBBLER-PHOBIA Failure to engage in preventive maintenance and regular rehab of footwear. Such behavior can result in beyondrepair leather, trashed soles, and premature shoe death. THE SYMPTOMS:
do a gut check. Maybe you’re stressing about choosing an outfit for reasons that have nothing to do with clothes. Is there something about the event that makes you uncomfortable? Are you scared to encounter someone you haven’t seen in a long time, or worried a family event will remind you of a loss? Maybe you’ve imbued your outfit with magical qualities. (If I don’t get the perfect dress, the day will be ruined.) Identifying your feelings—either on your own or with a trusted confidante—helps put the task of getting dressed into perspective.
MARKDOWN MANIA Sales and special offers cause you to lose your mind. Budgeting and good sense leave the building. You end up with clothes that you don’t need, would never wear, and don’t even look good in. THE SYMPTOMS:
T H E C U R E : Bargains are the number one reason that people end up with useless items, and flash sales only heighten the risk. So before you click “buy” or bolt to the checkout counter, pause. Reflect. Is it the thrill of the bargain that you’re responding to or the item itself? Ask yourself, If this were full price, would I still want it?
T H E C U R E : Spare yourself and your wallet grief with this simple regimen for your best pairs. Treat new shoes with a lightweight, breathable water- and stain-repellent spray before the first wear. (Try ProtectAll; kiwicare.com.) Then, depending on how often you use them, give shoes a spritz every week or so. (It’s like putting on moisturizer: It’s not a one-and-done situation.) Keep daily grime from setting into permanent stains with a quick
once-over after each wearing; use a soft cloth for leather and a bristled brush for suede. (Spots on suede can be treated first with a special eraser.) When leathersoled shoes and boots are young, have a skilled cobbler add thin protective rubber soles. The look won’t be compromised, and they will last much longer. Don’t put this task off: If the original soles are too far gone, thin rubber soles won’t save them. Have the rubber replaced when it starts to wear.
CLOSET-DISORDER DISORDER T H E S Y M P T O M S : Piling multiple tops onto a single hanger, overstuffing drawers, and cramming hanging rods so tightly that the jaws of life are required to extract clothes. Plumbing the depths feels so overwhelming, you default to grabbing what’s just out of the laundry—which means that you end up wearing the same things over and over and over again.
bed bins—whatever you can make happen. Twice a year, move offseason clothes out of sight. During this transition time, get rid of what no longer fits, suits your life, or makes you happy. And to ensure that you never (again?) end up with 12 pairs of black pants, organize the winners first by type and then by color. Use the correct hanger for the task: Lightweight, flat flocked hangers work for thin, light tops; sturdier hangers maintain the shape and structure of coats and blazers. Heavy knit sweaters and dresses will stretch if hung; instead, fold them and store in drawers or on shelves. Protect trousers from those telltale knee creases by hanging them from the bottom, on clip-style trouser hangers. Store handbags (emptied of pens, gum, and anything else that might leak or attract pests) on a shelf separated with clear dividers or, if you have no shelf space, on large S-hooks on the closet rod.
Steer clear of tiered hangers, which end up hiding clothes. What you don’t see, you won’t end up wearing. T H E C U R E : It’s pretty simple, really. The bag’s weight and material, like your clothes, should reflect the season’s temperature and esprit: darker and heavier for fall and winter, lighter all around for spring and summer. And you want to be prepared for any occasion (work, weekend, evening). You don’t need a bag in every color of the rainbow— just two or three for cold weather (say, a black or brown leather satchel for work, a slouchy bucket bag for weekends, and a velvet clutch for evening). And two or three for warmer months (a light, neutral tote for work; a bright handbag for weekends; and a raffia clutch for evening). Shop your own collection first. You might have all you need. And once you weed out (and donate) the excess, switching bags won’t feel like a big deal.
T H E C U R E : First, carve out and honor an off-season storage spot. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Attic, basement, a spare dresser, under-
PURSE PARALYSIS Carrying your everyday bag to a wedding, schlepping your work tote to a weekend party, or sporting a dark leather bag with a bright sundress in July— you know, failing to change your bag regardless of season or occasion. You tell yourself that you can’t be bothered. (It’s such a pain! Who wants to think about it?) But inside you know that it’s an easy fix that will make a difference. Still, assembling (or paring down to) the right collection can be tricky. So the thought cycle continues. THE SYMPTOMS:
Grouping the contents of your purse in pouches makes switching from one bag to another nearly effortless. Have one pouch for essentials, like wallet, keys, and phone; one for makeup; and one for extras (pen, note pad, headphones).
T H E S Y M P T O M S : You fall for a piece of clothing, but the sleeves or the hem is a little long—or there’s some gaping at the waist. You tell yourself that it’s fine, no one will notice. And besides, you already paid so much for it, how can you justify spending more on tailoring? (Or, on the flip side: You spent only $25 for it. Why spend another $25 on tailoring?) Alteration aversion (another name for TAS) can also be chalked up to plain old laziness.
(Who needs another errand?) But the truth is, you do—to look more pulled-together and feel more confident. T H E C U R E : Take advantage whenever a store offers free or low-cost alterations. (What you lose in instant gratification, you’ll gain in compliments; even the least expensive item looks exponentially pricier when tailored to fit.) Ask around for a good local tailor, so that you’ll always have someone at the ready. And when you backslide and are tempted to skip the alterations, remind yourself that fit is a key component of style. If Katharine Hepburn’s trousers hadn’t sat just right on her waist and skimmed her shoes just so, she would have been a schlump instead of an icon.
T H E C U R E : Take a good, hard look at old faithful, and consider if it’s still earning its keep. If you have even once said to yourself, “Oh, no one will notice this stain/rip/fraying,” it’s time for a second opinion. Ask an honest and kind friend (of the human variety) to weigh in on its style (does it look up to date?) and attractiveness (does it flatter you?). It’s possible you have a genuine classic on your hands, something worth the investment of an alteration or a special cleaning. But there is a difference between a classic and something that’s just…old. If an item has deep sentimental value, you can treat it like a work of art: Frame it, take a photo of it, use it as a centerpiece for a quilt, or pack it away for posterity. If it’s not worth that treatment, bid it good-bye and trust that you will love again.
Is it time to retire your favorite old sweater? Ask a trusted friend. If you’re super-attached, then you’re in no shape to make the call.
UNDIE-LYING ISSUES ATTACHMENT DISORDER T H E S Y M P T O M S : You refer to a certain sweater, jacket, or pair of jeans as your best friend. When you look back through your selfies or when people tag you on Facebook, you always seem to be wearing said friend. You are experiencing creeping doubts about the health of this relationship.
Your panty lines aren’t just visible through your clingy skirt—they’re unmissable. You’re spilling out of the top or sides of your bra, and the lace cups are making your shirt stick where it should slide. Your shapewear is squeezing you like a sausage casing, you can’t remember the last time you didn’t have a wedgie, and you feel deeply unsexy. THE SYMPTOMS:
Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, and the mall stores Aerie and Soma all employ well-trained fitters with the know-how to address everything from back bulge to gaping shirt buttons. Second, explore the vast array of seamless panties. (Buy a single pair of a few different styles, then stock up on the winners.) Third, know that shapewear should not torture you. The key is to opt for breathable, lightweight raw-edge pieces (try the Vanishing Edge line from Soma) and select the size that you really are. Remember that underthings have a limited life span. Stretched-out elastic and wires that poke through are signs that items are ready for the trash. (Once the garments are purged from your drawer, there’s no chance you’ll accidentally wear them.) And, finally, as you restock, think about matched sets and pieces in your favorite colors. Then the first things you put on in the morning will make you feel comfortable, confident, and attractive. And that will make a happy difference in your day. Q
T H E C U R E : First, see a bra fitter at least once a year. Bodies are constantly changing, and skilled guides are at your service—free.
THE EXPERTS: Jenny Altman, lingerie expert at iloveagood.com; Kimberly Irons, director of styling at Stitch Fix; Clinton Kelly, creator of the Kelly by Clinton Kelly collection for QVC; David Mesquita, vice president of Leather Spa; Beth Penn, professional organizer at Bneato Bar; Bridgette Raes, personal stylist and president of the Bridgette Raes Style Group; Faith Rim, stylist with Keaton Row; Candice Smith, chief lingerie stylist at Rigby & Peller; Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., consumer psychologist and author of Decoding the New Consumer Mind; Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers; and Rebecca Daly, senior fashion editor at Real Simple.
Gradient Puzzle, by Bryce Wilner, areaware.com.
Writer Marjorie Ingall has a zillion half-done projects that haunt her (making her even less efficient). She consulted three experts—a life coach, a personal assistant, and a psychiatrist—in pursuit of a happy ending. Photographs by Aaron Dyer
Prop Styling by JoJo Li
IN MY BACKYARD is a beautiful green Moroccan tile table. I bought it 15 years ago, when my husband and I moved into our ﬁrst tiny New York City apartment. Later, when we had kids and moved into a larger, ground-ﬂoor space, we put it in our garden. It looked great but was exposed to the elements. “Hey, can you regrout and seal the table?” my husband asked two summers ago. “Sure!” I said. (I’m relatively crafty, and this task is not difficult.) I regrouted it, but, uh, I did not seal it. And I continued to not seal it. Then, over the winter, most of the new grout washed out, taking a bunch of tiles with it. I found them one by one in the garden the following spring—it was like a sad, protracted Easter-egg hunt. I’d made an easy project harder by half-doing it. I wish I could tell you this was a one-off. But I have a history of not completing things— buying curtains and not hanging them; sorting two of the kids’ ﬁve drawers of art supplies, then getting distracted and forgetting which two; ﬁnding a tattoo artist to cover up a tragic tattoo from my early 20s but never making the appointment. For Real Simple, I wrote about dealing with sentimental clutter, but I still have about 50 percent of mine. I also wrote about coping with my fear of driving by taking driving lessons, but I quit before braving the highway. Why was I constitutionally unable to ﬁnish a task? To ﬁnd out—and in the hopes of actually completing the projects that I’d started—I consulted Lauren Handel Zander, a prominent life and executive coach and the author of the forthcoming Maybe It’s You:
Cut the Crap. Face Your Fears. Love Your Life. Before we even chatted, she gave me a ton of homework. Zander asked me to assess 12 different aspects of my life, from ﬁnances to spirituality, then write up my piein-the-sky dreams for each area. I then had to create lists of my parents’ most prominent traits and how they manifest in me. Finally, I had to list at least 10 “hauntings,” or incidents from my past that in some way shook me to the core. Zander believes these incidents can have a huge impact—often unexamined— on self-image, fears, relationships, and challenges. After reading my homework (which I turned in late), Zander told me, “You’re in a choke. You’re all over the place, so you aren’t fulﬁlling yourself as a rock star in one or two things. You have 42 plates in the air, so you don’t have to decide about anything and actually have a breakthrough in any area of your life.” I gasped a little, because I was pretty sure she was right, though I hadn’t thought of my many-tentacled career as an excuse for my scatteredness before. “Oh, I’m comin’ for you, sister,” she said ominously. Zander pointed out that my father (a psychiatrist who ran a community mental-health center, worked on a mobile van providing health care to the homeless, consulted to nursing homes and a group home for troubled youth, sang in choral groups, wrote a newspaper column, and taught in a medical school) was also all over the place. “He was a great guy,” she said, in the rapid-ﬁre way she said everything. “But what if he’d devoted himself to only the mobile van, say, and instead of just having one van, he’d developed a whole ﬂeet of them to serve the entire country? Wouldn’t he have accomplished more? Did you ever wonder
if he himself wished he’d walked one path instead of 30?” I’d honestly never considered that my own scattered habits could perhaps be a reiteration of my dad’s. Part of me reacted to Zander’s pronouncements with anger and defensiveness on my dad’s behalf; part of me wondered if she was right.
SOUL BARED BUT CURTAINS STILL UNHUNG But, uh, how’s about that half-done list? Did being open about my dreams mean I would miraculously finish the tasks I started? (I failed my “dreams” homework, by the way. Zander said my dreams were insufficiently grand, and their patheticness was part of why I was constantly distracted.) “The minute you’re clear about what you want, you can get rid of things you don’t really care about, and your dysfunctional relationship with time gets rewired,” she said. Zander also noted that my entire approach to life lacked strategy. I did what was in front of me and forgot what wasn’t. (In my own defense—which Zander would call an excuse—part of me blames motherhood. While I adore it, it can be a challenge to one’s tactical big picture.) “Instant gratification will always beat longterm gratification,” she insisted. Zander’s approach seemed like it could be a revelatory game-changer, but I was anxious about so much soul baring, so much vulnerability, so much work. I was seeking a quicker ﬁx for smaller problems. You know, half-done stuff. The fact that I’d been intending to call carpenters to get bids for built-in shelves for
Zander, the life coach, told me, “You’re in a choke. You have 42 plates in the air, so you don’t have to decide about anything and actually have a breakthrough in any area of your life.” I gasped, because she was right.
three years. That I hadn’t planned my kid’s birthday party six days before it was supposed to happen. That I’d put a pile of recently pruned, outgrown toys and clothes into a corner of my closet to send to my nieces and nephews months ago, and there they still sat. I decided to change course.
LET’S GET PERSONAL (ASSISTANT) I turned to the biggest psychological shortcut I could think of: hiring a personal assistant—spiritually cheap but financially onerous. I used GYST, a New York–based service whose name is an acronym for Get Your Sh*t Together—that sounded right to me! The company sent me Jillian Weimer, a bright and bubbly 25-year-old who shared my interest in musical theater and knew how to prioritize. I had allocated just enough money for 12 hours of help. (GYST’s hourly rate was $85—deﬁnitely a New York City price.) Jillian sat me down in my kitchen and asked what tasks I most needed completed. We talked for an hour and made a list.
The next day, Jillian came back and completely reorganized the kids’ half-organized art area. She threw out dead markers and damaged origami paper. She made two piles: one of stuff deﬁnitely to throw out and one of stuff for me to sort. I sat there and did it. The kids went nuts with joy. On her next visit, Jillian decluttered half our living-room shelves. I pondered asking her to hang the curtains I bought six months ago but
then thought about spending $85 on Jillian versus doing it my own dang self. I hung the curtains. (Guess what? It turns out that ﬁnancial incentive is excellent motivation!) I felt stupid asking Jillian to do a craft project for my daughter’s upcoming birthday party—I love craft projects! I just had no time for one. But it was bizarrely important to me, so instead I asked her to make golden snitches as favors. (The event was Harry Potter themed.)
Jillian also organized a nightmarish and sharp-object–ﬁlled kitchen drawer. She made a round of calls to contractors to provide bids for shelves and presented me with a vetted list so I could make appointments. I loved hiring an assistant for my half-done tasks. You know why? Because she…ﬁnished the half-done tasks! I did not have to soul-search about being a ﬂawed human. I did not have to question my heart of hearts about my own loserdom. I did not have to dig deep (beyond “Can I buy more time with Jillian?”) or reevaluate the life choices of my beloved dead father. Money changed hands; projects were done. It was a miracle! But a solution this expensive is not really a solution. Not unless you invented Toaster Strudel or are the descendant of a Gilded Age robber baron. Since I am neither, it seemed I had to do some emotional labor after all. I needed new habits, or at least the ability to understand my lifelong tendencies—and more expert help to explore this.
TO THE COUCH! Psychiatrist Julie Holland noted that I seemed to have a problem with executive function. “Executive function is your brain’s personal assistant,” she told me. (It’s like Dorothy trying to get home from Oz— what she needed was right inside her!) “It’s a set of cognitive processes that help you be on time, stay organized, cross things off your list. In cognitive terms, you have a lacuna–that means a missing section. A lot of creative people have deficits
in executive function.” This way of conceptualizing my problem made me feel like a wild, brilliant artistic creature, but knowing that I’m a visionary soul does not mean my child will have a birthday cake. Holland suggested that I might have attention-deﬁcit/hyperactivity disorder. “It’s a hallmark of ADHD that you have multiple things going on, multiple pots in the ﬁre, and nothing comes to fruition,” she said. “I think many women have ADHD and don’t know it, because when we were kids, there was a speciﬁc image of ADHD as a boy who couldn’t restrain his body and would ﬁdget.” Holland explained that in women it doesn’t necessarily manifest that way, “and women in general tend to be better at compensating.” She wasn’t saying that I needed medication, just that I should keep my tendencies in mind. Ironically, a device that is a frequent distraction can often work to keep distractible folks on track, Holland noted. “Smartphones put us in a quasi-hypnotic state. If you use a time-management app or merely set reminders, you can develop a relationship with your smartphone that primes you to obey.” (Apps that could help include Timeful, Evernote, Focus Booster, and Remember the Milk.) We don’t always build time into our schedules for nonpressing tasks, she explained. And in an always-on world, we need to. Holland also suggested I put my natural hormonal cycle to work for me. This is sort of Holland’s thing. She wrote a book called Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy. “There are times in your cycle when you feel like taking on projects and other times when you’re stressed and easily overwhelmed, and that has to do with estrogen
waxing and waning,” she said. “The ﬁrst half of your cycle, from the time your period ends until you ovulate, is a time of rising estrogen and more readily available testosterone. You have momentum—your head is in a better place, and you take charge. But from ovulation until your period, it’s kind of downhill, in terms of feeling less resilient and less driven.” Who knew? So, if possible, I should schedule tougher tasks earlier in my cycle. Talking to strangers is hard for me, so I should interview contractors in the ﬁrst half of my cycle. Doing mindless organizational work, with the help of a timer and a nudgy app, would be ﬁne in the second half of my cycle. (I’m a freelancer, so I can make use of this advice; folks who work for The Man, who unaccountably expects consistent productivity, may not have this luxury.) Finally, Holland told me to ease up on myself, because jumping from one project to another is natural. “Novelty is simply more attractive to us,” she assured me. “There’s something called habituation, when your brain just says, ‘Meh, enough,’ and shuts down.” “Seeing a project through inherently means you’re dealing with mundanities,” Holland said. The only way to cope is to suck it up, remind yourself that getting it done will feel better than having it hanging over your head, and do it. And don’t feel bad about lowering the bar. “Perfect is the enemy of done,” Holland reminded me. A good motto and an ironic conclusion: Perhaps being a little more chill and self-forgiving about not getting more done could actually help me get more done. Q
I loved having an assistant for my half-done tasks. But a solution this expensive is not really a solution, unless you invented Toaster Strudel or are the descendant of a robber baron.
Quick Cooking 118, 119, 135, 136, 138, 141
Healthy Pick 118, 135, 137, 141 Freezable 119, 141, 142 Make Ahead 118, 119, 139, 141, 142 Big Batch 118, 119, 139, 142 Slow Cooker 139 One Pot 138, 139, 141 Whole-Grain 118, 119, 141 Vegetarian 118, 119, 135, 141, 142 Gluten-Free 118, 135, 136, 137, 138, 141 Family-Friendly 118, 119, 139, 141, 142 HEAD START
There’s no need to wash a head of cabbage thoroughly. Just remove the outermost leaves before chopping or shredding. A head will keep for up to 2 weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
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P R O P S T Y L I N G BY C L A I R E S P O L L E N
Have leftover sage from Thanksgiving? Its piney flavor pairs well with any type of roasted poultry or root vegetable, such as Sheet Pan Chicken and Sweet Potatoes (page 138).
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E A SY D I N N E R
1 Southwestern shrimp and grits ACTIVE TIME 30 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME 35 MINUTES
Quick Cooking Healthy Pick Freezable Make Ahead Big Batch Slow Cooker One Pot Whole-Grain Vegetarian Gluten-Free Family-Friendly
3 cups water 1 cup whole milk 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided 1 cup grits 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 poblano chile, seeded and sliced 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced FO OD
¾ lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 14-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 oz. queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese), crumbled (about ¼ cup) 1 lime, cut into wedges BRING the water, milk, and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the grits and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture returns to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, uncovering to whisk occasionally, until soft and creamy, 25 to 30 minutes. MEANWHILE, heat the oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high. Add the chile and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp, garlic, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring just until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Add the beans and cook until warm, about 1 minute.
the grits topped with the shrimp mixture and queso fresco. Serve with the lime wedges. SERVE
Get details on fat, calories, and sodium at realsimple.com/ rsrecipes.
Recipes by Erin Merhar
Quick Cooking Healthy Pick Freezable Make Ahead Big Batch Slow Cooker One Pot Whole-Grain Vegetarian Gluten-Free Family-Friendly
E A SY D I N N E R
2 Seared hanger steak and warm cabbage wedges ACTIVE TIME 30 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME 30 MINUTES
2 Tbsp. olive oil 1¼ lb. hanger steak 1¼ tsp. kosher salt ¾ tsp. black pepper FO OD
½ head green cabbage, cut into 4 (2-in.) wedges 8 oz. cherry tomatoes ⅓ cup mayonnaise 3 Tbsp. buttermilk 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced HEAT the oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high. Season the steak with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add to skillet and cook, turning once, until deeply browned, about 3 minutes per side for mediumrare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. MEANWHILE, reduce heat to medium. Add the cabbage wedges to the skillet, cut-side down, and scatter the tomatoes around them. Cook, turning once, until the cabbage is lightly browned and the tomatoes begin to burst, about 4 minutes per side. WHISK the mayonnaise, buttermilk, and vinegar in a small bowl and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the cabbage and serve with the steak and tomatoes, with the shallot on top.
E A SY D I N N E R
3 Red curry squash soup with tofu croutons ACTIVE TIME 25 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME 30 MINUTES
Quick Cooking Healthy Pick Freezable Make Ahead Big Batch Slow Cooker One Pot Whole-Grain Vegetarian Gluten-Free Family-Friendly
1 medium butternut squash, diced (about 4 cups) 4 Tbsp. red curry paste 3 cups vegetable stock FO OD
1 cup coconut milk 8 oz. extra-firm tofu ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 head baby bok choy, thinly sliced 1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime) COMBINE the squash, curry paste, and vegetable stock in a large saucepan over high. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add the coconut milk, and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and set aside. MEANWHILE, press the tofu with paper towels until very dry. Cut into 1-inch cubes and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the tofu and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. TOSS the bok choy, chile, and lime juice in a medium bowl; season with salt. Reheat the soup if necessary and serve topped with the tofu and bok choy mixture.
E A SY D I N N E R
4 Sheet pan chicken and sweet potatoes ACTIVE TIME 10 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME 30 MINUTES
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters (about 2 lb.) 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in. wedges 1 tsp. chopped fresh sage ¾ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 3 slices bacon 3 cups baby watercress 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice PREHEAT oven to 450°F. Arrange the chicken and sweet potatoes side by side in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with the sage, salt, and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, tossing to coat. Lay the bacon on top of the sweet potatoes. ROAST until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of a thigh registers 165°F, 20 to 25 minutes. MEANWHILE, toss together the watercress, lemon juice, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. SERVE the chicken with the sweet potatoes and salad, with the bacon crumbled over the top.
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E A SY D I N N E R
5 Slow-cooker Cuban sandwiches ACTIVE TIME 30 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME 8 HOURS, 30 MINUTES
2 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), trimmed of excess fat 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp. kosher salt 1 cup chicken stock FO OD
1 tsp. orange zest plus 1Â tsp. fresh orange juice 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from 2 limes) 6 6-in. sub rolls â…“ cup Dijon mustard 3 oz. thinly sliced deli ham 3 oz. thinly sliced Swiss cheese 1 whole dill pickle, thinly sliced crosswise RUB the pork with the garlic and salt and place in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the chicken stock, orange zest, and orange juice. Cover and cook on low until the pork is very tender, 7 to 8 hours. Pull pork into 1- to 2-inch pieces; toss with the lime juice. Return to slow cooker and keep warm. PREHEAT broiler with the oven rack 6 inches from heat. Split the rolls lengthwise. Spread the mustard on the bottom halves and top evenly with the pork, ham, and Swiss cheese. Broil just until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with the pickles and sandwich with the tops of the rolls.
W H Y N OT T RY… ?
Save some green
Don’t toss the leaves if they’re still attached. They are delicious sautéed with garlic or chopped raw and sprinkled over dishes as a garnish. Separate the leaves from the roots and store them on their own, loosely wrapped in barely damp paper towels in a plastic bag. They’ll keep in the crisper for up to 2 days.
TURNIPS It’s time to show the humble turnip some love. Allow us to count the ways: Roast them (turnips caramelize like carrots but have slightly less sugar), fry them (for starchy, fluffy fries with two-thirds less carbs than potatoes), or eat them raw (taste like radishes). The only misstep? Overcooking. You’ll get a stinky, boiledcabbage flavor—and nobody loves that.
Root, root, root… …for the young, small (about 1-inch-long) turnips that show up in early winter. This is the sweetest and crispiest crop of the year. Look for turnips that are firm and unblemished and feel heavy for their size. Store them unwashed in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Trim the roots and peel right before using.
Paige Grandjean Written by
Heath Goldman Photographs by
Greg DuPree Food Styling by
Turnip chorizo soup
Warm roasted turnip salad
Cook 1 lb. peeled and quartered small TURNIPS in 2 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL in a large skillet over medium high until tender, 12 min. Add 1 Tbsp. SHERRY VINEGAR and toss to combine. Transfer to a bowl and toss with ½ cup chopped ROASTED RED PEPPERS, ¼ cup chopped FRESH PARSLEY, ½ tsp. COARSE SEA SALT, and ¼ tsp. LEMON ZEST. SERVES 4
Cook 10 oz. peeled, cubed TURNIPS, 1 chopped YELLOW ONION, 6 oz. sliced SPANISH CHORIZO, and 1 chopped clove GARLIC in 2 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL in a pot over medium until tender, 12 min. Add 4 cups CHICKEN BROTH and ½ tsp. each KOSHER SALT and BLACK PEPPER. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 min. Add 3 cups chopped TURNIP GREENS (tough stems removed) and cook 1 min. Top with 2 oz. shaved PARMESAN. SERVES 4
Toss 12 oz. each small CARROTS and peeled TURNIP wedges and 1 head RADICCHIO (cut into eighths) with 3 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL, 1½ tsp. KOSHER SALT, and ½ tsp. BLACK PEPPER on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 450°F until tender, 25 to 30 min. Top with ¼ cup chopped toasted WALNUTS and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. BALSAMIC VINEGAR.
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY C L A I R E S P O L L E N
Turnip soba noodle salad
Cut ¾ lb. peeled TURNIPS into ½-inchthick sticks and toss with 2 cups BUTTERMILK. Combine 1 cup each FINE CORNMEAL and ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, 2 tsp. KOSHER SALT, and ½ tsp. BLACK PEPPER in a large bowl; add the turnips and toss to coat. Heat ¼ inch CANOLA OIL in a large skillet over medium. Add the turnips and cook until golden and crispy, about 5 min. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. chopped CHIVES. Serve with KETCHUP. SERVES 4
Whisk together 3 Tbsp. each WHITE MISO and UNSEASONED RICE VINEGAR and 1½ Tbsp. each SESAME OIL and water. Toss with 6 oz. cooked SOBA NOODLES, 1 cup thinly sliced RED CABBAGE, and ¾ cup thinly sliced TURNIPS. Top with 2 tsp. TOASTED SESAME SEEDS and ¼ cup sliced SCALLIONS. Serve with LIME WEDGES.
Whisk 2 EGGS, ⅓ cup FLOUR, 1 tsp. KOSHER SALT, and ½ tsp. each BAKING POWDER and BLACK PEPPER. Coarsely grate 1 peeled medium RUSSET POTATO, ½ medium ONION, and 1 medium TURNIP. Squeeze in a dish towel to remove liquid; add to egg mixture. Heat ½ cup CANOLA OIL in a skillet over medium high. Add batter in 2-Tbsp. mounds. Flatten and cook 2 to 3 min. per side. Top with SMOKED SALMON, CRÈME FRAÎCHE, and DILL. SERVES 4
Try using evaporated milk for a sauce as thick and silky as a béchamel, but with much less work.
B I G B ATC H
Decadent mac and cheese ACTIVE TIME 20 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME 50 MINUTES
3 cups short pasta (such as macaroni or cavatelli) 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter 2 (12-oz.) cans evaporated milk ⅓ cup skim milk 2 large eggs 1 tsp. kosher salt ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg Pinch cayenne pepper
8 oz. Gruyère, grated (about 2 cups) 8 oz. sharp Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups) PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return the hot pasta to the pot. Add the butter, tossing until melted. WHISK together the evaporated milk, skim milk, eggs, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the American cheese, Gruyère, and Cheddar. SPREAD ⅓ of the pasta in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with ⅓ of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining pasta and cheese, then pour the milk mixture over the top. Bake until warmed through and golden, 20 to 30 minutes.
Recipe by Heath Goldman Photograph by Jen Causey Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer
Go to realsimple.com/grilledcheese to nail another winter classic.
HOW TO FREEZE AND REHEAT
Bake, cool completely, then wrap the dish tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze. Defrost before reheating. Remove the plastic wrap and re-cover with the foil, then bake in a 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until warmed through.
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY C L A I R E S P O L L E N
8 oz. processed American cheese slices, torn (about 2 cups)
“LOOK, NO HANDS ” (REALLY, I HAVE NO HANDS...)
CRUNCHY WHEAT. FROSTED SWEET.
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K I TC H E N S K I L L S
Things Cooks Know Strategies, techniques, and tips—from the Real Simple test kitchen to yours HOW TO
Spiralize without a Spiralizer
NO NEED TO REMOVE THE CHARRED OUTER SKINS. THEY’RE PART OF WHAT MAKES THESE SPICY NUMBERS DELICIOUS.
Smoky flavor (without the grill)
You’re going to need to burn your food— just a little! Here’s how to do it indoors without setting fire to the kitchen.
Use the broiler Cook with cast iron Whether it’s a skillet or a grill pan, this metal gets hot and stays hot. Cast-iron skillets are a great way to form a hard sear on smaller, oddly shaped vegetables that are hard to flip, like shishito peppers and edamame in pods. To get the best char, skip the oil (it can burn) and crank up the heat to high. Let the vegetables cook undisturbed until they start to blister, then turn with tongs.
Think of it as an inverted grill, cooking food from above. The open flame quickly blisters, browns, and caramelizes anything that’s placed on the top oven rack (about 6 inches from the heat source). Use the broiler to char foods that need only one flip, like burger patties and cabbage wedges.
STEP 1 Slice both round ends off the vegetable. STEP 2 Slice the vegetable in half lengthwise. STEP 3 Cradle one half in the palm of your hand, cut-side up. Drag the peeler down the entire length. STEP 4 Rotate as you go, so you’re peeling around the vegetable. Aim for peelings that are ¼ inch wide. Using light pressure creates narrow strips.
These work, too
Go to realsimple.com/smokyflavor for five ingredients that make food taste grilled.
The trend of turning long veggies, like zucchini, squash, and carrots, into substitute noodles is everywhere (including page 118, “Zoodles” and Turkey Meatballs). Spiralizers create pastalike strands. But you don’t have to buy a special gadget. A Y-shaped peeler makes strips that are flatter but that cook and twirl around a fork exactly the same way.
BOX GRATER Good for spiralizing shorter vegetables, like sweet potatoes and turnips. Place it on its side with the largest holes facing up and move the food along it in long strokes (as if you were using a mandoline). JULIENNE PEELER It’s like a Y-shaped peeler, except that the blade has tiny teeth. It makes even pieces that are about the width of angel hair pasta.
I N G R E D I E N T S P OT L I G H T
SHEET GELATIN The powdered variety available in most grocery stores is great for magically turning liquids into solids. (We use it in Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream, page 119.) But professional pastry chefs often prefer sheet (or leaf) gelatin. It’s easier to use than powder, which sometimes clumps or doesn’t dissolve, and it sets crystal clear— important when you’re making jellied desserts. You can find sheet gelatin in specialty baking shops and online. It comes in four strengths: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Choose silver grade, which is the same strength as powdered gelatin (approximately 4 sheets = 1 packet of powder). Soak the sheets in cold water (about 1 cup per sheet) for 10 minutes, then gently wring out and mix into a warm base to activate.
Heath Goldman Illustrations by
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