O's 101 Best Pieces of Advice

All the wisdom you need to do almost everything better...and while you're at it, feel happier, healthier, more chic, less stressed, and ready to take on the world.

How to Make Conversation at Parties

First, get a drink. If it's a cocktail, it'll loosen you up, but even if it's just club soda, it's good to have a prop to hold if you're feeling nervous. Next, approach someone—a person, not a group—and ask how he or she knows the host. After that, be authentic and interested and ask questions, and others will float over and join in. A good host will have considered the mix of people, so when you arrive, ask, "Who should I meet?" Most important: Even if you won't know anyone and you're feeling intimidated, you must go. Do not stay home. So many people are afraid that no one will talk to them and they'll leave feeling awful—but has that ever happened to you? Me, neither. Usually I end up laughing and eating and drinking and making friends, and that's what it's all about.

—Marjorie Gubelmann CEO of Vie Luxe and society hostess extraordinaire

How Not to Kill An Orchid

Don't overwater. Touch the orchid's roots to see if they've dried out, or pick up the plant—if it feels heavy, it's sufficiently wet.

When the orchid is dry, put it in your sink and run lukewarm water through it for about 15 seconds—the water should pour through the holes in the bottom of the pot.

Feed your plant weakly, weekly—diluting fertilizer to a quarter of the recommended strength.

When the orchid loses its blossoms, move it to an east, west, or partly shaded south window and continue caring for it. The flowers should bloom again next year.

—Sandra Tillisch Svoboda, president of the American Orchid Society

How to Say Goodbye to a Loved One

First and most important: Meet the dying person where she is. She may be in denial, and denial is a fabulous crutch. You don't pull a crutch out from under somebody. Try to validate the feelings behind the denial. So imagine your aunt says, "Let's reserve a house at the lake this summer. I loved the weeks we used to spend there." You don't rush out to make a reservation; you reminisce with her about those good times. She's living in memories much kinder than her reality.

But let's say she tells you, "You know, I'm not going to live much longer." The door's open. Be honest, direct. Tell her you hate that this is happening. Tell her it mattered that she was here. Tell her how she enriched your life, that she won't be forgotten. This is no time to pussyfoot. For God's sake, don't tell her she looks great, or that she'll pull through. Pretending creates a chasm of loneliness for the dying. Can you imagine if you were in labor, and no one in the room would acknowledge that you were giving birth?

Toward the end, dying people tend to withdraw. You know how when you drop a pebble in a pond, the rings ripple out? For a dying person, the rings go in. It doesn't matter what's happening in politics or sports or the next room. Eventually all that matters is I'm hot. I'm cold. I love you. Do you love me? At that point, all that's required is your presence. Be quiet. Put your hands on hers. That's it.

—Maggie Callanan, hospice nurse since 1981 and coauthor of the celebrated book Final Gifts

How to Win the Fight

It's always more effective to be civil.

—Sandra Fluke, former law student whose congressional testimony in favor of birth control insurance coverage prompted Rush Limbaugh to call her a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his nationally syndicated radio show

Time-Saving Tips of the Super Busy

I've learned to be deliberate. It's too easy to spend your life in reactive mode, so at the start of every day, week, and month, I identify the most important things to accomplish and set aside time to focus on them first.

—Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Time-Saving Tips of the Super Busy

On any given day, I may have only an hour in a new city. To be efficient, I rely on apps. For food, Urbanspoon is my favorite. On a longer layover, I use AroundMe: I type in what I'm interested in, like craft fairs, andit shows me what's nearby.

—Sara Keagle, flight attendant

Time-Saving Tips of the Super Busy

Studies indicate that multitasking lowers productivity. So I focus on one thing at a time, and I do things that require concentration during the day, when I'm most alert. Tasks that require less brain activity,like cleaning, I save for night.

—Ariella Sprague, medical student

Time-Saving Tips of the Super Busy

I lay out my clothes the night before so once I wake up, there's not one minute wasted. In the morning, I put on minimal makeup, don't usually eat a hot breakfast at home, and skip reading the paper. I can read that at the end of the day.

—Annise Parker, mayor of Houston

Time-Saving Tips of the Super Busy

I free up time with a game of team tidying: mom versus quads. It's amazing how quickly the dinosaurs disappear and the trains get tucked away. And I love the quiet that (briefly) follows!

—Jennifer Murray, mother of 5-year-old quadruplets

How to Have More Fun Having Sex

Sex researchers have found that one of the biggest turn-ons for women is feeling desired. So believing that you're desirable is key. Choose a part of your body you admire. It might be your eyes, your hari, the curve of your calves. Now focus on that part in your mind and "see" it as your partner would see it. It may feel silly, but imagine he's thinking, Wow, I want her so bad. And remember: You don't have to wait until you're in the mood. Sometimes you just need to get started and the mood will follow.

—Gail Saltz, MD, author of The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life