Adventures in Chaos

A peek into the life of busy working mom Kristin van Ogtrop, managing editor of Real Simple and author of Just Let Me Lie Down. Follow her on Twitter @kvanogtrop.


Women Who Love Their Gardens Too Much

I am beginning to think that I have an unhealthy relationship with my garden. That is, I love it obsessively; I toss and turn in bed thinking about it; I spend many minutes when I should be doing things like watching my kids play sports or helping with homework instead daydreaming about my garden. And I’m not sure my garden […]

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The “Oh Well” Method

[Note: A version of this article first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Real Simple.] Cleaning your house, if you really want it done well, is a full-time job. You could literally spend every waking hour of the day making something better, sparklier, less stained, dust-free. Yes, things fall apart, as Yeats famously explained, but things also develop a […]

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This Week, I’m Determined to Thrive

Do you remember the teen phenom skier Mikaela Shiffrin from the Sochi Olympics? The girl who won our hearts by winning the gold medal in…well, whatever it was. And while I don’t remember her event (anyone, help?), I do remember reading this about her: she is known for being able to take a nap right before a race. I will […]

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Imagine If Proust Had Known About Jean Naté

[Note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2014 issue of Real Simple.] I mean, maybe I’ve never had a really, really good madeleine, but I find them a bit, shall we say, subtle. How that delicate taste could evoke such a strong reaction in Marcel Proust is beyond me. Or maybe it just substantiates why he […]

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I Could Have Been Kerry Kennedy

Not because my dad ever ran for president or, thank God, died when I was young. (My own father is very much alive and well and trying to boss me around every chance he gets. For which I am grateful. After all, consider the alternative.) Or because I had 38 siblings, which would have been fun. Or was married to […]

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You Can’t (and Shouldn’t) Hurry Love

[Note: A version of this article first appeared in the February 2014 issue of Real Simple.] I started working in magazines in the 1990s as a freelance writer, and one of my first stories was about a relatively new Christian teen abstinence campaign called True Love Waits. I was in my 20s, a.k.a. the Decade of Darkness. I had a […]

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When Your Own Family Hates Your Cooking

There is a new, sad little pattern that happens almost nightly in my household and it goes like this: Me: “Time for dinner!” Kids thunder down the stairs. 15-year-old: “What’s for dinner?” Six-year-old: “What’s for dinner?” Me: “Blah blah*“ 15-year-old: “Ugh.” Six-yearold (whining): “I hate blah blah.“ 15-year-old: “Can I make myself an omelet?” Six-year-old: “Me too?” Me: Silent, head in […]

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How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

[Note: A version of this article first appeared in the January 2014 issue of Real Simple.] Do you ever have one of those mornings when you feel like you’re going to tip over before you even get out of bed? That was my day yesterday. (No, this is not a drinking story.) I woke up and immediately felt as if […]

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Reality Check: A Rallying Cry Against Faux-Perfection on Social Media

I woke up feeling sick from a stupid cold that I can’t shake, and things frankly just got worse from there. During the night the puppy, who at the age of 13 months should really know better, got into the cabinet under the kitchen sink and ate the expensive-looking tube of mystery cream my husband gave me in my Christmas […]

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Twas 30 Days Before Christmas

Sometimes, truly, the best things do come from our readers. Check out this little bundle of joy I received from reader Gwen Guillotte. Gwen, thank you! And we all feel your pleasure… and pain. Twas 30 days before Christmas And over at my house I was hunched over the computer Clicking away on my mouse. Photo cards on order, Cyber Monday went well […]

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