By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 26, 2015
Nigel Cox

One of the very, very best things about working at Real Simple is that so much of the content we discuss and present to you makes our own lives easier and better, too. Just ask my husband, my children, my parents, and countless unwitting acquaintances whom I have enlightened with useful tidbits I learned on the job. Just the other day, I stood in my kitchen and demanded that my brother-in-law watch as I demonstrate the cleverest way to remove an avocado pit, courtesy of a video on Oh sure, maybe he looked unimpressed, but I swear he went home and tried it.

And the products! Everywhere I look in my house I see products that were recommended to me (and then to you) by our editors—from the big and heavy (the Eley Rapid Reel garden-hose reel; I have two) to the small and light (Dior-show Iconic mascara; I am hooked for life). Starting from the moment I get up in the morning (Spanx tights—they really are indestructible) until I get in bed at night (with Aquaphor on my dry hands: cheap, unscented, effective), I am just, as marketers say, staying on brand.

We have a lot of meetings as we put together each issue, and the best meetings involve two things: innovative products and “Wow.” Ideally one right after the other. One meeting that consistently produces a strong product-to-wow ratio is the one we have for the beauty column Pretty Smart. Want an example? Think of the last time you tried to put on lipstick using the dim light of the car visor to guide you. Now turn to page 82 and behold an amazing line of beauty products that come with—wait for it—their own built-in LEDs. A lip gloss with a built-in light! Wow!!!

If you’re the sort of person whose heart flutters at the prospect of a beauty product with a built-in light, then this issue is for you. Inside we share all sorts of beauty-related useful tidbits—from great new innovations to where to find a deal on your can’t-live-without-it mascara (see “The Best Beauty Buys Now,” page 146). And when it’s time to take that mascara off, I highly recommend Albolene. I discovered it years ago on the job, and my life has been easier and better ever since.