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Real Simple magazine provides smart, practical, beautiful solutions to make life easier—every single day. Each inspiring issue is packed with fast and delicious recipes, organizing and decorating ideas, great fashion and beauty finds, money-saving tips, and more. For annual or monthly subscriptions (on all platforms except iOS), your subscription will automatically renew and be charged to your provided payment method at the end of the term unless you choose to cancel. You may cancel at any time during your subscription in your account settings. If your provided payment method cannot be charged, we may terminate your subscription.

United States
Meredith Operations Corporation
12 Issues

in this issue

10 min
the smallest things will make you happy

SURE, THE PURSUIT of happiness is guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence, but the Founders couldn’t promise that we’d know the right way to go about that pursuit. Those juicy rewards we think of as the happiness jackpot—a prestigious promotion, a new car, a winning lottery ticket? “They make us happy temporarily, but the feeling doesn’t last as long as we’d expect,” says Laurie Santos, PhD, a cognitive scientist and professor of psychology at Yale University. Joy wanes naturally thanks to a phenomenon known as hedonic adaptation. “That’s a fancy way of saying we get used to stuff, even great stuff,” says Santos, whose popular happiness class at Yale has been adapted into a Coursera program called “The Science of Well-Being.” “You buy a new house, and it’s cool for a…

8 min
spread too thin?

HOW MANY TIMES lately have you noticed that your conversations are peppered with phrases like “crazy busy” and “too busy to breathe”? Rachel Burton knows that stretched-thin sensation a little too well. She’s a writer, teacher, wife, and mom of a teenager in New York City with—as you might guess—a pretty hectic life. And then she let her good intentions get the better of her. “I wanted to serve my community and said yes to a spot on our apartment building’s board. It’s a huge time-suck: constant three-hour meetings filled with all kinds of fighting,” she says. “It’s a nightmare, and I cannot wait for it to be over. I am at my breaking point!” That “What have I gotten myself into now?” feeling is going around. We all want our days…

2 min
“help, in its many forms, can yield bountiful fruits”

NOT TOO LONG AGO my husband, my then 2-year-old, and I were separated from our orderly life by a string of fitful events: a job loss, a book deal, and an unplanned pregnancy. The book deal I’d waited almost two years to secure seemingly arrived at the exact moment the pregnancy test strip turned pink. My Jamaican physics-PhD husband had just lost his well-paying tech job—and his skilled-worker visa along with it. I’ll never forget waddling my massively pregnant way into U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and explaining to a kind government official that our marriage was as real—and raw—as they come. Months later, a series of significant deliveries were made, a healthy baby girl topping the list. A green card. Blessedly, another job offer for my husband. And I delivered…

10 min
what ever happened to boundaries?

MY LIFE FELT like it was in a blender. It was a Tuesday morning, a remote learning day for my daughter with no preschool for my son. I tried to work at my desk while keeping an ear on my daughter’s lessons. Late for a Zoom meeting, I rushed into the other room to set up the iPad for my son, slamming my toe on the coffee table and crumpling to the floor. By 4 p.m. I still couldn’t pull leggings over my swollen foot. I heard my daughter talking to her remote piano teacher, a college student 850 miles away whose face was peering into our home. “My mom is still in her pajamas!” Mom-shamed, I hobbled back to my bedroom, which also was my office, which was littered with clean unfolded…

6 min
it feels good to be frugal

I WAS SCARED when we were all forced to grind to a halt in March 2020. My freelance income dried up, and my husband and I found ourselves carefully planning meals to make ends meet. But now that work has returned (something I’m grateful for every day), I’m still meal-planning down to the last cilantro leaf. Not because I have to, but because I like it. I like that my grocery bill is half what it used to be. I like that I rarely throw food away now. I like the nightly walks we take along the river more than the once-a-week dinners out we used to manage. And I like the little nest egg that’s been growing as we spend less. The pressure to embrace frugality has been building: It’s…

12 min
why are little decisions so hard?

PATTY BRAHE of Long Island, New York, was standing in the produce section of her local gourmet supermarket when she found herself in a pickle over tomatoes. “There was an entire aisle of them,” says Brahe. Cherry, plum, heirloom, Campari. “It was overwhelming. They all looked the same, and the prices were all over the place.” Clueless as to which would work best with the dish she was making (a simple crudités platter), she spotted a fellow shopper eyeing the two-for-$5 cartons of cherry tomatoes. “She looked savvy, so I just got those. If I hadn’t copied her, I probably would have just left without any.” While Brahe’s experience in aisle 1 may sound like a first-world problem, it’s emblematic of a modern-day phenomenon affecting anyone who has ever been in…