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.


Why Don’t Men Wear White Pants? (And Other Summer Head-Scratchers)

Why is the air conditioning turned up so high in so many stores and restaurants? Why do boys need bathing suits when they can just swim in shorts? Why do so many people have tattoos?  Didn’t their parents teach them about regret? Why are raspberries so expensive, even in the summer? Why is it unacceptable to wear a bike helmet once […]

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Thoughts from the Issue: August 2012

Have you ever had a conversation that changed your life? Maybe you didn’t notice it in the moment, or even the following day. But later you realized that that one exchange fundamentally altered who you are and how you look at yourself or the world. I’m sure you’ve experienced this; we all have. Here is mine: I had just finished […]

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6 Important Life Lessons it Really is Possible to Forget to Teach Your Children

1) You must always carry money in your wallet. Especially if you are driving 20 miles away to your ultimate frisbee league game and the car’s computer tells you you have 15 miles to go until you run out of gas. And it’s nighttime, Dad is working late, and Mom is at home with your sleeping 5-year-old brother. 2) If […]

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So What if You Never Answer the Phone?

On the bulletin board behind my computer in the office, I have tacked up a New Yorker cartoon by Alex Gregory.  It’s two guys in business attire sitting at bar, and one is saying to the other, “I used to call people, then I got into e-mailing, then texting, and now I just ignore everyone.”  Here’s the link, if you […]

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When You Buy a Superior Product, Should You Expect Superior Service?

I am having a problem at home.  No, not that kind—my husband and I are still on speaking terms, even if it is 95 degrees in most rooms of our house. The problem is that we are doing a gigantic, and gigantically expensive, project in our yard, and we are getting horrendous service from the Fancy Nationally Known Company that […]

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Regarding Women and “Having It All”: What Exactly is “It All?”

Every once in a while I meet a stranger who will breathlessly ask me “How do you do it all?” I always respond in the same way: first I stare at them dumbly, then I ask “What is ‘it all,’ exactly?” From what I can gather after years of unscientific research, “doing it all” is simultaneously balancing a job and […]

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Thoughts from the Magazine: July 2012

Last weekend I was talking to my friend Jeremy, and he said something that I’ve been thinking about ever since. Jeremy produces big events for big companies and explained that, in the world of event planning, there are basically three qualities: good, fast, and cheap. When producing an event, you can guarantee clients that they will get two of those […]

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Thoughts from the Magazine: June 2012

Have you ever met a person who makes you feel completely inadequate when it comes to the things that really matter in life? Oh sure, you manage to get your family out the door with a decent breakfast, and you take in your neighbors’ mail when they go on vacation. You even send hand written thank-you notes after Christmas, which […]

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Thoughts from the Magazine: May 2012

A few years ago, my colleague Kris was sitting by the pool at a hotel in Las Vegas when she overheard two women talking about black cashmere turtlenecks. Specifically, one of the women was saying that she had seen a Real Simple story that identified the best black cashmere turtlenecks and she had asked her husband to get her one […]

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Books You Definitely Should Never Read in Bed

My family thinks I read in bed to relax; to learn something; and to make everyone stop talking to me (i.e. asking me for things). And they are right—but only partially. I mostly read in bed so I can fall asleep. No author would want me to admit that, perhaps, but there it is. Sometimes, however, this backfires: A few […]

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