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Credit: Stephen Lewis

Thoughts, p. 4

The Simple List, p. 10

Editor’s Note, p. 27

Your Words

  • This Month’s Question, p. 29
    What is your best tip for getting the day off to a good start?
  • No-Obligation Book Club, p. 32
    What book is unforgettably eerie?

The Realist

  • October at a Glance, p. 35
    Black cats
  • Worth Sharing, p. 36
    Your monthly status update from across the Web
  • New Uses for Charcoal, p. 38
  • Trend Worth Trying, p. 40
    Rock and roll
  • Real Simplifier, p. 42
    How to read a palm
  • Beauty Boost, p. 44
    Jeweled hair accessories
  • Fresh Pick, p. 46
    Swiss chard
  • Now What?!?, p. 48
    Smart solutions for life’s little disasters
  • Little Helpers, p. 50

Life Lessons

  • Good Read, p. 57
    Meg Wolitzer reflects on her closest, longest friendship and all it has given her
  • Modern Manners, p. 63
    Catherine Newman on how to ask a friend to pay you back
  • Expertise, p. 67
    Five lessons you can learn from classic films

The Guide


  • Structural Support, p. 73
    The causes of back pain and how best to treat them
  • Boost Your Immunity, p. 83
    Tips for fending off the cold and flu (or at least lessening the symptoms)


  • Work Force, p. 91
    Smart, easy-to-wear dresses for the office
  • Get Your Kicks, p. 103
    Fall’s best new booties
  • Trend Analysis, p. 109
    Flattering ways to wear brocade


  • Pretty Smart, p. 119
    The latest beauty products and tips that save time, money, and your sanity
  • The Truth Behind Skin-Care Myths, p. 123
    Clearing up the hype on acne, wrinkles, and more
  • Road Test, p. 129


  • A Friend in the Business, p. 135
    Interior decorator Nick Olsen explains how to “redecorate” any room on the cheap
  • Road Test, p. 139
  • The Real Simple 2013 Organizing Challenge, p. 141 
    Ready to tackle your messiest spaces once and for all? Our yearlong series is here to help. This month: off-season storage


  • Can I Help You?, p. 153
    How to (effectively) encourage a family member to make a health change


  • Moneywise, p. 161
    Avoiding medical-identity theft; buying versus leasing a car; flood insurance 101



  • Eat, Drink, and Be Scary, p. 168
    All you need to throw a frighteningly easy Halloween after-party
  • The Elements of Style, p. 176
    You don’t have to lose your cool factor in brisk weather. Here are some gorgeous layering strategies
  • The Missing Link, p. 184
    A working mother’s tireless other mission: helping strangers locate lost loved ones


  • Dinner Starts Here, p. 192
    Delicious, surprising recipes for every weeknight this month. Plus, make-ahead tips and print-and-go shopping lists
  • Road Test, p. 205
  • Choosing Sides, p. 211
    Crowd-pleasing, versatile fall dishes
  • Quick Takes, p. 222
    10 ideas for butternut squash
  • Things Cooks Know, p. 225
    Simplifying strategies, techniques, and tips—from the Real Simple kitchen to yours
  • Simply Sweet, p. 228
    Pumpkin doughnuts with sour cream icing
  • Nutritional Index, p. 230



Credits, p. 232
Where to buy products featured in this issue

10 Under $50, p. 236 

Clip and Save: Real Simple to Go, p. 238