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.


If You Love Easter Eggs and Cupcakes…

…then I’ve got the man for you.
Turns out we have a bona fide Renaissance Man working in the photo department at Real Simple. His name is Brian Madigan, and he is our photo archivist.

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Is It Just Terrible to Be Vacuuming on Your Birthday?

Yesterday was my birthday. It was wonderful: The weather in New York was beautiful, my two older boys made me…interesting cards (including one from Middle, using the letters of my first name to start each line, that began “Kind of a control freak….”), I got a great homemade breakfast (scrambled eggs with cinnamon? A novel idea, although I’m not sure […]

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The Etiquette of College Acceptances

Well, the week of elation and torment has passed, and life has returned to normal—or a new normal, for all of my friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers I read about in the paper whose kids have been admitted into (or rejected by) colleges and universities across the country. I’m no M.D., but I suspect the national blood pressure has dropped […]

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Have People Stopped Holding the Door for Each Other?

Yesterday I had two situations where I was walking through the door behind a stranger, and rather than the stranger holding the door open for the next person, she let it close in my face. Now, I realize I work in New York City, which some people consider to be the I Don’t Care About You capital of the world. […]

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Advice I Wish I Could Give My Younger Self

I recently met a woman at a party who was just lovely and warm and had the nicest smile imaginable. We immediately hit it off, and I hope we become friends. One thing about her that I noticed (but did not hold against her) was that she has that (dare I say, mostly female) habit of apologizing too much. I’m […]

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Beautiful Two-Word Combinations, Immature and Otherwise

After weeks of mounting evidence, I came to the conclusion last night that if you want to get our youngest son (who will turn 4 on Monday!) to laugh, all you have to do is say STINKY BUTT. Blame it on his two older brothers and the potty humor that reigns in my household, but STINKY BUTT represents the ne plus ultra of word combinations for a certain preschooler. Really, there are no two more wonderful words in the language than STINKY BUTT. If you are nearly 4, that is.

Being much older than nearly 4, I can actually think of quite a few that I would put ahead of S.B., in terms of beauty, promise, joy, loveliness.

Keep reading to see what my favorite two-word combinations are.

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A Space in Your House That Is Yours and Yours Alone

I am in the process of carving out a little home office for myself and you would think I was about to get a free trip around the world, another baby, or a Lexus with a giant bow around it in my driveway, like you see in the commercials at Christmas. I am just that excited. Except for childhood and […]

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Who Do You Really, Really Trust?

Last night I was lying in bed thinking about trust. Or Trust, that should be, given the importance of the word. Perhaps I am currently obsessed with trust because our wonderful (and 8 months pregnant) babysitter Christina is leaving at the end of the month, and I am feverishly searching for her replacement. And what endeavor is a bigger exercise […]

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Can My Garden Possibly Survive This Winter? The Case of the Umbrella Pine

Right now there are just so many things to worry about. Troubling me this week, in no particular order: • If I take Extra-Strength Non-Drowsy Sudafed for five days in a row, will my liver explode? • Is my 15-year-old son ever going to find a job for this summer? • Will the Romanian Parliament really pass a bill that […]

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The Most Addictive Computer Game Ever, and It’s Not Even Fun

Last Thursday my husband and I accompanied Eldest on what was meant to be an innocent trip to his guidance counselor to discuss which classes he should take next year. Eldest is now a sophomore in high school and since—to quote my wise friend Chrissie—”high school is no longer about just being in high school but is all about getting […]

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