Posts tagged with "Real Simple"

What is the Enneagram Test and why is everyone obsessing over it?

June 22, 2022

It seems as if everyone is talking about the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator Test. It’s similar to the classic Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which, odds are, you already have run across at a work retreat, or as part of some career or college counseling session in high school.  Like MBTI, the Enneagram test helps you to identify your specific personality traits, reports Real Simple.

There are nine Enneagram types, and according to the Enneagram Institute, “it is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is your basic personality type.”

It takes about ten minutes to complete the quiz, most respondents say.

While, personality quizzes aren’t necessarily 100 percent accurate (because how can a test sum up one person completely?) knowing your personality or traits could help you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, to improve your relationships, boost your performance at work, or achieve personal goals. A little introspection never hurt anybody.

Take a look at the nine Enneagram types below. You can learn more about each one and take the test at The Enneagram Institute’s website.

1: The Reformer: This type is known as “rational, idealistic.” He or she wants to make change and is well-organized, but sometimes that might mean that the respondent is too critical or perfectionistic.

2: The Helper: This is the “caring, interpersonal” type. People with this personality are friendly, warm-hearted, and want to help others; but “typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs.”

3: The Achiever: This type is “success-oriented and pragmatic.” Respondents are highly ambitious and charming, but they might become too obsessed with success and their image.

4: The Individualist: Known as the “sensitive, withdrawn” type, these respondents are “emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but also can be moody and self-conscious.”

5: The Investigator: These types are “intense, cerebral.” They are innovative and inventive, and can come up with high-level ideas, but they might be seen as detached or intense.

6: The Loyalist: These respondents are “committed, security-oriented.” According to the Enneagram Institute, “they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious.”

7: The Enthusiast: This type’s name is pretty much self-explanatory. Respondents are extroverted, spontaneous, and always looking for new experiences. However, they can be impatient, impulsive, and over-extended.

8: The Challenger: Known as the “powerful, dominating” type, the Challenger is self-confident and assertive, but can be temperamental and domineering.

9: The Peacemaker: People who are this type are “easygoing, self-effacing.” They are  accepting and supportive, but that can lead to them becoming too complacent.

After reading these descriptions, you probably already have guessed what your personality type might be. See if you are right by taking the quiz.

Research contact: @RealSimple

Move it or lose it? One-quarter of Americans consider pulling up stakes due to COVID-19

June 23, 2020

Is there an escape strategy for COVID-19, other than sheltering in place and using personal protective equipment? According to a survey conducted on May 13 by FinanceBuzz, fully 26% of Americans actually are considering relocating permanently as a result of coronavirus.

Others have cancelled their home moves and are settling in for the long haul, Real Simple magazine reports.

From home buying, to renting, to temporary moves back home with parents, here’s a look at how the pandemic has influenced housing trends in the short- and long- term:

  • 26% are considering a permanent move: As millions of Americans lost their jobs or were furloughed during the past few months, finances became a major factor influencing housing plans. Of those who plan to move permanently, a “lower cost of living” (41%) and the wish “to be in a less populated area” (29%) were the top two motivating factors. After months spent cooped up in city apartments, many urban dwellers want to relocate to the spacious and generally more affordable suburbs. Plus, as many companies transition to remote work, those who lived in cities for their jobs are now free to move without the lengthy commute.

Indeed, Real Simple reports, with a viable coronavirus vaccine still may many months away—but states across the country reopening rapidly, enabling house tours—Americans are becoming ever-more anxious to pick up and move to the suburbs.

  • 75% of potential home buyers and renters are delaying their moves: The survey found that three-quarters of prospective home buyers and renters had opted to put off their intended moves between March and June of this year—but that doesn’t mean that the moves are off the table forever: Of the 1,500 respondents over the age of 18, 58% say they still intend to move at some point; while 17% have canceled their moves entirely.

The most common reason for the postponed moves? Most cited the inability to tour new places in person and stay-at-home orders. What’s more, Real Simple notes, 25% said they are waiting for the market to improve.

So how long will the home buying delays last? Over 60% of those surveyed reported that they wouldn’t feel comfortable buying a new home until 2021.

  • Many have moved back home with their parents: Finally, 26% of Gen-Zers and 9% of Millennials have temporarily moved back in with their parents during the pandemic. With most colleges closed now, Gen Zers’ moves back home come as no surprise. When surveyed in mid-May, more than 35% who had moved back home with their parents said they weren’t certain when they would return to their primary residences.

Research contact: @RealSimple

The bedtime story: Pre-slumber reading benefits you in a slew of ways beyond relaxation

September 24, 2019

If your go-to bedtime routine includes winding down with a great book, you may be experiencing a host of benefits beyond diversion and relaxation, according to a recent survey of 1,000 people by the sleep product review site Sleep Junkie.

Respondents who said they read in bed at night ranged from those who read once a week to those who open a book every night, according to a report on the study by Real Simple:

  • 11% said they read one or two nights a week;
  • 12% read three or four times;
  • 7%, five or six; and
  • 8% percent read every single night.

And of the avid readers getting a few pages in during five or more nights a week, the average time spent reading was 43 minutes.

The results don’t lie: Whether they crack open a book three times a month or every night without fail, all respondents said doing so promotes relaxation, reduces stress, induces sleep, centers the mind, and improves sleep quality. All good things.

In fact, Real Simple reports, nearly 75% of bedtime readers believe they’d have a harder time falling asleep if they didn’t regularly read in bed, and almost everyone (96%) would recommend reading before bed to others.

Compared to only 64% of non-bedtime readers, 76% of bedtime readers report being satisfied with the quality of their sleep. What’s more, over the course of a week, bedtime readers self-report that they clock an extra hour and 37 minutes more Zs than non-bedtime readers.

We know sleep is vital for everything from maintaining physical health to improving cognitive fitness, and clearly reading before bed seems to boost both the quality and quantity of sleep. So it’s no surprise that this nightly ritual also may indirectly affect other important aspects of life—including professional/financial success, physical health, and overall optimism.

According to the survey results, bedtime readers:

  • Make more money: Respondents who read before bed make an average income of $39,779, while nonreaders make $36,094.
  • Make healthier choices: They are 12% more liekly to eat a healthy diet, 14% more likely to engage in “healthy % more likely to keep regular doctor/dentist appointments.
  • Have a more positive life outlook: When respondents were asked whether they believe they “get the most out of themselves,” nighttime bookworms took the cake, with 79% saying “yes,” compared to only 59% of nonreaders. And do they live life to the fullest? Heck yes, say 70% of bedtime readers, in contrast to 58% of nonreaders.

So, don’t save those bedtime stories just for the kids. A little Goodnight Moon might help all of us.

Research contact: @RealSimple

20% of guests go into debt to attend a wedding

May 21, 2019

It’s hard to say anything except “I will” when a friend or family member invites you to his or her “I dos.” But it often can be an inconvenient and costly obligation. In fact, according to American Express, the average wedding guest spends $592 per wedding, according to a recent report by Real Simple.

Considering the necessary wardrobe trappings, the travel, the accommodations, and the (often, multiple) gifts, attending nuptials—either as a member of the wedding party or a guest— can be expensive. And however much you want to say that money is no object when you are celebrating the happiness of people you love—you may (justifiably) worry that a one-day event isn’t worth going into debt.

And that happens more frequently than you would imagine. Indeed, a recent survey by Credit Karma of 1,039 Americans ages 18 and up found that about one in five Americans (20%) has gone into debt to attend someone else’s wedding —and 21% have gone into debt to fund their own marriage ceremony.

Millennials (born between the early 1980s and  2000) are the most prone to rack up debt as wedding guests—with 35% of millennial respondents having gone into debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party and 30% having gone into debt to attend a wedding.

By contrast, Gen Z (post-Millennials) spends the most on the ceremony—with 38% of respondents having gone into debt to finance their nuptials, Credit Karma says.

Why all the wedding-related debt? It could have to do with the social pressures and expectations set around weddings, the researchers found. Respondents cited feeling the need to impress friends and family (32%) as one reason they overspent on their own weddings, while others (20%) said they went into debt to make their wedding look good for social media.

Specifically, just how much debt are they racking up? Perhaps unsurprisingly, wedding-related debt is especially high for the couple throwing the wedding. A quarter of respondents (25%) who went into debt to pay for their wedding did so to the tune of $10,000 or more.

As for the attendees, more than a third of wedding guests and more than a third of bachelor/bachelorette party celebrants reported racking up more than $500 in charges.

How can both the guests and the bridal couple avoid going overboard? According to Credit Karma, the main reason people were able to avoid going into debt to attend a wedding was because the wedding was local (55%), meaning there would be fewer costs around things like hotels and plane tickets.

Other budget-friendly decisions: Choose wedding gifts you can actually afford (try splitting bigger-ticket items with other guests, if the couple’s registry allows), rent or rewear an outfit, stay at a friend’s home instead of at an hotel, and suggest budget-friendly bachelor/ette activities for the group.

Research contact: @creditkarma

Coming clean: Americans actually ‘like’ this household chore

April 18, 2019

When it comes to tackling household chores, most people can identify a favorite task (or at least one they can tolerate), as well as a job that they would happily relinquish, according to findings of a survey of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by Clorox.

While favoring any chore feels like a stretch, some chores (such as vacuuming) certainly beat others (e.g., mopping), in terms of the amount of time and labor required to get them done.

Asked about their favorite task, more than one-third of respondents (37%) said they preferred doing the laundry, according to a report by Real Simple magazine.

The study—named “The Dirt on Spring Cleaning: American’s Top Cleaning Confessions”—also found that many homeowners were partial to cleaning the kitchen (chosen by 32%). And their least-favorite task? Organizing and dusting bedrooms, which is highly rated by only 11% of the survey cohort.

Clorox’s new survey shared a slew of other juicy cleaning facts: Most people are either Clean Freaks or Scramblers when it comes to tidying up, though Emotional Cleaners also are relatively common.

Fully 31% of respondents admitted that they never deep-clean their homes—or do it rarely—and 27% said that their microwave is splattered with unknown food.

Amusingly enough, a whopping 78% concede that they hide clutter or messes, mostly in a bedroom or closet, when cleaning in a rush.

The survey reveals that 93% of U.S. homeowners. are bothered by mess and dirt: Almost nobody likes living in a cluttered or dirty home. But how everyone tackles that mess can reveal a lot about different personalities and preferences—and maybe the key to a harmonious household is finding someone who will tackle the chores you like the least, and vice versa. Who knew cleaning could be so romantic?

Research contact: @Clorox

When it’s past time to pack a relationship in, ExBox will help you pack it up

January 15, 2019

In the past, when a single woman (or man) “threw the bum out,” the former beloved’s belongings often were tossed unceremoniously out of the window and onto the lawn below. But now, there’s a more civilized way to deal with the unwanted detritus of a failed relationship.

ExBox, a new service by on-demand storage solution New York City-based MakeSpace and media company Mschf, is here to help you get those physical reminders of your ex—his favorite hoodie, her teddy bear—out of your space in a timely manner, according to a report by Real Simple.

With a service that current is available in the New York metropolitan area; as well as in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles—and soon will be opening its doors in Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco—ExBox will put those unwelcome romantic reminders in cold storage until you’re ready to actually deal with them. Whether that means doing the mature thing and returning them, or burning them in a dumpster (if you are still hot under the collar), is totally up to you.

After some time has passed, you may even want to keep some of these mementos—because a toaster is a toaster, regardless of who bought it for you.

The online questionnaire at ExBox will request basic contact information, plus a ranking of how horrible your ex really was (from “I barely knew him” to “We were going to get married”): The worse the breakup, the more money you can save—as much as $39 when the engagement is off.

ExBox will send you a box, which you can fill with photos, ticket stubs, gifts, and other reminders of your ex. (You can even store items as large as a bed.) Once your items are all packed, someone from the service will pick them up and take them to a storage facility.

When you’re ready to go through the box and decide what to keep, toss, or return, ExBox will bring the stuff right back to you.

Research contact: @MakeSpace

It all comes out in the wash: It’s surprising what you can (successfully) put in the machine

January 4, 2019

Most of us are “filthy rich”—meaning that we have a wealth of dirty items in our homes that we don’t know how to return to their original, unsullied state.

Real Simple recently interviewed Jill Nystul, founder of the housekeeping blog, One Good Thing By Jillee, to find out about a variety of items—other than clothes, towels, bedding, and sneakers—that can be thrown into the laundry, only to emerge good as new:

  • Shower curtain liners can be washed in a machine to remove soap scum and mildew. Make sure to add a few bath towels to the load to “cushion” the liner and keep it from tearing. Use a small amount of your detergent along with 1 cup of baking soda. “The baking soda will help loosen the gunk, and the towels will help scrub it away,” Nystul told Real Simple.
  • Patio chair cushions: After a few seasons outside, cushions get really dirty. Wash them in cold water on a gentle cycle, tackling stains first with a pretreater if necessary, says Nystul. Allow them to air dry completely before storing or reusing.
  • Car mats: As long as the floor mats in your car or truck aren’t too big or too heavy, you can wash them in your machine, says the expert. “They’ll look so much better after a good cleaning.”
  • Rubber-backed rugs and mats: These items can handle the occasional wash; however, laundering them too often is likely to cause the backing to lose its grip. Only wash them when they really need it, says Nystul, and vacuum them often to keep them clean.
  • Leather purses: Here’s a surprise! “When I first read that you could wash a leather purse in your washing machine, I was highly skeptical. I was certain the purse was bound to get ruined,” says Nystul. “But curiosity often gets the best of me, so I gave it a try. And it totally worked!” She used liquid castile soap and washed the purse on gentle cycle.
  • Hair ties and headbands: Over time, hair accessories get soiled from buildup of oil and hair products. Toss them all into a small mesh bag and throw them in with your next load of laundry, recommends Nystul.
  • Curtains: To clean lace curtains in the washing machine, zip them into a mesh bag first. Traditional, fabric curtains can be washed on a delicate cycle in cold water. Avoid machine-washing heavy or velvety curtains.
  • Sheepskin boots: If you have a pair of old UGGs that have seen better days, try washing them, says Nystul. Start by brushing off any loose dirt from the outside. Then put the boots in a mesh bag and place them in your washer with a couple of bath towels. Use the delicate setting on your washer and cold water. Remove the boots immediately once the wash is done, and give the fleece lining a good fluff. Let them air dry overnight.
  • Stuffed animals: Nothing gets quite as dirty as a toddler’s favorite toy. They survive just fine in the washing machine and dryer, as long as you use low heat. Real Simple recommends placing them in a pillow case and securing the top with a rubber band to keep the toys together in the wash. In addition to stuffed animals, you can wash a batch of plastic toys this way.
  • Yoga mats: Wash these in cold water on a delicate setting, and let them air dry flat.
  • Backpacks and gym bags: Place bags with straps inside a mesh bag before washing. If you don’t have a mesh bag big enough, you can flip the bag inside out so the straps stay contained. Make sure to open and unzip all the pockets before washing, and hang to dry completely.
  • Baseball hats: These get sweaty and filthy on a regular basis. You can safely wash almost any modern baseball cap with cold water on delicate cycle, because the brims have a plastic core. (Vintage baseball caps, however, are more likely to have a cardboard brim, so you definitely don’t want to run them through the wash, says Nystul.)
  • Reusable grocery bags: Wash your reusable grocery bags every few weeks to keep them sanitary. Nystul says she’s washed both vinyl and cloth bags successfully.
  • Pet collars and leashes: Nylon collars and leashes can be washed easily. Just place them in a mesh bag first.
  • Pet beds: A lot of pet beds have removable covers, which makes washing them extremely easy. If yours doesn’t, start by vacuuming any hair or dirt off the surface; then, wash with a gentle detergent. Place it in your dryer for 10-20 minutes to give it a head start on drying, then let it air dry the rest of the way before returning the bed to your pet.

Research contact: @byjillee

Holiday letters and the fine art of the ‘humble-brag’

December 3, 2018

It’s that time of year when we start receiving holiday cards—and the enclosed family letters and photos that we love to hate. Whether they are from far-off friends or close-by relatives, many of these missives will come with at least a few paragraphs of humble-brags—“complaints” about the outstanding achievements of children, spouses, and the writers, themselves.

An example: “We barely saw 17-year-old Laura this year, because she was so busy with her cheerleading practices, dance recitals, and studying for those straight-A grades so she can apply to Yale.”

Whether it’s telling our friends about our work-related accomplishments, sharing that we’ve bought a new [insert vehicle or gadget of choice here], talking about a first-class trip, describing the new wing we’ve added to our home, or boasting about our children’s talents, we’ve all bragged at one time or another.

We feel good when we share our successes or the successes of those we love. In fact, a paper published in 2012 by two Harvard neuroscientists said that talking about ourselves gives us the same kind of pleasure we get from sex or food.

“Self-disclosure is extra rewarding,” said Harvard neuroscientist Diana Tamir, who conducted the experiments with Harvard colleague Jason Mitchell. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “People were even willing to forgo money in order to talk about themselves,” Tamir said

And yet, says a report in Real Simple, who wants to be known as a braggart? Enter the humble-brag. It’s the kind of bragging we see on social media so frequently. It tells the world just how great your life is then downplays it under the guise of humility or self-deprecating humor (Ack! Just spilled red wine on my new book contract! #bumblingthroughlife).

Ironically, that attempt at minimizing big news can actually work against us, irritating others and turning their perceptions of us to decidedly negative. That’s why so many holiday letters hit the trash so quickly.

Indeed, says Real Simple, bragging is a tricky business. In the real world, we can see how people react to a boast. But on social media sites—or when we send those gossipy holiday letters—we have no face-to-face interaction with the recipients: We don’t have the advantage of catching the recipient with a disengaged look, a snicker, or an eye roll—to tell us to adjust our behavior.

To navigate all that, we may (consciously or subconsciously) “try to neutralize the potential image of [ourselves] … as egocentric, narcissistic, or both, by tempering the brag with a self-deprecating comment or disclaimer, hoping that [recipients] won’t detect the brag—or at least won’t be offended by it,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a University of Massachusetts, Amherst, psychology professor, told the magazine. .

“But humble-bragging is disingenuous,” social media expert Karen North, director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at the University of Southern California, told Real Simple in an interview. “It’s manufactured modesty as a guise for overt bragging.”

And it’s this dishonesty that bothers people. The opposing nature of a humble-bragging post (I’m so talented! But I’m so modest!) is annoying because it asks readers to go in two directions at once, reaction-wise.

The magazine offers a few pointers to the authors of holiday letters this season:

  • Boast judiciously.Bragging should represent only a small percentage of what you write. That way when something truly great does happen, you won’t feel the need to underplay it.
  • Know your audience.Think about who is reading your missive and how they might react. Did a close friend just lose his job? Then you might not want to crow about the super-fantastic gig you just landed
  • Note which friends’ annual letters you generally like and which you find annoying.Figure out how the two sets differ. Does one person post in positive language, while the other shares things in a way you find grating? Avoid the latter.
  • Enjoy the outrageous humble-brags out there.Let’s face it, e all know (and even love) some people who will never stop humble-bragging. And now that we have a name for phenomenon, maybe we can just sit back and laugh when it happens.

Research contact:

In-app purchases tempt kids to splurge online

November 4, 2017

Should underage children be permitted to play games using smartphone apps that could involve purchases with real-world money? Far from an idle question, this dilemma is at the heart of recent U.S. lawsuits that Apple, Google and Amazon settled for a combined $120 million.

A public opinion poll released at the end of October by the Angus Reid Institute in Vancouver, BC, finds that Canadians have little sympathy for parents about their offsprings’ unauthorized purchases. Fully six-in-ten (62%) say the parents, themselves, are to blame in such situations.

However, nearly half (48%) of respondents said that they would welcome federal government regulations aimed at preventing kids from buying digital goods—such as coins on Candy Crush— without parental supervision.

Overall, one-in-seven Canadians have personal experience with children buying something they weren’t supposed to on a mobile device – either because they live with the child in question or because it happened to a close friend or family member. Among those under age 35, exposure to situations like these rises to 20%.

What games are known for their temptations? Free apps are more likely than paid apps to charge for items that you can buy within the game, Molly Wood, an executive editor of, a technology site, told the magazine Real Simple. In addition to Candy Crush, the games Tap Zoo and Dolphin Play have drawn criticism for their in-app charges, which can run as high as $30 a purchase. Low-cost games tempt users, too: Players of Bejeweled 2 can spend $9 on 1 million coins, which are redeemable for power-ups in the game.

Among the key findings of the Angus Reid Institute poll:

  • While more than seven-in-ten (72%) agree that “those over age 10 should know better than to make purchases on their parents’ mobile devices.” just 3% of Canadians say children under that age are most responsible when unauthorized purchases are made;
  • Three-quarters (75%) agree that “games that are designed for children or ‘all-ages’ should not allow in-app purchases,” but just one-in-ten (11%) blames app developers for unauthorized purchases by minors; and
  • Those who regularly download apps featuring in-app purchases (61%)are more likely to say government intervention is not needed in this area .

The polling organization notes that mobile games are a massive industry, which is expected to generate more than US$46 billion in 2017. Much of that revenue will come from in-app purchases in so-called “freemium” games—apps that are free to play, but offer players the ability to pay real money for in-game benefits. These may include gems or coins, which the user can buy to speed up play or gain access to new character outfits or game levels.

Indeed, the research found that fully 23% of Millennials have made such purchases. Add to that the fact that about 20% of Millennials had a child in their household or the child of a close friend or family member buy something in an app without parental consent. The rate drops to one-in-six (16%) among those ages 35–54, and to just one-in-20 (6%) among those in the 55+ age group.

Asked who bears the most responsibility, generally, for these situations, more than six-in-ten Canadians (62%) say “the parents.” It’s notable, however, that the group most likely to blame parents is those who have never had a child make an unauthorized purchase – and don’t know anyone who has.

Respondents who have some degree of personal connection to these types of situations are less likely to hold parents ultimately responsible.

It should be noted that, while most Canadians don’t say either children or app developers are most responsible for unauthorized purchases, there is widespread agreement that each group should bear some responsibility. Three-in-four Canadians (75%) agree with the statement, “Games that are designed for children or ‘all-ages’ should not allow in-app purchases”—a finding that suggests a belief that developers who do allow such purchases in their games are contributing to the problem.

When it comes to the degree of blame children deserve for making in-app purchases without their parents’ permission, the age of the child in question is clearly a key consideration. More than seven-in-ten Canadians (72%) agree that, while younger children can’t be held accountable, “those over age 10 should know better than to make purchases on their parents’ mobile devices.”

Research contact: