Life Skills You Can Learn in 29 Minutes (for Free)
From creating the four-ingredient appetizer people crave to packing a carry-on you won't have to squeeze shut, these shortcuts will make everyone wonder, "Hey, how'd she do that?"
Create a Pinterest-Worthy Cake
There's a reason your ombre red velvet cake isn't turning out like the one you pinned—most recipes don't tell you how to level, fill and crumb-coat the treat. Craftsy
, a website that offers online tutorials, outlines those missing steps in a free course called "Modern Buttercream." Pay attention to lesson four—that's where you'll learn how to assemble a cake that looks like something Ron Ben-Israel would repin.
Get News-Savvy Before Your Coffee Has Brewed
Whether you're mourning the loss of Google Reader or sick of sifting for headlines amid the "Look what I'm eating!" tweets in your feed, women everywhere can take solace in a new aggregator on the block: The Skimm
. The 6 a.m. email newsletter breaks down the day's most-likely-to-be-buzzed-about topics like a sassy Diane Sawyer, even providing talking points to fuel those parking-lot walks to the office with a coworker (because "What are your weekend plans?" really only works on Friday).
Hang Art Like an A-List Interior Designer
Pottery Barn-esque wall collages
look a lot harder to create than they are. Cut brown craft paper (or old wrapping paper) to the sizes of your frames and tape each piece to your wall in whatever pattern pleases you. Once you get an arrangement you like, nail up the art over the paper, then carefully tear each sheet away so only the framed art remains.
Bring the Potluck Dish People RSVP for
Puff-pastry pinwheels are an easily customizable "signature" dish even kitchen-phobes can make, says Lori Lange, blogger and author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook
. Brainstorm two to three fillings that would taste good together—Lange loves sundried-tomato paste, parmesan cheese and basil, as well as honey mustard, fresh herbs and prosciutto. Defrost the puff pastry, sprinkle on your toppings, and roll it into a log. Stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up, then slice it into coins and cook at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Have a Rejuvenating, Scald-Free Bath
The ideal temperature for a shower is between 95 and 100 degrees, says Dee Patel, a bath concierge at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. Most of us test the water with our hand, where our skin is thicker (and less sensitive). Instead, use your wrist
—if the temperature feels comfortable, it should be just right for your whole body.
Fold Clothes So Fast You Won't Mind Doing Laundry
At first glance, it seems like a magic trick: By simply pinching the shoulder of a T-shirt—right between the seam and the neckline—with one hand, pinching halfway down the shirt with the other hand, and flicking your wrists, you can fold a shirt into a perfect square in two seconds flat. The "flick," outlined in steps 3 and 4 of this Howcast
tutorial, may take two or three viewings to master, but once you do, you'll be able to whittle away a mountain of tees in minutes.
Pack for Any Trip Without Having to Sit on Your Suitcase
Many of us determine what to bring as we sift through our closets, resulting in a dozen extras we don't really need. Instead, create your packing list from memory, says Brooke Anderson, a globetrotting correspondent for Entertainment Tonight
. Your biggest space-saver? Bring just one pair of shoes
's creative director Adam Glassman recommends collapsible flats—they work for dressy and casual outfits. As for the toiletries bag, Anderson uses one 3-ounce bottle of Argan oil instead of conditioner, lotion, face cream and cuticle oil—it's a moisturizing multitasker.
Find the Lushest Supermarket Flowers
Roses are your best bet
. They're the biggest sellers, so the stock is constantly being updated, says Jun Piñon, of Piñon Design in San Francisco. The buds should feel a little hard in the center—that means they're still fresh and they're more likely to bloom.
Show the Guys How It's Done
Now that bowties are making a comeback, plenty of videos have cropped up to teach you how to tie one, but this is the one to watch. Menswear expert Charles French delivers each step so clearly and slowly in this two-minute YouTube tutorial
that you won't hesitate when the guy in your life asks for a little help.
Next: 10 lab-tested ways to bring out the best in people